Monday, December 22, 2008

Yule 2008

I've been writing posts in my head all month, and am somewhat surprised that none of them have made it online. Sorry about that! I didn't mean to take a hiatus, but I guess I did.

I had planned to write a post today about how I broke out of my holiday funk by attending a beautiful solstice ritual. It was going to be a stirring post about the power of hope, the beauty of community, and the peace of freshly fallen snow. Alas, that is not what happened, and thus I can not write that post.

I had intended to attend a ritual at sunrise Solstice morning, in which we would sing the sun up, dance a spiral dance, set intentions for the coming year, and generally have a meaningful solstice morning. In order to do this, I got out of bed at 4am, got dressed, and dragged myself out to the bus stop to catch a 5am bus. When I arrived, I checked the posted bus schedule to make sure that I was on time. With my heart in the stomach, I saw that while there is a 5am bus Monday through Saturday, on Sunday the bus doesn't start running until 6:50. The ritual started at 6:30, and I had no other way to get there. I stood at the bus stop until 5:30, just in case that schedule had been superceded and no one had bothered to change the posting, but of course that wasn't the case. At 5:30 I turned around and trudged back home.

When I got home, my husband (an absolute sweetheart) offered to hike out with me to watch the sunrise at a nearby golf course. So we went out, but of course with all the snow we were having the sky was a solid cloud cover, gray and oppressive, and there was no sunrise. The best we could hope for was a steady lightening of the gloom. I tried to feel spiritual about the experience, but it just wasn't working.

I very much regret not having gotten the release of a good solstice ritual. This is normally one of the holidays I really enjoy, but I feel just as blah and drab today as I did on Saturday. The fact that today is sunny, and the world is beautiful in it's blanket of snow does nothing to alleviate that feeling. I wish that Yule fell after the holiday season ended, so that I didn't have the weight of holiday prep bearing down on me as I try to celebrate the newborn light. Maybe I can fix that. The solstice may be an astronomical event taking place on 12/21, and I did take note of that by getting up early to watch it (or try to do so), but who says that Yule has to be celebrated on that exact same day? I could have a "real" Yule celebration after all of the family obligations are over! Perhaps I will do just that.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yule stresses

I may love the yuletide season, but that doesn't mean it isn't stressful. In my enthusiasm for the season (and my new unemployment) I have taken on nearly a dozen different craft projects, including making all of my own holiday cards. Any of these projects would be fun and rewarding on its own, but together they form an incredibly daunting prospect. And I swear that I've found a new project to try every day this month! Today it was making surprise balls using crepe paper to put into stockings. Yesterday I was going to make a mom a brand new stocking (her current one is looking a bit ragged). I need to stop. I need to at least finish one or two of my current projects before taking on anymore! But it's difficult. There's so much pressure to make the "perfect" holiday, especially if you are hosting. And we haven't even figured out what we're making for Yule dinner yet!

Another source of stress is, of course, the gift giving aspect of the season. I enjoy the gift exchange -- the way it bonds giver and givee in the cycle of generousity and gratitude, the fun of finding just the right gift -- it's stressful, but in a good way. Or it could be. My husband and I are still fighting a losing battle with our families regarding how many gifts to exchange. We both very much want to cut down to exchanging one, maybe two gifts per person, but our respective parents are less than keen on the idea. And while I appreciate that they mean well, I do find both the failure to respect our wishes and the rampant materialism to be an unnecessary source of holiday stress.

Attending a beautiful Yule ritual last night helped me to get back in touch with the heart of the season -- the turning of the wheel, community, relationships, embracing the dark as balance to the light -- but I'm still feeling frazzled. I need to figure out what I need to do to take care of myself and get back into the Yuletide spirit.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yuletide is here!

With Thanksgiving (US edition) past, it is now officially the Winter Holiday Season (tm). I'm lucky, in that I've never had any real trouble reconciling my celebration of the winter solstice with family Christmas. It helps that my family has never had a religious Christmas and that most secular yuletide traditions are either pagan-based themselves or interface nicely with my spiritual leanings. Evergreen trees, stars, gift giving, eggnog, candles and cookies can all be nicely pagan without raising the eyebrows of more conservative family members!

It also helps that my husband and I have started hosting Christmas (which I am attempting to rename Yule, as no one present is celebrating the birth of Christ), which means that I am in complete control of the setting. I have the opposite challenge from most Neopagans -- my main struggle is not to break away from Christian traditions, but to be able to insert spirituality into the proceedings at all! I would never do any overt, if for no other reason than because it would be disrespectful of my guests, but I do like to make sure that everything is in line with my personal take on the season. For instance, my decorating focuses on greenery and candles/lights, and there will never be an angel topping my tree. In fact, I don't think there are any angels on my tree at all. I am not 100% sure about that, though. Almost all of my ornaments were gifts from family and friends, and thus serve the purpose of reminding me of my loved ones, so I don't particularly care what they are -- for me it's the memories attached to ornaments, not the ornaments themselves, which is most important.

I'm curious how other people merge Christmas and the Solstice? Or do you keep them entirely separate?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stocking up for Winter

There's something very appropriate about stocking up for winter right now. Our first wintr share pickup was two weekends ago, so we have a ton of root vegetables right now. They'll last for a long time, of course, but not forever (especcially since we don't have a root cellar or anything like one). We spent most of today preparing things to freeze, such as roasted butternut squash, some pasta sauce (also made from butternut), rue for soup/stew, and pizza dough (to made pizza using the roasted squash -- we had a lot of squash!). In two weeks, we'll get another share. It's amazing!

Since I'm now unemployed, I'm looking forward to spending more time in the kitchen. I'm planning on making all of our bread and trying my hand at both crackers and tortillas. This seems like the right season to be spending lots of time preparing food, stocking up for winter. It's sort of counterintuitive, since summer is when there is tons of food available and you have to work hard to preserve it, but the early winter and late autumn are the time for puttering in the kitchen. Does that makes sense?


I'd like to thank everyone who commented on my post about centering earlier this week. I can't believe that I hadn't thought to try various breath control methods! When I took voice lesson last spring the instructor had us try breathing in for 4, hold for 4, then out for 8. It's quite centering, really.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday shamanic circle

Through my experience at Twilight, I have become involved with a shamanic drumming circle in my area. Thankfully they decided to host a circle today, despite the holiday weekend. Yay! I woke up feeling decidedly cranky, and was not in a great mood for the majority of the day, so I almost decided not to attend. I'm very glad that I dragged myself out, though. I knew I would be. Getting out and journeying with people -- not to mention the drumming and rattling and dancing -- is a wonderful energy boost. And my two journeys, while brief and not very intense, were at least informative and helpful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Group Cleanse 2008

I mixed up some sun water when I got up this morning (several drops of orange essential oil, plus a couple of drops each of lemon, rosemary, and geranium and two tiny amber beads in a small spritzer of water) and set it in my southernmost window to absorb the energy of the sun while I was out today. This was for use later in the cleansing I did as part of Sacred Susie's group cleanse for this new moon.

I started by turning off all of the lights and then setting a single lit candle in each room. After grounding and calling on the spirits I went through my apartment counterclockwise with a sage stick while chanting/singing* in order to get the stagnant old energy out. I made sure to get the smoke into all of the nooks and crannies and to linger in any spots that felt particularly stagnant, and I relit the sage at each of the candles. Many spots throughout the apartment did need extra attention. When I was done, I danced with the lit sage stick, watching the smoke billow around me in a rather serpentine fashion. Next, I went through clockwise, spraying sun water everywhere to fill the space with the power, energy, and joy of the sun. There was chanting in this round, too, but I'm not sure that I found the best possible chant and thus have not bothered to include it. I made sure to get all of the windows, so that only good energy can get in. Lastly, I went around (still clockwise) with my rattle to seal the energy in. No chanting this time.

I think I may make this my new tradition for the new moon. Who couldn't use a monthly cleansing?

*Watch it burn
Watch it burn and let it go
The fire frees us
Frees our soul

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

US Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so I have spent this entire evening baking pies to bring to the family gathering (one pumpkin, one apple, one carmelized pear, if you were wondering). Generally, Thanksgiving is my least favorite required holiday (as explained in last year's post), but this year I'm not minding it so much. I couldn't tell you what has changed, but it seems more appropriate this year. Could it be the new moon? The fact that today was my last day at this job? The fact that I really like pear pie? I just know that it feels right to get together for a big dinner, and maybe even give thanks. I have an awful lot to be grateful for, after all: a wonderful husband, accepting friends, the health of those I care about, a burgeoning spiritual practice.... the list goes on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's amazing what a huge impact small actions can have, yet how easy it is to forget to do them! I know I've said that many times here, but it's something which I seem to rediscover again and again. I just spent five minutes chanting at my altar, and I feel so much more centered. In just five minutes! I've realized that singing/chanting is the single most effective way for me to center (possibly the only effective way for me to center, actually). On one hand, it is nice to know how I can center, since that isn't my strongest skill. On the other hand, it is not practical to sing or chant when I need to center myself in public! Does anybody have any suggestions how else I might be able to center myself, which might be more, shall we say, portable?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Listening to the Body

I was just thinking that I must be slipping into another depression -- I've been tired and listless and haven't been keeping up with any of my interests. But that's not actually the most likely explanation. I'm sick! I think I've been fighting this off for at least two weeks, maybe longer.

I've been trying to do some work with learning to listen to my body more. The original intention was to help me to cope better in our diet culture, but the lessons of Bear (the totem who has shown up to help me in this work) extend to other things as well. For instance, learning to realize that just because I'm not sick does not mean that I am healthy. Or learning how to tell the difference between real limitations which I need to respect, and limitations which I have created and which I would do well to push through. There is really very little that we do that isn't rooted in the body, whether we acknowledge it or not, so this work is much more far reaching than I initially realized. I suspect that I listen to my body far more than most people, who seem to view the body as something to conquer, yet I am slowly seeing that I am not nearly as adept as I could be. If I was, I would eat fewer baked goods, spend more time singing, use more aromatherapy, and spend more time crafting (and yes, I think that everything on that list is something my body wants).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Good night.

Due to either an incipient cold or exposure to kitty allergens, I am not feeling terribly well this evening. Thus, I think that I will avail myself of the magic of hot chocolate, and get some rest.

I apologize for the insubstantial nature of this blog post, and hope to have something more interesting to say tomorrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It is something of a truism that magic will only work when you take appropriate actions mundanely, as well. Considering how much better I feel now that one of the two major sources of last week's panic are taken care of, I have to say that it is a truism for good reason. Now as soon as I make it to the post office I should be feeling free as a bird! Then, perhaps one more good cleansing will get me back to rights.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter woes

It is so cold outside the my eyes go numb in the wind as as I ride my bicycle, and I can no longer deny that it is winter. This fact does not please me. I love Yule, I love snow, I love hot chocolate on a cold day.... but I do not love winter. The long season of dead trees and bare ground, of shivering through the warmest coats and breathing heat dried air all day seems to get longer and harder every year. I love the crispness, the brightness of ice and winter skies, but they pale in comparison to the dull weight of the season. I want to find the wisdom and magic of this season, but I can't seem to feel it.

I turned to Seasons of the Witch by Patricia Monaghan to find some insight on the season. I found the chapter on winter ("To the Mountains of the Hag") to be filled with lovely poems and imagery... wonderful reflections on the nature of the cold months... but nothing which really spoke to me, or lightened my oppressive dread of the coming winter. Perhaps we just aren't far enough into it yet. I mean, it's quite cold out, but we don't have that frosty nip in the air that truly signals wintertime. And we haven't had any snow yet where I am, either. So maybe I should give it time, and get back to Patricia Monaghan later.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The energy is right.....

I just glanced over at my calendar and realized that the new moon for November falls on American Thanksgiving this year. Neat! Coincidentally, the previous day will have been my last day at my job. I could not have planned this better if I tried! I'm glad that I realized this now, so I'll have some time to think about how best to utilize this energy. We'll be visiting family, but I may be able to get away for a while and do an outdoor ritual/spellwork depending on the weather. Of course, relying on pleasant weather during the end of November in New England is not a wise idea, so I will want to come up with some alternate plans.


Last night's spellwork does not seem to have protected me from another crappy day. However, one good thing did happen today - I got positive feedback on my first sale on etsy! Yay! And I made progress on one of the Major Problems that had come up. I think that this means that I need to keep repeating the cleansing stuff, but that it is chipping away at the muck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Luck cleansing

As you may remember from yesterday's post, I wanted to do a bit of magic to deal with a run of murky luck I've been having. I'm glad that I took the time to think it over today, rather than rushing into spellwork last night. Things went much better for having had that time to mull it over.

Simplicity being the soul of effective magic, I decided not to do anything fancy. Instead, I combined a number of techniques which I have utilized to good affect in the past. I started with a nice hot shower and my favorite scrub: sea salt, just enough oil (usually grapeseed) to moisten it, and essential oils of choice. My favorite cleansing blend is lavender plus peppermint, but today I added rosemary to the mix. I put in a great deal in order to get a very strong fragrance. This combination is fantastic for doing an energetic cleansing. Muck is no match for this stuff!

After the shower I moved straight to my altar, where I used a technique which I seem to have developed, though I no longer remember when I first started doing this, or where the idea came from. I just start singing a wordless chant that seems to somehow channel my feelings, and wait for it to change. Sometimes it takes awhile to settle into a tune, but today I found one on the first try. Instead of waiting for it change though, I spontaneously stopped at the point that felt right and said a few words (something along the lines of "The past is in the past. From this moment forth I carry forward only positive energy. I leave behind negativity, ill-will, and malaise. I am filled with positive, clean energy"). Then I started up the chant I sing every morning to center myself.

I don't feel markedly different, but I do feel somewhat cleaner, energetically speaking. I may need to repeat this a few more times in the coming week in order to effect a real change, but that's ok. I think that ongoing magic is more effective most of the time anyway, because it makes me return my focus to the same thing multiple times. Though I will use a lighter touch with the essential oils in the future --I have an all over tingling feeling that suggests that I may have overdone it. I just hope I don't break out in a full body rash or something!

I also took out my White Light oil from Twilight Alchemy Lab. I'll put that on in the morning to try to keep the cleansing energy going through my workday. I generally prefer to make things myself, but that stuff really works!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad luck

This week sucks. I'm not comfortable revealing all of the details on a public forum such as this, but in the past four days I have gotten my first speeding ticket and been told that I am very overdue paying a bill for which I never received a bill of any sort. And I had a really bad day at work today. None of this is likely to be terribly dire, but I am feeling the need to do some sort of spell work to banish this crap. I probably ought to do it tonight, but I am tired and cranky and really ought to try to be in bed right now.

My current rough outline is to use rosemary or clove essential oil and some singing to do the banishing (either tonight or tomorrow), and then try to invoke some better luck at the next full moon. I'll post details once I've done the spell.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why you should always follow through on promises made to a deity

When you make a promise to a deity, it is important to follow through on it. Likewise if you take a temporary geas upon yourself to bond with a deity, it is very important not to break it. This is basic stuff; anybody who's ever read the Brothers Grimm or a single myth from any culture could tell you as much. Which just goes to prove that I am a massive idiot.

One of my yearly traditions is to give something up for the time between Samhain and Yule. I've found that giving up some food item is usually the most effective for me. The idea is that every time I unable to eat whatever tasty treat, I remember my connection to spirit, and thus to my patron goddess, Freya. It can be difficult to find something that I eat enough of to be effective for this, but which I can reasonably give up nearly two months. This year I gave up mass-produced sweets. This means that I can eat desserts which are homemade by myself or friends, or which I know were made by the people I am purchasing from (thus locally made ice cream and hot chocolate are safe), but nothing else. So far I have already broken this vow three times. The first time was an honest mistake, though still stupid. The second two times, however, I knew exactly what I was doing. I tried to make excuses for myself, but I knew that what I was doing was breaking the temporary geas.

Not surprisingly, Freya is strongly displeased with me. To make it up to her, I have been asked to take a second geas on myself. Since both of the times I broke the vow consciously were related to chocolate, I am now limited to only eating chocolate items which I have personally baked myself. No locally made hot chocolate. No cookies baked by friends.

Since I have a major sweet tooth and am a known chocoholic, this next month will be interesting.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too many books, too little time

I'm thinking of starting to read more academic texts on paganism again. I used to be really into that -- I loved Drawing Down the Moon and Witching Culture, for instance. The friend I was staying with this weekend has an impressive collection of anthropological/sociological texts on the modern pagan movement, and it's rather inspiring. I've been meaning to finish reading Triumph of the Moon for ages, but right now I want to try Her Hidden Children. Since I'm an American pagan, I find studies of our brand of paganism slightly more interesting than studies of British witchcraft, even though they share common roots. I do intent to finish Triumph of the Moon eventually, though. Really! I was also enamoured of her copy of The Paganism Reader, which is a collection of excerpts from a variety of texts that have been important to the pagan movement. It looked fascinating.

And then there are the non-academic books I want to read! I just read a review of a new book about the elder futhark runes which sounds fantastic (Runes for Transformation - I found the review here), and I heard that Dianna Paxson has a new book out on trance states, Trance-portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World, which also sounds interesting, though I haven't taken a close look at it yet. The Amazon blurb makes it sound like it might be taking a lighter attitude toward the topic than I would prefer, but you can't judge a book by its Amazon blurb! Or by the back of the book blurb, for that matter. So it still warrants a closer look.

With the holidays coming, I may find myself asking for some very strange books this year!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Well, Jon Stewart was, in fact, awesome. It was less of a talk and more of a stand up comedy performance, which is just fine by me. He managed to make fun of the college's new mascot (which I am not so fond of either -- a bright pink pig in a tri-corner hat would never have happened in *my* day!), as well as cover gay marriage, what he will miss about Bush, why Obama will be a good president, the stress of parenting, and why computers will not save us, all the while keeping us in stitches. It was weird to be on my old campus again. It's just not the same place as when I was a student, because it doesn't belong to me anymore. What I miss is bound up in the people and shared experiences, which just aren't there anymore. When I visit campus it's like seeing the empty shell of what I miss. It's sad, but you really can't go home. I did see a few friends at the alumni reception beforehand, which was nice.

Now I am staying with one of my pagan friends from college, which is wonderful. It's fun to be able to share books (she has a TON of academic texts on paganism) and music (I brought my new chant CD along). I miss having other pagans nearby to chat with about spirituality. Email just isn't the same as a lively discussion in the same room.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I am leaving now to hear Jon Stewart talk at my alma mater. Yay!

Expect a more substantial post tomorrow (possibly about spirituality, but probably about Jon Stewart. If we're really lucky, I'll manage to combine the two)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today has been a decidedly non-spiritual day. After a rather long and crummy work day I got home and wasted the entire evening on the internet. I'm going to go try to turn my shower into a cleansing ritual, and then either go to bed, or watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I'm getting it via Netflix. It's so amusing to see again after so long!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quartz = Moon

With a little lunar oil, it really is amazingly how well a clear quartz ball can impersonate the moon. It's sad that I can't see the full moon from my indoor ritual area -- I love the view during the warm months -- but my crystal ball does make an excellent ritual stand in. Now I just need to figure out why it wouldn't stay balanced in the shell I use as a holder. It always balanced perfectly well before.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Magic of Alanis Morissette

The simple rituals are always the best, really. I just finished dancing my heart out to emotionally charged music (Alanis Morissette's "Incomplete" and "You Learn"; Jewel's "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland") in a candle lit living room, with my totems in attendance. Of course I sang along, too. Why do I always forget how wonderful that simple magic is? I feel so much better.

I remembered the joy of singing while I was making dinner and listening to Alanis Morissette (yes, this influenced my musical choices for the evening). I really do believe that singing is the most effective way for me personally to move energy. I have little formal training in voice, but I love to sing, and I do it with love and conviction. Life is better when I sing, whether while cooking, in ritual, walking down the street or sitting down to formally practice a song. This is coming as a revelation tonight, though I think I've been aware of it for years. Maybe it's sinking in on a deeper level.

While collapsed on a chair after dancing, I realized something else, too. Squirrels are always darting around from one thing to another. They have the collective attention spans of... well, of squirrels. But they manage to get enough done to make it through the winter. I may feel like I don't stick to anything long enough to make a difference either, but I do manage to get things done in the end. It just may take me a bit longer, since I cycle through so many projects/obsessions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hard to be flashy

It's really hard to do try to do something actively spiritual every day in order to write about it. I got off to a very enthusiastic start, but that pace is proving to be more than I can maintain. That isn't to say that I'm not doing anything spiritual: yesterday I contacted a spirit animal to help me with an issue I've been struggling with for years (I felt odd putting out a spiritual help wanted like that, but it seems to have gone well -- but that's not far along yet for me to say much about) and today I made a bracelet to help me connect with an existing totem. So it's not as if I'm sitting idle. It's just difficult to come up with something flashy right now. I've been pretty emotionally tired -- not sure why. Maybe because I'm working extra hours at my job until I leave? It's still part time though, so I really don't know.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Greeting the sun

Since today was so gorgeous, I decided to try working with the sun a bit. I work with the moon fairly as an entity fairly often, so i don't know why it never occurred to me to do the same with the sun. Perhaps it's because I feel more aligned with the domain of the moon: intuition, feeling, oceans. But that's really a false dichotomy isn't it? I live more in the light of the sun than the moon. Distancing myself from that energy is just foolish.

Has anyone else ever realized that they were creating a false dichotomy which was holding them back? I'd be curious to hear about it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pondering the nature of totems

I've been thinking about the nature of totems/power animals/what have you lately. There's no real consensus among Neoshamans (at least that I have seen), which leaves the questions open to anyone who cares to care about them. I think that discussion can be divided into two main categories: external v. internal and collective v. individual.

External v. Internal

Are animal guides (or any spirit guides, for that matter) external entities with an existence outside of our own, or are they internal psychological constructs which we interact with as if they were external? It is my opinion that the spirits exist outside of our minds, but I also don't think that the question is terribly relevant. If the spirits give good advice and bring me closer to their animal children (for animal spirits, anyway) then that is enough.

Collective v. Individual

When working with a totem, am I speaking to an individual animal or to the archetypal representative of the species? This is the question which I have the most difficulty answering. I've always assumed the latter, but lately I have begun to wonder. The animal spirits I interact with tend to seem, well, smaller than I would expect if that were the case. They aren't grand or domineering, but instead rather unassuming, for the most part. The problem may well be one of false expectations, but it is enough to make me wonder.

Some people get around this problem by saying that totems are the archetypal representatives of their species, while animal spirits are individual animals. I like this explanation, but it doesn't seem to work in my experience. Squirrel gave me a personal name to call him when we first began interacting. If he is the representative of all grey squirrels, then why give me another name? He is very firm that he is my totem, so it can't be that I have him wrongly categorized.

To a certain extent, I suppose that it doesn't matter any more than the internal v. external question. If my work with them is rewarding for everyone involved, then I suppose the precise nature of animal totems is irrelevant. But this question seems more important to me, for some reason.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Connection on a tired day

The intense focus on working with my spirit friends seems to be making difference. Despite having had a very busy day and not feeling terribly well, I did manage to maintain a connection to squirrel (one of my main spirit friends, and what most would call my totem) on and off during the day. It didn't work any miracles -- I was still tired and distracted -- but squirrel was there with me, and I could feel it.

That said, I'm too tired right now to make a substantive blog post. Sorry!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'll be the first to admit that I tend to become infatuated with new ideas. Case in point: after finishing DIY Totemism I placed interlibrary loan requests for three books the author recommended. Not surprisingly, they all arrived at the same time, and now I am staring at a pile of three books to work through. If I can get renewals on all of them, that should give me two months, which is plenty of time, but renewals can't be guaranteed, and I can't predict which one(s) will end up with requests on them (thus rendering them non-renewable) and which I should thus read first. I'm just going to have to hope for the best.

That said, I am very much looking forward to diving into those books! In order to avoid overwhelming myself with too many exercises to try and avenues to explore, I intend to read with a notebook nearby to scribble down any ideas. Then, when the first flush of obsession has passed and I am no longer drowning in a sea of ideas, I can go back to my notes for more leads to follow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scattered thoughts (this may become a trend)

We did it! I felt a profound sense of relief when I woke up this morning and found out that it hadn't been a dream -- Obama really did win. I can have my country back!


I'm still excited to deepen my spiritual practice, but I'm already getting overwhelmed. I need to create some sort of structure, rather than running blindly from one inspiration to the next. Meditation is yielding all kinds of interesting ideas, and I'm trying to follow them all at once, which won't work. I've been down that path (so many times!), and it leads to discouragement and eventually giving up, which would be a shame after I've made so much progress. I don't have the energy tonight, but tomorrow I would like to sit down and, with the help of my spirit friends, draw up some sort of plan or outline for how to approach all of these ideas.


One thing I need to deal with, preferably soon, is grounding/closing ritual. With all of the spirit work I've been doing, I've been even more spaced out and distracted at work than usual. There has to be some way to signal that the magic/ritual/meditation is done, and that it is time to return to normal consciousness, because that's not happening right now. One of my spirit guides suggested a bell, but I don't currently own one. I use a rattle to go *into* trance, so that's out. Some sort of sound would work well, but I'm having trouble thinking of one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Perils of the indoor altar

I'm having trouble adjusting to having my altar indoors again. There are too many distracting noises! For instance, my altar shares a room with my computer, which is rarely turned off when I am both at home and awake. But the sound of the computer running, quiet as it is, serves as a potent distraction. So if I want to do any kind of spiritual work, I need to turn that off first. This evening a discovered that the dishwasher is also too distracting, which is much more difficult to turn off on a whim, since I need clean dishes! And my husband is a musician, so I have to negotiate time when he isn't playing, too. I know that I need to learn to concentrate around distractions, but it's tough in here!

The presidential election going on in the U.S. today isn't making it any easier. I'm on edge waiting for the results, and have been all day. And I seem to have done something to my shoulders, because I woke up in a dull agony late last night, and it hasn't gotten much better since then. Yes, I am full of complaints today. With luck, I'll be feeling more celebratory tomorrow!


Hey, if I put the new pagan chant CD* in the computer and turn the volume way up, it drowns out a lot of that noises I was just complaining about! I bet I can use this information to my advantage. I doubt that I can meditate with my spirit guides while listening to "Weavers," however cheerful, but I bet there's something I could listen to instead that would work...... Yes! The extended track of "We are One" is perfect! I was able to sing along enough to get into a trance state, and then the chanting in the background was enough to keep me there. I didn't stay long, but I suspect that had more to do with shoulder pain than anything else.

*Weaving the Web of Life, by Mothertongue

Monday, November 3, 2008

Freedom!, and projects

One of the side effects of my recent resurgence of spiritual practice is that I have given notice at my job. It's amazing how difficult it is to remain in an unhealthy, counter productive situation while spiritually revved up! I'm actually wondering how much of my spiritual lag was due to the ennui generated by that job. Probably more than I would like to admit.

I will be at that job for another month, but I am already feeling heady with freedom. I plan to enjoy my unemployment for at least a little while. I can put that time into continuing to recharge my spiritual practice, working on my etsy store, and possibly initiating a project which I have secretly been nursing for more than three years now: the internet pagan library. The plan would be to use create entries for books and websites relating to Neopaganism (classified using the Neopagan Subject Thesaurus I wrote for a class, naturally!). Each entry would link to as many reviews of the book as I can find, it's page on Amazon, and a discussion board. I think it could really be a valuable resource, but I'm not sure if there would be any demand for it, or even if I have the skill and dedication to pull it off, so it's still very theoretical at this point, but I would be interested in hearing what other people think of the idea. So please, give me your thoughts!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Meet the cowrie!

While reading random posts from the author I was telling you about yesterday, I encountered a description of how she words with the spirits of the animals in her drum. I can't find it right now, or I would link you all directly to it, but I found the idea fascinating, and surprisingly obvious. I'm ashamed to say that the idea had never occurred to me. So today I decided to try that myself. One of my most prized spiritual possessions is a cowrie shell rattle which I use every single day -- isn't it about time I gave some recognition to the spirit of the animal who died so that I could have it?

I thought that it would be best if I went into this knowing a bit more about who I was contacting, so I started by researching what sort of animal a cowrie shell actually comes from. This turned out to be much more difficult than it looks! It was easy enough to use wikipedia to find out that cowrie (or cowry) is the common name for a group of sea snails. But there are over 200 species, and I wanted to figure out which one, specifically, my rattle was made from. More Google research turned up the "purple top tiger cowrie," but I could only find biological information on the tiger cowrie, not the purple top variety. Mine very clearly has a purple top, so I wanted to get information on that variety, not the generic tiger cowrie! Yet more Google research led me to the realization that tiger cowrie shells have a solid purple layer under the top layer -- purple top tiger cowrie is made by dipping the top in acid, so it eats through to the purple layer. Mystery solved!

In doing the meditation, I contacted both the individual tiger cowrie spirit of my rattle and the totem tiger cowrie. Shell cowrie seems somewhat surprised that I had taken an interest in her (I think it was a her) after all this time. She was miffed that I hadn't thought of the shell as having once come from a living, breathing animal, but was willing to forgive me when I apologized, as it is a common error among humans. I asked if there was anything I should do to honor her, and she asked that I periodically rub essential oils onto the shell. Then I asked to speak to tiger cowrie, the totem, who was more prickly. S/he is irritated at mankind for using cowrie shells as currency and decoration for so many years without even knowing, in most cases, what kind of animal is comes from. My attempts to work with him were met with some hostility and disbelief. I said that I would try to encourage more people to look at cowrie shells as more than just a pretty beach souvenir, and s/he agreed to work with me. However, I need to come back in a few days, as s/he can't think of anything to tell me right now.

When I finished my meditation I went through my essential oils to find something appropriate to rub into the rattle. I selected ylang ylang as a nice, sensual, loving sort of oil. I think she liked it.

The experience seems to have gone well. It was my first time contacting the spirit of an individual animal, or the totem of an invertebrate, so it was a new experience for me!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shamanic Kick-Start!

Since getting back from Twilight, I've been wanting to deepen my spiritual practice again. I got off track over the summer, but now that we are well and truly into the fall I feel called to start moving again. This was confirmed in both the rune reading and journeying I did last night as part of my observation of Samhain. It's time for me to renew my commitment to this and have a new start (the rune reading said other things, too, which I may discuss at a later date). I received some practical advice on how to do that, but not much. I never do get much practical advice from my spirit friend; I think they prefer to force me to work things out on my own.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!) I am focusing more on my shamanic practice. Not only did I get a jumpstart in that direction with my work in Eagle Clan at Twilight, but that has been a central aspect of my spirituality for a long time now. I've deviated some from Core Shamanism in that time, which I don't think is a bad thing, but I've more or less been in a holding pattern in regards to my shamanic practice (among other things). I need to start moving forward. The obvious way to do that is the talk to the spirits themselves, ask them what I need to do. However, in addition to rarely giving me practical advice, I find that my spirit friends rarely respond well to open ended questions. I need to go to them with more specific ideas of where I want to go, but I'm coming up short. Thus, I turn to books.

I started by rereading parts of Shamanism: as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life, which I had enjoyed previously. I still have some issues with the book, but it did give me a few interesting ideas to explore regarding the Middle World. Normally I do all of my work in the Lower World, but it seems that exploring the spiritual aspect of the world we live in can only do me good. Not that I've gotten around to this yet.

Then my newest book purchase arrived in the mail: DIY Totemism. I read almost the entire book yesterday; it's that good. Then I found the author's blog about creating her own shamanic tradition. Both of these resources -- the book and the blog -- have given me much to think about! Aside from seeming to share all of the same pet peeves about neopaganism and neoshamanism, it is refreshing to read about shamanism from a perspective that is neither straight Core Shamanism or Indigenous Shamanism. I was surprised by how well some of what she has discovered fits with my experiences. For instance, that you can talk to totems/guides/spirit friends in meditation/trance or journey. I've always done that, but felt like I was doing something wrong, since I'd never heard of anyone else being able to contact their guides outside of the Other Worlds. I've always felt that it was safer and easier to have a conversation in trance than to go on a full out journey. I'd rather save visiting the Other Worlds for, well, visiting the other worlds! I'll be very excited to start working on the exercises in the book. You can probably look forward to reading about my results as this month progresses.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Samhain 2008

Last year I divided Halloween and Samhain up into separate days, with 10/31 marked as a day of creepy mirth and celebration, and 11/1 as the serious holy day. Due to time constraints, I am not doing that this year, and I think it is a good thing. That was a false dichotomy which I created last year. It may have been appropriate at the time, but no longer serves. I should know better than to try to separate the holy and the ridiculous -- I've had my spirit guides appear in matching knitted scarves, for Pete's sake!

My clothing today is oddly reminiscent of that fact. In honor of Halloween, I am wearing orange tights with black spiderweb style fishnets over them, black skirt and top, my Halloween choker.... and the pentacle I wear on all holy days. A fitting combination of the two holidays that occur today, isn't it? I'll add my witch hat later, once trick or treaters start arriving. Once the kiddies are done, I'll perform my Samhain ritual, hopefully without freezing to death on my enclosed front porch! The altar moves indoors tomorrow, so this will be my last ritual out there for six months. The wheel turns ever on and on...

* * * * * *

I've signed up for NaBloPoMo this year, which means that I will be trying to post here for every day in November. Since I'm going away for at least one weekend in there I'm not sure if I'll be 100% successful, but I'm going to try! If any of you know of any groups of pagan bloggers participating this year, please let me know!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Star

Thanks to my experiences at Twilight, I have now found a local shamanic drumming circle. They meet twice monthly, and I was able to attend last week. I am so glad that I did! I won't be able to make it to their next meeting, and it's very important that I keep going with this influx of spiritual energy while it's still fresh! We took two journeys, the second of which tied together a number of different journey themes from the last two weeks. It was very satisfying, and also inspiring - I met a figure who associated herself with The Star in tarot, and a quick glance at shows that to be a very positive card. It also confirms much of what I had extrapolated from what that figure told me. So that means that I have two tarot cards talking to me right now, since I picked up The Fool at the end of the major ritual at Twilight (it was singularly perfect -- I actually started laughing when I picked it up, because it was so obviously perfect). I feel like the two of them together shed a lot of light -- and a lot of hope -- on things that have been going on with me for a long time (internal issues regarding my depression), as well as more immediate concerns (job issues).

The star figure (who didn't give me a name, but said that she is a mirror of who I truly am, so I think that she is more of a psychological construction than a full fledged spirit) also told me that I would find something to help me connect with her during a trip I was taking this weekend. I was having trouble staying open and receptive while wandering around with my friends, but I did eventually figure out what the Star had in mind, and purchased something that was being sold as a "wish mirror," but which I will use simply to remind myself to remember her. It's a clear quartz which is rounded with a rough cloudy exterior, but which a flat translucent plane, like a window or a mirror. I haven't quite decided what to do with it, but I was meant to have it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Twilight 2008

Over Columbus Day weekend, I attended my very first Pagan spiritual retreat. I've been trying to process the experience as fully as possible, but it's difficult. Suffice it to say that it was an intensely meaningful weekend, whose repercutions I hope to continue feeling for a long time to come!

Allow me to start by explaining the format of the weekend. Basically, the entire time we are there is a ritual. We have an Opening Circle Friday night to get it started, and the ritual isn't over until the Closing Circle on Monday. Every day we have four attunements to keep us tuned into the flow of the ritual: one before breakfast, one at noon, one before dinner, and one at midnight. No one makes it to all of them, but they are nice. The ritual follows the path of the four elements. Saturday morning is dedicated to air (this when we are getting oriented to our clans and the weekend, so lots of communication going on). Saturday afternoon is fire (when we're building energy to get to the heart of our work). Starting Saturday night and lasting through all of Sunday is water, when we really dive in deep. On Monday we move in to earth to ground and prepare us to return home. In addition, each person is part of a clan. You rank your top four selections during the application process, but only find out which one you go into two weeks before the event. Each clan focuses on different concepts or techniques, and all of them seem fascinating. I was in Eagle clan, which focused on core shamanism.

I could not have picked a better clan! Not only was our clan work perfectly suited to my practice, but everyone in my clan was so wonderful! They really made my weekend what it was (namely, a wonderful, transformative experience).

It's incredibly difficult to write about this kind of deep spiritual work in a way that conveys the magic of the experience, let alone is interesting to read, so I don't think I'll even try, at least right now. Perhaps eventually I will try to write about some of what we did. I learned a lot over the course of that weekend: about reaching out to people, about fearing to be the fool, about stepping so far outside my comfort zone I couldn't see it with a telescope on a clear night, about the magic of community (both with people and with spirit guides).... This was the perfect way to usher in the dark half of the year.

My challenge now is to keep those lessons from slipping away, to keep the magic alive and integrate it into my regular life. It is easy to connect to spirit and magic in a secluded setting surrounded by people who share that same goal, but more difficult when faced with challenges of a job you now realize you hate and surrounded by people who, while wonderful people, are not interested in hearing about your struggles on a spiritual path. But I will integrate it into my life. I won't let the magic slip away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7th horoscope

I know I've plugged Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology here before, I am going to do it again. My horoscope for the coming week is so hilarious, I absolutely must share it!

CANCER (June 21-July 22): One of the most famous pop culture icons in Indonesia died last July. Mak Erot, who was over a hundred years old, was renowned for her skill in helping men develop more sizable reproductive organs. The official story was that she used nothing more than prayers and herbs, but there are hints that she also had supernatural powers. She's your patron saint this week, Cancerian, even if you're a woman. I am calling on her inspiration, and I hope you will too, to help you lengthen and strengthen your inner, metaphorical phallus, by which I mean your will to accomplish your dreams.

Interesting. I like it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seasonal Eating

I've been wanting to write about seasonal foods for awhile, and now that it is autumn it seems like the perfect time. I love fall foods!

As a pagan, I feel that it is important to stay connected to the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of the earth. One way of doing that is to try to eat seasonal, locally grown food. This isn't to say that I don't eat food shipped in from California, Mexico, and other locations far sunnier than my own (if I didn't, I'd probably starve to death in the winter. I admire the perseverance of the early settlers, but sometimes wonder why they didn't go farther south!). But I do try to eat locally whenever possible, and from late spring through the fall I can say that I almost all of the produce I eat is locally grown, and thus seasonally appropriate. I also try to can as much of the harvest as I can. This year we put up several jars of tomatoes, prepared enough sundried tomatoes to last the next year, and froze pesto.

I am lucky to be able to do this. I have the disposable income to spend on slightly more expensive produce, and I live in an area with an abundance of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's), which are farms from which you buy a share up front. Every week I get my share of fresh produce grown only a few miles from my home. It's hard to get more local than that! Sometimes, eating locally can be rather frustrating, for instance in the beginning of the season when you seem to be swimming in a sea of greens. Other times it has been rather illuminating, as when I received a watermelon in early September. Who knew that was when they actually ripened around here? But most of the time, it's simply delicious.

On one level, some foods just don't taste right when they're flown across the country. Have you ever eaten asparagus that's traveled across a continent? It's disgusting. And strawberries in February may be tempting, but they often have the flavor of moist cardboard (a fact which genuinely saddens me, as they have such a short growing season!)

Sometimes, when I get too busy and too distracted to even notice what is going on outside my window, it is my food that lets me know what season it really is. Earlier today I was wondering why it felt like autumn was only just starting, when we've already run through all of September. Then it hit me; we've only started getting winter squash two or three weeks ago. It didn't feel like autumn yet because it *wasn't* autumn yet. It was only the calendar making me think it was!

It's particularly nice to eat locally and seasonally around the sabbats. For Mabon this year I had a delicious delicotta squash (from our CSA!) stuffed with wild rice and a rich creamy sauce flavored with nutmeg. Magnificent! I find Samhain to be more difficult, as a vegetarian. The season really demands mat, in keeping with the themes of death. Last year I made due with fake sausages and apples (the apples were local, at least!), and likely will do so again this year.

As I said above, I know that I am privileged to be able to follow the wheel of the year in my food choices. With luck, the world will start to change soon, and more people will be able to afford to do so.

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 2008 New Moon

For my new moon ritual, I decided to take Sacred Suzie's advice and "listen to the voice that's gotten small and speaks in whispers because it hasn't been heard in so long but it's still trying." The response I got was surprising, to say the least. It said "Be still." This, despite my desperate feelings of stagnation. I guess I need to stop struggling, and let things unfold. Perhaps all of my frantic emotional energy is just making things worse..... at any rate, I have vowed to do my best to spend at least fifteen minutes a day at my altar for the next cycle of the moon. Should be interesting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mabon 2008

I love the autumn equinox. The energy is moving towards the dark half of the year; there's a mystery and a chill in the air; the spirits are stirring -- but it's still fairly warm out. The light has a different cast, and soon I'll be pulling out my favorite olive green velvet jacket to walk and ride under the leaves as they begin to turn. It's the start of the best time of year, the time of hot apple cider with cinnamon, of pumpkins and falling leaves against clear blue skies.

This year, I am having some minor (I hope) health problems which may explain part of why I have ha some trouble connecting with all of that. But my Mabon ritual has me back in alignment with the turning seasons, if not with my blood sugar. As usual, I brought out fresh produce grown in my town - this year an apple, a potato, a tomato, and a green pepper (I love the contrast between summer and autumn foods there! It's the perfect physical metaphor for this time of balance) as an offering. I tranced to my Mabon chant* and was reminded of all the spiritual resources at my disposal for both peace and inspiration. Then I did a rune reading which I am still puzzling over (I think it is saying that the trials and constraints placed on me from my depression are finally propelling me to journey towards a sense of "home," but I may be reading my own desires into that).

I hope you all had a wonderful first day of autumn!

*"Day and night are equal,
The circle turns again.
Summer time is far behind
but the spirit will grow strong"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Full Moon Reminder

I really need to remember to pay more attention to the moon. I just finished my full moon ritual. Rather than participating in Sacred Suzie's full moon manifestation collages this month, I decided to simply honor the moon by listening and talking and offering homage. It was -- as always -- a profoundly energizing experience. I should remember to make that connection on other nights, as well. It isn't as if she is only out one night a month!

Tonight also served to remind me how far I have strayed from those mysteries that first called me to my path. It is autumn, and I have felt the changing weather, but how much have I been touched by the slow drawing aside of the veil? To what extent have I allowed myself to be touched by those autumnal energies I am usually so keenly attuned with? Not much. I can't afford to let that continue. If I don't manage to engage in this season, commune with these mysteries, I will hardly be emotionally healthy enough to endure the winter.

I need to stop allowing myself to become so distracted from what I know is important to me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm back!

I am back from my unscheduled hiatus! With luck, regular posting shall resume shortly.

It recently came to my attention that although I have not made it out to my favorite wooded area once this year, I have still spent more time outside than I probably have in years. But all that time has been spent on my bicycle. It's a different form of communion with nature than I am used to -- less tactile, for instance, as I can not reach out and caress the foliage (yes, I do that). But in other ways, I have become far more tuned to the seasons that I have ever been before. Since I have been riding my bicycle to work almost every day for a year now, I know about every subtle shift in the temperature. I am far more sensitive to impending rain. I have a better feeling for when the sun rises and sets. All of this is good and important, and I'm grateful to have this experiential knowledge. That said, I still miss the intimacy of walking through the woods and feeling the ground beneath my feet, or running water around my toes. With luck, I'll manage to get some of that this autumn, before the snow comes back and has us all running for hibernation again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Now that summer is actually here....

Summer is in full swing, and I've been spending most of my reflecting time outdoors, and thus away from the computer, the internet, and this blog. I've been celebrating the earth while riding my bicycle, by swimming in a pond, and by eating fresh raspberries straight from my own yard.

I hope everybody else is enjoying the season in their own way!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Solstice 2008

I feel like I really ought to write about the summer solstice. I should discuss the ritual I attended and abandoned halfway through, or reflect on how odd it is that a holiday which marks the beginning of the summer is sometimes referred to as 'Midsummer', or even discuss the solitary ritual I ended up doing on my own by the fairy shrine in my backyard. But really, the only thing I have to say is that I have decided that this is not the high point of summer, as all the pagan authors would have my believe. It may be the longest day of the year, and peak of the suns journey, but things are not yet coming to fruition. This is the time to pause, reflect, and enjoy the beginning ripeness of the earth before the harvest begins in earnest in a few months.

And that's all I have to say about the summer solstice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The difficulty of stories, and re-enchanting the landscape

It's so difficult to write about spiritual, magical experiences. If you couch it in too much mystery, you sound corny. If you make it too straightforward you sound like you live in a bad fantasy novel. Either way, you haven't conveyed the experience.

And where do you begin? The magnificent always flows out of the mundane. So where does the story begin? Without any context, a mystical experience loses some of its meaning, but too much backstory can rob the share experience of immediacy.

Not to mention the ongoing fear of sounding a complete nutjob, which is always a risk with this sort of story.

* * * * *

This week-end, I had such an experience. No angelic trumpets, no solution to all of life's mysteries; just a few moments of clarity, gifted by the earth and water, a moment of understanding that may (or may not - it's too soon to tell) lead to a subtle shift in direction, leading me towards a purpose previously unglimpsed. I want to share that with you all, describe the experience, but I feel like I can't. No words I can conjure will convey my meaning. But I will try.

Feeling drained, restless, and chronically lacking in spiritual nourishment, I walked out to a waterfall, one of those hidden treasures. A stream that cuts down a rock face and has carved out a perfect hidden pool beneath, demonstrating the power of waters sheer perseverance. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I don't.

I went there trying to cleanse myself, somehow. I waded in on the rock shelf that lets me get in up to my ankles. It was pleasant, but not lifting my spirit like I needed. I tried grounding into the gently running water, but that didn't work either. For awhile, I moved from spot to spot in the water and on the rocks, like a restless sleeper who just can't find a comfortable position. I knew that what I needed could be found here, but where? Where?

Eventually, I found myself crouching on the smooth rock at the top of the waterfall, with my left hand trailing in the water. I felt the flowing energy seep into me, and I felt myself ground deep into the rock. Almost without conscious thought, a question wrung out of me and I asked "What is the meaning of my life?"

Perhaps not surprisingly, I got an answer: re-enchant the landscape.

I've been pondering that ever since. What does it mean to re-enchant the landscape? I don't think it is one thing at all, but a constellation of attitudes and actions, ranging from learning more about the natural world around me and interacting with it in more deliberate ways, to creating art and writing which reflects the spiritual element of the earth, sky, and water. The labyrinth I walked last night an the outdoor faery altar I began today both fit that description. I bought a book on reading the forests around here, which I hope will help me in the practical aspects of this calling. I also have a book about the natural history of water which I hope is still sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Divination as spritual anchor

With spring and now early summer pulling me every which way, I've been having some trouble staying spiritually centered. I want to go out there and *do* things, and there is so much to do! But I know that I need to maintain some sense of internal reflection, as well. To that end I find myself doing far more divination than usual.

I find divination to be very centering. It forces me to sit down and think about a question. Then there is the wonderful tactile sensation as my hand swims through the runes, churning that ancient mystery of wonder. Once the tiles are cast, I have to look at the patterns and look within, to see how they correspond to where I am as the querrant. Do they tell me something I already know, deep down? Perhaps they reveal a new way of looking at the issue. Or sometimes they are simply a mystery, which I interpret to mean that I either asked the wrong question, or am not meant to know the answer.

Lately, the runes have been confirming my suspicions. Now I just need to put that knowledge into practice!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not every sprout can grow

When I attended ritual for the first new moon after the vernal equinox, we blessed (and planted) seeds. The ritual leader went on at length about the fact that not every seed could be allowed to grow into a full plant, that not every promise of spring can bear fruit. I immediately tensed up -- how dare he say I can't do everything I want to do! -- but I quickly moved on to enjoy the rest of the ritual. I brought my seeds home through the misty rain, and three of them sprouted, though two have since shriveled up and died (I forgot to water them), thus leaving me with one little seedling whom I am tenderly shepherding along. I'm not even sure what kind of plant I am rearing up, as the seeds were a mix of oregano and thyme, but I am determined to see that s/he get there!

* * * * * * *

The summer session is starting soon at the adult education center in my area. I took a voice class this past semester (and loved it, but that's another post entirely), and promised myself that I would take a writing class this summer. The last month has seen me agonizing over what to take. The fact is, I am terrified to sign up for a writing class. Why can't I take a nice class in multi-media journaling, for instance? That would so much less pressure, and I don't want to deal with pressure right now. And I really would love to learn how to keep journals with more than just a written component; I've spent so many lunch breaks gazing at the brilliant colors of spring and wishing that I could capture them somehow!

* * * * * * *

July 9, 2007

It is easier for me to craft than write because it is not as important to me, and thus less serious. The risk is less in a collage than a poem, because one is a hobby, the other.... a calling.

* * * * * * *

While sitting outside and eating my tuna salad wrap with cucumbers and honey mustard today, one thought kept buzzing around me, and no matter how hard I tried to push it away from my ear, it kept coming back. So I gave it some attention and wrote it down in the notebook I carry in my backpack (yet so rarely write in). Not every sprout can grow. What will I nurture? I realized that I need to nurture writing. It's too important for me to keep setting it aside for other interests. I have enough other passions that, unless I take conscious steps to do otherwise, I will be able to push writing aside until I find myself on my deathbed and it is finally too late. I can't let that happen.

I will take two short writing classes this summer (a one day intensive and a class that only meets twice) to get myself started writing again. I need the support and motivation and inspiration of that outside agency to get going. And in the fall, I will take a full semester long writing class. My other interests will keep; it's time to do what I know needs to be done if I'm ever to feel truly purposeful.

* * * * * * *

My goal here, on this blog, has always been to write honest prose about my personal experience as a pagan, whatever that may mean. I have wanted to communicate my personal experience in a form close to that of the personal essay, but in this informal medium. I'm not sure how successful I have been, but this guest post on The Wild Hunt Blog inspires me to want to redouble my efforts. If I can ever achieve what she describes, I will be truly blessed. As I feel I am whenever I read someone else's attempts at the same.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Full Moon Magic: Reclaiming my Personal Power

I just finished celebrating the Full Moon with a little magic, and I just need to share now, while it is still fresh.

I have been thinking for some time that I am overdue to reclaim my personal power source. Among the many sample sized vials of oils from TAL, is one called Power. It is designed for just this sort of situation. I thought that a full moon would be the ideal time for this, since I am very much a lunar soul (though I am devoted to a somewhat solar goddess - go figure!).

My general full moon ritual is fairly simple. I have a quartz crystal ball that fits perfectly inside the top joint of a shell which I picked up on the beach during my honeymoon. It is perfectly balanced and stays there so I anoint it with a lunar oil and let it reflect the candle light on my altar as I gaze upon both it and (now that my altar is back where it should be!) the real moon hanging in the sky. I talk to Her. I do my best to connect to Her, to recharge my lunar batteries (as opposed to my solar batteries, which also need frequent charging). If all goes well, I feel a deep part of my spirit stir. Tonight, all went very well. It's been a long time since I managed that -- possibly since I moved my altar all the way indoors for the winter. It helps to be able to see Her.

At that point I anointed myself with the oil, and called back my personal power. And I feel pretty good! I will apply the oil again to my prayer bead bracelet tomorrow before I leave for work. And I'll keep doing that for a few days, if I have to. I think that if I can keep sniffing that oil, everything will work out for the best. Every time I inhale right now, I feel it's strength working through me.

Spring and the Well of Inspiration

This week-end, I finally moved my altar back onto the front porch. I had meant to do that around Beltane, but time and circumstances and ennui got the better of me. I know that I letting myself slide on my spiritual practice -- one of the few things that I know of that truly nourishes me -- is always a bad idea, but sometimes it can be very hard to do what you know is right. Frustrating, but true. But I've finally done it. And I feel so much better! I'm still feeling a bit stuck, but I think that's more because I keep expecting my life to function like the seasons, where one day all you see are bare branches with a hint of buds, and seemingly in the blink of an eye you are surrounded by verdant foliage singing out it's joy. My spirit does not work like that, no matter how much I may wish otherwise. Or rather, when it does, I find myself back where I started within a week.

I find myself separated from nourishment. Which is odd, because I honestly have enough time. I just don't seem to be able to use it properly of late. The well of inspiration is dry, and while it does occasionally catch the run off from a rainstorm, it has no source of it's own. And that is no way to live.

I've been thinking about why this has happened, and I think it goes back to fear. Quite simply, the decision to be happy is not as simple as it sounds. It involves taking the initiative and taking responsibility for something that isn't easy. It's much safer to remain quietly miserable than to take the risks necessary to secure joy.

I know I've been writing about this seemingly forever, but it's been incredibly hard for me to take the steps necessary. To even figure out concretely what those steps might be. Years of depression stemming from a need to be perfect make it difficult to step out of the mire and into the stars. What if I make a mistake? What if I can't do it (whatever it might be)? What if I'm just not good enough to follow my dreams? And that's really the problem -- I can't feel that I'm good enough until I've refilled that well, but I can't access inspiration until I know that I am good enough.

I know there's a solution. I know that I just need to step out my door and pluck joy like a ripe apple from the tree of life. That task is easier said than done, but this is the time to do it. Now, when the sky is a clear blue and trees are filled with green. Now, while life is renewing itself. Now is the time to take that first step!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Would you call a goddess fat?

Like most American women, I have body image issues. Most of the time I manage to keep them in check, but something happened yesterday which triggered mine in a major way, and I'm still trying to put myself back to rights.

I don't believe in the diet culture we live in. I reject out of hand the idea that women ought to all be the same size, and that the size in question is an extra small. The idea that caloric requirements can be figured out using a calculator (newsflash: people aren't bunsen burners!). The idea that a healthy diet consists of 80% vegetables, 19% lean protein, and no more than 1% fat, or whatever this week's proscribed eating plan might be.

What I do believe: that every person has a different healthy weight. That each person knows what their body needs if they just listen to it. That healthy eating is not the same from person to person. That all people are beautiful -- not necessarily sexually attractive to me personally, but always aesthetically pleasing).

Also, I believe that all people are, at least to an extent, embodied divinity. Which means that there are as many variations in human bodies as there are in deities (and not just representations thereof!) Would you call an earth goddess, rounded with life's bounty, that she needs to go on a diet? Like Hel you would! So why do we tell ourselves the same thing? I first encountered this concept when I read The Body Sacred -- an excellent book which I highly recommend -- and I have been trying to internalize it ever since.

The fact is, my body is the only way I get to experience the physical world. It is how I enjoy the wind on my face as I zoom downhill on my bike, how I feel the tickle of my hair on my arm on a summer day, how I touch my husband, and how I taste everything from strawberries to wedding cake. I should celebrate that gift, not tear it apart for failing to conform to an imaginary ideal that I was never designed to fulfill! But that's hard, in a society that refuses to honor the sacredness of the individual.

Amid all of the conflicting messages, it can be hard to know my own mind, never mind listen to my own body. After all every day I see another billboard or magazine telling me that I have no idea how to feed myself, exercise myself, or otherwise take care of my own physical self. It can be tempting to fall into a dichotomy -- either accept what they have to say whole heartedly and eat salad for every meal, or rebel against what they say and have an ice cream sundae for dinner every night. But either choice takes away my autonomy, and that is not acceptable.

I try to behave in ways that honor my body, but it can be difficult. Some time ago, I started to get sick of putting the same things in my oatmeal every morning. So, I started mixing in some chocolate chips from time to time. That was respectful, because I was listening to my body's need for variety. However, for the last two weeks I have done that everyday. Something that made me feel special from time to time does not have the same effect when repeated daily. When I put chocolate in my oatmeal this morning, I was not taking care of myself. It's all about intent. I was being very respectful of my body yesterday when I split a second slice of wedding cake with my husband -- in that case, I was indulging in a treat, and it made me feel good. Ditto splurging on strawberries at the grocery store today when I was utterly intoxicated by their aroma. Eating them was pure bliss.

Taking good care of myself means riding my bike to work and going to the gym once a week to do weights for my shoulder, which does not like my desk job. Working out on a treadmill for 45 minutes three times a week just because somebody says I should? Not healthy for me. But for somebody else, somebody who enjoys the treadmill, that could be very healthy.

Taking good care of myself means listening to what my body has to say. Pampering it in healthy ways, not trying to fix perceived flaws. Because my body is not imperfect. Nobody's is.

I have no idea how to make myself see this all of the time, anymore than I know how to convince others that torturing their bodies into submission is not the answer. Perhaps someday I will figure that out. But until then, I guess I'll just have to keep struggling towards the light.

* * * * * * *

In the interests of encouraging healthy indulgences, I will now share my favorite skin care treat. I have no idea what it is meant to do, or if it is meant to do anything at all, but it is fun, feels good, and leaves my skin happy and soft. Are you ready? It's really simple.

1. Get some honey. Get some on your hand.
2. Smear said honey on your face, being careful not to get any in your hair.
3. Tap the honey rapidly with your fingers. The honey will bead up like water droplets eventually. Keep doing this until you get bored.
4. Rest.
5. After a few minutes, rinse the honey off. I like to do this before a shower, but you can use a very wet washcloth, too.

Have fun!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Beltane 2008 - a lesson in listening

Some lessons take longer to learn than others. Beltane has been about one of the harder ones this year.

Traditionally, I should have celebrated yesterday, but I did not. I had a meeting at work, which meant that I needed to dress respectably -- pentacles, even tasteful ones, don't exactly fit into that equation. Since I wear my pent for all pagan holidays, that was going to cause a problem, so I postponed my celebration until today.

I also didn't plane for the holiday at all. Now, I tend towards the more freestyle rituals in general, and I know the wheel of the year well enough now that I don't need to do a ton of planning to have a ritual, but I generally have at least a vague idea of my plans beforehand. Not for this holiday I didn't!

On a whim, I took my sacred rattle and went out to a local conservation area. It's small enough that it's hard to really get away from the street noise, but it has a series of ponds and a waterfall, which appeals to my soul deep need for running water. I got there and began to soak it all in. I could feel some part of me positively gulping it in - the budding leaves, the geese, the running water, the whole scene. I was so filled to the brim that I began to sing a wordless tune of joy, just to participate in the scene. I thought to myself how badly I need unstructured time like this outside of the house, this kind of unrushed time to stop and listen and breathe without rushing around. It was bliss. Surely, I would get home, perform a ritual in my backyard, and bask in the radiance of nature's beauty.

Then I got home and began rushing around, flailing under the weight of have-to's and need-to's and demands. I was tense, miserable, and empty. Eventually I tore myself away to attend to the chore of doing my Beltane ritual. I grabbed some supplies, including the daffodils I bought on the way home as an offering, and trudged outside.

I sat down and waited for inspiration to strike. Once again, I began to sing, but this time the tune had words. I found myself singing a refrain of "Why oh why are green things born to die?" Not exactly thematically appropriate to the ritual at hand! But that is what was in my heart - pain and rage and despair. But why? Where was this coming from? Sure, I was busy today, but doing things that I love! I'm taking pictures for my etsy store, which I set myself a dealine to complete by Beltane whether I want to or not. I'm working on my new embroidery project, which I know my mother will criticize for not being even enough. I'm looking over the new embroidery patterns I bought, and berating myself for not being creative enough to make my own. If you see my problem at this point, you're quicker than I was.

I don't know how long I sat there, or what the final catalyst was, but eventually I came to a single word: flow. The earth knows when to be kind and gentle, and when to unleash an avalanche. Water knows when to pour gently and when to wash away entire settlements. Neither works on any schedule but their own. They don't rush. Like a wizard, they arrive just when they are supposed to, and not a moment sooner. They know who they are.

Lesson of the season? Slow. Down. Only once I manage that, can I live from the heart. And living from the heart is the reason for every season.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Full Moon Manifestation - April 2008

This is my manifestation collage for the full moon, created as part of Sacred Suzie's challenge, and uploaded rather late due to technology problems. Since my needs right now are more oriented towards inner change than outer, my images are a bit less representational and more abstract than others.... but that is ok. I am asking for the ability to maintain and attitude of joy, passion, curiosity, and fun.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Growth, fear, and the new moon

I don't think I have ever felt less spiritual than I do right now. After a really rough week, I went to the New Moon ritual Friday night. I expected that it would recharge my empty spirit, but I was very wrong. The main part of the monthly ritual is divination. Through the runes, I was told that I must find the strength to guide my path towards my spirit's home.... and it was just too much for me to bear. I don't know why. That should be a cheering thought. But instead I feel like I've been handed a work sentence with no end in sight. Why? Is it because it is terribly difficult to find that kind of strength? Is it because I want nothing more than to be able to sit back and rest in the arms of the mother for a while longer? But spring is the time of growth.... and growth is work. Growth is risk and vulnerability and pain. Growth is responsibility. And it would seem that growth is what I am most afraid of right now.

I want an instruction manual. I want to know that I'm doing the right thing, making the right choices. I want to be guaranteed success. But that's not growth, is it? That's the opposite of growth, in fact. And that isn't what I need. It may be what I want.... but it's not what I need. So it's not what I'm going to get.

What's the Anais Nin quote? "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. " I suppose I had best get used to that thought, as it is to be my new mantra.

Nothing for it but to take a deep breath.....
and dive.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ostara 2008

I hope everyone had a joyful spring equinox! I had a nice quiet ritual -- the most traditional ritual I've ever done for this holiday, actually, complete with natural dyed eggs and seed blessing. I rather enjoyed the fact that it came so close to Easter this year, as well, since it meant that I enjoyed Easter dinner rather more than is usual for me. Perhaps that is why I indulged in the egg dying, too.

And the seasons are almost cooperating -- while the weather on the actual day of the equinox was cold, cloudy, and generally uninspiring, things have been looking up since then, and I even saw my first crocus' of the season today! I have faith that spring proper is on its way. For once, I'm outraged at the climatic inability to deliver spring on schedule. It's a pleasant change, really.

(There are pictures of the eggs, but my new camera is not playing nicely with my computer yet, so those will have to wait until later.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cycle interruptus

Life is not a simple cycle; neither is the year. Summer interrupts autumn, autumn reclaims some of what is rightfully winter -- so it goes, no stage content to stay in its rightful place.

But how it hurts, when a warm day appears, you think is spring. You reach out, uncoiling from your closed bud, reaching out towards the possibilities before you, the sap within your veins responding to the fresh sunlight.

And then its gone. You bolted too soon, and now the cold has returned, forcing you back into your hard casing, severing yourself from yourself. Painfully, you draw yourself back together, return to wholeness. You wait in the dark, nursing your hurt in bitterness.

But the sun comes back (it always does), and you stretch out again. However many time it takes, you will reach towards that light, knowing that someday, it will last.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Creating sacred space in my apartment

Ever since I first read The Circle Within, I've wanted to consecrate my entire apartment as sacred space. I was especially drawn to the idea of using permanent elemental markers, probably because I loved the challenge of finding/creating them. Well, slightly over a year later, I've finally done it! It took me that long to find the perfect markers. I will be keeping them as I move from place to place over the years, as a way to maintain continuity (her idea was to switch them for a fresh start in each home).

I will be curious to see how inhabiting sacred space changes how I feel about my daily routine, and my living space in general. Washing the dishes isn't a chore; it's cleaning my temple. The half-finished projects scattered everywhere aren't clutter; they are sacred creativity.

I took pictures of the markers themselves, since I'm rather fond of them. Earth is a grass basket (woven by the Tohono O'odham) filled with some of my favorite stones. Air is probably my favorite, because I made it myself. It was only my second attempt at collage, and I am very proud of how well it turned out. Fire was the first marker that I purchased, over a year ago. I know that the stone in the middle ought to make it more "earthy," but to me it is evocative of the raw volcanic power of fire. And water uses a stained glass bowl that I've had for years, certain that it was destined for some purpose, with rocks from the Cape Cod beach where I took my honeymoon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I've read books, stories, essays in which someone's life seems to occur in time with the changing seasons. In fiction, I've always seen it as a variant of the pathetic fallacy; in non-fiction, as either grandiose imagining, or else massaging the truth for a better story.

I guess I'll have to rethink that attitude, because it's happening to me.

With the coming of autumn, I sank down into a dark night of the soul, found myself knee deep in the Underworld with no choice but to trudge onward. And I trudged on through the winter. I slogged through the quagmire of self-doubt, the murky depths of pain, until I found myself staring at my own raw fears -- that I am destined to be disappointed, miserable, constrained, trapped, and yoked blindly to a path I would never willingly chose. (Also, drowned in melodramatic metaphors and grandiose phrases, but that comes with the territory).

But things are changing. Lessons that have been repeated since fall -- that I need to let go my fears and embrace the passionate exuberance of life -- are finally sinking in. Revelations and discoveries and fortuitous books* are all spiraling together to call me to myself. And something is in the air. A new smell, a fresh breeze, a lightening of life that I can feel with every breath. That surge of potential beneath my feet, struggling to come out. I can feel it everywhere. After nearly suffocating in the darkness, even this small light is freeing. I can feel the pulse of rebirth echoing my own, and I can't stop smiling!

*Refuse to Choose! A revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love, by Barbara Sher, thanks to Magical Musings for mentioning it a few weeks ago!

* * * * *

This season always reminds me of the following poem, and it ties in with how I'm feeling today -- that the world is full of a million different things that I can dive into, that my life is full of potential - so I thought I would include it. My apologies if the spacing gets messed up.

In Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

-e.e. cummings

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Boynton Canyon Vortex

When planning for my Arizona vacation, I was particularly drawn to the town of Sedona, an apparent New Age mecca famous for its energy vortexes. It sounded pretty commercial, which is a bit off-putting, but I figured it would be fun anyway, and I planned to spend 2 nights there.

I regretted this choice within minutes of arriving in the town, as the commerical aspects outweighed any spiritual pursuits to a frightening degree. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say that we spent as little time as possible in the town itself. Luckily for us, this wasn't difficult -- my husband and I are both convinced that this must be the most beautiful part of Arizona. The red rock formations that surround the town are absolutely breathtaking, and we were perfectly happy to spend our time exploring them.

Still, I wanted to experience a vortex for myself. I no longer had any interest in going on a vortex tour, so I did a bit of research in my guidebook, and found one that I could incorporate into a hike. Thus, we departed for the Boynton Canyon vortex.

After a truly wonderful hike, and the smallest bit of confusion, I climbed up to the vortex, which is marked by the tiny piles of stones in this picture. There are more surrounding the spire of rock on all of the accessible sides. There weren't very many other people there, so I was able to meditate and try to connect to the energy of the vortex. I definitely felt some sort of energy, a tingling that started in my hands and feet, and then spread to my whole body. I sensed energy spiraling around me, and felt as if my body was turning in the opposite direction.... very strange. And at one point I swear I saw a turtle swim towards me and wink (in my mind's eye, not physically!). I'm not sure what any of that meant, but it was certainly interesting, and something which I will be revisiting in future meditation and spiritual journeying.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse 2008

I know I haven't written about my trip yet (and there will be at least one picture, I promise!), but I want to get to the eclipse before everyone forgets that it ever happened.

I'd never seen a full lunar eclipse before, so I had no idea what to expect, either spiritually or visually. As it turns out, the energy of this eclipse was just what I needed to reinforce some changes that I've been needing to make. I've known for some time now that too much of my life is lived out of fear. I was constrained by it on all sides, and it kept me locked in a tiny box, where I was miserable and frustrated. I hated it. It's not that I was afraid of any particular fate -- I was just afraid to live. Afraid that if I stopped being afraid, I'd be ambushed by... something.

That's no way to live, and I used last night's energy to put it behind me (though I did originally type that paragraph in the present tense -- I'm still learning!). During the ritual/spellwork that I performed before my trip, I realized that I need to reach out towards that which I love, and I am reaffirming that now. I have to ask myself in every situation "What would love have me do?," by which I mean "Where does my heart point? Where would my bliss lead me?" It's a difficult transition, but I want to be committed this time. Gods help me, but I need to do this.

* * * * *

My ritual was very simple, requiring only my cauldron, a match, paper, and pencils (if you've been a practicing pagan for more than six months, you can probably guess where this is going). I sat on my enclosed front porch and gazed up at the sky as the moon slowly shrank away, and I contemplated the earth standing between sun and moon, blocking the light's radiance from illuminating that silvery orb. I descended into a light trance, and met with the figure of the earth, who spoke to me in an Irish accent. She told me that she was darkening the moon to allow us to gaze upon her more fully, and that I was cast off that which was blocking me from fully dancing with life. I saw that my fear was the problem, and came out of the trance enough to write that down on the paper, with heavy intent. I lit the cauldron, and threw my fear into it. I felt so light and free, watching it burn away! I created a talisman to enforce the changes I need to bring into my life - the way I need to throw myself into that which I love, and let it infuse me.

* * * * *

Oh, and visually? The moon was beautiful. Watching as the light shrank to a tiny slivery, illuminating a perfect sphere of smokey quartz, fading to rose.... it was a powerful experience, one which I hope not to forget any time soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I have returned

I got back from Arizona Friday night. It was wonderful, a truly delightful experience. I don't think I actually feel any clearer about my life now than I did when I left, but that might be because I always have trouble readjusting after a vacation, and I am not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. Plus, I haven't managed to do *anything* at my altar since getting home.

If I'm lucky, I'll manage to distill some of my observations and realization from the trip into coherent posts at some point.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Imbolc Poetry Reading 2008

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, wen woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

-William Henry Davies, Leisure

Posted in honor of the Imbolc Poetry Reading 2008. It seems appropriate to my life right now. :-)

Bless Imbolc!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thinking on Imbolc

Depending on your reckoning, Imbolc either begins tomorrow (2/1) or the next day (2/2).

This is my least favorite holiday. So far as I can tell, there are two possible variations. It can be a celebration of the first stirrings of life in the cold. A lovely sentiment, but not terribly appropriate when you are in the middle of the coldest part of winter. Any sheep or cows foolish enough to give birth in this weather will not be passing on their genes in the immediate future. Alternatively, this holiday could be sacred to Brigit, Celtic goddess of poetry, smithies, and healing. She is a wonderful Lady, but not one with whom I have had the honor of working, and it seems presumptuous to pretend a relationship with her for one holiday in the year. Thus, that avenue is also closed to me.

For years, I've solved the problem by basically ignoring the holiday. I hate February, and by this point in the winter I generally hate everything else, as well. But this year is different. For the first time, I'm working a job with regular enough hours that I've been able to notice the days getting longer. It isn't pitch dark when I leave work anymore, and that seems pretty amazing! It calls for a celebration. But of course, it is still too damn cold to think about the return of life....

But I recently discovered a third way of looking at Imbolc, courtesy of Goddess in a Teapot. She suggests looking at it as a holiday of the hearth, of everyday life. And that struck a chord. I spend this time of year feeling like a prisoner of the cold, the dark, the gloom, the endless dreary brown tree trunks and dead grass.... but why not look at it as an opportunity? Yule tends to be too busy to really turn within, so that comes after the holidays are over. But now we can look outward, just a tiny bit. Not out into the big wide world, not out into bold adventures, but outwards just enough to enjoy our homes. To bake cookies. To light a fire. To attend to all the little projects that we put off until 'someday' comes. That is an Imbolc that I can celebrate. That is a holiday that I can believe in.

This year, I will be leaving for Arizona on Imbolc, which I suppose is the opposite of what I have now established as it's meaning. But what if it isn't? What if I need to go away for a bit to appreciate all that I have here? I don't know if that is the case. If not, then I can always celebrate the holiday in mid-February, when I return home.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lost in the woods

It's time that I admit that I don't know what to do anymore.

I don't intend that to sound negative, or defeated, or self-pitying. Its the honest truth. I have no concrete, definite idea what to do to heal my long time depression, build a satisfying life, and find happiness. I could spend the rest of my life listing the reasons why I am in this situation (and will certainly continue to contemplate them, if only because I rather enjoy doing so), but that wouldn't fix the problem.

Where do I go from here, if I know that I don't have the answers?

I know that it is not fashionable for a pagan to "let go and let god(dess)," but sometimes that is the only way. It's time for me to stop struggling blindly and to admit that I am lost. Insisting that I am following a path when I am really wandering blindly doesn't do me (or anybody else) any favors. I am lost. When lost, you need a compass. If I sit down, let myself be still, and sink deeply into my core, I will find the answers. I know that Spirit will guide me as I travel towards myself.

In a week, I will be going to Arizona for the first time. Between now and then I hope to center myself enough that this trip can be something of a pilgrimage of the soul. The Southwest is as far from my comfort zone as I can imagine: the perfect surroundings in which to surrender myself to myself. And while the answers may be inside, sometimes different surroundings can help to illuminate them.