Note: A former coven mate of mine shared this with me–hence the British spelling and the Gardnerian references to scourging and the like. I cannot speak to this work’s true origins.
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
Published in the just-released Autumn issue of Isis-Seshat, whose theme is “Dark Nights of the Soul,” this poem of mine is also something I wanted to share here on my blog.
I disassociated all the way home
Can’t stop shaking
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
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
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.
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
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
Golden poppy tresses
trembling with rage
as I found a new half-life for myself
the dead populace
and my beloved drank deeply
with my pomegranate juices
nectar more precious than wine, he said
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
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
Made in the refashioning of a wintry spell
A glimpse of reptilian hide
Beneath the dull gleam of the non-waves
Forest hush interrupted
By startled stork wings
A white blur in treetops pricked by
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?
is treasured medicine,
Spun by untold minds at dreaming’s dawn
is quickened lifeblood
Splashed against the haze of infinite crossroads
The gazes of gods guide my stumbling footsteps aloft.