Monthly Archives: February 2013

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

Ice Moon is full today – not that you can tell, given the cloud-cover. Right now, it’s so warm that it’s raining (not freezing rain, either, just rain). I’m writing this while watching the run-off come cascading down from the roof. I’m wondering what the ground will be like tonight, when the temperature drops. :-\
I’ve got some big things happening – not to me specifically, but that I’m involved with – in the next 24 hours and, again, in the next couple of weeks (when the next new moon rolls around, I’ll be neck deep in VERSeFest, for example). I’ve restocked my home-use candles, and have a buyer lined up for three dozen 1oz beeswax tea lights in foil cups. I’ve also got a new skirt pinned together on my dressmaker’s dummy (a casual purple fishtail thing made out of some kind of cotton-esque knit that my wife found for me at VV).
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W is for Witching – Pagan Blog Project 2012

Yet another post to finish off last year’s PBP.
When I say “witching”, I mean it in the [Tiffany Aching Discworld Subseries] sense of the word, rather than the “synonym for Wicca” sense of the word.
Witching means, yes, doing magic spells[1], but it also means way more than that. It means Knowing The Herbs and what to do with them – medicinally (and culinary-wise) as well as magically. It means listening more than talking, and lending an ear to people who need it. It means doing a lot of schlepping and hand-holding and toenail clipping and other stuff that is not glamourous at all for people who you may or may not actually like as people.

So. If I were to give myself a Witching report card? Okay, I’d probably give myself a C-.
I know a little bit about herbs – much of which was learned from my herbalist ex-husband, funnily enough – and the rest of which has largely come from Patricia Telesco, although I’ve made a point of getting to know the neighbours when it comes to the many uses (beyond eating them) of locally available urban-scrub and “ornamental” trees. There’s a lot (understatement) yet for me to learn, I’m very much still just scratching the surface, but I’m there.
I’m… mediocre at lending a hand. To paraphrase Tiffany: I’m “okay when it comes to the occasional extra meal”, or maybe making sure my event venue is wheelchair/mobility-troubles accessible, but not so much when it comes to things like, say, other people’s health care & hygene. The number of times I’ve dealt with a bedpan or similar approaches zero[2].
But man do I ever suck at listening.
Half the time, when I offer an ear, I wonder if I’m really just prying and being nosey, or else wanting an opportunity to play amateur-shrink with my friends. I’ve been known to run right the hell away from information I’ve been asked to hold and help process[3]. I get impatient with people who seem to keep having the same problems without learning from them[4], and it shows.
So this year (2013) I’m trying to do better at that. To be a better friend to my People, to be more aware of what people need (and don’t need) to hear or have a hand with[5], to not make an excuse and bustle off when it’s obvious someone is lonely and needs to chat and I do have the time to listen to them (for a little while).
Wish me luck!
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Sorry, kids, but in my world “witch” means “spell-crafter” at least as much as anything else.
[2] And I’m rather okay with that, actually.
[3] By people I’ve offered to listen to, I should add. Backing off of that stuff when someone’s putting it on you uninvited is allowed. At least I think so.
[4] In and of itself isn’t such a problem – agian with the boundaries – but letting the impatience show is not so good.
[5] To not put my foot in my mouth, essentially.

D is for Discussion – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So. Last week, I did have the opportunity to chat with a friend about sacred kink, spritual bdsm, and ordeal work. It was good to be able to chat about it with someone else who’s exploring the combination of S/M, D/s, ritual, and personal gnosis. The term “UPG” actually got used out loud!
Talking about this kind of stuff[1] is always a little bit weird for me because, while I’ve got lots[2] of “book learning”, I have very little in the way of natural tallent. It makes for a weird balance of experiences, and it leaves me feeling like “Okay, so I can talk a good game but… Fuck, all y’all are in the NBA here, and I’m still shooting baskets in the park[3]”.
I think mostly I’m hoping (desperately) that I’ll be able to bring something other than (in addition to) my ears to such conversations, and that what I have to say isn’t going to be the equivalent of someone walking into a women’s studies graduate seminar and going “Hey, did you know that sexism is bad???”
Eugh. :-\
What’s that thing? “The first step to knowledge is knowing that we know nothing?”
Yeah. That.
I know nothing.
And boy does it ever suck. 😛
Moving right along.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Energy work; being able to Capital-S “See” More-World People, energy blockages (in the physicial or emotional body, if I can put it like that), where there are cracks and potentials and all that stuff.
[2] For a given value of “lots”. I find I’ve read more stuff – so I can direct people to book resources or blog resources when they need it. But I also find that most of the people who are looking for written resources are also people who have a lot of natural ability and have done most of their learning, to this point, through experimentation and Just Knowing and being able to See the results of what they’ve done.
[3] Hah! Basketball metaphor! My Dad would be so proud. 😉

V is for Vampire – Pagan Blog Project 2012

This is another post for, er, last year’s Pagan Blog Project.
Other than the gothity-goth-goth beginnings of my pagan experience, you may be wondering why on earth I’m bringing vampires into this.
Or, y’know, not.
I’ve recently (ish – like, in the last six months) been having a slow back-and-forth conversation with someone about energy-awareness, energy manipulation, and the hunger/craving for both blood and energy that gets described as “vampirism”.
It’s a great conversation, and I hope it continues.
One of the things that came up was how “energy vampire” is frequently used as a synonym for “person with bad emotinoal boundaries who likes to stir up trouble”.
While it’s true that there are people who “feed on negative energy” – sadists who thrive on the energy that comes from “bad pain” (pain that the masochist suffers through and endures as an offering, rather than ecstasy-inducing pain), or people like Thista Minai over at Gods and Mirrors (link goes to her post about why she hates the term “vampire”, fyi – it’s a good read) – but equating “feeds on negative energy” with “deliberately (or indeliberately) stirs up chaos, discent, and other messes” and/or “stirs up negative energy in people who haven’t conscented to that” is… misinformed at best and, well, slander (or possibly libel) at worst. Either way, it’s damaging.
Hell, for that matter, equating “energy vampire” with “feeds (only) on negative energy” is also not quite right. Case in point, Lee Harrington (because I’m such a fangirl) has a couple of posts about being a psy-vampire, about feeding on ambient or actively-offered energy – that isn’t necessarily pain or fear or what-have-you[1], and about not eating and how that screws with your system just as much as not eating fruits & veggies & protein screws with your system. They’re good reads, too, albeit for different reasons.
I’ve heard energy-drinkers (whether “ambient” or “direct” or both, whether or not they also drink blood) talk about how they try to stay away from people who like to stir up emotional trouble or who do the energetic equivalent of force-teaming because they literally make them feel physically ill; how they can get high from a cohesively energized or enthusiastically focused group or crowd but/or that crowded restaurants or other situations where the energy is intense but unfocussed can leave them feeling jittery or dizzy; how sex is like having their batteries recharged; how they can hook into, and get fed from, particular rhythms or types of music; how they get touch-hungry in ways that seem excessive to what their peers need or crave… And I have to say that all of this sounds very much like my own experiences.
I’m not great (ahaha… understatement) at moving energy around. I can do it, but it’s clumsy and sporadic, and – other than specifically with singing – the results are, at best, unreliable. That’s part of why I’m studying trance- and ritual- techniques this year, actually. Because I think learning to navigate Energetic Realms and how to guide the energy of a ritual/ceremony/scene may help me navigate (and manipulate) energy in other ways as well.
As far as other resources go, there are some hard-copy books available on the subject of vampirism (energetic or otherwise). Having read none of these, and basing them largely on the reviews, I’m pointing you towards Raven Kaldera’s The Ethical Psychic Vampire, and Michelle Belanger’s Vampires in Their Own Words: An Anthology of Vampire Voices and The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work as a place to start outside the blogosphere.
And that’s what I have to say about vampirism.
Meliad the Birch Maiden
[1] I pick up extra food at dance parties, for example, because there’s so much of it floating around. It’s great! 😀

New Essential Oils in my Collection

Hi all,
My latest order of essential oils arrived in the mail yesterday. I now have Fennel, Pine, Birch, and Lavender added to my arsenal. 🙂
The lavender is, of course, a top-up — I’d run out and needed to re-stock. I’ll be turning at least some of this into a massage oil for feet – a simple mix of sweet-almond and lavender[1] for softening calluses and cuticles while helping to heel the scuffs and sore sports that feet endure day-to-day.
The other three were all purchased for more magical purposes:
Pine: Pine is associated with sacred wisdom – you can (in theory?) use it to open up to the spirit world, or when you need a boost for checking someone’s aura, doing a reading, or similar. It’s also connected with prosperity,fertility, purrification, success, strength, health & healing, as well as clean breaks, new beginnings, and the alleviation of guilt[2]. Good for house and business blessings. 🙂
Fennel: Fennel helps bring inspiration[3] and to dissolve blockages to creativity (this is the main reason why I got it). It’s also associated with fire, longevity, courage, vitality, protection, healing, and strength. Can help prevent possession as well (so I hear), so it might be a good one to have on hand if you’re going Wandering, but not something to bring into play if you’re looking to channel/aspect/horse for someone in particular.
Birch: Birch is connected with water, protection, purification, courage, determination, beauty, grace, opportunity, and new beginnings. I’ve used it to help with psychic awareness and opening up to the spirit world, for whatever that’s worth. It’s also associated with Frigga, Venus, possibly Freja (I’m getting conflicting information on this one), Misha, and a number of other Goddesses.
Normally, when I put birch in a bath, I use crumbled birch leaves (originally brought home by my wife and dried on our then-balcony), but in the interests of being able to to (A) keep the tub clean, and (B) incorportate birch’s properties into soaps and salves, I’ve invested in some essential oil.
Meliad the Birch Maiden
[1] I’m looking to invest in some yarrow essential oil to add to this. “Soldier’s Woundwort” being known for its healing and antiseptic properties.
[2] I wonder if it would work for exorcising shame… Maybe combine it with lavender (forgiveness, healing and purification), jasmin or ylang ylang (for confidence), and rose water (roses are good for all things lovey, including self-acceptance) or pink rose petals. Thoughts?
[3] Bay, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, vanilla, fir, and sage will also promote inspiration that leads to creative action. Good to know. 🙂

Sewing and Sprouting and Spinning, Oh My!

Hey there!
So it’s been wall-to-wall witchery around here lately. This isn’t a problem for me and, honestly, I kind of prefer it that way, but I wanted to throw some small-c crafty stuff up as well.
So here’s what I’m up to right now:
1) My Ghost recently made me a drop spindle, which I’ve been using to make (rather lumpy) silk-merino yarn using a technique more or less like this one:

Here’s a picture (recently seen on my crafty twitter-feed) of my drop spindle, and one of some of my (first attempts at) hand-spun yarn:

Drop Spindle made by Ghost. Because she’s awesome. 🙂

Two-ply on the left, single-ply on the right.

Two-ply on the left, single-ply on the right.

2) I’ve planted mustard greens in a pot on the window sill and, hopefully, they will actually be sprouting soon.
At the moment, it just looks like a pot of slightly sickly dirt… I’ve been watering them with the water left over from steaming greens because I figure they’ll pick up some much-needed nutrients that way but… I still have no idea how long they’ll take to actually sprout, let alone grow into micro greens and then Actual Greens. I’m thinking I may top up the soil a little with some used coffee grounds, as I hear that’s helpful for leafy greens. I’m hoping (valiently?) to see some sprouts by this coming weekend, as that will have been about two weeks from planting.
Wish me (and them) luck! 🙂
3) Sewing. Having acquired a dress-maker’s dummy, I’ve started picking up second hand blouses (or men’s dress shirts, provided they don’t have pockets on the front) in order to taylor them into something that actually fits me.
This typically means picking up something with long sleeves in a size that’s slightly too big for (most of) me, and then cutting the sleeves off and taking it in at the waist.
So far, I’ve done one-and-a-half blouses like this. A purple one with some runching up the front (that now has elbow-length sleeves[1]) that could, I confess, do with a little more tayloring around the hips; and a black blouse with white pin-stripes and some ruffle detailing (a bit like this, but with much longer sleeves) which is cut and partially pinned to make it cap-sleeved. It may end up being sleeveless, but we’ll see. I may also tak it in just a little at the waist.
I still have a gorred skirt to re-hem (I made it ages ago, but the hem-line is totally borked above the left knee. I need to take it dow and re-do it in that particular spot. Wish me luck), and some heavy purple fabric that my lovely wife got me so that I could make another winter-weight skirt for myself.
Anyway. That’s where things are on the arts-and-crafts-and-gardening front. I’ve still got half a collection to post to Etsy before I start doing more jewelry, and I’m always needing to restock on candles. But regardless, that’s where I’m at. 🙂
Talk to you later,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂
[1] Which may get re-modeled yet again so that it has cap-sleeves. We shall see.

D is for Devotions – Pagan Blog Project 2013

I’m writing this piece a few days early, mid-week while the snow floats gently down outside the window and the temperature fluctuates just enough to push it towards rain every now and then. (It’s that time of year).
I’m hoping to spend this Friday afternoon chatting with a friend about spiritual bdsm, sacred kink, and some experiences they had last summer and need to talk through with someone who wasn’t there. If this happens, I’ll talk about it (not the content, but the activity of Discussion) in my next D prompt.
Today though, writing this week’s PBP13 post, I’m inclined to use this post as a spring board for my own writing.
Dver talks about something that I can relate to a lot. I get distracted – have a week of modeling, have meetings at awkward times on a given Friday, have guests – little things that, honestly, can be really easily worked around (totally NOT crises), and I put off my offerings for a day, or two days, or a week, …or a month… or…
You get the picture.
I’ve talked about this before with regards to my boiling water offerings. I get self-conscious about doing that particular devotion – because it’s so clearly what it is (I suspect this is part of why she wanted it in the first place, but then again I may not have needed to throw in all the recognitions and what-not that I do when I do this thing) – and so I try to hide it from other humans (even my wife, who knows all about it and, hey, delivered the message to begin with) because I feel all WEIRD about it.
Right now, I’m offering candles[1] to my People every week (which is handy because I don’t feel all WEIRD about that – candles are just candles to, say, any company that I have coming over – Once they’re lit, I can just let them do their thing and get on with conversations or what-have-you).
I was late this past weekend – offering them on Sunday rather than Friday – and I felt it. Antsy and anxious, really uncomfortable. And then I got it done on Sunday and immediately felt better.
I mean, yeah, maybe it was smoking the house with myrrh that cleared out the emotional clutter, but… I keep reading these blog entries (not that I can find any of them right now, of course . Oh, wait, here’s one from Del) talking about how, when a spirit worker says “Then [my Person] told me to do X” they were (usually) actually dealing with a somewhat involved process of navigating intuition, FEELINGS, hunches, fascinations, and nagging thoughts at the back of their mind[2].
So, with that in mind, I’m inclined to think that [getting the offering done] and [feeling noticeably and immediately better about everything] were… probably related. I don’t know if that feeling was my gods (one or all of them) going “Ahhh, finally” or if I just wasn’t feeling like a douche about it anymore but, either way. There you go.
How this relates to devotions.
I just (at the time of this writing) did a boiling water offering. Because, hey look, I totally let that one go and maybe that was a bad idea. I mean, nothing’s been going wrong (YAY!), and everyone seems to be enjoying the candles that I’m handing out, but…
Look, giving someone good cheese is lovely. Giving someone good cheese when they made a point of telling you they really like fancy tea is… still lovely, but you’re also ignoring the informtion they gave you about Stuff They Like, which… why would you do that?
So I did water today.
On the subject of letting your devotions lapse, Dver says:
[…Your] sense of closeness with the gods will weaken the longer you starve it. And then it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle – you feel bad or guilty or empty so you shy away from approaching Them, and that absence (you from Them, not Them from you) only serves to make the bad feelings worse as time goes on.
And can I ever relate to THAT! She says that each step you take towards climbing out of your pit – particularly the first one – will make each subsequent step that much easier. I need to remember that. Every time I shrug and say “I’ll do it in an hour” or “Crap, my ride will be here in ten minutes and I don’t want anything burning while I’m gone”; every time I don’t do yoga or otherwise move my body; every time I don’t write down these bits and pieces of my journey; I need to remember: Take the next step. Don’t fall into the pit.
Maybe this post hasn’t made a tonne of sense. But I’m going with it.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] This week, due to my being late, I actually set little energetic flames in all the candle dishes. I’m thinking they might still be there – or at least still have been there when I set the real candles alight the next day, because wow did those candles ever burn way faster than usual. O.O I could be wrong, but… thoughts?
[2] Sometimes, not so much. See: Boiling Water Offerings and my Mattaer going to Ghost and straight up telling her “Hello, I’m from the kitchen. Tell her I want boiling water”.

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

So. It’s the beginning of Ice Moon.
We’re about halfway through our local winter festival (Winterlude – ft lots of skating, ice sculptures, concerts, and hot chocolate) and the weather is actually being nice this year – neither too warm (in which case everything would melt) or too cold (in which case everything would stay solid, but no-one would come out to enjoy it). We had a big snowfall last night – nothing like the Winter Storms that I’ve been hearing about from parts south of here, just a bunch of snow for about 16 hours – but today is bright, with a clear sky and not too terribly cold outside.
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Time for another garden post! :-D

So. As you know bob, I now have a garden space (er…) directly outside my window. I don’t (officially) have use of the space, but I don’t think using it will be a problem.
The problem, instead, is that thee garden space is badly neglected by everything but the neighbourhood cats and, well, it’s been awfully close to the highway for enough decades that it’s probably got some exhaust-based lead built up in it.
Urk! O.O

So, for the moment, I’m looking at planting things that (a) are okay with really awful growing conditions – shady and dry, but also generally bad nutition – and (b) that are good at being sacrificial plants (that don’t later get composted) that are A-OKAY with soaking lead and other nasties.

Right now, the winners for (b) are cabbage, bearded irises, and sunflowers.

Now I’m sure as hell not going to make my tasty-and-delicious kale varietals act as vacuum cleaners for my soil. But I’m game for getting a couple of packages of “ornamental” cabbage (do they even sell that stuff from seed?) from the local home despot or whatever and interplanting them with some (small) sunflowers. Even though chances are good that sunflowers won’t like the growing conditions. I figure between them and the morning glories (and maybe some sweet peas?) I’ll have a colourful, beautiful, eye-catching, “curb-appeal” garden that, at the same time, is feeding the soil (sweet peas are nitrogen-fixers) and cleaning out its system.
… That probably makes me a really terrible annimist, doesn’t it? “I like them better, so YOU get to be poisoned!!!”
Cripes. What a mess. 😦

Maybe I’ll be able to do a mix of clean-up crew stuff planted directly into the soil and food plants grown in hanging baskets or similar.
I can dream. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂

C is for Concentration – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So. Last week, I talked about what I planned on doing to mark Imbolg. I did… most of it. The candles took a couple of days longer.
During my ritual bath, I tried to do a little more trance work but… things didn’t go so well.
I wasn’t alone in the house – my wife and her girlfriend were busy, and chatting, in the other room. This is, I’ve discovered, very distracting. I wasn’t expecting it to be – usually, I can tune out their conversations and give them some privacy, even when I’m in the same room with them. I’m not sure why it was so hard to tune them out and go into inner space this time.
Maybe because I was actively trying to do it, rather than just distracting myself with something?
Anyway, long-story-short, while I did manage to use the elevator-technique again, and I did visit my wild geranium buddy again, it was really hard to “see” anything while I was down there, and I kept partially re-surfacing the whole time.
I also got interrupted at one point, near the end of my attempted trance. She didn’t mean to – my wife didn’t know that I was doing ritual work (I figured that since she was working on a project and entertaining someone else, I would have ample time to do my thing without having to put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door – I will have to reconsider this method) – but my sweetie came into the bathroom, poked her head into the tub, and had a conversation with me[1] about our evening plans and needing to get things prepped before meeting her girlfriend’s play-partners for dinner[2].
That was basically it for trying to maintain a trance which, granted, hadn’t been going so well up to that point anyway and which, granted, I had been about to wrap up in any case.
So I rode the elevator back up to the day-to-day world – it was a bit disjointed, and I kept “jumping levels”, so to speak – but was a little fuzzy/weird/distracted for the next half-hour or so. (I baked something – which is what the conversation had been about – and that helped a bit). I think, perhaps, that a bit of toast with peanut butter and maybe a cup of tea might have been a good idea.
Anyway. The gist of this is that my concentration was kind of shot when I tried to do this bit of trance-work, and it had a very palpable effect on what I was able to accomplish during the trance.
One thing that did happen, which may or may not be just me Making Stuff Up: I looked towards the eastern forest, where I’m pretty sure my tree/roots house is, and there is a very big lizardy thing living in the woods. I think it may be a house-guardian or something, because… well, because it wasn’t scary. A big, long, forked tongue came zapping out of the woods, wrapped around my right (passion?) ankle, and tried to yank me towards the forest (but didn’t succeed). But it wasn’t scary.
So I’m not sure what to make of that, but I figured I’d make a note of it here.
Also: I seem to have been dressed roughly like I was in grade eight, give or take a year. No braces (YAY!), but the same sweater and jeans and sneakers and hair-length. Did not actually feel like crap under those circumstances though, which was nice. 🙂
Watered the wild geranium. It nods its head at me, and I hear a little bell. Very cartoony. I don’t know what to make of that, either, but for the record: very cartoony.
Anyway, moving right along.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] My vision was kind of fuzzy at this point, which I’m taking as a sign that I actually was “down”, at least a little bit. So… bonus? It seems to be working?
[2] Polyamoury.