39 Days of Prayer – Day 5

Day 5 – To See the True Self

Amaterasu Omikami – Japanese Goddess of the Sun.  As ruler of the High Plain of Heaven, Amaterasu is the central figure of the Shinto pantheon.  She is the highest manifestation of the universe, Her radiance shining its life-giving rays over Her people and the earth.  Her beauty and light is encompassing, producing fertile fields of rice, wheat, and flowers. Her most popular and prevalent myth tells of when Amaterasu, overcome with grief, hid Herself away in a dark cave, causing the world to be plunged into darkness and despair.  Only the mirror reflection of Her exuberance and glory was powerful enough to draw Her out of hiding.  She is the inventor of weaving and spinning, and is represented by the mirror.

Uzume  – Japanese Goddess of Laughter.  Uzume is the full figured goddess of happiness and femininity.  She is the embodiment of energy in action, and gives birth to light and hope.  When Amaterasu hides herself away in a cave, Uzume entices her out by performing a lewd comical dance and then holds a mirror to her face so that Amaterasu may see her beauty. Bells and dancing are sacred to Uzume.

Amaterasu Omikami, Goddess of light and sun

You hid your splendor from the world

And humanity suffered

But through the laughter and joy of Uzume

You made your way back

Allow me to learn from you, Amaterasu Omikami

Guide me from the darkness of the cave,

Heal the sadness and doubt within me and allow me to see my true spirit.

Show me how to look at my reflection with honor, respect, and reverence

And I, like you, can bless the world with my beauty.

Uzume, Goddess of Laughter

You are proof I can live life without shame

and laugh without fear

Teach me how to give my smile freely, how to laugh with my whole body and soul

So that I may release the hurts of the past

And move into my joyous future.

Thank you Mothers, for your love of me.

So mote it be.

Spirits of Place

The modern druid tradition I am part of honours spirits of place. It is a priority in ritual, and we also do it on other occasions – at meetings, in talks, over food. I gather there are parallels with Heathen recognition of land wights, house spirits and the like, with Roman honouring of genius loci, and no doubt there are other traditions too. What I’ve seen of Wicca doesn’t appear to include this – but if you know otherwise please do post a comment and let me know.

I’m planning to do a few articles talking about spirits of place, how we encounter them, and work with them in different scenarios. I’ll drop these in amongst the other posts as and when inspiration strikes.

What is a spirit of place? There are a number of levels to think about. Firstly, what else lives in the space? Everywhere has something – nature has a habit of getting in, especially insects, there will be plant life nearby. There may be birds on the roof, or inside even – like the pigeons I saw in New York’s airport. Rodents get everywhere as well. It’s important to recognise the other living things, and to take a moment to figure out what and where they are. Nature is all around us, not just ‘out there’ somewhere in the wild places.

The next consideration might be the human activity associated with a place, and any resonances that has made over time. A place that has been used repeatedly for a given activity – be that shopping, prayer, or study for example, gains a spirit that derives from that. This is also an issue of ancestors of place – a form of ancestry recognised by many druids.

Then we might consider the unseen entities that occupy the place as well. For those whose paganism is entirely pragmatic and includes no room for ‘supernatural’ elements, this isn’t needed. However, for the majority who see spirit as pervasive there is some sense that more exists than we can readily sense. So, whether or not we ‘know’ that other beings are present, we honour those who are invisible to us.

Some places may also be said to have a unique spirit of their own that is more than just the things living in it. My own feeling is that for all kinds of reasons, some places develop a distinct identity, which becomes a form of awareness, a permeation of the numinous into the every day. Perhaps it is the case that the spirit of some places is just easier to see. Places have moods and atmosphere, they welcome some people and reject others. You might understand the spirit of a place as being a small god, a local deity. You might have a faerie interpretation, or something more based on patterns of energy and focal nodes. Recognition of the spirit is more important than how you make sense of it.

 Every place has spirits of place. The side of a busy road is no different from an ancient stone circle in that regard. Spirits are there, although they may be very different in character. Becoming aware of spirits of place is an important part of druidry, because from that recognition comes relationship, which is central to all that we do.

Ancient Calendar: May 27, 2010

BringForththeMagicByBelovedIsis.gif Bringing Forth the Magic  picture by Beloved_Isis

Way back in the ancient day, Rome would be hooking us up with a festival honoring their Diana of the Wild Wood. Now, interestingly enough, even though this was a festival for her, it also celebrated Prosperina (Proserpina—think Greek Persephone) and the Three Fates.

But hey, keeping with the WILD THEME, lets peak in on the Greeks in Athens who were launching their own Festival today for all Wild Women. Think debauched and orgiastic—according to some sources.

Meanwhile over in Norse territory, they are having an observance for their Goddess Frigg. It’s called Friggablót.

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A little announcement. Yes, Ancient Calendar is the same as Pagan Holidays. I just thought this title might be a bit more accurate. We also have our own page, located Ancient Calendar.

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