emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
It's been a long time since I've posted here or anywhere really public, sorry.

I'm alive. I'm rather busy. I'm pretty happy. I just haven't been in a headspace for this stuff, that's all.

Love to you all!

--Ember--
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Okay, I can't handle this. I'm freaking way too far out. I have the help I need when I can surface enough to breathe and ASK for it, and that's great, but I simply can not handle the prospect of going back to school in late August. I can barely handle the prospect of late September.

January, though, that feels do-able. The deadline for that is October. I'll not only be sure they have all my letters and transcripts, but that gives the GRE folks plenty of time to send my scores, and I can sort out my taxes and funding options as well, which are still overwhelming me right now.

I'm ashamed that this is still so fucking hard. I hate this about myself. And I'm afraid that everyone will be so disappointed in me putting it off another quarter. But I just need the breathing room.

Besides, my summer job doesn't end until October, and I have that trip out East to deal with as well, so maybe it's just.... better all around.

*deep breath*

*sigh*

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
"Earth to Ember! Earth to Ember! Please ground in!"

Oops!

Okay, I knew I'd hit a certain degree of radio silence, but it has been brought to my attention recently that said silence is being interpreted rather differently than I expected.

It seems that all the love and time and effort and growth I'm putting into and getting out of my time at the Rabbit Warren is looking somewhat more like I've gotten buried under a burdensome pile of bunnies.

Nope nope nope nope nope [/muppet alien voice]

Quite the opposite! )

Please bear with me - the Ember is Under Construction!

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
I don't like how hard it seems to be to think clearly enough for long enough to use my journal to process.

I'm getting all kinds of processing done, and all kinds of stuff is going on in my life, but when I sit down with intent to document and process further, it just dribbles out my ears, and I'm exhausted at the thought of rehashing it all here.

I don't know if the problem is that this is a somewhat public forum, that it's only read by a handful of people despite its public nature, or because it involves writing things out in the more general sense. I have managed other bits of writing easily enough.

*shrug* I don't know. Once again I find myself tired of being tired.

-E-
emberleo: A forked crossroads symbol with the letters A M U H (umbanda)
The American Magic Umbanda House currently holds most of our ceremonies in the back yard at House Kaleidacopia in North Oakland.

Some background on House Kaleidacopia and AMUH )

Last May the large stand-alone shed we used to contain all of the regalia and supplies that are used in our ceremonies - our Lubisha - burned out from the inside. It never became clear how the fire started. There were no candles or cigars lit inside or anything. The lubisha was quiet and locked that evening. Mama wasn't even home at the time - almost nobody was, which is part of why the fire had a chance to really get going in the first place. But of course between all of the devotional crafts, veils, candles, and rum in the wooden shed, once a spark flew there was plenty to feed it. The resulting fire was hot enough to melt glass and destroy metal, so of course it turned the multi-layered plywood shed to charcoal.

AMUH lost almost everything in the fire, but no one was injured. )

The most painful, though, is that we lost all our house-owned drums! Blessedly, many of our house members and friends filled in the gap with their own djembes, which is why this year's PombaGira devotional rocked every bit as hard as ever. But it's not the same as having our very own barrel drum and properly blessed djembe. Those can never be recovered, although in time we will likely acquire new House drums again as we are able.
--------------------------------------------------------
Why am I processing all this now, almost a year later? Well, it's finally time for us to replace the Lubisha!

We've been making do, but that's not enough. )

We have set up a WePay fund to replace the Lubisha. It is first and foremost for House members to more easily gather those funds in order to repay our Sister. However, we realize there are many friends of AMUH in the extended community who might be interested in helping us with this project, and we are grateful for any assistance that comes our way. After the Lubisha has been rebuilt, we will need to once again replace the pavilion covers which have been damaged by the winter winds. There is still cleanup to do and pay for. And of course, we are still slowly rebuilding our regalia collection and supplies. Eventually we may even begin to replace the precious, blessed drums on which all our ceremonies depend.

If you want to contribute, go here:

Donate to Lubisha for AMUH


Regardless, thank you for your time, and blessings upon you for your support!

--Ember--
Little Mother
American Magic Umbanda House
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Last night for various reasons I had Odin on the line for some automatic writing/heavy shadow.

I also had a friend on IM. It's always easier to hold onto a line with a deity if there's somebody to interact with Them instead of me, so they chatted.

A LOT )
Ever met Dionysos? )
Skalds and Gaming )
The Scale of Divinity )
Loki's Nature )
God of Fiction )
Trusting vs. Getting Lost )
Gods as Patterns in Mind )
Ouija Boards as Divination )

And that's not the whole conversation! But the rest was too personal.

-E-
emberleo: A circular knotwork phoenix (phoenix)
This is slightly edited from a post I made to LiminalNation. All I did was remove the references that made it contextual to LN.

*Deep breath* Okay, here goes, and I hope this isn't oversharing, or stupid, or whatever...

About sexuality, gender, orientation, etc. - mainly mine. )

So NOW what do I do? Crawl into a hole and hope nobody notices?

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
It is Spring enough to be a problem, but not yet Spring enough to be a solution.

I theoretically have a wide open schedule, and yet can't seem to get everything I need to do done - and realistically my schedule isn't wide open, as there are several regular events that bracket out my time. That much is a good thing, because I'd go insane if everything was entirely free-floating.

Still, the fact that I can't seem to get done more than half of what I'm aiming for, and can barely track even that tells me that I don't have all my energy back yet, which means it's still winter in my world. I can smell the Spring. I can see it on the horizon. But it's not here yet, because if it were I wouldn't feel like this, and I wouldn't be having so much trouble tracking my life.

*sigh*

-E-
emberleo: A forked crossroads symbol with the letters A M U H (umbanda)
Every year for longer than I've been attending PantheaCon, the American Magic Umbanda House has put on a Devotional ritual for Pomba Gira. The last several years, I have been the lead singer for that event.

I have received quite a few compliments on my singing, for which I am deeply grateful. Every year I have been involved in the music we have worked very hard to make it the best we can for that year, and even better the next, so I am grateful when feedback reaches me that tells me we are succeeding, or how to succeed even more.

For a few years before I took up the singing, I helped coordinate the event and ward the ritual. We made many adjustments, some subtle, some blatant, to the balance of the ritual structure in order to better serve the needs of everyone involved. I don't think people realize how much we take to heart the critique we receive both directly and indirectly. We search for reviews of the Devotional and look at what people liked and didn't like, and more importantly, why they did or didn't like it.

We have put a lot of work into making the ritual structure more supportive for the inexperienced, while still being a positive, exciting experience for those who return each year to dance with us, and of course a pleasing offering for Pomba Gira Herself.

There are a few complaints I hear every time, and I want to address them now.

Why is the music so repetitive? )

Why are the lights so bright? )

Why are cameras not permitted? )

Why are alcohol and other intoxicating substances not permitted? )

Why is ID required? )

Seriously.

Yes, some of our rules are more strict than may seem necessary in any given moment. We need rules that we can apply safely regardless of the context in which they arise. It might be safe to dim the lights for you, and let you and your friends photograph only each other. You might only be a little buzzed. Maybe you're obviously of age.

It's not just about you.

It is NOT safe to dim the lights for the newbie soft head who has never attended before or to allow cameras in the hands of those who won't respect privacy. Not everyone is obvious when they're too compromised to be safe in a trance ritual. It's not up to our warders to determine the individual experience level and ethical basis for each attendee.

I don't think due caution is too much to ask for a couple hours once a year, for the mutual benefit of all.

Onward!

Can I have a necklace? )

Got a question about the AMUH Pomba Gira Devotional at PantheaCon? Ask, and I'll see what I can do to answer you.

--Ember--
emberleo: A dark-haired woman weaving strands of light (dreaming)
Two dreams with many parallels:

Albino Mourning Dove )
----------------------------
Albino Raven )
----------------------------

The dreams obviously echo eachother - both birds are albinos of local native birds, both are highly symbolic. I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but I can tell from the feel of the lucid moments that both dreams were most likely visitations, and the raven dream definitely was.

But I'm a bit stumped for interpretation beyond "I've been visited by Dove and Raven...."

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Post-positive emotional drop getting me down. )

Ahh well, overall life is going pretty well, I'd say...

-E-
emberleo: A dark-haired woman weaving strands of light (dreaming)
I dreamt I was on the road into the neighborhood I grew up in, because I had to locate a particular woman. I don't remember right now if she was dead when I got there already or if she was going to die shortly, but either way it was my job to inform her, help with the transition, and deal with any complications.

The house was maze-like. Her mother did not speak English, and did not understand why I was there or that her older daughter was now dead. The younger sister was rebellious, a bit crazy, and refused to come out of her room until I'd gotten the body removed from the building.

I kept searching for an example of something that was the right hue and brightness of lime green to show the younger sister in order to convince her that her sister really was gone, and I really had been sent to deal with the situation.

Towards the end of the dream, I got news that the dead woman had done something untoward to skip ahead through the afterlife process and had jumped into reincarnation immediately before her spirit had a chance to really forget the previous life. Oh dear! Too late now.

I awoke to certainty that my friend's daughter had indeed died while I slept. The offerings I made to Papa Ghede last night asking that she either be saved miraculously by being held only very briefly or (admittedly more likely) taken quickly and as painlessly as possible seem to have translated into word that she has indeed passed on, but will reincarnate immediately. That's... not what I meant.

Oops?

-E-
emberleo: A circular knotwork phoenix (phoenix)
To Whom It May Concern,

I am Vanatru. I am Clergy. I run the Vanic Conspiracy. I love and care for my congregation as dear friends and family. I love and honor the Vanir as dear friends and family. I love and respect the Landwights and Ancstors as dear friends and family. That is the nature of my way.

I am Heathen. I'm in Hrafnar. I work with and love Diana Paxson as my Gythia, and her folk as my folk.

I am a Seidhkona. I am in Seidhjallr, and have recently hived off a new group for my own area to explore Seidh and Galdr and whatever other forms of Northern magic call to us on our own terms.

I'm a spirit worker. I happily associate with Raven Kaldera and many of his friends, including quite a few Lokeans and other Rokkatruar. I get along just fine with Loki. Tricksters respect people who don't run away from Them.

I'm also a headwashed and necklaced Loa child in the American Magic Umbanda House, where I am the Lead Singer, and Little Mother (In Training).*

In all these things, I honor my ancestors. Honoring my Ancestors includes honoring the Celtic powers.

The more I walk my path, the more I find everything falls into place, leading me ever onward. My path is singular and clear. If you find my religion confusing, you should see what it does to my love life sometime - but that's none of your business.

I have friends from many different traditions and I respect and honor their ways, whether I join in their practice or not, in the moment or in the long run. I would be a fool to deny their truths, for it is readily evident that their ways work just as well as mine, and the messages they bring me confirm and support the messages my own ways bring me.

Being a scholar of religion means studying every kind of religion I can find, at least a little. Being a counselor of humans means understanding the many forms of human experience, finding both what unifies us and what makes each of us unique. Being a priestess to the gods means listening to what They ask of me regardless of bullshit human politics.

This IS my path, and I AM sticking to it. And you know what? If you don't LIKE all that about me, you can FUCK RIGHT OFF.

I am Ember

If you are good to me
I will glow for you
I will warm you
I will light your way

If you fuck with me
I will burn you

--Ember--

* As of August 2012 I've stepped up to Alumni in AMUH, and am thus no longer Little Mother (in training), or the primary Lead Singer. As of March 2013 I am released from AMUH and am thus no longer a member.
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures, messages that need to be remembered and shared.

Here's one from April of 2009, from a dreamt conversation with Oxun:

"I help people learn how to love themselves, and how to feel good about what they bring to the world. I teach people about beauty, yes.

But more to the point: When you go about in the world, how you look will always affect how people treat you. What I teach people is how to use this simple reality to their own advantage as much as possible. You don't have to be beautiful all the time, but if you are not conscious of your appearance, you are not taking responsibility for, control over, how others see you and treat you.

On a basic level, almost everyone comes to realize how they are treated according to how they look by default. Most people learn at least a few tricks they can use to manipulate people for their own advantage in the most immediate sense, based on using how they appear to others. Little girls recognize that they can wrap big men around their fingers to get what they want by emphasizing just how adorable they are. Big guys recognize that they can intimidate people. People who don't stand out realize they won't be noticed and can therefore get away with certain things. This is true also for those who look particularly innocent regardless of what they have done.

These tricks are natural advantages of their appearance. But how many people use the positive advantages instead of only the negative? Well, almost everyone in society, actually. Think about it - everyone learns how to dress and keep their hair and body according to the culture surrounding them as they are growing up. Their fashion sense tends to fit somewhere within that range. They thereby identify themselves as belonging where they are. It is few who step entirely outside this range. This is far more noticeable in a tribal culture that has very specific rules about what to wear. Western culture gives a lot of wiggle room, but if you took your fashion sense out of National Geographic, do you think you wouldn't stand out as "Other"?

The real skill is not only using the tricks that come naturally to how you already look, thereby limiting yourself to only the stereotypes and roles at your disposal from the outside in, but to learn and understand the appearances behind the tricks beyond what is given to you. Anyone who knows how to dress to get a job has figured at least a little of this out. Honestly, who do you want deciding which role you fit into, how to treat you based on how you look? You? Or a bunch of strangers?

The thing to recognize is that you can't control their behavior. You can only control what you present to them. Their behavior is a natural response to that. You can let that control you, or you can recognize it for the process it is, and use it to your own advantage."


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from December of 2004. It's not clear who the message was from - I was in a state of altered consciousness, but the voice was unclear: "It feels sometimes like I'm watching the world for a minute through a pair of eyes that aren't mine, even though they're in my body. I sound just like a hundred people I've known, and I know they're not me."

There's all kinds of feedback loops to a relationship gone bad - even (especially) when there's still something good left. It's a fight for control - volunteering to give up some control here in the effort to gain more overall. Pushing and pushing to find the way to win until you get what you want. Feeding your defenses and never minding if they're feeding your fears...

Subtle patterns are still patterns. It's not fair to treat somebody like they are abusive when they're not, but it's not fair to yourself to stay somewhere that makes you feel abused.

You don't have to be an abusive person to make somebody else feel abused. Some aspects of abuse are just aspects of being different people.

But not being that bad doesn't make it good. It doesn't matter where the threshold is once it's been crossed. Something's gotta give, and nobody controls you but you.


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from October of 2004, which wasn't directed at me but rather through me:

"Consider the image of a moth to a flame.

The moth understands that the flame is fire. The moth accepts that it cannot escape the lure of the flame. The moth embraces its love, its desire, its compulsion to meet the flame.

But the moth does not trust the flame but to burn it. In embracing its destiny to join the flame, the moth assumes the results of its chosen fate, or the fate it believes was chosen for it.

I am not obliged to burn you, drawn to me though you may be. I accept the sacrifice you offer of yourself in being willing to burn for me, but revel far more in your trust, that you might believe, though I am that flame, though you cannot escape my enticements, that you will not burn.

Rushing towards me in a desire to be completely consumed by me is touching. It's also self-destructive. I can rebuild you - or you can rebuild yourself. Which do you think I wish for more - that you be rebuilt a complete image of my making?

Or that you be entirely yourself, and dedicated, of your own will, entirely to me?"


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Viked from [personal profile] jamie

Three things I've done well or am proud of today:
1. Accurately perceiving the spirits directing me to the perfect spot for honoring Yemaya at New Year's.
2. Timing all that driving around perfectly to allow me to fit in one last visit.
3. Finally understanding my relationship with groups.

Three things I am grateful for today:
1. So much love!
2. Living in a land where the mountain touches the valley and the river meets the sea.
3. New friends who understand family.

Three things I am looking forward to:
1. Downtime! Guh.
2. Playing Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
3. Finally getting to read October Daye.

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from May of 2007:

I found myself a bear. My maw was brown, my paws and body were covered with black fur. My whole sense of physical self was contained within that bear. But She was not me. I listened to Her litany of resignation:

Not all of my cubs will survive birth.
Not all of my cubs will grow up.
Not all of my cubs will survive to mate.
Not all of my cubs will avoid the hunters.
Not all of my cubs will be good.
Not all of my cubs will be wise.
Not all of my cubs will respect other species.
Not all of my cubs will fulfill their potential.
I cannot solve all the problems of the world one cub at a time,
but I cannot even try to do anything else.


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
I hate it when I can't remember if I wrote something or not. Especially with poetry!

Does anybody recognize this? It sounds just enough like something Seanan might have written that I can't be sure it's actually mine, but I usually save attribution when it's somebody else.

I can't find any references to it online via Google, and frankly it sounds like the *kinds* of things I'd write (and I suspect it's simply not as good as Seanan's usual work, but that's a separate issue)

The original file with the first two stanzas was created in 2008, as far as I can tell, and then I do believe the third stanza, at least, was written by me, possibly last August, possibly earlier.

You may give me any name... )

-E-
emberleo: A skull-faced woman with long black hair standing among callalilies (requiem)
Today we had our annual Ghede Devotional, affectionately titled "Ghede Jamboree, Brigitte Tea, and Ancestors Revel! (not necessarily in that order...)".

It went not so much according to plan as about how Papa told me it would, which is to say that about half the people showed up than I had hoped, but twice as many as I'd feared. We had enough food, and it was good food. The altars were pretty, and looked He showed me, though again, not the way I'd planned. There were only two mediums, both for Ghedes, so Papa spent some time trying to decide whether to convince one or another of the lovely women to invite His wife down, to no avail, and the rest of His time flirting with all the lovely women He DID have at His disposal.

It did rain, as I rather expected it would right *after* I announced that we'd hold it in the not-raining location. *sigh* Murphy's law. Go figure.

I wasn't feeling too hot by the end there, for various reasons, but all in all I think it went pretty well, and I hope the intrepid souls who attended enjoyed themselves.

The one bit I really wanted to document, though, has very little to do with my Papa at all (which is why this post is here, and not in my journal for work with Papa):

See, two years ago when my head was washed to Papa, I had clothing specially made for Us to wear, tailored to my measurements at the time. Well, some of it was designed to be too big, for certain reasons, but the core garments - the britches and shirt - were tailored to my actual measurements.

Today when I went to put on those clothes again, I noticed that the pants had no beltloops. This was immediately apparent because without a belt, the britches were falling right off my hips when I moved! I had to hike up the britches and tie them tight with the sash, sticking ruffled up over the edge, and hope that Papa wouldn't think it was funny to let them fall right off my body in the middle of the floor! *blush*

We got through the day clothing and dignity more or less intact, and now I am gleefully informing my nutritionist that her good advice has contributed significantly to my health!

Wheeeeee!

-E-