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.

New Year, New You – Something I’ve Been Putting Off

Well, in a word, EVERYTHING. Lol, no clean yet, Yule decorations are still up, this past Sunday’s ritual didn’t happen (though I did have an impromptu Wednesday ritual). I’ve been so busy with my transcription and proofreading work (oh, did I tell you I’m working on sites like Fiverr now? Yes I am!), hand-sewing myself a new robe (which is almost finished), knitting pillow covers, reading a lot (I’ve got three books on the go right now), writing a “perfect spell” for my Wicca 101 class (well, it’s pretty much done, but there are some tweaks I’ve been making), and singing with my school’s Chorale.

Ok, so I’ve been busy, clearly, there aren’t many moments when I’m just sitting around doing something unproductive, it’s true. But I really want to get the apartment cleaned out! However, all the things I’ve been doing lately have some sort of timeline, some sort of due date! So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the past week and a bit, that’s what I’ve been doing!

I’m not saying all the work is a bad thing, in fact, I love having something to do, things to occupy my time that I feel are worth it šŸ™‚

How have you all been doing?

New Year, New You – Making Way

Ok, so here’s the first prompt: Making Way.

If only wiggling my nose would take care of the physical mess!

How will I be making way for all the new??
Well, first, cleaning the physical. Although we don’t have a huge apartment, it’s definitely going to be good for it to be thoroughly cleaned, now that I’ve the time. Also… getting rid of stuff we don’t need/use. That one shouldn’t be incredibly difficult as Ā when we moved here, we left A LOT behind, and even of the stuff we left behind, we sold what we could and junked the rest we didn’t need. So, a good house scrubbing will be good. Get rid of all negative energies, put up the wards again, and perhaps do a proper blessing before warding.

Also, I plan on making keeping the house tidy and uncluttered an everyday sort of task. I hate having things thrown just anywhere, collecting dust, etc. That’s not the kind of house I want to live in, much less my home.

And for the emotional/psychological baggage? Self love… that’s a big one. There’s so much pressure to be right and perfect and never fail… when we’re wrong, we’ve failed, and should feel awful, apparently. This is already something I’ve been working on, as there is no way that a human could be infallible. Also, allowing myself to flip flop about ideas and trying new things. I’ve long wanted to be a “famous singer”, it was really hard for me last year to figure out that that was not the lifestyle I wanted (crying fits all the time and the whole bit). There is so much I can do with music, but there is also so much I can do with all my other talents. I just need to allow for all the variety in interests. I need to keep mindful of the fact that I will always be a student as well, continuously learning and making revelations in my life and in widely known or discovered facts. I saw a cute little comic today (which I can’t find again šŸ˜¦ ) which showed a young girl pressing the grown up button, and voila, she was a grown up. Then she asked the guy welcoming her into adulthood why she didn’t feel different, why she didn’t know everything… he said, that’s because nobody is different, and nobody knows everything. A cute reminder of the fact that what we perceive to be the way things are, usually never actually are. We must take our knowledge from personal experience.

Another biiiiiig, heavy thing in my baggage, is the fear of success. I’ll admit, this is the problem all over my life, not just in spirituality. I have this horrible fear that if I get good at things, and work hard, I will have too many responsibilities tied to it. That I won’t have time for anything else in my life that is important to me. I think what I really need to do is sit down with myself and figure out what are the things that deserve my time and effort most, and what can either be dropped or just very occasional hobbies. I should also allow myself to be flexible (a big,Ā reoccurringĀ theme right now in my life) in the sense that maybe, I might be interested in something for a little while, and then it’s done. Or something that I feel is very important to me right now, is one of the major things I focus on in my life, can possibly not resonate with me later, and allow myself to let it go, to accept the wisdom learned from it, but move on.

That’s an interesting thing about growing up, you either try very hard to fit in the black and white boxes we’re shown while we grow up we’re supposed to fit neatly into and fail horribly, or we can throw that nonsense out the window. Let’s make our own boxes… colourful, full of nooks and crannies, and in the end, not really resembling a box, but our inner selves. There’s 7 billion people in the world, and even only the population in North America alone can’t all fill in the same cookie cutter… there must be differences, there must be creative thought, minds very unlike our own, otherwise, we would never experience anything new, no new art, no new sciences, no new ways of thinking about the universe.
Making my own box is much easier said than done, but I feel as though it definitely is not a perfectly square thing anymore… and being a Pagan and a Witch, there really is no black and white to me. There is no way that a person’s thoughts or actions are one hundred percent evil/wrong or one hundred percent good/right. We are shaped by how we handle the situations our current lives has put us in, our personalities just a reflection of how we chose to react to those situations, and continue to act.

Post-a-Day

So, wordpress has this post-a-day (or, post-a-week) challenge. I will be taking the latter, as I’d rather not have added stress of thinking what to write about everyday on top of homework, lol. So I will try writing a post a week, hopefully more, for the year of 2011 šŸ™‚ I think it’s a good idea, and I like it! Lol.

So, anywho. Yule and the New Year celebrations were good to us, it’s been a quiet time, full of rest, and I’m ready for school coming tomorrow. In fact, I’m excited to go back and be immersed in music once more. The holiday has been filled with spell casting, words sent up to the Gods, magic(k)al cleaning (you would not believe how good my apartment smelled after I cleaned the floors with a homemade floor wash to get rid of negativity and bring about happiness, prosperity and peace, yum!). I feel quite positive about the coming year, I even did a what’s to come in the next twelve months tarot reading for myself, and it seems as though this year will be quite productive for me, as well as having big changes to come near the closing of the year.

Secretly, I’ve been dreaming of babies… but as my dear mother told me, I just started school, and need to focus and finish that before I start even thinking about babies. I won’t be thirty yet by the time I get the degree, so that seems like a sound idea, lol. But shh, the baby dreaming is a secret, lol. So hopefully this is not the big change, lol.

I am quite excited for this coming semester as I will be singing a duet with another aspiring opera singer šŸ™‚ In fact, we both have the same name, it’s hilarious. We will be singing “Dome Epaix” from “Lakme” by Delibes. I feel lazy and don’t want to put the accents on, so sue me šŸ˜› And I think I’ll be doing another duet with another friend as well, but we’re not sure what yet.

Aaaah, there’s just something about the new year that sparks hope and excitement in me… love it! šŸ˜€ Hope you all are as excited as I am!

Cleaning As Ritual

Today was a day to clean here for me. The dishes like to pile up even though there is only two of us living in this house, and unfortunately, I get to be the one that washes them (the man gets to come home and put them away).

So what I wanted to write about today is something I’ve been meditating on for the past few months (albeit, still having a hard time truly putting to good use, lol): cleaning as a magic(k)al ritual or daily practice.

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The word “ritual” is described in the dictionary as follows:
1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.
2. a system or collection of religious or other rites.
3. observance of set forms in public worship.
4. a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service:Ā the ritual of the dead.
5. any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.

History and Origin
1570, from L.Ā ritualisĀ “relating to (religious) rites,” fromĀ ritusĀ “rite”. The noun is first recorded 1649.Ā RitualisticĀ first recorded 1850.

The word “rite” is described in the dictionary as follows:
the performance of ceremonial acts prescribed by tradition or by sacerdotal decree. Ritual is a specific, observable mode of behaviour exhibited by all known societies. It is thus possible to view ritual as a way of defining or describing humans.

History and Origin
early 14c., from L.Ā ritusĀ “religious observance or ceremony, custom, usage,” perhaps from PIE baseĀ *re(i)-Ā “to count, number” (cf. Gk.arithmosĀ “number,” O.E.Ā rimĀ “number”).Ā Rite of passageĀ (1909) is translated from Fr.Ā rite de passage, coined by French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep

My lovely dirty dishes, and some bubbles in the sink.

Most of us by now have performed at some point, or quite regularly, a ritual bath. It symbolizes cleaning our bodies and our minds in preparation to commune with our gods, or to have quiet time by ourselves to meditate and cleanse and wash away the physical dirt and emotional dirt.
It’s like brushing your teeth. You do it everyday to make sure that there is no buildup to cause cavities or other nasty mouth related maladies. There is a constant inflow of “dirt”, and if you don’t take care of it, there can be some serious repercussions.

Now translating this to an everyday integration of magic(k) in your life is quite simple, yet a lot of us continue ever to be armchair pagans, not employing this mindfulness and spiritual association in our realities. Again, this is something that is incredibly simple. When washing my dishes, I imagine that while I’m watching the dirty water go down the drain, all of my worries are going with it; the clean dishes giving me a clean slate. For those of us with a hard time keeping the whole house clean, I really do find that a messy house makes me tired, and after it has been cleaned, I feel such an enjoyment that I’ve done work to make my surroundings beautiful and enjoyable. I’m not embarrassed to have people come in, and it makes me feel more in sync with the energies that are now flowing easily through the house rather than having a hard time concentrating on the important things in life instead of wishing the messiness in my house would go away.

Now that is just a simple way of being mindful and magic(k)al when you are just living day to day and doing a mundane thing. There are obviously a lot of spells and chants you can do while cleaning to make it even that much more effective. It’s all a matter of how much you want to integrate your spirituality into your everyday life, and seeing the magic(k) in the mundane. You can bless your house, ward of unproductive or malicious energies, make spiritual room for abundance, love, luck, prosperity. It’s all up to you what you decide to make of things that are less than exciting that must be done.