Dating from more than 40,000 years ago, the Lion “Man” of Hohlenstein Stadel is the oldest uncontested zoomorphic figure that we know of. Carved from mammoth ivory, and standing about a foot high, the bipedal image combines feline and human characteristics. Since the lions of prehistoric Europe had no manes and there is no clear indication of sex, we cannot say for certain whether the figure is intended as female or male.
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This week we’ll be discussing Empathic crystals which actually is more about what has happened to a crystal's overall shape rather than what kind of shape in which it has grown. They may be any configuration at all.
Empathic crystals are crystals which are chipped or damaged in some way. Usually they are damaged in the mining process. However sometimes, even though they may survive the mining process without injury, they get dropped (for example in our homes) and subsequently are chipped, dinged or damaged....
Any leader or rituallist is going to get feedback. In Part 1, I addressed some methods to discern what feedback is useful and what isn't. It's also important to learn how to give good feedback, which is what I'll go into here.
While I love hearing, "That ritual was great!" what this primarily tells me is that this person (or the people telling me this) had a good time. It’s not, however, specific. “I loved the chanting!” or, "I've never experienced a ritual like that, I was able to connect to my ancestors in a way I couldn't ever before," is more specific and thus, more useful.
I've facilitated rituals where I had an equal number of people tell me, "The energy in that ritual was great!" and, "The energy tonight really kind of sucked." So what makes good feedback?
Just weeks ago I had the honor of leading the main ritual at Paganicon, a Pagan conference in its fifth year taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I felt the main ritual went really well, and over the course of the weekend I received a lot of positive feedback from people who had a deep, transformative experience during the ritual. I also heard from the convention staffers that fully a third of the feedback forms positively mentioned the ritual or one of my other workshops.
As a teacher and ritual leader, it's always really exciting to hear that my work has had a positive impact!
However, after I returned from the event, I was directed to a blog post from another presenter at Paganicon who really disliked the ritual I facilitated. In fact, this presenter also had some problems with my presence on at east one of the three panels I spoke on. And it made me think a lot about feedback and leadership.
Sometimes, I can't sense a particular goddess's energy in the places I travel, even when they are palpably sacred. And sometimes, no matter how much I yearn for the feminine energy, the locations pulse with masculinity that can't be ignored. One particular place that sticks in my mind is Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho, where I've had the good fortune to spend snatches of summers here and there with my husband (a west coaster by birth). Since I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, I thought I'd share a poem with you that I wrote years ago, upon my first experience at that magical lake.
If the Old Gods exist—I would contend that they do—one would expect them to show themselves differently to different peoples in different times and places.
And that, in fact, is exactly what we find.
Forthwith, in this season of Dawn, a tantalizing glimpse of a non-Indo-European Dawn.
In their well-favored land by the Tyrrhenian (“Etruscan”) Sea, the ancient Tuscans called her Thesan, a goddess whose sister-selves include Vedic Ushas, Greek Eos, Latin Aurora, and English Easter.