Temple Spinner

October 16, 2010

I am dreaming back my sisters

Whisper-worn footfalls in the Temple steps

Skywalkers

Storm dwellers

Heavy-breasted cauldron keepers

Songweavers

Snake-sisters

Darkmoon dancers

Labyrinth builders

Star bridgers

Fiery-eyed dragon-ryders

Wind seekers

Shape shifters

Corn daughters

 

Wolf women

Earth stewards

Gentle-handed womb sounders

Dream spinners

Flame keepers

Moon birthers

Come sisters, come home

By: Marie Elena 1999

Charge of the Goddess

September 24, 2010

From Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

“I am the Great Mother, worshipped by all and existent prior to their consciousness. I am the primal female force, boundless and eternal. “I am the chaste Goddess of the moon, the Lady of all magic. The winds and moving leaves sing my name. I wear the crescent Moon upon my brow and my feet rest among the starry heavens. I am mysteries yet unsolved , a path newly set upon. I am a field untouched by the plow. Rejoice in me and know the fullness of youth. “I am the blessed Mother, the gracious Lady of the harvest. I am clothed with the deep, cool wonder of the Earth and the gold of wheat fields heavy with grain. By me the tides of the Earth are ruled; all things come to fruition according to my season. I am refuge and healing. I am the life-giving Mother, wondrously fertile. “Worship me as the Crone, tender of the unbroken cycle of death and rebirth. I am the wheel, the shadow of the Moon. I rule the tides of women and men and give release and renewal to weary souls. Though the darkness of death is my domain, the joy of birth is my gift. “I am the goddess of the Moon, the Earth, the Seas. My names and strengths are manifold. I pour forth magick and power, peace and wisdom. I am the eternal Maiden, Mother of all, and Crone of darkness, and I send you blessings of limitless love.”

Quotes

June 24, 2010

“The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world. She is the world. Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent diversity.”

“Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength, enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.”

“As women, however, we need to look very closely at these philosophies and ask ourselves the hard-headed, critical question, “What’s in it for me?” “What does this spiritual system do for women?” Of course, the gurus, teachers, and ascended masters will tell us that, even by asking such a question, we are merely continuing in our enslavement to the Lords of Mind; that it is simply another dodge of the ego as it resists dissolution in the All.”

Classes and So On

June 20, 2010

Sadly, it’s been more than a month since I turned in my first homework for the Holy Book One class, but so far it has not been graded & I can’t move on to the next lesson because the system doesn’t show it to me until the first one has been graded. I don’t really know what is going on with it! I’m very disappointed.

I was however told by a livejournal friend about this: http://www.thesilverbranch.org/

And their “Ninth Wave” program. I asked on some forums for review, and it seems quite positive. The program looks very intuitive and I like the structure. So I’m thinking about it. It seems the creator is on the BPAL forums I post on, which is funny to me! But also indicates activeness online, something that seems lacking in the HB1 class.

things to remember…

June 19, 2010

When we are learning the Craft, and starting on this path, what we are doing is learning to speak the language of the world we already live in. We learn to recognize those wild things that we can harness but cannot tame, to understand and interpret the cycles of energy that surround and penetrate our lives. The Craft is not a religion, it is more than that. To understand the language of the plants we walk past, to learn to read the stars — these are things we can all grasp, all achieve. While some may have greater gifts of understanding than others, we can all learn to understand the natural world. That is part of walking this path. That is a way to live one’s life.

The Earth Path

May 6, 2010

I’m finally getting around to reading Starhawk’s The Earth Path. I started this book a while ago and put it down for whatever reason — or I read little bits here and there but did not read much of it. Today, I finished another book I was reading, and I finished something else I needed to get done, so I came back around to The Earth Path and picked it up.

Bringing our lives into alignment with the Earth should not become a burdensome, guilt-filled project, where we are constantly in an unshriven state of eco-sin.

At the end of this chapter (3), she talks about about sacred intention. What, she asks, is your sacred intention? What is sacred to you? What do you cherish? There is a small written meditation with the aim of finding the answer.

For me, I think the answer is… the Earth. And within that answer, the health of all things. What do I need to help me serve my intention of creating a world that cherishes the Earth and the health of all things in it? Well… I’m not sure. More meditation seems like a good place to start answering that question.

Her written instructions for grounding include the Tree of Life meditation, which I have found to be invaluable. She mentions making sure your breathing is deep, and she talks about daily practice — something I still need to work on. Why is it that I always mean to do things and then I let them go by?

Z Budapest’s Podcasts

April 27, 2010

One thing I am loving about the Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries class is that Z Budapest records audio podcasts in the lessons. We read from the book, but there are also files you can listen to, where you learn directly from her talking to you. Her voice is very interesting, and she speaks so frankly! I am using this entry as a note-taking entry as I listen.

Lesson One she talks about Politics & Women’s Spirituality. One thing she says, “first, I should clear one thing up: everything is politics. what you are talking, what you do, what you eat, it’s all politics.” And I agree with this. She says feminist witches are women who search within themselves for the wisdom of their DNA, of their inheritance, looking for the female principle of the universe — the Goddess. Here we claim relationship with the Goddess. Everyone understands that we have to own the ass we are sitting on, she says, because everybody else owns everything else. That is why we must fight for our rights as women. We must fight for the rights over our own bodies and souls — the “fight for our sweet women’s souls”, as she says.

So we are fighting a revolution, fight for cultural diversity, against racism, for sexual freedom… everything needs some change. It’s a lot of work. We must make sure we are grounded in our spirituality, we must make sure we have replenished our energies. We must have fun! A secure grounding, a woman’s spiritual strength is knowing both fun and our herstory — those who came before us. This reminds me of my recent read of a book titled Manifesta, which covers a lot of feminist history. Budapest says to know the past is to know who we are, to know where we come from.

The changing universe of consciousness is important. The new consciousness that was born from women’s movements is a glorious gift. We must be mindful of how we relate to each other. At this moment she talks about why men fear powerful women, or women gaining power. It’s because, she says, maybe they fear we would treat the men how they have treated women for thousands of years. Perhaps there is a fear of retribution, of getting even? This, she says, is because perhaps men in this position would do so. They are not fit to rule over us, Z says, a hint of laughter in her voice.

She mentions the Venus of Willendorf, who is 25,000 years old compared to the Bible which is 2,000 years old, and the Koran which is only 500 years old. In this section she talks about the age of the goddess consciousness. While it is true that a “universal goddess religion” theory, as written about by Maria Gimbutas, has been disproven by the last twenty years, it is also true that there is evidence for some matriarchal society, and there is certainly evidence for Goddess-based religions. She is discussing also the origins of lack of work ethic and the invention of rape and slavery.

“We believe the female control of the death principle yields human evolution.” This is big. Human evolution… she talks about cultures treatment of death, and the idea of heaven or any such place. The death principle of goddess consciousness is to look around you. Everything dies. The goddess energy, the pure love of the universe, the pure miracle of life, this energy is what will go forth, again and again. “Death is just a swing door,” she says, “one side of it says Life and the other side of it says Death, and we are all just always coming and going, all the time.” This topic was something my sister and I discussed recently in our lessons, so I was surprised to hear it again! It’s been on my mind a lot, consequently. She touches on death as not a source of fear, of something which has a date already that we carry in our body. We all bloom and then we die. This is, to me — and judging by her voice, to her, too — a comforting thought.

Living life lovingly. Now she is mentioning our need for self love, our need to serve OURSELVES. This is so important. Sisterhood is good for us. Learning from your sisters is good for you. No matter where you are from you are still a woman, she says also. Lastly, in this audio podcast, she talks about how we can love others better if we make sure we love ourselves. Have a little self-reflection, she says. Love yourself. If you are short of some quality, make it up somewhere. Life is a gift. Affirm your life.

You know, when I first read Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, I skimmed over some of it. The visualization bits, some of the how-to. I was just reading it for… something, but not because I was fully interested in the Goddess. At that time, I was still Christian. I still clung to those thought forms, that way of thinking. And so I was not fully open to Starhawk’s words in this book.

Re-reading it has been, for me, almost transformative. I’m coming more into my own in terms of what I believe in, and it’s looking more and more like pantheistic Dianism. I’m not sure about that, and I’m really starting to think the only label I need is “witch”. That one works for me.

Starhawk speaks in this book about the use of the circle as a visualization and meditation, and it’s very beautiful. I’ve always thought of casting a circle as something formal and unneccessary; I definitely don’t cast circles very often. Of course, their use in creating sacred space is something I fully believe in, but I didn’t really think about the applications of that for me. It didn’t seem… hmm. How can I express what I mean? The creation of sacred space is as easily done without a formal casting, I suppose. I felt it was more like play-acting, casting a circle, and I always felt silly doing it. I may reconsider my views on circle casting, and try various methods.

Something else she talks about in The Spiral Dance is witchcraft as a method of seeing, as “starlight vision”. This is, as she describes, a different method of knowing. It is the method of knowing that is deeper than everyday knowledge — as witches we learn to walk across the Veil between worlds, or to manipulate that. This was an excellent way of expressing the Veil, one that I think is very poetic. And, after all, so much of witchcraft is poetry, isn’t it? Poetry in plant, stone, word, and action.

Kuan Yin

April 12, 2010

I was looking at a thread on some fora I frequent, asking about experiences with patron and matron gods and goddesses. I really like this thread, because people typically just post about whoever/whatever they are feeling pulled to, and it is a good resource on how people venerate and what they offer and so on. Today I came upon a post from someone saying they feel a very strong connection to Kuan Yin. She posted, along with her words, a link to this article: Kuan Yin: My Buddhist Patron Saint.

Kuan Yin is depicted in art, or approached by an individual worshipper, as either male or female. She can appear in many different forms, depending on the worshipper’s needs. The vast majority visualize her as female. So Kuan Yin is female by popular demand.

Her name means “Hearer Of The Cries Of The World.”

Hearer Of The Cries Of The World. This resonates with me, as well, particularly due to my own huge need to serve the world via healthcare and humanitarian aid. I am also interested in the gender flexibility! Apparently Kuan Yin is both male and female, or, she is sometimes seen as a female representation of a male being, or she is sometimes male, or… two halves of one coin. According to Wikipedia, Avalokiteśvara/Kuan Yin was originally depicted as the Buddha when he was still a prince, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a moustache. However in China, Guanyin is usually depicted as a woman. Additionally, some people believe that Guanyin is both man and woman (or perhaps neither). It’s a very interesting concept.

The author of this article also writes:

You make offerings to the statue – a cup of water daily, fresh flowers every week or so, and fruit, particularly oranges and bananas. You leave a light burning near her at night — you don’t let her sit in the dark. You can meditate on her by reciting her mantras before the statue, and pray to her in your own words. Even if you don’t literally believe in her, the prayers tend to be answered, often very quickly.

along with that I find these mantras very… well, I don’t want to say nice, so I’ll say useful, but I’m feeling a little deeper word than that:

Kuan Yin is worshipped with the following mantras:

Namo Kuan Shi Yin P’u Sa (pronounced Nah-moh Kwahn Shee Yeen Poo Sah):
All Hail To Kuan Yin Bodhisattva!

This mantra is used to salute Kuan Yin at the beginning of a period of worship, and to say goodbye to her at the end (for this purpose, vibrate it slowly, three times). It may also be chanted rapidly over and over for a period of time — like fifteen minutes — while focusing mentally on a goal or desire you wish Kuan Yin to help you achieve.

~

Hri (pronounced “Hree”)

This is Kuan Yin’s “Bija” mantra, and is considered untranslatable. It is a syllable to be vibrated as long as the breath allows, and is supposed to capture in sound the pure essence of Kuan Yin. You use it to identify yourself with her, in hopes of gradually becoming more like her. You chant it and think of nothing, purely focusing on making the sound itself without intellectualizing about it. Try it for five or ten minutes, gently bringing your mind back to the sound itself whenever thought arises.

There is an online Kuan Yin Oracle that provides translations of poems and so on.

Women & Spirituality

April 9, 2010

I have ordered Women & Spirituality, a series of three PBS documentaries. The series examines goddess-based pre-historic societies, the witch-hunts of the Middle Ages, and the continuing popularity of contemporary women’s spirituality movements. Starhawk is interviewed for these documentaries, as is Luisah Teish, who wrote the book Jamabalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals. It’s a great book, one of the first I read when beginning this path. Teish is a Yoruba priestess and the documentary covers, I know, some of that as well. I am really looking forward to having these DVDs on my shelves! Already I have a friend who wants to borrow them as soon as possible.

I have been wanting this series for a while now, but I went ahead and purchased it because I am teaching my sister. I think it will be a good series for us to view together. Right now we’re focusing on the element of Earth and working on things like grounding meditations and a basic understanding of what the chakras are. So far, things are going well. I’m hoping this documentary will be educational for us both. Looking forward to watching it!