Exploring spirituality somewhere between the Emerald Isle and the Black Land....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dolmen: A Story and a Soapbox (PBP)

About six and a half years ago, I found myself in one of the most magical places in the world; a small farm nestled atop the bluffs of Southeastern Minnesota. It was dawn, and I, in the company of my teacher and three fellow students, stood on a grassy peak that overlooked the farm, the ravine below, and the rolling, forested landscape that lay beyond. Everything was obscured by mist, making even the rising sun just a soft blur of light. For a long time we stood there, watching the sun climb higher as the mist dissipated.

Then we got to work. We had a dolmen to build!

Only weeks before, I had joined a Celtic polytheist temple, and didn’t even know what a dolmen was. My newfound teacher had been hatching plans to build one for a friend of his, and was determined to get his new students in on the action. His initial explanation was as simple as, “you know what Stonehenge is? Well, it'll be like that, but smaller.” He went on to explain that they were places of great spiritual power, often thought to be tombs, as well as homes to the spirits, and gateways to the Otherworld. Dolmens are often aligned with significant solar events, such as sunrises/sunsets on equinoxes and solstices. Our own dolmen was measured it to align to the sunrise on Samhain, and was dedicated to the spirits of those who have been victims of torture and war,  so they would have a peaceful place to rest.

And here it is, the Great Minnesota Dolmen:

As I was writing this post the other day, it came to my attention that Houston County (where the dolmen was built) is the latest target of mining companies for frac sand mining, a practice that has a horrific ecological impact. I hope that any of you who’ve taken the time to read this post will check out this website for more information, and sign the petition to stop the mining and protect the land: http://www.sandpointtimes.com/houston/

Pagan Blog Project

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crows of Battle (Pagan Blog Project)

Since delving into Kemetic religion a few months ago, I have to some extent set aside my Celtic devotions. It wasn’t entirely unintentional, since I wanted to fully devote myself to this new experience and learn all I could about the Egyptian gods and practices. I know that the Deithe (the gods) are still there, that they are patient, but sometimes I feel bad for neglecting them. Especially Morrighan, The Great Queen, and An Badb Cath, The Battle Crow, as they are the gods I am closest to, and the gods who have helped me become the person that I am now. I know it’s not the grandest of gestures, but I thought I’d devote a post to these amazing goddesses and what they have given me.

First there’s Morrighan, who I sometimes affectionately refer to as “the first half of my patron.” She can be aloof or distant in that she doesn’t come knocking on my brain telling me what she wants. It’s almost like she expects her devotees to know what is required of them. She is The Great Queen, after all, and a queen can always expect to be treated with the honor she deserves. Yet more than anything, what distinguishes Morrighan is a certain coolness she has about her, wrapped around a quiet, unyielding strength.

My relationship to her has always been an interesting one…. I never felt intimidated or put off by her as I know some people are, but she certainly wasn’t waiting for me with a smile and a hug. I think the best way I can describe it is as a relationship between a child and a stern parent. Yes, she cares; she is there to guide, to give advice… but she sure as hell isn’t going to coddle me. I had a strict and stifling Catholic upbringing, and was thus instilled with toxic levels of meekness and shame. Morrighan has been my antidote to this. She doesn't let me pout or feel sorry for myself. She tells me to stand up, and it was with her help that I found my confidence and am learning my self-worth.

If Morrighan is my stern parent, then An Badb Cath (the other half of my patron) is my wild aunt. If Morrighan is the calm before the storm,  The Red-mouthed Badb is the electricity that you can feel in the air and makes your hair stand up on end. She is ecstatic rage; unbridled, untamable, unpredictable passionate energy. She wants nothing more than for me to express myself. And by “express myself,” I don’t mean “express my happy feelings with finger paints.” I’m talking about those nasty, ugly feelings, the ones that people are discouraged from having, much less expressing. Not only did she teach me that it is ok to be angry (which was a revolutionary idea to me with the way I was raised), she taught me that it is ok to let myself feel it. Instead of being ashamed of my feelings and hiding them in some dark corner of my soul where they would fester and grow until they consumed me, I learned to accept them, to look at them objectively and allow them to run their course.

To me, these goddesses are proof that you can’t deny what is ugly and unpleasant in your life or yourself. You have to face those things, embrace them even. The world is made up of night and day, dark and light. They certainly aren’t happy, cuddly goddesses, but it is because of their lessons that I am as whole and happy a person as I am today. Because of this, I know what wherever my spiritual path leads, I will always have a place in my heart for the Crows of Battle.

Pagan Blog Project