THE ALTARS OF LOVE & VOMITUS WEALTH: From Solstice to Equinox Part 2
SOLSTICE IN THE UNDERTHING; EQUINOX AT SPRING: Making, Breaking. Tending, Mending.
...at the ceremony, one of the gals pulled focus cards and runes for us. The focus was Renewal. Mine was as follows:
Physical renewal: Are you listening to the cues of your body all day, every day? Are you heeding them?
Mental renewal: Read books. Lots of books.
Spiritual renewal: Wealth.
The next morning, it occurred to me that I am an overflowing vat of wealth surrounded by overstuffed barrels of riches, and it’s all locked inside me. I have no idea how to get it out and share it within the parameters of the existing Systems. Not without taxing my health...
Haides is the Master of Wealth down there in the Underworld.
And yes, that is one of the older spellings of the name "Hades." He made quite the demand on me as I was editing the manuscripts of my novels about the Greek Gods, hence this spelling. Other spellings don’t even have an H. (5)
Thus it was that, for my meditative focus on spiritual renewal through wealth and abundance, I created the "Haides' Underworld Altar of Vomitus Wealth," comprised almost solely of cherished gifts I've received throughout the years.
(If you've read the most recent incarnation of my manuscripts, then you can enjoy all the sniggering over that “vomitus wealth” crack, just like I do. Haides does, too, but only if I do it from my knees, offering pure black coffee with my snarky grin half-hidden. But only half. He loves my snark like He loves the coffee.)
(Just go with it. It's a writer thing. It's also an Underworld thing.)
The fact that these riches are a collection of gifts says something unto itself. It also speaks to a huge part of the seed-intentions I wrote for the culmination of the Equinox Vigil, including how much I miss collaboration, connection, community.
To my shock, within 24 hours of completing this ceremony, I had acquired three peopling dates, one of them with strangers, one with a synchronistic random encounter while on one of my nature walks, and one with friends I haven't seen since before Covid hit.
Soooo...yeah. If you don't know about me and the lightning-fast manifestation that occasionally strikes my ground, that's what I do. But only sometimes. It's highly inconsistent. But when it works, it REALLY works. (Does it ever really NOT work? I dunno. Ask me when I'm dead and I have a better vantage point of my life's trajectory.)
This creative power is why I have to be so careful about what I wish for. It's also why I decided to stop having Grand Dreams and Goals on New Year's 2019. Because when I set my mind to something, sometimes I get it.
Too often, what I think I want sooooo badly turns out to be the worst possible thing for me. Sometimes--oh, I get it all right, just with the Universe's dark-chocolate sense of humor slathered all over it. "Heh-heh-heh," comes the insidious chuckle, "you left a mighty big loophole there."
Like that time I said I wanted to understand the meaning of life, and the Universe obliged with a drunk driver. Like some other times I've gotten exactly what I wanted...
You did not want things for yourself. That made you small. That kept you safe. That meant you could move smoothly through the world without upsetting every applecart you came across. And if you were careful, if you were a proper part of things, then you could help. You mended what was cracked. You tended to the things you found askew. And you trusted that the world in turn would brush you up against the chance to eat. It was the only graceful way to move. All else was vanity and pride. ...She knew if you weren’t always stepping lightly as a bird the whole world came apart to crush you. Like a house of cards. Like a bottle against stones. Like a wrist pinned hard beneath a hand with the hot breath smell of want and wine...
― Auri, The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (3)
Every time the Universe has played one of these tricks with giving me exactly what I had thought I wanted, has it really been a trick? Or has it been a tangled, bumpy, wisening path to give me something even better than what I'd imagined? As painful as every one of these things has been, were they as cruel as they may seem amidst the enduring? Were they as tragic? As atrocious?
And does that diminish the power, the strength, and the sheer wonder of where some of my darkest, most painful experiences have ultimately led me?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
I vacillate between these two theories. Sometimes I need to withdraw deep into the cave and make myself very small, very quiet. Things need to be tended. *I* need to be tended. Mended. I need things that have been overturned and upended put back into their proper place like a broken bone that needs resetting. Sometimes my whole world needs resetting, and that takes time.
It deserves time.
This sort of work can only be done in the silence of myself and in the shadows. In the architectural guts underneath the stage and behind curtains when everybody else has gone home. Sometimes I take longer tending to these dark places than at other times. Sometimes all it takes is a weekend or an evening. Sometimes it takes years.
This has been one of them. I've actually stopped doing a lot of intentional and ritualistic manifestation work in the past years. Mostly, I've been asking, listening, and flitting off where I feel the Flow on a minute-by-minute basis. But this Equinox, intention and specificity felt right. So I did the Vigil. And now the seeds are sprouting.
I shall keep you appraised.
In the meanwhile, here is the altar that reminds me, day and night, not only how much I have to give thanks for, but how much I have to give, if I can only figure out how to jerry-rig and hack the Systems so that my solutions are sustainable within the parameters of my nature, passions, and especially my health. I am the Jerry-Rigging Princess (my father’s daughter), the Renaissance Queen’s Spawn (my mother’s daughter), and an avid hack-bastardizer of the dastardliest order, so I still have casual hope for myself while I’m breathing.
When I first made this altar, I was extraordinarily uncomfortable looking at it. Monetary wealth has always been such a foreign thing to me, and in the past decade it has basically ceased to exist in my world at all. Yet here is the evidence of it, all over my costume closet and my altars.
And so the nasty inner critic pipes up.
"Ohhhh, see? You have plenty of material wealth, you whiner. You should sell all these things so you can buy food and rent for a few months and stop being such a parasite!"
I have attempted to sell my belongings. They're too eclectic for local Craigslist, and the peanuts I earned from Ebay were not worth the hours of labor and shipping I spent.
Besides, to sell the costumes I dance in, the items that build my meditation altars, and my most cherished physical reminders of how precious I am to those who love me? That would be like using those dozen boxes of bandaids I've collected to repair the stab-wound to my femoral.
"Ohhhh, you don't deserve monetary wealth because you don't offer the world anything that it values consistently enough, correctly enough, masterfully enough, skilled enough, anything enough to deserve getting paid more than a few peanuts tossed on the floor for you to scramble after on your hands and knees."
Umph. That one I don't have much argument against, because artists and those who weave the energy of imagination might have great value, but we are not valuED in this society unless we adhere to specific types of packaging. (Which can be contrary to the intrinsic nature of art and imagination.) This is part of that whole hacking the Systems thing.
So every time I passed by this altar (and I pass by it a gazillion times a day), I had to come to terms with the flagellating, damning Flying Monkeys as they circled around my head, flinging guilt and imposter syndrome poop. I also had to accept that, day after day, solutions to my dilemma continued to elude me.
Nevertheless, I fed the questions (and then myself) expensive gifted chocolates during Valentine's Day week. I feed us glorious coffee and pure water. This week, I put a precious Cadbury egg in the treasure chest. It will hang out there until I can feel that it's time. When I eat it, I'll ask what this issue has to say to me. Then we'll see.
So far, there are no answers forthcoming except, "Keep doing what you're doing. Keep asking. Keep listening. Keep playing with your toys. Keep creating, and keep your Ears and Eyes open. Then, when you feel it, ACT."
Okay. I hear and obey.
So when I feel that certain pull, I jump on my teacher's Equinox Vigil. When I screw up a writer-date and go on the wrong day, I wander Barnes & Noble and jot down inspiration from the back covers of published books, then come home and write like a fiend on fire. I watch for signs in the woods and in my dreams. I sleep. I eat. I crap. I shower. I do it again. All day and all evening, I look at that Vomitus Wealth altar until it no longer makes me squirm. I sit with it and tinker with it until all I can see is a big toy. A pile of richness, love, inspiration, value, and potential.
Then I eat, drink, crap, shower, write, dance, play, ask, hear, take another step. I sleep. And I dream again. Sometimes I remember what I dreamt, sometimes I don't, and when I do, I write it down.
I dunno what else to do right now.
Amidst gathering inspirational items for the altar, there was so much Shiny that wanted to come upstairs and play that it spilled over into the Abundance Altar of Earth & Metal (grounding, protection, and utilizing the tools I have) and the Shrine of Travel & Tea Service. (In other words, making connections and finding my greater purposes in the world.)
Do I believe that, by creating these altars, some kind of woo-woo magic is going to bwong my life into a billionaire's wonderland? That's not the point, and even if I won the lottery or stumbled upon the next revolutionary gadget, thus becoming a billionaire overnight, it wouldn't be because I had placed the incense burner to the right of the candle, not the left.
Or heck, maybe it would be. Because, amidst my meditation, if I was admiring the way the light shone upon the yin-yang symbol instead of the finger cymbals, maybe I wouldn't have been inspired to pick up my clangers, which led me to hunt down that one song, which caused me to trip over the carpet, which delayed me pushing play, which sent me into the kitchen for water, which made me pick up my phone and see that my friend had called me because he needed someone to talk to and so I drove out into the night instead of dancing alone and our chat led to that idea and--
You get the point.
The tiniest things can cause the greatest changes down the line. As such, this is magic. It's mind magic. What exactly does that mean? I dunno. Ask me that after I'm dead, too.
I only know that when I look at these altars, I am reminded to focus on and cultivate the intentions that I set when I created them. With these things at the forefront of my mind, I make different decisions than I would if I was concentrating on other things. Are the decisions "better?" Who knows. I sure don't. But these are the things I want to concentrate on right now, so I do.
Plus, they're so darn pretty. And can't we all stand to have a little more beauty in our lives, especially when we're stressed?
People always ask what's in the jars. Dirt. Salt. Sand. More dirt. More sand. These are the little pieces of earth brought back from my travels.
Sand from the Sahara Desert washed up to create the beaches of Tenerife.
More sand from the Sand Dunes in Colorado.
Dirt from Krakow mixed with muck scraped off my shoes from the untouched, uncut Primeval Forest in Poland where you're not allowed to do much beyond breathe, circulate blood, walk on the trails, and feast your eyes.
Earth from Glastonbury, that magical King Arthur land of Avalon.
Pink rock salt from the astounding Wieliczka Mine, also in Poland.
Earth from a mystical olive grove in the mountains of Andalusia...
While it is true that I got paid very well when people have flown me to them so they could learn dance from me and see me perform, the most precious and irreplaceable wealth they bestowed upon me were those plane tickets and the hours they spent showing me their homes and their homelands. It's why the reminders of our time together sit always on some altar of reverent gratitude or other.
So there I had created the daily reminders of just how chock full of abundance and wealth that my big ole weighty sack really is. As such, all winter long, while Persephone was stuck downstairs (stuck…hah!), she and Haides have been frolicking in the caverns, feeding each other pomegranate seeds along copious riverbanks, and boinking madly from one end of my psyche's Underworld to the other.
Might have had something to do with Eros demanding that I overhaul the Altar of Love. One of my writer friends realized a few years ago that her little Eros bust was actually my Eros bust, so guess who lurks over my shoulder while I write, reminding me that I Am Love?
For this winter season, not only did Eros want the poinsettias, but He also insisted upon the holographic glitter-dot sequin fabric (because He is just too fabulous), a carafe of equally fabulous floral/berry tea, and Turkish figs. He was quite the sniggering twelve-year-old about how I placed them on the altar.
(Okay, okay, that might have been me.)
Wut? Playing with these altars and infiltrating them with lascivious smartassery also reminds me not to take things so darn seriously. We've got enough serious crap that goes on around here. This is part of how we counterbalance.
As I piled up everything that I wasn't inspired to use from the old altars, I was cleaning off the cactus flowers that had died, fallen, and promptly gone to adorn the Medusa altar. I had planned to go outside and do something special with them down at the ravine.
Ummmmm…NO. Eros took one look at them and said, “I want those.”
You want dead flowers that sat on the Medusa Altar?
“Yup. Mine. Now.”
Ummmm…okay then. I hear and obey. So into a pretty box they went, along with the equally dead, fuzzy honey bee, and the center clover from the blooming tea flower that had gone into the brew.
All winter, Eros has demanded every one of the cactus flower carcasses for some reason. I am not sure why. We do not question these things. We simply gather them off the floor when they fall and we place them around the God of Love’s pretty bust while thinking thoughts of robust lust.
I suspect this was a winter Underworld thing, which matched all the Haides-ness seeping in from across the dance studio. I also suspect that Eros' customary interest in fresh blossoms will resume now that Persephone has come back upstairs. After all, 'tis the season to rejuvenate Earth Mother’s heart so that all the flower-flinging and glitter-throwing of spring may sproing.
As such, it was time to change out the quilted table runner from winter to spring (they’re all gifts from my own Mommy), and Eros informed me that poinsettias were no longer in season. Why no, they are not. But daffodils and daisies sure are. Eros assures me that He is extra-fabulous, now that it's bunny-boinking season, so the holographic glitter-dot needed to stay.
On the day before Equinox, we just so happened to finish gradually devouring the daily homage of Valentine Conversation Hearts--another exercise in asking and listening to what Love had to tell me each day. How convenient, and just in time to switch to Cadbury eggs.
Yup. There's a lot of adolescent sniggering that goes on around here. I mean, come on! Some of you have actually read a bunch of Eros' and Haides' adventures, so you know these things about me already. For those who don't know...
Now you're starting to get an idea.
Addendum: as I was eating the egg off Haides' treasure chest, a ginormous, black buzzard came to alight in my ravine and chill for a bit. I have never, in all the years of living here, had one of them hang out back here. We have the hawk who rules this neighborhood, as well as a plethora of small birds and the occasional oversized, red-headed woodpecker. But never buzzards. And he's visited for the past three afternoons.
Hmmm... Haides usually sends me postcards via spiders. Fascinating...
If you’ve made it this far, you may be sitting over there with your eyes all huge, ticking off the boxes of, “Mmmmm-hmm. See? I always knew she was insane.” A lot of people do. They don’t have half a clue of what I get up to when nobody else is around. This is one of them.
Of course, maybe you understand exactly what I’m doing. Maybe you do it, too. Dancers only look insane when they move ecstatically in front of people who can’t hear the music.
So this is what we do in the spring when we want to plant tiny seeds with the intention of instigating great changes. For my life. For the people I care about. For the world that is in so much turmoil and enraged pain. For this planet and all its connections to our Universe(s). We tend to our own pomegranate cart first.
As the culminating event of my Equinox Vigil, I was supposed to plant six seeds to grow (yes, six seeds), along with the crumpled-up teensy papers bearing my six intentions that I had written throughout the week. Unfortunately, we get either zero direct sunlight on the back patio, or harsh, unending sunlight in the front, so planting seeds has never proven fruitful in the house where I currently live.
Tell ya what I can do around here though. I can reclaim the snot outta plants that were once flourishing and vibrant, but nearly died from inhospitable environments.
So that’s where I planted my Equinox seed intentions instead. Under the shadow of a bamboo that was reclaimed twice from the edge of death, deep in the dark dirt among the roots of a singed-but-blooming, prickly-but-gorgeous, hard-to-kill cactus.
I planted them with my good left hand. 🌸😈🌸
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
--UP NEXT: Let's complete our full descent into the depths of the shadowy basement in the aftermath of the Satyr Incident and the Theo Debacle. Because what I found down there helped catapult me back up into the the sunlight of a glorious springtime. BULLSHIT MANWICH: The Lies We Believe (And What We Parrot Ourselves)
1) Schlumbergera - Whoooah…apparently these cacti really, REALLY bloom! And yes. They dislike direct sunlight, but flourish in partial shade.
3) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
--Auri: tending, mending, making, breaking. Putting things in their proper place.