Happy Hunting

The Dark Season is pretty rough this year. I didn’t think that could be possible, but it feels like… Wilder. A dear friend of mine posted this amazing surprising quote by poet and writer Rudyard Kipling, and it is incredibly accurate ! I couldn’t but share.

 

Now Chil the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free.
The herds are shut in byre and hut —
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tusk and claw.
O hear the call! Good Hunting, All
That keep the Jungle Law!

A Song and A Fragment

Working, working, working like hell. Delving deeper into the spirit-worker path, and on to the road to the Morrigan and priesthood. I so wish I could tell you more, even everything, but this year has been fucking intense, and I don’t think I would be able to gather the pieces. Maybe I’ll try later. Maybe I’ll give bits here and there.

For now here’s a song. Super recent, modern, nothing to get crazy for… and yet. When I heard it there was this twist in my stomach, and my “second hearing” got poked. Because sometimes our contemporaries write simple songs that can speak of Spirits.

“Cuz I can feel the rivers
Winding through the lands
Two lines, and a poet
Like a kind old rye
You know we could talk in that language
Only we understand”

Tom Odell, “Long Way Down”.

Still working on my own devotional book to the Spirits and Gods by the way (excerpts were there on Memento). Hope you didn’t miss the anthology to the Morrigan, and something’s coming up on Charon too. It’s been the 4year anniversary of my online shrine and collective site to the Morrigan. The 5th of our first meeting. The first of my semi-professional shop (which offers coupons until November). I’ll take up the professional website as soon as I finish my current business (working on a PhD statement). Much much to do.

Welcome Lady Freyja

And here She came. The Dis of the Vanir. The Volva. She who was among the Norse Gods I could not reach. Till two weeks ago.

It was so different from anything I had heard that I didn’t recognized her at first. I was still in disbelief when I realized that blue and ambers were her obvious symbols. She reeked…. She had Death written all over her energy. It was a big surprise, even though you once in a while that She’s the Chooser of the Slain.  While Hel is much more deep and complex, the essence of Death itself, a sense of place too, something really intricate, Freyja smelled like a dead person. I have experienced this since I’ve been a child / teenager : death is like an mark. A thing, an energy, that attach to people and modify their personal energy. It’s like a smell, a taste, and a physical sensation in my belly. Fucking scary when you’re young. Then you get “used to it”. Meaning that you don’t get so chocked anymore, but you never really get used to it. Anyway, Freyja was to my knowledge a Goddess of Ecstasy and Life, and Sex, etc etc. Thus, when I had that weird energy blow in my face, I was confused. For our first encounter, that was weird.

And then it went awry. First, I laughed – ahhhhh psychopomping, again, of course.  Second, I panicked, in full repression mode. “Why the Hell is She here ? What does She want ?” The moment where I told myself : dear Gods, I have already so much to do, I have many dear spiritual allies, I have already a Mistress, and many teachers… no more. I don’t think I can handle one more, my plate is full, I don’t see how I can manage to honor and work with a new matron goddess in the middle of everything that I am trying to making fit in a pattern already. Please. And then people around me telling me that “oh yes”, like it’s obvious and makes fucking sense… Yes, it does. I can see it does. Why am I so scared then ? So I centered, I took a deep breath, and then I said hi. I took the leap of faith, and it went fine. Small steps. I don’t see where this is headed, but it’s very accurate.

But thanks to a friend (hi Michelle) who passed on a message to me, I was put to ease, and I went around my unexpected fear. The signs piled up. An another good friend pointed me in the direction of an amazing piece of craft dedicated to her (which you can see on the left of the shot, the pouch, better views here), and I felt a “click” when I received it. It’s charged, connected. It was the right move to do. There’s blue everywhere around me now, one of my favorite color, but also the color I’ve always linked to my divination practices. Other sign, my mom gave me an old, amazing blue and black cloth for my card practices, which fitted nicely to the Lady’s demand that I dedicate her that partly (it’s the cloth on the shot). Then I went to nshrine and saw there was no shrine that included this “aspect” of Her, so I created one to honor that part as She asked. And I could go on like this. Is there a big board indicating me some sort of highway ? Maybe. I’m taking my time.

She apparently is taking the role of the Teacher. And it feels very nice, She has an amazing patience with my thick mind and my fears. I don’t think I have ever had a Spiritual Teacher before. I had to follow tracks and find the answers on my own, with the Spirits and the Gods alike. And Morrigan behaves in a very different way. Freyja is calm (for now!) and patient, and very close to me, to this world (or it is me? Am I in a in-between state without realizing?). So She’s straightforward, and I can really hear her, follow her lead. We’ll see where it goes.

Autumn Equinox, Back to Basics

A few words, after so many months of silence on my personal work.

The Equinox has been really harsh on me, physically and energetically. I’ve been sick, and off, and weird, and full of fears. I have just realized how much it means to me, this new transformation, my ultime landmark because it is the sacred date where everything took place. “Mabon” is my faith birthday. I started becoming a Polytheist and acknowledging the Gods on the 2008 Equinox. It is Morrigan and I’s birthday, the so-much-sacred anniversary of our first encounter on the 2009 Equinox.  It is also the date of my first apprentice and priestess step, the anniversary of the opening of my sacred online sanctuary to the Morrigan. It is also a date of death and rebirth, where I found myself strongly sick (auto-immune disease) in 2011 and started my dark night of the soul (became an atheist back for 8 months). Anniversary of my coming back from the dead to life in 2012, after my shamanic initiation and rebirth from the physical disease (and depression).

And this year’s end (in sacred terms, Lughnasad and the Equinox being the last two festivals), it has been very  quick and brutal. I have had an literal white hole from July to August, after my body broke down again (from stress and the brutal ending of my university years and my thesis), and my spirituality was also a blank page since I had been focusing on only my work (I had only the strength to do one thing, and it had to be my degree). The end of the year and my defense literally blew my Self apart. It was the most intense fight of my life, fighting for my self and recognition of my work, fighting against my shattered psyche, Morrigan as watching, and pushing me in her own disturbing way : pushing me from afar without actually applying any pressure, just looking at me and making me understand that I had to take action. After that climax, the culmination of many years of battle, I needed a break. I tried vacations, I tried letting everything go, changing my mind etc. And most of all, resting, letting my body at peace, trying to recover, once again…

But the strangest thing is that during the month of July, there was this super intense astrological configuration (Star of David), and I started feeling the cogs of the machinery moving. My blank page became a page to actually write, and I kind of thought and made a wish… which took literal energy and form thanks to this weird opening in the Sky. I was at this hinge in my life, and without fully realizing the implications, I put the machinery into motion towards something very specific which I may not have been ready to take on. Anyway, I started realizing that these ideas of living a full spiritual life, and living spirituality “as a living”, may just not be wishful thinking. I have begun to discover that it is where I stand most centered and radiant. And then, my Spirits pushed me back, again, in the direction of my “Work”. Write write write. Divine divine divine. Everything came back and started taking shape. I had to give shape to those ideas, to start acting. And the machinery ran.

This Equinox is another transition and transformation, surely even more important that I have understood till now, and I also realized that when I thought I was disconnected from the Morrigan, and sad from being able to do so, She’s there, again. Is She my alpha and omega ? She was there at the start, will She be there when it ends ? Everything I’ve done since the end of August, now I can see She was there watching all along, and my new project is not only my life project, the project for my Spirits, but it is also fully linked to the Morrigan. She was there too, making me do it. Hail Morrigan, the great Warrior and Prophetess. I am just realizing how tenacious She is, how blind I am to always fear She’s gone. I started by opening the doors to the Gods and Spirits, and everything rushed through. I started with transformation. I started with Her. She’s much closer to me than I am used to think. She’s much closer to the group of “Spirits” I mention a lot, who guide me and ask of me. I am back to what I was at the beginning, and yet melding everything hints I’ve received till then (the writing, the book, the energetic drawings, seership, mediumship, death… but the project is just starting now)

I am a Door to the Otherworld, I am not from here but I am here nevertheless, I am at the Threshold. I’ve always been and yet rejected it. But I am learning, oh Gods, I assure you, I am learning to accept it. And just now, I can see this is how I relate most to the Morrigan. She’s my shadow…

This project is also going to be part of my path to the Morrigan then. Welcome to my Door, welcome on the Threshold.

It’s a work in progress, please be patient (a full website is coming). I’ve painted it red for now, for Her, but the design will change.

Bits about Ordeal and Madness

Disclaimer : I apologize in advance if there are many misspellings and grammatical errors due to “mis-typing”, this post was pretty loaded, and hard to write, so I expect it to contain many flaws.

******

Thanks to an online interfaith community on facebook, I was able to gather some pieces about what ordeals are. I got some remarks by a friend of mine which kind of triggered the realization I might have missed the whole point of my two year diploma. This article by Del is absolutely marvellous, please read it also entirely for it possesses a rhythm and a progression of its own. But I wanted to extract bits here and there in order to show what mattered the most to me, which might help other people wondering about ordeals, and might provide a path to follow for sharing personal stuff.

Many people ask me about ordeal, and they’re surprised when I tell them about my own; we expect ordeal to be physically painful, to be about blood and sweat and tears, and we turn away from that and let it be the story of other people. […] But my story, my ordeal experience, looked nothing like what someone would expect. Many people come to me for ordeals because in their mind, “ordeal ritual” and “hook suspension” have somehow become linked; in the same vein, more ordeal workers than I can count have asked (or sometimes demanded) that I teach them hook suspension, because they feel without that knowledge they are somehow lesser. But my ordeal, my most transformative experience, had nary a hook in sight.

… no black leather, no whips and chains, no sexy dominatrices forcing me to my knees. My ordeal did not happen in a darkened room fitted out to look like a torture chamber or dungeon; my ordeal happened in the middle of a green field, at the peak of summer, during the afternoon.

I had always read that ordeal is personal, no ordeal is like the other. Nevertheless, I was myself subject to those “common views”, I thought that ordeals were close or linked to physical pain. I was looking for definitions because what I experienced, of course, couldn’t be an ordeal. It was all in my head, once again, like everything spiritual…

But what I felt was very peculiar. A feeling, an urge, a need… unidentified, for something greater than myself, some sort of answers, that could only be found through the ultimate kind of test. It is very close to what Del describes here :

Once in a great while, something will come along and afford us the opportunity to have an adventure. But how many times have you heard about something, felt a longing for it deep in your bones, but let the voices of scarcity convince you to stay home? I don’t have enough money. I should be cleaning my house. I need to get more sleep. My body won’t be comfortable traveling for that long. It’s scary and unknown, and I need more comfort in my life.

We yearn for something more, but the yearning passes as soon as we go back to what is familiar. 

 I have enough pain in my life, we tell ourselves, and I don’t desire to be in any more of it.

Something that is entirely unacceptable in the face of Reason with a big R, everyone will talk you down, because it’s not worth it, too uncertain, etc etc. And yourself, you can’t reconcile your good common sense with this urge. It’s antithetical. You have to chose : do you want security, safety ? Or do you want to live this experience ? And the unknowable is weighing on the scale, on your shoulders… those “what if”, what if it’s useless, wrong, what if I fail… It’s a great leap of faith.

We have to find a deeper truth to our lives, in the corners where we do not know all the answers, do not know what to expect, can not set our watches by how long it will take, and most importantly, be in a realm where success is not assured. In order to truly engage in the realm of ordeal, there must be the chance that you’ll never know the real answer. In most ordeals, we only learn that we are asking the wrong questions, over and over again, increasing in volume; if we’re lucky enough to get the answer, it is never a comfort. It only reminds us that we aren’t thinking big enough, wide enough; stuck once again in our boxes of expectation and instantaneous comfort.

It is really about going out of the comfort zone, the control, and the knowing. I wonder how it happens for other people but mine almost drove me crazy.

The interesting thing is that I’ve always rejected physical pain, and I really thought it had nothing to do with that… I focused on the mind. But I’ve just come to realize how wrong that was. It was a double ordeal, or two-folded. It was both physical and psychological. My body started by shutting itself down, bringing me down, to a point of exhaustion beyond anything I had known, and to a point of vulnerability that I couldn’t bear, because those are some things I don’t want to show to people. A part of that trial was to accept that I was sick, highly sick, and that I needed rest, that I was fragile and needed help, and I had to tell people about it, and not hide myself like I’m used to. Then I had to figure out, to waver between two attitudes : accepting that I would have to act despite the sickness, to move forward carrying it ; or, finding a milder equilibrium between action and rest. But the trick is that in both cases I never knew what would come of it. I had to release my wish for control, and to accept that I could fail.

I had had health issues for several years, wondering how I could be so fragile and yet so resistant. So the symptoms, the tiredness… there were a pain in the ass and yet manageable. But there were so many of them yet, that it was a bigger burden that the usual. And then I realized another trick, which leads me to the psychological dimension. The disease, which was first and foremost biological, had also known neurological aftermaths, which started to make me doubts : I started losing all concentration, I could not focus on one thing for more than 10 minutes ; then I started being incapable of reading, putting two words together to form noun + adjective, or noun + verb, and make a sentence in my mind, I just couldn’t ; and last but not least, I started forgetting. Everything that I was trying to put into my mind was vanishing, and old stuff that were there disappeared to. I just freaked the fuck out. It was, and sometimes still is, like losing yourself, like being eaten by a disease, and often you think of Alzheimer – except that I am 24. I was losing all my memories, my knowledge, sometimes I couldn’t even remember my day. Who was I ? How could I be someone when I was collapsing this way ?

And apart from the personality issue, it weighed hard on me, on my project and my “public face”. I was disappearing to myself but trying to conceal it. And more, it was disabling me from doing what I was doing. Who may need concentration, reading and memory the most ? I was, and still am, a student and researcher in literature. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t learn, I couldn’t concentrate. What the hell was I doing in those seminars ? How could I pretend to write my dissertation ? I was losing myself, again, completely. I was cut from my capacities. How could I manage getting in my diploma ?

Ordeal is about showing and facilitating parts of yourself that you’d rather keep hidden; your fear, your rage, your failures, your shortcomings. If you can’t be honest about what those are, the ordeal is meaningless. You must be willing, enthusiastic even, about standing in the fullness of that which you’d otherwise hide. If you’re not ready to bare it in front of witnesses, you’re not ready for an ordeal.

I had to accept to try without being sure I would get it. I had to accept to try and tell other people what was happening. I had to try and do it myself, as I was at that moment, fragile and most, unsure, with my whole being.

And then, I started running straight into a a brick wall. If I don’t look at my issues properly, there were strengthening the brick wall, and I was the stupid wolf trying to blow it away. My issues unknown, deep in my subconscious, were gathering strength and beating me down ; also, acquiring irrational energy, and creating angst.  The writing of my dissertation started getting the worst out of me : it put me into uncontrolled altered states of consciousness, it loosened my grasp on reality. It put me on an alternative madness road. It was excruciating. It is one the most intense and long-term pain I have ever encountered in my life (two years). I was paddling vainly, rather sinking deeper and deeper. It was torture. I wanted to flee, and yet I had to try and do it. But the fact I could fail was killing me. Every attempt was a torture. Uncertain. Vain. Getting my fears and angst stronger. Weakening my mind and my body. I started feeling very fragile : I felt insecure, in the very sense my life was like in danger. My sanity was in danger, when I was getting to my studies, I was unsure if I would slip never to return again. Why “return” ? I experienced the exact same process as the madness that watched me when I went through my shamanic ordeal.  In put me like in another world, in altered state, and every day I was doubting myself, feeling I would be stuck there and lose reality for good. And I felt really, really weird, for I was working on this such brilliant mind, I was feeling closer and closer to this woman of old times… who was sinking and sinking into depression and losing her grasp. Who one day decided she couldn’t stand it and drowned herself. Where was I myself ? Wishing to be brilliant, to deliver some achieved form.

And during this time, I had the impression that the Spirits were letting me cool off. Letting me rest in peace… Was I ? No, in fact,  they were witnessing the whole process, which was part of my spiritual / personal path. Something different was at stake, needing the whole space and discharging me from my death work.

The Spirits are teaching me about myself, about my weaknesses and strengths. About being oneself 100% without shame. About pushing oneself further and succeeding without many handicaps. They are also teaching me about being “bigger”, taking more space, asking for what is mine, wishing for something more, wishing to achieve great things. And they are, once again, to my surprise, teaching me to write. I still can’t accept that but I’ve written about it before on this blog, and I have opened the devotional site they wanted, but I still have no faith in myself and in this message. I assume they will push me harder until I do. And I will try to learn, I have a monograph on the way, I will try to get back to my devotional Death Work pieces, and more. I’m following the stones along the way.