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.

Sacrifices and Gains

The first anniversary of my collar approaches. How time has flown! Kit and I are preparing to go to that Beltane festival once again, our fifth(?) year attending. Last year was colored much by the coming Ordeals. This year I can’t wait to go. But it got me thinking about sacrifices… and gains.

In the six months before my Ordeal, gave up video games almost entirely. Being that they were my primary means of relaxation, that was a bit of a big deal. I gave up choice in my hairstyle, wearing it almost exclusively in a braid of some sort unless otherwise given permission. (I still do this, these days for comfort.) I gave Him time on a regular basis, served His needs, listened to His instructions and words. And He sacrificed too, staying awake during the winter to guide me when He would normally be on the other side of the Hedge.

The night of my Ordeal, I sacrificed myself, but I sacrificed other things too. I sacrificed time with Kit – Beltane had always been our time, and now it’s O/our time. In wearing the items I did, I also took concepts with me. The $50 thong I bought just for the Ordeal was cut off and burned in the fire, a serious sacrifice to a budget-minded bull like me. The perfectly-fitting corset I wore was cut away, something I found beautiful. The robe I wore over top was a gift from Kit, bought during our first Beltane, sentimental and cherished. While the corset and robe were returned to me the next day, I walked into that Ordeal expecting to lose all the items I wore forever. I gave up a lot of pride and ego being used in the ways He did. I sacrificed these things to Him, and He rewarded me by returning what He could.

Since then, I have given up time and money to pursue O/our businesses, to make them successful and turn them into a doorway for other Work that He would have me (and Kit) do. As much as I would like to hack off all my hair some days, I am not permitted to; I have given those choices over to Him. I have twisted my tongue to speak more correctly, as He desires, backtracking on my own words and futzing out my brain as I adjust. And there is more to come.

But in the process, I have gained so much.

I have His love, protection, and patience, among other things. My relationship with Kit is still going strong, if not stronger. As good as my life was before, it’s better now – richer in life and experience, more colorful, more meaningful. The little joys make me smile so much broader than they used to, and the little irritations aren’t bothering me quite so much. It is not by any means perfect. It certainly isn’t easy. I still have massive day job frustrations. I am still mother to some amazing but often exasperating Mediterranean boys. Kit and I both still have our bad days, sometimes together, as do Sir and I. But it is right, and good, and wonderful more than it isn’t.

This Beltane, I might visit the space where I earned His collar. I might pick up a new toy for Him and I. But I will enjoy U/us – all of U/us – and celebrate His return to power as my 29th year begins among friends and those whom I love.

Blessed Beltane, all. May you find something about which to be joyous.

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!

Not yet time.

Back in December, I wrote:

I step into the shower, rearrange the curtain, and see it.

It sits there, waiting.

I want to pick it up. I want to use it. I want to feel that connection again.

It is not yet time.

It’s January 29th. I am counting days, not weeks. I’m feeling shocks across my heart as the connection comes back. He has gone from joyful child to “girls are icky” to mischievous.

It is still not yet time, but I can hear Him.

Almost, He says. His voice is growing stronger.

I fidget, my patience thin, although I do try. I try to concentrate on writing a ritual, and the words come in fits and starts. I try to work on product for the business, and flit from project to project. I look at my altar, too long ignored, and start to fuss with it. Kit and I are planning a veritable feast for Imbolc. I want everything to be right.

Days now. Just days.

A Timely Reminder.

I subscribe to the blogs of several excellent, knowledgeable people (most of which can be found in my sidebar), and WordPress e-mails me when they update. Today I received one from Twilight and Fire, who re-blogged an amazing entry by Wytch of the North.

One paragraph hit me hardest:

[F]or its very existence a deity marriage requires that you remain open, constantly, to your divine Spouse. […] [E]verytime you feel your heart begin to close against Them even the tiniest bit–through anger, complacency, disappointment, pain, or any other cause–you will need to willfully rip it open again in any way you can, once more offering Them the core of who you are, laid bare and bloodied before Them; and this is not something you will have to do once or twice but repeatedly, every time that wound begins to scab over again. […] [T]his raw openness allows your Beloved direct access to your heart–which is no longer, strictly speaking, yours but Theirs–and if you love Them, if you truly love Them, if your commitment was made cleanly and for all the right reasons, then the results of this painful process will be a source of unending joy for you that I cannot even begin to describe.

“Timely” is not the word.

One of the hardest parts of being slave and lover to a Deity who is (in the simplest terms) unavailable for three months of the year is staying open. If I am going to be completely honest, I haven’t done a very good job of it. And while the subject of the post is spouses and potential spouses, it applies here.

One of the things I remember most clearly about my collaring Ordeal is when I finally opened up. It was physical – I tore at my heart with my fingernails, as if to open a hole in my flesh. I have fought to keep that opening since – sometimes not as hard as I should – and I have not fought very hard over the cold months. Kit has felt the brunt of it; I have apologies and amends to make to him as well as to Sir.

With just a month left before He returns to youth, the reminder is timely. I have no illusions that He doesn’t know what has transpired over the winter; just because I can’t communicate with Him doesn’t mean He is blind or deaf. His presence is growing stronger (and laughs a lot). I am looking forward to His return and dreading it a little too – for reasons that were entirely preventable had I been just a little more mindful.

Awareness is the first step. The next one is action. Looks like I have one to take.

“Why do I miss You?”

Back in February, before my Ordeal, I took my first Labyrinth walk. Cernunnos invented a game for U/us to play then, and while I’ve walked and danced the Labyrinth several times since, the game has not come up again.

Last night was another walk, facilitated as usual by our friends IJ and R, and I revisited O/our Labyrinth Game.

On the way in, I thanked my Mother Danu. I thanked my Friend Ganesha. They have been with me, and been patient with me, since the beginning, and more so since His passing. Thanks were long overdue.

Otherwise, my mind was on Him, and all the maudlin feelings I have right now. At the center my grief waited for me, and I sat with it for a while. No tears came, but I sat and felt. After a time I stood, waited, held there for a minute, took a breath, and turned to leave.

I know the rules, I thought to myself. And so I started the game.

Why do I miss You? I repeated to myself as I walked the lengths of the Labyrinth. Don’t answer until you reach the turn. No repeats. No obvious answers.

Why do I miss You? Your smile in my soul.

Why do I miss You? Your lust.

Why do I miss You? Your every kind of touch.

Why do I miss You? Your bloodthirst.

Each thought brought up a memory, and I reveled in them. This Labyrinth is smaller than the one in February, but the game was no less challenging, and no less needed. Before I knew it I had reached the exit. I hugged IJ and went to Kit.

“Was He there?” was his first question. I shook my head. “Are you sure?” he asked knowingly. I shook my head again. Even if Kit felt or saw Him, I am not allowed to right now.

“But He was here,” I replied, pressing a hand to my heart. “And here,” I added, touching my temple.

And He will be back to me in February. Patience is not one of my virtues, but for those I love, and for He whom I serve, I will try to be patient. 🙂

Good night, my Love.

Today You sleep, my Love. I mourn Your passing, knowing that You are born again in December, knowing You will be vibrant and virile again in February, but missing You all the same. Today I wear black and green for You.

Today I honor those who have passed beyond the Hedge.

Betty Zaice, my grandmother-across-the-street. You were good to us, since the day we came to the neighborhood. You supported us best you knew how, for all that I was strange and all that happened to you. I honor you, and wish you peace.

Herry, you blessed little beast. Sometimes I still think I see you out of the corner of my eye. Sometimes I come home and think you’ll be on the pillows, waiting for love. You were one who could live on love. We miss you sorely.

Today I let go of my fears, my worries. I open a new venture with the blessings of my Sir and of Tamalut, and get ready to embark on another when He comes back to me. This is the year of new things.

Happy New Year. Blessed Samhain. Be at peace.