Ah Hope

Ah my dear Hope

We must agree to disagree

I know that you and I have had this argument for years – this idea that we are in an adversarial relationship with our gods (guides, guardians and/or higher self). That some members of my tribe see the relationship we have with them is unbalanced and that they enjoy our feeling of pain, suffering and embarrassment. Even to the point that they will set us up to fail or to look foolish. I also know that this makes you angry. In that anger, you search for proof of this belief. I see this in you and I see it in others.

It breaks my heart because my experiences are so much the opposite of yours.

Let me remind you of my truths that I always work with:

1) Separation of self from divinity (this is a myth a lie)
We are all one in the same. My guardians, guides, ancestors and/or gods. I would love to separate out the three in to neat categories but they are not separate. At some point in the vast cosmic expansion they are all linked as one. I know I approach spirituality, faith and religion with a more eastern mind set. I AM NOT SPERATE FROM MY DIVINITY OR MY GODS. If we are one why would they want me to fail why would they find humor in my mistakes. When I am soul hurt my gods weep with me. When I am ego hurt they offer comfort but with that edge and that reminder of free will sucks.

2) Trust
It’s a horrible 5 letter word that eats at the consciousness and ego us all. To trust is to embrace weakness and worst of all faith that others are there to help. Yet without trust starting with ourselves we can never find balance with gods. Without trust, there is always that struggle. Without trust, there is fear. We all know fear is the mind killer.

3) We view the world though our human existence and mask
We look at the world around us through a mask of our own perceptions, a filter built of our experiences and teachings. The foundations of this are built in out childhood by our families. Some of us grow up learning to trust the world and view all people as good in their base nature and willing to help others. Some of us grow up viewing the world as adversarial always a struggle for rare praise and resources. This creates an adversarial relationship with others from the start. The latter is where this break between or own self and being a peace with our own divinity and connections comes into play.

Imagine if you will your own body, your heart wanting our stomach to digest food quickly and efficiently leaving no fat behind to travel to our thighs. The stomach doing its best to give us the energy we need to live and move though are day piss that the heart is trying to tell it what to do. In this model, the heart is always at war with the stomach because the stomach is failing to do what the heart wants the stomach is at war with the heart because the stomach is just trying to do its job. Creating this imbalance and fight constantly. Then our brain gets involved and wants to use facts or logic to tell the heart and the stomach to stop fighting but rather than listen to the brain the heart and stomach start fighting with the brain. In this system, the body s always at war with itself. It has forgotten its true mission which is to be whole.

The reality is of course that the body is a single system that, when in balance, works harmoniously so that all of its parts benefit. We and the gods and spirits native to our universe are all part of one body. The more we understand how each part works, the more we can simply trust those parts to do their job. When we believe that a part should work differently and demand that it acts in some manner that is alien to it, it seems as if that part is defiant. The defiant part is telling us our beliefs are wrong, which can feel like an attack when our beliefs are deeply held.

4) Deities are a limited resource…
We live in a world that requires is to kill to eat so right from the start our perceptions are that life is a battle be it with a tomato worm or a tiger. We are all fighting for resources we need to live. Day to day there is struggle to get enough food, clean drinking water, enough money to pay bills, to get the medicine we need to survive. This struggle is real it is part of being human. What is not real is this idea that the attention paid to us by deity, the love given to us by deity is also limited. Worse that we need someone else to tell us what it is our gods are wishing and hoping for us. This is a myth and a HUGE one. There is no limit to the love a deity can give us, there is no limit to the attention bestowed upon us by our deities, gods, guardians and ancestors. Their desire for us to succeed is unlimited as is their affection, love and energy they bestow upon us to see us reach our highest potential. Their only desire is to see us freed from any Karmic debt and to move upward embracing all of this human experience.

My hope for you is maybe someday we can come to a balance between our understandings of how the universe works. Maybe one day convince you that you are amazing and wonderful and that the gods do love you.

Much love

Nettle

PS Coyvere sends his love as well

Oily update

Today I strained my herbal oils that I started back at Sumner Solstice, it was messy

I got oil all over my hands, the table, the chair the kitchen sink, my hair even the floor. It was a glorious mess!

The oils are fabulous looking and smelling – sweet green earthy no moldy rotten smell to them. 0726171318d

from left to right we have Arnica, Plantain, Calendula and Yarrow – this is why labels are important – at least in the making of herbal oils and future salves.

0726171317a Also important is remember to check to see if you have all the ingredients you need in large enough proportions to finish your project. Now begins my search for beeswax.

Happy almost Lammas/Lughnasadh!

Summer Solstice

Summer solstice is here and I’ll be honest it’s as hot as Hades outside right now. Moving to the desert we have experienced our first 120+ heat, it’s an experience.  Good or bad, not sure yet.  I’m trying to leave out judgment for now.

So what do you do for the Solstice0621171132a when it’s too hot to go outside?

Why you start some magical healing oil for salve making later on in the summer!

Then you take a nap. 😉 or go swimming in your pool, or take a nap or read a book or take a nap… I’m digging this siesta thing.

I made four oils today starting with Safflower Oil. It can be hard to find good Safflower Oil but it is worth the search. Safflower oil is great for the skin.  It soaks in nicely and does not leave a heavy greasy feeling to the skin.  The better the quality of the oil you use, the better your final product will be.

I then picked my herbs.  For this method, I prefer to use already dried plants. As much as I would love to grow my own I cheat and buy already dried from a trusted source.

I used four pint-sized canning jars and roughly an ounce of dried flowers and leaves of each plant. You fill the jar loosely (please don’t stuff the jar – you need space) with your dried herb then slowly poor the safflower oil over the top until the jar is full.  Seal the jar with a tight lid and then place in a sunny window for about a month. Label your jars so you know the date and herb in the jar. It’s almost impossible to go back and smell what’s in the jar or even try and remember. so label, label label.

I picked four herbal oils to make this year at Summer Solstice

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Calendula Flowers (Calendula officinalis): uses as a gentle healing herb for skin wounds, rashes, and irritations – calming and soothing to the skin. This oil can be used on small open wounds. Please don’t use if you have an allergy to any of the other members of the Asteraceae family (such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species)

Yarrow leaves & flowers (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow is a traditional healing herb for wounds.  The Greek hero Achilles used yarrow to wash the wounds of his soldiers.  One of the best I know to apply to an open wound or sore. Yarrow is also a member of the Asteraceae family and shouldn’t be used by pregnant women.

Plantain leaf (Plantago lanceolata): Plantain leaf is an invasive species plant to North America that has naturalized meaning it’s considered a common weed. The leaves are wonderful for healing insect stings and bites, treating itching and hives. Yet like all plants someone you know might be allergic so use with caution when sharing this oil with a friend for the first time or using yourself.

Arnica flowers (Arnica montana): I’ve just discovered Arnica for sore muscles and bruising, I love this plant. It cannot or should not be taken internally nor should it be used on an open wound. It too is a member of the Asteraceae family so people with known allergies to this plant should avoid using Arnica

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So here they all are sitting on the window sill to wait and steep for a month. I’ll try to remember to shake them daily. Check back in a while and I’ll share with you the next step in salve making.

Summer Solstice blessing my friends – May the sun shine bright upon you, illuminating what is hidden and harmful, letting you heal and grow.

SummerSolsticeSoiree

Struggles with understanding

Last night Hope and I had a long conversation about our post continuing on from the are the gods one big conglomerate mass or individual entities (they are both). Leaving me all stirred up when I tried to meditate last night. The set up was just about freaking perfect – the scent of our night blooming jasmine, the sandalwood incense I had lit, and gazing up at the stars trying to see a meteorite from the Lenard’s Meteorite Shower. I was struggling with why I bristle and struggle with the idea of Gods perpetuating Rape Culture and abusive God-Spouses. WHY do people believe this, or why couldn’t I believe?
With the pomegranate bush in bloom, Persephone and Hades’ energies just rolled right off the plant. It is comforting and safe for me. While I do not consider myself a channel or medium, I hope that I do have a good clear understanding of the messages I receive from the goddesses and gods. While this is not the conversation word for word it is the impressions that it left me with this morning that I must write down on paper.

I know rape culture is a thing. It permeates our culture and all the patriarchy back to the first start of this horrific idea before Eve ate the apple. (To which I often hear Lilith at this point reminding me that Eve was framed as was I).

So why do I bristle when I hear Gods perpetuate or have caused rape culture. Persephone reminded me, as did Hekate, that we all have our blinders and here is mine. I have always connected with Persephone, whether it is because she is my spirit sister or something more I don’t know, but there are times when she and I are one. One of Coyvere’s most powerful path walkings was the one where he first met Hades and Hades gave him a hug, calling him Brother. The very first time I met Coyvere was a few days before Halloween in Madison. I could feel the waves of Hades washing off him and oh did my inner Persephone sing. Not with fear or loathing, but with joy and love. A reflection of love and joy that was so powerful it frightened me to my core and it took me two years to understand that what he represented was love. Love that was pure, with no traps, no motives, no tricks. Until I met him I didn’t know that love from men could be pure and untainted. Because until him I had only known men as power and that abusive power that predominated rape culture. What they called love was not love but power seeking to control or bind.

Aphrodite blessed me that day, and I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have been able to spend more than 25 years with a man who does love pure, who understand the patriarchy is in his favor, and that rape culture is a real thing. He works to bring awareness to himself on this issue and having three daughters helps him as well. He could never shame or embrace his own daughters when it came to their ownership of their bodies. Why should they have anything less that he was blessed with just because of genetics?

My blinders, or rose-colored glasses, are that I cannot perceive Hades abusing Persephone or harming her in any way. It is not a part of my story. So, when people say Hades abused and raped Kore/Persephone I cannot see from my story that happening.
Persephone has always been a part of me, even as a small child reading the myth of Hades’ abduction of Persephone into the underworld I’ve felt part of the story was off or wrong. Just one of those gut feelings of there is something wrong here.

When it comes to human interpretation of myth, understanding of myth, and our vast oral storytelling traditions I always think of the telephone game. How one phrase is changed to be a completely different phrase after being passed in whispers from one person to the next. No matter how much we want to believe the stories haven’t changed from when they were first told woman to woman or woman to man around a fire in the middle of a starry night. We know that is not true. Oh, how I dream of hearing the original version of Hades and Persephone before someone decided to embellish the story to reflect themselves. Even jokes we share between friends are changed to reflect the area we are in or the people we are around. Making the joke more understandable to the crowd we are telling it too.

Stories, myths, and jokes are teaching tools and sadly humans respond quicker and learn quicker through fear than love. We never have to practice self-fear, but we have to practice self-love.

Most religions teach us that we are flawed, broken and must live in fear of the gods for they want nothing more than to punishes us for our wrongdoing and miss deeds. My favorite example of this is going away to sleep away camp back in high school. All week between the swimming, archery and cannoning we were told how premarital sex was wrong. Hell, I was still so uninterested in sex at the time that the idea of sex just grossed me out, yes, I was still in my middle teens at this time. But the second to last day of camp the councilors said after a solid week of this anti-sex talk that even THINKING about sex was a sin. I was fucking livid one of the first times I understood the phrase “seeing red”. All I could think was what a horrible trap they had just played. How could thinking about sex be a sin? We wouldn’t be thinking about sex if they hadn’t started the conversation. Now they dare to say that God will punish us for just THINKING about sex. That was just fucked up and wrong. Sex was a blessing from the gods, not a curse or something dirty that one should be ashamed of or hide from. That was the moment that I also realized that I was raised differently than other children my age. I was out of societies box. This was also the first time I clearly saw how religion is different than the gods. How religion is broken.

Science has proven time and time again that religious people are just wrong when it comes to biology. No, my uterus is not just floating aimlessly around in my body. No semen does not contain a fully formed baby that is just waiting to be implanted in the womb to grow to maturity. Yes, animals other than humans do form homosexual life long relationships with one another. The world is not flat. If we can see that the religious writings are interpreted by the society they live in and are changed, why can’t we say the same for myths. The one constant in this should be the gods and goddesses, not the religion that tries to interpret myth for us to their advantage.

Back to Hades and Persephone and the rest of the Greek myths as we understand or read them now. I do believe they were colored, changed from the original meaning of the myth. I always get a nod from any of the gods and goddesses I’m working with that being a yes, the myths have changed.

Do I see Zeus as a bit of a horn dog when I perceive him? Meh, not so much, maybe he can give a suggestive wink in my direction once in a while but no is no and it’s gone no further. Same with Hermes, a hug but never a grope. There is no perception of being taken advantage of because I’m female or human. There is respect. Do I have or have I somehow created a filter, perception, or rose colored glasses that my gods respect me and do not use fear as a tactic to try and control or bend me to their will. They have never had to. Does it make me some fool to trust them? I don’t know.

Because I believe that I reside, or my atman resides, with and is divinity my perceptions or these rose-colored glasses do not let me. Or perhaps it’s part of my non-negotiables that the aspect of divinity that I reside with or resonate with will not harm me but will only act with love never fear, trickery or spite. That is what a patriarchy or a theocracy uses to control its people or worshipers fear. There is plenty to fear in the universe that is outside the god glob thing or the individual human gods we worship. In here, I stumble onto another non-negotiable for myself. Good and evil are spate, evil is not a human construct. Humanity does not have an exclusive right to the creation of or our own actions towards one another of evil deeds.

I am not worshiping or working for a theocracy or a patriarchy. My gods don’t use fear to control or motivate me.

I can see the advantage to using fear – with fear people do not trust themselves or anyone else, they can only turn to deity for support. Then if the gods or goddesses themselves are using fear as part of worship there is no way (to my perceptions) that you can evolve further. You are stuck in your fear.

Do let me clear up one thing – I do not think that people who say they have been abused by a god or god-spouse are lying or wrong in their perception. Because that would be supporting rape culture and I don’t know what they have gone through. Something horrible happened to those people and it’s my job to believe them, to not question their religion or faith, but to help them heal.

Conversations

Have you ever been part of a conversation wondering how you got there and where this all started? Hope and I were chatting a few days ago and we had one of these conversations. We had been chatting with an old friend. We will call him Lahmu. He, Lahmu was sharing with us an epiphany in his studies of Nammu/Tiamat and Apsu

  “Tiamat and Apsu are not distinct emanations of a godhead. They are in fact, the same being, where one aspect represents potential, and the other represents creation.”

Hope asked me my thoughts and here is our conversation

Nettle: While it does conflict with my game mechanics of gods being separate beings, all independent with hierarchy with immortals above god to the one creator of a universe I’m not sure that is how it works in real life. I do feel and understand that perhaps much like Hinduism the gods we know are just part of a greater whole larger than what we as humans can understand.

 Side note – really, it’s pertinent Hope, Glory, Coyvere and I have played in a D&D game run but Nicodemus for years. In the game, there are the individual deities’ powers unto themselves separate with their own identity with their own pantheons etc. I have on more than one occasions use something that happened while gaming to explain something that has happened magically. Terribly geeky I know but it works because it is a system of symbolism we all jointly understand     

Hope: (always looking out for our readers) That would make an interesting post.

Nettle:  Maybe. (Not always willing to go out on a limb for someone named Hope. I do like to play things safe and close to the chest.) Many pagans disagree with me vehemently. We want our gods to be independent and free not one uncomprehending glob.

Hope: Well, when you look at the distinct personalities the deities exhibit, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that they’re all separate entities.

Nettle: Sure.

Hope: Saying that Hestia is Ares is Frigg is Bast appears to fly in the face of reality.

Nettle: Yep, most would agree with you, and yet there are archetypes found in all religions that link deities together.

Hope: It’s all a primordial soup? The archetypes are the same because people are the same.

Nettle:  Perhaps it is better to say that if there is one creator or source of power that we can only see or understand or even comprehend small tiny insignificant part of the greater whole.

Hope:  If cats have deities they look nothing like Bast or Freya.

Nettle: Gods take on the personalities of their worshipers and the society they live in more often than not it is the societies rules that become the rule of the god(s).

Hope: If they (the gods) want to be relevant they have to. I personally would hope that the gods would not choose to perpetuate a rape culture and that they would try to lift us up rather than indulge our worst instincts. If there’s a mirror effect wherein gods reflect society and society reflect gods, then I think gods have an obligation to distort the mirror and hold us to higher standards. Being so much older and presumably wiser, they must have an ultimate vision of humanity.  If this vision is that men are all powerful and women are subservient then gods can go to their own hells because they don’t deserve our worship. My own opinion is that Creator deities seem to have one function, and when that is accomplished they relinquish control and interest to the deities who arise or to whom they give birth.

Nettle: Not the other way around?

Hope: There’s nothing relevant about a dragon. And notice that Ymir had to die in order for creation to happen.

Nettle: Is that truth or human myth?

Hope: Lol finding your Absolutes? Can we know the truth? Does a seed of it lie in myth?

While we at Moonlit Path have been neglectful in posting to the blog, that doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting on our laurels playing solitaire. (okay maybe the solitaire) One of my favorite Facebook group pages is Patheos Pagan a collection of pagan blogs. They shared and article a few weeks ago about defining your beliefs and practice. What are your non-negotiable for your religion Fantastic article below is the link.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2017/03/non-negotiables-religion.html?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

I loved that idea and thought wow! I can do that should be easy peasy. HA – that is the sound of the universe laughing at me to say this is a work in progress would be an understatement. Hence all the solitaire.      

Nettle: I don’t think we can know truth, nor can we claim to even begin to understand the truth we only understand what is happening through the filters of a human brain.

When I was in my early teens I stumbled across some Deist writing way back in my agnostic/ atheist phase. At the time, it struck a chord with me and I find it pops up often when I try to explain or define my beliefs. The things that stick with you.

Hope: We can only handle so much and each person has their own limits.

Nettle: I want to believe that love is more powerful than hate. I think that is one of my absolutes/non-negotiable

Hope: That depends on your definitions and measurements. It may be totally subjective. And yours won’t be everybody’s. Love, like hate, is often in the eye of the beholder.

Nettle: I knew you would say that!

Hope: Lol of course you did! Cliches R Us!

Nettle: Perhaps love is too subjective for you perhaps compassion.

Hope: It’s still filtered through individual perceptions.

Nettle: It is MY absolutes, not yours, you can’t argue for or against my absolutes because they are mine Go forth and make your own absolutes and non-negotiable, Hope!

Hope: In any case, it doesn’t prevent you from honoring Hestia or Gaia as separate entities.

Nettle:  No it doesn’t, but they may be one part of a greater whole. What are your absolutes?

Hope:  I haven’t given it any thought. I just do whatever I feel is right at the time. Does it feel right to put some honey in a saucer and say that this is for Danu? If so, I do it.

Nettle: So, you trust your intuition.

Hope: Whether it’s all one conglomeration of conscious energy or separate entities is immaterial. I deal with the separate ones, just as you do.

Nettle: A separate part or a facet of the larger whole.

Hope: We break it down into manageable pieces. It could be either or it could be something I can’t begin to fathom. I deal with what deals with me. To me, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Nettle: The part you can comprehend.

Hope:  You may be right. The others may be right. Does it matter? Not really. Hard to work with something you can’t begin to comprehend. How can you connect?

Nettle: You connect with the small bit of intelligence that resonates with you.

Hope: Yes. I am finite. Even dealing with the small bit can be overwhelming.

From here our conversation devolved into the mundane of what we were going to make for dinner and how hot it was outside.

Settling in

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The big move has happened. I’ve gone from a jungle Nettle cat to a desert Nettle cat. I will learn just how sacred water is for us all. Glory, in her blessed optimism, pointed out to me that this is a great time for me to learn to embrace the fire aspect of things. Bah… fire not good! I think more than one of my lives ended being burned at the stake as a witch. I, in my Kapha (water/earth = mud 😉 ) rich dosha self, have never really learned to embrace fire. You can find more about the dosha’s when you study  Ayurvedic medicine. In a nutshell, your dosha is your constitution determined at your birth.  It is based on the five elements and helps to describe the physical, emotional and mental self.

I like the sun. I love hanging out with Helios – he’s a cool dude. Apollo is not so bad either! I’m sure there are a few more sun deities out there I’ll meet over the next few months.  I shall have to learn all about their growing season and when the desert Persephone months occur.

Coyvere is ecstatic. Not only is he in a job he loves (what a rare treat for most people) he’s also found out that one of the local native tribes has some great new Coyote myths for him to learn. The spirits in this area are very active.0222170831b

How do we know you ask?  (Hope I’m looking at you…) well…that is because we did a rather embarrassing white, western roman pagan kind of thing when we moved into the new house. Not thinking, I dug out Hestia’s lamp, filled her up and lit the lamp thinking only of blessing the new house.

That immediately got someone’s attention (still researching who). No, it wasn’t blood dripping from the walls and a disembodied voice saying “get out”. It was more along the lines of hair on the back of your neck tickling and a feeling of being watched.  So reaching out we found a very strong spirit that let us know this area already had guardians and who were we to bring someone strange into the area? This spirit, while not openly hostile, was protective and wanted to chat about bringing a new god into their territory.  Apologies were made and a proper introduction of Hestia who she is and what she represents was given.  With that, we got a sense of yes or permission to grant Hestia space in his area and her presence is welcome.  It is a good reminder that just because a goddess is beloved to me doesn’t mean that she is welcome to all. Even better learn to check your area for spirits before just assuming there are none.

I got to this point in the post and thought I was done but no my dear Hope is challenging me in a good way. She is always an insistent bundle of “why” and “what” and “how”. She’s all “Details, I want details!”  and I’m always like “Meh, I dunno, it just felt right or wrong I went with my gut,  ya know.” So here is my best translation…

Each morning when I or Coyvere lights Hestia standing off to the side is an elder gentleman, always with his arms crossed watching and reminding us that this is first his place and that we are still visitors. He doesn’t feel dead, or grandfatherly, more like a teacher. He quietly watches, gives a nod to Hestia and, then leaves. I have always made it a habit of offering the last sip from my first cup of tea each morning to the Earth/Gaia. When I offer the last of my first cup of tea in the morning to the earth this spirit wants his sip first, then I can offer the rest to Gaia.  When I do anything with Bast he kind of ignores us, I guess cats are cool here. They are a part of Nature.  Danu, she got a raised eyebrow and then something about shadows and light that will require more meditation and study to understand. I’m thinking it might have to do with fae or the Tuatha De Danann and their illusions.  Nammu got a nod of his head before she found a nice warms sunny spot to lay back down to sleep.  (Glory adds, but who really argues with a large Dragon?)   Bast, Danu, and Nammu are nature spirits and I sense they are more welcome because of that aspect than the hearth goddess from a foreign pantheon.

So much to learn so many adventurers waiting to be had.