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suz's muses

3/3/11 09:32 am - oh thank theoi!

it's time for my monthly 'i love moondark' posting! the first day of the 3 days of moondark is dedicated to Hera in my personal devotions. today is the last day of the moon cycle, time to tie up loose ends, consider what i got done and pat myself on the back, reflect on what i didn't get around to and make a game plan to do better next time. my fresh start is in the making. i'm so grateful that i get this regular reminder to take stock, to pay attention, to be present in my own life (why is that so hard for me???) and to let the goddess of necessary boundaries help me define and focus my intentions.
Io, white-armed goddess, most beautiful of those who grace Olympos' starry heights!
Io, Gamelia, goddess of marriage rites, who has blessed me with a mate beyond peer!
Io Boophis, Lady of the fathomless dark eyes, Queen of the infinite velvety blackness between the stars! Queen of Heaven, i sing your praises and offer you milk, honey and oodles of timai!

2/16/11 11:50 pm - Anthesteria

this strange and difficult festival has provoked a convoluted and yet fascinating train of thought this year, so i thought perhaps the time has come for me to do a long-ish post about what's going on in my little pea-brain.
i've attempted to do something for all three days of anthesteria for the last couple of years, and each year i inchworm a little closer to getting a handle on it. i don't for a second think i've got it yet, but this year did bring me some insights that are helpful to me and may not mean a dang thing to anyone else.
the 'backwardness' of anthesteria has always troubled me. i like my religious observances to start off dark and end up sparkly, a progression to the light as it were. anthesteria will not cooperate. it moves restlessly from celebratory to gloomy. why should i want to end up there? it also tends to cover a lot of disparate ground, from dionysos to marshes to orestes to erigone to wine to silent drinking games to banishing spirits of the beloved dead. huh? there's just not enough commonality to be able to weave it easily together. should i focus on the hieros gamos between the basilanna and dionysos, or protecting my shrines from miasma? should i swing joyfully or mourn for ikarios and erigone? how do i move from dionysian excess to leaving panspermia for the dead then telling 'em to piss off?
i am a simple gal, and festivals this complex perplex me.
so this time i tried just going with bedrock unpacking. rather than try to figure out what it all meant to ancient greeks, what does the festival say to me?
the first day, pithogia, is the uncorking of the new wine. okay. i'll start there. any time we've got dionysos and wine involved, we're looking at visceral issues, blood and semen and the pump and flow of life force. the wine we're dealing with here is new wine, not the lovely stuff that's been aged and mellowed, wine with depth and nuance and savor. this stuff is sharp and bitter and hard to swallow. it's raw and fresh. it doesn't have the perspective of time and experience, it's NOW and you'd better take it or else. the opening of the wine jars can be equated to wombs and graves, which historically resonate together. we have birth, with all its roaring and wild agony and ecstasy, and the stench of death without which there is no new life, like it or not. pithogia is in my face. it's dionysos rampant before me, brooking no denial. the associations with hades cannot be overlooked.
i took my wine out to a dio area in my yard, a pine tree being choked to death with grapevine. ever year i cut that vine back to no avail, and as time passes i become more aware that the dryad doesn't want to be rescued. dying in His embrace. i mean, how would YOU want to go?
as i poured the libations at the roots i heard a chime in the trees overhead, a thicket of evergreens. i have never heard this before. it was as clear as the clicking of the keyboard as i type this, a tinkling windchime about 4-6 feet directly above my head in one of the pines that surround the dio/hades shrine right here. not the ethereal music i get sometimes when i'm moving through Other, but immediate and real. i have never heard chimes there before, have not hung windchimes there, have lived here for 11 years now without ever experiencing this. it went on for some time. i have no clue what this means. i went out today and poked through the trees. no chimes.
the next day, khoes, the day of pitchers, was exciting. i went for an exhilarating run on the battlefield, eventually covering about 7 miles (a long run for me) in the strange early spring sunshine. february is usually iron-clad and brutal, but not monday. it was glorious, warm sun and a raging roaring insane wind. i got stuck in the mud when i first tried to park in my usual spot (a metaphor? think, priestess, don't just do what you always do. you could see the mud, why did you think it would treat you differently just because it's *your* spot? pay attention to your world! and don't allow yourself to fall into ruts.) as i ran, the world went from hushed, to a distant roar, to a huge non-stop buffeting wind that alternately shoved me along and tried to halt my progress as i slogged through the awakening farmland of the battlefield. the winter trees were creaking and skreeking, clattering and chattering as i moved under them, bonefingers snapping and laughing breathily at my labored human progress. i rarely feel spirits on the battlefield (it's my opinion that they have pretty much moved on, leaving behind only memory loops that the sensitive can perceive) but there were Others about on this weirdly beautiful creepy sunlit day. had it been anything but a bright february morning i'd have been totally creeped out. as it was, i was creeped out but intrigued and delighted too. and yes, i saw tiny tiny purple flowers, and the first faint hint of new green in some of the fields.
pitchers. they contain. and pour out, but in controlled amounts. the wild rampaging glorious terrifying raw energy of pithogia has boundaries placed around it. orestes is miasmic, but still welcomed. the shrines are covered, but celebrations go on. balance is tentative, but sought. and in this balance comes union, the hieros gamos, the little death that brings regeneration. i didn't end up swinging or decorating my erigone tree, but i brought her and Her Husband an offering and spent some time there contemplating the dark twist on the Girls Underground archetype and how folktales generally have these resonant bass undertones.
there's a lot more going on here, but my egg-self is starting to grope toward the depths.
finally khutroi, pots, the day of gloom dedicated not so much to dio, but to the dead, and to hermes kthonios. it was a busy day, and i didn't get my panspermia made until evening had fallen. i wandered about my squishy slushy farm under bright stars and an incredible waxing moon, astounded at the silence. the machismo wind had died down, and it's too soon in the spring for insects, so the quiet was profound and eerie. even by persephone's shrine (which is close to the dio-and-dryad tree) there was no sound, no hint of the baffling windchime music. i left some of the panspermia and raw milk at the portal to the underworld, at hermes propylaios' herm, and then walked down the lane to the pond that lies across in the big cow farm we face. you know how mist rises and forms wavering insubstantial shapes on water on misty nights? well, that didn't happen. but it FELT like that was happening. a feeling of vague terror gripped me as i stooped to leave the panspermia on the wet shore of the pond, but also a strange anticipation. sara's horses were motionless, staring at me, then turned and stared at something behind them. i couldn't see what it was, but it scared me, so i crept away from the pond as quietly as i could, clutching my ritual offering vessels, and returned to the lane. the horses quit staring at the *something* and went back to staring at me, which was fine.
hermes. why hermes? well, dionysos is the liberator, the raw new wine that tears down inhibitions and lets even those wrapped in miasma to party hearty, for the queen to wait for her dark lover, for the dead to walk, for rules to be broken. hermes isn't a lawmaker, but he is a creator of boundaries, and a psychopompos. those wandering dead need to be led back to their realm. revelers need to be sobered and reminded that in the darkness lurks danger. hermes, the inscrutable. he is not an easy god. the trees murmured and laughed quietly over the herm, amused by my fear and perplexity.
back to the house i went, to smudge the house and ritually banish the keres.
i'm still wrapping my head around that part. period ritual cleansing of miasma i get (and do pretty much each deipnon.) but WHAT dead show up at anthesteria and WHY they get kicked to the curb hasn't really become clear yet.
which is cool. who wants all the layers to be unpeeled at once? it's good to have more Mysteries to discover.
there was so much i didn't do this time. i didn't really get intoxicated (on pithogia i had a glass of wine, made my older son drink a beer which he didn't want, and fell asleep on a movie we watched together.) i really don't drink much so that's not something i'm comfortable doing. i set up a lovely altar on day 1 but my ritual wasn't really standard hellenic, it was spontaneous and eclectic. i didn't cover my shrines on days 2 and 3 (but i should have, will definitely do that next year) or put ribbons on the erigone tree. no drinking contests, or wreath-weaving, or buckthorn-chewing, or swinging, or hieros gamos-ing. i want to do more next year, but i really don't know which elements i will feel called to incorporate. or eschew.
a couple of years ago i went down the rabbit hole on samhain. at ostara i figured it was time to ritually re-emerge, but i haven't really. there is so much going on with this underworld Work. i guess it was kind of silly to think i'd knock that out in that short amount of time. and honestly i'm okay with that. it's an odd path, but one i'm not regretting, for all its difficulties.
and i think it's no coinkydink that i've been impelled to work on hamlet for the last month, even though i'm not going to be teaching him this spring (i'll be leading off with my fave, romeo and juliet, and probably following that up with a comedy.) so why work on developing a syllabus that i'm not planning to teach right now? the danish prince has had a lot to offer, with his morbidity and philosophizing and paralysis and madness. writing this class has been about my own education, not what i can offer the kids.
phew! okay, my pea brain is wrung dry. time to feed the mares and veg in front of 'big love' before i collapse.
too much anthesteria musings can make you mad.
:) khairete

2/2/11 09:11 am - imbolc

this is a low-energy time of year for me (not that i'm ever a dynamo) but this imbolc feels like a new beginning. i'll be working tonight, but will do a brief candle-and-brigit ritual in front of the fire in addition to the deipnon when i get home. the crocuses must be stirring a little. the farm is blanketed with snow, but last night's rain seems to have washed everything, physically and psychically. maybe it's because it's also moondark.
happy imbolc, dears!
:) khairete

1/4/11 05:56 pm - hekate

i love the deipnon. even though i fast on moondark, and i do not love fasting. (i do make it easy for myself, though. no 'food' but i did enjoy a large eggnog spice latte this afternoon, which fills you up AND kicks yer ass on calories and fat. and if i'm desperate i allow myself a raw smoothie. but i digress.)
i especially love the deipnon if it's been a stressful month. i love that i get a clean sweep. literally. i sweep the floors, carry the sweepings to the crossroads, and go back to the house with a lighter heart. there's a sweet poignancy to the little challenge of preparing Her deipnon meal (usually one of follie's eggs fried in olive oil, bread, honey and raw milk) when i'm hungry. on a night like this, clear, beautiful, not so cold that it's painful, it's hard to come back inside.
she's such a fascinating goddess. as a titan she is almost too huge, too distant to be comprehended in any fashion. and yet she is so accessible, a constant helpful intermediary and guide to the theoi.
i love the deipnon. i love hekate. i love the do-over that starts tomorrow with the noumenia. but i especially love this liminal day, not an ending or a beginning, a day out of time. that's the reason i intuit that witches avoid magick on moondark, not because it's too dark or oogly or creepy, but just because it's a non-day, it's the pause between breaths, it's the transitional phase where action is suspended.
Io, Hekate Triformis!
may she bless my hearth, and yours, my dears.

12/31/10 09:05 pm - so long, farewell, and kiss my ass, 2010

like all years, it's had a lot of upsides. but more than its share of suckiness too. i suppose coming after 2009, a year gilded with magick and sheer delight, it had a lot to try and follow. but all in all, i'm happier to see the tail end of this year than i usually am.
michael's suicide just kicked all of our asses. there's no silver lining to be found in it. it's been just awful, and time only adds layers of scar tissue, doesn't add perspective or philosophical underpinnings.
losing bo broke my heart.
uncle frank's death on the 23rd just seemed gratuitously hard.
more of my classes were cancelled due to lack of enrollment than went forward. the upside to that is that it was the lightest year work-wise in my entire working career (36 years.) this should have brought more ease and light-heartedness than it did. i spent most of my leisure time in the summer angsting over my complete inability to write anything more than an email.
i didn't lose my winter weight, and endured my fattest summer yet (not counting pregnancies, but approaching their overall mass.) fortunately i got sick of it, and thanks largely to finding martha (she has since disappeared again but left me the gift of her inspiration) and took up running again, and found to my intense surprise and delight, that i've fallen in love with it. ran my first 10K. that was a Big Good Thing.
david and i had a modest but very sweet vacation camping at skyline drive. i rediscovered my boyfriend. kanarraville was early this year, but wonderful as always. some very good stuff there.
the in-laws moving closer has been good in most ways. it's hard watching my parents-in-law slowly losing their will to continue, and their health deteriorate. good lessons for me in being patient, loving and supportive while trying not to be controlling and bitchy. but hard.
the holidays this year have been more work than joy, for the first time that i can ever remember. i want the decorations down, all the rich food gone (and hopefully not all in mah belly), and the house quiet again. i am desperate for some solitude. and i don't want to go anywhere to get it, i want everyone (even my beloved men) to go away and leave me alone here on the farm, my place, my sacred space. hopefully by the end of next week, when all the guys go back to their various pursuits and i have some quiet, i'll quit being so edgy and difficult.
it was a nice finish to the year, though. after the bitter cold of december we had an unseasonably mild day today, so david went for a bike ride, and i did my longest run yet, 9 miles on the canal. i thought i'd give myself a little break by doing the canal (flat) instead of the battlefield or roads (very hilly) but the weeks of inside workouts and too much snarfing have taken their toll, and it was really hard. so beautiful, though. no wind, the stark beauty of the winter trees, lush frozen waterfalls billowing out of the cliffs by killiansburg caves, the river rimmed with rime. met poor david walking back from his ride to shepherdstown, pushing his bike which got a stone in its rear hoof. we're both prostrate tonight.
doubt we'll make it til midnight, which is also fine.
so, off to a hot ache-soothing bubble bath, a bowl of homemade butter pecan ice cream (someone's got to eat it, it's wonderful!), some time by the fire and then snuggle under the blankies with my book.
happy new year, everyone!

12/19/10 03:24 pm

5.5 miles today but the first 3 were mizry. i'd get my hood up and adjusted and my earbuds would fall out. i'd fix the earbuds and get a stone in my hoof. get that out and my hood would fall off. get everything situated and my nose would run. running is better than not running, but that was about all i could find positive in it.
but finally i hit the hill by the tower at the battlefield and all the discomforts fell away. dazzling patches of snow on still-green fields, the ranks of our little catoctin mountains, dreaming blue and grey under the winter sun, hawks floating high in the eggshell blue sky. it's hard to stay pissy with all of that going on. and once my sniveling stopped, i got rewarded with the wild sweet scent i sometimes encounter in numinous places, the scent i've come to identify with the presence of nymphoi.
and now, to hit the shower, and tea in shepherdstown with the witches!
:) khairete

11/30/10 02:49 pm - oh yeah. i have a blog.

now to come up with something to say!
after a couple of days of intense productivity, today my brain feels like mush.
i shall go lift some weights. and drink a cup of tea.
yeah, that's it.

8/1/10 10:26 am - lughnasagh!

it feels pretty lughnasghy here today. not as hot as it has been, but drydrydry, with that parched look to the sky. the entire area isn't in drought, but we haven't had more than a few drops in over 6 weeks. the grass is dead, the trees are losing leaves, and if it weren't for watering all of my flowers and garden stuff would be lost.
lammas is bittersweet for me, the glorious height of summer, but a breath of autumn presaged. the evenings are cooler, still warm enough to swim, but after the baking bathwater warmth of the last few weeks i'm too spoiled to deal with 'cool.' one of the beautiful sycamores in the woods is quite yellow. the fireflies are done, just an occasional lazy amble past the stars. but the cicadas are in full song. soon it will be all crickets.
i haven't baked bread in eons. maybe i'll do that today as a devotional activity. last week was busy, it's nice to have a quiet weekend.
may lugh, apollon or whatever solar god you worship be propitious unto you, dears!

6/27/10 09:54 am - all's quiet on the suz front

seems kinda goofy to post when i don't really have a subject, but i wandered through my FL today and feel sad at how scanty lj is getting. it's lj's fault, mostly, for responding to the fb threat by becoming more unwelcoming. but the changes didn't affect me, and i miss reading the longer, more thoughtful stuff i get here.
summer has arrived, gorgeously, hotly, sweetly, and i'm mostly over my strange melancholy. floating in warm water surrounded by stars, moonlight and fireflies will do that. i actually DO swim during the day sometimes! but at night i just about can't stay out.
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seems kinda goofy to post when i don't really have a subject, but i wandered through my FL today and feel sad at how scanty lj is getting. it's lj's fault, mostly, for responding to the fb threat by becoming more unwelcoming. but the changes didn't affect me, and i miss reading the longer, more thoughtful stuff i get here.
summer has arrived, gorgeously, hotly, sweetly, and i'm mostly over my strange melancholy. floating in warm water surrounded by stars, moonlight and fireflies will do that. i actually DO swim during the day sometimes! but at night i just about can't stay out.
<lj-user="hewet_ka_ptah"> got me into sparkpeople which is having a good effect. i'm moving most days, tracking what i eat, and slowly beginning to pare away the frightful winter weight gain. one of my tarot clients is a doctor who runs an 'aesthetic medicine' clinic and made me a terrific deal to work off the $900+ physician's fee for doing the hCG diet by doing tarot for her entire staff, but it's so extreme. and controversial, although none of the controversy seems to indicate actual danger. i'm going to stick with sparkpeople for now and keep plugging away.
one of my old bermuda high school for girls friends has done an amazing job rounding up the old gang, and we have an email loop that includes most of our old class, names i had thought were long out of my life. it's been so much fun reconnecting. feels like a huge merc retro in the best possible way. tomorrow i'm going to DC to have lunch with my old classmate and neighbor margaret smith, who is married to the cousin of another classmate. despite my vague anxiety about driving to the city and taking the metro, i'm excited to see her. it's been almost 40 years. how can that be?
the kids are here! (kailee and ben in addition to my lot) and we had dunkin donuts and pina coladas last night and watched 'a clockwork orange' which was even more amazing and horrifying than i remembered. actually, brian (the only one who wasn't interested) and i watched it, the young'uns all passed out. brian and i decided that it's too hard to watch often, but we're glad we did. i'd forgotten what a surreal brilliant talent kubrick is (was?)
today i must start cleaning. next saturday is the huge bloated 4th of july cookout, which has grown to epic proportions. and the house is a disaster. moving my in-laws last week prompted a huge declutter campaign, which of course has led to piles of stuff (mostly photographs....talk about a time-suck) to be deposited hither and yon for disposition. decluttering is a very messy task. i've also got the hellenion library (SO EXCITING!!!) up here in my office awaiting transport to its official bookshelf in the basement, but i've go to finish cataloguing it. over 100 books here so far! once i figure out how to set up a database i can open it to members and start mailing 'em out.
for a boring update, this is getting long. i go!

6/15/10 09:51 pm - i R can haz pix?

dixie and iCollapse )
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