Do you write poetry?

I realized at some point today that I rarely write poetry anymore.  I really stopped around… 16, or so, but I still occasionally spit one out.

I think that poetry upsets me because I feel like it’s not real if it doesn’t rhyme, but my rhyming often interferes with my thoughts and the true meaning of the poem.  Well, the initial meaning of the poem.

Have you guys seen this video?  This is what goes through my head when I try to write poetry now!

One of our 6-week coven goals is to write some invocations to a god and goddess of our choice, which means, like it or not… slam poetry is where I’m headed.

Who are your favorite gods?  Do you write your own invocations or take them from other texts?

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Today is a good day.

Today is a good day, gods.
I woke up this morning with a smile on my face,
Your names on my lips,
And your hands in my heart.

Yes, its cold, and early, and a Tuesday,
But I’m surrounded by people I love
By creatures who love me
And my heart is light.

I pray, don’t let me get weighed down
By others negativity,
By my own sickness or temporary pain
Let me be me, today.

Help me listen to my body,
So I don’t do too much, or too little
And leave work today as happy as when I went
And go home to my loving family

To do the work I love the most.

Beltane Blessings

So, I don’t perform rituals much anymore – I’m always in the wrong spot at the wrong time, etc.  I do have small ceremonies, often without tools like chalices or even food offerings for the gods.  Sometimes I just take some time to sit in silence and think, and pray, and maybe even sing a little.

Those were my activities on Beltane night.  I sat on a bench, feeling the cool breeze and the wet air, the promise of summer still far away.  I thought about my life and where it has come from and where it’s going, and also about my partner’s life.  My partner has been having some issues lately – the economy hit him hard and for a while, he was jobless.  We live quite a distance away from each other, and I can’t be there for him when I need to.

In any case, I ended up just praying that he would find happiness again, and not three days later, he made an opportunity for himself and he now has a job.  It was a surprising career choice, but you take what you can get, and I’m definitely not complaining.

In the end, that’s all I want.  For those I love to be happy and safe and well cared for.  I hope that this Beltane – or soon after – has found you all the same blessings.

That’s the thing about prayer.  You walk around in a fog for a long time before you sit down to pray – you complain, you think its unfair or too tough or none of it is your fault, etc.  You get angry at the world.  Depressed, sad, maybe you cry.  And when you’re done throwing your temper tantrum, what you do next is most important: Sit down.  Think.  Sing.  Pray.  Decide what you want and how you’re going to get it.  And then do it.

You have support when you’re at your lowest point.  Granted, our gods don’t carry you through.  They pick you up, dust you off, and remind you that you have two feet and a world of opportunity.  But isn’t that all we ever need?

The Give and Take of Mycorrhizae

This summer, I was lucky enough to get an internship that is National Science Foundation funded, to study plants in the desert environment. I’m living in Tucson, AZ for the summer, instead of New York. Last week, we decided that my project would be looking at the effects of mycorrhizal associated and levels of phosphorus on various aspects of plant growth. We will be measuring plant mass, root to shoot ratio, carbon to nitrogen ratio, and possibly the presence of heavy metals in leaf tissue.

Anyway, for those of you that don’t know what mycorrhizae are, since I’ll most likely be talking about them throughout the summer, I figured I’d give a brief background. Mycorrhizae are fungi which live in symbiotic relationships with roots. In exchange for providing plants with essential nutrients, fungi recieve carbohydrates and other byproducts of photosynthesis in order to survive. For the most part, mycorrhizal relationships are mutualisms – the relationship helps both parties.

The big problem for mycorrhizae though, is that the plants can kick them out if they’re not needed anymore. So nursery plants, for example, which caretakers are sure receive all of their nutrients, etc – never get the chance to make mycorrhizal connections, and they can suffer when they’re transplanted and suddenly on their own with no fungi to help them find nutrients where there are none.

So these fungi help plants to survive and grow. In the desert, there’s not really much known about how dependent plants are on ther mycorrhizal connections. The mycorrhizae are sort of hard to find, unless you go through a series of maneuvers that kind of draws them out. So we’re slowly figuring out which types of mycorrhizae can be found with desert plants, and now, I want to see how effective the relationship between the two is.

So that’s my experiment. Spiritually, I think that this experiment can reveal a lot of things. Mycorrhizae are obligate to their hosts – they can’t really survive without their hosts. And they can’t control the weather. So, in a way, the plants are sort of the deciders as to how far or how successful the relationship will be. If in making an analogy, we place plants::mycorrhizae as humans::magic, we can see a correlation in terms of magical success. If we need the magic to happen, and we give it our time and attention and energy(the plants’ photosynthetic byproducts) – we will grow faster, be more successful. If we have all the things that we need to do stuff on our own, the relationship won’t be as effective. Afterall, why give your time and energy to someone else when you can do it much easier yourself.

I think this concept of need is one that should be considered when working magic. The universe is a relatively good filter. If you’re praying to magically become thin, and praying, and praying, but you have opportunities for fitness or nutrition ALL the freaking time, chances are, it’s not going to work. At that point, the universe, your inner self, whatever – everyone knows that you can do it yourself.

Did you know that if mycorrhizae are attached and suddenly weather becomes good or nutrient levels grow, they almost become parasitic in nature? The mycorrhizae still want their energy – but they’re not really giving anything in return.

In the same light, by continually throwing your own energy at something you can do yourself…you’re allowing the magic to parasitize you, so to speak. You won’t have the energy to make the change yourself, because you keep throwing it away towards needless prayers.

Wow, that entire post was sort of depressing. Well, more like, it makes you want to smack yourself across the head if you’ve ever done anything like that. You know…”please help me get an A” instead of studying. “I need to do well on this presentation for work” without working on it at all…

Have a great day!

Full Moon Prayer

Please feel free to share this poem, but include my name and a link back to this article.

Author: Lynn Windsor.

Blog post url: http://pagan-pages.org/2008/08/18/full-moon-prayer/

 

It’s that time of the month again!

Goddess of the moon –
Mother of the earth –
We pray to you now,
Bless us with mirth

And trust in our path
And show us the way
With no harm to any
Bring on these new days

We dance to you skyclad
In our hearts and souls
With two sacred passwords
To love and to know

We seek out your blessing
And revel in your love
Goddess of many
Bright lady above.

Have a happy esbat!

Some Days, You Need To Mope

We all have our rough spots in life, and we all have those moments where all we want to do, to put it eloquently, is to crawl into a dark corner and hide from the world. No religion or spirituality can stop those feelings from at least creeping up on us occasionally.

The important thing to do when that sort of depression hits though, is to not feel guilty over that sort of feeling, because its a common human being thing.  It might be chemical or environmental, or it may be entirely psychological in nature, but regardless, you aren’t alone.

So, when one of those days creeps up on you, or a loved one, accept it.  Talk about it – with someone else, if its you; or with the person its happening to, and then just let it run its course.

Forcing yourself to be sunny and cheery will just result in a bigger crash.  Letting your mind calm down, untangle and work itself out – that’s the best solution, at least in my opinion.

But don’t let it take over your life.  If you take your twenty four hours of hiding from the world, and it isn’t enough – you do need to emerge from your shell and live your life.  Sometimes, time is the best healer.

Why do you think this problem seems to be rampant – depression, etc – in our day and age?  I have a theory.  Too much input.  With the computers and the television and the radio and the high stress jobs/school and for younger versions of adults, buses and for adults, keeping up on all our various sitcoms and bills and the practical and theoretical and the fun and the family and god knows what else.  Too much input.  On an average night hanging out with my friends, we will watch youtube, play video games, watch a movie, drive around with an iPod dictating our music – there’s never any stop for my senses, which have to experience the general temperature and humidity, as well as varying sounds, a blinking and flashing lights from videogames or movies…

If we lived simpler lives, we wouldn’t have this problem, I think.  But we can’t live simpler lives – easily – in the United States.  You can use me as an example – for work, I manage two main websites right now, am programming one of them as-we-speak; i’ve got plans going for 3-4 other website design projects.  On the freelance side, I’m doing freelance video reviews, articles for one place, exclusive content for another, blogging here(for no pay), blogging on another(for pay), I run the Order…And I also at least try to maintain the house(in the summer) while my parents are at work – I’m combating my two dogs and two cats who need constant attention, my male family members who are constantly around the house(one of which does not even live here)…

Granted, I may just be an overachiever, but many, many people live the same way – juggling a million things at once because they have to or because they can.  And it does wear on us.

I recognize that today is Lammas/Lughnasadh, and this post is both seemingly endless and without a point.  But paganism can’t get any more practical than this:  Know when to take a break.

We close ourselves off from the Gods in our rush to be constantly doing so damn much.  Open yourself up today, and hear their message.

And that, is the best advice I can give ;-).

Cleansing the Body

Cleansing the body is as much a mental and psychological – and spiritual – thing as it is something physical.  Cleansing the body, in this instance, is something more than just taking a shower.  It is taking into account the recognition that much of what we put into our bodies, and what we expose them to, is “impure” or “unclean”.  In many cases, these impure or unclean substances are created by society.

Many people have differing ideas of unclean.  For some of us, a cleansing may be as simple as using only stuff that is “primary” – has only gone through a few steps before it reaches us.  Things like fruit and vegetables, as well as simple bread, or other grain products which we could/have made ourselves.  People tend to think of mixed substances – cookies, cakes, hot dogs – as impure or polluting of our bodies.

Is this leftover from the Jewish standards?  Or is it simply our subconscious recognition of the idea that not all of what society does is good?

In any case, we are faced with a problem.  How do we cleanse the body?  What do we have to consider?

  • Is this a “for-good” cleansing?  A permanent lifestyle change?  A specific defense against current circumstances?  Or is it something that is going to need to be repeated either on a schedule or by how we feel?  If it will need to be repeated – can we create a smaller event for maintanence?
  • How much time can this cleansing take?  How busy is your life?  Is this a fifteen minute cleansing?  Or a week long one?
  • What do we consider necessary for this cleansing?  Diet?  Hygiene?  Emotional Connections?  Personal psyche?  Pain?  Meditation and contemplation?  Deprivation of senses or material goods?
  • How effective do we want this cleansing to be?  Is it simply for the body, or for the mind and spirit as well?
  • What restrictions will be on us during the cleansing period?  No talking?  Fasting or limited eating?

A very simple cleansing ritual that would last all day, and weave in and out of every day activities is one that I most often use.

When I wake, I shower.  During my shower I pray and meditate for peace and strength and wisdom.

When I dress, I dress simply – nothing in my clothing that is representative of a mood.

When I eat – if I eat – I choose foods that are simple – fruit, fruit juice, milk, water, toast, vegetables, etc.  I stay away from large meals and fast or prepackaged ones.

Before I eat – if I eat – I offer a prayer as a way to make myself conscious of my actions.

When I have free time at night, I will pray and meditate once more.  I sleep naked or with little clothes on, to represent my natural state. (And to be truly free, you will be skyclad in all your rites)…

I do not practice a maintanence rite, but if there was one that I would like to pick up, it would definitely be ritualized hand or foot washing before entering my own room or the ritual room(if I had a ritual room).

What do YOU do for your cleansings?