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.

Random bits.

The whirlwind continues, although it’s finally starting to even out. A few bits and pieces have come up this past month. These are just random thoughts, not necessarily related.

– My Kit is out of the state at the moment, working for the next three weeks with his old employer. His first day, yesterday, was 17 hours long. I haven’t been able to talk to him much, but if the next three weeks go like yesterday did, we’ll have a nice little cushion and start to the down payment on the house.

– Sir passed on Saturday. There is a hum, a buzz where His voice normally is. Usually it’s completely silent. In the days before Samhain, He was particularly talkative, especially as I led a chant during a ritual on the 30th. (I can’t tell you how nervous I was.)

– The Folk around our new home have raised their little heads, especially as much fog as there has been the past few weeks. They’re curious about me. This morning they tried to be tricksy in my head and I was having none of it. Mother Danu made motion too; they quieted down after that (with some giggling). Their House will be one of the things I pick up from J’s house this week.

– I am going through the next three weeks without my partner or my Lover. Friends are popping up with invitations for dinner and offers to come by, because I do tend to become a hermit by myself. Meanwhile, I’m channeling some of the lonely restlessness. I started the first part of the garden I’ve been planning – the compost basket for the center – and have gotten a few things organized around the house. I have plans to make some freezer meals this week – cook a dinner meant for six, eat a portion, pack a portion for lunch, freeze the rest. There are still boxes to move from J’s place, which I’m working on this week, and so many things to unpack.

– I’ll be at Festival of Light in Berkeley Springs in a week and a half, with our partner D to help me at the table (because she’s awesome), and I have my very first presentation on the Kabyle that weekend. Plus readings. Plus stock. And I have to finish a set of Stones and order a couple of fresh copies of the books.

– The cats keep crawling all over me at night, because Daddy isn’t home and Daddy’s girl wants love. I adore them both, but I wouldn’t mind a full night’s sleep, especially since I’m now getting up at 5:30 or earlier to get to work on time. 🙂

Collecting Themselves.

Happy July, kids.

Yep, two months. Not that I haven’t had anything about which to talk, necessarily, but here. Pick a reason I haven’t written about them.

A) OMD BUSY.
B) OMD KITTENS.
C) OMD BURNOUT.
D) OMD WRITER’S BLOCK.
E) OMD ALL OF THOSE.

There’s been a lot of mundane stuff happening. The day job went crazy for a while. We brought home two kittens (they are SO CUTE and SO DEMANDING). I’ve had commissions to do – they’ve built up to seven. The strange summer weather here on the east coast has been destroying Kit and making his various conditions all flare, meaning all the running-the-household stuff has fallen to me and the youngest, when I can wrangle his help (he’s better than I was at his age, so I really can’t bitch too much). I’ve been burning out somewhat, which means words? Yeah, they don’t flow very well.

Notice Something missing? Or more specifically, Someone?

That’s because He’s been very, very quiet.

They’ve all been very, very quiet.

Sir is still there. I reach out, and He reaches back. But even though He is at His strongest now – Father and Hunter and Master of the Wood – He isn’t chatty. He is making no demands or requests of me. I still have tasks, make no mistake. I still need to sit at my altar (after I remove a kitten); I need to start Their offerings again; Kit made mention of “walking in His forest” (a meditation of sorts). But He isn’t pushing.

Danu is quiet. Ganesha is quiet. Redwing is quiet. Tamalut is quiet. Even The Folk are quiet.

I talk to Kit. I talk to J. Their patrons are quiet. (And when Raven is quiet, you know something is up.) No one is angry. No one is upset. It feels like They’re collecting Themselves, gathering Their strength… almost waiting.

Something is coming is the message that keeps popping up. It’s been coming up for several people for over a year now. Soon, soon. “Soon,” of course, is in Their time, not ours. But Their gathering, Their quiet… I’m no so much nervous as I am a little lonely, and a little cautiously curious.

But I have work – and Work – to do. I have instructions from Him. That’s kind of the funny-odd part of being slave and lover to a Deity. Just because He’s quiet doesn’t mean the Work stops; it doesn’t mean W/we are no longer lovers. It means that both parties are busy, just with different things.

Actually, the thought just occurred to me – the six months of training and post-collaring  follow-up meant W/we were very very close for a long and intense period of time. Can anyone say breathing time? *chuckles*

So yes. The mundane front is CA-RAZY busy; it’s still quiet – but steady – on the spiritual front.

Local pain.

Over the weekend, we were in Martinsville, VA, a small town in which live my stepsons’ maternal grandparents. Kit and I were driving to have dinner with a friend in the next town when I passed a presence that shocked me.

It was one of the local Folk.

He (if you can assign gender at all) was in pain.

Martinsville was once a bustling factory town. Furniture, pharmaceuticals, construction. A hard-working town, hard-working people, mostly blue collar. But the current economy is just the latest in a number of blows to it. Jobs are all but gone. Young people have little to do but get high and have babies. Over the weekend, copper was stripped from the back of a local church, and bronze was stolen from local mausolea last week. If it weren’t for the nearby racetrack, the town would have been abandoned decades ago.

The people have lost hope, and it’s reflecting on the local Folk. Not all of them, mind you, but this one struck me hard.

He was near a local creek, making his way through a small copse. He felt dry. He felt older than his time, creaky, cracked old bones trying to hold together in desperation. The land around him was healthy – the healthiest it’s been in years. But the people are not.

The Folk don’t need us. They can survive, even thrive without us. But as Kit pointed out, people are still part of the web, and when there’s such a number who are simply hopeless, it will eventually reflect on the spirits nearest them. The people of Martinsville are in pain, and the town is dying, and now he is in pain.

For the first time I felt something for the Folk. My local Folk are usually merely annoyance to me. I built them a house and leave offerings in it to keep them out of my house and out of my hair. They’re tricksy, demanding, irritating. I acknowledge them because Danu is our shared Mother, and little else.

This time, I cried. I couldn’t help it. “They’re hurting, and they are my siblings!” I said to Kit. “What good is a healthy forest if the inhabitants are sick?”

A day later I can still “see” him, ragged and angled and parched. I can “see” others that I felt as well; young ones swinging from the grasses, established ones watching from bridge posts as we passed. They were curious about us, said as much in deep, resonant voices, much older-sounding than those I’m used to. It’s the first time I’ve tried to open myself to them, willingly listened to them, and all because of one hurting Folk.

Not sure what significance it will have in the long run. Not sure how to follow it. But it left a mark.

A morning conversation.

I wake up startled; my alarm has gone off, and I haven’t needed my alarm for a week.  Oh, shit, I think, as I scramble to turn it off and get out of bed.  I’ve gotten accustomed to leaving that extra bit early, and I direly need a shower.  Should I skip my pushups this morning?

You know better, Little Bird.  Slowly, proper form.

I sigh, drop into form, and do my five modified pushups.  Rising, I flip on the bathroom light, grab my facewash and toothbrush, wrap myself in a towel, and book it towards the other (working) shower.

Mumblz is in the bathroom.  I scream internally, ducking back into the bedroom to pull clothes while I’m waiting.

The bathroom is free; I get into the shower and get moving.  Brush teeth, wash face, shampoo –

You didn’t do that properly.  Do that again, slower.

I take a breath.  Yes, Sir.  Mindfulness.  Shampoo again, conditioner, quick suds.  The water is getting cold, and I speed up.

There’s no rush.

But the water is cold!  You’re enjoying this.

I feel Him smile.  I’m not rushing you.

I rinse quickly, dry off, wrap up, rush to the bedroom.  Kit is up, and I head for our bathroom to brush and braid my hair.  Right side.  And red.

I wince; I am not up to wearing that bra today.  Blue, please?

I see Him nod.  Heels.

I sigh in resignation, braid my hair carefully, put on His necklace, and pull on my clothes, mentioning to Kit that “He’s chatty this morning.”  I get the news that it’s foggy outside, and my Siblings are out.  I dig for barrettes as I try to figure out what to grab for lunch in the little time I have left and how much candy (gifted to me by Mugwump after his trick-or-treating) to take to work.

Remember to take Me with you.  I grab the green stone heart from my altar.  You can buy today, if you’re clever about it.  And two pieces of candy.

I’m petulant this morning.  Just two?  I look at the pile.

Just two.

I pick two.  Can I take a sucker?

Just two.

I pout, but put my two pieces in my bag, grab my coat and two apples for breakfast, and wake the Mugwump while Kit finishes collecting his things.  I still feel Him with me as I walk into the foggy morning.

The other diners at the table.

I’ve had a pretty rough night, and the day is quickly whiling away.  I had this post already pretty much written, and I want to try to post something daily.  So… welcome to my dinner table.

It’s obvious that the major focus of this work is Cernunnos.  He is my Lover and will be my Dominant (the title I am to use is yet to be determined).  But He is not the only one sitting at my table.  The other diners are a rather interesting bunch.

Danu, whom I have mentioned, is my Mother.  In some legend, She is the Mother of all the Celtic beings – gods and spirits alike – and has claimed me as Her child and voice.  She has always been gentle with me (Ordeal notwithstanding).  While I have fussed and complained like a four-year-old when She gives me a task, I have never insulted or outright defied Her.

Alongside Danu are Her other children, the Folk (otherwise known as the Aes Sidhe).  They receive milk and sometimes candy at their outdoor Folk House, but only enter my home when I’ve been derelict in this.  The wards Kit keeps repels all but the strongest and most benign intentions, but if I’ve been lax, they’ve been known to hide the TV remote.  They show themselves to me as fog most of the time and, while not deities, they are Siblings to me and require my attention.

Another deity at my table is Ganesha, for whom I am also voice, but usually amusement.  He is calm and laughs at me, requires devotion at His holidays and is often comfort in the face of an obstacle.  He usually gets along with everyone else at the table, but has sparred with Cernunnos once or twice over my consumption of meat at specific times.  He has made it clear that He is Warrior and will fight if need be – whether it is against my obstacles or against me.

My Guide is the red winged blackbird.  In European myth, he is often a sign of death and bad fortune, but he has been my first sign of spring for years.  He is my barometer of the seasons, an energetic and vain little bird, and gave me his wings as my shields.

Finally, a kahina (wise woman) stands as Presence.  She is a Kabyle ancestress of Kit’s whose spirit lives in the century-old wedding bracelet my in-laws gifted to me.  The bracelet was, best we can tell, made for her, and she will not tolerate damage (she has bitten me more than once).  She is the one driving my efforts with Kabyle symbols; she is a severe and no-nonsense woman, and she does not like metalworkers, as they know how to unmake her.

There is much more to all of these relationships, of course, but these are the place settings at my table.  Makes life very, very interesting sometimes.