Fears are Dumb.

So, my previous post was about an award that was shared with me. When I saw that Thalassa had put that in my comments I grinned! I smiled! Someone reads my blog and likes it! It was so gratifying to receive it, and kind of her to share it with me.

The second step was trying to put together a post in which I shared the award with 7 others. I hemmed and hawed. Clicked on several blogs that I read often. Thought about how much I loved their blog, but how…man, I’d have to talk to them, right? Connect with them. Let them know that I hold their blogs and writings in esteem. I put it on the back-burner for a few days because…well…I was afraid. Afraid of what? Telling people I liked them? Letting them know that I admire their work? Beginning, perhaps, a relationship with the when I usually lurk in comfortable anonymity?

How silly. How human [in this age].

And this is why I’m still a solitary practitioner, let’s be honest. It’s not some high-minded philosophy about why solitary craft is better, it’s because I’m afraid of connection, in particular, with the pagan community. It’s not like the potential isn’t there–it’s everywhere, on the Internet, at Ancient Mysteries (our metaphysical store), on Meetup.com.

Why? I don’t know. It’s dumb. And it’s keeping me alone for Sabbats and etc., when I want to be with people who believe like I do, and have a good time, and talk, and share life with them.

Anyway, just something to think about on a Tuesday afternoon (during tea!). Why fear being…nice…to people? And maybe have them being nice in return?

Light, Darkness, Rest and the Solstice

The weather has been lovely and gloomy around here for the past 48 hours, with no end in sight until Tuesday. Low slung clouds spit rain that went from fat, warm drops to chilly mist and now cold little pellets that seem to find every crack in your clothing. Our windows are foggy. My feet are cold.

For the past three days I’ve been going to bed earlier and earlier: 10:30, then 10 and last night 9:30. For most of my adult life I’ve tried to fight the instinct to go to bed whenever night descended. In high school, I had AOL Chat to keep me awake. College, parties and papers. As an adult I just…stay up. Reading. Watching T.V. Clicking through many inane websites.

Friday, as I drove around doing some errands, I noted how dark it was. Fog, something rare in Central Texas, had rolled in during the afternoon.  A thin wool shrouded the roads and trees. As I drove I could only see to the next stoplight.

My first instinct when C and I got home from picking J up was to flip on the holiday lights and lamps. Suddenly the dark rooms emitted a soft, yellow glow. Even though I love the gloom, the glow is still comforting in the encroaching darkness.

As beautiful as I find the lights, I wonder if they serve to separate me (us?) from some of the lessons (? best word I could come up with) of the season. I notice that I haven’t spent a lot of time (any) in the early twilight, the blue-black winter midnight or the late-coming dawn.

In the last post I said that I felt like this is a season of ‘advent’ for me. I don’t mean that in the Christian context of Advent, but rather a time where the spirit of waiting is present. And it is–waiting for the winter solstice, for the sun to push through into gradually lengthening days. Waiting for winter’s full grip to be felt in January and February, where even down here we get days of ice and snow. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

There’s an essential womb-i-ness to this time of year. It’s dark. Our natural instinct is to rest, to sleep, to eat stews and soups and cover ourselves with blankets. I feel, in a way, that the lights of the season–not only the lights on the trees, but also the glare of the constant advertising, sound, bustle–serve to separate us from what should be a time of rest.

There is a need to light the candles during the winter darkness. It reminds us that the sun and warmth are coming again; flame is a symbol of growth, inspiration and hope. Lighting the candles and lights reminds me of Brighid and Hestia, of my ancestors, and yes, of Jesus. It links us in a spirit of waiting and watching for the coming sun.

This is no new or profound thought, but one that has stuck with me for the past few days: to appreciate the coming son (myth)/sun (star), I need to spend some of the interim advent time in darkness. In rest, sleep, getting to know my shadow, perhaps even being so literal as to sit in a dark room. A quiet time to say more than just a brief ‘hello’ to the gods, goddesses and spirits. To grow aware of what the bustle of life obfuscates. And to fully appreciate the simple strike of a match.

Summer Solstice/Litha 2011

This post is a little late; I apologize. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t post about the solstice.

When I woke up Tuesday to NPR telling me it was the Summer Solstice I was actually kind of surprised. Somewhere between Saturday and Monday I had lost time and thought I had another day to plan! But, no! I felt rushed because I was in the middle of writing a ritual.  I really, really wanted to do it, but it wasn’t close to being finished.

So, when C went down for her first nap mid-morning I scurried about gathering the tools that I wanted, rehearsing the half-hashed-out ritual in my head. I planted my butt outside, calmed down and performed what I set out to do.

And it wasn’t half bad. I felt the energy palpably raise, the breeze rustled the dry leaves, the sun gently warmed my back as it hit its peak in the sky. Dogs barked in the distance; squirrels nibbled on acorns. As a bonus, later that day I felt that what I had done worked.

All in all, a successful ritual. I learned quiet a few useful things, too, one being that contrary to my previous belief my neighbors can see me when I stand up in our backyard. Whoops.

For the rest of the day I spent as much time in the sun as I could. I talked to C about the solstice. When J got home we drank sangria, and I sunbathed until the ants bit me back inside.

Even better, at one a.m. I woke to lightning flashing and thunder rumbling.

Rain. The perfect way to end the solstice.

Solstice Kitty! She's my writing mascot.

Quick Solstice Sangria: red wine, orange juice, apple-pear soda. Presto!

Our grass has turned to dry straw.

Dead leaves, dry ground.

The ants go marching one by one...

Hurrah! Hurrah!

Inch by inch, row by row/ Please bless these seeds I sow/ Please keep them safe below/ 'Till the rain comes tumbling down

Grain for grain, sun and rain/ Find my way in nature's chain/ Till my body and my brain/ Tell the music of the land

Lyrics provided by The Garden Song by David Mallett

Beltane 2011

Sunflowers for Beltane and offering

Beltane Diffuser Oil: 2 drops Bergamont, Neroli, Rosemary and 4 drops Lemon

Farmer's Market bounty: squash, blueberries, beets, chicken, locally made chocolates

Blue Herons spotted on May Day morning walk

Spring dressing, May Day morning

Beltane feast: roast chicken, gravy, squash casserole, biscuits, green salad, blackberries and cream

Blackberries and cream...life just doesn't get much better!

I performed two small rituals. One, on Saturday, was to honor my marriage and boost creativity in the coming season. The second, on Sunday night, was a seasonal Tarot reading that I’ll post more on later. The oddest thing happened on Sunday. For the past two months Central Texas has been simply sweltering. Temperatures already almost in the hundreds. But on May Day, a cold front blew through and now it’s (almost) drizzling, cold and grey.  A potent reminder that no matter what the season the previous one, and the next, are never that far away. Gotta love Mother Nature, right?

All in all, a calm and blessed Beltane. I hope everyone’s was the same 🙂

Blessed Friday and Beltane Plans

TGIF, you know?

So, Beltane planning is in full swing. Instead of writing this post I should be cleaning. However, BabyGirl is napping (HALLELUJAH!) so I thought I’d take advantage of the downtime to synthesize my thoughts for the weekend.

I’m having trouble making a cohesive Beltane plan because there is so much that I want to do. I have a meditation I recorded, I want to bless my garden, I want to do a devotional ritual, I’d like to ritually clean and smudge the house…Plus we have a friend’s BBQ to go to tomorrow, I promised to help and, natch, I’d also like to get to the farmer’s market to buy some meat.

Phew.

I think it’s going to breakdown something like this:

Saturday

  • Morning: If house clean(ish), then go to farmer’s market w/ C. Come home and smudge before leaving to help w/ the party.
  • Afternoon: help with the party, party, enjoy a communal spring celebration
  • Evening: do a devotional ritual to set up the evening, listen to the meditation, then go outside to bless the garden.

Sunday

  • Morning: greet the sunrise, perhaps perform another small ritual in the garden. Make special breakfast.
  • Then…relax. Enjoy a clean house. After C is down for the evening do a seasonal Tarot reading to begin the summer season.

The only things I need to work on tonight is putting together a fertility ritual for my garden. Seriously–it just seems like something is…I don’t know…wrong in the garden. When I go to water and check on the plants I don’t get a sense of health or vibrancy. Maybe it’s the drought, maybe there’s not quiet enough sun where we put the new beds (ugh). But a little oomph couldn’t hurt. Any ideas?