I have just discovered the website Symphony of Science, thanks to Jason. This is the first of the pieces, it starts out a little strange seeming at first, but check it out, give it a chance and nurture your mind and soul…
So the March Equinox passed with only a few brief prayers from yours truly, work and the mad rush of days conspired against anything deeper for Ostara… I was also a little moody and distracted this week, for a number of reasons, and distracted by some up-in-the-air things at work, and then too Sunday the 27th was my birthday.
Saturday night I was lured out of my lair by The Fabulous Jonathan to watch the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Parade at the park, after a brief but spectacular fit of moody-bastardy on yours truly’s part, need to work on those control issues of mine some more it seems. I eventually went out and had a very nice time with Jonathan and his mom Kathleeen. TFJ and I rode The Mummy, a requirement of any park pilgrimage, and then went back to where his mom had parked herself in the handicapped parade watching spot and enjoyed the imitation spectacle of it all. I didn’t actually catch any beads, although I did get slapped in the face by a set… that counts doesn’t it? (I kept trying to get Jonathan to show them his tits in an effort to get more beads, but he balked and alleged shyness.) The Krewe of Dionysus float was especially festive this year as was King Gator. Jonathan and I have promised one another that someday we will journey to someplace that does a genuine Mardi Gras parade and see a real one.
Then it was work on the overnight at the motel, then a brief nap and off to 1U, my local U.U. Church, for my regular Ushering shift, and some socialization with folks there and then I was taken out by my dear friend Sandi for the new and delightful experience of Vietnamese food. Sandi is a retiree who became my first friend at Church and occasional pew-buddy, has unofficially adopted a number of us at Church and we are all very blessed for it. Sandi and I have been working together on the food/catering committee for the upcoming U.U. Florida Disctrict Assembly coming up in April and as a consequence a number of us on the foods committee have ended up lunching together each Friday and discovered a shared delight in culinary arts and exploration… thanks to them I have discovered some fabulous local restaurants I might not have known about otherwise… including a nice Middle Eastern Deli and a fantabulous Thai Restaurant… and now a Vietnamese place.
I’d never had Vietnamese food before, and Sandi was my guide as I tried a fantastic Beef Noodle Soup… “Pho” something-something…. (here’s where being bad with names is a big hindrance) … and some Summer Roll (which are the uncooked, wrapped in rice-dough, rolls I knew as Spring Rolls in Anchorage…) … and dish which featured a very yummy sauce and vegies and shrimp and chicken with some wedges of fried noodle cakes. I find Vietnamese food hard to describe but insidiously delicious!
Jonathan, however is a strictly “Chinese” Buffet man… despite this deep flaw in his character I love him still.
So after Lunch I came home, passed out for a while, woke up and responded to numerous Facebook birthday greetings and called some of my family and friends. Then more sleep.
Today, I woke up to thunder in the distance and the sounds of rain. There is a much welcomed and blessed and needed rain falling intermittently today, and projected to continue throughout the week. Florida has had intermittent but ongoing drought issues for the last few years, so any extended period of rain is to be welcomed…
I have been contemplating the sporadic nature of my devotions and spiritual practices of late, partly as the seasons change and partly as I have recently filled my journal and am starting on a new one. I have reserved the first 9 pages or so of the new journal (gifted to me Christmas of ’09 by TFJ’s mom) for notes for myself about my goals and needs and desires and hopes moving forward… and that plus the review of the previous journal has given me some food for thought and a nudge about practice and devotion…
So I have lit the candles on my altar, and poured an offering or water to the Gods and Guardian Spirits of my home. The Money Candle has been cleaned and lit so the flame shines through the silver and gold lines of ink script on the glass, the Bridhid Candle from Imbolc has been lit, my Chalice is lit (it’s a U.U. thing my dear Pagans….), and a trio of black votives are lit before Hecate’s altar-shelf.
A cup of water, a dish of rice, and some Lavendar mixed with Frankincense and Myrrh and Copal, have been placed by the open windows, offered to the cleansing and healing and nourishing rains and winds and weather.
Rest and contemplation before game tonight, and then some much needed paperwork and maybe some professional development or some work on the some of my writing projects.
So this list has been making the rounds of my local Interwebs…. It has been sticking in my mind, and I was somehow reminded of a fabulous quiz that Evn did…
SO, I want to know what you see in the following quote? Replies, observations, problems, counterpoints?
“Spirituality Versus Religion
SPIRITUALITY SAYS THAT GOD IS WITHIN US AND THAT WE DON’T NEED ANYONE ELSE TO MAKE THAT DIVINE CONNECTION FOR US
RELIGION SAYS THAT WE ARE SEPARATED FROM GOD AND THAT WE NEED “THEM” TO MAKE THAT DIVINE CONNECTION
SPIRITUALITY SAYS THAT WE ARE FREE TO MAKE CHOICES ON OUR OWN AND THAT WE MUST TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR ACTIONS
RELIGION SAYS WE MUST MAKE THEIR CHOICES AND ACT THEIR WAY
THE THEME OF SPIRITUALITY IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
THE THEME OF RELIGION IS FEAR AND GUILT
SPIRITUALITY DOES NOT REQUIRE US TO MAKE DONATIONS
RELIGION HAS BECOME BIG BUSINESS
SPIRITUALITY SAYS THERE IS NO HELL, NO JUDGEMENT, NO ANGRY GOD… THAT WE ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY
RELIGION SAYS THERE IS A HELL, GOD GETS ANGRY AND JUDGES US… THEREFORE, WE ARE NOT LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE ARE FREE TO CHOOSE OUR OWN PATH TO GOD
RELIGION COMMANDS US TO DO IT THEIR WAY
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE GO TO GOD TO LIGHTEN OUR BURDEN
RELIGION HAS TAUGHT US TO FEAR THEIR GOD
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED OF OUR SEXUALITY… THAT IT SHOULD BE A SACRED CELEBRATION OF LOVE
RELIGION HAS TAUGHT US TO FEEL ASHAMED, GUILTY AND DIRTY ABOUT OUR SEXUALITY
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES US TO HONOR AND RESPECT MOTHER EARTH
RELIGION HAS TOLD US TO “BE THOU FRUITFUL, MULTIPLY AND SUBDUE THE EARTH” I REPEAT… “SUBDUE THE EARTH”
SPIRITUALITY REMINDS US THAT WE ARE ONE WITH GOD AND ONE WITH EACH OTHER
RELIGION TEACHES DISUNITY AND SEPARATION WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE OF GOD
SPIRITUALITY SAYS GOD IS WITHIN
RELIGION SAYS HE IS IN HEAVEN AND THAT “THEY” ARE THE ONLY INTERMEDIARIES FOR US
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE ARE BORN IN INNOCENCE AND PURITY
RELIGION SAYS WE ARE BORN WITH SIN
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES THAT WE ARE ON A LONG SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE AND JOURNEY WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY END BY REUNITING WITH OUR SOURCE
RELIGION SAYS WE’VE GOT ONE LIFE TO GET IT ALL RIGHT AND THERE IS NOTHING BUT HEAVEN OR HELL AFTER THAT
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE ARE FREE TO EXPRESS
RELIGION GAVE US THE DREADED INQUISITION
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR ALL
RELIGION GAVE US THE CRUSADES IN WHICH MANY WERE KILLED AND SLAUGHTERED IN THE NAME OF GOD
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES THAT WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER UNCONDITIONALLY AND ALWAYS HONOR THE RIGHTS AND CHOICES OF OTHERS
RELIGION TREATED NATIVE AMERICANS, THE MAYANS AND OTHER INDIGENOUS CULTURES AS SAVAGE PRIMITIVES WHO “MUST BE SAVED”
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES PEACE AND HARMONY
RELIGION HAS CAUSED MORE WARS AND MORE KILLING THAN ANY OTHER REASON
SPIRITUALITY SAYS RESPECT ALL LIVING THINGS
I NEVER ONCE HEARD ANY RELIGION SAY STOP SLAUGHTERING MILLIONS OF TREES EVERY YEAR FOR CHRIST’S BIRTHDAY
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES US TO HAVE FAITH IN OURSELVES
RELIGION TEACHES US TO HAVE FAITH IN THEM
SPIRITUALITY SAYS WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS… THAT WE CAN FIND THEM BY “GOING WITHIN”
RELIGION TEACHES US THAT IT HAS ALL THE ANSWERS AND ONLY ITS ANSWERS ARE THE RIGHT ONES
SPIRITUALITY TEACHES US TO SEARCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS AND OUR HEARTS WILL TELL US WHEN WE HAVE FOUND THEM
RELIGION TEACHES WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO ACCEPT THEIR VERSION OF THE TRUTH
WHICH ONE FEELS BETTER TO YOU? SPIRITUALITY OR RELIGION?
GO TO YOUR HEART FOR THE ANSWER IT WILL NEVER LIE TO YOU”
I awoke today feeling sad and emotionally tired, brittle, shaky, and on edge…. and instead of trying to cheer myself or distract myself… I just went with it. I meditated and prayed and went on with my day and worked. Still tired, still feeling blue, but I am also ok.
One of the lessons that the Universe has seen fit to share with me lately, in so many small and large ways, is that neither Religion nor Spiritual Practice are always fun or comfortable…. if they are something is very wrong! Religion should, as the old misquote goes, comfort the afflicted ~and~ afflict the comfortable. Spiritual Practice, if you are really pursuing it, should occasionally knock stuff loose that you have buried or need to deal with.
Then too, it is ok to not be happy all the time… there is this insidious idea that we should be happy and comfortable at all times and if we are not there is something wrong with us.. and that we should probably buy something or do something someone else wants us to do in order to get back to “normal”…
So I have sat with sadness today, and am still here… tomorrow/later today (ah, the joys of strange schedules and insomnia…) I will work on my practices and do some housework and get things ready to do a belated Circle… I shall shake the jars that need shaking and start the new journal/practice-log and talk to the Fabulous Jonathan and go in to work again tomorrow.
I am NOT much of a math geek, unfortunately. Unfortunately, because I not only know from personal experience that there is no knowledge that is not power, but because I have seen the deep and abiding love and wonder that those who are fluent in the language of mathematics carry with them in the world because of their fluency.
I caught a glimpse of this wonder, once, thanks to a combination of an excellent Professor and my first immersion in Witchcraft in my early to mid 20’s. The Professor was discussing some of the basic formulas and came to the area of a circle…
“The area of a circle is expressed as πr2…“
Suddenly, as he was speaking it ocurred to me that…
“Well, since Π (pi) is an infinite number, a Circle literally contains the infinite…”
Now, for the non-Pagan fluent in the audience, a Circle is one of the more widely popular ways of setting up worship/sacred space in the Witchcraft and Neo-Pagan segments of the Pagan community. A Circle is drawn, usually in the air or on the ground, around the worship space and various spirits are called or ideas invoked to orient the Circle in relation to the individuals or groups cosmology.
Needless to say then, the idea above rocked my young Witchy world…. sadly, not quite enough to dive into the rich and wonderful world of mathematics, but it was definitely a signpost on my own journey.
So I am going to wish you all a Happy (belated) Pi Day, and before I leave you today with a few videos to whet your intellectual appetites…
First, we have the (sadly un-embeddable on this blog ) video that inspired my musings on Pi and mathematics recently…
Wherein, a fabulously tallented young man briefly explains how numbers match up to Music and then performs a piece that attempts to musically express Pi to 32 decimals… describing it it sounds weird, watching it is sublime.
I conclude this with something that I feel should be a part of every Pagans curriculum…
Sannion posted recently about the evils of Social Networking and to a lesser degree the Internet… and on the one hand I can truly appreciate and understand where he’s coming from. I find myself bouncing inwardly off of his words…
“Every day I look out on a world grown stupider, crasser, less concerned with others, less aware of the higher imaginative realms.” ~Sannion in the above mentioned article
There is SO much anger and fear and hatred and division in the world… and it sometimes feels like wherever I turn they are infecting every aspect of life and discourse. It sometimes seems that the places where people interact online have become pits of anger and despair. It’s like Facebook, and the comments sections of blogs and pod-shows, and so many online places of potential connection and communication have become the 21st Century equivalent of shouting and throwing things at the television…
Or a virtual needle allowing us to escape the pains of our shared world for some inner illusory landscape.
Holy Powers how I do hear and feel those words, Sannion.
They echo many of my own thoughts and feelings lately. I have been wrestling with some dark nights of the soul, doubting my place and my worth and whether all of my journey hasn’t been just a fools dance. It can be easy to give in to the tides of anger and self-absorption and fear and crash against us all like tidal waves in this overculture of ours. So many tides and so many people caught up in them, and thrashing about looking to tear others down and apart rather than work to create.
It is hard not to be eroded by them both, sometimes.
There are also the podcasts, and the blogs, and the sense of sharing and community that can arise. Through the blogosphere and the Podkin and, yes, even through Facebook…. I have been blessed to make friends and connections with likeminded souls. Some of them have wandered off to parts unknown or suffered a sea change into things rich and strange; others are still out there and here in my life sharing and listening and giving spiritual fellowship to one another.
I was priveledged recently to be invited into a private, members only, blog; a spiritual fellowship group of sorts of like minded souls who are all far flung friends of a particular blogger and FB citizen who decided to gather together some of her dearest friends for a place of Listening and Care and Community.
We are the ones who chose how the Internet can be used, how are we using it? How are you Using it? How can we use it in our communities of faith and inter-faith and choice?
Some choose to use it as a tool to spread a message of Spiritual Practice and Liberation. Some give freely of their own time to try to share their hard won wisdom and a love of using information technology and library science as an offering to their community. Some work hard to share News and information that may be of interest to their larger communities. Some, burning with inspiration, seek to weave the tapestry of community of folks of similar experience and interests. Some folks gather together to try to share the words of wisdom and inspiration that nourish our minds and souls. Some stand up and use the Internet as a tool of caring and social action. Some use their wit and hard won wisdom to dive into scholarship and writings in honor of their Gods.
Some of us simply try to share our own journeys, rant and rave occasionally, and provide potentially useful resources to others.
Whom would you spotlight in a list like that above? What sort of examples would you add?
What sort of example will you be?
Peace and Curiosity,
Then too there are the countless lists and e-groups out their languishing for constructive discussion because of the worst behaviors and fanaticism of some of us… and yet, there too we have the power to choose….
So a new oil is on the windowsill and in the works.
Healing and health have been on my mind a lot lately as I am nearly overwhelmed with allergy issues, and I have run into a number of friends facing health issues. I am probably going to be lighting a (appropriately scented and dressed) candle for them.
Heal Me With Apples Oil
So far, that is.
I have the strong inkling that it is not done yet and I don’t have a precedent before me for this type of scented oil, although I am also getting the sense that I should try the same formula with vodka for a tincture. Working from inspiration and with what I have around the house…. and maybe doing a bit more research and some targeted shopping at the grocery store and various supply shops.
Using what you have and doing what works. It’s pretty basic really.
I have unilaterally decided that there is entirely to much anger and fist shaking and fear and fear-mongering in the world. I see blog posts and Facebook status messages full of woe and inevitably, when asked, the only thing a lot of these folks do with their outrage is vent it on their friends on FB or on their blog or what-not. If you ask them about how they spend their free-time trying to make the world a better place and to improve the social/political/cultural ill or situation that they’ve railed against; inevariably there is a litany of reasons why they couldn’t possibly spend time on this or that or the other.
I am going to start calling people on it.
For the record, I currently do what I can where I can to do good in the world. Sometimes that is sharing information, sometimes that is volunteering time to my U.U. faith community, sometimes that is blogging about practice and work, sometimes it is work at the Pagan Newswire Collective, sometimes it is engaging in religious and spiritual fellowship in support of some of my friends and fellow Pagans and U.U.’s – either in person or online.
When I have money, and as an adult who has lived at or bellow the poverty line his entire adult life and who may have to work till the day I die just to get by that is all to infrequently, I give to causes I believe in. When my jobs allow me I volunteer my time working for causes I believe in, at least I used too… I kind of lost my way for a few years on that score, and lost sight of my self along the way, but I am getting back together on that score….
For now, I am content to hold myself together in balance and seek Spirit. I am content, for now, to lend my hand or voice to another in need of reassurance or nurturing. I am content to do these things as I look for ways to do more, hoping… to lend or inspire in many others the strength to change a world that seems so off the rails to me.
For now, I seek to stabilize and improve my own situation.
And for now, I am going to start calling people on spewing rage or mongering fear whilst assuming their own helplessness.
I would appreciate your prayers, your thoughts and words of encouragement, and what blessings you may give.
So I have, as you can see, played the format of the blog a bit. Partly my eyes are very fatigued and irritable due to allergy issues. The City Beautiful it it’s environs are swathed in an almost ridiculous level of pollen this year, and I am feeling particularly under the pollen about it!
For those of you who want a dark print on light background, or who don’t dig the excess stuff on the sides the new Readability App site has some very useful tools!
You will note that currently only the main page and the online resources has all the additional links and stuff on the side. I will be working and re-working content on some of the pages as I am able, and those two pages seem to me to make the most sense to have the other links and buttons and stuff.
Hope you are all having a wonderful week,
Sadly, of course, I don’t actually have a Still Room of my very own. In any case I suspect that when I do have an apartment of my very own that it will blend together with the Kitchen, which really blends my Craft and my Culinary interests together nicely and I think serves well for a 21st Century Witch.
Anyhow, I’ve made mention of a recent surge of practical Witchery on my part recently, and figured I’d post an update.
Crown of Success
I transferred the Crown of Success Oil to a new jar, removed the old Bay Leafs and tried to keep the ground Frankincense. I put the glass jar and oil into the Microwave and hit the 30 second button a couple of times to heat the oil. I cut some new, dried Bay leaves, into fine pieces and added them to the heated oil. I ground more Frankincense, and some Vetivert, and stuffed them into the jar and the hot oil, I added a little more Olive Oil.
The jar is quite literally stuffed to the gills with herbs. I added more Olive Oil in part to replenish what I had used in making some CoS for the Fabulous Jonathan, and in part because the mossy mass of herbs and resin was above the level of the oil… and since I am trying to scent the oil and not oil the herbs it seemed apropos to bring the oil level up a little.
Finally, after reflection, I transferred the whole oily-mossy mess to a jar twice as large as the first, and added a little more oil… so that the consistency was more of a sauce and less of a paste.
I’ve shaken the jars, contemplating their green-gold depths and observing the Brownian dance of the suspension and settling of the herbs and resins. Now comes the hard part, the waiting. Shaking the jar daily, sitting it in a window-sill to warm in the Sun… or perhaps 30 seconds in the microwave on some days…. contemplating successes and praying over the oil.
Crown of Success, like a lot of the conditioning oils from American folk magic and Hood00, is a scented oil product used as a perfume, an additive to baths, to sachet-like mojo-bags, and to dress candles for burning in spells. From my research it seems like a lot of these oils will have very different blends of ingredients depending on the maker; but there are usually some standard items in each formula. For Crown of Success these seem to be Frankincense and Bay, so those are the predominant ingredients.
In doing the quick, essential oils, version I wrote about in the previous post I discovered the scent of Vetivert. I rather like its smokey scent and so added some dried Vetivert to the mix as well.
Pax’s Prosperity Powder
I was feeling the need for a non-scented oil prosperity spell stuff, and decided to throw something together last week. I had a box of a popular Chamomile tea and remembered that Chamomile was widely regarded as a good luck and prosperity herb… and as I read the other ingredients in the tea blend I discovered to my delight that several of them had associations with prosperity and luck and other useful associations! I added a little Mint to the mix, and then using the coffee-grinder (aka 21st Century Mortar and Pestle) I grown down some White Rice. This resulted in a nice little powder to which I have added a few drops of essential oil of Vetivert and some essential oil of Texas Cedarwood.
The Instructive Power of Looking at the Ingredients
This has led me to think and look at the ingredients in a number of the herb and spice mixes I have in my small portion of the Kitchen. (the joys of living with a room-mate!)
I have been comparing notes between the magickal and medicinal associations for some things and learning a lot and finding I have a lot more tools at my disposal than I realized. I am also finding the strange confluences and coincidences of meaning and symbolism, how certain herb blends or teas have combinations of ingredients that have one set of herbalism associations and another of herb magic associations and where the twain meet.
I held off of actually practicing spell-craft or herbalism for a long time because for a long time I did not have an apartment with a Kitchen… Unfortunately I also was holding off from practicing things like decent nutrition… so I am now working on a lot of things at once and juggling them in the air and growing and learning and having a lot of fun.
All of this may seem silly or superstitious or surreal to those unfamiliar with the embodied spirituality of Paganism, or the study of the spiritual practice of magick.
If so, look at it this way….
I will meditate on Success daily, I will put my energy and thoughts towards efforts to bring more stability and security in my life both financial and personal. I can alternate the sessions of worrying the jar with sessions of working on my resume, meditating on where I have room for improvement at work, adding to my LinkedIn profile, researching suppliers for scented oil bottles, and business liscense requirements.
When I use the oil, or when my friends whom I gift portions of it too use it, we will remember the good wishes and thought that went into it. We will think about our own definitions of success and our goals and methods for getting there. We will fortify ourselves with knowledge of reaching our goals, and with the knowledge that a little change in our attitude or behavior can make all the difference.
We will remember that the Sacred is all around us, and within us.
The physical is sacred and as infused with the Holy as anything else.