Spirit: Re-sprouting

Wow… It’s been over 6 years since I last posted here. Winter 2014 was just before I became a very busy community college student that put way~ too much on their plate. In 2015 I moved to Washington State and it was just this last December that I moved back to Maryland after finally finishing my Bachelor’s degree. During this time that I was living in Washington, my connection to my spirituality dwindled and then withered until eventually becoming dormant. I had a connection, a community, and a family with the circle I had joined here in Columbia, MD. Before I moved away, I was still practicing and deeply rooted to my spirituality, even though I wasn’t making time to post here, but… after I moved, I wasn’t practicing much anymore. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t active either.

Since last fall, little things keep popping up in my life that have that have left little seeds of spirit waking back up. First it was a book I came across in a store, then I moved back and my mom started suggesting we go back to the circle I used to go to, and then suddenly I started finding different instagram accounts with artists that created all manner of things witchy. The last couple years in Washington I was living in Seattle, so moving back to Columbia meant getting to see a lot more of the sky again and on a daily basis too. I don’t drive and so in Seattle I was often stuck to certain parts, usually my college campus. It’s a pretty campus, but I really forgot how much sky you can see all at once until I moved back; and how many trees you can see stretch into the distance. It’s strange how the mind’s imagination can get blocked by the concrete forests of cities as much as your actual eyes can.

Now, I’m back and I want so much to get in touch with everything again, to get in touch with my spirituality again. I’m hesitant though because I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 years. I see how much appropriation there is in neo-paganism, spiritual this or that, and while I can see the systems and history that brought many of us (particularly white pagans) to these practices and pieces that are not our own, I’ve been struggling to figure out what I will do instead.

Here is my answer so far: focus on my context.

What does that even mean?

Well, religions and mythologies and spiritual practices were created, given voice, re-interpreted, and set in certain times, places and communities. These people had certain values, lived in specific places with certain ecology, and they lived their lives in a particular way. I live in Maryland in the United States. I find that it’s important to respect the land I’m on and find a way to be connected to it. How can I do that if my spirituality revolves completely around Irish Celtic traditions that use native plants to Ireland? Land and location is just one part though, time is also important and can make for very big differences to be considered.

So what is my context?

Well… There is a lot to it. Let’s start with the basics: It’s the year 2020 and I live in a central part of Maryland in the United States. What else? A lot of my family’s ancestry comes from Western Europe, the easiest bit to retrace being the part that came from Ireland. I could easily pick up a book or two from my bookshelf and find all kinds of ancient Irish traditions (their accuracy a post for another time). However, those books cannot address the other parts of my context like where I currently live and could be difficult to relate to my life as it is in 2020 (versus how ancient people lived).

I live in a technology saturated world. It’s incredibly important to me because it’s the majority way that I consume music, stories (TV and movies), play games, as well as make and sustain connections with friends and family. I have friends all over the world, in fact most of my friends live nowhere near me. As a writer and artist, as a past and future student, technology is continually a part of my craftsmanship and my education as well. So, a spirituality and practice that doesn’t involve technology will leave out a huge part of my life.

My context is also about who I am. I’m a queer, non-binary man with a past and present that necessitate a spiritual connection that addresses this queerness. I can’t jump back into a telling of deities, spirits, guardians and certainly not a high power that is tied in a gender binary. There can’t just be gods and goddesses for me. I need something more than that.

Certainly, in a 2020 world living in the United States, I need a spirituality that addresses injustice and the importance of creating community in a world that makes it very difficult. It’s difficult, again, because of the time and because of who I am, a white person and a queer person, and it’s difficult because of this globalized world of quarantines, shifting politics, and most of all… technology. I’m usually so absorbed in all my activities online that I often forget that I have a community with those I live nearby because we are connected by land if nothing else and land is nothing inconsequential.

Now what?

My context is all over the place. It’s very difficult to reconcile the differences between them. How can I give space, give time, and do justice to one and still give that to another? These are things I have very little answers to yet. I think about it a lot. This is not something that can be easily answered but instead are like seeds of intention. These are things I value and areas I want to grow in. Growth doesn’t happen very fast. As I water these intentions with careful consideration, with conversations, exploration, and experimentation, I will share with you what I find.

But I can tell you of those seeds I mentioned at the beginning of this post, that have drawn me back in and made me aware of how much I want to be connected again:

The book:

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Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliott (goodreads link)

The Instagram accounts:  there are a few shops on there that make very cool items many a witch would really love, but the main account that has really got me thinking about how technology can mix with older traditions is this account @brujaxtropical. Casting spells by sharing posts or commenting on them is just some of the major insights I’ve made through following this account (which is still fairly new actually). That account is certainly run by two geniuses.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and I hope you got something out of it. Getting my thoughts out there and attempting to organize them was certainly helpful for me. Sending my love to all of y’all, love and many wishes for good health and good luck.

Blessed be ❤ ❤ ❤

Spirit: Financial Aid Ritual

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It’s seems my financial aid for the upcoming semesters is in a state of limbo, the reason for which I have no idea. I hope it all works out, hopefully it will. For the mean time I adapted a previous ritual to amp up the impact. The prayers I have said for this ritual I can’t much remember. Always it had to do with the feeding and nourishment the elements have with one another especially concerning air and earth.

The altar is split in two halves. One half is for the dieties of Justice. Correspondences to dieties of Justice that I had on hand were/are:
* Color – Dark Blue and purple: Everything rested on my altar cloth which is a rag carpet which shades of purple and I used blue paper to write Financial Aid on to focus my energy
* Animals – Unicorn: I had a picture of a unicorn
* Stones – Ameythst: I have two pieces and a necklace with an ameythyst pendant
* Direction – North: I used my North candle which was also in a smoky blue candle holder
* Tool – Cauldron: the picture is sitting on top of the cauldron

The second half was for dieties of Illumination, the Sun, and Healing. Correspondences for these dieties that I had on hand are:
* Color – Gold, Pale Yellow: I had a gold colored decorative fan, I used yellow candles, and I used yellow paper to write financial aid on to focus my energy
* Animals – Snake: I have a dark gold colored ring that has two snakes twining on it that I placed on the fan
* Stones – Pyrite: I placed maybe five pieces of pyrite on the fan
* Direction – East: I placed my East candle which was also in a marigold colored candle holder
* Tool – Wand: Now, I have a wand that I don’t use which I put on the fan but I also had the staff I do use by the set-up

Between the two I have a candle that has blue and yellow on it to bind the two together

The days since I set this up, the weather has been threatening great rain storms but had only twinkled. I collected rain water the day or so before I set this up thankfully and have been sprinkling the set-up to symbolically fertilize the ritual

During the next big rain, which is hopefully soon, I will perform a longer and more energy raising rite with this altar to energize it more.

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Spirit: _ by Nick Brandt

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I don’t know if these husks were attained by poaching or not.

If they were from poaching… How does this happen? How can you change the minds of someone who thinks this is okay?…

If they weren’t, then a powerful picture but I’ll remind those what this picture reminded me of: Endangered animals like Elephants are hunted and killed everyday by poachers. Many times it’s because these poachers are in dire straits due to poverty and hunger and this is a way to eat or make money through trading in the black market. I would hope i wouldn’t do anything like that if put in the same position… It’s crazy to think about. You never know.

Source: http://earthandanimals.tumblr.com/post/50442081404

Favorite Local Places: Appalachian Trail Section #3 – Wolfsville Rd to Route 40

On January 12th, I started my attempt to hike the all the Maryland Appalachian Trail Hikes (offered through Howard County Recreation and Parks). The first one offered was Section #3. February 9th is Section #2 and in March will be #1. There are 7 sections I think. Either way, by the end of the year, I hope to finish them all. If I do, in a three year time span, I earn a patch. I earn a 100 mile patch if I accumalate another 60 odd miles on Virginia and Pennsylvania trail sections offered through Howard County Recreations and Parks. I hope to get both, though that won’t be easy if I transfer where I’m planning to transfer (as of last fall – UNLV). It was (is) January so the landscape was drawn in browns, whites, and the pale blue of the sky. It was also incredibly misty/foggy so when we reached a summit to look out over, the distant line of mountains was nearly invisible as was almost half the view. The mountains in the distance, when you could any of it, was merely a dark blue line tracing the horizon, weaving in and out of fog. I highly suggest hiking the section though I’m sure it looks much prettier in the spring, summer, or fall. It’s 8.4 miles and begins with a steep hike up, which was a bit dangerous when I went with the snow on the ground, hiding rocks everywhere. It’s moderately difficult terrain and I suffered some foot injuries so make sure to tie your boots tie, expect stumbling on some rocks if you want to look away from the ground, and don’t go if you can’t or don’t think you’re ready for an 8.4 mile hike. It was tough, even for the four youngest people there (I am included). Most were 40 and above with some late 20 and 30 year olds there. I fell back on the second half or so till I was the last while the 3 other youngest ones were at the front. Like I said, I was at the back and I’m 21, turning 22 on the 29th. Age means little, it’s your health and fitness that make a difference. When I jogged at Centennial Lake, I always got lapped by joggers and runners older than me, some surely into their 60’s and 70’s.

I hope you look check into going on these trail sections. We go in groups and you drive to the park n ride in Long Gate (Ellicott City) where we take a van the rest of the way to the starting point. It’s $17 to $20 and you do have to bring your own snacks and lunch. They start in the morning (8am) and end in the middle of the afternoon (4pm or later depending on traffic and other complications of the sort). Plus, we stop for ice cream at Baskin Robbins on the way back. 🙂

Unfortunately, my pictures are a bit worse than usual. I wasn’t thinking about how hard I had sweat and that it was getting on the camera lens and I had forgot to extra clean the lens before embarking leaving the house. Sorry.

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