Masters and inspirers

In response to Sannion’s post, I’ll try to write here the list of my “masters” as I like to call them. People I admire for their work/vision/action. Most of them are writers because I’m a literature girl, but there are others.

(to be modified and continued!)

J.R.R Tolkien : for the impossible task he achieved creating the ever so marvellous world of Arda, his incredible studies of languages (and the creation of fairy languages), his so damn’ good poetry (read the HoMEs), his incredible…. There’s too much to say. He’s just my number one.

Edgar Alan Poe : fascinates me with his all his masterpieces in the fantastic genres, so full of intranslatable poetry, and great narration style.

Sitting Bull : I learned by heart several of his speaches when I was a kid (10), and it continues to blow my mind away each time. Vision of humanity, vision of nature, the ultimate peace, …

Virgil : for his Eneid mostly, because I read him in old latin and translated him… It’s just an incredible man, an awe-inspiring writer, with his unforgettable poetry and narration skills.

Tacitus : my favorite latin historian I guess, he just left me breathless with the ultimate precision of his accounts (despite the SO concise style).

Philip Pullman : modern genius with the “Dark Materials” series, which is mind blowing, for renewing the SF genre, for his so great vision of the world(s)… I thought it was now impossible to be great today, but he showed me that one can still symbolic, powerful, moving, disturbing, even when writing in century where it is supposed to be no more good writers. A real tribute to Milton and Blake by the way. Impressive.

Emily Brontë : because she gave me a vivid example of my own inner turmoil. I was apart from the young people my age, I was undergoing a crising, and I then realise that I was not the only to feel “that” way. I discovered how it was called : the gothic. And I understood I was not sick, I was not alone Just a temperament most people do not understand.

Virgina Woolf : Because she is just… impossible to fathom, because her writing and her personality are just sexy. She was a thinker and philosopher in a time when women were ust crap. She had the chance to be independent and she knew it. She had something with the five senses which pervades her writing. Her diaries are great. Her novels are mind blowing. Her aesthetic is my life. And I hate to study her, that I HAD to do it for work, because her writing suffices itself. It’s sensual, it’s deep, it’s visionary. It speaks to the seeress that I am, it speaks in images like my brain do communicate, it speaks of a mix of painting and poetry and prose… it’s impossible to go beyond, to do better. It’s its own aporia.

Andersen & the Grimm Brothers : because those tales are unforgettable, because they shaped me and they shape the collective mind. Because they’re true and real. Because tales never die. Because we need more of them.

To be continued.

Morrigan’s Sanctuary

I wish there were here some people who can read french, at least a little.

I present here to you a personal project which did not came from my mind, but directly from Morrigan Herself. One night as I was surfing on the Internet, She “rode” me as I think one says : She possessed my spirit/mind and made me create this Sanctuary which was to be a public place of devotion. It is more complicated, because it’s also a personal thing : this is Mabon and I chose to engage deeply to Her as She asked me one year ago (see the article “Inside the Cave”), so this Sanctuary is also planned to host my personal experiences as Morrigan’s follower, my studies, … and so on. But I/She wanted it to be public : to people to get to know her, but also a place to collect information, to share studies, articles, ressources, devotions, … So people are encouraged to send their personal testimonies, articles, drawings, poems, links, …

http://lantredemorrigan.wordpress.com/

This is huge for me, this marks a very important and deep step in my spirituality. I wish I could share it with you.

The Forest is Alive !

I guess that what is puzzling with shamanism is that you do not see your own progress. – And that is my case.

I have a very lovely forest near my place and I go there quite often with my parents or with my best friend. For months now, I have acquired a sort of ritual each time I go. As we go up the hill I focus on the intention, I begin to connect with the forest. Before, I just imagined, or rather visualise, I guess, or I concentrated on details willingly. It was very naive. Now I have learned to really open my mind, to alter my consciousness state, and I really get things. It is so that the wind tells me the right direction, offers me an interesting odour to reflect upon, the sun reveals invisible details, I’m able to see the very tiny particules of life everywhere even under the leaves and in the shade. I thought I would never be able to do it, but finally I can the “locus animi”, the Spirit of the Forest, and all the elemental, small spirits, nymphs, whatever. And the Forest is SO alive ! The colors are deep, the sounds are endless, life is everywhere to be observed, tracks of wild animals,  … And so many signs, so many coïncidence. I had an amazing encounter with 5 deers on the path as I asked to the Forest to meet my Totem ! I can asked for secret ways, sometimes I see doors, moving shadows, and I even heard the Spirits speak. The rhythm of the walk, the rhythm of the breath, the visual effect of my pendulum/wheeling prayer beads, the effect of the soil under my moving feet, all this is a thread to follow for trance to happen and it is really efficient even if I’m just a beginner.

My work with the Spirits is becoming intense. And I have so much to do.

I feel so Alive. I feel so blessed and grateful.

The return of the Greek Gods ?

What the f…? First Dionysos comes back into my life, and then many other Greek Gods!

– I heard and dreamt about Morpheus… Maybe because I have sleep troubles.

– And above all, I feel something very deep about Persephone. I have an history with her, as I did with Dionysos, Artemis, Athena and some other Gods. It’s strange because she’s always reassured me, make feel peaceful, soothe my stress… And I had a friend who was just so like her. And today, for a little more than a week, She’s back : a close pagan friend of mine is being looking after by this Goddess and so she makes a lot of research and shares them with me. As I read, I remember myself, past relations with Her, … And I’m bewildered : I know her very well, I’ve read much stuff, and yet I never thought of her, of looking for her help whereas She is just what I need. I have family trouble to make it short, the classic problem of distanciation between mother and daughter, personality problems, fusion, adulthood and so on. Why ? Why didn’t I think about it ? Damn’… and now there She is. I can’t feel her like I did with Dionysos. But I know, intellectually, that She can be the very proper help.

And now I wonder… why are all these Greek Gods coming out of nowhere in my life ? I knew my sensibility is so that this pantheon was “mine”, but I didn’t expected so concrete experiences, and not all at once. I guess Artemis, my adolescence patron Goddess, is waiting in the shadow for her own time to come…

Inside the Cave

My encounter with Morrigan was one of the most stunning and disturbing experiences I ever had. And I finally managed to translate this huge piece !

At the Fall Equinox (Mabon) 2009 I went far away from y home in France to meet pagan friends and practice together. It was my first group ritual by the way. The story is VERY long. In the night we performed to guided meditation which tends to be chamanic travels (but I don’t know yet what we did exactly). The second was on a theme to fit the part of the year, the “dark” one, and we were supposed to go down in a cave and meet a Goddess and our other (dark) self.

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The circumstances : Night in a public garden (park? square?). Huge cloth on the ground with all sorts of stones, candles, incense… Each one have an obsidienne stone to guide us. Two people are guiding with a tibetan bowl and a drum.  I prefer to travel on y back, I keep the stone in my hands (on my belly as I remember).

What happened : A round door appears on the soil before us and Louve (the drummer feminine guide) opens the way, beginning the descent through the hole. In turn I step into it, and I see a spiral staircaise, with a very raw/rough earthy wall. I put my hand on it to go down more easily, and it beats like a pulse, like a heart other from mine – that of the Earth itself ? The descent is long and uneasy, but I see the person who came before me. Once downstairs, we come upon a great cave (cavern), with a mirror like lake in the middle. It’s very impressive because of the complete quietness, the emptyness and the silence that dwell. We come closer, we get into line and sit down. “Louve” asks us to close our eyes and to empty our minds, then to look into the water once it’s done. It happens very suddenly. The other have disappeared, I am alone on the edge, and I look at my reflection on the smooth surface, barely disturbed by my breath. All of a sudden it changes form : my reflection turns into brown-haired man ! I can’t recognised him, I think I don’t even know him. It’s weird because I can’t “freeze” the moving features, it’s too elusive, too quick. but “Louve” reassures us, tell us that is it all about seeing one’s Other Self. And so is my reflection, which from man turned into my own again. I look much closer, to try to go again, but then I transforms again, becoming a black shape, then figure : I identify as “Darth Vador”, with the little humor I’ve got left in this awe-inspiring situation. Once again, the features are very blurred…. I concentrate a lot, and I can only see a completely black figure with a black  cloak which hides every possible body part and especially the face – like the traditional Reaper. I think She talks to me, but I can hear nothing but silence, I cannot distinguish her words, or I cannot understand. Am I afraid ? Deep in my soul I’m disturbed… At first that Man and now this black Figure. Everything happens very fast, everything is blurred, and I can’t hear ! I try to relax, to calm down, to tell myself that even if I can’t see my fellows there are here as well. So I look at the figure, the reflection, and I ask for her help. But once again, I can’t hear anything : no face then no lips moving, no sounds or vibrations, only silence and eerie quietness. Maybe it’s normal, maybe I’m not ready to listen, maybe I have to wait. Then I hear “Louve” telling us that time has come : we must stand up and cross the lake. I’m able to see the girls again, but only for a short while as I come closer to the edge again. I conjure up a small wooden boat (bark) with paddles : I embark carefully and I begin the crossing. It’s seems easy, I move forward with ease. The water it’s totally impressive, being from the most deep black I’ve ever seen, completely opaque, but really flowing/fluent, like any other water I’ve seen. We are supposed to see things during the crossing, maybe visions, beings, everything is possible. But I, I can’t see anything, on the contrary, the void is hard to bear. I feel terribly alone, the other are still invisible. And yet I have the feeling that there is something alive all around… – or maybe it’s the Cave itself which is alive ? or the lake ? Suddenly something happens : I can see waves on the surface. No ripples, but something that is above the surface, which “flies”… I can hear them, I hear sounds, voices, murmurings… I believe there is something below the surface, so I don’t paddle any longer, I simply observe. I’m around the middle of the lake, but there is nothing. Nothing more happens. I see nothing above as below, and I’m unable to distinguish precisely the voices or the words they say. I want to move again, to finish the crossing, but I now can’t manage to : the paddling don’t make the boat progress, I even have the impression that the other side’s edge is getting far : I’m stuck. I hear “Louve” saying that now we must be at the end of the journey, on the shore, and that we are going to meet a Goddess (depending on each one), that we should already be seen her, and also a cauldron… I can’t ! I can’t ! I’m freaking out : I’m on the water and so far away from the shore ! I cannot move forwards or even backwards.  I try to go on sides, to do “bord à bord” (navigation technique when you’re against the wind), but it’s useless as well, my boat seems to move but I’m always at the same distance. I tell myself then that maybe I should swim, so I go off the boat without knocking it over and I try to swin forwards. But the water is icy cold, penetrating, and it is “inhibiting” (moving uneasy), I’m not at ease – and I also have the weird feeling that the lake has no bottom and can swallow me. I still hear the voices which, now that I’m in the water, are very close to me, all around, and I get the feeling there’s something under me. I think I’m scrared… my arms’ movements are totally vain, I don’t move any closer to the shore. So I come back to the boat and I get inside with much effort, and I try to paddle intensely… My eyes staring at the shore,  I then see a cauldron waiting for me. This is the right step, I have to go there. Then I suddenly notice, just behind the cauldron, the black shape which looks like a reaper looking with insistance in my direction (even if she has no face). I know this is very important, and I think there is a deep meaning in all this, but I cannot understand. I’m crying. Am I talking to her ? Am I asking for help ? Maybe in my head… Staring is not helping, and there is still this profound silence, my total incomprehension, the inaccessible shore. I cannot do it, I know it, I feel it. I’m crying. So I turn back, making the boat turn round to cross towards the entrance. It is so frightening since this backward-crossing is all so hard ! I have the impression that the water is more dense : I have to paddle twice more to progress at a normal speed. And the shore sometimes seems to be very far, sometimes it even draws back.  I can feel that some of the fellow girls are already upstairs, “Louve” is waiting for us all to come up again. All of a sudden, the boat disappears and I see myself on the other (beginning) shore, on the edge. So I come the stairs and go. Something has changed : the stairs are harder to climb and less reassuring than for the descent (with the warmth and pulse), and it seems so high ! I have the sensation that I will not be able to come out… And I have this burden on my shoulders, or behind me. The end of the tunnel is rendered surreal/unreal by the efforts it has cost to reach it. It’s very hard for me to close the round door, it’s so heavy and uneasy to handle. It’s even darker than when we depart. I feel like the cave deep under me feet is full of… things. All those things that I didn’t understand, and many that I didn’t see. Maybe the door is no sufficient to put them at distance. I go back to my place in the circle, to my body, but I need A LOT of time to calm down… I’m totally disturbed and I think tears pours on my cheeks.

As I wake up I shiver with cold, and I’m on the verge of tears because of the traumatising experience. I think I’m the last one to come back (except for another). We talk about what we saw, but shyly, my mouth is tight closed as the vision inhabits me (and I am in a deep transe). It’s to damp to stay and we made offerings and come back home.

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It’s only months after that I understand what happened. First, my Other Self is really disturbed and I cannot access it. That’s why it has so many forms. Both the man, my normal reflection and the dark shape. Second, in fact Morrigan is an absolut shifter, without a proper face, always wearing masks. She got me there because She took the form of my Dark Side, and then revealed Herself but I couldn’t make the difference.

Dionysos’ welcoming rite

I could not find any other name for such a ritual. I guess the simpler, the better ! And indeed, that’s nothing more.

As Dionysos appeared in my spiritual life in a much insistant way than before, and since I asked for his guidance, I felt obliged to Him. I felt I had to DO something to mark my intentions. And so I did, I performed a rite which I named the “welcoming rite”. When I talk of my pantheon, I mean “working pantheon”. Since I’m a hard polytheist, I believe in every God, and I could perform an act of devotion to any of them. So my pantheon is the pantheon of Deities with whom I “work” : perform rituals, meet during transes, do particular things, …. the ones with whom I have a peculiar relationships (or the ones I chose)  – But let’s get back to Dionysos. I then chose to put him in my pantheon (in the explained sense)  and I felt the need to declare to him by a ritual.

The rite itself was very simple. In the afternoon I went to the wood the relax myself, and I found savage berries : brambles (blackberry) and dogwood’s berries. I first thougth it was for myself and my altar, but I then realised “hey, wasn’t looking for proper offerings to Dionysos?” And indeed, it was it. I waited for the night to come and be real dark and I performed around midnight. I went to my altar and used my body to create the sacred space (to draw the sacred energies), then put the candle of Sannion on the corner and the 4 elements (my artisanal bowl for water, a feather for the air, candle for fire, and chesnuts for earth). I spoke to open the ritual, presenting my “request” : I was here thanks to his Devotee Sannion (white candle). I lit an extremely red candle for the God, red like wine, for the God of passion and extremes. Then I presented in the air my cauldron with offerings of fresh leaves and the dogwood’s berries. I spoke a lot actually, talking with Dionysos as I rarely do with Gods. Presenting the elements, the fire, speaking of me, of the oracle I received from him… And then I explained that I was now aware of his presence and willing to listen to whatever He says, to work with Him if He wanted, giving him a “real” place in my pantheon. And as a mark of this “partnership” I dedicated the blackberries (bramble) and eat them as a sign of communion. I made a time for silence, praying or so, letting the energies flow. And then I went away from the altar, but I let the candles on : it was for me a sign that the God is welcome.

New Year to come, New step

The thing with mysteries is that you can’t predict them, you can’t force it, it’s not a procedure where if you do W, X and Y Z will necessarily happen. There are things we can do to help set the stage, but in the end it’s really up to the gods and whether they are willing to grant a particular revelation. One of the things that I consider absolutely essential is having a strong, personal relationship with a deity beforehand, based on lots of previous ritual work with them. Before you can become an initiate you’ve got to be a devotee, and a particularly dedicated one at that. Only once you’ve lived with the god for a while, been able to listen and speak with them on their own, will you be in a position to ask for that sort of revelation.

At least that’s my thought on the subject. But since it’s entirely up to the gods they can always just spring something like that on a person without any sort of warning. That way brings it’s own problems, however, as the person is rarely prepared to deal with the aftermath.

Once again, Sannion’s words triggered off my mind and I finally understood where I’m heading. I wanted to follow the mysteries of a few of my Gods, and only one (Morrigan) to begin with, but I couldn’t link my different thoughts. Now I understand. Despite one year of awareness, it’s not sufficient because I went through Hell in my personal life, I need more work, more connexion. So this step that I identified months ago without knowing precisely “what” it was, is now clear : it will be the “anniversary” date, one year till I met Morrigan at Mabon (Sep 21)… And  I’m not going to engage into an initiation, a mystery like I thought, no, first I’m going to officialise my devotee position and my will to go further, to mark that I’m her sincere follower. She’ll do of me what She desires, now I’m ready, I’m willing. And I’m really excited about what is to come ! – With much awe of course.