First off for the morning, The Red Lotus Library is now live, with its first book, The Syncretisms of Antinous. Go click the link and grab it! I’m going to do so as soon as I am able. I must admit I don’t know enough about this deity as I should, so I am greatly looking forward to cracking it open once I have it in my hands.
There are also some great discussions in the comments regarding Lupus’ follow-up post on Spirit Day. Well worth taking a look, as well as some of the links provided by Phil Hine, such as this one, this one, as well as this, which offers an alternative view. Then there is also mention of “ostentatious caring”–something that really does happen quite often within the Pagan “community”, as was pointed out. I think I may have to pick up this book for further reading.
It is also today that I am introducing my “Sacred Scavenging” category. As some of you readers may know–but many may not–I collect and work with a wide variety of animal remains, old relics and other assorted objects. I also plan to be taking up taxidermy, especially now that I’ve acquired my own separate workroom/ritual space for such things. I will also be taking classes for my hunting license this fall, if all goes well. I understand that such things aren’t for everyone–but I expect that people reading this journal will conduct themselves in a mature manner with regards to expressing their opinions and thoughts. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but inflammatory comments about my practice will not be approved, and you will not be offered the satisfaction of a response.
In any case, I look forward to introducing such things to this blog. I plan on stepping up posting here. I am vastly behind on the writing I told myself I was going to do, and this must change.
Richard Fortey really nailed it on this one, and also helps me to bring up a very good point on just exactly why I consider visiting a museum a deep spiritual experience.
If the source of the word “museum” is a house of the muses, then the original museum might have harboured all the arts and sciences, corresponding to the nine muses. The first building to carry the name was probably the university in Alexandria about 300 B.C. Only one of the muses, Urania, Muse of Astronomy–she who is portrayed in a mural in Herculaneum pointing at the heavens with a staff–would have personified the scientific endeavor remotely in the modern sense. From the early days of the British Museum the display of classical archaeology and art was an important part of the function of this new public space. This was a nod of recognition of the new civilization towards the old, a kind of acknowledgement of mutually shared culture.
~Richard Fortey, Dry Storeroom No.1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum
To muse over something. To contemplate. To be inspired. To go to a place like a natural history museum, or a museum of the arts, is to allow oneself to be touched through the vast reaches of time, by the great machinations and workings of Nature, and the fantastic workings of gods and men rendered in stone and bone, canvas and clay. To go to a museum is to open oneself up to the Muses, to be inspired, to hear the whispering voices spoken in ancient tongues, languages spoken in color, movement and pose. In the attitudes of death are the great expressions of life shining through.
Go to a museum. Quiet your mind. Allow yourself to be still. Listen to them speak. They are eager to tell their stories, and the Muses are ever willing to bless you in the process.
In other news, today is Spirit Day. I’ve written plenty, mostly in private, on this topic. When I’m feeling more able, I’ll relate more at a later time. However, I’d like to recommend Aedicula Antinoi, for thoughtful and inspiring words relating to this day and what’s really behind it.
I was fiddling around in my WordPress account this evening, and for the first time decided to click on the “spam” folder to see what kind of nonsense those bots attempt to write in my blog. I was shocked to find not just the random babble of spambots, but an actual comment! This comment was then approved and published.
This makes me wonder how many other legitimate comments might have been written and ended up in the spam folder, never to be approved. Just a little PSA to say that if anyone has a comment that they don’t see show up here for some reason, to please poke me per email or related. Unless comments are outright inflammatory or nonsensical (as opposed to dissenting or the like, which I haven’t a problem with), I pretty much approve every comment made to this blog. I also apologize to anyone who’s comments might’ve gotten eaten by my WordPress spam detector-thing. I’ll have to make it a point to check it more often.
Lately I’ve been going through some deep struggles of an inner sort. This has mainly come about as a result of a combination of medical ordeals, and the latest news with regards to hate and bullying, which has served to bring up quite a cocktail of repressed memories and thoughts with regards to my own unpleasant and severe experiences with bullying and abuse in childhood and adulthood. Migraines have been running rampant due to this sort of emotional stress, as well as physical stress from work, and financial concern.
It is during these periods that I tend to experience a profound degree of heightened Awareness. Everything tends to take on a surreal sort of air to it. The reality of the physical and the otherworldly bleeds over into itself. Part of it could easily be explained by the time of year, as October approaches into November, and the nonphysical folk of the otherworlds begin making their rounds. This is something else as well. Something that plays upon the chords of my sanity and my sense of reality and, by contagion, that of those closest to me, to an extent.
One morning I sit downstairs to watch television, early in the morning. I have a terrible migraine, and the auras I’m experiencing are already giving the landscape around me a surreal quality. I am deeply aware of presences that aren’t the other dwellers of the household, or the cats. Something else, bigger, breathing down my neck, engulfing me. I turn on the TV to watch a nature program, and see something that pierces into my mind. Lions killing a giraffe–immediately an image floods my mind of me, as a small child of the age of 7, drawing a picture of a pride of lions eating a giraffe, and presenting it to the teacher who is horrified. I remember this clearly due to the horror expressed by the teacher. But there it is, this time in flesh and blood, real life, on the screen. The large male giraffe kicks and fights, but it is inevitable. They take him down, they strangle him, tear him open, feast. Childhood memories flash through my mind. The scrawled lions on plain cardboard paper hover in my memory.
Then the show shifts to another segment. A coalition of male cheetahs (females are solitary, males are social), probably brothers. They come to rest under a tree. One standing, the other laying down. From the cover of a bush, a female lion bursts forth. The cheetah brother standing lunges back and screams in terror as his brother, frozen in fear under the tree, is seized, brutalized, strangled to death. I’ve never seen one so brutalized and killed before. My heart breaks at this–cheetahs hold a very sentimental as well as sacred position in my heart. I see myself as the cheetah sometimes (or, the leopard–although I realize they aren’t related, their symbolism overlaps in many ancient mythologies), but I also see the lioness as Sekhmet. The lioness killing the cheetah opens up floodgates in my mind. The little male dying at the hands of the large female. My gender struggles. My body warring against me. More childhood memories come pouring in.
The scene shifts again. A lioness is then eaten, overwhelmed by a pack of hyenas and devoured alive. It is a very brutal scene, you can see the agony plain on her face. Hyenas are in-between creatures, sacred to many who are transgendered, as hyenas are creatures of in-between gender. More symbolism floats into my head. The defined lioness taken down by the undefined hyena. Visions and dreams of solar eclipses and suns burning and plunging into the earth fill my mind.
I am still awaiting the dawn.
Question from Pagan_Prompt on LJ.
Who do you believe is the most influential person alive today in the pagan and/or magical community and why?
My short answer: No one.
The Pagan and magical “community” is largely a mythical beast, in my opinion. Given that there are so many different paganisms, and so many different systems of magic, there are going to be different communities, cliques, groups, temples, houses, clubs, and what-have-you. This question can only be answered on the opinion of the one answering it.
Any idiot can publish a book. And any internet guru or “elder”, no matter how wrong they might be, is considered right if enough nodding heads and yes-men/women are following them around. I’ve seen this all too often with what I call “internet shamans” online. Such people are quite skilled in quietly silencing or getting rid of any dissenting voices, or appealing to mob mentality in general.
I’m not saying there aren’t people who are indeed bright lights, voices of sanity and wisdom when it is much needed in this scene. But “the most influential” will likely only be a mythical beast. At least in my book.
Be noted that I am writing this from the perspective of a relative hermit. I am not a part of a temple or group. I hold no loyalties to anyone else but my gods and myself. The rhetoric and dogma of others is all too often bothersome, and something that would just get in my way.
I think the question should be: Who is most influential to you on your path?