PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Lately I've been doing a lot of internal work around aging. When I was at Pantheacon a couple weeks ago, I got into a conversation about aging and my realizations that in some ways I've been very resistant to it, wanting to stay young forever. I've never had an issue with dying or death, because I've had multiple near death experiences, but aging is something I haven't wanted to acknowledge. Yet at 38, I feel a difference in my body. I wake up and I need to stretch more than I used to. I have a bit of a belly now, and I eat less food because my metabolism is slower. I have less hair on my forehead and I realize I am changing. I am still relatively young, but aging happens and no matter what creams I put on my face, or how much or little food I eat, or what exercise I d0, I can't change the fact that I am aging. What I can change is how well I take care of myself.
In the Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts, Seth (an entity channeled by Roberts) makes the following observation about aging and people: "If you desperately try to remain young, it is usually to hide your own beliefs about age, and to negate all of those emotions connected with it." It's an insightful point that made me think about my own fixation on age. I realize I am so resistant to aging because I have this particular image of myself, this particular state of being, and what I see in the mirror doesn't reflect that. I'm changing and being in denial about that change isn't really serving me....
As winter has firmly wrapped around us here (at least as much as it ever does in the South), I’d been planning to write about the beautiful Mexican Riviera, a crystal coastline dotted with ancient temples and pulsing with power and healing. However, when I sat down to my trusty computer this morning, it wouldn’t turn on…and all the pictures from all my trips are safely locked in the hard drive. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be an easy fix, once my hubby or I venture out to a computer store, but right now, with another round of snow covering the roads, technology repair has suddenly fallen to the bottom of my priorities list.
Winter tends to rearrange things for me, and whenever I don’t take the necessary time for rest and healing that the season affords, I’ve discovered that the Goddess has a way of enforcing quiet down time for me, forcing me to slow down and just breathe.
A recurrent iconographic motif of Phoenician art during the early 1st millenium BCE is the “Woman at the Window.” Sometimes called by researchers “Astarte at the Window,” the motif occurs with such frequency—known examples number in the thousands—and in so many different mediums (ivory, stone, wood, bone), that it is well worth asking what it may have meant to the ancestors.
Although minor variations occur, the type is surprisingly consistent. A woman's face peers out from a window. The window itself is generally back-set in a triple recess; she looks out over a balustrade supported by four (occasionally three) elaborately-carved columns. The woman is characterized by an elaborate ringlet coiffure—perhaps a wig—bekohled eyes, and prominent ears.
Early researchers associated the motif with a cult of sacred prostitution, but contemporary scholars have laid this sacred cow of Biblical research to rest. No evidence exists for such an institution in any ancient Semitic culture; such claims in antiquity have proved to be at second- and third- hand, and are invariably attributed to other people. Whoever the Woman at the Window may be, she is no “hierodule.”
The monumental architecture of the window clearly indicates that this is a very special woman indeed; the window is an elaborate frame for what seems most likely to be a divine epiphany. Although no known examples are inscribed, it is not unreasonable to think that we may here be gazing upon the face of a goddess, and although the cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean coast knew numerous goddesses, we may well suspect that this may be the goddess known variously as Astarte, Ashtárt, Ashtéret, and Ashtarót.
I don't know if it is the insistent trudging of February, my time of life or the world of the world but I am weary of words. Your words. My words. All the words. The Pagan community is arguably one of the most educated in the country and we have so much to discuss as the religious movement changes and grows. We parse language, we foment revolution, we whine, we rejoice.
But we do rather a lot of arguing. About all sorts of things large and small....
Rituals for Spiritual Revitalization
It starts for me just after Imbolc, I get that itch. That twinge of restlessness and that eager feeling every time the sun peeks through the clouds. Spring is near! Mentally I exclaim, “There’s only about 6 more weeks of frigid temps, coupled with mountains of ice and snow! Hooray!”
When the feeling begins to take hold of me, I need to make myself busy. I need to begin planning my spring activities right away. There is so much to do, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed and perplexed. However, it isn’t a bad kind of overwhelm, instead it is fun and exhilarating to consider the possibilities.