Category Archives: Whatever (Musings, Rants, Daily Life)
I celebrate the return of the sun on the third night of Yule; that being the night following the first day that was longer than the previous day. I prefer to “confirm” that the day’s are getting longer before I rejoice. In other words, I don’t count my eggs before they hatch, as the old saying goes.
Once I have borne witness to Sunne’s renewed strength, I ask her what her return heralds for the coming year. This is the first year in which I have practiced this method of yearly-omen taking, but I plan to maintain it as a tradition going forth. I take my monthly omens from Móna (the god of the moon), so it seems appropriate to take yearly omens from Sunne.
This year, it turns out, is the year of ᚩ (Ós). Ós is the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the Elder-Futhark ᚨ (Ansuz).
OS (The God) is the creator of all language,
widom’s fountain and consolation of sages
and every man’s joy and trust.1
After receiving the rune omen, I proceeded to come up with a theme for 2018 that embodies the essence of it. In the past, I’ve let my yearly omen set a tone for the year and act as a lens through which I interpret various events, but I’ve never actively used it to set my intentions or resolutions.
I really like the idea of a New Year’s theme in place of a resolution, so I decided to go that route this year. It took me some time and contemplation to come up with a word or, rather, a noun phrase that worked. I considered “communication”, “divine inspiration”, and “awareness”, among others, but none of these really captures the entirety of Ós. I finally settled on “divine consciousness,” having also considered higher/heightened consciousness. “Consciousness” assumes awareness and “divine” assumes a higher state of it. “Divine consciousness” reminds me that the breath of divine inspiration flows through me and that I, though not a god myself, am the result of an unbroken chain going back to the divine source. Concequently, I have access not only to the guidance of the gods, but also to that of my ancestors. My focus this year will be on developing, accessing, and learning from this state consciousness.
Because this is a theme and not a resolution, I have no objective goal to meet. I imagine it would be difficult to objectify progress in heightened states of consciousness anyway. But the theme will inform my monthly intentions, interpretation of future omens, and over all spiritual journey this coming year. It’s going to be an awesome year!
1. From the Old English rune poem as translated by Alaric Albertson
Today is the day of the Autumn Equinox. The exact time of the astronomical event is 22:02 UTC (That’s 2:02pm Mountain Time for me). According to Google (and to my brother for whom Google is never wrong) this is the first day of Autumn. Although Google certainly has creepy mass mind-control powers, I don’t get the impression it has convinced most of the U.S. that this is the first day of Autumn. Popular culture seems to be in agreement that Autumn begins either on September 1st or after Labor Day at the very latest. Starbucks, another mass-mind control powerhouse (lol), delivers Autumn with the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte on the first of the month. The overlords of fashion dictate that we wear no white (read: Summer) clothing after Labor Day. Validating pop-culture Autumn are the dependable scientific minds of the Meteorological community, who, for ease of comparing seasons year-to-year, define Autumn as a static three month period neatly consuming the months of September, October, and November.
And then there’s me. A rebel among rebels, welcoming Autumn in August. My fellow Indo-European-based pagans should be with me on this, but it seems even among my own kind, I am not well supported. Undeterred, I continue to follow my own path. My logic blends phenology with ancient custom. The seasons are not as static as the ideological meteorologists would have them, but phenological seasons are a bummer to keep track of.
I, like the meteorologists, quite like a cut-and-dry static model for the seasons. As a pagan, however, I can’t help but notice that the seasons themselves don’t adhere to unequivocal models. They vary each year, but unlike the calendar dates of the solstices and equinoxes, phenological seasons cannot be calculated in advanced, nor can phenologists agree on an exact start date even after the season has begun. Way to be elusive Mother Nature! XD Even if we could pinpoint the exact first day of a season in a particular area, the date would be different in every region. Social species that we are, standard dates for celebration bring us together across long distances.
My first method of approach to seasonal reckoning was to stick with the ancient Celtic calendar (according to which seasons begin on the cross-quarter days) and back it up with the logic that, despite the weather, the longest days of the year should encompass Summer, the shortest, Winter. And yet, I couldn’t help but be distracted by both conflicting weather and conflicting opinions. What to do?
I decided to continue as I had been, welcoming in the seasons at the cross –quarters. At Hlæfmæst (Lammas), I call for Autumn. I bid it to hurry along because I have missed it so. Similarly, I may ask a particular season not to leave yet, because I am not ready. Not that I expect Mother Nature to adhere to my every whim, but the idea of it is in line with the way ancient pagans prayed for longer or shorter seasons per their agricultural needs.
As I welcome the onset of the phenological season, which may or may not begin right away, I consider the “official” start of a season to factor in the length of days as well as the cultural atmosphere. In August, Autumn themes begin to appear in the media, harvest decor creeps into shops around town, and people begin preparing for the onset of the full season. Autumn weather or not, the signs of Autumn appear in August, whether in the balancing length of days (which straddle the equinox) or in the cultural environment.
I may have been wrong to call August unequivocally Autumn in the past, but so too are others for calling it Summer. I witnessed Autumn begin while Summer continued. The cross-quarter months are liminal months. The secular world, too, acknowledges this liminality with Groundhog Day in February. If everyone is so confident that February fits squarely in Winter, then why the superstition concerning groundhogs and early Spring?
The cross-quarter months contain the endings ~and~ beginning of seasons. By all means, wish me a happy Autumn anytime in September, but don’t tell me that it didn’t begin in August or even that Summer is finally over now, as late as the equinox. My liminal-months model, while closer to Nature, still doesn’t box Her in.
OMG, you guys! I love my Nature Spirit tarot deck even more than when I first found it. I got it back in August, my first RW-style tarot deck. The artwork called to me. It was love at first sight.
But when I started to use it, I became overwhelmed with the complexity of tarot. I put it aside for a while and returned to my runes. Last night, I decided it was time for me and my deck to get properly acquainted. So I did an interview spread. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I’ve been afraid. I came across some interview spreads other people have done that indicated tough-love sort of decks, or decks that apparently “hated” them. I didn’t want to find out that the first ever tarot deck that called to me was going to be a difficult one to work with. But it was time. It was time to finally find out. And I am so so so happy with the results.
Here is the spread:
Right away, I was stunned by the presence of three cards from my favorite suit in this deck (the wands) and three of my favorite major arcana cards (the strength card is my especial favorite from this deck). As I began to interpret the cards, I realized that me and this deck, we are going to be friends forever.
Here are the questions and my interpreted answers:
- Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
- Ace of Wands: I am the latent potential of your creative and spiritual development and a guide to mental clarity.
- What are your strengths?
- II of Wands: My strength lies in helping you to learn from your past experiences and to build from them. I am your guide to new beginnings built on a foundation of your past.
- What are your limits?
- VIII of wands: My strength is aiding your spiritual growth from within, not from without. Don’t expect intervention from an external divine source in your readings.
- What do you bring to the table — What are you here to teach me?
- The Star: I am here to teach you spiritual wisdom and mastery of a quiet mind.
- How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
- Strength: You must use your own inner strength to tame the beast within and acquire the mental discipline needed to follow the path on which I will lead you.
- What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
- You will learn to quiet your mind, to slow down, observe, meditate, and reflect before taking action. With my guidance, you will find inner peace and perpetual spiritual growth.
How lovely is all that? This is a very spiritual deck and will help me more with internal than external concerns. This is exactly what I need at this time. This is what I have needed for a long time. I have severe anxiety and stress. I can do very little without fretting so much about messing up, that I really do mess up. I am rarely relaxed even when doing something I love. I worry about perfection even when I am the only one to witness what I am doing. I really really really need to access my inner strength and find inner peace. I need to seriously chill out, detach from all the stresses around me, and get a grip. :p With the guidance of this tarot deck, I may finally be able to do this! \(^^)/
I need to rant for a bit. I try not to do so too often, but I’m just so frustrated and someone has to know.
I got a part time job. Nothing glamorous and it pays barely anything, but it’s something to bring in a few extra bucks while my husband is looking for a better job.
Anyway, I needed to get some appropriate clothing to wear for work, so I went shopping. I hate shopping. Especially clothing shopping. I don’t mind window shopping or some non-clothing shopping. It’s easier to bear if I’m with people – but sometimes that too can add to my stress. Malls are the worst for me. I like them for a short while. I like the small gift shops and fun trinkets all around, but I hate the non-stop social interaction. Clothing stores are the worst – sales people talking to me the minute I walk in. Ugh, I can’t take it! Go away, don’t talk to me. **Please,** people. I try not to make eye contact. I make wide arcs around every sales person, but they come after me anyway. Apparently Aspies aren’t the only ones who misses social queues :/. I can usually handle about three, maybe four (on a good day) clothing store interactions. After this, I tend to become visibly stressed. I am a passive person for the most part and don’t like to stir up trouble, but when I’m at my social-interaction limit, my responses can become curt and sometimes rude. I don’t mean to be rude. I’ve been known to return to a store before leaving the mall to apologize to anyone I might have been so with.
For some reason, malls give me the most trouble. I can put on the neurotypical act for a long time in many other settings. I have been praised for having the best customer service skills in most of my jobs. I’m not even kidding. I’ve had people ask for me by name because I’m the “friendly one.” Something about the mall just puts me on a borderline meltdown mode as soon as I walk in.
When my husband is with me, he keeps the sales people away whenever he can. However, he doesn’t mind being rude right away. He’s not a terribly friendly person to people outside his own circle. He is rude because he just doesn’t like people. The people aren’t my problem. I love people and I hate it when I do anything to offend someone I don’t know. I am not annoyed at the salespeople so much as stressed around them. I start panicking and I can easily get a headache within 15 minutes if pressured into too much conversation.
I prepare myself in advance for trips to the mall. I get plenty of rest the night before. I don’t do anything else stressful before leaving. On a good day, I can make it into all of the clothing shops provided the conversations are limited to a quick “hi, how are you?” If they keep talking after my “fine, thank you,” my anxiety sets in.
At the mall today, I went to Maurices first. The salesperson there wouldn’t leave me alone! It was the creepiest thing! She started with the customary “how are you?” and the conversation progresses as follows:
me: “I’m good, thanks”
her: “did you work to day?”
me: (I freeze up as I struggle to make sense of a question out of the usual context – does she think I work there?) I hesitantly answer, “no,” and try to ignore her.
her: “Oh, so you got the day off!?”
me: (feeling really out of my element. I didn’t practice for this. It’s not the usual small talk. what do I do??) I nod and give a half nervous smile. What business is it of hers anyway if I worked, if I even work at all? seriously, what was her deal???
her: “oh fun, so you are here to shop till you drop?!”
me: “uh, i guess. but I really don’t like shopping” she gives me a concerned “oh?” and I say, “I don’t like a lot of things that most people like, but I have to shop sometimes.” A stupid reply, really, but I had no idea what to say and I wanted to figure out how to get away from this situation without coming across as rude. I walk away from her again and avoid eye contact. She notices me look at a table of jeggings.
her: “so you’re here looking for something particular then?? some jeggings”
me: “no, I’m just looking,” I say as I hurry to the other end of the store. Another stupid reply considering my previous comment about not liking to shop – but again, what business is it of hers?
I stalled before most of my replies, really confused about how to answer. I’m pretty sure the panic was showing on my face by my final reply, but I made my way to the exit before she could say anything else.
So, wonderful, I was in the mall not even 10 minutes and already stressed. Fan-freaking-tastic.
Perhaps we should move on now to *why* I was even in the mall. There are other places to buy clothing. The mall isn’t even close by – it’s a 30min drive. It certainly wasn’t my first choice. My first choice was the Kohl’s that is a couple blocks away from me. A large, mostly quiet store, close to home – perfect! I don’t need anything fancy, just some black pants. Any black pants. All my black pants are jeggings. In that entire store, and trust me, I went through every single folded pile and rack of black pants, there was only ONE size 2 in the women’s section. ONE. Ugh, no surprise really. I shop in the juniors department a lot. I don’t mind most of the time, but at 33, I should really be able to shop with the rest of the grown-ups. I don’t like low rise jeans, and though I can usually find something that works for me in the juniors, it takes ~a lot~ of trying on because nothing is consistent in junior’s sizing. The pants might be made for people of my general size, but not for a fully grown woman’s hip and butt. Usually, if I can find size 2 in the adult women’s department, it will fit. More dependable, yet so much harder to find. And for heavens sake, I am an adult! Sometimes I want adult fashions, especially for work. Yes, I know there are young-adult shops for the early 20s crowd. That’s why I ended up going to the mall. But in the average department store, I can shop in the tween/teen section or not at all, pretty much. I didn’t go in there with a mind to be picky. Honestly, I was desperate enough to take ANYthing that fit. There was plenty of “my size” in the junior’s department, but the fit was off as it so often is unless I can find high rise pants. I found one nice pair of pants in the juniors department that I loved. Only one like it. Turns out it’s not a brand they sell. It was an erroneous return and I couldn’t keep it 😦
I went home with the only pair of size 2 for grown-ups in the entire store. A tacky pair of straight leg pants with a hem slightly too short for me. As I picked them up off the shelf, I gazed at the pictures above of adult women who are probably a size 0 modeling the pants that seem to begin, for the most part at sizes 4 or 8 in the store. What in the world is up with that? I remember some time ago being in a store and asking if a particular item came in size 2 and they said yes, but they don’t stock size 2, so it’s order-only.
So many of my more voluptuous acquaintances lament that I am so lucky because shopping must be easy. Oh people. The grass is not greener anywhere else. Really, it isn’t.
Well, so, I suffered a trip to the mall. I found plenty of skinny jeans and jeggings. Most non skinny black pants are either excessively dressy or don’t exist. Why do all the bootcut and flare style pants only come in blue denim these days? But, believe it or not, I found the most perfect pair of black flare bottom pants. I love them so much, you have NO idea. And, they were the only pair left in the store. I could have bought at least twenty size 4s and a store full of size 13s, but there was only one size 2. 😦 They were on clearance and the cashier said they are probably discontinued. I went online and found them, also on clearance, though not as cheap as in-store. It said “only a few left!” when I clicked on my size. I added four to my online cart and paid for them. Now I’m hoping I don’t get the dreaded “we cancelled your order” email I get when online inventory isn’t up to date. I really really hope I get my order. Please, everyone, hope for me too! I don’t want to go to the mall again . (´;︵;`)
I finally got try some tea from The Forest Witch on Etsy. XD
I ordered the Full Moon tea and the Ancestors tea. A lot of her current teas have coconut or ginger, both of which I don’t like. Actually, I love coconut, I just can’t stand it in a tea. I’m the odd one out, though, because it is one of the most popular flavors in dessert-teas.
Never mind specific flavors, I tend not to like a lot of flavored teas in general. But it’s been a long time since my last tea-exploration phase, so I decided to sample outside my comfort zone and glad I did!
The ancestors tea is pretty good! I shared a cup with my ancestors, of course, and posted a review on Steepster.com, where I log all my teas.
I haven’t tried the Full Moon tea yet, but I’m optimistic! I can always reserve it exclusively for ritual offering if it’s not my cuppa.
Hello Everyone! I have returned from my trip home to Montana. I didn’t have any time for blogging while I was away. I didn’t even have enough time to do everything I wanted to do there. At least I didn’t have the flu this year. Still, leaving home is just as difficult every time I have to do it.
It’s so weird to think that just 12 years ago, I was at home, in my room in my parents house and one spontaneous decision at that time to send an IM to a seedy looking older guy led me to where I am now – especially since I almost didn’t send that IM. Crazy how the smallest decisions can have such a significant impact on one’s life.
Even though I couldn’t do everything, I still managed to get a lot done in just a week.
I visited my Alma Mater (3 universities later, it’s still my favorite campus). My mother bought me a bunch of alumni and school spirit souvenirs. Kind of ironic since I was so anti-school spirit back in the day. Here’s me hanging out in the classroom where I had my first physics class my first semester of college:
I got a helix piercing. I’ve been wanting one forever and have been putting it off because I am not impulsive when it comes to body modification. I only have (had) my ear lobe piercings. But when I was in the mall I decided now or never and did a big no-no letting someone pierce me with a gun. I’ll be getting my other ear done at a proper piercing place after this one heals. I can’t wait till I can change the jewelry.
I visited as many of my favorite places as I had time for and mourned the loss of some places that are no more (Leaf and Bean, why have you abandoned me??). I want to go back sometime during warmer weather so I can go hiking or take some scenic drives. There’s no place like Montana!
I hope to get back on track with my ADF dedicant path this coming year, now that I should have some more time. I probably won’t continue with weekly ADF blog posts, but will post the DP required writings.
I have a pretty simple new year’s resolution this year: no hair trims! I’ve been trying to grow my hair long again, but I also discovered self-trimming. I spent all year and part of the previous year cutting off new growth to experiment with techniques, hemlines, and layers. I have most of my layers grown out currently and I won’t mess with it again till next December. My hair is currently just above waste and my goal length is somewhere around tailbone.
I hope everyone reading this has the best new year ever!!
As my 15-year long university “career” finally comes to a close, I got to experience my first ever full-day campus closure. I used to think it was par for the course that snow days didn’t happen in the Rocky Mountain states. I would laugh at news of the sunny states closing for half an inch of snow, while repressing my jealousy.
There have been some early morning closures at the schools I have attended, a grace period to get the roads and campus plowed, but never on a morning that affected me.
I have to proctor an exam on Thursday, and spend the weekend grading. Then I am free!! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶
And even better, I will be headed to Montana for a week. I can’t wait! Last year I went home for Yuletide holidays and I got the flu. 😦 I was so mad!! I had the longest-lasting fever I’ve ever had since I was a young child, and it got up there in the worrisome numbers range.
When I first got married 10 years ago, I asked my husband to promise that he would take me back to Montana as soon as possible. 10+ years is not what I had in mind, but future plans still include returning (permanently). I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t stress enough how much I miss home!
Traveling is expensive and I haven’t been able to visit as often as I’d like. I’ve been there twice since I first left. Getting the flu the second time around was such awful luck. I woke up the morning of the 25th last year, determined to make myself presentable for my family’s festivities that day, and I fainted on the way to the bathroom. I have fainted before, but never to such a painful end. I have bouts of low blood pressure, but the fever-induced delirium made it worse. I hit my face on the floor pretty hard, got a wicked bloody chin and a sore neck for a month. I didn’t get to do anything except sit half-alive on a chair in my parent’s living room for the rest of my stay. This year, I’m hoping to see more of my beloved Montana from outside the house :p And go to my favorite places. And eat my favorite food. And see the pretty mountains. And know that someday soon, I will be living there again, in my forever home.
I’m so excited I have to share! Not that I expect any of you to be excited with me, but that’s ok :p
I was hoping for a big trick-or-treat turnout this year and thats exactly what I got. We almost ran out of candy and we definitely ran out of toys. I was a little sad about that. I love how excited the little ones get for the toys. Next year I will be prepared! I told the kids one toy only, but those little devils! sneaking extras before I could catch ’em and I didn’t want to tell them to put something back and make them sad. lol.
Part of my enthusiasm for trick-or-treaters comes from being childfree. I don’t want my own kids. I don’t even feel comfortable being around other people’s kids for too long, but I love giving presents. I like to see their faces light up and enjoy that brief moment of happiness without any of the awkwardness that would come from longer encounters. I am very very awkward with kids past the first, “hello aren’t you cute” greeting.
We didn’t have a lot of decor and I didn’t even have a costume this year, but I had wonderfully dramatic bat wing earrings, so that has to count for something, right?
And now, some pictures:
The treat table (candy, halloween dolls, halloween character paratroopers, candy corn playing cards, pumpkin checkers);
I had many more dolls, about 20 I think, but only a few in the buckets at a time.
Our minimal, but cute outdoor decor:
My bat earrings, because I love them and you should too 😉
Incense and spiritual rituals go together like calculators and math. There is some math that you can do without a calculator. You can even be really stubborn and insist on doing as much as you can without one – but at some point, it’s no longer practical if even possible.
This is how I feel about incense. I am trying to be stubborn and figure out all manner of ritual and offering techniques that don’t require it, but try as i might, I keep running into a “need” for that noxious health hazard.
Incense has a long, continuos history of use in almost every religion across the globe, but does that mean it’s necessary? I tend to validate my beliefs and practices by taking note of trends which transcend time, culture, and geographic space. If the collective human mind finds merit to it, there must be something there.
However, some cultures break away from parts of the collective as new information becomes available to them. Smoking (tobacco or anything else) used to be the thing to do (for ritual, meditation, or just because). It still is a thing today, obviously, and that’s all fine and well – but health conscious people no longer partake.
The most common place to find incense is in New-Age stores, where a large portion of customers are vegan and/or keep their mind and body healthy through yoga and meditation, the latter of which frequently involves the use of incense. Sure, they can keep their windows open, or not use it every day, etc. – but why is it necessary at all? There are other, more healthy, methods of aromatherapy available if scent-induced calm is its only purpose.
When it comes to religious ritual, it’s not only about the aroma. It’s also about a sacrifice to the gods. Technically, the smoke itself is the sacrifice, but to me, I feel like I am making a sacrifice of my health by inhaling some of it. Even if I only burn it as long as absolutely necessary for the ritual – I have to wonder, do the gods really want me to inhale all this crap for the sake of sacrifice? I really don’t think so. There are plenty of other offerings that the gods accept (especially in liquid form). I’ve heard that smoke makes offerings more accessible to the deities, which might make sense, but then does this mean that other offerings are pointless?
So far, I’ve reasoned out using incense for meditation or sacrifice. That leaves purification. Incense, including sage and herb bundles for smudging, is used to purify a space. I find this slightly ironic. I’m purifying the space by suffocating my pets? If I have to open the windows in order to purify my house after “purifying” with something else, then I don’t see the point. However, in the case of banishing negative energies, one might reason that the noxious fumes are just as noxious to the bad things as they are to me – so of course they are going to get the heck out of the way. In that sense, incense might as well be likened to pesticides. Sure, it kills the bugs – but it slowly kills us too.
Before you write me off as a complete killjoy – I don’t hate incense. I’m trying to reduce my exposure to it, but I absolutely love the smell of nag champa. It reminds me of my grandmother’s house. I keep boxes of it in my closet so that the smell gets on some of my stuff. Sometimes, I’ll burn it unattended (I know, bad bad…) so that I can return to the left over aroma without having to experience the smoke. It’s not entirely a matter of health, though. Yes, I am health conscious – but I like a cupcake as much as the next person. We are all going to die and no one lives such a perfect life to keep themselves as healthy as possible to the end. Some people abstain from pleasures, but this too is unhealthy.
Health aside, incense smoke causes me physical discomfort – especially to my eyes. It’s terrible. I can’t enjoy being around it, healthy or not, unless I am outdoors. My last ritual I did outdoors and I used incense, it was lovely. I even had the smell of it in my hair all day. But I can’t always do my rituals outdoors.
I recently purchased some core-less pure incense sticks – supposedly they cut down on the irritants. If I can tolerate them, I may try to use them occasionally for some of my offerings – but I still don’t understand why I should have to. As far as making offerings to the fire for my ADF rituals – rather than use a censer and charcoal – an oil burner seems sufficient. Oil or potpourri is transformed by the fire of a candle, so it should be a suitable substitute. Consecrating the sacred center is where I’m still on the fence. All the ADF ritual guides suggest incense in addition to asperging. I don’t see why I can’t just do the asperging. Or why I can’t use fire – pick up one of the candles and circle it around the area.
In the end, it’s really up to me, though it’s hard to break a tradition and feel like I’m still doing it “right.” It’s also hard to force myself into tradition against my better judgement.
If I can find an incense that doesn’t irritate my eyes too much, I will use it from time to time as one of the guilty pleasures I allow into my life, but I won’t do it because I have to or because I think the gods require it of me.
Please excuse any random changes to my page as I try to sort out the issue.
My blog was working just fine before dinner. I did nothing to it since the customizations disappeared. The customizer tool is not working either. If I try to put my header image back, it won’t save. Neither will a change to the back ground color. I tried a couple other themes to see if the problem was unique to the theme I was using. Gah. So frustrating. Computer generated hocus pocus