Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When a Bunch of Lokeans Take a Car Trip to Pagan Pride Day

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Trust the process. It can be said that Lokeans live in a sea of chaos -- and not always a sea that stems from the source himself. So trust the process. That is what I kept trying to tell myself.

Except when the directions tell you to drive all the way back to "Sweet Road" (On Campus, near Culkin Hall) after being on the east side of Oswego already. And we do so anyway, because we are Lokeans and, deity aside, our acceptance of chaos helps us be both late and lost more often than we want to admit. Which is why the consensus was to follow the directions exactly, for fear of the consequences... 

Last Saturday was the annual CNY Pagan Pride Day, and the first one I'd ever been to. With my campus organization, we arranged to carpool in a first-come, first-serve manner, and so it happened that at least three out of four people in that car were Lokean in one manner or the next. A day that started with a wonky GPS and navigational system kept getting seasoned with a little chaos here, and a little more there -- until, looking back on it all, we found humor.

Kris, Candi, Kat and I decided that once we had recovered our sense of direction, it would be beneficial to stop for coffee. It was at the drive-in window at Dunkin Donuts that the next event occurred. Kris's phone rang, and she answered it just as she pulled around to the pick-up window. Her mom had called -- and us, being on the wrong side of the telephone, only got half the story.

"I thought you were camping all weekend!" Kris exclaimed, rolling her eyes with a sigh. Her shoulders slumped, and the poor cashier awkwardly held our food and beverages suspended in mid-air as the telephone conversation continued. "WHAT? No, why would I have the CAT!? I'm out with friends for the day!" And the chattering continued in this fashion, until nothing made any sort of sense. Kris hung up the phone, and finally took our order from the cashier.
"I left my consent sheets on the dining room table mixed in with my job applications, and now everyone's coming home early from camping to find them," she said. The car was silent as we tried to determine what the actual heck she was talking about. We were still stuck on the fact that her parents were home early, and had thought Kris the sort to leave with cat-in-arms on a weekend adventure. It was Pagan Pride Day, after all -- but come on now.

My cellphone GPS beeped every time Kris went even half a mph over the speed limit. As we were nearing the "motorway," -- as the British-sounding computer-generated voice liked to proclaim -- the speed limit changed to a much higher number -- and the GPS didn't realize this until much later. We contented with a loud, judgmental beeping -- wrong as it was to judge poor Kris, magnet of chaos.

It was only at the gas station bathroom down the road from PPD that Candi realized that our saga might just have a pretty funny title. We were given the "Bathroom Stick" by the station attendant, and on this piece of splintery plywood, a ring of keys that unlocked the bathroom, flew like a flag. Kris left the stick on the bathroom sink -- "DON'T LET THE DOOR CLOSE!" she announced -- "I HAVE LEFT THE STICK ON THE SINK. Let's not lock it in there." And of course, the door slowly began to shut as we all scrambled to get there first and keep it open. When all was said and done, it was Candi that said "See? THIS is what happens when Lokeans take a car trip!" and the realization was greeted with hysterical laughter. Yes -- this was the truth.

So the point of this pointless post? Acceptance of chaos does not always or necessarily mean that Loki himself is causing very minor things to happen. Our theory, all of us on that car trip, might be that in our acceptance of chaos, and in the honoring of the Deity that chose us, we can find not only humor, but lessons in even the hardest bout of unfortunate or awkward events. What did any of this teach us? To trust the process. We got to PPD at the time we wanted, and had a wonderful time -- all the while trying not to get lost, take cats with us, forget our paperwork...ect, ect... Probably these were lessons in not being married to a specific, rigid plan. To go with the flow. To trust that what happens will happen -- and to embrace that chaos in which full, colorful lives will thrive. So, our common Deity is Loki. Yes, he brings us some wild chaos. No, we absolutely didn't pick him. But in all things -- car trip included -- we can begin to understand what lessons that energy can teach.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On First-Time Marathon Tarot Reading


On Saturday, September 7th, I participated in an event called "Lakerfest," which was a cute, free on-campus activity fair that happened in Cayuga field. Lots of interesting things went on, all for free -- including some kind of raffle. I happened to be one of two tarot readers available to work that day.

I am the apprentice to the owner of The Fey Dragon in Oswego, and so we sort of went as a team. It's a good thing, too -- because we both saw at the very least 50 students a piece line up for tarot readings. Some went back in line to get a reading from the other. It was a little hectic.

But I was warned of this long before the event loomed over the horizon. I was told how much energy would be exchanged, how fast-paced the event would be -- how little time there was to disconnect, recenter, reground and reshield. It got overwhelming fast. I mean -- two days later and I am still exhausted.

I took a single break in four hours worth of ceaseless readings to ground out, drink water and feel the wind. But man, if I didn't feel as though I got ran over by some metaphysical force, than I felt nothing at all. You know that feeling you get when you're about to pass out? The color drains from your face? Or -- better -- that feeling you get in your gut when your phone bleeps because it's only got 1% battery left and you're stuck away from home for a long time still? That is exactly how it feels to do marathon tarot readings. The energy really depletes, and I am finding that it takes a lot to bring it back up. I don't wish to touch another card right yet. Each time I try, my hands shake as though I am lifting something much heavier than a deck of cards. But then again, isn't tarot always much heavier than we realize?

Part of me can still feel a weird sort of exchange happening, like a bit of me remained in the space of the tarot readings and stayed with the people being read. Though I could barely muster the strength to look at some querents in the eye towards the end of my four hour marathon-read -- I found myself recognizing a few students in the hallways today as I wandered to class and work. They looked up too. There was a spark of recognition there between us. Some students turned to their friends, pointing. "That's the fortune teller." Yes, that's one way to put it.

I feel out of space and time when this happens. I feel odd, knowing that they now know me. They have a title for me. Some are weirded out, but most are not. Why? I don't know. One person asked me if I had a degree in fortune telling. I answered that no -- of course not -- but I was working on my Creative Writing Degree. That's close enough, right? And they smiled. I was out of the loop. I've been the weird tarot girl since Freshman Year, but now A LOT of people see me in that light. I am not sure how to react to it. I want to correct them and say "Card reader." or "No, it's Katie. I'm Katie. Hello!" But at the same time, I like the mysticism of the words "Fortune" and "Teller" together in one breath. It's why the word 'sibyl' exists. It's etymology stems from a greek word 'sibylla' which meant 'prophetess.' Much like the word 'vala' and/or 'spækona' in Anglo-Saxon, and similarly, 'völva' in Old Norse. People are all at once in awe, frightened and fascinated by the terminology. They wonder how it is that I can know these things, without realizing that we may just all have the power to know these things.

I come out of this event with new experiences and a bit of a new perspective. I know I need to learn so much more. I know, looking back, that I have come so far since June -- let alone Freshman Year. (I am a pseudo-senior by the way.) I know a pitfall of so much energy being given and not allowing myself time to replenish. I know how fast hours fly while we sleep -- and I know how valuable a good rest is from other experience before just this. It is not enough in the case of this sort of intense work on a metaphysical level. But now I know. For future reference.

Reflecting on this, part of my brain is screaming "NO, I never ever EVER want to do this again!" but the rest of me says, "Well, I know. But we need to. This is our obstacle. This is our challenge." But I have to keep in mind how INTENSE the experience is, and better prepare. Sort out how I feel before hand and make damn sure I get where I need to be in advance of the next marathon read.