Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet 2017

This year for Wep Ronpet I was (once again) out of town – this time, at my brother’s wedding.  Same as last year, I blogged pictures of offerings (votive offerings for the modern age) for the Birthday Kids during the Epagomenal days, and offered them a shot glass of cool water in front of my travel shrine.  On Wep Ronpet, I did a red paper execration (no throwing a pot this year, drat), took my ritual meditative bath, dedicated my new statues of Bast and Sekhmet, and came away with the following pledges as my oath for the new year:

  • I will light my shrine candle(s) weekly, attempting to do so each Sunday.
  • I will answer one of the new prompts in my list of 45 Kemetic Prompts every Sunday, though I may skip some weeks and catch up on others as long as I am finished before next year’s Epagomenal Days.
  • I will make a larger offering on the Bright Moon, because as the moon is a reflection of the light of the sun, so too am I a reflection of their power.  I have a three-day window, and if I am sick or there are extenuating circumstances it may be as small as a single stick of incense.
  • I will channel an oracular message (for myself but also the wider world) on the Bright Moon (again with a three-day window), and it can be tarot-assisted but I should pull the cards after, not before.
  • I will answer at least two oracular requests, if I have received any, again on the three-day Bright Moon, unless I am sick or otherwise out of spoons.
  • I will perform at least two heka requests, if I have received any, again on the three-day Bright Moon, unless I am sick or otherwise out of spoons.
  • I will complete one major research project a year, to include such projects as: read and review a book on Ancient Egyptian religion, do in-depth research on one topic, etc.
  • I will celebrate both Wep Ronpet and the Sailing Holiday.
  • On Wep Ronpet, I will purchase one shrine upgrade or magical tool and dedicate it, and I will renew my oath for the new year.

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My new statues are from ShadowOfTheSphinx on Etsy!

Event, Ritual, Workshop

Sacred Space 2017 – Days 3 & 4

See Days 1 & 2 Here!

 

Workshop: Glamour, by Gwendolyn Reece

Gwendolyn Reece is Hellenic Revivalist priestess of Athena and Apollon and a member of the Wiccan Assembly of the Sacred Wheel who lives in DC, where she has founded a temple to her patrons, called Theophania.  She has always been politically involved, but recent events have kicked her up a notch, and she believes that humanity, as a group and oversoul, is on the cusp of an initiatory challenge.  In order to succeed, she believes we need to clear out what is preventing our spiritual evolution, and one of the largest obstacles is what she refers to as glamour, inspired in no small part by the book Glamour, a World Problem, by Alice Bailey.  This echoes thoughts about the change from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, and Gwendolyn emphasized that we really need to look at trends in terms of 200 years, not 20 years, in order to really see the patterns she’s talking about.  Part of the initiatory challenge, she said, comes from several different crises: crises of government are obvious (remember, modern democracy is only a little over 200 years old!), but she is especially concerned with the crisis of climate change.  She believes that most of these crises and movements toward spiritual evolution can be boiled down into a move towards the self governance of adulthood.  Previously, most forms of government revolved around the idea of sacred kingship.  Now, most world governments give at least lip service to democratic elections.  But a lot of glamour needs to be dispelled if we are going to succeed at this initiatory challenge.

Gwendolyn defines “glamour” as: a delusion that occurs at the level of consciousness in which cognition is mixed with emotion.  She adds that most humans are functioning at that level most of the time.  Academics and occultists frequently work at higher levels but tend to return there; some people may spend time below there but tend to return there when they are more clear-headed.  She spent a while explaining the different planes/vibrations and how, for the most part, humans are aware of only the center, but if we shift our perceptions (via trance, etc), we can access different parts.  It is the work of the occultist to go higher, and in doing so, we can get above the cloud of glamour in order to see it more clearly – and hopefully dispel it.  She emphasized the need to start with the glamours we are carrying, ourselves, and then working up to small groups and larger groups that we are a part of, potentially all the way up to the human oversoul (though that’s probably best done in a group effort, she says).

She gave one pretty detailed functional example that I’ll share here: Cynicism.  This one raises three very important glamour red flags: 1) it is a cognitive pattern that evokes an emotive pattern that allows them to feel superior, 2) it is a cognitive pattern that deprives them of power while giving them the illusion of power, and 3) it functions as a self-reinforcing loop.  Cynicism has become a marker for intelligence, which then allows those who are cynical to feel superior to those who are not, because they’re smarter and not hiding from “harsh truths”.  Cynicism removes swathes of intelligent people from being invested in their communities because “there’s no point”, and they feel self-righteous and correct when things then fail – but their refusal to engage is actually one of the causes of failure.  As Gwendolyn says, if she was Sauron, contemplating how to enslave Humanity with a really good spell, she couldn’t do better than that!

To dispel glamours in yourself, Gwendolyn says the best thing you can do is to strengthen your intuition and practice mindfulness.  At a higher level, she recommends rising through the planes above the cloud of glamour, and contemplating it until you truly understand it in a mystical way – what is the core of the glamour itself?  And once you know, find the light within you or ask for assistance from a being of light (like Apollon), target the center of it, and blow it away as best you can.  This will require repetition.  And the larger the group that you’re trying to remove the glamour from, the larger a group of practitioners you’re likely to need to make a dent.  She emphasizes, however, that dispelling from above is a lot more effective than dispelling from the same level, and you probably only need about 20% to hit a real tipping point where it will steadily get clearer and clearer.

 

Ritual: Tea with Your Dweller, by Holli Shan

This was a guided meditation to help with shadow work, where we were guided to have a talk with our Dweller on the Threshold, our shadow self.  We discussed the concept first, and then did two short pathworkings, which I found immensely useful.  There was actual tea provided, a warm and calming blend made by Tintalle Foxwood (but alas I failed to write down the ingredients).

The guidance was more or less as follows: Take our cup of tea, take a large sip and hold it in our mouths, really tasting it.  Then, focus on breathing for four breaths as we sink into trance.  Holli led us down a spiral staircase, and into a room in a palace deep in the ground where there was a small table, with a single candle, and a single cup of tea.  We were to sit down at the table, and then call to our Dweller, who would take the chair opposite us.  Then, we shared the tea – three sips each, back and forth and back and forth.  Once the tea was gone, we were told to ask our Dweller what they had for us, be it message or object.  Many of us were given gem-like objects (which Holli had previously said was how she often pictured the exchange) which we were then told to identify, and release, destroy, or re-integrate according to what it was that we had been given.

Some people were given childhood memories that they had to reintegrate after releasing negative emotions.  Some were given more overt messages, like “You need to make time for self care so you can love yourself again”.  I was given two objects in the first pathworking that I could not identify, but the first one I knew I needed to release, and the second one needed to be cleansed and then re-integrated.  In the second pathworking, I was given more information to better understand what the two things had been, and was given an additional two gems.  It was very healing, and reminded me somewhat of soul retrieval.  I will definitely do it again on my own.

 

Workshop: Magick for the Good of the Polis, by Gwendolyn Reece

This was Gwendolyn’s second and more overtly political worskshop.  She said that before she does any large workings aimed at a group (because that is what a polis is – a body of which an individual human is a part), she starts with an ethical reasoning process, borrowed from academia.  This is a six-part process of ethics questions:

  • Self-Assessment: Is it really about service? What is it feeding in me?  Am I doing this for myself?
  • Self-Assessment: Do I know enough about the topic to properly identify the risks?
  • Risk/Benefit Calculation: What is the probability of harm? What is the magnitude of the possible harm?  What is the probability of benefit? Magnitude of possible benefit?
  • Comprehensive Identification of Risks: What is the risk to the individual practitioner? To the community of practitioners? To the community targeted? To any institutions? What is the risk of attracting unwanted spirit attention? Etc, etc.
  • Risk Mitigation: How can you mitigate the above risks?  How many of them can you mitigate at once?
  • Consult Others: Ask your fellow practioners for advice, and also consult your personal guides and guardians, deities, etc.

She did say that in the case of enviromental collapse, the risk/benefit calculation gives her more leeway than on most things, because the risk of not doing anything is total disaster.

Gwendolyn discussed various types of Ancient Hellenic practices, starting with the religion of the polis, then personal and household devotions, the Mysteries, and lastly the different types of magic: Magika, Goetia, and Pharmakon.  She said generally, magic on behalf of the polis was attempted after the following steps were taken: 1) recognize the miasma of the polis (miasma, in her definition, is what occurs when humans are out of right relationship with the gods and with each other, ie, when social contracts have been broken), 2) look for the causes of miasma (this was often done by consulting oracles or taking omens, etc), 3) appease or remove the causes of miasma and bind what cannot be removed (this is usually the majority of the magical workings), and then 4) strengthen the beneficial (by making sacrifices to the patron of the polis, for example).  It’s a decent pathway for modern practitioners to follow before doing workings, as well.  She then discussed various kinds of magic, including Apompe, Katadesmoi, Judicial spells, and Baityloi, before discussing a couple of workings she’s done recently.

 

Ritual: The Healing Labyrinth, by Irene Glasse

This was a labyrinth walk, on a labyrinth Irene brought with her rolled up on a huge sheet.  Irene is a yoga teacher and a trained labyrinth facilitator.  Her spiritual home is Frederick Unitarian Universalist Church, which has a large labyrinth in its courtyard.  Labyrinth walking is a somewhat unique form of mediation, because of the movement required.  She also said that everything on a labyrinth walk is an allegory, so make note of times you get lost, get distracted, or stumble.  It is also a very personal journey that sometimes must take place with others around, giving it a sense of community not unlike a meditative yoga class.

On our first walk, she wanted us to focus on what was stuck in our lives on our way in, what our blockages were, and what we must release.  On the way out, we were to focus on what needed to be received, what needed to come in to fill the space instead.  Before the second walk, she placed rattles and bells at various points around the labyrinth.
on that second walk, we were to stop at each station on the way in and pick up a rattle.  Then, through the sound of the rattle and the sound of our own voice, we were supposed to name a blockage and release it.  On the way out, our blockages cleared, we were to use the bells, and with their sound and our voice, welcome in those things we needed to receive.  As more and more people entered the labyrinth, it became a symphony of sound, and while it might sound cacophonous, it instead was a very healing sound overall, and many of us found that the things we were struggling with were also things others needed to release.

 

Closing Ritual

Like the Opening Ritual, this one is scripted almost the same every year, and yet it feels important to go, to get that closure.  The patrons are thanked and released, the egregore is put back to sleep as a chrysalis, and the wards are dropped as we return to the mundane world, with a parting gift.  The gift this year was a blessed Constitution, and since I already had one from a friend who attended one of Gwendolyn’s Theophania Temple rituals, Glasreo and I passed ours on to vendor friends who hadn’t been able to attend.

As always, after four days at Sacred Space, it was a little bit difficult to move fully back into our mundane lives!

Other Updates, Spiritwork

Discernment

This past weekend, Glasreo and I attended an informal pagan discussion hosted by the Fellowship Beyond the Star, on the topic of discernment.  It was a very fruitful discussion, starting with general definitions and then branching off into individual stories of encounters and omens and general spirit work and work with deities.  It was fun to hear other people’s stories, and helpful for all of us to have others’ insight into our experiences.  In general, the discussion of discernment hinged on a couple of key points:

  1. Ruling out mundane causes.  This is a big one.  Sometimes a flock of crows is just a flock of crows, sometimes candles fall over, sometimes your air vents cause incense smoke to move a certain way.  Chances are, if it’s something pretty normal or totally plausible, it’s not a sign of something more.  It’s a good idea to learn as much about the science of whatever you’re working with as possible, and to get to know your environment.  Seeing a heron isn’t unusual if you’re near a body of water – but you might think it is unusual if you don’t know that there’s water nearby!  However, it’s important to know that you can’t ever rule out mundane causes 100%.  What you should aim to do is figure out whether what you’ve witnessed is unusual or common.  Unusual things may just be an omen!  This also applies to trancework: if you’re doing journeywork or astral travelling or something like that, and you aren’t sure whether what you’re experiencing is something you made up or insight you’re receiving, ask yourself whether the patterns are unusual  or common.  If you were going to daydream about the topic, is this what you would probably come up with?  Does everything seem expected, do you feel like it’s all something you’ve already known?  Then you’re likely to still be inside your imagination.  If something unexpected occurs or doesn’t go the way you’re trying to create it, that’s probably coming from somewhere outside yourself.
  2. Trusting one’s intuition.  At some point after you’ve examined the possibility of mundane causes, you need to think about how you feel, in general.  Sometimes a very common thing can be an omen anyway because it’s what you needed, or because the timing was exactly perfect.  If you feel strongly that it’s an omen, or that you’re receiving insight from outside yourself, and it’s not just wishful thinking, you probably are.  Learning to tell wishful thinking from truth requires a lot of practice evaluating your own thoughts and that can be hard, but the self-awareness that comes with that struggle is very much worth the end result.  You’ll learn to trust your intuition and in doing so, trust yourself and your experiences.  It can really deepen your practice to not be second-guessing yourself constantly.
  3. Using lore as a guideline.  Lore is really useful if you’re getting messages from deities or other lore-known spirits.  You can look up their animal associations, get a sense of their looks or personality, or other things and check those details against the information you’re getting.  Lining up 100% isn’t required for you to be correct, but nothing should be huge and glaringly contradictory.  Blonde vs brunette is probably fine; mountain associations instead of lake associations might be a bit too far.
  4. Using divination to double check the message. If you can, it’s always a good idea to do divination or to ask someone else to do divination for you and ask “Am I seeing things clearly?” or “Is the message coming from X deity?” or, “Am I really supposed to do Y thing?” to double check that you’re getting the message from who you think you are, and that it’s trying to tell you what you think it is.  Divination can also be helpful if the message is clear but vague: you can ask how or when, and get more information.  Be careful if you’re divining for yourself, though, that you’re not falling victim to wishful thinking (yep, there’s that little gremlin again).
  5. Asking for further signs or repetition.  One of the best ways to figure out if you’re really getting messages from spirits when they’re jumbled and unclear is to ask for some kind of unusual, specific sign.  Don’t make it something impossible, but make sure that it really is something unusual, that you’ll notice and pick up on.  You can ask for a certain number of something like birds, or ask to see a specific animal on your drive to work, or something like that.  It might be a good idea to give it a deadline, too, so that you’re not waiting forever and wondering if the answer is just “no”.  Repetition, whether you asked for it or not, can also be an indication that something is really a message.  Maybe there’s a cardinal nesting near your house, so seeing that one isn’t unusual, but throughout the day you see another 5 or 6 cardinals all over the city and there are pictures of cardinals indoors as well – if you feel like you’re being stalked by something, it may very well be a sign!
  6. Journaling.  One of the best things you can do when you receive a message or something you think might be a message or just witness something really unusual is to write it down!  Maybe it was a message, but it will only make sense after the fact.  Maybe the message is in the repetition, but until you write it down you don’t realize that you only really ever see crows on Wednesdays.  Even if you are sure it’s a message and you know who it’s from and what it means, it’s still a good idea to record it, since a lot of the messages will make even more sense with time.  That was you can also keep track of how different spirits and deities usually approach you with new messages, too, and it can help you figure out if things are messages or not much more quickly!

Hopefully this all makes sense to you, and maybe it’ll even help some of you – it certainly helped me to discuss it and write it all out!

Spiritwork

A Message for the Equinox

This is going to be a different sort of post – I’ll be sharing a piece of personal UPG, a message I received from the Morrigna (that is plural – the three Daughters of Ernmas, of the Tuatha De Dannan).  I don’t usually do much of that here, but it’s a more general message, not a personal one, and the few other messages like this I’ve gotten I shared with close friends, people I worship and practice with, and many of them found it useful.  I thought it might be time to share with a wider audience.

For background, last winter I started getting weird vibes about the coming spring and a sense that things were Not Quite Right.  That culminated in a journey to see the Morrigna where they showed me an image of the world outside my door blanketed in snow, and a faery host culling plants and animals, bringing death to make room for new life.  That’s an important part of every winter, but I was made to know that it would be somewhat more severe, and warned to make preparations.  I did as I was advised and I returned on several additional journeys where I was given additional messages.  Some forecast bad weather (in both the physical sense and in the sense of psychic “bad weather” due to spirits runnng amok)and I was eventually told that things would settle down, and everything basically did settle down a little before Beltane. The turning of the seasons last year did not go as smoothly as it usually does and it seems this time isn’t going to be much better, unfortunately. When it comes to influences between the worlds, “as above so below” so to speak, and with things being a bit off kilter up here, things are off kilter Over There as well.  Sensitive people have been noticing that things have been bleeding through a bit already, and a lot of people have noticed a sort of weird imbalance between the hot weather and an uptick in spirit activity that usually comes with cooler weather.  Hoping for answers, I went to go talk to the Morrigna about it again, and below is what they showed me.  I am sharing this here in case anyone else finds this useful, though with the usual UPG disclaimers.*

I asked the Morrigna about the “baton pass” between the local faery courts that usually signals the changing of seasons, and in their cauldron of water I was shown an image of the inside of a great hall, where the Seelie court was gathered and meeting with emissaries from the Unseelie court.  However, instead of all of them being courtiers, many were the more feral or more bestial members, those more associated with the Wild Hunt than with the Unseelie court proper. As the Seelie King stretched out the sceptre in his hand, the Unseelie King reached out to take it – and as soon as his fingers grasped it, himself and all the Unseelie courtiers also became like the feral and bestial creatures that had accompanied them.  (Whether they had been in disguise or whether they are merely showing a different aspect of their nature this year I am not sure – but in my experience, the local Court is usually at least nominally in charge of the local Wild Hunt, providing them with some oversight.)

The Wild Hunt left the hall like a host of bats, or perhaps of locusts, because as they reached the outside world they began stripping everything back to the roots, back to the stones, devouring and destroying nearly everything on sight. Despite the intensity of the imagery, however, I did not get the sense that this was a bad thing. The changes, though harsh and sudden, were paving way for newer, healthier growth. It was a cleansing chaos, almost fire-like it its wrath, but made instead of death and ice.

As they moved about, they created prisms of ice around the homes of the Seelie fae, isolating them and putting them into stasis, but also protecting them from the storms to come. I had a glimpse of powerfully destructive winter storms following in the wake of the tearing claws and teeth of the Hunt, but those are still far enough in the future that I will need to return again later to ask for more details. I also was given a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and was shown the returning sun turning the ice prisms into greenhouses, sanctuaries where small plants might sprout, rousing the Seelie fae who will then shatter the ice and begin the spring. After that, I thanked the Morrigna, and returned.

Today is the equinox, so it all starts today.  I recommend grounding and centering even more than usual this autumn and coming winter. And check your wards. It’s probably going to be a bit rough for sensitive people, so if that’s you, work on your personal shielding, too. Most of it will probably pass us by like it did last year, since the fae are more concerned with the natural world than they are with human society (and we have fabulous indoor heating and food flown in from all over the globe, etc), but I do somewhat wonder if the chaos will have an effect on the election.  Besides that, expect heavy snows and ice storms and very probably a late spring. I’ll keep checking in with the Morrigna now and again and posting here if people are interested.

 

*That is, if your UPG is different from or conflicts with mine, that’s fine!  But don’t try to convince me that mine is wrong.  It could be we’re looking at the same truth from different angles – and I’m not going to try to convince you, either. But I will keep posting mine here, because this is my space, and this is my truth. (UPG = Unverified Personal Gnosis)

Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet: In Review

Well, it turned out that I mostly ended up doing a very short meditation on the deity in question on the day-of, after queuing most of the shrine images and the “about this deity” posts on my kemetic tumblr in advance.  Then I pulled a single card from my Lo Scarabeo Egyptian Tarot deck, as a message from the deity.  If you want to see those posts, check out this link.  The messages were overwhelmingly about hospitality and working together, so I think I’m going to be working a bit more with the Kemetic pantheon in the coming year.

I didn’t manage to see the star rise, unfortunately, because it was cloudy, but I was awake and I did my brief meditation at that time or a little after.  I did the execration on Wep Ronpet itself, because rain made our other plans for the afternoon and evening somewhat delayed, and by the time we had eaten and everyone had written on the pot, I was much too tired.  So the next morning I donned my whites (my casual whites – I decided a nice white tank top was a better idea for camping than my new white dress), took the pot, declared it to be isfet, and offered its destruction to Bast and Sekhmet, Eyes of Ra!  Then I handed it to a friend who has some serious things she needed gone, to smash because I was still not quite energized enough to really slam it.  But she slammed it.  Gods did she ever.  And then a bunch of us picked up the pieces and tossed them in the trash where it belongs.  Good fucking riddance, isfet.

Then Glasreo and I headed home from our lil druidy camping trip, and the next day I had a New Year’s bath in honor of Bast and Sekhmet.  I used a “yoga” Bath bomb from Lush – that’s in the posts from the link above, too.  I realized that my original oath of service to Bast has expired… I am due to re-oath myself, this time to both of them, and I did, briefly, but I need to write out a more formal contract sometime soon, to honor my role as an oracle-priestess-in-training.  And I may need to figure out an Egyptian phrase for that.

All in all, it was a very excellent first holiday, and you can expect more Kemetic holiday celebrations getting written up here in the future.

Event, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet – Kemetic New Year

I’m attempting a Kemetic New Year celebration for the first time this year!  I’ve been a devotee of Bast and Sekhmet for a while now, and I decided it’s finally time to really start doing holidays.  Previously I had not done much by way of Kemetic holiday celebrations in large part because the calendar is pretty complicated – the new year is calculated starting from the first day the star Sirius can be seen in the pre-dawn twilight, ahead of the sunrise.  That requires staring at a lot of star charts and comparing dates to find the first day… and then calculating how many days between Wep Ronpet and any given holiday in the calendar, and adding that many days to your calculated Wep Ronpet date… and honestly, it was bit overwhelming.  But this year, I bit the bullet, and I’m doing Wep Ronpet.  I’m using the date for DC even though I live a bit into Virginia – and that date is August 7th, at 5:42 am.  That means that the five Epagomenal Days start on August 2nd, with the Birthday of Wesir (Osiris), followed by Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder), Set, Aset (Isis), and Nebhet (Nepthys) being the final birthday on August 6th.  That evening I’m also planning on doing a red pot execration, similar to the one I described in a previous post.  With any luck I will also rise early enough to see the star herself rise, ushering in the new year.

Although I will be camping with druidy friends for Lughnasadh for most of that week, I am setting up a follow-along for the Epagomenal Days and Wep Ronpet on my Kemetic tumblog, so check that out if you’re interested.  I’ll also post a reflection once it’s all over.

I am very excited and I hope this will be the beginning of a year with many new holidays for me!  (Especially if the Egyptian Daybook is actually released soon.)  I have stuck a few into my calendar already: the Festival of Bast and Sekhmet (Nov 19), the Sailing of Bast, Sekhmet, and Anubis (Jan 3-5), and the Festival of Chewing Onions for Bast (Apr 16).  I don’t know what I’ll be doing for all of them, yet, but I think Bast and Sekhmet have big plans for me this coming year.

Prayer, Spellwork

Prayer for the 4th

Originally, Glasreo and I had hoped to be part of a small group doing a working in DC today, but that did not pan out for us.  While we hope those colleagues of ours manage to pull off their grand endeavor with the help of the Theoi and other gods, we are home, and adding our power to the tide in our own small way.

A Prayer for the 4th of July

Today, I pray to the gods of War – that peace may be sought and maintained.

Today, I pray to the gods of Truth – that lies may have no power and be silenced.

Today, I pray to the gods of Justice – that the disenfranchised may be heard and provisioned.

Today, I pray to the Mighty Dead of this nation.  I call out to them, and I pour them libation, that they may maintain their legacy, and that the founding principles of this country – the ideals of the Enlightenment – may prevail.

Our Mighty Dead dreamed of a country where all could be free to be who they truly were, without fear.  While we now think many more aspects of individual identity should be protected, and we acknowledge that society does not give us all equal power, we continue to strive in the same ways that they did: increasing liberty and justice for all.  May those ideals unite us, where others would divide us.

I honor also this land – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, to our northern border with Canada and past that to the Alaskan arctic, to our southern border with Mexico and the Gulf as well as the south Pacific islands.  The land contains many different biomes, innumerable ecosystems, and a great diversity of life beyond humanity.  Land, Sea, and Sky: these, too, are citizens, and they, too, must be protected and cherished.

So Hail to the Gods, Hail to the Mighty Dead, and Hail to the Natural World!

Tonight, my prayers will be lit in sparklers, not incense.

Devotional Jewelry, Etsy Shop Update

Etsy Shop Update

I’ve been sick unfortunately (it’s all this rain), so not everything is up in the shop yet following Baltimore Faerie Faire, but we do have two new listings!

I made two more devotional bracelets especially for the Faeries, one for each of the two Goddesses I’ve been working with as Queens of the Fae: Morrigan and Aine.  Morrigan’s is made with lapis lazuli, brecciated jasper, dark amethyst, and smoky quartz.  Aine’s has green aventurine, rose quartz, light amethyst, and opalite.

seelie6

Right now I have them both featured in our etsy shop, along with the Faery Oracle Card Readings!

Hopefully I’ll be done photographing and listing everything else soon – stay tuned!

Divination, Projects

Oracle Deck in Progress

I’ve been working on an oracle deck for a while now.  I started with 36 terms/symbols/cards/whathaveyou, but I’ve been filling in some gaps and now I’m up to 42, which I think is probably where it will stay.  I’ve also changed some of the names to be more gender-neutral, and I’m really quite happy with how it reads that way.  I’ve written a lot of free association on the terms, too, and my next step will probably be a rough draft of the meanings as they’ll read in a companion booklet.  And then it will be time to brainstorm art!

Here are my current terms:

  1. The Child
  2. The Youth
  3. The Caregiver
  4. The Elder
  5. The Ancestors
  6. The Companions
  7. The Stranger
  8. The Authority
  9. The Benefactor
  10. The Apprentice
  11. The Healer
  12. The Farmer
  13. The Warrior
  14. The Artisan
  15. The Bard
  16. The Oracle
  17. The Cleric
  18. The Hedgewitch
  19. The Sorcerer
  20. The Fairy Queen
  21. The Green Man
  22. Deer and Wolf
  23. Sheep and Dog
  24. Fallowness
  25. Cornucopia
  26. Precipice
  27. Sanctuary
  28. Earth
  29. Waters
  30. Fire
  31. Skies
  32. Spring
  33. Summer
  34. Fall
  35. Winter
  36. Sun
  37. Moon
  38. Stars
  39. Wheel of Time
  40. World Tree
  41. Balance
  42. Compass

 

What do you think?  Want to be a guinea pig and receive a free three-card pull on a question of your choice?  Email me, and make the subject “Oracle Deck Free Reading”! (7serendipities at gmail)

~Réaltán~

Divination, Event, Ritual

Sacred Space, Day 4

Unfortunately, due to a sudden migraine, I missed the first workshop I had been intending to attend, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s “Inside-Out Magic.”

 

Working with the Celtic Tree Ogham in the United States, by Raven Edgewalker

This was a sort of follow-up to her presentation on Friday, where Raven went over working with the tree ogham in an experiential way, although both presentations would have been excellent as stand-alone workshops as well.

She began with listing off several ways one could work with the ogham outside of the UK, where all of the trees are native and available.  First, she said you could simply work with it as an alphabet, linguistically, with poetry and the bardic arts.  The ogham was never just trees, that’s just the most complete of the surviving symbol sets – perhaps because many of the ogham have tree names (although not all of them do).  There seems to have also been a sow ogham and a bird ogham and perhaps many, many more.  Secondly, she said, you could just work with the celtic tree ogham as-is, though in that case she recommends getting staves in the proper woods, so that you can have at least a small amount of the tree to work with.  Her third point brought her to the topic at hand: creating your own version of the tree ogham, using trees local to your particular geographical location.  She fielded a question from the attendees about a perhaps North-American-wide ogham, about including things from all across the US, and she said, sure, you could do that – but you’d have the same issues with not having a nearby tree to work with.  So if you want to actually visit each tree in person, it’s a better idea to stick to trees that are no more than a day trip away, instead of including things like the Californian redwoods.

Starting from the presumption, then, that you want to create an ogham set based on local trees, Raven said there are still several different approaches.  Some people try to find whatever tree is most closely biologically related to any missing trees, but she says that the meanings may be different, then.  She gave an example of this: say you live in Florida, and the closest thing to a European Common Oak is the Live Oak.  Now, the common oak is a deciduous, but the Live Oak is a hardwood evergreen.  Those are very different trees with very different energies.  Their magical and healing uses are probably very different, and that will change the meaning as a divinatory symbol.  Instead, Raven recommends looking into the meaning of the missing tree in the divination system, learning what niche it occupies in the Celtic/British isles, and learning its magical and healing properties, and then finding a close substitute.  For example, she says that Birch is the first letter of the ogham because in Britain where she lives, the birch is the first tree that re-colonizes cleared land, and it’s the first tree to bud leaves in the spring.  So perhaps if you were trying to replace it, you should use whatever tree by you best occupies that ecological niche.

Next Raven gave us all a piece of silver birch bark, and had us really experience it for moment before describing it.  Words used were shimmery, silvery, and it reminded some of the fae or the bardic arts.  I found it to be rougher and stiffer than I expected, being more accustomed to paper birch, but others found it surprisingly soft. Then Raven led us on a brief journeyworking to meet the trees of the ogham – first the grove of the twenty Celtic trees, then our “own” ogham grove, where we might find trees different than those twenty.  She had us interact with our “first” tree, Birch or its replacement.  I had two –  a Sugar Maple, and a Paper Birch.  I suppose that makes Paper Birch my second tree, then!

Now that we had at least one tree and a place to start, she said it’s a good idea to go one tree at a time or one category of knowledge at a time as we learn about the trees and develop a personal relationship with them.  She emphasized the importance of a personal relationship, because she believes that is what a lot of divination draws on: our own memories of and feelings for the trees.  So perhaps your tree for new love won’t be the traditional Apple, but rather the Maple, because when you were a teen you and your boyfriend used to sit in the branches of a maple for hours together.  And that is perfectly fine!  The categories she mentioned are the following: learning to identify the tree by bark and leaves, learning what ecological niche it fills; learning what parts are edible or medicinal; learning what the wood is used for (like shipbuilding, furniture, etc); learning the role the tree plays in any folklore or mythology; and then doing journeyworkings to go and talk to the trees themselves and see what they have to say and what insights they offer.

I can’t wait to get started!

 

Closing Ritual

The Closing Ritual is always a bit low-key, and it’s hard sometimes to want to attend because everyone is so low energy and just wants to get home to sleep, but I find it provides important closure.

Gwendolyn Reece and Michael G. Smith thanked all spirits, especially Djehuty and Athena, for being with us and sharing in the hospitality.  Then we sang a short chant and helpers moved around with small bowls of stones, offering one to each attendee as a parting gift.  Then we ceded the space back to the mundane world, and the egregore of the conference was placed back into abeyance until the conference next year.

 

And that’s the whole conference!  Thanks for reading!

~Réaltán~

 

[Day 1]

[Day 2]

[Day 3]