Pagan and the Pit(bull)

The adventures and musings of a Pagan and her dog.


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Old Year’s Food for thought

new yearsOnly one more day left of the old year before we see the new one. Which is a little crazy when you think about it, so much has happened so quickly. So here is a quick break down of the good, the bad, and the “ugly” of the past year.

Good:

I started to do more self-care. This one is a hard one for me to do, which is a little ironic since in some ways I’m super selfish. But by starting small, I think I’m on a better path to being happier and healthier.

I started this blog. Again, a hard one for me to get started. This blog seems to be a living example of inertia—when I’m going, I’m really going; when I’m at rest, it’s hard to restart. But I’m really glad that I have, it is a project that I’ve been wanting to do.

I dedicated officially to a coven, and I did my first degree initiation. Super exciting stuff on that side.

I passed all of my classes with good grades! Excitement all around for that. Now to keep going and to study for the GRE.

Bad:

Merkel (my car) broke down again. I think that this is a serious lesson in buying cars that are low to the ground. On the up side though, I have become a much better driver.

Teddy (I finally decided on a name to protect my fiance’s innocence) and I drove into Texas for the funeral of his great aunt. We actually got back on Sunday, so it was very recent. Grief is never an easy burden to share.

I was in a car accident in May. No one was hurt, thank the gods, but it still was a bit sucky.

My job description changed. True, I’m lucky to still be employed when a great many aren’t, but being sent back to the job description and duties that I left over a year ago is kind of miserable.

“Ugly”:

Teddy’s sister is maintaining her status of bitter-pain-in-the-butt. It’s nothing that is super serious, more like a long string of snipes, jabs, and unresolved arguments. But it’s still an unpleasant experience.

My father got a job in Nebraska. It’s fantastic that he’s employed again, and since he works in construction it’s a sign that the economy is pick up. But he’s very far away and it’s difficult to stay in communication with him

Our parents finally met each other, after Teddy and I have been together for 4 years. The only word for that experience is “surreal”.

The wedding plans became official. It’s not an ugly thing, but this is more of a miscellaneous category than anything else. The panic attacks have begun and are occurring with some frequency now. Be still my heart.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad year. I had to actually think hard of 4 things to put in the bad category, which is probably a good sign. I’m beginning the process of physically cleaning the house, and soon there will be the aroma of sage and lavender to help magickally clean the house. Tomorrow I’ll make black eyed peas and pork, and we’ll play poker and dominos until it’s time to light fireworks and start the new year.

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Happy Holidays, Ares!

In terms of libations and such, Ares kicks off the holiday season.

At first blush, that seems very counter-intuitive. Most non-Pagans are a little confused by the idea of Ares as a holiday god, and most Pagans would agree with them. Ares is not your party boy, unless your idea of a party is one that ends with at least one ambulance called and possibly the cops. Just make sure there are no large pots nearby.

For those who aren’t familiar with him, Ares is the son of Hera and Zeus and a fairly well known war god. But that’s about all his duties encompass. Ares is almost exclusively a war deity, true he is also a patron of the police (#Ferguson and #Icantbreathe make so much more sense now) and an ancestral god of Thebes but that’s about it. He isn’t a particularly glamorous war god either, he doesn’t have the wisdom of Athene, nor does he carry a sense of honor for those who die in battle. Ares does not offer a glorious death, there is no Valhalla for those in his service. But in an odd, contradictory way, Ares is a god of peace.

Ares is a god of peace, in that war avoided is peace; and for this reason offerings are given to him. Which seems a little bit like bribery. Or maybe like Christian prayer-bargaining, “If you give me this, then I will do this”. But I think that it’s a little more complex than that. So humor my explanation.

Ares isn’t the easiest god to identify in art. He doesn’t have very distinctive symbols like Hecate’s torches, or Apollo’s harp, or Athene’s owls. In all the ancient images I’ve seen (and I will totally own up to not having seen them all, so if anyone has a counter example I’d love to see it!) he shows up as a man with weapons and helmet, pants and shield optional. When he does carry a shield, the device seems to change if it has one at all. The point I’m trying to get at is, even when it’s not obvious Ares is there. That temper, blood lust and almost uncontrollable desire to cause damage is there. Which all sounds vastly negative and harmful; so why am I spending a whole blog post on him this close to the holidays?

Because the holidays suck. Everyone has a story about a holiday gone sour. And not just sour; screaming, raging, furious, throw-the-plates-on-the-floor bad. Where the strongest desire you have is to hurt those who have hurt you, when you revel in the shock and pain on the face of the person you are fighting with, when seeing them hurt makes you feel good. This kind of family throw down seems to happen most often when children are different in a way that their parents and families have difficulty processing. When we have been hurt, we want to hurt others back, particularly those who have caused us pain.

For those of us like that, for us Pagans who have some pretty intense friction with our families, the holidays are exceptionally difficult. As we attempt to navigate the murky waters of family, family tradition, and our own autonomy and core; it helps to remember Ares and that lurking rage. Honoring Ares is honoring that anger and rage, we acknowledge it exists. We acknowledge that it is there, and by honoring we can move forward.

This is why Ares is the first god to receive a libation during the holiday season at my house. Thanksgiving and Yule don’t seem like the best time to do shadow work, and to be honest I’m fairly certain libations to Ares is shadow work lite. But at a time when the lights can be a bit over bearing, Ares can be a nice break.  Below, I’ve included the hymn I give to Ares when I pour libations.

 

To Ares, fumigation of frankincense:

Magnanimous, unconquered, boisterous Ares, in dart rejoicing, and in bloody wars; fierce and untamed, whose mighty power can make the strongest walls from their foundations shake: mortal destroying king, defiled with gore, pleased with war’s dreadful and tumultuous roar. Thee human blood, and swords, and spears delight, and the dire ruin of mad savage fight. Stay furious contests and avenging strife, whose works with woe embitter life; to lovely Aphrodite and Dionysus yield, for arms exchange the labors of the field; encourage peace, to gentle works inclined, and give abundance with benignant mind.

~Orphic Hymn 65


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A canine and human creation myth

Finals are over! Party at my place! Read: break out the trashy TV, the red wine, and neurotically check for my final grades.

Because I’ve been so busy lately, and my mental capacity is practically nil, I thought that I would write about the pitbull half of the blog title.

I come from a farming family. My family did the 4-H thing, I rode and did Pony Club. Horse and hounds go together like peas and carrots, so I’ve been around dogs my whole life with a pretty good connection with them. They are my magickal animal partner of choice: canines can see the dead, were probably some of the first animals to have a magickal connection with humans, and black dogs occur all over the place. But that’s not why I was adopted by Roxy (and it was very much that she adopted me).

I didn’t plan on getting a dog, though to be honest, I didn’t plan on getting my first dog either. I had held out on getting one for two years. I had just moved out of my parents’ house and to a new city, and the living situation hadn’t been ideal for puppies. But then my fiancé and I bought a house, and he prepared to go to law school. I wasn’t entirely comfortable being by myself in a new house, I was used to being around living things all the time. I wanted a dog, but my fiancé wanted to wait so I did. And then I didn’t.

A woman in the community rescued a red nosed pit bull named Roxy, and took her to my then magickal mentor to foster. I saw the posts on facebook he put up looking for a good home for her, but no one took her. I went over to his house for his lesson, and before I left, my fiancé told me “don’t come back with the dog”. As I drove up to my mentors house, Roxy jumped his very tall fence and bounded into the front yard to sit at the gate. She sat there until I came in and then stayed near me for the entire lesson. My mentor lent me a leash to take her home, and a few days of dog food for her.  As we drove home Roxy sat in the front seat and howled to the Oldies station.

Owning a pit bull comes with its own pit falls (pun intended). We will only be able to have homeowners insurance through Allstate. People are suspicious of Roxy when we go to the dog park, or even when we go for a walk and she opens her mouth in a big pit bull grin. But I love her, and she’ll have a home here as long she wants it.


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A Charge of Hekate

I’m actually getting a post up on time? Sayeth What?! On the week before finals? Sayeth even more what?! Yes, I am actually. And I’m feeling pretty good about it. This is the promised Charge of Hekate post. I went to a weekend retreat on the 11th of November, and one of the workshops was writing a charge of Hekate. When you do a search for a Google search for a charge of Hekate there are close to half a million hits, and with the permission of my group members, I’m going to throw ours into the ring with commentary on why it works.

Charges of the Divine seem to follow the very classic structures laid out by Valiente’s elegant Charge of the Goddess and by Crowley in the first two chapters of The Book of The Law. This means that they hit on 4 main points:

  1. Who am I
  2. What I demand
  3. How to live
  4. What I give

We decided to keep this format because it is familiar (most of the group had a Wiccan background, and there is something to be said for familiarity) and because we were working in a time constraint. With no further ado, I present A Charge of Hekate.

Listen to the words of Hekate, who of old was called Phosphoros and Kourotrophos, Lightbearer and Nurse, Midwife and Guide:

We picked the epithets of Phosphoros and Kourotrophos out of the dozens Hekate has because of the connections we as a group had to them. I personally feel a connection to the torch bearer, and another in the group had a strong connection to the nurse and midwife.

Though I am known by a thousand thousand names, the whole world honors Me. I am the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mistress of the Sea, and Ruler of the Realms Beyond Knowing, and I say unto you:

Here we pay tribute to the fact that Hekate has a whole boatload and then some of names and faces. Her realms of dominion comes from Hesiods Theogony—“Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods”. Hekate is also the daughter of Asteria, the Titaness of Divination, and a patroness of the magickal arts; making her a ruler of the realms beyond knowing.

Whenever you have need of anything, and at least once a month, and best it be when the moon is dark, you shall gather and adore the spirit of Me, the Queen of all the Initiates. You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you are truly free you must be purified in your rights.

Here is where ancient meets modern. The first night of the dark moon is called Hekate’s Deipnon, which literally translates into “Hekate’s Evening Meal”. This was when a meal was placed at her door-shrines and the poor would it eat it. Now, the more modern version is to donate food or time to a soup kitchen. On a more practical note, many covens do gather on the full moon and this allows devotees and the priesthood to honor Hekate without a whole lot of calendar conflict. The reference to purification, was that you must come before the goddess at least physically clean and having done a little bit to purify yourself magickaly.

Let My worship be in the compassionate heart that rejoices: sing, share the feast, dance, make music and give service all in My honor, for all acts of Love and Compassion are My rituals, and My gift is joy on earth. Nor do I demand what you cannot give, for I am the mother of all; My law is Love unto all beings, and My love is poured out upon all creation.

In the modern world (or perhaps in the Wiccate view of Her), Hekate has a bit of a reputation as a hard ass. She is thought to be demanding, harsh, hard, and a little intolerant of foolishness. To a degree, I think that this reputation comes from certain devotees and members of the priesthood projecting what is within themselves. Hekate certainly can be all of these things, but at the same time She is immensely compassionate. She aids Demeter in the search for Persephone, escorts Persephone to and from the Underworld, appoints Galinthias as a sacred animal after Hera and the Moirai turned her into a weasel, and turned Hekabe into a black dog and made her a sacred familiar after her murder. We thought that because of this and the deipnon, compassion would be one of the most important things Hekate would want her devotees and priesthood to follow.

I embody the Universe: I am the beauty of the living earth, the radiant moon among the stars, the depths of the waters, and the Divine Fire within your heart. I am the soul Who holds the mysteries of the universe, and I call to you for thou are priestess and thou are priest.

More adoration of the goddess, as well as places she can be found. The Divine Fire part becomes important later.

Unleash the coiled splendor within you, spread wide your wings, and come unto Me. Let there be beauty and strength, truth and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. Keep pure your highest ideals, and harm none within your ability.

Ok, small soap box moment. I have a lot of issues with “harm none” because it isn’t possible. Throughout my life, I will harm some organism or some person every single day. I’m human. That doesn’t mean that I am intentionally doing it though. And that is the big thing, to the BEST OF MY ABILITY I try to harm none.

Seek your true Will, strive ever to fulfill it. Let nothing hinder or turn you aside. And you would learn all magick, yet have not won its deepest secrets, to you will I teach all things yet unknown. To you I will teach the Great Mystery: what you seek is within you, you will never find it without.

As you can see, the capitalized Will has arrived. It’s a bit of an influence from my beloved Thelemite fiancé, and here is another. Crowley defines magick as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” Pursuit of science and art comes from within, you can’t create anything without a desire to; the same way that science becomes difficult when you aren’t passionate about it. If you seek magick, if you seek the gods, if you seek Hekate, you must have access to the Divine Fire in your heart. That Divine Fire is what ties you to magick and the gods, if you can’t see it within, you won’t see it in the outside world (and it’s true, no matter how New-Agey it sounds).

I am a gracious goddess, Keeper of the Keys of life, the cauldron of woman’s womb, and Mine is the holy gift of transcendence and growth. In life, I give the delight of My guiding presence and knowledge of the path continuing. And beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with your beloved who have gone before. I am with you at your birth, and accompany you at death. For I have been with you from the Beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of Desire.

Here we loop back to the beginning of who Hekate is, and what She gives to us; because we all are really just a circle connected to each other.