When I first started studying in the ADF Druidry Dedicants' Program over a decade ago (. . . sigh), the wording of the program was a little different at the time because it was the second draft. I was studying with my grove, Grove of the Other Gods and our senior druid was authorized to proctor the class with my cycle and she was able to bestow certification of class completion. I need to caveat here as I need to caveat everything when I talk about ADF: My grove was and is a chartered grove, we follow the few rules that we are required to follow. We use the liturgical ADF ritual outline. But I can just about guarantee that our take on 80% of ADF and how we do our rituals besides following the outline is going to be radically different from the rest of ADF. That said, we're also one of the largest groves in the US so it resonates with a lot of people from our tristate area at least. My grove is not very "high Episcopagan", there's not a lot of ritual robes, swords or thee'ing and thou'ing. If that's your bag, rock out! There's room for everyone at the Occultists, Witches and Pagans table in my opinion. Despite being raised Catholic, it's not something that really stuck for me personally but a lot of people find that level of ceremony very moving.
I first began to utilize 'Priestessing' as a verb during my second week postpartum.
During that time I texted my childhood friend, Melanie, from the couch that I was unable to leave. Being stuck on the couch was a surprising situation for me to be in, for while I had planned on doing a 40 day sit in with my newborn Maiden, I hadn't planned on my carefully planned for home water birth becoming a C-section, nor for the recovery time that it would entail. Least of all was I planning on getting an infected cyst inside of my inner thigh just as I began to get the strength to be up and about for extended periods of time on my own.
I had envisioned the sit in being peaceful (which for the most part it was) and myself floating around on a cloud, wearing my baby, breastfeeding and napping, and, while I did nap and breastfed with her consistently I was definitely not floating nor was I wearing her. My stomach incision was too painful and at the moment that I was texting Melanie I was sitting on gauze pads sans pants or underwear oozing pus and blood onto the pad as my baby slept nestled in my arm. I was in shock from an operation that I wasn't expecting, new Motherhood hormones and that darn infected cyst. To top it all off, I was only 8 days into my 40 day sit~in I was starting to feel stir crazy.
“When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.”
— Eckhart Tolle
I read this quote a few years ago. It stuck with me. I wanted to use Tarot to explore how to regain that state of being in touch with my inner stillness. I see it as a breach of faith with myself when I lose this quiet place in my spirit.
This winter has been a harsh one thus far, to say the least. Rather than resist it, the best tactic for coping might in fact be facing it head on. Provided that February 2 does not fall into dangerous windchill temps in your neck of the woods, I recommend a meditation by skiing. Cross-country, that is. I will never forget the Saturday afternoon back in high school that I cross-country skied to my best friend's house across a barren cornfield. The weather conditions were ideal. The sun was out and making the snow on the ground glisten. It was warm enough that I could eventually unbutton my long overcoat. I was listening to Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side of the Moon," on my walkman. If that dates me, I don't care. The experience was paradisiacal.
Happy New Year! We leave behind 2013 and embark on new journeys in 2014. At the start of each new year I spend some reflective time to remind myself of the goals I have accomplished and how they can be best used as the foundations for the year's work ahead. I use multiple disciplines- Numerology, Astrology and Tarot- as part of this annual meditation and make note of the recurring themes of each as areas I should be especially mindful of.
This year resonates to the number 7 (add the 2+0+1+4=7) and the potential for new paths, gaining mastery over what was begun in 2013 and deeper connection to understanding our own spiritual nature. The number seven is the proving ground of what lessons we think we have successfully traversed. It holds the tension between the harmonious balance of the number 6, the double Trinity and the eternity and expansion and contraction of the number 8, the Lemniscate. That middle ground of 7 is the place for exploration of what feeds our knowledge base so that we may arrive more fully informed at the eternal Gateway of time and space (8).
In the middle of lunch, my father looked into my eyes and asked who I was. This question stopped me in my tracks. For a moment, I forgot my father’s illness. Instead, I remembered that he was responsible for naming me.