Mar 29, 2013

Life After Google Reader

Now that Google Reader is going the way of the Dodo, and Google Friend Connect is rumored soon to follow in its wake, I guess it's time to start exploring alternative ways to follow your favorite blogs.  I think I've settled on Feedly, but there's lots of other good options out there.

I thought I'd compile a quick post to help you figure out how to follow Heartache Into Beauty after the demise of Google Reader.

Bloglovin' is a way to follow other blogs and see them all in one place.  It's like a cross between GFC and a feed reader.  With Bloglovin', bloggers claim their blogs on the site, and then people follow them.  It's got a bit more privacy for followers, because as far as I know I can only see how many people are following me, but not who.  Click the button below to follow me on Bloglovin':

Follow Heartache Into Beauty on Bloglovin

Networked Blogs
Networked Blogs is similar to Bloglovin' in that bloggers claim their blogs, and then others follow them.  And like Bloglovin', you can read all of the blogs you follow from your profile page.  In this case you follow blogs using your Facebook account.  You can follow me on Networked Blogs using the widget below:

Feedly and other Feed Readers
If you are already using Google Reader, Feedly will automatically migrate your Google Reader subscriptions if you switch over before July 1 when Google Reader shuts down.  Check out their article with tips for Google Reader users migrating over to Feedly.  It's super easy to migrate, and only requires logging in with your Google account.

Most of the other feed readers that I've encountered will require you to download your subscriptions via Google Takeout, and then upload that file to your new service. 

If you're not already following me on Google Reader and want to add me to your RSS subscriptions, you can use the RSS feed for my blog to subscribe with the service of your choice:

RSS feed for Heartache Into Beauty

In case you missed my post a few days ago, I just created a Facebook page for Heartache Into Beauty.  I would love it if you "liked" my page!  I set up my posts to syndicate to my Facebook page, so when  I post on here it will show up on in your Newsfeed. You can "like" my Facebook page using the widget below:


And of course, I am on Twitter. My posts are syndicated to Twitter via, and I also post lots of other fun stuff during the week, like live-tweeting during American Idol :)

Mar 27, 2013

More Reviews of Sacred Space

Hey ya'll!  I am so excited to tell you that my blog was quoted on Witchvox recently.  Caroline Kenner, one of the organizers of Sacred Space, wrote a fantastic overview of this year's conference.  With my permission she quoted from my review of the conference,* as well as several other folks' reviews.

A few other bloggers have written reviews of this year's Sacred Space Conference as well.  Some of these reviews are quoted in Caroline's article.  Go check them out and leave them lots of comment love!
  • The Pink Pagan Priestess talked about how the conference helps break through the "Wiccan wall" and had a number of take-away thoughts from the workshops and rituals Sacred Space, many of which were also pretty key lessons for me as well.
  • Maria over at It's All Elemental wrote about our roles as lifetime students, and how wonderful it was to see students learning from teachers, teachers learning from other teachers, and teachers learning from students.

*Caroline refers to me in the article as a member of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, but if you've been following me for a little while you'll know I left the Assembly a year ago and am now a solitary.  I've requested a correction, but I'm not sure if that's possible on Witchvox.  Just wanted to mention that in case anyone was confused.

Mar 24, 2013

Bloggiesta Spring 2013: Wrap-up

bloggiesta finish line

Well, Bloggiesta officially finishes up tonight.  I didn't complete all of my goals, because my social calendar got very busy and real life is more important than the internet :)  I still had a lot of fun and definitely added to my blogging tool kit.  Here's how I did!
  • Create a graphic banner for my Monday Music Break weekly feature - It didn't happen, but I'd like to do this soon.
  • Re-record my Brighid chant so that both parts are in one recording, and then schedule a post with the chant and lyrics  - and....still didn't happen.  I'm giving myself until the end of the month to do this, but I may just give up the ghost on this one and post both parts as separate files.
  • Schedule a post about where to find me after Google Reader dies - done!  Look for my post on Friday morning.
  • Get all of my photos from the last few months off my camera and onto my computer, sorted and edited - mostly done.  The photos are off my camera and sorted into folders.  I think I will leave editing to when I actually use them in my blog, etc.
  • Look into starting a Facebook page for my blog - done!  My new Facebook page is here, please "like" it, and feel free to share it with any of your friends who may also enjoy reading my blog!
  • Participate in at least one of the Bloggiesta Twitter chats - I took part in Saturday morning's twitter chat and learned a whole lot :)  I also gained a few new twitter followers and followed some cool new people in return. 
I also participated in the Promoting Your Blog on Facebook mini-challenge hosted by Liza of Sockets and Lightbulbs.  This challenge was from a previous Bloggiesta, so I did it purely for learning's sake. 

How did you do in completing your Bloggiesta goals?  Did you have fun?

Mar 23, 2013

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Facebook

Liza over at Sockets and Lightbulbs just updated a great mini-challenge from last year that also accomplishes one of my Bloggiesta goals.  The challenge was to use Facebook to promote your blog, either by adding a "Like" button at the bottom of every post, or by creating a page for your blog.

My goal had been to create a Facebook page.  I actually made the page on Thursday night and invited a few friends to like the page.  I also set up Networked Blogs to syndicate my blog to the page, to make it easier for folks to be alerted to new posts.

So, for the grand introduction, here is my new Facebook page for Heartache Into Beauty!!  Please "like" it if you are so inclined by clicking the button below :)

Mar 21, 2013

Kicking off Bloggiesta for Spring 2013

Bloggiesta starting line
Image via
It's time for another Bloggiesta!  This next round runs from March 22-24, and I'm excited for another chance to work on my blog and add to my blogging skills!

For those of you who are new, Bloggiesta is a weekend-long blogging party that encourages you to make improvements to your blog, check off items on your blog's to-do list, and otherwise learn new and awesome things about blogging.  It's primarily aimed at book bloggers, but all bloggers are invited. 

Once again my social calendar for this weekend is a bit full, so I'm not going to push myself to do more than I have time for.  Here's my to-do list for Bloggiesta and the immediate future:

  • Create a graphic banner for my Monday Music Break weekly feature
  • Re-record my Brighid chant so that both parts are in one recording, and then schedule a post with the chant and lyrics (I've put this on my Bloggiesta to-do list twice and then not done it.  Third time's the charm?)
  • Schedule a post about where to find me after Google Reader dies
  • Get all of my photos from the last few months off my camera and onto my computer, sorted and edited
  • Look into starting a Facebook page for my blog
  • Participate in at least one of the Bloggiesta Twitter chats

Who else is participating in Bloggiesta?  Leave me a link to your to-do list and I will cheer you on! :) And if you haven't already, you can sign up over at

Mar 18, 2013

Monday Music Break: Awakened Soul

breathe in deeply of the sacred all around
The lyrics (c) Sharon Knight & T. Thorn Coyle

I was totally stumped about what to post for today's Monday Music Break, and then my friend reminded me of a chant she really likes called "Awakened Soul" by Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle.  It's from their chant album Songs for the Strengthening Sun.

I first learned this chant the first time I attended Sacred Space, which was 4 years ago I think.  Thorn taught it to us during one of her workshops, using it to wake us up and sync our energies at the beginning of the class.

Given my personal origins with the chant, and the theme "the sacred all around," it seemed very apropos to post this chant in the wake of this year's Sacred Space Conference.


Mar 17, 2013

Sacred Space 2013

This was my third year attending the Sacred Space Conference, an annual conference run by the Sacred Space Foundation.  The conference is most definitely aimed at intermediate to advanced level practitioners, and I believe it raises the bar for other pagan events with its high-quality, high-level presentations and rituals.

Ever year I am blown away by what I learn, and the revelations I have, and the internal transformations that occur.  I already discussed last week how this year, the weekend became a process of self-empowerment and moving on from loss.  And  I remember the first year I attended (which was maybe 4 or 5 years ago?), the conference became an exercise in finding and developing my personal power after I received a shamanic healing from Caroline Kenner.

The two big highlights of the conference for me were the Ocacular Seidh on Thursday night and the Conjure Dance on Friday night.  The Ocacular Seidh involves a ritual journey to the Norse underworld where the Seeress can answer questions from those in the ritual.  I felt a powerful need to ask a question of the Seeress, and received an unexpected answer that affected me quite powerfully.  Just the act of speaking of my pain in a sacred, supportive space was incredibly healing.  The Seeress gave me a task, which I think I may do that as part of an Ostara-type ritual in the next weekend or two, depending on when I can obtain the supplies I need.  Several folks also came up to me afterwards with some very supportive words and offers of help, which I am deeply moved by and thankful for.

If the seidh was a ritual of quiet and strong, difficult emotions for me, the Conjure Dance was a powerful ritual of joy and connection to the Divine.  I danced almost the whole night, through pain and exhaustion that I only partly felt, in worship of the gods that I work with and the other Spirits present at the dance.  I saw some powerful possessions that night, and experienced some light possession by several Spirits.  My goddess Rhiannon had me laughing when she joined me in the dance for awhile, and was very insistent that my dancing be graceful and lady-like - no getting down and funky for her!

I also had an interesting thought during one of Christopher Penczak's classes, which I shared with a couple people during the conference.  The beautiful thing about the neopagan community and conferences like Sacred Space is that our community is small and well-connected.  So unlike, say, Catholics who will almost certainly never meet the Pope in person, we actually have the opportunity to meet our leaders, role models, and favorite pagan authors in person.  And rarely do I see folks getting too fangirl/fanboy on them (though I do admit, the first time I attended a ritual led by Diana Paxson, I had an internal moment of "ZOMG she writes the Avalon-universe books that I love so much!" before the ritual began.)

My only complaint about the conference was that several presenters went well past their allotted time.  This felt disrespectful of attendees' time, as it often it meant cutting into another workshop or the lunch and dinner breaks.  I would suggest that in the future, it may help to have a designated timekeeper in the room who can alert teachers when their time is almost up.

Before I finish up, one final tid-bit from Luisah Teish's class that hit me like a big wallop of clarity: The creation of sacred space begins not in the physical realm, but internally.  

Blessed be, and I already can't wait until next year!

Mar 11, 2013

Monday Music Break: Innocent Wind (Wind God Girl)

I am back from the Sacred Space Conference!  Whee!  What a wonderful weekend.  I met so many amazing, inspiring people over the weekend, and even got to meet fellow bloggers Lonely Coyote and EmKat for the first time. 

This year at Sacred Space I spent a lot of time working on the process of moving on from the numerous instances of loss I've experienced (friendships breaking down, an intense and difficult break-up, my Grandmother's death).  I felt a powerful need to call upon the energies of the Morrigan - somewhat for her fury in the beginning, but mostly as a source of strength and self-empowerment.  I wore my raven earrings for much of the conference to help me in this.  It gave me a great deal of self-confidence in talking to people I didn't know and building upon new friendships that had just begun.

The Morrigan
Image from

I found this song "Innocent Wind (Wind God Girl)" by a group called Morrigan.  It's not a pagan band - in fact I'm pretty sure it's from the soundtrack to a video game - but I listened to it and it speaks to me of the Morrigan and her birds.

I am still a bit burnt out from the intensity of the weekend, so I will be writing one or two posts with my thoughts on the conference later this week when I have more of my brain back.  In the meantime, enjoy the music and have a lovely week!

Mar 4, 2013

Monday Music Break: Rhiannon

Happy Monday, ya'll!  Sorry I missed last week's music break.  It was...a week.  I had some major car troubles that needed attention (again...argh.), with a broken exhaust pipe that needed to be welded back on, and a broken thermostat to boot.  Nothing like having a car with no heat that sounds like an airplane when you hit the gas.  Fortunately, the auto shop I took it to fixed it all up and it works great again.  No more airplane car!

Lately I've been feeling a stronger connection to my patroness, Rhiannon, after years of feeling really disconnected from her energy.  And last night I readjusted the astral journey I take to visit her and had a much more powerful visit with her than I've had in a very long time.

In contrast to the other gods I work with, Rhiannon has retained much of the imagery of her mythology, and holds a greater air of mystery about her.  She has always been very much a Queen of the Realm with me.  She is very regal, always appearing in beautiful sparkling gowns and perfectly-coiffed, curly white hair.  And yet she can still be warm and caring like a mother with a child.

Rhiannon by DAW
Rhiannon by DAW (

So in her honor, I'm posting one of my favorite songs about my goddess.  This is a really great live version of "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac from 1976.  Stevie Nicks really pours out her soul in this performance.

Mar 1, 2013

Goals for March

Holy cow, how is it March already?  2013 has just been blowing right past me.

And the Sacred Space Conference is less than a week away.  I'm so excited!  Will I see you there?  I'd love to connect with some of my fellow bloggers.  Let me know if I should keep an eye out for you, and don't be shy about introducing yourself if you see me first :) 

I've noticed that a number of bloggers out there have started setting monthly goals for themselves.  I've really been enjoying reading about the monthly goals that  Julie and Liz have been writing about.  I really like the idea of setting a few small tangible goals or projects for yourself each month.  It seems so much more realistic, at least for me, than setting a big list with big goals for the year like I did last year.  So I set myself 4 goals for March!

my monthly goals for March

Let's see if this works any better for me than my 30 before 31 list did!
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