Thursday, September 30, 2010

The mojo finds its way home

I'm doing a bit better today.  Thanks so much for the encouragement last night.  I think my mojo is coming back although I still haven't made it to the post office, Tana.  Sorry.

I got a few projects going with my knitting and crocheting.  I'm crocheting an earth shawl for myself.  It's in a chocolate brown and a very simple single and double crochet but it comes out very long and very Earth Mother like.  Well, to me anyway.  I have some off-white yarn that I might crochet another shawl out of for my air shawl.  I have a beaded scarf I knit to use for my fire element.  Not everything has to be the same.

And I got back to my art as well.  I'm not very good still but I'm getting there with ideas finally and motivation, at last.  Watching the documentaries from the extended version of The Lord of the Rings really motivates me because I see them living their dreams, being creative and persevering toward the goal.  I have no ambition or motivation and never really have had.  I'm hoping that my new-found direction will include those as well.

Here's my tree out back although drawn from my imagination and apparently several years into the future as the real tree is still an infant.  The rocks in the center of the picture are the altar I hope to set up sometime soon.

I also did some studying on Druidry, too.  Worked on my Book of Shadows and my Book of Pagan Prayers.  I'm making progress but that's another thing I need to do regularly and not sporadically, as I have been doing.  I'm reading a book by Robert Price about various religions, particularly neo-gnosticism (of course from the perspective that they are ridiculous) and it's boring me to tears.  Also a biography about Frank Sinatra that is also boring beyond belief. 

One of my big issues is not finishing what I start so I struggle through trying to finish books I begin.  I think my efforts are better spent in some other area because these books are just a waste of time.  I got the Price book because someone recommended it because it dealt with Joel Osteen, whose Christian theology seems to be a bit sketchy, but I've discovered that I'm just not interested in reading anything about Christianity anymore.  At least not in a doctrinal/theological way. 

So these will go into the book bag for their return to the library next week.  In the meantime I'll start The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (book 2 of the series) and The Silmarillion.  I haven't read that all the way through yet.  I also need to re-read The Lord of the Rings again.  Okay, maybe not need, but I'd like to.

Plus all the lovely books that Tana got me on Druidry, Witchcraft, Herbs and Crystals.  All very, very good and fascinating books!

I'm spending less time online, thankfully so that's a start.  I'm leaving behind things that are destructive to my well-being and looking into things that are helpful to me both in matters of education, spirituality and build up my morale.

For now I'm off to finish up supper and then eagerly pick up hook and needle for hours of tv watching and crafts.

And my pencils.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mid week slump

Still battling the depression and fatigue and kicking myself over wasted spiritual opportunities, but unlike a time in my life when that would have sent me into deep depression and feelings of failure, I just moan a bit over wasted time and strive to do better.  I love having that millstone of guilt removed from my neck.

My brain is very tired this week and my body isn't any better.  Knitting is sometimes a chore but I did manage to work on my crane bag last night.  I had forgotten about it and stashed it in a bag.  I found it and went to work on it.  All that remains is to crochet the drawstring and knit up some shoulder straps for it.  Then it's good to go for those times when I manage to get out of the house and on foot exploring Nature.

Otherwise I've gotten very little done creatively.  I did spin a little this week and while I love it, I don't seem to do it very often.  It's taken me over a year to spin one pound of roving.  Okay I haven't actually finished up that pound of roving yet, but I'm not too far away from the end.  Then I need to dye it and ply it.  In that order.  I'm going to try kool-aid dyeing and see how that goes.  Not sure which colors though.

I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to knit with it though.  It will be a sport yarn/dk weight when I'm done but I haven't explored any patterns yet.

I did get my pencils out and drew a bit but I'm not very good at it and I've lost so much ground that it's disheartening to try to get back to the mediocre level I was at before.  I would get my paints out but the house is a wreck and I have no place to paint right now except the dining table and I need a plastic cover for it.  I don't want to paint on my only tablecloth.

Or maybe I should stop beating myself up and look at what I can accomplish if I put some effort into it.  I have such a fear of failure that I just don't try. 

And so I am off to try.  Unless I fall asleep and take a nap instead.  Which might actually be the better idea tonight.  Professor is very adamant that he will use the puppy pads in the middle of the night but will not use them once the sun is up so I am required to get up quite early to let him out...several times...before I am actually ready to get up.  It's like having a perpetual toddler all the time.

Off to stick my French Bread pizza in the oven and then to bed for knitting, tv watching and dozing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enduring the down days

I was down enough today because of this fog I live in where I have no ambition and no creativity.  This fog called depression that drifts into my life with alarming frequency and limits my vision to what is really out there.  I've learned to just wait until it clears although it's not easy and not fun living in this claustrophobic box.

Then Professor, being a dog with chihuahua killer instincts, killed his nemesis, the rat-bastard chipmunk.  It was quick, thankfully, and I praised him for his efforts but it still left me sad.  As I took the little guy to the trash bin, I offered up my sorrow to the Goddess and thanked her that life goes on the way it does because if it happened the way I wanted we would be knee deep in pests and parasites.  Why do they have to be so cute?

I'm not having the spiritual retreat I envisioned.  I've been too depressed for that, but I have been lighting candles for those who need it.  One candle will be dark tonight as I feel it's not needed anymore; the other two will be lit for as long as they are needed. 

I want to get excited about Samhain, decorating and such but I have to wait out the depression.  Any efforts to artificially end it always ends badly.  But I did buy a new bird feeder yesterday.  It was cheap, made of recycled materials and plastic.  I hesitated over the plastic aspects as we have harsh winters and I wouldn't want it to crack in a freeze but as I said, it was cheap and recycled.  If it doesn't last, I'll buy another wooden one. 

Once it was up it didn't take the birds long to appreciate it.  It's beside the old feeder so they often used both, but I noticed new birds I hadn't noticed before.  Nuthatches.  My cardinal was back as well as the finches.  And my beloved crows were bitching out the black cat from two doors down who tends to lurk in my thicket.  And likes to sit just out of the length of Professor's leash. 

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.  At least I'm not mired down with days and days of depression.  As I told Tana, if I just let it run its course it's a much shorter period of time than if I try to overcome it.

So I am off to light candles and knit on my poncho and finish up some things I've started on dvr.  I think I'll light a candle for the wee chipmunk, too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The week ahead

This is almost like a spiritual retreat for me, preparing for Samhain.  Tom is gone up north to be the mighty hunter this whole week so I have free reign to deep clean and discard (only his things that were previously agreed upon...I had an ex throw away childhood mementos, my high school diploma and all the stories and such I had written so I don't do that to anyone else!) and so create more positive space in this house.  I plan on using this week to establish some new routines and rituals.

It's the best I can do.

The Goddess was good and provided some much needed funds in the way of payment for some socks I knitted for my aunt and that almost paid for Tom's trip.  He told me to spend the money on myself but since my magick was directed toward relieving our funds due to this trip, I intend to honor that.  And honor Tom for the effort he puts out there to provide for me and our son.  Sometimes I think he got the rotten end of the stick due to my disability (one that I can't receive recompense for because I haven't worked in over 20 years.)  But he plugs along and doesn't complain, even letting me spend money on myself when I know he really wants things for himself.  So I don't begrudge him this trip.  Besides, he might bring home fish or venison for the freezer so in a way it's an investment.  And a gamble.

For my part, I am determined to put more effort into my hedge witchery and become a better manager of hearth and home.  Less time doing frivolous things (although I'm not giving them up altogether because we need that in our lives.)  Less wasted time.  I'm using this week to develop those new habits.

I'm also going to dedicate part of the day working on Druidry because I really do feel that is my path.  I discovered a lot of infornmation online that I can use to enhance my learning and help me on my spiritual path.  I also have some classes I intend to take on OpenUniversity.  I just need to organize my day better.

Not to mention doing my best toward Nature and all her many children.  Frugality is often the best way to be more environmentally responsible.  Besides, I love the challenge of making ends meet.  Most of the time anyway.

I'm off to light some candles for Tina and Tana and if anyone out there feels so inclined, they could use any energy and positive/warm thoughts their way.  Tina is facing a life-changing situation that is seriously affecting her disability (fibromyalgia, the same as me) among other things, and Tana is just wiped out emotionally. I'm not good at keeping my promises so I am trying hard to either not make them or keep the ones I can't refrain from making.  I promised to light a candle for Tina every day until the situation is resolved.  So far I've kept it.  It's odd how not praying for someone never made me feel bad but when I promise to approach the Goddess on their behalf or light candles for them, I feel more pressure on myself to comply.  I guess I take it more seriously.  I wonder if it has to do with never feeling a connection through prayer as a Christian but I do feel that connection as a Pagan.

Also Inanna's sister is gravely ill and could use all the positive energy/prayer you can muster as well.  I intend to include her in my daily candle lighting as well...both her and her sister. 

I'm finally feeling comfortable using the word prayer, especially as I'm finding it in so many other religions besides the Abrahamic ones.  Yet I still hesitate to think of things in prayer chain or prayer journal, etc.  In fact, I hesitated before bringing up the people I know who could use prayer or candle-lighting or the sending of positive energy or however I need to think of it.  It feels too much like the prayer requests on various forums or my old churches.  It's my problem, though, and one I need to work through.  In the mean time, there are people I know and care about who are hurting and need whatever it is the Universe has to offer in the way of comfort. 

So I am off to bed to knit myself a hat for Zach and a sweater and poncho to keep me warm this winter.  If I'm lucky.  I may not be done before Imbolc at this rate.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A blustery day

We ended up having our ritual on Autumn Eve after all and it was lovely.  I was winging it a lot since I don't know a lot of rituals but we managed and we took the opportunity to consecrate some tools as well.  It was amazing to feel the heat from the energy after each tool was consecrated.  I also put my crystals and talismans in glass containers to absorb the energy from the Sun.

I made a corn dolly that I thought would be a Corn Goddess but she was quite adamant that no Goddess was she and she stamped her foot and let me know in no uncertain terms not to do that again.  So the corn dolly is on my altar enjoying her dolly-ness and watching tv with me at night.  I keep meaning to take pictures of my altar.  I'll try to get it done this weekend. 

I've been lighting candles daily now, hoping to incorporate ritual into my daily routine, especially since I have two people I am lighting candles for daily in hopes the energy and warm thoughts will reach them and help them in their time of need.  I'm simply ready now.  There's no other way to put it.

I woke up pretty early this morning and took Professor for a walk.  He's been limping a bit and since he's overweight and has tiny chihuahua legs, it's necessary to get some of that weight off of him so his joints don't suffer so much.  It was nice, listening to Pagan music from OBOD's podcast and feeling the very strong wind and misty rain on my face.  I had intended to take a solitary walk as well, but I ran out of time and energy.  I hope to take another walk with Professor tonight so he can strengthen those legs.

I'm finding myself thinking more and more about Nature and my responsibility toward her, recycling better, trying to use my resources better and not make so many trips.  I even had a visit from Miss Piggy this week, the day before my birthday.  I thought she had just come for one last buffet at the porch light and to bid me farewell for the winter.  We talked briefly and then I left her to her feast.

Well, I can see Professor has tangled up his leash so I'm off to finish up my tasks and fix supper.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mabon blessings, Alban Elfed and Happy Birthday to Frodo and Bilbo

And a Harvest Moon on top of everything else.

I am fortunate to share my birthday with Frodo and Bibo Baggins, something I discovered in junior high school lo these many years ago.  I've also seen my birthday usher out the summer or on occasion welcome in the autumn.  It may be one of the reasons I'm a Pagan.  I was born to be one.

I got a Farmer's Almanac last week and have been perusing it now and then and I wonder if the people who put it out are Pagans as well as there is so much in there to do with folk lore, magick and the seasons.  With a touch of astrology as well.  I think this will be an annual purchase because of the information it has about gardening. 

I'm not sure if I will do my celebration tonight because as usual, I'm behind on everything.  Yesterday was a crap day for me, not feeling well physically, feeling down emotionally (birthday blues?) and general malaise.  I got nothing done which means I'm behind on housework and just about everything else.  I haven't finished dressing my altar so I haven't taken any pictures and because the house is a wreck, I don't feel like cleaning it.  And if my surroundings aren't clean, I can't focus on ritual for some reason.

So I think I will bless some talismans I've come up with and re-charge my rune and crystals in the Full Moon but leave the ritual until tomorrow night.  I'd like to go for a walk tomorrow to celebrate the Equinox and also because I need to re-connect with Nature.  I've been feeling distanced from her of late. 

I'm normally pretty much a by-the-book person so I am learning that it doesn't work that way in Paganism, especially Druidry.  It's not about being out there at 10:09 p.m. to start my ritual or getting it done on the exact day since it's most likely that there wasn't a specific Autumnal Equinox celebration in the ancestor's times.  It was probably just an Autumn celebration once the harvest came in, maybe even just a Full Moon celebration combined with the Harvest. 

But being a modern Druid I like to think we should not only honor the way the ancestors did things, we should also find ways that have meaning to us in this day and age.  So I'm learning to relax and do things when it's time for me to do them.  Less stress that way and much more enjoyable.  So I will do my ritual tomorrow evening when I am more prepared, both emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

It's not about the rules, you know.

I'm healing from the knife wound in my back from someone who I thought was a friend.  Tana helped talk me through it, but I also thought of my many mentors in blogland and was amazed that I had a very pleasant sleep that night without the usual night of wide awake anxiety till the wee hours.  These incidents only serve to remind me why I left Christianity and reinforce my beliefs about it.  And why I should stay away from forums where they are the predominant religion because even the liberals who say they have tolerance for all religions really don't.

So I'm good to go and am focusing on what to cook for my birthday dinner.  Zach and I traditionally go to Appleby's for our birthdays.  I was going to pass it up today because I've got to get busy on getting my lab numbers down to reasonable numerical value but I decided to look at their Weight Watchers choices and see if I could eat anything there.  I had the Steak & Portabella dinner, which was delicious and a much smaller quantity than most other dishes there.  Not to mention seasoned pretty darned well without large amounts of oil or butter.  Pricey, but good. 

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

I'm off to start supper now and get my items ready for blessings and re-charging.  I can smell rain in the air so I doubt we will see the moon tonight.  But I'm still counting on the energy to be there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Remind me again

I'm reminded again today why I love being a Pagan and why this is the right path for me.  And why I should avoid any discussions about Christianity, because all discussions about religion generally end up focusing on Christianity because to Christians, it's the same thing.  Religion = Christianity. Except when you call Christianity a religion, then they insist it's not a religion, it's a relationship.  Yeah.

I plan on getting some pictures taken, maybe tomorrow, of my beautiful necklace and my newly dressed altar, complete with the new altar cloth.  I just got distracted today.  And am having a terrible fatigue day as well.

So I plan on spending the rest of  the day in bed knitting my fingers to the bone and watching stuff I've DVR'd because the space is rapidly getting full. 

I'll be more chatty tomorrow when I've had rest and tramadol and maybe some exercise as well.  For now, I'm ready for down time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pre-birthday excitement

My birthday is coming up on Wednesday and in spite of me telling the boys not to get me anything, they did.  What was most bizarre about the whole thing is, I have been looking for a skeleton key to make a necklace out of.  Now, I never mentioned that to anyone, just looked for one.  Tom bought me a lovely gold necklace with, you guessed it, a skeleton key on it.  I got chills when I saw that.  Another one of those Goddess moments for me.

Spending less time online is definitely working well for me.  I'm getting much more done with reading and working on my crafts.  I haven't actually picked up my pencils yet but I did manage to get something to use as a lap desk because the only place I seem to be able to draw is on my bed.  I have some deep cleaning to get to Monday as we're moving Zach's huge waterfall dresser upstairs because it takes up so much of his tiny room and I need to get busy with cleaning the living room and my bedroom.  It gets cluttered on the weekends because they are the rooms everyone congregates in.

I managed to work on my Book of Shadows quite a bit this week and want to get busy learning more about crystals and herbs, too.  I'm about ready to plant some herbs. 

I finished up my altar cloth.  I need to take a picture of it, but I'm also anxious to dress my altar for the autumn holidays.  Tom also got me a huge gold/amber-looking candle which will look great on my altar and fill a need I had for a gold candle.  Odd how he got me things I needed for my spiritual life. He's never done that before, not even when I was a Christian.

He fixed supper tonight so I'm off to eat and then more knitting on my sweater and poncho.  I plan on using the poncho more as a garment for use in rituals as it's not terribly practical for wearing around the house.  I also picked out a pattern for a shawl to use in rituals, too.  It's crocheted and has celtic designs in it.  It won't take long so I hope to have it done by Samhain to wear then.  I'm crocheting it in brown.  I just love earth colors and this brown is lovely.

Off to have a lovely evening and hope everyone else does, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Getting my priorities right

This morning I didn't turn the computer on first thing.  Instead I sat in my room reading and studying spiritual things, copying things into my Book of Shadows and some general cleaning.  Instead of putting off errands for after Tom left for work, we left before he did and had the bulk of the afternoon waiting for us when those chores were done.  I still had energy left to do some work outside and hang out another load of clothes.  I still need to cut out a huge chunk of things I'm reading online to limit my time even further, but all in all I felt much better about how my day went.

With Alban Elfed (Autumn Equinox) coming up and me feeling inadequately prepared, as usual, I'm not in as big a panic as I usually am.  I may not get all my preparations done in time, but I don't view that as a failure anymore.  It's not about having all my blocks checked.  It's about celebrating without stress and honoring the seasons, the God/desses and making my efforts count.  I am much more relaxed about it all these days.

I plan on spending most of my time tonight working on the doily/altar cloth because it is my goal to have my altar changed out for the seasons.  While I can't say I am crocheting intentions into the doily, I do think about my altar and what I want it to mean while I crochet. Sometimes I think about Creativity itself and in some small ways invoke awen while I'm working.  I also watch tv so it's not like I'm being terribly holy while working on it.  I do have a somewhat short attention span, after all.

I'm watching my garden wither, the leaves change colors and the Canada geese fly south, with their cacophonous honking alerting us to their departure. It makes me more aware now than I ever was before of how we're heading into the dark, gray time of the year. I'm not looking forward to paying heating bills or drying my clothes on racks in the living room but I do love the cozying.  And I love it being dark at 4:30 p.m. 

And even more so this winter, I will love not getting up early on Sunday mornings to brave the bitter cold wind to get to church.  I hope that feeling of freedom never gets old.

I have filled the bird feeder again!  I hope this frequency isn't an indication of an early winter, but an indication that I'm just a pretty darned popular eating establishment.  I think I'm going to have to make an extra bird feeder for the winter.  I bought a small one, but it's too small even for the finches to rest on and eat from.  I have some empty soda bottles I can use to make feeders of.

I'm also going to make a God's Eye for above my altar.  Zach made one when he was little, only it had some Christian connotation to it then.  It's not necessarily Celtic, but I do like it and don't feel limited to just Celtic things. 

So now it's time to get busy again, get the clothes off the line, put more on, fix supper, do up the dishes and then crawl into bed to crochet away the night.  I can't believe how content I feel today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting over it and moving on

I'm doing better today.  Not reading there has really helped calm me down and I rarely thought about it all day.  I had many things on my mind, mostly of a spiritual nature.  Getting ready for Alban Elfed  (Autumn Equinox) was one thing.  Getting things done and working on my creativity and brain cells another.  I got neither done today but I did get a load of clothes done and cleaned out the car.  And picked up my meds from the pharmacy and returned some books (and picked some up) from the library.  I'm so well known there that when I walked up to the counter, before she even looked at my account, she told me I had a movie on hold in the back. They see so many people in the course of a day I can't imagine how they could remember someone by name.

To be honest, it made me feel special.

Zach and I talked today about getting outside more, taking walks and connecting with Nature more, especially as the weather is so lovely these days.  Cool but not cold.  There is a tang of Autumn in the air, for sure.

I told my guys not to get me anything for my birthday.  I had bought Firefly last week (there were only a few left and I missed out once before on a series I really wanted) and I have nothing I want or need right now.  Zach thinks Tom will insist so I told him to go to the Dollar Store and get me some candles or incense.  That will do nicely.

I'm hoping to finish up my doily/altar cloth this weekend so I can decorate my altar for the last harvest and in preparation for Samhain.  I'm so excited about Samhain this year because we can celebrate openly.  I have plans to make some corn dollies and I bought some clay (albeit polymer...can't afford the real stuff right now) to make a Goddess statue.  I haven't got a clear image of who she is just yet so I'm waiting for that. 

I think I'm also ready to start looking into spellwork now.  I often think of myself as a hedge witch (though not Wiccan) but I hate to just jump in and start doing things without understanding the energy and nature behind them.  I'm feeling more comfortable now but still very wary about going beyond my capabilities.  Mostly I've just done visualizing with fairly good effect.  I'm about ready to do a real spell now.  In my own time though.

Well, it's time to get into bed and work on my altar cloth and watch some tv.  I plan to burn some incense later and have some quality time with Lugh and the Goddesses later.  I had thought about making a statue of him and covering it with a black cloth for the winter.  I'm not sure yet.  I'll think about that some more.  I have enough clay for both.

I think things are looking up for me.  I do tend to thrive during the winter months.  We'll see if that holds true this year as well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burning bridges

I probably shouldn't post today as I'm really angry but since this blog is a place for me to sort out spiritual issues, I will go ahead and blather away.  I will probably do a lot of editing though to keep the language civil.

I burned bridges last night on a group on Ravelry.  It's supposed to be a meeting place for all religions to discuss and critique religion, except you can't critique Christianity there because they are the dominant religion.  It's okay to call Pagans silly for their beliefs (which is against the rules but nevermind because the moderators don't seem to care as long as it isn't one of the Big Three Abrahamic religions) but you can't point out the harm that Christianity has done.  And only atheists who like to play Pollyanna with the Christians get to post there without having every word scrutinized, attacked and treated like the enemy.

I have enough problems with dominionists, fundies and the Tea Party but when the liberals start playing the Christian privilege game, I have to leave the stadium.  Any hint of criticism is met by the liberals with the mantra, "We're not like that," or "What about all the good that Christianity does."   Then they go on the attack telling the critic that they just hate religion and have an agenda to do away with it.  To be fair, one of the posters doesn't like any religion at all and thinks the world would be better off without it, but she's upfront about that and has stated many times that she knows that's not going to happen, but she just likes to see what makes religious people tick.  It's a case where people aren't reading her posts, they're reading into her posts.  She and a few others will point out that she didn't say what they said she did, but that's no substitute for their imaginations.  They ignore reason and stick to what they want to believe.

I personally don't agree with her most of the time, but I get tired of people making assumptions about other beliefs or lack of belief systems out there.  Like Paganism.  We had a thread there once where we discussed things and it was civil.  Any non-Pagans were respectful and had some good questions.  However, things discussed on there were mocked on another thread.  So much for tolerance.

Which brings me to burning bridges and leaving the group.  I got fed up with the privilege and called them on it, at which time another Pagan basically told me that no one had called Pagans silly even though one of the mods told her that yes, they had.  She chose to look at it as a tongue in cheek thing.  No, it wasn't.  But the point was she was sucking up to the Christian privilege on the board and wanted to be one of the group instead.  Thankfully another Pagan challenged one of the people on the thread who thought it was funny that people needed groups to talk about belief in fairies. 

And now the poster who started the thread is making fun of me.  That's allowed, I guess, but criticizing a religion that has caused harm to a multitude of people isn't.

I was just starting to soften toward Christianity.  Not with the intentions of going back but I was healing from the bitterness, thinking that maybe I could overlook the blatant my-way-or-the-highway types and focus on those who were more open, more tolerant.  Except they're not really.  They are just as territorial as the fundies.  These same people who are making fun of me are the ones who are claiming the No True Scotsman defense.  They are the real Christians.  They are the ones who are doing it right.  The dominionists, fundies and such have corrupted Christianity.  They, the liberals, the universalists, have it right so you'd better not criticize their religion because they're doing it right and there is no legitimate criticism toward real Christianity.

And yeah, I'm still cheesed at what the liberal priest did to Zach after we left.  We don't have any friends outside of the churches we were in.  Zach has had one job and the turnover there is high so the managers he worked under no longer work there and he doesn't have their home addresses.  So all his references were on the Vestry.  The priest lied about his resignation so they ended up "firing" him from the board.  Now he looks irresponsible and none of those references will be of any use.  So how is he supposed to get a job without any references?  We have tried to find community ever since we moved here but only in a church did we find any connections.  We tried civic organizations, support groups but we were treated like outsiders.  No one would talk to either of us.  Small towns.  Small cliques. And this wonderful liberal church trashed his reputation and left him in a difficult position.

Anyway, stuff like this keeps popping up, keeps the wound open and raw.  I didn't go off on Christianity on that group, except to mention my experiences, which were very often discounted because "they" never had anything like that happen to them, therefore it didn't happen in Christian churches.  I've been ridiculed, made fun of and at times, told I didn't have the right to participate in a thread on Christianity because I'm not a Christian.  This when I was still a Christian.

Why on earth have I stayed where I wasn't welcomed or wanted? 

I left the group and won't respond to the various attacks against me. I had thought I had friends there, but aside from Tana, I really don't.  Maybe this is the impetus I needed to get offline more.  At any rate, I'm through with any forum discussions that involve Christians. I'm sure not going to get over the bitterness and pain if I hang around where they keep opening up the wounds.

I can't get away from it totally as the world is full of Christian privilege and I'm faced with all kinds of Christianese everywhere I go, but at least I don't have to subject myself to the condescension of those who believe they are superior to the rest of us.

And yeah, I understand that there are jerks in Paganism, too. But Christianity claims to be a religion of love and incessant talk of being humbled and meek like their god.  I can take a jerk who doesn't pretend to be a saint.  It's the jerks who think they're so much better because of their humility and good works that I can't stomach.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sometimes desire isn't enough

I really am trying to spend less time online so I can accomplish more things in my life.  I spent a great part of the day offline, crocheting and cleaning today but it's just not enough.  I need to limit it even more.  So I'm going to limit my mundane blog to weekdays and this one to 3 times a week.  I'm going to limit my reading of Ravelry and the online newspapers, too.  I don't need to read the comments on every single article or read every thread on every group.  I've pared down the blogs as far as I can pare them so I figure I can keep my time online to about 2 hours a day, which gives me a whole lot of time to do other things.

One of the reasons for this desperate attempt at regaining my life is the podcast I listened to yesterday while cleaning.  Philip Carr-Gomm was discussing OBOD and he said something about the 3 main tenets of Druidry were (and not verbatim)  1) drawing on awen to focus and improve your creativity 2) showing reverence and caring for Nature and 3) seeking Wisdom.  I probably didn't get that exactly as he said it but it occurred to me that these were the things that drew me to Druidry in the first place.  I already had been drawn to the God/Goddesses; I just needed a venue to use for the reverence for them. 

I'm not working on my creativity, or spending time caring for Nature and any wisdom I'm getting at the places I read isn't the kind of wisdom that will really help me much.  So I've got to make a commitment to this.  I can't just absorb it by osmosis; it requires study, nor casual reading.  At least for me.  I'm sure it comes more naturally to some people but I have a lifetime of harmful teachings and theology to overcome.

At any rate, I do intend to stick to it and hopefully use this blog to help keep myself accountable.

But for now, Tom is awake and needs his supper so I'm off to attend to that task.  These 6 day a week, 12+ hour days are wearing him down.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Growing in confidence

I try hard not to repeat myself from my mundane blog since there are people who read both but sometimes they overlap, like when something on my mundane blog has spiritual overtones to it.  But I do try to keep them separate as much as possible.

I'm falling in love with my birds.  I'm not sure what they are, but I think they're finches.  They are swarming my bird feeder, hanging on the clothes line and grapevine.  Scurrying up and down the garage roof, playing in the tall grasses on the back hill.  Hannibal sat on the top of the hill watching them last night.  Not stalking, not tail-twitching anticipation.  Just sitting up watching them.  They ignored him.  Same with Professor although there was a pretty loud bird in the thicket giving him what for as he tangled his leash in the branches.  I love watching them.  I added a smaller bird feeder that I had in the garage and put some water in the bird bath.  They seemed to like that, too.

On the way to town today I saw a fox slipping into the bushes after crossing the road.  I think of Zach when I see foxes.  He used to be so fascinated by them that my online name for him when he was younger (I didn't use his real name for safety reasons) was Fox.  People thought I had really named him that and thought it was so neat.  I hated to disabuse them of the notion and at times wish I had named him Fox.  So I love to see them out in Nature.

I'm going to start a journal of all my daily encounters with Nature.  I'm not sure there will be any rhyme or reason to it but it will be nice to have a record of all that I have seen over the years.

I got a book from the library today about Pagans and their various stories.  I had heard about it somewhere so I put it on hold.  As soon as I opened it up, I saw that I had read it before.  It was during a time when I was still on the fence regarding leaving Christianity for Paganism.  As I recall the book put me on the side of Christianity running madly from Paganism.  Not that it was a necessarily negative book, but with the various people telling their stories, there was a lot of No True Scotsmen stuff going on. You know, my Paganism is obviously the proper, true path.  The others are just playing at it.  Or the others are making it up as they go along.  I had had my fill of that in Christianity.  I really get as mad at the liberals as I do the fundies when it comes to that.  Each side claims the other isn't really Christian because they're not doing it right.

So I ran screaming away from Paganism.

Now, however, I'm not about to run from anyone's opinions.  I have my own; I've discovered the path I should be on so I don't feel threatened because someone thinks my brand of Druidry isn't as pure or without taint as theirs.  Fact is, I'm pretty darned confident of my path and don't need anyone's validation.  I look at Paganism as something that needs to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the people. Not something that has to be practiced in its original form or it's not real Druidry or Wicca or whatever.  I don't think anyone can know for sure how they practiced in ancient times anyway. Or if their rituals evolved with the needs of the people.

I had my fill of a static religion.  I need something that will breathe and grow with time and age.  No more religious corsets for me.

I'm trusting my feelings finally and they're leading me in a much better direction than when I trusted in a book written and re-written years ago with rules that were interpreted by people who didn't even know me.  If I don't trust me, who will?

So what if I don't get outside every day and take long walks or meditate in the moonlight.  I'm a work in progress, growing closer to Nature.  It doesn't happen overnight.  As I've said before, I tend to burn bright and hot and then burn out.  Gradually is working for me.  It doesn't make me less of a Druid or a Pagan if I don't get out there and commune with Nature daily.  What matters is that Nature is never far from my thoughts.  I don't live my life wondering if I'm pleasing the God/Goddesses at all.  I don't worry if I'm measuring up to their expectations of me.  I think about how Nature affects me, the world, the universe and how I can connect and interact with her.  I think of ways to care and protect her.  I think of ways to sustain and replenish her.  When I do those things, I believe I am closer to prayer with the Deities than I ever was praying the formulaic prayers of my former religion.

And I find that the written prayers I do have, take on a more personal meaning for me.  That, to me, is the way my faith is put into motion.

I also find that I think less about myself when I'm connecting with Nature.  And more about community and unity.

I'm eager to re-read the book with my new-found confidence and assurance.  I'm already disagreeing with some of the authors but I don't feel defensive or offensive about their opinions.

I love being Pagan.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fighting depression without the stress

There are days when I just don't seem to have brain function, when thinking beyond eat, knit, sleep becomes an overwhelming task.  I blame it on the fibromyalgia and brain fog that goes with it, but I suspect it is more the clinical depression.  I can't take anti-depressants because the pain meds I'm on can interact fatally with them and if I had to choose between treating pain or treating depression, pain wins.  I lived for 10 years with this pain because the doctors would pat my head and tell me that it's not so bad and just take a tylenol.  I was ruining my liver because 3 extra strength tylenol barely put a dent in the pain.  But it wasn't so bad, right?

I do okay for the most part with the depression but there are days (weeks?) when I'm just down and I can't function at a level that makes me feel normal.  Fortunately I've had fewer and fewer periods of depression in the past year, especially after leaving Christianity behind.  It's not that Christianity was causing my depression but it didn't help when you are in a system where you are apparently to blame for overwhelming feelings of despair.  Despair being a sin and all. 

When I was a fundie, depression was looked upon as not trusting God so taking meds for it was considered a crutch.  One youth pastor told a high school girl she was using a crutch by taking her anti-depressants.  I learned about it after the fact, but since she wasn't a member of our church, but simply part of the mid-week youth group, I hope her parents yanked her out of there quickly.

My son has Tourette Syndrome and OCD and a host of the sidecars that go with all of that.  He was taking haldol for his tics, which were so strong they were painful to him.  His eye-blinking without his meds would prevent him from being able to read or watch tv because of the constant blinking.  This youth pastor told him he was using the meds as a crutch.  I still shudder when I think of all the damage done to my son by these people who were supposed to be the light of Christ to the world. 

I try to use more natural methods for dealing with the depression but it's not always easy.  Getting outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, exercise, eating better...those help but when you're on the bottom of a depression cycle, forcing yourself to do those things is like trying to shovel water out of the ocean.  Generally I just ride it out and it passes more quickly than if I try to fight it.  There are cautions about riding it out, though.  You have to tell someone you're in a cycle so they can sort of keep an eye on you and make sure you don't decide to stay on the train.  That requires someone who's not intrusive or nagging but can gently nudge you to get off at the next stop.

And of course, during these times I'm not terribly spiritual.  I used to try to force it because relying on Christ was paramount to overcoming anything and being depressed was a sign of your failure to do that so I tended to try to hide it from my fellow church members.  These days I just wait, knowing the God/Goddesses are there waiting on the other end of this.  That helps more than me trying to force rituals I don't feel.  In fact, I think it helps shorten the cycle because I do love the rituals and eagerly look forward to them when I'm not in a cycle. 

I'm not saying Paganism is curing my depression, but it is much kinder to people suffering from it.  The pressure is off to perform (being a solitary and all) and I don't have to justify anything to anyone.

Still, it sucks when you're down and your brain is mush and you can't formulate arguments or reason your way out of a paper bag.  Although there are those who believe I can't do that when I'm not depressed.

In the meantime I just muddle through and do what I can while waiting it out.  At least I'm free these days from the extra burden of trying to make this a spiritual issue and measuring the strength of my faith by how well I pull myself out of this.  Indeed, it's much easier to climb out when you wait for the stairs to show themselves rather than trying to climb up without them.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm fighting back now

Karma sucks!

Actually I quit believing in what goes around comes around while a Christian because it never did.  The truth is some people just get crapped on more than others.

What brings this up, you ask?  Well, Zach and I had the opportunity to help someone by jump starting his car only to find a dead battery when we came out of the store after reaching our own destination.  Did his battery drain ours?  Nope.  We're having problems with the battery and while I thought cleaning the terminal posts helped, apparently that really wasn't solving the problem.  But the process of trying to get the car started drained the battery and Tom had to come to our location to rescue us.  Good thing he was home tonight due to the holiday.  Otherwise we'd still be there because I don't have his work phone number.  He told me to carry it with me all the time from now on because he will come get me should it happen again.

Well, it ain't gonna happen again because I'm not driving the car anymore until he fixes the problem.  Which means I'm limited to any trips in the morning while he's home.

I know this isn't karma at all, but I just get tired of being on the butt-end of the bird all the time.  I swear someone cursed us years ago when we moved here because it's been one thing after another ever since.  No matter what good comes into our lives, there is something out there waiting to snatch it out of our hands and offer us crap instead.  We just keep getting piled on.

Well, I'm not taking this lying down anymore.  As a Christian, I was told to "trust in Christ" who would sustain me through it all...all the time watching the people who were telling me this load of bullshit take nice vacations twice a year or buy new cars or remodel their homes or buy expensive furniture (and don't get me started on the expensive home the pastor had that we were essentially paying for.)  These were "lessons" that God had for us that we were supposed to learn from.


No, the truth is some people just consistently get crapped on and some get to do the crapping.

I'm not sure how to change things (and no, I don't want to do the crapping but it would be nice to get out of the cesspool) but I am going to try.  At the very least, I'm not going to take it lying down anymore, that's for sure.  And I'm not looking for anyone to "save" me from this situation at all. 

Personally I think that is the beginning of wisdom.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You can feel it in the air

Autumn is coming.  Our temps barely got above 60F today and it was wonderful!

I think Miss Piggy might be Mr. Piggy.  There was a new toad sharing his perch with him last night.  One who had the brightest black eyes and who seemed to be resting under his loving arm.  Or maybe Miss Piggy was getting ready to wrestle the new toad off the street numbers.  It's hard to tell because their facial expressions never seem to change.

Zach has found his path.  Because of having spent years telling him what to believe, I've been sitting back letting him find his own way.  He's explored different paths but the one he keeps coming back to is Druidry.  I swear I haven't tried to influence him at all.  So he's going to listen to the podcasts and read some of my books but I'm not interfering at all or trying to push any literature or websites on him.  It does make it easier though as we can celebrate together at times.  He's asked to help me celebrate Alban Elfed as well as Samhain.  We both love Samhain the best!  I do love Lughnasadh as well, though as Lugh was one of the first to call me to him.

I love the cool weather we're having today.  It reminds me summer is slipping away and there is much to do to prepare for the dark days.  Even though it's much too early to actually start doing things, it's time to start accumulating things for the winter.  I'm going to decorate the house for the celebrations, too.  I never did anything like that except for Christmas before last year.  I bought some gourds and festive corn but that was about it.  This year and each year I plan to keep adding things. And keep my eye out for things in nature instead of store-bought items because it's not only it's also easier on the bank account.  I would love to have figurines and things of that nature but the house is much too small.  I have no flat spaces at all that aren't completely covered with stuff.

I put a blanket on the bed last night and will definitely leave it there tonight.  I'm not sure what the forecast is for the rest of the weekend though.  We are planning on a day trip up north to Tom's brother's cabin this weekend.  The way up there is through a Reservation, which is absolutely breathtaking in it's beauty.  I want to walk through the woods once we get there and see if I can find a staff.  I haven't really looked around here because I haven't felt like my staff would be located here.  Zach wants to take his staff up with him.  He's going to call it a walking stick because Tom's brother and wife wouldn't understand our change of direction.  I'm okay with keeping things underground.  I really don't want to have to discuss it with anyone anyway.

I had a long talk with Tana today and she has reassured me that I am free to be myself and say what I need to say.  How odd that I never had that freedom as a Christian.  And yet it is a Christian who is reminding me how free I really am now.  I am learning so many lessons these days.

Supper is almost ready so I'm going to get things ready and then crawl under my toasty warm covers in my long pajamas and crochet on my altar cloth.  I'll probably get some knitting done, too, but since Alban Elfed is coming up shortly, I need to put a priority on it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Apparently I'm not done ranting yet

I didn't have much to say last night and I'm trying to learn that when you don't have anything to say, don't say anything.  It's a lesson I should have learned years ago.

I managed to get some studying done this morning.  I got a book on gardening and I should get up and go see the title of it but I just can't be bothered right now so I'll try to dig it out later.  It's a library book so I probably already have it in the bag to return.  I didn't care for it much.  It had to do with consulting the devas and nature spirits when you garden but I suspect if the author hadn't had an extensive knowledge of gardening, soil requirements and composting in the first place, she wouldn't have heard all the right things about how to properly feed her crops and tend the spirits.

Not that I am adverse to talking with the spirits who manage the crops and even showing gratitude to the plants themselves, but I can bet that if I sat and consulted with the devas they wouldn't tell me to make sure the nitrogen was at a certain percentage or that I needed to add ash to my compost because it needed a change in the pH.  'Cause I don't have knowledge of that stuff.

I also had a problem with the devas insistence that they are angels.  I'm still in the stage where anything Christian raises my blood pressure. 

And speaking of that, there is a blog I read from a druid who is discussion her time spent with Christians at a Celtic Spirituality retreat.  She talks about a man she knows who has left Paganism to return to Christianity and the things they share in common spiritually and how she manages to find common ground with other Christians and how these aren't the "bad" Christians but the ones who see many paths, etc.  I find her blog fascinating in her outlook on things and while I disagree about how Christians and Pagans might find a blending of beliefs, I love her gentle outlook on things.

My problem is with the perception that these Celtic Christians make the assumption that the emergent church and the celtic church are the bearers of true Christianity.  Quite frankly I heard that shit all my life from the fundies and evangelicals.  And the Catholics.  And now the liberals are claiming they have the truth.

I maintain that you have to read between the lines and leave out a lot of shit in the Bible to claim that Jesus was this guy who just wanted everyone to love each other and had no rules for anyone beyond that.  You have to ignore a great deal in the gospels where he was telling people that he came to fulfill the law and not change it.  Where he talked about throwing people out of the wedding feast and sending them to the pit where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  And how anyone who doesn't believe in him is condemned.

Not to mention the epistles where Paul invents Christianity as some kind of rigid, chaste, male-dominated religion. 

Now, while I definitely would pick the liberals over the fundies any day, they have to leave a lot out (which they claim is misread or misinterpreted or whatever) to make it into a religion of peace and love and inclusion.  So I just don't see how you can blend Christianity and Paganism without leaving a lot of Christianity behind. Or watering down Paganism until it's so diluted it doesn't resemble it at all.  Believe me, I tried to make it work because I didn't want to leave my heritage behind.  Then I realized I couldn't remain in it so I discovered a more ancient heritage.

It puts me in an awkward position because my best friend still has ties with Christianity and she listens to me (though I have no idea why) rant and rave about it.  But I really don't consider her a part of either liberal or fundie/evangelical/liturgical Christianity.  Her beliefs are non-traditional, in my not so humble opinion.  She mentioned to someone that I didn't consider her a Christian and the person replied that I needed to view her as Christian and the rest as non-traditional.  I'll admit it pissed me off.  Everyone claims they have the truth.  I'm so lucky to have Tana as a friend because she knew what I meant and why his answer annoyed me.

I honestly don't want to feel this anger and bitterness all my life.  I do hope that some day I'll soften my heart toward the institution but it's going to be an uphill climb because quite frankly neither faction appeals to me at all. 

I've learned not to say never or always (well, I mostly don't say those words) so I can't say that I'll never set foot inside a church again, but I can say right now that if given a choice I won't.  I haven't gone so far as to burn my bibles or give them all away but I have gotten rid of several of them.  I a good fundie you're supposed to have many different bibles in the approved translations so you can mark them up with notes and color coding.) I am slowly giving or throwing away the gadgets and shit they sell at Christian bookstores because they fill me with a great discomfort having them here.  But I'm listening to Danu to let me know what and when so I don't just react with a knee-jerk attitude.

I'm finding the more that leaves the house, the lighter the air feels in here. Each day draws me further in to Druidry and Nature and the path becomes clearer.  I'm trying to be more intuitive and listen to the bird and toad song and hear the voice of Cernunnos in it.  I love that when I work on my crafts I feel as if Lugh and Brighid and sometimes the ancestors are sitting by the hearth with me working on their crafts as well.  I rarely feel alone anymore.  I don't miss community much at all these days.  I realize now what the cards were telling me recently when they said to pay more attention to my mentors and to remain on the solitary path but to find community.  It seemed like a contradiction at the time,  but not anymore.

So I am off to finish up online and crawl into bed to read some more and then start on my new altar cloth for the Autumn holidays.