More than Persephone’s Mom by Mary Malinski Priestess of Demeter

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Author: Temple of Demeter
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Demeter and Persephone. Demeter and Kore. You can’t have one without the other, can you?

The two are forever entwined in the Mysteries and mythology. Their identities are so thoroughly intertwined that Demeter loses her mind with grief when Kore is abducted. She is no longer herself when she blights the Earth – her identity vanished along with the Holy Daughter.

And yet she wasn’t always Persephone’s mom. She had a life and identity before (and after) she was a mother.

Second born of Rhea and second swallowed by Kronus, Demeter played a role in the overthrowing of the Titans, and again in the uprising of the Gigantes, she was called khrysaoros, Lady of the Golden Sword.

She was known as a Giver of Law – Ovid tells us in Metamorphoses,

…she first gave corn and crops to bless the land; she first gave laws; all things are Ceres’ [Demeter’s] gift.

~Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 341 ff (trans. Melville)

Demeter of the Golden Tresses is a woman beautiful and desirable in her own right. She had a lover, the hero Iaison. Hesiod tells us,

Demeter, bright goddess, was joined in sweet love with the hero Iasion in a thrice-ploughed fallow in the rich land of Krete, and bare Ploutos (Wealth), a kindly god who goes everywhere over land and the sea’s wide back, and him who finds him and into whose hands he comes he makes rich, bestowing great wealth upon him.

~Hesiod, Theogony 969 ff (trans. Evelyn-White)


As a mother, I can relate to Demeter identifying herself by her child. When I think about how to describe myself, “mother” is one of the first words that comes to mind. After giving birth to three (amazing) boys, nursing them and changing their diapers and helping them to grow, it is hard to see myself as “desirable”, or even as separate.

So much of my life and my choices involve what I need to do to support them. They are constantly in my thoughts and plans for the future. I often sacrifice my own needs and desires to accommodate theirs.

And yet I wouldn’t want to live without them. I can’t imagine – I don’t even want to think about – the heart-wrenching grief of losing one (or all) of my children. Knowing mothers who have lost their children, it is a pain that never truly goes away.

Demeter is lucky, her child returns. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had signs of spring since Imbolc. The Great Mother is ecstatic that her baby is coming home soon.

For Her, the cycle plays out year after year. For us living here on this Earth plane, we move through the cycles in more of a spiral, going deeper into our experience with each turn of the Wheel. We grow and change and learn.

I am a mother, and more than a mother. I get to experience the Great Mother’s loss of her child and her sense of self through Her Mysteries, so that I may learn and grow and build a stronger, more diverse sense of my own identity. I learn to make time to care for myself, and allow others to care for me, so that no one ending becomes catastrophic.

Thank you, Demeter, for sharing your lessons with me.

Spring Mysteries Festival: The Oath of the Eleusinian Mysteries

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Author: Dusty Dionne
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For the history of the Eleusinian Mysteries Oath is one of the most prevalent topics when discussing the Mysteries. The main reason for this is because without the oath, we would know exactly what was done in each part of the Sacred Rites. As it stand we know a fair bit about what happened in the Lesser Mysteries, but not so much as to what happened in the Greater Mysteries. Scholars, many of which have worked with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, have pieced together a great deal of what they think happened, but that oath has stood strong to keep the complete mystery of the rites shadowed in time.

The Mysteries are known as a ‘cursed rite’ in that if one is to break their vows connected with the production and/or sanctity of the Mysteries and their secrets, they can have unintended consequences. It is said that in ancient times. when people spoke of what they saw to others, often they would wind up killed. This is why we have stories of what happened in the Lesser Mysteries, but not so much the Greaters. The people who would have been loose lipped were often removed from the equation.; leaving only the truly devout and honorable to live long enough to return to the great city for the second part.

At the recreation at Fort Flagler, these oaths are still enacted. In the Theater, before the Gods and your fellow pilgrims, you are asked if you are willing to keep the secrets that you are reveled. Three times the participants are asked if they will keep the secrets of the mysteries, knowing that to share them with those that have not experienced them would cheapen their own experience, as those that they attempted to enlighten would have not experienced the sacredness of their epiphany. Epiphany’s at their core are unsharable. Bolts of realization that convey a feeling through your bones of a new, and more profound understanding on a subject. How can you share that in a conversation with someone who has no context to apply it to? You can’t. You can only drain your experience of its magic as the person paints it black with their misunderstanding. As you attempt over and over again to explain how sacred the experience is, and they continue to reply with a simple “I don’t know. It sounds cool, I guess”

So what does that mean? Don’t talk about the people you see there? Don’t talk about the rituals? The food? The location? Don’t talk about ANYTHING??!?

Well that is a fine question, and one that in the past few weeks has been getting some attention as we get within just a few weeks of Spring Mysteries Festival 30. So let’s talk about it. When you take your oath you are asked not to reveal the things you see at the festival, but this doesn’t mean that you cant speak about EVERYTHING you experience. For many, the pilgrimage to The Pacific North West can be costly, and time consuming. The Mysteries throughout have always demanded the time, treasures, and talents of those involved and attending. It would further cheapen your experience if you couldn’t talk about your how much the event meant to you. So below are two lists of examples of things that would and would not break your oaths.

Oath Keepers. These are the things you can do that will keep your oath.

  • A person coming to the Mysteries is taking a pilgrimage that is highly spiritual. Even if she has never come to the festival before, and has no idea what to expect, the time and treasure involved have already made her connected to the energy of the rites. It is fully appropriate to tell the people around you about the experience you are about to embark on. Tell your social media, friends, family (considering you are open in your life with your faith, and comfortable with people knowing you are attending a Pagan Passion Play) and the person sitting next to you on the bus if you are so inclined. It is a beautiful thing to be proud of your spirituality, and you should express it as much as your comfortable.
  • There are many things that happen at the Mysteries that are not ritual. There is a Talent Show, Workshops, Auctions, Eight Wonderful Meals, Wild Animals, Hiking Trails, and an entire Fort to explore. These things are all open game to talk about. (With some restrictions that we will get into in Oath Breakers) Some amazingly talented, dynamic, and life changing events, acts, and items from the auction come across peoples paths. How better to honor your experience by allowing that sword you got at the auction to have it’s story told to those that ask about it? Telling them that you got it at a life changing event called Spring Mysteries Festival. That it came from a Priestess in the community and how you got in a bidding war, but it came home with you. That’s a powerful experience. You should share it.
  • Did you have a good time at the event, and you want your best friend to come with you? You are fully at liberty to talk about the festival with people. You can tell them they should come. It’s an amazingly life changing event that has 30 years of history behind it. You can tell them about the sleeping arrangements. We have barracks that we sleep in, as well as housing that can be rented for extra. The fort, itself. Fort Flagler is out in Nordland, WA on the Puget Sound. It was the long range gun battery that would have been the first munitions to fire at ships attacking from the Pacific during WWII. The amount of rituals. There are 4 parts to the Eleusinian Mysteries Proper: Parade to the Sea, The Lesser Mysteries 1 and 2, and The Greater Mysteries. There is also historically a Skyclad Ritual, as well as a tertiary ritual of some sort, depending on the year. The schedule. It is a Pagan Passion Play. So it is not a ‘sleep in and go to the workshops later in the day’ event. It is a ‘get up at 7am each day and interact in a highly participatory weekend long ritual’ event. The food. Eight wonderful meals. Meals are on a tight schedule to work with the ritual. Most food issues are taken care of. The headliners. Did you meet Selena Fox? Oberon Zell? Terry Riley? Sonya Hill-Miller? Willo’ Wellspring and Alfred Willowhawk? Share your experience. What did you learn from them? What did seeing them mean to you? The workshops (unless otherwise stated) Did you learn a lot? How was the teaching? The myth. The Eleusinian Mysteries are the story of the Kore’s abduction by Hades into the underworld, the blighting of the world by Demeter at the loss of her daughter, and the reemergence of the Holy Daughter as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. This is not a secret, this is historic fact. Are there deeper lessons revealed through the administering of these sacred rites in ritual form? Yes. Can You talk about those? That brings me to our next part:

Oath Breakers: The things you cant do, or else you have broken your oath.

  • No. You can not tell people what happens within the ritual as it is presented at the event. You cant talk about any of it. The Gods, the presentation, the words spoken, the specifics of a particular God or their costume, or anything that happens in any of the secondary or tertiary rituals. Likewise you cant speak on any workshop that teaches a broader view of the mysteries themselves. These Workshops are always marked as sensitive.
  • Likewise we have 2 levels of participants. Mystai (Mist-eye) and Epoptai (EE-pop-tie). Mystai are those who have been through the Mysteries one time. They are able to see the Parade to the Sea, and Lessers 1 and 2. They are welcome to talk about their complete experience with any other Mystai or Epoptai.  Epoptai are those that have seen the Mysteries at least 2 times, and have been through the Greater Mysteries. They are only at liberty to talk about their experience in the Greaters with other Epoptai.
  • You cannot talk about the participants that attend with you. You never know who attends in silence without telling their world about their spirituality. It is their right to keep their activities to themselves, and so if a person is a simple participant, you should never talk about seeing them at them event
  • No Pictures. You can take pictures of you and your friends, by yourselves, with no person or prop in the background. Catalog your experience, but keep it your experience, and leave the other participants who arent aware of your promotions, out of it.

And there you have it. Now you know how to keep your oath. Now you know that you are fully open to tell people who you are, and what you do. Just keep the mysteries safe for those that long to experience them, and allow us to unfold the spirit of those that your stories have touched, who now long to attend. Children of the Goddess, it’s time to come home. See you there, SMFPilgrim.

 

 

Earth Moves into Galactic Spring

Galactic-Spring-Blurb-2

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Author: Dusty Dionne
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2012….

We lived through a year that was to be the end of the world….

We have since lived in three years of time that many thought would not exist. We live in a time that was foretold in antiquity, though we did not all agree on what this change was, or was supposed to look like. Many would be scholars shouting anonymously from the pages of the internet, and established minds with doctorates and degrees have theories on what  the end of the Mayan Calendar would mean.

All they really had to do was ask the Mayans.

Mayan descendants; those charged with keeping the knowledge of their past and charged with guiding their people into the future, knew. They even told us. We kept holding on to an “end of times” prophecy, but the truth was much more magical:

“It will be the start of a new era resulting from and signified by the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator and the Earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy.”

!

o_O

!

But what does it mean?!

Now that we are here, at this point in the story, we can start to really tell it. Let’s start with this part: “[…] signified by the solar meridian(Our Sun) crossing the galactic equator” That’s exciting! even though I knew that the whole Universe rotated around a perceived super massive black hole, I never really groked the magnitude of it until 2012, and the revelations of the Mayan Elders. Our Sun was, is and has always been moving around the center of the universe in the same manner that Earth rotated around it. This might not seem like a big deal, but let’s talk about the possible ripples of this statement. “Hear what isn’t said”, and all that.Galactic Spring Blurb 2

So what I heard that wasn’t said was this: We are moving into Galactic Spring. Many people understand that we, as a planet, move through ‘Ages.’ The most modernly notable reference is probably “The Dawning of Aquarius” song from the 70′s. We are just now moving into said age.  They also move backwards from our planetary movements. So the movement is opposite from Pisces moving to Aries to herald spring, and is instead Pisces moving into Aquarius to herald spring.  Each age lasts around 2000 years. We are moving out of Pisces, and before that we were in the Age of Aries. So: The entire 2000 years that people have been worshiping Jesus, the planet has been in the age of Pisces, hence all of the Jesus Fish! Before that we were in the age of Aries, which is why Moses is our hero, and the sacrificial lamb was important. Before that it was Taurus, and their veneration of the Golden Calf. I see a pattern.  Those 3 ages equal around 6000 years. That means that  the written history of man, which is supposedly sometime around 3000 BCE, only takes up 3 ages and those 3 ages have been comprised entirely out of Galactic Winter. Our current age of Aquarius is symbolized by two lines zigzagging in harmony. Many of us in my community believe this means Science and Metaphysics moving parallel, and working to prove each other.

This is where I started to think about spring. The nature of spring is a wonderful time of rebirth, growth, babies, and the reemergence of the sleeping creatures of the Earth. In some places the world goes so deep into sleep that nothing moves, grows, or does anything close to flourishing. Someone who was not experienced with the full gamut of seasons on Earth might be confused by their emergence.

Let’s imagine that you crash land on an alien planet. When you exit your craft, there is nothing but cold and barren wastes of snow. There isn’t anything alive anywhere. You have shown up on a planet in the heart of it’s winter, but you have no idea that it is indeed, winter. You live on said planet for a long time. You mine, you harvest soil, and you plod along finding the minimal resources that this planet seems to have to help you survive. One day you wake up, and it is different outside. Maybe its warmer, maybe it’s raining, maybe it’s any number of things to show you that something is different with the environment than the rest of the time that you have been planet side. After a day or two, you find something you have never seen before. a beautiful delicate plant that is growing with a beautiful shock of blue, purple, and orange. You almost lose yourself in the beauty and sheer mind boggling wonder of this new thing that has just appeared out of nowhere. First the environment started changing, now this flower is growing, and…wait! Was that movement?!?! Did something just move? You wait and look for whatever may have moved. Nothing has moved the entire time you’ve been here. Just as you have this thought, a flock of flying somethings fly over your head. As you look up, the thing you have been waiting to see move, scampers off away from you before you can scan for it. You had no way to conceptualize that this planet might have a hibernation season, or ANY seasons at all for that matter. You are now left with this revelation, in this place that you thought you knew so well, as it wakes up into spring.

What would that be like? An alien coming here during winter and thinking it’s a barren cold wasteland, and then one day everything melts and it becomes green, and they see a bear. I think that would be disconcerting at worst, and mind-blowingly rapturous at best. You would suddenly know that everything you could see was only a fraction of that which was. Galactic Spring Blurb 3It would be an instant acknowledgment of something bigger than the world you knew to exist.

We may get a chance to find out.

 

In Wicca we have a saying “As Above, So Below”. We know that everything that exists on a microcosmic level, also exists on a macrocosmic level as well. So anything and everything we can observe on a cellular level can be found on a terrestrial level and onwards to being found on a cosmic level in some way.

Now that you have read all of that, here is the question I pose: What is going to happen to our Galaxy now that we are entering spring? This author’s opinion is we have already started to see it. We as humans have a deep-seeded memory of a fantastic existence. Each of us have similar feelings: we should be able to fly, jump really high, be really strong, run fast, commune with animals, breathe underwater, and any number of fantastic things that we just know we should be able to do. Maybe you even fought with your parents because they told you you couldn’t fly, and to get off the roof? Maybe you jumped into a pool at a young age because you KNEW you could breathe in there, and were certain your feelings were right, and everyone telling you otherwise was wrong? It’s my opinion that we most likely have, had and will again have these abilities. Magical people have been awakening in droves, and within them magics of a very real and tangible nature have been growing like the tendrils of young plants.

The first things that come back in the spring are the early flowers and spring grasses, here on Earth. Each of these plants knows that it is time to awaken, and they get there first, paving the way for others. They don’t know why. They just feel the pull, and they push up through the harshest of the climates because they have to. This is us. This is the magical community that has been existing for the past 500 years. (growing in earnest for the last 50) We are the young shoots that are feeling the pull of the galactic spring that is upon us. The magical community gets stronger every day. We notice our magic being stronger, our numbers getting bigger. Children from all walks of life are finding the energies of the universe that we call “Gods” and are refusing to lose the spark they are given at birth, just because the hold overs from the Piscean Age say they don’t have it. That magic isn’t real.

With that being said, wouldn’t it be fantastic to find out that Earth is in the middle of a galactic dragon migration route? Or that we will discover that life does grow, like a vine, or moss, or carpet of grass, in the infinity of open space? Will we find out that our hearts long for a time of fantastic adventures, hidden cities, and great magics because in a time before the written word, we had exactly that? Will we find that our belief in great Gods and powerful forces comes from the times immortal when they are awake, and are interacting with the little blue planet that exists in their great awakened garden of the Gods? That man kind thinks it is alone in the cosmos, simply because we have been asleep so long, that we have forgotten our place in the universe?

I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Dissociation by Mary Malinski, Priestess of Demeter

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Author: Temple of Demeter
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The other evening my husband grabbed some Pom juice out of the refrigerator, and with a huge grin asked, “Care to join me in a toast to your daughter?”

I looked at him confused for a moment. We have three sons. I don’t have any daughters.

Then Demeter spoke up in my mind, directing her comment to my husband. “F@$% you. That’s not funny.”

Demeter has no sense of humor when Kore is away.

My husband laughed, and Demeter sulked.

I, on the other hand, found my own confusion most humorous.

Mysteries Within the Mysteries by Mary Malinski, Priestess of Demeter

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Author: Temple of Demeter
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This is my third year having the honor of being a Priestess of the Mysteries. Each year has brought its own challenges and blessings. Each year has helped me to grow as a priestess and as a person.

I have resonated with Demeter my whole life. She’s the Great Mother, and that archetype has been prominent for me for as long as I can remember. In the past I have always met her in her bright aspect – abundant and nurturing.

Doing this work involves meeting her dark aspects – depression, anger, rage and grief. I alternately want to be with people, to snuggle my children and be loved, or stay in bed, cry, and throw myself a pity party.

For the most part, I am able to segment my life. At work, I can be focused on the task before me, and Demeter is quiet, content to be alone with her mourning. She speaks up at odd times, often to make a point or to underscore her experience.

As I make my journey to rehearsals, though, She makes Her presence known. Her energy is strong, powerful, and it is more challenging to separate what is mine and what is Hers. She wants to be heard, and She knows the time is near. Her daughter is returning, and then She can truly come alive once again.

Working with Demeter has pushed me to a deeper understanding of Her Mysteries. I’ve attended the Mysteries for many years, and I know the myth. I’ve had some insights over the years. I thought I understood. She laughs at me now. “You will understand.”

A journey 9 years in the making by Elizabeth Davis, Priestess of Athena

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Author: Temple of Athena
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This journey began at my first SMF 9 years ago – at least I think it was nine!
I dedicated to Athena as I was beginning a journey back into the world of knowledge, because that was the aspect I knew her as the best.
Over the next many SMFs I rededicated to her most years. The times I thought I needed to dedicate to other Gods or Goddesses I was declined, most often being told their path was not the one for me. Two years ago I felt an overwhelming calling. Not one to move hastily, I meditated on the calling for the weekend, right up to the time of shrine visits.
I dedicated that evening to Athena for life, pledging to keep and follow her ways always.
I felt connected and wished I could one day find the courage to stand as the priestess of Athena in her shrine.
When the chance to be a part of SMF this year was offered to me, I jumped on it with a ‘hellz yeah!’, not knowing what I was in for.
When I learned it could be for my patron goddess I was elated, once I definitely knew I would be the priestess of Athena my heart swelled with honour.
I was certain I knew so much about her, but as I researched deeper into who and what she was I realized I had only seen the tip of the iceberg.
I knew one thing – I needed to figure out what what aspect of Athena I wanted to present. She had SO many that making a choice was causing anxiety. So I did what any good pagan would do: I meditated.
I did a series of water meditations and connected with Her.
The same word kept flashing like a neon sign, the same connection to each aspect: Civilization. She IS the Goddess of Civilization and I knew that was the aspect I was going to present. It embodies everything that she is and will connect with any and all petitioners to her shrine,
I am enjoying the journey, the knowledge, and the subtle changes her energy is infusing into my own life. I am excited, though still quite scared to be doing something so completely out of my comfort zone.
She has told me, though, this is the first step towards true courage. Hear me roar!

Book Review: A Field Guide to Otherkin

Otherkin are people who have memories of living lives as beings other than human. Being Otherkin can occur multiple ways, as discussed in the first chapter which is dedicated to their “sources” (reincarnation and walk-ins) the psychology of the phenomena, which sets up the book and gives a good working definition.

The middle chapters were the most interesting part of the book, in my opinion. These chapters contain explanations on the different types of Otherkin. Lupa–The author–includes chapters on Therianthropes which are animals that are on earth, Vampires, Elves and Fey, and Mythological Animals. There is also  a chapter on more obscure types of Otherkin; such as Angels, Demons and Kitsune. Her chapter on Therianthropy is much more fleshed out than the other “types” chapters because she herself is a wolf Therianthrope.

There is a group of Otherkin that emerged that is not in the book; God Shards. A group of which I am a part.This group includes those that connect with a specific deity in such a way that while they were not the god in a past life, a large part of their soul is made up with that God’s energy. When I saw they were missing I was a little disappointed. However in the afterward Lupa stated that we may continue to send her filled out surveys and that she isn’t opposed to writing another book.

The book was written and published in 2007 . The content of the book is based on  the 130 survey responses that she received. There is now a large congregation of Otherkin on Tumblr and I feel that if she were to rewrite the book today,  she could receive many more surveys from which to work with. She includes the raw data that she received in the appendix of the book, I just wish that she included graphs, because my brain is not very numbers oriented and I had trouble visualizing the result.

I really enjoyed this book; however, she did lose me at the last two chapters. Her voice changed and it became less interesting. I felt she became wishy-washy and it was frustrating to read. For example the section headers change from: “Definition, Identity and Belief” and “Pop Culture Lycanthropy” to “It’s okay to have your head in the clouds as long as your feet are planted firmly on the ground.” I felt her book of facts devolved into personal opinion and lost its authoritative value.

Lupa felt very strongly that this book was simply an overview and was in no way shape  or form a definitive work, and for that reason she has taken it off the market. On amazon.com the book can be purchased used and starts at $90. On amazon.uk the book used starts at £90. It’s a shame that the book is no longer on the market because I believe it could be very helpful to many ‘kin.

I give this book 4 out of 5 paws.

We were blessed to have Lupa weigh in on our interview.

Lupa’s Note: First of all, thank you for the kind review; I agree with the overall assessment, and I’m glad it’s still getting some traction even now.

It’s been almost eight years since this book was published; it’s been coming up on two years since I had it permanently taken out of print. I went into more detail as to why on my old blog at http://therioshamanism.com/2013/04/02/letting-go-of-therianthropy-for-good/, but here’s the short version:

–I haven’t identified as a therian for a long time now. It took me a while to admit that because so many people looked to me as something of a role model—or at least the person who wrote the book on Otherkin. If I was going to let people down, I wanted to do so gently. Mind you, that doesn’t invalidate other people’s sense of self; it’s just not the paradigm that fits my own relationship with Wolf any more, and hasn’t fit for years.

–The book is flawed. It has errors, the sample size is relatively tiny, it needed better editing, and there are people out there who could write a better book now. This sort of mini-community evolves quickly, and so the Field Guide has been out of date for some time. I am not the person to write a better resource; maybe someone else will step up.

–I’m tired of talking about Otherkin. For years it was all anyone ever wanted to interview me on or ask me about. I’ve long since moved on from the subject; truth be told, I was burned out before I even finished the manuscript. I’ve solo-written four books since then, and have signed a contract for a fifth. I want to talk about what I’m doing now, not the project I worked on the better part of a decade ago. I want to talk about my current work with totems and nature spirituality. I want to talk about my hide and bone artwork, and the cabinets-of-curiosity-themed arts festival I run. I want to talk about the Tarot of Bones, the natural history-themed divination set I’m designing.

If you want to see what I’m up to these days, check outhttp://www.thegreenwolf.com andhttp://www.thetarotofbones.com

Life is Like a Video Game: Civilization Medical Skill Tree Edition

Skill-Tree-civilization-1024x576

A number of you have been to my workshop “Life is Like a Video Game: Dont Forget to Level Up.” If you haven’t, do not fret. The concept is simple, and we will delve a bit into it in this article. For those that HAVE been through my workshop please take notes, or print this page out for your records.

Sid Meiers Civilization is a dynamic turn based video game where you run the world, and attempt to fashion the future by controlling the past. You are able to control so many aspects of the game: The tech that is learned, the religion that is practiced, the intrigue that occurs between states, the medicine that is practiced, the food that is eaten, and myriad other specifics.  One thing often leads to

From The Site HardCoreGamer.com

The skill tree for Sid Meier’s Civilization Beyond Earth

another as you level up, just like the real world. In video games this is often represented by a “Skill Tree,” a ladder of  abilities to be unlocked in order. You have to make a spear before you can make an arrow. You need an arrow before you make a crossbow. Crossbow before firearm, and up, and up.

So as you apply points to a field of study, you unlock different abilities. As I unlock stone masonry, I evolve from being able to build a fence, to a house, to roadways, and eventually all the way to creating fine works of art that require fine, stone sculpture, detail. Never would David have been carved if we had not refined the tools of stone masonry to a fine point. Donatello never would have existed as an artist without man first creating the stone ax.

So now that we understand that different skills are unlocked as we gain more experience in an area of study, we can talk about the skill tree I want to talk about, today: Medicine. There are many different branches to the Skill tree that is ‘Medicine’. Some nations of people have decided to put their skill points into very different studies. Let’s say you are a nation that started their journey to medicine through the Herbal Skill Tree learning the plants of the forest, and their properties, you slowly but surely put points into Herbal knowledge. You began learning that the “spirit” of the plants you were using to heal people could be isolated through heat, or combining them with other plants, and that eventually brought rise to making true Medicine. Now that that you have unlocked the skill tree for Medicine through Herbalism, your options in medicine look unique to how you got there.

I’ll explain further.  Now you are a part of a Nation that uses prayer to navigate your reality. You pray for everything, and through your prayer, and spiritual study, you begin finding correlations between people sicknesses and their experiences. You just stepped Chinese Medicineonto Medicine’s skill tree, again, only this time you got there through prayer. Now the options that are available for you down the Medicine path are much different than the ones that were down the path that arrived there through Herbalism. Where Herbalism’s path had unlockables like “Tincture,” “Salve,” and “Inoculation,” Prayers path has unlockables like “Diet,” “Massage,” “Acupuncture,” and “Therapy.”

In Western Culture we have unlocked many, many upgrades in our Medical skill tree. Western Medicine is good for many, many, things. We have learned to reset a bone. We have learned how to identify, remove, and rehabilitate cancer. We have learned about blood borne illnesses. We have regrown body parts on the backs of mice. We have taken someone’s face off, and put a new one on them. We have learned how to lengthen someones appendages. We have learned how to replace almost every part of a persons body,  and are nearing a tech level the likes that they believe they could successfully transplant a head from one body to another.

Yes, we also have medicines, and therapy, and dieting knowledge. We have very much worked at rounding out or medical knowledge, world-wide, by adopting and learning from what everyone else has learned. But there is one school of Medicine that Western Culture chose to walk, that the others did not, in their pursuit of conquering death.

“I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!”

I know. Mind Blown, but it’s true. We are currently sitting very close to the top of the Necromancy Medical Skill Tree. The Western Medical system started 500 years ago through “scientists” digging up dead bodies and doing experiments on them. Even Leonardo DaVinci  helped further the skill tree. His drawings of hands, feet, eyes, bones, and all manner of human parts were drawn off of cadavers that he himself dissected. Grave robbers were paid by clandestine scientific communities, “fallen monks,” and self Leonardo A_Dead_or_Moribund_Man_in_Bust_Lengthproclaimed geniuses to bring them the freshly dead from recent burials — some as fresh as having been buried that day. People were cut apart, labeled, placed in jars of chemicals, sewn together, pulled back apart, cataloged, and then disposed of so as to not get caught. We created Grey’s Anatomy. Only a culture that had an infallible knowledge of a cut up body could have created such a work. Only a medical community borne of these beginnings could know that there are cells in a discarded fetus that could lead to a literal panacea for disease and defects. It’s why Western Medicines main concern is “Staving off Death” and not “Curing Disease”. They were never trying to cure disease, they have forever been trying to conquer death.

Does this make Western Medicine evil? No more so than the Prayer Tree. People died, and die every day because of faith healing. Herbalism leads to the Poison Skill Tree, which is a whole different kind of nasty. No, todays lesson is about helping you learn how the world runs parallel to the way games have been set up. Or are games so well made that they mimic the way life evolves?  The answer is Yes. The world is a giant video game. Life is a giant video game. You might as well be a Player Character riding an avatar on a single quarter. Some people know this and are playing the hell out of their edition of Real Life. Some of us think there is no rhyme or reason, and we’re just spinning around in circles, wasting our bullets.

I wanted to show you that life isn’t like one video game. It’s like all of them. This version shows you how it compares to the classic Civilization games, or Diablo, or Borderlands, or any number of games that have a progressive skill tree system. But there are plenty of times that life is a Platformer, or a Role Playing Game, Racing Game, Point and Click Adventure, Dating SIM, and every other type under the sun. We made them that way because it’s how we see life.

 

When I see these things, as a child of the 80’s, 90’s, and Millennium, I can’t help but notice how much our culture mirrors the games that I grew up with. It occurs to me that the people beginning to run the world are the very people who are the first generation to grow up on video games. Like me. It might seem like something out a superhero origin story, or a Max Headroom-esque future where the lines between media and reality are blurred. but it is this very reason that we need to learn how to juxtaposition the two within us, so that this new reality can become useful, instead of a hindrance. The more we relate concepts within our mind, the more neural pathways we create in our brain, and the more readily we can break down the universe around us.

I want to help with this transition.

I want to bring light to the new age of man that we are moving into: Homo Luminous.

And so I have given you one more piece to help fill out that neural net; that the Medical Skill Tree in Western Culture is Necromantic.

Life is a Video Game. Dont forget to level up.

The ATC’s Journey to the Underworld

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They say that when we start playing with all these myths, and writing rituals, and sharing mysteries, that we often don’t know where that path will lead.  At Spring Mysteries Festival every year, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church puts on Paganism’s only annual passion play, the Eleusinian Mysteries.  If you’ve never been, Spring Mysteries Festival is the ONE pagan pilgrimage that you really owe it to yourself to find the money to attend.  If you were in Greece 3000 years ago, you would save up and make the pilgrimage to Eleusis.  If those mysteries were still going on in Greece today, we would all be saving up for a plane ticket and accommodations to experience the story of Great Mother and Holy Daughter and learn the mysteries imparted at the ancient altars of Eleusis.

Those mysteries are still going on today.  They are alive and well in Seattle, Washington.  Well, off the coast of Washington, over on the sound, but you’d fly into Seattle. The festival is held every year on Easter Weekend.  If you haven’t been, you absolutely owe it to your soul to come and experience when the Gods Walk the Earth.  My first year was one where they kept saying, “These mysteries will change you.”   I kept thinking, “Yeah, it will totally change all these other people.  Not me.  I mean, Persephone is my patron.  I teach these mysteries and perform similar rituals at my own coven.  So, I won’t be changed.  But, yeah – all these other people are in for a ride.”  Oh, the arrogance of a Leo child.  Oh, was I ever wrong.

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On Friday, at Parade to the Sea, when the Gods appeared as if from nowhere, Tears began leaking from my eyes and would not stop.  I was looking at Athena.  Not someone dressed as Athena, but ATHENA!  There was ARES!  There was HERMES!  There was the Great Mother and the Holy Daughter!  Tears stream down my face whenever I think of it.  That amazing moment touched me forever.  I cried the rest of the day.  Not sobs, just a continuous stream of tears.  I was home.

I joined the church as an affiliate leader.  I adored Pete, and talked with him often.  I worried about him being up at the Tab by himself.  Dusty encouraged me to start calling Pete every Tuesday to stave off Pete’s loneliness.  After asking him if I could help with anything every week for about 6 months, he decided to offer me the Seminary.  I was thinking more along the lines of writing an article for Panegyria.  But, we worked it out and it wasn’t soon before he presented me with the prospect of taking his place as Archpriest.  Archpriest? Or Archpriestess?  Uh…

I often think, how silly that there has been so much pain over a gender issue.  But this one thing, me being a woman and not a nan, caused a rippling impact in our church that plummeted us into our own group journey into the Underworld.  Oh, there were many other issues that rippled from this one.  So many, that we could not contain them all, or even sort them out.  Pain, hurt, anger, fear, and confusion brought gossip and tall tales which villainized our beloved leaders, or martyrd them depending on where your opinion landed.  The church that we knew, loved, and built our spiritual family in was torn in two, like the Great Mother and Holy Daughter, only in your face –  up close and personal.

The Mysteries seems so romantic when told in an afternoon, or over a period of a few days, hades_and_persephone_by_sayara_s-d4umejjwhen you can see the pattern clearly and all ends happily ever after.  But, when it’s happening to you personally, it’s dark, hard, cold, and depressing, with no end in site.  Why witches think the Underworld is a cool place to go see is beyond me, even though I too romanticize the journey.  The reality of experiencing death, whether in the loss of a person, or in the loss of anything, it hurts.  Oh yeah, it changes you, but it hurts like Hades too.

You’re this way because these are the choices you willingly made.  To change, the Goddess sometimes has to make choices for you.  Ones that you wouldn’t make.  Lessons of the Dark Goddess suck!  But, they are necessary, and they do often take you to your goals.

We ritualize and explain this over and over.  The Lessons of the Dark Mother are upon you when you’re angry at the path, when you don’t understand, when you don’t know, but have judged, when you think someone or something is WRONG.  We know it’s a time to reflect and look within.  It’s a time to consider other choices.  It’s a time to change within.  It’s not a time to attack others, but more often than not, in our pain, that’s what we do.  That’s what Demeter did.  She couldn’t help it.  She blighted the earth.  Maybe because she was mad.  But, probably because she was in so much pain she couldn’t help it.  It takes happiness and love to make something fertile.  It takes happiness and love to go to work everyday, to feed your family, to nurture your children.  It takes happiness and love to keep getting up every morning and doing what you have to do.

We were all real complacent with the ATC and what it was doing.  Things seemed Utopian from the outside, like Camelot, or maybe Avalon.  When it came to our realization that Pete and Debbie were not going to go on forever, and change was upon us, it plunged all of us into Demeter’s state of losing our own personal Holy Daughter, the church we all loved, nurtured, and put a ton of our sacred energy into.

How has it changed us?  How will we come through this?  The fear, the anger, the pain –  it has touched us all.  All of us have sacrificed.  All of us have lost something important to us.  None of us got what we wanted – not Pete, not Debbie, not me, not you.  But now that we have Blue Persephonerecognized that we are walking the Eleusinian Mysteries as a church, what do we do with that?

Release judgement, for one thing.  Release the fear.  Forgive everyone that hurt you.  Forgive yourself for being hurt.  Forgive the path for being hard.  Forgive the Goddess for giving us what we need to grow and transform.  Forgive the church for being part of the cycle that it has taught to the world for 30 years.

Remember this story ends in love, and get back to it.

How do you do that?  Well, you say it, you write it, you declare it to others.  Then you fill that void with gratitude.  You look at what good has come of it.  You look at what you learned.  You remember the good times, and those you loved, and you reconnect with them.  You vow to continue to be ever loving, ever growing, ever changing, ever lasting.

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