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Learning the Dark
This is a difficult post to begin, so I’m just going to dive right into the middle, and work my way out to the edges from there.
The Morrigan works from the gut, most of the time, anyway. She is instinct & courage. Passion and fire and fury.
I’m learning to listen, here, to what She has to say, because I’m in the middle of a battle…and I need all the help I can get right now.
And being told that my emotions, at least the “darker” ones, need to be abandoned, given up, let go…
I used to repress my emotions.
I used to tamp them down, pushing them into smaller & smaller spaces, because they were deemed “unacceptable”, “socially abnormal” and just plain “dark, morbid, negative & wrong”.
Until, of course, I’d explode, sending my anger, darkness, whatever you want to call it, by this time magnified exponentially, onto whomever was closest to me at the time, whether they deserved it or not.
I was Vesuvius.
I was Krakatoa.
I was Pele.
I was fire and ash and death, burning the air, scorching oxygen from others’ lungs and melting the ground out from under their stance.
And, when I was finished, I would feel horrible over the destruction I’d caused, but would have no idea how to fix it, so would run away…leaving the wreckage behind.
So, I grew up.
Learned how to express myself better, with more clarity. (For the most part) Yes, sometimes I still fall down the verbal well when it comes to expressing my feelings to someone, especially someone who knows me from my past, because they have access to those emotional buttons (triggers) that caused me to go off “back then”.
Started blogging, which really does help me figure out my emotions, & how to verbalize them.
But, back to the darkness.
I…am not a sunshiney kind of person. I’m not a hippie, or a bohemian. I’m not a cheerleader or perky pixie type. (Factoid -I tried my hand at cheerleading in high school, but even to this day, people don’t believe me, & need photographic proof)
If I weren’t almost 47 years old, I’d say I was closer to a Goth or Emo kid, or at least on that end of the spectrum, because of the way I think, speak, act, dress, blah, blah.
Hell, I’ve said it before, in relation to my poetry… “I was Emo before it was a style”.
I wear black, pretty much all the time.
Not because it’s slimming, but because it helps me blend in to shadows better, and, as I’ve said before “It goes better with my soul”.
I laugh at morbid jokes.
I don’t get scared watching “scary” movies, but instead critique the special effects techniques, laugh at the stupid dialogue, & make fun of the plot choices.
I prefer to sit in the dark, rather than turn on a light.
I sit up late at night, and hate early mornings.
I detest early morning chatter at work, and do everything I can to avoid it.
I need my dark side.
You cannot see and know the light unless you sit first and accept the darkness.
Morrigan came to me at this time of my life for a reason.
She knows I need my darkness.
She is the Queen there, & can help me navigate my way far better than some of the lighter Goddesses.
This is not going to be an easy battle.
My darkness is the only thing holding me together right now.
Fire at My Fingertips
It seems I’ve decided over the last couple of months to completely rearrange my life.
I’ve been seeing Ravens everywhere online, and the local equivalent, crows, in the skies, on the ground, in the trees. It was more, to me, than a mere coincidence.
It was the Morrighan calling.
Warrior Goddess, she who stands at the forefront of the battle. Those who stand unafraid before her gain strength from her touch.
I do not fear my own death, I fear only my cowardice should I falter in the face of a loved one’s pain.
I started listening to what Morrighan had to teach me. To stand up for myself, which I have a hard time doing. To stop putting my needs first in my life, above everyone else’s wants. To cut away the things in my life that were no longer furthering my goals & dreams, but were, in fact, keeping me from reaching those very things.
And, changes started to immediately occur.
I dyed my hair black. Not a huge deal, but it made a big difference in how I see myself in the mirror, and it’s about perception.
I got serious about getting into shape. I work out now 4-5 nights a week, eat better, & have lost almost 20lbs. I’m starting to feel really good again, and I’m not done.
I’ve changed/dropped a couple of relationships with people that I can no longer maintain for various reasons. Not necessarily good or bad, in and of themselves, but necessary to make the changes I need for my life. (Ok, yes, one of the relationships was causing me more harm than good, & my whole family, as well as my friends, were all glad when I told them I ended things for good this week. He’s still being persistent, & I’m not sure how things will play out in the end, but I took the first step.)
All of this has happened since I started seeing the ravens…
There’s fire at my fingertips, raven feathers in my hair, & the Morrighan walks at my side, whispering in my ear.
Faith, Hope and Magick
The shower is a good place for me to think deeply. It seems to “wash away” the flotsam & jetsam of the day, clearing my mind… or, at least, focusing it, on whatever I’m trying to work out.
Tonight, for some reason, I while standing under the spray if the warm water, I started thinking about Magick.
Yeah, okay, I’m a Pagan Witch, so Magick is part of my life on the regular. But, I don’t actually do a lot of spells, at least the way most people think of them. I shift energy occasionally, putting good, positive energy into things I do, like cooking, or my crafting; even cleaning around the house gets a happy dose of “white light”, to keep the home feeling pleasant & welcoming.
I use stones for focusing my energy transfers, too, but normally, only for myself. Like for healing, or meditation, or just for centering & focusing myself to regain calm during an anxious period. I also keep a stone on my desk for focus while at work.
And, I’m good at getting red lights to turn green when I really need to get somewhere…
But, that’s usually the extent of it.
But, that’s not really the point of my post tonight.
My point, short story long…
I recently read some comments on a post in a Pagan group I belong to. Someone was asking for information about stones & their magickal properties, and one commenter got really shirty about saying that “Stones don’t do anything – they’re just rocks. You should use essential oils or herbs instead.”
And a bell went off in my head.
Of course stones don’t work for that person…they don’t have any Faith in it. They have no Hope. Therefore, their Magick will always fail.
One of the first things I learned in NY early training was that you have to believe.
YOU have to have Hope that the Magick will work to attempt a spell, then you have to have Faith that everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. If that means your money spell will see you winning $20 playing the lottery, or getting ok’d for overtime for a larger paycheck, then it works. If your love spell causes a stray cat or dog to follow you home, & you end up with a new pet, or you fall head over heels in love with your soul mate, that works too. And, if you do a spell that doesn’t seem to work, maybe the time wasn’t right for it, or maybe it was going to cause you to fall for someone abusive, so it was blocked by a higher power. Maybe you can’t have pets where you live, so instead of taking in a stray, you take it to the local shelter.
Any who, my point is – to do Magick…real, powerful, life-improving Magick… You MUST have both Hope & Faith.
You don’t have to be Pagan to work Magick. You don’t have to light incense, or stir potions, or chant, or have “all the right tools”.
You just have to believe you can, you have to direct your will, and you have to accept the consequences, whatever they are.
Without Hope and Faith, Magick cannot exist.
Dream Interpretation – The Marten
Most of the time, I don’t remember much about my dreams. Flashes, impressions, feelings, maybe a short “flash fiction” style scene, is usually all I carry into my waking day.
But, once in a while, I’ll have a dream so vivid, so full of senses, that I not only remember it when I wake up, I carry it around in my head for days, until I figure out what it means for me.
(This happened shortly before Xmas, too, & the dream then led me to email the Dragon, which is another story entirely)
Anyway, the dream I had just a couple nights ago, was just as vivid & full of sensory detail, & I’ve been mulling it over inside my head ever since.
In the dream, I was told by someone that “the marten you saved is inside the barn, you should check on it”.
Which to me was a confusing statement in & of itself, because I don’t think about martens much, & haven’t ever seen one, except in pictures. What is a Marten, you ask?
Not something that would have registered in my waking mind as something important, as they aren’t native to ND, where I live, so I wasn’t sure, in the dream, why the person who told me this was so specific as to the kind of creature.
So, I went into the barn, & to the stall where this little critter was curled in a great pile of fresh straw, almost sleeping, & seemingly, very relaxed.
But, as soon as I crouched down near it, it jumped up, very excited, & rushed over to me, crawling up into my arms, nuzzling me, & chittering at me quite animatedly.
I just sat there, holding this warm, vibrating furry creature, & felt totally at peace, as though it were perfectly natural to have a wild animal, related to wolverines, badgers & weasels, snuggled in my arms like a house cat.
And then I woke up.
I did some research on martens, just to satisfy my curiosity about this unexpected dream, & in reading about martens as a totem animal, came upon some surprising information that sounded completely familiar & made me laugh at myself.
Taken quotes from Spirit Animal Personalities on blogspot
♦ Introverted, independent
♦ Not manipulative of people
♦ Reputation as a bit of a quiet hermit
♦ Don’t make new friends easily or often
♦ Social activity can be stressful, awkward
♦ Reserved and reclusive, but playful around friends
♦ Uninterested in people and in opening up to people
♦ Do not recognise or place themselves within social hierarchies
♦ Make for non-commital but non-judgemental and truthful friends
♦ Very inquisitive
♦ Not perfectionists
♦ Tend to procrastinate
♦ Likes to keep options open
♦ Healthy amount of cautious
♦ Always prefer to work alone
♦ Seem disorganised and easy-going
♦ Do not function well under a spotlight
♦ Conflict avoidant
♦ Emotionally guarded
♦ Clear comfort zones
♦ Sometimes insensitive
♦ Capable of being vicious
♦ Often passive-aggrepeople
♦ Terrtorial and private
♦ Protective of things and ideas, not people
And while I agree completely with most of these traits, & see them very clearly inside myself, I don’t agree with the part about me being non-commital towards people, & not being protective of friends.
I am fiercely devoted to the people I care about, & will defend &/or protect them with all I have in me. This includes blood family And Chosen Family.
I’m actually better at protecting & defending others than myself. Just ask my kids, or even better, my Nephew – he who knows all the nitty gritty. I suck at backing myself up, & will usually be the first to take blame or lay guilt on myself in any situation.
So! *briskly rubbing my hands together*
What does this dream mean for me? Well, I’ve taken it to mean that I have a new totem animal, the marten, & I need to explore this some more. I’ve already been exploring my introvert nature, & I’ve been working on accepting it, instead of treating it as though it was a problem or deficit of character.
I think this is the next logical step, really, & look forward to learning more.
I already feel there is another Goddess/God calling me as well. Kwan Yin will always be my Boddhisatva, but she knows I have more room in my heart for love & devotion. Love multiplies itself & expands the boundaries of the heart to encompass all. That’s the main lesson She taught me.
I’m ready to learn more.
Bring on the Dreams.
I saw this on another blog, & decided to take a swing at it…
1. What’s the first thing you grab for in the morning?
My phone, checking email while I pee is good time management, yes?
2. Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
My parents. They have been through some hairy, tragic, tough shit in their lives, yet next year they will have been married 50 years, & they’re just really down-to-earth, caring, compassionate, truly kind folks who take in strays & will invite strangers to Thanksgiving if they find out they have no one else to celebrate with.
3. What do you think people notice most about you?
They probably see the humor first, because that’s how I keep my defenses safe. If I have you laughing, you won’t hurt me, right?
4. Who do you hope people notice most about you?
My humor, duh, I don’t want to get hurt.
5. What is your biggest weakness/fatal flaw?
Probably that I’m suuuper independent & refuse to ask for help with my personal problems.
6. What is your biggest strength?
Probably that I’m suuuper independent, & can MacGyver a fix for most anything.
7. What to you is the perfect, most ideal age to be?
27. Don’t ask why, just believe me.
8. High school. Awesome or terrible?
9. Cats or dogs?
Any and all, except reptiles. You name it, I’ve probably had one as a pet at some point (well, no exotics, so leave off the platypus and fennec fox)
10. Adjective that best describes you when you’re drunk?
Goofy…and usually way too fucking honest
11. Why do you love your best friend so much?
He knows who I am, warts & all, & loves me. Plus, he’s my partner in crime when I want to hit up Denny’s and mess with the wait staff by speaking the whole time with British accents.
12. Where do you want to go more than any other place in the world?
Canouan Island. For reasons.
13. Beaches or snow?
Beaches, or forests. Why aren’t forests an option here?
14. What is your absolute, number one, biggest pet peeve?
15. What is one personality trait you simply have no time for?
Entitlement. Get over yourself. We all end up wormfood eventually.
16. Zodiac, MBTI, or Birth Order? Which is the one you lean towards?
Hmm…I’ve used them all in describing & in figuring out people. I can’t choose, I’m such a Gemini, Youngest Child, INFJ.
17. Do you believe in something after death?
Yes. But that’s all you get unless you ask me straight out. I would say that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket, but I’m Pagan, & don’t believe in handbaskets.
18. How does someone instantaneously get on your good side?
Make me laugh with something intelligent AND funny.
19. How about your bad side?
Interrupt me mid-sentence. End of discussion.
20. How do you hope you’re described by people when you’re not around?
I would hope they say I’m funny, or kind, or smart, or good with duct tape.
21. What is your least favorite attribute about yourself?
My weight, but I’m working on that.
22. Is it okay to sleep with socks on?
Depends on what you’ve put the socks on.
23. Coffee or tea?
Flavored water. What is WITH these limited choices, I ask?
24. How many dates until you feel like it’s okay to have sex with someone?
Depends on the someone, & depends on my mood, honestly. Creepers, stalkers & fuckboys get an instant boot to the Auto Zone…the auto-reject zone.
25. What is your love language?
Braille. Let your fingers do the talking. On my neck & shoulders. For at least 5 minutes. Maybe with some warm oil or nice eucalyptus lotion.
26. Do you or do you not believe in ghosts?
27. What’s your vice?
Well, it’s a little red c-clamp just the right size for crafting & holding shit still. Do I need to get Google or Webster’s Dictionary in on this discussion? Why are you so curious about my crafting tools? Sicko.
28. Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?
Fb, mostly. But I dabble on IG. Twitter I haven’t twitted in years. And even Fb has taken a dive for me.
29. Favorite artist?
Shawn Coss right now. Wicked stuff.
30. Odd numbers or even numbers?
42. 42 is always the answer.
31. Do you believe in organizing or life or letting things just happen?
I like to organize, mostly. But relaxing & just going with something can be a nice change, once in a while. I’m not 27 anymore, I like a little foreknowledge so I can pack my purse or pockets appropriately. Never know when you’ll need emergency gum or a roll of dental floss, yes, I have both.
32. Are you more right brained or left brained?
I’m fully brained, it’s just not always fully functional. Like, when I’m conscious.
33. Which do you prefer, logic or creativity?
Both. Again…fully brained. You need to have both. Geez.
34. Do you think opposites truly attract?
Well, the magnets all say it works. I’m just listening to the magnets.
35. What is your Hogwarts house?
I’d probably be a Ravenclaw. I ask weird questions, too. and give even weirder answers.
36. Ask for permission or ask for forgiveness?
Neither. Are you a grownup or a malcontent? I say, do what feels right for you, as long as no one gets hurt, & it doesn’t break any laws.
37. Do you think chemistry is instant or grows with time?
I think chemistry is a class in school. I don’t want any of that shit I used to see in the beakers growing anywhere around me, thanks. I know what happens to people around growing chemistry. Radiation poisoning and burnt eyebrows. That’s what happens in chemistry.
38. Do you trust someone until proven otherwise or do you think trust has to be earned no matter who with?
Anymore? Trust has to be fucking earned with iron-clad sincerity. If you say something -MEAN. IT.
39. Are there situations in which you think lying is okay and understandable?
I have a horrible time with lies. I can’t tell them well, & hate having them said to me. Let’s just go with truth.
40. Comfortable silences or non-stop conversation?
Silence can be very good. Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver. Both get the job done. and honestly? Too much (meaningless small talk) conversation makes me want to shove red hot knitting needles in my ears.
41. Do you believe in fate or do you think we’re in complete control over our circumstances?
Little of both, actually.
42. Love or money?
LOVE. ALWAYS. Money just pays the bills. Love makes it worth living.
43. Impulsive or methodical?
Again, why pigeonhole me? I can definitely be both. Hello…Gemini!
44. Are you pro-technology/constantly connected or do you think digital detoxes are super necessary?
45. Do you think it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?
It’s better to have loved and kept, but that doesn’t seem to work for me. They always leave.
46. Do you question things even if it will bother someone or do you try to not rock the boat?
I hate confrontation, but sometimes you have to get out of the damn boat & go looking for the shore.
47. TV shows or Movies?
A little of both, depending on whether I feel like turning on the TV at all.
48. Books or Magazines?
49. Which is more preferable — being nice or being fair?
Being fairly nice and nicely fair. But no one gets to win ALL the time.
50. Describe what would bring you the ultimate happiness in life
Finding him – the one I can Love for the rest of my life, who will love me back. But I’m not holding my breath for that, anymore. Like I said before, they leave. Right now, I’m concentrating on finding moderate to medium happiness, & on the really tough days…a chocolate covered potato chip.
Silver Stars, Jingle Bells & Silence.
All is quiet today.
The gifts were all unwrapped yesterday, the squeals of joy still echoing softly within my memories.
The food, copious amounts of holiday delectables, were all devoured, the leftovers packed & sent along, saving only a few, choice morsels for myself.
The hugs & kisses warm me when I think back, bringing a lump to my throat & a gleam to my eye, as I know it’ll be a long stretch before it happens again.
But yesterday was successful and merry, just what I wanted for my Solstice gift.
And today…I spend alone.
You see, I am Pagan. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Mine happened days ago, on the 21st, the Winter/Yule Solstice. To me, it is a time of homemade, heart-made gifts, not all of the tangible & able to be wrapped in brightly -colored paper. Sometimes, it’s as simple as someone not-Pagan remembering to wish me a “Blessed Yule”. It shows they were thinking of me, & thoughtful enough to remember that my holidays are different, but are not forgotten.
Other times, it’s a child offering their help with preparations, without being asked, &/or just doing something helpful without my knowledge.
I do participate in the tradition of gift-giving, & my family has done this on Xmas Eve for many years. There are many reasons for this, but the simplest is that my children all go to their fathers’ on Xmas Day.
So, Xmas Day is my Quiet Day.
A day of contemplation & relaxation. One I usually spend in decadent repose, lounging in my jammies, hair wild from sleep & no desire to “fix it”.
A day of grazing on leftover treats…a little pumpkin pie for lunch, some fudge for snack…maybe some stuffing, veggies & mashed potatoes mixed together with turkey for supper.
I miss my kids, don’t get me wrong.
I loved having all 3 home again, noisy & raucous, leaving little messes lying around of drink cups & my grandson’s toys. It’s odd to not hear him saying “Gramma…you know what-uh?”
Speed Racer in his race car, complete with padded “helmet”.
But, last night, after all the hustle & bustle of the rituals of food & gifts… There was the chaos of the leave-taking. Packing items for travel, packaging leftovers for a long haul to Washington for EldestDaughter & her SO, for the shorter trek for YoungerDaughter back to her apartment, & getting OnlySon ready to go to his father’s.
And…when all had departed for their next destinations, I was left staring at the silent night, inside and out.
The silver Star atop my tree will join the jingle bells I had hanging next to the door – both will be put away tonight, clearing the holiday decorations swiftly, now that the revelers have fled.
And I spend today alone, watching the silent snow fall, content with yesterday’s success, mourning it’s passing, & hoping for the new year to be brighter.
Happy Holidays, all.
(EldestDaughter, OnlySon, & YoungerDaughter)
From our homes & hearts to yours.
EldestDaughter, SO, & Grandson. (Newest grandson also in picture, but not snuggleable till Feb. release date!)
May your days be Merry & Bright!
Catching Up, Letting Go, & Shoveling Through
Got into an argument on the internet, today.
Yeah, I know, it’s pointless, irritating & inflammatory to argue with strangers on the internet…but he pissed me off.
It was in a pagan group, & he was busily invalidating people’s beliefs, so I spoke up & told him off.
Politely, and with facts.
The subject was Wicca, & he was running his fingers, telling everyone that the only TRUE Wiccan was HIS type of Wiccan.
I pointed out to him that there are many valid paths, not just his, & he got condescending…which, you know, just calms me right down, because who doesn’t like being talked down to?
When I pointed out to him that Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc., were just as Christian as the Catholics, even though they’d split from the Holy Roman Catholic Church years ago, he totally ignored that, & spouted that I just don’t understand what true initiation is.
Someone get him some Kool-Aid, wouldja? Jim Jones wants to visit with him.
So, I dropped the mic on the conversation & left the thread.
Let it go. Trolls shouldn’t be fed, I wasn’t going to get him to understand that he’s just as bad as the fundie Xtians who think all of us Pagans are going to hell, & I just get all riled up with no resolution.
Time to do something a little more constructive.
Like baking cookies. Chocolate chip are all baked & ready to go on Monday. Snickerdoodles are waiting to be mixed next, & they go in the fridge overnight, so I need to get on that.
I also need to shovel my front sidewalk, but that’s not happening anymore to right. Maybe tomorrow…maybe I’ll wait till my neighbor decides he’s sick of looking at it & clears it for me with his 4-wheeler…
I also need to get busy on Yule gifts & a custom Xmas order my mom wants for a family member. Trees…trees, trees, lots of little wire trees. Nothing I Can show you till after the holiday season, since they’re all going to be gifts, but I will post pictures then.
Annnd, I’m almost done painting inside my house for now. The living room & dining room/office/gym/ferretarium are painted, & most of the hallway is finished, with only the trim at ceiling & floor, & around doors is left. Touchups, really, then I’m done for now. I’ve got some demolition to do in the kitchen before I can paint in there. I’ll post pictures of the finished painting as soon as it’s all done. I’m rather proud of having done it by myself. I love the soft grey color that seems to shift throughout the day with how the light hits it. Sometimes it’s just grey, sometimes it looks more blue, sometimes more lavender, but always clean, soft, & comforting.
There, now you’re caught up.
Time to go mix cookies…
I’m not a follower of the Northern Viking pantheon, but this last weekend, I prayed to Thor for protection for my nephew, who was in the path of Hurricane Matthew.
I found this online at http://www.northern paganism.org , and felt very strongly that I was heard, & His blessing of protection was granted.
I will be doing a ritual of thanks this upcoming Thursday, which is the name given to “Thor’s Day”.
Thunder rolls, lightning strikes,
And the hammer flies across the sky.
God of the weather, chariot of the storm,
Master of rain and torrents,
Son of the strength of Mother Earth,
I ask you to grant me that strength for myself.
You who are so great that you cannot walk
Across the Rainbow Bridge without breaking it,
You whose tree is the mighty oak,
O Thunor, grant me that unending sturdiness.
Let me not break beneath the blows of misfortune.
Keep me from being crushed when the powerful
Stomp their large feet on the smaller ones below.
You who are the guardian of the common man,
You who care for the farmers and workers,
Look upon me here in this place where I am
Only one of many, and protect my steps.
Make me resilient and mighty as your own arm,
Make me unbreakable, you who are Friend of Man.
I ask for one small percentage of the vigor
Of the right arm of the Thunderer,
That I might brave the tempest
And stand firm in the gales.
Thunder rolls, lightning strikes,
And the hammer flies across the sky.
Anxiety is so bad right now.
Random pains are causing aches & spasms in muscles that shouldn’t be hurting.
Heart is racing, breathing is fast & uncomfortable. It actually hurts to draw breath, & I know I’m not inhaling deeply enough, but can’t seem to regulate it myself.
Hands & feet itch & twitch, restless & irritating.
I can’t pinpoint the reason for this slow-building panic attack. It just keeps getting worse as the evening goes on.
Please, Goddess, let this be the peak of my anxiety, so I can see the other side, sloping down & away. Please let me be on the downhill slide of this.
I’m not into extended adrenaline rushes.
I just want to sleep, but know it won’t happen till I can calm myself somewhat.
Time for some external assistance.
Blessed Kwan Yin, hear my plea.
Calm and serene, comfort me.
Mother of Mercy, hold me still
Peace surrounds, by your will
Loving Goddess, I ask this now
Heal my soul, your child by vow.