Happy blogoversary to me! My first post on this blog was October 1 2006. Here I am a year later, still at it.
September was an odd month for me due to family issues. Instead of celebrating Alban Elued with my grove, I was up in New England visiting with family. We (myself, Mr. Nettle, mom and stepdad) all went for a hike to a lonely and very windy mountaintop on that day. It was a beautiful hike, the weather was perfect, and the views were spectacular (click the thumbnail for a sample)
I went off on my own after we reached the summit to do my own little Alban Elued thing, but after I rejoined the group my stepfather managed to surprise me by bringing out some homemade hard cider with which to toast the Equinox. He had his own little ritual prepared, which we all took part in. It was a very pleasant surprise, and I’m glad he did it.
I got to do lots of nice September things, like looking at foliage and picking apples, that I don’t get to do here in Philadelphia. It made me even more homesick than usual.
I’m also working with the Station of Descent with the SoA, which involves hauling hidden issues out to have a good look at them. I’m not going to say more about that here, but I have to acknowledge it because it’s becoming an increasingly important part of my spiritual life and it feels odd not to mention it. One of these days I’m going to have to change that blog header. As part of that, I’m learning to work with watercolor (it’s handy having a partner with an art school education) and I’m also making an Apple Branch (silver branch, bell branch, whatever you like to call it.) I will no doubt post pictures of the apple branch when done – but not the watercolor; that’s going to be burned at Calan Gaeaf.
I read a biography of Dion Fortune this month, called “The Magical Life of Dion Fortune: Priestess of the 20th Century,” because I realized that while I have been heavily influenced by her, I didn’t know a whole lot about her life. It was a fun read, if a little too fulsome in praise of its subject. I get a sort of hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck feeling when i read about the occult scene in the 20’s and 30’s, an eerie familiarity that leaves me feeling certain that I was there. I first read “The Mystical Qabalah” when I was 12 or so, and I had the feeling of that I was simply being reminded of something I already knew. The biography was enlightening.
I also read Jean Markale’s “Women of the Celts” last month. I may comment more on it later. Of course, I did the usual daily meditation practice – though I am finding that Avalon is more and more influential on my daily practice. Fortunately it’s entirely compatible with the AODA work. I’m working on coming up with an Avalonian version of the SoP to get the two integrated. I’ve found that too much integration simply doesn’t work – I can’t just stick Avalonian and AODA ritual forms together and get somewhere useful. I think with a little more thought and preparation, I can come up with something that works for me.
I didn’t do much work on music or Ogham studies – I was really preoccupied with the family thing and gave myself a pass, though as I write this it occurs to me that times like this are precisely when something like Ogham is needed, so no pass this month – it’s too important. I did do plenty of knitting, though. I finally figured out knitting on multiple needles, and made a mitten and a sock. One of each. The problem with mittens and socks is that you have to make two of them – I didn’t feel either of these came out well enough to bother finishing the set, but both were good practice. I also made a blue and purple shawl, which I gave away to a friend, and a Yule gift for someone else.
I’ve now been with the AODA for a year. I did my first AODA-style ceremony last Alban Elued, and took my Candidate initiation last October. I am happy to say that a year in, it is still a terrific group and a personally satisfying path. I have gone in some unexpected directions in this past year. I have gotten much more public this past year about my path – in part, I think, because I’ve finally managed to stick a label on it. I notice that I get much more traffic in a blog post with tags than one without – people love labels, and with good reason. They’re helpful. I have this public blog, and while I don’t use my legal name and try to keep things sort of anonymous, anyone who knows me would know who I am by reading this. I was part of the Philadelphia Pagan Pride day ritual, which took place a few blocks from my house, so that’s pretty public. I’m part of a grove that does public ceremonies. Heck, I did ritual with my parents last week. I am so much more “out” than I was a year ago, and that was not the result of a conscious decision – it just kind of flowed from where I already was.