The Crow

Finding my animal guide has not been easy, and dare I say, I am not truly sure I have found it.  Yet, a few experiences with the crow lead me to believe that I might have.  First, let me acknowledge that, though I have been exposed to numerous resources on the subject, for some reason I have not taken the time to actually read any of the books that have been suggested to me.  Perhaps it is because I am worried that the one who shows up will not suit my tastes, or maybe it is because I am afraid of what it will mean and the responsibility I will have toward it, such as allowing it to be my teacher.  Regardless, it is an area I need to attend to.

So if I have not done the work, why do I think the crow may be my guide?  Well, for several years now, crows have been gathering in large numbers around sunset near where I live.  NPR did a story on this phenomenon that occurs in other cities.  Though I don’t remember the entire story, I do remember that many of the townspeople in some of the  areas tried to get the crows to leave by various means, seeing them as more of a nuisance than a magical sign.  For me, I see the beauty and mystery in the cacophony of their gathering.

A few years ago, in early December, the night was misty and the crows were doing their thing; calling each other in, flying about, and settling in large numbers in the bare branches of the cityscape.  I decided to stay, windows rolled down, taking in the crisp air and the magic that was before me.  I was enchanted.

Earlier that year, I attended a Journeying workshop at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  I was going through some issues in my life, and I was taking in all the medicine that I could.  I had journeyed before, and had interesting experiences, but never had an animal guide show up.  This time was a bit different.  The facilitator had us do a visualization with a partner, then we were to journey with that person in mind.  At the end, my partner in the experience offered me the gifts of the crow/raven and possibly a dove that had spoken through her.  Aesthetically, I like the idea of these opposites, and my life has mirrored the duality of light and dark, too.

As a birder, I used to overlook crows on my outings, often mistaking them for some other, more sought-after bird.  This was usually followed by my dismissal of them as “just crows”, and I would became a bit miffed that I had been duped by its far-off resemblance to a rare find. Birders in general do have a tendency to overlook the majesty of the common bird (once, as a new birder, I asked what that beautiful bird was in front of me, and was told, “That’s just a Common Yellow Throat Warbler”.  But to a newbie birder like myself at the time, I thought it was just wonderful.).

Perhaps my spiritual growth can be found in an  “everyday” bird.

On the blog, The Spiritual Self, author Anasopiah suggests that crows represent “Justice, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength, energy, community sharing, and balance” (Anasopiah, 2009). These qualities, even just the ring of them to my ears, makes my spine tingle.  I want the crow as a totem, but want is not good enough.  I think that it has to want me, too – and that there is a mutual respect and energy exchange.  So while the crow seems to fit, I am cautious of being lulled into claiming it for the wrong reasons, or worse, finding out later that  it did not choose me at all.

Because I like to dabble in poetry, I have attempted to write different pieces about the crow gatherings several times.  One that I wanted to share is not accessible to me right now, but I do have one that I was able to find.  It is called Sublimation, and upon rereading it before posting here, I noticed that I referenced ravens and not crows which makes me question if I had yet again dismissed the known for the seldom seen.

The title of the piece represents an energy exchange that is not only not wanted, but is also shocking and carrying mental weight.  Often, I like to use scientific or philosophical concepts to represent psychological states of mind.  Here is a definition from Wikipedia for Sublimation, “… is the process of transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. ”  Something about the transition of substances feels similar to transitions in relationships.

For me, poetry not only comes from contemporary events in my life, but also from the arts such as music and visual art.  Music wise, I was probably listening to Ante-Meridian on WCBE in Colubus, Ohio. Visually, I was inspired by an incredible Italian artist, Nicolletta Ceccoli.  The piece below is called Crows and can be found on her website: http://www.nicolettaceccoli.com/index.html

Sublimation by Corina Klies circa Winter 2008

She walks through days

Lemon balm and lavender heavy in the air

Her lips are sweet like raspberry nectar,

I know because I kissed her once,

Back when we would hang together

Seems like so long ago, you know

Now, incense-infused nights

Fill her with wanderlust and

her feet never touch the ground

I Catch a glimpse of the

Tattooed vines that intertwine

Wrap themselves up her body

I think she is comforted by

Their mystery and the way

They instinctively ascend,

Envelop and caress her

Give her peace of mind

The way I never could

As she crosses my path, a breeze picks up

Plays With her charcoal hair

And all at once she is on her knees

A deep sadness falls upon her

And ravens fly free from her curly rivulets

She places her hands on her heart,

Almost as if she is scared it is no longer there

Taking a moment

She anoints herself

with ancient oils

Appoints herself the victor

Of an endless, unseen war

she makes with herself.

I watch her for a few more minutes

Stunned by what I have just seen,

I can only stare as waves of emotion wash over me

What am I feeling? Is this hers or mine?

Not sure what I have been a witness to

Not quite sure if it was real, but I was there

I saw her, and I felt it too

Should I go after her?

Should I see if she is ok?

Instinct says yes, but my feet won’t move

Can’t seem to get closer to her, never could, not really

She is on the move again,

She never was happy to stay in one place

Too long, didn’t even dust herself off

Or wipe away her tears, or look up to see who

Might have been watching,

she didn’t notice that I was watching

didn’t see that the ravens had perched in

the tree right above me

and now I touch the hollow place in my chest

The place where she once promised me everything

Advertisements

B is for Brigid

B is for Brigid

In late 2007 and early 2008, I was dealing with some issues around love, friendship and trust, realizing that I needed to be less dependent on my social circle and develop my own interests.  In February, I went to Columbus and bought a drum at a nice drum shop off of High Street.  It took my a while to find the one that I wanted, but once I did, I asked about its origins; it was authentic (West African), and the sound resonated with me.  I had wanted one for a while, but kept putting it off.  Now, I was officially going to begin my odyssey of drumming, and had believed that it would take me deeper into my spiritual path.  Besides buying the drum, on that day, I also attended an Imbolc celebration at the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  Imbolc is a Celtic goddess; patron of poetry, healing, and smithing crafts.  She is also associated with light and fire.

Now, I have always been interested in nature-based spirituality, but I was not a follower, per se of any tradition or path. Honestly, I did not know what to expect at the event, but the information I had said that there would be drumming, and, well, I had a new drum just waiting to be played.

What I remember most about the event was the energy we raised with our various forms of percussion, the welcoming atmosphere, and the little gift they gave at the end; a piece of pretty paper, tied with a blue ribbon, with an Imbolc Blessing on it fulfilled a need I didn’t quite know I had.  As I drove up 71 N. on my long commute home, I felt inspired, invigorated, and alive.

Last year, I wrote a piece of poetry for Imbolc, and now I share it with you.  Imbolc Alter Pictures coming soon.  Enjoy the YouTube links…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mpuu18cZpY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLncBl32W2k&feature=related

 

In honor of Imbolc/Brigid/Me

Renew the mind

Renew the Spirit

I send up a white flag

I surrender to it

Drum out the warning

Drum out the calling

I send up a red flag

I surrender to it

Breathe in the new day

Breathe out the old ways

I send you a message

I surrender to it

Listen to the mournful refrain

Listen to the spirit infused lines

I send out the prayer and send up a flare

I surrender to it

Sing it from your soul

Sing it like never before

I sing it to the world

I surrender to it

Storm comes in from offshore

Storm settles across the land

I let it wash over me

I surrender to it

Fire destroys and brings change

Fire purify the heart

I Burn from the inside out

I surrender to it

Spring flowers struggle toward the sun

Spring flowers will make their way home

I release the struggle within

I surrender to it

I seek solace from the winter’s dim light

I seek a salve to sooth my aching need

I send wishes to spring’s earthbound tendrils

I surrender to it

I surrender to it

I surrender to it

Artemis

Artemis/Diana is known as the goddess of the hunt , wild animals, the moon, and one who provides guidance in childbirth.  She also is one of the virgin goddesses with some accounts suggesting that Artemis begged her dad to make sure that she would be a virgin for life, and that she be become the bringer of light.  According to legend, she is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin sister of Apollo, though her heritage and relationship to Apollo is somewhat disputed.   Artemis is often depicted with a bow and a quiver of arrows, and/or with animals and maidens.  She also is said to have helped her mother deliver Apollo.

Though several accounts I read identify Artemis as a protector of young, she is also quite capricious, and is known to kill out of revenge and anger (including children, especially girls).

Artemis’ status as a deity varies according to location, but one of the ancient wonders of the world was a temple in her honor.

In Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book, Goddesses in Everywoman (1984),  Bolen suggests that women can harness the energy of goddess archetypes, not only to understand which currently guides her , but also how they can use goddess energy to forge their future.   Bolen  suggests women who seek out  the archetype of Artemis are independent of, and are untouched “by men” (P. 35), though, she makes clear that this does not mean that she is chaste, simply that she does not need nor does she rely on men to move forward in her life.

In The Song of EveAn Illustrated Journey into the Myths, Symbols, and Rituals of the Goddess (1990), Mascetti suggests that the bow Artemis sports represents the new moon (virginal), and that the arrows represent her ability to act and make decisions for herself.  As the bringer of light, she is a beacon to other young women to help them shine a light on their own true path.

And so it is, my first blog post for the project.  I went down several rabbit holes, exploring books I bought in my early 20s, wondering why I didn’t more thoroughly study back then.  Oh well, I am on the path now.  For resources I used, please visit the websites below:

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Artemis.html

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/artemis.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis

*And, though I did not cite anything from it, I read quite a bit from Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers, and other Pagans in America Today (Adler, 1986).

Blessed Be ; )

Pagan Blog Project

New Year, Better, Authentic Me.

This year I have set out to be authentically me.  One part of that promise to myself is to honor my spirituality in all of its forms.  I have always felt a deep connection to nature, but it took me a while to connect that to spirit.  Even when I did (when I was in my early 20s), I did not continue on a spirit seeking path.  Over the last few years, I have slowly come home to this place within myself, and have claimed the pagan path.  I have also claimed the path of the witch.  However, I am realizing that there is much work to be done on my part.  I am starting this blog a week late, I think because, though I want to do it, I don’t feel adequately knowledgeable.  I appreciate that Rowan has given us all the chance to fight the urge to retreat, for whatever reason, and take part of this interactive project where we can support one another in our journeys.

For the next few days I will focus on Artemis.

Happy Blogging : )

Corina