August to December at Wayfaring Woman

In the last third of 2016 I took a bit of a break from writing and significantly reduced¬†my work here at Wandering Woman Wondering and at Wayfaring Woman (my column on the Agora at Patheos). I’ve included links below to the articles that I did not previously link here. Some of them are updates and revisions to work that I previously presented here on Wandering Woman Wondering, and some are new.

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Magical Masking and Dionysos

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/08/wayfaring-woman-magical-masking-and-dionysos/

The Roman God Mercurius – An Introduction and Ritual

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/08/wayfaring-woman-the-roman-god-mercurius-an-introduction-and-ritual/

Gifts From the Heart – An Autumn Spiced Guided Meditation

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/09/wayfaring-woman-gifts-from-the-heart-an-autumn-spiced-guided-meditation/

Guarding and Protecting Your Magical Workings

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/10/wayfaring-woman-guarding-and-protecting-your-magical-workings/

Hekate’s Hounds – Warders Between Worlds

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/10/wayfaring-woman-hekates-hounds-warders-between-worlds/

I hope you find these to be useful stepping stones along your own path, or at least intriguing in some way ūüėÄ

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Equinox Blessings

It was cold and dark, the wind lashed at us from all sides, driving us on. The lake-waters thrashed and roared without cease. Despite the chill, the air was electric. I could feel the power of the season coursing through me. It was Saturday, the 22nd, the Autumn Equinox and it was time for magic. We walked slow and steady through the sand until we found the spot on the beach that wanted to be our place.

We tried lighting candles and incense – a fool’s errand. When we realized, we laughed and set aside that bit of the plan. Each of us in our own way made peace with their absence, accepting that the strong moonlight and fresh scent of the lake as better still. After a few moments, we attuned to the place and began our work. We divided the tasks among us, one casting circle, each of us calling a direction, one leading the spellwork, and myself guiding the meditation. It was one in a handful of times that I’ve guided a meditation. Inspired by the place and time, the quality of my company, and the spirits with whom I work, I let the meditation flow. I’d planned it ahead of time (here’s the text that I wrote –¬†Mabon 2012 Guided Meditation¬†– attentive to the needs of the group of witch-folk I was with) but in the ritual moment details were added or altered, the contours of the experience changed, my facilitation style shifted too. In that time in that place in that moment my companions wildcrafted what they needed from the morphing meditation.¬†To close the ritual, we sent the remaining energy to loved ones for their health and healing, thanked the powers invoked, closed the circle, and departed.

The whole experience was intense for me, much more so than I really expected. I laughed, I cried, I sang. In that time, I remembered how blessed I am and I reacquainted myself with my ability to also offer small blessings to those around me. I am incredibly thankful for what I am able to receive but also for what I am able to give!

Blessings!

Ritual Form, Formulation, and Friday Fun

Earlier this evening, around 9pm, I participated in a ritual designed to help participants attune to the elements and then draw closer to those elements that they felt needed strengthening in their daily lives. There were about 20 of us in attendance. Tonight’s ritual was the culmination of my first adventure into planning and executing a public ritual for that many people. I have worked with groups of about 10-12, at the most, in a private setting, but 20 and public was a new frontier. Ultimately, it was very (very) manageable though because there were several – about seven – of us on the planning team. So I had the added benefit of learning what it’s like to work with six other people to brainstorm ideas, divvy up ritual roles and the like. Sure, I have worked with others before to plan ritual but typically it was about four people doing the heavy lifting with one or two others filling minor roles.

Because the ritual was tonight we, the ritual planning team, have yet to receive formal feedback but overall the response was positive. I was in charge of developing and guiding the elemental attunement meditation. The balancing was composed and orchestrated by Ian Phanes. Two attendees expressed a favorable opinion of the attunement and one of my fellow ritualists, Mr. Scorpio (who I mentioned in a previous post by the same pseudonym), also commented that it flowed nicely. I would like to lead more guided meditations (and hopefully pathworkings, which is like journeying, only instead of going out to the Otherworlds you go into your own spirit to seek out places for improvement and healing!) in the future, so I enjoy accepting ritual planning opportunities that allow me to build those muscles.

As you may have guessed from the focus of this evening’s ritual, it followed a Wiccan structure because it was what the majority of the planning team was familiar with. I realized tonight that though my personal practice has not been Wiccan centered in quite (quite!) some time, I still function well energetically and spirituality in Wiccan space. Well, I guess you never forget where your old bedroom is in your parents’¬† house! You know, I did not feel compelled to stay there indefinitely but it was definitely a nostalgic moment. We, the ritual planners, are however considering working within Druidic/Celtic ritual structures a la ADF. I personally appreciate the ADF Druidic/Celtic style of ritual a little more than the Wiccan style but am not really adverse to either ritual form. ADF rites are refreshing because they have a clear focus on deity, ancestor, and spirit veneration which can sometimes be muted in the Wiccan style, depending on the ritual leader, the overall focus of the group, the day of the week, and the color of everyone’s underwear. The ADF ritual style is stable and everyone knows what they are there for: To honor the kindreds (aka the Gods, the Ancestors, and the Spirits). Which pantheon of Gods is about the only thing that changes.

I was actually driving around with another Pagan friend yesterday, Rtemis4 from The Catskin Sisters, and we had a long conversation about how reliable (some would say rigid) the ADF structure is. While my personal practice could not be solely ADF style ritual, it certainly works for me eight times in the year when the sun is moving across the sky and the earth is changing her robes. The reliability, simple elegance, and reverence of a well-done ADF style ritual (in any of its incarnations: Hellenic, Roman, Norse, and Celtic) warm my heart on holy nights year-round! I must be completely transparent though and confess that I can wrap my spirit around almost any ritual form that is reverent, empowering, and beautiful. Any form that works to set human beings in right relationship with the other powers that inhabit and shape the Worlds is alright by me. My experience of Wiccan ritual has not always been in the vein; that may be why I moved away from that form of ritual in my personal practice, in favor of (modified) Norse, Hellenic, Roman, and insert culturally grounded ritual form here rites. As I mentioned above, I still like Wiccan ritual forms; however, they do not seem to have as much spiritual resonance for me in their straight-from- a-Wicca- 101-book form. “Not as much” is not none though!

Tonight’s very Wiccan ritual was fun and offered me an opportunity to test out my guided meditation skills. I hope to have another chance to practice and it is unlikely to come about in an ADF style ritual or in any of the (modified/soft) reconstructionism contexts in which I work.