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.

CampNaNoWriMo and Journals


This is what eight years of journals looks like^^

Bear with me if that image doesn’t show, and I’ll try to fix it later. I’m writing this blog post from my phone.

I feel like I’m being a boring blogger. Not only is this supposed to be my general Pagan blog — and I haven’t been writing much about Paagan stuff, but I’m also hardly writing about anything besides CampNaNoWriMo and journaling.

Still, that’s because I’ve hardly been DOING anything else except writing — NaNoWriMo, journal entries, and blog posts. I should be happy, though. And I am happy, because I’m getting those things done.

I did do a little bit with Pagan stuff in March, starting my Ancestor journal and celebrating Ostara AODA style.

Yesterday, I only wrote four hundred and eleven words. Actually, when I stopped for the day, I was literally one one short of my word count goal for the day. That was uber-aggravating. So, I opened my word processor back up and wrote another paragraph or two.

So, I did make my word count goal yesterday, but not by much.

So far, my Easter weekend marathon is about 50/50 — great the first day, not great but acceptable the second. We’ll see what today holds. I haven’t started writing for it yet today because Phire’s computer is broken, so we’re sharing mine until we can afford to get him a new one, which may be some time down the road, but hopefully not. And he’s on it right now.

Yesterday, I DID write seven pages and some change in my journal, finishing that notebook in the process. I am noticing a pattern: the days that I didn’t write in my journal, or didn’t write much in it are the days I got the most written for CampNaNoWriMo and vice versa.

My last journal lasted seven months and I started a new one today.

I’m going to try to get as much written today as possible, because tomorrow, I have to actually go be an adult — call the utilities company, figure out our budget for the month, and pay the bills. Maybe I’ll do some dishes too, but that might be reaching a little high, especially because I’m still hoping to write tomorrow, too. Maybe I can delegate the dishes to Phire or SJ.

I still have three days of buffer, but next Saturday is one of the days that I doubt I’ll be able to right, as my Dad and Grandmother are coming down to take us to run errands, which I deeply appreciate. They usually do that about once a month and it makes our lives a lot easier, since we don’t have a car. And it’s good to get to see them. But we normally go to anywhere from three to seven places on those days, so it takes several hours or all day, and it’s exhausting. Sunday is another day that I’m not sure I’ll be able to write, because these days I usually need at least one day and sometimes more to recover from big errand days.

So I’m going to try to build up additional days of buffer today.

I’ve been reading far less than I normally do in April. But that’s to be expected. I should be careful because I get cranky if I go for too long without reading. But I also get cranky if I go too long without writing.

What I’ve been reading the most of is back issues of The Writer magazine. I have about six months of issues that I hadn’t read. At the time it was an annoyance that I didn’t have the time to read them. But it was only a mild annoyance, because the reason I didn’t have time to read them was because we had just gotten our puppy. We were adjusting to having her in our household and she needed almost constant supervision. Now, that she’s older and better behaved (though she still needs a lot of supervision) I actually have time to read them. And the timing is perfect, because it’s really helping me to concentrate on CampNaNoWriMo and creativity.

If I already wrote some of this stuff, I apologize. Brain fog being a thing, I don’t always remember what I wrote before and I don’t really have the time or energy at the moment to double check.

Phire just handed of the computer to me, so I’m off to go write some more. Wish me luck!

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.

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.

Meh


*WARNING — potentially deppressing rant ahead*

I really, really don’t feel like writing a blog post right now. So why am I? I don’t know. Because it’s been over a month since I blogged here, probably as long or longer on my other blogs. And because I’m frustrated.

I’ve been dealing with my phone malfunctioning periodically since June or July, which is when I got it.

I have the flu. I am, however, super excited that I didn’t need to go the hospital because I have the flu (trust me, that’s a really big deal)! And I’m getting over having the flu, which is awesome.

I’m annoyed with myself over all the stuff I haven’t been getting done around the house.

I only got two of the five, six, or seven small rituals done that I planned to last month. I Flamekept, so that’s three I suppose. But I missed Mabon. I didn’t leave offerings for my other Gods besides one. I didn’t ask their permission to work with the potential new entity, except for one. And now it’s almost Samhain. I’ve only done the one Flamekeeping shift. I missed my last one, and there’s one in two days, I believe, that overlaps with the new moon, when I also want to honor The Morrighan.

I did really well with journaling in September. I only missed four or five days for the whole month. But then, two weeks into October, not even, really, and I missed four days by then. So I missed the same number of days in two weeks that I had previously missed in a month. So far, I’ve either missed four or five days this month. Granted, one of them was the worst of the days I was sick with the flu.

The ceiling is falling down in the dining room due to an incompetent job by the heating guy. The door knob on our front door is broken. There is a hole patched with cardboard and printer paper in the drywall in our attic, which we use as the bedroom. The lawn needs to be mowed and the litter scooped. The sink is full of dirty, germy dishes. Less than a month ago, a sewer main at our curb overflowed, which mercifully was not our problem…except that the pipes in our house gurlgled and backed up because of it for two days and there was sewage around our house for days afterwards. The whole house needs a thorough cleaning. All three of us are still hacking and coughing up phlegm, and SJ still has a fever.

I am tired, and sick, and frustrated. Angry, even. I’m angry mostly because I feel so fricking helpless.

Somehow, someway, I will pull myself out of this.

Where I’m At (Witchcraft and General Paganism Edition), Part 2


This is the second part of a post on where I’m at. You can read the first part here:

https://wildwetlandswitch.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/where-im-at-witchcraft-on-general-paganism-edition/

Let’s see, what else?

I generally pray before I eat. Actually, I generally pray while I eat. Even though the prays are brief, I’m generally thanking a lot of deities. And since one of the fun complications Addison’s Disease can cause is hypoglycemia, I can’t always wait to eat until I’ve finished praying. Sometimes I forget. But usually, what I do is this: I try to always thank Gaia and the Christian God, or a God similar to him (that’s another post for a different time), as well as thanking the plants and animals for my food. I also thank the latter for giving their lives so I can eat. If there’s a dead animal, I also thank Cernunnos and The Morrighan. I usually thank Cernunnos anyway, even if it’s just plants. If it’s something that was actually cooked, as opposed to microwaved or a cold sandwhich type thing, I thank Brighid for our hearth fires that allow us to heat our house in winter and to heat our water and cook good, nourishing food all year round. For the past week or so, I’ve also been thanking my potentially new deity in a different set of circumstances. So for some meals I only thank a few of them, and for some, all of them. I know it sounds like a lot, and it kind of is, but it’s also relativley quick and easy to do, and I like to show gratitude for my food. It also helps me slow down and appreciate my meals.

I mentioned that I celebrated the last Sabbat and I’m hoping to celebrate them all.

Since the end of August, I’ve been writing in my dream journal and my regular general with excellent frequency. This is my lasted attempt to journal every day and my most successfull by far. Since September started, I’ve only missed one day — and I picked right up again the next day.

My dream journal is going very well, too. I skip that more days than my regular journal since I’ve been making a concerted effort at both simulataneously. This is partially because I don’t always remember my dreams, partially because I don’t always have time to do both, and sometimes just because I don’t feel like it — usually because my dreams seem long/complicated or I don’t think I can interpret them. I have, however, had days where I talked myself into writing down my dreams when I didn’t feel like it, and I’m always glad that I did.

So far, I’ve only had that happen once with my regular journal. Again, I talked myself into doing it and am SO GLAD I did.

There may be days when I don’t feel like doing either in the future, but I’ll just do what I can to plug through and do it anyway. Both journals are important to my spirituality and to who I am as a person, and I want to keep it up.

I occassionally meditate and cleanse my chakras and do a morning and evening meditation written by Doreen Virtue, who is a New Age author (New Age authors are generally frowned upon in Paganism for being New Age, fluffy, and disrespectful). But I like her and the meditations work very well for me. I don’t want to be disrespectful and I do want to live in right relationship with my Gods, Ancestors, Nature Spirits, the land, and the faeries. But aside from one book that she wrote, I don’t find her disrespectful, and even that wouldn’t be disrespectful as deemed by most people.

I’m not doing the meditations as often as I want. They can fulfill my requirements for meditation for AODA (though I really want to learn discrusive meditation, and it would be good to do for AODA). They can also fulfill my requirement for mental training for ADF.

I ordered two new Pagan books this month. I’ve read one and I’m waiting for the other to arrive. This is HUGE progress. There is a long, long list of Pagan books I want to get and read, and it isn’t even complete. But I’m doing what I can for that, and it’s dependant on finances, which are currently limited for us.

Gaia told me to spend more time with her and more time in nature. I haven’t been doing much of that.

I have been documenting when I do big stuff for Druidry, but not so much the little stuff. Often, I forget, but even when I don’t writing down every time I meditate or such makes it seem more overwhelming than it already is.

I’m Flamekeeping tonight for the first time in a long time, and I want to keep that up.

I also knit sometimes, which is meditative for me and can be part of my spiritual practice, especially when I’m Flametending.

I have a ton of Pagan apps on my phone: Tarot, Runes, Ogham, Crystals, Power Animals, Moon phase calendars, etc. I try to look at my card of the day, rune of the day, the Moon sign, and read my horoscope for my sun sign and ascendant. I try to draw a single card each day for most of the other divination apps on my phone. I don’t always manage it, though I usually at least glance at my card and rune of the day.

Sometimes, though rarely lately , I do a reading using either my phone or one of the physical Oracle Decks we own.

About two weeks ago I set up two outdoor altars/shrines/offering tables. The first is in a private part of our property and specifically for me to commune with Gaia there. The other is under a tree in our backyard and is a more general one. I can still worship Gaia there, too, though the other one is specifically for her. In fact, the second one is where I did the ritual for her the other night.

My friend helped me with them, though there really wasn’t much setup required, mercifully. The first is about six bricks together from a collection we have that was from a one hundred year old building in Ocean City, New Jersey. The second is a plank of wood that I think was part of the house or something in or on it. We set it on four more bricks that aren’t held together to keep the wood from rotting where it would touch the ground. When I’m not using it, we keep three mor bricks on top of it to keep it from blowing away or getting moved.

I cleansed and blessed them both with seawater and sage smoke. I asked Gaia to bless them and asked her to bless and protect the one for her as sacred space, as well as the place, my partners, my self, and all the living creatures and beings on our property. I read “The Witche’s Creed” by Doreen Valiente over both and a prayer of Thanksgiving over the second one. Then I closed the ritual for each. I’m so glad, and  so, so happy that they’re there and it’s done!

Okay, that’s all I can think of right now. But I still want to write about where I’m going, and I might have forgotten stuff. So I’ll try to write a third post including anything I forgot, if I did, and writing about where I want to go.

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! 🙂

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:
http://m.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/dreams

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.