Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Burning away the old, to erect the new

I have had a Heck of a Year!  I am pretty sure you all have too.  These past few weeks, like many of you I find myself looking back to see what was accomplished and to take the time to float, dwell, dip into those memories that made the year potent.

 Some of these were:  My son turning 3 and his wonderful birthday party.  Spending time with the Southern Delta Wicca Clan.  Spending time with my friends Bella and Joanna.  Loving moments with my husband. Traveling to Pagan Unity Festival and sharing the Sacraments of the Gods with Pagans, and having the privilege to share what I had learned in the form of Workshops.  Traveling to Gathering of theTribes doing a HUGE main ritual, and teaching several workshops, and getting to sit on a Board to help people that are wanting to "start up" new Wiccan organizations.  Moving from one small Temple worship building; to another larger Temple worship space and converting it together with others for the Gods.  Cultivating friendships with people in my immediate circle and community that will last forever!

I am not ignoring the bad (I despise this word it is not adequate as an adjective):  criticisms, complaints, harassment, threats, slander, lies,arguments, heart-break,  helping people I love with diseases, cancer, visiting hospitals,  crossing overs, crying nights, lonely desolation, and hands tossed up in the air.  I just realize that the BOTH make a hearty brew of the year 2013.

On our path, there is no light without dark.  On our path, learning how to direct the "dark" within yourself  and that is outside of yourself (yep you cannot control this) into a productive activity, project, or life lesson is the challenge. 

"We take the yule log and we pour into it all we have suffered...everything.  We take the time to let the weight and darkness come into us and the tears fall.  I have bathed my Gods and Goddesses in those tears.  We let the pain rip through us until we can bear it no longer....the agony, the heart that feels that it will never be healed.  Then we drill five holes into that log.  The angst, anger, frustration, of not being able to control heartache, disease, death, loss, is thought about as we realize we can control the drilling, the accuracy of the circle we are drawing slowly and deliberately into that piece of Oak.  The mind flutters and merges with the Oak.  The Oak has survived much pain, much loss, dropped the dead weight that was dragging it down; so that it could grow....we thanked that Oak tree for the gift of the log.  It is grateful to be able to give to us the gift; for everything is useable.  Everything is transformative. 

Five holes were made.  One for Air, one for Fire, one for Water, one for Earth, and one for Spirit. The Gold candles which were chosen carefully are placed within the log.  I, the Priestess think on the story of how ISIS, my Goddess, took a baby and ran him through the flames of a fire over and over to purify him...just as gold is refined removing the dross.  I know that she will refine us like Gold.  I know that Spirit will come and make us see; that this is part of the cycle of life.  It is not all happy and light, it is not all laughter....but it asks me to FOCUS ON THE GOOD!"

When I am looking at everything I have a choice on what to dwell on.  I can dwell on the sorrow, or I can dwell on the relief and happiness and joy.  I can choose to focus on the loss of a income or to focus on the fact that I have food, a roof over my head, a heater, clothing, a bed, a wonderful family.  I can choose to let people who have hurt me make me bitter, or I can choose to focus on the people who love me no matter what and make me whole; and a better person.  I can choose, to let negative energy focused on me bring me down; or I can choose to filter it and use it in a way that promotes and propels the community in a new direction.  CHOICE. I have CHOICE.  I am not powerless. I am POWERFUL.  I am never Limited.  I am LIMITLESS.

I look at the old discarded dead Oak branch that we have now decorated with boughs of greenery, holly, ribbons, golden decorations, gilded ribbons, and have crowned with oiled beautiful golden candles.  I guess you can "make Beauty out of Shite"  even though I have heard here in the South you cannot.  My community has.  My family has.  My friends have.  I have. 

THIS is the lesson of Dark and Light.  This is the lesson of Death and Life.  This is the lesson of Joy and Sorrow.  This is the Ankh. 

Tonight we will all embrace a NEW YEAR, start with a CLEAN Slate, and begin a new.  Let us all remember life is not about Winning, or Losing.  It is about Choices.  It is not just a Journey; it is an Adventure.  It is a privilege.  YAY for all of us who have made it to 2014! I just know this is going to be our year!

Thank you all for another year, and the gift of your time.  May you be like the Phoenix rising from the Ashes, and may you RELISH and EMBRACE a LUST for LIFE!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Looking at the Season through the Eyes of a Child...

This morning, I did the usual thing I have to do every three months.  I removed my old contact lenses; and put new fresh ones in.  While I was busy throwing away the old ones and preparing my eyes for the new ones I realized that this was a wonderful Spiritual Analogy.  Especially since the Holidays are upon us and at times it is SOOOOO hard for we Adults to get all "jazzed" about something that is "old hat" and very "expensive" to us.

However, having four children, and four grandchildren has kept me not just frugal but seeing this season every year anew.  My kids all love Holiday songs, they do not care if it is Christian, Pagan, World Music, Classical, Indie Pop, they just love the Winter Holiday songs.  They sing Jingle bells, and Have yourself a merry little Christmas, just as quick as Rudolph.  They love candles, and stars, and elves, and snow men, and nativity scenes, and Santa Claus.  Of course they do, you could say, because they do not realize how much money goes into the season or how "commercialized" it is.  BUT you know what?  I do not believe that.

Children, love peppy songs and songs that are happy!  There is hardly any Sad song played during the Holidays even the Love songs say...well you ditched me last year, but this year I did better!  This holiday is one where we all shift to what we can do for others and seeing the POSITIVE in everything.  My children and grandchildren do not get alot of material possessions during the season, we do not watch commercial Television here; so they are not "caught up" in the materialism but they do understand that this season is one to ask..."for their hearts desire" cause' Santa/the Christmas Witch/Holly King some MAGICAL being is going to bring them a present that they could not get any other way than to ask for it.

Look at the faces of Children when they go places during the Holidays, my toddler boy Cayden points out the lights everywhere, and the decorations in people's yards, and he even notices how it "smells different" he says.  I took a whiff the other day and realized he is right, Pine, Peppermint, Chocolate, and human sweat are all mixed together during this season but maybe we should bottle that smell and wear it all year long so that we are more giving, and see the world through the eyes of a CHILD.

If we saw the world what would we see?  That is what I find myself asking today...I know I would have more hope, and believe in the innate good in people more...but what else could I see through the eyes of a child?  THIS week, I am going to ask my Goddess and God to help me see the world like a Child does, every part of it...and I am going to laugh louder, smile wider, and be more open to the possibilities around the corner.

When I get up on December 21st YULE morning for us, I think I am going to run in there and slide down the hall in my sock feet and have an expression of wonder on my face and clap my hands!  What will you do differently this Season?  How would your perspective change and what newness would you feel if you put in "NEW EYES" and saw this world from the Eyes of a Child?

Happy Holidays Ya'll! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hoppy Holly Daze !!!

I believe that we Pagans are becoming dogmatic.  I know this, because I am one.  When I was a younger “Seeker” I had no problem reading anything from the “Four Agreements” to the “Book of Thomas”  I practiced Angel Magick, to reading about “brahma” but once it was evident I was going to start and maintain my own coven…I let “what others thought Pagan was” and “what I was told and taught Pagan was” influence the direction of my coven.  Then after years of reading only "Pagan/Wiccan" books I forgot about my original heart song.

Now, I would like to think that I was such a strong spiritual leader that it did not matter what others thought or would say about my practices but that would not be true.  I was so young that it was important to me that my teacher patted me on the head and told me I was doing great and that the people coming to me were focused and directed only on Witchcraft, or Wicca.  I am not stating that she stated that I could not do these things; I just felt a "Wicca/Witchy" peer pressure not to be X.

Being, an easily bored curious sort I let my own spare time go to practicing and dabbling and reading whatever I wanted but sharing that with people in the coven did not happen….I was “scared” they would think I was too “fluff bunny” too “white light” and so I continued on teaching only God, Goddess, and the five elements because it was expected; and traditional.  It did not matter that the Wiccan Rede did seem to believe in Universalism…”All Gods or Goddesses are just the face of one God/Goddess; or that all paths or just different roads leading to the same destination.”  Any time, I tried to explore that option with others that had come to the craft it was shut down if it seemed “too Christian, too New Age, too fluff bunny”. (Fluff bunny in the Craft is a derogatory term used to make people feel bad about their path and themselves because they would never cast against another and they concentrate on light work ) Ps. I am what you would call a White Lighter or Fluff bunny....:)

After, ten or more years of this if any of these paths were presented to me or people I had a “wall up”  I had gotten so used to “not listening” or “considering it an option” I was closed off.  Several years ago, after we started the Temple (A legal Wiccan Church) I had a seeker say to me…”he had thought to tell me he was going to dedicate his life to Jesus…” just to see what I would say.  He laughed; I stopped and wondered…Why and when did it happen that I had become so rigid?  I asked the question, but I had no answer right then.  Then, the hundreds of invitations came in inviting me to go to Christian Churches, and I naturally assumed they wanted “to convert” me since I had founded a Wiccan Church.  This made me resistant; but in truth I could “claim busy” and point out to them…I did not “invite them to my church their pastors, so why invite me?”.  

This theory is true, and the logic very astute if you are looking for conflict and being very defensive but it did not lead me to where I was headed; or where my Goddess wanted me to go…so she gently nudged further.  Another student (a few years later), asked if Jesus was a valid option to worship as a Pagan God.  I found myself saying….”Yes, that is a valid option…why not?  Tell me why you see him that way…”  Voila!  I opened.  A few months later, we had to do a Baby blessing, and it became clear the person involved wanted something unique…to present their child to all spiritual paths.  Jesus, came a calling.

Sonya, why are you so angry at me?  he asked.  My heart hurt, I thought of all the bad experiences I had felt and experienced as a child, as a junior high student, as a high school student at the hands of a Christian Church and School.  “ What did I have to do with any of that he asked?”  "You didn’t" I had to say.  So, I let it go, I cried, and I felt the love and comfort of that Deity.  I thought of how I had sung so many times as a young person…”What a friend we have in Jesus” and how I had loved that song.  I realized I was not angry or hurt at Jesus at all; just hurt and angry at the humans that had been angry, mean, cruel, or judgmental to me.  The Baby blessing was fantastic, and I had made peace with Jesus and I had noticed he had not “judged me or preached I was going to hell”. (BTW he never has, to me)

Two more years have passed, and another Baby blessing rolled in…the Father was Christian the Mother Wiccan and so it seemed Jesus and Hekate would be called to bless the child.  Brian and I presented the Child to all paths; and there was not hesitation or tugging within me a beautiful ritual happened.  As we started that Circle, one of my Elders asked me what aspect of the Goddess I would call in…I stopped and asked Spirit, who would you like to come?  Hagia Sophia it said, and so I said…I am Hagia Sophia.  I have had rapid visions of her lately, the Queen in Red with Angel Wings.  I am devouring all of her words, any mention of her,  and of course the connection with Isis is obvious. But then, Isis does have 10,000 names and faces.

I panicked after a month of this obsession realizing that I was walking into deep Spiritual mysticism, and Gnosticism I asked advice from fellow Clergy because once again I seemed to “need and want” peer support.  Luckily for me, I am surrounded with ATC Elders that encourage me to go and find, learn, search and grow; apparently I had not “grown” enough to not need that support.   It was interesting and refreshing to note that at this age I had enough backbone to be honest; and to freely share my fork in the road.  It panicked me, all my life I had been hardcore Witch/Pagan/Wiccan and now it seems...I am Wiccan.  I am a Wiccan being led to explore the other paths and see how they merge with what I already knew.

I want to apologize for my former resistance and rigidity.  I had become dogmatic and not willing to consider any other option.  I helped create a spiritual environment that was "not truthfully exploring all options".  I had become hypocritical saying all paths lead to the same destination but letting excuses and "feelings from my past" hold me back as a spiritual leader.  I see that now, but I cannot fix the past only remedy the future.  No excuses just truth.  

I do not want the future of any Spiritual community to be "closed off" especially one as cool as Paganism/Wicca.  I would like to share openly and peacefully with other faiths like I do in my mind but in the physical planes, and truthfully live in a world where we all share our ideas and learn from each other.  I am (with the help of many others) taking big step to get there and tearing down all defenses and walls that I have erected to place myself in such a "neat Wiccan/Pagan box". Of course, we might want to start with ourselves by not labeling our own lightworkers as (practicing black magick, too fluff bunny, not good at magic, etc).

I still take offense to any path that does not see the “divine feminine” but those are not fighting words to me anymore.  We, as Wiccans/Pagans do not even hardly acknowledge the “divine masculine” we seem to shy away from it and are embarrassed of it at times (it’s our backlash at Christianity and the Patriarchy).  Maybe, if I start to take steps in this direction with all the other Temple members then we will be more than a ripple in the ocean?

I am still Wiccan and still Polytheistic and I know Wicca as a Spiritual Path has much to offer the Spiritual community, it is a system easily used to commune with any Angel/Guide/ face of God/ddess, it delights in the divine feminine.  It also has no issue of having Mary Magdeline and Anubis or Hekate and Jesus being called in to work together to dispense the Sacraments and share wisdom. That is what is wonderful about Spirit; it is showing us that we can all get “beyond” our boundaries…and live in a “time and space” beyond our human limitations. I love this path for this reason.
I have learned that love is the answer.  I have learned that if you pick up the sword you will die by the sword and that bitterness, anger, cruelty, anger and revenge are all things I struggle with but refuse to choose as my path.  I have learned that if you pick up a shield to defend yourself, you will have to fight because to defend is to fight.  I have learned that Love, and acceptance are more powerful energies than anything I have ever conceived and they can truthfully MOVE MOUNTAINS.  I am grateful that Jesus, Isis, Sophia, Sekhmet, Osiris all do not care what I call them but Humans do…and I have learned, that I cannot let others tell me what to believe, practice, or what is right for me. I have also learned to stop being so dogmatic, stubborn, rigid, and to stop judging and labeling others. 

So this HOLY season know this.  Whether you Pray to or resonate with the Holly King, Jesus, or Horus they are all the same to me; and I believe in your heart you know this too.  If you spend time dwelling with the virgin Mary, Isis, or Brigit it is all good because they are all Goddesses that are communing with us at this time of year.  This time of year is not about who is WRONG or who is RIGHT or who started this Holy Day first or who stole it from WHOM.  This time of year is about re-birth, re-newal, about a new clean slate being born for us and you. 

Thought for the Season:  What will you write on this new clean slate handed to you by Spirit?  What will you do with it?  I am not positively sure what I will do with it yet, but I know the first word I am going to write on it is Love, the Second is Acceptance (and yes that is for myself and for others).

Thank you for the Gift of your Time.....