Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Be Afraid To Fall...

It's funny, I thought I was going to run out of cards. I always wondered what I would do when it happened. Just keep going? Start a new deck? Runes?

By the time I finish writing this it will be the 29th. This marks the year and a day commitment, and my oath fulfilled.

Tonight my Grandma pointed out a few leaves that never fell from the tree, and spent all winter dead dry husks still clinging to the tree. Fear.

She told me she was proud of me for being so brave. In Iraq, what I came home to, and the volunteer work I do in the prisons, without body armor.

She said it seemed funny that I should be afraid to publish my book. She was right. So this will be my last blog for a while, I am shifting gears and priorities. I have a new oath to fulfill. And less than a year and a day to fulfill it.

To my newer readers, I invite you to start here at the beginning and see what got us to here. Besides it's by far better work than the dribble I am peddling now. But wait there's more...

read now while you can, a friend mentioned a snag related to publishing blog pieces. I have a few choice pieces picked out already and will be removing them from here soon, so read them while there free. Hahaha.

Never give up your sword, and don't be afraid to fall. Trust me.

The Tower, a card from the Joe Tarot

I took this picture the same day I took this one, and just like those others, I am especially proud of this one.

Today is my Birthday. Thanks you. It marks the anniversary of my Tarot Journal, I started on my Birthday last year and made a personal commitment to do it a year and a day before I gave it up.

I know that may sound like that fluffy Wicca, and that's ok. But don't underestimate the power running through the deep roots of that now "fluffy" stuff. Trust me.

A year and a day is a potent test. What have you done for a year and a day? What have you failed to do? Cause I got one more day baby! Although I didn't start Blogging my guts out publicly until August, I started out old school, with a nice pen and notebook But I soon realized I am lazy and cut corners when I am writing for myself, whereas writing for you I take much more seriously and thus, personal growth.

A year and a day is powerful, a lot happens in that time. My personal and professional advise for people is be together for a year and a day before getting married. Spend all four seasons with them first, you won't really know them until you have. We change with the seasons, we have are own internal seasons and you need to see them all before your tie the knot. Trust me.

Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
is another one of those fluffy cliches even I rolled my eyes at until a few months ago, when I experienced the power and energy that is only created with these fluffy ingredients. It was incredible, it was so powerful it scared me. Watch out for us Fluffy Bunnies, we know some shit. Trust me.

So I have been giving the Tower a lot of thought lately. The first time I wrote about it was here, and it was about being in the Army during 9/11. Looking back I realized how much I wrote about the military and Iraq. Even now this picture reminds me on the one hundred foot water tower I spent days at a time on armed with a nice rifle, a big scope and a radio. I was "Big Brother" the eye in the sky. It was the safest place in Ar Ramadi, Iraq at the time. No ones going to shoot holes in the water supply. Trust me.

I look at all the towers I have lived on in my life. Not just in Iraq, but the citadels of the psyche. Those mental and emotional towers we brick ourselves up in. Pretentiousness is the cornerstone of the Ego tower, specially in Magic. I am a hundred and third degree High Grand Poobah and I know everything. Trust me.

I had a conversation with good friends some time ago about mentors. My friends and their various orders have them. I want one to, but the uniqueness of my path makes very few of us, thus my complaint. Since then I have watched people, in their towers, I realize I have a really good view...from mine...

Everyone who passes through my universe is a potential mentor. Everyone possesses valuable knowledge or presents a lesson for me, that's the test. Am I capable of recognizing them, can I see them from my tower? If not perhaps it's time to ride that lightning bolt and tear down the walls. It's really not that bad, trust me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ten of Cups

The first time I pulled this card was just after my fathers funeral. He drank himself to death, he spent most of his life doing it and made a mess doing it, for the rest of us to clean up.

He had this picture on the wall, of a cabin in the woods beside a stream. His pipe dream of a perfect life, which he sat on his ass and stared at while he drank his life away.

The first time I pulled this card I was angry. My anger found the line drawn between them and that picture perfect life. My anger saw that background was a facade, the backdrop on the stage of life.

You do not achieve happiness, you happily achieve. It is a path, not a destination.

I am not my father, I don't drink. I don't stare at the picture perfect pipe dream, I am living the life. My ten of cups runith over...

This weekend I had the honor of assisting a fellow Coven member and friend with his Six of Swords, although his Tower was hit by a different catastrophe than mine, it was no less damaging and no less challenging.

It is how we handle these lightening strikes and the challenges they leave behind that make us who we are. And who we are not. The difference between drinking from the cup of life or a whiskey bottle.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Knight of Swords

Hmmm so much going on.... where to start....

Last week the Papa Goddess and I had a great conversation on Magic with Fr. B.H., we love to talk shop with him and his Gal, we have the best discussions, anyways I was talking about shielding, and how "heavy"the shield seems to feel sometimes having to use it so often, I realized in that conversation that it was not the shield that was heavy, but the necessity of using defense Magic so often that was a drain on my emotional stamina, even more so when it's a family member your defending yourself against.

That conversation started a train of thought that lead me to realize how much of my Magic is focused on defense. And today I didn't use the Shield, I used the Sword. I fought back, in self defense, and was very successful. I won't need to defend myself again for a very long time, if ever again. Sigh. Never give up your sword.

Umm.. my training is going good, I got to the gym just before the senors swim aerobics started and decided to push the envelope a bit, thought I would just do as many laps as I could before they kicked me out, then the personal challenge crossed my mind, could I do my "Big 5" before they started the class? Yes I did. in fact I did it in under 10 minutes, that's a personal record for me.

But no visit to the Steam sanctorum, it's being cleaned and upgraded all this week, and I am going through withdraws. Boiling yourself stupid isn't as effective. I have opened the second Gate and think I am seeing what I need to but it's too soon to tell.

When I opened the first Gate I thought I understood the meaning and lesson of a Virtuous Purpose, I thought I was done, but it was not until I performed the last rites that I REALLY understood what it was about. So I am taking the second Gate much slower and more seriously.

The Book is coming along nicely, I laid the cornerstone, that was the hardest part, the beginning. My wife suggested I just skip ahead to the parts I am ready to write, but it's not working that way for me. I need the cornerstone, the foundation comes first, then the house is built. I am proud of myself, its a great cornerstone.

It's nice to be the rider this time, instead of the horse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Sun of Change

I saw a movie once called "the Englishman who walked up a hill but came down a mountain" and it applies to this day. The sun that rose this morning, shall set this evening, on a different world.

Times change, and circumstances; but Virtue and Duty remain the same.

~Albert Pike, Morals & Dogma

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Rights

I performed the last rights today.

I was requested by am inmate who has enter the terminal stages of his illness. I have performed the Nenia rite many times, but always for those who have already passed, and for the benefit of those who were left behind.

It is completely different to look him in the eye, and witness the recognition of such a profound moment.

There was nervous laughter as we discussed the Christian and Catholic representatives who had come and offered absolution in exchange for the denouncement of his life long Pagan faith.

I told him I could not offer absolution, it was above my paygrade. And we talked about finding peace.

We discussed life, death and the summerlands. There are no atheist in foxholes and prison is a foxhole.

I read to him a very special book, a book my grandmother read to me and realized how comforting it is to be read to and was happy to give him that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Knight of Swords

The last four weeks of my life have been utter chaos. We had our first vacation time in over two years, as all of our clients went on vacation, hence we got a vacation, however they were quickly replaced by our four kids who ALSO got a vacation, hence no vacation for me.

I did enjoy it when the captain turning off the fasten seat belt sign and we were free to roam about the cabin. However I love structure, I blame the military. And by the time Christians were unwrapping there presents I was ready to continue with our regularly scheduled program.

Last night was our last night out, we had a blast, dinner for two, a really great movie. (Doubt! GO SEE DOUBT! OMGs I was soooo good!!!) Anyway, and we finished with a visit with old friends. And went home eagerly anticipating today's equalibrium. Clients go to work, kids go to school and I can begin a new. I had all my close laid out, and my schedule, Lodestone rit, breakfast, gym, chores, Book!

And so I awoke feeling like I had the flu, I rolled my tongue to curb the morning breath and felt what I only know as strep throat. I laid there really... not happy... pissed, pissed is good. But then I was reminded of something my mother learned from her work with the Avatars.

They taught her that when we get too close to crossing our different comfort zones, we experience symptoms like fatigue, sleepiness, hunger, and other primitive sensations. But these are only distractions, defense mechanisms of the subconscious, designed to "protect" us from anything deemed a threat, like dealing with repressed fears, my post traumatic stress and even simple changes.

So I had to ask myself, "self...are you really sick? Or is this the manifestation of a defense mechanism?" and my self replied..."I dare you to find out..." and it was on like Donkey Kong.

Soon after my wife returns from the bathroom and says "I feel like crap, I think I got strep throat from that lady at the movies..."

Two... count them... two defense mechanism manifestations... Ah Ah Ah...

Or... the lady with the smokers cough, sitting behind us in the movie theater was not a smoker. But it was too late for me, the challenge has already been accepted. I did considered the reality of possibility of contaminating others and decided that the highly chlorinated pool would be fairly safe, but when I got there, senor citizens were enjoying their water aerobics, so no laps.

I reasoned the the steam room would be a safe and sanitary alternative and proceed to cook my noodles good. Ironically I reached the altered state almost immediately, and maintained it for nearly an hour and was made to understand exactly what I needed to know at this point, nothing more, nothing less. It was just Perfect. Balance restored.

So, I started back on my old routine by totally breaking it, please pause for the irony.... it's old irony so it takes a seconds to warm up...

So, I am a man of my word, and I took the challenge. I ran home from the gym, it's about two miles and I ran about a mile and a half. near the first mile mark the sore throat turned into that old familiar burning in my lungs and it all came flashing back, my first run in boot camp, I thought I was going to die. Ten mile runs in Sinai, Egypt. Thirteen mile runs in combat boots, with a full ruck sack and weapon, in UNDER three hours. I lost several toenails that way, but that how you get your Wings baby!!!

Air Assault!

So, I made it home in one piece. That kind of hurt felt good. The idea was to throw some gasoline on this fever, and burn away all the impurities. It's too soon to declare a victory, I could just be going into shock. But I've showered, eaten a nice bowl of rice, kemchi and Trader Joe's chicken (I love my wife) and I feel great. So if it's turns out that I am am idiot and I get incinerated by the blazing inferno of pneumonia, at least the cause of death will be a virtuous purpose.

PS. looking at this card I don't think I am the knight, I feel like the horse hahaha.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eight of Pentacles

My first thought of this card was The Craftsman. Exploring that idea I remembered feeling that way about the Magician when I first started doing this.

Since then my interpretation of the Magician has changed. Just like The World card, the magician has evolved.

Originally in older decks the Magician was a Mountebank or a "sleight of hand" practitioner.

So my interpretation is that the now more prestigious Magician, was once nothing more than a street dealer, Three Card Monte anyone?

" I am not a magician in any sence of the word. I am a craftsman."

"I am a work in progress and so is my craft. This blog is only a small part of it, like the cards, a small window, to see me, like the Tarot card I hold in my hand. I am the card your holding in yours, the craftsman. Who knew."

I was particularly proud of that last part when I wrote it, I still am. It's more my style, more my mentality, more me. And not much has changed since then, I am still a work in progress, as still my craft.

I proudly take my time, my craftwork is not an assembly line. Each piece is "handmade" labor of love. It's a fitting card for my current position, I will keep it on my desk while I begin work on the book.

I have returned to the sacred inner temple of the sauna every day this week. Repeating the procedure, sauna, jacuzzi, swim five laps, jacuzzi, sauna. I cannot explain how much different I feel after just three days.

Every time I return to the sauna, I get it nice and hot and do my chants. By the time I get into the zone, I am exhausted. "Sit up straight" I hear it every time. Today I thought "I don't have the strength to be disciplined today"

I was then made to understand that discipline doesn't come from strength, it is strength that comes from discipline. Discipline comes from a virtuous purpose. I found the strength to sit up straight and hear more.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The sacred inner temple of... the sauna?

So working within the first Gate last night paid off. Although my comprehension was rudimentary, it was enough to get me started. I went to the gym to apply some knowledge, warmed up in the steam, then jacuzzi and then swam five laps. Boy am I out of shape!

So I worked my way back out, from pool to jacuzzi to steam. While in the steam I did a no-no and poured water in the thermostat to kick on the steam, repeatedly until it got to my "operating temperature" put on the head phones and rocked out till I felt close to the zone.

So I started to vibrate my opening chant when I was told to shut up, take that ridiculous thing off my head, sit up straight and listen. Apparently listening is something I have forgotten to do enough of.

I was then made to understand the necessity of a virtuous purpose. I will share more someday when I find the right words.

Blessed Be.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Sun; hang on, we're making a U'iey!

Happy New Year! Wow, what a fitting card. I love Wicca, I love celebrating holidays (holy days) that are themed by the seasons. Life, Death and the current process of rebirth.

I am a morning person by nature and we are in the wee hours of the morning in the annual or solar sense. Celebrating Yule a few days before Christ-mas always throws off my clock off. By Christmas Eve I am already cleaning up and moving on. I spent Christmas day doing yard work and spring cleaning my Altar and workspace in preparation for my first book.

My craftwork is gauged on cycles; daily, monthly, yearly and I will have the privilege of witnessing the Galactic "new years" in 2012. These are always good times, celebration and starting anew. I need that clean slate from time to time, I think we all do. This one came just in the nick of time, skin of my teeth really, I'm talking hours!

As soon as I cleared a workspace, the work appeared. I have been presented with "a year and a days" worth of work. Literally. So during the next year I will be working my way through a series of "Gates", signified by Tarot combinations. I have already opened the first gate but have not completed my work within it and cannot comment further at this time. Sigh.

On a less mysterious note, I have seen my friends online take New Years vows and am inclined to follow suit. I don't have as much physical work to do, as I don't need to lose as much, if any weight, I just need to rearrange it a bit. I spent ten years of my life doing morning P.T. by Army standards and the last few years sleeping in and hibernating by bear standards. I used to be able to run over ten miles and whistle as I walked back to the car. I miss that.

I am suddenly aware of how potent my magic was back then, due to my physical conditioning compensating for my lack of experience. Now a days the majority of my talents come from knowledge and experience, which has compensated for my civilian gut. Although I make no solemn vow except this one:

To vigilantly seek a deeper understanding and knowledge of myself and seek self improvement, through the application of my craftwork and by unlocking the thirteen gates and the mysteries within, So Be It.

Blessed Be.