Tag Archives: Ing Venning
A guest blog from Ing Venning
When presented with beige folding,
when gifted with pale pinkness,
do you argue that white
is the take-charge pigment
or that red has always been
the more supportive hue?
Can you accept
my pistil and my stamen
or are you merely a boy,
simply a girl,
never a budding flower
bright with the sunny joy
of scented days and secret nights?
Perfection is the flaw
that defilement approaches.
Will you ask only one
or two questions
before taking your leave?
Or will you open at the south
and beg a third?
Ing Venning is the outsider author of the Wheel of the Year saga (a fantasy series featuring pagan, LGBTQIA+, and non-capitalist characters), Sources (a collection of retellings), and, most recently, a poetry collection called Lexical Numerals (of which “Toward Beltane” is part). Ing is working hard to get off disability and raise himself up to the poverty line in uncertain times. Want to try a sampler of his work or his first novel for free? Visit https://ingvenning.com/
A Guest Post by Ing Venning
GOAL To create a shield that will protect us and remind us of happy memories in times of stress or sorrow.
AUDIENCE – Kids often enjoy this meditation, but anyone can participate. Ideally, you will have a speaker (who may or may not act as a quarter caller) and at least a handful of participants. This ritual can be adapted for use with only one or two people, however.
PREPARATION [Optional: You may wish to give each of the quarter callers some feathers, a scarf, a handful of soft grass or some other object that is soft and flowing.]
SPEAKER: Please sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your legs and arms uncrossed. Begin to breathe slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let the air fill and invigorate your whole body. As you inhale, feel the air enter your air passages, your lungs, even your stomach. When you exhale, these areas will contract. Then inhale again, then exhale. Rise and fall. Just like that – slowly and steadily.
Shake your shoulders, your hips, your knees – not forcibly but gently. Shake off annoyance, anger, and oppression. Shake yourself outside of the world and into a time made only of one moment looping back upon itself. A timeless moment in which you are free to breathe gently. A place where you can relax.
Feel your aura expanding, moving outward so that it radiates in spokes around you. It will grow until it is quite expansive but not so that it overlaps with the auras of others unless they wish it. Each one of our aura spokes grabs hold of the very molecules around us and grounds us in their polar charges. Feel yourself drifting along in a current of particles, at peace and connected to everything around you.
NORTH CALLER: Welcome, happy memories of the earth and its dwellers. Remember times when you felt safe and supported as you welcome the spirits of the earth into this sacred space. Only thoughts and spirits that bring no harm may enter.
EAST CALLER: Welcome, happy memories of the air and its dwellers. Remember times when you felt inspired and awed. Only thoughts and spirits that bring no harm may enter.
SOUTH CALLER: Welcome, happy memories of the fire and its dwellers. Remember times when you felt energetic and powerful. Only thoughts and spirits that bring no harm may enter.
WEST CALLER: Welcome, happy memories of the water and its dwellers. Remember times when you felt at peace and unconditionally loved. Only thoughts and spirits that bring no harm may enter.
SPEAKER: Laughing gods and goddesses, bring your happiness and your peace and be welcome in our circle. Let us share our joy.
Slowly, in your trance, move your hand back and forth. Back and forth as you breathe in and out. Back and forth as one weaves a tapestry or sews a cloak. Back and forth as one strokes a lover or massages a newborn. Let each thread harness and harbor a cherished memory. We are building up a pattern, weaving a cloak of happiness.
Our memories protect us without overprotecting us. Our cloak is very light, yet its effect is profound. It can warm us when we’re cold and cool us when we’re stifling. It can ease the pain of depression, of anxiety, of anger. It brings more joy and contentment into our lives by connecting us to the upper world or overworld; it can also redistribute emotions so they flow in balance. Our cloaks will never block us from suffering that can make our lives better, but it has the power to keep any challenge from becoming overwhelming; its magic moderates our feelings.
Now that your cloak is woven, try it on. [At this point, quarter callers or the speaker may wish to brush participants’ backs or necks with their soft, flowing material.] It fits snugly and comfortably. It even sings – you have to strain to hear the song, for it’s very soft, but it’s also filled with joy. Look at the fabric you’ve woven. You’ve skillfully woven happy scenes that make you smile, even when all around you seems lost or hopeless. Revel in these good memories and the cloak they’ve produced.
Now that the cloak is woven and has been placed about your body, feel it sink into your aura and adjust its energy. The cloak will stay with you – a gentle, benign influence – even when you remove your physical clothing. It will stay to help you feel good, to help you smile, to help you relax even in stressful conditions. This is your Cloak of Happiness.
WEST CALLER: Farewell to the west, but not to its happy memories of the water and its dwellers. Memories of times when you felt at peace and unconditionally loved will remain with you.
SOUTH CALLER: Farewell to the south, but not to its happy memories of the fire and its dwellers. Memories of times when you felt energetic and powerful will remain with you.
EAST CALLER: Farewell to the east, but not to its happy memories of the air and its dwellers. Memories of times when you felt inspired and awed will remain with you.
NORTH CALLER: Farewell to the north, but not to its happy memories of the earth and its dwellers. Memories of times when you felt safe and supported will remain with you.
SPEAKER: Laughing gods and goddesses, thanks for the energy you’ve given. May it stay within the cloaks you’ve blessed us with. The circle opens, but it never breaks.
Slowly return to your mundane body, but you need not let go of the good feelings we’ve evoked here in our circle. Those will go with us, insulating us from harm but never blocking us from the emotions we need to feel and the energy we need to understand and grow.
If it helps you to return, tap a solid object, snap your fingers, give a shout, or do something else that affirms your presence in the mundane world again. Welcome back.
May each and every one of you be blessed. Thanks for being part of our circle. Go from here in peace and great contentment.
Ing Venning is a pagan indie author who draws upon his experiences of being multiply different from the mainstream. He has published three novels featuring pagan protagonists, a sampler of his work, and several short stories. He will be publishing two more novels, a collection of (mostly) retellings, and a volume of poetry in 2020. You can read the sampler of his work and his first novel for free; just visit https://ingvenning.com/
A guest post by Ing Venning
Many kinds of spirit work involve rhythmic patterns: drum circling, sacred movement, chanting, writing verse, sacred sex, and a number of others. Indeed, energy itself is constantly being described as being in motion, as flowing or ebbing, as pulsating, as vibrating. If energy can exist in completely static form, then that form must surely be quite rare.
We should, therefore, consider what energy patterns are most appropriate for the task at hand. Some tasks don’t require much thought. Most people can easily fall into a meditative pattern of slow, regular breathing without much conscious preparation. Likewise, it’s easy to go along with a chant, dance or song lead by someone else (assuming they are competent at what they’re doing). But what should we do if we need to facilitate rhythmic energy work? I find a handful of factors – namely, numerology, accent, and the balance of tension and release – to be key to the process.
There are a number of important numerical patterns associated with common spiritual practices. There are four or five components in most systems of magical elements. There are four (or three apparent) phases of the moon. There are three aspects of many deities. There is an in-out duality to breathing for meditation and a trinity of worlds in many geocosmic systems. We can use these sacred numbers, associated with patterns of accent or emphasis, to inspire our spiritual practices.
Here are a couple of examples:
– Alma is hosting a drum circle on the night of the full moon. In her practice, there are four main phases of the moon. Therefore, she decides to enact a drumbeat in 4/4 time (each measure, or musical section, has four beats). If we begin with the new moon, the full moon is the third phase. Alma decides to honor the full moon by accenting each third beat. Her musical pattern sounds something like this:
da da DUM da/ da da DUM da/ da da DUM da
(If she only recognized three moon phases – or recognized the new moon as a dark or hidden phase – she might opt for the following pattern in 3/4 time: da DUM da/ da DUM da/ da DUM da.)
The drummers create variations, of course, but they are anchored by this rhythm in honor of the full moon.
– Sylvan is facilitating a ritual where people will share their musical talents with both worlds. He decides that, instead of calling the quarters, he will dance them. Like Alma in the first example, he chooses a four-based pattern (but, in his case, to honor the elements), but he decides to shift the accent to honor each particular element when he is summoning the energy for its quarter. His pattern might, therefore, go something like this:
DUM da da da (at air quarter)
da DUM da da (at fire quarter)
da da DUM da (at water quarter)
da da da DUM (at earth quarter)
As he dances each of the quarters, he makes a significant motion (a twirl, a jump, an arabesque) on the accented beat in honor of that quarter.
Considerations of phrasing and accent are also very important to the practice of writing spiritual poetry.
Here is an example:
– Mary has decided to write a poem that honors the sacred feminine and sacred masculine in the context of the elements, describing how the elements must balance inside each of the two before they can, in turn, balance with each other. She opts for a poem that switches back and forth between iambic and trochaic tetrameter. She chooses tetrameter because this kind of verse has four feet (in honor of the four elements); she chooses to switch between iambic and trochaic because they emphasize the different accents in sets of two syllables (one for each foot). She decides to accent the first beat of some feet (trochaic tetrameter) to honor male energy and to accent the second beat of other feet (iambic tetrameter) to honor female energy.
A “male” verse might read:
Echoes reach us, brightly spinning
Air, please tell me how to begin.
Fire, come kiss me. Touch me, wake me.
Stir the cauldron, season freedom.
(Roughly – DUM da, DUM da, DUM da, DUM da/ DUM da, DUM da, DUM da, DUM da, etc.)
A “female” verse might read:
The river sweetly flows beside
Where water sings and lilacs grow,
Where trees thrive long and blind moles dwell.
Come, stir the cauldron, lullaby.
(Roughly – da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM/ da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, etc.)
Last – but by no means least – is the consideration of how to balance tension and release. The principle of their management, in fact, is quite central to many concerns in life. We build a decent character by balancing relaxation and work. We forge a good novel by balancing exposition and climax. We create a fulfilling orgasm by balancing foreplay and intercourse proper. We can apply the same principles to spirit work.
Our goal is to build toward the climax of our work (whether that be invoking a deity, casting a healing spell, reaching the fastest tempo of the drum circle, etc.). But we cannot simply rush headlong toward our goal. We need context; a progress of nothing but tension will make the tension stop seeming tense and will create an anti-climax. We need to build by raising our tension and then relaxing it – but not quite as much as we raised it. We then continue to raise and relax our energy – always moving toward the final climax, which will be followed by a period of deep relaxation.
Here is an example:
– Herne is facilitating a sex magic ritual. He asks participants to chat with each other beforehand, but only about trivialities. He then encourages participants to touch each other over their clothing and kiss for a few minutes, after which he asks participants to separate and talk to each other about their most interesting sexual experience. Next, he requests that participants undress and touch each other sexually. Next, he asks them to sit while cuddling and talk about a sexual experience they’ve always wanted to try. He follows this by asking them to proceed to performing fellatio on each other, but then asks them to back away to touching if they near orgasm. Finally, after edging (almost reaching orgasm and then backing off to make the final orgasm more powerful) several times, he allows them to climax as they invoke deity. By building tension, releasing it, then building it again toward orgasm, the facilitator will help participants to reach a better climax, both in terms of body and spirit.
This is not an exhaustive piece and won’t prepare you for every situation involving spirit work and rhythm, for there are simply too many to document. I do hope, however, that it leaves you more conscious of the role that rhythmic patterns play – both in your mundane life and your life of the spirit.
Ing Venning is a pagan indie author who draws upon his experiences of being multiply different from the mainstream. His first two books (an eclectic sampler of his work and the first novel in a portal fantasy series featuring pagan protagonists) are available for free through https://ingvenning.com/