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.

Thursday Book Review: Parker's Astrology

Parkers' Astrology New Edition by Julia & Derek Parker, by Julia Parker and Derek Parker

I've been eyeing this book for some time now, so when I found it for 9 bucks at my local used book store, I snapped it up.

And let me say - I'm in love. This book is AMAZING. Most books have charts to let you figure out what signs various planets are in, and what your rising sign is and such - this book teaches you how to draw a chart from SCRATCH. Like, how to calculate not only what your rising sign IS, but what degree it is, and what degree all the planets are in the houses and signs and OMG. I'll be breaking out a calculator in the next few days and drawing up my chart. I have my chart from Astrodienst, but to be able to draw my own? All by myself? This is AWESOME. There's a really nice introductory section that covers signs and planets and houses, then the calculation section, and then the back has ALL the aspects, and just SO MUCH DETAIL. I feel like I've found an Astrology textbook.

Seriously, if you want to draw charts, or if you want to investigate astrology much at all beyond "tee hee my sun sign!" GET THIS BOOK. You will NOT regret it, I promise!

44 Days of Witchery, Day 22: Current Moon Phase

Well, it seems to be a full moon tonight. It's in Virgo currently. I'm not really sure what to say about that.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kitchen Witch Wednesday

Well, today WAS going to be my first week of participating in KWW, but I haven't a clue what to write today!

I cleaned the oven today, that was about as kitcheny as I got. And it wasn't exactly witchy. I need to find a more natural way of cleaning the oven - preferably something that works as well as the "spray it on at night, let it sit overnight, wipe it off the morning" heavily chemical stuff. Because I burned a lot of stuff to the bottom of the oven (my cream of mushroom pork overflowed, okay?) And it just wiped right off. I didn't even burn my clove-orange mix of oils like I normally do when working in the kitchen.

Normally I turn on some music (lately a mix of S. J. Tucker and Jewel), light the candle under my oils or the Brigid candle on the stove top, and wash dishes. But today I slept in, had shit to do, and just did it without my normal ritual. Which might play a part into why I don't feel as peaceful afterwards as I normally do, I suppose.

Oh well. The oven is clean, laundry's in the machines, the cat's litter box is changed, and I still need a shower before the spouse's meeting tonight. And I have to make dinner. But tonight that's pretty easy; I'm just going to throw some "Tuscan Tomato Marinade" (by Lowry's) together with a bit of brown sugar, some herbs, Worcestershire, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of olives, pour it over some chicken thighs, and serve that with rice. Usually comes out pretty good.

44 Days of Witchery, Day 21: A Favorite Scent

Oo. I have several, actually. I've always loved the scent of lilacs.

Orange and Clove is a combination of oils I LOVE.


Garlic sauteing in oil before I add the rest of the ingredients.

Freshly cut grass.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tarot Tuesday (also 44 Days of Witchery, Day 20: A Picture of a Tarot Card and its meaning)

Sorry for the poor quality, I used my webcam today.

The Page of Swords came up in a reading for me today and I immediately identified with it. I actually had a lot of swords show up today, of the "cutting through the bullshit and telling it like it is" variety.

You see, I may have unfortunately alienated my parents, and a few other relatives, by being so pissed off about Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut." I think I am rightly pissed off, as he, in effect, called me a slut as well, as well as every other woman on birth control. And as far as I know, Limbaugh's book is still on my parent's headboard, they still listen to his radio show, and still borrow his newsletter from my grandmother when she's done with it. My father used to tape his television show and watch it. So I basically said on Facebook that he thinks I'm a slut and a prostitute, and since they listen to him, do they think the same? 

Personally, I think everyone who still supports him approves, in some way, of his hate speech. But the way I phrased it caused my dad to comment with "wow, I didn't realize your opinion of us was so low."

I commented back and asked if they'd stopped listening to Rush, and if so, I was sincerely sorry. No one replied. 

If standing up for what I truly believe harms my relationship with my (conservative christian) family, then I guess that's the way it must be. I'm tired of hiding who I am and what I believe. I'm tired of hiding that I'm a feminist, an environmentalist, a liberal, and a pagan. 

I am following the Page of Swords, and I am cutting through the bullshit.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday News Roundup

This will be a mix of links to articles and a few sentences about some of them - primarily feminist news, but anything that catches my fancy, really.

Women Make Less Than Men at Every Education Level

A Depressing Digest of Proposed Anti-Abortion Laws

Boycott Rush  A list of Rush's sponsors, and sponsors who have pulled their ads due to the peoples' efforts on behalf of Sandra Fluke. And if you don't know what I'm talking about...
Sandra Fluke Not Allowed to Testify about Birth Control
Sandra Fluke Testifies about Birth Control
Rush Limbaugh Calls Fluke a Slut
Every Insult of Fluke by Rush Limbaugh, compiled in one neat list (and also demonstrating his lack of understanding of the way birth control works - you take a pill every day whether you're having sex or not, dumbass.)
President Obama Calls Fluke to Offer Support
Limbaugh "apologizes" (but only for his word choices, not for the sentiment, and only after several advertisers pull their ads)
16 year old gets bullied because of Rush She takes birth control to make her periods livable; fellow students found out and called her a slut because Limbaugh did...

Pair jailed for killing boy they believe to be a witch what makes this particularly terrible is the boy was the woman's younger brother; and he wasn't the only one they tortured, just the only one that died.

Santorum says Obama's religion is environmentalism (includes a bit on environmental pantheism)

I am Sandra Fluke!

or Spartacus and Sandra Fluke - Why we need to protect each other

Sandra Fluke stood up for every woman who takes birth control, in front of a Congressional Hearing on Birth Control on February 22nd, 2012. She'd been denied the chance to speak a week earlier, and instead an all-male panel spoke about a women's health issue. She persevered and stood up for us anyway. Rush Limbaugh, a conservative talk-show radio host, has called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" for doing so. For wanting preventative medicine to be covered by health insurance. I'm standing up for Sandra Fluke. I also take birth control. I refuse to let Rush Limbaugh get away with calling a strong, outspoken woman these names. I refuse to let women be silenced. I refuse to let my rights and my interests go unspoken. I am Sandra Fluke.

(Please share, I totally want this to become a meme!)

Please link to this post on my Google+, though. (It's public)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Photo

44 Days of Witchery, Day 19: Fire Element

Hm. I am mostly an earth-and-water girl. My Venus is in Aries, which is part of why I love Sascha so much. I need a powerful man I can respect; someone who is more powerful than I am. I'm full of fire and passion. ;)

Other than that...mmmm, fire. I love candles. I love bonfires. There's something about the fire, the flickering orange light, the soft cracks and pops, the heat rolling off it in waves. I've always loved the phrase "cleansed in fire." (I'm sure this is partly influenced by my love for dragons....)

My favorite goddess is a fire and hearth goddess. Brigid is a wonderful, maternal influence in my life, and I love her dearly. Home and Hearth magic is really where I tend to focus; I want my home to be a welcoming, calm center for all who step into it. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, working with "fire" (though naturally, I hope to NOT be working with actual fire most of the time!)

And incidentally, my main toon in World of Warcraft is a Fire Mage! (Yeah, I'm a geek. :P )