I am currently listening to New World Witchery and Cory and Laine are recounting adventures in New Orleans. I, unfortunately due to work being extremely nuts was not able to share my thoughts via sound bite, so I thought I would review my own journey to NOLA here.
Sam and I decided to combine this trip with a visit to my mom's place in Florida. So, we passed through NOLA first, arriving a couple days ahead of PPSM4 and then were able to spend some great time with some wonderful friends and meet new friends too!
The first portion of the journey was spent exploring cemeteries and the city. This was my fourth visit to New Orleans so I'm fairly familiar with the general territory but not since my first visit to NOLA over 20 years ago have I been to a cemetery. St. Louis No. 1 is amazing and a must see but I have always wanted to visit Lafayette No. 1 as this was the location that Anne Rice envisioned as the resting place of the Mayfair family in The Witching Hour and subsequent books in the series. And not far from there the mansion that inspired their creation. I visited both this trip.
I ate more beignets this trip than I ever have! LOL. Sam and I went to Café DuMonde one rainy evening. It was lovely, warm and foggy and little did I know that the warm weather we enjoyed the first couple days would give way to some chilly temps by the time we all got down to visiting! We revisited beignet land with Velma, Kathleen and a friend, then again with Velma although we didn't have beignets the last time. We ate at the Gumbo Shop, had breakfast at The Camellia Grill (if you are ever in NOLA check this place out!), went to loads of art galleries and of course, magical shops. I had my very first taste of Absinthe at the Old Absinthe House and was just as enchanted by the making of it as by the magical way it made me feel. LOL, tipsy. So, amazing food, great people, a ghost tour and lots and lots of walking were all a big part of the journey.
What I love about New Orleans is that you can do something different every time you are there. I wonder if I will ever get to do everything I want to do in New Orleans? I'm not sure, but I marked some stuff off the list this time for sure!
Below is a link list of our generous sponsors and contributors to the fabulous bag of super swag that Cory put together. Thanks to everyone that contributed to this wonderful experience!
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. Sam thinks I'm nuts so I don't suppose any of this embarrassed him any more 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?
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.
If you visit me here once in awhile you might notice that this site has changed. I am in the process of rebuilding, or at least redecorating, my cyber parlor.
Why? Because it was time. I will be building this bit by bit so there isn't much here now but be patient... ;)
It is the beginning and the end of the year for me and I am feeling pretty run down and also a little off kilter. I can't say I am having a crisis of faith. It isn't that profound. I have been, however, having a mild identity illness I guess you could say.
I have been feeling rather uninspired and overwhelmed by things I should not be overwhelmed by. I haven't felt much like blogging. I haven't felt at all like podcasting. So, I haven't really done either of those things. I have an entire three years worth of blogs I will try to get somehow transfered to my new "house" but I can't even promise that will be anytime soon. Sometimes life catches you. Sometimes it makes you let go.
I have accomplished many things this year. Most of them matter in the long run, some of them might and others probably don't. Time to sort them out I guess.
Today is Samhain. We are in the aftermath of a helluva storm on the east coast and although my particular area was not hit very hard, both north and south of us was. Sam's mom is staying with us, as she lost power on Monday with an expectation of it not being back on until next week. My Samhain became low-key very quickly, which is fine with me. More and more I realize that my spiritual life is so wrapped up within my mundane life. I have simple ways and practices that fly completely under the radar of the world.
Tonight my ritual was to light my jacko, pour wine and peel poms while listening to a ritual playlist, humming along in the kitchen while Sam and his mom looked at pictures in the other room. I blessed my animals, took the dog with me and made my way outside - spread pom seeds for the faeries and our gnome. Took the faery garden summer wind chime down, carried it with me to the woods and threw offerings for the deer, gave the fish bread. Came back inside, took pom seeds and wine to my pet alter, blessed them and looked upon all the animals that I have loved. Drank to them.
All this without pomp and circumstance. All very very personal.
Bells and whistles are wonderful. They just are not, nine times out of ten, me.
So, however you are celebrating. Blessed Samhain to you and happy Halloween to all. :)
The main thing that struck me in the introductory portion of my book of study for the season on Druidry:
obviously this is
the Druid is firmly rooted in the earth, the land....and that interacting with the world, here and now, is spiritual.
I can't even express how this resonates with me. I have always had an odd pull between the simple earthy magic that I practice and believe in and the way I learned of magic. Basically, as my introduction to magic and Paganism was through Wicca, I learned that there were rules and rituals and things that should not deviate from what was written. Obviously to a great extent I got
over that. LOL.
My alter moves wherever convenient, might not contain the same things from season to season, I sometimes miss moon phases but remember to talk to bugs in the morning fog, I'm not much on spellwork and prefer to immerse myself in what I think of as "natural ritual" or old-fashioned earth magic. For instance - my horse has sarcoids. I'll employ every option. I'll have the vet visit and treat. I'll use home remedies I have researched and I'm not above rubbing a penny on them and placing it in the earth if I feel it will help.
So, despite my very structured beginnings with my spiritual practice, I still continue to believe that what I do magically is much more base, much less ornate, much more a simple acknowledgement in the magic of everyday life.
If you think about it, there is so much going on around us. I find it fascinating. I look at a day in my life: I do a lot of things before I leave my house, including caring for animals and household chores.
I think all magic is worthy and perfect in its own being. I think all spirituality is as well. So long as it brings the seeker what he/she defines as belief and comfort and it is not pushed on or hurtful to others, let it be. Know it, explore it, believe it and shine within it.
Even the most simple (and sometimes least appealing) tasks can bring me peace. Mucking horse stalls is like meditation to me. I feel so useful, grounded and centered when doing barn work. This is spirituality to me just as much as setting up ornate alters and performing complicated spellwork. To me it is probably more spiritual actually - these practical matters. And so in being drawn to the earth this way I am in turn drawn to search deeper into my own path and see where it leads me.