Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Newest Acquisition

So, I was out last week looking for some more books on Autism when I happened into a store in the mall that has begun putting out Hallowe'en decorations. This had caught my eye and they only had 4 in stock, but I couldn't afford to get it 'til I got paid.

Yesterday, while going back to school shopping with my son, I went back into the store to see if they had any left. They did!! They had 2 left and I grabbed mine. It was my 1st purchase of the season and it is something I won't be taking down anytime soon. Of course, it's hanging on my closet door knobs in this pic 'til I find a more perfect place for it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Enhancements or Fluff??

NOTE: This is my opinion, not the way it should be. If you get offended, this is an opinion only.

I've been on this Pagan journey for the better part of 18 yrs, while actively practicing for the past 4. Back when I was in college & exploring this path, I became enthralled with it. The mythologies, Deities, pantheons resonated with me on a level I never knew in my strict Anglican upbringing. I eagerly gobbled up what I could find on the Old Ways. In my naivete, I read books by less-than-stellar authors ($RW, for example) and in those early days of the internet, whatever I could find on the slow dial-up at the library.

There was a few things that I couldn't grasp in Paganism. Why was everyone so eager to jump on the crystal bandwagon?? When I look back to history and how the cunningfolk did things, they used what was around them: plants, kitchen implements, etc I don't think that they had access to crystals, like we do today and the means to extract crystals from the Earth is a harmful method. Why should we do harm to the Earth in order to aide on our path? Seems pointless to me. During the 20th century it has crept into Paganism from the New Agers. I do understand that there is a fine line between Neo-Paganism & the New Age movement, even books on Paganism are found in the New Age section in bookstores. Even in the Pagan bookstores, there is a huge crystal section. I try to honor the Deities with how I live, I am not be a person who has to do a ritual for everything or for every Esbat & Sabbat, but I do things that I feel are right for me.

I've tried to read books on crystals & their properties, what their correspondences are, which Diety they go with, but I never "got it" It never made sense to me. I know that to a lot of you, having a quartz or a piece of selenite as part of your workings works for you and that's great if it does. To me, they look pretty on an altar. I have tried working with crystals, but there was no spiritual connection there for me. So are crystals an enhancement to your practice, or something that was read in a book suggesting that you use them?

Ok, if that didn't squish your toes enough, how about Reiki. I see a lot of people using this form of Japanese healing to go along with their Pagan path. Reiki is great, I've tried it, very relaxing and refreshing to the energy field. But, along with crystals, it became popular with the whole New Age movement, where bodily energy fields became the "thing" to work with. I do know that in the Craft, we work with energy fields, but did the cunningwoman use a form of "laying on of hands" (to borrow a Christian term) to help those in need of her wisdom? I see that she may have used the herbs & plants around her to help with her workings/healings. Magic is working with the energies around us for a multitude of things. Reiki is a relaxation technique that also promotes healing. It was developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist and is used by a multitude of Pagans, but is not Pagan in origin, nor is it an ancient practice. So, I ask my question again, is this an enhancement to the Craft or just more New Age fluff that is making its way into Paganism? I find a lot of Pagans using things to enhance their path, but I wonder if this due to the large influence the New Age movement of the past century had on modern Paganism. Besides crystals, I have heard of the use of pyramids to keep one centered, the idea of people being defined as Indigo, Crystal & Rainbow, to use as some examples.

I was asked why I am against Paganism & Wicca. I'm not against Paganism, just the fact that it has gotten away from its roots. I'm also not against Wicca, just I have issues with Gardner & his thievery of other Hermetic orders to come up with a religion that is as rigid as some Christian faiths. As I stated at the start of this posting, this is my opinion and not the way it has to be, I may have stepped on toes, I may even have offended some, but I see no use for New Age things in my beliefs. I come to honor the Deities, live in harmony with Mother Gaia and I don't need pretty colored rocks to aid me or someone to place their hands in my energy to heal me. Does that make me cynical? Perhaps, but I like to think of it as getting back to the good old days of being Pagan, which a lot of us have forgotten to do.

I Will Be Posting

Sorry, I haven't blogged much last week on here. I was busy with my other blog about my son & his Autism. I'm starting to get that blog set up the way I like it with widgets, & etc. When I get home from work later today I will be posting a topic that may cause a stir. I want to know when all this New Age stuff got mixed in with Paganism, like crystals, Reiki. I want to know when we needed all this extra stuff in our Craft. Is it really an enhancement or just fluff??

Stayed tuned.....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Projects...Part Deux

Ok, I just started this last night. It is something I've been mulling around for a little while now. I started another blog...yes, another one. This is one is on my mundane account. It is a blog about Autism and how it affects my family. My son has ASD and I thought I would share with you my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and opinions on this HUGE topic. Check it out here.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Projects

Well, I've been getting some things done this week that I am excited about. On my recent trip to Twa Corbies' Hollow, Natalia & I went out into the forest surrounding the Hollow in search of the perfect stave. Armed with her trusty hacksaw (the good one her dad likes) we came upon a slender Aspen that seemed perfect for me. She cut the tree down for me, even though I was more than capable to do it myself, and went over & found a good tree for hers. It had 5 branches that will hold an orb beautifully, like a magickal staff from a fantasy novel. After a little bit, we headed back to the house where we peeled off the bark and took off any excess branches. Since I have a stave made from a softwood, I had to make sure that no traces of the bark were to be found on the stave, as this will go moldy & gross. An Exacto knife worked perfectly for this.

My stave is a little over 4' with a little bend near the top (handrest?) with a cute little hole where a branch used to be (thumbrest?). Since my return from Twa Corbies', my stave has been drying out on my deck. Last night I started my sanding process to make my stave as smooth as a baby's bum. When I have completed it to my standards, I will ever-so-carefully carve into it sigils that will serve the stave's purpose, and put a couple of coats of a clear varnish. I was hoping I could make off with a strip of a leather thong that I had with me on the search for the stave, but it was needed by it's owner (dang!). It would've made for a great handloop.

The other day, while I played hookie from work, I had to go out to Walmart for some kitty litter and some sandpaper. While wandering the aisles, I headed to the craft section & sewing dept. All the fabrics & notions were on clearance. I guess Walmart is phasing out the sewing dept :( So, I looked to see how much the sewing machines were discounted. There weren't a lot left and I found a Singer that was originally priced at $150 marked down to $87. I'm not an expert sewer, but for my needs, this was perfect, so I grabbed the last one on the shelf & paid for it.

When I returned home, I immediately took it out of it's box and set it on my kitchen table and set things up, threaded some bobbins (black, white, red & pink) with what spools of thread I did have and I made a new pouch for my new deck of Tarot cards (the organza pouch will not cut it). Today, I'm thinking of going to the fabric store to see if they have any Hallowe'en fabrics that I can make table runners with. If not, I may get a pattern for a cloak to have for any rituals that I may attend this year (I'm thinking about becoming a bit more active in the local Pagan scene, but that's another post altogether). I am so excited with these 2 new projects, they are a welcome distraction to all the stress I have been experiencing lately.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This Week's New Blog

Ok, So this week's new blog is Adventures of the Striped Socks. I just happened on it as I was going through some witchy blogs in blogland. There are musings of "Practical Magic" as well as reflections of the blog mistress, Celia. It is a wonderful blog and easy to read. She doesn't have a blog button, so I can't add a little picture of it here, but you should go check it out anyways.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How I Spent A Lazy Sunday

I decided that I would try my hand at baking bread. I haven't baked bread in over a decade and those loaves were considered lethal weapons (if ya know what I mean). The other day I went to my local bookstore and got a copy of Betty Crocker's Cookbook. I figured it was time I amped up my cooking repertoire. The first thing I made was homemade mac 'n cheese, simple. Then yesterday, after returning from the Farmers' Market, I cooked up a lovely lamb steak for my son & I. 2 for 2 in the cooking dept.

Today I tackled bread making. The loaves you see pictured are Honey Whole Wheat. It took me about 3 1/2hrs to make them from start to finish.
My son was mommy's kitchen helper, doing the dirty dishes as I finished with them. He also helped pour in the flour as I mixed. Oh yeah, I don't have a bread machine (hate them) so this was done the old way. We played the Wii while the bread rose, to pass the time more quickly. I was worried that I didn't knead the bread long enough or if the dough was too doughy, anxiety when you're new to this whole bread making thing.

After cutting the dough in half
I made
2 tubes of dough that went into the pans. They had to rise again, so more Wii time for the 2 of us (btw, I kick butt at Wii bowling). After baking in the oven for 45 min, my apt smelled like heaven, the bread came out and cooled. Now mind you, being a natural blonde under my auburn hair, I only then realized that I should've been taking pix, so I grabbed my camera & got these 2 lovelies taken. My son & I had a few pieces of warm bread, butter melting with a drizzle of honey that we got yesterday at the Market. It was a great mid-afternoon snack.

To the lovely Goddess who aided me in the kitchen, there will be an offering of bread just for you tonight.


Dark Moon Blessings

I bless You now that You may aid
The energy flow as magick is made
I cast out negative energy
Leaving only the positive to live and breathe
Within you as I start this Rite
Blessed be in joy, love and light.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pix From The New Farmers' Market

So I headed out this morning to my city's Farmers' Market with my son. The market is in the process of moving into a new venue from the old one. The old venue is in a local brewery every weekend, but as more & more people go to it, a newer, bigger place was needed. Today was the 1st day of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. Because it is still under construction, it will be only open on Saturdays til it is completed, then it will be open both Sat. & Sun. and on Wed.

The place was huge!! There was close to 200 vendors, ranging from farms, to crafts and everything in between. I specifically wanted to go to the Dutchman's cheese booth. His family has been making homemade Goudas for generations and he is the most popular vendor there. He was located smack-dab in the center of everything. I bought a very nice Smoked Herbed in my house. My son wanted fudge, as I am terrible at making it, so we headed over to a table where there was about 10 different varieties of fudge...we got 1 of each, plus some huge peanut butter balls, dipped in chocolate and rocky road bars. Next up was the Nova Scotia Honey table where I bought a jar of the sticky sweet stuff and a little honey comb for Mark to snack on. We sampled everything from homemade ice cream, to fudge, bread, sausages and even a little nip of NS Whiskey (ok, I did, not Mark). There was even a wall of plants that was 2 floors high. When we arrived we got a free Woolly Thyme plant, another to added to my collection of kitchen herbs.

Looking around, I was a little disappointed in the huge mark-up everything had. Just because it came from a farm outside the city, doesn't mean that you have to jack up the prices. Loaves of bread were selling for $5/loaf, I can make one for cheaper. Pints of highbush blueberries were going for up to $5/pint. I did manage to find some cheaper for $3/pint. I hope I'm not sounding cheap, but after spending the past wknd at Twa Corbies and being there when some of the planting was done, I know things didn't cost THAT much to grow and gas isn't that bad. The majority of those who go to the Farmers Market are the yuppy-types who have money to spend and the "granolas" who won't touch anything unless it's local. Chanterelle mushrooms were $4.50 for 1/2lb and herbs were selling for $20/8 herbs. A bit pricey for a single mom on a budget.

Even though I sound negative, I did enjoy myself. We went up on the mezzanine level & took pictures of the crowds, then went to the old venue where there are some vendors there selling. I bought some really huge bath bombs that were reasonably priced and some more blueberries.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My New Tarot Deck

Ok, so I'm at the bookstore the other day when I happened upon a Tarot deck that caught my eye & wouldn't let go. So, like any resourceful witch, I used "Girl Math" to figure out if this would be worth while for me to get. I figured the deck was $24.95 and learning a deck would cost me about a day (or less) to learn and factoring out the joy it would bring me (priceless) I bought it.

The deck is full of wonderfully designed artwork, that the artist did using her Deviant Art account. She used real models for each of the 78 cards and added in digital enhancements. Now I know Tarot has entered into the 21st century. This is a beautiful deck, very airy feeling. The only drawback I find is that each card is based on the Rider-Waite deck. I only have one deck out of my 5 that strays from this formula: The Vampire Tarot by Nathalie Hertz.

Treasures From The White Lotus

On my recent jaunt to Twa Corbies this past weekend, we took a little trip into New Glasgow, a small town on the north shore of NS. They have a cute little Pagan shop called, The White Lotus. You can buy organic teas, herbs, body lotions, Earth-friendly cleaning supplies, as well as the usual things to be found in a Pagan shop. You can check out the store's website here.

My Goddess wall plaque

Goddess meditation candle with charm

My Green Man trinket box

Goddess figurine from a previous trip.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

6 More Weeks!!

I'm sitting here whittling away on my Stave that I am making, on my patio when it gave me the gentlest of kisses. The sublety of it is in the air & I know that soon it will become more & more. My heart skips a beat at the thought. Autumn will soon be here!! My favorite time of the starts again, Canadian Thanksgiving and Samhain!!! Here is a pic to get you all in the mood. I took it last autumn while venturing in the woods.

Why Can't We Do This Here??

So, I'm creeping...erm, I mean reading Ramblings of a Newbie Pagan and I see her Lammas stuff she posted. I think it must be really cool to live in the UK, they have their festivals, with Morris Dancers, re-enactments with dancers, costumes, etc. Not so much here in Halifax. We get the occasional public ritual, but nothing like a festival to celebrate the season, whether it be for Lammas or Beltaine. There is a public rit for Samhain, but from the times I went, it pales in comparison. Are there even Morris Dancers here??

Anyway, check out this video Jenandollie had on her blog. I think it's so wonderful, there are the 4 directions dancing around with John Barleycorn, with his "death" at the conclusion. Be nice if there was something like that here, but unfortunately, there isn't.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This Week's New Blog

Ok, I think that this may be a weekly thing, or not, depends on how many new blogs I come across that are worth noting. I came across another really good blog today, actually, the blog author made a comment on one of my posts, so I had to check out her blog.

Willow has some great things to write about, recipes to share, pix of her furbabies and all around witchy goodness. I guess her blog just had a makeover, so I can't compare how it used to look like. This must be the time to do blog makeovers, as I did mine a week or so ago. Her blog is easy to read, beautifully done.

So, go check out Wandering in the Woods. You won't be disappointed.