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Posts Tagged ‘journal’

This week (or next week) marks the half-way point of my journaling for Liturgy Practicum 1. My first entry was for the week of 13 June, which was 8 weeks ago. The journal has to be for four months, so the week of 13 October should be my last “official” recorded week.

Though like with many practices in ADF, the journaling is supposed to be the beginning or the documentation, not the culmination of the practice. I’ve created practices with this work that I hope will stick with me, but I’ll admit to being a little discouraged at how “simple” my practice is. I make offerings at my altar most days, to the Kindreds, to the Eorthan Modor, and to Eostre. I make offerings at my hearth most days, to my house spirits (who seem very fond of oatmeal, so I’ve been eating that for breakfast more). I am rekindling my deity practices – my prayer beads are on my altar, and I’ve been developing a series of prayers to say with them. (Look for those in a future week.)

But it doesn’t feel like it’s “enough”.

And, of course, the next thing I think of is Rev. Jan Avende’s song “All Things are Sacred

You should know that all things can be offered.
You should know that all things are sacred.
You should know that you’ve given the best
Of yourself
And it’s enough.

This is something that I’ve always struggled with. I worry that I’m going to turn in this journal, and it’s going to be deemed “too simple” or “too basic”. That this practice that I’m developing will not be enough. But I’ve always set expectations for myself that are unrealistic, and finding the balance of “this practice is meaningful” and “this practice shows enough regular devotion to warrant my place in the CTP” is something I knew from the get-go that I would struggle with.

I can think of many things that I’d like to be able to say my practice includes. Some of those things – like regular meditation – are things I’ve done in the past and can likely do again. (In fact, I’d argue that I’ll absolutely HAVE to start doing regular meditation again before I can get my Trance and Magic work done.) Other things? Like a full Core Order ritual every day? They just seem utterly unreachable – whether because I don’t have the time or because I just don’t have the willpower to set up that kind of a devotional habit (which I know those of you with small children at home will just laugh at, but we each have our own struggles).

Self doubt is a part of any practice though, and I know this. Today it seems huge, and so, in response, I’m going to go and sit my butt on a cushion and just be for awhile. Just breathe. After all, that’s why they call it “practice” right? You have to take the time to get good at it.

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Nothing new on the report this week, just continuing to try to slow down and practice. I’m seriously considering adding a full core order into my weekly practice, having enjoyed the one I did last week so much.

Right now I feel like the world is pulling me deeply into my divination practice – I’ve been doing readings of all kinds (tarot, playing cards, runes) for all kinds of people. Several a week at this point. Which is good, I always enjoy the practice, and it’s good for me to stay in regular work with all the various systems I use, but it takes up a lot of time and can be a big drain on my already strained energy levels.

I have started tracking my omens that I draw anytime I do a personal ritual that includes a rune draw. I think it will be interesting to see what runes “inspired” my clergy training when I’m done. I talk a lot about Gear, Feoh, and Eolh inspiring my dedicant work, but those were drawn in a ritual at the very end. This, I’m hoping, will give me the ability to see what the distribution of runes is over the entirety of my CTP1 work.

Also, this week saw me adding a massive new pile of responsibilities at work, so it’s been harder than usual to slow down and find time to sit and practice and breathe. I know that’s part of the discipline, but I’m very glad I have such a simple ritual right now, or there’s no way it would be getting done.

Next week is Midsummer, which I will be celebrating with my grove. The requirements for this course include the celebration of a high day privately, according to your hearth culture. The Anglo-Saxons likely celebrated Midsummer, calling it Litha, but there is much more known about the high day that will show up at the end of my journaling for this course (Lammas). I think I will be writing about both, since one will be more of a mundanely/modern inspired practice, and the other will include at least Anglo-Saxon and English folklore. We don’t actually know a whole lot about how the heathen Anglo-Saxons did much of anything, because what little DID get written down was only done after conversion, and much of that was destroyed in the intervening centuries. That said, the English folk traditions for these high day festivals are wonderful, and I am totally not above co-opting them. I think it might be very interesting to look at how the (Christian) English celebrated Midsummer, and then maybe pull a few practices into my own celebration next week.

The solstice this year falls on the 20th astronomically, but the celebration is typically held on the 21st.

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Trance Journal

My books are here! I have picked up the following books to assist with this course (all used, hence the long delivery time).

  • The Trance Workbook by Kay Hoffman
  • Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures by Felicitas Goodman and Nana Nauwald
  • Ecstatic Body Postures by Belinda Gore
  • Frogs into Princes by Richard Bandler and John Grinder
  • The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
  • Tranceportation by Diana Paxson

Which is a big giant stack of books that is honestly a little intimidating, but I’m sure I’ll figure out how to use them. Ecstatic Body Postures was the first book to get here, and it has a bunch of fairly straightforward postural examples. I did a very brief trance with the “Bear Spirit Posture” (a standing posture, which is an unusual way for me to meditate), and while I didn’t feel particularly bear-like (or have mental images of bears), the posture was a comfortable one for trance. I think I’m going to like the body postures part of this experimentation process more than the auditory part.

I’m hoping that the auditory experiences I can have with things like auditory confusion or other trance induction methods will work out better than drumming did. I did a tentative “second chance” on the drumming CD and got the same response – I actually stopped the meditation due to rising irritation and anxiety.

However, I did find MyNoise.net – which has a TON of online mixed sound machines, and I did a little experimenting with those, and found they were at least good at producing relaxation, if not specifically trance states. (The laundromat track is surprisingly soothing and trancey.) Also, the Polyrhythm Beat Generator is particularly good for trance states that aren’t the “driving” feeling of a solid drum track. My favorite presets are “Rejoice” and “10/10” for pure confusing rhythms. Unfortunately they don’t run continuously, so they’re not ideal, but I think I can explore this further.

Liturgy Journal

What an awful week for practice. Wellspring was this weekend, and I thought that would mean lots of ritual time for me (in solidarity with my festival-going peers who are closer to Tredara than I am), and instead it was just one long string of “stuff” after another. I don’t think I got more than 10 minutes total in front of my altar this week – between home repairs and social commitments and all the usual stuff, it just didn’t happen, and I feel kind of crappy about that. I’m usually good at doing my devotions daily, and I just utterly failed at that this week.

My altar didn’t even get cleaned off until Thursday – so my well was dry by the time I got around to resetting everything. I do a weekly reset of my altar on Mondays – I wipe down the surface, fill the well, empty the incense burner, and generally make sure it’s well tended. It’s a good way to start the week feeling like I’m on solid footing with my practice. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. 

Study group didn’t happen this week either, due to bad weather (specifically street flooding keeping us all from being able to get to the coffee shop), and it just threw off my whole weekend.

I’m hoping this coming week will go better. I know that the times I don’t feel like praying are specifically the times I need to take time to pray. That is my goal for this week.

Also – I started testing out a tiny prayer to use whenever I step outside into the sun. It goes:

Hail to the glory of Sunne – at her rising, in her journey, at her setting.

Sometimes I end up saying it while sneezing (stepping out into bright sunlight often makes me sneeze), but it’s a nice little practice that I hope to continue.

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Fairly normal week. Missed my morning practice 2 days this week because apparently I need to get more sleep. I did it when I remembered, which is, I suppose, what counts.

Also did a bunch of canning this week (pickles, jalapenos, blueberry jam), which always makes me feel close to my prairie godmothers. Their candle burned near my stove all day while I jarred and processed the various things (it couldn’t sit ON the stove since I needed all the burners).  I don’t rely on the food I put up to keep us fed through the winter, but it is an inexpensive way to make food that is in season into something delicious that we’ll enjoy all year long. Both my husband and I love pickles too! It’s weird to think of cooking as a spiritual activity, but it really can be.

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This week was challenging. I did my morning practice every day, which went well. Also, as per “Murphy’s Law of Wells”, I now have a NEW well for my altar. This one is a sage green, blue, and brown glazed clay bowl, and it’s both pretty and won’t crack from having water in it all week. Which, yay, no more panicked mornings with water all over the place.

I’m finding, though, that daily practice has changed how I view ADF and my responsibilities to it. This week was also the week of the Solstice, which was the first ritual I’ve written for our Protogrove, and that was challenging as well. I didn’t get a lot of direction on what kind of rituals they usually do, but then when I sent the ritual around, they had a good bit of input on what traditions they typically did. Fortunately the ritual itself went very well. The Study Group ritual went brilliantly as well, and was perhaps our best ritual to date. The omens were appropriately fantastic at both rituals too, which was nice.

For my own practice, I made cornbread and left some out as an offering on the Solstice, but with two group rituals to run in two days (the 20th and 21st) one of which I drove almost 2 hours for (the PG ritual was on a beach some distance from here), I didn’t do much in the way of a home practice for the actual day of. I see the sunrise every day right now, which is nice, but it didn’t make the actual solstice feel very different than any other morning.

I talked to my husband about seeing if he wanted to do any of these practices with me, and he said no. He is still marginally Christian (though he has no interest in going to church), but he’s supportive of my work with ADF. He does get frustrated on these busy weeks though, when I spend more time on ADF stuff (ritual rehearsals, study group, gone all day on the Solstice for ritual) than I do on spending time with him.

Overall I’m finding that this week felt like there was “too much” ADF going on – between daily practices, working on meal blessings (more on that in another entry), working on my prairie godmothers practice, ritual practices, study group ritual, and protogrove ritual, ADF consumed my entire week. I think in the future I’ll need to give myself more space on weeks where there are lots of ADF responsibilities.

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A challenging week, but a good one for meditation and prayer. I spent a lot of time at my altar this week, lighting candles and incense. It was trying, especially being so far away from things that are happening, and having no real recourse but to watch and wait (in horror).

As much as I appreciate our ability to know so much about the world we live in, I’m still not sure that 24-hour instant by instant news is really good for us as humans. We’re not wired to experience that kind of anxiety and stress, especially about things we have no ability to impact. It’s certainly not good for my sanity, even with the extra grounding and prayer.

I also had a pretty substantial conversation with a friend this week about the DP, and it was challenging in a good way. Not challenging as in “hard”, but challenging as in “made me think”. Especially about where I’m going and what I intend to do as I travel this Druid path. I think I will probably be re-incorporating some elements of witchcraft back into my path eventually, since there are things I really miss that don’t conflict with ADF and that I think are good skills for me to continue to have as a magic worker.

I still have this lingering feeling that I don’t know really where I’m headed, and that’s a bit unnerving. I certainly have the goal to complete the DP – but I don’t really know if that goal is in order to truly transform myself into a practicing Druid (which I’d argue I probably already am), or just as something I’m doing to learn as much as I can from and then move on to something else. My friend (hi Yngvi!) argues that this is an element of the virtue of Vision, and I can’t say I disagree with him. It’s a question both of “what path am I actually on right now” and “where do I want to be going”? I may revisit that essay as I work on this, but the answer to both questions right now is “I don’t know”.

Maybe I need to focus my meditations on THAT this week, now that crisis management mode is dwindling down.

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I didn’t make my goal of sitting meditation every day this week. Distraction, thy name is Druid. Still, I am working towards the state of emptiness and focus that will help me enter trance states more easily, without being distracted by too many thoughts (I’m not trying NOT to think, only not to be attached to my thoughts, or allow them to break my focus.) I’ve been focusing on my breath most of the time, but I’ve also done some tree meditations that I like.

I picked up a copy of The Book of Nine Moons this week, since its been recommended on various lists. I was delighted to find that it’s designed to go with the Initiates Path, since that’s where I am considering focusing after I finish the DP. I was really encouraged by the first few chapters, as its exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. I don’t think I’ll start early on it, since I do want to finish my DP first, but I am definitely going to tailor my meditation practice towards the eventual IP work. I figure the more I plan ahead, the easier it’ll be and the more I will get out of it.

My devotions this week consisted of sharing incense (and wine) with Freyr and starting to introduce myself to Freya. I am also, as mentioned, working on building an ancestor practice focused on my Disir. I’m encouraged by my early work, which consisted of doing some kitchen work with them in mind, and charging my hearth candle to them specifically. I got a ton of resources to work with from Heather over at Loki’s Bruid that I am working my way through. I really think this will be a big part of my practice, and I’m excited to begin real devotional work. I’m planning one meditation specifically focused on connecting with them this week.

I need to get back to my practice of tea with the kindreds, though I do a miniature version with my morning devotions every day. I sip tea and say a few prayers, and then try (since I’m at work) to get a good solid chunk of clear breathing and listening.

I am definitely working out a Norse path that will work within the ADF framework for now though. I haven’t felt called to Asatru or Vanatru at all, even while I’m directly trying to work with the Norse Gods and traditions. Hopefully I can make it work as well as other ADF members seem to have done!

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