Spring

I empathize with Spring this year. I don’t want to leave the house yet. I am comfortable under my layers of blankets and sweaters. I feel like I have more thinking and coping to do. That said, I think everyone is so very ready for the bleak cold winter days to be OVER ALREADY.

Mucha's seasons (just winter and spring)

Sisters, Winter and Spring.

The last few weeks have been rough here. I feel like the poor plants, trapped in the cold earth, waiting for the weather to change and welcome me back. My Mom’s birthday came and went, and I felt my heart breaking for my son’s lack. He will never know how her eyes sparkled and her laugh cackled when she was truly amused by something. He will never know her stern look over the frame of her glasses, paired by that Marge-esq grumble. He is at an age now where he remembers. He misses people and he asks about them. He tells elaborate stories about his best friend, Gus. He talks about his favourite person in the world, his Auntie Tracy. When my Mum’s birthday came, and he saw me crying while watching a tribute video made by my Dad’s family (estranged to us), he was so worried. He doesn’t understand who these people are that I miss so terribly. I have pictures of them up, I talk about them as much as I can, but he doesn’t know them. There are just some days where that hurts so very much.

Ostara was kind of quiet for us this year. We talked a bit about it, I made a crustless quiche (my Mom’s recipe), and some bunny buns. I gave everyone some mini-eggs and that was it. At least, that was it until my girlfriend, Sarah, called up and told us that she had some extra tickets to the Live Dinosaur Train show. Such a great time! Liam loved it.

Bunny Buns and Quiche

Bunny Buns and Quiche

Liam and I at Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train!

A couple days later, I was overcome by the need to do some spring cleaning, and basically attacked the house. Unfortunately, my health hasn’t been great and I very quickly lost steam. I’m doing a tiny bit each day. My back, neck and knee have been acting up. It’s been 5 years since my accident, and I am seeing now how this has changed my life. Even the most basic things, like sitting on the floor to play with my kid and a ball is hard for me.

Easter is around the corner now. Much like Ostara, I don’t have my steam or excitement for it. We’ve been doing some crafts and talking about it as an extension of Ostara, but I can’t help but think about how it was the last holiday I had with Mom, 5 years ago. I can’t help but deeply miss my sister and wish that I was surrounded by loud, insane, offensive family all over again (My Dad’s kids and my parents. Tracy and I are very alike in that we became very small and quiet at the big family dinners. Of course, we helped each other stay sane during those crazy visits).

20150328_09290120150328_092925(1)On the plus side, all of this reflection has given me the push to finally save my pictures from my old desktop that has been sitting dead for 3 years. Pat managed to get it going long enough for me to back everything up. My goal is to start making family photo books. Gives me the ability to celebrate the family, love and support that I do have.

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Happy Imbolc

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Winter Prayer, by Danielle Barlow

We have spent the weekend playing in the (abundant) snow, eating lots of milk products, spending quality time together and dreaming of the spring. The groundhog saw his shadow, giving us 6 more weeks of snow. Despite being over winter, I think I need that time before the sun comes and we are thrust back out into the world. I feel like I need more time to knit, drink tea and cuddle up in slippers and fleece. So, happy Saint Bride’s day, happy Imbolc, happy groundhog day. We had a lovely one <3

Tarot Reading

So, every night for the last month or so, I’ve been having stress dreams and nightmares. Every. Single. Night. I’m not sure why, but I expected this to stop in the new year. That somehow, 2014 would wipe the slate clean. Clearly, this was not the case. The dreams all feature my parents, my parents home, feeling as thought I am misunderstood, lots of stress, heartbreak, people not trusting me, packing up my parents house, my dad’s kids or people from my past.

After a particularly bad dream this morning, I’ve decided to do a tarot reading to see what I can do to understand this situation better.

Deck Used: Shadowscapes

Spread: The Journey, from the Shadowscapes book.

Initial draw:

I do a quick initial draw to warm myself up and to introduce the topic. It’s sort of my way of making sure the cards and I are connected and on the same page, topic wise.

tarot1Getting to the heart of the matter, inner knowledge, need to move on from the past, Personal reflection. Inner strength. Truth. Strong sense of purpose, Seeking guidance. Caught in the past, over thinking, limiting oneself. A sign of discord, conflict of interests, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Passage away from difficulties, a chance to recover, too much change has led to a time of darkness that you must find a way to rise from.

tarot2Leaving Behind:

Caught in the past, over thinking, limiting oneself. Making a choice to either reap the rewards of effort or wait further – The time of waiting is over. Enjoy the reward of your efforts. A calm moment of consideration of alternatives and different approaches. A sensitive woman. A true romantic, wants to just sit and breathe, listening to the still voice from within.

I have spent too much time thinking about my options, working towards the reward and ignoring the fruit, caught in the past. It’s time to move on from being the romantic woman, lost in herself, and start living and appreciating now.

tarot3Why am I on this journey:

Introverted personality. Clinging to the past. Attachment. Immaturity. Refusal to accept responsibility. Selfishness. Emotional suspension, anxiety, guilt. A traitor – one who has turned his back to friends and loved ones and in effect on himself in the process.

Am I refusing to accept the role I played in my mother’s estate badness? Or do I have too much guilt about it? I was placed in the role of Traitor…must think about this further.

Star/Guiding Force:

Letting go of the past, being honest with myself, make new goals and let go of the old me.

Challenge:

Seeking where my heart and emotions lead, idealist, following my dreams and intuition, yearning for perfection, seeking my grail.

Destination:

Effects of stress, responsibilities may seem too much, take time to determine priorities, centering myself without losing myself in thought. So many demands and dependencies, doing things the hard way, taking on too much, the burden is taken on willingly because she knows she has the strength to do it.

Merry Yule!

We had a lovely day yesterday. Pat is off work for two weeks, so the pace has slowed significantly around here. We’re hanging out in pjs, eating comfort foods and not worrying too much about the mess.

After a day of rest, coffee and presents (oh, and bubbles. So many bubbles), the darkness started to fill the house and I prepared Liam’s paintings for a transformation into our Yule lanterns. I got the idea from this great post.

We then took some time to talk about winter, about solstice, about darkness and the return of the light and what the lanterns represented.

Today, we are being covered in more snow and freezing rain, so we are hunkering down and making a list of last minute things we need to pick up before Christmas. I have some baking plans that should be interesting! Let’s see if my in laws enjoy these creations :D

I hope Yule was as beautiful for you as it was for us and may we all enjoy the slow return of longer days and sunlight.

053

Losing My Religion

It all started when Mom was sick. I prayed. I prayed and I begged for time. I prayed for her health and for our family. The sicker she got, the more I spoke with my Gods. Please, let her live to see my children. Please, let her live to see Tracy graduate. Please, let her live to see me get married.

The night she passed, I prayed that she would live long enough for my sister and her brother’s to arrive.

Nothing happened. She died 3 hours before they arrived.

After her death, I prayed that my half siblings would come to their senses. I prayed that they would see what they were doing, what they were saying. I prayed that things weren’t going the way that I feared they would. I prayed for peace.

Through it all, I held fast to my faith. I saw others waver. I did all I could to keep up the conversation with my own little concept of a higher power.

Then I got pregnant. I was full of hope and dreams. I felt so connected to everything. I researched rituals, blessingways, meditations, yoga. I felt like a part of this wonderful energy of the cosmos, like somehow, this beautiful little person inside me had tied me into the universe again.

When I went into labour, I naturally reached out to the earth, to the Powers that Be. I breathed, I moaned, I swayed and asked them to hold me and guide me through.

I didn’t feel anything.

Nothing.

I felt completely cut off. Completely on my own, in my own body. That connection, I realized, wasn’t there. Had it ever been there?

My nephew has schizophrenia, as well as a bevvy of other mental disorders and addictions. He was fundamental in the development of my faith. It was through him that I found my own path, though I had already been looking into it on my own for years. When we realized how ill he was, I was shaken. Had my faith been mental illness too? No, I was so sure what I had felt and experienced had been real.

Was it real?

I have been Pagan for 15 years. I did not grow up with religion. My mother, as a girl, had bounced from church to church, following friends and choirs. The one common element was Jesus. My father had had a very negative damaging experience with Catholicism and was a steadfast atheist after that. The only church I attended as a child was for weddings, funerals or because my nanny brought me. For the first time since I found faith, all on my own, I don’t believe in anything. I am completely lost.

I have a son, nearly one year old, and I don’t know what’s out there, what happens next. What I know is that there is a dark hole where my gods and goddesses once stood.

I feel so alone.

EDIT: I’m ok. I know I’m not alone alone. It’s more that itty bitty ant feeling. I have friends, I have family. I just no longer have my faith and the empty hole is gaping.

A rambling fall post

It’s been one of those weeks that just wears you right down to the ground. There’s been family drama, estate drama, the death of my year old iPhone, work troubles, hormones, nightmares, illness, serious money troubles, you name it. October has been hard on us. Today S and her wee ones popped by for a visit and some running around. I swear, there’s nothing like having your nearest and dearest around when you’re going through hell. I also heard that L is coming to town next week for work, so I’m going to be even more spoiled with some bestie time.

You can feel autumn in the air, the chill, and the smell of the leaves. I usually love this season, but it’s always a hard time of reviewing what you have around you and the drawing end of the year. I’ve been thinking a lot about Samhain and what we’re going to do this year. I haven’t really been practicing much. Honestly, since losing my mother, I’ve been afraid to get back in touch with my faith. It’s like that saying “Once bitten, twice shy”. I’ve been so afraid of getting in touch with that part of myself. I’m thinking I’m going to make either Red Moon’s Honey and Lavender cake or some kind of spice cake. I’m thinking about doing some kind of ritual for the dead. I don’t know. Being pregnant, I’m not in the mood to go out partying like in past years. Maybe we’ll just stay home and watch scary movies. I’ve been dreaming of my parents almost every night this month.

On a cheerier note, my workplace has decided that we should dress up for Halloween. Being preggo makes that difficult for me, until I saw this:

Yes. It has been purchased and shipped. I picked up a black shirt from Old Navy today while out with S. You can be a fashionable preggo this Halloween too! Here’s the shop where I found it.

The cold is helping to revive my creative spirit though, which is nice. I’m plotting some knitting projects (finish the hat for Pat, start on a scarf for a friend and of course – BABY STUFF). I’ve been thinking about getting back into journaling and maybe even drawing. Being forced inside isn’t always a bad thing I suppose. Also, I’ve been recently inspired to try my hand at a few new crafts. Firstly, here is a LOVELY wreath that Danielle made over at PHIT:

Didn't she do an amazing job? I love those colours!

Seriously, run over to her blog and tell her how amazing that is. My friend Krista of Dandelion Express made a wreath too:

Again, aren't these ladies super talented?

I just need some felt, I think, and these could be mine. I even have a foam wreath frame thingie from when I was thinking about making a mobile for a co-workers baby. (PS, don’t try making a hand knit mobile for a co-workers baby 2 weeks before the baby is due. You will never finish.) The mobile in question:

How cute, right?

I have the worm dragonfly body done. Yeah. That’s it. Here’s the Rav pattern page.

BUT! Despite that failure, I am considering attempting some felt mobile ideas for Babeh. I came across from obscenely cute ones on etsy:

Adorable! So colourful and happy! All for the low low price of…65?! Yeaaaaah, no. It gets worse too. We’re thinking about doing a woodland themed nursery (by we, I mean me. Heh.) She has a woodland themed mobile:

NEED IT.

It’s 75$. Yes. 75$. So, I’m thinking of spending maybe 20$ on felt and supplies and going from there. I think I can do it :D  Here’s the etsy store if you are interested.

Anyway, I’m off to listen to some more Neko Case and maybe even enjoy a book. Have a great weekend everyone <3

Death in my Shadow

If you go way back and look at my archives for this journal, you’ll see that I imported a bunch of my posts from an old LJ of mine. I kept that LJ mainly for recording my dreams, my pagan experiences and my self-betterment stuff (the artist’s way, therapy, diets, work outs, etc…). There was a time when I noticed things around me, and wrote down patterns that I picked up so that I could ponder their significance later (for instance, bees, as discussed in this imported post and in my tattoo post)

Maybe it’s that the fog lifted a bit yesterday, or maybe it’s because I’m looking for something to be significant, but it’s been one of those days.

Last night I had a dream about Mum and Dad. This isn’t unusual, though lately I must say I haven’t had many. In this dream, Mum and Dad wouldn’t leave the house in Orleans. It had already been purchased by the new family and I was stopping by one last time to make sure everything was ok before signing the closing documents. I arrived at the house to find it was completely furnished still. I was confused, knowing that I had emptied the house. It was all the furniture I could remember from my childhood. The ugly giant sectional that lived in the basement when I was a teen. The beige pullout couch that was scratchy that came from our place in Winnipeg. Old things that I haven’t seen in years. I found Dad in the kitchen, reading a paper. I asked him why he was still there and he gave me a look like I was being ridiculous and said “Because, Pooh Bear, this is home. Where else would I be?” I tried to argue with him, but he just didn’t listen.

I went upstairs to find it set up similarly. Everything was the way it was when I was growing up. My room at the front of the house was set up like it was when I was a teen. Covered in posters and anime crap. The middle room was set up for the nanny I had when I was 5. Tracy’s room was pink, and set up as though she and I were still sharing it. I walked into Mum’s room and it looked like it was full of stuff. Some covered in protective blankets. Boxes everywhere, like someone was packing up and leaving things behind, but protected from the dust/etc… There were spider webs in the corners of the room, and dust starting to settle on things. I found Mum sitting on the edge of her bed, packing a bag. I asked her what she was doing and she looked up to me, surprised to see me “Oh, thanks for coming dear. I need some help going through these things.” she said. I told her, gently, that we had to go. She asked me where. I told her “Mum, this place has sold, remember? We have to have it completely cleaned out for the new owners by midnight”. She looked confused and upset. “But this is my home. Our home.” she said. I told her that it wasn’t our home anymore, that we needed to leave so that the new family could move in. “But why are we leaving? This is our home!” she exclaimed. I replied “Mum, we need to move on. We need to go. We have so much packing and cleaning to do”. She refused and told me that she wanted to stay in her home.

I woke up, upset. I know part of this is from a blog that was linked in a post I read on Rav a couple of days ago about someone who moved into the house they just bought to find the previous owners still living there. I woke up feeling like Mum and Dad are still attached to the house, and that thought breaks my heart.

This morning, on my way to work, I was surprised by some very ballsy crows. They were sitting at the end of a neighbour’s driveway, chittering at me as I passed. I was only a couple feet away and they didn’t move or freak out at all. I nodded at them, as I normally do when I come close to a crow and they both continued to watch me, and squawked at me when I turned the corner. For some reason, something about it stuck with me. When I got to work, I read this post by Porcelain Heart Ivory Tooth (and commented) and then one of the LSG girls posted this article on Google +. Obviously, today has picked up something of a theme.

I think sometimes the universe forces us to deal with things, whether we want to or not. Symbols, totems and shamanism has been on my mind lately so maybe that’s why this is starting up again. Maybe I’m looking for it. This camping trip this weekend is bringing up some old hurts. An ex friend of mine used to take me camping in the same area, and the last time I was there I had some really interesting experiences with birds (specifically hummingbirds, a blue heron and some ducks).  Today, I feel like Death is sitting my shadow, following me around. Forcing me to deal with it.

I don’t talk about this much because it tends to worry people, but I’ve had PTSD for a while now, which includes flashbacks. Lately I’ve been getting lots of them. Anything seems to trigger them, often just a cycle of thoughts that somehow brings me to either my Mum, Dad or the big fight with my siblings.  The last few have been all about Mum, the moments before she did, the stroke she had in my arms and right before we took her to the hospital. Once they start I do everything in my power to break them off and get back into the Now, which may be why I’m being visited by Death today. I’m not letting myself experience these things, I’m refusing to look at them again and re-experience it all.

Anyway, it’s an interesting day. I hope this coming weekend lets me take some time to relax and regroup. Obviously I need it.

It’s all about Memes all the time

I don’t have any real content for you yet, dear readers. Work and life have me very busy. I’m hoping on writing something with substance for you tomorrow, so keep an eye out for the that. In the mean time, there’s a meme going around the pagan blogs that I figured I’d post,  and then I read  Juniper’s Better Meme and decided to do that one instead.

Please describe briefly your Path:

My path is that of a cottage witch. That’s the only title that I feel comfortable with right now, despite living right smack in the middle of the burbs. It’s something similar to hedge witchcraft and green witchcraft. I have multiple Gods/desses that I communicate with and believe in. I read tarot and runes. I have prophetic and symbolic dreams. I communicate with the dead. I believe in working with nature. I believe in the balance between light and dark. My path is one of constant learning and change. I believe strongly in learning from our elders. I believe that there are things that exist that are beyond the average person’s sight.

Please describe briefly how you practice it:

I try to celebrate the “big holidays”, though usually I only focus on Imbolc, Beltane, Samhain, and Yule. I do much reading and research, while also trying to be out and “experience” magic in the every day. I speak to my house and my surroundings. I interpret dreams, and infuse intent into my cooking and baking. I speak to my patron gods and goddesses. I recognize my emotions and allow myself to feel them. I try to work on respecting and developing my own skills and abilities.

When did you first commit to your Path?

My first glimpse into paganism started as long back as I can remember. I always saw auras, saw things that my parents told me weren’t there, had scary dreams that came true. I was 12 or 13 years old when I first saw The Craft and went “Yes. I’m not crazy, see? This stuff is real and it’s a religion!”. I was 14 when I formed my first circle with a bunch of my girlfriends and started studying and practicing magic within the confines of Starhawk’s Wicca. I was 16 when I realized that that Wicca wasn’t for me, and started practicing a more eclectic form of paganism, leaning towards the green and more celtic side of things (using Ann Moura’s Green Witchcraft book series as a guide). A close family member was also Pagan and together we did lots of researching and practicing. I was 22 when I turned towards Cottage Witchery and have found my home there.

How is your practice different now than it was then?

When I was 14, I was more concerned about finally taking Control of my life. Wicca gave me a faith that encouraged interaction and communication with the world. It filled in the part that was missing for me in Christianity – a female side to the divine. We were all about spells all the damn time, rather than real faith.

.Today, it’s about recognizing the divine around me, communicating and respecting the world on a daily basis. I don’t do much spellcraft at all, but rather I participate in a relationship that is my faith

Is your practice different today than how you thought it would be back then?

I thought, back then, that I’d have everything in life figured out by the age of 24, so yeah. Things are different. I see now that I will forever be a student, which I think is so important. I have a much better relationship with my faith and I’m much more confident in it and in myself.

Does your Path and core belief system differ now than how it was when you first started?

Absolutely. Back then I was your basic Fluffy Bunny. I thought it was all light, lollypops and double rainbows all the waaaaay. Today, I see the shades and colours in between. I see the importance of the dark, and how it is to be revered and celebrated, rather than shunned. My patron gods and goddesses are completely different, as is the way I practice.

What is your heritage and how does this inform your Path?

On my father’s side, I am an anglosaxon mutt. My Paternal grandfather is Scottish and british. My paternal grandmother was irish, all the way back. On my mother’s side, we are very Slavic. We are 3rd generation Ukrainian, which means that there is some Polish, Russian and German thrown in. When I started out, I was very Scottish Centric. It wasn’t until I hit my late teens that I discovered more about my Irish side, and that completely changed the way I looked at my Dad’s family. I am still mostly involved in the Celtic panthenon of Gods and Goddesses, however my eyes have opened far beyond it. At around the same time, I started to think more about my Mother’s roots, and how far and wide that family has traveled.  I was also told, in my early 20s, that I must be Native due to my physical features. Apparently my mother and her siblings were always told the same. We have no evidence of native heritage, but it definitely made me look a bit deeper into their beliefs, which led me to the Kumiks at INAC. This totally changed the way I practice my faith and how I incorporate it into my life.

What are your main influences for your Path?

Ellen Dugan has been a massive influence in my Path. Her Cottage, Garden and Green Witchery books are written as though they came from my own heart. They have completely changed the way I practice now. As I just mentioned, attending the Kumiks was an incredible honour and was definitely life changing for me. Prior to that, talking spirituality with my friend Katrina and her husband, Raph, had a great influence on my life and introduced much more energy work and shamanism into my path. Charles de Lint’s fiction has been really influential in my life, as well as my spirituality. It makes me feel like any path is sacred and beautiful. My husband has been a big part of my Path. He is my biggest support and is always willing to listen to me when I need to talk something out. Through him, I’ve learned that even if it is a solitary path for me, it doesn’t need to be lonely.

Which do you do more: practice or research?

Both, to be honest. I do a lot of research, but I feel that I practice, even if it’s just a small thing like writing down and interpreting my dreams, every single day.

Do you feel that one is more important than the other?

I think that they compliment each other. I love learning, and it’s a majorly important part of my life and my faith. My research shapes my practice, but without my practice, I would never have the interest to drive my research.

What values and ethics are important on your Path and in your practice?

.This is a hard question for me, as this tends to be more of a gut feeling, than something I can put into words. I will try though

1. Respect the will of others. I do not practice magics that take away the will of someone, though I am not necessarily against spells of influence.

2. Respect the full spectrum. The good, the bad, the in between.

3. Follow your gut. I think we all know, deep down, whether or not something is right for us. Trust yourself.

4.      Respect the powers that be and the traditions that surround you. Learn the rules, learn the customs and the culture.

What sort of cycles do you feel your practice goes through?

I definitely feel the cycle of the moon and the seasons. As my faith is based on respecting and following the lessons of nature, my practice falls within it’s rhythms and cycles. Also, I go through phases of intense study/lots of practice/a lull in both/repeat

What is one of the greatest obstacles or struggles you have had to over come?

There have been a few major struggles for me when it comes to my faith. When I first really got into paganism, a major influence and support in my life was a close family member. We practiced together, and through him, I met many people and had many incredible experiences. Several years later, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. My whole world was rocked, and I really had to think about my faith and how much of it was true experience and real faith, now that I knew that some of what we shared had been mental illness for him.

Around the same time, many people in my family fell ill. Over the span of a year or so, I lost my only grandparent, our family dog (who I had grown up with, really. We got her when I was 6. I was 22 or so when she died), my brother had surgery to remove the cancer in his colon, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, my mother’s breast cancer came back and Pat’s Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I couldn’t understand how so many awful things could happen to me. Was I being punished? What God(s) or Goddess(es) would let this happen to a good person? Was I a good person?

Then, several years later, both of my parents died within a year of each other. Again, why me? Am I cursed? Unlucky? Why do I suffer and have to fight through, when I see people with hardly any struggles at all? I also had a major falling out with my main support system. My best friend,  as well as a close family member, both of whom were pagan and were basically my whole pagan world, were no longer a part of my life. For the first time ever, I had to stand on my own two feet. My faith truly became my own. It was suddenly a very individual path.

All of these moments required a lot of mediation, time to look at the situation from many perspectives. I had to be very self aware and really honest with myself. I’m still working through some of this, but I stand here today with my faith intact.

How do you see yourself practicing in ten years?

I hope I’m so comfortable with my path that I can practice without constantly having to reference books. I want to feel an ease with my surroundings, so that it is second nature. I hope that I will have a family that will practice together.

How do you incorporate your practice into your life?

I’ve gone over this already. The big thing is seeing the everyday as something sacred and beautiful. Practice can be incorporated in simple tasks such as cleaning, cooking, living with your family, interacting with anyone.

Has walking your Path changed you as a person?

Absolutely. I feel that there is so much more out there beyond myself, and that we are all connected somehow. That there is personal responsibility to be the best You that you can be, and that you can have support in that if you look for it and give your surroundings the respect they deserve.

Do you consider yourself to be a priest/ess? How so?

No. I have no interest in a church or such. My faith has no priest, priestess or such. I believe that we all have wisdom and knowledge to share, and I would never give myself a title that might imply a superiority or power over anyone else.

A witch? How so?

Yes, I’d say so. I practice magic, and I identify with the word.

A shaman? How so?

I practice shamanism, but I don’t see myself as a shaman, per se. I don’t think I’m specialized enough or knowledgeable enough to use that term for myself yet.

Which matters more: getting the vocabulary right or the actual practice of what we are trying to define?

I think using clear vocabulary is important in expressing our experiences and beliefs, however I find that in the Pagan community everyone has a different take on each term, so it’s almost a moot point. I think the practice is far more important than the name you put to it. The path is far too vast to be confined in our small words.

One of the most profound things anyone ever said to you was:

A doula who I absolutely adore and look up to told me that I acted as a Death Doula for my mother. This rocked me to my very core, as I felt her words resonate throughout my whole body. She was absolutely right and it completely changed the way I saw myself and my place in this world.

A defining moment on your Path was:

. There have been many, but one that sticks with me is standing in the Kumik while an local Native elder smudged me. I remember feeling like I belonged. That I had been so worried that they would be angry with me being there, that they would feel that I was appropriating their culture, but instead they asked me to join them. They invited me, and swore to me that they felt I was one of them. I felt like we were all connected, no matter our heritage, and that every path is all a part of the same land. My eyes opened, and I felt at home

Have you ever taken a “leap of faith”?

My whole faith is a leap. I believe in things that I’ve been told are impossible. We may never know the truth, but I feel right in myself and in my faith. That is enough for me.

Please tell us something stupid, reckless or embarrassing you did once in your practice:

Hrm. How about a ritual in which I sent my inner child away in the care of Hecate and Freya as part of an elaborate protection ritual? That was pretty extreme and reckless.

What is the most frustrating thing about your Path?

The loneliness. Close friends and family thinking I’m cute, quaint and eccentric, rather than respecting that these are real beliefs and isn’t something that I’ll grow out of. The politics of the local community.

Have you ever been frightened?

Who hasn’t been? In my practice, absolutely. I’ve been attacked and chased by things that don’t make sense. The dead come to me in my sleep and I am entirely without guidance on how to deal with these things.

Can you perform ritual without a script?

Yep. I often like a script just to give me some direction, but I usually go from my gut. I do what feels right.

Have you ever preformed spontaneous magick/spellcraft?

All the time. When I wake up at night feeling like something is off, I will cast a protection circle. If I feel that something should happen now, and my intuition guides me forward, I go with it.

What are you still exploring or experimenting with?

All of it, to be honest. I’m trying to embrace my natural skills, but it’s hard without help.  In terms of actual bits of things that I’ve been looking into? Shamanism, Greywalker stuff, Voodoo, working with items around the house and garden.

What (or whom) are you the most committed to in your practice and on your Path?

Learning.

Ritual tools are …

Books, tobacco, candles, incense, athame.

Magickal tools are …

See above.

The one thing you can’t do without is:

Nothing really, aside from my loved ones. I love my books, but I don’t *need* them. I love the tools that I do have, but I can work without them.

Seeking personal power is …

About self discovery and betterment while trying to participate in the energies around you

Politics and you Path are …

Tricky.

One thing you wish people would understand about your Path and/or practice is:

I very firmly believe in individual belief. I would never tell you how to practice or what to believe. I do think it’s important to learn from the experiences and wisdom of others, but I am not fond of preaching. All I want is balance and harmony. That is the basic breakdown of the what/why/how of my path.

Do you teach?

If asked, absolutely. I have had great conversations with people, and am always willing to answer questions and reach out to the community.

What do you feel is the role of clergy in modern Paganism and Heathenism?

I’m not fond of the idea of clergy. To me it implies an elite group of people given power over others because they claim to have the answers to the great mysteries, and that’s not what it should be about. Instead I think it should be about elders and experienced members of the community sharing their knowledge and experience, and being treated with respect because they’ve earned it, rather than because they demand it.

When the Veil (or Hedge!) is thin, how does that feel to you?

I get very twitchy. I’m sensitive, so I start to feel like I’m going to crawl right out of my skin.

What entities do you work with most? (ancestors, gods, fae etc)

I try to be very respectful and a good neighbour to my Good Neighbours. I try to keep them in mind when I do practice, as well for the native spirits of the land.  I am a firm believer in the personal relationship with my Gods and Goddesses. We have chats, they are part of my family, I work with them 90% of the time.

What is your relationship with the Land?

I respect it, love it and wish to find balance with it. It is a major pillar of my faith.

The most important aspect of ritual is:

Intent

The main purpose of ritual is:

Focus energies, will and intent towards a specific goal.

What is the purpose of divination/dowsing (or whichever for of augury you use)?

Insight and understanding

What was the most difficult book you ever read? (Either difficult to understand or hard to face what it said or both)

I hate the hardcore theory books that are out there. I’m not interested. Honestly, a book that recently shook me was a fantasy novel by Kat Richardson called “Greywalker”. Despite being fiction, the experiences the main character has with the dead is VERY similar to what I’ve experienced. It’s the first time that I’ve ever read anything that’s close to what I know.

What book do you recommend the most to others?

Absolutely, without a doubt, Natural Witchery and Cottage Witchery by Ellen Dugan.

What is you favourite podcast (if any) and favourite blog (other than your own)?

I don’t really watch podcasts, but for blogs I’ve been especially fond of Dark Mother Goddess and Witch of the Forest Grove lately.

If you could impart only one last piece of wisdom or knowledge, or share one experience with the world at large, what would it be?

Take time to have a conversation with yourself. Get to know yourself and listen to the inner voice. It speaks to everyone differently, and once you figure out how to hear it, your life will change for the better.

Is there an additional question you would like to see here? What is it? (please also answer)

Please finish this meme with a picture, image or photograph of some sort:

Merry Yule!

I feel like I just wished you all a happy Samhain, and here we are already! We’re not planning on doing much until my sister arrives from Calgary, so it will be a relatively quiet night for us (unless you count driving a car with a faulty transmission across the city twice to transport a Queen sized bed). Once my sister is here and nicely settled, we’ll have a nice dinner and maybe even do a small ritual.

Today is my last day of work and then I am off until the 3rd. I’m really excited to spend this time with my sister and my husband, which for me, is what the holidays are all about.

As usual, here is a link to my friend Laura. She always writes the most beautiful pieces on the sabbats and esbats. This is certainly no exception. Here are two great articles on Yule and the importance of embracing your darkness at this time of year. I’ve also included a link that she makes in her piece to a wonderful article about respecting both the light and dark at Yule. Enjoy!
1. Dreaming in the Solstice Eclipse by Laura Marjorie Miller
2. Blessings of Yultide Light and Dark by Cora Wen

Many blessings to you and yours for the new year <3

Cheers!

My Samhain Ritual

We’re about a week and a half from the big day. Where did the time go? October has been flying by.

I think the husband and I have finally picked our Halloween costumes, though now there’s the tough part of actually pulling them together. I still don’t know for sure what our plans are, but I’m trying my best not to stress about it.

As promised, I’m going to share with you what used to be the major part of my annual ritual for Samhain. This was usually done as a part of a group, and as a result, took lots of time and lots of improvisation to make it work for us.

The original spell is from The Book of Spells by Nicola de Pulford. It’s called Encompassing Luck.

We saw this ritual as a way to make goals or resolutions for the New Year. We didn’t look at them so much as “wishes” as rather something to strive for. Keep in mind that the old adage remains true: Be careful what you wish for.

What you Need:

-8 candles (choose colours that correspond to what you’re doing. The book recommends green for prosperity and red for luck, but we usually kept it to either white or purple).

-Wine/Beverage of Choice. Cider would be good too. Or hot chocolate. Yum.

-Some edible nuts/seeds or cake that crumbles well and doesn’t fall apart if dipped in wine.

-A round pebble (though we didn’t always use this, our BOS was normally enough)


If using different coloured candles, set them up so that the colours alternate. Make sure they are secure. In the middle of the circle of candles, place the wine and the nommy snacks.

If using the pebble, keep it in your left hand throughout the whole ritual. Normally, instead of using a pebble, we wrote down all of our wishes in our group BOS. The idea is to infuse the intention of your goals/wishes into something that you can have with you throughout the year.

Starting with the candle at the north, light it.  Dip the foodstuff into the beverage, while making your wish. Eat the foodstuff. We would then each write down our own wish. Repeat, going in the direction that works for you.

If doing this in a group, there are a couple of ways to do this. If you have 4 people in your group, each person gets 2 wishes. Or, if you don’t mind things taking a while, each person gets 8 wishes. Whatever works for you. We’ve done both and found that we preferred letting everyone have 8 wishes while alternating who lights the candle.

When you are done, drink the rest of the wine and enjoy what is left of your treats. Meditate on your wishes/resolutions and the steps you need to take to accomplish them.

Going back over the book, I realize that my interpretations of this ritual are a bit different from the original author’s. For me, spellcraft is intensely personal. Just like when I’m baking, I find it nearly impossible to stick to the “recipe”. I highly recommend you do what feels right to you.