Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things falling into place

Just a short post today.  I'm going to alternate with my two blogs because I need to spend more time doing things that matter rather than reading and vegging online.  Sure, when you have no energy it's the easy thing to do but I'm going to focus more on reading, studying and hopefully, increasing my energy levels so I can run this household again.  Plus come up with some ideas for free-lancing that will help bring money in.

But for now, I'll get both blogs up to date so I can start fresh tomorrow.

Hippy mentioned in comments a while ago that crows are associated with magic and the incident with the crows moving out of range in a systematic way really made sense when looked at as if magic were eluding me at the time.  But how much difference a few weeks makes.  I'm inundated with crows now.  They're everywhere I turn.  Which is how it used to be since nearly every tree in our neighborhood has a crow's nest in it.  I should have seen them every day but lately...not at all.

So I woke up early the other morning, the morning after my epiphany about my path being generic witch rather than any kind of formal path.  I was watching Professor sniff the whole yard over looking for that perfect place to wee, when I saw a crow chasing a squirrel down the street.  I mean the squirrel was making tracks all the way down the street toward our house until he swerved to go across the street under the neighbor's car.  The crow landed and walked around the car, and while the car was tall enough for him to get under, he didn't bother.  The squirrel shot out from the car and under a wheel barrow so the crow took flight after him.  But when he ducked behind the wheel barrow, the crow took off in flight down the street beyond view.

I was rooting for the squirrel until I looked it up later and found out the crow was most likely protecting its eggs from the thieving squirrel.  Then my loyalties switched and I found myself in sympathy with the crow.  It was good to see the crow again.

A few days later there were three crows in the back yard, two of them picking on (or wooing) the third one.  It was really comical to watch them and I was mesmerized for a while.  Later still I found myself being watched by a crow sitting on the clothes line while I was outside working.

They're back!  I feel really good about my decision but having my crows back makes it feel even better.

Another thing that happened was I woke up this morning to find a few of the Greeks back.  Not all of them, but a few were hanging around my altar.  I greeted them but still prayed to Brighid when I lit my hearth candle and incense.  Not to slight Hestia at all.  She just wasn't one of the Greeks that showed up.  Hermes was there, looking at my animal altar that has become the guardian of the threshold.  And of course, Persephone and Hecate were there along with Pan.  Zeus and Hera were visiting as well.  No Apollo, Artemis or Athena but that's okay.  A few weeks ago I would have been in a panic, thinking that I was supposed to follow the Greek path after all, but now I will just enjoy their presence, spend time with them and send them on their way if they choose to leave again.  No pressure.  No fear.

It's much more relaxing without rigid walls to close you in. 

But now, I'm going to go knit and watch some tv I've got on dvr.  I taped Thor this weekend.  I've been wanting to watch it but it was on a channel we didn't get.  Got a free preview this weekend so I had access to it.  How nicely everything is falling into place now.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Accepting instruction

I can't believe the difference in the way I feel spiritually.  The only word to describe it  Free to pursue whatever path I want to take, free to worship whatever gods I feel drawn to.  Free to celebrate how and when I feel like it.  It's like I've finally left Christianity behind once and for all.  I don't think I really had up until now.  Instead I've been trying to find the same thing within the Pagan world.

As a result, my experiences with the gods and goddesses has been absolutely amazing.  I can't believe the energy that is floating around me and the charge I feel inside whenever I invoke a god or goddess from whatever pantheon.  When I attended my hearth altar yesterday I just invoked the name that came to me first and it was Bridget.  Instantly I felt her presence within me and around me.  I continue to let my heart do the invoking and it's constantly been Bridget, which is a bit amazing considering I had such a hard time engaging with her before on my Druid path.  I've also re-discovered my connection with Cernnunos, Persephone and Hecate.  I'm sure the others will come with time.  Or will come from time to time.  Since discovering that they don't necessarily stay forever I won't be surprised in the future if they disappear for periods of time.

I'm taking a 101 course from Cindy, who will be here in less than 2 months so I finally will get to meet her after she settles in and gets married.  I'm not sure where I will end up but I like the idea of taking a real course in order to learn more about witchcraft.  I probably won't share a lot here as it feels pretty personal to me, plus there is a code of honor about not sharing out the documents and training.   I understand that now; I didn't before.  It's difficult if you don't have access to the teachings and I understand about learning from books and such.  Scott Cunningham was an absolute gift to me with his books.  But learning from a teacher has a different level of instruction to it.  And some things should be considered sacred and private.  It's not about exclusivity because anyone who wants to learn, can join a 101 class.  They're all over the internet and if you can sort out the good teachers from the bad, it's available to anyone.  It's about honoring a trust.  Having a teacher you feel confident in makes the journey that much easier.

But holey, moley!  There is a ton of homework and I'm already 2 weeks behind. :)

Still, I'm excited about doing this, although I'm not good at finishing what I start so this is a real challenge for me.  To complete the entire course.

As I said, not sure that Wicca is right for me but it may be that Wicca is the means I have to find my own path as a witch.  And if I have the opportunity to join a coven, it most likely wouldn't be one that was identical to my beliefs anyway.  The way I feel right now, being with other witches, joining in celebration with others who are like-minded is enough.  I don't need or even want someone who is a perfect replication of me.  How utterly boring that would be.

I keep meaning to talk about some things I've seen around me that have been more or less encouragement that this is definitely the path I'm meant to take but I'll save that for another post.  Hopefully tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You were right, Hippy.

I place too many burdens on my shoulders and decisions don't come easy to me.  You might think they come too easy the way I flit from one thing to another, but it's because I can't make the one right decision that I make all the wrong decisions.

The past few days I've been in another sleep deficit and while I'm not sleeping, I'm thinking.  Probably a big mistake but one I continue to make.  It occurred to me that if I truly was on a particular path that was really right for me, I would be excited about it.  I mean excited...not mildly enthused.  I can't bring myself to delve into the many books I bought about Heathenry.  I'm still interested, but not excited.  More a scholarly interest rather than something I want to jump into and splash about excitedly in.  I just can't bring myself to actually read the damn books.

Which is a dilemma for me because I spent a lot of money on those books, thinking that spending money would keep me on track.  It doesn't.  Because Hippy was right all along.  I've got to get rid of my all-or-nothing baggage or I'll never be able to move forward.

Fortunately, I had a breakthrough last night, while drifting in and out of sleep.  I've been trying to find a religion to replace the one I left behind.  One with rules and rituals and defined gods and goddesses that have specific characteristics and fleshed out mythologies.  It's the worst thing in the world for me.  One of my old prayers used to be..."and all the gods and goddesses who call upon me to do their will."  And yet, I wouldn't listen to anyone outside the particular pantheon I was presently trying to make my own.

Persephone was persistent and broke through my muddle last night.  She whispered in my ear, letting me know she was still my goddess, that Hecate was with her and if I would just stop trying so hard, they would let me know where I should walk.

I woke up with enthusiasm for the first time in a long time.  Real enthusiasm.  Instead of trying to believe whatever the pantheon's mythology taught about things spiritual, I should find the path that fits the things I already believe about spirits, afterlife and such.  The bottom line is...what I really want is just witchcraft.  Just that.  Not Wicca or any magic associated with a particular mythology.  Just witchcraft.  And to listen to the gods and goddesses who would come to me on that path, whether they are part of a particular pantheon or not.

The harder I looked to find my way, the more I kept sliding back to what I left behind.  My heart is free and liberal, yet I kept falling into pantheons that were conservative and rule-bound.  Which is wonderful if that's where your heart is.  Not so much if it isn't.

I'm still very interested in the various gods and goddesses and will probably continue to study them, but I am going my own way, which is what Persephone sang to me last night.  It's a break up song, basically, but what I got from it was that I needed to break up with my need for structure and everything in its place and let the winds blow where they will.

So...I'm breaking up with the pantheons and religion.  I'm going to learn more about witchcraft, magic, spirits and the gods and goddesses who call upon me to do their will. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making a point to study

I want to thank everyone who commented on the last post and the women in the Norse Women's group who helped me understand the concept of relationships between humans and gods.  And that not everything is as it seems.  Knowing that I'm not alone in feeling a bit icky about some of the things happening out there made me feel a lot better.

I still struggle with being able to sit down and read/study more about the Norse tradition and the gods.  Ever since chemo I've been fighting what sounds a lot like adult-onset ADHD.  I can't shut things out in order to concentrate.  My dr doesn't think that's what it is.  She attributes nearly all of my fatigue, insomnia, inability to concentrate to my depression.  It's pointless to try to get any answers from her but since she does very well on other topics, I'm not going to bail out and try to find another doctor.

I am going to work on other areas, such as improving my eating habits and exercise and see if that helps.  It can't hurt. Problem is that "dieting" triggers an emotional response in me that ends up in bingeing and deeper depression.  So I have to view it differently and not think of it in terms of losing weight.  More like regaining my life.

Walpurgisnacht is approaching and I'm not ready for it.  I probably won't be ready so I'm not frantic about it.  I'm going to keep at the pace of learning I'm comfortable with and just do whatever feels right when the time comes.  Early on in my studies someone said that in Heathenry, there's no such thing as doing it wrong.  You just do it more correctly as you learn. 

Last night I took off my hammer pendant because it just didn't feel right anymore.  I looked through my various pendants to see which one to wear next, really thinking that because of Earth Day, I would end up wearing my Green Man pendant but the Valknut is the one that stood out.  It's Zach's that he's loaned me because it doesn't seem to like him anymore.  He kept losing it and it would fall off his neck even though it was knotted tightly.  I haven't lost it but the last time I wore it, it didn't feel exactly right.  Today it does. 

I'm getting very interested in runes and while I think I'm crazy to take on one more topic to study, I'm probably going to include it in my list for very soon because I think it's the magic I'm ready for.  If it's really magic, that is.  Whatever you want to call it, that's where I'm being drawn.  I'm not sure about buying a set or making one.  Probably make one.  I have an apple tree in the back yard that needs pruning so I could take a branch off of it and make some blank runes.  Tom has a dremel set and a wood burning set so either one would work.  He's better at using them so I might ask him to do it for me, but if he can't find the time, I can learn.  I really haven't seen any rune sets out there that I liked, to be honest.

As for books...there are so many and I can't afford anymore right now so I'll see if I can find something in the library or online to help me start on them.  Plus, apparently you don't necessarily need the rune set.  You can just write the runes on the objects you need to use for magic or blessing.  It's all very new to me so a lot of reading is in order before I start working with them.  I really don't think it's good to just get a set and start off with them until I know what I'm doing.

Well, I'm off to read for a while before I pull my knitting out and catch up on some tv.  I'm anxious to get back to spinning, too.  I need to dye my singles so I can ply them and then scour and card my Shetland wool to prepare to spin it.  I love that Frigg is a spinner as well.  Maybe that's why I feel a connection with her when I don't feel it with anyone else.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Help me with my dilemma

A while back I encountered a Pagan practice that I must admit made me extremely uncomfortable.  I won't use the phrase here because I don't want to get hit by google and end up being "educated" on the topic so we'll just say it's when a deity decides he, or she, is going to enter into a marriage with a human.  Initially I saw it in Hellenic polytheism and it struck me as being not only arrogant on the part of the human, but also abusive on the part of the deity.  There was a lot of jealousy and a lot of demands put upon that person.

I introduced the topic today in a Heathen group because I was curious if there were any precedents within Northern Heathenry to account for it, especially as the Norse path seems to include the most cases of this practice.  I was told that there were instances in the past, but they weren't considered husband or wife in the sense we do today.  They were more like priests or priestesses. 

Okay, I could see that.  It lined up with nuns and monks or priests in the Catholic church.  But what I'm seeing in blogs out there doesn't resemble that at all.  What I'm seeing are wedding ceremonies, sex with gods, huge demands put upon the human and a whole lot of bragging.

I was sort of put in my place by someone who knows a man married to a Norse goddess and she believes it is genuine although the guy apparently is a real jerk about it all.  I was polite and promised to be more open minded about it but I'm just not sure I can be.

I mean...I dealt with similar situations in Christianity where I was not one of the favored ones who the Christian god spoke to at all.  I lied about it, of course, because if god wasn't speaking to you, then what was your problem?  So this smacks of the same shit.  The Gooder than You Club.  I'll admit it pisses me off just a bit.  And then it worries me that if it's true and I'm being snarky about it, won't I piss off a god or two and then won't my life be just wonderful after that?

Yeah...still some Christian hellfire and damnation spilling over.

It still feels like I'm not good enough and I really don't think that's what Heathenry or Paganism is all about.

I do try not to scoff at other practices.  I don't want the world to laugh at me so I try not to laugh at those I think are being silly.  But I mean, really....don't we all think Scientologists are just ridiculous, especially when we know for a fact that the whole religion was invented on a bet?  Okay, maybe not a fact, but there is a good deal of evidence out there that it was invented for a profit.

I see a lot of similarities in the Catholic church's treatment of nuns, aside from the sex part, although I have read stories of "ecstasy-filled visions" of nuns with Jesus.  I mean, there is the wedding ceremonies with the bride's dress, veil and a wedding ring.  Celibacy for life, etc.

And yet at least on one blog I've read on the topic the "wife" was also married to a human male so I'm not sure how that worked out.

And believe me, I have yet to read a blog on the subject where the "husband" or "wife" was merely a priest or priestess.  They're talking full conjugal rights and pleasures.  The exact kind of relationship you'd experience with a human.  Except they don't seem to have any equality in the relationship.

This disturbs me so much that I've had a few moments where I was re-thinking this whole Pagan thing.    Fortunately I got over that feeling but it still squicks me out immensely.

Am I being unfair?  Should I accept that there are just practices within all religions that exist on intimate levels, that there will always be the favored few and the rest of us are just fodder?  Or are these people living in a realm they have invented in order to make themselves more important?

I'm serious and I'd like serious responses.  If this is genuine, I will do whatever I can to accept it and never mock it again.  I'm just having a hard time believing it's anything more than role-playing.

Enlighten me, please!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Circle of life and falling off pedestals.

Two things have been on my mind the past few days:  the circle of life and people falling off pedestals.  I need to get over both of them.

I love nature shows but I can't stand the moments when the predator eats the prey.  There are times when I think the production crew could intervene and should, but instead they stand by and film the process.  I remember a long time ago a baby elephant who was rejected by her mother.  She was starving and was trying to nurse off of a tree when hyenas attacked her and killed her.  Viciously, painfully.  I do have a hard time with a film crew that will stand by and just allow the slow, torturous death of an animal.

I'm not sure where the line is drawn.  In the case of the situation I saw yesterday when a bison bull ran down an calf in order to save himself from wolves, there was nothing the production crew could do.  They were watching nature happen.  In the case of the elephant...they followed that starving elephant for days before the hyenas killed her.  It bothered me to see the bison calf torn apart by wolves and yet I understood that the wolves needed to eat, too.  It's still very hard to watch.

But the indifference to the suffering of animals?  I think the crew needs to intervene when it's obvious there is something they can do.  In a different, but similar, situation (and I don't have the link for this...sorry) a photographer was taking photos of a starving child in an African nation.  They had been told not to touch them because of disease.  The child was crawling on her last bit of strength and he told himself that since she was still able to move she would be able to get to safety and care so he took his pictures and left without offering any aid.  He never knew what happened to her but the guilt that he stood by and did nothing haunted him until he ended his own life over it.

I do understand that those who observe animal behavior and document it don't want to intervene because they are studying the dynamics of the herd, and that information is important.  But once the animal has been separated from the herd, what harm is there in providing aid for it, even if that aid is to relieve its suffering?

Watching Navajo Cops, I've seen two shows where they had to put down a horse and a cow that had been hit by traffic and were in distress without any hope of recovery.  It hurt to watch that, but that was a kindness.  Leaving a child to starve or watching an elephant walk around so starved for food that it tries to nurse off of a tree strikes me as cruelty beyond measure.

But maybe that's just me.

Now..falling off of pedestals.  There are a couple of blogs I have read for more than a few years and I have really admired the women who write them, but lately I've noticed some behavior and opinions that I have a hard time with.  On one blog, I have only commented a few times and and twice my posts were removed.  Nothing I said was offensive, but I did disagree in a very reasonable manner with the conclusion she had come to.  I didn't get snarky or anything.  I just asked that she consider another aspect of the situation.  Since then I've had a hard time going back to read anymore of her posts.  She was someone I really admired but now I really don't have a very high opinion of her at all. 

In another situation another blogger I have read for more than a few years, too, and she's another one I've liked but didn't always agree with.  In this situation, though, I never commented on her blog, mostly because she had a lot of commentators.  There was a Pagan-wide situation where she took a stand I really disagreed with, which was fine, but the way she handled the commentators who disagreed with her really bothered me, as if she was beyond criticism.  I let it slide as it wasn't an issue that concerned me, but then she infiltrated a private group on facecrack, got the information she wanted and immediately left the group after 3 days.  Then she wrote a long post about their practices, albeit without really revealing any privileged information.  When the administrator of the group called her on it, she claimed she was a journalist and was entitled to do that kind of thing.  I know the administrator from another closed group I'm on and she wasn't amused at all.

Recently she has decided not to allow any comments on her blog at all because she wrote something and a few people reasonably disagreed with her.  She went ape-shit on them and garnered the sympathy of many others because of how badly she was treated.  I just couldn't see it.  Three people disagreed with her conclusions and she couldn't handle it.

I guess I need to learn to stop putting people up on pedestals from now on.  And stop reading people who can't act like adults.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vigil candles, birds, and fun at the sympathy card section

For a long time now, I've toyed with the idea of keeping a candle lit all the time as a way of honoring the gods.  Mind you, not having the kind of candles they have in Catholic and Episcopal churches, it wouldn't be smart to keep one lit around the clock so I do have battery-operated candles as well.  And it would take considerably more effort to maintain a lit candle of some kind rather than just light one when you're ready to pray or do work at the altar.  Still, I like the idea of it and while I won't commit to that kind of discipline, I am willing to undertake it as much as I can.  My votive candle on the Hearth altar has been going since around noon today and wasn't new when I first lit it so it will take some figuring out to know when to change candles out and such.  I have three altars so it wouldn't be an overwhelming task to have some overlap going on.

I know that practicing my religion seems to be a bigger part of my worship rather than the doctrines themselves, in part because I had over 50 years of doctrine that was contradictory, oppressive and well...boring.  It doesn't mean that the meaning behind all the practice doesn't count.  It certainly does.  But I don't need to get mired down in it.  Especially here at the beginning of my journey.

There was some sniping today on a few of the Pagan and Heathen boards I read.  I'm feeling a bit peevish myself so I wonder if there is something in the air that is causing some kind of imbalance or something.  Another thing I'm not too knowledgeable about but I am picking up more on energies and things going on in nature than I used to.

On the way home, just as I got to the center of my bitty city, I saw two birds spiraling together high above the steeple of the Reform church in the city-proper.  I thought it might be crows since we have tons of them in town, but the wings seemed a bit boxier than crows' wings normally do.  And yet, I do need new glasses so I could be wrong.  But each time I got a little bit closer, they moved farther away.  And each time I thought I would catch up on them, the traffic stopped for pedestrians.  By the time I got to my turn-off, they were completely out of sight.  I'm not reading anything spiritual into it but it was a bit frustrating that they remained so elusive that I couldn't get close enough to discover what they were.  We've had myriad birds in our neighborhood so it wasn't a reach for it to be hawks or even eagles.  Although eagles would most likely be nesting this time of year.  Probably hawks, too, so it was most likely crows.

A couple of winters ago I had a pheasant in my back yard and I've had to stop on the road leaving town to wait for the turkeys to cross.  I'm not the only one who stops for them so I wonder if they get special protection in this state.  I know you need special permits to hunt them. 

I never used to pay any attention to birds before I moved here.  My mother has loved birds for many years so it's a bit neat to have something to talk about when I call.  It beats having to talk about church-related stuff.

I had shared something with my facebook friends yesterday after coming home from shopping.  While looking for sympathy cards, I got the giggles, which I really struggled to hide.  The poor woman next to me must have thought I was sobbing my heart out while looking at sympathy cards because of suppressed giggles.  I had two thoughts that kept going through my head:  one was the song Another One Bites the Dust by Queen and the other thought was...why don't they have any humorous sympathy cards.  For some reason those two things struck me as hilarious. when I got into the car to go to the library, the song playing on the radio was...Another One Bites the Dust.  The gods do indeed have a sense of humor.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Never pass up an opportunity to evangelize, even at funerals.

A comment one of my parents' favorite pastors once said about having an altar call at funerals.

Just when I make that commitment to the gods, I get tested in a way that the old me would have failed.  Early this morning I woke up to a phone call (well, early for me is before noon) from my mother.  I knew something was wrong for her to call since we had just talked a few days ago so I was prepared to hear about a death in the family.  I always fear it's my dad, though, so I feel a bit bad when I'm relieved it's someone else.

My aunt, her older sister, died last night from pneumonia.  She was about 86 and had been fading away over the years while still enjoying life as much as she could.  And of course, she was a fundamentalist Christian so the family is resting on that hope that she is with Jesus now.  Not a problem for me at all; people should be allowed to cling to their beliefs, especially in times of dire need.

But my mother used it as an opportunity to bash people who weren't Christians by talking about how the vigil went.  They were in her room in the hospital praying, singing hymns, reminiscing and such.  And because they were Christians, the hospital personnel treated them with such respect and let them stay in there until she passed over.  Mom's words were, "You know, Christians have so much that heathens don't have (and by heathens she meant anyone who wasn't a Christian or Jewish).  I can't imagine what it must have been like for heathens to watch someone die and have no hope."

Now, I'm pretty sure my older sister has outed me to my parents because every now and then I get one of these mini-sermons.  It might just be that we no longer go to church as my mother pretty much considers anyone who doesn't attend regularly as not being a real Christian.  She wouldn't use those words but she certainly makes references to them as needing Christ, as if they can only have him if they attend regularly.  But I suspect my sister, who has snitched on me ever since we were in grade school, has told her I'm a Pagan/Heathen.  My mom would never confront me with it; instead she would use all these moments to evangelize me.

I took it without comment.  Just let her ramble and get out her grief and pain.  It wasn't the time for taking a stand or pushing my rights over her need to vent.  My parents have always had a stranglehold on my sisters and me all our lives.  They've never let us have our own lives without needing to tell us how to live it or failing that, criticize us for not letting them.  My sisters have found a way to live with it; I never did.  My only option is to maintain distance aside from the obligatory phone calls.

But in spite of everything, they are my parents and I do love them.  From a distance.  I'll never be free from them until they pass on, but who would wish for that?  There are many obligations we have in life that we must take acknowledge and follow through with and not all of them are pleasant.  That's just life.

But if she intended to win me over to her god through her mini-sermon, it had the opposite effect.  I ran into the arms of my gods and let them hold me and protect me from the hurt.  Frigg reached out to me this morning when I invoked the Sun and her with my morning ritual and enfolded me with her motherly embrace.  I feel even closer to the Norse gods than I did yesterday and am more determined to follow through with my commitment to them.  It seems like there is something in the universe that keeps trying to drive a wedge between us but that always seems to fail.  And I run back to them, like a child runs to her parents when she's been hurt or scared.

I'm sorry for my family in their loss.  I hope they find comfort in their god the way I find comfort with all of mine.  I even bought sympathy cards that spoke of that hope they have.  Tonight I will pray to the gods and perform a ritual with them and my ancestors to offer peace and rest to my aunt and her family.  Since leaving Christianity I have found more peace about death than I ever knew as a Christian.  While I'm not eager to leave and I do need to start taking better care of myself, I don't fear it anymore.  It's just another part of the journey.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love is not a mood

I have a bad habit of only being "spiritual" when I feel like it.  On those days when I feel like shit, when I'm so tired I can hardly drag myself out of bed or when my mood is set at rage factor 12+, I don't pray, visit my altar or even acknowledge the gods at all.  And my thinking at this time is...I'll start over when I feel better.

Yesterday was "get the taxes done before you suffer a meltdown" day.  I went into it thinking we were going to owe Uncle Sam more than we had in our bank account because Tom had started them over the weekend before his own meltdown prevented him from finishing them.  Of course I reverted to my Christian thinking that I was being punished for whatever sin I had committed this time and wondering just when the gods were going to give me a break.  Just once.

So...I didn't pray yesterday morning.  Didn't greet the Sun or invoke Frigg.  Didn't light any candles or burn incense.  Totally ignored the gods until I sat down and tried to find the mistake and couldn't.  Then I did nothing but whine.  And panic.

Eventually I cooled down enough to start over and found the mistake Tom had made.  In the end we got back a bit.  Enough to pay our property taxes next January.  Not much but enough.  Not enough for that new kayak Tom wants but enough.

As soon as I finished them, I looked up to see my cold, dark altar.  I couldn't approach it last night after my meltdown and after having ignored the gods while I was having my pity party.  Instead I just went to bed without any reading or studying or praying.  After a miserable night of no sleep because of panic that I had done the taxes wrong and having to get up a million times to mentally re-do them, I finally got up this afternoon and immediately went into the kitchen to my hearth altar.

As soon as I lit the candle, I felt Frigg there with me.  I also felt her annoyance that I only seemed to come to her when I was in the mood.  I realized that a lot of my reticence to establish a steady practice is because I am always starting over.  Some of it has to do with feeling like I'm doing it wrong or that I'm not good enough.  Or that I have to be in a particular spiritual place in order to perform rituals or pray.

So I spoke to Frigg.  I lit the incense and spoke to her and felt her with me, supporting me, encouraging me.  I need to stop with the do-overs.  I need to commit totally and not just when I'm in the mood.  It frightened me a bit but I did make that promise to Frigg and the other gods, that I would worship them every day and not just when I was in the mood for it.

I must admit that committing like that is scary but what relationship is worth anything if it's not consistent and based on more than a mood?  Is love really love if it's only around when you feel like it?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday ramblings

I really wish blogger would stop dicking around with everything.  I went to post today and couldn't find the little box to write in...only to discover it's here...practically invisible...but here.

I did a lot of studying today on the Norse gods.  In fact, I lost track of time and discovered that I'd been reading for about 5 hours.  As a result I got nothing else done today aside from picking up my meds from the pharmacy.  Now I need to do the taxes. I had hoped Tom would do them since my foggy brain has trouble with numbers these days but that was too much to hope for.  So I must tackle them tonight or else.

I'm still walking very comfortably on this path.  No bends in the road or branches that entice me away.  Zach loaned me his valknut to wear since he can't wear it without it trying to bail on him.  He's had it fall off his neck twice (and it's knotted and hasn't come loose) and lost it in his room 3 times.  He says he can take a hint and has "given" it to me.  I wore it tonight and felt quite comfortable in it.  And it stayed on.

I'm still learning the dynamics of a relationship with Pagan/Heathen gods but it's a pleasant education, one not filled with ruler-smacked hands or sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on.  It's rather nice to be treated like an adult instead of a wayward child who is incapable of being good on her own.  And yet, we're not equals by any stretch of the imagination.

I've been watching Navajo Cops on tv.  I love that show because they show the Native American culture and spirituality played out in real life.  The cop who anoints himself with bitter herbs before he sets out on patrol.  The officers who know they have to break tribal customs by being around dead bodies or have to walk on sacred ground because it's for the good of the community.  The elders have given them special sanctions when they have to perform these duties.  Taking Skinwalker seriously when a call comes in instead of scoffing and ridiculing the caller.

But it also breaks my heart to see the barren lands we've given them while taking the rich, fertile properties for ourselves.  The poverty and despair they live in because they want to remain in their culture instead of being assimilated by the white privilege.  The disparaging comments I read online from people who think we shouldn't be giving them the meager benefits we do because all that happened so long ago and anywya they're just lazy and drink all the time.  The way I've read some Republicans want to do away with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and break the treaties.  You know...the ones that were supposed to be forever.

I had to unfriend someone on facecrack because I shared a link about the way NA babies were being adopted out of their tribes in spite of the treaties and she responded with verbal vomit about how they were all alcoholics anyway and weren't good parents.

I'm not saying that Pagans are any better than anyone else.  In fact on a Druid email group I'm on some idiot keeps posting filthy bile about how Zimmerman was the innocent party and Trayvon Martin was a thug (and no reprimand from the moderator so I think I'll be leaving that group.)  And certainly within Asatru there are some racist groups that, albeit not the norm, are too many to ignore.  But the group that claims to hold the moral high ground, that claims to be the one true religion seems to hold the world's title for racist populations.

But all I can do is walk my path, defend those who can't defend themselves and learn to weather the barbs that inevitably come my way because of it.  That's one of the things I learned in my studies this past weekend.  That it's not so much about warfare in Asatru these's about defending the weak and standing up against injustice.  The same as in other Pagan groups, too, but it was nice to learn that Tyr is the god of justice and doesn't like to see anyone cheated or treated in this manner.

I will be praying to him regularly for our world, our country and our people.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Settling in

When I first started blogging on my mundane blog, lo these many years ago, I had wanted the popularity I saw in other knitting blogs.  I wanted to be witty and clever and funny, but I ended up using it as a journal of sorts and a way of keeping in touch with other bloggers I had come to know over the years.  After my day-long experience with the exposure of a lot of people I didn't know (some kind of blessing bomb or something), I came to realize I rather like being an unknown with my little circle of friends.

So, when I had two opportunities this week to promote this blog and gain more readers, I didn't even have to think about it.  It's just not for me.  I wouldn't mind more people reading my blog but I don't want to advertise for them.  If they find me and like what they see, then we're good.  If I start plugging myself to get more readers, then the nature of this blog will change in a way that won't be reflective of who I am. 

I like the people who show up, comment and stick around for as long as they feel like it.  Even if they don't stay for long, it makes me feel warm and cozy.  Well, aside from the troll whose word salad was in some form a condemnation of my spiritual path.  To be honest, if that's the best they could do, they won't be bringing many people "into the kingdom" as they were barely coherent.  But aside from the troll...I like the people who have come to visit.  I know that they're here because we share some commonalities or friendships or interests.  And isn't that better than shilling for numbers?

I picked up some books from the library yesterday and plan on doing some heavy reading for a while.  I got the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda and Norse Mythology.  Plus I got an Icelandic group on cd singing the Poetic Edda.  In Icelandic, of course.  It's hauntingly beautiful even if I can't understand a word they say.  Or sing.

I love my two volume set of Our Troth.  They contain a ton of information that I am slowly absorbing.  My rituals are still very basic and very limited for now but I'm comfortable with that.  Mornings mostly are the best with Frigg, the candle, incense and me.  My time spent with her is sometimes brief as I have to sneak in there while Tom is either in the shower or upstairs getting ready.  I'm just not ready to expose my rituals to his observations.  And in the mornings, he is in the kitchen or dining room a lot.

I've come to feel a solid connection with the Norse gods in a way I didn't dream would happen when they didn't seem to respond to me at all.  I guess I had to stop trying to stop trying to ride the fence and commit to them before they would commit to me.  I haven't had any second thoughts, nor have I looked back since then.

It helps that the online group I'm a part of is a mixed bag when it comes to reconstructionism.  Not all of them are; some are mostly reconstructionist.  Others are absolutely reconstructionist.  But none of them are dogmatic about it.  What they all have, though, is a lot of information they share in a very non-confrontational way. 

But I think some of it is that I have changed.  It's just not that important anymore that we all agree or that I follow the path rigidly.  I'm feeling so comfortable in my skin these days that I wonder why it bothered me so much in the past.

So...feeling mighty good these days spiritually at least.  Not so much with the chronic insomnia and pain from fibromyalgia but at least my heart and soul are at peace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finding balance

I had been wanting a new vessel for libation for my altar for a while.  I have a wine glass that I've been using but it didn't really fit in with the theme of the altar.  It was too delicate for what I wanted.  Zach found a cut glass goblet today at the thrift store that was a bit closer to what I wanted so I thought I would just go ahead and get it since it was only 50 cents.  Then I found it...a brown stoneware goblet.  Exactly what I had been looking for.  It was only a dollar so we got both.  Zach really liked the cut glass goblet and will keep it in his room for when we set up his spiritual space.  (He doesn't think of it as an altar.)

I still have some modifications I'd like to make in order to have my altar feel a bit more organic, but that's a start.  Some day I might buy a drinking horn but right now it's not me.  I've not been using alcohol for my libations because no one here drinks.  I'm not allowed because of the metformin for my diabetes but I can have a sip a day if I want to (for religious purposes).  Still it feels wrong to spend that kind of money on something when I really need to get back to the frugality I used to practice in the past. For now, I've got grape juice that I can add a few drops of honey to as ersatz mead.

I really do feel that if I'm going to fulfill the role I set out to fill decades ago, I should really live up to it and spend more of my energy on making this place run smoothly and efficiently (and frugally) instead of spending time online.  It's gotten to be a crutch I fall back on because of the fatigue that is so debilitating.  Not that I expect to suddenly have a burst of energy and become superwoman.  But instead of this I could be studying, reading or knitting, which would be more beneficial than spending so much of my day surfing the various political sources I read. 

It's a bit of an addiction of sorts and I need to figure out a way to stop it.  I need to find more balance in my life instead of this one-track-journey I seem to be on of late.

I won't stop writing my blogs though.  Writing here is an outlet for me that gives more than it takes.  And I will continue to read your blogs as well.  But instead of politics, I need to focus on other things:  spiritual, educational, things to exercise my brain and soul.  Not things that piss me off and send me into a rage.

I'll just limit myself to one news source a day.  A different one each day would keep me up to speed with what's going on as I don't rely on any one source for the news.  Especially network or cable news. 

Tonight will be an early night though as I have work to finish up and then bed.  Some reading but mostly just sleep.  I've been in a sleep deficit for so long I think I could sleep for a week.