Thanksgiving, Polytheist Style.

Before we get to the meat and potatoes here, I should inform people who I had a regular, American thanksgiving. It was good. We spent the day at TH’s aunt’s house. We got to Skype with her son who is living in Japan as a teacher. (I think he’s teaching English, but he may be teaching Japanese? I’m not sure. His major was Japanese something-or-other.) However, I don’t really see the point of the holiday aside from getting together with your family and eating a turkey. I don’t find it very spiritual and I don’t find it much use aside from eating turkey. It’s the only time of year that I eat turkey.

Also, this thanksgiving polytheist… thing fell in my lap… today.

This morning, I awoke from a very odd dream. I don’t normally dream about my OTHERS™. Or, if I do this on a regular basis, I never recall them. When I do wake up with them in my memory banks, there tends to be a large reason behind it, usually a warning of some kind. What was even more fascinating was that I dreamed of Hekate for the first time.

I was at her altar in my home, but it was outside. Or maybe, there was no roof above the alcove I have her table in. (And that makes sense since I want to try and find a scarf with stars on it, as pictured in this image of Nut to tack to my ceiling.) Anyway, I was kneeling in front of it and I was being incredibly formal as I made offerings. I couldn’t see the offerings, but it was definitely me, kneeling, and formally giving her offerings of some kind or another. I was also speaking formal words, possibly some of the ones I’ve been reading about in Hekate: Liminal Rites by Sorita D’Este. Again, I don’t remember what words I was speaking or what I was offering, but the dream was important.

I’m pretty sure Hekate was trying to tell me something. I figured I would do something big and bad ass for her on the new moon.

Today, however, is the first of the month of Sf-Bdt according to my Kemetic calendar. This is also the first of the new season of Peret, or winter. I knew I was going to do something in commemoration of this. Since I’m not huge on festivals and big-huge things, I try to at least bake something at the start of the new month and I’ll go a little more extra on things when it’s the start of a new season. But over all, I’m really not a huge ritual, celebration person. I like being the low-key, lay person I’m pretending to be. Of course, it’s funny how you assume or figure things will end up in one way but they really end up in another. Today was about giving thanks for the things that I do have.

You see, things haven’t been very well over here. On Friday, I go back to being unemployed and I’m pretty sure I can’t file for unemployment benefits because I’m only a temporary employee. After this, I don’t know where money is going to be coming from. We receive TH’s miniscule weekly allotment from his unemployment, but even with me trimming the fat on certain bills, it’s not enough to pay for everything. I figure that if I could get cash assistance from the state in the tune of, say, three hundred dollars, we should be able to survive… as long as we also get food assistance. So, suffice it to say that I’ve been wicked depressed and moody. It’s at the point where I’m cleaning like a fiend, taking non-cleaning out on my family members (even though it’s not their fault that they didn’t do something, but I feel like it is because I’m angry at the world), and rearranging my entire house to boot. Well, parts of my house. I’m sobbing internally at the thought that I won’t be able to buy anyone anything for Christmas, again.

Since my daily rune pull today was othala, I decided to take this as a sign that I should be thankful for what I do have.

Sure, I don’t have a job or won’t in the near future, but I have to have faith that I will be provided for by the universe. As easy as it is for me to slip into a deep, black depression over all of this, I really can’t. I have a four-year-old and a twenty-four year old who relies on me. I have cleaning and laundry to do. I have the ability to ask for help from numerous people and I will receive something. I still have some money in savings so maybe Christmas and bills won’t go completely to shit. My car is still functioning even if she’s not at tip-top shape. So, while I’m liable to be miserable and depressed again in the upcoming week or two, TODAY, there’s no fucking room.

And I’m thankful for that, too.

To get the party started, I went to my local Goodwill and purchased some items.

I bought a wooden bowl, two small tumblers, and a pretty picture with flowers on it.

I had actually gone in there with the intention of finding a small, but wider bowl for Hekate. She was going to get pomegranates when I did the thing for her, but I was hoping to have a bowl that had a wider lip than the one I have. No dice on that, obviously. The wooden bowl was purchased for Papa Legba. At a future point, I’m hoping to paint it red and get a black paint-pen to inscribe his veve into the middle. Since I can’t afford a real calabash bowl, like they do in Haiti, but I can afford the fifty cents this bowl cost me… Yeah. He was all for it. The two glass tumblers are for Hetharu and Sekhmet. They’ve recently requested oils for offerings. Right now, they’ve got regular old extra virgin olive oil, but I think they really want scented ones. The picture was for Hekate. She likes plants, right?

Before I went home, I decided to stop at the grocery store. I had AN ITCH and I couldn’t go home. So, in a half-daze, I wandered around the grocery store and picked up cheap items for tonight’s dinner and for any of my OTHERS™. The only one who didn’t cost me anything, oddly enough, was Papa Legba. (Although, he almost talked me into another red candle in a glass holder. ALMOST.) Hekate sent me to the fruit section for a pomegranate and then I went zooming down to flowers. They had a pretty little bouquet on special for five dollars. I was shocked by her choice, though; oranges? I think it’s a last lingering feels regarding the end of the autumn, but who knows what’s going through a person’s head when they– OH. You know. I read something about her getting lilies from someone as an offering and guess what kind of flower is in the bouquet? I get it.

The next step was to notice that I was being trolled by the land spirit.

That tree is the tree I focus on when I’m working with the land spirit, so it IS the land spirit in a sense. The leaves from that tree are all leading up to just below my living room window.

It’s the full moon tonight and that was when I decided I would leave my monthly offerings for the land spirit. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t leave them until it was cold and dark outside. But, later, I went out and did leave a diced apple and some kumquats for the land spirit. Tomorrow before work, I’m going to leave a slice of bread and the big fucking rock I plucked up from one of my local cemeteries. I also talked, briefly, with the land spirit today about how things are going really badly in my life (again). I got the overwhelming feeling from it that I needed to stop worrying so damn much. I guess I’m getting it from all over: the gods, the lwa, and the universe will provide, so knock it off. It was nice to talk with it, though, since I always think that winter = land spirit communication being remote. INCORRECT, SIR.

So, after a lot of cleaning and generally annoying labor, I went around and began baking. If nothing else, when I celebrate a new month, I will bake something for Hetharu. However, I got the feeling that my baking was more in line with a Certain Other Feminine Deity than the one living with Sekhmet. I’m just getting trolled by all the female deities… Of course, I have to admit to everyone here that I’m not surprised. I know that Aset’s statue was in that dream I had about Mut a while back, so I was kind of expecting it. I’m just… I hope she likes small offerings in my kitchen. I’ve been putting her off for a while and she’s been patiently waiting. Apparently, patience has run out. And I’m pretty sure that she’s here in the FOREVER WAY, like Sekhmet. So, this should be weird and interesting. And it explains so much shit…

But that’s a post for a different day.

Continuing on.

So, after I did my baking chores, I went around and started making my thanksgiving dinner. Of course, it was small and tiny. I can’t afford big and expansive. And besides, that’s kind of the point, to me, in a thanksgiving meal. It’s my family sitting down and enjoying what I make. It’s the three of us lauding my cooking abilities (of which are good, okay, but I always wait to see how people react when I cook, all nervous like, because what if I kill someone by accident?). It’s the three of us arguing over who gets the last dollop of milk in a cup. It’s the three of us being a family.

And of course, before we all sat down, all of my OTHERS™ were summoned to their respective places.

He wanted rice, but he got orzo in a garlic and butter sauce. We argued for five minutes about why he needed a fork. Obviously, he won.

Water, oil, cookies, and steak for the two of them. They were also given more items on their altar, per requested.

Flowers in the background, pomegranate in the foreground, and Grey Goose and diet Coke. She was also given a rearrange and clean.

So, that, ladies and gentleman, is how a polytheist can get down with the giving of thanks.

How I Got To Know My Land Spirit.

So, I was asked about my working with my land spirit the other day since someone I know is interested in getting to know hers. She wanted to know what I did and how I got into it. I’ll admit, this was a question that, at the time, I didn’t fully answer because I was deep in the thick of my own shit at the time. I kind of pawned it off by referencing her to a Fae Guide a friend of mine wrote and left it at that. I felt kind of like a douche for pawning it off because I always try to tell everyone that if they have a question, I will do my best to answer it as honestly and seriously as I can. However, sometimes, emotions get in the way of wanting to be helpful to others, I guess, and in that moment, I fobbed it off. I’m going to reiterate here that I try not to do that and that is why I’m writing this guide of sorts. I felt like a jerk for doing that and this is kind of like my own, personal peace-offering with myself. So, let’s get started!

I began wanting to work with the land spirit where I live from the second that I moved into this apartment complex. However, things were kind of hard at first. I went from living in someone’s basement, surrounded by land in every direction and never having to actually work at fostering a kind of connection. At my in-law’s home, where I was living before moving to this complex, there is land all over the place and in the back and in the front and it is well taken care of. The land spirits there are happy and cheerful and love it when I walk around in the back forty, just admiring the trees and the leaves and the detritus left behind from having so many trees and leaves. They like it when I stop to smell the roses (literally) and they’re just pleased that the land is so well taken care of and well loved. (TH’s mother is a horticulturist so it stands to reason that her home and its land would be well provided for.) They flaunt their stuff all over the place, all throughout the year. So, in moving to an apartment complex, I was moving to a smaller patch of land and one that I didn’t have any rights to. I mean, I had no rights to my in-law’s home and their land, but TH’s mom loved that I would spend time out of doors just admiring and being generally nice to the land.

There are days, even now, when I still feel more of a powerful connection with that land than I do with where I live now.

The thing is that the land spirit was angry and upset. I’ve mentioned about the land issues when we first moved in. Part of the reason that getting to know the land was so hard wasn’t just because of the shit that was in my own head (which I’ve remarked upon repeatedly and re-wrote down in one of the links provided below) but that the yard was very open and anyone could watch me. The neighbors that used to live here were all very “keep to themselves” people but they also spied on you. Or they were outdoors with their kids, so doing what I do now would have been discussed behind my back and not to my face because that’s the kind of people they were. (Don’t get me wrong, they were nice to a point, but they were very much gossip-mongers.) As the years past and those people moved out, I stopped caring. People are pretty friendly around here but they leave you to yourself for the most part. Besides, if no one called the cops on me when I soaked the keystone in the yard (a marker to denote the division of borders between the village I live in and the twon next door) with rum after placing keys and pennies on it, I’m not worried about it much anymore.

Sometimes, getting to know the land spirit has to do with not worrying about what other people will think of you.

Of course, I understand that as a full-fledged adult, I have a different perspective. I don’t have to worry about family members shooting me odd looks and I don’t have to worry about neighbors shooting me odd looks because, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” My world, my rules, my practice.

The first step to getting to know your land spirit is to, you know, actually make an active decision to do so. It’s one thing to make an active decision to do so on a patch of land or in a park somewhere, but a whole ‘nother kettle of fish to make that active decision when it comes to where you live. In a forested area or in a park, it’s not your land. There will be someone else who can come along and devote offerings. There will be someone else who feels a connection with the land if you don’t show up to do what you want to do at a given point. And hell, you don’t have to go back to that spit of land the next time you make a foray into working with a land spirit – you can choose a completely different place if you are so inclined. However, when you make the conscious decision to work with the land spirit where you live, this is an on-going project that you can’t put down because you feel like it. If the land spirit isn’t happy, then you know, you probably won’t be either. This isn’t a book you can put down or a god you can ignore for a while: this is where you live and the well-being of the land spirit is intrinsically tied to you and what you do for it. So keep that in mind before you decide, “I’m going to do that, too, because it’s so cool!”

The next step is to just go outside and be.

That may sound ridiculous and kind of silly, but it’s what I did to get started. When the spring hit and the weather became peaceful and bright again, I would go outside multiple times a day and just sit. I would just be. I would look around me and marvel at the growth of the grass now that the grass wasn’t being cut every week just an inch too short. I would marvel at how green and ripe it was. I would watch as the trees began to really start to grow and the leaves would unfurl. As I’ve mentioned, my previous landlady would keep the trees cut very short to the point where birds could not roost within and the leaves barely grew. But, in the going outside and looking and marveling and enjoying the new feel to things (it’s amazing how much change happened the second the new landlord bought the property and told me I could have free reign over the land), I was able to feel the beginnings of a connection. That’s how I got started.

My next step wasn’t just to go out and sit and be, but to go out barefoot and shuffle in the grass. I would take my dogs outside with me and my son. We would all run around in the thick, green, verdant grass barefoot. This, I think, was essential to the connection-forging. In visualizing, centering and all of that jazz, they will tell you to “be a tree.” In the aiding of this, they will tell you to go outside, barefoot, and feel the earth to try and get close with nature and “be a tree.” I kind of subconsciously used this in my forging a connection. I would shuffle around barefoot in the grass and stare around like a creeper. I’m. Not. Joking. I would stare intently at a patch of grass as I went shuffling around my grass barefoot. This helped me to build more connection with the land as well as to feel its change beneath my feet. It was only after I had done this throughout most of the summer that I began to feel tugged, so to speak, to meet up with the land spirit.

The big moment when I began intentionally working on what to do to get to know my land spirit was about the time I began rolling around in the grass. And also that one time when I did a little working for Wep-Ronpet in my yard. It dawned on me as I was working with my gods out of doors that my shuffling, rolling around, and being a general land-creeper was all well and good, but maybe I should do more. In effect, this meant that I had to start figuring out what the land spirit would want. I figured offerings were a good way to go. I also noticed how fast the incense cone I had used to help purify the god statues I was working with burnt down really fast. This meant that, maybe, offerings were the way to go here.

Currently, this means that once a month I go out and leave apples for the land spirit. I also leave out bread because, you know, what birds and squirrels don’t like eating bread leftovers? The land spirit seems pleased with this but would like more. (I keep getting rocks as a recommendation from other people when I talk to them about this as well as, you know, seeing a pile of rocks in my head when I’m outside and trying to commune with the land spirit. So, I’m going to bet here that, you know, it wants some rocks.) It’s very reminiscent, to me, in working with the gods. You have faith that they are there and listening and that they desire something and you’ll get hit with what that desire is at some point or another. In similar fashion, I get similar feelings from land spirit.

The only other thing I have to add is that the person who inspired this post did mention about worrying about possums and raccoons. I told that person that I don’t worry about it and here’s why. Humanity encroached on nature, of which both possums and raccoons and skunks, are a part of. We came in, built our homes, forgot about working with the earth and nature, and have since labeled such creatures as health hazards and nuisances. They are not. They are part of the natural order, which includes working with land spirit. If a raccoon likes the apples I leave out, then they are welcome to them. If a skunk eats the bread I leave out, then it is welcome to it. This is part and parcel of working with land spirit. You don’t worry about the animals eating up offerings left behind in parks and wooded areas, so why should you worry about it just because of where you live? You shouldn’t.

I will mention one other thing that has helped me here besides friends and Google searches and gut instinct here. I have a single area that I focus most of my intent when I am actively cultivating time with the land spirit. This is a particular tree that seemed to get the worst of the removal process when the landlady would cut the trees back. It would be very small and without any leaves for months and months, but they would continue to snip it back. Since the new owner came in, this tree has flourished since the “pruning back process” has stopped. (More like decimation process.) Since this tree has achieved more in the last few months than some of the other trees in the yard, I have used this as a focal point for where I leave my offerings and where I talk to the land spirit.

Yes, I talk to the land spirit regularly.

To me, it’s not so different from working with the gods and the ancestors. It just has a different “temple” so to speak.

Relevant Posts

  1. Working With Land Spirit.
  2. Working with the Fae by Devo.
  3. Land Spirits by Dver.
  4. The Curious Case of American Land Spirits by The Druid of Fisher Sheet.
  5. Land Spirits…at Patheos.

Working With Land Spirits.

Last night, I spoke with my neighbor’s girlfriend. She lives right down the street and wanted to warn me that there has been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood in recent weeks. And of course, she knows this very well since she was a recent victim. She told me about some of the other victims and almost-victims in our neighborhood before telling me that the thieves took the usual items – iPods, cell phones, jewelry and various other electronics – but the oddest part was that they also took her entire box of personal photographs. The rest of it makes sense since someone who is a thief can pawn those things with little questions asked. However, who would steal personal items like pictures? And why? I told her it was probably a mind fuck of some sort and I doubt I’m wrong here. The issue is that these thieves have hit houses in bad parts of Springfield, West Springfield, and various other neighborhoods. So, it’s not just us that’s getting hit this way, but it’s something that worries me.

After talking with her about her experience and an experience of one of our neighbors, I looked around my house. I have to admit that in a thief’s point-of-view, I’m probably a buffet of thievery. We have three separate Xbox 360 systems. (A launch, a special, and a Japanese.) Just based off of that information alone, you can imagine what sort of other electronics we have in this house. I’m supremely grateful that all of my jewelry is white gold or silver since the thieves seem to be focusing on yellow gold since you can confuse white gold with silver at any point. (I’m also glad that I only have photos on my laptop, but also am now scared that someone may steal my laptop. I must remedy this situation…) But, I looked at my pitiful wards and recalled what I had done during Wp-Rnpt for my wards. It’s time to re-up what I’ve done and do other things to this house.

The thing is that the extent of my magical or warding work is very limited. I didn’t and don’t generally do any of that stuff. It started off with a general feeling of it not working and then snowballed when I lost my job after repeated (and slowly but surely more desperate) workings last July. Of course, I have to sit and think that I did pretty damn well with my Dodge Neon before the engine blew up. I was never pulled over in that car. I was also easily able to escape accident situations. And I always felt very, very, very, very safe in that vehicle no matter the situation. That was just after repeated prayers said in the vehicle, making it mine with a religious bumper sticker, and owning the hell out of it, filling it with my personality. That’s all it took for that car to be as safe and wonderful as it was. So, with that information at the back of my head, I asked my pagan and polytheist friends for help on wards and whatnot.

My dear, dear friends did not disappoint. While a shotgun was called for, I won’t get into all thoughts on it now. I’m going to discuss one specific suggestion (as though the title hasn’t given that away) and tell you about it. Linked below, however, are a few entries related to my query for anyone interested, though. So, anyway, I felt that Dee’s recommendation of asking my land spirit for help was a good suggestion. I’ve talked about the land I live on before, but I’m going to re-hash because it’s important to my working, this entry in general, and because sometimes I like to be a long-winded asshole.

I live in an apartment complex and one of the issues I’ve always felt were insurmountable was that since I did not own the land, I could not connect to it. Obviously this isn’t actually true because we hear of people forging connections with forested areas, mountains, and local parks. I think the actual issue was a bit of this and that. I didn’t feel comfortable connecting with land I did not own but also, a strong connection was difficult to forge because of who owned the property. My previous landlady is the type od someone I have described as scared of our land. She would cut the tree down so much that it wouldn’t blossom or bear fruit and spray it in chemicals. The grass was also left very short and tended toward a dead and brown look early in summer. You could just tell by looking at the land and getting a feel for the property that the land spirit was depressed.

At least that was always the impression I got.

Now, often enough on this blog, I have qualified myself for the epithet of “spirit blind.” I don’t get big feels from things like land spirits or astral forms (not bugs; I get those astral fuckers’ feels just fine). If the feels or the entity are pervasive enough or a Deadz, I’m pretty good at smoking it out. Otherwise, I’m usually just like, “Wat,” when people talk about this stuff. So, I think the connection with the land spirit was less my feeling unable and more its depression. The people who owned this property had owned it for years and years. There is only so much abuse a spirit can handle at the hands of a human being before it gives up. And it’s pretty obvious that the previous owners considered the land around this complex as an extra headache. (I can tell by how much love and devotion they’ve invested in their home… directly behind mine.)

Another issue that I’ve only recently begun to realize is that, on top of lackluster owners, the land spirit has been soaking up all the previous and current tenants’ problems, feelings, and issues. Most tenants have six month leases and are out fairly quick. If I’m to base even a fraction of previous tenant woes on the neighbors I have had in my three years here, the land spirit is damn tired of human woes. For example, two long-term previous tenants repeatedly commented on the bad luck they associated with this property. And I’ve wondered, mightily, if some of those issues weren’t some nasty goo by way of the land spirit, just a theory, but something that non-aware me thinks is valid enough. To be blunt, I strongly believe the land spirit was sick and tired of being ignored, misused, and destroyed by improper care.

Enter me!

When I first moved here, I was intent on doing offerings on a daily basis. My only drawback has always been the reversion of offerings after the fact. On the one hand, we have the ancient Egyptian way of eating the offerings afterward. I’ve never been particularly appetized by this. And then, there is the general nature-way that means we toss off our offerings for animals afterward. I noticed a trend when I tried utilizing the second way to revert offerings: there were no animals in my yard. I never saw a squirrel or a bird. It got to the point where reverting my offerings was a serious hassle. So, I started working with the land. And after this past March, when the old landlady sold the property, I was given complete reign over the yard and outlying areas. I mow it, I weed it, I run in it, I give offerings. And wouldn’t you know? Since I started to pay some serious attention where it is need the grass has grown in verdant, the trees have bloomed, birds roost in the trees, and I see little plump squirrels building nests and storing what they can before winter shows up. It’s amazing what a little attention, some careful words, and love will do to the land around you.

With this burgeoning relationship in the background, I turned to the land spirit for protection against the break ins in my neighborhood. I asked it for this thing and in turn, I will plant morning glories at the appointed time and try my hand at planting garlic (for harvest for Hekate). I’m also intending on trying to get rid of the wood chips out front in the bushes so that grass can grow there again. I’m also thinking I may pull out a bush [with permission and assistance] so that there’s more room for grass and nature instead of what we think should be in certain places. (Do not get me started on the whole intent of humanity to plant bushes and whatnot to cover the front area of their homes when they don’t necessarily belong there or look good.) I can definitely tell that the front of the house was left to a whimsy of whatever was on sale at the local store instead of actually putting in items of use or intent… With my plans in my mind and my intention laid bare, I left some apples and bay leaves in offering.

Four apples, cut in half so the middle shapes as a star. With four bay leaves at the quarters.

And in response, I saw a great large mouth with great big pointing teeth and a devil-may-care grin.

Relevant Posts

  1. Defense for Spiritwalkers by Dee.
  2. Barriers, Shields, and Warding PT 1 by Devo.
  3. Protecting and Warding Your Home at TC (forum post).
  4. Warding the Home at Witchvox.

A Catalogue of Weirdness, or Things To Remember.

I needed to write this stuff down before I forgot.

1. Yesterday, I stepped outside and had the most intense feeling of vertigo I’ve ever had. I don’t have them often, but when I do… The thing is that it wasn’t actually vertigo that I was feeling. It had that horrible wishy-washy feel that makes you want to throw up, but it was far more invasive and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I sat heavily down on the front steps. The reason I say it wasn’t vertigo is because it felt like the connections that hold me to my body were wrong and I couldn’t see, taste, touch, smell, or hear anything properly. The colors were muted and yet, too vibrant. The sounds were like they were coming at me from underwater. I’ve considered this experience a bit since that moment and I think it was my body and my soul trying to re-connect the joints, so to speak. I think I may have done some astral shenans in my sleep and I wasn’t as fully back in my body enough to handle the outside as well as I can the inside. Inside the house is all very controlled environment, normal things to hear and taste and touch. Outside the house is not controlled by me in any way and so, therefore, can overtake the senses especially if they’re not fully in your control again.

2. I saw a woman standing beside my bookcase last night. She was watching me from the safety, the shelter of the darkness of the hallway but peering at me around the wall in a very coy manner. This is one of the first times I have had an experience like this that didn’t end in my freaking the fuck out. I take that as a step in the right direction. She was wearing all white and her hair was carefully pinned back from her face. She was curious about me, but when I looked at her directly, she skittered out of my line of sight or perhaps, went back to the realm she is more used to. Speaking with friends about this, we’ve decided this is a visitation from a mutual astral friend of theirs, who I will call A.S. since there are some weird shenans about name-giving. This particular woman has a thing for mothers, wounded women, and children. I tend to fall into two of those three categories, or technically, all three since I do have a child. I left her some tea last night as a “HEY. HOW ARE YOU DOING. LET’S CHAT WHEN YOU’RE LESS SCARED OF ME.”

3. I saw an astral fly on a book TH bought me for my birthday. The book is Temples of Ancient Egypt. It’s one of the books that was recommended to me aeons ago and I finally received it. Anyway, it was definitely a fly body but it was insubstantial like the black bugs that I saw all those times before and assumed I was crazy. It was sitting on the book and twitched its wings before it disappeared. I was staring at that corner for so long, I was getting watery eyes and after images. I blinked and walked away. I had decided that my black bug thing had to do with a cosmic calling card of GTFO than anything else. I didn’t like the possibilities with that decision. Obviously, I was too precipitous in my decision-making in regards to the astral bugs that I see and now must decide upon their meaning on a case by case basis. (OH. JOY.) I saw the bug, again, later on the wood slats that adorn the half wall that hides TH’s computer shit from the living area. It twitched its wings at me a few times and then disappeared. I discussed this with those friends I mentioned (Devo and L). It was decided that I should probably read the book sooner as opposed to later. I said I would once I finished the short, The Body, by Stephen King. (IT USUALLY TAKES ME A DAY OR LESS TO READ THAT SHORT, DEPENDING BUT NOW IT IS TAKING LONGER BECAUSE I AM SCARED SHITLESS OF FINDING SOMETHING PAST LIFE RELATED IN THAT FUCKING BOOK.) It was also decided that the fly was either just a signpost about the book or it may have been the fae, although it was mentioned that fae tend to be colored dots as opposed to black flies.

4. To cover all my bases, I left out tea for A.S., cupcakes for each of the Marassa, and milk with honey for the fae.

5. I keep dreaming about my online friends telling me shit that I can’t understand. I think, honestly, these dreams are precursors to astral shenans that I can’t remember in the morning. I tend to feel just as tired as I do upon rising as I did when I went to bed and I always need a nap in the mid-afternoon to recoup energy loss that shouldn’t be happening. In all honesty, I don’t know where this belief comes from but it just came to me and seemed worth writing down for future consideration.

6. My sacral chakra keeps cramping like a whore whenever I try to work energy into it. I have to keep this up. I can’t stop. I know it’s working. And it’s important that I work this closed chakra. It’s important. I cannot forget the breathing exercises that are working.

Let’s Talk About Some Land, My Gods, and Reconciliation.

I mentioned in my last post that I find it difficult to associate my gods with my current locale. This has been an ongoing issue for me. It’s because, as I said, I was so focused on my gods in the narrow interpretations that associated them with their home land. And whilst each nome in ancient Egypt may have envisioned either of my ladies in different aspects (such as viewing the lion-headed goddess in her destructive capacity versus her healing or my bovine-headed lady as a sexpot versus her gifts of magic), the general premise was the same, static. They were both seen in their various capacities but this was incorporated into the land in which they lived.

As I start stumbling down this Kemetic path, I’ve come to realize that this is no longer functional.

I live in a land that’s surrounded by the urbane and the wild. I live in a valley in western Massachusetts. (Oh! So, if you look at a map, you may be able to pinpoint where I am…) I grew up here and I’ve always found certain aspects of it both beautiful and disgusting. However, I have only ever seen these aspects in the world around me as something to eyeball and sigh over when “progress” makes way for things like casinos and parking lots, shopping malls and housing complexes. I grew up here, but I never felt really connected to the land around me. I found myself more comfortable with the week-long trips each summer to Misquamicut. I thought that it was to live by the beach was what I had in store for me, but later, I did live beside the ocean. I lived on an island in Texas. And I never found a single second of connection there.

Oh, sure, it was lovely. And there were deep aspects of that island that I love and miss to this day. I think when November rolls around, I will always sigh and bemoan the fact that I cannot see the sand dunes turn the color of gold for a week or two before changing to death. I think there will always be moments when I’m upset and just want to hear the crash of the waves as I step outside of my house, a reminder that there are things larger and bigger than me all around. I think there will always be moments when I stop and remonstrate with myself for having moved back up here. But, the connection point was important and I didn’t have it down there. And as I think about it, especially in regards to the patrons that I have, I’m pretty sure that while stopping by and staying for a week will always encourage a connection of some form, beach-living is not for me or mine.

I live in western Massachusetts and the land that I wish to own one day is a powerful example of what I need to focus on in my mind’s eye. (In case you’re wondering, I would like a four-bedroom home with enough land to cultivate with gardening ventures, as well as a back access to the woods area that surrounds our urbane progress.) It is with those images in my mind that I begin to explore the land that I live in now as opposed to lamenting the fact that I am a foolish woman who still doesn’t own a home of her own. It is with these thoughts in mind that I step outside, daily, and look to the scrub grass that is slowly growing out of the too-short clippings it gets from my landlady’s daughter. It is with that in mind that I watch as the tiny, cut down trees in the yard slowly begin to bud as they never have when I have lived here. And it’s with that going on that I begin to send out and explore the little spirits that live on this land.

If nothing else, they’re sorely unhappy. It explains why the “gardening” in the side lot never grows. It explains why the trees are angsty and refuse my offerings. They are so intent on the fact that humanity has harmed them irreparably that trying to rectify the wrong, considering that I don’t know how long I will be here, leaves me wondering if I should even try. Birds do not fly here. Raccoons, skunks, and rabbits do not hop into our yard on the lookout for goodies. The landlady, I think, fears nature and its crazy possibilities that she has terrified the land that I live on. It’s a sad, sad thing to realize, but it is as it is. I suppose I should count myself lucky because all I have to do is walk down my street and I’m in a local park that’s still wild enough to have spirits that are curious about humanity and Dimmock Pond to walk around when the weather is nice.

It’s at this moment that I begin to turn around and around, thinking about my gods in relation to where I live. Sure, I could be expansive and think about Geb, Re, Tefnut, Nut, Wesir, Aset, Sutekh, Ptah, Mut, Nefertem, and all the others in relation to this land. But, they are not as close to me as either Sekhmet or Hetharu. Yes, they exist but they are minor to me. One day, I will honor them with all that I have as surely as I do with my two main ladies, but in the mean time, harvesting and creating what I want with the ladies in question is more important than starting off with the big picture. Besides, the important parts are in the details, no?

In Dver’s post, she mentioned that she thinks of the North American Dionysos as a god related to the American bison, or buffalo. She says that in crafting her relationship with this deity and the land around her, she sought to connect him more fully with the world in which she lives. And while she goes on about how she will always long for Greece and its associations therein, it is here that she lives and it is here that she worships said god. With that in mind, instead of associating this deity with the bull as he often was in Greece, she chose an animal of North America to help forge a connection. And hoo, boy. Ain’t that interesting?

With that in my mind, I thought about how to associate my ladies with local megafauna (I LEARNED A NEW WORD!) as opposed to the animals they were associated with in ancient Egypt. There are no lions here and cows are all imports. In fact, Dver actually gave me

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This image is courtesy of Wiki.

the suggestion for Sekhmet. And after doing a lot of research to make me aware of the fact that I’m not crazy, as well as making sure that I wasn’t just settling on something that someone who is older, wiser, and has been doing this longer has said… I think the mountain lion is a perfectly acceptable representation of the lady in question. I had initially thought about using a bobcat. They’re still local around here while the cougar has long been extinct in the area. However, the bobcat doesn’t have a look and feel that I would associate with Sekhmet: the face is more cat-like than lion-like. So, it was after seeing the picture of a cougar on Wiki that I knew that this was the “local” face that I could associate with my lady. And she seems pleased with the suggestion.

The lady, Hetharu, is a problem. The thing is that she is bovine-headed in a good many of her representations. (This isn’t the only way she’s seen, but she has the head of a cow whenever I envision her.) The thing is that cows are all imports into this country because the only native bovine were the buffalo. After years of breeding and breeding, we have the cows that we use today. Wild aurochs were commonly found in Eurasia and northern-most Africa. They seem to have gone extinct between 1500CE – 1600CE. And while there are loads of cattle farms in the area, if I really want to connect with where I’m living, continuing to use the lady based on the image of an imported animal completely (to me) flies in the face of what I’m doing here. So, I searched a lot for a wild bovine or something similar that would work with my lady, Hetharu.

Did you know that New England did not appear to be home to any wild bovines? I had no

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Image courtesy of Wiki.

idea, either. I’m assuming our land just wasn’t made for wild bison to range on. So, with that in my mind, I started to search for creatures of relation. Obviously, the cow image is out the window, but there are other creatures around here that are quasi-related. I went toward the Cervidae family and ended up doing some research on local moose, the fallow deer, the white-tailed deer, and elk. The moose and the elk’s faces didn’t conform to the grace and beauty I have always associated with my lady. And while a cow can be considered lumbering, one must consider that watching them saunter through the fields and taking care of their babies does have a certain grace to it. Is it any wonder that I settled on the white-tailed deer? And after having seen the picture of that beautiful doe, I could hear Hetharu whispering, Yes.

With that bit of research taken in and having tuckered me out, I’m not at the point where I can begin to think more clearly about enriching my practice with local rituals. Dver actually recommends this more than anything else, although the associations (I feel) are pretty important. As she mentioned in the post in question, she does go on to say about how recons can get stuck in the minutiae with the constant need to research and read about how things were done. But, you know, I’ve found this problematic since, as I’ve mentioned, rituals were done by priests and we have little to no concept of the general populace’s practices back then. I’ve decided that this isn’t going to stop me. I’m going to worship in public and in my native land.

The first step to this is the calendar problem, but, I think that’s for a different post.

Relevant Posts

  1. Reconciling the Gods and Messages of Intrigue.
  2. Deepening Reconstruction Locally by Dver.

Land Spirits! Wait. What Now With the Who Now?

In all the time that I have looked into this pagan path, I have rarely–if ever–considered animal spirit guides or animal totems. I had a book, once, about communicating with one but it was when I was with the ex-husband, proving it difficult for such frivolous things as meditating or, you know, practicing a religion that wasn’t of Christian descent. Hell. I don’t remember the book in and of itself (where the hell did I put? what the hell did I do–oh, I remember now.), but I do remember spending quality time with the back of the book. It contained–can you guess it?–the super-duper-uper long list of various totem animals. I remember for a while thinking that maybe it was the fox that spoke to me, but then I got out of all of that.

It wasn’t personal, but I just didn’t really get the whole thing. I meditated and an animal came on over to contact me? I have the hardest time clearing my head long enough just to fall asleep, never mind actually meditating. Since I found meditating difficult (still do), I figured that the whole animal guide thing was not for me. A little upsetting since I liked the general concept, but it just didn’t seem like it was for me.

Since then, not. a word. Nothing. Zilch. Zip.

Then, some weeks back, feathers started to appear in my path all over the place. The Sister’s current patron, Hermes, tends to send them when he wants her attention, so I ignored them at first. And they went away. However, they came back a few weeks later and in larger increments. The feathers were all the same: the soft, pale gray of a morning dove. I would see them when I was walking the dogs, out to get the mail, taking my son for a walk… anywhere and everywhere. Irritated by this, I told The Sister to inform Hermes that I don’t play that game and I’m full of patrons at the moment. After that little snark, I came to realize that I may be overreacting…

…and that while Hermes may find it amusing, he had little to do with it.

So, I asked around for help on finding a deity that had to do with feathers. I was thinking perhaps something in the Native American arena since, you know, the bird feathers are being left for me in America. However, I couldn’t entirely rule out everything. I cannot tell you how many tabs I had open while looking through every section of “mythical birds” that Wiki had to offer. My eyes went cross-eyed and lame with all of the reading, which became glancing, which became skimming, which became unbelievable frustration. I posed the question on TC for some commentary and Devo asked: “Have you considered picking a feather up, and seeing what you feel or what comes to mind? I know it’s not a very concrete method but sometimes the simplest methods work the best.” That so did not occur to me.

Simplicity and me, we are obviously not close friends.

Yesterday, when I was taking one of the dogs outside, I saw a feather in the yard. Bearing in mind what Devo had recommended, I picked up the feather. I thought I’d get this great shock of electricity and an EUREKA! moment would occur. It did no such thing. Instead, I held onto the greasy little feather and closed my eyes. Slowly, in my mind’s eye, there resolved the imagine of the American bald eagle. Yep. The very symbol of our land. I didn’t see the whole bird, just the head, but I think that stems from the fact that the feathers are of a light color and the only lightly colored feathers that I can picture on an eagle are the ones on its head.

So. The eagle.

I started doing random researches about eagles in mythology. I got a lot for Vishnu’s bird mount and Zeus turning in to one, but little else. I was rapidly growing frustrated before my brain kicked in and said, “THERE ARE ANIMAL SPIRIT GUIDES, REMEMBER?” So, just as a “ha, ha; yeah right” kind of thing, I did a search for the characteristics that an eagle, as spirit guide, have to offer. The list is as follows: swiftness; courage; strength; wisdom; keen sight; illumination of spirit; healing; creation; knowledge of magic; ability to see hidden spiritual truths; rising above the physical to see the spiritual; ability to see the overall pattern; dignity with grace; great power and balance; ability to see the ‘big picture’; connection with higher truths; creative and intuitive spirit; grace achieved through knowledge and hard work and lastly, respect for the boundaries of regions. (All of that was taken from Animal Spirits-dot-com.)

Phew. That is one lengthy list.

There are key phrases on there that reach out to me, of course. Then again, I think I could do that with any of the general attributes of a spirit animal, but for whatever reason, it was the eagle that came to me. And it is through the eagle that I must learn.

I think a large part of the eagle coming in to my life is my sudden interest in hedge craft and that wild path. I think a lot of it, also, stems from the fact that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I would like my spiritual life to merge with my physical life. I’m not saying that I want to walk around in a permanent state of spiritual uplift–I think that would prove difficult and tiresome after a while–but that I want my waking life to have more to do with the day-to-day. You know, a part of that could be to light the candle to my patrons on a daily basis, but I think it’s more than that.

I want to live my spirituality. I want a break, too, now and again, but I would really prefer it if my pagan path had something to do with my daily path.

I think courage, strength, and wisdom are a two-fold arrow. Not only, I feel, is this animal trying to tell me that in so doing what I described above, I am going to need those three things. However, I think, considering the timing of this, that it may also have to do with the unemployment thing. I need courage and strength to get through this whole kind of thing and I am going to be getting lots o’ wisdom from this battle. I’ve found myself rather depressed about the whole thing lately and unable to see a positive outcome in all of this. With the entrance of the eagle, I’d like to think that I can start to see a positive outcome in all of this.

I posted on the forum that I was pretty sure the eagle symbolized an animal spirit guide of some sort. And there were general congratulations before the big question: Now what are you going to do with this? And my response? NO IDEA! I have, literally, no idea. All three patrons are taking a backseat to this, I can feel that. However, I don’t know what the eagle is supposed to teach me or show me. I don’t know how to contact him, either, without meditation. And as I’ve mentioned that is both tricky and impossible when it comes to me. So, again, how do we communicate? How do we connect?

And what the hell is all of this supposed to mean?

Got me! It should be interesting learning all of this new stuff, though.