I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu. While I don't work with the Japanese deities at all in my own practice, one of the most moving public rituals that I have ever assisted with was an ordination of a priestess of Amaterasu. It was a Midsummer over 15 years ago, a hot and humid Texas Midsummer where it had been well over 100 degrees. (It was the summer of 1998, where we had over 100 consecutive days of over 100 degree temperatures.) But it wasn't the heat that made it memorable. It was the fact that the priestess we ordained was born in a male body, but identified as a priestess. Others had refused to recognize his -- the pronoun he preferred -- priestesshood, but my circle agreed to do so. It was a beautiful, powerful moment of someone stepping into power and being supported by community. Ever since then, I've associated Amaterasu with stepping into our full beauty -- a message especially important to queer and gender nonconforming people.
It made me smile that Amaterasu appeared in my cards on this first Sunday of June, which is also the first Sunday of Pride Month.
When Sekhmet, The Mighty One, roared into my cards this week, I didn't even know what to say. Sekhmet encourages to get in touch with our anger and our rage and use it to transform our lives and our situations. As someone who wrestles with depression -- "anger turned inward," as the saying goes -- giving free range to my anger and rage is sometimes frightening. And given that American society's response to a woman with strong emotions and opinions, a woman who shows anger, is typically to dismiss her as irrational and thus not worth listening to, letting my inner Sekhmet out is something I've been strongly socialized to avoid.
But she is here to visit, in all her lion-headed majesty....
It's not an easy few days around here. Finals time is always stressful, between the piles of papers and exams to grade, soothing freaked-out students, and trying to get all the end of academic year paperwork turned in. Add in that I had a sudden and unexpected -- and still bewildering -- falling out with an old friend, that I'm staring at a summer with no teaching income, and that I'm just plain tired, and its all too easy to fall into a spiral of negative thinking. I've been really working to stay positive, to see my teaching-free summer as a great opportunity to build my business and do some much-needed writing, to trust that things will work out as they should. I know too well what happens when I let myself go down the rabbit hole of negative thinking -- nothing good, to put it mildly.
The Universe definitely wanted to send me a message along those lines this week, because Aditi, the Hindu Mother Goddess, came up in my cards this week:
It's the first week of May, which -- along with Beltaine -- means it's finals time. Now that I'm a professor I'm on the "grading" rather than the "taking" side of the exams, but I'm not entirely sure that makes things less stressful! In the midst of all the finals time tasks -- grading papers, answering panicked emails, crafting review sheets and exams, and generally wrapping up my classes -- I've been surfing a wave of inspiration for new ideas for my Etsy shop, my Tarot blog, more metaphysical classes I want to offer, and various writing projects I want to undertake. It is quite like me to get very inspired when I have a pile of rather mundane tasks to square away.
When Brigit came up as the Goddess for this week, it was a bit like meeting an old friend. Brigit (or Brighid) has been one Goddess I've worked with consistently in my practice. I like her triune nature, as patroness of poetry, smithcraft, and midwifery. I appreciate that she is the one who brings imbas, the fire in the head that is inspiration. The first circle I ever practiced with was dedicated to Her, and our major Sabbat celebration was Imbolc/Brighid. It will be nice to spend the next week with her, as I navigate the waters of both inspiration and obligation.
Contrary to my usual pattern in the high, bright, Texas Springtime, I've found myself doing a lot of going within of late. I'm facing something of a transition in my career -- not necessarily out of my line of work and into a new one, but into a new relationship with what I do and also the launching of several new ventures. I've found myself simultaneously terrified and excited by the changes, and have been feeling a lot of internal changes and shifts as well.
Add in that I've been teaching an8-week online intensive about the Chakras, with this last week focusing on the Sacral Chakra with all its powers of intuition, creativity, and finding personal power and passion, and it's been a time of really considering what makes me tick, what I need to feel stable and safe (thanks, Root Chakra!), and exploring my relationship with my intuition and ability to trust myself.
I gave a little chuckle when Chang O, Chinese Goddess of the Moon, danced into my life this week. I am a fan of the Chang O card in Kris Waldherr's The Goddess Tarot, as she represents Contemplation -- the equivalent of the Hermit -- and spiritual seeking. I identify greatly with her as a symbol for seeking the Goddess and for seeking my own sacredness as a woman.
It's Springtime here in Texas -- though my friends in Chicago assure me it's still winter there -- and along with the bluebonnets and the longer days, that means it's almost finals time. Somehow this time of year is at least as busy for me in my professor role as it ever was for me as a student. I'm also staring down a summer of uncertain employment, as my faculty appointments are part-time. So it's been a time of excitement at new possibilities but also worries about what ifs, and in my typical fashion I've been internalizing and stressing and feeling as though I have to find a way to figure out an answer to the pressing questions of finances and career.
Thank Goddess that Tara decided to dance into my week!