Palms of Our Hands

A Polytheist's Blog


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Waking up to 2015

starting-line by Katy Peters

Hello blogging world! Where have you been? Honestly, I’ve really been under a rock. I feel like I’ve been looking at my shoelaces while a new race is starting. The starting ‘pop’ has gone off, and I’m standing in the dust. ‘Go go go!’ says my brain.

I will! Just not herpy-derpy running, despairing at how far everyone else seems to be.  Last year, I went into panic room mode: talking only to people as necessary, doing my offerings/devotions to the Iluma haphazardly (but daily!).  I lost an entire month’s pay when a new recipe for my meds got tweaked just a little bit, sending my blood pressure and anxiety through the roof.

I had retreated to pencil and paper notes, recording my observations of the deities and my practice to my spiritual journal. By the time I had finished writing, my energy and drive to rewrite it for this blog was gone. So, I plan to simply write my drafts here and post it, kicking the Editor aside.

The founder of the Pagan Blog Project has decided to move on from the project after 2014.  The mantle was taken up to continue this community spirit of pagan blogging with The Pagan Experience. I’m hoping that the new format will shake things up a little bit for me, get me to post more, even just for my own posterity.  And thanks to my friend Habbalah from Pagan Forum, I’m drawn to talk about my spiritual journey out loud, instead of meandering silently like I always do.

There’s one adversary I always have.  It’s not the most powerful, but it is the most cunning, because of all circumstances that happen in my life, when trouble comes knocking, this adversary…is knocking from the inside.  Myself.

And right now that adversary says I’m falling behind, and it’s not worth putting the effort to struggle and make noise. So for right now, my only resolution today is to accept where I am, all of the fears and procrastination and shifty-eyed parts of me.  Because from there, I will know where to start. And gods and Iluma willing, I’ll make a better stand for what I want and how I live.

Peace, and shalamu

M., aka Turningtides

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Gratitude for the Purifying One – To Choranu

Kudurru, or stone document that records a contract.

Kudurru, or stone document that records land contracts, and the gods who enforce it.

O Wise One, he who tames the snaketooth poison,
it is Choranu whom the Lady Mare calls for aid.

She pleas for her children, calls for her young ones,
to ease the scorpion’s sting, to save from harm.

The tamarisk is in your hand, the barbed branch in your grip.
The reed clacks loudly, the woody stems crush the oath-breaker’s skull.
The date palm spreads, sweeps, the fronds an outstretched
hand toward life.

Wise as serpents you are,
Choranu, Snake-Mage!
Renew the body, shred the old skin.

He who is the Purifier, the Hallowed Exorcist
no poison can sting you
the air made sweet by Your breath,

Choranu.

Inspired by writings of:

“The Mare and Horon”, translated by Simon B. Parker. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry (1997). Canaanite myth. 

 “The God Choron: Enchanter, Exorcist, Enforcer”, article by Tess Dawson.  Anointed: A Devotional Anthology for the Deities of the Near and Middle East (2011).

–Spoken curse, “May Choron break  your skull!”. Similar to modern English, “Go to hell!”

Image of kudurru (Akkadian for ‘boundary stone’) depicting the snake god Nirah, representative of Ishtaran, deity of Sumerian city Der. Via Wikipedia Commons.


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Meeting the Ekklesia Antinoou!

The stars and schedules happened to align last weekend: I took a big step to be proactive and meet up with fellow pagans offline!  I almost didn’t go; I’m pretty shy when going anywhere, and I get lost very easily.  Yet I’m glad I did.  What comes next is simply my thoughts on meeting up with fellow pagans, and writing to sort them out.

When I found out that P.S.V. Lupus was going to be in the neighborhood, so to speak, I felt I shouldn’t pass this chance up!  Lupus was giving a presentation and simple ritual of the Ekklesia Antinoou, hosted by Sacred Well Ministries in Redmond. I’ve been following Lupus’ blog, Aedicula Antinoi from last year, when I was beginning to explore my spirituality more deeply instead of standing in the “Cafeteria Catholic” line. I’ve enjoyed following Lupus’ blog posts on es* own and Patheos.  Also, the god Antinous is one whom I’ve not run across often in my pagan research. I felt like I was learning much about him straight from a devotee’s direct experience.

So in the middle of a Saturday night downpour in the Puget Sound (because the rain doesn’t stay in Seattle, ha!), I drove down the 405.  The trip was a little nerve-wracking–the lanes were clogged with construction, and the rain made me feel I was trying to drive through a bathtub! Not to mention fellow drivers, argh.

Nevertheless, I was able to reach the venue just in time.  There were a few other people present from other pagan groups, and Lupus gave me a very kind welcome. 😀  Lupus then gave a condensed, yet clear history of the Ekklesia Antinou’s founding, its gods and sanctified beings (there was a word for this…), its celebrations, and a little of es own journey as a devotee to Antinous.

Then…a ritual for the Trophimoi!

Color me awkward, I’d completely forgotten there was going to be one. Lupus had explained that the Ekklesia has its roots in Greek, Roman and Kemetic/Egyptian syncreticisms; I have no background whatsoever in these traditions.  I felt a bit like a tourist, not from being made unwelcome by anyone, but from realizing I had come unprepared and unfamiliar with nearly everything.  Luckily, the next thought in my head, was therefore, I was there to learn. That thought was extremely specific in hindsight. Also, I learned that the Ekklesia Antinoou  know how to have fun in ritual. I will never forget that rendition of Hadriane!

I would have been happy just watching Lupus lead the ritual, for being able to learn other ways of creating sacred space.  (Which was awesome all on its own, especially how to give offerings to multiple gods. I would try it that way in the future.)  There was certainly a lot of energy; Lupus and other Mystai?/Myste?? felt that the gods had certainly arrived and therefore didn’t have to build “the Obelisk”.  I believed them, there was already a ‘fullness’ in the air.  The Prayer Against Transphobia was very powerful; it’s different to read it to oneself, versus hearing it out loud in the presence of the gods.

Yet there was one point where there was a ‘breakthrough’ and for a moment, I wasn’t a stranger.

Lupus read aloud one of many poems e composed, and I thought, “I know that poem. From the blog!” I was really happy I could recall some of it.  And maybe that happiness wasn’t just my own, because I felt something like very heavy air(??) settling on my head.  It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was very hard to ignore.  If I closed my eyes it would get *intense* and I worried I’d fall over.  What helped alleviate the pressure was imagining my heels rooted to the ground, as I had learned in tai chi class.  (Later I found out that this was grounding). During that time, though, I felt very open, happy. Even though I didn’t understand what was going on, it was very okay for me to be there, as I was, at that very moment.

It makes me think. That connection can be made, whether it’s your ‘home’ tradition or not. It depends on the gods, and then it depends on you, whether to reach out.  Even if I were letting a door of hospitality/familiarity open a crack, that space is enough to make a connection. I believe this because it also turns out that it was a different poem I’d read last month than what Lupus had been reading. My knowledge was mistaken, yet it was enough to let me open up and reach out.

Sadly, the evening was cut short due to the venue’s scheduling mishaps. I also had to head back home, and I wasn’t sure how long it would take with the rain and possible accidents…

I’m glad I made it out to meet Lupus and other pagans, and will hopefully meet them again in the future. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, it had been worth it to find out.  Perhaps Antinous was glad too?  On the way back, I asked myself if that time had been enough, short as it was.  A car in front of me changed lanes as I asked.  It had this license plate: ANT****.

Hmm. Yes. I took that as a yes.

*Not a typo. Lupus refers to emself in Old Spivak Pronouns, which is gender-neutral language.


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Pagan Blog Project – N is for…Not Good Enough Syndrome

(“Frustration”, artwork by Richard Young)

Artwork by Richard Young, http://www.ryoung-art.com/Default.htm

Artwork by Richard Young, http://www.ryoung-art.com/Default.htm

Perhaps this is a condition particular to me, but in anything (and everything), I will reach a point where it seems I have an idea of knowing what I’m doing.  Then almost out of nowhere, I freeze faster than an ice cube in Antarctica.

I will find myself pulling back, thinking “Hmm, there’s something I missed. I better double-check before I go forward with this project/prayer. I don’t have the information? Or the supplies? Best to go look it up on the internet/buy it/search the library…”

Picture that there are two sides. One side–where I am–represents the current me; what I know, my daily schedule, my mundane self, the Self that sees where she wants to go, and is working toward her goals.  On the other side is where those goals are–finishing a novel, connecting with the Deities who are talking with me, getting that job, having a relationship, etc., etc.

Of course, there is this gap in the middle.  As one memorable quote I keep on my Kill Procrastination page goes, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

That ‘something I’ve never done’ is represented by that gap.  It’s that gap where theory and understanding is put to practice–writing that paragraph, doing that dance move, filling out the job application, cooking that recipe.  That gap is where my feet leave the ground.  I want to get to that other side! But…

Is that gap a foot deep? A thousand feet deep? Whatever it is, I don’t want to fall into it.
Without a WORD, because my subconscious/unconscious is sneaky like that, I find myself backing away. I retreat into a “need more X” of everything. I can say I’m gathering up the courage to build a bridge, but wood and nails piling up in a neat corner is NOT a built bridge.  Then my frustration builds because I know there is something I want, and I know, intellectually, the steps in the everyday world that I need to take. (Fill out the application, make dinner, call a friend, write a page, etc., etc.).

I find myself doing that in my practice to honoring the Deities.  Currently on a revivalist/reconstructionist path, I’m paralyzed with the fear that I’m Not Doing It Right.   “The Head Priest/Priestess of X Gods has to do so much in his/her day just to greet the Deities! How am I even supposed to compare to that?  What I know/do is so little, it’s practically worthless.” I’m so paralyzed that instead of going ahead and letting the experience or the Gods teach me what I should do, I simply don’t go. Better to talk about Them than to Them, because the Gods will forbid me from ever speaking to Them again if I…blunder in my myriad ways, thanks to being a squishy, fallible human being.

This is what’s ridiculous.  I reach a point where I will have to start taking ownership (responsibility) for my decisions and actions before Gods and men, and I choke.

So this is my message to my SELF, and anyone who needs the clue-by-four when your life feels stuck in neutral and you haven’t shifted the gears to get yourself going again:

You cannot wait for the Perfect Moment.  You will make mistakes and THAT IS OK.  For as long as you’re alive, you are GOOD ENOUGH.


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Pagan Blog Project – M: Moving On From Christopaganism

The first time in awhile I could come and post–school has eaten me alive, but I finished my program and am gonna start job hunting soon.  Meanwhile, I’ve been slowly building a daily ritual of offerings and prayer towards the Canaanite pantheon.

I’m conscientious about my path at the moment.  I’ve been exploring different spiritualities and religions for years, ever since going to college.  In the last 5 years, I’ve always come back to Catholicism. As cool it would be to worship the deities of the Philippines, where my family comes from, I have a hard time associating the Philippines (and my family) with anything but Catholicism.

So it kind of scares me when I realized that I am going further into studying and honoring the Canaanite pantheon.  For all my bouncing in and out of Catholicism, I have felt a response to my calls to the Gracious Deities: Athiratu, Anatu, Choranu, so far.  I am drawn to Them, the way I used to be drawn to the Virgin Mary.  My connection isn’t that clear with them yet, but the glimpses I get during prayer or simply meditating upon Them have shown me that They are very present.  Anatu is a goddess of action (and Her myth and associations scare the heck out of me); Choranu is quiet and steadfast; Athiratu has helped me with Her wisdom and sheer presence to help me find a stable center.

I’ll probably find out more, as soon as I get over myself and reach out. I am a master of worrying myself out of actually doing anything.

Resources that helped me get started on learning about Canaanite religion:

Tess Dawson – Her works are what introduced me to Anatu and the Canaanite pantheon:
Kina’ani: Impressions of Tess Dawson, Canaanite Polytheist (blog)
Natib Qadish (very informational website!)
Whisper of Stone
The Horned Altar

Lilinah’s website Qadash Kinahnu, a very informative site that brings a second perspective to the books above.


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Looking for Pagans in Seattle

One thing about being an Eclectic/Christopagan is not having a Pagan (usually Wiccan) community to visit.  Seattle and the surrounding cities actually have various Pagan/Wiccan/Eclectic groups practicing and meeting all year long.  There’s been at least one obstacle that I see and say “Nope, can’t do it.”

1. Too Far Away!  I have a little car that can get me between work and back.  It’s 12 years old and on its last legs, but it works for me.  Many of the events are actually held out in nature…which unfortunately, is not so much in downtown Seattle.  It would be cool to go to a weekend ritual held by Our Lady of the Earth and Sky in Redmond but not so great if my car breaks down there, which is way out of my way. Because…

2. I’m Still in the Broom Closet.  I’m already in one too many closets as it is.  My family doesn’t like it when anyone rocks the boat–socially, politically or ye gods, spiritually.  Opposition is ferocious.  For a long time, they thought the only religions in the world were Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Because anything else is clearly satanism…right…

3.  Strangers or Family?  The groups I’ve researched around the Puget Sound area seem to be very close, and not really set up for seekers that are testing out the spiritual waters.  From attending the beginner’s classes in Wicca, they are very friendly. It just seems that I don’t have the time to visit and study with them…

…Of course, these are just as much excuses as they are reasons.  If I really wanted to get more involved, I would find a way.  (Other than the car issue, there is ALWAYS a way.) It’s just getting the nerve up to do so that holds me back.

Speaking of pagan community, there’s been more activity to connect and network WA state’s pagans together.  The local pagan store, Edge of the Circle Books, is hosting the beginner’s classes about Wicca again this month.  There’s also the Puget Sound Pagan Resource Guide that went live online a few weeks ago.

I want to make this year different.  If I’m gonna make it count, I need to make the choices that show it matters to me…