Thursday, November 01, 2012

I'm Covered Today

I was going to tack this on to the end of my research post for the day but, while this is related, I decided it really needed its own entry.

First, I hope everyone had a Blessed Samhain, I hope Hurricane Sandy was kind to my East Coast readers, and Happy New Year!

Samhain, the night that most people know as Halloween, is one of the most sacred in the pagan calendar. It's when the veil (there's that word again!) between the world of the living and that of the dead is most thin - allowing for easier communication across the veil during this time. It's a great time to honor loved ones who have passed on. It's also the third harvest, when farmers would determine how much feed they had for their herds and which animals were most likely to survive the winter. The rest were slaughtered and the meat preserved to provide food for the long, barren winter. It is considered to be the Pagan New Year, completing one full cycle of the year Samhain to Samhain. It is both the end and the beginning, and a great time to get rid of old things you no longer need to make room for new things in the coming year.

This week, the blessed and sacred time of Samhain was preceded by Hurricane Sandy. This was a huge storm, a convergence of three weather systems above a very densely populated region. Everyone from Virginia to New England and as far inland as Ohio were told to hunker down and prepare for the worst. There were things about my situation in riding out the hurricane that I wished were different but, in any event, I sat in my home with Phantom and Miss Luna listening to the storm get fiercer and fiercer outside. One of the first things I do when I move to a new home, even a temporary one, is cast a shield around it. It is tied to a protection charm that I make, and fill with herbs and stones and talismans that I feel are appropriate for protecting my home and those who dwell within. I have made such charms for friends before as well. I'm not going to go too much into this right now because that's not my purpose, but tying the shield to a charm means that it is always in place, protecting my home from the forces without.

Shields such as these need regular maintenance - cleansing and refortifying. I have to admit that I've been lax about this one. When I lived with my parents, I maintained that shield very regularly, I even still do when I visit; the charm is still hanging from the mantle. But the one on my own house, I don't think about it much. With a big storm approaching though, I thought about it a lot. I spent a lot of time on it as part of my storm preparation. No amount of preparing, be it physical or spiritual, will guarantee being protected from a physical threat, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

When I lost power, I had nothing to do but sit there listening to the rain pelting my roof, the wind whipping the trees around violently, the storm gathering in intensity. Every now and then, I would poke at the fire I started in the woodstove for warmth and light, but there was nothing else to do. Just me and my cats, and the person I most wanted with me for comfort was entirely out of reach. Even people who are not at the top of that list but would have still been a comfort to have them there were not able to be. Just me, my cats, and my shield against the full power of nature. I was worried about being without power for days like I was at the end of June, I was worried about the tall trees that border my property - a tree had fallen on my house before, long before I owned it. I was worried, and for all intents and purposes, alone. I did something I haven't done in years: I prayed.

Pray is not a word I use in my practice. It doesn't really fit in my path. Maybe it's a remnant of my Catholic upbringing  but prayer to me means talking to God, and I really don't talk to that god anymore. For some reason, when I say prayer, it means communication with that god and only that god. Additionally, I don't believe that the gods are above us, but that they walk with us. They're on a different plain and they see things differently, can manipulate the world differently, but I don't worship them. In that moment, in that storm, alone but with my beloved animals, I prayed. Before that fire, I prayed to Hestia to protect my hearth and home. In worry for the storm, fear for my home and my animals and myself, sadness at being so worried and without the people who mattered the most, I asked a goddess I've never really talked to before for help.

It's not like I hadn't been through a storm alone before. I rode out Hurricane Irene last year also with just myself and my cats and my shield, and that was after an uncharacteristic earthquake and several aftershocks and energies were already scattered and anxious. Maybe it was because Samhain was approaching and the veil was thinning and the energies around this time of year are always different. Maybe it was because I knew my boyfriend would have been with me if he could, and I have been lamenting the distance between us a lot of late. Whatever it was, I prayed to a goddess (which, in itself is unusual for me) for comfort and help. I've been drawn to Hestia in recent years, but I admit I haven't yet explored her mysteries or really considered what Hestia as my matron would mean for my path.

Was it a prayer to a goddess to whom I have not dedicated that helped my home come through the storm with minimal damage? I'll never know, that's why it's faith. I didn't see anyone that day after the storm, but on Halloween night, before heading out to ritual at Shadow Grove, when I was preparing for trick-or-treaters, I was frantically searching my house for something to put on my head. I actually have quite a few things that would serve this purpose, at that moment the only thing I knew was that I needed something on and I needed it before the first child came to my door. I ended up with a crocheted triangle over the top of my head and felt properly dressed. I then wore my regular crocheted hood to ritual as has been my custom for at least a year.

Today, I am covered. I have a long, sheer rectangle scarf wrapped around my head in a tichel crown style. I've packed a variety of things for my weekend visit with my family, including long scarves like the one I'm wearing today, some small triangles like the one I donned last night, a few tubes that are kind of like open snoods or like the wraps that people put around dreadlocks, even some tie-on headbands. More than I actually need for the weekend but they don't take up much space and there's nothing wrong with having options. My power suit and pumps wearing manager isn't here to challenge me today. I'm trying to prepare myself because I know that day will come. I will ask for a letter from my ministers if it comes to that.

I thought I would start covering as I've been pulled to do after some kind of ceremony or retreat. I'd take a couple days off of work so it wouldn't be too much of a shock (I essentially had a couple days off with this storm). I'd take that time to meditate and to prepare and have all my reasons firmly in place for when my boss challenged it. I don't know why I felt it had to be some big event in my spiritual life. But really, what is bigger than a major storm in the days before one of the most sacred days of the year?  It's something I've been needing to do for a while and it's something that I can't resist anymore. It was an epiphany. It's a new day, a new year, and I know it's time.


Crystal Broomall said...

I am so pleased for you! Rock on, my veiling sister! :)

Fyrecreek said...

Thank you! You rock on too, because we totally rock the most!