December 23, 2013

Ritual Experiment #Shrug: Crafting Meditation

I've found my groove.

I've meant to post about this about a zillion times, but just haven't. So anyways, without further ado: The Solution.

So some of you might know that I've recently taken up silversmithing. I made Solstice presents for everyone, even, and have made some things for myself that I'm pretty proud of as well. I've received many compliments about the stuff I've made, and it's still sort of hard to accept that I might be pleased with something I've done for a change.

Long story short, I've had some medication changes that give me a lot of extra energy. And not in a good, "let's get things done around here" way... in a nervous "I need to do something with my hands or I'm going to EXPLODE" kind of way. But I don't feel so doped up all the time, so we're going to consider the new drugs a win in a sort of way. Anywho, the one thing that calms my nerves, is making jewelry.

So I sit there and file things, and I ask Brighid for a little help in making this piece extra special for its intended recipient, and I ask Lugh for some help when I'm soldering a particularly difficult piece. I ask Ganesha to help me out once in awhile as well, when something is being particularly stubborn, and I invoke Shiva to help me melt down old jewelry or things I've made mistakes on, and I ask for his blessing when something new and satisfactory is made from the old.

So after all my struggle with the whole "meditation requirement" on the DP, I think this is finally my answer. Crafting meditation. Might sound, well, different, but it works. (And you can be absolutely sure it's something I want to do more than once a week that doesn't feel like work). It's the only time when my head is clear, and I'm allowed to let those little "Voices from Beyond" in. You know. Those little voices that tell you that there's something to all this living stuff, and there's something beyond it as well. The Gods, your Higher Self, whatever you want to call it. It's in those quiet moments that that particular divine energy tends to find me best. I feel grounded and in tune with the universe all at once.

And I also get some pretty nice shinies out of it. Who knew?!

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters - Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

December 17, 2013

Fuck It.

I'm over it.

It seems to me that no one gives a shit about anything, least of all me.

I try so hard to be a good friend/family member, but constantly have my feelings/ideas/stuff that's important to me overlooked and marginalized. 

How the fuck am I supposed to live in a world like that?

My counsellor says I am supposed to adopt a whole new world view about how things are positive, the outlook is good, people care about each other, and we braid flowers in each other's hair, etc. etc. How am I supposed to do that when everything just supports my CURRENT world view that cynicism is a very MUTED response to the BS that goes on around me?

This probably sounds terribly negative and all that, but I'm seriously at the end of my rope. I'm coming on four years without having worked, am in a probably dead-end relationship that I am exhausted of fighting for, and I have zero back up for all of these things. 

Something potentially catastrophic (but thankfully no one's been hurt) happened in the city I've spent 29.5/31 of my years in, and my husband falls asleep during the news report about the military team that saved a man from a construction crane in the middle of a block-wide inferno. But that's supposed to not be indicative of his level of Give-A-Fuck.

How am I supposed to continue to be sensitive, vulnerable and open in a world where the people around me are such GIANT JACKASSES?!?!?!?!

I don't know. I just want out of the city. I want out of my own head. I wish I were blissfully ignorant, and didn't worry about everything like it was my freaking job. I worry about the rainforests. I worry about sharks. I worry about polar bears. I worry about treatment plants and Lake Ontario and bottled water. I worry about when my car will need an oil change. I worry about checking in with everyone to see how their doctor's appointments went, or how their dog is, or about Tibetans getting their country back. I worry about Native Americans in this country getting a raw deal. 

I know it's supposed to be bad karma, to notice this, but it seems to me like I'm doing a lot of worrying about everything, and everything isn't doing a whole lot of worrying about me.

I try to be nice to the person at the counter despite the fact I'm having a panic attack. I don't know... maybe it's my well practiced and stony exterior that throws people off..... but on any given day, I'm doing well to get out of bed. I need some love. I desperately need some understanding. And I really don't think it's my depression talking that's colouring my experience here... I think people are genuinely being selfish and self-involved. I try so hard to take care of everyone else. I just can't keep it up any longer.

Fucking. Frustrated. Despondent. Over. It. Someone. Honestly. Help. Me. For. The. Love. Of. God.

December 8, 2013

We Are Still Missing the Point.

I have an issue to vent here.

It's about all the posts that come up this time of year about the "War on Christmas" or the fact that Pagans/Jews/Buddhists/Some Small Tribe in Africa are being marginalized by the prevalence of Christianity and its celebration of Christmas.

The truth is, we Pagans are the minority. Christmas is what is celebrated in this area, for the most part, and to deny that fact is just kind of out of step with reality. Why do we need to get butthurt about it? Truthfully, we're all celebrating the season for the same reason, more or less (the birth of the Son/sun), so why can't we just accept goodwill from people? If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, why can't we just be like, cool! Thanks! Same to you!?

Rarely in this world do we genuinely receive wishes of ANYTHING positive, especially from complete strangers. Why can't we just alchemically transfer "Merry Christmas" into "have a good day"? Or "have a good *whatever it is you celebrate*"? Why do people have to dumb it down into "Happy Holidays" so people won't get offended?

One of our greatest strengths as human beings are our differences. It makes us into the prismatic, beautiful, multicoloured beings of God(s)'s creation that we are. Our differences are what gives us each something rare and wonderful. Why can't we just respect that in each other?

It's hard being a Pagan in a Christian world. I know. I'm really annoyed by Christmas music. I hate the materialism of the whole holiday. I hate the fact that my mother had the decorations up a month ago. But you know what? It gives her fucking JOY to get that dust collector red and green shit out. And that, my dear friends, is what the season is about.



October 29, 2013

Remembrance Day: Samhain Two Weeks Late

I always feel sombre this time of year. The timing of Samhain sort of works, as it's only 11 days from the observance of Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day is the day during which some Commonwealth countries pay respect to our veterans. It's on November 11th as a result of the signing of the Armistice.

People flip-flop a bit about this fact, but World War I, and especially battles such as Passchendale, Vimy Ridge, and the Somme, were instrumental in forming Canada's national identity. Only having been a country since 1867, Canada and Canadians still very much identified as British. World War I gave us notoriety as a separate entity from the British Empire.

I lost an uncle as a result of his injuries in World War II. I've heard so much about him, that I wish I had have had the chance. He saved his friends on at least two occasions: one, when he shot an oncoming German soldier while his compatriot was digging a fox hole, and the other, when he threw himself on a grenade to save his troops. He didn't die of his injuries, but returned to his farm to eschew his prosthetic legs (apparently they were a pain in the ass), and still manage to run the place anyways. Apparently his arms were as big as most people's thighs. He died in the 70s as a result of his injuries; blood clots tend to happen to people who have had double amputations.

As a result of their heroism in both World Wars, there are places in Europe where a Canadian flag on your backpack will still mean you'll get dragged into a pub somewhere where someone you've never met will insist on buying you a beer. As a Canadian, it means a lot to me to be part of our "peacekeeper" identity. We can safely travel in just about any part of the world, and most of that ability comes from the way we helped people an ocean away during the bleakest points in history. This is a great source of pride for me, and I can't help but get a little misty eyed for the people who sacrificed so much in order for me to live in this great country.

So, I suppose Samhain feels right for a Canadian around this time of year. It's the day after that the poppies start to come out, and eleven days before all of Canada stops for one minute at 11 AM. I have nothing connecting me in the 21st century with the people who have bled and died before me; the 1940s seem like forever ago. Nonetheless, I feel the loss of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that I can live my life now in a free and great country.

May they rest in peace, and have the most honourable of places in the halls of their ancestors.

October 16, 2013

Ritual Experiment #Buddhism: Group Meditation

Tonight, I attended a lovely seminar at a local yoga studio with Lama Samten about Buddhist Philosophy and meditation. He chanted some (awesome), we meditated some (awesome), and he did the greatest part of it in Tibetan, and had his assistant translate. His assistant is Francophone, and so it was an interesting amalgamation of Tibetan to Franglais... I loved it.

He gave us pointers about when and how to meditate. For example, his suggestion was that we meditate in the lotus position, what mudra to use, for how long, etc. The most important thing he said, though, is that there's no "right" way to meditate. Using the suggested positions might make meditating easier, but it's truthfully about finding a way of doing that enables you to cultivate the best inner peace. Obviously, it's hard to concentrate on meditating if you're in pain or your foot's falling asleep. When asked what the "best" way to meditate was, it was almost like it didn't compute. Does it work for you? Then it's okay!

So apparently the solution to all life's problems is this:

There is a solution to the problem, so don't worry about it. We are given a good mind, and we can find a solution to anything with it.

This is a great reminder.

Keep in mind, just because something is simple, doesn't mean it is easy.

October 13, 2013

Ritual Experiment #I've-Lost-Track: Smudging, and The Morrigan?

I took a smudging course at a local Native arts shop, and found it pretty excellent. More than excellent really... it was quite healing.

So after a day of sobbing for an hour or two and dealing with the aftermath of that, I got out my candle I have devoted to The Morrigan, and smudged the SHIT out of my house. I smudged the corners, I smudged the windows, I even smudged the yard in the rain. I called to The Morrigan and Kali and any warrior goddess that would like to help me out of this dark, deep hole I find myself in.

I understand that overcoming 30+ years of bad thinking habits is not going to happen overnight, but with this last bout with Major Depressive Disorder, I am entering the fourth year since I last worked. Entering the 6th since I felt somewhat human.

I apologize for my giant Twitter rant earlier. I have a dark side of me. A very dark side. Sometimes that darkness wins out. And you know what? It should. A dear friend posted an article about feeling what you feel, despite whether it's "negative" or not, and that was an important reminder. It's basically how I've got where I am now... by constantly trying to be everything to everyone. With the best of intentions, I assure you. But I'm working out what that is going to look like in the future. I don't want to be like my father, approaching 60, and still in the throes of a panic disorder, because he always has to be kind to others first, instead of to himself... ever.

A lot of people have been good to me with this whole... okay... here's the fucking entire diagnosis, just so I can say it out loud and stop tiptoeing around the thing...

Dysthymia complicated by Major Depressive Disorder, with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Acute Agoraphobia.

Okay. Now that we have that out of the way, and you have some inkling (or maybe not, if you're as aware of these things as approximately half of the population seems to be... sorry 'bout it) of how heavy of a diagnosis that is, maybe you have some understanding of why every so often I go offside about the unfairness of people, the world, the Gods, et cetera, ad infinitum.

So yes. A lot of people have been good to me, despite the stigma that persists with a mental health diagnosis of any kind. I even hate calling it mental health... no other disease has the potential subtext that I might actually secretly be CrAzY. I prefer to call it a Brain Disorder. A lot of people have been understanding, and some have shared similar experiences. Some people couldn't give two shits, or just plain don't have any life experience on which to form any empathy for my situation. All I want is a little love, really. I don't expect people to understand, but I would love a little understanding.

It's really hard (and totally my fault, my problem, and I don't expect anyone to fix this for me... but truth is truth) to see my family and friends going on and having perfectly happy lives while I mindlessly pass my days feeling too drugged up or too anxious or too exhausted to do anything. I'm jealous. I'll admit it. I'm happy that other people aren't similarly plagued with an affliction such as mine (and I do mean plagued... ironically enough sometimes I will randomly break into stress related hives... #leper). But it really, really sucks watching life pass me by from the sidelines. You're talking to a girl who was at the top of her professional and private game, without going into specifics that would identify me further. And I went from being everything, to being "that girl that had a complete nervous breakdown in the office and sobbed for two hours straight before anyone came to help her". It's frustrating when people complain about being nervous about going to someone's party, when I can't even get out of bed because I'm so anxious. I'll have to talk to people... I might not be able to stand near the door should I have a panic attack (I still have those on the daily... the drugs no longer work for me)... I can't drink anything before or during, because I can't use other people's or public restrooms... I am deathly afraid of eating in front of other people.... you get the picture. It's hard to keep my mouth shut when people complain about butterflies, regardless of how legitimate their complaint really is. Oh honey... I am so on an exponentially higher level than that....

No one wants this to be their life's story. I'm scared that I'll never get better, and yes, that is an option as to what might happen. I might never get any better than I am right now. I might kill myself. I am passively suicidal most of the time, A.K.A, in a state of disbelieving hopelessness, and am actively suicidal sometimes too. Those times are getting fewer and further between, but every so often, like it did today, it'll rear its ugly head and scare the crap out of everyone I know. I seem composed and completely not-depressed in person to most people. I know. I am far too good at wearing that hat, and it usually surprises people to hear this about me. "I had no idea!" etc. It isn't a bad thing... but it gives people a false impression of what's going on with me about 99% of the time. I'm getting better at asking for help, but it's still extremely hard for me.

So anyways. Back to this being religion-related. So I had a nice smudge, and I called to The Morrigan and Kali, and any other beings that would like to help me cleanse myself and this place of the negativity. It has its place, but I'm long overdue to have some progress. I've dealt with so much shit lately there should be flowers springing up everywhere. Believe me, it's RIPE in here. I find a lot of peace in actively pursuing bettering my situation... whether it's journalling, blogging, screaming on Twitter (lol) or doing some sort of spiritual practice. It feels better if I feel like I can grab even an inch of control of this thing, illusory or not.

I really hope Morrighan doesn't have a problem with me mixing cultural practices.

October 8, 2013

Drawing On the Gods (and Friends)

I haven't been myself lately. I've been tweaking some of my prescriptions, so I've been feeling extraordinarily drugged up and forgetful and spaced out and all of those good things. Here's a thought for today, though, that I find extremely poignant. I'm no longer Christian, but I still find the Bible beautiful, if taken in a non-dogmatic context.

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I've been trying to do this. I've been trying to be open about my difficulties with mental health, and health in general, actually, and for the most part, I've been received with support. Turns out I am not a rock nor an island, regardless of what Simon and Garfunkel might idealize, and sharing my weaknesses and my struggles has brought me closer to people than I ever thought possible. It was inauthentic for me to put up that strong front. And although I'm told I'm incredibly good at it (unfortunately), ultimately I think it's hard for people to identify with someone who is constantly wearing a mask.

There's wisdom in them thar hills, and I intend to continue building my strength by admitting my weaknesses. Because that's the thing that's essentially human, and permeates all of human experience. It's the tie that binds.

September 14, 2013

The Healing Power of the Moon

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 
- Leonard Cohen

I'm not sure I can really describe this experience.

So tonight, we prepared to go outside to do our usual ritual. We being the dogs and J and I. We're outside, and I realize suddenly, once we are out of the shadow of our house, that the moon is actually illuminating our yard.

I decide to forgo the flashlight I had brought.

I struggled to read the text of my ritual. This made time for every word to feel intentional, and for me to feel the weight of each sound in my mouth. I could trace the lines between the moonlit page, my eyes, the neurons in my brain, the sound in my throat, and the way my tongue felt as it moved around my mouth.

Time slowed.

For a blessed moment, I felt still.

At points, the reflection of the moon on my laminated page would catch my eye the right way, and it was blinding, for a brief but brilliant moment.

I looked away from my page to give offerings, and I noticed my littlest canine companion quietly enjoying the coolness of the dewy grass, his eyes glinting in the soft moonlight. He looked peaceful and at home; he looked like he was in his element.

In what has been a tumultuous and chaotic time for all of us, I felt the door creak open just a little bit wider. A little more room for some light to get through. The moon illuminated the potential for us to have a healthy, happy, peaceful existence full of joy and refreshing moments of cool grass under our furry feet.

When you have endured such mind altering pain that more often than not you wished that your life had ended long ago, and the possibility of improvement seems like something you neither deserve nor reasonably ever expect, moments like this are rare. More than rare. Legendary. Elusive. They take on that fairy tale quality of something having occurred long ago and far away.

Seeing my little dog, my little kindred spirit, being calm and meditative in his own yard, brought tears to my eyes. Under the giant lunar goddess, with a cool breeze at our backs, I dared to dream that this might be my turning point.

Could it be that all of the cracks I've endured at the hands of an illness plagued existence have finally let in some light?

Ritual Experiment #15: Jaya Ganesha!

So obviously I haven't been blogging every day. As you do more and more of these, they tend to start sounding samey-samey. So, I'm just writing about the particularly interesting ones. Okay? Okay.

So for Ganesha Chaturthi this past Monday, I went all out. Ganesha is the deity I work with most, I guess you'd say, so I decided to throw him a veritable party. I aggregated some ideas from various websites (that being one of them... gotta start bookmarking this stuff), and used what I liked most, and what seemed to be the most true for how I feel about how Ganesha works in my life. Here's what I did, and what you'll need if you ever want to undertake such a ritual.

List of Ritual Accoutrements:

- Red sandal paste (in this case, I put a sandalwood mala I had in a special container of water)
- Rice
- Flowers (hibiscus is supposedly Ganesha's favourite... I used white roses)
- Milk
- Curd (I used good ol' cheddar. Improvisation for the win)
- Ghee (I used butter. Ain't nobody got time for clarifyin')
- Honey
- Sugar
- A dishrag/face cloth
- White thread
- Grass (there's a specific Indian kind that you're supposed to use, but I just went with "green")
- Leaves
- Incense (in my case, a Nag Champa candle)
- Candy (I hope Ganesh likes sour cherry blasters)
- Dried fruit
- Nuts
- Clove
- Cinnamon
- Perfume (scented after shower spray?)
- Coins
- Cauldron, or something to wash your hands in
- Sacred water
- Some kind of Ganesh idol
- Probably a few extra bowls

And don't forget the patio furniture!

Here's the ritual outline. I don't claim to be a Hindu, and Ganesha isn't technically a part of the Vedic pantheon (he's post-Vedic), so I hope I don't offend both Hindus and Druids by undertaking this mishmash ritual. All experiments are undertaken with the utmost respect. Scout's honour!

Say: Vakratund mahakay suryakoti samaphraba. Nirvignan kuru me dev sarvakaryesu sarvada.

Walk counterclockwise around the Ganesh idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah x 3

Say: Aum x 3

Take a sip of sacred water.

Say: Please purify me, Ganesha, that I may offer you praise.

Wash hands.

Sprinkle Ganesha with rice grains and flowers.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah asanam samarpayami.

Wash Ganesha's feet with rice and sandalwood infused water.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah padyam samarpayami.

Wash Ganesha's hands with water mixed with rice and flowers.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah samarpayami.

Offer the idol water three times while chanting aum shri Ganeshya namah achmaneeyam samarpayami.

Bathe idol with milk, curd, sugar, and honey.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah panchamrita snanam samarpayami.

Bathe Ganesha with water, then milk.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah payah snanam samarpayami.

Present the idol with curd (cheese).

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah dadhi snanam samarpayami.

Present the idol with ghee (butter)

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah grut snanam samarpayami.

Present the idol with honey.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah madhu snanam samarpayami.

Present the idol with sugar.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah sarkara snanam samarpayami.

Offer the idol sacred water, and wipe it clean.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah uttaraposhnam samarpayami.

Place two white threads around the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah yagyopveetam samarpayami.

Sprinkle rice on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah akshtam samarpayami.

Sprinkle flowers on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah puspam samarpayami.

Sprinkle grass on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah purvan kuran samarpayami.

Sprinkle leaves on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah bilvapatram samarpayami.

Bathe the idol with incense.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah bhoopam agrapyami.

Bathe the idol with candlelight.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah deepam parshyami.

Sprinkle sweets on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah naivedyam samarpayami.

Sprinkle fruit on the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah phalam samarpayami.

Sprinkle the nuts, clove, and cinnamon on the idol.

Say: Aum shri ganeshya tamboolam samarpayami.

Anoint the idol with perfume.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah stram samarpayami.

Offer Ganesha coins.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah dakshinam samarpayami.

Sprinkle Ganesha with water containing the rice, flowers, and grass.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah vishesh argyam samarpayami.

Bow before Ganesha.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah.

Walk clockwise around the idol.

Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah pradakshinam samarpayami.

Holy crap. Okay. So if you're still reading, CONGRATULATIONS! And THANK YOU! This is absolutely the most work I've ever put into a ritual in my personal practice. 

... I need a bigger Ganesh.

How did it feel? Well... other than busy, it felt really good. I really wanted to do Ganesha some serious honour, and I truly went all out. I don't have a whole lot of energy for much, so this was no small undertaking. I felt really centered after the ritual, and placed the offerings in the Shining Ones area of my rock garden at the end of my yard. It felt appropriate, I guess, and I felt connected to the day in a way I haven't yet experienced. As small as my celebrations were compared to what must happen in India, it felt grandiose and exotic enough to transport me, even for a moment or two. And of course, there's nothing like trying to pronounce Sanskrit to make you feel like you're somewhere else.

Rose love for the Trunk-ed One

So, to sum it up, honey is really hard to get off of wooden statues. Dogs will try to eat anything (yes, even sour cherry blasters). And hopefully there's a balance to be struck between intention (a.k.a. not having time to clarify your butter) and replication (a.k.a. attempting to speak ancient languages). 

Replication might be too strong a word for the latter.

August 31, 2013

Ritual Experiment #14: Ritual Cleansing (Literally)

AKA: More Information Than You Ever Wanted About my Altar Space or Thought Was Possible to Generate

AKA: Altar Porn

Today, in a rare display of boredom and extra energy, I decided to clean out the "Yoga Room". The Yoga Room is the one space I have in the house where all my spiritual-type stuff resides: all my books on Druidism and Paganism, Yoga, Reiki; my ritual tools; my crystal bowls; my peacenik Tibet and prayer flags; and my collection of crystals.

It's also been relatively unused as of late.

My cats LOVE my Yoga Room, as there's lots of little places to hide, and things to knock over. It's also relatively safe for the dogs, as they don't seem to be in there unless I am. So needless to say, there was cat fur galore in there, along with things every which way from errant tails and curious noses.

So today, I dusted, de-furred, and reorganized EVERYTHING. My crystals are all shiny, my altar has been reimagined, and my books are all put away.

So I thought, while I was at it (and since it's so clean, for a change) I'd provide an in-depth description of my altar space's contents for all of you, because I know I have *so* many readers, and I know you're all waiting with bated breath. So here goes:

Very, very firstly, we have (some) of my books about spiritual pursuits. Yoga, Paganism, Druidry/ism, Witchcraft, Hinduism, Christianity... all sorts of good stuff, along with the very important stuffed animals.

I think I've only read like half of these...


Here we've got an unintentional overflow from the Ancestors portion of my altar. I have pictures of my pets who have since gone Over the Rainbow Bridge. I have my black box full of my OBOD stuff, with a basket of scarfy altar cloth type things on top. I have a "prayer box" for Ganesha and the Tara here as well (not my namesake, strangely enough), in which I put little requests when I feel I need them. To the left, I have my trunk full of important and breakable things (like my great aunt's teacups), and on top, I have a basket full of more keepsakey type things, and a cute little wooden drawer thing that I haven't figured out what to do with yet. Every once in awhile, I will score during one of my Mom's purge-fests. This is one such score.

The middle thing is not "Green Man meets Sauron", I swear

Here we have my lovely altar. On the left, I have my tingshas for clearing the ritual space, my yellow beeswax candle for bearing Brighid's flame, and to the side, my staff. Behind that, we have my pillar candle and Ganesha card (pink) as well as some pressed flower petals from my yoga instructor initiation. 

At the bottom middle we have two little puja (offering) bowls (brown and black). There's a little green crystal that lives there too, and I'm not sure why, but it always seems to end up on my altar. 

Above those, we have some Ganesha statues, and my Sacred Well. It's also sterling silver, so I don't have to silver my well. I'm nothing if not streamlined. *snrk* Next, at the back, we have the Nature Spirits part, with some antlers and turkey feathers. My second world tree lives here as well. 

Sort of in the middle lives the Earth Mother portion, with a giant Moqui marble, and another small, brown crystal (whose name escapes me) that is meant to strengthen the user's bond with the Earth Mother/Gaia/what have you.

Above my Earth Mother crystals is my Ancestor portion. I have Paramahansa Yogananda, Gandhi, and my fur kids who've gone Over the Rainbow Bridge. I also have a piece of Preseli Bluestone, which is meant to help connect someone with their Celtic heritage. I chose those two people as ancestors of my heart, as they were both so huge in my inspiration to study yoga and eastern religion (can't really sum it up in one paragraph, or twelve).

Below that, I have a hematite crystal for grounding, and a rose quartz candle to light for healing energy/expressions of love towards the Kindreds. Below those, on the floor, you'll see my small area for Surya, which includes a prayer box, and some obsidian (associated with the sun). You'll also see a Farley face and feet.

The elephant in the room is my giant green dish-thing that I paid way too much for at Pier One. I intend to use it for placing any larger offerings, or to place crystals on during a ritual.

Crystal Lovin'

Here's the side of my altar, as well as some candles, and half of my mineral collection. I repurposed a doll bunk bed my Dad made for me as a little kid into a mineral display by painting it. Farley's feeling a little sick today, so I didn't bug him to get out of the picture. I've also got my copious collection of shiny glass mosaic candle holders, and some Buddha statues in the back. 

It's a teeny tiny crystal house!

Here's a Farley butt, as well as the rest of my crystals. I keep these ones in my little hut-thing to keep the cats out and the dust down. They're all either my more expensive or fragile ones. On top, I have a little singing bowl that my husband bought for me for our wedding. Good for clearing ritual space.

Last, but not least, we have my crystal bowls (in the big purple drum case), as well as a few meditation cushions. And a Farley. I've also got a few baskets for rocks I've found on beaches, et cetera, that I can't bring myself to get rid of.

And a stuffed doggie. Always a stuffed doggie.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my ritual space. It may have seemed like an exercise in narcissism writing such a long post about something so personal, but I'm really proud of it. And it's my blog, so I get to do what I want. *evil grin*


August 26, 2013

Ritual Experiment #13: Extra Protein

I heard a crow caw while upstairs, so I decided to go outside and do a small ritual for Morrigan despite the rain. Nothing fancy. Just offered some hallowed water to the shrines I constructed for each of the Kindreds.

Just offering some to the Shining Ones/the Morrigan, when a bug flew up my nose!

I was kind of over being eaten alive due to the rain, but... RANDOM!

So I decide to look up what medicine the gnat totem brings. Maybe this is my omen?
  • Survival 
  • Multifaceted vision 
  • Ability to change waste into valuable assets 
  • Transformation 
  • Adaptation to the harshest environments
Wow. I couldn't really have received a more hopeful message after having a pretty rough day. I totally broke down at the therapist today about what my next phase of life would look like. Who would I become? What would I do for a living? What would "wellness" look like?

Seems like a lot of the time when I work with the Morrigan, I receive pretty clear messages. That lady sure doesn't mince words.

August 23, 2013

Ritual Experiment #12: Soma, Lord of Yappy Dogs

Tonight my hubby and my puppies and I went outside to give Soma (Vedic god of the moon) some admiration, since we just had a blue moon. A little late, maybe, but better late than never. Sacred space is funny like that... bends space and time... at least that's the theory I'm working with.

So we took some of the water we received at our Folk Initiation, and offered some to my outdoor shrine, as well as Soma.

And we were yapped at. The. Whole. Time.

I'm pretty good at pushing out distractions, having gone through much of yoga school while situated under drum classes. I tried to carry on, but my littlest fur-baby just sees these yappy little buggers as a threat, so he's always trying to chase them off. We dealt with that though. I did my best to not scream at our chain smoking, beer guzzling neighbours as we ritualized rather peacefully.

The message I received from Soma was the reversed bear from the Druid Animal Oracle deck by Philip Carr-Gomm. Of course, this is all about tempering your anger with your more spiritual side, blah blah blah. Which I guess, is kind of what moon energy is all about... being in touch with your softer side, and learning to have a balance of yin and yang. I'm really unsure of what it means in this circumstance. Am I not supposed to call by-law on Monday? Again? Or am I just not supposed to go out there and scream at them?

The dogs were happy to be a part of the ritual, as usual (anything in which sprinkling water is involved is good by them), and it was nice to have my first ritual outside (which was no small fear to overcome), so maybe I should just focus on that?

How can people be so selfish?

August 21, 2013

Ritual Experiment Day 10 & 11: Trying Not to Upchuck the Waters of Life

I've been feeling all kinds of ill lately, so I elected to take a few peaceful days to myself. I spent a little time reading Starhawk's The Spiral Dance (which is excellent so far), and asking the Morrigan to help me keep my lunch down.

The two things I did do, however, is spend a little time with my prayer beads. I had a chance to go through them again, without the critical eye, and it was a lovely little way to bring me into ritual space. Even if it was just for a few minutes. The only thing worse than a small ritual is no ritual, after all.

The other thing I had a chance to do is "commune with the moon". I offered a gingerbread cookie, because my husband had just baked them (good for the barfs, you see), and offered a devotional that went something like this:

In your presence, beloved Moon, I remember my femaleness.
In your presence, beloved Moon, I tap into yin energy.
In your presence, I think of the tides that ebb and flow, much like life.
In your presence, I allow myself to rest.
In your presence, beloved Moon, I find peace. 
In your presence, I give you this offering of my love and my harvest.
In your presence, I ask that you bring me peace and serenity over your next cycle.

Short and sweet. The Moon also gave me the reversed Ram as an offering. Usually, I would associate the Ram with stubbornness and tenacity. But the reversed meaning means to me what I'd associate Moon energy with - learning to go with the flow. Not letting go of your standards or anything, but seeing what's around the next corner instead of busting your head through the wall. Makes sense, really, since I've had to make peace with a rather huge thing lately, and it's completely changed my outlook on life. 

Thanks for the reminder, sister Moon!

August 18, 2013

Fifty Shades of Red

So it's probably no secret that I hate living in town. I don't know of too many Druids or nature-inclined people who would pick it. But I don't know how to deal with the IRE that my neighbours inspire in me.

Last year, we spent a considerable amount of coin to fix up the back yard. Before I moved in to my now-husband's house, there was nothing but a small patch of green and a whole lot of gravel under what was previously a deck. Despite my agoraphobia, screwed up back and general feeling of "I can't get out of bed", we journeyed to Lowes to get all kinds of good things to fix up the back yard. My husband even spent weeks installing a patio (which he did an uncannily good job of doing). I put in a rock garden at the end of the yard. We planted trees which heretofore did not exist anywhere on our property. It felt more like a Druid's house. I hated living in town a whole lot less.

But now, every time I go outside, I'm greeted with INCESSANT YAPPING. They were up barking at 1 AM this morning. I got up at 10, and they were outside barking again. I have four animals, all of which I keep a very close eye on, and have trained them to the best of my ability to be well behaved. I know what that entails, and these people are not interested in having well behaved dogs. We've called By-Law. We've tried talking to them personally. I don't know what to do. I am being chased out of my making-the-best-of-a-bad-situation oasis. Being cooped up inside all day is NOT what's best for someone who suffers from every depression and anxiety symptom under the sun (or rather, not under the sun, because I never get to see it).


I have been trying really, really hard to better what my doctor's seem to think is an irreversibly bad situation. And I feel like at every turn, I get beat down! PEOPLE ARE SO HORRIBLE!

I can barely wait until we can move out to the country, which right now, looks like a very distant sort of thing.

Trying to keep my faith in the Kindreds that I'll be helped through this thing, but right now, all I can see is red. If anyone has room to ask a favour in their prayers today, I'd really appreciate a shout-out.

August 17, 2013

Ritual Experiment Day 9: Pagan Pride Day

Today marks another significant milestone in my growth as a pagan: my first Pagan Pride Day. Everything went exactly as it should. I was kind of reluctant to go this morning, doing the whole "What if there's too few people? What if there's too many? What if they think I have three heads?" thing, et cetera, et cetera. But I went, and it was very nice.

I never know whether to hope for a big or small crowd at these sorts of things. Too few people, and I can't hide amongst the throngs. Too many, and I'll never get to actually talk to anyone. I was pleasantly surprised.

There was a smallish group of people, who were incredibly inviting. Everyone was quick to introduce themselves and even offer a chair...! (A huge oversight on my part...) So very kind, and we felt very welcomed.

I guess you could say that the rite was Wicca-inspired, with the calling to the directions and the elements and casting a circle, etc. I've never been to any type of ritual but an ADF (druid) one, so this was a nice change. I kind of liked the integration of the directions and elements, and I'm not sure why ADF doesn't do this, other than that it might make lines blurry between it and other traditions. There was calling to the Lord and the Lady as well. We gave thanks to the farmers and to the "Powers That Be" of the harvest. I even chimed in with "Blessed Be" a few times. GASP! When in Rome. And it felt good. Feeling welcomed in an otherwise harsh seeming world is always, well, welcomed.

It felt really good to be included by this group of (at least to me) complete strangers, and to wiggle my toes in the grass on a lovely summer day. I hope that this will turn into more opportunities to worship the Old Gods with my fellow Kingstonians.

August 16, 2013

Ritual Experiment Day 8: Flamekeeper's Oath

The past few days I've been feeling pretty vibrate-y (new meds)... so I stuck to some very simple prayers instead. I offered my appreciation to Surya yesterday (Vedic god of the sun) since I was up kind of early, so it's rare I get to meet him in anything but the heat of the afternoon. Still haven't been up early enough for Usas (dawn) yet though, but I will some day. Head meds make mornings tough; I can be groggy for hours.

Tonight, however, is my night to keep Brighid's flame. I'm a member of ADF's Flamekeeper group, as well as Ord Brighideach International. I keep meaning to spend more time checking out their website...

Anyways. I originally started tending Brighid's flame, because I was looking for a connection. Actually, I was begging for one. I have had a hard time forming connections with the Shining Ones, especially since it seems as though it comes so easily to others. I've since let go of this need to compare my spirituality to others' (it's a spiritual practice, not a spiritual perfect), which is no easy feat, and I commend anyone who is trying. I understand why people who are new can feel overwhelmed or intimidated. There is a lot to know, and it seems like everyone else knows everything in comparison to your measly amount of knowledge. Firstly, that's not true, and secondly, everyone has to start somewhere. But I digress...

Brighid's (Electronic) Flame

So tonight, I did my Oath to keep Brighid's flame. Yes, I know... you're supposed to have completed that by now according to the Ord, but we all know that Tara has to do things in her own good time, and not a moment sooner. Here's what I used, and I apologize to the author, because I copied it awhile ago and again have forgot where I found it:

Brighid, Oh Mary of the Gaels 
Guide my hearth with Your inspiration, 
Grace my being with Your healing, and 
Forge my strength of will, 
this night and forever more.

As I light this candle and speak my oath to You 
This I swear with my conviction; 
Thy fire shall not die within this hearth, 
for nightly shall it be smoored, 
Only to grow the following morn.. 
And in Your name shall it burn 
to guard this home from harm.

Simple, yet effective. I guess the "nightly" part is the only part that doesn't work, but I'm pretty sure she knows what I mean. Fortnightly? Plus a bit?

I didn't have much time to ponder this lovely Oath, as, you know, life being life, my husband decided to finish what he was doing to see what I was doing about midway through. So we'll chalk this one up to chaos trying to take over and not take ourselves too seriously.

The irony is not lost on me that I recently introduced my husband to Eris. 

August 13, 2013

Ritual Experiment Day 7: +1 to Magic

Today's post I'm excited about.

You see, next door, we have these neighbours that have these adorable little Bichon Frises who are very cute and very LOUD and very OBNOXIOUS. As a pet mom and general worshipper of my furry companions, I am very sick of them growling at my dogs and I through the fence.

So, after some Googling, and some help with ideas on my grove's Facebook page, I came up with an idea.

I did one of the short ADF rituals like I did last week (found on the SDF page), and I added in two magical workings. First, before I even started or set up my ritual space, I asked the Morrigan if she'd like to help me out with this one. I explained what I was planning to do in detail. I took several omens, and all were good. I received messages about the importance of fairness in sharing space.

The magical workings I added were called "Hot Foot Powder", and another, called a "Simple Move Away Spell". I did the first one mentioned on the page.

So I went ahead and ritualized, and since everyone loves pictures of omens:

Crane, Stag and Reversed Frog

The crane represents the three realms and the ability to walk in all of them. Good omen, since I'm trying something a little more "esoteric" tonight. The stag represents standing one's ground, and it is apparently "auspicious to draw the stag when starting new projects". Okay, cool. The frog brings rich medicine and understanding when dealing with difficult circumstances. Score. I must be doing something right...

Now to the magic.

Very Messy Ritual Space

As you can see, I have the peppers and salt, which I used to make the Hot Foot powder. I concealed it in a little garden soil before sprinkling liberally on her side of the fence. (Please be assured: neither cayenne pepper or black pepper are dangerous to dogs. Annoying, probably, but not dangerous). Also, you'll see the vinegar, paper and bottle I used for the second spell. I found it interesting that the moment I stepped outside to literally "pepper" her yard, I was met with two angry little white furry faces telling me off. As I sprinkled this concoction on the grass, I repeated "leave this place, so that we may both live in peace" with each handful. 

After my sprinkling was complete, and offerings to the Kindreds and the Morrigan given, we drove out to Lake Ontario to commit my second spell to the drink. I wrote the address of the offenders on the paper, (I'm not sure what all their names are; I just made sure to add that it was for the current residents only), surrounded it with a house, and put a big X through it. I stuffed it in the bottle, and poured the vinegar over top.

GTFO! Spell

So we drove out to the lake, and in the bright light of the crescent moon, I asked the Morrigan to help me fight for what is right; to fight for my sacred territory. I pitched the thing as hard as I could into my beloved Lake Ontario.

I kind of had a hard time with this, because I didn't really want to throw anything into the lake. I used a glass bottle because it can't decompose into anything weird, and hopefully, it'll just turn into beach glass. I threw it in far enough so that people couldn't step on it. I'm going to think of a better idea for next time, but this time, it felt critically important that I do exactly what the spell asked. Next time, I might just soak the paper in some vinegar and fix it to a rock. I hope the lake spirit won't mind... if anything, I felt like I had her support.

It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next little while. Will our feud reach a head? Will the mundane "powers that be" finally ask her to obey the law? Will she notice the clumps of soil all over her patio stones?

Stay tuned.

Ritual Experiment Days 4, 5 & 6: A Whole Bunch o' Stuff

So for Day 4, I created a little gift for my grovies, since it was our initiation on Saturday. I made some Prayer Beads, since I'm such a fan of malas, and each bead corresponds to a part of the ADF Core Order of Ritual. I wrote a short little ritual to go along with it, so I'm counting the production of these beads and the testing of the rite as my Ritual du Jour.

Ritual Prayer Beads a la Tara

For Day 5, we had our grove initiation. Obviously I'm not going to blog about the specifics, other than it was AWESOME. It's really nice to feel like I have a family in this way, especially since losing connection to my blood family lately. I feel all warm and fuzzy. Grey Catsidhe (our fearless leader) put on a truly meaningful initiation, and as always, we all felt warm and welcomed. I haven't felt really proud to be part of something in a very long time.

As for what should have been Day 6, I decided to do another kind of worship. I spent the day worshipping The One Who Knocks, also known as Heisenberg. What can I say. Everyone needs some kind of escapism, right?

Actual Day 6 ended up being a sort of desperate call for help. It's no big secret that a lot of my life is in flux right now, so I decided I would just straight up pray, since I couldn't find the strength to get out of bed. I've been working a lot to this point with the Morrigan (weird, since I mostly write about Vedic stuff, I know. But the heart wants what the heart wants). Here's the prayer I use:

Morrigan Morrigan three times three, 
Hear the words I ask of thee. 
Grant me vision, Grant me power, 
Cheer me in my darkest hour. 
As the night overtakes the day, 
Morrigan Morrigan light my way. 
Morrigan Morrigan Raven Queen, 
Round & round the Hawthorn green. 
Queen of beauty, Queen of Art, 
Yours my body, Yours my heart. 
All my trust I place in thee, 
Morrigan Morrigan be with me.

Unfortunately, I didn't record the original author when I first found this, so I apologize to whoever wrote this. I do love it though, so I thought I should share. I look to the Morrigan when I'm about to "go into battle", and she always brings me her warrior energy. You don't fuck with the Morrigan, so I try to channel her energy whenever I'm in a bind. Turns out, she gave me the strength to push through what was looking to be a completely disastrous situation. So I thank her for that!

August 7, 2013

Ritual Experiment Day 3: Ba-BOOM (AKA Improv for Indra)

Tonight, we came home during the middle of a thunderstorm. So I figured I'd skip the usual ritual liturgy for the night, and improvise something for Indra, the Vedic god of thunderstorms. I'm going to write something down here quickly before I lose the inspiration.

Oh Indra...
Great god of the Thunderstorm.
I am grateful for your glorious show of lights, turning the blackest night into the clearest day for a blinding moment.
You bring me into the present moment with your crashes of thunder.
I am in awe.
Your lightning destroys forests, land, and human creations alike, and I am powerless to it.
You remind me that I am intimately connected to the greatest forces of nature.
You create forest fires so that new groves of trees may grow up in fertile soil.
You turn miserable humidity into fresh, cool breezes.
You water our crops and fields with blessed and precious summer rain.
I dance in your wind and your water and your fury.
You bring me new life.

I also gave Indra a nice drink of some beer I had in the fridge, since I'm fresh out of soma and all, and since I've noticed that oil just burns the grass. Oops. File that under lesson number two.

August 6, 2013

Ritual Experiment, Day 2: Chill Out, Man.

Uhh.... I screwed up.

So basically, when I read cards of any sort, I take any that literally "jump out at me" as being a sign that those cards are to be used. The Forces That Be and I have this agreement that I'll pay attention to whatever falls out of the pack, especially if it happens to be the exact amount of cards that I'm looking to draw.

So after a decent amount of shuffling, three cards fall out of the deck. The same three I drew yesterday. I turn them over in the same order. Except upside down.


So I take this as a not-so-subtle message that entering ritual space while being completely pissed off from a fight you just had with your husband is a less than ideal circumstance. Noted. And of course the reverse meanings of the cards were all about "going against the flow of life's path", et cetera, et cetera. Okey doke, Kindreds. Message received loud and clear.


August 5, 2013

Ritual Experiment, Day 1: It's All About Intention

For day one of my five month ritual experiment, I kept it simple. Like, painfully simple.

Fire, well and tree

As you can see, I had a lovely big mug of water for my well, a flameless candle for a fire, and my lovely cactus for a tree. 

I performed the SDF simple liturgy as previously discussed, and dedicated it to the deities of the Vedic pantheon. I plan on working with them each individually as time progresses, and let's face it. With 5 months, I'll have tons of time to get all 33 in.

As usual, my puppies were interested in what I was up to, so I was quite happy to share the waters of life with them as well. Yes, I used the well as the waters of life. This is an experiment in keeping things simple and manageable as well. I once read a quote, I forget who from, that the only ritual tool you need is yourself. The rest is fun, but essentially fluff when you get down to the nitty gritty. So we're going to stick as close to that theory as possible for now, for sanity's sake.

Pagan Puppies

The omens I was given were quite auspicious, I think. Very encouraging. I used Philip Carr-Gomm's Animal Oracle, and quoted some of the descriptions below. From the Nature Spirits, I received the Fire Dragon, which indicates courage, energy, and an "increased ability to overcome obstacles and to find the energy to cope with life's problems" (thanks Ganesha... got that message loud and clear). The Fire Dragon helps "fuel your inner fire", to help you accomplish your goals with precision. Auspicious, yes. 

Secondly, from the Ancestors, I received the Wren. Wren is all about being cunning and humble, which my attempt at liturgy this go around definitely was, intentionally or not (humble I mean... not cunning). So I take that as a nod for trying the KISS rule with my ritual experiment. Wren is about "achieving great things with economy and effort". Indeed. Cool.

From the Shining Ones, I received the Horse, which is the only one I had any idea about. The Horse is about the circle of life, and about voyaging, even into the inner realms. The Horse helps you to feel okay about life's bumps and bruises, and know that it's all part of the ride - the greater plan. 

Omens from the Nature Spirits, Ancestors and Shining Ones respectively

So all in all, I feel that this went pretty well, despite the fact that I totally forgot my other offerings of oil (for the Ancestors and Shining Ones) and birdseed (for the Nature Spirits). No problem though, just paused and went to retrieve it. Also forgot my oracle cards. Okay, so maybe things didn't go so smoothly. But at least I won't forget tomorrow. Hopefully.


So after a month or two (or five or six) of beating my head against the wall, and some bitching and moaning on my protogrove's Facebook page, I've decided that for the "Meditation Journal" part of my DP that I'm going to do devotionals.

Although, like usual, I have to take it up a notch. It wouldn't be me if I was going to try something EASY, would it?

In asking the Dedicant's e-mail list, someone suggested some of the SDF devotionals. I found a short liturgy that can be found here. I'm going to do their "All Purpose, Simple SDF Liturgy". And I'm going to do it daily.

Daily? Are you slightly insane?

A) Probably.
B) It's short.
C) I feel like this is necessary. Even on the days I'm unable to do it, this would be helpful in the long run.
E) This ought to give me lots to write about.
F) Success in this regard will be defined as me doing a ritual 5 out of 7 days per week. Even crazy DP students need a break, after all.

So I'm going to blog here as often as I can to journal out my progress. Should be interesting. And if all goes well, I'll be done my five months on January 5, 2014.

Feel free to harass me if you see me lapsing.

EDIT: Also, my goal is to have the remainder of the requirements done by Autumn Equinox.

August 1, 2013


Today marks the end of my official first "Year of Pagan Holidays".


I dunno. It's kind of bumming me out how people are cheery about this particular holiday, even looking forward to it! And the best I can do is muster good wishes in return.

I find the cross quarter days a little strange. I've always celebrated the change in season, even as a Christian (especially the Autumn Equinox). But celebrating the harvest feels kind of foreign.

Intellectually, I understand why we celebrate Lughnasadh or Lammas, if you like. Reaping the benefits of what one has sewn, whether agriculturally or otherwise, is an important event. Seems worth celebrating. But that assumes something: that we feel like we have something to be thankful for.

Yes, living in Canada, I know I'm more privileged than probably 90% of the world, blah blah blah. I try not to forget that I have a roof over my head, and food in my fridge. Regardless, I'm finding this holiday to be a little difficult. What do I have to be thankful for in my life? Truly? I just feel like everything is falling apart, but take a moment and be thankful for all the good I've manifested this year?

Hate to sound like an Eeyore, but I'm a little short in the "good" department.

I feel like I've been having my nose rubbed in other people's happiness lately, and I think this just adds insult to injury. Not that I'm not happy for my family and friends - I am. Truly. But misery loves company, and today, I feel sadder than I have in a long time. Not that I'm expecting anyone to notice particularly, or care, because I realize how hard it is to try to interact with someone like myself when I'm feeling like this. It's hard to bring yourself down to this level and sympathize in a way that feels authentic. I have this problem with myself sometimes, even. I don't even want to be sympathetic to myself... I just want to be someone else.

So what's a person to do, except suffer silently?

Not even close to being a rhetorical question. I seriously don't know the answer.

So although this is not the popular response, it's the one I'm feeling. This isn't easy to say, or write, or have read. Part of my ability to accept my situation has turned out to be sharing it, and realizing that a lot of people are in my boat and have or have had similar experiences and feelings. So I guess I'll muddle my way through, and hopefully next year I'll have something to harvest. For real.

July 31, 2013


I can't shake this constant feeling of being annoyed. It's like someone has been poking me on the shoulder for a few weeks now, and I just want to turn around and bitch slap them.

Partially, it's my situation. I'm totally stuck between finding the right moment to move forward, and feeling not at all ready to do that. I keep thinking about where I could volunteer as a starting point, and it just seems so daunting. I don't think an hour a week would even be doable. Firstly, who would want to take me on? I feel like a liability with all my health problems. And secondly, what could I even do anyways? I can see myself joyfully taking on a new responsibility, and then getting joyfully punted out of it after I call in sick for the millionth time because I'm too unwell to do anything.

I'm having trouble concentrating with my DP stuff lately. I am re-reading Vedic Mythology because it's just not sinking in. I'm trying to take a lot of notes, but my lack of ability to concentrate and digest material just makes me feel really, really stupid. And I'm not, so that's frustrating. People ask me about things that I KNOW I know, and I just draw a blank. I'm not sure what can repair that...

31 is a weird age to be stuck. Everyone around me is having families, getting their careers well on their way, and I'm back to being 19 again. It's horribly painful. I don't know what I want to do for a living, if I even had the capacity to go through with it right now, and I am by no means ready to have kids. I don't think I'll ever be. Let's face it... if I don't get there by 35, I think it's probably not right to try. So I have 3.5 years to fix my life, if it's fixable to the amount it would need to be for me to try and get pregnant. And what if I want to go back to school? How do I fit both of those things in? My life is slowly slipping me by, and there's nothing I can seem to do to fix it.

I wish I could just grab the bull by the horns like I normally would, and take that one big step out of hell. But I can't even decide where a good starting place would even be. 

I sort of feel like, why the fuck would I even bother? I know 31 seems young enough for those people who are 41 or 51 and starting a new career; it's all relative. And I AM going to go back to school... I'm not about to work at Walmart for the rest of my life. But 4 or 5 or more years of school at this point seems daunting.

The most fun part of all of this is: no one can decide these things but me. 


July 21, 2013

DP Requirements: Personal Religion

My personal religion has always been centred around observation. Even when I was Christian, I had a sort of “language” going with God that I would take certain things to mean certain things, and this has simply morphed to fit into my new Pagan hat. I am keenly aware of signs, and this has taken me far in my faith, whatever you would tend to call said faith at any given time.

I first came by Druidry after happening across a deck of Philip Carr-Gomm's Oracle Cards at the bookstore. I was very into Doreen Virtue's Angel Cards at the time, which, let's face it, is basically Tarot-lite for the Christian-minded. I was amazed that Druidry was a “thing”, and immediately knew I wanted to know more about it.

Fast forward a few years, and I was finding myself restless with OBOD, and had ADF in the back of my mind. I wanted to try to meet some actual Pagan folk in the area, which brought me to what would become Northern Rivers Protogrove. The organizer was an ADF member, and gave me the experiential knowledge I needed to join myself. Somehow, I had found a group, and the Kindreds smacked me upside the head with the proof I needed that ADF was a good choice for me.

Since then, I've been trying to keep up with my guidepost method. Our Protogrove is almost entirely Celtic, so I learn a lot from our rituals. We have a ritual each High Day, and usually some sort of meeting or get-together in between. I've attended most of them, and they've been great opportunities to grow in my faith as well as my fellowship with other pagan-minded people. So far, I've had the chance to write the liturgy for and lead one ritual, which was for Summer Solstice. We focussed on Manannan Mac Lir, and it was both difficult and enlightening for me to be put in the situation of forming a relationship with a deity on a tighter schedule.

One of the most important reasons I joined ADF is for the inclusion of the Vedic hearth culture. I keep bouncing between these two cultures as which seems to be more prevalent at any given time, but I've formed relationships with Brighid to some degree, and the Morrigan in a bigger way. The Vedic Pantheon I am still trying to figure out. As a yoga instructor, I've had much exposure to the Hindu gods, and I haven't neglected my old relationships despite the distinction between Vedism and Hinduism. I've been working with the concept of Prthivi as the Earth Mother, and am moving more towards calling her in my personal work. I've worked a lot with Agni as well, and call to him each time I light a candle. Mostly, my work towards knowing the deities of the Vedic pantheon consists of reading about them, to see which direction I feel pulled.

The Morrigan is the goddess I feel most called to work with. I started doing some daily devotionals to her, as I felt called to explore some of my own inner “warrior goddess”. I offer her alcohol of some sort if I happen to have it, and if not, my appreciation and affection. Back to the theme of guideposts: I have often since seen ravens in groups of three when I most need reassurance. Strangely enough, during one particularly stressful hospital appointment, the nurse started talking about how much she liked ravens, and how she thought they were the smartest and most handsome of the birds, and how she had no idea why she just told me that. I take signs like this as good evidence that I'm working in the right direction.

Probably the simplest and most important part of my spiritual practice, aside from my work with the deities, is communing with nature. At the very least, it is easily accessible to me in the form of my dogs (we just love howling), and in my backyard when the weather is favourable. I've had the opportunity this year to build a shrine for each of the three Kindreds in my rock garden, as well as a sidhe garden, in which I've let everything grow as wild as it likes. My little sidhe garden has tons of little flowers blossoming in it, and I've noticed an upturn in growth in general in that part of my lawn. Purple Sweet Peas and Queen Anne's Lace and beautiful green vines that had never grown there before, are now plentiful. I take time as often as I can to say “hi” to them, and to thank them for their healing presence.

My relationship with the Ancestors ebbs and flows. Sometimes, I feel very called to venerate those that came before, and other times, it feels less like celebration and more like attending their funeral in my thoughts once again, and intensely painful. I suppose my Christian upbringing doesn't help that concept much, but I'm trying to align my heart with my head as far as things like the Otherworld are concerned, and even reincarnation. My altar is covered in pictures of the Ancestors of my heart and of my blood.

Going forward, I would like to move towards a more solid foundation in what I actually personally believe to be true. I have a hard time forming relationships with the Shining Ones especially, because I'm not one hundred percent sure whether I'm in the hard or soft polytheist camp. Pantheist, or Panentheist, though I think I lean towards the latter. It would be useful to be able to feel driven one way or the other, but these things have to come about in their own time, so I can be patient. I'm sure whenever they deem it necessary, I'll be given another not-so-subtle sign, as usual.