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.

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.