ferine: (Theban)
Sunday my folks and I spent the afternoon in Boulder with my flaky New Age aunt Donna and her daughter, Chelsea. A block before we reached her house we stopped and gasped in awe at a young fawn that was walking beside the car, then crossed the side street when we stopped! I've never seen a fawn so young in person--it still had it's spots. When we told Donna, she said it had been in their yard earlier, with it's mother and sibling.

As we're eating and talking, Donna brings up this Abyssinian cat that Chelsea rescued from a meth lab last year and dumped on Donna. Donna is always traveling and never home, so at least she realizes she's doing an injustice to the cat. The cat has a clean bill of health, her shots, and she's fixed. I agreed to take her. Donna's flying the cat out Thursday on that new pet airline.

Now, they named her Bianca Jagger (Mick Jagger's ex-wife). Um, hell no. I had a dream that her name was Athena, so I'm sticking with that. Here's a photo of her:
Read more... )


I recently e-mailed the author/Artemis expert Thista Minai and dug up some entries from late January to share with her. Upon re-reading these, I'm moved and centered by their truth:
(From Jan. 22nd)
The years transpire with quickening speed. There are no moments surrendered to boredom. There is no more plateau of sameness. Change, sometimes rapid, has become the norm.

I make plans and set goals yet no longer see them to fruition. My dedication, when it comes to anything selfish, lacks stamina. It's not that I am finished by any means. I will never be complete. The source of my soul's constipation? The realization of entering the sunset of life. My parents are in their early 60's, and won't be able to care for more than eight years at the most. I refuse to succumb to a nursing home, and I refuse to depend on the very undependable home health care industry 24/7. I'm not suicidal, nor do I suffer from a failure to thrive. I am realistic because I have to be. It's not something I look forward to. I don't want to hurt anyone, leave anyone, or miss out on things. This will happen, because there is
no choice. Well, unless fully-functional android bodies that can house an individual's mind become available--and affordable--within eight years, maybe less depending on the ability of my caregivers and depending on my own health.

For a few years this has been weighing on my mind. It's simultaneously curious and lonely. Sometimes it's depressing. I get angry at not being physically able, at depending on everyone for my needs. It's an emasculating way to exist. It's both sad and nostalgic to pour through old photos, old journals, old memories of a walking me, then a wheelchair me.
The wheelchair, honestly, never bothered me. I was active regardless, dancing at clubs until my hands blistered, hanging out at places and being social, traveling, and doing anything I put my mind to. It wasn't until the last ten years, and in particular the last six, that it became an issue. My body has failed me. I can't recapture the use of my hands, or the ability to sit up on my own. I was an artist. I set goals and achieved them. I was beautiful and popular without trying to be. However, I can't dwell on what was... I can only move forward.

Somehow I normally stray above the gloom. My core is set to realistic optimism, and my appreciation of others, of absurdism, and of the natural world sees me through. Instead of setting the goals and reaching the inspiring achievements that so many of my dear ones have done and continue doing, I cheer on the sidelines and feel triumph at their triumphs. I cherish this, witnessing my friends blossoming.

They are blossoming as I am closing.

I am not as I was. I no longer go out of my way to be agreeable. I no longer keep my opinions to myself. I've never feared or avoided confrontation, but now that's more apparent. I'm no longer afforded the freedom to be spontaneous--I must plan outings, make sure they're wheelchair accessible, make sure I have help. I rarely wear make-up or look--or more importantly, feel--attractive. I no longer exude the natural charisma I once did. As such, I've come to understand why people are reluctant to be my friend, to get to know this less exciting slowing down me. It is too much of an effort to come to me, to be confronted with mortality. The rejection hurts, but I understand it.

I'm still learning, adjusting, and accepting things. Isolation was horrific to me when I had to return home. Now, years later, I've found a renewed closeness to nature. I've rediscovered my delight in reading. Music, movies, and select TV shows have an impact. My wanderlust has at last been tampered. On-line communication has been a godsend. I am never truly alone as long as I have the internet.

--'--;-<@

Been reflecting on beliefs and spirituality and now.
So long I felt a dire desire to be chosen by, to belong to, a deity.
A Patron. Solid. True. A lightening bolt. Impossible to deny.
One of a specific pantheon. Chunked and formed, a Reconstructionist's wet dream.
Why was I so rigid? Why did I care with such anxiety what others thought, or what I misconstrued the deities themselves as thinking?

The last three years have brought a return to freedom.
A freedom from those self-imposed shackles weighing me down for thirteen years.
Interesting numerically, 3 and 13...

Something broke. No, something broke through. Three years ago there was a breakthrough. I opted to be and not suffer with neurotic concern over who my Patron was, or which Reconstructionist religion demanded my fellowship.

It came so clear to me then I felt like a fool--a grinning fool.
Nature was my Pantheon, my Religion, my Patron, my Teacher.
Nature always had been. I must have known this in my heart. Yet the hedge blocking this truth was stuck fast until three years ago, when it silently and unceremoniously moved aside.
Nature, complex and simple and all between. Life and Death. The eternal dance of Predator and Prey. The Season's Cycle and it's rich symbolism. Ancient, silent, observing trees. Humble stone, earth, and plant. Water like blood flowing, mirrored by the air above. So obvious given the core of my philosophy, worldview, and interests, even when I was a wee thing. Funny how the obvious eludes us when we want it too much. So what box do I fit in? There's nothing wrong with boxes. Boxes can be made in any shape and size, inside or out, warm and cozy, sleek, utilitarian, or formless. Why not? A box can be whatever you make it, however you define it.

My box?
Is finally my own.
The walls, once confining, have flattened outward. A hedge moved aside to allow passage.
Magic is everywhere. The sacred is in everything. No narrowness, no worry. No limitations.

My Simples:
Be real.
Remain down-to-earth.
Don't take more than you need.
Don't be an ass-hat twat-waffle. If you can't stop yourself, learn from your mistakes.
Life sucks sometimes. That's life. Deal with it.
Appreciate what you've got.
Change is constant.
Nature is to struggle, suffer, die, live, experience joy, find humor, learn from fear, and attain wisdom.


@>-;--'--


And, in another a-ha! moment, one I should have accepted for so long, yet denied because I felt so undeserving, so pathetic physically and intellectually...

Artemis.

In grade school I fell in love with the Greek pantheon and myths. My love and devotion to Artemis, though I was but a child, was pure and intense. I was never a graceful or athletic child, which made me shy respecting Artemis. I thought how she must be disgusted by me. Despite my fear of rejection, I kept my interest in her.

The following I've kept between me and very few select others since the incident occurred. I'm only sharing it now because it feels right (and so you can grin at what a dork I am was):

At 13, when I lived in the remote mountain town of Clark, Colorado, I spent every spare moment roaming the forests behind our cabin. I loved it, and was simultaneously excited and saddened by the knowledge that at summer's end my parents and I were relocating to the city far away from the mountains. Such a culture shock was unthinkable. I knew my life was about to change in amazing and terrible ways.

At that time the theater in Steamboat Springs was showing the Disney film Fantasia, which I hadn't seen since I was five. I was swept up in it again, appreciating it more (or perhaps just differently?). When the segment, set in mythical Greece, featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F major (Op. 68), known as the Pastoral Symphony, I was transfixed. The brief glimpse of Artemis on the cloud releasing an arrow struck something inside me. After I returned home, I located my vinyl Fantasia double-album with booklet. There in the booklet where the notes for the Pastoral Symphony were was the scene of Artemis from the film! A strange thrill overtook me and I carried the booklet to my attic bedroom. I lay the open booklet on my bed, which was directly beneath a big open window. The window faced behind our cabin, specifically a birch-covered hill and the mountains behind it. I played a tape with Limahl's Neverending Story over and over, concentrating on what Artemis meant to me. I wanted desperately for her to know I believed in her, that I loved her, even if I was unworthy. I willed my wish so hard that I felt weightless. I sobbed with effort. The rumble of thunder broke my reverie and I looked up. On the crest of the birch-laden hill, despite the sudden rain, stood a stag flanked by two does.

Coincidence? Maybe. But to me, at that moment, it was an otherworldly experience. A real and moving experience. I sat there stunned and staring, my heart racing. Then I grabbed what I considered my sacred objects (a bronze medallion engraved with an eagle on one side and a few other endangered species on the other, and some bones, a ring, and stones in a leather pouch) and left the cabin quietly. As stealthily as I could on loose gravel at an incline I approached the hill's crest. The stag eyed me the entire time as the does grazed. I reached up, within a mere foot of touching the stag. Just then I lost my footing and the sound of skidding sneakers broke the shared magical moment. The three deer looked at me and ran back among the trees so effortlessly it was as if they had never been there at all. Shaken, sobbing, elated, I retreated to where I could hop onto the hill and ran among the birches in the rain and lightning and thunder.

Years later, after experiencing the hell of hospitals, misdiagnoses, the cruelty of peers and misunderstanding adults, I was too overwhelmed to think on that experience and feel the magic of it. Then I moved to Michigan and I was too busy in a good way to think on anything save the now. It wasn't until the last few years that I've been drawn back to Artemis, keen to explore her mysteries with new eyes.

Maybe she doesn't loathe me. Maybe she never did. Maybe she's always been with me, shining through in my lunar preoccupation and my bond with nature. In a scholarly text on the Herne mythos (In Search of Herne the Hunter by Eric L. Fitch), covering Herne and the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos, the Green Man, and the Wild Man, Artemis is viewed as their female Archetypal equivalent in most ways. I identify with them all, and learning this was another a-ha! moment. This also represents coming full circle; I began with Artemis, it's fitting I feel her again now.

At Yule I ordered the recent and heavily footnoted (yay, references!) Dancing In Moonlight: Understanding Artemis Through Celebration by Thista Minai which I hope will give me some modern insight into her personality and put an end to my insecurities.

And life goes on.
And love goes on.
And a genuine smile plays upon my lips.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Excerpt from an LJ entry from January 28th):

So, I approach Artemis again.

And I wonder, did I ever leave her?

My involvement in and curiosity about the natural world has been integral. Between the years of fourteen and twenty-three, though, there was a disconnect. Though my love of the wild remained, I was displaced. My mind was taxed with everything but. I was consumed my the trappings, temptations, and business of Man. I was overwhelmed by frustration at losing my ability to walk, fear of routinely being harassed and assaulted at school, misdirected anger at my mom, uncertainty at being misdiagnosed and then at finally being diagnosed, elation at leaving home in spite of it all, and sheer joy and pain upon pursuing my dreams out of state.

During those times I was too consumed to appreciate nature, to observe it, to feel it, as I did prior to and at thirteen.

Actually, it wasn't until I discovered AHWw (alt.horror.werewolves) on-line in 1994 that I felt a return to my youthful passion for the wild. Not that the newsgroup was devoted to naturalism, but something in it's exploration of people's connection to non-human animals reopened my naturelust. At the end of 1999, when I had to surrender my apartment in Boulder and, simultaneously, my independence, due to the progression of my neuromuscular disease, I succumbed to a mourning that stretched into years.

Only after coming to accept my situation, having to live at home again and being grateful for that option, did my naturelust of childhood burst forth. Since 2005 my appreciation of and need for the wild, sensual, outside world has grown--possibly surpassing that of my youth in the mountains.

I see more. I watch the birds, feel them, appreciate their presence. I thrill at spotting a small flower beside a sidewalk in the midst of a city. I notice the wild in an urban environment, no matter how small, and it reassures me that no matter what, nature will not be denied. I feel like a steward and a student of the nature areas I frequent and often photograph.

I did not leave Artemis. I changed focus, studying Herne the Hunter, The Wylde Hunt, Cernunnos, The Green Man, Jack o' the Green. I had no conscious idea that they were two sides the same coin.

Now I understand my somewhat childish obsession with the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess--well, aside from the hot babes and humor--I saw Artemis in Xena. I knew this at the time, but never admitted it. Interesting.

I know what I'm not. I'm not a Christian or any other organized religion. I'm not a Reconstructionist Pagan of any sort. I'm not a practitioner or follower of any belief system with requirements or rules. I'm not a follower, period. I understand the lure of group-think. There is a comfort for many to have a mass of people who worship the same thing, believe in the same tenets, obey the same rules, and support one another. Those who need that or like that are fine by me. Live and let live. Pinning myself down to One Thing is impossible. It's pointless.

I'm gradually learning that I can commune with and embrace Artemis, appreciate her, without having to exclusively worship anyone or anything. I humbly respect Nature, and in nature I know Artemis, Cernunnos, Herne, et al. >:-)


Read more... )
ferine: (Default)
Before extrapolating, an update on the household wild birds: due to my dad being too busy to set up my tripod and camera I wasn't able to photograph the birth or feeding of the robins. Unfortunate not to have a photographic record of the event, but oh well. I watched them daily (several times a day) from my bedroom window. Two were born, and once hatched they grew rapidly. The robin parents were most attentive and returned to feed the chicks every 10-15 minutes. In the evening as well as anytime it rained one parent or the other would dutifully sit on the nest and it's occupants. Once hatched the process took a week and five days until they flew from the nest. We'll remove the nest so the same spot's used next year. The young robins have been on the roof and in the backyard and they seem spry.

OMGbluejaygasm: the full family of 5 (we suspect they either live in the trees flush against our house in the front yard, or in the trees lining the fence in the backyard) visited the courtyard for some time today. I've been concerned as the bluejays haven't been visiting as often for a month and a half. Now I know why--two whiny, squawking fledglings, nearly the size of the parents, hounded the parents for food, even when they themselves stood inches from the feeder. The petulant youngsters cried demandingly and fluttered their wings as if to look helpless. The parents and other adults were showing them the platform feeder and trying in vain to convey to them here's the food. Feed yourselves. to little avail. Actually, I'm sure the youngsters understood; they simply prefer to be fed by others if they can get away with it. >;-)
So, what was a family of five is now seven. >:-D

Early this morning an odd warbling screech made me pause. Right on top of the blossoming clematis's trellis, a baby yellow-headed blackbird sat! It was as big as the dad, yet fluffier and lacking the brilliant yellow head (it was subdued yellow emerging through black). The dad went from the kid to the platform feeder and back every two minutes. From the trellis where the youngster perched to the feeder, lies a gap of maybe ten inches.


Digging through the depths yielded some shiny nuggets. I'm not label minded--I like the unclassifiable, the multifaceted, the rebellious. That said, I've been pondering exactly what my beliefs are--out of curiosity, not necessity.

I saw the excellent film Religulous by Bill Maher with my parents last year and we loved it. It's a documentary of sorts about atheism and the links between religious doctrine, violent fervor, and ignorance.

The movie led me to wonder, am I an atheist? I certainly agreed with the points raised in the film, and in the episodes of Pen & Teller's Bullshit! that dispel/debunk/snark both Christian and New Age beliefs. I looked at atheism in the dictionary, and the actual definition doesn't fit. I'm not anti-deity, and I have no problem with anyone believing in deity. What appalls me is allowing religion to influence politics and promoting religious doctrine above science and common sense; to blame deity for ones actions or inaction, or to claim that something must be done to appease deity or bad things will happen to everyone or even the world.

I looked up a few -isms, -ans, and an -ic, that I jibe with on most levels. Merriam-Webster Dictionary Results (my comments non-Italicized and at the close of each entry):

Main Entry: heathenism
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural heathens or heathen
Date: before 12th century
Results

1. an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible

2. an uncivilized or irreligious person


This works on all levels.

Main Entry: naturalism
Pronunciation: \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌli-zəm, ˈnach-rə- \
Function: noun
Date: circa 1641
Results

1. action, inclination, or thought based only on natural desires and instincts

2. a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance--specifically the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena

3. realism in art or literature--specifically a theory or practice in literature emphasizing scientific observation of life without idealization and often including elements of determinism


The first definition works to a degree, particularly inclination and action based on instincts.

Number two as well. Though I revere nature, I believe the science of it is just as wondrous and inspiring as any superstitious or magICKal interpretation. This is why, when I was thirteen and prayed for Artemis to show herself to me and the stag and two does appeared on the hill behind my cabin, I'm still not sure if it was just coincidence or not. It doesn't negate what a symbolically powerful event that was. Sometimes seeing a particular animal, natural occurrence, or something strange and seemingly unnatural in nature isn't supernatural. It can be a cool random thing.

Three I like and dislike. I appreciate realism in art while also loving the surreal. This dichotomy is true in literature. In application to nature writing, I'm torn. I respect down-to-earth and visceral accounts of nature, simply written. When anthropomorphism and personal emotion are utilized, it annoys me depending on the source. Some sources I enjoy it from. From others it makes me cranky and roll my eyes.

Main Entry: animism
Pronunciation: \ ˈa-nə-ˌmi-zəm \
Function: noun
Etymology: German Animismus, from Latin anima soul
Date: 1832
Results

1. a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit

2. attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects

3. belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies


One is tricky. I don't feel that the vital principle of organic development is spirit. I don't believe a fetus in the early stages has a spirit. I don't believe the coffee I drink or the salad I eat has a soul. The flowers and the vegetables we raise, I don't believe have to have spirit to be alive and thrive. A person who is brain dead and in a vegetative state doesn't need spirit to survive, just machines. Whether a spirit is trapped in their body or has left at that point is debatable. Of course, this boils down to personal interpretation of immaterial spirit and soul. I'll have to chew that over and spit out it's own entry at some point.

Two? Again, it's tricky. I do a bit of both, though I'm cautious (and mindfull) of doing so.

Three I'm pretty sure of, though no one can say with absolute certainty about any belief, let alone this. It's humble to not know and say so than to claim a belief is 100% true without verifiable proof (that others can see, experience, and/or measure too).

Main Entry: naturism
Pronunciation: \ ˈnā-chə-ˌri-zəm \
Function: noun
Date: 1847
Results

1 naturalism

2. the worship of the forces of nature

3. nudism


One and two, yes. By 'worship' nature, for me it's more of a relationship with, a need to be in, and a steward and student of nature.

Three, not so much. Not for me, in any case. I don't mind being around others being nude if they're comfortable with it.

Main Entry: altruism
Pronunciation: \ ˈal-trü-ˌi-zəm \
Etymology: French altruisme, from autrui other people, from Old French, oblique case form of autre other, from Latin alter
Date: 1853
Results

1. unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others

2. behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species


Spot on! Two being the potential backfiring of good deeds.

Main Entry: pagan !pA-gun
Pronunciation: \ ˈpā-gən \
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; akin to Latin pangere to fix - More at - pact
Date: 14th century
Results

1. heathen especially a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

2. one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person

3. neo-pagan


Okay, numero uno--heathen crops up again. Two thumbs up.

Two, I dig the irreligious part. The hedonistic/delights in sensual pleasures part? Not really. I've never been a hedonist, and the drive for sensual pleasure has long been low in me. I honestly had no sexual fantasies or thoughts (not even dreams!) until I was 16. I became sexually active at 18, and from then until now (37) I've had maybe a handful of lovers. I love love, sensuality, touch, and being desired. I've come to realize in the last 7 years that sensual pleasures aren't available to me anymore and I accept that.

Three--I'd better look up neo-pagan just to be sure...

Main Entry: neo-pagan +nE-O-!pA-gun
Pronunciation: \ -ˈpā-gən \
Function: noun
Date: 1869
Results

1. a person who practices a contemporary form of paganism (as Wicca)


Ah, okay. So a modern heathen. That fits the bill.

Main Entry: shamanism !sh@-mun-+ni-zum
Pronunciation: \ -ˌni-zəm \
Function: noun
Date: 1780
Results

1. a religion practiced by indigenous peoples of far northern Europe and Siberia that is characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shamans


I think indigenous shamanism is a neat and curious practice. I respect it. As such I don't feel it's my place as a white American mutt to try. Then again, I've never felt a calling to be a shaman.


Main Entry: agnostic ag-!n@s-tik
Pronunciation: \ ag-ˈnäs-tik, əg- \
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek agnōstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnōstos known, from gignōskein to know - More at - know
Date: 1869
Results

1. a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable--broadly one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god

2. a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something - political agnostics


Neither definition quite fits. With number one I kind of agree, at least with this part: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable. The second, definitely not.

Given this and simplifying, I'm an altruistic-naturist-heathen with a sprinkle of animism. Rings true to me.


If anyone hasn't heard yet, here's some stellar lynx news: I first saw this awhile back when I logged on in the morning. Then Nona sent me this link, and Misslynx sent me this link. >:-D

I must say it fills me with a joy beyond words that Canadian lynx have been reintroduced here and are finally thriving (well, thriving in comparison to the last few years).
ferine: (Artemis)
I studied the impressive and complicated array of thunderheads in the sky. Not menacing, they were bulbous and white. Staring at them as we drove, my thoughts went to the Greek pantheon. I had read an article the previous night in the U.K. magazine Pentacle about a modern Greek pagan (a Helleniste?). He mentioned that he had relationships with five deities, and dealt with others when he needed to.

This is so different from my, albeit limited, realm of experience. As a pre- and adolescent, in the height of my Greek mythology and pantheon studies, I felt no connection to any deity or figure other then Artemis and dryads. The others frankly scared me. In actuality, so did Artemis; I felt unworthy of her because of my physical ineptitude.

Only now do I understand the Greek pantheon and mythological beings in a less (or more) than literal context. Funny, as I grew up reading Joseph Campbell--one would think I'd have known better.

Then I pictured the various deities and beings in the clouds. It was thrilling; frightening in neat and inhuman way. There were Maenads, the imagining of which terrified me most and lingered at the edges of my brain-pan.
Maenads have been on my mind lately due to my current favorite HBO program, True Blood.
After some research on-line I gleaned what a character was.

After an early dinner, we returned home. As we drove, I looked beside the highway at the marshes and lakes where birds love to congregate. And I thought to myself, damn, this area is awesome. Even beside a highway birds-of-prey and various waterbirds live. Undoubtedly foxes, coyotes, and owls too. Even the parking lots at nearby grocery stores are frequented by seagulls or crows, and of course by sparrows.

This area, this land, is amazing. It's not mine. I started to think of it that way, after ten years of being here and tending to the 104th Trail and the Adams County Fairgrounds Nature Preserve. But to consider land as mine is wrong. It's egotistical. I have no right to claim ownership of something because it affords me pleasure, or because I love it.

I am a steward and a guardian of this area. Given such time and frequency spent here, I feel a deep-rooted and symbiotic connection.
ferine: (Default)
As you might recall, a while back I had a vivid dream about a great horned owl. The entry was here. The following day we found this beauty near its pelvis, two talons, the other eye orbit shattered beyond salvaging, bits of brittle rib cage, and some feathers yet to be cleaned.

Late this morning mom entered the den and wheeled me out into the back yard. A crow had been barking incessantly at something in the neighbor's tree and was still going strong. At first I couldn't see anything else there until suddenly a gargantuan great horned owl burst into flight, hounded by the crow! They took off to the west toward the mountains.

Tooling around on google earlier, I found the old page wolfs_moon.tripod.com. It's a rectory of Totem animals and their symbolism. Barring the typos and leanings to the Newage side of things, this information struck me curiously. I was also stunned at how similar owl symbolism is to the lynx symbolism I've uncovered and pieced together through the years.

Read more... )


I'm often told folks have difficulty shopping for me. This handy dandy button makes it easy. >:-D

My Amazon.com Wish List

Thoughts...

May. 7th, 2007 11:59 am
ferine: (Default)
1.) Believing in something, or somethings, does not equate, by some philosophical default, that one must believe in all things.

2.) When passionately supporting/following a cause, execute some critical thinking to avoid being blinded by ideology.

3.) Being accepting does not mean agreeing with or tolerating everything.
ferine: (Default)
In [livejournal.com profile] waywind's journal, this was recently asked: "What are some of the events or epiphanies that confirmed the reality of your spiritual beliefs for you?"

This question falls nicely into my period of reflection.

To answer this aloud feels like bragging. It feels like saying, look at me, I'm special because this happened. Some things, I think, are meant to be for you, and left unsaid.

Some things are also meant to be shared. The prime influence on me at a very young age was my Dad. Aside from being a musician and raising me with music, he studied philosophy in college, and therefore had many old philosophy books leftover from school. At five I would thumb through his copy of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces dreamily. I couldn't read, yet the black & white pictures entranced me.

I wasn't raised with religion, but with stories of good deeds and good tenets from Western and Eastern schools of thought. I was left to my own devices to form my own belief system, or, alternately, to chose none.

From the age of five I formulated abstract thoughts of deity, based largely on the images from The Hero With a Thousand Faces. I meshed this with my relationship with my beloved pets and the nature in the backyard (and the many plants inside the house). As I grew, these connections fermented and I was able to read about and research like ideas.

At twelve my faith in my beliefs were firm. My mind and heart were clear and focused. I knew what I wanted in life and pursued it unwaveringly. I studied, researched, and memorized passages from many books on lycanthropy, comparative mythology, animism, animal totemism, paganism, and witchcraft. This was prior to discovering New Age stores, and prior to even the concept of using a computer.

I was content believing I was alone in my beliefs and experiences. Since the age of thirteen I had met various older mentors, what I considered teachers, who expanded my mind with thoughtful questions and, sometimes, with books (one gave me her dog-eared first edition of Starhawk's The Spiral Dance when I was fifteen, which sent me reeling). Though there were these amazing people who appeared in my life for a time and then moved on, I still felt my path was my own, that I was alone on it, even though others had obviously felt similarly in the past.

I met others my age with familiar ideas when I turned 21. It was strange to vocalize my beliefs with others my age, even though I trusted them and the sharing went both ways. Eventually this contact led to my first computer at 23. After teaching myself enough to get on-line and send email, I looked up the word werewolf on the web. One of the few returns was for the usenet newsgroup alt.horror.werewolves. The description appealed to me, yet I had no idea what a "newsgroup" was. It took a week for me to learn, and then I spent a few months observing the group before dipping my digital toes in the water.

This initial foray into the vast internet world expanded my mind further. Suddenly I had new information at my fingertips, and the chance to communicate with those who were physically, and even culturally, distant. The "neat factor" is still with me to this day, though I'm less naïve and tempered by experience.

Alt.horror.werewolves changed me and strengthened me in many ways. It also hurt me, deeply, in the end--a lot like growing up, in a microcosm. I joined the group wide-eyed and utterly new to the 'net. In most ways it was one of the safest, most familial group of individuals to be the first ones on-line to meet and interact with. The friends I made there in 1994 remain close, dear friends, most of whom I've shared time with in person through the years.

It was strange; the more involved I became with the group, the less content I felt being alone with my animalism. I found myself craving the physical company of other animal-people, which is something I had never needed before. That, in itself, saddened me a little. It was as if something in me broke when I met these wonderful animal-people on-line, and I desired to have such connection with other animal folk locally.
Eventually, that did happen.

Then I met a raven from alt.horror.werewolves, and my inner workings shifted. He truly flew between worlds, and my life turned inside out each time we got together in person. From that chaotic internal stripping, I drifted into uncharted territory. With his death I became un-anchored and lost.

I can now honestly say I'm grounded and into my own. I am my own anchor, and my family (I consider my parents, my friends and packmates, and my pets my family) are the links in the chain that connects the anchor to the boat. What's the boat? The world, the universe, the We.

Synchronicity, or "mere coincidences", if you prefer, confirm the reality of my spiritual beliefs on a daily basis. The confirmation and the reality are entirely personal.
ferine: (Default)
A Net of Stars spread in sympathy...

Read more... )

This book has changed my core trails of viewing the world and those in it. It's also opened myself to my own power and goodness, things I had struggled with accepting for a majority of my life.

Musing

Jun. 10th, 2006 02:47 pm
ferine: (Default)
Cogs in the brain whirring. Ghosts in the machine stirring.

So much Algernon Blackwood and Charles de Lint in these last seven months has expanded the railways of my heart and mind. New tracks laid, new paths discovered, all exposing a far more copious and complicated inner labyrinth than previously surmised.

No stranger to what some view as "complicated" thought, as I was exposed to Joseph Campbell's books before I could read, and his theories as well as a number of existentialists philosophies and various religions teachings were exposed to me verbally (and to supplement this once I had mastered reading, I poured over Dad's book on these subjects from his college days). These sent my mind reeling even at four, as I sat on an old bright yellow beanbag in the living room of our then home and flipped through the pictures in Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces. My mind whirred like the galaxies. I was immense and immortal and of the Earth and the Earth, and beyond it.

As I aged and met my peers and authority (authority apart from my parents, who I idolized and wanted to please of my own volition rather than viewing them as "authority figures"), my perceptions and inner growth altered; even violently when I "progressed" into my mid and late teens. My mind, spirit, and heart which had raced among the stars prior, shrunk from the alien and brutal behavior of my so-called fellows. I was singled out and torn to pieces time and time again, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The chaotic swirl of hospital visits, tests, and diagnoses ocurred simultaneously and added to the rigors of what normally is a turbulent age. My refuge, my comfort, my sanity, as it always had been, was my home: my parents, my cats, my books, my music.

After dropping out of high school and leaving home for the first time to live in a far-off state, I began to find my own reliability. To open a bank account, to apply for SSI and find a local doctor, to pay bills, to buy food, to budget, to clean my apartment (technically my and my roomie's apartment, but his idea of cleaning was to take a shower *chuckles and eyerolls*) was a new growth, a sudden initiation into reality and survival. For three years life was immediate, lived in the moment, experienced rather than dreamed of.

Upon returning home from such freedom and independence, I plunged into bleakness. Even when I did my damnedest to get my own apartment and health care help, and succeeded at it for six years, that bleakness never left. I often deluded myself into thinking the shadow had lifted, and at times it genuinely seemed to. It never did in truth. In my alone time, when not partying and dancing and roaming with the local pack, the gloom descended and gnawed at my confidence. My sense of strength, my courage, ebbed. It was a harrowing time, yet some of the brightest moments of memory were therein.

Afterward even that semblance of independence slipped through my fingertips. Forced to return home after a short-lived, so-called "normal" life. Well, not normal as most would consider the context of the word to mean (ah, my lifelong pride and joy -- abstaining from the societal norm to be true to myself!). My shell was weaker, less dependable, and I was no longer able to dance with my arms or able to withstand the smoke at clubs and bars. Non-pack friends came around less, and I lashed out angrily at the rest. Survived two murky, dramatic, traumatic intimate relationships, and then my best friend died. Despondency, like cloying tar pulling the aspects of all that encompasses my being apart, ensued.

Only in these last seven months have my wings unfurled. There have been moments of great joy not fully appreciated until now. The beauty of the Earth has returned. Somehow I've returned to the spiritual innocence of my preadolescence, though it's not an exact returning; it's as if these 33 years have been on what seemed a complex path yet was ultimately just a loop, and I've come out the back of where I started.

My eyes are open where they've been closed much too long. I am no longer trapped, caged, isolated, or lost.

Animals have always played a part in my self-identity. This took shape as serious study and obsession at the age of 12. That fervor, research, and thrill has yet to subside.

This is a deep and feral love for the Hollywood werewolf film, for the werewolf novel, for the non-fictional historical accounts and hypotheses of lycanthropy, for the historical references to shape-shifting, for the spiritual and magical context of animal totems and spirit guides, and for individuals in the modern on-line 'therianthropy' scene (particularly alt.horror.werewolves, the usenet newsgroup that started it all and, sadly, seems to be either forgotten about or disregarded as 'rubbish' by many nowadays who haven't even delved into its history [best times: '94 - '96]).

Currently my acceptance of lynx is that lynx is a metaphor for my philosophy, my vision, and simply me. Knowing lynx is knowing myself, bringing me closer to fully understanding what life is and what we're all about.
ferine: (books)
More mind- and soul-expanding excerpts from Algernon Blackwood's A Prisoner In Fairyland to follow.

Reread this chapter four times before sleep last night. It's striking how similar the outlooks expressed in the book are akin to my own, yet worded more beautifully and to the point. Then again, that's a recurring message in the novel: all thoughts have come before, and sympathetic minds tap into that universal flow of harmony. Like Jung’s universal consciousness.

Read more... )

*Eyes grow large and shiny at this next bit:*
(from page 267):
Read more... )


As M-dahling wisely states in the song "Vervain", "We are divinity."
ferine: (Default)
(from Algernon Blackwood’s A Prisoner In Fairyland, pages 124-125):

Read more... )

This has led me to recognize that allowing myself to digest others' journals, forums, and websites that anger me, amuse me in a cynical way, depress me--is tantamount to self-harm.

Staying informed on the changing of subjects important to me weren't, and aren't, worth becoming emotionally tortured over. Remaining true to myself and to others, and discussing nature and what's integral to me with those who care, empathize, or sympathize, is all that matters. It's not the changing--viewed as progression by some, degression by some, and something altogether new and without history to some--that's important or integral to me; it's the subject, which often gets muddled or lost in translation, in terminology, in sigils and flashy clothing, in pricey jewelry and misleading books, in gurus who mean well but lose themselves in the complex web of their own hype. Change is not bad or good. Change is, ironically, a constant. If the subject is changing constantly with no stable core, the subject looses cohesion and becomes something it never was.
ferine: (Default)
It is not willful ignorance to be discerning of who we consider friends. It is not willful ignorance to remove oneself from drama. It is not willful ignorance to refrain from reading journals, forums, and sites that are mean-spirited and leave one with a bad feeling.

The primary outside influence for concentrating on meaningful relationships is the book A Prisoner In Fairyland by Algernon Blackwood. Actually, to refer to it as an "outside" influence is demeaning; it's very much an inside influence.

I've read many books from various genres in my days. More than a few have changed my thinking, opened my mind in new ways, and felt magical in an honest sense.

This particular book is unlike anything I've read before. It weaves a spell of hope, positivety, and the nature of giving back to the universe.

I'm reading it slowly, carefully, digesting each intricate line like a fine meal. This is honest magic.

Choice lines spurring me:
Read more... )
ferine: (Nature)
I read this last night prior to sleep in a short story collection. I was dumbstruck. No author describes nature in such a way as Algernon Blackwood. He saw, felt, and percieved the wild as I do. That's an amazing thing and even invasive, but not uneasy.

I felt the need to copy down the story from the book to share with everyone, but luckily it's already available on-line. This is nature to me:

The Golden Fly
by Algernon Blackwood

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Sarah B. Chamberlain

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