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Rivers of Ritual

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Ritual – What is your definition of the word “ritual”? What are your rituals- mundane and spiritual? How do they inform each other? Is ritual a necessary component to spiritual practice?

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A rite is a religious or other solemn ceremony or act, and ritual is the prescription or customary order that is regularly followed when performing a rite. I think the distinction between custom and ritual is the more ceremonial and intentional aspect of ritual. Magic and spiritual practice can be done without ritual, but they tend to be more potent or perhaps easier with ritual. Much like using a recipe when cooking. You don’t have to have a recipe, but it can help if you’re looking to make something specific.

ritualvalley

I think of ritual like the riverbed or valley carved into time, the psyche, and maybe the collective consciousness (when not private but communal) by the river of a rite. The longer it has been done that way, the deeper it is engraved and guides — and even defines — the actions and the experience. Over time, rivers change and branch, get new inlets and outlets, deposit new land areas into the landscape, but the valley it has carved generally guides it. The purpose of a rite will generally be couched in this valley, so even if the ritual steps change and the course is altered a little or a lot, the need for the rite will shape the flow when it comes through, being performed yet again by the community who saw the need and invented the rite in the first place, and still sees the need and dances through that valley to attain whatever it is.

I haven’t paid much attention to ritual in my adult life. I had a bit of resistance to prescriptions, preferring creative and pioneering experiences, to discover life in a more wild way, unconstrained by social expectations and traditions. I tend to climb around the mountains wherever, path or no, rather than get carried swiftly down the rivers and out to sea. But I do feel the gravity and depth of those valleys, the power of those rivers, and they can be intoxicating. I do sometimes swim in the rivers and feel the pull of connection to the spirit of past and future rites — the participation in my human family’s collective experiences, and the world of spirit’s engraved landscapes.

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No Words Without Water

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Water – We are beings of water, but do we really honor it as element, physiologic need and the beginnings of our lives as humans? How do you honor water? How will you ensure its ebb and flow?

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[Photo: Dancing Earth]

I’m struggling to express this, even though I’m sure I could wax poetic all day… water is more important/beautiful/sacred than words can ultimately touch.

There would be no words without water…

… no humans with language. No animals. No plants. No life (as we Earthlings know it). No experience to describe. No ears to hear, no eyes to read, no brain to comprehend.

Perhaps there would be no worlds without water.

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Green Woman

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Any topic of your choice! Have fun with this one. Prose, poetry, fiction, art work or any other creative format are welcome!

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[Image by Michal Ivan]

[Poem by me – Lia Hunter]

 

Green Woman

 

I am the sister of the herbs

the trees

the flowers

 

I am the fey presence

from among the leaves

 

I hum and pulse

with wind and water

trilling

 

I am the song that weaves

from between the leaves

 

In shadow and dappled sunlight

in mountain moonlight

I flow

 

I am the eyes that watch

from behind the leaves

 

I walk the forest floor

leap through the understory

sleep in the earth

 

I am the life that breathes

from within the leaves

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Ebb & Flow

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Any writing for the letters E or F – We are keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined from the Pagan Blog Project.

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[Photo by John Mee]

 

E is for ebb, F is for flow

the rhythm of life, like the breath

living awen, inspire and grow

expire and draw back, like death

to and fro, above and below

ever-moving requires some rest

 

I think it’s important in a time-oriented culture… in an achievement-oriented culture… to remember the nature of life. Being a living creature means going AND stopping. It means working AND sleeping. Living AND dying. It’s not OR. It’s both.

Like disowning death, disowning rest and withdrawal has dire consequences, in the end. Is it any wonder we have endemic anxiety problems in our society? Our cultural script is telling us we must GO GO GO! Pausing means you’ll miss the train!

But pauses are essential. Continue reading

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I Am Grateful: Relationship With The Divine

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Deity and the Divine (Alt Prompt)- What is your relationship with the Divine? Is it Devotional? Collaborative? An agreement of reciprocity? How does this engagement flow into your mundane relationships? or Does it?

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I see myself as part of the Divine, as with every being, every thing that exists, and every non-embodied concept we humans keep in our minds and the experience of our emotions. The whole of nature, together, is my concept of the Divine. My pantheism folds easily into my animism, since if I can have an individual consciousness while being part of the whole, I can interact with everything as if it may, as well. Even if it has no consciousness as we know it, it’s still part of what we all are. God/dess, Divinity, the Universe… whatever you want to call it. I even see the Gods as sparks of the Divine, and may also have individual consciousness. So I can interact with them collaboratively, the same as I do with animals, plants, landscapes, stars, spirits, etc.

Take the picture of the lovely, towering pampas grass, above, from the river I live next to… is that one in the center really grass without the other grass it grows among? Would it be pampas grass without the river bank on which to grow… without the mountain from which the river flows, and the rain and snow that feed it? Would it be, if the Sun didn’t create the planet? Would its leaves and stalk be green without the chlorophyll interacting with the photons from the sun, scattering the light until we see only green? What about our human eyes, evolved to catch all this light and these colors? What about our language, which named the grass, and our minds which love to categorize things and said that this is a grass, not a rush nor a sedge? Would it be pampas grass without its ancestors… even though they’re not here, in this time? Would it be a grass without the animal ancestors who co-evolved with the plant kingdom, each nourishing the other, and exhaling the kind of air the other needs for breathing… for life?

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As Above, So Below

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: As Above, So Below – What do you seek from the Divine? How is that reflected in the mundane? Where do you find your place of synthesis?

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[Image by Robin Quinlivan]

I have always loved this proverb (The Law of Correspondences). “As above, so below. As the universe, so the soul. As within, so without.” It doesn’t even need elaboration. You can even snip it to the first third and get the key concept, and start imagining all the ways it applies.

What do I seek from the Divine? Do I seek anything? A relationship… but then, that already exists simply because I exist and am a part of it. Realizing a relationship, then. Perhaps I seek to express divinity, as well as to observe it being expressed through other beings and other existences, and to love all of the expressions.

That is reflected in the “mundane” — which I don’t see as mundane because everything is sacred (when nature is your god…) — in absolutely everything! All the natural processes and everyday realities are expressions of nature… nature/multiverse/universe unfolding… in all directions and dimensions.

You could say that it is reflected in my hearth-craft, since I imbue my very housework with sacred meaning, and practice it in a devotional and mindful and heartful fashion. My hedge-craft as well, because I bring the inner/outer dimensions of dreams, spirit work, and practical knowledge into balance with each other and with everyday life and community. Even poetry… a blending of mythos and logos… off-label language use… spinning magic and smithing art with soul-fire and the tools of culture.

My place of synthesis is in balance and wholeness. From all I gather in, I take inspiration and create. Observe, learn, create. Gather perspective, study, and generate. Live, laugh, love. Learn so much from everything I can, that the big picture becomes clear, and I can see the imbalances, and reach out to help correct them, and even realize how little reaching it takes. Love gives leverage, and lends quite a bit of power to healing. The big picture also reveals the beautiful balance of light and darkness… every knit stitch is also a purl, from the other direction… and the tapestry is awesome. And we get to participate… as weaver and weave. And in loving it, it becomes indescribably beautiful, just as it is. Each change made is another beauty… each thread, each dye, each dive and soar of the shuttle… order, chaos, change… sacred dance.

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Wisdom

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The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Knowledge, Wisdom and Gnosis – What do these words mean to you? How do you express these principles in your spiritual work? Is any one of them more important than the others? Why?

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Knowledge as the theoretical or practical understanding of a concept in both the individual and aggregate human body of knowledge can be an intoxicating thing to pursue. Geeks pursue thorough knowledge on a topic or topics, and become experts, whether recognized with formal education degrees, acknowledgement of time spent and quality of knowledge, or unrecognized. The more topics they study and gather knowledge about, the more expertise grows and they can make connections about principles that apply widely, and this gives more of the big picture and more surety that they know where they are and how to navigate reality. It can be exciting to make these connections! Continue reading