Twilight Covening comes again.

I have missed it for the past two years. Now that things are stabilizing financially (thanks to Kit’s new job), I am going back to Twilight Covening.

Of late, I have been utterly overwhelmed by Life. This, if you’ve been around for a while, is not unusual. We’re still in the midst of the House Saga (very close to actually buying it now, thanks to family help). There’s still stuff to unpack, because my nerves about being able to stay kept me from unpacking much more. We’ve had a plumbing problem in the kitchen that we might (might) have finally solved. And add to that doctor stuff, anxiety stuff, day-to-day responsibilities, and business stuff, and BOOM. There goes the spiritual life again.

I feel like one of the weirdest godslaves ever, really.

I did manage Ganeshotsav this year, good and proper, including the nose piercing I still owed Him. And we finally got the main altars set up. That all helped immensely.

But going back to Twilight Covening is a relief… and utterly nerve-wracking.

The selection process was shockingly easy for me. And I got my first choice – Kodiak, which is built to help us learn to nourish our Work and our Selves. This is part of why I’m relieved, because yet again, I’m restless and exhausted and way too often on the edge of burnout.

No, I didn’t keep up with yoga. No, I didn’t keep imced or the Fool in balance. No, I didn’t keep any of the lessons I learned at my last Twilight in 2013. I’ve let Life overwhelm me again, and over and over again let me berate myself for being a lazy Pagan and a bad godslave and everything else, which is a cycle that is really terrible, honestly, and you shouldn’t do that and neither should I, but welcome to my brain.

So I need this. I need this badly, and Kit’s insistence that I go, that I use part of his hard-earned first paycheck to register, is a relief.

But I’ve missed two years of the mountain. And going back after being away from anything so long makes me nervous as hell. I’m back to being that, “Oh no, trying new things, help?” person, at least for the moment.

Sir is quiet. Danu my Mother is quiet. Ganesha my Cousin is quiet. The Folk and Redwing and Raven (who has more say in my life these days), and Tamalut… they wait. Not to see what I’ll do, not to see if I’ll fail. They wait for me to learn and to grow and to find my way out of the hole I keep putting myself in. They set the path. I need to turn my feet to walk it more often, and more consistently. For my own health; for my own heart; for my own healing.

So back I go. Back to the cold stone, the warm leaves, the high mountain, the low sky. Back I go.

A few Imbolc notes.

First, Blessed Imbolc! Sir is back; my head is swimming a bit, but I’m so happy to have Him back. Kit and I have an amazing feast planned and are otherwise doing some cleaning up and refreshing of altars and such.

In the meantime… the next phase of my life changing drastically begins today. Sir has stated that I must try to make Raven’s Own and her sister projects my full time work – meaning I must quit my day job. However, I cannot, for the sake of my family, simply stop the flow of income I am currently getting from my day job – and that He understands. So today, I have started a fundraiser on Indiegogo to help raise one year’s worth of funds. If I meet my goal, I will quit my job in June and put my focus on the Work He has in store for me – including Raven’s Own, Tafat n Kahina, and more. If you can help, there are some lovely perks, from the $10 level on up, and every little bit helps.

Meanwhile, in even lovelier news, my dear friend Irene over at Pink Pagan Priestess has released a wonderful gift for everyone – a new five-song EP from her Pagan folk side project, Imbolc Fire. It features two members of her metal band – drummer (and husband) Jay Jericho and lead guitarist Chris Kackley – and is gorgeous. (My Kit and I contributed to the last track as well – that was a lot of fun!) So pop over to Imbolc Fire to download “Drum and Chalice” for free! (A donation is appreciated, but not required.)

Blessed day, all. I’m gonna go rest up before the cooking storm begins!

The Conundrum *DUN dun DUUUUUUN*

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past couple of months, or been on my Facebook page since July, you’ve heard me mention The Conundrum. I’ve mentioned it being scary-making and shake-inducing and how frustrating it’s been to not be able to discuss it with anyone but Kit. (Although if you’ve been reading about my hair color thoughts recently, you’ve probably guessed what it could be.)

At Twilight Covening, I was permitted to finally discuss it. I was allowed to discuss it with a friend on the way home. And while I’m not allowed to talk incessantly about it, I can say more than I have been able to of late, which takes some of the frustration out of me and some of the pressure off of Kit.

So what the hell is this Conundrum? I’ve been through that whole Ordeal thing, so what’s so damned scary about this?

It involves me quitting my boring, unsatisfying, but very very stable office job to turn my attention to my spiritual Work and the business for a minimum of one year.

There are a lot of safeguards that He is allowing so that we can continue to pay our bills. But I must make the attempt within the next 12 months. As He says, I can’t wait until our youngest is out of school (three years away). I can’t wait until the economy improves. I implement my last safeguard on February 2nd, and could be quitting my job as early as June of 2013.

After that… I dye my hair Fishbowl. Or maybe Blue Haired Freak. Because I won’t be an office worker for at least a year, and because Sir is amused by the idea. 🙂

Changes & Conundrums

Change is in the air.

Not only is it in the turning of the Wheel (tomorrow is Lughnasadh, after all), but it is everywhere. It is both finite and expansive. It is just behind, occurring now, and just on the horizon. Friends are changing locations, jobs, and lives. Children are being born to many of them. School begins for my youngest soon; my middle child is considering a long-distance move; my oldest marries in just a few months. Here in the US, we’re getting ready for national elections, which will alter the direction of our country, for better or for worse.

I have a number of my own changes in store. One of my favorite festivals – a small, family-style affair – holds its last gathering this year, and I will miss it dearly. In October I’m off to Twilight Covening again, and I always come back changed. And on top of it all is the Conundrum.

Those who know me or see my Facebook recognize the reference. A couple of weeks ago I started mentioning it. More specifically, I mentioned how fucking terrified it was making me.

Cave! Want my cave now! Safe happy cave!
(Image from cheezeburger.com)

Then the universe started stomping. Articles, pictures, quotes, and more, all within a couple of days, suddenly centered around the very things of which The Conundrum is made. The universe, not Sir. Important distinction, because Sir is helping Kit and I plan out The Conundrum to give us the best possible chance of success. It’s the rest of the universe sending a hammer my way. This has finally calmed down some, thankfully, but still. Scared. Terrified. Big change, big transition, we doesn’t likes it preciousssss…

What’s even worse?

I can’t talk about it.

Oh, sure, I can say, “I have a big life change coming.” I can say, “There’s this big Conundrum hanging over my head.” But what does that say? Not a whole helluva lot. I can’t tell you what the conundrum is, what‘s changing, why exactly I’m scared (other than EEK CHANGE). The only person I can talk to about this is the person it will most directly affect – Kit. (I can tell you that Kit and I are fine.)

I can’t tell anybody else any details… until February.

ARGLEBARGLEFLAILGRAH!

Followed by this.
Charlie Brown & Peanuts (c) Charles Schulz

And this will be part of my winter work. Coping with The Conundrum and the coming change… and not spilling a single detail.

This could be a very long winter.

Ordeal: The Pain

It was 7:00 on Saturday night, and I was terrified. I had 90 minutes to prepare, and I was trying to keep from breaking down.

Wipe down. Clean feet. Moisturize face. Paint nails. Apply makeup.

Kit helped me best he could. He stayed with me, talked to me.

Underwear on. Kit laced me into my corset. Robe on. Hair out of braids.

Kit took pictures, just for us. I saw them later; the fear is so apparent.

We talked, we cried, and then I picked up my things and went.

I was early. I hesitated outside the space, close enough to hear voices, far enough away that I don’t think I was seen. I stood for a moment, removed my shoes, rearranged my basket, felt my heart pounding.

I stepped forward a little bit, and was met by N, who would be standing guard. We talked until it was time.

D and J, my aftercare team, met me and took my things, including my eyeglasses. They guided me to where I needed to be, and I stood next to my OM.

He faced the people ringed around us, spoke of why we were there. The exact words I can’t recall, but they were perfect. I was asked if I had anything to say, and I thanked everyone who was there, those who knew me and didn’t, those who changed plans to be there for me. I turned to my OM, who asked me three times if I consented.

I consent.

I consent.

I consent.

I was instructed to go next to the fire, to pray and to meditate. I spoke to Cernunnos, to help, to love, to see me through, to accept me and my submission.

I felt someone behind me, took a breath, and it began.

My hair was pulled; a knife was drawn over my flesh. It awakened the fight in me immediately.

From there it was terror and pain.

Darkness before me, with only the eyes of my Master glittering at me. Strikes across my face with a heavy hand, one I have felt before. Sharp strikes with a paddle I did not provide. A near-fisting in front of all witnesses. Kissing the ground, licking boots. The sjambok.

I can’t remember everything I said, everything said to me. I can’t remember every fight or insult. I know I hit the person holding me a few times; I know my head connected with his and my nails dug in.

All the while, E (who held me down and moved me as commanded by my Master), stroked my hair, whispered encouragement. E kept me standing when I would have fallen. All the while, the people in the ring around us shouted encouragement, asked questions in response to my words, drove me further.

“You are loved.”

“There is strength in submission.”

“You can do this.”

“We are with you.”

“Are you only pain?”

Two voices I recognized. The rest were strangers, calling encouragement, calling love, calling strength. All the while, my Lover stood, silhouetted by fire, waiting for me to submit.

I learned my safe word. I had not asked Him for it, for fear that I would use it. I almost did. I stopped myself just in time.

I screamed in E’s ear. I sobbed. I fought, and I finally, finally, finally opened. I ripped at my own chest, opening the gaping hole He has worked with all this time. I gasped, “Open! Open! I am open.” And I lay on the ground, splayed and spent.

My Master held. He instructed that I be brought to my knees. My Lover stood before me, holding out His hand. I reached up, but dared not touch – to touch Him would mean failure.

He took my hand.

I collapsed into sobs as my Lover pulled me close. My Master said, “She is a beautiful woman. She is a good girl.”

My Lover sat me back. Someone moved my hair. There was a click, the feeling of metal, the prick of antlers.

I had passed.

My Lover held me for a time, lying there in the grass, pain and relief and wonder and tears. He spoke to me, stroked my hair, told me He loved me, that I was beautiful, that my submission was beautiful. He kissed me then, brought D and J to me, and left.

Before leaving, I remembered the whiskey He had asked for. I offered it to the fire – half the bottle. It flared, burning my marks. A sip was offered to my Master, then to my Lover.

It was over. I had done it. D and J wrapped me in a blanket, made sure I had my shoes and glasses, and guided me out of the circle.

T-minus 9 days

Received an e-mail about the Ordeal – just ordinary organizational stuff – and it has set off my fear something awful this morning. The darkness outside doesn’t help (it’s about ready to storm, methinks: I love storms, but there’s something really foreboding about it right now).

My chest is tight. My forehead is a little damp. I’ve got a lump in my throat. I’m having to concentrate rather hard on breathing.

He’s watching. He’s not saying anything, or comforting, or anything. Just letting me feel. I know I need to do that… uncomfortable at the best of times, and most especially while I’m at my day job. I’ll get through.

OhhotdamnfuckingSHITE.

T-minus 25 days

I think one of my most persistent fears is reserved for after my Ordeal, when the Work begins in earnest.

I have a family. I have a partner and stepsons and parents and aunts and uncles and friends who are closer than much of my blood family. I also have an obsessive personality. The LAST thing I want to do is neglect them for the Work. It’s a balance I’ve not mastered. It’s already been commented upon by people to whom I can’t explain any of this. I worry that I’m already an absent-minded partner, an absent-minded parent, an absent-minded friend, and that this will make that so much worse. I fear doing more damage to my boys, who are already fighting so hard against the damage done to them by others. It’s not His assignments I fear – it’s my own obsessive response to them, because while I encourage moderation, I haven’t learned it very well myself. :\