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?

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