Sickle, Spirit Fairs, and a Seance

To say this month has been busy would be an understatement. From Hekate’s Sickle Festival, to two Spirit Fairs in a row, and culminating in a seance as part of our Samhain celebration, I’m ready for a real day off. Which won’t come until next weekend. sigh

It’s been an amazing few weeks, though. I’ve been pushing my limits, and I’m not talking about the stamina this marathon of activity has required.

At Sickle, I was a little nervous. Actually, I was very nervous. I was leading two big meditation/visualizations for the whole group of participants (over 100 people). I generally sit down and write out what I’m going to say before leading a meditation, and I didn’t have time to do that before the event. I knew the basic points I wanted to cover. For the most part. And this was outside my comfort zone.

Ultimately, the first ritual I led, flying to Atlantis, wasn’t really something I could have scripted ahead of time. I had to go with what people were seeing and experiencing. And from all reports, people loved it. The flying ointment that my good friend Cece of Studio Esoterica made for the ritual definitely helped!

The next night I led a past life regression for the group. That was a bit more challenging, because each person was in a different place, meaningful to them in their own past. I didn’t receive as much feedback from that one, so I hope it was also meaningful.

The weekend after Sickle, I attended a Spirit Fair in Coombs. I took the plunge and increased my prices. That step was recommended to me about a year ago, and I just wasn’t quite ready. Something has shifted though. I’m more confident in my abilities, and I feel my readings are worth the higher price. The time was right.

This weekend was the Spirit Fair in Campbell River, which I organized. There was a lot of last minute connections and updates and coordination, and it all worked out amazingly well! The turnout was fantastic, and all of the vendors did well!

After the Spirit Fair, we had our Samhain celebration and potluck. As part of the ritual, we held a seance, allowing those who had beloved dead they wanted to speak with to communicate through the priestesses. It was a peaceful ritual, and we laughed a lot during the potluck following the ritual.

Today, I am exhausted. My body knows the heavy work is done, and it is time to rest. I spent a lot of the day in bed, and my body hurts. Time to be gentle with myself and work to recover.

Blessings,

Mary

Horses and Community

Last weekend was Hekate’s Sickle Festival, the second event for me in as many weeks. While last weekend was an opportunity for me to experience without responsibility, this weekend was an opportunity to serve my community through the experience.

horse celtic animal totemThe theme for this year’s Sickle was Celtic animal totems. I was the clan clergy for the Horse totem. Throughout the festival, clan clergy is there to lead their group through the event, answer questions, and be a support for the people in the clan.

I actually had a lot of resistance at first, because it wasn’t what I was originally asked to do. Originally, my husband and I were going to be clan clergy for Dragon clan. I feel a strong connection with dragons, and we have a TON of them in our home. Decorating for Dragon would be easy.

And then my family was asked to help with Horse. My oldest didn’t have a role yet, so I suggested that he help. (Because then I would not have to change what I was doing… resistance!) After another week or so, I found out that two people were needed – both the totem and the clergy.

My husband and I had a conversation. Neither of us really wanted to change. And then he pointed out that I have a better connection with our son. Drat! He used logic on me!

I still didn’t want to change. I didn’t do the same amount of research and preparation I normally do (well, not until the last minute, when it was more stressful). And we had nothing with which to decorate the cabin or a temple.

So I asked for help. (I also made Value Village a regular stop.) My community stepped up and helped. Someone brought some tack. Someone else brought horse teeth. Another friend had a whole bucket of horseshoes, and someone else had horse hair to make our tokens with.

This weekend was a continuation of last week’s lesson of asking for help, and I am so grateful for my community.

Horse taught me about strength, that I am often stronger than I think I am. I can go much farther than I give myself credit for. And that when I need it, the people around me will help carry me.

Thank you, Horse, for your lessons.

Blessings,

Mary

celtic horse horseshoe

Get Serious

First… I’M BACK!

It’s been a very long month of being locked out of my website. At least at home, which is where I am able to do my writing and work on my website. I’m still sorting out some of the ripple effect from whatever happened.

meditationI’ve had some huge ups and downs this past month. Life has challenged me (whose idea was it for me to hold the energy of The Tower for Hekate’s Sickle?). Although Facebook has been reminding me that this time of year has shaken me up, at least in the last couple of years.

Hekate’s Sickle (and holding The Tower energy) gave me the opportunity to reevaluate many of my choices, and the experience I want to be living.

Warning – if you don’t believe in magic, psychic abilities or woo-woo stuff, you may want to skip the rest of this post.

We had a ritual for Gaining the Sight – enhancing whatever abilities we have. This was a big part of why I wanted to be at this festival. I’ve been told by psychics and intuitives that I should be able to access more knowledge than I have. I believe in spirit guides. I’ve experienced powerful channeling. It’s something I strive towards.

However, whatever ability I had when I was younger, I shut down at some point. (I know when it happened, though it’s not a story I want to share right now.) I’ve been working at opening back up, trusting the information I do receive. The tarot has been very helpful with that. I’ve moved from reading just the meaning of the cards to using the cards to open up to the messages the person needs to hear.

One of the messages I received last week at the Festival was that if this was something I was serious about, something I really wanted as part of my life, that I need to take it seriously. I’ve been going through the motions of my daily practice, my meditation and connecting with my guides. I haven’t really been working at it, and I need to if I want to grow.

So this past week I’ve been changing up my morning meditation, and working on raising my vibration and strengthening my connection with my guides. I’ve been listening to the information I’m receiving, and even writing it down. And I’m seeing the benefits already. I felt that my tarot readings this weekend were more on point than ever. The feedback I received seemed pretty powerful as well.

The other big message I received is that I need to practice surrendering control. More about that next week!

I’ll keep on, and see what comes!

Blessings,

Mary

The Tower Tarot Card

At the end of the month, I’ll be heading off to Hekate’s Sickle Festival once again. The theme this year is a bit different than they have done in the past, and I’m really looking forward to it. (There is still time to register, if you are interested!)

This time of year is very much about looking inward, and connecting with those who have passed, the beloved dead. That’s definitely going to be a piece of the work that goes on this festival, however, instead of connecting through various deities, participants will be encouraged to connect through divination Lady Luck, the Goddess Fortuna. Walking the paths, attendees will get to meet personifications of select Major Arcana.

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

I’ll be personifying the Tower card. (Eep!) The Tower tarot card is one of those cards that no one really likes to see in a reading, because it means things are about to change in a fairly drastic way.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about different interpretations of the Tarot card, looking for the positive, the lesson to be learned from the challenge this card presents. I firmly believe that none of the tarot cards are good or bad; they are a reflection of what is going on in your life.

After filtering through quite a number of interpretations, the Tower is about shaking off what doesn’t serve, and testing those lessons you think you’ve learned.

Shaking off what doesn’t serve

We often build up our egos with false premises and false beliefs. The Tower shakes you to your core, breaking off all the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs you have put in place to help you feel safe, secure, and justified in your actions. When you have built yourself up on these ideas that aren’t necessarily true, it’s like building your house on the sand. It’s going to wash away sooner or later. And really, you’re better off if you get it over with, so you can rebuild on solid ground.

Testing the lessons

The other message I frequently see in the Tower card is about testing how well you’ve learned your life lessons. Life is a spiral, a series of cycles, and we see similar life lessons come around and around and around. If you haven’t learned the lesson and thoroughly integrated what you’ve learned, the lesson gets more difficult each time it comes around. Eventually, the Universe comes along with the cosmic 2×4 (or cluex4), and that will definitely turn your life upside down.

On the other hand, if you have learned that lesson and fully integrated it, and if you’re aware, you’ll see the signs that the lesson is coming around again. You have an opportunity to act on what you’ve learned, and mitigate the challenges that you’re facing, so it doesn’t turn your life upside down.

Ultimately, the Tower does mean challenges and the potential for a fall. However, it is also an opportunity to reevaluate priorities, beliefs, and life choices so you can grow into your next phase on the path to enlightenment.

Blessings,

Mary

Learning More about Ereshkigal

It’s been a very busy week. I’ve pretty much completed my costume for Ereshkigal for Hekate’s Sickle Festival. In my spare moments, I’ve been reading up on Sumerian history and mythology, as well as Greek history and mythology because I start teaching the Intro to Greek Mythology course at the Wiccan Seminary this week.

Hekate's Sickle Festival featuring Ereshkigal(Quick plug – you can still register for Hekate’s Sickle Festival, either for the whole weekend, or for one of the days. Click here and use code HSF09 to receive 10% off. You can also enroll for classes at the Seminary by clicking here.)

I’ve been reading a very interesting web comic about Sumerian myths called the Dingir Comic, Adventure of the Gods. It really confirms my thoughts that Greek myth and deities are definitely related to Sumerian.

Sumer, in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, is the cradle of civilization. It is where people shifted from being hunter-gatherer nomads to farmers and craftsman. It is where the first written language developed. And so the Gods of Sumer are the first ones we have stories about.

Ereshkigal’s story is very similar to Persephone’s story. Or more accurately, Persephone’s story is very similar to Ereshkigal’s.

Ereshkigal was a beautiful young Goddess. Some say she was the child of Enlil and Ninlil (and therefore an aunt to Inanna), while others say she was a child of Ningal and Nanna (which would make her Inanna’s elder sister).

She was kidnapped by the dragon Kur and taken to the Netherworld. Like most underworld locations, once you go there you can never return. Enki, the god of wisdom was able to travel there and help defeat Kur. Enki then turned Kur into a throne for Ereshkigal.

Rather than being depressed about being banished from her early home in the heavens, Ereshkigal asserted her will over the Great Below and made it into her own kingdom. She was the only one who could make and enforce the laws of Irkalla, the land of the dead.

Eventually, it did get lonely. She could send her minister up to gatherings in heaven, but she could not go herself. Once, Nergal, the god of pestilence and war, disrespected her minister. As punishment, he had to go and spend several days in the Great Below and make his apologies. Though he was advised not to enjoy Ereshkigal’s hospitality, they ended up having a passionate love affair. Nergal left before his stay was supposed to be up, and ended up coming back out of love.

Many people find Ereshkigal to be frightening, and as a Goddess who is in complete control of herself and her realm I can see how that could be intimidating.

“The ways of the underworld are not your ways. The ways of the underworld are perfect and not to be questioned.”

Ereshkigal challenges us to be more fully who we are, including facing the parts that are below the surface, in the shadows, and that is not generally an easy or pleasant task. And yet examining and accepting those parts of us can help us grow. Seeing more depth in Ereshkigal’s archetype has certainly helped me to relate to her better.

Blessings,

Mary

Back to Ereshkigal

It’s been a crazy week for me – dealing with jet lag and airline crud and having a pretty full schedule that didn’t allow for much down time.

I’ve said before that when I am sick and/or overtired, the first things to fall out of my routine are the things that are healthy. This week, I have noticed that my meditation practice has been suffering. There has been a lot more sleeping than meditating. And I’m mostly ok with that. I needed the sleep.

Now, though, as I am recovering, I definitely feel the need to recharge my meditation practice. I’ve been missing the connection time with my higher self and with Deity. That connection with Deity is really important right now as I prepare for Hekate’s Sickle Festival next month because I’ll be holding the energy of Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal with InannaI’ve had a connection with Inanna for a very long time. As I’ve worked with different Greek goddesses over the past few years for Spring Mysteries Festival, I’ve been able to increase my connection with each of them by relating them to aspects of Inanna. I see the progression from one region of the Middle East through to the Mediterranean – the names of the goddesses may change, though their aspects and many of their myths stay remarkably similar.

Most of what I know of Ereshkigal is through the myth of the Descent of Inanna. Ereshkigal is often referred to as Inanna’s dark sister. To work with Her more closely, though, I need to develop a connection with Ereshkigal directly, and not through Inanna.

To do that, I’m going back to the source – Sumerian Mythology. Sumer was the cradle of civilization. It’s mythology, culture, and society had a large influence on the generations that followed. Even after the Akkadians (Babylonians) had conquered Sumer and it’s kings ruled no more, the Sumerian written language – cuneiform – was used for legal and religious texts.

I’m reading the works of Samuel Noah Kramer, who was one of the foremost experts in Sumerian history and language. I’m thoroughly enjoying learning about the cosmology of this ancient people who developed one of the first systems of writing. And as I am reading the stories, and fragments of stories, I’m starting to get a better picture of the world that Inanna fit into and the other deities that She interacted with.

And more importantly for this moment, I’m getting a fuller image of Ereshkigal. She’s not just the goddess of the dead and a hard task master. She’s had her loves and losses too. She can be scary, yes. And she’s so much more. I’m looking forward to deepening my relationship with the Queen of the Great Below.

Blessings,

Mary