ADF has confirmed that Isaac Bonewits has passed this morning. I didn’t know him well, but I did know him a little. I attended his lectures, etc. Years ago, when I was a much more nubile young pagan, my grove decided it would be fun to have him sign bits of us like a rock star at a pagan picnic. He signed my side. I think that picture will be resurfacing shortly, at my grove’s Lammas if nothing else.
I have been away a lot in the last couple weeks, I need to catch up on the blogosphere. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stressful life stuff, I will likely blog about the magic aspects of it here in a separate post.
I’m leading Lammas for GoG which is part of ADF. In January, the idea was to do something fun, a carnival theme, it was before things started going awry. When speaking about it again a month or two ago, the senior druid (SD) and I started talking about the theme being A Carnival of Sacrifice with the tagline being, Sacrifice, hooray! As it got closer and Isaac got worse and the general weather in many of the grove’s heads got cloudier, we quietly packed up the carnival idea.
I started getting instruction from a deity I didn’t recognize. Usually deities show themselves in a dream or I get enough cues that I could put it together. He (I was at the time pretty sure he was a he) had specific requests: lots of bread, cheese, branston pickle, and sacrifice. I was like, um, that’s not a ritual per se with a v. small hot kitchen. ::radio silence:: Hoooooooookay.
I started researching sacrifice from an ADF standpoint and while it was informative from a historical standpoint and why we’re not supposed to do public blood sacrifice/juggle hedgehogs, it wasn’t helping me until I got to the wicker man part.
I started thinking how lots about how festivals do huge wicker men (like Burning Man) and I started thinking about how we could maybe do tiny handsized wicker poppets symbolizing the sacrifices we each made through the year and then ask for something back from our gods.
I wasn’t sure if my SD would go for it. I insisted on Jamaican food for our pre-planning meeting because I felt we needed to eat at a place that serves goat for this rit. We talked, we figured out that the god in my head was Cernunnos which she found pretty funny on a lot of levels:
1. My Wiccan experience is strictly *not* dickly – Dianic. So we really always glossed over the whole Great God aspect as in, we ignored Him. So I’ve always expressed curiosity about the whole Great Rite/Stick in Cup/Co-ed Circle thing, but have never managed to make it one. My Dianic circle’s crone and my SD think it’s funny that it’s honestly a product of being third wave/never having to fight The Man in a Wiccan context that I only have the vaguest idea about all of that, so it makes me a pretty blank slate when it comes to Cernunnos.
2. I’m vague at best when it comes to Celtic stuff. I can’t keep who’s who straight in my head, how to say the names, what story is what. The only thing that has stuck at all is The Morrigan and it’s still a pretty foreign concept, this idea that Cernunnos and The Morrigan isn’t (1) deity per se, it’s more like a job title and it’s a bunch of horned deities and battle chicks who work for Cernunnos, Inc. and The Morrigan-Co.
But, I got a similar signal as Buffy did in the original movie, when Cernunnos’ name came up as a possible deity to work with, everything inside me heaved. I don’t typically feel a damn thing or see anything magically, it’s not where I excel. I wanted to be more visceral in my magical pursuits, I guess He figured it doesn’t get more visceral than that. I felt the light bulb click on as I felt the oxtail move in my stomach, so victory I guess. We decided on the likely course of action for the rit would be to make a traditional bread man with a hole inside him for all of us to put joss paper in for the holiday/sacrifice/asking something of the gods/etc and then burning the breadman vessel. It will be much less time intensive than making a bunch of small wicker people and safer for the fire.
I found it interesting that the SD shied away from the idea of sacrifice some, probably due to a lot of unpleasant mandatory connotations in a bunch of religious context. I don’t want to make anyone do anything they don’t want to and I am a *huge* fan of the “pass” option in a religious context but I also don’t want to water down what the intent here is. I’m not going to make anyone do anything, at the same time “sacrifice” is a very large concept. You sacrifice just to show up, you know? I’m not going to make this a druidic holy roller drag of a rit but sacrifice *is* part of the ADF rit and we’ve been downplaying it in my grove for a long time. It will be interesting and there will be a group planning meeting for the rit this Sunday, so that will help get a stronger grasp on everything and where the larger group’s collective head is. If you don’t care enough to show up for the planning meeting then don’t bitch about the rit is our grove’s unofficial motto.
On a more personal level, there’s been a lot of stuff going on in my personal life that has brought up a lot of personal baggage for me, mostly stuff to do with being comfortable in the body I’m in. Since the divorce, my self confidence and my self image have plummeted a lot and I haven’t fully recovered.
I didn’t really need to get into a whole post-divorce slutting around phase, it wasn’t anything particularly new or interesting to me. So I didn’t get a lot of sudden stranger validation like a lot of new divorcees get (Jow said my reaction was to hiss and basically be like, YOU’RE ONLY INTERESTED BECAUSE YOU THINK I’M VURNERABLE AND LIABLE TO MAKE BAD CHOICES RIGHT NOW BY SLEEPING WITH YOU! BACK OFF!),
Also, I’m trying to get rid of my post-divorce baggage hardcore. Because, I still have a version of myself that’s keeping me down – The Bad Wife Who Did Everything Wrong and Drove My Wasband to Madness and Divorce. And fuck a whole lot of that. I took responsibility for the things I did wrong in the marriage and how to become a better person, as the always lovely Sars said, just because someone hands you a bag of rocks doesn’t mean you have to carry it. And I’ve been carrying that bag of rocks for almost two years now. I’m going to make a small wickergirl dressed as The Bad Wife Who Did Everything Wrong and Drove My Wasband to Madness and Divorce. Then I am going to mother. fucking. burn her in my cauldron and keep moving. I’m too fabulous for this shit.