February 24, 2013

Altar Discussion

I chose this picture because it's pretty mostly, but as you can (sort of) see, I have pictures of my ancestors, feathers to represent the nature spirits, and various little statue representations of the God I feel most connected with. I also have a little bowl to represent the sacred well, candles for the sacred fire, and my staff in the background as my world tree representation. It's located on the easternmost wall of my house, to meet the rising sun.

Aside from the fact that this is a very standard ADF altar set up, I felt that it fit my needs, and felt very appropriate. Ancestor representations were important to me, because I still feel very spiritually connected to them, and it seemed like the proper place to honour them. Nature Spirits were kind of a given, as I highly revere all forms of life. Representing the Gods was a little tougher, as the one God I have felt close to the most in my life (other than just the pantheistic sense of the Universe) is Ganesha. ADF does not officially recognize Ganesha, as He is not described in the Vedas. I haven't felt called to work with any other Gods yet, but I will add anything that seems appropriate when the time comes. I'm always open to meeting new Shining Ones!

The Three Hallows are simply added because I needed to start somewhere, and have become more meaningful as time passes. Each time I work with them, whether I do a Two-Powers Meditation or not beforehand, it works as a subtle reminder to ground and center. It's like Two-Powers Lite – the fire being the spark of inspiration and a reminder to be in the moment, and the water being the grounding element from the earth. My staff is important to me both as a world tree representation, and also as a reminder of how deep this path actually runs for me, even though I'm still new to Druidism. I made that staff back when I was 12 – I hunted around in the woods for hours to find the perfect (fallen) tree branch. Even though I'm new to the formal concept, I'm not new to the spirituality.

As well, I have various spiritual knick knacks I've accumulated on my altar - some crystals that seem appropriate for the time of year, maybe an affirmation I want to give some oomph, and the trinkets I was given when I finished my Yoga Instructor training.

As far as improvements go, I'd like to make some altar cloths that would be more seasonal looking – ideally I'd like a different one for each high day for added flair. I also look forward to being able to add more God/Goddess representations on it, as soon as I feel a connection or inspiration to work with them! Ideally I'd like something a little larger and possibly higher, maybe with less places for my cat to hide in it.

February 21, 2013


“That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?” - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

As Harper Lee shows in her timeless book, To Kill a Mockingbird, hospitality can be described as tending to the needs of your guests, regardless of what those “needs” are. Dictionary.com defines it as “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers”. I'd like to add two more ideas into the mix: only receiving said guests if you are able to extend them that high level of comfort, and only being a guest if you're sure your presence is appreciated. Hospitality is akin to generosity in that one must give of one's comforts freely to be truly hospitable. I feel like this can be an unfair exchange of energy, however.

I don't often have company. I have my life a certain way, and I am protective of my space. I find it incredibly draining to have people over, so I tend to only invite people over when I am entirely sure I can show them a good time. If I'm unable (or unwilling) to offer my guests the proverbial tablecloth for dinner, then I just don't invite them. Part of being hospitable is knowing what you're capable of, and sometimes my capability is zero. I am not very comfortable with uneven exchanges of energy, and restrict my home to those I know will not take more than they give. Sounds harsh and not terribly hospitable, and it kind of is. I've found, though, for my own well being, I must be sure of these things in order to keep my home a safe environment.

However, there is the other part of hospitality, and that's being a good guest. I always attempt to bring some sort of “gift in kind” if I'm invited somewhere, whether it be a bottle of wine, some dessert, or some flowers. I am acutely (and probably painfully) aware of where my welcome ends, and respect that fact. I am always mindful of the aforementioned exchange of energy, and I try to feel as though I put at least as much time or energy (or money) into visiting someone as they did to prepare to have me.

I guess the long and short of this essay is that I've found it difficult to be hospitable, and that's fine, I suppose. I think it's more important that I take care of myself before I start to try to take care of others. Unless my well is full, it's hard for me to offer anyone else a drink!

February 10, 2013

I've read this somewhere before...

And if only we could all get a little better at it.

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk (Autobiography in Five Chapters)
By Portia Nelson

(1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

(2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

(3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

(4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

(5) I walk down another street.

Happy Place :D

Here's a few pictures I took today from my happy place. Yes, I may need to attend Lensflareaholics Anonymous.