Monday, October 28, 2013

Samhain Rituals on Saturdays

Theme music for this entry:

            Okay, let's get THIS blog post started, despite being drafted but not published in chronological order; that's right, I'm drafting my blog posts as they come up, but publishing them out of order.  Yes, I'M SCREWING UP THIS BLOG'S TIMELINE!  DON'T TELL THE DOCTOR!  He'll kick my ass for sure!

            Anyways, first, allow me address a few things that my mother will inevitably yell at me for.  Number one, yes, I was baptized Catholic.  I know that the first of the Ten Commandments is "I am the Lord, your God; thou shalt not have any other Gods besides me."  And breaking this rule is a huge black mark on my soul--ACCORDING to the most orthodox of Christians.  Yet, if you have ever watched Lady Snake's portal-opening ritual at the Ancient Ram Inn, or the voodoo ritual that took place at the Magnolia Lane plantation done by Bloody Mary, the Voodoo Queen of Louisiana, or even attended a ritual in person, you can tell that there's something in the air, that something otherworldly happens, that there is something ELSE out there, besides the orthodox structure of God-the-good, Satan-the-evil, heaven-vs-hell belief of the universe.
  Some sort of Force is out there that we humans can tap into with certain rituals, whether it's pagan, voodoo, or even Native American, and as long as we use it for good, it will treat us the same; plus, it's a two-way street, for, if we use this Force for evil intent, it will bite you in the ass in the long run, making you curse that time you tried to get this Force to fuck over your ex, that bully at school, your boss for being a boss-hole, etc.

            Secondly, paganism isn't evil; that paradigm was created out of a conversion campaign by the Catholic Church a long time ago as it swept through the British Isles, which is where I believe the origins of the Wiccan faith lie (*NERD FACE*).  And paganism is like ice cream from Baskin Robbins or Ben & Jerry's: there are many different flavors, but after reading about it in Anti-Craft (one of the most badass craft books you could find), it turns out that paganism is a category of religion that has non-Abrahamic origins, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam have; of course, that means Hinduism and Shintoism are also pagan, but such classification is purely subjective.  I think that Wiccans and Witches are not inherently evil solely for believing in something other than the Abrahamic God, but rather in a whole plethora  of gods and goddesses whose origins were created out of man's fear of the natural forces of nature, in a world where science has not yet explained why there are thunderstorms, what happens when a child is conceived, and why people die, also etc.  And Mom might be worried about what I might get myself into (as all moms would), but I hope she pays attention to this next part.

            I have a couple of personal rules when it comes to rituals of the pagan variety:

  1. Never dabble in Satanism and Santeria--the former because, duh, it worships Satan, and the latter because of live animal sacrifices, which I completely ABHOR.
  2. Never partake in rituals that involve the sacrifice of human lives; if I start attending rituals like those, and I find out that this is happening, I'm calling the cops on these motherfuckers, with no questions asked except, "Are you going to kill them?"

Other than that, I am open to the idea of honoring ancestors and loved ones (who recently passed away) during Samhain (pronounced Sao-in), celebrating the arrival of springtime with Ostara, or whatever else is positive.  It's an excellent exposure of not only culture, but it also means you get to be social with the other pagans, while fighting back against the constraints placed upon you by the Church, the same Church that says that contraception is wrong and homosexuality is evil.

            That's one of the reasons why I attended: to force myself to be social, to interact with people, to stop being such a goddamn hermit.  If I interact with others, I'll have a better chance of finding friends.  The other reasons include, duh, the actual ritual itself, me being able to honor my Uncle Mark, the exposure to cultures and beliefs that are alien to my own, the potluck that took place afterwards (W00T FOR FREE FOODS!), and to irk my older sister and my mother a little bit.  (Sorry!  I didn't want to live under a rock anymore!  Can someone please inform Az-Grell and Tomo-Undertaker of FallnAngel's Creations that I did this?)

            I really was super nervous before hand, which is why I was tweeting like mad to my pagan tweeps online before-hand.  I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what to do, I felt I needed some guidance.  I couldn't find out beforehand with my 15 minutes of interwebz at the library, trying to sift through About.com's spider web of links to other article stubs, so I tried Twitter.  Naturally, since Paganism is such a big theology category umbrella that has a lot of leniency, I didn't get a straight answer of "You can expect this, this, this, this, and this to happen, and you have to say blahblahblah while doing such and such."

             I was preparing lightning fast for the event, taking a shower, cooking, eating a little tiny bit before packing up and heading out; I made tuna noodle casserole, and I don't know how many taboos I violated with that dish, but I bled for it when one of the tuna cans stabbed me!  (Eh, it was a drop or two of blood, and it was an inappropriately cut lid piece that was still stuck on the can, which technically means that the tuna can DID stab me.)  I walked over while hoping to whatever Force is out there that I don't freeze to death and that I also wind up not tripping, breaking my only 2-quart baking dish with its badass plastic lid and losing my dish!  That segment of the quest was completed while I froze my fat ass off.  (Don't worry, I also brought along my wire cooling rack, a serving spoon and a couple of pot holders all in a green reusable shopping bag; the more stuff I lose, the better the night gets! *sarcasm*)

            I did make it in time and *squirrels* someone brought along their greyhound, which is a little comforting; such a cute shy greyhound!  But what really helped chill me out is when one of the practitioners smoked me with his "sage stick."  That REALLY mellowed me out!  I kid you not, the smell just helped me get over my jitters, and I felt…. lighter, and freer and less full of dread.  Also, many of the people participating in the circle had on their cloaks, so I had to make do with my hoodie!  But a lot of the other people had on cool outfits, a couple of the men there had on Victorian-style clothing, complete with top hats and one of them had a classy walking stick, and there were decorations with a mini-pumpkin and skulls…  Completely cool.  No full-faced masks were allowed, and green witch masks were forbidden as well, probably because those masks came from the ideas that give real witches a bad reputation of being sickly "evil."  Also, it was very laid-back, so I didn't have to fit myself into Renaissance-esque garb, complete with bodice!  But it was also very very cold, so I had my scarf and my glove-mittens, and I got into my cuddle-warm clothing after I got back, then sipped black-plastic-skull-mug hot chocolate!  SQUEE!...  (Oh, shit, I'm rambling again.)

            There was music and drumming, there was singing (vocalizing, I think; if only the Vocaloids were there, then they can help!), and there were awesome looking BELLYDANCERS!  Seriously, I loved their outfits, and it just made me wish I were sexy-skinny again without rusty belly-dancing skills just so I could join!  There was another point when there was a chanted rhyme to be done, going along the lines of, "Blood by blood/Bone by bone/We summon you (or Come to us)/Speak to your own," and it would first start off quietly, rise in volume, then decrease in volume until we were quiet again.  (Jeez, now the post is starting to sound like a kid's "What I Did for Samhain" school report.)  But I can see how this ritual is comforting, as it's to remember and honor our ancestors and loved ones.  When we were picturing our loved ones, I was thinking of not only my uncle, but also my dog who passed away (from vet-sanctioned MURDER) not long after; it really made me tear up during the ceremony, because I missed them so much, because their love and support helped my family and me…

            Another point in the ceremony was that people in the circle that surrounded the Ancestors Altar share who they were honoring that night; after a bit of delay, I barely got mine in, which wasn't easy--I was so nervous, like I was back in high school, never wanting to go up in front of the class and speak to my judgmental peers.  But this past Saturday night (October 26), I went up and shared anyways, because if I don't do it at all, I'll never be able to do it again, cowering in the fear I've felt before.  That was one wall I've kicked down.  Yeah, it was a wall; you see, people who have Asperger's (like myself) have these walls where there's something they have to do (like call a dentist or doctor for an appointment) and they can't get past that initial feeling of "I can't do it," and it happens with chores, tasks they have to do, moments where they can start socializing with others, or they lack the motivation to do whatever it is that they feel they can't do.  I don't know how else to explain it; Mom and Dad do a better job of explaining, so hopefully they can e-mail me their explanation of it that I can add on later in an edit…

            But I went up to that altar, and I (hopefully) clearly stated, "I'm honoring my Uncle Mark, who died in 2006.  He loved myself, my mother and my sister unconditionally."  Albeit, I almost said, "I uncle--" at the beginning, and I believe I slurred a little at the end (which is something I struggled with from living with a hearing impairment all my life, since I was a baby), but I did it and now it's done, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief!  It was like climbing the Grand Teton or Mt. Kilimanjaro, or even just bungee jumping, but once it's over, IT'S OVER!  Advice for all individuals who have Asperger's: just grit your teeth, roll up your sleeves (both not literally) and do it!  You'll feel better and happier once it's done!

            Afterwards, there was a potluck--YAY!  People got to eat my tuna noodle casserole!  Some enjoyed it, one woman was a gluten-phobe and she was like, "AHHH!  GIT IT OFF MAH PLATE, YO!"  (That may have been dramatized…)  But, there were cookies and cupcakes and sodas (most of them diet; YUCK!), and what Samhain ritual potluck is complete without a red velvet cake that's in the shape of a SKULL?!  I had a piece of it, and it was delish, and still amazing; though I pity the cake skull dude because he lost his brains before he lost his skully face!  ZOMBIES, I TELL YOU!  Popcorn balls, sugar cookies--I swear, I was the only person who served an actual dinner, which I did because I haven't had dinner yet, and I figured, "Why not share?"  I think, though, that next time, I'll do two pans: one that is gluten-free and one that is regular, without labeling them and let the people sort out which one is which, then laugh when they get it wrong--MWAHAHAHA! Problem?  (*troll face*)

            And during the little repast thingy, I chatted up a cooking nerd!  He really was a cooking nerd!  One of the best kinds!  He knew the tuna mould recipe Mom and I would do, he had the cake pan for the skull, he knew tuna noodle casserole, and knew how to make certain recipes healthier!  Maybe I'll share a recipe I managed to learn from my mentor & her husband when they had me over for dinner one night; I wonder if he knows about the Marshall mashed potatoes recipe, which provides a product that is tasty AND healthy!  So, wall-smashing-like-the-Hulk?  DONE!  Fast cooking quest?  DONE!  Socialization and exposure?  DONE!  Is Mom pleased with the personal issues I've resolved on my own yet?

            Now, as the actual date for Samhain (October 31, aka MAH BIRTHDAY!) draws closer, it is said that the veil between life and death thins and we will be able to receive a sign from our loved ones who have passed on.  So, I have to be open for a signal from Uncle Mark that says, "I got your message, and I love you and miss you too."  Maybe it'd be everything working well for me, and I don't wind up on the couch with a shitty day and in need of loves and cuddles.  Or perhaps I already received that sign months ago when I had a dream with him in it, one where I got to hug him and tell him that I love him and "will" miss him so much.  I am happy with that dream, but would it kill him to give me a birthday gift of that message, that reply of "I love you"?  (Crap, poor choice of wording; he's already dead.  Sorry, Mom and Uncle Mark!  If only my friend Jesse could be here to give me that Gibb-smack…)


            But all in all, not only was I able to be exposed to things I've been sheltered from, I also got ideas for a new clothing collection!  But the ideas have to remain top secret for now, so that nobody can steal my ideas from me.  Yes, I'm that paranoid; so what?  Anyways, in the spirit of celebrating the pagan new year, merry part, blessed be and blessed Samhain!

            And, fuck it, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!