Friday Check-In (Chicken) and Thinking About Stories

Hello, Friday! You took forever to get here this week, and I’m not sure why. But you are here now, so we are going to Check-In (Chicken).

But first! We’re going to talk a little bit about stories. Because I? Adore stories. Ever since my Grandmother gave me my first book of Greek mythology and read me the classics of British children’s literature, I’ve been in love with stories. Stories, like ritual – and hand-in-hand with ritual – can help give coherency and meaning to our lives, help us make sense out of apparent chaos.

It’s for this reason that I love retellings so very much. Re-telling a story, especially a powerful, mythical story, helps keep the stories alive, growing – helps us connect with the tradition they emerge from and the lessons they convey. One of the largest, most important stories in my life is the story of Persephone, flower maiden and queen of the dead. Around this time of year, especially, as the leaves begin to wither and the chill begins to creep into the air, I turn my thoughts toward Persephone, who descends into Hades year after year. I’ll be sharing some of my own thoughts on this story in a day or two, but for now, I’d like to point you at a couple of versions of this powerful story:

  • Theoi.com offers a couple of different tellings from primary sources.
  • Ovid (not the one from ancient Greece) over at BetterMyths has a profanity-filled retelling. No, seriously. I love him for his irreverence and hilarity. Skip this one if you don’t like four-letter words and capslock.
  • Spuffyduds on LiveJournal wrote this gorgeous retelling which, for what it’s worth, articulates a lot of my own interpretations of the story.
  • The amazing Catherynne Valente published a stunning, Vaudevillian retelling over at Goblin Fruit. It addresses so many of the nuances and complications with the story, while clothing it in the gaudy, brilliant lights of the stage and the midway.

What stories to tell yourself, over and over? What stories give meaning to your life?

Onward to chickening….

What worked this week…

  • Chili. Chili with venison and fresh tomatoes. That worked really well.
  • Yoga class. A real yoga class. That worked well, and should be something I work with in the future.
  • Taking time to grocery shop and have food at home.
  • Standing firm on the time I need for myself, and for the things I need.
  • Calling on old academic skills to write my paper.
  • Going to bed super early for a Friday, because I was exhausted.
  • Mabon ritual! It all went spectacularly well, and I love the people I Circle with.
  • Acknowledging a growing sensitivity to dairy, and getting fancy soy drinks.

Next time, I might…

  • Work on going to bed when I should, on work nights. Even if there’s more delightful stuff to read.
  • …work on the paper earlier. Just because I’m calling on old skills doesn’t mean I have to recreate old habits.
  • Be even more vigilant about claiming time for the things I think of as “squishy” – and remembering that not everything requires an explanation.

The hard…

  • Mornings. Shortening days are exciting, but dark mornings are bad for my motivation.
  • Motivation. I was having a chronic shortage with regard to my day-job.
  • Menstruation. Cramps make everything harder, and hormones trick me into thinking things are so much more dramatic and important than they actually are.
  •  …and other things that begin with M.

The good…

  • Bread pudding and pomegranate cider at Mabon. Mmmm.
  • Shedding skin (spiritually!) and Not My Stuff during ritual.
  • Dancing around a fire. Always good. Always.
  • Things working and changing to the good in friends’ lives. Yay!
  • The patience of my partner, who dispenses cuddles and kisses on demand.
  • Plans for the weekend working out perfectly.
  • The first of the crunchy leaves under my feet.

How was your week? What worked or didn’t?

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