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.