erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
There are any number of things that could be said about this, of course. As I noted previously here, I will be traveling to Ireland as a part of a Brigid-focused pilgrimage. There are moments when it all feels so overwhelming.

Preparations of all kinds need to be made: transportation, study, developing the exercises and workshops and rituals that we as a group will be undertaking, making sure I have everything I'll need to pack along, devotional work and rituals in preparation for leaving, dealing with photography along the way, finding ways to cope with my fears and anxieties surrounding travel, and figuring out ways to finance the travel I'll be doing after the Irish part of the pilgrimage but before I return home, among many other things.

A pilgrimage is an opening to mystery. It is opening oneself to a time and a place, to people, to imbas, to the touch of deities and spirits. I'm throwing myself into the stream of life, hoping I will be carried to a deep and meaningful experience, even if it takes a long time to understand what has happened and why after I return home from the journey. Yet, even in throwing myself into the experience with wonder and abandon, preparation is essential.

I know there are those who feel that study and scholarship are antithetical to the kind of experience I'm seeking in this journey, a barrier to directly touching those things and beings I seek. To those people I offer that preparation and study are a part of what allows me to immerse myself in the experience when I am there. It means that I am able to better understand all the things I'm seeing, the spiritual currents, the voices of power and place that I may encounter. Study and scholarship offer context and a map to at least some of the territory being explored.

Without good preparation, it is possible to become lost, whether physically or spiritually. Lack of good preparation can leave someone stranded by a roadside, out of gas and without money for a place to stay the night, even should assistance arrive in the form of a local who can drive you to the nearest town. Being cold and wet while doing a ritual outdoors in an isolated place in poor weather can make even the best-designed rite an uncomfortable or even illness-producing experience. Without taking the time to learn something of the customs of a place, it's possible to give offense without intending to or to damage in some way the very thing which we seek to honor.

Creating and cultivating an appropriate attitude toward the work is also an important part of the preparation. Approaching the sacred might be as simple as taking a walk along an ancient trail, but doing so mindfully is part of the art of the act. Singing quiet prayers along the way changes the experience profoundly.

When I leave Ireland after the group pilgrimage, my own personal pilgrimage is not over. I'll be traveling to the Isle of Man alone before continuing on to visit friends in England and Europe, and finally staying with my brother in Italy. For me, the Isle of Man portion of the journey is just as important spiritually, for Manannán is another deity who is extremely important to me. My plans include camping for a week on the island, with trail walking, exploring heritage sites, and possibly attending part of a Manx and Celtic traditional music festival that will be taking place part of the time I'm visiting. The fact that I'll be camping will save me a fair bit of money, but it also means a lot of advance preparation of the sort I would have to make for any camping trip, and dealing with updates to some of my equipment and arranging to ship my gear home when I'm done on Mann. I also need to be prepared to find a hostel if my body can't hold up to a week's sleeping on the ground in a tent after having already been traveling in Ireland, or if my health otherwise fails.

In traveling and intending to write about my journeys and keep my family and friends updated, I have to be aware of access to things like wireless internet, dealing with overseas phone and data issues, and keeping expensive electronics gear reasonably safe while I'm on the road. Even this is a part of the pilgrimage and has to be properly prepared for. If the physical aspects of the journey are dealt with properly, the spiritual aspects will flow much more easily and my mind and heart can be devoted to the spiritual work and openness to serendipity, rather than worrying about what might go wrong.

If you would like to support my pilgrimage but cannot journey with me, I invite you to make a donation of any size toward my travel, food, and lodging if you feel called to do so. Your generosity would be most deeply appreciated and will help offset the basic costs of getting from place to place and feeding myself after I leave Ireland. I know how very blessed I am to be able to make this journey at all, and I am very excited to be able to share part of it with you through my writing and the photos I'll be taking.










Thank you!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (lynx seek)
In thinking about what I've been posting lately, and in the last couple of years, I realized that I've slowly been letting a little more of my past seep into this than I had before. I've written about my past before, though not a lot in public places. I have talked about some very personal stuff here, I know, but I think it's been fairly rare. In publishing my poetry collection, there is a fair bit of my personal history to be found, and I think I'm mostly okay with that.

Rambling, a photo, and a few questions below. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Northwest forest)
This afternoon [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I walked over to the park and sat in the shade under the trees for a while. It was breezier there than it was along the walk there, but I read a bit in the book I'd picked up on Austin Osman Spare at the Esoteric Book Conference as we hung out. There were frisbee golf players over on the other side of the access road who weren't having a very good time of it, at least in part because of the wind.

I found a passage in the editor's introduction to the two Spare works that describes something of the visionary aspect of being an artist, and I think it applies to really any kind of artistic endeavor, including creative writing and poetry. The introduction was written by Michael Staley (p. 12). He says:

Art is a collaboration between inspiration in the first instance, and the artist's articulation and development of that inspiration. An example here is Spare's process of automatic drawing. At first the line was a spontaneous eruption echoed by pencil upon paper. However, as Spare saw patterns emerging, so he elaborated upon those patterns. The "automatic" aspect was the beginning of the process, driven by inspiration. Thereafter, the current of inspiration was to a greater or lesser extent fashioned by the artist.


I think this is a lot of what happens with the process of poetic incubation. We open ourselves to the touch of something beyond ourselves -- that something being described as imbas in the Irish tradition -- and we take the tangled threads of that inspiration and work with it, crafting it into something expressible through poetry. In seeking vision, we are putting ourselves into a place where we can get the "automatic" image sparked and then refine and purify it into the draft and, finally, the finished body of a poem. I honestly think that all forms of visionary art, whatever their manifestations, work this way to some degree.

Actually, I should sit with this for a bit tomorrow and work it into the Mandragora piece I'm working on, because it's directly on the theme of the essay I'm drafting. I haven't been able to do anything with it in the past couple of days because of a variety of factors, being away from the house being a part of that. This, however, is sparking something; it's also a part of the theme of the joint presentation that [livejournal.com profile] finnchuill has proposed for PCon next February. I should start making notes for my part of that, though I have no way of knowing whether we'll actually be accepted for the schedule at this point.

If things go reasonably well physically (I've been in a great deal of pain lately), we might go to the park near the 128th St exit from I-5 and pick blackberries. It was much warmer today than I'd expected, but the breeze helped keep things comfortable when I did get out into it. We stopped at the Safeway on the way back from the park so that I could get some food for the DoDC+3, and later this evening we also went down to Central Market and got a few fresh organic things (including a Really Fucking Awesome organic peach) so that we could have something nice for dinner.

We watched Time Bandits this afternoon, which [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor hadn't seen before. She hadn't seen Buckaroo Banzai either, so I am giving her an education in quirky sf/fantasy movies and other more obscure stuff when she comes over.

There needs to be more reading. And more writing. And I need to ask her how things are coming with her stuff for Circle of Stones so that I can try to get that in to my publisher soon. Also? Review of [livejournal.com profile] brandywilliams's book.

Stuff. I have to do stuff. And things. And stuff and things. That, though, is for tomorrow. Now, taking some pain pills and heading for bed.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Sarasvati)
I spent several hours today filling out the questionnaire for the polytheism survey that someone was doing. I'd posted the call for participants a month or so ago. The questions didn't seem problematically biased (to me, anyway) as some studies are, and tended to focus more on experience, though there was one question about "faith," which you might expect from a questionnaire on something religious or spiritual. I managed to answer most of the questions in some depth and had a pretty good time thinking about the whole thing as I did so. It's nice to have something interesting to consider, particularly on a topic so near and dear to my heart.

I talked about things like how Sarasvati, as a river goddess, taught how people can approach worshipping these entities when one lives far from where the physical river resides -- the river Sarasvati disappeared centuries ago, and her many other aspects came to the fore during that process. Now she's worshipped globally by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, as well as by western Pagans without a connection to her culture of origin. I think that's a pretty powerful statement of how religion and deity changes with time and the shifting of geography and circumstance. If she were only the spiritual manifestation of the physical river, she would not have been able to make that transition or to travel to distant continents.

Certainly when we think about deities like Bóann and Sinann, who are strongly associated with particular rivers in Ireland, we can see how this is important information and a useful model. There are many ways to approach these issues, and I think one of the most useful ones for those of us who dwell on continents far from the origins of the deities we follow is to look at what they do that is not solely specifically linked to particular features of land and water. Understanding that we can access those places in Otherworld realms is also important and powerful. We are neither the first people who have had to deal with these things, nor will we be the last.

Among the other moments of my day was a quiet making of peanut sauce. It's not the best peanut sauce ever, but it's pretty tasty, and at the moment it sits atop a mound of rice, long beans, and chinese broccoli. It is, therefore, the best peanut sauce in the house!

Last night I was feeling ill again, though I think it was just the tomato sauce with the sardines, which I had two days in a row. I'm going to have to lay off them in the evening, I think. Acidic stuff is still a problem for me.

The check from the contractors arrived today! I emailed to let them know, and the secretary was astonished by the swiftness of the local postal service. She thanked me for my patience regarding the situation. If I'm up to getting out of the house tomorrow, I'll wander down to the Safeway and deposit the check in my account. There are moments when money gods do actually get to be useful. Today's email also brought notice that my new Brigid statue had been shipped, so it should arrive fairly soon. I'll be redoing the Brigid altar when it arrives. It's well past time I did so.

When I finish up the renovations, I'll probably post a picture.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Sunny Day)
We had one of the few warm, sunny days of the spring today. It was up to the mid-50s and gloriously bright out. On the way down to Seattle today, I could see Tahoma towering on the horizon. It wasn't quite clear enough to stand out from the clouds, but it was definitely visible in the haze.

I went down to Magus Books to pick up a copy of something I'd put on hold yesterday, which a few of my flist will be a little jealous of -- they had a copy of Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes or Le Mot Juste by Kristin Thompson, which is an interesting lit-crit look at Wodehouse and the Jeeves and Wooster stories. It should be fun.

I hung out for a while at Cafe Allegro, having a cup of tea and taking a peek at the introductory chapter and poking around online, watching the westering light on the stone wall of the building across the alley, then went over to Pho Thy Thy on the Ave to catch a quick bit of dinner. I didn't want to head home just yet, given it was still early for the traffic to have settled, so I went for a walk on the UW campus. That way, I wouldn't have to deal with streets and traffic, though I did have to deal with rather a lot of people.

The apple and cherry trees were in bloom, some of them huge and ancient. I wandered around outside of my usual orbit of the Suzzallo-Allen/Red Square area, up behind the libraries toward the Music Library, then down and around the other side of the Allen toward the fountain. I got a grand view of the mountain between a row of buildings as I approached the water, and walked around the fountain before heading back down toward the Ave below the building housing Atmospheric Sciences.

Nostalgia, hiraeth, and bittersweet surroundings. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Not a Patriot)
Media Advisory: Military Rape and Sexual Assault Litigation - Feb. 15

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, a group of U.S. military veterans who allege that they were raped or sexually assaulted during their international and domestic military service will discuss at the National Press Club at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, their forthcoming federal-court litigation, which will have been filed earlier on Feb. 15.

Scheduled to speak at the news conference in the National Press Club Murrow Room are:

• Several of the veteran plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

• Keith Rohman, president, Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII), Los Angeles, Calif.

• Eleanor Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation, Washington, D.C.

• Anuradha Bhagwati, executive director, Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), New York, N.Y.

• A representative of the veterans' legal team.

Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, 281.703.6000, info@powersmediaworks.com.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Seshat)
A while ago (a year or more, I think) there had been a call out from Neos Alexandria for works of fiction themed around Thoth/Djehuty. The project stumbled, a hard drive crash ate everything the editor had received, and the volume was shelved, unfinished. I'd written a piece for it, which I rather liked, and since the volume hasn't currently got an editor and is effectively in limbo, I thought I'd post it here for folks. This is about the only non-fanfic fiction I've ever written, and it's in an entirely different style than I usually employ.

Anyway, here's the story.

Birth )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Today I went to Seattle for the mindfulness meditation group. I was a little late but not too much, mostly because of delays and having to stop to put some gas in the car. Garuda's pulling a little to the left after the tire rotation that went with the oil change, so I called and have an appointment for tomorrow morning at 11am to get the front tires swapped to see if that will help. I'm figuring they'll probably do that for free, considering they did the rotation in the first place.

After the group I dropped by Travelers and had chai and a ladoo and bought some basmati rice. [livejournal.com profile] sebastian_lvx was walking by and saw me in the window so he dropped in to chat for a little while before he had to be at work. He caught me up on what he's been doing lately, including a description of counterprotesting the Phelps arsewipes who were in town protesting anything and everything they don't agree with. All seven of them. Fred wasn't with them. I told SL that [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht and I would be down tomorrow again as I have a shrink appointment, then we'll be hanging in Seattle until it's time to pick up [livejournal.com profile] yiaya at the airport at 10pm.

When SL took off for work, I read a little more then headed over to Half Price and talked with [livejournal.com profile] circularruins for a bit as he was shelving the paranormal books section. Picked up a good German/English-English/German dictionary for a dollar and also got a copy of the Rick Moranis remake of Little Shop of Horrors, which [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht and I will probably watch before I head for bed tonight. Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist is just priceless and the movie's worth watching it just for that.

Took another photo for the art project today. This one was of my ingredients for dinner -- red kale and baby mustard greens from my garden, frozen salal berries, onion, pine nuts, chicken thigh, garlic paste, and Madras curry for the main dish of curried chicken & greens, along with an artichoke, and basmati rice in the rice cooker to round it all up together. Colorful ingredients that, when mixed together, were quite tasty! I still have to go put the remaining rice away and tuck the half an artichoke into the fridge. Food -- both eating it and cooking it -- are an important part of what I enjoy about my life. When I'm feeling reasonably well, they can be a meditative process and keep me very grounded in the present and in presence. They allow me to focus on something that isn't pain or exhaustion or depression. There's a beauty in the raw ingredients that somehow transcends the basic necessity of eating to sustain life. When I'm able, I also want to be able to cook and eat to sustain my spirit.

I don't so much eat for comfort in the sense of needing a full belly (or an over-full one) to feel good about myself, as much as I derive comfort from the scents and colors, from the flavor, and from sharing food with others. It engages all the senses and brings delight when it's done properly. Sharing it with friends brings opportunities for good conversation, for showing my skills, for offering hospitality and generosity to others. So food and cooking are a central part of what makes me who I am and shapes my life in its contours. When I'm able to cook it brings me satisfaction and a measure of happiness that I don't get from pre-packaged stuff. I may love a good restaurant meal, but I also love the process of doing the cooking; watching the evolution of a dish from raw materials to the plate.

Food is poetry.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (two ravens)
I've been giving thought to PCon again, being as it's become an annual thing for me. I've been invited already to participate in two panels -- one for Megalithica authors and one on syncretism in reconstructionist religions. [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm has suggested a panel with herself, me, and [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht about the warrior ritual, its impact in the community, and how it has affected the individuals involved. I'm in favor of this though I know from what's been discussed so far that it will no doubt be very controversial if accepted. Regardless, if nobody talks about it, nobody will take up the challenge to do it better.

I'm also looking at proposing two workshops of my own, a little different than what I've been doing in past years.

First I'd like to tackle "advanced topics in ogam" which will cover magical and healing techniques with the ogam alphabet. It would be for intermediate to advanced students and would require some familiarity with the system, particularly as I've presented it in Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom.

Second would be a hands-on experiential workshop on breathing and meditative techniques based in my research on filidecht that would include things like the stone on the belly and cauldron breathing work. I've talked about them before in my filidecht talks, but this would be a closed-door workshop where people experiment with the techniques. There would also be some reflection on the work I'm doing toward the incubation chamber and sensory dep meditations and journeywork as I'm building on that this winter.

As usual, I'm hoping to get down there a couple of days early to spend time with my sweetie [livejournal.com profile] lwood and with [livejournal.com profile] dpaxson. Perhaps this year I will have more spoons available for distribution with said sweetie! She's apparently got us a room in the works at the con hotel, which is always nice.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Brighid's cross)
It being my Brighid shift today until dusk, I've been giving a lot of thought to how to approach her in different ways. Something came to mind influenced by Hindu and Buddhist practices of envisioning and then embodying the deity with all its attributes. I thought it would be an interesting experiment, and I invite you to join me in this if you're so inclined. Giving form to thought. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Failure TRex by jackshoegazer)
[livejournal.com profile] alfrecht and I went down to Seattle yesterday where we engaged in a successful Táin Leabhar Suzzallo. I got a lot of stair climbing exercise, which I'm in desperate need of as my imperialist expansion continues apace. After that we headed off to Travelers for an evening meditation/breathwork class. How not to sell a meditation course... )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (triskele)
I mentioned the Manannán necklace I'd been working on this year and that I finished while I was out on the coast. I've included photos of the strands here. I don't think they really do the colors justice, but it should give you a rough idea of what I have before the strands are joined into a single necklace. The clasp I'll be using is a circle of waves on one side and a leaping dolphin on the other. It follows the theme very well.

Photos of the bead strands here )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (gull)
One of the things I set out to accomplish at the coast this trip was to finish stringing the seven remaining strands of Manannán's nine-strand necklace. I wanted to get it done by the end of the year, and I did manage to accomplish that. Now the only thing lacking are some jump rings to link the strands to the clasp I have for them.

A photo and more nattering under here )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Not the Same CR!)
[livejournal.com profile] wingedelf last night was talking in his LJ about his frustrations with the CR community, and its constant arguments about who is a Celt, and why language and culture are important. He said, and I tend to agree, that who is a Celt is the far less important question. I think it matters less to sort the who than to take up the practice and speak the languages at least enough for a good technical vocabulary.

Robert Aitken Roshi addresses the issue from the angle of Zen in Japanese and the larger Buddhist culture in his introductory essay in The Morning Star. I'm going to quote extensively here, so hold onto your hats.

got that hat? )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (fashionie's amanita)
[livejournal.com profile] yiaya and I skipped Tai Chi tonight due to weather. I've been sitting around the house most of the day just hanging out online with friends and watching the newly downloaded ep of Atlantis. It was a pretty good one and I enjoyed it a lot.

A friend sent me a copy of a book on Kripalu Yoga, which looks pretty good to me. I'll be reading through it and looking at putting some of it into practice as an adjunct to the Tai Chi. I definitely need to do stuff that I can work on at home when I have a few minutes, and this does seem like it will be helpful. I need to practice the Tai Chi at home too, but I'm still learning the movements.

I've set up for ritual and will be working on Dair tonight in a little while. Didn't get any writing done, but that's okay. It'll happen soon. I've found that setting up the ritual space half an hour to an hour before I actually go into ritual, with the birch oil steaming, has really been helping me get into ritual space for the work. The scent of it has really been a strong trigger to alter my consciousness throughout this process, and that has some very distinct advantages for what I'm trying to accomplish.

The downside to this is that many liniments have a wintergreeny scent to them. I'm not so sure I want to be prepping myself for trance every time I rub some on a sore joint...
erynn: Gaelic merman image (linen_tartaruga's tree of life)
In keeping with my post from a few days ago, I've spent some time pondering planetary associations with particular ogam feda. This post is meant to be experimental, and by no means the be-all and end-all of the subject. I'd encourage anyone who's interested to play with it, and if you're willing, to share your thoughts and experiences with any planetary-based magical workings that might come out of playing with this.

Neldoracht! )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (shimmertwist crane)
This isn't at all about an attempt to create a Celtic astrology, but more along the lines of looking at the ogam through a somewhat astrological lens. Tonight's class was on Chiron, which is a planet/asteroid/centaur that epitomizes the image of the wounded healer. In our discussions of this body, I realized that it has an exact parallel in nGétal, which derives from and/or is related to words meaning "a healing charm" and "a wound". It got me to thinking about the possibility that other ogams might have planetary correlations as well. Ruis comes to mind as being very Martial in its associations with redness, passion and anger.

This is probably something I'll address in my ogam book in the section dealing with meanings and interpretations of each fid. I'll obviously need to develop the idea more, but in combination with some of the realizations I had in my work at the coast last week, I know I'll be expanding those sections more than a bit, which should please [livejournal.com profile] teriel muchly. We'll discuss this later this week when I see you, I'm sure.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Erynn&Bruce)
As some of you are aware, I was out at La Push for several days this week. I got a lot done, including several pages on the ogam book. I finished reading two books I've been working through, and recieved a lovely one in the mail as well. Also, the schedule for PantheaCon is apparently finalized and up. I'm scheduled for Friday at 9pm for my Ogam workshop and Monday at 9am for the CR 101 discussion. If you're going to be at the con, please look me up!

Ramblings under here: no photos this visit )

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