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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Moura 6

I didn't sleep well last night. As a result, I have been sluggish and feeling off for a good portion of my day thus far. As I sat here staring at the screen, I realized that the discipline of Moura was good for more than just housekeeping matters. It provides structure to my day, which supports me when I am feeling unwell. I forgot how much that helps me.

In my heart, I know that this is something that I really need. My pride, however, frequently trips me up. I look around and say to myself "I don't need this stuff. I can do just fine with out it." It really is unreasonable for me to do that to myself. Since becoming disabled, I find that I need more structure to be successful. It helps me when I can't focus enough to do things. A notebook in the kitchen with my daily routine in it, habits of daily housework, and focused attention to the plans I made for myself when I was well does me wonders. When I'm well, however, I get a bit arrogant and tell myself that I don't need those 'crutches.'

This year, I am reminded multiple times since the beginning of the season that humility is a virtue I should cultivate in myself. And the reminders point out that false humility does me no good. It has been hard to set aside my pride and ego to use these tools I have at hand. I find myself feeling penitential when I realize that my pride has moved in my way. I look around, unsure what I should do to resolve the feeling I should make offerings to rectify the breech that opens up when I fail to take care of myself properly.

The message that I keep finding myself facing is "Don't say sorry. Just don't do it again." This makes failure even harder to bear, honestly. Because I realize that I have disappointed myself and the gods. Some of my difficulties doing the things that are healthy for me come from my illness. Those difficulties are met with compassion and understanding at every turn. And when I lapse in my efforts because I have gotten cocky, there has been that refrain I mentioned earlier. All of the anger and frustration surrounding these failures are upon my own shoulders and crafted by myself.

Perhaps the hardest part of Moura this year is forgiving my errors and letting them go.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Devotional Developments.

Moura 4
Today was a busy day outside of the apartment. Incidentally, the spirit of housekeeping and preparing for spring caught up with me in my errands. The car needed some basic maintenance work today, so I suppose you could say that we were getting the car ready for spring. I stopped at the craft store up in the city to get supplies to use for making Yule/Nativity gifts this year. While I was there, I picked up some peg doll blanks.

With a little work, I made three new icons for my altar. I feel better about my altar now because I have these icons for three deities who are making their presence known in my life in a big way over the last year. I originally was going to paint them but now I think they're so charming just as they are that I'm going to let them be.

 Above is the peg icon I made for Freyja. If you look closely, you can see the Brisingamen about her neck and two additional necklaces hanging from the brooches on her hangerock. While you can't see it, she is depicted with her falcon cloak. I have portrayed her with a spear, as she is a goddess of warfare as well as love. (I lean towards calling her the goddess of passion, to be honest.) I have also depicted one of her cats with her as well. The lack of color on the area that is supposed to be her hair is to indicate that she is blond.

Above is the peg icon I made for Freyr. Like Freyja, he is supposed to be blond. He is shown holding a sheaf of wheat in his left hand, indicating that he is a god of vegetation. His right hand grasps the hilt of a sword. Now, some would take umbrage at the fact that I have depicted Ingvi with a sword when the lore states that he lost his sword to win his bride. This is not my ignoring that bit of lore. I have two reasons for presenting him with the sword. First, I knew that I wouldn't be able to do a passable job of depicting an antler on here. Second, when Freyr shows up for me and he is armed, I frequently see him with a sword. At times, he has had a spear or a firearm, but mostly it has been a sword. Thus, I depicted him as he has revealed himself to me. My gnosis is different from someone else's gnosis and that is ok. The nine worlds are big enough for differing views.

Finally, there is the peg icon I made for Loki. Unlike the other two icons, Loki is depicted with colored hair. I didn't make it red because I didn't think that red pencil would show up on the wood and because Loptr likes to show up with dark hair. If you look, you will see that unlike the other icons, Loki's has a mouth. I have shown his mouth as sewn shut in homage to his kenning Scar Lip and a reminder of that particular myth which is the origin of this kenning. In his left hand, Loki holds a twig of mistletoe, where much of his modern fame seems to stem from. In his right hand is his weapon, referred to in the myth as a twig but many of us Lokisfolk suspect it is a wand where as there are many scholars who claim it is a sword, named Lævateinn (which translates to Damage Twig).

Freyja stands on my altar with the icons of Dea. This is not because I see her as a manifestation of Dea but because it felt to be the right place to put the icon. Freyja has been helping me overcome a good deal of trauma and anxiety. I am pleased that I finally have an icon for her. While it wasn't a mighty need, the icon helps me connect with her better. As soon as I finished the icon and I set it on the altar, I felt a powerful sense of warmth and approval from her. Thus, I believe she is pleased with my rendering and approves of it as both an object of devotion and an offering of said devotion.

Freyr is precious to me. The peg icon is the second icon that I have made for him. The first was a little string doll. It is a very plain string doll with an entirely accidental strategic bulge of yarn that is quite phallic. While the string doll served its purpose, I was dissatisfied with it because I felt it was far too plain. As I made the peg icon, Freyr watched me work and spoke of how charmed he was with it. It was a joy to make it and give it in offering to him. The fact that he expressed approval of it as I was fashioning it and beamed with delight when it was finished just increased my joy.

Loki is also dear to me. I had wanted an icon for him for quite some time. All of the statuettes that I had seen that were depicting him just hit the wrong notes for me. While I understand that very viking Loki (seriously my friend had the best description for this statuette with that moniker) appeals to many and is concordant with the lore, I just didn't get warm fuzzy feelings when I saw it. And I am one of those people who has warm fuzzy feelings for Loki (for many reasons, some of which are pretty complicated). I wanted an icon that reflected him but also gave me the feelings that I got when I was in his company (most of the time). This peg icon, initially, was going to be a place holder until I found one that was professionally made that gave me those feelings. And then I realized that what I made really was exactly what I was looking for.

At some point, I am going to make a few more peg icons. I have yet to place one for Odin. I also want to make a peg icon for the housewight and ones to serve as foci in my devotions to my ancestors that I don't have a physical tie to beyond my blood. The housewight has expressed some interest in an icon. I thought that the string doll I made was going to work but they don't like it as much as the peg icons I made. I am probably going to paint the icon for the housewight. And I am probably going to leave the peg icons for my ancestors bare, unless they express interest in them being decorated.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Moura Day

Moura 1

I have decided to start posting some journal like things up here. On the days where I can't get my thoughts focused enough for my usual posting, I am going to attempt to do more posts like this one where I share just the rambling that goes through my mind. At the end of Moura, I will discontinue this practice, unless you, my readers, have enjoyed these posts. Please, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Today was the day of planning. Like others in the Filianic faith, I will be doing my cleaning and purification of my home over the course of this month. I sat down with FLYLady's book (Sink Reflections) and planned out how I was going to accomplish the task of deep cleaning everything. I am a bit daunted by this task but I have hope that breaking things up into 15 minutes intervals, I will get it done. I am thinking I might be able to get the rest of the family to participate in this spring cleaning. 

It is my hope that the boys and I can go through their toys some time over the next few weeks. I know that there are things they don't play with anymore and I would prefer that we gave them away to someone who would appreciate them rather than having everything cluttering up the apartment. In the spirit of this sense of clearing out things that are not used and appear to have no future use, I am going to be going through the games cabinet. I feel badly that we have this pile of games and no one plays them. I was hoping that we could do something like a family game night once a week but this just is not happening. As such, I am honestly wondering if I should give away the majority of board games that we have. It is something that saddens me to think about.

In my planning for the next four weeks, I have decided that I am going to use the time to re-establish healthful habits that have fallen by the way side due to my lasting depression. I know that it will be difficult, but I can not see myself making progress in my health and welfare with out taking this challenge on. Some things I am struggling with figuring out the timing (like when is the best time of the day to do 15 minutes of exercise) and other things I am struggling with figuring out how to implement them. I am concerned that I am going to put too much on my proverbial plate and make myself unwell with all of that effort.

I can honestly say that I am struggling with some anxiety over all of this. I look at it all and I feel my chest get a little tight and my heart starts to pound. I worry that I am going to fail, as I have so many other times where I have attempted to make these very changes. I tell myself that my goal is progress, not perfection. It feels like empty words as a part of me is arguing that everything I am looking at is an all or nothing situation. When I step back and look at it all, it is pretty silly to view things like establishing a long term habit as an all or nothing prospect. I am pretty sure that this all or nothing anticipation of catastrophe is due to my perfectionism and my anxiety conspiring together.

I am still keeping my daily prayer journal and devotional record. I honestly don't know if I am going to do this again over the next year. I struggled mightily with it. I look at it all and question if it was perhaps overly ambitious of me to attempt to do so. And then there is the part of me that says that it is a small bit of effort in the course of the day, one that is not such a big sacrifice and has nothing but benefits that come from it. I will pray on the matter and seek out guidance on it. I have been feeling dissatisfied with my current prayer practices, which contributes to my difficulty writing in my journal.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Moura Eve (Or the art of finding joy in misery)

Today is Moura Eve. That is the beginning of the Filianic fifth season often equated with Christian Lent. This would be the day of celebrations like what would be seen on Mardi Gras, a time of luxury before the time of stricture that comes over the next month. I wish I could say that the time since Nativity to today has been full of joy and celebration. It, sadly, has been one of much difficulty and illness.

Still, I was determined to at least do something that would make others have a bit of joy today. Thus, I have spent a good portion of my day today indulging my children's whimsies and spoiling them with sweets. Their delight in this treatment has made me smile and given me a bit of joy for myself. I haven't felt well and today has been a day where my illness has made things difficult. Still, I strive to treat things moment by moment and seek happiness in those moments.

It is fleeting happiness that vanishes like a soap bubble, but in those moments, I have felt well and joyful. I have decided that I am going to focus on the moment of joy rather than the dull, leaden sorrow that weighs me down. I have to remind myself at times that my goal is progress and not perfection. There is little else that can emphasize the importance of that goal than how it changes the way I cope with my disability and illness.

A person once said that cracks are what lets the sunlight in. I'm trying to look for that sunlight and hold on to the hope it brings. I sincerely hope that Moura Eve is a time of joy for all who observe it.

May you be blessed in all things.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Hello everyone,

I am still unwell. I wish I could say that my problems have been simply the lingering effects of that horrid cold I had a little while back. (Thanks to the gods that it didn't turn into full blown bronchitis.) My difficulties are all based in my mental illness. It has had me feeling more than a little bit of despair. I'm working with my psychiatric care provider but there isn't much we can do at this time. Adjusting my medication can only take me so far right now. It doesn't magically make the days have the same length as they do in later March or any warmer.

I have been struggling to get much of anything done. Writing has been very difficult. It has also been rather painful. Much of what comes out when I sit down to write is related to trauma. I will only say that I have lived through enough that my case has been compared to that of veterans of combat and I have had several psychiatrists surprised I have everything as pulled together as I do. As some of my Christian friends would say, there but by the grace of God go I.

The gods have been ever present. When I have been struggling with things as basic as making sure I eat properly, they have nudged reminders into my path if not have said something directly. I sit here torn between the unhealthy part of my psyche telling me that I am making all of this up and the part of me that says it doesn't matter if I am so long as it works. I haven't started hallucinating, as I feared I would with the decrease in one of my medications. I suppose that is a point in my favor.

I look at my notes and what I had drafted out for posts on here and I find myself filled with such despair. I look at it and ask what the point to it all even is. I feel as though I am shouting out into the void with out even my own echo in reply. I know that I am not engaged in useless exercise. I intellectually fully grasp that my work here is valid and appreciated. My heart tells me that I am needed. My illness tells me that I am a fraud and that all is but shallow lies woven by madness.

I pray for this fog of despair and depression to lift but it hasn't happened yet. I have decided that if I am not doing better by the end of the week, I will be calling my psychiatric care provider to see if there is anything we can change. I drink my herbal tea. I meditate. I pray. But I still feel as though the world is beyond my grasp and that I am unworthy of its joys. Please forgive me for my silence. Please forgive me for this depressing post. If it were not for these words of grief and struggle, I would have nothing to say right now. I'm sorry.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Apologies for Silence.

Hello Folks,

I have been ill. The cold that I had last weekend still remains as a lingering cough. I've been doing my best to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids to help the guaifenesin kick the congestion out of my chest. At the same time, I have been quite exhausted over the last week. Some of the reasons for my exhaustion have been this cold. Mostly, however, the problem is my depression.

I have Bipolar II and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. According to my psychiatrist, I qualify as disabled due to it. Most of the time, my depressive episodes are not incapacitating. While it makes it difficult, I still manage to function at a minimal level. (You don't want to see how the apartment looks on those days. Let's just say that the dishes get cleaned and the kids get to earn their cleaning rewards on those days and that's about it.) I generally don't talk about my disability because it makes people uncomfortable. I guess some folks worry that I'm contagious somehow.

But, the last week, I was a struggle to get out of bed. If I didn't have to put the kids on the bus, I would probably have just stayed asleep rather than get up at 6:30 every morning this week. My going out of the house was challenging, but I still made it to my doctor appointment and my eldest's parent-teacher conference. But they were exhausting for me and I had a hard time just staying present to keep track of the kids later in the day after that.

I am trying, very hard, to move forward and keep things rolling with this and the other blogs I run. I apologize for the fact that I have been so quiet. While this post is a bit different from the usual material, I felt that I owed you all a post and an explanation for what was going on. Thank you for your patience at this time. Thank you for your readership. And thank you for keeping me in your thoughts.

I hope next week is a better week. If it's not, I will still do my best to post at least something. It may be cat pictures, but cats are adorable so that still counts, right?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Posting Delays

Hi folks,

I'm recovering from a nasty cold that had me in bed all weekend. I may be a bit spotty in my posting this week. Between a doctor's appointment later this week, a parent-teacher conference, and catching up on housework, writing time is at something of a premium. I will do my best to have something up each day but I can not promise I will be successful. Thank you for your patience and understanding.