bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: experiences

Month for Loki, Day 27: Cartography

We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography–to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
~ Michael Ondaatje  (The English Patient)

~~~

I stumbled upon this lovely quote on a friend’s blog today, and he spoke of being inspired by its metaphors.

I was so moved by it as well that I felt the need to share it.

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Month for Loki, Day 10: Fools Gold

Inspired by a detail in Northern Tamarisk’s blog associating fool’s gold and Loki the other day, my brain went off on a tangent, thinking about items that some folks associated with Loki.

I was intrigued by the casual reference to her association of Loki with fool’s gold.

As you may have read my experience of that first Dragons Treasure meditation in 1997, I was reminded of how I had participated in another guided group meditation ritual several months later that same year

Except instead of a vision of Hostess Donettes, I received the ‘gift’ of a piece of fools gold.

It strikes me as strange to think now about how that was twice in as many months that I had sought out answers in guided meditations during a public ritual that initially appeared  – on the surface – to be in the form of some sort of joke or trick.

And trust me, no one likes to be made fun of or to be the butt of a joke…least of all, me.

Nonetheless, after that first guided meditation, it became a goodnatured joke in the community I was trying to join: If they couldn’t remember my name, I was that ‘newbie’ that received the doughnut.

And a few months later, I became known as that woman that got the fool’s gold.

And yet, I am amazed to realize how both times these odd ‘journey-gifts’ were read by others – the Pagan elders and the other assembled group members – as a sign that I must be pulling their leg or proof that I wasn’t taking whatever spiritual exercise I was attempting to engage in seriously enough.

The gifts don’t lie, they’d said.

So as we sat in the circle and shared our experiences:

What is that again? some folks snickered in response to my share, that makes no sense.

While others muttered, I don’t understand how you could have gotten that.

Are you sure that that is what you saw? sighed the leader of the meditation.

I was dismayed by this…and at the time, I recall that I was ridiculed for not taking the meditation seriously and the woman who’d led the meditation eventually opined that the presence of fools gold always represents/symbolizes ‘what  is not for you’

At the time, I felt that it meant that the Gods were rejecting me in some way, and I feared that that meant that perhaps the Pagan path was not for me.

And I took that to heart.

And it would seem that a lot of those ‘experienced’ Pagans (‘experienced’ at least by virtue of the fact that they’d been practicing at this Paganism thing a lot longer than I had) had some rather specific opinions about what is and isn’t an appropriate level of piety during guided mediation.

Honestly, I was just trying to fit in…or at least, find others like myself in the Pagan community…and yet, in this small way, I was looked upon as this person who wasn’t taking things seriously enough, whether I was sharing my experiences or I was asking questions.

In short, I began to feel as a bit of an outsider at their rituals, as no one seemed to take me or my experiences seriously.

Because, in their eyes, if I was taking things seriously, I’d be getting meaningful gifts like roses or silver chalices or the feather of a spring robin, or…whatever.

I became discouraged.

I began to question myself.*

~~~

And several years after that, in 2000, I was sitting at a Catholic funeral.

I could have sworn that I had silenced my phone. I distinctly recall turning off the ringer before putting it in my handbag.

And yet, my cell phone rang loudly right in the middle of the priest’s sermon.

Just as he was just getting to the part about how even during times our darkest times of spiritual struggle, we can all find shelter within the arms of the Lord.

It was embarrassing certainly, except for the fact that it was even more so in that my cell’s ringtone at that time was a clip of the chorus from Rage Against the Machine’ No Shelter:

(There will be no shelter here/the thin line is everywhere…)

~~~

So that doughnut must mean I’m not taking this seriously enough.

And yes, that fool’s gold must be a sign that that path was not for me.

And certainly, despite how respectful I was trying to be during a beloved relative’s Catholic funeral…

I took that as a sign that I, for one, am not meant to find shelter in the arms of (that) God.

And so, what did I do?

I ran.

I decided none of it was for me.

Even though it broke my heart to think that any form of spirituality as I understood it was not for me.

But there were more answers in store.

~~~

*In retrospect, I realize that I gave in too easily to the discernment of others, rather than my own discernment. (And yes, I would be presented with that lesson again and again.)

*scene missing*

Hey, how are you all doing?

I realized that I haven’t really written an actual post in quite a while, though it’s not for lack of material.

Often, when I am planning to write about certain topics, my brain will inadvertently begin constructing these wonderfully succinct, perfectly worded posts upon those topics – usually while I’m doing something else (like doing the dishes, walking my dogs, or at worst, trying to sleep).

But the funny thing is, when when I sit down to write out those thoughts, I can’t think of what it was that I intended to say. My vocabulary just disappears!  All of those effortless turns of phrase will suddenly feel out of reach, and I often feel like the moment is damned near lost as I wrack my brain trying to recapture whatever it was.

So, in that sense, my brain is filled with these half-formed drafts of well-thought-out posts:

 

So I’ve been taking this biweekly class on divination and mediumship.

Recently, when I was looking over the weekly ‘homework,’ I notice that the instructor will often reference information from the ‘class page’ or the ‘website’ and I realized

much to my dismay!

that I don’t know what he means.

So I went looking on the Internet for the information, only I could not find anything resembling a ‘class page’ or a ‘class website’, except the initial class registration page, and his FB page (which seemed to be simply a mirror site of that registration page.)

So then I sent him an email, asking specifically what he was referring to when he mentioned ‘as you may have  seen on the website’ or ‘as was discussed on the class page…’

And, as he seems to live on the West Coast, I didn’t expect to hear from him a few hours.

Instead, I got to thinking about this anxiety that I’ve been having, not just regarding this class, but concerning my overall approach to my devotional practice lately. And, as I went about my morning tasks, I began to overthink, trying to pinpoint the root of my anxiety.

It occurred to me that I might have a fear of missing out.

Or perhaps my  anxiety is rooted in the fear that others have access to something that I don’t seem to have access to, as represented by this class page/website that the instructor seems to reference.

And as a result, I am left feeling stuck. Feeling that I must be doing something wrong…that there must be a disconnect somewhere.

And suddenly I was struck with a thought: what if the reason that I cannot find this page that the instructor references is simply because there isn’t one?

What if the root of my fear – and therefore my anxiety – is that I am chasing after the lack of access to something that I’ve only imagined?

What if, indeed?

~~~

Well I still haven’t heard from him.

Perhaps I have answered my own question.

Fragile.

So, as a parent, a Floridian, and an American citizen, I have been thinking a lot about the issues surrounding guns and gun control, along with some personal thoughts on being so recently reminded of the fragility of life and the (sometimes horrifying) inevitability of change.

While I had planned on writing a post about these thoughts – including my opinion that while Donald Trump might talk a good game, I find it highly unlikely that he’d have the wherewithal to run into an active shooter situation to save anybody – I realized that the facts of the experience which I’d meant to call upon to back this personal opinion are presently unavailable to me.

Y’see, in December 22, 2009, I had my own terrifying experience with an active shooter situation … and while I did protect my child (who was seven years old at the time) and myself, the sobering reality of that situation forever changed my mind concerning What I Would Do in an Active Shooter Situation.*

So, unlike Donald Trump… I do know what I would do … and honestly, it wasn’t what I would have thought that I would have done.

But as you might imagine, such situations never seem to play out exactly the way that one would expect, and that’s what makes them so jarring in the way they define our views and responses ever after.

But at any rate, it saves you all from having to read my heavy thoughts on a rather uncomfortable topic, but I had planned to tell you all about it by sharing a glimpse of a defining personal experience.

Instead, I leave you with the haunting truth of  this:

 

 

 

~~~

*But unfortunately, my access to the finer details of those memories – in the form of a heavily filtered LiveJournal post that I made two days after the event to inform several worried out-of-state friends – is unavailable to me at this time.

It turns out that I cannot log into my LiveJournal after 5+ years of solid inactivity and expect myself to remember the exact password.