Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ostara and new beginnings

Kenaz

Spring is officially here marked by Ostara this past Monday. We went out to a friend's house to celebrate with them because we hadn't seen them in a while, because we needed the fellowship, and it was a truly good day. 

We talked about many things and the subjects of Wyrd and Orlogg came up. We spoke about families too. There was a moment when, while listening to one of our hosts talk, I wanted to cry because he mentioned to a friend that she was much sharper than she thinks, which is something I have been telling her for years. She needs to hear it from more than me and I'm so glad someone else told her. 

He also spoke of honor and that was a point that made me a little weepy. I was raised on certain principles and ideals and for as much bad, back-stabbish shit as I was subjected to by extended family growing up, my parents remained steadfast.  In a recent conversation with my Dad about books and writing, we talked about how we wished there were more books with honorable characters- kind of like in Lord of the Rings. I have a tattoo on my right forearm the Japanese Kanji of three pieces of Bushido Virtures: Courage- because I strive to have the courage to face things ahead of me and keep going, Honor- because I want to live with honor every day, and Loyalty: because I value it and when I feel connected to friends and family, I find myself feeling a deep sense of it. I don't know if I am even expressing this well enough or if I have jumped the track somewhere, anyway, it was something that really resonated with me. 

We did a rune draw after a meditation. My rune was Kenaz, which felt fitting considering. Anyone who follows my sort of daily blog or who knows me personally, know that I recently had a full hysterectomy. My life was draining away slowly and while I kept going, there were times when things were so terrible that I was treading dangerously close to a darker, self harming path. I swore I won't go back there. 

In the week prior to the surgery, after a whole mess of hell with doctors jerking me around, I hit survival and then manic mode. In my desperation to escape reality and find some solace, I started reading some of my old writing, it was fanfiction posted online over ten years ago. Something in me took over and said, "the writing's shit, but the ideas are good, rewrite it now". Which, is pretty big, because I have been struggling with writing for so long. Well, I started and haven't really stopped since. It was as if when I got started everything that had been shut in and barricaded behind steel and concrete, broke free and flooded outward. 

My friend told me of Kenaz, it means forge fire and creation, building. I looked up more information on it, because I am terrible and couldn't spell it and no, I don't have my runes memorized. Kenaz means beacon or torch. It represents knowledge, vision, and revelation, inspiration, and the fire of life, fire of transformation and regeneration and other things long that vein.

For me, I am undergoing an inner transformation. I am getting my life back. I am feeling better and more like my old self but newer. The creative aspects that I had thought I'd lost and almost gave up on have surged back, encompassing me. This year I will be forged in the fires of all of it or I am going to be the one harnessing that fire and forging myself and my craft. 

I am always seeking knowledge, in my own time generally, and my Dad once told me that was one of the things I had going for me. My natural curiosity, my desire to learn what I didn't know. 

In the regeneration aspect, I feel that I have begun healing in a lot of areas of my life. I mended fences with an aunt. I am still cautious. My body is healing. I feel better, more alive. I laugh more and loudly- that's been a bit startling, I'd forgotten how loud I can be. I told Amanda that I am the happiest I have been in a long time. She was really glad to hear it. 

For once, I am excited about things. I don't feel trapped so much any more. 

I thank the Gods for showing me what I needed to see, for reinforcing things I was starting to feel, and for the fellowship of my friends who have been nothing but loving and supportive. And also, for Amanda and all her love and care.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Spell Writing Challenge: Relief spell and Spell jar for Mom


My spell Jar for my Mom

Relief spell and Spell Jar for my Mom.

Ingredients:
Chamomile- to soothe
Nutmeg- to maintain health
Garlic powder- to promote health
Photo of my Mother
Small jar with lid
Fillable tea bag or cloth to make a sachet
Peridot stone- for protection prosperity, emotional balance, health, sleep- even better because my mom has actually touched it.
Light blue candle
White candle

Place a photo of Mom in a glass jar along with a small peridot stone. Put a pinch of nutmeg, garlic powder, and chamomile into a small cloth sachet or fillable, paper tea bag and add it to the jar. When you are ready set the jar on your altar and place a white candle and a light blue candle around, in front of, or behind the jar and say this spell:

Mother Goddess up high
Please look with caring, loving eye
Down on my mother who’s ill
And if it be your will
Heal and soothe jumping limbs
Heal and soothe emotions grim
Heal and soothe whole body and soul
So she might sleep and rest
I trust you know what’s best.

Light both candles and let them burn.

I'm leaving the jar unsealed with wax so I can refresh the herbs if need be. 

Spell writing Challenge: Healing & Comfort Spell and spell candle for Family


Ingredients:
White tea light candle
Lavender
Chamomile
Picture of family
Lighter

Instructions:
Pull candle out of tea light container, gently pull out the wick. Place wick back in the container. Sprinkle lavender and chamomile herbs into the tea light container. Stick something like a fork or butter knife into candle wax and carefully using the lighter, melt the wax so it drips into the container and over the herbs. Continue to melt the wax until the container is almost full, then add a dash more chamomile and lavender. Melt a little bit more wax and gently place in the freezer to set it quickly.

*** IMPORTANT WARNING*** 
Find something to put under you tea light or find another, flame resistant container or don't use but a pinch of herbs. I used a small but fair quantity and the heat melted my tealight holder and through my altar cloth. 

When you are ready, take a photo of your family, place it on your altar and light the candle. Then say the spell below. You may insert which ever Gods or Goddesses you prefer.

Frigga and Freyja watching us
My family’s health and comfort I do entrust
Keep them safe
Keep them warm
Keep them happy
And bring good health and comfort to the norm.

Let the candle burn for as long as you wish, either all the way or just a few minutes for later use with the spell when you feel your family needs it. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Spell challenge



This month, it seems is a month of challenges. Magaly Guerrero has a Witches in Fiction writing challenge this month geared toward healing the world. Last year I'd wanted to join her challenge but didn't quite get my ass in gear. Since I've made the decision to make myself write every day again, this seemed like killing two birds with one stone. Not only that, but I told Amanda about this challenge too. She is interested but also had a writing challenge of her own to tell me about. 


Amanda's challenge is a spell writing one. It was sent to her by someone on facebook, back when she still had an account, as something that might be of interest, and I guess she's been holding on to it for quite some time. The challenge is to write a spell for every day of a month and while there are some prompts, Amanda and I both decided to write our own spells. Also, we aren't going to write one for every day of this month, but rather cut it in half, so that we write 15 spells, iron them out, and the next day preform/ do them. We'll be writing our own personal spells, I haven't asked if she wants or wanted to combine our efforts or not on that end, but we will probably preform some together. Tonight, for instance, we are doing her protection spell which she posted here

Since I am getting around to sitting down to work on mine late, all I have is a rough draft of spell ideas and these I will share now. 

1. Healing/ comfort spell for family in general.
2. Relief spell for my Mother.
3. Money spell
4. Dark days spell- anti depression spell for me
5. Depression & Self worth spell for my Dad
6. Physical energy spell- drawing toward- for me.
7. Self confidence spell
8. Spell of protection, health, and happiness for the kitty
9. Clarity of spiritual direction- sometimes its good to reevaluate
10. Spell of focus- for writing
11. Igniting Creativity spell
12. Spell for letting that which doesn't serve, go.
13. Prosperity for family and home spell.
14. Banish mental negativity spell.
15. House cleansing and purification spell.

I will share these when I have them written and hope to get started tomorrow morning. 




Friday, September 23, 2016

Healing Wyrd, an article I really needed to read.

Picture snagged from Pinterest

I recently took some time to catch up on backed up e-mail, you know the e-mail you really want to read but don't quite have time for it, so you save it for later? Well, a subscription to Happily Heathen, on The Agora: the Central Hub for the Patheos Pagan Channel, was one of those "I'll save these for later. That later came when I couldn't sleep one night. 

While playing catch up on this particular subscription, I came across Healing old wounds at a new ancestors grave. In a lot of ways, this was something I needed to read. There have been some people in my family that have negatively affected our Wyrd. My Mother's Step Father for instance. I do not want to honor this man. What he did to my Mother and my Aunt makes me sick. I have no love for him. I wish I could say that he means nothing to me and doesn't affect me, but he does. The things he did make me quite creative when thinking about vengeance and then I have to remind myself, as I did when he was alive, that he just isn't worth it. 

But there is a lesson in his existence, his crimes, and even my Mom's Mom's fear of being alone so much so she stayed with someone who hurt and abused her children. That lesson is in my Mother. For everything that happened, my Mom got herself out, she made a life for herself, and while she never forgave her step dad (he's dead now, had a heart attack and crashed his truck into a light pole- not quite the judicial end I would have liked but I will take it), she forgave her mother. She forgave her mother for looking the other way, for beating her when she tried to get help, for choosing a monster over her own daughter. She forgave all of it and she didn't do just for herself, she did it for her mother so that Grandma J, would have a chance to know me, her Granddaughter. Now, I was never left alone with my mom's step dad and I never got to spend the night with Grandma J until after he died. But that one night I was able to, meant more to my Grandma J than I could even express to my Mom. I feel in a lot of ways, my Mom doing that, helped to heal the wounds of the family Wyrd and taught me the importance of forgiveness, and getting back on your feet and pushing through. 

On the converse, my Aunt, my Mom's Identical Twin, did not learn these lessons. In fact, she fell into the victim roll and continued the cycle of abuse in her own kids, particularly to the one who actually cares about her the most. She is also horrible to my Mom, so much so that while my Mom still loves her sister, she wants nothing to do with her. I think hanging in there for 50+ years is long enough and at some point, you just have to say, "I love you, but we're done." I don't know exactly how that will affect the Wryd, if that's positive or negative. For me personally, I'm fine with this disconnection to my Aunt. I tried for a long time to be devils advocate, to be sympathetic, but she finally just pushed me beyond my limits. I love my Aunt, always will, but that doesn't mean I have to talk to her or allow her to cause more damage. 

But how does this play out in honoring my ancestors? How do you honor someone or people who have hurt you or others you care about in your life, even if you don't want to honor them? What about the people you don't know about yet? Or ancestors from long ago you know nothing about only their names? I think its a personal choice. I don't think anyone can tell you who you have to honor. That probably comes off as "pick and choose" in so far as picking what you like and discarding the rest. Well, I suppose in a way it is. I will honor my Aunt because I love her and we had some good times, but also because she is my Aunt and there are lessons in my life that she's taught me about people. I don't want to honor my Mom's step dad and while I may never honor him directly, I will honor the indirect lessons- those my Mother learned and then instilled in me, such as who and what to watch out for, getting back on your feet, and learning to forgive and what forgiveness can do. This may not work for everyone and I think that's okay. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why I call BULLSHIT on Cultural Appropriation- except when...

Why I call BULLSHIT on Cultural Appropriation- except when...

A while ago, a friend of mine wrote a blog post about some issues that span across multiple areas, pagan and otherwise, that inspired a response from me. In agreement with her, I hammered out my support piece but didn’t post it right away. I read it to Amanda, and I just decided not posting it would be for the better, at least until I had cooled off, because some of the topics my friend wrote about, are things that I get all hot and angry about, and believe it or not, there are times where I come off far stronger and intense than I intend to. I deleted it in the end.
Anyway, one of the topics within my friend’s post was cultural appropriation- a concept that while it has always been around, seems to have flared up with the Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) in the last couple of years.

First, two things: Social justice- yes, we need some but with that said there are people who take things to the extremes and that’s what I find unacceptable. You can fight for a cause without name calling and being an overt asshole.

Second, cultural appropriation is and can be real thing if someone is being disrespectful to another culture. However, I call bullshit on cultural appropriation when it comes to someone celebrating another culture or even simply wearing clothes.

What I mean by the latter is that some people, SJW’s mostly, seem to think that certain prints on clothing are a form of appropriation. Bullshit. The fashion industry has been and always will be drawing inspiration from the different cultures of the world. It will never end no matter how much you fuss about it and instead of seeing it as appropriation, why don’t you see it as a form of celebration. Someone thought something from another culture was beautiful and wanted to celebrate it in their own way. I honestly don’t believe that a fashion designer maliciously thought about using a pattern, a design, or whatnot to hurt an entire people.

In fact I don’t believe that’s what anyone is doing. More to the point, while our planet is large, it is becoming very small in terms of communication and exploration. We see each other’s cultures and become excited about them. They are new, different, fascinating. Take me for example, I am not Japanese but I enjoy Anime, Japanese history and culture, Kimono, the language, ect… I have made a Kimono and I have one that someone gave my Great Grandma Richardson. I am even interested and fascinated in Shinto and have been to a shrine. But because I have some Kimono, eat the food  with chop sticks, listen to the music, and so on, someone would accuse me of appropriation instead of seeing that I just enjoy another culture so much that I am choosing to celebrate it. And it’s not just the Japanese culture that is celebrated in my house, there are cultures of Amanda’s and my heritage that are celebrated as well.

Speaking of heritage celebration, someone accused one of Amanda’s cousins of cultural appropriation because he was wearing a Native American headdress in some photos. He is a blonde haired, blue-eyed white kid and his friends and others on facebook assumed that because of his physical appearance, he was in the wrong, never once asking if he has Native American Heritage, which he, in fact, does. I keep seeing instances like this all over the place and excuse me for saying, but it seems to be geared toward white and white-looking people. There, I said it. Now while I don’t think dreads look good on a lot of white folks, there are some who look great in them, but you never hear that. You only hear that “the white person is trying to be black”. But you never seem to hear about or see anyone jumping down an African American’s throat for converting to Islam or any one bitching to anyone else for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas or any other holiday.

Now, don’t mistake me, this isn’t me being trying to be a bitch, this me pointing out some flaws in other people’s logic. And this is also me telling you its bullshit, that it’s okay for you but not okay for anyone else. Here is the thing, as long as no one is disrespecting or defaming, or purposefully bringing harm to yours or another culture, why are you so upset about? Why assume the worst of people, when you could be excited that they are excited about your culture. Why not see this as an opportunity to teach and share? Especially when this move out of the hair style and fashion or physical arena and into more of a spiritual one. How many pagans worship and celebrate a religion that may or may not be from their heritage and more importantly, how can you tell? I mean, you can be black and have Viking ancestors and follow a Heathen path, and even if you don't, color of skin should never matter in this arena. And even more importantly than that, what business is it of yours to tell someone how they worship is wrong? I mean if you really HAVE to make your business, why not do it peaceable and again see it as an opportunity to share and teach- all without being a total dick.


I think in the end, what it all boils down to is, live and let live, mind your own business, and if you absolutely can’t help yourself, try to be understanding, sharing, caring, and helpful. Being an ass is what makes problems. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Religious conversations in the middle of the night. Contains spoilers for the film.


The other night I had fallen asleep on the sofa watching something with Amanda. I woke up about the time that she'd settled on the other end to sleep so I decided to watch a movie on our Netflix queue to fall asleep to. Only I didn't fall asleep. For some reason I was suddenly very much awake, sucked into this movie, and the more I watched the more sadness and anger I felt. Amanda ended up watching it with me and it sparked a conversation between us afterwards, one that I've wanted to write about but needed a few days to cool my jets and remember a few things. 

Philomena is about a woman who, at the age of 17, went to a fair, met a boy, had sex, and got pregnant. She was Irish and Catholic. Her father was so ashamed of her, he dumped and abandoned her at a convent. The time period looked to be between the 50s-60s. When she gave birth, a breached birth, she wasn't given any pain killers and the pain was supposed to be an atonement for her sin. She and the other girls who had been dumped at the convent had to spend the next four years of their lives working off (difficult labor and kind of bad conditions) the "help" the Sisters of the convent gave to them, before they were free to go. They were only allowed to see their children for an hour each day. I don't think most of the girls there left with their children. Why? Because the Sisters sold the children for 1000 pounds to Americans.  Philomena's baby was taken and she kept the ordeal a secret for 50 years. Then, she and her daughter enlist the help of a reporter to find her son and they go on an adventure of a little excitement, hope, and sadness that ends with a little forgiveness. I wanted to sob my eyes out at the end. I wanted to jump into the tv and hug Philomena.

The religious conversation that sparked afterward was one wherein I just wanted to cry. Amanda and I came to the conclusion, at the time, that monotheism is horrible. We don't know a ton about Islam, but we do know quite a bit about Christianity since we were both raised that way- her more than me since she was Catholic and my main christian education and pushing came from my Grandmother.  Anyway, we were examining how the peoples of monotheistic religions treat people, and how the Bible, the old testament especially just seems cruel. The do this or else, only worship me or you'll be punished, mentality. We talked about the religions in terms of history, in terms of present history and current things happening in the world today.  Yes, there are some pagan religions that haven't been much better- for instance the Aztecs were not nice people. but it just seems that the monotheistic way of life seems to condone torture of people as a way of repentance. As a way of "you're not like me, so you must suffer until you are like me" it is sickening. I don't understand it. It is as if these religions are going to war against anything and everything not them- which is kind of Hitler-esque don't you think? For religions so much about love and peace, they sure spurn thousands of gallons of hatred. 

I had to have a few days to separate myself from the subject and focus on some homework before I could think about this again.  The religions themselves could be beautiful, but the written word of them are done by man and mad is cruel. I have to remember that the people of these religions have been, are, and will continue to use their religion as way to torture people for no reason other than their mistaken sense of duty and if you really want to get down to it, their personal twisted and sick enjoyment.  Not all, but a good plenty of them.

But why? Why and how does anyone have this kind of energy within them. How does a person find delight in hurting someone else and using religion as an excuse to do it? It is disgusting. And why does it seem so much more prevalent in monotheistic religions? Sure I hear about pagans tearing in to other pagans online- trolling per se-, and there were occasions in history with pagans attacking other pagans, but you never hear about that in the news, you never hear about pagans protesting gay marriage or other things, and so on. So what makes it so different? (keep in mind when I use the term pagan, it is an umbrella for everyone not monotheistic, not just the more magically inclined).  What is it now that sets pagans and monotheists apart? Is it tolerance? Sure okay, but what about the need to use religion to torture others? 

As of right now, all I think is that people who are predisposed to hurt and find delight and sick fulfillment in using religion to torture others, gravitate to these monotheistic religions because there are certain things passed down through the centuries from other disgusting people, that gives them license to get away with it. There is also a sense of control. I know that is a dark view, and probably skewed in a way, and it will most assuredly piss someone off, but those are my thoughts and opinions right now. No, this doesn't mean that I hate followers of monotheistic paths, no that doesn't mean that I am trying to bash them or will stop being friends with someone because of their religion. I'm not that lame, petty, or afraid. I know there are good people from all religious paths and walks of life. I know because I have met them and I'm not going to turn against them because of the hateful few that give the rest a bad name.