erynn: Gaelic merman image (Northwest forest)
I was contacted by the referred realtor today, and we are going to schedule something for next week for him (or one of his associates, as he's out of town most of next week) to come over and talk about the condo and my options. He said he's done over 900 short sales, so he obviously has a clue here, which I am pleased by. They also have a real estate attorney affiliated with the office, who can answer questions for me if I have any. This will no doubt come in handy regarding tax issues, as I don't want to be stuck showing a "profit" I have to pay taxes on that is actually just me in a huge financial hole.

Craigslist came through for getting rid of the chairs, but I was listing them for free to just come and haul them off. It seemed about par for the course here. I still haven't sold the bed. On the up side, it looks like the guy who picked them up will be sending the chairs and a bunch of tables to a school in Africa, so they will be put to good use. Go go gadget activism.

As far as books, I packed another box of poetry books, then spent much of the rest of the day sorting a lot of my other books into categories on separate shelves or in separate sections so that they will be at least vaguely organized when I get around to packing them. Huge shelf of shamanism, several shelves on Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto), astrology, etc. I'm afraid I was wobbling around a fair bit with the dizziness from all the activity. While the vertigo doesn't go away, it does sometimes get worse with a lot of activity, and I was really active today. Despite that it feels like I'm just shuffling things around, I'm actually consolidating things so that they'll be easier to deal with as I pack them. Needless to say, this cranks my anxiety level like crazy.

The condo association is going to wash the windows on Thursday. I pulled the screens from a couple of the windows but wasn't able to get the one out of the window in my bedroom. They're just going to have to suck it up, because it was leave it there or break the thing. It wasn't quite the same as the others. I don't know if it's in backwards or what, but I couldn't get it out from the inside and I'm not going to go around the back of the building to try to deal with this.

Tomorrow is shrinkage. Thursday is neurology, possibly my spirituality group (if I get out of neurology in time), and then a Bach concert over in Magnolia. Friday the condo association's contractor comes in the afternoon to look at the damage to the bathroom ceiling in the guest bathroom. Saturday, Jay is coming by and there will be bad movies. That's about as far ahead as I want to think right now.

I need some tylenol.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (get pagan sinfest)
Lady of Ten Thousand Lakes: Finding Wisdom in Places
Call for Papers

The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology Biennial Symposium
St. Paul, MN, April 20, 2013

Much of mythology is grounded in place. Suggested topics for this symposium might include, but are not limited to, the following:

How do and should the scholarship in Goddess Studies and Women's Mythology and Spirituality engage with the sense and reality of place? What women's myths are especially grounded in a place or places? What happens when such disciplines as Natural History, Ecology, and other sciences of place interact with Women and Mythology?

What does place mean methodologically? How does our scholarship change when place becomes an element or partner in our research? How does this intersect with Embodied Research or Embodied Methodologies? What are the criteria for solid scholarship using these new models?

Do issues of place add an activist quality to our scholarship? Does activism have a place in scholarship? What does it mean to find wisdom in places?

Proposals for papers, panels, and workshops addressing these topics will be given preference, but other subjects will be considered. Papers should be 20 minutes; panels with up to four papers on a related topic may be proposed together. Workshop proposals should be organized to provide audience interaction and must clearly address the theme. (Workshops are limited to 90 minutes.)

Presenters from all disciplines are welcome, as well as creative artists and practitioners who engage mythic themes in a scholarly manner in their work. Presenters must become members of ASWM prior to conference.

Send 250-word abstract (for panels, 200 word abstract plus up to 150 words per paper) to by February 2, 2013. Include bio of up to 70 words for each presenter, as well as contact information including surface address and email. See
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Inis Man)
One thing I neglected to mention yesterday is that I've now seen the cover art for Circle of Stones and sent back my approval for the cover image. Only one of the three quotes I received would fit on the back cover, so the other two are going inside, but all three will be used, so thank you to everyone who sent them for me! I'm very grateful for your help.

I didn't get out to the party I wanted to this evening because after I went for a walk around the lake, the hips seized up again. I was hoping they'd feel better by the time I would have needed to leave, but even tylenol and tramadol didn't help much. They are still achy, but not quite at the stabbing me in the joints point, which was about where they were for a while. I am determined to be in good enough shape to deal with the walking I'll need to for Ireland and the rest of the trip. I do have an appointment with my doc to talk about pain medication and managing things while I'm overseas, but it's very frustrating.

When I would have been off having fun with [ profile] gra_is_stor and her guest, I spent the time outlining a dream incubation ritual for the evening after we've done incubation ritual at Carrowkeel. I figured that some people might not get a lot of result during a shorter incubatory ritual (some don't), but that a dream incubation that night that takes us back to Carrowkeel would offer an opportunity to integrate the experience and possibly to come out of it with something. For those who do get more of the experience they hoped for there, the opportunity to do a dream incubation could deepen or expand upon their work there, and allow them time to process it more intensely.

That done, I spent time doing more online research and discovered references to three different church sites associated with Brigit on the Isle of Man, and three accompanying Brigit's wells, though I don't know that all of them still exist. I was looking at an online copy of P.M.C. Kermode's Manx Antiquities from 1930, and it's been a long time since then. I have the general areas that they're in, and can likely find them with maps and such once I'm actually on the island. There might be others, but I find the idea of three of them quite appealing for obvious reasons.

I printed out images of the crosses with canid/dog-head images on them that [ profile] alfrecht would like me to find and photograph, then pasted them into my pilgrimage notebook with a few notes about general location. Again, I should be able to get better information about where to find them once I'm actually on the ground there and have access to the ordinance survey maps and the travel guides.

This has all been a really interesting process for me. I know that [ profile] vyviane has taken care of the vast majority of the research for the Irish sites we'll be going to, but looking for the original Brigit's well in Kildare was a rewarding project, even when I found aspects of it frustrating. That feels like it will all come together when we actually visit the site, and I'm hoping we'll have enough room there to do our opening ritual at the original well, then carry it forward to the newer well, which has more stuff set up around it, with a formal circuit to follow.

Doing the research really is a huge part of what makes the pilgrimage such a profound process. Going into it not having done anything, expecting everyone else to have done the research and the work would make me feel like a tourist, not a pilgrim. Working out what we will do in different places, which topics to discuss, what tales or poems to read -- it's all part of the gestalt that is building up around this for me. On the other hand, I worry that the work I do won't built the proper framework to help provide the intensity of ritual experience that the participants may want. I know that I'm not anyone's gatekeeper for this, but I know that at least some of the folks coming along are doing so in part because I'm the featured presenter, and I want to do my best to give them what they are hoping for from my participation.

I worry that my health will fail at the worst possible time and that I will leave everyone dangling. I tend to be more inclined to let myself rest when I'm at home. When I'm working at a con or a festival, I will do everything possible to teach the sessions I've promised to, even if I don't feel very well and would otherwise be curled up in a corner with a squishy pillow under my neck. The fact that people have paid for my transportation, lodgings, and most of my food for the pilgrimage only makes me more determined to do give everyone my best work. I know that I'm going to end up pushing myself very hard while I'm doing this and I'm prepared to do so, but I'm also operating with the understanding that I'm going to be nearly useless for a few weeks after I get home, and that I may have days after the pilgrimage while I'm still traveling that I might not be able to do more than just lie down and sip some tea while I hope that the pain meds work.

I'm going to be on the road for a month, so it is inevitable that I'm going to have a couple of migraines, a couple of days with cramps bad enough that I'll barely be able to walk, and quite possibly other physical problems as well. Despite any of that, I intend to have the best possible experience I can. Just being there is going to be a huge blessing and I want to be open to all of it as it is happening, to be in the moment and to live it as fully as I am able. This is less "I am going to have a good time dammit" and more "there are moments of beauty in everything and I will do my utmost to be open to them regardless of circumstances."
erynn: Gaelic merman image (foggy coast)
Today was the CR schmooze; as noted yesterday, I wasn't too clear on what we were to be talking about, but we did have an interesting conversation. A new person showed up whom I'd met last year at Eight Winds, and I don't think we terrified her or anything, so perhaps she'll come back again to talk with us.

My anxiety today was bad enough that I had to medicate for it. I dislike how the anti-anxiety meds make me feel, but they're at least slightly preferable to that horrible feeling of an impending panic attack. It was enough to get me through the evening, thankfully.

I left Everett a little early so that I could drop off stuff about the pilgrimage at East West Books. That was about a two minute stop. Some kind person had stuck their parking tab onto the kiosk so it could be re-used (it had over an hour's worth of time still on it). I used it for a few and stuck it back on the kiosk myself, to pass along the good karma, as it were. After that I hauled myself over to Travelers, where I ran into [ profile] nathan_fhtagn and another friend. I was reading a book but we did have crossover conversation, and Nathan says he'd be interested in coming when I screen the Cthulhu movies from the HPLHS, Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, so I got a contact email for him and will include him on the list when the dvd arrives and I have some idea when I want to schedule it. He's off for Providence I think this weekend to do some stuff out there (with [ profile] meddevi, perhaps?), so I'll be wanting to schedule it for when he's back.

[ profile] gra_is_stor and [ profile] joyful_storm both came by Travelers for chai. I'll be wanting to talk with [ profile] joyful_storm again about travel stuff, as she's a much more experienced traveler than I am when it comes to the European stuff. She had a couple of suggestions for places to look for light, comfortable, multipurpose clothing that will work for packing into one light carryon bag. She said she'd email me links.

After the schmooze, I went off to Remedy to have tea with [ profile] thewronghands and we sat and talked for about 90 minutes, catching up with a bunch of things. She's only in town for two days, so I was glad to have the chance to see her. She said she liked [ profile] dpaxson's The Way of the Oracle that I brought back from PCon for her, though I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I asked if she'd like anything from Ireland and she said that a field guide to Irish plants or trees would be awesome, so I'll see about finding one when I hit a bookshop in Dublin or Sligo. I'm sure there are a fair few of them out there. I know that I like field guides and natural histories, so I'm hoping I'll have a good feel for what she might want in one of those. When I was there last, I bought a field guide to birds because I had seen a few that had fascinated me, but I had no idea what they were. Knowing what I'm looking at helps so much in orienting myself to a new place.

We talked a little bit about traveling solo and other similar stuff, and it turned to Badass Women In Seattle (we're looking at you, [ profile] lakmiseiru, [ profile] canyonwren, and [ profile] varina8, among many others). There really are a lot of amazing women we know here, who travel the world alone, who climb mountains and kick ass and save lives, who keep on doing astonishing things despite the health problems that nature handed them. I'm so delighted to know so many of you! Lucky Erynn is one lucky Erynn. We also carped about the right-wing and their attempts (far too successful recently) to rescind every fucking right that women have gained in the last 50 years; anyone who thinks we don't need feminism needs to fuck off. I am a human being and I refuse to condone a government that tries to tell me I'm not. GRAR.

I also noted that [ profile] thewronghands really needed to be introduced to [ profile] gra_is_stor because they have a fair bit in common. She said it sounded like an excellent idea, so we shall try to arrange that when she's going to be in town for a bit and we have some scheduling options.

[ profile] druid_medb got back to me and clarified about the whole Eight Winds versus PCon contexts. Both of us were having fibro fog and got a couple of wires crossed, but we're good now, and much more clear on what it was we were both attempting to convey. There are both Eight Winds and PCon components to what we were discussing and we just needed to sit down and sort where the salient points slipped by us. Eight Winds is definitely more of a personal with a few other folks in on it type conversation about some of the warrior stuff, geilta, and PTSD, with another private conversation on other issues, while PCon would be more involved, a lot more public, and more formal.

Tomorrow is my Skype chat with [ profile] vyviane, there may be some steampunkery at the AFK, and [ profile] gra_is_stor will be coming up before her band practice then heading out to play music with her friends. I really have to deal with sheet changing and all that kinda stuff. With my arms hurting like they have been lately, stripping and re-making the bed has been a challenge, so I'm hoping I can get a little help with it before she has to head for the rehearsal space.

Still way too busy, but at least working on getting some things done.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
I was contacted a week or so ago by [ profile] druid_medb about the article I'd written on geilta and warrior stuff. She's a vet herself and has been working as a veterans advocate for people working their way through the VA system. As seems to be a thing at the moment, there's a lot of interest in the more mainstream spiritual and counseling communities in rituals and approaches to dealing with PTSD for returning veterans, and the work our group has been doing, and a fair bit of my own work and writing falls within that area. I sent her off the geilt article and she was very interested in the whole thing. She asked the other day if we could talk while we're at Eight Winds this June, and I suggested maybe we could do an impromptu discussion of the material with interested folks who might be in attendance.

She said that there would probably be a number of vets/military there, and some folks on the treatment/services side as well, who would undoubtedly be interested in such a discussion. So we're looking at how to put this together, when we might do it, and what we'll want to do about distributing the article and other potential material when we're there. I may end up hauling copies of a few things depending on how many people would consider joining the discussion.

In line with this, A is going back to the middle east soon and asked if we would do the warrior blessing ritual again in May, before he leaves. The local group is in planning for that. We have a couple of potential dates and the organizing committee is looking for a place to do it. Last time, we did it out at my place, also using the tiny park across the street at the lake. We're doing a much shorter version of the ritual this time, as he's already been through it once, so it won't be an overnight vigil but a more condensed version to only take about 3 to 4 hours.

I had a short text exchange with Vyviane about scheduling a discussion regarding the upcoming chat with the Sisterhood of Avalon about the pilgrimage and my work. We'll be talking on Tuesday afternoon (my time). She's been out of town and very busy and won't have time until after Monday, and I need to catch up with her and make sure everything I'm working on is what needs to be done. As I've said many a time before, not having ever done this previously, I don't necessarily know if what I'm spending time on is actually what needs to be done, so I'm feeling a little tentative. She's done this for years now and knows what all is expected and what works and what needs to be done, but I feel rather like I'm groping in the dark. Getting a reassuring word now and again helps me feel like I'm on the right track and doing what I should be working on.

A trip to the grocery store netted some rhubarb and some early strawberries (a two-for-one package sale). I may end up doing a cobbler, though I haven't decided if I want it to be strawberry-rhubarb or just rhubarb. With strawberries, I often feel it's too sweet, but these are probably not the ripest strawberries on the planet and therefore not necessarily overly sweet. It might work out well. If [ profile] gra_is_stor is feeling better soon, I might do the cobbler with a gluten-free crust so that she can have some, too. The strawberries, regardless, would go very nicely with my honey yogurt anyway. I froze the remainder of my pseudo-posole this afternoon so that I can have it later instead of having to eat it all right away. Yay freezers!

Tomorrow, #writechat, #poetparty, and laundry, along with whatever note-making and writing I can get together toward the trip again. I opened up the notebook I'll be using for the pilgrimage and trip to Europe and wrote that in the first page, slipping one of the pilgrimage postcards into the little pocket in the back. I'll add all the contact stuff, a list of folks I'm tying ribbons onto the clootie trees for, and travel information to it in the next few days. I got one with blank rather than lined pages, and will be sticking in bits of maps, making notes, and stuffing it with postcards as I go along, as well as various meditations and journal entries. I'll use it as my writing notebook for our ritual and creative writing/poetry prompts work as well. I may or may not have it full up when I get home, but I'm intending it to be a record of my journey.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Join the Illuminati!)
The wind was up today and the power got knocked out for maybe half an hour. It wasn't gone long, but it was slightly disconcerting. Given that my wireless is currently battery operated, this meant I could remain online even through the outage - not a thing I could do when I had a cable modem and a wireless router. It's the one advantage to the system I currently use.

I got first draft sample cover art for the Circle of Stones reprint today. The idea is okay, but the execution leaves rather a bit to be desired, as one might expect from a first draft. Comments were sent back and forth between myself, Taylor, and Storm, and we'll have Andy do another draft and see how that goes. I was kind of "yeah, it's okay. meh." It didn't grab me, but it didn't give me a visceral Oh Fuck No the way the first draft cover for the ogam book did, so I figure we're headed in the right direction.

I had fun at the Irish class today, wherein songs were sung and key phrases like "I don't understand" and "maybe" were practiced. ;)

After Irish class, [ profile] gra_is_stor and I went over to Caffe Vita for the queer Pagan meetup, where I caught up with folks I haven't seen in quite some time. Greg, Black Cat, Craigula, Jimbo, and Jay were all there. Also in attendance (though I didn't really get a chance to talk to her) was Nancy, whom I hadn't seen since around the time I was dating my third husband, so that's probably been nearly since dinosaurs roamed the earth. I introduced [ profile] gra_is_stor around to everyone I knew and we chatted and I squeed about Ireland and Europe and upcoming publications and all that.

Once the group started to break up, half a dozen of us went up the street to a little bar and snacks place, which was okay if a bit hipster for my tastes. We hung out and talked for probably another hour before I had to get on the road to get home to Everett.

In the past few days I'd been hearing about yet another eyerolling kerfuffle in the online CR community, where some folks are apparently claiming anyone who isn't Reading Books and Being A Scholar ZOMG isn't really practicing CR, which is patent bullshit as far as I'm concerned. The whole idea behind this was that eventually people wouldn't have to be scholars and build it all themselves. Eventually there would come a time when there would be rituals and communities and people could just come and participate and be a part of the CR movement, no matter what their level of "academic" involvement. I think that it was put pretty well on the Mo Thearmann blog, though she did say one thing that I would take at least slight issue with:

You can't attend a gathering and then shut CR off for the remainder of the year. Also, if you are CR on Monday, Ásatrú on Tuesday, Wiccan on Wednesday, Hellenic on Thursday ad nauseam, then you are not fully CR because you are setting aside the CR worldview to practice— or dabble, really— in others.

I'm someone who practices multiple traditions. My primary spiritual identity is as a fili within a CR tradition, but I am also a Shinto practitioner, a mystes and luperca in the Ekklesía Antínoou, and a number of other things that I don't mysteriously stop being when I am practicing a CR path. Nor do I suddenly stop being a member of the Shinto shrine or lose my affiliation with Antinous and his community when I am teaching or doing ritual within the CR community. I understand why "dabbling" would be problematic, but I also know that many people operating in a genuinely polytheist paradigm are capable of working within a number of traditions at the same time. How long does one have to practice something for it to no longer be "dabbling"? Whose criteria do we use? What determines how many spiritual practices a person can have and still legitimately be considered a member of the CR movement?

I've already been declared a heretic by some, I know. That said, I'm writing books and publishing essays and teaching at festivals, and people associate my name with the CR movement. I don't accept the idea that I might somehow not be legitimate because I also choose to worship other deities and practice other paths along with my primary practice. My life is broader, richer, and more complex than that. I take all of it seriously, even if I would never consider myself, for instance, an expert on Shinto. I don't have to be in order to be a shrine member and to go to the seasonal festivals.

Anyway, that's my rant for the evening. Let's not dismiss people just because we may not practice in the same way they do. Yes, there are boundaries. No, CR is not an exclusive path that people must practice while forsaking all others. No, you do not have to have a degree in Celtic Studies to practice a CR spirituality.

Thank you and good night.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
Today was the CR schmooze down in Seattle. I headed down early and got two packets printed up for the Ireland pilgrimage, and five sheets of the postcards done so that I could leave info at Edge of the Circle. I left one of the packets there, and will probably leave the other at East West if I can get there sometime soon. During the schmooze, Patrick did some work on my arms; this helped but I'm still aching a lot.

Spent some time at Kaladi Brothers today pre-schmooze so that I could do a little work on the pilgrimage material and still have internet access. I worked through some ideas for the opening ritual at Brigid's well in Kildare, though there's obviously still quite a bit to do. [ profile] vyviane kindly got an itinerary together in a format I can work with, which I printed out and will be hauling around with me while I scribble ideas. I've also got some of the material I want to do the day we visit Newgrange, Knowth, and Tara. I'm thinking we'll work on prompts dealing with sacred time and space, so the story of Oengus and the Daghda, and the Settling of the Manor of Tara would be the texts for that day. I want to look at how we see ourselves in landscape/time/space, but also to consider what we consider our sacred center.

Due to scheduling, Heapstone Cairn got added back into the itinerary, which means I can do some devotional work with Airmed while I'm in Ireland as well, which is an unexpected but very happy surprise. Local legend has it that the Well of Sláine is buried beneath the cairn, and that Lough Arrow is the site of the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, so there's a lot going on, mythologically, in the landscape. In regards to Brigid as the center of the pilgrimage, it might also be a place where we can talk about the origins of keening and do work surrounding grief and loss for our writing.

There is just SO MUCH STUFF that can potentially be covered in all this. It's hard to know how to condense it all into manageable amounts. Though I suppose it's better to have way more than I need than to try to stretch a thin membrane of information to the breaking point. I need to figure out where in each day a class/workshop might fit. *ponders schedule*
erynn: Gaelic merman image (tea addict)
I realized last night after I went to bed that I hadn't posted anything about yesterday. It wasn't a busy day, but it felt rather long.

I went down to the VA for the spirituality group and gave my Medieval Women's Choir concert ticket to one of the women in the group who loves their music and was very excited about getting the ticket. I was honestly surprised that nobody online expressed anything but passing interest; the group is amazing and if I can't go, I want to be able to share their music with someone.

After group I went over to Travelers. I spoke with Leon briefly, who was going to Philip Hesleton's talk on Gerald Gardner last night. When I showed Leon the postcard for the Ireland pilgrimage, he asked if he could have it; I still have four and will need to get to a copy shop to make some more before I give any others away. He said he was going to show the thing to Heselton, though why, I'm not sure. I doubt he would be at all interested. Leon sounded pretty jazzed by the whole idea of the pilgrimage though, of course, he's got a million things to do here. I just wanted him to know about it so that he could spread the word along.

Jeff dropped into Travelers while I was there, and we talked for a while and he bought me a chai. [ profile] gra_is_stor was off at a bodywork appointment and so couldn't join us. She'll be up here later this afternoon so we can be ready to head out to Port Townsend tomorrow for the Victorian seance and murder mystery party.

I did spend some time alone at Travelers, taking notes from one of the books I've still got out from the Suzzallo. It has one of the medieval hymns to Brigid in it, which was what I was looking over last night. I need to dig through the Lives as well. I feel deadlines pressing along pretty much every side, for the pilgrimage and for the Eight Winds trip in June.

I have to remake the Brigid and Sarasvati handout from PantheaCon so that I can add a couple of things to it that rose out of our discussion at PCon. I'm doing the presentation again at Eight Winds this year. I also got a request for the information to be put online by a guy who was at my talk and who has Indian roommates who were interested in his account of the discussion. (eta: Found the paper on the netbook, where I composed it because the laptop had been giving me fits. Redundant computerage is redundant. And helpful.)

This afternoon, I'm sipping a pu erh tea that smells like the inside of a cave. I rather needed a little of that. It's grey and drizzling out and the traffic is rushing by on the street below the parking lot. Ducks are quacking over the sound of the cars going by. It's a typical early spring day in Everett.
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 (Brighid's cross)
Seeking Brigid: Sacred Well, Holy Flame
Pilgrimage to Ireland, 2012
July 11-18, 2012

Join author and poet Erynn Rowan Laurie and the Sisterhood of Avalon for a seven day pilgrimage to Ireland, exploring our connections with the Goddess Brigid, patron of poetry, smith craft, and healing. With the breathtaking landscape of Ireland as our backdrop, our time together will be spent engaged in conscious sight-seeing, scholastic inquiry, and spiritual exploration inspired by Gaelic tradition. For pricing and the full brochure, click here. All over 18 are welcome. Only 12 openings are available.

I hope you'll join me as we explore Ireland and our relationships with Brigid this summer!

The link will download a PDF file of the information packet.

Please spread the info far and wide!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
Dishes: done
Laundry: done
M picked up: done
[ profile] gra_is_stor picked up: done
Packing: done (except meds & stuff like that, which I have to do tomorrow anyway)

Went down to Seattle today for the schmooze and we had a really intense discussion about religion, sacrifice, building relationships with land/deity/ancestors, offerings, and meaning in ritual. Arlen is going to be going back to Kandahar for a year around the end of May and requested a warrior sending out ritual. Rather than doing the overnight vigil, we'll probably compress it down into a four-hour rite composed of most of the same things from the original sending out rite.

Given that my year is going to be so filled with writing and travel, I've handed off responsibility for the schmooze's money box to someone else, and returned the key to the gear box to [ profile] anthea7 so that I don't have to worry about anyone not having access while I'm away. I've been needing to back away from more administrative responsibility for a while because of both being busy and dealing with anxiety issues. These actions were a couple of good steps toward that release of responsibility. I'm certainly still going to be hanging out with people and coming to the schmooze, but I think I need to step back from admin meetings and more of the ritual writing, given that I've been doing the majority of it over the years we've been together.

Tomorrow morning we're getting up about 8am with an eye to being on the road by about 10am. I'm projecting arrival for lunch with [ profile] martianmooncrab around 2pm, if traffic cooperates. I'll have to stuff the remains of the packing into the car in the morning. I've only got a couple of bags, one of which is mostly the books I'm taking down with me.

I heard back from the tent rental people on the Isle of Man. The smallest tents they have are way way too big for what I need, and I don't need that kind of expense. For what they're asking, I might as well rent a hotel room, and I'd really rather not spend that much. I've decided that I can take along my backpacking half-dome tent (which would actually fit into my carry-on if that sort of thing is permitted) and buy a cheap air mattress and sleeping bag when I get to Ireland. That would be less of an expense than renting the tent and things. I just have to look into TSA regulations and such about carrying camping gear, specifically tents, on planes and whether I can do it as carryon in my bag or whether I'll need to check the tent through.

The campsite folks said I can just check in and pay when I get there, rather than making arrangements in advance, which is apparently how they usually handle people from the UK, given that they're much more local. This was a weight off my mind.

My tentative schedule for PantheaCon:

Friday 3:30 - The World on a String ([ profile] ogam and prayer beads)
Friday 11:00 - CR Rituals: A Look at the Nuts and Bolts (ME)

Saturday 3:30 - Sisters of Seshat Moon Ritual (ME)
Saturday 9:00 - Pagans, Culture War, and the Modern Crisis (Gus diZerega)

Sunday 7:00 - Brigid and Sarasvati: Goddesses of Poetry and Inspiration (ME)
Sunday 9:00 - Queer Celtic Mythology

Monday 1:30 - Echtrai, Immrama, Aisling ([ profile] finnchuill)

Everything but the stuff I'm actually in is subject to being shuffled off somewhere else or being snagged into Faerie.

I'll see a lot of you this weekend!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Shinto shrine)
Photo heavy post. Lots of them under the cut.

I went off this morning (after a crap night of sleep) to the Shinto shrine, where I ran into the usual suspects, some of whom I hadn't seen in some time. It was a pretty good ceremony, and I had a lovely time. [ profile] alfrecht gave me a copy of his most recent book (thank you!), [ profile] brandywilliams and [ profile] tedgill were there with [ profile] aion131 and his wife, and [ profile] mimerki was there as well. The only one missing was [ profile] varina8 for it to have been old home week. After the ceremony all of us except [ profile] alfrecht went out to lunch at the Greek place in Granite Falls and talked Pagan stuff and PantheaCon, as well as some reminisces of our various pasts and talk of travel.

[ profile] brandywilliams says she will introduce me to her literary agent at PantheaCon when we get down there and I'll be able to pitch my Brigid book to her, in hopes of getting a larger press interested in it. I think it's a good candidate for a more mainstream press, given it is a much less specialist publication and should have a fairly broad appeal, even if it's particularly aimed at a CR audience.

After my Shinto morning, I came home and put things together for the schmooze's Imbolc ritual, then went off to pick up Charles, whereupon we headed down to Seattle. Things got off to a late start but, aside from (the usual) issues with the fireplace fire (I really should have brought the firelog I planned on rather than assuming Patrick would be able to actually get a fire going and keep it that way), the ritual went pretty well. Things happened as they were supposed to, dinner was good, and the company was, as always, fun and interesting.

Once I got home, I fired up the Brigid altar, as it is my shift tonight. I'm feeling a bit creaky and headachey, as I have been most of the day, but I'm still doing better than the last several and was able to function.

Charles was able to get the photos off the disc I got from [ profile] fullcontactmuse and uploaded them so that I can access them. I've pulled one and sent it off to the SOA folks so they can use it for their publicity stuff. I still have to write a short bio for the publicity packet, but I'll worry about that tomorrow when, hopefully, I'll have less of a headache.

And now, on to the photos! Shinto Below! )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
I was up way too late last night and the DoDC+3 woke me with a persistent nose to the face at about 11:30am, when I'd had maybe four hours of actual sleep. I pushed him off and managed to stay in bed for another hour or so, but had things to do today, so I ended up getting my butt out of bed and moving on.

Today was the CR schmooze's Burns Night party, and I was delighted to spend time with my friends, but I was definitely dragging. I actually went as far as lying down for a while as the rest of the group talked and waited for those who were going to be a little later. It helped some, but not really enough. We had dinner (haggis, neeps and tatties, salad, oat bannocks, chocolate, and - yay - Ardbeg) and hung out talking for a fair while before I was too tired to really handle staying in a crowd anymore. About 9pm I noted that I was about done in, so I headed north and gave Charles a ride home.

rantiness below the cut )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Ganesha)
I had a really mixed day today. My VA appointment went quickly, but the travel office wasn't moving at all. We sat for half an hour and hardly got more than six numbers called, and then nobody was at the windows at all. I was at least 30 numbers back and had to meet [ profile] bearfairie and one of her covensisters who had been up from the Bay (and down from Alberta). I ditched the line and will get my travel funds another day.

[ profile] gra_is_stor and I then headed over to Travelers, where we met them, and also saw [ profile] nathan_fhtagn, who was meeting a friend for chai. I got to talk with him for about ten minutes before we had to leave to go to Araya's, but he'll be back at Travelers on Thursday to catch up with [ profile] fullcontactmuse before her burlesque show, so I will probably see both of them on Thursday after my group.

Dinner was lovely and [ profile] joyful_storm was able to join us for dinner, as was [ profile] sebastian_lvx, who came along with [ profile] alfrecht We spent a couple of hours at dinner, having a wonderful time talking and catching up, then I gave [ profile] joyful_storm a ride home and brought [ profile] alfrecht and [ profile] gra_is_stor up here. He will need to catch a bus back up to Anacortes about 7:30 tomorrow morning, but [ profile] gra_is_stor will be here with me for several days.

When I got home, I had email from [ profile] mael_brigde, who said that she was diagnosed with a sarcoma of some sort today. I emailed her back asking for more details, and she called me up. We talked for a while and I told her that if she needed somebody up there for support to let me know. She hasn't got much for support there right now, as one of her people is out of town for two months, and her ex-girlfriend, who often helps out with a lot of things, is having some severe problems with vertigo that are keeping her from being able to do much of anything right now. Anyway, I may need to go up to Vancouver without much notice for a few days to help her out or give her rides or something. She would welcome prayers or healing work from friends and acquaintances, so please keep her in your thoughts. She has been a dear friend for many years, and is the founder of the Daughters of the Flame, so prayers to Brigid are particularly appreciated.

Not long after that, I was able to have a chat with my brother in Baghdad. He says he will be leaving there Friday, spending four days in Kuwait, and then heading home to Italy. I'm glad he's nearly out of there. He did say that Aviano may be giving him some military time when he gets back (which will put him closer to getting that last 150 days for retirement), but he hasn't got any details for that as yet, so he's not sure what will be happening. I'll keep folks updated. He told me he'd text me when he got in so that I could mail him all the stuff that's been stacking up here for him.

A couple of days ago I mentioned that P. Sufenas Virius Lupus had finally published Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor's Notes, Volume One about the spiritual practices of the Ekklesía Antínoou. What I forgot to note is that I have two rituals published in the book, for the Festivals of the Lion and the Lotus. So this is yet another publication for me this year!

Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor's Notes

You can get it at Createspace.

Needless to say, no writing at all has been done today.

I just want everyone to be happy, healthy, and safe.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (triskele plain)
Today was some writey stuff, and I posted one of my short fics for a fic exchange after having banged it out (1200-ish words) in its entirety in a few hours before getting ready to head for Seattle.

We dropped things off at [ profile] gra_is_stor's place then grabbed some lunch at Mirch Masala on Broadway, before heading over to Travelers for a bit. I finally finished reading Heroic Poets and Poetic Heroes after about 18 months, so I can now return it to the Suzzallo. About damned time, really.

The schmooze this evening went pretty well, though we didn't have our entire usual crowd, given holiday work schedules and other issues. I think we had a good conversation and we talked about ways to apply what we'd been learning over the course of the year. Several suggestions for potential classes or workshops were touted, some of which I'm sure we'll implement in the course of the next year. We also decided that in January, we'd talk about the deities we work with and what kinds of things we do to honor them. We'll be having our monthly business meeting to decide on February's stuff and figure out what to do for Imbolc next Wednesday (not this one coming up).

One thing that there was some significant interest in was further information about the whole geilt concept. I need to remember to post a couple of things to the Puget Sound CR group for folks to read on that. There was also some desire for a workshop on ogam as well. Moss noted that there would probably be a good deal of interest in both of these things in the larger community, but we had planned on making some of these classes open beyond just our group anyway, so when we do schedule these things, he can certainly pass the word along.

On the way home I picked up a few things I needed at the grocery store, though I have yet to go through and do my major shopping run for the month. That will probably take place this week, though.

Tomorrow I have the weekly steampunk social at AFK, which I'm quite looking forward to. There will no doubt be nefarious plotting for the upcoming New Years Recovery Tea.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
Today I learned from [ profile] martianmooncrab that Anne McCaffrey, one of my favorite SF/Fantasy authors when I was younger, had died. [ profile] martianmooncrab had been a friend of hers for many years, and it was through her that I met Anne at DragonCon some years ago. I am very saddened by her passing, and for MMC's loss. When we lose any person, it is a diminishment of the world, but when we lose a writer, we lose worlds, we lose galaxies, we lose universes of possibility. My altar is lit for her. May she find peace on dragon's wings.

This afternoon I went down to Seattle and spent a little time at the Occupy Seattle encampment at the Sanctuary tent, talking for a bit with Norm, a Quaker, who was holding some space there and meditating. We talked a little about my doing some service there, and I also spoke with Stian, who's been involved with the occupation from the beginning, as he was on site. [ profile] sebastian_lvx had just left, as he was cold and wet and his cold was being aggravated by that, so I missed him by not too long. About 6:30 there was a short candlelight vigil for the people who died at Tahrir Square in Cairo over the past four days -- at least 31 dead and over 600 wounded as the Egyptian people demand an end to military rule after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

After leaving the encampment, we went over to the Northwest Film Forum to see Dean Haglund's new documentary The Truth is Out There. It was, by turns, hilarious, thoughtful, and deeply disturbing in a "some of these people need serious medication" kind of way. Dean and his producing partner, Phil Lierness, were on hand to chat and answer questions after the film. I got a chance to, briefly, say hi to them both and talk with Dean for a few minutes. [ profile] gra_is_stor had agreed to come with me to the movie, and I think we were both pretty well entertained.

Tomorrow I'll be roasting the turkey breast for Thursday, and may try to spend some time at Occupy Everett, as they're having a fairly important meeting from about 4:30 to 7pm tomorrow afternoon. We'll see what happens.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Mercurius from Harmonia Macrocosmica)
The Call for Presentations went out from the EBC last week, which I posted here. I've previously noted the sometimes disturbing lack of women presenters at the conference and, in accordance with suggestions over the years from [ profile] brandywilliams, have decided that I'll propose a session.

I talked a little bit with [ profile] gra_is_stor about it, as we met for a while at Travelers after my VA appointment today. The spirituality group is back up and running and it was wonderful to see my friends there again. We have two new chaplain interns along with Wendy, the psychologist who coordinates the group. I'm excited to be involved with it again. Sadly, I thought the group was at 2 rather than 3, so I was there over an hour early. I am dumb.

Jeff came into Travelers for a while as well, before his yoga class, and he sat and talked with the two of us. He's interested in presenting something to the schmooze on Celtic coinage. I'm figuring that discussing iconography on coins would be pretty cool, particularly if it was aimed at dealing with use of coin iconography in exploring how the various Celtic peoples viewed their deities.

I ran my idea for the EBC past them, and they thought it would be an interesting one. I've considered for several years that it might be cool to present on ogam. Since the focus of the conference is on books and magical traditions related to them (primarily, though not exclusively), I thought I could do a presentation tentatively titled "Ogam: From Medieval Manuscripts to Modern Magicians," dealing with things like the use of ogam as cryptography and mnemonic device, and abbreviations and ogam glyphs in the manuscripts as an inspiration for sigilization, then examine the practices of several modern writers and magicians, like Ian Corrigan, myself, and a few others, who are using ogam as a part of a magical practice as well as a spiritual one.

Someone over in [ profile] cr_r a while back asked about an ogam book published through The description of the book included stuff about the qabala and the I Ching, which made me raise an eyebrow or two. I've been calling the qabala the Procrustean bed of occultism since the late 80s and haven't really changed my opinion on that, but the author also talks about ogam and sigil magic, so if I'm going to be talking about modern approaches to ogam and sigil magic, it sort of behooves me to actually read the text of someone else who's doing that kind of work. I can decide after reading it whether or not the material is worth addressing. Thankfully, there's a Veterans Day coupon code, and the book is already somewhat discounted, so I can get it fairly inexpensively. The author is also someone that [ profile] gra_is_stor met while she was in Ireland, and she has some notes from him that she said I could look at. Still, notes versus an over-500 page book is a substantial difference in terms of being able to see what he's actually on about.

I need to look over the call for presentations and determine what I need to do for this, then do a more firm outline. I don't have to really worry about doing the bulk of the work until after PantheaCon, given that EBC isn't until autumn of next year, but I do need to pull together enough material to do the proposal and a rough outline so I'll know where to go with it when I get home from California next February. I also have to decide whether I'll speak from an outline or write a paper. I'm obviously going to have to work up a PowerPoint presentation to go with the presentation so that people can see what I'm talking about for several of the points I need to make.

I haven't heard back regarding the volunteer gig tomorrow, so I'm assuming that they're not interested in anyone showing up after 10am. Their loss. I have better things to do with my time than try to be somewhere at that hour, thereby guaranteeing my next three days are going to be nearly unlivable. I realize that a lot of people think of 10am as not only no problem, but as sleeping in, but when you have insomnia and sleep disturbance issues, 10am means I might have gotten two hours of more-or-less uninterrupted sleep, even if I went to bed at 10pm (which is usually ungodly early for me anyway). If I try to be anywhere by that hour, I'm guaranteeing that I'm going to be pretty much non-functional for the day, and it will take me a couple of days to get through it to the point where I can sort of function again.

This is why I am very insistent that I not be scheduled for morning sessions at conferences and why I refuse to make any sort of appointment, medical or otherwise, before noon if I can possibly avoid it. I hate the fact that I am in pain and can't focus if I am up too early, and that I can't just have a cup of tea and be fine, like most people. I can't really even just go home afterwards and go to bed, because it's almost impossible for me to sleep in the afternoon. I often feel worse after an afternoon nap that I would if I just stayed awake until my "normal" bedtime of somewhere between 2am and 5am. Bedtime means I go and lie down, not that I go to sleep.

And on that note, it's probably time I try to retire for the night.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy pooped)
Today was yoga at the VA. I also had to deal with the women's clinic there, as they had sent me a note a couple of weeks ago that I should call them and schedule an appointment with a new doc. I had tried calling a few times, but they never even answered the phone, so I went in there today in person to deal with it. I had in initially made an appointment a month or two ago, which they called and told me to cancel because they intended to have me seen by a different doc who wasn't in the clinic yet.

It turns out that this new doc they wanted me to see only does a morning clinic, so I wasted all this time waiting around and getting frustrated with nobody answering the phones. I'm supposed to see the one I've scheduled for later this month; part of my issue has been that I used the last tramadol (prescribed to me for migraines since the migraine-specific stuff makes me feel like I've been hit by a truck while having cardiac arrest, and doesn't actually stop the migraines anyway) last week. Nina had only given me a scrip for one fill, and the pharmacy won't renew a scrip unless it has an approval from your doc. I mean, it makes sense, but it's not like I've had a doc I could go to for the last several months who could renew the prescription.

Anyway, I'm hoping this will be resolved by the end of the month, but it does mean that the week of the 28th I get to spend three days in a row going down to the VA for crap. I'm not thrilled. Further nattering here. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Liberty & Justice OTP)
I mailed in my ballot a couple of weeks back. Given that Washington has shifted over to a completely mail-in system, this means that it may be days before there is any clarity on some races. In the good news, Tim Eyman's most recent initiative has gone down in flames. Anything that has even the slightest whiff of him about it tends to send me into something of a frenzy. He's the guy who borked our public transportation system, and who once took signatures on an initiative down to Olympia dressed in a Darth Vader outfit. The guy has had huge financial scandals associated with his politicking and people still put his crap on the ballot.

In good news, the Mississippi "personhood" amendment that would have essentially given fertilized eggs more rights than adult women was defeated. Ohio rescinded a piece of anti-union legislation. We can hope that the Occupy movement has been raising some awareness as it has grown.

I spent a few hours down at Occupy Everett today. It was pretty quiet there while I was in attendance; apparently there had been a discussion of the movement over at Everett Community College and quite a few people had gone to that. I talked with several people, both supporters and people who were just curious. There were the usual "what's it all about" type questions. I seriously think that attempting to reduce a movement that is addressing a lot of issues down to a thirty second sound bite isn't doing anyone any favors. Sound bites remove any necessity for people to actually think about issues and to communicate about the deeper problems underlying what we see happening right now in the world.

One Canadian blog offered this analogy:

Social movements have often started out with a shared grievance, not a particular solution. Think of the flagship of today’s global movements, environmentalism. It ranges from conservationists who want to preserve wilderness, to more politically-oriented groups advocating policies to counter global warming, to radicals who see civilization itself as the problem. A smorgasbord of approaches. But united by a concern that the ecosystems on which humans depend are threatened, and need our conscious protection.

What we have are a vast number of shared grievances. Most people think the system is broken. Most of them have no idea what to do about it. No one answer is going to fix everything. We need to focus on a multitude of potential solutions and be open to the fact that we can't explain them all in one breath. If we could, we would be missing immense parts of both the problems and the solutions.

I'm concerned about a lot of things -- environmental issues (without an environment, we won't have any humans to be worried about), economic justice, corporate personhood, corporate money in politics, veterans issues and warmongering generally, just to name a few. I'm concerned about our police state, with its cops who teargas peaceful protesters and the TSA giving us a choice of being irradiated or groped if we are going to fly anywhere, with apparent plans to extend this intrusive abuse into other parts of our transportation systems.

At the same time, I need to have a life outside of these concerns, which is why I hang out with steampunks, why I am involved in music and the arts, why I write and practice a private and personal spirituality as well as participate in what I consider a spiritually engaged political life.

I was pleased to head over to the AFK tonight and be joined by nearly a dozen people, most of whom were new to the gathering and whom I hadn't met before. Several of them want to be much more involved in the community and there is talk of a new traveling tea party around the holidays, and attending the new Sherlock Holmes movie premier in steampunk attire. We have to have fun and emotionally sustaining things to look forward to in order to maintain any semblance of sanity while we deal with things that desperately need to be addressed in our political and economic systems. The two are not mutually opposed or even mutually exclusive.

Tomorrow I have yoga group. I'll be hanging out afterwards with people at Travelers. Thursday I've got the new spirituality group starting up at the VA again for the next six weeks. Friday I may or may not be doing volunteer work, depending on whether I hear back from the volunteer coordinator about whether or not I can come to work with them in the early afternoon; being there at 10am is going to be beyond my capacity, even if the work itself is something I can do.

It's been a busy week and it continues to be busy. I'm feeling a real need for some down time, just spending a few days at home without doing anything except maybe a little writing. I need to catch my breath.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
The meeting went pretty well as meetings go. The Horizon Oasis lodge was a pretty good location for it and there was enough room for everything we needed and more. We talked out a lot of stuff and I hope that it will help shift the direction of the group fruitfully. We're still together after four years, so we must be doing something at least salvageable. There's some hope and some skepticism and we'll see if we can move forward together. The fact that Patrick (our group curmudgeon) felt hopeful about the whole thing was a bit of a shock, but an encouraging one.

We headed up to [ profile] mimerki's place for Pie Fawkes Night after that and stayed for about an hour, having pie and conversation.

Post-pie, we returned northward for the AFK first anniversary party, which was completely rocking the house when we got there and was still roaring along when we left. We were there for about 90 minutes and, while I was having a great time, I have a pretty bad headache now and am going to need to crash soon. Thankfully tomorrow doesn't have anything scheduled beyond a little prep for the schmooze on Monday. I'm hoping the head will be back in something resembling human condition by then.

In other news, a million people moved their money from banks to credit unions today and apparently ABC reports that it was something on the order of 4.5 billion dollars of funds changing hands. That's a hell of a sign of discontent. Maybe something really is happening here. I'm hoping so, certainly. We need a little luck and a sea change here.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

September 2013



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