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.

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!

What does mean for me to be a Priestess of Avalon

Priestess of Avalon has always been a title that,since I heard it for the first time 16 years ago, has awakened something in my memory a part of me that was dormant in this life. Priestess of Avalon, now, when I say it, is an integral part of my life.

As I wrote many many times during this three years, all is stared in 1996 when a friend of mine from girl guides told me about the Mists of Avalon novel. She said that it was a wonderful fantasy book, but to me it has been the trigger point that unveiled the Sacred Island. I started my quest on finding books and notions on Druids and Priestesses and, finally, in 1999 I found something published in italian about witchcraft. I started my studies and practices, and ceremonies, and I came back to Catholic church in 2001 to decide, after two years of living Catholicism knowing something about the symbology and better understanding the rituals,to come back to the pagan path, that that was my way to meet the Divine. In 2005, for my 25th birthday, one year after my first dedication to the Goddess in a Wiccan way, I discovered Glastonbury is actually a place on this planet, and I decided to visit, to walk on Tor on that exact day. That was the first time I travelled alone. I resist only 3 hour in Glastonbury; after that I had to run away from the power of that place. It was to strong for me. But….. after that I had to come back at least once a year…. and then I discovered the Goddess Temple…. and the training (but I had no chance to do it in 2006)and then the 2009 Goddess Conference.

That was the breaking point, seeing you all and living the energies of the Fire Goddess made me conscious of my needing of commitment with the Lady (which I didn’t know in that moment except for the energies I could feel in Glastonbury). Three years have passed since I made my choice and I asked to be admitted to the Priestesses training. Since when I put at stake to take back this part of my life. It has been long and not without difficulty and has been challenging, full of joy and pain, but all this was worth while to regain the title that I felt so mine.

Being a Priestess of Avalon, when I think about it rationally I think this is strange, since when is needed qualifications or diplomas in order to live the relationship with the Goddess?

But eventually I understood, to be a Priestess of Avalon, is to be a Priestess of my heart, of myself, to be the one who creates the sacred. I have often wondered what was the point of being a Priestess of Avalon since I do not live in Glastonbury, since I can not be in connection day after day with the energy of the Lady there. This third spiral has shown me that I was mistaken, that the energy flow of Avalon lives inside me and, with practice and devotion, I can open the doors of Avalon in my heart and find it wherever I am, because the path of Avalon the path of the heart, is the path that leads to home and the road that leads to deal with yourself. When I finished the second spiral I felt strong and with a clearly defined role, full of projects, ideas on how to bring the goddess, awaken in my own land, but when during my Practice I improved my relationship with the energies of the sacred island and Nolava, this has turned into me, dealing with other shadows and other lights to test my dedication and devotion and the belief that this is actually my way. How many times this year have I doubted, how often have I been ready to give up and every time something happened that help me stay on the path that made me relive the energies of Avalon, the strength and centering that daily contact with Nolava gives me. During this year I never felt the need to share my journey with others because unlike the second spiral this was a path inside of myself and, when I brought the Goddess to others, has always been because of my call to service, because others were asking me to be a channel and let them meet the energy and the face of the Goddess.

Being a Priestess of Avalon is to live life to the fullest, be the change, be able to transform moments of this life into magical moments, moments beyond the mist, where the masks and veils fall and only our bright heart is the companion we have along the way.

Being a Priestess of Avalon is, finally, being totally myself, free, strong, capable, responsible, joyful, committed, trustworthy, ready to open the Mist for all who seek to return home.

Blessed be

Anna

Litha 2012