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

“He Called Me His Venus”

Wow. I want to thank all of you who have commented on Healing with Aphrodite. You encourage me to continue exploring this issue, because it touches so many of us. I am humbled.

Goddess VenusBack when my husband and I were dating, I, of course, felt very conscious about my looks. I wore baggy clothes to hide my body, because it was shameful. Or it would lead men, and me, to sin. I didn’t date a lot of men – I wasn’t asked out much, so of course that meant I wasn’t pretty. At least that’s what my head said. But here was a man that I instantly knew I needed to get to know, and he was interested in me.

He’s been very healing for me. I still have the little tiny green notebook that I had back then that I recorded my favorite quotes and sayings in. One page says, “He called me his Venus!” I still smile and feel wonderful when I read it.

He was telling me he thought I was beautiful, comparing me with the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and telling me that my beauty was timeless. Though I may not fit today’s rigorous standards of beauty, that doesn’t mean I am not beautiful. He saw the goddess in me, way back then.

Once we were married, he gently encouraged me to push my comfort zone. Early on in our marriage, I could not walk the 10 feet from the bedroom to the bathroom without putting a robe on. I was not comfortable being naked. He was totally comfortable in his body, able to walk around the house nude, and even host hot-tub parties that were clothing optional in the tub.

Slowly, with his support, I have become more comfortable in my body. I started wearing clothes that accentuate my curves instead of hiding them. I can now walk around my own house in the nude and not have my head on a swivel worrying about who might see me.

We used to “fight” with compliments – he would call me beautiful, and I would call him handsome, then he would call me intelligent, and I would call him genius… Whoever ran out of compliments, or broke up laughing, first, lost. It is a silly game, and it really helped to boost each other up. I know it helped improve my self-confidence.

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can participate in mixed company skyclad rituals. For those who don’t know, skyclad literally means clothed in the sky. In other words, nothing. This was a huge healing step for me just over a year ago. I did it at a festival, and my husband wasn’t there. I was on my own.

Baring my soul is one thing. That doesn’t bother me. Baring my body is another thing altogether. I was nervous, but everyone was very relaxed (or at least appeared to be), and pretty soon it wasn’t a big deal.

I’ve got another healing/courage step coming up. Traditionally in the ritual drama at Spring Mysteries Festival (which is filling up quickly, so make sure you register soon!), Aphrodite is bare-breasted at one point. This is a bit different from a skyclad ritual in that I will be on display, instead of in a group in which everyone is participating. It will be a huge moment for me to stand tall and be proud of my body as it is.

I’ve come a long way towards body acceptance. It’s still something I struggle with regularly. There are good days and not so good days. Thankfully, I’ve got Aphrodite on my side. And a few friends who are very vocal about accepting bodies as they are. Check out Fat and Not Afraid, The Mundane Mystic, and Gaia Magick Photography for more inspiration.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. Apparently the donation button was not working on my post “The Long Journey to Eleusis”. If you would like to make a donation to help me cover the costs of all my travel for rehearsals, here is a working link: