Reflections of Aphrodite

Spring Mysteries Festival is now over for another year. Life returns to its slightly less frantic pace. I’m home, mostly rested, and falling back into my regular routine.

There’s a bit of post-festival let-down, for sure. Being in that magical space, with amazing people – most of whom I only get to see once or twice a year – and helping to facilitate transformation is exhilarating and incredibly rewarding. It’s my other real world.

Peter Paul Rubens Venus (Aphrodite) at a mirror ca 615Looking back on the past few months, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work so closely with Aphrodite. She has challenged me on so many levels. And so I have grown in a lot of ways.

Our modern society portrays Aphrodite as a bubble-headed bombshell who only cares about sex. I had the chance to discover that she is so much more than that.

The Goddess of Love and Beauty and Pleasure sees the bigger picture. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growth requires change. It requires stepping outside your comfort zone. And yes, sometimes that means you may get hurt. But it’s better than dying.

The message that Aphrodite shared most often this weekend (and therefore, the message that was also meant for me) is that you have to love yourself before you can truly love others and receive love from others. Look in the mirror and say, “Hello, beautiful, Goddess (or handsome God). I love you!” Do it even if you don’t believe it – ESPECIALLY if you don’t believe it – repeat it daily until you do. Have fun, enjoy the pleasures of this physical form: the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch. And yes, even the pain has something to teach you.

I received many compliments last weekend that have helped reinforce the work I have done. I thought perhaps I might miss the compliments after the festival, and I don’t really. I feel so much more confident and comfortable in my body as it is than I did at the start of this journey. And I am so very grateful.

Though I will not be working as closely with Aphrodite, I know She will always be there if I need her. I am familiar with her energy, and I can recognize it and call upon it.

For all of you who have been afraid of working with Aphrodite, like I was, I encourage you to continue. She is gentle and compassionate when needed, saucy and irreverent when needed, and pushy as all get out if you don’t listen the first time! The growth is worth the effort, though.

Blessings,

Mary

In the Home Stretch

Yesterday was our last rehearsal for Spring Mysteries Festival. We’re in the final leg of our Journey to Eleusis.

It felt weird coming home yesterday after rehearsal, knowing that in less than 3 days I would be traveling to Fort Flagler, the site of the Festival, where Eleusis has been created every Easter weekend for 29 years.

Spring Mysteries Festival Parade to the SeaAnd events seemed to be conspiring against me actually making it home. Rehearsal ran a bit over time as we did our best to pack as much into the last rehearsal as possible. And then it took a while to say farewells and finalize last minute details before actually leaving.

After dropping my son’s girlfriend off, I somehow managed to miss part of an exit – I know I took the exit for 405 North, and somehow I managed to end up on 522 East. Thankfully my other passenger had GPS on her phone, which I don’t on my US phone and I prefer not to pay hideous roaming charges on my Canadian phone. She was able to navigate us back to I5 north, after a detour some distance to the northeast.

I got her safely home and stopped as briefly as I could for fuel for body and vehicle. We were still an hour behind our normal schedule, and the border wait was over an hour long. I was very grateful that it was only my son and I crossing the border. We both have NEXUS passes, and so I was able to cut through town and get to the NEXUS lane, bypassing the line and getting through the border in about 5 minutes. (NEXUS FTW!)

Still, it didn’t make up for the earlier delays. As we were heading to the airport to return the rental car, I realized that we were not going to make the transit connection to get us out to the last ferry of the night.

I started frantically going through the list of people I know in or around Vancouver who have a vehicle and might be willing to help drive us. My son made the calls, and we found a rescuer. (Have I mentioned that I have AMAZING friends?) We returned the rental car, and I looked for my wallet so I could give my friend some gas money.

It wasn’t in my purse.

Panic began – that’s how I was going to pay for the ferry as well. I emptied my purse, and it wasn’t there. Had it fallen out at the rehearsal hall, or at our friend’s house where we stayed the night?

Thankfully, my son went back and checked the rental car – it was there! It still took a bit for the adrenalin rush to subside.

We made it to the ferry in plenty of time, and I am home to be able to make my final preparations. I have a mixture of feelings – excitement, nervousness, sadness, relief, gratitude. Next time I write, it will be all over. It’s been a huge commitment, both of time and resources. It has challenged me physically, mentally and spiritually. I don’t regret it, though. And I’m already making plans for next year.

Blessings,

Mary

Bumps in the Road

We’re in the home stretch for Spring Mysteries. There’s only one more rehearsal, and then we’re on site.

ATC SMF 2014Yesterday’s rehearsal had some interesting challenges. Quite a number of people were not able to be there, due to work or health or other unexpected circumstances. When we arrived at the rehearsal location, we found out that we were not on the schedule for the day, and the whole building was booked! Thankfully, some of the other cast members live nearby, and we were able to go to their home to run lines. And there are still several people who are struggling with their lines.

When you are this close to production, all of that can lead to a little anxiety.

I’m pretty calm, though (at least about that). I know my lines. I trust that the people who are struggling will spend the next week and a half buckling down and working on memorization.

This is the test of faith. Are you still willing to keep going when it gets challenging? Will you see it through to the end, or throw in the towel?

I’m one of the “I’ve come this far, and I’m going to see it through until the end” kind of people. So despite the fact that I’m really tired, despite the extra challenges at work, despite not seeing as much of my family as I would like, I’m excited for the main event.

I still have my own work to do. I don’t know everything there is to know about Aphrodite. I still have a ritual to prepare. And I am honored to be doing this work, and to serve the Gods and my fellow pilgrims to Eleusis.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. There is still space to register – room and board is included in the registration cost! Join me in Eleusis!

The Things I Do for (the Goddess of) Beauty

We are less than a month away from Spring Mysteries now – getting ever closer to Eleusis. Most of my costumes are ready. There are just a few finishing touches still to be done. Now I’m down to accessories, and hair.

Oh, the hair.

In my mind, Aphrodite has beautiful wavy tresses. Curly even. My hair is not so curly. It waves when it is wet, but not as much when it dries. And not at all once I brush it.

Mary with curlsSo I have been on the search for a way to curl my hair that is not permanent, and doesn’t involve copious amounts of chemicals. For the Aphrodite and Eros dance at The Tab, I did it the “old-fashioned” way – with a curling iron. It took me an hour and a half, and a ton of hair spray. It still didn’t stay that long. The ringlets were gone the next morning, though I did have a certain sexy just-got-out-of-bed look. Which still didn’t last past the brush. Not to mention that I don’t want to be spending an hour and a half at the festival (each day!) curling my hair.

I’ve watched some videos on different types of (really expensive) curling irons, and really cool braids. I know how to french-braid my hair, though I don’t think I could do some of the fancier patterns on my own head. And french braids is one of my options for the wavy look.

I had my eye on some interesting looking ringlet curlers on ebay for a while, and I finally broke down and ordered some. They arrived this week, so I had to try them out. They are pretty simple to use. (If you want an interesting experience, check out the promo video.)

I put them in Friday morning after my shower before work. It took me longer than I expected, so I thought I would use my hair dryer to speed up the process. I didn’t have enough time, and I was going to be late for work if I stuck with it, so I pulled them out. Although my hair was still very damp, I could see that it should create the ringlet look. I decided to try again that night and leave them in over night.

FYI, they are NOT conducive to sleep like it shows in the video, although I had them much closer to my scalp. I slept very lightly all night, because they did not compress. I woke up with a sore neck from my head being lifted the extra bit off my pillow.

But I had perfect ringlets when I took them out in the morning. I put a bit of gel in my damp hair to see how long they would last without hairspray.

By the end of the day, the back had pulled down a lot, but the front curls were still good. Even after sleeping on it (though I did tuck it all up under a hat), it looked ok. So this will work. I just won’t be sleeping on them!

What are some crazy things you have done in the name of beauty? Post your beauty tips and traumas in the comments below!

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis – On Beauty and Makeup

beautiful even without make up quotes
In working with Aphrodite, I find I’m thinking a lot about beauty. I’m wearing makeup more often, and I’m a bit conflicted about the connection between beauty and makeup.

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Blessings,
Mary