Author Archives: idunnasapple

About idunnasapple

I'm a: pagan, Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH), educational sign language interpreter, arts n crafter, dork, and nature lover living in beautiful Colorado, USA. I love: being cozy, crafting by myself or with others, walking in nature, camping, sitting and thinking, writing funny poetry, watching movies and well-made TV shows, eating yummy food, ... and the list goes on!

My Ravens Will Remind You of This

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My life the last few months has been so different than the last many, many years.  My stress level is so much lower, things are going great, and I haven’t wanted for anything.  I even have a new boyfriend, and that relationship is going very well.

After all of that hemming and hawing and riding the fence and ‘camping out’ at the ledge, now that I’m living the life on my new road of learning to become a sign language interpreter, life is great!  I *can* imagine what I was afraid of, but the reality is so much better.

The major message I have received from deity is “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”  I have discovered what a worry-wart I can be, and it keeps me from living life.  And it keeps me from being happy about my lovely life.  It’s pretty cool how deity has spoken to me, and how messages coincide with each other to reinforce that ‘this is real, believe it.’

Besides all the supportive readings and messages I had *before* I made my decision, I continue to have this message (‘I got this’) after my decision as well.  The first message came through an experience I will never forget.

I went to another pagan festival, which is a pagan (they call it ‘spiritual retreat’ to open it up to other religions, but really, in my mind, it’s pagan) retreat in the mountains of Colorado in August.  One tradition that they always have at this festival is “Drawing Down.”  This means that priests and priestesses allow themselves to be vessels for a god or goddess, so that those seeking a message from deity can communicate with deity through that person.  I have been secretly wigged out (and at the same time, morbidly fascinated) by this concept.  It sounds like possession and it *is,* but by deity; it’s not demonic.  People who care about me, who don’t understand this, would say “how do you know?”  You know.  You really just know.  I would retort, “How do you know that when you pray to God, that He is the one to whom you are speaking?”

One person described opening ones’ brain to channeling messages (not to the extent of embodying deity but even just channeling) as turning a radio dial in the brain to the psychic channel.  I actually hadn’t made the connection to the word ‘channel’ until now, I may have just made a pagan pun actually!  That idea has helped me when I ‘channel,’ myself, because it is a kind of mental feeling that you know a certain thing, that something is right and not scary-bad.

Anyway, my experience with Drawing Down was the real deal and not demonic.  I don’t really believe in demons, but I do believe in bad spirits, or spirits that were messed up when they were alive and continue to be in the afterlife.   There are also fae spirits that don’t always have our best in mind.  It’s probably just semantics, just as different aspects of deity are just ways we as humans try to describe deity, when deity really is just indescribable to begin with.  This did not involve any malevolent spirits.  There are ways to safeguard against them, and I believe the people involved in this event at the festival had taken those precautions.

That said, I felt like I was being called to go to this event.  So, despite my little worries, I did.  Before I did this, I had participated in a rebirthing ceremony, which probably deserves its own blog post.  That experience was very special.  So this time around at festival, I was already opening myself up to deeper internal work than I usually do at this fest.  Two different people had asked if I was going to this event, and this time around, I felt a little response within me, saying, ‘Yes. You should go to this.’

Drawing Down began with those of us seeking a message from deity sitting quietly in a grassy waiting area.  We were surrounded by aspens and wildflowers.  It was pre-twilight.  Each person ‘drawing down’ a deity had their own tent or canopy about a two minute walk away from the waiting area, and attendants to that deity came to us in the waiting area and picked out those they felt called to pick.  When ‘my’ attendant came, I knew she was going to pick me before she even got to me.  Our eyes locked and she knew it too.  She led me to The Morrighan.  I don’t know much about this deity, but this is what I already knew before my meeting with her:  she is a triple goddess.  Some people think of her as maiden/mother/crone.  One aspect of her is that she, like the valkyries, helps bring the spirits of the dead to the afterlife.  Her ravens help her to do this.  I also think of ravens in connection with bringing messages to those who have passed, because of Huginn and Muninn who serve Odin (of the ancient Norse belief).  The Morrighan is a Celtic goddess, or more accurately, a triple goddess or group of goddesses that work together and are somewhat a part of each other.

Before leading me to The Morrighan, her attendant, who was a pretty young woman probably around 18 years old, told me that I was going to see The Morrighan and that she can be ‘pretty intense,’ but not to worry.  She brought me to the tent.  Inside the tent, there were three people seated in chairs; a woman who sat in the middle with a fierce gaze and queen-like demeanor, and a person sitting on either side.  A man sat on one side and woman on the other; the man had green and yellow makeup in a diamond pattern on his face.  The man and woman on either side sat, watching, and not saying anything.

The Morrighan motioned me in and indicated that her attendant should leave.  I knelt in front of her.  She got right in my face, though not too close, and looked straight in my eyes from every angle, her head moving like a snakes’.  She asked me what my question was and I said, rather timidly, “Will I be O.K. for the next 3 years? Will I have enough to live on?”  She sat back and said that she saw that I’m going through a transformation, and I will get what I need, but only if I let go of something that I’m allowing to block me.  “You know what this is.”  (I’m still not quite sure what it is, perhaps my fear?)  She said I will learn a lot.  She asked what I’m afraid of, in a tone that indicated that the fear is unwarranted.  I can’t remember exactly what my reply was.  I think I said I have a fear that I can’t accomplish it.  She said, “Do you want my blessing?” I said yes.  She said:

“Know this.  I am to the right of you.  I am to the left of you.  I am before you and behind you.  I am always all around you.  My ravens will remind you of this.”  

Those words still give me chills.  It was done.  I thanked her and left.

The next day at the festival, I had an experience that reinforced the idea that The Morrighan (or that aspect of the goddess deity) is with me.  I went to a ritual about the Norns.  Through this experience, I found out that I had already received the message I needed, and although I probably didn’t need the message again, it was a beautiful experience.  I went because I love the idea of Norns from the ancient Norse belief.  The Norns are the three goddesses at Yggdrasil, which is the tree of life.  One of the Norns measures our life thread, one spins it, and one cuts it.  I’ve always thought of these Norns like The Morrighan, because they are maiden/mother/crone, though they feel a little more like home and less scary to me.  Since my own culture is Swedish-American, I feel a strong link to Norse things.  And, I love working with fibers, so both of those aspects of myself finds a kinship of sorts with the Norns.

There was a whole bit of closing the circle and some personal thought about our life thread beforehand, but I’m itching to skip to the juicy part: the guided meditation.  Western style guided meditations tend to include a way to come ‘down’ to a lower meditative state using imagery.  In this meditation, our guide used the image of a tree, and we went down the inside of the tree (which represented ourselves) and out a door at the bottom.  I didn’t feel the right mental state through this imagery, so I added my own take on Starhawk’s Rainbow Induction as described in her book The Twelve Wild Swans.  I could do yet another blog just describing it.  I’ve found it very helpful in grounding and getting at lower consciousness levels for meditation.

The rainbow induction goes through the rainbow colors as you descend downwards in elevation, and you are those colors and are dressed in those colors.  I include non rainbow colors of brown, black and white at the end.  So, when I walked out of my life-tree, I was wearing white.  Our guide told us that hanging on the tree was our life thread, woven into the tree.  Since I like to make things with fibers, I pictured a beautiful weaving, almost like a spiderweb, entwined in the branches.  The weaving had tendrils of gauzy thread hanging from it.  One of the threads was long and led off into the distance.  She had us follow our life thread until we came to Yggdrasil, the tree of life.  She called it the World Tree.  It had all our threads leading to it.  To the left of the tree was a lake.  As soon as our guide said that, my spirit lept into the lake!  (My inner child is alive and well!) Now, with my white dress on, it seemed a bit like a baptism.

Our guide told us that at one end of the lake there were grottos; three little caves leading from the water.  In each cave stood one of the Norns.  As is done in many of this kind of meditation, we were to speak with one of the goddesses and receive a message, at which point our guide stopped talking to give us time to do this.  I used to get anxious during these meditations, that I was not keeping up, but I’ve learned that you can listen and let the meditation take its course.  Sometimes your own meditation follows along at the same pace, and sometimes your own meditation has its own take on things.  If the guide goes on, don’t panic; just listen, and know you’ll catch up or make your own way at the correct time.

Original Artwork

Original Artwork

At this point, I was in the middle of the lake.  The Norns were standing at the other end, each in her own cave.  In my meditation, the left-most Norn was the one with a spindle, spinning thread.  The one in the middle was measuring and holding the thread that the left-most one spun, and the one on the farthest right was cutting the threads that the middle one held.  As I swam, I felt The Morrighan (but just the aspect I spoke to the day before) behind me.  Incidentally, she didn’t look like the woman who had lent her body to the goddess, who is beautiful in her own way.  The Morrighan was regal and beautiful.  She walked at the edge of the lake with long strides, slowly and serenely, towards the Norn with the spindle.  The spinner said that The Morrighan was vying for my attention, with amusement in her voice.  I couldn’t turn my back and ignore her (since that would be disrespectful), so I accepted her presence.  She reached the spinner and held her hand, her hand held out like a queen, palm down, the spinner holding her hand up, so that their clasped hands were like yin and yang.  I felt that they were indicating that they are the same, while having their own different personalities, and that they were giving the message in tandem.

The spinning Norn seemed to get a silent message from The Morrighan and spoke to me, saying “You doubt that I’m good at what I do?” implying that my tendency to worry about the future was an insult to her.  That was my message:  to trust that the Spinner knows what she’s doing.  I mentally searched the other two Norns but they didn’t communicate with me.  The one with the shears put them behind her back, which was reassuring.

So that was it.  We were led back to the World Tree, and back from there to our own tree-selves, and back up it into our own bodies.  Again, I added the reverse of the Rainbow Induction to help myself back to the waking mental state.

We ended the ritual with vanilla wafer crackers and water that was passed around the circle, and I went back to my tent afterwards.  The rest of the festival was lovely, and I drove home, full of a secure feeling of being loved by deity and by good friends.  As I arrived home, there were three large ravens flying to a tree and lamp post in the parking lot.  We see crows a lot and ravens occasionally; ravens are much more rare.  They were cawing loudly as if to say, “She said we’d come, and we’re here; don’t forget!”

My most recent sighting of a raven was on a card from a divinatory playing card deck I have.  I had not even started my card reading when it fell out.  Again, reassuring me that all will be well.  In this season of thanks, I thank The Morrighan and Spinner-Norn (and I’ve seen her referred to as the weaver) Verdandi, for the continual reassurances that all will be well, and as Matthew wrote in his Gospel, to be like the birds who don’t worry about a thing, knowing that their needs will be met.

A Magical Midsummer’s Night

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I want to tell you about the most magical night of my life.  It is so rare to experience it, and it was so wonderful, that I want to share it with you.

moonlight through tipi smokehole

Looking up through the tipi smokehole, I didn’t actually see the moon; we had to go out of the tipi to see it. But the moon’s energy was definately suffusing everything we did. Our chants and music making was magical and honored the divine.

Recently, I went camping with a group of pagans for Litha, which is the midsummer sabbat.  I have attended many rituals and most of them have been lovely.  I have bonded with a good group of friends and meditated with them.  However, none of those wonderful, lovely times compare with this particular time.  This one tops them all in the way the group jived and grooved with each other, and how we worshiped the divine together.

I think the astounding magical time we had bubbled and frothed and expanded from several ingredients.  First of all, not only was it Litha, it was also the full moon, and supposedly a moon that appeared closer to Earth than at other times during the year.  Second of all, everyone there have good heads on their shoulders, are relatively sane and smart, and are overall good people.

This was in the mountains of Colorado, and it was a particularly beautiful summer day, with meadow flowers blooming, everything green, and yellow swallowtail butterflies flittering about.  I arrived mid-day and greeted the people there.  The adults were hanging out and chatting, and the kids were running around and playing.  I set up my tent, and though I had very little to carry in from my car, the priest (I think of him as a good ol’ boy nice grandpa type) got the kids to help me carry my stuff in.  So nice.  He also helped me put it up even though I had thought I could do it on my own.  (It was also nice that he didn’t come in to help until I really needed it!)

Anyway, I had brought my hula hoops, and after hanging out a bit chatting with people, I took them out and shared a hoop with a new friend.  We hula hooped a while, with much heckling from Gramps.  Though the heckling didn’t seem to bother my new friend, much.

A little while later, I was invited to help plan for the ritual.  We all agreed pretty readily on things and it went pretty quickly; our priestess (who is a lovely lady) had already planned out most of it, and still asked for our input on various aspects.  One lady there volunteered to organize the kids in gathering items for the altar to symbolize the elements, as well as pencils and tags.  I volunteered to welcome Mother Gaia.  Another guy volunteered to welcome the Oak King and Holly King.  And others volunteered to ‘call in’ the elements. There were more roles and planning and details to be ironed out, and in about half an hour, we were done.

After the planning session, the priestess and I got chili going.  She had all the ingredients ready; I helped her open cans and dump in the beans and her other ingredients, and we took turns stirring and keeping the cooker going.  I’d hula hoop, stir, sit and chat, stir, hula hoop, and so on, until it was done.  I felt quite witchy (double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble) stirring the pot, and quite fairy-like while hooping.  As we cooked the food, more and more people came and in the end, we had about 20 people and about 5 kids.

We ate the yummy chili, with cheese and sour cream and pitas or chips, and hung out and chatted.  (Much chatting to be had at this event, not unusual for a pagan event!)

Then we gathered in a small little meadow for our ritual.  I won’t go into the ritual too much, ‘cuz my point here isn’t to educate you all about rituals, but I want to come to the point of what was magical and wondrous about it.  A little perk for me was that a guy I consider sexy and cute stood next to me.  He’s taken though, so I won’t pursue it, but it was still a perk.  The group energy was soft and loving, everyone appreciating each other and finding each other special and precious.  Everyone was relaxed and and most were smiling  at least  Mona Lisa smiles, some more, and some less.  Everything went pretty smoothly and everything we said, we meant.  We held hands and some hugged.  It was overall just lovely.  Someone also called Pan into the circle, and as it happens, we forgot to say goodbye to Pan at the end.  I believe that’s another lovely element to the magical times that ensued afterwards.

After a little break, we started gathering in a tipi that someone had brought and set up.  The man and woman who owned the tipi were just lovely people, the types you meet and are instantly showered by their peaceful love, and you just know they love just about everyone they meet.  I had brought my drum (which is a djembe, an African drum), my water, and a thick hoodie to the tipi.  Another guy I had just met who has a lovely peaceful energy and I were first in the tipi.  We drummed and chatted as more people came in.  He had brought a didgeridoo. More and more people filtered in until we had about 15 people in there, and it had a fire pit in the middle and a hole in top of the tipi for the smoke.  We were a little bit crowded, but it was cozy.  We sang and chanted and drummed and at first it was like other drum circles I’ve been in – getting some good rhythms going.  Then it evolved into something unexplainable.

The group energy became one and we tranced and worshipped the divine as one.  It was like we were transported as a group to another plane of reality, among the stars.  I have never experienced anything like that while chanting or drumming before.  Well, not quite like that.  I have felt like I have ‘touched’ the divine while dancing.  But nothing like this.  It was beautiful.  We hummed and made noises and sang and did whatever we felt called to do to contribute to the music, and it was just out of this world.

The priest and priestess were a little distance away, deep in discussion as they sometimes get, discussing business of the group, when they heard the sound of our magic-making.  They were drawn to the tipi, so they tabled their discussion for another time, and joined us.  The priestess especially joined in and started some other chants she knew.  Then she said “We’ve got to go out and sing to the moon!”  So everyone filtered out and stared and loved at and sang to the moon.  I was drawn to the side in a conversation with someone as this was happening.  Some of the group went off… and came back naked.  I just had to laugh.  They had become “skyclad” for the moon and were full of moon energy.  It was lovely.  But it was cold out!  I have no idea whether I would have stripped down if I had been with them- maybe a little but not quite so much- I don’t like being cold!

They went back into the tipi and I excused myself from the conversation and joined them.  We all drummed and sang some more, and I joined in their nakedness by stripping off my top.  The energy of everyone was very respectful and loving, no ‘meat market’ feel at all; it was just beautiful.  People singing to each other “We honor you, we  empower you to be what you are… I am a strong woman, I am a story woman, I am a healer, my soul will never die; We honor you we empower you to be what you are; I am a strong man, I am a loving man, I am a warrior, my soul will never die…We are an old people, we are a new people, we are the same people stronger than before…”  and then we settled down and the priestess started singing a song about Inanna that I remembered learning when I lived in Iowa.  We started singing it together… when someone fell face first in the fire because he was … drunk and sleepy.  He was O.K. though, people around him caught him in time and escorted him to his tent.  That kinda killed the vibe (!) which was alright; so we all filtered out.  Some went to bed, and some of us gathered on the way to our tents to sing some more with each other.

This time we sang more ‘mundane’ pop culture songs:  the owner of the tipi who was also Rainbow gathering person told us about Rainbow gatherings, (which started out of singing Rocky Mountain High by John Denver, which apparently was about the first Rainbow gathering), and we sang all sorts of other songs together.  It felt like we were all brothers and sisters and one with the trees, stars and moon.

Finally, I went to my tent and sleeping bag.  After that came a fitful sleep of trying to stay warm (lesson learned, bring warm things even in the summertime when camping), and a morning of coffee, some healthy dried fruit and packing up the tent, eventually to drive back home.  As usual, the magic vibe stayed with me strongly at first, and now remains as a beautiful memory.  I am so blessed to have experienced this in a group of lovely people.  I hope this story shares some of the beauty with you and blesses you, too.

Go Namaste Yourself!

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The Pagan Spectrum of Boundaries

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries; many pagans do not like boundaries.  There’s a spectrum of pagans:  at one end there’s the very very very anal prudish types; they are judgmental, it’s their way or the highway, and they are not open to any weirdness.  Well, they’re pagan, so maybe they’re open to a little bit of weirdness!  Then there’s the other end of the spectrum, and these people are OUT THERE.  Lemme tell ya.  They are crass, they are raunchy, they have sex with anything that’s willing and able, they take advantage, they are rude, they have basically just… NO boundaries whatsoever.  A lot of us pagans fall somewhere in the middle.

Now this spectrum I’m speaking of applies to many different arenas of life:  sex of course comes immediately to mind for some reason, how much we appreciate or accept other people, accepting of differences in belief systems, and even applies to how anal you are about being on time.

We often hear the following phrase in the pagan community: “Pagan Standard Time.”  This is used all the time as an excuse to start something HOURS later than we ever meant to start something.  Now this makes sense for small groups of people where ‘We absolutely cannot start until Josephina Blosephina shows up,’ but if it’s a larger crowd (in my opinion, more than five or so), it can get pretty ridiculous.  PST is suffused into the very pores of the community so much so that the hosts of an event will even show up a half hour to an hour late sometimes, or people will set a time for an event far earlier than they ever truly plan to start, knowing that the attendees will all arrive late.

Can you tell that this kind of thing drives me crazy?  It does!  I was a teacher for 13 years, and people should be reasonably on time to events, at least try to be!  It isn’t fair to the host who really sticks by their word and actually plans to start at or close to the time they say they will start, to have the attendees arrive a half hour or hour or more late.  Especially if it happens all the time.  This is not to say that I am always on time, all the time; I oftentimes arrive to events 15 minutes late or less, usually less.  If it’s an open event (“Oh we’ll be there between 9 am to 8 pm, come anytime between then”) well then there’s no problem!

Now to talk about the TABOO.  The sex.  Yup the sex. It must be talked about.  In many pagan traditions, probably all, sex is sacred.  People translate this to mean different things.  People on the prudish end of the spectrum would say that sex should only happen between people who love each other, and it should be monogamous.  It should be safe, it should be “vanilla,” (i.e. missionary style and boring).  I honestly don’t know any pagans that far at that end of the spectrum, including myself!  People on the opposite end will say sex should happen with anyone you are attracted to, the more the merrier, come on in, the sex is fine!  People on the umpteenth degree of that spectrum will be into S&M, are poly, have usually had sex with at least half of their friends, and everything out of their mouths is raunchy trash.  There are variances (refreshing ones) among all of these extremes, of course.  Guess where I am on the spectrum!  I’m pretty close to the prudish side, but not completely prudish, in my own opinion.  To me, sex is sacred, and therefore it should be between people who care about each other, ideally, love each other; it should be an expression of love, and because of this, it should be entered into gently and carefully.  I’m also a double Cancerian so that may explain some things.  I’m monogamous, which is seen as prudish by some people.  It’s all relative.

Some of my Christian friends and family probably think my stance on sex is too loose; I’m totally O.K. with non-marital sex, I’m O.K. with quote unquote casual sex (but to me, it must be between people who care about each other even if it’s just for one night).  But, in comparison to many of my pagan friends, I’m the Prude.  I very rarely strip down naked while dancing around a fire (and if I do it’s usually just showing my belly!); I must be completely comfortable with the people there and it has to have no ‘meat market’ feel around the fire for me to do it.  However, I’ve been totally naked at a nudist hot springs-camping place, and been totally fine with it.  The vibe was different; it was not ‘look at my body I am so sexy you want to have sex with me don’t you?;’ it was ‘yup I’m naked and so are you and we are all fine with it and let’s just talk and be friends.’  As I said, I’m monogamous, I don’t talk about ‘swingers’ and my speech isn’t crass; I do joke occasionally about sex, but that’s not always on my mind.  I’m much more interested in other things.

I was at a recent event- a pagan gathering in a park, which was quite relaxed and nice.  There was a variety of pagans there, most of them being on the poly end of the spectrum.  At least twice, people asked me if I was offended by what they were talking about (if they only knew what I have seen and heard in the past, this was nothing close!).  This was probably because I was relatively quiet.  I said no, I wasn’t offended, not to worry; I’m just being quiet.  I don’t tend to open up to people I just met about just in what way(s) I like to have sex.  I’d much rather get to know them as people before jumping right to the nitty gritty intimate details. That was alright, but I could see that I was “The Prude at the picnic.”  No biggie though, it didn’t really bother me.

To me, while I’m trying not to judge others for what they do sexually, it sullies the sacredness of the sex to have no boundaries about it.  It makes your soul dirty and now I sound like Janet from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. “I (don’t) wanna be diiiiirty!”  Anyway I’m not as prudish, nor am I as innocent, as Janet.  Sex isn’t dirty.  But the attitude you have about it is what can make it dirty.  If you think of the other person as just an object that will satisfy your needs, that is gross and turns my stomach.  This is why sex jokes that are raunchy and tend to infer the people (or animals) in them as objects also turn my stomach.  So in that respect, I suppose it ‘offends’ me, but not because I’m a prude or innocent; it’s because the attitude is a low attitude. (As in the low in ‘low men in yellow coats’ in Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King. Yes, it’s that creepy to me.  It’s a rapist attitude and I want to be nowhere near that attitude.)  On the other hand, even if you have lots of partners, if you can love every single one of them and see the divine within them (as in “Namaste, the divine in me greets and loves the divine in you”) then that would be beautiful.  I believe it is VERY rare to find a circumstance of any group of people who can love several people in that way, rather than just one.  I know that personally I am not that evolved.

So I guess I’m trying to say that it doesn’t shock me, but I find that attitude very disgusting and, there is no other way to put it; low.

I suppose all of this outpouring I’m doing about boundaries or lack of them is stemming from a recent experience where I felt like I lost control over myself a little bit, and I had to re-draw the boundaries for myself again.  It wasn’t sexual, it really was no biggie, but it made me feel very floaty and unbalanced and ungrounded.  I was thinking “what am I doing?” and didn’t feel like I was being myself. I’m coming back into myself now (phew) and I’m good.

Anyway, I believe boundaries are good, but they must be flexible.  You must be in control of yourself, but also let yourself do things.  Don’t be so in control that you are uptight; if you want to dance, dance.  If you want to drum, drum.  If you want to skip and hop up and down, do it.  But don’t dance, drum or skip so that you are degrading yourself or someone else; don’t do it because you feel like others want you to do it; don’t do it if you feel uncomfortable and too prudish (so that you feel you have to do it so as to not be so prudish).

But everyone’s boundaries are different, and everyone’s definition of what is sacred is different, and we (including myself) can’t judge – much. But we can also know what we like and don’t like, and I definitely don’t like hanging out with crass gross people who view other people as objects.  Thankfully, I am only acquainted with possibly one person who is like that (and I don’t think she is completely that way; I think it’s mostly for show).  Even so, I wish there were a little more boundary drawing within the pagan community.  Not a lot, just a little more.  Enough to respect themselves and other people.  Not to the extreme second or slightest touch; with some leeway, but not to make people wait to do something for hours on end just because of PST, or not to have a lack of respect for the divine within them (and a lack of respect for the divine within themselves).  I think people overall, not just pagans, would do good to respect and love themselves and others more.  ::Gets off of soap box.::

Namaste, everyone.

Jumping Jumping!

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jumping

Yes, that’s me, in my dream car, not my actual car. The license plate is from a photo of Emma Peel’s (played by Diana Rigg) car from the Avengers TV show in the 60’s. She had a white, then two blue cars of the same kind, a Lotus Elan.                                  Original artwork.

The bullet has been bitten.  I have now pretty much resigned from my job as Teacher of the Deaf.  An email, very carefully and kindly worded, has been sent to my superiors.  The official resignation form has been filled out, and will be turned in to Human Resources next week (next week, because I am car-less at present- it’s in the shop and should be drive-able soon).

I have been ‘camped at the precipice’ for nearly a month.  I’ve been making this decision, then hesitating, then making the decision again, then hesitating, for quite a while.  I had found out that if I’m not in an interpreter program going for a degree in interpreting, that only a few courses at the local community college would be open to me.  I just got off the phone with an administrator in the interpreting program, who is going to meet with me to discuss my transcripts (which I have already) next week.  At this point, I could perhaps audit classes, or transfer previous classes I’ve taken and delve into the program, and it sounds like it will be the latter choice.  I’ve passed two exams in order to bypass two classes: ASL 1 and 2, and another exam which officially got me in to the interpreting program.  I also already have my student number!  It feels really _odd_ to be a student again, and also quite nice!

So, I’ve had a number of balls already rolling, I just needed the big one to budge, just to show me that I can indeed pursue this.  It has budged and is starting to roll!  Watch out world!

For me, it’s best if my brain matches my gut and my heart, and if it doesn’t, it’s very difficult for me to justify making a huge change like this.  My brain also needs to be on board! I needed to know that working towards my goal would be feasible.  I also needed to know that I would have enough money to live on and take classes, and I have figured out that, yes, I can do this.

I’ve analyzed my finances, which was good to do, no matter what.  I’ve figured out ways to save more money, and am following a pretty tight budget right now.  I aim to save considerably more by the end of my current paychecks in August.  I have figured out that I can live on my savings AND pay for a complete interpreter program’s worth of credits, if I need to, and have money to spare.  (Not much money to spare!)  So if anyone’s worried about me, don’t be!

And the last thing I needed to satisfy my nitpicky brain was to know that, if I resigned, I would still get paid throughout the summer (I get my paychecks spread out over a year instead of only the school year), and I will not get blacklisted in my district if I wanted to apply for a teacher job in the future.  This is according to the union rep I spoke to last month.

So, now that my worry-wart brain is satisfied with all of the angles of possible scenarios, I can also give even more credence to the spiritual messages that I’ve sought out, or that have sought me out.  And there have been many!

The first message came around New Years, when Elfy Momma (my friend who I write with once a week) and MM – Massage Man (my now ex-boyfriend, though he was my boyfriend at the time) and I met to read cards for each other.  One of them – I think it was MM- did a reading for me for my three decisions at that time: 1) continuing to work at what was my current position, 2) working at an elementary school and 3) interpreting.  The first one got a message that it would have job stability.  The second one said I would have to be creative at the job but other wise it would be the same old thing.  The third one said I would have less money and I would feel free.  And that reading has turned out to be very true for all three scenarios, although I no longer have choice number one.

The next spiritual message happened when I was at a ritual with my small spiritual group.  We got together to send one of our members off to California and to do energy work for her.  As we talked before we started, it became clear that ALL of us were going through a major change in our lives, not just the woman who is moving.  One of the women there, Phunky Goddess (a friend of mine who makes awesome funky clothes and who loves Phish), led us in the meditation.  It was her first time leading us.

In our meditation, she had us all meet together, then each take our own path with a basket.  We were to gather things in our basket that we would share with each other later.  As I started down my path, I was skipping and happy, and hearing the music of “April Fool’s Day” by S. J. Tucker.  A frog jumped into my basket.  I knew the frog was meant for me, but wasn’t sure what it meant just yet.  I gathered some things for my friends who were meditating with me in the circle as well (to remain private).  Then Phunky Goddess had us go to a clearing where there was drumming and dancing, and we danced together or hung out enjoying the drums, after which we shared each other’s items.  At the end, she had us go back down the path to where we started.

As we each came out of our meditation, we told each other what our items were. As I shared about the frog, they said that, of course, I need to jump!  It’s just now that I’m writing this, that I’m realizing that the song was perfect, too.  ‘April Fool’s Day’ is about a ritual S.J. Tucker goes to, that celebrates The Fool.  How fitting that the song in my meditation matches what I’m doing- jumping into the abyss like The Fool card!

After this, my friend that I write with, Elfy Momma, did this little finger pulling thing (some kind of psychic thing she does to get answers) and said I should get my EIPA  (Educational Interpreter performance test) results back in July.

About a month ago, I had MM do an astrology reading for me about which scenario was best:  continuing with the plan my job had for me – to switch to the oral Deaf Ed program in a hearing elementary school (oral: hard of hearing kids who speak and lip-read, and do not sign);  or interpreting.  His reading said that in September, I will experience someone at work trying to undermine me – working against me – and I would feel like I couldn’t tell anyone about it.  He also said that I should be doing a Sagittarius type of job:  to be a tour guide of sorts for others.  He said interpreting is kind of like that, and is a “Sag” type of job.  He also said that I would likely need to share assets (8th house), like to take out a loan or have a roommate.  He also felt that I would get my results from the EIPA test in July (if I remember correctly).

The next message came when I tuned my mind to what my monkeys were doing, while I was driving to MM’s house last week.  We were going to hang out a bit (we still do about once a week, even though we broke up).  After hanging out with him, I was going to drive to my parents’ the next day.  I was planning to tell them about my decision and was very nervous about doing this. (I ended up chickening out, but have dropped bits of information about what I’m doing here and there!)

We interrupt this rambling blog to explain about ‘my monkeys.’  Be warned, I’m about to let you know just how weird I am!  Over the years, starting in about 2002 or so, I have come to believe that I have monkey spirits that hang around me.  They are like spirit guides or totems, in a way.  Other people have confirmed that they are there; it hasn’t just been me ‘imagining’ things.  They have become a way for me to tune in to the psychic channel of my brain, and whenever I’ve asked them a question they have never been wrong.  I’ve tuned in to what they’re doing from time to time.  More about them in another blog for another day.

As I tuned my mind this time (while driving to MM’s house) to what my monkeys were doing, what one or two were doing was unusual.  They were holding up my head.  My sense was that they were ‘keeping my head up’ and giving me confidence.  I thought what my monkeys were doing was cool and it confirmed that the spiritual-messaging part of my mind that they occupy is fully in support of my resigning and becoming an interpreter.

The most recent spiritual message came in a dream I had last week.  Last Fall, a Special Ed teacher at “my” school (the one I worked at the last six years), resigned after about a month of school.  She had met her love over the summer and was moving to be with him.  She also knew she wanted to get away from our stressful job.

In the dream,  she had parked sideways on my front lawn.  She yelled out the window to “Come join me!”  I ran out as she took off down the road.  I chased her a bit, but she was too fast and her car was shrinking so I wouldn’t have fit in her car, anyway.  I ran back to get into my own car, when I woke up.  I think that clearly states I should do what she did:  follow my gut and my bliss. The dream clinched it for me.  (As if there haven’t been enough spiritual messages saying I should be doing this, right?)

Juuuuuuumpiiiing!!

Pitching My Tent at the Precipice

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camping on the precipice

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I have come back into “manifest reality” of the day to day worklife after being in fairyland.  That fairyland was a May Day festival in the mountains.  During the festival, I truly felt like I had finally blossomed.  I had been to the festival 3 times before, and each time had been wonderful, but this time I felt truly released and grounded at the same time.  I felt truly myself and blissful.  During the maypole dance, I skipped and frolicked, because I felt freed.  The last thing I did there, before saying goodbye and leaving, was to attend a small cozy ritual that focused on bringing about positive changes in our lives.  The circle wasn’t closed; it remained open to continue the change in our lives after we left the festival.

Now I’m back, and I’ve got some decisions to make.  Here are my choices: go with what my current job is offering me, which is to work with a population that I don’t really have a passion for working with; keep on searching for a job as a teacher working with a population I am passionate about working with, or chuck teaching altogether and either become an interpreter or work towards becoming an interpreter. If I go with the first one or second one (both really, for financial security), I am pleasing one set of loved ones I have.  To them, my choice should be to remain a teacher only, because of financial security; if nothing had been offered here, they wanted me to look elsewhere for a teaching job- that is, to move far away if I had to.  I know their hearts will be broken (or they will at least feel scared and worried for me) if I go with choice number three.  Another loved one would like me to pick becoming an interpreter.  The reason is because I would be much less stressed, and therefore have more time to offer and focus on that particular loved one.

It’s dangerous to let others pull you in one way or another when it comes to life decisions. It must be your own choice.  Since my last post, I have still not resigned, though I have made some strides in preparation for change.  I completed a written and performance test to become an Educational Interpreter (have passed the written, and don’t know yet on the performance), and had two interviews, both of which did not lead to new jobs as a teacher.  I have applied to a third- which would be with a population I’m passionate about working with but is in a district that has a reputation for gangs and violence within their schools.  I haven’t heard back from that one and maybe it’s just as well.

A situation at work escalated to the point of a decision being made for me- thankfully, not to dissolve my position, but to have me switch schools with another teacher.  In the midst of all this, I went from the precipice where I nearly jumped into the jobless scary place of becoming an interpreter (but finishing out the year as a teacher, because that’s me), to creeping backwards into the safe place of job security.  And still, the disrespectful way superiors have been treating me- pointing fingers of blame rather than offering their hands in support- is urging me back towards the precipice.

I am still in the midst of decision.  Do I jump, or do I stay put, looking for a way out, or do I accept the place I’ve been given?  This is my 13th year of teaching.  Though I partly believe myself to be a natural at teaching, excellent at motivating students and getting them excited about learning, and great at developing relationships with students, another part of me is greatly disappointed in my teaching ability.

It’s very difficult and stressful to be a teacher, and it almost never feels like you are ‘good enough’ or ‘excellent enough.’  There is always something to work on, to improve on.  There are always people observing and picking you apart.  These observations are only snapshots and therefore snap judgements are made.  ‘There was no scaffolding,’ they say, but they were only in the class for 15 minutes, and didn’t know or think to ask about whether there had been scaffolding the entire month leading up to that lesson during which they peeked in.  Those aren’t the only stressors (and by the way my latest evaluation was not so bad and I appreciate that particular supervisor (I have many) appearing to be on my side.  Other stressors include legal documentation with Special Education being scrutinized, telling parents (or anyone) the truth of the way things are is looked down upon, and every little mistake is made into a huge embarrassing can of worms.  It’s like being in the movie Office Space:  the main character has too many bosses, and they’re all reminding him about one little mistake he made, and sometimes I feel like the guy with the stapler who has been relegated to the basement.  He’s been laid off but doesn’t know it; “It’ll sort itself out,” his supervisors say.

My boyfriend has seen that I am a completely different person during my summers off.  I am much more carefree, more loving, more affectionate, and more happy.  I am more confident, since there is no one but myself around to tear me down.

My gut is telling me that if I work on becoming an interpreter, that is where my bliss lies.  But is it wise?  I have been given wings to fly, they are unfurling, and I have a bit of a safety net with saved money, on which I believe I can live on for a year including paying for schooling if need be.  The scary part lies after all of that.  Do I jump, and fly, or jump and fall to the safety net and bounce a while, after which, do I take off flying or do I fall into the abyss?  Am I being over dramatic about that abyss, and am I being over dramatic about my current situation?  It’s certainly better than many people have to face.  I think for now I’ll keep adding to that safety net, and investigate things further- which may be a cop out!  But if I’m going to jump, I had better know what I’m doing.  I’m going to pitch my tent at the precipice and hug a tree.

Emerging as a Butterfly

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emergence as butterfly

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In some previous blogs, I talk about being inundated with butterfly imagery last year, and the feeling of being in a cocoon the last few months.  This past week I have felt like I am starting to emerge.

Part of being in a cocoon is being dormant, not passionate, wrapped up in myself and my own experiences.  I felt a bit of depression as well.  Not that I was completely shut off from other people and not that I was completely heartless (the cocoon was not completely opaque).  I was faced with some gut-wrenching choices that grew from the soil and muck of feeling overworked and the extreme opposite of being appreciated, and a lack of respect by superiors at work.  In the other arenas of my life- friends and family- I am well supported by wonderful people, and I am very grateful for that.

The ordeal at work tore open old wounds, and I was back to re-developing a love of myself and who I am.  I am still in the midst of re-developing it- I’m not completely free of that yet.

Ironically, though I experienced some added ordeals this past week, I feel refreshed as a person.  I feel like I am breaking out of the cocoon.  The skin of the cocoon has thinned and I can wrench my head and upper limbs free, and see and love the outer world.  I’m not sure what it is that did it, or if it was “just time.”  It may be that a recent meeting with superiors brought many things even closer to my inspection and I faced reality even more head-on.

Although I had decided months ago that I would resign from my current position, I hesitated to do so.  I still haven’t done it, though I drafted a resignation letter last week.  I plan to 1) figure out the correct steps to do it and 2) follow those steps in turning it in next week.  It feels a little like the Fool’s card of the tarot deck:  stepping gleefully over the brink of a cliff and into the unknown.  Though this act of resignation doesn’t feel gleeful- instead, it feels ….  resolute, freeing, a little gut-wrenching in the final goodbye of my current position, and final.

I’m not sure if it’s the decision to finally follow through with what I’ve known I need to do for months that is making me feel fantastic, or if it’s that I’m back in control of my life.  It’s ironic, because with this step, I also lose control- I won’t be employed, at least (hopefully) for a short time.  That’s the scary part.  Why, in this economy, would I do such a thing?  I will be doing it because I must.  If I don’t, I feel that I will be failing myself, letting myself stay down the well with steep sides (and jeering hands like in the movie Labyrinth) and leaving myself in a place where I feel worthless.

I want to be clear for any critical and caring thinkers out there that I am applying for jobs as well as working on getting certification as an interpreter, which will likely open up more jobs for me, once I get that certification.  It seems that it will take me a year or less of passing exams and honing my skills to get to where I want to be in that field.  I hope that my perception of that is true! I also have money saved, that I can use toward schooling if that is needed and to live on.

It isn’t always so horrible at work that I feel like I’m in the well- sometimes I’m at the top of the well looking out, and sometimes I’m deeper down;  but it often feels deeper down.  My  boyfriend, who I started dating 3 years ago, says I even felt it then, and that I would be oftentimes extremely stressed.  That’s one wondrous thing about my boyfriend:  he is a gentle reality checker for me.  A gentle person holding up a mirror, ready to hug me and support when I react to what I see.  It’s one of the reasons I love him.

The feeling of emergence is fantastic.  I say ’emergence’ instead of fully being a butterfly, because I don’t want to assume I’m completely finished ‘baking’ yet, and because I have no idea what’s to come.  Maybe the feeling really is more like I’m ready to stretch my wings; I’ve come out of the cocoon and my wings are still wet, so I can’t really fly yet.  I feel friendly, open, passionate, and happy to be alive, and at the same time quite grounded.  I hope this state of being continues.  I am looking forward to flying, and yet am happy to be at the stage I am in.

—–

Update:  On further reflection, I will 1) talk with my union rep 2) talk with powers that be in HR and 3) make a decision on next steps.  I may be ‘throwing away’ certain opportunities if I resign.  We shall see.

Geeking out on – of all things – Organizing!

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This post is going to be a bit mundane.  It has nothing, or probably nearly nothing, to do with anything pagan.  It’s just something about my daily life.  Unless it can be said that pagans are messy, but that would be stereotyping ourselves, I’m sure!  I know plenty of very clean and neat pagans… I’m not one of them!

For about a half a year, and especially the last month or so, I’ve been focused on organizing and getting rid of things.  As I may have already said, I’m a Cancerian- a ‘double’ Cancerian with my moon and sun in Cancer.  A typical trait of Cancerians is that we hoard.  Uh yeah, erm, understatement.  I hoard things.  I’m getting rid of things I’ve had since college.  That would be 15 years ago.  I have a “give-away” pile going just past my entryway- out of the walking path, pushed to the side.

Those who have worked with me will confess with long-suffering smiles that I am *Messy*.  My teacher desk is clean, for maybe the first week of school.  Maybe.  Then it has piles on it until, well, the end of school.

It may be a sad statement to make that I am finally at the point where I don’t have so many things needing done ‘yesterday’ at work that I can finally organize things to make my work easier.  If that had been done in the beginning of the year, well, that would have been logical, wouldn’t it.

Regardless of how late in the year it is and how “ironical” it is, it does feel good to get organized.  It’s been a gradual process in my life.  I have some OCD people to thank for that.

No, seriously. 🙂  One of my best friends is OCD.  She not just jokingly is, and she’s a wonderful person.  Her purse has little bags in it to organize all her stuff.  It would seem like this is common sense, and maybe it is common sense for most people, but this was a HUGE thing for me to realize: a purse can be organized!  Since then I have little bags in my purse, too!  I do still need to clean it out from time to time, but I have a special spot for each thing.  The ‘special spots’ have been developed especially in the last month.  For example, I didn’t have a place just for my gum/menthos/etc.  Now I do!  For some reason that makes me proud!

I’m so proud, in fact, that I would now like to brag about all the things I have organized so far:

my ribbon– in a special box with holes in it to let the ribbon out, with dowels to put the ‘wheels’ of ribbon on.  I am a little embarrassed to say that it was a Martha Stewart idea.  I have been a scoffer when it comes to her kind of ideas, they are a little too ‘posh’ and uppity for me, but maybe that’s my own little weirdness.  Maybe it’s that I’m turning into Martha Stewart as I age, and the little teenager in me wants to still be a headbanger!

Dec. 31 2012 (3)

I cut the box shorter so it would fit in a drawer.

Dec. 31 2012

my purse, as mentioned.

-as of today: files for the days of the week and Math folders in my classroom for the students to put away work.  In my own defense, before I moved classrooms, I did have a days of the week file thingy for my desk.  I now have one again and WOW it feels awesome to put papers in there!! Not just from a paper-nerd standpoint, but it’s a relief to put it in a place I’ll easily find it for when I need it!  I know, go figure, huh!

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The one on the right is the Math folder organizer for students. It doesn’t have a label yet… baby steps.

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Folder organizer on teacher desk- has a lesson plan folder, discipline slips, passes, sub folder, Mon-Fri folders, and folders specifically for classes.

-some fabric.  Not all- I do have a whole bunch occupying seats around my table waiting to be made into something.  But the rest *is* in fact, believe it or not, organized in my craft room!  I even have organized socks to be used as material in projects.

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I’m not really into fake flowers, but I had a lot left over from crafting- I saved these and gave the rest away. Organized by color. 🙂 I made the top shelves out of packing material that cushioned electronic devices.

-the inside of my teacher desk- I am very proud to say I organized that in the beginning of the school year!  There are even labels in there for where things go!  ::geeking out on the labels::

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I taped everything down with packaging tape, because it drives me nuts when things swish around in there and it gets all messed up.

-my curlers and curling iron and blow dryer and blowdrying hairbrushes are all in the same bin now.  It used to be a bread box but they all fit in there, and they tuck away under a kindof antique stool that works as a small table in my bathroom.

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Someday I want to paint the stool. It’s a kindof cool retro color, but it’s too “Mary Kay” for me. I was thinking some kind of purply light blue. Also the black rubber has spots- I want to clean that and make it look sharp.

-my pantry:  it was a mess until one or two years ago.  I bought a WHOLE bunch of clear plastic rectangular shaped bins, and organized and labeled ALL of it.  I do need to go through it and throw out old stuff (like boxes with 1 cookie left in them), but it is _really_ organized now.

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I recently put in the curtain. It used to have a trashed plastic accordion door.

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-My DVDs and VHS tapes: I am getting rid of a lot of them, which helped me organize them again.  They are alphabetized.  ::geeking out on that concept alone::

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I left spaces on the shelves just in case I add one, so I don’t have to shuffle everything to keep it alphabetized.

Now, don’t be fooled- I still have various piles of things, either waiting to be organized, or waiting to be made into something, or… just waiting.  Lonely little piles, just waiting for someone to love them.  ::sniff::!!

All of this to say, that I’m not sure where this trend is coming from, but I do like it!  And I hope it continues!

Being Happy or Being Fickle: Flying

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flying dream

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Last weekend, I had another magical dream, again at my boyfriend’s house.  For about a month, I’ve been experiencing a major funk, and that weekend, I had reached a peak in that funk.  I think it was a culmination of The Change messing with my emotions, and being unsatisfied (to put it mildly) about many things in my life currently, mostly my job.

Logically, I knew I had many things to be happy about.  My emotions didn’t match that.  Hence the funk.  Then, that Friday  or Saturday night, I had a dream in which I flew.  It’s the first dream that I’ve ever had in which I’ve flown, and it was fantastic.  It started out that I just had to kindof get parallel with the earth and flap my arms a bit, and believe that I could fly.  Then once I got my flying mojo on, I swooped up.  As I swooped, I felt exhilarated, the happiest feeling in my life.  I was just overcome with joy to be alive and that’s what swept me up, a’ la Peter Pan style.

After a few swoops, I swooped up a tree and came to the top branches.  It was full summertime and everything was green.  I opened the branches and there was a wooden platform in the tree, with a little chest.  I opened the chest and dropped in some precious stones.  It was some kind of offering to the tree- a thankfulness that I had discovered flying and could get up there in the first place.  Then I flew down again.  Somehow while being up there a branch had become stuck in  my t-shirt.  I discovered it when I landed- it was little rose wand of thorns.  On the end of the wand were natural knobs that formed a cat’s face.

Since then, messages (posts on Facebook, on a poster in a classroom, in songs I hear, in TV shows) have been popping out to me regarding living life to the fullest, taking risks, and living your dreams.  Clearly, I should be enjoying the life I have as it is now.  And, I need to take the risks needed to live my life to the fullest in order to get away from the things that are frustrating me, and not be scared or unsure of my own skills.  I have a wonderful sweet boyfriend who has the tenderest heart, the smartest mind and who wants nothing but the best for me.  Besides which he’s a cutie with sexy legs and meltable eyes!  What more could I ask for?  This past week, my heart has re-melted for him and joined my logical brain in loving him.  I’ve also come to enjoy teaching again, despite the chaos of the last week.  I’ve rediscovered my inner drive to be the best teacher I can be.  That doesn’t mean that this week hasn’t made me tired- it has.  But I’ve been so much happier.

Fickleness happens.  Unstable emotions happen, especially during The Change.  It’s up to the logical mind to see things the way they should be.  Then it’s up to you to work on your heart to make it match your logical mind.  With the help of Black Cohosh and the willingness of my heart, I believe I’ve succeeded this week!  I do hope that this genuine love of life and the wonderful things in my life continues.

Themes: Messages from Beyond, or Just My Weird Brain?

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theme pusher

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Ever say the same thing as someone else, at the same time, or start singing the same song at the same time as someone else?  Or start seeing the same kind of thing over and over again within one day, or one week, or a period of time?  Or think “That was one weird guy” and see someone that looks just like him on TV?

Some time ago- maybe last year or two years ago, I started noticing that images or concepts repeat themselves at me.  Yes, at me.  Maybe things just get ‘on my radar,’ maybe it’s marketing, or maybe they are ::messages from beyond.::  So, out of curiosity as a kind of paranormal experiment, I started keeping track.  I call them ‘themes.’

You may remember from another post that I was flooded with butterfly imagery for a while; I saw them everywhere, so much so, that I expected to see a butterfly image every day.  I started noticing other themes, such as:  I saw two turntables with paintbrushes making art while browsing the ‘net, and a child nearby starts singing “two turntables and a microphone.”  Is he psychic?  Am I?  What’s going on?

My theory is that there’s ::something (or someone) out there:: sending messages, and so far, if I’m being inundated with them, they have been positive messages for my life’s direction.  But that’s just a theory.  It could just be that I’m just noticing a bunch of things and my mind over obsesses, and over-interprets meaning into things.  It’s probably a pagan way of thinking to think “Oooh that must be an omen!”

No matter where the themes come from, it’s been fun to keep track of them and ponder “What’re the powers that be telling me?” Maybe you can help.  Here’s the latest ones that I’ve been keeping track of, since last November. Can you piece them together into a coherent message?  (I just had a flashback to Highlights for Kids…. what I just said sounded like it could have come from there!  Loved those as a kid!)

11/15/12 Wedding proposals

11/26/12 Grapefruit

11/26/12 Berries/fruit

Tripping others

Headphones

12-11-12 Anti-war

12-11-12 to 12-12-12: airplane cloud trails

12-12-12:  Asians

12-12-12:  generous moms/grandmas

12-11-12 to 12-12-12: Army/Navy

12-10-12 to 12-12-12: seals (the animal)

12-13-12 Horrible evil acts

12-15-12 Crescent moon

12-15-12 humble people changing the world/heros

12-15-12 Radio DJs

Blue butterflies

(last ½ of December): revival church meetings in fiction

Were-wolves and vampires (may be self-inflicted theme, not coincidental)

(lost track here a bit)

12-26-12 Admitting ones’ age out loud, perception of age

Holland

Las Tapatillas

Wee ones in mermaid costumes

1-21-13 (weekend):  Native Americans, Cowboys, and something else that I forgot! And Russell also (road signs) oh and cemetaries. Maybe that’s it.

1-22-13 haircuts (short bangs): Michelle Obama’s and mine (and Audrey Hepburn’s)

1-23-13 Octupi

Last week (2/8 ish)  Romeo

This week (2/11-2/13ish) – there were two that I’m forgetting! Durnit!

2/13:  I saw 6 butterfly imageries while in one thrift store.

Rape

Kismet

Yellow and red painted planes or helicopters

The Walking Dead or Dead something or other, zombie stuff

2/23 Spontaneously breaking out into song

3/3 Cars in process of being repainted- with different colors on different parts of them

3/5 identifying trees by their leaves

March:  birds.  1) baby feather on doorstep with dark heart shape at tip  2) a bunch of feathers hanging out on my living room floor like they belonged there… have no idea where they came from 3) Raven, huge, flying down to the pavement by my car which is in front of my townhome yesterday morning (on 3/6/13), squawking, and flying off.

..>><<..

Of course, I especially like the bit about the birds!  Is this a new imagery-flood going on, like the butterflies?  Is this related to the dream I had where my friend turned into a crow?

And, just for the record… just cuz I notice it or see several images of the same thing does NOT mean I like it.  I mean, babies in mermaid costumes?  What’s up with that one?!

Chrysalis Dormancy – Letting Myself Stop

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myself chrysalis

Original artwork

For a long time now, I have been going through an intense transformation.  Mostly during last summer, I realized I need to live without all the little petty fears that I have been allowing to stop me from doing what I want to do.  That was the start of it.  Since then, I’ve been reevaluating many things in my life and being myself more openly.  I’ve kept a lot of my quirkiness or strangeness inside, have come to view it as beautiful, and have started to express it on my outside, much like a chrysalis being turned inside out to show its beauty as a butterfly.  Butterfly imagery flooded my existence; I saw them everywhere, mostly man-made: stickers, posters, decorations, images shared on the web, monarch butterfly dresses, and so on.  The universe was telling me I was about to go through this change, perhaps gently encouraging me to take the steps in the change.  I didn’t know at the time what all the butterfly imagery meant, until I’m looking back at it now.

I’m a Teacher of the Deaf.  Not only that, I’ve taken on the roles of Special Education teacher, and have regular teacher duties as well.  This school year has been extremely stressful for me (and not only due to all the roles- it’s been much more than that).  I’ve been left wondering if it’s always been this stressful and I’m more sensitive to it now, or if it’s truly more stressful than ever before.  I think it’s a little of both.  I poured my guts out to my boyfriend about it recently and in the outpouring came 13 years of suffering, of not feeling up to snuff as a teacher.  I can make mistakes in other areas of my life without any emotional scarring: crafting, interpreting, dancing, are all things I’m not perfect at; but the mistakes don’t get me down, they’re steps to a learning process or part of a creative process.  In teaching, mistakes get me *DOWN.*  I have a major chip on my shoulder when it comes to teaching, and though I’m sure it comes with the territory, I think it’s unusually large.  It’s a toomah, as Arnold Schwarzenneger said in some movie or other.

Many incidents this school year have been ‘nails in the coffin’ of my teaching career, and it depresses me.  Though, I know this is thinking like I’m the victim.  It feels like outside forces are making me want to give up teaching and I’ve gone through grieving steps:  anger at these forces, grief that I will miss what I love about teaching, numbness.  I believe I’m in the numbness stage right now actually.  But truly, it’s always what we do in the face of these incidents and it’s not a victim thing at all.  It just feels that way.  I believe it’s part of my transformation.  The outcome, I hope, will be a person who lives as she wants to live, and does what she wants to do.

During the past 13 years of teaching, I’ve often felt like I wanted to go into a different profession, but I stuck through it.  This year is different;  many things I used to just take, my guts are refusing to take any more.  I could get into what those things are another time- they aren’t the focus of this post.  The focus of this post is my transformation.  It’s doing a number on me.

The past few months, sometimes, when I’m over-stressed, I feel comfort in not feeling or moving, and I imagine I might know how a catatonic schizophrenic might feel.  I can’t say I do though, thankfully.

It might not help that I’m also going through what’s referred to in doomsday tones: The Change.  I may be more sensitive, and it may be contributing to my present emotional affliction- that of having a hard time feeling.  I’m sure that doesn’t make sense that it’s both, but I think I’m responding to the emotions being over the top with trying not to feel anything, if that makes any sense.  Black Cohosh was working wonders on my hot flashes, and I’ve stopped taking it for a few months.  I started again this morning with just a dropper-ful.  That plus trying to be more zen in my life are what I’m going to try to combat this sense of numbness.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, sometimes after playing in the snow, I’d wind down and just lie in it, feeling warm in my snowsuit, and letting the snowflakes fall dreamily down towards my eyes.  I’d see the snow falling all around me, and be mesmerized by their dancing movements.  I’d lie still and peacefully, and let myself not even be there.  It was comforting.  I think it’s because the world seems to stop; it seems to hang and not move forward.  The busy pace of life which is sometimes fun, sometimes needs to stop. And we need to stop and be zen.

However, it’s become chronic the past few months for me and I need to be human again.  I’ve realized that though my inside seems to have stopped- stopped feeling, or get lost while feeling stressed about the future, I haven’t really let myself stop.  I’ve kept on doing something, almost all the time up until I sleep.  I work, I come home and plan for work, or I watch Netflix or do Facebook, and then as I go to bed I read until I sleep.

I used to meditate, and about 3 years ago, I tried to meditate at least once a day even if it was for just 5 minutes at a time.  I haven’t meditated for a long time.  Maybe a year or more.  Today, as I came home, it was getting darker, and the lights were off in my home.  I was about to turn on the lights, but decided not to, for a moment.  I looked toward the balcony and the small layer of snow out there, and, thinking I’d meditate, finally, again, I went and sat close to the balcony doors.  I looked out the glass and wrapped myself in a soft blanket.  Cars drove by behind a stand of trees in the distance, and it was like I was looking up at the sky at falling snow again.  After several deep breaths, I was able to sit peacefully and not mind the ticking clocks (which tick louder when it’s quiet- it’s a twist of physics we all know).  My mind turned off, to a peaceful zen, for a moment.

I wasn’t able to meditate, however.  But, baby steps.  I’ll try to at least stop for a moment each day and be at peace.  That will be a start. And in the tumult of transformation, I’ll let myself be dormant a bit, so I don’t go freakin’ nuts.  So I can become a feeling human being again.