Ancestor Journal

I feel deeply connected to my ancestors and I’ve been wanting to come up with a way to do more ancestor veneration than I do. ADF will help with that, as ancestors are one of the three kindreds, which I really like. But ADF is on the back burner right now, while I mostly focus on AODA.

I have grand visions of creating a wall of photographs of my ancestors and beloved dead, near an altar/shrine, ideally complete with mementos from some of the ancestors and beloved dead that I have things from, and the names of people who I don’t have photos or belongings of. I also would like to do genealogy. But both of those ideas will take a LOT of work and energy, as well as at least some money. And right now, I don’t even have an indoor altar or shrine. There are two shelves that were set aside for such, but they’re in a bad location, and we need them for book storage. I’d also like to honor my ancestors or give them libations one day a month, but even trying to do that for my Gods proved too much for me right now — let alone factoring in ancestors, faeries, animal or nature spirits. So that’s even more on hold.

And I’ve occasionally honored them at Samhain, but that is generally The Morrighan’s day for me, and I just almost never have the energy for two rituals in one day anymore — or even within a few days of each other.

But I did get a couple of new notebooks earlier this month. One has hummingbirds on it, which reminds me of my maternal great-grandmother who loved birds, especially hummingbirds and cardinals.

I’ve wanted to write about by family for a long time, and even more so, now that brain fog is a thing — I don’t want to forget what I know. So that’s what I did.

I started writing down what I know about my family in general, but specifically about my ancestors and beloved dead. I wrote what I know, what I remember, and what I’ve been told. So far, I’ve only written in it once, and I want to be careful. I want to write about my family members who are still alive and more of my memories. But my childhood was messy, and I want to keep the one notebook in the spirit of veneration, though I don’t plan to sugar coat. And I also don’t want it to be memoir per se, though I want to write that as well. As I go farther along, I’ll have to check facts, names, and dates, and relationships with my other family members. But right now, I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I know.

It’s not all I want to do, but writing comes naturally to me, and I love my family. So far, it seems to be a pretty good method for me of honoring my ancestors and beloved dead.


Writing Stuff

I have a draft in progress and another blog post I want to write, both of which deal with more overtly Pagan topics. This one is more about writing.

The April CampNaNoWriMo for 2015 is starting in a few days. I’m going to attempt it again. I’ve tried it several times, and I’ve gotten things written, but I’ve never completed a book length manuscript or a novel during it — nor have I ever met my word count quota. I signed up for it today. I’m going to be working on the main work in progress of three novels I have going right now, and the one I have the most written for right now, I think. My word count goal is ten thousand words, which won’t complete the novel, but I want to shoot for a goal I might reach. That means writing 333.3 words per day, which I think I might be able to manage.

I’m nearing the end of my current “daily” journal. The last one lasted four months, I think, and this one has covered six months so far, and may stretch to seven before I run out of pages. I was writing very irregularly there for several months. I’ve gotten better again this March, but it’s still not every day. I’ll have to restock my supply of Black ‘n’ Red notebooks soon, as I’m on my second to last one.

I want to get a few more other notebooks soon too, and I want to get a copy of The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, I believe.

Most of the notebooks and the book may have to wait, unless I win more gift cards soon, especially because there are also other Pagan books I want to get soon and a magazine I have to renew my subscription too. We are WAY behind on bills, due to a variety of circumstances:

1. All four of the cats needed to go to the vet one month.
2. The dog has needed to go to the vet almost every month for the last several months.
3. We got slammed by third party energy providers.
4. The gas and electric companies estimated our bills for a few months instead of doing readings.

We are in the process of fixing the hemorrhages now, but it’s going to take a while and we’re on a very small, fixed income.

I’ve heard that The Artist’s Way is very good. It takes three months to do the plan in it.

The best three months for me, personally to do it would either be:
1. November, December, and January
2. December, January, and February
3. Or January, February, and March

I go out less in Winter than the rest of the year, and even less now since the chronic illness and since we moved. Our old home town was and island and if you lived in the north or middle of it, you could walk to pretty much anywhere you needed to go on the island. Here, though, there’s a lot less within walking distance, and while we live in a safe part of town, it’s a shady city, especially after dark. I also can’t walk as far as I used to, and my body deals worse with extreme temperatures than it used to. The winters lately have been even colder than normal. Being a resort area in New Jersey, the region comes to life in summer, and if you don’t get out then, there’s not much to do the rest of the year. So winter seems like a good idea.

I’m leaning away from the first one because NaNoWriMo is in Novemeber and I don’t want to do both at the same time. The first two also seem kind of bad because I don’t want to attempt it during the secular and Christian holiday crazies. The nice thing about the first one is that it only has one Sabbat in it, whereas the other two groups of months have two. A further hitch is that most of the people I know have birthdays between January and April. But no one has a birthday in February. So, I’m leaning towards on of the last two, probably the later, because even with more Sabbats and birthdays, it’s better than attempting to do it during the holiday season. I also like the thought of starting it with a New Year. And it’ll lead right into the April CampNaNoWriMo, which will hopefully put me in a more creative and productive frame of mind for next years CampNaNoWriMo.

Last month, my grandmother paid for a subrcription to Poets & Writers for me. I still haven’t gotten the first issue yet, but I’m really looking forward to it. My mother also normally pays for a Subscription to The Writer for me as present, which I’m immensely grateful for. Most years she also gets me The Writer’s Market, and a few associated books. This year she might not, but I’m still very appreciative and hopefully most of the stuff from last years editions will still be current.

This month’s edition of The Writer has contests listed and I went through and circled the free ones, as well as a couple other that I want to enter. I’m hopeful of marking them down on my calendar soon.

I looked up work in progress meters and am hoping to add one to at least one of my blogs, probably this one.

There’s another big writing thing I want to blog about, but since it’s different and combines writing and Paganism in a more obvious way, I’m saving that for it’s own post.

A Trip to my Hometown

It’s not technically my hometown. Not in the sense that I was born there, or lived there for my early childhood, or that I live there now. But when I was in my early childhood, I spent more time there than I did in my technical hometown. Later, I lived there for sixteen years — with a few stints of living for a few months in a nearby town and in the town I grew up in scattered throughout those years. But to date, that far exceeds the number of years I spent anywhere else. Two years that I barely remember in north Jersey, eight years in the town I ostensibly grew up in, just under two years spread out over three occasions and two separate places in a little town in the Pine Barrens, and, so far, two years in my other hometown (where I live now).

It doesn’t seem like much. But it’s huge. And it doesn’t seem overtly spiritual, but it is. Besides, my general life stuff blogs aren’t really running yet. One isn’t created and the other has a few posts and I’ve been delaying writing more on it until I can do a follow-up to my last post there. So for those reasons, I thought I’d post about it here.

We were running errands, but we still had fun. It’s only about twenty miles from where we live, but we don’t have a car and it’s rare that we can afford a cab or catch a ride with someone. So we rely on public transportation, which thankfully is pretty stalwart around here. Generally, these days, we either all have to go somewhere, or one person has to be with me, whether I stay at home, or go out. Then factor in the puppy — someone needs to be here almost all of the time now to watch her. We could crate her for a little while, but bus trips plus whatever we’re doing when we get there almost always takes hours, and I can’t be sure we’d be back in enough time for her bladder to hold out.

Then factor in how easily exhausted and fatigued I get these days, and the trouble I have regulating my temperature, AND all the medicines and such that I need to bring with me. And that I can never just pick up and go anymore. Everything requires planning and packing at least one or two bags of stuff to bring with me. Finally, add in the weather, which has NOT been cooperating for travel for a long time. It’s been months — like, MANY months since I went anywhere outside of the house that didn’t involve a doctor’s appointment, a chore, or errands, and usually some combination of those in one day.

We were still running errands today. But the pace was (slightly) more leisurely. We didn’t exactly take our time, because while SJ and I went out Phire was at home alone watching the puppy, and feeling sick to boot. But we had to stop to eat twice. Once we got comfort food for me — the most awful, greasy, disgusting pizza known to man that I normally can’t stand and that I shouldn’t be eating anyway, but that is nostalgic for me and is kind of a huge thing in these parts, and once we got comfort food for SJ — ye old Mickey D’s (shudder, grimace).

We also brought the wheelchair, which was a huge pain in the ass, but also a really good thing because there’s no way I could have walked that today. My muscles have atrophied to begin with from my illness, and the stagnation of the last few months along with having less energy for some of it because my schedule was screwed up have not helped matters. It was hard work for both of us, which I feel guilty saying because SJ was the one pushing me all over creation while I just sat there — and I’m sure it was a lot harder for him. And yet, we still had fun.

We got coffee, mine was supposed to be decaf, but I think they flaked and gave me a regular which is usually a disaster for me these days. I was feeling it, but it wasn’t as bad as the number full caff often does on me these days.

And I scraped my thumb, which wouldn’t stop bleeding (Yay, steroids) and went for a pit stop in city hall (hurray for automatic doors!). Getting on and off the bus, in and out of buildings, and up and down curb ramps still covered in snow was an experience, but still we had fun.

We walked/rolled on the boardwalk. I got to see the bay on the way in and out of town, the other bay at the end of our street on the way home, the ocean, the beach, and some shore birds. We also went to the bank and the pharmacy, which were the errands we actually needed to run today. I’m too tired to do the other things on my to-do list today, but those got done, and to paraphrase one of my least favorite protagonists, “tomorrow is another day!”.

And it was SUCH a beautiful day! Not warm, but not frigid, and fine as long as you dressed appropriately — even for me, with my abysmal body temperature regulation these days. The sun was shining and it FELT warm in comparison to all the freezing cold, sleet, rain, snow, and even hail we’ve had lately. And the sun was shining fiercely. I’m not a jewelry person, you want to talk to my grandmother for that, but the bay looked speckled with topaz and champagne diamonds.

We had a lot of fun, and in many ways it was a religious experience for me, with my connection to the land and town, and my animism that is strongly bioregionally based. It was good to be home today. And tonight, it’s good to be at my other home. Cheers!