Give Me Shelter

Today we were supposed to get a little orphaned kitten to foster. Got up to animal control to find out the little guy already had a pending adoption application. While this was great news, it did leave my son and I a bit flummoxed. However, it turned into an opportunity for another kitty.

While I was busy talking with the staff at animal control, my son had been busy making the acquaintance of a juvenile Maine Coon cat in the bottom cage. My son likes cats in general, but he and this one truly bonded within a matter of minutes, to the point where he had started calling him by a name, Leo, and the kitty was responding to it. So this kitten, who is about a month older than Leeloo, ended up coming home with us to foster.

The entire trip home, he was cheebling and chirping at Tadziu the way Maine Coons do, and as soon as he was out of the carrier, he made himself at home. My son is pleased by the way things turned out, and Leo’s already fitting in with the other cats quite well.

We’d been planning on giving comfort to one refuge cat, and though the cat changed, we are fulfilling the Divine Obligation of hospitality with another wanderer of the fringes. A cat, who until 3pm didn’t have a name, and was just listed as young male Maine Coon, unaltered. A name is a big thing, but especially with cats, who tend to not come to a name unless they choose it. Leo was coming to his name before we even left animal control. I’m not sure if Tadziu picked him, he picked Tadziu, or they just recognized kindred spirits in one another. In this case, I don’t think only Hekate took a hand in helping Leo find a place to be, but Pan, my son’s primary deity, was in on it as well. Tadziu wasn’t originally going to come with me to get the kitten, but changed his mind almost at the last minute, and if he hadn’t come, it’s likely Leo would still be there.

There seems to be a conception in non-Pagans, and even in some Pagans, that when the gods speak to us it’s usually an ostentatious thing. But it’s often a gentle prompting, an urge, a feeling that something is supposed to be. While Hekate prompted me to step forward and offer shelter to a homeless cat, Pan is the one who decided who that cat would be.

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Keeping it Zen

AceofCups

The last thirty-six hours have not been fun for LGBTQIA folk such as myself. It’s middling unfun for me personally since not as much of the nonsense was specifically directed at my part of the spectrum, buuuuuuuuut it hardly matters how it impacts me when it impacts several million people living here in the USA. However, I must say seeing a brief filed by DOJ saying that equal rights protections under Title VII don’t apply to me because I am in that spectrum was a gut punch. It’s like we’re fighting the same old fights again, and personally, I’m tired of it. I know it’s much worse for trans folk, since much more spleen from His Occupancy of the Oval Office was vented directly at them, but all the same Title VII is quite a bit to have go away in one brief. I hope the courts disagree.

It’s been easy to go from one end of the mood pendulum to the other, just waiting to see what that buffoon will do next. It’s easy to lash out at other folk in the Community as well as Allies. They know it’s bad, and their attempts at protest, humorous or serious, can be misunderstood or misconstrued, and attempts to correct them can make a gulf between the Community and Allies open up as they tire of us lecturing them on our newest no-no list. Hell, I tire of it, too, because I can hardly keep up with what the more Social Justice Warrior types among those I know in the community (and out of it for that matter) are going to decide is the offensive faux-pas of the week. I got to the point where I was over-reacting in all directions, and that was before the most recent load of nonsense.

So I stepped back. Trying to see both the forest and the trees, instead of lost in too much big picture or too much niggling details. Trying not to burn bridges or add fuel to the fires burning all over. Asked The Boss to help me find the words that would chill the situation the hell down before we all give ourselves coronaries.

Hekate is great at that – communicating I mean. She’s our Lady of the Crossroads, places where boundaries touch and people meet. As goddess of liminal spaces, She’s a natural for helping us build the bridges we need to cross from one space to another, and to open minds and hearts. Hekate’s a realm-crossing badass who doesn’t allow Her followers the luxury of excuses or self-deceptions, so we also have to work on our communication as part of opening doors with the Keys that She provides. So I dug deep when I saw situations escalating and people who should realize they are on the same side starting to succumb to the Occupant’s efforts to divide us. And I found my right words. I found the love. I found the humor. I found the way to teach both sides simultaneously and re-open the door.

We need to leave our egos out of the equation. Part of the Dark Night of the Soul within the Fool’s Journey in the tarot is The Tower. It’s the card of ego-death, where all the layers of what we think we are get cracked open so the Light of Truth can fill us. It’s a rough process. It’s painful. Slaughtering our personal sacred cows and using them as barbecue always is. But it’s so necessary. Turning to The Boss when the Tower is part of my life has helped me get through it. She doesn’t take shit from us, and She won’t let us accept our own hype. Hekate’s a tough-love goddess to be sure. But She takes you to that point where all you have left is who you are for real, and when you get there, finding the Zen and sharing it with others becomes that much easier.

 

Back to Work

Today was one of putting on the shit-kicking boots and getting back to business. In the span of a few hours, while I watched my patient sleep, I put together our Temple newsletter, added more classes to the Hekataion classrooms, helped some Sisters get registered in the Hekataion or recover their login information, and communicated with a candidate for the Korybantes Path. (More on that later.)

I’m really unsure what inspired this burst of productive energy, especially seeing as how the kitten woke me up at midnight and again at 5:30am, so I started my day grumpy and foggy-headed. Nevertheless, I got a burst of creativity about 9am that lasted me through to the afternoon, and much was accomplished. I felt like an active, busy Priestess for the first time in months, and I’d forgotten how good it feels.

The Korybantes Path, as mentioned above, is a new thing within the Temple. Taking its name from the attendant priests of Hekate on Samothrake, it seeks to re-establish an order of male priests dedicated to Hekate’s service. The Boss has been nudging me for over a year to get this off the ground, and some foundational work was laid in February/March, but it didn’t take off. Today felt like an auspicious day to give it another go, and this time I rapidly got results. After some time spent talking with him, the first prospective candidate for the Path had received his assignment to start preparation for his dedication in February.

I enjoy the work of a Priestess with a functioning Temple to keep on an even keel. It truly does suit me. With school starting in four weeks, I’m giving this a running start, with the hopes that by the time my classes start, things will be humming along nicely.

Celebration

Yesterday I received word that not only was I accepted into Purdue University as a transfer student (hooray!) but that I’d received a partial scholarship that was renewable yearly for the remainder of my current academic track. This was a thrill beyond words. I busted my ass last year working 32 hours a week as a nurse while taking a full load of courses and made Dean’s List. However, I also realized in that time that the school I was attending wouldn’t meet my true academic goals, so I applied for a transfer to a larger university with more options. Now my desires have manifested!

It feels fitting to have the envelope with this information come at Noumenia, which is most auspicious for new beginnings. I’m starting a new phase of my life and moving towards dreams realized that I’ve held dear all my life. I am finally going to finish what I started and no longer be a slave to expediency. The cherry on the top was my husband telling me how proud of me he is. I’ve waited a long time to hear those words.

So I thanked Hekate by giving Her a freshly tidied Temple, finishing the work I started on Deipnon with Abby. Now people can move inside the Temple and find things. It’s a working space again. It feels good. I also got out my ritual robes that I wear for the Mysteries and am having them cleaned. Everything is falling into place. One more sign that I’m on the right track.

 

Dark Moon

Deipnon, the dark moon time sacred to Hekate, is a time for cleansing and purging. I have been doing that as the moon waned. Bits and pieces here and there, reorganizing my house to make things smoother, and to help things make more sense. It started with reorganizing and purging the kitchen and dining room spaces, and today it extended into the Temple proper.

Abby, youngest daughter of my friend and Sister Janelle, and one of my son’s best friends, was given a belated birthday afternoon with my son today by going to see Wonder Woman in the theater. This was a great time, my third for seeing the movie, and it just keeps getting better. Afterwards we came by the house because Abby had asked me if I had a corset or something that she could wear for a local cosplay event.

I had a couple possibilities, and I knew that one of them was likely in the Temple room. Recently with all the tarot decks and books from both my projects coming into the house in boxes, the Temple room has doubled as a cat-free storage space, and it has become a bit of a shambles. Looking for the cosplay stuff with Abby gave me a chance to clear the space and make it usable again. We found part of what she was looking for, but not quite what she wanted. We also simplified the room’s contents, moving the remaining decks and books into more consolidated containers and getting rid of other detritus in the process. I also found several things that I knew I would need to pack for Hekate Rising.

Abby spent much of our hunting time asking me about various things we found. She’s been raised Pagan, just as Tadziu has, but she’s inexperienced in the various accoutrements of Pagan practice, and honestly has little knowledge of various deities, practicing more of a generic Earth-centric Pantheism. So cleaning and arranging also became a time for some basic education, mostly just the names of the deities for whom there were altars in the Temple. Starting, of course, with Hekate Herself, when I asked Abby to put a box of supplies next to Hekate’s altar, we proceeded around the room, covering in turn Isis, Artemis, and Kali.it laid the ground work for her, and gave her something to explore on her own with her mom later on.

So dark moon became a time of cleansing, organizing, and teaching. Truly a good use of the time, and the Temple itself.

The Storms That Shake Your Soul

As can be inferred by the title of this blog, the aspect of Hekate that I work most closely with is Einalia, the Lady of the Waters. Living near the Great Lakes, Her presence is strong and has been with me since the first time we did Hekate Rising in 2010. One of the highlights of that year was doing a silent meditation under the stars while standing in the mirror-calm waters of Lake Michigan as the Perseids rained down. It was a profound experience for all who participated.

There is another aspect of The Boss who plays a major part in my life and my work and that is Brimo, Lady of Storms.  I have always been a child of the thunderstorm, feeling most alive when the winds blow fiercely and the lightning blazes across the sky. A late-night thunderstorm is usually a guarantee of a short night of sleep – not because the thunder itself bothers me, but because as the winds rise, I awaken and become energized. I used to drive my mom crazy when I was a child because I would run out and play in the storms if I could get away with it. I once even volunteered to be the one to run outdoors in the middle of a hail storm to get fresh vegetables from our garden.

This last week has been one storm after another, usually popping up in late afternoon and roaring all night. So I have been quite the insomniac as my energy batteries for creative work go on overload while the rain comes down in torrents and 80+mph winds whip the trees into a frenzy. I am glad that I tend not to suffer for it later. It is a gift of Brimo to me that the storms and I love each other.

Of course, this is not always the case. One story which I always keep in my mind to safe-guard against getting too big for my britches when dealing with any aspect of Hekate, let alone Brimo, is one that dates back to the summer of 2010, while planning for the first Hekate Rising. I had just left the local grocery store after buying some supplies for the first retreat when an afternoon thunderstorm began. My car at the time was almost 10 years old, and it would occasionally get cranky at inconvenient moments. It chose the drive home during that storm to act up in a dangerous way.

As the sky turned green and the rain poured down, the windshield wipers stopped functioning. This happened just as I was driving up the incline of an overpass. Suddenly I couldn’t see a thing, and it was incredibly scary. There I was in my car, supplies for Hekate Rising in the trunk, my nine-year-old son in the back seat, and I can’t see where I’m going! I was internally warring between being terrified that I would drive into oncoming traffic or off the overpass and being furious at my car and the weather for putting me in this spot. As I crawled along, trying not to kill us, I finally broke and vented my spleen by telling Brimo that if She wanted me to do this damned retreat, then She’d better do something about my car or the weather so I didn’t kill myself!

Well, the rain quickly stopped, and I was able to get home safely. I got my son inside, then as I was unloading my trunk to bring the supplies indoors, the sky opened back up and this time the rain was accompanied by hail, which pelted me mercilessly as I bolted for the door with bags in hand. An amused voice in the thunder seemed to say, “You made it home safely; now do your Work, and don’t be so lippy!”

Since that time, I’ve continued the Work that She gave me that summer. It has cost me at times, but it always ends up being for the best. Each time the thunder rumbles and the winds rise, I listen for Brimo’s voice in the storm, and I thank Her for my life, which has been Hers since that storm in July 2010. And I remember to mind my manners!

 

Holding Space

I’d been looking forward all week to my friend and Sister Nan coming this weekend to do my hair with me. It seems frivolous, but living in a house of men, girl time is precious to me, so this was a big deal. However, it had to be postponed.

Nan gave me a ring when she got home because her partner had a very rare weekend off. They’ve been mid-reno for months, and alone there’s only so much anyone can do, so understandably, this shifted her priorities from fun to getting things done that had been waiting for a chance for them to happen. No biggy.

The call went from this bit of news to something more important. Nan and I are both nurses. We currently work doing different types of care, but we’ve both been doing this a long time and have a wide base of experience. Nan needed to talk about nurse-life to someone who’d get it and know how to hold the space a nurse needs when they just need to let it all out. We’ve both been there at times, and it is a treasure to know that if it just gets to the point of “peak-nurse” where you just can’t take the BS anymore, someone is there to listen and let all that drain away. Someone who knows there’s no quick fix to a systemic issue across the board. Someone who knows that we do what we do because it is needed and no one else wants to – or they would. Because in compassion we answer the call of Kourotrophos and provide succor where, when, and how it’s needed. BECAUSE.

And so I held space for my beloved Sister. For the one who has massaged the knots from my aching body with her expert hands, and who has been there for me when it’s too much and all I can do is scream or weep. Because that’s also what we do.