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Archive for the ‘The Basics’ Category

I definitely missed out on last year’s PBP, and to be honest I don’t think I would have had enough material to write about in 2012. There was a lot of stuff happening last year, both in mundane and religious life, and it’s only now that I’m getting clear of it and starting to make some sense of the jumble.

Anyway! I’ll be participating this year, in an attempt to clarify some of my experiences and views and also be a little more open about what I do and why I do it since I am notoriously solitary. (that is basically what the first post will be about, oh crap, gotta write that before tomorrow!)

Um hm. What else. Well I don’t expect to get a huge boost in readership or anything because of this project, I’m not really concerned with that sort of thing, but on the off chance someone reads this and likes it, here’s a bit more information about me:

~I am pretty terrible at blogging, and my posts are generally casual/stream of consciousness in tone and peppered with profanities.

~I live in snowy Paganistan with Girlfriend (or Looly) doing this whole grand living together adventure after four-plus years of being mostly long-distance.

~I am biracial and queer and these two things have informed much of my spiritual growth and outlook on life.

~I am obsessed with knitting (and now spinning!) and tea (of which I am a HUGE SNOB seriously it’s a problem)

~My “path” doesn’t fall into any concrete tradition, but the approach I take is somewhat Reconstructionist in that it involves a lot of research and looking critically at available materials pertaining to a particular area. In my case the area is generally that of the Continental Celts, so the material I have to work with is heavily colored by outsider perspectives and there comes a point where you just hit a wall or a cliff and have to accept that there is a lot that you just Can’t Know For Sure.

~Directly related to the above, I’ve used that research as a jumping off point for personal reflection and UPG, and somehow I’ve gotten dragged into more Mystical Woo Shit than I ever really wanted. It seems to work for me, as I try to cobble together a spiritual framework for my life, BUT (!!!) as my path is a personal one, I can make no claims that my views and practices are valid or correct for anyone other than myself.

 

And with that disclaimer, off I go to write my first “A” post! hooray!

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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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I am a work of art. I am the result of intricate craftsmanship, and years of seasoning. I am still in the act of becoming.

I chose this blog title because it had been floating around in my head for months and months, actually probably more like a year, but it didn’t seem right for a public blog. This is different.

Clay Child is a name I was given while doing journeywork. As far as I know it doesn’t correspond to any actual personage or place, or even a culture, so I feel fairly secure in adopting it without stumbling into the dreaded area of cultural appropriation. Let’s hope so, anyway. I’m not even sure if it’s a name, per se, or a title I was given for that specific journey, or a descriptor of the animal spirit (Hellbender) that was involved in the process.

What I do know is that I’ve come to see the aspects of myself that are Clay Child as symbolic of my personal journey, my strengths and weaknesses, and my goals. I am malleable. I shape myself to my surroundings. I am so contained within myself that I need some sort of stimulus to change. Even though I feel like I’ve made so much progress, I am still unfinished. I will be shaped by future changes, and continue to do so until I die.

And in a way that’s very comforting.

I like clay. I grew up in a land of clay soil. I grew up digging in the yard, rolling balls of dirt between my hands. I once made a mouse-sized replica of a Navajo Hogan in the backyard, and it lasted through the winter. I loved the pottery class I took in grade school.

When I moved to upstate New York I wanted to learn about the soil there, which was so different. When I visited the gorge and had that amazing experience there, the most prominent aspect of the geology was the shale. Shale is muddy clay soil that has been compressed into layers. So even though this clay in New York was very, very different from that in my hometown, I could still feel a sense of connection, of recognition. I was not so old as shale. I was clay. But I could still fit in there.

(Now I am in a place that appears to have very sandy soil, but that is a different situation altogether)

Nowadays when I think of clay I think of Yixing teapots, which I’ve come to be a little obsessed with. And really, I shouldn’t be surprised.

The interesting thing in the past few days is that I think I’ve stumbled onto a system of energy work that actually works for me and feels relevant! (gasp!) I mentioned in a thread on TC that I visualized Pu’erh tea, the feel and smell of it, to help me in grounding, and that worked more effectively than the regular tree roots visualization. I used them in conjunction and felt way, way more grounded than with the roots alone.

Today, after reading through threads on Reiki (sounds scary!) and personal boundaries, I tried brushing up on my centering and shielding. I wanted to visualize a shield that was strong, but still able to absorb energy from me that I put into it, something that could be reflective to protect me from negative flotsam and jetsam (thanks social anxiety!) and something warm, to keep me feeling safe and grounded.

A TEAPOT.

The beautiful luster of well-seasoned Yixing ware, which is constantly refreshed and bathed in infusions of tea. It was an amazing visualizing experience, and I supplemented it with the cleansing, centering sound that Yixing makes, a sort of ringing tone that is clear and wonderful. I’m refreshing and checking in with the shield throughout the day, and I’ll see how it works out tonight. I’m meeting some of Girlfriend’s coworkers for happy hour, and I’m feeling pretty good about this potential social situation so far!

I feel like a work of art. I feel like I’m crafting something with myself that will last a lifetime. And I love it.

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