Tag Archive | Ritual

Ordeal of Odin – Day Five: Spontaneous

Last night was a very late night indeed! I have a last minute, 8 o’clock massage appointment and thusly didn’t get home until 9:30 or so. But there is something that came to me during the day – particularly spontaneous ritual. When I was younger, just starting on my path, I had this idea that rituals had to be planned and perfect – but I couldn’t always have it that way. Eventually many of my rituals become what I’d call “outlined” – I had a general idea of what to do, what order to do it in, and what I’d like to say but left it very open. And that is still very much how I am today; I have a soft spot for spontaneous ritual – it just feels right.

I find that the words that flow when I’m praying ad-lib are often so beautiful – more so then anything I could have written before hand. Last night, I prayed to Tyr and my ancestors to bless my space and protect me. It was powerful, and I certainly can’t remember exactly what I said or how I said it – but it was beautiful.

I like spontaneity, and I believe that’s part of what I love about ATS bellydance – it is, generally speaking, totally improvised. There’s a vocabulary of movements and a general understanding of cues and transitions but at it’s heart, it is created in the moment and no two dances are the same. The idea just makes my heart sing.

The Ordeal of Odin

It is said that Odin hung for Yggdrasil (the World Tree) for nine days and nights in his quest for the Runes. As a Rune reader, I choose to acknowledge this period between Auguest 17th and the 25th, as it is held my many Heathen traditions. I make this period in a variety of ways;  a daily ritual, reading of the Edda’s, and a fast (if possible). In intresting way to observe one day is in silence (or as much silence as possible). This is an opportune time to create a new set of Runes. For today, I’d like to share the tale of Odin’s ordeal:

The Web of Wyrd

137.
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

138.
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

140.
Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

141.
Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

143.
Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

144.
……..
Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

Translated by Olive Bray
Edited by D. L. Ashliman

Valentine’s Day Blues

My dear mother and sister had a disappointing Valentine’s day, so we had an all girls Valentine’s dinner.

A view of our Valentine's Day table

It seems that Valentine’s Day causes more problems then anything else. While the idea of having a day devoted to showing your love for others – I seem to see a lot of fighting and self-loathing instead of love. So, I devote Valentine’s Day to loving myself – I dress in something that makes me feel pretty; I buy myself a rose or two, maybe some chocolates; I have a beautiful dinner; and I just take care of myself.

This shell was on our table as well - full of lavender, rose buds and petals, and some rose quartz

Now I’m gonna give myself a pedicure!

A Beautiful Sunday

This morning I attended a Dao ceremony, preformed by a temple from Chicago – they traveled all the way out here for us! The ritual was so beautiful and really the most amazing thing was the children present. The co-owners of the store (where the ceremony was held) brought their little ones to receive the Dao.

While I can’t really explain the ceremony in words, I would encourage you to look around your area to see what’s out there.

That was followed by a trip to the thrift store, where I found some neat shell necklaces. I’ve been getting more and more into the “tribal-fusion” style of belly dance, which often uses cowrie shells in costume. And now, I’m finalizing my orders for belly dance costume pieces – how exciting!

A Pre-Imbolc Ritual

Something I like to do every year before Imbolc (or Candlemas) is to physically clean and bless my candle holders. The physical cleaning is a little different for each – depending on the material/shape/size. I personally don’t cast a circle or anything like that for the physical cleaning, though you certainly could.

My "Goddess Area" seen through some of the candle holders being blessed.

I like to do the ritual blessing as near to the full moon before Imbolc as possible. Here what I do: I gather all my candle holders and a bright smelling oil like lemon or peppermint. Then, I cast the circle as usual and take a few moments to soak up the feeling. I trace a pentacle in oil on each candle holder, while saying something along the lines of “I purify thee, and sanctify thee, in the name of the reborn God and the renewed Goddess“. When I have finished with all, I close the circle put the candle holders away until I need them – also, I wipe the oil off if it might ruin or react with the material.

Generally speaking, I do this separately from my Esbat ritual – but certainly could do it as a part of a larger ritual.

Affirmations

Something I’ve been getting into using recently are affirmations – which are simply phrases said over and over again. It’s a kind of magic, really, if you ask me. Saying something (like “I am successful in everything I do”) over and over again, day in and day out, actually creates changes in how you think, act, and live. Generally, affirmations are stated in the positive (“My body craves healthy food”) instead of the negative (“My body does not crave junk food”) and I’ve heard three different reasons behind this. The first is that the universe doesn’t understand “not” or other negatives and basically these are ignored (so the above example becomes “My body does crave junk food”). This one seems a little weird to me – how does the universe not “understand” something? Hell if I know.

The second is that when the affirmations are said over and over again the negatives get lost in the repetition and the affirmation “morphs” into something else whereas a positive affirmation stays the same.  This makes a little more sense but it’s not nearly as logical as the third. Let’s take the example I’ve been using about junk food – if you were to repeat the phrase “my body does not crave junk food” over and over, day in and day out, what will you be thinking about? Junk food! The thing you’re trying to stay away from. Now, if you use “my body craves healthy foods” you’ll be thinking about healthy foods – makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?

At the moment, I’m using affirmations to help be integrate my spiritual life

The mini wrist mala I use with my affirmations

back into my day to day life – something I’ve been having a lot of trouble with. Let me share my little ritual: At every meal, before I start eating, I recite my affirmations (often internally) using a handmade mini-wrist mala. The first is “my spiritual life is an integral part of my daily life”. I say this nine times, then go on to the second affirmation that I use: “my daily life is an integral part of my spiritual life”.

Do you use affirmations?

Moontime Talk

Warning
This post is about menstruation – if you don’t like that, don’t read it

Growing up as I did – an American in the Midwest – I had the impression that menstruation (which I now refer to in general as Moontime) was gross, bad, and inconvenient. It was unspeakable and bordered on wrong, even if it was a totally natural process. So, in wanting to change that idea, I’ve decided to share my Moontime ritual. Yes, a ritual created to celebrate the cycle rather then make  it disgusting.

Moontime Ritual

For this, you will need one red candle (a votive is best), some incense that you are partial to – don’t worry about the properties just use your favorite. This is to be done for several days, starting the first day of your Moontime and ending the day after your flow has stopped. Before you start you will need a drink, preferably red, and some sort of bread like food. Again, it is more important that you enjoy these then what metaphysical properties they hold. Feel free to play some music or wear your favorite outfit – the idea is to to surrounded by things that make you feel comfortable, strong, and totally beautiful.

My favorite winter Moontime ritual setup: Dragon's Blood candle, Lotus incense, chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa

 

Light the incense and candle and meditate a moment on who you are: all the feminine qualities you possess and display; the masculine qualities that you also possess without giving up your femininity; how you love and care and create. When you are ready, say simply but with conviction:

I am a woman of the Earth
A daughter of the Lord and Lady
A daughter of the physical and spiritual
And I am blessed

Hold the cup before you, and continue:

For I am the waters of life
For mine is the blood that flows

Take a sip and hold the bread before you and continue:

For I am the one who nourishes
For mine is the power to sustain

Continue to contemplate while you finish the food and drink. Repeat this once a day until the day after your moon time. This helps us to stay connected to our body – teaching us how to listen.