The Serpentine Mother and the Altar of Dreams (Birth of Heroes)

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The Serpentine Mother and the Altar of Dreams (Birth of Heroes)

Serpentine Mother, beautiful and terrible
of breath and spirit, lantern-eyes brightening
patterns in sunlight and forest shadow –  she enters
the labyrinth and places sacred riddles,
scribbled flags in perfect order,
for you to find when you awake in the center,
on the altar of your dreams.

Her Spirit and Breath will never be far, but now,
a vessel of living or dying and her ancestral scream
unchains you -
Light!
Sight, sound, touch, and
SCREAM. Aahhh, the taste of

dappled shadow ground in the grove, a pattern of sunlight,
an unknown verse, the first of your great song,
resting on the deep lake of Mother, warm
with blood of forgotten riddles, cold
from long footsteps of journey, she dares you
to read those scribbled flags, she leaves you
trembling,
on the altar of your new name.

The Beowulf Complex: A Frightening and Beautiful Story

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killinggrendelBeowulf is a frightening and beautiful story. It is an Anglo-Saxon poem of heroic battles against monsters. The hero, Beowulf, goes to a kingdom that is being plagued by a monster named Grendel, who attacks the great hall only at night, killing and destroying. Beowulf, after a heroic struggle with sea monsters, arrives to bring battle to Grendel. After killing the gruesome Grendel, his praises are sung, but his work is not done. After her son is killed, Grendel’s mother attacks the great hall and in revenge kills the king’s rune-reader. Beowulf is then given a magical sword and sets off to kill the mother, whose lair is under a lake. He ultimately does kill her, but in so doing, the sword is disintegrated, leaving only the rune covered hilt. Beowulf returns to the great hall and presents the king with the hilt. The king seems melancholy, pleased that his kingdom has been freed of the menace of Grendel and his mother, but melancholy nonetheless. He counsels Beowulf not to succumb to the same fate as he did. Beowulf then returns to his own land and becomes king. After ruling for many years, one of his men steals a chalice from a dragon’s lair. The dragon awakes, and the aging Beowulf must do battle with the dragon. Ultimately, he succeeds in killing the dragon, but in the process he is mortally wounded and dies. Beowulf is a frightening and beautiful story of being within a frightening and beautiful world, among frightening and beautiful creatures.

Unlike most Anglo-Saxon poetry, Beowulf is, at its core, mythological. Not only in the motifs of the hero’s journey and fantastic creatures, but in the purpose it served for the people of the Anglo-Saxon culture, and, I would argue, for us today. There are many motifs in the story that deserve attention, and many ways the story, as a whole, can be interpreted. There is no doubt that Beowulf is a mythic story though, and as such, conveys an account of cultural and personal psychospiritual development. Unfortunately, much of the available scholarship is dry, stale, and unsavory; many of the interpretations are grossly inadequate. Along these lines, I would like to draw special attention to two elements of the story upon which I feel any interpretation must ultimately rest. These are foundational keys to understanding the story, but ones that most interpretations, for one reason or another, seem not to take into full consideration, robbing us of a complete, vivid, and relevant account.

The first of these points is the death of the rune-reader. Continue reading

Death and Remembrances (with Candles, Poems, and Pumpkins!)

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Candles and Singing Bowl on Samhain 2014

Recently I had read about a few different indigenous cultures that devoted weeks and even months to honoring their ancestors during the part of the year when the night is longer than the day as opposed to a single holiday.  This idea intrigued me as well as soothed my frustrations when schedules and the weather simply did not add up to a satisfactory Samhain celebration for me this year.   Continue reading

Morning Dew and Dappled Sunlight

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These were taken a few days ago, so I have been a bit pokey in posting them.  Going to a familiar place at an unfamiliar time of day can totally alter one’s perspective of that place in that moment and overall.  That is definitely the experience I have been having with going to the park in the mornings as opposed to the usual afternoons or evenings.  Please check them out in full size and let me know which ones are your favorites!

 

Moonlit Shadows and Twilight Magic / Realignment Following Illness

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Swirling August Sky at Twilight

This past month has been hard on me physically; anyone who has ever had mononucleosis (mono) can probably attest to it being a real kick in the arse.   Strangely, in some ways it feels like my period of illness has allowed me to slowly realign myself.  I tend to feel very removed from my own life, to feel like the currents of life are just pushing my passive form along to wherever, but as I recover from the mono and other accompanying ailments I have felt a much stronger sense of intentionality about my life.

As part of my continuing recovery, I decided to attend a short energy healing session at Holistic Care Approach that I had attended a few times before over the last couple years.  This session felt quite different from the others in that I felt more open to receiving help in the form of energy, and that changed the tone of the experience drastically.  Often after an energy healing people talk about how much “lighter” they feel.  My experience is that it makes me feel heavier but not in a negative way; I feel more anchored in my own body, in my own place.  It seems like I have developed the habit of avoiding syncing my energy with my physical body for various reasons, so the process of healing and realignment brings to me a sense of fully-embodied vigor.

After the guided meditation energy healing, a trip to my favorite park seemed in order.  The sun was already pretty well set as I was driving home, so the park was thoroughly immersed in the darkness of twilight when I got there.  Something that I had been missing all year was the presence of bats hunting in the evening. It seemed like I saw them much more often last year and in much lighter hours, causing me to worry if this past harsh winter had severely impacted their numbers.  Relief washed over me as I walked beneath their shadowy, darting forms in the fading yellow-green light.  The moon is currently waxing to just past half full (1st Quarter Moon.. half full = Quarter moon.. not very intuitive terminology), making plenty of light in the clear night sky to see my moonlit shadow beside me as I walked.

Upon reaching the lookout point, I had hopes of spotting a deer or a fox in the fields below.  No such luck, however.  It was nice to just stand for a moment watching the magical, winking firefly lights over the grasses and sleeping flowers.  I felt blessed just to have the strength to go on this walk after being so weak the last fortnight.

Although summer feels like it passed much too quickly and murmurs of another strong winter lie ahead, I embrace this liminal twilight as we approach the Autumn Equinox.

Producing Pairs – Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

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I simply could not resist participating in The Daily Post‘s Weekly Photo Challenge after seeing this amazing post by Love in the Spaces! Please go check it out.

So to start off, a pair of the same sculpture in different seasons (both taken with a meh cell phone camera):

Campus Sculpture - Winter Campus Sculpture - Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some white flowers: daisies on the Easter lunch table and glass art at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens

White Glass Flower Art at Norfolk Botanical Gardens101_0207 - Copy

 

And finally, two perspectives on the same barn…

Barn Windows in PerspectiveMoonrise Over the Barn in Early July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard to select just a few pairs to share; so many pictures have interesting dialogue with each other.  I hope these were enjoyable :)

Walking the Labyrinth on Lughnasadh: Ecological Individuation and Sacred Land Art

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LabyrinthMinatoaurLughnasadh has aspects of the death-rebirth process. The fertility of spring is coming to full realization with the beginning harvest. The light half of the year is moving toward darkness but we know that life will be reborn again; this is a time for celebration and gratitude…

As a contemplative practice, the construction of land art is an embodiment of sacred space. It is a physical manifestation and acknowledgement of the awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the human soul, place, earth, and the universe… Continue reading

The Body-Mind and the Hero: The Integrative Mythdream

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The integrative mythdream is an archetypal meditation that has grown out of my depth psychology studies and my personal contemplative practice. It allows us to encounter the archetypes through their personification in mythology. It involves the experiencing of a mythic story through active imagination, and engaging the bodily felt-senses associated with the places and characters of the myth.

DREAMPOOL_III_IMG_5939e

Continue reading

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