Thursday, August 26, 2010

My first Esbat

I remember telling a friend that I was going to start doing rituals with the changing phases of the moon, as lately I've been feeling disconnected with natural cycles of things and felt a need to get back on track.

Well, I did it, which in itself surprises me. I could have done one for the August new moon, but I didn't feel prepared for it and had no idea what kind of ritual I would do anyway. I ended up browsing some websites and found one at which offers some basic information on Wicca along with nice ritual formats.

The ritual itself wasn't anything terribly complex, and another reason I felt compelled to do one is that there would be a purpose for the energy raised. A friend of mine is crafting a leather case for my Tarot deck (it's the Robin Wood version, if you were curious), and so in return I'm making an alter paten/pentacle for her, woodburning the desired design into a pine disc. Since I just got all my materials together, and it's something for ritual use, I felt it proper to ask for some blessing so that this turns out well.

Thankfully this ritual had a list of materials needed; as I was at my parents' house at the time, I quietly gathered up what I could: a bit of red wine was easily available, and for cakes I used almonds; tied some dried grass seed-stalks together for a broom, found a small "wand" made of a fallen branch from the silver maple out back. Still not sure what I think about the matches not lighting though... three strike-anywhere kitchen matches that didn't light from anything, so I ended up holding the candles and charging them with energy rather than lighting them. I skipped having one candle per quarter because of that as well.

For north and earth, I had a dish of small stones collected from the playground of my elementary school back in the day. For east and air, a crow feather and a small narrow vase that held a stick of incense (not lit, unfortunately), while for south I just had a plate of candles from the Girl Scout camp my sister and I know and love. (Some were tea candles, some were hand-dipped in different colors.) For west and water, I placed a piece of white coral-stone I had brought back from Hawaii to remind me of the ocean.

When it came time to charge each of these quarters' items, the energies did feel different to me. Water was smooth, yielding, and gentle, Earth was very strong and firm, Fire needed coaxing as nothing was actually burning, and Air seemed neither here nor there, which makes sense I suppose.

When calling on the God and Goddess, I did think of them as Freyr and Freyja, and I think They approved.
or at least they didn't mind.

After casting the circle and calling quarters and raising energy, I then asked the Gods to guide my hand and bless the materials I'm using to craft the paten. It seemed fitting, and went along well with how the ritual format suggested thanking the Gods for something good and asking for guidance with a problem before ending the rite.

It was just as well that I held the ritual at midnight, though I would have liked to have done it outdoors: the night was clear and bright, and the moon's light was strong enough to read by. as it was, my parents were sound asleep and my cat only needed one squirt from my buddy the squirbottle in order to settle down halfway through.

All in all, I'm happy with how it went and how easy it was to put together even in a place where I didn't have access to all my various tools and toys. It was also a lovely way to reconnect with the moon's phases since I feel like I've been getting out of touch with moon-rhythms; the Big Eight are no problem since I celebrate those with my proto-grove, but this seems more personal. It feels like I'm supposed to do this myself, and all the success or lack that happens is entirely from my own effort.

It'll be interesting to see how the next ritual goes. I plan on doing one for the new moon, and banishing laziness will definitely be in order as the fall semester begins soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding a way

I've been reading many of the old posts that the Catskin Sisters have written, and it boggles my mind that what starts as simple meditations can turn into such journeys! I mean, it sounds like a fantasy story that you're living, right now, in your mind and in the Otherlands.

This is really exciting!

For the longest time (like many I'm sure) I have had trouble doing even a weekly meditation. Granted, I did do daily meditation for a while, but then life got in the way and I never established it as a habit. Now, it seems like sitting there for a few minutes thinking of nothing is kind of a waste of time. Yet as I read of the Sisters' journeys, I find I'm jealous. How do they do it? Why can't I go on Journeys too?

Despite my admittedly childish approach to it all, I believe I've found something that will help me to focus.

This website offers free downloadable guided meditations! Be warned: don't go around looking for some sketchy program that offers to convert your .ram files for you--just get RealPlayer if you don't already have it.

I started out with a short one, focusing on relaxation and a safe place. Although the image I chose to focus on was one of waterfalls and lush green growth, I ended up visualizing somewhere with a shallow creek with sand and rocks, and some prairie too. Looks like the safe place I need to be is closer to home than I thought.

I really hope I remember to do one of these meditations every week if not daily. I'm pushing myself to exercise on my own as well too, so maybe doing them together will help me to not forget doing one or the other.
Eventually I hope to find my fylgia, my fetch, a companion to Journey with in strange and wonderful places. Even that, I feel, would be a huge step in the right direction.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I've finally starting writing things down for the DP. Starting simple, with the holidays. I suppose I can do the altar planning one too, as I just rearranged it recently. Things around me tend to accumulate junk or random bits of stuff, and the altar is no exception. Bits of wax, pine needles, lots of acorns... now it boasts a pretty pottery candle-holder I found at Savers of all places.

On a more personal note;
it's strange how you can miss someone when two weeks ago you felt like you couldn't take much more of them.
My boyfriend is studying abroad for a month-long language intensive so he can be done with one major's requirements (he has two, which is a story in and of itself) and graduate a little sooner.

What happened now seems fairly obvious--nothing like some distance and time apart to put things in perspective, right?--that we spend the majority of our time with each other, and it was that which was slowly driving us nuts. All those little things that sneak their way under your skin were getting unbearable lately. We just couldn't leave each other alone. I ended up feeling criticized more than I felt was fair, we were both worn out from the long bus rides between our respective residences, and his jokes were just getting so old!

I was happy to see him to the airport, and the first week felt like a real vacation even though I was the one staying home.
well, his internet is rather limited, and half the time I don't know what to do with all my spare time (I've never been one to schedule my every minute as it is) so we end up thinking "shit. now what?"

or at least I do.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You look for one thing, and find another

Just read this post on The Ditzy Druid, and finally got around to giving Thor the stout I promised him for helping me out a few weeks ago.
Also having recently discovered this amazing blog written by some seidh-sisters here in the Midwest, I decided to get a little more of my spiritual act together and do some gorram meditating.
Lit candles, new stick of incense, offered the stout, and ended up donning the crow mask I had made a couple years ago for a quick Halloween costume to try my hand at spirit-walking.

I think I'm going about beginning the right way--or at least, a way that kind of works--by perching on the edge of my seat and assuming a bird-like pose while holding the sound of cawing crows in my mind. It was hard to picture things clearly, but I think I was able to hop around the branches of a tree a bit (no idea if it was the tree outside my apartment or some otherworldly Tree).

Suddenly a sound came through the open windows, and something in me knew enough to get alert.

Turns out a couple guys were knocking on the door. As my room is situated right above the front door and I happen to be house manager here, I was able to ask them out my window if they needed anything. Turns out they're college students looking for rooms to rent; I offered a house tour.

* * *

Well, I guess in lieu of spirit-work, it was back to convincing folk that our house is a good place to rent a room. 'Twas nice to meet those guys though. They seemed good folk, and it'll be good to have the house full up at last.

I think this means the Gods are happy enough with me for now. If anything, I'd say that was Thor's way of giving a pat on the back and saying, "well, it's all right. Now go do your stuff!"