Mental Health – Creative Chat Video

A new video has gone up where I talk about how this pandemic has affected me, and in turn, how that has affected my ability to create. It’s definitely a tough time we are going through and having to adjust to it, and I think the most important thing for us all right now is to be gentle with ourselves and everyone else. So gentle, and so soft ❤

The Pagan Experience Looking Forward

Thanks to a few of the bloggers I read, I am now going to participate in The Pagan Experience, as a step up from the Pagan Blog Project. Now I don’t mean that in a negative light, it just feels like PBP is more for those starting out, the prompts emphasize the history, tools, etc. of Paganism and Witchcraft. While I like to go back every once in a while and give a thought as to why we use what we use, the power in tools of the tangible and intangible sort, I feel like it’s no longer the time for me to continue “starting out”. Also, most of the PBP posts that I’ve written in the past year and a half, perhaps more, have been more personal, less of that initial Learn. All. The. Things.
I’m still learning of course, but it’s much less about the books now, and more about the actual practice, the interactions that I have. Learning things by rote helps a bit, but can you remember all the things you had to memorize when you were in grade school? Probably not. What stays in mind are the experiences, things connected to emotions, and spirituality is abundant in the emotional department.

Alright, so to get to the point of this first Pagan Experience blog post, resolutions! I don’t really do them. I generally have things that I am always working towards anyhow, so I’ll share what the coming year will have in store for me.

1. Write. I need to finish the novel I began writing for NaNo. I’m still excited about the story, but I need to take some time to plan out what’s going to happen in each chapter till the end of the book.
I am also going to write short stories of erotica to publish on a fairly regular basis. I enjoy writing it as much as I love reading it, and sometimes, you just gotta write your own stuff to see what you want to see. I’ve already got a neat world I’m working in, and I’m excited to see where it goes as well. I think with this first story, there will be more, a bigger story that will be put out in instalments. It’s also going to be a way for me to sharpen my story writing skills so that the big stories I have to tell will be done so in a much cleaner way.

2. Redo my garden this year, cutting down some of the things that didn’t seem to work well, and what we didn’t tend to eat very much of. It will also be a year of knowing what will need to be better taken care of on this particular plot, now that I’ve gone through a growing season with it. And this year, I absolutely must remember to get my sister to bring some horse poop in the fall! (The poop is the most important goal, of course!)
I will also be making a bigger effort for herbs, both culinary and medicinal. Of course, it can all be used magickally, but you already knew that, right? Also, herbs and flowers in the garden keep pests away, so there’s also that.

3. Eat well, move more. Nothing specific. I’m not going to say I want to lose such and such amount of weight. I just want to take care of my body, which is something that’s already on my mind every day anyway.

4. Spiritually, I’d like to allow myself to just do things when I feel moved to. Not to just sit there thinking that there’s going to be too much involved. We do things when inspired because we are deeply moved to do it, ritual and celebration helps us to mark important things in our lives, and I need to do this more. I’m not saying I’m going to do ALL. THE. RITUALS. I am not a ritual kind of person. Only once in a while. No, if I feel like I need to bake something for an offering, or do a specific spell, or say a prayer in a more formal and marked way, I will do it.

5. Sing more. I’ve been moved more and more lately to sing. Not as intensely as I have pursued it before, but music is calling. I often think of writing, but my best tunes come out in the shower and I forget when I’m done. Yes, I realize I should just bring my phone in and record. Welp, there’s a thought 😛 Thank you, writing this post for making me think of that!

I think these are the basic things I am seeking to do this year. Nothing too crazy, just things that I feel are attainable, as I already endeavour to do them anyway.

Story Weaving Once More

So, the darkness has lifted quite a bit and I’m excited and engaged in things again. If you’ve seen anything from me on Twitter in the last week, you’ll know I’m preparing to give NaNoWriMo another whirl this year (that’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know about it yet).

I’ve spent the last week employing the Snowflake method, albeit a slightly abbreviated version of it, to pre-plan my novel this year. Last year’s was a write by the seat of my pants go, and while I really enjoyed doing it that way, just allowing things to unfold from the pits of my mind, I did end up planning things out as I went along anyway. So I figured I’d try it with a plan in place this time, although it’s not going to be super rigid and allows me some flexibility to play around with some things.

So today, I’ve been making a list of the scenes I’d like to write, and by doing that, I’ve discovered something else that will be unfolding within the story, which I am very happy about. I have to say, how this one is developing, I’m really quite excited to just read the story as I write it. I want to know what is going to happen, I want to see the relationships develop, I want to see how these characters are going to struggle and learn. I just want to know the story already!

I’ll divulge a little and tell you that it’s kind of a blend of fantasy, alternate history, and romance. Gods are involved, and I’ve already got some expansion into more than one pantheon in mind for a subsequent novel. I’m even thinking it may turn into a trilogy, you know, because that’s just what you do, and I can already see where I can take the essential story and expand into a greater and greater view of the world.

Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting November to begin so I can dive right into the deep end. I’m also upping the word count I’d like to achieve this year. Last year I did the standard 50,000, and this year, I’d like to up it to 60,000. We shall see what becomes of it!

Wading Through

I’ve been quiet lately, yes I have. And that doesn’t just include posting things here in my little bit of webspace. Late in August, I was hit with a very big wave of depression. It seems to come when summer comes closer to its end, like clockwork, for the last three years anyway. Before then, I believe I can say other than having the occasional blue day, I hadn’t really had much depression since I was a baby teenager.

Last year’s bout lasted until March, the year before that was a long one, but it was partially because of a something that happened to me. I was very scared of death, constantly seeing my own in every situation I would be in, and I didn’t trust myself very much. Which has kind of carried over in the subsequent years, though I am no longer very scared, just more accepting of whatever  happens will happen. That I have very little control over anything that could occur to take me from this mortal life. It’s an interesting place to be, and a large part of the reason why I cocoon so much.

The other thing it has done is make it very hard for me to keep the connections to people alive and well. Although I will put the caveat that that is not totally up to one side of the equation, it’s for both to keep it thriving. However, like I said, I am very much cocooned, physically as well as socially. For a little while, the only person I could stand and actually smile with a few weeks ago was the Man. I had no patience for anyone else, without any particular reason. I would find myself being short, and not paying attention to what anyone said, and getting angry without reason when people would talk with me. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to be alone.

I will say that the not paying attention also has something to do with the fact that just for the past year, I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with focus and memory. The spring and summer saw an improvement to that, but it all went backward when the wave crashed in on me. All I can hear is my own thoughts, like I have no control anymore over how well I hear the things that happen outside my head. I don’t even notice it’s happening too until someone has said the bulk of what they want to talk to me about. It’s frustrating, to be sure, but in the past few weeks, after I stopped allowing myself to feel sorry for myself, I’ve been working through it, contemplating and reflecting on what’s going on for me, who I am now.

I wrote a while ago about being in a resting period from music, and it seems like I’m being forced into a resting period from trying to be everything else that I could possibly be (I’m ever changing after being so sure of what I was going to do with my life for the bulk of my years). I’m being pushed into being the Hermit, and I don’t want to squander or lengthen this opportunity to really just sit with myself and figure some stuff out, to work out some things that have been boiling under the surface.

Sometimes it felt like I was going a bit crazy. But that has only persuaded me to really pay attention to what’s going on in my head, to examine even more closely than I did before the thoughts I would have, the impulses and very reactionary without forethought sort of place I was and sometimes am in.

 

So I’m posting this here for myself, to place a marker for the point I am at right now. A lot has changed for me in the past few years. While I don’t really mind the depression, this is not a place I would like to stay forever. Or even for very much longer. Each day is a little better, but I know there will be times when I go right back down, and I’m just going to take that as a sign for myself to stop. To nurture myself. To be quiet. To be still. To contemplate and reflect. It seems to be a repetitive occurrence when I become blue, that shortly after I start paying attention to the thoughts that float by, really and truly listen to them, figuring my shit out, I come back out, slowly, but every so surely. I just have to listen. I just have to take the time to wade through the wounds that accumulate. I just need to let myself heal once the wounds have been cleansed.

Musings on a Rainy Day

Rainy Willows

My Full Moon cakes have been taken away from beneath these willows. The smell on the breeze of damp earth is intoxicating. It’s one of my favourite smells. While it had stopped raining as I took these pictures but a few minutes ago, the sky is falling once more, gently on the greening world outside as I sip my Earl Grey and type away.

Much of my past few weeks since returning from the East Coast has been spent sweating away under the sun, digging out my garden plots. Alas, the rain has come and now my plots are riddled with puddles. I’m hopping the puddling will be solved after I run the tiller through and add some sand from some of the other plots. I’m itching to get the seeds in the ground, but it seems everything this year wants to be late according to the seasons and weather, so I’ll just have to be patient.

Plots

My mom and I went out over the weekend to pick up our rhubarb, raspberry, and blueberry plants that will in a few years be a good source of lots of jams and pies and other tasty desserts. The raspberry, especially, looks very happy out on our deck, many new leaves have come out over the few days we’ve had it. The peas are also on the deck waiting to be planted, and are looking very happy for all the light access.
We even dug out the front flower beds and put in a mix of wildflower seed, I’ll let you know how well that works out as at the end of the season, you cut it back and it’s supposed to reseed itself for the following year.

It’s been an excellent few weeks, even with my body (mostly my back) aching from all the intense work. I stupidly did some digging two days ago whilst the weather was humid and hot. So when yesterday came around, and it was cool and non-rainy, I was too exhausted to do anything. However, the day was spent writing a ritual for the Full Moon, as I already knew what I needed it to be for. The kitties were being mischievous during the affair, if you wanted to know.
As I said in a previous post, it’s really nice having all the energy worked out of you so that you just do, you don’t think. The ritual last night lasted much longer than I thought, and even the kitties didn’t keep my attention from what was happening in my circle. Again, being cleaned out by exhaustion is purifying, and it certainly helped me weave my magick.

Puddles

I’ve also been struck by how naturally noisy it is here in the country. I don’t mean the vehicles that drive by (we are on one of the busiest roads in this small town, with transport trucks going by at regular intervals during the day, including the Beer Store truck that honks as he passes our house), but by the birds here. And by plural birds, I mean a ton. Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Finches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Canadian Geese, Mourning Doves, a Hawk of some sort (they always fly much too high for me to pick out any specific identifying colours), Gulls, Blue Jays, an occasional Raven, Common Blackbirds. That’s all I’ve been able to hear/see so far this spring. It’s amazing all you’ll find when you pay attention. On top of that is the hum of things at night in the swampy area behind our property that leads into a wood.

Oh, and the crows, never forget the crows. They wouldn’t let you anyway.

It’s a happening time indeed, for which I am grateful. Even my best friend is about to have a baby at any moment. There’s no time for dilly-dallying.
I must say I’m happy for the break in too much computer time, but that’s what people do now (year-round even, Gods forbid) since we live in the age of the Internet. Having Google at your fingertips is great, and all the world’s knowledge, but going out and really experiencing life for yourself is still needed. I won’t say best, there is a time for experience, and a time for study and reflection. They are both needed and important.

This rainy week has had me on edge again though, I’m so close to having all the plots dug and ready, so close to planting the seeds in the earth, yet even if it was all ready, it’s much too wet for planting seeds at the moment anyway, as you can tell in the photo above with the puddles.

I suppose I should just get this posted as I’m on baby watch 😀

I hope your spring season is full of wonder and work.

PBP – It’s Been Four Years

I got a little popup on my blog’s dashboard today that said it has been four years since I started this blog. Wow. I’ve looked back through my posts a couple times over the years, to see where I’ve been and where I am now… I can see the transitions between the research loop that can happen when really starting out, I remember the books I was reading back then (struggling to get out of the 101, yet also reading some essential books that I’d never read before). I see where I began to focus my attentions, where I’ve been Guided.
I also see where I’ve lost interest in what others are doing and saying at the moment, instead being more interested in what’s happening for me, my Gods and Spirits. It seems that sentiment also ripples out into my everyday life that isn’t much concerned with the spiritual. I wouldn’t have it any other way because I do the things that I want without a thought of what countless other people think (who ultimately have no idea what would work for me, what nourishes my spirituality).

These past four years have seen much change in the way I practice, believe, and have focused most of my life around my spirituality. I have been fortunate in the past two years to have experienced some less pleasant things that have helped me to also keep one foot here and one foot Elsewhere. As much as being depressed and floundering for over a year sucked, it was incredibly transformative, and I have begun to see where my road could be leading for future endeavours.

I thank my Gods and Spirits for sticking with me through it, and helping to show me things along the way so that when I look back at it now, I see the grander picture, where it was all leading me towards.

PBP – By the Light of Candles

candles

Well, it’s been a while, and things have happened, because that’s what things do, they happen 😉 The Man and I have moved back to Ontario with the fur babies last week (end of January). This past year had been so stuck for me, and while I want to be close to my witchy family, I was only putting off what needed to happen for me, I think. With the whole opera career coming to an end (at least a traditional career in it anyway), and all the moseying about with what to do with myself while also dealing with wanting to start a family… yep. Having a family so far away from my own was not an option as my mother would probably fly out and kidnap my kids (this is probably what would happen too, lol), and knowing that I was going to be moving back sometime soon, everything just stopped.

It’s rather bizarre for someone like me, who has known what they wanted to do for most of their life, being driven by it, and all decisions affected by it, to lose what was the biggest part of how I envisioned my life. Again, I think the singing will turn into something non-traditional as I want deep roots, and not a crazy amount of travel all the time that would make it impossible for me to really be with family and friends and be a good parent. It’s also rather confusing now as I realize there are so many things that I can do, like writing stories (which I will be flushing out the one I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November), having our YouTube channel, getting into streaming gameplay attached to our YouTube stuff, and so many other things. It’s so strange not having everything be about basically one thing. Now everything is connected, everything flows into the others, and I guess I’m allowing myself out of a rather small box. We humans, we like our boxes.

Magically, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve had quite the year really delving into meditation (a practice I thought I was beyond, but turned out to be so important for me ), being called upon by Them to learn, to see that nothing is separate from anything else, that we are all connected to Those Who Were and Those Who Will Be, and that that connection is so very important. So much of my year has been about seeing how my connection to people affects them, even though it has also been (for the most part) a year of cocooning and keeping myself out of much interaction with other humans, strangely enough. However, it makes sense as to see something, sometimes you need to take a step back; also I am naturally a bit of an introvert, and learn best on my own, taking time to figure out all the details.

2013 was rough, as I believe it needed to be for me. I am really looking forward to this year back with family (although missing my witch-family), friends, the country side, and a ginormous garden that I will tend to feed us through the summer and fall and canned for winter use. Gardening is something I haven’t been able to do since we moved to London, Ontario in 2008, really, and I am itching like you wouldn’t believe to get some dirt under my nails. I am seeing much magic growing in my garden this summer, cooked into our meals, and canned for remembering the sunshine in the dead of winter. I’m going to allow myself to explore things too, without much of an “end goal”, because is there ever really an ending other than death (at least of life as we know it)?

These are the things I’m seeing lit in my candles of Imbolg for the coming turn of the Wheel.
What fires are lit for your year?

A Fantastic Look At The Power Of Beltaine and Sex

Flower of Life – Georgia O’Keeffe

This is a post from Galina Krasskova’s blog, Gangleri’s Grove… All I can say is YEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!

Women especially are penalized for enjoying their sexuality. Then, what to me seems even worse, I see people who are never touched. I’m not talking sex, i’m talking simple physical contact. I see people every day who haven’t been hugged in a decade. I see people who are starving physically and emotionally for basic human contact. There have been scientific studies done proving that if infants are denied human affection–skin to skin affection–they can die. Why should it be any different for adults? Even if they don’t die in body, they can wither away inside in their hearts and minds and spirits. Moreover,  I see people who have never touched themselves and now I am talking sex and I think it a moral crime to fill someone with guilt and shame for the pleasure their own body can give them. We should love our bodies. We have to live here after all. Let’s take some pleasure in that…in our own bodies and those of our partners’ too.

Read the rest here.

Let’s put the sacred back in sex in all its forms!

Pagan Blog Project – H is for Hearth

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The hearth is the heart of the home, and it has become an increasing part of my practice’s focus. I am growing quite mindful of the sacred duty of keeping the hearth, and how my upkeep and time spent cleaning, cooking, baking, creating beautiful things to decorate our home, taking care of the animals, and the man, is integral to the feminine side of my spirituality.

I will outright say that I do not believe that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”, not in the anti-feminist sort of way anyhow. I feel that the traditional gender roles are acceptable, and noble to pursue if that is the path that draws you; the same way it is acceptable and noble to pursue gender roles that are not traditional to your gender. In my case, I am very feminine, and enjoy the traditional feminine roles. “A woman’s place is in the kitchen” should really be “a person’s place is in the kitchen if that is where they find joy”. I enjoy creating a loving, welcoming, warm environment for family and friends. I have kind of always been the mama in my group of friends. That’s just the way I was made.

The hearth to me symbolizes the place where you can always return to to be safe, no matter what else in the world is going on. “Home is where the heart is,” and never a truer thing was said. The physical and spiritual energy (whether thought about or no) put into creating a home that harbours health, nourishment, joy, and love makes it inherently a sacred space. With this in mind, a happy home is naturally protected from outside negativity and harm. That doesn’t mean stop spiritually cleansing by smudging and the like, or never create protection charms to hang up, or never ward your home; do so when you need that extra bit of shielding. For the most part, however, your home is protected by the energy put into making it a warm and happy place.

I’ve been playing with an idea in my head for a little while of keeping a candle lit at all times in my home to symbolize the warmth and light of the hearth (seeing as there is not an actual fireplace in here), and to keep me mindful of keeping my home warm and light. I will obviously have to extinguish it when I leave the house, but otherwise, I’m thinking this will be a good thing for me. I am the lady of this house, and I enjoy the sense of duty and purpose within that role, and a reminder of that when I’m not enjoying it so much is in order, I think.
I’m also pretty sure the man enjoys the effort I spend making nummy foods, so it’s not a role that goes unappreciated! Speaking of which, he has said a few times recently that managing the household is my job, in lieu of reminding him of his chores and things that need to be taken care of by him in the house.
While sometimes there is frustration with having to remind him about things, I took on this role automatically when we moved in together almost six years ago. And I have to admit that my memory and observation skills are much better than his when it comes to the things that must be done, and are not necessarily fun. In a way, it’s also nice that I am relied upon in such a way.

To sum it all up for me, simply, there is more to homemaking than just the outward, or tasty, appearances.

Being sincere

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing spells and workings for other people, mostly in the healing department. What these workings have made me come to realize is that I haven’t ever put as much energy into workings for myself as I do for others.  So I have been asking myself, why?

I think this just goes along with the whole problem most people have in mundania: we are horrible at helping ourselves. When someone else is suffering, we step up and give, give, give; when we are suffering, it is ignored, pushed aside, thought little of. I believe that if we admit we need help, support, whatever, we view ourselves as weak and incapable of being a “good” human being. This is why I think this “I/Me” world of today where our neighbours are no longer the people we can rely upon, there is no more sense of community, even within our own families, is really killing us. We need to realize that we are a creature that NEEDS community to survive properly.

Although we live in a more national, or global community, we rely on farmers to provide us with food, to provide the materials needed to make our clothing, we rely on the carpenters and builders to build our homes, to make them safe, we rely on the people working in the stores to sell us the goods that we need. We need these people. We cannot do it all by ourselves. Think if you had to raise your own sheep, grow your own food, build your own house all on your own. Would you survive your first year? There’s just too many skills out there for one person to possess them all.

But getting back to workings for myself… I seem to not give myself enough credit that within me is a deep power that can truly affect my world for whatever reason I might need. I also find I feel more or less silly when I ask my deities to be there with me and hear what I need. I feel like I am being selfish, if that makes any sense at all. I’m sure there are some of you out there who have to deal with this too. We are very much told never to be selfish, that it rots you away into a lonely, evil person in the end. However, how can we give of ourselves when we receive nothing? When we ask for nothing, we get nothing. The Gods may know our minds, but like that old saying, they “favour the bold”.

So be bold to ask when you need it! And even when you just want it sometimes. This path is not one of abstinence, chastity, going without to feel like you’re a “good” person. This is a path of enjoyment, experience, appreciating what you have for the time you have it. I feel it does one no good to not have something one desires for the sake of feeling “unselfish”, all that does is make obsessions over the things you want, perhaps even constantly thinking of how much you want so much but “aren’t allowed” to have it because to have things would make you self-absorbed and not mindful of anyone else.

Get the things that you desire! But always balance it with helping others when the time comes. Be open for giving and receiving; if there is not an even flow of both, you will either have nothing to give, or be completely full and stagnant.