Seven Things

Comment to this post, and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

from treasadreaming

Collapse )

Wheel of the Year: American Style - New Years Rite

Note to new readers: The ritual write-up below refers to elements of the Core Order of Ritual within the religious organization known as Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (usually shortened to "ADF"). If you have any questions please feel free to ask. As most of my readers are ADF members I am not going to give detailed explanations of each portion but have no issue what-so-ever explaining it in more detail. Thanks for stopping by!

Tonight I performed the first rite in my Wheel of the Year experiment. For those of you who have not heard me speak of it. I have created a ritual calendar with which I intend to celebrate ritual (around twice a month) through the scope of the modern American culture.

The purpose of tonight's rite was more then just to celebrate the New Year. It was specifically designed as a rite in which to create new beginnings and to cast away those things from the last year (and all of the past I suppose) that I no longer needed.

The Beings of Occasion for tonight were the Broad One (Earth Mother) and the Shining Sky Father. I also called in the Tribe of Men-Who-Love-Men as the power of inspiration and the Burning One as the gatekeeper.

Right from the beginning I felt really connected to the ritual. I am not sure why this is to be honest. Perhaps because I had been planning it for so long or because it was very personal to me. New Years has always been really important to me and this was one of the few times I really was honoring it in ritual.

As I do with most my rites it was offered completely extemporaneously although I did put some forethought into the purpose, the Beings of Occasion, and a working that I will explain in a moment.

As I said I felt a pretty strong connection right from the beginning and that really just kept building throughout the rite. I realized at some point that I did not do an outsiders offering. This is really strange to me as I always tend to do one even at my home rites. I consider it a call for peace more then a concern about any trouble being made. As I wasn't feeling any malice or ill intent I just continued without it.

My Omens were:

Ancestors: Orange - the unexpected, warning
Nature Spirits: Black - truth, formality
Shining Ones: Yellow - care, fear

Taken together and with things going on in my life I read, keep a close eye on your life throughout this year. Accept the warnings when they are given and seek your own truth. Take care that fear does not hold you back.

As I have done for awhile now I called for the blessing by asking the Keeper of the Waters to release them to me. I really like this addition to the rite. As far as I know I am the only one doing this in ADF ritual currently. Which .. makes me a bit nervous to be honest but so far it has worked very well for me. I feel it is a much more "formal" calling, more in line with the ritual as a whole. I don't really offer to the Keeper, whose job is only to assure only those who permitted to attain the waters, I only call to him and declare my right. I wait for the settle "click" in my head that makes me feel as this has been done before asking the assembled beings to hallow them.

After the blessing I did a working. before the ritual began I scrapped out the ashes and debris from me little burner on my altar and placed them aside. Now I took them up and declared that all of those things I have been harboring which brought me pain, hurt, and loneliness would be placed within the ashes. I meditated on those things for awhile, holding them inside, and then I envisioned them moving into the ashes with each expelled breath. I could feel them leaving my body and feeling lighter and clearer with each breath. I did keep enough that I would need for lessons learned and for the experience they gave me. I just gave away that which was holding me back. Or, at least, that was my intention. After I felt I was done I casually cast ashes aside. I didn't need them anymore and treated them as such.

I closed the rite by thanking the assembled beings and offering the same prayer I always use;

This rite is at an end
May the peace and blessings remain
This night and forever more
So Be It
Sunset Tree

The Book of the Dead

I invited follow ADF members to submit names to the Book of the Dead that used to be used by Silver Falls Grove. This year it was a solitary ritual which took place at my home shrine. The following names were read aloud.

Remember us as we remember you:

David Fouke, step-father (father-in-spirit)
Frances Szczepanski, mother
Shirley MacNair, foster mother
Pauline Van Thiel, friend
Alix Rice, friend
Tejbir Singh Oberoi, friend
Lucie Kuhnt, friend
Eugene Jennings, friend
Fritzie and Odessa Doll, cherished pets of the Singh family
Monty, pioneer of the Pet Therapy program of Roswell Park Cancer Institute
William Reed Rutledge, Grandfather
Josephine Danella Zangrill, Grandmother
Sandra Yvonne Norton, Mother and Friend
Johannes de Gruyl, Grandfather
Sir Skyler, beloved pet
Martha "Carolina" Black, Grandmother
Elizabeth "Betty" Hoover, Grandmother

A Short Prayer To Welcome the Sun


For too long we have seen only darkness
And cold rain and driving wind
For too long we have missed your warmth
And felt lost without your touch

O' shining sun
Come and bless our lives
Come and share your warmth
Come and light the fires of our souls

O' shining sun
Ignite in us our passions and dreams
Ignite in us our truth and determination
Ignite in us our needs and hopes

Blessed, mighty, powerful
We long for your presence
Come now and bless us

So Be It

Goodbye Silver Falls

I just saw on a friend's Facebook that Silver Falls (Proto)Grove will likely be closing.

I am sad it and I can't help but feel a great deal of responsibility for it happening. At the same time, I think it's time. We started out strong and perhaps in my zeal to take some of the responsibility off my own shoulders I pushed the Grove too fast and too hard. Or perhaps the timing was just not right for everyone involved. Honestly, I am just not sure many members of the Grove got out of it what they needed. For a couple years there I felt, for better or worse, that I was the one driving every ritual and program. Then when I tried to take a step back I felt like a lot of people got angry when things didn't get done or weren't followed through on.

In the end I know that the Grove closing is more then 50% my own fault and I am more then willing to take that blame. I know I made a ton of mistakes and I am sorry to everyone. I had to leave in the end because watching it dwindle and die was causing me more pain then any of you can imagine.

ADF is still my religious home and I still believe there is a need for a Grove in the Summit/Stark/Medina counties area but next time it will not be me who leads it.

Struggling With the Fall

For me the Autumnal Equinox, which I have tended to call Harvest Home for some time but am going to shift to calling Rites of Fall, is my least favorite High Day. I am not sure why really because I love autumn itself. Well, actually, I suppose I do know why. It is because it has a "seriousness" to it that the other High Days do not. Please note, I am only speaking from my own perspective here.

The other High Days all have a more celebratory feel to them. Summer's End (Samhain) is every bit as serious, I suppose, but for me honoring the ancestors has a definite celebratory feel to it. Midwinter is about celebrating the first signs of the turning of winter and, in some ways, even laughing in the face of what is to come. Winter's Turning (Imbolc) is even more about the sings that winter is leaving us and, although also very serious and reverent, has a hopeful feel to it for me. Spring, of course, is very celebratory. The throwing off of the shroud of winter, the return to balance, all fun, joyous, good things. May Day is a full on burst of natural and sexual energies. Midsummer is the height of the growing green. First Harvest (Lughnassadh) is a time to join with others (even if only in spirit) and how can that not be celebratory?

I don't know. To me Fall just feels serious. It is a serious time full of hard work, dedication, seeking balance, preparing for winter. Of course there is the idea of the Harvest Festival but, honestly, in the area I live, that just doesn't feel truthful. Thanksgiving is much more in line with that time of year and exactly the type of celebration that bringing in the harvest deserves.

I have committed, vowed as part of my re-dedication, to keep the high days for the remainder of this year at my hearth shrine and I will do so but, honestly, I am just not feeling it right now. I find myself looking forward to Summer's End and even the peace of winter much more then enjoying the fall. I suppose some of it has to do with loneliness. Since leaving the Grove and since Rich and I broke up I have been feeling pretty lonely. I am not exactly sure why that is. I still have a lot of friends and am making new ones. Rich and I still spend a lot of time talking about our lives with one another, maybe even more time then we did before we broke up, and other areas of my life are going amazingly well. I struggle to put my finger on what it is exactly that is causing this loneliness feeling.

In the end, I suppose, we are all lonely and I am just feeling it more lately then I have before but that doesn't really make it any easier.
Sunset Tree

Updates and Stuff

Been away for a little while so I thought some updates were in order.

Home: Things are going pretty well. I am settling in here in Wadsworth. I still not have decided whether or not I plan to stay here after Spring, we shall see. Emotions are still super roller coastery when it comes to Sandy dying. I miss her a great deal and it tends to hit me most when I come home from work. For years and years that was "our" time when I would sit and visit with her and we would catch up on each other's days. Sometimes I am ok and sometimes I just sit there and cry. I am happy she is no longer in pain and suffering but at the same time I miss her so much ...

Dating: Some of you may have saw a post where I said I met a boy. Yes I deleted it. His name is John, he is 20, and works as a model and recruiter/manager for Abercrombie and goes to school at Kent State. (please don't harp on me about dating/liking younger guys) I am soooo not ready for a relationship right now. This current episode is just evidence of that. He is adorable, sweet, friendly, open, and fun -- and just that right amount of gay bitchiness that I absolutely love. He is the first person I have met in a long time that I really, really liked right off the bat. And he approached me! But then it got ugly. I didn't hear from him and I jumped to assumptions that something had changed. He did text me today just to say that he isn't ignoring me just super busy and asking me not to take it personally. I really do want to go on a date with him though I know I am in no place to be in a relationship with anyone (and neither is he with work and school being so crazy). I hope to see him tomorrow night (the original plans we made last Monday) not a date just hanging out at the local bar. Whether or not we ever do date I hope we become friends.

Work: Has been going well. The new job is cool, I really do like it. I had a really stressful Friday morning though. The feedback I have received so far is that I am doing very well and it doesn't even feel as if I am still in training. It is taking some time to get used to the schedule. Our work weeks are from Sunday to Saturday and I get every other weekend off and Tuesdays. Which means I get either Sunday or Saturday and Tuesday off every week. But the Sundays and Saturdays I have off take place in the same weekend. So while that is awesome, so cool to have weekends off at all in retail, it also means every other week I work six days straight without a day off, and then back in for three days before the weekend off. Hard to explain. Basically I work six days, off one day, work three days, off two, work one day, off one day and then start over.

Spiritual: Things still going well. I am only doing High Day rites throughout the remainder of this year in preparation of doing a full Wheel of the Year: American Style in 2012. I have decided to stop promoting and attending the chats, at least on a regular basis. With Tuesday being my day off it is just too difficult for me to plan to be home and not occupied every Tues at 8:00 pm. Plus, I am not getting nearly as much out of the chats as I did before. I am still committed to find ways for solitary ADFers to connect with one another and with the larger ADF community but I am not sure what that looks like yet. Feedback is welcome but I will pretty much reject message boards outright. We have tried that a half dozen times in ADF and it has never really worked out.

That's all for now!
~ Jamie

So Fly Like a D6

So during the move I came across this little felt bag and inside where these two, shiny D6 dice. Just standard 6 sided dice I mean. I thought they looked cool and there was something about them that was calling me to pick them up and play with them. I am not sure where they came from, I would bet some promotion or another, maybe from Marlboro when they were giving things away. It struck me that they may be fun to play with as a divination system but all the dice divinations I seemed to find were so boring or new age that I couldn't bring myself use them. There is something about dice for me. I am not a gamer so they don't hold that kind of draw to me but they do seem to reach right down in there. When I picture users of dice I think of hard working people playing a simple game or two over a few drinks. I think of back allies and desperation. I think of posh casinos and evening dresses. They seem to run a gambit of human experience from the most down trodden to the most glamorous. So when I was thinking of how to utilize them that is the idea that popped into my head. I knew I wanted to have a different meaning for doubles and for non-double rolls. For the non double roles I started with the number 7. Not sure if you realize this (you probably do if you are a craps player) but there are more non-double combinations for the number "7" then for any other. I took that as my mid point. Thinking of someone moderately successful, living easy enough, but still on their way to their ultimate goals. From there I spread out. Lower numbers to me representing, as they descended, a more desperate situation and further from the ultimate goals, the high numbers more assured and successful. For the doubles I wanted to assign not only key words but a call to seek more information and guidance whether that be within, or towards the people or world around you, or to the kindreds.

I like what I have but be warned, I have literally taken only one reading using them. I am just sharing this in case anyone was interested.

Collapse )

After finishing this today I called on the powers of land, sea, and sky to cleanse and empower the dice and took my first reading. I rolled three times.

I received 5 and 3, 1 and 4, and 5 and 2 which I interpreted as, "be assured in the work you have done and the power you have gained. Celebrate your success but be aware that there are obstacles to over come and you may need assistance to get there" which I took as a pretty good omen indeed for the first reading, whether or not it will hold up as I use them we shall see.

Anywho ... I thought it was fun and so I would share.

A Magic Carpet Ride

Fair warning, this post will likely be one of those long and meaningless ones but it is something I wanted to talk about.

I do a fair bit of "journey work" as part of my practice. I prefer to call it journey work as opposed to "shamanic" practice because I believe shamanic has a very specific meaning (ie travelling to the other worlds to obtain knowledge and/or power to us for the betterment of healing of an individual or community, usually a community that rejects the shaman themselves). Ian Corrigan recently placed a post on his blog about a magical rite he did at a recent festival in which he and the other attendees attempted to contact beings associated with Brighid for help and assistance. In this post he refers to the "threshold" state he was attempting to achieve with the attendees. Not actual journeying but right on the brink where spirit contact is easier. I liked the name he had for this state so I am promptly stealing it.

Anywho, I see journey work in three (maybe 4) distinct states

Collapse )

So there you have it. My journey work condensed into a way too long of an entry. I would love to hear about your experience with this kind of work.

~ Jamie

Open Your Eyes, Love, and Go On

For those of you not on Facebook (or not friends with me on there). Rich's mother passed away yesterday (Monday) morning. I left the house about 5:30 am and she was still with us. Her breathing was very shallow and labored but had been so for about a week prior to that. I checked on her and she was sleeping and I did not want to wake her. When Rich got up at around 7:30 am she had passed.

I knew it was coming. Twice that morning while I was getting ready for work I had the sense of people moving around the house though it was far too early for Rich to be up or Arlene, her sister, to be there. And while in the shower the whole shower curtain blew in on me sticking to my wet skin and I swear I heard the giggle of Rich's sister (who passed a little over 6 years ago now). And, for the first time since our conversation, I saw The Coverer again on Monday morning. She was standing in the street watching the house, she never looked towards me. I remembered her telling me "I wait" and I had a sense that it would be soon. I said to myself as I got into the car "she will not survive the day".

It was a strange day. I have never actually lived in a house where someone had died. The hospice nurses, first the on call nurse and then two of Sandy's regular nurses came to the house to confirm her death and to help us get a hold of the right people. There was this sense of hurry as I left work early to get home that was soon replaced by a quietness, sadness, and calm. We each, Rich and I, sat by her side as we waited for the funeral home to come and take her. Several other family members stopped by to just say goodbye and to give us their love. Her sister, Arlene who has been helping us to take care of her, took it hard of course but the hardest for me was Damian. He is Rich's 24 year old cousin. A beautiful boy who has had a desperately difficult life. He ran into a lot of problems some years ago but seems to be turning his life around. He has little to do with any of the family except his mother, Sherry, and Rich and Sandy (and I have been told he includes me on that list even though we are not family). He was working construction a few towns over and had his boss bring him to the house. He sat there only a moment then bowed his head and stood up. Not wanting Rich and I to see his tears. Then quickly left to head to his mothers house (she lives only a short way from us). I could handle the outright crying of some of the family much better then Damian's deep sadness and quiet pain.

A few hours later we went to the funeral home to finalize the arrangements. Sandy had already planned and paid for her funeral a little over 6 years ago when her daughter, Rich's sister Rosie, passed. This was really just a confirmation of what she had already spoken with the funeral director about. We were early so we stopped by the family grave site where Rich's father, grandparents, great-grandparents, and sister is buried before the funeral home. I had not been there since a few months after Rosie's passing. It stopped raining long enough for us to check on the graves. Rich set to rights some of the nic-nacs people had left on Rosie's stone. I rather like cemeteries, as strange as that may sound. I find them bastions of peace and deep power and this small cemetery is no different then my experience elsewhere. Even though Sandy is not going to buried, she has decided on cremation, the date will be filled in on her stone which is shared with Rich's father and I expect Rich will either scatter or bury some of her ashes there as well.

I decided to go to work today, even though I could have chosen not to. I needed the time away from the house and to busy myself on other things for awhile.

I am sad, of course. Sandy was more then just my friend, my buddy whom I would sit and gossip and tell stories with, she was my family. And even though Rich and I are not together any more she will always be my family (as will he). I miss her very, very much. Honestly I have missed her for several months now. When she began to take a turn and especially the last couple of weeks since we moved here to Wadsworth, she was not herself. Her death at this time was really a blessing. I am glad she did not have to live the way the last week had been for her for weeks or months on end. Still some of her old self would shine through even until Sunday night. She would hold your hand even when she couldn't speak with you, and she would stir and half-focus on whomever was in the room and smile or give them a wink. She would tell me every day "I am OK today, Jamie, I am OK" even when it was obvious that she was far from OK. She didn't want to worry me.

So I remember Sandy Yvonne Norton, and I pray that she remembers me. May her journey be swift, may she be embraced by the ancestors, may her memory live on in those she loved and those who loved her. I raise a Coke Icee (her favorite drink) and heartily say, "Hail Sandy, and Blessed Be".

Until Then and Always