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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Edge

Since opening this space a few weeks ago, I have been thinking more consciously about our journey to The Edge. I am grateful to have the space here to share how the light shines upon it for us all.

See, for much of my life I did not know what an “edge” was, or what expansive, fertile possibilities lay just beyond it. I did not know what type of path I would cut or even what tools I would need to access the raw, vulnerable parts of myself; eventually laying the groundwork upon the true self which would be born anew. I felt alone. I felt incapable of being able to come from a place of authentic expression. I had no idea what gifts I could offer this world.

Life was lived "safely" based on clean edges, organized processes, and a sense that I was doing the “right thing” with the barometer being the acknowledgement of those around me. I followed all of the "rules" and defined happiness by living up to others’ expectations. All the while there was a churning inside, an acidic buildup of knowing I was not dancing to my own rhythm. I was trying my damndest to be the “perfect” daughter, wife, mother, career woman, community serviceperson. Forget rhythm when living a life of constant white noise.

Oh, I was still in there, present with small pieces of it, definitely not all of it, a walking-dead from what I can now ascertain. I was superficially happy, not deeply satisfied. I was seeking a “something” to fill my hollow and was incredibly imbalanced internally. The external world was starting to show the stress of not being able to keep the charade going much longer.

The first of many lurches showing me a brighter reality hit me the day I found out my daughter had chosen me to carry her into this world. I did start to wake up that day, but it would be a long time before I had the courage to act. The next few years were spent still trying to play in the white noise, yet the core had started to break down. I was ready to exit stage left. I was ready to be done with all of the bullshit and move on.

Yet I had a child to raise. Her birth was my rebirth. She opened me up in profound ways and served as my grounding wire that first number of years as I learned how to stand again. I still felt alone, untrustworthy, unqualified, yet there was a spark which had been lit from within and She reminded me of that every single day.

The question remained though: how was I supposed to raise a child if I didn’t even know how to raise myself from the dead? The edge was slippery at times, but I learned to listen to the internal voice, to trust the compass. That journey began more than 12 years ago and every step has been a true blessing. Life continues to improve, become more joyful, more fulfilling, more honestly my own to claim in this lifetime.

See, The Edge is the familiar unknown. It is an invitation to remember who we are. It is about discovering our internal truths and then manifesting them into brilliant existence! My own familiar unknowns have shown me how deeply nourishing and joyful life can be! My edge has shown me I am here to love, nourish and support others from an incredibly deep space. BUT! If I am not loving, nourishing, and supporting myself, then what do I have left to give? The equation is simple, as is the life I am living. And I envision it to become easier and much simpler as time goes on.

The truth has been deeply revealing. It has led to unexpected and miraculous gifts along the way in the form of connecting and learning from others who open their hearts to their edge of familiar unknowns. The following poem was written and performed with one of those beautiful souls, my dear friend John DeLozier. You may also watch a video of the performance here. My cup truly runneth over.

 

The Edge
John DeLozier & Jennifer Mills
Summer Rhythm Renewal, August 2012
 
The Within becomes limitless when I am with you.
A roiling, boiling potential.
 
Through the liquidous center, the tremors of vibration unsettle
  the sediment existence has produced.
An uncontrollable force which can no longer be held within.
 
Truly eyes know nothing yet reveal everything.
 
The pulsing, rhythmic dance begins.
The roiling emotions charged: a supernova state, heartfelt and open!
The sacred seal is broken between the illusion of opposing forces.
 
Suddenly, desolate and lightless as a black hole; nothingness; my mind cannot conceive.
I have gone to my Edge;my toes on the precipice.
 
Are you complete?
Resistant: I hesitate, afraid of the unknown.
My truth unspoken, constricted by the perpetual state of Doubt.
 
Break yourself free from that constraint my friend!
We are bigger than that!
Join me in this leap of faith!
Take my hand.
 
So, the darkness was a shadow, dissipated by our light!
Connected now are we.
This bright-light confusion of the senses fades.
The breath of light returns
  in the Light of Love.
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jennifer Mills
    Jennifer Mills says #
    Heather and Áine, thank you. Isn't this a precious time to connect in with those deeper truths? And my heart goes out to all of
  • Áine
    Áine says #
    What a beautiful way to describe this feeling - I can definitely relate.
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    3 This is beautiful, and very much reminds me of my relationship with Loki, thought I think it's true of any good relationship wit

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

As I birth this blog on Mother's Day, I begin a journey into the numinous wilds on a path I'm only partly familiar with. My spirituality has never really focused on gender or sex, though they have sometimes been connected to it, here and there. I have been aware of the more feminine side of spirituality, but have not yet asked to enter the circle of women. I've been on a more solitary path, communing with nature and spirit, getting comfy with my metaphorical hermit cottage near the hedge.

I am a woman, and a mother, as well as a sister/daughter/etc. but due to a disconnection from the insular religion and culture of my birth, I have also been disconnected from my circle of women relatives and the community and friends of my youth. It is a lot like I have gone to live in a different world, and I need to integrate into a new community and form a family that includes the mothering and sisterhood I find myself yearning for. I hope to do so with wise women who aren't deprived by patriarchal forces of their own power, their own mind and spirit... women I could build something with... meaningful action in the world.

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  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    I would love to hear more about that, Ashley.
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    I studied anthropology ten years ago and had very similar thoughts on this topic. It has had a powerful influence on my developme

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

instead of writing.

Obviously.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    It's like the proverbial barrel of crabs; no community will get anywhere if all they do is pull down anyone who dares to try to cl
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    Like members of any large, extended family, we can't help sometimes but look askance at one another and mutter "am I really relate
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Funny lady.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    It does, indeed, feel like labor sometimes. And that comes from my perspective as a three-times homebirthing mother of three sons.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    We are basing our proposal on the patterns of other successful, civilized online communities. (I'd be happy to share our sources w

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

We stand in a circle beside the enormous maple branches that lie across the road, a sort of honor guard to a fallen land Wight. Claire, on whose lot the maple stands, greets each newcomer by name; Susan, who lives across the road and has a gas stove, offers coffee to folks without power.

Scarlett informs us, with a seven-year-old's precision, that the kids (seven at last count, though the number fluctuates as neighboring families walk or cycle past, witnessing our changed landscape) have collected ten earthworms. They've all been presented to us as holy offerings before being released back to the greater Mystery that is the rain-soaked boulevard. Summer has arrived with a bang.

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Reflections on "The Union of Earth and Sky"

In the process of designing and teaching a course called Ritual Theory & Liturgical Design at Starr King School for the Ministry (UU), I was digging through some of my old materials and found this reflection from 1999.  I'd been thinking about some of the things I learned from this particular ritual, "The Union of Earth and Sky: A Ceremony for Thor and Freyr," created by Sparky T. Rabbit.  I was really glad to have found this because it's much fresher than anything I could write from this distance in time.

* * * * *

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My home Reclaiming community has launched a series of meetings to try to define ourselves as a community. What is our history? What are our values? What is our power structure, and how do we make decisions? Who, exactly, are "we" in the first place?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The meaning of Pagan

I have written much about my feelings of the word "pagan" on my primary religious blog, Of Thespiae.  I've written about how the use of the word in the pagan community has become so loose that it's meaningless for all practical purposes.  I've written about how, in spite of regular protests from the pagan community, the implicit "positive definition" of "paganism" ("positive definition" meaning "defining what something is"; whereas "negative definitions" define by what a word is not) is incredibly Eurocentric [2].  I've even mentioned how the "negative definition" of the word "pagan" isn't necessarily true, as the tradition of Christopaganism certainly makes it hard to say where the Christianity ends and the paganism begins.  I've written about the incredibly secular climate of the pagan community in current culture.

The word "pagan" is not one I've been terribly fond of.  Early on in my spiritual journey, earliest possible point being around either 1989 (when a nun at my old Catholic school gave me a copy of D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and, I swear, I felt touched by Apollon in ways that Jesus and El Shaddai just never really could) or 1993 (when I first really started exploring ostensibly "pagan" paths), the word "pagan" was practically interchangeable with "Wiccan" or "witchcraft", or so it seemed  when trying to find any books on the topic; there was a minority of books about Heathenry, Celtic polytheism, and neo-Druidry, but there was no uncertainty to the dominance of witchcraft-based paganism, and frankly, that only barely interested me, and not enough to really look too deeply into it.  For a very brief time in high school, I practised a hodgepodge "Celtic reconstruction" of my own design, but I eschewed the word "pagan" because this didn't fit the common idea that most people had of "pagans" in the modern days, which was pretty much synonymous with "witchcraft", even if one knew that religious witchcraft wasn't as phantasmagorical as scenes from The Craft or even Practical Magic, they didn't really conceptualise it as simply "worshipping the gods of the British Isles", which is what I did, then.  Toward the end of high school, I just gave up on my self-made Panceltic religion, cos most of those gods barely seemed "real" to me, and I joined the Church of Satan briefly, which is adamantly not pagan, in its self-definition, and though most members describe Satanism under the definition of Anton LaVey as "atheistic", further reading into LaVey's later essays, and not to mention certain interpretations of passages in The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, suggest that he himself was better defined as Maltheistic (a word of earliest use in print traced to Usenet in 1985, and defining one who ostensibly believes in one or more gods, but deems It/(S)He/Them as unfit for human worship; see LaVey's "God of the Assholes", which appears in Satan Speaks! ©1997, for the most clear evidence of LaVey's maltheistic, rather than atheistic beliefs).  I was never a good atheist, somewhere in my head, I always believed in the gods of Hellas, and I was never maltheistic, either, because even if some deities don't want, need, or even deserve my worship, there are others that do, and by the time I was twenty-two, I basically outgrew the need for LaVey's church that I briefly had. But pagan?  To see if that word fit, I put a toe in the on-line pagan community for the first time in six years when I was about twenty-four, and at that time, I'd discovered a vibrant and thriving community of Hellenic reconstructionists, most of whom had mixed feelings about the word "pagan".  I pretty much only interacted with other recons for about another two or three years, and though I forget what ultimately teased me out, I had never really fully embraced "pagan" as a part of my religious identity.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    I'm not saying Jesus is an archetype to Christians (from an Eric perspective). I'm saying Jesus is *archetypal* to Christians. (
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    I meant "etic" not Eric -- damn spellcheck.
  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy says #
    You mean autocorrect. Spellcheck just highlights or underlines the misspelled words.
  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy says #
    So I'm just supposed to ignore the first portion of your comment, cos in juxtaposition with the rest, it clearly means what I infe
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Surely you will agree that the type you described so lovingly does not represent a majority or even a plurality of self-described

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