Spring on the Horizon

It’s getting close to the lunar new year and for many people, that means a time of cleansing. For some, this is a time of the year when they take on a dietary cleanse. They try cutting things like sugar and meat out of their diet to see if it works for them. I have been contemplating no sugar but I love my ice cream and cookies too much to actually do that. For others, they start their physical space cleansing, also known as spring cleaning. This is something that I have been doing. Ever since last year, I have been making moves to become more organized and get rid of some of my excess “stuff”. I try to keep my home clean throughout the whole year but there are times when I need to do extra work, like my garage for example, it needs a lot of clean up work right now. For lunar new year in asian countries, it’s customary to not clean the day of the new year to preserve prosperity in the home. On the day after, you clean your whole house top to bottom to welcome in prosperity.

For Imbolc this year, I celebrated both the coming of spring and did some ritual cleansing using full moon water that I set out to charge during that wicked lunar eclipse slash blue supermoon we had on the 31st of January. I used the water to clear my chakras. I haven’t talked much about chakras before but it’s something that I believe in ever since my yoga teacher training in 2015. I am by no means an expert on it but it’s something that I hope to develop more in the coming year.

As for welcoming spring, my covenmates and I poured some cream from a dairy that I grew up with into the garden. I haven’t used a lot of milk in my practice before but I will likely use more this coming year. Milk, eggs, and honey are the only animal products that I feel comfortable making as offerings in my practice at this time. I know that blood, bones, and meat make great offerings but I just haven’t felt the desire to use them. Milk, eggs, and honey are offerings of fertility and life while blood, bones, and meat are more offerings of death. Perhaps, I will use blood, bones, or meat at Samhain this year.

Which brings me to the question of why do pagans make offerings or sacrifices and what do they mean or represent. To get to the root of what sacrifice means, you have to go way back to an age when every single resource, however small, was needed. To make any kind of offering or sacrifice to the spirits or gods was seen as our way of giving back to those who provide to us. Think of it like our way of taking part in the conservation of energy or the circle of life (as explained in The Lion King). Humans are excellent at producing what they need and then over producing for the sake of our economy. Pagans who take that over production and give it back to nature, are helping to recover some of that loss so that it might be used again in the future.

Do the gods or spirits demand sacrifice? You bet they do. The more we take from the land, the more we will one day have to give back. What we have been giving back, plastics, chemical waste, and other ecologically damaging by-products will only harm us and the planet we call home further. There’s going to be a cost that humans will one day have to pay for all that we have taken. While there are things we as the individual can do to help stem off this sacrifice, one day, we will all pay for our devotion to consumerism.

While in Hawai’i, I had a chance to see a volcano in action. Seeing where the beginnings of our planet and the land in which we rely on in action was both inspiring and humbling. Here was the core of creation at work and yet it was destroying at the same time. Looking at the lava in action, I understood why the Hawaiians believed that the volcano was the Goddess, Pele. You could feel her presents there in a way that I have not experienced in my life before. Volcanoes will one day recover our land for us, their lava will spill over all of the destruction we have caused on the surface, drag it deep into the core and bring new life to the surface. Billions of years from now, when our time on the service has long since burned away, Earth will still be here, hurtling through space until the Sun engulfs her and then new energy will be expelled into the universe. That’s our true immortality, in the atoms of our makeup, we are all made of stars.

So on that happy note, hail the coming of spring and the cycle of rebirth of the land!

~Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Advertisements

Path of the Priestess

There are so many paths that you can walk when you practice paganism. I could write entire books just outlining all the paths you can take when you practice paganism. Finding the path that is right for you is just as hard as finding a career that you love. Sometimes, you can line up your pagan path so that it walks in tandem with your career path but most of the time, your pagan path is a private one.

I have chosen to walk the path of a Priestess. This is heavy title in the pagan community, particularly with its association with the High Priestess title in Wicca. It implies leadership in the community and it comes with responsibility, not only to other pagans but to your chosen path. My coven has a ranking system but we don’t have any hierarchy systems. We use levels of engagement to earn our three ranks: Seedling (beginner), Sapling (intermediate), and Tree (advanced). I currently have the rank of Tree as I am in my third year as a founder of the Coven.

I am a follower of the Wheel of the Year which encoupasses both Norse and Celtic practices. I have basically turned my home into a covenstead because I not only have the room to do so but also the time to devote to practice. There are lots of ways people can lead their communities. I have chosen to do so via this blog and in person with my coven.

Finding training in a clergy/mystic path is difficult for pretty much everyone who wants to deepen their pagan spiritual practice. Giving how few trained mystics there are in the world, it’s almost impossible to get one-on-one training. Even the distance education and online courses that are offered do not make up for that master-student relationship. I have attempted these paths a few times and I was not met with much success.

I have walked a solitary path for years and pretty much the majority of my education has been self-training. I was my own teacher and my own guide. It was my training to become a yoga teacher that taught me that I can be my own best teacher. I can gain guidance from others but at the end of the day, I am the one who has to do the work, make the connections, and come to my own conclusions. I have to have be the one to come to my own “ah ha!” moments of realization.

The path of the mystic in any religious tradition is not looked well upon by the eyes of science. In a society were seeing is believing, many things that they mystic sees and experiences cannot be quantified by traditional science. Most mystics run the risk of being called out as Charlatans and quacks for their non-scientific views and practices. I keep many of my own experiences to myself so that I can avoid uncomfortable conversations with people who just don’t get it. You cannot teach a mind that is already full of its own ideas. If someone is to come to the realization that our world is more complex than science can offer at this time, then they will come to spiritual mysticism on their own.

As part of my offering as a pagan Priestess, I will be posting a Foundations of Pagan Practice series on this site for both new pagans and older pagans looking to deepen their own practice by going off the beaten path. It has been my goal since starting this blog back in May to create this series.

As part of my own growth as a pagan, I will continue to share things that I learned and insights that I have gained through my own practice. I will continue to question what it means to be a Priestess and explore other paths.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Hawai’i & the Goddess Pele

It’s hard for me to express the feeling of being in the presence of a Goddess while you are in her land. Everywhere on the Big Island of Hawai’i, you feel the Goddess Pele, she’s in all of the landscape, the language, and the people.

IMG_20180113_114947.jpg

So far, I have letting myself just enjoy being here. I haven’t sent a lot of time over thinking things while I have been here. It’s been good to just relax and enjoy all that Pele has to offer. In thanks for her welcoming us to her island, I left her an offering up at her primordial playground, the active volcano.

IMG_20180118_191440.jpg

I will be leaving the island in just a couple of days. I will miss this island once I do but it’s left me totally reset and ready to take on new things and renew my commitments to others. I have a directly for my Priestess practice and how I plan to offer my services not only to my gods but to my community. More about that to come in the next couple of weeks.

IMG_20180116_151302.jpg

I had hoped to blog more while I was on vacation but I just got so swept up in activities. I saw sea turtles, went surfing, hiked volcanoes, and explored mountains. Tonight, I will go to see the stars. Not a bad way to finish up my holiday in the sun.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

 

Happy Hogmanay!

It’s the day after New Year’s day and I am going to be doing some magical housekeeping before I leave on my trip to Hawaii. Cleaning your home at the start of the new year is great way to put both your mind at ease after a hectic holiday season and get you started on the right foot for the following year.

Have you ever heard the expression, “Messy bed, messy head,”? You can extend that to your house and home. The more out of order your living environment is, the more out of order you are. If you can keep your home clean, it will extend to you, your mind, and your spirit. It will allow you to give yourself space to do the things that you love.

Along with my normal housekeeping, I will also be cleansing my home of last year’s energies. One of my covenmates said that they can still feel the energy from my ex in my home. I think my home has been overdue for some cleansing for a long time, we also haven’t put up an official protections for the house. Since my coven and I have been using my place as the Covenstead the last three years, it might be a good plan to put up some protection for the place.

I want to get all of my clean up finished before I leave on my trip this Saturday. I will be on the Big Island of Hawaii for the majority of January, so I want a clean home when I get back. I am looking forward to this trip though. I started planning it last June and we are finally going. Hard to believe that it’s been seven months of planning in the works. I have all of my gear ready for the trip and now it’s just a process of figuring out what I need to pack away.

I will be going up to the volcano one of the day’s while I am on Hawaii and I will be making an offering to Pele. She’s a powerful creation and destruction Goddess that I have admired for a long time. I am looking forward to learning more about her while on I on the island.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Rebirth of the Spirit

The winter solstice has come at last. The dark time of the year has come to an end and the sun is reborn. The days start getting longer but we are also in the coldest time of the year. On the one had light is returning but we must endure six more weeks of winter chill before spring arrives on February first.

I celebrated this solstice with my coven. We had a feast dedicated to Freyr and had a blot to the Norse gods, spirits of the land, and our ancestors. We made a sacrifice of red wine on the outdoor altar. After that, we sat around the outdoor sacred fire pit in our winter cloths for a journey to our sacred thirteen oaks to seek wisdom for the new year. It was minus 17 degrees celcius out there but there was something peaceful about listening to the fire cracks while the wind blew at our backs. Each of us received a vision from the flames that was meant just for us.

My vision was reflective of my inner conflict. Lately, I have been struggling with what it means to be a pagan priestess. Even the words themselves don’t feel right. I am not a leader but I do have special knowledge and experience in my pagan path to share. I am forced to walk the path of a spiritual leader, teacher, and practitioner. Since I am in such a small community of pagans, we have very few pagan leaders and teachers, which means that any of us who have even just a few years experience are forced onto a path that we might not be best suited for.

Taking control of your own spiritual path is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. When I say you are your best teacher, I mean it. You don’t need someone to show you the way, you know the way, you have always known it. Having someone feed you directions will likely only get you lost. As the old saying goes, there’s more than one path up the mountain. That is to say that just because one person found a “safe path” up, does not mean that your path will be just as safe. In the same way that all snowflakes look exactly the same before they fall to Earth, they change as they fall until each one is completely different from the others.

I have been contemplating the title of “priestess” as is stands right now. I have been feeling that the term I have been using is too akin to that of the Wiccan system. I am not a High Priestess nor will I ever be. I do not practice Wiccan ritual magic and I do not fully follow the Wiccan belief system.. My own practice is more akin to that of shaman or in the Norse tradition, a Seiðr or a Völva. I have some ideas for how I want to grow my pagan path next year and I have been given some ideas on how to do that.

This past summer, I spent a full moon cycle working with Goddess energy. This year, I want to grow on that experience and bring in my work with the Gods. I won’t be dividing my time though, I will walk with both types of energies. I will likely be spending more time on research for the Norse traditions. I have been feeling more and more drawn to Norse energies over the last few years. Some of the ways in which I plan on bringing better understanding to the ways of my ancestors is to revive some of their domestic practices, including clothing, food, and fishing and hunting. I don’t want to just become a reenactor but more of a revivalist. In our modern age of industrialization and mechanization, it’s easy to lose touch with our roots.

I look to cultures like the Sami who have managed to keep their roots and participate in our modern world. While much of their culture has been forced to change to other spiritual beliefs in recent centuries, they too are finding revival in their spiritual connection to the gods of old. I would argue that since our culture is so caught up in consumerism, it’s very difficult for us to break away from it. It’s so much more easy to buy food, clothes, and other possessions than it is to make them ourselves. The only this is costs us is hours of our lives to fill someone else’s consumer need. We are literally trading our lives for stuff.

This holiday season, my family and I agreed to go on a trip instead of doing gifts. My brother and I are at the point in our lives where we don’t need any gifts. So instead of getting more stuff, our family is investing in time and an experience together. We are going to Hawaii for sixteen days. This will be the longest family vacation we have taken in years and the first non-Californian vacation since our Grand Canyon trip in 1992. Needless to say, we are long overdue for taking a trip together like this. I have been looking forward to this trip since we first decided on it in June. It will be nice to have a change of setting for a while and not worry about everyday life for a bit.

Hawaii has always been a place that holds a special magic, in particular the Goddess Pele. I am fortunate that we have chosen to go to the Big Island, Hawaii herself where the volcano Goddess Pele lives. I cannot wait to see the act of island creation at its source and see where lava spill into the ocean giving way to new life. Part of me thinks that it will be hard to get me away from this island once I get there. The only other place that holds this same kind of magic for me is Iceland.

I have been waiting for the Asatru temple in Iceland to be finished before I go there. I don’t expect it to be a long trip, maybe a week but I don’t want to go until that temple is finished. I wish that we had something like that here in Canada or even in British Columbia. We don’t have any dedicated pagan temples where I live. It’s not that we don’t have a vibrant community that could sustain it if one was built, it’s the work that it takes to get said temple off the ground. What will likely have to happen is an elderly pagan will have to give an endowment in order to get the process started. Kind of like how someone in my hometown had to give the land to the Catholic hall in order for it to have been built in the 1980s. Not there there aren’t enough empty churches in Kelowna, we just don’t have the capital to get them off of the ground. Talk about a lifetime goal. I hope that one day, I will have land to build some sort of covenstead on it. Of course, that’s getting way ahead of myself. For now, I will just focus on my personal pagan path and growing my own tradition.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Pagan Yule Playlist

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and black Friday is behind us, we can get on with getting into the Yuletide spirit. Here’s a collection of Yule and winter holiday favourites that I have collected over the past couple of years.

I have a bunch of posts to make up for my lack of posting in November. It’s been a challenging month for me, I have been going through some self development stuff.

Stay tuned!

~Spiritsong Dreamweaver

Samhain: Remembering our Ancestors

We are fast approaching the third and final harvest sabbat, Samhain. November 1st marks the time to give rest to all of the autumns harvests and setting in for the long dark of winter.

In olden days, this would have marked the harvest of those animals that will not make it through the winter and the start of preserving their flesh with smoke or salt. Today, we no longer need to wait until the coming of winter to prepare our stores of food. We just walk down to our local supermarket and pick up what we want.

There are so few of us who could understand what it took for our ancestors to make it through a winter and how important it was that every member of a household do their part in making sure that everyone made it through. In my local community, we go to the cemetery and spend time with the forgotten dead. It’s impossible for us to know the lives of all those who have died in our community since its founding but we can spend time to acknowledge their lives and their contributions to our community.

On a more personal level, Samhain is a good time for you to spend time remembering those people in your life who are no longer with you. I am sure that you have lost someone close to you and whether or not it was recent or someone you never had a chance to know in your lifetime like a great grand parents, Samhain offers you that space to reach out to their memory and give thanks to them for their role in your life.

For me, there are two people who I never had a chance to meet in my life because they died long before I was even a thought. They are my mother’s parents, Bill and Peggy Mitchell. Everything that I know about them is second hand knowledge from my mother and her siblings. I know that Peggy was a swimmer training to go to the Berlin Olympics but wasn’t able to go. I know that Bill was a life guard on the beach where he and Peggy met. I wish that I knew more about them but that most of their lives are lost to the memories of those who cannot tell me their stories.

There are other stories lost to time. I don’t know why my ancestors left the shores of Europe. I don’t know what adventures they had. I don’t know their hopes or their dreams. All I do know is that I would not be here if it were not for these people.

How you honor your ancestors is really up to you. I tend to create an altar for them and I burn incense in their honor. This year, I will be doing some journey work to meet up with my first ancestors. I hope to find out more about my roots and where my pagan blood comes from.

IMG_0164

I will also be celebrating Halloween by decorating my home, carving a pumpkin, and handing out sweets to the neighbor kids who come by our door. I will put on my best witch get up and welcome the trick-or-treaters with a smile. For children, this is a special night where they get to be whoever they want to be and get candy. I loved Halloween as a child. I loved running around the houses and collecting candy.

I hope that you have a safe and happy Halloween and a peaceful Samhain this year!

Blessed Be,

Priestess Spiritsong