Good Friday with the Saints of Heresy & the Sages of Blasphemy

I have an interesting relationship with Christianity~ and to be fair, it started before I was born. My mother was born into a mixed marriage. Her father was (Irish) Catholic and her mother was (Hungarian) Methodist. My father’s family was the opposite: (Irish) Catholic mother and (Hungarian) Methodist father. Needless to say, family get-togethers were entertaining.

For myself, from a young age, I noticed that the parishioners (of either religious flavour) were as sweet as could be to your face on Sunday, but wouldn’t piss up your arse on Monday if your kidneys were on fire. This always struck me as wrong — and I came to the conclusion that I was probably the only person in the congregation(s) actually listening to the words in red when they were read to the people.

I also was always drawn to the inherent esoteric mysticism within Gnostic Christianity — which was/is a big ‘no-no’ in the dogmatic structure of the church(es). Needless to say, I gave absolutely no fucks and continued my own spiritual explorations without the added benefit of the benedictions of either sect.

So here I am, sat at my table, eating baked haddock (seasoned with lemon grass, garlic, and a hint of red pepper) thinking about my mom and watching the sun set over a verdant line of trees that have ‘miraculously’ regreened after winter’s embrace.

I am not, as my children reminded me when we went shopping for fish, a good Christian, but I am a decent mystic. May the Mysteries reveal themselves to you this weekend, and may the blessings of Spring find you in good health.

Suddenly, it is spring~

Image of cherry blossoms on 04 March, 2017 from Cherry Blossom Watch.

The seasons have been at war with each other this year. We have had alternating weeks of summer temperatures followed by deep winter. All of the trees, birds, amphibians, and insects have been confused. The morning that this photo was captured, a lone Robin Redbreast (Turdus migratorius) sat with feathers puffed out against the cold looking at me, quite affronted that it was cold, wet, and dreary. The ornamental pear blossoms were also encased in ice, making them, for once, beautiful to my eyes. I am not a fan of white pollen, nor it of me.

Fortunately, it seems that the seasons are moderating now that we’ve passed the Vernal equinox. I say that with a large grain of salt, a knock on wood, and cautiously knowing that we’re really never truly clear of sudden snap freezes here until mid-May.

On a more personal level, I am moderating my own body clock now that DST has begun again. I struggle with it each spring. I am not, by natural inclination, an early riser. The fresh sunlight in the mornings prior to DST was lovely as it helped ease me into the new day. We’re gradually getting back to that, but the first week of suddenly awakening back up in darkness was a chore. The household animal companions are also settling into the new schedule and beginning to be up and alert in the to keep me company.  The cats have been enjoying the return of the migratory birds visiting and feeding on the lawn. It’s entertaining to see three fuzzy bottoms peeking out from beneath the curtains, tails twitching almost in syncopation.

The dog, on the other hand, knows that this warming trend means longer walks and visits to the dog park. Which leads to more baths. Dog park visits mean lots of stinky stuff to roll in, as do visits to the beach. Other dogs might appreciate the care and dedication he takes in cultivating this funk, but other dogs don’t have to worry about upholstery becoming saturated with funk.

So, while it has been a strange unfolding of spring so far, there are at least familiar, comforting harbingers of winter’s end present. I will keep my eyes and ears open to the other, more subtle clues beginning to arrive.

 

Writing myself back home

Many years ago, I began doing morning pages as suggested by Julia Cameron in her wonderful book The Artist’s Way. Those pages were a way to help me begin to navigate my way out of an unproductive, soul-killing job and to reignite my inner fires of creativity and vitality.

However, over time, these pages morphed into an perpetual whinging session and I felt like I was stuck in a rut. They became burdensome and a chore to do… so the practice lapsed and I occasionally wrote in a journal because I ‘should’. I had spent money on the notebook and fancy pens, after all. Then, I tried to use electronic pages over at 750words.com because I could access them anywhere and have privacy simply by logging out. It worked for a time, until the badges and “oh, shiny” became the motivation, and it was far easier to cut-and-paste words to make the magic finish line and get the gratification of insta-reward. None of which, of course, served me any purpose — a page filled with the electronic equivalent of gold stars is a hollow reward.

Image by Kolby Kirk. Found as part of the journal diaries series at Seaweed Kisses.
What I want my journal to look like~ Image by Kolby Kirk. Found as part of the journal diaries series at Seaweed Kisses.

I began prowling Pinterest — browsing truly is too weak a word to describe my wanderings there — and collecting ideas, images, and inspiration. I pulled out my dusty red book and momentarily grieved that I still had 28 blank pages left in it after 2 years. Then I began using my inspiration and filled those pages in a week.

While the lists of prompts to be found on Pinterest seem to be either too shallow or too introspective for me to consider at the moment, I am enjoying seeing how others are using their journals. In my prowling, I found one entry that had the current day listed, and a few sentences written down next to the letter.

What my journal currently looks like.
What my journal currently looks like.
Liking the idea, I copied it and am enjoying the merger of morning pages and structure in the journal. I am also playing with colour and looking forward to expanding to doodles and (hopefully) watercolour sketches. My journal is no longer for morning pages, but an everything book.

I am coming home to myself, and I am enjoying the journey.

 

Drive by Goddess

Twice daily, I drive by Mary — a perpetually bored and disappointed Madonna planted in the garden, her arms eternally extended in benediction to an increasingly oblivious humanity.

Some days, I drive by unheeding, caught up in the sleepy rush of pre-caffeinated working life… an ungrateful child, indeed.

Other days, I spy her, Goddess mantled in stellar blue, bridging the worlds:
Crescent moon cradling the earth at her feet with the serpent and its apple curled around lunar horns~
Arms extended, sharing the blessings of the solar realms with us all…
perpetually hoping that we eventually (re)kindle our own divine spark.

First snow~

It seems strange, with the ambient temperature currently at 58° F today, that the first snow of the season fell this past Saturday. I woke to the snow steadily falling, and by 16:00 that day, we had 8 inches in the yard.

I’m glad that I put out birdseed. We were treated during the day to watching birds dig in the snow for the seeds — and to the cats watching them intently all day long, no doubt daydreaming about pouncing on them and catching them.

All-in-all, it was a lovely day to stay hunkered down in the warmth of our home, watching the snow and the birds whilst working on handicrafts, or playing video games in the case of my children.  And, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

smowy-evening
A snowy sunset captured by my daughter.

Winter’s Hart~

Deep in the heart-wood that reaches upward to crown the sacred hill, Callieach’s white hart stamps the ground.

Antlered head cocks to one side as he listens to the birds speaking; sharing the best places to forage and the ones to avoid due to prowling cats and foxes seeking to put on winter fat. Once more the hart stamps the ground, steam rising from his nostrils to collect in clouds rising to crown his antlers. The conversation changes and he listens to wolves singing of winter winds and empty bellies; best to run and hunt lest winter stalk them later.

He nods in assent and his breath curls more around each point on his head. He bows his head to the ground under the growing weight. So he stands, waiting — impatiently — for the Queen of winter to gather his breath on her staff and spin out the snow-heavy clouds of winter.

Winter witch~

I walk amongst the thorns that I wear upon my brow.
I clothe myself in the spun-silk of white blossoms budding out on spiked branches and smile with purple juice from berries ripe-burst upon my lips.
I dream the shadows.
I walk in candle light down mirrored corridors, where I catch hidden glimpses of my soul — waiting — in the bridal chamber between heaven and hell.

Taking stock~

The wheel of the year has turned, even though my eyes are not yet able to see with great perception that the sun has turned to make her long journey back to summer.  I offer a heart and soul felt prayer of gratitude to all the good gods that this turning is so; 2016 was, mildly, a dumpster fire of a year. I have never before wanted to burn a year in effigy and dance among the ashes like I have this year. Yet, with that said, the year has also brought some good.

So, I’ve turned to Tarot to help me take stock and find clarity before I sit down to plan my trajectory into 2017 — it helps to at least be familiar with the map before attempting a journey.

2016, the year of the Tower. The unconscious has erupted all around me, as seen in personal issues and the seeming implosion/explosion of the collective Western civilisation. Living through this year has felt like mere survival for the majority of it. Standing up and staggering from one onslaught to the other, continuing on from sheer determination (with the occasional flash-point of anger for flavour) no matter how shell-shocked I felt at the moment.

Surviving this year has been painful. Yet, I survived and endured… that is a gift and an achievement. The lightning bolt blasted old habits, ways of thinking, and complacency that set in. It showed me that I do have a strong core, dreams that didn’t die (merely hibernated until the soil became fertile again), and that there is Grace to be found when we stop and open our eyes to the universe.

In the spirit of the dying 2016, I will be looking at the past year honestly and answering some questions in my journal to gather the lessons and benefits of this harsh year. Tomorrow, as I watch the old year die and wait for the new one to be born (and hope that the fire of 2017 is the gentler fire of starlight and not meteorites), I will meditate on questions1 about where I am at the moment:

What am I devoted to?
What am I in service to?
Where can I take action?

Sunday, I will plan for moving forward using what I know.

As for resolutions, I don’t quite hold with them (at least with them as they have become in the modern, materialistic rush of society), but for 2017 I will make one~

I resolve to see the world through the eyes of beauty.

How about you? How did you fare in 2016? What do you resolve for 2017? Whatever you decide, may Beauty and Grace be your companions for the new year.

~*~
1. These questions arrived in my in-box via HeatherAsh Amara as she blogs about her experiences in India.

Into the long dark~

My mother is dying.

In this season of plastic trees and LED lights artificially keeping the darkness at bay, I am turning more to the long dark that precedes the winter Solstice. I’ve known that my mother, like the sun, is journeying into this darkness since Thanksgiving. I also know, that unlike the sun, she will not pause before turning back to make the long walk into summer. Weekly, she is fading before my eyes, and in the dark small hours of the night, I silently pray to whatever powers of mercy and compassion that there may be, that she just closes her eyes soon to this cold world and slips peacefully away into the West.

But, I am still her child. Both my heart and head periodically go into dread denial of this fading, and the soft greys of winter become bleak. In those times, I look more often at photographs of Newgrange and Dowth on the winter Solstice. The people who built those passage tombs are my Ancestors. Their wisdom is in my blood, and when I see these photographs, I can hear inside myself their silent and ancient messages of hope. The spirit is eternal. The sun returns even when our loved ones do not. The sun carries them to the lands of the Blessed, and tells us that one day, she will carry our spirits too.

My mother is journeying into the long dark, but she will not reside there long… she, too, will pass beyond it and dwell on silver shores with her mother and father, and their mothers and fathers before them.

For the time that I remain behind, at the winter Solstice, I will sit in darkness illuminated by white lights on my tree and tell her stories as each ornament catches my eye.

Dancing at the world’s edge

Where to begin when a blank page stares back at you? Allow me to build a foundation for this blog.

Taurë Curuni is not my name. It is a description of both vocation and lifestyle. The language is Quenya1 and translates to Forest Witch. I live on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay; surrounded by both water and woods.

From childhood, these places have called to me ~ to explore, enjoy, and educate myself about this world. There is a magic in wandering a forest path and in chasing a wave on the shore. Both song birds and sea gulls speak to my heart, leading me to try and learn the language of the birds. It is still a work in progress.

The tagline ‘ultimo habitat ores mundi’ is Latin and translates as ‘inhabitants of the world’s edge. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that the world’s edges are the places I truly enjoy being in. I like walking with one foot in the ordered world and one foot in the wilds of nature. Being an inhabitant of the world’s edge allows me to remember my dreams and have conversations with them. I can observe and enjoy the raw edges and perfected creations of nature — humans included. I am able to live truly knowing that humans are part of this world and of nature, not separated and not superior.

Dancing at the world’s edge has taught me — and continues to teach me — balance and grace.  I look forward to sharing this dance with you and learning how you, too, dance at the world’s edge.

~*~
1. Quenya is a fictional language spoken by the Elves in the legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien.