Spirit Branch

So, I was supposed to be super productive today.  I was going to finish my Full Moon Offering incense, write about my 5th patron deity, maybe write a bit more about my complicated relationship with Inanna, clean my side of the room, bathe the doggies, maybe even collect some cherry blossoms.

It didn’t work out that way.  I’ve been having quite the fibro flare for the past few days, and it culminated in a lot of pain when I woke up.  So I already knew that things were going to work out a little differently.  Sometimes I have to pick and choose where I spend my energy, especially when it’s limited with a flare up.

So first, Bear and I spent some romantic adult time together.  We don’t get a chance to do that often these days, what with work, our other work we take on, our hobbies, and my health stuff.  It was tough for me to talk myself into it today, hurting as I was, but SOOOO worth it.  It always is.  We need to reconnect, and that needs to be a bigger goal than what it is sometimes.

Josef and Amie Ravenson

Josef and Amie Ravenson

Afterwards, I was struck with the inspiration to start a project that I’ve been noodling for a while.   I wanted something that was rather simple and beautiful to reconnect with my spiritual practice, and with the full moon in particular.  So I was thinking about something that would be creative and meaningful, and maybe even something that Bear would want to participate in.

Thus was born the idea of the spirit branch.  It will not only be beautiful, but it will give us a focus for each lunar cycle.

So we spent the next hour or so searching for the perfect branch to use.  (We have a lot of branches around, as our yard is heavily wooded in the back.)  I found a really pretty maple branch covered with lichen, but I couldn’t bear to damage the pretty lichen with what I wanted to do.  I found an ash branch, which I liked because it would tie to Yggdrasil, the World Tree.  But it was old, and I didn’t know if it was already rotting.  So after looking around, I was drawn to a section of a dogwood branch that was leaning near our woodpile.  The energies of dogwood are good for love magick, protection, and also WISHES.  Bingo!  It’s also prevalent here in the South in the Spring, and I thought that was fitting.  It will tie our wishes to our home, and also to the time of year when we started this practice.

Cornus florida inflorescence, showing four lar...

Dogwood magick- Cornus florida inflorescence, showing four large white bracts and central flower cluster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the idea is that on every full moon, we raid my (considerably large) yarn and ribbon collection to find something that represents what we want to manifest for this lunar cycle.  For example, this cycle I will choose a purple yarn, maybe some purple beads, and I will tie it around a quartz crystal, because I want to bring more ritual and a spiritual practice back into my life.  Then, I will tie the yarn to our spirit branch, maybe light a candle, and meditate on the significance.  Bear will do the same, probably without all the meditation, etc.  But in the end, a wish is a wish, positive energy is positive energy.

I will also tie charm bags, dried herbs, stones, etc to the spirit branch on each full moon, and over the years it will become more and more beautiful with all of our wishes, focuses, etc. there for us to see.  I’ll post an after pic once we’ve attached our first wishes.

Blessed be! 🙂

English: Lunar libration. see below for more d...

English: Lunar libration. see below for more descriptions Français : Librations de la lune. Voir une description détaillée en dessous. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My patron deities- Inanna (Fire)

The Backstory

Inanna came to me at a very pivotal time in my life.  My partner of 7 years had just dumped me to go live with her new girlfriend the next state over, and my world was turned upside down.  We had experienced lesbian bed death about 3 years in, and my self esteem suffered due to it.  When I finally asked her for an open marriage, not to end our marriage, but save it, she agreed.  Then she met someone and dumped me.  I was devastated.  But I was also a little exhilarated.  Here, I finally got the chance to be happy.

So I dated.  A LOT.  I learned that I was again interested in men, even after being a lesbian for about 10 years.  I also spent some time exploring kink and BDSM, and found out that I was quite good at it.  I transitioned from thinking I was a submissive bottom to learning that I was a Dominant switch.  It was a lovely time of exploration, and there were quite a few boys and girls I took along for the ride.

I began a podcast called Fleshvine’s FemDom Experiments, and that led to a partnership with a friend I had previously been seeing.  We called our joint podcast Kinky and the Geek.  It was through that podcast that I met most of the friends I have now, and also my Bear.  That first tentative podcast I recorded, alone in my room, lonely and bored, completely changed my life for the better.  It’s weird how that one pivotal moment can change our lives forever.

During this time, I was fixing so many things that my ex had broken in me.  When I was with her, I felt unfuckable, and therefore unlovable, and that nobody would ever want to fuck or love me.  My subsequent dating and playing activities proved that that wasn’t true.  And it was then that I began to really feel alive again.  As my body woke up, as I began to experience a healthy sex life again, I felt the stirrings of something deeper.  I began to experience Inanna.

The Queen of the night, relief, 1800-1750 BC.

The Queen of the night, relief, 1800-1750 BC. (Photo credit: Bochum1805)

Journey to the Underworld

Perhaps the best known story of Inanna is her descent to the underworld.  Inanna was known as the Queen of Heavens and was also associated with Venus, or the evening star.  When she married a mortal king (and proto vegetation God), Dumuzi, she also established herself as an earth Goddess here on earth.  Not one to be easily satisfied, she decided to also visit her sister Ereshkigal, who is queen of the underworld.  Ereshkigal is immediately threatened and becomes very angry that Inanna would dare to visit her there in the underworld, so she devises a plan.  She sets a guard at each of the seven gates of the underworld.

As Inanna descends through the 7 gates, she is instructed to remove a piece of clothing or jewelry each time.  So to go to the underworld (which can be seen also as a woman’s journey within herself), she must remove some piece of her facade.  Eventually, she faces her sister alone and naked, kneeling on the ground.  Her sister is not appeased, and kills her, hanging her from a hook, where she hangs for 3 days and 3 nights.

Inanna had secretly spoken with her high priestess, Ninshubur, saying that if she didn’t return in 3 days to find help.  Ninshubur goes to the Gods for help when Inanna doesn’t return, and Enki finally helps by creating two beings from the dirt under the Gods’ fingernails.  They intercede on Inanna’s behalf, and Ereshkigal agrees to release her, as her presence is causing Ereshkigal some pain.

Inanna is revived and allowed to leave, but Ereshkigal’s demons follow her up through the gates back to the surface world.  There, they demand that someone else must take her place.  They try to take several of Inanna’s servants, but are refused because her servants mourned her while she was in the underworld.  However, Inanna’s husband Dumuzi didn’t seem to mourn her at all, so he is taken in her stead.

He is kept for 6 months out of the year, and that is the time that Inanna mourns, which is the cause of Winter.

Foundation tablet from the Temple of Inanna at...

Foundation tablet from the Temple of Inanna at Uruk, dating to the reign of Ur-Nammu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goddess of Love

Inanna was one of the original love Goddesses, and a lot of the mythos of Aphrodite, Venus, Ishtar, Astarte, and Isis stemmed from her tales.  She was worshipped primarily in her city of Uruk as early as 4000 BC.  Her temples were places where sacred prostitution occurred, and a lot of her clergy consisted of asexuals, hermaphrodites, and ‘feminine men’.  (I especially love ‘feminine men’.)  Her high priestess would also enact the Great Rite (ritualized sex meant to ensure fertility) as a part of her worship practices.

Her holy day was the Spring Equinox (a good day for fertility rites), and her symbols were lions, owls, and an eight-pointed star.

My most vivid vision of Inanna, however, occurred during meditation one night.  I saw her not as the wanton Goddess of love and sex, or the serious Goddess, stripped bare and descending to the underworld.  I saw her hovering over a field of grain, dancing, while blessings of fertility and rain fell from her skirts onto the field below.  People on the ground danced with her as they were showered with her grace.  To me, she is that golden grain Goddess of fertility, as that is the face that she showed me.

English: Wheat field

English: Wheat field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Here is my Inanna Pinterest board, and my Inanna Spotify playlist.  Enjoy!  🙂

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Our poly is not like your poly

I was invited to march with the Vancouver Poly...

Vancouver Polyamory group in the 2011 pride parade (Photo credit: theslowlane)

I’ve hinted at some of our dating activities in this blog before.  Anyone who knows us well knows that Bear and I love each other like crazy.  Anyone who knows us REALLY well knows that some of that love spills over onto other people on occasion.

Polyamory, for those who haven’t heard the term, is the notion that a person can love more than one person at a time, and can have serious relationships with more than one person as long as there is open honest communication.  It’s that open, honest communication that distinguishes polyamory from cheating, which involves lying and sneaking around.  Also, it’s the loving relationship part that distinguishes polyamory from swinging, which is mostly about having sex with others, but not necessarily any emotional attachments.

Man, I wish we were just swingers.  Life would be a lot easier if we were swingers.  The problem is that Bear and I both tend to get attached.  So we have trouble with the notion of casual sex or friends with benefits.  In fact, we’ve gotten attached to the wrong people (together- we always date together) more than once.

It would be fine if we could mitigate that damage by dating several people, only getting and giving small portions of attention/emotion, but that’s just not the way it goes for us.  We just do better seeing one person at a time, and giving them all of us.

This is why our poly is not like the poly of others.

I always thought that polyfidelity was our ideal.  With polyfidelity, the group consists of more than two, but it’s closed to dating outside of the group.  I always thought we would end up with a third, and I’ve chased that.  We’ve had some success, made some really close friends, had our hearts shredded, but we’ve always come out of it stronger than ever because our commitment to each other has never wavered.    There’s always the hope that that one person who ‘gets us’ exists, but we haven’t had any luck finding that yet.

So we went the other way and experimented with more casual dating.  It was nice, but left me feeling like I was just one of a crowd for the other people involved, and kept me from really investing any emotion.  I’m a rather serious person when it comes to relationships, and if I’m not investing, I eventually get bored and wander off.  Great sex isn’t enough to keep me involved for very long.

So where are we with all this?  Honestly, as much as I dwell on it and wonder what it takes to make it work and where I’ve gone wrong, I’m finding myself very bleh about the whole thing.  I don’t know if I even want to bother dating anyone right now with all the writing/health issues/work issues/holidays coming up/insert other excuse here.  And Bear barely gets involved anymore, even if things are really promising.  I think he’s just tired and expects the inevitable split, so why bother?

I’m certainly not jaded about love and relationships.  How could I be with my amazing Bear here to remind me how insanely good things can be when you find the right person?

I guess I’m just taking a break.  That is, until I get bored one night and start browsing my favorite dating sites again.  Then it’s on like Donkey Kong.  The truth is that Bear and I are too boy crazy to stop looking for long.  😀

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