Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Those uncomfortable moments

I knew we would run into people we knew from time to time and we have, but for the most part they have been very generic conversations albeit filled with christianese.  I saw a woman I used to work with in my fundie church but with little maneuvering, we got off the subject of God and onto the subject of her family, which is what she really wanted to talk about anyway.  Occasionally we run into our former pastor and have had to wax eloquently about our liturgical church (which was fairly easy to do when we were still attending, not so much now) and then there is the occasional "Hi, how are ya, nice to see ya, we'll talk later" conversations, which are the ones I love.

Now we've lost one of our favorite haunts because they've hired a kid from our fundie church.  The first time we went in, it was just to grab something for supper and take it home, only to discover this kid at the cash register who asked Zach if he used to go to CLF.  We looked at each other in puzzlement but then he told us who he was and...well, time certainly had passed since he was in middle school when we left there.  Now he's a senior.  His dad was one of the most obnoxious, bossiest and most heavy-handed men in that congregation.  He was one of the leaders of Zach's Royal Rangers group (sort of like a pentecostal Boy Scouts troop).  I never could get it through his head about Zach's Tourette's or his OCD and he made him eat beans (which makes Zach throw up) and then promised to punish him if he did throw up.  This on a weekend outing.  He thought I was "coddling" Zach and because my husband didn't attend with us, designated himself Zach's father figure at church.

Whew.  I need to let the keyboard cool off a bit.  It's getting inflamed.

Anyway, last night Zach and I went out to grab a bite because weekends are a bit stressful for us in spite of improved conditions at home.  Improved doesn't always mean better.  It just means better than.   I digress.  We went to Wendy's because we love the ambiance with carpeting that softens the sounds and nice booths and usually not terribly crowded.  Except Caleb was there and full of questions for Zach about why he left the youth group and why we weren't at church anymore.  He came out to the dining room to clean tables and talked to us while he did so.  Zach was terribly uncomfortable and gave him some christianese answers because he didn't want to, as he put it, profane his beliefs with someone who was going to try to trash them. Caleb bought them and kept on about how God was going to use us where we were and how wonderful we were to listen to God (we told him God led us out of that church which at the time we really believed...now we believe it was the Goddess and that she was telling us to get the hell out of that bondage...right now!)  He's going to bible college to be a youth pastor so he can fuck up the minds of vulnerable young kids at a time in the future.  Probably just like his dad.

Anyway, I lied, too.  Because I don't happen to believe that lying is wrong all the time.  Sometimes it's a blessing.  It's when you lie about someone and damage their reputation that it's terribly, terribly wrong.  But we won't go into that right now.  The keyboard is hot enough right now.

I lied because it was none of his business, because it was private and because I wanted to just sit and enjoy my meal.  Not that I got to enjoy my meal.  I didn't want to say anything to the manager, who Zach and I both know from having patronized the place for several years, because I don't work that way.  I didn't want him to lose his job because of me.  I doubt he will talk that way to strangers, but he felt he knew us and recognized us as fellow Christians.  We did nothing to disabuse him of that notion for the above reasons and also because it wasn't the place.

So we're going to avoid our favorite haunt during the hours he might be working (he'll be in school during the day and in church on Sunday mornings, maybe youth group on Wednesday).  Are we cowards?  You betcha.  It's not fear of what he might think.  It's just that neither one of us wants to pretend anymore but also don't want to have to explain ourselves either.  There are several at that church who do know the truth because they've friended me on facebook and I'm "out" there.  Sort of.  It's in my profile anyway.  I don't talk about it but I do hint at it.

It's just as well, though, because we need to stop eating out anyway.  Money and calories being the two biggest reasons why.

I know that it's a small world and that I'll continue to have encounters with people I used to know.  Oddly, I dread meeting with people from our Episcopal church more than with the fundie one because it's so recent.  I just don't intend to explain anything to them because, even though they're good people, this is none of their business and it's one of the things about Christianity that used to bug me so much:  the assumption that we're all responsible for each other.  Which really reads as I'm responsible for making sure you stay as faithful and true as I am but you keep the hell out of my business.  Also, I need to know what you're doing so I can advise you on how to remain as Christian as I am.

Yep...still bitter.  Not going away any time soon.

But this has hit home that while I am on a solitary path right now, I do need community that isn't religious in nature.  I haven't know anything like that for over 22 years, since I was in the Navy.  Ever since then, my whole life has revolved around church.  I haven't had a single friend who wasn't connected to the church I was going to at the time and when we left that church, the friendships died, too.  I honestly don't know how to make friends outside of church anymore.  What organizations to join?  We tried 4-H when I was homeschooling Zach because the homeschool group was so elitist and the kids shunned Zach (he came from California and had long hair) but everything we tried that we secular was as cold and elitist as the church groups were.

Small towns.  I love them but you have to live here for 400 years before they accept you.  Especially if you're in the middle of a minor bible belt.

Once I get the car situation settled again (we have to have two cars to make sure we have one running all the time) I'm thinking of maybe volunteering somewhere, like the humane society or the library.  I'd prefer the one in the next town but I don't know if you can go outside your municipality to volunteer and I hate the library in our town.  Won't use it.

I'll figure something out as long as it doesn't cost us extra money.  We don't happen to have any of that.

Well, enough ranting.  Time to fix supper and finish up my work so I can read or knit.  I need incense and lit candles tonight with some peace from the corners.  That will fix me up.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wishing I could have a whole new vocabulary

I'm getting closer to liberating myself from my online life.  I deleted two message boards and several blogs that were anti-fundie.  And I didn't go online until lunch time because I tackled my bedroom, cleaning, dusting and stuff like that.  My room now feels more like I want it to feel for meditation and reflection.  There are still words I shy away from, like pray and worship.  Too many Christian connotations for me.  I don't feel like what I do with the God/desses is worship because of what I visualize worship to be.  Within Christianity, and depending on whether it's evangelical/fundamentalist or liturgical, worship was either singing inane songs over and over again while wrapped up in ecstasy or the Eucharist.  I still feel rather fondly toward the Eucharist because of its ancient and Pagan overtones, but I still want to distance myself from all things Xian so I try to find new words to use.

I feel like what I do is commune with the God/desses.  I talk to them.  Sometimes I listen for them or to them.  Often I look for them in Nature to see what they've got for me or what lessons I need to learn.  Any altar time I spend is often a reflection of life, Nature and how wonderful it all fits together.  I love the rituals for their own sake, not because of anything they can "do" for me.  When I do "pray" it's from a selection of Pagan prayers I've been collecting and putting into a notebook.  I don't have a name for it yet because the term "prayer journal" still fills me with revulsion right now.  I do hope I'm getting over the pain and anger and disgust, but I'm not rushing it. 

I know what I do really is prayer of sorts except prayer in Christianity was pretty much one-sided for me.  I never got the answers everyone else did.  It was like praying to the ceiling.  For over 50 years.  I feel a great connection with the Divine now no matter what form I use.  I just wish there were a different name for it.

I am still plodding along getting ready for the Autumnal Equinox (and Samhain, of course.)  I'm so excited about Samhain.  I've got some photographs of my grandparents and my great-great grandmother (who was a cousin to Robert E. Lee) ready to set out.  I plan on calling on my more ancient ancestors both Native American and Celtic/Saxon.  On  one hand I feel a bit awkward calling on my grandparents who were Christians but I am keen to see if I can get to know the ancestors who are hidden from my direct knowledge. 

But one holiday at a time.  I must find my crochet hooks and get busy on the altar cloth for the Autumn holidays.  Now I'm off to finish up the dishes and cook supper and then to bed for knitting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Starting a brand new week.

As I crawled into bed last night it hit me that I don't have to get up and go to church anymore.  Sometimes I take that for granted.  After over 50 years (mostly) of getting up every Sunday morning to go to church in spite of little sleep and no matter what the weather, I plan on reminding myself every Saturday night that I am free and don't have to do it ever again.

However, I do need to keep myself spiritually healthy.  And physically healthy.  And what the heck, emotionally healthy as well.  I think it's time to move on past the pain and bitterness and just get with it.  One of the things I need to do is stop reading message boards that raise my blood pressure and remind me why I left Christianity.  I don't need a reminder in truth because I still have family who are Christians and they are reminder enough.

Now I need to focus on me and letting myself grow and soar and thrive.  I've started on the books Tana gave me, in particular the Herb book by Scott Cunningham and the book about Druids by Philip Carr-Gomm.  Then I have some spiritual exercises I should be working on in addition to refining some daily spiritual practices that I've found helpful.  I just need to get past the lethargy.  I get complacent and just let the world pass me by instead of participating more.  This past weekend I've accomplished more than I usually do with housework and the garden.  That has really rejuvenated me and given me a spark that I can use to ignite a bigger fire in me.  Of course, the fact that my favorite times of the year are coming up helps a lot.  I don't thrive in heat.  I'm a cool/cold weather gal.

But tonight I plan on crawling into bed and watching Inspector Lewis and knitting because I've been looking forward to it all week.  I just haven't knitted enough to satisfy my passion this week so I intend to indulge myself tonight.  I got some orange yarn today to crochet myself an altar cloth for the Autumn holidays but I can't find my crochet hooks.  If I can't find them this week I'll find a knitted pattern instead.  But it will take longer.

I love Mondays because that's what starts my week, not Sundays.  It's a brand new week all for me to make something of.  And with September coming in this week, it makes it even better.  I endured Summer, now Autumn is my reward.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday ramblings

Miss Piggy is squashed between the porch light and the house.  By choice.


She/he/it was there last night when I last let Professor out.  I'm not sure why she chose a sleepover but there she is. 

We had another visitor yesterday when I got home from the stores.

It was curled up on the porch when I let Professor out this morning but gone when I let him in.  I suspect foul play.

I'm getting there.  And by there I mean getting more things done around the house.  Being more frugal and more environmentally responsible.   Sometimes they are the same thing.  I don't really like the term green because it doesn't really describe what I think of as taking care of Nature the way She takes care of us.  It isn't about spending thousands of dollars to buy equipment that plain old sweat and exertion will do. 

My husband was puttering around in the kitchen over his vacation and asked me why we didn't have a mixer.  I said we had wisks and a hand mixer. No, he wanted an electric mixer.  In the first place, I don't have a place to put one and in the second place why would I want one when I have gone twenty years almost without one and done just fine.  If you've got one and use it a lot, that's great.  But buying one just to have on hand in case you cook something that might need a mixer, isn't so fine.

I feel better when I'm in my Earth Mother mode, which is where I am now.  I spent the morning hanging clothes on the line, including the ones from the dryer that didn't dry.  I suspect lint in places I can't get to but I'm not up to taking it apart to find out.  I'll use it for a few minutes to remove the lint and then out onto the clothesline for the rest of the drying.  This winter, I hope to use the clothesline as much as I can but I have wooden racks for when I can't. 

Most of this is as much about needing to save money as it is saving Nature. 

I've been looking through doily patterns because I'd like to pick up my crochet hooks again and I'd like an orange altar cloth for Samhain.  I don't know why; I just want one that color.

I harvested my sunflowers today a bit early but I don't want the birds eating them just yet so they're in the kitchen window catching the morning sun.  They're the black sunflowers, not the striped ones.  I apparently got the wrong seeds.  But it's okay, they'll eat them.  I'm enjoying my garden this year, even if it was miniscule.  Before I planted gardens out of necessity and didn't enjoy it but this year, I'm feeling a connection to my plants. 

I'm recycling my dishwater into the garden by means of  dishpans and a bucket that sits beside the refrigerator.  I've got the boys on board and they're doing their part.  We're in a dry spell right now so it's necessary to water the garden almost daily.  And with our water bill gone up by 50% I'm doing all I can to save on water.  Plus I think we've been in drought conditions since we moved here 13(?) years ago. 

I'm also trying to buy more basic ingredients and cook and back from scratch both for savings and for packaging.  I can use the space in the garbage bin for clearing out the garage and the basement (aside from what we can freecycle and give to the thrift store.)  Plus I can use the storage space.  We have a wood burning stove out in the garage that isn't hooked up to a flu yet but whenever one of the vehicles goes down in the winter we have to survive on one, which uses up a lot of extra gas, because there is no heat in the garage and it's too cold to work on them in the driveway.  My goal is to clean it out so we can get one of the vehicles in there and work on it if we have to.  I have lots of branches at the back of the property that we could burn if we have to.

Otherwise I plan on burning it in my Weber grill/homemade fire pit this winter when I'm out in my faery garden doing rituals.  It's cold in Wisconsin in the winter.

Even though there is still a lot of stress in my life, I'm finding my spiritual life peaceful and fulfilling.  I didn't have that before so this helps me handle the stress better.  There are trade-offs, of course.  My only social life was at church and even though I didn't have contact with anyone outside of church, it was something I had to look forward to, somwhere to go to get dressed up a bit (although I'm not a dressy person) and I knew there were people there in times of need.  I don't have that now.  I never dress up anymore and don't go anywhere to socialize.  I worry sometimes that an emergency might crop up and I would have no one to help me.  But I'm not going to buy trouble where there is none for sale.  Yet, anyway.  I'll cross that proverbial bridge at a later day.

But now I am going to take my fluffy dry clothes off the line and put them away so I can shred zucchini while watching a dvd with Zach.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finally a complete break with the past

When we left Christianity, we left our old, liberal, Episcopal church with very few feelings of disagreement.  One of the reasons it was so hard to leave...and took so long to let myself do it...was because of the people there and the fact that they had been so good to us.  That is why it's a bit of a kick in the teeth to read the newsletter and see how they trashed Zach at the Vestry meeting.

Months ago (maybe 4? 5?) we each sent in our letters of resignation for our various ministries. Mine was the Altar Guild and Zach's was the Vestry.  He also told Mary several times that he was resigning.  He had tried to resign last fall but she guilted him into staying.

So we got the newsletter today and the Vestry meeting stated that Zach only gave a verbal resignation and since he had missed so many meetings they had no choice but to "accept his verbal resignation" and put out word for someone to replace him.  I'm a bit cheesed as he told Mary several times that he was still getting notices of meetings.  This months after he sent her his written resignation, which she said she got.

The church was never perfect and we didn't expect it to be but one of the wonderful things about it was no one ever stabbed anyone in the back before.  Until now.  We did tend to overlook problems within the church, such as the congregation never seeming to want to do anything to bring anyone new in.  Except complain about it. 

On the other hand, this does confirm for me that we made the right choice in leaving.  A few people did reach out to us but we were loathe to respond because we didn't want to have to explain.  But it did seem that the efforts were half-hearted except on the part of the priest, but since she didn't exactly tell the Vestry the truth about Zach's resignation, I'm not feeling as charitable.  He, on the other hand, is a bit meh about it all.  He always knew leaving was the right choice for him and stayed as long as he did for me.  He wanted to leave a year ago.

I don't want to turn this into a rant against the church.  For the most part we had pleasant experiences there and it's not their fault we both lost the ability to believe in the tenets of Christianity.  They were nothing but nice to us, if a bit distant.  But this incident does end any regrets I might have had about leaving.  I haven't been thinking about going back but occasionally I did wonder if we made the right move.  I now know we did.

Miss Piggy didn't come to visit last night and we haven't seen Kermit and Bitty in several days.  I don't know if the cool nights have given them the instinct to move on or if they have served their purpose and it's time for us to learn the lessons and move on.  I do miss them though.

I've been reading Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley and I really like it so far. But other than that no reading so I need to get busy on that.  And my energy was way low today especially in light of only getting about 4 hours of sleep the past two nights thanks to Professor insisting on me getting up early.  He just won't take no for an answer and uses his indoor bark to get me up to let him out.  I'm hoping to get to sleep earlier tonight because I have much to do in the way of studying and arts and crafts and Druidry.

I found some patterns to crochet and knit for decorations for the Autumn Equinox and since I already have some of the yarn colors needed, I should get busy on them.  I could finally finish a project since I don't think I've done that all summer.

Off to eat homemade potato-leek soup and brussel sprouts and home-grown tomatoes.  Next year, the garden will be magnificent.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Damn you, Full Moon!

It must be a holdover but I am tearing into the house, organizing the pantry, rearranging stuff, mopping floors, vacuuming.  I need to do this over time, not one day a month. 

I'm not organized enough to schedule stuff better yet, but I am getting there.  I gave myself a week to get it all together and then I'm going to schedule my "job" of learning Druidry, art, writing, and other crafts.  It's going to be hard enough to get me to treat it like a job but getting everyone else to do it...might take a bit more time and effort.

I haven't even fixed supper yet and it's already 8:30.  I should probably get that going, too.

Miss Piggy left once I turned the light on last night and hasn't shown up yet tonight.  I haven't heard the toads during the day for about a week so they may have moved on.  It was sure nice of them to visit though.  I'll look for them next summer maybe.

Off to get stuff done and then collapse into bed.  On nights like this, when I'm energized like the bunny, I rarely sleep well or at all.  I'll take in stride and get back to my routine soon enough.

You would not believe the size of these dust elephants.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Toad sleepover

We had a sleepover today.  Miss Piggy stayed on the street numbers all day snoozing.  Didn't even budge when the mailman postal worker brought our mail.  Initially I thought she was dead so I got right in her face and saw her throat pulsating. Then she opened her eyes a slit and glared at me only to close them and go back to sleep.  I can't help wonder how she and Kermit can be so trusting of us.  They don't shy away, don't seem to mind the flash on the camera too much although they're not fond of it and will just stay there all day.  Fortunately it was a cloudy and cool day.  Otherwise she would have been in the sun for a few hours in the evening.

I get my routine back tomorrow and I'm so happy.  I'm planning on setting aside at least 2 hours a day for study, writing and art...as if it were my job.  I'll allow no interruptions, including phone calls, and will devote myself to improving my skills and my mind.  Not to mention helping my spirituality to blossom.

Then I'll set aside time for outdoor work in addition to indoor stuff.  I desperately need a schedule or I'm not going to get things done.  Nothing carved in stone, mind, but like the Pirate's Code...just sort of a guideline.  And definitely less time online.

I intend to start studying all those lovely books Tana gave me, especially the Crystal Bible and Scott Cunningham's book on herbs.  I plan on setting up an indoor herb garden this week since it's too late to start an outdoor one right now.  I plan on looking up echinacea since I have some to plant and see if I can plant those in the fall for next summer.  I'm going to turn my southern hillside into a flower/herb garden with a path for Tom and the Professor to race up at night so they don't trample my plants.

I'd also like to start cooking more from scratch as much for health as for the environment.  We got rid of a lot this weekend but there is so much more to get rid of and the thought of filling the landfill with even more stuff bothers me so the less packaging, the better.  Plus it will help us all to eat simpler, more healthful foods.  The whole mind/body/spirit connection really is important, I think.

I've been gradually adding things to my...well, Book of Spiritual Stuff...or BOSS.  I'm not comfortable with the term Book of Shadows because it doesn't really express what it's for and since I don't need fancy titles for things, BOSS is good for me.  I also have been adding prayers to another notebook I have but I don't want to call it a prayer book as that has too many Christian connotations for me.  I'll figure out what to call it some other time. 

The past weekend I've done nothing with my altar or ritualistically.  I'm not comfortable doing those with Tom around.  Maybe some day but not just yet.  I haven't got that level of trust going on there at this time.

Well, time to go watch some more LOTR documentaries and knit on the Tree of Life afghan.  I finished the body of my crane bag and am knitting the drawstring.  I'll do the shoulder strap tomorrow.  I made it pretty deep so I can carry long things in it, like a wand or something along those lines.  Zach is going to help me find a staff this week so I can consecrate it before Autumn Equinox.  I also want to make a corn Goddess for my altar and find some natural elements to use on it as well.

Oddly, I'm still sleeping well.  I haven't had a run like this since I was on anti-depressants over 8 years ago.  Makes me wonder what's going on but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Never prepared

Full moon tonight.  I think.  The calendar says it's tomorrow night but my widget says it's 99% full and since last night it was up not too long after sunset, I'm thinking tonight is the full moon.  And I am totally unprepared.  I decided at the last minute to let Tom take the table to the landfill instead of painting it since it's huge and would be hard to mow around or move when we need to mow.  I mean...it's a dining room table after all.  I have a portable kitchen island I'm going to use instead because it's smaller, the right height, and...well...portable.  I can keep it under the back overhang and just wheel it out to the garden when I need it.  I do need to paint it though.  And as for having symbols and such on it, I'll make an altar cloth with the symbols on that so I can bring it in when not in use.

I had put my crystals and rune out last night, thinking it was the full moon and they do feel pretty good so I'm not setting them out again tonight.  I do hope to be prepared for next month though.  Especially for Autumn Equinox (the day after my birthday!) 

I had intended to start tearing the house apart tomorrow, cleaning and de-cluttering but Tom has one more day of vacation so I'm going to use it for study instead.  And drawing.  And maybe some laundry.  I'm competing with the tobacco for the clothesline though.  I was going to start using the dryer but it's taking forever to dry loads so I'm planning on using it to de-lint the clothes...just five minutes or so...then off to the clothesline.  And I need to wash a load of light colored clothes very soon.

I discovered a brass-like headboard (not real, of course) out in the garage (I put it there but forgot about it) and I'm going to use it as a lattice for my morning glories for my faerie garden.  First I have to clear all the Kathy-high weeds first.  Yes, some of them are that tall.  I also have two dining room chairs I'm going to paint with barn paint for holding my potted herbs...they can then use the back of the chair as a lattice and twine around the bars.  Those herbs or flowers that will do that kind of thing.  The rest will rest on the ground and I can move them into a circle when I need a grove.  I already have two trees there.

It's hard for me to accomplish things when Tom is home.  We have a tiny house and little personal privacy so anytime someone wants to be alone, it's just not going to happen.  Especially me, since my room is the curtained off former living room.  Even though Tom is okay with us being Pagan, I'm still not comfortable sharing too much with him as I've seen a smirk or two when I first tried to.  Plus, the rituals are very personal for me so I tend to do things when he's gone.

Cleaning almost never happens when he's home, too for the same reason.  Tiny house.  I keep up with the dishes and meals but no cleaning.  I managed to get some yard work done today but I do that before anyone wakes up.  I like that time of day when I'm the only one awake.   Now if I could just wake up before the neighborhood does so I've got the yard to myself.

I'm working on the Tree of Life afghan and the crane bag but I want to work on something else.  Now that I've decided to make an altar cloth for my outdoor table, I've got to find a pattern or design one based on other patterns out there. There is a designer I've been in contact with who is designing a blanket based on different Pagan symbols but she won't be done with it for a while and it will be a blanket and I need something smaller.  I pm'd her about the Awen and she's planning on including it but I need one soon so I'm going to try to graph one myself.  If I can find my knitting graph paper.    I want that in the center of my cloth.

Well, supper is done so I'm going to eat and then off to bed for tv and knitting. And maybe some reading, I hope.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

After the storm

Not so muggy today but apparently the mosquitoes view yesterday's storm as an opportunity to party.  I didn't go to the mounds this morning because I ate too much sugar today in the form of cheese cake (aka my drug of choice) and ended up crashing in bed for an hour.  But Tom said the mosquitoes were really bad (close proximity to the marsh, too) so I will attend the mounds on another day...maybe closer to Autumn.  One of the reasons I really dislike summer is that we can't enjoy the outdoors because of the herds of mosquitoes.  Or is that swarms?  I could use DEET but Zach can't as it is almost a come on to the critters when he wears it.

Also another reason we haven't been doing any outdoor rituals.  I have some tiki torches and need to get them up and running and a pot with a candle of mosquito repellent in it.  Haven't risked it yet though.  Full moon is coming soon and I'd like to paint my table and get my outdoor altar area set up, especially for the upcoming Alban Elfed and Samhain (anyone see Supernatural a couple of years ago when they had a demon called Sam Hane, although it was supposed to be Samhain.  Makes me wonder if they do any research at all on that show.  Although it's one of my guilty pleasures because I'm a huge Jim Beaver fan.)

I digress.   *ahem*

There is a definite need to order my life better.  Not only am I not getting things done I want to do, I'm a bad influence on Zach.  Even though he's an adult now, it's not too late to give him a role model, which I wish I could do better at.  But mostly for my own peace of mind.  Chaos isn't working for me at all. 

I'm pretty achy today from the fibromyalgia.  I'm assuming the storm affected me although I don't know why storms, changes in weather, air pressure, etc, affects the joints and muscles like that.  But it does.  So I'm taking pain pills early today.  I do tend to ration my pain pills.

Supper is ready so I'm off to take care of that and then early to bed again  I hope Kermit and friends return.  I've gotten used to them and am even a little fond of them.

Candlelight isn't that romantic when it's all you have

We had a major power outage tonight...over 2100 households without power.  I had a lot of trouble with envy, though, because all the houses in the neighborhood except for the 4 houses on our side of the street got their power back almost immediately.  We just got ours back after about 7 hours. 

I tried using kerosene lamps but got a headache even with all the windows open so I went with candles.  I didn't use my altar candles though.  I had some old candles that I didn't like and my tea candles.  Those last a long time but don't give off a lot of light.  Couldn't read because of too little light and it was so hot and muggy that Zach and I just played some Nintendo DS games.

Kermit was here earlier but without the porch light, no bugs were available to him so he left.  All three of them were here last night.  We heard them croaking nearby today so they don't go far during the day.

Tom and discovered some Mounds today that we will go back and explore tomorrow or Sunday.  I hadn't realized that was what that particular park was so I'm a bit excited to go back there.  We don't have to travel all the way past Madison to see Mounds now.  I do want to go to Ledge Park this weekend, too, because it's a geological wonder, I've read.  But I don't want to go on Sunday because our former fundie church is having their picnic that day and I don't want to run into anyone from there.

I plan on taking the camera and a bag for things I might find along the way to enhance my altar.  It really is too neat, too...pristine. I need it to be more rustic, more natural. 

Well, I'm wearing down.  The heat really took a lot out of me today.  It was in the 90s with the heat index and with no fans (we don't have air conditioning anyway) it was not a lot of fun.  Although I didn't mind not cooking.

Hoping tomorrow I'll be able to sleep in and Professor won't wake me up to play ball at 7 a.m. again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loving what I do

The whole family is back:  Miss Piggy, Kermit and Bitty.  The bigger two sit on the street numbers while Bitty sits on the mailbox.  I suspect enough bugs come her way that she doesn't need to hop up where the bigger ones are.  She's still pretty skittish but doesn't run away as much anymore.

I slept most of yesterday and all night last night.  I must have needed it although I'm not perky today by any means.  I'm also not spending any time outdoors which I need to rectify.  Especially where yard work and gardening are concerned.  I plan on taking some walks this weekend.  I need to start walking Professor because he's gotten so chubby that his legs are a bit wobbly under him.  He doesn't overeat especially, but he's not very active just being in the house.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I don't plan on going anywhere except the library to get some drawing books that came in.  My biggest problem with drawing right now is finding something to draw.  There is nothing in the house that I want to draw.  I need to take the camera with me outside and take some pictures of things I'd like to draw but I don't have the right kind of paper to print pictures out on and if I print them on regular paper, they'll look really flat and fuzzy.

Well, I'm off to knit and watch some Midsomer Murders.  My stranding techniques are improving so I'm sticking with the blanket I'm planning.  Knitting is a very spiritual activity for me in many ways.  I feel like I'm not only creating something, I'm connecting with the ancestors in a special way.  It was something my female ancestors (and maybe some male ones) probably did.  I sometimes think that's why I'm so satisfied to be home and not out in the work force, because of that feeling of connection.  I love doing tasks I think my ancestors might have done, working on a level that is both environmental but also thrifty.  I need to get better at it though.  There is always room for improvement, but I really like being a homemaker.  I wonder if in addition to being called to Druidry, I'm also a hedge witch?  I've been pondering that lately.

I love the idea of cooking from scratch but I need to focus on it more.  I love the idea of eating simple, healthy meals, but I just need to be more vigilant about it and not give in to that convenience mind-set.  I love the nice homey tasks, like sewing, knitting, spinning (not so good at that yet) and making things out of other things that might be thrown out otherwise.  I just need to be more ambitious about it and get my butt in gear.

But tonight I'm going to focus on Midsomer Murders so I can get them back to the library so someone else can enjoy them, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleeping around the clock

I have no idea what happened but I ended up sleeping all day.  I woke up at quarter to 3 and of course I'm all dragged out.  I crashed about 3 a.m. but Professor woke me up at 7 wanting to go out.  I let him out and waited until he was done then went back to bed where I remembered that today was pay the bills day so I couldn't get back to sleep. 

I ended up getting out of bed, making a pot of decaf in my mini-pot and went online to read the paper and pay bills while I waited.  After my requisite two cups I had the bills paid, any news worth reading read and just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer so I went back to lie down for just a few.

I woke up hours later.

And when I went out to check the mail, I found Kermit in the mailbox, snoozing.  He didn't show up last night at all.  Bitty was there, scared of her own shadow, but no Kermit.  But a perusal of the internet now tells me that Kermit isn't a frog, but a toad.  I'm not sure what difference that makes spiritually and maybe I'll look it up later but today I'm still groggy and just a tad indifferent to everything.  Or maybe I'm just apathetic.  It happens when I'm tired like this.

So today seems like such a waste of a day and not one in which I'll get anything done, most likely.  Maybe some drawing after while and some knitting but no cleaning or yard work or anything of that nature.  I have no idea what got into me as I rarely sleep during the day.  In fact, I could crawl back into bed; I'm that tired.

I think I will go back to bed, after all.  Maybe I should listen to my body for once.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Loving all of this

I spent the morning studying which really helped start my day better.  There is no method to my madness but I pick up whatever seems to speak to me.  Today I finished up the Druidess book and will start the Philip Carr-Gomm book tomorrow.  Plus I intend to start studying the herb book by Scott Cunningham...both gifts from Tana.  Today in the mail I got a copy of a homesteading magazine I subscribe to and there are three articles about herbs and fruit trees/bushes...all of which I have in the yard so there is much gardening to learn as well.  I plan on taking the hill beside my faery garden and turn it into an herb/flower garden with a path up the hill for Tom and Professor to go up as that is their favorite route at night.

I'm feeling pretty good about myself in spite of not being perfect today.  I quit working when I knew that my energy had run out but since I had started the day working and studying, I got a lot accomplished.  Well, by my standards anyway.  I think this will be the game plan from now on.  No going online until afternoon.  That way I can use the time of the day when I have the most energy to get things done.

I didn't sleep well last night.  Pain woke me up and I didn't get back to sleep until 5 a.m. and Professor expected me to get up at 7.  I let him out for a wee but went back to bed.  He was okay with that until 8 so I let him out again but all he wanted to do was lie on the porch and survey his kingdom.  So I made him come back in and he lasted until 10 when he gave me a face wash, which I knew meant there was no staying in bed after that.

I re-filled the bird feeder today and had fun watching the birds playing in the back yard and on the garage roof.  For some reason they like to skitter down to the gutter and then race back to the top, then skitter down to the gutter.  Then they fly to the back of the yard for a meal at the feeder.  I'm not sure what they are.  Maybe sparrows or starlings.  I'll have to look them up.  Who knew wild life could be so entertaining?

My altar is lacking something.  It's too pristine, too orderly.  Definitely not me.  I need some of Nature on it.  I have the sand dollar and shell from Tana but I need some earthy elements so tomorrow I plan on walking around my back yard exploring the hill and thicket to see if I can find something.  I would like to make a corn goddess and maybe a Brighid's "star."  It's normally called Brighid's cross but I really don't want Christian elements on my altar.  I have plenty of grasses on the back hill I can use for it.

Those will help ground my altar better.  Right now it feels too...ethereal or something.  Definitely too tidy.  I have wanted a representation of the Goddess for a while.  I have the triple Goddess picture from Tana hanging over it but I love statues and things I can hold and touch.  I definitely feel like I'm on the right track.

Due to finances during Tom's vacation we're not going anywhere, or at least not out of the county.  There are things we can do around here:  the county fair, Ledge Park (which is absolutely breathtaking in its natural beauty) some hiking trails around the marsh.  Plus he's going to harvest his tobacco.  I plan on keeping some back as a sacrifice for Samhain for the ancestors.  I don't know why I feel like I should do that, but I do.  I'm trying to be more instinctive.

I'm feeling a very strong connection to Lugh right now.  I've felt drawn to him since I've been drawn to Paganism, but more now than ever.  I'm sure the reason will present itself eventually but for now, I'm just walking the path beside him.

I'm off to work on knitting and watch Midsomer Murders.  I'm a huge fan of British tv.  I worked on my pencil sketching today and was pretty disappointed at how much ground I've lost and can't seem to just pick back up.  I know there are many things in my life I must keep at regularly in order to keep up my skills.  Maybe that's why Lugh is hanging around since he's the Master Craftsman at everything.

Kermit was back last night alone but hasn't shown up yet tonight.  It's cool enough that I closed my windows so it may be too cool for him.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Try

Kermit didn't show up last night. Probably because Miss Piggy took over his spot under the light and relegated him to the side where he didn't get as many bugs.  Bitty stayed on the side of the mailbox in the dark.  I just turned the porch light on so we'll see who comes by tonight.

At Tana's suggestion (duh! why didn't I think of this sooner?) I looked up frog totems and frog animal guides.  I don't think it's my totem, but I do think the frog has a message for me.  On one site the frog seems to be a sign to turn your life around, seek health and get rid of negativity.  It's also related to water, which has been on my mind lately.  I think I am earth for the most part, but I have been having dreams involving water (although last night I dreamed an original Law & Order episode, complete with Sam Waterston...and no, I don't want to dissect that one...I just want to enjoy it), running streams mostly.

I can understand the message about my health and the negativity.  I had addressed it in my altar time tonight, talking to Danu about my self-destructive tendencies and how I tend to be still angry and bitter about my former religious path.  I discovered during my candle-gazing that I can't move forward until I let that anger go.  It's a barrier to enjoying this path and all it's wonders and beauty.  I know it will be a struggle to catch myself every time I get cheesed about something but I have to start somewhere.  And I can see how my health is negatively affected by all that anger and bitterness.

It's simply time to do something about it.  I can draw on my strength and  the strength from the Gods & Goddesses but it is my responsibility to do something about it.  It's not like I was taught before, to "rest" in God and let him work through me.  That never worked and for a reason.  The responsibility is mine.  I work out the process myself or I don't learn.  I can't guarantee I will succeed this time where before I always failed, but at least I can try.  And try.  And try.  Not succeeding isn't failing if I continue to try to succeed.

I felt like purple today so I changed out my altar to a purple altar cloth (okay it's a $1 bandana but it's pretty) and a purple (lavender) candle, drawing on psychic and spiritual powers.  I used to be really in tune with these many years ago before I threw them aside thinking them evil.  I drew in the energies and slowly released them as I didn't really want that going on while I was trying to sleep tonight. I feel charged enough that I'm going to have trouble sleeping.  I didn't need that much more.  It was good to feel them again after all this time though.

I'm going to focus on knitting tonight because I've been falling asleep and not getting any done.  Plus I have 3 Eddie Izzard dvds from the library to watch (yes!)  Hopefully tomorrow I can start on my journey to health and a better focus on my mental and spiritual health as well. 

At least I can try.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two frogs and a little baby

Imagine to my surprise when I went out to take a peek at Kermit there was a bitty frog on the mailbox.  I raced back in to get the camera but he got shy and was hiding on the side of the mailbox instead.  So I took a video of who I thought was Kermit and then panned down to Bitty.  I did a double take because it occurred to me that there were two frogs up on the numbers instead of one.  One huge one we named Miss Piggy because this frog was munching on bugs like there was no tomorrow.  And Kermit who was quietly sitting there trying to be inconspicuous.

In the video you can barely see Bitty's head popping up over the mailbox because it was dark there.  And the frog on the left is Miss Piggy.  It is obviously much bigger than Kermit, the frog on the right.

So, here it is:

video

I've been busy studying today from the Druidess book I got from the library.  I got a stash of books from Tana along with some sage for smudging, some incense, a Chrysanthemum stone, a moonstone and some other crystals, gorgeous earrings made from petrified wood that will work so well with my rituals and a lapis lazuli necklace.  She made both herself. I also got a sand dollar and a shard of a shell that has the most beautiful colors.  I was going to take pictures of them today but didn't get to it so I'll try tomorrow.  I'll mention the titles when I show the pictures.

I'm feeling really settled on my path and am enjoying the learning process although I have to chide myself for the frustration at not knowing more than I do.  After all, it took me many years to be familiar with the religion I was born into.  It's not going to happen overnight.  It helps that I don't see it as a race, as I did in Christianity.  Just a lot of scenery and aspects of nature to learn about as I wander along.

It's been beautiful today with little humidity and a gorgeous breeze.  I should have worked outdoors but the library book is due back soon so I wanted to take some notes before I sent it back.  I talked to a designer on Ravelry about a blanket she's designing, made up of Pagan symbols.  I rarely buy patterns but I do want the pattern for this blanket.  But I asked her if she was going to include the Awen and she is.  She's had to put the design aside for a time to work on another assignment but will get back to it soon.  I will be patient as I don't have the time or money to work on it now.  Plus it's too hot to do blankets this time of year.  Maybe she'll have it done by Midwinter.  Hope so anyway.  It won't be a cheap pattern but since there are so many blocks of symbols involved, I don't blame her for charging per block.  It will be worth it.

In the meantime I'm working from my stash, which is plentiful and will hold me through the winter.  Although I will have to buy sock yarn because I want to make my dad some socks for Christmas.  I called them today and had a nice visit over the phone.  I think that is the best way to have our relationship.  Face to face just doesn't work out well.

Off to finish up supper and then watch last week's Inspector Lewis before this week's episode comes on.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A big hand for the little lady + Kermit returns

I'm in a very good place today.  I got a package from Tana full of things designed to make my spiritual life grow and flourish.  I'll take pictures and an inventory tomorrow because it's dark now and I'm really tired from laundry and dishes and cooking.

She helped me put my feet on the path in the first place even though she remained Christian.  I am so honored to have such a friend.

I've been organizing my room so I have places for everything.  And you should see the necklace and earrings she designed and made for me.  Breathtakingly beautiful.

Not to mention the Chrysanthemum stone.  I got tingles when I first touched it.

I'm off to bed to knit and watch LOTR  Return of the King cast commentary.

Kermit isn't there yet.  I'm not sure if he'll show up again.  He was there three nights running.  We'll see.

eta:  Kermit is back and I got a picture (the flash scared him).  So I took a video instead.


video

Friday, August 13, 2010

The frog is back

The little guy is back.  One of these days I need to get a picture of him.  He's hanging on the numbers, which of course I don't want to take a picture of.  He's fast becoming part of the family.

I think we should name him.  We do not interfere in his business but we can't keep calling him "the frog."

Any suggestions?

Frog and Eagle...they must love us

Our little brown/green frog was back again last night, having discovered that there is a veritable feast for the having and all he has to do is sit on the lid to the mailbox.  Zach and I were observing him last night when a moth flew near him and...well...it's short life because shorter.  After that we left him to it and went indoors.  He was still there munching down when Tom got home at 3 a.m. 

And today we had one of the best encounters of our lives.  I was sitting at the stoplight watching a bird off in front of me, wondering just what it was, when it veered toward us and flew right past.  A bald eagle.  I love living here!  That's the second one I've seen.

How can I not follow this path when I have so many encounters with Nature that seem to be an affirmation, an overt affirmation.  Not subtle by any stretch of the imagination.  I mean...when you have a deer standing across the street from you in your neighborhood, on your block, in your city, what are you supposed to think?

I had some books come in at the library:  Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley and Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca.  I'm not sure how much the Bonewits book will be as I'm not on the Wiccan path but I'm interested in all things Pagan so it should be interesting. 

I'm a bit off today, energy-wise and achy from the fibromyalgia.  So I plan on spending the bulk of the night on the bed, knitting or reading or drawing.  I got some books from the library on texture and colored pencils.  I'm more interested in refining my sketching and pencil drawing right now, but it doesn't hurt to read ahead on some things.

Since I'm really not feeling well, I'm going to head off to bed now.  Supper is in the oven and won't take long once the chicken is done.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More frogs and heat

Very hot again today and I got next to nothing done.  I intended to pick up my pencils and draw some, which I did.  Just enough to realize that I've lost a lot of ground in art.  It doesn't come easily to me so I get frustrated and quit...often.  I'm counting on my desire to improve my crafts (although I don't aspire to be as skilled as Lugh in all he could do) and become skilled in those arts and crafts that I do so love.  I must remind myself that it takes time and practice. 

I'm sure everyone has heard of Isaac Bonewits' death by now.  I'm so late to the game that I know little about him but it is sad for his family and for the Pagan community.  He is with the ancestors now taking his place among them. 

Had another visitor last night.  A different frog this time and he was much higher...just under the porch light, resting on the address numbers.  Higher than me, so it was over 5'3" for sure.  We leave the porch light on for Tom and for Professor's outings so we attract a lot of bugs.  I'm sure it was a smorgasboard for him.  Or her.  Still, frogs showing up like this must mean something.  One site said that frogs indicate a metamorphosis and a new direction in life.  I'll keep that in mind and continue to research it.

I've been pondering the things said in the comments from yesterday and Ellie and Debra about the four phases of the Goddess and you both make a lot of sense.  In particular it seems that the number 3 has a lot of mystical meanings in Druidry, and I believe Wicca as well.  It would be better to change the way we look at the Crone years rather than try to insert something artificial into what has worked for years.  I hadn't realized until I looked into it how much the number 3 matters in Druidry.  I might make that another blog entry though because I'm just done in by the heat and need to get to a fan with all haste.

I'm learning so much from my mentors.  Thanks so much to all the readers who comment here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Too hot to think

So hot today and yet tomorrow promises to be hotter and more humid.  sigh

I listened to two podcasts from OBOD today and am so enthralled with everything about their organization.  One podcast was the Modron (Mother) of OBOD and I was so fascinated by what she had to say about her belief that there are four phases of the Goddess instead of three.  Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman and Crone.  My brain is mush so I can't do her justice but in essence her belief was that there was a woman in between the Mother and Crone who was still young and vital and ready to go out and still have fun before the days of Crone-dom.   As someone past menopause, it did appeal to me to think of the Crone days ahead of me yet, but Wise Woman?  Not by a long shot.  I have so much to learn yet.

But today I'm worn out from the heat and having been in the hot kitchen for 2 hours today fixing a meal mostly from our garden.  I'm just not good with heat.

I hope to be more articulate tomorrow even in spite of the 100+ temps expected (with the heat index.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My newest friend

We had a visitor last night on the wrought iron railing of the front porch.  I had let Professor our for a nightly wee and there was a green tree frog on the railing.  He stayed there for a moment, turned and looked at us gawking at him in the doorway, then turned his back to us and leapt off into the darkness.  I have never seen a frog like this the whole time we've lived here.  I've seen frogs, but they were a mottled dark green and weren't quite so flat at the rear end.  This is what the little guy looked like.

Maybe I go overboard in assigning meaning to the animals, birds and insects I see but I think I'm just trying to find that happy medium with me being hyper aware of my environment and finding the Gods/Goddesses in Nature.  I've spent a lot of years self-absorbed with my "faith" and trying to be an impossibly better person to the degree that I never paid attention to what Nature was telling me.  It's a bit of a struggle to put myself on a level where I am vigilant to my environment but it's becoming a lot easier since I stopped trying so hard.

Still, when I see things like this, out of the ordinary, I tend to sit up and take notice.  The hawks had disappeared from my life for months but are now back on a near daily basis again.  Same with the crows. I need to start writing all this down and watching for patterns in the sightings and encounters.  I did have an almost fatal encounter with a chipmunk today on my way to town.  He raced across the highway and with a car on my ass, no way could I even slow down or tap the brakes.  But he was fast and made it across before I got to him.

I also need to develop more discipline in my attention to my crafts, both Pagan and mundane.  I'm wasting time that could be better spent.  One of my favorite Gods is Lugh, in part I think because of his craftsmenship and ability to do everything well.  I would love to put more effort into my talents and do them all well, instead of just settling for okay.  I know I could do better if I just applied myself.

I'm finding myself, as the days shorten imperceptively, getting ready to nestle in.  That's my favorite time of the year, Autumn, when we start battening down the hatches, insulating, putting the storm windows and plastic on and other winter preparations. 

But for now, I will endure the seemingly endless heat and humidity that leaves me drenched in sweat and flares my fibromyalgia and try to live in the now instead of always looking to the next festival or the next season.  Or the next meal as I need to get in there and get supper started.  So off I go to live in the hot kitchen of now.  I'm lusting after air conditioning these days.  Good thing I don't believe in sin anymore. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feeling a bit sad tonight

I've read that Isaac Bonewits is nearing the end.  Being so new to Paganism and Druidry, I'm not all that familiar with him except for reading about some of his accomplishments and how much good he has done for Pagans in America.

My heart goes out to his wife and loved ones.  As a Christian I would have prayed for a miracle healing or God's will.  Instead, as a Pagan,  I will light a candle sending love and energy his way to light his path to the ancestors. 

May he find the Summerlands and the peace and rest he deserves.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'll acknowledge that my opinion might not be so humble

I've been compiling information about the Wheel of the Year celebrations from a Druid perspective and ran across something that made me take a few steps back.  And, I admit, laugh.  I acknowledge that nothing we do as Druids or Pagans or Wiccans can be dated back to the times when those religions were practiced freely, but we can and do reconstruct with the best tools available and admit when we are taking on modern intrepretations or practices.

But what I ran into today really goes beyond all of that.  I'm not going to name the site, which was highly recommended to me by someone who insists that it is a far better site than OBOD.  I admit when she adamantly told me that, I thanked her without really intending to join this site because I feel the pull in the direction of OBOD, I love the materials there and I love their perspectives.  The site she mentioned, I found hard to navigate, the materials sparse and not easily read or digested because they don't feel "scholarly" in my opinion.

But this:

Celebrant:  I stand before the Sacred Grove of Minbar of the Berengaria Order of Druids and to the Guardians, Ancestors, and Spirits of this Place.   I declare my intent, I am grey, I stand between the candle and the star.  We are grey, we stand between the darkness and the light.

was just too much.  Anyone who has seen Babylon 5 will recognize the italicized portions as coming from the Minbari Grey Council...verbatim.  Now, I love Babylon 5 with a passion...enough so that I taped 5 seasons of it on VHS tapes in those days when that was all we had.  They are crummy recordings but I still watch them (and missed out on an opportunity to buy 4 of the five seasons for a really cheap price because I didn't have the money and they sold out at the store when I did.) 

But I digress.   This is just my opinion and of course, not binding on anyone else, but I think it trivializes Paganism when we borrow from fictional television shows.  The argument can be made that for some it's just a representation of the Gods/Goddesses and you can call them whatever you want.  I certainly am not saying that I think these people should be arrested or not allowed to call themselves Druid or even Pagans.  What I am saying is that I think it makes those of us who view the ancient religions as something beautiful and precious, something that has a foundation in the bones of the earth...it makes us look silly.  And it makes us look like we're making up our religion, too.

Why should I care?  I don't know.  I'm not sure that I really do care except I think it trivializes what we do and makes us look like kids playing make believe.  Or maybe it's like some kind of Sci Fi convention where people get so involved in their characters that they "become" them.  I already accept that a great many people think that because we believe in faeries and Gods and Goddesses and magick that means we're looney tunes anyway.  When you've got someone making rituals based on television shows or sci fi books, it confirms it for them.

Personally doesn't Scientology fill that bill nicely anyway?  A made up religion based on a sci fi writer's dream of making up a religion?  And making a mint from it.

Okay, I'm a bit cheesed and while I realized this isn't necessarily what that particular Druid organization teaches, as it's just a link under the various ways to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, for me it's enough to discredit them in my eyes.  I'm going with my instinct and sticking with the people who seem to be more scholarly in their research and presentation.  Someday I'll be able to afford the course, I'm sure.  Until then I"ll just read as much as I can but you can bet that particular site won't be on my list anymore.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I admit I have a problem.

On the way back from Mayville today I saw 3 egrets by the side of the road.  We live near the marsh so driving there just skims the edge of the marsh.  There is a place that looks like the Dead Marshes to me and someday I'm going to take a photo of it and paint a picture of it.  I don't go to the marsh much at all.  In fact, haven't been there in years and it's a little more than half a mile from my house...walking distance.  If I were in better shape, that is.

I've been doing some reading and some knitting but not staying offline like I should have.  Problem was I was involved in some online discussions about Prop 8 and got caught up in it.  This blog has had a series on controlling your emotions and making priorities before you can entertain the idea of letting loose the energies of magick.  She quotes Emma Restall Orr who is someone I must read someday but the library doesn't have any of her books.  And as I have tons to read already, I'll get to her later.

She doesn't mean it in the sense that someone must have perfect control of their emotions but that they shouldn't be a loose wire, not attempting to control those wild thoughts and feelings.  It really speaks to me of my online time.  How can I focus on the energies involved in magick if I can't spend one afternoon off line?

So...I will attempt it again especially as I am feeling better and need to use that minute amount of energy for positive things, like gardening, weeding, cleaning, projects, etc.  Part of my problem is that my entire social life exists only online.  And I get the urge to be with like-minded people from time to time.  I just have to limit that time and not make it my whole day.  And night.

Off to get some work done and then an evening of knitting, reading and watching the commentary of The Return of the King.  I would feel so much better about myself if I actually accomplished things instead of sitting at the computer all day.  Let's face it.  I'm addicted. 

It's something I've got to deal with for sure.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Anticipating...it's what I do

I'm the kind of person who enjoys the anticipation more than the actual event so I'm already looking forward to Alban Eluid for two reasons.  One, that means it will be Autumn and cooler, and two, it's the day after my birthday.  Two holidays instead of one.  I've always wanted to celebrate my birthday with a hobbit theme since Bilbo, Frodo and I share a birthday and this year I think I'm going to do it.  We all resemble hobbits anyway.  Especially that round belly thing.

Anyway, Alban Eluid, or the Autumnal Equinox is apparently a 3 day festival in Druidry.  I can get behind that.  It's also a water festival so I had better get cracking on my tunic/tabard thing so it's done by then.  It will be cool enough in the evenings that I'll need it by then and it's blue so that works out.  I love the whole creativity aspect of Paganism, how making things with your hands is so much a part of celebration.

Zach has said he wants to keep celebrating Christmas but without any Christian overtones to it.  Secular.  He wants to keep the Nativity set I made him when he was a baby but only for sentimental reason and we won't be putting it out this year.  To be honest I think Tom will be quite happy with a secular celebration.  He's so much happier that we're not attending church and not being obnoxious Christians.  He still claims to be one but I doubt that he believes much like they do in church since he never reads his Bible or goes to church.  He made a statement that made me wonder how much a Christian he really is because he said that he still likes the book of Proverbs.  Which made me wonder how he felt about the rest of the Bible if he singled out that book.

Anyway, I suspect he likes Jesus and that's about it.  I know he loves the documentaries on History Channel that dispute a lot of the authenticity of the Bible and the church's version of the history of Christianity.  And he's really intrigued with I Ching.  I will probably get him a book for Christmas.  This year will be less about gifts and more about Alban Arthuran  for me.  I'm really not that interested in Christmas at all, but will celebrate it with the boys.

Well, off to finish up my tasks for the day and settle in for The Two Towers commentary and knitting on Sweeping Statement and my crane bag.  Life is so good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Feels like home

I started out my morning with study and reading instead of the computer and feel much better about the day because I was so productive.  But I am discovering that the more I learn about Druidry, nature and the Gods/Goddesses, the less I want to talk about it all.  It feels very personal and private.  Which is totally the opposite of what I was like as a Christian.  We were encouraged to talk about God/Jesus all the time, what we were learning, where we were failing, what God/Jesus was doing in our lives, etc to the degree that it became a competition over who was learning more about God/Jesus and who God/Jesus was doing more for.

Not that I don't talk about my experiences at all.  Just that I don't feel a need to run here and tell everyone everything I learned as I used to do when I was a Christian.  On the boards and email loops we were jumping all over each other telling what God was doing in our lives.  And if you didn't have a story to tell, you made one up.

No, this is different.  When I talk about my experiences, it's with a sense of wonder and awe because it's all still so new to me.  It's not a competition at all anymore.  It's very humbling actually when I think of the vastness of Nature and the wonder of the elements.  I don't feel the need to embellish the story or talk about it in a way that makes me stand out.  It's just something that happens in the course of my day. And I'm more content to listen to others' stories instead of wanting to tell mine.

I am amazed to find myself here but even more amazed to find how well it fits, how comfortable it is.  And Zach and I were talking yesterday about how things have changed at home since we told Tom about our journey to Paganism.  Things have improved so much that we are nearly back where we used to be as a family.  Which makes me really ponder how damaging Christianity was to our family life.

I also connect with the Gods/Goddesses in a more natural way, too.  They feel very approachable and very familiar, not like a Being who is perfect beyond my understanding...frightening me with threats of punishment if I don't love him enough.  And for those who shake their heads because I can believe in multiple Gods instead of the One True God, well...why is your mythology more believable than mine?  I can demonstrate that yours is a compilation of other mythologies anyway. 

Yeah, it all feels like home and Druidry is definitely my path, although I don't think I need all the tools described in the rituals from The Modern-Day Druidess.  I have always felt from the moment I found myself on this journey that I should walk it as the ancestors did, using the tools they had rather than spending a lot of money I don't have on specialized tools.  Not that I'm putting down people who buy or sell them.  I think it's a great thing, but I don't think it's a necessary thing, at least when starting out.  Like, I thought that I would love to have a cauldron but it occurred to me that I have a good sized iron dutch oven that would work very well as a cauldron.  Better, in fact, because of its size.

Moonstones and crystals are all very good but if you don't have them, it doesn't mean you can't still perform rituals.  I suppose it's like having a really good study Bible and having just a Bible.  They are enhancements and can make your experience more enjoyable but they're not necessary to have the experience.  I know that my letter opener/athame has worked quite well for me.

And it's a challenge to try to be creative in making adaptations.  Pretty fun, too.  I love the creative aspects of Paganism and am busily knitting my fingers off making things to enhance the enjoyment of my experiences.  And let's face it...some of the stuff out there is just plain cool.  I love my rune necklace and plan on making myself some more necklaces.  I found a pattern for some knitted runes that Zach wants me to make him and I have lots of river stones I could use for various things as well.  And I have some ideas for more Pagan jewelry. 

Which brings me back to my opening sentence.  Spending my time more productively.  It really does feel good to spend less time online.  I can still connect with my online friends and acquaintances without spending every waking moment on the computer.  I've already given up two different categories of blogs to read and one message board which has freed up at least 2 hours.  Plus the cards this morning indicated I needed to start finding community outside my house and now that Tom is onboard, maybe we can find some Pagan groups around here.  I'm pretty sure there are no groves in this state but there are general Pagan organizations and maybe we can go to one of the gatherings next summer.

But I have rambled enough and need to clean up my kitchen and start supper.  The day has gone by so much faster this way.  I could get used to this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm melting.....what a world, what a world, what a world

I had a pretty bad day yesterday but I talked about it on my mundane blog so I won't repeat myself here.  Yeah, shameless promotion.  I'm doing a bit better today aside from sweating bullets because I'm too cheap to turn on a fan just for the time it will take to write this.  The sun is going down so the breeze might pick up soon.  Probably right after I finish here.

I decorated my bedroom altar for Lughnasadh and never did do anything with it.  I was so tired from the cleaning and the heat and the depression that all I did was fix a really nice meal and offered up thanks for the harvest and for the spirit of the cow.  Oddly I don't feel the least bit bad about it.  I can remember many a holiday making frantic preparations and then not really enjoying myself because I was so busy serving or hosting.  I won't do that anymore.  I did what I could and really enjoyed the meal and enjoyed my colorful candles on my altar even if I didn't light them.  In fact, I'm still enjoying them.  It's just not about the roolz.  It's about the intentions.

I'm also in the process of setting up a living room altar, although this one will be much smaller and less defined.  Mostly for lack of room because Tom has no problems whatsoever with us having our altars all over the house.  He even likes my kitchen altar.  Someday I'll take pictures of my altars, such as they are.  They're not really fancy schmancy or anything but I love them.

I haven't done any studying the past couple of weeks though and I do want to get back to that.  Especially since my library books will be due back eventually.  I renewed some of them so I've only got 3 weeks to devour them.  I also am behind on the podcasts I listen to. Walking while listening to them would really be beneficial since I promised the doctor to lower my bad cholesterol.  Plus Professor is so fat he waddles and really needs to get some of that weight off.  We both do.

I'm just full of good intentions but no follow through.  Autumn is when I really start waking up though and winter (although not last winter) is usually my season.  Now that I don't have to drive Zach to college every day this coming winter will be much better.  Summer I just want to hibernate.  I'm not really good with the heat.

I have been creative the past few days though.  I'm knitting a crane bag although the design has changed from my original plan.  I was going to knit a Green Man design but I didn't like how big it was turning out so I just made up a design and am going with that. It's going to be green and black and not terribly big because I want to carry it with me when I go on walks and hiking.  Tom is taking vacation in a couple of weeks and we plan on going on some hikes to Ledge Park and maybe the Dells (although not the amusement park).  Both are day trips and Ledge Park is about 10 minutes from our house...almost walking distance.  I want to start walking the marsh, too, but I can't take Professor there.  They don't want dogs to frighten the wildlife and I don't blame them.  There used to be Trumpeter Swans there but I don't know if they are still around.

Well, I'm pretty soaked with sweat right now and need to get supper out of the toaster oven.  Then I'm going to sit in front of the window fan and knit on the tunic/tabard thing and my crane bag and the amulet bag I started.  And listen to the director/writers commentary for The Two Towers. It's my muse.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday musings

Back in the 80s there was a hysteria about Satanic cults, witches, and black arts that invaded the newpapers and was the source of many a sermon.  Animals were found in fields with their throats slashed and despicable things done to the corpses and of course, attributed to all witches and Satan-worshipers. It was also a source many evangelists used to "bring people to Christ."  Problem was, these things weren't true.

Mike Warnke was one such evangelist.  I had all his tapes and listened to him with awe.  He interjected a lot of humor into his "testimonies" and was very charismatic.  In fact, he billed himself as a "Christian comedian."

I was listening to his tape one night when I was in the Navy, stationed at Rantoul AFB while attending a school for non-destructive inspection techs.  My roommate at the time was an atheist with a bit of a chip on her shoulder about Christians.  Or so I thought.  She made a remark that has stuck with me ever since:  "Why is it all these so-called celebrities in Christianity have such an extravagant story to tell?"  I have to say that I wanted to dismiss her right away for being NOT CHRISTIAN but it nagged at me.

I didn't stop believing in Mike Warnke's story of having been a Satanic high priest although I do admit I had some reservations about some of his experiences, which I tried to suppress (another one of those things my mind was trying to tell me but I wouldn't listen) so it was years later before I found out that it was all bogus.

But if you notice, whenever someone is "saved" out of Wicca, the Wicca they were involved in doesn't resemble the Wicca that is actually practiced.  It's somehow this dark, menacing occultic thing that invokes the DEVIL, and is blatantly anti-Christian.  Just today I read this gem.  This from the people who brought you the Satanic craze from the 80s.

I was on an email loop called Sisters in Christ in the early 90s and one of our members was an ex-Wiccan high priestess (again...they're all high priests or priestesses...never just a Wiccan or a member of a coven.)  She maintained that there were secret Satanic practices that existed at the upper levels and that the lower level people didn't realize that the Horned God was really Satan and was worshiped as such in those secret high priest/ess meetings.

Of course, at the time, we devoured her stories and praised God that she had been delivered from Satan.  We also had an ex-porn star on that email loop as well, one who claimed to be a "famous porn star" but would never tell us her stage name.

It wasn't very much different in church.  The youth pastors who had the biggest following were the ones who had the shady pasts, who had been "delivered" from the rawest elements and were the biggest "sinners."  Missionaries who came visiting (and shilling for funds) always had huge "testimonies" that were the reason they decided to give their lives to Jesus and then would go to rescue the poor people from all these third world countries.  The last missionary I remember was supposedly raised as a white supremecist.  He was charismatic, funny and got a plateful of cash when it was time to collect the offering.

Conversely, how many times do you hear of a Christian leaving Christianity and having a huge "testimony" about that?  Most of us were just Christians...plain vanilla Christians.  We weren't senior pastors or priests.  We weren't heads of state organizations or VIPs in our denominations.  Maybe it's the whole proselytizing thing.  We don't do it so we don't need to embellish our stories.

Also, why is there the need to darken our beliefs and practices in order to make those stories more exciting?  Because what we do is so ordinary.  Sure, the rituals and practices aren't like theirs, but they're not any more exotic than a Eucharist or a Pentecostal tongue-speaking, writhing on the floor prayer meeting.  In fact, they are very much less exotic than a Pentecostal tongue-speaking, writhing on the floor prayer meeting.  No one wants to hear of someone being saved from revering Nature or using herbs and candles for spells.  They want to hear of someone being rescued from demons and evil elements.  They want to hear of the sex orgies where Satan is invoked and the virgin is sacrificed.

It's like the difference between being rescued from a horrific car accident and being rescued from a flat tire.  Which story will convey the need for a "Savior" more?

And of course, I was sucked into all of that.  I believed all the stories without question because you're supposed to be able to trust Christians.  At least that's what you're trained to believe.  Which, of course, sets you up for fleecing, as is evidenced by all the scams that go on in the name of Jesus.  It's so bizarre to see all this from the outside because on the inside it's completely different.

It's time to stop hanging out on the boards that are supposed to be for all religions but are in reality a forum for the Christians to proclaim their superiority over the rest of us.  Sadly, I used to be one of those who did all that.  It will be a while before I can get past the shame of that.