Mar 30, 2012

Bloggiesta List

Bloggiesta logo

I just found out from Chrisbookarama about a blogging party/blog hop for this weekend called Bloggiesta.  (Ole!)  The party is being hosted by It's All About Books, led by their fearless mascot PEDRO (Plan, Edit, Develop, Review, Organize).  The idea behind Bloggiesta is to keep PEDRO happy by spending these next three days working on perfecting your blog and connecting with other bloggers doing the same thing. I think it's technically designed for book blogs, but a look around the rules and mini-challenges has me thinking I could benefit from participating, too.  After all, my 30 before 31 list includes making my blog more awesome.

So, basically, you come up with a to-do list for your blog, and participate in the mini-challenges on their blog.  All the details for participating are on It's All About Books at the Bloggiesta Starting Line.

Here's my to-do list.  I may revise this over the weekend as I decide what's workable, and I'll try to post updates about mini-challenges over the course of the weekend.

  • Spruce up my sidebar
  • go through all of my recorded chants to review sound quality and determine which need to be re-recorded
  • Create a chants page for posting chants
  • ADDED: Create a new page for the Monday Music Break
  • Clean up new site design
  • Do a couple Blogiesta mini-challenges
  • Clean up Google Reader and Twitter Follow lists


Mar 27, 2012

Duck in a Cup!

duck in a cup!

I've been kind of obsessed with this image of a fuzzy little duckling in a cup recently.  It's just so. damn. cute.  I mean, who wouldn't want their very own duck in a cup?  Admit it - you know you do too :)

If you haven't been over to my Pinterest boards lately, you should definitely go check me out.  I've been pinning quite a bit in the last couple of weeks - yes, including the duck in a cup.  One of the more interesting things I've pinned is, a website that streams the sound of a rainstorm to help get you into the mood to write (or read, or craft, or whatever mood you need to be in).  You can be I'll be using that website in the future!

Mar 26, 2012

Monday Music Break: Goodbye to Pisces

On Saturday morning I was released from my coven.  It was bittersweet - I'm sad that it had to end to end the way it did, and to no longer be circling with my coven mates.  However, my attitudes and beliefs no longer fit in with the dynamic that leadership in the tradition were pushing for amongst its members, so in the long run it was for the best.

The coven is part of the Circle of Pisces in this tradition.  So today I present to you Tori Amos' song "Goodbye to Pisces."  It seems rather fitting, if a bit tongue-in-cheek.

There are speculations that Tori Amos is pagan, but if she is, she's not saying.  Regarding her belief in god(s), she's been quoted as saying, "I believe they all exist in the pantheon, all part of the Divine Spirit. And I respect the faith of other people."

Being disconnected from the group mind of my coven after being part of it for 6 years has left me feeling a bit discombobulated.  I know I need to time to regroup and learn how to be a solitary again.  At the same time, I feel lighter and finally free to pursue my spiritual path in my own terms, at my own pace.  It's going to be fabulous.

happy fluffy running puppies.  Awww.

Mar 22, 2012

Blog Actualization

Inside, I roar!
Inside, I roar!
At this year's Sacred Space, I attended a workshop on being your authentic self by Lyratah Barrett.  She talked about how we spend too much time in our heads, not experiencing things because of fear.  She also talked about Abraham Maslow and summarized his steps to self-actualization - knowing you are, what you are, your likes & dislikes, your trajectory, your mission, your core values, etc. 
  1. Experience things fully and vividly
  2. In your life, develop a balance fear and risk
  3. Shut out external clues (like other people's opinions) to right vs. wrong, correct reactions to a situation, etc.
  4. When in doubt, be honest
  5. Be willing to be unpopular
  6. Know what works for you
  7. Be willing to find out what others' perceptions are of you
  8. Focus
There was some neat discussion following this about whether, as a spiritual being in a human experience, one can ever be truly authentic, or if our human experience is only a reflection of our authentic self.  Lyratah also challenged us with several questions, such as "What is your intention/goal in each interaction?" and "Are the challenges you're taking on interfering with or working towards your priorities?"

Although some of what was discussed about pain and choice rattled me for several days afterward, I've been finding myself pondering authenticity in writing.  Is my choice to move my career path to writing an authentic one?  Is my blog, as it is now, helping me work towards my priorities?  Is my writing authentic?  What is my intention in writing in this blog?

When I started this blog back in August, I intended to write about depression and anxiety from a spiritual point of view.  I wrote a few posts to that end, but in all honesty I am not willing to share my deep dark secrets with folks I am not close to.  I am also wasn't ready (mentally or economically) to explore any of the traditional and non-traditional healing modalities to deal with my issues, beyond self care.

This cat is rocking out at the record store!What I've realized this week is that music is my healer, and my joy, and one of my biggest spiritual outlets.  Well, okay I knew this already, but what I didn't consciously realize is that sharing music is part of my healing and growth process.  Sharing music on this blog has been incredibly fulfilling to me.  Even if I only have a followers right now (and very few comments *over-dramatic sadface*), it brings me joy and healing to share music that inspires and moves me, and I can hope that it is inspiring or moving or healing for those that listen. 

So after pondering for many months about what to do with this blog, I've decided this is going to be a "pagan music and lifestyle blog."  I'm going to keep sharing music by pagan artists.  I'm also going to share my own music - the chants I write for rituals.  I'm not entirely sure what the lifestyle bit will entail, but probably more of what you've been seeing lately, like photos, crafts I'm working on, and such. 

Are you excited?  I know I am! :)

Mar 21, 2012

Hoppy spring

lace hydrangea
Happy first day of spring!  Or was it yesterday?  I'm not sure - people have been wishing me a happy Ostara all week, and I always lose track of what the actual date is each year.

I was at the store last week and saw these Easter bunny bowls.  They were so damn cute I just had to have one.  And take pictures of it.  And put delicious things like strawberries in it.

I am kind of obsessed with this bunny bowl.  Just a little.

Strawberries in my new bunny bowl

You may have noticed I redesigned my site a bit.  I've been trying to make it look prettier and more put together.  Please let me know what you think!  Love it, hate it, why-are-you-asking-me-questions-about-blog-design-I-don't-give-a-rat?

even weeds can be pretty

big yellow and red flower

Mar 19, 2012

I am a giant leprechaun!

I almost forgot to post about St. Patrick's Day!  So here I am, albeit a few days late.

I'm a European mutt, but the majority of my ethnic heritage is Celtic - mostly Irish, but also Scottish, English, and French (the French, plus much of my German heritage, is from Alsace-Lorraine).
Funny story about my heritage, actually.  My last name is considered a tribe from Northern Ireland, but it's actually Scottish in origin (or possibly Saxon English - the origin is disputed).  The clan originally live in Britain, where they were "Reivers," a raiding clan along the Scottish/English border.  They were later ceded land in northern Ireland by the king.

Many pagans choose not to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, or they choose to mourn/honor the "snakes" (Irish pagans) that were "driven out" (probably killed) by St. Patrick's crusade to Christianize Ireland.  There's a good breakdown of the issues with St. Patrick's Day over at the Domestic Pagan and PaganCentric.  I've never been much for the ridiculous trend of making all sorts of unnaturally green food and adorning everything with leprechauns and shamrocks. 

green beer
Seriously, green beer should be outlawed.  It's a crime against hard-working real beer everywhere.

When I was growing up, my mom would make roast pork butt (it's the butt of the shoulder, for those wondering why I would eat a pig's ass) with cabbage and potatoes.  I also made potatoes colcannon a few years ago.  I wanted to make it again this year but did not have the time to go to the store to buy the needed ingredients. 

My ancestors/heritage are really important to me on both a personal and a spiritual level, and I've found it problematic to ignore a day that celebrates my heritage.  So this year, I decided that from now on I would honor both my Irish heritage and my pagan heritage on St. Paddy's Day.  So Friday night I wore my shamrock earrings for my Irish ancestors, a snake armband for my pagan community, and had a couple of (real) beers for both.  Okay, and some green pie too.  But it's lime pie, so it's supposed to be green, so it's okay.  And so tasty.

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Paddy's Day, whether you celebrated it or not.  Now go have a good Irish beer, and if you like, raise a toast to your ancestors.  Slainte!

Smithwick's beer
Now that's more like it.  Best beer in the world!

Monday Music Break: Kat Devlin

I'm feeling kind of oceany lately, so today I decided to post Kat Devlin's "Ocean Song."

I first saw Kat Devlin perform at the Pagan Band Jam, an event that the Open Hearth Foundation used to put on once a month at the now-closed College Perk coffee house.  I was exposed to lot of fantastic pagan musicians at the Pagan Band Jam, including Cassandra Syndrome, who I posted about a few weeks ago.

Are you a pagan artist who wants to be featured on the Monday Music Break?  Or do you know a pagan artist you'd like featured?  (I define a pagan artist as an artist who is pagan - they don't necessarily have to sing about pagan topics! :)  Please let me know in the comments!

Mar 12, 2012

Monday Music Break: Kellianna

I'm feeling remarkably energetic today, given how much dancing I did at the Conjure Dance on Friday and how tired I was on Saturday.  I guess I made the right call by taking Sunday afternoon to chill with some classic Doctor Who (yay, Tom Baker!) and America's Next Top Model.

For this week's music break, I bring you two of my favorite songs by Kellianna, "Freya" and "Warrior Queen."

I just took a look at Kellianna's events page, and it looks like she's playing a few gigs in Maryland in May.  Sweet!

Mar 11, 2012

Le poisson, le poisson, how I LOVE le poisson!

This was an actual conversation between Jack and I earlier this evening, after I was rather passionately explaining my feelings on the gender duality in Wicca:

Me:  What?  I feel very passionate about this topic.
Jack:  You feel like a fish?
Me:  Um... what??
Jack:  I'm sorry.  Every time I hear the word "passion" I think of "poisson," the French word for fish.
Me:  And here I just think of passion fruit.

Every time I hear the word "poisson" I think of The Little Mermaid.

...And now every time you think of the word passion, you'll think of fish, and then you'll start singing "Les Poissons."  You're welcome.

He denies the similarity, but sometimes I swear it's like Jack and I are channeling The Bloggess and her husband Victor.  And of course because we're both a bit weird (okay, really weird), we take turns being the one talking about bizarre things like the Unicorn Success Club or giant metal chickens.


Today was the last day of Sacred Space.  The classes I attended yesterday were not all that life-altering, but they were interesting and thought-provoking.  Lyratah Barrett's class on the Authentic Self gave me some ideas for finding a path - mundanely and spiritually - that holds true to who I authentically am. There was also a side discussion in this class about whether pain is something a soul chooses to experience as part of their human experience.  I don't think I can accept that, but Lyratah did say to me that because fibromyalgia is an oversensitivity of the nervous system, that oversensitivity might be present in other areas (emotional, stress, etc.) and trigger the fibro.  I could accept that a soul would choose to be in a highly sensitive body, or that the soul's level of development in a current incarnation could lead to that oversensitivity.

faerieDebbie Chapnick led a fascinating series of journeys to meet the fae, and in one I was met by a fae named "Grelznik" who had a very stylized appearance to him (her?) - big, long, bushy white hair and a VERY long nose like an elephant's trunk.  I got the impression that he was Germanic, and was probably messing with me in a good-natured way in terms of the appearance and name.  In the other journey, the fae borrowed from my personal pop culture references and appeared mostly as creatures from Mononoke-hime.

I was going to stay for the party later that evening, but I was severely exhausted from the Conjure Dance the previous evening and a poor night's sleep, so I headed home for a nap.  When I woke up I decided I really wasn't feeling very social, so I opted instead to snuggle with Jack for the rest of the night.  Turns out that was exactly what I needed!

This morning, I set my alarm for 8:15, but for some strange reason it decided it was smarter than me and changed the alarm time to 9:15 because of daylight savings time.  Grrr, I say.  So I missed the morning class due to oversleeping, again.  I got to attend Katrina Messenger's class on Time, Eternity, and the Elements, and the closing ritual.  Katrina's class was exactly the kind of class I needed this weekend, and was a stimulating end to the conference - it had both science and spirituality, good discussion, and a few mind-blowing revelations about the nature of time.

Mar 10, 2012

Delving into the Morrigan's realm

Today is day 3 of the Sacred Space Conference!  I missed all of day 1 due to a severe migraine mythe Assembly and my job is clearly going nowhere.  He said some things I needed to hear, including reminders that it's useless to beat myself up for not being able to juggle so many things in my life.  Some of the advice was not so helpful, but gave me ideas.  He told me I should make a list of all of the good things about me, which... I am not so comfortable doing, but will think about.

the Morrigan
Yesterday was day 2 of the conference.  I arrived for the afternoon classes, and took an interesting class on occult themes in pop culture, and participated in a ritual for the Morrigan.  The latter left me a bit torn apart, as we had to journey to the underworld, dig deep and face our inner demons, and speak their names aloud.  The Morrigan has been whispering to me these last few weeks to help me process my anger, so I knew I needed to go to this before I even arrived at the conference, and even wore my new raven earrings.  I suppose I was rewarded for my bravery because in a vision at her altar, the Morrigan gave me a tool for dealing with my anger - she told me to give it to her ravens, and they would take it where it needed to be.

Afterward I had a tarot reading with my friend Eri.  We looked at the question of "where do I go from here/how do I get unstuck?" now that my spiritual path is diverging from the Assembly and my job is clearly going nowhere.  He said some things I needed to hear, including reminders that it's useless to beat myself up for not being able to juggle so many things in my life.  Some of the advice was not so helpful, but gave me ideas.  He told me I should make a list of all of the good things about me, which... I am not so comfortable doing, but will think about. 

Also, there was lots of imagery of portals in the cards.  So many portals!  Obviously, I have choices to make - which portals do I enter?  When do I enter them?  Who will I enter them with?

The evening consisted of the New Orleans Voodoo Conjure Dance, which I need to mull over a bit more before posting about it.  Suffice to say, it was one of the most fulfilling spiritual experiences I've ever had.  Oh ecstatic dance, where have you been all my life?

Mar 7, 2012

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow

Hello Wednesday!  Lucky me, I worked from home today and yesterday, so I could listen to whatever I wanted as loud as I wanted, and got lots of hugs from my boyfriend throughout the day.  Not lucky is that I worked from home because I have a cold.  Now work is over for the day, and I'm just relaxing upstairs in bed while Jack happily plays his shiny new copy of Mass Effect 3 downstairs.*  I know because I can hear lots of explody noises coming through the floor :) 

I can't believe tomorrow is Sacred Space!  I've been looking forward to it for months, and it felt like it was so far off that it would never arrive.  I think I'm most looking forward to the New Orleans Conjure Dance on Friday night - I've never witnessed divine possession in any other form than aspecting (unless you count the time I was not-purposely drawing down the Veiled Goddess / Goddess of Reflections at Yule a few years ago.)  Aside from that, I still haven't decided yet which workshops and rituals to attend.

If you still want to go to the conference it's not too late - you can register when you get there.  They even have day passes if you don't have time or money to go for the whole weekend.

*For non-gamers, it was just released and is apparently a big damn deal to fans of the series.  It's the last installment in a trilogy that is apparently well-designed, has lots of famous guest voice actors like Claudia Black, and has taken forever to be completed.

Mar 5, 2012

Monday Music Break: new SJ Tucker music video

I know, I know, I just posted a song by S.J. Tucker a couple of weeks ago.  But today she released the music video for "Neptune," which is such a beautiful, beautiful song from her newest album, Mischief.  The color tones and slightly washed-out look of the video are gorgeous and very fitting.  And the whole thing was shot sea-side - how could I resist posting it?

Brrr, it it cold outside today!  I even heard rumors of snow flurries a couple of hours ago. What happened to the teasing warmth of spring that we had last week?

Mar 2, 2012

We will kindle the fire

As I mentioned on Monday, my organization had it's yearly retreat at the National Conservation Training Center last week.  We had a bonfire Thursday night, with s'mores and a game of Whisper Down the Lane. That game is hilarious as it is, but when a bunch of adults play it while drinking... sometimes it got a tad inappropriate.

I got some great photos of the fire - check it out! 

dancers in the flames
Dancers in the flames.  And marshmallows!

Face in the fire
Do you see the face?
Shapes in the fire
I see a firebird, a face, and a dancing lady.  What do you see?

Lots of colors in the campfire

Next week is the 2012 Sacred Space Conference - I'm so excited!  The first (and only) time I went, I had such a wonderful, empowering experience.  Much of what I learned and experienced that weekend sparked my truly coming into my own and finding my voice as a witch.  The conference hotel is only 15 minutes away from my house, so it's going to be super easy to attend, without the cost and hastle of staying in a hotel.  I'll try to post at least a couple of times during the course of the 4-day conference to keep you all updated on all the amazing happenings at the conference.  If you have the chance to attend , I definitely encourage you to go - and be sure to stop and say hello if you see me! :)

Have a lovely Friday!


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