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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shifting Spirituality

This is going to be complicated. Also mysticism and personal experiences ahead. Proceed at your own risk.



I went to Ireland six months ago, and its been a time of transition and refocusing since then.

I don't tend to always share a lot of really deep personal stuff, for various reasons, including worry about how my experiences will be perceived. I've been reflecting a lot on that lately, but its kind of a side issue. People in my life have asked what's going on with me spiritually and I've mentioned that I'm working on processing a lot of things. I wrote a bit about the more spiritual side of my trip last year after I'd come back in my blog Muddy Boots or Setting My Feet on the Path and that did show that things had taken an unexpected turn. I'm sure people who read my blog have noticed a shift in what I write about, and that also is a bit indicative as I always write about whatever is interesting me at the moment.

I went to Ireland, considering myself someone who was very focused on the Daoine Eile but who was also largely a polytheist working on honoring the Gods and doing their work as best I could. I had been dedicated to Odin for a decade within a Heathen context and was dedicated to Macha, and had a strong relationship with the Morrigan and Badb as well. Not to mention the other Gods I regularly honored. The entire point of the Ireland trip was a pilgrimage to honor the Morrigan. If I had to give numbers to things I would have said my practice broke down to like 55% Othercrowd, 45% Gods and 10% ancestors. The Good People were what gave everything cohesion and held the diversity of my practices together, but they were still only a portion.

Then Ireland.

I wrote about it in the blog linked above, so I'll spare you the tl;dr re-hashing but it changed everything, while simultaneously not changing things. My personal experience of that trip was entirely Daoine Sí focused. There are some details I haven't told many people before, although these are things a few people are aware of or became aware of separately. That doesn't entirely matter. On the dark moon in October, in Uaimh na gCat I saw the sí of Cruachan open and I had an aisling there. Not of the Morrigan, which is what I had expected, but of a different Queen, from Elsewhere. The next night at Tlachtga in ritual I was named a priestess of the aos sí, a title I chose to accept. This has had some repercussions which I'm still sorting out.

Upon arriving home I was fairly seriously ill for several months with respiratory infections that just wouldn't quit. During this period everything has shifted to focus on the aos sí. That may not sound like a big shift for me, but it really is; its profound. Odin, after 10 years of dedication, severed my oaths to himself, which was a really difficult thing for me. I currently have no clear idea of where I stand with Macha, and while I don't think that's come to an end, it feels different now. The Gods in general still feel present but not nearly as immediately as they always have. For the first time in over 25 years the gods, in one form or another, by one name or another, are not a significant aspect of my daily or even general spirituality. Those numbers I mentioned before? They've shifted at this point to something closer to 90% Othercrowd, 5% Gods, 5% ancestors. That's a seismic shift for me and I feel like I'm floundering trying to find a balance with it.

The Tuatha Dé Danann are among the aos sí, and that's a layer of complication I'm still sorting out. Because its not simple or straightforward. As an animist I've always seen the Gods as just a powerful type of spirit, and I still think that is so, yet this is showing me there is also a distinction here, almost a tribal division going on somewhere dividing groups of spirits, of Gods from not-Gods. Of Aesir from alfar. I haven't sorted it all out yet, and honestly I think it's going to be a slow process as I feel my way along. Because as I mentioned the Gods aren't gone, its just that my relationship to them has changed.

What I do know is that I'm in service to a Fairy Queen, and have been since last Samhain. And that's something new I have to figure out as well. At the time she didn't tell me her name, only that I wasn't to cut my hair anymore (yay for personal geasa). I thought I had figured out who she was over the last six months, but I was wrong. She finally did tell me her name and she is someone I know literally almost nothing about, which if you know me you'll know is pretty unnerving for me. But there's been independent confirmation from two sources - friends who I trust and who are talented with psychic things, although they may not phrase it that way - who described her and told me details about her without my telling them anything about what was going on, so its hard for me not to trust this.

So that's where I'm at. Moving forward one step at a time, doing what I've always done and trying to rely on both academic resources and mysticism to see me though. I've let go of a lot of labels recently which has been an enormously difficult thing. Labels, in there own way, are an aspect of self-definition, so letting go of those words has been a process of letting go of pieces of myself that don't fit any more.

Still a witch. A priestess of the Good People. No idea about any of the rest of it.

12 comments:

  1. "I currently have no clear idea of where I stand with Macha, and while I don't think that's come to an end, it feels different now."
    I wonder how it's different. Could you elaborate on that?

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    1. Before I felt very strongly connected to Her, and very much as if honoring her was an integral part of my daily life. Now she feels more distant, although still present. I don't know how else to explain it. This may just be a temporary thing because so much is shifting right now, I don't know. There have been other points in my life where I was going through major transitions that I felt less connected to my spirituality, that's not entirely a new experience, so I'm trying to just let it play out and see where things go.

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    2. I understand. She won't ever truly leave you as you are Her priestess, but as you serve a Faery Queen, you'll need some time to adjust -- some times it'll be complimentary duties, others not so much.

      You are right, though, about "let it play out." It's a matter of journeying not reaching a destination (at least, so far).

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  2. My very first visit to Ireland lasted for several months, during that time I visited Cork and I can say that it was 'there' that I had deep experience of Mother Ireland stepping into my being, my conscious awareness of herself, I cannot elaborate any more than that. Awhile later... I was enabled to return permanently and yes there are places where one is aware of Her and The Others activity. In regards to Spirituality it is alive within us and makes changes in order that we can grow develop and deepen our connection.

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    1. People had tried to warn me that going to Ireland would be profound, but its hard to understand it until you experience it. Thank you for sharing your experience, I appreciate it.

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  3. FWIW, I actually have experienced a similar transition - although not as dramatically sudden - from being more gods-based to having the primary focus of my practice on Those Ones, and I can relate to a lot of what you write here. Also, there's a lot less guidance for how to serve Them (most of the folklore is about *avoiding* Them!) as opposed to the traditions surrounding the gods, so that's another thing to navigate. Good luck to you. Oh, and I should take this opportunity also to thank you for your work on this blog, and your Fairycraft book, which are refreshingly solid resources on the topic.

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    1. thank you for sharing that, it does sometimes feel a bit now like I'm sitting in a corner talking to myself while all the cool kids are hanging out chatting about Gods-y stuff. The lack of guidance makes life really interesting, doesn't it?

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  4. Do you think you'll every be able to share which Faery Queen you now serve? Curious, that's all. I'm trying to get to know a few more (beyond Fand, Anand, Aine), myself, to get different perspectives on the role itself.

    And I do agree that the split between the tuatha and the daoine si (as between the alfar, Vanir, Aesir) feels more tribal than anything more strictly separating.

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    1. It's a collection of essays by different authors, so it's of uneven quality, but you might find The Faerie Queens, edited by Sorita d'Este and David Rankine, to be of interest in getting some other perspectives.

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    2. I'm planning to do a blog on her

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  5. Years ago (the late 80s) Thor and I broke contact (apart from the odd "running into each other") after a trip to the UK. The Tuatha had drifted into my sphere, and certain members claimed my attention more and more.

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  6. As I read this post I felt a recognition. My experience was similar yet different. I went to Ireland with my mother in law as part of a general U.K. tour. I had expected to have a profound experience in Wales because that was what had called to me before. That is not what happened at all. Completely unexpectedly it was laying my foot in Ireland that changed me dramatically. I had worked with The Morrigan off and on for the better part of two decades but had not been drawn to any other spirits or Gods from Ireland. So when I found myself up to my knees in the water at Skellig Bay crying my eyes out with no understanding why, I did not know how I would process it. 3 years later and I am still working on it. Good luck with you journey.

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