Tag Archives: faith

Full Moon – Sap Moon Crests (and Wains)

Got sick when the moon crested.
In spite of that (or possibly because of it, given how I spent last Sunday), I’m feeling a little bit more in touch with my glamourous side. I spent yesterday unpacking books that I bought during my (over-long and never-completed) MA in Religious Studies, where I focused on Menstruation and Goddess Spirituality (more on that here), and then knitting a bag for my third divination deck (the Daughters of the Moon deck that is… not actually a tarot deck, but calls itself one). It’s nice to have those books out, even if my personal understanding of Goddess Spirituality, as a faith with women’s bodily autonomy and self-(re)claimation at its core, has devoloped quite a ways away from the biological-reductionism & ciscentrism/cissexism that shows up in a lot of those texts.
I think I might be in the “slightly manic / risky behaviour looks appealing” phase of getting-over-a-breakup (at least according to this thing) which… may or may not do great things for my Glamour. But it’s giving me Reasons to drag my how-I-present-myself game up out of the doldrums it was in two weeks ago, so that’s something.
 
~*~
 
MOTION: Ye gods, I have got to get myself to a pool. With a hot tub. and a sauna. Next week can’t get here soon enough.
 
ATTENTION: Paying a lot of attention to the “I Wants” in my head (e.g.: I would love to go to an event like Sapphic Aquatic, but without the $100 round trip + accomodations-hunting it would require), but also trying to pay attention to, and acknowledge, the many elements of “What Happy Looks Like” (for me) that are already part of my life.
 
GRATITUDE: The option of buying popsicles just because I want them. A wife who is willing to do the cooking when I’m sick AF and who makes me tea and slow-dances with me in the living room. ❤ The luxury of new deoderant, Just Because (although I am laughing at myself, slightly, for believing that a femme chicky like me buying Old Spice is somehow "transgressive"… Yeah…).
 
INSPIRATION: Warsan Shire's gorgeous, evocative poetry (as featured in Lemonade). Clearly I have to look this woman up.
 
CREATION: Wrote a poem about claiming my body as my own the other day. Hopefully more to follow.

M is for Making Time – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Last week, I wrote about Magic and Making Do. Kitchen Magic, in other words. This time – regardless of when I hit the “publish” button – I’m writing about making time. Because I haven’t been making time. Not for a couple of months. And now I’m working a contract – a job that eats a lot of time, whether I want it to or not, whether it needs me to, or not – and I don’t have the long stretches of quasi-empty hours available to fill with whatever I need to fill them with. Everything gets squished into the three-and-a-bit hours between getting home from my 9-5 and the time when I need to crawl into bed if I’m going to get enough sleep before I have to get up and get myself out the door. I don’t (currently) have the luxury of lighting candles in mid-afternoon, and being available to keep them from both snuffing themselves out by accident or burning out of control (unlikely, but still: candles are open flames, even if they’re small ones) while I also do laundry, work on The Novel, study up on Sacred Kink or spirit work, or what-have-you, concoct a low-and-slow meal for dinner (still hours away), make a new batch of bread, follow up on personal emails… you name it.
Unsurprisingly, I regret both not having the time right now, but also not having made the time, when I had it in abundance, to make those regular offerings, to keep going on my Practice (as the hip kids like to call it).
 
Gordon has a piece on making your Ideal Day a reality. Sometimes I indulge myself by daydreaming about such a day. What would it look like? How would I spend it? Of course, there are a zillion different Ideal Days, depending on the season and on what has my focus at the moment. Some ideal days are spent harvesting and canning, singing as I work in the garden, dancing in the kitchen while I prep a dinner that’s heavy on the raw veggies, and eating that meal on the porch with my sweetie, with no time at all spent on devotions or physical exercise outside of those practical activities that act as both if (when) I get my headspace right. Some ideal days are spent on the modeling dais, or in front of the camera, then editing, posting, and promoting my work. They include “personal maintenance” to the tune of long baths, yoga classes, and pedicures, but dinner is a luxurious yet affordable meal out (at a friend’s house and involving grocery-store purchased pot-luck additions, or at a restaurant in the neighbourhood) rather than something I cooked myself, and there is nothing contemplative or holy about it unless I really want to think of Making Art (or getting femmed up to the nines) as a sacred or meditative activity (which it definitely can be, but frequently isn’t in my case). Some ideal days are spent curled up on the doubles-as-a-rocket-heater banquet (of my dreams), listening to Lee Harrington or Del Tashlin talk about faith and spirit and holy sexuality while working on my latest knitting/sewing project, or else practicing trance-work, doing divination, putting together custom talismans, all while the locally-ethically-raised shoulder roast braises in the oven, the bread rises on the counter (or possibly in the warming oven that is part of the banquet), the offering candles burn, and the summer rain (or winter snow) falls steadily outside. And some ideal days are spent scribbling thousands of words on my latest piece of fiction, interrupted only by the lightning strike of a poem here and there, while riding the fancy, first class train to the next destination on my Book Tour and my bank account grows fat (or at least “fed”) on regular royalties cheques and reading fees and, if I remember, I acknowledge how blessed I am to be living this life, doing what I do, doing what I love, and making a career of it, too.
What I’m saying is that (A) my ideal day isn’t just one day, and also contains more things than will actually fit into just one day… and also that (B) the devotional aspects of those ideal days, those idea devotions, aren’t often recognizable as Devotions outside of my own decision to treat them as such.
 
But… I feel better, for a given definition of “better” that isn’t necessarily a good definition (one where my increased sense of well-being is tied to a mix of “good doggie” feelings and a certain degree of not-exactly-self-righteous “orthopraxy” rather than to actual communion or connection, study or practice, or even just the anchor provided by taking the time centre and to ground).
 
So. How do I make the time?
 
By not hitting the snooze button
By keeping the computer off for longer (and possibly leaving a note on Social Media that I’ll be checking email less frequently for the time being)
By pushing past the self-consciousness that leaves me feeling silly or foolish for boiling water in the mornings
 
By getting my head right
By breathing in the moment (I know that sounds really Woo, and it is, but bear with me) and doing multiple little centerings through-out the day, rather than one big one at a specific time or place – like the years-old, often forgotten, decision to do 10 minutes of yoga (or similar) every day, because it’ll make me feel better if I do
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden

I is for Irises and Informality: Beltane 2014 – Pagan Blog Project 2014

This is another “two for one” post. Bear with me. Bare with me. 😉
It’s Beltane today. The Siberean Irises are coming up (thense my choice of post-title), the scilla, crocuses, and daffodils are already blooming, and the serviceberries and magnolias are about to burst into bloom, too.
As I wrote, earlier, I celebrated the turning of the year, the shift from Dark to Light, from roots to shoots-and-fruits,v Day by getting groceries for the first time in a month.
I know. Very exciting. 😉
 
I’m on my own tonight. And it’s kind of a relief. My lovely wife is spending the night with one of her other partners. I decided not to go to a friend’s weekly drop-in pot-luck (unsteady stomachs will do that to me). I’m not reading tarot cards – though I should, and it’s the right time of year for it (they’re ALL the right time of year for it).
 
Tomorrow night, my lovely wife and I will be hitting up a concert featuring Heather Dale and SJ Tucker – and that’ll be part of our Beltane. Fabulous Friday Dinner will be postponed until Saturday so that we can bus over to the concert venue once my lovely wife gets off work. Saturday – here’s hoping – we’ll get to see my brother and his girlfriend, and we’ll be spending the afternoon having a quiet and casual get-together doing crafts. That’s when I’ll do the Fabulous Dinner. That’s when I’ll throw the turkey (two turkey thighs, specifically) in the oven and steam the beets and the (frozen, almost a year old at this point) greens, and boil the potatoes. That’s when we’ll share a glass of red wine. That’s when we’ll have the time to connect. Maybe we’ll read each other’s tarot cards then. Or maybe we’ll wait until Monday, when we get together with a friend or three for our regular group ritual.
 
What I’m getting at, here, is that my observance of the Feast Days is somewhat informal when it comes to the dates of observance. Part of that, of course, is living in a culture whose acknowledged feast days (the stat holidays, to use a more secular term) are from a religion not my own. (At least not anymore). Trying to swing a Major Dinner when half the participants have to be at work the next morning and had to be at work today, too, is a little more difficult – even when I have the luxury of working from home and being able to prioritize things however I want (usually). Part of it is the realities of poly. Thursday is (frequently) Ghost’s night with her NPPP, just as one example. Our co-ritualist is out of town, visiting her Main Squeeze for the weekend.
So I’m flexible on the dates where we mark things.
 
Happy Beltane.
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Mainde.

X is for Xmas – Pagan Blog Project 2012

Yes, I know, I’m more than a year late. But I’m doing it.
“X is for Xmas”. Why would I choose “xmas” for a Pagan blog project.
Well, you can blame the CBC for this one.
A couple of days ago (possibly on a slow news day), they ran a spot on the radio about “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”. Now, on the one hand, I understand why people who do celebrate Christmas in the “Jesus is Born” sense of the word would perhaps appreciate it if their holy day wasn’t so overwhelmingly coopted by consumerist crap. I can totally get behind that[1]. On the other hand, I’m a member of a religious community (or “umbrella-termed group”, more accurately) made up of numerous different small-population faiths, all of whom get lumped together under the heading of “Pagan” (there’s just over a quarter-million of us in Canada, as of the 2011 Census). For some of us, the month of December is no big deal but, for many of us (and many of you reading this, I’m sure), December means celebrating Winter Solstice with longest night vigils and returning light parties. The trappings of our temperate climate midwinter festivals – and for good reason – look a lot like the trappings that people outside of our faiths probably think of as “Xmas Stuff”.
Winter Solstice falls between the 20th and 22nd (or so) of December. Unlike the lunar-cyclic feasts (like Diwali[2] and Hanukkah), it doesn’t move around. It’s always right next to Christmas. Combine this with a population that, even now, is still largely comprised of converts and, frankly, most of those converts grew up with feasting, presents, music, and candle-light around this time of year, even if our parents called it something different.
For those reasons, I really apreciate “Happy Holidays”. If I answer someone’s friendly “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Solstice”, I really do get looked at like I’ve grown a second, rather ugly, head. “Happy Holidays” lets me wish people a wonderful season of light, regardless of which one they’re celelbrating, without either (A) guessing them wrong, (B) pretending I’m something I’m not, or (C) having to do a lot of explaining to get rid of those Weird Looks.
 
Works for me.
 
But that still doesn’t explain “Xmas”.
If you look at the tags, I have one for “secular holidays”. Primarily, the secular holiday in question is “xmas”. Well, let’s break it down:
On Solstice, I kiss my wife (it’s our aniversary on December 21st), feast my nearest and dearest, hand out presents to people I care about, fill my house with people, lit candles, and food, and light up my altars in thanks for abundance and good people in my life.
On xmas, I kiss my wife (’cause why ever not?), feast with my family of origin, or hers, or potentially both, hand out presents to people I care about, and help fill someone else’s house with people (and potentially lit candles, if I happen to bring some over). My relatives sometimes go to church (for Christmas), but I join them after.
 
Xmas is a place where I can meet my relatives in the middle, take part in my family’s “special day” without having to pretend to be something I’m not or have to do a lot of explaining.
 
So, there you go. 🙂
 

 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] And there are lots of ways for individuals who celebrate Christmas to shut out that consumerist crap – like staying out of the malls and turning off the TV. Focus on the people who are important to you, and on spending time with (rather than money on?) them. You know how that goes. 🙂
If you’re into the socially-acceptable-excuse-to-give-presents stuff (you would not be alone if you were), try doing DIY or all-second-hand goodies for everyone on your list, or opting to give entertaining-educational gifts like classes (belly-dancing, glass-blowing, cooking, sword-fighting…).
 
[2] Which falls on November’s New Moon.

Q is for Queer – Pagan Blog Project 2013

Pride kicks off today, so you’re getting “Q is for Queer”.
 
Once upon a time – and there are a number of different times, in the past forty or so years, if not longer, that one could choose from – “dyke” and “witch” were deeply intertwined. Both in the sense of “feminist lesbian separatism” (cue: women’s land, the we’moon collective, all those lesbians wearing Labrys and/or Goddess pendants in order to flag, a distressing degree of biological reductionism, etc) and in the sense of linguistic terminology meant to police women’s sexual/social behaviour (in which case, you can also throw “ho” – and possibly “spinster/frigid”, into the mix).
 
How does my queerness, my bi-dyke-nicity (if you will), play into my paganism? Other than having a goddess who is a dyke, I mean.
Continue reading

P is for Piety – Pagan Blog Project 2013

Well, this couldn’t be easier.
 
Earlier this week, I reblogged a post for a survey of modern pagan and modern polythistic piety (go take part!). For this week’s PBP13 post, I figure that, since the letter’s right, I’ll just blog my answers to the survey questions.
 
In this case, I’m not going to blog all of the answers. There are questions I’ve left out, and questions where I’ve changed (hidden) a little bit of the information in order to protect some privacy.
 
 
~*~
Continue reading

F is for Fantasy (versus Reality) – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So as I try (in, granted, fits and starts) to get better at this Trance thing, better at this Energy Sensitivity thing, I second guess myself a lot. I read this post a while back, and it talked about it taking practice to be able to discern the difference between one’s usual mental playlist (for good or ill) and Someone Is Trying To Tell Me Something (insert Lassie reference here, if you will).
It’s true.
I know, when I’m doing divination, I have to work really hard not to project my own Inner Crap onto a reading.
When I talk to my gods and ask them for advice, I tend to ask them to be really, really obvious because I tend to be kind of dense.
I’ve done readings for myself that I’ve then turned around and asked other people to read for specifically to make sure I’m not reading my own wishful thinking (or worst-case scenarios) into the cards I’ve drawn.
I catch myself asking “Okay, did I really talk to a wild geranium, or did I just make up that who sequence?”
I get really suspicious when I’m hearing things that actually sound like what I want to happen/hear. Which sucks, because sometimes it means that I second guess the good stuff, too. :-\
 
Anyway. The joys of magic, spirit-badgering, and insecurities.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.