Devotion when not feeling well.

When you want to engage in daily devotional activity and everything is going well, it can be deceptively easy to do. Doing so when you are not well, overly stressed out, or stuck with such a busy schedule that you need to literally schedule when you take care of your daily activities of living (i.e.: sleeping, eating, showering, etc.), can be very difficult. Throw in something of a struggle because you want to do the very best (or at least do it as well as you do when everything is going smoothly) and you have a recipe for heartbreak.

It is important to remember that the Divine does not need our devotional activities. The Divine is vast, wonderful, and mysterious. The Divine is far larger than we can comprehend and our devotional acts, while pleasing and a source of comfort for us, are not what makes the Divine able to effect the world. It is something entirely separate from us and can continue (and will continue) to influence the world long after we have shuffled off this mortal coil. One would ask with a sense of nihilist morbidity, “What is the point to devotion then?”

The answer is simple. Devotion is an act of reaching out to the Divine and maintaining a relationship with them. The Divine is always there, reaching out to us. We simply need to return the gesture, which is what devotional activity is for. There is this idea that a person with a rich devotional life is constantly engaged in mystic prayer and somehow above the things that make our lives ‘mundane’ and what makes us human. This idea is false. It is possible to have a rich devotional life even when you feel too awful to engage in those comforting rituals.

Some days, when I am feeling truly horrid, I simply can’t muster up the energy to do much more than the bare minimum required to be a parent and keep my home tidy (and there are days where I struggle with even that). Enter into the situation the feeling that I should be keeping my daily prayers going and doing all the little things I do to honor the gods, and I come away feeling pretty miserable.

But, there is one thing I can and always do. That is to simply tell the gods that I am struggling and that I care. Sometimes, just that simple admission of why I am having a hard time can help relieve the pressure I feel to do something for them. Other days, I still feel anxious and upset. Those days, I will sometimes spend time just communing with the gods by way of telling them my troubles and fears. Because they don’t want you just when everything is going well. They want you as you are, troubles, fears, and insecurities and all.

So, you may not have it in you to light the candle and put out that offering. Looking at your shrine may make you feel even more exhausted because it is a bit dusty and in need of a bit of tender care. This does not mean you are failing. It just means that you are struggling. And when you say to the Divine ‘Hey, I’m trying. I’m just really struggling here.’ that can be more precious than a thousand fancy baubles offered up in some prestigious ritual done in absolute accuracy with ancient directions. Because you are opening your heart to them and showing your vulnerable side. And that is hard to do. Especially with the Divine because you can never say for certain just how that is going to work out.

But that sort of emotional rawness is precious. Don’t give up when you’re not feeling well. Just lower that bar you need to hurdle and give what you can.

Originally Published: 5/28/17

Posted in Devotional, Opinion | Leave a comment

Self Publishing Frustrations.

Today has been a day of editing. It has not been the editing of the sort that is for content. I finished that sometime Tuesday. No, today I have been fighting to get my margins and page numbers just right for the printer. Each time I make changes and upload them, everything gets reset back to what it was before.

I am mildly irate over it all. I believe I have spent the last five hours (minus what was needed to mind the kids when the got off the bus and handle dinner) trying to get this fussy business to work properly. I am fairly sure that I am missing one crucial, small detail. I just can’t place what I keep getting wrong here. I am sufficiently exasperated that I am just going to stop fighting with it for the day. I mean, five hours on minutia is pure torment when all of your work keeps getting reset back to what was initially wrong.

I may be giving customer service an ear full tomorrow. Or I may figure out the magic way to make this vexing thing work properly. I wanted to get this text out by Friday but it looks like it is happening next week. Unless a minor miracle happens and I can somehow make this work properly before noon tomorrow. (Granted, I will be powered by copious amounts of coffee, I am also going to be having the disadvantage of still adjusting to medication that makes me very sleepy. And handling a sick child. My eldest came down with what my youngest had last week, I figure this means I’m next and Beloved will have the sniffles at best.)

When I get to the point that I can get the book to cover creation, I will be posting a snapshot of what the cover is going to look like. I am going to continue on my roses theme, as was seen in the previous edition and in my other Filianic oriented book. Until then, I hope that you all find things are less vexing than I have been, and that your days are blessed with good fortune.

Original Post: 5/25/17

Posted in updates, Writings | Leave a comment

An apology & update.

Dear Readers,

I would like to apologize for my absence. I’ve been struggling with a number of things. Part of the challenges that I have been dealing with pertain to the work of running a household. It has been difficult work. I think, however, I am getting to the point where things may be ready for the end of the school year. I am in the process of lining up things for the boys to do when they are on break from school as well as shuffling my schedule to accommodate their days off. We’re starting some new things that they have been doing at school. This includes a visual schedule for the day up on the wall. So, I suppose you could say that I have one more planner to work on.

I have also been working on my spring gardening. The boys have been helping out. So work is going a little slower than it would have otherwise. I am not yet at the point of planting things for food purposes yet. That is because I need to clean out and fix up my containers on the back deck and out front. I am hoping, however, that I can get some of the miniature varieties of plants that we like (such as carrots) growing in pots. I will be discussing things with my MIL as to what is going into the raised bed over at their place. You would not believe how excited the boys are. The thing they *really* want to grow right now are watermelons and pumpkins. I don’t know how we’re going to manage not to have them take over everything else.

I have had the chance to get some real work done on a few editing projects. I am almost finished editing the Southern Hemisphere edition of A Year With Dea. I expect to be sending that off to the printer by the end of this week. I have also been making significant progress on editing Drowning in Light. I expect to have that one finished in about two weeks, depending on if my boys manage not to catch the nasty viruses going around. (For the last week, I had my youngest home from school because he was sick with a virus that had him exhausted and experiencing a lot of stomach upset. Thankfully, he is much better today and at school.)

Long story short, I have been super busy over here with a lot of things that had very little to do with blogging. I am getting caught up on things, so I think I will have some posts up in the immediate future. Thank you so much for your patience.

Originally Published: 5/24/17

Posted in updates, Writings | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day as a Devotee of Dea.

Today is celebrated as Mother’s Day here in the U.S. and I think it is fair to say that it is rather inescapable. Advertising for this celebration of all things maternally related (even some sassy nods to the less glorious aspects of motherhood) starts immediately after the advertisements for the commercial aspect of Christian Easter leave the shelves. It is a day that some find bliss filled and others find painful. And there is a hefty amount of social pressure to celebrate in a certain manner that equates to a lot of consumerism.

On the whole, it is a very stressful holiday that has very little, if any holiness involved in it. It is a secular celebration at best or a day of guilt fueled spending of time and resources at worst. It is possible, however, to shift the focus from the social pressures and such to something more spiritual and kindly. Shifting my focus from the commercial celebration of the day to Dea (and the multitude of spiritual matrons I have) helps to soothe the pains that come with this celebration.

I did spend a good portion of my day focusing upon my little family and the blessings of my children. In doing so, I found myself drawn to gratitude to my spiritual mothers for their guidance and aid. I gave an offering of works through simple daily tasks that I did to care for my family and home. I gave an offering of food early in the morning as the cinnamon rolls I baked came out of the oven, as bread is perhaps one of my favorite food offerings to give. And, I gave an offering of a scented candle that has burned through the day. (I would have offered incense but my asthma is a problem right now due to allergies.)

I turned my attention to my spiritual mothers and found comfort there. I made a point of focusing upon the gratitude, love, and good will between myself and them. It was a relatively small shift in the day’s focuses, but it brought me nourishment within my soul and comfort in my heart. And, it let me draw a little closer to them when I had been feeling hurt, lost, and unworthy. That closeness helps with those painful feelings as well as replaces them with a feeling of love, belonging, and of being precious to them.

May it be that today has brought you such feelings of love, belonging, and preciousness. For we are all loved, treasured, and part of Dea’s family. (As well as loved and cared for by those deities whom you revere and honor.)

Originally Published: 5/14/17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Divination: Runes – Lesson 1: Intro.

Anyone who has a familiarity with Tolkien’s work will immediately recognize runic, as this was what he based the dwarven alphabet off of. Anyone who has encountered anything connected with Germanic paganism is going to recognize runes because they are very prevalent. (Which makes sense because this was the alphabet used by these people, with regional variations. Many of which were lost during the era of Christian conversion, sadly, when the written records were destroyed.) A little bit of digging, even the student of the English language is going to find runes. Indeed, they are still present in the English language after going through some transformations over the millennia.

The runes are more than just a system of letters. Or should I say, they are a system of letters that harkens back to the eras before literacy was common and letters carried a sense of magical weight behind them in addition to the common understandings. Some of this is remembered in things like individual runes being associated with specific deities (such as Kenaz/Cen being associated with Loki and Ing being associated with Freyr). The runes have a stronger attachment to magic than their descendant alphabets. Some would say that it is because they are ‘pure’ iconography from the ancient era. Others would argue that it is because they don’t have the modern indifference attached to them as is with the letters of the English alphabet, for example.

It is my opinion that these arguments are helpful but they do not fully encompass the depth of the strength of runes as a magical system. In the next few divination articles, I am going to do my best to detail the history of runes as a magical system and a method of divination. I am also going to give a simple guide to how to use them. I will not discuss bind runes in great detail here, because this is a very specialized form of rune magic that really should be covered on its own. I will also try to present some information on how different regions used runes historically and the influence they had on modern language. This is a very big topic, so please forgive me if I gloss over some details, but my focus is going to show how runes are still very present in modern day languages even though their appearance has changed.

It is my hope that this series of nine posts help make runes a little less intimidating and provide a good starting point to grow as a person who performs divination. It may happen that the techniques of divination that I present are different from how others do this. There is a very good reason for this. My approach to reading the runes is intuitive and based in what I have learned over the years in rather undirected study. I will do my best to present information on how others perform divination using runes, but I apologize in advance for any errors that are in my work. I invite any who are experienced in this specialized system of divination to please contact me when you see any errors in my posts so that I can correct the material accordingly.

Originally Published: 3/27/17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Opinion: The Benefits of a Devotional Journal

Keeping a devotional journal sounds like a lot of work. People tend to think of the practice of Bible journals when it is mentioned. While Bible journals is a method of keeping a devotional journal, it doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone is Christian or finds inspiration in the Bible. So, what are the people who are not Christian going to do? And why would they keep a devotional journal?

It is a very flexible practice. Just as keeping a regular journal or diary has as many different methods as there are people who use one, the same is true for a devotional journal. One person may find that keeping a written record of their prayers is helpful. Another person may find that a scrapbook filled with inspiring items, photos of important moments, and notes about their prayer life is most useful. And there may be yet another person who uses a book of abstract coloring pages for their meditative focus and as their prayer journal, wherein the meanings of their prayers is coded within the images by the colors used and the order of their application.

The devotional journal practice that you choose should be most comfortable for you and one that you feel has the strongest connection to the ones you are contacting via prayer. A person who has a devotional relationship with Brighid is going to have a different style of devotional practice than a person who has a devotional relationship with Al-Lat because these two deities have entirely different sets of iconography and symbolism connected with them, which is completely separate from the individual quirks of each person’s own methods of communicating. The devotional journal is a practice that can be very helpful to either person regardless of their experience at engaging in devotional work.

A devotional journal allows one to keep a record of the prayers and observances they keep. It is also good for noting when said prayers are answered and what themes arise in one’s prayer life. It is an excellent tool for building up into daily prayer practices. Devotional journals are also, generally, highly portable and allow one to enter into prayer in a fashion that is rather inconspicuous. If a person is in a position where they want their prayer time to be with out distractions, the focus of working in a journal can do much to filter out external distractions because a good deal of attention is required. A devotional journal also helps the devotee to find their voice, which is a good thing when the devotee is working on building their personal practice.

Prayers said by rote can not be forgotten when they are noted down in a journal. Instead, there would be a section for reference that one could turn to when it is needed. That, in many ways, is really the best part about a devotional journal. It is easier to remember things because it is not necessary to absolutely memorize them. Instead, a note can be written and depending on the style of journal writing used, there is going to be an index or some other sort of organization to the journal that allows for easy access of the notes.

Originally Published: 3/26/17

Posted in Devotional, Opinion | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hiatus & Equinox

Hiatus is the time of non-time in the Filianic calendar. At this time, the holy Daughter, who was slain on Kala (the day before, and the final day of the month of Moura), hangs upon the pillar that passes through all worlds. It could be likened to the time of mourning that Christians observe in honor of the time that Jesus hung upon the cross and then was laid in the tomb before his resurrection. This traditionally in the Filianic and Déanic communities is a time of deep reflection and a moment when all things come to a brief halt to await the resurrection of the Daughter. (This year, it comes on the day after the Equinox. Other years, it is the day of the Equinox, but it always falls on the 21st of March in the Northern Hemisphere and on the 21st of September in the Southern Hemisphere.)

Thinking about the future and discussing future events is generally considered taboo in this religious tradition. As someone who practices a blended faith, I try to adhere to this taboo, but there are things that simply force me to break it. A fine example is the fact that I have mundane things such as doctor’s appointments and bills that I need to address. This requires some future planning. So, I focus my efforts on attending to only matters that require my attention at this time, so if future planning is done it is only what is most essential. Like others of the Filianic faith tradition, I cover my icons of the Daughter with a veil. I use a dark blue cloth, as it is the color associated with Moura and mourning. Technically, this is a time for mourning the death of the Daughter. I also try to keep my clothing simple and I generally go with darker colors.

It is also the Equinox, which is celebrated in Wicca and much of the Norse/Germanic based faith traditions as Ostara. Rituals are done to honor Ostara, the goddess of Spring and fertility. It is also considered the time when Freyr returns to the lands of the living after having been slain at the time of the autumn harvest. From this perspective, today is an auspicious day. Though there is snow on the ground right now, the sap is running through the trees and I have heard robins out singing when I was taking a walk this morning.

I sit here pulled in two very different directions today. The blessing here is the fact that the celebration of Ostara is not tied to a specific date on the calendar and the astronomical equinox does not fall on the same date every year (because precession is a thing and such), so I am not bound by a hard and fast date to observe Ostara and the equinox. I am going to use this to my advantage this year. I am spending time today treating life as though seeds are germinating beneath the soil and I am in a sacred period of waiting. Tomorrow, when the Filianic celebration of Eastre comes, I will celebrate Ostara at the same time. I am going to give my children some sweets for the day. I got that ball started early today with some donuts. I will also be invoking blessings on my seeds and such.

Today, I am going to prepare my ‘soil’ and wait. I am going to do my best to focus on what I need right now and address that. While I had wanted to have a few projects done by today, I recognize that life chose otherwise. And today I must accept this. Tomorrow, things will begin anew. I will be renewed. So, today, I will tidy things up and do my best to be as focused on the present and my needs as I can be. This day is a day of necessity and addressing what I must let go to proceed forward into a healthy new year.

Regardless of what ever festivals you celebrate at this time, may your and yours be blessed with happiness and health.

Originally Published: 3/20/17

O

Posted in Holidays - Filianic, Holidays - Northern Tradition/Asatru/Norse/Germanic, Holidays - Wicca - General, Pagan Parenting | Leave a comment

Herbs, Treasures, & Tools

Initially, I started out with this wild idea that I was going to write weekly posts about herbalism. I then realized I did not know quite enough to do so and the end result was my basically sharing what I was finding via research as soon as I found it. This lead to some poor posts and I stepped back to reconsider the whole matter. After a great deal of thought, I have come to a few conclusions.

First, I am going to start posting again about herbs and plants. Those posts will talk about things ranging from the basics on how to keep your plants alive to what the folklore surrounding the plants is. I will also have stuff talking about what bit of familial knowledge that was passed down to me by my relatives. Some of it is going to sound a little odd, but it actually does seem to work. I am also going to be posting my notes as I am engaged in my attempt again to grow something of a container garden this year.

Secondly, the posts about herbs and plants are not going to be the only topic that comes up at this time of the week. I am going to begin a series of posts talking about magical tools. I sort of started with that post I did a little while back regarding sickles. The next one is going to be addressing wands. There will be a short video to accompany these posts. The video is going to be featured on the main site. The text discussion (with some pictures to illustrate my points) will be available on the main site and the mirror site.

The third new element that is going to come into play here is something that I am not entirely sure how often it will show up. I am going to start posting about items that I find truly wonderful and special. I will be posting a picture of my treasure. I will also be posting a little bit of the story about how the object came into my possession and what I love about it. Some of this is going to be jewelry that I inherited, random stuff that my kids have made, and items that if you just saw them sitting on a shelf you would have no idea why they mattered to me.

I look forward to sharing this adventure with you. I hope that you have a lovely day and that something delightful happens to find you at just the right time to make you smile when you need it.

Originally Published: 2/15/17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amity Day: Love is Love is Love

Today is commonly known as Valentine’s Day. It is the feast day of the Catholic saint named Valentinus. The stories surrounding this saint all agree that his death was decidedly unpleasant (one variation included his being beaten with clubs and beheaded before getting dumped into a shallow grave before being disinterred and reinterred elsewhere by the Christian faithful). The general reasons for this man’s death usually are cited as performing marriages for Roman soldiers who had been forbidden from marrying and his association with Christians. Precise details about this era are not as strong as one would like because there are multiple individuals known as Valentinus who died for approximately the same reasons. This is additionally confused with the very varied writings that made up medieval hagiography.

Within the Filianic/Déanic communities, February 14th (also known as Brighe 23rd according to the sacred calendar of these faiths) has become known as Amity day. This is the day where love is celebrated in its many splendid forms. Where as the secular over-culture that we are generally aware of focuses upon romantic love (of a very specific variety) on this day, the Filianic/Déanic communities have a broader perspective. Indeed, it is often found that a focus upon Platonic and familial love in these communities. It is not that romantic love is unimportant as much as Platonic and familial relationships more closely mirror the ideal relationship between worshipers and Dea.

There are many in the wider pagan community that honor this as the feast of Lupercalia. Lupercalia is an ancient fertility festival that is reckoned to have been celebrated at approximately the same time of the year. The festival is historically associated with wolves and the deity known as Faunus (who is considered a Roman cognate to the Hellenic deity Pan). The focus of this festival has historically been the celebration of fertility, the appeasement of unfriendly spirits, the increase of health and vitality in the community, and purification of the city. One would only presume that along with the focus upon purification of the city, there was perhaps a parallel focus upon purification within one’s own home.

Today, the 14th of February is treated as a day of sanctioned debauchery along certain lines. The indulgence of people in extravagant purchases to display their affection, in having sweet treats, and physical displays of affection is so heavily entrenched in the over-culture of the United States that it seems some sort of strange irony considering how many people are judgmental of others for such indulgences at other times of the year. The ideas that there is a certain standard of behavior that is required to observe this day properly creates an incredible amount of stress and anxiety for many, many people.

There are people who are extremely upset that they do not have a lover to dote upon them. There are people who are extremely anxious that their displays of affection are not extravagant. The combination of the stereotypes of what a ‘good Valentine’s day’ looks like and the general lack of reasonable allowances for people to express their affections in a manner that is most comfortable for them turns a day that could have been one for deep spiritual and emotional connection in to a day of anxiety, stress, and general misery for many people.

Thus, one is encouraged to focus more upon love as a concept at large rather than a specific manifestation, with the exception of how those manifestations enrich one’s life. Taking time on amity day to focus upon acts of self care as healthy self love is just as valid as taking one’s sweetheart out to dinner. Some would dare say that that moment of self care is even more important right now. Focus upon love as that all encompassing wonder that moves through the world.

Originally Published: 2/14/17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unwell.

Hello my friends,

I am not well. I have some sort of mystery ailment troubling me. I’ve been to the doctor. She is working on trying to figure out what the problem is. I had some testing done yesterday that was unpleasant (mainly because of the allergic reaction I had to the dye used). I am on pins and needles waiting to find out what the results of the test were. In the midst of this, I am quite medicated upon things for pain and my other ailments. I am still in pain and having difficulty to the point that I need a good deal of help from my husband.

I honestly can’t say when I am going to be posting more on here. I have been struggling with this health issue for around two months now. I am deeply concerned about how this is going to go. The words ‘exploratory surgery’ have been mentioned as a possibility to find out what the problem is here. This is a thought that initially had me quite upset. I am at a point now, however, that my discomfort and misery have convinced me that if getting cut open is what will solve this problem I will be the first person in line and I will volunteer to sharpen the scalpel for them.

Please, if you are of an inclination to say a prayer or light a candle for me, do so. I am honestly rather terrified right now.

May the gods bless you and yours, and keep you in good health and spirits.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments