A Year of Living

The path of poisonous fire is for the real man or woman, who in the fire of Hell turns gentle and understanding; who grows wise through suffering and ordeal, who sees themselves as a warrior ready to accept life no matter what its cost.
— Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
Gird Point, MT

Gird Point, MT

It's come, a few days short of one year not updating this space. One long ass pause.

It's been good. At the cusp of 30, old man Saturn has made his return and naturally, my life path has been drastically altered, yet somehow parts of it remain the same. Bad relationships dissolved, harsh realities revealed, getting closer to my Self, beautiful new relationships formed. Goodness can be found in destruction. Even after all the shit has burned down, the flowers and grasses will make their return. Fire can hurt, but it can be purifying, fertilizing. A source of renewal and growth.

Dusting off the ash and beginning anew.

Knowing When to Pause.

The days have been filled with avoiding the heat. The earth here is parched and the grasses are dying. You can smell the deep tang of the invasive blackberries in the midday sun, mingling with the loam of the forest, heated pine resin and the sweetness of dried grasses. Briar path days are upon us. I've taken pity on my neighbors dehydrated rose bushes (they've moved out and are gone) and am currently watering them. The plants feel glad. I've noticed the black (Br'er) rabbit family and local hares only come out to graze at dawn and dusk, avoiding the heat. It almost feels as if my little area is holding it's breath for a bout of rain, I think it really is.

There's an odd feeling of burn out I've been dealing with. I don't know if it's burn out, per-say. But I feel like disappearing somewhere for a little while, disconnecting from the internet and stopping the flow of communications. That need to isolate yourself and recharge so you can reconnect. It's hard when you have a lot of real life obligations, when you simply can't turn off the internet and you feel that never ending nagging persistence to be super productive, to get shit done and be awesome consistently, nonstop. Realizing when to pause can be difficult. Knowing when you're just not going to be productive anymore can be hard to recognize sometimes.

I feel like the land, dehydrated and longing for a good nourishing rain. The rains will come inevitably, right now it's a matter of digging deep with these roots to tap into the moist soil far below me.

I pulled the Page of Cups this morning. She's descended to the bottom of the ocean, alone. She uses her intuition to guide herself and she finds answers in the scrying bowl. My need for the element of water is apparent in this card. I think a good spiritual bath is in order, a bath at dusk to remove and a bath as the sun rises to bring in that which I desire.

Let's Go Stargazing.

Since re-watching Agora, my lust for stargazing has been rekindled. It's an indescribable feeling looking into the stars. Oddly enough, it's grounding for me to loose myself in the celestial bodies. Somehow, it manages to put my feet back on the earth and helps me remember my place in the Universe. I find it captivating to know that I've shared the same fixed gaze upon a star as millions of other people, my ancestors, ancient peoples...

Found here

I think this happens to me during the summer. I'm just now beginning to realize there's a bit of a pattern here. In the Pacific Northwest we have cloud cover more often than not, but during the height of summer you can get a good view of the stars even on the edges of Portland light pollution. One of these days I'll cross the Cascade Mountains and out into the scrubby dry land of eastern Oregon, so I can hopefully make out the spine of our galaxy home the Milky Way.

Found here

I've never actually been able to see the stars far from light pollution, or out in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes it shocks me to say that, but I haven't! And it's on my to-do list. Regretfully, it never crossed my mind to look at the night sky while traveling from Iowa to Oregon. Montana, Nevada and Utah all boast some pretty amazing star seeing.

Since I can't just hop in a car (as I do not own one) and run off to the desert I have a few methods of keeping myself star connected...

Sky Map . I can lie out in my backyard and identify the stars as they appear. It's a great tool to train yourself to recognize stars with the naked eye. You'll learn a lot!

If you're not inclined to use your mobile to track the stars, there's an Interactive Star Map I've found. You can use your own location to navigate the sky, wherever you may be, night or day! 

Tonight's Sky is handy if you're wanting to know about up coming celestial events and sightings. It's also handy to help pinpoint star cluster viewing.

Oh! There will be a Perseids meteor shower between August 10th-13th! This year is predicted to be a most dazzling show. The shower will be peaking during the few hours just before dawn. Set your alarm clock!

The stars speak of hope and inspiration, mysteries and the unknown in darkness, of very old and ancient beings. When I gaze up at the heavenly bodies, it is a special kind of trance I can achieve. A heat swirls in my solar plexus, it buzzes and hums and something that I can never quite put my finger on snaps into place. For lack of better words, it is the feeling of the deepest connection, of feeling alive and blessed. Try it sometime. Get lost in the stars and allow all that you can see be a thick blanket of twinkling lights, perhaps you'll discover what I'm talking about.

I'll be soaking up as much of the clear night skies as I can before the rain Gods come back into our fertile valley, covering everything in clouds, mist and life giving rain. While I appreciate both sides of the year, I revel in these summer nights.

Ram Skull & The Farmers Market

Sipping my coffee at about 6am last week, it dawned on me it was Saturday. Farmers market! You see, being self-employed you occasionally forget which day of the week it is. They meld into one another and you can loose all track of that typical Monday through Friday, 9-5 feeling. There are positives and negatives to this of course.

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Back on track. When my partner arrived home from his long bike ride that Saturday morning we agreed to hit up the market. A short walk down, we stocked up on beautiful local produce. Green beans, the biggest sweetest cherries ever, zucchini, fresh herbs. There were lots of peaches, nectarines and berries, berries and more berries. This is berry country after all. After some delicious tamales we began to wind our way back home. Something caught my eye.

 

There was a vendor down at the very end of the very last row. His wife was spinning wool on her amazing spindle, there were a couple of sheep pelts and three glorious rams skulls. Nothing I'd ever really expect to find at a farmers market! Wool yes, but perfectly cleaned skulls? No. The couple specialized in heritage breeds, the Jacob specifically. They were passionate and definitely loved their sheep. This was just one of those special moments. Those of us who have an interest in collecting bones and animal parts for our practice, rarely, if ever, get the chance to talk to the owner of the animal. To know what his name was, what his personality was like and simply knowing the animal was raised and culled in a humane fashion. Even thought it was going to take the last of my personal spending money, I could not walk away empty handed. Especially the way one of the three skulls looked. He was the strongest looking of the three and his name was Merrill. Apparently he was one of his best breeding rams, tough as nails, ornery and a little mean. Just like a ram!

My mind drifted to Hermes as I walked away with Merrill in my arms. Found in a market place and sold to me by a shepherd.  I think I got pretty lucky.

Thank you Hermes.

Summer Solstice '13 Style.

 I wake very early in the summer, right before dawn when the robins are singing their good morning songs and the song sparrows weave their chorus through the thickets in the backyard.

 After the sun had risen and I had dressed, I went to fetch my bike. I had plans to collect lots of yarrow. We have massive amounts of it growing on the trail that takes me to work. The Solstice is a great day to do your wild herb harvesting. To my surprise, my partner had left the garage door locked, which is where I keep my bike. He had the only key to open it and was at work so, I took it as an opportunity to take a very long walk to the large yarrow patches and do some exploring along the way. It was actually a blessing in disguise, because I was able to access and discover many new trails I've never seen before. One of which lead me deep into the woods and into a clean red cedar clearing. It was quiet and still, but the air still moved around you. Sometimes you'll encounter these special places that'll send a chill up your spine, stir a nervousness in the pit of your stomach and you become hyper aware of your surroundings. Suddenly you'll feel the need to tip toe and walk very quietly. Then it dawns on you that the reason you're behaving this way, is because you're being watched by invisible eyes. I made sure to leave small offerings in these special places.

 I was after something though, and that was to discover that trilling bird I had talked about in a previous post. That was what led me deep into the forest. I got closer and closer to the call, but it seemed like the bird knew I was after it and it drew me deeper. I finally reached the edge of tangled woods I couldn't really walk my way through. I was so close! The haunting call was coming from the tops of the alder trees. Then I saw it, a bird about the size of a cardinal, it dropped towards the ground in a flash and then darted towards the sun. Completely obstructing my view by being partially blinded by the sun! Then it disappeared. For now, I'll just call it the Siren Bird. Right after that, a large crack sounded. As I looked through the tangled brush, there was a massive blue heron that had just flown off of a dead tree and broke the branch it had been perched on. The heron was with it's mate, they screeched at each other as they flew around the small swampy area. It was fascinating to see such large birds that close. I've never heard them call out to each other like that before either, it was a treat indeed. As I headed back out to the main trail, a flicker laughed and I couldn't help but think he was laughing at me, because I had been tricked by the Siren Bird.

 While I would like to say that collecting herbs is a fascinating story in itself. I think it's best told in pictures.

Lovely spicy yarrow.

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No trail going is complete without spotting the local Br'er Rabbit family. Three generations of black rabbits that live in and around a crossroads, right next to a graveyard. Magical indeed.

I hope that your Solstice was beautiful and bright.