In the month of September I attended two Pagan Pride Days (I taught a workshop at one, met Selena Fox at another), attended an Equinox ritual, officiated a same-sex Pagan wedding, finally started my new career as a child and family therapist, and co-facilitated a ritual for World Goddess Day (to list just a few things). In these past four, glorious weeks, it seems like my life has moved forward by leaps and bounds, but really, I feel like everything is spinning out of control. Rather than celebrating, I find myself freaking out, closing myself off, and retreating....
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Dua, Maat, you who were with Ra from the beginning.
Mistress of the two lands, Lady of truth, dua, hail and welcome....
Warm water bubbles beneath my knees. I feel weightless. The pool is just deep enough that I can't sit, so I let my feet touch the sandy bottom while the rest of my body floats. The water must be the same temperature as my blood for I feel neither warm nor cool, as if heat and cold were a foreign concept. In these hot springs it is easy to forget where my body ends and the water begins. I run my hands up and down my legs. I expect little bubbles to rise to the surface, the way they do in the hot tub, but instead I feel a thin slimy film upon my skin. I wonder about the mineral content of the water. The smell of rotten eggs announces sulfur and I wrinkle my nose, then quickly re-frame my association from disgusting-gaseous-anomalies to miraculous-healing-waters and manage to enjoy the odor.
We’ve not long passed the equinox, that twice yearly point in the wheel where normal Paganism stops to talk about balance, and usually alongside this, peace. World Peace Day falls close to the autumn equinox and Earth day, and Earth Hour are around the spring one. Peace and balance are, without a doubt, good things to work for.
Some days my life has little of either. On the whole, I have a quiet, easy, privileged sort of life, free from many of the things that torment many of the world’s inhabitants. Even so, I find celebrating balance really difficult. Not least because I do not see much of the balance of nature as a comfortable harmony – all too often, balance is created by things in tension, pulling in opposite directions. Conflicting needs counterbalancing each other can create harmony very easily when you look at the whole effect. The experience of any part of the whole, is not of the harmony, but of the conflict....
The story begins years ago, when I sprained my left ankle, really badly.
The chiropractor suggested I go to the physical therapy supply store and buy a wobble board. The idea was to step side-to-side on this miniature see-saw, a wooden plank perched upon a cylinder, strengthening the tendons in the ankle I had damaged.
Reluctant to pay the high-end price for this gizmo, I stepped into the nearest toy store and found a toy balance board brightly colored in blue and red, complete with a built-in maze game, actually a simple labyrinth.
The Woman's Belly Book describes how labyrinths relate to the body's center, the belly's center:
The labyrinth defines a path into and out from center. As a sacred symbol, it maps a journey from the everyday world to the secret core of existence. It charts a path to the World Navel, the point through which the life force emerges to revitalize the world.
From ancient times, cultures throughout the world from the Arctic to Africa have made labyrinths in a variety of designs. The labyrinth appears on cave walls, stone slabs, grave markers, pottery, coins, and the bellies of clay figurines.... Although many associations accompany the design, in some traditions the labyrinth clearly signifies a woman’s belly. The path through the pattern traces the soul’s return to the womb and its emergence in rebirth.
I recently took my balance board out of its box to exercise my ankles and keep them flexible. Stepping side to side, I tried getting the game's yellow ball from the labyrinth's outer channel into the center. No matter how I tried, I couldn't do it. Swishing as it spun, the ball swung around too fast for me to maneuver it through the narrow gateway into the next inner circle.
So I gave up and just played around with initiating the side-to-side motion with different parts of my body: feet, knees, hips, shoulders. Left, right; left, right.
Left, right; left, right: Initiating the movement with my hips made the motion smooth, almost effortless.
Eventually, I no longer heard the sound of the yellow ball circling around. I looked down and saw the sphere had come to rest in the labyrinth's center. With absolutely no effort on my part.
Preconceived ideas, we all have them and rely on them. Certain words or names evoke a response in everyone. Generally these are negative emotions.
Witch is a word that does this for Pagans. Since I consider myself an eclectic witch who is seeking, it was a title I hesitated taking on as I traveled my path through paganism....
Family is one of the most difficult aspects of my life. My husband and I are both the youngest in our families. He’s the youngest of seven and I’m the youngest of six. There are a lot of personalities and opinions in large families.
Recently, my family had an emergency with my mother (who’s 83). She spent the holiday weekend in the hospital. She suffered a very mild stroke. She was lucky in that she has little residual after affects from the stroke....