Monday, April 30, 2012

A Colourful Red World

Red. This post is a little later than normal but I think that's because I really have a lot to say about red. And honestly, I kind of feel like it's fitting that I post about red on May Eve.


On a very basic level red will always remind me of home. It's my mother's colour. I'm sure I've written about this before. So I'll spare you the long thought out version of this... Red = Mom, Love, Home, Security AND Passion, Anger, Lust, Fire, Energy...


Lately, I have to admit that I've been throwing myself a bit of a pity party. I know... I was all Pollyanna a few weeks back and then I got dark. Go figure. Highs and Lows... It's part of the cycle of creating balance. There just seems to be a cycle in my magical/spiritual path... just when I am about to come to a new realization, my whole world (i.e. self) conspires to throw up as many blocks as possible before letting them go and finding what I was looking for. 

This go around I totally back-lashed against friends, family, and community. I've been working a lot with water lately and the element has me dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. Shocking, I know! And apparently, my predominant emotion is resentment! 

Yeah. I know. That's not the emotion I really want to admit to. But there you have it. I am angry and resentful far too often, even though my heart really is filled with love. Or at least wants to be filled with love. So now I'm trying to figure out what is the cause of the resentment (or at least, my part in the creation of said resentment). This  led to the painting below, which focuses on Geburah on the Qabalistic Tree of Life:


Ok, I know this is a lot of information but I wanted to show how I was using the colour Red this week to really work through some of my pathworking. It's not an exact science. It's just part of my process. I needed to give form to the resentment, to focus it and find a way to make it good and as I write this, this sonnet by Edna St Vincent Millay comes to mind:


I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
Flood, fire, and demon --- his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him. He is nothing more nor less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess;
Or answer. I will only make him good.


I very much feel like this was my process last week. This was the journey that Red took me on.

What kind of journey, emotions, thoughts does Red do for you?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

today, just today, I am...


Creating: 
Cards. Birthday cards, to be specific. I seem to know a lot of people born in April. I recently tried my hand at quilling, which is fun. I just need to find ways to make it funky! I’m such a paper nerd!

Reading: 
The Golden Ass.
Just finished a bit of light reading: A Modern Witch. Witches on Parole (the series). They were fun.

Listening:
to nothing in particular, to be honest. I’m open to suggestions! 

Realizing & Feeling: 
Kind of volatile. One moment I’m up, up, up, and the next, low, angry, or resentful. Meditation and pathworking can be so very rewarding but I do find that it makes me more vulnerable to the lows at times. And that ok. I think it’s to be expected. After all, when we descend into the underworld, we have to give up the safety of the things that protect us in order to grow.

I’m working on it, but I admit that I’m not handling it all that gracefully at the moment. I’m really struggling to navigate the space between what is my own contribution to situations that upset me and just inherently part of the environment.

I’ve always been someone who wanted community. And now I have several. And I continue to struggle with the uneasy integration into community after years of going it alone. I’m being reminded of the fact that I’m more of a loner than I tend to see in myself. I’m also being reminded that for all people (including myself) tend to see me as a garrulous extravert, my heart is truly introverted in nature. I need down time. I do better in small intimate circles of friends who I trust implicitly than I do in larger groups that leave me unsure of how I fit.

I know, woe is me!

Within the context of my occult work, I always thought that finding community would make me happy and it does, but doesn’t at the same time. Who knew? I appreciate the need for secrecy, to an extent, but struggle with the boundaries that it creates in my life. I often feel caged in by my inability to talk to others about various issues (hell… I’m already probably violating the idea of secrecy just by writing this down). But even though I’m an introvert, I’m also someone who finds her way through talking things out. And I really hate that I don’t feel like I get to talk things out anymore, which sort of drives me crazy.

But here’s where the paradox really lies: I always thought that I would talk about these things with my group (and I do a bit, but mostly don’t). And the thing is, is that I could, in all likelihood, talk about these things with individuals in my community but I find it so difficult to navigate the ins and outs of group dynamics that I often shut down and keep things to myself instead of airing what I feel called to explore. That’s my fault, no one else’s. It’s my reaction that has created the boundaries around me. But now that they are created, I’m not quite sure how to break them down in a healthy way.

So I kind of feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t because I want community but really seem to be uneasy with the process that goes with building community, which, quite frankly, is making me feel a little like a caged bear at the moment. 

Have any of you struggled with these feelings? I find myself going between the idea that it shouldn't be so hard and the idea that I'm the one standing in my own way. Gah... it's making me crazy!


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Monday, April 23, 2012

let me introduce you to my new kitchen!

So we still have a few months to go, but I am just so excited that I have to share a photo of our newly finished, soon to be our very own, kitchen:

yes, that is a blurred out me!

Isn't it beautiful?  I'm so excited! Look at that backsplash... I'm in love.

Want to see a close up? Of course you do:

now just imagine red pops of colour against this backdrop!

It's really dusty (hence the fact that my hand is filthy in the image above). If you look at the areas where the tile is actually black, you'll see the truer colouring of the tiles (cause that's where I wiped it cleaner).

I have always wanted a mosaic tile backsplash. I never thought I'd do it in black tones, but life takes us to odd places sometimes. The tiles are locally made (in my province), as are the cabinets and all the products used to construct them, so there is a small bit of sustainability in the carbon footprint that is our new home. :(  Though the cabinet knobs and other finishes are unlikely to be done locally.

It's a bit of a hard balance, trying to build an eco sustainable home, live in the modern world, and afford it all! We're trying to do what we can in small ways but I admit that overall... the new home isn't the most sustainable choice I've made in my life.

But moving back to the squee bit... isn't my new kitchen beautiful? :) Yay, only 2 more months (max) to go before the big move. I can hardly wait. Honestly, the combination of having my little brother living with us for 2 years (he moved out for school in Sept) and living above my in-laws for 2 years has been challenging on our relationship. I'm very proud to say that we've survived it and have learned a lot about each other and our adaptability, boundaries, and strengths as a couple in the process. Now that the end is in sight, I can taste the relief and impatience that we're both feeling right now while we wait impatiently to move on from living underfoot of our families (mine and his).

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Friday, April 20, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest


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Pagan Art Journal: A Colourful Purple World

Purple!


When I was younger, I didn't really get what all the fuss about purple was. It was just another colour. Now, however, if you were to take a look at my wardrobe, you'd see that a big chunk of it is purple.




source
The thing is, I'm not always sure what I think of purple yet. What does it mean? The typical responses are spirituality, royalty. But since I'm not royal (at least not to my knowledge and I think I'd know), I'm trying to figure out what purple means to me spiritually or otherwise.

It doesn't sooth me or nurture me. It doesn't energize me or calm me. It does something in between. Which makes sense since it's a union of red and blue.


source

In the chakra system, purple is the colour of the crown chakra, the metaphysical third eye which deals with wisdom and union with the universe. In the qabalistic system, it is the colour of yesod, the sephira that is meant to unite us with the gods and our higher self, beyond the mundane, earthly realm. The similarities are pretty astounding between both systems.

What I'm currently contemplating though is this: what does it mean when one system ends with that union and the other essentially only really begins with that system? Dion Fortune indicated that the Qabalah was in many ways, the beginning steps for westerners to get to the same place where eastern mysticism starts. And yet, the way they understand purple seems at odd with that, doesn't it? Who knows really, I don't have an answer and I wouldn't even dare to start trying to have one. I just think it's pretty damn cool that both systems understand purple as vibrating to similar meanings, even if they are slightly different in terms of placement and nuanced meanings.

What do you think? Does purple reflect the same feelings and meanings for you?

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Friday, April 13, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest

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Pagan Art Journal: A Colourful Yellow World

This week I want to talk about YELLOW


I actually had the oddest experience while painting this page in comparison to others. I wrote all about in the journal page. As you can already see, I don't have any set formula for the pages... I'm just writing what comes to me as I do them!

What does yellow inspire in you? Make you feel, think of, etc????

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

scrapbook book of shadows

Scrapbooking a Book of Shadows...

I'm still struggling with figuring out how to do this in a way that pleases me. "Traditional" scrapbook pages in the sense of modern scrapbooks, don't quite do it for me because I want them to have a more authentic vintage feel to them.

This is my latest attempt to make it work:


Here's the thing though: I really struggle with the idea of writing it all down and posting the images on my blog. I'm not and never will be, someone who wants to blog about spell work or the more specific elements of my practice. And yet, how on earth do you blog about creating a BOS without doing that?

Yeah, it's a bit of a conflict of interest.... And I end up feeling a little cagey for hiding things... I'm working on figuring it out but so far, the answers still escape me!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

how to stay open hearted in a cynical world

I don’t know if you've ever noticed this in your life, but this is something I've been chewing on and experiencing a lot lately in my little corner of the world.

The more I open my heart, the more people seem to want to walk all over it.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not jaded. I’m not even complaining. I’m just sort of noticing a trend that seems to be emerging lately.

For example, just in the past few weeks I have had several experiences that have burned me.

In the first, I purposely sought out an individual who I struggle with in terms of a certain aspect of her personality. This aspect drives me bonkers to the point that it is overriding everything else in our friendship. I thought it would help to try to connect with her, one on one, in order to remember the things I like about her. I was trying to be proactive and fix something that really upset me by remembering the good things about her.

FAIL.

We had a lovely visit until it all fell apart and just like that I was right back where we started. I was angry with myself for letting her do that to me and jaded by my attempt to reach out and try to mend a relationship with loving kindness. (You know, in a very simplistic, reductive sense of the meaning: treating your "enemies" with kindness…)

I know that I will get past it eventually and learn to accept her for who she is in the end, but in the meantime I will have to work on dealing with my reactions to her. And I react to her. Really, really react because  I find her to be someone who talks the talk but isn't walking it so much. And I get that we will all waiver along the way and fuck up. But until she figures out how to be a spiritual friend without harming others through her insecurities, I know that I will need to take a step back.

Sometimes an open heart can only stay open by remembering when to retreat when necessary. And in this case, this is a moment to retreat and let go of my own expectations and reactions. Which of course, I don't find that easy to do!

And yet, that said, I have another friend who would take the piss out of me for being so "Oprah" in my approach to this issue. And that's where I really want to go with this post: What do you do with the people in your life who demand that you live more open heartedly, only to mock you for your earnest, heart on sleeve self when you do?

You see, I'm not someone who expresses her feelings often. In fact, I often suspect that many of you would be surprised by how aloof I would seem to you in real life. Opening up and sharing my truest heart is not something I do lightly. I wasn't raised in a family that valued such behaviour. I am the sentimental one in my family, and yet, my friends all find me cold, sarcastic, temperamental. As I work to let my guard down and live a life that reflects my ideals and love for others, I find it challenging when I come up against these roadblocks. I struggle with knowing how to stay true and open in the face of such cynicism and reactions.

Growing up on the west coast, I have always had an innate knee jerk reaction to being perceived as new age flakey. But so much of what comes from the heart, for me, is expressed rhetorically in terms that I grew up with in my immediate environment, which is very much new agey. I am a child of the west coast, 90s, new age movement. While I believe in science, I also think there are things that transcend it. I like crystals and believe wholeheartedly that what you put out there can come back to you.

So how do we learn to build up a thicker skin while trying to live whole hearted, vibrant lives in a cynical modern world? This is something I find myself pondering a lot these days! Any thoughts?

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Monday, April 9, 2012

this week I am: april 4th-april 9th 2012

This week I am confuzzled!



So it hasn't been a great week for my practices (other than the Full Moon) but it has been a big week in terms of striving to live my ideals and remember to let my beliefs carry me through the more challenging moments.

You might expect me to go on to talk about Easter and my Catholic in-laws. Alas, if only it were that simple. No, my problems this past week have to do with me navigating the treacherous waters of fertility charting, late periods, and negative pregnancy tests leaving me more than a little perplexed.

Too Much Info Alert: stop now if you don't want to read about pregnancy stuff!

See, I know it's not infertility because I know that we can have a baby. In fact, the one fuck up I have ever made in terms of fertility (rather, we made 4 years ago), I became pregnant and we decided to have an abortion for reasons that are entirely our own and not up for discussion (or rather, judgement because lord knows I've gotten a lot of that over our decision). So that said, I always assumed it would be easy for us to get pregnant because it was so simple last time.

This time however, is turning out to be a bit more challenging. And that's ok. I'm not in a rush and I'm ok with whatever happens. We're in month 3 of trying and I know it can take time. And I'm ok with the time it takes because it gives me (us) more time to be really emotionally and mentally prepared for this next stage in our life together. It's just that my little type-A Capricorn self is sweating the details a bit. Particularly because she just doesn't really understand what IS going on if she's not preggers!

I mean, I charted. I know my body (or thought I did). I'm taking the folic acid. We're having "naked yoga" time when needs be (and a bit extra for fun and good measure) :P And now I'm 7 days late (and I'm NEVER late). I've missed a period ONCE in my life when I was around 15 (read, 20 years ago).  I've taken 4 tests starting from my expected period date to this morning. They are all negative. My charting indicates it's unlikely that I'm preggers.

And yet. I'm nauseous. And cramp-y. And late.

Ok, so maybe I'm having an imaginary pregnancy? It happens and let's face it, as a magical person I should know, more than most, what the power of the mind is. But the thing is... I'm not THAT invested in being preggers. I mean, ok, I care and I'm paying attention. But really... am I that neurotic about it? No. I've been more neurotic about other things in my life and never missed a period.  Work is not that stressful. My health is generally good.

So now I'm left wondering... what's up? And that has made my week a difficult one. It's caused me to question the power of my mind, the lessons I should be taking from this, and work on remembering that we should never assume anything. In some ways, the experience makes me feel a little like it's a lesson to remind me that nothing worth having necessarily comes easily. And I was on the fence about motherhood for a long time, so the process is a good one for me to go through as I learn more and more that it is indeed something that I want at this point in my life.

But here's the thing: I would just like to know what's up. You know? And unfortunately, I'm not going to have time to make it to the doctor's office until next week.

Oh well, good things come to those who wait, right?

How was your week?

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Pagan Art Journal: A Colourful Blue World

Ok, so I'm off to a fresh start and with it, I thought I'd talk about BLUE.

Pagan Art Journaling: It's a Blue World
 please ignore the mess in the background!

What does blue evoke for you? If you do this prompt, leave a comment by Thursday next week (April 12th) and I'll blog about it!

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quote of the week

via pinterest


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

volunteer community building projects


A while ago I mentioned that I wanted to become engaged and volunteer in my community. After a lot of hard seeking, I realized that I was looking too hard and not focusing on my immediate community. Much like donating money to Women for Women, Kiva, or Save the Children (all of which I do), I was focusing my energies outside of my home, without really seeing what the need is right in front of me.

Please note, before I continue, that I love my participation with all of these organizations. I endorse them (and am not paid to do so), and have really been happy to be involved in such worthy projects.



That said, I think it’s important to help out in your own backyard too, which was my goal when I talked about my volunteering locally goal. I looked at various organizations and just felt daunted by working my way into them and trying to sell the idea of building something from the ground up.

And then I realized I have things that I am very passionate about within my own work environment that I would like to see nurtured and grown into bigger projects.  These projects, if further developed, would help support and nurture students in my own community, while being built on the network I have at my disposal and taking some extra tlc on my part to get off the ground.

Funny isn’t it that I look to others to build things that I can build in my own backyard?

So right now I’m working on nurturing 2 work projects that will extend beyond my job:

  • Student Ambassadors who go out and talk about what it is like to have a disability: their challenges, their accomplishments, and their ambitions, in order to show that having a disability doesn’t mean that you are unable to accomplish great things in your life.


  • Support for Adult Immigrant Students in order to help their transition both emotionally and academically into my local community (school and city). One of the things I hear so often from my immigrant students is that they feel isolated in Canada. Yes, we are a multicultural nation, but in moving here, my adult students go through so much as they attempt to integrate and rebuild their lives in Canada. So we’re going to create a mentoring program that works after school, pairing Canadian students with recent(er) immigrant students to help ease the isolation, confusion, and language barriers that come up in the process.


So those are my current community building/volunteer projects, taking place right in my backyard! (or work yard… whatever, you know what I mean)!

What about you? What kind of things are you building in your own communities, volunteer based or otherwise?


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Monday, April 2, 2012

lessons from nature




So the other day I was sitting, bored, in church. Have I mentioned that my husband and his family are Catholic, which means that little ol’ me drags her sorry ass to mass approximately 2x a year to play nice with the in-laws? (Ok, now I have, moving on).

Where was I? Oh yeah, church, bored…

So I started thinking about things. You know, like how stained glass it pretty and I really should wear my fresh water pearls more.

You know, important stuff.

When I was struck by this thought (bear with me… it might take a bit of explaining):
I was struck by how marvellous pearls are.

Clams get a grain of sand inside, which irritates them enough to respond by forming these layers upon layers of a shell to coat that grain and reduce the irritation. They take something that is a hardship of sorts and create beauty for others.

I don’t know about you, but to me there seems to be a lesson in that about remembering treat hardships with action and gentleness in order to create something new for yourself and others. I don’t know… it struck me as a very lovely thought about the things that nature has to teach us if we take the time to notice them.

So yeah, pearls… pretty dang amazing!



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