Risen from Ashes

Its been awhile since I visited my little blog. Life seemed to carry me away….belly dances and rituals, vacations and holidays, parties, planning, moving and shaking….not to mention the technological difficulties.

Samhain was a difficult time for me. Filled with doubts, with stress. I was tired, aching for release…for a time-out.

Between Thanksgiving and Yule – there was my break. I had sunshine and sand and waves. Days of no responsibilities. Shared time with family I hadn’t seen in awhile. Time alone for the Man and me. I got a breather, a chance to renew. I think we all need that at some time. Alaska is not easy place to live, in my opinion. the dark, the cold, the snow. To flourish here, you need time away. The mountains always call me back, but periodically I need the song of the ocean to soothe my soul.

I feel refreshed. A better view on where I am going. My purpose. I’ve begun forming my practice.

I began my “cycle work” as I am calling it. Celebrating the New Moon with those not of my tradition but still it was a worthy and fulfilling rite. My Full Moon work began with fellow Druids, on one of the coldest days yet. Vacation interfered with my last Full Moon. But the next New Moon looks promising…New Moon, New Year. I feel pulled to honor the turning of the Land……the typical pan-Pagan Sabbats hold little meaning for me so I am concentrating on the Land Herself….the push/pull of lunar mysteries…..the growing of the Sun’s light. Imbolc is the only holy day I feel…..a personal celebration of an important goddess in my life. …so I will be celebrating it with the greater Pagan community.

I have a few projects on the horizon. Druidry is first and foremost in everything I do this coming up year. An ogham study group to continue my forays into divination as well as my current devotion to the runes…..my kickstart-restart of OBOD studies…….devotional dance……Grove forming….and my continued work with the Temple/community center.  The Gods have been particularly silent of late……briefly visiting at Samhain…..but reflective of the season’s moods.

What’s all this stuff really mean anyways? In the grand scheme of things? The projects and plans and events……

This is what helps me get through the day. I am forever seeking….whether I am conscious of it or not. I  am always wanting that connection , searching for that fulfillment. Some days I find it and I rest….most days I find it but its like a bunny trail, leading me to something else…something bigger and grander and more mysterious and eye opening. Bunny trail after bunny trail. As I come up on another year down, a physical new time sitting right in my face, blatant as can be….I am reminded to stop and think, to renew and reevaluate. Don’t ignore that bunny trail because it looks different than the others….and don’t get discouraged if I have to back track because that darn bunny led me to a dead end. Or in a circle….yea that one has happened before. The bunny trails are LIFE.

Keep moving, push onward. Enjoy the ride. Rise from the ashes of another year….a new horizon.

 

Passions

Over the past few months I have discovered several passions. And I am pretty sure this is all Freya’s doing.

I’ve been searching for years to find my place. Is it in community? A relationship? A friendship? Do I need to accomplish a task or impress someone to feel that sense of belonging?

I have learned that finding my place, means finding myself. Learning about what I like, and what I want, and what I do. Accepting certain things about myself and working with them, instead of molding myself into someone that I ‘should’ be.

Recently, I had a nice, illuminating, uncomfortable “conversation” with myself and some Others. “We Have Work To Do”. That’s what I was told. What?!  I had thought I was working, overloading myself even! But that wasn’t the work I should be doing.

“Find Your Passion”  Ah, now it kinda makes sense.

The ‘work’ is not community or meetups or public rituals. The work is me….discovering myself.

Over the summer, I took some belly dance lessons. I initially did it as a way to stay active, to have fun. It has turned into so much more. Now, my lessons are coming together….I’m exploring different traditions, the moves and breakdowns don’t just seem to be disjointed parts of a whole. There is a flow starting. My dance sisters and I discussed doing a  dance for Summer Solstice and one for Imbolc. So I see where my path is lead. I see dancing for Sunna at Solstice and Brigid at Imbolc. I feel the warmth of Freya’s satisfaction and Skadi’s respect when I push myself into practices. *This* is what has been missing…..this passion, my expression, my road to self-confidence.

I have problems with releasing control and not worrying…….I spend so much of my time dwelling on the mundane details that I forget why it is I do all these things. But I was reminded – to revel with my Gods. To celebrate Nature in all Her glory. And to help others.

Dance has reminded me of this.

There are other passions that have found me, ones I am excited about, ones that may not hold the same divinity dance has brought me but they fire up my soul nonetheless. But those are tales for another day.

Switching Gears

I’ve had a wild go around in my spiritual world of late. Back and forth and back and forth. The handful of people that read my little spot on the vast voidnet probably have whiplash by now. Trust me, I feel it.

Granted, I have experienced quite a bit over the past year, with deities and visions and relationships.

But I’ve been talking to the trees and have begun some serious soul searching.

I was catching up on my blog reading yesterday and had a moment. Ya know, one of those sit back, tilt your head, “oh…huh”, cloud parting kind of moments.

I’ve spent vasts amount of time trying to find a place, a spiritual home, one that will make feel a part of something……something I can connect with, people I can commiserate with. I’ve tried several traditions and paths. And I’ve always thought there was something inherently wrong with me…character flaw, not smart enough, impatient, ADD or OCD….. because I just couldn’t commit to any of them. I try to hang on because I figured, hey eventually it might click. Or there was a certain aspect that I just couldn’t let go of.

With ADF, I found a Druid tradition based in the U.S. I learned about Druidry, giving me the direction and incentive to explore new pathways and it was all so fascinating! I learned so much! But I struggled. The philosophy of ADF, the tradition itself, just isn’t me. So, I stayed, tried to make it work, because I didn’t want to give up the people. But I’ve come to feel like I’m faking it, doing the tradition/church a disservice. Its not a whole lot different than when I was Catholic and attended Mass.

So it’s time I say goodbye to ADF and quit trying to make myself fit.

The grove I have, as it stands, the one I have been fighting and struggling to hold on to, the one that is linked to ADF and has recently gone through some major upheaval, isn’t working. I need to let that go, what I envisioned as a grove, what the grove is right now.

Separation is never easy. It is messy and conflicting and shades of gray. But some times it is necessary.

I’ve come to accept some things over the past 24 hours. I have to make hard choices and stick with them, not waver because I’m afraid of what people may think or say or feel. Feelings may get hurt. Or resentful things may be said. But this is my head. My heart. My life. I need to be true to that before anything else. I need to be able to move forward.

I need to stop trying to make myself fit in. The trees say I already belong with Them. So why am I changing to fit in elsewhere?

It’s a humbling experience, to admit the mistakes you made, to ashamedly back track down roads you excitedly ran down because you missed a turn. Embarrassment and confusion is abundant. But I read something today – “Humans for the most part are not born consciously knowing what their purpose is and it must be found through exploration”.  Yes. This is what I needed to hear today. This is life.

Cloudy Skies

I’ve been in a funk.  A veritable spiritual and mundane FUNK. No  other way to describe it.  There have been nothing but cloudy skies, rainy days, moodiness and general blah the last couple months. I am pretty sure its that time of year…..that period between fall and first snowfall, that sense of tension and hopelessness that always hits me before the “holiday season” kicks in. My Gods are not incredibly happy with me right now…my studies and yoga have fallen by the wayside as the depression rears its ugly head. Money is tight and stress is climbing. The usual.

I get caught up in things. Its a bad character trait that I constantly strive to master. The rush, the excitement, the organizing! Blinders go up sometimes, self-preservation and barriers….and this is where my downfall happens. I get caught up and mistakes happen. Things get said or ignored or overlooked. This results in precarious and hurtful positions. Then, I pay the price.

So, I sit here thoughtful, with a hint of panic…..way too early on a Sunday morning, before anyone in the house has risen for the day. Its quiet and the sky is cloudy & gray through the skylight above me. What am I doing? I ask myself.

What’s a Druid to do?

I guess dust herself off, go hug a tree and see what kind of changes she needs to make.

But first….coffee.

 

 

gathering of thoughts

The past few weeks have been a bit of an eye opener for me. Nothing outrageously dramatic or life-altering. More like…..pivotal. Change.

Fall has begun its claim on Alaska. Our beloved summer has run through her brief stay and is bidding farewell until next year. This is always a tough time of the year for us Alaskans…..we never want Summer to leave for she is always too quick with her warmth and sunshine. While I mourn her passing, I am not feeling as melancholy as I have in the past. I look forward to the cooler days and that taste of first chill in the air. With the color of leaves arriving, a sense of rumination invades me.

Over the past few years my spiritual path has changed significantly. I’ve gone in one direction, then another……after spending so long in spiritual stasis, i think i went into overload with all these new thoughts and conversations and light-bulb-moments. I thought I figured it out then was blind sided by something else. I went from an indefinite, unsure belief in anything deity-centric to fully discoursing with Them in a “slap upside the head” connection.  Its taken a bit of focus, of process of elimination, to get me where I am now….but I feel like I am on the right track. By no means do I think the path is clear and smooth sailings. I think I would be worried if it was!! But I have culled out that which was holding me back and moved forward with that which really calls to me, despite how odd or different it is. I see a lot of work ahead of me, but I am warmed by the thought instead of intimidated. A surprising new Goddess has entered the picture and I think She is helping me with this transition and challenge.

Community wise, I have been in a whirlwind of discourse, emotion and understanding. There was a bit of strife with a new community member, a self-proclaimed “shaman”, who proceeded to insult and slander quite a few community leaders as well as our spiritual home. I did not doubt her belief in herself or her tradition, but I do doubt her motivation. That drama still lingers but it is being tackled with conversation, strength in faith and a healthy dose of “just let it be”. There have been breakdowns of friendships as well as communication…hurt feelings, petty emotions, and frustration. But there has also been bonding, strengthening, and coming together. I have lamented in the past on my struggles with community…..my place, my focus and my goals. Slowly, this too is becoming clearer, though it is a work in progress. I’ve had to give up a dream I have had since I started in community. But maybe this is what I need now. We change, we grow. My current lesson in OBOD is about “tasting the Awen” and how we work & search for a certain level of spirituality, then when we find it, we experience a hesitancy and fear of the change that it brings. It always amazes me how each Gwers I study somehow reflects itself in my life at that particular moment in time.

Runes, Seidr, OBOD, belly dancing, deities and drumming…..all of these things are filling my life and my head at the moment.  I am excited. A part of me does wish I had like-minded others to share this with – my ideas and thoughts, my rituals and experiences and studies. But that’s the way it goes. I have friends I can talk to in general, ones who wont judge me or think I’m crazy headed. I have my blog to be the void I can through my random words into. And there is a certain god and goddess who hear my cacophony of thoughts…..They are sometimes silent and sometimes not. Regardless of the vehicle, it feels good to share.

Sanctuary

This weekend, I fell in love with the Land. It was a hard and fast fall.

Don’t get me wrong – I have no illusions about this love. There are imperfections. Hardships. Drawbacks. Yet………

A birthday gift I had planned for The Man included a weekend in Seldovia – a seaside village 6 hours south of my home.

It was one of those places I always wanted to visit yet never got around to doing. So, this year, I made it happen. I had pictured a touristy spot of cheesiness, overpriced food and tacky souvenirs. What I got though, was something different.

Yes, it had some of the elements I envisioned. But, overall, it didn’t detract from the emotions that filled me. For the first time in so long, I was filled with peace. I was in my space without effort or concentration. The steady thrum of the coastline immediately soothed me. I have never felt like this in a place before.

I arrived in mist and rain, yet the dark weather didn’t feel so gloomy. The rain ended soon after we found our home for the next couple of days and pockets of sun started parting the clouds. Apparently it had been raining for days before we got there. The rest of the weekend was filled with a few light sprinkles, but mostly there was sun and/or overcast days. As we were leaving it started to downpour once again – almost as if She was waiting until my trip was over before continuing her storm.

Its hard to describe the feeling of this Land – the crows and eagles and otters……the fireweed, salmonberries, wild roses, bog orchids, irises and host of other beautiful flowers I have no name for. I walked along Main Street, quiet boardwalks, and haphazard wooden buildings on stilts. I hiked through the forest, up and down trails, beneath immensely tall trees with thick green moss covering their limbs, over boardwalks that helped me cross swamps and finally coming out of the woods into a startling cove……the water stretched before blue with white tips. Massive stones and rocks lined the shore, filled with mussels and barnacles that the water left behind as it drifted to low tide. There was power here, but not overpowering. It was comforting. Strength. The Sea Goddess welcoming me to Her sanctuary. It was me and my two companions alone on this beach, watching the tide move in and out, like the Earth Mother as She breathes. I felt my heart expand, almost to breaking……then settle once more, in a different spot. We hiked along the rocks, following the water as it led down a slough and into the bay. We found our way out, working back towards town, but taking the road instead of trail. We chose the road because it passed the cemetery.

The city cemetery……full of love for the Ancestors, fresh flowers for graves 30 years old. Flowers of purple and yellow and white and pink growing wildly. The cemetery sat high on a hill next to the road, seemingly overgrown. But, it was not unkempt….rather honoring those who had gone by accepting them back into the cycle of the Womb.

Relaxation. Grounding and centering. Laughing with my friends, those who were important to me. Casual meals and more laughter. Always laughter. Watching the sun set over the harbor and sea otters rolling in the water, floating without a care. The crows are loud and chaotic but full of vigor and energy and attitude.

When the time came to go, I didn’t want to leave. How could I make this work? Yet our parting was bittersweet. It poured rain that morning, cold and foggy. I am afraid I will never find that peace again, the centeredness. How could one spot on this Earth, one tiny seaside village, hold the key to my spirit? I felt alive here, happy. Its hard to explain the emotion of truly feeling the Land speak to me, not in words but in energy, in thought and vibration. A thin strand connected us for a brief moment. I felt connected with more than just the Land, but to the Gods, the Landvaettir, the Realms.

I can’t wait to see Her again.

Seldovia-deck

Blog Love about the Wheel

THIS

John Halstead is awesome. He just wrote a great post on the Wheel holidays, specifically on “Lughnasadh”. Its something that had been weighing on me. A task I just need to face and work out and get it over with. Like, you need to go to the dentist, you hate the dentist, so you put it off, but eventually you go? Yeah like that.