The Spring Equinox is one of the four major cross quarters of the year. There are two Equinoxes and two Solstices and for people that follow the wheel of the year these four major cross quarters are often celebrated in a group or solitary ceremony.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Last week, my wife and I were blessed by a visitation of the Goddess in physical form.
Ravyn had been ill for a long time. In addition to intractable body pain which may or may not be caused by auto immune illnesses or spinal compressions, she had undergone questionable dental work which left her mouth throbbing from an incompletely-removed root fragment. This had persisted for over a year, until she changed her insurance and was referred to a compassionate and competent female dentist in a different practice....
Being a Priestess of Grace my daily aim is to follow the path of Grace, not only do I follow where Grace leads I allow Her presence to infuse my life. When Grace is invited in karma is dissolved and 'worldly' powers have no effect on us, the caveat here is that we need to be aligned so deep in the Grace that it overcomes our conditioning or the strength of the pulls of this realm. I know at my truest core, that in the face of the One Divine One Mercury Retrograde has no power.
I'm pretty human and I feel Lady Mercury and her coyote spirit so strongly every time! I purposefully do not look up retrogrades in an attempt to further deepen my fall into Grace, the idea being that "thoughts held in mind produce in their own kind," and not knowing will keep me aligned with Grace and out of the effects of the retrograde, that little trick has not worked as of yet as I still find myself at a loss for words, riled up, impatient and frustrated that what I'm trying to say is not coming out clearly during each Mercury Retrograde that rolls around. Sure enough I check my Moon calendar and there we are in the midst of another Mercury Retrograde.
The beauty of Feminine Mysticism, is that it acknowledges the One Power while also finding the Divine in the human realm and all of the tides, cycles and rhythms that occur to us while embodied. I have found that the gift within the Mercury Retrogrades that I experience is in the pause, the pausing to think a little bit harder before I speak, to contemplate a little more mindfully before I act and to breathe a little bit deeper when it takes me 30 minutes to register for a new Wordpresss site, still breathhhhiiiinnngg over that one.
This particular retrograde that we are in has been tempting me to get pretty prickly, besides my general Mercury Retrograde struggle to push at keeping life moving smoothly and at a pace that is comfortable for me while stumbling over words (something pretty foreign to this write-a-holic) I found myself at a loss for patience and perseverance in my gentle approach with my toddler Maiden who happens to be going through a developmental leap and teething at the same time that Mercury is retrograde...coincidence? I think not.
Being a Priestess is magical, it is inspiring, uplifting, magnificent. It is also earthy, human and common. A Priestess is the bridge between both the Otherworld and the here and now, and in my here and now Mothering a one and a half year old Maiden takes up a good chunk of my practice.
The first 48 hours of this retrograde her and I butted heads, I snapped, which is unusual towards her, I was edgy, impatient and temperamental, she just pushed harder, experimenting with hitting, screeching, demanding 'milk, milk, milk' which means breasts out, sitting down and taking a break to breast feed her while I seethed inside trying to rush the process so that I could get back to what I needed to be doing.
By the end of the 48 hours, after a snotty nosed melt down and a nap on Mom I was spent, I knew that I was veering way off my Mother Goddess mark and I took some time to re-evaluate. Not only was I going through another Mercury Retrograde, my sweet little, still-incarnating soul of a daughter was too. I began to empathise with her, still learning how to communicate in this realm, no longer able to desire and instantly manifest like in the one that she has just left behind, trying to learn our language, our societal norms, how to navigate the spectrum of emotions and moods that course through her and me and her father and the world at large and then boom, this cosmic halt on all things smooth insofar as communication goes comes waltzing into our lives. I looked down at her tear stained sleeping face and just felt the weight of this world on her little shoulders, and I just wanted to wrap her up and hold her close, forever, or at least until this retrograde is finished.
This is where my Motherhood began to feed my Priestess path this month. For years now, I have navigated how to flow through retrogrades with as much ease as possible, this month it became about navigating myself and another, as within so without was never so true until my daughter arrived.
What I began to do was to use less words, always a plus with toddlers, but an exaggerated amount less, I sang more, I hugged more, I counted slowly 1....2.....3.....ahhhh haaaa over and over again, I danced, I coloured, I came into myself and relied less on the spoken word and more on the language of the heart. My daughter and I have thrived since this shift, our bond is supernatural again, when we struggle to express ourselves we pause, we hug (she initiates sometimes even!) and we slow down. Our 20 minute walk to the store the other day took us an hour and we had never been so happy.
When I began my journey of the Priestesshood I was inspired by the magic I was beginning to conjure, the inspiration and the connection to the cosmos, I tried to brush off the number of sages, teachers, books and confidantes who had told me that in order to be in the state I was seeking I needed to become willing to be fully human. And then I became a Mother and found that life has never been so ripe with magic as coming fully down into it. I found in my Priestesshood the sacred centre of Gaia and Heaven and in that centre I have discovered that Heaven speaks to me through my life on Gaia. Since my transition into Motherhood my Maiden has reflected back to me the spaces that I have lagged in my spiritual practice, she is the Divine reflection of what was justified away coming up to be addressed. Being spicy isn't an excuse for impatience when there is a little Lamb looking up at me with watery sapphire eyes ready to emulate my response to life disappointing me in the moments that I am tempted to loose my temper. Flying off the handle and yelling at my Beloved because I'm a wild feminine Oceanic expression of the Goddess doesn't cut it when my daughter's whole concept of God is my sweet husband for now, may she never believe that the Goddess should destroy the God because of her femininity. And ignoring my need to be where I'm at, sensitive to Mercury Retrograde, and push ahead bullheaded and insistent that I be heard as I forcefully try to explain myself 'one more time', doesn't cut it when my little girl begins hitting and screeching because she isn't being heard and to because to be honest life is like one big Mercury Retrograde for her at this age.
I bow down to my life on Gaia and give reverent thanks for the lessons I am afforded. I shudder in embarrassment at the arrogant insistence I had that life be more magical, less earthy, and more deep than other people's in order for me to justify my existence on it. And I breathe as I reflect during this retrograde, finally stopping to follow the lead of this spiral path and learning from the moment that we are in.
I look forward to guiding my daughter as she ages, teaching her about astrology, the occult, retrogrades, moon phases, red tents, all of the juicy aspects of life that have lit me up. I'm also prepared to learn how to play basketball, study biology, listen to her fascination in mathematics, or any other number of interests she may decide are inspiring to her, despite how lost I feel in those subjects. Her emerging self will reveal to me how to best Mother her as she grows. But for now, until she tells me otherwise, she has a Priestess as a Mother and I will follow my path to support and love her in the best way that I can, and today that means slowing down, getting quiet, reflecting and listening deeper while closing my mouth.
I will listen to Mercury Retrograde, I will listen to the reflections that my loved ones shine upon me and I will listen to my gut, my inner wombspace of wisdom and I will allow myself to grow and to learn in the uncomfortable spaces. As I learn to do this for myself and to support my daughter in being held through her first experiences with frustration and impatience I become better equipped to take my Mother presence, the space within me that expresses the Mother Goddess, into the world to nurture, hold space and unconditionally love all of the children, both small and grown, as we flow to the best of our ability along the spiral path of the Goddess.
Blessed Be Mercury Retrograde and all my relations.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
image taken from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ea/75/94/ea75941e1f563820c683cb08a5c7bd3d.jpg
Sometimes, I wonder if my mother regrets raising me to believe that all things would be possible for me, because when I was a sophomore in college, I bought a plane ticket and went to Paris by myself on my way to a summer study abroad program in Italy. It was an amazing experience: I spent three days desperately trying to blend in and not appear to be an obnoxious traveler, while at the same time I kept sneaking glances at my guide book as I soaked up the City of Lights.
I fell in love with the cathedral of Notre Dame, and I made a point to visit there each day before I began my wanderings. In three full days, I crammed in visits to classical and modern museums, cafes and bookstores, snapping photos and wandering beneath the changing clouds that hang over Paris. To this day, I have never seen a sky that is quite like the one over this French city.
Traveling alone is an interesting experience. There is no one to cooperate with, no concessions to be made. Any kind of travel is transformative, but without the voices of others to cloud your mind, I believe that a person will undergo deep psychic and mental changes if she takes the risk to venture out into the world alone.
And a risk it is, although at the time I don’t think I was consciously aware of that fact. I stayed in a hostel, sleeping in a co-ed dormitory with five other travelers. My first night in the city, I realized that two of my roommates were male, and I felt a bit unsettled. I slept in my clothes behind a barricade that I constructed using my backpack, waking up at every sound and breath. It was a miserable night, but thankfully, my fears came to nothing.
Even so, I haven’t traveled alone since that trip. My husband has as bad a case of wanderlust as I have, and we’ve been lucky enough to travel together, even returning to Paris a few years ago; the city still enamors me, even after all this time.
When a Native Canadian man once told me that my animal totem was the butterfly I was initially disappointed. Being short in stature already and having a tiny frame I thought that he was mistaken. He must not have fully connected to spirit and his medicine and was subconsciously associating teeny me with the teeny butterfly. I knew that inside was ferocity, passion, fearlessness, I was certain I was a cat, a tiger, a spider, something feminine, dark, mysterious and sexy. When I was given my Native name : Little Soaring Butterfly, I decided it was time to get to know my totem and to open up to the idea that perhaps this medicine man had seen something that I had missed.
It's been almost a year since I walked through the veil of transition between Maidenhood and Motherhood.
In my typical Scorpio fashion I have jumped in full force, straight into the deep end. She is yet to be 'babysat' by anyone besides my husband, she sleeps with me at night, on me to nap, my breasts are forever at her disposal, we are pretty merged, my Maiden and I at this point. It seemed the most natural way in the world for her and I to be together at most times, it feels as if a part of my insides was birthed outside of me while remaining a part of me. Like I gave birth to my heart and now I hold her as close and as dear as possible.
Despite this energetic vortex that envelopes the two of us, somewhere throughout this year it became apparent to me that I was going to need some downtime, this need developed into a routine known in the evening as 'Daddy/Daughter' time, this is my time to unwind. When we decided, my husband and I that downtime was very much a necessity for me, the vision that I held was of me knitting, reading, writing, meditating, napping and drinking tea. I'm happy to say that at 11 months this is pretty much how my sacred space looks 80% of the time.
Daddy/daughter time began with me addictively watching TV series and eating potatoe chips (often they were organicish) and drinking pop (cane sugar instead of white....) getting as many "ep's" in as I could and fervently escaping into other worlds. I posted on my personal Facebook page asking for more show recommendations when I had devoured Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, The Tudors, Boardwalk Empire and finally Orange is the New Black. My Priestess sisters, energy community and homesteading friends suggested some nice healthy mindful practices rather than T.V. They had the same vision for a healthy, full time to self that I had had. I just wasn't there yet. I felt myself slink away from announcing my dirty little TV and snacks habit and just sank even further into the couch cushions. I sank and I feared that I may have lost all of who I thought I was. I wondered if I was going to loose my Priestess self, if I was going to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom that didn't write, hold circle, offer services to others and ate junk food and watched T.V. I'm so appreciative that I allowed myself to sit and eat. I'm grateful that I didn't push and that I was were I was and allowed that to be okay. These months humbled me, they revealed my humanness, not only in my need to take time for self, but in my ability to experience a little sloth without loosing my soul or my calling in the process.
My mentress, the Priestess Aquarius, would teach me this during every learning session we spent together. "Above all Candise, a Priestess must be humble," she would tell me during my training. It was these words that followed me when I fell into a depression during a 'dark night of the soul' three years back. Similar to, yet nowhere close to as dire, this dark night of the soul mirrored my surrender into the couch potatoe phase that I have just been through. Both of these situations called for me to fall into what was and to allow myself to be in those moments, to let go of what I thought life should look like and to flow with the River of life. My dark night of the soul began when a man who has lived this lifetime shrouded in darkness, one who had wreaked havoc on my life when I was a young Maiden re-appeared in my life temporarily three years ago. I fell to pieces as years of frozen and unacknowledged trauma rose to the surface. My first response was to 'spiritual leapfrog' through the pain. To skip over the pain, to deny it, to spiritualize it away, simultaneously I felt myself teetering along the thin line of self-destruction as my old wounds promised to take me over the edge and back into the black abyss of self-destruction that I had lived in once long ago. In that moment of choice a silent clarity descended upon me and I made a deal with Goddess, I said to Her, "okay, I'm going to fall apart now. I'm going to feel everything I didn't feel when I was abused so many years ago. I'm going to fall to pieces and I'm not going to rush to come back together, I'm just going to let it happen and I need You to carry me through this." And I did. I just fell completely to pieces. For one full year I did little more than make it to work, the rest of the time I cocooned on the couch, I barely ate or showered, I went to trauma therapy and fought the voices in my head that argued that therapy wasn't as evolved as breathworks, meditations, Shamanic journeying and communal circles (all of which I also attended). My world turned black and I wasn't sure I would ever see colour again, my pride was stripped away from me and I flowed along the river of despair until one day I was delivered to the shore. I stepped away from the river integrated, more whole than I had been before I fell apart and I was gifted with experiences that I could offer others on the shamanic path. Suddenly I had less 'answers' for others and more experience to share in. This was the heavy pill of humility that I swallowed and this experience has taught me that being real, being human is worth more than any shiny ideal of a spiritual woman that I could try to fit into could ever be.
So I fell into my couch once again, though this time out of burn out rather than despair and I just watched as much TV as I could, I trusted the process despite my very alive pride that yelled at me that I was loosing all of my Priestess self in this year of Motherhood. I struggled with my 'Superwoman' archetype that had envisioned me baking, cooking from organic scratch, writing, knitting, sewing, visitng friends and humming a merry tune all the way through. I judged myself, harshly, after all I only had one little baby. I had so much help from my husband. I wasn't working. She slept great. So what was my problem? Simply put I was drained. In the Waldorf tradition of thought, which is rooted in anthroposophy a woman's child is under her 'Madonna Cloak' for the first three years of life. Energetically my Maiden sucks up as much of me as she can and I need to reboot. So I sat. And I watched, and I watched and I snacked.