Friday, July 30, 2010

Countdown to Lughnasadh

I bought some new candles today for my altar because I prefer tapers to the pillars or votives.  Votives will burn down okay but the pillars only burn in the center.  I also found some new candle holders that I love.  Now I just need to prepare the altar for Lughnasadh.  We'll be making the corn dollies tomorrow night most likely.  I'm going to be low key this year because this has been the week from hell and I'm just not prepared.  I'm going to print out the story of Lugh and his foster mother and read it to Zach and Tom if he wants to participate, then we'll talk about our "firsts" this year:  first open celebration, first garden in a long time, etc.  I was thrilled to find I have a first harvest after all.  I was afraid I wouldn't have anything but I have 2 zucchinis and some beans that are still on the bush that I will pick tomorrow.  Exciting.

I have some prayers I plan on using privately (unless Zach and/or Tom want to participate with that, but I doubt it.)  I'm also going to bake bread and leave some out for the faeries and the God/Goddesses along with some wine if I can get to the store to buy some.  I can't drink it (damn it!) because of my diabetes medication but maybe one sip since I was allowed that sip of communion wine.  Zach loves it so he'll be glad to do that.

The rest of the weekend will be getting better organized and cleaning up inside and out.

I really need to explore awen, too, as I need to appeal to my muse to help me creatively. 

I was pondering today all the changes in my life since renouncing Christianity and embracing Paganism and I really do believe I'm a better person for it.  I know that my marriage has improved from the change.  Which totally amazes me as Tom is still nominally Christian.  But he really didn't like me as a Christian because I was so obnoxious about being "right" and being fundie.  So he's all for this and is encouraging both Zach and me at every opportunity.

Well, I'm working on my crane bag now.  I'm using the Green Man chart by Sharon Clark.  I plan on making it a drawstring bag but because of the size of the chart and the yarn I'm using, it's going to be plenty big.  Which will probably be a good thing.

I lost some minions readers on my mundane blog.  I suspect it's because I'm out over there as well although I don't discuss it much.  But I don't talk about church anymore and I do talk about Pagan things I'm making.  I'm finding that I just don't care and I love feeling that way.  I can't get over how relaxed and content I am and how easy it is to let it all flow over me without getting me irate or hurt.  I know it might not last forever, that I will find something to explode about, but at least I'm not letting the little things bother me anymore.

Off to knit and watch Fellowship of the Ring commentaries.  I'm making progress on the Sweeping Statement tabard-like thing I'm knitting as well.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I want my week back

I'm reclaiming the rest of the week so I can start my preparations for Lughnasadh.  I'm woefully behind but will do the best I can.  Tomorrow will be set aside for cleaning and laundry and picking up my prescriptions and library stuff.  Saturday will be corn dollies and baking bread.  Sunday I plan on collapsing after I get the garden area ready.

I haven't had time to sit down and look at any rituals for Lughnasadh yet but whatever I do will be simple because it's just me and Zach but I'm pretty sure the next door neighbor will be having another party this weekend and with no fence it's hard to hide what you're doing.  I have some sheets set aside to hang up if he's out and about that will completely isolate us from him.  The other neighbor never goes out at night but even if he did, there is a hill separating us partly.  I'm not sure about the kid next door except he drives a really big truck and all his friends drive really big trucks and he keeps his American flag out on his front porch 24/7.  I'm getting a very tea party vibe from him so I'm going to be a bit low key.  Especially in light of having had my car lights turned on twice now.  I don't know that he or his friends have done it or the faeries are messing with me again but it's happened on two occasions he's had outdoor parties over there.  I can't imagine why he or his friends would do that as we have done absolutely nothing to him, and he doesn't know that our son is gay or that we're Pagan but I'm getting some really cautious vibes about the whole thing.

Could be just paranoia but I'm not about to go outside and do rituals while he and his friends are sitting outside throwing horseshoes, drinking beer and cooking out.  At least not without the sheets up.

I do plan on waiting until dark Sunday so that might help.

I'm still getting used to being open around Tom.  The other day his favorite "news" station coughFauxcough had a story on about some kind of satanic cult somewhere so I turned to Zach and started telling him about Mike Warnke and all the so-called satanic cult stories that happened during the 80s.  Tom was listening to me tell him about Pat Robertson and the 700 Club and how he salivated over all the details of a woman who had supposedly skinned her baby alive as a sacrifice to Satan because the high priest was going to kill her unless she did.  All those crap stories that were made up to get us Christians hyped to protect our children from all those evil elements.  Tom asked me if I had been accused of being a Satanist since becoming Pagan.  I told him, yes, that I had been told that I worshiped Satan but that I had expected it having been on the other side telling people they were worshiping Satan by default since anything they worshiped that wasn't God was Satan.  I'm so mortified by the shit I did as a Christian.

So, anyway...Zach sent me this gem.  The back story is that she had been on Trading Wives and had been in a home where they were either Pagans or New Age...Zach wasn't sure.  Look at this video and tell me who is worshiping an evil entity.  I can't embed it but here's the link.   Notice how her kids are so excited to see her when she gets home but she's too busy playing for the camera about the "dark-sided" house she was forced to live in that she not only ignores them, but then turns on them and attacks them, seemingly blaming them for her ordeal.

More and more I'm so glad I left Christianity.  However, I have a dear friend who is still a Christian and I don't know how she puts up with me attacking her religion like this but she must love me because she lets me get by with it.  I hope she knows that I don't consider her a part of those elements that anger me so much.  I love you, Tana!!

I'm hoping for an early night tonight because the doctor's office called me two mornings in a row at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m.  I ended up making a deal with the dr that I would improve my lifestyle in exchange for not going on more medicine for my cholesterol.  I'm at a seriously high risk for heart disease and yet I keep doing destructive things to my body.  I'm invoking the Goddess tonight for help in this.  I'm so frustrated.

I'm deciding between some designs for a crane bag but haven't narrowed it down yet.  When I do I'll get your opinion on which one to knit.  In the meantime, I'm knitting on my tunic/tabard thing that I plan to wear for outdoor rituals this winter.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's only Wednesday

Zach and I watched Jesus Camp just a few minutes ago and it reminded me of this:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

It was also very sobering because Zach kept saying things like, "We did that at youth group/church camp/convention."  The manipulation of those kids by the adults was almost criminal.  They used fear-mongering, guilting and peer pressure to break those kids down and mold them into puppets.  Those kids had no clue why people were rejecting their Chick tracts or their "gospel" message.

This week has been more than hectic and I've gotten nothing done in preparation for Lughnasadh.  It looks like the house won't be as clean as I'd like or the lawn manicured (like that was going to happen!) but I do hope to have the tiki torches up and the altar moved to its new location and the faux fire pit (old Weber grill minus the legs, resting on a circle of stones.)  And I hope to have some corn dollies and a corn goddess made before then, too.

A project I intend to start very soon is to make myself a crane bag.  Tom is going to take some vacation days next month and wanted to know if I wanted to go somewhere during that time.  I hate sleeping away from home so anything that's a day trip will work.  I'd love to go see the Indian mounds (less than 2 hours from here) and do some hiking at Ledge Park (about 10 minutes from here) and maybe Wisconsin Rapids.  He has some land near there he shares with his siblings but a brother in law has the land right next to it and he's there all the time so it's not like you can go there and have quiet time.  Plus I'm not keen on sharing any rituals or anything with them.

But the crane bag will come in handy for carrying things I find that might be useful in rituals or that need to come home with me for other reasons:  like crafts or things that have meaning for me.  I'd like to knit it.  Maybe a string bag with some lining so the stuff doesn't fall out or poke through.  I'll give it some thought and come up with something, hopefully before Tom's vacation.

I've been on the road the past couple of days with various medical appointments and I'm almost done. Tomorrow I go to get fitted with a new prosthesis (breast...mine is mostly duct tape at this stage) and then I plan on staying home for a while.  It wouldn't be so bad if I do these things nearby but I have to drive an hour to get anywhere for this kind of thing.  To be honest, I wouldn't mind doing without the prosthesis but I get stares and the bra rides up if there isn't a prosthesis there so I'll get another one.  One that fits this time, I hope.

I got another award (2 more than I've ever gotten for my mundane blog) from Ellie.  I'm so honored.  First of all I'm honored by all the wonderful readers who have been reading here and secondly that someone thinks what I write has substance means a lot.  Thanks Ellie!

I'm really tired, though, and will break the rules.  Okay I would have broken them even if I wasn't tired, but I can't limit my list so I will invite everyone to look at the sidebar and to tell you that I think all of those blogs have substance.  There are more who haven't made it to the sidebar yet but this group of women (and men) who write are incredibly talented and their brains make me jealous.

I must go put my feet up because my arthritic knee is swollen again although not painful right now.  You guys are terrific.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I was driving home from my mammogram today while scanning through the radio looking for something to listen to when I chanced upon a very right-wing Christian station where a Christian singer/songwriter (who wasn't identified while I was listening) was raving about "God's Justice" and how exciting it was going to be when all the non-believers were going to face it and how all Christians should be looking forward to that as well because it would be so great to see all the heathens get theirs.  Okay the last bit is my interpretation of what he was saying, but you get the picture.

This is the attitude I see all the time amongst the fundies and evangelicals I run into on a certain online group designed for people who love the fiber arts ('s called Ravelry)  Even some of the more liberal ones take on some of those attributes when their sacred cows are tipped over as evidenced by any discussion that includes agnostics and atheists.  How dare you insist that God doesn't exist!  You can't say that here!

Of course you don't get the same respect when you talk about your God/Goddesses existing.  The particular liberal in question called Paganism silly once and acted perplexed that it offended us Pagans.  Yet when someone called Christianity silly she was the first one to start frothing at the mouth.

Now she's insisting that a civil union and marriage would be "equal" as long as the benefits are the same.  When I suggested she was advocating separate but equal she insisted it's not because they would have the same thing, just different names for it.  Yeah, right...just like segregated proms.  There was a time,  not that long ago, when African Americans couldn't attend the same proms white people had.  So why bitch if they're the same?  I mean, they both have dancing and decorations and the kids get to dress up.  So what were they complaining about?

So...I'm not that fond of the liberal Christians either.  I've got one for a sister and I swear she's not that far removed from the fundies.  Aside from my former priest and some of the people at our former church, most have triggers that set them off and make them fiercely possessive of anything Christian.

I'm apparently still estranged from my sister as I suspect she has me hidden on Facebook.  She never reads this blog; in fact, I'm not sure she even knows it exists, and to be honest she rarely read my mundane blog because she's not that interested in my life, which is totally okay with me as long as she'll stop going ape-shit whenever I don't pay enough attention to her.

When her grandson was little, he had croup and she sent out an email to a million of her closest friends asking for prayer.  I, as a Christian, prayed but didn't respond to the email.  She went crying to our parents saying that since I didn't have a relationship with my grandkids (a long story) I was jealous of her relationship with hers and how mean-spirited it was that I refused to pray for Jax.  Now, mind...she didn't confront me or ask me about it...she made assumptions and went to Mommy so Mommy could yell at me.  This is a pattern...I don't respond the way she thinks I should, therefore, I'm flawed.

So of course, Mom called me and jumped all over me for being so selfish.  I was a bit nonplussed by this as I had, in fact, prayed for Jax.  Which I then explained to my mother.  Next thing I knew I got a furious email from my sister claiming that I should have emailed back letting her know.  My thinking had been that since she had a million people on the list, a million responses was going to be overwhelming and I figured she would just take it for granted that I prayed.

But this is the story of my life with my family.  They never give me the benefit of the doubt.  I'm automatically judged guilty or a failure unless I can prove I'm not.

When said sister when to Europe on her sabbatical, she wanted to start up a blog so I showed her how to do it.  I had had my mundane blog for almost a year and neither my parents nor my sisters ever read it.  I didn't hear the end of how wonderful Peg's blog was and how I should write one.  I've given my blog address to them multiple times and they never, ever read it.  Until my sister read it when I ripped her a new one for being so inconsiderate over the whole controlling-my-life-and-making-sure-I-went-down-to-see-my-Dad episode.  Then she noticed that I had said I didn't want to see her when she came up this way.  So she didn't come up this way, but has spun it so that I'm the bad guy.

And all I can think of is how I wish I had done this sooner so I didn't have to put up with her all this time.

So...this is my history of experiences with Christians in my life but by no means the sum total of it all.  I have a million more stories I could tell.  Why did it take me so long to see how destructive that lifestyle was?

Since no one in my family reads this blog, I tend to be more open here and if they do read it, then who gives a shit?  I'm about ready to take the advice of a psychologist friend who told me to distance myself from them.  I will most likely maintain a long-distance relationship with my parents, but I'm no longer interested in being emotionally abused by either of my sisters anymore.  The ball is in their court.  If they want to be sisters and close, then they'll have to change how they interact with me, because I'm not doing that anymore.  I'm not longer the prodigal daughter.  I'm not the silly person who made mistake after mistake and had to be bailed out.  I'm an adult quite capable of managing and fixing my own life.  When they decide to treat me like that, we'll talk.  Until then, I'm quite happy the way things are.  I love my Pagan life.  I love how my relationship with my husband has become less stressful since leaving Christianity.  I love how I am so much more in tune with who I am without all the guilt and bondage.

And I love all the new things I'm learning about life, the universe and everything.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nightmares and the dark night of the soul

I had a bad dream last night.  I don't normally remember my dreams but this one was so bad I can't forget it.  In my dream I did serious harm to my dog, or rather I made my son do it.  I made him cut Professor in half. I have no memory of why I thought this would be a good idea but at the time it did seem like it.  Once the deed was done, I was horrified by what I did because he was trying to crawl away from me by using his front paws and I could tell that he was in pain.  I gathered him up in a blanket and took him to a hospital (as it turned out...the human kind.)  There was no blood or organs spilling out.  Everything was neat and tidy, except he was in two pieces.  And apparently his back legs were able to move as well.

The doctors were able to put him back together again and he was fine after that but I was afraid to see him because I knew he would hate me.  The doctors never asked me what happened but I blurted out that Zach had been chopping firewood and Professor walked under the axe.  So not only am I a monster for hurting my dog, I also laid the blame on my son. 

I have no idea what all this means.  I wonder if this has anything to do with me reading about the balance of light and dark in our spirits and the belief that both are needed for that balance.  I just know I woke up feeling completely numb and in shock about what I seemed to be capable of doing.

I'm going to have to do some pondering on this but I hope very soon I can get that image out of my brain.  I need some brain bleach or something.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big G, little g

It's very odd, but I really hate capitalizing the G in God because, to me, it means the Christian God.  In fact, I like the lower case letters for gods and goddesses because they differentiate between Christian and Pagan so well.  But alas, some people are offended by it because it's not being respectful and not giving credibility to their beliefs.  So I capitalize.  But I have a hard time with it because of the associations.  I'm still not over my pain and revulsion yet.

Mrs. Rabbit was in the back yard again just a few minutes ago.  Same place, actually, eating clover I believe.  The yard is covered with clover so I don't know why she sits outside the kitchen window except maybe to see me and touch bases.  I had the weirdest experience while watching her.  It was like I was simultaneously watching from the window and sitting next to her at the same time.  I could almost feel the softness of her fur as I petted her.  And I swear there was something in her eye that made me think she could feel it, too.  It passed in a moment but it felt very real.

I need to work in my faery garden out back, cleaning it up.  The weeds are taking over some areas and I really thought I should move the altar to another location although I can't tell you exactly why I think that.  I'm not sure if I will be doing anything for the full moon because it will take all the energy I've got to prepare for Lughnasadh, this being the first one we're doing with a bang.  More and more I'm connecting with Druidry and finding my way.  I'm still not sure what to do but I'm trying to learn to be more intuitive.  Books are helpful but since they belong to the library I have to send them back now and then.  I'm trying to develop a notebook full of things that I feel will work for me, but I'm still sorting it all out.

For now, though, I'm off to crawl into bed and knit while catching up with True Blood.  All those guilty pleasures you know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Looking for motivation

Today was a much of nothing day but I did make a purchase that was probably more than I could afford but I'm hoping it will be an investment that will produce many benefits.  I bought a new mp3 player.  Tom's wouldn't download the podcasts that I like to listen to and any e-books I'd like to get from the library wouldn't fit on his either.  Plus this one has an FM radio on it for those times we will have to go sit in the stinky basement to wait out a tornado warning.

But the big reason is I need to get moving and lose this weight and walking is so boring for me around here.  I can't afford to just drive to some lovely location for daily walking and I've walked so much around this neighborhood I know it blindfolded.  So I figure if I'm not bored, I'll do more walking.  At least that's the plan.

I'm getting used to waking up early (Professor mostly) and this morning I went out into the back yard and tied up the tomatoes, but before I did that I had to wait for the rabbit to leave.  She was out in the back yard near the garden just sitting there, as she does.  I didn't scare her off; just watched until she hopped off.  While I waited I listened to the birdsong which is so much nicer in the morning without all the traffic noises.

Aside from a multitude of errands it was a pretty good day. Except for frogging the Yggdrasil afghan.  I don't know why but it didn't look like the pattern and I'm not sure I want to try again just now.  In fact, I'm going to frog the Sweeping Statement thing because it's just too wide.  I do like the changes I've made to it and all I have to do is make the borders narrower and it will work out well.  But if I don't want to look like a beached whale in it, I have to lose a lot of weight.  I'm about 100 pounds overweight.  That's a lot of energy that's going to carrying around almost two of me.  I could be devoting that energy to being creative and productive. 

Rain is in the forecast for the weekend so I probably won't do any outdoor rituals this weekend, but I'm hoping to spend more time out there at night, even if it's not a ritual.  It's so peaceful out there and I need to recharge my spirit more often than I have been.  I might spend time preparing my Lughnasadh altar indoors this weekend.  I need to do some reading up on it, to find out what element this holiday is.  I have an orange and red bandana I got from the store for my altar cloth for Midsummer because I read it was a fire holiday.  I've got a blue one for water and a black one with stars for air (it might be a reach but I think of the night sky when I see it) but I don't have anything in particular for earth. 

Off to frog my project and start over again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So I had to peel myself off the ceiling

Storms are exhilarating.  Being caught out in a flash flood and tornado warning, not so much.  But we are dry and snug in the house now so it's all good.

I had another moth attach itself to me today.  We were driving to town to mail a package of Zach's and a moth had been caught in the car when I rolled the windows up early this morning.  Zach said it attached itself to my hair and seemed to enjoy the ride, but I rolled the windows down and he flew out.

Normally I'm not squeamish when it comes to any critters.  Not even maggots as a recent blog post on my mundane blog demonstrates.  Do I wash my hands well after encounters?  Hell, yes!  But I don't get all weak and panicky.  Until this morning when I found a house centipede in the kitchen sink.  Contrary to my intentions to catch and release all but house flies and mosquitoes, I killed him dead while dancing around and using a long handled tool.  I couldn't stop shuddering.  I found out, however, that they are really helpful in eating other bugs and won't hurt humans.  I feel bad now, but I'm still shuddering over the encounter.  Mice, moles, snakes, problem.  I'm the go-to person when Zach encounters a spider (he has diagnosed OCD,) but that house centipede pushed me beyond my tolerances.

I'm afraid to find out what this encounter was supposed to mean aside from finding out that I do have weaknesses.  Who knew?

It's time to start working on my Lughnasadh altar.  I don't make a lot of changes but I do want to decorate for the first harvest.  I'll buy some corn on the cob this week and let the husks dry out so I can make a corn dolly.  I've made rag dolls before and might make one of them as well.  I also want to make a Brigid's cross from the tall grasses in my prairie garden for my altar.  I'm still somewhat ambivalent about crosses but since they pre-date Christianity I'm trying to use them in that sense.  Especially since Brigid's cross looks nothing like a crucifix.

I'm a bit excited that the full moon and Lughnasadh coming up will be the first celebrations we've been able to do without hiding.  I'm not sure what exactly we're going to do but it will be low-key and as natural feeling as I can make it.  I like growing into ritual instead of plowing into them.  Not that it's not good for some to do that, but for me, who tends to burn hot and fast, it's better to let the flame burn slow and strong.

Well, off to bed to nurse my arthritic knees and knit on my Sweeping Statement.  I might start Yggdrasil as well in purple.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Looking back doesn't hurt anymore

I have moments when I miss the old life but they are occurring less and less often.  Today, very briefly, I missed the Eucharist but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what I missed about it.  I no longer believe it is what it purports to be and I certainly can't say I miss the styrofoam wafer.  Okay...maybe the sip of wine because it tasted good.  I think what I missed was the solemnity and ritual.  I think as I adopt new rituals, though, that will soon go away.

Then again, maybe it was nothing more than nostalgia.  I miss aspects of my youth that I will never recapture.

I got a card from a woman from St. Mark's.  I haven't been responding to anyone mostly because there is no way to explain without telling them the truth and I don't want to share that with anyone.  I don't want a lecture, I don't want anyone trying to bring me back to the path they're on, and I don't have anything in common with them if I want to admit the truth.  I was thinking today while reading something a friend of mine wrote about her church and it really resonated with me about St. Mark's.  Her congregation has split so many times over various situations that only a few remain and they have become so comfortable that they don't want to do anything that means changing in order to grow again.  St. Mark's is like that, too.  While the people there are really nice people, they don't want to change either.  And if I will admit it to myself, they remain insular even to people who do start coming there.  I really didn't know anyone.  I never socialized with anyone there because the congregation was so spaced out over the area that few people were actually from the town the church is located in.  Even the priest is from another county.

So I don't feel a connection with anyone there, but this woman who wrote me this week almost demanded an explanation.  And honestly, if there was anyone from there I wanted to stop going because of, it's her.  Of course she's not the reason's an added bonus.  Initially she was interesting and we had a lot in common:  books, movies, love of anything British, Scottish and Irish.  But then she started getting pretty possessive and bossy and demanding.  I think she made it easier to miss church from time to time and when I decided to stop going, it was a relief to know I wasn't going to have to interact with her anymore.

I had decided the problem was with me, that maybe I've become so insular that I don't want friends in real life, but I don't think that's it.  I do want friends.  I just don't want anyone in my life who is going to try to monopolize it or try to control it.  Hell, I've got family for that.

So...the brief moment when I missed Eucharist today came and went in a flash and I was ever so glad and grateful to the God/Goddesses that I had found something even better.

Now my only real problem is my new neighbor has a lot of company over and they entertain in the back yard, which is where my altar and faery garden is (my back yard, not his).  And my bossy little dog doesn't like it so he barks a lot.  Not the neighbor's fault, of course, he's a young guy and is entitled to entertain in his first house.  I've just got to figure something else out.  I can put sheets out on the clothesline and we will be hidden from them but I'm not sure if them laughing and playing horseshoes will interfere with a ritual or two.  Fortunately our rituals are very quiet and unobtrusive at this stage, but I hope to adopt more interactive ones in the future.

And my animal of the day is a butterfly that flew around me while I was taking clothes off the line, even landing on the clothesline.  I was so close to it that I could breathe on it.  It paused for a few heartbeats and just sat there so I paused in my endeavor to just enjoy it.  It flew off and let me finish but stayed close to the clothesline the whole time.  I just looked outside a moment ago and it's still there hovering over the one shirt I didn't bring in.  I'll have to look it up and find out what it all means.

Well, more tasks remain before I can crawl in bed so I'm off to finish them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clearing the clutter and crud

Sigh. I can't seem to stay on course and so I've determined that the vegetarian path isn't for me. I will honor the spirit of the animals I eat as Debra suggests because I'm just not going to stop eating meat, I guess.  I should know that any time I set upon a diet, it puts stress on me and I'll crave that which I can't have.  And gain weight.  I did fine for a year by not thinking about food but my doctor and then my mother started nagging me about it and I gained 10 pounds like that.

We worked in the basement again today and I can't help but think that once I get rid of all the junk down there and clean it up, our health will improve a bit.  It's moldy and nasty down there from all the flooding and the stuff that gets in the puddles and dissolves into germ warfare.  I couldn't wash my hands enough when I got upstairs today.  Zach took out 4 big bags of junk and a huge box of cardboard.  I managed to clear the pantry a bit but didn't clean it.  During the week I'll go down there and wash down the pantry, but I had had enough today.

Order and cleanliness really do affect me spiritually.

Not much else to talk about tonight.  I'm hot and sweaty and need to shower and crawl into bed and read some more.  I ended up burning the podcasts to cds because I just wasn't bff with Tom's mp3 player.  It hated me and I hated it.  I'm back to using my portable cd player.  It's huge compared to the mp3 player but at least now I have a hard copy.  I'll burn all of them so I have them on hand.  I can stick them in my dvd player as well and listen to them while I knit in my bedroom.  Or spin.  I need to get back to that as well.

I have no plans for Lughnasadh yet.  I'll probably bake some bread and I would love to make some corn dollies and maybe just a small bonfire in the iron dutch oven (which I have commandeered as my's huge though) and just sit outdoors and watch the garden.  Maybe find a story to read to Zach (and Tom maybe?) aloud.  I miss doing that now that he's grown up.

Off to make myself human again and an early night.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The path that runs between

I thought about taking the book about Druidry with me to the doctor's office today but took a biography about Alf Wight (James Herriot) instead. I'm slowly digesting books on spirituality these days because in the past I would devour them and generally find them lacking. Of course, we're talking about books on Christianity and I think there is a reason I found them disappointing but I want to change my habits and savor rather than devour these days.

One thing I've discovered in pondering what I'm reading is that I don't really fit neatly into any one package. I never felt like Wicca was the path for me but there are aspects of it that I do love. In fact, many aspects of Wicca fit very nicely into my spiritual package. And while I do connect with Druidry on a very high level, I found things voids there that Wicca filled nicely. So, in reading up on it all, I found that there is a practice called DruidCraft that is a combination of both. The premise is that Druidry is a philosophy and Wicca is a religion. I'm not sure I agree with that but it is nice to know that the altar doesn't clash with the grove, that the magick I want to learn can be Wiccan and I can keep those aspects of both that I love.

I know there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to solitary practice; intuition speaks better and louder for me than a rule book or a guideline and compartmentalizing can end up being a cage. But I'm so hungry to learn that it helps that there are others out there who find themselves on the same path. It's okay to walk a path alone but it's nice to know that others have walked that path, too, and have commented on the sights and sounds you've seen and heard as well.

I think in time Zach and I might seek out a coven around here but for now, I'm really enjoying the solitary path. I'm thinking of buying Scott Cunningham's books because it takes so darned long to get them from the library. Either there are that many others here in my neck of the woods reading them, or the fundies are taking them out and keeping them out so no one else can read them. And yes, they do that. When I was part of the homeschooling group in San Diego, they would brag about doing it. That and hiding the books within the library.

I haven't checked on the pins I set out for the faeries last night but I can see that the carrots are still there. I wonder if the incense we burned the other night is keeping the critters away from the carrots. Or maybe they just have so much food right now they don't need a gift. I did caution Zach about not laying food out on a regular basis for the critters as they mustn't get used to having their food provided for them. But I think now and then it's a good thing. We do set out food for the birds and they scatter it so the rabbits and squirrels get some, too.

Tom should be home tonight but I'm not going to fix supper. Zach and I are experimenting on vegetarian eating. I'd like to eat veg for ethical reasons but I admit that I do love meat so I might on occasion eat it as long as it's from a humane source. Tom hunts deer and fishes so if he can provide food I might indulge. It's not that I don't believe people should be eating meat; the whole circle of life thing exists. It's just that it bothers me the ending of a life for any reason and the way it's done in factory farming is particularly cruel.

But I'm also a pretty big wuss when it comes to changing habits so I'm not guaranteeing anything. I've done okay today so far although I did have to stop and eat after my appointment because I was hungry. I chose a veg sandwich at Quiznos and a cup of broccoli/cheddar soup. I think next time I'll just eat the soup. The sandwich was good but a bit pricey.

I'm going to look into making candles because I hate the ones I get from StuffMart. They only burn in the middle and it's such a huge waste unless I get the tapers. Besides, I would love to learn how to make them. I also plan on learning a lot of herblore this winter and planting, drying and storing herbs for use in magick, healing and cooking. I'd also love to learn more about folklore as well.

But I'm not giving up my doctor or my prescriptions. I do love modern medicine.

Well it's getting dark in the house and I haven't done a thing to clean today. At least I should make my bed up and clean my bedroom. Since I haven't cooked much the kitchen isn't in bad shape and the living room will just get messed up when Tom gets home so I'll wait until tomorrow to clean that.

Tonight will be for knitting and watching Bride and Prejudice and catching up on some reading. And I hope a nice rainstorm.

ETA: apparently blogger is wreaking havoc with commenting again. So sorry.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clap your hands if you believe in faeries

Yes, I'm clapping.

About a year ago my husband lost his the car (complete with the little remote thingie that you have to have in order to use your key,) to the truck, to the front and back doors. He looked the yard over, tore his room apart while I searched the rest of the house. Never found them. He prayed, of course, to God (Yahweh) and I probably prayed as well (to the same God, not having left Christianity at that stage yet) considering how much it would cost to replace that remote thingie. Never found them.

So yesterday Zach and I were coming home from a night of Wendy's salads where we had discussed many things Pagan, vegetarian, and general game/computer stuff and I mentioned the faery garden and the need to get it in shape because the faeries have been known to do weird and wacky things when you don't pay attention to them. I mentioned various things that have gone mysteriously missing, including Tom's keys. I told Zach I was convinced the faeries had done something with them because we had gone over the yard with a fine toothed comb in addition to tearing the house apart and they just couldn't be found. I said I was going to have to be better at keeping my promises to them in the future.

During the course of our conversation, Zach said he felt Druidry was his path as well and wanted to set an offering out to Gaia on the rock altar I have outside in the faery garden and asked if he could use it. I told him most certainly, that it wasn't "my" altar; it was the family altar or whoever saw it and felt a need to use it. But I mentioned that I needed to get rid of the weeds surrounding it (Zach had mowed earlier in the day) and clean it up a bit. After I finished that up, he brought me the solar lights that we set on the hill behind the faery garden and I set about putting them in the ground. While placing the third one in the ground, I saw something in the grass and had to move the light over just a fraction of an inch to avoid it.

You guessed it. Tom's keys.

I've been working on the hill planning my echinacea garden, mowed it several times, attended the maple tree that Tom has been nurturing from seedling (the keys were right next to the tree) and have never seen those keys.

Yay, Faeries!

So tonight when it cools off, I plan on setting out an offering for them in gratitude for the return of the keys. I'm going to dig through my jewelry box because I feel like it should be a return of like for like. They gave me back metal so I'll give them back metal. Something shiny, I think.

For Chibicat: The book I'm reading is The Modern-Day Druidess by Cassandra Eason. I really like it because there is so much I don't know about Druidry and she's setting the record straight (for me...not having know any difference between them) on the differences between Wiccan and Druidry. Not in a this is right and this is wrong kind of way. More along the lines of how the different paths run next to each sister religions. Although I do love the night, lately I have been drawn to the Sun, not knowing that Druidry is more a Sun religion that draws on the Moon while Wicca is a Moon religion that sometimes draws on the Sun. Terminology is a bit different between the two, also. It's not terribly comprehensive but does touch on various things, like herbs, animals, sacred spaces, rituals, etc.

I could probably write a whole 'nother post on this subject, but I called my parents yesterday. I hadn't talked to them since I went down there although I did call on Father's Day but got their voice mail. Of course, they didn't get my message and I'm sure they didn't believe that I called. They are the kind of people who choose to believe badly of me before they will believe the good things.

But the conversation went well until my Mother started in on God non-stop. I wouldn't complain if this was normal for her but of late she's been preaching a lot to me so I wonder if my older sister has said something to her. Anyway, she told me this long, drawn-out story of a friend of her younger sister's youngest stepson and his wife whose behavior changed over the course of a year resulting in her leaving her job (and insurance,) spending outrageous amounts of money, not cleaning, etc. Long story short, she had a brain tumor in her frontal lobe. Costs of surgery, tests, hospitalization, etc were outrageous but somehow God intervened and provided them with $600, which is all the hospital required for them to forgive the entire debt.

So the moral of this story is that God is good and faithful.

Except...when we first moved here and were within less than a month of having insurance again, I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery or I would have died. The doctor put me in the hospital for 3 days before operating, and when he did charged me for emergency surgery at overtime prices, botched the surgery, closed me back up and told my husband I would die if I didn't have the specialized, very expensive surgery at Madison where I had to go by ambulance. I was in serious agony for 24 hours before the second surgery could be performed.

Total cost: $22,000. And this was 13 years ago so you can imagine what the costs would have been today. In spite of my doctor being a find Christian, he wouldn't forgive one penny of his services and we ended up paying all parties involved the last penny.

So...where was God then? Why didn't God intervene for us? Because we're still behind because of that expense. Thirteen years later we still haven't caught up. Especially with all the cancer treatment I had to undergo for about a year. And all the follow up visits for the rest of my life. Sure, we paid every penny but that money could have gone into fixing up our home which is falling down around us and we can't afford to repair. Or putting the money into savings. So now, facing our retirement with nothing and little coming in the way of Social Security and pension...yeah...where was God then? Why didn't he love me as much as he loves those people he intervenes with?

It's one of the reasons I left Christianity. The notion that God intervenes because either a) he loves you best or b) enough people prayed for you.

ACK! I had more written but blogger lost it and rather than try to recapture it, I'll leave it for another post.

Friday, July 16, 2010

As the mind wanders

I got some new headphones for the mp3 player because those ear buds hurt my ears and wouldn't stay in.  I got a pair that has ear buds but with a head band so it will stay in.  Zach got a pair, too, and loves them as they sound much better and feel great.  Now I can listen to the podcasts without having to manipulate the mp3 player, the ear buds and whatever else I'm doing at the same time.

Zach and I have been noticing how more and more of nature has been approaching us on a regular basis since leaving church.  Today while mowing, a maidenfly landed on the handle for the lawnmower as I was mowing, stayed with me for about 15 seconds (an eternity for insects) before flying away.   Yesterday a rabbit sat in the neighbors yard and just watched me as I brought Professor in, not moving, not looking away, but not looking frightened either.

Then there is the rat bastard chipmunk who knows how long Professor's leash is and sits just out of range and chirps at him.  Okay, that's probably not a connection with the Goddess, but you get my drift.

I'm looking into finding my power animal but there are just so many visitations and so many to choose from or be chosen by.  I got a book from the library (I can't remember the title and it's in the bedroom and I am suffering from aching knees and hips from mowing the yard today so I'll have to tell you tomorrow) about the female Druid and things any Druid needs to know.  She has sections of finding your animal totem, which really is going to help me.

I got a couple of books on seers, oghams, awen, etc.  I need to start taking notes because I'm not going to remember this stuff and I can't afford any books right now (I'm saving so we can afford to heat the house this winter) although I hate not having my own copies.  Someday...someday.

I'm feeling pretty good about myself these days even though I haven't been able to lose any weight or apply my new attitudes toward getting healthier yet.  But I don't feel like crap all the time anymore.  I'm not going to listen to negativity directed my way either.  Things at home have greatly improved in that area.  I'm guessing that Tom would prefer a Pagan wife to a fundie wife because I'm not the meek little puppet anymore.  The more submissive I got, the more he seemed to despise me.  Now that I'm getting stronger and more independent, he likes me more.  Interesting.

It's still hot so I'm going to crawl into my pajamas and sit in front of the window fan and read, study and knit.  I'll watch some dvds later but I'm in a mood to learn something new and exciting.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pondering what comes after

I've pretty much got nothing today except a headache, most likely allergies judging from the way it blossoms as the pollution index goes up.  Last night was full of massive energies:  3, count 'em, 3 thunderstorms over the course of the night. All my life I've been terrified of thunderstorms because they can lead to tornadoes.  Last night I slept like a baby and reveled in the thunder and lightening.

It still amazes me how my fear of death/danger/illness has left me since leaving Christianity behind.  Believing in the cyclic nature of life means no real endings.  Where "heaven" didn't give me peace and comfort (especially when going through cancer treatment), Summerland does.  I can't explain it beyond the notion that an eternity in a place where only the elect may go holds no real interest for me.  Neither does a lifetime of leisure.  I want to work in my afterlife.  I want to be productive, have community, and fun.  What's the point of an "eternal reward" if all we do is gape and gawk at our God and do nothing but adore him?  How does that benefit anyone but him?

Give me a cottage on the edge of a meadow where I can raise sheep, card the wool, spin it, dye it and knit it. Get together with friends and have a potluck, singing, dancing and other group activities.  That's heaven to me.

What's not to look forward to?

But, hey, that doesn't mean I'm going to take risks or not take care of myself because I don't care.  Quite the reverse, in fact.  I'm more inclined to treat my body better, not because of the whole "body is a temple" thing from Christianity, but because it's my vessel here on earth and I am its caretaker.  It's a measure of my love for all things living that matters.  Not that my body is holy and I'm required to treat it as such.  But because all life is sacred.  The distinction might not come across in my words but it's very clear to me.

I've had death on my brain today because Tom and I were talking about retirement and how little we'll be getting and how his pension is practically worthless anymore.  He mentioned that I would get his pension and his social security but I responded that that wasn't the better option.  Him being around was the better option.

It also got me thinking that in my solitary ways I have no community anymore.  And no friends in the immediate vicinity.  Should something happen I have no one to lean on, no one to help with the transition.  I even thought about going back to church just to maintain that sense of community except that I couldn't do that.  They are good people and don't need to be used for that purpose.  But also, I just couldn't stomach it.  Maybe in time I will soften toward the God/Jesus of Christianity but for now I'm still angry and the whole thing makes my stomach roil.

Well, I guess I did have something after all and my headache is going away.  I got many books from the library on Druid teachings, seers, and more Bollywood, of course.  I simply have to study Hinduism and India now.  I got 2 documentaries about India while I was at the library.  Another reason I love Wisconsin...they have the best libraries!

Now it's time to eat supper followed by a clean up in the kitchen and hopefully an early night as I have to get up and mow the yard tomorrow morning before the heat comes.  Zach has another corn on the bottom of his foot and can barely walk right now and Tom is exhausted from all the hours he's put in.  I can space it out over two days if necessary.  Plus it will do me good to burn those calories.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scheduling spirituality

I've been thinking a lot today about Inannasstar's comment about scheduling spirituality, which makes me go back to a time when scheduling it was a part of my life.  I have always hated getting up early on Sunday mornings to go to church and can't for the life of me figure out why on a day that is supposed to be a day of rest, you don't get to sleep in.  Not only do you not get to sleep in, you have to be at the church for about 4 hours being "spiritual" as if that is your weekly allotment.  And nothing against UU churches but when Zach and I looked into them, we noticed they do the same thing...early Sunday morning services.  And when you have to drive an hour to get there...not likely I'll ever attend.

I grew up in a conservative church which, while not being as fundie as some of the fundamentalists are today (as in...we could go to dances and movies and wear pants) it was still a pretty restrictive church.  We were there nearly ever time the doors were open, until my high school years anyway, when school events took precedence over mid-week services.  It was a measure of the times how you fit into society by what church you went to.  And if you didn't, you might as well not show your face in public.

We had morning devotions over breakfast.  My mother (my dad was on the road Monday through Friday) would read a short devotional from The Secret Place along with a Bible verse while we ate.  We were supposed to pray over meals and pray before we went to bed at night.  I probably did this although I don't remember.  Chemo has removed some memories from my brain.

As an adult, I tried my best to have a personal Bible study every day until I started homeschooling Zach and then his Bible lessons took the place of that (I killed two birds with one stone so to speak.)  We went to church just about any time the doors were open including any youth activities that were available.  We were involved in dramas, choir and any other church related events.

And yet, I don't remember ever feeling spiritual.  I had fun, don't get me wrong.  I had some really good times.  I just don't remember feeling connected to God on any level beyond getting swept up with emotionalism.  It was habit, rote, duty.

So, when Inannasstar mentioned how scheduling spirituality seemed unpleasant, it really jarred me and got me to thinking.  Maybe that's what I love the most about Paganism.  I don't have to get up at an unreasonable hour to commune with the Gods/desses.  They probably love a good sleep in as well.  I don't have to have specific times set aside on a daily basis or schedule "meetings" with them.  Sure, there are the esbats and sabbats and if you are in a coven or a grove, then there will be scheduled dates for celebrations, but who doesn't love to plan a party?  It's not the same as having a specific time when you have to be there, because it's your duty to your God/dess who would be really cheesed if you stood them up.

I love that even though there are times of celebration, especially as a solitary, it's up to me to determine when I should meet with my God/desses.  Imbolc?  The 1st or 2nd will do.  Go by the seasons rather than the dates?  Sure, why not.

I will admit I still get a thrill out of not getting up on Sunday mornings and getting dressed up for church.  I hope that feeling never goes away because it's such a delicious feeling...liberating, as Zach put it today.  There are some Sunday mornings that I still wake up at the same time and gloriously sink deeper into the pillows to enjoy not going to church.

But most of all I love that feeling that there isn't a Deity somewhere up in heaven with a wristwatch and a log book keeping attendance and tardy records.  My God/desses live in the grove where time has no meaning beyond the repeating cycle of life.

And yeah...I know most Christians would argue that they aren't scheduling their spirituality, that they are always walking by faith.  Maybe so, but it wasn't that way for me and for a great number of people I know who are still Christians.

At any rate, all that being said, I still need to discipline myself to set aside time for me, for my growth, for mental repair and for the refreshing of my spirit.  Music, arts, crafting...all these things are very spiritual to me and I should make them more a part of my life.  And much to read and I just don't sit down to do it.  I'm loving all the new things that I'm learning about Paganism, Druidry, and other cultures/beliefs.  It's exciting.  But I just don't do it.  I find other things to do instead.

So...that's what I mean when I said I need to set aside time to work on my spirituality...those things will make my spiritual life more balanced.  They will help me to flourish. They also make life more enjoyable and exciting and that makes me feel younger and more useful.  As a Christian I struggled with those feelings of being at the latter years of my life and not being as useful.

Christianity, in particular, fundamentalist Christianity has become a younger person's religion.  Older people (and that's not me yet!) are largely discarded or put out to pasture.  I hear my parents complain that the music is all contemporary, that church is all geared toward younger people and young families.  I saw that myself in the fundie church we used to belong to.  If you didn't belong to that young family demographic, you weren't encouraged and there were few spots for you in various ministries.  Oh, maybe the ones the younger people didn't want, like ministries to nursing homes and to the elderly, but all the prime ministries went to the men in their 30s and 40s and maybe their wives.

I love that in Paganism, age and wisdom matter a great deal.  I finally feel like I'm not useless, that I have something to offer, that I'm not at the end.  In many ways, I feel like I'm at the beginning of my crone years and still have so much ahead of me.

Actually, what's not to love about Paganism?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A really ordinary day...sigh

I listened to podcast 5 today while working in the basement and hanging out clothes.  I'm not fond of ear buds for headphones at all.  They keep falling out of my ears.  But I do love listening to the podcasts. 

While I was hanging out clothes I eyed the sad state of my faery garden.  There are weeds hiding my altar, the grass needs mowing and the table has deteriorated due to rain.  I need to paint the table I intend to use in its place (it will go in the mini-fire pit I need to set up and weed the whole yard.  The trip down to Indiana really messed me up.  I'm behind on everything and no energy to get it done.

I started knitting the tunic last night and as the beginning is a simple garter stitch, I made great progress.  Tonight I start the center pattern which is cabled (which I love) and not something I can do mindlessly.  Same with the Tree of Life afghan.  I had planned to listen to another podcast while spinning but I'm tired and I just got a book in from the library on Druidism and Celtic seers.  Not to mention the mystery I'm reading and the biography of Alf Wight (James Herriot.) 

And I haven't been reading Tarot much lately so it wouldn't hurt to give 'er a go tonight as well.  The book is due back at the library Friday but I'm pretty sure I can renew it. 

And I have The Mistress of Spices to watch tonight.  I'm a bit excited about that as I loved the ending of it.

I'm a bit cheesed at myself for still not setting up some kind of routine or schedule to my day.  I have things I want to accomplish spiritually yet I can't seem to motivate myself to get them done.  Or even started.  I have pondered that it might have something to do with all the Bible studies and such that consumed me in fundamentalist Christianity.  But this is so different and so new that I really do want to learn it all.  It's the setting aside time for it that is my problem.

Maybe I'm trying to bite off too big a mouthful.  Maybe I need to start small and accomplish one thing before I try to accomplish everything.

Off to bed to knit and watch my dvd.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Learning the world out there

I need to keep a notebook on me at all times so I can jot down notes of things I think about in a 24 hour period because when I sit down to the keyboard, my mind goes blank.  I had all kinds of thoughts last night but there must be an erase button in my brain that kicks on when I go to sleep because I rarely remember things I thought about the day before.

This morning, however, I saw the end of a really delightful movie that I must see from the beginning next time.  The Mistress of Spices was on when Professor woke me up at 7:30 a.m. to announce the rat-bastard chipmunk was outside the window.  So I watched it instead of going back to sleep.  I know little of Indian spirituality so it was really intriguing to see the worship practices of, I'm assuming, Hinduism.  Because the world is a wider place for me these days I really enjoyed seeing other ways to honor the Gods/Goddesses.

I'm still very much at home with Druidism and don't want to follow another path, but it's still very enlightening to observe.

And speaking of Druidism, I really like the podcasts that I've been listening to and hope I can find more like them.  Otherwise it will be hard to wait a month in between them.  OBOD has some courses that really seem good but I don't have the money so I'm limited to utilizing what is free on their site.  I fell in love with Professor Ronald Hutton and his easy way of storytelling. He talked about Pan and the history of the Horned God.  I really connected with it especially as I am just now bonding with Cernnunos.  I am not duotheistic, however, and still feel a great deal of affection for Lugh, Brighid and Rhiannon, among others in the Celtic pantheon I haven't met yet.

I bought some yarn today to make myself a tunic for those cold days ahead and because it seems very Celtic to me.  I wasn't going to get the yarn but it was on sale.  I just hope I have enough because I bought all they had.  I'm pretty short so I figure it's not going to be as long as the one on the model so I should pick up some yardage there.  I only buy yarn on sale and usually figure out later what to make but I thought this would be a nice Samhain present to myself so I can celebrate outdoors in it.  I have to start now though as I am not a fast knitter.

I'm also knitting The Tree of Life afghan.  It's got a Rivendell quality to it and fits in very nicely with my vision of what Celtic Paganism looks like.  I'm making it for my snuggling time when I sit down to knit or spin or read during the winter months.  It's hard to think of working on something warm right now but I think one of the things about being in touch with the cycle is anticipating the needs for the next part of it.  Preparedness was necessary for our ancestors in any culture.  They couldn't just run to the store on a whim.  They had to look ahead and see what their needs would be.

I think I would be better at what I do if I would learn to anticipate our needs better instead of running out of things and running to the store and getting way more than I really wanted to get.

I hope to start feeling better and more energetic in the future.  It's time to start taking better care of myself and anticipating what my body needs, too.  Like healthier food and exercise and a more positive outlook.  Instead of just getting through the day I'd like to enjoy the day and live it as fully as I can.  I've gotten into a rut where I resort to a lot of self-pity and unconcern for the quality of my life.  I anticipate that things will soon look up around here.

I'm trying to develop a daily ritual for honoring the Gods/Goddesses because I just feel like it's something that I need to do.  I'm looking at many different sites that offer Pagan prayers and such but I've discovered the Druid's Prayer and it immediately resonated with me.  It has to become a part of my daily ritual life.

The Druid's Prayer:
Grant Oh God and Goddess protection,
And in protection, strength,
And in strength, understanding,
And in understanding, knowledge,
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice,
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it,
And in the love of it, the love of all existences,
And in the love of all existences, the love of God, Goddess and all goodness.

Isn't it lovely? 

Well, I'm off to listen to another podcast and do some spinning.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Things are finally coming together

Altogether it was a really good day.  Maybe not by some standards but I got some things done and managed to listen to 4 podcasts while doing them.  After listening to them, I wish I could afford the courses they offer but that's just not feasible right now.  I learned a lot though and look forward to catching up on them.  Tonight I plan on doing some more reading and maybe starting my journal. 

Tomorrow for sure I'm picking up my pencils and paper again for drawing.  And my notebook and pen for writing.  I'm beginning to feel a definite direction.

I frogged the brown shawl I was making because I didn't really like the pattern and I didn't need two Earth shawls anyway.  I'm going to knit the Tree of Life afghan again and hope to actually finish it this time.  I also plan on knitting up some dishcloths in Pagan patterns.  Not so much to use but to decorate with.

I changed my altar's location.  I have room to stand in front of it and call the corners now.  I couldn't do that before.  It opens up the room a bit more because I had to shift my armoir a bit to fit it in.  Maybe a picture tomorrow.  Just of the altar though.  My room is so crowded that I don't want anyone seeing it.

I watched some more of The Mentalist last night and sure enough they had a show on Wicca and got it totally wrong.  I think they have to add drama and extremes to any show about religion because religion is so mundane and normal that it would probably bore people to tears.  I mean, where's the drama with a person who goes to church every Sunday and is a normal citizen?  Same with a Wiccan who is a normal person who lives a normal life and doesn't put a killing spell on the neighborhood bully.

Ah, well.

I'm off to curl up and knit for a while.  I often feel that I connect with my female ancestors when I knit or spin or when I garden or bake bread.  Okay maybe not baking bread since I use my bread machine to mix it up.  It's about saving money on one level and preserving the past on another.  Maybe I should start mixing up the bread by hand from now on.

Hoping to get some herbs and flowers planted tomorrow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Muddling through

I'm feeling unsettled in my room again.  Mostly because I'm not happy where my altar is.  It's in a dark corner, hard to get to and no way to do anything beyond sit in front of it.  No room for movement of any kind.  But I haven't a clue where to move my altar.  Now that I'm out of the closet I don't need to keep it in my room necessarily but as I'm a pretty private person spiritually these days I'm not inclined to have it out in the living room either.

For now I'll do nothing mostly because I'm having a major fatigue spell again and making decisions during one is pretty stupid on my part.  I'm just not clear enough to make good decisions.

I'd love to do more outside but the mosquitoes are terrible come sunset and being down the hill from a major highway, not a good place to practice during the day if I was so inclined.  I'm just feeling a bit muddy-brained today.  Not terribly in tune with the Gods/Goddesses at all.  I keep hoping a good night's sleep will help but it doesn't seem to.

I know I need to do a cleansing of the house and I do think that would help.  I just need to research what's involved in it besides smudging.  I might go so far as to order a black candle for my altar.  I think it needs one.

My sister isn't coming up or if she is she's not coming to my neck of the woods.  She was very cryptic in her email to me and when I sent her a reply asking how her move was coming, she was even more abrupt.  In a way it's a huge relief that she's gotten so pissy about me not being head over heels with our parents criticizing me nonstop on my visit or her coming up to hold court so I can sit at her feet and listen to her impart words of wisdom on how I should be living my life.  Hopefully she'll just stay out of my life from now on and not try to run it anymore.  On the other hand, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and her to out me to the rest of the family.

Fortunately, I'm confident in my path and don't really care what anyone has to say.  I am a much happier and healthier person spiritually now than I ever was in Christianity.  And I'm also much better off emotionally when I'm not around my siblings and my parents.  I can't begin to describe how on edge they make me.  It's like living on the edge of a razor blade, straddling it and waiting to fall on it.  I never realized how miserable I am around them until this last visit.

Now if I can just banish the thoughts that make me feel guilty for not being the obedient daughter and compliant sister.  Considering I've been battling this since high school and I'm 56 years old now, I do think I've paid my dues and it's time to get rid of the baggage.

I'm planning on getting plenty of rest and beginning some new habits that will help me healthwise and will hopefully help with the energy crisis that is going on internally.  I've been looking at using poetry and some of the Pagan prayers I've found online that I like, in addition to beginning a regimen of education into the things of Nature/Druidism.  I'm really excited about it but not terribly ambitious.

I'm off to take a nap while supper is simmering on the stove.  I'll leave Zach to keep an eye on it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Learning the cards

I should have paid more attention to the cards but I'm still trying to get up to speed learning to read them.  Actually learning from them obviously is something I need to put a priority on.  I had difficulty reading them Tuesday night as they seemed to contradict themselves.  As I've said before, on a daily basis I use a three card spread:  past, present, future.  It's more a way to connect with the Goddess so I leave the Celtic Cross for a monthly reading.

These were the cards:  The Fool (past), Wheel of Fortune (present), Nine of Swords (future.)

The Food was easy to read especially in light of having come out to Tom and being able to start practicing openly at home.

Wheel of Fortune was a bit trickier but again I related it to being able to practice openly in light of the four elements being pictured on the card.  It also seemed to be a harbinger of good luck.


Then we get to the Nine of Swords, which looked so much like the woe is me card.  I looked it up and saw so many myriad possibilities but I finally decided that it was about receiving bad news.

Because the cards seemed so confusing to me I drew another card for clarification.  The card was The Star, which seemed such a positive card and again related to my path.  I had difficulty relating the Nine of Swords to the other positive cards.

Until I woke up yesterday.  When I went online I discovered that I had forgotten to take back some dvds that were due on Tuesday so I had a late charge.  One of the possibilities of the Nine of Swords had to do with making a financial mistake that I would learn from but the money would be gone forever.  So, yeah...that solved that problem.

Until late last night when my dental crown fell out.

I'm still so new at this that I'm not always sure what I'm doing.  I read books but they are confusing as well.  I try to be intuitive but I draw a blank.  I used to have more intuition before I suppressed it because I had been told it was all evil.  It's like a very weak muscle that needs to be exercised except in my case I think I need occupational therapy for it.

Ellie asked yesterday about the lessons I found on Druidism.  I use several sources but the 13 moon lessons I'm working on now come from The Druid Network.  The lessons themselves are difficult to find from the menu so the site for that is here.  They're not indepth Druid courses or anything but they are a starting point for me.    I also use OBOD for the articles and podcasts.  I thought about the courses they have there but they are really pricey and I've spent so much money on Christian courses that I'm disinclined to spend any more money on something of that nature right now.  I still have The Torah Club gathering dust upstairs.  I should probably offer it on Freecycle because I hate to just throw it away.

But it also occurred to me that since all nature is my Scripture it would be a really good idea to keep a nature journal consisting of the things I'm learning on my journey as well as the encounters I have with the Gods and Goddesses in nature.

The heat and humidity are getting to me and I'm staying indoors as much as possible.  Tomorrow should be cooler so I hope to go outside and get some things done.  It's probably too late to plant a lot of what I still need to plant but since the herbs can come indoors before winter, I'll get them in the pots tomorrow.  Hopefully.  Maybe.

I'm going to do as little as possible today in the heat so today will be a day of reading and naps.  And maybe some knitting.  And baking when it cools off.  And starting a load of clothes to get out on the line tomorrow morning. 

And definitely some time looking up rituals and prayers and such.  I think I'm ready to institute ritual into my practice now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feeling myself grow

It was a very busy day today so I haven't had a lot of time to just sit and get some reading and knitting done.  I need to manage my time better so I can focus on improving the crafts I love to work on.  In many ways my spirituality is tied up with the arts and crafts.  And not surprisingly I've discovered that there is a spiritual connection with those same arts and crafts and Druidism.

I printed out some lessons from a Druid site.  They're not indepth but they are designed to get a person to think about their spirituality so I believe it's a starting point for me.  I also plan on downloading some podcasts to listen to.  I was going to use Tom's mp3 player but it's pretty full of his and Zach's music so I'm thinking of getting my own.  It depends on how much they cost.

And just to show how whimsical the Gods are...I sat down to fold the laundry and Bell, Book and Candle was on. 

It was very muggy today but I seemed to have a bit more energy.  In part, I'm sure, to the good sleep I got last night.  It might be a coincidence that I slept well after clearing the air, but I'm not a huge believer in coincidence so...

I've got to remember, though, that Tom is still a Christian and remember not to rant about Christianity or its adherents while he's home.  I went too far today but he didn't react to it and I realized my mistake and shut myself up.  I'm used to doing a lot of debriefing with Zach and forgot Tom isn't healing from pain we're trying to heal from.

I'm exhausted from the amount of physical labor I did today although by normal standards it wasn't much.  By my fibromyalgia standards, it was way more than I get done in a week.  So I'm taking it easy the rest of the night and focusing on spinning and some knitting.  Tomorrow I want to get my pencils out again and get back to sketching.  And to give myself a set amount of time for writing, too.  All these are the crafts I feel very drawn to and love that I can express my spirituality through them.

I also want to start getting outside and get some things done but with the head and humidity I'm going to have to do that first thing in the morning since in the evening the yard is full of mosquitoes.  I still need to plant my echinacea, sage and lavender.  At least I'd like to get that done.  And get my tomatoes staked up before the blossoms turn into fruit.

Life is certainly good today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm out of the broom closet

Wow.  What an incredible day.  A lot of exchanges between the three of us, sharing where we are spiritually with complete acceptance and understanding.  Tom has absolutely no problem with my Paganism/Druidism and with Zach's Agnostic/Paganism. In fact he thought it made perfect sense for me to follow this path.  While he still thinks of himself as Christian he is also interested in divination and the study of ancient arts.

All this time I was afraid of his disapproval.  The Tarot told me last night to be more open with my secrets and I knew immediately it meant to out myself to Tom but I was adamant it wasn't going to happen.  As I suspected, he had a pretty good idea something Pagan was going on but didn't want to insist that I tell him.  Me talking about not going to church anymore opened the door but I was still afraid to walk through it.  He did encourage me but didn't insist.

The difference in the energy of the house is palpable.  You can feel so much negativity gone now.

I can now practice openly, talk about it openly and even share more with him spiritually.  There has been a barrier for a long time between us, mostly built by me due to the guilt I've been having for years about not believing.  I realize that I stopped believing when I wrote the Walk thru Bethlehem play and have been trying to pretend I still believed all these years.  It's taken its toll on me and forced me to live artificially.  And believing that Tom was a fundamentalist forced me to hide from him even more.  To be fair, and I think he will admit this, he's not always been approachable.  And neither have I.

Unfortunately I had a bit of a dust up with my older sister.  She's coming up next week and wants to get together.  She talked about being interested in my journey away from church and wanted to talk about it when she gets here.  She's been reading my mundane blog and saw that I was a bit pissed at her so she asked me if I didn't want to see her.  I said that as long as she was being reasonable, as she was during our facebook chat, I didn't have a problem with it.  Then she kept going on and on about how our parents were so glad I came down and how good it was to see us.  And how it did them good. The old guilt trip.

So I told her that I didn't appreciate everyone trying to fix me, that if something was wrong I would fix myself. That I didn't like her strong-arming (not how I phrased it at the time) tactics trying to manipulate me into going down there.  First she denied that's what she did.  She maintained that she was just making suggestions that the bus trip would get me to her house and how helpful she was planning on being to get me the rest of the way to our hometown.  I stuck to my guns that it was her prodding me, not suggesting, that she was using guilt to get me down there.  Then she said that it had been 3 years and they felt I needed to get down there.

So I told her that instead of telling me that my dad wanted to see me and letting me figure it out, she and Steph and talked about me and decided that this is what I needed to do so it wasn't a "suggestion" it was them deciding for me.

She never got it.

But then I mentioned that the entire trip consisted of Mom and Dad criticizing me, telling me what I needed to do to fix myself and then picking on Zach and she effectively hung up on me.  She said she didn't know what to say and went offline without saying anything else.

So it's been a great a weird way.  I think it was the right thing to do to challenge Peg's notion that she's just trying to be helpful when in effect she's trying to manipulate and run my life.  On the other hand it was upsetting to go through.  But it was great to come out of the closet.  I even put my status on my facebook profile.  Not that anyone actually reads that.

But for now, I'm going to revel in the positive energy I feel going on here and get some supper cooked.

ETA:  For some reason blogger isn't accepting my comments and I don't know if anyone else has tried to comment either.  I posted twice and it showed up until I went back to the home page when it disappeared.  If it's not corrected by tomorrow I'll look into it.  Definitely frustrating.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's not much

Tana's gift, for what it's worth, was a portable altar that you can carry in your purse somewhat surreptitiously.  I read about it on a Pagan email loop I was on briefly and really liked the idea.  Some of the people on the loop thought it cheesy but who cares?  I liked it.

The handkerchief is an antique (although not ancient) from an elderly friend of my mother's.  I included it to be the altar cloth.  I liked that the flower design brought a bit of nature into it.  The candles are birthday candles (fire), of course, but I was thrilled to find some black ones, even if it does have white polka dots on it.  The feather I found in Indiana when I was visiting my parents (the air element), the rock I just liked the way it looked (earth).  I included a bitty cross because Tana connects with Christ in her own way.  What I couldn't find was a vial for water.  She's going to look for one and also one for some sand.  I have a small cup of decorative sand on my home altar so I really get the desire for it.

I'm planning on creating one for myself, too.  Not that I anticipate needing to worship on the run, but I like the idea of carrying my own "scripture" with me all the time. It seems a bit redundant, living in a rural town in a rural county with lots of "scripture" all around me all the time, but it's more personal for me this way.

The person whose idea this was used the Altoid boxes because they have a hinge and shut well and because no one would think twice about someone carrying an Altoid container.  Anything that shuts well would work but I did like the idea of this.  In my redneck of the woods, it's somewhat necessary to keep your spiritual life a bit closer to the vest.  Not even my husband knows.  Well, he might but he's of the Nile in living in de-Nile.  I don't hide things from him but I don't announce what they are either.

On the other hand I'll never come out to my parents.  It would really hurt them and as a result, hurt me.  Since everything I do is criticized, this would be over the top criticism, resulting in family conferences and condescending emails and phone calls from aunts, uncles, siblings and a barrage of "literature" about satanism.  So...I'm not going there.  I had outed myself to my older sister at one time thinking that because she's so "liberal" she'd understand, but I was very surprised to find out that she's not that far removed from a fundie.  At least she sure sounded like it to me.  So, while I didn't backtrack, I sort of let her think that I had gone back to church.  It was certainly deceitful but not dishonest, if that makes any sense.  I was still going to church at the time although the struggle to make some kind of sense out of both worlds was beginning to take its toll on me.

At any rate, I did it to protect myself from the condescending questions and snide remarks.  I had my fill of "honesty" in Christianity.  I didn't hurt anyone.  Not even myself.

It's clouding over outside and I love it.  I love all things about the weather but I like change the best.  After many rainy days, the sun refreshes my soul.  Same with the clouds after many sunny days.

Well, I'm off to be lazy today and knit and watch my library dvds.  The pets stay indoors as much as possible this time of year because of the neighborhood fireworks that go on days before and days afterward. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Making room for the new by casting out the old

I could not think of anything to write about yesterday.  Not that I didn't have any thoughts.  I just didn't have any thoughts that related to spirituality.  Some days are like that.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about spirituality today and how hard it is to rid myself of the notions I had ingrained in me from Christianity.  Of having to pray, having to establish a regimen of "prayer time" and devotion.  The thought of doing that now repulses me.  And I can't imagine how it would offend a deity who, instead of being cared for lovingly and willingly, instead has to impose schedules upon his/her adherents in order to get them to spend time together.

But I do find myself missing some of the rituals I loved in the Episcopal Church.  I loved having prayers already written out so I didn't have to fumble for words.  I liked the physical aspects, crossing myself and genuflecting and kneeling.  One of my favorite blogs, The Pagan and the Pen have offered up some wonderful prayers that I've read and written down (some of them) in a notebook so I can pick the ones that mean what I mean on that particular day and time.  You have to scroll back a bit when you get there but they are worth the effort.

I also think it's time I tried to put into words my own feelings; write my own prayers and put in my notebook (that I've designated Book of Prayers as opposed to prayerbook for obvious least to me) to use.  I also think I'm ready to start utilizing rituals and focusing on magick in my daily life.  For a while now I've been trying to use Tarot more often and now I think I should start keeping track of the readings because I think there are trends there that need watching.

I'm feeling more and more focused on my path and the need to grow and evolve.  One of the things about Christianity that was so off-putting for me was the rule that I had to become more like someone else in order to be a good person.  How on earth could I possibly achieve the kind of perfection that Christ supposedly possessed as a fallible person?  He supposedly had divinity to help him be perfect?  I was supposedly flawed with Original Sin.  So I was supposed to overcome hurdles he didn't have to overcome in order to be acceptable to God.

Now, I just have to be more like myself.  I just have to figure out how to make myself  To find that spark in me that is good and whole.  I don't want or need to become more like the Lady.  Why would she want carbon copies of herself out there?  Wouldn't that detract from her uniqueness?  And our own?

I love that I can focus on myself without being selfish.  I love that I can be myself.  I love that I can love myself now and not look at me as a flawed, despicable creature needing someone to pick me up out of the mire because I'm so helplessly inadequate on my own.

I'm not there yet.  I still have years of indoctrination to get rid of but the moments of fear and indecision are happening less and less often.  And now that that is clearing from my heart and my mind, I have more room now for things that lift me up and don't tear me down. 

I'm glad I didn't just jump into Paganism.  I'm glad that it took me a few years to decide on it.  I'm one of those people who generally burns bright and burns fast when it comes to new things so this means more to me as the fire has smoldered a bit before bursting into flame.  This feels like it's here to stay.