Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Madness

I have, perhaps, a startling confession to make.

I don't believe in God.

I believe in gods - small g - but not God. I do not believe there is an omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful God. My gods are flawed. They do not know everything. They can't do everything. They're not always paying attention. One of my favorite quotes describes WHY I think of my gods like this.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
(this has been attributed to Epicurus, but there's a lot of debate over whether that's correct.)

In the wake of the last two shootings - the one in the Oregon mall, my home state! and the one in Connecticut that killed all the children - this seems like a time for this quote. A benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient God COULD NOT have allowed that to happen. I refuse to believe in a God that would.

There's also the conundrum of, if God created us, then he created evil as well and allowed it. I will not believe in such a God.

My gods are small. I view my gods as facets of the same divine force; I see no issue with praying to Brigid with one breath and Kali with the next. I believe in Pantheism - EVERYTHING is part of the divine force. In a sense, praying to Brigid is praying to myself; focusing my energy, my will, through the lens that is Brigid in order to achieve an end. When I say I hear Cerridwen calling, it not that an entity named Cerridwen is trying to get my attention; it is that I feel myself needing to transform away from the hearth and homemaker I've been and into something new.

I do believe there is a divine force. I do believe in magic. This sets me apart from atheism. But the God of monotheism just angers me.

This rambling brought to you by Facebook drama with family. (I'm in green, my mother is in black.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A walk through the woods

Well, these crows apparently do not welcome my company like the crows back in Oregon did; they left soon after I began my walk, and are returning now, as I type this on the computer and watch them through the patio door. But my walk was enjoyable, nonetheless.

There were several trees with large, woody vines entwined around their trunks. I love seeing that image, even though I know it's not good for the tree.

Caught a crow mid-flight.

The squirrels were not as shy as the crows were; this guy scuttled around beside me for quite some time as I took pictures.

I love the S-curve of the creek through the woods; the way it has cut into the ground and made deep banks looks particularly cool.

One of the banks, held up by tree roots. There is a bit of trash in these woods, unfortunately. I've seen worse, but it's still disappointing.

Found a tiny sprig of holly growing; I was careful to walk around it and let it be. At least I think it's holly, but aren't holly leaves usually glossier? Not sure what else has those saw-tooth edged leaves, though.

Another bank held up by tree roots.

A large downed tree; looks like it came down quite some time ago.

I'm standing with my back to my apartment building here, looking deeper into the woods.

Turning around, I'm now facing my apartment, which you can just barely see through the trees. The woods wrap around the entire apartment complex, we occasionally see deer in the parking lot!

Thought this was an interesting little tree, with the bulby vine wrapped around the branch. At least I think it's a vine; it kind of looked like tree, but I'm not sure why it would have grown like that.

And I have to end this with what drew me out there in the first place today. So many crows!

The Crows are calling

Going for a walk in the woods today, the crows are calling me to come play!
Video taken on the 9th, but they were back yesterday and again today. I'm heeding the call today. I should have Sunday, there were about twice as many crows then as there are now. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Madness

Yes, I'm aware Monday is the only day I've been posting the last couple of weeks. I've been working almost every day at the retail store lately. (Holiday Shopping, Joy!) There will, however, be a new Pagan Blog Project post this Friday.

That said...I'm writing again. In other places than the blog. You see, in high school I dreamed of being a writer. I loved writing. I wrote short stories, plots for longer stories, poetry...I just wrote. I wrote less and less in college until I finally stopped altogether. I can count on one hand the number of poems I've written in the last ten years.

But...I had a scene worm its way into my head one night, and refuse to leave. Once I wrote it down, two more quickly followed. Now I have a partial plot, an inkling of how magic works in this world, and three main characters. I have a full year before NaNoWriMo rolls around again; I may spend this year building scenes and plots and outlines and characters, and then next NaNoWriMo I may attempt a book.

If you had a species that was kind of a cross between a roc and a dragon - and they bonded telepathically with their riders, like so many dragons do in books - what would you call them?

I'm currently calling them "Companions" but that's also the name of the Heralds' horses in Lackey's Valdemar. So it's mostly a place holder. (It's also a bit of a side plot - the story lies with the people more than the birds.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Madness

I prayed, and I received understanding.

I called upon the divine, and Wisdom came to me.
I loved her more than scepters and thrones.
Wealth is nothing compared to Wisdom.
I cannot compare her to any jewel,
for gold is like sand compared to her,
and silver is like dull clay.
I love her more than health and beauty.
I love her more than light, 
because she is unfailingly radiant.
All good things come to me because of her, 
and from her hands come all treasures.
 - Wisdom, 7-14

One practice I've adopted from my husband and a few of our friends is finding a Word. A Word that symbolizes who you are, who you want to be - what you strive for. Your life's purpose.

My word is Wisdom. I like knowledge - I do like learning new things - but Wisdom is what I want. I don't need to know HOW, so much as WHY. I want to go back to school, but I haven't decided exactly what for. I intend to take a Psychology 101 class, a Sociology 101 class, and a Philosophy 101 class. I want to know WHY people do things the way they do, WHY the world is the way it is. I took a Introduction to Ethics course once, and had an amazing time in it. Philosophy is really interesting to me. I think those three classes, as well as possibly a Counseling class, will tell me what exactly it is that I want to do. Besides strive for Wisdom.

In the meantime I read as much as I possibly can, about a wide variety of topics. I'm currently having a lot of fun watching the videos on The Vlog Brothers' Crash Course channel. I've also enjoyed a lot of the videos at The Khan Academy, and worked through a lot of their math course. Reddit and Google+ provide me with a lot of news and current events. (Pick your subreddits and circles carefully, and those sites can be incredibly educational!)

Unfortunately, working retail this holiday season is infringing upon my time spent seeking Wisdom. It's also infringing on my time spent writing entries for this blog, as you've probably noticed, and I apologize sincerely! I have at least been able to keep my commitment of one entry a week; and after the New Year I should be able to get back to daily blogging.

I shall end this blog with two questions for you all.

Do you have a Word?
What are your favorite resources in the search for Wisdom?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Madness

This is actually a little more like Friday Madness, or Thursday Madness, since Thanksgiving and Black Friday are what this entry is about.

I have to work on Thanksgiving. And not just Thanksgiving morning; I have to work from 4 pm to 11 pm. Which means the Thanksgiving Dinner plans I had are now "Thanksgiving Lunch" plans, and I'm very, VERY grateful to my hostess for changing her schedule for me.

So back to this working on Thanksgiving thing. I work in retail. I always have. I've worked in various stores, and I've never had to work on Thanksgiving before. The earliest I've had to go in was 4 am on Black Friday. Which sucked, but I understood. That company is opening at midnight this year. Another company I used to work for is opening at 9 pm Thanksgiving night. Other companies are opening at 8 pm, or earlier. The company I currently work for is open 4 pm to 11 pm on Thanksgiving Day, and opening again at 7 am Black Friday.

WHY?! Why do companies do this to their workers? Thanksgiving is listed as a Federal Holiday, but soon it will only be Federal Employees that get the day off. Retail almost never pays Holiday Pay. Only full time workers get that, and those are few and far between in the retail business. So while full-time people, federal workers, and union workers all get paid to NOT work on Thanksgiving, we get paid time-and-a-half TO work. Which means, in comparison, we really only get paid half-wages. If you go off the basis of people getting Holiday Pay. Half-wages to work on Thanksgiving.

Because consumers will come out to the sales. Everyone complains about what this does to workers - but they still go shop the sales. If you want this to stop, it begins with you. YOU must stop shopping Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. YOU have to vote with your wallet, and stop supporting these practices. Unless the consumer - YOU - stops giving in to the marketing, corporations will continue to open their stores earlier and earlier, and make their employees miss more and more of their "holiday", to rake in the sales.

We talk about the over-commercialization of Christmas. It's now branching into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is no longer a time to enjoy good food with your family, but a time to pig out until it's time to go to the stores and shop. Or a day to sneak out of dinner and go visit the sales. I would really like to be able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with the people I love, but instead my husband will be home alone and I will be catering to shoppers. Shoppers who will probably wish me Happy Thanksgiving, and ask "why are you working on Thanksgiving?" not understanding that it's because THEY ARE SHOPPING.

So please. From one person to another. (Because though I work retail, I AM STILL A PERSON.) If you know someone who works retail, or if you have ever worked retail yourself - skip shopping on Thanksgiving. Skip Black Friday. Send a message to retailers that this has gone far enough. You can wait eight hours to get that half price TV or that blouse for 70% off. You don't need craft supplies while your family is eating Thanksgiving dinner. Tell retailers you'd like to wait and get a little bit of sleep. We employees will thank you for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Photos

Today I'm going to post a series of photos. These are shot off my back patio; I live on the fourth story of an apartment building, and there are thick woods behind our building. (On the other side of the woods are a grassy park where I've seen a herd of deer, and then more woods.) The view makes the apartment a really enjoyable space.

The view from my patio in June:

It was pretty, and green, and lush.

Then Fall started to settle in:

The trees began to change color and give us some wonderful fall hues.

After Hurricane Sandy brushed past us on her way to New Jersey and New York, a lot of the leaves were missing!

It started to look more like winter at this point.

And just a few days ago, it looked like this.

I plan to continue taking pictures as the seasons change, I really like the progression!

Friday, November 16, 2012

PBP - I'm a Word Witch

So - some witches classify themselves - Kitchen Witches, or Weather Witches, or Druids, or Shamans...I've tried to figure out, for a long time, what I am. Other than eclectic.

I'm a Word Witch. My favorite form of spellwork is to write out a prayer, or a poem, or a wish, and decorate the page and hang it on the wall. There are prayers sticky-tacked in odd places throughout my house. At one point, while Sascha was deployed, I had nine or ten prayers of protection and comfort posted around the walls of my bedroom!

Perhaps that's why I like this blog so much. I like words. I enjoy writing. In high school I dreamed about becoming a writer. That's not something I'm interested in now; it's hard enough finding inspiration for a blog entry every day! (And as you can tell, I do fail at that sometimes...)

Speaking doesn't do it for me either; it's the written word where I find magic. I get nervous and mispronounce my speech, but it's extremely rare that I misspell a word. The best way for me to remember something is to write it down once or twice.

I think the affinity for the written word has affected my choice in goddesses, too. Brigid has been my shield and open-armed, welcoming goddess since I began this journey; she's a goddess of poetry and inspiration, of hearth and home. Lately Cerridwen has been calling to me; she's another goddess of inspiration, but also of transformation. She can be vengeful and ferocious in getting what she wants - she chased her servant boy through several different forms when he accidentally took the potion meant for her son. (And eventually ate him, only to birth Taliesin nine months later!)

On one hand, I am eager to see where Cerridwen leads, but I am also a little afraid of the change she promises.

Cerridwen, Dark Lady, you stir your cauldron with such care. Please remember I can be burned too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tarot Tuesday

I've decided to start over again, slowly, with my old Friend, the Tarot of the Cat People. So I'm working through my "Tarot for Your Self" book, from the beginning, with this deck.

(You can see my first entry about this book here, and about this deck here.)

After recording my Tarot profile as seen in my first entry about this book, I moved on to a simple three-card spread. I know how to do the cross spread, but for now, we'll stay simple with the three-card. I've always read it as past-present-future, but this book suggests not only that, but also body-mind-spirit. An interesting twist.

Today my three cards are Nine of Pentacles-Ace of Pentacles-Two of Wands (inverted).

If I look at them as Body-Mind-Spirit, I see that I am incredibly wealthy in body (well, yes, I'd like to be a little less so!). My mind is at a peak of power right now, and my spirit is...torn. Torn between two things, distracted, dealing with a loss of faith. At a time when it really should be cementing its dominance.

Perhaps this is telling me I really need to work on letting go of the last bits of indoctrination left over from my conservative Christian upbringing. I still have a little trouble with rituals and overt spellwork; I feel silly calling out aloud to my gods or tracing figures in the air/on the ground. And this is something I need to get over.

I learned the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram from a friend over the weekend. There are parts of it I really like (And around me flames the pentagram, and within me the six-rayed star - I love that. It feels like a shield that doesn't feed solely off my own energy.) and parts that I feel really funny about. (Tracing the pentagram in the air, intoning certain words that have no real meaning to me.) I've already changed some of it; the gods I call upon being the most significant. (Rhiannon before me, behind me Mannanan, to my right Brigid, to my left Cernunnos.) I will probably continue changing it until it feels right to me.

Did any of you have issues with your magic? Did you ever feel silly performing a ritual? Any ideas for how to get over it?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Madness

Normally I write these entries the day before, and schedule them to be posted. But it's 10 till 2 in the morning, and I've been searching for inspiration for this entry.

In the meantime, Sascha and I have been marathoning Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Yes, you heard me right. Sabrina. It's a show I never got to watch growing up because *gasp* witches! He mentioned the other day that he used to like that show, and when I said I never got to watch, his immediate reaction was to decide we were going to watch all of it.

We're about 10 or so episodes in to the first season, and I have to say, I'm impressed. Given that this aired in the mid-90s, I'm surprised it was as well accepted as it was. I was especially amused by the Halloween episode; Aunt Zelda informed Sabrina that she shouldn't buy into the commercialization of the holiday, and to remember the true meaning of Hallow's Eve - family. Given that that's what is usually said about the high Christian Holiday, I just thought it really neat.

It's just not often that you see witchcraft portrayed in such a positive, family-friendly light. I mean, what other movies/TV shows have featured witchcraft/wicca/paganism?

Charmed - not quite family friendly.
Bewitched - actually another good example of witchcraft being portrayed favorably.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks was good.
But The Coven, The Craft, The Blair Witch Project, The Witches of Eastwick, so many bad examples.

And of course, now, the Harry Potter series. I was just surprised to see a series about a family of witches aimed at a younger audience, fifteen years ago! It might just be my sheltered upbringing, I suppose.

Does anyone else know of positive portrayals of witchcraft in the media?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Photo

I love this picture. This is an EXTREMELY calm day on the Oregon coast - people who are only used to the east coast don't understand how rocky and unpredictable and dangerous the Pacific coast is. The floor of the ocean drops off VERY quickly, and there's undertow currents pretty much all the time. 

Combined with this memory of the Pacific are the people in this photo. In the foreground are my little brother and his fiancée. On the right are Sascha and our other best friend. These are three people I miss very much from back home in Oregon. And this memory of our beautiful day at the coast is something I will always treasure.

Love you guys.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bonus Post: Two Men - the Difference

President Obama won re-election Tuesday night. A lot of other fantastic things happened and fantastic people got elected Tuesday night, but this entry is about the difference between my President - a man who's tried to better the lives of everyone in this country - and Governor Mitt Romney, a man who admittedly only cares about 53% of the country.

This is President Barack Obama thanking some of his campaign workers, after he won the election:

And this is Mitt Romney's thanks to his campaign workers: Mitt Romney's Campaign Cancels Staffers' Credit Cards in the Middle of the Night

This is the difference between these two men. One of them fucking CARES.

Friday, November 9, 2012

PBP - Woman, Phenomenally

When I was in high school, I was big into poetry. Still am, but in high school I had a few poems that I wrote on papers and pasted onto my walls. (Come to think of it, I still do that, too!) One of my very favorite poems at the time was Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman. I ADORE this poem. Why?

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.

I am a woman. I am not my society's ideal of beauty. I'm rather far from it, actually. As I write this, I'm snacking on leftover Halloween candy which is only going to take me farther from said ideal. But you know what? I am a woman, and I am phenomenal, and I am loved. It only took me, oh, YEARS to realize this!

I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.

When I met Sascha, I was at the end of a long-distance, mostly-online relationship that was spiraling downwards fast. The ex in question wasn't making any effort to make the relationship NOT long-distance, and my self-esteem, never the greatest, was taking hit after hit. And then I met Sascha, who put such effort into wooing me that I began to realize I was actually quite a catch after all.

I'm a woman

And that was simply the kickstart I needed. In the years since, I've come to appreciate my own personality, my own mind, my own REASON. It seems a little sad, looking back on it, that I needed a man, a relationship, to prove this point to me, but that goes back to the way I was raised.

I was raised in a very conservative Christian household. Dad was the head of the household, and he was the one that made the decisions. Mom voted the way Dad did; not because he told her to, but because she believed he knew best. My older brother was more...extroverted, outspoken, braver, etc...than I ever was. So to go from that environment, to a man that wanted to know what I thought, what I believed, what MY reasons were for was unexpected. And to go from the environment of "Pray to God, he has the answers, he knows best, don't trust your own judgement, read the Bible" to "Harm none, do what ye will" and "Look inside yourself for the answers" was even more mind-blowing and eye-opening.

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

And then! And then I discovered the GODDESS. Some of you have been raised monotheistic and understand; some of you probably can't. The GODDESS. The female half. Suddenly, instead of having my life dictated by a masculine god who just. didn't. get it., there was a divinity who was part of ME. Or perhaps a divinity I could be part of. This was a world-changing idea. A few of my more experienced pagan friends were afraid I would devote myself too much to the goddess and forget the balance, but I think I simply needed a few years of immersing myself in the divine feminine. Now I can look at the masculine half with new eyes, and re-accept that energy. I just needed time. Time to learn that I, too, can be divine. I am not lesser than a man by the chance of being born female. I am a WOMAN, and I am phenomenal.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

^This was going to be the end of this entry. But I wrote this before the election on Tuesday, and I suddenly have a lot more to say. WOMEN. Women are the winners of this election. I have several things to share with you that have been floating around Facebook and elsewhere.

"You know your party is in trouble when people ask did the rape guy win, and you have to ask which one." - Alec Baldwin

And also this story: Women and Minorities to dominate the Democratic Party

This is the difference between the Republican party and the Democrat party. Republicans - 90% white males. Democrats - 47% white males. New Hampshire elected a completely female delegation for the first time in US History. We elected an openly lesbian senator. We elected a Hindu woman. A Buddhist woman. A disabled woman. An openly gay congressman. We re-elected an African-American President, with two daughters, who has pledged to protect and fight for a woman's right to choose, for women's access to contraception and preventive healthcare, for equal pay for women, for marriage equality. Marriage equality passed in three states, and a marriage equality ban failed in a fourth.

It wasn't until LAST YEAR that a woman's bathroom got added to the House floor. LAST YEAR. Tuesday marked INCREDIBLE strides for women and minorities. For the first time in a long, long time I feel proud of my country. I am cautiously optimistic about the turn we're taking. Actually, no. I'm not cautiously optimistic. I keep saying I am because I don't want to get my hopes up. But really, I am FREAKING EXCITED for the step we've taken. I am ECSTATIC. I cannot WAIT to see what the next four years bring.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review: How to Spot a Bastard by His Sun Sign

How to Spot a Bastard by His Star Sign: The Ultimate Horrorscope

So - I'm not going to pull any punches here. This is a terrible book. It's mean-spirited. If it's satire, it's not very funny. If you took the fictional, awful, hateful, stereotypical, man-hating, bitter feminist and asked for a book on astrology and why men suck, this is what you'd expect to get.

There are no positive sides of men in this book. None. It is completely one-sided. I think it's a terrible book to even have out there; things like this are what people point to and say "See? Feminists hate men!"

The chapters are organized as follows:
"The [sign] bastard" (3-4 page description that's painful to read)
"How to spot one" (2 sentence stereotype)
"Where to find one" (2 sentences)
"How to intrigue one" (short paragraph)
"The first date" (shorter paragraph)
"When to do the deed" (two sentences)
"When to pop the question" (never. It's always some version of never)
"If he dumps you" (two sentences saying you're better off)
"If you dump him" (two sentences also saying you're better off)

Don't waste your money on this book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tarot Tuesday - An old (but new) deck

The first Tarot deck I ever owned was "The Tarot of the Cat People," gifted to me by my first boyfriend on my 18th birthday. I've always been a cat person, and the illustrations on this deck are beautiful. At the time, I was very much into Vampire the Masquerade Live Action RolePlay, or LARP. This involved getting together with a bunch of friends and pretending to be our characters for a few hours each weekend. My character was a gypsy-raised vampire who told fortunes with her Tarot deck.

I loved that character; I had some evenings I will never forget playing her. And the Tarot - I told some amazing fortunes. I told one of the Storytellers all about the character he was playing, to the extent he pulled me aside and demanded to know who'd let me look at his notes. I played this character, and used those cards for game, for several years. And the cards took an imprint. Whenever I attempted to do a spread for me or a friend, inevitably the response would be "well, that's a perfect spread for my character, but completely wrong for me!"

So, sadly, I set that deck aside. I went through a few other decks. The Dragon Tarot that a friend had in high school, though it had cool illustrations, just never clicked with me. I couldn't read it. The Celtic Dragon Tarot is GORGEOUS, and I use it with my spellwork, but it never worked well for spreads. The Housewives Tarot is brutally honest and blunt, but still hard for me to read. I just never found a deck that was as intuitive as the Tarot of the Cat People was.

So about a month ago, at The Crystal Fox here in Maryland, I happened across the Tarot of the Cat People. A new deck. Same illustrations, just - not the deck that I'd used in game. So I bought it. It's like finding an old friend who you'd lost touch with. It's so familiar, but I still find myself relearning the details.

Do you use the Tarot? What deck do you use? Did you have to go through many decks to find the right one?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday News Roundup

This is an extremely interesting case study of FEMA - an organization in GREAT demand right now - and its management under Democrat presidents vs. Republican presidents. The most striking thing I saw? Democrats appointed actual emergency management professionals to head the agency. Republicans appointed former heads of transportation agencies, or their CAMPAIGN MANAGERS. Like they have experience in that field?

And now for something completely different.

While the above link is interesting, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I don't think I can keep up the Monday News Roundup. It's always been my least favorite of the days, and I think I want to change it to something more interesting. I'm not sure what, yet.

I've thought about "Magical Mondays" or "Meditation Mondays" but I'm just....ambivalent, I suppose. Perhaps Monday Madness, and I'll just blog about whatever I feel like talking about on Mondays?

Are you guys interested in random ramblings on Mondays? Or would you like a theme so you know what to expect?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo Sunday

This was the line I stood in to vote on Friday. The door to the building is in the far left; and that was not the end of the line, by a long shot.

But at the end of the line, three hours later, I voted.

I voted for dreams.

I voted for love and equality.

And I voted for hope.

I think those are things worth standing up for.

Have you voted yet?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Bonus Post!

I don't usually post on Saturdays, but something happened yesterday I really want to talk about. See, Sascha and I voted yesterday. We took advantage of the early voting that our state has, since my work schedule for next week wasn't out yet, and I didn't know if I'd have voting day off or not. We also have never voted in the voting booths before; Oregon, our home state, votes exclusively by mail. So this was something new!

What we weren't expecting was the line. Oh man, the line. Instead of sitting at our table at home, talking about the issues and marking our ballots, we stood in line. For THREE AND A HALF HOURS. We had decided to vote first, and THEN go buy some new shoes for me, so I was standing in not-the-best shoes. My back was aching, my feet were aching...and about halfway through, when we finally got up to the building, I spotted a crow feather on the ground.

I haven't found a crow feather since I left Oregon the last time. The apartment I lived in, in Oregon, had a local murder of crows. I would find feathers EVERYWHERE constantly. I made a promise to Crow to always pick up feathers, so I now have a BOX full. (The image I've posted is about half of the feathers I wound up collecting!)

Seeing this random, lonely feather when I was miserable and reassured me that I was doing the right thing. It encouraged me to be patient; the gods were watching.

Friday, November 2, 2012

PBP - Volatility and why I've been gone

I wavered between discussing volatility or vulnerability this week; had I jumped back into the PBP a week earlier I probably would have done both. But I think, given my extended absence and the reasons why, volatility is the better topic.

And oh my, have things been volatile.

In the four - five? months since I've posted regularly, Sascha has left the military, we've moved to a different state, I've gotten a job, we've gotten a new car, there's been a hurricane and a derecho, and Sascha has yet to find a new job.

When you're in the military, there's a certain amount of steadiness (yes, steadiness, amongst all the uncertainty!) that you come to expect. You know you'll get paid twice a month, you know how much that will be.

With Sascha on unemployment, and the old car shitting itself, our life pretty much lost all of its reliability.

It was about this time I realized I still had Shiva sitting in a primary place on my altar, for his destruction-for-a-purpose energies. Love you, man, but ENOUGH! I removed him, not from the altar, but from the center of it. I'm searching for stability now, and I don't think he's the way to find it.

Since doing so, I've found a job and we traded in the old car for a brand new one which should hopefully not break every time we turn around. (And they were able to wrap the old car loan into the new one; so financially it made sense.)

Volatility is just - not a pleasant experience for me. I often wear a hematite bracelet, and carry hematite worry stones, to keep myself grounded. I don't mind change, but I like to have a solid foundation to deal with that change from. My marriage is still rock-steady, and a wonderful foundation, but having lost the financial stability, things are more stressful.

We do have a few things on the horizon; a job offer for Sascha, a possible business opportunity for me, but neither of those start until January or February. So we're in a bit of a holding pattern. "Just get through the next few months, and then we'll be fine."

I've been so distracted with starting my new job - my seasonal, part-time, temporary retail job - that I don't even know what gods/goddesses/energies I should be directing my efforts toward. I should probably do some research and put a spell up on the altar.

Does anyone have any recommendations for financial spells? Or perhaps tranquility in the face of chaos spells?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Samhain!

I am sincerely sorry I've left this blog abandoned for so long. Things are a-changing! My New Year's resolution is to blog six days a week here, and get back to my old schedule. Until then, however, I'm committing to one day a week. Aiming for two days a week, but I WILL be posting one day a week. I'll be making some changes to the blog and my online presence as well. Just superficial changes, I'll try not to change the content too much, unless you guys have ideas you'd like to see me address!

One of my ideas for the New Year is to have you guys send me requests for books/music to review.

I'll be picking up the Pagan Blog Project from where they are now, so look out for V this Friday.

I'm very excited to get back to this blog now that things have settled down from the move and relocating to a different state/way of living. Have a wonderful Samhain, and I look forward to talking to you all more often!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I've been absent, take two

Well. I had composed an entry about why I've been gone, but Blogger decided in the ten minutes I'd typed it up, to log me out. (Even though I'd logged just prior...)

Anyway, long story short, Sascha and I are moving from North Carolina to Maryland at the end of May; I've been busy apartment hunting, and the next month will be a lot of going through our things and getting rid of stuff we don't need, as we're downsizing from a 3 bedroom to a 1 bedroom. I apologize for my absence, but it may continue until after the move. I miss this blog though, so I promise I'll be back!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

PGP - Waiting for Godot - or how NOT to wait

Waiting for Godot is a two-act play by Samuel Beckett. It's a somewhat bizarre little play, with two main characters and three supporting character. Estragon and Vladimir are waiting at an assigned spot for Godot, who never arrives, but sends messengers to tell them he'll come tomorrow. The next day they receive another messenger, saying he'll come tomorrow. They don't know who Godot is, or why they're waiting for him, and spend the time talking nonsense, entertaining a passerby, or debating whether or not to hang themselves from the tree that is often the only prop on the stage.

I read this play in high school, and to this day if I'm waiting for something that doesn't seem like it will EVER arrive, I call it "waiting for Godot."

It's an odd little play, with odd little lines.

Estragon: Nothing to be done.
Vladimir:  I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. So there you are again.
Estragon: Am I?

How often in our lives do we find ourselves in a holding pattern, doing the same things day in and day out with no end in sight, no distraction, and only a vague "maybe it will be better someday" to keep us going forward?

I see Waiting for Godot as both a lesson in patience and a lesson in how NOT to wait. Estragon and Vladimir come to the tree every day, waiting for Godot - and the days blend into each other so seamlessly that they're not sure how long they've been waiting, or when Godot said he'd come - only that they need to be there, waiting. And sure, that's a lesson in endless patience, but surely that time could be used more productively. 

As a military wife, I've had ample time to learn patience. When my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, I could have moped around the house and let the days run together until he got home - but there are far more productive things to do. I worked. I went back to school. I meditated and prayed. I spent time with friends and family. And you know what? The time went by far quicker than it would have otherwise.

I think we get so caught up in the waiting sometimes that we forget how much TIME we are spending obsessing about the thing we are waiting for. 

Maybe that's one reason why I dislike the Christian god, or more aptly, the idea of a Rapture or End of the World or whatever. Why spend my time waiting for something that might come, or might not, and even if it is a sure thing that it WILL come, who knows WHEN it will come? I have far better things to be doing than preparing for a hypothetical. It's one thing to prepare for the future; it's another thing to prepare and wait for a future that may never come, and that is out of my control. I'd rather make plans and goals for myself, and live in the moment when I can, even when it's hard to do so.

What tricks do you have for living in the moment? Do you worry too much about the future? Is there something big that you're patiently waiting for?

Vladimir: Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! What do you say? (Estragon says nothing.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day Sunday

Happy Birthday, my precious little girl! Boudicca turns two years old today!

I shall also leave you with this song, by one of my favorite artists:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gee Whillicker to Goddammit - Curse Words and Paganism

Warning: If the title wasn't clear enough, there will be curse words in this post and a lot of them!

My husband and I were talking recently about English curse words, and how the vast majority of the commonly used ones these days are monotheistic. I mean, look at this list:

Oh my god (or the internet OMG)
Dear god.
Dear Lord.
For christ's sakes. (or chrissakes)
Jesus! (or Jesus Christ)

And these words are so ingrained in us - at least my husband and I - that we still commonly use them when swearing. We discussed if we should try to change our language (oh my gods!) or leave it be. Hell is easy enough to change - who knows if you're saying "Oh, Hell" or "Oh, Hel"? The husband rather liked the thought of "Jupiter's COCK!"

Ultimately we decided to just leave it be; it's kind of a private amusement to be "blaspheming" against a god we don't think exists.

Do you curse? Do you use pagan-specific curse words if you do? Was it hard to switch from traditional epithets?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pagan Blog Project: The Fallibility of our gods

This is one thing that I actually really, really like about paganism. Our gods are FALLIBLE. Let me explain.

The Christian god is said to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. (All-powerful, All-knowing, and All-present)

This has always bothered me. There's a quote attributed to Epicurus that states: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?"

I prefer my gods - they are fallible. They lie, they get tricked, they lust, they make mistakes. Certainly, they do this less than we mortals do. But they are not omnipotent, nor omniscient. They don't pretend to be. If an omnipotent god lets the horrible things happen that happen in this world, then that's not a god I want to follow! 

I much prefer the thought of gods that guide, and change what they can, but need us to work for ourselves as well. It makes far more sense to me. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Book Review: ....on a Rotten Day

Born on a Rotten Day: Illuminating and Coping with the Dark Side of the Zodiac
Love on a Rotten Day: An Astrological Survival Guide to Romance
by Hazel Dixon-Cooper

This one's a two-fer! Have you ever gotten annoyed at the books that advertise Taurus as "determined" but ignore the "stubborn and bullheaded"? Or Gemini, who is "good at communication" but doesn't mention how annoying they are when they jump around from topic to topic and expect you to keep up.

These books explore that. These are hilarious, well-written books that explore the darker side of the zodiac. They aren't the most serious books; they're designed to be fun. And to poke fun. I enjoyed both of them thoroughly - there's apparently a third, Friends on a Rotten Day: The Astrology of Friendships, but I haven't seen that one in person.

Born on a Rotten Day: Illuminating and Coping With the Dark Side of the Zodiac
Born deals with natal/sun signs. They're divided up into Elements, Qualities, and Polarities, as normal, except....these aren't your momma's categories. The elements are "Selfish", "Hardheaded", "Flighty" and "Moody." Qualities are "Bossy", "Stubborn", and "Inconsistent." The Polarities are "Aggressive" and "Emotional Manipulator." For example, instead of Taurus being a Feminine Fixed Earth sign, I'm an Emotional Manipulator, Stubborn, and Hardheaded. Well, the last two I will admit to!

The chapters on each sign are divided into the following sections:
Approach with Caution
If You Love One, Man or Woman
If You Are One - Born Rotten
It's ALL Relative - The Family
Office Party - Bitches, Snitches, and the Chronically Inert
Cant We ALL Get Along?
Quick Tips For Emergencies
A List of the Infamous and Ridiculous

I do like one of the 911 tips for Taureans: "If they go ballistic, reach for the chocolate and keep your head down."

Love On a Rotten Day: An Astrological Survival Guide to Romance
This book deals more with Love and Relationships between the signs, obviously. It's a little more detailed than just the sun signs, however; it also goes into the Moon, Mars and Venus through the signs. So the sections are as follows:

'Til Death Do Us Part (long-term relationships, this includes Catching One, Surviving One, and Keeping One)
Moonlight or Gaslight? (moon in the sign)
Mars is Afflicted (Mars in the sign)
Venus is a Nympho (Venus in the sign)
Fatal Attractions (sun sign combinations)
Scoring (more on the sun sign combinations)
A List of Famous and Infamous Lovers

Written in the same lighthearted, humorous style as Born On a Rotten Day, it nonetheless explores the more ...unsavory aspects of the signs.

Both books highly recommended!

Thursday Book Review: Goddess Spirituality Book

Goddess Spirituality Book: Rituals, Holydays and Moon Magic by Morgan, Ffiona published by Daughters of the Moon Paperback, by Ffiona Morgan

So the first thing that annoyed me about this book was the purposeful misspellings. I mean, Holydays on the cover, IN THE TITLE, first. Throughout the book we get "womyn" and "wimmin" and "womon" - pretty much anything without "men" in it. I mean, I understand some Dianic traditions feel the need to erase every instance of "men" from their worship, but really. It's how the word is spelled, get over it. /end grammar nazi

OTHER THAN THAT, heh, this was a decent book. There are many rituals, and many ritual suggestions, all throughout the book. It's really the main purpose of the book, given that the sections are as follows:
The Magical Path
Elements of Ritual
Specific Rituals
Sacred Wheel of the Year
Lunar Magic

The rituals are almost always geared towards groups, but there are a few solitary rites, and as always, you can customize them to fit your needs. I found the "Elements of Ritual" section particularly interesting; it teaches how to prepare both yourself and your space for a ritual.

Overall I'd say if you can find it for a decent price, it might be worth picking up, unless you're a grammar/spelling nazi like I am, then skip it. Reading it will just irritate you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pagan Blog Project: F is for Fearless Feline

I'd hesitate to call her my familiar; Boudicca, our cat, doesn't seem terribly interested in my magical workings. What she IS interested in is me. She could be curled up in bed with Sascha, who went to bed early, but instead she's sitting in the same room with me, staring intently at me, and occasionally complaining that I haven't gone to bed yet.

Boudicca - Boudi for short, pronouced Bo-dee, is a pure-bred Maine Coon. After a couple of years of wanting a cat, but unable to get one per our lease, we moved again for the military and made sure to get a pet-friendly place. We knew we wanted a Maine Coon, and at the time thought we might eventually get stationed overseas, so a pure bred from a breeder, with a known medical history, seemed like the way to go. She's registered as Megacoon Boudicca Cailleach. We wanted a fearless cat, so naming her for the warrior queen who sacked Londinium seemed like the way to go. And as you can see, we did indeed get a fearsome beast:

She was born on April 1st, 2010. She came home on the weekend of the 4th of July. The breeder warned us she might take a couple days to come out of hiding, but in less than 12 hours she went from this:

to coming out and playing at our feet and on our bed. It's hard to remember that she was ever that tiny, as she weighs about 20 pounds now! She really did bond to me, because unfortunately Sascha was gone for the first four months she was home, then home for three, then gone again for eight more months. So by the time he got to spend those three months with her, she was already mine. And the eight month deployment just cemented it. He saw her like the above photo, then like this:

and then, when he got home from Afghanistan, like this:
The artillery practicing nearby and shaking the house doesn't faze her. Fireworks don't faze her. Thunderstorms don't faze her. Wrecking the car made her a little clingy for a few weeks, but then she was back to her normal self. She travels with us when we need to; we have a large kennel, and a harness and leash that she doesn't mind. 
She just curls up in the back and goes to sleep! She's been across the country twice, from North Carolina to Oregon and back. In and out of hotels. (She likes their sinks.)

But I think it was really tonight that I realized she is a familiar, and not just a house cat. A house cat would go sleep in bed and take advantage of my side being empty, right? Instead she's here by my feet. I've seen her leap off the bed and run for the door, growling, when someone knocks unexpectedly. Usually when I'm also napping; if I'm awake she doesn't tend to do that. I swear she understands me when I speak. She comes when called, and sits for her treats like a lady. 
She's gotten a little too big for sinks, but she still tries. (And let me tell you, the urge to turn the water on is almost overpowering sometimes!) She's absolutely huge, and can stand up and reach things on the counter without hardly trying:
That's a normal-height table! She really wanted that bowl of crow feathers. She turns two years old this April, and sometimes it's hard to believe. Have I really had her in my life that long? Gods willing, she'll be with us for years to come, through more moves and more changes. I'm sure she'll take them in stride. In fact, I could probably learn a lot from her on taking changes well. And on being fearless. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Book Review: Goddess Aloud!

Goddess Aloud!: Transforming Your World Through Rituals & Mantras, by Michelle Skye

Another goddess book by Michelle Skye, and well written and informative again. This one focuses more on rituals and mantras, as the title says. And instead of focusing on each goddess, there are sections divided up by category, with suggested goddesses. The sections include Peace, Caring for the Environment, Love, Self-Love, Forgiveness, Healing, Growth, Hope, and Spirituality.

Peace, for example, includes sections on Pax, Our Lady of Fatima, and Branwen, while Forgiveness includes Tlazolteotl (the Aztec Eater of Filth), Mary Magdalene, and Arianrhod. Each chapter is concluded with a ritual on that subject.

The rituals are very thematic, and mostly simple and easily customized. For example, the ritual for "Caring for the Environment" involves going outside, meditating under a tree, tying a ribbon around it, and watering it.

Overall, another wonderful book from Michelle Skye!

You can see my Master Book List with links to previous reviews here or from the link in the upper right sidebar to "Witchy Books."

Thursday Book Review: Goddess Afoot!

Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, by Michelle Skye

I found this book a lot of fun. There are large sections on twelve different Celtic and Norse Goddesses, including Arianrhod, Blodeuwedd, Cessari, Eriu, Macha, Frigga, Sif, Skadi, and others. The individual sections have backgrounds on each goddess, meditations on the goddess, pathworking suggestions, invocation and magic activity suggestions. Magic activity suggestions are divided into separate categories; you might have candle magic, or written word magic, or physical magic. I like that she covers some of the lesser-known goddesses.

I really enjoy all of Michelle Skye's books I've read so far; she has a nice style, and provides a lot of information and suggestions. Highly recommended.

You can see my Master Book List with links to previous reviews here or from the link in the upper right sidebar to "Witchy Books."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday News Roundup

The Daily Beast's 150 Women Who Shake the World

Palin being stupid again She thinks Obama wants to go back to a pre-Civil-War era because he supported a black professor who was trying to get his college to hire more minorities? How does that even WORK?

A more extensive look at the costs of Birth Control

The continuing effort to boycott Rush Limbaugh's sponsors

An American Army Sergeant went crazy and killed a bunch of Afghan civilians. Great. That'll help calm the protests and shit down. (On the other, I don't agree with what he did, in fact I strongly condemn it, but we HAVE had many supposed "friendlies" turn and kill our troops, so I can see why he snapped.)

Egyptian Army Doctor acquitted of conducting "virginity tests" The army repeatedly stated that it had no policy to give such tests.  But an officer speaking anonymously to the media months ago said they had been done. Amnesty International said in June that Maj. Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, a member of the ruling council, had admitted that such tests were carried out “protect the army against possible allegations of rape.” Oh, because obviously if you're not a virgin you can't be raped.

It's the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts!

Middle East Women Leaders of the Year 2012

Why Are Women So Poorly Represented In Foreign Policy?

44 Days of Witchery, Day 25: How do your close ones feel about your witchy path? Do they know? Why or why not?

Oh boy. Um, the short answer is No. My husband knows, obviously, and is pagan himself. So he's completely comfortable with it, and the altar in our bedroom. His family is kind of pagan/atheist. So I'm not sure if they know, exactly, but they don't really care.

Most of our friends know, and are also pagan and/or don't care.

My family, however - that's a different story. (Though I did link to this blog off my Google+ profile page, which they're on, and I'm using my real name, so...if they've stumbled across this blog they haven't said anything.) My family is very conservative Christian, with the exception of my mother's mother, who is the lone Democrat. But probably would still not approve of my beliefs.

I really don't know what would happen if they found out I was pagan; I'm sure my father's parents would be sending us letters and cards and trying to witness to us over the phone and save our souls and I don't know what else. Dad would probably just give us stony silence. I have no idea what my mother's reaction would be.  But yeah. They don't know. And living on the west coast, while we live on the east coast - I don't feel the need to tell them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Photo

Fountain at a rest stop in New Mexico on a cold, cold winter night.

44 Days of Witchery, Day 24: Your Moon Sign

Well, my moon is in Capricorn. Being a sun sign Taurus with the moon in Capricorn, I'm a pretty earthy person. Pisces rising keeps me from being TOO practical. Pisces keeps me dreaming. :) But Capricorn gives me my really deeply rooted beliefs - with Taurus giving me the stubbornness to hold onto them. When I'm working, I want my work to be up to MY standards. And everyone else's work should be too, heh. Pisces keeps those standards from being too awfully horrible. But I do have a work ethic, and staying power.

My books say Capricorn has a "stabilizing and restrictive effect on the shifting influence of the Moon." Which could explain why I value Temperance so much; I am not a moody person. The Moon usually represents emotions, and Capricorn is a fairly unemotional or undemonstrative sign; so that makes a lot of sense to me. It also says that "If you have the Moon in Capricorn you have an alert mind and are very eager to learn. However, you are not interested in vague theory; you want to put your knowledge to use." (Quotes are from The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk.) This also makes a lot of sense to me; Sascha likes to go off on various abstract theories and I just kind of stare at him and nod as it flies over my head.

"If you have a Moon in Capricorn, you are organized, ambitious, and usually a prodigious worker. Self-sufficient and a bit solitary, you are haunted by a feeling of responsibility, of a task you must perform." Not so much on the ambitious part (I'm sure that's the Pisces influence mitigating that!) but I'm pretty organized, self-sufficient, and a bit solitary, for sure.

"Unknown to all but your closest intimates, you suffer from feelings of loneliness. Often you conceal this with a dry sense of humor. Your secret terror is of being abandoned or having someone you love cease to love you."  Oh dear god, do they KNOW me? That IS my greatest fear - abandonment, rejection. Yeah. That's pretty much exactly me, there.

Moon in Capricorn tends towards pessimism, which is also very true. And then the fantasies that my Pisces Rising likes to dream up... "What if this happens? Then this would happen and make this happen and then this person wouldn't talk to us anymore and..." So I'm a bit of a worrywart, and often nearly convince myself some chain reaction is going to happen when NOTHING has gone that way yet!

My Moon is also in the Tenth House, which Parker's Astrology says this about:
"'I love the world' is the motto here, and the instinct to put it to rights could be a channel for the Moon's action, eliminating cruelty and fostering the best of the maternal instinct, in the broadest sense of the word."
I can see that. It's not so much I love the world, as I hate people and think they're stupid for the things they do and they should just FIX IT and if they don't, maybe I need to get in there and FIX IT FOR THEM, heh. Parker's Astrology says this is also the placement of many famous people. Huh.

Interestingly enough, The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need mentions that the Moon in the tenth house "brings career benefits through women or female members of family." Given that if I do have a career, it'll be in defense of Women's Rights, that's rather interesting.

Friday, March 9, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 23: A favorite candle

I found a gorgeous green, large pillar candle advertised as a "Brigid" candle. The scent just blew me away. It's a lemongrass-verbena candle, apparently - all I know is that it smells DELIGHTFUL. I used to keep it on the altar, but lately it's lived in the kitchen, and burned on the stove while I do dishes or otherwise work in the kitchen. (So long as I'm not using the stove!)

It's an amazing candle, and I'm going to have to figure out where I can get another one eventually...

Pagan Blog Project: Exclusion

Exclusion. The act of being excluded, or kept apart.

You know what one thing I miss about being Christian? The sense of community. Every Sunday, we'd go to church, and socialize with like-minded people whose families all knew each other. There was a sense of community, of family.

Now I'm on the other side of the country, no longer Christian, no longer Republican, and on a military base. So I feel pretty alone. I went to a spouse's meeting last night (only because they were offering passes for an extra day off for the husband!) and walking in, I literally felt like I was walking into enemy territory. I've made friends here - but most of them turned out to be false, treating a mutual friend like crap, only wanting to hang out at candlelite parties or Pampered Chef parties or Tupperware Parties or...well you get the idea. The mutual friend who was treated badly broke up with her girlfriend and moved home to Texas and I miss her dearly. (Yes, she was lesbian, and dating a Marine - probably why she also felt excluded.)

Currently my husband and I have exactly one pair of real friends here - and they're Catholic. But very open-minded Catholics; my husband read their tea leaves at their house after the spouse's meeting, and our friend's response was "You're practicing witchcraft in my house? Ah well, I'm not burning yet, so it must be okay." The standard joke is he's going to burn us, and we're going to feed him to our lion. (ie, our gigantic Maine Coon who will be the subject of next week's post.)

But with the exception of them - it's a lonely place. Our values just simply don't align with most military values.  I'm looking forward to getting out of the military in three months and moving to DC - there's the Open Hearth Foundation with a Pagan Community Center that I can't WAIT to explore! But for now, I am stuck. I'll be celebrating Ostara alone, as my husband has to be gone on a Field Exercise. But nobody will be working on Easter Sunday, I guarantee it. Everyone had Christmas off - but he had to work around the Winter Solstice, so we couldn't do the Vigil For the Sun. Now that I think about it, he had duty over Imbolc, too.

This is a large part of why I have such a large presence online. I have a LiveJournal, a Facebook, a Google+, a Pinterest, Goodreads, this blog. (I'm crystallinegirl EVERYWHERE, just let me know you're from PGP) I'm active in my guild in World of Warcraft. I crave socialization, and since I don't get it in real life, I find it online with like-minded people. People who don't think Obama is the anti-christ, or that LGBTQ people have no place in the military, or society at large. People who don't think gay marriage is the moral equivalent of pedophilia. People who don't think a woman's place is in the kitchen with five kids.

That's another thing I've found about the military. Married couples with no kids? That don't plan to have kids in the near future (or at all)? Few and far between. At the "winter holiday party" (they couldn't call it a Christmas party, heh.) they had a raffle. There were about 7-8 prizes for families with children. 3-4 for single Marines. And one, yes ONE prize for married couples without children. I feel a bit like a second-class citizen, because we don't have kids. And don't want them.

I feel excluded here, and I miss the sense of community...but what I've gained in return is something unmeasurable. I've gained a sense of self, a confidence that I never had. I've gained the ability and the motivation to research the truth for myself, instead of just letting it be dictated to me. I've gained independence. I've gained the ability to pick and choose what I want to believe, what works for me. So - it's worth it. And I have hopes that it will get better when we move out of this military town.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Book Review: The Red Book

The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark, by Sera Beak

I love this little book. It's a very eclectic little book, drawing from Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Carl Jung, and the author's own personal experiences. It travels from altars, to subways, to yoga. With section titles like "But Mom, Jesus did it too" and "Free to be me means Free to be you" it's a delightfully random little book full of juicy tidbits. Chapter titles include:
Light the Match: Set Your Intentions Free
The Beaming You Who: Gods, Goddesses, and the Blind Man's Elephant
Are You Really Gonna Eat That?: Grazing at the Spiritual Buffet, respectfully
Sacred Lipstick and Cosmic Lattes: 1001 Ways to give Prayer a Makeover
Divine Winks: The Universe Wants Your Attention, Will You Wink Back?
Peeling Your Onion: Who Do You Think You Are?
Open Up and Say Ahhh: Sex, Spirit. The Twain Shall Meet - Under Your Covers
Roar: Finale (Like Red Wine Spilled Onto a Mattress)

And the chapters are just as creative and interesting as the titles! An excerpt about the goddess:
The Goddess. The divine Feminine. The Big G with breasts. The one who has, religiously speaking, really gotten the shaft. And this planet's only now beginning to realize that nobody puts Mama in the corner.

The book is at times irreverent, lighthearted, and dead serious. Full of creative ways to center yourself and reach for the divine within. I really do love this book. Oh, and the last chapter is full of additional books and resources to keep you going.