Mixed feelings about CampNaNoWriMo

I wrote 1,114 words last night, giving me a five day buffer and — I think — a total of 4,187 words for this years CampNaNoWriMo for April so far. That also means that after I get three more days worth of writing done, I’ll be more than halfway there. The closest I’ve ever gotten to completing a CampNaNoWriMo was 8,459 words — also with a 10,000 word goal. But I was working on a bunch of stuff then, as opposed to one manuscript.

So before the BIG goal, I have two little goals to shoot for surpassing: 5,000 words (the halfway mark) and 8,459 words (the farthest I’ve gotten before).

Naturally, I’m ecstatic about all of this. And yet.

I haven’t missed a day of writing completely yet, though I did miss meeting my word count goal for one day (though I more than made up for it), and it’s getting exhausting.

Almost every day I’ve finished my writing after midnight. And by the time I save all of my documents, usually in two formats, back them all up, and update my word count on the CampNaNoWriMo webpage, it’s even later than that.

Lots of stuff is dropping by the wayside. I went several days without calling a family member that I should have called sooner. They didn’t seem to mind, and it worked out okay, but I feel guilty about it.

With the exception of one day, my journal writing has been pretty slim. I only missed one or two days of it, but my entries have been short and I’ve left out a lot of stuff I wanted to write about.

I’ve walked the dog again now that we have a new gentle leader, which a dear friend of ours ordered for us, after she ate part of her old one. But I’ve been letting housework slide. I’m deeply appreciate of Phire, who did a bang up job with a lot of housework and decluttering today.

I haven’t been knitting. I started a blanket last year with needles and yarn donated by family and friends. It’s three panels, and I’m on the last one now, but I haven’t touched that panel since March. Knitting is soothing and meditative for me, and I also try to do it as a devotional act for Brighid.

I’m hoping to give the blanket to my mother, and I was hoping to have it ready in time for her birthday, but that’s unlikely, as her birthday (and Phire’s) is only ten days away.

And I think I mentioned in another post that I’ve barely been reading.

I also haven’t practiced bass for at least a week. SJ and I have a system set up where I try not to go more than three days without practicing — bass, guitar, or vocals, though bass is the main thing. But I just haven’t been managing. I love making music and listening to music. I don’t want to forget what I know, and I want to improve and learn new things, and bass will also qualify for the Bard path in AODA, so that’s upsetting.

I’m doing things like balancing checkbooks, budgeting, and paying bills and dealing with utilities companies today, and I’m just taking a break from that to write this. I was hoping to have all that stuff done in one day, but it’s late enough that it looks like it might stretch into two.

Also, my body has decided that today is a perfect day for me to deal with LOTS of pain, for some random reason, so I’m dealing with that too.

I’ll try to get more adult stuff done and then I’ll see about writing some more for CampNaNoWriMo if I can.


Where I’m At (Witchcraft and General Paganism Edition)

I published one of these a few days ago on betweenfireandwater.wordpress.com, which is my ADF ( Ár nDraíocht Féin) Druidry blog. I’m hoping to post one on islandoceansky.wordpress.com for my AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America) Druidry too.

The idea is to post about where I’m at with my Paganism, especially, at least this time with regards to practices. From there I want to write about where I’m going, or where I’d like to be. If it works, I’m hoping to make it a regular thing to help me figure out what I want, how to get there, and to keep me on track. So here goes:

A week or two ago, I would have said I’m nowhere with my Paganism. That wasn’t really strictly speaking true, but it sure felt like it.

I’ve been celebrating some Sabbats. But I haven’t been celebrating all, or I think even most of them. The ones I’ve celebrated over about the past two years have all been celebrated AODA style, except for last Samhain, which I did ADF style (sort of). When I do manage a Sabbat ritual in the past few years, it’s often days to even a full month late, either because I lack the energy or time, or because I simply forget in a cloud of brain fog.

I haven’t been Flamekeeping for Brighid. On my old phone, I had my shift set up to alert me on my phone calendar. I do have a dateplanner that I dearly love. But there isn’t always room to carry it what with all the meds and stuff I need to haul around with me. Partially as a consequence of that, I don’t look at it every day. Plus, my planner doesn’t beep at me when I’m forgetting something. 😀

But even with my old phone,  it had gotten to the point where I was almost never Flamekeeping. My new phone, which I got in July, won’t let me set a recurring event every 20 days. That annoys the daylights out of me. Please, please fix that Google? Yeah, didn’t think so. Sigh. So after trying to get it set up on my calendar and a few other pit stops that just made my phone pretty aggravated with me, I looked for a Flamekeeping app. I didn’t find one, but I can hardly believe it, because it seems like there’s and app for everything these days. Well, there isn’t really an app that’s a calendar/planner inclusive of Pagan holidays that I’ve found yet, either. Though I have found a couple that list (some) Pagan dates. If anyone knows of an app for either of those things, please do let me know. At the very least, I’ll be eternally grateful.

Right. So Flamekeeping. After I gave up on the notion of a Flamekeeping app and on my calendar letting me truly customize my recurring events, I tried to find other options. I searched different calendars and planners. I tried schedules for college students and I tried task lists. Finally I came across shift calendars, that is calendars for people who do shift work, and hence have odd hours and schedules. Well, I tried at least a dozen of these. Some didn’t work on my phone. Some worked, but I couldn’t figure out how to operate them. Most amazingly to me, some of them still didn’t allow enough customization. Finally, I came up with the app called Work Shift Calendar (it’s icon is a red and white calendar with a red and white clock on it and I got it in the google play store, in case anyone else is as frustrated by Flamekeeping or other recurring rituals vs. phone calendars as I am). It’s also free. I managed to get it all set up and I’m uber excited! It’s also a free app, which is great. The downside is that it doesn’t have an alarm. Nor does it sync with other calendars. So for now, I’m keeping track of Flamekeeping in there and putting the dates in my phone calander one or a few shifts ahead of time. I keep track of everything else through a combination of my phone calendar, my day planner, and plan notebook that I keep a to-do list in for most days. It may sound relatively easy, but I’m really proud of myself for it. I don’t do well with technology and everything takes way more energy for me than it used to.

When I did this, I dropped one of my shifts for Ord Brighideach, which is where I Flametend through. I have two shifts, though one my husband covers, though he doesn’t do it through the website. So I dropped my shift for Chestnut Cill. I also changed my shift in Pine Cill. I figured I’m having enough trouble with religiosity and keeping up with it, so I thought two shifts would be too much. The reason I changed my schedule was partly because I thought it would be easier to manage and I’d remember the date better, but mostly to give myself a fresh start. Tonight into tomorrow is my first new shift, so we’ll see how I do.

I clebrated Lughnasadh, literally a month late. But before that, the last Sabbat I celebrated was Beltaine. Mabon is coming up this month, so we’ll see how I do. I wrote on my ADF blog about how I recently made the descision to focus on AODA primarily out of the two orders right now, especially with regards to rituals.

I’ve know for a long time that I’m not satisfied with how little I’m doing to worship and honour my Deities, spending enough time in Nature, making progress in my Dedicant Path and Candidate Year, and for Pagan stuff in general.

About a week or two ago, I decided to set up a schedule for myself for honoring deities. It’s part of why I decided to make these posts. The idea is for me to honor each of my main deities  roughly once a month, at an appropriate time, and for it to be very simple, so it’s something I can hopefully still do, particularly with assistance, even when I’m very tired.

The general idea is to:
1. Light a candle in an appropriate color.
2. Pray. Talk to them and listen to what they say.
3. Leave a gift or an offering for them, sometimes more than one if I’ve got it. The main offering for most of them will (I think) be insence that they like. Other offerings made include other things that they would like, or food (usually that doesn’t need to be prepared), or a libation. Depending on the deity the libation will probably be water, coffee, or beer, depending on what we’ve got on hand. Though for a few of them, tea and juice could work to. But one offering is enough, especially as long as I’m not consistently giving more to one deity while neglecting the others, or being innapropriate in regards to who is most influential, I guess? in my life.
4. Thank the deity and close the ritual.

Ideally, I’d create sacred space and then close it. But I won’t always have time and energy for that and I won’t always be able to wait until the offering is done burning out. I figure and hope that it’s okay, seeing as I’m praying, but not actually invoking or evoking anyone.

Here is the schedule so far:

Gaia — at the Full Moon
The Morrighan — at the New Moon
Brighid — Flamekeeping, 16th shift for Pine Cill
Cernunnos — the 15th of each month

This schedule is incomplete and their is another deity I may be working with soon. I want to and I believe she wants me to, but I have to clear it with my deities first. That’s also something I want to write about in more detail in a separate blog post for a whole bunch of reasons before I post about it here.

So far, I’ve done a ritual that wasn’t quite that brief for the potentially new deity. I explained why I hadn’t “answered” when I got the impression she wanted to work with me before and asked if she wanted me to. I told her I’d have to clear it with my other deities first and explained my concerns.

I also did the ritual for Gaia for this month. I was too tired on the night of the full moon, so I did it the day after and explained to her why I waited. She really disliked the inscense I used, so I have to find a better variety.

Tonight is my first Flamekeeping since I set up the new schedule. I was going to do the ritual for Brighid tonight and ask her the question I’m asking all of my deities. But I think I’ll be too tired. So I’ll try to Flamekeep tonight, and maybe hit up the ADF solitary chat. Since my shift goes until tomorrow at sundown, I’ll try to do the ritual for her as one of the first things I do tomorrow. I want to have energy and be able to hear her clearly, if I can.

When the schedule is complete, it’ll probably be weighted more heavily to the first half of the month. That worries me because I wanted to ideally spread the rituals out throughout the month. But it’s also good because I want to leave myself room to get all of them done later in the month if I don’t manage them all on the days I want to. The schedule could still prove a little hairy. For instance, my Flamekeeping could sync up with one of the moons, which could sync up with the fifteenth. If that happens, I can either try to do them all in one day, or what is probably wiser, spread them out over a few days. This month in particular is interesting. Mabon seems in my UPG like it would be a great time to honor my possibly new deity, especially with the AODA order of ritual. But the new Moon falls after Mabon. So I have to ask The Morrighan about the deity in question first and I might possibly do the ritual to honor her before the new moon this month.

There is SO MUCH more I want to write about, but this is turning into an epic blog post, I’m running out of energy, and I have to eat soon. But I just kind of figured this would be the longest blog post, since this is a post for all the aspects of my Paganism that don’t fit into Druidry and because I’ve been  a witch and Pagan far longer than I’ve been studying Druidry. So while I can’t promise, what I’ll try to do is to post a Where I’m At part two blog post, and/or however many others it takes.

Thanks for reading along! 🙂

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.

The Many, Many Notebooks of a Writer and Witch

I’m a writer and a witch (also, an Animist, a Druidry student, a polytheist, and a general, eclectic Pagan). I also like to be organized and keep things in the places they belong.

All of that, plus the fact that I’m running a little shy on notebooks right now — nor can I afford to replace them at the moment — has got me thinking about all the different notebooks I use in general, and for Paganism specifically. I’ve seen lists that other Pagans have written and I liked them, but obviously being different people on different paths, our lists vary. So, for the curious, here  is my list of notebooks.

Book of Shadows — I really dislike that name for it, partially because people get the show Charmed stuck in their heads and can’t figure out what mine is really like. I usually just call it “my book” and if people aren’t familar enough with me to know what I’m talking about, I say “Grimoire”.

I’m working on my fourth or fifth (I think) BoS right now. Yeah, I’ve been doing this a long time. In each new notebook I copy down the things that I need to have in it, even if they’re in the others. Yes, I know, an abysmal waste of paper, but also a ritual and sanity saver. This one is kinda huge, so I probably have a ways to go before it’s full.

I was initially going to take and post pictures of each of the notebooks I disscussed for this post, but I’m not sure I will. Either way, some things just wouldn’t translate well. For instance, my favorite thing about my BoS is the smell. It has the accumulated scents of some years worth of incense, dirt, sand, grass, sage, lavendar, and scented candles absorbed into it’s pages. Smelling it always makes me feel safe, loved, and at peace.

I’ve had all kinds of BoS — ruled, cheap, blank, pricey, big, little — and I’ve gotta say, this one is one of my favorites. It closes with a leather thong, which I love, it has a pretty but meaningless design on the front, and I got it for free (though I tried to pay for it) from a place where I was volunteering. It doesn’t seem like an overly expensive piece of work, but it holds together well. It’s farily large and has big, blank pages. So far, my personal preferences for BoS notebooks are a) those that close b) bigger ones and c) those with blank pages.

I have spells, rituals, and prayers written in it.  Most of the stuff in it is Pagan, but not all of it. There are things from Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions and beliefs in there. I also keep magical item descriptions, descriptions of Deities, sigils and signs, folk wisdom, meditations, chakra information, and correspondences in it, among so many other things. In the front of the book is a blessing, and in the back I keep pertinent information from my natal chart. Right now, in mine, most of the spells and rituals are other people’s, with the sources written down, but some of them are mine. If you have a BoS or are thinking of starting one, it may look like mine or it may be completely different. There isn’t really a right way or a wrong way to do it.

Dream Journal — I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I kept a dream journal or two without terrible success when I was a teenager. I have no idea whatever happened to them, which is unusual because I still have most of the journals from most of my life, and I try, in a house with two chaos beasties and four cats to keep them organized. Then a bunch of years went by when I either wrote down dreams occassionally in my regular journal or just didn’t write them down at all. Finally, a few years ago, I decided to start keeping a dream journal again. I got one that was about the size I wanted, though the color didn’t appeal to me. Hey, my budget was limited and it was cheap! I kept that one for several years. I didn’t usually remember to write in it frequently and the damn thing kept getting lost. Also, boy was I ever wrong about the size! It was way too tiny and kept getting lost. Writing in it became more and more of a chore. It already feels like a chore sometimes, because, while I am lucky enough to both remember many of my dreams and I’m usually good at interpreting them, I don’t always feel like writing down and rehashing something that it feels like I just lived. Some of dreams are also so complex that writing them down and then penning my interpretations seems fairly overwhelming. The same applies if I remember multiple dreams from one night. Finally, with my chronic illness I have a regimen of medicine, followed by food, followed by supplements first thing in the morning, as well as throughout the day, which complicates matters.

For my second dream journal, I sent one of my partners to the pharmacy with loose instructions as to the size and type of journal I wanted. He got a great one. A cheap, ruled notebook, bigger than the last, but still on the small side (6 by 4 inches). It was fine, really. I’d prefer slightly bigger pages, but that size worked. The only two problems were that it didn’t seem as durable as my last one, and there weren’t enough pages — only sixty. That worked in my favor, because, while my first dream journal from my adult years (as opposed to teenagerhood) spanned years. This one only lasted from February of this year until today, which was a great boost to my self-esteem over the whole bussiness. It also gave me a huge sense of accomplishment, like filling a notebook usually does for me. BUT, in that amount of time, it got lost for two months. Additionally, while I wrote in it far more frequently than in my last one, it still wasn’t anywhere near as religiously as I’d hoped it would be. So what would happen with the next one if it didn’t get lost or if I wrote in it *gasp* every day?

For the third one I was able to get to the pharmacy myself. I contemplated getting the exact same kind as the second one because it had worked so well. But I really can’t afford to shell out money for a new dream journal every month or two and our house is short on storage space, so I don’t really want a whole stack of dream journals for just one year.

This one is a pharmacy brand, ruled notebook like the second one. But this is one is college ruled, a little bigger (7 by 5 inches), it has more pages (100, as opposed to sixty. I seem to recall the first one having 90 pages, by they were so small I don’t even think it counts), and it seems a whole lot sturdier. The thought that it might take me years to fill it worries me, but other than that, I’m very pleased.

In some of my journals, I keep quotes. Sometimes it’s just a random quote or a list of them that I like. But in my regular journals and my dream journals I usually have a specific quote, usually carefully chosen, on the first page(s), and sometimes more than one. It works as a focus point, a reminder, and almost a dedication of sorts.

For my first adult dream journal, the quote was Yeats: “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

The second was Langston Hughes. A few weeks before my first dream journal ended my Mom sent me a text paraphrasing one of his poems. I used the complete poem in the front of that dream journal. The poem was “Dreams”, which can be read in it’s entirety here:

For the third quote I chose Edgar Allan Poe: “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”.

I didn’t consciously choose poets for all three quotes, in fact, I only realized that while writing this. But in retrospect, it’s pretty cool. It also makes sense that poets would have some good quotes about dreams. I like all three quotes, but I also think the ones I chose reflect an evolution in my thinking over the years, which I like the thought of.

Druidry Journal — this is the most recent addition to my Pagan notebooks. I only started it in the early months of last year, or possibly in the winter or autumn preceading it (it’s not in front of me right now and I don’t have the energy to check). I initially began it to document my Candidate year in the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). Now I’m also using it to document my Dedicant Year in Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF). The thought has occured to me to get a seprate notebook for ADF, and I may, but many of the requirements for both groups can be fulfilled by overlapping each other. Another solution is to get two new notebooks — one for ADF and one for both groups. That appeals to my sense of order,  but it also sounds like a recipe for crazy-making. Right now, the sole notebook I’m using for Druidry is a very nice, green leather, with “journal” embossed on the front, a bookmark, and gold-edged, blank pages. I was using a purple pen it to begin with, to more clearly delineate that it was something special and out of the ordinary, and because I have always liked the way purple and green look together. But I can rarely find the damn pen and can’t usually afford to buy new ones. So now I just use whatever, which usually means my favorite pens by Pilot Pens*. They bleed and smudge like crazy, but I love how smoothly they write and how long they last. Plus, they’re relatively cheap and I love the fact that they’re a company that doesn’t test on animals.

Divination and results journal — This journal is wholly theoretical at this point (I wonder if I put it in a box if it would exist or not). Right now, I keep track of divination results in either the back of my BoS or the “notes” pages of whatever book comes with my Oracle Card sets, and I have an app that saves Tarot card readings on my phone and tablet. But I don’t want to use up all the pages in my BoS with divination results, and I’d like to be able to keep all of my readings in one place.

So the plan is to get a notebook where I can keep all of my Divination card and Ogham readings, keep track of signs and synchronicities, including the meanings of things that recurringly seem to be trying to get my attention in nature, and the results of spells and rituals (that don’t belong in my Druidry notebook), and my notes and thoughts on them. I want it to have blank pages, so I can write things like Ogham in it easily. I also want it to be reasonably big for ease of writing and because I want to be able to draw visual depictions of the card spreads I use or any altar arrangements I set up. And I ideally want it to have a bookmark to keep track of my page and some way of staying closed, whether a tie, a clasp, or an elastic band. I’d also like it to be realatively cheap and very sturdy. Sounds like a tall order. But it might not be — my current BoS was free, would have been cheap if I’d paid for it, and fulfills all of those requirements except for the bookmark. And while my Druidry Journal was probably the most I spent on a notebook in my life, it was well worth the cost for something durable that I’ll probably use for years.

My Binder — this is just a regular three-ring binder. It has some papers in the front and back pockets and a bunch hole-punched and on the rings themselves. This is kind of a catch-all like my BoS, but even more so. It has stuff from all over the place. Mostly it’s spells, rituals, articles, and blog posts pertaining to Paganism that are either too long for me to copy into my BoS, or that I just haven’t gotten around to transcribing yet. Mostly this is the work of other people (though like my BoS, it’s for my own personal use, and I include the source on all papers in it), though occassionally, my own stuff winds up in there too.

My Regular Journal — This isn’t strictly speaking, a spiritual or religious journal, but for me, writing, and especially journaling is a spiritual practice. I get more easily stressed and overwhelmed when I don’t write frequently. I get out of sorts, and eventually become downright cranky. If it gets bad enough, I can’t sleep at night, which I already have problems with (thanks, steroids!) because I’m rolling over and over all the stuff I want to write and digest in my head. Then, sometimes it seems hugely overwhelming and I have trouble getting started again.

For my regular journal I’ve used hardbound notebooks by a company called Black ‘n’ Red for the past seven to nine years or so. They’re tied for the number one spot in my favorite kind of journals, except for two other kinds I used in my teens that aren’t made anymore.

I’ve written for my entire life, but in my early adulthood I had a dry spell of about two or three years. I first started keeping a journal again for the first time since I was a teen at the suggestion of my favorite aunt. I told her about my dry spell and she proposed trying to write every day. That was the journal I chose to use and I loved it so much I’ve stuck with it all these years.

My aunt’s suggestion didn’t work at first, but it was immeasurably helpful, just the same. My first BnR notebook spanned five years. The second lasted two. The third took place over nine months. The fourth took seven or eight months to fill. And my current one was only started last month and has a decent hunk of pages filled already.

Over the years, it has gotten easier to write in them regularly. This is partially due to my family and I becoming more organized over the years. My first BnR journal was lost more often than I knew where it was. The second was also frequently misplaced. But with all the later ones, they got lost less frequently and some not at all. In a similar vein, I now keep my journal either in my backpack (which I almost always have with me) when I’m not using it, or right next to my bed, or right next to me, which helps both with it not getting lost and with remembering to write in it/not being overwhelmed with fishing it out.

I’ve also made progress by making a conscious descision and true effort to write in it more frequently. Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to write in it, at least once a day, every day, or as close to that as I can manage. So far, I’ve been really successful. From August 29th, when I really got into the swing of it, until now, I’ve only missed two days, and there were some days I wrote twice.

Since the BnRs are all identical, except for the contents, it gives me a good idea of how much and how frequently I write in them. There are other variables: my handwriting size and number of typos changes depending on my mood and energy levels and I fill some pages at the back with random stuff — doctor’s appointments, to-do lists, monthly budgeting notes, etc. But mostly they’re a good gauge. They have a place in the front to write about the books contents, where I write where I lived, big markers that stuck in my memory from that peroid of time if they apply, and who I lived with. That last part may sound extreme but, while my husband and I have been together for years, we’ve had three people move in with us, two of them move out, and several temporary house guests — and we moved very frequently, though hopefully that is all behind us now.

My Freeform journal — Again, not specifically spiritual, but it applies. I mentioned BnRs are tied as my favorite notebooks. Moleskine are tied with them. I started using Moleskine because I wanted sturdy notebooks to write novels in and because, at the time, I was dissatisfied with my regular journals. See, when I write in my regular journal, I tend to be straightforward, sometimes even clinical, “This happened, then this, and then that.” Or I write, “I feel this way about this and that way about that (usually something I or someone else did, not about ideas in general”. Or I write stuff I want to do or things we need to buy. There are exceptions, I can rant about stuff with the best of them when I’m upset, I do often write about my emotions less technically, etc.

Since then, I’ve seen the value in this approach and I wouldn’t change my regular journal for the world, but at the time, I was dissatisfied. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t doing a lot of creative writing at that time and I didn’t feel that my regular journal helped with that (in retrospect, I think I was wrong, especially when I gave myself space to be creative in other notebooks, as well). But partially, I also felt constrained by my writing style, by the notebooks themselves, by not wanting to muck up my journal with other forms of writing.

My regular journals have ruled pages. And as I said, I wouldn’t change using them for the world. But my favorite journal I ever kept had blank, high quality pages. It was a mixture of journal entries, poetry, prose, quotes, song lyrics, pen sketches (most of which weren’t great), and whatever else. I wanted to recapture the feel, if not the contents of that notebook. So I bought a Moleskine and went to it. The blank pages helped liberate me and free my creativity. I use it far, far, less than my BnRs. It also goes walkabout far more often than they do. And it looks just like another Moleskine I have that has a very different purpose and I get them confused sometimes. Also, so much has changed since I started keeping it, I’m almost a different person. But nonetheless, I’m pleased with the results. It hasn’t become like my old freeform journal — yet. But I’m holding out hope. And I wouldn’t change that for the world either.

I have many, many other notebooks than just those. None of the rest are explicity spiritual as of right now, though in my opinion, some are more spiritual than others. But I also feel to some degree that they are all spiritual, since writing is a big part of my spiritual practice and also, I feel it’s a huge part of why I incarnated here this time around.

But in the interests of completion and for the curious, I’ll give a brief rundown of most of the rest of them, or at least their categories, without going into too much detail:

*short story notebooks
*essay notebooks
*poetry notebooks
*novel notebooks
*a to-do list notebook
*a medical log notebook
*a beautiful planner
*a notebook each for writing letters to my partners
*old notebooks from when I was younger

Well, I think that’s it! I didn’t intend for this post to be so long. If you made it all the way to the bottom of this, thanks for reading along. Hopefully this post will either help those new to Paganism see what some of their options are, or satisfy the curiousity of those who aren’t new to it, but wonder about the Paganism information keeping systems of others.

*Throughout this post, I occassionally referenced name brands of different notebooks and pens. I know that getting paid to blog ads about different products is a thing, but I wanted to let you know that isn’t what’s going on here. I genuinely like all the products I mentioned and would reccomend them to others, but I’m not getting paid to write about them. If I ever do do ads on my blogs, for one thing, at the moment, I don’t see myself putting them in the actual content. Or if I stand to gain something from posting something (like I did for my post about the bitten by books contest, and like I might do again for other contests by them or possibly from other things, I’ll say so). And aside from the ads that I don’t endorse, which wordpress  puts on free blogs sometimes, if I do put ads on my blogs, a) I’ll only ever put up ads for things I wholeheartedly believe in, and b) I’ll pipe up about it.