Herbalism, tools, & treasures: Rose Quartz

One of my favorite stones in the whole world is Rose Quartz. In the picture to the above is the chunk that is the size of my hand that I keep on my altar with my most used rosary laying upon it. I ascribe to the concept that crystals can impart energy into objects. After all, we use them as batteries in watches.  Rose Quartz is a stone associated with love, kindness, and health self-esteem. It only stands to reason that I am drawn to this stone, as these are traits I have been working hard to cultivate in myself for many years.

I believe that Rose Quartz is a stone that many would benefit from having in their lives. Apart from its beauty, it seems to lend a calming influence on the area it is located in. It is also a stone that is safe for pretty much everything, unlike the fancy salt lamps that can be toxic to pets. Because it is in the same family as Granite, Quartz is a very strong stone that can withstand a considerable amount of heat. Thus, if you can find a Rose Quartz candle holder, you can get the same area effect of a salt lamp with out the risk of your pets licking it and getting very sick when it is not in use.

Some use Rose Quart to make a gem elixir. I am hesitant to consider using gem elixirs because there are many water soluble stones that are very toxic. Rose Quartz, however, is one of the stones I would use to make a gem elixir because it will not dissolve into the water or alcohol. Gem elixirs operate on a homeopathic principle that the gem’s energetic signature resonates with the water and is imparted into it through exposure. This can then be added to consumable products (i.e. beverages or food) so that the person using it can have more readily accessible use of the gem’s energy. In theory, it sounds great. In practice, I have seen inconclusive results as to how effective it would be.

Originally Published: 1/17/18
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Pagan Parenting: Ritual with Children

Left to right: Snuggle bug, me, Cuddle Bear. Pic from 11/?/16

I have two very busy boys. They get into everything. When they’re not getting into things to see what it is and how it works, they are trying to add to things. The altar has become a place of fascination for my eldest as he is developing a devotional relationship with Zeus. We have a clay monster that Cuddle Bear made which lives on the altar now because it belongs to the gods. This was his first decision after he brought it home and showed it to me. The youngest, Snuggle Bug,  regularly talks to Máni.

High ritual just doesn’t happen around here. Instead, we have small things we do like write notes to the gods in special notebooks. We give them gifts and share things with them. (The favorite toy to share with the gods are matchbox cars.) We tell the old stories and try to observe the holidays. Sometimes, ritual is just habitual things you do together. And that is ok.

Originally Published: 1/16/18
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Tips For Choosing Your First Tarot Deck

Everyone who practices cartomancy has their own favorite pack of cards and style of use. There are literally thousands of different styled decks on the market. A collector could go into serious debit because the price ranges into pretty high numbers. Because of the staggering array of what you could choose from, I’m narrowing my focus to tarot cards. Again, there is an astonishing variety, but we can narrow your options down into a more realistic set with a few steps.

The average price of a tarot deck is between $15 and $30 dollars. Sometimes, you may get lucky and find them at second hand stores for a $1.50. If cost is not an option, you can buy from pretty much any place you can find them with out much worry about funding your purchase. If you’re like me, you need to spend within your budget. There are some really amazing decks out there with fantastic artwork that are not going to clean out your bank account. Shopping around by price, you can still find some great stuff.

That said, choosing your deck based on artwork is a valid way to do it. If the artwork looks amazing to you and gives you all kinds of wonderful feels, and it is in your budget, snap that puppy up. If the artwork looks stunning but it is confusing, you have two options. One is to buy the really cool looking deck because it is really cool. This will lead you down the road of collecting cards, just to warn you. The other option is the buy the deck and try to work with it for a few months. It may be that the deck will get easier to handle as you get more experience with it.

(If anyone can help me learn the identity of this deck that I found a picture of on a free stock photography site years ago, I will owe you a big favor! I want to acquire it but have no idea where to start.)

If you’re not so sure about choosing a deck based on artwork, start with the simplest and least expensive deck you can find. It will usually be some variation of the Rider-Waite deck. This is the basis of  most popular tarot decks. In fact, if you can find a reprint of the Rider-Waite deck, it is an excellent deck to start with. The trick is to find one that comes with a good booklet on the standard meanings. While you could go out and buy a book on tarot reading, the booklets and some practice can get just about anyone started on doing tarot readings as a hobby.

Originally Posted: 1/16/18
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Godspousery Notes: Cat’s Cradle

It has been a long week. It has been a long two weeks, to be honest. I’m struggling to make things happen. I thought that today was going to be the day I got caught up on stuff. Somehow, I spent most of my day making doll clothes and wandering through the apartment in the way I do when I’m over tired but feel I must do something.

I sit here attempting to think of something to say. Loki is sitting in the other chair where I usually work on mending and such, playing cat’s cradle. How he is accomplishing it with only two hands, I have no idea. But he said something earlier that stuck in my mind. “You were feeling sad, anxious, and like everything you did was doomed for failure. Now the doll has little pantalettes and half a sweater. And you have enough yarn left to make booties, mittens, and a hat. That’s not failure. And you got to play with a doll for a little bit and not feel quite so bad. Not too bad for a Saturday, is it?”

I wound up taking a nap earlier and Freyr cuddled me as Beloved was in the kitchen washing dishes and minding the children. Freyr said to me, “You’re allowed to rest, you know. This is how you keep healthy. Self care is as much a part of the work as finishing your novels and keeping house.”

It’s hard because I struggle with self care. I was taught very young that I was not a priority and therefore my self care was not a priority or it was such a low one that it barely registered. I find myself torn between guilt because I could have gotten so much done today. And tempted to head to bed early because I was up early. Loki’s said something to the effect that I have myself so twisted up that he has a hard time figuring it out and I need to get that unwound. I suppose that massive guilt complex over self care may be part of what he was talking about.

Originally Published: 1/13/18

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Prayer Habits Are Hard.

Dear gentle Reader,

My good and faithful friend, I must be honest with you. Prayer is very hard to do when you are not well. Depression lies and tells me that all is hopeless. Anxiety tells me that if I don’t pray in the correct fashion, the gods will be offended and my luck will turn worse. Exhaustion and brain fog makes it hard to remember to write in my prayer journals or bide my beads. It’s just very hard to pray these days.
Which makes it all the more important to at least try. Sometimes, what I manage is a line or two in one of my prayer journals. Other times, I just hold my prayer beads and silently as the gods to just help me make it through the day and help me meet my responsibilities. My most common prayer of late is simply “Please help me.” I cast it out to any of the household gods that may hear me with great desperation at times. Attempting to sleep when I’m struggling with panic and such, I tend to ask Freyr and Loki to help me. That’s all I ask for, help. Sometimes that help comes by way of feeling their presence at my side. Sometimes that help comes by way of them talking me through a grounding exercise or reminding me to take a medication I forgot.
The hardest thing right now in my prayer life is remembering that I can take time to pray and it is ok. It is a form of self care that I struggle with, because I’m not very good at self care. Interestingly enough, the form of ‘active’ prayer that I have been strongly encouraged to engage in from the gods are all self care activities. Like Freyr asking me to spend some time with him doing exercise and yoga (he especially enjoys taking walks with me when the weather is nice) or Loki telling me I should eat good healthy food that I enjoy and take showers when I need them.
Godspousery means there is a more direct relationship, even when depression makes me feel isolated from them. Thus, they make a point of things like very strongly encouraging me to take a nap when I have a migrane coming on or will offer encouragement when I am doing something difficult. And that exchange is kinda what prayer is about. It’s a discussion between you and the gods. Sometimes, that discussion is “Hey, it’s time to take your medication and go to bed” if you’re open to it.
Originally Posted: 1/11/18
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Disgruntled Witch is Disgruntled.

Dear Reader,

I’m not sure what to write at the moment. Life is pretty much the same as it was yesterday. My boys are bouncing off the walls with excitement because they have a snow day tomorrow. I’m recovering from having a migraine this morning. I am pretty sure that the migraine worked pretty well to destroy any plans I had in the works for today’s posting.

I honestly can not say my heart is in writing today’s post. I feel rather miserable. The cold weather has been making my arthritis act up to the point that my back was just nothing but pain last night and today it is my knees giving me trouble. It only exaggerates the aches and such that come with the malaise of depression. I also am recovering from spraining my wrist yesterday when I slipped on some ice. It makes working on what is a very simple crochet pattern rather difficult.

Today has been a challenging day. I try to remember to write in my prayer journal and find three things to be thankful for. Right now, I am thankful that today is almost done, that I have the ability to make this post, and your readership. I hope tomorrow will be a better day.

May Dea’s love be ever upon you. And the gods who favor you always smile upon you.

Originally Posted: 1/4/18
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Veiling, Vintage Style

Hello dear Reader,

As the weather has been inclement, my most frequent form of head covering has been a ski hat. Now, ski hats are nice and warm. Don’t think I dislike that. But I am not the biggest fan of how they look. So, I have been looking at vintage crochet and knitting patterns for hats. It has been fun and confusing all at the same time. Some of these things I honestly have no idea how these ladies kept them on their heads.

I decided that I am going to make a bunch and share the results here. This week, I am going to make the Lacy Fascinator Pattern #1826. I’ll post a picture of myself wearing the end result when I get it finished with my comments on the pattern and the process. As well as what yarn I used and any adaptations I made to it.

Originally Published: 1/3/18
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It Happens to Me too.

Gentle Reader,

I know that many of your associates or even yourself have suffered indignities because of the choice to be veiled. Given the rise of acceptance for the attitudes of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and fear of anything that looks remotely Arab through those highly skewed viewpoints, there has been a sharp uptick in incidents where people who choose to be veiled are harassed. Sometimes it is the store manager following you around the store as you make your purchases. Sometimes it is the people you walk by at the park muttering something vile and degrading. There’s even been incidents where someone has attempted to pull a veil off of a person’s head because of their frothing hatred of anything different.

I just want to say that you are not alone. I have had people mutter behind me at the grocery store that I should go back to where I came from. (Honestly, I have been tempted to turn around and say, “I’ll be doing that as soon as I get my ham and the rest of my groceries. I live right around the corner.” I don’t because I don’t want there to be a scene.)  I have had people tell me that I was oppressing myself in wearing my veil (which makes absolutely no sense to me). I have also had people move well within my personal space and try to loom over me.

The incident that bothered me so much that it was hard to function for the rest of the day happened yesterday afternoon. I was at the grocery store. I was wearing a sparkly pashmina in a headrail style. Honestly, with how cold it has been, I was thinking about a face veiling style just to be warmer. Looking back, I sadly say that I am glad I didn’t.

As I was on my way into the grocery store, a group of young adults (I think they were around 20 and there was five of them.) said “Let’s mess with the weird lady in front of us.” I would have paid it no mind except for the fact that I was literally the only person in front of them at that time. They followed me around the store for a bit. I managed to dodge them towards the back of the store.

When I finished my shopping and I came out to my car, I found that it was half surrounded by shopping carts. This was not some one just left their cart in the parking lot rather than move it to the cart corral or the front doors because it was so cold it made my feet look tropically warm. It was clear they were placed there deliberately. I suspect the car would have been completely surrounded if they had not been interrupted by someone. It was very upsetting for me. I was having a hard time feeling safe after they stalked me through half the store. Coming out to find that someone deliberately attempted to block my car in with shopping carts was distressing.

I honestly don’t know what would have happened if I came out while they were playing their ‘prank’. I genuinely felt like my safety was at risk when they were following me. But because I didn’t get a good look at them, I couldn’t go to staff at the store and inform them that I was being harassed and request the store manager resolve the problem. I feel like if I was wearing a more ‘Islamic’ style of veil, the threat of physical danger to my person would have been greater. This causes me deep grief and anger.

It also has me feeling like I should carry a roll of quarters in my pocket like I did ages ago when I was dealing with the potential threat of being jumped on a semi-regular basis. Because throwing a punch is more effective with more mass behind it. Just remember, keep your thumb on the outside of the fist. Sensei said if it was on the inside, you’d break your thumb. And keep your hand square with your wrist, so you don’t break that either.

Originally Posted: 01/2/18
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Endings & Beginnings

Some meandering on the personal side of the ledger, I have to confess I feel terrible in multiple ways right now. Physically, I’m sick with what my primary care doctor insists is a virus. All I know is that my chest hurts from coughing pretty constantly for the last two months. It may have been back to back viruses or this is something else. Either way, I feel pretty horrible and exhausted from it all.

My mental health has not been that great because my Seasonal Affective Disorder has been kicking me in the teeth and my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been doing the same at the same time. Today is particularly hard because it is an anniversary date of one of the many sexual assaults I had experienced in the past. Being depressed and prone to dissociation has made this month very hard for me to function on the most basic levels. It’s exponentially harder as tasks become more complex like generating content for this and my other blogs. We won’t talk about how writing is going, except to say that it is not really happening right now because I can’t focus on it.

I have a great deal of anxiety over what the coming year will bring. I know some of this is just because I have anxiety problems. Some of this is because there are legitimate things to be anxious over that range from household details to questioning just what manner of disaster the supposed leadership of my homeland are engaged in. Some have the luxury of saying it wouldn’t effect them but there are many people like my family and friends who are deeply effected by things like the farce of tax reform and the long range impact of the disaster in Puerto Rico on things like medical supplies.

So, the year ends with my feeling awful in the sense of negative feelings of distress.

At the same time, I am making plans for next year. I am trying to live in a place of hope. I may not feel it right now, but I can behave as if it is a thing. Through that behavior, I shall build habits to rectify some of the bad habits I developed over the course of a long depressive episode this year. I have decided that 2018 is the year that I get things done. This is my unofficial motto. I’m working on my health. I’m going to finally finish those projects I planned to make for myself. And I’m going to finish some books that have been sitting in various stages of completion. On my list of things I am going to get done this year is I am going to resume posting here.

I’m going to make some changes to posting schedule and topics. There will be some changes to my format for some of the regular post topics. I’m going to do my best to get this to a high quality level of content again and regular production of said content. This being sick and not doing any of this is just unacceptable. So, I am going to do my best to change it.

It is Sai Herthe’s day. This is a day within the Déanic and Filianic communities that we cleanse our homes spiritually and seal them against the forces of evil. Rituals vary. The one that I prefer is to walk through all the rooms of my home with a candle to drive out the darkness. And then with a bit of incense to drive out the essence of evil. I follow this by ringing a bell to chase away the bad luck of the old year. I then place my candle on my altar and let it’s light empower a sphere of protection around my home. When the candle burns out, the light powering the sphere of protection transfers to pure spirit.

Originally Published: 12/31/17
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Godspousery Notes: But *I* Don’t Like It.

Ever have an argument with your significant other about what you should have for dinner? Or, better yet, an argument with your child about what you should have for dinner? A suggestion gets made that is super healthy but you (or the small person in question) just don’t want to have that. The more the disagreement extends out, the more entrenched it seems to become. Now imagine having such an argument with a deity. It doesn’t work out too great.

I’m not saying they will force the issue. You have free will, after all, but they will make it unavoidable. So, Saturday evening, I had the equivalent of arguing over if I was going to eat my Lima beans with Loki and Freyr. They told me I needed to let go control over my various aspects to be more genuine and authentic. I argued that it made me extremely uncomfortable. Cut to the long list of various things that I have to do that are uncomfortable for my health and well being. And then the long list of things that I do that are uncomfortable but I do them for pleasure.

In the end, I was left with the fact that I was whining about not wanting to do something that was good for me because I didn’t like doing it and it squicked me out. And both of them reminded me that needs are a higher priority than wants. As well as the truism that feelings are not facts. Thus, my desire to be in absolute control over myself all the time was of lower priority than my mental health. And my feelings that there was something wrong with me, thus I had to be in complete control all the time are incorrect and not facts.

The time after that is something of a blur. I remember writing something. I remember picking out a brand new notebook to write in for this. When I re-read what I wrote, it felt weird. It wasn’t like writing when I’m eyeballs deep in the writing process. It was like reading someone else’s writing, complete with some changes to my hand writing. It was uncomfortable. But, it is something I need to do on a regular basis, as per their very strong encouragement. Weirdly, afterwards, I slept better than I had in the last week. Like something that needed resolved started to have some progress on it or something.

Originally Posted: 12/10/17
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