First Group Ritual

Over the weekend, I went to my first-ever public pagan ritual. I’d been to a wedding, but never a regular event like this Midsummer celebration before.

It was pretty great, but also…very different. The thing that caught me the most off-guard was how *here* the ritual part was. My own personal rituals are either in astral or straddling the worlds and take place simultaneously on both sides. I’ve never even given any thought to that. But this was completely grounded in one place and time and people in this world. It was a little jarring to me at first, actually, because it almost made the Gods and spirits feel further away. Greater, more powerful, more “godlike” and strange, yes…but also more inaccessible somehow. It was a completely different experience and aspect of polytheism then I’d known before and so that was really cool and enlightening.

I was a bit nervous going in, though, because it was a heathen blot and…as most of y’all probably know there are a few People in that bunch that I have some pretty negative history with and two I even have something like restraining orders against—with an exception for crossing paths in meetings or rituals either in astral or here. But even though I had mentally prepared myself for every single one of Them I had problems with to be invoked, only one actually was (and it was inevitable; that’s the thing with having trouble with Someone so prominent in a pantheon 😛 ). So I felt fortunate about that.

And then most of the evening was just hanging out with everyone, enjoying mead and beer and food potluck-style and just having…fellowship (it seems really weird to use that word outside Christianity, but it’s the only one I have). I really didn’t expect to find that kind of feeling it again and it helped to restore some of my hope and faith in people and in pagan/polytheist community that I’d lost in the last year and a half or so.

So much fun…and I’m going to try to go to the next one, too. 😀

Solstice Thoughts

Hope everyone had a lovely solstice! 🙂

I’m wrapping up my celebrations and it was kind of a weird one for me. There were some Choices that came up that needed to be made…and they were exactly about the parts of myself and my path that I still have the most fear and resistance about. They were also decisions that I thought were made a long time ago and I didn’t have to think about them anymore, so I was totally blindsided when everything came up.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks trying to work through it all in time and that process brought up a lot of other questions and doubts that I usually manage to just not think about too much. It really doesn’t seem fair that every time I get a handle on things or start feeling like everything’s going well and looking up, it’s like I “level up” to drown in a whole new ocean of weirdness all over again. *sigh*

So a lot of the solstice ended up feeling serious and even a little somber for me. The fact that it rained the whole day and the sun never came out actually felt very apropos. I still had lots of fun celebrating with Anubis yesterday, and I did my things with Kintár and Raen and the Court, but everything was very small and quiet and low key and there was very much a dichotomy at play.

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(thanks tiny snek, for summing up my thoughts so perfectly…)

I’m trying not to feel sad or guilty that I couldn’t do more big stuff. Earlier this year I had all these plans for what I was going to do—lighting lots of candles and burning incense and setting off some of those tiny fountain-fireworks or sparklers or something, and making offerings but…not so much. So I keep reminding myself that it wasn’t bad, it was just different this year.

And that’s actually one of the things I look forward to about holidays now that I’ve been keeping the same ones in much the same ways for two of three years now. Because they’re still always different. Sometimes it’s big stuff and sometimes just little things but the rituals and celebrations are never quite the same from one time to the next. And not only my own personal practices and but the ways the Gods and spirits in my life celebrate the turning of the year also.

So I really don’t quite know how to feel about this solstice. It was love and fun and choices and stress and discussions and moving forward and lots of powerful and conflicting emotions yanking me in every direction. I think it was good, but right now I’m just exhausted by all these transformation moments and shenanigans I keep having—no matter how productive or right or good they even up turnng out to be. 😛

Love

I don’t have words yet for today. It’s all just about love. *Cue tequila shots and romantic Scottish music for funsies and old times’ sake.*

It’s my and Anubis’s first wedding anniversary today. ❤

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year. I can’t believe it’s been only a year.

I love you, Husband. And thanks for everything today…You know all the reasons why. 🙂

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(PS-image is absolutely not mine: this is one of my fave Anubis art things by dark natasha via deviantart. All credit goes to the amazing artist; I just love this image. 😉 It was one of the ones in my shrine to make up for not having a statue/figure for over a year so it feels special to me now.)

I Break For Turtles

Earlier today I helped a turtle cross a busy divided highway near me. I’m hoping and praying it will be okay, since it had been sideswiped by a car by the time I reached it. (And unfortunately to the best of my knowledge and a google search there’s not anywhere nearby that treats injured wildlife.)

But I’m hopeful. It was quite a large, strong turtle and while the very rear edge of the shell was sheared off, it was only a little (1/8 inch or less) and there was only one tiny cracked place (at the leading edge of the strike) where there was even any bleeding—and I’ve seen a lot of turtles with shell scars easily two to three times that size that healed. And its tail and back feet looked intact and unharmed. It was still moving and very alert and the energies/aura I picked up seemed more confused and startled than hurt.

I left it in some cool underbrush on the far side of the highway, wrapped in healing energy and with a lot of prayers and I’m hoping for the best.

So this is a friendly summer PSA to watch out for our shelled friends in your travels! In some mythologies, all the world is carried on the back of a giant turtle/tortoise. And turtles are sacred to the Kemetic (Egyptian) God Set. But more importantly, they’re awesome, terrific, intelligent, loving critters! ❤ So watch your tires and save a turtle!

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I love turtles and I have all my life so I’m going to break character here a little with some advice. If you decide to help a turtle cross the road this, or any other summer (yay!), then please:

1) Be safe yourself and make sure neither you nor your vehicle endanger anyone.

2) Always lift a turtle by the edges of the shell, avoiding any potentially damaged areas you see—and if you have wildlife aid services in your area, take advantage of their services if a turtle is hurt—and *never, ever* handle by the tail or limbs as that can seriously injure them.

3) Always place them on the side of the road they’re facing—it can be tempting to put them on whatever side they’re closer to, but turtles know where they’re going and can be stubborn and there’s every chance that if you move them to the wrong side that they’ll try again and be even more in danger for having further to go after you leave.

4) Try to keep the turtle relatively close to the ground during your transport to safety, terrain and circumstances permitting, especially if it’s kicking or struggling at all. They’re strong and if they kick free then they won’t be the fall to the ground.

5) Large, long-tailed turtles, usually with particularly ridged shells, might be snapping turtles if you’re within their range (generally Eastern to upper Midwestern US). There’s a lot of online resources about helping/interacting with them safely, but it’s usually best not to handle or lift them—because they’re named that way for a reason—and instead to push or nudge them from behind with a non-sharp object that keeps them moving but no one gets hurt.

6) Never relocate a turtle to another area or region, even one that seems “safer” to you. Turtles, like many animals, have territories and they often try to return home or might even experience trauma and just stop eating when they can’t see a way back.

7) Make you wash up after handling a turtle as they can potentially carry some diseases that are communicable both to humans and to some pets, so be sure to soap it up and keep everyone healthy.

(***Please note: The above is for land and freshwater turtles only. If you’re in an area that’s home to sea turtles or any endangered turtle/tortoise species, please refer to local resources in order to be sure you’re doing what’s best for them.)

Storm Water

It stormed here last night. We’ve had several rainy evenings this week, but this was an especially lovely rain.

(What do I expect after writing for Tefnut yesterday, right? 😉 It’s kind of A Thing. Two summers ago when I was making the statues for my Neteru altar it was very dry…but every day that I worked on Her statue, it unexpectedly rained when it wasn’t forecasted. Since then, any time we really needed the rain I could handle her statue and/or light incense before it and every time it’s rained within 72 hours and all but once or twice before nightfall.)

Unlike the previous rains, there was even some thunder and lightning and lots of wind this time. It’s exactly the sort of storm that’s my favorite, so I sat outside on the porch with it for a few hours.

And unexpectedly, I felt this overwhelming nudge to collect some of the rainwater. I’ve never collected storm water like this…and honestly I’m not really sure why or what I’m supposed to do with it. For now I’ve just sealed it up in a special jar and I guess I’ll find out. 🙂

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Dear Tefnut

I feel inspired today to write this short poem of praise:

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Hail Great Tefnut

Goddess of Moisture

Humidity, Dew, and Rain

For truly you have blessed

Beyond measure or reason

This land, my mortal home

Seriously, Tefnut should be recognized as a patron Goddess of the Southeastern US–or at least of our weather anyway. Haha 😛 😉