Archive | April 26, 2013

Do Whales Have Culture? Humpbacks Pass on Behavior

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130425-humpback-whale-culture-behavior-science-animals/

I is for initiation – A Pagan Blog Post

I is for Initiation

A lot of us plan and hope for our ordinations and our initiations. We can’t wait until we take the next step up. We get so excited about the event we don’t think about what can come after. What comes after is preparation for the next step and we are often not prepared for that.

Why? Because the Goddess listens.

And she laughs…

I have yet to have any kind of peace after an initiation. It takes about a year and a day and sometimes more for life to calm down to a new normal and before you are ready to take any next step, I have found my emotions tested. My sanity tested. Sometimes my body tested, usually all of the above.

It’s one reason I turned down the idea of becoming a Heirophant in FOI when I was asked a few years ago. I saw two Heirophants before me get crushed in short order and really was not prepared to go there. The bigger the step up the bigger the challenges. Now I’m thinking it’s time to take the next step up to ArchDruidess and maybe start my own local grove and wonder what will happen.

I’ve made stupid pledges like asking for change and going home from a gathering and finding out I had a month to move. I’ve lost jobs. I’ve had serious injury, serious enough to be on crutches for a year and a half and a wheelchair for 2 months. I’m down several body parts and should rattle like the Tin Man. (The Goddess version of a time out) I’ve had family deaths that I had to deal with. I’ve lost partners. She has taken away things that I loved like the ability to dance to focus me on other things. I suppose it may be the only for a variety loving Gemini to focus.

What have I gotten out of it? A lot of loving deep spiritual relationships with my goddesses and my fellow priestesses. A lot of stories to tell. A sureness about where to go and which direction to head. It’s given me time to become proficient in the things I should do and time to say goodbye to things that needed to go. I made me evaluate what was important to me and to grieve things that weren’t. It’s given me a lot of things to write and pieces of art to make.

The Goddess takes you at your pledge and says,"okay, let’s see if you mean it". If you pass, the way to the next step will open. If you don’t you either keep getting the same lesson presented in different ways or you totally abandon everything and shut down. I’ve done both, I admit, over the last 30 years.

The Goddess’ lessons can start out subtly as a tap on the shoulder and a whisper to take some action. She then moves up to love taps on the side of the head and when I’m being particularly obtuse, a Louisville slugger makes the point. This is why you will find a tiny Dodger Louisville Slugger bat on my altar. I suppose if you are in Britain she might use a cricket bat and for Canadians, a hockey stick. Any way you slice it, it tends to hurt a whole lot when you don’t pay attention.

I know if you are about to undergo an initiation, you think I’m nuts or exaggerating. If you are serious about doing it right and you’re heart and mind are in it, you will find out.

It’s one reason I always refused to do any kind of initiation at the end of my Wicca 101 classes. You really need a year and a day to live with it. I would do a dedication to the path instead. The ones that stayed on the path for the most part have grown and thrived. The ones that found it too hard either went back to Christianity or just disappeared altogether.

The minute you take a vow you become a solitary, even if you are initiated into a coven, grove or group because they can’t do it for you. You have to walk the path yourself and learn the lessons that are yours to learn. You have to put one foot in front of the other down a path you won’t be able to see farther than a few steps and trust in yourself and your chosen deities not to let you fall or at least fall harder than you can deal with. And some times you will wonder if you really can because it hurts to go on. But do go on … the view up ahead is wonderful.

Poetry month – America, a poem AKA America the Beautiful

This is the original version of America the Beautiful. I like this one better especially the verse:

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain,

The banner of the free!

I bet she and her partner of 25 years, Katherine Coman, would be amazed at the changes since they were around. I hope they would see an America where they didn’t have to hide.

Original poem (1893) Katherine Lee Bates

America. A Poem for July 4.

O beautiful for halcyon skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the enameled plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

Till souls wax fair as earth and air

And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern, impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought

By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale

Of liberating strife,

When once or twice, for man’s avail,

Men lavished precious life!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain,

The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

Till nobler men keep once again

Thy whiter jubilee!

Today’s reading

image

Reunion

Six of Cups

Affection and love in a situation that may have taken time to resolve.

Recognition of ancestral or reincarnated memory. Polaric love between soulmates. The source of the waters of memory and deep love.

Reunion with an old friend, soulmate or a wise part of oneself. A feeling of inner peace.