Monthly Archives: February 2014

Witches’ Union Hall?

“You say we’re witches like it’s a bad thing”.

A Stitch in Time

You know that saying, “A stitch in time saves nine”?
For decades, I had no idea what it meant. I thought the stitch in question was a bit like the “wrinkle” in the Madeleine l’Engle novel. In reality, it’s way more practical than that.
It refers to saving yourself a heap of work if you fix something quickly, while it’s still a minor problem.
 
Case in point: Darning socks.
 

On the left-hand side, a sock in the process of being darned.  It is stretched over a "mushroom" (a wooden thing - shaped like a shiitake, or maybe a portobello, mushroom - in order to make the process easier.  On the right-hand side, the same sock (and its mate) once the darning is done.  This took about 3.5-4 hours, most of which was spent on the first (upper) sock which had much, much bigger holes in it.

On the left-hand side, a sock in the process of being darned. It’s stretched over a “mushroom” (a wooden thing – shaped like a shiitake, or maybe a portobello, mushroom – in order to make the process easier. On the right-hand side, the same sock (and its mate) once the darning is done. This took about 3.5-4 hours, most of which was spent on the first (upper) sock which had much, much bigger holes in it.


 
Yes, I really did just blog my day’s mending. And it involved sweatsocks.
Why am I darning a pair of socks that cost me $6 for a package of two pairs?
Well… Partly, because I feel a little embarrassed to wear socks with big holes in the toes. Partly because there’s still a lot of really good sock left, if I’d just fix the holes. Partly because, right at the moment, I don’t actually have $6 with-which to buy a new package of mostly-cotton socks. And partly because I want to feel productive (I seem to have inherited my mother’s guilt around Being Idle), don’t want to throw out a pair of otherwise-perfectly-good socks, and would kind of prefer to create things (even if what I’m creating is Repairs) rather than just consuming them (although, honestly, I’m game for consuming things, too – Discount, formerly-Valentines-Day-related chocolates; new urban fantasy novels, DVDs of “RENT”, poetry performances, matinee showings of opera-at-the-movies…).
 
But there you go. I waited and waited to fix those socks, and finally did, and it tood For Ever. (The rip in my burgundy corduroy skirt, which I also fixed today, took maybe six minutes at a generous estimate).
Darning for the win!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests … OR … D is for Doctor – Pagan Blog Project 2014

You’re getting another combination-post today because, frankly, I’m freakin’ tired and also have candles to make, which means bashing up some beeswax before I can get to that part.
Right.
So it’s Ice Moon. The local Winterlude festival (and the concurrent Snowblower festival) is in full swing, coming up on its final weekend, and we have ice and snow apleanty, without it being too cold.
This is really great for anyone who relies on tourist dollars to make their living, so hurrah. Also, much as slogging through drifts kinda sucks? I’ll take that over -38 pretty much any day of the week, even when my grocery bag straps decided to snap, one after another, on the way home from the grocery store.
(Guess what happened to me today?)
 
But the real “big deal” for me today is that (on Valentines’ Day, of all days) I went to the Heart Institute to talk about the results of a test I had done last month. I was quite worried about what I was going to find out because, while there wasn’t much chance of something being particularly wrong, the wrong would have been with my heart, which is kind of a very massive deal, y’know?
Anywqay. Given the veb-tense I was just using, I suspect it’s become clear to most of you that my heart is, in fact, just fine.
Halle-freaking-luia, and thank you Maia! ❀
Colour me relieved!
 
So that's my news for the cresting of Ice Moon. But what, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with Paganism? Why “D is for Doctor”?
 
Well. Let me just tell you. πŸ™‚
 
While at the Heart institute, the doctor gave me a bit of a check-up – stuff about my pulse and my breathing, for the most part. Very professional and business-like. But it felt… more intimate than it was, if you will.
Now, my wife, as you know bob, is quite a bit more perceptive about these things than I am. So when she commented to me that “That doctor was really doing her job,” but wouldn’t elaborate until we were out of the hospital, I figured I was in for something witchy.
 
What she said was “She was listening with more than her ears”.
Now, I know that doctors learn how to see people’s insides without cutting them open – that’s kind of the point of the training, in a lot of ways, and it’s likely that this was just a skilled craftsperson doing her work well (like how my wife would listen to a piece of wookd to learn what it wanted to be made into). At the same time, though… When I say that her examination “felt more intimate than it was”… I mean it.
I said “I think I felt that. It felt like she was touching me under my skin”. Not very far under, I grant you. But…
Look. Maybe this isn’t a “reality check” so much as the two of us confirming our spidy senses like “yes men” or something. But… it’s still nice to have my itty bitty tingles of personal gnosis (or whatever you want to call it) backed up by someone else’s experience.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

C is for Colonization, Catharsis, and Connection – Pagan Blog Project 2014

I was expecting to write about “congregation” and talk about my first ritual with my shiiny new ritual group (which went quite well). Instead, though, I find myself wanting to write about a workshop that I attended while at the Rainbow Health Ontario conference last week.
It was more ritual than workshop, I think. At least that’s how it felt on my end.
But I’m Woo like that. Someone else might compare it to Psychodramatic therapy techniques. Either way, it was a Big Deal.
 
See, I’m white. I live on colonized land that never changed hands through a treaty. We took it from the people who still live here.
This workshop, called “Walk a Mile in My Moccasins”, is participatory tableau theatre crossed with history lesson. It gets done every year at the Project Acorn camp for rainbow youth and youth from rainbow families in my area, in part as a way of addressing whose land we’re all sitting on.
So, having been given the heads up from a fellow deligate that this was the kind of workshop that can get really intense, and having read the workshop description about how the process would include taking the participants through the process of colonization, I basically walked into the workshop ready to volunteer to play the colonizer role, since I didn’t figure anyone would want the job of acting out someone telling some kid that “No, no, being forceably removed from everything you know is totally for your own good”.
 
And that’s not how it went at all.
I wound up in the role of one of those stollen kids.
 
A heap of people cried. At least just about everybody who was playing a child-role cried, and I suspect there were others (after the kids were taken out of the circle, I had my back to most of what was going on, so I don’t know for sure).
 
Some stuff that happened, that is very me-centric:
 
1) When it was time for the kids to be taken, I dug my feet in and fought it, and I screamed when I let the facilitator/ritualist win. Which was not entirely voluntary, but was also not entirely spontaneous. It was basically like… “I have the option of Going There, and it would be appropriate to do so in this context”. So I did[1].
 
2) When asked (as a group) how it feels to be able to choose your own role in your culture, my answer was “Heavy”. Which got an “Interesting…” from the facilitator/ritualist. It felt heavy because, when you… find where you belong, find the place that fits, and actively claim it, then you can’t be all “Well, I didn’t ask for this” and do a half-assed, resentful job of it. You have to actually bother and try your better-than-best to not screw it up. The position I chose meant that I could see my whole community, hold it, all of them, in my eyes, but it also meant that my whole community was my responsibility to keep safe. It’s heavy, even in tableau form. Heavy.
 
3) During the end part of the ritual/workshop, I tried to put my roots down and pull up enough energy to kind of enfold everybody there. I don’t think it worked, but what did happen was, after the whole thing was over and people were heading downstairs for lunch, of the other facils – the one who’d been basically doing after-care (or during-care) during the painful parts – said to me: “I saw that tree”, and clarified the when and the what. I didn’t ask if he’d seen it, he just told me. πŸ˜€ Success! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Best kind of reality check to receive! πŸ˜€
 
 
So that, on top of a history lesson and a vision of a hopeful potential decolonized future, is what I got out of that workshop.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] The facilitator/ritualist talked to me afterwards, and said they were glad I reacted the way I did, because it pushed people out of their heads, out of treating the workshop as a “workshop” – as a cerebral exercise rather than an emotional experience. So I feel like I did my job on that front, if you will.

C is for Crochet

Reblogging this from Knot Magick: A post about the potential for trance, intentionality, Wandering, and spellcraft in fibre arts. This one’s about crochet, but as a knitter, spinner, and (sometimes) weaver, this has potential across the spectrum of these arts.

Knot Magick

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Crochet is magick, people might think that I am a little strange to be say it but its true. If you’ve ever been hooking away at a Granny Square and had the Goddess tap on your shoulder you will know what I mean. There is nothing more meditative than a repeating pattern and its not unusual for me to find myself in a trance state and my mind open to suggestion. I also find that I am more free in mind to write rituals and chants whilst I am working and alwas have something to hand to jot ideas down on.

One of my first experience of Hekate outside of ritual was whilst I was making a cushion cover using a granny square pattern. I found myself walking the halls of a local hospice with Hekate as she guided the dead to the next world and came back to find…

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Crystals For Creativity

Reblogging this from The Raven Scribe, in part so I can find it again, later. Stones for creativity-magic. πŸ™‚

C is for Chakras – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Hey there, all.
 
So, in the interests of having some Plans for tomorrow evening’s Imbolg ritual, I’ve suggested that we do some kind of meditation that involves waking up our lower two-or-three chakras (root, for reason of roots, and belly, for reasons of the literal meaning if “Imbolg”, and genitals for reasons of “I don’t want to skip that one” and also “germination”… even though I personally want to steer clear of the pregnancy conotations of the Day).
In the interests of not being a ritual freeloader, I’ve offered to find/modify/come-up-with an appropriate meditation so that All The Things aren’t stuck on the gal who’s offered to host the thing.
 
Anyway. What I’ve got in mind is very much the idea of “chakra system as flame / body as forge”, starting with breathing on the hot coals so that, with each cycle of breath they glow brighter-and-dimmer-and-brighter until we get to the point where orange flames start to flicker and dance, and we feed it again, with our breath as the bellows, until there’s a strong blaze going and the flames are climbing higher, flashing yellow-gold at their tips… and so-on.
 
The trick is, I’m not sure what to do with that energy once it’s raised. Push it towards parts of life that need some transformative/creative power, most likely, I just don’t know where. :-\
 
Wish me luck on this one, folks.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

Ice Moon officially began a couple of days ago and, right on cue, the temperature climbed into melt-and-refreeze territory.
The buds are starting to show on the maples and the magnolia up the street. I’m going to an Imbolg ritual tomorrow evening (and need to dig up some fire-in-the-belly / spark of life / root-chakra-awakening meditations for same – wish me luck on that one) and I’m about to make the cherry-chocolate-almond cake for it (along with one – same recipe – for this evening’s Beef Bourgineon dinner at a friend’s place). I have bread rising and a new batch of stock starting in the slow cooker. I want it to be a quiet day.
 
I generally associate Ice Moon with, well, ice, sure. But also hope, clean slates, self-care, seed sellection, and forming/sticking-with good habits. I’m not doing much in the way of seed sellection right now but self care is hollering at me for some attention (I blame PMS, honestly, combined with nerves about next week’s conference and the potential over-socialization that I could be in for).
 
I’m trying to keep hope in my heart, for a lot of reasons, as this moon grows. By the time it crests, I’ll be heading to the doctor’s again and hopefully all my fears will be for nothing – or at least for very, very little, which would be nice. (Think good thoughts for me?)
 
It looks like the Spirit Work 101 is about to get started, so I’ll have to watch my email for the next day or two on that front.
 
Time for me to bake that cake.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. πŸ™‚