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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


In June 2011, Temple of the River closed. It was my spiritual home for nearly six years, and while I learned many amazing things and met one of my best friends there, by the time its doors closed, I must admit that I was somewhat relieved to see it's demise. For a number of reasons, the last couple of years at the temple were very difficult for me. Its focus became so external that, as a result, my own energy was spent promoting the temple rather than nurturing my own spirituality. It happened so slowly that I didn't notice it until one day I just realized how utterly disconnected I felt from my practice and my gods. Still, I continued. For all the other troubles there were, I believed in what the temple was doing, and I wanted it to go on. But things continued to decline, and my spirituality continued to feel more and more hollow. My connection with my gods continued to wane. And still, because of my loyalty, because of everything that I had learned, I continued. And then one day, my then-teacher sent me an email, saying that, "Tonight I felt a great outrage from the Mórríghan. I have spoken closely with Lugh and Mórríghan about your apprenticeship and they are quite clear that you are out of second chances."

As I said, by that point, I had almost no remaining connection to my gods. And whatever was left was shattered by that declaration. Despite the fact that part of me knew how ridiculous his claim was, the other part of me, the part that was still the submissive student, figured that he had to be right. He knew a lot of things, had been my trusted teacher and priest for years. If anyone could know such a thing, it had to be him, right? The sensible part told myself that if this was correct, Morrighan herself would have told me so - and yet I felt no such outrage. But on the other hand, I wasn't feeling much of anything. The frightened part of myself said the silence was proof that Morrighan had to be pissed off at me. She was pissed off because I was ignoring her, because I was a terrible student, and because I was being whiny and weak for not doing more for the temple, despite all I had already given and how exhausted and strained I had become. I was a failure, plain and simple. I was not worth Morrighan's time. I was not worth any god's time.

For a couple of months after I left the temple, my spirituality was more or less nonexistent. The gods and the lore were always in the back of my mind, but I couldn't bring myself to do much of anything about it. There were still too many wounds that were still too fresh. Then I got into Kemetic religion, and learning about something so different helped to ease me back into a spiritual state of being. As a result, I was able to make more of an effort to reestablish a connection with my Celtic beliefs and practices. It wasn't much; an Imbolc celebration here, a little offering there, and maybe a couple of prayers in between. Still, there wasn't much feedback. By the time I wrote this post, I had realized that my Celtic practices still carried too many negative associations from my time at the temple, and thus decided to set them aside altogether to focus on my Kemetic ones. That post was a dedication to Morrighan and An Badb Cath before I went on my way, in case I would never be able to return to them.

Then something amazing happened. Last week, I felt a calling. I sat down in front of my long-neglected Celtic altar, and felt inspired to make offerings to Morrighan. It had been months since I had done any such thing, and the feeling I got from her was unlike anything I'd experienced before. In most ways she was the same; Morrighan's presence always felt to me like I was being wrapped in a darkness that was all at once beautiful, powerful, and comforting. But this time there was something more. There was a loving, caring, warm welcome. I was the child, confused and unhappy, who had to go her own way for a while; she was the mother who let me go, knowing that I had to have my own adventures and make my own mistakes. That offering was the homecoming. She welcomed me with a hug and a glad heart, as if to say, "you're finally here. I've been waiting for you, and I'm so happy to have you back. Welcome home!"

I finally feel like I can return to my Celtic practices. They feel new, and whole, and most importantly, they feel like mine. I doubt that Morrighan was ever outraged at me. I don't know why my former teacher told me such a thing. Maybe he was mistaken, maybe he was projecting his own frustrations, maybe he was trying to manipulate me. I don't think I'll ever know, but at this point, it doesn't matter anymore. I believe that Morrighan wanted me to go my own way for a while and figure things out for myself. I also believe that she called me when she knew I sorted my issues out, and that she knew I'd come back. Regardless of what happened at the temple, or what baggage it left me with, I know now that Morrighan is indeed my goddess, and that I am her child. I know that she wants me around, that she loves me. I see now that the rough road was worth it for this affirmation.

The reason I am sharing all of this is not to air my dirty laundry on a public forum. I have said the things that I have said only because they are a part of my story of uncertainty and disconnection. I have said the things I have said to show how shattered my faith had become, and subsequently, how it became restored. I have said these things with the hope of encouraging my fellow Pagans. Everyone goes through moments of spiritual dissonance. Sometimes they are severe and persistent, sometimes they have a singular cause, sometimes they seem to come from nowhere. Sometimes overcoming them requires patience and persistence, sometimes it requires going another way for a while. All we can do in the meantime is remind ourselves that spiritual life is a journey. Sometimes we get lost (or only think we get lost), but all we can do is keep going. It is only when we've stopped that we've truly lost our way.

Praise to The Great Queen!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Papyrus Painting - Serqet

Here is a picture of Serqet that I painted for one of my friends for her birthday. Because blasphemy is fun, I took the liberty of depicting the scorpion atop her head in a more lifelike fashion, rather than the stingerless, legless manner it usually is.

Serqet, She Who Causes the Throat to Breathe