Thursday, December 30, 2010

Not playing that game anymore

I wasn't going to post today because I don't feel good and am a bit cranky but then I had to get away from knitting endlessly for a few and decided to go for it.  After all, I've been crankier.

I had to go to the store today to get some cold medicine because I've managed to catch whatever it is that Tom had over the weekend and Zach has now.  While there, I decided to look for a glass bowl for my altar to use for sacred/annointing water.  I had some specific ideas about how it should look...clear glass, handles if possible and not more than a dollar.  I know...pretty unrealistic.  I saw nothing at the store so I stopped at the thrift store on the way home and found nearly exactly what I was looking for, for 99 cents.  Gotta love it when a plan comes together. Thank the God/desses as I had mentioned it to them last night.

I came home and transferred my consecrated water to the new bowl and mentioned to Tom what a deal I had gotten.  So he walks into my room, picks up the bowl and turns it over, spilling the water all over my altar.  He then blamed me for it saying he didn't know it had water in it.  Sigh.  Of course...  I very patiently told him not to worry about it as I soaked up the water off of my cloth and my spirit beads, crystals, incense burner, etc.  I thought, since I was going to change it out later in the week anyway, I would just go ahead and change the colors to blue, which is what I felt like having on my altar during the interim.  He said, while I was mopping up the water, that he supposed that water was special or something, huh?  I said yes but didn't make a big deal of it.  He then volunteered to get me some more water from the faucet.  I told him I would take care of it but thanked him for it anyway.

Now...I wasn't in a friendly mood toward him anyway as he had made some remarks yesterday about me looking to find fault with Christianity and that's why I left it.  I've told him my story more than once, that I lost my faith from reading the fucking Bible...sorry...from reading the Bible in order to write a Nativity play for our church.  When I couldn't get the chronology to line up with the different accounts, I lost my faith.  He knows this as we have talked about it many times.  Yet he blames me for leaving Christianity because I chose to find fault with the Bible itself.  I knew this was going to happen eventually.  And this is why he keeps me confused.  Some days he's supportive and helpful, other days he displays attitudes like this, as if I deliberately was looking for "proof" to leave it.

And just the day before we had such a good talk about why I left and how I was doing so much better now.  He was so supportive then. This kind of thing exists in other areas of our relationship so I don't know why I expected this to be different.  I'm tired of being pulled in one direction and another so I have decided not to play the game anymore.

I think the time has come to just shut up about it.  I hate having to play roulette with something that is very precious to me.  I thought I could talk to him about it, but I was wrong.  From now on I'll just use this blog as a venue for discussing, sorting and sharing the spiritual things that are important to me.  Zach is going through a time where he just isn't interested in spiritual matters so I hate to unload on him.  I don't want to pressure him on his path. 

It's just one of the hurdles on the journey that gives me choices.  I can wait for it to disappear, walk around it or jump over it. As I don't plan on stopping my journey, I think I'll choose the least delay and jump over it.  I might bruise my shin but I'll be on my way sooner.

So after all of this, I changed my altar cloths, re-consecrated my altar and tools and blessed the water and just moved on.  Except the incense hurt my throat...that pesky scratchy sore throat I hadn't thought about when I lit it.

Well, my sneezing is interfering with my typing right now so I'm off to bed for some more knitting as I'm too grumpy to sleep.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pathway ponderings

Now that the season is winding down, I'm trying to center myself somewhat by introducing rituals, both daily and seasonally, that mean something to me.  I've discovered that magick may not be my thing so much as my observance and reverence for Nature and connection with the God/desses are.  I'm not being dogmatic about it.  In fact, I refuse to be dogmatic about anything anymore.  But at least for now, magick isn't on the table for me.  What I'm comfortable with is lighting candles, visualizing, meditating and finding that connection with the God/desses.  Spells, not so much.

It's been an incredible year spiritually.  Not incredible in the sense that all was fantastic, but incredible as in, wow! I can't believe I actually did that!  It's still amazing to me that I left Christianity behind, considering the propaganda I was spoonfed my whole life.  Leaving behind the fear...or dare I say abject terror...over the thought of life outside Christianity was probably one of the bravest things I ever did.  Even if I did leave and go back a few times before leaving for good.  And any feelings I've had about returning have nothing to do with returning to Christianity, but the longing for the people and rituals I loved.  Alas!  I'm not the kind of person who can go through the motions.  I need the belief to be there or I feel a huge disconnect.

I'm developing ritual gestures that have meaning to me even if they don't resemble anything in Druidry or Wicca.  Instead of spells, I plan on focusing on herbs and crystals this year, studying hedge-witchery, I guess you could call it.  But mostly I plan on learning to be intuitive and following my heart instead of a book.  Learning about nature by spending more time out there.  Focusing more on the simple things, improving my talents, crafts and mind.  This first year was really a time of finding myself and my path and although it was wonky at times, it's been enlightening and educational.

I also have the freedom to do all this now that we are "out" to Tom and can function freely about the house.  It makes a huge difference to be able to practice your beliefs openly instead of hiding them furtively, as if they are wrong. 

I've also noticed that, while I still suffer from depression and probably always will, it's been much more manageable as a Pagan, than as a Christian.  The pressure is much less when you don't have to "work things through" as if your illness is a character flaw.  I can treat my depression (although without medication unfortunately due to possible fatal interactions with other medication I'm taking) naturally with exercise, better eating habits and lots of sunshine (not that I've actually done that yet) but better, I can acknowledge that this is not my fault and on those days when I can't get out of bed, don't beat myself up over it.

All in all, becoming a Pagan is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  The days when I doubt my path have been reduced to minutes instead.  I'm becoming more familiar with Paganism in various forms and am letting myself walk the path for the enjoyment instead of the journey's end.

And I find that death isn't as frightening as it was as a Christian.  Although I'm not keen to try it out, the fear that my cancer might return isn't as heavy a burden as it used to be. 

Not to mention the friends and community online I've discovered.  I can truthfully say all of you have made my path an easier one to walk and I'm so glad you're in my life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Axial tilt is the reason for the season

Merry Mithras, one and all!  It being his mythology and all.  Tom laughed when Zach and I greeted each other with this.  We had a good talk last night about my path, his family, my family and me taking care of myself.  He confuses me because we have such good talks like that but he can turn on a dime and be as un-understanding as he is understanding.

I'm feeling better and less nostalgic now that the day is actually here.  We opened presents last night, a complete change of tradition.  It went well and we got to sleep in this morning.  Until this afternoon, actually.  Zach isn't the reason we get up early.  No, the husband can't sleep in due to the anticipation of what's under the tree.

Me?  I'm just glad it's over.  Seriously.  On Christmas day I'm champing at the bit wanting to take down all the decorations.  I'll wait until Monday though, when Tom goes to work.

The house is tiny but with the decorations up, we're even more cramped and crowded so I'm glad to get rid of them.  I haven't really celebrated Christmas in years, truth be told.  I've merely endured it.  I guess I was leaving Christianity behind on a gradual basis for the past 5 years or so.

Off to lounge around, knit and watch Star Trek (the movie...mine) and How to Train Your Dragon (Zach's) and probably sleep off and on.  I'm not going to the family function because it's upsetting me just thinking about it.  I'll try some smaller family events over the course of the year.  Jumping in to a huge gathering isn't the best plan for me.

Hope everyone is enjoying themselves!  Have a good one...whatever you celebrate!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reflections on Christmas Eve

This is my first Christmas since leaving Christianity and it's not been without some angst.  I've found myself nostalgic for the pomp and ceremony of Christmas Eve services at St. Mark's.  Oddly, there is no other church I feel nostalgic toward but in the Episcopal Church I found the ritual and sense of spirituality I thought I had been looking for all my life.  Except I didn't believe anymore.  I still feel a bit cheated that I finally found the manner in which I could worship Christ and lost the ability to do so.

I have pondered of late returning to St. Mark's as an unbeliever who participates in a ritual that far outdates Christianity anyway.  I won't do anything during the holidays because I suspect this is a whim based on lost memories but I have been missing the people there.  I'll postpone the decision until long after the holidays.  Likely the urge will disappear the first time the alarm goes off to wake me up early to attend.  If not, then I'll just wing it.

I hesitate about going back for a number of reasons.  One being that if I do go back and find that I just can't do it anymore, then I'll be leaving again and have to go through the process of saying good-bye again.  Another reason is that there will be the inevitable questions about where I've been and where Zach is. He won't go back and I won't ask him to.  I get tired of trying to field personal questions.

On the other hand, I am lonely.  I miss having people in my life to do things with, even if only for an hour or so a week.  I am pretty sure that the solitary path is perfect for me spiritually but I am isolated enough as it is and could use some community.

One huge drawback is Tom.  He never liked us going to that church (it being nearly Catholic) and he has told me he didn't like me much as a Christian so it really impairs my ability to make a decision when I've got a good idea that one choice will bring discord into the home.  On the other hand, it's my spirituality and since he apparently only exercises his when it's convenient, I shouldn't let him interfere in my decision making.

One thing I know is that I am called to Paganism in a way I was never called to Christianity.  I am still very new to it and don't have the familiarity with it that I do with Christianity, but I do have the connection with Paganism that I don't feel with Christianity.  Within Christianity it was a struggle to keep my thoughts constantly on God as I was supposed to do.  In Paganism, it comes naturally to me to think of this God or that Goddess in the course of my activities, in a natural way.  I frequently commune with the Goddess (whichever one is beckoning me at the time) as I would talk to my mother or a dear friend.

I suspect this is all about being wistfully nostalgic because I have no desire to go back to that way of life.  I just miss the rituals now and then.  And the people.  Although I would wager that more than a few of them would distance themselves from me should they find out I no longer believe.

Ah, well.  These are the things I'm  pondering today but tomorrow it will be about the presents!!!!  I'm shameless, I know but it's not about me's about watching my loved ones receive.  That's the best thing for me.

Have a Happy Christmas however your celebrate it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Solstice!

It was a wonderful Solstice even if I didn't get to see the lunar eclipse because of the snow.  I had just started to light candles when my firstborn called and we ended up talking for nearly an hour.  At which time my intentions weren't as ambitious and the ritual became shortened a bit.

When it came time to perform the ritual, it seemed foreign to me and not exactly what I wanted to do so I winged it yet again.  Only this time I must say that it made for an incredibly intimate and powerful event.  After I called peace from the compass points, I lit the candles of the goddess and the god and placed my yellow (Lugh) candle in the holder.  At that moment I got such a tingling in my body that I felt as if I was in the presence of something much greater than I.  After a brief meditation on the return of the Sun and the Sun God, I lit Lugh's candle and nearly cried with the intensity of emotion.  Then I simply sat and talked to the god/desses about the return of the light and how blessed I felt to be called by them.  It was enough to just sit in their presence.

I do intend to incorporate established ritual into my life but I also plan on going with my heart when the god/desses request that, also.  Today Danu and I had a long talk in the parking lot of StuffMart, because that seems to be a sacred space for me, as odd as it sounds.  Zach and I have long used that parking lot to have heartfelt discussions and sort out things that have troubled us.  It was a safe place during a time of abject fear for us. 

There are times I just can't handle the intensity of energy and power that goes along with ritual so I use those times to merely sit and commune with the god/desses.  I have decided that it's time to begin my studies on magic although I plan on starting slowly and building up.  As I said, that intensity of energy overwhelms me at times.

All in all it was a magical experience even without the lunar eclipse.

Merry Solstice, everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feeling good about things

No pictures so far as it's been gloomy outside and I haven't opened up any curtains yet.  It's dark in here with my insulated, room-darkening curtains.  But cozy.

I've been doing some studying of late and then I have to take a day or two to ponder what I've read.  If I am able to remember it.  Darned memory problems.  I'm feeling good about the direction my spirituality is taking and I'm learning more and more about myself. 

I've discovered that I tend to be unaware of a lot of what goes on around me.  And in me.  I seem to be drifting a lot.  I've been trying to focus more and I think I'm making progress.  I'm feeling good about that.

I'm trying to make my preparations for Yule now instead of waiting until Yule to throw something together.  Feeling good about that, too.  I think my path is leading me to a blend of Druidry and Wicca.  I'm more comfortable with the Celtic pantheon rather than the Lord and the Lady but I'm also more comfortable with the rituals of Wicca rather than the Druid rituals.  So I'm feeling good about that, too.

On the other hand, I'm having a hard time with the Christianists I'm running into of late, or the ones who are messing with friends.  It's becoming more and more obvious to me that their brand of Christianity is so manipulative and so controlling as to be dangerous to the well-being of a lot of people I care about.  Unfortunately their brand is the one most widely practiced.  I'd love to go kick someone's mother's ass for her for being such a jerk to my friend, but since I don't know her and she's nowhere near me, I'll have to do it in my imagination.

I had an odd experience the night Jon (the kid who killed himself) died.  I had a dream...well, I'm not sure it was a dream, that I was in his parents' house, just walking through.  It was dark with some light from the outside street lights showing in through the curtains so it was a very black and white atmosphere.  I walked a short ways up the stairs into the living room and stopped in front of the kitchen, then I was back in my dream again.  The thing is, I felt awake, and aware of what I was doing.  The furniture was arranged a bit differently from when I was there last (several years ago) but I felt more like I was really there instead of dreaming about being there.  I was aware I was in my bed but I didn't feel asleep.  In fact, when I left the house, I laid awake in my bed for a while pondering it.  I had done this a long time ago when I was in the Navy and was involved in what we called white witchcraft then.  They called it shadow walking then.  I'm not sure what happened but it didn't feel like a dream.

At any rate, I'll try to get pictures of my altars soon.  If the sun doesn't shine soon, I'll try to arrange the lighting so I can get some taken.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Choosing my friends

I finally accepted that my family isn't interested in my blogs or anything I have to say on facebook and then my aunt decides to join fb and now wants to friend me.  This is the aunt who sends me fundie and tea party shit.  Without that baggage she's a lot of fun and interesting to talk to but I am out of the broom closet online and I'm not going back in.  Not to mention my parents don't know Zach is gay and of course, neither do my aunts and uncles.  My sisters and my nieces and nephews, my children and grandchildren know but not my parents.  And I don't intend to change that.  My dad isn't known for his tolerance about the subject and my mother hasn't accepted that he has Tourette's and OCD so I really don't think she'll be able to handle having a gay grandson.

So I've decided not to friend her.  She wouldn't like the stuff I post there anyway as I'm not shy about how I feel about the fundies and tea party people.  Not to mention all the Pagan stuff I post there.  This is also the aunt who decided I needed a lecture on not visiting my parents more often so I'm not feeling particularly generous.  I love her, but I'm not going to change who I am or how I do things.  And I'm not going to set myself up for lectures or "prayers" either.  I'm not going to advertise to people who won't understand it but I'm also not going to hide in the closet either.

I've been cleaning and organizing today and it's amazing how much more spiritual I feel when my house is clean.  Well, okay, cleaned up.  I haven't managed to achieve clean yet.  I'll try to get some pictures of my Yule altar and my kitchen altar tomorrow.  It's supposed to be sunny and above zero so I can open up the curtains and let some sunshine in.  Good thing I thrive in the dark of the year or I'd suffer from SAD during the winter months.

Actually I've been experiencing fewer depression symptoms of late.  I really must thrive in the dark.

I haven't decided on a new necklace yet so I'm going to knit myself a charm bag so I can wear my crystals when I need to.  I think that's what I want to wear now.  Maybe after the first of the year I'll decide if I want a pentacle or something else.

Off to finish up supper and curl up in bed to knit and watch some history documentaries.  I love this time of night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Countdown to Yule

Yule is a week away and the possibility still exists that I might actually be ready for it.

Stop laughing.  I didn't say how great the possibility was.

I do plan on celebrating it though.  So far I've managed to be sick or beyond tired for every festival since becoming Pagan but this one I won't miss. I'm not setting my sights too high and hope to bring about a small, intimate celebration.  I have wondered if the energy drain was more about not protecting myself against the potent energies out there at the times of high holidays.  I plan on being protected this time.

I've been doing well having daily ministrations with the God/desses and have gotten in a few moments of meditation a day but I'm still having a great deal of trouble focusing more than a few seconds at a time.  Still, I persevere.  I think I will do better having a written prayer/meditation plan than trying to wing it because I spend a lot of time trying to come up with something to say and then I dissect it wondering if I said the right things.  If I can just write some things down and use them as a liturgy of sorts, I think it will flow more smoothly for me.  I found some prayers for Hestia as my household Goddess that I plan on copying down into a smaller journal for kitchen use.  I've got a bigger journal for my other prayers.

I have been having a flirtation with Hecate lately.  I call it a flirtation because I don't know if I'm called to her or not.  At times I feel drawn in her direction but most of the time I'm drawn to Danu and other Celtic God/desses.  We'll work it out, I'm sure, but for now, I just come when she calls.  In time I'll see the patterns emerge and figure out just what our relationship really is.

I forgot to mention that Tom found me a staff while he was out hunting.  It's about 6 feet tall and really beautiful.  I plan on sanding it down, polishing it and carving ogham on it.  And whatever other symbols I feel led to carve on it.  He confuses me because there are times he seems so condescending and smirky and at times disrespectful.  At other times he's supportive and helpful.  I'm kept guessing all the time which he'll be.

But for now I'm not guessing anything.  I'm smelling supper cooking so I'm off to finish it off and then my normal routine of crawling under the covers and knitting while watching my documentaries.  I've really been enjoying learning about other cultures and religions, something I never allowed myself to watch as a Christian because I was afraid I would lose my faith.  Who knew that I would actually lose my faith reading the Bible?

Monday, December 13, 2010

I won't be singing Winter Wonderland anytime soon

My encounters with Nature of late are not terribly pleasant.  I would love to enjoy the snow but shoveling it with mere shovels takes the pleasure out of it for me because I've got fibromyalgia and end up with my bff Tramadol and a hot water bottle instead of enjoying knitting or crocheting.

I trudged out through the 10 inches or so (so they ruler says 12 inches though) of snow in the back yard to refill the bird feeders.  They were frozen on the caribeaners I use to attach them to the clothesline so I had to whip the top off and stand on my tip toes to fill them.  I spilled some on the ground, but since the birds do that, too, it wasn't really waste.  Within and hour I had dozens of birds fighting for space.  They are nibbling at the suet but not a lot.  I've got a whole case of it so it looks like it might last me next year, too.

I went to put the sunflower heads out but they had gone bad and were wet and moldy.  I've never had them do that before so I don't know what happened.  What a waste.  I wrapped them like the book I read said to but maybe they weren't ready for harvesting and that's why they ended up pulp.  I still have some field corn though.  I'll try a different kind of sunflowers next spring though.  These were the black ones.  I got the seeds by mistake.

I got a song book from Debra in the mail today.  It's some restructured Christmas carols that I will most definitely enjoy singing.  While Tom isn't around.  Thanks, Debra!!!!

I'm off to befriend my hot water bottle and take a pill or two while my pizza is in the toaster oven baking.  No way could I cook today on top of shoveling and shopping.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I was out in Nature today, but I can't say it was a lot of fun

As the snow was taller than Professor this morning, when I let him out he immediately turned around and came back in, looking up at me as if to say, "No fucking way!"  Animals seem to say it best.

But Zach and I tackled the snow and made a pathway as well as performing our obligations according to the city ordinance and providing a safe walkway for any idiot pedestrians out there.

I mentioned to Tom today that I would prefer it if he used a tv tray instead of my altar without going into any detail and he said he would but he was tight-lipped when he said it, which means he probably won't in the long run.  It's the best I can do for now.  I did provide him with a tv tray this morning when we watched a special on Merlin.  It was a pretty crappy documentary making all kinds of assumptions.  Apparently all Pagans base their beliefs on Merlin as the paradigm of true Paganism, in particular, Druidry.  And C. S. Lewis and Tolkien based their books on him as well. 

It did have its moments though as far as the history of Merlin goes and it was nice to actually hear Welsh spoken.  Not a total bust but not great either.

I watched Religulous last night. It was good in many ways but I did feel a bit sorry for some of the people who didn't have answers for him.  Only because that was me at one time.  I thought I had answers and very smugly condescended toward those who didn't see the brilliance of my logic.  Truthfully it was embarrassing watching them.  I'll keep it and watch it a few more times before I delete it from my dvr.  I want to remember some of the points he made.

Supper is ready so I'm off to eat my first meal of the day.  I just plain forgot to eat.  Between shoveling snow (heavy, tall snow) and snoozing in between, I just forgot to make a meal.  I did have some toast this morning but that's not a meal.

Hoping we get no more snow for a while as I haven't dug out the car yet and it is in a tunnel of 3 foot drifts in addition to being under a foot of snow.  But we wore out, Zach and I, and will just have to tackle it tomorrow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gains and losses

Just a short post.  We went to see Harry Potter last night and loved it but I couldn't help but chuckle to myself that, before leaving our fundie church, there was a sermon on the evils of Harry Potter, how it led children into witchcraft, that J.K. Rowling was herself a witch and her aim was to recruit as many kids as possible into Wicca.  I tried to set the pastor straight but he had read a book about it (not, of course, the books themselves) and wouldn't be budged on it.  Now that we're no longer Christians, I'm sure he's patting himself on the back for being "right" on the issue.  Still, it's a gain for me because I at least did the research instead of letting myself be manipulated into trusting someone else to think for me.  Now I think for myself.

We stopped at Pizza Hut for a bite afterwards and unfortunately I lost my rune off my chain.  The chain simply came undone.  I am trying to believe that it left me because its work was done and that it was time for me to find something else to use as a symbol of my path.  I have to admit that I felt a bit estranged from the rune most of the time and wore it mostly out of habit.  I do hope whoever found it will find it useful.

Now off to knit while the snow piles up outside.  I will go out and refill the bird feeder tomorrow morning even though that means I'll most likely have to trudge through around 10 inches of the wet, heavy white stuff.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting in the mood

I picked up a bell for my altar in the Christmas aisle.  It has a stag (or reindeer) for the handle which I thought was close enough to the Horned God.  Plus it was only a dollar.  I also bought a tiny tree instead of getting fake greenery.  Same price but having something living on my altar is better.

I'm doing much better at developing daily rituals and routines although it takes more than a few days for these things to become such a part of my daily regimen that I do them without having to remind myself.  Might take a year for that to happen.

I listened to Christmas carols on the way home from the store today because I was driving on a snow-covered road that had hidden the center line and it wasn't that easy to tell where the road dropped off either.  I just couldn't change channels while I was driving.  Fortunately none of them were actually Christian so I was okay with it.  I'm getting in the mood.  I have no idea why the past several Christmases were so dismal for me, but I'm getting excited about Yule so that's all that really matters for me.

Off to fix supper and then more knitting and crocheting of Christmas stuff.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prayer, ritual and making it work for me

The altar is cleansed and the athame re-consecrated and the energy in my room is totally revitalized.  All is well.  I did try to put up a protection around the altar, making it unpalatable to anyone who isn't respectful of the sacredness of the space but to be honest, I'm not sure my husband will be deterred from anything like that.  He tends to live in his own world.

I've been missing church lately.  Well, I've been missing the ritual from church, but not the religion.  I really think I need to incorporate more daily and special ritual in my life from now on.  At times I wonder if the hunger for ritual is Nature's way of telling me to take the next step and crawl out of my comfortable box into something that includes taking risks and pushing the envelop of my spirituality.  I haven't craved it before like I do now.

So I'm focusing my studies on ritual, prayer and meditation.  Because I loved the physical rituals...the sign of the cross, genuflecting, bowing, etc...I have developed a few physical rituals of my own.  Touching my finger and thumb to my forehead, then to my lips, back to my forehead then to my heart and back to my lips.  It means to me that I pray that my intentions will always be well thought out and from my heart before I speak them aloud.  It might sound cheesy but I find comfort in it, especially as I tend to be impulsive.

Another one is to hold my spirit beads entwined around both hands in a prayerful position, hands at my forehead invoking the Goddess when I pray to her.  When I pray to the God I have my arms crossed at my chest, head slightly bowed.  I end both prayers with my arms open and raised halfway to the sky.

Prayer is difficult for me, having spent a lifetime trying to pray to a God who never answered, all the while believing the fault was mine. Prayer in Christianity is a lot about asking for stuff, demanding God deliver on his promises and begging tearfully for escape from whatever situation you've found yourself in.  And lots of adoration because he seems to need it.  A lot.  And thankfulness.  And adoration.  And lots of wallowing in self-pity for the multitude of sins since you can't go five minutes without breaking one of his rules, even if only in your thoughts.  And did I mention adoration?  Sure I was told as a Christian that prayer was just conversation with God, telling him my heart and about my day, but in reality it was more like the above.  I sure never heard of anyone, especially in public prayer, who ever just "talked" to God.

So I struggle with what to pray for with Hecate, Cernunnos, Lugh, Rhiannon, Hestia, the Morrigan, et al.  I don't want to be demanding and tell them what they need to do for me.  I don't want to be condescending and heap tons of false praise on them that feels more like obligation than sincere feelings.  Although I know they care about us, I'm not sure how involved they are in our lives.  I'm pretty sure they don't micromanage the way the old guy does.  I also believe they expect us to stand on our own two feet and not look for anyone to magically solve our problems for us.  So for now I tend to pray not for material things but for wisdom, direction, protection and ask to draw on their energy in order to work things out for myself.  I am able to talk to them as if they were in the room with me (and aren't they?) and even be conversational with them, something I absolutely could not do with the old guy.

Daily prayer also seems more natural to me these days, even if it's only a quick word or two or a loving touch of a picture.

It's hard to believe how much happier I am as a Pagan, too.  I can't believe the anguish and self-recriminations I struggled through as a Christian, never measuring up to the impossible standard set up for me.  I've even stopped beating myself up so much about my limitations. I'm growing more spiritually now than I ever did as a Christian.  And I never knew this kind of peace before.

I was watching a documentary about Thor today on National Geographic channel so I am getting lots of exposure to things outside the Christian-dominated world of religion.  Hopefully I'll be able to concentrate better soon and be able to remember more of what I read.  I manage better with audio/visual learning right now, with dvds and documentaries, but I'd love to start reading more about mythologies and folklore.  Just have to get to the stage where my brain is working better.  I am getting there though.  I'm in a much better place than I was a month ago.

Time to go finish up supper.  I have some patterns to knit and crochet some holly and ivy and some mistletoe since finding the real stuff is difficult around here.  I'd love some real evergreens but I get really bad headaches with a real tree in the house so I'm not sure having branches all over the house will work for me.  I'm putting up the tree tonight but no decorating until tomorrow.  I'm beginning to enjoy the season again.  I've dreaded it for so many years and didn't know why.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning to be opaque

In my studies yesterday I read that the sacred tree of the Bard is the Birch tree.  I found that really interesting because this past year I've found bark skin from the Birch in my yard before nearly every festival, something I hadn't seen before in the 12+ years we've lived here.  I know this can be explained away without having any spiritual connotations, but I choose to see the hand of the Divine in it.  More confirmation that my path is the right one for me.

I'm also feeling more and more that my path is not clearly defined by any one discipline.  I am most content finding my own way, learning those things that spark a fire in me and not putting a title on any of it.  I like finding spiritual nourishment from many different buffets.

Zach and I grabbed a bite to eat while we were out shopping today and ended up staying there for over an hour just talking about spiritual matters.  You'd think we could do that at home but we don't.  It's as if we have a barrier to speaking our hearts at home.  I know that I have resolved to keep my sacred things private even though I am "out" to Tom because I don't feel respected or taken seriously.  I can only tolerate the smirks and eye-rolls so much, you know.

And this from a man who hasn't opened his Bible in over 12 years and rarely ever went to church, not even to see  his son's dramatic productions.  This is the man who told me he knew back when we first married that I didn't have any faith because I disagreed with him on a matter of doctrine.  Me who had been a Christian all my life versus him who had been a Christian ten minutes.

I focus on the fact that I can be open and that helps.  But being open doesn't mean being transparent.  I'll keep the specifics to myself from now on.

I looked at the library today for some books on Wicca and there were none.  There used to be several books but the shelf was fairly empty except for anti-witchcraft shit.  Now, our library isn't one that caters to the fundies so I'm assuming that either they're staying checked out because they're popular or they're staying checked out because people want to keep other people from reading them.  And oh, yes, Christians do that a lot.  The homeschool support group Zach and I were members of in San Diego bragged about doing things like that as well as hiding controversial books in the library where they couldn't be found, like behind bookshelves or inside partitions.  I'll look them up on the database and put them on hold but it's a bit frustrating.

I'm planning on cleansing my altar tonight and reconsecrating my athame along with some other tools that haven't been consecrated yet.  I bought some picture frames today to hang some cards that Tana had sent me.  A lovely Yule card and another one she sent a while back of a group of women who look like they're practicing a ritual in the woods.  I never dared to put them up before.  As soon as Yule is over and the ancestor wall goes into the drawer, I'll put them above the altar.  You can't find cards like that around here, even at Hallmark.  It's so depressing that nearly every card I see has some kind of Christian overtone to it.

I'm feeling optimistic in spite of knowing that my beliefs aren't respected because in the long run, it doesn't matter.  What matters is that I don't have to hide who I am and what I believe.  But still, that transparency thing. 

I need to finish up supper and then off to do my rituals.  And then...we're off to see Harry Potter on Friday!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not feeling respected

I had a bit of an awakening this weekend that brought me to the conclusion that some people, while claiming to be okay with my new path, don't actually take it seriously.  He used my athame to scrape something off his robe and laid crumbly biscuits on my altar cloth without brushing them off.  Yes, I could say something to him but I already did a while back and it made no difference whatsoever.  I'm a bit frustrated by it all and now need to re-consecrate my athame...and cleanse my altar.  He occasionally comes into my room to watch tv with me on the weekends but won't use a tv tray or even let me get him one.  It feels more like contempt for my beliefs than acceptance.

Then there is the eye-roll and the smirk when I start talking about my beliefs.  I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but there is no denying that he thinks my beliefs are silly.

Still, the tension is gone between us since I left Christianity behind so I'm going to focus on being able to live more openly, even if I must keep the details to myself.  I'm just not sure what to do about my altar.  It's a tiny house and there is no other place to put it.  Besides, it's my altar and should be respected.

I've managed some studying lately, which always gives me a lot to ponder during my day.  Although I do love the Druid path, I would rather make my study more fluid and lifelong than look to achieving a "level" and moving on to the next one.  For me it's all about growing spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.  Not about getting boxes checked off.  Plus, there are aspects of other Pagan paths that feel right to me as well and I intend to incorporate them into my practice as well. 

I was thinking today I would love to start practicing daily rituals that weren't made up on the spot.  I'd rather have more formality to my rituals.  So I'm going to start my Book of Shadows tomorrow, after picking up some loose leaf paper for a 3-ring binder I picked up.  It's one I can decorate on the outside.  I prefer it to one that is already bound because I do tear pages out frequently.

I'm also looking at some prayers to incorporate into a book I can use for meditation purposes.  There is something more organic for me to write them out by hand rather than use the computer to print them out.  Plus I love writing them out.  I've always loved to sit down with pen and paper and write.

I'm hoping this winter I'll be able to stabilize my rituals and routines so by spring I've got a schedule to follow that feels natural.

And I'm really excited about Yule this year.  I'm excited about getting to light Lugh's candle again when he's reborn on Midwinter's Day.  I keep getting hyped up for the festivals but then when they come I don't seem to do much about them, but I really do hope that this Yule, I'll be settled and comfortable with the rituals.  Comfortable enough to make them a permanent part of my life.

Off to knit and watch The Odyssey on tv.  I've been a fan of the Iliad and the Odyssey since junior high school.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I need a minder to shut me up

I'm a babbling idiot.  I ran into a friend from my old fundie church today and I just couldn't stop babbling about this and that.  And so help me, I even did the godspeak stuff, pretending I was still one of them.  I mean, it's not like they cornered me.  I saw them first and asked about their trip to Norway to see their brand-new grandson.  I think I lack social graces. In time, I'm sure I'll be more comfortable with who I am and will be able to talk without babbling.

It could be I was just lonely, too.  Tom told me once I come across as so needy that people shy away from me.

I'm getting excited about the upcoming Yule.  I've got my altar dressed for it and have my yellow (Lugh) candle ready to put in the candle holder.  I've missed my God and am looking forward to his rebirth on the Solstice.  I haven't had this kind of excitement and anticipation since...well many years ago.  It actually gives me hope that I am indeed healing emotionally and spiritually.

I've been trying to meditate again and I'm making progress.  I just get so distracted so easily and without a door or even a wall separating my bedroom from the rest of the family, it's hard to find a quiet time.  Of course, I could get up before everyone else and I did try that, but I kept falling asleep instead of meditating because I was still so sleepy.  And Zach stays up till around 3 a.m. so I can't wait until everyone goes to sleep.  Inevitably when I'm trying to meditate, the phone rings or someone comes to the door or something like that happens.

I am trying to be nicer to myself and accept my limitations instead of fighting them.  It does relieve a lot of stress.  I'm using the energy I normally spent on beating myself up to actually work on studying and on my crafts.  Hopefully I'm getting better at it in spite of the inevitable relapses.

Off to watch some documentaries and knit on some wool I spun a couple of years ago.  I'm sleeping in tomorrow.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I wrote Sad as the title for my mundane blog but this one will be Angry because, well, I am.

When we left our fundie church several years ago, Zach had been treated very badly by the sponsors of the youth group, given platitudes and having impossible standards set for him to live by instead of trying to make him feel better about himself or trying to work through what those problems were.  His Tourette's and OCD were treated like character flaws instead of real medical and neurological conditions, his need for medicine was called a crutch and he was disciplined harshly for responding in pain to a punch in the shoulder.  He never dared discuss his fear of being gay because he had heard many a sermon about the evil gays out to take over the world.  That remained locked in his heart until he felt free from them.

Yesterday another boy from that same youth group, who Zach knew and had worked with at church, killed himself.  He received the same platitudes, laying of hands and being prayed for that Zach and any other troubled youngster got instead of the help he needed.  Therapy.  Or maybe unconditional love.  I don't fault his parents; they did the best they could.  I fault the leadership of the church and the entire mindset that if you're troubled, it's your behavior that needs to change, you need to get right with God and you need to give yourself up to a deity who seems to have favorites that you're probably not one of.

I've been reading the inane babbling that comes from not knowing what to say but hoping that what you say provides comfort to the ones left behind to sort it all out.  They keep saying that Jon is in God's loving arms right now but according to their own belief system, Jon probably wasn't saved (based on his reckless behavior) so, according to their own rules, he's probably being tortured for all eternity now.

Ah, but that wouldn't comfort the living so they relax the rules and talk about how much God loved Jon.  Apparently not enough since the idiots he put in charge of Jon's spiritual growth could only fuck him up the way they fucked up my son. The youth ministers that both he and Zach were under were very fond of themselves and enjoyed the attention they got from the gullible and naive youth who put them up on pedestals.  They performed on stage every Wednesday night and any other time they got together, complete with tears, whispered anguish and the sad, emotional song designed to manipulate the vulnerable children into salvation.  Every fucking sermon was about how sinful they were.  Every fucking sermon was designed to make them feel bad about themselves.  I know because I was down there for many of them.  And Zach would tell me about them later on.

So they tell the family that Jon is in God's arms right now and that Jesus is personally comforting him, that God is keeping them in his loving arms and comforting them, that Jesus is comforting them personally.  They tell the family that Satan had attacked their son and will eventually blame the liberals for Jon's death. Because they are the ones who are throwing God out of the country. They're throwing out all kinds of Bible verses about sorrow and comfort in hopes that it might be true. And they're remembering that he was such a happy guy.  Me?  I remember him as both.  A wildly fun and comic guy who was deeply troubled beneath the surface.

I have no idea why Jon killed himself but I do know that it was a fear of mine that Zach might be contemplating it and the major reason we got the hell out of that church.  Had he really been contemplating it (apparently he wasn't, but I didn't want to take any chances) their responses to him would have been to blame it on Satan and his minions and lay hands on him while praying for deliverance.

I had a bit of a weep last night for Jon and the sadness of his leaving this life too soon.  I lit a candle and asked the Goddess to look out for him and guide him to the ancestors who would lead him to the Summerlands where he could finally find the peace he couldn't manage to locate here.  I'll continue to light a candle for him every night until Yule, alongside the candles I've been lighting every night as a vigil to the ancestors.

Just when I was trying to quell my anger and disgust for Christianity in hopes of learning to enjoy the mythology behind it.  I'm so pissed right now I don't think that will happen this season at all.  But I'm lighting a candle for Jon and being thankful he's out from under that awful burden of perfection and fear-mongering, although there were better ways to leave it behind.

I won't go to the funeral.  I haven't seen Jon or his family in several years although I'm "friends" with his mother on facebook but we never talk there.  I'm sure she's seen my many political statements and has seen that I'm no longer a Christian.  But this isn't about me.  This is about Jon and whatever brings them comfort.

Still, I can, in the privacy of my own home, express my disdain for a system that seems to consistently foment suicide in its youth.  I will thank the God/desses for enabling us to leave that system behind before my son was another statistic.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Studying, birds and a link to a giveaway

I got some studying done today.  I may even have retained a bit of what I read.  Time will tell on that, though.  Still, it's progress for me.  I'm still refining the path I am walking, discovering what sign posts are for me and which ones are for someone else.  Druidry is still very much a part of it, but I am rediscovering my first love, the Greek/Roman pantheon.  Maybe not so much from the aspect of worship, although Hestia and Hecate appeal to me in many ways, because I still feel very much drawn to the Celtic world and pantheon.

My bird feeders will most likely be empty by nightfall.  And I just refilled them this morning with fingers numb from the cold.  We finally have a dusting of snow on the ground so I'm getting double the number of birds I normally get.  I set out one ear of field corn, which I had planned to do after the first real snow.  So far no takers but they will probably sneak over tonight.  I've seen a male cardinal hanging around off and on today.  He looks so lovely with his bright red plumage against the partly snowy hill behind the feeders.  A touch of color on an an otherwise drab day.  But I do love these drab days.

I'm not going anywhere today.  Just too cold and I'm too behind on other things. So today will be a crafting day, a decorating my Winter Solstice altar and some housekeeping stuff as well.  Not to mention bill paying.

Nellie, whose blog I read regularly, is having a giveaway of some really lovely wood-carved items.  She is so talented!  So if you get a chance, go to A Bit of Gardening Spirit and enter.

Off to get busy so my fingers will warm up a bit.  I haven't turned up the heat much since Zach is still in bed.  Poor guy has that flu Tom and I had so I'm letting him sleep in.