Exactly three years after a Pentecost service helped me see that I was a Pagan, I descend into the underworld. I spent last weekend in ritual with a group of Witches, most of them oblivious to the fact that it was Pentecost in the Christian tradition. Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the followers of Jesus, tongues of fire upon their heads. They were filled with courage and started preaching, they spoke in languages they didn’t know, sang in the tongues of angels, and prophesied. Pentecost is usually seen as the birthday of the Christian church.
At the time of writing, several friends of mine are engaged in formal initiation proceedings, leading me to consider my own experiences with initiations.It was easy to pinpoint those formal initiations such as being initiated into the National Honor Society, or being initiated into a co-ed social group at my college that I can only explain as being modeled on the Merry Pranksters.But the experience that first came to mind when thinking of initiatory experiences was working the Twelve Steps.
Anyone who has a desire to stop using can become a member of a Twelve Step group.You do not have to work the Twelve Steps.However, the process of working the Twelve Steps is the manner in which one draws closer to the program or becomes truly initiated.It is how we begin to view fellowship as family.Since we work the Twelve Steps with a sponsor, we are forced to reach our hand out and ask for help.No longer are we able to sit in the back of the room, not talking to anyone.We must make connections in order to move forward.As we reveal ourselves to our sponsor, we learn how to become open and more vulnerable.We become open to taking suggestions, and learn about humility.These are essential elements for being part of a society instead of being a party of one.Not only does the process of the Twelve Steps change us into better people, but we also learn how to be with people as we work the steps.
Considering the articles I've read lately about whether or not pop culture icons and fluffy bunnies are appropriate idols for worship, and whether or not to bow to them, I'd like to address the reverence I feel for Classical music and the composers of that art. At the beginning of May, I sang in a concert of music by Beethoven. This concert may have changed my life. Towards peace.
There used to be this odd thing at funerals here in the South. There were these big floral arrangements, often with artificial flowers in bright cheery colors, and wired to the center was a toy princess phone. There were words on the arrangement:
Inanna is a very old Goddess.* She is one of the oldest Deities for whom we have a name and a record of worship -- and that worship lasted all the way up to the conversion of the Near and Middle East to first Christianity, then Islam. Today, Inanna (or Ishtar, in the Akkadian) is an immensely popular Goddess among Pagans, especially solitaries and those who practice Goddess Spirituality.
There are a number of resources available to those who are interested in Inanna, ranging from the densely academic to the poetic to children's books.**
O, yes, it is nearly Samhain. Oya is crashing north- and westward, Her winds clearing the path, driving the waters ahead of Her. And I am composing an invocation of the Morrighan and have purchased a perfect, fat pomegranate. It is so tempting to tear it open and taste the sweet wild seed-fruits, to quench my thirst as Persephone did and doom myself to a dual-life.