Musings of the leonine flitterby

Dress for Ritual [PBP]

Jörmundur Ingi is sworn in as allsherjargoði in July 1994. Image from Wikipedia.

Jörmundur Ingi is sworn in as allsherjargoði in July 1994. Image from Wikipedia.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Post project.

Have you ever thought about dressing for ritual? Have you ever done it? I know many people who don’t wear anything special for ritual .. and I know many who do.

Dressing for ritual serves an important function. If you’re leading the ritual, it can help if you dress in clothing that shows that there’s something different and special happening. This can help you get into the right space in your mind and focus.

If you’re leading the ritual, dressing can also help to get *other* people into the right space in their mind! Seeing a person who is leading the ritual dressed differently helps to designate yourself as a leader and someone to be listened to, and it designates that *something* cool is starting!

Even if you’re doing a ritual alone, taking the time to put on a piece of jewelry, or a scarf, or hat, or even putting a braid in your hair (assuming it’s long enough) can help to get you more easily into the right sense of mind.

These little, and not so little, triggers can help us to focus and prepare for a ritual when we might be a little scattered, or wondering if we forgot the stove on, or otherwise distracted. Our clothes are a tool, just like a wand, or incense is.

So the next time you get ready for a ritual, use your tools and dress!

Book Review: Geekomancy

Geekomancy Book Cover Geekomancy
Ree Reyes
Michael R. Underwood
Urban Fantasy
Pocket Star
July 10th 2012
Kindle

Geekomancy is a fun, light romp through the world of geekdom with a magical twist. There's good guys, and bad guys, and a stranded time traveler, all fighting to save the lives of innocents and friends.

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Overall I enjoyed the book. The writing isn’t particularly amazing, but the characters are interesting and kept me engaged while the story wove its way through my geek memories. If you’re not a geek I’m not sure how much this will appeal; but for geeks who wish they could wield a lightsaber this is a fun romp through fantasy.

Cauldron Lady – a verse for Cerridwen

Statue of Cerridwen

Statue of Cerridwen

I’ve been playing with the idea of creating songs and chants to the gods. This is my first attempt.

Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques:

Cauldron Lady, Awen Lady,
We call to you, We call to you,
Come to bless our day now, Come to bless our day now,
Praise to you! Praise to you!

 

Crafting for the Craft

You’ll often hear that the best tools are those you made yourself. To some extent, I have to agree. There’s just something about using (as a tool, offering or decoration) something that you’ve made yourself and are proud of. I don’t believe that you have to make all your tools, but making at least some items that you use in your practice has great benefit.

Goddess Festival Shawl

Goddess Festival Shawl

I’m a creator .. I like to make physical things.  It’s probably as a result of my job, which is mostly cerebral and conversational.  Over the years I’ve learned to make toiletries and soap, make paper, knit, crochet, weave, spin yarn, brew beer, and a host of other hobbies that I’ve dabbled in. When I do a ritual, a spell, or my daily practice with items that I’ve made myself, it adds to the rite.  Some of it is that it helps me to evoke the appropriate feelings and emotions because of my intention in creating the item; some of it is the energy and emotion that I put into the item when I was creating it; and some of it is the simple fact that I created something greater from raw materials.

For instance, for a while I used an oil that a good friend of mine and I created together for my Kindred offerings.  These are offerings in my private ritual that I give to the gods, the fae folk and nature spirits, and to the ancestors.  The offerings are supposed to be a welcome, a gift to a traveler who graces my door.  When I use the oil, I remember the feeling of companionship, of love, of community that I felt when we were creating the oil … and it brings those emotions to the rite.  I’ve since run out of the oil, but I re-used the bottle and created a new blend along the same lines.  Keeping that piece of it continuous – using the same bottle – means that I still think of that time whenever I use the oil, and the emotions are there again.

Another item that I’ve created and use is a small shawl.  The yarn was spun at the Goddess Festival while walking between, and attending, rituals.  The festival took place in a camp in the Redwood forest, among a group of women who were kind and helpful and generous.  Using the shawl reminds me of the feeling of standing in that forest, and looking up – almost forever – to see the tops of the trees.  It was truly a place out of time.  Using the shawl, or even just touching it, helps me to return to that mental space and focus.

No matter what you can create … draw, write, sing, paste photos from magazines onto a box … anything, you can create items for your Craft.  Put your time and effort into the items.  Think about what you want to feel when you use them.  Put some energy into making them appeal to you in all the ways possible – visual, tactile, aural, whatever is appropriate.  Charge those items with energy and emotion, and use them!  You’ll find it much easier to bring back those emotions, to re-create that mental space, if you create something that you can use.

Just Breathe

Pagan Blog Project[This is a post for the Pagan Blog Project – click here for all PBP 2014 posts]

Breathe, it’s one of the most important thing that we do with our bodies.  It’s how we get oxygen into our lungs and thus into our body, and how we get the toxic gasses back out of our bodies.  It’s also one of the most important things we can do for our focus and meditation.  If you do magic, it’s also super useful and important for your magic!

By taking good, deep breaths, we can increase the oxygen in our bodies, and thus the oxygen in our brains and muscles. This allows us to think better and move better.  We can also use our breath to direct and control the flow of energy.  If you’re trying to change your aura, or create a shield, or send energy to someone or something, your breath is a great way to direct that energy!

Here’s some quick and easy exercises to help you manage your own personal energy levels.

To increase your energy level:

1. breathe in for a count of 4, making sure to expand your use your whole torso – fill your belly and lungs with air.  See the energy of the world flowing into you.  You may perceive this energy as golden, or green, or just as warm breath.
2. hold that breath for a count of 2, that energy, in your body and let it flow through you
3. exhale slowly, through a count of 4, letting the stagnation and stale energy out
4. immediately repeat step 1

To decrease your energy or stress levels:

1. breathe in for a count of 4, feel the calm and peace of the land flow through you
2. breathe out for a count of 4, letting your excess energy, or stress, or whatever you’re holding in, out
3. hold your breath for a count of 2 to let the energy totally flow out of you
4. repeat from step 1

Arianrhod

Arianrhod by CaliburnSword

Arianrhod by by CaliburnSword on Deviant Art

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, one of the Kindred will insist that you pay attention to them. Lately, that’s Arianrhod for me.  I’ve finally given in.

The reason that I’ve been avoiding Her is that she is the mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, a god that I work with, and the myth that I know about them doesn’t put Her in the best light.

If you’re not familiar with the myth, here’s a quick summary.  Arianrhod’s uncle, Math, must keep his feet in the lap of a virgin unless he’s at war.  Through contrived circumstances, the woman who was serving as his virgin becomes not-a-virgin, and Math needs to find another virgin.  Arianrhod volunteers and Math has her jump a magical broom to prove her virginity.  As she jumps over the broom, she gives birth to two sons, Dylan and Lleu.  In some versions of the myth, Lleu is birthed as an embryo and Arianrhod isn’t aware of his birth until she is presented with an infant son.  Arianrhod is humiliated and puts a geas on Lleu that he should never get a name unless she gives it to him.  With his uncle Gwydion’s help, a disguised Lleu shows his fighting prowess to Arianrhod and Arianrhod gives him his name – Lleu Llaw Gyffes or the fair haired one with the skillful hand.  Arianrhod is furious and places a new geas on Lleu – that he shall never take up a weapon until she gives them to him.  Again Lleu and Gwydion trick Arianrhod into providing Lleu with weapons.  Frustrated once more, Arianrhod places a third geas on Lleu – that he shall never have a wife from any of the races upon the earth.  To get around this geas, Gwydion creates a wife of flowers for Lleu – the Lady Blodeuwedd.

* Note: what follows is all my personal gnosis.  This may or may not ring true for you. *

On first read, Arianrhod can seem to be a frustrated, vindictive woman. However, this isn’t the whole story.

Upon further contemplation of the story, we can see Arianrhod’s aspect of transformation and initiation coming out.  Each of the geas that she places on Lleu challenges the very essence of masculinity – his name, his ability to defend his home and family, and the ability to have a new family.  Lleu does grow up to be a good King of Gwynedd.  It is possible that the geas were really challenges for Lleu, to help him transform into the man he needed to become.

I find that this approach seems to ring true for me.  Rather like myself and my own Mother.  She did what she thought was best for me, but it was significantly challenging while I was going through it, and I didn’t understand what she was doing.  Now that I’m older, I realize that she was doing what she thought she needed to do; she just didn’t explain it well.  Arianrhod seems to have this similar flavor to me now.  I’m not sure that I’d ever look on her as a Mother, but she is One from whom I can learn, and maybe this is the time to listen.

I’m just getting started on the ADF Initiate program … somehow, having a Goddess of Transformation and Initiation come knocking seems … appropriate.

Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief Book Cover The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion (January 29, 2010)
Kindle
Amazon Digital

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves. With cover art from the major motion picture, this first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

My Review

Someone stole Zeus’ Master Bolt and it’s up to Percy Jackson to return it.

Having watched the movie a couple times, I was interested in reading the original book that it was based on. Overall, I quite enjoyed the book and finished it in a couple of evenings. The book is fairly close to the movie for the first half, but then diverges into a much more complex story once Percy has reached Camp Half-Blood.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing how Percy and his companions continue to save the world.

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Focus on reading as well as writing!

This year, one of my goals is to do a lot more study.  I’m working on my Initiate Program with the ADF and am on the first class.  There are some of the classes that include work that takes a year from the time you start it, so I’m not targeting on finishing all that work by the end of the year, but I’m aiming on one class per  High Day.

To help with this study, which includes a LOT of reading, I’m joining up with the 2014 Witches & Witchcraft reading!  I’m aiming for the “Maiden” level, with 6 books read (one per 2 months) but hope to get more than that!

2014 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

My first book is:

Graf, Fritz. Magic in the Ancient World (Revealing Antiquity, No. 10). Trans. Franklin Philips. Harvard University Press, 1997.

Arthur, King of the Britons

* this is the first post of the Pagan Blog Project 2014 series.  To find out more about the Pagan Blog Project, go to paganblogproject.com *

King Arthur, of the Knights of the Round Table, is a mythological character that may, or may not, be based on a real person.  As with any myth, there are different renditions of Arthur.  In general, Arthur is seen as a great King who fought against the evil of the land and brought a time of enlightenment to the Land.  He often begins life believing that he is a commoner, but is really of royal blood. In many of the stories, Arthur was found and trained by a wizard, or druid, named Merlin.  Other stories say that Merlin was his advisor in later life.  Some people believe that he never really died, but passed from this world to another to return when he is needed.

The story of Arthur has been re-created in modern literature and film with a book series called “Avalon High” by Meg Calbot and a movie loosely based on the book, as well as a TV series, “Merlin” that follows the potential young wizard as he develops a relationship with Arthur. There are a significant number of credits to the character of King Arthur in IMDb.

In most modern re-tellings, Arthur is a Christian, but it’s possible that this is due to the bias of the re-tellers and the environment that they are working in.  In spite of this, Arthur is often revered, and even worshiped, by pagans today.

I am just beginning on my journey into Welsh magical systems, and many of the leads that I have been following seem to lead to Arthur and the mythical land of Avalon with which he is associated.

I look forward to the journey, and understanding both the mythical Arthur and the Kindred that is Arthur.

PaganBlogProject.com

Welcoming in 2014

Happy New Year to one and all!

As we welcome in 2014, a lot of people make new resolutions … I’ve never been good at making New Year’s Resolutions.  I think that’s mostly because I commit to too much or don’t follow through.

So this year I’m making new goals.

One of my goals is to blog more … this helps me do research that I need for my classes in ADF and keeps me doing things that aren’t related to work!  To help me blog more, I’m joining up with the Pagan Blog Project 2014. The other goals … they’re mostly focused around my martial arts and focusing more on spiritual study and practice.  There should be some work goals in there I’m sure, but I haven’t figured them out yet :)

What are your new goals for 2014?  Do you have any?

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What I'm Reading


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2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Victoria has read 1 book toward her goal of 6 books.
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