Carefully I reach into the depths and draw it from the darkness,

Lay it down upon the cutting board and reach for the knife

Piece by piece

Side by side

Slice and divide

A million pieces of my heart

Will it ever be enough?

Raw and wild, each fraction a reflection of the whole

Every part complete even when broken,

Divided,

Torn.

Beating under my fingertips as I witness each tiny offering

And gift my open heart upon open palm

So many ways to love

Flesh and form

Hearts and thoughts

Parts and whole

Snippets of soul

So many ways to love

A million pieces of my heart

A million ways to love

A million and counting

(c)2015 Romany Rivers

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I have heard these words before

Like raindrops running across my skin

Rolling along my body and falling to the floor in pools around me

I remember these words

I whisper them to my reflection in sadness and disbelief

But this time I hear them

There is a quality to his voice, a look in his eye

A sincerity upon his tongue that makes me pause

Look up

Look in

Look deeply

You are beautiful, he tells me

Inside and out

The droplets fall from my eyes and roll along my cheeks

But this time I stop their falling

I reach out and take them back into myself

Sad and salty upon my tongue

A bittersweet taste

I let them sink back into myself

Into the core of who I am

Nourish me

Fill me

Consume me from the inside out

You are beautiful, inside and out

 

 

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You are Beautiful (c) Romany Rivers 2014

 

hearth altarI have long been trying to live in the now. To be present in each moment. To let go of my past and to stop grasping at unknowable futures. To be open, receptive, aware. Willing to be who I am, where I am, right now. It is a challenge.

Much of the time my mind whirls with memories of the past and possibilities for the future. My emotions fluctuate around previous experiences, or tangle themselves into hope, anxiety or concern for the future. I react to life as it happens, and my reaction times are slow. I worry about what might be. I grieve over what was. So I sought to become less reactive and more proactive. I tried to tune into each moment as it happened, to process it like raindrops swelling my inner rivers. I tried spiritual techniques, mental tricks, psychological methods. I affirm my connection to the here and now. I practice mindfulness. I meditate. I let go.

I realised that we are never truly in the present moment, we may come close, but we simply cannot immerse ourselves in the now. We need time to process our understanding of now, and the greater the lesson, the longer the arc of understanding. Even listening to my own heartbeat takes the time of feedback and interpretation, but listening to my heart and its desires takes longer, listening to the hearts and desires of others longer still. We are never truly now or then, we are always somewhere in the middle. Like Janus we have twinned faces looking back at past and towards the future – a body in the present, and a mind split between what was and what will be. We are never fully present, even in the present moment.

The present is the past before you are able to grasp its importance and significance. And the unknown future is upon us before we even avert our gaze from that which just was. The importance of a single moment takes time to realise, yet it is the time in between experience and understanding that unravels the truth. This is the time when we listen, learn, understand and integrate the importance and value of every now. Therefore even if the only moment we have is now, it is the liminal times that we both seek and treasure. The liminal times may be brief and in sharp relief, or they may stretch over years as we slowly come to terms with that which once was, and with that one moment that changed everything.

This was my lesson, hard learned. By striving to remain present, I fell through the cracks of time and discovered the in between. The dusks and dawns of my own understanding. I live in the liminal times.

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“Some would even say that love is the most complex [emotion] of them all. If for no other reason than within those four letters lay all emotions.”- Tony Lantz

BW Sex3We love in cycles and waves, in tidal pulls that tug us off our feet. We speak of love and loss each time we lose our balance and are swept away on the currents. We ride high on the crests of the waves, soaring free. We are dashed against the shore and rise shaking and exhilarated. We turn our backs and try to find our feet on shifting sands. We take a deep breath and dive headlong back into the swells. We fall in love, we fall out of love. We fall.

Love is what it is, for the heart wants what the heart wants, and yet love is also an emotion that can be nurtured, grown, discovered or revealed. Love is sometimes not enough to sustain the kind of relationships we want, love is sometimes not enough to meet the expectations of those around us, yet love is always enough. Even loving into the void between us is enough. Love is pain and pleasure, heartache, heartbreak, joy and laughter. Love is the twin of grief, for we could not hurt so deeply if we do not love so deeply. Love is vulnerability. Love is release. Love is without expectation. Love is the altruistic act of being open, present, and compassionate, with honour and respect for others regardless of their response.

Love is a storm that we can hide from, shutting our doors and windows to the chaos of feeling, or we can choose to stand in the centre of it with open arms, raise our voices to the winds, and let the wildness lift our spirits and cleanse our souls. Its power and fury can overwhelm us, knock us off our feet, even send us running to safety. In lashes of rain and whipping wind we are stripped bare and raw, exposed and vulnerable, blinded and unbalanced, but our very being soaks in the nourishment to be found within the raging tempest. Love beats down upon our upturned faces or bowed heads, seeking entry to our deepest selves. It feeds us, refreshes us, gives us fuel to grow.

We love, even when it feels like love has left us behind. We love even when the walls that contained it crumble around us. We love even when the well is drying up; we still thirst for the last drops hidden in the darkest recesses. We love with salt tears, wet cheeks, tired eyes, and bitter taste upon our tongue. We love when there is nothing left but love. We love because that is all we can do.

Love is what it is. And it is both simple and complex, for we are both simple and complex.

We are love.

 

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This blog post was inspired by random conversations with Tony Lantz. Thanks for the thought provocation sweetheart.

Epstein QuoteI try not to regret the things I have done, because at some point it must have been what I wanted. Even if it simply seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight was a terrible idea, harmful and hurtful in its teachings. I do often regret the things I didn’t do, the opportunities I missed, the times I said no even when a part of me was screaming ‘Fuck, yes!’ The times I said no from fear or a sense of not being capable, or not worthy or not good enough. I look back on those missed opportunities and wonder where I would be today, or who I would be today, or how much richer and wiser in experience I would be had I followed through on those chances.

Every experience has made me the woman I am today, for good or ill. Each yes and each no has shaped me in some way. If only I had been brave enough, smart enough, creative enough, more confident, more willing, more daring. If only I had said yes instead of no, or no instead of yes. If only I valued myself more. If only I had chosen a different path. Read the rest of this entry »

I am currently working with the very luscious Lady Lisa Lister of Sassyology, and she is inspiring my personal truth-be-told style of writing. This post is a little bit of a departure from my usual Pagan and Poetry based blogs, but I felt called to share it. Today we were exploring the idea of letting go of the safety of repeating old patterns and taking the safe path, and instead becoming the heroine of our own story. It hit home with me in a big way, ripped me up a little inside, and forced me to face my own reflection. This is what inspiration feels like – a mix of pleasure and pain, excitement and fear, and the inescapable desire to express it. I challenge you to also  explore the idea of your own hero story, your own journey, of becoming the leading role in the tale of you. If the lovely Lisa inspires you as much as I, then check her out here.

In the meantime, this is me – Writing my freakin’ heart out and bleeding all over the page.

Epstein Quote“In my dreams I am the everyday superhero. The one without magical powers, but is fit and fabulous enough to leap fences, kick ass, know every form of street fighting and martial arts, who can pull terrified people together, who can save those in distress, who can fight the monsters, who can win the war, who can save the day. I totally rock in my dreams. I face Armageddon with barely a blink, I take on the zombie apocalypse with style and determination, I face the end of the world with a Fuck Yeah attitude. I run, I jump, I race, I fight, I fuck, I fly helicopters and I feel completely alive in the face of death. I am the hero on the journey. And I will survive. Read the rest of this entry »

Witches are people tooI stood in the centre of the room and felt the tension rise. Glancing over my students I could see the people causing the shift, someone finding difficulty in the interruption of the class. The mundane had invaded the magic. The tension made me angry; the attitude of the interrupted students irked me. It pushed my buttons, and I vaguely knew why. I acknowledged the tension and my emotions, and breathed. Slowly and carefully I drew everyone’s attention to this moment of interruption and the shift in energy.

“Witchcraft is not a two hour class each week, it is a way of life. It is not just the moments you spend meditating, not just the practices and exercises, not just your studies, your coursework. It is not just reserved for festivals and celebrations. You do not practice spirituality, you practice the techniques of your spiritual path. You are your spirituality. You must learn that the mundane life and the magical life are one and the same.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Woven Word cover(Reblogged From A Bad Witch’s Blog)

Found a wonderful review of my book The Woven Word on A Bad Witch’s Blog. I am so glad and grateful that people are discovering and connecting with the book, and I am inspired by the positive responses to the rites and ceremonies. I truly hope my book will be of use to others, and I am blessed by every review – thank you!

 

 

 

 

“Book Review: The Woven Word – A Book of Invocations and Inspirations

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few books of pagan rituals that I look at when I’m asked to put together a ceremony. Some are better than others, of course, and these days I’m picky about buying any books to add to my collection. However, a new publication I’m really pleased I’ve got is The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations by Romany Rivers.

Publisher Moon Books describes it as: “A creative compendium of invocations, inspirations and blessings for the novice or adept to design personal, unique and magical rituals.”

The first part of the book offers simple poems, chants and prayers for specific purposes – such as purification, invocation or blessing. They can be easily slotted into rituals or used on their own. Some are relatively traditional, others less so. Take for example this elegant but simple “shower cleansing”:

Wash away the stress and strain
Wash away the hurt and pain
Refresh and cleanse my tired soul
To reconnect, to make me whole

The second part of the book contains complete rituals. As well as ceremonies for the usual seasonal festivals, there are ways to honour rites of passage from baby blessings and handfastings to rituals at death. The latter include last rites when a person is dying and a requiem for someone who has died.

As we are approaching Samhain, and this month on my blog I have been looking at various aspects of death, here is a short quote from The Woven Word’s passing over ritual:

Dearest Beloved, you are not alone
I am here to help guide you home
If your soul is ready now to depart
Then leave without a heavy heart
With forgiveness and without fear
For those you love will hold you dear

I wish I had had those words to say when I was sitting a bedside vigil for my father and then my mother before they died.

Moon Books says about The Woven Word on its website: “This is a pagan tome of poetry and prose designed for rituals, festivals and celebrations. Working with deities, Romany has chronicled invocations and evocations for many Gods and Goddesses, and created clear and crafty quarter calls, circle castings, celebratory prose and meditations. Ritual is broken into its component parts allowing for easy reference and personal adaptation.”

What I would add is that Romany’s words are beautiful, simple and powerful. As I read the book I could not only see myself using its rites without adaptation, I also felt that I wanted to use them. And to be honest that’s rare for me. With most of the other books of rituals I own, I find myself changing the words quite a bit to suit my personal taste or simply using them for inspiration and writing my own invocations or whatever based on them. I know I will be using many of the refrains and rites in The Woven Wordin the years to come.”

Links and previous related posts
The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations
http://www.moon-books.net/

Read the rest of this entry »

Romany’s Random Reviews presents:

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon (Please follow the picture link)

The Leader Within – Articles on Community Building, Leadership and Personal Growth By Shauna Aura Knight

“I often say that the secret to leadership – and to conflict resolution – is relentless personal work.”– Shauna Aura Knight

I recently had the opportunity of reading The Leader Within, a book by Pagan Activist and Author Shauna Aura Knight. Being familiar and appreciative of the articles and essays that Shauna shares online, I looked forward to finding the time to read through this selection of articles and explore some of the topics she has previously raised on blogs in greater depth. The book didn’t disappoint, it is absolutely crammed with a wide range of articles on conflict resolution, management strategies, boundaries and burnout, and grass roots style leadership. I love the fact that Shauna does not shy away from the really hard topics, and instead tackles sexual, physical and emotional abuse; ethics and taboos; mental illness; and even button-pushing subjects like fundraising and finances in a concise and upfront manner. Read the rest of this entry »

fall.jpgSo today is Canadian thanksgiving – one day among many days to express gratitude. Our first thought on a day like this is gratitude for the harvests, for the food in our bellies, the roof over our heads and the warmth we need for the coming winter. For this and more I am grateful. I am thankful for those who have stood by me, with me, and even against me, for they all help to shape my sharp and smooth edges. I am thankful for those who have pushed me, challenged me, supported me and encouraged me. I am thankful for health, happiness and well being for myself and those I love. I am thankful for beauty, change, inspiration and the coming darkness. I am thankful for busy days and days of rest. And even many, many years after traveling around the world, I am still very, very grateful for hot running water and flushing toilets. Today, I am thankful for the small things and the bigs things, for the physical things and the spiritual things, for the intellectual things and the emotional things, and for the sunshine lighting up trees of red and gold.

Happy thanksgiving.