Friday, March 25, 2011

The Green, Green Grass

The grass was green yesterday.  Not all of it, but a few glorious patches were the electric green I find only at the beginning of spring.  That vibrant color, that brilliant hue, heralds life returning.
Not the grass, but plants growing beside my parking area.
Although today you wouldn’t know it.  We are going to get about an inch of snow and the trees are already covered.  I guess Persephone wants a little more time before she leaves the underworld.  Maybe that is why Ostara didn’t seem a big deal to me.  It’s still cold here.  We had a fantastic week of sixties and now we are back to the thirties.  But that’s normal Iowa weather for you.

I’ve been in a funk lately – emotionally, religiously, house cleaningly, writing-wise, and project-wise.  Nothing is getting done.  I used my google calendar to break out timelines for some projects, that way I would be responsible for getting things done.  But I only did this for my non-profit projects… and I haven’t looked at it regularly.  I bought a whiteboard calendar at Goodwill to have a hardcopy at home but I haven’t touched it yet.

I think I’m starting to get better, to get out of the funk, but I still have to kick my butt about it.  I need to realize that I am wallowing around and just go do stuff.

I made paper daffodils for Ostara.  They look lovely on my crowded altar.  I’m glad I finally made a crafty thing for Persephone and I’m trying not to feel bad about not doing a ritual.  I think it’s about time to do volume 2 of the My Monster Said No zine.  Maybe that would help me get out of my guilt issues.

I’m working on it.

That moment of wonder when I first saw the new grass, I felt happy.  I felt the energy rising with the neon color.  I felt ready for the new year. 

The grass is growing, Persephone, it’s putting on the best it has to offer to welcome you home.

I welcome you too.  After deaths and close calls in the lives of people I know and love, I am ready to stand under an open sky again.  Ready to walk, barefoot, against the grass and hear the leaves rustle above me.

I am ready.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hail Hephaestus!

Last Saturday was the Hellenion Libation to Hephaestus.  Every month, the group makes a libation on the second Saturday to one of the Olympian gods.  It is their way of making sure that all twelve get honored during the year.  

Saturday I lit a candle and incense for Hephaestus.  My son and I went to a program at the library called "Making Things:  Smaller."  It was a Nova program about how electronics are getting smaller and nanotechnology.  Then they had some hands on exhibits that my kiddo thought were cool.  What better way to spend a day for Hephaestus!

I’ve also started creating pages in my Book of Shadows.  Each God will have prayers, pictures, and information all in one spot.  I’m still working on Hephaestus, and I have to redo Hera’s (and start Aphrodite’s) because I switched the size of my binder.  

Hephaestus is one of my favorite Gods.  I’ve never quite figured out why, other than he doesn’t look perfect and can make the most wonderful things.  I’m a crafter and I should probably honor Athena more than I do, but when I think of crafting, I think of Hephaestus.  He is the builder, the creator, the mechanic, and the tech guy.  He rules over my computers, cars, and electronics.  He guides the hands of those who work to save us.

Last summer, he was with the techs who restored clean drinking water to my town three days earlier than expected. 

I pray he is with the rescuers and techs in Japan now, helping them restore power and search the wreckage safely.  May he slide through the wires and keep them running.

Yesterday I prayed to Hephaestus and others not just for Japan, but for my grandfather.  They thought he had a heart attack but now aren’t so sure.  If there was ever a man in my life who embodied Hephaestus, it is my grandfather.  He is 76 years old and recently returned to building and racing sprint cars.  He has always been a mechanic type guy, and he likes to create things.  He made lamp shades out of decorative pots and beads.  He made a ‘switchblade’ out of Popsicle sticks and rubber bands.  He seems like he will be okay, and I am eternally grateful.

This week:  Worked on Hephaestus BoS page.  Prayed for Japan and my grandfather.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm a UU Now

I have been going to my local Unitarian Universalist church since July 2010.  I take a few weeks off here (ahem, the whole month of December) and there, but I’ve been trying to go on a regular basis.  I’ve joined the choir and my son is taking part in the Religious Education (RE) classes.  It’s a great community of folks who get together and try to be better.

The services are full of inspirational quotes, things to think about, and respecting each other for who they are.  One of the beliefs of UU is a recognizing the inherent worth and dignity inside everyone.  That is the sort of thing that keeps me coming back.

And that is the sort of thing that led me to signing the membership book on Sunday. 

I have been a Pagan of some flavor or another for the past thirteen years and almost all of that time, I have been a solitary.  I have practiced by myself, on my own, without talking about it to anyone.  Only in the last year have I regularly met with a group of like-minded people to share.  I joined a group a friend of mine started at the UU to follow the Diana’s Grove Mystery School packets on Persephone’s Journey. 

I am solid in my belief in the gods and earth-based spirituality.  The beliefs of the UU match my personal ethics and standards wonderfully.  It seemed like a good fit but when I started the new membership class I felt weird.  At the beginning it was fine, it was when we started talking about membership that I got weird.  I understood that the UU welcomed all faiths and non-faiths.  I knew it was open to Pagans.  Hell, there are are the CUUPs – Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and one of the tenents is learning from earth-centered spirituality.

So why did I feel weird? 

I think it may have been that I was in a class full of seekers.  No one really knew what they believed and they were looking for a spiritual home, a place to belong, and a set of beliefs they could get behind.  I already knew what I was and I was looking for a community to hold me up, to raise my child in, and for support.  Somehow I got stuck on the thought that becoming a member of the UU church would be like baptism, I would ‘become’ this new thing and I didn’t want to let go of my old one.

I talked with a Pagan friend who is a member of the UU and she helped settle some of my discomfort.  I think it might just be a word issue too.  I keep saying the UU beliefs, but the UU doesn’t believe anything, they have a set of principles it’s members adhere to.

By joining I gave up nothing of my beliefs.  I gained nothing new but an understanding that I was now a member of a group of people who stood up for the same sort of principles.  I was affirming my code of ethics, my principles, and allowing a community to help me on my way. 

And it feels good.

Noumenia: A New Start

by Bobby Mikul

I have had this blog for ages and have never posted anything.  Why?  Because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to post.  And because I wasn’t sure if I could handle two blogs at once.  But I tend to start blogs in an effort to hold myself accountable and that’s what I need to do now.

I am starting this blog in an effort to hold myself accountable to my religion.  At least once a week, I will post here about something I have been doing with my religion.  It could be a poem I wrote about the gods, a divinatory tool or spread, prayers, rituals, or just thoughts on how to live a religious life.

At least once a week, I will make an effort to connect to my gods.

What do I mean by religion and gods?

Hellenic based Paganism.  Paganism with a focus on the gods and spirits from Ancient Greece.  Persephone, Hades, Hermes, Hephaistos.  The Agathos Daimon, the spirit of the house, otherwise known as Kabouters in my house, Dutch gnomes.  The trees and the wind and the sun and the moon.

Join me for my journey to deepen my religious experience.