I Give Up!

I’ve created a schedule for myself that is very demanding, which means it is also exhausting. I’ve been feeling guilty about many things that I haven’t been doing, including writing a blog post in several weeks.

The lessons of the Dark Mother have been on my mind as well (probably has something to do with working with Hekate and Ereshkigal). The main thing I’ve been hearing is “surrender”. It’s a theme I have cycled through before (a couple of times!).

In looking at The Power Path Monthly Forecast for March, I had a giggle: the theme of the month is SURRENDER!

Blessings,

Mary

Random Updates & Rehearsals

Lots of little random updates today…

Mary 2017-02-12

I thought I was taking video, not a picture! LOL!

My birthday is coming up, and so I signed up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider program to get my birthday present from them (free stuff is awesome!). I also recently learned about Kat Von D makeup, so I picked up a little of that. You can see the results in the video down below, as well as in the picture. I’m pleased with it! It’s expensive, and the quality is worth it, I think. Let’s just say I now understand why so many of my friends like their stuff!

Whole30 update: I said last week that I was extending. And I have, mostly. I’ve had some inadvertent, and some deliberate, contaminations. For example, wheat gives me belly cramps, even in small amounts. If I have a digestive tablet before and after eating wheat, I can minimize, but not eliminate, the belly cramps. And sugar is really a “food with no brakes”, as they call it in the Whole30 program. Having a little makes me want more. So I need to be strict with myself, because I actually prefer how I feel when I’m NOT having sugar.

Rehearsals for Spring Mysteries Festival are going well. We get to rehearse at this really cool shop in Seattle, called Edge of the Circle Books. There’s a little video below – I apologize for the quality. It’s an amazing shop, and I encourage you to give them some love, in the form of purchases, if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Did I mention my birthday is coming up? I think I might do a sale on my meditations – what do you think? Would you like that?

Blessings,
Mary

Journey to Eleusis: Walking with Hekate

I’ve posted a few times already about my Journey to Eleusis this year, and I haven’t really talked about the Goddess I am working with yet. This year, I will be holding the energy of Hekate at Spring Mysteries Festival.

Temple of Hekate

“Hekate”
by Cassie Gendlek and Dusty Dionne
Model: Mary Malinski
Aquarian Tabernacle Church – ATC Intl.

Hekate is the patron Goddess of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. She is known by many names – Torchbearer, Keeper of the Keys, Goddess of the Crossroads, Mother of Witches, Psychopomp…

In modern paganism, a lot of people see Hekate as the Crone face of the Triple Goddess, the wise woman. Others see her as the hidden fourth face, the Dark Mother. To the Greeks she was a young woman, or the triple Goddess all on her own (Hekate Trivia). One thing Hekate keeps telling me is, “Just because I am ancient doesn’t mean I am old!”

Walking with Hekate, I’m seeing more patterns in the world.

“It’s all been done before.”

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

Hekate has been around for a very, very long time. I personally believe she is pre-Greek. I believe she was a Goddess of Place, local to the area that became Greece, long before the Olympian mythology. Not unlike Brigid to the Irish, she was popular enough among the people that the incoming (invading?) religion could not push her out. So they included her as one of the Titans, one who came before the Olympians.

After the Titanomachy (the overthrow of the Titans by the Olympians), Zeus divided up the rule of the worlds between all those who had assisted him. Hesiod tells us:

And she [Asteria, wife of Perses] conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honor, but much more still, for Zeus honors her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother’s only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.

~Hesiod, Theogony

We see here that she had a great many roles and honors, more than some of the Olympians even!

I’ll leave you with the lovely Orphic Hymn to Hekate:

Hekatê of the Path, I invoke Thee, Lovely Lady of the Triple Crossroads,
Celestial, Chthonian, and Marine One, Lady of the Saffron Robe.
Sepulchral One, celebrating the Bakchic Mysteries among the Souls of the Dead,
Daughter of Persês, Lover of Solitude, rejoicing in deer.
Nocturnal One, Lady of the Dogs, invincible Queen.
She of the Cry of the Beast, Ungirt One, having an irresistible Form.
Bullherder, Keeper of the Keys of All the Universe, Mistress,
Guide, Bride, Nurturer of Youths, Mountain Wanderer.
I pray Thee, Maiden, to be present at our hallowed rites of initiation,
Always bestowing Thy graciousness upon the Boukolos.

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis – It’s a LONG Journey

I’m probably more than a little crazy. Almost every weekend from January to Easter, I make the long, long trip from my home to Seattle (or sometimes Index) for a four hour rehearsal for Spring Mysteries Festival.

Is it worth it? Yes!

Whole30 update: Woo hoo! I’m half way through!

View from the ferryI’ve been having “food dreams” the past few days. I wake up feeling guilty about cheating. In my dream, I will have had a huge bottle of (not natural) lemonade, or a giant chocolate Santa. I don’t even wake up craving or wanting those things, just guilty that I consumed them, or disappointed that I have to start over.

And then I’m super grateful that I DON’T have to start over!

On a positive note, it’s easier to climb the stairs at work. We have two very steep sets of stairs at work. We jokingly call it our work out program. Before the Whole30, I would get quite winded climbing them. Now, I am much less winded when I get to the top. OK, still a little. And it is so much better! I can go up more quickly, too.

So, I’m starting to see improvements. Yay!

How was your week?

Blessings,
Mary

Journey to Eleusis – First Rehearsal

I’m very excited to be at “The Tab” (The Aquarian Tabernacle Church), reconnecting with some of my spiritual family that I haven’t seen in a while, and getting ready for the first read-through of the script for this year’s Spring Mysteries Festival.

I also give an update on my first week of the Whole30. (It’s not entirely easy to manage while eating out, and I made good choices!)

If you haven’t registered for Spring Mysteries Festival, and you would like to go, you still have a couple more days to get in on the Early Bird pricing! Go. Register now!

Blessings,

Mary

All Hail the Tech Crew

Home sweet home from Spring Mysteries Festival. As usual, it was an exhausting, yet fulfilling weekend.

For me, Spring Mysteries is an opportunity to spend time with my spiritual family, and to be of service. It is a a weekend full of ritual and community.

tech_crew_godsBeing a part of the ritual presenting crew isn’t all glamor and accolades. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. There’s a crew of people who go largely unnoticed and unrecognized, and yet, they are vital to making the event a success.

My family has been involved with both the ritual presenting and the technical crew. Tech crew works very long hours to make the ritual presenters look good.

Tech has been near to my heart for a very long time. In high school, at summer theatre, I was involved with makeup, props, and set crew long before I appeared on stage as an actor. In the university theatre program I attended, tech was a very important aspect. We were required to participate in work weekends and technical practicums. I understand and appreciate the importance of technicians.

Last year, while holding the role of Demeter, I also helped to hang and focus the lights. My eldest son was a major part of the set crew, helping with both lights and set construction. The younger two helped wherever they could.

This year, I wasn’t as involved with the setup, though my eldest sure was, even in between parts of the drama (the good kind) that he was involved in.

I did help with the tear down, though. Clean up of the site started early Sunday morning. We kept at it, other than a single meal break, until everything was put away in the storage locker at 8 pm. Many of the ritual staff and all of the crew kept at it.

They don’t always get a lot of recognition, but I saw and I honor their work. All hail the Gods of Eleusis! All hail the Tech Crew!!!

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis: The Final Stretch

By this time, next week, the 31st annual Spring Mysteries Festival will be over. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost upon on us.

Euphrosyne - Spring Mysteries FestivalThis has been the shortest rehearsal period since I’ve been involved with the ritual presenting crew. That’s because Easter is very early.

Do you know why the date for Easter changes from year to year? It is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. And this year, the stars have aligned for all of those events to happen within a week! So Easter, and therefore Spring Mysteries, is about as early as it possibly can be.

I alternately go between feeling confident that we are going to rock it out of the park, and freaking out that I have no idea what I’m doing.

That’s the nature of theater, though. Some people say that an awful dress rehearsal means a fantastic performance. And really, for 5 hours of performance time throughout the weekend, we do amazing work with only about 48 hours of rehearsals.

Each person does their own work to learn about the particular deity they are portraying – reading up on their myths, and connecting with their energy through prayer or meditation.

It’s been a little challenging for me this year, having three deities to work with. After our dress rehearsal yesterday, I was physically sore. I didn’t feel like I had done a lot – certainly not a lot of physical work. And yet, running energy for 4.5 hours is not easy! It’s hungry work, and it can take it’s toll on your body if you don’t take care of yourself.

So the next couple of days, I’m going to be taking my vitamins, drinking lots of water, and getting as much rest as I can. Because once the Festival starts, sleep is something we do AFTER Festival.

Because I will be at the Festival all weekend, I won’t be writing my usual post next week. I’ll see you all on the other side!

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

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