Saturday, 28 March 2009

Embedding Conversation with the Divine

There seems to be a current trend in modern Paganism of focussing on the worshipper, rather than the worshipped. (I know some people will disagree with the term worship, but I don't know what else to call it - got to love the limits of language.) This trend, which was first pointed out to me by an Alexandrian friend, manifests itself as a general disregard (whether knowingly or not) of what the deities or spirits might actually want, in favour of what the practitioner thinks they want.

To me, this is most pressing in terms of what rituals or spells are appropriate to a given situation, or what offerings/sacrifices are necessary or desired by the Gods. I’ve been inspired a lot by Santería recently, and I’m impressed with how they embed their knowledge and relationships with the Orishas into their everyday lives. We modern Pagans don’t do this nearly enough. How often do we consult oracles for advice on whether an offering or sacrifice has been accepted? Did Isis really just accept that wine as an offering? How do you know?

To remedy this situation, at least in terms of my personal practice, I’ve taken the traditional Santería divination tool and Feri-ed it a little bit. I have created a divination tool that calls on the Peacock Angel as the voice of His Mother to give oracular advice. Basically, I have four blue-green stone disks, with a closed eye on one side and an open eye on the other. A question is then given to the oracle (through the Peacock Angel) and the disks are thrown. Here is how I interpret the fallings, inspired again by Santería:

All four eyes open: You have received the blessings of the God/Spirit. Throw again.

Three eyes open: Cautious yes. There may be some complication, but yes.

Two eyes open, two closed: Yes! Balance and harmony.

One eye open, three closed: No. Do not proceed. Further divination to find out why.

All four eyes closed: Bad omen. Further divination to find out the problem and remedy.

Anyway, I hope this might be of use to some people. I am going to try and embed this in terms of offerings and sacrifices, as well as rituals and spells other than my daily devotional practices.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Descent of Melek Taus

Feeling whimsical, I decided to rewrite the Feri myth of the Peacock Angel's descent:

"The Star Goddess became so filled with love for Creation, She bore Her son and lover, Melek Taus as the Peacock Angel, the Pearl of the world. Gazing upon His radiant reflection in the curved mirror of His Mother’s body, He was struck by His own beauty and declared: “Behold! I am untold beauty! I am dark radiance everlasting!” He shook His tail and filled the worlds with wondrous thunder.

He beseeched His Mother, the Star Goddess, She whose name cannot be spoken, to create others to share in His splendour. She asked, “Do you wish for slaves?” Melek Taus replied, “No, I do not wish for slaves. I wish for precious jewels to reflect my beauteous light.”

The Holy Mother in Her wisdom declared: “My son, my beloved, if I create these beings, they will betray you. Your crown will remain in the heavens, your feet will rest in the fires of hell, and every pain upon earth will reside in your heart.” And so humankind was created, and in due time they betrayed the Peacock Angel by forgetting his radiant Truth. Melek Taus began to weep, and His salty tears fell from the Heavens to quench the fires of Hell at his feet. And thus Melek Taus descended from the Heavens, to quench the Hell in the heart of humankind and to polish the hearts of His jewels." 

What do you reckon?

Diving Into the Twins

The Feri training group I work with has started working with the Feri lore of the Divine Twins, and more than any other deities, the Twins seem to me to embody a philosophical concept as well as an energetic God-form. They are both the object and the negative space around the object. You can see both at once, but only focus on one at a time, constantly shifting perspective from one to the other until the lines are blurred. Cora's view that they are two flames that come together is quite profound - where does one flame begin and the other end? I think this can also apply to the twin hemispheres of the brain. 

How do I visualise the Twins? To me, Dian y Glas and Melek Taus can represent the Twins. As can the two sides of the lemniscate, as they represent the dual yet equal emanations of the Star Goddess, each of which holds the essence of the other in its centre. The Star Goddess Herself embodies the Twins as She falls in love with Her reflection. As She makes love to Miria, She makes love to a part of Herself that is Other. Paradox truly is at the heart of Feri. I have a flirtatious interest in Voodoo and Marassa is an important myth in that religion's pantheon, which I am hoping to explore further. 

I had a dream a couple of nights ago. In the dream, I was looking at myself in the mirror and stretched my hands out to touch my reflection. In that instant, I realised that we embody the Twins ourselves. We each have the capacity to hold paradox within us, to touch inner polarity (which I don't think is limited to strict male-female pairings) and to head towards an integration of opposites to bring ourselves into wholeness. That, to me, is the lesson of the Twins.

NB The painting above is by Jose Cintron

Saturday, 7 March 2009

After my Daily Practice today

Sitting with yourself is truly the most compassionate thing you can do. To sit with yourself, just being, without expectations, is truly an act of self-love and self-compassion. I feel privileged to know about this sacred practice. Blessed be the Mother.

P.S. I can actually feel my soul alignment happening. I can feel my cells re-arranging and I can feel the energy settling in. It's very exciting and empowering.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Great Expectations...or Why I'm a Bad Witch

I was talking to an Alexandrian friend of mine today about daily practice, and what it means to him in his tradition and how I relate it to Feri. As I’ve said before, Feri places great emphasis on the development of the Witch’s soul over time, rather than seasonal celebration, but this is only achieved with a dedicated, disciplined spiritual practice. Nevertheless, we are all human, and sometimes our daily practice can slip. One morning you will get up late. Then, the next morning, you have something more pressing to do. The before you know it, the weekend has arrived and you say “I’ll start again on Monday”.

This has happened to me often. And although I don’t feel extreme guilt, I feel disappointment in myself. I feel that if I were truly dedicated to the Feri path then I would do my daily practice regardless. I feel less of a Witch, less of a practitioner, and even less connected when I haven’t done my practice. Those days when I manage to get out of bed I thoroughly enjoy it and try to remember that for the next day.

What my main point is, however, is how BNP’s (Big Name Pagan’s, not the British National Party…) project the image that a proper Witch does the work daily, without fail. However, what some people may fail to realise is that these people have been training in their respective traditions for many years before writing their books and so have (hopefully!) gone through the period of wavering practice. The expectations that they seem to put across are perhaps a bit too unrealistic, at least while we’re starting out. When it comes to a spiritual practice, I don’t think being thrown in at the deep end is a good thing.

Furthermore (and apologies if this is getting rant-y), most BNP’s tend to make a living from either artistic endeavours or their religious pursuits, and can therefore take more time when it comes to their individual practices. I have to get up at 6:15 for work, and leave the house just after 7, so the thought of doing my daily practice before then is slightly unappealing. On the other hand, when I get in from work I’m often too tired to do my practice.

Catch-22, maybe, but one that will have to be resolved eventually. Sigh...