The Spring 2016 Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal Is Available

Hot off the presses…and shipping around the world! I serve as the Executive Editor of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis, and I literally have five copies remaining for sale in the limited print run for this full-color, 80-page (printed on 80-lb. glossy stock paper) Spring 2016 issue, whose theme is “Worlds Beyond: Mapping the Soulscapes Encountered in Ritual.” It pleases me greatly that once again, an Isis-Seshat issue has been birthed thanks to a global effort of FOI members and friends–theistic Pagans, Polytheists, and Spirit-Workers of all stripes. Rituals are the beating hearts of our devotional practices and I am excited about the perspectives offered by 14 contributors on this theme, representing countries as remote as Australia and Greece, with Ireland, England, and the USA thrown in for good measure. Continue reading

A Lament for My Familiar

Death. I’ve been acutely reminded of its omnipresence in many ways lately. Seeing the low angle of the sun at this time of year has begun to trigger my seasonal affective disorder. My nightly cemetery walks have been tinged with greater pensiveness and even despair. It’s a gloomy, cool day here in Chicago as the Sun gets ready to enter the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio, herald of the mysteries of death and rebirth. I’m still processing the devastating news I received on Tuesday when I took my 11-year-old cat, Thor (a feral kitten rescue from Hawaii), to an emergency veterinary clinic for an abdominal ultrasound and other tests. My regular veterinarian had performed an X-ray on Thor to determine the cause of his misshapen stomach and elevated liver levels revealed from recent blood testing. The X-ray indicated a mass protruding from Thor’s liver–one so large it had actually pushed Thor’s stomach at a 90-degree angle. No wonder Thor’s lost 9 pounds in a little over two months. Was it a tumor? If so, could surgery be an option? I was referred to the emergency clinic, which is equipped with an advanced radiology department, to find the answers. Instead, the main veterinarian there stunned me with the diagnosis: advanced pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his liver and lungs. And then those horrible six words, laden with the iron weight of finality:

“There is nothing we can do.” Continue reading

On Grief and Grieving

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness–
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way.

–Sylvia Plath, “The Moon and the Yew Tree” (1961, lines 17-22)

The more that I think about it, the less I believe what I experienced at 4:52 this morning was the ending of a dream. It was more of a spontaneous shamanic journey, the kind I’d had with disturbing regularity in the first two years of my brother Mark’s death. What I know for certainty was that I was in the Duat, and Sekhmet was next to me. She panted/grunted while scenting the air, Her lioness nuzzle awash in blood. Her pupils were massive, dilated, and gleaming like actual carnelian stones. Torch light either gleamed from behind or radiated from within Her. There was a wall behind us. We stood within a long, dark corridor. I knew unequivocally that Sekhmet protected me fiercely against evil entities that wanted to harm me. She fed on them. I was afraid–not of Her, but of where we were. I wanted out. And no sooner did I think that than did I feel myself being rapidly “plucked” upwards–in sheer nanoseconds. It was a jolting sensation, but I felt myself being pulled up out of the ground–even through my bed’s mattress!–before “crash landing” back into my body. I gasped and thrashed a bit–hitting my fiancé in the process–before sitting up and grabbing my iPhone from my nightstand. 4:52. Continue reading

Persephone’s Rising

By way of editorial comment: This poem of mine was published in Datura (2010), an anthology of Pagan poetry and essays by U.K.-based occult/esoterica powerhouse Scarlet Imprint.

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Persephone’s Rising

If the Ides of March are past

whence comes this heaviness of heart?

 

He said it would be like this

in the silver half-light

the chariot steeds splashed across the waves

of Acheron

then I tumbled headlong into Lethe

 

No forgetfulness, though,

for She Who Never Slumbers Above

yet she caused the earth to slumber

her own body to be ravaged by winter’s withering

force

Golden poppy tresses

trembling with rage

as I found a new half-life for myself

fructifying

the dead populace

and my beloved drank deeply

smeared himself

with my pomegranate juices

nectar more precious than wine, he said

pomegranate

 

Everything cavernous

cadaverous eye sockets

the mask of white loveliness

frozen onto my face like the folds of

the himation molded to my breasts

The pillars of this place

gleaming with the hope

of untold dreaming

the quiet denizens of this murk-world gape and shuffle towards me

arms outstretched

Mother

Queen

The curve of the sickle

Warm lap of abundance

Fertile in fallowness

Gaze not with the imperium of the Judge

but as an unconquerable Protectress

Continue reading

Hypnosis Naturalis

Restorative contact

Made in the refashioning of a wintry spell

A glimpse of reptilian hide

Beneath the dull gleam of the non-waves

Photo (c) by my friend Jovan Radakovich, www.countrad.blogspot.com

Photo (c) by my friend Jovan Radakovich, http://www.countrad.blogspot.com

Forest hush interrupted

By startled stork wings

A white blur in treetops pricked by

Budding sensations

And why not delight

Despite the overhead cling of gray expanse

Unpenetrated by shaft of sun?

 

Why not delight

Despite the din of debris and

Slicked ghost swirls of stains

Upon the land’s liquid mirror?

 

Why not delight

In the midst of this yawning grave,

This unthinking hum of collective

Motion to nowhere?

 

Now here

is treasured medicine,

Spun by untold minds at dreaming’s dawn

 

Now here

is quickened lifeblood

Splashed against the haze of infinite crossroads

 

The gazes of gods guide my stumbling footsteps aloft.

 

Now.

 

Here.