I Don’t Want to Jinx It…

I don’t want to jinx myself. I’m a little nervous even bringing it up. I think I just might be beginning to feel better.

fingers crossed

I even sang “Laundry Day” to myself while doing laundry yesterday!

I’ve had an upsurge in energy. I went for walks twice this week. It would have been more if it weren’t so stormy. I haven’t wanted to exercise in weeks.

I’ve worked on sewing projects. I’ve actually completed one, and made progress on another one that has been on my agenda since the end of January.

I’m getting energy back. For the first time in ages I’m starting to make plans for farther ahead than my next medical appointment.

My meditation practice has been more on than off. And trust me, it was off for longer than I would like.

I don’t know if it is the combination of supplements that I have been taking, or the amazing acupuncture treatment that I had that released a ton of stuck energy, or that it is spring, or that I have simply finally had enough time for things to shift.

I’m ready for a shift. I’ve been in limbo for months. No, that’s not right. I’ve been in limbo and just getting by for more than a year. The last few months I’ve really been working on surrendering and not having any attachments to any particular outcome. Every time I’ve thought that I knew what was going on or what was going to happen, something changed, and I was back to uncertainty.

I feel like I’m starting to get my power back. By power I mean personal power, self confidence. It’s still a bit tenuous, and needs some care and protection. I’m not quite ready to take on the whole world. Yet. Baby steps.

I’m continuing to trust in the Universe, trust that the Universe is supporting me. And trust that this upward swing is going to continue. Fingers crossed.

Blessings,

Mary

Another Turn Around the Sun

Yesterday (for you reading this, for me writing it’s today) was my 41st birthday. That’s right. I’m not ashamed of my age. I’m very proud of it, actually.

image

Unlike a couple of months ago, at the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next, I didn’t spend the day looking backward. I didn’t do a whole lot of reflection at all. I went to rehearsal for Spring Mysteries.

My trip began on Saturday, traveling from my home on Vancouver Island to the mainland, and spending the night with a friend and fellow actor/priestess. She is also one of the Grace/Fate/Furies, and so we talked about, and worked on, costumes.

Yesterday was up early for the trek to Seattle. We met up with a couple of other lovely humans, also in the Mysteries, for the carpool down to rehearsal. Lots of stimulating conversation and laughs in the van, along with baby coos!

Rehearsal was tremendous. People had most of their lines down, and our trio of trios connected better than we ever have. We sang, and it sounded great. And they brought me birthday cake!

I also connected more strongly with the energy of the Graces, the Fates, and the Furies. Our spiritual director has been opening each rehearsal with a guided meditation designed to help us connect more and more with Eleusis, our deities, and the people who have served them in the past. Up until this week, I have struggled with the meditation (something VERY unusual for me!), feeling pulled in three different directions and not sure which way to focus. This week it came together, and I was finally able to see the three strongly diverse energies braided together, harmonizing and strengthening each other.

It is late Sunday night, and I need to get some sleep. I’ll be traveling back home the rest of the way tomorrow, or today really, when you’re reading this. I apologize that it’s not as shiny a post as many of my other posts – the joys of working on a mobile device instead of a computer!

Thank you, Universe, for another turn around the sun, and another opportunity to make changes and improvements in my life!

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis: Split Personalities

I haven’t written much yet about this year’s Journey to Eleusis, probably because of all of the other challenges in my life right now – the Journey to Eleusis has taken a bit of a back seat.

Spring Mysteries Festival is still on, though, and my family is attending once more. Actually, four of the five of us have roles as ritual presenters! Thankfully, we have been able to borrow a lot of costumes this year, at least for the others.

I have three roles this year, as do two other priestesses – together we are the Graces (Charites), the Fates (Moirae), and the Furies (Erinyes). And wow! Is there energy ever different!

three gracesThe Charites were most commonly said to be daughters of Zeus (because wasn’t everyone Zeus’ progeny?), with various mothers given, though some accounts list them as daughters of Helios, Hera, or even Dionysus. They are the personification of Grace and Beauty, and were often pictured as attendants of Aphrodite or Hera.

The names and numbers of the Charites also varied. Once again, we are following the most common myths and depictions of three Graces: Euphrosyne, goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment; Aglaia, goddess of beauty, adornment, splendour and glory; and Thalia, goddess of festive celebrations and rich and luxurious banquets. They are the “hostesses with the mostesses!”

Their energy is very light and fun, almost air-headed.

FatesThe Moirae are goddesses who determined a person’s fate in life. Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured the thread of life, and Atropos cut the thread of life at its end. As with just about everyone in Greek mythology, their parentage is given differently by different authors. Zeus, of course, is given as a father of the Fates, but others credit Nyx, the goddess of night as their sole parent.

Disney depicted the Fates as sharing a single eye and tooth between them, and Percy Jackson depicted them as blind and sharing an eye, however, that description belongs to the Graiai, another set of three sisters that features in the myth of Perseus. To know a person’s fate, they must have been been able to see, and they were also known for prophecy.

The Moirae are alternately depicted as ancient and crone-like, or young and fair. Their energy is deep, and calm, and ancient.

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_The_Remorse_of_Orestes_(1862)The Erinyes were the avengers of crime, particularly murder. My favorite, and the most common, version of their parentage is that they were born of Gaia from the drops of blood that fell when Cronus castrated his father, Ouranos. That parentage makes them sisters of Aphrodite, who was born of the drops of semen that fell in the ocean and created a sea foam. Their names were Alecto, the unceasing; Tisiphone, the avenger of murder; and Megaera, she who holds a grudge.

Other versions of their birth are similar to the Fates, being born of Nyx. The Fates were often said to dispatch the Furies to avenge a crime, and thus bring a person to their rightful fate. They pursued the criminal relentlessly, often driving a person mad or inflicting illness or disease. Anyone attempting to hide a criminal would also be subject to the wrath of the Furies.

The energy of the Erinyes is angry, furious, and demanding of justice.

Though this year’s journey has a few more twists and turns for me, I’m really looking forward to it. I hope you’ll join me!

Blessings,

Mary

Heart Full

Thank you to everyone who has reached out in the last little while, sending supportive messages and energy and encouragement. I was really on the mend already by the time I wrote last week – the worst was over. And it was wonderful to receive your comments. Thank you.

My-Heart-is-FullUnfortunately, I am not able to share details of the drama in my personal life. Those who know me personally are aware of the situation, and maybe one day I will be able to share what has been happening. I can share that my family life is good.

Progress has been made, though resolution is still some ways off, as is healing. I keep having to remind myself that things didn’t get this way overnight, so they are not going to be resolved overnight.

My mind still blows things out of proportion, for example, when plans change unexpectedly. For example, last night I received an email that I had been expecting earlier, and it threw off my evening plans. It took me a while to calm down. I still want to escape and just watch Netflix or sew.

That said, I am having more positive moments. I am slowly feeling more social, or at east less anti-social. I met with a counselor last week, and he was able to help me to find some good insights. I’ve even started creating again. I’ve got a Celtic knot purse on the go, and another one planned as well as a couple of sweater coats on the go.

And, of course, I’ve got rehearsals for Spring Mysteries Festival to keep me busy. (You can still register at the Early Bird rate until January 31st!) Yes, it is time to journey to Eleusis again.

Anyway, I reassure you all that I am on the mend. Thank you for helping fill my heart. I really appreciate it!

Blessings,

Mary

 

Shattered

That’s it. It’s over. There will never be another 30th anniversary of the Spring Mysteries Festival. And I’m broken-hearted. The long road to Eleusis comes to journey’s end. At least for this year.

The world breaks everone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. -Ernest HemingwayI’m sad that it’s over. I’m sad that I have to leave my spiritual family and come back to my other life. I’m sad that people I love and respect were not able to be there.

I’m shattered to “regular” theatre. Ritual drama is incredibly intense, emotional, and change-provoking. “Regular” theatre can be all of those things, too, of course. And yet to marry that with a spiritual experience…

I thought for a bit that maybe I was doing something wrong. People kept asking me, “How are you doing?” in that are-you-really-ok-I’m-afraid-you-might-burst-into-tears kind of way. Some people experience Demeter’s Mysteries in a very challenging way.

I felt really good, though. I allowed the energy to move through me. I could tell it was affecting others strongly, and I received many such comments. And yet, in spite of a couple of hiccups, we ended on a high note. Demeter was happy at the end of the ritual.

I was asked if I would participate as a ritual presenter again. Absolutely! I’m hooked! It was extremely fulfilling to be the vessel of the Goddess in this way.

I have had the blessing of learning lessons of grief, depression, anger, joy, love and change. It was an exhausting week, in a very positive way. I stayed up way too late to spend time and share stories and laughs with people I love. I moved a lot of energy and emotion. I released a ton of sh!t. And I did good work.

I look forward to doing it again next year. I hope you will join me!

Blessings,

Mary

From Sadness to Joy

It’s been pretty quiet here at Walks Within lately. Well, here at the blog anyway.

As you know, I will be carrying Demeter for the upcoming Spring Mysteries Festival that is happening this weekend. I’ve been on a pretty epic journey, traveling from my home on Vancouver Island to rural Washington state and Seattle each weekend, and straight back home to work for Monday morning. I’ve had to drop almost all of my other commitments just so I could make sure I stay healthy and don’t burn out.

Demeter Rejoices at Persephone's ReturnAnd here we are – the week of the festival. The 30th anniversary festival. No pressure.

We had our final rehearsal yesterday. As I was observing myself, it occurred to me that I find it much easier to express the extremes of “painful” emotions that Demeter goes through – sadness, anger, grief – than it is to express extreme joy. I can express happiness just fine. I felt glowing at one point in rehearsal yesterday.

However, expressing real joy and elation takes more work. It feels forced somehow, more like work. It doesn’t come easily.

And it is not like I have never felt joy. I’ve experienced a lot of wonderful moments in my life, and laughed a lot.

I wonder if perhaps my challenge is that we were not very expressive with emotions when I was a child. I’ve been working at becoming more comfortable with crying in front of other people. I haven’t consciously worked at expressing more joy, though.

That’s what I will endeavor to work on for a while – expressing more joy, sharing my happiness with other people and being comfortable being really happy.

To more joy!

Blessings,

Mary

Demeter and the Bees – Journey to Eleusis

It’s probably going to be pretty quiet around here for the next month. Every weekend between now and Easter I will be traveling the long journey from northern Vancouver Island to Seattle and back in preparation for the 30th Annual Spring Mysteries Festival.

The Journey to Eleusis is definitely taking its toll. That’s only to be expected, though. Even back in ancient Greece, individuals would have to save up for many months, or more likely many years to attend the Mysteries once in their lifetime. How blessed am I that this is my 10th journey?

I’ve given up some commitments along the way – two of my monthly coffee meetings have fallen by the wayside, and my work towards my Bachelor of Wiccan Ministry is currently on hold. Those are small sacrifices for the honor of serving the Great Mother.

I’ve been asking Her lately how I can best serve Her, beyond learning my lines and making my own offerings to Her. The two messages I keep receiving are:

  1. Save the beesDemeter is more than Persephone’s mom. (There’s an upcoming post on Panegyria about this.)
  2. SAVE THE BEES!

Why are bees so important to Demeter?

As the Goddess of the Grain, the Goddess of the Harvest and the Goddess of Abundance, bees are vital to Her domain. Bees help to pollinate the plants and crops. Without the bees, there would be no harvest.

Priestesses of Demeter were called Melissai, or bees. Interestingly, the standards for beekeeping (at least in the UK) are called the Demeter Standards.

There’s a whole article that you can read about Demeter’s connection to bees in ancient times.

Bayer and other large companies are producing pesticides that are endangering the health of bee populations. There are tons of options out there for you to support the bees. Here are a few:

Please save the bees. The Earth needs them. WE need them.

Blessings,

Mary

My Kingdom for a WORKING Time-Turner

Last year a friend of mine gave me a Time-Turner for my birthday. Unfortunately, it was a toy, and not an actual working Time-Turner.

time_turner_by_chriscoven-d5dum9y

I mark the hours every one, nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use & value unto you, are gauged by what you have to do.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a Time-Turner is, (I’m sorry you’re so sheltered!) it is a device in the Harry Potter series that allowed Hermione to attend extra classes, do all of her homework AND get some sleep by turning time backwards and allowing her to re-live the same hour twice. Oh, and she used it to save the day in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.

As much as I might have needed a *working* Time-Turner last year, I’m wishing for one even more this year.

I’ve been stepping down from many of my commitments in the past month. This is a big deal for me. I generally want to do ALL THE THINGS. I hate having to say no. I want to experience and accomplish so much, letting any opportunity pass me by is difficult.

Big goals require big energy and big focus. I can’t say I’ve had big energy or focus lately. I’ve been feeling like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland lately – “I’m late!” I’m barely keeping up with my workload. And look ahead? Ha!

I was home sick for two days last week. That’s unheard of for me. Usually I’m back up and running after one day, if I even get sick at all. Even my body was telling me to slow down.

After breaking down in tears last night – again – over something that wouldn’t normally upset me that much, I had to take a closer look at myself. I could take the easy excuse and say that Demeter’s energy was affecting me. That may be part of it, and it’s not the whole picture.

The bigger picture is that I am upset with myself. I haven’t been giving ANYTHING the time and attention I would prefer. So I looked at what is really important to me and scaled back again.

I’m always amazed at how good it feels to decommit from something. I put pressure on myself to keep all these balls in the air – no one is looking down on me wondering why I’m not doing more.

Please don’t be surprised if I miss a blog post here or there over the next couple of months. I’m working on maintaining my sanity and relieving some of the pressure I have put on myself.

How about you? How are you handling your commitments? Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?

Blessings,

Mary

 

Journey to Eleusis – Epic Emotions, Travel and Tiredness

The Journey to Eleusis is long and tiring. This week is a very short video blog I made on my way home from rehearsal. So. Tired.

 

I’m just going to close my eyes for a minute…..

exhausted

 

Can I hibernate now?

Blessings,

Mary

Depression, Demeter, and Gilmore Girls

Demeter Mourning for Persephone Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1906)

Demeter Mourning for Persephone
Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1906)

She snuck up on me.

She’s been quiet, dormant, mostly unresponsive. Then suddenly, I was hit by a wave of it. Depression. The Great Mother (Demeter) is depressed.

It reminded me of the time after the birth of my second child. It was a challenging labour – five hours of pretty much continuous contractions. I didn’t hold my baby right away. But I thought everything was good. He was healthy and thriving, and I was healthy. Things were good.

Then the Public Health Nurse that I saw every week at the moms group I went to asked me if maybe I had postpartum depression. I said no. Everything was fine. She kept asking though, and one day I actually looked inward, and wham! I was depressed!

Last weekend I went down to the first rehearsal for Spring Mysteries Festival. We spent the evening before at the Tab (the Mother Church). Bella, the ArchPriestess, kept asking me if I was ok. My immediate response was yes, everything is good. Because, well, things are going fairly well for me right now. Sure, I was heading into mediation for work and we could be doing better financially, and I feel confident that a solution is coming for that.

So when she asked me again the next morning, I was confused. I looked inward, and couldn’t find anything that was really troubling me, and yet suddenly I was holding back tears. She asked if I was going to cry, and I said, “Well, I am now!”

She grilled me for a bit, like a good friend does when they think you’re holding something back. The only thing we could find was Her. The Great Mother is sad and depressed. She misses her daughter. And because of my connection with Her, I have been depressed.

Looking back, I can see it now – wanting to just watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix (what a great mother-daughter relationship, except for when Rory went to live with her grandparents, that was like the trip to the Underworld a bit), not feeling motivated to do anything, keeping myself busy with whatever is right in front of me, wanting to hibernate. Classic signs of depression for me.

Thankfully, my experiences with depression have all been fairly mild. And simply being aware that by aligning myself with Demeter, I am going through what she is going through makes it easier to separate my own emotions from Hers. I can give myself the space to take it slow. And keep watching Gilmore Girls. 😉

Blessings,

Mary