Saturday, March 3, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 18: Paranormal Experiences

I have had many paranormal experiences; those who read my LiveJournal can go check my paranormal tag. I don't think I'm ready to share them here yet.

I'll simply say I have three spirit dogs that follow me around on occasion. And when I say dogs, I mean big, burly, Rottweiler looking dogs. They are my guardians; at the same time I am their guardian. How I found them (they found me?) is a long, involved story that I'm not ready to share in this blog. Maybe someday. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 17: Picture of Nature (Fire Element)

I had to go looking through my photos to find a picture of fire; this is actually one my father took on a camping trip. He's a much better photographer than I am!

Pagan Blog Project: Exploring

My husband is in the military. This means we've moved. A lot. We've driven from Oregon to North Carolina twice, from North Carolina to DC several times, and spent some time in southern California as well. When we drive long distances and stay in different cities, we have a short list of places to look for, other than normal touristy things like aquariums and zoos and landmarks. Our list?

Bookstores (preferably used ones)
Gaming stores
Pagan/metaphysical stores

This has resulted in an interesting mix of things in our house. One of my goddess plaques above the altar I bought at Crescent Moon Gifts in Tacoma, Washington. (That's also where I picked up The Goddess Companion). I picked up a few rocks from Earth Magic in Olympia, Washington. Several of my dragons are from a small gift shop on the Oregon Coast. (I think in Newport.) The centerpiece of my altar, plus a couple of other smaller pieces, are from Potala Gate in the heart of Eugene, Oregon. While we were in Monterey, CA, we picked up the klaive from this post, as well as a giant box of Nag Champa. I have a sage stick from somewhere in Georgia, a hematite bracelet from South Dakota, a glass cube from Texas, and a necklace from North Carolina. And now a Tarot deck from Maryland. I've picked up witchy books from all over the country.

It's neat, because I can look at the altar and see so many places we've been. It's also interesting, in that I've been able to find magical items - whether they were meant to be such or not - everywhere I've gone. And not just the items, but the experiences. Can you say it's not a spiritual experience to stare into the Grand Canyon? Add in 0 degrees and snow and ice everywhere. It was spiritual, I guarantee it! And look what I found at the Grand Canyon:

Magic is everywhere. In Oklahoma when we left the hotel:

In Dallas, at the Dallas World Aquarium, when you look up and realize there's a sloth sleeping above your head:

In New York for a friend's wedding and you stumble upon this fellow:

When you cross the upper Mississippi:

When you're leaving Washington to head east:

And when you realize that someone was looking out for you in Montana:

We're both alive, though Sascha broke two ribs and punctured/collapsed a lung in that wreck. The cat was thrown from her kennel, but stayed in the car. Magic is EVERYWHERE. And the more I explore my world, the more I find that to be true. And because I can't end this entry with that picture, I'll give you one more.
Magic can also be found much closer to home. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 16: Favorite Witchy Websites

Well, for all my tarot needs I go to Aeclectic Tarot. They have descriptions and pictures of every Tarot deck you can think of, as well as interpretations of cards.

For finding astrology charts, I head to AstroDienst. Pretty easy to input your birthdate, time, and place, and get a full chart. There's a lot of free stuff, free charts and basic interpretations. More in-depth explanations cost money.

I really enjoy Pagan+Politics and The Wild Hunt for news and politics from a pagan viewpoint.

And that's pretty much it. If there's specific things I want to know, I google. So maybe is another favorite site, LOL!

I've found a few interesting articles on WitchVox, but not enough to classify it as a favorite site.

God Checker is a fun site, listing hundreds (thousands?) of Gods and Goddesses, arranged by pantheon.

Book Review: The Kitchen Witch Companion

The Kitchen Witch Companion: Simple and Sublime Culinary Magic by Patricia Telesco

Straight up, this is an AWESOME book. The first few chapters deal with the mythology of the kitchen and the magic of cooking. Things like how the Scottish avoid singing while baking bread, and the myth of faeries churning butter. There are awesome quotes, like the following:
"And, indeed, is there not something holy about a great kitchen? The scoured gleam of row upon row of metal vessels dangling from hooks or reposing on their shelves till needed with the air of so many chalices waiting for the celebration of the sacrament of food. And the an altar, yes, before which my mother bowed in perpetual homage, a fringe of sweat upon her upper lip and the fire glowing on her cheeks." - Angela Carter
"A dining room table with children's eager, hungry faces around it ceases to be a mere dining room table and becomes an altar." - Simeon Strunsky
Part 2 of this book gets into the real meat of the thing (pardon my pun!) - it's full of recipes. Useful recipes for many occasions. With small additions such as stirring a certain way, or saying a short incantation over one step. Really, it serves to make you more aware of the cooking process. You're not just creating something to subsist on; by infusing it with intent, with love for those who you'll be serving it to, it becomes something magical. I highly recommend this book; whether you are a witch who loves to cook, a witch who'd like to bring a little bit of magic to a mundane task, or a cook who is beginning to learn magic, this is a wonderful book.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tarot for YourSelf, Part 1

Tarot for Your Self : A Workbook for Personal Transformation Second Edition, by Mary K. Greer, is a tarot workbook. (As the title says.) And I'm going to work through it here on the blog, I think.

First up are Personality and Soul Cards. (This is the "getting to know the cards" chapter.)
Month I was born+Year I was born+day I was born = 1999 = 28 = 10. (number has to be less than 22.)

So my Personality Number is 10: The Wheel of Fortune.
My Soul Number would then be 1: The Magician.
This makes my "Hidden Factor Card" 19, The Sun.

The Hidden Factor card acts as a Shadow Card, mostly during the younger years, and as a Teacher Card in later years.

What I find interesting about this is that The Sun is Enlightenment, Clarity, Understanding, Comprehension, Wisdom. It's wholeness, completeness. Commitment to a loving relationship with good communication and sharing.

These are all the things I wanted when I was younger, and found some of them in Sascha near the time I hit 22. Which is a little young; Greer bases these things on the Saturn return, which takes about 28-30 years. (I just looked it up; my first Saturn return will be this October, which is actually really good to know.) There's a Saturn Return Calculator here. Just type in your birthdate and you're good to go! I'm still searching for enlightenment, clarity, and wisdom though. This is an interesting Shadow/Teacher Card for me.

What I also find interesting is these three cards. The Sun sits on my altar, and has for a very long time. For quite some time I also had The Wheel of Fortune underneath my token on the altar; living a military life means being ready for whatever life throws at you! The Magician is a card I've long associated with Sascha. I don't currently have any cards on the altar besides The Sun; normally I have 2-3 cards under my token and 2-3 under Sascha's token on the altar. I shall have to go set out some spells! What is also curious to me is Sascha's numbers. Sascha's Personality Number is ALSO 10, making his Soul Card, Hidden Card, and Personality Cards the same as mine. What are the chances?

So next up is the Year Card. Birth month+Birth Date+current year. Which makes mine 13: Death, and Sascha's 6: The Lovers. These are cards to influence the year. My Zodiac Card is The Hierophant, and Sascha's is The Chariot.

My Numerological Lessons and Opportunities Cards are the Aces and Tens of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Same for Sascha.

My Destiny Card is the Seven of Pentacles, while Sascha's is the Two of Cups. My Zodiac Lessons and Opportunities Cards are the Five-Six-Seven of Pentacles, while Sascha's are the Two-Three-Four of Cups. (I'm going to go through and dissect the meanings of all these cards later, for now I'm just figuring out what they all are.)

My Persona Cards are as follows:
My Sun Sign is Taurus, so my Personal Potential Card is the King of Pentacles. My Moon is in Capricorn, so my Inner Teacher Card is the Queen of Pentacles. My Rising Sign is Pisces, so my Mode of Expression in the World can be described by the Knight of Cups.

Sascha: His Sun Sign is Cancer, so his Personal Potential Card is the Queen of Cups. His Moon is in Aquarius, so his Inner Teacher Card is the King of Swords. His Rising Sign is Gemini, so his Mode of Expression in the World can be described by the Knight of Swords. (Huh, those sound about right for him, actually.)

So. I'm going to go over these cards in more detail later, but this is long enough for today already!

Wednesday's Photo

found in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

44 Days of Witchery, Day 15: Thoughts on the Afterlife.

Oo. This is a difficult one. I don't really know? There's so many different ideas. There's 1) nothing, you're dead. 2) Reincarnation. 3) Some sort of spirit-heaven thing. (Heaven, Valhalla, Hel, Hades, Purgatory, etc.)
Honestly, I don't give a lot of thought to the afterlife. I cannot believe in a god who, just because of a lack of belief, would condemn an otherwise good person to eternal suffering. If you've done all that you should; been a good person, helped other people, lived a good life - I don't think it should matter what you believe in. If there is a heaven, you should go to it. If there is karmic reincarnation, you should move on to the next highest level.
I don't necessarily believe bad people should be punished eternally, either. I do like the idea of karmic reincarnation; if you didn't demonstrate in life that you learned specific lessons, back you go to do it again! There's a short story called The Egg, by Andy Weir, that I particularly like. Go, read it. It's a very interesting perspective on reincarnation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tarot Tuesday

So I spent the weekend in Baltimore, visiting friends. We move up that direction in three months, and I can't wait! But because of that, the only things that got posted this weekend were scheduled Days of Witchery posts. We got back pretty late last night, loved on our cat, and went to bed. But yesterday MORNING, before we left the Baltimore area, we went to a lovely pagan store in Laurel, Maryland, called The Crystal Fox. (more on that if you tune in on Friday!)

I finally rebought my first Tarot deck. You see, Tarot of the Cat People was originally gifted to me on my 18th birthday by my first boyfriend. I immediately loved it, and before long, the deck really started talking to me. I could read it so easily! But I made the mistake of using it in character in a live action role playing game. ....and the deck apparently tuned itself to game. Because years later, when I met Sascha, he asked me to do a spread one evening before the game. After I was finished, he said "well, I was hoping for something for ME. That's my character exactly, though." That's pretty much been the trend of the deck. It will not do real life stuff.

So I bought it again. I'm hoping with a fresh deck, I can do better. So. I will admit, I did not draw a random card today. This is my card, this has always been my card, and I quite like it in this deck. This is Temperance:

The description of the card in the little booklet: "Temperance does not need to watch as she pours water, so perfect is her control. Her patience and self-control are reflected in the cat. A cat will sit for hours in the same spot, waiting, thinking its private thoughts. A cat on the hunt is a study in self-control: one false move by its prey is the cat's gain. So this cat waits and watches as the water is being poured; it finds the motion and gurgle of the water interesting."

I could do better about self-control. (Well, really, what I mean is self-discipline, and that's a different card.) But I pride myself on keeping an even keel; I am an emotional person, but I do use logic, and I'm not screaming and crying one moment and happy and energetic the next. I try to be a fairly uncomplicated person. Serenity is something I strive for. Some of the keywords associated with this card are Harmony, Accommodation, Compatibility, Fusion, Confidence and Placidity.

44 Days of Witchery, Day 14: A favorite pagan holiday that you celebrate

Gotta be Yule. I grew up loving Christmas; just because I'm not Christian anymore doesn't change my love of the holiday! I love winter, first off, and then with the greens, and the bells, and the ribbons, and the holiday cheer, and the buying of gifts...and the decorating!

We now try to do a vigil for the sun on Winter Solstice, when we can. It's not often that it works out, because usually Sascha has to work, given that the solstice is usually a few days before Christmas. 

The one Vigil that was really successful was back home in Oregon, before we left to drive to North Carolina the first time. We stayed up all night with a few of our friends. And then went out to the butte just before sunrise and watched the sun come up. We had lamb stew, and colcannon, and lots of horsing around, and I think some gaming. It was an awesome night, and an awesome way to say goodbye to our friends before we moved. 

I just love the entire holiday season. I love the holiday baking, and the decorating, and the scents. I've always loved the music, too, but I feel like I need to find more pagan substitutes for the overly religious Christmas music.

Monday, February 27, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 13: Witchy Books

Well, the first book that immediately comes to mind is The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan. I love its daily pieces of poetry or song, and the few paragraphs about each. It draws from all religions, and it's just lovely. My review is here.

Next would be the Corpus Hermeticum. I need to re-read it, it's been a while. 

I am also a pretty big fan of the Tao Te Ching

I've also enjoyed Ceisiwr Serith's A Book of Pagan Prayer and A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book. Both have pretty wonderful prayers in them that have inspired me to write some of my own. More detailed reviews here and here.

One book I need to find a copy of and finish reading, because I had to turn it into the library back home before I was finished, is Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses: Maud Gonne, Moina Bergson Mathers, Annie Horniman, Florence Farr by Mary K. Greer. It was really interesting, what I got to read of it. 

I actually have a wishlist here on Amazon of pagan-ish books I want. That's my pagan/goddess list, but I also have an astrology/philosophy list here.

For a full list of witchy books I own/have read, check out the Witchy Books page at the top of the sidebar on the right. Or follow this link.