Tag Archives: pagan

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!

My Ravens Will Remind You of This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Artwork

Original Artwork

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

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

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

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

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

A Magical Midsummer’s Night

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

moonlight through tipi smokehole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Namaste Yourself!

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The Pagan Spectrum of Boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste, everyone.

Jumping Jumping!

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jumping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juuuuuuumpiiiing!!

Pitching My Tent at the Precipice

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camping on the precipice

Original artwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geeking out on – of all things – Organizing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec. 31 2012 (3)

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

Dec. 31 2012

my purse, as mentioned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sitting in a Clay Fetish Bowl- a Dream

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I dreamed this dream while sleeping at my boyfriend’s house, two months ago.  After dreaming it, I sent this message to the two other women involved in the dream.  For the sake of their anonymity, their names have been replaced with Dancer and Horse Woman. This is what I typed to them:

fetish bowl dream

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I received from someone (as if being smudged for ritual) a lump of gray clay, already formed into a 1/2 inch thick disk. I tried to work it and it was stiff and hard to work. Several feet away, Dancer prepared the place for ritual by working deftly with the clay, flattening it and making it into a large bowl. Although I never saw myself giving you (Dancer) the clay, my impression was that those involved each brought some clay that contributed to the bowl. Then, as dreams do, time skipped and the three of us sat *in* the bowl. The bowl was hard and secure, and the night sky sparkled above us. I get the impression of a fire but didn’t see one. Dancer, I get the impression that you were leading in the ritual and that Horse Woman and I were hanging out on your invitation.   Horse Woman turned to me and told me with an air of anticipation of something rare that she was going to get a “natural tattoo” from Dancer and I got the impression that this tattoo was ‘natural’ in the sense of ‘magic in nature.’  Time passed as it does and doesn’t when you’re in a magical space, and Horse Woman turned into a crow. My arm was stretched out along the bowl as if my arm had been around your shoulders before you changed, and you (Horse Woman as the crow) love-nipped my hand. At first I reacted as if bit and then I realized it was a love bite, as in “you’re my friend.” I got the impression that you, Horse Woman, as the crow, were still just hanging out in ritual space, and had decided to hang out as crow. Then I woke up, before the ritual was finished, but I have the feeling that I woke up at the time I was meant to.

As it happens, I’m spending some nights at my boyfriend’s house. He lives with two roomates and we are all either new age or pagan inclined. His roomates have a book which drew me to it the next morning after the dream. It’s called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. As I always do when encountering a new pagany/new agey book, I browsed it to see if what he said jived with my experience, and it did, so I came to trust what he said in the book. It looks like he draws from many different cultures for the book, with a Native American focus. If you know the book, I would appreciate your impressions of it as well. As I looked in the sections on birds, he described ‘fetish bowls.’ He explained that inside the (clay) bowl is ‘unmanifest’ as in the things unseen and outside the bowl is ‘manifest.’ It’s a way to commune or call to your spirit animals; put fetishes that represent your spirit animal in the bowl along with other items that can charge the fetishes while not in use, and when you take it out of the bowl, you are making the unmanifest, manifest; you are calling to the spirit of the animal.

I started to read up on crows but didn’t get far. I already know some things about crows and will investigate further.

The meaning I got from the dream was that, at least for myself, I need to manifest myself as a magical being and live in spirit daily. I also feel blessed after the dream as if already having been part of a ritual with you  even though it may have only been my own experience and not shared. I feel like I already am living as a magical being (and my awareness has been brought to this fact after the dream) and like I have been charged up like a crystal has been charged by the moon’s energies (though I don’t feel charged specifically by the moon, but by spirit guides).

The spirit animals that accompany me are monkeys. If you are interested I could tell you more about that. They didn’t come forth in the dream as “manifest” but they are always with me. They just weren’t represented in the dream. Perhaps the crow is calling to me, or perhaps it represents or accompanies Horse Woman.

Anyway, I would appreciate it if you let me know how this dream strikes you, and your own takes on it, especially if you got any messages for yourselves. At the very least, Horse Woman, meet Dancer, and Dancer, meet Horse Woman.

May the powers that be all around us bless you.