Monday, January 31, 2011

About the Harp

It breathes.
I feel it, nestled against me,
breathing my breath
before I strike a note.

Living it sings
With a voice
Larger than my hands,
Deeper than my heart,
Higher than my dreams.

Seeing it stand there
Is sheathed potential.
Arrow-strings taut, tensed at any sky,
It is a Now,
A Doing,
Unlike any other place or being.

I stretch
to reach all the strings
And feel life beneath my fingers
because I have not made it,
Engendered it.
It is its own,
Not mine.

It breathes there
It lives in the soul of former musics
Calling, crooning


And that other song
Self song
the one I play when no one is listening.

It is a place,
A time,
A history,
A Universe

How can people say
"the harp is so relaxing"
When within its voice
Are children and battles,
Wars and kingdoms
Births and alliances...

And yet it cradles me
like a lover
And sings songs
I never knew until it spoke.

Is a verb.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brighid's Fire

It rises in my head
And words come to me,
Sometimes poetry,
Sometimes just a thought.

Always, I am sure
That words are my tools.

Now, I think again.

Not just words.
Not just
The babblings of my mouth,
Not thought of,
Not planned.

That's just not good enough.

It's not, any more.

Now the words must arise
From deep inside me...

I was told, long ago,
That Silence was Craft.

I haven't Learned it yet.

I still talk too much,
I interrupt too much,
And I don't say much.

So now, I'll make a change.

Odd thought, for a Bard,
That Poetry is still.
That words are all wrong.
That what I need to do
Is learn to shut up.

I have too much to say.
When anyone speaks,
I always add my bit,
No matter the need.

It's time to let that go.
My Goddess, my Brighid
Is Mistress of the Word
And knows its true use.

The Fire In The Head
Burns out, if not kept
In sacredness, and used
Only when there's need.

So I-- I will begin

To practice Silence,
To Listen, as my gift
To Herself of the Flame.

My heart will still be full,
But I will not speak.

Perhaps, if I do this
My own Inner Flame
Will once again burn bright.

Perhaps She will hear
And know it is for Her
That I remain mute.

The truest Gift of all
Is hard to attain.

For me, to speak is easy,
To babble and chat.

Remaining still is harder.
So....I will do that.

Aisling the Bard, Imbolc 2010

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In The Belly

She quivers behind my lips all winter,
Never speaking, but filling my mind
With words unuttered,
Thoughts of poesy in silence,
Postponed for warmer days.

She dances in my old limbs,
Never moving, but filling my veins
With warm blood,
Making me wish for days long gone
When I was the night-dancer.

She lives inside my thoughts,
Never acting, but filling my head
With bard's fire,
Sparks of imbas, stored up,
To burst forth in springtime.

She flows in my stilled hands,
Never crafting, but filling my fingers
With stored skill,
Plans for drawing, painting, writing
All for later execution.

And then it comes...
La Fheile Brid, filling my Being
With Herself, Her Inspiration,
Her Creative Spark,
Her Healing Waters,
Her Ringing Song...

Brighid is coming!
Brighid is coming!
Brighid is here!

And I am no longer
In the belly....

Welcome Brighid....
All this you have given me,
All this which comes forth,
All this is Yours..
As am I.

For the Lady
Imbolc, 2008
Aisling the Bard

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Genealogy of Brighid

Every day and every night

That I say the genealogy of Brighid

I shall not be killed,

I shall not be wounded;

I shall not be harried;

I shall not be put into a cell;

No fire, no sun, no moon will burn me;

No water, no lake, no sea will drown me:

For I am child of Poetry;

Poetry, child of Reflection;

Reflection, child of Meditation;

Meditation, child of Lore;

Lore, child of Research;

Research, child of Great Knowledge;

Great Knowledge, child of Intelligence;

Intelligence, child of Comprehension;

Comprehension, child of Wisdom;

Wisdom, child of Brighid.


Brighid's Arrow--an Invocation

Most Holy Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;

May your bright fiery Sun

Take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.

Healer's Rune

Brigid, you are a woman of peace.
bring harmony where there is conflict.
bring light to the darkness.
bring hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all that God/dess has made.
Brighid, you
are a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us,
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body, and spirit.

Brighid's Rune

I, _______, (your name) in this fateful hour

Place all Nature with Her power;

The Sun with its brightness,

The Moon with its whiteness,

The Fire with all the strength it hath,

The Lightning with its rapid wrath,

The Winds with their swiftness along their path,

The Sea with its deepness,

The Rocks with their steepness,

The Earth with its starkness;

All these I place

With Brighid's mighty help and grace

Between myself and the powers of darkness.


Brede's Breastplate (The Deer's Cry)

I arise today through the strength of Heaven:
Light of Sun,
Radiance of Moon,
Splendor of Fire,
Speed of Lightning,
Swiftness of Wind,
Depth of Sea,
Stability of Earth,
Firmness of Rock

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King jr. "The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life"

The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life

by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
New Covenant Baptist Church Chicago Illinois, April 9, 1967

I want to use as the subject from which to preach: "The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life." You know, they used to tell us in Hollywood that in order for a movie to be complete, it had to be three-dimensional. Well, this morning I want to seek to get over to each of us that if life itself is to be complete, it must be three-dimensional.

Many, many centuries ago, there was a man by the name of John who found himself in prison out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos. And I’ve been in prison just enough to know that it’s a lonely experience. And when you are incarcerated in such a situation, you are deprived of almost every freedom, but the freedom to think, the freedom to pray, the freedom to reflect and to meditate. And while John was out on this lonely island in prison, he lifted his vision to high heaven and he saw, descending out of heaven, a new heaven and a new earth. Over in the twenty-first chapter of the book of Revelation, it opens by saying, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven."

And one of the greatest glories of this new city of God that John saw was its completeness. It was not up on one side and down on the other, but it was complete in all three of its dimensions. And so in this same chapter as we looked down to the sixteenth verse, John says, "The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." In other words, this new city of God, this new city of ideal humanity is not an unbalanced entity, but is complete on all sides. Now I think John is saying something here in all of the symbolism of this text and the symbolism of this chapter. He’s saying at bottom that life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all sides.

And there are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth, and height. Now the length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. In other words, it is that inward concern that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions. The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others. And the height of life is the upward reach for God. Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.

Now let’s turn for the moment to the length of life. I said that this is the dimension of life where we are concerned with developing our inner powers. In a sense this is the selfish dimension of life. There is such a thing as rational and healthy self-interest. A great Jewish rabbi, the late Joshua Leibman, wrote a book some years ago entitled Peace of Mind. And he has a chapter in that book entitled "Love Thyself Properly." And what he says in that chapter, in substance, is that before you can love other selves adequately, you’ve got to love your own self properly. You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself.

And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself. So many people are busy trying to be somebody else. God gave all of us something significant. And we must pray every day, asking God to help us to accept ourselves. That means everything. Too many Negroes are ashamed of themselves, ashamed of being black. A Negro got to rise up and say from the bottom of his soul, "I am somebody. I have a rich, noble, and proud heritage. However exploited and however painful my history has been, I’m black, but I’m black and beautiful." This is what we’ve got to say. We’ve got to accept ourselves. And we must pray, "Lord, Help me to accept myself every day; help me to accept my tools."

I remember when I was in college, I majored in sociology, and all sociology majors had to take a course that was required called statistics. And statistics can be very complicated. You’ve got to have a mathematical mind, a real knowledge of geometry, and you’ve got to know how to find the mean, the mode, and the median. I never will forget. I took this course and I had a fellow classmate who could just work that stuff out, you know. And he could do his homework in about an hour. We would often go to the lab or the workshop, and he would just work it out in about an hour, and it was over for him. And I was trying to do what he was doing; I was trying to do mine in an hour. And the more I tried to do it in an hour, the more I was flunking out in the course. And I had to come to a very hard conclusion. I had to sit down and say, "Now, Martin Luther King, Leif Cane has a better mind than you." Sometimes you have to acknowledge that. And I had to say to myself, "Now, he may be able to do it in an hour, but it takes me two or three hours to do it." I was not willing to accept myself. I was not willing to accept my tools and my limitations.

But you know in life we’re called upon to do this. A Ford car trying to be a Cadillac is absurd, but if a Ford will accept itself as a Ford, it can do many things that a Cadillac could never do: it can get in parking spaces that a Cadillac can never get in. And in life some of us are Fords and some of us are Cadillacs. Moses says in "Green Pastures," "Lord, I ain’t much, but I is all I got." The principle of self-acceptance is a basic principle in life.

Now the other thing about the length of life: after accepting ourselves and our tools, we must discover what we are called to do. And once we discover it we should set out to do it with all of the strength and all of the power that we have in our systems. And after we’ve discovered what God called us to do, after we’ve discovered our life’s work, we should set out to do that work so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. Now this does not mean that everybody will do the so-called big, recognized things of life. Very few people will rise to the heights of genius in the arts and the sciences; very few collectively will rise to certain professions. Most of us will have to be content to work in the fields and in the factories and on the streets. But we must see the dignity of all labor.

When I was in Montgomery, Alabama, I went to a shoe shop quite often, known as the Gordon Shoe Shop. And there was a fellow in there that used to shine my shoes, and it was just an experience to witness this fellow shining my shoes. He would get that rag, you know, and he could bring music out of it. And I said to myself, "This fellow has a Ph.D. in shoe shining."

What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."

If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill
Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub on the side of the hill,
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a highway just be a trail
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or fail—
Be the best of whatever you are.

And when you do this, when you do this, you’ve mastered the length of life.

This onward push to the end of self-fulfillment is the end of a person’s life. Now don’t stop here, though. You know, a lot of people get no further in life than the length. They develop their inner powers; they do their jobs well. But do you know, they try to live as if nobody else lives in the world but themselves? And they use everybody as mere tools to get to where they’re going. They don’t love anybody but themselves. And the only kind of love that they really have for other people is utilitarian love. You know, they just love people that they can use.

A lot of people never get beyond the first dimension of life. They use other people as mere steps by which they can climb to their goals and their ambitions. These people don’t work out well in life. They may go for awhile, they may think they’re making it all right, but there is a law. They call it the law of gravitation in the physical universe, and it works, it’s final, it’s inexorable: whatever goes up can come down. You shall reap what you sow. God has structured the universe that way. And he who goes through life not concerned about others will be a subject, victim of this law.

So I move on and say that it is necessary to add breadth to length. Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

One day Jesus told a parable. You will remember that parable. He had a man that came to him to talk with him about some very profound concerns. And they finally got around to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" And this man wanted to debate with Jesus. This question could have very easily ended up in thin air as a theological or philosophical debate. But you remember Jesus immediately pulled that question out of thin air and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. He talked about a certain man who fell among thieves. Two men came by and they just kept going. And then finally another man came, a member of another race, who stopped and helped him. And that parable ends up saying that this good Samaritan was a great man; he was a good man because he was concerned about more than himself.

Now you know, there are many ideas about why the priest and the Levite passed and didn’t stop to help that man. A lot of ideas about it. Some say that they were going to a church service, and they were running a little late, you know, and couldn’t be late for church, so they kept going because they had to get down to the synagogue. And then there are others who would say that they were involved in the priesthood and consequently there was a priestly law which said that if you were going to administer the sacrament or what have you, you couldn’t touch a human body twenty-four hours before worship. Now there’s another possibility. It is possible that they were going down to Jericho to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s another possibility. And they may have passed by because they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal source rather than one individual victim. That’s a possibility.

But you know, when I think about this parable, I think of another possibility as I use my imagination. It’s possible that these men passed by on the other side because they were afraid. You know, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I’ve been on it and I know. And I never will forget, Mrs. King and I were in the Holy Land some time ago. We rented a car and we drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho, a distance of about sixteen miles. You get on that Jericho road—I’m telling you it’s a winding, curving, meandering road, very conducive for robbery. And I said to my wife, "Now I can see why Jesus used this road as the occasion for his parable." Here you are when you start out in Jerusalem: you are twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, and when you get down to Jericho sixteen miles later—I mean you have sixteen miles from Jerusalem—you’re twelve hundred feet below sea level. During the days of Jesus that road came to the point of being known as the "Bloody Path." So when I think about the priest and the Levite, I think those brothers were afraid.

They were just like me. I was going out to my father’s house in Atlanta the other day. He lives about three or four miles from me, and you go out there by going down Simpson Road. And then when I came back later that night—and brother, I can tell you, Simpson Road is a winding road. And a fellow was standing out there trying to flag me down. And I felt that he needed some help; I knew he needed help. But I didn’t know it. I’ll be honest with you, I kept going. I wasn’t really willing to take the risk.

I say to you this morning that the first question that the priest asked was the first question that I asked on that Jericho Road of Atlanta known as Simpson Road. The first question that the Levite asked was, ‘’If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But the good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question. Not "What will happen to me if I stop to help this man?" but "What will happen to this man if I do not stop to help him?" This was why that man was good and great. He was great because he was willing to take a risk for humanity; he was willing to ask, "What will happen to this man?" not "What will happen to me?"

This is what God needs today: Men and women who will ask, "What will happen to humanity if I don’t help? What will happen to the civil rights movement if I don’t participate? What will happen to my city if I don’t vote? What will happen to the sick if I don’t visit them?" This is how God judges people in the final analysis.

Oh, there will be a day, the question won’t be, "How many awards did you get in life?" Not that day. It won’t be, "How popular were you in your social setting?" That won’t be the question that day. It will not ask how many degrees you’ve been able to get. The question that day will not be concerned with whether you are a "Ph.D." or a "no D." It will not be concerned with whether you went to Morehouse or whether you went to "No House." The question that day will not be, "How beautiful is your house?" The question that day will not be, "How much money did you accumulate? How much did you have in stocks and bonds?" The question that day will not be, "What kind of automobile did you have?" On that day the question will be, "What did you do for others?"

Now I can hear somebody saying, "Lord, I did a lot of things in life. I did my job well; the world honored me for doing my job. I did a lot of things, Lord; I went to school and studied hard. I accumulated a lot of money, Lord; that’s what I did." It seems as if I can hear the Lord of Life saying, "But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was sick, and ye visited me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was in prison, and you weren’t concerned about me. So get out of my face. What did you do for others?" This is the breadth of life.

Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others. And this is the way I’ve decided to go the rest of my days. That’s what I’m concerned about. John, if you and Bernard happen to be around when I come to the latter-days and that moment to cross the Jordan, I want you to tell them that I made a request: I don’t want a long funeral. In fact, I don’t even need a eulogy more than one or two minutes. I hope that I will live so well the rest of the days—I don’t know how long I’ll live, and I’m not concerned about that—but I hope I can live so well that the preacher can get up and say, "He was faithful." That’s all, that’s enough. That’s the sermon I’d like to hear: "Well done my good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful; you’ve been concerned about others." That’s where I want to go from this point on the rest of my days. "He who is greatest among you shall be your servant." I want to be a servant. I want to be a witness for my Lord, to do something for others.

And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. And you may think you got all you got by yourself. But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world. You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, and you reach over for a bar of soap, and that’s handed to you by a Frenchman. You reach over for a sponge, and that’s given to you by a turk. You reach over for a towel, and that comes to your hand from the hands of a Pacific Islander. And then you go on to the kitchen to get your breakfast. You reach on over to get a little coffee, and that’s poured in your cup by a South American. Or maybe you decide that you want a little tea this morning, only to discover that that’s poured in your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you want a little cocoa, that’s poured in your cup by a West African. Then you want a little bread and you reach over to get it, and that’s given to you by the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. Before you get through eating breakfast in the morning, you’re dependent on more than half the world. That’s the way God structured it; that’s the way God structured this world. So let us be concerned about others because we are dependent on others.

But don’t stop here either. You know, a lot of people master the length of life, and they master the breadth of life, but they stop right there. Now if life is to be complete, we must move beyond our self-interest. We must move beyond humanity and reach up, way up for the God of the universe, whose purpose changeth not.

Now a lot of people have neglected this third dimension. And you know, the interesting thing is a lot of people neglect it and don’t even know they are neglecting it. They just get involved in other things. And you know, there are two kinds of atheism. Atheism is the theory that there is no God. Now one kind is a theoretical kind, where somebody just sits down and starts thinking about it, and they come to a conclusion that there is no God. The other kind is a practical atheism, and that kind goes out of living as if there is no God. And you know there are a lot of people who affirm the existence of God with their lips, and they deny his existence with their lives. You’ve seen these people who have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. They deny the existence of God with their lives and they just become so involved in other things. They become so involved in getting a big bank account. They become so involved in getting a beautiful house, which we all should have. They become so involved in getting a beautiful car that they unconsciously just forget about God. There are those who become so involved in looking at the man-made lights of the city that they unconsciously forget to rise up and look at that great cosmic light and think about it—that gets up in the eastern horizon every morning and moves across the sky with a kind of symphony of motion and paints its technicolor across the blue—a light that man can never make. They become so involved in looking at the skyscraping buildings of the Loop of Chicago or Empire State Building of New York that they unconsciously forget to think about the gigantic mountains that kiss the skies as if to bathe their peaks in the lofty blue—something that man could never make. They become so busy thinking about radar and their television that they unconsciously forget to think about the stars that bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity, those stars that appear to be shiny, silvery pins sticking in the magnificent blue pincushion. They become so involved in thinking about man’s progress that they forget to think about the need for God’s power in history. They end up going days and days not knowing that God is not with them.

And I’m here to tell you today that we need God. Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay. A few theologians are trying to say that God is dead. And I’ve been asking them about it because it disturbs me to know that God died and I didn’t have a chance to attend the funeral. They haven’t been able to tell me yet the date of his death. They haven’t been able to tell me yet who the coroner was that pronounced him dead. They haven’t been able to tell me yet where he’s buried.

You see, when I think about God, I know his name. He said somewhere, back in the Old Testament, "I want you to go out, Moses, and tell them ‘I Am’ sent you." He said just to make it clear, let them know that "my last name is the same as my first, ‘I Am that I Am.’ Make that clear. I Am." And God is the only being in the universe that can say "I Am" and put a period behind it. Each of us sitting here has to say, "I am because of my parents; I am because of certain environmental conditions; I am because of certain hereditary circumstances; I am because of God." But God is the only being that can just say, "I Am" and stop right there. "I Am that I Am." And He’s here to stay. Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God.

As I come to my conclusion this morning, I want to say that we should search for him. We were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in him. And I say to you this morning that this is the personal faith that has kept me going. I’m not worried about the future. You know, even on this race question, I’m not worried. I was down in Alabama the other day, and I started thinking about the state of Alabama where we worked so hard and may continue to elect the Wallaces. And down in my home state of Georgia, we have another sick governor by the name of Lester Maddox. And all of these things can get you confused, but they don’t worry me. Because the God that I worship is a God that has a way of saying even to kings and even to governors, "Be still, and know that I am God." And God has not yet turned over this universe to Lester Maddox and Lurleen Wallace. Somewhere I read, "The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, and I’m going on because I have faith in Him. I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. And if He’ll guide us and hold our hand, we’ll go on in.

I remember down in Montgomery, Alabama, an experience that I’d like to share with you. When we were in the midst of the bus boycott, we had a marvelous old lady that we affectionately called Sister Pollard. She was a wonderful lady about seventy-two years old and she was still working at that age. During the boycott she would walk every day to and from work. She was one that somebody stopped one day and said, "Wouldn’t you like to ride?" And she said, "No." And then the driver moved on and stopped and thought, and backed up a little and said, "Well, aren’t you tired?" She said, "Yes, my feets is tired, but my soul is rested."

She was a marvelous lady. And one week I can remember that I had gone through a very difficult week. Threatening calls had come in all day and all night the night before, and I was beginning to falter and to get weak within and to lose my courage. And I never will forget that I went to the mass meeting that Monday night very discouraged and a little afraid, and wondering whether we were going to win the struggle. And I got up to make my talk that night, but it didn’t come out with strength and power. Sister Pollard came up to me after the meeting and said, "Son, what’s wrong with you?" Said, "You didn’t talk strong enough tonight."

And I said, "Nothing is wrong, Sister Pollard, I’m all right."

She said, "You can’t fool me." Said, "Something wrong with you." And then she went on to say these words, "Is the white folks doing something to you that you don’t like?"

I said, "Everything is going to be all right, Sister Pollard."

And then she finally said, "Now come close to me and let me tell you something one more time, and I want you to hear it this time." She said, "Now I done told you we is with you." She said, "Now, even if we ain’t with you, the Lord is with you." And she concluded by saying, "The Lord’s going to take care of you."

And I’ve seen many things since that day. I’ve gone through many experiences since that night in Montgomery, Alabama. Since that time Sister Pollard has died. Since that time I’ve been in more than eighteen jail cells. Since that time I’ve come perilously close to death at the hands of a demented Negro woman. Since that time I’ve seen my home bombed three times. Since that time I’ve had to live every day under the threat of death. Since that time I’ve had many frustrating and bewildering nights. But over and over again I can still hear Sister Pollard’s words: "God’s going to take care of you." So today I can face any man and any woman with my feet solidly placed on the ground and my head in the air because I know that when you are right, God will fight your battle.

"Darker yet may be the night, harder yet may be the fight. Just stand up for that which is right." It seems that I can hear a voice speaking even this morning, saying to all of us, "Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what is just. Lo, I will be with you even until the end of the world." Yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. And I go on in believing that. Reach out and find the breadth of life.

You may not be able to define God in philosophical terms. Men through the ages have tried to talk about him. Plato said that he was the Architectonic Good. Aristotle called him the Unmoved Mover. Hegel called him the Absolute Whole. Then there was a man named Paul Tillich who called him Being-Itself. We don’t need to know all of these high-sounding terms. Maybe we have to know him and discover him another way. One day you ought to rise up and say, "I know him because he’s a lily of the valley." He’s a bright and morning star. He’s a rose of Sharon. He’s a battle-axe in the time of Babylon. And then somewhere you ought to just reach out and say, "He’s my everything. He’s my mother and my father. He’s my sister and my brother. He’s a friend to the friendless." This is the God of the universe. And if you believe in him and worship him, something will happen in your life. You will smile when others around you are crying. This is the power of God.

Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength." I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the breadth of life.

And when you get all three of these together, you can walk and never get weary. You can look up and see the morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for joy. When you get all of these working together in your very life, judgment will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

When you get all the three of these together, the lamb will lie down with the lion.

When you get all three of these together, you look up and every valley will be exalted, and every hill and mountain will be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh will see it together.

When you get all three of these working together, you will do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

When you get all three of these together, you will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.

When you get all three of these together...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Today, I'm Baha'i

Today is "World Religion Day" in the Baha'i faith. Its stated purpose is something against which I have had much to say: the journey towards, according to the official site of the event, the "establishment of interfaith understanding and harmony by emphasizing the common denominators underlying all religions." I have been a supporter of efforts towards recognizing and applauding diversity of belief, feeling that it is imperative that we as human beings recognize the humanity and precious worth of those who are "the other", people who do not dress or look or speak or think or worship, or see the world, the same way that we do. So....I am surprised at myself, when I realize that, at least for this year, I am going to try to adopt the Baha'i perspective on this day, and think about the underlying philosophical and social truth that may inform this perspective. Again, from the World Religion Day web site: "The prime cause of age-old conflict between man and man has been the absence of one ethical belief, a single spiritual standard – one moral code."

Now, don't get me wrong here. I do not apprehend this statement to mean, nor could I support it if it did mean, that everyone should acknowledge the same set of mythos, and worship the same deity, and follow the same commandments. I would feel, and would, I think, be justified therein, that the above perspective would be simply another cloak for religious fundamentalism. But...there is a difference, albeit IMO poorly phrased above, between ethics and commandments, between morals and rules. Ethics, morals, are that which inform rules and laws, the reasoning and the philosophy behind rules and laws. And yes, I do, oddly enough, believe that there is, and should be acknowledged to be, a single set of ethics that informs rules, laws, and the rule of law, everywhere, in every religion. Simply put, as it is stated on the World Religions web site, "Human unity and true equality depend not on past origins, but on future goals, on what we are becoming and whither we are going....... to see the whole earth as a single country and humanity its citizenry."

That is an ethical construct I can support. I would not venture to speak for the Baha'i faith, nor for its members, because I know very little about them. But I would accept and promote the idea that humanity is one thing, and people are human beings in every religion, class, race, culture, society and other division of life, and should all, must all, be granted the same human respect and dignity and love from other human beings in other places and positions. Religious difference has been the Great Divide in society for millenia, beginning even before the emergence of the Bible and the concept of "chosen people". Most of the world's wars, back as far as we have historical records, can be shown in some way to have been about differences in religion. People have been using war to secure peace, and committing violence and murder on a large scale to force their opponents to accept the peculiar "Love" of a unique and individual perception of "God" almost as long as there have been human beings. is World Religions Day. And on this day, I suggest each and all of you reading this try, for even a few minutes, even there in front of your computer where no one else can see or hear you, to cultivate a momentary acceptance of, and grounds for agreement with, a religious practice, belief, or denomination not your own. What could it hurt, for just a few minutes, to try to see the members of another faith, or one member of another faith, not as "the other", but as another human person, a brother or sister, trying his or her best, according to his or her own lights, to make a way through the complex maze of human existence and come out whole and safe on the other side. I am going to try to do this, because I do believe, in my deepest core, that no matter what your religious practice, or lack thereof, may teach or command, at the end of the day it is Love, all kinds of Love, seeing the other as a person worthy of love and respect and assistance and kindness, that is going to get us through this millennium and beyond it without destroying the planet, one another and our true Selves in the process. So, just for today, here is what I am going to do to celebrate World Religions Day. I am going to try not to make any anti-Mormon jokes today. I am going to try to feel some compassion for the likes of Jimmy Swaggart (unfortunate name for a servant of the Lord) and Glenn Beck. I am going to try not to rant and rave, curse and swear, about the Tea Party and all its ramifications. Instead, I am going to try to remember that people are all trying, as best as they can, to do and be what they think their God wants them to be. They're all human beings, and so they are like me. I fuck up, and so will they. But even people who hate think they are doing God's will. For just this one day, I will try not to hate them for hating, and in so doing become like those who hate. I will try, just for this day, to understand that we're all in this together and that if we're even going to have a slim chance of getting through existence in one piece, we're going to have to do it together.

If I fail at this, or if you do, here is a small list of tools to assist us in believing that there is, as World Religions Day attests, a basic similarity in all faiths that can help us along the way to human understanding. We might refer to it as the Golden Rule, but it does occur in some form in practically every religion of which I have any knowledge. Here ya go :

The Ethic Of Reciprocity, otherwise known as The Golden Rule, is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion. It is considered a condensation in one statement of all longer lists of ethical dos and don'ts. T.O.T.E.G. adopted it as the basic ethical guidline for our people in 1984, with the understanding that it must be intelligently and cautiously applied since there is no absolute standard as to what is helpful or harmful to everyone or everything The following is the way the Ethic of Reciprocity is phrased in many of the major religions of the world.

African Traditional Religions One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. [Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria) ]
Bahá'í Faith: And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. [ Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30 ]
Buddhism : Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. [ Udana-Varga 5,1 ]
Christianity : All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. [ Matthew 7:1 ]
Confucianism : Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. [ Analects12:2 ]
Hinduism, Brahmanism : This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. [ Mahabharata 5,1517 ]
Islam : No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. [ Sunnah ]
Judaism : What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. [ Talmud, Shabbat 3id ]
Shinto : "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"
Taoism : Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. [ Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien ]
Zoroastrianism : That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself. [ Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5 ]
Jainism: A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Native American Spirituality "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk
Plato: May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me. (Greece; 4th century BCE)
Roman Pagan Religion: "The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves."
Principles of Scientology: 20: "Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you."
Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors," Epistle 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE)
Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." (Greece; 5th century BCE)
Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299
Sufism: "The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this." Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order
Unitarian Universalism: "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." 7th Principle of Unitarian Universalism
Wicca: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt" The Wiccan Rede

(from the Toteg Tribe web site)


So, go ahead. Try it today. You might be surprised how much it helps.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mythopoesy, Graves, Trees, and Conclusions

The White Goddess, by Robert Graves, is the source of a mythic system which purports to link the Celtic alphabet with the names of trees and plants whose characteristics are representative of the cycles of personality, as well as the changes in the land throughout the year. Whatever the actual source, the Solar and Lunar Wheels as designated by the "tree months" become a complex and workable system of magic. Beginning in the Winter, between Yule and Imbolc, the tree months exemplify the inception, growth and development and attainments of the personal cycle throughout the year.

Below is a listing of the alphabet in order, with the tree, season, and characteristic energy noted.


First lunation after Yule...Inception
between Yule and Imbolc...Quickening
First lunation after Imbolc...Aspiration
between Imbolc and Oestre...Assertion
Willow...First lunation after Oestre..Intuition
Hawthorne...between Bealteine and Litha...Purification
Oak...first full lunation after Bealteine...Divination
first lunation after Litha...Protection
.between Litha and Lughnassadh...Inspiration
between Lughnassadh and Mabon...Intoxication
first lunation after Mabon...Resurrection
between Mabon and Samhain...Seclusion
first lunation after Samhain...Dissolution


AILM...Silver Fir...INTERCALARY DAY...Conception
ONN...Furze or Gorse...SPRING EQUINOX...Seed
UR...Heather...SUMMER SOLSTICE...Fruit
CROSS-QUARTER FESTIVAL...Lughnassadh...Harvest
EADHA...Aspen...AUTUMN EQUINOX...Celebration

Many people believe that there is something "wrong" with using Graves' Tree Calendar because it is "false" in, because the Ancient Celts didn't use it. Somehow they miss the point that even Graves knew the Calendar was his own creation, and his discussions of Mythopoesis state repeatedly that "this remains a very difficult book, as well as a very queer one, to be avoided by anyone with a distracted, tired, or rigidly scientific mind" He states clearly that he "assembled" the Tree Calendar from fragments of poetic writings over many centuries and several sources. Graves didn't pretend to be recording either history or science, and he doesn't expect anyone to take his writings for either of these. What is expected, and what I believe is owed to him by the integrity of a reader responding to the integrity of a writer, is to look carefully, study for yourself, and decide for yourself whether or not this is a useful tool, whether or not it works, whether or not mythopoesy should become a part of your own method of Crafting. For me it is, it does, and it has. See what you think.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Write Stuff, Revisited

I wonder if there is anything more terrifying than a blank page...or a promise, or a commitment, to fill it....

I will never understand what has made me a spectator in my own play, ridden by a desire to have it all without sacrificing ambiguity--perhaps the final act is my admission that what I envision has always greater power, depth, clarity, passion, magnitude, than any feeble effort to enchain it in shallow I seem in my effort to transcend myself...

Madeleine L'Engle has reaffirmed for me what I have always known--that one is grasped by the work, which is greater than one's Self...perhaps my predominant punctuation mark is the ellipsis because I don't believe, really, that there is finality to anything...especially creative thought...

I am stultifying in an atmosphere of intellectual richness--starving in a garden, for I have forgotten to heed the admonition, "Take, eat"...I have forgotten the importance of feeding my own fires, as I have abandoned the richness of self-immolation in pure thought...all who draw from me draw out what is there, which I have forgotten to replenish...

I promise myself to read, to write, to pray--every night, just for me--there is no obstacle of life which I cannot overcome with the force of my own personality--if I still possess that force...Let me not to the growth of my own mind erect impediments...

I wonder if "the force which through the green fuse drives the flower" is my own creative energy, or my hookup to some vast cosmic consciousness...Is there an Oversoul--am I a transcendentalist--will I ever know, or would one be able to ask a question like that unless one were one of them....?

I have never succeeded in convincing myself of the worth of my own philosophical ramblings, but have always refused to believe those who have told me I should publish...fear has caused my inertia, as I do not feel what feeble talent I possess can possibly meet the needs of the gods with money and printing presses.

All I write is so real and such deep feeling...I find I never truly put pen to paper unless I hurt too much not can I face the exposure and rejection of my spirit..."most people don't want a piece of your soul", a critic once told me, but a writer has nothing else to offer, no other way to communicate with the ultimate reality of existence.

I am too honest not to be vulnerable, too candid not to be shortsighted, too forthright for self-protection--it is uncomfortable to be an idealist, but other ways smack to me of compromise--I cannot cure myself of the lucent reaction to the phenomenon of existence...

My different drummer throws me out of step with reality, but I love his music....and somewhere inside whatever there is of wholeness in me is this determination to suffer it all, live it all, breathe it all, never give up or give in or be bored or get old or stop trying or settle...for anything....I know now that moderation is not my path, nor is wisdom of the sensible sort, for I will not be still and I would rather burn out than rust out...

The world is not as it should be, and it's much more wonderful than we know--and a writer must proclaim both points of view, in the face of indifference, at great personal risk, and both at once if possible...Ferlinghetti's "absurdity" is a necessary component of "taut truth", because Reality is not true, and much that is not real is very True, and much that is not Real is all too true...It is this absurdity which the writer must face squarely any time s/he attempts to make existence coherent...

Perhaps the most damning thing that can be said about anything is that "it really makes sense"...for we often abandon passion and intelligence for competence and commonsense---never--no, forget the middle road of safety; I need to burn and scintillate and push and grow and coruscate and care...I hope...

Is there any reason why we only use 3 to 10 per cent of our brain capacity? Is it not that there is some sort of a synapse--an automatic shutdown valve--which prevents us from giving all of ourselves to anything, "Lest we be as gods, knowing both good and evil"...lest we hear with our ears and understand with our hearts and be converted and healed...

What frightens us so much about the nakedness of Eden--why do we not know that wholeness is holiness--why can we not see that what we think of as our own imperfection is the glory of God, for he made us human and fallible and, being God, could have done otherwise...was it Twain or Lincoln who said, "The Lord must love plain folks, he made so many of 'em"? Is it not enough for us to glory in being plain folks--because what we call "plain" is infinite richness and variety**--and there is a tawdry sameness about the roads we take to make ourselves unique...when we hurt, we hunger for home food, and warmth and love---shouldn't that tell us something basic about the emptiness of elegance...?

Maybe I AM a transcendentalist, after all.....


Written in my journal, January 22, 1983

*interpolation when copying, not part of the original* There is a lesson here for the creator, of writing, of not make a thing which is intended to only use part of its capacity and never understand nor achieve how to use the whole of it...for doing any less than the best you yourself can do, and failing to give your whole self, and ITS whole self, to the body of your creation, bespeaks fear that your creation will know, and tell, too much about you, and not remain dependent upon you. Jehova god was a coward, making man in His image and likeness, only not too that the point, that we are supposed to FIGURE OUT how to get there, to our Godness, and we have been given tools and seeds, not fruit and flowers, because we are supposed to grow, ourselves?

**inescapable thought here, 27 years later, "I want to be unique, like everybody else" lol


And today, January 13, 2011, I find this, and read it again, and marvel at how much of it--no, wait, not that. Not literary vagueness, hinting at something, fact is, it is all still true. And no more comprehensible than it was then. It's been almost 28 years. When will I get further into the maze? Guess there's nothing to do but keep walking, looking, seeking, listening, praying, loving, living, and paying attention. So....

Here I go. Again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After Yesterday....

I can't go into detail here, because there's too much risk of people seeing this that I don't know (I am not certain of Networked Blogs' security). So, I will only ask....yesterday's entry on prayer was too pertinent, too relevant, to what is happening in my life right now. If you believe that Deity is immanent, personal, relevant, as well as transcendent and omnipotent....what do you do when you give your whole heart to the Work, and the answer is "no"?

Maybe my horoscope from yesterday is something I should have looked at to BEGIN the day, not to end it: "You may not be sure what to think today, Virgo. Mental confusion could be the day's theme for you, but don't let it get you down. Realize that it's just one of those days when none of the pieces fit right. The truth is that they do fit somewhere, just not now. Lay low and wait for this phase to pass. Things will pick up soon as the fog lifts and you can see clearly again."

Yeah. What THEY said....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pagans And Prayer

Prayer is a concept with which many Pagans have some trouble. The commonly-held attitude amongst members of mainstream religions about prayer is that it is a means of petitioning, praising, and thanking God, and many Pagans do not believe in an exoteric Deity from whom come blessings. Most Pagans’ attitudes about the Universe fail to consciously contain a concept of a Being “out there” who hears and answers, or refuses to answer, prayers. Therefore it is sometimes surprising to those of Pagan persuasions to find out that indeed they DO pray, and to examine closely what that prayer consists of.

Prayer in the form of communication with Deity is probably the most common type of prayer found amongst Pagans, whether or not they use the term “prayer”, or even the term “Deity,” for that matter. Despite the fact that most Pagans have a diversity of belief about the nature of Deity, we are all aware on some level that there IS a difference between “The Goddess” and “the Goddess Within”, for example. As a former teacher of mine pointed out to me, “Yes, ‘Thou Art Goddess,’ but you didn’t make the sun come up this morning, and I KNOW those mountains were there before you moved to Utah.” Most of us do not believe ourselves to be the final authority on the entire Universe, and whether we call it Goddess and God, Spirit, energy, the One, or many another name, most of us find, or postulate, or hope, that the Unseen Force of Existence is one which is personal and benevolent. Whether or not we feel that we have a parent-child relationship, or see ourselves more as Seekers, Scientists or Shamans, we feel a need to ask the questions and contemplate the vastness of the many possible answers. That questioning, or meditation, or contemplation, or ecstasy, or focus, or wish, is akin to what members of other religions term “prayer.”

One Pagan’s perspective on prayer was rendered thus, in an article on Witchvox in 2000:

What is prayer? Webster's dictionary says "1)a) (1) an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought (2) a set order of words used in praying b) an earnest request or wish. 2) the act or practice of praying to God or a god"

My understanding of prayer fits this definition and goes beyond it. There is that wonderful moment when a breathtaking vista of undiscovered beauty opens before you on a hike, when thoughts of praise and thanks fly out to the Goddess even before I am conscious of doing so. There is the discipline of focusing my mind and spirit as I write new rituals for our coven, silently seeking guidance as I work. Then there is the not so silent prayer for patience as I negotiate rush hour traffic. And the sharing of energy as the coven raises power in ritual and celebration. As you can see, for me, there are many types of prayer, many moments of prayerfulness, ranging from serious to humor-filled, all of them a means of connecting with the God and the Goddess in my daily life.

Connection seems to be the most significant element in what this woman refers to as prayer. It may not be obvious at first glance how the focus of such a prayer differs from that of many in mainstream religions, but another source states this more directly:

Do I pray? No, I do not feel that I pray. Prayer is a plea in my opinion, and my Gods to not need me to plea, beg or whine. They just need me to talk to Them. So I talk with my Gods daily. I do not take the role of supplicant, I take the role of what I am, a child talking to a very patient Parent.

Prayer is overrated. At some point, someone decided that in order to speak with a god, it was necessary to bend your knee in supplication (either physically or mentally) and make a plea to that god. This was supposed to be the only way that you could get your god to listen. Then it was labeled as prayer, and it only worked if you showed the proper amount of respect while doing it.

I show my respect by actually talking to my Gods. They are the original Mother and Father, we are their children. I do not expect my children to speak to me in pleading tones in order for me to answer and assist them, so I do not think the Lady and Lord expect that from us, their children, either. So talk to your Gods, make it known that you have not forgotten them, you love them, and they will do the same for you.

To connection, this writer adds mutual respect and a feeling of intimacy and entitlement, almost an egalitarian relationship. This idea is not as alien to Pagans as it may seem to members of other religions, as many Pagans hold to an idea that the Gods are created by those who remember and respect and worship them, so there is a mutual need there.

Most Pagans refer to what Christians think of as prayer as “sending energy.” They have within the concept that there is an Energy in the Universe that responds to their connecting with it, in ways often beyond the power of spoken or written language to convey. They may call this Energy Goddess, God, or Spirit…but they do communicate with, respect and sometimes attempt to interact directly with this Energy. Most Pagans also consider that the Christian custom of petitioning, thanking or praising God is as much an attempt to manipulate Energy as is what a Pagan does, only by a different name. Incidentally, the whole idea of prayer, even the word, has the same implication of giving responsibility over to Deity for what happens to one, whereas the Pagan idea of manipulating Energy seems to imply more personal responsibility for the results. Perhaps this is one reason why most Pagans pursue the concept of, and action of, prayer, whilst disavowing the name thereof.

Occasions of Prayer

Most Pagans do not think of what they do as intercession, but as cooperation, with Deity. For this reason, “praying for” someone is probably far more rare in a Pagan’s life than it is in that of a Christian. Part of the reason for this is the belief on the part of many Pagans that we “choose” our experiences in this lifetime, and that someone may be experiencing illness or hardship by their own pre-life choice, to enable them to grow in some specific way. Some one outside the experience would consider it unethical to interfere with that. Another part of the feeling of not “praying for” people has to do with the kinds of ideas expressed below:

To me “bad prayer” is when the intent is to change or fix the person being prayed for. When fundamentalists tell me they will pray for my soul, it feels like an attack on my soul. These kinds of prayers aren't honoring me as a human being, they are not offered in love (at least not in what I consider a reasonable definition of love). They are manipulative and controlling. I relate prayer like this to casting a spell without someone's consent. Trying to force an individual to behave differently. This kind of prayer is often used as a threat - "I will pray that you find the light and be saved from the torments of hell to which you are surely headed." My translation - "I want you to abandon your uniqueness and connection with the divine because it does not match mine and I feel it is a threat to my world and therefore evil, not just different. If you don't change you will suffer" also can be translated as "I'll have my god beat up your god!" This is the type of prayer that makes Pagans reluctant to use the word prayer. This is the kind of prayer I could do without.

And yet, we DO pray, even if we do not call it that. At every ritual we “call” or “invoke” the Elemental Beings or Guardians, the Lord and Lady, and sometimes other non-corporeal beings. At least in the Medieval sense (as in “I pray you” or “prithee”) we are then praying, no matter what we call it. When we send energy for healing or for spellcraft, we are praying, even if the prayer is directed at the Universe, our Selves, or has no designated object. When we sing or chant in praise of the Beauty of Life, we pray. When we touch for healing, and call upon Spirit to bless, we pray. When we say “So Mote It Be” as a Pagan form of “Amen!”, we pray. Whether we dance in active ecstasy or silently fall into contemplative or oracular trance…yes, we pray.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Admission.... a way. To those who read this who know what that term means, it's kind of a stretch...the "admission" I am looking for is to see what my CovenKith think of the Work that has just been done. I will keep you posted...

Friday, January 7, 2011


This has been a most amazing confluence of events. I have taken some of the deep lore of my 1734 Stream, and had it shown to me, by accidentally stumbling upon a drawing in an old BOS, that it fits beautifully with some newer, but equally deep, lore of my current Coven and Trad. They are melding beautifully to create a brand-new Witche's Compass for purposes of Working. I wish I could show and share the whole thing, but I can't. But suffice it to say I am bowing in gratitude and gasping in amazement as this new Work seems to be "doing itself". I can't help but think I have Help. You know who you Are. Thank you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Something I Like To Revisit From Time To Time

The question is what do you believe? About the purpose of life, about the nature of the gods, about your relationship to them, about what it means to be a Witch....just for a start.

(This question was asked at a panel discussion in which I was a participant, in 2003. I have been re-copying some old BOS and other materials, and ran into this again. I remind myself to look at things like this periodically, so here is a recounting of my responses at the time. I am not sure, now, that I would change any of it.)

OK….several things all at once, not all of them mutually intelligible or coherent. So I will start this out as a brainstorming, and hope it coalesces into prose somewhere along the way…..

I believe that each individual consciousness is unique, irreplaceable, never to be repeated, and that each life in the Universe, both life that is self-aware and life that is not, exists to fulfill a specific and unique purpose. The purpose of Lives is not interchangeable one with another. No one’s Life, or the deeds of their conscious human life, or the result of their non-self-aware biological or non-biological existence, can ever stand in for, or substitute for, or replace, the purpose or resonance or meaning of any other Life.

I believe that it is the purpose of successive human lives to find out the ultimate purpose of the Being’s Life, and to perform or become that thing. I believe that the Lives we are given, no matter how many times a single consciousness inhabits successive human bodies, are way-stations offering learning and growth opportunities to the Consciousness so that It may grow ever closer to the purpose for which It exists.

I believe that the Being can apprehend its Purpose while incarnate, and that once it discovers the Purpose for which it exists, the remainder of Life is ideally focussed on attaining that Purpose. I believe that the Purpose of any Incarnate Being has a focus that is both Personal (for the Self) Interpersonal (for other people), Intrapersonal (for the Entire Race of Living Beings) and Impersonal (for the Universe)

I believe that a Being which has achieved the Purpose of all its lives ceases to incarnate, and becomes a part of the Body of the Universe (of which the Body of Gaia, the Earth Biosphere, is one component, but only one) and is thus available as a resource to other Beings attempting to realize their own Ultimate Purpose. I believe that the things we call The Gods are Beings who have achieved their Ultimate Purpose and have become discarnate consciousnesses who are accessible to humans and other forms of Life as resources in our own journey to our Ultimate Purpose. I also believe that beings such as the Sidhe, Devae, Elves and Gnomes and the like, Dragonkin, and other non-earth based life forms such as “aliens” are similar Beings to what we call the Gods, except that their own Journey to Purpose was not taken in a body that resided on the Earth I now inhabit, but that originated in some other Realm of Living Beings.

I believe that the Gaian Consciousness, the Essential Realm of Earth and Stars, NEEDS the Life upon it, each being thereof, whether human or not, to realize Its Own ultimate purpose, and that for every Being who does not succeed in that Quest, the Being of Gaia is diminished. I also, however, believe that it is impossible NOT to finally succeed in that Quest if one is willing to learn, grow, evolve, and get one’s Ego out of the way. For some people, it does take many lifetimes. And some people opt out of the journey of their own Will, being unwilling to participate in a life-affirming existence, and being killers of the life force by deeds of hatred, waste, destruction, violence, and other life-denying behaviors. Such Beings do not contribute their own Essence to the ultimate well-being of the Gaian Mind, and the sum of existence is forever diminished by the loss of their potential.

I believe the Soul is the Life Force, and that the Human Soul is capable of far transcending the boundaries of living in a flesh casket. However, I do believe that the physical realm of life, including food and sex and color and laughter and music and sharing and reproduction and creation and all the rest of it, is Holy, and that some people’s Ultimate Purpose is to contribute to the knowledge of the World in these realms.

I believe the Soul has personality and consciousness, and that Spirit has consciousness, but not personality. I believe the Soul remembers lifetimes other than the current one, since the Ultimate Purpose of any living being might take more learning than can be compassed in a single lifetime. I believe that a Soul that has fully realized its ultimate purpose joins with Spirit, and has consciousness of ALL other Beings on the planet or in the Realm it inhabits, not only the racial and individual and familial memories of its current or prior consciousness.

A Witch is a Being who is fully conscious that it has a journey to Ultimate Purpose to complete, and who makes use of the tools of the Will and the Intuition and the Unseen Realm to work on perfecting itself. Indeed, it might be enough to say that I believe a Witch to be a Being who is Fully Conscious. This is the reason I believe a Witch is both Born and Made, because I believe there are many unevolved souls who come to Incarnation at the very beginning of their Journey to Purpose, and such Beings cannot possess the accumulation of the Knowledge of Lifetimes that will make them Witches, even if in this life they read and study and know about the Arte.

Knowing about the Arte is not Knowing the Arte, and it takes many lifetimes to arrive at that point.

I believe that is all I wish to say on this topic at this time, since some of my ideas are still evolving or resolving themselves. I am going to promise myself and you the luxury of revisiting this essay in the future and make what changes seem good to me then.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Four Dragons....

The initiatory rite took place on the evening of the Dark Moon of Birch, 2011. The working area was a compass, and the Wraiths were invited (and everyone came!). The Work was a remembrance, a beginning, and a creation, all in one. Much to think about concerning the Stream, and how the Spirits I accessed fit therein. Again thinking about the mutability of the Stang, and wondering if some changes need to be made to the one I am using to make it more particularly Ours. Names came into play here, and I found some quasi-directional attributions of which I had been previously unaware. I was joined in Work by kith at a distance, whose presence was felt and whose energy was most welcomed. My prevalent impression looking back at this rite is one of excitement that the things I did not expect seemed to simply present themselves to me, in such a way as to say..."You waited long enough...let's get started!" There are Folk out there who want to be met with, recognized, and acknowledged. And there is a huge layer of gnosis that is simply waiting to be unwrapped. I'm already looking forward to the next time..

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Good Day To Begin....

No, it isn't the first of January. I actually considered re-dating this post, but I am glad I didn't, because next year I would be confused and think I had done something I did not do. But here it is the third of January, and I am able to blog about the last three days, and feel as if my time has been well-spent.

On New Year's Day, an old tradition took its fifteenth year of presence in my life. Yes, Brie and I have been together for fifteen New Year's Celebrations. We have a tradition that we don't turn on the phone, we don't go anywhere, or have any company, either on New Year's Eve or on New Year's Day. It's our time. We drink some...I chose to get quietly tipsy this year, and thoroughly enjoyed it....we look at tv, we relax together, we toast the New Year together, and we simply spend New Year's Day looking back at the past year and forward at the year to come, and enjoying our life together. I wouldn't have wanted anything different.

On Sunday, the 2nd, we attended "Spackle Sunday" and had our hands in the creation...literally....of the new Salt Lake City Pagan Community Center, Crone's Hollow. I am so excited about this project that you might find more than one blog post about it. You wouldn't have believed the marvelously positive community energy that was evident at this event, or the way people hung out afterwards, ate pizza, chatted, drank coffee, played chess, and gave me a real view of what true community might be going to be like. We get to do it again next weekend, in a different fashion. I am terribly excited about this...

And then there was today...yes, I did hurt my back when I helped with the floor-spackling. Bending over from the waist to do work situated on the floor is not a really healthy position for me to hold for more than an hour. But I did, and I am glad I got to help. But today...OWIE!! My back's been in spasms all day the plan to go down to the City Library for John McHugh's lecture didn't take place....driving the car, at night, in pain, in 12 degree weather..? No. But it didn't stop me from one of my New Years' "plans" (my FB entry will tell you why I am not saying "resolutions"), to clean my office and completely re-do my altar. I did that, and each and every piece on it has purpose, placement, and provenance. I will be doing my personal Work there, every day. Personal daily practice has kind of fallen off my radar, but it is back. Flamekeeping, too. And Dark and Full Moon work, personal work....but that's for tomorrow....

And that is why this post belongs here. Because I am inaugurating, tomorrow, my 1734 Tradition, the Four Dragons Clan, and beginning my own development of the Wraith of 1734 which was entrusted to me by Joe. My rite, my format and my resonances will be all in line with 1734. If I get to incorporate this into WiseCraft through the DRD, all the better. But even if I don't get is my Trad, and I am going to enlarge it.

More tomorrow about how that goes, and what is part of it...