Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Biding my time...comfortably

My remaining two books should arrive tomorrow so the next month should be full of good reading and lots of learning.  I'm trying to do this the right way, not jumping in with both feet, letting myself absorb the information before committing.  Still, it feels comfortable in a way that nothing has up to this point (and not saying that something might not feel more comfortable later on) so I'm just building on that for now.

Aside from one moment of powerful connection, I haven't sought another moment like that again.  It's not that I'm afraid.  I'm just taking my time and working through this relationship with the gods more slowly.  And it feels right to do it that way.  I still know little about them and little about the Norse path although I am learning more each day.  I do pray to Frigg each morning and light a candle and incense but I haven't found that connection yet.  Mostly it's me holding back. 

I'll admit that while I didn't mind the Greeks packing up and leaving in the middle of the night, it has created a bit of uncertainty for me that the Norse might do the same thing.  So I suppose that's one reason for not jumping in and embracing the gods wholeheartedly.  But it's more than that.  I just want to know them.  Really know them.  Instead of just going through the motions of ritual while I get to know them.  My house doesn't seem "full" of the gods like it did with the Greeks, but it doesn't feel empty either, like it did when the Greeks packed up and left.  There is a definite presence here.  It feels good not to feel alone.

So I learn and grow and grow closer, I hope, to the gods.  The few gods I know a little bit about I already have a fondness for.  And the connection will either grow or it won't and there's nothing I can do to make it happen.  But I have this feeling, deep down inside, that it will grow.  I kind of like it that they haven't brought their luggage.  It feels more like they're working on the relationship, too.  Not just barging in and expecting it to happen overnight.

I am looking forward to this.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I forgot to title this one

I've found two online Norse communities on facebook that are simply amazing.  I've rarely gotten so warm a welcome in a group...not including my friends here, of course.  Nothing beats you guys.  But both groups have welcomed me enthusiastically and allayed my fears about rigid reconstructionism and dogmatism.  Not to mention racism.  Absolutely not allowed in either group.

They call themselves reconstructionist-derived or reconstructionist-inspired and feel about it much the way I do.  That there is much to learn about the past but no need to live there.

I especially love the Norse women group as they are a bit sassy and bold...much like the Norse goddesses.

It does mean a lot to me that I've found a group I can fit into.  I had such a hard time in the Hellenic groups, part of it my own fault, of course.  I just didn't feel like I belonged.  And to be fair, they were a bit dogmatic about a lot of things.  I've tried some general Pagan groups but again feel like I'm living on the outskirts, although I have met some people through those groups (hey, Cin!) and have the possibility of in-person communication sometime in the future.

I was beginning to think I was going to be on the outside looking in forever and wondered how I could ever overcome my unsociability.  Which apparently wasn't really unsociability but just waiting for the right fit.  I've had it here, of course, but finding it elsewhere was something I had despaired of.

I've been reading my first book The Troth, volume 1 and love it so far.  It's mostly history at this point, which is fascinating and from a seemingly unbiased position so far.  Not to mention the author thinks highly of Ronald Hutton so he can't be bad in my book.  This is the second edition and I think the mentions of Professor Hutton are in the revisions as Triumph of the Moon isn't that old and the first edition was published in 1993 by Kveldulf Hagan Gundarsson (I don't know how to use accent marks) and re-published in 2003 and edited by Diana L. Paxson.  Volume 1 is History and Lore.  I had ordered a new book, I thought, but got one used in excellent condition for about $5 less so I'm not complaining.  Not a mark on it and the cover is in near-perfect condition.

The other two books have shipped already and should be here later this week.  Those are more about the hows and whys of Norse Paganism.  More practical information.  But I am loving the history so far.  It's fairly new to me so it's fresh and exciting. I don't know if my path will lead me here for any length of time but the information I'm consuming is delicious anyway.

I plan on starting Rituals of the Dark Moon tonight as I think I have my brain back now that Zach's medical condition is sorted out and on its way to recovery (see other blog).  I'm not feeling well from either a cold or sinus infection but aside from the headache and aching muscles, my concentration is vastly improved and I am eager to greet the Dark Moon when she shows up next time.  Although I must say the Crescent Moon with Jupiter and Venus dancing in her glow is breathtaking.

But for now, I'm hoping into bed for reading and then sleep.  Zach is fixing supper and I am tired.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Great knitting patterns that I intend to own very soon

My book is apparently still at the post office since it didn't get delivered today.  Probably didn't get there early enough, which means it will be here tomorrow.  I'm excited!

I'm also excited about a knitting pattern that was just put out there.  Several of the squares had been available all along but I've been waiting until they're all ready before I buy them.  I normally don't buy patterns but I've been waiting for these for a long time!

It's call Magickal Symbols Throw and while I might not use all the symbols, there are several there I definitely will use, including the two Norse symbols.  I had written to the designer a while back asking if she intended to include an Awen symbol and she wrote back in the affirmative so I was excited to see it there.  I don't know when I would get around to knitting it and I might wait until the remaining few patterns are actually ready for sale, but I will definitely buy this.  Plus she has lots of free patterns on her site as well, which I have knitted from and  highly recommend.

But for now I'm still plugging away at the Tree of Life afghan for my altar throw.  It's time consuming but hopefully I'll get it done before summer.  Just an arbitrary deadline.  No real sense of urgency about it, just a goal.

I have plans for more organization of my space, putting my spiritual tools in a better, more organized state.  They're just stuffed in my armoir for now and nearly fall out every time I try to bring anything out.  Hopefully that organization will help me organize my time better, too.  I plan on eliminating a lot of news sites I read in addition to some blogs and such that I seem to read more out of duty rather than enjoyment.  I will keep the ones to the left but I have others I read that I need to cut out of my daily schedule.  Plus I'm going to cut down on all computer time so I can focus on the things that help me grow as a person.  Rather than things that piss me off or make me kick walls and such.

I just hope I can stick to it this time.  I'm so bad at follow-through.

I most likely will stop blogging on weekends though so I can get more work done.  It's not like I do it a lot anyway so it won't be a big loss to anyone.  I actually plan on starting this new routine tomorrow so this is the last day, hopefully, that I waste this much time on the computer.

Wish me luck and send any ambitious energies my way if you can.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How easy it is to make plans when your brain is there to help

One book has shipped at last.  It's the latest book I ordered, which is volume 1, fortunately.  At least we can get started on something. 

I have to say that I'm not feeling a real connection yet with the Norse gods, mostly because I still don't know them well enough.  I've got some mythology books to peruse and some history books as well so I plan on sitting down with them tonight and going over them.  I'm not relying on them to allow me to acquaint myself with the gods, but it's a start.  I'm not displeased at the slow progress though.  Indeed, I find the slow courtship very satisfying.

Zach is using the family altar now, something he's never done before.  He says it's awkward but I reminded him that all new things feel awkward at first.  He's a very reticent kind of guy and tends to keep his practices private so I don't know how he will feel about family time at the altar.  I suppose we both have to get used to it.

Since deciding not to have a garden this year, I'm looking forward to making the yard reflect a nature retreat rather than an eyesore as it has since we moved here.  I've got plans for a sacred space behind the garage where I plan to grow morning glories to cover the box springs and mattress frames I've got leaning against the garage wall.  I'm also going to cover up the compost heap because we don't use it and it's just a magnet for critters.  Professor also digs in and come out covered in smelly stuff going after those critters.  I can use the space for the altar instead.  The advantage is that it's hidden from both immediate neighbors.  Anyone driving on the highway above our yard can see but they'll be traveling and not lingering so they won't see much.  There is a sidewalk above the yard as well but I'm not bothered by it.  More concerned about my neighbors who frequently have parties in the back yard not seeing what we do there. 

I threw some columbine seeds all over the hills that frame two sides of the yard, hoping to get the wildlife to grow a bit faster.  It's too steep to mow although we did try the first few years we lived here.  Now I let it go back to nature only she's taking her sweet time making it pretty.  My mother said to just throw the seeds and they'll grow like crazy so I hope she's right.

We're expecting a snow storm tomorrow although no one seems to know for sure what's going to happen.  I'm only concerned because the Decorah Eagles are on the nest with two eggs so far.  I love watching them and wonder if I have a special connection with eagles.  I've seen two in the past several years, both swooping down over the car as I drove along.  I was told we don't have bald eagles here but I have seen two.  And I have to remember to breathe each time I see one.  I love the hawks, which are numerous but the eagle just sends me into joy.

Hopefully this lifting out of depression will continue so I can get my life back and I can focus more on my spiritual studies and practices.  I have tried to read the Rituals of the Dark Moon but my brain wasn't along for the ride so I had to put it up, which means I missed the dark moon.  Well, I didn't miss it since I was here when it happened, but I didn't celebrate it like I wanted to.  Next month, for sure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thor has arrived...or at least his hammer has

My books still haven't shipped and now there is a disclaimer on one of the pages that it takes a week to ship.  This after I canceled my order and then re-ordered thinking they had gotten it screwed up.  Also, I ordered the wrong volume so I just went ahead and ordered the correct volume, which is pending shipping already.  But I kept the other volume on order because I would have ordered it anyway. 

I really can't afford to do this anymore though.

But, joy of joys, I got my Thor's Hammer in the mail today and I love it.  It's got a bronze cast to it, unlike my other pewter jewelry and I really like that.  It's a bit bigger than I had thought but just the perfect size.  Zach got his Valknut the other day so we're both at least set.  I found a tree pendant at StuffMart that looks identical to some World Tree pendants I've seen on pagan sites, only this one was $3.00. 

We're settling in to Norse paganism slowly because we don't want to just jump in with both feet.  Testing the waters a bit and getting to know the gods a bit.  It's almost in a shy way.  I did pick up a bunch of books on Norse mythology and history from the library today.  I do want to refresh my memory about the Norse gods.  I'm sure I'll find a lot of differences from book to book but at least it's a start.

I've started my annual LOTR marathon, where I watch all the movies, all the commentaries and documentaries (and this year I have all the theatrical versions to watch as well) because I find that I get a lot of motivation for creativity through these movies and docs.  I've picked up my pencils again and started doing a bit of basic shapes yesterday, just reminding my muscles what to do.  I'm woefully behind where I used to be in drawing.  This time I hope to stick with it and be consistent.  I'd like to get good at something instead of knowing a little bit about several things.

Tonight will be an early night though as I'm healing from pulling something in my back again and while I'm not in pain, I don't want to be either. 

I'm getting more excited about the future now so maybe the depression is lifting.

I hope.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Re-thinking Reconstructionism

No, not going to become one, but I am re-thinking my attitude toward it.  At least some varieties of it.

I've found a few blogs on Norse Paganism and Hellenic Polytheism that claimed the recon path but they didn't behave in a way that I'm used to seeing with people who claim to want to do things they way they "should" be done.  Instead, they were very open to others doing things the way they felt led rather than trying to be territorial about their path.  I really learned a lot about what they believe because they just talked about it rather than slammed other people for not doing things their way.

Their perspective was that they liked doing things the way they thought the ancestors did it.  Not that it was a must, but that it was desired.  I can get behind that.  I can even practice that.  I do like to visualize my ancestors in their spiritual practices and wonder how close we really are. 

What I really detest is the "have to" attitude.  As dare they worship my gods that way.  I've seen that in more than a few religions, reconstructionist Christianity being one of the worst.  You know them as Dominionists and they behave like Rick Santorum.  He is more or less a reconstructionist Catholic who is pre-Vatican II and wants to go back to Latin mass and women barefoot and pregnant.  The evangelical Dominionists want to use Old Testament laws for our legal system and keep the women barefoot and pregnant.  Not tons of difference.

I will say that I have nothing to learn from the Dominionists.  I have interacted with them for years and there is nothing of any value in their teachings.  The teachings are oppressive and mean-spirited.

But I don't see that in the teachings of reconstructionist Pagans.  Or whatever they choose to be called.  I think there is value in learning how our ancestors lived and thought in spite of the attitudes of the people who claim that knowledge for themselves.  I may not like their attitudes, but their knowledge and information has value.

So, I guess it's really all about people and less about religions.  Those who want to use the old ways to control and oppress people will do that no matter what they call their religion.  Those who want to honor the old ways for the sake of tradition won't necessarily see it as a binding resolution for anyone who wants to worship the same gods. 

It's good to let the past open us up to a broader way.  It's not good to use the past to make the path so narrow only a few can walk it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More altar pictures

Now that the altar is truly a family altar, I redesigned it to reflect our current relationship with the Norse gods.  Zach had some items that he wanted to put on it and I had some things set aside that found their way to the new altar as well.  The dragon oil burner is Zach's and really sets the theme for the altar, I think.

I found the brass goblet years ago in a thrift store.  The bowl is another thrift store find.  The letter opener has become a ceremonial knife of sorts and the reindeer bell is from a few Christmases ago.  I'm knitting a Tree of Life afghan in a dusky blue to go under the altar cloth.  I'll probably come up with another altar cloth by the time it's done.  I like bandanas because they're washable and cheap and I can change them out easily.  But you never know...I might find something that really fits the theme of the altar better.  Zach has some dragon fabric but it's too "busy" for the altar.

These are some beautiful cards I got from the lovely Tana that grace the wall above my altar.  I did buy the moon card but the three goddesses and the campfire revelry are from Tana.  She also sent a beautiful Yule tree card that goes up in December.  And I've got another card from my sister-in-law of the northern lights over a beautiful lake with a lit Christmas tree beside it.  That will go up this Yule.

This is the altar for the threshold as it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  The picture above is now the Starry Night print by Van Gogh that I had on the previous family altar.  That's barley in the bowl and the eagle is still one of my totems so he stays.  In the foreground is a zen garden I got from the Dollar Store for...well...a dollar.

This is the hearth altar, dedicated to Frigga.  Since she is known for her spinning skills, my spinning wheel tchotchke fits nicely there.  The picture without the flash was too dark and this is too bright but you can see more details with the flash so I picked this one.  The picture is another gift from Tana.  It says "Magickal things are crafted in this kitchen."

I ordered some books on Norse Paganism that didn't seem very reconstructionist.  The first is Our Troth: Living the Troth.  If it's recon, it's not rabidly so.  If I like it I might order the second volume later.  The other book I ordered is True Hearth...again not overtly recon.  Or at least according to the reviews it didn't seem so. The recons pretty much ruined the Greeks for me because there always seemed the burden that put pressure on me to "do it right."  I'm steering clear of the Norse recons so I don't have that same problem.  So far I've found some lovely Norse blogs that don't adhere to the reconstructionist paradigm.  I also ordered Zach a Valknut pendant because he feels a very strong connection to Odin.  For myself I ordered Thor's Hammer because I feel it is a more general representation of Norse Paganism.  And as the Raven is associated with Odin, my Raven pentacle is also another piece of jewelry I can wear to reflect my beliefs.

I'm tempering my enthusiasm because I have been excited about a new path before.  There was a need for the Greeks in my life although there was always something that was not a great fit about it although I tried very hard to ignore that.  One thing that bothered me was the similarity to Christianity in many ways.  Not that the Greeks stole from them, mind you.  But still, formal worship isn't my thing anymore.  And while the Norse may not be a good fit either, the more I read about them, the more I am finding a level of comfort that I haven't found before...not even with Druidry.  I also like that they are a part of my ancestry, along with Zach's (although his is more embedded in his DNA than mine, him having German/Scandinavian/Polish ancestors and adding mine, which is Anglo-Saxon/Celt/Apache.)  It's nice to have an ancestral connection with your spiritual path.  Not essential, but a bonus.

My new books won't be here for a couple of weeks so we're winging it for now.  I consecrated the altars to the Norse gods without naming names aside from Odin and Fregga, but incorporating both the Aesir and Vanir.  The two candles representing them both.  Initially I only felt a fuzzy, tentative connection and haven't really bonded with Frigga yet, although I really, really like her.  But last night during ritual and prayer I felt a supremely powerful connection with Odin at the family altar.  Time will tell but the honeymoon period with the Norse gods seems to be going very well so far.

Now I think I'm ready for another nap.  I must be under the weather or something because I'm sleeping a lot lately.  Gods know I really need it though.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remind me never to speak in absolutes

Zach pointed out today that every time I make a definitive statement about my path, it changes.


The Greeks have packed up and left.

I woke up yesterday morning and the house felt eerily empty.  I lit my hearth candle and incense and...nothing.  I lit Hermes's candle and...nothing.  I didn't even try the family altar.  It was so dark and cold I couldn't bear it.  So, I just waited.  I didn't really fret about it because they either come back or they don't.  I spent my last tear and bit of angst on Christianity.  I won't let any gods tear me apart ever again.

I suppose that makes me a cold-hearted bitch, but when they're here, I'm as passionate and devout as can be.  When they leave, I move on.  Feeling a bit foolish, perhaps, but I move on.

So...last night while I was debating whether to write about this or not, I heard the whisper from Asgard, which was a bit of a shocker since I've never really considered the Norse gods at all.  Okay it wasn't a whisper.  More like a battle cry.

I mulled it over and thought it was worth a shot, if they want to come and set up housekeeping for a while.  Until....

Zach came in last night and expressed to me how unhappy he is with his agnosticism.  He wants to believe in something and the Norse gods really appealed to him in many ways, especially as their culture includes dragons.  Nothing surprises me anymore so I wasn't shocked, didn't shout and claim any kind of miracle.  I just had one thought in my head:  would you convert for someone you loved

I will admit I have missed having someone to share a spiritual path with, someone to share ritual, prayer and such so we did some research today, found what we were looking for and invited them in.  Sure, there are issues with the recons.  I don't think any path is free from them.  And since we plan on including the Vanir in our worship, we don't want to call ourselves Asatru so ours might be a bit of this and that.  Norse Pagan comes close to what we intend.

I kind of wonder if they gods are all showing me what's out there on a rotating basis so I don't get stuck on the wrong path for another 50 years.  Or maybe I'm the one to blame.  I don't know but I'm not going to worry about it.  I just know that one day I was devoted to the Greeks and the next day they were gone and my heart was empty of them.  No remorse, no anguish.  Just as if a friend had stayed long enough and moved on.

But I do know that yes, I would convert for someone I loved if it didn't mean betraying a principle I believed in.  The bonus is, I don't feel like I'm giving anything up.  I feel like I'm gaining.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Proudly Pagan

It's really discouraging to keep running into people that I left Christianity to get away from.  Not the main reason I left but I hoped it would be a bonus.  Except they are popping up in the Hellenic polytheist groups.  And I'm not even talking about just the odd person.

I had left the recon forums because I got tired of reading about how everyone else was doing it wrong and how the gods were offended by dirty hands and unbrushed hair.  And how evil Wicca was because they dared to call upon some of the Greek gods.  And how offensive magic was to the gods.

So I chanced upon a Hellenic polytheist group that was supposed to be inclusive.  Except the recons hang out there, too.  In numbers.

So the latest flame war was Don't Call Me A Pagan because it's an insult and we can't trust Christian definitions because they are evil also.  And there were the hyperbolic comments about how pagani meant illiterate and therefore it was an insult to Hellenic polytheists because they weren't illiterate.  Then some jumped in to point out that Pagans were those tree and nature worshipers and the gods knew they didn't worship trees or nature.  Totally wrong about Wicca and Druidry but what else is new.

Not to mention the recons tend to be a bit on the conservative side of things, which I can't for the life of me figure out, but there it is.  I haven't gotten my courage up to post there after I had my ass handed to me for saying it was insulting to be called a coward because I didn't want my Hellenic poly posts to show up on my facebook page.

Bottom line is I don't want to be identified with them so I will no longer use the term Hellenic in my tags or in my own identification of my path.   And you know what?  The gods are okay with that because they have informed me that they existed beyond the boundaries of Greece and Rome and were worshiped in many different places.  And some have said I might recognize them under different names in Druidry although they're fine with me worshiping them under their Greek names.

And history bears that out.

I'm just getting sick and tired of the ownership bullshit that goes on within any religion.  I know who my gods are now.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a connection with them.  But I haven't had a lot of luck finding the right way to honor them because I felt torn between two worlds.  But if the Hellenic world wants to act like a bunch of assholes, then I throw my lot in with the Nature religions.  Druidry it is.

This same kind of argument exists within Christianity by groups that feel the name was intended as an insult originally and don't want to be called by it.  Then you have the ones who think they are the real followers of the Jewish Messiah and don't want to be called by that name because they are doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong.  There is absolutely nothing new going on here.  It's all about people who want ownership of the religion and don't want to play nicely with others.

So I'm going to play in the Nature playground because it has fewer fundies in it.  So from now on, I'll no longer include Hellenic in my tags or my labels.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm sure I heard Hermes laughing

I worked at Hermes's and Zeus's altar today.  I neglect it too often in terms of working there, but I often touch the eagle or rooster picture as I pass, letting them know I do think of them often.  But today I needed to appeal to Hermes on matters of finances.  I need to do better at making the money last.  I didn't ask for miraculous intervention or for a crapmillion to drop into our laps.  It's not how I work.  I asked that I do better.

The incense was a bit moist and kept going out.  I knew I shouldn't leave it out all the time.  It absorbed the moisture in the air (which in winter seems a bit odd, but there you go) and wouldn't stay lit.  But it was frankincense, which isn't great at staying lit anyway.  Especially the cones although this was a stick.  First off, I lit the candle, prayed and gave my intentions.  Then I lit the incense and went to stick it into the ash burner only to discover there was no hole to put it in. They drilled the hole on the wrong side and it didn't go all the way through.

Now, I could hear Hermes laughing throughout all this but I wasn't amused at all.  So I took the ash burner off my main altar and set the incense in there.  Then I remembered that I had forgotten to wave the smoke around myself and the altar so I lifted it out only to discover it had gone out.

So...I lit it again, waved the smoke around, declared the space purified and then went to put it back in the ash burner.  It had gone out again.  Cursing this time, I re-lit it, stuck it in the ash burner, offered up my intentions through gritted teeth and then went to eat my breakfast.

It's a good thing Hermes has a sense of humor because he didn't seem the least bit upset with me and after breakfast and a libation of coffee to Hestia, I went back to the altar, offered up another, less gritty prayer asking for help and re-lit the incense because it had gone out again.

Finally, after several tries, I got the incense to stay lit...just as we were walking out the door to drive through wind-driven snow to the dr's office for Zach's labs.  So the incense burned nicely while we were gone.  I'd like to think that Hermes was busy helping us drive through the snow safely and finally stopped blowing the incense out.

However that happened, I really need to attend their altar more often.  I pray to all of them on my main altar at least weekly but Hermes is on the piano because it's line of sight with the front door and I see it when I enter and when I leave.  Same with Zeus, who I consider the god of the threshold.  At least here he is. And I don't pay them specific attention like I should.  Not beating myself up over it...just sayin'.  'Cause it's not about having's about how much I enjoy it and how I should do it more often.

I read some interesting things about Persephone lately, although I'm not sure of the sources yet.  But she is often identified with Hecate, which is really exciting because I often think of them as friends closer than sisters in the Underworld.  And my raven pentacle would identify both of them.  Am I nuts for not wanting Persephone to leave the Underworld?  Not that I don't want Spring to arrive...I just think of her more as the Goddess of the Underworld and not a Spring maiden at all.

Although after that snow today I might jump on Demeter's side and start decorating Persephone's room.

I haven't done any studying in Druidry yet because I just haven't had the desire.  There are aspects of Druidry that I really do like but I think more and more, Greek is all I want.  It's what I read about, what I study and what I meditate on (when I don't fall asleep) so I think that's what my focus should be.  Fortunately for me, the Greeks were more drawn to the lunar calendars than the seasonal ones.  And the dark moon is one monthly ritual that the modern Hellenic polytheists celebrate most often.

And I am a dark moon kind of gal.

So I think I'm going to start on the book Hippy Jersey Devil recommended.  It's on my headboard just waiting for my brain to clear enough to read it.  And that might just be tonight.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shopping...the best medication for depression

If only it would last.

Magic will have to wait a week or so until I get my brain and soul back in sync.  Depression really sucks.

But shopping doesn't.

I went to the thrift store yesterday and came home with two little Grecian-type vases.  Very small, but nice for my altars.  The smaller one has a picture of two women facing an altar so that has replaced the spinning wheel tchotchke I used to represent the household goddess.  It looks much better and feels much more like Hestia.

The bigger one is on my main altar.  It has some Cupid like creatures and a Grecian woman on it.  Since I don't have anything for Hera just yet on my altar, and since it really does make me think of her when I see it, I will finally have a representation of her.  I'm using the Chrysanthemum stone for Persephone but I would love a statue or something.  I did see a statue of a woman with flowing dark hair and a black dress on but the facial expression was a bit stupid looking.  Plus it would have taken up significant space on the altar.

And it was in with all the angels and Christian stuff, too.  How odd.

I like to find little things that I can use for worship and ritual practices.  The hunt is as much fun as the kill.  So to speak.

I'm calling early night tonight.  When I wake up again...and I will wake up again...I'll do some ritual, consecrating my new vases and the fresh water I've put on there for purification.  But until then, I'm taking a nap.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time to tackle magic

There is a beautiful moon out tonight, full of energy and spirituality.  I will take advantage of it in a bit, after I get my room organized.  It's hard to do in a small space when you have more furniture than actually fits in there, but I'm giving it a go.

I was telling Zach tonight on the way home from errands that I've been experiencing that wave of energy I have only felt at the altar before, only now I experience it off and on throughout the day.  In some ways it's a bit frightening; in other ways it feels great.  Which is why it's a bit frightening.  I have had this thought before that I ran the risk of getting addicted to the feeling rather than connecting closer to the deity.  It's ever on my mind whenever I experience this rush of energy that sends chills throughout my body.

So I think it's time to learn how to harness that energy, to learn how to direct it where it needs to go instead of inhabiting my body at odd times throughout the day and night.  The gods must be telling me I'm ready to do magic.

I also had some thoughts this week regarding the "love bomb" I got from people I didn't know.  I really do appreciate what my niece did for me.  She's one of the absolute best people I know, but coming from an evangelical/fundamentalist world, I'm a bit put off by declarations of love from complete strangers.  See, there exists in that world something called "edifying the Body."  The "Body" being the church (body of Christ) and all who dwell therein.  It's something they do to build people up in their faith.  The other thing they do is tear people down in their faith but that's a whole 'nother blog post. 

In edifying the Body, they tell people things they think they want or need to hear.  Like you compliment someone's singing even if it took the paint off your nails and caused your 'do to droop. You tell them how much you were uplifted by their singing.  You also tell people you don't know how much you love them because you can see Jesus in them.  A lot of those comments on my blog were of that nature.  I love you because of Jesus.  or  I love you because Jesus does.  Or I can see Jesus in you.

But lying for Jesus has some seriously bad side effects.  People really do know you're lying.  And now they can't believe anything you say.  I was just as guilty of this as anyone else; I told people what thought would build them up even though I knew it was a sack of horse shit.  A large, smelly sack of grade-A horse shit.  People can tell when a compliment is over the top because it never sounds genuine.

I swear I would rather be insulted than endure an insincere compliment.  At least the insult is genuine.

So what happens to people when they hear all this bullshit about how wonderful they are or how beautiful their voices are or what a godly wife they must be (because they don't know how you've struggled day and night with not only doubt but that feeling that because your husband doesn't go to church you're not really a part of it all because aside from the compliments they don't really invite you to stuff that "families" are invited to.)  You get a bit jaded from all the gushing and lose sight of what really  It doesn't build you up at all.  It tears you down because you know they're lying to you because they think you're so pathetic you need those lies in order to have a good day.

So...yeah, I'm one of the bitter ones.  I heard all the compliments, endured all the lies about how wonderful I was as a Christian (they never build you up for being a person...just your identity as a Christian) when I knew they didn't mean it.  Because it just wasn't true. 

So, when I had over 80 comments telling me what a wonderful person I was and how upbeat and positive I was, from people who didn't know me, had never heard of me before and had only read one fucking blog post, it was incredibly depressing.  Gods know my niece never intended that to be the result but it was.  And this is one of the reasons I'm in this deep funk right now.  Something I would never acknowledge on my other blog.  In fact, I've resisted writing this for a while for the hits on that particular post to die off.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't like to hear from people who know me, who want to tell me something they like about me.  Who doesn't?  Comments on this blog feel genuine because they're based on who I really am.  Not who I'm supposed to be.  When you guys give me feedback, it feels honest, even if I don't think that highly of myself.  It still feels genuine and not some kind of plastic bullshit that is supposed to miraculously make me feel better. 

I'll get over this but every encounter I have had lately with Christianity has done nothing to make me feel anything but positive about my decision to leave it behind. I know that Paganism in all its manifestations is far from perfect, and I've seen, especially lately, some of the bitter in-fighting that happens, but Paganism doesn't dictate the division like Christianity does.  But your mileage may vary.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

A newish altar for Hestia

I didn't get any reading done this weekend aside from a few chapters in A Clockwork Orange.  My mind isn't in a calm place right now for a variety of reasons.  None of which are serious.  I just can't concentrate very well right now.

I did some changing on Hestia's altar (or shrine, depending on who defines what it is.)  I had a marble mortar and pestle there, a couple of small candles, a whisk broom, and my spinning wheel figurine.  As I like to use incense in the morning, I've just been using the small, round metal thingy that comes with the cone incense, but when I tried to remove it, the ash would fall all over my cloth, making a mess.  Plus, as I was setting it on top of my soy candle with the wooden lid, it scorched it.  So when I was out and about yesterday I found a kit for "spirituality" with several items in it that I thought I could use.  One item was a small white bowl that I thought would be perfect for incense.  Another was a small wooden ash catcher and small incense sticks to go with it (where I'm supposed to find replacements for the short incense sticks is beyond me) along with some scented beads that Zach took and more cone incense. 

So I set about changing things out today.  Putting artificial flowers in a vase, taking the mortar and pestle down and putting my spinning wheel on top of the soy candle.  I think it was a good decision as it seems more representative of both Hestia and me.  I will most likely put down a new cloth as this one has spilled ash on it and I think I'll go with a red washcloth instead of the white one.  It's a small shelf and a washcloth is about the right size.  I'll buy a new one instead of using my worn ones though.  It really needs painting there but once I start I'd have to do the whole kitchen.  Which I would do if I had the energy.  The pain in there is probably 30 years old.  I'll try to get a picture of it after I get the cloth to put down.  Just don't pay any attention to the wall behind it.  It needs painting.

The quiet time I had intended turned out to be much quieter and much longer than I anticipated.  I fell asleep immediately before I even lit the candles (which was a good thing).  I had my battery-operated candle going and had turned the lights off to just sit and focus and decide just what I was going to do.  Next thing I knew it was 3 a.m. and the dog wanted out.  It was most likely a gift from the gods, to be honest.

I still haven't gotten the house cleaned but I think I'll wait until Monday since Tom will be home soon (I think) and it will just get messed up again. It's not filthy.  Just cluttered.  But I have found the kitchen so what more do I need?

I hope my brain settles down soon.  I really have a lot to read.


Friday, February 3, 2012

I will be reading this weekend...a lot

Oh, frabjous day!  I got Rituals of the Dark Moon today.  I haven't read it yet, just skimmed a bit but I will sit me down with it this weekend and devour it!  It really looks like something I would use a lot.  And in conjunction with the monthly studies on the Full Moon from The Druid Network, this should round me out nicely.  Thanks so much to Hippy Jersey Devil for recommending it.  I've also got to make more progress on Triumph of the Moon and A Clockwork Orange.

I refilled the bird feeders today.  They were completely empty, including the suet container.  I know the bird have other feeders in the area...two doors down in fact, but I did kind of, sort of promise them food because I've kept it full the past couple of years.  I should do better.  As soon as I came in and sat down they were swarming the feeders.  Made me feel a bit better.

The other day I started getting all kinds of hit on my mundane blog, over 450 to be exact.  And the comments were in the 80s.  I couldn't figure out what happened until I followed a link and discovered that my lovely niece had nominated me for a "love bombing."  Unfortunately the post they chose to bomb was the one with the title "My husband left me."  I think more than a few thought I was getting a divorce so it was extremely embarrassing.  I was talking about Tom leaving for his ice-fishing trip but only looking at the title, it does seem a

At any rate, I was "bombed" with all kinds of messages of support, which on one level was good.  On another it was embarrassing.  I'm not good with compliments at all.  There were more than a few "Jesus loves you" posts which I just took in stride.  As long as no one tried to convert me, I was okay with it.

Because I'm much happier spiritually now than I ever was as a Christian.  And I'm not going back.

But my spiritual bubble is a disaster right now because of all the chaos around me.  The house desperately needs cleaning.  Whenever Tom leaves on his trips, the house goes to crap on the day he leaves because I can't do anything until he's out of the way. Tiny house, right?  And I was really tired both Wednesday and especially Thursday, after Zach's dr appointment.  I was going to clean this morning and got a load of clothes in the wash but had absolutely no energy for follow through.  But until it's clean, I can't feel good spiritually.  For me, chaos breeds chaos.

So first thing tomorrow morning I'm going to tackle the house. I don't have to go anywhere and I've got the menu planned for the rest of the weekend so we're not going to run to a restaurant (even if it is on the Weight Watcher's plan) but I can't cook until I can find the kitchen.  I will go sleuthing tomorrow morning.  I even have an Indiana Jones hat I can wear while doing it.

But tonight, my bedroom is clean enough I can have some quiet time with the gods, try to focus my brain enough that I can do some divination since I haven't done that in a while, and some good candle time.  I'm changing to stick incense on my main altar because it burns better and waving it around my altar to purify it is a lot easier than using a cone.  I have been known to drop the cone and had to scramble to find it before I burned a hole in the carpet.

I bet that doesn't happen often in a church service. :)

I really love being a Pagan.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Imbolc or Candlemas to the Northern Hemisphere; Happy Lughnasadh or Lammas Day to the Southern Hemisphere

I got the book on Candlemas from the library tonight but as I hadn't planned on celebrating, it's not a big thing.  I'm always glad to do some reading on the festivals anyway.  I wish I had more opportunities to read about the Greek festivals and such.  Without paying a lot of money for it.  I appreciate the effort it takes to amass all that information and write it down, but I'm broke and have to rely on things I can find online or at the library.  Aside from my every other month book allowance I give myself.

Now I have three books going:  Triumph of the Moon, which is finally progressing in spite of the microscopic print, A Clockwork Orange, which is a slender volume with print I can read without a magnifying glass and Candlemas

Today was a pretty busy day with the dr visit and shopping.  We had planned to dine out tonight but in a higher class establishment than we usually patronize.  Okay it was Appleby's.  Still, that's fancy for us.  Since we start on Weight Watcher's tomorrow (as a result of Zach's labs) we discovered that will not be a place we can visit in the future as there is nothing on the menu with the WW symbol or their apple symbol that Zach will eat.  He cannot stomach potatoes unless they're hash browns or french fries.  And he can't have the french fries anymore so...we don't plan on eating out much at all in the future.  Which is really for the best anyway since we won't be able to afford it now that I have to buy all this whole grain and lean meat stuff. 

But now that we're home, I'm winding down and plan on having some quiet time at my altar, calling upon Apollo for some spiritual counseling and divination and Aesclepius for some healing directed toward both of us.  All the stress from today has initiated a flare up of my fibromyalgia.  My shoulders, which normally don't give me grief, are using language that would get them kicked out of the library, for sure.  And my hip are vying for attention as well.  My knees, which usually do double duty since I have arthritis in them are most likely waiting for the dead of night to come out and play.

I think Pan is hiding from me after that advice to get out more.  But just to be safe, I think I'll offer up some wine and barley to him this weekend during Anthestria...damned if I know how to spell it without looking it up.  It's typically a Dionysian festival, but if I know Pan, he'll be there.  Wine, ancestors and song, after all.

In spite of all the absolute crap going on in my material world, I feel really good about my spiritual life.  And somehow that makes the crap bearable.  Well, that and the obvious point that I have to endure it because the alternative sucks.  It helps to know that I'm not alone and that I am loved, something I never really felt as a Christian.  It also helps to know that I have friends out there who care as well.  That's another thing I'm not used to...people being genuine. 

So, I hope those who are celebrating the festival of their season are having a good time.  Me, I'm going to light some candles, have some quiet time and probably fall asleep when my head hits the pillow.  Don't worry, I'll blow out the candles first.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Remnants of what would have been a good post if I could have remembered what I was going to say

I had all kinds of things I was going to write about today until I pulled up this page.  Now my mind is blank.  Completely blank.

I'll just have to wing it.

I'm not going to celebrate Imbolc or Candlemas this year.  I just can't get myself to want to.  However, there are some Greek festivals coming up that do appeal to me.  I need to study more about them but one is called Anthesteria.  It celebrates flowers, spring and the dead.  I'll write more about that when it comes up, which is this Saturday through Monday.  I did study up on Imbolc and tried to come up with enthusiasm about it but it just didn't happen.  Maybe I'm not as far from Hellenic practices as I thought.  I'm still not reconstructionist though.  At least I'm not now.  I won't discount anything about the future.

I'm curious what will happen to my relationship with Persephone when she leaves the Underworld and spends time up here with the living.  I'm not worried about it; just curious.  I've been wanting something to wear that makes me feel my connection with her and have been thinking about maybe a black stone or something simple.  I found a black pendant with a black key decorated with red jewels (fake, of course) and that really does make me think of Persephone so I bought it and hope to make the chain to go with it tomorrow.

I also bought some non-alcoholic wine for ritual.  It's not that I'm adverse to the leaded stuff, but you can buy unleaded in the stores.  And I didn't want to make a special trip to the liquor store.  I might when this runs out though.  Plus, because of my medication, I can't drink alcohol but I can drink this.  In moderation because it has sugar in it, of course.   A sip or two won't hurt me though.  Neither will a sip or two of wine but it will probably go bad before it got all used up.  Zach's not a fan of alcoholic drinks and Tom doesn't drink at all.

The past couple of nights I haven't done any ritual or prayer, nor did I feel bad about it.  I was tired and the gods knew just how tired I was.  There is a thing with reconstructionists about miasma, not approaching the gods when you're soiled or ill or not clean in some way.  I don't subscribe to that but dealing with all that energy flow when mine is sapped didn't make a lot of sense to me so I abstained.  And merely offered the gods a bit of love from a distance.  My bed, that is.

Today, however, even though I'm still tired, I'm eager to get back to it.  I miss it when I'm unable to attend the gods and my altar.  And I miss my studies, which have gone by the wayside because of the fatigue.  Hopefully with Tom gone ice fishing I'll have few distractions this weekend and will be able to restore, renew and revive.

Oh, and for anyone who read my mundane blog yesterday, you know that I had to walk across town to pick up the truck from the garage.  It was an hour's walk which, with my dodgy hip and the hilly terrain, was extremely painful.  Pan had been whispering in my ear to get outdoors more.  I just want to say to him...I am not amused. :)