Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The faeries help me out again

Nature made it clear that my altar needs to be some place else.  It was beside the west window but I'm reluctant to use the candles because of the breeze.  I've tried shutting one of the windows but with the curtains close, the other window funnels the wind through the other curtain as well.  So I decided it was time to move the altar to the east wall.  I've read that's the better direction anyway.  I had liked the altar where it was because I could enjoy the lit candles while I sat in bed but it occurs to me that maybe putting it out of easy viewing will make my altar time more deliberate.  I do tend to take the easy way out too often.

My mother doesn't seem to be improving with her mental state.  I was able to talk to my sister and my father both today.  I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but it's not as horrifying and shocking to me as it was initially.  Certainly I am praying for her recovery but I'm not thrown by it anymore.  It's not as surreal as it was at first.

The faeries are still good as gold to me.  I had lost my set of keys for the car that Tom drives to work every day.  This set has the better chip in the security thing.  The other set is the one that laid out in the yard for a year (which is the set he uses daily) before the faeries showed me where they were so the chip got a bit damaged and the other night he had trouble starting the car.  So he asked me today if I could look for the good set.  I looked around in all the likely places and places I had looked before but couldn't find them.  Then I just asked the faeries if they could help me out again.  Not 15 minutes later I found them under the entertainment center, where they had fallen off the key thing by the foyer entrance.  I hadn't looked there before.  The fae will get a little something special tonight.  Some milk and honey, I think.  They've been very good to me.

Time to get back to work.  I didn't do any studying today and probably won't get much done tonight because we got on a cleaning binge trying to find the keys.  But I do intend to set aside time every day from now on.  I need to discipline myself to stop taking the path of least resistance all the time and try doing the things that require more effort.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Back on track

Still dealing with my mother's confusion.  I talked to her yesterday and in some ways it was like talking to a stranger.  In other ways she seemed herself but as a petulant child.  She's laying a heavy guilt trip on my dad for a multitude of imagined offenses.  He's doing okay so far, not buying into it but I can imagine how hard it is.  My dad is not in very good health either and she doesn't seem to remember that he needs daily treatments for his breathing that are very time-consuming.  It's hard.

But this situation has also brought me into a closer relationship with him.  We have had a polite, reserved relationship for years, but this has made him more human in my eyes.  Definitely more vulnerable.  And for the first time in years, he feels like my father instead of the man who constantly criticized me.

This situation has also brought some stability to my spiritual path.  While I'm not studying the 101 course right now, I'm developing relationships with the gods I came to know when I first left Christianity.  I hadn't intended to focus on a pantheon again, and I'm not really sure that I am as there are a few gods outside the Celtic/Welsh/Irish pantheon that have called to me, but I find myself back in their arms again.  Comfortably back.

Bridget, the goddess I had so much trouble connecting with, has become one of the first goddesses I pray to when I wake up in the morning.  My hearth altar has become her altar and she's ever on my mind throughout the day as I struggle to focus on the household tasks I wish I had more energy to keep up with.  But more importantly she no longer has any of the Christian "taint" to her.  She's fully Pagan to me.  I know that the biggest issue I had with her was the way the Catholic Church took her and turned her into a saint with an imaginary biography and everything.  It's hardly her fault if they did that and yet it was so hard for me to look at her because all I saw were the trappings of the saint.  Now she's completely goddess.

As for the 101 course, while I still enjoy it, I'm ready to start studying the things that are pertinent to my own path.  I'm grateful to Cindy for helping me find the direction I needed to go on my own.  I think that's the mark of a good teacher...one who teaches you to think for yourself and find your own way.  Can't wait to meet her in real life!

But for now, I'm ready to start practicing magic in earnest.  I have a few really good books and Cindy's course was one of the studies that helped me discover how to write my own rituals.  I'm sure it will help me with writing spells as well.  But I'm drawn to the Dark Moon and so it's time to focus on the book Hippy recommended...Rituals of the Dark Moon.  I've got it out and ready to start studying.  I also have one on Spellwork that Rue recommended that my son read and loved.  It's time to start walking on my own now.  And that makes me feel really good.

And I'm back to knitting like mad.  It had bothered me that I had no interest in knitting or spinning or dyeing or anything for a while.  I was really in a slump.  Maybe depression or just no sense of real direction spiritually.  Who knows?  And maybe there isn't much of a difference.  But I'm eager and ready to get back on the path and start heading in the direction I see laid out before me.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Magic, prayer or both?

As I mentioned on my other blog, my mother is in the hospital and won't be able to come home until she is strong enough, which means time in a rehabilitation center.  Apparently these are different from nursing homes as the residents aren't considered long-term. 

She fell the other day and they are calling it a wonder she didn't bleed to death because her blood was too thin from the medication she's on to keep it thin.  Apparently it can turn on a dime so the levels have to be watched weekly or maybe monthly. I'm not sure.

Zach and I were talking about "miracles" and how we used to understand prayer when we were Christians.  I don't think of miracles as such anymore.  Over time it started to bother me that some people were "blessed" by those miracles and others weren't.  It made me think more and more that the Christian god was showing a bit of favoritism, even though we were taught that he didn't.  Attributing someone's escape from death to their god, while the other peoples' deaths were because he had something he wanted to teach their families, seemed a bit smug to me.  Still does.

I think my mother didn't bleed to death because of the quick action of the doctors and my sister getting her to the ER.  Did all the prayers for her contribute somehow?  Possibly, but I don't think so, at least not in the way they think.  If you think of prayer as a request to a deity who either will or will not answer your prayer in the way you want him to, then I would say, no, it didn't work.  But if you view prayer as a form of magic, then I will say, maybe.  Because no one will ever know for sure.

I was talking to Zach about it and said that prayer consists of a specific intention directed toward a specific situation with a specific result requested.  Isn't that similar to a spell?  Isn't the energy directed toward that situation the same as the energy-result that occurs in a spell?  Which is what I consider my prayers to be anyway.  A form of magic.  Are my prayers also a communication with the gods?  Sure.  But again, there is a specific intention (worshiping the gods) about a specific situation (worship) with a specific requested result (worship accomplished.)

I just don't think it's any harder than that, although the spell can consist of more complex actions and wording.  And certainly more familiarity and understanding of the gods you're communicating with will make your spell work better or be more effective.  I don't think picking a god out of a book and using a spell you found on the internet will have the same result as using a spell you thought about, modified or wrote up, and then focused on with serious intentions, calling upon a deity you have taken the time to get to know and develop a relationship with.  Certainly there are situations when there isn't time to develop anything more complex but I do think that magic is as much about the effort you put into it as it is the other developments.

But I'm a beginner so I could be wrong about it all.  Time and experience will teach me, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lesson one done, minus homework because I'm rebellious

I caught up on some reading this morning but errands this afternoon kept me from spending as much time as I would have liked.  Nothing stopping me from going back to it, especially as I just got canned stuff for supper tonight so I think I'll head back in my bedroom and read some more.

I finished up the first lesson in the 101 course.  The second one will go faster since it's not as long and I won't spend as much time angsting about the things I disagree with since I'm positive it's not the path for me.  Still, the angsting was kind of fun.  I love having arguments with inanimate objects.  I always win.

Lately I've been drawn to read my Norse books.  When I read them without the heathen/Asatru perspective, I'm in love with the gods.  Add that cultural aspect back in and I cringe.  It's just not for me with the extra baggage.  And I'm okay with not adding the heathen/Asatru aspects back in.  As far as I know there are no Pagan police out there going to come into my home and arrest me for doing it my way.

Frigg continues to embed herself into my heart and my being.  The more I read about her, the more I feel a connection, especially outside the perspective of war-mongering and Viking culture.  To be fair, the Vikings were only a part of the later history.  The gods existed in villages before the Vikings took to their ships.

I've also felt a pretty strong connection with Tyr/Tiw, especially as a flaming liberal.  I see no conflict at all with my beliefs and his strong sense of justice.  Just sayin'.

Beyond that, I haven't really thought it out much. 

I've also been contemplating the runes, reading the book I got from the library.  I'll have to check the book out a few times before I get all the gold out of it but in the meantime, I'm learning the names and numbers of the runes.  I'll get into meditation and all that later.  Baby steps.

Magic is on the horizon as well.  I tend to believe that colors, textures and aromas aren't specifically powerful in their own right, I think that it's the energy put through them or the energy used in them that matters more.  It may also be that I just can't afford to get all the fancy equipment I've seen in books (not Cin's course though) in order to be a proper witch.  I think our ancestors used household stuff for their magic.  And I think I will, too.

But for now, I'm going back to bed and read the rest of the night.  Maybe some knitting, too.  I find knitting to be a very spiritual exercise for me, that I haven't been doing enough of lately.  And maybe a small spell tonight to place wards around my room so Professor won't be disturbed by everything that goes on outside it and will let me sleep for once.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I'm not a good communicator.  I leave huge gaps of information out when I'm trying to talk about things.  It's far too late to plead that it's from the chemo over 10 years ago so I'll just say it's because my mind is so full I'll have to forget something to make room to learn anything new.

When I talked about the 101 course, I wasn't as specific as I probably should have been.  As Cindy said in the comments from last post, it's not a how-to on magic.  It's more a guide to what Wicca is about and how to find the path that is right for you within Wicca.  I did tell Cindy that I wasn't going to become Wiccan but that I was interested in learning the course because my education in paganism so far has been so piecemeal that I haven't really "learned" much.

It has really been a joy to read the course because it's not only defining for me my own path but it's also reinforcing the decisions I had already made about that path.  And while it isn't a course on magic, it is talked about in the sense of...this is how I do it, but not how it must be done.  More like suggestions or a cursory examination of what it might look like.

But mostly it's just a way to define the right path to take.  At least that's how it's working out for me.  I'm sure for others it's an education on the path they have already determined to take.  And all that is good, believe me.

But I can't begin to tell you all how much you all mean to me and how great it feels that you are so involved in my life, helping me sort out my doubts and anxieties and being as blunt with me as I need you to be.  For most of my life, I lived in a religion where people would tell you how to fix yourself and then claim it was done "in love."  Criticism masked with a facade of "love" isn't love at all.  But what you guys do isn't like that.  It's like having some great mentors with different views on things and you all give me advice and let me sort it out on my own.  You treat me like I'm an adult.  And as strange as it sounds, especially as I'm 58 years old, not very many people in my life treat me like that.

So I've got to tell you that I love you guys.  And this is what friendship is really about...not telling people what they want to hear, but giving them information, advice and even warnings, and then letting them make their own decisions without a single "I told you so" if it doesn't work out.

You guys rock!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sometimes it's just too much

I don't often have spiritual dreams.  I've been known to dream about shopping, cleaning house and other mundane aspects of my life.  But spirituality is a rare thing.  So lately I've been having dreams that have made me really stop and think just what the heck is going on.

I had a dream three days in a row where I was in a school of some kind and I wasn't prepared.  I thought it might have to do with the Wicca 101 course I'm woefully behind on.  It makes sense anyway.  So I've been reading away on it the past couple of days...eagerly, in fact.  I knew going into it that Wicca wasn't my likely path so it's no surprise to me that what I've learned has affirmed that.  And yet, I really want to finish the course because there is so much information in there that is helpful no matter what your path is.  Good stuff.

But something keeps nagging at me that the message in the dream isn't about the course.  Could be just that I don't feel prepared for the next steps I'd like to take spiritually or that this is one of those dreams where you end up on the concert stage with no knowledge of how to play piano.  Just a feeling of unpreparedness in general.

To be honest, that seems the most probable message in the dream.  I'm not progressing.  I'm just treading water spiritually.  Partly due to the stress I've been under with lack of sleep, lack of concentration, family situations.  It's hard to keep on track when you feel overwhelmed 24/7/365.  I'm not sure how to manage the stress in such a way that I can compartmentalize it and keep it from taking over my life.  I've tried therapy before and ended up paying out a lot of money that we no longer have to talk about things but get no answers.

Fortunately my husband is willing to help me out here by letting me do whatever I need to do to resolve this.  Aside from spending lots of money we don't have to run away from home.  He's not keen on that for some reason.  Still, it helps that he's okay if I withdraw from everyone for a while and internalize all I need to.

But for pete's sake, something has got to give!  I just got word last night that my mother is becoming terribly confused, in part from the steroids she's taking for her kidney disease.  But the confusion has been growing for a while.  My sisters and I have been talking about this for several weeks but the medication kicked the situation up into dangerous levels.  Mom backed into a car the other day so no more driving for her. 

And with the delicate balance in our relationship, I don't think I can take going down there to deal with her confusion and listen to a litany of everything I've done wrong in my life the whole time I'm down there.  But when the time comes I will take my turn.  It's what we do, after all.

My older son called today asking for another month of payment for his phone, which I agreed to.  He can't find a job and is thinking about moving to live with his birth dad, who apparently is well-off enough to be building on a wing to their home.  That nonpayment of child support from years ago would have been nice but the statute of limitations has long passed.  It was like a knife in my heart when he said he might move out there but what can I tell him?  There are no jobs here either.

In the midst of all this stress, one goddess has stood out prominently offering her aid.  One that I really thought didn't want anything to do with me.  Frigg's presence has really permeated my home, bringing me, well, not peace exactly, but at least some kind of shoulder to lean on.  Whether she's just here just for the duration or intends to bring me into her fold, I'm not sure, but at this stage, I don't really care.  I take comfort where it's given.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The "hearth" goddess revealed

As I grow more confident on my journey, feeling secure on my path, things keep occurring to me that really overwhelm my preconceived notions about religion and spirituality.  Now knowing that worshiping a specific pantheon isn't required of me, I still maintained a semblance of one in practice.  Specifically, my "hearth" goddess.

I was writing out different prayers to the various hearth goddesses in a small notebook to keep in the kitchen so I wouldn't have to keep bringing out my various Pagan prayer books when something very profound (to me anyway) hit me:  do I need a specific hearth goddess and do I need a hearth goddess at all?  I'll be honest that every time I have look at that altar I've only ever seen Hecate, and although I've had visitations from other goddesses on that altar from time to time, rarely has it ever been a "hearth" goddess.  My relationships with the "hearth" goddesses have been tenuous at best.  Finding that connection was never solid or permanent.

So I asked myself what the heck was I doing?  Lighting the candle and incense on that altar has become a daily ritual with me although I never know just who the hearth goddess was supposed to be.  Now it turns out that there never was a hearth goddess attached to that altar at all.  The goddess I least expected, turns out she lives there.

When I think about it, it makes more sense to me that Hecate would be there.  When I think of myself as a witch, I think of the kitchen as being more of a working room than my main altar because it has the tools in there I would utilize more often and more safely than I would in my bedroom.  Or the living room, however that turns out from week to week.  And I've always thought of Hecate as the goddess I would work magick with rather than any of the other gods.

So I continue to break free from those perceptions I've carried with me all my life.  And even those new ones I've discovered since leaving my birth religion behind.

Since my sojourn with the Greeks, I have seen Hecate and Persephone as sisters in purpose although I couldn't really define what that purpose is.  So it makes sense to me that instead of trying to stick to a paradigm of how the household used to be run or how it's perceived in neo-paganism today, I should view my home as I see it and how I should use it.  While I still believe there are household gods that I need to show honor to,  the hearth goddess just isn't dominant in my life. 

Realizing this also brings Persephone up to a more prominent place on my main altar as well.  And since I've always had a hard time with the Celtic/ish gods, I don't know why I've thought that this path would be dominated by them. I just have to stop thinking inside the box and let the gods come to me instead of trying to force them into a place on my altar and in my life.

Very liberating it is.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Crawling out of the cellar

I'm not making much progress with the 101 course.  This week was filled with debilitating fatigue and if I had just ridden it out instead of fighting it as I always do, I suspect it wouldn't have lasted as long.  I never learn.

I am peeking out from under that heavy cloud and feeling more like myself again, which isn't a bouncing bundle of energy but at least I can cope with life when I'm myself.  I'll be reading tonight and most of the weekend, although much needs to be done to restore the balance of good energy in this house.  Let me rephrase that.  To introduce good energy into this house.  I don't think we've ever felt good since we moved here.  I know next to nothing about the people who lived here before aside from them being the only owners, having only one child, a daughter, and the husband died of leukemia not long before we bought the house.  I don't know that he died here but he was in Zach's room, which seems the most oppressive.  There was a hospital bed in there when we first looked at the house.

I plan on tackling his room first, taking care of the area that has the most negative energy, hoping that eliminating the clutter and opening the room up for more air flow will help.  I also plan on doing a cleansing in there.  Room by room I'll get this done and hopefully we'll see an increase in energy and positivity in this house.  Since we moved in here, the depression levels have exploded.  It can't be a coincidence.

I'm wearing my mjolnir today.  It's not Thursday so it's not Thor's day, especially, but I just felt like wearing it.  I still have a draw toward the Norse gods but not toward the Norse religion.  I knew I had made the right choice since I have run into various references to Thor all over the internet and on tv.  It may be my subconscious telling me to watch the movie Thor that I've got on dvr, but I really don't think so.  I had already dug one of my volumes of Our Troth out of the bookcase to read later. 

I'm probably drawn to them because of the book on Runes I got from the library recently.  While I don't believe a particular group of gods are overly possessive about the cultural things associated with them, I can see studying them in perspective with the gods connected to them.  Especially since my heart seems to be drawn most to things of the British Isles, the most prominent aspect of my ancestry.  So I can see that the Anglo-Saxon aspect of the Norse gods would play a part in my ancestral worship and growth as a witch.

It's funny to me that I'm not obsessing over this or over-thinking it this time.  It just makes sense to me to incorporate all things me into one complex unit as it comes up.  The last Tarot reading I did, which was a while before I was able to let go of the need for a structure, pointed me toward my ancestry, find things that my ancestors did and utilize them in my spiritual pursuits.  I still feel that is the right direction for me.

Now to just actually sit down and do it.  Starting with the 101 course.  I am eager to continue with it and I think about it often during the day. But concentration when your energy levels are in the cellar is a difficult thing to accomplish so I should have just waited it out instead of trying to read the same paragraph over and over again and dealing with the frustration of a total lack of comprehension.  In other words...stop beating myself up when I'm dealing with limits and just do what I can at the time.

So...hoping the energy levels at least stay where they are for a few days so I can hopefully work with them and maybe even increase them with concentrated effort and time.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If I don't love me, who will?

I'm not doing much special for Beltane again this year.  Still battling crippling fatigue and I just want to go to bed.  I don't have to fix supper tonight so as soon as I post this, that's where I'm headed.  I do have a game plan that involves harnessing energy but mostly one that involves focusing on myself and my needs instead of all my focus being on how awful I feel all the time.  I need to treat my body better.  No doubt about it.

I ran to the library today to pick up a book that came in on runes.  It looks like a simple, yet informative book.  Not too deep but just starting out, I really don't want deep.  I want understandable.  I've got to get back to my Wicca 101 lessons, too.

Another problem I'm having is focusing on reading.  Well, actually just focusing.  I've needed new glasses for about a year but just haven't had the money for them. I've tried to put myself last (that pesky servant attitude from a former life that doesn't make you a servant but a slave) but the bottom line is I'm having trouble reading.  I can see to drive...no problem.  I just can't see to read.  I needed to get the model number off the stove so I can order a new burner but I just can't read it.  I'll have to get someone else in this house to do that for me.

So...tomorrow if the weather isn't too bad (storm predicted) I'm going to deposit the tax check and make an appointment.  I might get a walk in since it's Wednesday but probably not.

I'm learning that it's not always good to put others first.  It's not always good to put yourself last.  Sometimes you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of the ones who rely on you.  Otherwise you're going to end up where I am now.  No energy, no ambition, no interest.

I might do some knitting tonight if I find the energy.  Lately I haven't even had it for that.  And sleep doesn't fix the energy problem.  No, it's internal, physical and spiritual.  If I don't fix all those areas, it won't matter if I fix one of them because it's not going to help.  I changed my physical to a month later because I'm just not ready to face my doctor who will tell me it's all depression and that if I go off my pain pills, I can take anti-depressants.  With the pain levels I've been having, that's just not going to happen.  Not to mention how crappy I felt on anti-depressants.  The world had no color and I had no interest in anything.  Yeah...not a bit help, were they?

I'm not saying I have any answers, or that any of my plans will work, but I'm really tired of being the martyr.  It's not a role I'm suited to and makes me a miserable person.  From now on, I'm focusing on me.  Everyone else can sort themselves out.  They know I love them, but it's time for me to love me for a change.