The Twining Vine

18 10 2010

I had an hour with Seshat yesterday, our first for a long, long while. It was wonderful to see her so wide-eyed and happy, I got the grin which I miss, I got the laugh and the devilry and some truly hilarious anecdotes, and just being with her and wandering arm-in-arm through the town cheered me up no end.

You’ll have noted, probably, if there’s still anyone here apart from me, that is! that I’ve been totally quiet for ages. I’ll tell you why.

After moving house last Yule, I haven’t even unpacked my altar. My books and papers are still in boxes. I have done no observance and made no progress in my spiritual life. Talking with Seshat, it seems we all go through this periodically but this has been my driest dry spell ever.

Part of the problem has been lack of space. Sounds ridiculous – I’ve moved to a house quite five times the size of The Little House, and twice as big as my previous home but that’s not the issue. There is no space for me – nowhere to call my own, no quiet corner where I can have my things, nowhere safe and private and unobserved where I can meditate. It is quite uniquely uncomfortable to feel as though you have nowhere that is yours. It is one of the worst feelings for a person like me, who could happily make use of a medium-sized room what with all my books, ornaments, computer, furniture, pictures, rugs, cushions and so on. I know it’s idiosyncratic stuff, I know it holds value only for me. However, it’s been packed away so long I no longer know what I have on hand.

Help has arrived, people. After hearing me sigh wistfully over an article in Country Living regarding outdoor rooms (or lurking huts, as I prefer to call them) the BB has come up with a solution. Our bedroom is quite large and has wonderful views, and light, and there is an alcove around the door which is totally un-utilised. The BB produced an architectural draft of a plan for a bookcase / cupboard combination, which will incorporate lockable storage for private items, and a fold-away desk / table. He has bought the wood, and has begun work. I am stoked. There’s about 40′ of shelving, and masses of room for all my ceremonial items. He has also made available a lovely little lady’s desk, with a drop down lid and pigeonholes, which will sit kitty-corner with the bookcase and make the whole alcove my own private slice of heaven.

With this amazing and unlooked-for treat in store, I can feel the green shoots of recovery twining up my ankles, a strange sight in Autumn I’m sure, but even if it’s out of season it’s wonderful. It’s the beginning of our year once more, a good time to start again. And I think it goes to show that there’s nothing that can’t be done, and no reason to give up completely if there’s the least hope of a renaissance in the offing. If you fall off the horse, give it time and get back on. You have to expect to take tumbles on this type of life-long journey; dust yourself off, learn a lesson and proceed.


Samhain 2009

30 10 2009

It’s all change for TGW! New home, and a new happiness. I have all but moved out of The Little House and have taken up residence at Three Chimneys, the home of my wonderful partner M. Perhaps most wonderfully of all, he sussed my paganism from the start – in fact from our first date – acknowledges its importance but crucially isn’t the least bit interested in hearing about it. There’s none of the prurience, pretend understanding, cliche-ridded heavy-handed ‘humour’ or other badinage or railery that I’ve become so weary of over the years. Stepping out of the broom closet to important others in your life is a trial sometimes; thankfully this time it wasn’t.

This Samhain I have so much to give thanks for, so much to feel blessed about, so much to cherish and so much to remember. It truly seems to be the most fruitful Autumn I can remember.

Where to begin? I could tell you about the wonderful walks we’ve been on, gathering conkers by the river with R as the leaves fall in shimmering files and drifts; I could tell you about watching the swan family on the river as they serenely brought up 7 chicks to near-adulthood. Or how about the baking of cakes and pies and bread that fill the kitchen at Three Chimneys with fragrance and comfort every weekend? Or the aromatic, piney fires we build and bask in front of on windy, rainy nights? So much to tell.

Casseroles, wine, fellow-hail, comfort, safety and warmth. Mellow light on old stone. Burnished copper reflecting candles, reflecting golden flames seen through the clear glasses in the front of the log-burner. Deep rugs, soft chairs and warm throws to cuddle your feet into. Hot tea on tap. Whiskey and ice, to round out the evenings together. Books, everywhere books. Combined possessions of two people with similar interests, tastes and pursuits. Love, care, understanding. A welcome without and a welcome within. At last, a safe mooring and a home for me and for R.

The house is a work in progress, and it is progressing apace; only this week we’ve finished restoring the panelling in the drawing room, commissioned three more radiators, replastered the landing and the master bedroom, cleared out a skip-load of junk preparatory to my furniture arriving and mended the floorboards in the hall. I’ve planted the urns outside the front door; we’re planning a large Yuletide party to warm the threshold and everyone’s really excited, not least us!

There are carved pumpkins in all the windows, made by R and myself; one happy, one sad and one ‘grumpy’  which came out slightly wrong and actually looks like the poor fruit has indigestion. We’re due at the local Fire Festival on Saturday night – procession of giants, wicker man, fireworks, huge bonfire and all the hot-dogs R can stuff down his maw during the evening. Mulled wine, boeuf carbonnade and mashed potatoes before we go out, to ensure centrally heated bodies as we process through the darkness to the festival site, to the transformative magic of fire, lights and brilliance in the sky, cheer, wassail and the beginning of the New Year for me and for mine.

The moon will be waxing full tomorrow night, the best of all times for me to wish ahead and work for the future.

Blessed Samhain, to all my dearest friends.

It’s Time

15 05 2009

… for the altar to be set up once more!

I’ve had all my pieces and items in a box since the move, waiting to have the right space in which to use them. I now do so – a large pine trunk set up facing North in my sitting room, empty so all the pieces can be stored away, and perfectly placed for the garden, so I can open the doors and sit behind the altar looking out.

I aim to work tonight, rededicating all my items in the service of the Goddess, and beginning my devotions afresh. Since Beltane, I feel as though I’ve landed; I’m home. Now it’s time to start working again.

Beltane – New Dreams

27 04 2009

jools-photos-062As I sit here, listening to the rain pattering on the roof of the unit where I work, I cast my mind back across the last twelve months. Rocky roads, rocky times; not time to think or to feel. Things left undone. But here in the burgeoning Spring of 2009, there’s suddenly light and room to move and to breathe.

I have thought I was fighting my way clear of the ties in previous months, but had the wit to realise it’s like climbing a mountain – numerous false horizons and that the key is never to give up hope. Conserve your energy. Keep plugging away. Take breathers. Don’t forget to breathe!

I’ve been out meeting new people, exploring new interests, and simply enjoying my home and my garden. Balancing solitude and the comfort of relaxation and downtime with going out and enjoying myself in company. I’ve been travelling more, seeing new places. Taking small risks, small excitements and relishing them. Working on my physical fitness, and my mental fitness. In essence, echoing the process of fettling and greening that I see going on around me every day.

So here we are at Beltane, beginning of our Summer; the Goddess and the God meet in the birthtime of the buds; so it couldn’t be a more auspicious time for me to reconnect with my path once more. Beltane this year  is also at the time of the First Quarter of the moon, which is perfect for the work I wish to do; building, strengthening, affirming work, consolidating the distance I’ve come so far.

I find the witchcraft path is like this – we allow ourselves to  become distracted by quotidian vicissitudes, separated from our source and the spring of our power; perhaps one day I’ll learn the trick of keeping my hand on the unicorn’s rein! Till then, I come home again, happy in the knowledge that I can rededicate, resubmit, revitalise my work, look at it once more with a new eye, keep the good and prune the no-so-good and shake the dust from the raiment.

I am taking Beltane Day off work, for an extended meditation, reorganisation and prayer session. I am taking time, precious time, to do what is necessary, what is right for me here and now. I like this. It feels like being able to spread my wings for the first time in an age; I will spread them wide.

Like a Cat

15 12 2008

I’m sitting here feeling the strangest sensation, the equivalent of a cat unsheathing its claws, that rubbery, delicious stretching and flexing of a rusty muscle working again after a long furlough.

My mind is waking up. Outside all the clamour and jabber and jangling the last three months have roused in me, I’ve had flashes of intuition, ghosts of ideas, brief flashes of inspiration, and just never got up the impetus to write effectively. Like Andy at Somerset Pagan I have felt as though I should write; but chose not to, partly from inertia and partly from cussed bloody-mindedness. And despite all this, visitors to my blog have not deserted me, despite seeing I didn’t have anything to say; we hit 19,000 this morning and I thank the Goddess, plus I’m totally amazed. Where did all these people come from?!

Yule looms and I am reminded that Seshat and I began our journey together at this time last year. We are working together this Yule too – and will be celebrating our difference, our strength, our togetherness once again. The year always begins and ends here for me.

Now the Sparkly Season is upon us and things have loosened off; there’s room to breathe and to look around. I’m organised; I know what I’ve got to do and by when. Work is in hand, family are in hand; my home is three quarters organised and a paragon of whimsical efficiency and comfort. I am looking forward to Yule and to receiving guests and friends for wassail and cheer. I am going to give myself a break and enjoy the next few weeks without let or hindrance. This is my reward for dangers faced and a breathing space to prepare for whatever is to come.

All Shall Be Made New

26 11 2008

Here I am again, myself and yet not myself; grown different and stronger and freer all at once!

Some background seems sensible, or I’ll be talking gibberish; the upheaval and changes in my personal life, while traumatic, have been enormously fruitful and continue to be so. I feel reborn. It isn’t so much a shucking off of old associations and ties but a reassessment of what it is that I want out of my life, the only one I have.

When you bump along without demanding control of your life and you allow the winds and tides to drive you, you are relinquishing the better part of the thing that makes you human; the ability to determine your path and form it in the image you create. This is a form of alchemy, small ‘a’; you imagine the result and then, eyes closed, you mould the method and release it to do its work. We do this every day, all day; managing and planning and making things happen.

I’ve been silent, recently, because I’ve been listening; listening as though my life depended upon it, which I sincerely believe it might actually do. The life I want, at any rate. I’ve been learning the tune and committing the words to memory. I do not want to simply live; I want to live forever. Ambitious, no? I’m not talking about immortality, in the spiritual sense; I’m talking about the superlative life, the life filled with sparkle and dash and vivid memory, not one moment wasted henceforth. And the beauty of it is that the raw materials are free and all that is required from me is will and a sound plan.

Between me listening to me, I’ve been listening to others; particuarly my lovely Seshat and her new joint venture, The Adversarial Path. Seshat has found a new and compelling direction for her life, and again she and I echo each other in this; what I’m enjoying is the difference between our processes and the diversity of the results. She has made herself new, as have I. She has a new path, full of danger and wonders; I have reaffirmed my commitment to the old path, with a will to go back to first principles once again and work hard on my spiritual and religious life. In this we support each other, reveling in our difference, discussing, disputing but always respecting. I’ll be visiting her and Alexander there at the AP, to read and learn and understand, the better to discuss and question and grow. 

For me this is the essence of the Pagan way; joy in difference, in understanding, in growth despite pain. I often find that turmoil in my life causes me to think afresh and with renewed clarity about my spirituality and my beliefs. It makes you meet your gods again, as if for the first time. It reminds you of the first time you met them. 

Yule is upon us; the start of the celebrations of the year in my particular calendar. It is also the anniversary of Seshat and I beginning our year and a day… and look at where we’ve come to.

OK, I’m just going to say this and then…

2 11 2008

Then, dear people, you may shoot me or whatever!!!

I have a moderately long fuse, but it has been tested almost to snapping point by the tag surfer here at WordPress this week. I’ve been quiet, largely; reading and mooching and listening and like always with me, it didn’t take long to find something to have a pop at.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The machinery of the tag surfer is doing its job as always – in fact, WordPress is so freakishly smooth and glitch free it scares me, touch wood, dodge a ladder, chuck the salt….

NO. The problem is the rude members of the ‘opposing’ side who insist on tagging their posts Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism while either having a pop at the funny lookin’ witches over here, or nearly busting a gut fulminating on the evil in the world in general, or us in particular.

I have had two sensible conversations with Christian bloggers over the Hallowe’en / Samhain period; both had a point of view but were keen to share thoughts and we didn’t agree, but were polite and respectful and keen to hear the other side. And I’ve had three not so polite exchanges. The polite ones were men, and the impolite ones were women, but this may not be statistically significant.

I realise I’m tilting at windmills, but why shouldn’t I have a crack at this? There’s so much misformation out there! 

When I start tagging posts like this Christianity I’ll know I’ve really hit the bottom of the barrel. The only reason I’d do that is to get myself noticed by, well, Christians. And I don’t blog for Christians, or to bait Christians, or to engage Christians in debate. If I want to do that, I think I’ve shown I can find my own debating partners with little or no trouble.

So I’m left with the surmise that the Christians of this particular stripe, the frothy, Hallowe’en-is-the-devil’s-work sort, WANT to mix it up with us. Perhaps they think we need saving, or intervention, or a lifebelt.

Ps, you guys – for all we know, Hallowe’en may very well be the devil’s work – from a commercialism point of view, particularly in America, it takes some beating for exploitation, trouble and the creation of pointless purchasing opportunities. But don’t take it out on the poor pagans. We’ve got the curtains shut, pretending we’re not in, while thousands of small children hang on the bell wanting chocolate. We just want some peace and quiet to cast our sacred space and talk to those who have gone before.