lathriel: (Default)
4. A favorite deity or archetype you use in your spiritual work.

My work with deities has fluctuated quite a bit over the years. It is my belief that there is no separate being that is more godly than another, that each of us is god-energy in physical form, and that the greater part of us is, in fact, god-energy still in non-physical form, too. And I say "god" without a gender implication--I think divinity is beyond the physical, and beyond duality. But, that being said, I think there will always be quite a lot about god-energy that we in our physical forms will never be able to really comprehend, and so we have to quantify and personify and compartmentalize a lot of the aspects of our own divinity and the workings of the universe so that we can have some grasp of It All. So, when I work with deities, it is from that standpoint. I do believe that the energy is real and really communicating and interacting with me, but it is my belief that when I work with, say, Artemis, I'm working with a collective of god-energy that is akin to my feelings about her and her wisdom.

Artemis was huge for me when I was in my Maiden and Maiden-warrior phase of life, but her energy hasn't been necessary for some time. Now that I'm basically into the Mother phase of my life (I think the maiden phase is always there, a little bit), I have actually had quite an affinity for Mary. This strikes me as odd because I have never been raised anything close to Christian or Catholic, in fact I identify more with my father's Jewish heritage than my mother's Episcopal, and I also spent a lot of time in my angrier, less-understanding youth kind of thinking anything associated with Jesus was stupid. But when I work with Mary I feel so fucking loved. Like, tears-to-my-eyes, nothing-can-hurt-me, look-at-how-amazing-the-world-is kind of love, and joy. And still I feel like I want to work more deeply with her, to understand her story. I'm hoping to reconnect with my deities this fall and winter, so hopefully I'll get the chance to communicate more with her in detail.

(As an aside, kind of, Jared and I watched the first part of a movie called "Zeitgeist" the other day, where they discuss, essentially, how Jesus's story is the same as hundreds of legends that came before him, based on stories we've told by the stars for thousands of years. This is something I've known for a long time, but it got me thinking though: who is the "virgin mother" really? Why is she a constant in these stories? Why is she called "virgin?" I must look into this further!)

Male female balance in my "worship" is important to me, too, and comes rather naturally. I've work a lot with Hermes and Ganesh in the past, and Ganesh is still someone I smile at every day (I keep his statue at my cubicle at work, he helps to dispel the negativity). But my main male figure is actually something more like a spirit guide, which, seeing as how I believe spirit is god-energy too, makes me think of him as a deity for this question's sake. I call him Malcom, because I realized a character in one of my books by the same name was modeled after him. I've been seeing him in dreams and in my head since I was a very little girl. I can communicate with him any time, easy as pie. He always knows the answers to my questions. He is the wisdom I have but often can't access when I need it most.

5. An animal you identify with spiritually.
Crows are big for me. I have three of them tattooed on my ribs. To me they are magical, otherworldly things. They represent the kind of grounded-yet-free state of being that I strive for, creatures that seem to shift between worlds and yet remain anchored. As a writer, I'm always striving for that balance--how to stay grounded and let myself float off into my imagination at the same time. Crows embody that capacity to me, and I don't really know why.

I also love pigeons. They're tenacious, brave, excellent communicators, and can always find their way home :)

6. A photo of a magical place outdoors.



The Sahara Desert in Morocco. I think the most alive day/night of my life was there. Everything was thrilling--sound, touch, taste, smell, and dear gods the sights... it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I love the desert.


The Questions )
lathriel: (violin)
Pagan Survey )
lathriel: (dancedancedance)
-As I sit at my "office" at work, this is on my lap:


-Tonight, I will be having a random happy awesome springtime ritual, in addition to writer's therapy, with my bestest friend in the world that I am not marrying ;D

-I am, however, marrying my bestest friend in the whole wide world :D

-I had the lunch buffet at Taste of India today, and they were serving all of my favorite dishes! and yes, it was all exquisitely nom-able

-I am once again falling in love with writing TPaL, after our brief separation due to Life Happening Way Too Fast. The characters are unfolding beautifully, and the plot is coming together in ways I hadn't even imagined (I hope that doesn't ruin the magic for you if you're reading it...). I find my mind wandering to other stories on occasion, eager to keep working, which is a good sign! But I promised myself I would finish The Poppet and the Lune before I began to work sincerely on anything else. I've been writing it for over a year now, and it deserves to be my priority. Don't worry, I will post until the end! But I will probably have to take it down when I query agents.

-I'm getting a new phone/contract with Jared in a few weeks! I've had the same piece of crap phone for over 3 years now, and it's about time I got hip with the times. I'm generally not a big gadgety person, but i have to admit I'm excited about having one of those fancy phones with a slidey keyboard and all that. Anyway, it'll be easier to write notes to myself even when I don't have a notebook.

-Possible new kitty? Jared's step sister has a dusty gray cat that they want to get rid of so that they can get a dog (apparently all the dogs they've loved don't do well with cats). He's smushy and lovable, just what we like in a kitty, so I may have 4 boys to take care of soon ;p

That is all :)
lathriel: (Default)
I realized one of the major reasons I don't like to consider myself a part of a community is because I am not, by nature, the kind of person who likes to share herself with others. I am not, admittedly, very confident or strong in who I am. Left on my own, I can blossom naturally and be at peace with myself- but when others come into my life, especially in an area that is so important to me, I find myself becoming too flexible, too conformist. I am not proud of that. It comes from a place of fear that I have been slowly learning to heal for a almost a decade.

But I have never been a social creature. I have always kept a wall between the world and my heart, and there are scarce few who I have allowed past that wall. Even fewer who I have allowed in. I have stood on the outside looking in since I became self-aware at the awkward age of ten, and I have too often not liked what I have seen. People hurting people. People getting hurt. Pettiness. (In all honesty, I would prefer a good, solid betrayal that can be forgiven, rather than petty slights that somehow feel more honest.) And I cannot help but be sensitive to this- I am an empath, and can hardly tell whose emotion is whose when I feel them sometimes.

So in the meantime I have become cautious about who I associate myself with. I've twice been burned by pagan communities. Countless times been hurt by friends. Too many times been abused by lovers. But I have found my true love, have I not? And I have found real, good, true friends. And in these recent (very recent) realizations I wonder if I have found my pagan community? The world wide matrix of truly good people and their bright, compassionate energies- the curious way we fall into each others paths, unplanned- the beautiful moments and epiphanies that we share with each other, that uncover truths even in the people who were not there to experience them.

It would be just like witches to have their true home in the ether. ;)

So here is my conclusion, and I am sure it will still feel wrong to many of you, but I must own up to what I really think: it doesn't matter what other people think when they hear the word "pagan" or "witch" because those are good, magical words to me, and my spirituality is mine alone. But I still prefer not to use those words with strangers, or "the uninitiated," or people I just feel aren't ready to hear those words. I don't want to push anyone's buttons, just like I don't want them to push mine. Passive? Perhaps. But I am not here to make people better. It is not my mission to force acceptance down everyone's throats. I can live out and proud, but still have my secret. And I like having my secret.

Ok, back to work.

Ps: the sun is STILL out! :D
lathriel: (Default)
Oh life. How good you are to me. How you play with me, and provide for me, and show me the things that I want. How much sharper the image gets as years pass. This is something that has been brewing for a while, and I hope I do not offend anyone, because that's not my intention.

I have been a "pagan" for such a long time. Since I first began my research on world religions in the Spring of 1998. Twelve years ago. Wow. "Paganism" itself is such an amorphous concept though- there is no true definition. You know if you are pagan, but if you aren't it's hard to say who is. Even among all the pagans I know, my form of paganism is utterly different from theirs. I've backed away from the word, slowly, these past few years. I've back away from the word "witch" even longer, because both of them have such negative connotations to the majority of the world.

Some of you may say that's cowardly, or that I'm letting "them" win if I do that. But I think I'm letting them in, actually. If I'm asked about my faith, I can tell people "My spirituality is very important to me" and no one is put-off, no one raises an eyebrow, no one scoffs or rolls their eyes. And through my example, and conversation, they can see the magic unfold in my life if they care to look, and if they're open to seeing. And maybe in that way I can enrich their life. But if I tell them "I'm a witch" or "I'm pagan" I am certain they will have the wrong impression of my spiritual life, even if they are open-minded. And if they are closed-minded, well. I think you know what I'd expect.

I've always despised labels for people. They are confining. Labels bring with them an expectation, a connotation, a history of the word and all the people who have carried it as a part of their identity. It's bad enough when you are given a label, but to give yourself a label is almost worse. I know, I know, these words are ancient and have been twisted and changed, and to many of you they are almost sacred, powerful words. I am not asking anyone to stop calling themselves "pagan" or a "witch." It's just that, for me, I find those words... confining. Confusing, almost. Dangerous, even.

Imagine if you were searching for spirituality in your life. You were an adult, or at least had the religious freedom to choose. You found a group and a philosophy that you felt strongly about, and so you joined that group. You called yourself a member of that group. It became a part of your identity. And then one day during a sermon or a rite someone says something you don't agree with. Maybe you question it, and they explain it to you, try to convince you. And because you are one of them, because you've dedicated yourself to them, you try very hard to justify this new concept and make it fit into your world-view. You conform to it. Just a little. And then the next time something happens like that, it gets a little bit easier to bend yourself to fit the mold you have been trying to fill. And the next time. And the next.

I don't want that. I have never wanted a religion any more than I have wanted a jail cell. And labeling myself poses the risk of tampering with the pure essence of who- not what- I am. True spirituality, in my honest opinion, is an utterly selfish path, for there is nothing that we do that we don't do to make ourselves feel good, or because we believe it is best for us, spiritually, or to satisfy what we want. Even if we want others to be happy. And that's okay. Humans are meant to be selfish. If we weren't, we wouldn't be individuals- we wouldn't have our own perspective, our own personal experiences. We can have no experience but our own, and that makes us selfish.

Yes, I did call myself "pagan" for a long time, because it was a label and I wanted a community to share my spirituality with. But I have found that community and spirituality together aren't good for me. I know community is wonderful for a lot of people, especially when they share something so sacred, and that is fine. But I have my handful of similarly-minded friends, and we can discuss magic and energy until the cows come home, and that is perfect for me. We understand on foundational levels that our beliefs are the same, and we love and accept each other for our differences, and that is what makes our rituals so powerful. Diversity is a good thing, or else nothing would ever grow.

Anyway, I'm going off on a rant now. Summary is labels bad, selfish spirituality good, just keep on learning and growing regardless.

Ps: the sun is out today! :D
lathriel: (masquerade)
Hmmm. Where to begin about how amazing this holiday weekend was...

Halloween! )

NaNoWriMo Day 1 / Samhain / All Saints Day :P )


Dia de los Muertos / Writing! )

There's too much crap to do this week, and not enough time to just sit down and write. But I'll get it all done.

I'm so close to finishing another novel. Well, a draft, but still.

XD

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Madeline Franklin

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