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.