Early Riser.

Ain’t this your time of need?
You’re turning to the light
You have just begun to explore the dark
In the urban night

It’s been a long road. I have constantly, consistently allowed mundane things to interrupt spiritual things, including and especially my Service. A few Voices are making their way back into my life, pushing against the numbness. Raven is one, clacking His beak in my left ear since Twilight Covening. Mother Danu is another. Yesterday I think it was, I heard baby babbling on the side of my mind most occupied by Her and was confused.

The world is on fire
And you are here to stay and burn with me
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forevermore

She explained. The side of my mind most occupied by my Lover and Sir has been numb. I’m having a hard time Hearing because I’ve allowed life to close me down.

This morning that changed.

You’re so goddamn frail
Failing for a change
You just had to know all about the world
But you will never know
‘Cause no one ever told you how

The past few years, Sir has gone through the entire growth process. Dying at Samhain, reborn at Yule, a child at Imbolc, and so forth. This year, this morning, He burst through in a massive shiver, a whisper ofย Explore your darkness with Me, along with the song I was listening to on my commute.

The world is on fire
And you are here to stay and burn with me
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forever

The world is on fire
And we are tied as one eternally
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forevermore

Not only does He like Ghost, apparently, but He decided He would come back to adulthood NOW. I have been numb for much too long.

*the video is fan-made.

No resolutions.

I don’t make them. Not a one. I always over-reach and end up setting myself up for failure. So I don’t make resolutions. But boy am I glad 2015 is over.

Last year was full of ups and downs. I’m not talking about the downs. I am so thrilled that we found a place of our own, with help from friends and the Universe (Ganesha gets ALL THE CHOCOLATE). We’re nearly unpacked, really, and loving the cozy little house with the cozy little backyard and the lovely neighbors.

Now that Life is starting to settle down, Work will be ramping up. Mother has been talkative this season, and given firm instruction in some cases. New home means new Folk, who are very very quiet so far but a little more openly wicked than others I’ve lived near. Sir was making stronger motions just before Samhain, and I expect Him to ask more of me this year. Ganesha moved a lot of boulders to help us get where we are; He will expect me to follow through on Ganeshotsav this year.

Work will be hand-in-hand with life, too. I’m socking away whatever I can to help us buy the house, which we are currently renting, but also stuffing funds away to help keep Raven’s Own going and to try to get to Twilight Covening this year (I’ve missed two).

The Kahina Stones gave me no absolutes for New Year’s, either – it’s up to me to make this year my bitch. Or not.

I have goals. Just no resolutions.

I do have a Wish this time around, though.

That all who are lost find their way.
That all who love find love returned to them.
That all who are hurt find what they need to heal.
That we all find our purpose in this crazy, frustrating, wonderful world, even if that purpose is to just be our crazy, frustrating, wonderful selves.

Into the Second

Things are finally starting to slow down for me in the mundane world. Kit is out of work, but we’ve moved in with a friend to help us manage expenses. Now that the move is over, the first event rush is done, and things are settling down, my thoughts are turning back here. He’s been very patient, and now He wants time.

The other night I found a new conduit, one which should not have surprised me but did nevertheless. While taking a shower (always the shower), I scrubbed vigorously at the tattoo on my wrist. The following whack in my head nearly knocked me down, because suddenly I was open and He was there and demanding. Last night I consciously did the same to open up that communication again; He had his way with me. It was dominating and comforting and THANK YOU, SIR.

It will be two years on May 5th. In some ways I’ve done well, and in some ways not so well. He is displeased about me not taking care of His property (me) and is once again putting an emphasis on it. Back to yoga; back to eating consciously; back to taking care of myself. He wants a second night every month, one I choose, dedicated to time with Him. I’m to make a new daily collar, too; mine is not cleaning up well and needs to be refreshed. For now I’m wearing the formal; the prick of the antlers is actually comforting, even if it does get tangled in my hair.

Speaking of hair, I’m permitted to trim my hair. He still wants it long, but it’s now starting to split five or six inches up, and a maintenance trim is going to be needed from now on. It’s part of that “taking care of myself” thing; I still need to be aware of the products I use and I can’t chop my hair off, but I’m learning that a concerted effort doesn’t have to mean breaking my budget. Doing what I can within my means is still taking care of me, as well as making sure I have enough energy and funds to take care of my family and furbabies (another thing He’s emphasizing).

There’s something I’ve felt the need for, and I think He feels as well – the need for reassertion. The song that keeps playing in my head, for instance, is “Whore” by In This Moment, mainly for the first part of the chorus:

I can be your whore
I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner, I am your whore

He likes it. Doesn’t hurt me any that Chris Motionless is in it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (He asked me last night if He is “pretty.” I told Him no; He liked what I said instead just fine. Thankfully.)

Anyway. I’m working Beltane this year, and we’re home by the 5th, but something will be figured out to mark the second year. I know He’s pinged someone else about me of late, but He’s not giving me much more answer than “reassertion” when I ask about it. He’s not ready to clarify, I suppose.

I think quiet time is about to end. Part of me is kind of relieved, and part of me is a little nervous.

Work, Holiday, and ANNIVERSARY.

Would you believe that it has been nearly a year since my Ordeal? Time FLIES.

Two weeks from today I turn 29, and we leave for our annual Beltane festival. This year many of our friends will not be attending, for a myriad of understandable reasons, but we’re resolved to have a good time. There are even some classes being offered which I’m planning to attend, which hasn’t happened in a couple of years. Either way, it will be a lovely vacation with some great folks. On top of which, He will come into His own. He is awfully quiet as a young man – or has been of late, anyhow – and I miss His power.

On Sunday, we’ll pack up to go home. At the same time, I will be celebrating the one-year mark of His collar. I’ll have to ask Him what He would like to do. (He’s chuckling lustily in my ear; I think I know what He’d like to do.) I think W/we’ll be able to figure out the logistics. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile, I have Work to do. I have more chain to weave, some masks to paint, and some Work not related to Raven’s Own at all.

I can see it being a good month, though.

A little of this, a little of that.

Part of being collared to a Deity is, depending on circumstances, it’s not always as interesting as it might seem. “Oh, dude, you’re a slave to [Deity XYZ]? Your life must be CRAZY!” For some people… sure, maybe. For me… well, not so much.

Things have been quiet around here because things have been quiet. There has been day-to-day stuff to deal with (kids and day jobs and businesses and health and cat and STUFF). To be honest, this all tends to distract from directly communicating with Sir, mainly because I’m letting myself get overwhelmed. But I digress.

Basically, Sir has given me some instructions – tasks to complete and limitations to follow – and is now stepping back for me to follow them. Yes, there is interaction when W/we can, because there is love. Yes, He steps in sometimes to give me a nudge (or sometimes a whallop) when I go off course. Both He and I have O/our own responsibilities to address as well, though (see aforementioned STUFF). No, my life is not that weird or crazy on a day-to-day basis – only sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

So life is generally quiet on that front, thus the quiet here. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy, or even that life has been completely easy. Spring has been a rough time for me for a very long time. My depression and anxiety have always flared this time of year, for nearly two decades. While treatment has some of that under control, this year has been harder than most. It’s been a fight, and it came to a head yesterday. Kit and Sir both intervened; I had some catharsis and a good night’s sleep for the first time in months. I’m feeling better today, and have some forward momentum, which is good. Not to say that I won’t have dips the rest of the season, or that I don’t have Work to do. (Apparently Teenage Me – who was a depressed, self-harming, lost little being – is crying out for some attention.) But today feels good, and I’ll take it.

Oh, and just to close this out on a funny note… I’ve developed a kind of speech impediment. Sir has decided that I need to speak correctly. He didn’t tell me outright. I started getting pings from Him whenever I would end a sentence incorrectly (“it applies to” instead of “to which it applies,” for example). I do a lot of backing up and rephrasing in the midst of conversation to try to meet this new requirement, resulting in some tongue-twisting and stuttering and “PLEH BLEH” exclamations. Why is that funny? It’s me, that’s why. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sacred Space, reconnecting, and why my work is my Work.

Last week Kit and I attended a small local Pagan conference called Sacred Space. If you haven’t heard of it, you should look into it. While I wasn’t specifically attracted to any of them for myself, many of the workshops were attended by friends of mine or by Kit, and they had nothing but glowing reviews. What is presented there runs the gamut, with subject matter like aging and death; recognizing the difference between spiritual experience and mental illness (your own and others’); Ifa Orisha art and lore; and much more. It’s a conference for those who are well beyond Paganism 101, but appears to be accessible to folks who are at that level as well. There is a healer’s room where seasoned practitioners offer reiki, acupuncture, and massage, and a small vendor’s room, which is where I spent most of my time, sitting at our vending table.

I was far from bored. I was able to meet and talk with several of the presenters and attendees (for the record, Luisah Teish is a riot). I had a blast talking with my fellow vendors and conference staff. I spent much of the time weaving chain maille or doing readings from the Kahina Stones, and that is where much of my benefit came in.

I have never done well trying to sit quietly and meditate. Guided meditations are easier. Sitting quietly makes me twitchy, so I have found other ways. Cross-stitch was always a very good way for me, and chain maille has filled the same need. In essence, I sat for four days and meditated almost constantly, because I was constantly weaving. When I wasn’t, I was making connections with other Pagans of wide and varied traditions, none of whom judged me for my path. Otherwise, I was working with the Kahina Stones, introducing others to the system, working with her quirks and opening up to hear Tamalut. It was a weekend of re-focusing, re-centering on where my craft is taking me. And it didn’t end when I came home.

Monday night was the dark moon, meaning date night with Sir. I had missed the last two out of negligence, and could not miss this one. But my ‘phone was not working that day; reaching out to Him, I actually encountered what I’ll call a “busy signal;” He literally answered me with, “No signal available.” This worried me, because I dearly wanted to talk with Him. Instead, I took a book.

I don’t normally take distractions on O/our date nights. My cell is normally off limits unless it’s an emergency; I do my damnedest to face away from televisions; I don’t carry a book. But this book had been thrust my way by Kit after quite a bit of nudging from Sir – Andre Norton’s Horn Crown. So, since my ‘phone wasn’t working, I took the book, figuring that since He wanted me to read it, it was as good a time as any to start.

Around 1:00AM, I finished the book; I couldn’t put it down. I was invested in it as I haven’t been invested in a book in several years. He flooded through me, and I started to cry with relief, with sorrow that I have been so negligent. He was not unkind, and held me (I can’t express how I had missed His touch), but He was stern: the apologies have to stop, the regret and self-flagellation have to stop, because they are doing nobody any good. (He says now, with a mischievous smile, I’m the only one allowed to flagellate you.) Right now, as a youth, He wants fun, He wants vitality, He wants me to keep up.

If it seems He is incredibly patient with me, that’s because He is. It’s not outside His character – He is the Master Hunter, and if a hunter is impatient, he and his will starve. That isn’t the only reason for his patience, however, and that is where my Work comes in – along with another reminder He gave me Monday night.

Raven’s Own started as a vehicle to let Kit and me continue to create without overrunning our small home or the homes of our friends and families. The chain maille, among other things, has slightly shifted that focus. He said to me Monday night, Remember where you started. Remember why you started weaving.ย Anyone who has read this blog from the beginning knows exactly when I started weaving maille, and why – because I had to make the collar I would earn the right to wear, His collar, and chain maille was the option that seemed most workable. Eighteen months later, I can’t put down my tools. And it all began because I was making this one piece, this one significant item, that would completely change my life. With reverence, and love, and determination I wove those first links – and unraveled them – and wove them again, different and stronger and better. It has become my work, and is a part of my Work, a way to express my creativity and connect with Him. Every time I pick up my tools, it hearkens back to those first uncertain links in the first chain I wove for Us, a chain too stiff to bend, that had to come apart and be remade… a little like me.

So He is patient while I weave and practice with the Stones and run the business and take our efforts to events. And as I weave, I reconnect, and so I continue to learn, and He continues to be patient as I keep doing the work, and the Work, that He has set before me.

But He still wants His Red Stag at the end of the day. (Naked and with a smile, He says with a grin.)

Humility vs. Reluctance

A concept caught my eye today that sparked off a thought in my head: the concept of humility in service. Further to that, the concept of humility versus reluctance. This might ramble a little bit, because the whole concept is clear in my head, but hard to explain.

We all know by now that I walk an unusual path. It’s one I must walk in public as much as possible. It’s one which I have to be able to discuss calmly, intelligently, and reasonably, one to which my name will be attached. The dialogue about religion, spirituality, and the various paths within them – including controversial ones like mine – continues, in some cases grows, and puts the people following them right in the center.

Look! Attention!

Yeah…

That is one aspect of my path, and my geas, with which I continue to have a hard time. I’ve learned to like a quiet life. I grew out of much of my “look at me!” needs a few years before my Motherhood Ordeal. I like to be heard when I have something to say, but otherwise, my quiet corner is a very attractive one. Now I am being, with increasing frequency, evicted from my cozy spot and shoved onstage. Every time a little something happens – a jump in blog hits, recognition on the business, a compliment on my Work or my art, another idea for a workshop – Kit says, “Shine on, Rock Star.”

My initial, visceral reaction to this?

Aw HELL naw. “Not a rock star,” I grumble.

And that is where humility crashes into reluctance.

Humility is defined as “the quality of being modest and respectful,” to be grounded, to be humble. I am in service to Cernunnos and, through the Work given to me by Him, in service to my community. If I am meant to be be nameless and given no thanks by the community I serve, then I would do so because that is His desire for me. If I am meant to be known, however much or little, for the Work I do in His service, then I will do so – not for acclaim or recognition, and without animosity or complaint – because that is His desire for me.

But humility does not mean disclaiming one’s responsibilities or role, and that is precisely what my visceral reaction is doing. I have been reminded – more than once – that I am meant to shine. That’s not to say I get to act like a total raging entitlement bitch. No thanks. But I also don’t have the luxury of hiding in my comfortable little hole just because there’s a spotlight out there. I have to make the best of it, be responsible about it, and do my Work with people watching. To disclaim it, to grumble about the light, is insulting and even hurtful to Him, to what He has given and what I have earned.

This is especially fitting because today I lead my first ritual, in front of practitioners I respect and call friend. I have resisted this for a long time. I’ve never wanted to be a leader, either in mundane life or in spiritual life. I’ve never wanted that responsibility, or to face the embarrassment of screwing up in front of others. Deep down, long ago, I knew that one day it would catch up with me, but I still ran, not realizing then that I had The Master Hunter on my heels.

I’ve been caught. One day, you will be too – you crazy diamonds in the rough, you.

So shine on, rock stars.