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-- Been reading Bob Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land', decided to look book up on Wikipedia for background info. Found link to the 'Church of All Worlds', founded in the 1960's by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, based on ideas in Heinlein's book.

-- Met S. and J. at the hooka bar for drinks Saturday night; mentioned in passing the Goddess Temple in Indian Springs, talked about possibility of visiting for services/ritual.

-- Learned Chris was into dragons. Remembered that the used book shop had a copy of D.J. Conway's 'Dancing with Dragons' and felt an impulse to purchase it for him. It was Sunday and the bookstore was closed. Went to Borders to find 'Dragons' and to pick up 'Harry Potter 6'. No DJ Conway book. Found instead a book intitled 'Dragonlore'. Got book home, noted author's name: Oberon Zell.

-- Noted 'Dragonlore' was produced for the 'Grey School of Wizardry'; did web search for said school.

-- School is Harry Potter-like magical studies, about real magic and magic lore, for young adults and adults.

-- Wizard school associated with the 'Grey Council of Wizards'.

-- 'Grey Council' member Bob Gratrix lives in Las Vegas, is part of the 'Desert Moon Circle' and worships at the Sekmet Goddess Temple in Indian Springs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm still all woozy from listening to 'Mind Voyages' -- a brainwave entrainment CD geared towards people seeking to have an out of body experience. I've yet to get that far, but I've managed to nearly achieve waking paralysis (the mind-awake, body-asleep state) and very, very deep relaxation.

If nothing else, it's a great de-stresser! It's like meditation -- on CRACK! Er... or something like that. Acutally, probably more like meditation on dex, or salvia. I dunno... I don't do drug-induced altered states. I personally think it's better to train the mind to achieve altered states of it's own accord; you have more control over the experience, you don't risk damaging yourself, and you don't need drugs as a crutch to have further experiences. That's just me.

Point being -- I had a really good hour-long session of changing my consciousness, and I think I'm getting closer to the elusive goal of the out of body experience. I will eventually achieve that end. I don't know that it will be a life-changing event -- many people say it takes away the fear of death, but I'm not all that afraid of death anyway. Me, I'm curious. I want to see what all the hubub is about. If it turns out to be a deeply spiritual, life-altering event -- all the better! But, like anything, I think it's what you make of it. Right now, I just want to experience it -- see if it's "real".

Time for food. I feel a bit uncentered.

~M
 
 
 
 
 
 
Up before sex ... erm, six (there's a Freudian slip that I don't -even- want to explore at the moment.) So, it's dawn -- nearly. I can just see the faintest traces of light creeping up over the next-door neighbor's house. I'm alone. I would say 'plagued by dreams' because that's poetic -- although, it's also cliché -- and to be perfectly honest, not accurate. Not entirely. I did dream -- I dream a lot these days, and my dreams are becoming increasingly important to me. Tonight I dreamed something which would otherwise have simply seemed like an ordinary dream -- but within that dream something occurred which, upon waking, made me aware of an issue that has been bothering me for a while now, and I realize that I've been avoiding that issue, denying it. But that's not solving anything. And the dream didn't help me in finding a way to solve it.

On the one hand, the issue is something long-standing with me; a personal "problem" I have that has never been resolved, no matter how hard I've tried to logically solve it. On the other hand, the issue is new -- it's something that hadn't come up in a while, but has recently resurfaced. I don't know how to manage it. It's only "feelings", it's only "my" issue, I should just deal with it. But clearly my way of "dealing" -- of pushing those feelings aside, pretending that I don't have them, is eating at me. When I tried facing the issue in the dream there was only rage, only confrontation, only a break and a rift. I don't want that to be the case in waking life. So if I can't deny the problem, and I can't face it head on, what are my alternatives? To that end, my dream had no suggestions. And that is the limit to my dreams, they can show me where troubles lay, but they can't allow me access past the veil to understand why, or to know what to do about said issues. Still, knowing where trouble is, is really the first step. And this, even, is something new. I've seen patterns to my dreams before, but this is a new animal.

On the one hand I feel grateful that my dreams are talking to me this way, and that I've been diligent enough in my meditation and self examinations to recognize what my dreams were getting at. I am excited at the prospect of spiritual growth. On the other hand, it's easier to pretend everything is okay, to look away and NOT deal. It would have been easier to think it just a dream, to push those sick-to-my-stomach feelings to the back of my brain and forget about them. But I can't do that, either. To know a thing, to find a truth -- even a small truth -- makes one responsible for that truth, especially as it pertains to oneself. When I started down this path, believing I could learn something, find some kind of enlightenment, I agreed to taking on a certain responsibility for what I've learned -- applying it, using the knowledge. To do otherwise would be to choose ignorance and fear, and that is something I cannot abide. There is no growth without pain, no change without discomfort, no fruition without labor. Maybe that's what the dream was getting at in the first place -- the rage, the confrontation -- perhaps it wasn't simply a vision of a hopeless situation, one that could only end in bitterness -- but rather the revelation that change does not come without trials. I might not know the outcome, but I won't cross this hurdle without facing it head on. Growing, changing, facing the unpleasantness of life and overcoming it -- these are not easy things. But they are necessary. You just face them, deal with them -- really deal, not avoid -- and you move on and up. Simplistic, yes. In practice, it's a lot harder than it looks on paper. But that doesn't make it any less accurate -- you just deal.

~M
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is disturbing, though not wholly surprising, to find oneself curled up in the fetal position fighting off the onset of a migraine -- with full blown symptoms like irritability and aura (which I've never, in memory, experienced before, and found annoying and unnerving) -- to suddenly hear, as you're fighting towards sleep to escape the inevitable blinding pain, the following snippets of dialogue:

*a male voice telling someone not to drink*

*second male voice* "I made this before the death of Set." (Or, "for the death of Set".)

Followed by some random conversation about mad prophets, armies, death, destruction and plague. Something having to do with "the destruction of our time".

Not entirely unexpected -- with the range of symptoms I was experiencing, coupled with the fact that I haven't had a real migraine in several years, I pretty much knew some weird shit was going to go on in my brain. Perhaps some trippy Lewis Carrol type dreams, I thought. Desert of Set shit... didn't see that coming. In fact, when I realized what I was hearing I forced myself to wake up and repeat the phrases a few times so that I would remember upon waking later. Seemed important, in a way. Yet, I found an inner voice warning me not to listen, not to fall into that trap -- not to be dragged down by the darkness. I almost wonder if it was a spirit guide, or simply an aspect of my higher self (not that the two are mutually exclusive...)

In all, a weird experience, but to a large extent meaningless. Good fodder for some dark poetry, though.

~M

p.s. Now I'm starving.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sun Sign: Taurus
Sun 28° Taurus 51'
Taurus Horoscope
for today »
Moon Sign: Leo
Moon 4° Leo 58'
Leo Horoscope
for today »
Rising Sign: Cancer
Ascendant 23° Cancer 32'
Cancer Horoscope
for today »


My Moon Sign and Rising Sign might not be quite accurate, as I had to guess at my birth time, but I think it's fairly close. Close enough to be accurate, anyhow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
It has been awhile...

I quit my Wicca class. I wasn't learning all that much, the inter-group politics were annoying, and it was taking up far too much of my time. I know there must be a balance -- one cannot completely throw away their spiritual life for another aspect, and I have not done so -- I made a choice. That choice was to go back to learning on my own, with the gods and the internet as my guides.

Then I quit the LV pagan Meetup.com groups, as well. When the local "high priestess muckity-muck" of the "such and such" temple hacks into her married ex's account and starts spamming the entire group with their dirty laundry... you know it's time to scram.

I've come to the conclusion that most pagans, witches, wiccans, satanists, what-have-you that want to come out of the so-called broom closet and go all fundy and in-your-face -- are insane and not to be entertained. And that is all I have to say about that.

- - -

On the dream front, I've been having more moments of lucidity over the last week or so. When this has happened, I've been too afraid to do anything because I wake up too easily. So I've been having what I like to term "lazy lucids" -- dreams where you know you're dreaming, but you just ignore that awareness and allow the dream to continue on it's course. I suppose I just don't really know what I can do, or should do, when I achieve these states. I am encouraged that I have been having these lucid periods, however, as sparse and short as they may be. It's more than I've experienced in months.

I've also begun to have bear dreams again. When I was in high school I had recurring nightmares about grizzly bears breaking into my parents house and hunting me, or chasing me through the woods. I had never been afraid of the animals before those dreams began, but for years after I was terrified of them. Last summer, in San Diego, I found a tiny carved rock bear figurine at a gem and stone shop in Old Town, bought it, and have kept it with my special stones in order to remind me of my connection. I now believe the bear may be a totem of some sort. The recent dreams I've had have not been nightmares, but I don't remember any specifics. Only that the bears have been present, and I have not been afraid. I am still working out the significance of the bear as a dream symbol, and why it was so frightening then but not now. I have some theories, but they are too personal to share at the moment. It is a subject that requires much introspection, and research.

- - -

That is all for now. As the Celtic blessing says: Merry Meet, and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again.

~M
 
 
 
 
 
 
I attended my first-ever group ritual tonight, in celebration of Yule. It was a good time. Had a brief lesson with LSW beforehand, then hung around while people showed up and preparations were being made.

The ritual was supposed to be held out back, but due to windy weather we had to move it indoors, and that meant no fire pit. Sadness. But, I actually got to participate in the ritual and call one of the Quarters, rather than just stand in the circle and experience it, which was not unexpected but was exciting. It's been a long time since I've done a ritual on my own (I've been going back to the basics, as it were, devoting more time to study than practice) and to feel the energy of a circle was amazing. In magick, as in life, there is definitely strength in numbers; I don't know about the others present, but I certainly was touched by what we were doing.

Afterward we had a nice holiday dinner and sat around chatting. I started to feel a little light-headed (either from the cold I've been fighting off, or from being a little ungrounded after the ritual, or perhaps even from a combination of the two) so JR and I left early.

In all, I met some new people, got to hang out with the High Priestess of the Coven I'm studying under, who is one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and generally had a good time. My spirit is still singing with the energy from the circle; I can smell the sweet scent of ritual incense in my hair. I feel calm, well, and connected to the universe. It's a feeling unlike any other. The only times in my life that I ever came close to experiencing this kind of -- shall I call it peace? -- was during intense prayer as a Christian, but even that pales in the light of this joy, this contentment, this union with the god and goddess and every living thing. During times such as these I am reminded of what initially drew me into paganism: my first faltering steps, a clumsy attempt at ritual, and the blessed feelings it awoke inside my heart. This is what ritual and religion are all about, this connectedness, this... wholeness ...this feeling of being part of everything, and everything as part of me. This is what drew me in, and this is what holds me still. It is god's love, in whatever guise he, she, or they take -- the love is the same. It is the love of the universe, it is everything good that is possible, it is hope, it is laughter, it is light.

That's love. And I'm awash in it's embrace tonight.

- - -

Here's to the return of the sun, the lengthening of days, the newness of spring. Here's to all the possibility of the new year. May you all find a blessing waiting for you in the waxing warmth to come.

~Mande
 
 
 
 
 
 
The night before last I became lucid while dreaming; in the dream I was outside looking over the roof of our house, and in the sky were huge, rectangular ships -- alien or not, I don't know -- but this is a common dream image, and I recognized it as such and realized that I was dreaming. I thought, "Okay, let's get astral!" And counted to three... then semi-woke up and ended up falling back into a dream.

Disappointing, yes; but this was the first time I've achieved lucidity in my dreams since school started at the end of August -- so I'm not displeased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I napped before getting ready to meet Lord Shadow Wolf (2nd Degree Wiccan Priest) to talk about the Wicca classes he was advertising. During the drive I began to get nervous; by the time we got to Starbucks I was shaking so badly I just wanted to turn around and go back home -- Julian thought this was amusing, and I tried to see the humor in it. He got me to walk into the shop, at the least.

So, LDW was not nearly as intimidating as I had imagined, and his friend and coven-member (a nice lady who brought some homemade brownies to share) was also very sweet and kind. Julian bought me a hot tea, and we all sat and chatted for the better part of an hour. I'm excited about the classes -- which I start next monday. They should take me through all the basics of Wicca, and at the end I get to be officially titled a 1st degree priestess! I love that about paganism -- your spiritual path is between the gods and yourself, you are your own pastor and priest, responsible for yourself, with no one to blame for your mistakes or praise for your accomplishments.

I'll have some sewing to do over the next month, because I need a ritual robe; I could buy one, but I think my sewing skills are enough for me to make my own; it will cost less, and be more personal -- have more of my own energy imbued in it. That appeals to me.

...I need to remember to find (or buy) a notebook and pen, and purchase a couple of yellow candles before next Monday.

I feel so... Witchy!

Oh, I'm also welcome at the Sabbats (the 8 pagan hollidays) except for this Samhain, because LSW's coven is meeting with another group in an experimental capacity and it would just make things more complicated to include a newcomer in the mix. But, I am more than welcome at Yule. As is the hubby.

For this Samhain, I think Julian and I will be attending a ceremony at the local Unitarian Universalist Church; it's closest, and I won't feel too uncomfortable not knowing anyone.

That is all.

~M
 
 
 
 
 
 
I decided to accept the Assistant Organizer position for the pagan Meetup, and tonight I got to send my very first welcome email to a new member. It made me feel happy and useful.

I also found someone here in LV willing to teach Wicca 101 classes -- for FREE -- to those interested. I sent off an email and tonight got back a reply. I should be meeting with the instructor on Monday for a meet, greet, and chat about the class. The hubby will be tagging along, too, because I don't meet strange people by my lonesome. I'm hoping I will not be the only student -- the classes will be on Monday or Tuesday nights -- if need be, I'll try to entice my friend Nichole to join me (even though she works evenings and may not be able to get the time off). We shall see.

I feel happy, and accomplished, and involved. Or, beginning to be, at the least. Things are going in a positive direction, including -- probably most importantly -- my own attitude towards, well, everything. I've been much more able to take note when I'm thinking negatively, and immediately ceasing the thoughts, banishing them, and replacing them with a more balanced outlook. I believe I am making some good headway. Of course, it takes something like 21 days (approximate, I'm sure) to break a habit, and that's exactly what my negative thinking has become -- a force of habit -- but I feel I'm doing well so far.

Things are looking decidedly up.

~M