Monday, January 31, 2011

Learning and growing

I had errands again today so I didn't get anything done at home.  With the threat of a foot of snow I needed to get the emergency shopping done in case I can't get to the store.  But I did manage to do some finessing on my altars.  The kitchen altar, which had become Hestia's altar a few months ago needed a make-over as it seemed too witchy for what I deemed its purpose to be so I removed a couple of elements (which also freed up some room for my incense burner), changed out the picture to one that really fits better now:  a still life of a bucket, crock/pitcher and grapes.  The colors are a bit muted and have a sense of age to them.  It's more understated and makes me feel cozy.  It's very much a picture that makes me think of the hearth.

I had a bit of candle time with Hestia tonight because I was a bit ranty about the chicken I didn't want to cut up.  I prefer to roast chicken since the cold and bones hurt my hands when I try to cut it up but Tom has gone all pissy about wanting it cut up.  He doesn't like it roasted.  And he insisted Zach cut it up but with his OCD no way was he going to touch raw chicken.  Tom doesn't get that so I cut it up, swearing the whole time.  Then, as I was standing in front of and under Hestia's altar, swearing and cutting up chicken, it occurred to me that maybe my behavior was just a  So I lit her purple candle and some earth incense (I have no idea what it's made it from StuffMart because it's cheap but it smells so good and...earthy) and just stood there mellowing out and meditating a bit on what would Hestia do.  Now, I think she's one sassy Goddess, but in her capacity as Goddess of the hearth, I can see where she might think that cutting up a chicken once in a while isn't the end of the world.  I managed to calm down and finish up the chicken with a more positive outlook although I still don't like cutting up chicken.

I've done more reading today about Hellenismos because I find it fascinating and while I'm cautious about anything reconstructionist, I'm finding a wide variety of mindsets and philosophies that don't seem to indicate the fanaticism I've seen in Christian reconstructionism.  And quite frankly, I do like the idea of trying to do things they way the ancients did.  I don't know that this is the path I will end up on, but it does fit my personality pretty well.  Apparently I like structure.  Who knew?

I got the Penguin book of Homeric Hymns from the library and went looking for the version online which is translated by Hugh Evelyn-White (I think that's his name) and I was joking to Zach that it's like the New International Version compared to the King James Version of the Bible.  The poetry of the Evelyn-White translation is just beautiful.  When I can afford it, that's the translation I want to own.  But for now, the library version will do.  Anyway you look at it, the hymns and prayers are beautiful.

I had looked at some Greek-type altars while online today and saw one that had a temple to Zeus on it.  And it just so happened that I had a free-standing shelf that looked very similar to it so I moved the shelf to my altar and designated it Zeus's Temple.  I'm so clever.  A few weeks ago I found a pattern for Pan that is adorable that I was thinking of making and since I have all the necessary materials, including polymer clay, I think I might do that.  That got me thinking of making all my statues out of yarn as well.  Amigurimi gods and goddesses would suit my altar just fine.

I love making things that enhance my spiritual life.

I'm also knitting this afghan, mostly because I just love the pattern and because I want to practice my colorwork more but it doesn't hurt that it's a Greek design.  I'm making it out of some of my stash of purple and off-white Vanna's Choice yarn that I got on sale.  I really like the way it's turning out.

One thing I did notice about myself this go-round is that I'm not turning Greek like I would have done in the past.  I have a problem adopting cultures when I find a spirituality I like.  I still very much like the Celtic culture, designs, artwork, which I loved before I found Celtic spirituality, and I'm able to hang onto that instead of turning my house into Mount Olympus.  It's embarrassing  how many different cultures I've tried to assimilate because I thought I had to do it all.  But now I'm comfortable keeping the things I love and adding more beauty into my life.

Plus, I don't think I could give up anything British.  I'm convinced I lived there in a former life because I love anything about the UK.

I feel like I'm moving in a good direction, no matter if it's for the long term.  Amazingly, I don't feel a need to see how the story ends this time.  For me that's close to a miracle.

Off to bed to knit and watch Midsomer Murders.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hellenismos, for now

It's a beautiful day today with lots of sunshine...just a tease prior to the predicted snow storm, alas.  Still, it revives the soul to see it.  I'm feeling cheerier than I've felt in weeks.

Spiritually things are going very well.  My path seems to have taken a decided direction toward Hellenismos, at least for now.  So far it's feeling very comfortable and familiar but I am just on the journey, not planning on setting down roots just yet.  It may turn out that I do, but for now, just enjoying the walk along the path.

I've been reading up on the Greek pantheon as well as reading some Homeric hymns, which are really good.  Not reading in a research sort of mode, but because I'm genuinely interested.  I'm just enjoying myself for now, not beating myself up for still seeking.

I'm finding my step is lighter, my outlook brighter and my energy levels...well, they're still the same, darn it.  But I am optimistic about the changes that are going on with me on this new path.  Optimistic, but cautious. 

I had a good talk with Tom this morning about the changes.  He was supportive, and incredibly understanding.  I just hope he doesn't end up confusing me later.  Still, I'm taking his attitude now and enjoying it.  I think he's better able to understand this path because it's more familiar to him.  Everyone studied Greek mythology in school, after all.  Although this is quite a bit different from reading a book on mythology.  There are undercurrents of spirituality I never learned in school.

Since starting down this path, I've found I care more about myself.  I'm not sure why that would be, but I am taking better care of myself, getting dressed every day instead of living in my pajamas round the clock.  I'm not blaming my Celtic path for not taking care of me, but it's obvious to me that there was an element of unhappiness for me on that path that I couldn't define.  Still can't.  And as I may yet walk down that path again, I'm hoping the answer will come to me eventually.

I know one partial answer at least is that I'm finding that empty place inside me filled.  The one that missed the rituals of Christianity.  The one that loved those rituals and couldn't find a suitable substitute before.  Still, I'm not setting anything in stone anymore because that feels burdensome.  I will just do what I'm doing and enjoy the scenery.

To the journey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sometimes you just have to snark

Earlier this week I did some candle time with my green and blue candles, invoking financial wisdom and motivation to get my butt in gear to begin the journey back to health.  I'm still sitting on my ass but the checking account wasn't as dire as I thought it was going to be.  We're not swimming in it, but we're not ready to declare bankruptcy yet.  Thank the Goddesses!  And the Gods!  I wasn't asking for a miracle but what I got was darned close to it.

Now that the property taxes are paid...well they will be tomorrow...maybe my head will clear enough I can start retaining the things I'm learning about herbs and crystals.  I've been watching a lot of history and science documentaries on tv and that has helped the few remaining brain cells to actually do their job but I do miss the times when I could read something and remember it.

I still would like to structure my time better, even allowing for a brief acknowledgment at the altar on a regular basis.  Nothing fancy or long but just that moment when I greet the God/desses.  But mostly I'd like to structure the day so I'm accomplishing things like writing, knitting, designing, drawing...stuff like that.  I would do that much better in a clean house so there is that time that must be set aside as well.  At times I wish I could be a witch like Samantha in Bewitched so I could just twitch my nose and the laundry is not only done, but pressed and put away.  Alas, I must use my own measly energy for such mundane matters.

I may have to unfriend a person on facebook.  We're not friends, but I do keep an eye on what she's up to.  She was a fundie who returned to the Catholic church and now she's more Catholic than the Pope and yet still retains a lot of her fundie teachings...and sees Satan in every closet.  Everything that happens is a conspiracy that involves the freemasons and the "homosexual agenda" is out to indoctrinate kids everywhere.  I just can't take it anymore.  She's one of those who has done everything:  been a Wiccan for a while, worked in the porn industry (behind the camera, of course) was a militant evil feminist, claims to have been a journalist, brags about her military career (she and hubby went awol during basic training to run away to get married but thinks there was a corrupt conspiracy to ruin their reputations and careers.)  All this before she turned 30.  Her Christian life includes having been involved in "deliverance" ministries that the Catholic church recognized and made her and her husband lay exorcists, a charge she couldn't prove when faced with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.  She claims to be a doula in spite of no training.  She thinks having had 3 kids in 4 years gives her the experience she needs.  At one time she was a lay nun of the Carmelites.  And claims to be doing research for a book she's writing.

There is much more but the main thing that gets to me is how she's living off the government (welfare, medicaid) while living with her husband's family and thinks Obama is a socialist.

Still, I'm not sure I have the energy to spare anymore.  Curiosity keeps me friending her.  She's so outrageous it's like a train wreck you can't stop gawking at.  But there comes a time when maybe you should start the car and move on.  I mean, eventually you should at least try to get to your destination.

I suppose I could just hide her for a while and see if the addiction goes away.  Then I could just unfriend her without suffering withdrawal.

Some really burning irony today on my sister's facebook page.  She was talking about people in your life that create too much drama and interfere too much in your life and maybe it's time to just walk away from them.  I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair.  This is the person who manipulated me and guilted me into spending money  I didn't have (thereby forfeiting a new breast prosthesis to replace the duct taped one) to go visit my parents because she and my other sister thought I should.  This is the person who thinks it's her place to tell me what's wrong with me and how to fix it because she's the older sister.  This is the person who smugly looks down her nose at me because she thinks I'm so jealous of her and want her life.

The burns.

I haven't had anything to do with either sister since the summer.  Peg hasn't noticed because she's gotten remarried and is still bragging about how wonderful her life is now that she has a husband (and someone to pay her bills as she's not working now either) and how domestic she is (she used to denigrate my choice to stay home and raise my son by insisting I was jealous of her degree and her life.)

Neither she nor my sister are interested in my life except to tell me how to live it and none of my nieces or nephew pay any attention to me on facebook.  I suspect they're hidden me, in fact, because last summer I updated my father's condition after he got out of the hospital and they didn't respond to it.  In fact they only responded when one of my nieces mentioned the same thing.

I'm an obvious embarrassment to the whole family.  And I don't fucking care.  In fact, I love it that they are ignoring me and leaving me alone.  For too many years I subjected myself to my sister's authority and even to my parents' authority because I was too weak and too timid to stand on my own ground.  I love that I can take a stand now, albeit a small stand.  I won't out myself to my parents because it would really hurt my mother.  I don't care much about my dad's feelings but I don't want to have my mom's last years spent worrying that I'm going to hell. 

Okay, yeah, I'm a bit snarky today because of Peg's fb status.  But I absolutely don't envy her or her life.  I'm just sorry she can't see why.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Had lunch with Zach today.  It sounds odd to say we had lunch when we're together nearly 24/7 but truth is we don't talk much at home.  Usually we only talk when we go out for lunch.  Bizarre.

Anyway, we talked a lot about spiritual matters this time.  I'm still grieving a bit over losing the rituals of the Episcopal Church and needed to talk about it.  It helps me make sense of what I'm feeling.  I realized that I haven't minded losing St. Mark's as much as losing the Episcopal Church because St. Mark's was really light on ritual.  It was mostly a Sunday-only church and the priest never wore the collar.  The only time she was in uniform was during the service when she wore her vestments.

What I wanted in a liturgical church was a full-time priest who acted like one all the time and services for everything, including the Daily Office.  Anything like that is too far away to be a part of so I'm back to feeling cheated.  St. Mark's was full of wonderful people but they were mostly senior citizens and not looking too hard to fix the demographics.  Most of the congregation lived out of town so anything other than Sunday morning service was asking too much.  Plus with an elderly congregation like that, having anything at night means a significant percentage of your congregation isn't going to be there...especially in a Wisconsin winter.

We do have a Catholic Church here in town that does it all but I just can't connect to that.  Too many rules and regulations.

It was good to talk it all out because it made going back to St. Mark's unpalatable since I won't find what I was looking for there.  I was glad to close that door once and for all.

I also decided I wasn't going to celebrate Imbolc.  At least not this year.  I won't commit beyond that, but it's just not something that gets me excited.  Especially with 6 inches of snow on the ground.  We don't see the beginning of spring until late April, if then.  I think one of the reasons I was on the path of the circle of the year was because it's all I knew of modern Paganism.  Now that I have more scenery to look at, I'm enjoying a brief tour or two in other cities.  And I definitely like the city that has Greco-Roman practices going on.  It's just that I like some Britain in there, too.  I guess, like Zach, I'll need to forge my own path.  And I'm really okay with that.

I definitely like the Solstices and Equinoxes.  And Samhain.  But beyond that, I just don't get excited about the others, which would explain why I'm crap at celebrating them.  And what's not to love about the full and new moons?

But I'm not stressing at all over what to do or what to believe.  I'm just sorting things out a bit to get rid of the clutter so I can enjoy what I do like.

All in all it was a productive day spiritually and I suspect tonight will be just as good.  I'm still not reading anything specific and I hope to get down to studying herbs and crystals, thanks to my dearest friend Tana who bought me the books.  That's what intrigues me.  Not what to say or do in ritual, but what things mean and how things work.  I really like that.  Although I do still need ritual, which I am incorporating into my life in a leisurely, natural way.  It fits better that way rather than doing someone else's ritual that fits like second-hand clothes.

And I'm off to cuddle up in bed with my knitting and some tv watching.  Is there a God of television?  Because I want to dedicate an altar to him...right now.

May the Gods and Goddesses smile on you in all your endeavors.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Still enjoying the journey

I watched an episode of Midsomer Murders last night about...gasp...evil witches.  Or ridiculous witches.  Either way they didn't represent any witches I know in any realistic way.  But I'm weird in that it doesn't bother me.  If they showed any religious group as they really were, it would make for a boring episode.  I've seen a few eps on MM that showed the right-wing, fanatic branches of Christianity, so I'm not offended.

Still, it was a good episode with Ronald Pickup and his real life daughter playing his character's daughter.  They had a rare commentary for the episode with John Nettles and Jane Wymark.  Both very funny although John tends to be a bit dismissive of any other detective/cop show.  Not in a rabid way though.

I'm doing well in my journey.  It's amazing me how my heart directs me when I'm not being influenced by other people's rules for their own journeys.  I have so much studying I want to do that doesn't involve doctrine, dogma or anything theological.  And yet each of the things I really want to study will help me further along my spiritual path without dictating to me what that path is.  Still stress-free so far.

I am feeling a bit lazy spiritually of late but I don't feel neglectful or guilty about it.  It actually feels pretty good and a bit healthy for the soul.  I recommend it.

Dark Mother has graciously included this blog in a list of some really impressive blogs she reads.  I recommend you go to her blog and click on each of these links because these are some amazing women.  I'm humbled to be included in their numbers.  Plus I recommend you read her blog regularly.  I want to bff her Inner Bitch. 

Another blog I really recommend is She Who Seeks.  She's funny, witty and is another of my mentors. If I get nothing else read in the course of a day, I read hers and Dark Mother's blogs.  They are must-reads.

Off to spend some time resting as I'm still not sleeping uninterrupted and it's affecting me in all areas.  I must remember to try the herbal tea tonight. I forgot last night.

Blessed Be.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No stress

We finally found the material for Zach's altar in my armoir, where I put it.  It has a dark background and even with a flashlight we missed it.  But all is well now and Zach's dragon altar is set up and looks nice.  He's doing better spiritually since he decided to plot his own course.  I'm getting that lesson down myself.

I changed out my altar last night but haven't done much with it today as I've been busy cleaning.  I have some things to consecrate and I'm not comfortable doing that with Tom around so I'll do it tonight or wait until Monday.  Nothing urgent so there's no rush.

Other than that nothing else is going on.  We're being mellow and laid back enjoying the journey so I'm off to finish up supper and veg out with knitting for the evening.

Blessed be

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Religion versus Spirituality

I'm so amazed at how simple concepts completely bypass my brain.  Dark Mother suggested that I just put away the books and enjoy the journey.  Such a simple suggestion but what a life-changing concept.  Find my path without books?  Just walk the path without guidance?  Frightening!

And then it occurred to me that I was practicing a religion, not seeking spirituality.  Another piece of baggage from those Christian days when you are expected to study the religion (yeah, I's not a religion, it's a crap in reality), dissect it (under the proper guidance, of must come to the same conclusions that prevailing wisdom dictates) and know it.  I was doing the same thing with this path as well.  Turning it into religion instead of experiencing spirituality.  It seems like I knew the right words and the right concepts but was clueless about the application of it.

Last night I lit candles, burned luscious incense and just enjoyed the flames and the scent.  I didn't pray, didn't meditate deliberately, didn't focus on a path.  Just enjoyed the candles and the smells.  It felt good.  I wasn't looking in a particular direction (although I will admit that images of Celtic god/desses and the culture came unbidden into my mind.)  I emerged from it feeling cleansed from fear and doubt.

And I didn't do anything.  I just was.  Incredible.

I took my books back to the library although two more were waiting for me that I had on order, but those aren't about finding religion.  They're more historical books about religion, which I do love as they're not full of rules and guidelines.  Just historical aspects of religion that I never managed to learn in a system that had selectively written the history books.  I do like reading the stuff they hid from us.

Also, my husband informed me today, after expressing concern that he hasn't prepared for me in the event of his death, that he wants me to write, even if I never sell a thing because he feels like eventually I will.  I've never had that encouragement before and thought all these talks I've been avoiding with him were about me going out and getting a job in a fast food place so I have something to help support myself should he go first.  So I'm going to get my crafting stuff organized tonight and make room for writing at my table so I can include that as one of the crafts I am focusing on.  I've been avoiding Tarot for a long time because I was afraid of what it was telling me, but I'm going to look more into using my talents for spiritual purposes and not worry about the financial aspects of it.  I'll think about that later.  I need to let my crafts carry me into a greater spiritual realm because they are spiritual.  Not work on them in order to make money.  I think that perspective is what has left me paralyzed and unable to do anything lately.

At any rate, I have some direction now that doesn't involve a particular spiritual discipline.  I don't feel inclined to limit my spiritual practices to any particular pathway.  Now let's just hope I still feel that way in a week or when the next depression cycle hits.

Blessed be.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roller coaster ride

Thanks so much to my mentors who keep me grounded on this roller coaster ride that is my spiritual journey.  I probably shouldn't have posted last night as I was deep in depression and lack of sleep when nothing is good or interesting.  But I keep my journey transparent, warts and all.

What I discovered last night about the Hellenic system was that there weren't a lot of differences between it and Christianity.  Well, okay, lots more gods and those pesky goddesses for sure, and the retribution can be good thing.  But the piety and humility and (on one site: purity) thing really resembled what I escaped from.  Not to mention the whole bribing the gods aspect of offering sacrifices in order for the gods to grant your request.  And Zeus resembling Yahweh in many, many ways.  Maybe I interpret devotion to the gods in a different way than Hellenes do, but it made my skin crawl to read about it.

Now, that's mostly from reconstructionist sites and I'm not a reconstructionist in any spiritual genre but it did raise some red flags for me.  Not that I am criticizing anyone who is one.  Obviously it's a good fit for them, but in light of my escape from absolutes, it doesn't fit me.

My beautiful mentors have lovingly cautioned me to avoid being too hard on myself during my journey and I really am trying to follow their advice.  I really am, but there's a reason I was a fundamentalist.  Making decisions is so hard for me and as a fundie, I didn't have to think for myself.  Don't let them kid you, neither do they.  What they think about is what they're told to think about.  In such a way they really do think they're come to their own conclusions which are eerily identical to the mainstream thinking.

This is why I have so much trouble finding what is right for me.  I don't trust myself to follow the correct path.  I know...there is no "correct" path.  My heart tells me that but my head (yes, I know...not supposed to trust it) is so bossy and domineering that my heart can't get a word in edgewise.

I do try though and I promise to make a serious attempt to stop compartmentalizing every aspect of my spirituality.  I don't know why being an eclectic Pagan isn't enough for me.  It should be because it's what I think I am.  I just have trouble not having a label to wear. 

I'll work on that and just follow the path instead of looking for signposts all the time. 

Zach's OCD didn't come out of thin air, you know.  I may not exactly have it but in the test I took I was borderline. 

Thanks so much to my good friends and mentors.  Where would I be without you all.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Sometimes the path veers and takes you in a direction you never thought you would go.  I worry about that because I don't want to hop from religion to religion, from denomination to denomination and all that.  I really want to be settled, but in reality, I'm far from being that.  Aside from Lugh, I feel no real connection with any of the Celtic pantheon and of late, even he has felt distant from me.  I've been so forlorn about it all that I've even thought about just forgetting all of it and not believe in anything.  But...I need something to believe in.  It's just the way I'm made.

It's probably been pretty obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I've found it nearly impossible to actually observe any of the sabbats or esbats or even much in the way of daily attention...except for my kitchen altar, which is dedicated to Hestia, of the Greek pantheon.  The rituals feel strange, foreign, false on my lips and my heart to the degree I've wondered if I'm a Pagan at all.

Seriously, I hate feeling foolish and the notion of hopping from one religion to another makes me feel foolish and I can't figure out why neither Druidry or Wicca or even the generic Celtic Paganism, seems to fit right.  And why I am forever writing about needing to figure out the rituals, find the rituals, make the rituals my own, etc.

My first love was the Greek/Roman pantheon.  I found them in grade school and couldn't get enough of them.  By 6th grade I had read everything in the library, including Edith Hamilton's mythologies.  My heart really soared for the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus.  Is this where my heart really resides?  In Hellenistic Paganism?

I only know that, of the God/desses I have tried to incorporate into my worship and ritual life, only Pan, Hecate and Hestia remain.  None of the Celtic Gods call to me anymore. But I find myself really drawn to ritual, magic and the divination practices of the Greek and Roman religion.  I have noticed that my daily ministrations have come to feel more Greek/Roman in nature than the Celtic ones I started out with.

I feel rather foolish, though, hopping around all over the place.  Thinking at first that Druidry or a combination of Druidry and Wicca, was a perfect fit for me, now thinking this might be instead.  I feel like I'm trying on religions instead of actually applying my devotion to them.

I can't deny, though, that I am more inclined to observe the festivals of the Greek/Roman religion than the nature religions of either Druidry or Wicca. I told myself I was excited about Lughnassadh, Imbolc, Samhain, etc but I was never excited enough to actually do anything about them.  The day would come and I would be so totally disinterested that nothing happened.  I would make fatigue, pain, whatever, but the truth was that the festivals never felt natural, the rituals felt foreign or just plain wrong.  But I had to hang onto it because I hadn't considered that anything other than Celtic or Norse Paganism was on the table and I knew that while I can't be a Christian anymore, I had to be something and, let's face it, Celtic and Norse Paganism is gaining popular support and visibility.

Doesn't mean that I don't think there is something valuable in my studies or that I don't still have a great regard for Nature.  It just means maybe my path isn't that clear to me yet and maybe I need to explore some other trails.

And for what it's worth, I could never get myself to study any of the Gaelic or Welsh languages, but give me a book on Latin and I'm there.  In fact, I have a couple of books on Latin upstairs from college. 

I end up feeling confused and silly but I needed to put this into words and share it with those of you out there who have been following my journey.

We'll see where this goes for now.  There may be other twists and turns.  I'm learning not to carve anything in stone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finding my rituals

I've been thinking of what Debra and Dark Mother have said about everyday actions being spiritual and I really like it.  As a Christian, all my motivations were supposed to be to give God glory, to honor God, to put him first in my life so I guess I was a bit hesitant to think of what I do as spiritual in the same way.  However, making my actions spiritual isn't the same thing as the unnatural burden of trying to fit everything I do as a God-directed task.  My function as a stay at home wife and mother is primarily spiritual in and of itself.  Not because any god appointed me to that career, but because it's where my passion and my pathway lie.

I said when I first left Christianity that spirituality must be as natural as breathing and yet I keep holding my breath.  I'm trying to make Paganism something that is a work instead of something that is an essential part of myself.  I don't need to have daily religious studies in order to keep my focus and my love pointed in the right direction.  I don't need to shut the noise of the world out so that my eyes are always on the pathway.  That's what I had to do before.  Now, I need no reminders except the ones that exist before me all the time. 

I don't need them, but I like having them around me.  Not because my inclination is to forget, but because they are beautiful reminders of Nature and bring pleasing visions and smells and sounds to my heart.  A candle flame is a beautiful way to center my thoughts, to bring memories and insights to my heart.  Incense invokes those senses that bring me to the precipice of a spiritual world that frees me from the mundane.  Art allows my imagination to run wild and let me walk with the gods.

These are my daily rituals.  I just never saw them as such before.  Those rituals that are structured also have benefit and bring me peace, energy, joy, a deep connection with the gods as well, but they aren't needed to make me feel spiritual.  I am spiritual because I am a spiritual being.  And allowing myself to be that is the best ritual of all.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I have figured out what exactly it is that has left me feeling a bit unfulfilled with Paganism.  As a Christian I never had any desire to be the pastor or the priest.  I was quite content to be ministered to and to supply the responses needed.  As a Pagan, and particularly as a solitary, I am the priestess.  I am responsible for ritual and preparation and content.  I just hadn't looked at it in those terms before.  So while I've been waiting for a ritual to fall in my lap and for everything to coalesce, I've been failing to see that my responsibilities were to create the ritual and make the preparations myself.  It's a daunting task for me, but now that I see the situation as it is, one I shall step up to the altar and accomplish.  I can be so obtuse at times.

Zach and I grabbed a bite to eat tonight when I went to pick up my prescription.  I had forgotten that Christian Boy still worked at Wendy's and I had my new necklace on.  I'll admit that I was a coward and kept my coat on.  While Caleb no longer waxes long and poetic about Jesus, it's still awkward around him.  I think we'll just avoid Wendy's after school hours.  Next year he'll be up at Bible college learning to indoctrinate teens so we'll be safe after that.

I'm determined to celebrate the full moon this month.  I have the ambition every month but no follow through.  This month I am hoping to break that cycle and actually accomplish some things spiritually.  I'm going through a spiritual slump right now and could use a lift.  I haven't done a lot of ritual but every time I do, I come out of it exhausted and exhilarated.   I need to exercise those spiritual muscles more, starting with daily, monthly and seasonal rituals.  Just looking at my altar on a daily basis helps.  I know who and what I am whenever I see it.  Actually using it helps more.

Zach was a bit down today, saying that he knows what his path is, but he just can't seem to walk on it.  I told him he already is walking on it.  Just because he's not making progress or doing ritual or focusing on it doesn't mean he's not already on the path.  I hope that made him feel better.

Off to knit and watch some television and maybe even read if I can keep my brain working.

Blessed be.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movie viewing, mini-spoiler alert and prayer

We went to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader last night and loved it...until the end where one little line really diminished our enjoyment.  Not that we should have been surprised.  Lewis was, after all, a devout Christian apologist.  Still it's been educational watching shows like this from the outside in.  Most of our life has been from the inside out.  I loved the movie but I do believe it's the last one that will be made.  The Pevenseys won't be in anymore (except the Last Battle which is nothing more than a thinly veiled fantasy about the end times.)  Although I would probably pay money to go see any that might be made in the future.

I woke up this morning aching and depressed but a visit from my bff tramadol and another snooze put me in better shape.  Depression is never easy but it's easier as a Pagan than as a Christian. 

I am reading a book about the festivals from a Wiccan perspective and the rebel in me gets a bit tight-lipped whenever I see statements that seem like absolutes.  As in pronounciations.  A few Wiccans might pronounce Litha with a th sound but most Wiccans pronounce it as Leeha.  Even though the author admits that the original pronounciation is Litha with a th.  Bite me.  She makes it sound as if those pronouncing it with a th sound are sadly and woefully wrong.  Makes me want to pronounce it with a th.

I'm only perusing this book.  I had to order it from another library so I couldn't get a preview of it.  It's not really my cup of tea but I have learned a few historical and mythological things from the book so it's not a total loss.  I've also got Ronald Hutton's book Triumph of the Moon, which seems to have been met with mixed reviews.  It's got tiny print so it will take a while to read (not because of the size of the font but because that makes the book much bigger than it seems.)  I've got an intellectual crush on the good Professor but I hope to read it with an open mind.  I won't let myself be charmed into believing anything ever again.  Unfortunately it's the only book in the library system written by him and I am in total lockdown financially from now on so there won't be any purchases in the future.

My last great hurrah was a necklace for me, one for Zach and a greeting card of a dragon for his wall.  After this, no more spending except for essentials.  I consider it a challenge to utilize my resources better and more efficiently.  I used to be pretty good at it and then fell off the wagon.  I have more help now...Hestia, Brigit, and any other household god/desses who are available.  I can guarantee you Yahweh only wanted more of my money and didn't want to help me at all.

I'm getting there in establishing daily ministrations and observances.  I'm still not comfortable with prayer.  Asking for anything makes me uneasy, but I know that's a holdover from my Christian-begging-for-God-to-help-me stage in which we were indoctrinated into believing that if we ask, he will give it to us.  It got to the point where asking becomes demanding that God live up to his promises.  And what's the deal with asking over and over for the same things?  That was another thing I never could wrap my head around.  It's not like Yahweh has a short memory.  Asking over and over again...or having large numbers of people praying for you...smacks of teasing and toying with someone.  So only someone who has large numbers of friends will get prayers answered?  Or people who have large networks?  Or someone who asks to the point of begging?

So you see why I'm awkward about praying.  It's hard to step outside the paradigm of Christian prayers with all the declaratory sentences:  give me this or have this happen for me.  Just not comfortable asking a supreme being to do my will.

I'll work it all out eventually and I know the god/desses have patience with me.  Plus, after spending a lifetime believing I needed a supreme being's help in any decisions or any action on my part, I'm learning to stand on my own two feet and be responsible for myself.  I like it, even if it is a bit hard to do initially.

Off to finish cleaning the kitchen and my bedroom.  I have some things I need to consecrate tonight so I am planning a short ritual and meditation time.  I still can't meditate longer than a minute or so, but I am learning to listen to the silence.  It's amazing how much is in that silence.

Blessed be.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How hard to watch your children struggle

I went out to refill the bird feeder this morning and a beautiful finch was sitting on the gate under the feeders, totally unconcerned about my presence.  He even turned and looked at me and didn't fly away (I was talking to him as I walked up there) until I was about a foot away.  It was a wonderful experience.

Had lunch with Zach today and he expressed concern at his feelings of paralysis spiritually.  He finds himself drawn to dragons.  Has been all his life.  Found a book about dragon spirituality that really resonated with him, got halfway through and he just couldn't read anymore.  He's so afraid of feeling foolish that he's paralyzed with inaction spiritually. 

I suggested he clean his room first and foremost.  It's complete chaos, no floor space, no organization at all.  I said I would help him and then he can establish an altar that is essentially pleasing to the eye.  Nothing more at this stage.  Then I told him to spend some time in quiet just listening to his thoughts. Not directing them, not meditating, just watching where they go.  Then he can think about dragons and how he feels about them.  He was so involved in our pentecostal church, speaking in tongues, speaking the Word in church and feels that he was just playacting so he's afraid that's what he's doing now.  I said it doesn't matter if it came from within him and not from a supernatural source.  But for now he's feeling foolish for buying into all of it and is afraid of doing the same in a Pagan sense.

I do believe dragons are his path as he's been drawn to them since he was a toddler.  I'll just be patient and as helpful as I can and hope his heart and soul can heal from the damage done to him.

Blessed be

Saturday, January 1, 2011

As the old year turns into a new one

I don't have a lot to talk about right now, but I did want to start out the new year blogging.  I never look at January 1 as the start of anything as there is no routine to it and no structure.  For me this is the end of the year.  I start new things tomorrow when I'm back to normal.  Okay, normal for me.

I do plan on incorporating more and more study, ritual and crafting into my life as well as working on regaining my health, especially as my mother was in the hospital for a couple of days this past week adjusting her coumadin leves after a nasty bout with the flu.  She is much healthier than I am so I don't want to keep going downhill from here.  I'd like to visit the hill top before I start to decline.

I'm deciding on a necklace, too.  There is one at Ladyhawk's Treasure (see the link in the sidebar) that is a Raven and a pentacle that I'm leaning toward.  I still plan on knitting up a charm bag and have been working on a pattern for it, but I really do want some jewelry that speaks of who I am.  Zach wants a dragon necklace as well, so I can kill two birds with the proverbial stone.

I'm also working on knitting up some pentacles and a raven design for my altar.  I need a cloth to cover my sacred/annointing water as it occurred to me that dust and negative energies will taint it if I leave it open like I have been.  For now there is just a felt square over it.  Something fancy later.  I also thought about creating a mandala but I don't have a beading needle right now and I forgot to get one at the store today.  I'm not making a trip just for a needle though.  Plus I don't have enough purple beads, which is what I'd like to put on there.

I would love to have some statues, too.  I bought some polymer clay to do that but I haven't felt creative in that regard lately so I haven't done anything yet.  I know there is a disagreement with using polymer clay versus organic clay but I'm on a tight budget and can't really afford the things I do buy (and simply must put a stop to it soon). We'll see how it goes.

I had a conversation with Zach the other day about how those who are financially challenged usually end up disadvantaged in Christianity.  Oh, I know it's the religion of the poor.  Riiiight.  Just like the Pastor of a church is more likely to be friendly toward a poor person than a person who is funding a huge portion of his salary.  Right.  I've seen it all my life.  The pastor hangs around with the bigger tithers.  Plus, every time we walked in the door at our former church (fundie) we were hit up with one fund raiser after another.  Guilt trips abound!  Sermon after sermon about tithing and giving that widow's last pence.  Or was it a farthing?  Good old King James.  Then there are the study bibles that you need.  It's not enough to have a plain bible.  You need one that tells you what it all means.  And any bible studies have literature that must be purchased.  Even in the Episcopal church that I loved there were always money issues that made you feel guilty if you couldn't pony up the money.  From my experience, the "blessings" of Christianity abounded more with those who already had stuff.  As my chemistry professor said about electrons...them that has, gets.

I know that there are many enticements out there with Paganism, too, and there are plenty of temptations to have the nice stuff on your altar.  But more than in Christianity, I see people being creative and valuing simplicity.  Making your own candles, finding dishes and tools at a thrift store or using household items rather than buying the jewel-encrusted athame you saw online.  Simple cloths off the remnant rack, knitting crocheting, sculpting your own statues.  Thing is, these items bring as many blessings as the expensive stuff brings.  If you have the money and you want to adorn your house, great!  But there isn't the pressure for everyone else to do it even if they can't afford it.  I love that about the wonderful women I've met online.  They never, ever play that card that says  you have to do it the way they are or you're not doing it right.  I can't say the same about Christianity.

Although as a Christian I would have disagreed with that.  I would have said that I had never been pressured into spending money I didn't have or that I felt inferior to the people at church who had money.  But I would have been lying, because I did.  Not a moment went by, even in my lovely Episcopal church, that I didn't feel inferior because I didn't have money.  And although in part, it was me doing it to myself, there is an attitude toward the poor in Christianity that is condescending, derogatory and downright mean.  All in the name of love, you know.

Well, I've ranted enough.  It's time to crawl into my jammies and under the covers and start on the Raven cloth for my altar.  I hope this new year brings bright new blessings and powerful energy to each and every one of you.

Blessed be.