Posts tagged ‘pagan’

Climbing to New Heights

He gave me a young birch tree, about 8 feet tall.  We planted it in the ground next to the house.  That was some time ago.  I thought maybe it was time to check on it.  I saw that it had grown taller than the 2-story house which it was planted beside.  I’d been given some bees and thought the birch would make a good home for them.  I climbed a little more than half way up and settled them into the tree.  They flourished and began busily building their honeycomb.  I could see them in their flurry and the honey began to flow.  I climbed higher so I could watch them from a safe distance.  All the way to the top I climbed, and I felt some wet spots under my hands as I did.  Green spots budding from branches which had been cut once.  Fresh, green, and wet, a bit sticky with sap.  At the top, there were a few of the branches which had been cut when it was a small thing that had grown wider but not budded and still had flat spots from the cut.  I sat down to look around.  I could see the top of the black roof on the white house, a peaceful place.  I could see the leaves on the trees, and now that I’d climbed to the top, the bees were really flourishing. I had climbed all the way up, and at the top I found peace.  My labors were coming to fruition with ease.

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When I woke up, I thought about this dream, looked up its symbolism.  The tree with its connections to growth, love, home, protection.  The honeycomb with all the same.  Honey–self explanatory.  I even thought to myself how wonderful it was for the bees to be doing so well at creating their home so fast.  I wanted none of the honey for myself.  And then the connections of the birch to various love goddesses, Venus of course, but also Freya and Brighid, who are goddesses not just of love but of hearth and home.  I checked my card of the day on the tarot app for my phone–it was the High Priestess.  Yes ma’am, I’m listening.  On Friday and Sunday it pulled the Ace of Pentacles, these three cards being the only deviations from pulling cups cards for the past two weeks.  And for two weeks before, I pulled cups alternately with wands, mainly the Page of Wands, but I know who he is.  I know to whom the wands referred.

I guess I know where the cards are leading me, but not really to whom.  That is always hidden from me in the readings and the dreams.  But what is love if not a journey to which we know not the end?

Symbolism resources:
http://artthereikiway.com/2011/01/21/tree-wisdom-birch/

Religion = Peace…?

A boy once told me that “our religion” is about finding peace.  That didn’t make sense to me at that time, and it actually upset me a little bit.  Was I going about this whole religion thing wrong?  And who is he to tell me what my religion should mean to me?  I thought about it more and more, waiting for an answer to these and other questions that rose in my mind.

I suppose if you boil religion down to its lowest point, then maybe that’s true.  Ideally, your religion should help you make peace with the world.  What is religion, if not a tool for understanding how the world works and learning how to work with it?  But is that the same as finding peace?

For some, this is definitely true.  Some people follow religions that believe in having love and compassion for all people, forgiving and forgetting, trying to make the world a better place, helping the less fortunate, etc.  I would say that all of those help promote peace.  But does it always bring peace to the soul of the practitioner?

For others, they seek what best benefits themselves.  If you do only what seems right to you, or only what benefits you, regardless of the consequences to anyone else, does this bring peace?  What about atheists, who have only themselves to answer to, do they always have peace?

I think the question of the purpose of religion is much more complex than just finding peace.  I will follow my own religion or spirituality as I see fit.  Will it always bring me peace?  I doubt it.  I believe in doing right by the world, and other people living in it.  But there is not one set of right and wrong answers.  What is right for some will be wrong for others.  Because of this, there will always be conflict.  This conflict will exist in the world, and in my spirit.  I want to protect the environment, my children, my friends, my family.  Sometimes these will conflict with each other, and the result will not be inner peace.

Maybe the Zen Buddhists are right.  Maybe the only way to find true peace is to give up passion.  But to me, to give up passion is too much to bear.  I love the people in my life passionately.  I could not handle the distance from them that would be required to find “peace”.  For me, the conflict is true peace for me.

I may never know for sure what the boy meant with his words, but that’s fine with me.  Not all questions have answers, and sometimes our own answers are more important.

Samhain, Remembering

With the upcoming holiday, I’ve been thinking a lot about death, and about my grandfather.  He was probably the most important man in my life–ever.  He was a man who was embarrassed of his middle name, so much so that some people didn’t even know it until after his death.  He had an odd sense of humor.  He was nicknamed after a hobo that used to come begging in his neighborhood when he was young, because his brothers teased him for being scared of the man.  He married a woman with 4 children, and acted as a father to them.  He was quiet, and spoke only to make a point or bring a smile.  He was once a marine, but that was the smallest part of his life.  He only joined because he thought he’d be drafted eventually anyway, and he didn’t have to fight.  He was on the “cleanup” crew, and saw the worst part of the aftermath of the Korean war.  He never owned a gun again.

He was like a father to me and my brother.  Since my mom was single, we often stayed with my grandparents while she worked or went to school.  He was there for me at every stage of my life, guiding me.  He stood up for me when I needed it.  And he loved me, completely, and unconditionally.  There aren’t many people I could say have loved me like that.

He was strong, and steady.  Even when he was dying, he didn’t want us to worry.  He pretended it wasn’t so bad, until night time when he thought we couldn’t hear, but I could.  I wanted to help him, but I didn’t know how.  So instead, I ran away.  When he was finally hospitalized, I came to see him every day.  But when he was struggling at home, I did my best to stay gone.  I knew I was losing the most important person in my life.

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t done much to honor him since then.  When he died, I kept running, trying everything short of drugs to forget.  I let my life go to hell, destroying the little girl he raised–and the young woman he’d wanted me to be.

May was 4 years since he passed.  It’s time I got myself back together.  It’s time I honored the man who really knew me, knew who I could be.  And if he were here now, I know he would forgive me, and help me get back on track.  Real men like him are so rare today.  I love you, Papaw.

my grandfather

My grandfather, holding me right after I was born.

The Listening Tree

We sit at the table and talk.  Conversation flows like water, thoughts and ideas tumbling over each other, bubbling freely.  I feel her presence watching me and, suddenly, I’m aware.  She has always been listening, but I had not noticed.  We aren’t the first to have a conversation here, nor will we be the last.  And as long as she stands, she will listen, collecting the stories and wisdom of those who share.

I wonder why she listens, but realize I already know.  So, I will continue to share.

On another day, I come to see my friend, the listening tree.  Today, he is strong, and watches over me, kindly helping along the connections in my thoughts.  I listen.  Gracefully, patiently, he stands.  The wind blows through his branches, and through my soul.  I hear the heart words that I understand but can’t explain.

Stream of Consciousness: Peace, be still.

“Listen to all the teachers in the woods.  Watch the trees, the animals and all living things – you’ll learn more from them than from books.”
Joe Coyhis, Stockbridge-Munsee

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Why am I afraid to meet new people? I am afraid of being judged. Like J. Alfred Prufrock, I can feel their eyes on me, pinning me in place like an insignificant bug to to be studied. Why do the bugs hide where none can see, quietly singing their songs to the day? They stick to their own kind, hidden away, safe. If they ventured forth, they might be squashed, or attacked, or eaten.

They hide, but still they sing. They want to be heard. Gentle, they sing, so not to give away their position, but the message is there all the same. They offer up their songs to the air, where it mingles with the other songs of nature–those sung by birds, trees, breezes, and waters. Even we sing, though we do not notice. We offer up the laughter and play of children, the mirth of love, the rumble of cars and shutting of doors. To hear the ever-changing cadence of the earth, one only has to be still, and listen.

What is the message? “Peace! Be still. All is well, and how it should be.” Indeed, if you’ve stopped long enough to hear it, then you already knew. My life is filled with the hustle and bustle of children,work, and school, so often I forget–

“Peace, be still,” the cadence repeats. I learned this, someday long passed, spent by the banks of my grandfather’s pond, listening to the song of the crickets and bull frogs on a starlit night, wondering if I’d ever find the “Seminole Wind”. There among family, we were all one, and one with nature. We offered our song of laughter and fellowship, and she answered us with her song of peace. The moon smiled and the stars danced. I sat, entranced, and never will I forget that wonder, until my dying day.

Rain

Today we’re having torrential, tornado rains.  They started last night, while I was working.  Everyone else was upset by the rain, but I loved it.  It feels so cleansing and powerful, not a natural rain at all.  It soaked through to my very soul, and has inspired me to write about it.

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The rain is splashing on the ground
I listen to the peaceful sound

Rain that heals; rain that frees.
My thoughts now wander on the breeze.

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Blessed rain
Wash my soul
Cleanse my heart
Make me whole

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