Wednesday, December 28, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 48}

This week's prompt: evolution of your ideas about your faith/path

I'll admit it, I was a fluffy bunny. But admitting it is part of the solution, right? And oh, how things have changed since I started out on this path. Once upon a time it was all about the spirits of nature, now things are a lot more complex for me.

Studying the Qabala and reading Crowley, 2 things I'd previously been very resistant to, have really changed my perspective of traditional Wicca, paganism in general, and specific re-constructionist pagan paths. While I see paganism as a catch all term, I no longer see all of these paths being necessarily similar (though I do feel a lot of the time the term paganism is used as a catch all term for very loose, free forms of eclectic Wicca--and I don't necessarily see either the loose, free form, eclectic Wicca, or the use of the catch all term Paganism as being bad things).

I used to be quite scared of things like the Goetia, Enochian, and Golden Dawn magic. Now I have a healthy  respect for the first two and am much more comfortable with much of the Golden Dawn framework. I go back to old books and I'm awed by the things that I missed before, that made reference to things that I just ignored and didn't catch. And it amazes me now how much is in some of the books out there. They often point the way if you're willing to do the work and walk through the symbols and keys left for you. So for me, as this year ends and I look back over my path, I realize just how far I've come and yet how so much of what I initially held to be true and dear to me have only become more solidified through time and experience.I just needed (and still need) to learn to trust my experiences and internal knowledge more.

What about you? How has your sense of your spiritual path changed over time? And if you make New Year's resolutions, what is the one thing that you want to work on in terms of your spiritual life in the upcoming year?

Over the past year, I've really had to learn trust more and it's been a challenging lesson. I know I haven't talked about it much here, but trust is a big issue for me when growing a spiritual community. I often have a knee jerk, OMG flakey reaction to things that make me uncomfortable or tend to shut down when people expect me to open up and be vulnerable. Who knew, right?

So I think that going into the next year trust will continue to be a big lesson for me on my path, and I'm actually thankful to have built a community that accepts this about me and works around my reactions to help me find my way towards open heartedness. I wish for all of you out there, on similar albeit different journeys, that you find the same in your life in 2012.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me along the way, as I work my way through my own musings through art, journaling, and meditations. May 2012 be bright and blessed for all of us!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 47}

This week's prompt: Symbols

What do various symbols within your path mean to you?

As we move towards Yule, I find myself thinking about myths and stories, and the symbols that emerge from them. Joseph Campbell wrote about the hero of a thousand faces, he who descends into the darkness to emerge, reborn, bringing light and hope back into the world. I find this particular story and the symbolism of the hero, to be particularly apt at this time of year.

What does the symbol of the sun/son at Yule mean to you? What do other symbols (literal and metaphorical) within the tradition you follow, mean to you? Is this time of year literally about the rebirth of the God, or is it more than that? Often we get tied up in the idea of the Mother, Son, Father archetypes and fail to look beyond their literal meanings to the deeper truths they represent.

So this year, as you celebrate the wheel turning, and the sun's rebirth, I wish you all the love and blessings of the Goddess and God, and hope that the light and hope of their journey fills you and yours with joy.

Blessed Yule!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

this week I am: dec 5-11th

I'm posting this a little later in the week, but hey, better late than never!!!

The weather outside has been gloomy and warmer than expected for this time of year. The semester has finally come to an end and I think I just need a bit of time to breath and refocus now that the chaos has halted.

Of course, I say this with Christmas around the corner... oh the ironies of it all!

I wanted to start a new project with a giveaway but had to accept that honestly, it just wasn't going to happen, no matter how much I wanted it to be. So next year...

Maybe I'll write and photograph things during my holiday break. Wouldn't that be amazingly ahead of schedule? Crazy!

Working on a December Daily project and will share some photos soon. Trying to get gift giving sorted and have been on the phone a lot lately, playing catch up with family. Yay, I get to go home for a visit soon (Jan). Looking forward to spending some quality time with  Mom and my Grandma. Have I ever mentioned that I adore my Grandma? She's the bestest! So, holidays with the in-laws and birthday shenanigans in Jan with my favourite women (including my best girlfriend). That's what I've been up to lately. You know, plus all the meditating and spiritual stuff....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 46}

This week's prompt: family

As the holiday season starts to overtake our lives, and we contemplate the rebirth of the light, I find myself wondering a lot about family and spirituality. How many of us are "out" with our families? How many of us celebrate 2 holidays at this time of year, 2 traditions? How many of us try to merge the 2 together? And if so, do we do it successfully? 

Don't get me wrong, I think that Yule and Christmas overlap well, but it's in the little details that sometimes we find ourselves most challenged. Like, if you have children, what do you do with Santa Claus? Or most Christmas songs?

I don't necessarily think these things need to become huge issues, but as I contemplate having a child, my husband and I spend a fair amount of conversation time discussing (or sometimes avoiding, I'll be honest) these types of questions because we are an interfaith family, which makes finding an answer to many of these question all the more challenging.

How do you share your spirituality with your children? Your family? How do you navigate family events while staying true to your own ideals?


Friday, December 9, 2011

disappearing comments

Ok, so I wanted to upgrade my comment section in order to be able to respond directly to each comment and in so doing, removed all my comments from the viewable site. FRAK! But I have them all still, viewable to me. I will respond to recent comments and I'm sorry for all the lost public comments. Hopefully the new system will work well in the future!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 45}

This week's prompt: tradition

Are you part of a tradition? Do you think that being in a tradition is important?

When I first started exploring this spiritual path, it seemed like all I heard about was traditional Wicca. Of course, I know that many of you reading this blog are not Wiccan like me, but bear with me here...

I spent hours searching on the web, looking for links into traditional groups and information about the various branches of Wicca, almost desperate to find a path within a path that felt like the right fit. Eventually I became discouraged and gave up, moving towards eclectic paganism because it felt like there weren't really any other choices.

But then I started asking myself why I was so set on tradition anyways? Was it really that important? Especially given that I have always been a bit of an odd bird, ever resistant towards social convention. So why was I kowtowing to social, albeit fringe social, convention?

I knew then, as I know now, my quest for tradition wasn't because tradition was the all important, end all, be all for me, but rather, I was looking for informed, experienced teachers. And that, I believe, can be found in and out of tradition. And tradition itself is no guarantee of quality.

Of course, ironically, just when I gave up my quest for tradition, I found myself in a group full of lineage and tradition, albeit not in a conventional sense. Of course, me being contrary by nature, it comes as no surprise that this plays into how my path is unfolding. The Horned God does have a sense of humour and has always liked to laugh at my foibles!

But what about you? Do you think tradition and lineage is important? Have you had negative/positive experiences in a tradition?

And, just cause I like to stir the cauldron a bit, do you think that we can self-initiate?

Monday, December 5, 2011

this week I am {nov 28-dec4}

This past week was an interesting one, full of highs and lows.

I've been reading Signe Pike's Faery Tale, and being someone who has always been a bit fascinated with fairies, I find the book intriguing. Two fairy tattoos and Faye as a name... I wonder what gives me away!?! But, I'm not finished yet, so I'll wait before giving my full opinion on the text.

One of the questions I find myself asking though, in relation to this book, is whether or not it is safe to be searching out the fairies.

I'm of two minds on this topic. On one hand, they're there whether we can see them or not, so does it change much if we're actually aware of their presence? The answer of course, is yes. History has shown that you don't fuck with the fairies. Cause the fairies, they don't play nice, even when they like you they don't play nice.

I think there's an honest reaction out there towards the tendency to tell us not to dabble in areas where we are not ready to go, but then again, when do we know if we're ready? Is Signe, on her journey, being naive because she's seeking out something that we shouldn't mess with? Or proactive in going where angels fear to tread and taking charge of her own destiny? So often, experienced witches tell newbies to stay away from advanced magic for good reason but this can often end up feeling so restrictive, like a parent constantly monitoring over us. If someone feels called to the fairies, is it wrong to open that door, even if you don't know much about magic or protection, or .... fill in the blank with whatever thought popped into your head!

We all have stories about being told not to dabble, or dabbling and regretting it. What do you think, should we seek out the fairy or leave them alone?


Friday, December 2, 2011

art, sustainability, paying for web content

Ok, so today's post requires a bit of research! (or link love should you prefer to put a positive spin on it... you know, in case research doesn't float your boat like it does mine.. I'm a geek, I know this).

So. Here goes. Start with this article on selling vs giving away crafted creations. And then follow it with this video:


I'm trying to be neutral here, so I'm going to ask you what your thoughts are on such a system (taking into account that while they're different topics in some ways, at the core, they are the same).

I'm very curious to see what fellow internet people, crafters, and such think of such a plan. Do you think that it would help make the culture of free more sustainable? Does it have a place in the pagan-o-sphere?

This inquiring mind would love to know what you think!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 44}

This week's prompt: spirits

This page was totally inspired by these mummies,
which are cut out from a Halloween decor ad!

Do you believe in them? What do you understand spirits to be? I know these might sound like strange questions, but I'm always a little surprised by the different types of answers that I get when I ask them.

If you click to enlarge the picture, you'll notice
that there are word strips on the left hand side
that are actually the dictionary definition of spirit
What kind of experiences have you had with the spirits? I had an ex who did a fair amount of spirit work based on elements in his path, and through him, I learned a fair amount about certain types of spirits at all hours of the day and night, during our time and just after our time together. Suffice to say, I'm glad that things have settled because random spirit experiences, for me at least, were rather disconcerting!


Monday, November 28, 2011

this week i am {nov 21st - 27th 2011}

Viewing, Reading: I haven't really been viewing much this week. It's been a quiet week, full of reading! Yay for books. Real books at that. I spend so much time reading on my iPhone that I'd forgotten what it felt like to hold a book in my hands. I miss books.

Thinking, Feeling: about Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. And feeling full of them right now.

Creating: What am I creating? Not much. Stationery. It's been a quiet crafting week. But I did attend a scrap for the very first time and made cards with a group of other ladies.
Planning: New origami notebook adventures. And shhh, but I'm thinking about writing.
Listening: Iron and Wine. 
Realizing: That I'm really quite blessed in my life. I have an amazing husband who just bought me a plane ticket home for my birthday. Yay for loving wonderful husbands who recognize when a girl is just homesick for rain and wet weather.
Trying: To remember to follow my heart more.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

synchronicity and prizes!

A while back I entered a draw over at EcoYogini's blog and yay me, I won.

I never win online contests. I was so excited.

What did I win you ask?

Grainy iPhone photo of my new Inspiration rune bracelet
A handmade up-cycled rune fabric bracelet. She asked us what we needed most in our life at this time and I answered inspiration and creativity. I know, that might seem strange because I do so much art on this blog, but you know, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to keep the flow, flowing!

But then, there was an added perk: she sent me some yummy, local, spicy hot chocolate:

And this is where I get a little flabbergasted by synchronicity. Why you ask? Because I started started in on a hot chocolate kick the day before and now I'm currently obsessed with it. That might not seem like a weird thing, it's wintery around here after all. But it is cause I never drink hot chocolate. And now I'm all about it!

So while hot chocolate may not send your synchronicity radars all aflutter...  this is just one thing in a series of moments and events lately that make me feel a little like the gods are poking and prodding me, all in order to remind me that the universe is at work all around me and that I more connected than I think.

And that just makes my heart go squee... just a little...

Yay for pressies!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 43}

This week's prompt: magic vs mysticism

Wow! 9 weeks to go. That's just crazy. I can't believe that the year has passed by so quickly. If I haven't said it lately, thank you all for joining me on the adventure. It's been lovely hearing all your feedback, comments, etc.

Ok, back to the topic at hand!

This is something I've been thinking about a lot over the past few months. In fact, I spent most of the summer contemplating this issue and on some levels it filtered into my posts here. For a long time I've debated whether I was more drawn to a mystical or magical path, and whether the 2 could intersect or were mutually exclusive. And, if they are intersecting, how can I realize that in my path.

I spent a lot of time wondering why I even needed magic, if it was necessary for me spiritually. And honestly, the answer for me is no, I don't need magic and magic isn't a primary part of my spirituality.

I am, in fact, much more drawn to the Hermit figure, yet realize that such a path is not feasible for me in the life I lead. It's too extreme and my renunciation of the world wouldn't make for a happy marriage! Go figure. My husband just isn't on board with living in a yurt in the forest, meditating and doing yoga. Or moving to India and becoming a pagan, yogi, Mother/Father Teresa. And, let's face it, while it appeals to me in theory, in practice I would probably go a bit stir crazy.

That said, how then does the path of magic enhance my spirituality?

The answer, after much angst and indecision was simple: magic is a part of my studies towards mysticism and towards the divine. Once I realized that, I started to have an inkling as to how the 2 could work together for me. And I realized that all of my woe and searching was ridiculous because, the 2 are in fact, so incredibly interconnected that ever seeing them as separate was a fool's mission (that's what I think, you can disagree... I'm ok with that).

But this brings me to you, because it's not just all about me... (most of the time, but not always!) What moments of realization have been profound in their simplicity? Do you find yourself ever questioning the use of magic or mysticism in your path? Is one more important than the other? Or does one element not feature into your path at all?


Monday, November 21, 2011

this week I am: Nov 14-20th

This week has been busy but good.

For the most part my non-spiritual life has been filled with house details. We've been choosing our kitchen and dreaming up funky house numbers. All of which means that I've spent an inordinate amount of free time on pinterest and etsy

But that's also good because it's been feeding my creativity. I'm dreaming up way more crafting adventures than I can ever hope to finish before holiday gift giving comes around.

On my list this far (the realistic list):
  • Crochet slippers for my father in law
  • Painter/Baking aprons for my nephews
  • A mirror + frame for my brother in law and his girlfriend.
  • Advent calendars (which I better get off my ass and start doing asap)

What about you? Have you started in on holiday crafting? 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art Journal Page: Work in Progress

For a change of pace, I thought I'd share a bit of my art journaling process with you:

Normally for the pagan art journal project, I start off by picking out a scrapbook page that I can't stand the pattern of (you know, when you buy packs of paper and there are always ones you don't like).

See example:

You might like it, but I don't!
And the kit I bought has
4 copies of this sheet!
So normally I'll prime it with a coat (or 3) of gesso (thick white paint primer stuff for those of you who don't know what gesso is... I didn't a year ago)! Then I'll prepare the base background for my journaling page.

This is a combo of painted bubble wrap
and  an old toilet paper roll!
I'm not crazy with the amount of circles (big ones) are on this page, so I'll probably pass over it with a wash of colour to tone it down some before adding the top layer of drawing onto the page.

Sometimes, not always mind you, I get inspiration from other people and play with elements of their style to see if I can make it my own:

Image: KellyBarton

These are my attempts to play with this particular style:

Other things that influenced me as I was creating this page:

Image: KathrynWheel
Image: Frosted Petunias

From all of this in mind, I created this girl and this page:

Materials I used on this page: Glimmer mist, paint, paper, bubble wrap, felts, gel ink pens, and my fingers!

Next up, adding some journaling text! But since I'm a bit of a tease, I'm not going to share that with you until I post the page as a weekly prompt!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 42}

this week's prompt: what my path means to me right now

Since the last few weeks have been a bit of an upheaval for yours truly, I thought that this week's prompt should be a bit of a check in. 

So I spent some time thinking about what my path means to me, why I do this, and why I want to continue down this path.I think it's good to stop every now and again to assess, re-assess and restate your intentions/commitments because over time your position in relation to things change.

The Wicca that I practice today is very different than the Wicca I started exploring at 18-19. It's been 15 years now. How crazy is that? From my beginnings, reading and spending times in the woods, to studying with a group and exploring magic, to learning yoga and exploring reclaiming, to leaving any spiritual practice to focus on academia and relationships, to coming back to study with another group. All of those adventures down the path, each just as committed in their own way.

And yet, this time around is the first time that I feel different about things. This time around things are concrete and tangible, instead of being amorphous. This time, I'm ready and teacher has appeared. And it's been a challenging, long haul, but it's also been amazing.

What my path means to me right now is so incredibly different than it was 5, 10, 15 years ago.

Where are you on your path? What does it mean to you?


Monday, November 14, 2011

This week I am: Recap Nov 7-13th

This week things have been slowly looking a bit better!

I learned that the Moon in Aries is a very productive time for me. Taurus, not so much... I get a bit neurotic!

Work has started to settle. Got to play catch up with a good friend. Lost a little bit of weight and started eating healthier again.

I get to pick cabinets for my home this week, and feeling a bit more sane about my path-working as of last evening!

Good things abound...

It's been a week of just taking things easy. And easy has been good! Feeling very much restored after a day off of just crafting. Today I went back to my Qabala studies and have been manically searching the web for fun funky door number designs... which, in a funny piece of serendipity showed up in a blog post on Offbeat Home days before I found out that our house needs a number (i.e, not included and our responsibility).

Anyone got any fun, but tasteful (though taste is subjective) that will make my suburban home pop?

What about the rest of you?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 41}

this week's prompt: guardians of the watchtowers (elements)

Who and what are the guardians of the watchtowers for your? Do you invoke them in your circles (if you do circles)? I have to admit that the guardians have been difficult for me to work with and understand. 

I get them on an abstract level and my lit geek self still goes back to Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock when I think about the Elementals associated with the quarters.

Currently, I'm trying to strengthen my association and understanding of them in my world and in my circles. Anyone got any good tips?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pagan Path-working Tools

The other day I made this:

What is this you ask? Well, if you don't know, it's the Qabalah, which comes from the Jewish tradition (Kabalah) and it is so useful to study, particularly for those of us who use the tarot because the Rider Waite tarot, which informs so many other decks, is based on it.

In the close up below, you'll notice that there are numbers assigned to the spheres (sephira) and the paths between the spheres, which are represented by the tarot cards of the major arcana.

Don't get me wrong, the tarot isn't the only reason to learn about the Qabalah. There are many, many more reasons to study the Qabalah! Often students on this path dismiss the Qabalah as being too steeped in Christian/Hebrew lore for it to be useful, but I would argue that, in fact, Qabalistic studies have the potential of completely changing your perceptions of traditional western religions, and re-contextualize many tropes/ideas that often emerge in paganism. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't fond of the Archangelic/Angelic associations, nor the more Christian elements of the Waite tarot. Studying the Qabalah has really changed my perceptions. Dion Fortune claims that it is the western mystical equivalent to the Chakras, more familiar and attuned with the western mindset (Mystical Qabala). Ellen Cannon Reed talks about it as being an invaluable system for learning and focusing our pagan studies into self knowledge (and is thus, by extension, a great tool for learning magic and understanding divine mysteries) (The Witches Qabalah).

Are any of you out there working with the Qabalah? If yes, what sort of things do you do to help you learn it? What were some of your challenges with it along the way?


Monday, November 7, 2011

this week I am: oct 31 - nov 6

Reading: More on the Qabalah. I know, enough already!!! Also reading The Woman and the Ape, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll never just be a one book reader now that I read for multiple reasons: work, spirituality, pleasure!

Thinking & Realizing: About how we create our realities, either positively or negatively through our attitudes, hopes, fears, etc. One of the things that I’ve always found intriguing about the Hopes and Fears position in the Celtic Cross tarot reading, was that what might seem like a hope, can in fact be a fear. I might dream of “A” but in reality, be scared shitless about actually getting it. Lately this has been a big theme in my spiritual explorations. Things sort of needed to fall apart in order for me to really see that at the center of it all, was just me.  

Viewing: My iPhone kindle reader. Me and my iPhone have been spending far too much time together. I’m craving real books and even went used book shopping just to get my fix!

Creating: Pagan scrapbook pages. Art journal pages. It’s been a low key creativity week.

Planning: nothing. Just nothing. For now. But I suspect cupcakes are going to be made this weekend. Looking for some fun, birthday cupcake ideas. Any suggestions?

Trying: Trying to just calm down.  Which at first I failed miserably at, but am starting to feel like I’m making headway. Sitting down to meditate no longer makes my stomach churn with anxiety! That’s big process over the week, which started with me feeling sick any time I started any magical practice/training/ etc.

Feeling: Drained. Vulnerable.  It’s been a week of wrestling with feeling the need to shout out look at me, love me, love me and don’t look at me, get out of my bubble, run and hide, run and hide! Fun week! [she writes, super sarcastically]


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pagan faithbooking (scrapbooking)

I've been working on scrapbooking a lot lately. Not the witchy, book of shadows type, but just general scrapbooking about my spiritual path, thoughts, ideas, etc. In religions of the book this is sometimes called faithbooking, which is probably a bit of an odd term for a pagan, but for lack of a better expression...

On some levels I think of it as an extension of my This Week I Am project but maybe with a twist because this particular page documents my Qabalistic path-working. For those of you who have been following my adventures for a while now (thank you and a shout out of gratitude to new and old readers... so happy to have you visiting my humble abode), I've mentioned the Qabalah before as something I'm reading up on. Recently my Qabalistic studies have taken a much more serious turn and I've been thinking a lot about the Sephiras of the Qabalah and this page is a reaction to a realization that I made in relation to Malkuth and the enigmatic expression: "As Above, So Below" which I sort of understood before but feel more comfortable with now.


Suffice to say, I have a lot of thoughts not only about the Qabalah but also about this idea of spiritual scrapbooking from a pagan perspective.

Some of those thoughts include:

  • Supplies. The industry is fairly secular for the most part in terms of products that make up the majority of the market but let's be honest, Christianity is the largest domain within the more specialized market. And that's fine. I'm not here to begrudge that. Companies design for consumers and are there really enough pagan scrapbooking consumers out there who are interested in explicitly faithbooking?
  • What supplies would we want if we wanted them?
    • stamps
    • papers
    • stickers
  • What topics would a pagan spiritual scrapbook cover?
    • sabbats
    • esbats
    • studies/path-working
  • Are we better to draw on more "neutral" papers and "paganize" them ourselves?
  • Are there any resources or groups out there for pagan scrapbookers? Cause if there are, I don't know about them (at least not active groups) and I'd love to hear about them!