Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year Cometh

And so, the obligatory reflection on the year post is here.

Both spiritually and personally, this has been a rocky year for me. (The two are inevitably intertwined, no?) It was, after all, the tail end of my Saturn Return. Probably the most significant change was the beginning of the first year of homeschooling my children. The time and energy that this demands is staggering, especially in this initial stage where rhythm is not yet established and Mom is learning along with the little ones. Commitments that I had made in previous years had to end, and even those that remained were scaled down in order to accomodate my new role as "teacher."

2010 had me:
-disbanding the coven I'd founded four years earlier because of time and energy constraints and taking on an apprentice to abate the loss;
-realizing that my visions of four small children tagging along with me to collect enough wildcrafted material for incenses and brews that made up a huge part of my "witch for hire" gig was unrealistic and facing the (very small but nonetheless significant) loss of income that came with this realization;
-facing the fact that I would not be returning to med school or getting a nursing degree as I'd planned this year;
-losing my own identity again and again as I struggled to find the balance between my various roles as mother, wife, teacher, priestess, and witch;
-planning a move across the country only to have those plans cancelled, leading to the realization that moving is probably imperative for my soul;
-facing my 26-years-estranged father and the barrage of feelings and deeply hidden issues this brought to the forefront (this shall be ongoing);
-finding joy in my deepening relationship with the land I live on but knowing I still have a long way to go;
-experiencing the silencing of a deity to whom I'd been devoted most of my life and hearing the call of a dozen others only to come full circle right back to the one I'd started with, albeit with a deepening connection to a couple others (still don't know how this is going to shake down).

I will spend tonight, New Year's Eve, enjoying our annual traditions with my family. I'd love to say that our menu is traditional Hungarian, but that'd be a lie. I'm not a fan of jellied pigs' feet, sorry. Instead we feast on a mixed bag: steak fondue, shrimp, sauerkraut or sweet and sour cabbage (depending on whether or not I've been diligent and actually made the sauerkraut), potato salad, rye bread, and wine or sparkling grape juice (for pregnant/nursing mamas and littles). I will interview the kids using the same list of questions we've been using since the twins could talk, record their answers, and place them in their designated baby books. The husband and I will listen to "crazy guy radio" (a show on NPR I've called crazy guy radio for so long that I've forgotten its real name) and its predictions of zombie apocalypses and alien invasions for the upcoming year while the children struggle to stay awake until midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, we will descend like locusts upon our front porch, armed with an arsenal of pots, pans, their respective lids, and various other kitchen implements and proceed to make the most obnoxious amount of noise possible to drive away all malefics from the shiny, clean slate of the new year (minus the husband, who is embarassed by this practice).

2011, treat me well. For all of my friends, as my Hungarian grandmother used to say: all things good to you, with just enough of the bullshit thrown in to keep you from getting bored.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve

And so the Christmas goose, a family tradition since I can remember, has met a peaceful demise at my hands. I’ve been visiting him, handfeeding him, stroking him, adorning him with flowers, loving him since spring. Now that his death rites have been done, he is awaiting the oven under a careful blanket of snow.

Many thanks to Molly, the obliging, gracious and real live goose girl, who put up with my pagan jabberings and oddities without judgement or revoking my right to step foot upon your property.

All thanks and praise to Goose. May your flesh nourish mine and that of my children as I nourished you over these past months. Until you fly again…

(NOTE: Yes, once a year— and only once a year— I consume the flesh of my totem/spirit animal/whatever the hell you want to call it. If you’ve questions about it, feel free to ask. If you’ve hate mail to send, so be it.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Solstice Divination #2

In my typical fashion, I couldn't leave my current ambiguous relationship with the divine alone on Solstice. Without even really thinking about it, I started pulling a card for each of the gods and goddesses that I've been feeling even remotely pulled towards. The results? Both surprising and totally not at the same time.

There's been NO question of my relationship with the Antlered One, so I pulled a card for him first. Six of Pentacles. Give and take, a fair enough assessment of things between us.

I went on my merry way naming divinities, asking for their message, and pulling cards. For both Hera (to whom I've been a lifelong devotee) and the Cailleach Bheur (with whom I've had a relationship for several years now) I also pulled the Six of Pentacles. I feel that this means that these are the two goddesses I should be focusing on.

The World card (successful conclusion to long journey) came up for both Dionysos and Holda. Even though it doesn't necessarily follow logically, my immediate response was that these two particular deities were important to me, but somewhat secondary to the Antlered One, Hera, and the Cailleach Bheur. The mere repetition of the cards is sign enough for me. I will be keeping communications open with them via altars and regular offerings.

None of the other cards were duplicated, but I did manage to draw all the Sword court cards plus the Ace for various deities. Hrmmmm.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice Divination #1

It is a Winter Solstice tradition for me to divine which plant(s) will serve as my ally for the upcoming year. While it may seem odd to be concerned about plant allies during the dark of the year, it has always felt right to me. As the sun begins His return, I feel that the... consciousness (for lack of a better word) of the plant world begins to shift as well. I've tried for years to put words to this particular feeling that I get, but it defies my efforts to properly describe it. Machaelle Small Wright says of the winter solstice in her Perelandra Garden Workbook: "I feel that then the architectural blueprint is complete and its information is accessible to me."* This is as close as I've come to anyone describing my feelings of the solstice moment in terms of its affect on the plant world.

The process for revealing my upcoming ally is simple. I generally use a pendulum along with a list of plants/seeds that are available to me. Only once before have I been given more than one plant with which to ally during the year, and I've been doing this for seven years or so. This year? THREE. Three creatures of the green whose secrets I am to unlock. I'll admit, I'm a bit effing intimidated. I normally work with more plants than my designated ally, sure, but the ally is the one to whom I devote massive amounts of time and energy. I grow the plant, tend it, breathe with it, eat it, study it, make offerings to it, use it in witchcraft, etc. Needless to say, three plants is going to be a stretch for me. Perhaps the challenge will do my lazy ass good.

So, the plants: Poplar (specifically Balm of Gilead), Mugwort, and Dittany of Crete.

I've worked with both Balm of Gilead and Mugwort before, so I'm pretty excited to delve deeper into communion with them. Dittany of Crete is totally out of left field for me though. I've never used it in any form. Hell, I've never even seen the plant beyond a few pictures online. It is also unique in that I've typically been allied to plants that are found locally, despite the fact that my list always includes those that aren't local. I suppose this was inevitable. Dittany isn't even hardy in my zone, but I'll worry more about what to do with the plant next winter after I've come to know this beautiful herb a little more intimately.

*(NOTE: The referenced book is a bit New Agey for my taste, but as with many such books, there are definitely gems of wisdom to be plucked.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Sing the Sun

It is 1:33am. I am the only human awake in this house, though I hear the soft shuffling of the mice that live in one of the walls of our powder room. The ecstatic solstice drumming of years past has been replaced by my soft singing. Serving as midwife for the Sun need not entail waking my own slumbering babes or the husband-bear. It is a quiet, lonely vigil, but after the frenetic pace of the past couple days I welcome the peace (exhausted as I am).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When the Words Don't Come...

This space has been neglected, I know. It isn't because I haven't been practicing, not at all. I've just hit one of those phases in my life, whether it be because of the season or the roadblocks being tossed my way, where I'm not completely sure that I'm willing to share my journey. Hey, I've got hella mutable energy in my chart, baby! Sometimes I ebb, sometimes I flow.

October through the beginning of January is a rather busy time for me. I'm not just talking spiritually either. There are birthdays and deathdays and all manner of intrusion into my precious time. This is the time of year where the elderly tend to enter the hospital or otherwise need more assistance than usual, and because I was accepted to (but did not attend) med school, family tends to rely on me as the go-between with doctors and as caretaker when necessary. I enjoy this type of work, really, so I'm happy to do it. It does have a tendency to consume one though.

And we have come to the dark of the year. The Old Woman has shaken her goose down comforter over the land and sent the feathers flying! Oh, the elation I felt as the white snow crunched beneath my bare feet whilst I collected that first snow of the season! This is also the first year where I can still feel the energy of the wonderful creatures of the green despite their underground slumber.

Still, I feel disconnected from this online world. I feel disconnected from writing. I feel disconnected from the idea of being part of a group, even to the point that I've disbanded the coven that I so yearned for just a few years ago. I don't know if I want to share anymore. Then again, I know that there will be an end to this withdrawal. It has ever been a temporary thing, so I'm hesitant to remove myself completely.

So, forgive me if the posts continue to be sparse. Forgive me if there are no jaw-dropping images to share or if the only thing I talk about is the menu for our family Holy Supper.

This too will have its end.