Kissing the Scars

scarificazione-donne-africane

Last week I was watching the first episode of the 3rd series of Vikings.

You should know that my favorite character is Athelstan, a former monk captured in the first raid by the Vikings in England and brought with them to Scandinavia where gradually becomes friend of the protagonist. In the second season, in one of the raids, he decides to stay in England with king Echbert of Wessex, of which he became a counselor, but is captured and tortured by some fanatics to have lived (and participated in ceremonies honoring the Norse Gods) with the Vikings. Obviously he was saved,  but the wounds of torture remain visible.

During the episode that I saw on Friday, the Princess of Wessex at some point approached Athelstan and asked to see the scars. He just wants to hide, but undeterred she takes his hand and kisses the scar. I do not know what was the intent of the creators of the series for this gesture, but for me it was one of the most sacred.

I saw it as a gesture of honor to the wounds of this tormented man who still cannot find his Way. I wondered what scars I’m still hiding and that I have not honored at my best, for what they taught me.

Everyone has their own story, more or less beautiful, and we all have our Wounds.

In a journey of personal growth, as the Avalon Path is, but also in many others, there is a lot of attention at work with our Shadow and with our wounds. The dark side of the Year, especially from Samhain to Imbolc is focused on the inner work and the discovery of what we have become. Over the last 5 years I was able to pull off events and experiences that I had, in my mind, submerged, or I had decided not to remember for all the pain and the shame that they brought. Then, by working with my teachers, gradually I noticed that the scars become less “important”, do not disappear of course, but they become thinner, they take on a different connotation. Of some of these scars, now, I am proud, because I managed to survive and become the woman I am today, thanks to them.

And hence my thinking on the need to pay tribute to our scars. How can we be proud if many of them remind us only about pain and negative feelings? How to honor the transition to the recognition of the importance that these scars have in our LifeStory?

For what is my experience, the way that allowed me to watch my scars and begin to appreciate them, was a path of acceptance of my physical body. It’s not as I do not want to change part of myself, I think is intrinsic in everyone’s nature, but being able to see what I have, and not what I was missing was a surprise.

A very simple, yet very effective, practice is to take “quality” time before the mirror and say out loud all your physical qualities. Stand in front of the mirror is not always easy, least of all look for  something beautiful in a “sea of ​​defects”.

Nude before the Mirror, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Nude before the Mirror, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

 

 

Try, prepare a moment just for yourself. Create a comfortable environment, you can  begin the first times by candlelight if you want (everything is more beautiful in candlelight ….: D), burn some incense, put on your favorite music and look at your reflection with love, see the Goddess / God within you, repeating aloud,

“You are beautiful, you’re amazing, you are the Goddess / God.”

 

 

 

I can assure you that the first time maybe you feel a little stupid, but then, when the eyes learn actually how to look, the miracle is accomplished.

 

A toast !!!

To the Wounds, to those who have healed and those to come!

The Priestess’ Pouch

Donna che indossa la sua Scarsella  --- rievocazione medievale - www.scaligeri.com---
Woman wearing her Pouch –  medieval reenacment – http://www.scaligeri.com

What is a Pouch?

In the medieval clothing a pouch was a small belt pourse, usually made of leather,  decorated or not, that women and men wore to carry their money or their dearest possessions and precious. In Italian the word for Pouch is Scarsella, and here in Veneto the word Scarsela (pron. Scarsèa) still means pocket.

A few hours ago, answering a question from Elena, I had a vision of the image of the Priestess’s Pouch, her bag where she keeps everything she needs, whether physical tools or skills and knowledge, or personal stuff, or essential parts of herself that are “useful to the purpose”.

I wondered, then, what I would put in mine.

The most important things within my Pouch are the things I learned about myself and what I know about the Goddess that I share with all those who celebrate Her with me.

In the last years of study and practice in my personal path with the Goddess of Avalon I found to be a listener, I love being in Nature when there is silence, listening to the whisper of the World. I found out to be a good ceremonialist and I really like to create sacred spaces in which I and others can experience the Divine in us and around us. I learned that I have  artistic abilities, despite having always believed the opposite (in developing certain, but the practice refines the art, right?). I know my voice is a gift, for me and for others, and I’m learning to listen to the Goddess in everything I do and how to be Her Voice during ceremonies. I’m not so good at academic study, but I love to listen to stories about the Gods that the people who are close to me tell me, as much as I love the life-stories of those who share the road with me even for a small piece. I learned to honor those who take the burden of being a guide for others, without putting them on a pedestal of perfection and infallibility, and I also put myself in this role. In my Pouch I also put my being a control freak and a bossy person when it comes to things that are important to me, my love for punctuality and the keeping of the given word. And obviously my love for the Goddess in every shape and my desire that every woman can stand up one day and actually see Her inside herself.

Some of you will have to comment that this is enough, that the physical tools are not always used, and that the only thing necessary is us and our connection with the Gods, something which I fully agree. But what about the power of the symbolism when we physically make sacred gestures?

I start from the material things, the tools of “work” of a Priestess. In my Pouch is never missed:

my beloved terracotta Goddess gift of my sisters from Avalon
a biodegradable bag offers (flowers, seeds, dried fruit or fruit) for the spirits and guardian animals  of the place
a feather (or a feather fan)
a bowl for water
a crystal
a candle previously lit with the Flame of Avalon and candle holders (the power of the flame remains in the wick burned when is turned off)
a lighter
incense (loose or stick, depends on occasions)
a container for the incense (possibly sand and charcoal)
a bowl for Earth
salt

but the thing I learned better is that the first thing I have to take care is myself, so there will always be:

a pack of handkerchiefs
a towel to sit on the ground
equipment from rain (especially ponchos and overpants)
my mythical walking stick (which now has thousands of kilometers, including those on the plane)
an emergency pad (you know, the Goddess helps cleanse you when you least expect it sometimes)
a bottle of water
cookies (better yet a Mars bar, but do not tell my health care …: P)
safety pins
dry socks and a small towel

but how big is this Pouch, you would ask, well the dimensions vary from a jewelry sachet to a big 20kg suitcase, it all depends on where I should go. What I have listed is just what it’s never missing around me, whether I’m at home or elsewhere.

and you?

What you put in your Pouch?

Q&A: Being a everyday life Priestess

Today I want to answer a question that Elena made me on FB,

“I was very curious on another aspect of life of a priestess: what is usually does not tell around: we friendly call it “scraping the wax from the altar cloths”, but what does priestessing and still continue to live life everyday, with work, the bills, the mortgage, laziness, family etc., mean? … ”

Being a priestess is an integral part of my life, not something detached from the daily work in the hospital, or from commitments with my family or my friends. Being a priestess is included in my every gesture, I try to do the best of my ability, often giving me a chance to fail, not to do things “right”.
In what I do well I have a huge ego, and I feel strong being the right person for that role, when I face things that do not know, the situation is quite different. Temperamentally I would be like, “let others do”, but one of the things I’ve learned in the last few years (and on which I am still working a lot) is the ability to ask for help from those who know more than me, without feeling belittled or ignorant. Stubborn and proud, for a person like me, is not always easy to admit you have a problem, but I have found that people who Goddess puts in our way are exactly those that “serve” you at that precise moment. Women and Men who have met in recent years have been ALL important for my personal growth, even those who have made me suffer.

Priestess is “you are”, not “you do” and that’s why the things of everyday life intersect and combine to afford following this Soul Path. An example that I always bring to people who ask me, as Elena, how did I do it all, is this: I have never been a good administrator of my personal money and, as my friends know, I’m often moneyless or almost, but one thing is certain, if a path is the path of your Soul, resources to follow it arrive, in one way or another.

and from here I answer the second part of the question,

“… Specifically, I wondered what it’s like three times a year (during Spirals training in Glastonbury) to drop everything, take the plane and leave, hours by plane, bus, nights sleeping in the airport, etc. with any weather or any problem you have at home. ”

For me, this wanted and still want to say going back to be real with myself, go back to the house of my Soul, is to be present and involved in something that is only mine, my personal relationship with the Goddess, in this case with the Lady of Avalon.

All the “troubles” of the long journey, it’s just one of many challenges that She presents you with to see if you ARE there or if you are pretending…

ahahahah No, I’m kidding …

It’s part of the journey itself. It’s the time that I have used each time to break away from the worries of the “Muggle” world and concentrate again on my own, and in the return to rework what I had learned before returning, changed. It’s certainly difficult, sometimes even tiring, to start months before worrying to organize the trip, and the flight and accommodation and what I eat and how I do with the money (which I don’t have), and I did not do well the assignements (because if you do the Training of the first two years by correspondence is not easy at all, but I’ll write about this another time).  All those small / large resistances it was my lazy and fearful self, that put them in front of me every time, but every time I left I felt light, at the right place, with the right resources in my Priestess’ Pouch, not more and not less of those I needed at that time.

Small personal note: if you are going to follow the training in Glastonbury sooner or later, I advise you to put in your Priestess’ Pouch, a very good rain gear because, like good BP he always said, “There is no good or bad wheater, but only good or bad equipment.”. And this old adage I had proof while we walked our sacred pilgrimages around the isle of Avalon.

I hope I’ve answered you dear Elena … ❤

P.S. for the uninitiated B.P. is the affectionate diminutive that every Scout gives to Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell, founder of the Movement.

The Quickening. IMBOLC, Festival of the Maiden Goddess.

bucaneve

Blessed Brigit at your Sacred Forge
Take me, gently
Shape me, at your anvil
Beating me, to bring up my strenght
Warm me, to be able to change
Blessing me with your Sacred Flame,
let me be your light in the world.

Anna, Imbolc 2015

Imbolc, which comes around February 1st/2nd, is the festival of the Maiden Goddess. This is the time of the Quickening, when Maiden Nolava retrieves the White Rod from the Cailleach, who has held it through the long winter, readying it for transformation into the Green Rod of springtime. At Imbolc we honour Thitis the Maiden Morgen who envisions the future.
In Brigits Isles the Maiden Goddess is best known as the much loved Bride, Brighde, Bridie, Breeje and Brigit, Goddess of Fire, Poetry, Healing and Smithcraft, Goddess of the Sun and Moon, known as ancient Goddess and Saint Bride of the Kindly Fire, St. Bride of the Shores, and Mary of the Gael, Fiona Macleod, the gifted mystical voice of writer William Sharp, wrote of Her,

Bride the Beautiful, the Fair Woman of February, Daughter of Morning, who held sunrise in one hand as a little yellow flame and in the other the red flower of fire without which men would be as beasts who live in caves. She (is) that ancient Goddess whom our ancestors saw lighting the torches of sunrise on the brows of our thrusting the quenchless flame above the horizons of the Sea.” (Collected Works, Heinemann)

Bride is the quickener, the touch of Her fiery rod quickens the life that is lying dormant in the seeds in the cold earth, heralding the return of springtime. She is the Incarnator who calls us into life.

Through January the sunlight slowly increases each day, as the earth continues on its journey around the sun. Small delicate flowers begin to appear, pushing their way seemingly against all odds, up through the cold hard earth. The first snowdrops signal Brides return. In the fields the ewes give birth to lambs and their milk begins to flow. Imbolc or Oimelc means ewes milk, Birds search for food as the last of the winter berries are eaten and nothing grows. It can still bevery cold with frost and snowfalling here In the Summerland. As the light slowly increases our attention begins to move slowly outwards. There is hope once again, the possibility of renewed life.

We celebrate Maiden Bride as the Incarnator and Quickener, Inspiration, Healer and Mystress of the Forge. We make Bridie Dolls in Her Image, and Bridie Crosses and Eyes. We pour libations of milk onto Her Images and upon Her sacred earth. We make and share barley cakes. We write poetry and remake language in Her honour.

Nolava the Maiden

Nolava the Maiden is the Innocence of the child, who welcomes incarnation on this beautiful planet, who is unafraid of the future, who is excited to be alive. She gives and receives love from all those around her. She needs to be honoured, nurtured and cared for, by all who seek Her inspiring touch. In Glastonbury’s sacred landscape Nolava the Maiden is visible in Her epiphany of the Swan, which appears in the contours of the land as a giant bird with long neck and wings outspread, flying over the Summerland from the northeast to the southwest. This giant swan shape can be seen clearly in the shape of the land on contour maps, from the sky above and when we stand on top of the Tor.

Nolava is the Swan Maiden, the young woman of folklore who is both swan and maiden. She is the beautiful royal bird who nests in the rhynes and rivers that surround the Isle of Avalon. Just as in the fairytales She carries new babies suspended from Herbeak, into incarnation. As we vision ourselves lying upon Her swans back She transports us between the middle and upper worlds, into familiar realms where the Goddess dwells. She transports us across the watersto Avalon. On special occasions She removes Her feather cloak to reveal beneath Her beautiful violet etheric form.

To the southwest of Nolava’s main Swan-shaped island is the small mound known as Brides Mound, made in the image of Nolava’s daughter Bride. It is here that St Bridget, the Christianised form of the earlier Goddess Brigit, is said to have lived for a time in the fifth century.

Nolava the Maiden is new reborn from the old. She is all that is rebirthed after the dead days of winter and discarnation. She is the returning Light after Darkness, Her days slowly lengthening, allowing new plants to grow in the still cold earth. She is new incarnation, new manifestation in form, out of spirit. She is the new brought to birth many times here in Avalon, and expressed in the outerworld of Glastonbury and beyond, New ideas, new concepts, new ways of thinking are birthed in this sacred place,which then move out into the world. This is where new ideas are dreamed and nurtured, ideas of our common spirituality expressed in many different forms, living in harmony and peace together, which have become manifest here. An example of this is the creation of the first new publicindigenous Goddess Temple in Brigits Isles for perhaps 1500 years and more, brought to birth in Glastonbury in 2000CE.

(taken from Kathy Jones’ book Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess, Ariadne Publications)

Imbolc 2015 -The Time of Innocence

innocenza

In the Time of Imbolc, in the Avalonian Path we celebrate Nolava as Maiden. And consequently, we search for our inner Maiden, one who seeks the wisdom and is free to explore the world around in her complete innocence.

During a workshop with Katinka, last weekend it’s been asked what it means innocence to each one of us.

I went to see what it said my beloved Treccani Dictionary (that my mom taught me to be a good source of information) and the definition I found was

s innocence. f. [From lat. innocentia, der. innocens -entis of “innocent”]. –

1.

a. Absolute lack of guilt or responsibility, moral or legal, in an individual, for the conscious will of righteousness and respect for justice and moral norms: the peace of mind that only the. can give. In Catholic theology, the state of the soul free from sin: i. original, the one person who has been created, or was born without sin (Adam and Eve, the Virgin, Christ as man); i. baptismal, that acquired for the sacramental action of baptism.

b. Lack of guilt or responsibility in respect of a specific crime or debit: the testimonies confirmed the i. of the accused; say, protest, shout, to prove their innocence.

2.

a. Ignorance of evil, and therefore inability to understand it and to perpetrate, mostly his own age child: you must not disturb the. children; retained into adulthood the i. youth; with eyes, with an expression of i., of candor. Sometimes with a sense concr., To indicate the person or persons mood innocent protect the i .; having regard to the i .; not scandalized the i .; or the state itself of innocence: it was the. personified; seems the i. same, even iron., the person who flaunts ingenuity, simplicity; frequent expressions exclamatory blessed i.!, the holy. !, About children who innocently repeated words and phrases unsuitable for their age, or, ironicam., Of adults that show or pretend naive that now should have lost.

b. Lack of malice, of any ulterior or interest I had asked the question with all i .; and referred to the very words, deeds, behavior: I do not think the i. of its proposal.

This definition has made me reflect on how extensive is the concept of innocence and how many things of our common life may have innocent aspects.

The innocence for me it is something related to freedom of expression for what I am, without fear of being judged by others. When we can be ourselves in the company of other people, we can give space to our desire to learn and to share what we know already. The fact that we adapt to the schemes of the society, in my opinion, makes this ability to express ourselves and trap it in situations often unwanted.

I’ve always been a very “physical”, I love to hug and touch people (not for nothing I’m a physiotherapist) and often my search for contact, is only another way to interact with others, without the need of words. Sometimes it happened to me that people are upset by my touch because this was interpreted as an “avance” or a “improper” contact, but often it was only dictated by pure will to know “my way” the others.

In recent years I realized how we lost the ability to read innocence in physical contact between two people, as forcedly we think there is a second meaning. This whole day was declared the day against violence against women (but I prefer to call it gender violence, because even if it is less knowns Men also suffer violence) by the movement One Billion Rising. How much of this violence unfortunately depart from innocent gestures?

Time ago I was listening, terrified, to the story of a friend who described me of when she was raped by a colleague. More and more I listened to my heart froze feeling of how it was misunderstood in her behavior and “betrayed” by people who had said they would take care of her.

How can we say to our younger sisters, but also not so young, who must always try to be authentic and express themselves freely, if there are countless examples of how a free woman is still seen as someone to subjugate and humiliate not accepting a NO as response?

I would like to find a way to reclaim the innocence of gestures and touch between two people, that at least until proven otherwise, do not have to have ulterior motives that the pleasure of touching itself. Will I make it?

Priestessing around….

A few pics over the last years of my path as Priestess… all of them belongs to the owner, thank you all!