In a Dream of Incense and Candlelight

My Focus is densely populated, because I like it that way. It is rich with meaning and history: places I have been, things I associate with important principles.

In its candlelight, illustrations of cave drawings from 35,000 years ago flicker. A Homo Erectus stone tool rests for a tiny percentage of its existence. Images of the Earth, of the Hubble Deep Field image, of rivers I’ve run and canyons I’ve hiked, and precious, beautiful things from Nature; symbols of my chosen family and of this community; A chalice of rain water; a bouquet of wheat; a quartz crystal and one of tourmaline; a slate engraved with a triple spiral; a bowl of acorns. My sacred rattle, which I’ve used in so many rituals. The program of the first Moon Meet. My Atheopagan rosary.


On the shelf below, in the Underworld, reside the Honored Dead. Images of the interior of the Newgrange passage burial, of owls. A deer skull, a mummified bat, a dessicated pomegranate. Bones. A sugar skull for Dia de Los Muertos. A human femur. A blown glass bottle of rose water which I used to anoint the body of my goddess-daughter’s five-year-old brother when we buried him, and have used to anoint the foreheads of celebrants in Hallows rituals since. A bough of yew gathered from a cemetery on Halloween, and with which I will light the Hallows fire this year.

An hourglass.

And pictures of those who are now gone.

Beneath those, in the bottom shelves of the bookcase, all the tools: the incense and censor, the oils and Tarot decks and water from sacred wells and books of sacred poetry.

This…construction, this illustration, this expression lives in my room. It is where the heart of my spirituality finds material expression in my home.

On nights like tonight, when my heart softens and I ease into the way of being that is wonder, is awe, is delight, I think of all of you out there who are interested in this path, in this way of being. Yours will not be mine, and that’s fine.

But we share something, wherever in the world you are. We are Atheopagans together.

Tonight the Moon swells. Tomorrow the long day of the mighty Sun dawns.

And we are paying attention.

I’ve been sad, lately. The world, my personal life. Not going so well.

But there it is, that Moon. Here they are, those stars.

Here it comes, that blazing Sun.

The world turns as it turns, and the waves at the coast go in and out, and Robinson Jeffers is right:

The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty

Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.

There is awe and gratitude to be found even in the darkest of times.

I am grateful for you, reading this. I call to your deepest heart to breathe, to open, to see what the Sacred world pours out for you.

To know that you are blessed.


9 thoughts on “In a Dream of Incense and Candlelight

    1. Those are actually the original D&D dice, from back in the 70s. I put them there to represent gaming, which has always had a place in my heart and, as you say, been a vehicle for my imagination.

      Thanks,, Hummingbear.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Gerald Young

    There was a time in my life when all that you had to say became a part of who I was. Having reached the wonderful age of 72 ( almost 73), those times are not what they were then. Living in a Senior Community doesn’t provide the kinds you offer. Still there are certain elements that stays with me; certain statues etc. rituals that pertain to the Sabbats, trying to make foods that go with those times etc. So, yes I am being critical; how does one go about doing ALL you say you have done or are doing?


    1. We can only try: we can pay attention to the natural world, celebrate its beauty; we can know what phase the Moon is in, and mark the Sabbaths around the year. I’m sorry your circumstances limit what you can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why I practice- imperfectly but persistently- conscious gratitude meditations.
    Like most of us, I have days (too many of them, in truth) when I ask myself “Why bother?”, days when it feel like it’s all gone to hell, and I don’t even know why I bothered to get out of bed.
    I find I can lift that feeling by remembering, thinking about, the world’s beauty, or a stranger’s smile, or, hell, just the fact that, at 82, I’m still in pretty good physical condition.
    Yeah, a lot of things suck, and most of the suckage I can do nothing about; some of it I can, but the Earth rolls on, and the sun glints off a hummingbird’s breast, and I can take a deep breath of air and let it out- and say, “Thank You”- not necessarily to any one or thing; just “Thanks”. It really helps.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carla Jean

    Your words are so thoughtful and beautiful. I too look to nature for comfort, for beauty. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – your shelves of precious things mirror my own. With several volumes of Jeffers tucked here and there among the books. Blessed be, Mark.


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