The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

PBP: Week 16 ... cautiously Hopeful ...

Well, it has been a week since I posted my prayer for a little aid in shifting the impasse that has afflicted my family for the last year and a half. I never cease to be amazed at how well asking for help can work, when one has already done everything that they personally can to make things right.

I asked and the gods answered. On Monday, I received word that the individual who has been causing all the trouble has finally signed the release which will allow the rest of us to move on with our lives and finally grieve for a wonderful woman who has moved beyond our reach.

Will I get the home I have my hopes set on? Perhaps ... perhaps not ... I can but wait and see. If it is meant to be mine, it will. The legalities that I mentioned in last post mean that the whole thing moves with the speed of bureaucracy and anyone who has had dealings with such knows that it is never speedy. If it is not to be, something else will turn up I'm sure.

But we have an opportunity, for those of us who have wanted to leave the pain of her loss and frustration with the greed and machinations of one individual behind, for which I am intensely grateful.

Instead of being held hostage, we can move forward and celebrate she we miss so very much.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

PBP: Week 15 - Where House is Home

A little something different this week ... a prayer from the depths of my heart to the ears of the gods.

All my life, I have been a home/land owner ... I grew up in the house my parents owned and have owned my own since I was 18 years old. All my life, that is until now ... having sold my acreage back in November, I am homeless for the first time ever. Even though the acreage had been tenanted while I rented in the city, the fact that it was there and it was mine was enough to calm my need for a home and allow me to focus on all the things I needed to get done that couldn't be achieved from a remote location.

Because of certain legalities of inheritance, my ability to purchase a new home is held hostage to the greed of my younger sibling who has been holding up the processing of my mother's will for over 1&1/2 years at this point. Every time we (family and the estate executor) think that things with her have been sorted out to the point where we've all reached an agreement and the process can finally move forward, she returns to refute her verbal agreement with yet more demands. It has gotten to the point where even the lawyer who is executor is losing his patience with her and has moved from reminding us all that "she has the right to make her concerns known" to

In the meantime, my dream home has made itself known .... it's a perfect sized house on a perfect sized lot in the ideal community for me to have a future as an herbalist/apothecary. It needs a metric ton's worth of work to it inside and out, but that doesn't scare me as the potential of the house and the location would make the extensive renovations worth the time and money (particularly as I'm looking at this to be the home I live in until I'm well into my late senior years).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

PBP: Week 14 - Gardening

Unlike most folk I have known, I have come to know the trio of Ladies that make up my personal perception of the Triune Goddess in a backwards manner ... from Crone to Maiden instead of the traditional maiden, mother, crone progression that most everyone else I have known has reported. 

I'm unsure if this is because they read in a book that was how you were "supposed" to come to understand the Female aspect of the Geometry of Divinity (what? didn't you know that GoD = math? ^_^ ) and then set out to pursue the deific archetype that best suited their perspective of that model ... as opposed to myself who did not seek out an interactive relationship with the Divine but was, instead, tapped by a higher power during my first Reiki attunement back in 2000. 

In all cases ... where my interactions with the gods of my ancestors are concerned ... from Quan Yin and her assurance of having "known my kind before" with whom I walked for the better part of 4 years before she introduced me to two new energy forms: the independent and aggressive, crone-like energy of Medb of Connacht and the awesomely powerful yet oddly gentle signature of the seafaring Son of Lir, Manannan  ... to the motherly energies of Brìd ... and, finally, to the bright and youthful signature that I have come to know as Airmid ... it is they who made the initial contact with me. Much to my significant and overly left-brained skeptical surprise. Granted, in each case, one led to the next and so on ... but it was still an experience I had not sought out and deific-archetypes I likely would not have chosen for myself had I been the one doing the choosing. 

Being that the newest to me is the energy I am gradually learning to recognize as Airmid, one of the ways I have chosen to honour her is by studying herbal craft and, by extension, making use of my near-desperate need to garden by choosing plants which each have more than an aesthetic application. The majority were chosen for their medicinal properties. How well they will grow ... in pots, on a tiny stretch of gravel at the back of the house which only really gets sunlight (when the sun happens to be out on the northern wet-coast) in the morning and late afternoons ... remains to be seen, but I shall do my best for them and see what comes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PBP: Week 13 - Garden

I have wanted a garden so very badly since the first summer after I moved to Calgary. Sadly, neither the climate of southern Alberta nor any of the locations I found lodging in made it possible. To be very honest, the place I am residing at now doesn't really make it possible either but, there IS a small space of unused gravel between the concrete pad that is my "porch" and the steep drop-off leading to the truck yard below us. And, in that unused space, I have decided to create a container garden.

Being that I am now working my way through Book 2 of my 3 book Chartered Herbalist course material and am experimenting more and more, under the guidance of the energy signature I have come to recognize as M'Lady Airmid, I will be putting a small group of those plants I use most in my herbal practices.

I already have successfully picked up one Elder shrub (Sambucus nigra var Black Beauty) and will be looking to secure at least one more so that I will have one plant as a source of flowers and another as a source for the berries. The only location in this little gravel plot where I can place my beloved medicinal Elder is the very back corner to ensure that it receives sufficient light to grow well.

This presents a known challenge as, on the other side of the retaining wall is an infestation of Japanese Knotweed (an invasive plant species that propagates via rhizome or root pieces). I remember this dratted thing having grown up the height of the wall and beyond in an attempt to claim the backyard. It is unlikely that I will be able to eradicate the Knotweed (you MUST remove every last bit of root or it WILL return) but I am hoping I can knock it back sufficiently by bushwhacking my way down there with a pair of pruning shears to prevent it from taking over the gravel plot like it had last year when I moved here in June.

At the same time that I picked up the Elder, I managed to secure some of last years herbs that had managed to survive the winter at the nursery. I picked up 2 Lemon Balm, 1 Oregano, 1 Sage, 1 Rosemary and 1 Lavender for 30% off last year's sale price and a "herb garden" planter box which has chives, oregano, curry, and goodness knows what else might have survived. As for those which didn't, it's a small matter of swapping out the dead herbs for some live ones.

I also have managed to gather some seed packets for planting: calendula, basil, thyme, purple coneflower, and lobelia thus far.

Being that our last frost should have been past by the time this piece finally is posted on Friday, I will move from Garden to Gardening for the following week ... as I put, or begin to put, my little container garden together. Whee! I'll get to post pictures


Also of note will be my crafting blog on Saturday, as the first of my tinctures will be ready for decanting and bottling. Anyone interested in how it's done, may want to "tune in"


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PBP: Week 12 - Flame-keeping.

One of the very few of my spiritual practices that didn't fall to the wayside during my stay in Calgary and descent into depression, was my custom of Flame Keeping one night from dusk to dawn every 20 days.

I do not do this alone, rather I am part of the Ord Brighideach International as one of many persons who honour the Flame of Kildare and the Lady for whom said Flame burns. Whether she is called St. Brigit or, as I do, the Keeper hearkens back to an earlier time before the introduction of christianity to the Ilse of Eire and honour the Goddess Brìd, this one task draws us together.

One night in 20, we have tasked ourselves to stand vigil and care for that little portion of the Kildare Flame that each of us has received ... usually in the form of a candle that has been lit and pinched out so that the wick resonates with the energy of the parent source. On the 20th Night, it is believed that the Goddess/Saint herself tends the Flame. 

I tend to take this Flame Keeping a step further, taking the time to marry my charged candle's flame with any available pilot lights (furnaces, hot water tanks, gas stoves/ovens, barbecues, gas fireplaces, etc.) in any place I reside. I do this to ensure that the home I am making is blessed and guarded by the power of the Lady of the Flame. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

PBP: Week 11 - Face

For anyone who has taken the time to read some of my previous posts in this Blog, it will come as little surprise to read that my very first actual spiritual experience (of the sort that my normally analytical/rational/skeptical mind couldn't find a way to "explain" away as fancy or fantasy) was with the Chinese goddess Quan Yin. Although I had been courting the spiritual since I was 13 years old, it was not until my 32nd year that I finally felt the unmistakable touch of a power greater than what I could comprehend rationally. And even then, it took a while before I could truly accept what I'd experienced. I spent near to four years following her guidance before she introduced me to Medb of Connaught and my path diverged back towards that of my ancestry and cultural heritage ... back towards the Isles and Ireland in particular.

It was during that four years that I was introduced to the concept of Face ... a vital combination of reputation, social standing, manners, honour, respect, and esteem (as in the esteem you gain from others, not that which ego grants the self) all rolled together into a living code that directs not only one's personal behaviour but how one interacts with society and the world. It is a very difficult concept to define ... not only for an individual like myself who has developed an instinctual understanding of it in adulthood, but also for those who are raised to it if called upon to explain it to someone who was not.

Like so very many youngsters, in my early years I could not grasp the significance of the lessons my parents attempted to impart to me about personal responsibility, honour, and reputation. I was a troubled child who chose (and it was a conscious choice) not to care what others might believe of me while I attempted to ignore my complete lack of self respect in favour of surviving the troubles my choices brought to me. If I had a dollar for every time my Father attempted to remind me of the importance of those nebulous qualities by quoting me the motto from his family's heraldic device: "Spectemur Agendo" in Latin or "Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha." in Irish Gaelic ... and translating to "Let us, by our actions, be judged". I'm certain he believed that it all fell on deaf ears as I did not feel the need to change my ways until after he had passed beyond the veil in 1997. 

To tell the truth, his passing and the other events of the year immediately prior to it ... not the least of which being that, after 10 years of estrangement from my parents, my decision to end my abusive marriage allowed me to reconnect with them and have that last year with him ... was the wake-up call that I needed to spur me to embrace that motto and present to the world the Face I wished to have identify me.  

The older I become, the more important my Face becomes to me not only in my mundane, day-to-day life but in my spiritual interactions ... mainly because I have been dealing, since 2000, with deific archetypes who demand it. Gaels have looong memories, I have said as much and provided examples in previous posts, and it is true ... as a result, those who wish to live as one and work for and with the Gaelic gods of old, must needs behave in a manner which will not cause a loss of Face to their children's children's children. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PBP: Week 10 - Education

Yes, I'm late ... I have no one to blame but myself for it so I offer no excuses and here I am getting caught back up before I have two posts to write.

When I was a teenager, there was too much going on in my head for me to be able to be focused at all on the concept of education. I was simply unable to grasp how important it would later turn out to be in my life, and I admit to being guilty of the "it's just a piece of paper" mentality.

I was also a mother by seventeen ... striving to deal with a husband who had some serious mental and emotional issues. I spent 10 years with that man; an individual who's mental imbalances and internal insecurities and selfishness resulted in physical and emotional abuse to my children and mental/emotional/sexual abuse of myself. The vast majority of those 10 years were spent within the walls of my house, as to go out (to look for work or friends) usually resulted in some serious accusations of infidelity and such behaviour on his part as it quickly became (early on) easier to acquiesce that argue.

All in all, I consider myself the poster child for how NOT to do things if you want to be successful. And, before anyone decides they need to chide me for being too harsh on myself, I assure you that I am not ... I am pragmatic about my own failings, particularly where my early years are concerned. I did the very best I could, considering my situation and the internal deamons I had to contend with BUT, the fact remains, I was young and stupid and I made some blindingly bad choices that took decades to dig myself out from under. It is by going through everything I went through (unpleasant tho it often was) is what has gone into making me the person I am today ... and I quite like myself now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

PBP: Week 9 ... the EM-path

It's likely no surprise to anyone who has read my post on depression to find out that I walk the em-path. As an INFP  (Introversion/iNtuition/Feeling/Perception) ... Idealist/Advocate/Healer ...  personality type, I really had no choice but to do so.

As common as the term empath has become to explain those hypersensitive/hyper-observant individuals who resonate to the vibrations of the people that surround them, back when I was growing up in the early 1970's no word existed to label persons who could "know" how a person felt just by being in proximity to them. Besides, when one had a psychiatrist for a Father, one learned early in life what not to say. To draw unwanted attention was to end up on medication and/or in therapy.

Imagine, if you would dear readers, that you are once again 6 years old and are facing a classroom full of strange faces for the first time in your life. Imagine the rows of little wooden desks with their occupants all turned towards you with a wide mixture of expressions ranging from mild disinterest to curiosity and all points in between. Never before in your life have you been around this many people at one time, except perhaps on a park playground where excited and active euphoria tends to reign supreme in the little bodies that hurtle around and past you in play. You blink as a wave of ... something you have no name for ... surges towards you and slams into your solar plexus before surging around you, invading every sensory perception you possess. You feel everything ... every raw emotion from every one of those still mostly feral little people facing you all at once. 

I know that there will be those among you, reading the above paragraph, who will work their way through the scenario I have laid out visualizing each element I have brought to it ... there will be those who can only read the words and try to understand ... and there will be those who will emotionally enter the scene and experience it as I did on my first day of school ... the day I learned that people can hurt you without ever touching you. And those persons, who can put themselves there and feel that surge as I did in recollection while writing it as clearly as I did the day I experienced it, will be the empaths among you.

Friday, February 24, 2012

PBP: Week 8 ... [D]issappointment

I'm afraid I'm going to be both disappointed and disappointing this week.

Issues of a personal/family nature have been an ongoing situation for me for the last year and, just as I was beginning to allow myself to believe that it might be over, the individual at the heart of it has chosen to step things up to the next level, rather than be reasonable.

As a result, my life is likely going to remain in suspended animation for the foreseeable future while I await the squabbling to abate so that useful progress can be achieved.

I am very disappointed in both the situation itself and the person behind the trouble. This makes it very difficult to want to write anything.

I recognize that this is a circumstance that is completely outside my ability to influence ... I am, essentially, an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire between one's person's greed and determination to have things their way at all cost. There is little I can do but to wait.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

PBP: Week 7 - [D]epression

I am still struggling to get caught up to where I should be with my Herbalism studies. I'm almost there. Finally, I have seven lessons left to do and I'll be starting on Book 2 at the beginning of March like my study timeline says I ought to. It's been a struggle and has meant that nearly everything else has had to go on the back burner.

Interestingly the reasons I got behind tie in with this week's Pagan Blog Project post ... likely they are also the reasons why my spiritual practices fell to the wayside during the three years I was in Calgary.

I have always had a tendency towards depression as far back as I can remember. Granted that having been as bullied as I was as a child and into my youth, certainly did not dispose me to being an outgoing or outwardly cheerful child. Whatever the factors that led me to it, I was the child that would deliberately draw apart when there were gatherings taking place. I have vivid summer camp memories of wandering the woods alone in tears while everyone else was having a good time at the weekend dance or some-such.

Being that my father was a psychiatrist, and one of the worlds leading minds in depression research, I possess far greater tools in my mental inventory than the average individual. I have been keenly aware of my own depressive traits and tendencies since I was about 12 or 13 years old and have practised self-analysis and self-management of my inner turmoil since I was about 16.

These are not things that my Father sat down and taught me how to do. Indeed, he had a distinct failing where recognizing when a family member was having issues or something was amiss ... as demonstrated by the lengths to which my grade 9 English teacher had to go to convince him that I needed glasses or by his reaction to his own mother needing a cane to get around. Rather, these are things that I learned to do through reading his psychiatric books and journals and by listening to him discussing his day at the dinner table with my Mother.

Friday, February 10, 2012

PBP: Week 6 - [C]rafts

Just a brief post this week ... I've been working hard at getting myself caught up with my herbalism schoolwork.   Since I have until October of 2012 to have all three books completed and all lessons sent in and graded to be ready for the final, I have some lost time to make up for. I'm averaging 6 lessons completed ever three'ish days. With 33 lessons in book 1 to complete, if I continue at this rate, I'll have myself caught up and ready to start the  2nd book at the beginning of March. I will then have 5 months to complete it and 2 months to complete book 3  and review to be ready for the final.

This week's topic is crafts ...

A couple of weeks back, while writing for this project, I decided to find new ways to incorporate the sacred and, specifically, actions that would allow me to honour the three Ladies who are my patrons

I suppose some would call them matrons, but to me that seems like an anal point of semantics that radical feminists feel they need to resort to in order to distance themselves from the supposed evils of the "patriarchy". I'm afraid I cannot agree ... look up the words patron and patronage in the dictionary and you find a reference to the concept of development of an individual (or groups) under the auspices/support of a benefactor. The definition of the word matron, while motherly, carries no such definition. Being that I, personally, favour a happy medium (BALANCE) in all things ... I'm going to opt to utilize the grammatically correct word, as opposed to inventing for myself a new use for a different word.

For the most part, those crafts I create tend to be dedicated to Medb (pronounced Mev) of Connacht as she is the one of the three who most favours direct action ...and mead. My brewing of which is on a grudging hold until I have a permanent home and the ability to bring my carboys out of storage.

However, I have found that certain activities seems to draw out a certain Lady's energies over the others.

Anything involving herbs, oils, infusions, etc, (in short, the products of the green growing things)will bring out the high spirited and very youthful energies I am learning to recognize as Airmid (Aer-mit). Whether this be my wild-crafting, my current school curriculum, or my search for the right home on acreage to purchase.

While, as befits her position as hearthkeeper, anything of a domestic nature will resonate with Brìd (Breet) ... however, I have been given to know that I am expected to create and work with an actual forge at some point but that will have to wait until I have a home to call my own with enough property to allow me to build it.

I apologize for the brevity of this post. I may opt to come back at a later time and expand on it more.
Be well!

Medb - Wire writing with the Ogham alphabet.
Medb - Wire weaving
Medb - Chainmail pouch
Brìd - Imbolc doll and cross
Brìd - Baked honey cakes
Airmid - making Rosehip Syrup

Friday, February 3, 2012

PBP: Week 5 - In Good [C]onscience ...

Not being Wiccan, I often find myself running afoul of the perceptions of the mainstream (both the uninformed non-pagan, and the fluffies who haven't realized that there are almost as many flavours of witchcraft out there as there are at Baskin-Robbins, and then some) where the "Rede" is concerned.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.
~ Doreen Valiente, 1964

That's just not how I do things ...

My personal view, where that particular piece of prose is concerned, centres on a perception of the time period within which Wicca emerged into the public view. I strongly suspect that those publishing companies which are currently responsible for the fact that the Craft has become a money making fad (indeed, almost a fashion statement instead of a true belief pattern) likely found it easier to risk themselves upon those books where the common Christian perception of the evil witch casting hexes was refuted and the would-be neophyte was represented as pacifistic to the point of near-apathy. It just never rang true to me and, really, it put me in mind of the very Christian concept of "turning the other cheek".

My ancestors are not a peaceable people. Neither they, nor their gods, were prone to letting slight, insult, or wrong go unanswered. The concept of Face/Reputation is a very important one and children are still, even now among the diaspora of the Irish and Scots, taught that we need to behave always in a manner that would bring honour to our great-great-grandchildren. Gaels have VERY LONG MEMORIES and your wrongdoings can and frequently will be held against your descendents. (Don't believe me? Ask a MacGregor or a MacDonald about the Campbells ... a clan often shunned even now in the twenty-first century for crimes perpetrated in the 1600-1700's).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GOYB: Week 4

Yes, I know I'm not supposed to be paying attention to the numbers. But when they mark a positive milestone, I think it should be OK.

I booted up the Wii this morning only to have that little Balance Board animation tell me that my weight had dropped again. I'm at 103.7Kg now ... which means that I still get to watch the needle on the Wii scale bury itself at the very top of the screen and hear that damnable chipmunk'y voice chirp "that's obese!" (am I the only one to find the Wii Fit to be a passive-aggressively insulting little bugger?). However, when I do the conversion to pounds (which, being a child of the late 60's/early 70's, I am far more familiar with) that works out to 228.6lbs ... which marks the first time that I have weighed less than 230lbs (being that I started this process nearly 3 months age at 247lbs) since I turned 30, 14 years ago.

I'm thrilled and delighted ... and eager to hit that next milestone of 100kg (220.4lbs). Small goals over a reasonable period of time will result in my getting to my optimal weight without stressing my system and causing it to go looking for the missing weight. I need to avoid rebound at all costs ^_~

I saw my Dr on Thursday and, after some discussion, he put me on anti-depressants. I see nothing wrong with this, being that I can't seem to shift the black moods, the pain, or the lack of energy using oils and herbs and my normal coping techniques are not up to the task. I recognize that I could use a little help in dealing with the chemical imbalance in my brain that is causing me to languish in a depressed state, and that help is only until such time that my normal balancing practices can be effective again ... the Dr. figures about 3 months or so.

It's no shame to be on them although, if I were to say that I was completely OK with it, I'd be lying. I tend to pride myself, considering I have been depressive as far back as I can remember, in being able to manage myself well enough to not need the meds as a matter of regular course. However, I also see no point in adding to my internal distress, being that the factors and stresses that brought on the depression (Mum's passing, my sister's machinations, and the delay it's caused in my ability to grieve properly) are beyond my ability to control, by berating myself for failing to keep a level course through it all. Especially when the Dr admits becoming overwhelmed just hearing about a portion of it all.

Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are not a sign of weakness when dealing with a normally healthy individual (someone who does not have a chronic issue) ... they are a sign that said person has had to remain strong far too long and their mental resilience has been worn away over tie.

I said as much to Kara in the Dr's office and, unexpectedly, he walked in at that moment ... his response to my comment was "very well put".

Saturday, January 28, 2012

PBP: Week 4 - Broom ...

I had the opportunity to hie myself over to the Grandville Island Broom Company on Thursday and managed to make a little dream of mine come true. This store is run by the daughters of the owners of the North Woven Broom Company, the company that created and provided the brooms for the Harry Potter movies (if you're into that stuff, I'm not but it's a neat factual tidbit). I have been aware of the NWBC near Creston, BC for many years, having found them back around 2000 but never having had an opportunity to make the trip for a handcrafted broom. When I learned that the daughters and a friend of theirs had opened their own shop at Grandville Island in 2010, I was estatic but (being in Calgary at that time) didn't really have opportunity to make the trip back to go there. Having moved back to the coast this past May, I made up my mind to finally go and see it.

I remember being a little girl, when my parents carried us "Home" (Ireland) to introduce my sister (who was barely more than a toddler) to the Family.  I can vividly recall my mother's mother, wee Nanny, sweeping the courtyard of the big house in Donegal with a "proper broom" ... in that I mean a bundle of sticks tied to a slightly crooked branch. She had a fancy store-bought one that my grandfather had gotten for her, and which she used inside the house, but she preferred the old one for cleaning up outside as it had the ability to move a lot of small debris quickly. I can also remember playing hobby-horse with that broom ... it was so different than the vacuum-cleaner Mum had at home.

I'm guessing that is likely where my love for brooms came from and, as I aged and learned about this "witchy" stuff, I learned to incorporate them into my spiritual practices. I have never, however, owned what I would consider a "proper broom" ... I'm sorry but, as reliable as he is, Oskar just doesn't qualify. I have often seen pictures of the witch's besom (well ... what came to be called a besom as Wicca became popular, anyhow) and have had my little *sigh* moments.

I subscribe to a few fairly common superstitions concerning a broom ... such as not to carry a used broom with me when I move. I never leave a broom sitting on it's bristles (not only bad for the broom, but it allows a gradual dissipating of the household luck as built up and stored in the broom during use), and I never sweep towards an exterior door. Few things can raise energy as quickly or as well as giving the area the individual will be using for ritual or spell-craft purposes an enthusiastic sweeping. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PBP: 3.2 - Studying Begins in Earnest ...

Now that I have the area cleared and set up, I had no excuse this morning to not get to the books. And that is exactly what I did ^_^

Course Materials

Using my work station for more than a clutter-collector.
I completed and submitted my first lesson ... but more, I signed up for an online webinar program on the Energetics of Herbs presented by the HerbMentor site and purchased their Wildcrafting boardgame. I can so see myself playing that with Amaya (my granddaughter) in a couple of years.

If you look carefully, you can see that I've added an essential oil diffuser as well as a rock salt tealight holder and a selenite tealight holder. I wanted to have something with a flame that I could light during my various activities to honour each respective Lady. Herbalist Airmid's tealight could only be the one warming the diffuser, the rock salt tealight has been dedicated to Brìd for many years when it burned in my clinic room in Calgary while I was practising. That left the selenite tealight holder for Medb's flame. It's not much, but it makes me feel good , so why the heck not?

I did a little baking this evening, which is posted over at the Spider's Weavings blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

PBP: 3.1.c - Bare Boned Beginning...

Work Space - completed (sort of)

So, I got the prep work I had promised myself I would done.

I now have the bare-bones of a personal space with a small altar and a candle shrine. Both are extremely plain at this point (being that 98% of my things are in the storage locker), but functional and (for me) meaningful.

A view of both the altar and the shrine from across my
work space.

Candle shrine

(very) basic Altar
Now, I can get down to acting on the three tasks I have set myself for this week ... I have the space and just a little touch of me within it.

It's a good beginning, methinks ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

PBP: 3.1.b - Vanquishing the Clutter Monster ...

Work Space - mid-way

I actually found today interesting ... how powerful the drive to accomplish something can actually be when one has fully committed to it. I had a beastly night .. a lot of pain and no sleep till around 5:40am. As a result, I did not get up this morning feeling in any way like I wanted to get cleaning. I decided I could afford to put off the work I needed to do until later in the day and sat myself down to try to catch up with some of my project reading. Well, the longer I sat there, the less I could focus on what I was trying to read and the more and more my eyes and mind were drawn to the cluttered areas and to the twin set of plastic drawers I was planning to use to tame the mess.

Hecate checking out the rather plain but functional pair of
plastic drawers I picked up yesterday.

I will be honest in that I really didn't know where to start ... although contained in a small space, I had managed to accumulate a daunting amount of stuff. The more I tried to talk myself into putting it off, the more distracted I became. I tried, I really did try to procrastinate ... but, apparently, my higher self took my promise to get it done far more seriously than my exhausted conscious self was trying to. Finally, I gave up trying to argue with my rising sense of distraction and got to it.

Once I actually got into the work ... which began by clearing everything out of the afflicted areas and cleaning the space physically and magickally (a good scrub, a sweep through, a dusting, an eyebright spritz and a thorough smudging) ... I started to realize just how much stuff the clutter monster had bequeathed me with.

GOYB!: Week 3

Well, this week went a fair bit better.

Still had some residual sickness at the beginning of the week and managed not to rebound too badly once my appetite returned. I know the Dr said not to focus on numbers but I just have to squee a little ... since I took control of my eating habits, I have lost 16 lbs. Not only have I managed to stop the cortisol based, high-stress fuelled weight gain my Dr was so concerned about, but I have actually managed to put it in reverse and maintain that for a solid 3 months now.

While 16 lbs might not seem like much to many people, for me this is a really big deal and something to celebrate. It has been almost a decade and a half since I broke my metabolism (starvation syndrome) and the weight started piling on ... I climbed from 165lbs to 230lbs in under 6 months. And the best I could manage was to maintain that weight, no matter what I tried. So, I'm doing a happy dance over the fact that the numbers I'm not supposed to be focusing on are moving in the right direction at last.

Tracking calories and exercising portion control is, I'll be honest. a royal pain in the butt ... having to account for every little thing that goes into the mouth from a glass of water, to a piece of gum, to a meal, is tedious and time consuming. And it must be done carefully, adjusting the daily calorie intake and setting small goals in the understanding that the weight has got to come off slowly to give the body time to adjust to the changes ... otherwise, at the first opportunity, it will go looking for it's lost poundage.

I managed to get a walk in every day this week, and have plans set to go swimming (eep!) on Monday.

All in all, a success methinks ^_^

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PBP: 3.1.a - Appraising the Situation ...

Work Space - before

Well, as promised ... here are the before photos for my little work-space in this suite. Taking the photographs has helped me to really recognize the clutter, and therefore the mental and spiritual quagmire, that I was accumulating. Definitely high time that I got it under control, if only to be able to find anything I'm looking for never mind any other reason.

Since I need the table free for two of the three of my chosen activities, it seemed like this would be the most logical place to start.

A overview shot of my work-space ...
which includes the table, tall cabinet,
the short cabinet behind my chair,
and the space beneath the window.

Yes, even the space beneath the window
has managed to accumulate a fair
amount of clutter.

Not a square centimetre of available
surface has escaped the clutter monster.

Geez ... and I was wondering why I'm feeling stuck and weighted down?
Heh ...

Since tomorrow is the New Moon, 11:39pm PST (so the bulk of it's influence will be felt the following day), and Monday is the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dragon ... I'm going to take my time over the next three days (making use of the old 'three-days-moon') to properly cleanse, organize, and dedicate the area so that, by the time I'm ready to actually make a start using the space on Tuesday I'll have had opportunity to set myself thoroughly into a new mindset ... releasing my accumulated negativities along with the clutter.

Saturday - acknowledge, recognize, plan and prepare. Gather materials needed. [ x ]
Sunday - clean (physically), cleanse (spiritually), purify (area and self), sort, discard (physically and mentally). [   ]
Monday - organize, set up, dedicate, energize [   ]

More to come ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

PBP: Week 3 - [B]eginnings

Welcome to week 3 of my participation in the Pagan Blog Project ... this week's subject is that of Beginnings.

Having spent the first week sorting out my attitude, and the second thinking about what actions I could undertake to renew the spiritual portion of my mundane life; I think it's high time I put all that mental effort into play ... 

But first: 

To those newcomers whom I have seen post, upon this or that blog and the Facebook page, apologies for their lack of knowledge and/or statements that they feel inadequate in comparing themselves to other bloggers who have been posting copious tracts of information ... I'd like to reassure you that we all began in the same place when it came to our pagan practices: knowing bupkis about anything. 
Whether you are speaking to an RC like myself (Recovering Catholic) who has been pursuing a pagan path for upwards of 30 years, someone who was raised in a post-1960's pagan family, or someone who claims to have a "traditional" family that reaches back for generations ... each of us has come to this either knowing nothing or, worse, having to unlearn a lot before we could make any useful progress within ourselves. Either we have been taught by others (pagan parents, coven leaders, etc.) or we teach ourselves.
You have nothing to apologize for and will -- with time, diligent research and education -- gather the information that will allow you to feel more secure in your place within the oft pseudo-intellectual world of the neo-pagan. Please place your focus, first, on developing a system of living with your spirituality and give it your all until it has become second nature. The information whoring that we are nearly all guilty of will come with time.
I'd far rather interact with someone who is sincere in their practices but lacking in know-how than some pretentious arse who has the right answers but is all glamour and no substance. 
~Medb, January 19, 2012

Now, with that out of the way ^_~,

Monday, January 16, 2012

GOYB: sidelined ...

Ok, so I'll freely admit that, activity-wise, this past week was a wash.

I spent the first half of the week nursing my spouse through an extremely nasty stomach/GI virus ... and the second half succumbing to it myself.
Not hardly the way I wish to go about losing weight; as this type of weight loss (being a result of a combination of lack of appetite, high fever, nausea, and other unpleasantness I opt to refrain from detailing) creates a starvation situation that nearly always results in a rebound once appetite returns.

Hopefully, this coming week will prove more productive ...

Friday, January 13, 2012

PBP: Week 2 - [A]ction

Last week I wrote about Attitude being an integral starting point for me in the pursuit of reintroducing to my daily life an aspect of the spiritual and sacred.

This week, I'm going to touch upon that most necessary of companions without which attitude never gets beyond the mental drawing board ... action. In covering this topic I also, of necessity, must delve into the themes of inaction and inertia.

Action is the state of making something happen, usually in reference to movement ... reaching for a glass, walking out the door, lighting a candle, creating a prayer basket, etc. It is that essential movement that brings the well intentioned thoughts out of the realm of my mind and into the real world.

Inertia is the simple concept of a thing at rest wishes to remain at rest, and it is going to take a certain amount of  effort to overcome that thing's preference to remain as it is ... in order to create action or movement, it is necessary to not only match the energy inherent in the inertia but to top it. This concept of inertia is equally valid in the realm of the mind as in the world of physics ... it is far easier for a human to continue in whatever manner is habitual for them than it is to change those habits, even when they are negative or harmful. Changing habits requires the effort needed to match the inertia of the habit (recognizing and catching when one is performing the habit) and then, atop that, yet more effort to consciously substitute the negative pattern for one that is believed to be more preferable.

Inaction, meanwhile, is a state of idleness (lack of movement) due to an inability to overcome inertia. It leads to a failure to accomplish action and can be caused by an insufficient application of effort (laziness) or it can be as a result of external factors over which one has little or no control.

Monday, January 9, 2012

GOYB!: Beginning - Better Late then Never ...

More of Airmid's influence, methinks ...

So, I've been looking for more ways to encourage me to be healthier ... reduce stress and therefore encourage my SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System) to stand down which, in turn, would lower the cortisol content in my bloodstream and thereby allow me greater control over my metabolism. 

Cortisol is that hormone in a woman's blood stream which reacts directly to elevated SNS function (read as a prolonged state of high stress) which is directly responsible for stress-based weight gain and lowered metabolic burn. Simply put ... once a woman's stress levels raise beyond what her body/brain considers to be a healthy level, the cortisol in her bloodstream is activated and she begins storing increasing amounts of the foods she eats throughout the day. The higher the stress level, the more food is converted to storage. Likewise, the longer the stress level remains elevated, the more likely the person is to become stuck in a fat-gain scenario as the fight or flight hormone levels (including cortisol) continue to rise.

Back in November, that's where I found myself ... a situation where I was trapped in a weight gain scenario as a result of the action of my cortisol. Being that the main causes of my severely elevated stress were (and still are) things over which I have no direct control, it was unlikely that waiting for the situations to resolve themselves was an option. According to the Dr, I was on track to hit 136Kg (300lbs) by next May if my rate of gain continued. Not a circumstance I was prepared to face without trying anything I could to bring it back under control.

Friday, January 6, 2012

PBP: Week 1 - [A]ttitude

It strikes me as the perfect place to begin the project ... what with everything I've been internally wrestling with over the last week, I feel that recovering my spiritual practice absolutely must begin with my attitude.

I recognize that, over the last several years, it has become an unfortunate but easily fallen into habit to focus more on the negativity of mundane life and that there is no possible way such a focus could not affect everything. The more narrow my focus became on all the things that were going wrong, the easier it became to set aside my spiritual connection to my ancestors, my gods and my self. The more things went wrong, the less inclined I was to remember that I was failing to maintain my balance and the further into negativity my attitude sank.

Even with the move back to the Lower Mainland, that narrow, mundane, negative focus has remained with me ... causing me to adopt a stoic but defeatist attitude towards my life, my self, and my future. Although I have made a few efforts to move beyond my hermit's persona, I cannot honestly say that I haven't approached each without a measure of negativity. Not in the outings or the people themselves, but rather in the uncomfortable knot of emotion that (even now, just thinking about it) roils in my abdomen at the prospect of going outside as I approach the time of departure and how very often I have allowed it to dissuade me from making a change. 

Since doing a Crafting for a friend before the turn of the calendar, I have been experiencing a dramatic shift in my attitude and I find that, the more positive it becomes, the more I catch myself thinking about things I can do to bring my spiritual life back into my day to day the way it should be. 

Attitude is that component of one's self that will either set you up for success, or doom you to defeat long before you ever begin whatever it is you wish to do ... whether it be spiritual practice, spellwork, or just getting out of bed in the morning. Everything else that accompanies a pagan existence, the tools and trappings that we all love so very much (altars, statuary, tools, incenses, herbs, garb, etc.), are secondary to the individual's own heart and mind and, if your attitude is trapped in the dark, there's not going to be much impulse to do anything about it. Good intentions don't get things moving .. and, saddled with a negative attitude, I didn't want to do much.

As a result of that Working, my attitude has been undergoing a  powerful change in a very short space of time. A good reminder that the crafter is influenced by the Craft they practice. And, as my personal outlook on everything brightens, I find myself seeking more and more ways to reintroduce to my daily life the spiritual practices that I allowed to slip away. Rather than try to return to the old activities I used to engage in,  in years long gone now, I feel it would be better to try acknowledge that I am not the same person I was then and to discover new ways to grow. 

I no longer feel like I need to wait "until things get better" to reconnect with my ancestors, my gods and my self ... I need to renew my relationship with each in order FOR things to get better. The more I allow my brightening attitude to move me towards a new path where balance is restored between the physical resident of this life and it's mundane requirements (work, bills, money, etc) and my much neglected need to have a connection with something beyond myself, the brighter still I believe my attitude will become. Moving me to yet greater positivity and manifesting it into the mundane.

Attitude alone, however, will only take me so far ... but that is a tale for the next instalment.

Finding my Way Back to Me ...

I have been wanting to find a way to kick-start myself back into a semblance of spiritual practice. Isn't is amazing how quickly time flies? How easily one can fall out of the habit of integrating the spiritual with the day to day when it feels like life has gone to hell in a handbag and all you can do is scramble for survival?

As the turn of the year approached, I felt a growing need to get my inner self back on some sort of track ... there comes a point when even my simple faith that all will work out in the end gets strained to breaking point. Often, I have found that, if I'm paying attention, the universe will send me clues as to what I need to do to set myself straight again. And, as this wish grew in the back of my mind, the pointer came when a friend (to whom I have never stepped out as Pagan) came to me and asked (based on a previous knowledge that I was into "oils, herbs, and stuff") me if there were any herbs she could incorporate into a private cleansing/purification/tie-breaking ceremony that would aid her in creating some much needed emotional/mental distance during a breakup and the unpleasantness that is the unfortunate fallout accompanying it.

For the first time in years, I felt moved to do something more and I set myself to put together a care package for her and her daughter ... working with will and intent to encourage a positive outcome for all involved. For the first time in years, I felt alive and tuned into the world in a way I have dearly missed. The feeling has stayed with me through the turning of the calendar and I can now acknowledge that I have been affected by my own working. Where before I saw only a long, slow, tedious and seemingly unending wait for my opportunity to start anew, now I look around this garden suite and cannot help but feel so very fortunate and grateful for being here.