Fasting

I don’t know why I think of this as something for my spiritual blog/twitter, but I do. After watching the following video, I’ve given myself permission to eat more than I had been (I struggle more with body-image than with actual weight, though I’m heavy enough to have had foot injuries from running) and to begin fasting next week.

Why next week? Well, obviously I’m not going to start today! I’m too hungry! Also, I want to try and focus in meditating before and during the fast. And so, now I’m concentrating on meditating (which I find myself needing where I didn’t before, without feeling that I’m getting any better at it).

I’d been eating only one meal a day during the work week when I stumbled across this video:

In the past, I’d experimented with fasting and enjoyed it in a weird way. There was something good about knowing that I’d made a decision and was sticking to it, and I kind of enjoyed the sense of control it gave me over myself. I think that, at the moment, I’d like that feeling again.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t know that it’s a spiritual thing, except that meditation is something I came to through the Dedicant’s Path, and is something I want to try experimenting with in the fast. (The idea is that I could put at least some of the time that would be set aside for preparing and eating meals into more frequent meditation sessions.)

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Equinoctial Disappointment

The last ADF ritual I did according to the Core Order of Ritual was fully a year ago. And, as I haven’t yet written up my eight rituals, for the dedicant’s path, I wanted to return to full rituals for the wheel of the year.

But I didn’t. That’s the disappointment. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to invest the energy, as strange as that sounds. My heart wasn’t in it.

On the other hand, I’ve recently had an omen from Ceres suggesting she’s not happy with our relationship, and I wanted to do something. That’s why, this morning, I set time aside to stand in front of my altar and mark the equinox.

I offered the gods incense and the ancestors an apple (I’m moving away from alcohol… though I may move back) and simply acknowledged that Pluto, for whom I’m developing an affinity — is waiting in eager anticipation and Ceres is counting the days she has left with her daughter and that,  if the Gods can’t have everything all the time, I shouldn’t want it, either.

It wasn’t a big deal, though, in retrospect I realize that I invoked the fire and the well in the way that you might if opening the portals, but didn’t ‘undo it.’ I have since turned to the well and the fire and asked them to return to their mundane functions.

I feel better having done it, rather than pushing it off for forever, and for getting it done within the time limit set by ADF. Nonetheless, I’m underwhelmed with the whole thing.

On over-praising traditional society

While reading “The world until yesterday,” Jared Diamond, in which he talks about differences in state and tribal societies, I hit the following paragraph and just thought “Yes, exactly!”

… we should not naively idealize small-scale societies, view them as uniformly admirable, overstate their advantages, and castigate state government as at best a necessary evil. On the other hand, many small-scale societies do possess some features that we could profitably incorporate into our state societies.

I don’t have the power of words that he does, but that captures my sentiment exactly whenever I hear someone say they’re a “reconstructionist” of any sort. Call it irreverent, but I think my views align much more with what Terry Pratchett is reported to have said about folklore. Speaking to a group of folklorists, he said something along the lines of “I view folklore the way a carpenter views the forest,” meaning (I think) that there’s a lot of value to be extracted and made into something new.

There. I’ve quoted both Jared Diamond and Terry Pratchett in one post. I believe my work here is finished.

Creative Offerings

I recently felt as though I needed to get away from only offering the ancestors alcohol. I myself had started drinking less, and when there was a bottle of whiskey open for the ancestors, I inevitably started drinking it myself… which mad me feel guilty.

So, I did something I think I should do more: I took an omen, after asking the ancestors what sort of offerings would please them. I drew the four of Pentacles, reversed. Here’s the entirety of what Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom has to say about that:

Here the energy becomes released. The act can signify generosity and freedom — if right side up indicates greed or confinement within ourselves — but it can also represent the inability to hold our life together, to give it structure. Once again, in an actual situation the meaning depends on other influences.

To me, that meant freedom and creativity, as well as generosity in my giving. And I resolved to work on that.

Below, is the first ‘creative offering’ I made for the ancestors. I genuinely hope they’re patient with me, as I explore doing more like this as well as making offerings of music. We will see.

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Lore Lessons: A Sacrifice to Apollo

This most recent episode of Lessons from the Lore might be the best. Or worst. It’s the first one where I struggled with something out loud and wound up feeling like I reached the next step in my ladder of understanding.

I could tell you what that was, but they you’d have no reason to listen (except, of course, for the sheer joy of hearing me do voices.)

Everything is the same…

For a long time, I’ve tried to live by the mantra of “everything is the same.” Which isn’t to say, interchangeable.

I do think that the  successes I’ve had in one area of my life can be investigated to look for paths to success in other areas, however. That’s what the mantra is supposed to mean: succeeding here sets me up to succeed there, no matter how disparate the two things might be.

Of course I’m bringing this back around to my blogging and, more generally, my spiritual life. I got busy. But, just as I can tell when I don’t run (I haven’t been doing that, either) because I snap at my kids more, I’ve found that I can tell when I neglect my spiritual practice because I’m more generally dissatisfied.

But, running and my spiritual practice aren’t similar only in that they contribute to my well-being, they’re similar (I hope), in that the strategies I’ve found to make running a part of my life may well help with my spirituality.

First, it’s not a luxury. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that meditating, devotions, taking omens were all things that I did when ‘I have time.’ It’s not how I think about eating, or, for that matter, about running. It’s an important part of my life, and I have to get it done.

Second, success begets success. Keeping to a running schedule for a week makes the next week easier to do. When you hit a month, it’s easier to get the next month in. I need to get a spiritual schedule that’s just as easy to stick to, so that the successes can pile up.

Lastly, it’s a part of my identity. I don’t think that anybody who knows me at all well doesn’t know that I run. Not that I talk about it all the time, but I do talk about it. “I noticed this while I was out running” or “I only know that area from running, I’ve never had to park there” or, most frequently, “I had this idea while I was running.” I don’t talk about my paganism. My wife knows, my kids know I like stories about ‘the gods’ (I tell Bible stories as well as Greek Mythology), and a few close friends and siblings know. But, even though they know, I don’t brag about sticking to a schedule of meditation the way I brag about running. (“Guess who has two thumbs and got three meditations in this week? … “This guy!”)

That last part is a tricky one. Partly, because it seems like a funny thing to ‘brag’ about, but why wouldn’t I talk about the minor successes in my life? Also, I know from  being on the other side of it, that people don’t always want you talking about your spiritual life because it can come off as being evangelizing. Or ‘holier-than-thou.’ (Bragging about running — when you have my figure — just means you’re going to talk about how much you eat, next). Finally, I’m not big on defending pagan beliefs to atheists or, worse, hyper-Christian family members. It’s a fine line.

However, I think that the more I’m a secret pagan, the more my practice will suffer.

Lore Lessons 04

So, it’s been a while since I’ve recorded a Lore Lesson. (Lesson from the Lore? I figure I’ve got to get to ten episodes before I start trying to take the podcast too seriously.) But, it’s been on my mind and, since I had a bit of time today, I got it done.

This episode begins with a reference to washing before sacrifice, but then quickly goes to the ‘prayer’ of Achilles to his mother, Thetis. (I put the word prayer in quotes, because she was standing in front of him.)

Most of what I have to say has been said before, and I’m beginning to wonder if the rest of the Iliad — as viewed through the lens of mortal/immortal interaction — will just be repeating the same themes. We will see.