Archives For Ceridwen

Hi, Dionysos

May 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

Don’t write poetry when you’re drunk, I’ve said, and yet it all weaves and wends, like under the tree where I still don’t know what they re-wove.

He’s there, smiling again, back, like the time He was on another’s face, and then another’s.  The time I sat there, writing about the clothes the gods wear, and He’s hitting me over the head with another man’s cock and I’m smiling. I keep typing.

So much left to do before then, He’d said.

And it’s then.  And I’m in just my boots, and there’s no one here but a man elsewhere, nearby but very far.  Growls like the howls of the satyrs just outside the circle of light from the hearth, and I’m hearing that same music, and I remember:

Each page I tore and read before committing to flames.  And I laughed, and it wasn’t just my laughter, but She at her hearth.

She said I’d see his death, which became mine, the scythe which bloods, and Dahut drowns the city out of joy.

Summon the dead, and the Wanderer, and ask them what this is about but you know the answer already, because it’s the answer to everything, and the cause of every question ever asked.


That was a very long death this time.  I guess I needed to see the ladle in Her hand to get the point, because seeing Her sickle in the sky and greeting Her means something.

I forget.  I forget life while in death.  I forget the light in the darkness, just as I forget the darkness in light, forget death in life.  I forgot what I’d said.

The first night, collapse.  A death in life.  Myself everyone, myself their desires and fears, myself so fluid that I spilled upon the floor with my tea. And then the remembering why we need to forget to survive.  Life is the death of the eternal, death is its birth.  I remember, I forget.

I’d said yes, huh?  I forgot.


“See?” said a midwife.  “Her stars.”

In a vast field in a vast darkness, standing under that sea in which one day I’ll drown, a kind of death and all kinds of life.

A year ago I stared at those same stars and soaked the dry earth with tears, shuddering in terror at what would come, knowing the only answer I could possibly give, knowing how long that light had traveled to get here.



Desire again, and I’m always so surprised how much She’s there, too.

I’d been staring for awhile, I guess, until she asked, “what are you staring at?”

My reflection in the bottom of a twenty-gallon cauldron, I forgot to say.

I’d dreamt and forgot.  In a barn between desire and desired, I was making food.  Here in a barn hauling a steel cauldron to a hearth, between desired and desire, I was making food.  For Her, for them, before the fire came.

I know Her laughter so well now I’m finally beginning to laugh with Her.


Oh, You.  Standing at the gate, great king, straddling a river.  Started with a mistake with a cauldron.  These things happen, I’ve heard.

Wasted land, blasted.  How it is within reach but cannot be grasped.  What he showed me, what I keep failing to get.  What else I was shown and cannot understand.

I’ll get this part, I’m certain.  Carry your banner, perhaps, talk to skulls, ford another river for others and probably not drown.

The most present.  The least speaking.  Black-wings everywhere, those who guard the living, those who guard the dead, those dead and living who guard each other, and “this is not your death,” You say, and now I nod in assent.


And oh, hi!  You come back fucking hard, You know, and I with You.

Surrounded by women who were men, naked on a bed, wrestling with a woman who was man and is perhaps again, but also a woman, and I am also a woman and a man and oh, that music was absurd and You’re quite damn fucking funny with that stuff, You know.

It all wends and weaves back.  I without more wine beyond sweat and that seemed enough.  Re-threaded from desire into desire, and it’s all more than enough, and–

This one?

Fuck yes.


A rather dark period, but not an unhappy one.  You know what it’s like, certainly–those strange moments of tumult which you must pass through and, in the midst of them, forget that you know there is an end.

Things seem always to weave together.  I’ve been thinking heavily upon the dead and death, and thought it strange as it’s almost Beltaine until I recalled that this is not new to me, not during this time.  In fact, just before my initiation into Druidry at Beltaine last year, I stared at the stars and wanted them to swallow me up, take me in like an abyss below except I was looking in the wrong direction.

The lines from the initiation strike me now, particularly.  It asks “would you be fully born into all the sorrows and pain of this existence?” and then, “would you be fully born into its joys?”

Both questions, at that particular gate of the year, were awfully hard to answer.

At each of the gates, the rituals I do (a mix of AODA and OBOD work) involve “scrying” or meditating down the paths through that gate.  Following Greer’s Druid Magic Handbook, I’ve enchanted a grove-stone for several of them, starting Lugnasadh. I’ve three so far (Samhain, Imbolc) and am tempted to say will do the same for Beltaine “if I survive,” but that’s melodrama.

The Festival of Persephone’s return, too, and the Christian Easter all near the same time, and it’s strange after the light of Imbolc to encounter this new darkness.

Darkness, yes.  A kind friend has begun teaching me Welsh; my first course was yesterday and after it I found myself practicing outside, enjoying the sounds, finding a word repeating on my lips that we hadn’t practiced, one that took me aback:


Ceridwen’s hideous son, for whom she travels to the Fferllyt to learn the recipe for wisdom, later stolen by the boy Gwion who becomes Taliesin.  Afagddu and older variants all refer to “utter darkness”, and there’s another version of his name which means big (or sometimes “black”) crow, Morfran.  “Fran” or “vran” is probably from brân, and I know another Brân (utterly tied to the underworld) and this fact is not lost on me.  The same? Aspects of the same? Related, probably, but beyond this I cannot say.  Robert Graves (his faults acknowledged) tied Ceridwen and Brân together as lovers, and though I reject this, there’s the Cauldron thread that weaves through them both.  The Cauldron of Awen and the Cauldron of Annwn.  Wisdom and Death.

Weaving this stuff together is tiresome when your heart is sore from trying to love, but there’s something there below it all that makes me realize that it’s precisely that soreness, that bodily ache which tethers the Other into the self.  Where I feel the dead is also where I feel that cautious desire–the same gate opened within the soul in order to love another (and likely risk loss) is the channel through which I feel the existence of the underworld in this one.

Those threads woven back in, then, are all of meaning.  I forget what it was like not to see correspondences, but it’s silly of me to think on this too often, for “as above, so below” is another description of love.

Also, more words. My new A Sense of Place post is up.  It’s about the Episcopal chapel and the Holy Week which made me Pagan:

The world was in darkness, and I felt it.  I felt myself the darkness.  The darkness of being gay, alone, scared, admitting everything I’d believed beforehand was only borrowed meaning.   I do not know if I was more alone or more terrified.   But this is a futile question.

Be always well.  I will too.



April 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

Three days of thought, dancing.  A day or two of the dead.

There’s the goddess who drowns children. The goddess who goes down and then returns.  And the two dead under the tomb.

There’s the death in the eyes of another, though he is not dead but only beginning to live.  Eyes can dance, you know, and then wither in sockets and maybe still see.

Why do I need a skull?  Not one to hold within a mind, or not mine, but one to hold in a hand, eyes withered, dry voices still speaking.

The dead touch you and you remember all the times you wanted to die, or feared dying, or actually feared life so much that you could only think on death.

Breeding life in soil, relentless, so much it drowns in its own fecund exuberance.  A goddess drowns children because we drown ourselves.

You’re drowning in his eyes, which is a kind of death.

“Time to dance with the one who set them free,” and “We live, we die,” and you don’t even like The Doors but it works.

Sit on a tomb while another sleeps in the sun. Say hello, and read their names, and think to yourself it’s so ridiculous that you want someone to laugh at you.  Dionisia. Dimetria.

Dances can kill like Desire.  ‘…thigh, and death smiled.’ St. Vitus and Tarantellas and you really find yourself thinking on this, because

Desire is a kind of death, and desire is a dance, and the threads snap but they don’t because it’s all still together.

Eyes wither in the skull but still see, because we don’t need them.  We never needed the light except to remind us how to look.

He looks, and you cannot imagine that withering.  He comes again, and you wonder if you finished what there was to do.

And you ask yourself why you’re not dancing, because even the dead still desire, even the dead still dance.

Threads in Candlelight

April 8, 2014 — 7 Comments

I said to a friend, “We see the darkness, and some go in.  It is the abyss.  We have to find out what is there, to find out if there is meaning. 
And we see only the abyss.
And some go mad.
And some never return.
And some–”

I’m pretty sure Dionysos sort of doesn’t make a bit of sense when you’re on one side of him.  I mentioned something about abeyance one time, that is, keeping things at a distance for what you suspect is your own sanity.  This is of course nothing approximating an indictment on anyone but myself.

Keep a god in a distance for a while and then approach?  This I suspect is the root of Divine Trauma.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the piece I wrote for Mabon.  I walked through the woods near my tent in Bretagne carrying a white taper, something I had to do, or needed to do to make something clear to whomever was watching (and fuck did I feel like there were others watching).  Trembling, stumbling through darkness lit only by a candle whose light illumines much less than you think except when you stop walking and suddenly all is light around you.

Why did Taliesin run from Ceridwen?  Why does anyone run from something so brilliantly inevitable?

It isn’t boasting to declare how sometimes this stuff works, because it’s sort of ugly.  Sometimes you walk a myth, and sometimes the myth walks through you, and though you have choice in the matter, you sort of don’t really because, well, the pain of separation from this strange Other, this other World is so unbearable when it happens that you really wouldn’t make another choice.

Your life begins to weave together and you don’t really know why for a little bit, but you start to notice certain threads keep repeating and repeating and this is the thread you’re supposed to learn at this point, the thing you are to see, the thing They are trying to show you.

And so you follow that, because that’s not just the strongest thread that binds everything together, it’s also the only thread that leads out of the sudden tapestry, and you really don’t want to fuck it up because you want to know this time, you want to learn, because you maybe lived a whole lot of your life not quite learning, not following, as Eliot said “we had the experience but missed the meaning.”

So it happens.  The night you meet a man that He told you to meet and you’re up for the next 17 hours and you swear there’s a forest around you though you’re inside a home.  Or the time you’re suddenly leading something, playing music and you don’t know how you got there but you know it’s all just started.  When you wend your way back to a building you saw in vision, or you’re standing 5000 miles away on the side of a druid mountain and you see the vision you had before, or almost all of it, with your eyes instead of your other eyes, except where Bran stood there’s a church and you know what happened.

You walk through it.  You follow that thread, sometimes because you don’t feel like you have a choice, sometimes because fuck this is all gods-damned fascinating, and sometimes because you really don’t know what else to do at this point.  You can back out at anytime, cancel your subscription or leave the party but you’re here now, it’s all here, and you don’t see a point in stopping because you’ll miss it all.

And it happens, and then (if you’re addicted to words) you try to write about it afterwards, and it all comes out obscured but you hope maybe someone else saw that something happened, something was there.  Maybe they wonder if you’re crazy, or just like your words, and maybe they read something entirely different from what you wrote but it’s okay.

Staying distant from the fire gives you some light, but if you carry the fire with you, you can see elsewhere, not just where you started.

I doubt this makes sense, or maybe it does, or makes a different sort of sense.  But that’s how it happens, at least for me, and to what ends?

I don’t know.  But it’s kinda fucking glorious in its absurd relentless dance, and staring at a stone and remembering a spell you got to help keep that distance from someone which is also keeping your distance from Someone, and remembering you can always close off your heart and spirit from it if you wanted to, and then remembering you don’t want to at all because–fuck.  That dance breaks you open, brings you near death, and you don’t just see His face, you see the faces of the others too and know why they all exist though you could never actually really know that…

Nah.  I’ll follow this thread again.  Happily.  Because I’m not the only one dancing.

P.S.  I just learned I’ll be writing a monthly piece on The Wild Hunt.   This makes me happy.