THIS is how I feel about 2014. I have to because 2013 has been deemed one of the worst.in.recent.memory. It isn't just me I have heard this from several people so the trend ends officially today.
Briefly, what made 2013 so lackluster? For me it was simple. I had the realization and consistent reminders, over and over again, that despite my best life's efforts and people seeing me on the surface as someone who takes no lip, I was in the habit of eating shit. LOL. Whether it was believing in things that were too good to be true/real, trying to be someone I am not to meet expectations set by others or myself due to believing said things, making excuses and concessions for others because I felt I had to (either because I deemed it not worth the energy, because they controlled something I needed/loved, because I was afraid of the long term consequences), or hiding from my own personal truth I have done myself a disservice of the soul in the past year.
I have been on autopilot and trudging through the mud like a zombie too lazy to even search for brains. As a lazy zombie, I know I need brains, I just don't have the gumption to find them so I just trudge along, one zombie foot in front of the other, on and on... LOL.
I talked in my last blog entry about ending the year and placing a word of focus for the new one. I had not yet settled on a word. I have now and the word is
That's right. TRUTH. As in what is mine? What is yours? With every breath and every decision and every action I will consider my truth and whether that decision, action, choice is reflective of it. There will be times when it is very clear. There will be others in which finding truth might take some digging. And there will be instances when I will have to concede in order to get to truth eventually. But, those will never again outweigh the former.
So, no matter what your resolution is or whether you even make them, I would invite you in the coming year to search for your own truth and live it. I think it is the most important gift we can offer ourselves.
Part of my core belief system is that we are all a part of something bigger, something expansive, something that we cannot even imagine. And as part of that Whole, it is also a part of us. We come from it. We will return to it. The earth, the stars, the universe itself.
To us, since we can see far off into space and we know what our earth is made up of and can comprehend the oceans, the land, the mountains and beyond, our world might seem big but easy to keep track of due to our technological nature. To a butterfly, home is the flower and the leaf. The universe is however far it can fly. To a wolf or a bear the earth is the forest that makes up her habitat. To a spider my basement is an entire galaxy.
It is the season of thankfulness and giving so they say. Yet, today the internet is filled with stories of shootings at Walmart, people getting trampled by others looking for the best deal on mass produced junk to stuff under their tree and those working are actually getting "fuck you" as a greeting from those shopping. I wonder at these times what the spider in my basement would think if it could comprehend all this? Hell, I can't even comprehend it. I feel like I have to withdraw from it. I have to be aware enough to know that it isn't what I want in my life and then walk away. I have to do that with several things in order to get back to myself and to have hope.
Hope. Always a good place to start when you are trying to reconnect with yourself and your own world. I have heard that gratitude can be a tool in reconnection and grounding. It seems logical and as the universe is so vast - gratitude can help you concentrate on individual concepts, help you zero in, calm you and therefore ground you.
So, what am I thankful for and what do I want to become during this dark season of hope? Smaller. Yes, that is how I am thinking of it. I want my world to become more focused, more sharp, more authentic. I sometimes feel like in the world of over-connectivity my key to not getting so overwhelmed (and therefore paralyzed) is to isolate some of the noise. So that is what I mean by smaller. I want to go inside, to find that person that I have been losing. I want her to speak softly and be heard. I want her to live bravely, by her beliefs and her truth.
I'm thankful to be able to contemplate all this, to work through it, to know there are still people in the world that feel the same about the planet and the creatures we share it with. I'm thankful for hope.
We all lose it occasionally. We don't know how or why sometimes and other times it is quite clear. We may get tired of trying or we may just stray off track a bit or we may even look around ourselves on a cold morning and realize it is gone. Life passion. Self awareness. The complete inability to feel anything more than meeeehhhhhhh about pretty much everything. Some people would call it the "blues" or even depression. I suppose you could define it in those ways. It seems odd that being depressed would not include being sad but I guess it could happen. "Experts" say it does happen.
In relation to this, life, the new year (witch style), and in hopes of dragging my butt out of this lackluster ditch, I am looking at the whole from several different angles and breaking it down into manageable (hopefully) parts - see last weekend's blog entry for the beginnings of this concept in my brain...
So, SELF. WHO AM I? Many times for me it is much easier to describe who I am not than who I am. It is like, I know me when I "see" me but I can't put words to myself. I spent some time with my mom over the last couple of weeks and had forgotten SO many of the things that I was made up of long ago. She told stories about my childhood. They made me laugh. They made me sad. They made me want to walk into the woods and pick flowers with my dog. To pack a lunch and sit on the ledge overlooking the forbidden pond in which no one was supposed to swim but everyone did, sharing my sandwich with that same dog and kicking my feet leisurely back and forth while plucking rocks toward the pond in between bites. To build snowmen with funny hats and be scared to the point of screaming (pointlessly) by my big brother (who can still scare the shit out of me anytime he sets his mind to it) and then break down in a severe gaggle of giggles over the whole incident.
I am THAT person, somewhere, deep inside she is still there. I have to find her. I have to spend time with her daily. Losing her somewhere along the way is an inevitable part of adulthood to some extent but the spark that is her must still be in all of us or, really, a portion of our very soul is already gone.
So, over the season I am going to break the search for her down into manageable parts, just like I would break down a problem at work or a home project or any other thing that seems overwhelming when looked at in a global manner. I will find her. I MUST find her. Everyone else I have been is so boring.
So the pendulum sways.... While in New Orleans recently we happened upon a lovely rock shop. I was fiddling around touching various gemstones and I lost myself in thought and being mesmerized by all the shiny things (captain) ;)....
And a glittery little pendulum caught my eye. I normally am drawn to stones of watery color. You know, greens, blues, even purples... But this was a beautiful, earthy orange colored stone, almost the shade of say, Georgia clay or the Grand Canyon. And in it were flecks and sparkles that glistened and glinted off the shop lights. I picked it up and let it rest in the palm of my hand. It felt good and solid. The shape of it fit my palm nicely. I had thought that on this trip I might find a new pendulum. I have one that was a gift to me from my Reiki Master. I keep it in a sachet in my truck so that it will always be with me during the day and use it with the horse that I lease or when away from my alter/home. I have another that I am making myself to keep downstairs in our basement for when I do my morning ritual and I have been wanting a third to keep on my main alter upstairs. It would seem that I had found my new pendulum. I considered this. I don't like to make hasty decisions on things like magical tools and most of my stuff is handmade by me or I have received as a gift at one time or another.
So, I spoke to it. I introduced myself and explained that I had some questions for it. Most people already think I'm nuts so I don't suppose any of this embarrassed them anymore than normal. I asked it to show me various things. Things like how it would tell me yes, no, or even let me know that it either could not or would not answer me. It told me these things readily. Hmmmmmmm.....
It was only then that I even looked at the label where it had rested. Goldstone. Hmmmmmm again.... Attributes? No clue. So, I trusted the stone and my answers and thought about the adventure of getting to know it as I made a beeline to the counter to purchase my new pendulum.
I have since found some very cool information on Goldstone, also known as Aventurine Glass, including an awesome blog entry by C.L. Matthews:
House of Daedalus Blog
It is a lovely, lively little pendulum. By far the most outgoing one I have. I think my Goldstone must be like Christmas lights, always twinkling and lifting my spirits. Right now it is resting on my main alter, beside my handmade counting beads and on top of my wooden box that holds my tarot decks. Can a stone be happy to see you? Everytime I get it out it seems happy, like if it could speak it would say hey howya doin' today Gilly? LOL. By contrast my traveling pendulum is more....about the flow. I feel like it says peace be with you and like that peace radiates from it.
Interesting these different personalities. Once I finish making my morning ritual pendulum I will be interested to see what personality it has.
Sometimes things are so unclear to me. Last night I had the weirdest dreams about being forced to marry our football coach. LOL. I was sort of irritated by the whole prospect. Probably because we suck and I don't like to hang out with losers.
But, after that nonsense I had another dream in which a woman came to our house and she wanted to do a study on trees, faeries and also take the dog out for me on a daily basis. If someone showed up at your place with this list of tasks would you be a little suspicious? Well, I was not and we went about going over all the places that the faeries live on our property, other animals I talk to on a daily basis and whether they would be helpful to her, etc...
At some point I woke up a little earlier than I intended but couldn't get back to sleep and started thinking about my love of dreams and keeping track of them, interpreting them and whether they sometimes have or don't have a damn thing to do with deep inner travel so much as they have to do with what you had for dinner that evening.
For instance, I watched football on and off all afternoon and into the night. Why wouldn't I dream about football, (although marriage is a bit much). I dream about zombies a lot. I mean, A LOT. But, I watch zombies A LOT. So, that stuff makes sense. I almost think that sometimes your first dreams of the night are leftover static from the day while your brain works through and works out those sorts of things and then as the night gets deeper so do your dreams.
So, as to last night's journey, as we enter the dark season, I am thinking was to remind me of the daily magic in my life. Because having had a severely long "dry spell" things seem to be following me around at night and knocking on the doors of my memory, tugging on my shirt sleeve so to speak, and whispering to me to not forget...
And also, reminding me to not forget to let the dog out?
I talk a lot here about going to camp and other far away from the modern
world places and how it is cleansing to the mind and the soul. I think it
cuts the chatter. I know it cuts out the negativity that can slip into our
lives under cover of darkness like those little things we used to be afraid of
at night. When we were young we knew to fear the stuff in the back of our
closet and under our bed. But now, as adults we simply don't recognize
them sometimes behind their fake smiles and general conversation. They are
people and situations and mindsets that do very little for us but we are used to them, or maybe we feel loyal to them or maybe even we are afraid to let go of them because we have come to depend on them in some manner.
When I was a little girl I was very sensitive. Hard to believe now I realize but it is true. LOL. When things would close in on me or I was unsure or just felt "ikky" I would always turn to nature. And I do the same now with camp or outdoor projects. There is nothing like dirt to cure the world's negative tendencies.
I think to cope with daily life you sometimes have to ask yourself - what am I getting from this? It isn't a
selfish question. You think it is because you have been trained to think that way. You were a good girl and put your napkin in your lap when you were told to do so. I bet you did! ;) It is OK, so did I. But, we must learn this: ME FIRST. And in the land of ME FIRST you ask yourself - what am I getting from this? Whether it be job, friendship, relationship, membership, community, family, etc. Ask it. Then listen clearly for the answer because it is there. You just have to let it in.
If the answer is that you are getting love, respect, caring, growing...well, carry on then! But it is likely that if you have to ask the question these aren't the things you are getting. So then comes decision time.
Obviously there are some things one can't just move on from in a split second. Others we can quite easily though and we should.
The Internet is a glorious thing. A wealth of information right at your fingertips and so many wonderful people to meet and get to know. But, like any school, community, city, planet, there are things that will drain you and take rather than give, pick away rather than put back and generally suck the life out of you while you keep coming back for more. It isn't even the fault of anyone sometimes. It is just the nature of people
and the oh so very vast yet very, very small world we live in.
I grew up in a rather small town. The population was around 700 to 800 I think. Of course I am of that generation that remembers when we didn't have no Internet but man I never will forget.... So, yeah, OK I am older. There WAS NO jumping on-line to meet, learn, veg, talk, hide. My outlets were nature, fantasy, books and music. I would walk two miles to the library just to immerse myself in something other than reality. I would hike all day with my dog. I would pretend to be someone else, somewhere else and most of the time I actually believed it. And if the night was clear and I could place the radio in exactly the perfect spot, I could actually tune in a program called Rock Over London that was a broadcast on the major rock station out of Pittsburgh. That was where I discovered punk music. Books were where I learned about elves and faeries. Fantasy was how I dealt with mundane life.
And I knew....well I knew what I KNEW from my own experience and I trusted that experience AND my instincts. I think we don't do that very well anymore. I think we start to question ourselves too readily when there is so much information, opinion and chatter available to us at the click of a key. I think we forget what we even like or are capable of and/or what is relevant. Instead of doing what is best for us we listen to the next expert in whatever it is we think we give a shit about and we do this because we should, right? Because it is the "in" thing to care about, be, look like... We forget what we knew or thought or believed because the person "talking" to us has a certificate or won a contest or wrote an eBook or says that he/she knows better than we do about whatever subject it is we are obsessed with and of course we are obsessed with it because we have ALL.THIS.INFORMATION readily available and if we can just piece it together perfectly then it will all make sense, right?
Do you see why we all feel nuts? And alone? And less than we are?
And this is what I have been dealing with on some level for almost a year now. So, in the last few months I have really cut back on my web time and even my time on things related to this person I am on-line and really really asked myself that question. Remember the question? Yes - what am I getting from this?
That question led me to contemplating a shift in my practice. It will likely result in a change in my podcast work, my writing, my genetic spiritual make-up if I can go so far.... That question is what led me to stop frequenting "fitness and health" sites and try to listen to my own mind and experience instead, not to mention my own body that I have lived in for almost 50 years. That question led me to physically purge a great deal of junk I had accumulated over time recently. It led me to explore a deeper relationship with my horse whether others agreed with my methods or not. It let me rest. Then it got me off my ass and pulled me back into the world. So, that question is allowing me to OMG can you dig it? ~ ride, read, run, fantasize, listen to and play music, laugh, dance, cook, dream, rest and even get some damn work done.
That question brought me back to...me. And it brought me back to the earth and the fact that in the end I have to trust and be OK with myself. We all do. That is ALL we need to do...
Well, fall is upon us! Leaves are starting to flutter through the air. The days are getting shorter and this is obvious already as when I left early for work this morning it was still partially dark. The magic of nature is something I am fascinated with and feel very fortunate to be a part of. It will become clear why I feel this way so strongly as this post goes on but I have mentioned in the past that my connection with the earth has always brought me peace of mind.
Sometimes it brings sorrow too but I always hold fast to the earth and the creatures and beings upon it. Plants, trees, bugs, deer, rocks, rivers, oceans...pretty much everything on earth fascinates me except people. People do not fascinate me at all, except to sometimes mouth the overused - really? LOL.
Last fall I developed an interest in the Druid path through a friendship that means a great deal to me and also my ever-growing inability to relate what I feel has become the "modern Pagan" mindset as a whole. My friend described to me what is referred to as the Ovate aspect - that earthy, seeing, seeking
creature fascinated with healing, herbs, divination, animal and nature premonition. Someone able to conceive of time and space, cycles of life and death and basically the dark and light, predator and prey, the beauty of the All and the Nothing... I felt like there was something there for me. Maybe not as an outright complete shift in my focus but as a supplement to my learning.
Because the feeling of being the shadow, the other, the hidden, the earth child ~ this is very close to me. I have always felt very drawn to the water but the earth is where I am firmly rooted. I belong to the earth and what is here. I like the smell of dirt. LOL. I like digging in it and I don't mind it on me. I think it represents work and worth. The earth, I was told as a child, is the Devil's playground. And since I thought that Christianity was my only option at the time I felt sorry for that because the earth, to me, was SO beautiful and special and I LOVED it so much. How could earth belong to someone so supposedly horrible?
Yes, yet another reason I asked bad questions in Sunday school and the teachers hated me. Their second mistake I suppose was insisting that animals did not have souls. LOL.
So that supplement has served me well and furthered my love for the ground I walk upon and the things I share this world with. At this time, on the verge of a season, I feel like something inside my framework of belief has shifted even further though. My beliefs are more base, more simple, more upsetting to others now. They are less complicated, less glorified and probably less popular.
I'm walking into darkness with a new sense of nothing and everything and time will not stop. So neither will I.
Well, I don’t want to sound like a complete whiner
but I guess if I do so what? It is March 23rdand after being
all happy and proud that I had made it through the entire winter without so much as a sniffle, two days prior to Ostara I got some kind of plague that has run the entire expanse of my head, nose, throat and now chest. Starting out with a severe sore throat and extremely out of the blue exhaustion, moving through congestion, all manner of sinus upset, continued exhaustion, fever, coughing, sneezing, more exhaustion,
wondering whether I am just made of snot and will eventually become the Blob itself, to losing my voice (I am now known simply as “Squeaky” in these here parts) and hacking up stuff resembling, well, again, the Blob.
Hmmppphhhh. I fucking HATE winter.
Really, I try to embrace the seasons. I do. I look toward the inner season with the expectation of growing and getting things worked out in my head, heart and soul. I vow to do the hard stuff and learn from it every year. But this year. Ugggghhh this year SUCKED. For the first time in several winters it seemed like a struggled within myself. It was the spiritual and mundane equivalent of walking in deep snow. You step, you fall through, you drag your other leg forward, you step, you fall through… So, as we got closer to spring and as I started to work toward shedding whatever bad ju-ju has plagued me all winter through spiritual bathing and continued deep inner work I have been really, really excited to meet the light.
And then my body said – uh, scuze me please I think we just need to wait on that celebration for….oh, hell I dunno, maybe a week maybe more…
What? WHAT? Are you kidding me? I have been plodding through the entire season feeling like spiritual and physical crap. I have not been at my best since October for certain, an odd mixture of various body woes some truly physical some just the never ending struggle of maintenance and aging, being unsettled at work, uncertain of spiritual matters, overwhelmed with “I should” thoughts and never getting around to any of them. Life has been lackluster and dull for the most part and I know it isn’t due to anything other than my own outlook. I feel old. I feel bored. I feel like I don’t have a purpose and worse than that I don’t care.
I’ve tried shaking things up. I’ve tried giving things up. I’ve done a self-cleanse, a mini retreat, I’ve searched and contemplated and journaled and meditated and am at the point where I think maybe I should just chalk it up to a bad season and move on…. And NOW you are gonna GET SICK? Really?
OK, well, nothing I can do about that. LOL LOL LOL.
Isn’t that the truth though? Beyond being angry about getting ill or being frustrated that life isn’t as hunky dory as you would like, there is nothing you can do. Except what you CAN do.
So, I have been resting since that seems mainly what my body wants. I was able to take a sick day somewhere in the middle of the week and slept for 21 hours in a 24 hour period. The other days I went to bed at 5 and got up at 6 or 7 so a good 13 or 14 hours otherwise. I took some over the counter meds for a few days to help with symptoms and mostly to be able to breath and swallow but am off those as well, drinking herbal teas, trying to eat whole, drinking water and still just saying fuck it and sleeping whenever I get tired. Today (Saturday) is the first day since last Sunday that I have actually be awake for more than 6 hours at a time so I would say there is progress being made.
I am not sure how soon I will be back to "normal" since normal lately isn't really something I have come to enjoy. Hopefully by April I will at least be looking forward to the season that has begun and get some perspective on the one that has just ended.
Be well and healthy all. It doesn't seem so important until it isn't so....
The name of the holiday is Imbolc. Oh, you forgot there was a holiday coming up? We often do. I notice mostly that those of us in the colder zones of the
country tend to let this one pass right over. We are all too busy staying warm, cursing subzero, etc. This year, don't let it go by without at least a nod to the little holiday that reminds us we can indeed tough it out for just a little while longer.
Imbolc's roots are based around those very first signs that winter's hold is getting ever so slightly less tight
on the world. You would not know that here right now as the last few days have seen single digits and the nights have dipped to below the big O on the dial. Our water froze two nights ago. A problem we did not deal with even one time last winter if that tells you anything about the difference from year to year.
What can we do to give simple thanks to the constant changing of the seasons and the subtle shift in our lives even if it is mostly not noticeable? Well, if you feel like getting out there you could take a walk. Maybe after work if you are on a day shift sort of schedule because you will note that the days are just ever so slightly longer now and you'll still be able to get out there and enjoy some light. You could look for other tiny signs of the coming thaw and just acknowledge them. You could plant seeds indoors for herbs later. You'll nurture those seeds just like the sun will begin to nurture the earth soon. You could bake bread and think upon the harvests that you'll have in the coming seasons. You could light a candle, say a prayer for those
that are living in the harshness of winter's chill. You could build a fire and meditate on what you have accomplished so far this dark season. You could take that day to further work on whatever you are focusing on this season. It is still the time of inner work afterall.
There are lots of things you can do even if you are not into a full out ritual celebration. Be creative. Write some poetry - it doesn't have to be good! Feed wildlife on that walk if you take it. Make your pets something special and bless them for the coming spring. Sit down and come up with your goals for the season to come. Write them down and put them somewhere until the Spring Equinox. Bless them so that they will grow in your mind and heart and plan to read them on Ostara and begin your outer season work.
So, now you have over a week (as I am posting this on January 23rd) to think about NOT forgetting Imbolc this year! Good blessings to you and stay warm.
My mom gave me a passage once that was a Bible story for dogs. We have had pets my entire life and they were ALWAYS a part of the family. It is no surprise to me that I have an affection for animals that goes way beyond any warm feelings i have for most of the humans in my life. This passage that she gave me clicked with me SO much that i modified it to suit my beliefs and feelings. When my beloved retriever mix died several years ago i got him cremated. I just couldn't let him go. I HAD to have him with me and that is basically why i made the choice to have him cremated. There are animals in my life that i feel should be buried in the earth - a particular cat that started life as a stray and to her last day loved being outside - SHE belongs under a big tree on the hill. She belonged to the earth and that's where she returned. But, this dog, who used to sit patiently at the door until i arrived home every night... This dog that during a particularly dark period in my life was there to comfort me, as if to say - I'll wait for you. This dog who could not bear to be out of my sight, who would do WHATEVER i asked of him simply because i asked... THIS dog belonged with me forever. So i had him cremated and he rests in a lovely, decorative wooden box. I put this poem in the box with him, along with a picture of the cat mentioned above, who was his good friend, and a candle to light his way should he need it.
A Dog's Story ~ Goddess Style
The Great Goddess, who was herself the earth and the sky; the sea and the soil, summoned a beast from the fields and said, "Behold these creatures that beckon you and adore them. Protect them in the wilderness, watch over the flocks they keep and accompany them wherever they may go - even into
civilization. Be a companion, an ally, a friend. To do these things, you shall be endowed with instincts uncommon to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing even that of these creatures. Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death. Lest it impair your loyalty, you
shall be blind to the faults of your companions. Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Speak to your companions only with your mind and through your kind eyes. Walk by their sides; sleep in their nests; forage for them; ward off their enemies; carry their burdens; share their afflictions; love them and comfort them. And in return for this, these human creatures will fulfill your needs and wants, which shall be only food, shelter and affection. So be silent, and be a friend to these humans. Guide them along
the way onto this land that is my gift to all creatures. This shall be your destiny and your immortality". So spoke the Goddess. And the dog heard and was content.