Like Jack and Sally, We’re Meant to Be

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Used with permission from the artist, Lulu Inthesky.  See www.luluinthesky.fr to see more of her artwork.

Used with permission from the artist, Lulu Inthesky. See http://www.luluinthesky.fr to see more of her artwork.

I have met, possibly, the best match in a lover, ever, for me.  In fact, we had our first date the day I posted the last blog. (You know, the one in which I was going on about how I’m just going to chill out on relationships for a while?)

Well, that’s funny.  I’m way deep in a very serious relationship now!  After that first date, I thought he was interesting and that it would be fun to see him again.  We had our second date the very next day.  We went to a park and had a picnic, and ended up kissing under a blanket as it sprinkled.  I’m smiling now, remembering how wonderful that was.

Since then, I’ve found out so many awesome things about him, some of which are uncanny signs that appear to point in the direction of ‘You are made for each other.’  So many things about our personalities jive with each other and we really match and fit so well together, that sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve made him up, except that he’s better than what I could have made up.

One of the really cool, uncanny similarities we have is that we are both really into butterflies.  If you read some of my past blogs, (or this one, or this one) you’ll be filled in on what I mean.  One or two years ago, images of butterflies were popping out at me, around 2-3 images per day, for months on end.  The same thing happened for him, but for a shorter time.  I now have a tattoo of a blue butterfly on my left shoulder blade and a few other things like barrettes, notebooks, and so on, that have butterfly images on them.  He has a lot of butterfly images and actual butterflies (framed) in his home.  I’m still seeing butterfly imagery quite often.  Just today, I saw these butterflies in the CD sleeve of a Frenchy and the Punk album, and the lyrics next to them are so wonderful.  I texted him with this picture, which has now been tweaked for posterity:

"...now that all is said and done, we can join forces two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key. Like Jack and Sally, we're meant to be.  Now the charade is over and done, we still march forward two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key, like Jack and Sally, we're meant to be." - Frenchy and the Punk, Bonnie and Clyde

“…now that all is said and done, we can join forces two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key. Like Jack and Sally, we’re meant to be. Now the charade is over and done, we still march forward two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key, like Jack and Sally, we’re meant to be.” – Frenchy and the Punk, Bonnie and Clyde

Another fun coincidence is a mutual interest in girls and tanks (in a way).  A few years ago, I dressed up as Tank Girl for a convention in Denver.  I am a huge fan of the original comic books by Hewlett and Martin.  He has had a long time interest in tanks, and even designed a tank- I’m not sure how in depth his design is, if it’s a working tank or more of an art form for him (I would guess: both).  He wrote a fictional story that he wants to turn into a comic book about women in tanks!  How cool is that!

Myself as Tank Girl, 2012

Myself as Tank Girl, 2012

We match in so many ways.  I’ve owned guns before and shot them only a few times (not any more- the interest didn’t really go away, but the money to buy them did; I pawned the ones I had, about twenty years ago), and he owns guns and is into guns, a bit.  We’re both into Science Fiction.  I have all the old Avengers TV shows (Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and have watched them and love them, and he’s watched all of them with his daughter.  We both like comic books.  We’re both artists, though he’s practiced art much more than I have.  We both like to write stories.  We both like to dance (though I hadn’t been club dancing in a really long time).  He took me dancing and it was so much fun!

What else do we have in common… we’re both teachers.  Though I’m only tutoring two students right now, and he’s a full time teacher.  He teaches high school students Math and Game Design.  We’re both computer savvy and graphic arts savvy- though he’s much more so than I am.

We’re both leader types.  We’re both generous and like to help other people. We both really like cuddling, touching, kissing, and have high sex drives.  (And it’s been wild!)  He communicates a lot with me, and we’ve been very frank and open with each other.  We’re both polite and considerate people.  We both see people as just that, people, and have a wide variety of friends, male, female, transgender.  We’re both bisexual.  We both don’t mind if the other person finds other people attractive and tells the former person about it.  We’re so wild about each other and in love that this doesn’t conflict with what we’ve got going with each other.

We do, of course, differ in a few ways.  He likes line dancing (country style dancing), and I’m not into that at all.  I’m more into pagan things and think in a pagan way much more than he does.  He’s Buddhist, and is open minded about spirituality, which helps us match.  But he wouldn’t quite get into the same spiritual things I’m into (as far as I’ve been able to discern).  He’s much more outgoing than I am (and I’m more of a friendly introvert).  He makes people laugh and glow after he’s talked with them, and I love this about him.

I have been given this wonderful present: a lover who is as excited about me as I am about him, and who is wonderful, beautiful, and unique in his own right.  I have other blessings as well: sign language interpreting school is going great, I have what I need, and am blessed with wonderful people in my life.

So.  I feel the need to do something special to thank the cosmic mother and father and guardian spirits, and deity, or whoever has helped bring us together.  Some kind of sacrifice is probably called for, and I’m going to think about what I can do to create a balance for all the blessings I have been given.  I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so I need to think of something I can do or make and it has to be big or require a lot of time.  I’ll have to think on that one a bit.  (If you have any ideas, it would be fun to read them!)  In the meantime, all I have are words coming from a sincerely felt humility.  Thank you for all that I have been given! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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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?

 

We are Opening

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A year ago, I posted about the most wonderful experience I had ever had worshiping the divine.  This time around, it was just as wonderful, but in a different way.  The one experience doesn’t top the other, they are equally wonderful.  I believe from now on, Litha will be my most favorite pagan sabbat.

It took place in the mountains of Colorado, just like it did last year.  Many of the same people were there, some new, and some people from last year weren’t there.  But, just like last year, all of the people who were there are grounded, sane (for the most part!), and good people at heart.  I believe that’s the most important thing.  Just like last year, those who wished to do so planned the ritual.  The gentle man (no longer part of a couple) brought his tipi, just like last year.  The weather was beautiful, the nature was beautiful, and so were the people.

There were are few differences from last year: more people joined the ‘collaborative planning’ part of the ritual (which follows a specific process so that one voice is not heard more than other voices, it’s very nice).  Instead of many butterflies flittering about, we had more mosquitos, but in my experience anyway, they weren’t so bad.  We didn’t have someone so drunk that they fell into the fire.  A few were a little stumbly, but not out of control.

I came up a day earlier than I did last year, a day before the ritual.  I set up my tent, with a little help from a friend (that one part where it’s supposed to pop up but it doesn’t quite want to pop up), set up my hammock that I’ve been using lately (oooh yeah baby), and then relaxed.  I hula hooped, the kids hula hooped, I nalbound (an ancient pre-knitting technique I do sometimes), and lay in my hammock.  Then I took a little walk.  Just barely about 10 minutes away there was a grove of aspen trees, and it’s so beautiful.  I stopped there to meditate.  Here’s a picture from that area:

Summer Solstice 2014 (16)

Aspen grove where I meditated (original photo)

I didn’t get as deep in consciousness as I usually do- I was too wiggy about mosquitos.  Using the rainbow induction by Starhawk (I really will blog about that soon!), and getting down to the last color: white (a white woman, all white, wearing white), instead of walking or running down the path to my little cave (which has started to look like rock formations from a place like Red Rocks or Utah), where I meet with the divine and come to my own power- I floated like a feather.  That was nice.

I was facing a decision, and, like always, seem to get the same answer over and over, in card readings or otherwise, and my meeting with the Goddess was the same, though she clarified it.  I was a little confused by the answers I had been getting, which was a lot like ‘do what you will, just don’t hurt anyone,’ (like the Wiccan Rede).  To me that wasn’t clear enough.  This time it was about the same, but a sense of ‘have an open heart and open mind’ (emphasis on the open heart).  Let what will happen, happen.  It will be alright.  Don’t worry so much.  (I get this message a lot- can you tell I have an issue with worrying?)

More about the decision I was facing:  I was wondering whether to say anything about this because it’s pretty new and personal, but I met- well really re-met- a man at Beltane, at the Spring festival that I go to every year.  We both felt attracted to each other.  He has some similarities to me as well that I hadn’t realized before- he’s teaching middle schoolers, which is something I used to do.  Someone who can appreciate middle schoolers can easily take a big step towards being in my heart!  He also enjoys making artwork, which is something I love.  Then there’s the way he smiled at me, warmth coming from his eyes.  And I can sense that he’s a good, stable person.

Later (at the Spring festival) we both danced around the fire- and both of us stripped off clothes- though I hadn’t all the way- and it was really nice and freeing to dance like that and symbolically release and give up to deity and honor deity.  Sometimes I got tired and sat down, and he came around and pulled me back up, beckoning me to dance in a very sexy way.  It was very flattering that he wanted to dance with me around the fire, a handsome, nice, charming pagan man at that.  At the end of the dancing, we walked together and talked some, kissed some, then… he told me he has some issues he’s dealing with in his life and it ended there, pretty much.  I resolved to be his friend and that was all.

Since then, I had a very strange and quick romance where another (seemingly pagan- I’m doubting some of the things he told me now, though he may have been telling the truth) man, who seemed extremely wonderful and a lot like me in the beginning, then it crashed and burned within a week when he became controlling, jealous, paranoid, thinking I was cheating on him with a male friend (or friends plural- it expanded from one friend to several in his mind), to the point where if I smiled a polite smile that lasted a millisecond at a guy, he wigged out and wanted to know what that was all about.  I can’t be with a guy that is like that and ended it there.  I almost gave him another chance, but when I wanted to spend the night by myself, he wigged out again, insinuating I was cheating and broke it off.  Reminded me of my first husband, though thankfully not as bad, since he didn’t stalk me afterwards, and I realized that I’m so much stronger than I used to be, to be able to end it right there and hold to a boundary that I won’t cross again.

After that, the guy I had re-met at Beltane and I started chatting on Facebook.  I got to know him pretty well, and he has a lot of really great traits: he had been in the military, doing good things in other countries, and now he’s off active duty, working on getting a good job where his heart is:  outdoor education. And I love his sense of humor, he’s smart, and we talk very naturally with each other.  I was excited that he would be at this Litha event, but I was on the fence about being more than friends, especially after the recent crash and burn, though my heart wanted more than friendship, because he was turning out to be a very awesome guy as I got to know him better.

Back to my meditation:  as I always do, I give a thanks of some sort to the Goddess and cosmic mother and father (again, more on that later), and I visualized the beauty of nature showering out to them.  If it were possible to share with them the beauty of nature!  Along my walk to that spot and the walk back, I felt very nice and calm, and happy in the beauty all around me:  yellow flowers everywhere, some white or blue or orange as well, a crow in a field, aspens, and beautiful large smooth rocks.

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Later, in the evening, people sang and chanted around a fire, and I joined a few people in the tipi and we also sang and chanted, and chatted.  It was lovely to be in the tipi again, among people who have beautiful hearts, and joining together in song.

The next day, we got together to collaboratively plan, a group of wonderful people, sitting in a circle, respecting each other and what we all had to say.  Many of us felt a need for wisdom or advice with decision making, so Hekate was a natural choice in a goddess to call to our circle to aid us.  As that was mentioned, one person who was there for the first time said that he has been a ‘son of Hekate’ for a long time.  And later after the ritual, another person who hadn’t been part of the planning said she was very happy that we had called Hekate; that goddess was special to her.  So it really seemed fitting to those who attended to call Hekate, even though traditionally, people call for her wisdom around Samhain (in October).  Hekate stands at the crossroads,  holding a light, guiding the way to go; the one who was a ‘son of Hekate’ said that if you ask her advice, then go against it, you’ll get smacked upside the head by her.  (smile)  She’s not a Goddess to take lightly, but then again, who is?

Last year, we had called Pan and forgotten to say goodbye to him- I suggested we do the same this year (jokingly).  And this part is kind of funny- I think Pan really wanted to be invited, because Pan was mentioned again in the planning, but people said, ‘let’s just say whatever god you want to call in.’  The priest was confused about what we had decided and we reiterated what we had decided.  But, as we did the ritual later, he called Pan… and then added ‘or whatever form the god of summer is for you,’ (something like that).  I just had to smile at that point!  It was fitting that he was called, in my opinion.

Something else was pretty special:  there was a woman with a hearing loss there.  She said she gets confused when she doesn’t know the lyrics.  That’s something several people may feel, but with a hearing loss, I can really understand this.  Some of us were going to practice the lyrics after the planning (since some of us were going to sing during the ritual, myself included).  We invited her to join us to learn the lyrics.  After the ritual, she thanked us for including her.  She seems like a very sweet person, always wanting to help.

We had our lovely ritual, during which we put something natural in the fire that represented a gift we had been given.  I waited and wasn’t sure why I was waiting, then finally stepped forward when it was clear- and the guy I was talking about stepped in the same time!  Not sure if he waited for me to step in (I doubt it, it was almost literally the same time), but I thought it was cool, since my gift was related to him:  an open mind and heart, which I already felt opening, and no worries, as well as my sign language skills which are improving and working towards becoming a sign language interpreter, which I had mentioned wanting to do last year at the last Litha.  And now it’s coming to ‘fruition,’  which is a very nice Litha-like word.

After that part of the ritual, many of us shared what our gift had been; some had turned it into requests which was fine.  I didn’t share my own, it felt a little too near and dear to me.  The fact that some people misunderstood the intent of that part, and that it was fine- was wonderful. I love this about this group- they are flexible, so that whatever needs to happen is recognized and appreciated.  For the priest and priestess, it’s not their way or the highway.  They let us collaboratively make the ritual with them, and it is so deeply personal and special, and therefore powerful.

During the ritual, we had invited in our ancestors.  I tend to especially invite in my grandmas, since I was closer to them, but I also thought of a grandpa I had known a little bit, as well as people further back I hadn’t met.  After we gave our gift to the fire, we meditated for guidance.  I had already received my message for my open heart mind, and was also confirmed I’m on the right path with interpreting.  At the end of the guided meditation (or this may have happened later in the ritual), our priestess said for us to thank our ancestors.  Upon thinking about things that they would like as gifts of thanks, it made me really miss my grandmas and I cried.  I thought of giving my mom’s mom some grated carrots and garlic, since she seemed to love eating that, and a hug.  It was always so nice to hug her.  For my dad’s mom I gave her some cross stitch type of thing- something flowery, since she loved to work on that kind of thing, and a hug.  When she hugged, you got enveloped in her softness, which was so nice.

At the end of the ritual, the ancestors, deity, and all the elements were duly released.  Pan was as well, though I silently thought ‘Though you are welcome to stay if you like!’

After the ritual came the drumming and dancing around the fire- and it was wild and wonderful!  Several of us got completely or partly naked (guess which I was! Yes, for the first time in ritual!), we drummed, I danced with my spirit monkeys which are always present (yes, yes, I know I promised to blog about that too, I will, I will!), we sang, honored each other and the divine, and it was beautiful.  Last year was powerful and loving and beautiful; this year it was powerful, loving, beautiful and wild.

One of the songs we sang really reflected what I had personally been working on, and I believe some others there as well.  It goes like this:

We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love-light of the One,

We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love-light of the One.

We are opening, we are opening, we are opening, we are opening.

(repeat and add whatever you wish)

The guy I’ve been talking about (he really needs a pseudonym, doesn’t he?) sat next to me to drum, and at one point we kissed.  Well, at several points!  🙂 Our sweet priestess told me later it was the most romantic kiss she’d ever seen.  I certainly enjoyed it very much!  And afterward, we had a lovely time.  We are still exploring to see where it will go.  This morning, I talked with a friend about it, and she mentioned working on living in the present in her own life.  I said that would be a good way for me to just chill and enjoy, whatever happens, and not try to nail down the future.  What will be, will be, and I can’t help but hope that it will be beautiful.

May you lovely readers be open and willing to surrender your fears of the past and future (and myself as well).  And free yourself to enjoy what nature has given.

So mote it be.

 

Living Again as a Single Pagan Woman

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About a month ago, I broke up with the boyfriend that I’ve been more recently referring to in my blogs.  He’s the one that is Catholic and with whom I decorated his home for Christmas. This blog isn’t about the personal details between us, but about my own thought process regarding this relationship in general. I hadn’t dated anyone who didn’t at least have a similar religious path as mine for quite a while before this.  Our differences were striking to me; I think they were more striking to me than they were for him, but I could be wrong about that.

There’s a kind of mentality you get used to as a Pagan person, that, when you encounter the worldview of a “normal person,” or what I like to call Muggle in reference to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, it can be strange and disconcerting.  By the way, I don’t use the term Muggle to mean anything derogatory, I use the term for people who are ‘normal’ and don’t live magical lives (or with the worldview of living such a life) like Pagans do.

I’m used to thinking of people as just people, and I know so many different people and I’ve become used to a variety of people so that it’s become my normal world.  I forget sometimes that other people aren’t used to ‘odd’ people who stray away from their ‘normal’ lens.  I know people of all sorts of ways of being- transgender, non-traditional couples, lesbians, gays, poly, people who are suburban yet believe in Native American, shamanistic beliefs; I know Messianic Jews, Jews, Atheists and Muslims.  I know people from lots of different places in the world, cultures, Deaf people and ‘hearie-heads.’  I know a man who wears dresses, and a woman who shaves her head.  And some Muggles would faint at the fact that someone wears frankincense in a vial dangling from a necklace!  At a tiny thing like that!

And since people are just people, we walk around as such whether or not we have clothes on.  Clothes are just something that we cover ourselves with, keep us warm, make us look good or blend in.  When you get used to people who also think this way, and go to places where clothing is optional, that also becomes the new kind of normal.  It’s a little odd at first even for us who are more used to it, because in our every day lives we wear clothes all the time, but when you go to a pagan festival or a clothing optional hot springs, or beach in Italy for example, once everyone doesn’t mind, then it’s fine.  It’s not deranged or perverse, it just is.  Nudity has as much to do with sex as beds do.

Not that all Pagans are nudists.  But many are.  And it’s not like at these festivals, that people are walking around naked all the time. It’s whatever people feel like, which usually means once in a while some clothing comes off, then goes back on, and only in areas where everyone is an adult. Diverse people and nudity are examples, of many, of the culture that is Paganism.  And just like with any culture, we’re not all the same.

Another example of this Pagan culture is that when we break up with someone, we are often still friends with that person, even hang out with that person.  Not always, but I would guess that it’s much more of a phenomenon with Pagans than with Muggles.  I have maintained friendships with the two guys I dated that are pagan or pagan friendly- well, one is definitely a Pagan and the other is Gnostic.  I still talk with them, sometimes hang out with them (one much more so than the other), and we really are just friends.

These three examples of the way that Pagans  look at life and live life were things that my most recent ex boyfriend couldn’t understand while we were dating, and I don’t believe he will anytime soon.  And, after a month, I have finally let go of the idea of holding on to the wonderful friendship that we had.  While I don’t think he completely understood me, as friends, we joked and talked with each other every day, mostly on Facebook.  I feel like I came to know him pretty well, and that he came to know me pretty well, too.  It was nice talking with him.  But that’s over now, and I think I’ve finally stopped shedding tears over that fact.

Bonds with people are very important to me.  I take a very long time to let go, a while after the other person has already let go, sometimes it takes a while before I realize that I’m holding on to thin air.  And severing bonds is painful.  It’s like I’ve formed the bond with my own umbilical cord or something.  Or sometimes maybe the bond is more fragile to begin with, in which case it’s easier to sever the bond, but it still hurts.  I regret not being friends, when, in my mind, why can’t we be?

Again, it’s that different way of looking at things and perhaps a different way of feeling about things.  He says I broke his heart, but in my mind I only stopped the romantic part of our relationship, and truly wanted to continue the friendship; I rejected one part of our relationship, and he rejected the whole thing in return.  To me, our friendship was so much stronger than the romantic part of our relationship ever was.  And I truly did love him and want the romantic part to work.  We are just different people who show our love in different ways, and that caused conflict and friction.

What I’m really sorry for is hurting his feelings, and letting the relationship (as a romantic one) drag out as long as it did.  I really wanted it to work, so it’s almost like I was trying to force it, when that personality conflict was there, really the whole time, causing me grief in the midst of my happiness. Now, the bond severed and my heart being O.K. with it (at least today it is), I’m not looking to the recent past any more.  I can’t grieve any more about something that can’t be fixed.  I have to focus on my life and the people who choose to be in it, and move on. I may have up and down days, but I hope my emotional path smooths out from now on so that I can continue to enjoy life again. It feels smooth today.

Nature is so healing- everything around me is turning green, trees budding and blooming, smelling so wonderful, and animals are moving about again.  Rabbits are hopping around each other and grazing in yards, crows and red tailed hawks are flying about. Seeing all these things reminds me that life is meant to be lived, and I’ve got to get on with living it.  And not just live it:  I need to let my heart soar with the happiness vibrating from the very core of nature. So mote it be.

Bonding under a Black Moon

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Yesterday was the second, and last, Black Moon of the year.  I hadn’t heard about Black Moons until recently.  A Black Moon (which seems important enough to capitalize) is the second new moon within a month.  January had one and March has one, this year.

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I love the Sci Fi show Fringe- this image is a ‘glyph’ from that show, part of a code used to spell words. For once, not my original artwork! This is a wallpaper picture that was distributed for free. I think it’s a great picture for the butterfly theme I had in my life, and connecting with inner, dark workings. The moon-like symbol at the top is great, too! 2 new moons!

I got started on thinking of doing something for Dark Moon (a witchy term for the period of time that the moon is darkest, no sliver to be seen at all), because a friend said she was going to a Dark Moon ritual for last Friday, which turned out to be inexplicably canceled.  She and another friend are going to use my extra-sturdy merchant tent (technically a storage/garage tent, the kind you screw together) for an upcoming pagan Spring festival.  Our original plan was that I was going to bring the tent to the ritual, we’d put it in her car, and I would possibly join the Dark Moon ritual.  But, as it was canceled, I brought it to her home, then we went out for Chinese food.  We chatted and it was so nice to connect with her.  I have a lot of respect for her; she’s a good friend, a woman just coming into her Crone aspect (wise old woman part of life), and her soul is just beautiful.  And she’s so knowledgeable. Anyway, afterward, we parted ways, each with our own plan to do solitary witchy work for the Dark Moon that night.

Technically, the Dark/Black Moon was yesterday, but I was already feeling the energies of it last Friday.  I read online that the Black Moon is great for oracle readings and magic or psychic work, and I already knew that Dark Moon is great for past life work, working with past pains and wounds, a magical/psychological work that can be intense.  I didn’t get into painful past memories, but I did do some tarot readings and faced something that’s been paining my heart lately.  The reading really just echoed what I already knew, which is alright, it’s good to have support from what I feel is beyond myself.  After the reading, I focused on what I want to change, and made some artwork while trancing a little bit.  My mood was mostly just calm and happy, while still a little pained.  (Typical Cancerian me- always a mix of feelings!) DSC03472 The artwork isn’t spectacular, but it was more of a tool to focus my soul energy.  It was on brown construction paper, with paint pens (fun to work with!) and glitter pens (also fun!).  My inner child was happy while doing this, too.  I picked colors that either called to me or symbolized something to me as I worked/played.  Though I want to keep what pained me private, I will say that I was working toward opening my heart and anothers’ heart for full communication and connection.  There was more to it, but I’ll keep that to myself. I listened to S.J. Tucker’s Mischief and Tricky Pixie’s Mythcreants Albums while doing this.  I lit a candle and had some items nearby that emphasized what I was focusing on.  While I don’t feel like my work was that powerful (though sometimes it can be more powerful than it seems), I feel like I healed a little part of myself that night.  And, it turns out, I started a wheel turning in my life again that had been stuck in the mud for a while: connections with people.

The next day, Saturday, I started the day in a very prickly mood.  I was angry at small things my friends did, which seemed to represent to me that they didn’t care about me, or saw me as someone they could order around, probably because I’m so easy going and say ‘sure I’ll do that’ to almost everything.  I’m like a really flexible tree, bending this way and that for others.  So I was a little mad at myself for creating the situation, but also aware that others may subconsciously – not purposefully – think that they can just tell me to do something and I’ll follow their orders, as if they’re my boss!  It was just in the wording of how they said things, not really their intention, and I knew that; it made me angry nevertheless.  I was tired of always seeming to be the one who works to get things done.  And I was fed up that friends wouldn’t ask how I’m doing as we converse, they talk all about their lives, and I respond, focusing on their lives, but they almost never stop to ask about mine.  And then there’s the other painful thing on my mind.  All of that made me jumpy and driven.  I had to force myself to breathe, calm down and enjoy the day.

It turned out to be a day of unexpected pleasantness.  That morning, I talked with a friend on the phone that I haven’t seen for almost a year.  I’ve missed her and we had recently reconnected.  It was SO GOOD to truly connect with a person again.  I have felt SO disconnected from people lately, which made me feel lonely.  Sure, I go about my day, and I usually talk and converse with people, but I didn’t feel the *connection.*  Talking with this friend as just SO heart-fulfilling.  Her loving and caring attitude made me tear up at the end. Later that day, I went to the art museum with my mom and sister, and it was filled with calm mutual enjoyment of artwork and mutual laughter.

Later at night, I met two of my witchy friends that I haven’t seen for a long time.  We hung out at the new apartment of one of the friends, occasionally being interrupted (though pleasantly) by her two sweet little daughters.  At first, again, I was prickly.  Would these friends ask how I was?  Would they be interested in what I had to say?  I was like a porcupine, having my quills partway out but not totally.  Over the course of the evening, the quills got smoothed down, and by the end of the evening, the quills disappeared as the three of us all relaxed and got a little goofy, even.  It was so good to feel the friendship with these two lovely ladies again, and truly connect with them. We did readings for each other.  One friend had brought her card decks, and we all chose to use cards from a beautiful deck:  The Enchanted Map Oracle.  It was neat to see how we all interacted during the readings:  each of us saying what we saw in the cards, tuning ourselves to that psychic channel and really listening to that channel, and naturally bonding with each other like we hadn’t done in a long time.  It was beautiful.  Each reading had a deeply powerful message for each of us.

My own reading focused on my life in general and career/education path that I’m on for the coming seasons.  Each of our readings naturally evolved into a similar setup of cards:  a card representing the person being read for in the center ‘as we are now,’ with the next few weeks/this season above us, then going around clockwise with Summer, then Fall.  Some of us continued the year with more cards, and one person had one more card for ‘other opportunities.’  For myself, it felt right to have Spring (above ‘my’ card), Summer, Fall, Winter, and ending with next Spring. ‘My’ card was “Peaks of Joy.”  It depicted a woman leaping gracefully, partly flying, among clouds, with a butterfly in the clouds with her.  This felt true for me now. I do have peaks of joy that are keeping me going, I have felt ungrounded, but it also mirrors my whole ‘jumping jumping’ into the abyss symbolism I had going on last year.

Above me, Spring, was the card “Intention.”  It had a lovely owl on top of a large egg, with a dandelion poof in its beak.  There was a field of dandelion poofs in the background.  I love dandelion poofs! I love blowing and wishing things, this is so *me.*  And yes, I’m wishing for things to come true right now, and setting intention.  This card is so appropriate.

Next, the Summer card was called “Heal the ‘Ouch’.”  It was cute:  a little raccoon in a nurse’s cap was tending to a wound of a fox, which had a hot-water bag on its head.  There were small candles all about them and they were in a little clearing in the woods.  I would get the healing I need, so I won’t repeat mistakes I make in relationships- is what my friends saw in this card.

Fall was represented by the “Golden Palace” card.  This was a Taj Mahal type palace on hill, steep on all sides.  There was a shape in the roots near the bottom and I felt that the shape was me, a witchy woman at the bottom.  Next Fall, I plan to continue in the Interpreter Preparation Program at a community college.  My friends read this as: after a Spring and Summer of healing what I need to, it will be time to get back to business of meeting my goal.  I felt that the castle looked secure (Cancerian of me).  Also it’ll be time to ground.  Also, it may be a lot of work I need to do to reach my goal, or there may be a path going around the back of the hill that we can’t see in the picture; it may be easier than it looks.

“Slow and Steady” was the next card, for Winter.  It was a woman with the lower part of her body in a snail shell.  She was going steadfastly forward, hair tendrils wafting backward, more likely from wind than from her own speed.  This card really seemed to match what I would surmise would happen this Winter.  I will need to keep at it.  One of my friends pointed out that the shell is there; I will have my security, so that I’m free to pursue my goal.

For next Spring, the card was “Magical Map Shifter.”  This is of a man who is blindfolded, and juggling wondrous items- a rocking horse, a beetle, a fish, and before him lay a bloody heart on a scroll.  The man is confident in his skills.  To me, the way the man held his hands and arms looked like sign language.  My friends interpreted this card to mean that I will become a Master of Signing, which sounds wonderful, but I’m sure it would be too early for the Master level!  At least, I may be confident in my skills as a signer by next Spring.  That would be awesome.  One friend said this card deserves more thought about its meaning, and I agree.

The re-connections keep on happening.  Yesterday, I met with a friend I haven’t seen for two months.  It was so good to see her again and to reaffirm our friendship.  We hung out and talked for a long time.  It was really good.  This reunion was especially touching because we both thought we had lost each other as friends (or were on our way to losing each other.) We hadn’t; we had been a little bit silly in thinking so.

Though yesterday was the true Black Moon, I feel satisfied with the magic work I’ve experienced the last two nights.  I’m grateful that my wish for a stronger connection with others and a open heart from myself and others is coming true.  This has healed the part of me that had started to despair of ever feeling that connection with others again.  The possibility was always there, but I was feeling frustrated in myself and with others.  I’m so glad it’s possible, and so grateful for my friends and family who truly do care as much as I do for them.

BooYah! I’ve Got the Powah!

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I just woke up from an empowering dream.  In it, I confronted my ex-husband (my more recent ex– I have two exes, which is not so fun to admit).  It felt so good.  As I woke up, though, while basking in the feeling, I realized that what I had said to him in the dream wasn’t completely true.  It would just be wonderful if it was.  Instead, a lesson waited for me to discover it.

In this dream, while not painting my ex as a monster, it wasn’t him at his best, either.  First of all, he had the bad version of the Simon Le Bon (from Duran-Duran) hairstyle:  longer hair sticking up in front, short sides, long to the nape of the neck- an 80’s mullet.  In real life, I’m guessing he would never have had that hair.  Who knows though, maybe I was being psychic.  I haven’t seen him since he moved out from where we lived in 2009, five years ago.

In the dream, we lived in a large house and I had just recently separated from him, though for some reason I was still in the house. He had two ‘Gal-pals’ who were working for him.  While I was in the dream, I didn’t know or care if they were being paid, but I knew they were his lovers in some capacity, though using the word ‘love’ for what was going on is an insult to the word.  And I’m not saying that because there were two of them, just to be clear.  They seemed completely content, but unaware of their true situation.  (And by the way, as far as I know, him being poly is also out of character for him. I think he could get people to do things for him, but this whole thing was too unsavory even for him.  Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, though, who knows.  I suspect that there were things going on while we were married, of which I was unaware.) So… I really have no idea what that symbolism is about!

Anyway, to get to the confrontation– the ‘juicy part’ of the dream.  He said, “Since I no longer have your obedience,…” (which is something he never would have articulated) and I interrupted (which is not like me) and said “You NEVER had my obedience!”  I have a feeling I ranted at him some more after that, but I don’t remember what I said exactly.  Upon waking, though, after thinking about it, I have to admit that he did have my obedience.   There were many things he did that got under my skin, but I never told him about it.  Though, I wasn’t his little servant, to be clear.  I had my own life and opinions.

Mercury’s in retrograde, which is a wonderful time to think back on past issues and resolve them.  To explain my pagany jargon to those not in on the lingo, in astrology, Mercury influences communication, clear thought, and transportation.  I would personally include technology in with Mercury’s influence.  My theory on including technology in Mercury’s influence is *because* we use technology for communication and transportation, much of the time.  Mercury’s orbit appears to move forward, then backward, then forward, then backward, and moves quickly. This is because when Mercury passes our Earth, our own orbit’s speed makes it seem like Mercury is moving backward.  From astrologers’ (and many pagans’) point of view, this causes communication breakdowns and misunderstandings, transportation issues, and technology to have fits.  It’s like this cosmic force *wants* us to stay home and not communicate a lot with others, because it’s time to go backwards ourselves in time; to reminisce, to delve into what makes us tick, or doesn’t make us tick.

So, this morning I feel great, because I’m doing just that: delving- but I’m also thinking how I can be more assertive in the future. This is an ongoing issue with me- to speak up, especially to close friends and lovers.  As I lay awake thinking of all this, I remembered how my Swedish culture and his American culture conflicted.  Americans are much more lax about greetings.  When someone comes home, in my experience, most people are like ‘eh you’re home.’  In my family, when we visit each other, or if we live together and one person has been gone on a trip and comes home, we always greet each other with a hug.  With my cousins in Sweden, whom we don’t know as well, we shake hands as we enter their home.  This has an underlying message (in my mind) of “You are important to me.  Important enough to greet you in this special way as you enter my home.”  Now, I want to be clear that in my experience with pagans, they are the same way: we often greet each other with a hug.  Most Americans I know (among the muggles) don’t really do this.  You might get a ‘Hi,’ as you walk in from someone sitting on a couch, who continues watching TV (and you might or might not get this ‘Hi’ accompanied with eye contact), and you might on rarer occasions actually have someone greet you at the door, but even then, it’s usually very casual and nothing too special.

I’ve been offended by that behavior in the past, but lately I’ve realized that this is not carrying a message of “You’re not important to me, I really don’t care whether or not you’re here;” it’s really carrying a message of “Come on in, make yourself at home.”  That ‘make yourself at home’ is truly an American concept.  Many of my friends take this literally- you serve yourself, you go into their cupboards and find yourself a glass and fill it with water yourself, and so on.  This is SO not a Swedish concept.

Anyway, this got under my skin in a big way when I was married to my ex.  He wouldn’t greet my friends at the door, he didn’t even show that he wanted to know who they were.  Now that is probably rude, also, in American culture- but that’s just my guess.  I felt offended for my friends’ sake, though I don’t know how they felt.  At that time, I should have made my friend comfortable, then gone down to the basement (where my husband seemed to love being) and told him, gently but assertively, that I wanted him to greet my friends.  I wanted him to get up off his lazy (or shy?) ass and walk his legs up the stairs and say ‘Hi. I’m (name).  What’s your name?’ and chat just a wee bit, before sinking back into his man cave.

This blog isn’t meant to rant about my ex- but my point is I should have spoken up.  I should have stood strong and respected my own feelings about soooo many things that irked me.  And the lesson I’m taking from this is to speak up about things that bother me with my current boyfriend and friends.

In my current relationship, I have been doing this, a little bit.  I really should do it more.  And the fact that I’m releasing myself to express myself more freely makes me feel strong!  I’ve got the powah!  BooYah!