Monday, January 30, 2006

The Year of the Dog (Pagan style)

Great celebration yesterday. Much fun was had.

The altars are now cleansed, renewed and ready for Imbolc. The Full Circle altar is "resting" and has been since Samhain. Normally it sits on top broad, fat circular stone, which itself sits on top of a short file cabinet in this office, next to a sunny window. The window has a view of a garden and a hanging bird feeder attached to a porch. When I took down our FCE altar I put two cat baskets on top of the stone. The altar is now guarded 24/7 by at least one of our four cats. If purring can be a form of prayer (and why not? I'm sure Bast loves it) or better yet, a kind of chant (Chat Chant?) then our altar is well cared for. It certainly is peaceful. I should have done this years ago.

As I write this our oldest cat, Xoche, a pretty grey and white feline duchess, is lounging on some fleece in one of the baskets, blinking and basking in the sunlight. The warmth is good for her arthritis, and she is within easy petting distance, which is nice for me. (Stuck for a word? Pet a cat - it does you both a lot of good.) Xoche is pretending not to notice the flurry of birds at the feeder just outside. At 16 years old she sees avian activity as more a form of furry television then any kind of real challenge to her hunting skills. Fair enough. She's earned her rest.

The February newsletter is up. It includes my annual essay for the Lunar New Year. 2006 is the Year of the Dog.

That essay was bloody hard going. These lunar essays always involve a lot of shaman work before, during and after. When I'm ready, I start writing. Sometimes the process is easy and fluid and I just go with the flow. Sometimes I have to listen really hard. When that happens, I just sit and stare at the screen until it comes to me. This year the essay involved both kinds of writing. Some of the information was coming in at the last minute. Other bits had simmered in the cauldron of my subconscious for several months. At some point both mind and heart are ready and someone (Bridgid?) yells "Soups on!". I started writing this at eight am one morning and didn't finish until seven that same night.

It was the weekend. My husband, bless him, tiptoed around the house the whole day. When I finally came out of my office, he said "Hi, you need to eat." and he fed me. I love that man, I really, really do.

We posted it to the website that night...and promptly had problems. I was too exhausted to deal with it just then but we fixed it this morning. Or rather, he fixed it this morning. He is my Web God. (Now if he could just fix my ponderous prose...)

It occurs to me that I've written an entire essay on dogs, without once mentioning coyote. (What was I thinking?) Now that the Trickster God has my attention (and allowed us to fix the glitch), I will post a friendly nod to him by tonight.

There are other changes to make (extensive cutting, for one thing) before this can be an essay for Vox but that ain't happe'n today. I'm off work today (the plumbers are here to do repairs) and the dog knows it. He wants his well deserved walk, which he will get, once the crew breaks for lunch. The rest of the day will be spent as far from the computer as I can get.


Happy Year of the Dog. It's going to be a good one.

Addendum: The newsletter went up the Sunday night before Imbolc (celebrated). On the morning of Feb 2nd I made further changes. On reflection, I saw that I had been so involved in the shamanic aspects of this piece that I had let the tone slip. I had been a bit too hard on both Fitzgerald and undergraduates. It was a case of ducks/barrel - way too easy - very bad form. Not the sort of thing Bridgid likes at all. So this morning I changed it. The essay is still too long (they're always too long) but now, at least, it's in tune.

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