Housecleaning

I’m in the process of a major housecleaning, both in terms of my physical space and my digital ramblings.  In trying to clear some of the digital clutter, I realized that I still have a lot of password protected pages on this blog that either need to be shared or cleared out.

Here’s one for sharing that’s appropriate to the subject of cleaning. I think I might have been feeling a little snarky the day I wrote it. 


 

Sage-Free Smudge

Both white sage and common sage are incredibly popular for smudges.  I know I am not the only person who absolutely loathes the smell of burning sage.  Smoldering white sage, in particular, makes me want to throw up on my pointy-toed shoes.  Given the option of facing something from the Dungeon Dimensions* or burning white sage indoors, I’ll take my chances with whatever is crawling up from the Dungeon Dimensions. For that reason, I’ve worked out an alternative to sage smudges that doesn’t smell, IMHO, like cat piss.

Blend and burn** these three ingredients together to create a cleansed, calm, and positively charged space:

  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender
  • Dragonsblood resin

The herbs can be process as much or as little as you wish.  Since I usually buy both cinnamon and dragonsblood in powdered form, I tend to grind up the lavender fairly fine.

 

*On the off-chance that a new witchling (or anyone else unfamiliar with the works of Pratchett) finds their way to this page, ‘Dungeon Dimensions‘ is a reference to a fictional place.  There is no such thing, so don’t go out to some forum and start pestering people more learned than you about their experiences with the Dungeon Dimensions. You’ll look like a prat. Save yourself… and the rest of us… the embarrassment. Thus concludes my good deed for the day century.  
**As common sense isn’t always common practice: Please burn outdoors or in a very-well ventilated area in an appropriate fire/heat-proof vessel with a fire extinguisher handy.  Also, this blend is not meant for ingestion of any sort, so don’t inhale, smoke, or eat this stuff.  
 

Where Did the Words Go?

I haven’t been ignoring this blog, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  At least once a week, I pull up a blank post and… stare at the screen for thirty minutes to an hour before throwing my hands in exasperation.  The same thing happens when I sit down to my other blogs, my personal journal, the fiction piece I started last January, and anything that requires stringing together coherent sentences.  Writer’s block has taken up residence in my brain and has refused to budge for weeks. I’m just going to plow through and try to put some words down, even if it’s just getting down a couple bullet point updates and making a few tentative plans. 

  • Monthly Ritual Calendar: It’s a project that I still want to pursue, even though I haven’t been keeping up with it.  One slight problem – I’ve lost my brain-storming notes and have completely forgotten what I’d planned to do for most months. By the end of September, I’ll have to either find those notes or start again.  In any case, there will be a write-up before month’s end.  If I can find my notes, I may be able to catch up with the months I’ve missed.
  • Gods and Such: There has been a general lack of deity interaction lately. My practice doesn’t rely on regular contact, so lack of it is not particularly concerning.  I suspect that this will change with the arrival of fall.
  • Sam: There have been a couple of behind-the-scenes inquiries about Sam and how he’s progressing.  By all accounts, he’s recovering well and back at home, but still has a way to go.  Prayers and gentle energy would be appreciated according to his daughter.
  • Temple of MSB: No updates from the trail… sidelined with an injury that makes walking or running on uneven terrain just dangerous.  Hoping to be able to get back to it this fall.
  • Thinky Thoughts about future projects:  I have vague notion that I need/want to do some shadow work over the coming winter.  I’m not sure exactly what form that will take yet or what the focus needs to be.  The notion is still very vague and unformed.  Something will come to me I’m sure. If not, I’ll scratch this off the to-do list.

That’s all for now, as the writer’s block is still strong enough that typing more than ten words leaves my brain struggling. 

Life in Absentia

I just looked at the date of my last post and gave a little sigh.  Eleven weeks since last I posted here, yet I’d hardly paid attention to the lapse and only realized it when someone finally asked where I’ve been.  I’ve been living mostly in absentia, which unfortunately is not some underdeveloped up-and-coming corner of eastern Europe.  Life has been getting accomplished but without my being present for it in any meaningful way.   I’m in the process of re-grounding myself in my own skin and becoming more actively engaged in my life again but it’s been a slow process.

I cannot recall if I mentioned here that I’d decided to seek counseling in the aftermath of Sam’s hospitalization.  After a couple of false starts with counselors who weren’t the right fit,  I found someone who has actually helped beyond my wildest imaginings.  In our second session, he suggested that there might actually be something other than wonky brain chemistry causing the dysthymia, the constant fatigue, the night time panic attacks and anxiety, the memory issues, anemia, etc.  It’s taken a few weeks to get a diagnosis but it turns out he was right.  The bad news:  a sleep disorder that’s potentially life threatening and that has likely gone undiagnosed most of my adult life.  The good news:  The condition is easily treated and I’m becoming a functional human being again.

I want to catch up on the ritual calendar posts for April through June (and very shortly July), but those will wait until another day.  Same with catching up on all the random spiritual things that have cropped up over the last few weeks.  I will be making an effort to post more than once a season, in any case, and will do my best not to let months elapse in silence.

 

 

Ritual Calendar – March

I realize that it’s no longer March, but better late than never, right?

 

March Ritual – Seeds of Change

Timing
  • Any time during the month.  Note that this one requires a commitment to care for a plant over time.

Themes

  • Change
  • Growth
Purpose
  • Manifest growth
  • Create positive change
  • Honor the elements
Preparations
  • Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, seeds and water needed, along with a suitable location to plant the seeds.
  • Before beginning, determine what change is most needed and/or desired in your life over the long term.  This working takes time to manifest, so slow changes are usually best for this working.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Plant seeds in an appropriate place while visualizing the change that you want to manifest.  Imagine the elements providing the seeds with the energy that they need to grow. Envision this change any time you water or feed the plant.
Ritual- Full Version
  • Delineate ritual space as preferred. Keep in mind that the space will need to contain the spot where the seeds are to be planted, so if sowing them directly into the ground, plan your ritual space accordingly.  Within the ritual space, place any garden tools you might need, the seeds, and a container of clear water.
  • Enter the ritual space and call upon any deities or other helpers that are appropriate to your path and/or the changes you wish to make.
  • Dig a hole in the ground (or pot) in preparation for planting.
  • Hold the seeds in your hand and say “With air, I breathe life into you.”  Blow gently on the seeds (take care that you don’t drop them).
  • Hold the seeds up toward the sun and say “With fire, I guide you upward.”  Place the seeds in the earth and cover them, saying “With earth, I root you.”  Pour water over the ground while saying “With water, I nourish you.”
  • When all has been done, state over the newly planted seeds “With spirit, I change you.”
  • Spend some time imaging the plant as it grows and changes and as it does, envision the changes that you wish to make manifesting themselves.
  • Offer thanks as appropriate.  As per your particular practice, break the ritual space and exit the area.
  • You’ll need to weed, feed, and water the plant regularly to provide energy to this working.  As you do this, you can speak the words “By earth and water, by air and fire, by spirit sealed, manifest the change I desire.”

Modifications and Notes

  • Using salt to mark out the ritual space boundaries is not recommended, as this can kill vegetation.
  • Plants should be chosen carefully and can be done by using magical correspondences.
  • If beginning a plant from seed isn’t feasible, this working can be done using a small plant and transplanting it into the ground or a new pot.

Odds and Ends

I’m running a bit behind with everything at the moment, so just a few brief tidbits until I can catch up properly.

March’s ritual will hopefully be posted this week.  I’ve written a rough draft of it, but haven’t managed to polish it up yet.  April’s ritual is a work in progress. I’m not sure that it will be meaningful for most, as it pertains to specifically to the threshold work that I do, but it too will be posted soon (well, by the end of April).

Loki is still making his presence felt. I want to reflect a bit more on what’s been happening on that front before I write more about it.  Also, I don’t think that he’s quite through stirring the pot yet and I’d really like to know where he’s going with this before I either praise or curse him for it.

I’ve been feeling a bit of disconnect from my Lady as of  late, so I outright asked what She wanted of/from me right now.  The answer came in a dream.  Funnily, it was very specific – that She wanted the large ‘red and gold’ statue put on some shelves that I’d just put up, along with a canopic jar to keep the names of those who had died during the year.  I own neither a red and gold statue of Herself nor a canopic jar… or at least didn’t at the time.  I was in an antique store later that week and found both a large statue of the lady trimmed in red and gold along with a miniature canopic jar.  Needless to say, they both came home with me and a set of wall shelves have now become a floating altar.  I do like it when the gods are clear and precise in what they expect.

As for some of the sore spots mentioned in previous posts, things are still fairly raw right now.  Sam is recovering – slowly and painfully- but fully in the land of the living again.  I am just beginning to process this train-wreck of events in a meaningful way, but find that even on the nights that I can pry my thoughts away from the situation, I am not sleeping well and waking up dozens of times,  feeling panicked and choked.  Daylight hours are more manageable at least, although I’m pretty fatigued most of the time.  Recovery will take time, I know, for all involved.   In the meantime, we all are muddling through the best that we can.

That’s enough for now, as I’m stifling yawns even as I type. More details on everything later… after a few nights of uninterrupted sleep.

 

 

Breaking the Cycle

“Maybe I have been here before.
I know this room. I’ve walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve sen your flag on the marble arch.
Love is not a victory march.
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”
- Leonard Cohen, “Hallejuah”


Since this refrain has been looping through my head all week, perhaps it’s  fitting introduction to this month’s Cauldron Blog Project theme: Calendars, Cycles, and Patterns.  While I love the idea of spiritual calendars and finding patterns in my work, there are some cycles that are actually detrimental to my practice.  The fact that I’m walking around with the above song stuck in my head is a fair indicator that I’m deeply enmeshed in one of those cycles – one in which I find myself scrambling for any scraps of self-love and self-worth that I can find.

The last few weeks have been difficult.  Things that are happening now carry the echo of old hurts.  Patterns of behavior that began with one or another painful event in the past are being repeated now, much to the detriment of myself and others who would be a part of my life.   Seeing these patterns reemerge has given me the chance to see that the tools I used to cope at the time were not – and still are not – the ones that I actually needed to process those events in a way that was healthy.  I’ve persevered, but in doing so, caused lasting harm in other ways.  In trying to deal with pain in my own ridiculously stubborn and independent way, I have closed myself off from meaningful connections with others, nursed a deep-seated distrust of others’ motives, and created a mental framework that does not allow me to either love or trust deeply.  Yes, a few people did some pretty awful things to create this outlook, but I’ve come to realize that while I cannot change what happened, I could have reacted to it in ways that were less self-destructive.

So what to do to break the cycles that are detrimental?  Simple: Learn to trust again.  Find a way to love that is sustainable and nurturing.  Ask for and accept help when I need it instead of insisting that I can handle everything on my own.  Communicate what’s happening below the surface, particularly when it involves others.  Focus on the rewards of opening myself to others rather than the risks and dangers.  Cope with the fallout of what’s happened without withdrawing or shutting down. Admit my own shortcomings and failings without endlessly being plagued with self-doubt.  Accept that what has happened cannot be altered, that I can only change the way I react to it. Be wholly present in this world when not actively engaged in shadow or threshold work.  Find a way to accept that not having all of these skills already does not make me in fatally flawed or unlovable.

Alright, maybe this isn’t so simple.  One step at a time, I think, beginning with enlisting the help of others.  I did reach out to other people this week , to ask for general emotional support and to schedule counseling.  It doesn’t like much, does it?  Such small steps, such giant leaps, to break the cycle.

The Temple of MSB: Poking the Sore Spots

A couple posts ago, I mentioned that I “won’t be doing any trail running in the foreseeable future.”  The unforeseeable future was another matter entirely.

Today I ran.

I ran because every single sore spot of my being has been poked and prodded in the last few weeks. I ran because I am tired of being held back by my own body’s failure to function correctly. I ran because February saw the deaths of five people with whom I was acquainted. I ran because I have spent the last few weeks once again dealing with an individual whose sociopathic behavior made my life a hell for far too long.  I ran because the person to whom I feel most connected nearly succeeded in ending his life.  I ran because I was reminded in a painful way of why I find trust and love difficult.  I ran because there has not been a moment this week, not even in sleep, when I’ve been able to process everything that is happening. I ran because there was no other outlet for the anger, anxiety, and fear that all of these things are creating.

I ran until my knee buckled, leaving me sprawled face down in a muddy patch of trail.  Falling made me furious, mostly at myself for being such an idiot.  The questions came screaming through my head loud and clear: When are you going to stop running from things that cause you pain? When are you going to stand and face your fears?  When are you going to stop letting your life be controlled by pain?  When are you going to thank that handsome guy Loki for all of his help lately?

What? Wait a minute…

Well now, that would explain a lot, particularly why a lot of hidden truths have been coming to the surface lately and why masks are getting ripped off of those who would wear them.  Why I’ve had a compulsion to burn red, orange, and yellow candles. Why I have been finding weird ‘goodies’ in my shopping cart that I didn’t put in there  (today it was Pop-Rocks and Cheerwine).  Why my mp3 player will not stop playing Combichrist’s “Kickstart the Fight” no matter how many times I try to delete the song.  Okay, maybe I’ve been a little slow on the uptake, but I’m fully aware now that Loki is not just lurking but actively ‘helping’.

Does anyone need one slightly used and somewhat demented trickster deity? Free to a good home, but I won’t promise that he’s housebroken.