As I’m writing this, people I care about are making their way towards my city (and, in a couple of case, my house) for a Leather Family Reunion of sorts. I’ll be bringing my handspinning with me (again, and along with a couple of big vats of food because: this is me we’re talking about) in order to soak up some of The Fam into the yarn I’m spinning (and spinning, and spinning… I’ve been doing this for most of a year now and, possibly because I’ve been deliberately felting the yearn when I wash it, I’m still not finished my various shawl stripes and keep needing to generate more yarn to get the lengths right…).
For a brief little bit (like a couple of hours – there was, to my relief, a bit of a crossed wire there) I was on the hook for a short-notice workshop/craft-and-chatter-session about the work of one’s hands and how it relates to Power (in the kink sense) and also Power (in the spirituality sense).
My personal unified theory of How I Function Best has a lot to do with how (and if) I move around. Given that I spend a tonne of my time ensconsed on a couch, or in a chair (less frequently), typing away at All The Things, this may explain why it’s so easy for me to become despondent and generally get bogged down the Swamp of the Psyche (if you’re familiar with Brene Brown, you will probably alreqdy know that this means Shame).
Doing things with my hands – and, more generally, working my body – is a way to combat/avoid this, yes. But It’s the WHY of it that gets my attention from a Witchy perspective. Dancing, singing, blending yin and yang (hatha) yoga, going walking, working in the garden, doing handicrafts, doing the chopping/kneading/general-prep of a slow-cooking meal, even hand-cranking our little, borrowed laundry pod… all of that stuff helps to get my Energy moving freely. No blockages. It shakes off the random, yet never-ending, tiredness. It helps me direct my own energy (practically and magically) towards whatever goals I happen to be wrestling with at the time.
I realize that this probably sounds pretty Artists-Way-y, but there it is. Move your body, make things with your hands, and you (or at least I) will find it easier to make things (create things, create changes, make things happen) with your mind and your magic.
Knowledge, Wisdom, and Gnosis… They’re all different things, aren’t they. Knowledge can sometimes feel like theory, like book-learning, a fairly typical definition of what you accumulate while Getting An Education. the other two are… maybe more experiential? Maybe? It’s funny. “Wisdom” tends to show up, in my head, like “something you accumulate over years and years of experience”. It’s not formal learning, it’s “Street smarts”, and it’s usually the kind that you accumulate through learning from your own mistakes rather than from someone else’s. At this point, I don’t have much of that. A little bit, maybe, but I could be just confusing it for, like, Being Tired and Feeling Old more than anything else.
Knowledge is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you read about them in a (reliable) book or website or what-have-you.
Wisdom is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you’ve actually eaten them yourself and you know how to prepare them to neutralize the oxalis (or whatever) so that nobody gets sick to their stomaches and so that the plants actually taste good when you eat them.
Gnosis is… Gnosis is knowing which plants are safe to eat because they straight up told you themselves and you had the where-with-all to hear and understand.
Gnosis doesn’t happen much for me. I’m what sometimes gets called a “cement head” or, alternatively, a “natural ground”. I can bring people home when they get lost, bring them back to earth when they’re spiraling and can’t find their feet… but my radio signal is Not Receiving most of the time.
I do get this sometimes. Sometimes, my Intuition talks loudly enough for me to listen (this is usually within the context of modeling, where I’ve learned to listen to that little voice that raises the hairs on my neck). Sometimes I can feel the change in air-consistency that means a big heap of energy – whether we’re talking a wave or a non-corporial Person – is moving through or in. Sometimes I can actually hear the Gods & Ancestors talking to me – or at least pointing me towards The Thing (like it or not). But most of the time? Most of the time, I’m going on Knowledge, Wisdom, and Faith.
Wish me luck with that. 😉
On the off chance that you haven’t guessed by the time, I ‘m writing about embodiment for the Pagan Experience Challenge today. I’ve been a singer (14 years of lessons plus, admittedly, 14 further years of, like, singing in the shower or otherwise letting myself get rusty) since I was 7 years old. Which basically means that I was actively being taught how to Be In My Body well before puberty hit and all the social pressures to do exactly the opposite of that started cropping up.
I think that’s relevant.
I mean, yes, staying in my body in sexual situations where I’m not the one “doing the doing” is not the easiest thing in the world, and I don’t think that’s a separate issue, but I do think that learning embodiment, learning to pay attention really closely to what your muscles and feet and lungs and all the rest of you are doing at any given time has made it easier for me to be, well, naked, for a start, but there’s more to it than that.
A lot of my energy-work – whether that’s stuff like Grounding or stuff like Sex-Magic/Laying-On-of-Hands or stuff like charging up a honey-pot – is centred around the bodily stuff I learned, ages ago, for How To Sing Really Well. As it happens, it’s also really centred around lighting up those big, straight-line, chakra points on your body – but I didn’t realize that until someone who could See that stuff told me as much when I showed her what prepping to sing looked like.
It’s… Art is magical. It’s an act of both creation and transformation, just because of what it is. But art as magical action can be used to do that whole “creating change at will” business as well. I was at a workshop on ritual, last October, and I said “I’m a writer and a witch, and when I write things down I make them happen”. Which isn’t true most of the time, but it’s proven on multiple occasions to push those odds towards What I (think I) Want, so I’m going with it. Likewise, when I sing, all those energetic chanels open up and I can Do Stuff – stuff kind of along the lines of reiki, I think? – that I can’t do, or can’t do as easily, when I’m quiet. Dancing, too, opens me up. I can be a fountain on the dancefloor. My wife says that I glow when I do that, and I’m inclined to take her literally as she’s one of those folks who can See that stuff, so.
Embodiment, for me at least, is the gateway to making energetic changes in the world. So there you go. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 For a given value of “grounding” – I’ve got my feet in the river pretty much all the time. I’m what sometimes gets called a “cement head”. I can bring people back to earth, and/or their bodies, when they get lost. It’s part of what I’m for. How cool is that? 🙂
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?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
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
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.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 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.
This is a weird one for me, I have to admit, because “humanity” is, for me, linked to “human population” rather than to the term “humane”. It’s strange, because a significant part of my paganism is about expanding my idea of “community” or “neighbourhood” or “people” to include considerably more than just the human membership.
None the less, I’ll see what I can do with this.
If I take “humanity” to mean “humane-ness”… Well, the most obvious part of that is Good Witching – which I’ve written about plenty already (here’s one of them, if you like), but which boils down to looking out for your neighbours and generally being kind and compassionate, even with people who try your patience. The other part is… well, this is me, right? So: Where does your food come from? I’m still a day or two away from placing my Meat CSA order, but my lovely wife and I have decided to go with this option for, basically, Religious Reasons. If we’re going to eat people – bovine and porcine and avian people – we’d best be making sure they had a good, kind, decent life before they died in order to end up on our table and in our stomachs. Likewise, where does your non-animal-kingdom food come from? Were the farmers paid fairly for their produce & their labour? Were the veggies and fruit trees and mushrooms wild-gathered? Were they raised in healthy soil (particularly if it’s soil that you’re working, yourself)? Were they fed a lot of harsh chemicals?
It basically boils down to: Are you treading lightly on the ground that sustains you? Are you being good to your Neighbours?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 To that end we’ve started eating “vegetarian inspired” food – meaning more food where the protein component comes from beans and grains and nuts, even if the mirpoix is fried in lard, and the beans and grains are cooked in bone-stock – a few times per week, in order to stretch the half-share a little better (and also for a couple of other reasons). The half-share works out, by a conservative estimate, to about 2lbs/week which… I can make stretch across four meals, certainly, though I’d be happier stretching across half of that. I figure if I follow my “some is better than none” principal, I can supplement the half-share with meat from other sources – sausages from the fancy/humane place up the street (which won’t be cheaper, I’m very well aware); fish from the river if I manage to catch any this July; free-run rabbits from the Rabbit Lady; as well as from ethically-okay-ish sources like the Free From brand of pork roasts that I can pick up at the grocery store if I’m so inclined.
Yes, friends, we’re talking about Glamour today!
I know it’s (very) early in the year yet, but this seems to be something I want to tackle in 2015 – for reasons I can’t entirely fathom, it just seems… like the right time to make it heppen? No idea. – But regardless, let’s get into it.
Miss Sugar has a years-old guest-post by ApocalypseGrrl over at Charmed I’m Sure. The post is about “dressing your worst” and how the way we present ourselves has an effect on how people see us (or don’t see us) for good, or for ill. It includes some questions for the readers so, for today’s Pagan Experience post, I’m going to answer those questions and maybe get into the elements of glamour just a little wee bit.
Ready? Here we go. Continue reading