Wow. Did anyone else see those two months fly by?
Looks like I've been a delinquent blogger. I'll just have to owe y'all one. For starters, I think today merits a nice long ramble about priestessing, deities, conventions, Playstations, luck, and other such interesting topics.
Let's start with Priestessing and see where I wind up, shall we?
Firstly, assume I'm talking about Priesting as well, if you please. I just don't feel like typing "priestess/priest" and other variants every time the term comes up. Much obliged.
There are so many levels of priestessing within the Pagan community. A priestess of the Craft, a priestess of the Gods, a member of a clergy, a minister of some sort. A teacher. That's just off the top of my head - I'm certain there are lots more.
For me, a priestess is first of the gods. Then the community. Calling myself a priestess of the Craft doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I suppose it could also work if I were describing in an appropriate context. I do not consider myself a clergy person, nor do I embue myself with ministerial duties. I suppose one could say that by including the community I am including such things as ministerial functions, but I feel that there is a subtle difference between the two. A teacher? A priestess may be a teacher but it is certainly not a requirement.
To address the ministerial function vs. serving the community bit: the idea of clergy and ministers seems to come from people with a certain kind of Christian background who feel that people need a bit more guidance, that they need to be taken care of and led just a bit. In contrast, my idea of serving the community is to help them access the gods. Whether by direct contact, by presenting celebration and ritual that communicates and/or feeds both celebrants and deities, by giving divination if it is requested, by answering questions and sharing ideas as best and honestly as I can, by appreciating the rich resources within my community - all of these ultimately serve my gods.
Did I mention I'd be rambling?
I am acting as a teacher right now, working with a group that is potentially a new coven in my chosen tradition, NROOGD. But I am learning an amazing amount as we go on, if not more than the folks I'm teaching. When I first initiate one of them, I expect it to be a further initiation for myself. I may be an "elder" in my tradition, but that was only the beginning.
The best part about teaching this sort of thing is that it's the best kind of teaching. I'm presenting concepts, symbols, ideas, and such that both contradict and support each other and other accepted teachings. I'm presenting these things in as many ways as I can and the goal is for each person in the group to develop their own interpretation and meaning of these things.
The other best part is when I introduce them to various beings and deities and they mirror their own interactions back for the group. It adds depth and dimension to them that live outside of my own personal context. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
Did I mention that Coyote has pretty much embraced the entire group? They're his pals, yup. So much so that they're all involved in the Coyote Feast that we'll be presenting at Ancient Ways festival this summer. But that's another Blog.
Which reminds me. We attended PantheaCon again this year. For the first time, I wasn't working the convention. It was odd, but kind of cool. In some ways, the whole thing was disappointing because there is so much available to see but because time is linear you have to choose a item from a list that is sometimes as big as nine for the same time slot. And sometimes, nothing in that whole timeslot would be of interest.
I enjoyed the vendor room this year, particularly because I'm making more money now and could actually splurge a bit. The best thing was this beautiful cured hide of an Australian sheep. The fur is lush - thick and soft and gorgeous. Dervish is in heaven, finally having something to knead that doesn't cry out in pain and move his paws. When he wakes me in the middle of the night to snuggle and knead, I pull the fur over me and he just blisses out. What I'm going to do in summer when it's bloody hot, I haven't the faintest idea. Probably suffer and let him stay blissed.
We presented the Bast celebration again, this time with five more people. Four more dancers (including boyfriend, the only male dancer) and an HP to complement the existing HPs. Three of the new folk were part of Obsidian Moon (the NROOGD study group / potential coven mentioned above) and they did fabulously. Boyfriend (one of the OM folks), of course, was involved last year not by planning but because Bast lured him into the dance. It was lovely and as always, I adore bringing Bast the sheer joy of people playing and dancing and being unselfconcious and present. We raised money for more kitty organizations - not as much as I'd like, of course, but enough.
Boyfriend wound up incorporating quite a bit of Capoeira moves into his dance, and I'd also re-done the music CD by adding a Capoeria piece to this mix. It worked quite well actually. Made me wonder what sort of celebration we might do by dancing to all Capoeria music...
I finally attended the Pombagira ritual which they present every year. I'd even bought this absolutely gorgeous black nightgown at Victoria's Secret to wear to the event. But we were both disappointed. The drums and chanting began, a rather pedestrian beat. The singers were shouting rather than singing. But that would have been fine if it had MOVED somewhere. Instead, the music never changed. Just the same thing over and over again, in this ricky ticky rhythm.
I just don't get it. Everyone always would say that the Pombagira ritual was deep down and earthy sexuality. Shouldn't the music reflect that? The Bast dance is the celebration of life and earthy sensuality which, personally, I find enormously sexy. The music we chose mirrored that intention, moving people from level to level, peak to peak.
It makes me want to attend a true Candomble ritual.
Speaking of Capoeira: Monday evening after the convention was over we stopped at Fry's for funzies and they happened to finally have the Playstation 2 in stock. Mine! And it's a DVD player to boot! One of the first PS2 games I've bought is something called Tekken Tag Tournament. I purchased it specifically because one of the fighters in the game is a Capoerista named "Eddy Gordo". The modeling was based on a local Mestre from Berkeley, Mestre Marcello. The whole thing is a huge blast.
It's rather amazing that I wound up with a PS2 when I did. They're difficult to find right now, and I just happened to ask the cashier as we were leaving if he knew when they'd have them available. He told me they happened to have four of them right then, locked up.
Diane Paxson did a presentation on Norse Folkloric Magic at the convention which addressed an interesting perspective on luck. She spoke of luck as being in the "right relationship" with the world around you, and it seems to relate quite a bit with synchronicity. I've always had that sort of luck, thank the gods. One way or the other, things just have a way of working out in my life. Makes me feel a bit blessed, you know?
I think I"ve run out of steam for the moment. End ramble.