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!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 40}

this week's prompt: guided visualization

When I first started out on my new age adventures, guided visualizations were all the rage and were in fact, the only way I could meditate! 

The first time I was taught guided visualization, it was actually my 9th grade science teacher who showed us how to use guided visualization as a coping mechanism for exam anxiety. Yes, I appreciate the irony behind that fact! But it was amazing and probably the best guided visualization instruction I ever received because he counselled us to make the destination space within the visualization our very own. While I envisioned a quiet walk in the forest, stopping to sit at a bridge by a creek with my feet in the water; my best friend was all over a sunny beach party with friends. (I guess opposites do attract on more levels than one!).

Since then, the most common guided meditation that I heard, in the various places and people that I met, from the new age shop in Victoria, to the Reclaiming group I took a course with years later, was the grounding tree visualization, which I'm sure is familiar enough to many of you out there. Since then I've moved away from strict guided visualizations, but use visualization based on particular guidelines on a regular (daily) basis.

What about you? What's your favourite visualization? How often do you use them in your practice?