emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (jackalope)
2013-09-21 05:27 pm

Do you hear EmberVoices?

Gods help me, I've started a public-facing blog: http://embervoices.wordpress.com/

I'll still keep this one for more personal musings, to the degree that I've kept it thus far.

[Edit] I have a request to CC my WordPress posts to this journal as well. If I do, they'll be locked to the access list, as I gather it's considered poor form to fully duplicate the public content. It's just apparently some folks can't access WordPress outside of the US, for some reason...

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
2012-09-01 12:33 am

Loose ends and burning bridges

For years I've had nightmares about being on a bridge as it breaks, or is flooded, or just goes somewhere I don't want to go. I have no idea if that's at all related to my current emotional dilemma.

Life is going quite well for me, overall. I'm happy with what I'm doing, the relationships I do have time for are working quite well. I have a sense of clarity about where I'm going in many ways. I feel like I've come through a year of tremendous change much improved, and am still making progress, though at less of a breakneck speed.

So why do I feel so horrible about certain things? )

This whole thing feels so stupid, but I can't seem to get any gauge of where to draw the reality line internally on it.

-E-
emberleo: A forked crossroads symbol with the letters A M U H (umbanda)
2012-04-13 03:08 pm

AMUH: After the Fire - Rebuilding the Lubisha

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 forked crossroads symbol with the letters A M U H (umbanda)
2012-03-06 09:13 pm

What I wish people understood about the Pomba Gira Devotional

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--