Apathy

When I sat down to write my article this month, I browsed through my computer for ideas. As I did, I found this article that I wrote about 18 years ago for a newsletter I prepared for my workplace. Because it is still a very relevant topic to me today, I thought I would share it here. ( food for thought – I am an introvert, a triple Aries and a Myers Briggs INFJ)

I have spent a lot of my life sorting through very strong feelings in order to decide to express them or not. Of course, there are those that erupt before given the opportunity for that kind of sorting! Just ask my friends and family! I have often wondered if everyone has this going on inside their heads. It is part and parcel of being an introvert to ponder such things. I have even wondered if perhaps some just don’t have that experience of heavy duty “feeling”! Of course, that’s a ridiculous idea. We all have feelings. We all just have varying levels of willingness to share them.

For the last several days there have been three words drifting around inside my head looking for expression. They are apathy, passive, and passion. So, finally, I decided to look each of them up in the dictionary and here is what I found:

Apathy … lack of emotion or feeling … indifference

Passive … not active but acted upon … accepting without resistance

Passion … a powerful emotion … boundless enthusiasm

Apathy and passive appear to be quite similar, and they are, but if you look closely, passive does not necessarily mean that one has a lack of emotion, simply does not act. So, apathy can lead to being passive as well as the other way around.

So, next look at the word passive (acted upon – scary thought!) and the second part of the definition, “accepting without resistance”. I can think of a lot of examples of people being what I thought of as passive but behind the scenes they certainly did not accept without resistance. They chose not to act upon when given the opportunity, but later, created quite a disturbance. So they were not really passive, were they? They felt a passion to disagree but did nothing to speak out at the moment it mattered. They then grumbled and caused dissent after the fact! They experienced passion but acted upon that passion in a destructive way.

In thinking about that, I wondered why that happens. It does happen. It happens to all of us. We have feelings, we want to share those feelings at the right time but for one reason or another, we don’t. But those feelings don’t go away. They fester. They lead to stress, or even worse, they lead to negative behavior. Why do we do it? The only reason I can find, really, is fear. If we could not express our feelings appropriately, it was because we feared we would not be understood, or we feared the response. Something about the moment led us to believe that our feelings would be rejected, invalidated, cast out, laughed at, or simply ignored. In thinking that, it is easier to not express in the first place. But of course, as I said before, if we felt strongly about something and didn’t speak out, it will find a way out – somehow!

Every day, if we look around, we see situations of apathy. Look at the percentages of turnout on voting day! Look around you at the work place. How many times have you come from a decision making meeting, where it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to voice an opinion, and later, after a decision was made, everyone hashed and rehashed, complained and grumbled about the decision as if they had never had a say in the first place!

Why is it that when we are given an opportunity to have a voice, such as in responding to questionnaires and surveys, which are anonymous, we still don’t respond? Do we really not care? Do we really think it doesn’t matter? Certainly, if there is no response, there is no voice! As women, many of us were raised in environments that did not encourage speaking out. Girls were taught to be quiet, to be respectful, and to not stand out in the crowd. We were taught it was not ladylike to be bold and assertive, that we were better off being quiet and meek! And of course, I ask, “Better off how?”

I believe it is important to think about this, to look at how we respond to our own intense feelings, to injustice in the world. I suggest that by acknowledging the passionate feelings we have and speaking out, whether it is on the job, at home, wherever we are, it is critical to being fully engaged and involved in our lives. Let us find ways to express ourselves. Let us find ways to create an atmosphere in every discussion that all will feel safe in sharing those opinions and feelings without fear.

Women have been silent in far too many situations. Elders are silent and invisible in many cases. If we do not contribute, how do we expect to ever make a difference? My “Mama” raised me to believe that “you only get out what you are willing to put in.”

Let’s find a way, throughout our lives, to say what’s on our minds at the appropriate time, to speak out! Let us find ways to do that. There are concepts to explore in the areas of communication and ways groups can safely and fairly come to agreement where everyone has a voice. Find those ideas. Implement them in your lives. Encourage those around you to share their opinions. You be the one to create a safe place. Find your voice. Live a passionate life. Get involved. Remove apathy from your existence. Do not be passive. Life’s too short!

Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess, and author of five books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch and Beyond the Ninth Wave where she teaches courses in Druidism, Goddess Spirituality and mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.

Honoring the Sacred Yoni

The word Yoni is a Sanskrit word. Translated, it means womb, origin, source, and vulva. It is also known as the divine passage or sacred temple. The Yoni consists of the entire female genital system. Many of us have chosen to use the word Yoni in preference to vagina as it offers us the opportunity to reclaim the sacredness and power of our sexuality as women, as goddesses. The Yoni is where we find Shakti, the universal creative energy.

A woman’s yoni has been worshipped all over the world. In India the yoni is worshipped as the sacred symbol of the Divine Feminine, referred to as the Devi, the Great Goddess, the source of life, the Universal Womb.

Since the beginning of time, we have created artistic expression for the forces of creation. We see Yoni symbolism as a part of spiritual traditions all over the world. We see the Yoni in naturally occurring rock formations, in Hindu temples, in early Celtic sheela-na-gig carvings as well as images in Japanese ritual. We see it in folk tales, in alchemy, in Tantric practices and in contemporary art.

For those of us who practice pagan traditions, we are entering the season of Beltane, the season of the blossoming Earth. Festivals and traditions focus on fertility, creativity and sexuality. Within Goddess Traditions this season is the perfect time for honoring our sexuality as women. I recently attended a small women’s festival here in Austin and presented a Yoni Blessing Rite in the temple. Our theme for the weekend was honoring our women’s bodies. Much of this rite consists of sacred texts from eastern traditions. I offer it to you here, for it is something you may do for yourself if you wish.

We begin by inviting Kameshvaari.

Kameshvari, renowned Goddess of Desire, we welcome you to this sacred space. As the Yoni of Mahadevi, You are recognized as not only the form of desire but also as the very source of our desires. You are also the One who grants our desires. You are desire itself, as well as its fulfillment.

Woman is the creator of the universe,
the universe is her form;
woman is the foundation of the world,
she is the true form of the body.

Whatever form she takes,
whether the form of a woman or man,
In woman is the form of all things,
of all that lives and moves in the world.

There is no jewel rarer than woman,
no condition superior to that of a woman.
There is not, nor has been, nor will be
any destiny to equal that of a woman.

There is not, nor has been, nor will be
any holy place like unto a woman.
There is no prayer to equal a woman.
There are not, nor has been, nor will be
any riches more valuable than woman.

Saktisangama Tantra (edited)

The desire aroused by seeing the Yoni never dies.
The Yoni is named the mysterious female,
and the doorway of the mysterious female
is the base from which heaven and earth sprang,

It is there with us all the while.
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.

Ma-wang Tui texts of the I-Ching edited

Her lap is the holy altar, her hair, the sacred grass; the lips of her Yoni are the fire in the middle.

From Brhad Aranyika Upanishad

Imagine that your body is in the form of the Wisdom Goddess, naked, and with hair flowing. Imagine yourself as her, in the center of an emergence of light, holding an elixir bowl close to her heart with garlands of red flowers.

Think to yourself that the Goddess enters you through your open Yoni and resides in your heart.

Then imagine the Wisdom Goddess above the crown of your head, having just shared in the act of love. She is naked, with disheveled hair, and her Yoni is moist and overflowing with sexual secretions. Her eyes are filled with erotic emotion and look toward the vast expanse of sky, which as she begins to dance, becomes filled with similar forms of herself.

Black Hat sect, a branch of the Karma Kagyu edited

She hands you a small symbol (a cowry shell). She places it in your hand. It is lovely. You look closely and behold a symbol of your sacred Yoni – the divine symbol of woman – the Holy Altar of Life.

May it always remind you of your power as woman. May it always be for you, a symbol of the sacredness of life.

Let us all now bless and consecrate our symbols of divine love.

Take your Yoni symbol in your hand, touch it to your third eye and say these words…

I bless and consecrate this Yoni symbol with the gift of my all seeing eye – with my wisdom vision that I may see clearly and share myself fully when I chose.

Now, place the Yoni symbol close to your heart and say these words …

I bless this Yoni symbol with the gift of my love, may I be open to love in all my life.

Now place the Yoni symbol at the solar plexus and say these words…

I share the power of my will so that I may be empowered with strength of purpose. May I trust my instincts and be strong in my resolve.

Finally, place the Yoni symbol close to your own Yoni, your own sacred Altar and say these words …

This is my powerful center of creation, my own life giving force. This is my Holy Sacred Altar! When I choose to share of this energy, it is a gift given freely – never taken – but given in love.

May the power of creation bless and consecrate this symbol for holy use, as I freely choose.

So Mote It Be!

Kameshvari, renowned Goddess of Desire, we thank you for being with us this day. May we bless and sanctify your gift of desire in our lives each day. May we always honor you at our own holy altar.

Blessed Be

Liminal Time and Space

The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen, meaning “a threshold.” The word threshold has several definitions. It can be the sill of a doorway or the entrance of a building. Ultimately, it means any place of point of entering or beginning. In psychology the term limen means the point at which a stimulus is of sufficient intensity to begin to produce an effect.

Liminal time therefore, is that moment when something changes from one state to another. Examples would be dawn, the morning sun rising high enough in the sky to bring daylight. Another is dusk, the evening sun sinking into the horizon bringing nightfall.

Another is that moment when we move from a clearing into a deep fog which shrouds us in mist and for a moment, we stop all thinking. There is that moment when we first wake from a deep sleep, not fully awake but no longer asleep. Plus there is that state when we move from wakeful consciousness into sleep. There are also those moments of transitions between life and death and from an unborn fetus to a living, breathing infant.

Liminal spaces are thin places occurring on boundaries between spaces. This includes places like the boundaries between properties where fences or trees mark them. Also edges between water and land or even between plains and mountains, highways and grass, etc. These are all edges where changes occur. Imagine the cliffs and boulders on the Pacific Coast and the massive waves hitting and then retreating, that moment of contact before withdrawal – a liminal moment.

As the Earth travels around the Sun, the year can be divided into two halves, the bright half and the dark half. In many cultures, the liminal times for these events fall around the first of May and again at the first of November. The liminal time for the beginning of the dark half of the year is when many cultures honor their ancestors. It also marks the end of summer and the beginning of the new season, winter, the Season of Sleep. The other time of year honors the bright half and the beginning of summer. It is a time of bursting forth with an abundant fertility.

A shaman (modern term applied to spirit walkers of many traditions) works in liminal time and space. She is an edge walker, one who walks between the worlds. Her work is on the edge, as she has one foot in this world and one foot in the other. She travels between them walking the edge. She connects those of the spirit world with those of this one. Her work is to serve her tribe, to heal, to honor the gods of the people, to talk with the spirits, helping to keep life in balance and in harmony with all.

For those of us who live a magical life, liminal times and liminal spaces are where our magical work is done. Liminal times and liminal spaces are when and where the veil between this world and the Otherworld thins. Travel between them becomes easier for us as well as for spirits and deities. As we deepen in our work we come to recognize these liminal times and spaces, eager to understand them and work with them and finally to use them for the great work of the soul. We may choose liminal places to do our work and certainly we may choose a liminal time, moon wise, seasonally or in choosing the time of day.

We also have liminal times not of our choosing. We can learn to recognize and use them for the best outcome. Many of them occur throughout our lives. Often we fail to see what they are until they are behind us. At other times we are able to see and understand and work with the changes so that what is coming is of the best quality for us. They are threshold moments and we will step through, whether willing or not. We are fortunate when we can see these moments for what they are and embrace them, knowing that a birth of some sort is about to happen.

We have many liminal moments that we share. As women – our first bloods – our first sexual experience – our wedding day – the birth of a child – the death of a loved one – a divorce and an ending of what once was – our first job – the birth of a wonderful creative project – the ending of a career – recognition of inevitable aging and the losses that come with that – and finally embracing death, however she comes. If we recognize them as thresholds we can choose to honor these liminal times with ritual and ceremony.

Most of the time, I love liminal times and liminal spaces. I don’t always enjoy them when they are not of my choosing. I do, however, see these thresholds as potential – as opportunities to birth something new.

We are in liminal time right now – the Season of Beltane, the beginning of the bright half of the year. The veil is thin between the worlds and this is the traditional time for embracing what is coming in. We have had quite a few occasions to shed, to cleanse and to release. Now it is time to embrace our abundance, a time to embrace our sacred power and all that we are creating. This is the Season of Plenty, the Mother’s Fullness manifested here on Earth, with us and through us. May we use this Season of Beltane, the liminal space and time of this moment, to find magic and new beginnings manifested in our lives.

Deanne Quarrie is a Priestess of The Goddess, and author of five books. She is an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College, teaching classes on the Ogham, Ritual Creation, Ethics for Neopagan Clergy, Exploring Sensory Awareness, Energetic Boundaries, and many other classes on the use of magic. She is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine, as well as The Apple Branch – A Dianic Tradition where she mentors women who wish to serve as priestesses.

Spring

Redbud Flowers We celebrate the Spring Equinox as a reflection of the birthing time of the year. We have made it through the winter’s cold and ice, experienced the warming of the Earth and the flood waters that prepared for the birth of all that is new. Seeds are germinating and beginning to sprout. We see that around us, depending on where we live. Here in Texas the red buds are in bloom and some of the trees have their fresh green leaves opening up at the tips. Just seeing these indicators, brings an internal feeling of birth. My heart expands in joy when I see my first red bud tree in bloom – the first buttercup opening to the sun!
Four-rocks-balance
This is the time that the Goddess makes herself known by birthing all into existence. She first creates day and night and on this day they are equal, only to rise and fall as the year changes. Then She creates the stars, the heavens, the green things upon the earth, the animals and us – all Her children. All of us glistening in Her birth waters, ready to dance in Her rhythms.
I see the creation of day and night in equal portions coming first, as a lesson for all that follows; balance, a moment of equilibrium, manifesting everything else. We attempt to have that place of balance in our lives, but know from experience it never stays exactly in the center. All we can do is hope to bring it back as we move between states. It is like the pendulum, swinging back and forth from one side to the center then to the other side, but always seeking center.

We do this in our lives. We move from emotional times of happiness and joy, to anger, to sadness and in between, we find center. It is this place where we connect with ourselves – become still for a moment, one with all. It is from this place that we spring forward, renewed and rested. We seek center when we pray. We seek center when we work our magic. We seek center when we begin our rites. This is the place of balance in ourselves, for it is from here we that we manifest.

Another aspect of spring is celebrating the child within. So often we get caught up in the heavy aspects of life and forget to have silly fun. Laughter and light are all part of the Season of Spring. In the rituals I offer to women for the Spring Equinox, we all become children again –love, laughter, carefree hearts – these are what spring is all about. We get out the hula hoops, the jump ropes, the jacks – you remember playing jacks? We dance the hokey pokey and frolic together as we did when life was easier, when life was play.
persephone kelly
Spring is the time of the Kore, the Maiden. Persephone returns from the Underworld, where she spends the dark half of the year caring for the departed, while her mother, Demeter, mourns her loss. In Her sadness, Demeter calls a halt to the growth of all new life. The trees become barren, reflecting her sadness. At the emergence of spring, Kore returns and brings with her all the aspects of the young maiden in flower. The Maiden Goddess of Spring is reborn from the Earth. She emerges from the confines of winter, bursting with flower and budding greenery.

Her mother is overjoyed. It is this spirit of reunion and renewal that we feel when we ourselves discover spring! The leap of our hearts, the urges to make new everything around us, garden planning, a magnificent breath of fresh air to our souls!

Hail Kore, Child of Spring!

Persephone by Mary B. Kelly

See post on  Feminism & Religion as well.

Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess. She is the author of five books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch and Beyond the Ninth Wave where she teaches courses in Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, European Witchcraft and Druidic Shamanism. She mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.

Becoming

The Year 2015 is coming to a close. It is a time of endings and a time of beginnings. That is the wonderful thing about our cycles. We all have the opportunity to end and begin – over and over. Each day, each month and each year. We all scurry about making resolutions for the new year only to see them fail almost immediately.

This is where a good basic magical practice can lend a hand with our resolutions. In every magical act we must first know what it is we wish to manifest. I am not talking some empty wish here but a real look at what we want – really want – for the new year to bring.

If there were one thing I would say needs to be given the most attention in one’s magical practice is the Art of Becoming.

When we cast our Circle and invite the Elements, in truth, they are already there. It is within ourselves that we must become those Elements in order to feel their presence in our Circle. This is why we need to spend so much time studying them for when the studies are finished, we then must learn to feel them, embody them and finally, to project them out to others.

It is the same when aspecting a Goddess – we must become Her. The only way to do that is to first know Her, not just from books and other references, but from our own personal experience as we embody Her.

In my healing method which I call Annym Billagh (the spirit of trees), one learns the healing energies of trees by becoming those trees, by feeling them within and projecting their healing energies onto someone else.

When a member of a Native American tribe dances an animal, he is not just imitating that animal he is becoming the animal in the dance.

When a dancer wishes to portray an image in her dance, she must become that image. When an artist paints, he first learns what it is he wishes to paint. He learns so well that what he wants to paint becomes a part of him and then it is moved onto the paper.  When an actor portrays a character on the stage or on film, she must first become that character.

So it is in a magical practice. When we have a desire, when we wish something to be in our lives, we have to feel and be in that state in order to manifest it in the world of form. We must become our desire.

So, if we wish to bring in something real with the New Year, becoming takes on vital importance. This year is coming to a close. As with all endings, it is a beginning.

This year, my Circle is honoring Frigga. The Goddess Frigga sits within Her hall and spins thread for the Norns to weave into the great tapestry of all life. She never reveals what is in the thread She spins, but we can tell Her of our dreams and ask Her to spin them into the thread of our life, if She will.

Frigga’s thread is the substance of becoming. We can ask for Her thread and once we have it, we can take it and shape it, and manifest what is to come in our lives. What will you do with the thread Frigga gives you?

What do you need to know to become your desire in the coming year? Do you have a clear image of what it is you wish to become? Do you have a plan for becoming your desires? Will you be able to take the thread that Frigga has given you, and with your own full embodiment of that desire, manifest your dreams in the New Year?

May it be so! May all Blessings be yours in 2016 and may it be a year of “becoming” all that you can be.

Ogham Twig of the Day – Ngetal

ngetalNgetal (NYEH-tl)

Reed and Broom
Color ~ Nglas ~ Glass Green
Stone ~ Clear Green Jasper
Bird ~ Ngeigh ~ Goose
Word oghams ~ wound – charm – healing
Ngetal represents a sense of established power.

Reed is the tallest of the grasses, and is associated with water. It has a long tradition as a wand of authority, which is a symbol of recorded time. Papyrus is made from reed. A broken reed is a broken promise, a loss of trust, a seeping away of authority. The Reed is the scepter of the Queen. The reed is earthly power and authority.

The Irish used the reed “whitten rose” for thatching of roofs. A house was not completed or established until the roof was thatched. The dead stems rattle in the wind.

The month of reed marked the beginning of winter. The symbolism of the reed, rod, and scepter are symbols of power and authority derived from ancient tree worship.

It is time to batten down the hatches! Take time to prepare for what harm may be on the way. Reed offers protection. With reed in hand – protection is yours! Be prepared for a change or a disturbing event. Be prepared, organized, and stable. If you are prepared you can weather anything.

Ogham Twig for Today ~ Gort

gortThe Tree ~ Ivy ~ Finemain
Color ~ Gorm ~ Blue
Stone ~ Serpentine
Bird ~ Geis ~ Mute Swan

Message ~ Tenacity, raw survival instinct enabling triumph over circumstances.
Meanings ~ garden, growth, sweeter than grasses, counterpart of heaven.

There is determined power in Gort. It offers boar-like tenacity in applying the will to do difficult work. It is important to remember that the tools we use are not the ends, but only the means to give rise to something coming from the depths of our being. We must keep on our true goals.
Ivy It has the ability to bind all things together. It can wander freely, linking tree to tree, or form dense thickets that block out the light and restrict passage. Ivy brings shelter or overwhelming darkness and reminds us that where there is life, there is also death. Ivy represents our souls wandering in search for enlightenment, but carries a warning to be sure of the direction we are heading!

Entwining Ivy represents the female principles of life Through conception and birth, the male life force is given form by the female body, but in giving life substance so too does women bring death into being.

Ivy is sacred to Bendis, Mor Righ Anu, Osiris and Dionysus. Dedicated to resurrection jointly with vine because they grow spirally.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary Ivy stands for “a place of concealment or retirement.”  Many creatures are concealed from harm beneath the spiraling ivy.

Ivy attracts the last bees of the year, reminding us of the sweetness of the Goddess as we prepare to enter the dark time of the year.

“I am a ruthless boar.
I am a fierce boar.
I fled as a bristly boar seen in a ravine. (for valor)
I am a thicket which holds the roebuck.
I have tasted joy.
I have strength born of ecstasy.”

The symbolism of the boar is used because the cycle falls during boar hunting season and the boar is the beast of death symbolizing the “Fall” or the beginning of death, of the Old Year. But the Ivy’s serpentine spiraling signifies resurrection. Again, a reminder of the birth/death cycle of life.

The Boar’s descent into the Underworld is not purely a journey of destruction: because it is basically, in spite of any others roles, it may play, a creature of fertility, it plants within Death itself, the seeds of renewal.

Ogham Few for Today – Nion

Today’s drawing is the Nion stave.

Nion falls at a time when things are about to be awakened. Projects have been sitting and waiting and now is the time to bring them into fruition – breathe life into them now! Nion comes with a word of caution, however. Birthing things are fragile. Be aware that strong winds can destroy what is new. This process needs a gentle breath!

Facts about Nion
Nion, (Nee-uhn)
The Tree ~ AshAshleafseed
Third Consonant
Color ~ Necht ~Clear or Blue
Stone – Sea Green Berylberyl
Bird ~ Naescu ~ Snipe
Goddesses – the Nine Maidens whose breath fueled the cauldron and The Norns
Symbols – Wind, Breath, Awen
Message – Feelings ~ Emotions ~ Awaken
Support, connection, boast of women, contest of beauty, weaving

Our Loss of Od

Freyja is an Old Icelandic goddess of the Earth, fertility, and beauty. Her name means “Lady.” Freyja is known to be very beautiful and sexual. It is thought that Freyja was first in union with Od. This union represented what is known in Old Icelandic as sam-vit, a state of united consciousness. In other words, consciousness that reflects a state of being united, integrated, or whole. Od had vanished from Her life causing her to weep for his loss. Where her tears fell on the land, they turned to amber and where they fell in the Sea they became gold. Amber and gold are both sacred to Freyja. From the time he left, she continued to travel and search for him.

We come into this world as infants, and in that state only experience the present moment. We know our mothers from the heart beat felt in the womb and perhaps through other senses as yet undefined. We know at any given moment that we are hungry or content, wet or dry, sleepy or wakeful. Our ability to see is not fully developed and at first we see only hazy images around us. We are born knowing how to cry. It is our only way to communicate as infants. Our interests focus only on “self” and our own needs. We are, except for this ability to cry, basically helpless, unable to do anything except be where we are placed and are totally dependent on those who care for us.

As we mature, however, we begin to hear and identify sounds, see colors and shapes and taste foods we like or dislike. We learn to smile when something pleases us and we learn to laugh when feeling happiness. We learn to recognize other people, sounds and gestures and eventually the many words spoken to us. We learn to scoot, crawl and finally walk. With that we learn to mimic and then, with understanding, communicate with speech. We still however, live very much in the “now.”

As children, if not damaged by the care given us, we are fully sensing beings. We may not always understand our sensory perceptions because our experience is limited but we use our senses easily. We are creatures of exploration and discovery. Using an Old Icelandic term once more, you might say finna is fully active at this time. Finna is a critical and innate element of being that is critical to our spiritual and physical health and well-being. It means to discover, find, perceive, notice, feel, learn, to come across, and to meet.

Something happens to us when we are old enough to enter school. We are placed in an environment where sensory exploration is no longer the focus but rather we begin to develop left brain perception, through reading and writing. We are taught to be more analytic, oriented toward mental processes rather than sensory awareness. Because of the rigid conformity required of us, we lose the ability to be open and much of the inherent wonder and deep curiosity of our own body’s desire to be open to our environment is lost.

For those of us on a spiritual path, awareness of this loss comes to us as we seek answers to our own spiritual questions. Our yearning is much like that of Freyja for her Od. We have body memories of our connections to the sacred in those simple ways of childhood. We may not consciously remember what it is like to be open to all that is around us, but there is an inner yearning to seek and find, no matter how elusive it might be.

Once we recognize that we are sacred beings and one with our Source, as well as everything else around us, the connections begin to grow. We take ourselves back out into nature. We learn to really “see” what is around us. We learn that everything can speak to us, tell us what we need to know, if we listen. We study our past, digging deeply into our ancestors spiritual past wanting to know how they honored the divine in their lives and how to connect with them in the present.

We learn that our bodies truly are our temple because they house our sacred spirit. From this we begin to see the advisability of caring for our bodies and begin eating in healthy ways. We learn to take care of this “temple” we have been given or have chosen for ourselves.

If we allow it, music can enter our souls and speak to us, recalling far distant longings, awakening emotions hidden deeply within. Our food can give us new pleasure, with taste sensations unnoticed before.

We learn about our deep inner nature, our lightness and our shadow. We acknowledge and love both. We see who we are though our learning about ourselves, perhaps through the many self-development avenues available to us. We learn to love who we are no matter if flawed or not, because we know that all are flawed in one way or another and we see that even “flawed” is a faulty perception.

As we explore the five senses given to us at birth, opening in our perceptions, somehow another sense is developed and it is a returning of our own intuitive awareness. We have the ability to know of things seen by the inner eye and heard by inner ears. We delight in the sense of touch, both in the touching and in the being touched.

And so this ongoing search for Od that we have leads us into a return to a natural state of openness and from there to an inner consciousness that reflects the state of being united, integrated, and whole. When we are in that state we are able to access all that we need to manifest “possibilities” in life. Our Freyja will have found her Od.

Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess, and author of five books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch and Beyond the Ninth Wave where she teaches courses in Druidism, Celtic Shamanism, Goddess Spirituality and mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities.. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.

Sequana and Blessed Water

Water is the daily necessity for earth’s creatures.

When the Continental Celts were looking for a new homeland, they ventured west from the known river valleys of the great landmass we call Eurasia. Just beyond the great mountains, the Alps, they discovered sweet and abundant water, fertile soil, expansive woodlands, and the plentiful fish, game, berries, grasses, fungi and broad-leafed plants necessary to support their tribe.

We know that Celtic spirituality was, in its roots, animistic (spirit was alive in every living thing), non-anthropomorphic (the source of life and death was water, land, plant and animal-life), tribe-specific (in France alone there is evidence of several hundred deities) and a spirituality of place, of the major landforms that defined the world (rivers, springs, forests, animals, heavenly bodies). To the extent that Celtic spirituality was theistic, the creator/sustainer/destroyer of life was typically a goddess.

The Celts who settled at the source of the great river system defining their homeland called the river Squan, a Celtic word describing the shape of a snake. Squan, then, was river and goddess. In my mind, She was Mother Snake, source of life, for her flowing waters sustained the tribe in the same way mother’s milk nurtured children through infancy and early childhood.

Sequana is the Latin word for the Seine, the most famous of the five principal rivers of France, and also for the Celtic Squan — the Mother Goddess of the tribes of Celts who lived on her shores and islands 3,000 years ago. She was river, Goddess, the living spirit of the land — eau de vie.

The Seine runs from its source west of the Alps, through the heart of Paris, to its mouth at Le Havre, where it joins the English Channel and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the North and Irish Seas.

The last, long ending of winter is usually is often a time of heavy rains and snow. Because the sun is beginning to offer longer periods of light and warmth, frost is no longer holding deeply in the soil, but is now melting and seeping into the earth, bringing texture to the land and getting it ready for the new growth soon to emerge. This is the “quickening” that will soon give us the early signs of spring with bulbs pushing themselves up into view. For us that means it is time to thaw out our spirits and warm ourselves, allowing a thaw from the winter’s cold darkness, and preparing for our own new growth.

At this time of year, in this specific lunar cycle we in the Apple Branch honor Sequana, in this season of rains and possible flooding. The waters are awakening the dormant Earth as she warms toward her season of fertility.

Many ancient peoples had stories of floods in which water was both honored as a life bringer and as a destroyer. Water was seen as something that “escaped” from the realms of the gods. In many of the stories it seemed to be a female who was involved when water would move through some disaster, come to the land bringing growth and abundance though turbulence.

SequanaIn Celtic spirituality, the spirit of the land was often embodied in water — in springs, rivers, lakes and later, the “sacred” or “holy” wells. Sequana is both the surface and underground waters of the Seine and her tributaries and also all of the lands drained by them. She is a watershed deity, alive today in the network of watersheds in the Paris Basin, and in the hearts of some of Her people, who remember. She is mother of the clan, Snake River, bestower of health. In Her arms, She carries the overflowing cornucopia of the abundant, giving land.

Sequana's BoatHer sacred animal was the duck.

Modern statue of the Nymph of the River Seine by the Sculptor Jouffroy, situated in an artificial grotto, near the ancient Gallo-Roman sanctuary of the Sources-de-la-Seine dedicated to the Celtic goddess Sequana.

From “Living River” …..

“Flowing like a river, like a river to the sea
Love flows through you, and it flows through me…”

… “Water belongs to the earth and all species and is sacred to life, therefore, the world’s water must be conserved, reclaimed and protected for all future generations and its natural patterns respected.”

… “Water is a fundamental human right and a public trust to be guarded by all levels of government, therefore, it should not be commodified, privatized or traded for commercial purposes. These right must be enshrined at all levels of government. In particular, an international treaty must ensure these principles are non-controvertible.”

… “Water is best protected by local communities and citizens who must be respected as equal partners with governments in the protection and regulation of water. Peoples of the earth are the only vehicle to promote earth democracy and save water.”

Water also figured highly in the Pagan Cluster’s Living River Action during the protests. The Living River mission statement included,

“We say that our lives, our communities, the health of the earth’s ecosystems, the cultures of indigenous peoples, the dreams of children are too important to be subsumed to profit. Another world is possible: A world of justice, freedom, ecological balance and true abundance, and we will make it real. Although the negotiators of the FTAA believe they have fenced out dissent, we believe they have walled themselves in. We intend to liberate them so that they can hear the voices of the people, the land, and the waters!”

May water always belong to the people!