Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still walking this path in spite of it all

I'm amazed that I'm still walking the same direction in light of all the angst I had the past year over finding it.  In spite of others who walk the same path, in fact.  I tend to be much more liberal than some on the Anglo Saxon path but I've found many with whom I find a lot of agreement.  Particularly on the subject of gay rights.

I had been reading a heathen blog intermittently for a while.  I say intermittently because I've seen some things I thought might be subtle racism but again it was possible it was just me reading too much into it.  Then there was the post about boys not being raised to be manly men and how boys are being feminized because they're not being taught to be athletic and jocks.  The post made it to a heathen forum where there were more taking this guy to task than agreeing with him.  When he started calling a lesbian a homophobe because she was defending her brother's non-athletic interests (he said she was implying that all gays are effeminate) then my temper went through the roof.  I had to walk away from it for a day.

It seems to have died off but I noticed in another thread about Heathens against Hate (and I can't tell you exactly what the debate was all about) that this guy was using the same tactics there, calling them racists.  Needless to say this guy's blog is off my list to read from now on.

Bottom line is, we don't know everything about the society that worshiped the Norse/Anglo-Saxon gods in the past at all.  And in my mind, how they did it isn't the barometer that measures how I do it.  We're not living in isolated villages with no sense of global interaction.  I live in the 21st century with 21st century sensibilities.  We have equality now or at least we're attempting it, working toward it.  Our sense of family has grown.  Our culture is nothing like the cultures of the past.  I prefer to live in the present and worship the gods in that setting.

I love learning as much as I can about the practices of the ancestors but I don't believe in limiting myself to that.  Certainly we have traditions and customs in our rituals that are new.  That doesn't mean they are any less reverent or irrelevant.  And as long as we don't try to pretend what we're doing is exactly how the ancestors did it, I don't see the problem.

I'll be honest, the attitude of the blogger was no different, in fact identical, to the attitudes we left behind in the fundie church.  Exactly the same.  Their fear of homosexuality is so pervasive that they have to man-up the boys so they don't end up gay.  Seriously.  Obviously it didn't work for my son but it sure put him through hell trying to be straight.  He kept it all to himself because of his fear of recrimination, even from me, and at one time convinced himself he could live the life, hiding his homosexuality and live the life of a straight man with a wife and child.  His other option, which I'm thanking the gods he didn't seriously consider, was suicide because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to be with a woman.  Which he knew deep down inside he could never do.

So I was surprised that I didn't run away again, and try to find another path that didn't have those kinds of people on it.  I wasn't even tempted to leave.  And it didn't matter that there were so many people who chastised the man for his attitudes, although it certainly made me feel better.  I hope this means I'm growing more, spiritually.  When I won't let anyone else deter me from the path I'm on.  But I do know that it could happen again; someone could catch me in a moment and make me feel like their attitudes are representative of everyone.  But I hope I've grown enough that doesn't happen.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Working through the guilt

I'm having a hard time getting in the mood for Christmas.  I have the bitty tree up with the lights but no ornaments or other decorations.  Yet.  Maybe I won't even bother.  The gifts are bought but not all wrapped and we have 20+ inches of snow on the ground but I'm just not enthused at all.

I'm sure part of it has to do with the killing of kids in Connecticut.  My daughter lives a couple of miles away from the school, but apparently her son doesn't go there.  I think he might be in private school.  I don't know since I'm not a part of their lives.  Which is her choice and I support it.  I'm no longer upset about it in light of the shaky relationship I've had with my family all these years.

And speaking of family...my parents are both in the hospital for different situations.  My mother is on dialysis these days and my dad has COPD.  She also suffers from some dementia and can't be left alone.  My younger sister has to shoulder all the responsibilities, which doesn't seem fair but I can't just pick up and drive down there.  It costs a great deal of money to drive 10 hours away and it's money we just don't have.  My family doesn't understand not spending money you don't have.  At least my sisters don't.  They pick up and go wherever they need or want to go even if they don't have the money.  Or maybe they do have it.  I just know that we don't have a spare $20 a month, let alone money to go on a trip.

There have been times I couldn't go down because I had to drive Zach to school or a job.  They don't understand his disability either.  Invisible disabilities are often treated as character flaws:  you're lazy or you just don't try hard enough.  Sometimes we only had one car and there is no way I could take the only car down there and leave Tom without a way to get to work.

Plus, talking to my parents long-distance is fine.  In person they tend to be hyper-critical of me and my choices, my kids, my husband...everything about me.  The last time I was down there I had to leave a day early because I was so miserable.  And they were doing it to Zach as well.  I just can't allow that.

So now my sister is shouldering all the work and the guilt-mongering is beginning.  I think my older sister is getting some of it, too, because she's remarried and is living further away and can't drop everything and come home anymore.  They have plans to travel to his family's place after the holidays and she was worried she should cancel and go to visit my parents.  She was just down there last month so it's not like she doesn't visit.  She just can't go down there and stay.  Neither could I.  And a visit won't give my younger sister any respite at all.

My younger sister said something last night about having to do it all as if we wouldn't come down, not that we can't.  I let it slide because I know she's tired, but I also know that in my family, the martyr complex is learned early and used often.

So the guilt is weighing me down right now.  I can't go down there.  I do talk to my parents often on the phone but I can't go down and be their caretakers.  And truthfully, as much as my parents have done for the people in their church, it's time the church started helping them.  Someone there could take my parents to appointments or help with other transportation or other needs.  But then, I've noticed that it doesn't seem to work that way.  Another reason I'm no longer in a church.  The elderly get ignored and abandoned.  The poor aren't a priority unless there is something in it for the congregation.  And there is a clique-system that occurs in churches, meaning the favored few get all the help and attention.  The rest get ignored.

But this also creates a problem for me as a Pagan/Heathen.  Family is a huge part of the concept of Anglo Saxon religious practices. I feel a bit pressured because of that to sacrifice what little money we have and any opportunity for my son to get a job to go down there and take care of my parents.  And I resent the pressure even though it's coming from within and not from the outside. I resent feeling like I have to do this in order to be a good heathen.   It reminds me too much of the pressure within Christianity to strive toward perfection and keep falling short of the goal all the time.  But in all honesty I suspect that any heathen would tell me that my responsibilities are to my immediate family, to taking care of my husband and son.  That taking away from their resources wouldn't be the best way to honor my family.

And they would be right, but there is nothing like Baptist guilt and since I was raised on it and lived it for more than 50 years, it doesn't go away easily.

Still, it's putting a damper on my celebration gene.  I hope it's better by tomorrow night when we exchange our gifts.

BB

ETA:  It occurs to me that it looks like I am bashing my younger sister.  I don't mean to say that.  She's fucking tired.  I'm upset with the community that doesn't seem to offer her any respite because they think it should be only family that does things.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm a coward

I ran into someone from my former fundie church today at the store and hid my pendants.  Thing is I don't really care what they think about it but I hid it anyway.  Out of fear.  And I can't figure out what I'm afraid of.  I'm pretty sure they know we're pagan because their daughter is a fucking bitch and loves to make people look bad because she's such a wonderful Christian and so much better than everyone else but I wish I hadn't hidden them.  It was a reaction.  I need to learn not to react.

Their middle son was with them and he looked terrified to be there talking with us.  I'm not sure if it's the pagan thing or the gay thing.  Another thing Miss Perfect notified them about, I'm sure.  One thing fundies worry about is the gay thing catching and because we know that all male homosexuals are pedophiles.  NOT!!!!!  Zach used to be a big brother kind of guy to them while we were at that church and they just adored him.  Once he let himself be who he really is, he stopped being around them because he was afraid of the possible hyperbolic consequences of them finding out he was gay.  Sad but if you've never been around fundies you don't really understand their gay panic.  It's very real and very frightening.

So I'm kicking myself for not standing up for the gods and for myself.  Not that the gods need or want me to stand up for them.  Still...I wish I had done differently.

I've been fine tuning my altar, making changes that reflect who I am and how I worship.  And who I worship.  I took most of the pictures down, leaving my Northern Lights picture and the picture of the Yule Tree.  For now.  Those will be moved tomorrow and replaced with more pictures of my ancestors.  And my husband's ancestors.  The pictures of the triple goddess and the women dancing around the fire just don't describe me anymore.  I still love them and will find another place for them, but this path is more about family and the ancestors and my altar needs to reflect that.  I also took the shelf off since I didn't need the extra space.  The moon picture and my sun incense burner are on the altar now along with a picture of my paternal grandparents that is more of a standing frame rather than a hanging one.

The kitchen altar is a bit different, too.  I put my triple goddess picture there because I love the colors and the goddesses seem to fit in better there, although I'm not sure who they are just yet.  I believe Hertha is one of them.  Maybe Frigge is another one.  But I also have a garden gnome on the altar.  Mostly because it's a safe place for it before I put it out in the garden next spring, but also because my hearth focus is more on the house elves rather than a hearth goddess.  I have a much better connection with them.  Although they aren't terribly happy with the state of the house right now.  They like clean rooms and order which my house isn't right now.  Lots of clutter and floors that desperately need to see a mop.  And a carpet that needs cleaning.  Still, they know I'm doing what I can.

I'll try to get some pictures later this week.

I haven't got me Yule decorations out yet.  I really want them up before the 21st but not too soon because I get so tired of them and have been known to take them down on Christmas afternoon.  But I do need to get moving on cleaning so I can put them up.

For now, though, it's off to bed and some knitting.  I've been doing some more reading and learning.  And still feel very much on track.  I hope that feeling never goes away.

BB

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saxon pagan, at last

Things are improving on most levels.  I'm still battling fatigue and depression but that is a lifelong thing and I don't anticipate any change there any time soon so I muddle on.  I found a book that put a lot of what I believe in perspective for me.  It's called Travels through Middle Earth:  the Path of a Saxon Pagan.  It pretty much sums up where I am spiritually.  Or at least where I want to be.  I especially love his take on magic and its variations.  I also got his other book Wyrdworking:  the Path of a Saxon Sorcerer.  I just started reading it so I can't say yet what I think of it.

I'm not really into using all the Anglo-Saxon vernacular.  I mean, I call an altar an altar and a ritual a ritual.  I can appreciate others who want to use the old language but I just don't think it's right for me.  Maybe some terms that don't really have a corresponding definition, but for the most part...I plan on just using the terms I'm most familiar with.

The Wyrdworking book has the Anglo-Saxon runes, which contain more than the Norse runes.  I have other books on the Norse runes so that I'll have to figure out later.  But on the whole, the Saxon path seems more me than any other path I've encountered so far.

After reading Teo Bishop's post on his relationship with the space he uses for his altar and to keep his tools and books, I got to thinking about my altar as well.  I have most of my tools and such in my bedroom, in the armoir and headboard bookcase so that's not likely to change, but the altar itself...well, that made me think a lot.  It's always been so cluttered with stuff because I can't decide what not to have on it.  I also use lots of candles because I like the effect.  But it was all about what I liked and what I wanted on the altar and nothing about what I thought the gods might want on there.  So I took it all apart and put back on there what I thought was most essential.  I used animal and other representations of the gods because I don't have statues (those seem to run from $50-$80 at the cheapest) and because I'm one of those who needs something to focus my attention on when I pray or worship.  Or do ritual.

So here it is.  In all it's simplicity and plainness.  And I think I like it better.  The spinning wheel represents Frigg, the quartz crystal Thunor, the wolf Wodin, the cat Freo and a tip of an antler represents Ing. Tom has an antler rack but it's pretty large and too big for the altar.  In the future I intend to make my own statues and such out of clay or draw them but for now this is what I'm using.  I also have an incense burner that has a sun face that I will use to represent Sunne and a picture of the moon above the altar to represent Mona.  I have pictures above the altar of goddesses and one of a yule tree, another of the Northern Lights but I'm not sure they are the goddesses I worship so for now, they're just decoration.  Aside from the picture of the moon.


And of course the dragon oil burner I'm using to hold my votive candles.  It wouldn't be complete without that.  The jar on the left has raw barley in it, the white bag holds my crystals and stones, the red bag my tarot cards and the box under it my Animal Oracle cards.  I don't know that I want any runestones since I don't plan on using them for divination but it might be nice to make a set just to have.

I'll have more to say after I've gotten more comfortable with this path but for now I like where I am.  I like it very much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Crawling out of the depths

I'm feeling a bit better thanks to lots of sleep and finding my way out of this last deep pit of depression.  It's always there but not usually this bad.  I can function quite well most of the time but there are those times when I can barely make it through the day.  I can't take anti-depressants and can't afford therapy.  Not that therapy is necessarily the best way to resolve this.  I was in therapy before but we mostly talked about shopping and stuff so I ended it.  I suppose a good therapist makes the difference but after dealing with Zach's history of crappy therapists, I'm not inclined to go that route again.

I've wondered how people who suffer from depression are supposed to tackle magick during those times since negativity affects the spells.  I just stayed away from anything magickal when I was in my pit.  Unfortunately I also stayed away from everything, including my knitting and crafting.  If I would just ride it out, it would end quicker but I always tend to fight it, thinking I can do something to fix myself.

But as the air is lighter now and my mood is better, and I'm sleeping very well, I'm ready to tackle things again.  I ordered some books before my mood went south and they should be here in a few days to a week.  They are about Anglo Saxon paganism, which is where I seem to be heading.  I'll probably mix druidry into the recipe since that's how I seem to be cooking right now, but we'll see how it all goes.

I've been working on frugality a lot lately, in part due to our circumstances but also because I like myself better when I make that effort.  Plus I feel a lot of Frigg in my efforts. We don't have a cozy relationship right now but I can relate to her and I suspect the lack of warmth in my relationships with the gods has more to do with my issues regarding commitment than their willingness to form one.

And now that my brain is clearing out I should be able to focus on reading again in addition to all the efforts I take regarding living more frugally and working on my crafts again.  These things seem to make up who I am and when I'm unable to do them, I feel empty.  It probably would have taken me weeks to get to that place in therapy.  And with this blog I made it in minutes.

So...now I'm off to fix supper and then crawl into bed and read a bit and then work on knitting socks for Zach.

BB

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Practical things

Tom is off hunting for the next week so this is the time I use to clean and de-clutter a bit.  I never throw away anything of his, but there are things of mine that he doesn't think I should get rid of because his family gave them to me...like 20 years ago.  I maintain that if they gave it to me, it's mine and I should be able to do what I want with it, especially after some years have passed.  I really don't think they hang onto everything we gave them, nor should they.  Still, it's like pulling teeth to get Tom to let me give or throw things away.  I just wait until he's gone and do it.  It's not like he's got an inventory of my things, after all.  We are bursting at the seams in this tiny house because he doesn't want to throw anything away.

So...to me getting rid of things that are of no use to you anymore, or are damaged or just taking up space, makes good spiritual sense.  Hanging onto things for no reason seems to be a bit like bondage of sorts. I feel trapped by all the things that take up space and press in on me with their bulk.  The things I can give to someone else, or pass onto a thrift store, will do someone else good instead of taking up much-needed space in a tiny house.  Clutter and crowding make me tense and tension like that doesn't help my spirituality at all.

So this week we will bundle up some things for Goodwill or the thrift store and hopefully clear the air up a bit in here.  Other things will go in the trash.  I hate to do that but I can't think of any other place for them.  I've tried to freecycle things but most people want things in pristine condition and don't want to repair anything.  They constantly look for things on freecycle that are new or nearly new.  And expensive.  It got so bad that at one time the moderators had to start deleting posts that simply wanted to furnish their homes for free.

So some things just go in the trash.

I am trying to get back to frugality-minded living again.  I used to be pretty good at it but I had energy at that time and didn't have arthritis in my knees and hip and my fibromyalgia wasn't as bad as it is now.  Still, it's a state of mind that I need to get back to.  Even if we could afford not to, I think it would still be more in line with the person I think I am spiritually.  I really need to be more conscious of the environment, of spending money on things that we don't need and focusing on the future.  I like myself better when I make more effort that way.

And having said all that, I need to get busy doing it.  The birds have eaten all their food so I need to refill their feeders today and put out my barley offerings to the gods out where they can do some good.  Last night I woke up to see the cat on my altar eating the barley.  I didn't know cats ate raw barley.  I have had to use kill traps on the mice because they were finding their way back in and increasing their population radically.  So I thought what I heard was a mouse on my altar.  Odd.

It's a beautiful day today with sunshine and temps in the high 40s so I hope that makes me feel more like getting things done.  Because if I don't do them, they just don't get done.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Where I seem to be now

I'm still looking into magick although a lot of what I read is contradictory.  No matter, as I never intended to do this any way but intuitive.  Most books on magick (or magic if you want to be anal about it) seem to be from a Wiccan perspective with the Lord and Lady intimately involved in the process.  I'm not bothered by that either.  I'm going the direction I think is best for me.

There has been an emptiness in me without deity, though.  I don't know that the connection between deity and magick is imperative but I do know that the presence of deity in my life is.  I just don't feel complete without them.

And even though I still haven't committed to any gods yet, I am listening to my heart in the matter.  Right now I've made a tentative approach to the Anglo Saxon gods but not that particular culture.  I'm still very drawn to the Celtic way of doing things but not so much to their gods.  Teo Bishop's blog today really intrigued me with his intentions to institute a solitary druid liturgy and group, of sorts.  I do like some of the druidry aspects, although not all of them.  I'm not much into the notion of having to study for years before I'm considered a full member of a group.  Not that I think study isn't necessary in some respects.  But I'm not getting a fucking degree in my particular path so I don't think I should have to go back to college to be able to practice my religion.  So the notion of being solitary really appeals to me and yet it would be nice to be connected to other people as well.

I'm still very turned off by the types of people who tell me (or not me personally but all the "me's" out there who are reading as well) that you can't "pray" to the Norse gods because they don't like it when people grovel and beg and so you should put on your big girl/boy panties and suck it up.  And then tell people who disagree that you can't make up your own religion so you have to do it the way they've said you should do it.  And this isn't just in the Norse groups.  I've seen that in all of the various Pagan disciplines out there.  I think "my way or the highway" is a human construct no matter what religion you're in.

I've resigned myself to the fact that there are asshats in Paganism, much like there are in the Big Three.  There is always going to be someone ridiculing what you do, how you do it and telling you that you should do it their way. 

But as for me, I'm going to blaze my own trail.  For now that seems to include the Anglo Saxon gods.  Who knows if there will be more tomorrow.  Or less.  But I do need that connection to deity in my life.  I'm just not as whole without it. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book giveaway at WaneWyrds

A blog I read is having a book giveaway and a beautiful necklace at WaneWyrds.  Go and also enjoy her writing.  She's very good at it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Everything is neo

One of my problems on this path has been a need for something authentic.  After discovering that I had been lied to all my life about the bible being true, infallible and an accurate account of history, I needed someone to tell me the truth.  I soon discovered that much of both Druidry and Wicca are modern constructs, including some of the deities in the various pantheons.  Not to mention there is no real "Celtic" pantheon at all.  It's a compilation of Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Anglo Saxon.

So I went looking for something that had roots in antiquity.  The Greeks were good for that except those who insist on using only literature from the Classical period as if that is the only time the gods were worshiped properly and anyone else who does it differently is guilty of hubris.  Then I looked to the Norse and it was a disappointment as well since no literature exists that hasn't been written from a Christian perspective.  Or at least with a touch of Christianity thrown into the mix.

It was so demoralizing to me not to be able to find something authentic out there.  Until Zach and I were talking and came to the conclusion that everything is neo, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Everything has evolved to make itself relevant to people today.  Once I realized that, authenticity was no longer an issue for me.  Now it's just a matter of finding the path I'm comfortable on.

For now that path is magick, witchcraft and folklore.  I admit that my beliefs line up the most with the Celtic/druid flavor of the month but I'm not limiting myself to Celtic deities at all.  I will call upon the gods I am connected to.  I don't believe you can just pull a god's name out of a hat and get something from them.  I think you need to establish a relationship with them.  But I don't think it has to be going steady or even a long-term arrangement.

I was reading some of my magick books last night, about spellcrafting, Wicca and Mrs. B's Guide to Household Witchery and felt pretty good about it.  I have felt a pull in the direction of a few gods whom I call upon during morning and evening ritual and we will see how that works out.  I've also pulled out my Druidry books but for skimming...not for studying.

I hope to spend more time studying than online from now on, especially now that the election is over.  I have much to do here, much to accomplish with crafts, learning more about witchcraft and being better at frugality, especially because I never want to be caught out like I was when the bottom dropped out of the economy several years ago.

Thanks so much to the increase in readers lately, in large part to The Crossroads Companion who gave me a Witchy Blog Award.  I'm honored and blushing at her description of my blog.  It was so nice.  I hope to get to the rules and such later this week.

Thanks to all who continue on this path with me, who have had the unbelievable patience to put up with me and who have been there for me.  I found out through Cin that I had captcha on my comment section.  I didn't set it up that way but hopefully it's gone now.  I can never read the darned thing to comment either.

BB

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The process is slow

Randomness again.  Not a lot of coherent thoughts on this third day of insomnia but sometimes that incoherence gets deep.

Ladyimbrium mentioned in the comments from yesterday's post that the process is slow and she's right.  But I think it needs to be this slow because impulsiveness has never given me what I wanted in life.

Last night while watching my candles burn and enjoying the incense, I pondered some things that Zach and I had talked about earlier.  I must admit that I still miss the Episcopal Church.  Not Jesus, not Christianity and certainly not Yahweh but I do miss the ritual and form.  And yet not enough to go through the motions.  Because that's all it would be.

But in thinking about that, again, it occurred to me that I had been raised to love Jesus in such a way that swamped all other kinds of love.  As a husband, lover, brother, savior.  And I really did love him in all those ways.  When I fell out of love, I fell hard and haven't found anything to resemble that again.  But...was that really a healthy love?  It was very much an abusive love for me because I spent most of my life trying to live up to his "love" and feel worthy of it.  I listened to sermon after sermon that reinforced what a horrible person I was and how wonderful it was that Jesus "loved" me.  They would call it unconditional love but it never was.  Not really.  In fact there were so many conditions put on that love that I do consider it abusive.

So the problem for me is I haven't fallen in love with any gods out there.  And I don't think falling in love would really be a healthy thing for me.  But I keep drifting, waiting for that spark to ignite a passion that just is never going to happen again.  And because it hasn't happened, I tend to look at it logically, trying to find the perfect match hoping that passion will inflame again.  I tried dating around, but as soon as I break up with the gods, they appeal to me again and I want them back.

I need to stop looking at it less like a relationship and more like a spiritual connection.  And stop putting limits on how I honor the gods as well as who I honor.  For the first time, I'm not adverse to worshiping gods outside their pantheons.  I'm just not committing to it yet.  For now, I'm still working on loving me unconditionally and letting myself grow spiritually and emotionally. And if I do end up with a pantheon or a compilation of pantheons, then I will do what's healthy for me.  No more abusive relationships for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Brain dead, nearly the same spiritually

Samhain wasn't as much as I wanted it to be.  Just some candles, incense and a few words with the ancestors.  I'm battling some awful fatigue and not being able to sleep stuff.  It's not insomnia because I would sleep if I was allowed to but the dog goes through spells where he wants outside 10 times a night and if I don't let him out he wees on the curtain or misses the puppy pads.  Hard to believe a little dog like that can produce that much urine.  Especially at night.

Plus this is the season for robocalls and they are monstrous.  I get about 10 calls a morning, some of them within minutes of each other.  I can't turn the ringer off because sometimes Tom gets calls from work.  Plus I have parents with health issues and I can't not have the phone ring.  And of course all these calls are from the religious right who think if they bombard a person often enough and heavy enough, they will vote for their candidate.  Not in a million years would I vote for anyone on the right.

"Nuff politics.

I'm still working exclusively on magick and not deities although I've had many try to get their feet in the door.  Until I know my own mind, no one gets in. I considered a spell today while at the store because there were two groups of people having reunions next to the two items I needed to get today and no amount of coughing and excusing myself made a bit of difference.  I'm not like my husband who will simply edge them out of the way in order to get what he wanted.  But with a raging allergy headache and almost no sleep this past week, I didn't dare try anything involving energy.  But I might plan something for the next time.

I considered giving up this blog as I only have a couple of readers anymore.  I think my indecision has run everyone else off.  But the purpose of the blog was for me to expose myself in order to sort everything out in a more honest fashion so I'm staying around.  Warts and all.

But for now I'm going to try to rest this weekend and leave the bulk of the work to my men so I can get some rest and study going on.  Not to mention work on my granddaughter's baby blanket.  I've had to rip it back so many times I may never get it done.  I just need some focus and that won't happen without some rest and spiritual refreshing.

BB

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cleaning, clearing and letting things go

I'm taking a short break from turning my bedroom back into a living room because as it was, the heating vent won't work efficiently and it's getting to be that time of year.  But fortunately my altar doesn't need to be moved at all and will be opposite my bed/couch from now on.  The hardest work is done but the hardest part for me is finding a place for everything.

I'm doing fairly well without a clear direction for now.  I haven't really done much magick but I am focusing more on it than on the gods and that feels right.  For now.  I light the candle in the kitchen and either call upon the house spirits or just light the candle and incense and have a moment of quiet reflection.  Both feel really good.  It most likely will stay that way as I have yet to find a hearth goddess I can really identify with.  Most of them are way too efficient for me.

I've had some overtures from the Morrigan and Cernunnos and have acknowledged them but I don't really pray to them much.  Just honoring them at the altar.  Mostly it's just about quiet reflection and a lot of thinking.  Something that really hurts my brain these days.  I am looking forward to Samhain although I don't know just yet how I will celebrate it.  Most of my energy is being put toward winterizing the house and trying to find some kind of organization.  Getting rid of things that we never use or never will use is the hardest part.

Whatever I end up with, even if it's an amalgamation of pantheons, it will be mine and I won't care a fig if someone else thinks I've offended their gods or their practices.  I've kind of had it up to here with people being mean to others because they don't think others are "doing it right."  On a pagan group on facebook that consists of pagans from my neck of the woods, someone posted about her girlfriend and how she didn't have a problem with the poster's pagan beliefs in spite of the girlfriend being a Christian.  A heathen took umbrage and went nuts, calling our group nothing but a Christian-lite group and how she was a real heathen and didn't like it there.  She would have made a good Christian fundamentalist.  She already has the behavior down to a science.

But...I'm learning to let things like that go.  I still frequent all the different pagan groups and read different pagan blogs, but only the ones who are fun and educational.  Not the ones who like to claim the moral high ground.

Well, the living room is screaming at me to finish so we can go grab a bite to eat.  I've only had a bowl of oatmeal so far today so I'm getting a bit hungry.  Off to finish up the fine tuning.

BB

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm kicking everyone out

I had an epiphany last night during an episode of insomnia that I don't like myself much while worshiping either the Greeks or the Norse.  I become someone I'm not comfortable with, not focusing on the things I want to work on, but instead putting all my energies into the deities themselves.  Exactly as I did as a Christian.

So...I'm kicking everyone out for a while and going to focus on magic and divination and whatever else interests me.  Whatever gods come with that can stay.  Otherwise they're getting the boot and not allowed in again.  I'm tired of being pulled in every direction.  So I choose my own direction.

I've done a lot of reasoning, especially talking it all out with Zach who is great to bounce ideas off of, and made this decision.  He struggles from the same indecision and has gone through it so he can relate.

One of my biggest problems is I detest the influence Christianity has had on various pagan religions, in that they rewrote the myths and destroyed any information they didn't want passed on so I have been avoiding anything that had that taint.  What I really need to do (and this is from Zach) is to give that influence complete unimportance to the direction I want to take.  It shouldn't matter at all to me what they did.  So I will be working on that as well.  I give Christianity far too much importance in my life.  I need to let go of my past and just move on.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the build up to Halloween and Samhain and am looking forward to both.  One of my favorite times of the year.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In spite of the fatigue...

...I'm still feeling the love from Olympus.  Last night I called upon Zeus, which I rarely ever do and felt a very physical connection there, as well as one today with Hera.  Most days I do connect with Hestia although today in my mind-numbing tiredness, I couldn't find that connection.

I'm doing well to avoid the pitfalls I fell into last time around.  I don't feel like I have to do it the right way in order to worship the gods.  Which, for me, is a near-miracle.  I'm finding balance between worship and magic and I think in the end, both will be connected to the Greeks.  I just don't see a conflict there at all.

Miasma is the notion that there are times when we're ritually impure and can't approach the gods but I can't imagine them turning me away because I didn't shower ahead of times.  I do wash my face and hands in the morning and before any ritual.  And not wanting to be mistaken for Medusa, I tend to brush my near-waist length hair (thin though it be) but beyond that, I don't dress up.  Nor do I feel the need to do the "heels and hose" route I ran into in my Christian days.  I remember being told frequently that one has to dress up for "God" as a show of respect and if you don't, he'll take it as an insult.  I just don't buy the notion that I have to impress the gods.  They know me better than I know myself.  Any pretense will be obvious, very quickly.

So I don't buy into the miasma thing.  Granted, I would probably clean up a bit after spending an afternoon cleaning the basement, but I'm not showering a few times a day just to approach the gods.

I also don't buy into orthopraxy.  I remember reading somewhere that if we use the wrong hand gesture or use it in the wrong place, we're supposed to start the ritual over again because the gods don't care how we feel about them, or whether we get the beliefs right as long as we just do the rituals right.  Yeah...not buying that either.

Fortunately I found a few blogs that feel as I do about the gods and have gotten some good direction from them about it. 

Tonight I plan to call upon Hera as there is a need for a friend.  I don't believe I need to offer expensive gifts to them in exchange for their favors.  Sounds a bit like prostitution, in my mind.  But I will offer my better incense for special occasions and sometimes a libation of something special.  Which I don't have right now so incense will do.

I'm looking forward to Samhain although it will be celebrated in my own way with a Greek flavor to the honoring of the ancestors.  I have problems honoring my most recent ancestors as they were either Christian or atheist and I can't imagine them enjoying being part of a pagan ritual.  But I can connect with the ancients even if I don't know them.  And I can honor my recent ancestors without making them a part of the ritual.

Off to bed to knit on my new granddaughter's blanket and sweater, even if I'm not a part of her life.  I can accept my daughter's limitations without bitterness or unhappiness.  She's doing what she needs to do to make herself whole and I was a crappy mother to her.  No doubt about it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Still on course

I'm exhausted beyond measure but still determined to give this house a cleaning.  The pain isn't so bad this morning although last night was a night of much tramadol. Still, you can feel the difference in energy.  It's palpable.

Zach's room in particular no longer has an oppressive feel and his mood is a lot lighter.  Once done in there he plans on purifying it.  He'd rather do it by himself, he says, which is fine with me.  I completely understand the need to work his own magic.

I've been finding a really good connection with Hestia.  I've dedicated the kitchen shelf area as her shrine and offer her incense and coffee every morning.  Well, nearly every morning.  Initially I kept forgetting and then I feel self-conscious whenever Tom is around so I occasionally bypassed the coffee libation.  Next week I intend to tackle the kitchen, getting it winterized and cleaned.  I think we're down to one mouse in the house so the trap is laid for him (humane, of course) and I'm very careful about leftovers and Tom's supper sitting on the stove waiting for him at night.

As I figured, the elation I experienced in deciding my path has waned, but my feelings that this is right for me, hasn't.  I'm no longer giddy, but I am definitely in love with this direction.  I'm not sure if my magic will be separate from my spirituality or not, but it's not an important issue for me right now and however it works out is fine with me.  I'm still doing a lot of reading, but more of my time is being spent on the practical aspects of both magic and spirituality this time around.  It really is a better balance than just reading about but not actually doing anything about it.

I had a dream last night about the gods but I can't remember exactly what it was.  Just that it was good and it was about them.  I suppose if it was important, they would have made sure I remembered.  Maybe the feeling was what was important and not the details.  I don't often dream about gods at all so this was a good thing.  In fact, the last dream I had about the gods was about Athena.  Several months ago.  Or maybe even longer than that.

Well, it is time for me to get moving and work on the dining room.  I won't be able to clean on the weekends because it is a tiny house and Tom is usually in whatever room I need to work on so this weekend I'll focus on knitting and other crafts.  Maybe I'll get my clay out and see if I can sculpt something for the altar.  And of course keeping up with the things I've accomplished in the house so far.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another birthday

Today is Zach's 24th birthday so we did the traditional Pizza Hut experience except this year he got free chocolate dipping sticks.  One nearly put me in a diabetic coma so I quit after that.  I love to watch him grow up and become his own man.

As usual, we talked about everything while there, including our spiritual paths.  One thing he brought up was that in my search for something that fulfilled me, while a Christian, we went the Messianic Jewish route, except we were Messianic Gentiles.  And believe me, the Gentiles are never treated as well as the real Jews are in this venue.  They can say what they want; we were treated as second-class citizens.  I used to cry at night because I wasn't born Jewish so that I could experience completely instead of from the sidelines.

Zach enjoyed it a lot because he was pretty young then and liked the rituals we did and didn't have to deal with people telling you that it wasn't your heritage and you were co-opting their religion.  In truth, they were right but not just about me.  The whole concept was wrong because they made something that was millenia in age and tried to put a modern spin on it and claim they were the real Jews after all.

But it brought to my mind one of the problems I had before with Hellenic polytheism.  It wasn't my heritage.  At least I don't think it is.  I think my experiences being treated badly in Messianic Judaism is why I've felt a need to find the religion of my ancestors.  As if I needed a claim on the pantheon I should worship.

Oddly, I don't feel that way anymore.  In part because of my sojourn through Norse polytheism.  I got a little tired of the mindset of needing to have ancestors that were Norse, or Germanic or Anglo Saxon.  Granted, not everyone in Asatru does that but enough people that I lost my need to do what my ancestors did.  Besides, who's to say what my ancestors were like?  I'm sure by now they don't care much about it and are just content with me being comfortable in my own practices.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that the Greeks did actually practice back then what we call magic today.  Besides, I'm not limiting myself to a particular era in Greek history as some do.  I'm definitely not recon.  Not to say that recon is bad...just not my cuppa.  I think the gods were looked at very differently from era to era.

I was looking at the store today in their picture section and found a beautiful framed picture of a peacock that took my breath away but not only was it out of my budget, but it was also way too big for my altar.  If I could find something like that in a quarter of the size, it would be perfect.  I really do love Hera.

We're attempting to take this month, from Hecate's Deipnon to Hecate's Deipnon and clean house so that by next month we can do a cleansing on the house during the dark moon.  It's pretty ambitious for me with my fatigue and pain issues, but I still think I need to set goals.

I'm also still doing a lot of reading, mostly on magic right now.  I'm feeling more and more confident in my capabilities although the tarot cards still manage to elude me most of the time and my animal oracle cards have taken on new meanings so that the original meanings in the booklet don't match anymore.  I think that's a good thing, though.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Randomnosity

I'm much more content this time around with the Greeks.  They're not as bossy and I'm not as meek so we're finding a good match.  I'm also paying more attention to them rather than listening to the people who like to do things by the book.  Feeling a lot freer this time around.  Which is why they probably brought the moving van this time instead of luggage.

Zach and I went to the thrift store today looking for statuettes for my altar and found a beautiful owl that I couldn't resist in spite of already having one.  But this one is by itself and is large and detailed.  You'll see it in the pictures below.  I also found a candle snuffer for a dollar.  I like those because occasionally I splash wax when I blow the candles out.  Feels more ritual-like, too.

I fiddled around with the altar until I got it where I'm happy with it.  I had a mirror behind the upper tier but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it had nothing to do with where I am now and everything to do with just reflecting the light from the candles.  Not that that's a bad reason to have it there but it just didn't resonate with me anymore.  If I can find a picture I like, I'll put it in place of the mirror but for now, nothing looks better than the mirror did.

I've been doing some thinking the past few days, just sitting in my bed watching my candles burn, looking at my animal-representations of the gods and pondering my past problems.  I'm not saying I have finally found what I'm searching for and this is the path I will take for the rest of my life.  That would be ridiculous since I don't know what is in the future.  But I do want this to be a beautiful experience and not one where I'm torn and struggle with staying on this path.  That's the problem I've had most of my life, feeling torn between choices and wanting the path I'm not on more than I want the path I'm on.  I'm determined to break that cycle, which goes back to my youth when I used to secretly wish I could worship the Greek gods instead of the Christian ones.

When I left Christianity, I really only knew of Paganism as defined by either Wiccan or Druidry, with the Celtic gods as primary deities.  The occasional Greek or Norse god got thrown in the mix as well.  Then I discovered that the Greek gods were still worshiped and that made me happy because they were truly my first chosen gods even if I couldn't choose them.  But I felt isolated because my internet world of Paganism was nearly all Celtic with a smattering of Norse.  And I admit that I just wanted to be part of the greater whole and be able to talk the same lingo and observe the same festivals, even if I didn't really feel part of the group.  Then the Norse offered me a place at the table, but excited as I was initially, I started feeling that pull between two lovers again.  With the Norse I was still able to feel a part of the Wheel of the Year crowd and speak the same lingo even if some of the words were different.

Then I realized that aside from Samhain and Yule, I didn't really care much for the Sabbats.  I do, however, enjoy the Greek festivals and the simplicity of the rituals.  Not because I think the Wheel of the Year is a bad way to do things, but just because I didn't connect with them.

Once I discovered that, I no longer felt torn and felt free to follow the path of my heart without feeling obligated to follow it in the way others do.  I think I've grown enough that I don't need the "gang" to be a part of.  I"m very content as a solitary for my own practice but confident enough that I could attend a ritual of another path without feeling uncomfortable or indecisive.  And do things their way without feeling a need to insert my own into it.

Also, I discovered that Zach has found a path that is close enough to mine that we can share much of what we celebrate together.

And so...on to pictures of my altar.






Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beware of Greeks driving moving vans

I don't talk about everything going on with me so that leaves some holes when things change.  I've been saying that my Norse path was just fine and I was settling in but I was really having problems that I thought would go away if I didn't acknowledge them.  Various things like the Norse myths not resonating with me, not getting to know the gods at all, feeling like I had a heavy burden on my shoulders because I didn't fit in anywhere.  Having trouble with the vernacular. Plus it wasn't enough to walk my own path; it was the affiliations with that path that were dragging me down.  I didn't want to be on a path I felt I had to explain and apologize for...specifically the racist affiliations. It may very well be that most heathens aren't racist but I've noticed some gray areas that exist among some that claim they're not.  And I just couldn't be affiliated with them when it's hard to differentiate sometimes.

The Greeks had been bugging me for a while and initially I wasn't tempted until I realized that the only reason I was sticking with the Norse was because I spent a butt-load of money on books about them.  Being the frugal-minded person I am, I was determined not to waste the money I spent on them.

But the bottom line is that the only myths that resonate with me are the Greek ones and the only gods I really know are Greek.  I surrendered to the inevitable, put away my Norse stuff and brought out my Greek things.  I was a bit amazed at how many books I have that can be used in worship.  Not to mention the statuettes of animal representations of the gods.  I did buy a bitty little rooster today for $3 for my altar to represent Hermes.  I have a rooster picture over my threshold altar that I never changed out.  I guess that was telling me something.

My altar felt lighter somehow.  As did I.  I know I've been down this path before, finding what I perceive to be my path, getting all excited about it and then weeks later feeling glum and unhappy.  I'm aware that this might now pan out either but it was good to touch bases with my beloved Persephone again.  And Hecate.  And Hermes, Apollo and the rest of the Olympic deities.

I'll take a picture of the changes tomorrow including my hearth altar to Hestia and my threshold altar to Hermes.

We'll see how it goes but for now this is the path I'm walking.  We'll see if this changes, too.  I do recognize the things I did wrong before when I walked this path as I was still in my all or nothing phase.  Maybe I just had to see what all was out there before I could decide.  Who knows?

At any rate, I'm definitely not walking a recon path or one that revolves only around the Greek festivals.  And magic will be a part of my life in spite of some on this path who believe it was forbidden by the gods.  I get a different message from them and since they are the ones I am interested in pleasing, they are the ones I will listen to.  I feel more relaxed this time around but I'm not going to speak in absolutes because I have no idea what the future holds.

In the meantime, I'm content.  I don't have to focus on learning who the gods are as much since I've known them since I was a child.  Instead I can focus on learning the arts of magic and divination and whatever else I need to learn.  I'm sure I need an adult's understanding of them, but I suspect that will happen naturally if I just let it.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just a few pictures

I took some pictures of my altar the other night and when I downloaded them to the computer found some excellent shots Zach took of our area so I'll include them as well.  Not much to talk about today as I've got a raging allergy headache but hope the pictures will do instead.











Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Continuity would be nice

I'd love to get consistent sleep or have consistency in my day-to-day activities.  I have one day when I get things done and the next day I'm in bed sleeping most of the day.  Mostly because I didn't get much sleep thanks to the dog needing out every hour or so after the sun came up, the pharmacy's automated calls telling me I have prescriptions in and a mouse peeking its head from behind my altar trying to steal one of Professor's dog treats.  I was pretty miserable yesterday.  Plus I had shopping that needed doing.

Ladyimbruim mentioned in the comments last post that dragonfyre is chaotic at first so I guess that's what happened.  It certainly was a chaotic feel to the day.  Hopefully things can only improve from here on.

I did something last week that I didn't blog about initially because I wanted to give it time to see how I felt about it, but mostly because I forgot I did it.  So apparently I had no problem with it.  I threw away my fundie bible.  I had already gotten rid of most of my Christian stuff but I was afraid if I threw this away I would regret it.  Apparently I don't.  I still have the Book of Common Prayer but I will probably keep that since my experiences in the Episcopal Church were pleasant but anything that reminded me of the oppressive system I lived in I wanted out of my house.  Once I get finished cleaning my room I'll smudge it and do a cleansing spell.  I can't do it with Zach in the house, though, as he chokes on the smell of the sage burning.  I love it myself but his OCD won't let him near it.  He likes incense just fine so I might just use some Dragon's Blood incense instead.  And save the smudging for outdoors.

I'm still doing well on my path.  The other night I had a visit from the Greeks and that brought out feelings of nostalgia but no real draw in that direction.  I'm still fond of the Greek gods but we aren't a good fit.  And while I'm very content with the Norse, I'm finding I don't fit into the heathen aspects of that path either.  More just Pagan with Norse leanings, I guess.  And oddly enough, I like it that way!  I've come a long way from needing a defined system to follow.

I bought Mrs. B's Guide to Household Witchery for my birthday.  I really like it but it's probably not for everyone.  I like that it's more a how-to book than a book of deep knowledge.  I like recipes and spells and information about herbs and such.  I can't relate so much to her list of household gods since I don't have a hearth goddess to pay attention to.  I light the candle on my kitchen altar to the house spirits with a cone of incense to honor them and then invoke the gods with my morning prayer:  Hail Day!  Hail the Sons of Day!  And so on.  I love that prayer with all its variations.

Well, supper is done and it's time for nightly ritual.  I added Zach's dragon castle incense burner to my altar.  He's cleaning out his room and has removed all his altar stuff for now so I have a set up in the dining room displaying all his dragon incense burners and and dragon statues.  I do have his dragon oil burners on my altar holding my votive cups and candles.  I hate to use them as burners as the glass gets stained and etched so easily.  Plus, I do feel a connection with dragons now.  I also have his sword on my altar that has dragon designs on it.  I'll try to get a picture of it tomorrow.

BB



Monday, October 1, 2012

Fire Dragon help

Things continue to improve in my spiritual life.  And hopefully in my physical life as well.  Last night during ritual, I prayed to Odin about my physical limitations, not in a help me out way but in a what can I do to fix it way.  I had read a blog post about him being a healer of old so I gave it a shot.  I know there is a goddess of health in the Norse/Anglo Saxon pantheon but I had also read that the gods don't have assigned roles, per se.  They respond to requests as they respond; not in a way that means they have a particular duty. So I gave it a go.

I laid out the Animal Oracle Cards right after that and the first card was the Fire Dragon, which has to do with endurance, overcoming obstacles and increased energy.  The other cards were the Owl and the Bear.  And while I don't have their meanings right at my fingertips, they did correspond to the situation very meaningfully.  I'm pushing past the fatigue today but not racing over it.  I wonder sometimes if I am too afraid to push because I sometimes have days afterward of very real and very debilitating pain and fatigue.  I'm not forcing things today but I am making myself get up and do things.

Like laundry.  And dyeing yarn.  And cleaning the kitchen and dining room.  And putting the storm window in the front door.  It's not a lot in the scheme of things but it's 10 times more than I've been able to do in the past few weeks.  It was only getting worse so riding it out wasn't helping.  Maybe this will.  Especially if I rely on the Fire Dragon to help me through this.

I started learning the runes this weekend.  Still don't know anything but I didn't expect to right away.  I'm sure this will take a lot of time.  I'm reading more and more each day as well so that's good.

The weather is certainly changing.  It's been a bit warmer lately with temps in the high 60s and low 70s and cool nights.  That will change toward the end of the week with temps in the mid 50s.  I really feel like nesting, living a simpler life and focusing on frugality and back-to-nature kinds of things.  Fall does that to me.  I'm also trying to focus on eating more healthful things, too.  And not eating mindlessly.  I think that and eating from boredom are my biggest downfalls.  I don't even think I eat emotionally as much as I do mindlessly and from lack of anything else to do.

Time to get up and get more done.

BB


Monday, September 24, 2012

Ambition, motivation and growth

I'm not going to say that I have finally found my path...again, because every time I do that, within days I face a disconnect with the deities I feel drawn to worship.  So I will just say that I am very comfortable where I am and continue to grow closer and more grounded to the deities I feel called to.  I've been doing some reading on a daily basis and rituals are becoming more and more a part of my life.  Plus that energy connection I used to feel, I'm feeling again.  Very powerful stuff, indeed.

I'm also finding that if I ignore what other people think of the Norse gods, they become more real to me in their own way and not as a description of what others think they are.  They speak to me through Nature in a way I haven't experienced before, even with the Druid-ish path I was taking early on.  To me they are deeply connected to the roots of Erda and not the war mongerers some think they are.

Today Zach and I went to Palmatory Point here in town, an overlook of the marsh.  I haven't been there for years, sadly, and we enjoyed it so much that we plan to make it a weekly thing.  It's less than a mile from the house and hopefully we will build up our stamina to the degree that we can walk or ride our bikes there.  We live in a very hilly town so any bike traveling is hard when you're not in shape.  But the camera was dead so we couldn't take pictures.  Next time we go we'll have it charged up.  And take along Tom's binoculars.  Someone stole the telescope years ago so they never replaced it. :(

There is a trail there that we plan on using, too.  It will take a while to build up my stamina so I can walk past the woods into the marsh but I do plan on persevering and getting to the point where I can walk the entire marsh trail.  There are other trails, too, but they are out of town and they will be more for special occasions.  We're looking into volunteering for the Marsh groups and possibly DNR as well.  It's time to break out of our shells and connect with society as well as nature.

I need to focus more on being green as well.  I do recycle but I could do more, like hanging clothes out on the line instead of using the dryer.  And using less energy.  I don't need the fan on when I've got blankets on the bed.  I might like the way it feels but I don't need it.  Fewer trips to town and more walking to the convenience store instead of driving to the next town for milk.  We have no grocery store here in town so any shopping has to take place elsewhere, but milk is actually cheaper at Kwik Trip and we get our milk card punched which, when full, gives us a free gallon of gas.  Why do I not do that regularly instead of getting milk when I go to the store?  A little more effort but it's two blocks from here, although straight downhill there and straight uphill coming back.  And I mean a hill.

I've gotten complacent and need to get back into tightwaddery as well.  Living simply again, cooking from scratch, growing herbs and a garden next summer.  I have ambitions to do all this but no energy.  So I'm also focusing on eating healthier and spending more time outdoors.  I hope that will help.

For now, I have to get the clothes out on the line and fix supper.  A chicken stir fry for them and veg stir fry for me.   And knitting tonight, of course.  Tomorrow I plan on planting my herb garden on my new kitchen window sill and maybe growing some lettuce and celery indoors.  That way I can have salads year round.  With a nice southern exposure I shouldn't have any problem.  And the kitchen is the warmest place in the house.

BB

Monday, September 17, 2012

Early birthday

For some reason, my men decided to celebrate my birthday a week early so I got all my gifts yesterday.  I had asked Tom to make me a shelf in the kitchen window so I could keep my herbs there so he took the window sill out and put in a larger one.  It's perfect for growing herbs although I need to be careful with the wind because we get some strong winds here that have been known to knock lamps over and break them.

I also got some wool for knitting socks.  I have formerly used a wool/acrylic blend but the socks don't even last a full winter without getting holes so I asked for wool this year.  I started on a sock last night.

Then, to my utter surprise I got a Kindle.  I have mixed feelings about it since we didn't have the money for it and I'll have to be extra frugal with grocery shopping to pay for it but I have to admit that I love it.  I had some books I had gotten on Amazon.com for free but it's hard to read on the computer.  At least it's hard for me.  The books are all of a Pagan/Heathen perspective, including a book on the Eddas (though not the Eddas themselves) and one on Runes.  Herbs, witchcraft and Celtic history are the other books.  I can't wait to sit down and read them.

I'm still not reading enough to suit myself.  I've limited my time online quite a bit but most of the time not online has been spent running errands or knitting.  I did get my room squared away a bit and today am working on organizing my armoir and the kitchen but I'm not doing the reading I would like to be doing.  Part of it lack of concentration.  Although I'm sleeping again, my brain hasn't caught up yet so it's still a big sluggish and wandery.

And I'd like to get my altar ready for Autumn soon.  I have the stuff I need already but I just feel like other things should come first.  Like clean dishes and home-cooked meals.  I'll get to it soon though.  It's nice that I can celebrate the beginning of fall and my birthday all at once though so in spite of already having received my gifts, I'm still looking forward to my birthday/autumn.

It helps that today is flat out cold with temps in the low 50s.  I love it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Knitting intentions

I've noticed lately how closely tied to spirituality my knitting is.  I often find myself knitting intentions into all I do, sometimes without a lot of conscious effort.  Lately I've been knitting baby clothes for charity and have often whispered in my mind "May he/she grow up strong, healthy and may they walk their own path and not be coerced into a path they did not choose."  I have done this especially with the baby sweater and blanket I am knitting for my cousin's soon-to-arrive grandson.  They are fundamentalists and I used to get a lot of emails from her spouting out lies about our current president and the godless liberal agenda.  How can I be godless when I have more gods than she does?

I'm not knitting intentions that will turn this child or any other child away from a path I wouldn't choose for myself.  I'm hoping to give them strength to choose their own, even if they choose the path of their parents.  I think if I had had a choice early on, I wouldn't have chosen Christianity. I not only never had the choice, but also the fear of what would happen if I ever left Christianity left me terrified into middle age and beyond.  That's not fair to children to indoctrinate them into a specific path and threaten them with eternal damnation if they ever left it.

I didn't use to think that way.  I thought that giving my son a Christian foundation would strengthen his faith and he would never leave it.  It's what they all think.  How it's irresponsible to let a child decide for himself because those early years are so critical.  You grow up believing that and pass that on to the next generation.  And so on.

I just hope my intentions give the children I knit for a chance to decide for themselves, even if they choose Christianity.  Because having no choice at all is a lot like slavery or prison.  At least it feels like that.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue Moon

It wasn't a long ritual, nor was it really good, but it was effective.  Zach and I started indoors and moved outside to finish.  We had to finish in the driveway between the car and the house because the moon was hidden from the area out behind the garage.  I thought we had waited late enough but apparently not.  It was cloudy but the moon was beautiful in the haze.

My tools and altar feel charged but my tarot cards hate me.  I know they do.  I got the meanest reading today anyone could possibly get, complete with the Devil card as my present circumstances.  I had suspected some animosity from the cards from the beginning.  Rider-Waite were the first cards I ever used and I had great success with them, but in rediscovering my fundamentalist Christian past (way back in my early 30s), I was advised to destroy the cards because they were Satanic.  So I did with great ritual.  I should have known not to try them again.  I've tried apologies and various cleansing rituals but they still hate me.  I'm giving up.  I'm not destroying them, nor am I giving them away.  They'll retain a prominent place in my room with great honor but I just can't use them anymore.

I'm not sure I want to continue with Tarot anymore but Zach has loaned me his cards, which I've had success with before.  If they still work for me, I might look into getting another set.  If not, I'll just figure this avenue of divination isn't the right one for me.

I've also been re-thinking my last post on organizing Paganism.  I still think trying to make it into an organized entity is the worst thing that could happen to it, but I do think that covens, groves and kindreds aren't necessarily a bad thing.  I'm still very content to be solitary.  In fact, I think a group would not work well for me at all.  But I think they do work for some people and should be given the respect they deserve.

Things are changing for me spiritually but I'm not ready to talk about it in full yet.  I can't deny certain callings, though, and sometimes I just have to yield to the will of the gods and see what happens.  But I've finally broken free from the rigid restrictions I had placed on myself when walking that path.  And feel quite free (with complete permission of the gods) to blend the cultures my ancestors lived in because they would have blended them, too.

BB


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Organized religion

Been pondering some things lately as I've skimmed some blogs on news about Pagan organizations.  And my personal (and I stress the word personal) opinion is that if Pagan groups were to organize, in less than a century it would resemble Christianity in form and function.  Because people are people, after all.

One of the biggest heartbreaks for me after leaving Christianity was finding out the Pagans weren't any better behaved.  There was as much backbiting, gossiping and vitriol withing the Pagan community as there is in Christianity.  It's just Christianity has more numbers and better press.  We get to hear it all.  Pagans tend to be a bit more tight-lipped and there are fewer numbers.

When I was exploring Druidry, I encountered several groups that insisted on the right way to become a druid.  And hardly any of them had the same requirements.  Some viewed Druidry from a philisophical perspective, others from a religious.  Some insisted you had to spend years and years of study before you could call yourself a true druid.  Others insisted if you claimed you were one, then you were.

And don't get me started on Hellenic and Asatru groups.  Lots of fighting amongst the various factions there.

Then we have organizations that have fallen apart due to bad management and personality clashes, not to mention the forming of factions within.

You've got reconstructionists versus neo-Pagans.  You've got hard polytheists and soft.  You've got people who think you can't worship a deity outside your ancestral line.  People who think you must have a pure nationality to worship the gods of that culture.  Organized versus intuitive.  The list goes on.

Why on earth would Paganism strive to something that doesn't work within the major religions, let alone fails miserably within the various Pagan groups.  Sure there are some that do work out.  It would be interesting to find out the difference in why some work out.  I suspect it has more to do with the people involved than the organization though.  And I'm sure there are covens and groves out there that are managed well and everyone gets along, but I have met only one person who has had that experience.  In person or in real life.  Maybe my world is too small.  Or maybe organizing something that is so organic is hard to do with success.

Circle Sanctuary seems to be an exception as well, but there could be things going on there that I don't know about, too. 

All this has made me convinced that solitary is the perfect choice for me.  Getting together with other pagans is fine, but dealing with a coven or a grove...I just don't think it would work for me.  I'm not inclined to be drawn to a group that has too many rules on how I may or may not practice my path. 

I understand the need for social interaction and having had "church" for over 50 years, I do miss that kind of weekly experience.  Part of me wishes I could get together with other Pagans from time to time but driving an hour in any direction would be the only solution to that.  And the community would be very diverse to the point of having to water down much of everything. ETA:  I'm thinking of something along the lines of a UU church here.

I could be wrong.  It may be that most of the groups out there are great and having few problems, but if there are, I'm not hearing about them.  I think any time you get people together under the religious tent, there are going to be people asserting their hold over others.  I just don't think Paganism is an exception.

Because...as I said...people are people, even if they are Pagans.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finding well-written myths makes the difference

Happily I found a book in my personal library called Druid Magic that has some stories of the gods in it and I loved reading those stories.  Maybe it's just the venue at fault and not the mythologies themselves?  I think I'll look for more reading from a "believer's" perspective.  I know the myths I grew up on were told as stories, not as something that wasn't true and had origins in this culture or that.

As a result of reading those stories, my opinions of the gods involved have shifted a bit, with a lot more understanding of what was the intentions behind the myths, rather than omg...the gods are behaving like bad little children.  I'm not interesting in dissecting each and every myth or digging through each word of an ancient writing to find "truths."  I spent a lifetime doing that in another religion.  I'm just interested in getting to know the gods, the spirits, the fae, and all other creatures of the other realms.

The cable guy came today to replace my dvr box and I had thoughts last night about putting my altar things away because it's very obvious what it is, and it's right next to the tv.  I decided not to, which was good in the long run because I don't think he even noticed it.  He was there to work and work he did!  Replacing all my cables just because he thought it would improve the quality of our service.  And he was the tallest human being I've ever seen.  He had to be at least 7 feet tall.  And weighed as much as a teacup.

The weather is spoiling me and I'm afraid I'll be disappointed soon when summer returns with a vengeance.  We've had daytime temps in the high 60s and low 70s.  And nighttime temps in the low 50s.  Tonight is predicted to be in the high 40s.  I love this weather best out of all the seasons.  I just don't think it's here to stay and when the heat returns it will be so hard to deal with.  But, as we never get more than a few weeks of fall before we start getting wintery weather, I'm going to enjoy every minute of this.  Although winter is my second favorite season.  Until about February.  Then it gets very old.

I haven't gotten a Blue Moon ritual written yet.  I have sorted out some books and things and found some interesting rituals I could adapt.  Not to mention finding some very good stuff in a book on spellcasting:  Power Spellcraft for Life by Arin Murphy-Hiscock.  I'm not very far into it but Zach has read it and really recommends it before I start writing spells. 

I've also decided not to focus on a hearth goddess as that seems to be a huge hurdle for me in moving forward.  I'm more comfortable with the Roman notion of household gods who take care of the mundane things but don't seem to have names or characteristics.  That seems to work well for me and has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders.  Maybe not very Celtic but I'm not married to a rigid notion nor am I locked into a religion.  I may feel very uneasy with mixing and matching pantheons but this feels much more comfortable than a hearth goddess that I can't seem to connect with.  Time may change that but for now, it's the direction I'm going to take.

And having written that, I need to start supper and get the laundry out of the dryer so everyone has clothes to wear again.  I need to start hanging clothes out on the line but until I can get up and down the steps better, not going to happen.

BB


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cowardly me

I had to back out of the blue moon ritual because it's just too far away and I would have to drive in too much traffic to get there.  It sucks not having anyone close enough to get together with but I do appreciate the invitation.  Just feel bad that I accepted and had to decline.  Plus my anxiety levels were on overload when I saw how much of Madison I would have to drive through.  In rush hour traffic.  On a Friday night.

So I plan on writing a ritual for Zach and me for the blue moon.  Won't be much but I hope it will be sufficient.  I haven't actually done magick yet.  I just don't have the energy for it but hopefully soon.

I was looking at some sites about the Welsh deities and I just wish they had a pronunciation guide to go along with most of them.  I did find one site that did but some of the pronunciations disagreed with other sites.  One of the problems with dealing with deities from another language, I suppose.

Another problem I have is with the mythologies.  I still have problems enjoying them.  It makes me like the deities less rather than get to know them better.  To be honest, the only mythologies I like are the Greek ones, mostly because they are from my childhood and are somewhat better organized.  The Celtic/Welsh mythologies tend to be a jumble of post-Christian writings with some stories brought down through tradition.  Hard to follow especially after all the Christianizing of them.  So I just plan to get to know them personally instead of through their myths.  I know the Greeks weren't any paragons of morality either and I did have problems liking the gods in spite of their myths.

And yet I know that this is the best path for me, the most comfortable and the most compatible with who I am.  I just mosey on doing the best I can.  How can I not walk this path when I get such a great response from the gods?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Good balance for now

I've been spending more time doing altar things instead of reading; more time focusing on the gods in my daily life instead of studying.  When I knit I watch tv but part of my mind is also on the intentions I knit into the baby things I hope to donate this winter, once I find a place that's not Christian oriented.  I don't want to donate anything through them because there is always a price to their charity:  listening to their gospel presentation and guilt-ridden/fear-mongering laden gospel presentation.  Perhaps not so bad in the more liberal churches, but certainly there in the fundie churches in my neck of the woods.  I don't want to go there at all.  I'll see if the library is doing something this year besides hats, scarves and mittens.  A Pagan charity would be ideal.  Maybe I can check with some Pagan sources.  I'd be willing to pay shipping to get them where they would be well-received.  I'm sure there are plenty of Pagan families who need warm clothes for their children, too.

My altar time has been amazing.  I hadn't realized how much I missed that connection of energy from the gods.  I haven't felt that for months, certainly not since I started drifting away from the Celtic culture.  Sometimes I think it's too intense to endure but I don't want to stop.  I'm sure in time I'll adjust to it and it won't overwhelm me anymore but in the meantime, I'm loving it.

I did do some reading today on the various mythologies in the Celtic realm and find I'm really drawn to the Welsh aspects of the gods.  Not entirely as there are some in the Irish and British myths that really appeal to me, but mostly it's Welsh.  I've had problems for a while feeling connected to Brigid.  Some days I think I am and then I go months without feeling anything at all.  I wonder if I looked into the Welsh aspect, it might help, because I know my aversion to her is because of the Christian adopting of her as a saint.  Not her fault, I know, but it bothers me.  I'll give Brigantia a chance, even though in my mind, she's still Brigid.  Maybe the difference of name will be enough.

I'd love to learn to speak Welsh.  Several months ago I got a course from the library but it was totally in print and no audio at all.  I can look around on the internet to find something audio.  I think the BBC has a free course.

For now, though, I knit, enjoy Nature and spend time connecting with the gods and that's enough for now.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Figuring me out

No regrets.  No second thoughts or looking back as I normally do when I change directions.  I feel really good about this decision. Aside from feeling foolish that I have had such a hard time finding a path and sticking with it, I feel quite at peace.  And yet, I don't seem to be the only one having this difficulty; I've read many a blog by Pagans who have changed their paths repeatedly trying to find the right one.  I suppose that's the risk we take when we get to choose our own path instead of just being born into one or having someone pick it for us.

I couldn't figure out why I was unable to draw from various pantheons until I responded to The Opinionated Redhead in the comments of the last post.  I don't see all the gods as various aspects of the God and Goddess.  I see them all as their own beings, not part of a greater whole. I don't believe there is only one or even two aspects of one god.  I'm a hard polytheist and believe that, while there may be some gods who carried over from various civilizations, one pantheon isn't the same as another with only the names changed.

ETA:  And I absolutely believe that people can believe what they want about this and no one is more right than the other.

I'm grateful to the Redhead for helping me sort that out because I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, that I couldn't split up a pantheon and just wing it like others do. I really appreciate the input I get from the people who comment here (aside from the wingnut who decided I was going to hell for not worshiping her god which I deleted) because it helps me gain confidence that I can make my own decisions.  And that I'm not wrong for doing things the way that's right for me.  It has probably been so hard for me to forge my own path because for half a century I was indoctrinated, with a threat of eternal torment, that that was wrong.

So...this feels really right and comfortable and while I'm not carving it in stone, it feels different from the other times in that I feel so very settled this time.  With no urgent need to study up on anything or learn anything before I can proceed further.  I just feel like I can move forward with what I know and learn at a leisurely pace the things I don't know yet.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Change in the wind again...I hope for the last time

My path has shifted once again, back to where I first started when I left the religion of my birth behind.  I was really trying to fit into Heathenry because I truly did feel the call of the gods but it's just not who I am.  I'm a pacifist, lover of nature and wildlife and I really don't look forward to an end-time battle.  Nor do I really believe there will be one.

In the end, I suppose I'm saying no to the Norse gods.  I appreciate their calling me and inviting me into their world but it's just not something I fit well into.  I tried reading the mythology and found myself not particularly liking the gods of the Norse mythology.  Now, I realize the myths aren't scripture.  They're not who the gods actually are, but just as it's hard for me to separate the Bible from Christianity, I can't seem to separate the Eddas from the Aesir and Vanir.

Oddly, the book I had on Norse mythology also had a section on the Celtic myths and for the first time, I found myself completely won over by them.  I thought how well I could relate to them, to the love of nature and life and their views on the afterlife. How much I enjoyed their stories, after all.

I just hope this is the last switch I make.  I'm really tired of being so undecided, until I decide, and then I end up undecided again.

It's also making my efforts to work magick easier.  I feel like a barrier has been removed although I'm still very much a novice at it.  I got a book on runes but it's from a Norse perspective, which I can get around very easily.  I know some Heathens believe you can't work runes without the Norse gods, but I'm learning to be eclectic and I kind of think the gods of the various pantheons aren't nearly as territorial as we humans are about the accoutrements of our various religions.  Besides, I wonder if my draw to the Norse gods had more to do with the runes than with the gods themselves.

And I have to say that the Animal Oracle cards have spoken to me for the first time in months, so that must be a good sign.  I haven't touched my Tarot in a while but I might get those out tomorrow after my dr appointment. 

I missed Lughnassadh but my favorite festivals are coming up so I am wriggling in anticipation of Samhain and Winter Solstice.  And of course, Mabon is on my birthday eve so...





Friday, August 3, 2012

More reading material

I got The Poetic Eddas from the library last week and I only have it for two more since it's a 3 week loan instead of four like the rest of my books are.  Not nearly enough time to read it since it's not light reading at all.  I have it online free but it's not easy for me to sit at the computer and read books.

Same with a book on Runes.  I got it free on Kindle and am using the PC Cloud thing but it's just hard to sit and read, particularly when I'm trying to retain it.  So I broke down and bought Diana Paxson's Taking Up the Runes.  I looked around trying to find recommendations and this one seemed to have the best ratings.  Also the most ratings.  Most rune books only had one or two reviewers.  I got this one from a dealer and it was like new for a lot less than the price of a new one.

I really would love to get a Kindle for Christmas but I doubt we will be able to afford it.  I really love holding a book in my hands when I read, but there are books out there I would be able to get for free or next to nothing that I can't afford on hard copy.

I'm having some really bad insomnia problems lately so not much of anything is getting done.  I've tried herbal sleeping pills, teas, OTC sleeping pills and nothing is giving me consistent sleep.  It seems like it's getting a smidgen better but I'm not going to declare victory until I've had at least a week of solid, restful sleep.  Can't remember the last time I had that.

In the meantime, I'm knitting, watching tv and reading as best I can with a brain fogged by lack of sleep.  Thankfully I can renew the books at the library (aside from The Poetic Eddas) twice more.  That one has a waiting list so I can't renew it.  Who knew it would be in such high demand in this neck of the woods?

Off to bed and trying to stay awake long for the sun to go down.