Monday, March 4, 2013

3 Weeks of Immersion Journals

(Hello All! These were posted as assignments for the last three weeks and I wanted to share them with you!)

Immersion Journal #1

Rhapsodomancy is the use of poetry for divination – something I've barely any practice at and something I'd like to pursue. Poetry, like song lyrics, can occasionally be incredibly meaningful. Divination pulls an intuitive personal interpretation from tools used in order to predict future or to reveal an unknown aspect of the querent's personality. For each journal entry, I'll do a rhapsodomancy reading out of Pardi's “Meditations on Rising and Falling” for myself and interpret what it could mean. I will reflect on the goings-on each week based on the previous reading as well.
In order to do a rhapsodomancy reading, one must change their frame of mind. What is possible in this new world-view? Do you believe in coincidence? Do you believe in intuition? Close your eyes. Think loudly of what it is you really want to know, and open the book. Where your eyes fall first, read until either the end of that section/stanza/paragraph/page or until you feel the message is over, and the time to stop reading is right. Record it. Keep it in mind. Think of what you have planned and what you really want to experience and learn sometime in the future. Poetry holds more secrets than many of us can imagine – more so than even the author may have intended. Classically, books of poetry such as “The Illiad” would be use to these ends, but for this day and age, and specifically for me – I'll be using modern poetry. This is my immersion – this is combining two art forms and living life by it. There is no way two readings will be the same each week, but I may veer off and speak of other things that may relate back to previous readings.
So what forms a good question for any form of divination? It's tough to say exactly, but for this week, I'll simply ask how my week will conclude:

“Younger: Have I seen one of those before?
Older: No, never.
Younger: Should I be excited?
Older: Yes!” (Pardi pg. 78 from the poem “Seventeen Wings”)

My plans included stopping down at the Metaphysical store, The Fey Dragon right on bridge street. That would be Sunday afternoon. Perhaps the “Younger” is me and the “Older” is Mary, she who owns the store and has previously guided me in developing my own abilities and in other aspects. If we speak in terms of writing, it could be about revisions of old projects. That's entirely possible – poetry is what calms me down. It's my go-to procrastination when everything seems to be falling down over my shoulders. It's strange – I see people who would do anything else but pick up a book or pen when school stresses them out, but not me. I'd rather forsake the text books and do what I do best – read and write. Maybe this stanza will hint at what is to come for me; a revelation. The younger work to be greeted by new, older eyes.
So first, we must assume that my week will conclude – my grandmother always said that we should live as though we believed tomorrow's never guaranteed. And in that respect, we also assume that I will keep my eyes open, for a new possibility is standing at week's end. In that much I can be certain.
This reminds me of something – the way that poems start for me is a lot like how intuition works for readings. First it's just a tiny spark in my skull – like an idea moving from point A to point B. The idea explodes into thought via a bit of intuition and a little listening. Tune out the self-doubt and start thinking, and we have a thought – which eventually becomes an interpretation (for divination) or a concept (for poetry.) When we write it out, the words solidify and become a memory or an omen (for divination) or an actual poem. It all connects. I'll have more to write on next week to share what actually will go on this weekend.

Immersion Journal #2

I appreciate the use of dialogue in Pardi's poems. Actually, one of my favorites in the entire collection is “Drinking with my Father in London.” The end, where the father says “next time you get to be the whole damn flock” is quite possibly the strongest line of poetry dialogue I've seen to date. I love it. I can't explain exactly why it works so well – but I envy the author, to be sure.
I just recently entered the Creative Writing awards contest, and on the side, between assignments and work and class and finding time to sleep – I wrote a nonfiction piece chronicling a few memories and emotions from my winter break expedition to Maine. Entitled, “This Too Shall Pass,” I chose not to include names or dialogue for the persons involved, besides the narrator. Being that it was essentially about dealing with unrequited love, it was a move more towards structure, to not include the dialogue and the friend's name. The piece is about beginning to move forward. Still, in reading Pardi's work and getting a little feedback from friends on my work, I think I may try the revise in scenes and details for this piece. Dialogue is always so strong. Even the most simple phrases can result in tears – be in real life, or on paper.
Last week, I did a Rhapsodomancy reading for myself. I did indeed end up walking down to the Fey Dragon this Sunday. I did indeed end up learning something new about myself – via guided meditation. Mary showed me how to visualize that which blocks progress forward by using meditative techniques I had never seen before. What do ya know? With this new knowledge about the craft of guided meditation and about myself, I can progress. The block's name was Fear. That which replaces fear is named Confidence. It would take a few more pages to describe exactly what went on inside my mind to find this information – but instead I shall carry this lesson with me and teach it to The Oswego State Pagan Association.
For this week's reading, I'm asking: In what ways can I expect to progress this week?
“In place of a leaf, an absence.
Autumnal drool, slow slide from unevenness
to un-unevenness.
A thing that must break
is bending.
In truth there are just three seasons –
rising, falling,
and incandescence.
Try. Try falling when it's your turn to float.” (Pardi pg. 48 from the poem “Three Meditations”)

Maybe this reflects back on what I learned this week – that confidence replaces fear. Perhaps this is telling me that it is okay to not know exactly what is ahead of me. To fall may not be a bad thing, because in all perceived failure, there is a lesson to be learned. Perhaps this means a lesson is heading my direction. The things that must break are my old habits, my old frames of mind – piles of old stresses I put on myself. Rising to a challenge causes stress. Stress causes falling. Standing once again after a fall is incandescence. So we shall see what progress I make and in what ways come next week and next journal entry.

Immersion Journal #3

Pardi's poems, obviously, have a lot to do with birds, flying, rising and falling – it's perfect. I never forgot the pencil to birdseed image in the first poem of the book, “Here.” The reason I mention this is because I am an admitted lover of birds. In my room, I have four budgies. (Americans call them Parakeets, but the term 'parakeet' is just a classification of parrots, really.) The fourth one came along today as a birthday present to myself.
I wrote a couple of pieces the last time I was in Poetry III class. One focused on the sight of a little yellow down feather floating down to land on my glasses – a fluffy blur right in my line of vision. The other focused on the image of a tiny green parakeet calling out in response to the hunger call of a pretty large seagull. My birds – they're all about community. They're about, generally speaking, large groups and camaraderie. They are not afraid in the least to let their voice be heard. For tiny creatures, they are intelligent and so expressive. They inspire me with the way they respond to the world around them. Nothing is ever boring or dull. There's always something to be curious about. Always something to watch with a wary eye. For these birds, nothing is fun if you don't have a friend to share it with.
I work alone so much, but a wise person said that sometimes, it really is best to share your work with others. Maybe part of me is afraid what I write is never good enough. But I think I'm getting better at trusting me. In trusting the art is worth sharing.
Last week, I did a rhapsodomancy reading out of Pardi's book, and it alluded to big changes for me. Reporting back, I have to say that something is indeed breaking – my mind frames of thinking that I am not enough – something so many of us struggle with. Not only am I becoming more open to sharing my work, but I've been told lately that I am leading the organization I started quite well. I've been working so hard on my Pagan and Metaphysical studies that I now have so much more information and research to share with OSPA. My hope is that I can make enough of a difference so that when I graduate, until I come back to be a Professor (and thus advise the club...), OSPA will survive.
This week, I'm going to ask: in what ways will I be inspired?

“Having been there before, he returned, only to find one
step fewer than before. Squirrels curled like commas
marked the way, light falling hard on the softness of
smoke. The next time: one step fewer. And so it hap-
pened, until the moment in between had been discarded.
Before flowering, a leveling, he though. Before flowering,
an eradication.
Everywhere he turns, it returns.
She'd left a trail of seeds along the way, but that was
long ago. For years she's wondered which will be the
first to go, birdsong or bird? When it's time for her to
return, the seeds have sprouted, grown tall. What was
cut into shade now colludes with it. She makes her way
from tree to tree, slaloming.
Song of one who leaves:
I'll believe it when I see it.” (Pardi pg. 51. Poem: Seven Parables of Return.)
Lately I've been trying to switch genres a bit to test my limit and to test how to constrain emotion, especially in poems about unrequited love and such difficulties. They are mostly based in personal experience, and writing has helped me cope with it – has helped me, for the most part, be at peace with events.
The past is always riddled with disappointment. But, in such disappointment, great lessons reside. Great inspiration is sourced in the lessons that teach us who we are as people. So, yes. Heartbreak has been awful. But it's also been inspirational. It's gone back to what last week's reading said – 'a thing that must break is bending.' I have changed; there is a new strength in me. And perhaps what this poem means is that I will be inspired more by the partings I have experienced more so than the hope of returning to what once was. The song of one who leaves would be of melancholy – of not understanding how rare the connection left behind really was. I will reflect on this reading in the next journal, and see if this understanding significantly inspires one or more pieces of writing.


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