Monday, March 24, 2014

Feelings Week 12 Pagan Blog Project


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.