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I took a nap today and had a rather odd dream involving crawling around in my grandmother's attic and seeing the old racks that she uses up there for clothing (the attic was our bedroom when we lived there...it's basically just another finished room that runs the length of the house and has a very low, pitched ceiling. I can only stand up there in the center, and my head hits the ceiling there.

Anyway, I was crawling around under these clothes racks, finding items of clothing that I've been missing for years like my black strapless dress, which I last saw somewhere in upstate New York after an APO conference....and several pairs of Bandolino loafers in different colors and materials. (I've had several pairs...still have one pair of burgundy ones.)

Random.

I did not get my nose pierced today. I will probably do so tomorrow. Or, if I decided that I don't feel like venturing to Fells Point tomorrow, then Friday. But it will be done.


The Lampteria ritual last night went quite well. Considerably better than the Puanepsia ritual back in October. This is funny, I think, partially because with Puanepsia, I used a ritual that was fully created ahead of time (though, not by me, which no doubt had an impact) and this time...hey, I wrote most of it yesterday morning. I intend to continue doing more non-high-day rituals at the grove.

On a rather amusing note, when all was said and done and the ritual was over, I made the familiar "to revels!" call, though I said it rather quietly- no one outside of the sanctuary would have hear it, let alone somewhere down the block, but as soon as I said that, someone a few houses away yelled out "I'll be right there!"...the timing was so perfect, it was hilarious.

Also, my fire building this time went MUCH more smoothly, which overall I think bode well for the evening. It was a lovely A-frame-to-teepee construction which lit at the first shot, much like the fires I would build for my girl scout troop.
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being really close to the fire saturday night when the wind shifted, and suddenly finding myself in a blizzard of sparks...and watching it all swirl around me while some other people jumped back getting burned, but realizing that it was all either going around me or burning out before it hit me, one of the most amazingly beutiful, truly awesome thigns i've ever experienced...

I just found this riffling through some old posts from 2002...this is a bit from the post I made right after the Fall Playa Del Fuego. It was the one just a few days after my grandfather died when I just couldn't stand to stay around the house. That was one of the best burns ever but this moment I was writing about...was one of the happiest, most amazing moments of my life...I remember this, it was like the world was moving in slow motion...if there was any question before that of me having some inexplicable connection to fire, it was all gone in that moment.

I was shaky at the time on what exactly I believe about the gods and who they are...but this..oh, who needed gods when I had this? It seems a bit absurd now- just a bit, not a lot.

But then, there, in that moment, it was bliss. Unbreakable happiness. For just a minute, there was me a little too close to a bonfire and a million sparks whipping around me. It was once in a lifetime, I was in the right place at the right moment where the forces of nature combined in just the right way and I was there in the middle of it.

Dammit, yes. The memory makes me cry.
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Stress and blah aside, there was some good stuff this weekend. I got to see both of my nieces, which was fun. I haven't seen Ashlyn in...gah...was it 2005 or 2004 that I saw her at Christmas?

Hmm...would have been 2005, because it was AFTER Mike and Anthony brought her and Samantha down to go to the aquarium, and I was living a few blocks down the street then.

Kid is huge. She's 5 but she looks like she's 7 or 8. Almost as tall as Samantha who is 7, but she also looks older than 5 in the face. And she talks older than a 5 year old.

And I got to go camping with friends on Saturday night at the Highland Farms Beltane campout.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the ritual, but I've never been a fan of Wiccan ritual structure, and mixing ADF with Wiccan just does wacky thigns in my mind. I understand why it was done, but I don't like it. I'm glad there was no circle casting.

I was one of the first people at the top of the hill, since I rode up in the truck with Dennis, Anna and a couple of others. And there were a couple of people drumming up there...so I had fun dancing for a good half hour before the ritual started. Everyone expected it to get super-cold, but it didn't. Good thing, since I was wearing a tank top and skirt.

There was a nice little bonfire lit as part of the ritual. It wasn't huge, but it was nice. And whenever the wind blew up, it would stir up plumes of sparks. I kept getting closer and closer to the fire...and then right at the end of the praise offerings, I made my way a bit closer, just as Caryn was asking if anyone yet had offerings. I hadn't planned for any, I was just getting closer to the fire, but I think Caryn mistook that for an indication that I had somethign in mind, though I didn't realize that she was talking to me at first because I didn't think I'd done anythign to draw the attention to myself. I'd not planned to do anything for several reasons- the nature of the ritual, community building, is not somethign that I wholly object to, but of that particular community, I have so far been a rare visitor. Also, I like to do somethign tangible for offerings. I have no objection to others speaking in praise, but I personally prefer to be making an actual offering of some sort- which may or may not be accompanied by some speaking. And also because I was just so scattered this weekend.

Well, I was kinda put on the spot. And I had nuffin'. But (ritual briefs aside) I am reasonably good at speaking off the cuff in public. And I was on the spot, and people were looking at me, so I said "Okay, sure, I'll go."

And at that point, a couple of people asked me if I was going to spin fire (more on that in a minute)

So I thought for about half a second, and said something like

"I speak in praise and thanks to Apollo, for bringing me to the point where I am in my life,
And to Hestia of the hearth, who is not only the hearth, but who is the fire itself, and to Polyhymnia who inspires out sacred words, and Terpsichore who inspires us to dance...and to the gods, I give praise to the gods."

So...at the point when I said "and to Hestia...", a huge flurry of sparks blew up from the fire. Which was really cool.

Oh, and Tracy made chocolate runes for everyone. My rune was sigel (not sure if I spelled that right...? The one that looks like a lightning bolt.)

And then later on waiting in line for food, I saw two former coworkers- one whom I'd not seen since Samhain 2005 who told me that he'd started to cry a little when I'd spoken. (I didn't know what to say to that, I don't think I've ever made anyone cry in a good way before) and then a bit later, another former coworker, Adam, came up and said hi, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out who he was. Very familiar face, but no name came to mind. When he told me who he was, it was really obvious...but the problem was that he didn't have 8-inch-tall spiky blue hair sticking out in every direction as he did when he was in the office. Ah well, it's nice to run into people sometimes.

And there was lots of dancing and drumming around the smaller fire afterwards. I danced so much that my abs still hurt. Not far from the fire, under a shade structure, someone had set up a little travelling Hindu temple with altars and shrines and carpets laid down, and incense and candles, and was offering Sanskrit blessings of prosperity and wealth and inviting people to drum and dance inside the "temple". It was quite magical.

And I really, REALLY wished that I'd had the staff with me.

Speaking of which....

So, I spin fire. Everyone knows that. And I mean everyone knows that. Apparently, that would include people I've never met or even seen before.

I mentioned how people asked me in the circle if I was going to spin. BEfore the ritual started, when I had just gotten to the circle, I walked past a small group of people who were some of the few folks up there. I didn't know them, never seen them before, but I heard as I went past "That's the girl that did the fire invocation or something like that last year at Beltane at Cedarlight grove. I heard she had fire in the middle of the circle."
A bit ranty... )

I was hoping that there might be another spinner there who would let me borrow their equipment- staff, poi, fingers, fans, whatever. But there wasn't.

But I did dance plenty, and surprised several folks with the fact that the only bellydance classes I ever took were Sara's tribal class in Catonsville a few years ago which was only for about 2 months.

I still need to find a decent bellydance class. We'll see what my options are next month when my schedule changes and my raise takes effect.
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Sooooo happy.

When I went to bed last night, the sky was clear. Clear!!! Witch only a few cursory clouds breezing by.

And it was quiet. My windows rattled very slightly once or twice and then not another sound. I didn't wake up once til about 5am. Fell back to sleep right away for another two hours.

It's sunny out and I did not wear a coat today.

And I'm taking the fire staff to Trillium this weekend. *dances*
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So being that it was Imbolc, and our ritual is next week, we had a guided meditation at the Grove last night to meet Brigid, done by Steph.

Now I'm not good with guided meditation to begin with...but lemme tell you, for whatever reason, it worked spectacularly badly for me last night. It wasn't the meditation mind you, it was me.

I wasn't really expecting a lot. I'm a Hellenic polytheist. Brigid who? I participate in the celebration of Imbolc because I am part of the Grove. Though, I have had some serious considerations about sitting this year out- especially after last night, but I've already committed to doing a part in the ritual (something that I know I'll have no problem doing despite being utterly disconnected from Irish gods) so I will not skip it.

So this meditation took the form of "You are walking along a road next to a stream...." I'm sure many of you are familiar with the format. One would think that I could muster the visualization of a road and a stream, and a forest, all that standard stuff right?

Wrong.

So throughout this entire mediiation, what do I see? Well, you know hen you close your eyes and look towards a light, you see not black, but kinda greyish with colored abstract patterns? That's what I saw. I didn't even have solid ground to walk on. I was walking through grey abstract, well, whatever.

The only other visuals I got were, fist of all there came a point where a tree was supposed to appear in front of us...an impossibly huge tree stretching up to the sky. And we were supposed to climb it.

What sort of tree did I get? A cypress tree. Not really surprised (Steph's comment later on was "so when do you get that tattoo finished?") but...cyrpess trees don't really lend themselves to climbing. I didn't really climb it, I just sorta stood there wondering how on earth I was supposed to climb it. Oh yeah...and this tree also had no solid ground. just...abstract greyness under it. After climbing the tree, we were supposed to arrive at solid ground again. Like I said, I didn't climb. Not that I didn't want to, I was kinda bummed out not to have a tree to climb, but like I said...cypress trees aren't really structured in a way to be climbable.

Next, an animal was supposed to appear in front of us. Well, I got an animal. Dragonfly. I felt the presence of a deer, but didn't see it. But I definitely saw the dragonfly. I was walking along then with this dragonfly in front of me, every now and then it would turn around and hover in mid-air, and just look at me. It was a normal looking green dragonfly, but every now and then I would take a second glance and it would be much larger, like a small bird, and turquoise in color, and then it would be a normal-looking dragondfly again.

Then at the point where we were supposed to be in Brigid's forge, just before leaving, we were supposed to walk into the fire. As soon as I heard the words "step into the fire", I didn't step...I fell. And it wasn't Brigid's fire. I was surrounded in an infinite sea of fire, and while this was hardly a simple home hearth, I knew that it was Hestia. And she said to me very clearly "I may be a small hearth fire, but never forget I am fire."

(Ironic enough, as I started typing this last paragraph, the song "I Dare You" by Shinedown came on my ipod. Which is set to a random shuffle. If you don't know it, the first line of the chorus is "I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire...")


I don't remember the fire subsiding, I don't even remember being specifically aware of it not being there, but at some point, it was no longer and I was back to abstract and grey. The last thing that was supposed to happen leaving the forge was that another animal was supposed to appear to us to lead back through the forest. This time a deer did appear. And the dragonfly was still there.


I think I was expecting to see Brigid, but have her ignore me, I didn't get that. It seems though that those who are usually around took advantage of my meditative state.
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I'm back from DE, by the way. I got back Monday afternoon of course.

Chewed alive by deer flies and gnats. Quite unpleasant.

This burn I spent a lot of my time in a few specific places- generally involving shade. Like the pavilion, and Jen, Shawn, Peter, Monk-E et al's camp where they had a lovely shade structure, a parrot, some non-chemical bug repellant that worked like magic, and sushi.

Sushi. Peter made what he called the "sushi version of a jalapeno popper"- tuna, cream cheese, jamaica peppers and scallions. Pretty mch hit the upper level of what I consider to be enjoyably hot (I can tolerate hotter, but I don't generally like it because it tends to drown out all other flavor and taste very grey.)

I slept a LOT more than I wanted to this weekend, especially Saturday night. I went to sleep at like, 9. Damn me.

Much spinning (unlit) Accidentally came up with a new staff move. Which I have since taught to several people. And am working on successfully combining with another move. It's really an excellent combination.

There seems to be so much less spinning/dancing/hanging out done around the fire anymore. Once the stack is lit, after a short time everyone goes away. I had done so much spinning and attempting cntact stuff over the weekend that by Sunday night burn time, my arms were tied and sore and I kept dropping the staff. After everyone left the burn stack, a spin jam picked up by the PlunderDome, and all the safetys went over there. I wanted to spin around the fire, but no one was there and I had to go where there were safetys. I spun once, realized that my arms were just too tired and gave up, went and laid down by the fire for a few hours.

I did find a new fire toy. The fire dart, which I'm told is based on a weapon from chinese martia arts called a rope dart. A wick is attached to one end of a long rope or chain (by ong, I mean 8 feet or more) And one hand holds the end of the rope, the other controls the movement of the dart, it can be spun and swung around in all diffrent ways, and the rope can be pulled in flor closer work or let out for long, sweeping moves. As I understand it's a pretty new thing in the fire performance world. when I have some extra money I want to grab some wick. I think for this purpose, a premade monkey fist wick will do it. Some rope, some hardware, et voila! Wow, is it reasonable to pay $50-$60 per pair for premade wicks on Home Of Poi or Flamma Aeterna?

Bugs were awful, I got completely chewed up. Tea tree oil castile soap is a WONDERFUL thing. Monday afternoon, I took a bath in lukewarm water with that soap and the itching went away. When it finally came back, it was greatly reduced.

Sunday morning, around 5am a bottle rocket exploded outside my tent- literlally right against it. I'm glad I was awake- I was actually about to go and tell this guy to shut up- he was sitting right next to my tent and apparently yelling at someone inside. Woke me up. I was in the process of putting a shirt on when I hear something land...and see flames through the tent side. Screamed. Loud. Then it exploded. No damage to the tent, no debris. The rocket was found some distance away later in the afternoon. But I was kinda spooked. Rangers were nearby and checked things out but no idea who did it.

The other probematic thing this weekend was a drugs/alcohol issue...if you're on baltwash and/or the LJ burning man community, you've probably already seen my post about that. I might post it here later. For now, it's visible at [livejournal.com profile] burning_man

Basically what it comes down to is that for the first time ever, people tried to pressure me into drinking, which I find extremely problematic.

Overall it was a realy great, very chilled-out weekend.

Oh...and Monk-E gave me the original cd of the music played during the burning of the Pyramid. I'm listening to it right now. Awesome stuff.

Fire.

Mar. 7th, 2006 09:10 pm
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So I left work a couple hours early today. And came home and broke out the firestaff. I didn't light up though...much as I wanted to. There was much construction going on nd what smelled like all sorts of combustible fumes in the immediate vicinity due to construction next door.

So I didn't light, but I did spend plenty of time spinning unlit. Contact stuff even. Towards the end, I came up with this brilliant something or other which involves tossing the staff straight up from a palm-down position, letting it land on my wrist, roll down my arm and fall down behind my shoulder to catch behind my back. The one time it fell together perfectly, it rolled all the way down against my neck and I spun my body in the oposite direcion (Rolling down right arm, turned myself leftwards), it fell diagonally across my back and caught it at waste level on the left.

There was also the one which I've been working on for a while which involves fliping the staff over the back of my hand, and letting it rest there intead of circling back to my palm, and with it staying there, bring my hand up over my head and flip it around so that my hand is palm up and the staff rolls around my wrist(Actually, it's more like my wrist rolls around the staff) to rest again in my palm. It's really far less complicated than it sounds. It's Two very simple movements combined.

I will stop attempting to explain staff moves that I am making up. I can demonstrate upon request.

I know that I need a longer staff. Probably close to my height, instead of shoulder height. and if I want to do contact work, it'll have to be at least as thick as the current one, not thinner....I really prefer thinner- Much easier for me to grip in a manner that I like. It will need to be cushioned. Hello, tennis racquet grip. I need to get wick.

Contact stuff...yeah. I see this being a spring and summer of hurting from that. It'll be fun though

Flamey.

Jan. 5th, 2006 09:28 pm
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2/3 of a bottle...gone

Spinning for myself really is a great thing. I played a bit with some tricks that I hadn't tried with fire before...of course I waited til the flames were way down. I did some palm spins..woohoo! And played a bit with this one move where I flip the staff onto the back of my hand and balance it in front of me, then bring it across my body and up over my head, twisting my arm around so my hand is palm up and the staff winds up in my palm. I ALMOST did that one lit, but I kinda wussed and grabbed it with my other hand just before my hand would have rolled over. So close.

I like the contrast of cold air against my skin and the heat from the flames.

Today was mostly a pretty mellow day so I havent been very stressed. But I feel a zillion times better now anyway.
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Right about now I'm really missing Playa Del Fuego.

Actually, I'm specifically missing the spinning. The fire. The heat. The sound. God, the sound...I get high on the sound of flames rushing around me. It's dizzying. Spinning is definitely something I don't do enough of. I seriously want to do that tomorrow night. Pick up some oil, grab the staff and light up and spin until I have no choice but to stop because I just can't sustain movement any longer and if I try I'll get hurt. I always feel so peaceful and happy in the midst of the exhaustion. And I want to be sore from all that spinning for the next few days. I'm not much of a fan of pain, but I do love the feeling that I get after so much spinning, of curling my shoulders forward and feeling that stretch and ache from one arm across my back to the other. Cold water never tastes better than when I'm drinking a whole bunch of it to avoid dehydration. Spinning in chilly air, wearing the sort of thing that I typically wear for spinning in. (yes, I wear clothes) Good combination of heat and cold. Sensory immersion. I need that.

One might say I'm a borderline addict. There does come a point where I NEED to be in the presence of fire. I feel like I'm rapidly approaching that point.

So long as the weather holds out, I think I will do that.

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