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*


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.