Friday, December 30, 2011

Some endings and some beginnings

Eldest son finally noticed I had unfriended him on facecrack and decided on Christmas Eve to challenge me on it.  As I had deleted his inappropriate response, his reasoning was that I couldn't complain about it since I couldn't prove he said it.  He also started handing out ultimatums and insisting that I'm the problem, not him.  I know he's a very unhappy person who has deep-seated feelings of abandonment due to something I did in the past but he's an adult now and either needs to get professional help or something in order to deal with it all.  I just know that I will continue to reach out to him but I won't be his doormat anymore.  And I won't friend him on facecrack again.  I won't end our relationship but there is definitely an ending of the nature of it.  I am his mother, not his friend.

I've been doing some studying, reading and general spiritual stuff, lots of new and exciting things.  But last night my fountain stopped working and I thought it needed water so I poured some in only to completely soak my entire altar cloth and Greek afghan underneath it.  Needless to say I didn't do ritual on the altar last night although I did read some prayers from bed and felt perfectly comfortable doing so.  I haven't done anything with the wet altar yet because I did soak it up with a towel last night and I'm hoping that will be enough.  If not, I should have the dryer working by tonight and can dry it properly.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately that talk about what constitutes a Pagan and who is or isn't one.  It's beginning to remind me of the whole "not a real Christian" shit I encountered most of my life (and even now it continues.)  On one level I can see that Pagan has come to mean the nature religions, particularly Wicca and Druidry.  And that some other religions don't like to be called Pagan, like the Norse Heathens or the Hindus.  And even my own discipline has started to distance itself based on the affiliations that seem to dominate the definition of the word.  Frankly I just don't care.  It seems to be just an exercise in semantics to me.

Another blog talked about how it was good that people were so sure they were in the right religion that they wouldn't accept that someone else might be in their own right religion.  That one surprised me a bit as the blogger was talking about a Catholic insisting that her religion was the one true one and everyone else was worshiping false gods.  In light of all the evil that has been done under that kind of philosophy, I can't find any good in it, even if the blogger thinks that it means that she's not wishy-washy about her faith as some Pagans seem to be.  Because they think that other religions have merit for other people.  And of course there are posts out there about people who have experienced many different religious paths until they found the one that was a good fit for them.  As if this was a bad thing.  Like you wouldn't try on clothes before you brought them home on the off-chance they might fit.

But mostly I've been reading good things that sometimes make my brain hurt, other times make me think, and most times make me smile because I can relate to what the blogger is saying.  It's been interesting reading Hellenic blogs because I've found that most aren't reconstructionists at all, but tend to practice in a Hellenic manner without being dogmatic about it.  Which is where I am.  Although more and more I'm finding my path leading toward the ancient practices, I'm not being forced into it by intimidation or through arrogance.  Nor am I finding that I need to do things by the book.

I haven't decided on any goals for the year, but I think I might set up some kind of plan where I can make some short-term goals to work toward.  I believe that's the best way for me.  By doing that I end up achieving the result I had intended all along.  Baby steps.  Still.

I briefly thought about going back to church but quickly decided against it when I realized I didn't miss the ritual anymore as my own rituals more than fulfill me.  I thought maybe it was because of the social aspects but I also realized that I had nothing in common with anyone there anymore so that was sort of beside the point of it all.  No, I need to move forward, find new avenues for social connections, like the library knit night or maybe some of the environmental/nature groups around here.  And maybe the montly meetup in Madison with other Pagans.

But for now, I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve when I will light a candle to Janus and the other gods as they open the door into the New Year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can't wait for Solstice

The Solstice falls on our anniversary this year so we'll celebrate that as well as Solstice.  Well, I'll be celebrating Solstice.  My intentions are to celebrate the astronomical festivals in addition to some of the Hellenic festivals as well.  I love the dark moon celebrations and the various festivals to the gods each month.  Not that I'm good at keeping them just yet, but I do love the idea of them.  And I'm building up to being comfortable celebrating them.

I've decided that my focus on the Winter Solstice will be Apollo, since I think of him when I think of the Sun.  I haven't decided on a ritual yet, and I might just wing it anyway, but I am excited about it, moreso than Christmas in fact.  We'll exchange a gift on the 22nd but mostly because it's our anniversary.  Still, I would do it anyway because I would rather the focus be on the Solstice than Christmas but that will take time.  Zach is keen on it, but Tom still is a little kid and since he gets that day off and not the Solstice, that's the day we'll celebrate.  But I won't celebrate Christmas on that day.  For me it's just another day of Solstice celebrations.

I generally like the Hellenic calendar of events although I don't pay that much attention to most of the festivals because they just don't fit into my perspective.  I love the dark moon celebrations to Hecate, the monthly observances to the daimons of the household, much like the household spirits who take care of things for you.  And I do like the monthly observances toward the gods.  It helps a bit to compartmentalize these things so you make sure they get their due rather than trying to wing it.  Full moons aren't on the Hellenic calendar but I love them so I pay particular attention to Artemis on that day, rather than Selene. 

I haven't done the studying I had intended but I still feel pretty good about what I have accomplished so far.  I'm more and more confident that I am on the right path and that the celebrations, rituals and observances are becoming more a part of my daily, monthly and yearly life.  In a way that didn't come naturally when I was focusing on Druidry.  I haven't looked back with regret at all.  In fact, I grow more excited each day when I wake up and see my altar.  It is becoming more a part of my life to honor and worship the gods.  I've started reading my book on Greek mythology on a daily basis.  Mostly.  I'm still not sure what to do with mythology, but I do love it.  More than I ever loved reading the Bible.  Seriously.

I really do intend to focus on divination, herb-lore and spellcasting.  I feel drawn to folk magic more than any other kind of magic.  I've been trying meditation again although not in a formal way.  I just focus on the candles and the gods after my nightly ritual.  It's calming at the least even if I don't accomplish anything else from it.

All in all, this has been the most productive year for me spiritually.  I feel more confident and more balanced than I have in the past.  And that's good.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unexpected company

As you all well know, I'm not very sociable and tend to be much of a recluse except when I go out to shop or something.  My home is my haven, my sanctuary and besides that, it's very small.  So today a woman from my old fundie church dropped by for a visit right around the time Tom was leaving for work.  She didn't call first, just showed up.  I suppose if we were close, it wouldn't be a big deal to just drop in on me, but I haven't seen her in over 4 years and then it was at the store.

She's a minister (her "degree" obtained through a correspondence course by Ken Copeland, I believe) involved in prison ministry and wanted me to be a part of her group.  Much to my surprise I told her I no longer believed and that I couldn't be party to something I didn't believe in.  She was far less judgmental than I assumed she would be although she did tell me how sorry she was.  I told her not to be, that I was much happier and less stressed out now than I ever was as a Christian.

Then we got into the reasons we both left that church.  She left because of the blatant lectures from the pulpit on who we should vote for and after confronting the pastor's wife about it, who told her it was the church's place to tell people how to vote, she left the church.  We left for many reasons, but that was the straw that broke the camel's back.  It was all over the Gay Marriage Amendment that I had no intentions of voting for, but apparently S did in spite of not liking them telling her to vote for it.  I let her know how I felt about gays being allowed to marry and she let me know that her daughter is involved in that evil "lifestyle."  Now, Zach was in his bedroom, able to hear this whole conversation.  I firmly told her it wasn't a lifestyle, that people were born gay and there was scientific evidence to support that, that gays shouldn't be forbidden the very basic needs we all have:  to love, have affection and family.  She muttered something about science not trumping the Bible, but all in all it wasn't a bad conversation.  No one was angry and no one got in anyone's face. 

Although Zach was gritting his teeth and clenching his fists in his room.

I didn't tell her I was Pagan.  I had closed off my "bedroom" with the curtains because I didn't want to explain it to her so I suppose she's going to assume I'm an atheist at this stage.  I don't really care.  I don't feel like I need to justify or explain anything about my life to anyone else.  But at least she didn't preach to me.  Although she kept making the assumption that I believed in the bible like she did.  Old habits dying hard, I guess.

I'm just glad it's over and I hope I don't have to run into her again for a long time.  It was pleasant but stressful.  Especially on Zach's account.

Also I stopped counting after a while, the number of times she used "Lord" or "God" in her conversation.  I lost count after 50.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Solstice plans

I still don't have the Christmas tree up.  It's not that I'm not enthusiastic about Christmas, it's that I'm not enthusiastic about decorating for Christmas.  I bought a $1 sign you stick in the ground that reads Happy Holidays and you can only see if you're standing a foot away from it.  It's still on the bookcase.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the tree up. Which is funny since all I every do after Christmas is wrap the already decorated tree in a black garbage bag and store it upstairs.  All I have to do is take the bag off and plug it in.  And I still can't be bothered to do that much.

I have other decorations, like my crocheted candles, my Frosty-the-snowman that my dad made.  And the reindeer he made, too.  And tons of garlands.  And this year, Zach asked for a new tree-topper since he doesn't like the star we've got.  It's for a full-size tree and ours is a table-topper so the tree tends to lean.  So I made a new God's Eye for the top of the tree.  He really liked it and since it is more in keeping with our perspective than a star, will make the tree a bit more meaningful.  I got rid of all my religious Christmas ornaments over the past couple of years...with Tom's consent, of course.  I wouldn't try to rob him of his perspective toward the holidays but since he's a fan of Christmas but not a fan of the religious aspects of Christmas, he didn't have any problems with it.

I'm still not sure what to do for Solstice but Zach and I decided that we'll exchange one gift each on the 22nd since that's mine and Tom's anniversary.  Our 25th this year, actually.  At one point I never would have given odds we'd last this long but I'm leaning toward the long haul now.  Anyway, this way we can celebrate the season of the Solstice without feeling like we're going through the motions or just moving Christmas to another day.  We'll open the rest of the presents on Christmas morning because Tom is the biggest kid of them all and wakes us up at ungodly hours so we can do that. We're also going to attend the family Christmas party for the first time in maybe 10 years.  I lost interest in them during my chemo period and just stopped going.  But now that I'm a Pagan, I'm feeling more like family since most of them aren't religious at all.  And one sister-in-law is eager to sit me down and find out about my journey.

I expect Solstice will be a nice meal and some kind of ritual welcoming back the sun.  I'm woefully behind on my reading so that might be a good day to set aside time for that.  I'm still finding my way, picking up things that merit saving, discarding things that no longer fit.  And not worrying about it; just going with my instincts.  I'm quite content with the gods I worship and the way I worship them, although I could do better.  But I'm not beating myself up about it.  Just letting the path unfold before me.

Today was a really blah day for me.  I had been productive lately, getting lots done at home, cooking better and being more frugal and attentive to my responsibilities.  It's been years since I've had that much energy, in fact.  But alas!  Today I woke up drained and spent the day in bed.  I should know those days will still be there and not feel bad about it.  I did manage to fix supper and do up the supper dishes.  I've never been able to accomplish that much before, not on a day like this.  I didn't manage to do much more than light my hearth candle and give a wave off to Hestia before crawling back into bed.  She seemed fine with it.

And I think a nice hot shower will make me feel more human, too.  Especially since tomorrow is an errand day.

More and more I'm realizing that my Pagan path is simply walking through each day, honoring the gods however feels right to me and being myself.  My true self. 

I like it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When the ones you love try to suck the life out of you, unfriend them

Things finally came to a head again with firstborn on facebook where he once again insulted someone in response to something I had posted.  That this person he insulted was his cousin didn't make any difference to me.  His main purpose in life seems to be haunting my posts and ridiculing my beliefs and attacking the people who agree with me.  So I've ended my facebook relationship with him.  Period.  There will be no fourth or fifth chances on this.  We can take our relationship to another place or not at all.  I really don't care at this stage.  Since finding his birth father he's made it clear that they and they alone care for him and fuck the rest of us.

I can only take so much of this shit before I explode and do something irreversible.  So, eliminating him from my facebook friends is the path of least resistance.  Trust me.

I don't know why families have to be so dysfunctional.  Sure, people make mistakes but why is it so hard to maintain relationships with people you love.  And I do love him.  I just don't particularly like him.  My sister jumped in to tell me how much she appreciates the things I post but as it was her son he went after, I really didn't expect any less from her.  I also discovered that two of his cousins have also unfriended him because of his antagonistic attitude toward them.

I've taken the blame for my contributions to his dysfunction but for fuck's sake, he's nearly 40 and needs to grow the fuck up now.  Sure, I have problems with my extended family but I don't treat them like shit because of it.  I limit my time spent with them to what is comfortable for me and treat them with the respect I think they deserve.  And it's okay to bitch about what a rotten childhood he had but there is no advantage to wallowing in the past and using it as an excuse.  I admit that many things from my past make the palette my world is colored with but I hold the paintbrush now.  When I talk about things from my past I don't use them as an excuse, just as an explanation for the way I am.  I don't hide behind the past.  I hope I'm learning from it.

It's time to sever this relationship until he decides to let me live my own life, with my own ideas and opinions and stop trying to change me into who he wants me to be.  I'm through with the emotional blackmail and the guilt trips.  And the attacks on people who don't line up with his political and spiritual beliefs.

I'm finally moving forward emotionally and spiritually and I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone interfere with that journey.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm feeling better today.  Ritual helps heal a lot.  I think just doing something instead of passive prayer or worship makes me feel more connected to the gods. It's probably why I had longed for liturgical worship when I was a Christian.  Something I resisted for so long because I had been taught that it was mindless worship and near-idolatry.  And once I had it, I no longer believed in that deity so the next step was to take the ritual to a place where I did believe.

It's just been a journey finding ritual that completes me.  I tried to force it for so long that I had despaired of having that feeling of completeness again.  But finally I feel like I'm getting there.  I doubt I will ever "arrive" but as the journey is what makes it all interesting, destination isn't critical.  I don't have any real defined ritual aside from some candle-lighting and some pre-written prayers, which I really love as I tend to stumble around and worry more about what I'm saying than what I should be saying.  I feel a connection that seems stable, yet powerful and fulfilling.

I'm looking forward to Winter Solstice.  There is a modern Hellenic ritual that someone has designed that, while structured, is still very adaptable to one's own desires.  I may take what I like out of it and discard what I don't.  It's not overwhelming; it's just long...9 days long, if I remember correctly.  An alternate 2 day festival has been designed based on the 9 day one, which is more in keeping with what my intentions are.  It's not that I'm lazy or anything, but at this stage, I'm not ready for the commitment a 9 day festival entails.  I do well to remember my daily rituals.

I'm also looking forward to Christmas as this year we're making more of an effort.  Definitely a secular or Pagan Christmas though.  I've gotten rid of all my religious ornaments and Zach has requested a new tree topper instead of the star we've got.  I suggested a God's Eye and he loved the idea so I need to think about which colors to use.  That will be my new ornament for the year.  I always add a new one, usually something I find at the thrift store or one I make.  Last year I made a new tree skirt instead of an ornament and it worked out well.

This is the first time in years I've looked forward to this season instead of dreading it.  I must be healing.  Asklepios really knows his stuff. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The past bites me again

Unfortunately I ran into our old pastor at StuffMart the other day.  Fortunately my pentacle was hidden inside my coat so I didn't have to feel awkward around him.  We did the usual polite catching up and he told me that Walk through Bethlehem had been canceled because of a "God thing" that happened last week at church.  I, of course, expressed polite curiosity.  Then he let me know that a woman I knew from there had lost her husband to an industrial accident.  I had seen it in the paper but didn't know it was her husband.  And our former youth pastor and his wife had lost their year-old daughter to an apparent crib death.

A "God thing?"

Forgive me for not seeing how a "loving" god would rip a year old baby from the arms of her parents or a husband from the arms of a wife, especially right before the celebration of his "birth."  I came away from this conversation feeling a great deal of anguish for D & M having lost their daughter and for R losing her husband, but also a huge amount of anger that a system would force people to look upon these situations as a "God thing,"  I hated, hated that we had to swallow any outward grief and put on a face that praised a deity who committed these heinous acts against his people as an act of love.  Always we were told that God was in control and he never would give you more than you were able to bear.

Well, guess what!  "He" does give you more than you're able to bear.  Frequently.  It's just that you're not allowed to admit it. You're not allowed to question why he would kill some people and let others have miracles.  Or why there were abused children anywhere in the world.  Oh, yeah...supposedly he was there with them, hurting right along with them, letting them know they weren't alone and that was supposed to be enough.  Bull-fucking-shit!  They hurt alone, feel abandoned by the world and have no concept of a "loving" God who is supposed to be there comforting them.  In fact, some of them are being abused in Christian homes.

It boggled my mind how there was some kind of popularity contest when it came to prayer.  We were supposed to pray for people.  Often.  And get more people to pray, too, because the more people praying, apparently the more likely God was to do something for the person being prayed for.  So if you were alone and had no one, then it was only your prayer and apparently that wasn't enough since God needs numbers of people praying.  And why does he require people to pray over and over again for the same thing.  It's like he expects people to beg for his assistance.  Some "father" he is.  Some relationship that is.

So, yeah, I'm a bit angry again.  I don't get how suffering makes people better or stronger or helps them to grow spiritually.  I know of several people out there in blogland who treat suffering as something to be desired.  If you're not suffering, you're not trying hard enough.  If you're not suffering, God isn't testing you.  And if you complain about suffering, you're committing a sin.  I remember one Bible study lesson about how complaining was a sin as big as adultery.

So..."God" rips your life in two, makes your life a living hell but if you complain about it, you're not being grateful.

I am so glad I escaped that destructive and evil religion.  And yeah, I'm aware that some Christians out there distance themselves from that kind of teaching and claim that those people aren't focusing on God's love, but they are fooling themselves into leaving out all the parts about massacres and killing of innocent children, the raping of women and such by that same "loving" God.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What real salvation is

I discovered an old email account that had a lot of unread emails on it so I went into it to delete them, only to discover my old Christian ladies email loop from ten years ago.  Wow!  I was such a self-righteous bitch.  But I have to say, not as bad as some on that loop.  One comment was about how there were too many gay women posting on a message board we used to frequent and how awful it was that the other "Christian" women didn't have a problem with them flaunting their "sin."  I do remember that conversation vividly and to my relief, I kept silent about it.  But I know what my feelings were about it and I was one of those who looked down my nose at the sinfulness of homosexuality, patting myself on the back that I really, truly did love them.  Just not their "sin."

That's one of the big lies of Christianity.  Love the sinner, hate the sin.  They do no such thing.  They hate the sinner, too.  They loathe them, look condescendingly at them, use them as examples of what evil looks like, discriminate against them and preach sermons against them.  But that's what love looks like in fundie-ville.  They really think that "tough love" is true love. 

Looking back on that email loop, I'm so appalled by my thinking at that time.  Maybe that's why I'm so bitter now and why I won't put up with that kind of talk from Christians today, even liberal ones.  I despise the person I was as a Christian so why would I want to be around people who are just like I was?  Not to mention the hateful way they treated my youngest. the sinner, hate the sin.  They hate the ones who are different, poor, alone.  The only reason they pay any attention to them is to get them "saved" and to score another brownie point with their score-keeper.

Another thing I noticed that disgusted me about my behavior was the way we talked about people who died.  The first question out of our heads was "were they saved?"  Seriously.  As if that was the only thing that mattered.  One woman said neither she nor her husband cried when his dad died because he wasn't "saved."  I expressed so much anguish over loved ones who had died who weren't "saved" also.  In my old fundie church whenever it was announced that someone's family member had died, the first question asked was about their "salvation."  Because their lives, what kind of people they were, who loved them, never mattered as much as whether or not they had ticked the right box on the salvation question.  And it wasn't enough that they were a Christian.  They had to be the right kind of Christian.  As in...Catholics and Episcopalians most likely weren't saved.  Any liberal Christian, probably not.  Definitely not if they were Jewish or Muslim.  Or Pagan.  No one even bothered to ask about a Pagan's salvation as it was known that they were worshiping false gods, therefore were worshiping Satan and we all know what happens to Satan-worshipers, don't we?

I'm deleting the whole nonsense without reading anymore but I am glad that I had the chance to go back and see what I left behind.  And I am so glad I did.  I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't written that Christmas play that led to my loss of faith and my exit from Christianity.  To me, that is real salvation.  I was saved from a system that destroys the heart and soul and spits out a living carcass devoid of life.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stop me before I dream again

 I had a weird dream this morning.  I know it was morning because I had let Professor out for the fourth time and crawled back into bed determined to get some sleep.  It started out with Zach and me going to McDonald's for lunch on Super Bowl Sunday.  When we got there they had all the tables lined up as you would in a church basement fellowship dinner with a huge widescreen tv on the wall.  When I asked if they were open they said whatever was already cooked was all that was available.  Unfortunately there was nothing cooked.  So the scene shifted to St. Mark's, our old Episcopal church.  When we walked in the priest called my name in a surprised way and although I didn't do all the rituals like genuflecting and crossing myself, I was there for the Eucharist.  Not because I believed or anything, just because I missed it.  So the priest said we were waiting until things were set up so Zach and I went into the narthex (foyer) and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I peeked in to discover they had removed a bunch of pews and had set up long tables with McDonald's food on it and a plate with the communion wafers and a pitcher of wine.  I was really pissed off.

Then I woke up.

I'm not sure what to make of the dream.  I occasionally dream of things from my past, more in a nostalgic way rather than a feeling of missing something.  Like the Navy.  I used to have Navy dreams all the time and let me tell you I don't miss that at all.  It occurs to me that there was no sense of feeling like I was being called back to St. Mark's.  If anything, the whole scenario put me off of the church.  (Although I will say that in real life, the parishioners would never in a million years have treated the Eucharist that way.)  Not that I really needed reinforcement of that feeling.

I had read my Tarot and Animal Oracle cards a few days ago and got one of the clearest readings I've ever gotten from them, that I am really on a good path right now.  I guess my Tarot cards are speaking to me, finally.  This is the same brand of Tarot that I ceremonially threw away back in my fundie days, when I entered that dark cavern of religious superiority by burning or throwing away anything that had any semblance of Pagan origin.  I guess I should have gotten rid of the Christmas tree, too, huh?

The Greeks and I are growing more and more comfortable with each other, setting up housekeeping and rituals together.  They were my first love, after all.  I'm trying to get the house cleaned as I find my spiritual direction more clearly defined if I am in the midst of order.  Chaos is not my friend.  Now that I'm feeling better and my back isn't hurting much at all, I'm making some progress and with each room finished I feel lighter and more at peace.

I watched a documentary about the Decorah eagles who I had watched all last spring.  This was about the death of the first mate and the subsequent first clutch of eggs together.  She was a crap mother initially which made me feel a bit better about my own initial attempts at motherhood.  I am so drawn to eagles.  As much as I am to crows.  It's so odd how I never paid any attention to birds at all until I moved here and now they just won't leave me alone.  Hawks, eagles, crows...I feel such a connection with them now.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I found a rooster today.  Or rather Zach found it.  I hadn't thought about looking for a picture to place on the wall above Hermes's altar so while in the aisle looking at lampshades, I saw some pictures.  There in front was a hen, but not what I was looking for.  So Zach dug behind that picture and found a strutting rooster, which is now resting on my dining table waiting for me to put it on the wall.  I had invoked Hermes before leaving home, which is becoming a regular thing for me.  I just light his candle, quietly ask for protection while traveling, blow the candle out and leave.

The picture is a lot bigger than I had intended, but I figure Hermes's ego demands a sizable icon.  It will be the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  Well, past the curtains covering the foyer.

I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving Day.  Mostly because it's just Zach and me and the few attempts I made at trying to have a full-scale T-day event for a child just didn't do it for either of us, so now we just treat it like another day.  In fact, I have a lot on the agenda in the way of cleaning.  We must get the car ready to sell and I must get the kitchen ready for frugal and healthful cooking.  Both of these tasks just can't wait.

But I hope those of you who do celebrate have a wonderful and happy time with family and friends.  For my non-U.S. friends and readers, just have a happy Thursday.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Shopping for the Gods

Today was a pretty good, laid back day with me doing a lot of thinking, a bit of research and some intuitive shopping.  I decided to move my spinning wheel figurine into the kitchen where I have the household goddess's altar, now known as Hestia's altar.  The response from the Goddess was immediate and powerful.  What a connection!

So that got me thinking about moving Zeus (eagle figurine) to the main altar and devoting the piano altar to Hermes since that's in line with the front door and generally in the area where we get ready to go anywhere, he being the God of travelers and all.  So I went to the thrift store to see if I could find a rooster to put there.  I found a few but they weren't exactly what I was looking for.  Several were too badly chipped and paint worn off.  Others were too ugly.

Then I was passing a section with a lot of figurines and one stood out screaming at me.  A beautiful stag in a woodland location just about jumped into my hands.  Which was silly because I wasn't looking for something to represent Artemis. I already had a bell with a buck on top of it for a handle.  Apparently she wasn't crazy about that one, but loved the stag.  So I picked it up, put it down and went looking some more.

I found a lovely swan to represent Apollo and decided that's all I would buy today.  Halfway to the checkout, I turned around and went back to get the stag.  Artemis was quite insistent.  So I came home with two beautiful figurines that look amazing on the altar.  I must get a picture of it very soon.

I really never figured on settling in so well since the Greeks moved in but things are feeling more and more like home.  Well, like a home should feel anyway.  I found a beautiful resin pendant of a peacock (Hera) the other day that I wear with a rawhide strip instead of a chain.  I really, really break out with anything that's not gold, even the hypoallergenic stuff, so I've gone to wearing cloth or rawhide instead.  I also found a resin nautilus pendant that reminds me of Poseidon and I already had an owl pendant (Athena.)  Best thing is, I don't have to hide any of them down my shirt when I run into people I don't want to reveal my spiritual choices to.  'Cause it looks ordinary.

One thing that bothered me before when the Greeks came to visit was the belief that I had to be super-presentable (according to the recons) in order to appeal to the gods.  And the whole concept of miasma, not appearing before them while sick and unclean and such.  I am finding, though, that making sure I brush my hair and teeth, and dressing first thing in the morning is beneficial to my state of mind rather than feeling like I have to be all dressed up before prayers.  Depression can keep me in my pajamas for weeks on end if I don't do anything about it.  This gives me an impetus to take those steps to show respect to myself as well as the gods.

But no, I don't feel like I can't come before the gods unless my hair is brushed, etc.  It's just that taking that step, even when I don't feel like it, puts emphasis on taking care of myself, giving myself importance in the order of events for the day.  Initially I did it because I thought it would be a nice gesture to show the gods that I was trying.  After just a couple of days, I realized how much different I felt about myself when I took those steps first thing.

I don't know how I feel about the other things the recons say are needed for orthopraxy.  Not terribly worried about it at all.  I feel like the gods have moved on from 3000 BCE.  I can even imagine Poseidon in a Hawaiian shirt  and khaki shorts instead of a tunic.  In fact...I can't get that image out of my head now.

Oh, well.  I'm sure that if they called me to them, they know enough about me to know that I would look terrible in a chiton, more like a beached whale, so they seem to be fine with me in sweatshirts and jeans.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chance meetings

Last night I needed to run to the store and as I hadn't gotten the kitchen up to speed yet (nor most of the house) we just stopped at Arby's for a sandwich.  Had a pleasant time mostly just watching the news station on their tv which, thankfully, wasn't Faux Noise, then sat and discussed some of the stories we saw.  Before leaving Zach made a trip to the bathroom while I was gathering up the trash and such.  There had been a large family sitting at a table near us but as they were well-behaved I didn't pay them much attention.  Then the woman walked toward me and I thought she might need the time or directions or something.

Nope.  It was someone from my old fundie church whom I hadn't seen in about 5 years.  Unlike most other people, though, I genuinely liked her so I was pleased, albeit nervous, to see her.  We caught up and while I didn't quite lie to her, I wasn't completely honest about why we no longer went to church.  She asked about Zach and I asked about her daughter, who is a year older than Zach.

It was really hard to keep my face neutral when she told me that A was going to some International House of Prayer seminary type thing.  They are the Dominionists that were behind the Rick Perry religious fest down in Texas.  The link is from CARM, which I'm not endorsing but using to show that most Christian organizations are distancing themselves from it.  Apparently A sleeps from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and then prays for the next 8 hours, then works the remaining 8 hours.  Sounds like a cult to me.

But S didn't seem to indicate in her mannerism that she found anything wrong with this at all.  Although she might have been hiding her true feelings as she had told me when A graduated high school that she was so disappointed that A wasn't going on to college but was going to attend some Assembly of God pseudo seminary type of school, which wouldn't have given her any tools to get a job anywhere, not even within the Assembly of God. 

Thing is, this is the kind of thing that was pushed in the youth group in the church we belonged to (and one of the biggest reasons S and her husband left that particular fundie church).  The youth pastor kept telling Zach he should become a minister and tried to push him into attending a very expensive Assembly of God college in which he couldn't use any federal grants or federal backed student loans.  These were the people who nickeled and dimed us to death to pay for their sound equipment for the youth groups so it would look like a rock concert.

I'm so glad we escaped that cult-like atmosphere and while Zach is still very much damaged by them, I'm so glad he had the strength to resist their indoctrination.  And mine for that matter.  His escape enabled me to leave.  My son rescued me, no doubt about it.

After a few pleasantries, we parted company.  When we got to the car, I noticed Zach was shaking like a leaf.  Even though S was one of the few really good people in that church, just that connection brought back all the old memories and pain he endured while there.

I know that as a Pagan I'm supposed to be more tolerant and allow others to have the right to choose their own spiritual paths, but it frightens me how close I came to ruining Zach's life by choosing his path for him.  And how many years of my life were wasted by my parents not only choosing, but locking me into the spiritual path of their choice.  I'm not saying parents shouldn't share their religious faith and beliefs with their children.  But forcing them into it is, in my mind and based on my own experiences, as damaging as child abuse in some cases.

I admit that I will walk down a different aisle or change directions whenever I see anyone from the old fundie church mostly because I hate the third degree (which S didn't do at all, thankfully) and can't get past feeling like I have to justify why I left that life behind.  I know that this is where I need to grow stronger, but it's still very annoying to be questioned as if I were a criminal.

Maybe this is the biggest reason I am such a recluse, a loner and have so many social anxieties.  I just hope Zach escaped early enough he can heal soon and not continue to suffer the anxiety he's enduring now.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting rid of those buttons people want to keep pushing

So...the epilogue to the story of yesterday was that the person in question decided to use her husband's account to further berate me (and accuse me of being the antagonist, because of course they never are, being perpetual victims).  I should have just let it go and unfriended her husband's account (which I only used for game playing) but I didn't.  Eventually I deleted my last comment and just said that I didn't need to defend or explain my actions to anyone, then deleted her husband's account.  Let her have the last word.  I don't fucking care.

But it brought to mind how manipulative people can be over being "friended" on facecrack.  How dare you unfriend me over ONE thing I said (not verbatim, but close).  It wasn't just one thing, actually, since there was another occasion where she jumped in my shit because I said I wasn't comfortable hanging with people who thought my prayers had cooties, but even if it was, it's my fucking right to do so. I still have some fundie friends who don't bother me at all.  I don't jump in the stuff they post and they don't jump in the things I post.  Unless it's funny.  Or something they're interested in.  And I love to coo over their grandchildren.  I call that respect.  What was done to me yesterday was the real disrespect.

I am no longer a doormat.  You don't have the right to try to fix me or tell me what my problems are unless I invite you to.  And I can guarantee you that I'm not sending out invitations any time soon.  The only exceptions are those people I do seek advice from, those of you who read and comment on this blog.  It's fair game when I offer myself up in order to grow.  Fundies excluded, of course.

So in the future, I need to just let it go and delete, unfriend or ignore.  Whatever it takes to take care of myself.

So, I got off the computer and cleaned the living room which was so very cathartic in itself.  Order just soothes my soul.  Or is that rock and roll?

I also cleaned and sorted my altar out, making it more in keeping with the Greeks.  And discovering that many of the pieces I have on my altar represent some of the Greek Gods in a very specific way.  I guess I was heading in that direction after all.  I guess when they want you, they direct you until you discover where you really are supposed to be.

I poured out a libation to Hermes the other night.  I used milk as I don't keep wine here since no one drinks it.  I can't because of medication I'm on.  In the middle of the night I heard some slurping and saw Hannibal with his nose down in the cream pitcher, gulping down my libation.  If Hermes doesn't mind, I don't either so I poured it into a bowl so he could get to it without getting his face stuck. 

All in all it hasn't been a bad day.  The old me would  have fretted and worried and had to have the last word.  I like the new me better.  Isn't it odd how I'm a much better person as a Pagan than I ever was as a Christian.  Even my husband says so. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pushing my buttons

I got a really snarky response to something I posted on Facecrack by someone I thought was a liberal to moderate Christian. This is the exchange:
On the way home from our vacation/hospital-stay, Victor and I ended up traveling with a very well-meaning man who wouldn’t stop talking about how God put me in the hospital on purpose because apparently He hates me.

Name deleted:  Disrespect of faith. When did that get to be okay with you?

Me: When is it okay for someone to browbeat a fellow passenger with information that God is punishing them? I'm fed up to here with the Christian privilege that says whatever Christians do is okay but it's not okay to criticize Christians. The author was mocking the person who deemed it necessary to "witness" to her

Name deleted: I'm pretty sure that you know I don't think browbeating anyone is okay. This blog went way beyond mocking the person who did the browbeating. Seriously, Kathy. What would you think if we substituted a few different names in there? You'd think the person who posted it was being disrespectful of your faith, right?
 Me: No, I wouldn't because I have a sense of humor about these things. And no, they were making fun of his platitudes about God opening up a window, not about Christianity.

Me: So I asked another Christian friend if this crossed a line and the person said that no, they were making fun of the guy and his platitudes, besides which...God closing a door and opening a window isn't even in the Bible so it's not even scripture. They were making fun of the guy for being arrogant enough to think that he was "helping."
End exchange

I still think it's hilarious and am a bit pissed off that the responder chose to immediately chastise me instead of just saying, "hey, I find that offensive."  In which case I would have extended my apologies that she was offended but I wouldn't have changed a thing because as my Christian friend (who has asked to remain anonymous in order to stay out of it) says, it's making fun of a guy and his platitudes because he thinks he's helping the Bloggess into the kingdom of his god.

Of late, I've noticed that friends who I often thought of as liberal/moderate are coming across nearly as fundie as the fundie friends I've had to push out of my life.  And that includes some relatives of mine as well.

This particular friend has let me know that this blog makes her feel uncomfortable.  I'm guessing it's because I criticize Christianity and Christians.  I don't ridicule it/them and I don't make shit up about it/them.  I'm talking about my experiences and the way I view it now that I'm free from it.  Personal experience.  It's not like what some of the Christians out there do, by making shit up and passing it off as truth.  Which, when I was a Christian, I totally bought because of course, they wouldn't be lying because that would be a sin.  Except they do.  All the time.

And that particular commandment about not bearing false witness.  Which really isn't about telling lies so much as it's about falsely damaging someone's reputation.  Deliberately damaging someone's reputation.  Which a lot of these fundie types do all the time.  Because the minions believe everything they say.

So,  yeah...a bit pissed off today.  The whole Christian privilege thing that goes on includes not criticizing their brand of mythology because that's sacrilege.  But it's okay to make up shit about what Pagans really believe, how they practice and what their history/mythology really is.

But it's outrageous to make a silly little joke about a silly little man who thinks platitudes really help people.

ETA:  The rest of the exchange:

Name deleted:  Kathy, I didn't miss what you think was the point of the blog. Really, I got that part, okay? Ridiculing Jesus being born "in a barn" and some imaginary conversation where He & God are sniping at each other in a demeaning fashion--none of that had ANYTHING to do with the guy. As for a sense of humor--that surprised me. If you had no sacred cows of your own, I wouldn't expect you to get it. But since you do, and since we know how you feel about people being disrespectful about them, I'm pretty surprised that you'd think this is funny. We'lll have to agree to disagree.

  • ME:  We used to make cracks about Jesus being born in a barn years ago when I was a very devout Christian. And exchanges like the one above, imagining conversations between God and Jesus. In my old fundamenalist church. So you're offended, I get that. But obviously other Christians find this funny so it's not me being disrespectful at all.

  • Me:  And my sacred cows consist of being called a Satan worshiper. Not quite the same as having a sense of humor about God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beware of Greeks bearing luggage

I'd write more here if I had something worth saying, but mostly I'm just a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants Pagan and winging it as I go.  But I have been paying a bit more attention to my surroundings of late, wondering, pondering and putting the pieces of the puzzles together.  There always seems to be pieces missing though.

The Greeks have come for a visit since I last invoked Hermes during the stranded-in-the-next-town-late-at-night debacle.  And they brought luggage this time.  Which of course made me question why it is whenever I feel a need to call on a diety out of despair or need, I always call on the Greeks, never the Celts.  Well, actually they brought it up when I asked about the luggage.  They also pointed out that I still have an altar to Zeus on my piano and have accidentally prayed to Hestia instead of Brighid on a regular basis.  Then there are the eagles and crows they've been sending to me, trying to get my attention.

Apparently they have a point as I instinctively called upon Hermes again tonight when Tom's truck died on his way to work, just two days before he's supposed to leave for his hunting trip. Artemis showed up as well, being interested in Tom's intentions in hunting, which I hope I explained to her satisfaction.

They also pointed out that my problem isn't with them, it's with their adherents, which they claim they're not responsible for.  So after promising not to frequent those sites anymore, I invited them to stay.  I'm not saying they're on probation but if they start insisting on heels and hose for prayers, I'll pack their bags for them myself.  But I suspect they're really a lot more laid back about things than some people want them to be. 

I'm not feeling particularly giddy that this seems to be the right path for me.  In fact, I feel a bit casual about it all, accepting that this is probably the right thing for me, although I'm not ruling anything out. If this is just a lengthy visit then I'll take that all in stride and deal with it, but if they're moving in permanently, then I'll make this as comfortable a home for them as I can.

But they have a point that I only call upon them in times of need.  It's like sending out invitations.  If you don't want people to visit, don't ask them to.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still trying to find my way

My back problem has been interfering with my progress although you would think it gave me time to sit down and do a lot of reading.  In reality what it gave me was time to play video games because they take my mind off the pain.  Reading only gives me more time to whine about it.

But while I was online yesterday I came across a blog title (although I didn't read the article) about how you treat the gods.  I can't remember exactly how it went but it was along the lines of either worshiping the gods or using them for when you need something.  It's a problem I've struggled with for years, including the time I was a Christian.  I don't get the need to beg for favors and keep begging in order for the deity to deign to look down from on high and reach out to help us.  On the other hand, in any relationship there must be some give and take.  But in my dealings with my gods, I tend not to ask for anything because I am uncomfortable doing that.  I know that some gods require a sacrifice for the favors they bestow.  Others seem to expect you to do all you can before they will intervene.  Still others will send their strength or energy to enable you to take care of the problem yourself.  I just know what I'm comfortable with and that's not with asking for help in every little thing. 

Sure, I called upon Hermes when I was stranded out of town.  It was an instinctive thing and I offered a libation to him the next day in return for the help he gave.  But as a rule, I don't ask for favors much.  I had problems as a Christian in feeling like I was bossing Yahweh around with all my requests, as if I was entitled to the solutions I expected of him.  So now all I do is offer up, in my daily rituals, resolutions for what I hope to accomplish or who I hope to be.  As in...May I be productive and centered today as I go about my work.  Instead of ...Help me to be productive and centered today as I go about my work.  For one thing, I believe the gods expect us to grow without their holding our hands and dragging us through our rough spots.  I could be wrong, but the whole notion of not being able to do anything without a god's help makes me feel weak and helpless.

But maybe, again, that's just me and I could be wrong.  I just know that while I'm not there yet, I'm in much better shape emotionally and stronger spiritually than I was when I was required to lean on a god's strength, not trusting my own.

This morning, I lit my hearth candle (a shelf next to my sink) invoking Brighid, who I must admit I've had a hard time connecting to.  After my morning prayer, I told her that I wasn't comfortable asking for healing help as I've had such a hard time feeling a connection with her and felt like it was too much like "using" her to do that.  For the first time, I felt that inner glow.  I feel it frequently with Danu, but never have with Brighid.  I came away from the experience feeling much loved and connected with her, but not healed.  Although the pain is much less than it was before and I'm glad to give her credit for it because the pain has been very distracting.  If she has chosen to lighten my load a bit, I am truly grateful.  Even moreso for not having begged for help.  And I'll be glad to give her credit.

For me it's like when my husband does something for me without being asked.  It always feels more sincere and loving than when I have to ask or plead with him to do something for me.  Then again...if you don't ask, you don't usually get.  Still, doesn't it feel better to help someone out of love rather than out of obligation?

But then again, I might be totally full of shit.  LOL  I'm still learning who the gods are, after all.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Easing in and easing up

My year and a day aren't progressing at warp speed but I'm okay with that.  In fact, I feel better about easing into it instead of jumping in with both feet.  I've watched some travelogues and documentaries and researched some things online but I haven't really sat down to do any reading, which I should do before the books are due back at the library.

I'm having a horrendous flair of my fibromyalgia right now in which my pain pills aren't dulling the pain much, but oddly my mood is better than it's been in months.  I think it's because I genuinely like doing frugal things and trying to be environmentally responsible.  I feel like I accomplish something when I don't spend money or when I don't waste something.  And that makes me feel more connected to the spiritual side of things better than studying 10 books.

My winterizing will be done this weekend and I can cozy up under a blanket and knit or spin or read in the afternoons after my chores are done.  And I will be so glad when I'm done with it.  I only have the plastic to put on 5 windows and lay down some carpet on the back hallway to insulate the floor and I'm done.

And just as winter sets in, my dryer quits on me, but oddly that makes me feel good, too, knowing that I can use the clothesline or the indoor racks and do just fine.  It's good not to fall apart when technology fails you.

So in the scheme of things, I feel like this is all part of my year and a day and while I will get to the more indepth things I want to study, I like just growing into it.  It feels much more natural.  And that gives me more of a certainty that I will succeed in this rather than creating an artificial structure that I'm constantly battling against.

It feels good to feel good about it all.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Truly a blessed Samhain

Yesterday was magnificent in spite of not using a formal ritual or a lot of preparation.  My small, yet personal ritual seemed to draw the gods in as well as the ancestors and a good time was had by all.  I got my cards out and while I'm still not getting a whole lot of sense from Tarot, the Animal Druid Oracles are smacking me in the face with their observations and suggestions.

Once again I drew the cards dealing with initiation, commitment and divination with a new card that warns about not letting it all go to your head.  So I decided that my "year and a day" started last night.  After a remarkable time with the gods and ancestors, I sat on the couch in front of my brightly lit candles to meditate upon what I had learned from the ritual, only to fall immediately asleep for about 20 minutes.  In that time I had a vivid dream but the shock of waking up drove it completely from my memory. 

But I still feel pretty good about it all.  Not that my "year and a day" initiation will be anything formal or driven by any particular flavor of Pagan.  I have books I can selectively draw from but my main source will be Nature herself.  As divination was one of the suggestions from the cards, I plan on learning more about that as well, in a more structured manner than I have been using, but learning to use my intuition as well.  And the Spellcasting book I got will be part of my "curriculum" too.  All in all, it will be a year and a day of learning to structure my time in such a way that I am productive, but not rigid enough to stifle my creativity.  Following through isn't my strong point at all so this should be an interesting year.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nature is outside, stupid!

My encounters with Nature are too few and too infrequent because you have to actually get out of the house for the most part.  But today as I was driving back from picking up my prescriptions I saw a doe racing across a cleared corn field toward the highway.  I tapped my brakes, hoping the cars in front of me would see her and do the same.  They did, fortunately.  She got to the side of the road, freaked out for a second, then shot across the road and tried to enter the uncleared corn field.  After a few failed attempts she found a path into safety.  I wondered what had her racing for her life, as it seemed.  Tom informed me it's rutting season but there was no buck following her.  I think she didn't like being out in an open field.

I love those moments but I don't seek them out as often as I should.  I don't even need to leave my yard because I have my lovely crows, the chittering squirrels, the rat-bastard chipmunks who torment the daylights out of Professor and have had a pheasant dine at the spillage from my bird feeders before.  And there have been coyotes within a block or two.  Not to mention the doe I saw in the across-the-street neighbor's yard last winter.  And the hawk that was sitting in the tree out front.  And of course, my wonderful birds, including the cardinal family who live in the thicket between the yard and the highway.

So why don't I take advantage of it more often?  I must try harder, especially as the yard needs so much attention.  With the weather cooling off the neighbors won't be outside in the evenings so much and even when they are, it shouldn't force me into the house.  I mean...I should be able to enjoy my yard no matter if they are outside or not.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for Samhain this year but I am doing something.  I can feel the veil thinning as I stand in front of the ancestors' altar, every time I drive by a cemetery.  In fact, I think I might take a walk through one next week.  Monday will be busy with picking up the new car and doing something with the old one so I won't have a lot of time to do anything.  And I want to visit the Mounds so Zach and I might do that tomorrow.  I guess we could swing by the cemetery in town tomorrow as well.  It's a beautiful forested cemetery with walking lanes.

But no matter what I do, it will be the right thing for me.  I'm not as concerned with following rituals as I used to be, and I am comfortable with winging it if I need to.  I'm also thinking of starting a period of study starting on Samhain, keeping a journal of my activities, my studies and my thoughts along the way.  The animal oracles were clear that I needed to formalize an "initiation" period of sorts.  It didn't specify training for anything specifically, just that I needed to do that much.  I like the idea.  I think it will be a growing experience to study and document my progress, not to mention I could use the discipline, another thing the cards were quite firm about.  It's certainly one of my weak points that I would love to make stronger.

Well, for now I'm going to bed to knit and commune with my newly re-found Goddess Brighid.  I've had a really hard time connecting with her but today it all just seemed to come together, with all the other gods, too.  I just had to stop overthinking it all.

ETA:  I forgot about the goat I saw on the side of the road on my way home from taking Tom to work.  It normally is in the enclosure with the horses but it was on the side of the road munching that "greener grass" we all hear about.  I almost stopped at the house to tell them he was out, but I'm a huge chicken.  He was back in the enclosure when I went to pick Tom up.  But he was a handsome black goat with gorgeous horns.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just a brief note

Nellie had an excellent response to my last usual.  More of her wonderful wisdom is available on her blog.  I highly recommend reading it.

Last night was a real pain in the ass but I won't go over it again.  It's on my other blog so if you're a glutton for punishment, you can read about it there.

But...we did have an amazing happening.  The person who helped us find a universal charger at StuffMart was wearing a beautiful pentacle pendant that was very similar to my Green Man pendant.  I'm guessing she's Pagan as well, but I didn't say anything to her although it was like meeting a fellow traveler when you're in a foreign country.

Today will be spent on the couch knitting, reading and napping.  And thanking Hermes, who was the only one I could think of to call on while trekking miserably across town in the cold and dark.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Doing it my way

I think I'm going to stop reading about the Celtic pantheon and just worship them the way I see them.  I found a really nice book about Celtic spirituality and the mythology of various gods that I really do enjoy reading.  But I found out that my pronunciations are way off so the gods I've been praying to don't necessarily have the same names as the ones other people pray to.  I've been pronouncing Danu, dan-oo, instead of dona, which I can't say I like at all.  I prefer dan-oo.  It was really discouraging.  Plus I found out that Cernnunos isn't Celtic at all, but Gaulish.

I guess this is a problem with not speaking the language of the various gods, but I would have to learn about 5 different languages to get it all right.  I'm guessing they know who they are and don't give a ripe shit about my lousy pronunciation as long as I give them love and devotion.

I was so discouraged last night that I just threw my hands up and prayed, before bed, that whoever out there in the ether wanted me to worship them should let me know while I slept.  And I dreamed about Cernnunos.  Not an ambiguous dream at all.  So I guess they'll put up with my mispronunciations, my ignorance about their mythologies and histories and just accept me as I am.  I mean...they called me, after all.  It it were important, I'm sure they would have let me know from the beginning how to pronounce their names.

Besides, I don't think I'm the only one who gets it wrong as I've heard The Morrigan pronounced as spelled instead of The Morrian, as the books says it's pronounced.

I don't think I got any of them right. Even Lugh was apparently pronounced more like Louie than Loo.  I'm going with my pronunciations

Monday, October 24, 2011

Leaving a cult

It's been a week since I last posted, although I have a running commentary going on in my mind at all times.  I just rarely ever get it down on paper.  Or computer.

A couple of days ago I ran into a former friend from my old fundie church at StuffMart, which is my most likely place of socialization these days.  She ran up to me acting like I was her best friend.  I was friendly but reserved.  I kept the cart between us because I didn't want a hug.  Not because I don't like her, but because with my fibromyalgia, I can't handle the squeezing hugs that fundies normally do.  Painful.

She made it sound like "God" had arranged our meeting because she had been working on Walk thru Bethlehem that morning. I was very closely associated with that play while there...I wrote one of the best plays they had ever had there.  Not bragging...just what I was told.  (Yet I wasn't allowed to get any credit for it publicly because that was seeking glory for myself although the pastor and the director got their names and pictures in the paper.)  Then she was gushing about the sunset, which was magnificent I will say.  But she had to go off on scientists for "trying to prove evolution was true" when it was obvious that "God" had created that sunset.

I was noncommital, but friendly.  I just couldn't fake enthusiasm.  Yes, I enjoyed the sunset and could do so even while believing in evolution.  I happen to think the gods created evolution, but there you are.

Today while perusing the internet (sans Sims Social which I had to delete because it was messing up my computer and turning me into an addict) I ran into a video about creating new socializations after leaving a cult.  Now the cult she was talking about was fundie-ville in Christianland.  And yes it is a cult.  I didn't listen to the video because my computer isn't a fan of long videos and creates a huge lag but the title alone gave me a lot of room for thought.  So, even acknowledging that I probably have social anxiety, it's conceivable that I developed it because I was in a cult.  I had no friends outside fundie-ville, didn't seek friends outside that locale, and was afraid to hear what anyone outside my compound might have to say.  I avoided any documentaries that questioned Christianity, wouldn't read any books that disagreed with my brand of it and avoided any conversations that required me to think out exactly what it is I believed.

And that, my friends, is what a cult is all about.  I heard from the pulpit, from the teachers in bible study, from casual conversations, from the internet to avoid anyone who would tell me things that didn't line up with what I was taught in church.  I knew what books to avoid and relied on the teachers to tell me what the bible meant and what I was to believe.

Until it came to Harry Potter.  Oh, I bought into it for a long time, believing all they said it was about until I actually read the books for myself.  I got to wondering just what it was they read because it was nothing like what they said Harry Potter was.  Then I tended to view other things they said with a more skeptical eye.  Still staying within the cult mentality though.

But since leaving, I don't know how to make friends.  I've got a few internet friends but they tend to come and go as interests change and people grow.  But in real life friends are impossible for me to make.  And I think it's because of the damage of living within a cult for 22 years or so.  That kind of stuff scars you...badly.

That being said, there may be a Pagan meetup in Madison in November that I'd like to go to as it's on the east side, which is all I know of Madison.  Pending reliable transportation, that is.  Zach has agreed to go with me so I'm not walking into the restaurant alone.

It's time to stop letting fundamentalism keep me from having a life.  It's time I stopped letting my fears rule me.  And I've got a few weeks to gain the courage to get in the truck and go.

I'll admit that I despise Christianity.  Not Christians per se, as not all of them are arrogant, whiney, assholes.  But the whole system itself is damaging, even within the liberal perspective.  You can't add sugar and chocolate to shit in order to make it more palatable.  It's still going to make you ill.  Or worse.

But then again, I am a bitter old crone.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Beginning the preparations

I'm behind on setting up my Samhain altar but I did manage to dig out the ancestors' pictures for the wall above it.  As I spent the day running errands, I won't get much done today but hopefully tomorrow at the latest I'll have it ready.  I really like this time of year, this kind of festival.  You can feel the veil thinning, the energy escaping from beyond.  This weekend Zach and I plan to go to the Mounds to offer up a sacrifice to the ancestors there.  They aren't my Native American ancestors but they are ancestors that deserve honoring.  Mine are too far away, being from the southwest but I feel certain that these will adopt me as their own, no matter how miniscule the Native American contribution to my DNA.

I also hope to have some pictures up some time this week, of my altars and my Halloween decorations.  And hopefully will take pictures of our journey through the Mounds.  I don't plan on going there on Samhain.  At least not this year.  I want to focus more on settling in with the Celtic gods who have called me and been so patient waiting for me to accept their offer.  I think I finally have.

I was reading on a Greek reconstructionist place on the internet and was astonished to read them talking about inactive proselytizing as a way to increase the members of their group.  They even called it an outreach and used Christian paradigms as a way to do this proselytizing.  One member was outraged but the others seemed okay with it.  They want to increase their numbers to be competitive with Christianity, it seems. I think this is a large part of why I can't seem to connect with the Greek gods longer than a day or two.  There is too much going on of late that reminds me of Christianity, including their disdain for Pagans out there.  One of the statements was that since the Greek gods were perfect, there was no need for any other gods.  I know they meant that those who worshiped the Greek gods, but it smacked ever so strongly of fundamentalism.  And it nauseated me.  Maybe not all Greek recons are like that but this was enough to make me back far away.

I know the gods are not the same as their followers but I am a bit gun shy about being associated with any group that is that dogmatic.  Not to mention I really hate all the deconstruction of what the gods believe, who they are, what is the proper way to worship, etc.  Why make it that hard?  I don't mind good conversations, but why make it so hard to be a worshiper?

So I think my visits with the Greeks might be few and far between from now on.  Besides, there are many more gods to visit from time to time.  Debra suggested the Hindu gods.  And I've been fascinated by the Norse gods most of my life, too.  Plus I've been intrigued by the South American Native gods, too.  Not to mention the Native American gods here.

Speaking of which...I watched Navajo Cops on National Geographic this weekend and loved it.  Mostly for the acceptance they had of their spiritual beliefs and how they had to manage them when faced with obstacles in their jobs.  What was intriguing was the skinwalkers and how they take them seriously.  One cop demonstrated what he did for protection before going on his job.  I'll watch this show in the future.

Well, I should get some work done, including fixing supper so maybe I'll be able to sit down and read a bit before I turn on the tv for knitting.  I've decided I have to give up my Sims game on facebook because it's sucking the life out of me and taking up too much time.  There is so much more I want to do out there besides making an imaginary home.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm getting genuinely excited about Samhain, one of my favorite festivals of the year.  It's also drawing me in a distinctly Celtic direction and creating an interest in learning more about the Celtic myths and history.  Letting the path guide me instead of me directing the path has been a very interesting experience.

But one thing keeps popping up for me is that my pull toward the Greeks never seems to last long.  It's like I stop in for a visit, as you would relatives who live far away.  Thinking about my last post, about re-reading books from my past, gave me much to ponder about the past.  And it occurred to me that the Greeks were the gods of my youth even though I never worshiped them as such.  But they were my passion and I spent many a daydream-filled afternoon wishing I lived in the times when they were worshiped.  Of course, as a Christian and a child, I never really believed they existed...or did I?  Perhaps in the depths of my mind, I did believe in them.

But I came to a realization that the pull I feel toward them is more nostalgic in nature.  When I heed that call, I enjoy the first few days until the novelty wears off and I long for the Celtic gods and the culture that goes with them.  It's like a visit that has lasted too long.  Guests, like fish, lose their freshness after a few days after all.

Still, it's nice to visit now and then, but my heart does truly lie with the Celtic/druid/eclectic path.  When I left Christianity, I told myself that any spiritual path I took must feel as natural as breathing and only this path provides that for me.

I do hope that I'm done with wavering and meandering all over the path.  It's good for a while, but sometimes you want to make progress toward your destination.  And right now, I'm tired of wandering.  But if I get wanderlust again, I will not hesitate to visit the Greeks, or maybe even the Norse gods, or whoever invites me for a vacation.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Re-reading from the past

When I was in grade school, I was reading from the adult section of the library more than the children's section.  I was always fascinated with Roman and Greek history and mythology so Edith Hamilton's Greek Mythology was a frequent companion.  I also read a book called A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell about Cicero, a book which created an image of him that I admired.  I thought I would re-read the book from a Pagan perspective, and a liberal one.

What tripe!  She has created a fictional figure who was a Christian before Christ, a near-mythological figure whose meteoric rise in politics was ordained by God and whose politics are reminiscent of the John Birch organization the author was a member of.  A largely famous quotation is attributed to Cicero by the Tea Party that is in fact something Caldwell made up for her character.  It's pretty much a party-line meme about how the poor won't work and want to live off the government.

So...while I'm not a book-burner or want to ban any books, this one is going in the trash.  It's old, the pages are so thin they tear when I turn the page and the pages are yellowed so badly the print is barely discernable.  But the bottom line is I wouldn't want anyone else to grab hold of this book and think it was a good book.

I have plenty to read from the library and since this is a personal book, (I would never throw away a library book!) it's my prerogative to throw it away.  She also has some facts wrong about the religion of the Romans but I'm not going to go into that as that would take a lot more reading and notations and I just couldn't be bothered to do all that.

I have two more books I read in the past that are in my book bag.  One is The Grass Crown and the other is I, Claudius.  I'm just curious to see how these books read as a Pagan.  Last time I read them I was a Christian.

I'm enjoying the weather lately.  We've had temps in the 70s and low 80s with a nice breeze.  If I wasn't going through a horrendous fatigue cycle right now I would be outside enjoying it more.  As it is, I'm not doing much of anything.  Except reading.  My knitting has been put aside for a couple of days due to the fatigue because I've determined not to fight it anymore, but to ride it out.  I'm experimenting to see if the cycle will be shorter if I don't try to fight my way through it.  We'll see how that works.

This is the first year we've decorated for Halloween.  I haven't done a lot...just a table with an orange throw on it that I crocheted last year with a lantern a jack o lantern candle holder, a black LED candle and a black rose.  I'll try to get pictures soon.  It's one of many things I would like to start doing more of, including pencil sketching and hopefully, painting.  Not to mention dyeing my hand spun Welsh top and preparing my Shetland fleece for spinning.  I actually get excited about doing things, but having the energy to do them is preventing me from getting started.  Again...maybe I use up most of what I have in fighting it.  We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm spending more time in ritual than I have done in the past, enjoying the time spent at my altar more and more.  Not sure what I'm going to do for Samhain just yet.  I'm not overly concerned about it; something will happen.  I've been looking at the Greek celebrations and really do like some of them.  There is a Libation to Poseidon on Saturday and although I don't have wine I'll figure something out.  Or maybe I'll just go pick up a small bottle of wine.  I can't drink because of medication but it would be nice to have wine for rituals.  And a sip of wine now and then is okay with the dr.  I'll just go with what my instincts are telling me.

But for now, my body is telling me to take a nap.  I only got 3 hours of sleep last night and I won't be able to function without one.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I can't say that I've worked much on the social anxiety thing because I've been pretty busy with the pain and fatigue that always comes with changing seasons.  Damned fibromyalgia.  But it's an issue that is on my mind and I will work on it.  Last week I didn't have my usual companion because Zach didn't want to go anywhere so I had to go by myself.  I did stick to my safe places, though.  But at least I went out alone.

Lately I've been just dealing with the debilitating fatigue that is much worse for me than the pain.  Except in the middle of the night when I can't sleep because of it.  Which leads, of course, to the fatigue.  But today Zach and I were talking about awareness and it occurred to me that I am just sleepwalking through life.  I don't pay attention to Nature or people around me.  I'm just barely making it through the day.  I'd really like to be more in tune with Nature...spending time observing Her in all Her glory, paying attention to the lessons She has for me.  I'd settle for just making it through the day, though.

One area in which I am succeeding is letting the Path unfold before me.  It's taking odd turns now and then and instead of fighting the wheel, I'm letting the vehicle take the turns on its own.  More and more I find the Greeks calling me.  I got some books from the library on Celtic mythology but they sat on my table unopened until it was time to take them back.  I did, however, read my Greek mythology books and historical fiction.  Actually it was Roman historical fiction.  I've discovered that historical fiction about the Celts or Druids doesn't interest me at all, but I haven't found a book on the Greeks or Romans that I can walk away from. 

What I have had to do, though, is avoid anything to do with Greek Reconstruction, as that totally spoils it for me.  It becomes an entirely different religion or spiritual path if the rules are set in stone.  Or if I have to follow a rigid path because that's the way the ancients did it.  I'm inclined to think the gods didn't stagnate so we shouldn't either.  Any form of reconstructionism just reminds me too much of the life I left behind.  And I'm trying very hard to avoid anything that smacks of "my way or the highway" theology.  Had that, thankyouverymuch, and never want to have it again.

For now, I'm still not committing to anything, letting the carpet unfold beneath me (red, of course) and enjoying the journey.  If I end up with a mish-mash of Celtic-Greek spirituality, it's all good.  Or if I end up one or the other, I will have had a journey of discovery and enlightenment.  It's still all good.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Paralyzed by fear

Dark Mother brought up something in the comments about putting things off instead of just doing them so instead of writing a book in the comment section, I thought I would address it here. 

I have had a fear of failure all my life.  Not a normal fear that I might fail.  A debilitating fear that has left me paralyzed at times and unable to move forward.  I did manage to overcome it at times, like when I joined the Navy or when I moved across country to live with a boyfriend who turned out to be a real jerk.  Or several years ago when I sang solos in church or was part of the drama team...mostly behind the scenes though.

But I have had intervals when I just couldn't move forward.  Like now.  I was in therapy for a while for a variety of reasons and we touched on this but nothing much came of any kind of treatment.  Now I seem to be in paralysis again, unable to leave the house except for my safe places and safe people.  For some reason, the people at Wendy's make me comfortable and I'll drop in there frequently for a soda or a salad or a cup of chili, just to have someone to talk to or a safe place to read a book. 

I can shop, go to the doctor, library and several other places, but the thought of going to the Pagan Pride Day picnic fills me with abject terror at the notion of driving there and walking into a group of people I don't know.  Several years ago I went to a knitting night at a nearby town's yarn store and ended up leaving sick to my stomach because no one spoke to me.  It's been one of the problems I've had ever since I left the Navy and became a stay at home mom.  Finding friends has been a horrendous experience.  Moreso now that I no longer have a church to attend.

Not that I found friends there.  I was talking to Zach last night and told him that I knew I had to leave our fundie church when I stopped "greeting" people and discovered that no one came to "greet" me.  In 5+ years at that church, I walked away without a single phone call from anyone.  I would run into some people from time to time and they would be friendly, but no one called to find out what was wrong or why we left.  It was as if we had never existed.

This adds to my difficulties in finding friends because I expect that kind of treatment from everyone.  When I talk of not being able to make friends, I don't mean that I'm just shy.  I mean that I become physically ill at the thought of opening my mouth and introducing myself or beginning a conversation.  Abject terror.  Irrational fears.

I don't know why it's gotten worse as I've gotten older but I'm nearly a recluse now.  Even maintaining relationships online is a struggle for me, as Tana will attest.  I disappear from time to time, withdrawing from everyone because I just can't cope with the intensity of being in a friendship.

So it's not just that I can't move forward and get things done.  I am paralyzed at times and can't even live life. I thought last night what a shame it's been that I lost the last 10 years of my life hiding inside myself.  I wish I knew the answer to solving this problem.

The bright light in this dark period of my life has been the path my spirituality has taken.  I have found refuge in the arms of Danu and the strength of Cernnunos and the creativity of Lugh.  Now it is up to me to lean on that strength and not just allow myself to move forward but to push myself outside my comfort zone.  I still have that abject terror but it's easier knowing I'm not alone.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Mabon, Autumn Equinox, Alban Elfed, etc...

I really just call it the Autumn Equinox, because I'm not comfortable calling it Mabon for a variety of reasons.  I'm far from following a reconstructionist path, but I do like to base my way of doing things on how they might have been done in times past.  Not having that information, I try to be intuitive instead of trying to decide it was done this way or that way.  I like to think that the ancestors would have expected us to make our celebrations and rituals our own instead of doing things the way they had always been done.  I got enough of that attitude as a Baptist.  It was the Baptist mantra, in fact.

I probably won't do anything elaborate tonight.  I'm tired, achy from the change in weather that is affecting both my arthritis and my fibromyalgia.  And there are some allergy issues with my nose going on as well.  Still, I plan on lots of candles, lots of silence and plenty of prayer and talking to the gods.  I tend to babble if I'm just left on my own so I like that I have prayers and rituals I can follow and adapt to my purpose.  I love, love, love being eclectic and going where I'm led to go.  Very liberating.

I hope to get some pictures of various altars and outside areas and such in the future.  Zach and I are addressing our eating habits and trying to feed ourselves spiritually as well, thinking that we can't address one area where we're overindulging and the other where we're starving.  Zach doesn't follow any deities but has a great reverence for Nature herself.  I would like to take Nature walks at least once a week.  We tend to hide away indoors, both of us being introverts, and the world goes on without us.

Not far from here are Indian Mounds and I would like to use that place as a spiritual retreat of sorts.  There is a path, information about the Mounds and the marsh not far from there.  It's beautiful and really gives off a spiritual essence.  I would like to connect with the ancestors, having some Native American ancestors myself, although they are from the Southwest, being Chiricahua Apache, but ancestors are ancestors.

Plus I've been noticing that I'm developing a connection with the land spirits on our property and I'd like to get to know the land spirits on sacred land as well.  I think the marsh has a great deal of spiritual energy that I would also like to explore.  Living less than a half mile from the marsh has its advantages.  Mosquitoes not being one of them.

I just have to actually stop thinking about doing things and do them.  My biggest failing in life is being a dreamer and not a doer.  I live with possibilities and never try to realize them.  The cards told me about this a couple of weeks ago and I have yet to heed their advice.  But I am getting closer.  I look at the Equinox as a beginning place.  In fact I look at all the Sabbats as beginning places for me.  It's so nice to have so many do-overs in a year.

Well, time to finish up supper and go light the candles.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn is coming!

Now that the prayer cootie drama is behind me, I'm looking forward to the Autumnal Equinox for more reasons than it's the evening of my birthday.  Although I will admit that adds to the excitement.  I haven't heeded the message the cards gave me a couple of weeks ago but it's ever on my mind.  This weekend will go toward cleaning house in preparation, setting up my Autumn altar and lots of study and knitting.  This is how I plan on getting through this cold I'm doing my best to catch.  Once the house is clean, I'll park myself on the couch and do nothing more...aside from some healthy cooking.  Zach and I have both reached that moment when you're ready to start something new.  We've never reached it at the same time before so we decided we'd better strike while the iron is hot.

He's going to help me set up the altar outdoors since there will most likely be no more mowing for the season.  Or at least only one more at the most.  And he's going to do hard labor getting the second garden turned and cultivated before winter sets in.  And next weekend we'll harvest the tobacco for Tom.  I'm saving some of the leaves...the best an offering both for the land spirits and for the Indian Mounds outside of town when we celebrate Samhain. 

I'm also determined to spend more time in crafts.  The cards have long been telling me to do that and I really must heed their advice.  Photography should be something I include in that group of crafting.  I got a new camera for Beltane and haven't used it yet.  Zach has but I haven't.

I've also been picking up a few Halloween decorations.  We never celebrated it while Zach was growing up because I had been taught that it was an "evil" occasion but I'm more excited about it than Christmas.  I can't afford everything but I picked up a lantern, a spider for Zach's room and a battery-operated candle for the window sill.  I plan on using that for my Samhain vigil as well.  I keep a candle lit in the window sill from Samhain until Yule.  Just something that came to me...nothing I read or heard that was something that was done.  I think of it as a vigil for the ancestors.  It also is good discipline for me and helps me set up good habits for ritual.  The candle I used last year was vanilla scented and I had headaches the whole time.

ANd so it's time for me to go lie down while supper is cooking and the laundry is finishing.  I'll call it a night pretty soon so my body can heal from this cold.  I need to learn to stop pushing myself and let myself rest when I need to.  It's prejudices from long ago that if I give in to this fatigue, I'm being weak and I need to re-set my thinking and be more aware of what my body is telling me.

So much to learn.