One Imbolc, former pagan blogger Teo Bishop wrote about creating community poetry for use in liturgy based on the starting line, "I keep vigil to the fire in my heart." As someone who frequently experiences spontaneous poetry in the sacred spot in the woods behind my house, an experience I refer to as theapoetics, I was instantly captivated by this idea. Imbolc has a natural connection to the cycles of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and the fire in my own heart burns brightly for these pivotal life experiences. So, I went down to the woods, opened my mouth and this is what emerged…
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Being a Priestess of Grace my daily aim is to follow the path of Grace, not only do I follow where Grace leads I allow Her presence to infuse my life. When Grace is invited in karma is dissolved and 'worldly' powers have no effect on us, the caveat here is that we need to be aligned so deep in the Grace that it overcomes our conditioning or the strength of the pulls of this realm. I know at my truest core, that in the face of the One Divine One Mercury Retrograde has no power.
I'm pretty human and I feel Lady Mercury and her coyote spirit so strongly every time! I purposefully do not look up retrogrades in an attempt to further deepen my fall into Grace, the idea being that "thoughts held in mind produce in their own kind," and not knowing will keep me aligned with Grace and out of the effects of the retrograde, that little trick has not worked as of yet as I still find myself at a loss for words, riled up, impatient and frustrated that what I'm trying to say is not coming out clearly during each Mercury Retrograde that rolls around. Sure enough I check my Moon calendar and there we are in the midst of another Mercury Retrograde.
The beauty of Feminine Mysticism, is that it acknowledges the One Power while also finding the Divine in the human realm and all of the tides, cycles and rhythms that occur to us while embodied. I have found that the gift within the Mercury Retrogrades that I experience is in the pause, the pausing to think a little bit harder before I speak, to contemplate a little more mindfully before I act and to breathe a little bit deeper when it takes me 30 minutes to register for a new Wordpresss site, still breathhhhiiiinnngg over that one.
This particular retrograde that we are in has been tempting me to get pretty prickly, besides my general Mercury Retrograde struggle to push at keeping life moving smoothly and at a pace that is comfortable for me while stumbling over words (something pretty foreign to this write-a-holic) I found myself at a loss for patience and perseverance in my gentle approach with my toddler Maiden who happens to be going through a developmental leap and teething at the same time that Mercury is retrograde...coincidence? I think not.
Being a Priestess is magical, it is inspiring, uplifting, magnificent. It is also earthy, human and common. A Priestess is the bridge between both the Otherworld and the here and now, and in my here and now Mothering a one and a half year old Maiden takes up a good chunk of my practice.
The first 48 hours of this retrograde her and I butted heads, I snapped, which is unusual towards her, I was edgy, impatient and temperamental, she just pushed harder, experimenting with hitting, screeching, demanding 'milk, milk, milk' which means breasts out, sitting down and taking a break to breast feed her while I seethed inside trying to rush the process so that I could get back to what I needed to be doing.
By the end of the 48 hours, after a snotty nosed melt down and a nap on Mom I was spent, I knew that I was veering way off my Mother Goddess mark and I took some time to re-evaluate. Not only was I going through another Mercury Retrograde, my sweet little, still-incarnating soul of a daughter was too. I began to empathise with her, still learning how to communicate in this realm, no longer able to desire and instantly manifest like in the one that she has just left behind, trying to learn our language, our societal norms, how to navigate the spectrum of emotions and moods that course through her and me and her father and the world at large and then boom, this cosmic halt on all things smooth insofar as communication goes comes waltzing into our lives. I looked down at her tear stained sleeping face and just felt the weight of this world on her little shoulders, and I just wanted to wrap her up and hold her close, forever, or at least until this retrograde is finished.
This is where my Motherhood began to feed my Priestess path this month. For years now, I have navigated how to flow through retrogrades with as much ease as possible, this month it became about navigating myself and another, as within so without was never so true until my daughter arrived.
What I began to do was to use less words, always a plus with toddlers, but an exaggerated amount less, I sang more, I hugged more, I counted slowly 1....2.....3.....ahhhh haaaa over and over again, I danced, I coloured, I came into myself and relied less on the spoken word and more on the language of the heart. My daughter and I have thrived since this shift, our bond is supernatural again, when we struggle to express ourselves we pause, we hug (she initiates sometimes even!) and we slow down. Our 20 minute walk to the store the other day took us an hour and we had never been so happy.
When I began my journey of the Priestesshood I was inspired by the magic I was beginning to conjure, the inspiration and the connection to the cosmos, I tried to brush off the number of sages, teachers, books and confidantes who had told me that in order to be in the state I was seeking I needed to become willing to be fully human. And then I became a Mother and found that life has never been so ripe with magic as coming fully down into it. I found in my Priestesshood the sacred centre of Gaia and Heaven and in that centre I have discovered that Heaven speaks to me through my life on Gaia. Since my transition into Motherhood my Maiden has reflected back to me the spaces that I have lagged in my spiritual practice, she is the Divine reflection of what was justified away coming up to be addressed. Being spicy isn't an excuse for impatience when there is a little Lamb looking up at me with watery sapphire eyes ready to emulate my response to life disappointing me in the moments that I am tempted to loose my temper. Flying off the handle and yelling at my Beloved because I'm a wild feminine Oceanic expression of the Goddess doesn't cut it when my daughter's whole concept of God is my sweet husband for now, may she never believe that the Goddess should destroy the God because of her femininity. And ignoring my need to be where I'm at, sensitive to Mercury Retrograde, and push ahead bullheaded and insistent that I be heard as I forcefully try to explain myself 'one more time', doesn't cut it when my little girl begins hitting and screeching because she isn't being heard and to because to be honest life is like one big Mercury Retrograde for her at this age.
I bow down to my life on Gaia and give reverent thanks for the lessons I am afforded. I shudder in embarrassment at the arrogant insistence I had that life be more magical, less earthy, and more deep than other people's in order for me to justify my existence on it. And I breathe as I reflect during this retrograde, finally stopping to follow the lead of this spiral path and learning from the moment that we are in.
I look forward to guiding my daughter as she ages, teaching her about astrology, the occult, retrogrades, moon phases, red tents, all of the juicy aspects of life that have lit me up. I'm also prepared to learn how to play basketball, study biology, listen to her fascination in mathematics, or any other number of interests she may decide are inspiring to her, despite how lost I feel in those subjects. Her emerging self will reveal to me how to best Mother her as she grows. But for now, until she tells me otherwise, she has a Priestess as a Mother and I will follow my path to support and love her in the best way that I can, and today that means slowing down, getting quiet, reflecting and listening deeper while closing my mouth.
I will listen to Mercury Retrograde, I will listen to the reflections that my loved ones shine upon me and I will listen to my gut, my inner wombspace of wisdom and I will allow myself to grow and to learn in the uncomfortable spaces. As I learn to do this for myself and to support my daughter in being held through her first experiences with frustration and impatience I become better equipped to take my Mother presence, the space within me that expresses the Mother Goddess, into the world to nurture, hold space and unconditionally love all of the children, both small and grown, as we flow to the best of our ability along the spiral path of the Goddess.
Blessed Be Mercury Retrograde and all my relations.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly
image taken from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ea/75/94/ea75941e1f563820c683cb08a5c7bd3d.jpg
[I was asked recently to develop a talk which could be delivered as a sermon, using ancient Egyptian sacred texts and ideas. Here is Part 2 of that talk. Read Part 1 here]
So, what is all this about Osiris? I don’t know about you, but there are some times when I have felt very beat up by life, even broken in pieces the way Set did Osiris. I have felt lost, scattered all over like Osiris’ body parts all over Egypt. I have felt swept by the flood downstream and out to sea, completely overwhelmed. Like Isis, I have wandered from place to place and through the desert, trying to find all the missing pieces of myself and trying to figure out how to put them back together again. Anyone else felt that too? It feels dark, doesn’t it? Everything out there begins to look like a crocodile, or a singing snake, maybe. We wish we had a handbook for getting through the dark....
To this awakening goddess, celebrating holidays has more to do with personal history than traditional roots. Imbolc, the modern Pagan celebration of an ancient Gaelic festival, means so much more to me now than it did when I first started studying Wicca and Paganism thirteen years ago.
Thirteen years ago, I found a home in Paganism at my very first public ritual, which was a celebration of Imbolc conducted by popular Pagan writer Ann Moura and her Ladies Tea Circle. I entered my first circle at that festival, and won a raffle for the first time in my life – an amethyst earring and pendant set and an hour-long session with a psychic who would become my mentor on my path to developing my own metaphysical interests and abilities....
I guide without need of scripture,
for my words are written on the hearts of my people.
Muhammad was right.
There are the ahl al-kitâb—the People of the Book—and then there are the pagans.
One of the things that impresses me most about the New Paganisms—and this is one of the ways in which we have remained most true to the ways of the ancestors—is that, from our very beginnings, we have been, and remain, non-scriptural religions. Occasional jokes about Edda-thumping aside (“Snorri said it, I believe it, That settles it”), we have, for the most part, managed to dodge the silver bullet of Canon. In a world in which religions are defined by their scriptures, this is an impressive achievement, rendered all the more striking by the apparently unconscious nature of the decision.