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creating ritual: purification

if i absolutely had to pick a religious identity, i would label myself “Christ-emulator”, as in i try to emulate the teachings of Christ. to me, it differs from being “christian” in many ways, and it allows me to weave in truths from other spiritual practices while not feeling fake. i celebrate jewish holidays in honour of my matriarchal russian-jewish heritage. my time living in japan, and my affinity for japanese culture, drew me to shinto { and buddhism, and taoism }. my ojibwe heritage has opened me to elements of native american spirituality. my love of mythology has opened my mind to the idea of many gods and goddesses. i’m a feminist moon-worshiper. all of the preceding hold TRUTHS; my creative persona finds comfort, calm, and solace embodying the crazy-mixed-up jumble of beliefs i hold in physical rituals.

there is a salus per aquam { spa } near my home where i retreat to in times of high anxiety. in the decompressing area, hidden in a pile of feminist books, i discovered the goddess oracle–a collection of stunning cards used for divination. after using them several times, i decided to purchase my own, since i find them more intuitive and illuminating than tarot.

in order to cleanse my personal deck of any residual “ick”, and to truly set the intent, attuning it to me, i performed a purification ritual. first, i laid down fabric which will adorn my alter, and lit my homemade “saints” candle { one side is an image of carrie fisher, the other of david bowie. i coloured in the images and affixed them to a beeswax pillar candle }. i poured water into a bronzed bowl, then lit a sage smudge stick whose smoke i used to bless the candle, the water, myself, and the cards in an anti-clockwise fashion. after cleansing the cards, i laid them upon a small scrap of silk a top the fabric, and then cleansed the two stones i had chosen to fully align my deck. clear calcite, is a stone of clarity,insight and manifestation- facilitating inner clarity and initiating multilevel awareness. selenite is as tone of spiritual activation, aiding in communication with one’s higher self, and facilitates the experience of receiving inner guidance.

once purified, i placed these stones upon my deck and covered them with a remaining scrap of silk, then again smudged everything in one giant anti-clockwise circle. now i sit, with a calming herbal tea i blended myself, waiting for the deck to set.

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Hine ma tov. { .הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד }

behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren { sistren–yes, it’s a word } to dwell in unity.  this song, this psalm, is one of the first i learned in hebrew. how deep, how rich, how resonant the words vibrate in my soul when sung. perhaps it is the gradual lengthening of days, the bursting forth of new life, the whispers of spring that are stirring a desire inside me to connect with others…

a few days ago, as i’m scrolling through my facebook feed, several posts have reminded me of how important it is to have community. whether it’s the outpouring of birthday wishes, the uploaded photos, the individual status updates–i’m reminded that i’ve become a rather isolated individual.  i truly don’t want to be, yet i find myself thousands of miles away from my family; at least 3+ years since i’ve seen either of my longest-friends { hi R & A! } ;  watching as others form bonds of kinship.

sometimes i’m not very good at articulating how i feel, so i have to borrow words. these words, from Paul Rogat Loeb, succinctly summarize what i’m attempting to say: We become human only in the company of other human beings.  And this involves both opening our hearts and giving voice to our deepest convictions. …When we shrink from the world, our souls shrink, too. 

i fear my soul is shrinking.

nuggets of wisdom: “the noonday demon”

this is part one of a new “series” of posts– quotes or passages from books i am reading that i don’t want to forget.

i’m currently reading The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression { by Andrew Solomon }. it is part memoir, part scientific research, part sociological & culturally-anthropological analogy. only 42 pages in and i’m gaining so much insight on myself, and on how humanity deals { or doesn’t deal } with depression.

anyways, here is the passage i wish to share, from page 17:

It is not pleasant to experience decay, to find yourself exposed to the ravages of an almost daily rain, and to know that you are turning into something feeble, that more and more of you will blow off with the first strong wind, making you less and less. Some people accumulate more emotional rust than others. Depression starts out insipid, fogs the days into a dull color, weakens ordinary actions until their clear shapes are obscured by the effort they require, leaves you tired and bored and self-obsessed– but you can get through all that. Not happily, perhaps, but you can get through.