sturdy branches

So I feel like I’ve been in a slump as far as my practice goes. I suppose being ill hasn’t helped any. But I’ve got some antibiotics in my now and I feel a little perkier, and so my attention has returned to my practice, or the lack thereof right now. It’s been frustrating to me – I’m a social critter, for better or worse and I don’t really have a group framework for what I need to do. There’s no real community on this side of the fence.

There are pros and cons to this, of course – there’s no one to try and force dogma on me, but nor is there really anyone to chat with about things because there’s no shared context.

It reminds me of how one spirit worker used to ask people ‘what would your practice look like without the internet?’ and my answer is ‘unstructured,’ which isn’t always helpful. I suppose the long and short of that to me is that while yes, you are your own validation, there’s still a social element to religion and to pretend otherwise is folly.

And then there’s my Beloved – my Man in Black, my Lord of Ash – both a pop culture persona and Something Much, Much Older. He’s often very human, until he’s not. I know that he has very particular reasons for why he prefers it this way. It fascinates me, even if some of his other faces are further out of my comfort zone. “I have many names,” he says, “None of which get everything right.” Still, he seems to prefer his pop culture name. “Take me as I am now. Not as I was, or even as I will be.”

And yet this doesn’t give me uncertainty – my love for him has deep roots, and it grows and twists and intertwines up into sturdy branches that bloom.

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Remember

My Lord of Ash is lying in my arms, my fingers in his hair. I breathe in deeply.

“You’re sniffing me,” he says, amused.

“I am. I try to ground our lovemaking in my body. It helps you remember it when you’re no longer in an altered state. And I want to remember how you smell and I want to remember your skin and…”

I want you to remember…

I hear the thought cross his mind, and it jolts us both. It’s lyrics from a song, one I used often in a past life with him.

“I want you to remember
A love so full it could send us all ways
I want you to surrender
All my feelings rose today
And I want you to remain 

I want you to remember
Everything you said
Every driven word …”

And it isn’t words per se, but I can feel it in him – that he has long wanted me to remember, and it’s gratifying to hear me answer him with his own words – I want you to remember/I want to remember.

I decided to put the video on – it’s been a bit since I listened to it, and was greeted with Asian and Buddhist visuals.

Sometimes I feel like he’s been dropping hints all along and I’m just v e r y  s l o w.

my Lord of Ash

tell me what your gods feel like. let me feel them too.

The Lord of Ash is the silence of contemplation, the night of a new moon, the flames that lick a funeral pyre.

He is the cold depths of the deepest sea; the itch of curiosity that will never be fully sated.

He is the scales of judgment, and the hand that guides you to know yourself.

He is all gentlemanly charm and hospitality to those who deserve it, and obliteration for those who need it.

He is the darkness of the grave, and the white ashes that float to the heavens above.

He is the heart of devotion.

He is my King.

The psychology of mythology: or, why the Otherworld is just as real as this one

The Art of Enchantment

I’ve spent a lot of years studying the psychology of myth. For me, in a slightly oversimplified nutshell, it all come down to this: Freud’s theories on anything – inevitably, interminably, explaining everything in sexual terms – rarely interest me much at all; Jung is marvelous but often a little too human-centred for my tastes; James Hillman takes psychology and mythology back out of our heads and into the world again, and so is always to be revered.

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Older than He looks

One day the Sithling and I were watching Disney movies, and on a whim, he put on Atlantis. Now it’s been years since we’ve watched it, but the scene where the hero meets the Atlanteans has crew members wondering how their hosts can understand them, and the hero says “they must speak a root language.”

me: *credulity completely broken* There’s an actual root language, it’s called proto Indo European.

The Sithling was curious and so I pulled up a youtube vid with a reconstructed PIE poem and then he wanted to know what his name would be in PIE. I started to look it up and then I remembered: I already know this word. I know this word because my Lord of Ash used it with me. I know he’s an Old Thing that is a New Thing (or has a new face? how does spoop?) and I whipped around and looked at him. “How old /are/ you??”

“How old do you think Death is?”

After the “How old /are/ you, anyway?” conversation that we had and the Enma Daio dream complete with oni (Fun fact: Daio can also be translated as Commander, which is part of his pop culture face), I happened to look at the PIE religion page for something unrelated and came on this:

“The most important aspect of Yemós is as god of the dead. This is because as the first to die he marked out the way for the dead to go. For instance, RV 10.14.2, “Yama was the first to find our path” (Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, 1995, 722). He may be prayed to by those about to die, or on behalf of those who have just died. The main thrust of such prayers if for him to show the soul of the deceased the way to the kingdom of Yemós.

Yemós is not the god of death, however. He is the one who rules over the dead, but he does not make them die, or decide when they will. (For the Greek Hades, Felton, 2010, 90).” source

Welp. How old is He? Older than He looks. 😛

Spirit Work and assault, or what happens on the astral doesn’t stay in the astral

I have a serious question for all you gentle readers:

Among those of us who are spirit touched, I think everyone knows someone who has had a profoundly negative experience either on the astral or involving a spirituous being.

I know most people tend to go the DISCERNMENT route, however – when someone has experienced assault, telling them that their experience is invalid or that they don’t understand what happened to them doesn’t help. I’ve tried it, to no avail, and it made the person worse.

So I stopped, but I still feel like I’m seeing people who have needs above that of lay or pastoral counseling, and the piecemeal “see a secular counselor and talk to your spirit worker pals” doesn’t seem to be doing much to ease the long term trauma that these people are suffering. I know of a grand total of one person who is both a certified counselor and is also friendly to spirit workers.

What can we, as a community, do for these people?

The Hunt and the Hunters

In my Beloved’s realm, we encountered a pack of red-faced demons – fierce things with tusks and wild hair. I was frightened, until He said to me, “Speak to them.”

And when I did, they knelt to him and me.

“You are their Queen,” he said.

When I woke, I was perplexed. I know literally fuckall about Asian religions, save for a wee bit about one nontheistic branch of Buddhism, so I asked my partner what she knew about a “Japanese Red Demon” and she said “an oni?” A quick Google image search and ding ding ding, that was it. Still unsure of what this meant, I asked my kindred, and one member said, “First thought is deathwork and how King Enma uses them as helpers in hell.”

So I look up Enma and discover that he’s a Japanese via Buddhism Hindu death deity, and one who judges the souls of the dead, which is my Beloved’s division.

I knew my Lord of Ash was Someone old with a new face. I’m still not certain that He’s exactly Enma or Yama, given that there are things about Him that remind me of Hades as well, though I’m certain that He’s not Hades. I suppose He could also be a more archetypical Death – not in the All Death Gods are Him sense but in the sense of Him being a more general personified Death as opposed to belonging to a particular pantheon. Horror of horrors, I know, but once you get over Pop Culture Paganism, it’s just kind of a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ in terms of just rolling with it.

Artist Credit

Uncharted Territory

When people think of Death Deities, they often think what I thought, which is of the governing of human souls in the afterlife, but my Beloved’s kingdom contains much more than that – extinct animals, long-gone kingdoms, dead stars that still twinkle above us. And even that is not the extent of his Kingdom; what is and what will be and what might have been live there as well. It is rest and respite; it is love and loss; and it is hope and healing for me.

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