Reclaiming Quarterly Web Features Back Issues Subscribe Ads/Submissions Site Index Reclaiming Home

**Download the Aspecting Theme Section as a single PDF file**

Personal Accounts of Aspecting

by Sage and Ortha Splingaerd

My Wrangler Spared Me a Mosquito Feast — Sage

I was aspecting the ancient, primal, snake Goddess. During a moment when ritual participants were busy in small groups, I was to come to the center and simply "be" there. Ritual planners were open to whatever way this being was going to express itself. We knew that what we were after was very ancient, and might not be very chatty!

A close friend and fellow priestess was to be my "wrangler." She was interested, I think, in being with the energy as it emerged — one of the "perks" of doing the wrangler work.

I was nervous. I had a real "sense" of this Being, but had never aspected It/She/He/They before. The feeling of raw, primal force was intimidating. I worked to clear myself, to get over my anxieties and my fear of looking like an idiot — feelings that would get in the way of bringing this energy through me.

Well, it worked. The Snake Goddess was powerful, raw, and primal. Its presence in the ritual was a transformative piece of deepening and moving the magic forward for many participants.

But that's not the part of the aspecting that people talked about afterwards. What they remembered was that my eyes seemed to have moved around to the sides of my head. The Snake Goddess was fascinated by all the mosquitoes. My wrangler struggled with whether to allow me to follow the aspect's instincts and zap out a four foot, forked tongue at the mosquitos, or to intervene, encouraging me to simply notice the mosquitoes and move on.

Luckily (for the sake of our friendship!), my wrangler sacrificed the delight of watching me materialize a snake's tongue and chow down on mosquitos, and guided my attention back to the ritual.

Personal Boundaries and Negotiation Skills — Sage

I was to aspect the Faery Queen, simply to be present and to witness the ritual that unfolded. Beforehand, I spent time explaining to the Faery Queen what we were asking of Her. However, I hadn't bargained on how uncomfortable it was for Her to be in the claustrophic, airless, and ugly indoor space in which the ritual took place.

My wrangler and I arrived before the participants to set up a place for the Faery Queen to sit. We had to create a small area that was "Her Realm" in order for Her to be able to tolerate being indoors at all. Once the ritual began, she found the humans bizarre and somewhat annoying.

It really got tricky when one of the ritual participants went dashing from one side of the room to another and ran right through Her Realm.

The Faery Queen was outraged. She went on a tirade about how insensitive and blundering humans were. How we trampled through the wild spaces, destroying mindlessly, etc. etc. Then She decided that this was the last straw and that this human must be killed to serve as a lesson for all the rest.

All of this was going on internally. All that was visible to others was a high degree of agitation. She and I (using all the priestessing skills I could muster) argued back and forth. It felt like a tremendous battle of energies within me.

Eventually I was able to share what was going on with my wrangler, and she was an enormous help. Finally, the priestess in me prevailed. No murder was committed, and relations with Her Realm weren't severed.

Later in the ritual someone came to the Faery Queen in terrible distress. She offered some of the most compassionate and loving healing I've ever had the honor of sharing.

The Music Imbedded in the Building Itself — Ortha Splingaerd

Ortha particpated as an anchor in the Spiral Dance last Fall. These are her reflections on the experience.

I was given the choice of sitting near the North Altar or the East Altar. No choice for me. North it was. I'm comfortable with mountains, caves, rocks, the geographic north, and darker colors (although I hadn't thought ahead that I'd also be surrounded by everyone's ancestor photos!)

The dead themselves didn't intrude, but Susan, my tender, found it difficult to keep people from walking on me as they viewed the altar.

As I anchored, the image that came to me was the anchors as three Selket guardian Goddesses with our arms outstretched around the Spiral Dance. Selket was the gold statue in King Tut's tomb, defying anyone to disturb the contents of the canopic shrine which held King Tut's liver, lungs, stomach & intestines. For me, she looks eerily similar to Liz Taylor in "Cleopatra". She's also a Scorpion Goddess and helps women in childbirth. She was depicted as binding up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra.

I got a bit geometric at one point. The Spiral Dance itself was essentially round; the building was rectangular, and the three anchors made a triangle around the whole thing which then increased our size dramatically in order to encompass everything. On several occasions this put me above the city, and I was looking down at Fort Mason. Selket kept me very grounded.

When we were big we were like the Colossus of Rhodes, with our feet in the water, standing on the floor of the Bay.

Then what came to me was music, incredible music, separate from what was going on in the ritual. I began thinking about what music was imbedded in the building itself. This music lasted several minutes, then faded...

Ortha Splingaerd owns and manages a travel agency in San Francisco. Her abstract acrylic paintings can be viewed on her website,