The Hearth is the first Altar of the House

Dear Friends,

So The Fabulous Jonathan and I have moved into a place of our own.  We have set up the kitchen and pantry and the bathroom and are getting the bedroom more livable.  The main area of the apartment is largely still boxes, boxes, and more boxes… but we are looking at thrift stores and discount barns for furniture and furnishings to turn our house into a home.   We have been geeking out over having a kitchen of our own, and have made offerings unto the Holy Powers and unto the Holy Powers of The Hearthside.

I have been doing some of my daily prayers and spiritual practices in our slightly-larger-than-a-galley-kitchen and lighting the Bridget candle left over from the Imbolc I hosted daily, and otherwise reveling in having a hearth.  The tall Mason jars with Crown of Success Oil and some blessed Salt sit in the tiled window sill, along with a smaller jar for egg-shells for grinding into powder later, and a small jar of forien coins and the properity powder.  I’ve also taken to lighting the Money Drawing and Success candles daily as time permits. 

I strained the Crown of Success removing the many months steeped Bay leaves and Vetiver and Frankincense Resin and a few other goodies, and fished out the pyrite and replaced it in the now dark oil.  I added some powdered Sandalwood incense and will be adding more Frankincense and Vetiver and Bay as time and budget allows. 

There’s still room on the Window sill for a couple more carefully sellected jars, perhaps some 4 Theives Vinegar and some Rosemary oil?

TFJ and I have been thinking a lot about how to set up our apartment and make it a home.  We took my old book-case and with the addition of some rectangular rubbermaid containers and interesting jars and baskets and plastic milk-crates have turned it into a fabulous apartment pantry.  Tonight we have returned from our first road trip out to Titusville on the Space Coast (Central Floridian for the Atlantic Coast) picking up a dining table and some chairs.

All this home-building activity, and our plans to find a good table/cabinet/something to turn into a formal altar.  I look forward to that, and do think it is important, yet I also am finding myself thinking about the nature of the Kitchen/Hearth and how it really is the cheif altar of a home.

The altar, in ancient times and in many cultures, was where Sacrifices were made to the Gods.  Animals would be brought to it, quickly and mercifully (as is possible) slaughtered and butchered with the Worshipers being fed and the Gods being fed their appropriate portions.  Worship as a shared meal and as a relationship of hospitality between mortal and God.   Religion as a hospitable relationship… religion as a coming together with ones family and friends and neighbors and with the Holy Powers in all their many forms … Gods and Spirits and Ancestors. 

I think that religion, any religion, is at its best when it is about engaging in the relationships of beloved community within its own covens and groves and kindreds and congregations and fellowships; and when the focus is as much on the right relationships between members, between members and the larger community, and between members and the many Holy Powers.

So I in service to that, each day I am speaking my prayers and saying my thinks to the Holy Powers of the Hearth.  Engaging in the work and spiritual practice I feel called to and contemplating ways in which I might better honor myself, my loved ones, and The Holy Powers.

In lighting the Brighid candle (She has many names and spellings, for those not familiar with Her) today I realized that I need to find the right ceramic incense-warmer’s… one of the one with the little oven like space for a tea light and then a dish for incense… to be a way of ritually recognizing Hestia.   I have also been thinking about what I would put into a Ktesios Jar to honor Zeus Ktesios, Zeus in His aspect as Lord of The Household and the Good Provider.

Once we have things set up and the place is cleaned and boxes are either unpacked or stored properly, when we have some furniture and a house-hold altar we will be doing some formal house-blessings before having a house-warming party or two.  I am looking forward to making my home a place were my family and friends and The Holy Powers are all welcome in equal measure.

Peace,

Pax

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Stress and the Practicing Pagan

I Breath the Breath of Life, in through the nose, out through the mouth, and I begin…

Dear Friends,

So I am under a lot of stress lately, and will be welcoming any prayers/energy/loving-kindness sent my way.  I am dealing with some unpleasant, manipulative, and in at least one case incandescently mentally ill (and fixating her hate on me) people.  Then too, things have been very hectic at work, and lately my longstanding habit of waking up to news/NPR has been a little hard on my spirit this year…

Challenges and trials, and blessings.

Sometimes, in the face of trial and turmoil, all you have is yourself and your practice.  Even if you have loved ones who are there fore you, there are times in life where people and situations in your life are putting you under such pressure that you almost go into a retreat mode.  This impulse is, at once, a healthy and potentially dangerous place.  Here the escapism of a few hours of online gaming or of a glass of wine can dance along a precipice of days lost to gaming or drinking and sleep and diving into unhealthy habits and addictions and distractions until the other parts of your life in a shambles.

We seem to live in a world so full, sometimes of distractions… so what to do?

Breathe. Breathe deeply the Breath of Life.   Ask yourself,

“What fortifies you?  What sustains you?”

For me it has been daily devotions of prayer, and breathing into my Chakra’s, and Cleansing my Life Force.  Prayers, like my daily prayer, and special prayers of greeting to The WitchFather,  and Cleansing the Life Force…  and sometimes remembering to breath even Six changing breaths and Grounding and connecting with all Creation around me.  Staying with my commitments at Church and trying to sort out my own head and heart.

I haven’t blogged about the troubles here, or written of them elsewhere, because they are some complex and in some cases very personal ones.  Also I didn’t want to simply foist my burden onto my fellow mortals until I had gained some perspective and a sense guidance from the Holy Powers.  As I began to have a sense of guidance, or of clarity about the situations I found myself in, I began to reach out to some of my local friends and acquaintances who were here in the ground in Orlando… sometimes a face-to-face heart-to-heart with a friend is much easier than a cross-continental phone call or online chat.

Breathe deeply, nurture your soul, seek what fortifies your mind and spirit and body, seek what sustains you rather than what entertains you or distracts you.

(Not that entertainment and distraction are wholely bad, but they can be ~and all to often in the overculture are~ overdone)

Seek Clarity, Seek Connections.

I have some of that, and have found a way to change some of the situations for the better.

I thank the Holy Powers for their Blessings,

I thank The Honored and Beloved Dead, for Lessons good and bad, for I have tried to learn from both,

I thank the Spirits of the Wide World Around Us, for their friendship or avoidance as is appropriate,

I thank my dear friends, those I turned to and those I held in reserve, or was simply inspired by,

Thanks and Blessings unto You All.

Peace, and Thank you dear readers!

Pax / Geoffrey

Chrysalis Classics and notes on writing about the journey

Hey Friends,

So I have added (or actually moved and updated) a page called Chrysalis Classics, which you can see in the navigation bars.  These are pieces I think represent some of my better writing and are ideas I may revisit, or are pieces that are somehow touchstones for me.  I am also thinking of committing publication, using some of those essay’s as starting off points, so I would appreciate some feedback.

I had mentioned work on a book about meditation, and it’s not coming together yet, partly because it is a practice I have a lot of trouble with.  Then too, some of this is admittedly that roughly June through September are a mad-house time in the Hosptality industry in Florida… some of it.  There were also the deaths and grief and some personal and work dramas that have lurched through my Summertime 2011.   It’s interesting really… back in Alaska, Winter is the Season to be endured; increasingly here in Florida, especially for me lately, Summer has been the time to endure and perservere until Autumn once again brings its healing balm back to the land and my life.

Along with poor parched Florida I am feeling nourished by the recent rains in the Orlando area.  I am feeling some rant’s come on me again, and the stirrings of my Muse as I begin to not only have a little more time to think and write, but also come out of a trance of griefs.  I have wrestled with those dangerious spirits of Should-have… and Could-have…  and Why-didn’t-I…   There’s been survivor’s guilt and drama and mind games and feeling tossed around and a bunch of needless fear.  In my sadness I’d forgotten some of myself, but I’ve not only remembered but with all the wrestling and swimming in the currents has come new realizations and understanding and some evolutions in my daily practice and my relationship with Him.

Anyhow, take a look at the Chrysalis Classics and the Spiritual Practice and the Definitions pages cause I am feeling lately like several of these have been pre-writing for ~something~, and would dearly like some feedback.

Peace,

Pax

PS- if any of my reader’s is familiar with the Botanica pharmecopia (as it were) is there an equivalent to Fiery Wall of Protection Oil?  There an authentic and very reasonably priced Botanica not too far from where I work and they have a marvelous selection of oils and waters, but they are all labelled in Spanish and while the pictures on such things are always evocative they are not always informative and the folks running the place didn’t know what Fiery Wall of Protection Oil was so I don’t think there’s a direct equivalent… any ideas?