Individual Practice

I am very much in support of a practice that caters to a person’s individuality. While tradition has its place it can, at times, place constraints on how people practice, and how they approach and work with Deities. Part of my aim here is to encourage people to discover individual levels of practice, and to provide ideas for different ways to connect. It’s something I’ve been doing since the beginning, though I didn’t realise it until very recently. It is something I believe in strongly, and while I respect traditional practitioners, there is more encouragement needed for people on non-traditional pathways.

Our connection to Deity and/or Spirit is unique, and that can often be downplayed. I’ve seen more being written about what constitutes ‘right practice’, but ultimately I believe in doing what is right for you and the way the Gods/Spirits work with you as the person you are. Your gifts, talents and strengths are unique to you, and your work and connection with Deity will reflect that.

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Equinox 2018 poem

Happy Equinox, everyone. May Winter’s pall make way for Spring’s more inviting shawl.

As it looked through the haze
The Sun saw it then;
The seed was a seed no more,
But with Spring’s eyes
It had shed its disguise
And was coming at last
Into bloom.
Out at last
From Winter’s gloom.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Loki’s path: the grey-zone, balance and becoming

Loki is master of the grey-zone. In the Norse myths He walks a fine line between helping and betrayal. For the most part He’s the Retriever, the Gift Giver, the genial Companion. But He is also the One Who arranged Balder’s death (if you go solely by the Eddas – in Gesta Danorum it’s purely Hoder), the One Who understands that all cycles must come to an end in order for new growth and life to begin. In order for Change to be brought about sometimes we have to learn to let go.

Loki is behind every decision for growth that involves radical change and letting go. In both the metaphysical and literal sense, some things we know and love become what keeps us from stepping into a more transformative phase of growth. To move onto the next stage we have to learn to walk without them.

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Quote on light and the darkness by Emma Restall Orr

I came across this quote last night and thought it would be appropriate to share in time for Samhain. As we learn to embrace the nights drawing in we learn also to embrace the dark within, the cycle of decay associated with the coming of winter, and the things we have to release or let go of as cycles in our own lives come to their conclusion.

Access to light, day and night, is now considered by most a human right.
To the Pagan, that is ludicrous. More consciously aware of the power of light, and all that it allows, darkness is a profoundly potent word. It speaks of all that is hard to understand within nature, the infinite space of the universe, the energy of the night, of winter, of death, of decay and entropy. There are here no connotations of negativity; darkness is that which necessarily balances and embraces light. It contains those aspects of nature that are not known or not knowable, the void and the density, the mysteries beyond current comprehension. The word expresses all that could happen; in the poetry of Paganism, it is the cauldron of potential, the womb of rebirth, the rich mud in which the seed germinates.

– Emma Restall Orr, Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics, ch. 2

When the masks fall we meet Them as we Are

I have often enjoyed reading the works of mystics and contemplatives from different traditions. Those two words call to me again now. I have remarked to others several times before that I seemed to have been cast in a role akin to a pagan nun, not necessarily by choice, more through circumstance and beliefs.

I re-read Upon the Mountain: Prayer in the Carmelite Tradition by Sister Mary McCormack of the Carmelites last night and was reminded so much of the all-pervasive love I held for my Beloveds before the loss and upheaval of the last 6-7 weeks, the last month in particular. Sister Mary’s words reminded me of how my whole world seemed coloured by contemplation of Them, particularly Loki and Sigyn.

I wept as I read, because not only did her words remind me of what I have (for now, at least) lost, but because she speaks of the “dark night of the soul” where we face our own shadows, where all we hold dear falls away and leaves us grasping in the dark, often affecting our connection with the Divine. Yet Sister Mary, through her own words, those of St Therese of Avila and St John of the Cross, gives hope.
Only when we are broken down, only when we face those harsh truths about ourselves can we stand before the Divine, no longer encumbered by masks. Only then can we enter into a truer relationship with the Divine; one that transcends anything that may have come before. When we stand as we Are we greet our God(s) with our true face, our true Self, and any preconceptions of how we relate to Them can fall away, allowing our God(s) to in turn reveal more of Their true Selves to us.

So I have hope again. I am remembering once more that all roads lead back to Them, no matter the detours.
I am also determined in these things: never again will I allow the words and misconceptions of another to poison my link with the Gods. Never again will I forget that though I may go through trials They are always there. My heart is Theirs, my love is Theirs, my devotion is Theirs. All I go through breaks down barriers and leaves me a better person, and a more open heart to receive Their loving guidance.

With love and a sapling heart I reach once more for Them.

My deepest thanks go to J, who lent me the book that has provided such solace for my heart, and returned my determination to keep reaching for Them. Little did we know how important this tiny book would become only a matter of weeks later. May your Beloveds hold you deep within Their hearts.

Upon the Mountain: Prayer in the Carmelite Tradition can be bought from the Notting Hill Carmelites –http://carmelitesnottinghill.org.uk/product/upon-this-mountain-2/