New Directions

It occurs to me that, since I have started blogging again, this blog will likely take on a new direction.  I’m not the same person I was when I first started the blog, and I haven’t got the same concerns.  Back then, life was all about finishing graduate school and coping with the recently-divulged secret of my multiplicity.  Now, grad school is a distant accomplishment, and I am fully integrated.  Life has definitely changed.  Looking back at old posts, even the tone of my writing has changed.  Frightening and exciting all at once.

So what am I doing now?  Glad you asked.  Now, my life focuses primarily on bipolar disorder– something that can’t be resolved via therapy– and veganism/animal rights.  As well, I am proudly Wiccan and involve many Pagan practices in my daily life.  These are the pieces of me that remain post-integration.  I still deal with trauma flashbacks and will likely write about that subject from time to time.  It’s no longer a daily focus, though.  Now, my life is about using my beliefs to walk as gently as possible on the Earth.  I feel whole in my mind and spirit, so my focus is sharper on the causes I support.

That’s the funny thing about change– it’s ok!  We all change as life progresses, but we never lose our value.  Thanks for following along with this new leg in my journey, dear readers.  I hope you continue to share parts of your journey, as well.

52 Book Challenge: Week Six

Week five was a particularly difficult reading time for me.  Trauma– the actual main subject of this blog– took hold of my mind.  I had a fairly difficult therapy session and was already having trouble with my book at that time.  Therapy and all the Stuff it brings did not help.

*However* I did finish Nocturnal Witchcraft.  I really wanted to like it more than I did.  With a nod of respect to the author, it seemed at times to be like parlour tricks.  Maybe I was searching more for theory than practice.  It is a nice book for learning more about the energy of the night and helping to shape your life based on that energy.  The actual rites, however, felt a bit over-complicated on the whole, with circle casting having over twenty steps.  I enjoyed Konstaninosis’s views on soul types, and his particularly interesting take on the afterlife.  That part is definitely worth the read.  All in all, I’m giving it three stars.

This week I’m almost cheating.  I’m reading a fiction book for young adults called A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle.  It’s a book I read many years ago and shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to finish.  As with any challenge, though, the most challenging bits require rest.  I’ve had two weeks of non-fiction and struggled greatly through week five.  To keep moving forward and finish this challenge, I need to make this week particularly easy.  On we go!

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L’Engle, Madeleine.  A Ring of Endless Light.  New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1980.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Five

The Walrus and the Elephants was a great read. I thought for a bit that it might slow me in terms of staying on task, as the nonfiction bit almost seemed intimidating. Someone told me to remember I wouldn’t be quizzed on the information so I could just read and enjoy it. After that, the book became an easy read.

I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about post-Beatles Lennon, as well as American counterculture in the 1970s. I learnt a great deal about both. Fascinating material. Very little was mentioned about the Beatles, however, so Beatles scholars will be best served elsewhere. If you’re interested in Lennon himself, this will be an excellent read!

This week’s book is also nonfiction but in a completely different vein. Today is the Wiccan sabbat of Imbolc, the halfway point between winter and spring. I’ve selected Nocturnal Witchcraft by Konstantinos. I saw this in a bookshop a month or so ago and was immediately interested. It’s about harnessing the energies of the night– *not* black magic– and using that time to practice. I’m looking quite forward to learning more!

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Konstantinos.  Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magick After Dark.  Llewellyn Publications: 2002.  Print.

Elements

As a practising Wiccan, I’ve always turned to nature to help hold me together.  I hadn’t the space to work through the Full Moon rites of November and December, nor was I able to hold my usual ritual to mark the Winter Solstice.  These are things I’ve done for quite some time now.  They hold me to the Earth, to all of time and space, and to what I recognise as Spirit.  Gutted by grief as I am right now, I decided to do a simple mandala representing the four elements– earth, air, fire, water– and the Spirit that binds them all together.  I’m sharing that mandala here in hopes that some of you who are also feeling adrift these days can use it to focus your minds or simply to meditate on the image.  This is something my therapist taught me.  The process is to put on music that does not have an emotional attachment and just let your mind wander where it will as you gaze at the image.  It’s actually neurobiological at its base, but it does wonders (in my experience) for the soul.

Wishing everyone peace for now and in to the New Year.

Element mandala

Invocation

The food issues have been cycling up and down so frequently that I’ve felt completely out of control.  At the advice of a fellow Wiccan and wonderful friend, I did an invocation of the Goddess Artemis last night.  This was my first time working with the Greek pantheon, and it went very well.  Artemis is a huntress.  She has great strength and provides protection for women who call on Her.  My friend suggested invoking the strength of Artemis and calling it inwardly.  That has definitely helped.

For me, invocations start with research about the deity.  I look for what they like in terms of offerings, colours for candles, smells for incense, and liquid for the chalice.  Artemis, as it turns out, likes woodsy elements.  My offering to her was a fresh green apple and a green candle lit to honour her.  Next, I researched invocation chants.  Sometimes, I write my own.  Being unfamiliar with the Greek pantheon, though, I used one that had already been written.

To start the invocation, I cast my circle.  Then, I read the actual chant aloud and sat at the altar, looking at an image of Artemis and awaiting Her presence.  As it turns out, She was more than willing to take part.  I felt my arms lifted upward then wrapped about me.  The warmth was incredible, and I heard Artemis’s voice letting me know, as the invocation said, that She was with me in that hour.  She pledged Her help to me in healing and in learning to nurture myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I used to know how to do those things quite well, and I have no doubt Artemis will help me re-learn them.

After the invocation, the sense of warmth and protection lasted for hours.  This morning, I fought off the urge to skip breakfast and had a cup of very healthy cereal with a half cup of soy milk.  In my mind, I could hear Artemis reminding me of the importance of nurturing myself, and I knew I didn’t want to undercut the help She’s offered.  People argue that Wiccans are satanic because they believe they control the powers Judeo-Christians attribute to their God.  For me, though, I am merely a channel.  I don’t *cause* things to happen.  I just ask for what I need for myself and those I love.  Then, I have faith that a deity will communicate with me in how to achieve my needs and help others.  I am both humbled and grateful.

2013: Looking Ahead

So we survived the Mayan apocalypse and are spiralling quickly towards 2013.  This year certainly brought changes for me in terms of mental health.  I started with a new psychiatrist and re-started with quite possibly the most amazing therapist in the US.  That took effort and financial debt I’m currently paying back through ‘volunteer’ work.  It’s been worth the difficulties, though.

Therapy took a few twists and turns along the way.  There were milestones; sharing the name of the cult that my family belonged to, exploring some of the darker SRA memories, expressing strong and open emotion.  There were also major setbacks; a relapse of bulimia, the ‘formal’ attitude to distance therapy, the consideration of abandoning therapy as a whole.  All of those, however, average out to what has probably been my most extensive and forward-moving therapy experience to date.  I’ll keep moving forward.  Very little has changed in other terms.

Friday was the Long Nights Moon, the most powerful Full Moon of the year.  During my rite, I considered what I might need for the upcoming year.  The answer was simple: peace, healing, and fruitful endeavours for myself and my FOC.  I need to focus more on physical, spiritual and mental health for myself, and I need to learn more about how to project energy to those I love.  We’re scattered about in two different countries, afterall.

Wishing peace and happiness to all of your for the upcoming year.  May we all work together with love and harmony as a global society.  We can still fix this bit we call the Universe.  It’s all in our power.

The Thinnest of Veils

Since I’ve been able to start learning from the Wiccan Way again, life has become a bit easier, if only because I have another coping mechanism in place.  Samhain (Halloween) is completely perverted by satanists and has always been a terrible day for me and mine.  Last year was much better, and this year I was able to appreciate it for what it really is– the day the veil between this world and the Otherworld is thinnest.  It’s a great time for divination, and the best time of the year for communicating with the dead.

And communicate with the dead I did.  Or rather, he communicated with me.  I’d had this odd feeling all day, like my movements were being observed.  It wasn’t a bad feeling, really.  Just an odd feeling.  Driving along a busy road with my best friend last night, I heard a comforting voice and felt the warmest touch on my shoulder.  Looking in the rearview mirror, I saw Alan leaning towards me from the back seat.  Alan was and will always be the love of my life.  He was my one true love, and even though he married after I left England, there was always something special between us.  He was the father of my child and the only man who ever comforted me completely.  Given my background, that wasn’t an easy task.  He manged to do it, though.

He also managed to find his way back to me last night, and I’m thankful for every minute.  I didn’t say anything to my best friend about it– it just seemed like a very private experience, and telling someone you’re spending time with your dead love is a bit odd anyway.  I say that because my best friend reads this blog and will probably get a bit of a laugh out of our unseen guest.  🙂

We sat beside a river, my best friend and I, and Alan stayed with me through the rest of the night.  I could hear him and feel his touch.  I could see him there, and even though he had a bit of a fuzzy glare surrounding him, he looked the same in every other way.  As it neared midnight, he faded away.  I’ve felt him many, many times before, but last night I got the chance to communicate with him directly.  I am so very fortunate.

This morning, I phoned the lady who became his wife, and she was glad to hear of the experience, even though it didn’t happen to her.  We have an odd sort of agreement between the two of us.  I’ve talked to one other person who understands the odd relationship we have with the loves we lose, and she had similar feelings.  Alan’s former wife (I’ll not give her name, since she is living) knew he and I shared a bond and always would.  Andy was proof of that.  Alan did love her, of course, and they had a lovely marriage.  Unfortunately for her, though, she didn’t have all of him.  She told me he had been honest and straightforward about that all along.  I won’t debate the right or wrong of that.  It simply was as is it was.

Last night, then, I spent time with my love and cherished every minute of it.  He wanted to let me know he was settled and that he watched me.  He and our son look over my life.  Spirits are recycled, but part of their essence remains.  A spirit is changed with every living thing it inhabits.  I’m comforted to know that the spirits of Alan and our son are travelling near each other, and that they are able to communicate with each other still.  And I’m comforted beyond words by having spent even a few brief hours with the person who will always have my heart and soul completely.  Death really can’t break love, and as a friend always tells me, we never truly lose those we love.  They just move on before us.

The Blessing Moon

Last night’s Blessing Moon ceremony went well, although it was a bit more makeshift than I would have liked.  And I burnt myself with the tip of the incense.  *That* takes talent, especially as there were three candles lit at the time.  I didn’t burn myself on those, mind you.  It was the incense.

Welcoming the summer aspects of the four elements was exciting.  I thought about how Earth, Air, Fire and Water create summer and about how we use those elements in our summer lives.  They balance each other so well.  The summer sun is the epitome of fire, and rain inevitably cools things down, at least in my part of the world.  Air provides a cooling breeze and spreads the seeds of plants that fertilise the Earth.  It provides people with those memorable scents of lilac and honeysuckle that will mark the joy of summer.  All of the elements come together to create the vibrancy of this season, and it was nice to take time to remember the harmony of our Universe.

Next time, though, I’ll ask Air not to burn me.  🙂

Panic

Today is the last day of June.  The end of the first half of the year.  And I am panicked.  Very.  I feel like time is going too fast and we’re headed too quickly towards a fiery end.  I believe in reincarnation, have had some experiences that can only be described as past life memories, and know someone I trust and consider family who can help people through past-life regressions.  But I’m panicked about a silly little calendar page.

I also believe in Wicca and the beauty of the year’s cycle.  This year, I wasn’t even dreading the winter solstice with the absolute passion I typically feel.  Now, though, I’m caught up in that fear again.  I feel like my life is being lived all around me, but not within me.  Actually, because I’m a bit stagnant at the moment, I feel like I’m not living a life at all.  It’s possible to be stuck between lives, I know, but until very recently I didn’t have that feeling.  I need to be involved in something outside of my current surroundings.

And now I’m panicked.  Everything feels scary and spinning, and I’ve been caught in flashbacks for two days.  If anything, I hope this calendar change brings peace.