Trance Dance

“Moving Meditation” has been something I’ve heard more and more about this past year. I’ve read various articles about it and the luck some have with it over more traditional/stereotypical forms – still meditations, if you will. Sitting quietly and letting my mind alternate between quieting and exploring have always worked well for me except for when I’m wound up, tired, or angry. The first time I really tried a walking meditation was at the Mohawk Valley Pagan Network’s “Workshop Day” in the summer of ’09. The welcoming and patient Seraphoenix lead a workshop on labyrinths. It included some basic history and lore, construction ideas, modern uses, and a walkthrough. Although I never reached any depth of being or had any visions, I was able to still my mind very easily. I was too focused on my feet and where I was going to think of anything else. I was feeling congested that day and was amazed at my sudden ability to “clear my mind” without having to focus on my breath – a truly annoying task when one has a cold.

The next time I tried a labyrinth was at the CNY Pagan Pride Day in Liverpool, NY. They set up a simple labyrinth using small posts placed in the grass. One could walk it at any time of the day which was very convenient. I really enjoyed it and hope to see it at a future PPD.

Today I was listening to music and suddenly found myself engaging in what I’ve realized to be my favorite form of moving meditation – dancing. Only I’ve never danced this way before. Usually my dance moves are inspired by pop music, tribal fusion, and belly dance. Oh and I’ve got a little Beatles head wobble and Cotton Eye Joe too. 😛 But tonight… I just… I let go completely and just … threw my body around? I suppose that makes it sound violent which it wasn’t. I was just literally dancing like nobody was watching and throwing myself into a very tribal sounding piece by a favorite band of mine called Faun. The song was Lynansa and it has a pulsing, chanting energy that made my body want to jerk forward and backwards while simultaneously swaying from right to left. The repetitive motion very nearly took me somewhere else – until I realized what was happening. I HATE that! It happens so often to me lately! Whenever I’m just about to break into a deep trance or, perhaps, astrally project, my body snaps out of it. It’s frustrating… However I must be optimistic and admit a minor victory in that I think I truly felt what it meant to trance dance.

It was also an amazing workout…

In other news, I rather liked this top-5 list of best environmental films! Enjoy!

Sylvia Lake

My husband and I explored Sylvia Lake. It’s off RT 8-12, near Gouverneur, NY. The lake was frozen and lovely. I attempted to write a short poem about it as a visualization practice but it’s goofy and not something I want to share. Still, I think it helped me crystalize the imagery in my head. I recommend the practice to anyone who wants to remember a time or a place.

Anyway, we took some photos. The public swimming and picnic area was closed off but we were able to get a few shots of the lake. My husband, a former photography major, wasn’t very pleased with them, though.

There was also a lovely, massive boulder covered in graffiti. I liked it for some reason… I’ve always liked things that made me feel small. It’s comforting.

It was a fun area to explore and it felt nice to be outside with the Nature Spirits. I look forward to the summer when we can go swimming and get some nicer photos of the lake.

Neat!

It seems to be working. My LJ is private. I use it to keep in touch with people I know and/or trust. It allows me to share intimate details about my life. I want my “North Country Pagan” blog to remain private while being open to the public if that makes sense. I want to post my Pagan thoughts and experiences but in a way that is anonymous and accessible. At the same time, I want to share those with my friends through lj. Now I can save time copying and pasting!

Thanks to my clever husband for the help.

Resolutions?

I’m going to put in more of an effort when it comes to bringing reusable bags with me while shopping. I need to remember to say “no thank you” when a cashier starts to bag an item. If I forget my bags, I need to buy less and carry it out in my hands/purse or not purchase anything at all. That would certainly help my wallet. 😛

I also want to only buy eco-friendly cleaning products and even attempt to make some of my own.

Also, I want to learn to bike. This sounds so stupid, I’m sure, but I rarely biked as a youngster. I was scared without training wheels so I gave up. Now I’m more determined than ever to improve so that I can bike to work. (When it’s not crappy out.)

In addition, I want to continue the environmentally friendly practices I’m developing – composting, gardening more and more, recycling, using cloth towels more than paper, etc… I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It’s both a little and a lot… I guess.

Spiritually I want to spend more time meditating and even improve my divinatory practices. I really let those fall to the wayside.

Happy secular New Year everyone!

Full Moon Meditation

I’m an ADF Druid. I tried OBOD but it just wasn’t the best fit for me. That said, OBOD has a great many things I find of value. One gem I found while researching what I could possibly do to commemorate the moon was meditate on world peace. A lot of people seem to practice healing magic during the full moon (because it’s at its climax and will decrease). Focusing on world peace is a lot like healing.

Now, I’m not so naive as to think that there can ever be total world peace. I’ve read enough history and know my own nature. But I think you can agree that it would be nice, or that, at least, there are some places that could be more peaceful. I started to focus on that and quickly began to think about how peace should begin at home. I need to work on being my own internal peacekeeper. I’m a passionate person and this sometimes translates to anger and hostility. I need to work on stepping back and taking a breath.

I also thought a lot about what the moon means to me in terms of Druidism. Is it just a symbol? Should I think of it as an eye watching over me, like the sun? Is Airinhod (sp?) really a lunar type deity? I’ve done little work with Welsh Gods. I should do more research…

Moons and Meditations

(I posted this to my old lj a couple days ago… I figured I should put it here…)

There’s supposed to be a full moon tomorrow. My friend and fellow Pagan, Katrina, challenged MVPN members to work with the moon each month for a year. I’m going to try and take her up on that. I’ve always loved the moon and I’ve often thought about meditating on it. I think I may try what OBOD suggests and meditate on world peace during days of the full moon. The Henge of Keltria often focuses on healing and that fits in nicely with the theme. I’m not sure what to do on New Moons… Maybe internal or other magical work?

I meditated last night and had a pretty successful … journey? I don’t know. It felt like a waking lucid dream perhaps… I blame the glass of wine I had immediately before I began. I was fully in an internal world of my making – my own dream nemeton – and was able to make decisions and communicate but at the same time I felt pulled by things. I ended up visiting a rock Katrina often leads us to in guided meditations. I’ve been visiting for years and I always find An Dagda there. He had a lot to say about my tribe. I then found Brighid and she encouraged me to work on more artistic pursuits, especially in regards to Druidism. Lugh appeared and he demanded offerings… I don’t often experience things like that. Perhaps I will also do that tomorrow? He does deserve it. I pray to him whenever Ron or I go somewhere. I thank him when we arrive but, considering that we discovered only one of our brakes was functioning for months… He really does deserve more.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

A month or so ago, an upcoming movie was brought to my attention – “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The plot sounded interesting and I’m a sucker for anything involving mythology. Although I consider myself a liberal Celtic Reconstructionist and NeoDruid, Greek mythology will always have a special place in my heart. It was what I was first exposed to. Indeed, my favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon was a series of animated Greek myths!

When I found out that the movie was based on a book I decided to find it and read it. I’m a bit out of touch with juvenile fiction. As an English major I was far too busy reading old classics to have time to read anything else! When I had free time to read what I wanted, I found myself reading history and NeoPagan studies. As a college grad with some time on my hands, I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did.

The first book, which shares the movie title, follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, and his friends as they race to recover Zeus’ stolen thunder bolt to its rightful owner in order to prevent a massive war. The book, in my opinion, is Harry Potter meets American Gods. There is a world of mortals and a world of Gods, monsters, and Godlings or half-Gods. This classification is the witch/wizard and muggle world of Harry Potter, I suppose. The Godlings even have a special place to go in the summer called “Camp Half-Blood” where they learn to be better heros (because that’s what people with divine parents naturally become!). It reminds me of Gaiman’s wonderful book because the Gods are very much alive, interacting with the mortal world, and have modern touches. Poseidon, for instance, wears a beach shirt and his throne looks like a fisherman’s chair. Whimsical touches like that really make the book enjoyable.

The colloquial first-person narration was, at times, annoying, but that could stem from the fact that I generally don’t read juvenile fiction. I did get used to it but there were times when it was a bit jarring. The story was fun but some elements were predictable (or didn’t add up to the mythology I studied in college – but most of it was really well done). That said, I can’t wait to read the next one! It was a relaxing and enjoyable read. I can definitely see myself reading it to any children I have.

Sigh of Relief

After the holidays are over, I can’t help but sigh with relief. It’s a busy time, especially when you’re a Pagan from a Christian family! My parents, sister, and future brother-in-law were nice enough to come up and celebrate the Winter Solstice with the hubby and I. This past weekend being Christmas, we went down to celebrate with them. It’s a two hour drive and it can be kind of annoying, especially when you have to go through the Snow Belt and there’s freezing rain… But it’s worth it. I love seeing my family even when the occasion isn’t one I care about in a religious sense. My husband, an agnostic, remarked that he enjoyed having two celebrations. Not because of gifts, though. We’ve never lived this far from our family and friends. We miss them and love seeing them.

Truly, whatever your religion is, just being with family is the most important thing in the chill of the winter.

I hope you had a peaceful, loving holiday!