Blurb

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

For the 5th day of Nativity, my true love gave to me...

It has been a very busy time. As much as I wanted to hop on here and blog, it was difficult to find time between holiday gatherings, sick kids, and the general chaos that comes of the children being on break from school. That said, I am pleased to report that the children are doing much better. We have only one broken toy thus far, which I think I managed to repair.

I have been working on updating my devotional journal over the last several days. As I have been writing and thinking hard about Dea, I find myself feeling somewhat under prepared to be writing so much about her. I have a bit of a self-image problem that tends to reflect poorly on my self confidence. I was really struggling with that over the last several days when something suddenly made sense.

My goal with this blog was never to be the authoritative voice on Filianism. I am probably one of the most heterodox Filyani/Filianists that you'll encounter. I found myself getting anxious over the idea that what I presented about Filianism was going to create horrible conflict in the community. I was really starting to worry about this when the silence from Dea deepened over the last year. As I was running around in circles thinking that I was a consummate fraud and such, she was working quietly in the background, as she does.

It was back towards the beginning of Yule that I had a sit down conversation with multiple deities. And that conversation consisted more of their explaining how things were going to work and why they were going to work in that fashion. As a friend of mine described it, it was a deity intervention. I came away from the discussion with Frigga, Freyja, Freyr, Loki, Odin, and Dea with an uncomfortable feeling. I am not very good at being compassionate towards myself. It felt awkward and wrong to be behaving in such a fashion towards myself. And yet multiple things landed in front of me that strongly encouraged this new behavior and feeling.

I was finding myself getting caught up in panic over my disability when the gods sat me down and had that conversation. I've come away from it with a new set of taboos and instructions for how to proceed forward. I thought about it and realized that these taboos and instructions (which frequently overlap) was something that I should probably share here. I'm doing so for two reasons. First, I really started this blog to share my spiritual wanderings and second, I suspect that this may be something that will prove helpful for someone else.

The List

  1. I will stop lying to myself about my self worth.
  2. I am to begin taking active effort in maintaining my health and welfare.
  3. I am to stop apologizing for things that are not my fault.
  4. I am to take time to do more of what makes me happy.
  5. I am to stop saying cruel things to myself.
  6. I will begin reminding myself what my good qualities are.
  7. I will remember that I am a valid and valued person.
  8. I will do more to take care of myself on all levels.
  9. I will believe myself when I am telling myself that I am in pain or otherwise unwell.
  10. I am to be more loving towards myself, like I am towards the people who are important in my life
This list is in no particular order. Some folks who are close to me know what the biggest thing on this list is. Others on this list have been added since the initial conversation. Some people have New Year's resolutions, I have a list of rules and tasks to complete. Honestly, I think that this is going to work better for me than the standard New Year's resolutions. I am now accountable to others. This is a very large motivator. I've been told that there are consequences for intentional disobedience. I have also been told that I am allowed a grace period where my stumbling into establishing these practices will be tolerated, so long as I continue to work to make these things happen.

In addition to the list of taboos and tasks, I have also had some strong encouragement to do a few other things. One of them is to talk more about the godspousery thing that I have going on. This is not to be a 'how to' manual as much as a collection of anecdotes and snapshots into what is happening. The argument has been put forth that because I am not ashamed of them, I have no reason to be ashamed of myself either. This has been a consistent argument wielded against the argument that I am doing this all wrong. (By the way, if you are ever in a position where you are attempting to argue with Loki about something which you know you are wrong but too uncomfortable to admit, just give up. He will dismantle your argument and strip away that defense to hold up the mirror to show you just what is going on. And he won't even be angry or anything, he'll just do it. EVERY TIME. When he gets annoyed with your insistence with self-deception, he's probably going to get more ... aggressive about dismantling those arguments as you begin them.)

So, I am embarking on a learning experience. I've been instructed to share it with you all. I'm not sure how I am going to work that into the posting schedule. There is some negotiating going on between myself and the People in my life on how that posting schedule is going to look over the next year. I will notify you of changes to features and such.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yuletide

Three days into the celebration of Yule and I am feeling somewhat burned out. I originally planned to celebrate Yule and Nativity with the kids. Now, as I am sitting here on the evening of the third day of Yule, I honestly don't think I have the energy to go for the whole 17 days. Having the overlap between Yule and Nativity is pretty cool. It makes less stuff to worry about, but I am finding that it is taking a lot of energy to get stuff for this done and manage the household needs along with the remaining stuff I need to take care of for presents.

I spent the night before the Solstice meditating on the Disir. I put out some offerings just for them that evening. The night before the Solstice is known as Mother's Night. In ancient times, rituals were done to honor the ancestral mothers, known collectively as the Disir. I presume that Freyja was honored as well because she is the Vanadis and I am confident that Frigga was honored at this time. Dame Hulda (Holda, Bertcha, and many other names) is honored at this time as well. She is described alternately as a grandmotherly figure or a stern goddess known as the Lady in White. There is a good amount of folklore about Dame Hulda.

It is said that from Mother's Night to Distaff day (Jan 2) women took a holiday from their household labors, except for that which was needful. The practice of spinning was one that was notably suspended. Different opinions as to what Dame Hulda would do if she found a distaff still loaded come from different regions where she was honored. Some said that for each thread of fiber found left on the distaff, Dame Hulda would bring misfortune to the mistress of the distaff. Others said that for each thread of fiber, she would bless the owner of the distaff. Honestly, I fall on the blessing side of the ledger. But that is only because it has been my experience.

I have been giving the kids little gifts each day of Yule. We're saving the big gifts for the 25th. The rest of the extended family celebrates Christmas. It is also the first day of Nativity. Thus, we're doing the big presents from us and 'from' Odin that day. I think it will help make the holidays less confusing for them. As much as I want to do something special and unique for Nativity, I anticipate being exhausted.

Nativity is the date of the birth of the Daughter. It is a twelve day celebration. It includes the date of the Daughter's birth, the feast of Epiphany, and the day known as Duodecima or 3 Princesses day. I find myself sliding into the habit of referring to Duodecima as 3 Queen's day. It is a bit of a departure from the canon but it just feels correct. And considering that Duodecima is celebrated with Queen cakes (which are sweet heart shaped cakes) the use of the word queen only makes more sense.

The mythos surrounding Nativity eve and Nativity are in many ways parallels to modern mythos of Chrismas. At Nativity eve, the Mother Marya is understood to enter into the Cave of the World to birth her Daughter Anna*. This birth takes place at the dawning of Nativity day. The story of Nativity is beautiful and charming in its simplicity. While the story could be argued to begin with the Conception, the feast of Conception is approximately two weeks before the festival of Nativity begins.

I don't think the separation of the Conception from Nativity diminishes either. It is my understanding that the Conception is separate to reflect the importance of this event and the wonder of it, I also think this is something that is separated so that it is not lost in the Nativity narrative or somehow not given proper consideration. From a theological standpoint the mythos of Nativity is a logical extension of the mythos of creation, which is celebrated in the season of autumn. All of this, however, is better suited for its own post.

Some of the folklore that surrounds Nativity eve is similar to the secular folklore of the Western world. There is a demigoddess figure known as the Star Fairy. She is considered the Queen of the Air Fairies (some argue of all Fairies) and she goes from household to household on Nativity eve blessing each home. She rides in a chariot drawn by eight white horses and she is dressed entirely in white. It is said that she gives gifts to children who are virtuous and leaves a switch for children who are not. She is said to enter the home by coming down the chimney. In many ways, she is like the figure of Santa Claus. I like to think of her as a cross between Queen Mab and Santa, actually.

My children haven't been introduced to the concept of the Star Fairy yet. I am not sure how to approach it. I view the Star Fairy as an embodiment of the holiday spirit. Much like how others view Santa Claus. (I have some issues surrounding Santa Claus, but if I were able to suspend them, I would view Santa the same way.)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

* The orthodox Filyani spell the Daughter's proper name as Inanna. I use Anna for two reasons. One it is a logical derivative of the name Inanna and the etymology makes sense. Two, the Daughter of Filianism is different from the Sumerian goddess Inanna and I don't want to accidentally invoke one when I'm trying to reach the other. Awkward things would happen with that, at best.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Divination: Blank Cards

The use of blank cards for divination is a bit of an advanced intuitive technique. It is one that is not difficult but it depends heavily upon the spread for interpretation versus the card itself. Thus if you are using the Celtic Cross, the information you will be drawing out from the card is going to be focused more intently upon the details associated with that card position than from what can be drawn from the image upon the card. For the purposes of this post, I am going to be discussing the cards as if they are placed out in the Celtic Cross format.



Your equipment is nothing fancy. I use a standard pack of blank index cards. They're easy to acquire and don't require any special care to maintain them. If you really wanted, you could use 52 slips of paper. I use index cards because they're easier to shuffle and lay out. I use the full package of cards but I have also used 52 cards. The number of cards is not fixed and needs only be enough to complete your spread.

Where some people when doing the Celtic Cross has the querent select a card to represent themselves in the spread, with this method it is not necessary. Have the querent shuffle the deck of cards with their query firmly in mind. Then lay out the cards in the correct orientation.

With this technique, you will note it is impossible to have cards in a direct or reversed orientation. This is something I find appealing about this technique because it simplifies the reading. After laying out the cards, start reading them. When you are focusing upon an individual card, it is helpful to touch the card. This helps one to tune into the card's meanings better because it does not allow for the other cards to distract you.

Holding your first card, look at it with your mind's eye. A symbol will appear or you will have a series of emotional and mental impressions. Interpret these as if they were symbols from a dream. When interpreting the symbols, remember to keep your card's position in mind. This will color the meanings of the symbol and impressions you receive from the card. If it is difficult to keep the different symbols in mind and impressions ordered by the card positions, it may be helpful to write down on the card what impressions you received or the primary symbol.

Writing down the symbols as you use the cards is a way to develop your own divination deck unique to what your spirit and psyche communicated with to your conscious mind. While your resulting deck will not be as pretty as most divination decks, it will prove more effective for you because it uses your personal language of symbols which will be easiest for you to decipher.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

No video this week.

Hi everybody,

I was really hoping that I would have my voice back by today but it just didn't happen. I can whisper now, so it is starting to come back. I was so focused on trying to get my throat healed up by today that I completely forgot to come up with a topic for this week's post.  I had something more I wanted to add but I can't recall it. The kids are home from school right now and things are a bit hectic. Such it life.

Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Heart of Water

The Heart of Water is a Filianic idea that I find useful in many different ways. Before I talk about the way this idea helps me with things, let me first explain what it is. The heart of water is a receptive state wherein the person who attains it sees the whole of existence as their kin. The person who possesses the heart of water is described in the following ways by the scripture:
  • Gentle
  • Meek
  • Forgiving
  • Possessing natural authority1
  • Obedient to those of authority
There is another element to the heart of water that is not directly expressed, but rather implied. The heart of water is responsive to the situations that arise. It is 'fluid' enough to adapt to circumstances and to respond to threats that arise. Where the heart of ice is brittle and static, the heart of water is freely moving, strong enough to absorb most energy, and resilient. The traits of the element of Water are indeed those of fluidity, resilience, and motion. In several western magical systems, Water is considered to be more mutable than Earth but less so than Air (which is in turn less mutable than Fire). The Filianic cosmological system places Water as one of the three foundational elements of existence2.

It is, in fact, the first one mentioned directly in the scriptures. As a foundational element of the cosmos, Water is something that would naturally be a significant part of the theology3. The heart of water in many ways returns the practitioner to that formative time in the history of existence4. By maintaining a focus upon retaining the qualities of the heart of water, the practitioner is consciously realigning themselves towards the thamë of their existence5. They also will find that it is easier for them to access the states of grace that comes from their natural connection with Dea.

In my personal practices, working to maintain a heart of water is such that I find myself treating myself with greater compassion and love. I also find myself with greater compassion and understanding for the world around me. It also strengthens my connection with Dea and the world of the spirits. Some may argue that qualities such as gentleness and being meek don't mesh with the other deities I follow. I would offer the following rebuttal:

1. Gentleness is a choice that demonstrates considerable control over one's personal power and strength. It could even be described as a form of strength. A strength of will, if you would, that the individual exercises to retain control over themselves in the face of situations where they would otherwise be moved to be harsh. I would also contend that gentleness does not preclude one from taking measures to defend themselves or others.

2. Meek is not the same thing as being a proverbial doormat. Meek is another way to describe humility. True humility is guided by intense and intimate knowledge of oneself and their abilities. The humble need not boast to attain their fame. Their deeds speak for them. Where others may make exaggerated declarations to self-aggrandize, the humble makes simple statements of what they will accomplish. They do not embellish their tales but rather allow the facts to be as they are.

I believe that the pride that the text I linked to above is warning against is not the healthy natural pride that encourages one to be filled with self-respect and dignity. I believe it is the level of pride that leads one to bravado and foolishness. In short, arrogance and hubris.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
1. Authority is something of a state of grace that is derived from Dea. The classical Filianic view upon society is that it is a pyramidal structure like an absolute monarchy, when in it's 'correct' orientation. The vision of society that is presented by Filianism is of a benevolent absolute monarchy that is ultimately ruled by Dea herself, within the Daughter as Princess of the World. The priestess of Dea are placed as those of greater authority than the more worldly people of higher society, though ultimately the priestess and overlord (overlady? I'm not sure what is the most orthodox phrasing here.) share their duties and submission to Dea.

As a heterodox Filyani, my views upon authority are a bit different. I recognize societies are built upon social contracts. Ultimately, authority can be found within the individual. When societies develop their social contracts, I understand this particular section of the scriptures calling us to honor our obligations both as people who are submitting to the authority of others and as people who assume authority. In another post, I may discuss how I view the interplay between faith, social contracts, and politics.

2. The Filianic cosmological system is another interesting thing that falls outside the scope of this piece. It is something that is very much an implied set of things, as the texts vary rarely will define things in concrete terms. Still, there is an organized system for viewing the whole of existence and the relationships between all things within it.

3. I use the term theology as a gender neutral term. I know that others within the Filianic/Déanic community would prefer the term thealogy. I, however, struggle with the use of it. I ask that those who are disinclined towards the term theology in use discussing Filianic matters please understand this is not intended as a slight.

4. The Golden Age is a mytho-historic period wherein all of existence is in union with Dea, as per the Filianic scriptures and mythos. It is not a point of history but something that is suspended outside of our concept of time because said concept of time did not exist prior to the descent of the First Daughter into incarnation.

5. In my consideration of the matter of thamë and its implications, I have come to the conclusion that there are a few different ways that harmony with the celestial order of existence comes into play. First is that of personal thamë wherein an individual is true to their inner nature. Second is interpersonal thamë wherein all parties strive to maintain a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship. Third is collective thamë, whereby societies work to be maintained in a harmonious and mutually beneficial way. Finally, there is global thamë where the different societies of the world work towards said goals. There are some additional nuances to this, but this my rough theory.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Divination: Runes

If you have a passing familiarity with modern paganism, you will most likely have encountered runes. Now, the term runes is used for more than just the alphabet that they are associated with historically. One meaning of the term rune is mystery. It also means a poem or song, as per the ancient rūn (this is an Old Norse word). Finally, the term rune is used for any of the characters used in the alphabets of the Germanic peoples.There are two known variants used anymore. The Anglo-Saxons had their variant that is found predominantly in the British Isles artifacts and regions where this group lived. The Nordic peoples had their own variant which is found elsewhere, including places as far from Europe as North America. The Anglo-Saxon runes are retained to a limited extent within English (þ is an example of a modernized rune). Modernized variants of the Nordic runes can be found within the languages of the Nordic peoples, but, like the modernized Anglo-Saxon runes, they occur infrequently.

In comparatively modern times, the term rune has come to be associated with magical scripts. As such, there are many magical scripts that are known as runes, though they are not derived from any of the ancient Germanic alphabet systems known. These scripts, however, fall outside of the focus of this post. I am focusing upon the modern practice of using the Norse runic alphabet for divination purposes. The practice is argued by some to be the same as what Tacitus observed when he was in Gaul  but, honestly, the observation leaves more questions than answers. The use of runes as a divination system was something of a fringe practice compared to more well known techniques such as cartomancy and crystal ball scrying.

The practice really came to the fore as a mainstream divination system in the early 1990s with Ralph Blum's text The Book of Runes and its companion rune set. Prior to this point in time, runes were predominantly were used as a divination system by people involved with Asatru and related belief systems*. Blum's text was an elaboration off of what had become the 'standard' meanings of the runes as per popular folk knowledge and adapted with some consultation of the I Ching. (Blum makes an argument for the I Ching to be used as a support tool for clarifying the meanings of the runes. I personally don't apply this. In my experience, the two systems are only compatible on the grossest of levels. When one starts looking into the practices, it becomes evident that they are entirely different fairly quickly.) Blum also introduced the blank rune. While it was a part of the rune sets that you could locate at this time, it was not formally discussed until Blum. I haven't been able to establish when the blank rune was added to the set but I have reason to believe this was something that arose in the 1960s, when a larger population began exploring divination.

There is a laundry list of sites where you can look up the commonly accepted meanings of the runes. The most basic level of rune meanings is derived from the ancient rune poems from the Norse peoples. These meanings are generally very abstract. People have then attempted to devise more detailed meanings for each character. Some have shown signs of truly being inspired (perhaps even directly stated, if I may be so bold) by Odin (from whom the runes were given to humanity). Others are clearly of a more human interpretation.

My reading of the runes is not heavily influenced by the more detailed interpretations that you can find easily on the Internet. Indeed, the major influence upon my reading of the runes are the translations of the rune poems and the most basic associations of the runes. My interpretation of the runes is based off of intuitive knowledge and what I am told from the spiritual realm. While not everyone has the connection to the spiritual realm that allows them to 'hear' information, they do have access to the spiritual realm through their intuition.

When doing intuitive readings, it is good to keep notes so that you can recognize themes that come up. It is also good to record the reading because, if you're like me, as soon as you're done with the reading the understanding that guided you will vanish like a puff of smoke. Also, when doing intuitive readings, allow yourself to be as direct as tacit will allow. What may seem to you as weird gibberish results for the reading may prove to be more accurate than you realize. I've had it happen where I've done full readings with the terrible feeling that everything I was relating was just whimsy. Only to learn that those readings are some of my most accurate. The trick to expressing this stuff is to be honest and mention everything that comes up with the intuitive associations. If you find yourself having to think hard about it or you're beginning to repeat yourself, you have essentially hit the end of what information you are going to draw from the rune (or tarot card or pretty much any other divination tool you use this method with).

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

* I use the term belief systems because there are systems that do not define themselves as religions out there that use these kinds of things.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Question Time: How to do relationships with gods work? (pt. 2)

In my post yesterday, I talked a little bit about the relationships that I have with Freyr and Loki. Let me talk a little about the stuff that I do on my side of the relationship. I am a devotional polytheist.

Just because there is a relationship beyond petitioner-deity happening, I am not in a position where I can skip devotional work. In truth, my devotional work load increases because of it. I have daily offerings that I make. They're usually those of candles, food, and drink. I try to make sure that these offerings are fresh and pleasant. Loki's made clear to me how he likes his coffee. (It's like how I do it. He's even gone so far as to steal my cup of coffee because I didn't get his made fast enough.) He's got his own special cup and everything. Freyr is more into tea and he enjoys his tea super sweet. Sometimes he surprises me by requesting coffee. I have been giving Odin offerings of alcohol (with a part of the alcohol offering also going to Loki). He has, however, been approving of coffee offerings.

I will give offerings of work to them. I will dedicate my writings to them. I have written things down by dictation. I have written visions down as they unfolded. It's been a fairly wide range of how that one works out. I also will offer my efforts to improve myself to their honor. Freyr has taken a decided interest in how I am working to improve my physical well being. Loki and Odin are more interested in the psychological stuff. Not that the three of them don't exchange issues from time to time, but that is where the effort falls most of the time.

I will do psychic work for others as an offering to Odin. He's been working on getting me to the point where I am doing readings more often. Odin's been patient with me but I suspect that patience is beginning to wear thin. More situations where I am doing readings randomly for people I know on Facebook have been popping up and I suspect that the All Father is behind that. (Oh, in case I didn't clarify it before now, Odin has stepped into the paternal role on the spirit side of things.) He has been guiding me in my efforts to broaden my knowledge base about magical study things too. Working with Frejya, Odin has been teaching me more magic. I'm still not entirely sure about what I am supposed to be doing with it, but I think that will be revealed later.

I try to spend some quiet time with the gods every day. Usually, it is a bit of time meditating before I go to sleep at the end of the day. And this usually has us having conversations via psychic contact. I talk about pretty much anything that is on my mind. Some days, Freyr just sits with me, an arm wrapped around my shoulders, and listens. Other days, he will talk to me about the stuff I mention. On occasion, he will start the conversation and we talk about stuff. And then there are the days where Loki is present. And those days... they are very revealing. Loki doesn't mince words. he's very direct about things and telling me what he thinks. Some would call it abrupt, I think brutal honesty is a better description for it. Sometime, Freyr and Loki are around at the same time. This can turn into my talking with both of them. Or I am listening as they talk to each other. Or I'm talking with one as the other adds comments from time to time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Question Time: How do you do relationships with deities?

Since my confession earlier, I've gotten a few questions on how exactly I maintain the relationships I do and how on Earth do they work. I'm going to attempt to answer the questions but this is all pertaining to MY relationships. Other people's relationships are going to be different. There's two big reasons for this. First, they're different people so the way they communicate and handle everything regarding a relationship is going to be different from mine. Second, I have a lot of emotional and psychological ... baggage* that I deal with on a daily basis and it colors pretty much everything to some extent.

Now, the first thing I have to say about my relationships with deities is that they fall on the more human styled side of the ledger. I tend to view deities as persons with discrete personalities (some with different ones for different aspects shown). All of the possible relationships that you can have with someone on the mundane day to day level are possible with deities. All of the stuff that arises from personalities interacting, communication issues, and people being people is going to be present in these relationships. I've yet to find an experience with any deity that doesn't fit this mold. (I'm sure now that I have said this, there will be something that comes along and blows this statement out of the water. Because stuff like that happens.)

With Freyr, I did my level best to avoid godspousery. I kept going 'no, we're just friends' but, that didn't stay that way. He romanced his way into my heart. I was courted. There really isn't a better word for it. He made little things land in my path that were tokens of affection, help when I didn't anticipate it, and encouragement when I was feeling low. He did more than just be a supportive friend. He spoke to me in the sweetest of ways (and this can be taken in multiple fashions, so I'll leave that up to you) and he was persistent. In many ways, Freyr's pursuit of me was like Beloved's. He out-stubborned me and found his way past my barriers to pick up the fragile parts of me and love them. This has been a theme between him and I ever since. (Did I mention that Freyr is very patient when he chooses to be and he will use strategy to outmaneuver you when he deems it necessary?)

Every once in a while, I get anxious and I start to try to shut down things. He breaks through my mental walls like they were just dry-wall in his way. Sure, it creates a minor hindrance but if you're determined to get through it, it will break. And when you have some force to put behind your effort, it will give very quickly. Using the dry-wall analogy, let me go a bit farther here. I get anxious and throw up my dry-wall bulwarks. He decides that this is not going to happen and will either take the sheets off of where I put them or kick them out to get to me. The former happens when he is feeling patient. The latter happens when there is a sense of urgency. Does this mean I don't have boundaries with him? No. But when I start trying to cut myself off emotionally from the world around me, he breaks through my mental walls and then guides me out.

(Loki will just break through those walls like he's the Kool-Aid man and then grab a hold of me and drag me out. More about Loki in a minute, though.)

Freyr will just hang out with me when I'm doing stuff around the house. When I say that I see him or feel him with me, it is psychic impressions. Though there have been times where I felt physical contact with out a physical person being there. (Getting kissed that way is very confusing.) A lot of the stuff we do happens on that psychic level. I know that the naysayers would declare that this is my over active imagination or hallucinations happening. To them, I have two things to say. One, my imagination produces horrors 9 times out of 10, happy things doesn't pop up except in rare cases. Two, I've experienced hallucinations. I am intimately familiar with my hallucinations and I have has psychic stuff still happen despite the fact that I was on very powerful anti-hallucinogenic medications. Y'all's doubt really can't hold a candle to this one, sorry.

When I'm out walking, I feel him with me. I feel him holding my hand at times. We will talk or we'll be quiet. When we talk, it is through psychic stuff most of the time because I don't want the normals to look at me like I'm insane. Yes, he can hear my thoughts. And yes, that does get me into trouble at times. When he catches me in my negative thought cycle, he'll call me on my bullshit and he'll force me to take a step back and look at things from a more realistic lens. And, yes, we have argued. The reason why we have argued is most often I am doing something that is unhealthy for me and insisting that I need to do it. I don't win those arguments. But, arguments don't happen that often. Freyr is more one to cut me off at the pass before I can get my heels dug in and gently but firmly push me in the right direction for my welfare.

Great example of this would be a few days ago when I decided that I wasn't going to eat lunch. I have problems with food, namely when I get super stressed out, I start to starve myself because I feel like that is the only thing I can control in my life. I was set to not eat lunch and derp around on the computer when Freyr said 'Go eat.' I said I was going to do it later. He retorted I should do it now. At which point both the computers I was working on crashed, the pen I was writing with stopped working, and the book I was writing in fell off the desk and landed on the floor in such a manner that I couldn't find my page. I thought about persisting in my refusal when I got a stern look from him and the pantry cupboard with the cans of soup in it opened by itself. To say the least, I stopped being stubborn and ate some soup. That is usually how disagreements between him and I go. I'm deciding not to do something good for me and he takes away all of my distractions and then drops exactly what I was trying to avoid right into my proverbial lap.

And then there is Loki. Because it is Loki, it is a complicated and kinda confusing mess for me. It was literally decades of my being infatuated and him telling me, "I'm not into you that way." In the midst of all this, we built up a solid, but weird, friendship. I was at the type of friendship where you casually insult your friend as a joke and the return with an even more vulgar one as a joke. Some people would have been horrified by this. But, it worked for Loki and I.

Then in late August, things changed. I am still getting used to this change. I had finally managed to get myself to the point where I wasn't mooning over him. I had the moments of 'Damn, he is attractive!' but I had gotten to the point where I wasn't utterly distracted by them. They just became part of the background noise of things between him and I. And then the way he looked at me changed. It wasn't a soft, sweet romantic thing. He didn't start doing the roses, champagne, and chocolates kinda thing.

No, Loki went from being the gleeful asshat who trolled me on a regular basis, gave weird but super effective solutions to problems, and dropped the worst puns at the worst times to being the exact type of sadist I have always fantasized over. (Yes, there is S/m involved and other kink stuff too. No, I'm not giving all the details. If you know where to look, you'll find the stuff he had me write about it. No, I'm not giving links here.) I was convinced that it was my projecting my desires on to him. I was convinced that I was reading into things. I basically was running in mental circles screaming 'THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!' because I didn't want to be the 'special snowflake' or lumped in with the fangirls.

Loki laughed at that. That really was my first warning that this was legit. And then he started manipulating things around me. I went from not remembering my dreams (which had been going on for a while due to my PTSD issues) to suddenly remembering them with such clarity that I could almost feel them happening when I thought about it. The dreams were not all happy romance. No, they were a mixture of him hitting my kink buttons with disturbing accuracy, him challenging me with respect to my poor self care skills, and something that I couldn't define at first. It took me several months to realize that he was doing more than just using the fact that he knew where all the proverbial bodies were buried to get me to look in the mirror of myself or that he knew all the mental buttons to push to get a response out of me. I realized that he was feeding some deep seated pyschological needs that I had been denying for years.

And, honestly, that scared the shit out of me. Having decades of denial that there was a need being thrown back in my face was terrifying. Having the bad coping methods I had used in the past stop working over night (literally) was equally terrifying. At the same time, even as he was scaring me near witless, he was handling me with care. He was loving in a manner that I didn't think was possible. And, because I have issues with stuff like that, I was scared. When I start to erect my mental walls, Freyr may dismantle them or kick them in. Loki, however, is the one who will burn them down around me even as he breaks through them. So, I don't have the moment of "I can hide here. Wait, how did you get here?" that I get with Freyr. No, I have the realization that I am trapped before Loki grabs a hold of me and drags me out.

I know that Loki's doing that on purpose. Freyr is doing his best to get me to see the reason and logic behind the argument that I am putting myself into a box and restricting myself needlessly. Loki, well, Loki is showing me just how bad of an idea that is even as he is ripping me out of it. And Loki doesn't just do stuff like rip me out of my mental hiding places and force me to look at myself. He's done it and all but thrown me at Freyr because I had started avoiding Freyr because of my anxiety issues. (It's happened several times, I regret to report.)

Loki is also making a point of showing Freyr where the proverbial bodies are and what buttons to push. This has made things... disconcerting. Freyr has started pushing mental buttons in his own way and it has been both delightful and disturbing at the same time. And Loki finds this amusing. So he encourages more of it to happen. Because the thinking between them, if I understand it rightly, is that they can always use pleasure as both a reward and a goad to get me moving in the right direction. All at the same time as they are teaching me that there's nothing wrong with enjoying myself. (I have massive, massive problems with this and letting myself be happy.)

That's basically what's going on right now between them and I. I'll post something more about the devotional stuff I do later this weekend.

~*~*~*~*~*~
* I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder in spades from the many different traumas I experienced in my life. I also have bipolar and some major self-esteem problems. It effects pretty much all parts of my life. I'd give examples but they're not pretty and, honestly, it requires a level of openness that I'm not ready to show right now. Just take my word on it, the stuff that has me disabled is horrific and I've been told by professionals that my mental health problems are functionally equivalent to someone who has been in a war zone.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Youtube videos.

I have begun the process of uploading my videos to Youtube. I will post a link to my channel when I have the entire set up. I am considering additional videos as exclusive Youtube content. I will let you know what the final decision is on that one after the holidays. Considering that it is the holiday season, I don't anticipate having all of the videos up until early January.

I will still try to do my weekly video message. I may even show off gifts I'm going to be giving people as I get them done. (But don't let them know, it is supposed to be a surprise!)

Speaking of crafting, I have not forgotten about the snood pattern. I simply haven't had the opportunity to sit down and work out how I made them. I will, after the holidays most likely, be getting that up. It will be posted on my non-witchery blog. I anticipate posting several patterns on there next month, actually, because I'm taking notes as to how I am making things this time around.

Video Message: Ask for Help.

video

This week's video message strays off the main topics of this blog. I do so for a good reason. Depression during the holiday season is remarkably common. People around us are suffering through it and attempting to put on their best facade of holiday cheer because they don't want us to judge them or they don't want us to have our holiday joy dampened. (Actually, there are a lot more reasons for why people with depression will hide their symptoms. These are two of the many reasons why I and several folks I know do so.)

If you are struggling with depression this time of year like I am, don't get angry or upset with yourself. Don't, for goodness sake, tell yourself that there is something wrong with you because you don't have the 'holiday spirit', please be kinder than that. With the enormous emphasis this time of year upon the 'Hallmark Christmas' it is easy for people with depression to feel cut off from everyone else. It is easy to feel like you simply don't have a place. Depression does this to us to begin with but the fact that you're moving counter current to the expectations of the season makes it worse.

Please, get help. It is a tremendous act of courage to speak out about your struggle. Getting help for my depression and other mental illnesses has probably been one of the hardest things I have done in all my life. Don't suffer needlessly. Take time to take care of yourself. Treat yourself gently and get the help that you need to get through the depression. You are important in this world. With out you, countless lives would be lesser and a great deal of good would not have happened in this world.

You deserve all the loving care that you can get when you are ill. Depression is no less serious than more physical illnesses like pneumonia. Just as you would make sure you took all the proper steps to recover from something like pneumonia, please do the same for your depression. Don't worry about how it may look to somebody else. This is definitely the time to disregard the haters, if ever there was one. The manufactured 'joy' of the season is exhausting for folks who are in good health. It is doubly so when you are unwell. So, don't try to make yourself a part of that.

Recognize that your feelings are legitimate. Depression is painful, scary, and exhausting. You are not alone in this. There are countless other people who are fighting the same fight this time of year for a dizzying array of reasons. Be one of the ones who gets the help they need, because you shouldn't be suffering like this. ♥

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blasting stones.

In the process of my study of the 'dark' side of magic, I found myself reading about nithing poles and related items from different cultures. This got me to thinking and questioning, is it possible to have an item that is charged with a general purpose or a specified curse that would be released upon being thrown. (Don't ask me how I made that leap, I am not sure myself how I got there to be honest.) This resulted in my tinkering a bit and doing some experimentation.

After a bit of experimentation, I came up with what I call blasting stones. My set of blasting stones are glass pebbles that you can get at a craft store. I haven't found the right type of stones to use for this purpose. I know that when I do, the glass pebbles are getting replaced. I used an odd number of stones because in my experimentation, I found that things that are oddly numbered and dissonant lend themselves better towards this kind of thing. When writing a curse, I will make a point of making sure it doesn't rhyme or have some sort of musical quality to it. (The number of curses that I have made that break this little 'rule' of mine numbers in the single digits.)

I then charge the stones with the curse that I wish to inflict. I key the curse so that it is released when the stones are cast in the direction of the target. I often accompany the curse with a visual of a stone being thrown at the target. Then, when I find myself in a position where I require a curse but with out the time to formulate one, I would toss a blasting stone in the direction of my target. The more stones tossed in their direction, the stronger the curse.

The stones can be cleansed and reset to a 'neutral' state before being loaded with another curse if you wish to recycle them. At the same time, it is possible to use common gravel for this purpose so that you can charge your stones with the curse, toss the stone, and move on to something else with out having to retrieve the stone.

Divination: Stichomancy

Stitchomancy may sound like a term for divination involving sewing or knitting, some sort of craft that uses stitches. Don't let it fool you, stitchomancy is entirely different. Stitchomancy is also known a bibliomancy. (The term bibliomancy is used to specify stitchomancy that is performed using a copy of the Christian holy book, the Bible.) The practice of stitchomancy has been in use for a very long time.

There are signs indicating that it was used at least as early as the rise of Gnostic Christianity. A book from that period was found in Egypt called the Lots of Mary. The practice of casting lots was used in correlation with this text to divine answers to questions and seek out guidance upon life matters. While it may not be stitchomancy in the sense that most would consider it, it is still divination performed using a text. (The same argument can be made for using the I Ching for divination.)

Most of the time, stichomancy is performed with the querent holding a book within their hands. They ask the question they seek an answer to. Then, the book is opened to a random page. The first passage that their eye falls upon is the answer to their query. Some people use just one passage for the answer to their query. Others would repeat the process for additional clarification of the answer provided.

I personally find it helpful to have a wide array of books to choose from. This allows for a greater randomization of possible answers. Thus, I will select a random book from my personal library and then proceed through the process I described above. Generally, the interpretation of the results of stitchomancy varies as widely as the possible answers. The use of a text that is oriented towards divination practices (such as the I Ching) makes this process a bit easier.

At the same time, with some careful consideration, it is possible to discern how a passage relates to what was asked. Unlike other methods, there is a fairly high probability of getting a 'null' result. That is, a passage may be completely unrelated to the query made. In my practice, if I have three obviously unrelated responses to my query, I put the book aside and treat it as a non-answer.Thus, I will either choose a different divination method to seek out the answer to my query or I will end my divination session.

Some texts lend themselves towards easier divination practice. The Christian Bible is popular because there is a wide range of results that can be found that can make greater sense given most life situations than a books such as Bram Stoker's Dracula. (Though, I did have success using that text at one point. It was a very weird result that didn't fully make sens until well after the fact.) Other texts are not as friendly towards the practices, such as a chemistry text book. (I did this at one point and had a passage regarding Avagadro's Number come up as my result. It was very difficult to see how that related to the query.)

I prefer to use books of poetry for stitchomancy. I know one person that used song books for the practice. Any text that is used, the querent must rely upon their intuition and their ability to see a link between the result and their query. Of the different divination practices that can be used, stitchomancy is probably the easiest to practice discreetly in a public location. Because, the query needs not be voiced out loud. The passage can be randomly selected with the query firmly in the querent's mind. The result is the same as what there would have been if it was voiced out loud.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Resounding Silence.

It has now been over a year since I heard Dea's voice or seen a direct sign of her presence. To say that I feel disheartened really isn't strong enough to express it. As a result of this, I have been struggling in my devotional journal and other writing. I have my book of visions that is painful to work on right now. I look at this stuff and I see how easily contact happened. I despair that it has passed and that I have become useless in her eyes. I feel cut off from the source and that my reserves are near empty.

Once, I heard it said that the vessel must be emptied before it can be filled. I tell myself that this is what has been happening. I struggle with the fear that there is nothing more to come and that the last shining sense of her in this world is going to fade away. I didn't realize how much of a mother figure Dea had become for me. I didn't realize how much I came to depend on her. I didn't realize how much she comforted and soothed me through my struggles. I don't know where to go from here.

A long, difficult year of prayer has left me feeling utterly worn out. I find myself frequently ready to weep over this. I don't think there is a coincidence here that the Norse gods have stepped closer to me. I have wept at Freyr's breast over the awful feeling of abandonment that comes over me when I think of the distance. He holds me tenderly, kisses away my tears, and tells me that I am not abandoned, she is only silent. I struggle so hard with that feeling of abandonment. I know it is something that comes entirely from within me.

At the same time all of this is unfurling, I have been pushed into doing more 'shadow' work. I find myself struggling with all of the painful effects of the past traumas I have experienced and I come away from it tasting my tears and the bitter ashes of the past in my mouth. I go through my day desperately trying to avoid dwelling upon the bloody mass that is my past. Some days, I can act as though it is not there. Others, however, I find myself seeing it in everything I do. And I grieve and stumble forward. I honestly don't know if I am making progress anymore.

 I don't talk about it because I worry about people having all the howling hatred that have been dumped upon others for daring to speak of it. But, I have reached a point where continuing my silence is becoming painful. Torn between the pain of Dea's silence, the pain of my past, and the pain of keeping silence for fear of reprisal, I have been miserable over the last several months. Thus, I will alleviate the one pain that I can.

I alluded to this a while back and then let the matter go. I tried in my efforts to make this an educational blog to steer things away from this. I realized, last night, that in doing so, I was treading perilously close to losing the core reason for blogging here. Yes, I want to educate people. I want to assist them in finding their way through the often confusing world of magic. I want to remove the stigma attached to spiritwork . I want to share the blessings that I have in my life from the gods.

Fear, however, snuck in and left me where I lost a good two thirds of my focus. This was part of the reason why I was having a hard time coming up with new material to post. Having a ton of distractions really was just a cover for my running in circles over this stuff. I had a long conversation with the gods last night when I was dreamwalking. I was asked directly if I was ashamed of them and if that was the reason for my silence. When I answered that I wasn't, we then started to dismantle what exactly was stopping me.

It was a hard conversation. Odin, Loki, Freyr, and Freyja sat with me at a round table. We all had something to drink. It changed as per our desires. I noted, however, that as much as I wanted whiskey, it remained something non-alcoholic such as tea or coffee. I think there was a point to that but the thought of asking about it really got crushed by the weight of everything else we discussed. We talked about my anxiety and my bipolar. We talked about my schizophrenic symptoms, the medications, and my fears surrounding that. I found myself frequently sobbing with pain and shame.

There was much anger. It was, however, crystal clear that it was not directed at me. It was instead at the ones who traumatized me and conditioned me to such an unhealthy state of mental hygiene. I kept expecting someone to give me the demand to 'man up' and just shake it all off. When they were caring, validating, and kind, I just became more anxious and upset. By the end of it all, I was a weeping wreck. I was sitting in Freyr's lap as Loki held my hand. Freyja placed some kind of cloak or blanket over me, because feeling warm helps me feel safe. And Odin was rubbing my back and saying something I didn't understand but helped me calm.

Out of that intervention (I guess that is the best way to describe it.) I got two clear things. One, the gods would never abandon me. None of them. Two, I need to fight against fear's hold on me, as hard as I can. They all made it very clear that I am to NEVER apologize for who and what I am, to anyone ever again. They made it clear that I am loved exactly as who I am and that my injuries and illness are nothing to be ashamed of.

So, with all of this preface done, I will say it directly. I am in a polyamorous relationship. There is Beloved who is my husband and life partner on this plane. He is the rock upon which I have built my life after all of the trauma I had in the past. I adore him more than I can find words. While I can function with out him, I am not happy. I feel as though half my soul is missing when we are separated and all the world has had a grey pall cast over it.

There is Freyr who is my husband as well. He is not like Beloved. He is incorporeal and affection between us happens in more subtle ways. He challenges me in ways that I hadn't experienced in the past. At the same time, I am becoming healthier for those challenges. His blessings in my life have been varied and wonderful. They range from small things like finding that parking space I needed to make the walk to the store less awful when my arthritic knees are hurting me to helping us have less to worry about with our bills. I love him deeply. At times, that love scares me because I feel like everything I am is going to get swept away with it. But, that was a fear that I had early on in my relationship with Beloved as well. It will pass in time.

There is Loki, who is my lover and dear friend. Best friends doesn't describe it. It is something different that I lack the proper words to describe it. As like Freyr, he is incorporeal and affection happens in subtle ways between us. Oh how does he push me. Loki has been around longer than Freyr. Loki knows where all the proverbial bodies are stashed and what buttons to push to get a response from me. It makes for him being very skilled in challenging me to change myself to a healthier person. I will also confess, it makes the D/s thing between him and I very intense.

Freyr and Loki are not jealous of each other or jealous of Beloved. Beloved doesn't worry about the gods. He's seen how being involved with them has helped me and that is all he really cares about. He wants to see me happy and healthy. Freyr and Loki also have the same goals. The three of them approach it in different ways. But, the support I have from them is rock solid and it helps me cope with all the problems that come from my being disabled, among the run of the mill challenges of life.

People who are going to hate on Loki, I am going to be inclined to delete your comments if you manage to offend me. I get that people not all have good relationships with him. I get that he is not a 'good' deity all the time. He is complex and he is chaos. Chaos can be terrifying. (And I've had moments where he has terrified me on purpose.) I don't have false expectations of sunshine, roses, and puppies for Loki. I expect him to be unpredictable, strange, and walking chaos. It is who he is. And I love him for it. If it weren't for chaos, the universe would go cold and everything would cease to exist.

People who are going to hate on spiritworkers and godspouses are going to have their comments deleted. I am going to take those as personal attacks and I am not going to tolerate it. This is *my* space. I am ruthless about how I defend it. If you really want to see what it's like to cross me, you can try. I promise you, you will not enjoy the results.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Divination: Pendulums

A pendulum is one of the simplest divination tools. With nothing more than a weight on a string, it is possible to answer most any questions with some patience. Pendulums have been in use since antiquity. There has been a range of explanations given for their movement. Ninety percent of those explanations involve some form of magical action. The scientific explanation is that our hands make tiny movements, even when we think we are holding them still. These movements are magnified by the pendulum, which then swings according to the movements of our hands.

Some would say that this means that all of the answers from the pendulum come from ourselves, be it from our unconscious mind or some form of wish fulfillment. I would contend that it is the smallest and least invasive from of mediumship. The deity or entity you wish to contact influences the motions of your hand which, in turn, influences the motion of the pendulum. I also believe that there are instances where they will move the pendulum directly. The frequency of those instances, honestly, are pretty much impossible to determine. Given the near infinite possibilities for how things in the universe work, we must, however, keep this potential in mind when we approach any form of divination with even a modicum of scientific thought behind our work.

There are a few different ways to use a pendulum. One is to hold it and begin asking questions. As you do so, observe how the pendulum swings. Starting with an obvious yes-no question that has a decisive answer is a good beginning. The pattern that I use to establish the results the pendulum presents for answers to my questions is the following:

  • Yes-no question with an obvious 'yes' result
  • Yes-no question with an obvious 'no' result
  • Yes-no question with a 'maybe' result
  • Yes-no question with an uncertain answer (I like to use a variant of Schrodinger's paradox.)
  • Yes-no question that can not be answered
Another option is to use a map similar to the one printed below. The box in the diagram is supposed to represent circular motion of the pendulum. It is possible, however, for the pendulum to go stationary after a question is asked, so that can be another manifestation of that result. The use of a charted diagram for answers allows you to get to the business of answering questions faster, sometimes. There are times, however, where the pendulum doesn't swing according to what the map presented projects. Then you have to go through the process of establishing how it swings to answer questions.

The type of questions best suited to use with a pendulum tend to have binary answers. This is because the pendulum is a more limited tool in how it can present information. As such, unpacking the result of a question that has multiple elements to the answer gets very difficult and you wind up asking that series of yes-no questions in the end anyways. Reducing your query to a series of yes-no questions can result in some creative phrasing of questions. It can also make the divination session take much longer than it would with other tools. For example, learning a name of a person involved in a situation would need to be spelled out by repeating the alphabet multiple times for each letter in a position after inquiring how many letters in the name.

I find the pendulum is best suited to answering simple questions quickly. When you just need a direct yes or no, pulling out the tarot deck may not be the best technique to use. It takes more effort and the answer can become unnecessarily complicated. (There is a trick to answering yes-no questions with a tarot deck, I'll share it as a footnote below.[1]) They are, however, an extremely portable tool. It is also a technique that can be used in public as a 'stealth' divination practice. The questions asked need not be externally verbalized.

Purchasing a pendulum versus making your own truly is a matter of preference. In the years that I have used pendulums, I have had equal success rates with pendulums that have been purchased, given to me as gifts, and I have fashioned on my own. The use of special stones or items as the weight for the pendulum is limited only by your desire. If you are one to practice magic involving stones, you may find that something using rose quartz is best suited for answering questions surrounding a love interest and one using clear quartz is good for general purpose questions. Making you own pendulum is incredibly easy. A traditional method that has been used in the United States since at least the 19th century is to suspend a wedding ring on a hair. This is used, according to the folklore, to determine the sex of a baby while it is in utero.[2]

Regardless of the style of pendulum used or how you derive your answer set, the pendulum use is essentially the same for all questions. Thus, it is possible to use different pendulums for your questioning, for the same questions even, and still get the same results. It is equally possible to get different results because the pendulums are weighted differently and will swing in a slightly different fashion. And with a pendulum, a small difference in how they swing manifests with larger implications because, as with the pendulum's motion magnifying small movements of the hand, it will magnify the difference in movements. They are, however, exceptionally simple tools that are well suited to the beginner or the experienced diviner.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
1. To get a yes-no answer from a tarot deck, shuffle the cards. Ask your question. If the card is direct, the answer is yes. If the card is reversed, the answer is no. An uncertain result, however, will not be presented so the possibility of false yes or no answers comes up with this method.

2. Folklore states that if the ring swings in a linear fashion the child born will be a boy. If the ring swings in a circular fashion, the child born will be a girl. There are some regions of the United States where the results are switched. I honestly have found that if you set one motion to correlate with a given answer and another to correlate with the second answer, it is effective regardless of which motion is defined as which answer.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent begins.

Today is the second day of the Filianic month of Astrea. It is also the second day of Advent. This is a hard time of year for me. I have a great deal of sad and painful things associated with what is, for most people, a time of gaiety and joy. I am, however, determined not to let this cast a shadow over things this year. As such, I am working on coming up with small celebratory things I can do each day of the months.

I am still working on my devotional journal. (I am actually a bit behind because of life complications over the last few months.) I am making a concerted effort to at the very least be grateful in my entries if I can not be joyful. It has been hard, though, because witnessing the atrocious things happening in the world, I have much fear and sorrow in my heart right now. It is my hope, however, that with focused effort, I will find things that will lift me up.

I was not able to locate an advent calendar for the boys that I liked. Most of the ones I found had strong Christian overtones (which is not surprising because that is the primary market for these things). I tried to find secular ones but those that I did find were constructed in such a manner where it was difficult to see the numbers on them. This leaves me in a position where I am seriously considering fashioning something of the sort on my own.

When the kids are at school, I will be making a paper chain marking the days until Yule. I am planning on doing something special with them weekly, at the very least. I have begun the process of getting things out of hiding for decorating for the season. In the past, I left holiday decorating until the last minute. Now, however, I am going to see if I can make arrangements to have a small tree that we can decorate a little bit every day. I don't think we'll be using all the fancy ornaments that we have in storage. No, I have decided that we are going to make our ornaments. I have egg cartons that will be turned into bells and snowmen with a few additional supplies. I have paper to cut into snowflakes and to make paper chains with. I have bags of popcorn to be popped and strung onto thread and hung up.

I'm going to try delving into my memories of what I did as a child to celebrate the holiday and see if I can reacquaint myself with the happiness and excitement I felt for this season when I was a girl. I have cleaned off the entertainment center in preparation to make a place where we might hang stockings. I figure on the day of Nativity, we can put on a youtube video of a crackling fireplace as we open presents. I look forward to taking my few trips for holiday shopping over the next few weeks. I do enjoy watching how the boys light up at the sights of the holiday lights and displays. I also love to watch them pick out presents for each other.

My stockpiling of empty quart sized jars will be soon turned into things like cookie mixes, hot cocoa mixes, and other goods that I will be giving as gifts. If I can, I am probably going to put the boys to work in fashioning these things. They've got some math skills now, I think it is a good time to get them started with how to measure things in the kitchen as a first step towards cooking. I don't know if I am going to get much done in the way of baking this year. As much as I would like to make some traditional foods such as Stollen and shortbread, I recognize that not everyone in my family would be interested in eating it.

My plan for overcoming the anger and grief that this time of year brings out in me is to fake happiness and cheer until I can make it happen. It may be that I tire myself out with this. But, a wise person I knew once said that happiness is a learned trait. I like to think that my late grandmother was right about that one. So, I'm going to try to teach myself how to be happy with this time of year. I will let the anger and such wait until January, if I can.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Video Message! Thank you!

video

This week's video message is short and sweet. I just want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for supporting my blog with your readership. It would be much harder to make this blog happen with out your presence. I look forward to another full year of adventure into magic and wonder with you. I hope that next Thanksgiving, I will have a longer message describing all the wonderful things that you have helped me accomplish.

So, thank you again! I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Divination Topic'sTo Be Discussed.

With the holidays approaching, I am working on getting myself a bit more organized. As I write this post, it is at the end of a long and busy day. I fear that the rest of the week will be more of the same because of Thanksgiving. I will attempt to post over the next several days, but I honestly don't know how much success I will have. With the children being off from school, I have very little writing time at the moment.

As I have been doing, I am going to use the Monday posts to discuss divination. I have pretty much hit the end of what I can cover with respect to Cartomancy at the moment. While I'd like to do something about oracle decks, I am still looking for my notes from when I last played with one. I honestly have no idea where they have vanished off to or I would be posting about that right now. At some point in the future, I may do something more about Tarot spreads. I'm undecided at the moment.

Next week, I will be posting about pendulums. I own a few and have used random objects on chains to accomplish the same goals. It is not my strongest suit but I know quite a few people who find that the directness of a pendulum is easiest to work with. It is my hope to lay out the basics of how they work and what you can do with them.

The second week of December, I plan on talking a bit about stichomancy. This is a really accessible method of divination. And I regularly get some pretty interesting results. The fact that my apartment is reaching the status of living in a small library may be part of the reason why. But, the use of books for divination has been in practice for as long as there have been books (even longer if you count scrolls and other forms of text).

The third week of December, I am going to talk a little bit about runes. They really are such a big topic that they need to be handled on their own. That post, I am going to talk about my approach to reading them, which is intuitively based. (And to weigh in on the blank rune controversy, I use it in my readings if it strikes my mood. It generally pops up as a need to pause and reflect on the previous rune's meaning. Sometimes it is... different.)

The final week of December, I am going to share something that could technically be called Cartomancy. I have a few different ways to do readings using note cards. One involves using blank ones. It's a cool party trick once you figure it out. I will get a little into how to develop your own divination deck. I'm trying to decide if I want to jump whole hog into discussing how to develop your own divination system next year or not.

If you have something you'd like to see me post about or any questions, let me know. The comments are a great place for a short note. If you want to do something more detailed, send me an e-mail.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Recommend This: Internet edition.

There are a great many worthwhile projects and programs that a person can get involved with over the Internet. The ways we can act in accordance with our beliefs has as many manifestations as there are people who have ideas. While there are some really awesome programs that you can do within your local community, there are also things you can do that effect the world wide community.

The World Needs More Love Letters is a really great little project that I personally think is serving a niche that frequently gets over looked. The premise is that you write an anonymous letter expressing good will and love towards individuals who are selected from a pool of people who could use encouragement. The letter is then sent to the program. The program sends it on to the person in question. They receive a package filled with all of these letters which serves to help them through rough times and restore some faith in humanity.

It is in terms of investment of time and energy on the low end of the scale. It is also a really inexpensive thing to participate in. All your costs is a bit of paper, an envelope, and postage. But the benefits of it are really wonderful. Through this program, you help lift up someone who is in need of encouragement. You create a greater sense of community and goodness within that community. Also, you get all the warm fuzzy feelings that go with doing something to help others in need.

I am, personally, going to be participating in this. Having been in a position where I felt like the world had turned against me, I know just how important little things like words of encouragement from people around you are. And sometimes, the fact that those words of encouragement come from people who are completely outside of the situation makes them resonate better. I don't claim to understand it, but sometimes it works like that.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Video Message: On Terrorism.

video

I don't typically comment on the political things going on in the world. I try to avoid it. Sometimes, however, and issue comes up that crosses political, social, and religious lines. This week's video message addressed one that has been really big: terrorism.

Now, some of you may take exception to the premise that I put forth in this video, namely that terrorism will not be defeated by force of arms. I have a lot of reasons behind that position based in philosophical consideration, stratagem, and observation of what is going on in the world. It is something that I'm not going to get into here because it is tangential to my argument here. If you are curious as to my reasoning, please take some time to view this post on my other blog.

The terrorists want us to be afraid. They want to divide the world and conquer through fear and force of arms. One of their weapons in this is hatred. A lot of people want to defeat the terrorists and make the world a safer place. There is something powerful that you as an individual can do. Create an environment where hatred will not be able to take root.

Love and good will are the antithesis of what people like Daesh are attempting to sow. Make a point to go out and help your neighbors. Actively express our love for the world and each other and we will make hearts that are impervious to hatred. Filianism calls this a heart of water. The heart of water is a pretty complex concept that I'll post more about a bit later. For now, let's consider one of the traits of the heart of water.

The heart of water surrounds that which attempts to penetrate and change it. It does not lose its nature by way of the things that are cast at it. It actively overwhelms the things the world throws into it and is flexible enough to work around most anything. That responsiveness and ability to drowned out that which is not compatible with its nature comes from love and gentleness.

Let's cultivate this within ourselves and the world. This way we may overwhelm the hatred that Daesh and their ilk tries to make take root in the world. Just as a rushing river will cut a path through even the hardest stone, so too shall our love cut through the hatred of Daesh, and diminish them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Spell craft: To Rhyme or Not?

There is a history of presenting verbal incantations as rhyming verse. Perhaps the most famous example is the witches's curse from Shakespeare's play Macbeth. A quick review of the spells published on the internet and it is apparent that a large portion of them are rhyming. This overwhelming amount of poetic verse in spell craft can lead one to the conclusion that spells must be formulated with rhyming verse for the incantation, but is it necessary?

The short answer to this question is no. As long as your incantation assists you in presenting proper focus and direction for your magical efforts, rhymes are not needed. The tradition of using rhyming verse for spell craft is of an uncertain origin. When we consider the historic evidence of past witchcraft practices, we find that a vast majority of it comes from people of the lower social classes. (Witchcraft has historically been a tool through which the oppressed strike back at their oppressors. As such, it has a very strong association with the lower classes, which will generally include the oppressed population of a culture.) This association with lower socio-economic status often comes with a lower level of formal education.

One may ask what this has to do with the presentation of spell craft in rhyming verse. Generally, complex formulaic verbal incantations come with a higher degree of literacy and education. While rhyming is found in the spell craft of the lower classes, it does not have as great of an emphasis as that of people in higher classes, with allowances made for cultural emphasis of course.

In western magical practices, we find there are two purposes for rhyming. One is that it serves to assist the practitioner in maintaining focus upon their magical efforts and target. The other is that it is a functional component of the spell craft. Incantation and enchantment both have their roots in the Latin term incantare, which translates to: to chant [a magical spell] upon. The native English term that is corresponding to this is galdr which translates to: song or spell. Generally, however, incantation is not a necessary component of witchcraft.

While song/verse based magic does exist, it is its own class of magical exercise. In ancient times, there was a distinction made between song based magical practices and that which is based in other practices. In the native English terms, galdr was the song based magical practices. Other practices were known as seith. It is reasonable to believe that similar distinctions have been made between these two different ritual focuses, though there may not be specialized terms for them.

An additional wrinkle to the practices that could fall under the category of galdr is the fact that not all poetry or music is composed of rhyming verse. It can also include what is known as blank verse or non-rhyming poetry. Thus, incantations can be of a greater variety of forms as long as there is some sort of rhythmic stress pattern through out the charm, though this is not a hard and fast rule.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads (IV)

This is a basic seven card spread. It is designed to give information about an existing relationship. While I have frequently used it for romantic relationships, it really is effective for pretty much any type of relationship. This is one that I learned from Facade.com's selection of tarot spreads, therefore I can not take credit for it. It is, however, one that can be built upon for additional detail as you place cards to clarify the details.

Position one shows how the querent feels about their role in the relationship. Position two shows what the querent feels is the standing of the relationship. Position three shows what the querent feels about the other person involved in the relationship.

Positions four through six present the same information but from the perspective of the other person in the relationship. Position seven presents the objective perspective of a third party on the relationship.

Sometimes, I lay an additional six cards out, three to either side of the columns. They present the hidden aspects of the three cards they are beside.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Video Message: Help Someone.

video

I was watching BBC news as I ate my lunch. It was painful for me to see the report about the terrorist attack in Egypt and the factory collapse in Afghanistan. It grieved me to watch the special report on the ostracizing of ebola survivors in Sierra Leone. In the news here in the U.S., there are daily reports of violence of neighbors against neighbors. To say that it makes me sick with sorrow to be witness to all these things really is not strong enough to describe what happens to me.

I know that it is easy to feel like you are utterly helpless to do anything about the overwhelming mass of tragedy in the world. I, too, have felt that despair upon looking at the news and seeing endless reports of the awful things that happen in the world. It is possible, however, to make a difference. Help at least one person when you have the means.

It may be something as simple as helping someone carry their groceries to their car. It may be something as little as picking up litter left on the sidewalk. For my part, over the last year, I have been making hats for the preemie babies at one of the hospitals up in Rochester. It doesn't take me much time and, in the grand scheme of things, it really is time I would have spent watching cat videos or similar nonsense on Youtube. What is utterly inconsequential effort on my part, however, helps one premature infant at a time get a better shot at life and good health.

Small acts of compassion, kindness, and good will add up. For my example, working on those little, tiny hats in my idle moments has lead to donating near to 100 hats over the last year. The way to push back against the tides of tragedy in the world are not great and grand gestures. There is no one enemy to face off against and conquer for the good of the world. There is no one grand solution to the world's problems. It is through many small gestures of help towards others that we might make a change in the world. If each of us went out today and did something to help one person, we could make a significant difference in our community just based on our sheer numbers.

Please, help someone today. Help me push back against the tragedy of the world.

Today, I am wearing a black pashimina done up in a half crown style. To recreate this style, take a pashmina and fold it width wise until it fits comfortably on your head and will not slip off when tied. Center the scarf on your head and pull back the tails. Tie an overhand knot at the back. Divide the tails of the scarf, placing one free to sit on your shoulder. Twist the second tail and wrap over the crown of the head, tucking the end it at the knot in the back.

In case anyone is curious, the shawl I am wearing is my prayer shawl that I crocheted with yarn that was spun by my mother-in-law. It is a basic rectangular shawl. You can recreate it with sport weight acrylic yarn and it will not felt like mine did when it got washed improperly. With an 'H' hook, make your foundation chain of 45 stitches with two additional stitches to turn. Make a half double crochet stitch into the fourth chain stitch from your hook. Repeat across the row. Proceed with half double crochet stitches until your shawl is of desired length. Then make a knot and break the yarn. Wash and block out to final dimensions.

When your shawl is complete, take it in hand and ask that your deity of choice blesses it for the purpose you will wear it for. This may be to give comfort during times of distress or to assist in focus whilst engaged in prayer, or something entirely different. My shawl is blessed to provide comfort in times of distress and grief, as well as assisting me in maintaining focus whilst praying. It is a multi-purpose prayer shawl, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spell craft: Poppets

There is this image that Hollywood loves to use. It depicts the magical practitioner engaged in some dastardly deed via sympathetic magic using a figure (mistakenly called a voodoo doll) and doing something like pricking it with pins. The term poppet is actually more accurate. These have been in use in folk magic from just about every culture since antiquity. The term poppet comes from the English culture. It is still used to refer to dolls. It is also used as a term of endearment for young children and women.

The poppet in magical use is akin to an icon for a deity. It serves as a magical focus that assists the practitioner in directing their spell to the correct target. They are constructed in many different ways. In some cases, they are used from things in nature that are approximately humanoid in shape (such as mandrake root). Most often, modern poppets are made from fabric. They are stuffed with any manner of herbs and filler material, much like the cloth poppets of antiquity. There is a wider array of herbs and other components that can be placed inside a poppet in the modern era because of the fact that we're no longer dependent upon locally sourced materials (for the most part).

Traditionally, a poppet included some physical tie to the target. This was usually hair or nail clippings. Now, it is possible to use anything from a picture of the target to an item that strongly reminds the caster of the target. The use of nail clippings have fallen out of favor due to the general concept that it is unhygienic to handle them. Hair clippings are still used on occasion but they have become even harder to acquire with the fact that people go to hairstylists for their haircuts as a general rule.

This makes it harder to isolate the target's hair and puts the would be caster in the position of having to somehow take a hair from their target's person. Given the laws against assault, and the fact that cutting another person's hair with out their permission is considered to be an assault on their person, it is inadvisable to go this route. Hair taken from a willing target is, of course, easily obtained. In many cases, however, the target of the spell is not easily accessible and the caster needs to use an alternative method to 'tie' the poppet to their target.

Once the poppet is 'tied' to the target (spiritually resonant with them), it is manipulated in the manner that reflects what the caster is attempting to enact. In some cases, pins are inserted with the focus of causing pain. In other cases pins are inserted like spiritual acupuncture. They can be tied, burned, buried, or have any other manner of things done to them. Because of sympathetic magic, there should be a related effect upon the target. Once the poppet is no longer useful, the practitioner will sever the magical tie between it and the target it represents. Then, the poppet is destroyed.

In some cases, poppets are not destroyed but rather rendered magically inert to be recycled for future use. This is done with poppets that do not have physical links to the target embedded within them. Those that have physical links to the target of the spell should be rendered magically inert and then destroyed, unless the caster has future spells they wish to perform upon the same target. The reason why these poppets need to be destroyed is because the physical ties to the target will continue the resonance, albeit at a less effective level. This complicates future recycling of the poppet and makes it harder to attune the poppet with a new target.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spread (part III)

Today's spread is a twelve card spread that bears a great deal of resemblance to an expanded version of the basic three card spread. Don't let the similarity in layout fool you, though, because this spread has an entirely different focus. In many ways, this spread could be compared to the Celtic Cross when it is used to learn what is going on with the dead. 

I don't have a fancy name for this spread. For lack of a better name, I call it 'spirit talk'. It is one I developed by accident when I was laying out cards whilst interacting with the dead. I discovered that the cards facilitated the conversation and actually provided greater clarity to the impressions I was receiving. It is generally more effective when there is a topic focus. When just used with out a focus, the spread still works relatively well, but sometimes it is hard to see the connections between the cards.

Position one is the card addressing the immediate answer to your query. Position four clarifies the card at position one. Position seven reveals the way the immediate answer relates to you. The remaining cards of the first row (2 & 3) each address more nuanced answers. Position two's column relates to what people the spirit you are communicating with believes to be influential on the matter with the subsequent cards in the column serving the same roles as positions four and seven did for the card at position one. Position three's column relates what additional information the spirit believes is especially important to focus on.

The column of three cards off to the right summarizes the details of the matrix on the right. Card ten summarizes column one. Card eleven summarizes column two. And card twelve does so for column three. Taken together, these three cards give the answer to your query and what focuses the spirits believe important. It is possible to do the entire reading based off of the final three cards, but the prior nine assist in this process by breaking that major messages up into their salient points.