Heart of Healing

The art of healing 

Has changed much 

In many thousands of years. 

.

Only a few hundred of years ago, 

The healer would travel to patient’s home,

Cross the threshold 

Invited into the hallowed sanctuary where his family and his spirits lived. 

You would help a man die,

Help his soul to pass over to join his ancestors, 

And a few weeks later,

Help his great-granddaugther to give birth, bringing forth another life.

Witnessing the full cycle was a comfort, I imagine.

.

Thanks to the advancement of science, we specialize now.

It’s possible to see only a small fraction of the full human experience. 

I have shepherded souls out of this world.

An honor, of course,

But it wears on me some days.

I look forward to guiding them in, 

Red-faced and squaling.

One day.

.

For now, I know that I am needed where I am.

It is still an honor, 

And it is still difficult.

.

Most run from death, 

Shy away from madness –

I look both in their hooded faces.

I have received oracles on the lips of those whose minds are gone,

The meaning of which I am still puzzling out. 

My first week on the ward, 

A demented woman looked through me, 

Through the fog of her mind and my past,

And cried for the child I was.

It shook me how much she knew.

I’m prepared for it now, but it still shakes me at times.

Another kissed my face and hugged me, thanked a coworker for all that we do,

And said “He’s coming for me soon” – 

The blood is flowing, and so are my tears –

I don’t want to see her go,

But I fear it won’t be long now.

.

The art of healing

Has changed much. 

But it’s heart remains the same.

.

I tell myself it had to have been simpler,

One time, in a far-distant past –

But was it ever really?

.

Asklepios, Eir,

All the Gods and Goddesses of Healing,

I pray to You now. 

Guide my hands and steady my heart,

Odin, give me the strength to grid my loins to walk back into my daily battle

Dionysos cleanse me of the miasma I face daily

Athena help me to learn and absorb the knowledge of my elders in this field,

Sigyn bless me with compassion and empathy,

And may all my Gods and Goddesses and spirits 

Bless me as I walk the path of the Healer.

Spring break Update

Spring has sprung here in the Midwest. Snow has melted and the birds are flocking to the feeders in my yard. We are still supposed to have some ups and downs, but I think the worst of it is over. It’s still rainy, but to me the rain is far less bleak. Soon, soon, the world with be a lush green again, because Persephone has ascended from the underworld, joined Her mother Demeter, and becomes the Spring Maiden again.

Ostara, or the Spring Equinox, was last Sunday. I wish I had been able to do more involved rituals, but my week was taken up by my med tech training at work. My boss was kind enough to plan it around my school schedule. As always, I still do my DAILY prayers and meditations, every morning. Those are a priority and never change. Mother Nature cooperated, and the weather was beautiful and sunny, so I went to the zoo as my celebration of spring. I spent most of my time hanging out with the tigers. I realized later that it’s the Chinese Year of the Tiger, so this is apparently the engery of the year. All big cats belong to Dionysos in the Hellenism, and Freja in Heathenry. I visited the hawks too, but the Tigers I sat on a chair and just watched them. The other guests kept refering to the tigers as “him” but they are girls, a pair of sisters. I almost meditately tried to commune with the tigers, but they were not interested in speaking with me. So I watched from afar and I prayed before and afterwards. Now that I type this, I wish that I had taken libations to pour, or some sort of offering. I did make a small donation, and that is an offering of sorts. Ah well, lesson learned.  I loved it, and I’m considering getting a membership. When I lived in Tucson, my brother and I had a family membership to the Reid Zoo, and went there to hang out with the critters when we were down. It was an instant mood-booster. We have less capybaras here. I suppose the Midwest weather does not agree with them.

My midterm grades were a B and C, but I can probably drag that Chemistry grade up to another B. I am such a perfectionist, that part of me wants to drop out if I can’t get an A, and retake the class. But that’s a terrible strategy to actually graduate, not to mention costly. No one cares if you have a 4.0 gpa but never finished! I have to be okay with being a solid B student with a few As and a few Cs. 

I deleted several of my social media accounts. Some of them permanently. Facebook I am probably just taking a temporary break from. I have not decided yet. But Reddit I am leaving permanently.  It’s depressing and miasmic and a horrible timesuck. I write more when I’m not on social media. For me, that’s reason enough to not have much of a social media presence. I haven’t figured out how to delete Instagram, but I haven’t posted there in forever. My WordPress and my YouTube I am keeping. Those are actual creative platforms, where I do more than post memes and get in pointless arguments (usually). I think Facebook will be deactivated for another month, at least. It takes 30 days to build a habit but I’m not sure if it takes 30 days to break one.

I’m not wrapping up this ending well, but to be honest, I don’t care much. I’m tired and cranky and I have too much to do. This is the end of my Spring Break update.

How to Help — Gangleri’s Grove

I don’t have a lot to say right now, I’m still processing what’s going on in Ukraine. I wish I could be more eloquent. Ever feel like we are a huge point in history that everyone around you is just ignoring? I have so much to do if I want to keep up with school, and it’s hard to function right now. Massive respect to President Zelensky, who has not only stayed in the capital but went out to fight in the streets for his country. THAT is a real leader, that NO ONE from either side of our policital aisle would do. I’m sharing a list of charities from Galina Krasskova, I’ve made a few small donations to Razom (a Ukraine-specific charity) and the UN Crisis Relief. If you can, I implore you to donate something, even $10. If not, that’s okay. Pray. Prayers are always called for.

For those wishing to help the Ukraine but who don’t know how or what to do , here is a list of organizations and charities to which you can consider donating. Many of them are medical. Ukrainian president Zelensky has put on fatigues and joined his people on the street with arms defending Kyiv, apparently […]

How to Help — Gangleri’s Grove

Keep Going, Don’t Stop Your Devotions

So I got Between the Worlds: Notes From the Threshold, by Sarah Kate Istra Winter (also called Dver, also called Oinokhoe). I recently read most of it while I was on a one-night solo camping trip. I did this last week, one of my last fun things before school started. Spiritually, I took this trip to reconnect with my Deities and re-center myself after I went through some stuff. I took my drum and I went deep enough in the woods of a friend’s property, so I would not be disturbed, not to a communal campground (just ….. no.) I drummed and sang and poured offerings to the spirits and read a couple books just focused on my religion, I prayed and I pathwalked and honestly? I wish I had enough time to be out there for more than the 27 or so hours that I was.  It was great and refreshing but I’ll keep most of the experience to myself.

There’s actually a LOT to discuss in this book, just like the first one ( Dwelling on the Threshold: Reflections of a Spirit-Worker and Devotional Polytheist ). I highly recommend them both, lots of food for thought that can deepen your practice and your connection to your Gods and spirits. But what I really want to talk about is “Do Not Stop Your Devotions” on page 130. Ms. Winter discusses a frequent problem seen in the pagan/Polytheist community, even among the very devout. During times of crisis, a stressful change, or even something good happening, like a celebration along the lines of a wedding, people justify stopping their practices for a while. Now, we’re human. It’s understandable if you miss a day sometimes. But when it adds up, it starts to become a problem. And there is a trend, at least with the most vocal of folk on the internet, where most people will justify why they are shelving their devotions.

This is definitely a problem with modernity and the modern perspective. The more you study the ancient world and try to shift into ancient worldview, the more you will hopefully move away from that. We need more actual worship in the community, and less Paganism-as-Political-Theater, please. She goes on to discuss the practical problems that giving up (or, hopefully, just “pausing” ) your spiritual activities can cause. Namely, you feel less connected to the Gods (No! Really?) and then your motivation to do these practices in the first place can wane more. It becomes a cycle that feeds on itself. I have experienced this unfortunate phenomena myself. She makes this further point, probably more eloquently than I can: 

“The first problem with this is that it is evidence of a certain internal prioritization that I find sadly common amongst even supposedly committed pagans – religion is separated from “life” and not valued as highly as “life stuff” like relationships, career, etc. Of course when “life stuff” gets in the way, religion is going to take a backseat, right? But it doesn’t have to be like that. One can choose to make religion a priority, just as important or more so than any of life’s ups and downs.”

This has been so true in my experience. I’m not sure if I will ever get back to where Athena and I used to be. The other Gods (seem to) have forgiven my indiscretions. But I still feel somewhat disconnected from Athena, and I’m not sure if that will ever be completely remedied. It’s a little disconcerting, but all I can do pick up and keep going, trying to make up and hope for the best.

“It might seem understandable that when feeling overwhelmed or in crises, one might let go of a part of ones life that doesn’t seem immediately urgent – the gods are always there, after all, and will be when the crisis is over. But not only is it extremely rude to neglect Them when it becomes difficult to do your practices (and less likely that They’ll come through with assistance if you’re not maintaining reciprocity) it is almost guaranteed to dig you even deeper into the pit you’re already in, emotionally and spiritually speaking. Because having that powerful connection to the divine requires consistent work. Like muscles that atrophy without exercise, your sense of closeness with the gods with weaken the longer you starve it.”

I’ve been pretty good at keeping my practices up through a lot of life changes, like moving and changing jobs and now starting school. Even through struggles with depression, I have kept my practice up. My writing on this blog or making videos for my YouTube channel may drop off, but if I have to choose, I will always choose real life spiritual experiences to writing about them. The writing and videos are an extra, an enhancement to my spiritual practice, not a replacement for worship in the physical world. 

My weakness – and I suppose we all have one – is men. Relationships. Oof, I hate that admission. I can’t even call it love in some cases, but limerence and infatuation can take a toll on my spiritual connections. Yes, you can make an argument that it’s a sacred gift of Aphrodite, buuuut …. Come on. We all know it’s not always a gift. Sometimes it’s destructive. Even in myth. Another reason to stay celibate until I figure my shit out, I suppose. And, for women with my background, my specific traumas, which I’m not going to detail, it’s not unusual. I’m aware of all this. And it’s still difficult to break the pattern. For a while, I’m gonna be too damn busy to date anyway. It’s going to be a bit of a balancing act to do work and school and make my religious life a priority, and still nurture the few friendships I have that are important to me. Social life is still about to go down to almost nil. Men are just not even on the radar anymore.

My morning routine has changed, since I detailed parts of it in my video 4 Tips and Tricks to Change Your Mindset (link here). I still pray every morning. Meditation has been getting more difficult for me lately, due to some “life stuff”, but I still attempt it. The praying is the most important part of it for me. If I have time, I sit in front of the altar for a while. I used to write in my affirmation journal every single day, but with as much as I have been working, something in my routine had to give and it wasn’t going to be the prayers. I experimented with doing prayers and the affirmation journal on alternating days, but discarded that. I’m human and I do miss days, I’m not saying I’m perfect. But I prefer to pray every single day. I try to write in my affirmation journal once a week, but that doesn’t happen as much now either. I had been doing it steadily for 2, almost 3 years, and it may have served its purpose. I do, however, listen to a YouTube video of “morning gratitude affirmations” every morning, while I stumble to the coffee maker and take the dogs out and do all the morning things before prayers. It’s less active than writing in the journal, and maybe since I am often still in a semi-conscious state when I begin, it will dig into my psyche more.

I am still struggling to come up with an appropriate religious evening routine. Evening is often when I decompress after a long day, and procrastination is my eternal enemy. It was quite a while before I got my morning routine to become second nature, so it’s okay if it takes some adjustment. I’m still working the evening part out, but I am still practicing my morning prayers every day!

I’m going to end on another quote from Sarah.

“Avoiding the urge to compartmentalize them as outside of my spiritual life (because nothing is outside my spiritual life). I needed instead to integrate them fully and keep taking all the powerful emotions they engendered and turning those over to my gods and spirits, again and again.”

Well said. Yes, nothing is outside my spiritual life. I am not a Full Moon Pagan. I am a Pagan all the time and I live my values at all times. 

Some Thoughts on Money and Energy

I might be a little more scattered than usual in this video. I have been feeling a push to share this particular theme, so here it is. It’s not just instructions on how to make a prosperity bowl, but a few thoughts about the spiritual aspects of money, and the negative beliefs surrounding it that many people have. I have more to say on that subject, actually, but time is a limited resource, and I am eternally busy. I am happy to have created this however. The Panathenaia video is still coming, but will probably be late.

A Few Words on Lughnasadh

Look! I actually made this one BEFORE the festival in question! By like a day, but, that’s progress for me! Also probably because this particular festival is not that big of a deal for me in my personal practice, but I thought it was important to cover. Now, will I be able to make my planned Panathenaia video before said festival is over, that’s the question ……