Archive for October, 2006

Ritual week and Fast Day

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

MM,

I’m fasting today. I got a call last week from my Wiccan teacher saying that I was to do something tonight. In addition, I needed to fast for 24 hours first. Thus, I’m fasting today. Last night, I ate some spicy shrimps and some potatoes with egg, cheese, bacon, and scallops. Yum! I want some now, but trying not to think of it. That was around 5:00 p.m. yesterday. I haven’t had any food since then. So far, I had some consomme last night. Then today, some chicken broth – two cans of it. I might have some more chicken broth before I go out tonight – leaving at 6:30. For some flavour, I decided to have a chrysanthemum infusion. There is some sweetness to the flower, so yum.

I’m nervous about tonight as I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. My guess is that I’m doing an impromptu ritual. I was told to bring my athame and my ritual gear. So, I’m a tad nervous, but trying not to be. The nervousness combined with the fast will just make me that much more tired. I’ll try to have a nap before I go out tonight.

My group met last week for ritual. It was an interesting ritual. To sum up, it was a ritual where we took a retrospective look at our past choices to see how we got to where we are without beating ourselves up over our choices. This was something I’ve done many times before. I’ve always been a little introspective about my life. For some reason, I never thought to do this type of work in a ritual. In any case, the idea was a great idea. The ritual was nicely performed considering it was put together at the last possible minute. Unfortunately, I didn’t need to look at my past choices right now. I’ve spent the past six months to a year doing this, and I’ve been fine with the choices I’ve made in life, so I just feel it’s time to move on right now. Time to do the things I was meant to do. Not that I didn’t find the ritual useful – it was just the wrong time for me personally to do something like that. My life feels like it’s moving forward now, and it feels “right”. Right now, I just need to keep my objectives in mind and focus on now.

Last week, I went to the full moon ritual in the park. Of course, I ended up being Priestess that night. This group is fairly small. I think it’s because people find it hard to go to the park in the colder months. That’s alright. Small groups are fine. There were four of us, my teacher, Nathan, another girl, and me. We did a ritual to show appreciation for the inventions that we have that help keep us warm and safe and healthy during the colder months. The deities called were Athena and Hephaestus. I had to make up a call to Hephaestus as well as the fire and earth elements. It was good practice for me. I still have to be conscious of my voice volume. For some reason, I adjust my voice to the amount of people present, but that doesn’t work well in the park. I need to adjust to the environment, not to the amount of people present. Ah… at least, I’m getting better at speaking indoors. Being Summoner is helping me get used to the vocal rance I need.

Speaking of being Summoner, Sunday’s public ritual was about love -the many types of love. The deities called were Aphrodite and Eros. The ritual was lovely, though being Summoner I missed hearing most of it. I have to keep watch on the people as well as the Priestess. It’s strange how as Summoner I’m connected on one level, but not on another. I’m so glad I have the other group rituals to go to – I can still get my spiritual connection there as well as through my personal rituals.

Okay, I’m getting tired again. No food at all. Lying here reading and a nap should help me conserve what energy I have. I can’t wait to get home tonight – I can eat then!

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Tai Chi, Taekwondo, and Gym Days

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

MM,

I went to tai chi class on Tuesday night. We got to learn more of the forms, and we got a few more tips on some of the basics. I’m happy because I remember a bit more of the forms now. I suspect it shouldn’t take me long to learn the forms, but it’s just a matter of how often I go. I’m doing tai chi as a complement, so I don’t expect to go very often. Nathan’s promised to show me the new stuff.

Tai chi is great for warming up the body, but there is not enough cardio. Consequently, I feel a need to go to taekwondo. I’ve been away again for about two weeks from the do jang, so I went on Wednesday. I got there in time to help out with the poomse class. I kind of missed teaching. I wish I could it more often, but I suppose it’s good enough for now. After the poomse, I took the regular class and then the half hour afterwards. During the half hour class, we get to work on stuff we want to work on which is good for me. I get to work on stuff we don’t normally do in class, although I am limited by the fact that we have to work in pairs. I find I get annoyed having to work in pairs all the time at taekwondo. I miss the old do jang for the teaching style only, but I very much like the atmosphere and the Master at this one more. I guess that’s why I like tai chi, they teach the same way as my old do jang, but still not overly formal. It’s just good to work on my stuff without worrying about my partner as tends to happen when training in pairs. I just don’t want to do taekwondo all the time when I have to work in pairs all the time. Sometimes you just want to focus on yourself and no one else.

After the do jang, I went to the gym and did some light weight training. I did most of my exercises, but I was a little tired already so I skipped some that worked muscles other exercises already worked. The list below shows what I did.

Leg lifts
Pull-ups (aka chin-ups, military and parallel)
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor (called seated leg curls)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift (this is called the shoulder press)
Back extensor

Free weights:
Situps (on a incline bench; worked out the obliques as well by doing double punches during the situp)
Bicep curls
Push-ups

I spent about ten minutes stretching out. With the weather getting colder, my muscles are tensing up a bit. I was pretty sore from tai chi class already, taekwondo warmed me up, and the weight training made some muscles feel tight again. Some good stretches were needed. I’m a little tight on some of my stretches again – splits, butterfly, hamstrings, calves – but I felt better after stretching. My back cracked too while I was stretching out. Hehe… feels good when it does that sometimes.

I’ve been up since around 4:30 a.m. today, so I need a nap before I go out later. Not sure if I can get a run in today. :( I’ll try, but I’ll see what time I actually wake up. I’m feeling pretty worn out. Too much to do, so little time. I sometimes wish I could make a clone or a robot of myself, but that could be disastrous.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Harvest Time, a Wiccaning, and a Small Rant

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

MM,

Things seem to be getting back into a normal pace again after the craziness of the summer and the beginning of autumn. That time of the year always seems to be frantic for some reason. I guess in some ways it makes sense. From early August to the end of October is the harvest period in traditional Wiccan mythology. Maybe when this time of the year comes around people need to feel like they’ve harvested something so they try to get some project or other done. It seems strange to me now that the school year starts in the fall. Spring is the time of beginnings, and autumn the time of turning inward and reaping our rewards. Hm… perhaps even though school starts in the autumn, it is the turning inward that makes autumn a good season for returning to studies.

The public ritual on Sunday was a Wiccaning. This is similar to the idea of a Christening; however, a Wiccaning does not make a Wiccan. A person must choose to be Wiccan of their own volition and can be brought up with Wiccan parents. A Wiccaning does not mean the child will necessarily be a Wiccan later on in life, nor is it expected. One can hope, but it is not expected.

“What then is a Wiccaning?” you may ask. A Wiccaning is done for a new-born child as a way to introduce the child to the deities and the community. The parents bring the child forth and present their child to the Priest and Priestess (who are servants of the deities), then the child is brought around the circle to each of the elemental quarters to receive blessings and tokens from each of the four elements (air, fire, water, earth). The child’s chosen godparents then come forth and speak their vows to look over the child when the parents cannot. This includes situations where the child may be in dispute with the parents. The godparents are there to help the parents, but it is to the child’s best interest that they swear an oath. Finally, the child is given a Wiccan name – a spiritual name.

A Wiccaning is as much for the parents as it is for the child. The child now has a community to turn to if she/he needs help. The parents also know that they have a community to turn to if they ever need help with their child.

One of the most beautiful aspects of this ritual is the affirmation that the deities and the elements will look over the child. Hopefully, the deities will help guide the child along its journey through life.

The ritual concludes with the parents taking the child around to each person present and introducing the new-born to the community.

As Summoner for this ritual, I could not help thinking “This is my community. I’m proud of this community for the love it is willing to give to a new-born, a complete stranger that we have yet to get to know.” I think that this ritual in particular shows how connected the people in this community can be. It shows how much faith and trust we have not just in the deities, but in each other. That night I noticed many people touched by the ritual. Part of that may come from a wish that they had a ritual like that done for them when they were new-born. Since Wicca is just over 50 years old as a religion, there are many Wiccans (like myself) who were not born into the religion. They never had this ritual as a new-born. Of course, there is a Dedication that a Wiccan may choose to have, but somehow it doesn’t seem the same. In a Wiccaning, there is a conscious choice of the parents to keep the best interests of their child in mind, even if it may conflict with their views and opinions – obviously something that is very hard for many parents to do.

A Wiccaning sometimes involves a feast and presents. However, since this one was done as a public ritual and wasn’t an invitational Wiccaning, that is, no one knew ahead of time, feast and presents weren’t expected by the parents. I thought that was a wonderful thing for the parents to do. They didn’t expect anything – they just wanted to share their new-born child with everyone in the community and the deities.

I still find Wiccanings to be a very beautiful ritual, despite my radical opinion that not having children right now is a better idea. (Note: rant starts here.) I just feel it would be better to adopt one of the many “parent-less” children out there. There are so many that need a home. If I had the resources (generally, money), I would adopt a child. The other reason why I don’t think having children is a good idea is because the planet is grossly over-populated. The reason, of course, is that there are more births than deaths. If our birth rate keeps up, we won’t have much of a planet left. In case anyone else has noticed, our natural resources are going to die out – and sooner than you might think. Basically, there is a catch here. If you want to have a planet around for the next generation, people need to have less children. Think of the many children who are already born who comprise the next generation. We’re just using up this planet before the next generation even has a chance to live. I guess to sum this up, please consider adopting a child if you really want to have one. Parents who have adopted are known to comment that you don’t need to be blood related to love a child as your own. Love is not tied by blood. A Wiccaning can be done for an adopted child as well – I don’t see a reason why not. (End rant.)

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame