Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No matter what you call me I will always be your mother....

Mother, Mommy, Ma-Ma, Ma...These are all words we down south use to describe the Female person that gave birth to us.  I say this because it is important to note, that you can have several mothers over a lifetime.  Those who are adopted say...this is my Biological mother but such and such was my "real mother".  Children of divorce say "step mother" and "real mother" of course this does not reveal which they love more.  I have met many people that never knew their "biological mother" or had a "step mom" but had a "nother mother" usually a friends mom, or a teacher, a mentor, and sometimes just sometimes she is or could be your Highpriestess.

I have decided to talk about Mothers because Mother's day has just finished.  The Temple this weekend is doing a "Mothering Rite of Passage" and so I find that my mind has been on trying to define this "title" again and again so that it is not exclusive and more inclusive.  Here are some of the discoveries I came to about this term and role. 

First of all we all have in our minds a stereotype or expectation of what a MOTHER is.  Yes, think about it you do.  It is not fair, nor is it correct but each and everyone of us can tell you very quickly whether we think our own personal mother was a "good one" or a "bad one".  Also, I want to point out that women ourselves judge each other by our own standard of what a "good mother" or "bad mother" is.  We say..."she is not a great mother", or "she does such and such" implying a woman is a bad mother.  Really who are we to judge?

Of course if you are locking your child in the basement and not feeding it, or clothing it child protective services should be called in...but if it is just that one mother is more "protective" or "disciplined" than another mother who cares? 

Look at the picture above you this is ONE of the many faces and aspects of my Goddess ISIS.  She is considered one of the major Archetypes of Motherhood.  She is the Universal MAMA.  Horus called her Mommy.  We never see her scold him, or here her get stressed out and tell him "no!"  We do not read her typing blogs that give tips on "raising a toddler" or "cussing because he is driving her insane (tongue in cheek)" but I am sure there were days when Isis felt this way even about her little Godling child.  People assume that Isis was the PERFECT mother and with this assumption if you worship her or are her priestess you find that you as a human fall short time and time again.  It is okay though, because I am going to share with you a story about her that fills her in a bit better and shows you more of the kind of mother she was and is.

Horus was a young man (think twenty something like our millenium children).  He had decided he was going to get revenge for his father Osiris' murder and slay Set his uncle and his Mother Isis brother.  He had been told by her, and by his Uncle Thoth that he could not kill Set and that he had to be patient and let the council of Gods discuss and figure out a way to peacefully settle the dispute between him and Set so that both people and all the population of Egypt could live their lives pretty smoothly.  Horus was impatient, this seemed stupid to him and obvious that the Elders and his Mother was wrong.  So he went out and confronted his Uncle Set near the Nile and challenged him to a duel for the kingdom.

Isis (being a mother) sensed her son was in danger and came to the river banks to help.  She decides that she must "save" Horus from his older and stronger Uncle/her brother and pulls up a harpoon and launches it at Set to kill him.  However, Set being clever sees it and pushes Horus in front of it thus her harpoon pierces her son Horus' side.  Horus, without thought, immediately runs to the river banks where his mother is and in a fit of rage and without explanation chops her head off (kerplop!).  He does not ask Why, or give her time to explain the accident he acts on his own accord judging her actions and does a horrible thing.  Thus beheading the woman who risked her life to give birth to him.

Thoth, the eternal wise God, appears and replaces Isis' head with that of the Sacred Cow or Bull depending on the dynasty and so from this point on she is not seen with the headdress of a THRONE but with the sacred Horns upon her head always.   IN the year 2013 it is hard to find an Isis without this headdress on and a very rare and highly prized possession indeed to find her wearing the throne or the wings of a vulture alone.  BUT, before her son Horus cut the Apron strings from her she was primarily a bird goddess, a moon goddess, a ruler, and a mother.  AFTER, all of this muckity muck with her own Son Isis still goes on to defend him and argue very logically on his behalf sticking with it patiently until he finally does "win" his quest and acheives his goal of the throne.

Isis was not perfect.  She deserts her son at times in the story to search for her husband leaving 7 scorpions to take care of him and other nature deities.  Isis lies to Ra and tricks him to get her husband Osiris resurrected.  Isis slays people in her way, and does anything she can at times to protect her child and make sure her husband and his kingdom is properly taken care of.  YET, after all this time most only see Isis as just a Mother.  If she lived today...what kind of mother would we judge her to be?

When I first started on my Path with Isis she nurtured me and coddled me, but after about a year she started to tell me that "I could figure it out"  and that "I knew what to do" or better yet "Handle it and let me know how it goes."  I did not like this answer from a Goddess I thought would be a good "Mother" to me.  As I have aged, and have raised more than just four children I have come to see that I judged her very "harshly" and that maybe the best thing I could do is worship a Mother Goddess who constantly evolved as she grew thus forcing me to do the same. I wanted her to coddle me, I wanted her to "lie" to me, I wanted her to "do it for me".  Hmmmm sounds strangely familiar huh?  No wonder why people seem to give Highpriestess and Clergy if they are female a hard time sometimes....They expect us to be an unrealistic Goddess Mother.

Things to think about...What do you think being a Mother is?  What are your expectations of a Mother?  What kind of Mother are  you?  What kind of Mother did you have?  What kind of Mother do you want to be?  How do you Mother yourself?  Do you have unrealistic expectations of Goddess as a Mother?

I want to end showing you this picture because I think it is a pretty accurate representation of our Modern times, and Isis likes it...because everyone is not perfect we are just learning. 

A modern day ISIS perhaps?  Let us all re-think Mother, and Mothers, and Goddess Mothers and Women in Mothering roles and see them bloom and unfurl as they are naturally evolving like the Goddess we worship. 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

She was as quiet as the raindrops hitting a tin roof....

I haven't spoken to you all in a while.  I did not know what to say.  I felt whatever I said it would be read under a microscope, picked at, scraped at, and possibly misconstrued.  Then I realized, sometimes silence is okay; but being "scared to be judged" is not.  Let us all be honest here, you would think with me being Clergy of a Wiccan Church I would expect to be judged, and scraped over the coals.  You do and that is by the Christians usually, or people that just really ""have no idea" what Wiccan/Witch/Pagan is; BUT you do not expect fellow Pagans to do the same; but they will.  What sets an Elder Clergy apart from a "pretty new only four year Clergy" apart is the attitude.  They have all been burned, and hurt and threatened at many points and probably continually but their hides are thick and their shields even thicker and they have been there and done that and realize that you "cannot please everyone" and that "someone has to do the work". Yet, they still love and have compassion and take chances on new people every day!

By the way, believe it or not, Pagan Clergy is a fastly growing phenomenon in the South.  Especially in the ATC (Aquarian Tabernacle Church) which we are an affiliate of.  It is not that I lacked training, my local elders gave me classes.  My Midsouth elders heaped more classes on me, I have read more than twenty books on it and I am constantly increasing my library to be better at it; but in reality there is NO real preparation that can happen to prepare you for the transition from Highpriestess of a coven to Clergy of a Temple.  You have to get that the "old fashioned" way my Elders did through trials by fire.

Let it be stated at this vantage, that the Elders here in the Midsouth/South  are the best I have ever met.  They have stamina, they have passion, their magick is incredible, their wisdom deep, and their love and acceptance for the new Clergy makes one feel right at home.  When you hurt, they listen and they will pat your back from time to time but the best thing they do for me is push me and prod me and make me jump back in there and believe in the "work" even when I do not "mentally" feel it.  In fact, they have taught me that "following the will of the Gods is paramount" and that to "serve others" and "share the sacraments of the Gods" with others my real calling.  I felt the call, I was naturally a driven person but for some reason we people that want to "give and share with others" seem to think we can please everyone.  I am one of those people; and guess what I cannot.

I share this with you because I want you to understand that Pagan Clergy are not super human, we have frailties and flaws and we learn from our mistakes just like everyone else.  Sure we know a few things, maybe a lot of knowledge, but what makes a great Clergy seems to be time, consistency, and love oh my Goddess the love just pouring through you like an invocation that never stops...."Isis, please use me today.  Isis please help me be better.  Isis, please help me listen with your ears.  Isis, please as I walk your path may I be considerate to others.  Isis, show me how to help my community."   Then one day you realize it is this constant "nagging" that shows you are insecure, sure you want to serve but you don't exactly know how to do that and so you have to come and "trust" a power higher than yourself to walk you through it.  You are constantly improvising; gathering knowledge as you go understanding that every case is different and every situation new and unfolding.

I thought I was a horrible candidate for clergy five years ago.  I probably was, but my Elders saw something in me (just like my Gods did) that I never could see.  It might have been my determination, or my passion for my Gods but they have held up a mirror to show me parts of my self and have taught me to love all of them even the "darker ones". Through this, I have come to accept "dark and light" in Sonya and have come to see that it all works as balance and counter balance and that all of my skills that are called into play are "light and dark" at times.  All of life is not happy...in our circles we point out that life is where "joy and sorrow, pain and happiness all come together and meet making one energy".  How funny I could say that line for more than five years, and yet until recently could not apply it to myself.

 We women had gathered for a healing circle.  Beside me were two mighty sisters and Crones, next to me a sister I have come to love more and more; the energy was being raised for healing. We all intoned wordlessly together and there in that circle patterns and harmonies and melodies arose!  Each woman singing her own natural tone, her own natural rhythmn and it was beautiful to hear!  As the energy wound down I looked over and saw one of my own community sisters crying; her pain was so fresh it hurt me to watch.  Without thought, I ran to her and put her in my arms and held her head to my shoulder and rocker her until she was calm and okay.  We toned a sorrow howl together for a moment, it was just her and me though all those women were still singing.  

RIGHT THEN I remembered telling an Elder Clergy I would never be that kind of woman, the kind that babied people and held them while they cried; I did not see that I was capable of it; but that woman had evolved and she had embraced change and sorrow and joy and happiness...and there Me and she was and I KNEW.  I was going to be good at this job!  Hell, I might already be good!  

I could credit all the Ministers who coddled me and fed my spirit (White, Black, Christian, Catholic, Presbyterian, UU, Episcopalean, Pagan Female, Male).  I can point out journeys, or insights I have had from my Gods that verify this path for me....but none of that has mattered until that "moment" a few weeks ago.

So if you don't like this post; ignore it.  It is okay, NO ONE is for everybody!  However, if you can relate and this post resonates with you...pass it on.  It is important (I think) for people to realize Pagan Clergy are human, and we learn together as the WHOLE community grows (and if you are pagan that means you!).  I am so grateful and so very happy that this is my path, and that I have the opportunity to share that joy with so many of you!

THIS week...remember that all of you is Sacred even the parts you do not like.  Remember that all of you is necessary there is only ONE you and you are the most unique wonderful you ever!

As always...thank you for the gift of your time.