Thursday, April 26, 2007

Poem: The Pythia Speaks

(A completely free form work in progress. Comments welcome.)

I walk the corridors,
Laurel branch in hand

Strings of dappled light
Invade the darkness
And the smoke of incense
Fills my lungs

The tripod waits
Where from my lips spill
The forgotten mysteries
Of the endless serpent

The sweet perfume ascends
From the swollen Earth
Like the vapors of a flowered brew

My young body shakes
And pulses
With the spirit of the Mother

The supplicants gape
In wonder
In horror

They don't know it is the Earth that speaks
Through me,
Her priestess

It is the Earth that quakes beneath them
And not the God of the Sun
But ancient Mother Gaia they invoke

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Triple Goddess Malas


(This first prayer can be used for the entire round or for the Divine bead.)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life
Whose Garment is the shining Heavens.
You are the white moon among the stars
And the beauty of the green earth.
You are the Oneness of all things
And the Completion of the Spirit
You are the mystery that if that which we seek
We find not within
We will never find it without
For you have been here since the beginning
And you are that which is attained at the end of desire.

(adapted from the Charge of the Goddess with Tridean influence)

Goddess, I am looking within and I see your light shining.

(white beads)
Maiden of freedom
You are the Eternal Virgin,
The Holy Bride of Nature,
And the revealing light within the shadows
Through you all that is good comes to birth.

(red beads)
Mother of Compassion,
Forever fertile, Lady of the forge.
You are the creating force of love
And the strength which nourishes all that lives.
Through you the cause of life is served.

(black beads)
Crone of Wisdom,
Ancient One, Keeper of the Cauldron.
You stand at the gates between the worlds
And carry the shining sickle of death.
Without you nothing can be transformed.

(divine bead)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life, Three that are One.
You are everything; the Earth under our/my feet, the Air which we/I breathe, the Water which purifies us/me, and the light within our/my soul(s).
All things are born of your spirit.

(to end)
By the power and will of She that is Three, So mote it be.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Mother Goddess

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet expresses a lesson of the Mother aspect of the Goddess with his famous quote: "My religion is simple. My religion is kindness."

The Mother aspect of the Great Goddess is perhaps the most well known. After all, we all have mothers and are typically familiar with the qualities of a healthy mother-figure regardless of our own individual upbringings.

Hundreds of images of the Mother Goddess have been found that date back to the Stone Age. Characteristics of motherhood and fertility are commonly found in their design as they bare exaggerated breasts and bellies. The exaggerated belly conceptualizes qualities of the womb – creation, protection, etc. - as something present in the "creator" and something to be harnessed within oneself. In turn, the engorged breasts illustrate that nourishment is a necessity for all living things and is able to be provided only by other living things.

In myth the Mother appears to have many characteristics, but the most common are those associated with creation and nourishment. She is often seen as the Earth itself, producing and giving freely of the things that her children need to survive.

As with the Maiden, the Mother is not only found within beings who are physical mothers. She is in all things at all times regardless of fertility, gender, or age. Every person contains an "Inner Mother" - an aspect of themselves that is capable of unconditional love.

The Mother aspect of the Goddess is the Teacher of Compassion. After going through the processes and revelations brought on by embracing the Maiden within, the Mother suddenly surfaces and begins to take the reigns.

As you learn to remove judgment and accept Oneness you may begin to notice her voice inside your head, urging you to find compassion for that boss that drives you crazy or the clerk at the grocery store who seems to be taking too much time out of your day. The Mother teaches us to love all people and all life.

One of the most valuable lessons of the Mother is compassion for self. This falls right in line with the concept of non-judgment of self. The Maiden removes judgment and the Mother replaces it with compassion.

The "darker" (for lack of a better word) side of the Mother is one of destruction. She is willing to consume life back into herself when necessary while teaching us that death has a purpose as a part of life.

The Mother is also the archetype of a fierce protector who will defend the lives of her children with her last breath. In this way we understand that life should be fought for and defended.

The Mother is connected with the traditional interpretations of the element of Fire. Fire is transformational energy; destroying and creating all at once. Fire is the primeval force of creation. Where as the Maiden provides inspiration, the Mother takes those ideas and molds them in her fire, like a blacksmith with a fine sword, and gives them life.

The Mother can be felt with the heat of the sun or the warmth of your hearth. Allow her into your heart and she will show you all of the possibilities that come with the presence of unconditional love, kindness, and compassion.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Vernal Equinox/Ostara

It is the season of spring and life is placing its hold on the earth once more. It is planting time, a hopeful time of renewal for all things.

The Maiden Goddess is at the peak of her power, both physically and spiritually. She is the seed and the soil, the planter and the planted. She is the Initiator, the Free Spirit, and the Holy Virgin.

At this time the Goddess seeks a mate and finds one in the Horned Lord who is a Son of Nature, a Keeper of Life, and a Man of the Goddess.

They are drawn to each other in a cosmic dance older than time itself. He is of her and one with her in spirit. She invites him now to become one with her in body as well.

The Goddess and her Stag-Horned Consort come together at this season of balance to learn about love and to create the child of light which will be reborn at the Winter Solstice.

With their joining new life enters the world, symbolized by the festive eggs and blooming flowers on our altars. The flames of our candles represent the sun which will continue to grow warm and heat the Earth, encouraging growth throughout the coming months. We also offer water, a representation of the cleansing and nourishing rains of the season.

We gather now in this sacred space to circle together in honor of the Goddess, the Lady of Light and Life. We gather to celebrate the beginning of spring and the coming warmth.

We rejoice in the joining of the Maiden and her Consort. May the light of their love shine on us all and bring the fertile promise of renewal.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Religion Taught in Schools

In response to Newsweek's On Faith question: Should teaching about religion be mandatory in public schools? In colleges and universities?

Click the linked title of this post to read the responses of others, including Starhawk.

I have a serious problem with my child being taught religion by other people. I believe that everyone has the right to believe in and practice whatever they choose so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. In saying that, I believe I have the right to keep my child from being exposed to those religions that I don't believe in or disagree with.

I know a lot of Pagans these days who say things like: "I don't have a problem with Christianity. It's the people who push it on me that I don't like." I can echo those sentiments, but at the same time I am honestly going to come clean and say that I have a problem with the religion itself. And I'll tell you why...

What are some of the things Christianity preaches?

Original Sin: I don't even want my kid to hear of this idea until she is old enough and not quite so impressionable. Are you kidding me? This idea teaches that people are inherently bad - evil even. Take a child and tell them are evil every day. Eventually they will believe you and start living by that label. They may even decide to use it as an excuse to do harm. They believe they're evil after all. Why would they think twice about committing evil acts?

Original Sin Stems From Woman: Oh Eve. Bless her for wanting to know the truth. Eve is a prime example of what the Biblical stories do to people who pose questions and look for answers in places that "god" finds less than desirable. They demonize them and make them the originators of the sins of all humankind. Women who are surrounded by these archaic concepts are still trying to break free of them. This led to the ideas that birth, breast feeding, menstruation, and female sexuality are dirty and bad. In reality all of these are natural and sacred. This even leads to men feeling guilty for being sexually attracted to women because women and "sins of the flesh" will cause their downfall into damnation. Viola, we've now sexually repressed the entire human race into being Puritans.

God Should be Feared/The Concept of Hell/Non-believes Will Suffer Eternal Damnation: I think we can all agree that a society based on fear causes little more than an advance in consumerism and panic. No thanks.

"Man" Has Dominion Over the Earth: Uh. What? We own the Earth? What makes us so special? We can see where this has led with the effects of pollution, global warming, endangered species, the rainforest, etc, etc, etc.

So, I don't have a problem with Christians (at least the non-evangelical ones). I have a problem with the ideas that they are led to believe are truth and the consequent effects that have wrought destruction, guilt, fear, misogyny, etc. all over our world. (The ideas that make people believe they are evil for being human.) But, I still believe they have the right to believe what they choose and I admire those that keep faith within them, honoring the loving aspects of their religion and their god. The problem is, I expect the same from them and their "god" doesn't permit it.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Summary of Tridean Beliefs

The beliefs of the Tridean Goddess Tradition are based on evidence of what is believed to be the oldest form of human religion. Physical artifacts, such as hand-carved statues and cave art, place the source of these beliefs in Paleolithic Europe as early as 25,000 years ago or more. Hundreds of ritualized female figures exist from this time period that point to a system of belief which illustrates how life comes into being and how the Universe operates. There are no similar male figures found.

Looking at these figures, and their ritualized representations of the female form, it can be inferred that humanity’s first image of the life-giver was that of a mother. It is further concluded that these beliefs must go back to a time when people saw themselves as children of Nature, related to all of Creation, and part of a greater whole imagined as Goddess.

Trideans believe that Nature, and all things of Nature, are the Goddess in a multitude of physical manifestations. Nature is the sacred text of the human race and the blueprint that teaches us how to relate to the Goddess and to each other. It is the guide by which the spirit finds Completion; the sacred union of Oneness with all things.

While the Completion of the Goddess is the goal it is not believed to be attained through an idea of perfection, but through peace which can only come through understanding.

Lunar mythology predates solar mythology in most if not all cultures. For this reason Trideans believe that the moon is the source for all later cosmologies and thus continues interpretations of the Moon Goddess into the other natural cycles of sun and earth.

Through the waxing, full, and waning phases of the moon a Triple Goddess figure comes into being. A fourth aspect is evident with the dark phase of the moon, symbolizing the promise of rebirth into the Otherworld and the union of Completion. Each of these phases represents an aspect of the Goddess and illustrates a spiritual concept.

The cycles of the sun and earth, or the seasons, are seen to carry the same concepts of the
cycle of the moon on a grander scale. The solar year is a further, more detailed instruction from the blueprint of Nature where the Goddess is seen to be born from the Underworld, takes a mate, ages, dies, and gives birth again to herself in the act of rebirth.

The solar mysteries illustrate our connection to the rest of Creation through observations of the sowing and reaping of seeds, the lives of animals, and the changing of the Earth. The moon, by contrast, is a source of individual mystery representing ideas of intrinsically spiritual and personal awareness. Both of these cyclical systems are physical reflections of the adage “as above, so below”.

Some of the earliest images of the Goddess are depicted some what androgynously with both male and female principles. It is believed that the reason behind this is the idea of Oneness. The Goddess is completely female and completely male; having all the traits necessary for creation. She is the nothing less than the totality of being complete and without separation. The male aspect of the Goddess is seen as a horned animal, or as a half human, half animal being.

The Goddess is the whole while the God image is but a facet of her. The myth of the God/Hunter can not survive outside of the myth of the Goddess. Furthermore, myths of the God/Hunter/Son/Lover do not exist before the Bronze Age. The belief of a primordial Goddess of Oneness predates this time period by millennia.

Misconceptions of these myths have led some to believe that the male of the species has no part in the religion of the Goddess. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, since the Goddess is the representation of Oneness, she is ever present in all forms of life both male and female. While some mysteries of the Goddess are apparent through the female body and the act of giving birth, the image of the Goddess transcends any one woman or the female body. Men are as much manifestations of the Goddess as women are.

The Goddess creates parthenogenically, or of herself. While there is no separation and the Goddess does not exalt her female children over her male (or her two legged over her four legged) the female sex is considered the original form. All fetuses begin as female in their mother’s womb. Furthermore, recent evolutionary science has proposed that male reproductive organs are a secondary evolution that came about to keep the gene pool more diverse.

The Tridean myth cycle of the solar year depicts the Goddess rebirthing herself at the end of the year in the Otherworld. She then surfaces between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. At the time of the Vernal Equinox she takes a mate – another manifestation of herself and her creation as Son/Lover. After finding her mate she becomes pregnant with the Child of Completion – herself.

Through Beltane and Midsummer the Goddess continues to grow with child. At Mabon her mate dies, leaving her an aging woman alone with herself and her memories. She now knows death and, as she mourns, works to understand its mysteries. She begins the transformation of becoming the Gatekeeper between the worlds and the one who guides the souls of the dead back to the Otherworld of her womb.

At Samhain the Goddess begins her own journey to the Otherworld, thinning the veil as she goes. It is within the Otherworld that her other aspects will join her to bring the Child of Completion to birth and begin the cycle again.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Tridean Winter Solstice Story


In the beginning was the Goddess; being completely female, completely male, completely balanced, completely whole.

Unto her were born the land, the sea, and the sky; the heat of the flaming sun, and the bright shining orb of the moon among an ocean of stars.

She brought forth the plants and trees, the flying ones, the life of the waters, and all manner of breathing creature.

She gave birth to sons and daughters who were the children of Nature. In time they developed culture, and the ability to create as she creates.

She is all things, the source of all that lives, and unto her all things must return.

It is her lessons we have come to speak of. It is her lessons that are taught to us by the living force of Nature. And so through the cycles of Nature do we find worship of her.

Winter Solstice Story

The Winter Solstice is a time of completion; a time of ending and of a new beginning.

Since the Crone's journey at Samhain she has been waiting in the Otherworld with the Child of Light growing within her womb.

She has waited alone, sitting hearthside in contemplation of her life with only her memories to keep her company. Tonight, the longest night of the year, she is joined by her sisters and, like the Solstice wreath; the circle will soon be complete.

Within the chill of Midwinter the aging Goddess labors in childbed. Her cries are those of the Earth itself, frozen in the silence of winter's slumber.

She fights to bring her child into the world. Her sisters, the Maiden and the Mother, attend to her as midwives, speaking in soothing tones and wiping her forehead lovingly. They have all, in turn, carried this child. Only the Crone, with the help of her sisters, can bring the pregnancy to completion. They have come to be together for the first time all year to witness this special birth.

The Crone's wrinkled face contorts and she clenches her tired eyes in a final effort. Suddenly the laboring woman’s cries are quieted and a child enters the world.

Tears of joy spread like a wave. The child is the Goddess reborn, the culmination of a year's worth of work and the total sum of the three aspects in one.

With the birth of this child comes the birth of the Sun. The Light has returned to the Earth.

The Goddess is eternal, like the evergreen that's boughs show life in the depths of winter's darkness when all other trees appear lifeless. She changes but never truly dies.

At this season we give gifts to honor the Goddess in each of us, to recall that in all things the Goddess is complete.

We come together to sing back the Light and feast in friendship; to remember the promise of rebirth, and to know that joy is never beyond our reach.

A blessed Solstice to all people and to all of Creation.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Of a Feather

I saw a flock of birds today. Not just ten birds or twenty, but at least a hundred. They were pecking about in the grass on the side of the road near the onramp to the 390 expressway. I was sitting still, waiting in a line of cars with my blinker on. As the cars moved a little, inched their way forward one by one, the birds took flight.

They moved as a unit, as a single entity with two hundred tiny wings. I watched them intently, chuckling as they swayed up and down then back up again. They landed in a meager patch of trees, long ago covered with exhaust fumes, and lifted up again to sway once more in the wind. They couldn't make up their mind about where they were going but they knew they were going to get there together.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Charge of the Green God

I am the Great Stag,
Horned God of the Hunt,
And the Green Man,
Lord of the living forest.
I am wild, untamed, and true to myself.
I sit beneath the great oak
And join with creation in enlightened ecstasy.

I am the Mystic, the Wanderer,
And the Sacrificial King.

I am the Sleepwalker,
The Shaman who moves between the worlds,
Brining prophecy and the knowledge of Self
From the shadows of the Revealer.

I am born of the Great Mother of All Things
And unto Her I shall return.

I represent the journey of the Spirit
And call upon your soul to seek oneness,
To seek the Goddess.
In knowing Her we know ourselves
And reach into the great void
Towards the essence of completion.

© 2006 Grian DeBandia

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dancing with the Crone

It's been raining for the past three days and I haven't felt gloomy just yet. It feels like a cleansing of the summer heat and an ushering in of the Crone in all her power.

The rains seem appropriate for the time. A certain quiet has come over the earth. There is no thunder, no lightening, only the constant pulse of water hitting the ground. The animals are content to stay indoors. The dogs hate getting wet and the cats aren't clawing at the window screens to get out into the wild. I, on the other hand, would love nothing more than to dance naked under the thick, grey clouds. The air is still warm enough, though the cold rain creates a quasi-refreshing chill on the skin.

Perhaps tonight as the Crone moon rises above the cottonwoods I will venture out into the night to spin in abandon with a song on my lips and a prayer in my heart. I will take the time to usher in the Crone as the season of autumn approaches.

She will be dancing by my side, wrapped in her black cloak with mums in her long, grey hair - so like the rain clouds in color and texture. Her old eyes will smile, creasing at the corners. She'll offer me the pomegranate and tell me the time has come to look for wisdom within.

"Are you ready for the transformation of death to life? Will you allow a part of yourself to be destroyed to make room for something new to be born?"

When our dance is complete she will embrace me as her daughter, her granddaughter, and her sister,. With that embrace we will become one and I will realize that I was dancing beside myself all along.


Monday, September 11, 2006

The Last of the Monarchs

I saw the last of the Monarchs today flying low above the ground. Their wild orange and black wings stood out in gorgeous contrast against the serenity of the blue sky and white cotton clouds. They flitted about looking for summer's late bloomers only to find colorful cars and brightly clothed people instead. I wondered if they would find what they were looking for. How long would they hunt before finding the nectar filled ecstasy they so desperately sought?

In a short time the Monarchs will be gone like the flowers of the lilac that wilted months before. They will lay their eggs on the understated milkweed and vanish for another long, northern winter. For now they fly through the air searching, like lost souls, hoping to find a stray piece of heaven in one of the languishing red clover blossoms that once speckled my yard like so many stars.

When they are gone I will not mourn them. I know that in the spring I will see them in their splendor once more. Until then I will light a candle for the Monarchs, to remember their journey and that of all souls who have been lost and found their way home again.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Know Thyself

I was recently asked to reflect on the first goal of the 13 Goals of a Witch: Know Thyself. When I did so my reflections were not as in-depth as I would've liked them to be.

While visiting Goddessing I saw that Sage had returned with a post entitled Solitary Life. In this post she describes herself as an extroverted introvert. I immediately saw these words as a good description for my own solitary habits and another way to find out more about myself.

I enjoy being alone and with my own thoughts. I can sit and read/write/draw/think for hours at a time. I like being with myself in part because (as egotistical as this sounds) I think I am an interesting person. I laugh at my own silliness and get caught in awe of my own brilliance. Of course I have many self-deprecating moments as well. These are the times when I am unsure of everything and afraid to fail at being a person. It's a good balance more often than not.

I sing and dance when I'm alone. The only times I ever feel truly free are when I am by myself - or at least within myself. There could be other people present but I am willfully stuck inside my own mind.

But then again, I also enjoy being with friends and family. I love a good conversation - the kind that draws you in and makes you think about "big" things - where profound epiphanies fly about the room. I love going out to dance and hearing music that is so loud it envelopes you in its sound like a thick fleece blanket. There is no way to verbally communicate with people so you are left with shared looks and amazing energy instead. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies. For two hours or so I can share the same experience with a theatre full of people - reacting when they react; laughing and crying at the same moments in the story. I talk to strangers just because I am comfortable doing so and I enjoy meeting new people.

I suppose these traits could classify me as a walking conundrum. They could also classify me as being someone who is hard to live with. I will deny neither.