Lupus Alae


Spiritflights, fledgling and ancient

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STILL still here. 2013 and onward!

Here we are, in 2013, and I am back again! I've been regularly blogging about the mundane and vaguely interesting bits of life over at http://skysunder.blogspot.com, but keeping up even that much has proved itself a challenge.

It's not that I failed to post here because I haven't been doing my Bardic coursework or walking deeper into my Druidic journey and studies, but because I have been. I have so much to say that I don't even know where to begin!

It's looking like I may be ready for entrance to the Ovate grade in late spring. If there's anything these past two years in the Bardic grade have taught me, though, it's that the spirit has its own timing -- and that that is a beautiful and respectable thing. You can't rush through the spiritwork you need to do, especially the foundational work, or you cheat yourself and are likely to stumble or feel lost later on. I am thoroughly enjoying where I am, even as I feel called forward.


Forward I will go...in my own good time. That in itself is a life lesson I've never really embraced before, or allowed myself to fully experience. I am not beholden to any schedule, even my own dreamed-up plans.

Ahh. 

Imbolc gifts

I meant to pop on here yesterday to wish everyone a blessed Imbolc. What a wonderful point in the wheel of the year!

I did not get to celebrate as fully as I would have liked, but I did mark the occasion with prayer and a return to ritual work. I really am un-stuck now, and I found it entirely fitting that the lesson I'm on addresses the very problem I was having. 

There is a deep connection for me with Brighid, and this is her time. My ritual work is as-yet very simple, but I feel the effects of opening myself to the goodness of Spirit and the god/dess faces who guide me. I am still working off the attitudes of my prior experiences with faith in some ways (so many organized paths are guilt-based!), and the vestiges of old ways make me more hesitant, timid, than I would otherwise be. It is improving though, with time and effort. 

Do you remember in my last post when I spoke of feeling unbalanced, off-kilter, when I haven't kept up with my lessons and spiritual/ritual practice? The inverse is also true. :)

I've been having trouble sleeping this week, more trouble than usual. I just can't seem to stay asleep, and when I've dreamed, the dreams have been unpleasant. Last night, though, was a completely different story.


Last night, I was asleep within ten minutes of crawling into bed. I slept straight through until my alarm went off. And my dream...I dreamed such a lovely scene, of making a corn dolly for Imbolc with friends, lovingly tying on a bit of red ribbon that I'd saved especially for the occasion. I can picture the village, see the smiling faces, feel the excitement of marking the turn toward spring and honoring the Mother.


I woke up happy, musing on my dream. It felt like a gift, if that makes any sense (and even if it doesn't!). So too has this day. I feel balanced again, back in tune with a vital part of myself.


Thank you, Brighid, for your blessings as the first blossoms break through the wintering earth. The blossoms in my heart are no less promising. :)

Still here!

Hello, all. :) I hope your 2012 has been wonderful thus far and is only a hint at the great things to come later on. 

I don't do New Year's resolutions, per se, but perhaps I should next time. I've discovered I'm very bad at actually doing the things I need to do for me. I keep telling myself things like, I'll blog after I do X and Y and Z and by the time all of that is done, I'm too tired or all my words have fled! The same is very unfortunately true lately for my Druid practice. 

And what's worse is that when I don't do these things, when I don't talk to the wide world out there via this blog, about my random observations and spirit-related thoughts and musings, and when I don't take the time I need to progress in the gwersu, I suffer for it. My mood is less even-keeled. I'm more easily irritated; life gets to me when it should roll off easily. 

I've been stuck on a particular lesson, and I kept making myself the promise that I would reach out to my tutor and see what she had to say on it. I never did. My poor tutor has a very poor communicator in me, even though I'd love to message back and forth with her. I don't know what stops me there, but that's a problem I want to address, and not on some airy-fairy tomorrow when I might not get to it. That's something I'm working on this weekend. And I will update y'all once I've made contact. Putting it here will keep me accountable.

I love the path I'm on. I just need to take the time for myself that I need in order to keep my feet moving forward on it!

How have you shortchanged yourself lately? What will you do to fix it?

Blessings to you and yours

Happy Winter Solstice! 

I promise to write more soon; the holidays (and illness) have me swamped at the moment.
 

November's fadings

I've been a bad blogger lately. Sorry about that! I do have my other blog fairly up-to-date with mundane things and music, but this "real" blog, this heart of me, I've let fade far too often and for too long. 

Part of the reason for that is that my Bardic work has stalled. Without revealing any coursework that's confidential, I will say that I arrived at a lesson I just wasn't ready for and didn't know how to handle. Part of what it called for seemed (to me) to require one to have a connection to one's local environment. 

To put it bluntly, I hate where I live. Hate it. It's hot and dry and dusty and ugly as hell. Now, two years ago -- 14 months ago, even -- I lived in a beautiful place with milder weather and regular precipitation. Beautiful trees grow all over the place. Here, the land is scrubby and sparsely dotted with "trees" that are more like poorly overgrown bushes in the reject aisle of some unfortunate nursery.

How could I embrace the course material that was walking me through connections I didn't have? Or so my thinking went. I've been stuck for almost two months, in a surly holding pattern. I suppose I could've left it behind and come back to it later, but that's not what I felt would work best for the course and for my style of learning. 

Over the past few days, this halt has been weighing heavily on me, and I spent some time in my grove mulling the concept, turning it over and trying to see if there was something I was missing. 

Now I think I know. I think it's especially important for me to complete this particular lesson, and to repeat as necessary, because I may just need it more than most other people do at the same point along the path. Maybe my progress isn't blocked because of my loathing for my current environment -- maybe instead, I was brought to this boulder in order to learn that I need to climb over it. The lesson could be the crowbar I need to pry my thinking out of the negative space it's been stuck in for so long about this place. 

Maybe the lesson is that my loathing is actually hindering my entire progress, and even though I will still be counting down the months, weeks, days until we can move back to where my heart naturally rejoices, I must make room for the here and now as well. 

Whoa.

Watch this space! :)

Considering the source: conflict and beliefs

The other night, whilst half-asleep, I was musing about a conversation I'd had with a friend about how often intellectual discussion devolves into heated debate, particularly online.

It dawned on me somewhere in my tired thoughts that there are generally two reasons, regardless of the subject at hand, behind someone's hackles rising regarding any given topic:

Insecurity and injustice (perceived or actual).

When we begin to feel that the position we support is on shaky ground, many times we become defensive, to the point at times of crossing the line between rational debate and emotionally-driven blows aimed at driving our fellow conversant-turned-opponent backward, away from the matter of our discomfiture. I've seen it happen over and over again. Nobody likes to be proven wrong or to be forced to acknowledge that something they're adamantly opposed to has logical merit.

There are also those times when we perceive an injustice or slight (not necessarily toward us, but toward something we care about) in the words of another, and we feel a need to undo it. We may wish to tear it apart and make the other party see reason/"take it back" since whatever has been said is somehow unjust or unfair regarding the topic at hand.

To some degree, it's natural to rail against injustice, to want to see it set right. The real problem is when, particularly in matters of faith/spiritual practice (or so it seems to me), the two causes of discord and irrationality get conflated with one another.

I have observed, in both myself and others, that a lot of the time when a person feels that his or her faith is being "attacked" in an intellectual discussion, the real root of that feeling of injustice is insecurity. I felt this often when discussing the faith I grew up in. People would point out fallacies or raise questions I had no answer for, in mild discussions and meaning me (and my faith) no harm whatsoever, and it just made my blood boil because I couldn't return an adequate response. I couldn't make them see how right I was, partly because on some level I didn't feel that I was right. I struggled with the faith I inherited, struggled mightily and for a long time, and anytime friends raised theological questions or discussed various paths and merits of other things, it was like poking an already sore and tender spot with hot coals.

Over time, I realized the problem was that I wasn't secure in my own faith because some part of me didn't accept it. It wasn't unjust for people to point out the inherent merits of other faiths or the logical inconsistencies of my own. Intelligent discourse is vital to living a rich and open life.

When I left my original path and found this one (after much soul-searching), I felt as if a great weight had been lifted off of my chest and my mind. Making the transition, embracing beliefs I actually can discuss mildly and openly with others, is like traveling in a completely different world. Yes, my friends and I discuss our various paths and the merits/detractors of each/of faith itself. Yes, there are still people out there who can and do attack my beliefs.

But I am secure. My heart and mind are open, I am comfortable in my knowledge base and my feet are firmly, gently placed on the path I truly desire to explore. That inherent defensiveness is gone, perhaps in part because my experiences and horizons are always broadening, and I'd rather make a friend through understanding and compassion than leave a discussion feeling slighted and small.

I may use these insights -- if indeed they are insightful; sometimes I second-guess myself -- in a book I'm interested in writing at some point. It's a book of spirituality, of exploration. Exciting stuff; stay tuned!

Also, a very happy October to all. :)

To live is to change

Been a while. Sorry about that! Here's a post I just wrote today on my other blog (a less philosophical one, generally - musically-focused; you can read it here if you like):

I hear that there are folks out there who are displeased with the "different" sound on Snow Patrol's latest EP.

There are always people displeased by any change. People tend to keep the familiar in a bloody, white-knuckled death grip and attempt to block out all that's new and different, either out of sheer inertia or because of a misguided sense that sameness is safe, that unyielding firmness in everything will allow the storms of life to pass them by.

I wonder if those people have ever surveyed the damage after a major storm. I grew up in eastern North Carolina, where hurricanes are an occasional fact of life. It's a place well-greened with trees, from the tall, solid pines shooting straight up toward the sky to gently swaying maples.

Most of the time, NC loses several trees to the high winds (and sometimes flooding) of a hurricane. But it's not the green, tender saplings that tend to suffer the greatest losses. I have seen young trees bent almost double to the ground in high winds, and yet they survive. The inflexible, unbending trunks of hundred-year-old trees, meanwhile, are snapped like twigs in the storm's fury.

They can't adapt; they can't bend in the storms of life...so they die.

We die, too, when we become so rigid, so set in our ways, that we can't cope with changes (large or small) in life. When you refuse to embrace change or to ever change yourself, you enter a dangerous soul stagnation. You wilt, from the inside out, until there's nothing left but a bitter, brittle monument to everything you never were, never did, never allowed in.

Be dynamic. Live. Thank goodness Snow Patrol doesn't stagnate! Their older music is fabulous; I've no doubt the new music will be too, and I can't wait to see where the journey takes them as a band and me as a curious, adventurous listener. I'm grateful for ever-expanding horizons.

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