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Quickening

The Hunt is passed, though the snow still rages. Hulda is shaking out her blankets a few more times, thick clumps falling like down. I can feel spring quickening.  I felt it a couple weeks ago further east and north–the trees awakened. Its a very similar energy to a gentle, steady rain, excepting that the lifeforce is flowing up through the trees instead of down. Now as a sit by the open window with a glass of mead speaking with my gods, I can feel it here. When I unfocus my eyes I can see it billowing up thick like steam. It is done then, the Hunt is moving on west.

Suddenly I find myself dreaming of spring. Of time spent in the wood again, finally, and in the rain and wet. Of sightings of deer and acquaintance made with new plants. Of hunting mushrooms through the wood, learning to hunt morels and their ilk.

It was so very satisfying, this past summer and fall. I miss it.

I miss hiking through the woods, stopping to hug trees and blow bubbles and sit at the top of canyons watching the river waves below. I miss winding my way through gnarled roots, taking off my boots and playing in waterfalls, poking through fallen leaves and scrub to discover mushrooms hidden away. I miss holding out my arms to the forest about me and feeling the oneness of it all…

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On catching up

Watch as I struggle to get these last posts up before the year ends!Fall altar '13

The Wheel has continued to turn, even as I struggle fruitlessly to keep up with it. Here is my beautiful fall altar (not boasting, I just quite like how it turned out myself), hardly set up in time for Samhain. I normally spend Mabon collecting leaves for my fall altar, but did not this year…I did so much later this year, the leaves weren’t even pressed correctly by the time I’d decorated, hence the curling.

Even this post is long overdue, having sat in my drafts for over a month. Ah well, better late than never I suppose, and there is a matter that deserves writing on…

Sindr over at I Greet the Dead(http://oyasdaughter.wordpress.com/) has a beautiful Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/SindrWorks)–one that, truth be told, I avoiding looking at too closely because I knew I would end up spending money when I haven’t that much to spend. Lo and behold, once I finally DID check it out my prediction came true: a set of prayer beads dedicated to Fire that were mine to collect. That’s the particularly strange part; I have a good deal of craftiness myself (hell my old blog is called Confessions of a Crafty Witch), and Etsy is usually where I go to find things I want to make, but no, not these beads. This wasn’t something I could simply replicate and have it be less expensive and more effective, I needed that particular set.

To be fair though, they are breathtakingly gorgeous…
prayer beadsI was quite impressed that Sindr waited to ship them until they had the appropriate packaging so that they would arrive safely–and when they did arrive, WOWZA the energy in these beads! I love running them through my hands, they feel amazing! I also especially like the concern given to size and texture in their crafting–you know exactly which beads you’re on without looking. Being an elemental set, these beads did not come with a prayer to go with them, and I find myself a bit awkward in coming up with one. It’s likely one of those times when I just need to get out of my own way–nothing I come up with seems “good enough” for these beads. My current working prayer is really quite simple, but wonderfully sibilant…I may keep it, I may not. It’s close, but not quite right somehow…

My only concern with these beauties is the fragile beading floss they were originally strung on. I worried that somehow I would snap the floss just working them–yes Sindr cautions against rough use as they are indeed fragile, but I didn’t like how they felt fragile. I worried that if I were sinking deeper and deeper into a trance I might not be aware of how roughly I work the beads. Thus my one change–I delved into my own crafting supplies and carefully restrung them on sturdy black silk beading thread. Now I could twirl them if I wanted to–not that I ever would!

Progress…??

I lit an herb bundle, recaned the room calling in safety, peace, wisdom. I lit candles all about and let the bundle to burn as I cleansed by candlelit spongebath, ritual soap made with black salt and clove. I lit a match, inhaled, raised the skull and sang in my ancestors.

I hailed and welcomed them, spoke to them of my day as I had these many nights past. I told them of my intentions for that full moon night, invited them to stay and join if they wished…and they answered. Sometimes I understood what they were saying, many times I didn’t, like many voices talking all at once muffled by distance. Two voices however I heard above the others, two voices I sometimes understood. “Are you the lumberjack I’ve met before?” I hesitantly asked of one.

“Lumberjack! Ha! Did ye hear what she called me? Lumberjack, don’t that beat all!” and I had the impression of being scooped up into a big bear hug with a giant wet kiss planted on my forehead. Something I noticed when he spoke now that I never had before, I seemed to hear him speaking with a scottish accent.

The other was the same proper madam as before, a stiff grey button up dress with sleeves a bit poofed, who didn’t have an accent per se but enunciated everything crisply and concisely. But I had trouble ‘hearing’, and she spoke slowly and painstakingly trying to tell me a name. I think I heard “Mary Elliot”, but I cannot be certain. She said, or I thought she said, that she had started the line. The line where I once saw an old black and white photo of my great grandmother–and the only reason I knew it wasn’t me was that I knew I had never taken a photo like that.

Then the murmuring grew too loud and I could not distinguish voices anymore. I sat then and did some readings, both rune and tarot–the connection was good, but I didn’t get much new information. I wrapped my shawl about me and opened the window to the winter, setting a candle upon the ledge and a shotglass of brandy as I smoked and drank to the Hunt, to Old Woman, to the wild and the hard and the cold.

When I was done I shut the window, leaving the candle and brandy to be retrieved next day, returned to my ancestor skull and shared a brandy houzle with them, then kissed them goodnight. Yet even as I lay there falling asleep the night was not done. I generally have a better knowledge of what’s going on magickally if I view it through the lens of memory, and I did so then, seeing finally many people standing about me as I had stood at my altar, faces beaming and hands on my shoulders though I’d had little perception of it at the time.

I noticed something else as well, behind me and below me in the dark; glowing yellow eyes and white pointed teeth grinning, green skin and big noses and woolly black fur covering their bodies with horns curling above their heads as they pointed at the gathering and talked amongst themselves. I saw them approach me then, as I lay in my bed, one directing and pointing the others as they carried a large clay jar between them. He unscrewed the top of my head and the others poured the contents of the jar in–bees. A black wave of bees poured into my head, swarming behind my eyes making shimmery kaleidoscope patterns and in my ears making them ring, my whole head feeling strange and foggy like a migraine with no pain…until finally the jar was empty and the top of my head was screwed back on and they left laughing.

I’m not sure what to make of it all. I think it may be a safe assumption to say that things are ramping up spiritually, which I’m perfectly happy with, but while I still get the effect of the “bees” that I did that night on occasion (trouble concentrating, more ear ringing, etc.) I don’t know what it’s really changed. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see…

On the matter of progression

I had a rant planned for this. A good long rant of frustration and feeling helpless; I need to CHANGE in order to grow, if the world’s made up of Thinkers and Doers then I’m a Thinker, but I need to start DOING, etc, etc.  

Then I stopped a moment. Took another look at myself.

I’ve done this song and dance before, and not on the same subject.

No, the last time I was singing this tune–on this very blog, no less–it was about self-hate and how I NEEDED to change, NEEDED to learn to love myself, but couldn’t see any way to do it. At that point I felt like I had tried countless things to accomplish this and all had failed–I had failed. Now here I am, past that hurdle, bemoaning the impossibility of this current challenge, wailing and railing like I have before. “All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again”, it seems. 

Let this realization serve not as an excuse to slip back into sloth, but rather as an inspiration–it is possible. It IS doable. You’ve been here before, and succeeded. You can do so again, and you’ll be so beautiful once you do.

How? Fuck if I know. I know the method I used last time, but recognize that the method did not cause the change; it merely served as a vehicle for the change to take place. It may not work as well for other people or even other situations…however, it can’t hurt to apply the same method and hope for positive results again.

And the gnosis-inducing message that I’ve been listening to on repeat to serve as water running over the stones of my mind?

Maybe it’s trite, cliche, and/or sugary sweet, but it worked dammit and that’s what counts. Thanks Disney.

Frustration

So many things going on in my life, so many things intended to write about that I somehow never do. Trying to motivate myself, trying to make decisions, trying to get things moving. Frustration with myself and this immobility which seems impassible but I know is illusory. I just have to act. But I can’t seem to make myself.

At Samhain I worked to shed my skin. It was time. I walked some time, buried it at a crossroads and didn’t look back. From there I knew it was up to me to make the changes, instill the positive habits and attitudes that would replace the sloth I was trying to expel.

I don’t know if it worked.

I find myself riddled with doubts and uncertainty, every time I try to take a confident step forward it is called into question–not even by myself, but others. People who care about me and mean well, want to see me succeed and are trying to help toward that end…but I find that the more they “help” the more and more I withdraw back into my sloth. I’ve not learned yet to not care what others think. I have grown substantially–time was my own thoughts were so below insignificant as compared to others that I tried not to have any of my own thoughts at all. Now I do think, and what I think does matter, and the opinions of others are not nearly so life-and-death as they once were…but if I can’t move because others disagree with any move choose to make, then its obviously still a significant problem.

Then of course there are my own demons, the ones whispering you’re not doing it right, or failure is all you can expect, or others are successful, but YOU can’t be. &tc. I have an idea, I have a goal, and everyone says “Oh that’s lovely, yes of course, its your life whatever you want to do…” but actually doing it? I need to motivate myself, I need to act, I need to do the work in order to attain what I want to…but I haven’t. Why? Why? 

I want to start a shop. I want to get to the point where I can make a living from this shop. I have a great idea for products, I know how to social network, I think I know how to get buyers. I don’t need to make lots of money, just enough where I can live comfortably and don’t have to run the rat race of corporate america anymore. Hell, I wouldn’t mind waitressing on the side or something for extra, reliable income. But I don’t want to be here anymore, I don’t want my worth to be determined by how well a piece of paper says I can jump through hoops. I want to be able to make my own schedule and work for myself, put my resources into me and my loved ones and any who would purchase from me.

If I want that, I need to actually start my own shop. Make the items. Set up the shop. Do the social networking. I have the desire to be at the end point, I have the drive to get out of here, but the drive to do the work and achieve what it is that I want is…strangely lacking. I have no energy left when I get home. I look at my supplies with dull eyes then sluggishly drop into a chair and log into a game or put in a movie. I feel like I won’t have the energy or wherewithal to actually do the work until my resources are no longer entirely taken up by my current employment…but as the rest of the world says, and I must agree, that is a monumentally stupid idea.

It would likely take months to even get people to find my shop, let alone start selling items, and longer still to actually make a profit from it–all the while I wouldn’t have any income to sustain me. Which means I have to get things started while I still have a job. But I can’t get things started while I still have a job because I have nothing left of me to give after the job. This is what they call a Catch 22, isn’t it? 

So the inevitable advice that follows is “get a new job, one that doesn’t drain you so much”, and yeah, I agree, but there are a number of other issues that pop up with that. (There always are.) A job is an anchor to a place, but I don’t want to be in this town anymore. Find a job in a neighboring town? Maybe, but that’s really not far away enough for me. Find a job wherever in the country I want to move to? Great!…but how am I to start working there when I don’t live there, and don’t have the money yet to move? Plus there’s the issue of having the energy to apply for new jobs in the first place–which is in the same pile of muck as starting my own business. I don’t have there wherewithal to do it with my current job. It saps everything I have. Four years working here and I’m not even making a dollar more than when I started–which is par for the course at this workplace, really. (You did exceptionally well this year, we’re giving you a $0.15 raise!! Fucking debt collection agencies, I hate you and even more I hate being associated with you!)

Bah, I’m going over old complaints. My head is full of indecision and “no”s, and this thing called life is bloody confusing to figure out. I have plenty of support and love if I do things the intelligent/responsible way, but no will or energy to actually do it. I am bereft of support if I do things the unintelligent/irresponsible way–the way that would allow me to actually do things–with every promise of ultimate failure.

I don’t know anymore. I’m confused and can’t find the answers. I want to LIVE, but apparently won’t take the steps I need to in order to get there. This thing called life really sucks sometimes.

Birthday crisis

I turned 27 on Thursday. Man, it’s been a long year. A painful one. But necessary, I suppose. My birthday is the day by which I mark my personal years. There is a method with which one can determine their Major Arcana tarot card “theme” for the year that I discovered—oh, three years ago now?—and have found to be rather startlingly accurate. The year that I discovered this my card was The Hanged Man…that was the hard year I dedicated myself to this path (I know, surprise, right?) Following that was Death, which was the year I ended my 6 year relationship (and one year engagement) with Kestal–all in all very necessary, but hard. Then this past year…Temperance.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into the year, but there’s no way I could have known what was in store. Since stepping on this path it seems that the most expeditious way to train me (thus far) is through my relationships (surprise, with Freyja as my matron), and in late October I met Tristan. Frankly, he scared me…there was something that was just wrong about him, and I did NOT want to get involved, but the powers that be had other plans in mind—he desperately needed my help.

Despite all the things that frightened me about him, I saw him struggling with many of the lessons I had just learned—self-worth, for instance. Living his life instead of letting life happen to him. He had run so far from life that he had a fairly miserable existence. Then, as a consequence of meeting me, his worst fears were realized. He was forced to face the very past he’d run from. It was a true Death experience for him, and a very raw, painful one involving the legal system. I bore witness to and helped guide his rebirth. I put everything that I had left into the process. The person that I have seen him become is awe-inspiring, yet the trials that he is experiencing are not over. But they are for me.

Even with all of the effort that I put into the ordeal, everything I gave for it, it was not intended to last. I had done my part, and someone else was sent into my life—which I resisted mightily. I fought it for several months before I took the hint, and it took me being yelled at multiple times by <someone> through the cards and things starting to go to shit to finally get me to move, but I did what I didn’t want to—broke up with Tristan two weeks (!!) before his trial and started this new relationship. I’ve since been privileged enough to see the buddings of Tristan’s relationship with a friend who met him at the trial—there was a reason for the timing, but man it hurt to do.

The past year…Temperance. I think, rather than learning how to handle situations with balance (which, as a Libra, I am already quite skilled at), I was the one being tempered. Though I understand it as a necessary process, it was tortuous. I was taken to the point where I was certain I couldn’t take any more…and then I would be plunged even further down. It is not something I would recommend, if you have the choice. There are gentler ways.

This new relationship…I still don’t know where it will go. It had an incredibly rough start, and I worry that this moment of bliss is but a temporary reprieve…though the cards say otherwise. We’ve gotten through the Five of Swords, the conflict so dear it may not be worth it–happy times ahead, and reading after reading for either of us indicates a possible child. O.0 NO idea what to think of that. You do not want to know how many times the Empress has come up. Plus I unwittingly stepped over a friend’s ritual broom across their threshold the other day…blast it all.
It is with some trepidation that I walk into this next year…the year of The Devil (also The Lovers). One might have expected Temperance to be an easy or happy year, but it most certainly was not. I have no idea what to expect next, but I really hope its not a continuing downward trend. >_< Next year? The Tower. Gods preserve me…

 

Afterthoughts–there are two cards that have come up to represent the child; not the pregnancy, the childDaughter, in fact. The first is the Daughter (page) of Cups, the second is The Star. The latter card granted me a vision when I read it–I saw her. A mop of dark auburn curls and dark brown eyes, dimples and a delighted smile. She was wearing a bright red blouse with white polka dots, like the amanita. I called her Melissa, like the bee. The year after the Tower? The Star. Interesting….we’ll see whether or not this comes to pass.

Little Bird contest entry

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The greatly beloved SJ Tucker is hosting a contest of inspiration for one of her new songs, “Little Bird”.  This isn’t quite done, but the deadline is today at noon (!!). I swear I’ll have better text for this soon, but I’m doing this on the sly at work and just need to get the bloody thing posted. >_<

Firejewel

Firejewel

I know I’ve done a similar photo like this, but this is just so beautiful! A bottled sunset with catseye glowing.

The wheel it turns…

Beth from Wytch of the North noted it on the west coast, Sindr from I Greet the Dead noted it across the pond, I’m noting it here in the Midwest.

The Wheel Turns.

I felt it, a few weeks back. I Felt the Pattern Shift, Felt the rush like a sudden cold undercurrent, cold wind whistling from a black hole even while the air sweltered and the sun shone.

The White Woman
The Old Woman
The Bone Woman
She calls

I feel hooves, claws, pawing at me as they would the ground–restless. My Lord of the Forest, my Lord of the Hunt, is gone and riding throughout–the deep places, the dark places, the Thick of the Wood, Stirring the Things there…

Many of us can feel it, many have noted–the Winter will be hard/long this year. It felt like late August in late July, it was almost like I could smell the leaves and the crisp in the air, feel the rustling as the wind blew…the season, my season, my Twilight Hour, the time when I Come Alive and Stand Tall…it approaches. The time of dark and cold and firelight and wool and woodsmoke, of mulled wine and smiling eyes, wild eyes.

The wind howls, and phantom hounds with it. This surface world that we see…it hasn’t changed much. The days are milder, surprisingly so…but underneath, it is Autumn already. The visible part is just catching up.

I need to pick up my bow. I need to renew my FOID card. I need to prepare to Hunt.

How do I even know this is real? I asked silently at my altar. They waited. I thought. Maybe some sort of signal? Something that rarely happens and is unusual enough that I know its really you? Immediately the few memories of me falling–the sensation, the utter shock–flashed into my mind. I looked at my melon-sized knee apprehensively.

Falling down is something that qualifies as rare and unusual for me. I started dance lessons at the age of 3 and continued them for 11 years, and while my flexibility’s gone to shit the thing I have maintained is my balance. You’ll see me slip and stumble and trip and tumble a thousand times, but RARELY will you see me fall. I always catch myself, even when it seems like I shouldn’t have been able to. With my knee swollen, immobilized at an angle, and blazing like a furnace, the addition of a cane had further IMPROVED my balance, not lessened it. (3-legged at the ripe old age of 21. HA!) The idea of falling potentially injured not only my knee, but my pride.

There’s something else that can be used, surely. I thought quickly, wiping the idea from my mind. I ran a list of possibilities through my head and picked something I felt would be suitable. Okay, if this is real, make sure that happens. I thought at my altar before gathering my supplies, loading up on painkillers and entheogens, and stumping out into the night to do some magick.

I went out to the node on the golf course, which is a 3 mile hike round trip, so I easily forgot my previous conversation as I limped there, did my thing, then started limping back.

I was 3 quarters of the way home when it happened. I knew the treacherous area of the golfcart path well, patched with dips. I made sure I would miss them and walked ahead confidently…and somehow my good leg came down into the self-same pothole I had just avoided, my cane caught on a crack, and instinct compelled me to catch myself…on my bad leg. My vision went dark as the weight of my ritual bag swung ’round from the lurch and pulled me forward, stool and empty bottle sent flying (safely into the grass), and my ritual bag landing (safely on top of me). (Spirits are jerks, yo. They’ll trip a gimp just to prove a point.)

I lay there for several minutes gasping in shock and pain, tears stinging my eyes. Gradually my breathing evened as I felt the stars shining on me. Slowly I tested to make sure everything was still in working order, when the realization of what had just happened came crashing down on me and I began gasping for air again. I FELL. Son of a bitch. Eventually I cried out “Fine! FINE! Message received! Jerks!” Then I picked myself back up, gathered my things, and set my rickety especially-painful knee to working so I could get home in the wee hours of the morning and hopefully get enough sleep before work.

They have never forgotten how effective this was.

I fall more often now than I ever did before, because they know it gets my attention, shocks me out of my headspace and lets me know they want something. Once it was because Things were Afoot. Once while hiking I started to take one path, then turned to take the other when the ground gave way beneath me and I fell. I took this to mean that I should take the first path, and lo and behold there was a bag of doggie poo someone had taken the trouble to hide up on a ledge that definitely needed to be disposed of–one that couldn’t be seen if on the other path or coming from the other direction. There have been other times as well–I think I may have fallen more in the past few years than I did in the entire decade preceding.

I still don’t fall that often, but I know to Pay Attention when I do.