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.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Death week 8 pagan blog project

My incredibly late entry for week 8 is Death

illustration by Bret Syfert

One of my goals this year is to write more. Lots more. Like finish at least my current novel and this blog project more. As I mentioned before it is incredibly hard to make myself stick to this. I am uninspired to write on demand, which is something that needs to change, because I fully intend to make at least a partial living from writing. As with all things, I am sure that continued practice will make things easier.

My PBP topic this week is Death. I claim no certainties, only my own thoughts and musings on the subject. 

I believe death to be a transition. A doorway leading to somewhere else—somewhere unknowable to those currently living. I do not think that it is the end of anything but this current flesh-bound incarnation.
I recently had a discussion with a friend about death and we found that we feel the same way—that it is not death itself we fear, but the manner in which it is achieved. I worry only about the manner of dying rather than being dead. I am unconcerned about what comes after. 

I do not know if Asimov actually said this following quote.  I saw it attributed to several people. The quote itself is what matters though, rather than who said it.

taken from LifeLoveQuotes.net

I do not believe in the Christian concept of Heaven or Hell.  I do not believe that this life is all that there is and then an eternity is spent paying for sins or being rewarded for graces. (Have you ever noticed that there are many texts, thoughts, and ideas on what happens to a soul in Hell, but very little on what may happen in Heaven? I think that is interesting.) The same goes for Valhalla, the Elysian Fields, Hades, Tartarus, the Summerlands, and any others. I'd like to believe in some of them, but I just don't. I do believe in reincarnation, but I haven't gotten it all worked out in my head how it works. Although, I don't need to have it figured out to believe in it.

But really, that last deals more with the afterlife and I want to focus more on death the event the transition. Actually, I don't want to focus on anything about it, but that’s my uninspired self throwing a mini tantrum. I'm ignoring it.

The part of death that hurts the most is losing others. So much family gone before I was old enough and smart enough to really get to know them. Others gone before we wanted them to be. That is what hurts about death.

It's part of why ancestor worship interests me. I have read that people regularly commune with their honored dead and have conversations with them. I have no way of knowing whether they really do, but it would be neat if that were possible. I would dearly love to be able to talk to my Great Grama Johnson. She was an incredible woman. Sadly, she died when I was just a child.  There is so much I could learn from her, skills that have been lost to time and ennui.

I have begun to ramble (begun? Hell this whole post is a ramble) time to go.

To sum up.  I do not think death is a full stop end. I think it is a transition to whatever unknowable stage comes next for our soul.

Since I believe in reincarnation, I think we must have all experienced death already many times and taken our rest and slid back into the flesh again for another lesson.

It's already Tuesday as I write this, I should pick an E word and start immediately on that post. Perhaps I could even have it posted on Friday when it is actually due.




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reading For Content

(Hey look, a blog post that isn't a PBP entry!)

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Chapter one—Economy (I think)

My friend often suggests things we should do. “Let’s teach ourselves basic chemistry!” was a memorable one (I was glad when that one fell by the wayside), “Let’s learn Spanish!” (I’m still hoping we pursue that one), “Let’s teach ourselves to play guitar!” (Still working on that one!), and several others I can’t remember now. Sometimes I just smile, nod, and wait for the spell to pass and other times I jump on board. The enthusiasm varies by suggestion.

Most recently, my friend suggested out of nowhere that we should start reading the classics. I said ‘sure’ without hesitation. Walden was on her list and since it was available free, we agreed to start with that.

Now, my friend and I share the same problem, lack of follow-through coupled with a pair of bad motivators (pardon the Star Wars reference). But in our defense, life gets in the way often.

I need to get her to spell out the list for me so I have an idea of what fresh hell (*coughs*) I mean great adventure is in store for me. When I get the list I’ll add it here so I can mark off the ones we make it through.

The first book, as I mentioned above, is Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I have to say that they were some overly wordy bastards back in the mid-1800s. We decided on one chapter a week and a chat about what we’ve read on Sunday. 

After a bit I realized that I absolutely hated slogging through this book, but I wanted to make it through so I looked on YouTube and found several videos of it being read. Turning it on while I’m doing dishes or cooking is working out for me (and the chores keep me awake (*grins*)

At first I kept thinking HDT was a major ass. His attitudes on the elderly and farming really ticked me off. He says at one point that in all his thirty years he has never encountered an older person that had one worthwhile thing to say to him or knowledge worth passing on.  What. An. Ass. Seriously. Ugh. But I stuck with it. Later he implies that a farmer is a slave to his fields and wastes his life behind the plow. Again...Grrrrr.
 
I decided rather early on that HDT must have been his time period’s version of a know-it-all Hipster and I tried to keep that in mind as he went on and on (and ON) about everything from food, man’s enslavement to fashion, and the various merits of housing between the civilized white man and the savage.

Occasionally though, I started hearing some real gems of wisdom.  There were sentences of real beauty and deep meaning that went beyond (what sounded to me like) self-important navel gazing.

The short passage about the hound, the bay horse, and the dove captured my imagination enough that I had to pause the audio and spend time thinking about the symbolism and what it could have meant to him and what it meant to me. It prompted me to get online and search out other people’s opinions about the meaning. It made me think.  Just that alone makes this endeavor a success. Anything that inspires learning is a good thing.


I still think he’s a whiny, self-important hipster type, but I’m going to keep slogging through and see what other gems I find among the million extra words he left laying about. Perhaps by the end of the book if not this incredibly long chapter I'll change my mind and form a new opinion about it.

Stay Tuned!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Delving Within--Week 7 Pagan Blog Project

Delving Within
painting by Primal Painter
I may never find a pre-made path to go down. I’m increasingly starting to wonder why I feel (felt) I need(ed) one. Just now, sitting here thinking that I don’t need to find something someone else made is making me smile and that little flickering flame inside me is glowing brightly and warmly. That, more than anything, tells me I am close to figuring something out. It’s a grand feeling.

I saw a phrase today while researching homemade deodorant of all things, that had resonance for me. Living with Intention. Wow. What a great concept. I wrote it down in my notebook immediately. Living with Intention. I think it may be part of the je ne sais quoi I’m trying to find both in my self and in my life.

Perhaps part of my problem is that I’m seeking a path, when I’m already walking a spiral, a labyrinth of self. Circling ever inwards to find what I’m looking for. It’s hard to let go of things, people, friendships, long-held beliefs or ways of thinking, but I often find that when I do I experience a blissful feeling of freedom.

There have been times when I was utterly alone and I don’t mean alone in the house for a few hours, but truly alone with no one to fall back on, to talk to, to help if needed. Just alone and after the initial fear and panic faded, I felt an uplifting sense of freedom. Those that were gone eventually returned and my aloneness ended. Life catches me and buries me in a million different things that keep me blinded from other things that the seeing of might benefit.

I have moments of bright clarity that I wish would last longer. It is very like finding a pretty stone sticking up from the dirt and trying to excavate it with bare fingers. I pry and dig and feel my way along, but before I get too far someone calls my name and I forget what I was doing. It’s always a long time before I remember to get back to it. It’s often longer still until I feel that indefinable sense of freedom and clarity that lets me see somewhat behind the scenes. I’m having one now and I’m trying to play it cool in hopes that it sticks around longer.

I once tried to describe what it looks like to a friend. I’ve since lost the friend (and am glad of it in retrospect) but kept the imagery.

I told her that this waking up was like having been underwater and thinking that it was the whole world instead of a fish bowl. Then something happens and you pick your head up and see most everyone around you splashing about with their heads under the waves. But the kicker is that the water level is only inches deep. If you stood up it would only splash around your ankles. I told her I thought we were like fishes and could only stay above the water for a short time before we began to drown and had to dive back under again whether we wanted to or not. I told her also that I felt there were many levels of water, both above us and below us. I remember she looked at me strangely. I tried to describe that we could float up to different levels of water and still pull our heads free and look around. To me it simply was. There was no oddness about it. That there could be levels of water all in a greater water and you could lift your head out of each one and look around, but also could float up from one level to another as if your buoyancy increased. It makes perfect sense to me. She didn’t understand what I meant. I shrugged it off. I confused her a lot when I spoke up for myself instead of nodding along sycophantically.


This post is days late so I’m going to close here and get it posted. Maybe I’ll be able to address it again in the future when I have a better grasp on what it is I’m trying so hard to describe, learn, become.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Connections Pagan Blog Project--Week 6

Connections

I do not believe that this life is all there is. I do believe in reincarnation, but I haven’t nailed down all the particulars of what feels true to me.  I remember flashes of things from other periods of time, other times that I knew the people I know in this life.

There are souls that are connected. Lessons to be figured out. Possibly enlightenment to seek, I don’t know and no one else does either.

But, what I do know, and it is the point of this post, is how I view those connections. Literally view. The first few times I saw it, I didn’t assign it much significance, (which is strange in retrospect) but when it kept reappearing when relationships ended or friendships soured or family infuriated me, I started to realize it was a thing.

So what am I talking about? A flesh colored ball with an uncountable number of plugs and wired cords emanating from it. It’s not remotely pretty to look at, but it’s not repulsive either. It’s a part of me, I’m absolutely sure. It is the metaphysical representation of all the connections in my life.

For example, years ago, I had ended a relationship with a boy and by extension, his toxic little circle of friends. One of these friends felt that since I was no longer protected by the “girlfriend of a friend” clause there was no reason why I wouldn’t want to have sex with him.

Ugh. Excuse me while I shudder for a moment.

I finally convinced him that I wasn’t playing hard to get and it was NOT going to happen, and he stopped calling and showing up and leaving me mix cd’s and such. But I knew it was only a temporary reprieve and I was still crawling out of my skin with the heebie-jeebies. Not because of the proposition, but the blackness the guy had around him. It was cold, clammy, and awful. I still felt it lingering, watching.

I remember going to bed one night and lying in the dark thinking about connections and how to cut them permanently. I saw darkness behind my eyelids as well, but a faint light was growing. I opened my eyes to check if a light had come on and there was nothing. I closed my eyes again and the light returned. I just drifted, somewhere between sleeping and being awake, and then I saw the ball of connections for the first time.

Acting on instinct rather than thought, I pictured the guy and the ball spun slowly around and revealed a thin black cord with a plug. It was plugged in to the ball...plugged into me. That was suddenly intolerable. I wanted it out and so I visualized it being unplugged. It resisted but I kept pulling and it came free finally. Just like an electrical plug, it had prongs coming from it, although these looked more like fangs and an icky substance oozed from the plug like pus or poison.

Once free, it became a living thing and writhed around like an injured snake. The menace that was coming off it is hard to convey. It didn’t want to be unplugged. I kept up my will and forced it away. Once it was a small distance up from the ball, it shuddered suddenly and burst into flames that raced away out of sight.

I was strangely calm about the whole thing. Thinking back, I must have been in a self-induced trance of sorts. As far as I can remember, I rolled over and went to sleep. He never bothered me again. Once, a several years back, he contacted me via Facebook and I politely told him I wasn’t interested. That was the last I ever heard from him.

I’ve had other encounters with the ball of connections over the years, although most of them happened in a time span around that one. Not every connection will unplug at my will—I find that interesting.

Once, years ago, I tried to pull out a plug of someone I had loved deeply. The relationship was over as far as I knew and I didn’t see any reason to be connected to him anymore, so I tried to unplug the cord that was associated with him. I pulled and pulled and it started to come out, but it was tearing rather than unplugging. Afraid of what I was doing, I stopped and attempted to smooth out the damage. I even visualized Neosporin to put on the torn and bleeding flesh.

I left it alone after that and, strangely, forgot about it for a long time.

The really interesting thing (for me anyway) is that the plug healed, but there is scar tissue around it now if I visualize it. Years from then and about a year and a half ago, I married that man. He’s the love of my life. This life definitely, and I have a feeling that we’ve been important to each other for several others in one way or another.

Not being able to pull out that connection even though I thought I had no further use for it tells me that there is Something greater than ourselves out there. I like that. Mostly.

The moral of the story (as I understand it) is that we are all connected to others in ways we don’t fully comprehend and for reasons we cannot know, but we are deeply connect nonetheless. Sometimes we have a choice about it and sometimes we don’t.


I’m very glad I was unable to unplug my husband from my life. I’m also very glad I was able to remove the toxic plug and get that out of my life.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Choosing Pagan Blog Project week 5

Choosing 

I’m glad I signed up for this. It’ s proving very hard for me, and every week I continue to post is a decided victory for me and my goals. It is also making me think hard and dig deep into what I believe and why. I chafe against having to tailor every post to my path and my spiritual life, but then I remind myself I could post on anything else I felt like any other day of the week. 

I have a hard time answering when people ask me about my faith if they want deeper answer than “Pagan.” I’ve heard the term “Cafeteria Pagan” before but it’s always used in a slightly derogatory way. Same thing with “Piece-meal Pagan.” But I’ve never been able to choose a defined path. I’ve looked into Gardnerian Wicca, Feri, Asatru, a couple of the ancient religions that have been reconstructed for modern times and Buddism, but none of them are for me. They all, without fail, have something in them that I feel a resonance with or for, but I always, ALWAYS, get a firm sensation of “NO” every time I consider a structured path. 
I don’t know if that means my path is my own and I just have to continue to find the things that have resonance for me and do the best I can with what I have, or if there is a path out there for me and I just haven’t found it.

I’m not even sure some days if I really believe in the Gods.  Any of them, from any pantheon. I believe with all my heart and soul that there is Something out there beyond our understanding but I’ve never found a comfortable mask for it.

I want to believe in the Gods.  I truly do. But I think part of my problem is—as a fellow blogger says—either they all exist or none of them do. That leads to some major brain twisting conflicts for me.  How can the Christian End of Days and Ragnarok be compatible?  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that it can’t be both of them?  Is the world sandwiched between Heaven and Hell or is it perched on the back of a turtle? I have so many unanswerable questions. I wonder if I can’t chose a path because I can’t decide what I believe is real. I also think “real” is subjective. This post would have fit in well under belief as well, I’m noticing.

Years ago I joined an online pagan group and it was fascinating to me.  I was there to learn and I felt like such a rank novice standing among the truly knowledgeable. I know differently now, but I drank in every post and wondered why I couldn’t find a God to have a close personal relationship with of my own.
I’ve had interesting experiences over the years, but nothing has ever pointed me in any clear direction.  Some days, honestly, I’d rather just have my late great grandmother whisper advice to me. Once I even lay in bed saying thanks for a wonderful day and clear as a bell, I heard a female voice say “don’t thank me I didn’t do anything.” I’ve always wondered who that was. She never spoke to me again although she sounded kind of grumpy so that may be a good thing.

I want Odin and Ganesh to be real because I feel drawn to them. I want the Morrigan and Baron Samedi and Kwan Yin to all be real for the same reason. I want to be a follower of Hecate. She has always fascinated me. But I feel like I have to believe things that I just don’t to be able to devote myself to their worship.  I can’t chose because I can’t decide.

I hope that by the end of this blog project I will have unraveled this knot for myself and be able to choose a path.  Or accept that I’m on my own path and that is okay too.  December is a long way away from today though and I have to get ready for work.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Belonging (to a place) Week 4 Pagan Blog Project

When I was a child growing up in Kentucky, I belonged. I knew my family was all around me, both extended and immediate. I knew my neighborhood and what alleys would get me where the fastest. It was my home, my city, my whole world. I knew the color of the sky when a thunderstorm was coming, or worse that sickly green color the clouds turned before the sirens went off and everyone hid from the sky. I knew the smell of green grass in the summer time and the way it made my legs itch if I rolled around in it. All that and a million other things—just normal stuff that children absorb about the place they grow in.
When I landed in Colorado, I had none of that.

Colorado is so different from Kentucky it might as well have been the moon to me. I was completely lost and alone and deeply afraid. (And altitude sick like you wouldn’t believe). Louisville sits at around 300 feet above sea level and Colorado Springs is at 6,000 feet. That is an incredible difference. It just added to my misery. I hated Colorado for everything it wasn’t. I didn’t belong.  Then my father moved us even higher up into the mountains and we were at 8,000 feet. Ugh. (Drink water folks, if you climb in elevation. Trust me on this. Drink it until you are quite certain you will slosh if you move. I wish someone had told me that when I got here so, you’re welcome.)

It has taken me years and years of living here and even loving it to realize the sense of belonging I was looking for wasn’t going to come from outside myself. No matter how long I lived here, I felt just that slightest bit apart from. Going “home” was always my back up plan. 

I’ve jumped back and forth between Colorado and Kentucky several times over the years. I discovered to my deep disappointment, that you really can’t go home again. Once you leave a place, that place keeps going and changes in a million and one microscopic ways that you can’t define, but you can feel. And it hurts. It hurt me anyway. Your mileage may vary.

Belonging is a state of mind.  You can be taken in by a place and still hold part of yourself apart.  I have a pet theory that every place has its own spirit and power. I was always slightly out of tune with here. I wouldn’t be so bold as to presume after one revelation I was in tune and in sync with a place, but I’m a lot further than I was before it. 

Happy is a flame inside, the higher it burns the warmer you feel. Belonging makes me warmer.





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Belief--PBP week 3

Belief—Pagan Blog Project week 3

Apparently picking the weekly topic is just going to be a thing I wrestle with for a while. *Sigh*

It wasn't appealing enough to blog about, but in my search, I discovered a new word…bantling. It is defined as "brat; whelp; bastard child." That is SO showing up in one of my future novels. What a great word…bantling. Anyway. Moving on.

Apparently, I am also a bestiarian, which I did not know. According to the site I'm looking at (and a quick Google search), a bestiarian is a person that upholds the rights of animals and is opposed to vivisection. That's definitely me on both counts. Perhaps a blog post for another day.

A Bilbo is an iron bar used to shackle prisoner's feet. Do you think Tolkien was aware of that when he wrote The Hobbit?

If I keep on this will be an entire blog post of me telling you what interesting 'B' words I've found.
All right, hell with it. I'm sticking with 'Belief' I'd rather not be still angsting over a topic at midnight. I have a whole list of other things that need my attention as well.

Balancing belief
I am just not feeling it this week apparently. Ugh. I have written and rewritten this post a number of times and I’m just done with it.

So instead, here is a favorite quote form Marcus Aurelius and it really sums it up pretty well for me. 

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."                          
                                                                                                                              ~Marcus Aurelius

You just can’t argue with the logic there.  Okay, you maybe can, but I see no reason to.  Until next time...

~Green Owl

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Anger--Week 2 Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014
Week 2—Anger

It was hard to come up with a topic for this week. I considered Altars, Agnostic, Animism, Afterlife, and even After-Image. Honestly, I was reading another participant's post about anger and realized I could spend pages and pages talking about that. Choice made, here I am. 

Now, how to write a post about anger that ties in with my faith and my path choices? That might be tougher. Although I could argue that my anger forced or at least brought about some of my choices in life and therefore helped put my feet on the path that led me here.

I grew up in the house of a violently unhappy woman, literally violent sometimes, and I had no idea that her rage was contagious. She infected all of us in one way or another. I’ve lost touch with everyone that lived in that house (thankfully) but I have carried that rage in my heart for decades now. I manage to keep it buried down deep most of the time, but sometimes it has come spewing out like scalding water and burned the ones I love most.  I’ve broken furniture and put a hole in a wall, but fortunately that was just once, and it scared me so badly I’ve never lost my temper like that again. I felt her there with me, laughing at what she had shaped me into, and I got mad again, but this time at myself for still letting her manipulate me after all these years. 

For me, awareness was the first step (oh hey, another A I could have gone with). I can’t say I’ve never felt anger since then that wasn’t starting to turn black around the edges, but I’ve made big efforts to let it go. Instead of swallowing it down and feeling like my head was going to blow off if I didn’t hurt something or scream until my throat burned, I’m learning to just...let it go. 

Learning to let go of being angry (among other things) is an ongoing process for me, but my path has helped. Somewhere along the way I started picturing all the seeds she planted as exactly that...seeds. When I visualize them inside of me, they look like glossy black watermelon seeds in tidy little pockets of flesh. Like shoes in a hanging rack. They don’t sprout into anything, they just sit in their little pouches and glitter malevolently.  I think that’s plenty. 

I started the laborious process of removing them some time ago, but I believe that things you visualize have power, a life, of their own, so I worried about having them laying about somewhere hell-bent on infecting someone else or even getting lodged in another part of me and festering into a physical manifestation of something awful. I didn’t know what to do with these seeds once I had removed them and it was (and is) important to me to know where I’m sending toxic waste to. I finally settled on sending them to the sky in pretty bubbles so that they could be purified by the sun.  I send the bubbles up with a prayer for the energy to be purified and reused where ever it’s needed.

It works for me. And that has to be enough.

I do not want to post this. I don’t. It’s personal. It’s revealing. And frankly, saying aloud the stuff that goes on in one’s own head sounds completely ridiculous. But this is the year of being brave. So here goes. 


Brave sucks.Which probably means I'm on the right track.  Dammit.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Acceptance -- Pagan Blog Project Week 1

Nothing quite like being completely behind the eight ball straight out of the gate. *sigh*  But things happen and I just have to roll with them.  I had this post mostly prepared, but got sidelined by an unexpected illness last night.  (are any illnesses really expected?) Here is the the post I started yesterday and finished today.  I hope it still counts.

​In an effort to both blog more this year and take a more dedicated interest in my Path I have joined up with the Pagan Blog Project.

I'm nervous and excited.  I look at some of the other posts that have already hit the blog-o-sphere and I feel completely out of my depth. But I'm determined to not let that stop me.  

So the Pagan Blog Project is going to run for the entire year. This week, of course, begins at the beginning with A, but since there are 52 weeks and 26 letters two weeks will be dedicated to the same letter. 

I decided to start off the project with Acceptance.  I am happy in my faith choice (I am a non-denominational Pagan with leanings to Animism, Wicca, and a couple other traditions) and I feel that I am on the right path for me.  BUT.  (always a but, isn't there?) I worry about my family, friends, and co-workers reactions.  I am what I am, but that doesn't mean I say much about it to people if I'm not sure how they will react.  Lately I have been talking more openly with a couple of co-workers and I have been very gratified by their lack of reaction.  

See...I'm a worrier from way back and I waste entirely too much time and energy trying to be ready for any possible reaction I could get from people.  For someone who seems to always be running behind, I still always try to be prepared for any situation.

To my family on Facebook who may follow the link back here and see my blog for the very first time...HI!  I love you and I'm Pagan.  Same goes for my co-workers, but I probably love you less than the family.  *grins*

Acceptance

My cousin Angela, was braver than I.  Little shit.  She lived out loud.  She was Pagan and Proud and went to coven gatherings and just did her thing.  I was so proud of her and secretly wished that I too, could be so out and brave.  When she died, her coven and her friends organized her memorial service in a Wiccan way--because she was Wiccan.  My very Catholic extended family wasn't sure what to make of this.  I heard several really crappy comments  and coward that I was, I didn't speak up and say "HEY! stop that! She has the right to be sent on in any way she chooses."  

It was a very nice ceremony with people speaking and several lovely songs being sung.  I was crying too hard to sing along, but I appreciated it.   I find myself swallowing back tears now as I type this.  I miss that kid.  A lot.  I remember looking back at one point and most of the extended family had slipped out and was gone.  I was stunned.  Would they have done that if she had decided to be Jewish?  What about Buddhist? Somehow I doubt it.  They would have been a little out of sorts, I'm sure, but they wouldn't have just up and left the service.  

Even my father made crappy comments about bullshit, made-up religions and I had several opportunities to speak up and say that I agreed with her and that I believed a lot of what she believed.  Instead I made soothing sounds and played mediator.  I tried to impart information without outing myself.  I regret that now.

So that is why this post is about acceptance.  I hope to find it.  Mostly from myself, I think, but from family and friends would be nice too.  I am what I am and I'm happy with my choices, but I want my family to be happy for me too.  I want Angela to be proud of me if she can see me from whatever lies beyond death.  She was brave and I can be too.

~*~