I’m going to apologize now for the length of this post, but it marks an important milestone for me, so sit back, light up a cigarette (or whatever you might smoke) and enjoy
SO.. last night was the first experience I’ve had with leading Circle where others were watching and listening. Bubble Girl aka Socrates aka Padawan aka MOI.. had to come out of the bubble and I’m not going to lie, it felt great. Its going to take time for it to start feeling comfortable, like any new thing will. I’ve never been the type to take “center stage”, as it were. Its not me. Its not something I do, I don’t like to feel like I’m under the microscope. That’s childhood traumas for ya!
In addition to our stepping outside the usual routine of X and Cootie leading the show, we also had the quirky experience of shifting the Elements outside their usual quarter correspondences.. Fire in the North, Air in the West, Earth in the South, and Water in the East. There is absolutely NO law dictating that the Elements MUST be called in their usual corresponding quarters. Anyone who tells you this is completely full of crock and has been reading a few too many “How To Be A Wiccan – A Dummies Guide” from your local “pagan” store (you know the ones… the ones who sell all kindsa herbs and semi precious stones, and the clientele can be seen leaving the Gap and going straight into this particular store – the very reason I stopped going to Crystal Visions). Everything about this particular Circle was different: Me leading, Elements in different quarters, X and Cootie’s new place, Cootie adding animal energies to her quarter calls.. It was a wonderful thing
Getting started was a bit of work, figuring out what we wanted to assign to which quarter.. a particularly smokey situation with the charcoal in the incense bowl.. Fire was very touchy to say the least. But it finally settled down and we consecrated the Circle, smudging, then anointing one another with some nice Desert Musk oil. I got to do my first anointing! There was some question as to what symbol I might put on X’s forehead, and I’m still a little disappointed that I couldn’t accomplish the Decepticon symbol, so I just went with a simple pentacle. I asked that X cast the Circle, he always does it and I’m just very comfortable with that. He’s the only guy there, and as I pointed out, men are traditionally “the protectors”, the Circle protects, and he’s got the nifty athame. So, it works for me.
The primary goal of what I wanted to cover was an evaluation of the goals we set out to achieve at the first Air Circle last year. If those goals were met? Make new ones. If not? Recommit to achieving them. We symbolized this commitment using some wonderful raven feathers Cootie brought back from Ireland, holding them above our heads to represent Air as a thoughtform, and dropping them to the ground, representing Earth, the ending result, and where we wanted to be at the end of this year. Needless to say, our feathers dropped kinda quickly. Hopefully that’s a sign we won’t have to wait too long to get things done! Cootie let us keep the feathers we used, and mine is going on the Air altar as soon as I get it set up. MOST awesome, since the Raven is my chosen animal to represent Air.
The next part, I wanted to really bring a sense of balance to the Circle. Its my Libra nature, I crave it. If I don’t have it, I can’t function. Each of the Elements are always very well represented in our Circle, but Elements are not all that make up the energies in the world around us. Much of this part was about my own personal feelings and interests, I will admit, but I feel it’s valid and should be addressed. I have very strong Native American leanings when it comes to pagan traditions, and some VERY rudimentary knowledge of Shamanic practices. Everytime we come back around to Air, Native American music plays a large part in my meditations, and the mental imagery that accompanies often involves a high cliff in the Smokies where all you see for miles is fog and/or clouds. Its a very peaceful, serene place, devoid of modern things to sully it. Native American cultures themselves have often fascinated me just because it goes back to a time when people had a very straightforward way of thinking and interacting with one another. Its something that is missing from the world we live in today. AND so to my point.. Native American ceremonies often had some representation of each Element within whatever ceremony or ritual was being performed, but there are also alot of animal spirits or energies involved. They are a part of nature, and as such, their energies should be observed when we Circle. It creates a stronger bond with the energies around us. My idea was not only to introduce animal energies to the Circle, but to also bring these energies, animal and Elemental, to attention not just at Circle, but in our daily lives, even if its just a weekly thing we do on our own at home. Connecting with them, communicating, learning the lessons they bring with them and taking a bit of them into ourselves, these are all things that go a long way towards creating the balance within ourselves. Balance, like the Elements, or even the Titans themselves, cannot be forced, they cannot be controlled. But by giving it a place to form and develop on its own, we -can- create Balance within ourselves, and in so doing, help to create it in the world around us. Even if its just in our own homes.
In addition to the animal energies, for this Circle I suggested we each bring something to contribute to represent the Air energy in our given quarters to add to a central altar. I of course brought a feather from my cockatiel Artoo.. I now wish I’d thought of something a little more original that also represented me. Cootie added Patchouli for Earth, and that is absolutely the most pungent earthy air thing I have ever smelled in my life. That stuff they sell as incense, 20 in a box for a dollar? You’re missing out. She also used a little blue star to represent water, and that works because we say it works. We don’t have geysers laying around willy nilly, ya know. And X contributed……… *drumroll* A hair dryer. YES. A hair dryer. I loved it! Had I been choosing a Fire representation of Air, I honestly can’t say what I might have brought, but I wouldn’t have thought to use a manmade object. But the real lesson here is to think outside the box, be different, don’t adhere to the “you can only have natural things in the Circle, if you add manmade objects and plastic, it will mess up the energy of the Circle”. That’s bullshit, plain and simple, because it only creates a problem if you ALLOW it.
Finally, cakes and ale. Ohh, this blessing… was epic. Putting our hands over the plate of super chunky chocolate chip cookies, we all just sorta stood there saying nothing. I looked at Cootie, then X, I honestly wasn’t sure if I should say something, or if one of them was going to do it or what… and then it was decided, sortof (in other words, I just up and decided to do it), and “By the powers vested in me by Captain Planet and the Wonder Twins, consider these cookies blessed” It was wonderful, and perfect, and the epic level of awesomeness that goes on when we Circle. (Cringing at the references? Ya’ll were warned at the door LOL This is what we do)
The part of the whole evening, the part that meant the most to me? This is the starting of my 3rd year studying/practicing with Cootie and X, and they felt it was only right to acknowledge that. I was presented with a necklace with the Full Circle design on it, which I’ve still not taken off. There was also a bag with some items in it, which I learned was the gift which had extracted a blood sacrifice from Cootie a few days ago. This bag held jars with items inside representing each of the Elements.. my very own Element jars!! Suffice it to say, I wasn’t expecting ANY of this.. and I was, and am, VERY honored and humbled by it. But the part that had me in tears, was when Cootie pulled out the Air jar, which held two feathers from a bird from the Castle. Where I started this whole thing, the place where I always felt so much at home. I couldn’t help it, and I’m not ashamed to admit how much this touched, I cried. I couldn’t have received more valuable gifts if they’d spent thousands of dollars. These are things I will cherish forever. Cootie said she considers me a Priestess within our Circle, and I’m not 100% sure what that is going to entail yet. I like to think of last night as a sort of Rite of Passage? Maybe moving from Padawan to Jedi Knight? or Sith Warrior (the equivalent of a Jedi Knight)? We’ll see
So.. what did I learn? I think the ultimate lesson of the entire experience.. well there’s really several. Embrace change… don’t try to make puzzle pieces fit, sometimes they fit in other spots, just the picture doesn’t necessarily line up like its suppose to. Second… stop being so damn self conscious. Its not like its communion or anything, it doesn’t have to be perfect. If I screw up? Well, ok, big deal. And I kinda did… facing West, calling East like I’m use to. No biggie. Third, “home” really is where you make it. I was a little concerned at first about Circling at the new apartment, mainly because apartment living creates a completely different energy. There are more people around, and their energies and the things that take place inside their homes can and does affect those around them. But, happily I found that was not the case this time. Finally, no matter how much I think I know, there’s still a million other things left to learn, and no matter how long it takes, I have a thirst to keep learning, much as the Borg takes the biological and technical distinctiveness of the cultures they encounter and assimilates, so shall I absorb what I can and add it to my own beliefs. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us.
April 9th, 2012 at 11:59 am | edit First of all, people DO love armpit hair! Even those who are a little freaked out by it at first.
Last night’s Ritual was great. We enjoyed ourselves, and were impressed. It was poignant & well planned, So-crates. But I have to say, it most certainly IS communion, it’s just OUR kind of communion. One’s interaction with the Divine is a very personal thing. It’s like you said last night about trying to FORCE balance, it’s been my experience that trying to FORCE my relationship with the gods & the Universe at large to fit into the mold of someone else’s religious notions just doesn’t work for me.
I am sure that I can speak for X when I say that we are pleased you were touched by the gifts. And, just for clarifications sake, when we say that we consider you a Priestess of the Full Circle UnTradition, we mean that we feel you have reached the point of knowledge & capability to write & lead Ritual and to take on more of a leadership/teaching role than the Padawan. So, yes, it was most certainly a Rite of Passage!
- Mari Adkins
April 9th, 2012 at 1:41 pm | edit last night was the first experience I’ve had with leading Circle where others were watching and listening
i remember doing that. nerve-wracking. but 100% worth it.
add manmade objects and plastic
that always stumped me when i was first starting out. one – if you buy your tools in a store and don’t create them totally from scratch yourself, then everything from your athame, cup, candles, and the altar itself are manmade … hhhmmm … two – plastic is petroleum; these days, it’s a mix of petroleum and recycled plastics. but if you look at what petroleum is made of … you know, people can be really silly.
If I screw up? Well, ok, big deal. And I kinda did
not really. around here, we say “it’s not a gwyddon initiation if something is left undone, unsaid, an element is miscued” or something. last time i did a combined initiation and eldering, i forgot our group oath. twice. then i forgot the initiate’s name. there was also that one time i turned salt into wine – now that was funny!
mainly because apartment living creates a completely different energy
not that i’ve ever noticed. but we all feel and do stuff differnt.
April 9th, 2012 at 6:13 pm | edit Cootie, when I mentioned Communion, I was more referring to the strict rigidity of the process itself.
Mari, so glad you responded =) Speaking of things left undone.. I had intended to call upon the Four Winds (Boreas, Zephyros, Notos, and Euros) instead of calling a God/Goddess aspect as we have done in the past. Completely. Just. Forgot. I remembered as we were about to release the quarters. *facepalm* But its ok…. there was plenty of energy going on already.