Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birth and Death, Life and Joy all meet and become one.

I went to Daughters of the Moon for the third time this year.  Daughters is a festival for women and shares Goddess Spirituality principles, craft classes, yoga, swaps crafts that you make, re acquaints you with old friends and introduces you to new people.  Daughters calls down Avalon for a weekend, or lets you dance with Artemis, you can learn about Sexuality and creation from Isis, or you can Realize you are Hathor, you will learn how to be by yourself, like yourself, and respect yourself.  You will come to realize all people have body issues but in the eyes of your sisters you are not criticized but glorified and blessed.

 We all stay for three nights in the woods in various cabins that look like Lodge halls.  You decorate your room if you want (because some women just love doing this) or you can just decorate your whole Lodge hall like we Temple women did with Columns of Goddesses and the Temple Flag whipping in the wind.  Most likely you will stay within your comfort zone in your cabin and get to spend the night with your girlfriends laughing and talking all night like you were 8...but sometimes you venture out of your box and stay with complete strangers I have done both.

We do zany things like decorate discarded bras and then make them beautiful again so we wear them.  We sing "I got the Maiden Mother Crone in my bra!"  We go on journeys to far away places and meet places inside ourselves we are too busy to acknowledge most of the time.  You take part in workshops about scrying, learn how to puuja (a beautiful prayer opening ceremony led by Leela our Hindu Crone Priestess).  You walk in a labyrinth sometimes, or learn how to read tea leaves.  One year we had a discussion about organic foods, and every year we have fun with henna!  There are drums, and singing...and dancing spontaneously breaks out.  Every woman brings something for lunch, something for breakfast, some snacks...and Steak Dinner as a feast is provided on the last night.

When it is time to leave, we pack our things, sweep out our cabins, take turns cleaning out bathrooms and dining halls.  Then we gather together for closing ritual thank our ancestors, mark our faces with women symbols then take a picture so that we know that for posterity this gathering is important.  We all leave crying, hugging, laughing, and promising to call or text...but we know there will never be another time for us like this until Daughters rolls around the next year.

I am sure we all have fun in the workshops painting our nails, or giving facials.  I am positive we all like buying new blue clothing for the weekend; confidentially I can say decorating ourselves in bold and courageous ways we could never don in the corporate world makes us all glow....BUT what makes DOM special is everything all wadded together wrapped with the bodies of all our various sizes, colors and personalities, and donned with the bow of the Goddess.

IF you have a chance to ever go to a women's only retreat dude you should so go!  If you want to start something small like this in your little town...YOU should do it!  This started 13 years ago with about that many women and this year we had over 80!!!

Women need women, to share everything with good and bad....Women need encouragement and to realize that they share SO much and can learn and laugh with each other so much better than they can alone.....

Thank you ISIS for a wonderful year, and thank you Daughters of the Moon for feeding my soul for one more year.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

She looked at them like she could walk right through them

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

Witch wars, burning a witch, gossip, envy, arguments, drama.  Yep, we pagans have that in our community.  Just recently I noticed a Highpriestess had authored a book giving advice about WITCH WARS; in fact she named the book just that...Witch wars. While I have not read the book yet, I did download a free copy of it.  I like books, I live in a community (that is in my home alot) and I wanted to read from someone else's perspective how to handle things like "witch wars".

I have a student in my class this year (the third degree class) who believes it is her personal mission in life to "spread peace".  While that sounds broad and at times "hippy dippy naive" the message is beautiful and if we could just apply that in all of our one on one interaction everyday well there would be NO Witch wars.  When I was younger, I rolled my eyes at people that prayed for "no war" while still listening to John Lennon but still could not wrap my head around the concept of NO WAR.

Let us be honest I was born while Vietnam was still happening (Paris 1973 we worked on negotiations, 1975 there was a surrender) so here I am surviving Vietnam which is now a conflict, Desert Storm, and whatever mess we are in now in the Middle East.  However, if I was to make a list of conflicts I bet there are little hornet nests of them that our country is involved in all over the place, and since I am forty years old that is a whole long dang time for us to fuss and fight with other people over things. I bring all of this up because I feel it inevitable has to influence us as Pagans, Citizens, Individuals, groups, Mothers and Fathers....just period. Let us not even go into the younger generation who has grown up seeing it on TV more than I ever did!

How long should one hold a grudge?  You know last year I had some really rough times; and it seems as time progresses I realize some of those same people are never ever going to change or say "I am sorry".  I have to see them at Pagan functions, and feel that anger or hurt in my heart and act as if "everything is okay".  Politics in the Wiccan/Pagan world is like anywhere else you cannot go "all Jerry Springer" on someone in a public venue...or you could and that would set us all back five hundred years and I choose not to go that route.  I realized, in these past few months while brushing elbows with some of them that saying "I am sorry" really is a balm for the wound.  It does not matter if you print it publicly, but if you take the time to say it one on one it makes a person feel better (When people look me in the eye and say I am sorry and I see their sincerity it makes a difference to me).  So, I have gathered from this past year a few things.

ONE:  You cannot hold a grudge you must let it go (if you really do want to not "act" and be sincere in front of others you cannot hold things against people or you get bitter and feel fake.  I have to be authentic in all my actions so I must let it go.)

TWO:  You can express your feelings about the situation to the person one on one but not "dramatically" and if you need someone to "be an arbitrator" this is good also maybe they help you not "go Jerry Springer" on someone.  SO DO tell people that they hurt your feelings, but do it one on one and sincerely then let it go even IF they do not apologize.  You got the hurt out of let it fly away!

THREE:  Elders, Highpriests, Highpriestesses, Clergy, are all people and they have feelings.  Yep, bet that one surprised you!  I say this because I am constantly amazed at watching what people say to their Elders or HP/HPS and being one myself I have felt the sting and confusion at times when people said things to me that they would not say to another person like I have no feelings.  Of course, I remind myself to either speak up or let it go....but I am saying this on a BLOG so remember ALL people regardless of their position have feelings.

FOUR:  Saying I am sorry is the bandaid that balms everything; but SHOWING with actions how sorry you really are mends the wound.  Take that one step further, and go forth into the Pagan community like it never occurred and you are meeting those people for the first time and "give everyone a fair shake" and you have a good philosophy for life.

FIVE:  You cannot please everyone all the time.  You can try, and Goddess Isis knows I do...BUT no matter how hard I try I always have people that are going to say "ugly things" and I cannot let that stop me.  YOU better not let it stop you either because if you really know you are in the right, and you feel that what you are doing is moving your group, family, grove, circle, triad in the right direction keep on chugging chugging...even if NO  ONE other than you understands where you are headed. Gods have a funny sense of humor, and they choose the most amazing ordinary yet not so ordinary folks...when in doubt about what you are doing remember that!

LASTLY:  Everyone needs love, encouragement, comfort, touch, support, and if you are the person who the Gods can use to let them feel these things then PLEASE be that person. Guess what?  It is absolutely possible and highly probable that some of my former "detractors" or really good at this job for others and that is what they are supposed to be.  You cannot be that for everyone; so when in doubt about a person try to keep that in mind...they are kind and loveable to someone...and somebody needs them.

My third degree class has made me dig deep, I smile and roll my eyes at the same time with their phrases...but I also am reminded that these people have not "lived through witch wars" and I pray that they never have too.  I encourage them, to see the God and Goddess in everyone; and with that prodding and encouragement I find that not wanting to be a hypocrite I find myself "trying to do the same".

Once I argued with a whole board of Elders that I refused to lead my coven in a ritual for peace because there were no Gods or Goddesses dedicated to peace yet hundreds dedicated and feeding on the energy of war.  I was 27 full of piss and vinegar, sure of my rightness and YET so frigging wrong.  Who cares if there is not a God or Goddess designated to peace?  There is Eirene Goddess of Peace that I have found now, and Kuan Yin the Goddess of compassion who has balmed my soul time and time again, there is an Aspect of Tara who is very Peaceful, and so you see even then I was technically wrong about this and at 27 you are wrong about alot of things and just too GD stubborn to admit it! MY Elders did not call me out; and still talk to me even on Facebook. (I am being super funny here you better laugh)  You see they taught me by example that just because one was an ass does not mean you have to ignore them you can "overlook it" and go on with your life.

So I post here below this blog a song for US the Pagan community, and for my third degree class.....

Give Peace a Chance

********PS please do not think I am against the men and women of the Military just because I posted about PEACE and not holding grudges and war.  I am 100% behind and for my Brothers and Sisters of this country.  I just wish there was no War.