My patron deities- Sarasvati (Air)

Creativity can be a double-edged sword. On one side, dreaming up and making beautiful things is wonderful, right? Whether you dream in poetry, write your truth, sing the song of your people, or bring a vision to life, you’re tapping into a process as old as humanity, and perhaps older.

However, what happens when you’re a manic creative? What happens when your ideas keep you from sleeping at night? What happens when the ideas come faster than your productivity?

That’s what happens to me when I get into a serious creative phase. Which I’m in now, incidentally.

(Speaking of, while I will continue to do what I’ve been working on- aka incenses and other goodies, some knitting/crocheting projects will be showing up as well.  I also have 2 short story ideas I’m noodling.  :-))

Dried green paint

Dried green paint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s the call of Sarasvati in my life. While she’s typically known as the Goddess of knowledge, writing, and music, to me she will always embody creativity in ALL endeavors including arts and crafts. Traditionally, Brigid’s affiliations with craft might have been a better fit for the things I do, but as I said in my last post, I felt called by the Lakshmi/Sarasvati rivalry. It’s a struggle I feel continually in my own life.

Do I want to be true to myself and be broke and creative? Or do I want to take time away from my creative endeavors to pursue enough money to live off of? I know there’s a solution where I can have both, but in 39 years, I haven’t found it.

Lakshmi and Sarasvati came to me when I was in my mid 20’s.  I had just left a very lucrative, but soul-crushing, job, and I was embarking on my first business.  It shouldn’t be surprising that it was an aromatherapy company.  It was called SmellyGirl, and it had a bit more Riot Grrl flavor than the things I tend to do now.  I was experiencing the joy of giving my ideas form with the aim towards making a living for the first time.  And I found it imperative to balance my creativity with enough practicality and gumption to actually make money at it.

What happened instead is that my very obsessive personality took over.  I surrounded myself with essential oils and bottles and bathsalts, and I made my own labels, and my own order forms, and did all my own graphics, and my own website, and promotion, and, and, and…  I worked 12-16 hour days with no rest.  I would go to bed at 4 am reeking of peppermint oil, and that is the LAST thing that will help you go to sleep.  So when I did try to sleep, I would just dream about what I would do tomorrow for the business.

Basically, SmellyGirl crashed and burned, and I did too.  I began to hate it and hate my life.  There needed to be a balance between my creative and my practical sides, and while I was burning myself out, I wasn’t able to bring it down to a practical enough level to make any money.  I made a few sales, but quit before anything could take off.

I’m still obsessive with Ravenson Reagents, but the fibromyalgia is forcing me to take it easier on myself.  It’s like my body has given me an internal alarm for when I start getting too type A about things.  That’s when the pain starts.  So, while the ideas continue, I don’t tend to try to do everything all at once anymore. There’s a balance to be found there too.

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But back to Sarasvati.  She is associated with water in Hindu legend, and there has been recent satellite imagery that has uncovered the path of the enormous and ancient Sarasvati river, which was thought to be a myth.  The idea is that knowledge flows like water, and while I do like that analogy, as a Western Pagan, she represents air to me.  She is the very embodiment of communication, inspiration, knowledge, and all things air in the traditional Wiccan element alignments.

She is usually clothed in white, and has 4 arms, representing mind, ego, intellect, and alertness.  She usually holds a veena (a musical instrument similar to a sitar), and manuscripts.  She usually has a swan at her feet, and is near or floating on a river.  Her festival is the Sarasvati Puja, and is celebrated at different times depending on which part of India you’re in.

Painting of the Goddess Saraswati by Raja Ravi...

Painting of the Goddess Saraswati by Raja Ravi Varma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As always, here is my Sarasvati Pinterest board, and my Sarasvati Spotify playlist.

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My patron deities- Lakshmi (Earth)

Lakshmi came to me at the same time that her sister, Sarasvati, did.  She is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, luck, and family.  To me, she has always been the Queen of Pentacles, and all the groundedness and abundance that embodies.

She’s often portrayed seated or standing in a lotus, hovering over a river which flows as wealth flows, with coins dripping from one hand while the other hand is raised.  She is usually surrounded by elephants, (her son is Ganesha), though she is also associated with owls.

Goddess Lakshmi

Goddess Lakshmi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, I can’t find the legend anywhere now, but I read at one point that the sisters Lakshmi and Sarasvati were bitter rivals for the attention of the god Vishnu.  Lakshmi won him in the end, and Sarasvati was married to Brahma.  The legend then went on to say that because of their rivalry, and continued jealousy of each other, they cannot be in the same place at the same time.

Sarasvati is the Goddess of knowledge, music, poetry, and she’s always represented creativity in general to me.  So, for that reason, we have the starving artist/scholar model.  You can have wealth with no creativity or deep knowledge, or you can be a creative person or a scholar, but wealth will always flee you.

That legend spoke to me, and still speaks to me, and so I try to honor both Goddesses.  It’s always been my dream to be able to make a living as an artist, writer, or other creative type, but I always end up settling for a boring, mundane job to pay the bills.  I’m a practical goat.  But the hope is still there.  Perhaps my work on Ravenson Reagents will help me to achieve that balance.

I’ve always had a strange relationship with money.  In my family, money either came with strings or judgment or control attached.  When I was a kid, and then later in college, I learned not to rely on anyone else for money as I worked 2 or 3 jobs to get myself through school.  Then, when I graduated, I felt like it was all worth it when I got my first serious job.  I made a lot of money.  5X what I make now.  But I was also miserable.  My creativity was dying, I was angry all the time, and the stress was overwhelming.   The things I had to do for that money, and the compromises to my personal ethics just ate away at me until I couldnt’ stand it anymore.

After a series of layoffs, I have taken less and less pay, but each time I do, I end up with more personal freedom and feeling more myself.  Right now, at age 39, I’m in a job that hurts me physically, but otherwise isn’t that terrible.  I have ‘regulars’ that I genuinely care about, and I also like the people I work with.  However, again, it’s crushing me physically and financially.  So this obviously isn’t the answer either.

In the back of my mind, I know that there’s a way to make a living that doesn’t require so much compromise on either side, but I feel like I just keep missing it.  Other people seem to get it.  They seem to understand how to survive while staying true to themselves in a way that I’ve never really figured out.

That’s why one of my most common spells/rituals is the ubiquitous abundance/prosperity spell.  I have so many green satin bags filled with stones, herbs, parchment, and oils stashed around this house that I shudder to think what someone would say if they excavated the ruins in a thousand years.  In fact, I often wonder how much money I’ve spend on prosperity spells.

As with other spellwork, your outcome depends heavily on your willingness to put the work in as and after you’ve sent the energy out into the universe.  And I do work.  I work and work and work, but it seems like there’s an essential tidbit that I’m missing.  Some important piece of knowledge that would make it all work out for me and for my family.

The important thing is that I keep trying.  And I keep honoring Lakshmi.

India, Princely States. Arcot (Arkat). Muhamma...

India, Princely States. Arcot (Arkat). Muhammad Ali. 1751-1795. ::AV Pagoda (11mm, 3.38 g, 3h). Arkat mint. :Three Swamis standing :Arabic ‘ain in granulated field :::KM 14; MWI -; Mitchiner, South India II, 988 (under Umdatu al-Umara, 1795-1801). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She’s also the Goddess of spiritual wealth and of family wealth.  Those I have in abundance, and I’m incredibly grateful.

I enjoyed putting together a Lakshmi playlist on Spotify, but a lot of the hymns began sounding alike after a while.  So I also added in some abundance meditations.   I also have a Lakshmi Pinterest board where I’ve collected images that remind me of her.

Her holy festival is Diwali (aka Deepavali), which is celebrated in the New Moon between mid October and mid November.  It’s a festival of lights, reminiscent of Yule or Imbolc, where candles are prominent, and are displayed in windows during the long, dark night.

Diwali, Trafalgar Square

Diwali, Trafalgar Square (Photo credit: Paul Carvill)

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