So gang, I’ve been doing a lot of tidying up today, and I’ve decided to tidy up some more here on my little neglected blogs. And I think it’s high time that I made the move down into one blog instead of having two.

In the coming weeks, I will have uploaded all of the posts and comments here at An Seanchas Fior to my other blog, An Seanchas Finn, where I will continue blogging. I would love for you to join me there, if you already haven’t, but I can completely understand if you’d rather not follow my inane life and  adventures, with littles bits of spirituality musings sprinkled occasionally.

So, why am I doing this?

  1. It’s hard enough to keep up blogging in one blog, let alone two.
  2. I feel like I’m living a double life, blogging about my daily life and my spirituality as if they were separate subjects. My physical space in my home is filled with spiritual trinkets; my routines in the morning and the evening include devotions and prayers; my cooking and baking and eating constitute offerings and how I try to live with my land. I have enjoyed getting to the happy point where the line between my spirituality and my life no longer exist. And to keep up a line here on the Internets, where I spend an insane amount of time and my life, is just doing my life a disservice.
  3. Lastly, I hope that by making inane posts more frequently, my brain, for simply some variety, will suddenly throw out an inspirational or philosophical post once in a while. I can try to write my thinky thoughts here as well as in my written journal, and thus, make reading my blog worthwhile for some people.

I will be heading out to the movies in a bit, but I will try to begin the process this evening. The only way I know how to work WordPress is by doing something, looking at it, seeing what looks funny, and then going back either through WordPress directly or indirectly through ecto to fix it. So if weird stuff starts happening, sorry in advance.

Plus, I need to weed out and update links, categories, and tags because I need to (for the links) and I dunno, I just feel tired of them (for everything else).

CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. INCLUDING MY CORNER OF THE INTERTUBES. I’ll be leaving this domain name here until I finally decide to shut it down completely, but only after I’m happy that everything I want is incorporated into my other blog.

Onward!

My cousin said a funny thing to me today:

“Why isn’t your whole life working? Why is your whole life reading?”

“… My whole life isn’t reading.”

“But Daddy said that your whole life is reading.”

I laughed here. Out of the mouth of babes, huh?

My first instinct however is to think, “What else does Daddy (my uncle whom I’m living with) say about my life when I’m not around?” My second reaction is to think, “Even if it were true, I’m not entirely sure it’s a bad thing. My third (that tricky, truthful one) simply, “Gods, I wish it were true.”

If a writer is someone who feels they have something to say, and writing is their way of saying it, what happens when you feel as though you no longer have anything to say? Can one stop being a writer, in this sense? Can one finish saying what they wanted to say, and thus be done with it?

I guess the real question is: how long do you want to wait until you have something else to say?

How long do you have to wait until then?

It is near the end of the year for many neo-Pagans and followers of Celtic spiritualities. October 31st marks the beginning of the new year according to their calendars, based on extrapolations from archaeological and traditional evidence. For the Celts marked their days like the Jewish: sunset to sunset.

A Tear In the Air sounds like two things to me: a tear, as a teardrop falling from the sky, as the rains of winter; or a tearing of the air, a harsh scream slashing across the sky. Two very different images, and yet both speak to the grief of death, the growing cold and the slicing winds, and the dying of the light.

As it happens, my life this month is full of light and life. The sun is shining spectacularly (something I’m relishing in preparation for a Seattle winter!); I have several social outings planned and several new projects occurring at work; I’m even making plans for November. I haven’t really planned for anything beyond the next week for a long time now.

But I’m also hemming and hawing over whether to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve also effectively given up on my job search for the year, since I am returning to Texas in little more than a month for a month-long stay. I’m nursing a cold, and an increasingly worse sore throat, which makes me even more lethargic than usual.

I’m trying to tear the air like a firework: make people believe I’m happy in a busy life, that I’m trying to make friends and make a life up here. But really I am mostly just falling from the sky like a teardrop, and lazily plopping onto the nearest branch. Being of two natures is perhaps a relevant theme for October, as it is the month in which the veils between the worlds grow thin and two things can occupy the same place at the same time. But I feel this is slightly different from my usual “mystery” of being of two natures, for that “being of two natures” actually creates a third–that which is both and in between. This mystery I’m trying to reconcile right now is more like the mystery of Persephone, who leaves the underworld to be with her mother for three months of the year. Which is her true nature: the maiden, the daughter of her mother in the upperworld, or the Queen of the Underworld? She has to hide each nature in each case, wherever she is.

Am I still depressed, or am I feeling just out of sorts? Have I always really been just a lethargic, lazy creature who pretended to be “productive”? Or am I really full of fire just temporarily smoking?

Anyway. I’m kind of fuzzy thanks to Tylenol Cold, so I’ll stop there. The myth of Persephone is perhaps a potent one to explore this October, one to make me stretch beyond my Celtic cloister of stories. I’ll have to think about it.

The full moon of September is the Word of Skill. Since I have reflected at some length on the general “wordy” feeling I get from September, I want to touch upon a different sort of “word” and “skill.”

Since I got the Shadowscapes Tarot some time ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to draw one of the Major cards daily and reflect on it in my journal. While I went through a slightly similar process in learning the feda, the latter was mainly done as a course of memorization. My goal with the Major Arcana was to look at the images, think about them, and feel them in comparison with the book.

A small deviation here: I am far too forgetful and too wacked out internally to completely trust my gut when it comes to divination. While I’m slowly sorting out how to trust my gut better, I am and will probably remain, a reader of books and will flip through them during all of my readings to figure out an overall interpretation. So when I say that my goal was to feel the Major Arcana, it can be said that I really had little idea of how it would turn out.

I surprised myself and found a lot of the imagery and symbolism of the deck resonated with me. I surprised myself even further when I found I could feel a great deal with each image, that I could “read” the thousand words contained in the image far better than I thought I could, to the point where I grew more confident in journaling my personal meanings and interpretations.

I feel that in some small way, my work with another tarot deck helped facilitate this experience, but I feel more strongly that my work with the ogam has been a more important influence. Tarot and ogam function and feel very different to me, even when you take it from the simplest level of difference: tarot cards are images, and the feda are, literally, words. To read either takes a different kind of skill, a different kind of sense. Learning to read the feda moves you into the realm of ideas, thought, and psyche. Learning to read tarot moves you into the realm of sense, image, and unconscious. Both support one another, and both operate differently from one another.

So when I sat down some time ago to begin working with a fairly emotional question I had, I expected to have a different sort of experience. I did.

I learned that I still don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

The word of skill can be an unspoken one, one that is felt or heard through the gut. It can be the image of a word, flashing through the mind instantly as an insight or a revelation. It can be a connection between two mental images, or a bridge between two disciplines. It can also be something you cannot hear if you aren’t careful and quiet enough. You have to develop the skill of intuition just as you have to develop the skill to read. Just because one language uses different sorts of words doesn’t mean you can read them simply because they too are words.

As I wrestle with this question on a purely intellectual, interpretational level, I also have to come to terms with the emotional weight it has. I have been thinking about this for a long time. A very long time. My confusion and difficulty is due largely to the confusion and difficulty I’m having emotionally trying to answer this question, and that will always erupt in a divination setting. So I’ve looked for second opinions from other readers. Beta readers, if you will excuse the word metaphor.

While I can’t be sure I’ll ever come to terms with this question, or the myriad answers it has, I can come to understand what it means to speak, and be still; to read with skill.

I have a hard time grokking the significant reality that pre-Christian Celtic religions were explicitly local, rooted religions. Reconciling the relationship between, say, local tribes, kingship, and sovereignty (which I think are extremely important to a Celtic point of view) with my reality today is a daunting task, especially when my sense of  “tribe” extends, literally, across continents, and my sense of “local” exists not in the presence of the land or people around me, or even in how I respond to the land and people around me, but simply in proximity.

As a child of the Internet and the global community, “local” has lost most of its meaning to me, even as I participate in movements like localvore diets and live in season with my diet. And I’m not sure it’s so much a symptom of “being young and American” so much as it is a sign that my place simply isn’t within the bounds of society, no matter how wide and far the boundaries reach. Though I’m not unusual in that I’ve lived between two places for years and have recently found myself in a completely different place again, I feel that I am unusual in that I have no desire to settle anywhere. Even my friends who are committed to a single, swinging lifestyle like mine are rooted: in the cities they attended college in, in the jobs they’ve found.

I can’t grok rooting a life somewhere because my life is with me and nowhere else. And that’s more than a little disturbing for me as someone trying to build an authentic expression of Celtic reality. Because… that’s a big piece of that reality.

The thing is, I do grasp the “outsider” realities of the filidh and the geilt; the shaman, the hermit. More than grasp: I understand them far more than I do the relationship between kingship and fertility. I certainly grok them more than most of the rules and expectations of society today. They are separate, apart, and move between several realities on behalf of all realities; their work lies in the fact that they are not a part of the tribe. And paradoxically, they are supported in that work by the tribe. They are needed to do that work. The community recognizes the presence of the Unknown and the need to, if not understand, at least respect it.

Is there a place for the Celtic “outsider” today–who occupies a sacred space set apart for them by the larger community? Has the concept of locality that I grew up with grown to be too large for such a space, or has society grown too afraid of the Unknown and those who are “outside” their reality to support those relationships? Is there still a need for those people to occupy the fringes at the edge of the known and the Unknown today? What’s more, is that where I really belong?

In the Coligny Calendar, the month of Cantlos roughly translates to “song month.” Though plenty of debate still exists over when this month took place (October, November, or May to start), it points out that a significant event took place in the calendar years of several Celtic tribes and groups: the congregation of bards.

In groves and groups all over the world, small bardic gatherings occur to celebrate new works, old works, the mastery of poetry and song, and the entertainment of the people.

The most famous of gatherings occurs in Wales, where it is known as the National Eisteddfod, which literally translates as “a sitting”. Eisteddfod is the largest and oldest of bardic congregations. Every year, bards from all over the surrounding country gather in one place and perform their works, both new and old. They compete for the grand championship of bardic tradition, the Chair of the Bard, the highest honor afforded in the competition. The crowing of the Bard is a major event in the festival. Much of the practices and traditions of today’s Eisteddfod derives from the Celtic/Druidic revival movements of the 19th century in Britain, though there are several smaller eisteddfods in Wales and other countries that had added their own cultural touches to the standard festival events.

In my own reckoning, September seems a good song month, which the the presence of the Word of Skill Moon reinforces. It is time to go back to school, sharpen pencils and uncap pens, open the books and begin to write. September is about the last harvests of your active labors of the body in the light half of the year, and the beginning of the work of the mind for the dark half of the year. Of course, with the last harvest come the recitation of songs and memories of the past summer, a formal good-bye. It is time to gather: to gather yourself together as you step onto the stage, to gather with friends, to gather your harvest.

Funnily enough, I have actually scheduled far more gatherings this month than I think I ever have. I’ve attended a knitting/crocheting meet-up, and have scheduled a hiking one and two more “getting together for coffee and walking in the park” type gatherings. Combined with the bookbinding class due to begin at the latter half of the month, I’m going to be congregating all over Seattle with all sorts of bards, who sing through yarn, book arts, and their lives.

But let’s visit the phrase “A string in a harp” quickly. A single-stringed harp, while making a pleasant sound, cannot encompass the full repetoire of songs that exist for the harp. It is only in congregation that the note comes to shine, as a beautiful note among other beautiful notes, together creating harmony. Perhaps this is something to keep in my mind to help me feel less nervous about meeting new people and doing new things. When people gather together for a purpose (a class, a beautiful hike, company, whatever) it’s much easier for me to connect, and sing, in my own way.

September is also the beginning of fall, the dark half of the year. Once again, because of school, my body is used to “doing” during the dark half of the year. Summer was a time of sloth, not productivity. The winter has always been more fruitful than the spring or summer. But then I realize that the work I do is not physical work, but mental work. The work of the dark mind, and peering into the murk of your own heart. In college, this became particularly apparent, as the work I was involved in was the making of art, all the time.

This summer has been far more active than any I can remember: traveling, hiking, camping, walking, throwing the tennis ball for the canine and chasing him, playing with my cousin, even swimming. Perhaps it was because I didn’t feel so hot and bored all the time, perhaps it was the change of scenary. Or maybe, perhaps, my body’s rhythms are realigning with the world’s. When it is warm and sunny, when it is summer, I want to be outside, moving, resting, watching, feeling, and being.

But I can already feel fall coming here in the Northwest. Leaves are beginning to fall, the air is cool, and the smells of the wind are wet with damp, rot, and the death of green things (though like Texas, I expect plenty of green to linger through the winter because that’s the way things grow around here). And I find I’m turning to the work of the indoors: I’ll be taking a class on bookbinding, and I’m beginning to crochet more again. I finished my bag for my Shadowscapes tarot, and will be finishing my gloves in time for the winter, in addition to making gifts for Christmas.

I am also feeling the stirrings of inspiration in my heart: I am planning several projects including a shrine for Brighid made from an altered book and a larger sculpture, and have been making more doodles in my sketchbook, and have even begun pondering NaNoWriMo. Additionally, I am revisiting old stories that I put away during my time away from writing, and have been doing some deep reflection on my path and religion in general.

I wonder what this month of songs will hold for me as the world turns grey and I turn inside, physically and mentally. What songs do I have to recite, and what songs do I, the string in the harp, have to give?