I just realized that I haven’t written anything new here for over three years. THREE YEARS.
Well, it isn’t surprising, considering all that I have been through. Perhaps, I should catch up?
It deserves some thought, though.
I just realized that I haven’t written anything new here for over three years. THREE YEARS.
Well, it isn’t surprising, considering all that I have been through. Perhaps, I should catch up?
It deserves some thought, though.
This year, I was to lead our Coven’s Beltane ritual. It was not something that I had planned to do. But, circumstances made the honor fall to me as I volunteered, should anything happen to the original plan of having someone else lead. And, circumstances did, indeed, happen…
I wanted to do something a little different. We don’t have the option to have a Maypole dance, although last year, we did dance around our altar. And, I didn’t want to just have a celebratory ritual; I wanted it to be special. It is something I aspire to every time I create a new ritual, which is several times a year.
So, I created this guided ‘journey’ as a sort of meditation. It is meant to cause the journeyer to see these things happening as if watching a short film. It met with much success and gratitude from our Coven members, especially the part where the Goddess touches those present (at which time, I went around the Circle and touched each person, just as is described in the ‘journey’). My hope is that this will inspire others to create. It is also my hope that this might allow others to feel and see the Goddess and the God in whatever form you wish.
Breathe …imagine that the air going into your body is a color. See the air as this color. …Breathe in the air, the color, and hold it for a moment…breathe it out and see the color leave your body, only to be replaced by the next colored breath. …inhale…..exhale…
I want to take you on a journey to a place that is not touched by time. I don’t know where this place is and it isn’t important. Come along with me as we travel through the mists, over land and sea, into a place where the air is pure and the fires burn brightly on the hill tops at Beltane…
The people have gathered at the edge of the village, dressed in brightly colored clothes, adorned with flowers and ivy and feathers. They form a loose circle around a stone altar. On the altar are offerings to the Goddess; sunflowers, seeds, a loaf of bread, bowl of milk, stones and bones and tokens of devotion. In the center, there is a large, round rock with ribbons tied around it. Each of the villagers has tied a colored ribbon around this stone in gratitude to the Goddess for bringing the life of the Earth back from the Crone of winter.
Suddenly, among them, is a young woman. No one knows where she came from. She is showing the beginning of the roundness of pregnancy, glowing from within. She is wearing a dress that seems to me made of silk and of the leaves of plants and fibers of vines. On Her head is a wreath of purple and yellow blossoms and in her hands is a basket full of the representation of the bounty of the harvest to come; a red apple, wheat, an ear of corn, citrus and plums. She places the basket near the ribbon-adorned stone at the center of the altar with reverence and turns again to the villagers surrounding Her.
She stands at the center, near the altar and closes her eyes. She sways as She begins to hum and it is infectious and melodious and the people surrounding Her begin to hum, too. The children giggle, offering a counter point to the emerging melody. The Goddess opens Her eyes and begins to sing as She moves around the circle, touching each person in turn, giving back the gratitude that has been shown to Her. Each person She touches begins to glow and the humming reaches a layered, multi-toned peak and then, at some unseen signal, it ceases and the Goddess raises her arms.
Her voice rises in an unknown language as She calls out. But to whom is She calling?
A crashing and a thundering of hooves startles those in the circle. It is coming from the forest beyond the boundaries of field, within the embrace of the wilderness. A horn sounds somewhere, far away. The Pines and Firs and the ground tremble and dust rises from within the trees.
The Goddess at the center calls again and her voice is full of longing and welcome, and just a little bit of awe. Her eyes are drawn to the edge of the forest, seeking into the shadows.
The villagers turn their eyes toward the spot at the forests edge just as the Wild God emerges, shaking His crest of antlers, clothed in animal fur and leaves. He smiles at the gathering and utters a wild cry that makes each person shiver with its power as He moves into the circle and toward the Goddess. She laughs and reaches for Him as He draws close and takes Her in a gentle but insistent embrace. They kiss and the villagers begin to hum again as the waves of feral joy ripple out from the Goddess and Her Consort. The Lady leans away from Him and retrieves the apple from the basket on the altar; sweetness to be shared between them. But, before She can turn back to Her Lover, She is swept off Her feet, long, golden hair flying. Her arms tighten around His strong shoulders as He once again utters a fierce cry. He clutches the Goddess to His muscular chest and moves out of the circle, into the trees and disappears into the forest with Her…
One of the men of the village breaks out of the circle with a lit torch in hand, uttering a cry not unlike that of the Wild God’s. He lights the piled wood at the edge of the circle. No one really noticed it there before and some think it may have simply appeared, a gift from the God. Flames leap up, higher than the man and he throws the torch into the fire and rushes back to the circle of villagers. The humming becomes a song, wild and exuberant. Some keep time on drums and others play wood flutes and reed pipes. The other men, women and children begin to dance with untamed abandon, swinging each other, and lifting the young into the air. It is their dance of the Celebration of the Turning of the Wheel. It is their dance of gratitude to the Goddess and God, to celebrate the union in the forest and to empower each other with bliss and thankfulness.
They dance to bring balance and to celebrate The Balance. They dance to see the Goddess and God in each other’s eyes. They dance to celebrate their growth and the growth of the crops and of their endeavors. They dance until the sun goes down and they are exhausted and the children have long since fallen asleep. They celebrate the Sun and the Earth until, finally, the fire burns low and they lay under the stars in the embrace of another in the darkness and celebrate the union of the Goddess and Wild God in other ways…until they, too, fall asleep, warm and satiated and full of feasting and love.
As they sleep, they dream of the Goddess. She holds them as they journey in the mists of their dreams and She gives each dreamer a kiss to mark them as Her own.”
© S. JoBeth Sexton, 5/6/2017
I live in Central Arizona. Most of the world thinks that the entire state of Arizona is a huge desert, full of cactus and devoid of greenery, where temperatures soar into the hundreds in the summer. While that is true for Central and Southern Arizona, I can tell you that the northern part of the state is not like that. We get snow, cooler temperatures. There are forests and lakes to fish. And, when I was living in the northern part of the Arizona, I enjoyed summers of mild temperatures with only a couple of weeks out of the season with temperatures over one hundred degrees. It was heaven.
In the central part of the state, however, near the capitol of Phoenix, summers can reach temperatures of one hundred degrees and often more. Typically, the weather jumps from tolerable to something right next door to Hell, with Hell being the more preferable place to visit. I don’t do well in this kind of heat. Most people have problems with depression in the winter. I have problems with depression in the summer. I am more of a ‘pine trees and mountains and snow’ kind of person and I like to be outside. But, because I find it difficult to tolerate the summer heat in our suburb of Phoenix, I can’t go outside very much.
So, as I was sitting at my desk, looking out the window, contemplating the weather and watching the birds outside pant in the heat, this poem came pouring out of me. As I re-read it and did some editing, I realized that it is not only about this extreme weather. It is also a metaphor for other things, as most poems tend to be. And, since there is no denying this creative urge and the need to write it all down, I thought I would share it. I will leave it up to you to decide the meaning of the metaphor.
Your comments are welcome.
There you are, rising from
Hues pulsate with breath,
You dizzy me, spinning
You are a mirage on
an inferno land
in the Day of Endless Sun.
flowing like melting paint,
your fever expands,
searing fingers sinking into
I breathe the scorching air.
Falling away, shadows receding,
My eyes blinded
as the disk of the sun
screams at them.
I seek escape and find none.
Flames dance within-
The invisible waltz
of hungry destruction.
I beg the sky to tilt –
An impossible request.
All I touch and all I know
is invaded by those fingers
of relentless degree.
Oh, how I long for Winter.
© JoBeth Sexton – 6/6/2016
So, here I am again.
This is a poem that I wrote years ago, as so many are. Sometimes, I wonder where all of my muses have gone because I don’t feel like a writer very much any more.
I know that writing every day is one of the things that builds better skill. But, most days, I can’t find my muse. I guess another way to word that is to say that I can’t find the motivation to write. I know it is buried somewhere under all the fatigue and the long list of things that I know I should do instead but nothing feeds the ‘Writer’ part of my soul quite like immersing myself in a mountain of warm, fresh words that help me express what I can not otherwise give life to.
Here is another piece of my world, from a long time ago. I probably don’t need to add this but I am going to anyway. This poem is not about what it seems to be about at first glance. Metaphor is a wonderful thing.
All around me
Pushing me from behind
a gentle lover’s pressure.
Dancing around my neck
an icy chill,
Lancing through my clothes,
Touching secret parts of me
Dancing with me
The poetry of moments;
A Sonnet of Days
bending me into
Willingness of Willow Tree.
Tugging at my hair,
Whipping over me,
Breathing life into
a deadened soul
That weeps for life no more.
…kneeling within you
inside your stream of Spirit
You give your breath and strength
offer the Wind all willingness.
©JoBeth Sexton 12/12/2002-2016
©Sally JoBeth Sexton
May 19, 2015
I am floating
Until I let the waves
In the lull of ripples,
I let the water
Covering my ears, I hear
The surreal sounds
Of the life within the deep.
The sounds taste so like those
I feel when I am
Buried by sleep.
Rocking, as within a lover’s arms,
Eyes closed against
What I might see,
Choosing instead to rely
On images just
Whispers unknown to my ears
And hiding from
The tick of time.
A breath of the Song
within my blood.
The fingers of my
dig deep into the
Soil of the mists
For this is where the
Roots of light and
darkness are born.
And tranquilly float on
The ebb and flow
of thought and dreams.
I haven’t written any poetry for a very long time. I am fortunate to be in a place in my life where I can stop and write what I feel when the muse speaks to me. I don’t have to worry about someone looking over my shoulder and my job isn’t in jeopardy if I need to pick up a pen and paper to scribble a few lines before they vanish from my mind.
Yes, I am very fortunate.
I don’t know if this is a good poem or a bad one. I am sure there will be those out there who will like it and those that will not. But, it doesn’t really matter. It was from my heart.
If you have something to say about it, feel free, no matter what it is. I value all kinds of feedback and comments.
And, in advance, I would like to say, ‘Thank you’ to those of you who glance at this page.
Some of you might know. Most of you do not.
For the past eight or ten years, I have been having some serious problems with my reproductive organs. There has been way too much blood for too long and some things in my life changed drastically. This was not due to anything but naturally occurring physical changes in my organs; things that typically happen when a woman starts getting older. And, let’s face it; I am not twenty-six anymore, as much as I would like to think I could still do the things I could do when I was.
I had a procedure a few years ago that was thought to be a measure to stop the results of the physical changes. Thermal ablations are a way to help women who have too much bleeding, to the point of anemia. That was me. And it didn’t have the desired result.
On May 7th, 2015 around 1:30 in the afternoon, I went into surgery to have a hysterectomy. I wasn’t overly apprehensive about the procedure. But, I was nervous about being ‘put under’ since I dream so much and it has become a part of my everyday existence that I rely on dreaming to teach me, communicate from my subconscious and reveal things to me that might happen and sometimes do happen. But, I digress…
I had that surgery and since that day, I have been at home recuperating. Everyone that I had spoken to before the surgery about recovery has said that they were feeling fairly normal by day three or four, with no need to take any pain medication by that time. I expected something similar. But, I did not take into account that I, as I have mentioned above, am not twenty-six anymore.
Recovery is taking much longer than expected. This was, after all, my first major, highly invasive surgery since a cesarean section in 1989. Back then, when I was twenty-one, I was able to bounce back rather quickly (and now I have stamped a date on my forehead). This time, I find myself exhausted after just a few chores, wanting a nap in the afternoon, sleeping poorly because it is difficult to get comfortable and other things you probably don’t want to hear about.
There was some bruising which offers a lingering soreness, also. As can be expected, some slight bruising around the incision sites; five small cuts below the waist so the doctor could go in with a DaVinci Robot (a relatively new tool for operations such as this) and take out the organs. I somehow got a weird bruise on my back that mysteriously appeared after surgery (since I was unconscious, I don’t know how it got there), and a bruised vein in my left arm from where the I.V. delivered fluids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and Morphine.
Morphine is, in my opinion, a very mean drug with bothersome and sinister side effects. But, I was grateful for it because my pain level was higher than I, or my doctor, thought it would be.
Also, during this time, I have been traveling through some spiritual landscapes. Reading a few books and discovering more about life and about Spirit. I have started having dreams within dreams with total recall. Yesterday, during a one hour and fifteen minute nap, I had a dream within a dream, within a dream. For me, that is a first. But, I welcome the new experience with no fear. I trust it because I had not had any medication for much more then twelve hours (yes, I know some medications take much longer to leave to body. I also know my body). I also had two dreams within dreams the week before surgery.
I look at this as a turning point in my life. Something is happening far beyond the scope of having part of my body removed. My eyes are opening just a little bit more. Strange as it sounds, I feel more awake. But, I also feel that my dreams are more important. They are part of the journey, which is not linear but travels in many directions at once.
Some of you may wonder why I did not tell you that I was going into surgery before the fact, since we are friends or family and, perhaps, you feel you should have been told. Please, don’t be offended. It is for the same reason that I did not take calls for the first few days after surgery. I didn’t say anything before so those dear to me would not worry and would not feel an obligation to visit me in the hospital or try to offer support. You are all busy enough with your own lives and my support ‘group’ was and is a strong and loving one. It’s okay that you weren’t informed. I am telling you now. I am okay.
I didn’t say anything during the last week because recuperating is hard work and lots of rest and naps were required. Surgery was much more stressful on this body than I had anticipated. One moment I would be sitting up, reading and the next, so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Those of you who have had invasive surgery can probably relate.
I am here. I am back now. A little changed for the better in a lot of ways. It’s funny what changes a simple thing like this can bring about. I was so worried that I wrote out a Living Will. My fears were unfounded, rooted in baseless apprehension that I had to set aside. And, for the next seven weeks, I will have much time to listen to my body, listen to my dreams, listen to those who love me, listen and be still… As difficult as it may be. I am not one to lounge around, ‘eating Bon-Bons and watching soap operas’ as the 1970s saying goes. By then end of those seven weeks, this house is going to feel terribly small.
But, it will make small journeys that are much more worth the trip.
Thank you all for understanding.
It began as a suggestion. Several years ago, a friend and fellow artist suggested to me that I might like the art of Gage Taylor, an artist from the 1960s and 1970s who created wild, imaginative scenes of delicate and fierce detail so fine that one glance would never be enough to find all of the amazing creatures in his works. The book that was embedded in that suggestion was called “Visions” and was published in 1977, a long time ago in the eyes of the younger generation, those of you who now dominate the work force.
I found the book on Amazon.com and immediately ordered it since it was well within my budget. When it arrived, I was mesmerized, to say the least. I browsed it and flipped through the pictures again and again, populating my own imaginings with pictorial meanderings of ‘what if’ and extrapolations on the scenarios within the artwork presented on the slightly discolored pages.
Then, as it does with us all, life happened. A whirlwind of moves to different locations, acclimations to weather and community, adjustments to living space, treatments for arthritis and other ailments got in the way of many things, including my inspiration and the creation of my own personal artwork, much to my dismay. My Muse seemed to have gone on a very long vacation.
For about a four years the world seemed to dull around the edges, except for the bright spot of finding the man I married and as things will do once we accept where we are in life and settle down in mind as well as body, I could once again focus. After months of adjusting, pieces of the puzzle that had been blown out of the bigger picture were again drifting back down into place. The Muse began knocking, whispering, singing…insisting. It felt as if my heart had started to beat again. I could feel the energy coming back into my ragged fingers, flowing from the Sun, from the Earth and from that unseen realm that houses the Muses and the Goddess. Unpacking the last of the boxes from our final move was becoming rather a welcome adventure, something akin to having a birthday and opening gifts two or three times a week. What was once a tedious task had become a very enjoyable part of my day. And that’s when I found it again.
The book, ‘Visions’ appeared within one of the boxes, tucked in where I had packed it. I put it in a stack of other books, planning to review it again when I had the time. But, my Muse had other plans. It was as if the pictures within that book were demanding my attention. So, I took just that book with me and sat in a comfortable spot and began to read the introduction, something that I had neglected to do the first time I opened it. Introductions are boring some of the time and I don’t always give them enough credit. In this case, I should have and went about correcting my mistake.
Once the introduction was read and my mind was full of all kinds of quotes from the artists in this book, I began to turn the pages, seeing the art in a new light, with new understanding of each artist and the ‘why’ of their creation process. Not just the end result. It was so much like my own that I felt that kinship you sometimes feel when you can relate to a protagonist in a great novel in such a way that you have trouble putting the book down to eat lunch (I don’t read books while I eat for fear of damaging the pages).
One of the plates within this book simply reached out and grabbed me. I know that analogy is over used. But, what can I say? I saw it, and it seemed to see me through dark eyes that held no iris, white or pupil. The detail was poured out on the canvas in what I would call a stream of consciousness progression. There were no mistakes because all brush strokes seemed to have been used to morph an idea into another idea, another shape, another morph. It reminded me of my dreams and of some of my meditations in which I become immersed in the journey and not the destination I had in mind when I started. Seeing this painting, plate 21 entitled “Untitled” in the book, but later given the title “Bethann”, I knew I had to try to get permission from the artist and visionary Nick Hyde to use this image. For me it did not represent any person here on Earth as I see those that populate this mundane world. Instead, I saw a perfect representation of one of the faces of my Matron Goddess; The Morrigan. So, I fell instantly in love in a way that one could not fall in love with anything tangible (Before you start thinking that I have totally lost it, think about how you feel about that perfect sunset or that song that makes you float on air-It’s love). I knew I had to try to obtain permission to use this image at least on my blog, so I would have it with me, in some way, for the rest of my life. Ideally, I would like to have it hanging on the wall near my bed so it is the last thing I see at night and the first thing in the morning and that may happen soon. But, for the moment, I set my mind on contacting the appropriate people.
I emailed and received a reply from a publishing company to contact the artist. I found the artist’s website and emailed again, only to have my email be sent back undeliverable. So, I called the number available on the artist’s website and in just two day’s time, I received a call back and through a two part conversation was granted permission by the artist to use this incredible painting.
So, I would say to those of you who are artists and who enjoy a good mental vacation brought about by one who has painted something out of at least one person’s dream world, go! Look! Click your mouse button and go see what else this artist has to offer.
But, first, taste this.
© NICK HYDE 1970. Used with kind permission.
(Thank you, Mr. Hyde. I am grateful and honored for the permission to use this image.)
Find him and his works here… https://www.smockingbooks.com/nickhydeartist/paintings.html
(A word of caution and a side note: Do not use any art, anywhere, whether it be online or offline, without the permission of the artist. It isn’t difficult to track down most artists. All it takes is a little time and energy. Use without permission is theft, plain and simple. I wouldn’t want that karma chasing me down…would you?)
I have to tell you about one of the things that has happened to me recently. It isn’t something that is life changing in and of itself, although it could lead to a life changing event, I suppose.
For a while now, my computers have not worked. As I mentioned in the last blog entry, the laptop crashed, never to return. All my pictures…lost. No back up to retrieve that I know of.
My husband and I were desperately trying to figure out a way that we could save enough, or find a way to buy on credit, a computer of some kind that I could use to maintain the few things that I do, including my online store and this blog. No hope was in sight. None…
Out of the blue, I received a gift. I really great laptop, free of charge, from friends who have come back into our lives fairly recently. A totally unexpected and very appreciated gift. I had forgotten all about it until last night, when they arrived. And, now, perhaps, I will be able to do all of those things that I have been waiting to do. A little at a time…One word, one picture, one upload at a time.
So, thank you to our friends who are among the most generous people I have ever met. I thank the Goddess and God for you.
Well, I thought it would only be a little time away. As it turns out, my computer (the desktop PC with all of my really important stuff on it and an actual keyboard as opposed to a tiny digital one) won’t access this website for posts. I can read my own blog and other people’s as well. But, creating an entry from that computer? Impossible.
I attribute it to the fact that the PC is about sixteen years old and has a Windows XP platform. Sadly, Microsoft no longer updates XP.
Also, my Toshiba crashed, yet again, months ago. There really is no hope for it this time.
So, I write to you now from a tiny little temperamental tablet. We’ll see where things go from here. Hopefully, before too long, I will be able to purchase some kind of reliable computer. Until that time, you can expect short boring posts. For that, I apologize.
As I get older and my body protests more to the things that I liked to do when I was younger, I am finding the necessity to learn how to do more of the things that don’t require great physical exertion. As much as I am loathe the admit it, I am getting old. I am not ancient, not by a long-shot. But, neither am I of the age where digging a hole in the yard for a garden can go without real side effects.
A few years ago, I discovered the art of Pyrograhpy. And, even though Google Chrome does not like the spelling of that word, it is a legitimate form of creating pictures, symbols, etc. A more common way of writing it would be ‘wood burning’. When I started, I was using my inexpensive wood burning tool, the kind that can be found at many Art supply stores and even some ‘super-stores’ all around the area in which we live. It was a way to create my art on a surface or object that might be useful, more than just pretty. An example is a Tarot box with designs or magickal symbols burned into it: pretty and functional.
Then I discovered that there were complete kits for wood burning that had all kinds of tips and more than one pen. Heck, these units even had a button to control the level of heat used! Neat!
So, I managed to make enough money with sales from my humble online (and sometimes real-time) store to buy myself a kit with two pens and all the trimmings! I was, and am, very excited. I had been creating some beautiful things with the simple, primitive wood burning tool. Now, I have the capability to create some very detailed and stunning work. It’s just going to take some practice to get used to the new ‘toy’ because of all the bells and whistles. But, a little each day, small steps at first. I have to walk before I can run, right?
In the meantime, I am going to leave you with some examples of my work using the simple tool. These are Spirit Boards, made from raw sheets of plywood, shaped, burned and stained by me.