Tag Archives: animism

Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance

Hey, Pagans, Heathens, Druids, Goddess-Spiritualists, Witchy-Woo Folks, and others who practice earth-centered religions/spirituality, ancestor veneration, and/or polytheism in Canada:

Please go and take a gander at the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance. You may wish to sign it yourself, as an individual or as a representative of your particular faith group, circle, kindred, grove, coven, or other congregation.

Thanks,
Meliad.

New Year New You 2016: Week Nine – Asking For Help

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.“… So ask for the help that you need.
 
Tarot Card: I…honestly have no idea. Part of me wants to choose a Six card. The six of fire (abundance, success) or the six of earth (for its elements of checking in and touching base)… but neither of those is quite right. Part of me wants to name the Nine of Cups (for its “wishes coming true” aspect) and part of me wants to suggest the Wheel of Fortune, if only because of how much this seems to have relied on good luck and random chance. Lemme explain…
 
Thoughts:
I’ve been sitting on this prompt for a while, because I looked at it and thought “Who the hell do I ask for help on this one??” and then, this morning, help asked for ME.
As if by magic. >.>

That’s what I mean by “good luck and random chance”.
 
Turns out, a friend of a friend is getting her Life Coach certification, and needs to practice on people (for free!). So I asked my friend to put me in touch with her friend, and have since sent off a note asking if said friend can help me with some specifics around my Receptivity.
At this point, I have no idea whether this is going to go anywhere. I mean, I hope it does, and I’ve given my possible Life Coach as much information as I can without just running on at the mouth, and we’re going to have A Conversation to see if my Stuff can be molded into something that her school of coaching can help with.
 
Fingers crossed. (I may or may not update this to tell you all how it goes, if it goes. Again: Fingers crossed!)

Where Has The Nail Polish Remover Gone? – Pagan Experience 2015

Okay.
So we have People.
Every so often, something – usually from my wife’s workshop (becaus eshe has a lot of cool stuff, but maybe also because a lot of said stuff is ancient technology), but sometimes from elsewhere – will randomly go missing. For an hour. Sometimes for a couple of days. And then it’ll be back, right where we’d last seen it, right where we’d check however-often in the interveining span of time during-which it was resolutely Not There.
 
I’ve heard people talking about how the fairies, or the houseweights, or some other subsection of the house-spirit population, stole their keys or otherwise messed with their stuff, so it’s not really shocking that this would happen to us, as well.
 
I guess what I’m wondering is “Why do they want this stuff?” And why, perhaps more to the point, do I think it makes sense for them to want some of the stuff – hand tools, for example – but not other stuff, like the titular nail polish remover. Is it just because it’s pretty? Blue? A weird set of chemicals to experiment with? Is it becasue I use it fairly regularly, and they wanted to check it out? Is it because they want me to notice them?
 
I have no freaking idea. O.O
 
In chatting with my wife about this, we’ve concluded that (a) it’s really great that at least everything always comes back, and also (b) that nothing additional comes back with it. Because that would be even weirder and more disconcerting.
 
Anyone reading this have similar experiences? Does asking for the swift return of items get them back any faster? Thoughts? Suggestions?
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Caring for The Land Beneath My Feet – The Pagan Experience 2015

For me, this is literally the ground beneath my feet and, right now, she’s frozen solid and buried under many feet of snow.
None the less, things are still happening. That’s Imbolg for you, amirite? 😉
My wife was talking to her dad the other day, and passed along his advice to me: Start your leeks and onions now so that they’ll be big enough to plant out in May.
I admit that I wasn’t actually planning on growing onions or leeks this year (or potentially any year, but that’s another story). But I’m looking forward to planting cucumbers, winter squash, beans, and cold-weather crops like kale and chard once May rolls around, and to buying (yes, buying) tomato starts (and possibly other nightshades, we’ll see how much room I have available) as well.
I feel like a significant part of my Path is something along the lines of Land Guardianship – and that’s a mouthful when you’re a white chick in North America (Kitigan Zibi Territory, Turtle Island, specifically) to be kind to the land, “walk lightly” as the saying goes, use less plastic, buy less New Stuff in lieu second-hand stuff (or just No Stuff – there’s a concept), to avoid poisoning the ground and make compost instead.
I’m nowhere near perfect. Probably not even adequate, if the past 4-5 months are any indication, but you get back on the horse, so to speak, and pick it up again.
 
Cultivate biodiversity in your yard & your neighbourhood
Feed the soil
Oppose Big Oil
Support Indigenous people doing what they need to do[1]
Give warm socks to homeless shelters and drop-ins
Buy food from ethical-sustainable farmers in your general area
Heck, if you’re able to do so, maybe buy non-perishable food from ethical-sustainable farmers in your general area (or at least your province) and donate them to a foodbank in your general area, too
 
We are part of the land. Part of – only part of, but part of – caring for the land, is caring for its human population. Everything overlaps and links together.
Which is kind of the point, I think.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Sometimes that’s donating to a shelter (like the one on Redeau Street that just lost its funding), sometimes it’s buying work by indigenous artists, sometimes it’s signing petitions and/or writing to MPs demanding something actually get done about the legion of missing & murdered indigenous women & girls in this country. That’s three things. There are a zillion more. Go find them.

Resolutions – Pagan Experience 2015

Hi-ho, folks, this is my first promp for The Pagan Experience 2015 blogging challenge. Welcome to any new people who may have turned up and hello again to the rest of you. 🙂
 
So “Resolutions” can actually find some echos in my final Pagan Blog Project post for 2014, and ties nicely to the whole concept outlined in Miss Sugar’s New Year New You ongoing project as well.
Personally, I tend not to make Resolutions. They seem like a generally bad idea – like making a promise when you’re not sure you can actually keep it[1] – BUT I do occasionally set goals for myself in the interests of taking small, manageable steps towards some sort of free-form “end-goal” that may or may not matter in and of itself[2].
 
Magically/Religiously speaking, my goals as a bioregional animist, a musician, a sacred-sexuality Perv, and a kitchen witch include:
 
(A) Grow a garden.
As-(many-of)-you-know-bob, my lovely wife and I moved into a rental house in our neighbourhood (and the heck OUT of our former roach-tastic apartment building – thank you ALL of our gods for that fantastic opportunity!) which has given us the GLORIOUS luxury of a yard. My wife now has a back patio upon-which to do motorcycle maintenance, and I have 1/3 of a shared pack garden in-which to grow All The Veggies (our neighbour has the other 2/3 under cultivation already – I’m okay with this. It’s a containers-required space anyway, since we’re talking a century of lead-poisoning in the soil at the this point, so I’m Just Fine with growing potatoes in a barel, and setting my squash, greens, and tomato plants in second-hand horse troughs (we are in the market for same, fyi, and one of my wife’s girlfriends is looking for them amongst her rural neighbours – wish us luck!). As a bioregional animist, my particular Path is linked with a certain amound of land-guardianship but also with the idea that, when you eat the food that grows where you live, your body becomes more literally and mindfully part of where you live. As in: I’m part of this urban ecosystem already. I shed hair and fingernail clippings here. I breathe here. I shit here. I’m part of this place. But when I make a point of finding/growing/eating food that grew in this province, in this microclimate/valley, in this neighbourhood, in this yard… I’m making a point of acknoweldging and strengthening those ties. And that’s important to me. Likewise… I come from farmers. More recently on my mom’s side than on my dad’s side, but on both sides: Farmers. The last time I had a yard, my farming grandparents were both still alive and both well enough to travel (all of my grandparents are dead at this point, so it’s nice that my ancestors can see what I’m up to and maybe give me some pointers when it comes to growing and harvesting the good stuff)… and I remember my Nana being really happy that I was growing food in my back yard. Like “It’s nice to see this continuing”. That kind of thing. So there’s also a pretty big tie to my herritage to my ancestors, including ancestor that I was able to meet in life, there too. I love the idea of growing the pumpkins that become my pumpkin butter, growing the tomatoes that become my salsa and bruschetta (among numerous other things), the cukes that become my garlic-dill pickles, and – eventually – the rhubarb, sea berries, and currants that become my jams, chutneys, and barbicue sauces. I love the opportunity to sit at the (yet-to-be-scrounged) patio table, drinking iced tea made from my peppermint and dried red currants, watching the bees zip and zoom among the squash and bean and tomato vines, knowing that my own roots in this place are growing deeper and stronger along with them.
 
(B) Keep Writing
I could say “finish the novel” or “finish the poetry manuscript” but… Okay, see above RE: making promises you’re not sure you can keep. I don’t actually trust myself to finish a book-length piece of writing, in spite of having got through nanowrimo successfully at least twice. BUT if I just Keep Writing – do that thing that Neil Gaiman says to do and simply keep putting one word after the other – I will eventually get to the point where I’ve finished the entirety of Draft One. Which hopefully won’t suck completely (my plan is to get a friend to edit the first 1/3 of it – what I’ve got don so far – and see what needs fixing/clarfying/etc… and then go from there). The plan is also to hit up a coffee shop once a week or so and hand-write some poetry, with the plan being to get enough loosely-food-themed poems FINISHED that I can start putting them into place and trying to polish them up. Wish me luck on that one.
 
(C) Wake up my Bone Snake
Which sounds way cooler than “practice culturally appropraited Kundalini Yoga-as-taught-by-white-people”, doesn’t it? Basically, the plan here is to use tantric type breathing techniques and Kundalini movements/poses (as taught by white people, both down the street from me and/or in videos like this one) to free up my own energy in ways that facilitate both my sexuality and my musicianship[3]. Tied to this, of course, are the desires to (a) take further steps into active polyamoury; (b) get my musical self back to pre-University levels of confidence, shiny ability, & performanceship; and (c) Get more magically-delicious from a leather-woo/woo-sexual perspective. I’d love to throw in a Con like Dark Oddyssey (the one in DC), as well, but that’ll have to wait until there’s a good deal more money in the bank.
 
There are other things – like getting physcially stronger, getting better at sewing, getting comfortable wearing more stylish[4] clothes when I’m just plain-old out-and-about, incorporating (functional!) sigils into my magical workings, and having more people over on a casual basis – but those are the big ones, I think.
 
Anyway. That’s where things are at.
Wish me luck, and do stick with me for the rest of 2015.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Like… You can Resolve to Loose Fifteen Pounds – to pick a really common one that turns up at this time of year – but you actually have very little control over whether or not that happens. Dropping five pounds is easy. Any more than that, and it basically becomes some sort of herculean effort full of deprivation for… no results what-so-ever. Just as one example.
 
[2] Like… I want to get stronger, physically speaking. But I don’t set goals like “I can dead-lift X pounds by Y date” because… that seems like setting myself up for failure in no uncertain terms. Instead, I set goals like “Do something physical – lift small weights for X repetitions; do hatha yoga poses for X minutes; go for a walk into the next neighbourhood over and back; work in the garden; go swimming; run up and down the stairs X times; etc – every day”… and, one way or another, I can make that happen most days – even if it’s just because I have to get groceries (walking into the next neighbourhood and back + wieght-lifting (sort of) on the way home) or do laundry (same again) outside the house. They’re tiny, and easy to accomplish in a “Just get up and do it” kind of way (like going up and down the stairs when it’s -32 out and I Just Don’t Wanna), and they add up over time to me being able to take hills more easily or carry heavier groceries home all at once, or other things that effectively add up to more strength and endurance on my part… without making some kind of Resolution for what that’s going to look like 12 months from now. Does that make sense?
 
[3] I’m a singer – meaning that my instrument is my body – and I’ve found (to my surprise, but not exactly) that the energy points that get called Chakras (the big ones that line up along the spine, at any rate) all light up as I’m getting ready to sing. My teacher didn’t teach me how to do this on purpose, this is just what my body does when I’m prepping (properly) to sing. Perhaps unusrprisingly, there’s a HUGE tie-in between my magical ability my musical ability, my creative ability, and my sexuality… and I find that if I do this kind of physical-energetic work (breath of fire, being one, but far from the only one), I open the chanels to do all of that so much better and more freely. So it’s kind of a Thing to make happen this year and – chances are good – all foreseable years into the future.
 
[4] For a given value of “stylish”. Bascially, I have a very nebulous idea of what “my style” actually is… and it does grow and change with time… but I also know that I get a lot of attention when I’m being my fully fabulous Femme Self, and… in spite of being Internationally Tall, it takes a fair amount of practice to be able to handle that degree of attention all the time. I’ve started with charging my mascara (magically-speaking) and one of my perfumes (“Blood Kiss” by BPAL, if you’re wondering), and by routinely weeding my wardrobe in order to get rid of stuff that doesn’t fit or doesn’t suit… But working my way up to 100% Glamazon Baddass in casual situations is going to take some work. :-\

X is for Xylos – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Xylos – as in “xylophone” and “xylitol” – is Greek for “wood”. So, yes friends, I’m talking about trees today. You do what you gotta. (It was that or reprising Xmas for another year).
 
We are edging towards the longest night of the year up here in the northern hemisphere, so it’s likely that at least some of you are putting up douglas firs (or imitations thereof) in your living rooms. I’ve got my Fake Spruce wreath on the door, and my Fake Holly garlands to string up and decorate as well.
 
But those aren’t (exactly) the trees I want to talk about today. Rather, I want to talk about trees in general, in the context of Getting To Know the Neighbours. What trees grow in your neighbourhood? Can you recognize them when their leaves have dropped? Can you recognize – to choose folks who live in my neighbourhood – hawthorn, crab apple, rowan, evans cherry, choke cherry, serviceberry, apple, maple, poplar, oak (to name a few) by their bark, by where they grow, by the way their branches bend (or don’t), fork (or don’t), angle (or don’t)? Do you pay attention to what flowers when, to which fruits you can eat (and which fruits you can’t)? Can you tell the difference between juniper and cedar? Can you recognize a Norwegian Spruce at all? Do you know how to tell a pine tree by its needles? How to recognize a waxberry (bayberry) or harvest the thick, white berry-covering and melt it into vegan-friendly candles[1]?
 
Long Nights Moon is about to crest, and Snow Moon is on its way. Frost and fire, ice and stone. Do you know your neighbours when dressed in skin and bone?
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden

 
 
[1] Er… I don’t. I mean, I can recognize them, sure, but I haven’t tried to make candles with the wax yet at all. And, while I can usually spot a poplar (size), crab apple (shape of branches + shaggy bark), choke cherry (almost-weeping branches), and maple (bark… ish)… I certainly can’t recognize all of those trees.

W is for Winter – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Wow… We’re really getting down to the bottom of the alphabet, aren’t we?
I figured that “Winter” was a good one to go with, seeing as we’re getting our first Snow That Stays (most likely – it’s a wet snow, but it’s piling up with the apparent intention of sticking around) today, and there has been ice on the puddles the past couple of nights.
So. Winter.
 
I’ve talked a little bit about how my particular path seems to have strains of land-guardianship built into it. What does that mean, when the ground is frozen solid, when it’s asleep? What does it mean when you live in a house that burns fossil fuels to keep warm?
 
It means things like sawdust or sand instead of salt on the front steps to cut the ice; suplementary-heating with beeswax and terracotta/cast-iron rather than by turning up the thermostat. It means knowing how and when to turn the compost so that it steams all through the winter, and hanging bird feeders of seeds and suet for the sparrows and crows (and squirrels – I know).
I’m sure you can imagine just how hypocritical I feel having written that, only to learn that my lovely wife has brought us home a box of rock salt for the front steps. Yes, we’re using it. So it goes.
 
The nights are getting longer (approaching longest quite quickly, really), and the temperatures, for all that they’re still fluctuating, are staying below freezing for longer.
Good Witching comes into play with regards to things like donating warm socks, winter boots, mitts, coats, hats, scarves, and other items to drop-ins and things like the Snow Suit Fund, as well as filling the food banks’ pantries with hearty, protein-rich foods that can be cooked in one pot on a hot plate (think: tinned pre-fab stew, but also mixes of rice & red lentils – or pot-barley and black lentils, or “grains and beans” dry soup mixes – along with tinned tomatoes, cartons of pre-grated parmesan cheese, tinned fruit, and herb/spice mixes).
 
Now is an excellent time to avoid going outside invite broke friends over for casual meals, so that they don’t have to worry so much about feeding themselves now that they’ve got heating bills coming due (it’s a good way to start incorporating your Summer/Autumn preserves into meals, too[1]). Likewise, inviting lonely/stressed friends over for some no-pressure company and hot tea can offer comfort on multiple levels.
 
Winter is, for many people, a time to pick up knitting projects – I admit I’m at the point where I’ll knit through the summer, too, but this is a new development for me – and getting people together to work on crafty projects (with or without charitable-donation intentions) is a lovely way to pass the time, look up from your phone once in a while, and connect with people you care about.
 
Happy Winter. Happy Witching.
 
 
TTFN,
Amazon.
 
 
[1] For example, I put an entire 1-cup jar of chunky asparagus relish into a stir-fry along with some left-over braised pork (the last of last week’s Fabulous Friday Dinner), a small head of nappa, half a red onion, three cloves of garlic, and some diced carrots. We had it over fusilli pasta, and it was delish. Gave just the right kick of sour-bright to the meal.