Spiritual Goals for 2010

Everybody has their lists of resolutions and I’ve already added my own in the form of environmentalist goals (some of which are harder to keep than others due to hubris). I’m working hard to try and remember my reusable bags and Ron and I have exclusively been purchasing eco-friendly recycled, degradable, chlorine-free toilet paper and paper towels. (We make the paper towels last by only using them for cleaning our ferret cage and getting cat vomit off the carpet. Truly nasty messes. We use rags made from old tshirts for everything else.)

But I have other goals, some of which could have been posted on my list of eco-friendly goals. Anyway, here is what I want to do more of in 2010.

1) Improve My Gardening Skills – This year finds me in a first floor apartment. I’m not allowed to change the landscaping in any way, but I do have a nice little patio. Last year I started a container garden and I still have some of the plants – catnip, chives, and even a tomato plant that has yet to flower! I want to build on my garden this year. Last year I planted beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. Everything was started from heirloom seeds. This year I want to add radishes, peppers, cucumbers, and maybe some eggplant. I’d like to add more herbs as well including oregano.

2) Frequent the Farmers’ Market – Watertown has a great farmers’ market every Wednesday in the summer. I was only able to visit once in August, the month we moved to the North Country. This year I want to take advantage of all the locally grown food. While I’m hoping to get the bulk of my tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and herbs from home, I could buy more tomatoes, peppers, and cukes at the market. I could also buy potatoes, squash, corn, and other such yummies.

3) Sew More For My Spirituality – I want to make myself a warm cloak to wear to rituals. My husband could use one as well. I’m hoping to attend Wellspring and would love to make a banner to decorate our tent. I want to ask my grove what they want from me because I would love to give back.

4) Start the Generalist Study Program and the Artisan Guild Study Program. I also want to try getting accepted to the Initiate Study Program. Druidism and ADF have become important to me and I want to learn more and give back.

5) Contribute articles to OL and send more in to Tribeways. Again, giving back.

6) And as always – I want to meditate more.

What are your spiritual goals?

Prayer Before Eating

I thank the Earth Mother for the food before me.

I thank the men and women who toiled in field, farm, and kitchen to bring this meal to me.

I thank the plants and animals who had to die so that I could live.

(Inspired and partly borrowed from Isaac Bonewits.)

I firmly believe that modern Druidism, despite what my Celtic ancestors may or may not have believed, is an earth-centered religion. Given the food crisis some countries are facing and the environmental impact our agricultural industry has on Mama Earth, I feel that, at the very least, I can offer a prayer of thanks. As a vegetarian, I have to recognized that some animals were harmed in the production of my salad or wheat cereal in the form of the destruction of a habitat, perhaps even pesticides, or a tractor wheel… I have to thank the plants that I am taking into me.

Do you pray before eating? Why or why not? What do you say?

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.