Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

~ Lisel Mueller

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Devotional Mindfulness

I’m mulling over this post from over at Gangleri’s Grove. I didn’t directly reblog the piece because this is only tangentially related, but it’s excellent food for thought and i do recommend you go read it.

When i was practicing something-like-Hinduism, a mantra was a major part of my practice. I used to mentally repeat my mantra when i woke up in the morning and went to bathe, during the beginning of meditation (sometimes throughout my entire meditation; it depended on what i was doing), while i cooked or cleaned or folded clothes or brushed my teeth or dried my hair, while i exercised, while i did archery… I also made an effort to mentally repeat my mantra as i went to sleep at night. In short, i structured my day around my mantra. Any moment i could, i brought my attention back to those words.

The only time i specifically didn’t use my mantra was when i was supposed to be giving something my full attention—in a conversation with another person, for example. Part of honouring the Divine is honouring the Divine in other living beings, so that seemed like an appropriate circumstance to set down the mantra.

After doing this for several years, that mantra—that short series of words—became deeply embedded in my brain. It became the background music of my mind, running in a constant loop. Every moment my mind-chatter went quiet, i heard that. It was my go-to internal monologue whenever i felt angry or sad or frightened (or peaceful or joyful, for that matter). I centred myself on those words.

But then i stopped being something-like-Hindu. I stopped devoting myself to one Power to the exclusion of all others. And more than that, i’d completely changed pantheons: A mantra dedicated to a Hindu deva no longer seemed to fit, now that i found myself predominantly devoted to Powers in the Norse pantheon. The mantra—my mantra—no longer fit my practice. After dithering for a while, i decided it was best that i set the mantra aside.

It’s left a hole in my practice, though. It hasn’t entirely gone away, for starters: In moments of intense emotion, my old mantra still sometimes drifts to the forefront of my mind, ill-fitting though it now is. And it’s become something like a drug that’s lost its potency, no longer offering the comfort and anchoring feeling it once did. It’s just…words, words connected to memories that, while the pain of them is softening, they feel ever more distant.

Some Pagans i know like to recite the various bynames of their Beloveds as a kind of mantra; there’s also the possibility of something like lectio divina, or Eknath Easwaran’s method of passage meditation. I do make a habit every day of reciting my own adaptation of Sigdrifa’s prayer, and i’ve dabbled a little bit in writing short prayers of my own that could be suited to mantra practice and/or repetitive prayer. But so far nothing has felt quite “right” in the same way.


Brisingamen, by Ann Groa Sheffield

Silver and Gold

Time for some poetry….

Brisingamen

The first looked out – his eyes were opened
At summer´s height – his heart was softened
(Sweet murmur of sunlit water;
Swaying grace of willow´s shade.)
The forge he readied; thus he wrought:
Warmth and laughter, ease and languor
This is what he learned of love.

The next looked out – his eyes were opened
At storm and sky – his heart was seized
(Reeling currents shed the clouds;
Lightning blazes; thunder bellows.)
The forge he readied; thus he wrought:
Fire and fury, fierce delight
This is what he learned of love.

The third looked out – his eyes were opened
At gentle rain – his heart was wrung
(It drips from fir trees, iron-dark,
And stains the rock a deeper rust.)
The forge he readied; thus he wrought:
Strange contentment born of sorrow
This is what he learned of love.

The last looked…

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I sometimes wonder if i should’ve stayed in the Shire

(As if staying in the Shire had ever been a legitimate option. Pfft.)

A Day in the Life of the Unintentional and More Than Slightly Overwhelmed Mystic, in Hobbit-themed gif format.

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The Rider

In the halls of my heart there comes a Rider to the door.
I thirst, says He. What would you give Me to drink?

They say He eats no food, but only drinks
I would encourage you not to take that too literally
If you’re not careful, He will gladly gulp you down

I’m not necessarily saying you should be careful

If you part your lips with words of thanksgiving
He will drink His name from the cup of your mouth
He will swallow your sighs and supplications
And breathe Himself into the hollows left behind

If you open your flesh to Him in ecstasy
He will sink His teeth into you and drink you dry
Swilling down the sweet and fiery heat of you
And licking His lips in feral satisfaction

If you bare it to Him in ardent offering
He will gently lap the honey from your heart
Like a babe at his mother’s breast
Love made liquid, self-emptying reverence

Be mindful how you pour yourself out
Before offering up the stirrup-cup
For what the Hunter takes into Himself, He keeps
Twining you into His breath and blood and bone


[Rotting Silver] “Parable of the Earth’s Lover” by B. T. Newberg

There’s nothing i could say that would add to this. Just…yes. ❤

Humanistic Paganism

From the Earth’s embrace, her lover pulled away.

She asked, “What is wrong?”

He replied, “You kissed me once and it was warm. But when you kissed again, it was cold, like the lips of a corpse. What does this mean?”

She said, “It means I will be the one to kill you.”

“No, ” he said. “Surely it is not so.”

She replied, “Do you think you know me? Am I only love and life and pleasure? The milk of my left breast is medicine but my right suckles poison. When you press your body to me my lips shall become rose petals but my nipples thorns. When you enter my vulva you shall find a cloth of silk but also a razor. Or do you keep another mistress who dispenses your woes?”

He said, “You are all things to me.”

She said, “My body is this earth. From…

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Original Nature

Edit: Sorry this post disappeared after i initially posted it. Something had gone rather spectacularly wrong with the formatting, and i needed a couple minutes to sort it out. Yay technology!

I went to the Rune-Finder to ask for guidance. I’d become stuck in a mire, and unsure how to get out.

“Why isn’t this working? Where should i be looking? What should i be doing?”

He shows me a rune. (I suppose i shouldn’t be surprised)

“Uruz. ‘Strength’? I need more strength?”

He shakes his head, long dark hair streaked with silver swaying.

Ur, He corrects.

“I don’t understand.”

His gaze is twice as sharp, for having only one eye.

What is your original nature?

(This is why i never took jukai in Zen. Koans make me want to pull my lower lip up over the top of my head and then swallow.)

“I don’t understand what You’re asking.”

There is a braid in His hair; he twines it between two fingers, His head tilted thoughtfully to one side.

Before you began listening to the voices of others telling you who you ‘should’ be, who were you? Before family and friends and society began to heap high the burden of expectation that bends you now, when you could still stand straight-backed and look in the mirror and see—not everyone else’s hopes and fears, their desires for achievement by proxy and vicarious worth—just your own fledgeling self, with all its abundant promise. Just you. Who were you then?

I don’t cry in front of many people. It was taught to me very early that tears are a shame and a weakness, a failing, a flaw that if it cannot be destroyed should at the very least be hidden. But i’ve never hidden tears from Him; even if it were possible, it’s never occurred to me to try. His gaze softens only slightly.

I will not tell you who to be; you’ve had far too much of that already. But I will ask, who do you think you are?

“We are our deeds, aren’t we? But if i haven’t done anything worthwhile with my life, then that makes me nobody. I’ve wasted—”

He says nothing, and the look He gives me isn’t even remotely angry. It doesn’t need to be.

The words die and i fall to my knees because in this moment something shifts in Him, and i am resoundingly reminded that my Gods are many, but He is my King.

I do not ask who you want to be, who you would choose to be. You no longer know how to answer that question honestly; your wishes for yourself are so entwined with the internalised desires and expectations of others that you cannot separate them now. This is not necessarily bad—but, He adds with an almost-smile, it has become too much noise. You can no longer hear your own voice over the din inside your head.

“But how can i know what to do when i don’t even know what i want?”

Who you want to be is not the right question, yet. Who are you, right now?

Before i can even begin to go through the litany of identities in my head—who my parents are, who my spouse is, what i studied, where i’ve lived, where i’ve worked, and so on—He waves it all away.

Before all that; beneath all that. Who are you when there are no voices telling you who to be, when no one is watching? What is your first thought when you wake? What is your first feeling, before your mind remembers what you ‘should’ feel? What are you like when you are unafraid? Who are you when you don’t mean to be? What do you do when you cannot help it?

I am brought back to my feet, a weathered hand so large it makes me feel small pressed to the back of my neck, a heavy brow bending down to touch my own. He breathes; i breathe.

Begin there.


Saint Francis and the Sow

This found its way to me today. It was definitely…timely.

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~ Galway Kinnell


Kharis, Truths and Untruths

This is so lovely! I’m deeply honoured. ❤

Oaken Scrolls

Love_heart

Myths are stories true, yet untrue
Untruths that tell Truth
about the Divine, the world and us

****

Truths and Untruths
You breathe because
of the moment of
diaphragm and lungs
consciously or not
You breathe because
the Divine breathes into you
the kiss of life
given lip to lip
Your heart beats because
of an uncontrollable dance
of nerves and muscles
Your heart beats because
The Divine has it
carefully in hand
guiding every movement
from birth to death
You live because
the Divine wills it to be so
Truths and Untruths

The myths say mortals
are the Divine’s image
Truths and Untruths
Therefore…
The Divine waits
for your next breath
Heart resting in your hands
together bound for
sustence and inspiration
Giving in order to receive
An endless cycle
This is Kharis.

inspired by this post on Amidst Fires

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Note to Self, or a reminder to the aspiring polytheist

This. This, this, this. It’s taken me a long time to get past that desire to have little word-boxes that i can shove my Gods into—and the impulse still re-emerges from time to time. It’s a neverending process for me, learning and re-learning to just let Them be Them.

Yew, Oak, & Apple

Remember that your gods are alive
that they are not captured in stories any more
than you are captured as the girl who won the spelling bee
only to lose the next or the one who cried
over a boy who never wanted love.
If you cannot be easily summed up,
never expect it of Powers. Never
limit your knowing to the words of the long dead,
themselves captured in the instant of writing,
a slice thin enough for a microscope, too delicate
to hold more than one instant of a mortal
life. Do not blind yourself to what lives
in fatal reverence to what once was. Live
with them. That boy is forgotten for one who loves
and the spelling bee fades to a memory, a dusty trophy.
Do not make trophies of your gods.

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