The Witch at the Bishop’s Ordination

Dear Friends,

So this week-end I got to attend the Ordination of a dear friend as a Bishop of the Independent Catholic Church.

Bishop W, and his husband G, are dear friends of ours and Jon and I catered their Wedding Reception as our gift to them upon that happy occasion.   They are both good men and dear friends and we have spent many a night socializing with them and getting into some interesting philosophical and theological conversations.

Jon was helping to record the Ordination Ceremony, and I spent much of the time in the Church Hall getting the hall ready for the festivities afterwards.  Mostly this was prepping some water and lemonade and lime drink, and setting tables and getting the food and desert trays ready.

We had been delayed getting into the rental Hall by another event, and so for the early part of the ceremony I was till in the hall getting things ready.  I got to a reasonable stopping point, and felt the urge to hurry over to the Church itself for the ceremony.

I had apparently arrived shortly after the key rites had begun. My friend W was kneeling before the assembled Bishops and other ICC Clergy who were there to perform the ceremony.  A large and ornate book, a Bible I would imagine, was held over W’s head and prayers and blessings were intoned and some of the officiating Bishops laid on hands upon W’s head.

I wasn’t surprised at the gathering sense of Power and Presence and Love… although as a Pagan and Witch with only limited experience of other Religious ceremonies I am always intrigued with the experience of Power and Powers in other traditions.

I was struck by both the beauty, the power, the unfamiliarity, and the irony of the moment….

My own journey of the last few years as a Pagan and Witch and Unitarian Universalist has been one of coming to terms with Christianity and the Abrahamic faiths as someone who only recently realized that despite being unchurched as a boy and young man that I held some deep resentments of Christianity, and Christians, and Christ.   Ironically it was joining a U.U. congregations that began my rapprochement with Christianity and Christ and Jehovah.

Fundamentalists of both the Christian and Pagan stripe will be horrified to learn that in those transforming moments where Power and Holy Spirit flowed into, through, and around my once and future friend I felt Love and Peace.  I was neither driven back, nor disturbed by or harmed in any way by the experience; nor was a some how transformed into a Christian or shown in any way that my own path or faith was somehow less or wrong.

I felt my Heart Chakra open, like a flower blooming in the light of the sun.  I felt the quiet but sure Presence of Herne in the back of my head watching over me.  I felt the cross-roads currents flowing into and around the Altar.

I watched as my friend, now the Bishop, stood and was Mitered and Robed, and given the regalia of his office.  Even though I haven’t been to even one Service conducted by then Father W, I could see and sense the transformation upon him as the newly anointed Bishop performed the rite of the Eucharist.

For a moment, I did find myself wondering if it would be all right if I partook of the Communion… but, I am not a Christian.  That is not my Mystery to partake of.

I went back to the Hall and finished prepping things, and had a wonderful afternoon socializing with a few old friends present, and making some new ones.  The day ended at W and G’s home, with a few of us noshing and drinking and enjoying some good discussion.

In all, an interesting Week-end.

Peace,

Pax

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A Lesson of Hestia

Dear Friends,

So The Fabulous Jonathan and I recently got ourselves a Slow-Cooker.  I spent Monday, one of my two days off from work, doing some research and planning and shopping for ingredients for a slow-cooker Chilli recipe.

Also sometime Monday, I discovered that the Facebook Group the Society For The Protection and Promotion of Polytheism had posted a fabulous picture of fire, and a delightful quote of unknown attribution.

Photographer Unknown as yet..

photographer unknown

‘I remember one time a guy at school overheard me reading about the Gods and saw an entry about Hestia. This guy asked me, “What is Hestia?” I still remember saying, “The thing I love about fire is that it is prevalent in all religions. The reason why it is in every religion is because it symbolizes the human soul, our ability to know and do what is right in times of conflict. Fire brings warmth and light; it unites people and allows them to be gracious and joyful. Fire represents a universal truth, older than any religion on Earth and that truth is compassion, selflessness and generosity. That is Hestia.”’   ~author unknown

This post struck me quite close to the heart.  I was recently asked by Reverend Kathy to start a team of folks to help provide kitchen and culinary skill and know-how for groups and events at 1U Orlando.  Then too, Hospitality is a value very dear to my heart and entwined with my everyday life.

So when I woke up Tuesday morning, after some coffee, I lit the tea-light candle in the Soapstone Oil Warmer that I use as a simple altar to Hestia, sitting on the kitchen windowsill.   Then I started to worship Her in the simplest and most ancient of ways.  I began to cook.  I prepared some chilli for myself and my beloved, and thought of ways to share what culinary gifts I have with my family and friends and community.

I trimmed the beef Chuck roast, and cubed it.  I browned the meat.  As I was prepping some of the ingredients I engaged in my ongoing fantasy of being a cooking show host.  I diced an onion and a green bell pepper, thinking about my neglected knife skills as I did so.  My classes at the Orlando Le Cordon Bleu focused mainly on Restaurant and Hospitality Management with only a couple of basic and broad-strokes Culinary classes… my knife skills are not the sharpest.  But I can get the job done… It would be such a shame if people didn’t do something because they didn’t think they were good enough at it even if it is their first time…

“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good”

It wasn’t so much words, as the sense that this classic aphorism was blazing forth from my sub-conscious… the right idea at the right time… strongly nudged along by the act of worshipful cookery.

I found myself thinking about how often in life we can hesitate to do or make something because we want it to turn out just right.

I remember a conversation with my friend RavenMoon about how people will stop drawing because they think they are not any good because they can’t draw a realistic face or something, even though we cannot improve without practice, and even though it is the act of creating that is so nourishing to the mind and soul… who cares if you can’t draw a realistic face… neither did Picasso or Dali!

So I finished mixing the ingredients, fresh and canned, and set them to a slow sensual simmer in the slow-cooker for the next several hours of my workday.

Then, of course, I found myself with the dilemma that even as the chilli was in the slow-cooker, I was really craving some chilli right now!  So I spent some time thinking about patience and gratification and self-control.

So often we hesitate to give ourselves over to creative processes because we want an instant fix of because we can’t do something “right” the first time… but I truly believe that when we ware giving ourselves over to an act of creation, that we begin to more closely relate to the powers which created our Universe, to the Holy Powers of Creation.

So now I am writing, stumbling and humbly, about creativity and touching the face of Creation.  I am planning my next meal, and my next batch of Chilli….

What do you do to touch the World Soul?  What art or skill nurtures and nourishes your mind and spirit and relationship  with the fabulously holy cosmos of ours?

Peace,

Pax

PS- as an added bonus…

The Evolving Chili Recipe for Pax’s Texas Style Slow-Cooker Chilli

Ingredients:

At least 1 and 1/2 lbs of Beef Chuck Roast

1 – 12oz bag of dried Kidney Beans

2 cans diced tomatoes

(or dice em fresh, but I’ve got a tiny kitchen and limited free time)

2 cans beans in Chilli sauce (not canned pre-made chilli, but beans in a chilli sauce)

1 large Onion

1 large Bell pepper

1 packet Chilli Seasoning

(eventually I’d like to make my own mix of spices and herbs, but with a tiny Kitchen, the mixes while higher in salt that making your own, are a blessing)

Process:

The night before wash, rinse, and boil the dried Kidney Beans and soak overnight.

The next day take your Beef and cut it into bite sized pieces, fry in a pan to brown the outsides.  Drain the liquid and put the meat in the crock.

Dice your Onion and Pepper and into the crock with them as well.

Open the cans of tomatoes, drain them, and put them in.

Open and add the canned beans in Chilli sauce.

Add the Kidney beans and a cup or two of the soaking liquid.

Add Chilli Seasoning.

Set slow-cooker for your required time, I prefer a low and slow approach especially since I am doing this before heading to work.

Hours later, enjoy with some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and Corn Bread !

A note about some of the upcoming posts…

Dear Friends,

I am back…

I will be writing a number of basic posts about basic Spiritual Practices, as part of a project to rebuild my Spiritual Practices page.  Longtime friends of the blog may remember that I used to have an very long piece on that page… but I realized that it can be very difficult to edit a really really long document, for me at least.  So I am going to do smaller posts to the blog that the Spiritual Practices page will link to.

This will not only make it a much easier to search and use for a Seeker.   This approach will also make it easier for me to edit the pieces and parts of what may eventually be a published work on Spiritual Practices for Seekers and Pagans.

Peace

Pax

On the Blessing of Water

Dear Friends,

It starts with taking a few deep breaths as I Ground and Center.

After a few deep breaths, I connect to the world around me.  I feel the air and energy flowing upon my breath,  I open my senses to the sights and sounds and smells and sensations around me.  I let my breath and my energy link me through the soles of my feet to the Earth, through my hands to the water in the bottle or decanter I am holding, through the crown of my head to connect with divinity.

“I Cleanse Thee, I Consecrate Thee, I Charge Thee, Oh, Creature of Water.

I cast out of thee all impurities, that with thee I may work wonders and worship.

By the Holy Mother In Whom we live, move, and have our being, Blessed Be!

By the Holy Father Who lives, moves, and has being in every atom, every cell, and every soul, Blessed Be!”

Then Libations are poured, the blessing is repeated as needed and the full decanter or bottle is place in the refridgerator.

This Blessed or Holy Water is used for libations, and drinking, and sometimes cooking.

The interesting thing I’ve learned from this practice is how the act of blessing is, in itself, a blessing.  When I do this I am better connected to the Gods, and to the best of myself.

This same process is one I use to bless wine, or ingredients for meals.  Obviously, if I am blessing, say Coffee… I would say ‘creature of water and earth’… or Salt it is ‘creature of earth’ …

Peace,

Pax

Hey there folks!

Dear Friends,

So today was my first day off in the New Year.  The scents of Sandalwood and Palo Santo and Indian Temple Incense have been wafting through the house, offerings of incense and coffee and spiced wine have been made.  I have spent the day puttering around, cleaning things up a bit, and reading some new religious books, and playing around online.

I am trying to take stock of the previous years, and look to what I want to do in the coming year…

I set aside a lot of myself in service to my job in the last year.  The false hopes of a promotion and a tremendous amount of drama at the job.    I set aside my spiritual quest and my writing and a large part of what makes me,  That ends now.

I have been trying to reconnect to my spiritual practices and my faith and my Gods, and Ancestors, and Spirits.  Offering of incense and various libations.  Breathing deeply and blessing water and relating to the Household Spirits and the Ancestors.

Peace,

Pax