Undiluted Type

Priestess. Writer. Geek.

SATURDAY CONTINUED….

Second Stop: Brigid Inspiration & Healing Ritual

The 11AM time slot was a toughie. I had the choice of attending the Brigid ritual being conducted by Selena Fox OR the Battle Goddess workshop by T.Thorn Coyle and Robert Russell. Considering what I had recently undergone at the beginning of the year, I made the wise choice of Brigid. She is what I needed most at that time.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to travel far for my second ritual as it was in the same room as the Haitian Vodou ceremony. I also say “fortunate” because over 300 people attended this workshop. We were packed chair to chair, shoulder to shoulder. I had heard of Selena Fox, but unlike the majority of the people there, I was too unfamiliar with her to be a fan. That changed after the ritual.

Selena Fox is, to put it simply, an amazing conductor. Within the space of two hours she conducted the energy and the magick into quite the orchestra of power. She kept it at a steady pace as we went from one working into another (we did three total!) and it never lulled, nor did it peak so prematurely that we burned out. When all was said and done, I was a bit tired but I didn’t feel like a trampled upon washrag.

One of the first things we did was ask Brigid to INSPIRE us. Being a Renaissance Woman, I asked the goddess Brigid for inspiration and clarification on my creative path. There are so many subjects and avenues I’m attracted to. What should I be focusing on out of the plethora of shinies?

Then I saw Her. She erupted into light. Flames rising from Her hair. She was sitting at an old writing desk with a swan quill in hand. And She was writing. Looking over at me, She smiled and said………something very personal that will not be shared on this blog. Trust me when I say it is what I needed to hear.

Next we all focused on Brigid for HEALING. Oh gods, yes. Healing. The energy circled the room not like a wave, more like a gentle ripple. A gentle ripple powerful enough to make standing on my feet difficult. With each rotation my body wobbled when the ripple passed. My palms were up and I was chanting the simple chant Selen Fox taught us. While I was asking Brigid for healing, I received another Sight. For the record, when I get these Sights it’s not tangible, like I can see them through my physical four eyes. They are more like polaroid snap shots. In a flash I see them and in a flash they are gone, their picture burned like an afterthought into my inner eyes. It’s like looking into the sun, then away, then seeing the afterimage outline of the sun burned into your retina before it fades. Yeah, like that just without the threat of blindness. This time around it was a visual of an anvil in a forge. There were embers and a hammer with sparks flying every time it struck against the anvil. I saw this in my Heart. I laughed.

“She can be rebuilt,” I chuckled to myself.

The third and final working was for a prominent person in the community who was undergoing some serious health issues. As a promise to Selena Fox, I will not name names. In the end we raised healing energy for this person and sent it their way. We thanked Brigid, grabbed our items off the altar (I placed my tarot deck there for extra inspiration), and closed circle.

I was fortunate enough to bump into Selena Fox that evening near the hospitality suites, so I took the opportunity to convey how impressed I was with all the workings and her technique. She was a delight. A cheery spirit with genuine humility as she thanked and hugged me.

Third Stop: Pagan & Hindu Ritual

There was one ritual I had been eagerly anticipating for months. When I received my early program of events, I literally W00t’d when I read there would be a Kali Puja Sunday evening. And not just any Kali Puja, but a Kali Puja presented by the San Fransisco based “SHARANYA: Daughters of Kali”. I had donated to their puja once before and in return I received a lovely thank-you card and a rose from the puja. So fathom my inner priestess geek jumping up and down like a spaz at the mere idea I would get to attend one of these amazing pujas in person.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Upon arrival Friday night, I scanned through the progam to find out the Puja had been removed. My heart plummeted and my inner woe said, “Figures. The ONE thing I looked forward to and it got cancelled.” But there was nothing I could do about it, so I stopped woe-ing and decided to just deal with it. There would be other times.

The other time was the 1:30PM Pagan & Hindu Ritual being co-presented by various pagan traditions and the Hindu American Foundation. If I was to satisfy my puja withdrawal, this was my option. They did not disappoint.

Pagans honored the elements and cast the circle thrice about. A Hindu woman sang the prayer to the Great Mother Durga. Hindu priests began chanting / singing one of the many songs of a puja while incense was burnt. A musician then played a sitar and motioned us to chant along with him.

Om shanti, om shanti, om shanti om.
Om shanti, om shanti, om shanti om.
Om shanti, om shanti, om shanti om.
Om shanti, om shanti, om shanti om.
Devi shanti, Durga shanti, Kali shanti om.
Devi shanti, Durga shanti, Kali shanti om.

Even three months later I remember that mantra and it’s tune. We sang it for a good twenty to thirty minutes. I played with it each time I sang it, trying out different ways of pronunciation; different ways to lilt on certain syllables. I loved rolling my R’s when I sang “Durga”. It reminded me of the Tiger She rides.

Towards the end of the chanting segment, all four pagan women who represented each element, stood in the center with baskets filled with tiny scrolls. One by one, as we continued the mantra, we each took a scroll. Mine currently resides in my shrine offering bowl.

Before we closed circle, we were given a spectacular treat. A group of young women, ranging in age around 14-17, were introduced. They were Hindu dancers in full regalia. And when they danced, you could honestly hear the gods stomping with them. The energy was passive, yet potent. Bells around their ankles rang in jubilation. Their fingers purposefully arched into sacred gestures as they told a story. Power resided in their faces as they expressed emotion from sorrow to joy to betrayal. I was witnessing India’s ancient history and I was moved to tears.

The pagans dismissed the Great Mother, the Hindus thanked Durga. The elements walked widdershins and the ritual was closed. I immediately got to my feet and told the young women how awesome I thought they were. “Seriously. The thought, intent, skill, and heart you put into the performance was a pure treasure. THANK YOU.” Brown eyes blinked at me and glowing smiles erupted. They bowed their heads, a slight nod, in a respectful gesture and thanked me for thanking them. They said it was an honor to be there and appreciated the fact I loved their dancing.

My feet glided across the room, back to my chair where my stuff was patiently waiting for me. Upon grabbing my bag, the woman who sat next me said, “Thank you so much.”

Confused Ember was confused. “For what?”

“Your singing. I listened to you and it helped guide me into a wonderful meditation.”

“You are most welcome.”

Last Stop: Hymns to Helios – A Theurgic Rite of Sacrifice

This ceremony was being presented by OSOGD (aka The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn). Now my inner geek thought, “A tradition can be open source? Like software?” Ironically, yes.

Per Wikipedia.com: The OSOGD was founded by Sam Webster in 2002 and based on the principles of open-source software movement.[1] The organization grew out of a series of workshops on ceremonial magic held by Webster in 2001.[2]

Now I’m not much for ceremonial magick. I do believe it has its place, but it is too rigid and a bit too vulcan for my personal tastes. But this was a weekend about expanding my horizons, stepping outside my comfort zone, thinking outside of the box, and any other silly verbiage you wish to toss in. I’ve had a fondness for Helios since way back when and I was curious how a ceremony of His would be presented. All I ever hear or see are ones for Apollo, never Helios.

It was a very theatrical performance. Theatrical without becoming overdramatic. Copious amounts of thought was put into the costumes, the liturgy, the offerings, and the set. This was not half-assed. These folks were serious. And they were on time (a treat for those of us who do NOT believe in Pagan Standard Time). Everyone was given the option to pick their part. I picked on giving offerings. Out of the many to select, I chose a jar of corn meal. Before the ceremony began, one of the initiates asked if I wouldn’t mind taking the other two jars of corn meal as no one wanted them. I wouldn’t mind one bit. So when it was my turn to walk up the aisle, bow before the altar of Helios, and present the three jars of corn meal, I held them with the well-worn practice of a waitress (three jars! one hand!). Then one by one, I gently placed them lovingly for Helios and returned to my seat.

The ceremony was short but not boring.

With four rituals under my belt, I felt the need to take a break and get some much needed din-din.

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