Tea Rituals with Móðguðr, or The Path of Endarkenment   2 comments

Witches' tea partySometimes I wonder if the plants and the rocks, the minerals themselves aren’t somehow pointing the way back to our pre-Judeo-Christian roots.”

~ Frank Hadley Murphy, Tea Fried Brain: Notes From St. Camellia’s Church of the First Infusion

It wasn’t until middle age, after grieving a devastating loss, that I finally claimed the title temple keeper as mine and embraced my spiritual path as one of monastic service along what I have come to call the Path of Endarkenment.

When I look back, though, I realise that I have been taking tentative steps toward this particular path for many years, even if I was unaware of this at the time. My spiritual life is often like that: I can’t see around the corner at all, and I feel as if I’m groping around in the dark for something I know – or at least strongly suspect – must be there, yet I can only grasp at it instinctively and hope I somehow manage to get it right in the midst of my fumbling attempts. Sometimes, in hindsight, it becomes clear why something happened the way it did, and on occasion I realise I had a far better handle on things than I had thought I did at the time. But most of the time I feel like I’m just winging it and making it up as I go along, and it’s only much later that the pieces of the puzzle start to come together in a way that gives me a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Nonetheless, more and more I have the sense that this Path of Endarkenment I now walk is being carved out behind the scenes by beings far, far greater and wiser than me – one of which is the Black Stone, after which the Hermitage is named. Inspired by guidance I receive through the Black Stone (and Others I serve), I find exactly the books and websites I need, overhear meaningful snippets of conversations, meet key people, get intuitive inner nudges, and so on…at precisely the right times. The more I learn about the esoteric meanings of black stones – and in particular, black obsidian, which has quickly become my favourite – the more I find myself astonished that all of this is happening to me. When the vision of the Black Stone Hermitage first appeared in my life, I thought: “Why Black Stone Monastery? Why Black Stone Arts? Where do those names come from and what do they mean?” At first I just thought these names sounded vaguely cool and gothy, so I went with it…but I still felt kind of silly and self-conscious about it all. Even after years of calling myself an animist, it still took quite some time before I was able to embrace the idea of a stone as one of my greatest teachers.

Since then, it’s become clear to me that the names are quite significant and profound, and carry a whole host of meanings – most of which I have barely even begun to understand. This temple keeper is still very much in training.

As I’ve written elsewhere, my roles along this Path of Endarkenment involve using my writing about dark ambient music, ritual dance project, tea alliance, decorating, grief work, and other kinds of work to promote respect for the sacredness and wisdom to be found in darkness, both literal and figurative. Our culture doesn’t really “get” darkness as something that can be empowering – we tend to associate it with evil in a knee-jerk way, so we often sweep it under the rug or look the other way, rather than listen mindfully and embrace what it has to teach us.

Móðguðr, in Her tower of black stone, is another of my wise teachers along this Path of Endarkenment, and She seems to work in tandem with the Black Stone. She visits me as She sees fit, most often in October. Along with the cooler autumn weather and the darkening of the days, “active season” at the Hermitage begins in earnest this month, and things don’t start winding down until spring. Today’s tea ritual, attended (or perhaps more accurately, “commandeered”) by Móðguðr, marks the official start of active season.

When I started making tea this evening as I usually do, my conscious intention was simply to brew a cup of bold, earthy pu-erh and enjoy a tea break. Then, as She has done before, Móðguðr stepped in, and made it known that this simple tea ritual would now become Hers. I found myself lighting a candle and some cedarwood incense, cloaking myself in black velvet, setting a place for Móðguðr at the table, and cueing up the devotional dark ambient playlist I compiled for Her.

I folded my hands and sat in contemplation, then sipped my tea and drank in Her guidance…and this short prayer took shape.

Dark Lady of the Black Stone tower,
may I be a worthy vessel for Your wisdom.
Guardian of Helheim’s gate,
Keeper of underworld secrets…
…in my monastic rites of cultivation and withdrawal,
dark earthy teas and chthonic ritual ambient music open portals for You.
May my work along the Path of Endarkenment serve You with highest honours.
Hail Móðguðr!

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2 responses to “Tea Rituals with Móðguðr, or The Path of Endarkenment

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  1. Pingback: New Assignment: Learning Geomancy | The Black Stone Hermitage

  2. Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:
    jinxx ♠ xoxo

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