Archive for the ‘joy’ Tag

Death and Joy   1 comment

[Edited 5 June 2019]

This post is a step away for an interval from the ongoing Major Arcana series. As I let the energies of that series percolate a little before moving on with it, I wanted to acknowledge two things.

RavenGrimassi

Raven Grimassi, 1951-2019

First, a death. Pagan scholar and author Raven Grimassi passed on March 10 at 67. With some 20 books to his credit, Grimassi’s influence spread through his writings, but also through his many animated workshops. An enlivened teacher, he held on to a love of learning and growing throughout his life, as I witnessed firsthand while attending one of his workshops (shortly after publication of his Cauldron of Memory: Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge and Wisdom) which continues to contribute to my own path.

In particular, his work with sound as an “access technique” to other realms inspired me and many others. My own experiences with the potency of what I’ve called the “Cauldron Sound” feature in my workshops at MAGUS and in blogposts here.

Raven, may the next spiral of the Long Journey bring you joy, wonder and more growth.

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Second is John Beckett’s post earlier today on joy.

In this era of unsettling change, raw emotion, and anxious uncertainty, we deeply need reminders to return again and again to what sustains and feeds us, and helps us live more richly and fully. Future historians might call our time an “Age of Distraction”, so susceptible are we to the incessant clamor all around for our attention, time and energy. The whole world is now Spinal Tap — turned up to 11 all the time.

Because such voices no longer cease of their own accord, even for brief intervals, in our endlessly wired-and-tired day, it’s on us to choose to turn them off from time to time, if we value our own spiritual integrity or wholeness. For we don’t get the “whole story” if we listen to the loudest voices, though it’s natural to pick them out first from all the shouting. Long ago the Wise alerted us to the “still small voice” that greets us at the borders of our own inner spaces, and points us toward things of much greater value and benefit to us than most of the outer rumor, that old word that once meant “noise”, but has become an unsubstantiated report or story.

The older meaning of “noise”, however, still fits — fits more than ever. Any practice that carves out quiet for us, that encourages reflection, that lets the small inward voice reach us to warm and heal and advise us, is one to hold on to and cherish. Indeed, if we don’t assert our own reality, to turn a phrase only a little, then “rumor has it”. We abdicate when we listen unprepared, unequipped. We start to doubt ourselves, an often much worse doubt than suspicion of anything or anyone else. We no longer trust what we know to be valid and true and constructive. We close our eyes to the dawn, then stumble in the dark.

Instead, in the words of OBOD ritual (insert your own to taste):

Let the four directions be honored, and let the gateways of the Quarters be opened, that power and radiance might enter our circle for the good of all beings.

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Image: Wikipedia — fair use.

Posted 12 March 2019 by adruidway in Druidry, John Beckett, joy, Raven Grimassi

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Tools for “Thrival”   2 comments

— not just survival. That’s much of what I aim for with this blog. (You know almost as well as I do how I don’t always hit the target.)

Not tools for “social transformation” or “regime change” or advocating for somebody else’s large-scale fixes that may or may not ever reach me (or you) in anything like helpful ways. In U.S. terms, that means neither Trump nor Hillary will help more than they will hurt. (Only differently.) In U.K. terms, that means “to Brexit or not to Brexit” isn’t the question. Generally, that means binary choices often aren’t very useful ones.

Whoever “wins” won’t change what needs changing. (That ultimately lies with me. I win as I listen to what yearns to be heard most deeply.) Forces in motion that we launched decades ago, larger than politicians or parties or even empires, will see to changes. A wiser course, for me at least, is to work with forces that build, and learn to ride the ones that don’t, as skilfully as I can. Those aren’t up to a vote. They’re not democratic. If I want, I can put myself in agreement with their effects through anger or ignorance or blind acceptance. But I keep learning the hard way that none of those are profitable responses.

What’s the third — or at least a third — option? (There are always more than two options. If I don’t see them yet, right there is a place for me to work at listening and paying attention.)

Do the necessary work on myself and, as much as possible, avoid feeding energy to the rising political hysteria — of any flavor. “Chop wood, carry water” is a beginning. Yes, but also honor the trees as I do so. Bless the waters, waste less, thank more. In-form the heart, not out-form it. Love works better as a fountain, ever-flowing, than as a reservoir of “hold on to what you’ve got.” Turn down the volume on the shouting. Duck when necessary. Plant seeds for the long view. Share even modest harvests. Stay mindful of the Dao De Jing’s counsel: “Extremes do not last long.” And also: “This world is a spiritual vessel. It cannot be ‘improved.'” Or if you prefer, as humble recipes say, leaving it up to us in the end: flavor to taste.

So I keep bringing back my monkey-mind to focus here on what I can create and transform through awareness and co-operation, hoping to model in my limited way a version of what I see others I respect trying out in their lives and succeeding at.

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When building, start small.

Start small, because in the end that’s the only place anything starts anyway. But watch for when I touch infinities in those grains of sand I garden in. Revel in eternities that spring from my hours.

Have you ever reached a limit to joy? Not happiness which — often — is superficial, and — often — not worth pursuing:  peace to that old Declaration we claim to fancy and which offers such pursuit as one leg of a Founding-Fathers triad that provoked a 240-year-old Exit of our own.

No, I mean joy, a stranger to many, it seems. What Tolkien’s hobbit Pippin could perceive, in the middle of all-out war, in the Maia Gandalf:

Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.*

True kingdoms to you.

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Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King, Chapter 1, “Minas Tirith.”

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