In ancient Rome, today is the feast day of Neptulia, set aside to honor Neptune, God of the seas and fresh water. The mythology of Neptune is somewhat a mystery, much like most of the deep sea remains to us. His early association with the Greek God Poseidon muddies the waters, so to speak. One aspect that differs in some detail is the more romanticized mythology of Neptune's ardent pursuit of his undersea queen, Salacia, a beautiful sea nymph.
Compassion spills and overflows The oceans of my Soul Each drop moving through Rivulets of prismatic depths.
A cadence of virtuosity as Fingers move in pizzicato Rhythm across ephemeral strings The sounds of empathetic release.
Seeker of that which is Just beyond the grasp Slips like liquid sand through The funnel of glass measured time.
And Devotion pools at the base Of sun-parched throats That willingly endure the pain To spare another the distress.
Martyr and miracle Saint and sacrifice Each flow in opposition Until the waters clear And the darkened path Of return is revealed.
Within the shadowy depths Of quickening waters Creation heeds the call As a newly formed compassion Fills my thirst-quenched Soul.
The focus of my personal spiritual practice for many years has been the refining of my emotions and the catalyzing of my creative will. The work I’ve had to do to accomplish this has been directed through the process of enlivening my energetic anatomy with the goal of sustaining those resultant changes in physical and manifest expression. For years, I drew on the knowledge base I have of the Eastern practices of breath work, yoga and the Kundalini serpent in combination with magickal workings. These applications worked well, but there was still a large piece missing that felt like a puzzle that has all of the pieces save the one most important end corner. I offered up the hunger I had for a deeper experience to my guides and was called to the Halls of the Egyptian Deities and the wisdom of their ancient alchemy.
When they first appeared in the fields, the lambs were small and sprightly, curious about everything. They ran and leapt about, little bundles of wild enthusiasm. There comes a point in the year – and we’re about there now – when lambs stop being little bouncy things, and start noticing that they are in fact, sheep. They fill out, getting that barrel body. They eat grass rather than relying on milk, run less, get sensible, because this is what sheep do.
Some years ago I met a guy at a badger hide, who was talking about the badger group and how one of the young badgers was totally bonkers. He hadn’t figured out what being a badger was all about, and was still running round like a mad thing. It was speculated that eventually he would get this sorted out, and grow up, and become like a regular badger.
As I cross the St. John's Bridge and start up the hill toward my usual Forest Park trailhead, my stomach tightens with anticipation. I've been praying for renewal, for a re-awakening of my spiritual awareness, and today I'm returning to my favorite woods for the first time in months. I walked this path several times a week last summer and fall, finding the sacred in the creaking trees and cool shadows.
Across the many pantheons and even within single traditions, there are more than a few goddesses to be found personifying sorrow and grief. We can look to these mournful deities to help us through our own times of unhappiness, from mild melancholia to the throes of despair and even to the rising up and moving forward after the worst of the grieving has passed. In our times of need, we can turn to these goddesses for compassion, strength and renewal.
In the Christian tradition Mary bears seven sorrows as a mother who must accept the destiny of her son. Early in Jesus’s life, they are the typical sorrows of any mother, but Mary's heroic strength through the inconceivable grief of his persecution and execution is said to have prepared her heart for the joy of Christ’s resurrection. As a mother I can only imagine the depth of her pain, both emotional and physical. Her stoic countenance tells all. In the hostile atmosphere, she dare not carry on in fits of anguish lest she too be persecuted. Yet it is not likely that fear for her own safety restrained her as much as the knowledge that her son did not need one more added burden; that of worry over the wellbeing of his mother.
Dear readers I hope you'll forgive me for not posting as frequently to this blog as I would like to. I'm in the midst of finishing my next book, and have a heavy teaching and ritual schedule for the next several months. The blog post after this one will return to the topic of the mechanics of how rituals can be done from a distance. I did feel moved by a third degree initiation that just occurred this past weekend to quickly share a few thoughts.