by: Elder Daughter, The Awesome
We discovered that my little daughter's teacher is a Tibetan Buddhist, and she invited us to a seasonal fire ceremonyHERE. The website shows the house, but it doesn't show the lovely rolling, wild hills going in all directions around the house. We drove up a road, off a road, off a road, and with every curve my heart beat faster. "YES," it sang. "This would be what you have been looking for." I had friends all around me. I invited some neighbors along with kids close to my children's age, and when we arrived we found many people we knew already from school.
The ceremony was taught to the leaders by Incas in Peru, but it was surprisingly similar to what I have followed for the past 15 years in studying Wicca. There was a fire. There were drums. The corners were called and released. We thanked God. We reminded ourselves how lucky and grateful we are to be here. We asked for healing.
He has never been to a ceremony with me before. Can you even BELIEVE that? I tell you, I've been letting ceremonialism lapse altogether, but to think that we have been together for four years and never attended a circle together is eye-opening. A beautiful thing about our relationship is that we allow each other a lot of space. It was the only way we could work with our very different, very full lives.
During the ceremony, every one was invited to put a stick in the fire. My husband did not put his stick in the fire, and I started to worry,"Does he think this is dumb? Is he bored? Does he want to go home?" When we were in the car on the ride home, I said," Thank you for coming with me. You don't have to come again if you don't want, but it meant a lot to me that you did. How come you didn't participate in the ceremony? Did you feel weird about the whole thing?"
He said,"Let me think because I want to say this right." I started to panic. He went on to say,"I saw that this was a very spiritual moment for everyone there. There was no one who was, like, halfway doing it. I don't really understand the tradition, so I wanted to watch. I didn't want to cheapen the thing by participating half-heartedly or without understanding what I was doing. I think of it like visiting another church, but not taking communion."
Oh! my heart swelled for him so much when he said that. Oh! I fell in love with him all over again.
I took away a lot from the ceremony. The drumming allowed me to get into a trance state and really open up for the first time in a long time. I (re)learned that I am a part of everything, and everything is God, so hating myself is really hating everything which is hating God. The drumming came to mean,"I! Love! My! Self! I! Am! A! Part! Of! Earth!" I relearned that being a spiritual woman is a huge part of who I am and when I don't fulfill this obligation I am unhappy. I've already tattooed this concept on my neck, yet I STILL have to be reminded.
I filled up with love for my children and my husband and my community and nature, and really,really, is there anything else? I learned that I don't have to try and control everything. Life comes to me, and I can relax at always trying to drive it alone. I kind got a good shake from Grandmother Cosmos, who told me to WAKE UP! You are too grown to be pretending you don't know who you ARE!
So, feeling that Wiccan tradition may be exhausted for me, I've found myself an invitation into Tibetan Buddhism and Incan Shamanism. I never thought myself a Buddhist because I thought I am too exuberant! Who can smile beatifically in meditation all day? Not me! I like the whooping and hollering of Paganism, but I think this chance is too good to pass up. I'm gonna check out the women's circle, and see if I can go.
I am so happy and proud and grateful that I finally get to raise my children however I want to. The custody battle hobbled me in so many more ways than you might imagine. Everything I did was to please a social worker, rather than to please my moral values. I dressed to please the social worker;I got a job to please a social worker; I decorated my home to please a social worker; I suppressed my spiritual curiousity to please a social worker; I sent my kids to public school to please a social worker; I chose a pediatrician to please a social worker...it really is sick and sad, and I am so happy that is OVER!
I knew that I would be happy again once spring came.