Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm back!

I honestly didn't expect to keep the blog but with my situation changed and my footing on solid ground, I feel comfortable writing about it now.  There were a lot of things that contributed to finally finding my path, including the infamous return to Christianity by a well-known Pagan blogger.  I can't explain fully how that solidified my choices but it did.

At the time I was finding myself wooed and accepted by the Saxon/Norse gods, my son also found himself having the same experience. Almost identical, in fact.  There were just too many coincidences, signs and portents and blatant interactions to ignore that this is where I belong.  And where he belongs.

I plan on writing at least twice weekly...at least that's my goal.  Maybe more if I can, but I'd rather have substance in my posts than just write to fill in the days of the week.  I got a really nice camera for Christmas so I plan on more pictures as well.  Especially my altar with the beautiful new statues on it.  With Zach's permission I'll post pictures of his shrine as well.

I've discovered that ritual isn't necessarily something formal or fussy.  And that my path is totally my own.  I'm avoiding those places that don't represent the faces of the gods I worship and those people who think this is some kind of paramilitary religion.

After all, Ing is a god of peace.

Happy New Year to everyone and may it bring all the blessings you could hope for!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pondering

So sorry for not posting lately.  I'm going to take some time off from blogging and decide whether I want to continue or not.  I probably will but I need the freedom to think otherwise.  I'll be back after the first of the year.  Have happy holidays, everyone!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Samhain altar





Ignore the time stamp.  It's way off and I can't figure out how to get rid of it.

We had a really nice Samhain ritual, the best I've ever experienced, to be honest.  There was a lot of energy present and Zach and I both ended up with a clear sense of direction.  For once.  And we're still on track, on the path we committed to.  I must say that the commitment has helped keep us where we are.  I never knew that the simple act of committing was so significant to keeping one on target.

I've done some studying lately but still not much compared to what I used to do.  I'm still very much focused on the practical aspects of paganism, rather than the esoteric.  Not that I'm not interested, but for now, I need that stabilizing aspect of practicality to keep me focused for now.

We had a light dusting of snow this morning.  It's pretty but I really wasn't ready for snow yet.  We spent the afternoon raking the leaves and putting things away in the garage.  I had Zach refill the bird feeders yesterday, knowing the snow was predicted for today.  I'll toss out some corn for the squirrels and chipmunks tomorrow.  I finally turned the heat on last week for a couple of days.  Didn't need it yesterday.  The new front door has helped so much in keeping the house warmer and since we don't keep it terribly warm in here, we keep our expenses down a bit.  I still must find a way to cut back at least $300 more out of the budget, thanks to a pay cut last spring when they moved Tom to a machine instead of being foreman.  We had overtime for a while but that's gone for now.  Maybe forever.  And no pay raise this year or bonus either.

My older son is in a really dark place right now and I'm not sure what I can do to help him.  I gave him some hard truths last night and he hung up on me but feeding the darkness wasn't the right thing to do.  I worry about him.  I'm not sure how I feel about doing magic without the permission of the recipient.  On one hand it feels like taking away their free will but on the other hand, he has been swallowed up by this darkness and refuses to see that he needs help.  At the least I will light a candle and ask the gods to watch out for him.  For now I think that will have to be enough.

I love that it's getting darker sooner.  I must be connected to the night in some way because I have more energy in the winter and do much better at night than I do in the morning.  Might be why I prefer the moon to the sun.  But there is an aspect of the morning that does appeal to me as well.  The waking up of Nature, the rising sun.

Well, time to start supper.  I'm still fixing two meals because I'm still vegetarian.  I'm losing weight for now, but I only seem to be losing a couple of pounds a month in spite of eating only about 1200 calories a day and exercising 30 minutes.  It's frustrating.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Practice of Being Pagan

I do mean to write more often but I'm not online as much anymore.  Except for today.  I think I have one day a week like this.

I'm still doing well on my path, probably because I'm focusing so much more on what I do instead of why I do it.  I'm not studying about the gods much or learning magic so much as I am just trying to do better each day.  Being greener, more responsible with the finances and putting crafts above the internet.  I feel more connected to the gods now by just living this path instead of studying it.  I do read once in a while, and I still have ritual every morning and evening, but I'm much busier being a Pagan by actually practicing it.  This really feels right.

I definitely feel a strong connection with Cernnunos and am so glad I got that statue.  I hope to get a statue for one of the goddesses around December.  It really helps me focus during prayer and ritual.  And I like to look over at the statue at night while knitting or reading.  And Brighid has become a part of my spiritual life as well.  I had so many problems with the Christianizing of her that I couldn't see her as pagan anymore but now, as I focus more on housework, crafting and things of that nature, she has become pretty important to me.  Cerridwen and Danu, as well.  The Dagda, Manannan mac Lir and Lugh have become part of my life, too.

I'm not reading the myths for now.  But I am learning that the myths aren't necessarily bad even though I feel like I have to sift out all the Christian interference.  Maybe later I'll read them, but for now, I'm just content with the magic and the practice of being pagan.  It works for me. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blessed Samhain!

Had a bad night and didn't get any sleep so I've been dragging today in spite of getting a 2 hour nap.  I'm still going to do the commitment ritual and the Samhain ritual but the pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.  I'm barely making it and I still have supper to fix.

I can feel the thinning of the veil although I haven't sensed my mother.  And maybe I won't tonight but it will be a night when I do reach out to her to talk about the things I couldn't broach when she was alive.  The pain is still raw for me.  I haven't been able to watch the funeral yet.  I want to watch it tonight but I might wait until tomorrow afternoon instead.  It's still inconceivable to me that she's dead.  I wasn't able to go down for the funeral because of my illness; I was in the ER the day before the funeral and got my diagnosis of congestive heart failure the day after so traveling 10 hours in a car just wasn't possible. I hope tonight I'm able to come to terms with her death and accept it.  As much as I hate the costs of funerals, they do provide that for people.  Without them, there is a sense of just walking in place.  No moving forward.

Yesterday, after Zach and I were driving home from shopping and errands, we were just chatting when I felt this incredible chill cover me, nearly overwhelming me.  It was night and since I was watching the road and listening to Zach I didn't pay attention to where we were.  We were just passing the cemetery that is out in the middle of the country, on our favorite route home.  The energy was palpable.  Shortly after that I felt it again, having gone back to listening to Zach, and realized I was adjacent to the Native American mounds that are also on the way home.  I realized that I need to be more aware of my surroundings all the time and not just sleepwalk through life as I have been doing.

I'm not sure if I'm going to the knitting thing at the library.  I found out today that there will be no more overtime for, well, maybe ever.  And with no pay raises and no bonuses, money is less than we've had in the past several years.  With money that extremely tight I'm trying to think of things I can do to cut our expenses to the bone.  And with gas still high, at least in our neck of the woods it's only gone down pennies, driving to town will have to be more deliberate and less impulsive.  Socializing just has to wait until we have money.

I've got to finish up the winterizing, too.  The front storm door we put on is going to help immensely.  During the cold spell we had a couple of weeks ago you couldn't feel the air rushing in through the door anymore and the foyer was much warmer.  I won't have to block off the foyer this year, which means the inside door won't warp from the cold and moisture.  I do love being more environmentally aware and responsible and I find frugality a challenge but during my medical issues, I wasn't able to take advantage of the extra money to make any kind of headway into cutting our bills.  Now that I can, the overtime has dried up.  I'll do my best but it does mean a lot of sacrifice in the future.

And that's something I have to look at as long-term and not just when times are this lean.  Although I can't remember a time when things weren't lean. Sigh.

Well, I need to sit down and look at the ritual I'm using tonight and fine-tune it a bit and then start supper.  I am feeling my physical limitations more and more each day, especially when I look at all that needs to be done in the house and how further behind I get every day. 

I hope everyone has a blessed Samhain and I'm sorry for all the whining.  I hate that about myself.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Commitment

My forest god statue arrived today.  I'll get pictures of it and my Samhain altar tomorrow, I hope.  I'm really pleased with it.  I chose the more rustic version, partly because of the cost.  It was $20 cheaper.  Cost does matter.  But I got sparkling grape juice for ritual tomorrow night instead of just grape juice.  Sometimes you just have to splurge. 

I'm ready to commit to a path, in part because I think the lack of commitment has bitten me in the ass.  I'm going to have a commitment ritual for Samhain and give myself a year on this path.  At which time I'll see if it's going to be a lifelong thing.  But the lack of commitment on my part has left me drifting in the wind.  I need to take a stand one way or another. 

I'm choosing a druid/witch/nature path of the Celtic flavor.  Cernunnos, having been my constant over the years, seems to be leading me.  I need that for now.  Someone else to lead so I can just follow.  I'm not much of a leader myself.

I'm feeling good but there is an element of fear there that I can't stay with anything for long.  I do need the discipline of a promise, something that I've pledged to commit to.  Zach is also going to commit to his path, which is similar but not exactly like mine.  We do tend to balance each other out.

There probably won't be a fire tomorrow night though.  Rain is predicted.  Like a 100% chance of rain.  If it does rain then we'll just light the fire on Friday during the day.  It doesn't necessarily have to be night.

Early night tonight for me.  I'm so tired of not sleeping again.  I'm trying to get back to the routine I had during cardiac rehab of getting up early and to bed early.  I got more done then.  If Professor or Hannibal would just let me sleep I might achieve that but they wake me up at least 6 times a night.  No door on my bedroom so I can't keep them out.

Maybe that will change soon and I'll get the sleep I need. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Celtic gods have moved in

I've noticed I'm not the only one having trouble deciding my path lately.  Some of those out there suffering the same situation are high profile pagans or at least have a lot more experience and readers than I do.  Some of the parallels with their situations and mine are a bit scary at times.

Still, I'm trying to go with it and just let it happen.  Maybe I'll never settle on a path.  Or maybe that path will settle itself and I'll figure it out eventually.  For now the Celtic gods are back and I'm feeling a connection I've never felt with them before.  This time I'm feeling them return my affection.  And it feels pretty damned good.  I finally broke down and bought a statue for my altar.  I hadn't done it before because I couldn't commit and worried that if I bought a statue, before it even got here, I would second guess myself and no longer want to worship that god.  But the one constant that has been in my life for years has been Cernnunos.  So I got a statue of him for the altar.  No matter what pantheon was in ascendance at the time, he was always present in my life.

It will be here before Samhain, hopefully.  I'm also looking into Druidry again.  But more a combination of druidry and witchcraft.  Not Wicca, but witchcraft.  That's something that has also been a constant for me. 

We had a flood in the basement over the weekend when the water heater sprung a massive leak so my schedule of study and practice has gone by the wayside until I can clean up the basement a bit.  We had managed to acquire a used water heater ten years ago through freecycle but had never gotten around to installing it until we absolutely had to so at least we weren't out tons of money and were able to use a perfectly good albeit outdated water heater.  An energy-saver would have been nice but then we would have had two water heaters to put in the landfill instead of one.

I'm trying to be as green as I can.

We're going to have a ritual on Samhain outside using my new fire pit.  I'm excited to use it.  Although nervous about having a ritual in the backyard where the highway runs up the hill at the back of the property and the next-door neighbors are close enough to see what's going on.  But we will do it anyway.  I've got nothing to hide, after all.  It's not illegal to be pagan.

It's been an exhausting day cleaning up the basement and cooking supper and I'm still doing much more than I'm physically supposed to be doing so I'm going to crash and get some knitting done.  There is a knit out at the library on Saturday, knitting for the community, and I've started a scarf and hat set I hope to get done before then.  I've got a bag full of baby blankets, baby sweaters and hats and scarves to donate as well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Community, or the lack thereof

Still here and still with the Greeks although I still wouldn't consider myself Hellenic or reconstructionist.  Just a happy Pagan with the Greeks as my primary pantheon.  The Egyptians are still visiting although mostly they hide in nooks and crannies, being very unobtrusive.  I don't worship them although I am learning about them.  They're quite content with that.

I've been very slowly cleaning, trying to catch up from six months of illness.  But I am realizing that I can't do as much as I feel like doing.  I have limitations that aren't always obvious so I need to keep myself from lifting too much and start taking more frequent breaks.  Eventually I'll be able to do more but never again as much as I used to do.  Sadly, the heart is damaged and while I can improve its function, it's never going to be able to handle all the physical activity I used to do.

But as I have a mountain of yarn to transform into projects, I can focus on that instead of the heartier tasks that someone else can do for me.

I'm still trying to find a source of community, which in a largely conservative, evangelical/fundamentalist area, isn't easy.  Everything here seems to revolve around church and while Zach and I really did consider going back to St. Mark's for the community I'm not sure I can go without feeling the obligation to become a Christian again.  In spite of not being able to believe anymore.  There is no doubt that the liturgy and ritual are amazing and I do miss it but the gods behind it...not so much.  I loved the people there but I'm just not sure it would be fair to them to go and participate as pagans.  Even though some of them would love us to be with them no matter what we believe, not all of them would.  They wouldn't ever say anything to us (at least the ones we knew before we left there) but it would make them unhappy.  And the new ones...I have no idea.  We still ponder it.  Just haven't decided to do anything about it yet.  I don't want to leave paganism behind but I miss having friends or at least a community.

But I'm not sure they would be a community anymore since that commonality is missing.  The priest just spent her sabbatical contemplating nature and there is that, their commitment to the environment and love of nature.  It's very much the bulk of my passion for paganism, but is it enough?  When we know for sure if I can attend without losing myself, we might go back.

But in the meantime, we're still very lonely.  I constantly look for things to attend or participate in but it's a largely rural area.  Madison is an hour away and not easy to navigate when you don't know where you're going.  And sometimes even when you do know where you're going.  I'd love to participate in some pagan events and gatherings there, but I'm a timid driver and can't handle a lot of traffic.  Everything is an hour away from here.  Madison, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac.  And with gas so high...

Samhain is coming soon.  I have a new firepit to use in our celebration of it.  If it isn't raining, which has happened a lot lately.  It's cold now and I can feel the bite of winter in the autumn wind.  The leaves are falling even though some of them haven't turned colors yet.   It's so bizarre to seem the green leaves falling off the trees.  I'm going to watch my mother's funeral on Samhain or The Day of the Dead. Not sure which.  Feeling a bit melancholy about it all, to be honest.  Not sure if I should attempt to contact my mother for Samhain or just let her be.  She wouldn't have approved of my spiritual path.  Not sure how she feels about it now.

In the meantime, I'm going to prepare for it and see what happens.

Time to get the storm windows on though so I'm off to get warmly dressed and get to it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Luggage but not baggage

It bothers me when I don't keep up with my blogs but the past few weeks...and months for that matter...have been stressful to the point of me shutting down emotionally.  I was hoping to get back to blogging and other activities after we came back from Indiana but the trip has been cancelled because the brakes are bad in the car and need replacing.  So that's another stress off my shoulders.  I wanted to go down there very much but not at the expense of our lives.

I have been doing some reading and some rituals at my altars and shrines.  I desperately need to clean up the clutter that has accumulated over the past year or so and especially over the past six months, having been disabled with heart disease.  Although I feel much better it's still a struggle to learn to live with congestive heart failure.  I'm dieting strenuously, eating less than 1200 calories a day, exercising and only losing 7 pounds in 3 months.  I'm losing about a pound every other week it seems.  And I'm hungry all the time.

I gave up on vegetarian eating because I had no energy and my fingernails were in terrible shape, splitting, dry and peeling.  They're improving a bit as they grow out now.  But I'm still not losing much weight.

Spiritually I'm doing okay.  I'm still not following a particular path, per se, but I am back with the Greeks to a degree.  Surprisingly the Egyptians have showed up for a visit as well.  They're in the background, keeping largely quiet but their presence is definitely known.  Not sure where this will lead to, if anywhere at all.  I'm pretty happy the Greeks have come back because they didn't bring all their baggage with them.  They brought their luggage but not their baggage, if that makes any sense.  I had missed them.

When it's all said and done, they know me better than any of the other gods and I know them better, too.  But I have chosen not to consider myself Hellenic or Hellenismos because I'm not going the path of tradition.  I am incorporating magic into my practices and consider myself a witch.  In training, of course, but a witch nonetheless.  I find no conflict whatsoever and since I don't intend to ask permission or seek approval from anyone for the direction I'm taking...well, who fucking cares what anyone else thinks?  :)

I got a fire pit for my birthday so this Samhain should be fantastic.  Tom has indicated he would like to participate or at least observe our Samhain ritual this year.  With an outdoor fire it should be magnificent!

Well, got to go get the brake pads and rotor so he can fix the brakes on the car.  I'm sorry I can't see my family this weekend but a restful weekend will suit me nicely.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Winners!

I only had two entries on the giveaway so I'm going to give both of them the book.  I can get another copy for myself later so the two winners are:  SusieB and Kymberly Pray.  Please email me your addresses so I can get them in the mail by next week.  I rarely ever check my gmail address so email me at kawaski@charter.net and I'll get your book out to you.

Thanks for entering the contest.  Even though I didn't have many entries, I enjoyed this and will offer something else in the future.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Still here, still eclectic and still pretty darned content

Time is whooshing past me at an alarming speed.  I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted here.  Things are good spiritually.  I'm much more comfortable with this eclectic choice, not spending my time studying a system or "learning" who the gods are.  Instead I'm focusing on magic and learning who I am.  The gods are revealing themselves to me as that happens.  Amazing.

I've known for a long time that the mythologies do more to turn me off the gods than help me get to know them but I just couldn't seem to leave them out of the equation.  It's part of my upbringing...to trust the written word way too much.  Especially bad when you take into account the amount of diddling the "church" did with all the stories about the gods.  I just can't trust them.  Any of them.

I know not all mythologies have been tampered with but still you run into man's interpretation of who the gods are and some modern polytheists dogmatic insistence on adhering to the ancient...or more modern...interpretations of just who the gods are based on those stories.

So...I'm going to learn them without the myths.  Just let them reveal themselves to me.  In the meantime, I'm going to work on magic, spend time with nature and get my house in order.  Thanks to my lengthy illness, the house is in total chaos, needing a good cleaning and a good cleansing.  Trouble is I'm still dealing with awful fatigue so it will take a long time to bring the house into a state that makes me comfortable.  Slow and steady may win the race but when you've got other people still making messes, still having meals to prepare, laundry to do and other daily chores, it's hard to play catch up, let alone get ahead.

Brigit was there this morning when I lit the kitchen candles and the incense.  First time I have felt her presence in years, if ever.  It was nice and the first time I felt her as a hearth goddess.  Most times she seems more of a "saint" than a goddess.  Today, though, she was a goddess.  It was nice to see.  We'll see if she comes back.  Not making any commitments right now, if ever.

I also plan on spending a lot more time on crafts, which I find to be a very spiritual practice.  I don't spend enough time being productive, which I think will help me spiritually.  There is something about the creation process that brings you into a level of spiritual connection with the gods, goddesses and spirits out there.  That's another thing that has been made apparent to me...there are many spirits out there who I am finding a connection with.  I had never really made that attempt before so it's reassuring to find others on the spiritual plateau who are interested in me. 

Time to get busy on knitting today.  Since I'm still battling fatigue, even if it is better than it was before, I'm trying to take advantage of that limitation and use it to focus on my crafts.  It definitely improves my mood and my self-esteem.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Language alert: it was a crappy day

It was altogether a crappy day, but then the cards let me know that before I left the house this morning.  Not that I could have stayed home and avoided it all.

First thing, as I was creeping out of the driveway, I knocked over the neighbor's trash can because the sanitation engineers had left it out in the road instead of putting it on the curb.  Great!  I was running late for my doctor's appointment so I had to deal with it when I got home.  Fretted about it the whole time, though, raising my blood pressure.  Gah!

Then didn't have a very good conversation with my doctor at all.  Normally we can communicate but since I've been under the care of a cardiologist, she's been hard to talk to.  She kept complaining about me still being on lasix, which I understand is going to be a standard medication for me because I have congestive heart failure for fuck's sake.  Then she got the prescription wrong when I went to pick it up.  The conversation was so confusing and instead of double checking it, or letting me call her when I got home, she ended up cutting my dosage in half.  I'll be calling the cardiologist to get it straightened out, you can be sure.

Then, the part that pissed me off so much that I was in tears when I got home...she had told me months ago that she would manage my pain meds since my rheumatologist retired but when I asked for a refill today she refused, saying she wasn't "comfortable" managing my pain since she wasn't trained in chronic pain.  Just what the hell did she learn in her internship then?  So she told me to find a rheumatologist and have them prescribe my pain meds.  Thing is, even if I could find one, it would be months before I could get an appointment and I will be out of tramadol by the end of the month. 

As it turned out there are only 3 rheumatologists within an hour of here and none of them are in my network.  So I called back and talked to the appointment lady and she left a message for the dr.  I got my refill although she's not happy about it.  Seriously I was in a panic because I remember the 10 fucking years I went without any pain meds because the fucking doctors told me it was all in my head.  I've never once abused my meds and have never even taken all I'm prescribed per month.  But people with chronic pain need to know they don't have to hoard their pills so the drs generally give them a bit more than they need.  Hey...sometimes you do need those extra pills.

So the cards didn't lie at all.  It was a miserable day.  But still I learned some things.  One thing being that the cards won't talk to me when I'm wearing my hammer.  And that my path is absolutely not one that is an established one.  Zach did 3 readings for me and there was no doubt whatsoever that my path is eclectic. This morning was pretty much the same, aside from the Devil showing up to let me know my day was totally fucked. 

Learning about the Norse/Anglo Saxon gods has really confirmed that for me, too.  There are gods there I am fond of but I don't love the myths and I don't love the system.  Same with the other pantheons.  I know I keep saying this but I also keep trying to find something for myself that isn't mine to have, I guess.  Maybe this time I'll figure it out.

I think Zach has my back this time.  We're on the same page for the first time so I think working together will help.

Tonight, though, I plan on going to bed as soon as the clothes are done in the dryer.  I'm so tired and the stress of the day has wiped me out.  My head is throbbing and I've got to get up for cardiac rehab tomorrow.  But I'm definitely going to look at warding myself and my space as soon as I'm get back.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Giveaway!

I've never done one of these but I got an extra copy of a book that I ordered and rather than send it back, I thought I would offer it up to someone out there who likes fantasy books.  It's not a new book...several years old, in fact, but it's one of my favorites.  I read it to Zach when he was little...many times.  I had loaned my original out but never got it back so when I ordered a new copy, got the extra one, too.

The book is Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams and it's fantastic.  More like animal mythology/fantasy but reminds me a lot of Watership Down in many ways.

So if anyone wants to enter the contest, just comment on this post and on September 22nd (my birthday!) I'll randomly draw a name and send it off to the lucky winner.

I hope whoever wins it likes it as much as I do. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Breaking up is hard to do

I had a bit of a spiritual turmoil this past weekend, leading me to the point of nearly throwing it all in and going back to church.  I'm really tired of never making that connection with the gods.  Getting started but never making inroads.  It's frustrating.

I couldn't do it though.  Couldn't go back to church.  I don't own a bible anymore so I thought I would go to the Christian bookstore to see if they had the one I was looking for.  They didn't.  They barely had any bibles at all.  But the whole time I was there I was so uncomfortable, feeling the negativity like it was physical.  I had to leave.

So we went to Walmart to do the rest of my shopping.  We always walk down the candle/incense aisle to see if there's anything new.  There was.  Someone had placed a six inch tall, free-standing cross in the midst of the incense.  Knowing fundies like I do, I'm almost positive...no, I am positive...that it was done in an attempt to "cleanse" the area from the pagans or anyone using incense for spiritual purposes.  And to "sanctify" it for their god.  I've never done anything like that myself, but I know of people who have.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me and I knew for certain that I couldn't go back there, even if the church were a liberal one with very loving people in it.  I just don't believe in their god.  Well, I believe that their chief god, Yahweh, exists, but I don't believe in Jesus, nor do I believe theirs is monotheism at all.  It's just an end run around the whole polytheism thing.

So what to do?  I'm not doing well with the Greeks.  Sure initially they come in and settle themselves and within a few weeks are aloof and uninterested in me, unresponsive to my efforts.  I don't ask for anything so it's not like I'm just using them.  It happens every time.

I've never really gotten to know the Norse/Anglo Saxon gods because of the affiliations of their followers.  I really hate the racist groups that claim them but there is also the group of men who are just militaristic and think of themselves as "warriors" and focus on the Viking era when the Norse were plundering, raping and pillaging.  They tend to be a bit misogynistic if you happen to sit in and listen to their bullshit.

I know they aren't even the majority, but they are vocal and alongside the racist groups it compiles too high a percentage for me.

Still, the gods aren't their followers.  If I can just divorce them from the idiots who worship them, maybe I can get to know them.  Not their reputations based on their followers.  Not an easy task for me.

First step is just getting to know them.  Nothing more.  No commitments.  No jumping in with both feet.  But also important is opening myself up to them.  I think I've spent way too much time building barriers to my heart because of the pain I endured from Christianity.  Maybe it's time to let the deities in and let them love me back.

I don't know if it will work or if I will get hurt again, but I'm lonely for the gods.  Maybe it's time to take a chance again.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Growing a backbone

I can't deny that the only gods I ever seem to connect with are the Greeks.  And I can't blame them for it not working out.  My biggest problem is that I place too much importance on how other people walk this path.  My path.  The path I am walking.  As if they have the right to tell me how to do it.  I know that the blame lies with me, with having had half a century of being told how to walk my path and believing that's the way it is done.  Because in Christianity they do tell you how to walk your path.  There are rules, you know.

And some pagans insist there are rules as well.  Or whatever they call themselves.  Most of the ones who insist on the rules also insist they aren't pagans so...whatever.

This is where I feel most at home, but on my path we don't have so many rules.  What we have are guidelines that can be used to aid us in our journey, in the way we worship our gods.

I'm not and never will be a reconstructionist or a revivalist.  I'm pretty content being a modern pagan.  And I do consider myself a pagan.  I saw a word in a book I read not too long ago about monotheism.  It's a fantastic book and when I remember the title, I'll share that with you.  But for now, I can't remember.  Anyway, the word the author used to describe rigid fundamentalists was "rigorist."  And it fits.  There are rigorists in all walks of life, even in paganism.  These are the people who think they're doing it right and if you're not doing the things they're doing, then you are insulting the gods.  Really, the gods don't give a shit.  Only the rigorists care.

I fell in love with the Greeks back in grade school and I don't think I ever fell out of love with them.  I understood that they weren't real (ha!) and that the people who worshiped them are now in hell because they were worshiping false gods instead of the ONE TRUE GOD.  So they were completely off limits to me.

But had I had options, I would have worshiped them, and I would have done it without knowing about any rules.  I would have offered them gifts and honored them and celebrated them.  In my own way.

And that's pretty much how things are going to be for me.  Not that I don't think I can learn from the ancients.  But that was then and this is now.  Certainly they were worshiped differently depending on the city, area, era.  And since I don't live in Greece or Athens, their holidays don't make a lot of sense for me.  I pretty much like the 8 festivals that most pagans celebrate, with the exception of the ones that are specific to Celtic deities.  I love the idea that the local holidays can be adapted to the Greek gods.

Now if I can just hold firm to my own ideology and maintain my resolve.  And not let what others say influence me. I need to stop reading the message boards where they get pissy over the right way to do things.  Just grow closer to the gods and learn from them what they want from me.

It really is just that easy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Progress

Zach and I have been doing some studying together and I think it works out a lot better.  I like bouncing ideas off of him and responding to his ideas as well.  We're walking similar paths these days but during those times when we aren't, I think it will be just as interesting to study this way.  It's good.

I still haven't been focusing a lot on the gods as much as I am on Nature and magic.  Still, I do honor them nightly, although I have added the land spirits and the fae into my devotions as well.  It seems very right to do that.  I have a fondness for Cernunnos, although there is little written about him...which may actually be a good thing since I'm still not enthralled with the myths.  Lately I've been noticing Brigit.  I initially had a fondness for her but her "elevation" to sainthood turned me cold and I've pretty much shunned her ever since.  Thanks to the myths (yes those myths I don't love) I've seen another side of her, one that predates the Christian makeover.  She seems indomitable to me, overcoming the attempted eradication of her deity and remaining a favorite in spite of the church's efforts to turn her into something palatable for the "blessed."  I am learning to love her as the goddess she really is, not the "saint" she has been dressed up as.

My focus, though, is primarily on my health because it has to be for now.  I do look forward to some walks through the marsh or the mounds very soon.  I'm cleared for general housework now and can take longer walks as long as I'm not walking on hills and since we live near the top of a hill, everything around me is on a hill.  I need to see wildlife more than I need to see people's yards and houses though.

Today is a fatigue day, unfortunately so I think most of it will be spent in bed, napping and knitting.  It's what I do best these days.  Although my exercise levels are getting better every day and my eating plan has become a way of life.  Still struggling to find or make recipes that are fitting to my limitations but I'm feeling much better on a low-salt, low-fat vegetarian diet.

And now for a nap

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pondering

My focus has been on health lately so while I am still reading and studying things spiritual, my actions have been toward eating healthy and exercising.  Not so much time spent at my altar.  It may be that way for a while as I find the balance I need.

Still not sure about keeping the blog going.  I think in a lot of ways, the "honesty" I've been trying to exhibit here has been more like pressure to decide things one way or another.  In public.  And all the embarrassment that goes along with that.

If I do keep the blog going, things will be a lot different.  I do intend to be more private about things that should remain private.  Less angst.  More progress.  I hope.

We'll see.

And the bottom line is writing this because I need to write this.  Not writing to get hits or followers or to be "popular."  I also intend to focus a lot on crafts and such here as well as my spirituality since I do find them inherently connected.

So I'm still thinking and still pondering where I'm going with this blog.

Also, I'm thinking of giving up facebook since it's such a time waster for me and sucks me into a political vortex I can't seem to get out of.

So...still here for now.  Still on the Celtic/Druid path...for now.  Still working things out...forever.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wild weather and wild life

It's a-stormin' out there right now and I love it.  I love the wildness of Nature...the wind, the rain.  And me safely inside.  I love that it's dark enough for the street lights and it's not even 4 p.m. yet.  I also love that I have all my appointments behind me so I don't have to go out.  Unless I want supper, of course.  We have no water.  They're repairing some valves or something so we've had our water shut off since last night. Everyone has, in this neighborhood.  Fortunately we bottled up several gallons for hygiene purposes.

I found a book on Celtic myths that is amazing.  Not because of the myths but because the author acknowledges everything I was saying in my last post.  She gets it.  She is Miranda Green.  There is an initial in there somewhere but I can't be bothered to get up from my comfy seat to go look it up.  I look forward to reading this book since she addresses how the Celtic myths don't give any direction to the Celtic religion at all.

I put my mother's funeral card on my altar in place of the picture of her and my dad.  This one is all about here and has her senior picture and one of the last pictures taken of her before she became ill over a year ago.  I still haven't watched the dvd of the funeral yet.  I'm not sure when I will but I did talk to her last night while I was taking a shower.  Not sure about the timing there but I really felt her presence at that moment so it seemed the time to talk.  I talked to her about my health situation and how I'm getting better and how, in a way, she saved my life since if I hadn't gone down to see her I probably wouldn't have gotten pneumonia and that wouldn't have manifested itself into congestive heart failure and they wouldn't have done the heart cath and found out that the main artery in my heart was 90% blocked.

I got the sense that she was upset about something.  Not necessarily having to do with me, but something nonetheless.  I was a bit uncomfortable about that and probably ended the "conversation" before I could figure out what was bothering her.  I had an image of her not being where she expected to be but that could just be my imagination.  I'm not as keen with my otherworld senses as I used to be.  And I would never mention to my sisters or my dad that I talk with Mom, even if it is infrequent.  I'm not sure they would understand.

But I have felt a connection with the ancestors lately so I do think I'm on the right track these days.  Zach and I are studying up on Druid magic together, although the past couple of days we've been distracted by appointments and being waterless.  It doesn't take much to distract us.

So far, the deities that have beckoned to me have done so subtly but definitely.  We saw a dark crane or egret slipping into the bushes on our way to the store the other day.  I've never seen a dark one before.  At least not around here.  It was black or nearly so with red-tipped wings.  I haven't looked online but I've never seen one like that before.

Also had a hawk swoop down in the back yard the other day.  We live on the eastern edge of town, near the city limits so there is a lot of farm land just east of us.  And the marsh is about 4 blocks north.  We've had deer in the neighborhood, heard coyotes and seen the remnants of a very large predator in the back yard.  Some scat the size of bear droppings, although I'm nearly positive it wasn't a bear.  Still...looked a lot like what I saw online.  But I've never heard of a bear reported in this area.  Whatever it was, it was large though.  But anyway, we've had hawks in the trees before so it's not unusual, just uncommon.

Other sightings of wildlife in the past few days, too.  After a famine of sightings for the past year.  It really cheers my heart to see them. 

But I still haven't settled on any deities yet.  At least not firmly.  I'm sure it will happen but I do love that they're not trying to force themselves down my throat.  After the last year of feeling like that's what has been going on, it's nice to have some space.

Well, I'm going to go rest a bit and do some reading.  After an early morning trip to the cardiologist, followed by rehab, I'm a bit exhausted.  But the good news is my EKG looked much more improved since the stent was put in and I've lost 10 pounds in the past 4 weeks.  And my energy levels are much higher than they have been in a few years.  It's such a nice feeling to be regaining my health.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I don't like mythologies

I'm beginning to realize that I just don't like mythologies.  Maybe it stems from having been indoctrinated to believe the Christian mythologies as inerrant and infallible. Maybe it has to do with all the Christian rewriting of them to make them more Christian-friendly.  Yeah...I'm sure the latter is my biggest problem.  I've been reading the Celtic myths in order to see if this time around will be any better.  Nope.  I like them even less.  As myths.  As stories, they're fine, but I just don't see them as important or even relevant to the Celtic/Welsh/Irish gods.  Because they're not even fucking in hardly any of the stories.  (eta:  as deities...they are in them as stories about people) At least the ones I've read so far.  And the ones I've read paint the deities as bad.  Not to mention all the King Arthur stories that have serious Christian overtones.

Everything seems to be from an anti-god/dess perspective, to be honest.  And they all seem to end up with everyone happily Christian.  Or whatever.  (It pisses me off that the Christians decided to eliminate or rewrite other people's histories and cultures.  I guess they figured if they didn't, people would go back to worshiping the old ways.  And they were right, but they took that decision away from people in order to control them.  And that really pisses me off.) 

So instead of this making me feel frustrated and wanting to chuck it all, I'm feeling pretty liberated.  This opens up the deities to me in a way the myths never did.  I've avoided UPG because of all the derogatory stuff I've read about it.  And because within Christianity it's rampant, although not called that.  In fact a great deal of what is taught in Christianity isn't even from the Bible.  Most of it is from Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno.  No shit.

So anyway, I'm opening myself up to the gods, to the elements, to Nature in a way I wasn't able to before.  I haven't had many results yet but I didn't expect any.  Spending time at the altar without calling upon anyone specific has also resulted in a connection.  I'm just not sure with whom yet.  I do feel a draw toward Cernnunos and Cerridwen, which is a bit of a surprise.  But I'm not complaining.  I'm open to whoever wants to connect with me.

No matter what pantheon or tribe or culture.

Lughnasadh is coming up and I'm not sure if I will celebrate it or not.  All depends on what's going on with me at that time.

In the meantime, I read and I light candles and I work on my knitting.  I hope to add other crafts soon but I'm spending my free energy on cleaning because the house hasn't been clean since I first got sick back in February.  And it's slow going but I am improving health-wise.

And so I must get back to it.  I might even finish up one room today...even though I started it yesterday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Signs...maybe

We're in the middle of a heat wave right now so going out is a miserable experience.  But it's also been a necessity the past couple of days.  Either errands or my cardiac rehab...like today.  Since leaving the Greek path behind and deciding on Druidry with a Celtic/Anglo Saxon focus, I've had so many things cross my path that seem to affirm that decision.  Maybe.  It could just be coincidence. 

Still, that hawk swooping down on my car on the way home from rehab today has never happened to me before.  Finding my Green Man pendant that has been lost for months...opening up a drawer and there it is.  Other things as well.  Including finding some books I thought I had lost.  Books on druidry.

I did decide this time my focus would be spiritually rather than deity-oriented.  That may be where I have been making my mistakes.  I'm also not going to continue to spread myself thin by remaining in other groups that focus on other paths.  I think I get distracted and suffer from the greener grass syndrome.  It helps that this is the path Zach is focusing on as well.

But right now it's so hot that all I want to do is just sit and do nothing but read so I'm going back to that.  It's just too hot to knit right now even in the air conditioning...which is just one room since it's only a room-sized unit.  But at least the dog is happy to have it.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Will I ever learn what I need so I can commit to a path?

I know I said I wasn't going to do it, but I did change my altar out to a more eclectic one.  I hadn't thought about it but I noticed that after I did that, my shoulders didn't seem to sit up around my ears anymore.  I wonder what was stressing me out about the altar. Maybe it was decals, which seemed a bit like cartoons once I put them up.  Or maybe the altar was just too busy, too cluttered.  Or maybe it just wasn't right.




Not a huge difference but it feels more like me.

Obviously these pictures were taken today and not back in 2011.  I suppose I should figure out how to change the time stamp but right now I just can't be bothered.

I also did a lot of thinking last night and decided that I keep trying to order my spiritual life in a restrictive way.  I know that the Hellenic path is mostly orthopraxic, meaning that how you worship is more important than why or who.  I don't know why I keep thinking that will work for me.  It never does and I've reached that stage where doing the same things over and over again really is close to insanity.  I've not been happy.  I've been busy and I was content initially but I didn't derive a lot of satisfaction out of it.  I think I realized that I just don't like myself much when I worship the Greeks.  And maybe I don't really "love" them so much as they are the most familiar to me.

I also keep thinking I've reached this conclusion before and just keep forgetting it.

I don't know if I believe much in signs and portents but I found my Green Man pendant today after losing it months ago.  Odd because this is how I've been feeling lately...drawn to a more eclectic and organic path.  One that focuses on Nature and the elements...magic and herblore.  When I do nothing but focus on the gods, I lose all that.  I spend all my energy focusing on them and lose myself.

I think I'll focus on me and let the gods come to me for a change.

I may end up wandering the rest of my life but as long as I'm learning and not repeating the same mistakes, like I've been doing lately, it should all work out.  It's embarrassing that I have so much trouble committing to a path.  I could keep all this private and not blog about it but even though sometimes I feel like doing all this publicly keeps me from making choices, I think keeping it private would keep me from learning the lessons I need to learn. 

Although I hope public humiliation isn't one of them.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rebellious me

Just as soon as I wrote that last entry I ran into a post in a group I belong to on facecrack that bemoaned the blogs out there that claimed to be pagan and yet were "diaries" rather than discourses on paganism.  Really?  So people should shut down their blogs because this piss ant went looking for pagan blogs and found blogs by pagans instead?  It really put me off blogging even though I know this person and the many people who jumped on her band wagon are being asshats.

So...fuck 'em.  It's my blog and I'll post whatever the fuck I want to post.  I'll talk about my life, my routine and my feelings.  If they don't want to read "journals" then don't fucking read them, but don't complain that they're out there.  The world, my dear, doesn't revolve around you.

There...got that off my chest.

And now, back to me.  Because this blog does revolve around me. Insert evil grin here.

The past few days I've felt absolutely no connection whatsoever to the Greeks.  I'm not jumping in there and switching out my altar or jumping into a different pantheon, but I do wonder what's going on.  I think part of it is discovering that I don't "love" them the way I did when I was a child.  I'm sure that's partly because they're just not the same gods I knew then.  Then I knew only what I read in Edith Hamilton's book or my elementary school textbooks.  They were children's stories.  Now I have to deal with the "adult" gods as an adult and in an adult world.  I'm not sure I'm processing that very well.

I read about others who love their gods, are passionate about them.  I just don't feel that.  I know much of my inability lies with having "loved" a deity (or three...no matter what they say, Christianity is polytheistic) for half a century only to find out he didn't love me back.  And likely didn't even exist as a real person, contrary to the propaganda.  I haven't gotten over the betrayal of having been lied to about facts of history and even about what the sacred literature actually says.  It's hard to trust again.

Still, I'm not giving up on the Greeks but I am absolutely certain that there are aspects of worship that I'm not comfortable with.  Not because it makes me uneasy but because it's just not who I am.  I'm just not formal in my practices and I'm not keen on a lot of boundaries. 

Zach and I were talking about UPG yesterday and I told him that I had never had that experience.  I think it's mostly because I lived 50 years being told what my religion meant, what it taught, and what to believe.  I seem to still rely on others' versions of what that particular path involves.  Not that information is bad, but it's not good if you never think for yourself or seek your own experiences.

I'm not really planning on changing anything but as I probably will end up much outside the boundaries of Hellenic polytheism I decided to drop that label and just remain a pagan or polytheist or whatever the hell I am.  I've just reached a stage where I don't care about the rules.  I want the relationship.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sorting out my priorities

As much as I would like to think that I am being open and honest on this blog, I have had to admit to myself that many of my decisions are influenced by what people who read this might think.  There are times I don't make a decision because I'm bothered by how it might look to anyone out there.  But the reality is that my readership has sunk below the basement lately and I suspect it's because of the boring content.  And my going all over the map trying to find a place for myself.

In a way it's liberating. 

But I should have been writing for myself all along and not for the people who might chance upon this blog to read it.  I'm pondering what to do at this stage...shut down the blog or just write as if no one was reading it.  Because what I've been doing hasn't worked for me.  I'm beginning to avoid writing because I've dug a hole for myself.  The answer would be to stop digging, of course, but what does that really mean?  Does it mean to stop writing or does it mean to stop acting like an idiot and just tell the truth, be honest and true to myself?

Obviously I need to stop being an idiot whether I keep the blog going or not.  Worrying about readership shouldn't be the reason I shut down the blog because, equally obvious...then I wouldn't have any readers at all.  Duh! 

I think I'll keep going but will be more honest with myself and just act like there is no one out there reading because I can't worry what people think of me. This blog is about me sorting out my spiritual life and recording that journey, no matter how widely those travels veer off the map.

It will mean I won't blog every single day, although I might if I have something to say.  But it is about having something to say, not just writing because I think I need to blog every day. I have to focus on that spiritual journey...not on the need for readership.  Even if no one ever reads this blog it is something I think I need to do.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sorting out the festivals

I'm not totally sure how the Hellenic calendar works since people were talking about Hekate's Deipnon yesterday but the one at Temenos says it's today.  I'm thinking all holidays start the evening before in which case it's almost Noumenia and the Athenian New Year.  Tomorrow evening, then, would start the Agathos Daimon.  I've been following a discussion online about the Greek festivals, which are mostly the Athenian festivals so they don't necessarily apply everywhere.  At least in my opinion. 

I cleaned my bedroom today in keeping with the household festivals.  I'm not cooking a feast or anything since eating is a problem with my restrictions and because I did too much cleaning.  I hadn't cleaned my room since around February because I wasn't allowed to and although I'm only cleared for light housework, I couldn't help myself.  It really needed a cleaning.  I took my time, though, and rested often.  Which is why it took me all day to clean up a little room.  Unfortunately, the dining room now has the overflow from the bedroom but will have to wait until tomorrow for cleaning.  I won't be able to clean the kitchen tonight either, but I will have a clean room to sleep in.

I also gave my altar a cleaning and did some changing.  I finished the Greek Key Striped afghan a month ago.  I have one in light blue/white and one in purple/off-white.  I like using them on my altar.









I don't change a lot when I clean my altar but enough that it has a different feel to me.

I am continuing to read and study up on the ancient traditions although I can't see myself embracing them in a way that defines me as a reconstructionist.  I like to think of it as following the gods as if they had continually been worshiped along with all the changes that would have happened over the ages.  I don't live in Athens so the city's festivals don't apply to me.  My city's festivals do.  I've never been able to follow the 8 sabbats because the ones specific to the gods don't mesh with me.  So I'm just going to work it out as best I can with the gods and my own culture and seasons.  Seems like what the ancients would have done anyway.

But I do like the monthly household observances even if I haven't done much with them yet.  As I get better and regain my health, I plan on doing a lot more in the future.

But not this month.

And as far as the Athenian New Year...like I said...I don't live in Athens.  In this case I prefer using Samhain as a starting off point even if it isn't a Greek festival.  It's one of my favorites so I'm going to celebrate it.  I really don't care what the rigorists think about it.  It's my practice and my relationship with the gods.  I had quite enough of being told what to do as a Christian.  I'll never allow anyone to dictate my religious practices to me ever again.

And now for supper, some exercise and a shower.  I have cardiac rehab tomorrow so I won't be able to get a lot done.  I'll be way too tired.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Still growing spiritually/still getting better physically

I'm feeling better with each passing day although cardiac rehab has left me sore and stiff from the workout.  But it's still a bit fun even if I am the youngest one there during the sessions.  And I mean youngest by ten years or so.

I'm still reading and learning more about the Greek gods and the ancient practices.  I'm still very content with the path I've chosen with no second or third thoughts about it.  I realized that I'm not really as focused on magic as I first thought when I turned to paganism.  Maybe my ideas about magic have changed a bit as well.  I'm looking at it as a more organic thing rather than something supernatural as I did when I first thought about it.  And while I love ceremony and ritual in my spiritual practices, I don't see it so much when I think about it in terms of what I would feel comfortable doing with magic.  Herbs, gems, crystals, divination...these are the things that I think speak to me magically.  But, I stress, this is just for me.  I can really understand why someone chooses more ceremonial magic, more ritualistic magic.

The connections I'm making with the Greeks are very satisfying.  To be honest, I haven't reached the level of connection with any other pantheons.  I don't know why I kept trying so hard but stubborn me always does things the hard way.  Last week Tom's machine at work was down and they had everyone in to try to fix it.  Now with the hospital bills coming in (and they are enormous, even with the insurance) we desperately need the overtime but with his machine down, that wasn't happening.  I finally appealed to Hephaestus for aid in fixing the machine and Tom came home that night with the machine fixed.  Of course, the company that made the machine all the way over in Italy, sent a representative to fix it so I'm sure that had as much to do with as anything...although...he was totally unable to even figure it out the first day.  Just sayin'...

When I appealed to Hephaestus I felt a really warm glow, the same one I feel with Zeus, Hera, Hermes and Persephone.  Warm and tingly.  Even though I've got the decals on my wall, I still want some statues so I think I might try to make some myself.  I'm not very good at sculpting but I can give it a shot.  It's not about how gorgeous the statues are, but do they represent the deities?  I'll have to work on that.

Zach is doing well with his path, still fine-tuning it.  Not sure where he is with the deities, but he's doing well with magic.  More ceremonial than me but I'm willing to participate in anything he needs me to do.

I've been cleared for light housework now (didn't know I wasn't supposed to be doing any before this) so I'm going to clean my room this weekend and redo my altar.  I've got representations on there that I don't really connect with and it feels a bit cluttered.  Also, I finished knitting my second Greek Key Striped afghan, this time in blue and white.  The other one is purple and off-white.  I've used the purple one for an altar cover before so I thought I could swap them out from time to time and use them instead of the scarf I've got on there now.  Since Hekate's Deipnon is coming up, I'd like to have my room cleaned before that and my altar tidied up.  Clutter gets to me and I haven't been able to clean my room or vacuum it in a couple of months.  Now that I'm cleared to do it (and I can get Zach to help me with the heavy stuff) I'd love to get it clean in there.  I've thought about turning it back into a living room but leave the couch in bed-form until company comes.  Since it looks like we're going to be getting company more often, I'm thinking it over.  This weekend would be great since Tom has the weekend off and since I can't lift anything right now...

I've also been thinking about what I want to do with this blog.  The blogs I love to read most are about other people's lives and not so much the ones that are lecture-form.  I think I should do what I love and not try to be something I'm not so I'm still focusing on my spiritual path but more in journal-form.  And more often now that I'm feeling better.

But tonight is knitting and catching up on dvr inventory, particularly The Walking Dead.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We've got pictures!

I have pictures today.  My altar isn't significantly different but there are some changes that are significant to me.






Please ignore the dirty walls.  They need painting badly.  I got these decals on Amazon.com.  I can't afford any statues right now and felt I wanted something to focus on during ritual so these worked out well.



The Moon is a card I got from Ladyhawke's Treasures.  The Sun I got at a thrift store and painted it myself.  It was an ugly blue before.  Who the hell paints a Sun blue?


 The center candle is for the chthonic gods, of course.  Complete with a dragon holder.  The other two represent the gods and goddesses.  My mother's first engagement ring is on that ledge.  Daddy gave her two more in the course of their 61 years of marriage but that was the first and it means a lot to me.

The black rose is for Persephone.  I have a great fondness for her and a connection with her that will remain private for reasons she and I know about.  The altar needs cleaning but I'm going to wait until Noumenia to do it.  I do brush off the ashes but couldn't do it when I took the pictures because the pets' water bowl is right below there and I didn't want to get ashes in their water dish.  The blue jar just represents the Greek/Hellenic world.  Mostly it's just decorative.  Of course there is the water (khernips) and the offering bowl of barley.  Other accoutrements such as my bell, crystals and stones, jar of barley, jar for ashes and such,  candle snuffer, and my Animal Oracle cards.  And my spirit beads that feel very much Gaia's.  Or possibly Demeter's.

I moved my parents' picture to Persephone's flower because my mother, who so recently crossed the river to the underworld feels connected to her somehow.  The tea candle is just a vigil light although I don't keep it lit all the time.  I do have battery operated tea lights that I might start using but as finances are still an issue and we are waiting to see what our portion of all the medical bills are (already over $1000) I hesitate to spend money without thinking about it first.  Especially since I just bought some books for Zach and me for our spiritual education.  Honest...it's the last I'm going to spend on it for a long time.

I'm still plugging along, studying every day, learning more and more and remembering more from my studies all my life.  I should dig out all the various books I have on Greeks and the gods.  I've been collecting them for years.  I just didn't acknowledge that this was my path even though I was preparing to walk on it for a long, long time.

Edited:  I have no idea why the time stamp is reading over 2 years ago.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back from the hospital

I'm back after an overnight stay in the hospital where I was treated like a queen, if a queen has her sleep interrupted 5 times a night. Truthfully, I couldn't have been in better hands and in spite of the cross on the wall beside my bed, I managed to have a brief solstice-type ritual on Thursday night.  It had to be brief because they were constantly in and out of my room checking on me.

I wasn't online much yesterday because I was wiped out and spent most of the remainder of the day, after being checked out, just sitting in bed reading and knitting.  I managed to stay up until around 11 and then slept in until nearly 9, when I heard Tom leave for work.  He took 2 days of vacation for the procedure and I think the rest did him a lot of good.

I have made the last of my purchases for a good long while.  I bought Zach a pendant with the Eye of Horus on it and these three books, which will arrive any minute now:  From the Satyr's Mouth, Kharis, Hellenic Polytheism Explored (and yes, I know that Hellenismos adherents don't approve of her writings), and The Balance of the Two Lands.  These will help Zach with the pursuit of his path and will help me in mine, not to mention help us find common ground for shared rituals and such. 

He has found a home, even if it may end up temporary with some of the Egyptian gods as well as some of the Celtic/Norse gods.  He's much better at combining cultures than I am.  I remain very content in my choices though, which makes me feel much better.  Normally, after I buy something to do with my present path, I end up feeling like I shouldn't have bought it because I no longer feel the same way about it.  It's not exactly buyer's remorse but it did have more to do with me second-guessing myself all the time.  I don't seem to be doing that now.  In fact, I feel very much on target with the Greek gods.  It seems like we have finally made a match.

I meant to get pictures of my altar today but it's been overcast until now and now I'm just wiped out.  I was able to do up some dishes and generally clean up the kitchen and bits of my bedroom but I need to rest a bit before I fix supper.  Tom will be home in about an hour and while he won't need supper the minute he walks in the door, I would like to have it for him by around 5.  I'll be eating vegetarian because it seems to be the easiest and cheapest way for me to conform to the lifestyle required for me, having had the heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure I've had for years.  I've done okay the past few days.  Haven't really lost any weight yet but that will come as I get more active.

I hope to post more often on the blogs since I'm spending less time on Facebook and other areas.  But for now, back to reading and knitting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'll post some pictures when I get back

I got the other package in the mail the other day:  a set of 12 decals that stick to the wall over my altar, of the Olympic gods.  Very basic and not easily identifiable in all cases but it's exactly what I needed... and wanted.  I'll get a picture when I get back from the heart catheterization tomorrow.  Or the day after that depending on what the results are.  I like the simplicity of them as well although my walls need paint badly.

I've been doing a good amount of reading.  I have The Greek and Roman Myths by Philip Matyszak that I really like because it goes into more detail about the nature of the myths.  Plus while I'm fairly sure he's not a pagan, he doesn't dismiss the myths as foolish the way some of the older books do.  Like Edith Hamilton's books, which I grew up on and loved dearly.  In fact it was her books that gave me my first love for the Greek gods.  But reading them now, she's obviously smug about the way the ancient Greeks used to believe.  And some of the other books on mythology are even worse.  One book states that no one worships the Greek gods anymore because there is a better choice.  As if!

I'm preparing for my procedure tomorrow and in case I have to stay overnight, I'm taking my battery operated tea candles and my Hesiod and Homer so I can have a bit of private, subtle ritual if I have to be away from my altar.  I don't "need" any accoutrements but it's nice to have them anyway.  I have my Star of Olympus but that will have to stay in my purse during the procedure so I think I'll just put it there tomorrow morning before I leave.  Otherwise I'll forget and since Tom will have my purse I might not have any place to put it.

I also have my Kindle.  I downloaded some books from the library to read while I'm waiting in recovery...4-6 hours of that.  And a book would be too heavy to hold over my head, flat on my back, so I got some books to read.  I have Orpheus' Hymns on there for ritual, too.  Plus a bunch of other books on ancient Greece and the gods.  I'm thinking of not taking my knitting along since it would be for one night anyway, unless they find a blockage and I would have to have a bypass which no one is thinking of as a possibility anyway so it's just for one night.  The more I take, the greater the chance I'll lose something.  Better to leave them home.

The city is cutting down trees today (and yesterday) along the street.  Initially I was a bit put off about it because they were big, old and very nice trees, but the insides are rotten, which I could see once they cut it down.  Better to cut them down and replant something healthy.  If they do replant something.  Not sure if that will happen.

I have a lot of organizing to do today so I'm off to get it done.  I should mention, since not everyone reads both blogs that I seem to have had a heart attack some time in the past as there is a scar on my heart, which may or may not be contributing to the congestive heart failure.  As odd as it sounds, it's better if I have some blockage or narrowing of the arteries so they can remedy the situation.  If not, then the heart attack has caused the CHF and there is nothing more anyone can do.  And it's obvious that I have to get busy and be more stringent with my health routines so that I can have many more years ahead of me.  I had no symptoms at all of a heart attack...no chest pain, squeezing, tingling in the arms...nothing.  He called it a silent heart attack and apparently it's something that many women have happen to them.  We just don't get the symptoms the guys do.

Anyway...I'm off to do laundry with the help of Zach and get my overnight bag packed and do some general resting for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting things in the mail is like getting presents all year long

I got my medallion in the mail today.  It's the Star of Olympus and I love it.  Initially I felt I had to distinguish myself through my jewelry where people could look at it and see just what I believed.  Now, not so much.  I only care if I know what it means.  It really expresses who I am without being obnoxious about it.  I love the description of it, too:

The Star of Olympus is an artistic interpretation of the original Star of Vergina, also known as the Vergina Sun or Argead Star. This powerful symbol was engraved on the Shield of the Greek Warrior, Achilles. At the center is the Delphian Epsilon, which represents the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end, timelessness, infinity. Surrounding the Delphian Epsilon are four points symbolizing the Four elements; Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The twelve rays surrounding the elements represent the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus.

 I was looking for statues as well because I find it helps my focus when I have a representation of the gods to look at but the statues were way out of reach.  Instead I found some decals of the gods.  This is perfect because I don't have a lot of room on my altar and ugly wall space above it that I cover with some pagan cards in frames.  It would be better if the wall were painted but that is something that will happen much later.  No energy to do any painting right now.

I got the house fairly cleaned up yesterday and it makes a huge difference with regard to the feeling in the place.  It feels lighter and less oppressive.  I look forward to ritual tonight, although my bedroom is still in a mess because I stuffed so much stuff in here to hide before company came today.  I think I finally got rid of the biggest part of the baggage I had been carrying around with me that interfered with my capacity to commit to a path, without fear I would change my mind a million times.  I don't have the same hang ups about the Greeks that I had before and I certainly don't view this path as an all-or-nothing venture.  I walk it however I feel comfortable.

Zach is still struggling with his path.  He, too, is divesting himself of the baggage I imposed on him as a fundamentalist Christian mother.  I'm his sounding board now, offering little more than encouragement and a few links in things he's interested in.  I told him it's not a race to the finish line but I completely understand his need to start walking the path that fulfills him.  He knows that Druidry is a part of it but he has realized how important deity is to him, and finding the gods that complete him is a struggle right now.

Well, my baked potatoes are nearly done and I'm hungry.  Plus I'm eager to get back to knitting up my stash.  I have a new grand-nephew going to join us sometime soon so I'm going to give him one of the blankets I knitted up out of my stash and I have enough yarn left over to knit up a sweater and hat for him as well.  I'm working on a blanket right now that is supposed to be afghan sized but the amount of yarn required seems very small so I wonder if it's a misprint.  If it is, I'm going to have to knit it in multiple colors...which I do happen to have, thankfully.  I'm thinking of donating this stuff to the women's shelter.  A good friend suggested that and it's an absolutely wonderful idea!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just another day

I'm settling into the Greek path slowly as I'm still struggling with the enormous fatigue that goes along with this stupid diagnosis.  You'd think after a year of the fatigue I'd be used to it but I'm not.  Now that I know why, I am learning to live with it.  Still takes a bit of time to figure it all out though.

But I am very content with this path, especially now that I've worked out all the toxic crap that I had brought into it before.  No more all-or-nothing and no more my way or the highway thinking.  It makes it much more accessible to me, finding the gods as they are and not as the ancestors viewed them.  Or how someone thought the ancestors viewed them.  I believe the gods change over time, just as society does.  That may or may not be the way others view it and that's fine.  Unverified personal gnosis is personal, after all.

Zach is dealing with some changes and some struggles on his path.  I'm hoping to help him along this process without trying to take the wheel from him.  I know what it's like to have the lacking and longing so I want to help.  We're going to do some research tonight as soon as I get the dining room presentable for company tomorrow.  At least I hope company is coming.  We didn't get the phone call we were supposed to get so I don't know.  It's business stuff and not a social call so I'm trying to care about it but as it's Tom's stuff, I'm finding it hard to love having it dumped in my lap.

I've been reading The Iliad at night with my candles lit and incense burning.  And some of Hesiod's works as well.  I have Burkett's book but I haven't gotten too far into that yet.  Still battling concentration problems, probably related to the fatigue.  But I'm happy with my rituals so far.  I don't need a lot of elaborate design to them. 

I have a lot more to say but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I need to get busy working on the dining room and bathroom.  I need a maid.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Spending time with myself for a while

I decided to spend less time online lately and unfortunately that included my blogs as well but the time has been golden and I've learned a lot about myself and was able to sort out my priorities, which I really needed to do.  Now that I'm back I'm limiting myself to the things that matter the most to me.  Spirituality rather than politics.  Friends rather than politics.  Crafting rather than politics.  Notice a trend there?

In sorting out my priorities, I've also sorted out my spirituality.  I've been reading a few blogs the past several days that challenged my thinking to a very large degree.  Some questions that have forced me to think about what it is that I need rather than what I want.  Other questions about things that are important to me.

First off, I'm still dealing with the death of my mother.  Not having been at the funeral affected me more than I thought it would and I still haven't grieved her.  One issue I realized was that in my eclectic path, there has been a huge void that I never bothered to fill...mostly out of a fear of that commitment thing that I seem to avoid like the plague.  I wasn't connected to any deity in any comfortable way.  I was still trying to make the Celtic/Irish/Welsh/Scottish gods work out.  And failing as usual.  As a result I had no spiritual comfort, no one to turn to during my mother's death.  And with my own health issues, I had no energy to really deal with it.

Part of my problem has also been wanting to share a path with Zach and since he was traveling along the Druid/eclectic path I was trying to walk that path as well.  And I do love the Druid path.  It's just not complete for me.  I needed more.

I saw something in a blog about the different kinds of paganism:  deity-centric, nature-centric, and ancestor/spirit centric.  In honestly looking at myself I realized I'm deity-centric and have been trying to be nature-centric.  Square peg...round hole.  Not that I don't love Nature.  I do.  But I don't have the reverence for Nature that earth-based pagans have.  It's just not my path; yet I keep trying to walk it.

That led me to face the inevitable question:  which gods?  I'm a person who needs deity in my life.  It's not a failing...it's just who I am and what I need.  I've been all over the map looking for deity that I think "suits" me when I should have been looking into another question:  which gods do I believe in?  That was a question on another site, addressing the problem of another person in a similar situation.  Which gods do you believe in?

It's been obvious to me that the Celtic/etc gods aren't a fit for me.  I don't believe in them, not in the sense of trusting and interacting with them.  They probably exist but aren't "real" for me.  The Norse/Anglo Saxon gods are strangers to me and even if I spent the time getting to know them, I still don't necessarily "believe" in them either.  Authenticity still matters to me, especially in light of having been lied to all my life about my birth religion.  And I still have a problem with the interference by the Christian monks regarding their rewriting of the myths.  My problem, of course.  Other people can sift through and find the truth they're seeking.  I'm not inclined to even try to do that with regard to anything Christianity has tainted.  Plus I've never been able to find a goddess outside the Greek pantheon that I really connected with.  I'm just not fond of the Norse or Celtic goddesses and I don't know why. 

While there are other deities I believe in, Egyptian, Hindu, Judaism...it has to be more than just believing in.  I have to trust and love them.  When it's all said and done, there is only one set of gods that meet that criteria and that is the Greeks. I don't like the system necessarily but I do love the gods.  When my mother died, I wanted to put my head in Persephone's lap and let her stroke my hair, talk to Hades about my mother and speak to Hermes, who delivered her to the Otherworld.  But since I hadn't been in contact with them for months, it didn't feel right to want them to take care of me when I wasn't honoring them.

This might sound all silly to some people but it is important to me.  It's not about the all-or-nothing mentality anymore.  I'm not interested in being a reconstructionist or finding favor with people who are.  I'm interested in my relationship with the gods, honoring them in my own way and finding comfort and peace where I'm most at home.

Last night I set up my altar for honoring the Hellenic gods.  I got my books out regarding the worship of the Greek gods and found some prayers honoring Hera and offered up some honesty and simplicity for worship.  I felt such a powerful connection.  I haven't felt that in months and I teared up with the intensity of it.  I feel at home.  I hope this is it.  I hope I've finally found the path I need to walk on.  I hope I'm done hopping from place to place.

All I can do is try.  I need to stop making what other people think matter more than what I think or believe.  I need to focus on MY relationship with the gods and not how other people interact with them.  I need to spend more time with my thoughts instead of letting someone else dictate what I should be thinking or feeling.  It's time to lead my own life and walk my own path even if it conflicts with what someone else thinks that path should look like.

I am a Hellenic pagan.  Proudly.

For now, at least, I'm the most content I've been in a long time.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting back to normal...ish

Whenever I request books at the library they always seem to come in at once, even if I request them weeks apart.  So I now have a large selection of books to read, some of them Druid, most of them fiction of various sorts.  I'm reading again and it feels so good to use my brain that way.  And that I can read the Druid books is even better.  I've got The Book of Druidry by Ross Nichols.  I've only been reading the forward by Phillip Carr-Gomm so far but that alone is fascinating.  I've also got a book on Celtic mythology and another one about the gods waiting for me at the library.  I had to go there 3 days in a row to pick stuff up so I just refused to do it today.  I'm cleaning house today because the dust levels are knee deep.  Okay I exaggerate.  Only ankle deep.

I had to stop though as I started panting a bit.  I'll finish up the dining room tomorrow.  Already I've accomplished a lot, using Zach's manly muscles for the lifting and moving of furniture.  I've just been organizing and throwing stuff away.  Still, it involved movement and apparently I'm not ready for a lot of that yet.  He'll be doing the vacuuming after supper.  I don't think I'm up for that yet either.

We decided not to do the vegetable garden this year because I haven't started any seedlings yet.  We're going to focus on tidying up the yard and planting flowers and bushes and such.  I'd like to attract some bees this year for next year's garden.  Plus I think we need the aesthetics this year to make ourselves feel more connected to the Nature that lives in our yard.  I plan to spend a lot of time outside this summer and I hope some of it can be enjoyed in our yard.  The mosquitoes will decide how much, though.  They get very bad here.  Swarms of them, bad.

I'm not making a lot of plans for the summer since I don't know what is going to happen to me yet but I do hope to make it to Circle Sanctuary over Memorial Day weekend.  Tom is taking some vacation days so we don't have to travel on the weekend portion when everyone else is out there.  We might also look at some paranormal sights within driving distance, too.  I'd like to do some investigating on a very low level.  One of the other books I got from the library is about the paranormal sights in the next county over from us.  Well within driving distance.

I also need to get busy writing and working on my crafts since it looks like we'll be going ahead with our business.  It's mostly catering to the Pagan crowd but there will be things of a generic type.  I haven't organized any kind of a future inventory yet but I hope to get around to that once I've got the house in better shape.  It's been months since I was able to clean and while the guys kept the dishes done and the bathroom within health standards, nothing else got done so there is a ton of dusting and vacuuming to do.  Not that I'm doing all that, mind you.  But I am directing it.

I think tonight will be a lot more reading than knitting since I'm in the mood.  But now I need to start supper for the guys and for me.  Mine is pretty simple and theirs is just a one pot meal so it's not so difficult.  I can read in between cooking.