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Lughnasadh always brings an interesting energy with it.  While Lugh won a lot of trials in his life through sheer skill, some of that skill was humour and wit, and there is never a shortage of humour or wit in the messages that come through this time of year.  But what else?  In honouring Lugh we remember the funerary games he organized for his foster mother, Tailtiu. We play games of skill and celebrate our respective talents.  We dance, sing, enjoy the life energy of summer thriving around us.  Now let’s incorporate the celebration of Lamas, the first harvest.  Traditionally the first grains would be used to make bread to bless the occasion as the community came together to enjoy the bounty of harvest.  Sometimes bread was baked in the shape of the Green Man in honour of the sacrifice he gives so that we may thrive.  In all of this there is a theme of both celebration of the light and recognition of the dark as we begin to notice the days shortening, reminding us to be thankful for the harvest that will sustain us in the coming winter.

In my practice I’ve used it as a time to cleanse and bless my hearth and home, fortifying our household for the year to come with the rich energies of summer.  This year I took a deeper look at that practice.  Yes, I will probably still cleanse our home and reinforce our crystal grids, but the more meditation I’ve done the more thought I’ve given to the “hearth” in my life.  While my tangible household is a brick and mortar place, my home is transient, my family scattered between the coasts, farther once I incorporate metamours.  So what of this tribe?  What of our hearth?  How can we be cleansed and fortified for the year to come?

The beautiful thing about our Ohana is that everyone, no matter how far away or how little involved, brings something to the tribe.  We each have our strengths, skills and talents that enrich the energy of the whole.  There is not a single one of us who doesn’t work hard and strive to really experience life in their own way, and this energy finds its way to the core of what makes us strong as a unit.  Those skills and strengths become our grains, and with some nurturing and encouraging, those talents flourish.  Through their harvest we begin to manifest our best selves, and we become the bread men of Lamas, ingested to feel the blessings of the very earth that grounds and holds us.  So, the hearth?  The hearth is community, fired with our dedication to each other.  It’s love, support, and solidarity, but it’s also sacrifice.  We each give at one point or another so that the others may thrive.  When each of my partners’ family becomes my family, and we weave a web of compassion and love, we become a strong tribe.  Through that web we feel each other’s joy and pain.  Through that web none of us can starve no matter how cold the winter might get, and because we’ve got Lugh on our side we do it with the flare of laughter and maybe some smartassery.  Ok, a lot of smartassery.

Aloha, and Blessed Lughnasadh

Go now, celebrate your talents!

love_candles

 

There’s a picture we have of healing as this serene moment of white light and wholeness of body and soul.  It’s completely benign, and the one being healed walks away and life is great.  It’s beautiful.  It’s painless.  It’s….it’s bullshit.

 

Let me take a step back.

 

In February I attended a healing ritual.  We moved and danced and raised energy to communicate with the spirits we’d called into the circle, and it was the strongest energy I’ve ever felt from a healing ritual.  At each altar I was keenly aware of the changes in my movement and what parts of the healing I’d achieved over the last year.  Messages flooded through me.  Then I got to the center, and my insides shifted.  I began to laugh.

When I started rehearsing parts of Good Girl my nervous coping mechanisms not only intensified exponentially, but they laughed in my face.  Quite literally.  When I’m nervous or anxious I smile.  I laugh, I make jokes.  I entertain.  One of the hardest parts of this process for me was learning to stop entertaining when I’m unhappy with a situation.

So here I am, in the middle of a healing ritual, with people around me having their intensely poignant experience, and I’m laughing.  I’m belly laughing.  I’m cackling,  I’m laughing so hard I’m crying.  It’s the first genuine laugh that’s passed through my lips without some other prompting in decades, and this is the moment I feel healed.  This is the moment I feel the entire community around me giving and taking and healing each other.

Then the spirits talk through one of the priestesses running the ritual.  She laughs, and suddenly I am no longer laughing.  I’m at once eager and terrified of what’s about to come out of her mouth, because it’s exactly what I’ve felt written on my soul since December.

Healing, complete healing, is something you have to be ready for.  It’s not some idyllic scene with rainbows and crystals.  Healing hurts, and it’s relative to how deep the wound runs within you that needs to be healed.  It tears at you, ripping away the parts of you that are broken, and you feel every cell of it leave you.  But that’s not all.  Healing isn’t a finite event.  It’s a catalyst for the rest of your life, changing every single part of it, and once you’ve become your whole and unhindered self?  This is the hardest part of healing to deal with.  Once you are whole and unhindered you have no more excuses.  You must live up to your potential.  You must do what needs to be done to keep moving forward.  You must pull yourself together and be a force in this world.

You have no more excuses, and that’s terrifying.

But this is why we heal as community.  This is why we tell our stories.  This is why we are a web of life and light, because otherwise we would not survive what it is to heal.  Otherwise we would be glowing orbs of heavenly light and we would walk back into our lives just as broken as we were before.

 

Aloha.

 

Go now, heal each other.

The last several months have brought a lot of change to Carnival Clifford.  Most have been good.  All have been necessary.  It means I’ve had very little energy and even less cohesion to actually write a blog. I would like to say I’ll be back on a schedule, but honestly I am no less frazzled and stretched thin than I was in April.  I can only promise you I haven’t forgotten about Pearls and Pentagrams.

 

If last year was the year of career, and this year the year of creativity, I feel very much like next year has already begun to have its seeds planted in spirit.  Year of coven?  Maybe. Year of community?  Definitely.

 

I’ve felt drawn for a while now to find a new group with whom to practice.  While my personal work has gotten exponentially powerful and my spirituality has become more rooted and vibrant than it has been in a long time, I feel a need for community, and that’s not something I’ll get anywhere else.

 

Last week I attended the first group ritual I’ve been to in way too long, and it was fitting that the deity invoked were both Carnival Clifford patrons.  We’ve all been so exhausted by even the good changes that family practice has fallen by the wayside, and while I have not forgotten the work I put in with Brighid to get me where I am at this moment, I’d lost a lot of steam when it came to working with her properly to keep up the momentum.

 

Being in sacred space with my family and feeling the buzz of community did in less than an hour what I thought would be a long term goal.  My spirit returned to me.  I know there’s a lot of muck yet to trudge through, but I know this is where I’m meant to be, and i am certain there’s a brighter place for me and my family on the other side.

 

Blessed Be.

 

Go now, feel the spirit of community.

Let me tell you  a story.

Let’s pretend you have a kid who’s sick.  He’s got a variety of things that make his health a daily battle, several of which could be terminal.  

You have two choices.

You can treat each battle as something to mourn and never stop pushing forward.  It’s for the kid’s survival.  What kind of parent or you.  You can dwell on the kids who are losing their battles, and never let your kid forget he could die any day.

Or you can celebrate the good days and let the kid enjoy his life despite the battles.  You don’t treat them any less seriously, and you don’t stop taking care of his health, but you take a deep breath once in a while and go to the park.  You keep the kids who have lost their battles in your heart, and you educate yourself on advancements in care.

This is how I feel we can handle the Supreme Court decision about Marriage Equality.  We can celebrate it as what it is.  A step in the right direction.  Not the last step or the most important step, but a step.  We’re allowed to celebrate small victories without forgetting the other issues or those who are still battling.  Why?  Because the kid is still a human being, that’s why.  Just because this decision doesn’t fix all the problems for all the people does not give us the right to invalidate the people the decision does help in any way.

I’ve been told at least half a dozen time today that I’ not allowed to have an opinion on the matter as anything but a bystander.  Because I’m already married.  Because I’m bi and chose to legally marry a man.  Because I’m white.  Because I’m cisgendered.  Because…because…because.  I have never understood this kid of isolation as anything but what we’re fighting against, and I do not understand it now.  As a community of humans fighting together we need to also recognize the importance of being a community of humans exalting together.  The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are both vitally important to the survival of the spirit and humanity of the community.

No, the journey is not even mostly over.  No, the war has not been one.  No, celebrating this victory does not erase from our memories the journey behind us or the long road yet before us.

 

Aloha.

Go now.  Be together.

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