So last week, I wrote about my particular pagan practice and what it looks like on any given day. I mentioned that I have an altar in my living room.
This is a new thing.
Between September 2008 and September 2014, I had little altars in most of the rooms in my apartment. Every one of my small spirits had a shrine to call her own. And that was important to me. However, over the course of that time, I moved from a one-bedroom apartment that I had all to myself to a two-bedroom apartment and, most recently, a two-and-a-half-bedroom rental house, that I share with my wife. It’s easy to keep track of multiple burning objects in a one-bedroom apartment. Even when the altars aren’t all in the same room. But when they’re on two different floors? Well, things get a little harder to keep track of. So, in the interests of (a) safety, and (b) match conservation, I opted to put everybody in the same space now that we’ve moved into the new house. Consequently, my five wee goddesses, plus my ancestors, plus my… I don’t know… “prayer candle”(?) all get their devotional offerings done in the same place.
My personal deities (all start with M, and) include:
Mattaer: A Lady who handles the earth and the hearth, who handles parenting and pregnancy, who handles the garden (because she’s the ground out-of-which everything grows), and who handles all the Mommy/Nurturing stuff that I’m occasionally called upon to provide.
Mitzu: A Lady who handles the sun and heat and fine, but who also handles courage, sexuality, dancing, sexwork, money, and a significant degree of activism. She’s fierce, as the saying goes.
Maia: My very first Goddess, and one who demanded my attention until she got it. My lady of the moon, of queerness and dykedom, of midwifery, of auntihood, of writing and music and creative output, of lasting love, of every kind of water (which is my element). For years I heard her name, over and over and over again, any time I looked at the moon… until I realized – and said out loud – “Oh, that’s your name!” at which point, it stopped. Like: “Okay finally. You got it.” She’s an alto. I think she finds me deeply ammusing in my fumblings, but there you have it. I miss her when I can’t feel her around, but Im not sure how well I’ll do at wooing her home again. :-\
Misha: A lady of the meadow. She’s very much a May Queen / Maiden type of young woman and, as I get older, I wonder what kind of shape she’ll take in my life. She was the first goddess I had in my panthon who is actively poly, I do know that (she’s got two boyfriends and they all see to get along quite nicely), and – as her mother is the Earth – she’s all the green and growing things but, in particular, winter squash, raspberries, wild flowering chicory, meadow-flowers/scrub-flowers in general, lilacs, and birch trees. A lady of liminal spaces, of adventure, of joyfully plunging in to try new things. She is, I suspect, someone whom I need more of in my life. I have no idea whether she’s into women or not. Meh? But I
know am fairly confident that she likes the colour blue.
Makaa: My lady of the dead, of the compost, of the cross-roads and the thresholds. Her liminality is much more pronounced, and includes margins of all kinds (the thin line between getting by and being screwed, the edge between water and ice on the surface of a puddle, the person sleeping in a doorway, genders and bodies that aren’t easily recognized/described with binary language, the difference between rotton and good enough to still eat. The emptiness at the bottom of every breath, as they say). She has sucked the air out of my lungs. Only once. But once is enough to know that she’s there and she’s powerful.
My Ancestors: In large part, when I talk about my ancestors, I’m talking about my actual biological ancestors through-whom I came, who gave me pieces of their faces, their bodies, to carry with me through my life. But I also mean my non-biological ancestors – people like Xanthra MacKay and Wendy Babcock and Leslie Feinberg, the people who are part of my socio-sexual cultural lineage. They’re included, and I hope all of my People aren’t stuck jostling for position around the flame. :-\ (Seems to be working out, so… we’ll go with it?)
My lovely wife has a relationship with a particular, much bigger, goddess. I tend to only hint at what that’s about, but she seems a good lady to have in your corner. We’ll see how this continues to go.
One particular deity who has turned up in the past year (and I have no idea if she’s sticking around or if it was just some random check-in kind of thing), is Freja. This kind of surprised me, and I’m not sure if she’s here (if she’s still here) for me or for my wife, but… I keep her in my thoughts, just in case.
Anyway, beyond that and your basic bioregional animism, there’s not a whole lot to my pantheon. They’re good people and I’m glad they’re in my life. I hope that I do well by them in my wee, haphazard, way.
Melaid the Birch Maiden.
 I got a bunch of those glass tea-light holders than have an uplifting message written on them. A bunch of them are in my office – which has an altar of its own, of sorts, that gets lit up when I’m doing Actual Work in there (ahahaha) – but one of them, which says “Bless this home with family and friends” is on my Main Altar and is basically a hope/wish/blessing to fill our witchy house with chosen family and dear friends (all of us kinky, witchy, poly, spooky dykes and our various nearest and dearest, too). I doubt that’s what the people who mass-produced those candle-holders had in mind, but… that was part of the appeal, as it happens.
 I also invested in two dozen LED “tea-lights” so that I could do things like outdoor vigils or jack-o-lanters without the wind putting them out, and also so that I could light up my candle wreath (once a year) without having to worry about whether or not I’ll have neough tea-lights on hand to do it. I’ve used them 2-3 times in the past month and a half, so I think it was probably a good investment.
 When I first started looking for Sun Goddess, I found it a little surprising which elements of life/womanhood accumulated under her purview. After a while though – nameley after I separated from my not-so-great-for-me husband – I realized that Mitzu had jurisdiction of pretty much all the elements of my own life (money, sex – to site two in particular) that I was deathly afraid of and thought of as things that happened to me or were done to me by other people rather than things over-which I had any control or autonomy. Hrm. Which was quite the realization. I’m still in the (long, loooooooong) process of unraveling that stuff and getting those situations/activities/whatever back under my own control and back into (or at all into) my own comfort zones.
 Auntie-hood. Being a good Auntie in the sense of “not just for your siblings’ kids”. Being a good Auntie is like being a good Witch. It means being available to take care of people when their parents (or what-have-you) aren’t necessarily the best people for the job. Sometimes that means teaching tenuously-housed queer-and/or-trans kids how to darn the holes in their socks. Sometimes it means knowing how to cook food that is vegan and gluten-free and paleo and also avoids nuts, eggplant and quinoa… even though I, personally, need none of those things. Sometimes it means letting people-in-your-community who are in crisis know that the front door’s open and that they can come on over for tea/hugs/listening/food or whatever else it is that they need. Sometimes it means being a teacher. Frequently, it means listening up and helping people get what they need. My wife is far better at this than I am, to be sure, but I’m learning. Always learning. 😉
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