So I've noticed before, in an absent kind of way, that I prefer meditating and doing spellwork with a hood up. Usually this is just when I'm wearing a hoody, there have been a couple times when I've been wearing an honest-to-god cloak (I haz a Slytherin cloak, even!), and even one occasion where I was wearing my precious hat (it is jaunty and fun and unashamedly masculine). So when my blog-roll got in on the discussion about Pagans veiling their heads, I read along with not only interest, but a certain kind of recognition, that feeling of, 'hey, yeah!' that you sometimes get when other people in your community talk about something that you've been thinking for a while. Pagans veil many different ways, as even a preliminary Google search will tell you, but there are two basic formats from what I can tell - veiling during ritual, and veiling in public. Some people cover their heads when the magic starts, others cover it the rest of the time and UNcover it when the magic starts, or when they're alone in private, depending on practice. That's not a hard or fast rule or anything, it just seems to be the general trend that I noticed.
Another trend I've noticed is that a lot of the people veiling seem to be Hellenismos, and specifically seem to have Hestia and/or Hera as their patrons. I'm kind of a Traditional/Hellenic syncretist and Hekate is my patron as y'all probably know by now. So it's possible there's something there for me. I was swinging by K'mart today on my way home from picking up supplies for a plastic-cup garden (which I planted today with the boo's help) and they're going out of business (or remodeling, not sure which) and selling everything at massive discounts. I picked up a wide, short black scarf for $1.19 (and a totally adorable violet plaid/black leather purse for $3.49) and tonight when I sat down at my altar, I covered my head while I was working. And that felt good. It felt right. I don't think Hekate is calling me to do it, she tends to be a little unkempt and free-spirited in general, I think it's an internal, personal preference. I like to wear a hood when I work magic. So I will! Really, it's that simple, and that's about the depth of my reasoning. For some reason it makes me feel more sober and focused and all-around witchy, and it gets in the way much less than full robes/cloaks/etc. do, so I'm on board with this. I'm thinking I may pick up another one, if I can, grab some fabric paint at some point, and deck one out for Hekate and one out for Dionysus.
Tonight I decked my altar in Fire and Warrior style and tried a little meditation chant that popped into my head the other day and turned into a poem to Aphrodite. It's the first time in a long time my sais have been on my altar and it felt really good to handle them again - I know it's weird 'cause you're only supposed to have one athame and it's supposed to have at least the suggestion of an edge, as opposed to an octagonal shaft, but those sais have been with me for over ten years now and honestly, unless I was fighting zombies, there's no weapon I'd rather have in my hands. My connection to The Original Hot-Head. I poured a libation of orange-blossom water and offered raw cinnamon and dragon's blood to the fire, set my altar with runes and stones of protection, ardour, aggression, communication, and inspiration, burned orange and white candles, and did my exercise with Sephie's kitten-butt firmly planted against my hip.
The exercise, for those who are curious: If you've heard of Kegel exercises (Link NSFW) you'll know what I'm talking about here. The muscles in the pelvic floor generate a lot of, ahem, heat when you practice tensing and relaxing them. It's the seat of your body's core, so by exercising those muscles, you can build power very quickly. I visualized the pelvic floor muscles as a cluster of banked coals. Oxygen feeds fire, of course, so as I breathed in for a 3-count, I tightened those muscles and felt the fire flare up and feed on my breath, then exhaled to a count of three. With each inhalation, I pictured the fire burning hotter, higher, climbing my spine into my lungs until the heat blossomed at the top of my spine and every exhale felt like breathing fire.
While I did this (and if you feel the need to do something with your hands, be my guest, mine were sketching through the air the whole time), I chanted the following in my head:
I am the fire
The water flows through me
I am the fire
The earth supports me
I am the fire
The wind drives me forth
I consume all things
I am the fire.
Y'all know I'm bad at meditating so I tend to cheat a lot. So when I say I had a lot of success tonight, that means something! By the end of it I felt like I was made of flame, flickering wildly at the edges and smoldering violently in the center. I grounded all that out at the end, and I kept a mug of ice water nearby, which proved to be a good idea.
Still haven't gotten around to making a new anklet, OR blessing the new car. Will update y'all when it happens.