Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ancient Mystery

Yesterday, I visited a couple Smithsonian museums with my parents, who were in town to see Philip play Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. (He's most amazing and has gotten tons of fab reviews from all the press in town, including the Washington Post.)

I finally got to see the Walt Disney-Tishman collection of African art at the African Art Museum. The collection, over 500-pieces strong, is only partially displayed (about 85 pieces) and is most remarkable. The artistry of the Yoruban people as well as folks from parts of Central Africa is stunning and deeply moving on emotional and spiritual levels.

The mask pictured at left struck me because of its relation to the spider mysteries that I mention in the post below. The eyes of the mask are made of spider's silk, and the tribe would ingest crushed-up spider bodies in divination potions. Given that I've often worked with Grandmother Spider on viewing the world with a spider's eyes, I loved that this mask helped the wearer to do that. Plus, while looking at it, I felt a real surge of power from the mask itself and its history.

This mask, pictured at right, was astounding because of its sheer size (almost six feet wide!).
Many of the masks in the exhibition were really large and made me wonder how on earth people danced while wearing them (or how they even kept their heads upright). This example, and others, really gave me an energetic zing while looking at them, and at times, I could hear whisperings in other tongues from the objects themselves.

When I go to a museum, I try just to look and experience without reading placards until after I feel I've gotten my own intuitive information from it. Often, the energetic expression I get from the work coincides damn near perfectly with the avaialble scholarship on the piece.
The Disney-Tishman collection is on display through Sept. of this year, so if you're in town, I highly recommend it. Check out more information here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spider Magick

For me, there are no poems or songs that can adequately express the beauty and grace of Grandmother Spider and the magick of the spider people. In almost all of the world's environment, there are spiders. When I went to Hawaii this past fall and was at the summit of Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui, the near-barren environment played host to only three or four creatures. One of them was a spider.

"Of course you're here," I thought with delight, knowing that She is everywhere in our world.

I first encountered this great goddess in Canyon De Chelley on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona. At the end of the canyon is Spider Rock, pictured at right, one of her traditional homes, and her presence there was palpable.

Years later, at my first witch camp, I met her in a whole new way in the center of a labyrinth, and since that time, she has been one of my matrons.

Spider magick is, in many ways, a baseline for the work that I do. It's a way of sending energy, creating patterns of energy, traveling throught the Multiverse - all manner of energetic and ritualized experience.

As I see it and understand it, everything in our world is made up of the Web of Creation - air, water, rock, furntiture from Ikea. Everything we can perceive with our senses, as well as thought, emotion, intention, is made up of strands of energy - the web. With our intentions, we create.

In some early Southwestern myths, the Spider Woman thinks creation into existence. I find this fascinating because in some research on quantum phsyics our thoughts hook up to an actual point in space. (Recently, some people I know have been taken with "The Secret," a new book and video about the power of our thoughts and intention. In many ways, I see this book as spirituality for a secular culture, but as one person was going on about it to me, I couldn't help but think how earlier peoples held similar beliefs and that the Spider's web was a way of explaining how our intentions can travel in the world and manifest at their given destinations.)

I spin webs of intention and magick throughout the day. This can be for sick loved ones, people who need a little extra support and strength, or just random webs on the Metro. My webs in public places are ones of compassion, peace of heart, Queer Mystery, whatever. It's my understanding that people passing through the webs pick up on the energy and it begins to resonate in their own bodies - like attracts like. (One of my favorites is a web of beauty in the doorways of the gym - "May all beings passing through this web open up to seeing beauty in themselves and those around them" - so often, people at the gym are there to ease anxiety about their bodies instead of for reasons of health, feeling good, and the beauty of movement.)

For me, different web patterns have different purposes - some are better for healing than others, while the intricate pattern of an orb-weaver's web also has its own particular functions.

I see the strands of the Web of Creation in people's bodies and the world around me, and very often those strands are various colors that have different meanings - desire, anger, joy, depression, chaos, etc.

For those interested in exploring this, I would suggest paying a visit to Grandmother Spider, although be aware that she is not like the humanoid Mysterious Ones and doesn't quite have their viewpoint. Frankly, I find this to be a really good thing and one of the elements that I most enjoy about her.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Grandma Hands

While cooking food in the kitchen of Dreamroads Witch Camp with two of my dearest witch sisters in the summer of 2006, I focused on the magickal power of preparing food. Perhaps one of my greatest teachers in this is my lovely heart sister Molly, who is one of the most inspiring kitchen witches I know.

She, our sister Relaeh and I created a beautiful kitchen altar and focused daily on what spiritual support our food could give to this community, and it was an utter delight.

One night was Italian night, and I decided to make a homemade marinara sauce as my family has always done (jarred sauce was sort of a sacrilege in my house - gotta love those Italian drama queens!).

I called on my grandmother Josephine, my father's mother, to be present in my hands, and I felt her nearby, reminding me that she's always there, always working with me in my blood, my ancestral memory, and my kitchen creations. This was especially meaningful for me as she died long before I was born - something I still lament, despite a strong relationship from across the veil.

That day, I made the sauce with a healthy measurement of grandmotherly intuition, and it was wonderful.

Since then, before picking up a spoon or knife in the kitchen, I pray to my grandmothers to be present in my hands, and we cook together (frequently listening to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis and Rosemary Clooney). It's a wonderful time for me to connect with them and the wisdom of the home they've passed down to me.

Try it sometime, and don't be surprised if they start making suggestions!

May our ancestors fill our kitchens and food with nourishing love!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Queer Medicine Wheel Introduction

Here at the Flaming Rose, I'm hoping to chronicle some of my experiences with Mystery, including various projects I'm working on to help bring about some wonderful, juicy transformations here in our world (and, consequently, the Multiverse at large!).

For over a year now, I've been working on Queer Medicine Wheels. Below is some introductory text on the wheels, as well as an up-to-date list of the ones I've created so far. As I continue to make them, I'll put up photographs of them.

The current photo is of one that I made out of beads and wire. Each bead has a prayer associated with it, and for almost the last year, I've been saying the prayers pretty much daily.


Queer Medicine Wheels
by Greg Fletcher-Marzullo
Copyright Dec. 2007
(Last updated Feb. 2008)
I settled into a trance journey to meet up with the Queer Mysterious Ones, sitting on my couch, wrapped in a cozy blanket. I grounded, focused and began to slip between the worlds.

A big, muscley, leather-daddy type that I'll call the Queer God came to my apartment and whisked me away to an old subway station that looked as if it was in New York.

Out of the dark tunnels and dimly lit platforms came various Queer Mysterious Ones, Queer Ancestors, including the Galli (Mediterranean Queer priestesses of Kybele). Some of the beings were part-animal and part-human, others were not recognizably human or earth animals at all. I saw Ganymede, Queer One of the Modern Age, and Fifi, Drag Queen of Heaven, among the crowds.

"We've abided in the shadows for so many years, and now we're breaking through to the light," the Queer God said.

A large S&M type of wheel floated out of the crowd and came to rest in front of me. It had multiple spokes on it that met in a central hub. The Queer God wanted to tie me onto it.

"Wait a moment," I said. "What is this all about? Ineed some more information. "

"This is the Queer Medicine Wheel," said the Queer God.

I looked closer, and the spokes of the wheel were comprised of and decorated with different material. Some were encrusted with gems, others were woven of leather. Some were just energy appearing as beams of colored light.

Ganymede, whom I work with regularly, came forward to reassure me, and I decided I would hop onto the wheel so I could understand it better.

They tied me down and set it spinning. I swirled around and around, losing all sense of space and time.

I saw, heard and felt Queer history. I saw the original Galli, the Troubadours, the beginnings of the Radical Faeires and Queer Spirit movements. I saw the beginnings of HIV/AIDS and the modern age.

I saw Queer Mysterious Ones from across the Multiverse creating Queer Medicine Wheels in their own elements. Some were using stones on grassy plains; some were underwater and using currents; some were in jungles; some were in worlds I couldn't possibly describe or conceptualize.

Each Wheel energetically hooked up to one another, like the "primitive" labyrinths that connect across the globe. I came to understand that the Wheels create a nexus of Queer Power across the Multiverse.

The spokes of the wheels all return to the center hub, creating a totality of Queer Spirit. All the experiences and glories of sex return there. Love leads there. Marriage leads there. Revolution leads there. HIV/AIDS leads there. Death leads there. My understanding is that all Queer experiences can lead back to this Queer Spirit Center if we can consciously work that somehow.
In the center stand the Queer Mysterious Ones, yet they fling their arms wide, becoming the outer edge of the circle as well.

"Build Queer Medicine Wheels," the Queer God said. "We've been developing this technology for years."

They stopped the wheel from spinning, and I was back in the subway station. Ganymede led me home to my apartment and my body.


Since that time, I've been working on these wheels.

The first was a chalk drawing done in one of the parking lots of my apartment complex. I cast a circle, honored the quarters/elements and called in various Queer Mysterious Ones and ancestors. Then I drew the wheel out, drawing spirit map and other symbols along each spoke which represented different portions of my life. Visually and energetically each facet of my life connected to the central hub and outer rim of Queer Mystery - home, priestess work, sex, art, gardening, body work, etc. As I was doing this, a group of children came to play football around me, running through the wheel (after asking permission politely), and I could see them picking up its energy and tracking it on their feet.
Ganesha said to me, "You will live to see this work live on."
Other children asked to contribute different drawings, and of course, I let them. One little girl (named "Ocean" no less) was drawing snakes and spirals of her own volition. Most amazing!

I created another wheel in a local park out of pine cones, dirt and sticks among four large pine trees, setting an intention down with each spoke, saying prayers over each object placed in the wheel.

With blue and yellow corn meal, I created a wheel on the National Mall.

With a dear, dear friend, we created a wheel with found natural objects in a park, on the banks of a lake. This was the first time I shared doing this with another person, and it was an absolute magickal delight to see the beautiful result.

At a Queer Men's gathering over Memorial Day weekend 2007, I shared time with a group of men interested in trying this out. We all wandered the rural land where we were staying and gathered various objects to bring back to the site where we would build our wheel. Each of the people then created beautiful spokes out of rocks, seed pods, jewelry, vines and other materials and then shared the meaning behind their choices and their spokes.

I created a wheel out of beads for my initiation last spring. I wrote prayers for each bead with a central repeated prayer being, "With every footstep, a great Queer Medicine Wheel turns to meet my feet." Each prayer was a haiku, a form I really enjoy. I say these prayers every day while walking in various places, setting the spell into my heart, body and the places where I walk - the Metro, the city sidewalks, the airport.

On the fall equinox, two other Queer men and I did a long series of sun salutations dedicating the energy to various places that needed it. I had brought the beaded wheel with me and set it out on our impromptu altar. For some of the salutations, I said a prayer and then we did the movement, melding the power of yoga, our magickal bodies, breath, words and the wheel into a beautiful communal spell.

On Halloween this year, I created another wheel for Queer ancestors in the park near my house.

At the park near Dupont Circle (lovingly called "P Street Beach" by us local types), I created a wheel of dried beans, corn meal and rose petals. Oh, I enjoyed that one!

On a cold December night, I sketched out one on a card, using primarily Spirit Map symbols (more on that in another blog) along the spokes. I've sinced framed it and am looking for the right spot in our home to hang it.

Using a pizza stone as a canvas, I painted a wheel onto it that represented various spokes of my spiritual work. After painting, I set it on the floor, turned on some music and worked some sacred dance energy into the object, setting the intention of deepening my own work as a Queer priestess into the wheel. It now rests in front of my large, working altar at the hearth.