I’m Back!

keep-calm-i-m-coming-back-2

Hey all!  Been trying to get back on here and start up writing and journaling again.  As some of you who know me personally, it’s been one hell of a time since the end of February! A little background here – at the beginning of February, everything was going along fine.  I attended a beautiful Imbolc ritual sponsored by the Church of the Spiral Tree (CST) with my Kindred out on the land in Roxanna, AL.  It was a ritual having us to look back upon where we’d been, where we’d like to be, and what would be needed to be done in order to achieve those goals.  I thought I had everything planned out –  a healthy pregnancy, picture perfect delivery, managing my time, and starting back going to school in the Fall.  I was going to do everything “right” this time around; to do and have things that I had wanted to have and have done during my previous 2 pregnancies that I had wished for.  I was busy planning, shopping and “nesting”, interviewing doulas, setting up birthing altar…I was so proud of myself!  I was making things happen and even standing up for myself and fulfilling my needs against what my husband thought was “best for me” (which is very hard being codependent and married to someone who I believe has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder).  But, I guess the Universe had other plans for me…

Later that month, on February 28, I went to Labor & Delivery at my hospital because I had felt decreased fetal movements the previous night and none that I could feel that morning.  After being monitored all day, a decision was made that evening to deliver my baby at 31 weeks via emergency Caesarean section and was immediately transferred to the NICU at another hospital.  The whole experience brought me to Hel and back if you will – the hardest and most difficult Descent that I’ve ever had to go through in my life, bringing me to where I am today; so please be patient and bear with me… 🙂

Ostara in Alabama

So yes, this is EXTREMELY late – but I really wanted to write about this before the next High Day comes, which is in about 3 or 4 days…

Artwork by Thorskegga Thorn

Artwork by Thorskegga Thorn

I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Ostara this year with the Nine Worlds Kindred in Auburn, AL.  I had been very interested in attending their Seekers Class and when I found out that they were hosting a Freyja blot & Disrblot for Ostara, I prayed to Freyja that there would be an opportunity for me to go – meaning that my husband would be home in time to watch the kiddies so I could go as his hours have been CrAzY!!  Alas, the Shining Ones allowed me the opportunity and I was on my way with a freshly baked loaf of bread that I had inscribe with the runes Ehwaz, Berkana, and Fehu – all runes I associate with Freyja and a bouquet of flowers to offer to Her.

The class went really well and I wished to continue as it opens door and explores different types of magic that I’m not all that familiar with, Hermetic and Ceremonial Magic that has always kind of intimidated me; but – good to know nonetheless.  I believe that it’s good to learn about all different Paths so you can become familiar with them and not “fear” them and may even incorporate them into your own practice.

The blot to follow was lovely.  In fact, parts of it were very familiar, having some similar elements to those found within an ADF style ritual: kindling a sacred fire and making offerings; pouring of water and offerings for the sacred water and honoring the sacred tree; referencing and acknowledging the land, sea and sky; and acknowledging and giving offerings to the outdwellers.  We bid hail to the Gods, the Disr and of course Freyja – the Goddess of the occasion.  A horn of mead was passed around as we hailed the Disr or a family ancestor followed by sacrifices and offerings being presented to Freyja.

During the ritual, I was provided the opportunity to sit in a seer session that was quite fascinating.  After such time, thanks was given to the Gods and Goddesses, the Disr, Earth Spirits and Ancestors and the gates were closed.

I was incredibly thankful for the opportunity that Freyja had opened for me.  It felt good, the people were awesome and I hope that some how, someway, I will be able to continue on with classes and activities with the Nine Worlds Kindred.

Brighid Is In the Details – Part 2

"Spirit of the Woods" by ~ArwensGrace

“Spirit of the Woods” by ~ArwensGrace

“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” ~ Jerry Gillies

This year started out as most of you know with a big move from New York to Georgia.  We were blessed with a speedy move, immediate availability of housing and our household goods delivered for the most part intact.  But, I was still feeling kind of down and out and empty (see “New Beginnings“).  By the time the Full Moon had rolled around this year on January 26, I was starting to pick back up a bit and feeling hopeful.  I conducted a simple yet very personal and powerful Full Moon Ritual, visualizing all the yuck and muck being transformed into positive energy, peace and Divine love.  I made some very personal offerings to the Goddess, thanking Her for the life and blessings She gives us in the hopes of developing an even more serious and intimate relationship and devotion to Her and hoping that She’d open up some opportunities for me as I continue down this path in a new place.  One of the wonderful people who follows my blog told me, “Do not fear the empty feeling. Just be with it. It’s there to hold your new beginning.”  Words of wisdom my friend, and you have no idea how right you were…

Around mid-January, my friend Carol shared a link with me to a Dianic tradition of Druidry, The Apple Branch (we both have some Dianic tendencies, so obviously she knew I’d find this very interesting) founded by Deanne Quarrie (who I’ve reblogged a few times from Feminism and Religion).  She started down that path and a few weeks later, and after some serious consideration and emailing Deanne back and forth describing my interest in Druidry, shamanism, runes, the role of the seiðr and my questions (especially pertaining to their Guardian Program), I too decided to take the plunge and on February 1, I was officially welcomed into The Apple Branch 🙂

So, here we are – at Imbolc.  Looking back and reflecting upon where my path started out 9 years ago and where I am right now (obviously 9 being a very sacred number), I really wanted to put a lot of energy into honoring Brighid and thanking Her this year for the blessings that I’ve received thus far.  I started out by cleaning the house up, preparing a bed (which I’ve never done before believe it or not), making sure I had a lit candle (well, an LED candle) in the window, and hung my “Brighid’s Mantle” on a bush outside overnight for Her to bless and be used for healing if needed in the year to come.  It was also my Flamekeeping shift for Her, so it was extra special.

"A candle invites you into my house this night.  Enter in and be welcome in this place."

A candle invites You into my house this night. Enter in and be welcome in this place.

I had read that it was sometimes customary to have a wooden wand with an acorn or pinecone attached at the tip to represent the God so She wouldn’t get lonely (sounds a bit Wiccan to me, but hey – why not?  Who doesn’t like a good cuddle?).  Because the bed was small to begin with and I didn’t have a wooden wand handy, I opted for going out back and found a pinecone from one of the pine trees in our backyard instead.

photo-36

A bed is made for You to rest Your head.

Offerings of milk, bread and honey were left on Her altar.  Offerings of sage and lavender were also burned as offering to Her.  And yes, She was there 🙂

Bestow upon us Your gifts of peace and light.

Bestow upon us Your gifts of peace and light.

For Brighid’s Mantle, I used a layered silk wrap skirt I had purchased in TX about 5 years back.  This totally reminds me of Her – She is a multi-layered Goddess with both fiery and fertile aspects – bringing the spring and making the land green as She roams.

Brighid's Mantle

Brighid’s Mantle

Now, just a little FYI: Imbolc is a what is considered a Greater Sabbat or “cross-quarter” day.  “According to the late and great astrological philosopher Dane Rudhyar, the cross-quarters are points of greatest momentum and release of power…”  Bearing this in mind, astrological Imbolc occurred on February 3 this year when the Sun was at 15 degrees of Aquarius.  On a very interesting site, “Aepril’s Astrology” she wrote a piece entitled “Prophesy and Purification. Imbolc 2013, in which she states, “…My dear friend Laura says that Imbolc is not the fire itself necessarily, but the moment the match is struck.  It is lightning.” (Please pop over there and read the entire piece – it’s illuminating!!!)

Many “matches” and surprises awaited me on Imbolc this year.  I made a three hour drive out to Hallowed Oaks Grove, ADF  in Birmingham, AL.  I was running late, but as I crossed the state line, I saw that they were in a different time zone, one hour behind – thank the Shining Ones!  There, I was met with warmth and Southern Hospitality at its finest.  Brenda Lively (aka Pixie), the Senior Druid and her husband Dave graciously opened up and welcomed us into their home for a lovely ADF ritual that I actually got to actively participate in.  One of the people who was supposed to honor the Earth Mother wasn’t able to make it and I was asked to take their part and honor the Earth Mother which of course I said yes to (this is where the help from Grey and my experience with the Northern Druidic Study Group came in real handy!).  As Brenda stated in the pre-ritual brief, the ADF has a Core Order of Ritual, which makes it easy for others to know what’s going on and step in to take a part if needs be.  The ritual was so familiar, reminding me of the rituals at Muin Mound Grove, ADF and with the Northern Rivers Protogrove, ADF back in NY.  A most delicious feast was to follow along with great conversations, some history lessons and the making of new friends.

To make it even more interesting, I met a wonderful and profound woman, Angela Farmer (aka Ehsha Apple) who come to find out later on in conversation was the original author of “The Bad Witch Files” and now writes on “EhshaApple“.  “The Bad Witch…” I thought to myself…I know that blog…”I’ve heard of your blog,” I told her.  In fact, I had been following it…for awhile.  You see, what makes it so interesting is that back in August, she had actually nominated my blog, Journeying to the Goddess, for a Sunshine Award and that’s when I started following hers.  When I got home, I just wanted to confirm and make sure that it was the same blog I was thinking of and shut the front door! It was!  Was Brighid in the details on this one too? I couldn’t have put it better myself when Ehsha said, “I love when the universe says: ‘And *NOW* you will meet!’”  To top it off, Ehsha is also an ordained Pagan minister and High Priestess at the Celestial Earth Grove in Auburn, AL.  She has a vast amount of knowledge as a teacher and on the subjects of the seiðr, the Völva, and Teutonic Shamanism…many of the things I’ve been feeling called to since earlier in December (see “Exploration of the Norse Pantheon“)…how wyrd is that? 😉  AND…her Grove is only about 30 miles away…totally within driving distance…

Did I just hear thunder and see sparks flying?  Brighid, is that You?