Thursday, June 14, 2018

Too much time

All my thoughts these days have been "there's not enough time, there's not enough time." I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, constantly staring at my watch, running headlong into whatever.

And then I stop and look around, and you know what I see? I see projects I cannot finish because I cannot start them. And the longer I wait, the harder it is to start them. So they never get started...
and then I'm rushing to finish them by the deadline and I feel sick the whole time. I'm facing that now and Goddess willing, I won't screw it up.

Composing my time is like composing art. You have to plan it. I haven't planned effectively and it shows to anyone who actually knows me. It's easier to hide these days and again - not great.

So I started journaling and you know what? I'm not missing time. I'm not running out of time. I'm running out of mental space and just like when you don't clear things off your phone, my brain is screaming that I don't have enough free space and it's not letting new things in. Except, unlike your phone, I can defrag my brain.

Meditation. Time at the altar. Time with my cards. That's how I'm defragging my brain. I'm not letting the tasks overwhelm me - once they're written down, I don't have to think about them until it's time. The clock tells me when it's time. Defragging.

Short post, I know, but I'll leave you with this:

it's easier to start the next project if you don't wait too long after the last one. The longer you wait, the harder it is. Even if what you do is small, don't wait. Just don't wait.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Another short breath, another painful scream, another shuddering sigh

Since that horrible night in November of 2016, the lives of many people have consisted of crying, of screaming, of fear. I have no idea how they get through these days. I'm not sure I know how I get through these days.

See, I'm white. I'm female. I present straight despite the honest truth that I'm bisexual. But to the world who doesn't know me I'm just some nice white girl living with a nice white boy in what is basically the suburbs. They don't know I have an altar in the kitchen, in the garden, and in my bedroom. They don't know about the women I've dated long term. They see nothing amiss - and even on Halloween when I sit in front of my home in all my witchy splendor, goblet in my hand, hat on my head, multiple carved pumpkins around me and lit up by the beauty of the night... they think I'm playing pretend like their toddler who is dressed up like Elsa.

I don't walk down the street in fear of ICE. But my neighbors do. Their families do. My coworkers do.

I don't walk down the street in fear of the police. But members of my community do. Some of my friends do.

I do walk in fear of men sometimes. And of women sometimes. I've been assaulted. I know what the warning signs are. My fears are different, but no less there.

But even for all my fears - I know that no government agency will bust down my door or shoot me during a traffic stop or rip me from my family. I can use my whiteness. I can use my privilege. I have to - it's the least I can do.

So how do I do that? I vote. I talk to my neighbors and friends and find out how I can be an ally. I write letters and call and sign petitions to my Congresspeople. I do what I can from where I am to better the lives of those who have no voice. It is the least I can do.

Magically I work too. HectateDemeter, in her wisdom, has channeled the power of ancient rites into modern workings. It worked for the witches then, it can work for us. Her latest post is here, the Magical Battle for America for 5-28-18, and I highly suggest you join us. It goes back for months, but it's not necessary to go backward and do them unless you want to. Join us now and keep joining us moving forward. The more we have at the battle front, the better.

Remember to breathe. We have to keep breathing. Ours needs to be steady to comfort those whose cannot be. And if you are the ones I'm working to help, then know that I won't stop working for you. We need to help each other. It's the only way we'll survive.

Even as this was written, a friend of mine put out a call to help save a National Park Service Historic Site... the memorial at the USS Arizona in Hawaii. Yes. A place so visited, so hugely popular a tourist destination shut its doors indefinitely because of a lack of funding. A memorial to the men and women who died in a surprise attack that rocked the nation is in danger of closing.

What does this mean? It means our government is crumbling. Our land and our history are being wiped away in favor of greedy contracts. There are men and women alive today who remember the day that is now a memorial that becomes more visible and more painful with every tide and they read today that the government doesn't care enough about the suffering and lessons of that day to keep that memorial open and running by funding them as they should be funded. Can you imagine what their feeling? Can you fathom being told your suffering was insignificant? Many can. Maybe you can.

We have to funnel the pain and hurt and anguish and rage we're feeling into action. We can't let it overwhelm us. We'll all drown like those poor souls on the Arizona. We're already drowning.

My wish for you as we move into the hot, muggy, heady days of summer is this - remember the fight but don't wallow in the fight. Celebrate. Make love. Hold your friends and family near you. Keep your counsel and use your voice when you can. Be kind to yourself when you can't. No one can fight all the time, but the fight won't stop if we all fight when we can.

Also, drink water. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'm Wicked through and through

I've been listening to the soundtrack to Wicked a lot lately, it's one of my favorites. Over the years I've shared this with a lot of people, mostly in the car as we all sing along on our way to wherever. It hasn't always had the best memories for me though.

I was on a roadtrip with a guy I was seeing, and I got to pick the music. So I turned on Wicked and sung along- I was driving, it was my turn. He's not singing along, but he didn't know the musical so I wasn't surprised. We wind our way through the whole thing, all the ups and downs, all the revelations and realizations and end up at the finale as we always do, mournful and knowledgeable. I sighed, as I usually do at the end, and laughed a little, and made the offhand comment that I was way more an Elphaba than a Glinda.

He screamed at me. He ranted at me for nearly 20 minutes about how I needed to be my own person and I needed to grow up and it was immature to think that I was like some made up character and why couldn't I be my own person... I didn't say anything. I tried, I started to rebut his argument logically and with fact and reason and I got screamed at again.

I shut up.

That whole interaction stayed with me for a long time, and I stopped sharing things with him that I cared about. The relationship ended soon after, and it took me another 6 months to completely escape his attentions, and another 6 months after that to leave the state completely. It was the shortest and most painful of my relationships, and the one with the most lasting damage. Thankfully not all of it was irreparable - thanks in large part to my family and true friends.

Listening to the soundtrack again the other day, it dawned on me why he was so pissed that I was more Elphaba than Glinda - Elphaba lived her own life. She didn't listen to anyone else. She did her own thing, made up her own mind, chose her own path and was wicked - not because she was mean spirited, but because that's the role she was shoved in to, fit best in to, fell into and couldn't escape. She was wicked because the world wouldn't give her a chance. They painted her the villain from the womb.

He hated that because he wanted someone who would do as she was told, no matter what, no matter how or when or why. He didn't want a woman to think for herself. And so thinking myself in line with a woman who changed the world? That was right out.

It's spring again, and my garden is awake, and the magic comes easier these days. I find my comfort in the Spring and Fall. Beltane was lovely this year, and I look forward to the upcoming feast days with a smile, knowing I'm in a place where my magic and my heart can reside easily and safely.

A lot of my practice these days includes giving thanks for my life as it is now. I'm thankful for the pains I've gone through as well - they've shaped me, maybe not changed for the better, but changed for good. I can say though, that I am better off for the changes I've gone through.

Go into your magic with a smile, find your path, and walk it. The sun is up.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A crackling in the air

and POOF!

I love those moments.

.................. it's no secret the last few months have been HORRIFIC for me. Constant stress. Constant inability to sleep well or rest, upset stomach all the time, rumbling GI tract... all the villainous stress wreaking havoc on my body and mind.

Then, slowly, the light comes again. The stress lowers. The clouds retreat and look a little less threatening.

I can breathe again, and it doesn't hurt as much. There's still pain, but the hard times are not over yet.

How can I tell that things are getting better? I have that itchy "someone's coming" again. I didn't for a while, a long while, and it bothered me that it was gone - like losing the ability to feel one of your fingers. Now that it's back (and wow is it back) I smiled all afternoon. I got more good news this afternoon too and yeah... the shoulders are a little easier today.

Recipe time! I am a kitchen witch after all.

Ok, so today I'm laying on you a recipe I've tried a few times with great success: REAL Irish soda bread. (yes, i know it's past st. patrick's day. no, i don't care)

So the stuff you buy in the store all chock full of caraway seeds or raisins or some rubbish is tasty, but crumbly and not actually soda bread. Too many ingredients, see? Think about it - Soda bread by definition isn't a yeast bread. You need something to make it rise, and you need those ingredients to be easy, cheap, and available. Flour, Buttermilk, Salt, Baking Soda. That's it. Nothing else.

The Irish were making a quick, no rise, straight bake bread that was hearty, filling, cheap, and easy. No knead. In fact, the less you stir it the better off you are. I did a little researching (and talked to a few of my Irish friends) and yes - this is the soda bread they know and love. The other stuff? Eh. Not so much.

Ok! on to the recipe. I made this on St. Patrick's day, and left the window open for a while while I made a ginormous pot of potato leek and bacon soup to go with the bread. (yeah, that's the right order. try it, I recommend it highly) I also recommend leaving a small saucer of buttermilk out for the Faerie over night... you know why. ;)

Old School Irish Soda Bread - this will take you off to their website and I recommend you pin it or bookmark it or print it out and save it forever because you will always want to make this bread.

and, because I love you guys... Potato Leek Soup, Irish style

Eat well, thank the gods, and rest.

Monday, February 26, 2018

My skin is covered in bark

Unless you're a fan of Lord of the Rings, trees are very static things. Trees don't fight back, they don't wage war. They stay, and watch, and listen, and wait. Trees let time pass them, and don't worry much about it.

The Magical Workings that the brilliant HecateDemeter is leading us through as we work for the bettering of America brought trees to the forefront of my mind recently. (as in, the linked post recently) She bids you sit, listen, and find out what the trees have to tell you.

I did so - I did as I was bid and walked through the meditation. The trees welcomed me as they have in the past, but this time one step further. One step closer. I was brought inside.

It's odd feeling the bark on your skin, or more accurately AS your skin. The leaves not just in your hair, but coming from your hair. The soil in and under and through your toes. Light is so much brighter, so much cleaner, and so much more warming. It's not hard to see why trees like to grow so tall. It's snuggling up to your favorite heat source.

There's a smell that comes with all this, a deep scent that is equal parts inviting and repulsing. It's sort of sticky, you'll smell it for days after you wash it off and I get it every time I go into my garden. It's rot and birth all in one. Trees smell like that when you go deep enough. Parts of them are dying while other parts thrive. It's a cycle. We have to remember that.

The wind doesn't feel the same through leaves as it does through hair or fingers or eyelashes. It tickles your nose, but trees don't have noses to tickle. Wind, against a tree, is a dress or a scarf or a shroud. A gentle breeze is a loose silk skirt dancing around the bark, touching and caressing and playing with the leaves as they fall. A gale force storm is a heavy boiled wool coat smacking and gaping and being thrown around against the trunk, ripping leaves off their branches like hair caught in a brush or a car door.

The best part though? Is the sound. Trees may be silent to the vast majority, and from the outside it's easy to mistake their quiet as complete. But quite the contrary. Their always talking. There's always movement. They cannot contain the sound but we have to slow down to hear it.

You may go, you may gain entry, you may want to stay forever but that is not your place. You are not a tree. You may visit, but you may not stay.

If you go, and try, and cannot gain entry, don't cry. There are other places for you to go, to visit. Perhaps the stars have messages for you, or the water is waiting patiently to show you secrets. Perhaps the stones have notes to leave you, or the animals wonder what is taking you so long to find them.

So sit, meditate, and see if anyone is waiting to talk to you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Raining, raining, raining

I moved to Massachusetts for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the weather. 

See, I visited here once, for a scant 3 hours, while on a road trip from New Hampshire back to Delaware. It was an amazingly beautiful fall day and we went to the only place we could think of in our pre-smart phone days... Boston Common. I was armed with a film camera and enough money to buy lunch somewhere reasonable (which never happened, but that's another story) and instead of stopping at all, we walked like crazy people around the Common and saw everything and nothing, and one of my all time favorite travel pictures (which hangs in my house now) is from the fountain, the only decent photo I got all day. 

I wanted to stay longer. I wanted to see more of the city, to learn more about the place I'd seen on screen, to listen to the people and take in the culture. I wanted to see the water and have lobster and grab a pint somewhere. None of that was to be and for another almost decade I didn't set foot in MA again. Then, well, it all changed. I moved about 10 times, bouncing all over one state before branching out into other states, and finally landed up here. And trust me, I'm not leaving. 

I'm a water sign, and a fire sign - cusp babies are often conflicted sorts - but for all that my zodiac says I'm fire and water the only thing that really calms me is earth. The smell of it, the feel of it. Growing things in black soil gives me a smile like no other. 

I know, however, when the stars have decided something for me. See, I was ill to the point of the ER last week. It's taken many days and I'm still recovering. I've been cleaning the house more and more as I grow stronger and feel more like myself and apparently the weather has decided to cooperate. We're in our second day of rain here in New England, and today is rain in buckets and sheets, as though a waterfall has taken up residence over us. 

I am totally on board with this idea. 

See, there's a quote that I come back to a lot. My mother has it on her fridge, and has for a long as I can remember. It's quite simple: 

"The cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea." - Isak Dinesen

So close to the water, and we are only 1 mile from the bay here, I know that some of the water that's falling has come from the ocean. I know that some is fresh, and it's all cycled through the air. I know heat plays a part, and I know that some of it was in the earth at one point. Rain, to me, carries all the elements together when it travels. 

So much falling, running in fat streams down the house, across the trees and through the grass and bushes, soaking everything it touches... it's carrying away, into the earth, the impurities it touches. It's washing everything. 

Imbolic is coming. My winter greenery is still up and I can feel that ticking clock counting down. I have a guest coming into town though, so I'll leave it up for a few days more. I don't always wait, but when life gets in the way of plans, well, these things happen. There has been a lot of injury and illness at the house lately. We need some cleansing and healing time. 

May the rain be cleansing for you, and if dry is what you need to heal I hope it comes softly, warmly, and quickly to you. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thoughts in the Dark

In October, just before the fullness of Samhain, I left my job. I realized that I was appreciated not for my abilities but as a whipping boy and that was not ok. It was hard, but it pulled me into lean times, into a space where I was better able to meditate on the passing of the year. That wasn't my initial intent, but it worked out nonetheless.

That meditating took me back to times in the past where I'd sat at the hem of the Goddess and listened to the stir of the Cauldron. If you've never meditated that, I encourage you to do so now - we're in the Crone's time right now and she has lots to tell us. People are always excited to run out to the Maiden in the Spring, to sample her delights and listen to the sounds of life returning. People always listen to the Mother, she's Mother after all. Who listens to the Crone? Us witches, that's who. And so I sat at her hem again, and listened for what she had to tell me.

She reminded me of who I am - an artist, a creative, a listener and a learner. She reminded me that I'm wasting myself when I'm not being expressive, when I'm not being myself. She reminded me that it's ok to leave abusive situations even if it means being without a paycheck for a while.

She was chatty. She wasn't done talking.

A few days later I had a new job, something creative and physically demanding. I didn't have time to think or dwell there - I had a job and I had to do it. It was absolutely wonderful and exactly what I needed. It was lucrative too, even though it was seasonal. It was still perfect.
Now the stillness of our first major snowstorm of the season is upon us, and people everywhere were frantic yesterday trying to get prepared. I was out getting things done, but not frantically. I mean, the snow didn't start falling till this morning for pete sake. Yesterday was a clear, crisp winter day. It was beautiful. This morning is a deep grey sky with bright white puffy flakes of snow falling steadily down. It is also beautiful.

No life happens without something dying. This is a truth we all know, sometimes too well. This snow, this is the sort of snow that brings life in the spring - a good, thickly insulating snow after a proper cold snap. This is the sort of snow that keeps the ground nice and cold, insulating it against the sun that will return as the clouds part. Insects will die, bulbs will flourish, and life will renew in snows like this. People are sad about the freezing temps. I'm not. I'm thrilled - it means we're having winter the way winter was supposed to happen, killing off what we don't need anymore and making way for the new life to come.

So remember, as you sit by the Cauldron in the dark of the winter storm, listen to what the Crone has to tell you. She's wiser than you know and isn't done talking yet.