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 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)
incense (loose or stick, depends on occasions)
a container for the incense (possibly sand and charcoal)
a bowl for Earth
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)
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.
What you put in your Pouch?