Dublin   2 comments

i have no pics to upload, as I’m too inept to get my iPad and iPhone to talk to each other. So just my sleepy words, tapped out one-fingered. Need an actual keyboard!

we staggered through the airport, exhausted, missing having a wonderful Matt Knight to meet us and coddle us. Ended up in a cab with (inevitably) Patrick at the wheel. He gave us a lively and charming commentary as he drove us into Dublin, which was enjoyed solely by me as poor David’s ears were slammed solidly shut and he was effectively deaf.

the Merrion is practically a whole block of stately Georgian townhouses all linked together to form an unassuming exterior with old-fashioned luxury within. Top-hatted and liveried doormen discreetly whisked our bags away and ushered us to reception. With 5 hours to kill before we could go to our room, we sank bleary and (in my case) still groggy from the sleep aids, into the wing armchairs of the lounge. We were brought heavenly coffee with hot cream (I LOVE you, Ireland) and a dish of biscuits) which was worth every penny of the 26 euros it set us back. Once it kicked in we got a map from the concierge and set off to find the tall ships about which Patrick had informed us.

i’m so glad I was revived somewhat for this, my first taste of Ireland, and Dublin in particular. The imposing government offices (just elected Varadkar, thank you very much) are right across from the hotel. Right down the block is a little jewel of a park, bordered by artists of all stripes busking and displaying their wares. Oscar Wilde’s home is right there.

as we strolled through the cool streets we heard at least as many American as Irish accents, which was disconcerting.but oh oh, the Irish. Prim and pierced, fashionable and bohemian, menacing and enchanting. Smart young lads with hard eyes smoking hand- rolled cigarettes. Gorgeous long-legged girls in short skirts and high heels. Apple-cheeked toddlers clutching balloons and soccer balls. And everywhere the lilting undertone of the beautiful Irish tongue.

and so many gingers! It may be a stereotype, but this is a seriously Titian town. I expected to run into Mad Sweeney around every corner.

we walked across the river Sliffey and found the tall ships. There was a full blown festival going on, delicious smells and strains of music (including of duo of Irish cowboys doing Johnny Cash.) stilt walkers and street theater and one intrepid fellow ‘flying’ on what looked like a water-propelled hover board. We loved it but chose to turn around when the crowds grew oppressively thick. The coffee only lasted so long, and we had to walk back.

And, you know, crowds.

It rained on the way back and we sheltered under surprisingly useful trees, and then it stopped and the sun burst out. We finished walking back under brilliant blue skies, through a city wet and fresh and sparkling.

to our joy the Merrion let us check in an hour early. After a hot shower we went nose down into our wonderful king bed and took a long, long nap.

david headed back out before I was all the way awake. We wandered around the hotel and its immediate environs until we bumped into each other. Then we wandered some more until we found Matt the Thresher’s seafood restaurant (endorsed by Michelle Obama no less) and had a fish and chips dinner that was both delicious and elegant.

i’m off for a long hot soak in our palatial tub, and then I plan to sleep like dead.

More Ireland adventures anon!

Posted June 3, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

The Thargelia moon……   Leave a comment

is unnaturally bright this year. Not only now, nearly full, but even when it was a crescent. On the 3rd night of the moonphase, Athena’s day, it was so bright in the western sky that it cast shadows. Tonight you can practically read by it.

But all the fireflies are gone.

Posted May 9, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

repost from the wayback machine   Leave a comment

i’ve been wandering through my old LJ lately, and it’s been such an eye opening experience. i’m so glad i’ve blogged and journaled (sporadically it’s true) over the years. my memory is so bad, and there’s SO much i lose. far more is still lost than recalled, but at least there’s something.

this is from 2011 after we came back from england.

 

  • MOOD:

england part one

(since i will surely not get it all in one or two or several go-rounds. and i tend to forget to blog at all most of the time. i compose them in my head and then i think that i actually wrote them. see, i’m digressing and i haven’t even started. welcome to my brain.)
i’ve already ruled out trying chronology. it makes me nut up and my brain starts to fritz. so i’ll just pick random aspects of visiting england to focus on and see where it takes me.
i’ll start with people. yeah, that works. to lead into that, i’ll state for the record that i’m crazy in love with Knights. all of ’em. wendy’s been in my heart and head for years, her kids and mine are inextricably intertwined, i’ve always adored will, and now matt has joined the group Knights About Whom The Thackstons Can’t Squee Loudly Enough.
if you’re new to a country, getting met by a calm person who first thing takes you to a coffee stand and lets gentle amusing banter wash over you, then getting tucked into a car and whisked through the bewildering foreign streets to a lovely quiet welcoming home and nestling you in, just can’t be beat.
we elected to fortify ourselves with coffee and set out to have adventures rather than nap, and try to acclimate to the new time as quickly as possible, which turned out to be a good strategy (although it would never have worked if we’d been on our own.) the caffeine and the exhilaration of being in friggin’ LONDON kicked in, and matt shepherded us expertly onto buses and tubes (eek!!!) and on to the wonder that was downtown.
i find cities uncomfortably crowded, and england’s cities (and towns and villages for that matter) are even more than ours, as the british sensibly keep their countryside pastoral and their humans in human communities. i didn’t see one single solitary trophy house neighborhood with vast empty acres of Chemlawn. i’m sure they exist, but they’re not the norm.
but for someone who lives in the sticks, the crowded streets (and the pickpockets who infest them) could be dismaying if not in the company of someone who so coolly and cheerfully negotiates them as matt did. in the first hour he saved my life at least a couple of times. you do NOT stumble off a curb into a london street. ever. british motorists are far more courteous than american ones, but london is a traffic madhouse. exceptions for klutzy american tourists don’t exist. don’t take it lightly.
but once i figured out that the two-feet rule does not and cannot exist, the beauty and variety and splendor and OLDNESS of the city swept me away. we wandered, jaws dropped, past classical statues, monuments of historical figures, gorgeous edifices built hundreds of years ago and still functioning briskly, brilliant gardens, fountains, palaces, arches, towers, and churches.
oh yes. churches.
i would never have guessed how admiring i could be of christian monuments until i went to england.
and until i met westminster abbey.
i was so busy gawping at the OUTSIDE that i didn’t even really pick up on matt’s insistence on going in before us so he could see our reaction to the inside. oh my gads.
there’s something almost obscene about that amount of opulence. every single inch of that place is a masterpiece, some master craftsman poured his entire life’s toil into creating some little piece of stone carving on a pillar or flying buttress hundreds of feet in the air, utterly exquisite but impossible to grok in the immensity and splendor of the whole. and westminster abbey is not about restrained elegance. it smacks you right between the eyes, over and over and over. your neck aches with staring upwards (as the design intends, constantly re-drawing one’s gaze to heaven) and yet the eye-level stuff is equally compelling.
i’d walk several miles just to stand at the tomb of elizabeth 1 and bloody mary (and i had no idea they were interred together!) but that was just one out of hundreds of shrines. mary queen of scots. shakespeare. chaucer! i stood at CHAUCER’S tomb! (that one made me snorfle up a little in sheer awe.) lewis carroll’s rabbit hole spiral. shelley. mad bad and dangerous to know byron. so many. so many i came to see and send kleos, so many i recognized with awe, so many i’d never heard of before but boggled at their resplendent resting places.
not only did it knock my socks off as a tourist and delight me as a student, it gave me much food for thought as a priestess of the kthonic theoi. on one level i get the need to make a mark, to leave something behind. but on another i’m totally dismayed at this degree of ‘worship my dusty remains.’ and yet as passionate lover of history, i’m so grateful that so many DO create these foolish, hopeless, gorgeous testaments to Life, so that i can stand there centuries later and say ‘omg. some tiny essence of their physical DNA is here, right here before me. damn!’
i was particularly fascinated by the variety of ways the artists depicted the deceased. some had eyes peacefully closed, many were disturbing open but white and dead, others painted with a startling semblance to a living gaze. many were on their backs with folded hands, but some were up on elbows, heads on hands in poses creating a feel of utter ennui with the whole situation. which of course is totally fitting. (matt says ‘um, that would be piety, suz.’ but it didn’t look pious to me.) i was intrigued by the choices of footers, the animals upon whom the tomb figures’ feet were propped, and delightedly horrified to learn that small carved children kneeling under the tomb meant their children, and if they were kneeling on skulls it meant the kids pre-deceased the entombed.
and that’s just the dead people. i don’t even have words for the architecture, windows, altars, pews, chapels, lecterns, nooks, crannies, crypts, doorways, organs, pillars, beams, ceilings (oh, the ceilings!!!)
it was an insanely perfect First Big Thing To See.
i wish so much i could have taken pictures. but they wouldn’t convey it. maybe it’s best that it couldn’t be.
by 5pm we were so tired we couldn’t see straight. matt tenderly led us home again, tucked us into his incredibly comfy four-poster (complete with purring kitties) while he slept on the couch. and we slept like lambies. and woke up to fresh bread, a vast array of jams and honeys, fresh french-pressed coffee, golden sunshine, and our host offering us a glittering choice of prospects for our first full day in england.
khairete
suz
i dont think you could have written a better “eye-view” of the cathedral. wow, oh, wow, you lucky woman!! 😀
i really am!!
khairete
suz
You know, I think when you go to a foreign country in general it is so worthwhile having someone there to help you out a bit. I had this advantage both in Greece and Morocco and I honestly don’t know how I would have managed getting around either places on my own (though I did walk to a few sites from where I was staying when I was in Greece and that was a bit hair raising lol). So I am so glad you had someone compitent to help you out!
As for big sprawling chem lawns. You know I think we could do with less of them. I am walking to work and sure they are pretty enough but really they are such a waste of space. And then you hear talk of people saying how we should be able to open wildlife reserves in the future for building. I got into a big argument with my father once about this subject because he insisted that we are reserving land for our future use and I am sitting there utterly horrified. We waste in this country like nobodies buisness. It seems ridiculous to me for everyone to need their acre or two out in the burbs. While I would also get clausterphobic from your what are describing of London, it does seem more practical to me.
For everything else, Chaucer’s tomb especially, my oh my. I guess I will have to move London up a bit on my must visit list 🙂
I know you love Shakespeare,
but isn’t this extreme? 😀
hee!
😀
khairete
suz
Love seeing this thru your eyes, Suz! Would the marble statues have been painted back in the day? The eyes would have it.
my bolphus!!!
i know the marble statues of classical gods were painted when they were freshly carved, but i don’t know about the dead english church people. the dead white eyes are appropriate, i suppose, but deliciously creepy.
it feels so odd to have it dark so early here. i could probably not survive your long dark, but oh how quickly did i fall in love with your summer light!
are you and cailean doing anything marvelous for the solstice?
please give my love to justin, and tell him he should return to being a pagan just for the day.
🙂 khairete
suz

Posted May 6, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Thargelia thoughts   Leave a comment

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I just love this time of year. It’s warm enough to be sweet and heady, and the farm smells of lilacs and honeysuckle. The seasons are just so right. After the long going-within of winter, I’m ready to be outside, to move more, to feel the sap rise. The spring sunshine is so sweet on my skin.

There’s a slender Athena moon in the west, such a slim crescent, but putting out enough light to cast a shadow as I walk among the trees. Fireflies are lighting up the treeline, so early, the earliest I’ve ever known them to wake up. The biters are also out- pretty soon I won’t be able to venture out for my night prowls without bug spray.

I’m ready to take better care of myself, to eat clean foods, to work out harder, to spend more time in the morning on the patio with my coffee instead of on the computer, to clean out the fridge and cupboards.

And it’s time to make the pharmakos.

 

Posted April 30, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

melancholy   4 comments

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she’s been gone for 4 months and 2 days. the daily heavy noisy gasping sobbing paroxysms have passed, but not a day has gone by that i haven’t missed her. badly. usually with tears.

and sometimes the ugly noisy crying.

but today was the worst in a long time. maybe it’s the start of the mercury retrograde, or all the time i’m spending in LJ’s wayback machine, or the Kore Work i’ve been deep into for a while now. maybe just her upcoming birthday.

i dunno.

we all miss our beloved 4-leggeds when they go. she ain’t the first by a long shot. she’s not even the first horse i’ve lost. she won’t be the last, unless the All-Receiver shows up unexpectedly soon (as He likes to do, doesn’t He?)

bo’s been gone for 7 years, and i still miss him hard. losing april was terrible, but her loss has settled into gentle memory.

but i’ve been crying all fucking day. i just can’t get on top of it today, for some reason. the farm is so beautiful. the daffodils are everywhere, dancing in the spring breeze, and almost all the gorgeous tulips i plopped all over randomly have showed up and are unfurling. the grass is brilliant green, the trees are either in full flower or moving into green. it should be celebrated, not bawled all over. david mowed the lawn, and i mowed the front pasture, and i just sobbed and snotted the whole damn time.

i hung out with jasmine when i got done, combing and shedding and skritching. she loved it. i love her. and still i bawled.

bawled during the entire 6 mile run/walk at the battlefield. bawled driving there and home. bawled in the shower.

so much of me was tangled up with her. my childhood pony dreams, the wake-up call when my first horse cared nothing for my hopes and dreams and longings to snuggle. mind you, i made her take kisses and hugs and smoochies, but not until she was old did she actually ever seem to like them. i can trace my development on so many different levels- maturity, spiritual, parental, coping with stresses, determination to be right at all costs, being humbled, and transcendent joy, all pretty much spot on through my Work with her.

i know it’s silly to feel as if i’m all adrift without her as my personal bellwether, but it kind of does.

it’s a gorgeous spring night out there. i’m going to go hang out with jasmine for a bit, and before i iron david’s work clothes, go out into the orchard and see if i can feel her, just a bit.

i won’t. i haven’t. not really, not much. my priestess self was so hopeful and pseudo confident that i’d be able to access her on some level after she went. but no. just memories. lots and lots of them. and so much grief.

i miss my girl.

khairete

suz

Posted April 10, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Iasonia ’17   Leave a comment

i like to have the Iasonia totally free to focus on it for a full day, but it just wasn’t happening this year. i’ve been trying to work a trial run of a live FB mini-ritual in since before the Elaphebolia, and just haven’t had a free few hours until today. so i worked until 2, then set up a belated Elaphebolia altar in the orchard, had it rained on, hastily re-set it up inside, and started just a minute or two late. it didn’t go badly overall, as these things go. most people liked it fine, a couple liked it a lot, and a vocal couple not at all.

as is my wont, i spent too much time this evening chewing on that. i remember getting critiques on my classes when i was at FCC, and i’d skip right over a dozen glowing ones and cling grimly to one or two meh ones. my kids rolled their eyes, and rightly so.

once i smoothed my feathers and remembered that, oh yeah, only one Being had to be pleased with that ritual, and if She wasn’t, i’ll work it out personally. but you can’t ever please everyone with public ritual (especially clumsy social media attempts.)

by the time evening rolled around and i had the time and privacy to do my beloved Iasonia ritual, i was exhausted.

but also excited at finally having the time and privacy to get back to it, just me and Them.

it wasn’t one of the more deep and resonant rituals. i was just too tired and petulant to let go and sink down. but boy, was it good to stand under the fitful moonlight, leaning against Tyr. he and the plum tree are in full bloom, the rest of them still budding. too chilly tonight for the peepers, but it felt marvelous, exciting and fresh.

made the offerings. said the prayers. so much gratitude.

even the fury and petulance make sense, Artemis tells me. once i remember to love her unconditionally but not do the dance with her, it changes. stupid little girl. wild, like Her.

more about her than the blue-eyed Iason this year. that’s okay too.

 

Posted March 8, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Lenaia 2017   6 comments

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

The old woman steps into the lane, tentatively sliding a blue flowered Birki onto the cold stones. Two cats flank her in silence, a sway-bellied calico and a big Siamese who moves with an odd gait. In the pasture that runs alongside the lane an old mostly blind and deaf dog pants noisily as he bumbles through the dry winter grass.

She hopes no one will encounter them. There are only three houses down this unpaved dead-end lane, but the neighbors have a more active social life than she, and often there are cars coming and going even at this late hour. And what will they see? A furtive figure in a dark hoodie and too-short red Mickey Mouse pajama pants, sensible winter socks inside the silly blue shoes. A plate of food and a bunch of grapes clutched in one hand, a glass of red wine in the other.

One could not blame folks for being wary of such an apparition.

The calico, Ivy, strops her ankles and makes a sharp remark. The woman sighs, and begins to walk down the lane, her footsteps loud in the quiet of the night. The cats begin to weave their complex pattern around her, intent on their dance. She brings her thoughts back to the ritual, to the offerings, to the God. If a car comes, there’s nowhere to go. She’ll just have to smile into the headlights, and let them draw their own conclusions. No one will ask for an explanation, and no one would care to listen to the simple truth, that an ancient ritual is being performed out of love for Dionysos.

Ivy disappears when they reach the pond, but the Siamese, Marley, delicately navigates the tall dead weeds as the old woman approaches the pond’s edge, her back still prickling with dread, not of the spirits or beings with whom she shares the night, but of discovery by unsuspecting humans. Swallowing hard, she holds the offerings aloft, says the prayers, pours out the libation onto the cold muddy earth, drinks. Marley shakes a six-toed front paw in annoyance at a puddle. With relief, everyone meets back in the lane and begins the short walk back to the farm, everyone except Tramp the dog who is still huffing around the pasture, following the scent of something long gone.

They bypass His outdoor shrine and return to the house, but the woman is restless, unable to settle in front of the fire and commune with the God at the ritual shrine. Finally she goes back out, the cats and Tramp dutifully joining her, and stands in yard in the cold wind, ice pellets hitting her in her closed eyes. There He is, now she can feel Him, glorious, overwhelming Love, the God Who Comes. She opens her eyes. The cloud cover is heavy, but the full moon is backlighting them, ever so slightly.

Tramp whuffs at the door. The cats race across the stiff grass and rub against him, calling the old woman in. They know when a ritual is over.

The second night of the festival begins late, under a sky still occluded by clouds but with moonlight heaving behind them, breaking through in weird shafts which are almost immediately swallowed. The old woman takes a pomegranate to the Persephone shrine, where she and Ivy spend a long time with the Goddess. The woman loses herself in the Presence, weeping in ecstasy and pain. Ivy has no patience with this and little respect, treading in and out of the shrine, pushing the pomegranate to make it roll away, climbing noisily in and out of the trees which drape themselves around the shrine arbor.

Finally the old woman steps away from the shrine, kissing her hand to the goddess. She carries a glass of red wine (Horse Heaven Hills merlot, wonderful) into the Dark Faery Grove. The thorns and guardian branches let her and Ivy through easily, and Marley joins them in front of the shrine. The items in the shrine are glowing with a faint silver light, even though the moon is not visible and anyway could not reach through the thick evergreens of the Grove. But a cold fresh wind infiltrates the darkness in the sacred space, exciting and invigorating. She breathes deeply, pours a small libation for the fae, and emerges to stand before Dionysos and His Dryad. She pours the wine for them, drinks, listens.

Back at the house she picks up a staff with a bindrune burned into it, and leather wrapped at its base. Tonight it is her thyrsos. She lifts it high, and begins to dance a little as she walks, banging the thyrsos onto the earth and whisper-crying ‘Io Io Iakkhos! Baby, wake UP!’ over and over. She moves to the line of lilacs behind the house, stops herself (the lilacs always tend to wake up too early on their own), then proceeds around, striking the thorn locusts and arborvitae while she dances and chants. A light comes on at the neighbor’s, and loud voices. The old woman freezes. She is probably not visible in the darkness of her back yard, not while the women talking next door stand in their bright porch light, and she makes herself move forward, chanting and striking the ground a little more softly. The cats have no such inhibitions. They love maenad Work, and chase and tackle and hiss at each other as they race around the old woman. She moves into the blessed darkness and silence of the front yard. The birches, the quakin’ asps, the new willow, Tyr the warrior, the orchard trees, Oberyn and the driveway guardians, Murbella and the giants, the Scottish warriors, all get a light thump from the thyrsos, as the sleeping vegetation and the seeds deep beneath the earth of the farm are all reminded that while this is rest time, spring will soon be upon us, and to begin to turn their dreams toward waking.

But not yet. Stupid lilacs, stop budding!

The old woman has a hard time herding the cats and dog back inside tonight. The full moon, felt if not seen, is thrumming in all their blood.

On the final night of the Lenaia the weather has turned unseasonably warm, but the moon still pulses behind clouds and will not come out. Rain is drumming on the hood of the old woman’s jacket as she brings the final libations out into the night. It would be easy to think that He has turned from Winter Lover to Spring, but He is deceptive, and she knows that the cold has not yet released its grip. But the rain feels like her thyrsos from the night before, insistent, waking, inexorable. The smell of the rain and clouds, and the wet soft earth have all the unbearable excitement and adventure of springtime in them.

The cats have declined to celebrate with her, even though the rain is surprisingly warm. Tramp has come out with her, but is standing at the door, peering dimly through the darkness hoping to see her coming toward him. His tail droops. She takes pity on him, murmurs a final prayer of love to Him, and she and the old dog go inside together.

The Lenaia festival is finished.

 

a week ago i heard the term ‘creative non-fiction’ for the first time and was intrigued. after a bit of a poke about, i realized that it’s very close to how i write most of my devotional stuff, so i thought i’d give ‘er a whirl deliberately for recounting this year’s Lenaia. what do you think?

khairete

suz

 

 

 

Posted January 14, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized