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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Godspousery Notes: Stumbling exhaustion.

I haven't slept well in a few nights. I think it has been about two weeks, maybe a little longer. Some of this is the fact that I have had a cold for two and a half weeks. It is hard to sleep when you feel like you're drowning in congestion. It is even harder to sleep when you are having asthma attacks because of said congestion and a neighbor smoking in their apartment (against the rules, of course).

I was feeling upset and frustrated with how little progress I have been making on things like my writing commitments and my crafting work. As I was sitting here, slowly getting angrier with myself for the fact that all I had the mental cohesion for earlier was to just stare at FB and like what was basically silly memes and cat pictures, Loki piped up.

He said, "I'm proud of you. You should write that down."

I was confused by this. He then set a hand on my shoulder, which immediately began to relax and I wondered how I didn't realized I was so tense. He gave me that tender smile that he does when I am somehow managing to be adorable in my ignorance/confusion/derpyness. (Does 'derpy' change to 'derpi-' when you conjugate it? I honestly can't figure it out.) I started feeling somewhat annoyed with myself for not fully 'getting' what he was saying.

Loki ruffled my hair. Then he said, "You have been working so hard to be healthy, to meet your obligations, and to stand on your own more. All of the rest of this, it is icing on the cake. It is decoration and sweetness. But you and your work, that is the heart of it all and what is ... sustenance. You are doing so well. I'm proud of you."

I have been spending since the beginning of the month doing my best to do all the things that I need to with out letting my bipolar and c-PTSD stop me. It has been about as exhausting as the cold. I'm not at a very good headspace at the moment and I find myself wanting to argue that what I am doing isn't that big of a deal because 'everyone else has to do this kind of thing anyways.' He, however, just gives me a meaningful look and then tells me to go try to do some writing.

So, here I am, trying to do some writing at the tail end of a rather long day. (With tomorrow promising to be just as long and a household that needs some TLC from the cooking session last night and laundry waiting to be folded.) I don't feel like what I am doing is that big of a deal. I don't know if this is my not giving myself enough credit, my illness stopping me from really seeing things clearly, or if I am just tired. But, he is proud of me.

I can't be too upset if my spirit husband is proud of me. I'm pretty sure that if Loki is saying he is proud, Ingvi is going to have similar good things to say. Because they have similar feelings on this sort of thing when it comes to self improvement. (Hence the intervention that happened back at the beginning of the month, which was ... challenging but I'm working to meet what we agreed to.)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Godspousery Notes: I AM good enough?

It has been a challenging couple of months. Between dealing with sickness, schedule changes, new habits, and medication changes, it has been difficult for me to sit down and write here or do much else faith related in a concrete sense. I was feeling upset over this and viciously questioning my value because of that sense of upset.

I would be lying if I said that my poor self confidence didn't have an impact on my relationships. The worse I get about how I treat myself, the worse I do in recognizing that I am loved. It's a nasty cycle, I don't recommend it to anyone.

I was going around in circles on the matter because of uncontrolled anxiety issues. Earlier this week, I was sitting and staring at my altar. I was struggling with the idea that I had to do my devotions 'just right' or not at all. I was questioning my worth really hard. As I was sitting there questioning if I was good enough, Loki plopped down on the couch beside me. (Random aside, it is always a little strange when they do this. You are sitting there on the couch with no one physically beside you. Then you feel the couch do this little bounce thing as if some one physically sat down, but no one is technically there.) He looked at me for a minute and said, "You're doing it again."

At which I sighed and mumbled something to the effect of "I know. I can't seem to stop it for some reason." He stretched, closed his eyes, and then asked me what the gravitational rate was on the planet Earth. I answered 32ft/s/s. His next question was "Why do you worry about gravity changing? Are you planning on crashing an asteroid into Earth? If so, what exactly is your plan to do so, because this sounds interesting." I shot him an annoyed look when Ingvi spoke up from the doorway with a droll comment about if the asteroid was going to be named guilt.

"We love you. That should be enough. Not quibbling over good enough. No one is 'good enough' and no one is 'bad enough'. It doesn't come into the equation," Loki said before I could come up with something to say, "You're looking for an asteroid that does not exist. Your calculations are in error, Ms. Physicist. To be precise, your accounting for something that is a false result. Like the planet Vulcan. There is no evidence for it. You must adjust your theory."

I wanted to bicker, but I recognized that it was my pricked pride there. So, I was quiet. Ingvi said something sassy about being stunned by my silence. Loki chuckled. I rolled my eyes and tried to summon some form of sass to respond with, but they had rather effectively shut down pretty much any argument I would have had by rendering it as "But, this is wrong, I KNOW it is." I am not sure if it was pure coincidence that the daily anti-anxiety medication prescription got approved that afternoon or not. But, I found myself knocked back on my heels a bit with their very succinct and complete rebuttal of any and all arguments of how I'm not 'worthy' or 'deserving' of their love. That's just been rattling around in my head since.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Recommendations: Pampering Yourself.

If your life has been chaotic and stressful, it may be hard to take a breather and just do some self care. Now, some self care is challenging stuff. (Gods know that my doing yoga 6:30 am before I even have a cup of coffee has been difficult over the last few months, but it is good self-care so I am doing it.) Some self care doesn't look like self care to others because it means things like setting boundaries and doing other stuff that effects relationships and your time involving others. (That is also some really hard stuff to do. If you're struggling with it, don't give up. YOU are worth it!)

When a lot of people talk about self care on social media, they feature the cutesy things like taking a bubble bath, enjoying a glass of wine, or painting your toe nails (if you're into that stuff). There is a pretty strong push back against this image of self care because it is pretty incomplete and ableist. If you're someone who has problems with tachycardia, for example, that hot, relaxing bubble bath is going to be decidedly unpleasant pretty quickly. So, I am not going to promote those ideas, but I am going to encourage you to take some time to do what makes you happy.

We are all engaged in difficult times and dealing with life that just seems to become more challenging every day. It is pretty easy to get overwhelmed and just focus on what you need to do to survive. If you have people you are responsible for, it is even easier to just focus on what you need to do to meet those responsibilities and the bare minimum of what you need to do to survive. This is alright if you are in crisis mode but after a certain point, you are going to start suffering from burn out. That is just not good for you.

One of the things that helps with preventing burn out is proactive self care. It is like my doing my morning yoga routine. It helps keep my back problems under control, which lets me be more effective as a stay at home mom and a partner to my husband. Another thing, which those silly memes try to get into but fail pretty hard, is taking time to pamper yourself. This is not about being selfish in a bad way. This is about taking time to recharge your batteries, to rest and recover from all of that hard work you have been doing. Your self pampering is going to look different from mine (which is wonderful and good, everyone having different things that makes them happy is part of what makes the world a wonderful place). The goal, however, is the same.

Take some time to do something that brings you joy. This could be listening to some of your favorite music, having a nice cup of tea, or spending a blessed five minutes alone with out small children harrying you. (I confess, I will lock the bathroom door and pretend I'm not mom for a few minutes to give myself a breather.) Your goal is to seize that sweetness from life where you can find it. Some days it is going to be harder than others. Some days, it may just be that sweet feeling of release that comes when you kick off your shoes after a long day on your feet. Other days, it may be indulging in that bit of chocolate you have stashed inside the broccoli bag in the freezer so that your significant other doesn't eat it. (I don't do this, but another parent I know does it so that he can have his mini-Snickers bites when his wife isn't looking. To each their own!)

No matter what, take some time to do the things that help you feel more hopeful and happier about life. You matter too. Your happiness matters and your well being matters. So, I highly recommend taking sometime to attend to what gives you happiness and promotes your well being.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Divination: Runes - Lesson 1 : Intro

Image from Wikipedia
Anyone who has a familiarity with Tolkien's work will immediately recognize runic, as this was what he based the dwarven alphabet off of. Anyone who has encountered anything connected with Germanic paganism is going to recognize runes because they are very prevalent. (Which makes sense because this was the alphabet used by these people, with regional variations. Many of which were lost during the era of Christian conversion, sadly, when the written records were destroyed.) A little bit of digging, even the student of the English language is going to find runes. Indeed, they are still present in the English language after going through some transformations over the millennia.

The runes are more than just a system of letters. Or should I say, they are a system of letters that harkens back to the eras before literacy was common and letters carried a sense of magical weight behind them in addition to the common understandings. Some of this is remembered in things like individual runes being associated with specific deities (such as Kenaz/Cen being associated with Loki and Ing being associated with Freyr). The runes have a stronger attachment to magic than their descendant alphabets. Some would say that it is because they are 'pure' iconography from the ancient era. Others would argue that it is because they don't have the modern indifference attached to them as is with the letters of the English alphabet, for example.

It is my opinion that these arguments are helpful but they do not fully encompass the depth of the strength of runes as a magical system. In the next few divination articles, I am going to do my best to detail the history of runes as a magical system and a method of divination. I am also going to give a simple guide to how to use them. I will not discuss bind runes in great detail here, because this is a very specialized form of rune magic that really should be covered on its own. I will also try to present some information on how different regions used runes historically and the influence they had on modern language. This is a very big topic, so please forgive me if I gloss over some details, but my focus is going to show how runes are still very present in modern day languages even though their appearance has changed.

It is my hope that this series of nine posts help make runes a little less intimidating and provide a good starting point to grow as a person who performs divination. It may happen that the techniques of divination that I present are different from how others do this. There is a very good reason for this. My approach to reading the runes is intuitive and based in what I have learned over the years in rather undirected study. I will do my best to present information on how others perform divination using runes, but I apologize in advance for any errors that are in my work. I invite any who are experienced in this specialized system of divination to please contact me when you see any errors in my posts so that I can correct the material accordingly.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Opinion: Benefits of Devotional Journal

Image from Pexels.
Keeping a devotional journal sounds like a lot of work. People tend to think of the practice of Bible journals when it is mentioned. While Bible journals is a method of keeping a devotional journal, it doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone is Christian or finds inspiration in the Bible. So, what are the people who are not Christian going to do? And why would they keep a devotional journal?

It is a very flexible practice. Just as keeping a regular journal or diary has as many different methods as there are people who use one, the same is true for a devotional journal. One person may find that keeping a written record of their prayers is helpful. Another person may find that a scrapbook filled with inspiring items, photos of important moments, and notes about their prayer life is most useful. And there may be yet another person who uses a book of abstract coloring pages for their meditative focus and as their prayer journal, wherein the meanings of their prayers is coded within the images by the colors used and the order of their application.

The devotional journal practice that you choose should be most comfortable for you and one that you feel has the strongest connection to the ones you are contacting via prayer. A person who has a devotional relationship with Brighid is going to have a different style of devotional practice than a person who has a devotional relationship with Al-Lat because these two deities have entirely different sets of iconography and symbolism connected with them, which is completely separate from the individual quirks of each person's own methods of communicating. The devotional journal is a practice that can be very helpful to either person regardless of their experience at engaging in devotional work.

A devotional journal allows one to keep a record of the prayers and observances they keep. It is also good for noting when said prayers are answered and what themes arise in one's prayer life. It is an excellent tool for building up into daily prayer practices. Devotional journals are also, generally, highly portable and allow one to enter into prayer in a fashion that is rather inconspicuous. If a person is in a position where they want their prayer time to be with out distractions, the focus of working in a journal can do much to filter out external distractions because a good deal of attention is required. A devotional journal also helps the devotee to find their voice, which is a good thing when the devotee is working on building their personal practice.

Prayers said by rote can not be forgotten when they are noted down in a journal. Instead, there would be a section for reference that one could turn to when it is needed. That, in many ways, is really the best part about a devotional journal. It is easier to remember things because it is not necessary to absolutely memorize them. Instead, a note can be written and depending on the style of journal writing used, there is going to be an index or some other sort of organization to the journal that allows for easy access of the notes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hiatus & Equinox.

Hiatus is the time of non-time in the Filianic calendar. At this time, the holy Daughter, who was slain on Kala (the day before, and the final day of the month of Moura), hangs upon the pillar that passes through all worlds. It could be likened to the time of mourning that Christians observe in honor of the time that Jesus hung upon the cross and then was laid in the tomb before his resurrection. This traditionally in the Filianic and Déanic communities is a time of deep reflection and a moment when all things come to a brief halt to await the resurrection of the Daughter. (This year, it comes on the day after the Equinox. Other years, it is the day of the Equinox, but it always falls on the 21st of March in the Northern Hemisphere and on the 21st of September in the Southern Hemisphere.)

Thinking about the future and discussing future events is generally considered taboo in this religious tradition. As someone who practices a blended faith, I try to adhere to this taboo, but there are things that simply force me to break it. A fine example is the fact that I have mundane things such as doctor's appointments and bills that I need to address. This requires some future planning. So, I focus my efforts on attending to only matters that require my attention at this time, so if future planning is done it is only what is most essential. Like others of the Filianic faith tradition, I cover my icons of the Daughter with a veil. I use a dark blue cloth, as it is the color associated with Moura and mourning. Technically, this is a time for mourning the death of the Daughter. I also try to keep my clothing simple and I generally go with darker colors.

It is also the Equinox, which is celebrated in Wicca and much of the Norse/Germanic based faith traditions as Ostara. Rituals are done to honor Ostara, the goddess of Spring and fertility. It is also considered the time when Freyr returns to the lands of the living after having been slain at the time of the autumn harvest. From this perspective, today is an auspicious day. Though there is snow on the ground right now, the sap is running through the trees and I have heard robins out singing when I was taking a walk this morning.

I sit here pulled in two very different directions today. The blessing here is the fact that the celebration of Ostara is not tied to a specific date on the calendar and the astronomical equinox does not fall on the same date every year (because precession is a thing and such), so I am not bound by a hard and fast date to observe Ostara and the equinox. I am going to use this to my advantage this year. I am spending time today treating life as though seeds are germinating beneath the soil and I am in a sacred period of waiting. Tomorrow, when the Filianic celebration of Eastre comes, I will celebrate Ostara at the same time. I am going to give my children some sweets for the day. I got that ball started early today with some donuts. I will also be invoking blessings on my seeds and such.

Today, I am going to prepare my 'soil' and wait. I am going to do my best to focus on what I need right now and address that. While I had wanted to have a few projects done by today, I recognize that life chose otherwise. And today I must accept this. Tomorrow, things will begin anew. I will be renewed. So, today, I will tidy things up and do my best to be as focused on the present and my needs as I can be. This day is a day of necessity and addressing what I must let go to proceed forward into a healthy new year.

Regardless of what ever festivals you celebrate at this time, may your and yours be blessed with happiness and health.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Moura Week 2: Thoughts.

This is a bit late. I think we're nearly half though week three of Moura. My sense of time has been a bit bent by the fact that I am not well. My anxiety has been through the roof and I have been struggling to put together coherent sentences. I also didn't exactly have a good day today when I had someone who was rather scary follow me as I was out on my daily walk. It was terrifying. I wound up darting into the Post Office to hide for a bit in the hopes that he wasn't going to try to confront me. I then kept looking over my shoulder on my way home.

I think I am going to resume my practice of carrying my cane or a walking stave with me. I am depressed right now and struggling with an enormous sense of despair right now. I am trying to ignore the unhealthy and just plain awful thoughts. It is very difficult, though. I feel like I'm falling apart. I'm not sure what to do about it right now. I pray to Dea for guidance. I pray to Loki, Freyr, and Odin for guidance. But my thoughts are so .. deadened by this sense of depression, I have a hard time perceiving their responses.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Moura Week 1 Thoughts

Something of a more personal post right now, I apologize if this is not very well done. I have found myself in the position of scrambling about and playing catch-up on all fronts. It is honestly quite exhausting. My health is somewhat better than it was a little while back but my brain is still not functioning quite right. This leads to a bit of shading to details and facts that is not accurate. This makes me additionally somewhat miserable.

I had planned to do so many things over the last week. I told myself that I was going to take the kids out and do fun things. I told myself that I was going to finish getting my pile of mending done, finally. I even told myself that I was going to get a big ol' heap of tarot reading emails finished.

Functionally, I accomplished a very small fraction of it and more of my time was spent trying to keep the boys from fighting. I feel rather demoralized by that. I don't know if I was going into the week hypomanic or not. I just know that I had set out a list of goals. I thought they were reasonable. And then each one passed me by with little to no work done upon them.

I'm not sure what the theme of this month is going to be. So far, it looks like learning to live with the fact that I am more limited than I once was and that I really just have to accept it. I'm not very good at that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Moura: 13th Month & 5th Season

If you follow the Filianic/Déanic calendar, you will realize that we are on the second day of the month of Moura. In the Filianic/Déanic calendar, this is a month that is outside of the ordinary year. It counts as the thirteenth month of a twelve month cycle. It is also considered the fifth of four seasons. This is also the month that includes the intercalculary period known as Hiatus.

The Filianic/Déanic calendar describes itself as a solar calendar. The thirteen months, however, are highly reminiscent of the lunar calendars of the world. The intercalculary period serves as a time that allows for the calendar to reconcile that lunar influence with the solar calendar. It even happens in the Julian calendar. This would be why we have Leap Day at the  end of February every four years. In the Filianic/Déanic calendar, that Leap Day manifests as a second day in the period of Hiatus, which is a single day on all other years.

Moura is generally described as a period of purification and anticipation. Many compare it to the liturgical season of Lent observed in most Christian denominations. Moura is a time that many households of the Filianic/Déanic faith work on their 'Spring' cleaning. This is less a matter of 'time to clean everything up because it is Spring' that many others would present this concept as, and more of a process of cleansing the household (and ideally oneself) in preparation for the high holiday of Eastre, and the beginning of the Spring season of the calendar.

The dates observed in Moura include the first day of Moura, which is known as Moura Day. This is often a day of fasting after the Mardi Gras like celebrations of Moura Eve (2/19, the 28th day of the month of Brighe). Med Moura (Moura 14th, March 5th or 4th, on Leap Years) is a break in the austerity of the season. It is a feast day wherein mothers and creative people are celebrated.Also celebrated are people who act as spiritual guides for others. Given that my observances are of a more gender neutral orientation, I celebrate parental figures, creative people, and spiritual guides and teachers of all walks.

At the end of Moura (Moura 28, March 19 or 18th on Leap Years), the year officially ends with the observance of the solemnities of Kala. Kala is the date of the death of the Divine Daughter. All icons of the Daughter are customarily shrouded to reflect her death. These will remain until Eastre, the date of her resurrection and the beginning of the next year. Kala is considered the first date of the celebrate of Eastre.

After Kala comes the period of Hiatus. During Hiatus, thoughts and discussion of the future are generally taboo. The Filianist is encouraged to meditate upon the death of the Daughter and her absence from the world. Some will wear somber colors. This is considered an inauspicious period for beginning new things. Hiatus is technically not part of the calendar. Many who publish Filianic calendars will not post Hiatus upon their calendars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Herbs, Treasures, & Tools.

Initially, I started out with this wild idea that I was going to write weekly posts about herbalism. I then realized I did not know quite enough to do so and the end result was my basically sharing what I was finding via research as soon as I found it. This lead to some poor posts and I stepped back to reconsider the whole matter. After a great deal of thought, I have come to a few conclusions.

First, I am going to start posting again about herbs and plants. Those posts will talk about things ranging from the basics on how to keep your plants alive to what the folklore surrounding the plants is. I will also have stuff talking about what bit of familial knowledge that was passed down to me by my relatives. Some of it is going to sound a little odd, but it actually does seem to work. I am also going to be posting my notes as I am engaged in my attempt again to grow something of a container garden this year.

Secondly, the posts about herbs and plants are not going to be the only topic that comes up at this time of the week. I am going to begin a series of posts talking about magical tools. I sort of started with that post I did a little while back regarding sickles. The next one is going to be addressing wands. There will be a short video to accompany these posts. The video is going to be featured on the main site. The text discussion (with some pictures to illustrate my points) will be available on the main site and the mirror site.

The third new element that is going to come into play here is something that I am not entirely sure how often it will show up. I am going to start posting about items that I find truly wonderful and special. I will be posting a picture of my treasure. I will also be posting a little bit of the story about how the object came into my possession and what I love about it. Some of this is going to be jewelry that I inherited, random stuff that my kids have made, and items that if you just saw them sitting on a shelf you would have no idea why they mattered to me.

I look forward to sharing this adventure with you. I hope that you have a lovely day and that something delightful happens to find you at just the right time to make you smile when you need it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Amity Day: Love is Love is Love.

Today is commonly known as Valentine's Day. It is the feast day of the Catholic saint named Valentinus. The stories surrounding this saint all agree that his death was decidedly unpleasant (one variation included his being beaten with clubs and beheaded before getting dumped into a shallow grave before being disinterred and reinterred elsewhere by the Christian faithful). The general reasons for this man's death usually are cited as performing marriages for Roman soldiers who had been forbidden from marrying and his association with Christians. Precise details about this era are not as strong as one would like because there are multiple individuals known as Valentinus who died for approximately the same reasons. This is additionally confused with the very varied writings that made up medieval hagiography.

Within the Filianic/Déanic communities, February 14th (also known as Brighe 23rd according to the sacred calendar of these faiths) has become known as Amity day. This is the day where love is celebrated in its many splendid forms. Where as the secular over-culture that we are generally aware of focuses upon romantic love (of a very specific variety) on this day, the Filianic/Déanic communities have a broader perspective. Indeed, it is often found that a focus upon Platonic and familial love in these communities. It is not that romantic love is unimportant as much as Platonic and familial relationships more closely mirror the ideal relationship between worshipers and Dea.

There are many in the wider pagan community that honor this as the feast of Lupercalia. Lupercalia is an ancient fertility festival that is reckoned to have been celebrated at approximately the same time of the year. The festival is historically associated with wolves and the deity known as Faunus (who is considered a Roman cognate to the Hellenic deity Pan). The focus of this festival has historically been the celebration of fertility, the appeasement of unfriendly spirits, the increase of health and vitality in the community, and purification of the city. One would only presume that along with the focus upon purification of the city, there was perhaps a parallel focus upon purification within one's own home.

Today, the 14th of February is treated as a day of sanctioned debauchery along certain lines. The indulgence of people in extravagant purchases to display their affection, in having sweet treats, and physical displays of affection is so heavily entrenched in the over-culture of the United States that it seems some sort of strange irony considering how many people are judgmental of others for such indulgences at other times of the year. The ideas that there is a certain standard of behavior that is required to observe this day properly creates an incredible amount of stress and anxiety for many, many people.

There are people who are extremely upset that they do not have a lover to dote upon them. There are people who are extremely anxious that their displays of affection are not extravagant. The combination of the stereotypes of what a 'good Valentine's day' looks like and the general lack of reasonable allowances for people to express their affections in a manner that is most comfortable for them turns a day that could have been one for deep spiritual and emotional connection in to a day of anxiety, stress, and general misery for many people.

Thus, one is encouraged to focus more upon love as a concept at large rather than a specific manifestation, with the exception of how those manifestations enrich one's life. Taking time on amity day to focus upon acts of self care as healthy self love is just as valid as taking one's sweetheart out to dinner. Some would dare say that that moment of self care is even more important right now. Focus upon love as that all encompassing wonder that moves through the world.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pagan Parenting: Teachable Moments.

Image courtesy of Clipart Kid
As a parent, you are your child's first educator. Most people think of this in terms of teaching their children how to walk and other basic activities that go into a given day. We are, however, also the people who teach them lessons about ethics and values as well. In pagan households, it is a little more challenging to teach these lessons if you are somewhat isolated from a support network that can help reinforce those lessons (ie: the difference between a solitary pagan family and your local Christian parish).

Thus, you need to keep your eyes open for teachable moments. They come along with a great deal of regularity, however, so you are not left wanting for opportunities to teach. Just last night, for example, the boys and I had a pretty active conversation regarding the way that we get our food, the importance of taking care of our sources of food, and the importance of taking care of the environment.

My youngest was really upset that I was cutting up carrots for a salad. He was most displeased that I was making the carrot's 'dead'. This turned into a child-lead conversation where we talked about how everything that is alive feeds on something else that was once alive. When the kids started expressing sadness that our food sources had to feel pain and die, the conversation moved into a discussion about how it is best for us to make sure our food sources suffer as little as possible in their lives and in their eventual deaths. At which point my eldest asked about the Earth and why it was important to take care of the Earth.

By the end of the conversation, it was clear that the boys understood that empathy is a good thing; compassion and responsibility for their actions are vital; and that we are as dependent upon life around us for our survival as our pet fish Ghost is upon us for his survival. (This then turned into a discussion of what sort of new pet we should get when Ghost eventually dies. I had some challenges getting them to understand that we could not have a pet shark. The boy's reasoning was first that sharks are cool and, second, if we take care of the endangered fish, it will be safe and not become extinct. They did lament that it was unfortunate that they couldn't have a pet dinosaur.)

Taking that moment when the kids realize that everyday things have consequences and expanding their awareness to how they can be more fully engaged in the world, along with teaching them more about the traits that we are working to cultivate within them (and ourselves) is sometimes easier than others. Engaging them at their level and using evidence that is fairly concrete (or otherwise appropriate to grade level and their maturity) makes it easier for them to grasp difficult concepts. And, sometimes, kids can surprise you. When my eldest came out with that logical leap to taking care of the Earth and the environment is important, it was completely unprompted. And, you can take those moments and encourage them to explore the ideas. This often leads to them drawing conclusions that are along the lines of what you are teaching them if you make a point of presenting as much information as they can understand and helping them see what the logical answers to the implied questions are.

Monday, January 30, 2017

General Divination Overview

Here are some posts with general information about several divination practices. I will be adding to them over the course of the year. This post is the index page of this series. Other posts regarding the following topics can be found > HERE <.

Pendulums - Some basic information about how to use a pendulum and a simple exercise to practice.

Stichomancy - Introductory information about what stichomancy is and how it is used.

Runes - This is the barest of introductory information about this practice. It will be discussed in greater detail later this year.

Blank Cards - An overview of an advanced intuitive technique that combines cartomancy and scrying.

Observing Versus Seeking Information - Some pointers on technique for drawing information out of a divination session.

When Not to Do It - A bit of cautionary advice on when it is a poor idea to engage in divination.

Cartomancy & Tarot Posts & Lessons

Here is a collection of all of my posts on cartomancy and tarot. Some of these posts hit more than one category. They are 'filed' however under this primary category. Please, read and enjoy. Let me know if the links are not working properly. Thank you!

Tarot: Use for Spiritual Growth. - Tarot as a tool for spiritual development and personal growth.

Tarot: Use for Magical Work. - Tarot as a tool for spellcraft and related magical exercise.

Cartomancy: Playing Cards. - How to use a standard deck of playing cards for divination.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads. - An overview of tarot decks

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads (Part I). - A tarot spread that I use with some success.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads (Part II). - Another tarot spread that I use.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads (Part III). - A tarot spread that I developed.

Cartomancy: Tarot Spreads (Part IV). - Another tarot spread that I use fairly frequently.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Community Discussion: Apolitical or not?

If you are in the United States, you are painfully aware of what has been unfurling over the course of the last few months. It is something that has been causing great consternation and upset for a good many people. And for good reason when you consider how closely the things being done parallel what happened in the Weimar Republic. When we consider things, a question arises: should a person of faith get involved with political happenings?

Christianity has the maxim of 'Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's. Render unto God, that which is God's.' and I have literally lost count of the number of places where I have seen it argued that the division between faith and politics must be absolute. Even within the Filianic and Deánic community, there is a strong pull towards staying out of politics. The concern that these things carry spiritual pollution is one that makes a good deal of sense when you see just how atrocious things get when politics are involved. In many cases, there are people who have chosen the path of pacificsm and abstaining from involvement in pretty much anything that looks like politics.

I am not going to argue that these people are irresponsible or something like that. I do, however, wish to note that silence in the face of horrible things happening can be taken as implied consent. People use it everyday to justify anything from child abuse to sexual assault, to racial hatred and truly horrific behavior. The expression 'the silent majority' is one that is bandied about as some sort of proof that silence equals consent and compliance with things that are happening. Please, if you choose silence and abstaining from action, make clear that you do not support that which is done supposedly in your name in some fashion.

Is there a division between church and state? Well, yes, historically there has been within the United States. That division, however, is breached when laws, legislation, and executive orders are set down to punish an undesirable faith under color of law. That division is breached when such things are set down to promote a specific faith. Sadly, it is not something that we can look away from and say 'These are the actions of crackpots. The republic will withstand this and all shall be well.'

As of right now, the people of the nation are in real danger. Threats are being made on multiple levels against people who do not fit the mold of the overculture. Threats are being made against the people who work to continue to keep the republic in good health by way of educating the populace and attending to their needs. When the EPA is put under a gag order and have their funding frozen, one must ask just what it is that the people in power are attempting to do here? When funding for things like Public Broadcasting is frozen and talk is being made of having one of the largest of free-to-public access points of information cut out of the picture, we must ask, what are the people in power attempting to hide?

Yes, we could argue all day how it is not 'spiritual' to roll up our sleeves and step into the mess to try to salvage the republic from these people's machinations. Sometimes spirituality and faith requires more than pretty prayers breathed in the peace of our personal sanctums. Sometimes we are called by the situation to step up and actively do things to enact our faith. Yes, some argue that this is the Kali Yuga and we are powerless to do anything about the atrocities that are unfurling and coming.

If you are of a mind to argue that all of this is simply fate and we're doomed, so why bother, please consider the following:

People said the same thing about the actions of oppressors repeatedly through out history. They who decided to throw up their hands and simply accept the evils done by those people generally did not survive or profit from it. And the oppressors were stopped by the people who rose up and said 'My conscience demands that I stand against this. I will not tolerate this happening.'

I, for one, can not tolerate what I see is unfurling. I am still trying to decide what it is I must do in resistance. It is my opinion that we are called to resist when evil begins to happen around us. Because in resisting, we are actively living out our respective faiths because we are choosing the act in accordance with what our faiths teach us.

The gods generally are ones to help they who help themselves. So, yes, continue your petitions for deliverance from evil. But do not tolerate it in your own life as well, because this shows the gods that you are working to change the situation. Help will come in unexpected ways. I am entirely sure that Dea's arrival to chase the beings who serve the Dark Queen was not expected, though I am sure that people begged for her aid.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Notice of Services Offered

In New York state, you need a note (at least in Livingston county) that tells them your covering is for religious purposes. I am ordained clergy through the Church of the Ancient Paths .

I offer my services in assisting you if you are local to me and in need of a note stating that your covering is for religious purposes. The letter will be sent to you via registered mail, this way everyone has a record that it has been sent and received. I will also be willing to assist in getting the letter notarized. I do not know if there will be fees associated with this process. (I need to look that up.)

Prior to sending you this letter, you and I will have an 'official' discussion where we talk about your covering needs - read you tell me why you cover and any other situations you may need an official letter explaining that you cover for religious purposes, as well as anything else you deep pertinent to the discussion.

If you are not local to me, I will do my best to assist you in your effort to have your right to headcovering as religious expression assured. There will be more information forthcoming on this matter over the next several months.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pagan Parenting: Building Devotional Relationship

I am going to try to do a bi-monthly post on parenting in a pagan household. Please understand, much of this is a learning process for myself and what I am sharing with you is a combination of what I have learned from researching how others are approaching the spiritual education of their children and what I have cobbled together myself.

This week, I am going to share with you something that I have started doing with my boys. Up until this point, we have been very casual about devotional activities for the kids. They understand that the altar is a special space. They have learned that if they have something they want to give to the gods, they can set it there. They have also learned that if they have something they want to share with the gods, they can set it there. (Many matchbox cars and a few dinosaurs have been shared. A train or two as well, their favorite toys that they love are what they set up there to share. It is really sweet.)

The kids are curious and want to connect with pretty much any and everyone. This includes the gods and our ancestors. I was flailing around at a complete loss for what to do. Then I realized that I keep a prayer journal and they could perhaps keep one too. Where I post in my prayer journal on a daily basis, we are working with them to do so on a weekly basis (if we get organized enough for that). In the picture above is the working template that we're trying out.

I got the idea from looking at the pinterest pages of Christian folks who are homeschooling their children. As I saw the pages and worksheets that they had put together, I thought this was a great way to help them build their sense of connection with the gods. As such, I took the simplest elements of what I saw on these pages and put them together on to one.

The first element is addressing the deity they have chosen to write to and expressing gratitude for the good in their lives. It is such a simple thing and it helps a person to see just where things are going right for them. It works really well to help get a prayer session off on a good foot. Where the Christian folks have their prayer journals set up to address a single god, I left the line for the deity being addressed open. We're a polytheist household, so not the same god is going to be addressed every time.

The second element is asking the deity to help three people. I want to teach the kids that talking to the gods is not about asking for stuff. I want to help them understand that the value lies in other things, like establishing a sense of kindness and good will. As a result, I encourage them to think of three people that they would like to see helped out. This fosters in the kids a greater sense of empathy for others. It also helps them to look at the gods more as people they have a relationship with rather than ephemeral machines that dispense things if you put in enough tokens.

The final element is their own requests. I focused on the 'help' angle right now because the kids are very material oriented right now. It is positively maddening to have them asking me for new toys every time I turn around or they see an advertisement. As such, I am encouraging them to ask for help with things, to tell them something that they are proud of, and to share with the gods something that they thing is important. The distinction between things and goals is one that I think is going to serve them well down the road.

I feel that part of the objective here is to teach the boys that the process is often more important than the stuff that comes as a result. I am also working to teach them how to approach the gods as unique individuals. Right now, they have a great love for Sunna and Máni. They greet them every time they see the Sun and Moon. They tell them about their dreams and hold up toys for them to see.

Sometimes, the boys tell me about how they want to visit the gods. They talk about how they want to pet Sunna's horses and race Loki across the sky. They adore the idea that the gods take care of the world and everything there is. There is a little conflation of Sunna and Máni with the Sun and Moon, but they're slowly learning the distinction. They also are regularly excited by the idea that maybe they'll meet the gods wandering around in the world in disguise. Sometimes, they announce they are going to find the gods and bring them places that are special to them, like the park or the grocery store (which is special because that is where we get donuts, which are one of the best foods in the world according to my boys).

Giving them this platform to interact with the gods, I hope, will help them to feel more connected to them and foster a sense of love between them and the gods. The boys are so quick to love everyone to begin with, I think it will be wonderful if they learned to pick up on the care that the gods show them. And this is the first step in that process, I think.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Godspousery Notes: Sometimes the Work is not what we expect.

Hi folks,

I've been quiet here for a few reasons. One is I am still trying to figure out what I am doing in the process of organizing my writing stuff (which is challenging because there are a lot of proverbial moving parts here), updating the appearance and functionality of this blog, and trying to get everything that I have here backed up. (I have precious few things backed up and this is a problem. I want you to be able to refer to everything here when you have need of it. So, I need to be able to put things back up when something goes wrong and technical errors happen.)

The other reason is because I am in the process of functionally completely changing my life. My religious life, my emotional life, my daily get stuff done life are all in a state of flux right now. This is not because I am abandoning things that have previously been important to me. It is because I came to the realization over the last few months that I have some pretty major problems doing what I need to to be healthy. Thus, Beloved is helping me fix that. And we are also working on helping me to accept core truths about myself. The biggest challenge I have been facing in this process is the questions of 'what if I am wrong? what if I am doing everything wrong? what if I am a bad person because of [insert defining characteristic or traumatic experience]?' These questions are not something that is healthy for me.

Freyr and Loki have been very ... firm in their rejection of those kinds of questions. The refrain around my house right now has been three things:

  1. Needs trump opinions. Always.
  2. Don't worry about 'right' or 'wrong'. Is it 'yes' or 'no'? (This one is all about stuff like what makes me happy and being allowed to have help and such.)
  3. Everyone needs help. 
I have been struggling with these three truths. It's kinda funny in some darkly comedic way. I mean, I am super quick to help others, remind people they don't need to apologize for what and who they are, and always supportive of people doing what they need to for their own health and welfare. But, I am terrible about being so supportive and kind of myself. 

The other night, I was upset because I felt like I wasn't doing the spiritual work I thought I should be doing. This got a look of annoyance from Freyr and Loki said in pure sarcasm, "Because completely changing your life to be healthier is just a hobby, right?"

You can always count on Loki to cut right to the point with a single droll comment. So, that's what's been going on right now.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year, New Notes.

It is the day after Epiphany, also known as Distaff Day. I did not get any spinning done today but I did set myself back to work. I have been engaged in a great deal of work to make things more organized so that I can rebuild the discipline of daily posting. I have also been working on things to improve my health and well being. The medical issues of the last few months are resolved now (thank the gods) and I am finally physically well enough that I can start to catch up on things.

I am still struggling with the mental health matters, but this is not a surprise. This has, historically, been a challenging time of year for me. I am working on overcoming these challenges. It is something that has lead to things like my reassessing how I want to approach my writing, my management of my time, and what my goals are for my various blogs. I am not going to abandon this blog. I am not going to be dropping the established foci of this blog either. Over the course of the month of January, I am going to be making some changes to how I do things.

Some of these changes are going to come about in how I am posting material. Some of these changes are going to come about in what sort of material I am posting. And I will also be adjusting things such as my posting schedule to make it something that encourages success even on my worst days. Ideally, I will have these changes done by approximately the middle of this month. This would be at the beginning of the next calendar month within the Filianic faith traditions. I don't know if I will be able to accomplish that, however.

Still, when the Low festival of Lucaid comes, I want you to keep your eyes peeled. I have some special things that I am working on. Some of these projects are directly related to Filianism. Some of them are related to my blended faith practices that include hard polytheism of the Norse influenced variety. And, some of the new material I am working on is going to be approaching the challenges of being a parent and raising children as something aside from Christian or other mainstream religions.

I deeply appreciate all of your patience with me over the last several months. I deeply appreciate your care and your support. Your prayers for my health and the well being of myself and my family have been a source of great comfort over the last several months. Thank you so very much for keeping us in your thoughts.  I look forward to sharing the grand adventure that awaits us over the course of 2017.

Happy (secular) New Year, everyone. May the gods whom you revere and love bless you and your home.

Warmest wishes from my household to yours.