Celebration!


It’s ocurred to me that I’ve posted several times about things I’m dissatisfied with — not journaling frequently, not celebrating all the Sabbats, etc. There’s really nothing wrong with that. It’ll happen from time to time. But I want to take a moment to celebrate all the things I am really, really pleased with — and there are many. I think it’s important for me to mention the good things too. 🙂

  • In the past two months, I’ve gotten a lot of knitting done. I’m most of the way finished a blanket that I started a year and a half ago. I’m almost at the end of the third, and last panel. Then I just have to stitch them together and do some touch-up work and it’ll be done!
  • I have AWESOME family and pretty good friends.  I’m especially extra grateful  for my Mom, my grandmother, my Dad, Phire, SJ, and our pets.
  • My Mom’s cat, who was very ill seems like she’s going to be okay.
  • My Grandmother bought me chocolate and hair clips. She collects her easy open medicine bottles and her spare food storage containers and gives them to us. She’s also bought me clothes recently.
  • My Dad drives us to run errands at least once a month most months and drives me to doctor’s appointments frequently. He bought us sunflowers, bottled water, and decaf coffee, and he bought me clothes recently.
  • My Mom is kind and willing to go to bat for me. She bought stuff for me to use in Florida (I didn’t go — long story) and is sending it hear.
  • Phire and SJ are incredibly sympathetic and kind, and they go above and beyond looking after me when I need it (which I sadly do sometimes these days).
  • Our pets are amazing, friendly, playful, cuddly, and caring.
  • I LOVE or beautiful house and property.
  • Phire and I planted the sunflowers my Dad gave us yesterday (with phone assistance from my Mom — the Master Gardener).
  • I tied back the Rose of Sharon that has been blocking the side of the house. I think it’ll need a more permanent solution (the stakes and twine are pretty weak), but it’s done!
  • Phire and I also trimmed the front hedges, at least somewhat.
  • Phire and his friends collected someones junked pickup truck bed cab. We’re going to repurpose it to give the feral cats someplace to shelter in the winter. He and I moved it across the backyard.
  • I applied to college in April. Sadly, I didn’t get in, so
  • I’m applying to a second college now! Phire helped me with getting stuff together for it.
  • SJ ran to the store today to get food for us and he cooks awesome meals for me.
  • I got my first shot of Prolia for osteoporosis treatment yesterday. While it was a really rough day, and I’ve had some minor side effects, so far, so good!
  • I’ve been reading good books lately, and a lot of them.
  • I updated, edited, and added to my blogs yesterday, making major headway in a huge overhaul of them.
  • CampNaNoWriMo July has begun! 🙂
  • I think I blogged more in the last 24 hours than I have in the last two months. 😉
  • I have SO MUCH more energy than I used to on most days, at least for now.
  • I’m also generally healthier than I’ve been since I got sick.
  • Last week, I washed all the dishes in the house. ALL of them. Trust me — that’s no mean feat. And I pulled it off!
  • Phire rearranged the living room and it looks better that way.
  • I’m largely more productive than I’ve been able to be for years.
  • I can exercise a little sometimes now.
  • And then there are the million and one other things I’m grateful for — love, food, a roof over my head, running water, electricity, air conditioning, drinking water, internet, cell phones, books, journals, as much of my health, mental acuity, emotional well-being, and mobility as I have, my Gods, Ancestors, the faeries, my guides, and for happiness, and beauty, and so many, many other things. 🙂

I’m sure there are other things I forgot to mention.

Once More Into the Breach


Well, hopefully more than once more. I’ve been lax about blogging lately. I figure I’d better get to it now because, as busy as I’ve been, things are about to get even busier.

None of this is helped by my sleep schedule being all over the place. That’s not good for me in general, but it’s really not good for Addison’s Disease.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow that has been rescheduled multiple times due to complications. I’m getting a shot of medication to treat osteoporosis.

In two days, July’s CampNaNoWriMo starts. Since I finished the last one, I’m hopeful that I can with this one too. I’ll work on the same novel I’ve been working on and I’m hopeful that I’ll complete this one too. I set it up almost as soon as I could and I’m aiming for at least 10,000 words again. Last time, I cut it close, but I only actually wrote for it for nine days out of April and I still finished on time. It was a first for me meeting my word count goal for it, so we’ll see if I can do it again.

Phire’s and my anniversary is in July as well. A friend of ours is moving on the same day, so we’re going to try to help him move — provided all hell doesn’t break loose. Fortunately, he’s only moving within the same building, which should make life a lot easier.

I should also attempt to make and go to more doctors in July — we’ll see how that goes. And utilities and bills need to get dealt with.

I’m planning on applying to college in July as well. I mentioned here that I applied to Berklee College of Music. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in. I will try again someday. In the meantime, I’m applying to another college I’d really like to go to that has rolling admissions. Hopefully, I’ll get in and if I do, I’ll be even busier.

I’d also like to go to my old hometown before the season ends. I want to spend some time there and I’d like to restock my Pagan supplies at a store there that is mostly a hippie type place, but also slightly New Age. They don’t have all the supplies I could want, but they do carry candles, incense, sage bundles, and big tapestry/sarong things with Pagan designs on them that I use for outdoor altars. Unfortunately, the store is only opened during the summer.

I haven’t celebrated my last two Sabbats. I’m really dissapointed about that. I’m hopeful that I can still celebrate Midsummer — ablbeit late. There was a different ritual that I wanted to use to celebrate Beltaine, but I never got around to it. I don’t usally have spoons to do Sabbat rituals without assistance anymore, and finding a time when Phire or SJ have the time and energy at the same time that I do is difficult sometimes. It’s been even more difficult lately.

I was supposed to visit family in Florida, but wound up not going. The airport was a disaster that I just don’t feel like writing about right now.

I haven’t been journaling much lately, either.

While I’ve done some other stuff (like read), I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff lately. I finished the two non-credit courses online that I was taking. I got good grades in one (84%) and great grades in another (98.2%). I’m really pleased and proud of myself. I wouldn’t have done as well as I did, though, if SJ hadn’t helped me a lot.

I got a decent amount of housework done, but there is still more to do.

I think that’s about it for now. I’ll try to post more often, but no promises. It depends on what I can do and when, and on how much “real life” stuff takes precedence.

Oof.


First of all, I have a cold. I caught it from my poor father, who drove me to the doctor last week despite being sick. SJ and my grandmother caught it too. SJ getting it doesn’t really surprise me, and I have a compromised immune system, so no shocker there, but my grandmother rarely gets sick. Mercifully, Phire isn’t sick — at least not so far. He has a great immune system, so hopefully he won’t.

I got my grades back from the two peer review assessments for the first week for the courses I’m taking online. While I didn’t exactly do BADLY in the one, and I did well in the other, I did far worse than I expected in the one, and a little worse than I expected in the other one.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow partially for the cold (because my Dad needed to go to his doctor to get prescription medicines for his) and partially because I need to get my script and my referral renewed for my wheelchair, which I thankfully only need to use some of the time. But because my sleep schedule has been all screwed up, I’m worried about making it there on time. I’m also not looking forward to hours of bus rides, waiting for buses, and walking to and from bus stops while I’m sick. I feel guilty because I’m probably get other people sick, and I’m worried because going to the doctor’s office might get me sick with something else — especially since I’m already dealing with a cold.

I still haven’t sent in my application to Berklee because I’m waiting on my friend to send in his recommendation letter for me and loan me the money for the application fee.

I didn’t celebrate Beltaine yet. Initially, I was going to do my ritual for it sometime during the week this week. Then, when plans to go to my Dad’s this past weekend fell through, I hoped to do it over the weekend. Then, of course, I got this cold. So that is delayed until I feel better.

Also probably delayed is the bloodwork I’m supposed to get done.

I had wanted to spend more time with the puppy after CampNaNoWriMo ended. It’s not that I’ve been ignoring her, or anything, and it’s certainly not like she’s neglected. But most of the walking her, playing with her, taking her out to pee and poop, feeding her, giving her water, and putting her to bed at night has fallen on the guys in April. Between CampNaNoWriMo, needing to replace her gentle leader, and those two bad health weeks I had in the middle of April, SJ and Phire have been doing most of the legwork. I planned to change that as soon as CampNaNoWriMon ended. Unfortunately, two days after it ended, I got my cold. By the third day after it ended, I could no longer pretend it was just allergies. On the bright side, at least it waited until after CampNaNoWriMo was over to kick in — and until we had money to buy OTC cold and flu treatments and we could afford bus passes for the month.

I also haven’t been able to practice for a few days and SJ, who is far better with keyboard than I am, hasn’t been able to help for a few days. I REALLY don’t like being sick.

Then, my friend, who has been interested in Paganism for a while, but who is only just starting to get into it now, sent me a text this morning asking for advice on how to do a ritual asap, ideally today. Like the title says, “Oof”. I did tell him that that isn’t the kind of thing that would get done in one day, even if I wasn’t sick. I did give him what advice I could, including some things I definitively don’t think he should do. And I spent the last several hours texting with him about it. I may have managed to annoy him, but I hope not. And I wasn’t trying to be critical, nor to say he shouldn’t do a ritual.

I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all bad. At least the cold is just a cold, not a flu, or an Addisonian related thing. And Phire doesn’t have it. I’m still riding the happiness high in a major way from completing CampNaNoWriMo, applying to college, and and taking the online courses.

Also, I have MAJOR good news. Phire is mostly in at Full Sail University! He started his orientation and month-long trial period today. It’s even more awesome, because he wasn’t sure everything would be finished pending by today, in which case, he would have had to wait an additional month to get started. But it’s done, he doesn’t have to wait, and as long as he does well, and he likes it there, next month he will officially be a student of Full Sail University for a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Business. I’m so proud of him, and so, SO happy. He’s also getting a new computer this week which will make his and my lives significantly easier.

He’s done with the computer for now, and my friend doesn’t seem to be texting me back at the moment, so I’m off to do some of my course work.

I sincerely hope all of you are well and that none of you have colds! 🙂

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!

Life Happens


I just wrote a long post about feeling like I’m not being “Pagan Enough” essentially. It’s not really about living up to other peoples standards, it’s about living up to my own. And part of it is purely selfish — I feel better when I actively express my spirituality.

But the thing is — life happens. In November I had a flu. We got a puppy, which I think I mentioned. She is sweet and good and adorable. I love her and I’m so glad we got her. But puppies are a LOT of work. Then, in December, I had a cold. In the last two months, I spent either four or five weekends away from home. I had just gotten over the cold when I got my period. Money is really, really tight for us right now. It’s always tight, but now it’s tighter than usual. I haven’t had time or energy to dedicate to writing or to the at-home businesses we’re trying to get off the ground — and neither has anyone else. And I’ve had lots of doctors appointments with lots more coming up.

The not practicing hasn’t just been over the last two months, so all of that isn’t entirely to blame for it. But it sure doesn’t help. And the chronic illness factor is mostly to blame, but there just isn’t much I can do about that.

But it helps to pause and realize that there really is a lot of stuff to factor in. Now I just need to make a concerted effort to do more of what I want to do without burning myself out.

You Wouldn’t Even Know We’re Pagan


Soooo…I’ve got a Sabbat coming up in a couple of days. I’m running low on candles and incense and I’m out of a few candle colors that I really “should” have. But having enough money for food is kind of an issue right now, let alone replenishing Pagan supplies — however cheap those supplies may be. Additionally, the only place locally that I can buy those things is only opened during summer and a few weekend in late spring and early autumn — the joys of living in a resort area. That means I have to buy any supplies online for the next few months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that there IS a store that I can get Pagan supplies at nearby. It’s not a Pagan, or even new age store per se, but they do carry candles, incense, sage smudge sticks, and some other things.

I’m having a crisis of…not exactly faith. No, not of faith. But of identity I guess. I just don’t have it in me to do rituals or other Pagan activities the way that I used to. I don’t have time and I don’t have energy. This doesn’t mean that I NEVER do Pagan stuff, but it’s pretty rare. I miss Sabbats sometimes and I’ve been doing things like meditation, chakra cleansing and balancing, and the stuff my Druid orders exceedingly rarely. I’ve mostly only been praying before I eat, and not always even then because sometimes my sugars are so low that I have to eat right away, or I have to rush off to a doctor’s appointment and don’t have time to eat AND pray.

In our last house, we had a HUGE altar/shrine in the bedroom. It wasn’t very high tech or anything. It was literally set up on and in several milkcrates set up on top of the dresser. Phire also had a dragon shrine in his office room (now none of us have an office — the last place was huge, and this one is pretty small). The dragon shrine is back up, minus the books about dragons, and it’s in the living room on top of the organ now.

There are two shelves on a bookshelf that are supposed to be for my altar and shrine but that I never set up. Right now, they are being used as storage for mail and other things that need to stay out of chewy puppy jaws. Though my main box of Pagan supplies in on one of our shelfs.

There is a tree stump back in the mud room that is supposed to be for my Druid altar. But it’s heavy and the top is uneven. Stuff always slides off of it and it’s heavy enough that it hasn’t migrated into the house proper yet. I want to dry it out properly (it may be too late — it’s already cracking), but I don’t know how to do that. The mudroom is dirty, cluttered, and disorganized. It’s also too small to do a ritual in — there’s exactly enough room in it for three people to stand without moving much, at least, as long as two of the people are really skinny. Other than that, not so much.

And I FINALLY set up the two outdoor altars, which I think I posted about on here. But since I set them up, I’ve only used one of them once after that, and the other one not at all.

Even in the place before the last place we lived, I had a combination altar/shrine. It was tiny, and people had an irritating habit of using it as a table. But it was there. And when I had that one, we were literally living in TWO ROOMS. One of which was a bathroom. The other room was living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office space, and ritual space.

Needless to say, we’ve come a long, long, way and I am eternally grateful. I LOVE our house and our property, even though I’m afraid we won’t be able to afford it financially one day — even though it’s cheaper than renting.

But the small amount of acreage on our property needs more time and attention than any of us can give it right now. There are minor repairs that need to be done around the house. There are improvements that we want to make someday. And others that we’ll have to make some day. And it’s an old house, which creates it’s own quirks. But I LOVE this place.

What I love less, is that now you couldn’t even tell we’re Pagan. We finally got away from malicious landlords, insane neighbors, and abysmal living conditions. We have our own beautiful place that we love. Financially, our house is cheaper than renting was. But many of the outward signs of our religions are not showing.

Yeah, sure, if you look at our bookshelves, you would PROBABLY know that we’re Pagan. There are lots of Pagan books (though bibliophile that I am, not as many as I would like) and some Oracle card decks. But there are also lots of books from lots of other religions on our shelves. There are some faery art prints and there’s the dragon shrine/altar. But lots of people who aren’t Pagan like faeries and dragons. If you rooted around, you’d find my big box of Pagan supplies, my little box of Pagan supplies, and my third box, which has a few supplies in it, but mostly other odds and ends. If you kept fishing for stuff, you’d find my BOS, my Druidy notebooks, and my Pagan binder, along with Pagan art and documents and bookmarks on all of our computers. And you’ll find issues of Pagan magazines. One of the pieces of jewelry that I never take off is an amethyst point — but lots of non-pagans wear crystal and gem stone jewelry.

And it’s NOT about the material stuff. I KNOW that. But it bugs me that there aren’t that many visible signs of our faith, especially mine in particular, because, to be honest, I don’t really think it bothers Phire or SJ. It really, really BOTHERS me that I’ve barely been practicing. And I think that’s the root of the problems.

I dislike not having candles and incense available that are appropriate for when I CAN do rituals. I’m overwhelmed by having many Gods, as well as ancestors, guides, nature spirits, and faeries that I don’t feel like I’m doing enough for. It overwhelms me that I’m trying to learn how to practice Druidry in the traditions of two different orders. It makes me feel embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, and angry with myself that I don’t have the time, energy, money, or sometimes even motivation to practice how I want to.

So, kind of a downer post. Sorry about that. But that’s all for now, I think.

Flamekeeping 9/13/14 to 9/14/14


I wanted to finish the “Where I’m At” series today, but I don’t think I have the energy. I also don’t think I have the energy to write either of the other posts I’ve had in mind for this blog. Or any of the other posts for my other blogs — especially not “Where I’m At” for AODA. So I’m posting a brief post here.

Yesterday and today are my first days back at Flamekeeping. I actually remembered that I was still Flamekeeping for Brighid today in addition to yesterday. That had become a real problem after I got sick, but before I set up Flamekeeping on my old phone. Then I got too sick to do it regularly, and then at all. Then, my old phone needed to be replaced and it was only recently that I figured out how to set up a way to keep track of Flamekeeping on my new phone.

With the help of my endocrinologist, a homepathic practicioner, a nutritionist, a lot of research, friends, family, and a battery of other doctors, my condition(s?) is/are getting under control. I’m gradually getting better, though “all the way better” probably isn’t ever going to be an option again this lifetime. But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to manage a return to Flamekeeping.

Yesterday, I was mindful of Flametending. I felt pretty head blind. Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. And I certainly don’t have a “God phone” the way some people do. (Though I do believe that we can all talk to the Gods and that they are generally inclined to listen. But that’s my UPG). But I’m not head blind often enough that when I am it’s kind of disconcerting. That might be a good thing, though. I was super jittery after the Gaia ritual and I’m usually not after working with her. Post ritual jitters are never a fun experience for me.

Anyway, yesterday, the main things I did Brighid and Flamekeeping wise were a little bit of knitting. And postponing the ritual and question I have for her until today when I realized I was too tired. The last part applies because it’s been my experience and observation that a lot of people’s Gods want them to take care of themself, including mine. And Brighid is really up there, as far as taking care of myself goes, with her associations with healing.

I did put away and organize a bunch of clutter yesterday and wrote in my journal, but those were both before my shift officially started.

Today I’m extremely pleased because I remembered that I was still Flametending and I lit the candle fairly soon after waking up today. I wrote in my journal, which wasn’t poetry or precisely creative, but it is writing. It also allows me to clear my head so I can be creative and it’s important to me. I also washed some of the dishes. Most of them, actually. And I was mindful of her while I was doing them and of my house, my family, myself, and taking care of us while I did it. Though I still didn’t like doing dishes any more than I normally do! :-p
Part of the way through my legs started shaking. I did a few more, but was mindful of my health and didn’t push myself.

I don’t know if I’ll do the ritual and question tonight or not. I wanted to and I was hoping to do it earlier in the day, but stuff came up and I was really not looking forward to it. So I may postpone that, especially because I’m not sure that I feel up to it. But if I don’t, I have to figure out what I’m doing tomorrow. That’s when the Cernunnos ritual is supposed to be. And I already have to try to get fasting bloodwork done tomorrow, which kind of messes up my day in regards to food and meds, so I probably won’t be at the top of my game tomorrow.

I’m using a red seven day candle and hoping to start using an oil lamp kind of deal soon. Though the red is beautiful and reminds me of her, and it’s a much better option than the one I was using before.

I’m hoping to get some more knitting done before my shift ends and I’d like to set air freshener cones near the litter boxes, which is something easy I can check off my list for today and something that falls squarely within the realm of house and home.

I wanted to write about the ritual calendar today, but I’m not sure I have it in me.

Also, off and on for the past few minutes, my phone has been making weird shrieking sound, which is kind of freaking my out. I have no idea why and it hurts my ears. It sounds almost exactly like the feedback you get if you plug two ends of a cable into an amplifier while it’s turned on. And Phire, my tech guru husband is (I believe) asleep, so I can’t ask him about it right now.

And…on that random note, I think I’m going to call it a day for blogging.

A Family that Prays Together (or, Paying for Paganism)


I want to start this post with a disclaimer or two, especially for those who are new to Paganism.

First, you absolutely do not ever have to pay anyone anything to be Pagan or to practice Paganism. Eventually, you’ll probably want to get some supplies, but not neccessarily. And as frustrating as it can be if you feel you want/need supplies for your particualr path (believe me, I know!), they can usually be dispensed with or aquired very cheaply.

Second, while most of the organizations, etc., that are Pagan in nature and charge that I’ve personally come across are ethical and charge reasonable fees. There are also plenty of Pagan groups, probably most of them, that don’t charge a blessed thing. But I’m sure there are unethical groups around that are just out to effectively rob people. So if you do decide to join a group, order, class, or event that charges, do your homework. Make sure they’re on the level. Ask around if they have a good reputation. Ask yourself if the fees they are charging sound reasonable. You can never be too careful.

All that being said, I want to write about my families recent experiences with paying for Paganism. Or, rather, with paying to participate how we want to in our particular paths of Paganism. I don’t intend this post to bitch or gripe, in fact I’m super happy about it. These are all things that we really, really want to do, and there were times in our life when we didn’t have the money. So here goes:

I’m super, super happy and excited!

Last Autumn, I believe was when I joined Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). It took me several months to gather all the supplies I needed for the Initiation Ritual (which I really can’t talk about beyond that. It’s not exactly oathbound, information, I don’t think, but it essentially is). Then it took me several more months to gather the time and energy neccessary to do the ritual, and I still kind of bungled it, though I don’t think sufficiently enough for it not to count. AODA has a lifetime membership fee for each Degree. So you only pay each time you move up a level. It seems kind of hefty to me, only because we live well below the poverty line and currently all three of us have a fixed income (though that may be changing soon). But aside from that influences how it seems, the fees really are not that hefty. Futhermore, they’re entirely reasonable, especially considering that their fee for each Degree is for life. So while most of what I’ve been doing with Paganism lately has to do with AODA, I haven ‘t actually spent any money in the Order lately. While I believe it’s coming close to the anniversary of my first year with them, I’m nowhere near where I need to be to complete my candidate year and move on to the next degree — though I’m working on changing that.

BUT, I also just renewed my membership to Ár nDraíocht Féin! I apparently joined on September 7th of last year and I renewed a few days early this year. And, this year I was also able to subsribe to their magazine, Oak Leaves. Last year I definitely couldn’t afford that and this year, I could. I’m also glad because, prior to this, I only subscribed to one Pagan magazine, and only that for a year or so. One of the things I want to do this year, and/or for however many years it takes, is to increase the number of Pagan and writing magazines I subscribe to. So far, I’m succeeding! Earlier in the year, I renewed my membership to the other Pagan magazine I subscribe to, and this month, I added Oak Leaves when I renewed my ADF membership.

ADF membership is a lot cheaper than AODA membership, principally because they’re membership is annual, as opposed to Degree based. There are also Groves (local groups of ADF) and different types of groups within ADF, some of which charge a modest membership fee. But you don’t have to join them, and, again, they aren’t pricey.

So I’m incredibly happy and I’m so relieved that we did, in fact, have money for me to not only renew my membership but to subscribe to the magazine, as well. But that still means that ADF put me out fifty bucks so far that year. If I join my local Grove, which I want to do, even though it’ll be a pill to get to most of their events, that’ll be another twenty-five dollars, making a grand total of seventy-five dollars spent on ADF this year. I still haven’t bought any of the three books (at least) that I need to get to complete my Dedicant Path studies. I also want a copy of a book that helps guide you through your Dedicant Path in more depth, though the book isn’t strictly speaking required and it has a bunch of other books that are reccommended reading if you follow that book instead of just doing what’s required for the Dedicant Path.

I’m at least as excited, because my husband, Phire, finally joined the Grey School of Wizardy, which is something he’s been wanting to do for years, most of a decade, in fact, I think. This year, we finally had enough money for him to enroll. Enrollment is ten dollars a month, or ninety-five dollars a year, the latter of which gives you a slight discount. Unfortunately, we don’t have the cash to pay ninety-five dollars a year outright right now, so ten bucks a month it is. There is also an ascending fee as you go up levels. The first one is five dollars and they double from there. I had him put aside twenty dollars this month, that if all goes well, we’ll just keep rolling over and adding to each month, so he’ll always have the money to advance a level when he can and wants to. There are also at least two books that are required for the school. Buying the cheapest copies of both of them, plus shipping, cost me about twelve dollars if memory serves. So that’s about forty-two dollars allocated to the Grey School of Wizardry this month.

A few months ago, my partner, Star Jelly (who I’ll probably usually just call SJ or Star), was ordained by the Universal Life Church. That is not the Unitarian Universalist Church, the two are often confused, and the latter has far more stringent ordination requirements. Becoming ordained by the ULC is free, in fact, all it requires is for you to sign up. I should note that the ULC isn’t specifically Pagan, nor is it explicity Christian, nor any other religion. A former friend of mine was an atheist and he was ordained by them. However, I’m sure there are Pagans ordained by them, and Star is predominantely Pagan, with other influences as well, like Phire and I have. However, there are things you can order that help you be able to actually do things as an ordained individual, instead of getting laughed out of town. He’d like to have at least one of them, and I like him to have a few more. This includes a certificate of ordination, a ULC wallet liscense, and a letter of good standing, at least to start with. There may be other resources he might want later, such as books or other resources. But even with those three, that’ll be approximately forty dollars when we can afford it, which is not this month. It was something he really wanted to do, it makes sense for him, and I’m thrilled about it!

So, all told, I believe that’s one hundred and seventeen dollars spent on religious organizations this month, and hopefully, it’ll be at least another forty before the end of the year, for Star Jelly, for a grand total of one hundred and fifty-seven dollars this year! That doesn’t sound nearly as scary written down as it can to us in the moment. That said, it doesn’t sound scary right now either. Sure it doesn’t factor in Phire’s upcoming months of higher levels or other religious supplies — my books for AODA or ADF, or ritual items like candles and inscence, or the possibly that I may finish may Candidate Year next year and need to shell out one hundred dollars to AODA, but considering that it’s three seperate religious organizations for three seprate people, that’s not bad at all. Most Christians tithe for multiple times that. And even though we have less financially than most people in first world nations, that still doesn’t even approach a tenth of our income.

Like I said, I am so happy, and so excited. While we don’t have a ton of money, we have more than we did in past years, we manage it better than we used to, and our expenses have mostly gone done. We may not have a lot of financial resources, but in every other respect we are not remotely poor. We are, in fact, rich!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you are as happy as I am! I wish you well. 🙂

Links to the religious orders, organizations, schools, and churches I mentioned in this post:

Ancient Order of Druids in America — http://www.aoda.org

Ár nDraíocht Féin: https://www.adf.org

Grey School of Wizardry: http://www.greyschool.com

Universal Life Church: http://www.ulc.org

Note: Since I already published a post today, and because I may yet publish more posts relating to contests I am taking part in tonight, I am setting this post to go off tomorrow. It’s currently 8:17 PM EST on September 6th and I’m going to set this post to publish at some point tomorrow on the seventh.

Huh. I set this to auto-post, but it didn’t do it, so I’m posting it today: 9/8/14.