Blurb

Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Update: Available NOW!

Hi there dear Reader,

After a bit of exasperation and some challenges, the Southern Hemisphere edition of A Year With Dea: A Filianic Daybook is available for purchase. While I am confident that I have ironed out all of the issues, there may be a revision coming on this in a few months. (My anxiety tells me that I missed something huge and very important. Though I have rechecked my work several times. So, I'm going to go back through it in a few months, just to make sure that everything is entirely as it should be.)

The Northern Hemisphere edition will be re-released in a few weeks after I get everything set for the cover art. The plan is to have both books with similar cover art. Presently, I am narrowing down the right picture. Obviously, I am continuing with the theme of roses and celestial backgrounds.

I am also coming down to the finish line on the book that I referenced in both texts: Drowning in Light. If everything goes according to schedule, I may actually finish it by the end of July. My being unwell has delayed pretty much everything I've been working on, including finishing edits and formatting for publication.

Thank you for your patience with me in this process. I will be updating pages and including pictures of cover at as soon as I figure out how to make that work. (My computer has been a bit challenging. I have my expert helping me out, also known as my exceptionally supportive and patient husband. In the process, he has been teaching me how to work this stuff out myself. So, it can definitely be described as a learning process.)

Thank you again.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Godspousery Notes: I am doing what?

It has been a very long weekend for me. Partly because of the fact that there was a wedding that Beloved and I attended Saturday, and the whole day was a comedy of errors. Example: I left my eye glasses in the apartment, so he went in to get them before we left. Then he realizes he left his phone in the apartment. When he comes back out, we realized that my eye glasses were still inside, safely behind the locked front door. It was a bunch of silliness like that for the whole day.

[...]

It is now Monday evening. I am still trying to gather up the spoons to do things. I just haven't been well. I struggle with a massive sense of guilt for this. Loki rather pointedly reminds me "Needs trump opinions." It may sound like a really simple statement that anyone would agree with. I, however, need the reminder as much as my pride says I don't. I tend to default to a low opinion on myself and what I am worth. (It pretty much goes hand-in-hand with my disability and such.) So, when I have a day like today where I was exhausted most of the day and I can't stand to look at myself even obliquely in the mirror, I need the proverbial kick in the pants to pay more attention to the fact that as badly as I may feel about doing things like taking a nap or the daily anxiety medication when there is nothing in particular in that moment requiring the medication, I need these things and that is what matters.

Nothing is quite so unpleasant as when you are called out on neglecting yourself. Especially when you were convinced that you were doing just fine and not doing that. It is even more unpleasant when the reflexive guilt kicks in and then you get picked up by the scruff of the neck and told to knock it off, when you don't realize what you're doing until a few horrified moments later. At which point the guilt thing threatens to start up again and you get a proverbial shake with a second warning.

I could say that everything is fine. Beloved is employed and doing well at work. The boys are almost done with school and everything seems to be going just fine there. Heck, this is the first time in a while that I can say with confidence that I managed not to overspend money when I was doing my necessary shopping. But, I feel awful and I feel awful about feeling awful. It's a recursive state of misery that I hope will be resolved as I work with my new therapist and my psychiatrist.

Loki made a point of nudging me into the path of the new therapist. So, there is no question about what he thinks is going to help me out. I'm sure he's going to point out some other stuff as well. I did, after all, ask for some help and guidance. I am struggling right now. Please forgive me if I am not as cheerful as usual.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Divination Notes: Runes - Ansuz

The runes are a challenging divination practice. They are one one hand fairly easy to pick up and the base meanings associated with them are simple, single words. At the same time, however, there is a subtle quality to them that makes the runes highly subjective. They are the foundation of the English alphabet (combined with the Latin alphabet) and most of the runes are still in use somewhere in the world, even if it is in some later generation rendering of the glyph.

While many people think of the runes as a shorthand for magical practice, they are actually a full alphabet and it is better to understand them as an alphabet, with the shorthand being treated as acronyms, much like how the individual letters of NASA are associated with separate words (and separate, discrete1 concepts). Many people start their study of the runes with the rune Fehu. I am beginning with the rune Ansuz. This choice is because it corresponds with the letter 'A' of the modern English alphabet and will be easier to remember if we follow the alphabetical order we are familiar with in studying this ancient system of letters.

Ansuz is written in a few different ways, depending upon which runic system you are looking at. The glyph is considered by many to be derived from the neo-Etruscian character that later became 'A' in the Roman alphabet, which is in turn believed to be derived from the Phonecian aleph. There is some debate as to the meaning of this rune. Different rune poems and different cultural perspectives gave rise to a series of different ways to interpret this rune, even though is most cases it was for the same letter in the alphabets of these peoples. The Norwegian rune poems indicate that Ansuz means estuary. The Anglo-Saxon rune poems indicate that it means either mouth, oak, or ash (presumably the tree) depending upon which particular variation of the Ansuz rune is used. Interestingly, in one of the Icelandic rune poems, Ansuz indicates one of the Aesir, more specifically Oðin.

Various 'experts' on runic divination have indicated that Ansuz can be a rune interpreted as signals from the gods, communication, or as an indication of the presence of the gods. In my personal experience, Ansuz can indicate communication on its own. When it comes up in a reading with Gebo, it suggests positive or beneficial communication for the querant. If it comes up with Haglaz, it suggests muddled communication at best, at worst arguments. If Ansuz shows up in a reading with the rune Isa, it is showing failed communication or a lack of communication.

I use the term 'experts' rather loosely here because the number of people who speak and use the ancient dialect is exceptionally small. And that number does not include anyone who learned it directly, as all is a careful reconstruction done with their best guesses. Thus, I have taken the liberty of going with what I can establish based on prevailing theories. My interpretations present above, however, are based upon my experience reading them for the better part of two decades. As the popular saying goes, your mileage may vary.

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1. My use of the word 'discrete' here is in the sense of individual defined units, similar to how it is used in mathematics.

Book Update.

Hi Folks!

I'm presently working on getting the Southern Hemisphere version of A Year with Dea through the publication process. It has been something of a frustration as I make small adjustments and then the system on the website I am working through skews those adjustments and messes the whole thing up. I'm pretty sure the solution is something really simple that I just keep failing to spot. It has made my day a bit of a headache, to be honest.

The manuscript for Drowning in Light is almost complete. I expect to get the first round of serious edits done next week. After that, if everything goes according to plan, I can get the next set of edits down around mid-July. I am a little behind schedule with these books right now and I'd like to apologize for that. I have been having some technical difficulties this time with the sites that I work with to self-publish. I have finally managed to get all of the paper background work for this done, though. (Sifting through over two decades of notes is exhausting but worth it.)

As it stands right now, I am hoping to have something for you all in the immediate future. This, however, depends on my ability to get this confounded manuscript through the publication process. I'll be drawing on the technical expertise of Beloved to see just where I'm making my mistakes. I figure he's a programmer and may spot the one thing that I am not picking up on. He's good at doing that sort of thing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Godspousery Notes: Everything Goes Sideways.

It has been a little while since I updated on this topic. Part of the reason is because I wasn't quite sure what to say and part of the reason is because life has been hectic. I was sitting here wondering why everything was in such turmoil of late. And then Loki cleared it up. At which point I felt completely foolish.

We have an agreement, him and I. There is a small list of things that I have to do, which is aimed towards improving my health and my relationships with people close to me. I had been failing to make the effort towards these things. After a week of not doing these things, my luck started to go off kilter. And the chaos field around me, for lack of a better word, activated. I wasn't putting the cause together with the effects, and getting frustrated with it all.

Loki sat me down Saturday evening and had a conversation with me. He pointed out where my failings were and where I was actually struggling. He noted that my struggles counted towards doing what I agreed to because I was making the effort. The others, I had basically given up when it got hard As a result, I started having problems that were not so bad as to actually be injurious to anyone but significant enough to catch my attention.

I was oblivious as to just how out of synch things had gotten until my slow cooker decided to try to light itself on fire. And then, later in the day, chaos happened around me when I was out grocery shopping. Things like wheels falling off of shopping carts as I passed by, items falling off of pallet jacks and landing at my feet each time I walked by one, or the biggest thing, every single cash register that was open crashing all at the same time when I walked up to check out. Synchronicity was really hard to brush off at that point.

So, after that conversation between Loki and I, I apologized for my failure to hold up my end of the agreement. I was firmly told not to apologize, just fix my behavior. I said I would. A little bit later, after the conversation had been done for a little while, I started to habitually do something that was not very good for me. Cue Loki's reminder.

A bat just appeared in the apartment. I have no idea how the little thing got in here. But I spent about an hour freaking out and trying to get it out. It kept swooping me. When I initially realized it was there, it tried to land on me. (No biting or scratches.) I managed to herd it out into the entryway and I shut the front door of the apartment, thinking the matter resolved. Go use the bathroom, come back into the kitchen to find, lo and behold, the bat had crawled UNDER my shut door. It flew around in circles for a bit. I had a minor panic attack. Then managed to get it out the backdoor.

Sometimes Loki's reminders are subtle. Other times, it is literally a bat flying at your head.

Recommendations: Alcohol for Summer rituals.

A pretty large number of modern pagan rituals include some manner of feasting. And an equally large number of them speak of having alcohol as both an offering and for imbibing. There is a plethora of options for including alcohol. The choices could theoretically become less diverse as you focused upon individual spiritual paths, but with the sheer amount of variety within those paths, it doesn't really change.

That said, there are some really nice things you can have as part of your libations that are also super tasty and within an inexpensive budget. That said, I would like to note that my experience with alcohol is a bit limited because I don't drink recreationally. So, if you have suggestions, please post them in the comments. Share what you think is tasty and delightful.

Wine
There is a really wide range of wines on the market. For my part, I have a couple of guilty pleasures that I must confess. I love Arbor Mist, pretty much anything from their product line is fantastic. The Blackberry Merlot is perfect for a summer ritual, in my opinion. I also really enjoy Riunite's Lambrusco. They're both inexpensive but they also both taste delicious.

Spirits
The list of alcoholic spirits that can be given as offerings or had as part of a celebration is easily as long as my arm. I am a little particular about my choices. I enjoy whiskey. If you're looking for a fairly inexpensive whiskey that tastes nice, I like Crown Royale. Their apple flavor is a big hit around my place. Fireball whiskey is a thing between Loki and I. It is possible, however, to infuse flavor into a bottle of whiskey. If you are infusing cinnamon, don't let it sit too long and put your cinnamon stick into a cheesecloth bag to catch the wee bits that will come off as it soaks into the alcohol.

Beer
There are countless different kinds of beer you can have. Some are flavored, some are not. If you are looking for an IPA that is not too hoppy, look into something from Southerntier Brewing company (if you are in Western NY). They actually have a range of IPA beers, so if you want something with a lot of hops, they've got one for you too. Of the flavored beers out there, I think that the best is the Peche Lambic from Lindemans. I find it at Wegmans in the beer aisle. It is delicious warm or cold, but chilled really is best.

Mead
Now, I put mead into its own category because it straddles the line between wine and beer. Honeyrun Mead's Ragnar's Dry Mead is pretty nice. Pair it with some fresh bread and cheese, and you are going to have a wonderful time. Chaucer's Cellars' Chaucer's Mead is also very good. It is a bit sweeter than Ragnar's Dry Mead, but it is like drinking pure sunshine.

But, there's some ideas for you as you get ready for your Midsummer celebrations.



(Sorry this is a few days late, thinks have been super busy here.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Video Message: What is Mindfulness?



Hi there, everybody!

In this week's video, I discuss mindfulness. It is a term that is thrown around quite a bit by people who practice meditation (among other things). It is a practice and a skill that actually does more than make your meditation session better.

Mindfulness is focused attention on what you are doing as you are doing it. Thus, if you are paying close attention to your meditation session and staying aware of what thoughts go through your mind, how you are feeling, and what you are doing; you are being mindful in your meditation practice. The same skill of paying attention to what you are doing and how you are doing it can make for being better at washing your dishes in the same way it makes you better at meditating.

Additionally, the awesome thing about mindfulness is that the more you use it, the easier it gets to use it in other areas. So, your practicing mindfulness when you meditate may lead to you being more mindful when you wash those dishes and more mindful when you are driving your vehicle - thus making you a safe driver.

It is a little hard in the beginning, but once you figure it out, it is really easy to apply in other areas. And, in my opinion, makes your life much easier.

I hope everyone has a great day!



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I forget what was playing on the radio. I think it was something from Karl Jenkins. I'm not wearing a scarf today, but, you might be able to see that I dyed my hair. It is my current 'stealth' covering, which makes things easier on a few different levels right now. I'll talk a bit more about that on Saturday.