Friday, October 20, 2006

Wannabe Drummer

I'm sitting here typing and listening to Freakwitch practicing in the basement. I wanna be a drummer! I need to somehow make it a priority (i.e. find the money) to get the djembe I've been talking about getting for months. B. is going to give me some lessons. And my Mom is going to learn, too - we both want to get a drum soon. I really like B.'s drumming, both kit and doumbek. And I just feel like I have a natural affinity for rhythms and beats. That's always what I follow the most when I'm dancing. Sure, I groove to the melody, but the rhythm always calls to me. Ah well, for now I'm just a wannabe!

What to do with Strong Emotions

I've been feeling a lot of strong emotions lately, and trying to figure out what to do with them. Ideally, it's best to feel the emotion fully in the moment, and let it flow through you, not becoming attached to it. Sometimes, though, I'm in a situation where it's not appropriate to cry or show anger, such as in the workplace. In that case, I tend to supress the feeling, but then find that I do have to deal with it sooner or later, and sometimes it has grown bigger in the interim.

The emotions that I have the most trouble with are ones that are essentially reactions to other people's strong emotions. I am an empath, and when someone around me is feeling something very strongly, I tend to pick up on it and either share the feeling, or blame myself for it in some way, which can cause other emotions to arise. Usually if it's a situation that makes me upset, I can let go of it pretty quickly. But dealing with others' feelings is more difficult.

In the past I tended to process my emotions internally, in my head or in a journal, rather than speaking out loud about them with others. More recently I've been in situations where I've been doing a lot of verbal processing, which has been both good and bad. Good, in that I can get ideas and new perspectives from talking with friends. Bad, in that it tends to tire me out very quickly. And it can also be a burden on the friends.

So now I'm trying to find a good balance for all of this. To be open and honest with those I love, without overburdening them with my emotions. To process things internally, without hanging onto them in an unhealthy way. To express my emotions authentically as they come up, but not let them control me. As I write this, it seems to me that what I'm working with is a basic aspect of being human, and learning to be a better person.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Touching the Ancestors

As the Wheel of the Year winds down and the earth prepares to sleep, it’s time to turn our thoughts to Samhain. Traditionally, this is a holiday when pagans honor our ancestors and beloved dead, while the veil between the worlds is thin and the dark nights grow longer. Often this means cooking their favorite foods and setting a place for them at the Samhain feast. But what are some other ways to honor and connect with those who have crossed over?

If you have friends or family members who have passed away within the past few years, perhaps you wish to create something new to honor their memory. Writing a poem or song, embroidering a wall hanging, or building a rock garden are some examples of a creative tribute. Use your imagination, and as you work, focus on happy memories of times you spent with your loved one. If you like, charge your creation in sacred space, dedicating it to the spirit of the person it’s made for.

Another way to honor your ancestors is to find out new things about them. Ask your elders about people in your family or community you were too young to know or remember. You may discover many funny or poignant stories by asking questions and then sitting back and just listening. At a recent family gathering, I discovered that the cat symbol I have drawn since I was a kid (and which contributed to my choice of pagan name) came from times I spent drawing with my Mom’s favorite eccentric aunt, when I was really little. I’ll certainly be honoring Great Aunt Ruby as part of my Samhain ritual this year!

You can also, with a little research, discover something new about your family’s culture of origin. Go beyond the stereotypes of what it means to be of French or Celtic or African descent, perhaps unearthing an old song or folk tradition that you can use in your Samhain celebration. Or dig a bit deeper, and discover the reason *why* a particular custom or tradition was handed down as part of the culture’s lore.

Many of us also honor spiritual ancestors, who may or may not be blood-related. Who are those who went before, whose lives have brought meaning to your own? Women during the Burning Times? The anonymous “conductors” for the Underground Railroad? Native Americans who walked this land centuries ago? Find a way to honor them this Samhain, perhaps leaving an offering in the woods or garden. Find or create a piece of jewelry to wear as a tribute to them, or burn a candle on your altar in their memory, on the days leading up to Samhain.

There are many ways to honor our beloved dead. Samhain is an especially good time to do so, but it’s also important to remember them throughout the Wheel of the Year. Perhaps you could set up an altar or shrine of photographs and special items passed down from past generations. Or simply send them a prayer, song, or mental “thank you” when you think of them. By remembering our ancestors and paying tribute to them in some way, we continue the thread of love and magick woven through the tapestry of our lives, passing it along eventually to those who come after us, and continuing the legacy of our evolving spirituality. Blessed Be!

Don't Read This Entry

Yes, this is one of those oh-wow-life-has-been-so-busy-I-haven't-written-in-forever entires. Boring, I know. So, don't read it. Move on to what's next. Unless you really can't help yourself.

The summer and early fall have been (obviously) quite busy and full. There were sad parts and happy parts and amazing things and painful things and fun times. The kids are both in soccer, and loving it as usual - Dryst got asked to be on a travel team and he's really enjoying that. I'm actually thinking maybe I'll join an adult soccer team myself. Weird, I know.

Mystic Quickpaw is now 6 months old and is so cute and wonderful!

I've been doing some writing here and there, and cultivating my creativity. A good friend and I are going to write a cookbook, which is exciting! I've been eating mostly vegan, which feels great.

Not sure what I've forgotten. And here's the usual vow: I'll try to be better about writing here. Really!