Blurb

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Video Post: Positivity Post No. ???


** Transcript **

Hello,

It has been a while since I have posted one of these videos. I'm sorry that I have been so absent. It has been quite a struggle to get much done over the last few months. I am not completely feeling confident in myself right now. That, however, is not a sign that I should not do this.

Sometimes, being vulnerable is a good thing. It is a place where honesty comes from and we can connect on a deeper level than what you would find in what comes when everything is comfortable. Taking risks is hard to do. It is especially hard when we feel like we are too open for harm when we do so. But, sometimes that really hard risk proves less difficult after we do it. And sometimes the rewards of taking that risk are a lot bigger than we dared to dream.

Thank you for allowing me to take this chance with you. And I hope that you have someone equally supportive to help you take the chances that help you grow into who you desire to be.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Divination Notes: Rune Ingwaz


Ingwaz is a rune strongly associated with the god Ingvi-Freyr. It is in position 22 of the Futhorc alphabet. It has two variants. The first is a diamond. The second is a square. Both are drawn from the central portion of the image for this glyph. It is not associated with a specific letter within the modern English alphabet. This is because it is a glyph for a dipthong, specifically the -ng sound. This dipthong glyph fell out of use as the Roman script began to replace Runic in England and surrounding areas.

Unlike many other runes, this one has only one rune poem associated with it. It is from the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The poem translates to: Ing was first among the East Danes / so seen, until he went eastward / over the sea. His wagon ran after. / Thus the Heardings named that hero. It is often considered an obscure and hard to decipher text by many who refuse to consider that Ing was the name of these people's ancestral god (hence why they were called the Angles, which could also have been written the Ingles). The wagon spoken of would be Ingvi-Freyr's famed ship Skithblathnir if this poem was viewed from this context.

Traditionally, this is a rune of blessings and fertility. It is also considered a rune of wealth. I personally consider it to be a rune of gestation and growth. As the rune itself visually is very close to what a wheat ear looks like or of what a seed would look like. It is a benevolent rune with no untoward implications, generally, due to the fact it can not be read merkstave. Depending on how it falls in a reading, it may indicated a time of growth or a time of prosperity. If it arrives in a reading surrounded by negatively aspected runes, it serves to soften the harshness of those other runes.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Back in a day.

Hello, gentle Reader,

I am currently struggling with a migraine. It's been a thing all day. I will try to post something more tomorrow. Gods willing, this will end quickly.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Thoughts and Ponderings.

Hello dear Reader,

I have been unwell. I'm actually going to be calling my physician in a little bit to make an appointment to deal with a possible sinus infection. Other aspects of my health are not very well at the moment either. It is making quite a few things challenging.

I woke up today with the hope that today would be the day things turned around. Instead, I found news reports about the massacre in Las Vegas and more details about transgender children being abused. Grief is a reasonable response to such things, especially when you do have a fundamental love for life. I am, however, numb. It is not a pleasant sense of ennui that has been romanticized by certain people.

It is the horrible numbness that comes when you are burned and for a brief moment you can't tell if you feel as though you are freezing or on fire. It is the numbness that comes when you have learned that someone you dearly love is dying and you are helpless to do anything to even bring them comfort. Or the numbness as you witness a tragedy so great it alters the lives of even the people who come in passing contact with it.

Some would have us say that we have seen evil and it lies in the hearts of humanity (some would say men specifically, I refuse to because all genders have this capacity). The faith of Filianism and Déanism tells us that evil is the fruit of that which is not of Dea. It tells us of the Dark Queen and her servants who function in much of the mythos as the Satan figure does within modern Christianity. We are told that we are fundamentally good, though flawed in our existence in this world because we are at some distance from Dea - who is the source of and the one who sustains all good.

When I take these things into my mind and contemplate the deeds of myself and others, I find myself troubled. The fundamental question as to the nature of evil gets more challenging when we move out of the rarified realms of pure philosophical thought. We find ourselves asking if the person who steals a loaf of bread is wrong? And if they continue to be wrong because they are doing so to feed themselves or another. The list of conditional modifiers that can be hung upon just one simple question makes the question of evil murky and hard to resolve, even when the simplest answer is that it is from that which is not of Dea.

I look to Loki, a much maligned god of the Norse pantheon who many would treat as the Asatrur version of the 'Devil'. His answer has always been that evil is only evil to they who are harmed by it. It is an answer that many would take great offense over. At one point, I did as well. Then I looked at the horrific things done for the sake of the equally nebulous concept of good. Murder is murder, regardless if it is done on the street over a pair of shoes or an imagined insult or upon the field of battle. When one kills another, it is murder. The value of the act comes from the context, which is more often than not defined by the mindset of the parties involved. (This is one of Loki's favorite arguments by the way that our perception of good and evil are relative.)

Thus, I find myself drawn to the mysteries of physics. Einstein had some fairly definite things to say about frames of reference and how they influenced everything. Such things could be applied to philosophical or theological questions. But, at what point do we find that we must say that the value judgments are meaningless because they have no direction they move in at the speed of light? It is a question that keeps coming to mind of late.

Is there good or evil? Well, yes. But they are only recognizable in context. That which is good to me may prove evil to you and entirely valueless to someone else. Thus, I question, is there some absolute value that good and evil can be calculated against. Some manner of spiritual equivalent to lumniferous aether or something else that we can gauge good and evil against. In my years of struggling with this question, I have no answer. It only brings up greater questions. And the biggest of them is why people do these horrible things.

The only answer I have been able to come up with is because they think it good and right and proper. And when considered from my frame of reference, they are insane. And the question about why the gods permit such things are even more difficult. It is, however, something to discuss on another day.

May there be healing for all who have been harmed this day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Full Moon Rite: Full Corn Moon/Full Barley Moon

First, I must apologize for this post being a week late. Things have been quite busy with the start of school and I simply have not had the time to get this finished by the last full moon (Sept. 6, 2017). This rite is one that could be used for pretty much any full moon during the harvest season. What I am presenting here is a fairly generic ritual that can be applied with minimal modification for other deities and faith practices that fall outside of the cultural norm of the USA (mostly Christian).

Like most of the other rituals and spells I present, I use a lay out that is similar to a recipe. Spells have a more focused 'ingredient' list and the steps taken are going to be different but the methodology is actually pretty close to the same for these. It is because I believe the more consistency we have in our magical and spiritual lives, the much easier it becomes to access this part of our lives at any given point in time.

For this ritual, it is best if it can be performed outdoors to take advantage of the last of the warm season's weather. Inclement weather will always demand safety of the participants (and comfort can be a big part of safety so don't count that out). If you are doing your rite indoors because it is cold and rainy, this is not a problem. (And may actually be an excellent time to acquire some rainwater for future ritual and spellcraft use.) The ritual has a central space for focus, this is the altar space. It can be a table dedicated for this use specifically. It can also be as simple as a coffee table in the living room. A cloth that evokes autumnal qualities is pleasant, but not vital. The rite can be performed with out an altar cloth of any sort or a table. As long as the altar space is visually designated as separate from the rest of the ritual space, that is all you really need here.

Candles are popular. In some cases, the old fashioned flame burning candles are not a good choice. I have found equal success with electric candles as I have with wax. (I do my best to use rechargable batteries with my electric candles to minimize the environmental impact of disposing of batteries. If I must throw my batteries away, I collect them in a safe container and then bring them to places where they are disposed of properly. If you ask your local electronics store or automotive store, they can usually tell you where they are collected for disposal.) At least one candle is dedicated to the deity(s) you are invoking.

In addition to candles on the altar, ritual tools for cleansing and purification are there. As are offerings and some manner of nourishment to be shared with the deity(s) and participants in the ritual. Breaking bread together has long been a blessed sacrament in countless faiths into antiquity as it is an expression of trust and community. If you can not make your own food stuffs for this rite, don't be troubled. Store bought is just as good (as a certain famous chef has said).

The Pre-Ritual Rites

Prior to this ritual, please make sure that the area is clean and easy to move through. This helps the ritual to proceed easily.

With the altar space clean and ready, place all tools, candles, icons, and food stuffs for the feasting portion of the rite. With the first tool for cleansing the space (I prefer to use incense of a floral nature with pine resin added in.), walk the perimeter of your ritual space. (If you are working in an established, permanent ritual space, the cleansing of the space via spirit is not a necessary step, though it may assist you in entering proper ritual mind set.) As you walk the perimeter, declare the intention that the space be cleansed of harmful and contrary energy to your goals. The first pass around the ritual area complete, place the first tool of cleansing on the altar and then repeat the process with the second tool (I asperge the space with blessed salt water.).

Ritual space established, if a candle is being used to signify the presence of spiritual allies, guardians, and guests, light said candle at this time. As you do so, make your invocation of these beings, making your invitation as specific as possible. This is an excellent time to request your spiritual allies and guardians to ward the ritual space and participant(s) from harm by way of malevolent and contrary spiritual beings that seek to disrupt or otherwise influence the ritual.

Invitations made to those upon the spiritual realms that you desire to have present or witness your ritual, it is now time to invoke your household and personal deities. (In my case, I would be requesting the presence of Ingvi-Freyr; Anna, the Priestess of the World; Mother Marya; and Deam Mysterium.) At the time of requesting the presence of the deities, it is good to state what the purpose of your ritual is and ask their blessing upon it.

The Ritual

The Full Moon rites of Wicca, and related faith traditions, are generally ones of thanksgiving when they are not focused upon magical work. The ritual I present to you today is based in the Wiccan ritual format, as this is how I was trained initially in ritual practices. The Full Corn Moon / Full Barley Moon is the harvest celebration that is closest to the Autumnal Equinox and when the harvest celebration of Mabon (one of the major celebrations of Wicca and related faiths) happens.

[...]

Alright folks, I need some help here.

I'm looking this post over and I feel like I am just going on and on. I'm going to take another swing at this, but before I do, I would love some feedback.

Where do you think the strengths of this style of post are? What do you feel is missing? (Other than the other half of how to do this ritual.) I don't want to be boring you. I worry that this post's high level of verbage is taking away from the really purpose and goals of this post - to be informative and making knowledge accessible to pretty much anyone.

So, please, take a look at this draft. I've been trying to fix it because I have the distinct feeling something is wrong with it. I just can't place what it could be.

Please post your comments, suggestions, and recommendations in the comments below. Thank you so much for your time and your help. I want to make this the best little blog I can. I need a bit of help to do so.

Pagan Parenting: Shrines for Kids.

My eldest has taken a shine to Zeus. He's fascinated by him. He offers prayers up to him in his own unique way. On the whole, he is in the process of becoming a very affectionate devotee. As such, I wanted him to have his own special little bit of altar like space for his devotions. At the same time, I needed something his brother couldn't exactly destroy.

This is where I returned to the concept of jar shrines. Jar shrines are essentially a shrine inside a jar. There may be a permanent offering inside it, like the one I saw for Freyja that had rose buds inside it. Or offerings may go near the jar. In some cases, I have even seen them made so that the offerings could go on top of the jar. In the case of the one I made for my son, I made a peg doll based statuette of Zeus. I then set it on top of a bit of cork that I colored green (to look like Mt. Olympus) and then put white sand (for clouds) around it. This was in the lid of an old olives jar (that had been cleaned and waiting for a use, amusingly they were kalamata olives) and everything has been glued together with Gorilla Glue. Then, I ran a bit of Gorilla Glue around the edge of the jar before screwing them together.



The jar set up acts like a bell jar, keeping the icon safe. I'm going to be giving him this as a gift for the Equinox. I am also in the process of setting up something that he can use to help keep track of his prayers. A bit more friendly version of a kid's prayer journal that I started doing with them back a few months ago. (We didn't get very far with this prayer journal stuff because life happened and I was having a hard time keeping on top of my own stuff.)


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Commentary: Fasting from Media

It has been a difficult few weeks. I am not sure if the difficulty is because I have a cold that is throwing everything off or if I am just drained by the pure horror of what has been happening in the world. At one point, as I was in the process of reading everything I could about Filianism and Déanism, I encountered the idea of limiting how much media you consumed. Previously, this was an exercise that I did halfheartedly as part of my run through The Artist's Way (from Julia Cameron, ISBN 1585421464). At that time, it was an exercise to help recover my artistic voice by way of filtering out extraneous input.

As the news turned more dire over the last several months, I found it increasingly distressing. As Facebook posts did so as well, I became deeply worried about almost everything. As a person with anxiety problems, even medicated properly, this is not good for me. It has lead to my somewhat conspicuous absence from internet activity. One would think that placing such strict limits on my internet activity would be problematic. After all, it is my primary mode of interaction over the last year outside of my household and a few close friends. Instead, I found myself finding peace. Spending an hour at most online turned my days into spending two hours writing in my journal and more time building things with the kids. (They are very mechanically inclined, it seems, and love building things that have moving parts from random junk. It has been interesting.)

I finally saw the wisdom of that fast from media and careful monitoring of what I was reading. When you are living a life that has your resources limited, you must be careful where you employ them. It is a massive act of self care and healthy life to respect your limits. It is also an act of faith that all shall be well as you take care of yourself and leave the rest in the hands of the Divine.