Last night I finally found time and energy to do the ritual I promised to Artemis, to say a temporary farewell to her so I could allow the Animal Father to have a more pronounced effect in my life. A little later than I thought, but better to do it when I’m actually feeling up to it.
I started by putting on the ritual gown I’ve worn for years, and which I’ll be retiring for the time being other than for one pre-scheduled exception. I then began to talk about the night we first “met”, so to speak. She asked me to dance, simply dance, as I had ten years before. So I started slowly pacing back and forth around the room in the moonlight–just like before–and let the energy slowly move me into a dance. Once I hit the rhythm, though, I let myself go once again, ecstatic. As I danced I spoke with her, telling her that there was no way I could ever repay her for everything she’s done to help me over the years, and that I appreciated everything.
Artemis then asked me to sit before my altar and simply listen. She told me she was proud of me, even with the rough spots over the years, and she seemed really pleased with how I turned out. Then she told me that at some point in the future, she would come back, and she would call me to her again, but for something more intense. She asked me to kiss her, and I saw her before me in my mind’s eye. I did, and I felt/saw an archer’s bow made of silver enter me when I inhaled, through my lips and down into the center of my body, shining like the crescent moon overhead. I could feel her essence in it, and felt it as her promise to return.
She told me that the shamanism was the Animal Father’s gift to me, and that later on she would return to give her own gift, but for now I should focus on my shamanic practice. She didn’t indicate when that would be, other than that it wouldn’t be a conflict with the shamanism. Nor did it seem she would replace the Animal Father, either. So it may be that, long after I gave up on the popular “I must have a God and a Goddess to be complete” newbie stage, it looks as though I may end up with just that!*
After that, we said our goodbyes, and the Animal Father came in. He greeted me, and sat down to talk to me a bit about what’s to come. Should I choose to continue to walk this path after my first six months are over, his tasks for the second six months are thus:
–Dedicate each week to a different one of my skin spirits, to get to know each one better, and to come up with a drum rhythm, dance and song for each.
–Practice journeying with the drum at least once a week.
–Use the prayer beads once a day (this one has a bit of flexibility since it can take a while, but daily is preferred).
If I do well with these, I may get even more asked of me (ack!) For the time being, though, in addition to my daily prayers/etc. this seems manageable for where I am now.
I’ll be curious to see where the next six weeks take me as the spiritual changeover happens. It’s not going to be huge, instant ka-blammo or anything like that, but change nonetheless. And while I can feel Artemis’ presence has diminished a lot, I’m okay with that now, I have a sense of closure, and I’m ready to move on. She’ll be back eventually, but for now, I have this path to walk.
* Though they’re not a “matched set” as some people feel a God and Goddess must be. Nor is this “shamanic Wicca”. Though (neo)Wicca seems to be the open-source neopagan religion of choice, I actually am trying to distance myself from more general neopagan practices and more towards something resembling traditional shamanism but tailored towards my own cultural context.