Archives For Weaving

Naked With Non-Humans

May 23, 2014 — 1 Comment

hoh river nickKnow when everything sort of coalesces into meaning?  Like synchronicity, but more so, every fucking thread of your existence weaves into some breathtaking tapestry (I need some new metaphors, but weaving always screams at me when talking about this stuff) and you feel like you’ve just taken in some strange wind from other worlds and other times?

Yesterday was like that.  I describe a bit of it in this week’s A Sense of Place post, the first in a five-part series on where I’ve met the gods:

Or you can be standing outside work on a break, thinking about how you’re gonna write something about Bran, and then a crow feather falls at your feet, and all the crows cackle and laugh and wheel around you as you bike home.  And laugh a bit when you get off your bike to look at this really strange and particularly beautiful spot along the creek and finally notice you’re in front of a very old Alder.

The next four will be about the other gods I worship–Arianrhod, Ceridwen, Brigid, and Dionysos.  I’ve met a handful of others, but these have been in passing (Maponus, The Morrighan, Hestia, Cernunnos) and so I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable writing about those experiences in a manner to help others meet them.

Also, one should note that this piece is probably the only post on Patheos ever to be tagged with “Outdoor Gay Sex,” and to recommend that people looking to meet land-spirits consider traipsing about the woods and parks where men fuck men.  I swear I heard Dionysos laughing at this inclusion, and it also needs to be said that, regardless of what thinks of the ethics of such thing (I’ve never done it, because I like knowing a guy’s name when we’re naked), it’s a very old thing.  There are a few historical judicial accounts of bridges and old oaks where men gathered to commit sodomy (being homosexual is a very new concept–it wasn’t until the 1900’s that people began to associate sexual behavior with innate traits).

So, yeah.  I’ll be writing four more.  I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on currently.  Another Wild Hunt piece in two weeks, the presentation for the Polytheist Leadership Conference, an impending move (I’m returning to Seattle after almost a year, likely by the beginning of July), the end-of-the-bardic-grade review stuff, work on the book, and a really, really, really fantastic man-love who is kinda the best thing ever and sometimes makes me lose my words in that happy sort of way.

I keep thinking I’ll have to pull back on my writing a bit.  In fact, that last long piece I wrote? That started with me sitting in my bed thinking, “you know? Maybe I should take a break from writing.”  That’s what my breaks look like.

Meantime, I’m thinking about compiling a couple of lists of other people who’s writing inspires me to pieces.  The Wild Hunt stopped doing the Pagan Voices spotlight, and though I’ve hardly the readership of said employer, there’s a lot of really awesome stuff being written that should be read, or I think so.

And an awesome final note.  I’m now more than half-way to my total fundraising goal for the conference.  I’ve a lot of thank-you notes to write today, and I’m all utter gratitude to all you who’ve donated and/or reposted my plea.  Thank you.

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.

 

Strings (Ostara, 2014)

March 23, 2014 — 4 Comments

It isn’t untrue to say my life is composed of strings.  Cords of cotton and nylon to bind together my affects, to blouse the cuffs of my pants over the boots bound to feet by laces.  Thin leather strips to close cloth bags holding cards, wooden tiles marked with archaic letters,  thicker pouches of stones and coins corded shut by suede.

There are the heavier ropes, braided hemp woven through the grommets of my rucksack, the strong thick leather of my belt, the suspenders crafted for me years ago by a lover.  The thick lengths of tree fiber, grown together, which support the weight of my body upon a chair, a bed, across a floor.

Then, the thinner strings.  The copper wire twined around the wand of Alder, binding to it feather of raven and crystal of earth.  That same wire ties together the braid in my beard, itself composed of myriad thin strands of hair which also covers much of my body.  The threads–oh, the threads!  Filament of plant and animal fiber woven together into cloth to cover my flesh where hair and nudity are insufficient or unaccepted.  Thicker fabrics cover me when I sleep, shade out the light from my room in the morning, dry my skin after showers.

Also, those newer of connections, the other wires, channelling within them like veins and nerves below flesh amberic currents and signals between artifice and signal, generation and illumination.

Strings and wires and cords bind me and embrace me and restrain me, but they are not mine alone.

There are other filaments, unseen but always felt, invisible but ever-present.  Some tie you to me, thoughts and dreams, laughter and hatred, what is shared and what is feared.  I meet you and we are tethered, sometimes anchored, sometimes set aloft like connected balloons slipping from the hands of children into the endlessness of sky.  Some tie me to you, affection or dislike, duty or admiration, care or casualty, love or loss.  Some are like chains which weigh upon the soul, but many others like long stitches which keep us together.

Not just in present, either.  There are the threads of fate woven into my form and existence at birth and from even before, the tugging strong rope of destiny unfolding, and all the myriad unfollowed threads of stories and sorrows, possibilities and failures still loose.

I’ve heard existence spoken of as a web, but I have never quite felt this true.  Webs are spun to constrict and trap, to bind and kill.  A broken strand does not destroy it.  Its patterns can be predicted, its geometry assured.

No.

Rather, then, a tapestry, woven from time and the self, of threads countless and coloured, and each strand is you, and you, and you, and some of them are me.

We do not weave alone, and we are not the only ones at the loom.  What are we weaving, we whose cords are cut at the end of life, who become re-spun into new threads?

Some threads are the gods.  And this is a thing I do not understand, but from which I cannot look away: the gods seem almost the pattern we learn to weave, but I do not know how, nor do I know why.  And I do not know why they weave with us, and why we weave with them.

I hope one day to find out.