Friday, June 27, 2014

Midsummer PBP Week 26

Pagan Blog Project Week 26

Midsummer
Rather than try to catch up from behind, I'm going to carry on from current and then just back post as I can until I'm caught up on the several weeks of posting I've missed. I've decided not to beat myself up about it, I'm just going to hike up my proverbial britches and carry on.

So. Week 26 it is.


June 21st is considered the first day of summer in this part of the world. To me it is the middle. To each their own of course, but I shake my head (mentally) when I hear people going on about it being summer's beginning. I think of it as the top of the climb up and out of winter. The apex and summit of the roller coaster of the seasons. The longest day of light and the beginning of the slow slide back into darkness. I like the longest day and appreciate it, but I get a little sad too. I'm weird that way, I guess.

As I've written before I love fall, but I really don't care for winter. I live in an odd state to feel that way too. Colorado may boast 320 days of sunshine a year or some such, but winter is long here.

I lit candles on Midsummer and relished the light and warmth. I will light them again come mid-winter at Yule and miss the light and warmth.

One belief set holds that the twin kings, Oak and Holly share the year, with one ruling from mid-winter to mid-summer and the other ruling from mid-summer to mid-winter. Most of the stories I've read on it have them battling for dominance in an eternal struggle. I don't really prefer those. I like to think of it as their job, their task. One rules and the other rests. My opinion only. Every one's mileage varies.

I recently saw an article/blog post that stated that the Oak King and the Holly King were both different faces of Cernnunos. I'm not sure how that sits with me. I tend to dislike mixing my deities and making their names and faces interchangeable.
edited to add missing word


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hippy-Dippy Week 15 PBP



Painting by Edgar Hunt
Hippy-Dippy
Adjective   Informal 
"rejecting conventional practices or behavior in a way perceived to be vague and unconsidered or foolishly idealistic."  (source: Oxford Dictionary)

The more I read about all the harm the chemicals we ingest does and the harm that the chemicals our food ingests does the more I want to farm, garden, and make all my own lotions and potions.
Nothing that comes from the meat case in a standard (i.e. not a Whole Foods or Natural Grocer type) grocery store lived a happy, natural life. Nothing. It lived in pain and frustration and confusion, and it likely died in agony. That sucks…to put it mildly. If one is to believe the expression about "you are what you eat" then what are we consuming? Metaphysical misery? Okay, that's branching out a little too far for me, but still. Yuck.

So between the inhumanity of large scale "Factory" farming, and the terrifying amount of chemicals that our food is given, I don't want to eat it anymore. I really really don't.

Money constraints and freezer space keep me from buying exclusively from local farmers and meat companies. I'd love to find a neighbor (or extended family member) that wanted to go in halfers on a cow or a pig. But so far, no love on that one. While I wait (impatiently as always) for my financial life to allow such purchases, I continue to switch out boxed and "processed" and faux foods from our lives and substitute in all-natural, homemade, from scratch food.

When we kill things or harvest things, I always offer up a prayer of thanks to the organism be it from fishing, hunting, or even the garden. Always.

Our house is in a HOA controlled subdivision despite being well off the beaten path and way back in the woods. The HOA/County covenants for the subdivision only allow for a horse or 10 small livestock. I could get 10 chickens if I had the coop for them, or I could get 2 goats and 8 chickens and so on. I believe the woman who built our house kept goats. That's what I've been told by those in the know. The various strange rock cairns scattered around my one acre strike me as the right size for goat graves. I'm not digging them up to find out though.

I've realized that for me, the path to success is baby steps. Which is, of course, in direct opposition to my apparently innate desire to leap in to any project with both feet and 110% enthusiasm. It's a personal battle I fight. So I have switched to all natural lip balm that a friend of mine makes (when she remembers!) and I have started making my own toothpaste—I'm on the second batch and so far I'm really pleased with it. I'm gathering ingredients to start making my own deodorant as well.

The internet these days is a fantastic resource for these kind of recipes. I don't trust the longevity of anything online though so I always make sure to copy the recipes I like off into a document or at least print them out.

What does all this have to do with my Path and being a Pagan? It helps me to do my part to care for the Earth and contribute to a better life and a better death for some of the inhabitants. Less toxins, less poison, less pain. That is intimately related to my Path and how I choose to live.

 
Sprouts divider by Kawiku 




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A walk to the lake (image heavy)

Because it was the first day this year that has broken the 60 degree mark, I decided to take the dogs and my camera on a walk to the lake.

We moseyed along enjoying the view and the sun and the wonderfully non-freezing air. Okay, I Moseyed, they tugged and pulled and gagged like they were shrunken sled dogs.

See...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Getting all natural Week 14 PBP

Getting all natural (Or at least as natural as is feasible)

I was going to do this entry on Green Witchery, but I would rather only blog about things that I know anything about. I’m interested in natural living and natural magic...so getting all natural became my topic.
I grew up blissfully unconcerned about all the chemicals in everything. I spent most of my adult life equally unconcerned. I even thought real butter tasted funny. I was a chemical devotee of the lifelong persuasion. 

Somewhere along the line that changed. I’m honestly not sure when that happened or why. It came about in the last couple years though, I know that.  If I had to guess I would say it was probably discovering the blog for Cold Antler Farm. One step leads to another and the more read about this crazy woman’s farming adventures the more I started finding other farming types and reading about their ways of doing things and why. Over time their ideas must have taken root (heh) and bloomed into this desire I have to surpass my lazy self and get busy being better.

For the last year or so, I have been getting more and more into cooking from scratch and slowly phasing out the processed foods and learning to make healthy natural recipes instead. We backslide at times; it’s very easy to do. Being hungry and in a rush will do it to us every time. But we are definitely making progress. Thanks be to every god for the internet and the billion and one recipes online. It really helps with everything I want to do.

In addition to switching to natural foods, I’m also researching ways to replace all (or as many as is feasible) of the chemicals that we use in our day to day lives. I’ve started with toothpaste. Actually I started with baking soda and water for shampoo, but that was just icky. I’ll keep looking for a good shampoo recipe. The toothpaste is working out pretty well. I’m on my second batch and so far so good. 

My husband is such a good sport about all this. He eats anything I make and likes most of it as long as there’s meat somewhere in the dish. Such a carnivore. (grins) But then I am too, so it’s okay.

The journey is long and it has to be done mindfully. I love creating these things that normally have to be bought in a store or come from a box and having it be just as good. 

It’s really cool.


Gardening PBP week 13

Gardening


When I lived in Kentucky, I thought that I was a good gardener and I was probably pretty okay at it. My gardens were lush jungles with sparkling fat jewels with the occasional annoying critter gnawing on something.  Upon moving to Colorado, I got a rather rude awakening. Gardening is hard—at least in a semi-arid high prairie environment anyway.

I’ve been dreaming of hoop houses and greenhouses for years. I’ve planned to build them a couple times, but life keeps sending me in other directions. Rather than rail about it or try to force something that it isn’t time for, I’m thinking that it is the Universe telling me to wait and focus on other things.

Gardening is like physical magic to me. You gather special items, you find a special spot, and you mix things correctly and add the proper things at the proper time and poof! You get flowers or food. That is such cool magic.

I was better at it in Kentucky than here.  I’m going to keep working at it though, until I’m good at it here in Colorado too. 

Ideally, I would like to be able to grow enough food to can in a season and eat on for the winter. I really want to get away from all the crap in the grocery that looks like healthy food but isn’t. That’s not feasible just yet, but I can make every effort while I’m learning and growing.

I’m going to make a list of all the things I use, ingest, clean with, and wear that is chemical soup and start trying to find natural alternatives.

Gardening is a step along that direction. And it really is magic to me. I wish that greenhouse was in the cards for this year...doesn’t seem like it is, but I wish it was. Maybe I need to finish up with this house and school before all that comes to fruition. Maybe all my farming, gardening, clean living choices will come into play when we find our forever place and settle in. I need to figure out how to get past all this planning and dreaming and start doing and creating. All the best ideas in the world are nothing if they don’t make it off the page. My laziness is really my own worst enemy.

I’ve been thinking about how this may not seem like Pagan stuff, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if it is part of my Path and part of my life than it counts. Compartmentalizing my life has never seemed to lead to good places. I am more and more comfortable in my own skin and that leads to comfort in all other areas of my life. And freedom too. Finding my footing in myself is really cool.

I have to keep in mind that this is still my year of being brave. I have stopped digging deep and really trying to figure myself out (at least out in public on the ‘net) because of that icky facet of wanting to hide because I know people are looking. Strangers are fine.  Who really cares what faceless/nameless strangers think? Hell, it’s easier to talk to strangers because you don’t have to continue to live with them after the fact. When you (and by you I mean me) know that people are listening it’s hard to keep talking.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Feelings Week 12 Pagan Blog Project


Feelings


I have always been incredibly sensitive to the moods and feelings of others. Based on reading I have done over the years I believe it to be a survivor mechanism left over from an abusive childhood. I have been asked (several times) if I’m an Empath before, and I usually shrug and say maybe a little. The truth is, I don’t know. Whether I am or not doesn’t change how I feel buffeted and blasted raw by other people’s emotional tornadoes most days.

Lately at work, it has been hell. Everyone seems to be about two steps away from losing their shit and throwing knives around. (I have been helping out in the restaurant as a server, so that knife part is quite literal).

I’ve always been sensitive, but I have never learned how to shield properly. I can do it (somewhat) when I focus on it, but during a busy breakfast shift that is impossible. For me, self is obscured by the automatic and the running list of pending tasks. The coffee is low—start more on the next trip back/Table 11 wants more toast—drop it in the toaster on your way to get more cinnamon rolls/Table 14 left—get that bussed so the wait goes down/Did you enter the order for table 13?/Crap, their food is up and you haven't gotten their drinks yet....etc. So it’s hard to remember to shield against casually negative people while all that is flying across your brain, harder still to actually hold a shield against them.

I’m exhausted by the time the shift ends and some of it is physical, yes, serving is hard work, but a good chunk of it is emotional. For me it’s like being constantly bombarded by a howling wind full of sand and rock. Each little stinging hit is annoying, but taking all together it wears me down. There’s no good response to the flying barbs. If you play along it just encourages the behavior, if you sink to their level and bitch and snark back to them it just pisses them off and gives them more ammo, if you ignore it then YOU are the one with the problem as far as they are concerned because obviously you are a snotty bitch. 

It’s such a drag.

I’ve spent years sorting out my feelings and my emotional baggage and I’m on a fairly even keel lately. If anyone who knows me snorts in disbelief reading that, well, trust when I say it used to be a lot worse.
I’m tired of being a victim to everyone else’s emotional storms. My feelings are enough, I don’t want to feel anyone else’s.  I need to learn to shield better while I work even harder to find the escape route from the casino that won’t leave us floundering financially.

In the mean time, I have to fight off the growing anger and negativity that being there plants in me. I can’t say the things I think (who can?) and I can’t change who they are and how they act. But dear gods, I wish I could shield myself from the psychic miasma that drips from the walls. It’s an act of will every time I have to go there and I’m so tired.

Feeding the Dead Week 11 PBP

Between the crap going on with work and the new schedule I’m having to deal with there and trying to finish up my current class I have managed to fall TWO WEEKS behind! Ugh! So this is a short one and the next one may be too, but I want to get caught up. 

Feed the dead



While I am spending this year working through exactly what my beliefs are and how I want to live my Path, there are things that I am sure of within myself. Honoring my dead is one of those. 

I don't remember how I wandered into the thought of it, but I found an aside mentioned online about Feeding the Dead. It took some digging to figure out what they were talking about and how I wanted to adapt it to myself. But once I had it, I felt a real pull for it.

Typically done on Samhain, the concept is quite simple. You take an offering (I used the reddest and prettiest apples I could find) and bury it at the front and back doors of your home to feed the spirits as they pass through on their way back through the veil.

I'm sure there are other ways to feed the dead throughout the year, but this is my favorite.
I never realized how much I wanted to commune with my beloved dead until the day I was preparing fried potatoes and heard a quiet voice in my head/ear say "add some flour."

It didn't seem odd or out of place to me even though I was home alone at the time.  I wasn't even scared.  I simply added flour and lo, for the first time my fried potatoes didn't stick to the pan. In my heart I was completely certain it was my Great Grandma Johnson who had whispered to me.

Still am, really. 


What I wouldn't give to be able to talk to her again. But even if that isn't possible I still want to honor my dead and show them that they are loved and remembered. Two shiny red apples go into carefully dug holes every October 31st.  

It's a wonder that I don't have apple trees poking up.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Energy Manipulation Week 10 PBP

Painting by Primal Painter
Energy manipulation

Wow, here we are at week 10! The muse is alive and kicking currently, so I have been hard at work on my novel, but I would really like to start getting these posts up on the right day.  I'm not going to make it this week either, but I'm closer than I have been in recent weeks. I have been trying to think ahead to topics I want to explore in the future in the hope that I can be better prepared when they roll around. Plus, if inspiration strikes I can write them whenever and just sit on them until time to post.

This week is Energy Manipulation. I think that spells, shields, prayers, and human magic are all a form of energy manipulation.  I am not taking away from their power or sacredness by calling them that either. A rainbow is still beautiful colors in the sky no matter how you define it. This post doesn’t deal with anything so lofty, but more a series of experiences I had as a teenager.

See, I’ve been playing with energy for years, even before I really knew what that was what I was doing.

What comes to mind first though, when I think energy manipulation, is my heart brother and I.

When we were teenagers our parents started living together and by extension, of course, so did we. Completely different worlds, he and I, but we became close and have remained so over the years despite distances. Definitely a case of family being made up of people you find rather than people you are born to. I love my heart brother very much.

He was my willing guinea pig several times with energy healing and some trance work, but what was really fun were the energy balls we could create. I discovered by accident that if I held my palms apart and concentrated I could feel hot energy form there like a swirling ball of electricity. If I spread my palms apart it grew and if I slowly moved my hands back together there was a feeling of resistance. 
It was so cool.

I learned that if I inhaled and pulled from deep inside my chest, I could actually feel something moving down my arms and out of my hands. I think now that I was pulling from my own energy, because if I didn’t suck it back in when I was done playing I would find myself exhausted and headachy.

Somehow I involved my heart brother. I probably called him down to my room and said check this out and he dove in too, but it’s been a very long time since those days and the details get fuzzy. What I do remember clearly is creating a ball of energy and having him put his hand in it. I remember his eyes going wide and a huge grin. He could feel it too! It never crossed my mind then that it could be dangerous, so I’m very glad it didn’t end up hurting either of us.

We tried to share the ball and that worked too. (is everyone’s energy compatible like that or was it something special to us? I wonder about that now as I write this. Feel free to weigh in.)

I remember it was getting dark and the room was very gloomy and greyish-blue, but we were so entranced with what we were doing that I don’t think either of us really noticed. At one point, he started backing away to see how far we could stretch it and he made it all the way across the room and into the hallway with no loss of connection. Now when we did that it was no longer a ball of energy but more two streams connecting our hands. (My palms are tingling thinking of all this.)  He came back across the room to me until our hands were nearly touching. Both wondering what would happen we sealed our hands together. Nothing happened, but we both jumped. Laughing (like the kids we were) we both said that we had expected a spark or a zap.

What we were doing was 100% real to both of us. The only thing lacking was being able to actually see the energy we were stretching like taffy.

Writing about this has really reminded me of how much I used to play around with stuff like that. I should try to reincorporate it mindfully into my life. I realize now how much I miss it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reading for Content 2

Well, we are still on Walden.It seems like we will always be on Walden. I will one day discover I've died and Christian Hell is real and reading this book in my eternal punishment. Okay, maybe not that bad. But it's definitely a forced march for me to get through and I haven't had much time lately, so I'm not through chapter one yet. My ever-patient cohort has finished and is waiting for me.

I really dislike this book. We did some digging the other day and based on a few things my friend read she switched her opinion from 1800s hipster to 1800s zen guy. I'm still firmly in the hipster camp.
 
HDT is talking about building his cabin and how much food he had the forethought to plant on two acres in advance. Apparently it's okay with him to plant just enough to get by on as long as you aren't actually calling yourself a farmer and attempting to make a living from it.

Given how enamored of farming and homesteading as I have been of late this attitude really bugs me, but as my friend points out, we have to keep in mind the attitudes and culture of the time it was written.
I have been reading it on my phone at odd moments and I skipped ahead to see if this chapter would ever end. I have 52 more finger swipes to go. UGH. But on the bright side at least it's not 1984, or The Handmaiden's Tale.

As with my current educational pursuits, I'm sure that if I stick with it and make it to the end, I'll be glad I did it (and equally glad it's over too, I'm sure)


Expectations Week 9 PBP



We are all of us chock full of expectations. From the mundane to the fantastical, we have expectations for how things will be or how things are supposed to happen. Sometimes we are disappointed and sometimes we are surprised.

When I claimed the title (label?) of Pagan, I had expectations—still do I suppose. I expected to find a patron (or matron) Deity and be their happy handmaiden (Na├»ve, I know). Knowing my impatient ass, I probably expected it to happen before the week was out as though this wonderful Deity had merely been waiting around for me to pull my head out of the Christian sand and notice them waiting there for me. (No disrespect meant to Christians, I think we all have our heads buried in one flavor of sand or another)

Obviously, that magical coming together never happened. I was disappointed, but figured it must have been a lack in me or a ritual left undone. I read more, I joined an online pagan community, I read more. As a member of that community I read voraciously every post that sounded intriguing (at first that was pretty much all of them) as time passed I began to develop a taste for certain articles over others. Which was very good, because I was developing my beliefs and gravitating towards what resonated with me as truth.

I asked occasional questions and discovered people that I found fascinating. Some for good reasons and others because they were like loud flashy train wrecks. The posts I remember most were the questing ones. The ones from newbies like me who were testing the waters and hoping for guidance. People talked endlessly about being "thwapped" by such and such deity. I began to think I was standing in the wrong line, or something.

My expectations were out of line with reality.

Nowadays I'm not even sure I believe in Deities, per se. I believe in something. I'm just not sure what it is. And I think that having lowered my expectations is a good thing. I would love to live a "magical life" I would love to believe that spells and ritual were more than just energy manipulation, but I don't think that I do. (Incidentally, I think prayer of any flavor is energy manipulation as well)

I expect that as time passes my beliefs and practices will continue to change and grow along with the rest of me.