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Archive for the ‘Mystery Work’ Category

The story begins like this: someone is lost, someone finds a thing, not what they were looking for, but a thing they need.

You are wandering. Perhaps you are wandering in fact, on a hike, on vacation, a break from your everyday life. Perhaps you are wandering in spirit only, in the idle moments of your day, or when you ought to be focused on something else, something important. Perhaps the face you wear every day makes you feel trapped. So you wander outside of yourself for a bit, and this is when you meet him.

You meet him in the mountains. Or, you meet him at the crossroads, metaphorical or otherwise. You meet him in the flood of words and images at 2 am in the glow from your laptop when you drown yourself in media to quiet your brain in the hopes that you can sleep. You meet him in a song. You did not expect to meet him here, wherever here is.

“Who’s there?” you ask, and you hear only laughter, faintly, and perhaps the ringing of bells. You try to see his face, and immediately you feel that this task is insurmountable. He does not have a face, or he has a multitude. His face is hidden, it is visible only in profile or a sliver beneath a hood. You think he is wearing a hood. That might just be his head. You’re not sure where the horns come from. You don’t know if that’s fur or feathers and if it is growing or worn. You ask about these things, and there is more laughter. Perhaps that is the point. You ask if you may walk with him a while.

“What do you think you can give me?” he seems to ask, and you fumble through memories of texts, for approximations, correspondences, fragments gleaned from other faces, other cultural lenses that seem more familiar. More laughter. More songs, silly and resilient and lingering in your head long after, until you cannot remember why you are humming it at all. You struggle to see, to understand, to hold this image in your hand though it shifts and slips through your fingers like water. “Can’t you be still?” you wonder, and his image shivers, a brief rainstorm, a disrupted connection.

“No,” he says, “and neither can you.”

You frown, because you feel safe, and secure in your home. Or perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you are filled with fear, and the fear is what keeps you still. While you still seek to know him, you still ask questions, and you learn to expect an answer in the form of a riddle, or simply a series of more questions. You cast your net wider, you learn to ask different questions, you start to question yourself.

At some point in this process, you change. You move. You lose someone, you gain someone. You take stock of yourself and rebuild a home around what you see yourself to be, what you think you might be becoming. He shows you a smile, shows you a different face. You find photographs of foreign landscapes that feel like home. You learn a new skill, you think more seriously about wool than you ever thought anyone would need to. You find pictures of sheep in the mountains, curls dragging like cloaks, bells jingling in distant wet air. You see him. You learn the word ‘transhumance.’ Your world widens, and there, again, there is the rush of information, the many faces, this time of rock formations and high pastures and seasonal processions and masks and wild men.

“This is not all,” he says. “Not all and not always.”

You look at yourself. You look at mythology, languages, remembered bits from the ends of semesters long ago, after the exams when you learned little snippets of culture as an addendum, for fun. You read about names, familiar to the ear but just different enough to be confusing, to make you understand that these faces are different. You think about figures with multiple heads. You read about gender, and fluidity. You look at yourself. You start to combine the pieces of yourself into something else, something whole. You are not still. You are changing.

You are not the same person at work and at home. You wear multiple faces, you make youself invisible in some spaces, so that you may flourish elsewhere. You put on armor as you ride the bus across the river, made of water and clay and moss and hide and metal. You change your face with the seasons. You think about fiber, and seasonality, and use. You transcribe bawdy puns from spindle whorls. You wonder what he wants with you, why you ever met. You ask him this, in a quiet moment. “Why me?”

“Why not?” he answers. “You were looking, you were changing.”

“I’m no one,” you say, as you have said to yourself a thousand times before, only now you hear the echoing roar of the thing that you carry with you, that you will always carry, and you can see perhaps more clearly that this is not entirely true.

“You are enough,” he says. When the winter comes, he lets you borrow his cloak. You dream of a city buried under ice, traveleing a continent, pushed by the weight of glaciers. You are still struggling to understand. It is a monumental effort to make space and time for yourself in this world, let alone make space for a god. You learn to work with what you have.

You invite him to sit with you in quiet moments, while you spin, while you pour your tea. You offer your burgeoning skills, you watch the color change from delicate pink to a deep and earthy brown from infusion to infusion. The room smells of rich wet dirt and warm sweet corn. There is the clink of porcelain, and the dripping of water on wood. He sips the tea you share, and smiles.

“Why sheep, though?” you ask. It could have been any number of things, you think you know this now. Sometimes it is a hawk, or a lion, or rabbits. Often it is rabbits.

He sets the cup down with a gentle chime, the small clear ringing. “They got your attention,” he says. “It was a start.”
You offer him tea, or beer when you can, and when you can’t you feel a little guilty but you reserve space for yourself, first, because your first job is survival. There are always the stories, the places in your mind, the myths that were never written. When you can, you give him words and pictures. There is not a rush of information, not like it was at the start. It takes years, and you are still getting to know him. You are still changing. And it is enough.

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E is for Entropy

 

<Putting a Woo Alert up here because this has no historical basis whatsoever and yeah.>

 

So there have been a few instances in my life, few and far between, where I have felt the Presence of something other. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

 

Once upon a time, a few years ago when I was still active-ish on Gaia, I was trying to write a real outline of my path. I’ve tried this a few times and always failed. Maybe because I’m crap at making lists, or maybe because I’m not really all that orthodoxic so trying to codify what I believe is a pointless exercise since my experience in life leads me to believe new things all the time. Anyway. When trying to think of cosmology, how I feel about…the world, the universe, the nature of deities or the divine and the big why of it all…it gets too much for my head.

 

But there’s something, some Presence, that I can almost never feel directly but I occasionally get little glimpses of, and it’s shaped how I view the universe.

(more…)

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Yes, yes, I’m already way behind on the BPB, and I’m working on my first B post but for some reason the words aren’t coming. hm.

In the meantime! Experimenting with a different kind of divination today, Bibliomancy! Dodger has put up some excellent posts about the subject and it piqued my interest, so this morning I’ve tried doing a reading from each of five books that I had picked from the bookshelf. These five hold particular meaning for me, and are as follows:

Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley (hereafter BCF)

W.H. Auden, Maurice (M)

Neil Gaiman, American Gods (AG)

Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts (RST)

Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (AS)

So here’s what I got! (bolded bits are where my finger landed/what caught my eye)

BCF p 145: Hundreds of actors collaborated with the protagonist; the role of some was complex, the role of others a matter of moments on the stage.

M p 241: “Hullo Maurice, come in. Why this thusness?” He asked, a little annoyed, and not troubling to smile since his face was in shadow. “Good to see you back, hope you’re better

AG p 259: “Ma’am, you aren’t making this any easier on yourself.”

RST p 158: a million tiny moment fragments were being blown free from the wet grass in a fast stripe of pressure moving down the lawn from the hospital towards us. A large conceptual thing just below the soil.

AS p 471: Cautiously they looked inside and saw only the sleeping woman; so they withdrew and moved through the moonlight again, toward the shelter tree.

I think I can tentatively say that American Gods is snarky as hell and possibly not going to be of any use to me, Amber Spyglass and Maurice are a bit ehh possibly not helpful, Raw Shark Texts is potentially TERRIFYING (like seriously it could very well be stupid and dangerous to divine with that thing) and Borges is probably going to end up being the most cooperative and also varied in responses. So! An interesting first run, I’d say!

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Did a reading with Deviant Moon, two cards fell out of the shuffle: Ace of Cups and Five of Swords. I was asking LG whether it would be appropriate to dedicate my creative works today to him, since…thematically it is relevant, what with what’s going on in Berlin Confidential at the moment. The Five of Swords is one that I associate with LG being all trickstery, the Ace of Cups feels like…the source of creative inspiration, nurturing energy, it’s certainly a positive response but I can’t be sure if that was from LG or if it’s supposed to represent Sequana or Belenos, since they both have that sort of energy. Anyway.

Actual three card drawing was Ten of Cups, Death (reversed) and the Hierophant. After thinking on it in the shower I am operating for now under the assumption that this has to do with going home for Christmas. The ten of Cups being obvious, Death being…a lot of my anxiety and stresses and crying regarding travel right now and the potential for crazies doing violent disruptive shit on the fake supposed end of the world on the 21st. It scares the shit out of me. the Hierophant is reassuring though. I gotta trust in my instincts and guidance and do things properly and I will travel safely and get through it. I will get through this.

While sitting and looking at the cards I got some chills and tingles, meditating on the nature of the Trickster card, that influence on my life, LG’s nature, etc. the tingles centered very intensely on the back of my head, feeling like my head was full and things were growing out of my skull. (wings? branches? Horns? Antlers?) the idea of going out of one’s head, projecting out of the head into the world, either the earth or the sky, crossing boundaries, journeywork. A feeling while looking at the cairn of making offerings at a cairn, of stones falling and slipping against one another, a rockslide on stony hills? sitting perched atop a stone wall and jumping off of it. Something in the right hand.

All food for thoughts. Addressed LG as Deo Mercurius in prayer today but also put Gebrinius in there?  There was some sort of connection but again, it’s vague and fuzzy and dealing with really really old-feeling behavioral archetypes. Oh LG. you do not make it easy for me.

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Today has been an interesting experience in, probably, being punked by Deity. hooraaaaaaaay. sarcasm.

So it started when after I awoke from the nap I should not have taken, I told Looly via text that I had been knitting. Which wasn’t strictly true, but I’d been doing that earlier. Still though, lies! not a good way to start the day.

And then I couldn’t send the text. Because my phone froze. SIGH. So I turn on my computer about to reply to Girlfriend’s email explaining that my fucking phone froze while I was trying to explain why I hadn’t answered her email yet and when my computer starts (with no sign of any problem or slowness) the windows are doing the rapid-scrolling ridiculous thing that happens when my tablet gets unplugged abruptly, only this  has not happened so there’s no explanation. I check my phone and it is unfrozen so I inform Girlfriend of the situation and restart my computer, and go give LG an offering because I suspect sneakery and jackassery involved in this. lit a tealight, offered Altoids and a shot of vodka, which not the ideal thing but it’s what I had on hand. Also possibly not ideal to open with “okay jackass would you like some curiously strong mints?”

but anyway. Computer and phone both working fine after that. I look up some things about alternate forms of divination, since I feel iffy about using tarot to check whether deities like offerings or not, go with a three-penny coin toss style deal. Learned some things, possibly! coins are not the ideal way, LG might prefer Tarot, the offering was sort of accepted (altoids strong yes, vodka not so much) and Wednesday is probably a better day to do offerings than thursday. okay.

Girlfriend wanted me to take the bus downtown and meet her at Target so we could buy a little tree! yay! but I have a shitton of bus anxiety/being out in public anxiety/not being in control of getting where I’m going anxiety. But I had to go so I put on my big kid pants and walked to the bus stop and made some nice neutral small talk with the ladies at the bus stop. As we spotted the bus approaching one of the ladies dug in her pocket for her pass and a penny fell out. She saw it, one of the other (younger) ladies made a move to get it for her, but the owner of the penny just sort of glanced at it and moved on with her day and I thought that was kind of weird and I also had the urge to take the penny for myself or try to give it back to her. But by then the bus was there and we all just left it on the ground without talking about it because it’s a penny, whatever, right?

Cut to Target, I meet Girlfriend and we begin our Adventure Shopping For Awesome Things. We find the perfect little tree and a bunch of things for present-making, and then we browse for other things we might need. Oh, how we browse. In the section with candles and the like we pick up some more votives, I look for those LED flameless candles since those might be a better long term option and then (oh dear god) I see the end-of-aisle clearance displays with some really, REALLY lovely glass deals, candleholders shaped like pine trees and pinecones and I attempt to pick one up to inspect it.

The key word here being ATTEMPT. Okay so here is how this travesty went down: I picked up one of the trees, having to tilt it to the side a little because the end-of-aisle shelves are really spaced too close together for something as tall as these candles and there is a little metal grill on the front of the shelf to keep the merch from falling off the front. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I say. So I get the one tree candle, look at it (the top lid bit detaches completely and it’s a little loose fit on the bottom but the glass looks nice, all silver speckled. the pinecones are gold. So then I put it back, or TRY TO and I have an EPIC FUMBLE like really, really, cartoon level flopping of hands as I try to put it back, the bottom catches on the shelf-protecting grill and it slips out of my hands. Girlfriend is to my side, beginning to laugh at my blunder as I catch the thing and put it back on the shelf and prepare to breathe a sigh of relief.

When my act of putting the one candleholder back knocks ANOTHER one off THE SIDE OF THE SHELF and it goes crashing to the floor of the next aisle, which is greeting cards, in a spray of silver slivers and all this basically happened in the space of about three seconds.

And I stood there in shock for a second, and Girlfriend was a little freaked out and I was a LOT FREAKED OUT because hi we were just about to spend quite a bit of money on holiday gift stuff and I just broke this fucking thing and the ladies looking at greeting cards were like O_O and meandered away and Girlfriend, bless her saintly heart, was trying her damndest to pick up all the little tiny invisible pieces of glass and get them out of harm’s way AND try to calm me down, because all the anxiety I felt earlier just bubbled up inside me and it was coated in a healthy dollop of SHAME and self-loathing and it was a huge triggery crisis and it took basically every ounce of self control not to break down crying in the middle of Target. Eventually we flagged down someone who actually worked there (surprisingly difficult!) and I was all prepared to pay for the broken thing  but she was like “oh no way don’t even worry about it this happens all the time” which..okay! but like wow gosh is that a normal thing these days? I thought it was generally store policy to charge for broken merch. But um okay. Perhaps she could tell that we were REALLY UPSET. Anyway. Looly offered to buy me another candle (a different one, not that glass monstrosity, jeez) and we checked out and I went to get a drink of water at the water fountain because I was so jittery still, and then! by chance! some young high-school age looking folks were walking out of the store with their wares and one of the girls dropped a penny. And she looked back at it but kept on walking, and another girl in the group made a halfhearted effort to grab at it but then gave up and I was heading that way to return our cart and rolled the cart right over the penny and I thought (perhaps irrationally) dammit, maybe if I’d picked up that other penny before I would have had better luck.

We will never know if that’s true or not but I definitely picked up that second penny and pocketed it and Girlfriend and I went on our merry way home and now the penny is sitting in the cairn along with the rest of them, and I’m not even sure what that all means.

Except

EXCEPT

of COURSE the candle that caused my emotional fiasco was a tree made of Mercury glass.

So there’s that. I’m not going to go all out and definitely say that it was LG punking me, or that LG definitively IS Mercury (though he is definitely of a Mercurial stripe) but on the whole the day’s events have been enough strange stuff happening in conjunction with a general Weirdy Feeling that I feel safe in saying that there was some Other influence going on here.

Le sigh.

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Today I had a slow start, but I’m starting to feel…I don’t know if I’d call it manic per se but a definite flitting about, darting from place to place feeling. I want to do things, and there are too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them.

I keep thinking about LG. I read a million blogs trying to get a handle on what is the norm for this type of really opposite of normal interaction. Because really I mean let’s face it, having contact with deities is not normal. it’s way not normal. And it’s hard to wrap my head around that, when everything about the world that I live in tells me that I’m making everything up. It gets fucking annoying.

But I digress. I am thinking about Mercurius again, and getting caught up in the mental web. The cross-cultural diaspora thing. And it doesn’t help that I don’t really know how hard my polytheism goes? It’s polytheist of some kind, even though I still baseline identify as animist, because…yeah. But I’m not sure how cultural transmission really works w/r/t gods. If the Celts and their neighbors on the continent, in the mountany hey lots of countries coming together zone of the alps had gods whose domains were sort of pastoral, sort of tradey, sort of protecting wild places and boundaries…and then the Romans come and say hey that’s Mercury? but Mercury is also related to Turms who is older, and by that time the Roman Mercury was getting all tangled up with Hellenic Hermes, so is “Gaulish Mercury” even a THING? does he even count as his own deity? Or is that just a title that these older, different culture’s gods will use in their work and accept as people continue to worship them? Did they just die out or disappear completely? were people then worshipping Mercury? or even Hermes? Were the vast number of names of Gaulish Mercury individual gods or perhaps was there some pan-Celtic-world Trade And Boundaries Guy who went by a million different names even before the Romans got involved?

and Which One Of These Guys Is Pestering Me???

In my experience, my really really minimal and short-lived experience with deity interaction, it seems like there’s a period of not knowing that the heck is going on/who is getting in contact, and then I do a shitton of research and figure out (based on what measly historical crumbs I can gather together and my own sensibility about how the world works) how to honor and recognize those deities and their influence on my life. And then when I get it right, the nagging weirdy feeling goes away and they quiet down and I can be calm-ish again, with the addition of some other new things that I’ve fit into my life and practices. So, okay. They tend to shut up once I’ve done something for them. So clearly I’m not (yet? oh dear lord not even gonna think about that) getting prepped for priesthood or anything. I feel like a layperson. And I’m comfortable with that, I mean lots of people talk about being “tools” that deities pick up and tinker with and craft for their use, and as a tool I am pretty damn broken currently, and I have been for a while, and it’s hard to function. And that’s okay, for now, I guess. Maybe when my life is a little more sorted I will get more demands for service, or the like. Who knows.

What was I even talking about oh god. okay. So, figuring out a way to include deities in my spiritual life, once I’ve got it right things seem to click and I stop getting pestered. And then, sometimes it’s hard to reconnect. Big B gets more or less regular attention and I don’t always feel like he’s listening but I keep a candle lit for him anyway, and when I really make the effort to make myself clean and just sit down and talk and think about how much of his light is reflected in my life and how much I appreciate that energy, I feel a definite sense of connection. And he certainly wanes a little, seasonally, and marking the solstices and equinoxes has been, so far, a good way to have regular check-ins/shindigs. Which is good. I feel like I’m on more or less solid ground with him.

I definitely backed way the hell off from Mitochondrial Eve/Blood Mother/Big Collective Female Ancestor veneration after my foray into mojo-making and asking to incorporate that big feminine power into my self-empowerment quest. I got very emotionally unstable for a few days, felt way too jittery with an excess of energy/angry/afraid and the name “Yemaya” kept popping into my head. Which is a little freaky. I think  most likely what happened in that case, and this is a problem that is chronic with me, spiritually, is that I put out the guest towels and lay down a welcome mat and invite whoever wants to work with me to stop by, and I think in that instance, sending out a call to Big Ancestor Mama with Ocean/Blood/Collective Unconscious overtones I ended up reaching not the number I wanted to call in the first place? It was an entirely different type of energy than I’m used to, and I got very skittish, and I get the impression that Yemaya either does not want me involving her in my mess, or if I want her help, I’m going to have to do it her way, and I really do not have the spoons for that.  And I’m fine with that, because as time went on after that little adventure I thought and read and realized more about why I have problems with Divine Mother figures in the first place, and why I have always had these problems, and maybe I don’t need to fret so much about including that type of energy in order to be a “real” woman in my path. Because seriously. That type of thinking only makes me hate myself, and if trying to force a connection to a specific type of deity or Other because of perceived social norms that that’s what I SHOULD be connecting to, if that makes me feel like an incompetent shit, I need to cut that out of my life.

and for a while I was completely goddess-free, and then after doing more research and finding a few more things that clicked, I started to realize that perhaps the Other who was in contact with me in Ithaca was not Hermes (very clearly not Hermes because all attempts at offering to Hermes failed spectacularly and then other signs indicated something else etc) but in fact, Sequana, and if I’d known about her at the time that might have saved me a lot of soul searching but also possibly would have prevented me from getting to know LG. so. Once I figured that out (as much as one can figure these things out) I made offerings to her, honeyed pears and fresh rosemary, and I got the sense that she likes living, growing things, vegetation. I’m thinking (just got the thought right now) that if I want to make a place for her in the apartment, it should be by the plants in the window. That seems like a fairly good place to do these things. But after making the offerings I felt good, and calm, and I drew some pictures and wrote down some stream of consciousness thoughts, and then everything quieted down. I don’t know if she’s interested in a long term relationship or if she was just helping to welcome me into that particular place at that particular time in my life and now that I’ve made up for not thanking her earlier she’s gonna let me go on my way? Possibly. Who knows.

And that brings us back to LG. Today, in my meanderings about the house, I’ve had a few more thoughts about things that are in his wheelhouse:

Exotic food, and the desire to make them and experiment with cross-cultural cooking. Fusion cuisine, making dishes out of leftovers or things that are just lying around. Taking advantage of every resource and opportunity.  I opened the day by giving him one of yesterday’s cold but still crunchy egg rolls. It was delicious. LG as patron of chop suey? making new things in new places, diaspora food and how culture changes and adapts.

Fermentation, preserving resources. Pickles, Shrubs, pu-erh teas, etc.

The feeling of “the fridge is full but there’s nothing to eat!” and the need to overcome that hurdle through innovation and combining disparate elements to make something new and whole.

seriously, onigiri. the past couple weeks I have been posessed by this urge to make and eat them, and one of my favorite things about (well done) anime is how it invokes, as Girlfriend says, a nostalgia for places and cultures I’ve never experienced. Onigiri is a perfect example of this, it’s made with leftover ingredients and it’s portable (TRAVELING FOOD, crows LG, shouting triumphantly) and it is triangular and for some reason he seems to like triangles. I want to make some more soon. I gave in to my urges to make this insane treat and I liked it way more than I originally anticipated and also I made fridge pickles which are delicious. So. Winning.

LG seems to be bothering me in the kitchen lately? Not sure what that’s about, but I get the sense of someone hanging around waiting for a big holiday meal and sneaking in and taking fingerfuls of dip or stealing rolls and the like. scrounging while not doing any of the work. Interesting. sort of “a man in the kitchen” feeling but that’s a bit gender essentialist and awful.

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