Monthly Archives: June 2015

ADF Dedicant Path: Beginning

Sowilo (sun) rune

Sowilo (sun) rune

I celebrated the Summer Solstice with my local ADF grove on Saturday. I am lucky that the group planned a training ritual for that day, wherein the different parts of the ritual were briefly explained. It was a small turn out, but I was glad for that too. Smaller groups are less stressful when I am new to a group. A combination of the ritual date falling on PrideFest weekend and Midsummer not being one of the more popular High Days led to the smaller group.

One of the members made the lovely rune pictured above. He made one for everyone.

I became a member of ADF only a few days prior and obtained a guidebook for working through this organization’s dedicant path. It is nicely structured into a 52 week program with clear assignments and checkpoints to get me through the training. As I have already mentioned, I will likely not complete it in a year’s time, but I appreciate the structured guide and will follow it, stretching out weeks as necessary.

Keeping a journal for my path is optional, but highly recommended. It will be especially helpful should I decide to submit documentation for formal recognition of completion. I wouldn’t submit the journal itself, but would draw from it in order to complete the required reports.

The homework for the first week was to read the introduction to the Dedicant Handbook (a separate text from the guide I am following) and to consider the following questions:

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

I have been wandering around aimlessly on an unstructured pagan path ever since leaving Wicca. I am a hard polytheist, I talk to my house wight from time to time, and I am drawn to Celtic and Anglo-Saxon traditions. But outside of that, I have not been engaged in any form of regular practice or ritual. I do not even have an alter set up, though I’ve been telling myself to set one up for a few years now. I need formal instructions in order to start anything seriously and the Dedicant Path offers this.

Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?

I don’t know yet. In the sense that I will never be done learning, I would call this a step on my path. But I don’t know that I will need or desire further structured training. I need it now as a crutch until I feel confident guiding myself. I may or may not consider other ADF training programs after this.

What do you expect to learn?

  • History and mythology from which to build a foundation for spiritual practices
  • Good advice and techniques for learning meditation
  • How to perform non-wiccan rituals

What would you like to get out of this journey?

  • knowledge
  • a closer relationship with the ancestors and deities
  • a strong foundation for further spiritual practices
  • confidence to continue on my path with or without further training

Do you know where this path will take you?

Not exactly, but I know well enough that it will take me closer to where I want to be with my spirituality.

If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?

I joined ADF specifically to have access to the Dedicant Path materials. Before this, I spent several months looking around for a program of study that suited my needs. I first learned of ADF about a month ago and after learning more about it from current ADF members and the ADF website, it seemed like a good place to start with my formal training.

Does it look hard or easy?

A little of both. It seems hard only by virtue of how much time it will take, but easy in that everything will not be thrown at me at once and I can follow at my own pace.

Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?

Training my mind and learning meditation practices. I am very anxiety prone and I have a hard time achieving a satisfactory state of calm let alone complete control of my mind. I worry too about finding distraction-free times and places to practice. The book work appears to be the easiest. I am a graduate student, after all, book work is my specialty. This part will only become difficult when I am in the middle of a school semester, prioritizing school work over Dedicant Path reading (this is why I expect to take longer than 1 year on this path).

Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

My current doubts are already expressed in the previous question, but I don’t feel the need to specifically ask about anything at this time. I am aware that I can request a mentor if needed, but I do not think this will be necessary.

Wish me luck everyone! (^^)

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Pieces of Me: My Bestie

Let me introduce you to my bestie! (^^)

Photos of Winter

More photos of Winter

His name is Winter and my husband, Eric, got him for me for our first Christmas. Winter is almost 10 years old and he has been my bestie all this time. He is with me almost all the time. Eric gets a little weirded out sometimes when my cat stares at me for too long or exhibits other worship-like behaviors. I think he’s just jealous that none of our pets love him as much as Winter loves me :p In fact, I believe all of our fur babies love me best, lol. I’m pretty sure the cat Eric had before he married me has switched affiliations – although she tends to be a bit of a loner most of the time.

Winter has a game he likes to play with Eric. He likes to pretend that he doesn’t like him. This involves hissing, getting tense whenever Eric walks by, making weird meows at him, etc. But it’s really all a game. He likes to creep by Eric slowly to get his attention. He will wait mid-creep or repeat the process if Eric doesn’t notice him. Then, as soon as Eric acknowledges his presence, Winter warbles a long and weird sort meow at him, as if he is annoyed for being noticed. He will be friendly with Eric from time to time if there is food involved.

I love my kitty ❤

Best Christmas present ever 🙂

Pieces of Me

I’ve decided to dedicate a category of my blog to interests, talents, and aspects of my personality that don’t fit neatly into my other categories. These will often, but not always, be short posts. Little “pieces of me” that make up the whole and that I think (or hope!) will be of interest to others.

ASMR and the Amazing Internet

I never fail to be amazed by the power of the internet. Everything and everyone previously considered rarities of the world come together on the internet and give us the impression that they are not so rare after all. The most crazy and obscure lifestyles can be googled and entire communities found for things as unusual as “adult babies.”

The irony of the increasingly globalized world is that the more we mingle with it, the more isolated we feel in the long run. The internet gets a bad rap for destroying “real” personal relationships, but I think that it acts as a necessary side-kick to globalization.

Long ago, people lived in smaller isolated communities. Culture and tradition was strong within each group. The larger communities became, the harder it was to hold onto shared experiences and tradition. Individuality is wonderful, but when everyone is so unique that we can hardly identify with our own neighbor, it makes for a lonely world.

Introductory ramble over, let me get to the original inspiration for this post. Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. A phenomenon completely unknown to the world a few years ago, although many people experienced it long before it was a “thing.” Without the internet, it would probably still be an unknown, experienced by a lucky few who each think they are the only one in the world who experiences it. I am one of these.

For the most part, I thought nothing of it. When something triggered my ASMR, I appreciated the experience, but I rarely sought it out on purpose. For some reason, I never associated a particular trigger with the response except for while it was happening. I’d listen to a hang drum (one of my triggers) and think, “oh yeah, hang drums! I forgot how nice those are!” And I might spend the next 15 minutes or so looking up videos of people playing the hang drum (or a marimba or tibetan singing bowl). The sound alone is a mild trigger, but its stronger when I can also see the person playing the instrument.

Watching someone write on a chalk board is also a trigger. But I rarely appreciated it. It made me sleepy in math class. In fact, I used to attribute the sensation to lack of sleep and stuffy air in the class room. I took to ordering a triple shot of espresso before class in college to ensure that I would stay awake. I recently learned that my brother, too, is triggered by this and he also thought of it as an annoyance.

When I think even father back to my childhood, one of my earliest triggers was watching my mother doodle. She loved to draw house plan designs on graph paper. I don’t think she was ever aware that I liked watching her draw, and usually I didn’t creep around her shoulder for too long at a time so she wouldn’t wonder what the heck was wrong with me. haha.

ASMR was coined as a term in 2010, having gone by a few other names in the years following up to its widespread internet presence. I only heard about it last year. I was watching a video by one of the people I follow on youtube and she decided to make an ASMR video just for fun. Having no idea what that meant, I looked it up and discovered the larger ASMR community on youtube. What an exciting day that was! To find out that I am not the only one. Don’t get me wrong, being one-of-a-kind is fun, but not so much when no one can even understand what i am talking about when I explain my “unique” experience.

I had only ever mentioned it a few times before. To my mother, sister, and husband. I described it as the “warm fuzzies.” Not that the sensation is particularly “warm” but I really had no idea how to explain to it people whom I thought didn’t experience it. I have since learned that my husband is triggered by certain types of music (his music triggers are more complex than my simple percussion triggers) but when I described it to him, he didn’t make the correlation. I think because he thought that a music trigger was something unrelated to the other triggers that I mentioned to him. It seems that only two members of my family (besides myself) experience it. They, along with my husband, only have one type of trigger, wheres I am triggered by almost everything since discovering ASMR videos. There are a few exceptions. (update: it turns out that my husband was right about his sensation being different – apparently he and my sister both experience music frisson, but not ASMR. This would also explain why they are triggered by more complex music than my simple percussion-melody triggers – I do not experience frisson. It is possible for people to experience both, however)

Having a sensory processing disorder, I am sensitive to just about every olfactory, auditory, and visual stimuli there is. This goes both ways. the sensation can pleasurable, but also painful. Physically painful. I like taping, but if someone slides their nails in a particular direction on an object (not making a sound though), my teeth and face hurt. Same if someone slides a sticky object like a lint roller on a dry surface, even if only for a second. Sometimes i don’t know what will affect me negatively ahead of time and I have been unexpectedly offended by a few ASMR videos.

Although it seems like ASMR is fairly common considering how popular it is on youtube, I am curious to know how common it really is. I wonder if everyone is capable of experiencing it if they train the ability. For those who have it, I wonder if they are more likely to have only a few triggers, or many. Also, I am especially curious if there is any correlation between sensory processing disorder and the quality of the ASMR experience.

I am looking forward to more scientific research!

Hello world!

It’s been a long time since I have done any blogging. But I felt like it was time to start sharing my thoughts with the world again.  🙂

After a long day in battle with the evil WordPress sprites, who didn’t want me to have exactly what I want, we have come to a suitable compromise. I didn’t want to pay $99 just for the luxury of changing a few features on some of the pre-made templates. And no, I definitely don’t want to rely on my techie-husband again for custom website affairs (conflicts therein are largely responsible for the end of my last blogging attempt).

So, now, here I am. “Shelley in the Rain.”

Perhaps I should begin with the story of this blog’s name. I have a sister who is sixteen years younger than me. When she was learning the ways of auditory and verbal coordination, she dubbed me “Shelley in the Rain.” No mere toddler mumble, this clever sobriquet came with a logical explanation. My real name, first+middle, is “Shelley Lorraine.” Furthermore, I happen to be quite fond of rainy days. The smell of rain, the pretty clouds, the melancholic feeling all around… My little sister naturally assumed that my name must be “Shelley in the Rain” and I am plenty happy to accept the error. Of all the unique names my younger siblings have given me (including Howie and Aye-Aye – which prompts my father to address me, “Aye Aye captain Howie” to this day, ugh.), this one from my littlest sister is my favorite (for obvious reasons).

After deliberating over my previously used pseudonyms (many of which I feel I have outgrown) and topic-based titles, I settled on  “Shelley in the Rain,” a title that is still true to my essence. And, since this blog is to serve as an outlet for my various wandering thoughts and opinions, I chose not to limit the possibilities with a topic-based title.

Stay tuned for my next post!

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