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So I'm working on a ritual that we're going to be holding at the grove at the end of the month for a festival invented by [ profile] erl_queen, Theoxenia Delphinia, which is in honor of all of the deities historically associated with Delphi.

So at the moment, I'm trying to learn more about the deities that I'm not as familiar with...Pan, the Korykian Nymphs, Trophonios, Athena, Poseidon, Gaia, and Zeus. For the moment at least, I'm reading about Zeus.

I will never have the same sort of relationships with these deities that I do with Apollo, and probably never even so much as I do with Dionysus and Hermes, but branching out and learning more is good, eh?

I am excited to be doing a group Hellenic ritual again. It has been too long.
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Wrote this invocation today, also for the grove ritual, for Dionysus...I think it's finished.

Lord of two vines who destroys and regenerates,
come to us.
God of the grape, come to us.
God of the ivy, come to us.
Thrice-born son of Zeus
Who knows Olympus and Earth and the underworld,
come to us.
As slowly through time, the ivy crumbles walls and foundations,
come to us
As quickly as the aged nectar of your abundant grapes
breaks down inhibitions and loosens tongues,
come to us.
Bearing your torches, come to us.
Protector of the ways, come to us.
Dionysus, come to us.
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I wrote this one today for the upcoming grove ritual this weekend.

Sing sweet-voiced Muse of the owl-eyed goddess,
Most skilled weaver of splendid tapestries,
Favored daughter of Zeus, you triumphed over Poseidon
to hold the city of Athens and the right to its name.
Your gift of olive trees to mankind is unmatched,
its uses countless.
Goddess of strength, savior, defender,
Sharp-eyed keeper of the city
Under your protection, citizens flourish
and warriors are victorious in battle.
Hail to Athena, glorious goddess!
I will remember you and another song as well.
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So...I've been thinking.

Yeah, I know. Don't do that, it always leads to trouble. Oh well, too late, what's done is done.

Religion. Yeah, I know I haven't written much about that in several months. Not that it hasn't been on my has, constantly. It never leaves. (Well, maybe it does for a few minutes when...oh nevermind, y'all don't want to hear me bitch about how frustrated I get when something gets stuck in my teeth and I can't get it out and don't have a toothbrush handy or a toothpick or dental floss and OMG I really hate raspberry seeds sometimes...uh, yeah :-P)

Anyways. So it's recently occurred to me that the grove's Lughnassagh ritual is this weekend. No, I lie, I knew that for a while now, but what's just occurred to me is that the next ritual after that is the fall equinox.

I've had myself in a kind of limbo with grove involvement for quite a while now. Cut because reading this will take almost as long )
Ye, gads it's been crazy. I still don't have it all figured out, but I'm a lot more okay with things than I have been in a while.

And if I can manage to get it in before I leave the office, there might be another post on the woo filter to save those who don't care to read such things from rolling their eyes right out of their heads.
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Last night, grove solstice ritual. I wouldn't call it my ideal ritual (No one's fault, really. while some have come much closer in the past, I would highly doubt that any collaboration would be. But it's a grove ritual, not mine.) but it wasn't bad. Maybe it was because I've been largely uninvolved since the fall, Or maybe it's me overall, or maybe somewhere in between, but it wasn't quite the same. I wasn't quite as in it as I've been in the past. There were some moments of annoyance (Kids in ritual not usually a big deal to me, but if they're not going to stay reasonably under control and make a whole lot of noise about it, it's probably best not to have them right in the middle of things. Kids do that, they make noise.)

All told, it went mostly well, but I just wasn't able to be in it spiritually. The only points where I was really wholly into it were when I made a quick offering to Apollo, and a little later on, a silent request. And that really wasn't so much being in the ritual as it was being in those moments (ha, how ironic, the ritual was about living in the moment....)

I did write a couple of off the cuff, short hymns for the ritual patrons, as well as a brief poem. Not my best work, but I wanted to have a few things prepared because it drives me crazy when a majority of the offerings in a ritual completely ignore the deities to be honored. I'll probably clean them up, maybe expand them a bit and post them. either way, they'll go into the book of hymns that I've slowly been writing to the gods, which I started "officially" as an offering to the Greek gods at the fall equinox. I read those, and sang a song that I had suddenly remembered from back in girl scouts that I had forgotten until just then.

At the moment, I'm feeling slightly blah and ambiguous about a lot of things, a whole lot of "I don't know"...but there is a lot that I've found of late that interests me greatly, so hopefully that won't last long....
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Yesterday I grabbed some candles and a candle holder for the Dionysus altar. It was at Yankee candle, and they were one of those little boxes of tea lights. I could swear I grabbed a box that said Vinyard.

Later at the liquor store, I was getting some wine for ritual use. I was pretty adamant that I wasn't getting shiraz- after a couple of bottles, I'm still at the point of "ew". So...I decided to try cabernet sauvignon....I like sauvignon blanc, maybe I'd like that too...I dunno, it made sense in my mind. In any case, if I'm doing a ritual that involves drinking wine, I'm going to drink something with a taste that I can at least tolerate. I have this funny little quirk about not wanting to to drink things that I don't like the taste of.

Anyway. I get home and later have gone upstairs for my Saturday ritual that I do. I pull out the candles and pop one into the holder and then I look down at the package.

It doesn't say Vinyard. It says Vintage. I have no idea how I missed this- Yankee vintage candles have completely different labeling than the normal candles, of which Vinyard is one.

Know what kind of wine it was???

Shiraz. Seems he's gonna get it somehow or other.

Good Beer!

Feb. 10th, 2008 10:39 pm
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Bet that got your attention.

At CLG's Yule, I stood in the middle of the sanctuary, invoked Heimdall to watch the gates (offered him "good beer"- somehow every invocation that night ended up concluding with "I offer you...good beer!") and then proceeded to open the gates- first time I did that by myself in ritual, previous gate openings in which I've participated have always involved three people (four in one or two cases) I had been back and forth for several weeks at one point trying to figure out if I was going to participate in Yule at all and then I ended up volunteering for the gates.

Then, the person who was to call on Heimdall wasn't sure she'd be able to make the ritual, so I volunteered for backup...and ended up doing it.

After invoking Heimdall and pouring his beer into the erm...what was it called...blot bowl? (Sorry, I'm not one of the Norse folk, it just happens that the only experiences of any great significance with deities aside from Hellenic happen to be Heimdall and Freyja.)

Anyway, so I poured the beer. Heimdall, in my experience, has a rather unmistakable presence. Which I felt, solid and quiet. I stepped to the center of the circle. I've called on gatekeepers and opened the gates numerous times....this was unique. It was the middle of ritual, so people were fairly quiet, but there are always noises- be it the people in the circle, or outside, planes, animals, whatever. And I still heard these noises, but it was as if from inside an enclosure. I was telling Caryn last week that it was like I was standing in the middle of the circle, and a bubble went down over the center circle of the sanctuary, enclosing me, the well, fire and tree, and the altar, like a covered fish bowl, cutting that area off from the rest of the world- I almost swear I could have walked up to the edge of that circle and put my hands on a glass wall. There was a feeling of quiet and calm, despite the "muffled" outside noises.

Standing in the center of the circle, I opened the well, fire and tree in turn, using some runic work that I've been working with for about two years now. The three individual gate openings together were like standing in the eye of a whirling vortex. Then the "overall" gate opening was like the bubble was lifted, and I was no longer cut off from the sanctuary. (It was about then that I had to run out of the sanctuary and find something to eat, lest I should have fainted.)

I debated long and hard on whether I should participate at all in Imbolc after last year, and finally after a while got a very clear sense that this time around, I was going to acknowledge and call off the outsiders, and that was it, I would leave. (For the record, I've never taken this part in ritual before.)

I had written something a few weeks ago. One day, it just came to me in a thiurty-second rush of words. It was good. Thought I left it in the notebook where I wrote it. When I went to grab it yesterday, the page was gone. Flipped through the book several trace.

I decided to wing it. I said a nice little piece on how the nature of the outsiders is subject to much debate. So far as I recall, I stumbled on no words. I picked up my offerings of a small bowl of food (fresh fruit, Ghirardelli chocolate, jelly belly jelly and a bottle of Guinness (I wasn't even thinking about it but I did throw in "I offer you good beer!"- I remember hearing a snicker or two at that) and turned slightly humorous and commented for all that would serve to distract from the ritual and deter it's work to follow me out the gates and beyond the borders of the sanctuary, ending with "you have been bribed away!"

This was all just coming out of my mouth without much of any forethought. I didn't really have a whole lot of sense of anything much going on, except for knowing that even if I couldn't see, I could definitely feel when I left the sanctuary space. But I did get several comments later on in the evening about my acknowledgment of the outsiders- (I find it amusing that a lot of people call this part of the ritual "invoking the outsiders"...) which I found kinda funny and entirely unexpected because a generally people even don't comment on what I consider to be my best invocations. I guess I was doing something right in the moment- and I never imagined that I would be good with that part. Some people have come up with some great things, like the time [ profile] jackgreen60 came in with this ancient suitcase and lugged it around the circle.

But there ya go.
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Well, the grove's Yule ritual was last night.

I must add another entry to my "what not to do in ritual" list and say Damn, do NOT open the gates without having eaten something during the day. Not in the way I did anyway.

For anyone who's ever had the pleasure of feeling their blood sugar just suddenly bottom out on them...imagine that times about ten. That was the internal feeling. The external feeling was like being at the center of three approaching storms on a collision course...up to and including the point of collision. I've only ever tried it once before on my own, the first time I tried it when I first had the idea. I daresay that the force of it was significantly less that first time. In following instances, it was done in conjunction with two other people. It was planned to be done that way again this time...initially was the intention anyway, but things got shaken up and switched around hither and thither and in the end, there was no chance to practice the whole thing with anyone else.

I also ended up doing the invocation to Heimdall, which had not been the original plan, though due to some uncertainty I had volunteered for backup. (Heimdall would be one of a very few non-Greek deities with which I have any real experiential familiarity, and probably the single most stable and consistent force I have ever encountered in my life. Which makes sense, considering who he is. A couple of yeard ago, he and Freyja showed up not simultaneously, but very close together, for a short period of time. I remember first having the sense of the presence of Freyja while wandering around Fire and Ice (a jewelery store) in Towson and at the time, had never heard of Brisingamen. I learned of that a few months later while talking to Jane Sibley. She laughed, said it sounded like they like me and that I should watch out for them to come back at some point in the future. I've had a vague sense of Heimdall for the last several weeks, though so far I'm chalking it up to the grove ritual and nothing to do with me personally.)

I tried to write the invocation for several days, right up to just before the ritual started. For the first time ever, I was unable to write anything. I had an idea, I lost it. Another idea...and it turned out to sound really dumb. I looked over some of my old gatekeeper invocations for some inspiration and only wound up attempting to cobble together and rework pieces of those....which I didn't want to do.

So for the first time in ages, I decided to wing it. and it went well. Nice, simple...and "good beer". Hehehe (Caryn had said "good beer" so many times in the beginning part of the ritual that it sorta became a running thing.)

So after the invocation and gate opening, I had to run inside and grab something to eat immediately. It took a little bit before I stopped shaking. I had to leave a second time when Caryn asked me if I could grab my runes- which were inside the house in my backpack. The last minute plan was to pull the runes last night and interpret this morning, but Jack and Kat convened in the middle and they ended up reading them then and there (With some conferring with Gavin who set people straight on one of them while I was still getting the final rune pulled.)

Note to self: start working with runes more again.

Many other thoughts having only to do with my own personal religious experience went flying around in my head for a large part of the night. Those I may organize more coherently a bit later.
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I just woke up about 40 minutes ago (I was up til after 6 this morning. I expected to be up late, but didn't expect to be up quite THAT late.)

So I did some ritual work last night. Started around midnight. I actually didn't do everything I wanted to do, but I think the part that I didn't get to should have been its own ritual in another time anyway, and will likely take up more than two hours in and of itself.

I worked in three parts, each essentially a self-contained ritual in and of itself for Hermes Dionysus and Apollo.

For each, I lit some incense, made some offerings, settled in for some mediation and afterwards, did some divination using tarot.

Hermes has still been around, but quiet. Off to the side, just see him in the corner of my eye, so to speak. My meditation turned into a bit of a berating "Dammit, you know exactly why I'm here now are you going to get on with it or not?" (Ya, I know what he's suggesting. What I don't know- not entirely anyway- is why it's coming from him and not someone else. Oh, I also don't for sure know what I'm going to do about it.)

I offered (and drank) some wine for Dionysus. I'm still getting used to the fact that I feel even just a single sip of wine in my system, the second I swallow it, when I drink it in this context. And it's not like a drunk or even tipsy feeling, but like a mild electrical jolt to my entire body and a sort of hyper-awareness of my surroundings. I'm not sure if I'm surprised or not that the card that turned up in reference to current happenings with Dionysus is the death card. Interesting enough, the moon turned up in all three instances in the same place in reference to the future. (I shuffled the cards well each time, I swear.)

Nothing out of the ordinary came up from Apollo (I wasn't expecting it either), much basking in the all-encompassing presence. More affirmation that I'm on the right track with the whole Apollo/Dionysus intertwining, whatever it is thing and that there's far more to come.

When I finally went to sleep, I only initially slept for maybe three hours in which I had a dream that I was doing the same ritual, had just finished the Dionysus bit, and was about to move onto Apollo when one of the roommates walked in and insisted on sitting in the room while I did this. I wanted to continue, I wanted it to not matter, but I couldn't. I woke up for a short time after that, and then fell back to sleep til after 2pm.

I'm going to make myself some food, and then clean up a few things around here. Gotta run to the store and pick up some cat litter and food so that Dominic can take care of the felines til Thursday. Going over to [ profile] pagandenma's sometime this evening for a cookie-baking marathon and will go to the grove from there tomorrow.

I should probably go ahead and pack my stuff to go to PA awhile too.
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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'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.)


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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Due to an underwhelming response from people on any parts that they might be interested in taking for tonight's members-only Lampteria ritual, I've taken the liberty of writing up parts which have not been claimed and posting them on the grove forum under the Lampteria discussion.

So, if you'd like to do one of these parts, comment on the forum as to which one so others who look after you can know what's still available. Feel free to use what I've posted (two parts are not written by me, they're parts f Homeric hymns) or write your own, but bring them tonight. Jack is going to be telling us the story, and Chrissy is honoring the nature spirits. Other than that, most parts are up for grabbing.
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Friday, Dionysus, at home, Shiraz )

Saturday, Apollo, at the grove, Sauvignon Blanc )

And that, folks, was my weekend. Well, the major happenings of it anyway. Minor details include overhearing a story about someone named Shaqueesha (Taking a guess on the spelling. Where on earth do they get these names?) Having two people simultaneously back into me, one on each side, at Barnes and Noble- I swear, it couldn't have been better-times if it was choreographed. Smacking my elbow into the living room wall (Okay kids, stucco bits in sensitive elbow hurt) and getting headbutted in the boobs and then in the nose by Chrissy. Oh, and making smores post-ritual on Saturday night.
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I am happy to know that I am not the only one who is not feeling like she can rightly be present for the grove's Samhain ritual this year.
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Ritual yesaterday? Check

Dedicant's Oath? Check.

Writeup soon to be in progress. After I make coffee.

Then I just need to print it all out, get hard copy to Caryn and a blank CD to burn it on and my DP will be off to Raven.

OMG. I'm almost done.

So this was my dedicant's oath:

I'd like to make one last offering here tonight, with everyone gathered as witnesses. This is an offering a long time in the making. I've been attending Cedarlight Grove since November of 2004. I've been a member since October of 2005- it took me nearly a year and some rather difficult prodding to make up my mind and make that commitment. Once I did, I gave myself a year and through no fault but my own procrastication- and sometimes uncertainty- well over a year has passed. But here I am in front of my grove and friends that I have chosen as family, some good aqcuaintences and what are probably a few decent strangers, and with the offering of this promise, I will finally complete my dedicant's program.

I make this promise to all present. And to the nature spirits with whom we share the earth. And to the ancestors, who I've only recently realized may not be so distant as I would believe. And to all of the gods, but especially to the Lady of the Hearth, who is the fire itself, and to the Mother Quail, dark-veiled Queen, long-journeying mother of the divine twins of Olympus, And foremost to the Divine Healer, Far-Shooter, God of truth and light:

On my word, I'll not forsake my gods, nor seek to depart from the road down which they lead me, and neither will I forget that unfamiliar territory does not necessarily mean that I have strayed. As I am called, I will serve. I will trust the gods and cast aside trepidation. At times I may rush in headfirst, but I will not to go in blind. I will remember that askng for help is not a sign of weakness, and that I am but human. To speak the words that need be spoken, and keep the confidences which require silence. To pursue always truth, knowledge, wisdom, understanding. This, on my honor I will try as best as I am able and as far as I can push myself, should I start to falter.

I also think I did a pretty damned good job of reciting "You Create the Reason" by Carl Stephenson... I managed not to totally stumble over any words.

Which reminds me, at least three people asked me for an audio file...[ profile] jackgreen60, I know you did...who else? I know Deirdre wanted me to explain it to never got a chance to do that.

Okay, off to make coffee and then write up the last little bit of my DP *dances*
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So, the solstice ritual that I mentioned yesterday...this is the post that I made elsewhere about it:

On my way to work this morning, I had an idea for a solstice ritual (two actually, to be performed sort of in tandem), and then it occurred to me that the reverse would make for an excellent winter solstice.

On the summer solstice, a ritual to Hyperion at sunrise, with Eos as the gatekeeper to celebrate the dawning of the longest day, and a ritual to Nyx at sunset, Asteria as the gatekeeper in honor of the coming darkness.

On the winter solstice at sunset, a ritual to Nyx again, to celebrate the falling of the longest night, and the next morning at dawn, a ritual to Hyperion to celebrate the returning light.

I've always felt much more in tune with the changing of the sun than with the changing of the earth. The Solstices and Equinoxes have had much more impact on me than the cross-quarter days (and the fact that I am not of Celtic leaning, coupled with the fact that I believe that festivals such as Beltane or Lughnassagh should be celebrated in honor of the gods for which they are named, otherwise a different name should be devised definitely makes for some extra distance between me and those particular festivals.)

I think that I will try to write up these rituals and perform them for myself this year and see how they go, and if it works well, possibly attempting to adapt for a group next year and see if anyone else wants to join me.
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I just got the most brilliant (no pun intended) idea for mirror-image solstice rituals...

More later.
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So Friday after work, I went straight over to the grove. We were doing a guided meditation, and while I'd tried for weeks to write it, it only came to me at the last minute (and I mean, I was sitting there on the floor at the grove writing it while everyone there chatted and wandered in and out.) It was only a few folks- Caryn, Me, Mark, and these two women, Cat and Jodi who show up randomly once in a while.

I've never written a guided meditation before, so I was kinda worried that it would end up being really cheesy...but I think it was decent, and it's been requested that I record it so that it can be used again. Two and a half pages written, and it only felt like maybe 5 minutes spoken, but it was more like 10 or 15.

After that, Mark and I went to Red Brick Station for dinner and were baffled and amused by the waitresses doing what we called "The salt and pepper ritual"- they would walk around, and go to empty tables, pick up the salt and pepper shakers, clack them together three times and hold them up and look at them. Now, we finally realized that they were checking to see how much was in them, but it seemed a little odd that they would do so repeatedly to the same ones, when no one had been seated at the table to use them in between subsequent clackings. So we decided that it was some crazy ritual that they did.

I slept at the grove on Friday night. Saturday morning was gorgeously sunny, and I went to the grocery store for a few things, and the liquor store for some wine.

Then I went back to the grove and slowly (really quite slowly) people started to show up. And the sky got cloudy. And it started to rain on and off...really only sprinkling, but I had these horrible visions of eventual downpours a la last Midsummer. Thankfully it never got worse than a sprinkle.

The ritual script vanished (and finally showed up this morning in the stupidest of places.) One member of the ritual team only showed up as we were in the middle of the pre-ritual brief. We had to go off-script (the only thing that went wrong was that I completely forgot lore of the season until Caryn reminded me while Kat was doing the invocation to it was slightly rearranged, and Jackie did that after my invocation to Apollo. For never having run through the ritual, and for a festival with which no one else was familiar, it went really well. (At some point, I said to someone, though I forget who it was, that this ritual really had no choice but to go well. Sure, it could have been better, it could always be. But in the end, I'm more than ok with how it went.

The offerings went nicely. Instead of confining it to the ritual patrons, I left it open to any Greek gods. Hymns were read in honor of Themis, Pan, Triton, Aphrodite, Selene and one or two others. And we definitely got the attention of the gods. It's been a while since I've felt such a real presence of the gods in ritual. I mean, I usually feel them around but this was...the only way they could have been more real was if they were to show up in physical, corporeal form.

Caryn said that she felt a much closer presence of some of the other gods, but that it was like Artemis was hiding in the trees and looking out from time to time, and that Apollo was sitting on a throne in a temple far away, but seeing it as though he was right there.

Nope, he was right there. If anything, the temple was right there too.

Towards the end of the offerings, I was really starting to get shaky. Partially for having not eaten and partially because yeah, I was nervous as all get-out.

I had intended to read a hymn and pour a libation of wine as my offering...but plans, like so many trains, can be derailed )

After that, I was semi-impatient for the ritual to be over (mostly because I was really afraid at this point that I really was going to fall over.) but I didn't want it to be either. I was happy that people actually made use of the personal magic segment of the ritual instead of asking of the gods during offerings. I was happy that people didn't seem to balk at the idea of a more serious ritual, and remain standing unless they physically needed to sit. Will did the greatest omen reading using bay leaves, some of the water from the well, coals from the fire, and soil from the base of the tree. Before he did, he told an abbreviated version of the myth of Apollo and Daphne, explaining the origin of the bay laurel tree. I think that this is my favorite method that I've seen him use for omen reading. And then Kat, Caryn, Jackie and I stood in the center and each held up a chalice of the waters of life while I asked for the blessing. I was just beside myself. By the end of the ritual, the rain had stopped altogether, the sky started to clear a bit, and the air temperature was probably ten degrees warmer than when we started. It ended well. (And then I rushed into the house to grab something to eat.)

I should have gone to bed a long time ago. Sleep now.
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My sister's wedding is a month and a half away. And what am I most worried about?

The tattoo thing. Well, not so worried but Trying to figure out what I'll tell people when they ask. And they will ask. Dress has a low-cut back, and my family arenot the sort of people to ignore stuff scrawled across a family member's flesh. My stepfather will comment. Loudly and frequently. He had (to take a phrase from my mom) ten French fits when he saw my first one...six months after I got it. And that's not much bigger than a silver dollar. Uncle Randy will make all kinds of comments about it being some sort of Satanic spell. Samantha will announce to the world that she wants one just like it (along with pink hair). Mumsie will demand to know what it means. And while the truth is easy, simple and makes perfect sense it will raise more questions than Ill feel like discussing that weekend. (Yeah's a hymn to this god that i worship...)

Of course...I could always pretend I don't know what they're talking about and tell them they must be hallucinating. That could be entertaining. At least for a minute or two.

Tattoo? Tree? On my back? Isn't it a little early in the day to be hitting the bar so hard?

Oh hell, I thought of something worse. Receiving line. I have to stand in a freakin' receiving line. In a mauve dress.

I am so getting ballet flats. Chelle had better not have any grand plans to get me into dress heels. I will not endure physical pain. And I can't remember the last time I saw a pair of wedding-appropriate heels that I would be willing to wear. This is not a matter of aesthetics. I will only wear heeled shoes if the heels have a certain thickness. The sort of heels that I'm talking about tend not to occur on dressy shoes. (Damn. I wish I still had my red platform sandals. I wouldn't wear them for the wedding, I just really REALLY wish I still had them. Cause there's just nothing like a 6'2" Fuego.) While I have never injured myself while wearing high heels, I have a certain amount of paranoia concerning my ankles. I've sprained both of them too many times and I'd really prefer not to ever do that again. I'd rather have one run over by a car.

No, seriously. The Mustang running over my ankle hurt considerably less than any of the times I've ever sprained one.

And yesterday, I got a sketchpad and some drawing pencils (the all-graphite, no-wood, really heavy kind) and today whilst tethered to my desk, I started sketching a bit.

Methinks that butterfly wings with knives jutting out all over will be easier to draw than I previously thought. If only I could decide on the precise shape of the wings themselves. Well, I can decide...but I haven't really been able to draw them. They keep looking like crescent moons.

And last night, I found myself made the leader of the Interfaith Fairness Coalition's Gay Pride Week Interfaith Service Sub-Committee. (Yeah, you know what they say, the longer the title, the less important the job) Well, it sorta happened by default. One person has too many health problems, the other is on our little sub-committee in a specific, limited capacity.

Lucky for me, that specific, limited capacity involves him doing a large chunk of the work. And someone else has volunteered to do another large chunk of work. (It's not that I wouldn't be willing to do any of it, I just don't have the information necessary. Or free weekdays. So I get to um...think of a theme or something? I think it also involves some public speaking on my part the day of.

I've always wanted to be a figurehead. (Or not, really. I just felt like saying "figurehead".)

Looks like the weather is slowly starting to improve. All I gotta say is hell if I'm leading another ritual through gale-force winds a la Samhain or torrential downpours much like Midsummer.

I'm difficult like that.

Uhg. It's 10? I need to charge my ipod. I should go to sleep a bit earlier than I have the last 2 nights. Hopefully I'll sleep a full night.

Speaking of next week, I still have to write stuff. Invocations. Seasonal lore. Meditation. And the last couple of pieces of my blasted DP. I've got my dedicant's oath somewhat figured out. I keep forgetting that I have my book reviews mostly-written. I just have to get them off of the cd they're on.
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Some time ago, after setting up my altar to Hestia, I started putting my keys there, and sometimes rent or utility money when I needed to keep it separate but it wasn't time to actually pay it yet. At first, I was a little baffled. I wondered whatever possessed me to put such things on my altar, and when I went to put them there I would often quickly catch myself and remove them right away. Sure, it's a shelf right beside my bedroom door, things are highly visible there. But I never put them there before I started using that shelf as an altar. After a while though, It started to make sense in a way. Altar to Hestia, rent money, house keys...ok, those things all go together. I eventually stopped feeling like I was doing something sacrilegious by putting those things there and went with it.

A while ago, Pier One imports had these plates that I loved. Clear glass plates with red/pink/bronze painted metallic backs. I just wanted one because they were so pretty. But they were also like $20 apiece. And then one day I went in and they were on clearance. There were two left and they were like 3.75 each. So I grabbed one. No idea what I was going to do with it. I eventually decided to just put it on the altar- I didn't really have a reason for it. A few days later, I was getting ready to go to bed, I took the jewelery that I was wearing off and put it on the plate. Again, it seemed weird- up to this point, I had been putting my jewelery on the wooden ledge that goes around my room, which is just the same height as my bed. No idea why I did that. I removed it and put it on the ledge again. The next night I did the same thing. After about 3 nights, I gave up and started leaving my jewelery on the plate on the altar at night. About this same time, my day to day jewelery became more uniform. Rings- chalcedony, apatite, iolite (ad since I've found it again, garnet) I used to wear it only once in a great while, but I now wear my moonstone and iolite bracelet every day, as well as my flame and labradorite necklaces. My moonstone ring, for the moment, seems to just be living on that plate. I put them on the plate, then I light a couple of sticks of incense before I go to bed at night, and in the morning, usually the last thing I do before I go downstairs to leave is to put the same jewelery back on. Sometimes I just grab it and put it on as I'm walking out. I've only failed to do this once, I realized it when I was walking down St. Paul on my way to the train and all day I felt naked.
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For two and a half years now I've been involved with the grove. I've attended every ritual and almost every other gathering that's taken place. There's been one aspect that I've really appreciated from the beginning, but lately I've been having mixed feelings.

That is humor and silliness. This isn't to say that I no longer appreciate them, and the fact that this religion allows such possibility for humor. I'm starting to feel somewhat of an aversion to humor in ritual. I don't know why.

I've said this before...not here, but in conversations with some people. I think I'm a bit of a ritual junkie. I like writing ritual, leading them, just being part of them in general. It's a very sad thing me when I don't feel like I can be part for whatever reason. Imbolc was one of those.

As I've said, silliness is the other thing. The farther I go along, the less interested I am in silly rituals or silliness in ritual. I start to feel like I'm missing something. Sometimes I find it distracting but more than that, I think it's just not the type of religious experience that I need.

Why has this suddenly become an issue? I don't know. Well, it's not so sudden really. It's been creeping up on my mind from time to time for some months now. But...why? Have I suddenly reached a point where I'm past a general desire or need for humor in ritual? Is it related to the nature of the god I worship? (That brings to mind another thought for another musing...) Likely some combination of things. I'm not particularly worried about the why's. I just need to figure out how I'm going to work with/around this. There is the obvious celebrating of rituals on my own, but solitary ritual does not fill the same need as group ritual for me. One thing I've been thinking of and even talking about for some time is organizing rituals for festivals other than the 8 neopagan days. It's not like there aren't plenty to pick from.

That said, adapting Thargelia to ADF format is an interesting process. I think it will be a very good ritual. I didn't get to post my notes to the grove forum today like I had planned to, but I can do that tomorrow evening in between working on the other computer (The XP machine, the one that just got working again last night, apparently is missing some file now and has decided to take a memory dump every time I attempt to turn it on. Computers hate me, it's official.)

In other news, I've found out that the client at work is talking about taking some of us up to Massachusetts to visit one of their offices and may end up using some of us as backup field techs when people are deployed to install some of the more major equipment. I've also been finding that it seems that they are going to trust a lot more to our judgement than giving us crazy regulations for every little thing we do like most other clients seem to do. I've met two people from the company so far and I really like them, especially the guy that's in this week, he's the supervisors for the level two techs up in Massachusetts. Very cool, very laid back, very "ask anything you want to know, tell me how I can help you guys learn this stuff." Actually started out this morning with "Well, I've got a ton of stuff that I can throw at you this week, but seriously, what do you want to cover?" The client hasn't given us a lot of stuff yet because they're asking for feedback on what we want and need. So far, everything we've asked for, as far as I can tell- especially when it comes to information- has been given or is in the process of being found out. Except that I still don't have my computer in the training room. However, I'm a bit hopeful...the company used to have a tradition of every training class having a meeting with the company founder/president. This meeting was a chance to ask anything (the only question that remained unanswered was his salary), express any concerns and problems, and talk a bit. Very infomal and laid back. This ended when he resigned and went to work elsewhere in the wake of Apple going south. insert boring details here. ) So Steve, the site director/VP of finance has carried on that tradition and my training class had just that meeting today. One of my coworkers, also without a computer, decided to air that particular complaint to Steve who expressed some worry about this and made a point of writing it down in his little book (Yes, I actually saw this written down, I was sitting right next to him as he did so.)

And another coworker has decided that he's going to teach me to speak Portuguese.

Time to sleep.


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July 2013



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