Tag Archives: aspecting

CloudCatcher 2019 – Evening Ritual – Day 2

Before Her altar I am dancing, moving to the interlocking rhythms the drummers’ hands coax out of the skins they play. I am staring into the marble-like reflective eyes embedded in a mask carried from another continent, across the ocean, to this camp: a mask for Erishkigal, holding the potency of Her. And tonight I too will be opening as a vessel to hold, to carry, to dance the potent presence of Erishkigal into this ritual.

Tonight I am aspecting the Queen of the Great Below. Last night our ritual took us through ever-deepening layers of entry into the Underworld. We explored the ways in which we are born into the Underworld, taken there against our own agency, by circumstance, by birth into pre-established hierarchies, cultures of domination, coercion, and control. Societies whose most privileged members benefit directly from the oppression of the marginalised… we listened to the voices of priestesses, and the soft tapping of the tar, entrancing us into a silent spiral-dance of mirrored eyes. And at the very last moment Inanna entered the Great Below and Erishkigal turned Her burning eye upon Her sister who was struck dead.

So tonight five aspectors, five vessels, five human witches writhe, kneel, pray, dance, stand still before the Western altar given to Erishkigal. Covered with Erishkigal. Throbbing with Erishkigal.

I hear the invocations, I sense the spirits, the powers are moving. And it comes to the point in the weaving of our sacred space, in the creation of our container for tonight, that Erishkigal Herself will be called to arise into These Ones. I am one of these Ones. My tender, a friend, is before me anchoring, grounding, tethering. I have given him a scarf a beloved gifted me, that I often wear in ritual. I trust him to hold this and hold me in this. I trust myself to navigate and negotiate this ecstatic communion with this Great One, this Mighty Goddess.

The priestess calls. Erishkigal comes. I am filled with Her presence, tangibly, palpably, I let Her in to fill my legs, my arms, my belly, my sex, my chest, my lungs, my throat, I reside at the top of my head and all through my back. I am present, She is present. This is aspecting. This One knows intimately what it means to carry a spirit, a god, a mighty one… and so the dance begins.

This is a ritual of the expression of deep grief, this is a rite of releasing, of giving it over to the compost of change.

And so we move, and we – the humans carrying Erishkigal – lock eyes and smile, snarl, weep, scream, laugh, and give ourself more deeply to the working at hand.

The Erishkigal in me is a sensually-awake Goddess, Her heart is radiating out to these witches doing this great work of grief. In groups of three they tell each other their stories of pain, grief, the deepest sadness, the sadness that I know – Erishkigal knows – because it has gone to the depths of the Below and has been known to us down here.

The drums change, the voices of the priestesses move toward a sharpened point, a fulcrum of energy…

For a moment I am lost, this one moment in which the mystery abides, and then I am on the ground, clawing at this purple dress, shrieking, sounds spilling out of me that aren’t Fio sounds, they are the screams of Erishkigal… I surrender, I allow Her to do this, because this is how the magic must be. I am still here at the top of my head and all through my back, but She is driving this car. She is pressing against the internal gauge I have given, but that is all She will do, because She has assented. And the Gods are creatures of their word, their oaths, their own bindings…

We speak. They ask us to speak after the Power churned and built and peaked and broke.

Erishkigal speaks of the power of grief, of this compost, and this spell, and this good work…
She speaks of the Dead as her lovers, and how She delights in the dense bodies of these animals we call humans. She speaks of darkness and beauty in each heart here and how we must let this grief move through us, cleanse us, wake us up to nature of things, and celebrate with each other, be with each other, make love, be artful, and do this magic.

Erishkigal falls silent, and mystery is alive.

CloudCatcher 2017 Ritual Day 4

Yesterday I met a spirit of this land. Tonight in ritual, as a group, we are to aspect (embody) those spirit beings. These are the directions given in ritual conspiracy and I plan on following them. The only problem is that something happened today carving out a seemingly divergent direction for me. 

Earlier today there was an optional offering in which Kali revealed herself to me as the loving mother instead of fierce destroyer. This Kali had body shaped like mine, had hair like mine, and was fully black, a matte black, the color of shadow. The bodies of Kali and myself moved in sync. Our weight-shifts matched. Our looseness of limbs matched. We swayed together, the self I know in physical reality, and Kali, the loving shadow. “Dance with me,” she said. And so I did. 

Tonight, instead of the lizard creature I met in yesterday’s ritual, I begin as something else, something that wants to lay on the ground, something that has an extra kind of gravity. I want to be still among other still beings. I imagine others in the group as plants and trees firmly rooted to this land. A handful of ritual participants are fluttering about the circle, jumping, running, flowing, squeaking, and chirping. I lay on the ground under a large stretchy shawl, moving limbs without exerting much energy. A chant is started and I feel pulled to my knees, hands on the floor before me, fingers spread, weight shifting side to side. Kali is here again. She is my mirror. Kali and I stay on our knees moving to the rhythm of the drum that gives shape to our magical container. Kali, a Hindu goddess, does not care that in tonight’s ritual, we are meant to be working with the spirit beings of this land, here in Mount Wolumbin, Australia. 

“Dance with me,” she says as we rise to our feet together. 

I open my eyes. There is more movement now than there was before gravity floored me.  Spirit beings are churning up the energy of our circle. I lock eyes with another aspected spirit being. She is fierce. She replaces Kali as my mirror. With my eyes, I say to her, “Dance with me.” And she does.

CloudCatcher 2016 Day 3 – Labyrinth Path

“We dance the labyrinth and the lands with Fae allies at our side, opening new paths, crossing edges that might have been closed before, and closing the doors that no longer serve us” (Day 3 Intent)

Today we had the opportunity to ‘Aspect’ our Fae ally and to be a ‘Tender’ to one of our peers when they did the same. Thibaut lead a detailed discussion on Aspecting and Tending before we began, and after ensuring that we had properly prepared ourselves, we paired off so each person could take a turns in either role.

Prior to Aspecting today, our group had altered the labyrinth path slightly so that we could walk through the ‘human’ gate, and out the Faery gate, into the lands of the Fae. The time spent walking through the labyrinth would be the time in which we were inviting our being to walk with us, in us, or around us.

I took on the role of tender first- My partner communicated to me that they would probably not need much assistance or guidance during their Aspecting; requesting for me just to witness, and carry their water bottle. They also suggested some personal topics to ask them questions about when grounding afterwards.

I hear a call, it comes from far away; I don’t know where it leads, behind the gates of night and day.. (chant)

Last night I had spoken to the ally I’d met first- a darker, more feminine being- and had planned to aspect them in my body, from my ribcage upwards. I was also to bring a red tie-on bracelet that I would put on during my time Aspecting, as a promise, sign, and reminder of the relationship I have and will continue, with both of the allies I spent time with in yesterday’s trance. I didn’t have a red bracelet at camp, so I had to create one this morning before path.

I readied the simple things that help me feel grounded daily, and the things I know have helped after previous experiences Aspecting. I let my tender know where I had my food, cigarettes, my beanie hat, and a water bottle- as well as my intentions for the ritual. When I began to walk the labyrinth, however, I could feel not just one, but both of my allies wanting to be with me. I decided I was okay with this, but renegotiated that my boundary would be that I would only aspect from my shoulders up (no arms).

My senses felt a lot sharper whilst Aspecting, but my eyesight seemed to slightly blur around the edges- like sharp, bright, tunnel vision. My Self felt somewhat disconnected, and the conversations I had with the two beings whirled around my head. I only Aspected for a short time- I know that for me personally, this practice takes quite a toll on my mind and body. I tied my bracelet onto my wrist, we had some laughs and giggles, and I gained some (more!) insights- particularly around things I can do to feel the Fae’s presence, and reminders of the things that kept me joyful in my formative years.

After ‘devoking’ them, I employed my grounding techniques with the support of my Tender, including things like using my name, patting down my body to feel my ‘edges’, and hugging. We then had the opportunity to get into small groups and discuss our experiences in both roles. I find it to be an honour to be a Tender to someone- feels quite intimate to be witnessing someone’s personal experience with a being that is not in this realm. Aspecting is a tool that I find extremely useful, but is also something that wears me out very easily, so I always try my best to keep my time purposeful with intent, so that the experience is fruitful and positive.