Friday, January 29, 2010

The inward student

In this "time between time", it's nearly surprising to imagine that Imbolc is nearly here.  I can taste the continued efforts of the light's return, the gentle awakening of the earth as She nourishes... I feel the sense of initiatory transformation occurring in the land, and that translates to my own initiatory transformation as well.

I don't have a specific intention in mind for next month, though I do feel like Imbolc is bringing a sigh of relief, in that nourishing and connecting way the Mother embraces us.  I feel Her arms open in invitation, and I'd love to lay in her lap and listen to the breeze inspire me... part of how it is manifesting this year is in the Margha Program that I have decided to take part in this year with the Natural Dharma Fellowship.  I have been wanting to study with Lama Surya for years, and at some point I know the moment will present itself, for now it doesn't seem to be the time, and I am content with that.  I have been making it a point to continue studying and taking part in other retreats, the last being the one Lama John did when I was in Northampton and needed to leave early for news of Jonathan.  Still, Lama John's practice of love and compassion has opened me up to a different, non attached way of viewing and accepting (and ultimately giving/sharing) love in a way I didn't actually know existed. 

I've only done a couple of events with Lama Willa, the founder teacher of NDF, and have liked her energy and her compassion that I felt drawn to inquire about this program last year, though it had already started.  This year it came up quicker than I had thought, and the focus of the year fits in exactly with where I am at, what I am wanting to cultivate and embrace within myself, and ultimately incorporate this in all aspects of my life, alongside my work with Christopher and the Temple tradition; the Synergy program; the Shamanic work; etc.  It all mirrors each other, lending a tool to one another.

"The Margha Program this year will focus on deepening self compassion as a doorway to developing love and compassion for others. We will also explore, in depth, the relationship between love and wisdom, the integration of loving kindness into everyday relationships, and how to take adversity as a path."

It's the answer of calling from my questions to the Goddess at the end of last year, especially after November, that long "time" of introspection had me in deeper contemplation about compassion directly towards others.  It does reflect to Self in sharing and giving love to ourselves first, in order to understand and share/give that love to others, and for me this is another extension of that process and journey.

I'll actually be seeing Lama Willa on Sunday for her workshop "Everyday Dharma" which I am looking forward to.  February is already proving to be filled with some amazing events and I have been privileged to be asked to attend several amazing events with some amazing instructors...  unfortunately as I have not yet figured out a way to successfully clone myself, I'm going with events that directly call to my purpose at this time, though still wishing I could somehow be two places at once.

I had a talk with Drac today about my "need" to be the "perpetual student" instead of embracing the role of teacher more.  Ouch... but touche.  I am the perpetual student.  Part of it is a desire to learn more, to integrate new ways of reaching that essence of enlightenment for Self... the other part is probably just excuses to focus too far inward and not enough outwardly.  It's almost a contradiction of what we're used to in this society, how others delve too far in the outer realm and not bothering to focus on the inner journey.  I'm all about the inner journey, sometimes "too much".  I wouldn't label it or identify it as discordant or even dysfunctional, because there is purpose there, but I know that if I let myself be "out" there more, have my sense of presence and sharing my knowledge more than I do in such a confined sort of way, then it would have more benefit, at least to myself.  It would be far too egotistical to speak for anyone else. 

Part of the teaching opens that area up, to be more outward, to focus on functional Centrifugal as Kamala would put it.  I've been thinking a lot about the Four Forces lately.  Before Jonathan's death, Kamala had been visiting me in my dreams frequently, speaking about the Four Forces, as though we were still continuing with the personal training, and on some dimension I'm sure we were.  We're, in essence, not continuing those classes at DoveStar any more, and I agree, to a certain extent, with that decision.  Even when Kamala had been training me, this is her baby, her life.  She was the one who channeled this information after her near-deaths, she was the one who put this system together, trial and error, heart and soul, it doesn't belong to anyone else.  There are some other wonderful instructors who have taught this alongside her, and I was privileged to be asked to be one of them.  She felt I understood the process, lived the journey, but I had doubts about explaining that to another, in a way that would work for them.

In the end, the training and the mentoring was a true gift, but I knew I could never take it over.  I just couldn't.  It's sad to see it go, to know other generations won't get the "same" information, but I'm glad that there is at least a recording legacy of her work to be carried on.  In the meantime, I need to go through the site and see if the Inner classes need to be altered in their description at all.  She handed those classes over to me -- extensions of the Four Forces in depth -- and, oddly enough, I had no problem taking this aspect.  I felt like if she kept the core of the work then the outer layers could be emphasized by others who were true to the material, so in that respect I had no problem with her handing these four classes over to me.

Still, even on Sunday when I returned to the school, walking up those steps with an energy that paralleled the past... it sounds cliche and over-used to say how "amazing" it is to see the progression of self, but it's true, it is amazing.  I had no voice then.  Walking through the door the first time, taking those first few classes, I was standing in a darkness that told me my voice had no worth, so I shielded it, not just from everyone else, but from myself.  And now... an instructor.  Even the memories of my growth there, from connections to disharmonious ones, they all have this place in my heart that either nurtures it or sort of tenderizes it.  We can judge one being "better than" the other, but they're both purposeful.

I thought of some of the tender and nurturing moments, most stemming from one source, in the quiet of that cold Sunday morning, and I laughed in spite of myself.  We sometimes think we're going to hold onto things "forever"... but that forever molds itself in different shapes, and sometimes those shapes just don't carry with you in the next moments.

How did those shapes feel so defining then, and now only seem... like a distant memory?

I suppose it's part of the growth, part of the acceptance and part of the release, and, in thinking of what Kamala would say: I stepped out of the C/C Loop.  I did.  The interesting part of looking back on a dance is that when you are in Gravity the dance has nothing but visual memory.  The emotional attachment is outside of you, as you view it from the inside out, it spirals around, and you can see it, you know what it felt like, but you're not in it to experience the emotional aspects of it, in either degree of "good" or "bad", you're simply the observer, completely neutral. 

I've returned to Centripetal as of my birthday last year: outward focus.  The Margha Program and W2 allow me to experience the entire force as a whole, but it also has me tapping into the momentum of the inward/Centripetal energies.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Discovering the truth about F-E-A-R

January has been a time of non-time.  I admit that while I'm not always the most linear person, I do have awareness of time, in general, than I give myself credit for.  This wasn't even about linear or non linear time, it's been an out of universe time... if that makes sense.  I have been so grounded outside of myself, feeling like much of my being has been extending itself beyond this realm, I have been in this mental universe of observation.  Different observation than I am used to.  It was clear, quiet, numb in a way that isn't dysfunctional, almost deafening.  It's been strange, and it borders on crazy, a good crazy, but a disconnected kind of crazy... I've been taking this month to connect with Self, but in that process I know I have been disconnecting from others.  No one in particular, simply everything as I keep both hands firmly on my inner cord, looking for the source of direction, passion, the ultimate wonder of purpose.  It feels like it's slightly shifted, but the foundation seemingly remains the same.

I've been journaling a lot the past few weeks... a lot.  Much of January has been so in-depth of diving head first into fear, it's been such a long month.  I didn't care what the fear was, if it was big or small, if it had cords attached to other fears... it didn't matter, I was ready to dive in blindly, and so I did.

What did I discover?

F-E-A-R... deeper than I imagined, deeply embedded, no label attached or direction for use... it was fear.  Multi-layered, mosaic-patterned, rainbows of colors that ranged from deeply bright and intoxicating to dark and muddy and dangerous... I think, in general, this isn't the wisest approach for one to take.  I advocate to my students and clients that it's a process of peeling away at the layers bit by bit.  Don't look at the whole, look at the part, without judgment of size, and go from there.  The mockery of the saying "do as I say, not as I do" dances around foolishly here...

However, this was my approach.  I felt ready, needing to take a dive without any equipment by my side, though the reality is I had it naturally there.  The thing about losing people around you is that you take time to reevaluate your life, your purpose, your connection, then, at some point, you potentially forget about it, return to old ways, old behaviors, old thought patterns, and it's as though nothing has shifted.  Jonathan and Amy are still on my mind, the human aspect of myself reflecting back on linear time of age and sequence of life... I mourned, I rejoiced, I shattered, I celebrated... but did I learn?

In many ways, yes.  In others?  I let the fear convince me I was, when I soulfully knew better.

So I dived.  Head first, bare feet, into what I told myself was unknown territory within, but it's a manifestation of me, my life, my fears, my desires, my karma, my pain, it all comes from me.  Granted some could be taken on from other people, old programs, even old thievery of something I thought I identified with but perhaps really didn't.  Still, it's mine, I wasn't expecting to be surprised, I was hoping to be awake.

I can't say that I uncovered all of it, it would be foolish and completely egotistical to even think I could uncover all these years in this lifetime of fear.  No, I didn't uncover it all, but I uncovered an aspect that I really, honestly didn't know I had buried there. 

It's odd to say that the thing you fear scares you, but that the discovery of that fear wasn't scary.  It wasn't scary like a masked horror following you around (then again I do scare fairly easy there!); it was painful though.  I didn't anticipate the pain, this wound that would open up and seep from the inside out.  I was wearing my fear.  I almost felt paranoid in it, like others could see it, hear it, perhaps taste it and judge me.  I don't care much for judgment, but let's face it, it's there, I think to some degree we all wonder.   Wonderment isn't the same as obsession.

The paranoia was good.  It was.  It was good in that I needed to face it.  I felt ready to address it in the form it took, but that process was slower, like walking through sticky sludge, my feet felt slower, my legs struggling, my arms free, however, to hold on, to stop myself in my tracks, but I kept looking, kept asking, kept being...

Part of my journey into rebirth is a journey through fear as well.  It's not to give power to the fear; it had power.  It's discovery and awareness, perhaps even re-discovery.  The "out-of-universe" feeling makes more sense with the delving.  The experience isn't to be confused with darkness.  It wasn't dark.  There was darkness there, and it had remnants of pain, emotional pain that was attached to it, but that pain wasn't... painful.  It makes no sense, in the written word, in the relay of the experience, and I don't want to attach words to an experience that might shift the core of its purpose: discovery.

I'm processing through it, in this dimension of reality, because this is where, currently, it affects me most.  Granted the other day in a fit from the inner rebel (even inner child), I threw my hands in the air and declared it all "bullshit".  It was a funny moment, a light-hearted and sarcastic approach to healing.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Bloodtime Moontime Dreamtime"

Last month I was sent a DVD to review, "Bloodtime Moontime Dreamtime: Women Bringing Forth Change" by Roberta Cantow, and it is probably one of the best things I have been sent to review in quite some time.  While this isn't a post about the review itself, the documentary gave me such a vast appreciation for womyn who embraced their blood mysteries and were willing to share it with others.  I was inspired and wishing I had seen this last week when my own blood was here.

One of the systers from ADC is actually in the documentary which was a treat to watch her share her wisdom among the other brilliant contributors to this powerful piece.  What really captivated me in the beginning piece was the imagery and contradiction of violent blood and how often we see it, even encourage it, in modern film and yet a mere mention of a womyn's blood becomes something disgusting and shameful and not to be spoken of.  While I think this is no true secret, to take a moment and step back and review, just in film for example, just how prolific blood really is... blood in war; blood in murder; blood in mythological storytelling (such as vampires); blood in murder; blood in rape... these are things we, sadly, see too much of, but a mention or a viewing of blood in menarche; blood in childbirth; blood in ritual; blood poured over fertile land in celebration and honor... that becomes taboo, and our society encourages the secrecy and shame of it.

In the second portion there was a womyn who shared a passage from her journal of her menarche, and it was just incredibly moving to watch her read this passage and speak of taking time for a "bleeding day", how it connects her to her grandmother, to her mother, to her young girl self and the powerful message of "I don't have to be sick to go there" was such an enlightening moment. 

I think of days spent in bed when sick, when overly tired trying to get caught up on just a little bit of rest, for lovemaking, even those moments where I snuggle with my daughter, covering us up under the blanket and telling her stories or simply for "tickle torture" sessions that have become the norm.  All valid reasons for hanging in the bed, but I don't remember taking a "bleeding day" since childhood, and even then it was more for cramps and pain that I believed was simply part of the process of our blood.

I take rest during my moontime now, to not really do any work, to just reflect and relax and be... the simply gift of being, but as womyn we convince ourselves that we don't have the time or simply can't, for one reason or another, and we continue to put ourselves on the back-burner of life.  But a "bleeding day"?  Brilliant.  I can see myself laying in bed, journal nearby, book to read, perhaps if I still had a television in my room I could spend time laughing with my daughter watching "Ellen"... though the "bleeding day" isn't indicative of laying in bed all day, simply to honor ourselves for the blood we release...

I loved the messages of connection that was expressed, how our blood connects us not only to our ancestors, but to our future as well.  It is a constant cycle of beauty, but if you look at other womyn who have hurt, trauma, anger, or sadness associated with their blood, it's anything but beautiful.

One womyn on the film said something to the effect of how you sort of program your experience of your blood based on your mother's expression when you had your first blood... how true.  It's not to say that later we can't reprogram it, but imagine how much pain and trauma we could save ourselves if the expression we received was in joy? 

I was quite fortunate, my mother's expression of my menarche was of utter joy and celebration.  She made it a day completely about me, and I looked at blood beautifully, though slightly strangely as an 8-9 year first bleeding.

Yes, I was quite young, younger than all of my friends, even my sister, or my mother who first bled at the late age of 19.  It was a strange place to be, as someone who hadn't even developed breasts yet bleeding so early.  So early... I did attach some embarrassment there, needing to wear pads at an age where girls could hop into a pool without concern, their "innocent" and naive nature still in tact, while my father's horror stories of needing to "be careful" around boys added a slight sheer of terror.  Then again, he hadn't expected to have "the talk" with his 8-9 year old daughter who had gotten her first period the day before their vacation away...

I remember days making my 6 year old sister go to the store to buy pads.  I figured the male clerk would know, would look at me in that way my father had told me boys would, and I was terrified.  I can still remember, in mock horror now, my father talking about the "scent" that attracts boys.  It's true in all animals, but at that age one clearly does not want to hear this from their father, though in retrospect it does give me something to laugh about now, as an adult womyn.  He meant well, but that horror stuck with me for a while.

One of the things I found most interesting was this one author speaking about how she came to an acceptance and love for her moontime and how that ceased her cramping.  It's quite true.  I really don't have cramps anymore, and if I do, it's my body's way of reconnecting me to what's going on inside that I may not be paying attention to.  While I admit I'm not one of those diva-cup wearing, pouring the stored blood into the earth womyn, I do have great reverence for my blood, and I honor the connection it brings me spiritually within this world and beyond at that beautiful time.  I can't imagine those that take special pills to get it only 4 times a year... it's release of toxins, it's spiritual connectivity, it's a beautiful mystery of wombynhood... we've become a society poisoned by patriarchy that we don't speak about our moontime, that our blood is ugly and shameful instead of beautiful and powerful...

I'm grateful to not have had the experience of being shamed from the beginning for my menarche, but instead celebrated for entering into wombynhood, even at the tender age of 8-9.  It brings fond memories and ones that I hope to cherish and share with my own daughter in ritual when the time comes.

I was incredibly inspired by this documentary, and I felt my own matrix shifting and shaping once more within my universe, especially with the final piece of "Creating Art and Ritual".  It's been a while since I have taken paint to canvas.  A system of release, I had abandoned writing for a while in favor of expression through visual art.  It was incredibly healing.  My art itself has shifted with more focus on the written word, but watching that aspect of the documentary reminded me of just how much I miss that expressive art, in that manner.  It's still there, still utilized, but not nearly as much as I would like.

I'm encouraged that a documentary like this is out, for others to experience and nurture, to honor and celebrate, and to heal within themselves, and collectively as womyn.  It pieced together so delicately the truth of each womyn being One womyn, and their brave stories open the pathway to healing themselves as well as healing each other.  That is what sisterhood and community is all about.  It's facilitation in a beautiful dance that connects one to the other to the other... I long to see that dance emerge more fluidly in our world, though we have some great dancers weaving that web now...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stripping it away

I've been combating this possible cold that has been sniffing around me for weeks now, and while it's been common that once my birthday arrives I generally fall ill, the mentality that it's part of my annual cleanse, however this year I was determined to rise above the need to cleanse in a physical manner that required me to have a fever, stuffy nose and feeling like death under layers of blankets.  No, this year I wouldn't get sick... yesterday I wasn't too sure.  Feeling feverish, head all foggy, I was sure the inevitable would happen, and part of me felt like maybe it was a good excuse for some much needed mental rest to re-access some things I've been mentally working on shifting.  Maybe the potential cold would do me a favor in the moment...

Where was much of the discomfort of this potential cold stemming from?  The throat.  Why am I not surprised?  I have a long relationship with my throat, stemming from birth where I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my throat, turning me blue... even then, a carry-over from the previous life of throat chakra issues came in tow through utero, and it's something I still work on keeping open, flowing, loving, vibrating in a way that serves instead of imprison.  It's quite rare, now, that my throat acts up as it used to.  In those moments of actively working on communication with Self and standing in the center of my own authenticity, yes, it's rare to have my throat feel abandoned or ignored or manipulated.

However, for about the past week it's been slowly acting up.  Throat "frogging" up when trying to speak, the constant need to clear my throat, others asking over and over if I was sick, listening to my voice lose itself day by day... what wasn't I saying?  Was there a truth that needed to be spoken?

I'm an avid journaler as anyone who really knows me knows too well.  It's not quite the same as blogging, this is seductive illusion through the hand-written word, perfect and enticing, my favorite form of connection to self.  I've been journaling a lot the past few days, peeling away more layers that have surfaced.  Nothing "big", but then again there's no room for measurement in spiritual journeys.  "Big" or "small" is indifferent, it's about the process of what becomes from these layers revealed.

I had no immediate answers, none that really spoke to me about why my throat was acting up.  Fear, yes, that was an obvious, but fear of what?  Not the "usual" fear -- it wasn't painful, just there.  I wasn't upset I couldn't identify it, I knew in time it would be revealed, in fact I was probably more patient this time than in years before.  I didn't "need" to know the answer, I just wanted to understand what area of myself felt like it was, well, trapped of sorts.

My friend Amy who had passed so suddenly in November had been on my mind a lot.  Her and Jonathan in fact, both for different reasons, both making my heart ache and feeling this sort of instant panic about loss.  I'm not use to that kind of loss, and I felt like a small child afraid she would never see anyone again.  I think to some degree I still feel that way.  It's another layer of healing that has surfaced, but that's not what this was about necessarily.

Amy had come to me last week in this clear vision reminding me of her best friend, J.  J and I met years ago, took an instant liking and connection to each other, he was the one who introduced Amy to me.  Both commenting on how much of a teacher I felt to them on this path... both giving me too much credit for not recognizing that a great bulk of their personal work was a reflection of their own inner light.  Though I appreciate their gratitude immensely.

J had been falling into a downward spiral since Amy's death.  I had no idea.  No, that's not entirely true.  I suspected this would happen.  Sitting in the ICU with him and L and Amy, she was so clear there, even in that unconscious state, that her death would be harmful for him, to him and those around him.  I knew this was a potential, hoped it wouldn't come to this, and was in my own mourning of the people I had lost, trying to "balance" everything when really I was simply ignoring it all.  I just needed to figure out where I was -- after all, healing must begin with the self.

I received a message from J's fiance, L, telling me about what had been going on, how he had a dream, the same day I had my vision of Amy, that she came to him telling him to contact me.  He doesn't know me very well, in fact we have only met twice, but this was a clear message he didn't ignore, as J had always told him if anything should happen that I should be notified immediately... and so I was.

Yesterday, feeling at my worst with this potential cold attempting to override my system, J called me.  It had been 2 days since I had spoken with L, two days since leaving J a message on his phone, 2 days of waiting and hoping.

The conversation lasted 3 hours, much to my throat's slight aggravation over the constant overuse of energy it wasn't necessarily willing to extend, but in the end, it was exactly what my throat needed.  That conversation was for both of us.  Me listening, understanding where he was at, because I can really only understand something that makes sense to me if I have, to some degree, been through it myself.

It was clear that sharing those layers, these truths that I have slowly opened up about, was what he most needed to hear.  A dear friend has heard some of them recently, but still, it's not an advertised truth.  It's personal, it's fear, it's shame...

It's shame.

Who generously shares their shame with others?  Not as a toxic poison to throw at someone else and make it about them, convincing them that your shame is really theirs, or theirs to blame... a personal shame that is shared as awareness... as a method of healing.  Whose healing?  It's universal.

Part of the reason why much of my work has been so focused on womyn's empowerment is because it's part of my own truth of empowering myself, and I feel strongly about sharing those steps and tools with other womyn.  It's not to negate men's mysteries, for I have worked with men with similar steps, but naturally womyn's mysteries is what I lean towards.

The sharing of the story, of the self-proclaimed (illusionary and judgmental) "shame", is something the Goddess has been asking me to be open with.  It's healing, for me, clearly as evidence of last night's conversation and today feeling as though there was never a throat issue to begin with, but also for others, in non-ego, just from those who have relayed what my own journey has meant for them, in discovering and uncovering their own personal truths. 

I've received several emails the past two weeks about how "inspirational" my words are and how healing they have been... I admit to having moments of shock there.  I think in this framework I often question why I bother, in this form, to share those aspects.  Not so much a "what's the point" mentality, but simply this question of why.  Then I let it go and focus on my own truth.

Do I fear the judgment?  To some extent, I think there is natural fear in not wanting others to judge you in a way that makes you "wrong".  Then again, we're the only ones who can really make ourselves wrong... and when deciding to make ourselves anything, why wouldn't we simply choose spirit?  Why wouldn't I choose spirit?

J spent a near hour crying at my story.  Crying, because, in part, he could see his own story there, and, to some degree, I know it made the world of difference to hear it outside of himself.  There's this universal aspect where, as human beings, we naturally want to be understood by someone.  Some One.  One.  It's human nature.  And in sharing it, it makes me more human.

I'm human.  I have flaws.  I have imperfections.  I have stories I'm not proud of.  I have stories that make me sick, make me angry, make me scared.  Of course, the opposite is true as well.  It's not simply about the shadow, it's a balance in light as well.  It doesn't matter how spiritual you are.  I think some of the most amazing spiritual beings I have met on this planet have been those who have willingly (and not at times) faced their shadows head on.  Not with ego in mind, not with an ounce of anything to prove, but simply because at some point we must.  You either play the same tapes over and over, or you choose to record something new.

As I said to J last night, that aspect of myself is still someone I know, I recognize her, but I'm not her.  There is an important difference there.

It felt like layers being stripped away last night.  The deeper message of my throat chakra needing to speak my truth wasn't something I identified as that being the truth needing to be spoken.  And maybe it didn't need to be shared outside of myself, with anyone, but I trusted that's where I was being led, and in the end I am grateful, for the voice that allowed the story to come through, to myself for the willingness to not be afraid of something that might sound shameful, and to J, for holding the space to receive the story as he needed to hear it, and as I needed to say it.

Today?  My throat feels great.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Birthday rites

The final aspect of the new year (in that triplicity I spoke about before) has arrived -- celebrated my birthday on Tuesday.

After taking the few days before to look back on the previous calendar year, and looking at the patterns of where things have been carried over functionally, and what I have carried over from a dysfunctional behavioral pattern.  Thankfully not much, but there are, naturally, areas I'm still working on, such as compassion and truly seeing the Divine in each and every human being, not being selective in the moment or telling myself I will and then get caught up in the idle gossip around me.  Perhaps another reason why I'm just not into group environments.  Open the moments of the lull and gossip ensues around.  I think to some degree we're all guilty of it, and even if my role in it is conceivably small, it's still a role I don't wish to participate in. 

I took the evening after putting Nimue to bed for ritual.  We're on Chapter 2 in HBWM in our ADC book study and Z has this ritual in that chapter, A Ritual For Self-Realization, that really spoke to me.  She also has a beautiful birthday ritual, but it wasn't what intuitively felt right, even on my birthday, the self-realization was appropriate, so I chose to go with that.

She suggests we do it in the hour of Venus, performing it on Venus' day (Friday) each week until we feel that full realization, so today is the next part for me.  I wasn't concerned about doing it on a Tuesday (Mars), because while planetary hours have their important factors, lets face it, anything with math sends me in the opposite direction!  When I was in BFC we had to learn planetary hours as we progressed through our studies, I think most all traditions lead you there after the basics of Witchcraft, and it has immense value, but I admit it's not my forte, so I tend to take the approach that intention is best, and if I can do what I can to align my work with as much astrological alignment as possible, then it's a success.  Of course, there's always the mention and intention that all workings be for the highest good, and I think that planetary hours are the same, it's intention, and for those that can delve further into it with great understanding, all the better!  Though I know we'll be delving into it in W2 this year... I'll cross (or recross) that bridge when we get there!

The ritual itself was amazing.  A wonderful gift to myself on my birthday, it lasted for about 2 hours start to finish.  It tied in perfectly with the theme of this year for me: Balance.  It was so tied together that it was truly perfect, and the emotions that surfaced were somewhat surprising.  You address the things you both love and dislike about yourself, looking into a mirror and addressing them in balance.  Not focusing on simply the ones you love, then the things you dislike, or vice versa, because that is too off-kilter and doesn't serve you at all.  The back and forth about giving love to each aspect, whether you love or dislike it, is an empowering step.

I admit I got annoyed probably halfway through it.  My ego was stepping up and wanted to know why I would love an aspect of myself that I didn't like instead of loving yourself in spite of this attribute.  For example, one of the things I dislike is my lack of compassion in certain situations.  I'd like to think I am compassionate, but there are still areas I am working on in sharing love without attachment (to me or another).  Z suggests you say something to the effect of "I love you, Silver, because you lack compassion in certain situations"... at first these things were fine with the first few I had come up with, but when others became more specific it was harder to say this without annoyance or even anger (perhaps Tuesday's Mars energies were adding to this!).  I wanted to say that I loved myself in spite of this, but when I stopped for a moment to contemplate who really wanted to say that, and why, I realized it was more fear-based energy, afraid to let go.

One of the things I speak about a lot is befriending those aspects of Self that we don't love; to befriend it, find out why it's there, what is its purpose, and how can we work together functionally, in harmony.  If there is no working together harmoniously, we send it away with love, filling the void with something beautiful for ourselves so that it doesn't return.  I realized this was the same thing.  If I'm unwilling to love those parts that I truly do dislike I won't learn to really love myself as a Whole.  These attributes are here for a reason.  I created them for a reason.  In this moment I don't really need to concern myself with bombardments of "why", but just focus on this step of mirror-work to give it love.

As Z says, the practice is to develop divine compassion in yourself, and I could feel that in certain areas more than others, but overall it was eye-opening, and healing.  It may have seemed odd to do this as a personal birthday rite, but intuitively I was quite drawn to it, and I'm glad I did it.

I completed the ritual with a birthday spread for the calendar year and it was spot on with messages I have been receiving since Samhain.  All tied together, the new year for me has fully begun.

We had class on Wednesday night and did some meditations for Fire and Water, and I was actually a little bit surprised (not much) by my resistance to Fire's energies... personal Will... I suppose I'm really not all that surprised.  Christopher gave me the incense and one of the candles from the meditation to work with, which I plan to do after this weekend.  I want to focus on devotions and the self-realization ritual again and then focus on more Fire and Water next week.  The Water one was much easier.  Helpful messages from my guides that I am integrating, still tying in with the theme of compassion. 

I am hopeful for a day of rest.  Everyone around me has been sick and it's not unusual that after my birthday arrives that I fall sick.  Well, generally it's the week of my birthday, which as anyone who knows me knows that I tend to view it more as a cleansing than a mundane aspect of simply "getting sick".  I'm quite surprised that I didn't start the new year with being sick, considering how many around me are currently.  I also realized that part of that sickness is just programming, telling myself that there is a "need" for me to cleanse each year with a fever, stuffy nose, cough, etc. when in reality there really is no "need" for me to process through that kind of physical ailment.  None at all.  I can still process and cleanse on any of the other subtle bodies without need to manifest them into the physical body.

With that said, I'm still planning on joyously laying under the covers, drinking juice, wishing someone would make me soup and slipping off into a good, deep nap.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Prior reflections

Years ago someone once suggested that at the end of the calendar year your first entry in your journal (or blog) would be a reflection of the previous year's worth of entries.  You would take the first sentence in the first entry of each month and compile them together... I did this last year, both with the written journal I keep by hand and my blog, and last night I reflected on 2008's entries and smiled to myself at some marvelous memories, cringed at others, then simply laughed at the rest.  What a difference a year can make when you step outside of whatever is going on, be it functional or not, when you're not in it it's a completely different energy.

After reflecting on 2008, I took the time to go through my journals and write up the entries for 2009... in the general pattern scheme I realized that I don't seem to write as much during the First Quarter Moon, however I tend to write a lot during the Crescent and Gibbous phases.  While there is a natural tendency to journal (and introspect) during the dark of the moon, it was an interesting pattern to notice.

I found myself needing to read through entries a bit more to decipher what precisely was going on at the beginning of certain months.  The one sentence wasn't generally enough (for the most part) to see what was going on.  Then again, I'm not exactly a one-sentence capturer of words.  The core of most things I tend to write are hidden throughout many words, not just a few at the start of something.  Perhaps the journal is a refection of that as well.

I certainly didn't blog enough last year to make any sort of patterns that were wildly evident of anything.  It's still a strange process to work through, the outer layer of fear, still stashed in the inner core, but layered on the surface to peel away and place ever so delicately on the ground, piecing it together like mosaics.  Putting myself out there is strange, and scary to some degree, not because of the vulnerability, I think there is some power in being able to be who you are in a way that no one can use your story against you.  Impossible, it's your story.  It will have misinterpretations like any story you hear, but when you don't own that from another, it's quite powerful.  I'm not sure where the fear exactly plants itself relative to the blogging.  It may seem small, silly even, that this aspect might feel uncomfortable, that the words you pull out of your mind in stream of consciousness typing could have this power of its own, this energy and life of its own, but it does.

In the reflections of the previous year the same pattern became evident: I am a fairly good listener who will listen, without judgment, to your story.  I love stories.  Whether they're true or not isn't my decision, for I'm not the storyteller in that situation, but listening and observing (especially the observation) is where my comfort lay the most.  I don't put myself out there in situations, because I enjoy the art that takes place around me.  Seeing the beauty, the abstract, the strokes of genius, the flash of a beginner's lens... it's captivating to observe, I don't know that I'm comfortable being in it so much as being in the place to hold space for it.

The year waxed and waned, and the lessons that came were mostly easily delivered.  I think much of the harder lessons were present during my Saturn Return, and once I merged out of that my ability to accept gifts and lessons in that realm became easier and less painful to bear.  I've opened up more as a result of that time, sharing stories about my depression growing up, my attempted suicides, my path leading me to Goddess and how that path has led me to the healers path... they're all stories, some active, some passive, some define-less, some true, some illusions... there is a misconception that the illusionary stories we tell are untrue; that these stories aren't worth anything.  I don't believe that.  I believe in truth, but my definition of that truth and what it holds doesn't mirror the same for everybody, nor should it.

I have spent this past year, in particular, addressing personal language.  Years prior it had been addressed, but the depth to which I chose to look at how it actually played a role inside of me, versus the role it played around me because of me, has been a challenge in truth itself.  A worthwhile challenge, when you're ready to acknowledge and notice the things that you know don't serve you, without excuses, without telling yourself you're learning from them (when conceivably you may not be), just stripping the layers to its raw form...

I'm not fully there yet.

I've stripped the layers, yes.  I've embraced and caressed those raw aspects... but that was then.  In this Now, the raw that I once knew and was once familiar with in kinestetics and vision isn't the same raw that exists now.  It can't be.  The soul self shifts and merges, even if the general matrix is still the same, there is always a shift, and those slight shifts are quite powerful.

While we are in Mercury Retrograde it has come to my attention that we're also in Mars Retrograde until March... or May when He fully returns in direct motion.  As I've mentioned before, my astrology is quite beginner's.  Mercury Retrograde is an easy one to keep track of and notice it's patterns, and while I am adapting to the other lessons the zodiac has to share, it's still a new territory for me in the deeper realm.  It comes as no surprise (now) to learn of Mars Retrograde... it certainly explains a lot!!

Now, it's not to say I'm merely experiencing the aggression Mars can possess, because I'm also experiencing that other side this retrograde brings of reassessment.  The anger surfacing is actually a combination of Mars and Mercury working together, for me that is.  It's such a beneficial time to look at the expression of my anger.

I'm not one for conflicts.  I take a more "make love not war" sort of mentality when it comes to disagreements and conflicts.  With that said, it also varies to the degree of the situation.  While I won't show my aggression or anger towards another, the swallowing of that mass clearly is dysfunctional, and this Mars retrograde is bringing that process to the surface.  Fitting as it only turns once every 2 years... the last time He came around I was processing through so much...

"With retrograde Mars affecting sectors that involve deeper feelings, you could be exploring anger and assertion over deeply buried matters."  The deeply buried always has a way of rising to the surface, and some of this has been long and deeply buried.  It is with honor and love that I open the wounds and heal them, one by one. This calendar year represents a year of Balance for me -- Balance in a state that has no scale of either/or; it knows no better/worse than; it's spiritual Balance, which isn't better than physical realm Balance... just different.  I'm ready for that process, asking the Goddess for grace with each layer I uncover, with each layer I embrace.  I feel quite optimistic about this calendar year.

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