Category Archives: Pagan Living

Gone Walkabout

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Original artwork by author

Since December of 2018, my husband and I had a housemate living downstairs. My husband had several housemates before I moved in and we’ve had several after. We like helping others, and we have extra rooms, so why not?

This particular housemate was a friend of my husband’s, and all was great for many months. She was generally happy, creative, quirky, like a fairy embodied in a human being, who also liked death metal.

Last month, this housemate passed away. My husband found her in her room. We had exchanged pleasantries two days before, and we had heard signs of life one day before. Then … silence, so my husband checked on her. This disappearing thing wasn’t uncommon; sometimes she’d sink into a depression, or her body hurt, and often she would sleep in her room off and on for days, surfacing for a bit of food.

She had started being unstable around us during the holidays last year- maybe even before that. She was in her own world, and in her own struggle. We tried to help her in many ways. She was often sad, and it wouldn’t have been surprising if she wanted to leave this life.

That said, our hearts ache for the positive aspects we came to know: her odd sense of humor, and her devil-may-care attitude, sporting her bright pink or glittery pants and colorful clothes as she went for a walk, literally dancing to her own tune. She often hummed to herself and jiggled her hips, an echo of former belly dancing days, as she stood by her sewing area. She nerded out on computer programming with my husband, talking in a language that I barely understand but respect. She vibrated life from her being in a unique way.

What I probably admire the most about her is that she strived to be the best person she could. She posted Buddhist sayings, helping her to remember that we are all in our own struggle, not to judge others, and to let go of expectations. She turned my husband on to Harville Hendrix, a relationship guru whose advice he and I now follow. And though we had our differences, she had wanted to make amends.

It pains my heart to think of the sadness she must have felt, and that no human could give her the healing or support she needed. In the end, I’m guessing the struggle was too much. I also miss her, which has been hard for me to admit.

Sometime last week, I dreamed that she popped by from a walkabout to get a pair of jeans. My husband and I looked up from whatever we were working on and said casual hellos. Then she went on her way. Everything seemed as normal, like she was before her struggles had surfaced: happy, radiating sunshine, ponytail swinging. A day or two later, my husband had a dream about her, taking a casual walk in the neighborhood with her.

I like to think that’s what she’s doing: a walkabout, and that she’s on her next spiritual journey, encountering wisdom and adventures on the way.

A Strange, Crazy Trip of a School Year

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What an amazing, crazy, ride this school year has been! It’s my 19th year of teaching, and it feels like my 1st year in some ways. I have learned SO MUCH, not only about teaching, but about being a human being and working with others.

I have already written about the first part of the school year. I worked with two little boys who screamed, threw things, ran around the school and even away from the school, and were mean to other kids. I also got to know other sweet students at the same time. My heart broke for those students, who were victims of one of the other students, and got less teaching than they should have.

I could emotionally deal with all of it, almost, except the meanness. I have a very hard time understanding and accepting those who are randomly mean to others. And, if I would have had no end in sight, I would probably be burned out and in the funny farm by now.

Through dealing with that, I learned just how wonderful the staff I work with are. I always knew that most of the staff around me have my back, and most of them worked really well together to help those kiddos. This is hands down, the most positive workplace I have been in. Other situations have come close, but this school is the most positive and supportive I have ever been a part of.

Now, I’m facing another challenge: remote teaching these same little ones (they’re Deaf/Hard of hearing second graders) during this COVID 19 lock-down. One of them has a TBI and is struggling the most with learning from home. The rest are adjusting, I think, and some are learning more than I ever expected. And some, I’m just happy they are joining my Zoom meetings and can see their faces, even if they’re not putting in much effort in the work I set for them. What a strange time this is. And we are told to prepare ourselves to do it again in the Fall.

On another note, PTSD from past teaching jobs haunts me. While I love my principal, vice principal, and DHH admin, I still have no idea if they want me back. I have learned to not trust what I see on the surface, and that any small infraction can look horrible in their eyes, or skewed to make me look horrible when I know I’m a wonderful teacher.

Not to toot my own horn or anything… well, if I do have my own horn, don’t I get to toot it? That’s assuming I have a horn to toot. Not that I think I’m a perfect teacher and I certainly see my faults very clearly, every single day, but overall, I think I do a bang-up job!

I’m just used to others not seeing that, and seeing things through poop-colored glasses. And I’m paranoid that others are judging me. I bet this is common among teachers. Let’s hope that my bosses see me in clear-no-colored glasses at the very least. I do put in 150 to 200% effort!

I do hope I can keep on doing this. By this, I mean teaching Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids. I do love it for the most part, even if some days I feel miserable about it. I love my students, and I love teaching.

I do have other dreams… most of them made of the smoke from pipes. One, is being an interpreter again… not much pay, and the fact that I didn’t pass the NIC depresses me- though I do need to try again at some point. (And it’s another field where people tend to judge each other, not a good feeling.) Another is becoming a published author for fiction, be it adult, young adult, teen, or author/illustrator of children’s books. And, in crazy moments, a fairy or other creature at Ren Faires like Twig The Fairy sounds really darned good. All of these things don’t pay as well as teaching (and may pay nothing at all), and I do love teaching kids.

We’ll see what the next school year brings! For now, we’ve all just got to survive the next few weeks until summer break. And don’t get me wrong: I am very happy to have a job during this time, and a purpose in that job. It is just a lot of hours of work.

May we all come out of this sane, and in good relationships with those we live and work with. May those on the front lines be safe and healthy. As people pass from this life, may we hold on to the light and joy of living. May we all see each other again soon, and be all the closer for this experience. So mote it be.

                                                                                                                Original artwork by author

Of Bikes and Spiritual Sides

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In a previous post, I wrote ‘more about biking later,’ or some such. And then I never delivered what I’d promised. Well here ya go.

Last summer, I started riding my bike. I’d bought this bike, especially made for women supposedly, … about 9 years ago. I rode it once. Yes. Once. Until last summer.

My goal? Be fit enough to ride my bike to work. I rode around a school that’s nearby to my house, and increased the number of times I rode around it, until finally I branched out and rode farther distances. It was a free feeling, kindof like learning to drive for the first time. A bit of ‘hey I can do this’ and ‘I can do this with my own muscles;’ almost like survivalism: I can get places on my own gumption, or rumblegumption.*

Then. The school year started… actually it started before it started, for us new employees, with lots of trainings. Then scheduling scheduling scheduling and figuring out everything from scratch, until our collective brains died. Then kids started coming and then two of them started blowing up (behavior wise). Now things have settled down quite a bit (knock on wood). Suffice to say.. since I’ve been in my own little hurricane, I haven’t ridden my bike, and haven’t done many other things that feed my soul, like seeing friends.

I hope to do so again soon, and make it a habit again.

Now.. as the title promised you.. for the spiritual side. I wrote recently that I need to jump start my spiritual side again. It has kinda.. died. And it needs a revival (no, not the tent kind. The defribillator kind. “Clear!”)

Well.. oddly enough (I’m not used to this), my new school has a book study group, focusing on a book that includes meditation. (The Book is called The Inner Matrix, By Joey Klein.) And when we meet and talk about what we’ve read, we meditate in the classroom that we meet in. Be still my pagan heart! Am I not the only Pagan oriented type at this school?

Anyway, I’ve been in a mode of surviving just a day at a time, with barely planning ahead for lessons and such. (Picture: staying up til 11 pm refiguring visual schedules for a kid with behaviors rather than planning what I’ll teach, then getting up at 5:30 am, day after day.) It’s been gradually getting better: things are settling down and I’ve been able to plan some. As a result, I’ve had to skim the book for the book club and I haven’t been doing the book club homework: meditate daily for 20 minutes, and now another piece has been added: notice your emotions throughout the day. There’s also a four-part breathing technique that’s incorporated in the meditations.

I’ve been doing the four-part breathing, and started noticing my emotions at certain times, but haven’t meditated yet apart from the 2 times the book club have happened at school. The breathing has been helping to instantly calm me. The emotions I’ve noticed so far have been guilt/disappointment, anxiety, and calm. It’s interesting, and good, to do this emotional check-up.

My goal this weekend is to do the homework for the book club, and to set times on my phone to remind me to do these things throughout the week. I hope to do enough planning and IEP (Special Ed meeting/paperwork) work this weekend, too, so that during the week I can Just. Go. Home. And. Relax. And ride by bike. And drum. And play the piano. and draw. and write. All these things that are waiting for me to do them, like silent pets, waiting for their turn to be petted.

*I had to look it up. Fun stuff:

Gumption: Noun

gump·​tion | \ ˈgəm(p)-shən  \

1chiefly dialectalCOMMON SENSEHORSE SENSE2: ENTERPRISEINITIATIVE lacked the gumption to try

Did you know?

English speakers have had gumption (the word, that is) since the early 1700s. The term’s exact origins aren’t known, but its earliest known uses are found in British and especially Scottish dialects (which also include the forms rumblegumption and rumgumption). In its earliest uses, gumption referred to intelligence or common sense, especially when those qualities were combined with high levels of energy. By the 1860s, American English speakers were also using gumption to imply ambition or tenacity, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that gumption began to appear in English texts as a direct synonym of courage or get-up-and-go. American showman P.T. Barnum also claimed that gumption named a particular kind of hard cider, but that sense is far from common today.

“Gumption.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gumption.

I WILL NOT LET FEAR BAR ME FROM HAPPINESS!

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I think this is truly my year of the butterfly, of shedding my layers of masks and shells and letting my beautiful self out to enjoy the world in my own unique way.  And how fitting it will be to wear huge butterfly wings at my wedding, in a few months! Yes, I’m getting married to my love, the wonderful, loving, Pan in the flesh that I’ve been with almost 3 years!

shedding masks and shells merged

This picture has been made by tweaking a picture taken at the ‘Sensational Butterflies’ exhibit by the Natural History Museum (I assume in London), seen in this blog, and a picture of myself, and then tweaked further with tools used in GIMP.  Original Artwork.

My whole life, I’ve gone through a progression of taming my spirit, and hiding it away with carefully created masks, and letting fears bar me from being myself and truly happy.  But when did the taming of my spirit start?  I certainly wasn’t as tame when I was little.  My mom has told me that when I was a toddler, at about one or two years old, I had so much energy that I would rock back and forth so much in the barnvang, Swedish for baby carriage, that she needed to strap me in so that I wouldn’t fall out.  And my true self has always had this zest for life, excited to do things, meet people, play, and so forth.  I was a happy kid, spontaneous, playing in puddles or riding my tricycle all over town on adventures.  It was the 70s, and people weren’t afraid of child abductors (as far as I knew); kids could ride a tricycle several blocks away to a friend’s place to play, on their own, at about 4 or 5 years old, and no one would worry. Maybe my mom did worry, but if she did, I didn’t know about it!  So from birth to about 5, my spirit was untamed, happy, and confident in myself.

I’m not sure what happened, but at about 6, I started to realize that I was seen as gangly and nerdy, I was teased by many children at once, and I started to tame myself, to tamp down on my energy, be more careful, don’t attract attention, do as others do, and that sort of thing.  We had moved to Colorado from Massachusetts.  I was seen as different and odd, I had Swedish androgynous clothes and probably clothes from Massachusetts, I was pretty direct, and maybe I talked with an accent, though I’m not really sure if that’s why kids made fun of me.  It didn’t happen right away, so it wasn’t all about how I looked.  (If any childhood peeps happen to read this and have any insights, as long as you can tell me in a constructive, positive way, I would welcome that.) Anyway, it was then I that started tamping down on myself, not letting myself be my true self, and letting that bit of me shine out in a glimmer only after a long time after someone started to get to know me.  Also, for some reason I let all that get to me, whereas before that I didn’t.  I’m not sure why.

Then in my middle school years, my two friends at school stopped being my friends suddenly, and I started getting bad grades, not caring, and being depressed.  I’m not sure which happened first, was it my extreme shyness or that incident that caused it?  At that time, I was too afraid to even get up in class to get a tissue to blow my nose.  I would sit, frozen at my desk, not wanting to attract any attention, didn’t want eyes on me as I walked to get a tissue, didn’t want anyone to see boogers come out of my nose, and so on!  It was ridiculous.  I was painfully, painfully shy.  I was still teased, then, too, and also ostracized.  I think that again, it was that I was different, and maybe my negativity that caused it as well.

Throughout all of that, I could have shrugged off what others thought, been confident in myself, and not let it get to me.  I could have gone up to those who teased me and asked them blunt questions, such as why are you even focused on me?  And who cares what kind of ___ I wear or look like or act like anyway?  I could have let myself be free and untamed, rather than letting myself force my spirit down and away from what I thought were judgmental eyes and minds.  I realize now that I acted like prey.  Wanting to hide away from it, rather than standing up for myself.  As it was, I actively hid myself away from others and rarely let myself out to play and be free.

Though, I felt safe at home, playing with my sister in my neighborhood, and also had some great friends as I grew up, so there’s that positive part to my life.  Still, at home and with those friends, I had a mask and way of behaving in order to please them, though those masks were lighter than the various ones I put on to be out and about in the world.

I started to shed some of the shells and masks at the start of 9th grade, and I started to like myself better as I am, but it was only a start.  I still did things very carefully, and that has continued throughout my life, planning out what I was going to say or do before I did it, weighing whether people would see me or not, practicing my outer mask in the mirror, how to smile, how to look and act.  I created shell upon shell that others would have to slowly melt or break through to get to who I really was.

Now, there are some good things about being careful what you say, and caring how other people think. In that way you don’t act as a crass, selfish and despicable human being. Everything is tempered by something else.  It’s still good to consider others’ feelings and comfort zones when doing things.  I’m not saying I should disregard that, just not let fears rule my life.  Also, a bit of a mask is good, so you don’t let the goo of all your emotions and thought spill out all over the place.  So, there’s that.  It’s just that the inhibiting of myself that I’ve done throughout my life has been extreme and debilitating.

Of course, all of this extreme tamping down of my spirit went on without me really being conscious that it was happening.  In high school and college, I started to realize who I truly was, what I really liked and believed, and started to be able to shed my exterior mask that kept my true self in line.  I forced myself to talk to strangers, to train myself to not be as shy.  Basically everything I did, I had to force myself to do, most of the time.  Once I started, I started to realize I was fine.  For example, though I used to get very scared and upset when I got lost as I drove, later, I consciously let myself get lost, and be OK with being lost while driving, because then I’d know where I was the next time.  Keep in mind that this was before cell phones and GPS, with just a paper map to guide me.  I went to movie theaters, restaurants, and traveled by plane or train by myself.  I proved to myself that I could do things, and that helped me shed layers of my shell.  All throughout, though, I was afraid of what people might think, and felt weird being out and about all by myself.  I just had to ignore those feelings and go ahead and do it.

So I still have inklings of that social fear, which rationally, I know, is ridiculous.  Recently, I have been hesitating to do things like ride my bike or hula hoop, because I have an subconscious feeling that people are looking and judging. Rationally I know that isn’t true, but the feeling is there, and I don’t realize it until later.  So instead, I have been opting to stay inside and watch Netflix or similar.  That fear that I let build up and strengthen throughout my life is still there, unhealed, and I only recently realized it’s still there!  Also, my Christian upbringing, while having some positive points, has really influenced my life in ways that I also want to release- being prudish about sex, or feeling guilty feelings over things that are natural, needs to be released and it’s there, influencing the tamping down of my spirit.  I thought I had already released all of that, but the roots of all that is still clinging to me.  I think a good burning off the old brush kind of ritual is in order!

Just this past week, I realized that though a few years ago I became more and more untamed and shed some of my masks and shells, I was back to putting on my masks and shells again.  Then and there, through tears of anguish over the thought of losing myself and losing someone I hold very dear because of my fears, I decided to STOP LETTING FEARS BAR ME FROM MY HAPPINESS.  That has become my mantra.  That realization and determination has released me again and I’m willing to get out there and do things that make me happy, as well as try new things.  Here’s a list of silly little things I may not do because of fear, what that silly fear is, and why it’s silly.

(A Monty Python quote comes to mind:   “Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty…, Silly Party…. Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Blackpool Rock Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable Brrroooo Norman Michael (rings bell) (blows whistle) Edward (sounds car horn) (does train impersonation) (sounds buzzer) Thomas Moo… (sings) ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the…’ (fires gun) William (makes silly noise) ‘Raindrops keep falling on my’ (weird noise) ‘Don’t sleep in the subway’ (cuckoo cuckoo) Naaoooo… Smith.: Very Silly. ….”) (No, I didn’t have that memorized!!)

Silly Little Things List

Listed as in this format-   (bullet point) activity: fears; why silly


  • hula hoop:  eyes, criticism, look awkward; silly because who’s looking anyway, who cares what people think? Just do it, like Nike says (and how cool is that, that Nike is a Greek Goddess? Totally pagan).
  • ride bike: (same as above), also the fear of ‘what if I fall and break open my head and I can’t call for help on my phone?’; silly, because that fear can apply to any situation!  Don’t go your life not doing things ‘cuz of fears like that, right?
  • wearing clothes or hairstyle that are out of the norm for a situation: odd looks from strangers, unwanted attention (positive or negative attention, doesn’t matter), losing a job or negative job evaluations, viewed as inappropriate; silly to some extent ‘cuz who cares what people think (something I really need to release myself from, that worry), and I really won’t lose my job or get negative job evaluations over it unless it’s very extreme or inappropriate, which my own style isn’t really.
  • not wearing a bra (!): OH MY what if my nipples pop out of my shirt and scare off the muggles or attract the creepers; who the f* cares, and if they do, then too bad. (Though, I do wear a bra at work, don’t want to be deemed inappropriate since I work with kids.)
  • admitting my sexual preferences and living a lifestyle that matches that:  becoming lost or soul degrades in a lustful situation (this fear stems from my Christian upbringing), losing my hubby-to-be to someone else (not going to happen), awkward friendships after (no, this hasn’t happened, though it could), also the stigma of having a non-muggle persona (I’ve already gotten over that fear mostly).
  • posting a blog about this and admitting my fears to others (!): who KNOWS what could happen? That’s way too open and revealing of yourself; again, who the f* cares and maybe, just maybe, a blog like this will help others who also feel the same way.
  • Doing pagany things again:  the scars of the past being reopened (no, I doubt it, but if that happens, that means I have more healing to do), going down into that dark scary cave where you don’t know what monsters lurk and doing the spiritual work on yourself that needs to be done; all paganism isn’t deep and dark, a lot of it is very fun, and maybe you SHOULD go into that deep dark cave and confront the monsters!
  • talking to others, flirting, or complimenting others, especially strangers: being out of the comfort zone, entering into awkward situations, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do next, what will the other person think etc.; many reasons why this is silly but also I just need to be OK with being in an awkward situation and not be afraid of that in itself.

Anyway, I could go on and on.  But again, my mantra now is: I WILL NOT LET FEAR BAR ME FROM MY HAPPINESS.  Somehow, that mantra is helping me shrug off the shells and just BE.  And I’m already so much happier and free just knowing I can do this.

This is my year of the butterfly, to be my own untamed womyn! So mote it be!

Be Untamed and Wonderful

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crows on telgraph pole darkened

I made this by combining two photos and tweaking them in various ways.

Some of you may remember the message I got from the Goddess (specifically The Morrighan and the Norns; whatever being it is that prefers to represent herself in those forms) two years ago:

“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.”

At that time, The Morrighan said that I would be fine for the next 3 years if I would let go of what was blocking me, and that I knew what that was.  At the time I wasn’t sure, but didn’t ask.  I think I know now what has been blocking me.

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that I’m in my internship for becoming a sign language interpreter.  Also, since my last blog, I’ve moved in with my new lover, and we’ve now been together about 7 months.  I’ve rented my place out to a friend of his, and am contributing money to food and board to my boyfriend.  I’m still tutoring which earns hardly anything, living off savings, and now the rent money is helping out.  So I continue to have my needs taken care of, while pursuing my new career.  I’ve been watching my savings diminish to less and less, and I still have enough.

In the internship, it has been pretty stressful, trying to get all the hours I need to pass, and to do well.  Like many of the students in our IPP (Interpreter Preparation Program) cohort, I am quite hard on myself and have high expectations.  For the most part, I’ve been doing really well in the internship, able to practice a lot and get great feedback.

Used with permission from the artist, selphy6.  The pic can be found at: http://selphy6.deviantart.com/art/Cleffa-playing-balloon-380231141

Used with permission from the artist, selphy6. The pic can be found at: http://selphy6.deviantart.com/art/Cleffa-playing-balloon-380231141

I’ve felt pretty confident overall, though confidence is a strange animal (like one of the gazillion Pokemon– I think I’ll call it Wonkywonks or something- my lover’s 17 year old daughter knows all about them).  Confidence can inflate to be way too big, to medium, and then lose air like a balloon and become almost non-existent.  And it has special powers:  when it’s too small, it can make your brain run really slowly, and when it’s too big, the brain runs fast and wildly.  Over the course of the internship, it went from a little more than medium, to medium pretty steadily, and recently it’s taken some dips into small.  Last week, it got way too small.  There’s a Philosophy class I’ve been interning in,  and the professor is super smart and talks a mile a minute.  Sometimes the structure of his lesson is difficult to discern, and as interpreters in the class, we have to have faith that what we’re interpreting will have come kind of cohesion and make sense eventually.

I’ve struggled to keep up with this professor, and I realized that what was keeping me back was my perfectionist nature- I needed to get all the concepts correct and tie it all in with the gestalt (this is interpreter jargon we students have started to incorporate into our internal lexicons).  So, last Tuesday, I was going way slower than I should have been and I dropped the concepts, so that my supervising interpreter had to pick up the slack many times and take over.  After the class, she gave me some crushing news, that she may have to take over the class if I didn’t speed up.  That same day, I had a voicing test, and I’m not sure if my nerves over the test affected my interpreting that day, or what was going on, but my self confidence had become small.  I had to struggle to build it up again and try to relax a bit before the test so that I wouldn’t freeze up.  During the test, I lost a lot of chunks of information, and I felt like I had bombed it.

So: back to that strange transparent fish that wanted to escape capture: what was it that was blocking me from shining at my best?  Yes, my perfectionist nature, but more than that:  I didn’t have faith in myself.  I felt like I had to over-monitor how I was doing, in order to do well, instead of letting me just do what I am already good at.  I was micromanaging myself.  I’m not sure if that makes sense.  I had to free the wild awesome woman that I am, the wild interpreter.  Or, maybe ‘wild’ isn’t the right word- more like a wild animal, untamed, rather than acting wildly.  I had to relax to let myself be the best untamed human I can be, and trust that I CAN be the best I can be.

On Wednesday, I did well at my internship in one class I consider to be easy, and another class I consider to be more difficult.  That helped my confidence a bit.  My new lover also helped me feel better, expressing his faith in me and to not worry about results of things or how other people grade me because that can be subjective and unreliable.  (He’s very skilled in interpreting data and even has a degree related to it.)

That night, I came up with a way to help myself feel better: a plan. I always feel better when I have a plan.  In case my supervising interpreter decided on choice A: to let me have another chance before taking over, I would up my game and rise to the challenge.  In case she went with choice B: take over the class, I would accept it as a relief from stress (I hoped I would react that way, anyway), and record the lectures and observe her sign choices, and practice interpreting the lecture afterward.  That way I would still be pursuing my goal to be able to handle the class.

So, to prepare for choice A, I brought up a youtube video related to the same topic, with a fast talking professor, and practiced signing.  I sat on our bed, practicing signing a mile a minute, finding that I could keep up with the professor for the most part!  I also needed to limber up my fingers to fingerspell quickly.  At one point, signing wildly on the bed, I looked up and saw our dog looking in the doorway, with a stricken look on her face.  She stood still and stared at me- this strange transformation of my calm and quiet self into a crazily waving person (in her view, I’m guessing).  At one point I took a short break, and she came up on the bed (where she prefers to be, in arms length of petting).  After a while I started up with signing again and she left, like “Ok, I’m outta here.”  Pretty funny.

The next day, last Thursday, I felt a little nauseous with worry over what would happen.  I practiced again, had more caffeine to wake up my neurons, and drove in to the internship site.  Before class, I was fingerspelling philosopher’s names in the hallway, when the Deaf student came up and caught me practicing.  We chatted a bit, then entered the room when the supervising interpreter came walking up.  It turned out that my supervising interpreter chose A, to give me a chance, for which I’m grateful.  She started first, interpreting for 20 minutes, as we had previously agreed.  Then it was my turn, and I … want to say I was on fire, but I think that’s my heart being happy about it.  I wasn’t really on fire, I was *just right.*  I did it!  Later at class that night, I found out I got a B on the test.  What a relief! I had done better on that test than I had thought.

Back to the ravens.  I had a thought this week that since I’d moved far away from where I was living before, I hadn’t seen any ravens, and I missed seeing them.  Guess what I saw on Wednesday and Thursday?  Crows, not ravens, but close enough to give me a wonderful feeling.  I’m still being taken care of.

So:  my soul homework is to let my wonderful untamed interpreter woman free to be the best I can be, and not be so restraining of myself.  I also need to trust that I’m still being taken care of by deity.  It’s a wonderful cozy feeling.  I hope that you, reading this, can take some tidbit of a reassuring lesson from this, to apply this to your life as well.  So mote it  be. ❤

Letting my Life Thread Flow

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life threads

Original artwork

This past June, during a meditation, I received a message from divinity to “Go with the flow.”  In the past months, I’m realizing more and more what this means for me.

I think I may be going through a kind of biological mating imperative lately.  My psyche sometimes fights a slightly crazed feeling of “Must mate, now!  Who’s next to try? Will it be you?”  I hate that feeling!  It is what it is, and I’m not constantly feeling it, thankfully.  I also wonder if part of the feeling comes from remnants from being married (i.e. mated) already, and wanting that seemingly steadfast bond with someone again.  Or, it could be those magical moments I had this summer that I just didn’t want to end.

But relationships are not constantly magical.  We are not living and breathing and pooping rainbows all the time.  For me, it wouldn’t be rainbows, but it would be starry nights or full moons.  I love that energy, I love the ethereal connection I had, but there’s also the other parts of ourselves we need to consider.  We are not completely astral, and if we were, things would be so much easier.  We need to work and learn and feed ourselves.  Our teeth chip or our cars which spew ick into the air may break down, but we are tied to these earthly things.  We are not completely pure and evolved, either.  We have jealousy, or feelings of abandonment.  We (well, I; speaking for myself, here, but assuming I’m not the only one) are all dealing with these things in waves.

After those wonderfully magical experiences I had in June, the mundane issues came back.  My life thread wants to bond and mate, but that’s not necessarily healthy, it’s like ‘Chill out, life thread!’  The other person I was involved with- that my life thread sought- isn’t ready for that and is sifting through his own issues.  And I’ve come to realize that while my soul was seeking his, he’s not really seeking mine back, that I can tell (unless I’m totally oblivious to something or too impatient to wait for the signs).

I tried seeking other life threads through online dating.  What a weird mental space that is!  It’s like you’re shopping for other people, and they’re shopping for people, of whom you’re one of the commodities as well.  Then you start connecting with someone, but it’s not truly connecting, or you think you do and it was a lie, ugh it’s so shallow and strange.  Just strange!  I’ve been on a few dates, and that concept of “Go with the flow” is back.  No need for anything immediate to happen.

I’m cutting off that internet dating thing this weekend, as school’s about to start again.  The whole arena kindof turns my stomach anyway, but I’ve met a few people and had some wonderful conversations in the process.  We’ll see how it goes, no magical connections, but can you expect to constantly have magical connections?  I wish!  It’s a rare thing.  (Update from 8/14:  just had a second date with a guy I met internet dating and I stand corrected, I just had a wonderful, magical time with him!)

Go with the flow; it’s all about developing your own enjoyment of life independent of anything else.  Being open to opportunities as they arise, keeping an open mind and heart, but not tying your own heart down or anchoring it to one possibility.  That last bit is what I’ve been struggling with this summer.  And I think I’m getting there, and becoming really comfortable with just being me right now.  Developing and strengthening my own life thread, putting life and color into it, and weaving it wherever I want to weave it.

From My Zany Brain to Yours

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As promised, I must tell you more about my take on things- how I do the ‘rainbow induction’ and about my monkeys, and I’ll expand on this to how I do magic.

How’s that for an odd start to a blog. Haha.

And to make it even stranger, I type this with the background music of old Swedish music, accordion accompaniment and all.  If you wish to join in the fun, tune in to this YouTube playlist and listen along as you read.  (By the time I’ve finished this blog and edited it, I got really tired of this music and had to stop it to have some peace!)

I feel that I must first explain the odd choice in music.  I have been looking for a video clip of the old Pippi Longstocking singing her summer song while riding on top of a train with Annika and Tommy.  I have been looking for it for a few days!  Why so obsessed? I have no idea- probably my recent happiness, and my love of summer.  The slower versions I’m finding everywhere aren’t doing it for me.  I looked up the first line to the lyrics, “och nu så vill jag sjunga,” and came across this interesting playlist!  And I’m in just the right zany mood, oddly, to enjoy it.  (Incidentally, Pippi has a pet monkey, and I think it’s cool that I’m about to talk about my monkeys later in this post!)

parymmen2

A clip from the film ‘Pa Rymmen’ (I’m not sure what the movie is called in English, but it means to run away from home). Pippi sings about all the things she loves about summer on top of the train.

Back to the purpose of this post!

I would like to take you through my evolution of how I’ve done things with my pagan religion up to present times, if you’re game.

When I first started being a pagan, and figuring out what I believe, including what I believe about how things work on a metaphysical level, I read some, and tried some, and thought a lot.  I have always been very eclectic, and it seems that just about every pagan I know says the same thing!  We’re like cats, you can’t tell us exactly how to do something.  We’ll stare at you, lift up our leg, and lick our butt in your general direction, just to defy you if you tell us what to do.

I took bits and peices of what I liked.  I thought about that ‘protective circle’ you read about it many books- the traditional thing is to draw or imagine “Blue Fire” (why blue? why fire? why why why?) coming from a wand or finger and you draw a circle around you, and some people are very specific about this circle.  I thought, it’s two dimensional, how in the heck does that protect you?  Crowley talked of a cone of power- not that it’s the same thing as the protective circle, but it got me thinking.  I tweaked that into a protective sphere around me.  This was all in what I was doing with my mind, tuning into that psychic channel, like I spoke of in a previous blog.  I did this for a while, and that was good.  Sometimes I put it around my car, then my brain would go ‘uh wait can it move with me?’ ‘Why yes it can!’ Why not?

I took a Druidry class online, which also involved reading Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein.  I happened to have the extended version, given to me by a fellow bibliophile.  I hadn’t read through the whole thing yet, but I did for the class.  That was transformative for me because it expanded my thoughts on metaphysics and how they work, and how much we can control of our reality, possibly.  I realize it’s a work of fiction, but it helped me get my brain juices going.  Also, the druidry class had us practicing protective spheres.  That also expanded the possibilities:  invisibility cloak?  Titanium sphere rather than clear, segmented like an aardvark or roly-poly?  I have always been extremely visual and imaginative.  I tend to think in symbolic, visual metaphors and this was right up my alley.

Nowadays, the sphere has become an egg shape, because the shape of an egg is an extremely strong shape.  This shape really lends to what I do with it, too.  More on that in a bit.

I have also been very flexible with the cardinal directions and corresponding elements.  I don’t hold to one way of doing it (Earth in North, etc.), but I do believe in the power that goes behind years and years of many people doing something the same way and believing the same way.  I just don’t know that witches have always had Earth in the North; Wicca is a relatively new religion based on old ideas as we understand them.  If there is something people have believed, for sure, for millennia, I take it seriously.  Jumping over a bonfire or touching the maypole?  Not me!  No preggers for me, thankyouverymuch!

Back to the elements, I really like the logic behind the creative cycle and destructive cycle in Feng Shui.  I had my altar set up with that for a while.  I also called in ‘the guardians of the elements’ for a while, but then I questioned who or what these entities were.  Now, I believe that we are always in sacred space, if you believe that nature is sacred.  Being respectful of, and to commune with the ‘heart’ in nature (as the Hopi believe) is quintessential to being pagan.  So, nowadays, I personally don’t find a need to invite these entities in, since they are already there and always there.  I do acknowledge their presence, though.  Now, in a group, I do as the group does so as not to mess with the energy of the group.

To the ‘rainbow induction.’  I was part of a little group of women here in Colorado who met and did witchy things together.  We weren’t a coven in the traditional sense, but essentially, we were close and did some powerful things together, and supported each other.  We were going through the book The Twelve Wild Swans, by Starhawk.  In it, she describes a way to go deeper in consciousness while meditating and since it’s so visual, it has really helped me.  How it’s described in the book, is you go through the rainbow colors from red to indigo, and when you reach indigo you should be deeper in consciousness for meditation.  As you go through each color, you become that color, are wearing that color, ‘you are the red woman,’ for example.  For each color, you also sink deeper downward.  Once you truly feel like you are that color, you move to the next one, and so on.  For me, currently, this has evolved to the point of sitting in an antique-looking, kindof steampunkish, chaise lounge, that also changes colors.  Maybe it’s the Cancerian part of me that likes the comfortable image, or my inner child that just thinks it’s cool.  It puts me in my happy place and that’s what counts.  Also, I add more colors at the end:  after purple, it turns to brown, then black, then white.  By the time I start walking to my place of power in my meditation, I’m wearing white.

Incidentally, the way I ground comes from Starhawk’s book, The Fifth Sacred Thingwhich involves thinking like you are a tree, and your roots go down deep into the earth; I like to add aquifers and earth and the magma of the center (or molten iron?) and air from worms that bring in the air to the roots to include all the elements; all the elements bathing the trunk with the sun and wind and rain and nourishment from the soil, with limbs stretching up.  Sometimes I use imagery from a book on meditation with the chakras (if I find it, I’ll update this post with its actual title and author- I think it’s Your Aura and Your Chakras, by Karla McLaren), that describes a cord coming from your lower chakra, and from there I have tweaked it into an umbilical cord, that is extremely strong like a cable, going down, and sometimes it’s an anchor or has a hook that latches onto something.  That’s when I really need grounding, that I go to extreme measures.

Now, my power place, that I go to when I meditate to either ponder something, do magical work, or meet with deity, started with the same book about meditating with the chakras, and was at first a small cave.  That book described this place being in the spiritual chakra- the third eye, and it being in the head; this was a little weird for me, so it’s just a place I’m in, not in my head (for the location).  At first it was a cave right by water, and was very cozy.  This might also come from my love of the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jane Auel, and the cave that Ayla lived in for several years (which wasn’t by the water, though).  I have always thought of Ayla as a powerful, independent woman and identified with her in some respects, especially with her creativity.  I was briefly part of a very small group in Des Moines, IA when I lived there, and we had a guided meditation where we went to our power place; this time it was large and cavernous, with stalagmites and stalactites, some water here and there. Currently, when I meditate, it looks much like Red Rocks here in Colorado or the rock formations in Utah.

And, finally, my monkeys.  The whole notion that I have spirit monkeys started when I lived in Des Moines.  I was part of another lovely group there, which met in a local witchy shop, that we called our own ‘Diagon Alley.’  Sometimes the group went to some land one of the ladies owned, and camped or did an evening ritual there.  On one such camping trip, several women did different kinds of readings for others.  One woman, the woman who owned the land, did a kind of reading called automatic writing.  I had played with that kind of thing in high school, and I had the attitude that it was just high school-ish, silly, stuff, and tried to keep an open mind anyway.  (Automatic writing is where a person lets a spirit helper or similar entity take over the pen and write messages to the person receiving the reading.)  The woman spoke of a ghost that lived in my home, and that I had monkeys in my car.  13 monkeys, to be exact.  When I looked at her dumbfounded, she said, ‘haven’t you felt them?’

I dismissed it, though I did love this woman as a sister, and respect her, but thought it was just strange and silly.  Later on, on another night in the ‘Diagon Alley’ store (not its true name), we had a tarot/divination card night.  One of the card decks had spirit animals.  Guess which card I pulled.  Yes, the monkey.  Maybe part of my dismissal of the idea from before was that monkeys, in my mind, are associated with silliness, with circuses and the like. The card said that monkey spirits can see into the future, and have a wider perspective on situations, just like monkeys can swing tree to tree and see from above.  This gave me a new respect for the situation, plus being a teeny bit of added evidence that it was true that I had monkey spirits around me.

Later, I moved back to Colorado.  In the move I lost the title to my car, so I had to go through a very long (years long) process to get a new title for the car.  In the meantime, I couldn’t renew the plates for Colorado until I had it, so I was driving illegally (Shh! don’t tell anyone! I do try to be a good girl!).  So, for some added magical umph to my ‘don’t notice me, cops, I’m a good girl, I’m a good girl’ protective bubble around my car, which I sometimes pictured with angel wings and a halo, I tuned my psychic channel to my monkeys, just to see what I would ‘see’ in my mind’s eye.  I wasn’t sure if I was just being creative or imaginative or if I sensed something truly there, or not.  And frankly I didn’t care, and still don’t.  When I tuned my mind to them, I saw that there were three: a mother who was closest to me, by my lap; a younger male, and an old male.  They were tawny colored, and longer haired (like the monkeys in India).

Photo Credit: http://www.astrologyofindia.com, found on Panoramio. North Indian Monkey

I remember way back in high school, I went to a summer camp for gifted kids (I barely made the ‘cut’ of being gifted with my IQ on the higher end but not really in genius-land), and for a creative writing class, we meditated and attempted to meet our spirit guide, which was supposed to help us get past writer’s block.  (Looking back this was kindof odd, but that’s O.K.) I never could get a good look at my spirit guide- I thought it was because I couldn’t stay in the mental state very well; it was tawny and blurry and shorter than me, and I thought, ‘surely that’s not right.’  It could be that it was this mother monkey spirit!

Since then, I have tuned my channel to them, ‘fed’ them bananas (which I ate afterwards), discovered they like heavy metal and dance to it when I play it in my car, and sometimes they pile up, one on each of my shoulders and one on my head.  Once, they have appeared as a whole horde like a bunch of bumblebees, and then returning to the three, as if to signify that the three actually represent a lot of beings.  Sometimes I send a monkey to a car in front of me for a driver that seems inebriated or not paying attention, to get the driver to speed up or pay attention to the road, and then bring the monkey back.  I’ve also sent a monkey in spiritual work to guard over a home, and having them alternate, then brought them back when I felt that the house was safe for my friend.  I’ve also asked them yes/no or choice questions, and they have always been right.  Since I’ve recognized them and tune in to them, and appreciated them, I find that I am also much more intuitive and my magic seems stronger; I can concentrate in ritual and magical workings better, as well.

There have been some more evidences for my monkeys; so far, three.  I was taking another meditation class that focused on the elements, and after we had meditated and were mellow-ly hanging out, another woman I had just met said, ‘I could have sworn I saw a monkey zip by that far wall.’  I told her about my monkeys… and I hope I didn’t freak her out.  She was new to paganism and probably new to weird ideas like this.  Another time, I was teaching a class of Special Ed students (I was a Deaf Ed teacher but I also taught hearing Special Ed), and one of the students (a very sweet Native American boy with the diagnosis of Learning Disability) said he saw a monkey.  I had to keep teaching with a poker face, and didn’t criticize him for saying it.  And more recently, another person said she thought she had seen a monkey from the corner of her eye.

Currently, I invite my monkeys to ritual (well really, acknowledge and appreciate their presence), and often invite my grandmothers as well, since they are near and dear to my heart.  When I dance around the fire, I acknowledge my monkeys and tune in to what they’re doing, and have them dance on me or they dance around the circle (they’re not really at my beck and call, though they usually do what I ask when I ask them to do it).

And currently, when I send energy (which is like a pagan prayer, involving ones’ own energy, which I include a request from deity for their energy as well), this is what I do:

I ground, usually with tree roots going down (nowadays this takes only a few seconds usually), and form the egg shape of protection around me.  Sometimes it’s a very large egg and I’m lying at the bottom of it and sometimes it’s just small; the roots go down out of it.  The top of the egg opens (like the mouth of the creature in Dune) to let in the kind of energy I’m requesting from deity.  I’ve come to think of deity in many different images; female or male, or a couple- cosmic mother and father (I get this idea from the Gnostic gospel of Thomas- the true mother and father) or just a general cosmic force.  Usually I need healing energy but sometimes I need some loving or happy energy, for example. I usually visualize this as a color.  I send it in the direction I’m placing that person in my mind, say they live to the North East of me, then I send it North East until I feel like they have received it.  Sometimes I picture the person receiving it, perhaps if I can figure out what body part needs the healing, for example.  I have nearly always found out I was correct (for a body part or what was going on with the person), which really speaks to an evidence, for me, of deity.  Once I feel that the working is done, I send back out the top opening something to thank deity with, and this is spontaneously decided upon, depending on my mood.  Sometimes it’s roses (like roses are thrown down for olympic figure skaters), or butterflies, sometimes it’s chocolate, once it was stars, sometimes it’s simply my gratitude and love, sometimes it’s a hug, and so forth.  Then I close up the top, then disintegrate the protective egg bubble, and let myself come back to manifest reality.

And there you have it.  From my zany brain to yours.  Do you think I’m nuts?  I don’t care.  I manage just fine, thank you, and it works wonderfully for me.  Said with a smile!

I would love to hear from you- what do you do, in your mind, when you do magical workings or meditate?