Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The ATC Spring Mysteries Festival 2016 #dedication

This representation of Demeter has lived with us since we moved
into this house. I love this medieval representation of her. She and
her wheat sheaves have watched over us for nearly 20 years. Now I
will honor her at the Spring Mysteries Festival. ♥
7 more weeks until the Spring Mysteries... and it's getting real. I started making lists of stuff to bring, including offerings to leave at the various shrines I'll be visiting. While I wanted to make sure I bring something for each one there were a couple of deities who called out for something more, who seemed to have a particular interest in my attendance. 

How did I come to this conclusion? Really, it's just a feeling. When I read over the stories, looked at pictures of past festivals and images of ancient art, Demeter and Hermes seem to have taken a shine to my journey.

I chatted with the Festival's Spiritual Director, Dusty Dionne about dedication as part of spiritual preparation. In dedicating my journey to a specific deity, I'll invoke his or her blessing and protection on my travels--and in return, I pledge to honor those aspects of divinity embodied in these incarnations: motherhood, hearth and home, travel and communication.  

As a mother goddess, Demeter understands my anxiety about leaving my family behind and its comforting to know that this aspect of the Divine Feminine will be in my home watching over things when I'm not there. She's always lived in my house, watching us come and go. She will see me off, when I depart at last, and welcome me home when I get back. Ruling communication and travel, Hermes will be at my side, watching over me. I know he'll be with me as I roam the festival grounds and maybe ease my stress about getting tongue tied when I talk to folks. I'm hoping he'll help me keep my hoof out of my mouth--but he can be a trixster, Hermes. Even if I flub conversations, he'll be there to help me pick myself up and dust myself off.

To whom will you dedicate your pilgrimage? Which deities call out to you as you prepare for your journey?

♥ #SMFPilgrim ♥

Friday, February 5, 2016

Animal Totem Mandala Coloring Book: Look Inside... and a GIVEAWAY!

The Animal Totem Mandala Coloring Book: Art Nouveau Creatures and Reflections for Relaxation is HERE!!!

Why you need this coloring book:

♥ There are 30 CREATURES TO COLOR: Wolf, Lion, Snake, Porcupine, Bat, Honey Bee, Elephant, Swan, Horse, Peacock, Octopus, Pig, Turtle, Buffalo, Panda, Raven, Luna Moth, Mouse, Monkey, Salamander, Owl, Rabbit, Moose, Seal, Hen, Alligator, Spider, Stingray and Fox.

♥ And they're SO PRETTY. Here--click the cover to look inside and see!

♥ Each mandala is comes with a simple, three step guided meditation (with a color-able frame!): Three keywords, a description, and a special message for you from each animal. Use these to make a deeper connection to each beast, or just color--the choice is yours!

♥ Every page is single sided. You can frame your favorite mandala (and meditation if you like) or use the blank side of the meditation pages for journaling.

♥ We're hosting an awesome giveaway to help get you coloring with this book and all your other favorites! Help us spread the word and you can win this great prize: a brand new pack of 25 Sharpies, 24 mini pencils (great for taking on the road) and 24 oil pastels--enter below!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The ATC Spring Mysteries Festival 2016 #going

At the end of March, I'll be heading west to Seattle for the Aquarian Tabernacle Church's Spring Mysteries Festival. I love an adventure, but for me, this one's particularly important. For one, I'll be going alone. Flying alone, arriving alone, exploring alone. I'll pretty much be living at the Festival site for several days, and I won't really know anyone there. I've never gone away without at least one member of my family in tow. In short, I'll be way, way out of my comfort zone. With Saturn in my sun sign (Sagittarius), I'm not surprised, but this is an opportunity and a challenge that I must take. I'm excited and, truth be told, a little scared. But that's what sacred pilgrimage is all about--for me, another first.

I've gone on many spiritual journeys--they're all pilgrimages in a way--but nothing like this, nothing so focused or with such purpose, or in or with the spirit of the wider community. What became evident right away was that my journey has already started even thought the Festival is weeks away. The coming days will be filled with preparation both practical and spiritual--an important part of the whole experience. 

The first thing to do was to immerse myself in the myth and mystery driving this event. The Festival revolves around the Eleusinian Mysteries--the story of Demeter and Persephone (Kore), and brings them to life through ritual, drama and shrines of living deity. The Mysteries are a thousands-year-old rite that the ATC has celebrated annually for over thirty years. My spiritual leanings have never really included the Greek or Roman Pantheon, but thinking back on it now, a Hellenic presence has, in many ways, been quietly inserting itself into my life: In Sirenz and Sirenz Back in Fashion, in the research I'd been doing for for Magical Destinations and later in the the recent founding of a Hellenic Temple in Washington, D.C. Even if I was unaware of it, a flame has been burning.

As part of my preparations, I visited the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There, among the Greek and Roman collections is a fragment of the Great Eleusinian Relief, a Roman copy of a Greek original depicting Demeter and Kore. There's something about being in the presence of ancient objects that inspires; these touchstones to the past somehow make things real--but the Relief is also a representation of deity. Even though there were crowds of chatting people all around me, when I looked into their faces, all the noise and people and distractions melted away. These were not strangers; I'd known them all along. Soon, I'll be walking among them in the shadow of Mount Olympus.   

The Spring Mysteries Festival is a little less than two months away, but the journey, for me and so many others, has begun. Over the next eight weeks, I'll be preparing, praying, packing, pondering, and sharing my experience here. Are you going to the Festival (or thinking about going?)? Let's get ready together!

♥ #SMFPilgrim ♥