Tag Archives: beauty

The Forge Born (Devotional Acrostic Challenge)

Week 7 prompt – Fire, Volcanic, Hearth Gods or Spirits

[For Hephaistos, whose works are many, and glorious.]

They looked at You, O Lord, and saw only weakness in the
Hobbled leg that was Your curse, and Your greatest gift.
Ever have the Gods loved beauty, and what could be so
Foreign to that concept than the limp that You so
Onerously carry Your pride upon.  They did not know what
Rugged strength it had supplied You, for the challenge was
Grasped in the true knowing of Oneself.  Through
Each and every step, You experience the
Bond between mortal and Divine, that which illuminates
Our similarities over our dissimilarities.  And for this You are
Renowned among men, whose hands build devices of pure elegance,
Nurturing the spirit of life lived fully, even as others look on, askance.

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Beauty Is Too Complicated

I don’t think of myself as beautiful.  I don’t see myself as beautiful.  I have an eating disorder, and although I happen to be in the last months of pregnancy, I can’t help but be more than a little bit relieved that I didn’t gain as much weight this time as I did with my last pregnancy.  Is that shallow?  You betcha.  I can acknowledge that this isn’t the healthiest line of thinking.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I gained about 65 pounds, which put me firmly in the fat category in my own mind.  After the birth I pretty much stayed that way for the next eight years.  It really bothered me.  I tried everything I could think of to lose weight but none of it worked.  You see, I’d never been fat before.  My whole life up to that point was like a blissful skinny dream.  I’d never weighed more than 115 pounds before then, and was usually at 110.  Anything above that was like the worst thing I could imagine.

I tried to starve myself skinny on more than one occasion, but all I ended up doing was making it impossible to function.  I would even purge what little bits I did eat throughout the day.  It was awful.  I was so depressed.  I truly believed that in order to be beautiful, I had to be a certain size.  And even today, knowing all the things I know and having lived through that hell, I still can’t dream of being happy in a larger body.  I even have to set alarms to remind myself to eat, while pregnant, because if I don’t, I will not eat enough in a day.  This happened to me today, in fact.  I went like seven hours without eating anything, and this morning I almost talked myself out of breakfast.  Can you believe that?  How fucked up is that?  It’s pretty fucked up, let me tell you.

I often wonder just how all this got started in my head, and when.  I remember growing up, and in my childhood not a single person ever told me they believed I was beautiful.  It never happened, not even once.  Not even my mother, or sister, or grandmother, or aunt ever told me I was beautiful.  I hear sometimes people getting upset because they heard ‘you’re beautiful’ in their childhoods more often than hearing things like ‘you’re intelligent’, or ‘you’re talented’, and it makes me feel stupid for ever wanting to hear the words ‘you’re beautiful’.  Apparently, I’m rather shallow.

So, all I had to go on were conventional beauty standards, which, I was skinny, so at least I had that going for me?  It wasn’t perfect, though.  I didn’t develop any meaningful female shape until I was about seventeen.  I was a super late bloomer, so I wasn’t getting any attention from anyone my own age, just old ass perverts on the street.  And when I did eventually get a boyfriend, that turned out to be a disaster of epic proportions.  Abuse and rape happens, even in highschool.

So, where am I going with all this?  What on Earth does it have to do with this religious blog?  (Aside from the fact that it’s my blog, and I’ll write about whatever I want.)  Well, it’s because of Apollon.  It’s because He sees someone that I apparently do not.  He has always been consistent in His praise of my so-called beauty.  I believe that He believes what He says, but it doesn’t coincide with what I see.  I don’t even know why it matters to Him if I see what He sees anyway.  I’ve accepted that my human form isn’t at all like my natural astral form.  If you saw me on the astral, you’d likely never think to associate the two forms.  I can accept that Over There I am physically beautiful, while being the complete opposite over here.  But that isn’t enough for Apollon.

In these past few weeks He has been asking me to look at pictures of myself. It’s been really hard for me, since I don’t take a lot of pictures, or allow many pictures to be taken of me.  He’s also been insisting that I share those pictures with others.  It makes me so uncomfortable, I can not even tell you how much.  But I’m doing it.  I don’t feel any differently about myself, but I’m willing to see where this takes me.

I struggle with the thought that beauty doesn’t matter at all.  I’d rather like to believe that, than to continue to hurt myself with the knowledge of my lack of it.  I think maybe I’d rather believe that than to believe what Apollon is telling me, and trying to show me.  It’s been such a comfortable thought all these years, and one that’s gotten me through a lot of tough times, psychologically.  But maybe it’s run its course?  This whole trusting in your God thing is not easy.

Also, I’m not fishing for compliments, people, just processing my thoughts. I’m shallow, but I’m not that shallow.

Glamour and Concealment

All of these findings are based entirely on my own continuously evolving research and experiments.  This is a subject that, for whatever reason, has become important for me to develop an understanding of.  I have done everything that I’ll discuss today.

~

1.)  Fabric Veiling
This, I have done the most frequently and consistently.  I’ve veiled for several years, and I do it for a few reasons, although, as the year in this new(ish) location has gone by (along with other Things which occurred, and continue to occur simultaneously), my reason for covering has shifted to specifically taming my own energy.

This self-discipline is of benefit not only to myself, but to the world at large.  It helps me to move smoothly in this world of people who would be otherwise disturbed, or frightened, by the intensity surrounding me.  But it isn’t just the covering that enables the energy to be tamed.  Often, the color/pattern and texture of the fabric can come into play on a given day, depending on how much coverage/concealment is needed.  Colors carry their own vibrations, and oftentimes it is best to ride a current, rather than swim against it.

For example: when I’m angry, I sometimes wear orange or red.  These fiery colors assist in the burning off of the charged emotion.  Once enough of my energy has been focused into color, and/or pattern, I can remove the veil and put on a different one.  The next will be of a cooler color, such as blue or perhaps even white.  This helps to train the remaining energy to take on a calming presence.  Of course, my scarves are blessed for these and other purposes, so they already know what to do when I put them on.

One may also choose to veil for the sake of invisibility, as I used to do when I would go out in public.  My charge is no longer to appear invisible, but rather to be seen in a far off, distant and ornamental sense.  For this purpose, the traditional covering route is obvious, however, I also have the option of covering with a wig, instead.

2.) Veiling with Wigs
The wig itself can be the cover, for in this instance the cover is for the crown chakra, as opposed to the hair itself.  This of course works better when you have very short hair (or none at all).  Normally, the natural hair would hold in personal energy, an depending upon how it is styled, the energy may leak, or otherwise be lost.  A wig, when properly blessed or “activated” in a magical sense, may act as the natural hair, thus holding in energy.  Again, color may play a role here, as there are a variety of both natural and non-natural colors, which can be utilized for any situation or need.

3.) Braiding
This can be done with the natural hair, as well as in tandem with a wig.  Braiding is an alternate way to bind in your energy.  Braiding is also effective in programming specific currents of energy to flow in and around you.  The key is to infuse the braid with your intent during styling, and to seal it in.

4.)  Dyeing of the Hair
Another common way of covering without any outward or obvious sign (especially when it matches one’s natural hair), is to use hair color techniques.  Dye, when infused with intent, may seal in certain energetic qualities that you may desire.  It can also seal in personal power, though it does not seem quite as effective as braiding, or fabric, for that purpose.

5.)  Ornamentation
Just about anything you can get to stay in your hair, on attached to your veil, can be utilized as an energetic aid, or other kind of talisman.  You are limited only by your imagination.  Of course, I wouldn’t choose just anything. Knowledge of various simple magics can be put to good use here.

6.)  Glamour
And here is where all of the aforementioned covering techniques can be brought together in harmony.  There are no rules for covered Polytheists/Pagans.  There is not a certain way that we are expected to wear our veils.  Though tradition may be behind our decisions to veil, we are not necessarily bound by these traditions.

Be creative.  Experiment.  Do not allow the cloth on your head to dictate what you ought to look like, or act like.  Do not allow the opinions of other humans to distract you from your goal, whatever it may be.  Because veiling is very much a goal-oriented practice.  It helps us to focus our energy in the directions we need for it to go.  It helps to separate out those distractions which keep our attention occupied by meaningless things.

Veiling, or covering in more non-traditional ways, is not limited to the modest and the reserved.  As I mentioned above, glamour is a technique which can pull all of these together, if desired.

There are those who dress themselves for life’s daily struggle in far more meticulous ways than most.  When I woman dons a power-suit for her high level executive position, with her strikingly colored face and heels, no one wonders what she’s doing it for.  If you want to dress like the Queen (or King) that you are, do so, and charge your glamour with the intent to achieve your goals.  Even just a short affirmation while doing nothing more than brushing your hair in the morning, can begin the process of changing one’s attitude toward self and beauty.

This is because glamour and concealment are two sides of the same coin.  They both deal in the handling of personal power.  One technique is about tamping it down, while the other is about building it up.  Nothing is quite so hard and fast as that, but it’s as close a description as I think I’m able to give.  But, there is nothing that says you must fall on one end of the spectrum and not the other.  I am comfortable resting somewhere between both, yet decidedly on the more modest end of things.  Your mileage may vary, as well it should.

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I saw this yesterday and thought it was really beautiful.  It fits in well with the theme of this post, also.  So, enjoy.  :)  [edited 12/3/2013]

To Be Graceful…

Some days I wake up and feel so utterly boring and conventional. On such days, I never feel like anything I offer to my Lord is adequate.  I just feel that something is missing.

When I give food, I try to be mindful of the hours of work my husband has put into earning the check that paid for the food. When I give plants and flowers, I keep in mind the energy and time that went into the plant creating the leaves and/or blossoms. These things all have a signature, they were all first touched by other spirits long before coming into my possession.

What claim do I really have to the offering, if I am so far removed from the labor, and thus, the reward of love that is required to create it?  This thought kept bothering me, just nagging like crazy.  I finally had to sit down in a quiet space and really think about my choices.

I, first, must contend with having little free time to spend creating labor intensive votive offerings.  I try to grow what I can with a thumb that, sadly, was never green, but those few plants I do manage pretty much grow themselves, anyway.  So, what could I do?

Well, the number one lesson that Apollon has drilled into me, over and over again, is this:  Waste nothing.  If all I ever seem to have the time and energy (most days) to do is clean my house, balance the finances, educate the child, and cook outstanding meals… then I’d better damn well figure out how to do all of that, while at the same time pushing the limits of my spiritual discipline and dedication.

How many adorations or prayers can I speak out to Him while sweeping?  Can a reach an adequate trance state while washing the dishes?  Can I properly shield myself while out running errands?  Can I do it quickly?  Can I take it down again? Can I be aware of what, and Whom, is surrounding me?  Can I live my mundane life, while taking it a step further, into other Places? Can I cultivate a sense of oneness with my god, from the moment I awaken, to the moment sleep catches me again?

The answer is yes, and I’ve taken it further still, by tailoring every movement of my day (so far as I am able, with my coordination such as it is) toward efficiency and grace.

To me, this means in part, cleaning up in every room I enter into, and never leaving a mess to sit until I “feel like” fixing it. It also means keeping lists.  Lots of lists, so nothing gets forgotten.  But, even more than all of these, grace is the art of being graceful.

It means presenting a flawless curtsy to my Lord when passing by His altar.  It means standing and sitting with the proper posture, and walking lightly, almost delicately.  It means carrying a small, serene smile on my lips when I may be seen by others. Grace is a beautiful mask that hides every secret thought behind a screen of pleasantness. All of this helps me to create that comfortable distance between myself and the fast-paced world of humans.  It is only this veneer of distance, which allows me to fulfill my duties to the spirits, and to my gods.

And, of course, grace is also the knowledge of being in the presence of the Divine, and the feeling of love and warmth that surrounds whenever I don the veil.  Grace is beauty. Grace is efficiency. Grace is modesty. Grace is the naturally flowing course, because my life is so touched by the gods.

But, of course, I know all of this will mean different things to different people, and that my life will never measure up, by some standards. However, it is not my place to care about the biases of others. I will simply do my Work, and in the doing, shall be graceful.

Lesson #2: Don’t Fear Your Beauty

Warning:  Some people may find this to be a rather vacuous post.  *shrugs*

~

For a while now, I’ve donned the veil.  It wasn’t immediately out of religious obligation, but rather out of practicality.  After I began covering, however, I noticed the changes in attitude of those I interacted with, and was extremely pleased to see that I was not being looked over quite so much by random, strange men.  It kind of made me mad to have to cover myself just to receive a modicum of respect, though, since I’ve never been an outwardly flashy person.

I don’t wear make-up most of the time, and I have a very subdued sense of style (if you want to call it that).  I do not enjoy having my bits hanging out all over the place, and I never have. Therefore, I dress modestly, plainly even, in a way that is comfortable for me, and in which I feel safe, and secure in my own power and femininity.  Which has been wonderful, but as you all know, things have changed around here, and I found out pretty quickly that Loki doesn’t like plain.

The first thing He asked of me, before anything else, was for me to beautify myself for Him, in some small way.  I hesitated for a good long while, going back and forth with Apollon about what would be too much, and whether or not I should do it at all.  I was apprehensive, and not just because of my Lord’s opinion.

I seem to attract the worst kind of attention, so the prospect of changing even the slightest thing about my carefully crafted appearance was terribly stressing.  Obviously, fancy hair-styles were out of the question, as were a number of other things.  But, at the end, right when I thought I’d ask Him to stop throwing out suggestions, He smiled and said:

“You could paint your nails red, for me…”

I was stunned by the simplicity of it, for it was perfect, and in a very small, only slightly noticeable way.  Only my human husband questioned the new penchant for color.  He thinks it’s a waste of time, since the paint gets chipped off during the domestic work.  I did too, at first, especially since re-applying the polish every two to three days is tedious and time consuming. But wasn’t that the whole point?  To take the time to make myself look nicer, even if all it did was make me and my gods happy?

Indeed.  That was the whole point.  And, as it turns out, my Lord Apollon has also become quite fond of the ritual, as He has always loved the color red… and me in it.  ‘Twas the first mutual agreement They ever had with one another, in regards to me, and it’s been all uphill from there.  Once They realized They could agree on something

For instance, I’ve begun rearranging my closets, pulling out clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time.  Even a few things which survived the fire all those years ago.  Things that I wore back when Loki and I first met.

I didn’t even realize I still had most of that stuff.  Some of it is truly too outrageous to be worn now, but most of the clothes are just what I needed to spice things up a bit.  It’s been fun getting reacquainted with the part of me that loves adornment and self-decoration.  It’s also been fun finding beautiful, new and colorful (often patterned) ways to cover, while still maintaining my modest ideals.  And I have a very special Trickster to thank for it.  :)