The Yuletide Crèche

Christmas was my favourite time of year as a young Catholic girl. It was really the only part of the year I actually liked attending mass. Our church would be decorated with swags of evergreens, filling the air with a smell of frankincense and forests. I sang in the church choir one year too, accompanied by a grand piano and violin for midnight mass. The intimate ritual of family Advent, with the candle lighting and quiet prayers, was always accompanied by some kind of dessert or treat made by my mother. The best part, in my secret pagan heart, was stories of the Nativity. All these wonderful and magickal characters captured my imagination: the Virgin, the miraculous Baby, an Angel, the Star, the traveling Magi... all waiting in anticipation. It was also very confusing as a naturally inquisitive person: where does Santa come in? How did Joseph feel about his new betrothed already being pregnant with child? And by an ANGEL, no less? Pretty heavy stuff, even for a 9 year old. I would sit under the glowing Christmas tree, we always had a real one, and look deeply at this little crèche my mother had purchased before I was born. The little stable held within some animals and all the participants of the winter mystery, including a cute little baby Jesus in a manger; sometimes us girls would use our finger to 'rock' the infant God, soothe and console Him. It was rustic looking and realistic, not at all like some of these garish things made in China these days. There was a wind-up music box in the back which played “Silent Night”. Of all the Christmas things, all three of us girls loved this Nativity scene the most.

Over the years the holidays changed, as it always does when we grow older. The hardest part wasn't letting Santa go (I was actually told VERY early on the truth of this devil), it was the complete discovery that my parents were fallible humans. They split up on Christmas Day, my youngest sister's birthday too. Right there at the dinner table, my mother told my Dad she was done. Now, I knew this was coming...she had said something a few days earlier whilst folding laundry together. But she promised to wait until after the holidays. I wasn't sad, in fact I fully supported my mother's decision. Even at the ripe old age of 12 I knew my parents weren't good for each other. Mom got drunk (they both rarely drink, still) and fell asleep in my bed. Which meant I shared a bed with Dad, who cried all night. It was the first and last time I ever saw my Dad cry, all 6'4” of him. When he finally was quietly snoring, I lay there and prayed to God. I was thinking about how my parents told me divorce was a sin, and the church did not allow it. Would I still be allowed to go to church? My Confirmation was coming up too, did I even believe in God? Then all those questions and doubts I had hidden away in my heart, that I dared not consider, came rushing up. I questioned all religion afterwards and my spiritual search officially began.

But every Christmas, even as an adult, I got out that crèche to ponder these mysterious questions. I remember the early joys of Christmas and try to recapture the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, a slacker ex-boyfriend allowed a storage unit's fees to lapse whilst I was abroad, and the crèche was lost. A lot of my childhood collections of books and toys were lost too, but nothing hurt so much as that old, breaking Christmas scene my mother had trusted to my care. Then 10 years ago I moved in with my boyfriend; his mom loaded me down with all his Christmas stuff from childhood too... low and behold, he had the exact same crèche! Yes, one of the animals was missing, but I didn't care. When I wound up the music and heard those familiar metal notes, tears came streaming down my cheeks. It is only now, when our daughter enjoys looking at and playing with it every year, does my husband understand why I wept that day.

Our family creche. Princess Merida is our daughter's addition to the nativity scene.
Our family creche: Princess Merida is our daughter's addition to the nativity scene.

 

PBP: “Y” is for Yod He Vau He(יהוה)

The first mantra I recognized as 'not prayer' was given to me at 18. A budding Buddhist playing with the feminized witchcrafts of Starhawk, Ffiona Morgan, Zsusanna Budapest, and even Scott Cunningham; all I had read were warm fuzzies of magick and meditations. My teacher/mentor/father-figure 'A' challenged me to meditate with him after a meeting with our journalism department. I had no clue he was a meditation teacher and master of invocation, but thought the strange little German man was putting me on at first. So I tread carefully forward. We went for a walk in the woods behind the junior college campus. The jogging trails were full of the late summer's poison oak and the large oaks were just starting to turn brown. My cynical, youthful mind thought it was boring, but might be a good place for a meditation teaching he promised. I look back and think how young, naïve and stupid it was to go into the woods with a man in his 50's I barely knew except as an editor of the college paper I wrote for. Being very good at investigative reporting, I had checked with our professor at first to make sure A was legit... and I was assured, even encouraged, to learn what I could from the man.

As we walked along the trail, A and I came to what at first appeared to be a man-made pond, but turned out to be a cesspool. The early, clean morning air immediately was swallowed by the stench of excrement and urine and whatever else was floating around out there. I suggested we turn around and go another way, but A insisted we go forward. I was so grossed out... I was going to vomit, but needed to be confident more. In his thick German accent, A asked me “What are these theengs there? Flouting in the vater?” I looked closer at what he was talking about. “They are tampons A. Used, nasty tampons floating on ponds of shit. Can't you see?” He turned to me and asked “So, how do you meditate?” I was stunned... no clue what to say. We went from talking about the toxic sludge that surrounded us to sitting on the ground and staring out at the ponds.

“Show me what you do”. So I sat... and he stopped me. “No, no... not here. Over there!” and A's finger pointed to a 'deck' of sorts built off from a narrow pier,  jutted out into the middle of the pond. I looked at him and asked “Are you serious? You want me to go sit out there, in the middle of all this shit, and meditate?” I really thought the red, hairy, almost Santa looking man was joking... A always had laughter in his eyes, a smile on his lips, and a loud booming voice to match the belly. At this moment, he was not smiling. He was not laughing as he looked me seriously in the eye and told me “Go show me how you meditate”.

I humored the old man and walked out there. . The planks leading to the deck did not feel sturdy and all I could imagine was slipping, falling into the pools of waste. The poo smell was stronger out there... the sun was shining on my back and glistening off the melting frost. I sat with my legs crossed in full lotus on the cold concrete slab. I took a few deep breaths and thought vomiting might be better; an acidic burp mixed with my morning chai was all I could muster. I closed my eyes only the find my sense of smell more heightened. I tried breathing through my mouth and could taste the acrid air. “What are you trying to prove here old man?” I asked aloud, with my fingers still numbing and breath hanging in the mists of dung. I tried to concentrate but no matter what I did the place was toxic and invading my every thought.

Frustrated and nauseated, I stood up, walked back to the bank and sat next to A. He was in meditation and just gazing at the black waters with the strange fuzzy fish. We sat there in silence for what seemed like hours. After fighting the smells, the boredom, and finally the cold...it became suddenly still. I didn't notice the smell, or my breath, or the damp grasses under my behind making my corduroy jeans wet. Nothing was heard within or without, except my breath. And in that silence was the peace I never thought possible: my mind went completely empty. I didn't have to try, just be.

Some time had passed before A roused me, asked how I felt and if I could see the difference between trying to meditate and actually doing it. I told him yes, but didn't understand the purpose of meditating in front of a pit of bio-hazardous waste. He asked me to contemplate and meditate on it... which I did. I understood the purpose of this first lesson: Meditation is mutually exclusive of everything else. It doesn't matter where you are, what kind of conditions you are in, the state of your physicality...there is no limit to what the spirit is capable of experiencing.

It was this answer my mentor wanted from me... and also the focus. I made the pilgrimage up to the mountain Shasta (where he lived) and spent an intensive weekend learning the art of mantra. I woke each morning early to chai tea and sitting meditation. We'd walk and talk, then more meditation and invocation, dinner and evening meditation. It was on the second night I received the thunderbolt...and my perspective of Deity was changed forever. But this is not what I wanted to share about this week... it was the mantra assignment A gave to me that shook me up in a more lasting way.

Narcissus by Caravaggio (1573–1610)

 

So when A gave to me a mantra for my own practice to go home with, I was ecstatic, on fire and ready for whatever challenge he deemed good for my soul. Being of the magickal persuasion, he knew I'd want some thing uber powerful and impressive. And I was surprised with Yod He Vau He. I had no clue it was the Hebrew name of God, and much more. It is a magickal formulae, just as Sanskrit mantras or barbarous words. 'Yod' is the Father of creation, who comes together with 'He', the cosmic Mother. The union producing their offspring, the 'Vau' Son and a Daughter obviously named after her mother, another 'He'. For me, this was the most sexist formulae I could have received...why is the feminine energy of the universe, no matter how many daughters She produces, always just named the same? Why does the patriarchal line continue to evolve and change in it's essence, but the matriarchal remain the same? It is only years later, when I come back to this formulae for greater workings (LBRP) that re-examining it with mature, educated eyes can I see the secret lying within.

Man is the mutant and Woman is the more perfect of the species. Their extra chromosome turned the womb and vaginal cave inside-out, forgetting to erase nipples. The spirit works similarly.... there can be no evolution without the base remaining, the Terra Firma which churns and turns and burns the refuse in Her cauldron. She is the chaos, which in it's ever-changing is never-changing. 'He' is from a very primal place... it come from the womb, sounding deep within “hay”. It is the breath, warm and melting; moist condensation and sweat of tears. She is the buffer between 'Yod' and 'Vau', as Mothers are the eternal peacemakers. The interjection of 'He' assures me that Yahweh is even effected by the instability and ecstatic energies of a chaotic, and sometimes uncaring, Multiverse.

PBP: “K” is for Ka

Tonite is a Thursday, which is not really special except that I have changed this as the day in which I make offerings to the Ancestors and Mighty Dead. Usually I did it on Sundays a day that in most families is time spent together going to church and probably coming home to eat a big dinner together. In memory of these days of bbq and fried chicken, I honor my beloved dead with things they might have liked in this last incarnation and light their way with a special candle. The weekends this summer are getting really hectic and I am not as dutifully tending to the Ancestors as consistently as I would like, so am experimenting with a little change. This inspired me to think about my own 'soul', the spirit which resides in this body, or whatever else is attached to the 'me' in this lifetime. I have always liked the ancient Egyptian description/definition of what makes up the soul of each person. It is not a single entity... the ethereal body is made up of several different 'parts' with each representing different functions in the spiritual body. There is the Ab (heart and moral compass), Akhu (what is immortal and neverending), Sahu (the vessel of metaphysical manifestation), the Ba (personality), Ren (true name, essential Be-ing), Khabait (the shadow self), Sekhem (what is worked with and projected spiritually) and the Ka (our general life force which comes into Be-ing at our birth). I connect with this image of Ka and Ba... Be-ing having multidimensional levels and roles to play in the cosmic drama of this Life. But although this compartmentalizing of soul is very advanced, it answers many metaphysical problems I have meditating on over the years.

Ka statue of Horawibra, Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

For example, if I have an “out of body experience”, does that mean my body/vessel is no longer alive? Is there part of me still left behind, as an anchor? I have no magick cord people speak of to tie me down. I understand how this works now, but as a young witchlet learning to do this on my own it was scary and difficult. I can see how when I have a past life experience or memory, I am actually re-connecting with that part of my soul that is still back in whenever... like when I remember Be-ing a temple Priestess in ancient Egypt, a lesser wife of Pharoah; something many people say they were. Time does not work the way we think it does... it is existing now in somewhere else in the fabric of the Multiverse. I know.. this is heavy, but think of a spiderweb or blanket, where each thread is connected to something else weaving a huge tapestry. Well, if I pluck this string, it vibrates to another and another... the pieces of my soul which are all over as stardust and energies re-making and manifesting... and anchoring my 'fetch', my Akhu, into that place in time. This is how I am able to 'remember' so many of my past lives.

And what of reincarnation? Is there room for it in the paradigm of the multiverse? Of COURSE it does! The Sahu leaves an imprint, manifested physically... and nothing physically ever dies, it simply changes form. When my body decomposes, it returns to the stardust, composting the Universe and spreading throughout the cosmos. 'I' become a flower, an animal, a molecular spot in the vast array we call Life. So whether we believe in it or not, it is there and I acknowledge it.

I am now in the circle of my Khabait the shadowed Be-ing I hide from most; this used to be due to shame. I recognize and celebrate the death of my ego... the letting go of what does not serve me. Among the tombs of offered flowers, shrines with incense and funerary processions underway as several elders I know are in the process of dying, or have recently, I offer to the ancestors and gift sustenance as they prepare for the greatest journey they will ever repeat.

I celebrate the Ba as my daemon, higher self and the Fawn who is placed in the forefront of my Be-ing. She is my shield, my humor, the worldly lady of letters and education. I see Her as the Devotee of Hekate, Daughter of Hathor, and Lover of Dark Gods. I hope to improve this part of my Self and am perpetually transforming it into a truer and genuine manifestation, without Be-ing so raw there is a naivete.

I work with Sekhem in my magicks... it is the raw energy-stuff of the universe. We can all tap into it, there is an un-ending supply for all. It is not white light and love, but it is not darkness and despair either... it is the un-biased, liminal energy waiting to be trans-personal power to those who know how. It is natural, unforced and tremendous. I am blessed with a talent for manipulating and sending this energy, and embrace this with all the other parts of my spirit. It permeates all that I do and love.

Ren is my Holy Guardian Angel, the one to meet and reveal to me my True Will. I have not  learned it's name,  although I see it in symbols and other arcane languages used by the high Be-ings and consciousness of the Multiverse. I do not understand mathemathics, physics, and the language of alchemy. But I do know the Humanities, the soul of humans  as an expression of art. This is the language of the heart, of angels and demons in our circle... the barbarous words of dreams. Receiving the images words are at a loss as meditation and trance are truly the keys.

The PantheaCon Report

Day One: Lost the phone, All alone

Somewhere betwixt parking and lobby.

Con staff ruled, I got schooled

In keeping track of what's on me.

ADF Suite, Things nice and neat,

If ever a pagan group was.

What a pleasure and treat, To finally meet

Those brave enough to keep laws.

Maenads landed, With ivy and grapes branded,

Into the car we stole away.

A gifted poetress, bruja and temptress,

In a far-off hotel we did stay.

Sushi and vodka, champagne will knock ya

Down a peg or few.

Wendy Rule romancing, Pomba Gira dancing,

A smoke then bed at two.

 

Day Two:

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Early workshop failed,

For lack of a better term.

Another was deleted, Partly completed

Hexed enemies did squirm.

Traveled through time, saw a death of mine

With Priest Lon Milo DuQuette.

Suicide, murder or brushed aside

With a train my body had met.

Crossroads of vendors, all a witches' splendor,

Handshakes in alignment.

A grimoire of spirit, a magician so writ

Such art of poetic refinement.

Bone Yard Boogie confusion, rock n' roll infusion

Saved the night for me.

Hekate as sin-eater, teacher, death-greeter,

Hail unto thee!

 

Day Three:

Friends had to leave, time past to grieve,

Reunion is soon at hand.

Wrong workshop, Attacks to stop,

Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Floating around, old friends found,

Vodou people with most integrity.

Thracian Priest, friend of beast

Gimbal the Raven, Pagan celebrity.

Peace of mind, to self be kind

Back to my own room I did go

With head aching, spirit reeling,

To sleep after my favourite show.

 

Day Four:

Time to pack, wearing all black 

With owl on breast, an apple to eat.

Lilith of three faces, asteroid of graces,

Dark and Black Moon, plans to greet.

Last minute shopping, hugs and slogging

On a Monday morning I did goeth

Uncoiled, whorrled, and well oiled.

No witch better primed since MacBeth.

 

Inflaming Myself in Prayer

I read a wonderful quote that (I believe) is Thelemic in origin: “Invoke often. Inflame thyself in prayer”. It matters not who originally said/wrote it, but I like the concept and have been applying this to my spiritual discipline. And really it can be applied to ANY religious belief system; this is the genius of the statement. It captures the path of the passionate spiritual seeker, forgoes the madness and gets to the heart of progress.

To understand and apply properly, I have broken it down into two essential parts: 1) Inflaming Prayer and 2) Frequent Invocation. By examining these two concepts separately, I believe eventually these two sides of the same coin will come together, fulfilling the pursuits and answers to questions long held in my heart. To inflame is to be impassioned, caught in a frenzy of feeling. This is similar to many different ways of being 'moved' or inspired; such as when viewing amazing art, listening to meaningful music, having an orgasm, or anything else associated with a beauteous rapture. It is a trance of sorts, a fleeting euphoria which we try so hard to grasp onto and save for a rainy day. I remember experiencing this for the first time in a religious act. I was learning to say the “Hail Mary” prayer for my catechism class as a kid. For me, practice makes perfect so I kept repeating it all the time: at night when I was laying in bed trying to sleep, walking to the school bus, on the playground when I was by myself.

Inflamed in prayer

Inflamed in prayer

It wasn't until I made my first confession I learned what it was to be 'inflamed' in the fervor of prayer. I was sitting in the pew, praying with my rosary the penance I had been charged by the Monsignor as the price for lying to my parents (3 decades of 'Hail Mary' and a few 'Our Father' thrown in for good measure seemed fair). As I was sitting there, looking at the large Madonna with Her feet stepping on the snake, candles lit for novenas, that I allowed myself to really think and FEEL the words I was saying.

They were not just words thrown into the universe at random, it was a petition to the Queen of Heaven; asking Her to pray for me, and all the other sinners: for as I was led to believe as a Catholic, we all cannot help but sin. I wanted to be like Her: 'full of grace', “blessed amongst women' and to have the Lord with me. My aspirations were too high, but in that moment it felt completely possible. The prayer became a song in my mind, a rhythmic chant of becoming. I was guided to the Goddess within and without at the ripe age of 12. She wrapped Her arms around my spirit, knowing every hurt and mistake, the compassion was overwhelming in my little heart. I knew then my soul was much more capable than what my church could ever offer. And so, before making my Confirmation and becoming an adult in the eyes of the holy Roman Catholic Church, I left Christianity and embarked on a journey to replicate this experience many times over, until I became Goddess.

Invocation is not something taught in most religious educations. I don't even think people quite understand what it means, usually confusing it with 'evocation'; meaning to summon or call forth an being/spirit/deity. To truly invoke is more than petitioning for guidance or help; it is actually inhabiting or becoming a host for the energies of the being/spirit/deity. Evocation is without oneself, whereas invocation is from within. My experience with the “Hail Mary” prayer was not initially intended to become an invocation, but due to the frequency of petitions it ended up with me experiencing the ecstasy of Her energy inside my little body.

Now as an adult I work with Hekate and whilst I intentionally invoke Her, She remains aloof and outside myself. To become enraptured in Her flames and carried off into the serpentine trances is the easy part. Allowing my heart to fully open and let Her in is something which will come with devotion, time and patience. As I repeat my prayers and adoration, the focus does not turn toward petitions which may come in future times. My pagan prayers are filled with more love and reverence than begging to forgive unknown sins. The responsibilities are mine and the compassion comes from within.

A Vision and Lesson...

The following is a vision I had in meditation, when I met my first psychopompic friend, in 2007. I share it as a reminder of how the Otherworld can make connections, all we need to do is reach out for it. As I walked toward the hill, a warm breeze sent shivers all over my body; a white gown was clinging as the wind pushed it against my skin. There were leaves, brown and dancing through the air. To my left, I heard an eagle cry, the sound vibrating off the distant mountains. I could smell the grass, very tender and sweet; like a strange candy.

As I approached the top of the green hill I saw several large does and a huge buck, with an equally impressive set of antlers. They beckoned me to follow, as they leaped over the tall grass towards the far-off woods. Not caring how to keep up, I followed running as fast as I could. As I ran I could feel my limbs turning into graceful legs, and I galloped with a freedom I’ve never experienced. I leapt to and fro, finding my new body much more graceful and agile. My nose was wet and I licked it with my new long tongue. As we flocked along the edge of the tree line, I saw other animals running in the same direction as my herd. There were rabbits, birds, foxes and other small, four legged creatures. At first I was frightened, thinking there could be danger, something chasing us. Then, I see predators running alongside the other animals.

Looking back over my torso I try to see what is driving us all when I realize the figure on the hill is directing us. Using my new eyes, I focused and saw a woman's profile…her red hair whispering in the breezes. She was wearing buckskins, the fringe almost as burnished as her hair. She was directing all the animals towards a thicket in the middle of the vast meadow. A small running brook was the path for the animals to take... there was no human admittance.When I followed the other animals to the center of the wood, a smaller hill rose from the middle. Several standing stones encircled a man-ish creature. I was afraid to approach but was encouraged by my herd to attend. As I walked I returned to my human form again, wearing the white dress.

As I approached, I realized the ‘man’ was of green hue with soft hair covering His entire body. His face and figure reminded me much of my husband: goat-like beard, broad shouldered with a thick neck and barrel chest covered in hair. I found him very attractive, from his cloven hooves which were crossed in a full lotus posture, to the crown of antlers springing out from the top of His forehead on either side. His green glow emanated throughout the circle and He motioned for me to enter that sacred space.

As I stepped in, ripples of energy expanded out in all directions; much as when entering a pool. The waves bounced off the standing stones and returned to His heart at the center of the circle. Without moving his lips, he explained he was the Green Man, Father of all animals and wildlife, keeper of the sacred mysteries from the natural world. He would never harm me and wanted to welcome me, anytime. He explained that I was 'with the deer people' and they had always watched over me. I could call on their presence at any time and they will answer. He touched the feather I had braided into my hair; I could feel the warmth of His hand, radiating like a gentle sunbeam warming morning dew. He told me if I ever wished to return, to touch this feather with my left hand and find the hill again. The deer people will be waiting to guide me back to His forest's heart again.

Since this time I have re-visited the Oaken halls of my Lord Cernunnos, with only recently feeling disconnected. Since I am no longer living in the woods and residing in the urban jungles of the San Francisco Bay Area, it has been difficult to feel His presence. As a wild and hunting God, Cernunnos embodies the same spirit as Odin, Woden, Ogma, Hermes, Mercury, the same sort of unpredictability found in liminal creatures from All Worlds. Why not be a Patron in the city as well? The Romans of Gaul equated him with Mercury; bestowing blessings of wealth, commerce, and a general financial growth with stability; as centers of posterity, cities were a common ground for many Gods with temples everywhere. And so I look to Cernunnos as Dis Pater in the throngs of metropolitan forests; along ghostly roads with shadowy corners, and the streams of commuters as veins in a living collective of spirits. In searching for Him the landscape is where I expected to find Him, when here He is in the humanity of progress.

The Moonchild

*Warning: this is a highly personal and graphic blog post. Read with an open mind and heart.

I was in college, a failing relationship and ready to make a change in my life only I didn't know it yet. Having been working with the Divine Feminine and eventually the Masculine energies, there was for the first time a peacefulness about my spirit. I was in a comfortable, empowering place with daily practice, regular yoga and eating well. It seemed I was at the peak of my journey when a curve ball in both the spiritual and physical effect was pitched.

Commuting 45 minutes to school, working on campus, and getting out of classes late at night (around 10 pm), I often spent the night  friends' houses so I could save the gas and sleep. It was during this time, I was sleeping on a witches' couch, that I felt a presence looming nearby. It didn't seem malevolent or intending to irritate me, just hovering and watching. I asked in the morning if they had ghosts in their building, with the expected “of course” response. I assumed it as such and simply ignored it. It wasn't until the following week when I slept on another friends' couch that I felt this same energy; and somehow knew it was the same being I had encountered at the other place. I began to think...had it followed me?

Pondering these thoughts in the middle of the night, suddenly I felt it trying to get into my gut. A fluttering, a stirring, a breezy touch on my ethereal body, immediately causing me to send out an instinctual shield. Of course, the Be-ing backed off and I was irritated I could not see, hear, or smell it (yes, I smell ghosts). I did not want to communicate with it as I felt it had tried to violate me... I was sleeping and had psychic defenses down so to speak. If a spirit was trying to enter my body without permission, well I wasn't having any kind of games of the sort.

The following weekend I kept my 'spidey senses' open. Although there was not another encounter, I noticed other differences going on. I would know when the phone was about to ring, or a certain song was coming on the radio. My dreams became cognitive in small ways, with small happenings being played out first in visions and then waking world. I was a little freaked out with these gifts, although secretly excited too. But I also wanted to know why they were occurring, and if they were connected to the nocturnal visits. It was when I skipped my period a ton of bricks fell on my heart. I was pregnant and due on Samhain, October 31st.

This was not planned...my 5 year long relationship was becoming a little shaky and not very active in the bedroom, so I was really surprised by this. I was also afraid to talk to my partner about it...his daughter was almost a teenager and another daughter had died at 10 days in a previous marriage; this was going to be a tough one. I did not want to have a child yet...I had planned to wait until 30, when I had seen some of the world, had a supportive income with benefits and stability. As it was I drove a 1978 Caballero that often broke down, had no health insurance to speak of, worked 2 part time jobs, and needed to finish my Bachelor's Degree. Where was a new baby going to fit into this? So we discussed it... actually, I should say I told him and he copped out of a decision with “It's your body. I can't tell you what to do with it.”

Being a double major in both Religious Studies and Humanities, I had a good working mind when it came to the philosophical and ethical thought process regarding this situation. I weighed the spiritual questions more heavily than the rational arguments: Is it truly 'murder'? What would be my karmic debt for 'killing' a life? What do other religions or people similar to my spiritual path have to say about it? I talked with a few enlightened friends I am grateful to know, and still it wasn't a pure 'yes' or 'no' in the end.

I made the decision to at least discuss it with a professional and understand how the process worked, before making any final choice. Eventually I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I didn't feel a connection to the tissue that was growing in my womb...it was only 5 weeks (super early) and a small collective of cells. With that said, there was a spirit hovering around, accompanying me every day wherever I was. It kept trying to enter, but I wouldn't let it; I know this sounds like the ravings of a mad-woman, but if you are reading this blog you probably are somewhat experienced in the realms of the unseen, or at least have a fascination with it. Since I was early enough, I chose to take the RU-184 pill; the 'abortion pill' which differs from the easy to obtain 'morning after' pill.

I still felt uneasy. I wanted to reconcile with this so badly in a spiritual sense. I felt this hovering presence, always nearby. It never merged with me, but I knew it belonged to me. After heavy meditation, I was guided to allow myself to enjoy being pregnant for one afternoon...see how it grew on me, literally and spiritually. Would I feel this 'motherly' instinct, some sudden and over-powering emotion that would drive me to protect this small life-force? What is part of my destiny to have this child? I put all of these questions to thought, heart, and communicated with this spirit. I asked for it's name, if it was a boy or girl, talked to my Son with the green eyes and black hair. I said aloud his secret name and explained: “This is not a good time to meet again. You may linger if you wish, but I cannot give to you what is deserved. Come back to me at a better time, when I call you willfully and with love”. And quietly he did...with a ghostly kiss this presence disappeared and I felt a little sad. I was not regretful, the entire situation with my body and relationship was rather bittersweet. But I allowed myself to cry, cleanse with herbs, and prepare for what I was about to do.

Before getting the pills, I had to receive a sonogram to make sure I did not have any issues, that it was a normal pregnancy. When the clinician left the room, I peeked in at my file to see the pictures; I wanted to look to ease my peace of mind in a way. If there was any emotional or psychic connection made, I was going to back out. My original intuition had been true; I saw a blot of tissue and nothing more.

With my best friend and two sisters, I sent away my boyfriend and his daughter...rented some movies, bought snacks, and took the pills. At first I was only nauseated from the stress; and having Irritable Bowel Syndrome already didn't help my gut either. Before the onslaught of cramping, I took one of the prescribed vicodins; which knowing what I do NOW about anti-inflammatories and IBS would have made me request codeine instead! I was so sick, cramping from the inflammation of my intestines, my womb contracting is it tried to release the fibers of blood, tissue and fluids. The vomiting, the shitting, the cramping was not the worst I had ever had, but I knew worse was still to come.

I asked to be left alone, with a red candle burning next to the black for banishing. I watched the flickering image on the television screen through a haze of incense. It didn't help that it was “The Lost Boys”: a bloody, gory vampire movie (but really, those are my favourite kinds of film). It was at this in-between place, a drug and pain induced trance, I began to breath slower, defaulting to my meditation experience to keep calm. Without realizing what I was doing, I walked into the bathroom, sat down, and passed something the size of a baseball, softly through my vagina. At the same time, I felt this relief wash over me: an immense letting go of all my previous guilts and hurts I had hung on to. I did not look down to see what was there...I never looked back.

I returned to my bed feverish, sweating, and dreamed of bloody Goddesses...thirsty and fanged, dancing in fire which ringed all around me under a black tree hung with placentas. My womb burned with embers which glowed blue, this healing energy spread and cooled like no fire of man. I wanted it to engulf my entire being, but it only stayed local to the hurt. I reached in and pulled, the tendrils of muscle and intestines slipping through my fingers as I dug at the fire. I found my own chakra there and spun it round and round until sparks flew, sending white firelight through my entire being, cleansing and cleaning the muckish, tar-colored sludge. I was liberated and purified, settling into a restful slumber.

I never felt regret, and still don't. I now have a beautiful daughter who is almost 4, who has a loving father and a mother who was able to stay home with her. It is not the spirit who visited me during that time, when I was another person. She has always been my daughter, and probably always will be. But the spirit of the first pregnancy, my Moonchild as I call him (after the novel by Aleister Crowley), lingers somewhere nearby in the nether world, waiting to be called into being through some form or another. Our ways are still twisted up somehow. We will meet as other soul-mates, in another time and place, again.

 

A Liminal Visit to the Past

The Rose of the Tor

Written in Glastonbury, Somerset, England in 2003

The night before, I dreamed… walking through a type of bazaar where paths of consciousness were being offered to me: beautiful colours, deities, and people offering me esoteric knowledge. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed when I heard a far off voice singing my name… but somehow recognized and knew whom it was. I awoke with the sunrise and left for my pilgrimage up the mighty Tor. I anointed myself with an oil called “Ancient Voices” I had bought it at a witchy shop in the High Street the previous day and without so much as taking a shower, I walked in the direction of the Tor.

I still felt a little weary from the community dance the night before. There was a gathering in the town hall, just across the way from my hostel. I went with a girl I was rooming with at the hostel to explore the music and costumed people who were arriving. Once inside, it looked like the scene of a rave with techno-style music and moving images projected on the bare walls. In the middle was an altar of sorts, each direction facing inward. The local Priests and Priestesses cast a circle and blessed every person there, sharing a bowl of raisins offered to the Deities and human guests. My new friend and I danced for hours before finally collapsing in our bunk beds.

The song was still ringing in my head, my name in that distant voice as I tramped through muddy hillsides, over moss-grown stone fences, and the dampness of the settling morning. Everywhere I walked, with every step, I felt the eyes of the landscape on me. The Divine was looking through them all, the ravens dancing on the wind, the squirrels running along the ancient trees, and the hint of a smelly skunk that lived nearby.

When I reached the base of the mighty hill, I looked to see where there might be some sort of path. Historically there was at one point a winding path leading to the top, but all I saw was the overgrown, terraced surface of the mysterious hill. Climbing up, I paced myself the best I could, considering how out of shape I was. At one point I took off my heavy London coat, preferring the crisp morning air to breathe into my skin better. Keeping my senses open to any and all, I sang a Goddess chant as I walked softly on the soil.

At the top, I greeted the four corners. In the East, there were 20 or so ravens, their black feathers reflecting in the first mornings’ ray, that fought through the early clouds. To the South, I felt the fire of my own passion; what had willed me to push forward on this pilgrimage. To the West, I felt the presence of my loved ones back home and I had a deep longing for the great Pacific Ocean. And finally, when I reached the Northern part of the Tor’s peak, I contemplated the Mother Goddess whose spirit ran all through this landscape.

As I sat, I heard a man chanting an “ohm” from within St. Michael’s Tower, a Christian monstrosity which had since replaced the stone circle said to have been at the top in ancient times. The voice was vibrating through the tower, spilling out the top and reverberating through the cool air. Looking out towards the horizon, I felt such peace as never known before…I had found my heart's true home. I remembered throughout the rest of the day my vision, myself in another life, a priestess here. I had loved and lost, as many others had.

Before departing back down the hillside, a young woman came from out of the mists, hangers-on of the departing night. She was dressed like a hippy, with no shoes,standing from the south and looking at me. I smiled in acknowledgment, recognizing a kindred soul on this beautiful morning. She asked me about the Tor, how I liked it. I replied to her “words cannot describe”. She invited me to her home for breakfast; I was starving and a new friend sounded exciting.

I noticed she had come from the opposite direction from whence I had. I asked her about it, and she replied “There’s a paved pathway leading straight to the top on this side. Did you come another way?” I smiled, and told her about my journey that morning, and she laughed. “Well, then you better go back the way you came, so as to retrieve your coat. You don’t want to leave things lying around here, fairies” she said, in a matter-of-factly voice. Realizing she was right, I thanked her for the offer of breakfast and said goodbye as I set off the other way.

When I reached the half way point, on the side I had left the now muddy trench coat, I saw something sticking out of the ground nearby. I had not noticed it there before when I discarded the extra layer of clothing. It was a red rose, just stuck in the ground; no attached vines, like an offering either to or from the Goddess. since I declined one offer already this morning, I decided on the latter and placed it behind my ear as I headed back to the High Street.