Tuesday, December 31, 2013

one little word 2014: health

Every year, for the past 3 years, I've chosen a word to set the tone for the year. The first year I chose nurture, then balance, and finally story.

baby Faye & I have big goals this year
Nurture was all about nurturing creativity. I really started this blog (instead of dabbling) that year. I started thinking about ways to nurture both my creative and spiritual self through community in 2009. I think that I leapt in, somewhat too quickly, in my enthusiasm in at times burned bridges because I hadn't sussed out the lay of the land yet. But it was a good year, full of rewards and lessons learned.

Balance was about trying to find a better balance between the leaps I'd taken and my every day life (work, marriage, coven, creativity). I honestly lost sight of this word and while I don't know that I failed per se, I definitely didn't find the balance I set out to find.

Story was the perfect word for 2013 as our story as a family changed drastically this year. The first half of the year was about preparing and also making time to do things together as a couple before Baby Faye arrived. From going to a roller derby show to prepping the nursery and brunches to art gallery exhibits the first half of this year's story was full of fun adventures. The second half was expectedly less adventurous in the typical sense of the word but still quite the roller coaster ride.

This year I'm choosing Health as my focus of the year. I would like to have health in a few aspects of my life, namely: physical, spiritual, and financial.

  • Physical: I haven't mentioned it here (other than in a reply to a comment) but during and post pregnancy, I've learned that I have gallstones and a few other minor health issues that have left me thinking a lot about my overall health. The gallstones were a bit of a surprise because honestly as a vegetarian my diet isn't so fatty that it was an expected health condition. But closer analysis at my eating habits and my sedentary lifestyle over the past few years has me more aware of how things need to change in that regard if I want to be actively involved in my son's life, particularly as an older mom. So 2014 is a year of rethinking my eating, exercise and overall physical health. My husband is on board as he is also looking at his own health and realizing that he wants to be in better health for our son. We're meal planning, trying to eat more real foods, and trying to clean up our eating habits. I'm not sure what he plans to do for physical exercise but one thing at a time.
  • Financial: Gah. I hate money. I hate thinking about it or talking about it but there you have it. By the end of 2014 I want to have next to nothing on my credit card and plan on reducing my credit limit significantly as it only gets me into trouble. Every. Single. Time! So each time that I reduce my debt there, I'm calling the credit card company and getting them to lower the limit. This is the year of limited spending. Less on crafts, less on clothing, less on everything!
  • Spiritual: This is a  little vaguer. For now it involves carving out some daily rituals that nurture my sense of spiritual well being as I move away from coven/community based spirituality. It involves opening myself up to the universe and trusting that if I listen, I will find what I need, as I need it. And with that, one of my big goals towards establishing spiritual health is working on uniting my everyday self with my spiritual self. I'm so tired and frustrated by the schism that marks my spiritual nature. I'm exhausted by downplaying or neutralizing my spiritual path in order to make it politely comfortable and acceptable for others. So this year, the goal is to find ways unite my spiritual path with my daily life in ways that won't have people telling me that they just assume I'm an Atheist because I don't seem to have a religion. This has created what feels like a wound in my psyche and it's got to go. 
So those are my health goals for the year ahead. What are yours? 




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Monday, December 30, 2013

Yule and the stories I'll tell Baby Faye about this holiday

As a pagan mom in a mixed faith family, I've spent a great deal of time this holiday season thinking about the stories I'm going to tell Baby Faye about this season as he grows. Admittedly I've spent a great deal of time this season with my knickers in a knot, freaking out about my space in a family that doesn't share my beliefs and tends to override them.

It's not been an easy month.

I mentioned earlier that I was given a rather fun moment of enlightenment via a Mini Cooper car ad, but me being me, and prone to a great deal of angst, epiphany moments don't ever completely chill the woe beast in me. I'm a complex, over-thinker by nature. It is what it is, and I've made my peace with it, even if it means I always take the hard or long way to come to terms with my life lessons.

Anyways, that's not really what I want to think about at the moment. What I'm contemplating are stories that talk about Yule from a pagan perspective. I'd like to find a good children's book that does a nice job of talking about the season in a way that is mainly pagan but also respectful of Christianity as my son is going to be exposed to both. Ideally I'd like the story to show the overlap of the two, in a way that shows that no matter what you believe, there is a core truth there and that's the important thing.

Anyone have any good recommendations? Cause I'm thinking that if I can't find it, I might have to figure out a way to create it for my son.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

practicing practice

If you'd seen my practice/craft room lately, you'd not be surprised by my confession that my creativity and practice have sort of taken a backseat to the chaos that feels like my daily life. This is partly due to the fact that holiday crafting took over, but honestly, it was a longer process that lead to the chaos that currently is.

view from my creative/practice space

With that in mind, I've been slowly trying to work my way through the dumping grounds that my space has become of late so that I can get back on track again with my rituals of creativity and meditation. I feel like trying to build a practice in the space, as it is with it's clutter, would be completely counter-intuitive to my aspirations.

I'm trying to take a conscientious approach to how I bring these elements back into my life as I feel that they are so important to me but an area that I have struggled with during the past year due to pregnancy, motherhood, and various spiritual crises.

Over the past months I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my practice to look like these days. More thinking than doing, partly due to the nature of baby Faye's erratic schedule, partly due to my own erratic mind. Cleaning out the space feels a bit like cleaning out my erratic mind, make room for spirit and creativity to creep back in.

I'll admit that I'm a little nervous about it. I'm worried about making it work, creating something that is uniquely my own and making it stick. This morning, as I was reading T. Thorn Coyle's Crafting a Daily Practice, she wrote this, which really spoke to where I am at, at this moment: "Can we think of our time commitments as a practice, rather than an end product or chore." I feel like it's so easy to get caught up in the idea of where I should be, what I should be doing, rather than being present in the now, doing the work for the work's sake, and appreciate what that brings into my life every day instead of what the long term goals might be.

So as I clean up my space, I'm trying to take the time to be present in the act, remembering that sometimes just making the space is a worthy practice, imperfect in nature, but perfect as it is, and that is just fine. Right now, instead of trying to carve out the perfect practice, I'm just practicing, figuring things out and that act is sacred in and of itself.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

yule crafting extravaganza

Phew, I've been busy these days! I'm trying to make this a crafty Yuletide season, which means that yours truly has had her hands occupied for weeks now! Between baby, baking, stitching, gluing, etc., it's been a festive chaos.

Here are a few of my creations:

Handmade Holiday Cards:


First Holiday Ornament:


For the grandparents, brother, godparents, us.... and then custom made ones for friends in gold, green, pink, blue, etc. Thinking about selling these in my etsy shop next year. I just need to convince my husband and father in law that they totally want to cut that many wood blocks for me!

Homemade chai (delicious)



Next time I make it, I think I'll make it in bulk and can it as the recipe doesn't have a long shelf life apparently. But overall, it tastes delicious and was a hit with the friend I gave it to.

Added perk, the house smelled yummy and festive while simmering.

Aprons for my nephews:


These are still a work in progress (and full of mistakes but my nephews are forgiving).  They've become interested in Master Chef Jr so we're giving them cookbooks and aprons. Hopefully they'll like them!

Cookies:


I've actually turned this amazing feat and formed a community of mothers in my area. Women I don't know that I would necessarily have befriended outside of motherhood, but an amazing wealth of support and friendship, in person (not online), to help me get through the bumps of motherhood. Such a blessing and an answer to a call that I put out to the universe in my darker hours.

And last but not least, decorating our home for the holidays:


Kitty Faye, as always, was in the midst of it all, determined to be seen and loved, and most importantly, not forgotten because Baby Faye has taken her spot in the limelight. Yes, we are nurturing a bit of furbaby jealousy these days! Thankfully Baby Faye is becoming a bit less dependent (as in he'll play with his toys on our rainbow floors - which, as one friend puts it, looks like a rainbow vomited in our living room - she has the matching set) so now there's more time for kitty love.

That said, I hope you all had a lovely full moon and that your days as the light gets ready to become stronger again, feel full of love and hope.

Blessings of the season.


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Monday, December 2, 2013

how the universe conspires to teach yours truly via a Mini Cooper ad

Don't you just love it when it feels like the universe (gods) conspire to deliver you the one perfect life lesson through the most random sequence of events and/or people?

I know I do.

Recently I've had myself all tangled up in knots over what has felt like a blocked conversation with my husband over the Christian vs Pagan holidays at this time of year.

As a new mom, but even beyond that, as a new family/home owner, I have this burning desire to carve out some of the traditions that will define this season for us together in our home, with our family, as a family.

This has created a fair bit of anxiety in me lately because honestly, it is so easy for all of my practices to get shoved under the rug in the face of family traditions, his and mine, and the easier surface traditions of society and the season. After all, I love Christmas and always have. I love lighting the advent candles every Sunday leading up to Christmas. I love advent calendars. I love the lights and the songs, etc, etc.

But what do you do when you're a pagan and you're trying to make sure that the holidays don't just become all about the Christian celebration? It's easy to fall into that trap because let's face it, most of us (not all) have families who follow the Christian celebration (even if they celebrate it secularly).

So what does all this have to do with the universe conspiring to hand deliver a message to yours truly?

Background context? I suppose I could just get to the point and tell the damn story already though, couldn't I?

Ok, point of context: yours truly was freaking out about holiday traditions and feeling the need to assert/insert herself and her traditions into the season but struggling to find ways that would flow.

After meditating on it (didn't work, just got pissier with Mr Faye), I turned to my best friend to hash it out. She listened patiently and then said, "I had an interesting conversation with my Dad today that I think can help".

Here's the gist of it:

Her Dad's boyfriend is studying marketing and he came home to talk to her Dad about the advertising campaign for the mini Cooper being all based on being different, ie selling difference as an identity of choice.


Now the boyfriend really didn't take the conversation beyond the commentary on the branding being done. But this conversation between partners led to my best friend and her Dad having a conversation about our obsession as a society with being different only to ultimately end up being the same in the end. Because we all want to be unique, and many of us actively seek out to not be the norm, only to create a new norm.

Once upon a time, it wasn't normal to have tattoos. Now it's almost a rite of passage and abnormal not to have tattoos. Or piercings. Or funky hair colors. [insert whatever new common trend you can think of].

Ultimately the point he was making to her was that we need to question why we are seeking the different. Is it to rebel against what is, or is it to stand up for something that is genuinely important.

So after my freak out, my best friend pointed out this: is the 21st vs the 25th that important? Or is the meaning and message more important. Or because she's all about the self-help counselling stuff: the feeling that is being manifested (seriously, I miss BC and my BC hippie/yuppie world).

And it was like the gates opened and the weight lifted from my chest. Because I was fighting over peanuts. In the end, the traditions that we create will matter more in terms of the meanings we teach and imbue in them than the dates we choose to celebrate them on. I don't need to make it about the Solstice vs Christmas. It can be both, intertwined, in an easy flowing exchange. I don't have to fight so hard to assert myself, I'm already there.

And somehow, an ad campaign for a car, and the perfect timing and openness of each person in the chain of conversation, led to me having my epiphany and receiving the message I needed to hear.

Fuck I love how the Universe works. I really do. The answers are there if you're open to them. I just tend to be so busy beating my head against the brick wall that I miss them. But not today. So thank you. I feel truly blessed and awed by it all.

Here's hoping that the Universe is flowing well in your pocket of the world. Much love and season's blessings as the light and days prepare to lengthen again.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

baby and syncing/grounding energies

Before Baby Faye was born, I would do regular grounding/syncing energy practices. Picture the famous tree meditation and you'll get a something of an idea of what I was doing, on some level. My practice had me a bit less focused on rooting and more focused on tapping into a universal energy current.

During some of my hardest moments with Baby Faye, I've gone back to that practice, pulling on that current, to help calm myself, relax, and let go of my frustrations. It has been invaluable for me as a new mother struggling with her feelings of post partum resentments (which I've spoken about before).

And somewhere along the way I've started noticing how the practice, when done with Baby in my arms, impacts him and how I tap into his energies.

When I use this exercise to relax, it almost always leads to him relaxing too. Yes, I know, this seems like a no brainer and something that might be just common sense because he calms down when I calm down.

But there's a catch, because when I pay attention to his energies while I'm doing it, I realize how completely synced our energies are. How, despite the cord being cut, he is so very much still attached to me. And that during this exercise, his energy pulses completely in sync with my own. That he is part of my own energy field, a small ball of additional energy, in tune with my own. He is his own, and yet, flows with me.

It's amazing and intriguing. And totally makes sense but surprising at the same time. I wonder if the same happens when he is with his father. I wonder if energy flows between his Dad and I in the same way when we are in sync. My husband is far to skeptical of my hippie dippy ways to patiently let me figure this out, so alas, I'll likely never really know!

I find myself wondering if this will always be this way, or if he will outgrow it as he learns of himself as a self/entity other than me.

I suppose that time will only tell. But in the meantime, I'm quite enjoying the side benefits of my relaxation/grounding exercise: calm, sleepy baby! Bestest baby sleep routine ever...



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Monday, November 25, 2013

building a new routine post baby

Baby Faye hit the 4 month mark recently (where did the time go) and this particular milestone is important because it means that he's starting to settle into patterns. Those patterns might be in flux for a while, but things are starting to have a shape to them around here and I have a better sense of what I can expect in my day.

After 3 + months of anything goes, this is an amazing place to finally be at. Why? Because it means that slowly but surely, my life is starting to have a pattern to it. It means that I can start reintegrating or introducing practices into my daily life.

Why yes, that is my freakishly large big toe :)   Getting back to my mat = happy morning meditation

For now I'm keeping it simple. I'm working on doing a bit of yoga in the mornings. Sun Salutations to start the day, followed by a bit of time in Corpse Pose to get in touch with the energies around me. Once I get that in as a routine, I'm hoping to try some Moon Salutations to end my day. I don't know how well these will work out for me though because I've always struggled with end of the day routines.


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

oil pulling adventures: day one

I've been reading about oil pulling for a while now and have been meaning to try.

While today I started. I used high grade oil, combined with lemon essential oils, as recommended by this essential oil blogger. I added 4 drops of lemon oil to 4 oz of olive oil, and then took 1 tablespoon of the mix. When it hit my mouth I wasn't too thrilled, but churning it around activated the lemony flavour.


And it lasted for about 2 minutes before it hit my gag reflex. Like, really hit my gag reflex.

Interesting to note though, when I spat out the oil, it was opaque.

What have I learned from this first attempt?

That maybe I should be using a different oil? Though I can't quite figure out how one would use coconut oil as it's solid (or at least any time I've seen it in a store, it's solid). Honestly, the thought of melting it before using it seems like a step too many. I'm all about a process being easy in order for it to be successfully integrated into my routine. But I read in her comments section that the oil melts in your mouth super fast so maybe it wouldn't be so bad?

Add more essential oil into the mix. I was being conservative with the oils because I'm just starting with ingesting essential oils and am probably being a little too cautious as I figure my way around. I might also add some of the Thieves oil that I have into the mix. I'm leery of doing it with clove oil as I've heard it be quite strong (though I plan on using on Baby Faye when he starts teething so maybe I should try it)!

Anyone out there do oil pulling? Have any tips?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

patterns and life lessons

Do you ever catch yourself repeating the same patterns in your life?

I do.

A lot! In fact, I catch myself doing this the most in my friendships. While all my friends are different from one another, there is this weird overlapping in "types" of people that I do in my life.

National Museum, London
For example, I always have this one opinionated, hard to mix with others friend. First there was M, now there is G. I love G but she is very hard to introduce to others. A lot of people are put off by her because she can be so opinionated. And yet, she's really a wonderful person. But the combination of being opinionated and being very sensitive makes it hard to disagree with her.

I also have E who is a new type of K in my life. She is strong willed, confrontational, chatty, and fun. We have great, honest, spiritual conversations and I love what she brings into my awareness, even though sometimes she does so with a double edged sword.

And finally there is J, who is like R, who was like S. (Are you following me so far). All of whom have been some of my bestest friends. Amazing, kind, generous, soul mate type friends. While at the same time being unreliable, thoughtless, and driving me batty types of friends. You know, if they were just one or the other, you'd keep them or ditch them, but the combination of the two keeps you coming back for more. And I do. Every single time. Even after the friendship is over because it makes me sad to lose these people in my life because when they're good friends, they're amazing friends. You know? They're the kind of friends who just get you and yet, can take the most advantage of you.

more National Museum
This overlap in types, particularly the last one, has gotten me thinking a lot about what I'm supposed to be learning. Because honestly, if I keep repeating the pattern, I think there's a reason for it and there's a lesson to be had from it karmically.

What I'm trying to figure out right now, is what that lesson is meant to be. Is it:

  • Learning to set boundaries
  • Letting go and not beating a dead horse
  • Accepting others for who they are
  • Not letting others treat me poorly

I feel like the answer is somewhere in between all four answers, and yet, I'm driving myself crazy with it. If I were watching anyone else in this situation, I tell them to drop the friend because that person treats them so poorly, and yet, I recognize in my own friendship that while I am being treated poorly, there are still things I love about the friendship in question.

And therein lays the problem. In typical Faye reaction, I am loathe to let go of something that I still love even if I know that it isn't necessarily in my best interest to keep it. The fact that I keep repeating this theme in my life obviously means that it's one of those big life lessons I need to master. But damn it, I'm really struggling with it!

What patterns seem to repeat in your life and what do you suspect you're supposed to be learning from them?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

talking it out or keeping quiet

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my patterns of behaviour. I've always thought about who I am as a person, but motherhood has shifted some of the ways that I see myself and the areas in my life that I want to focus on.

All my life I've been a staunch believer in the school of thought that the best way to deal with a problem is to hash it out with friends. I'm a talker. I will hash things out several times, with different friends, repeatedly before finding closure on an issue.



But recently I've noticed that all this talking doesn't actually ever make me feel better. Ok, sometimes it does. But most of the time, it actually makes me angrier. More worked up. Resentful. Self-righteous or indignant.

You get the picture. So when recent events conspired to bring about another scenario in Faye land that would normally have me heading to the phone to hash it out with friends, this time I opted for a different approach. When I felt my blood starting to boil, I pulled back and meditated instead. I worked on letting go, breathing, and accepting that while I didn't like it, it wasn't worth getting so worked up about.

And you know what? I felt a whole lot better, a lot faster, than I normally do in these types of situations.

Now I'm not saying that you should always stay silent or that meditation will work in all scenarios, but I am starting to see how maybe I might need to let go of old patterns of response in order to feel more contentment in my life. Hey, it's worth a shot, right?


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

the ethics of spiritual goods

A recent conversation has left me wondering about the social implication of spiritual goods coming from China (or some other foreign country). What does it mean when we decorate our homes with religious icons, banners, etc., made by individuals in these countries for sub-par wages, in unethical conditions?


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I'm sure that for many individuals this isn't something they worry about or even care to worry about, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. You see, I have this Buddha statue that I bought ages ago from a dollar store. Yes, a total score... $1 for a pretty golden Buddha. I was pretty stoked at the time.

These days however, I find myself always aware of the statue's origins when I look at it and it bothers me. Not that it's from a dollar store, but that it was made in unethical conditions and yet I use it as a reminder of my spiritual aspirations. Obviously my statue and my aspirations are at odds with each other!

The answer of course, is not to go out and buy more expensive goods. Let's face it, they're probably made under the same conditions.

So what do we do? I'd normally say turn to places like etsy and have a local artist make it, but these days etsy isn't a reliable source of artisan work. But even if it were, this is potentially a very expensive route. One could argue that less is more and taking the time to buy one high quality, ethical item far outweighs the need to fill a space with several items. However, not everyone is of the less is more school. I know that it's not much of a motto in my world (I keep trying but alas... I like the sparkle).

We could always take the time to make our spiritual symbols/items. But if we're not much in the way of artists, then this is more headache than it's worth!

Obviously I don't have an answer. This is something that everyone must decide for themselves. But on my end, I'm working on a less is more motto, for what it's worth, or a handmade motto, when I can, because my little Buddha statue is weighing heavily on my mind. While I won't get rid of him as that would be a different type of wasteful, I'd like to keep future purchases to more ethical modes of consumption. You know, practice what I preach and all that jazz!

:)


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

this and that

Oh I have so many things that I want to write about these days. I'm all awash in energy and inspiration. Isn't it funny how that happens? These things are very much cyclic. There is always a time of cutting away and clearing before we harvest an abundance of ideas/inspirations.

At least, that's how I experience it. Maybe your journey looks different. I'm not sure...

Anyways....

My biggest challenge these days? Finding time to sit down and write about all this stuff or organize my thoughts into a cohesive form so that they can be shared. I know, life is rough over here in Faye-land.

In the meantime, let me share some of my baking endeavours:

Ginger Pumpkin Scones
They're pretty good. I think I'd play around with the spices a bit to get just the right mix for me. The icing tastes remarkably like cinnamon gum. A little uncanny but tasty nonetheless.

Oh, and I tried making granola bars. Hello. I'm never buying them again. They are so easy to make it's ridonkulous! And tasty, see:


Yummy. Recipe found here.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

embracing the pumpkin craze!

I don't know if you've noticed but this year there seems to be quite the abundance of all things made with pumpkin. Honestly, aside from pumpkin pie and pumpkin oil (it's a Slovenian thing and my in-laws use it on all their salads... it's one of those love it or loathe it things... I love it), I've never really done much with pumpkin.

Also... I have never actually cooked real pumpkin. I've always bought the canned stuff.

But I'm trying to make a move towards real foods as much as possible. With that in mind, I decided to attack my pumpkins post Halloween (not the ones we carved... they weren't too healthy looking. But we had 2 extras because my in-laws bought Baby Faye a pumpkin on top of the one that we bought to carve for him. Neither got carved). Waste not, want not... those pumpkins met my butcher knife and are being sacrificed to the alter of experimentation.

If you're ever curious to try it, here's what I did:

wash the pumpkins
cut it open like you would for carving

cut it in half and start gutting it

gutted

Peel and cut into smaller pieces. DO NOT peel this with a potato peeler. I busted mine and I had a really good one :(
Put in pot, add water, boil until soft (25 to 35 min)

Smash 'em into puree to be used in recipes
I've only cooked about 1/3 of my stash right now. The rest will get done this afternoon. I plan on freezing most of it into 1 and 2 cup quantities for baking purposes later (I can only eat so much pumpkin). I found the pumpkin really soft and easy to mash. I might run it through my mini food processor to make it smoother, but then again, I might not.. we'll see)

The hardest part about doing this was cutting and peeling because the skin is tough and the pumpkins were large and unwieldy. I cut them into small sections to manage better. It took me about 30 mins (interrupted by Baby Faye) to get it done.

First thing I'm making: Ginger Pumpkin Scones. I mixed the dry ingredients last night and will add the wet stuff in this afternoon while I cook the rest of the pumpkin. I'll let you know if they're any good!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

eight sabbats: Halloween

Samhain, Halloween, Hallowe'en, All Hallow's Eve.

What do you call it? Despite being of partially Celtic descent, I have no affinity for calling this Sabbat Samhain. For me it'll always been Halloween and honestly I don't feel the need to change it.

But what does it mean to me as a Sabbat and is it still valid as a Sabbat in today's society (not as the pop culture holiday that it is but as a spiritual holiday). 


First things first.... I have a hard time with the shifting/fixed days of the wheel of the year. They make no sense to me and I'm not sure that I believe that the veil is thinnest on one particular day, every year, as measured by the Julian calendar. First, while I believe there is space for a solar calendar, I think that a lunar calendar is potentially more accurate in terms of charting specific times of the year. Thus, I don't know that I agree with the idea that Halloween falls on Oct 31st every year. I know... radical thinking going on here.

Let me explain why this is on my mind this year in particular.

I have spent a lot of time at home, in the same space for the past 3 months and I've noticed a mark shift in energies in the land/space around me. So much so that I feel the need to purify my home and put up protection charms for the first time in my life. No, I don't believe my house is cursed or that anything is wrong per se. But I do feel the shifting energy out there and how unsettling it can be. I feel it accumulating and shifting as the veil gets thinner between the realms. Yes, I believe the veil thins. But it doesn't at the same time. I think that the season invites introspection and thoughts of those who have passed as we prepare for winter. Thus, our thoughts and the collective mind of those of us prepping for winter causes the energies to shift, creating a thinner barrier between the realms because we are emotionally more open to the other realms at this time.

Does that make sense?

Maybe it does or doesn't, it's not the point of this question. Moving on. This year, for me, these energies peaked much earlier than Halloween. For me they peaked somewhere around the week of Oct 13th. Now maybe when they peak is different for all of us, based on our emotionally sensitivities to the season, I don't know. But I know that for me, around the time of the new moon (Oct 4th) my space/land around me started getting a little wonky and calmed down as we approached and passed the full moon (Oct 18th).

So what does this all mean in terms of the Sabbat to me? That I think that this is a time of spiritual and energetic cleansing. We slough off the old, say our farewells to what has passed, and welcome in what is new in preparation for Yule and the rebirth of the light.

For me this is a time of planning, cleaning, preparation, and energy. I started to feel reinvigorated even though I know that the roughest parts of the year are ahead. It's like the final burst of energy before hunkering down. For me this Sabbat marks a turning point, one in which we make an active effort to help turn the wheel forward and move into the next cycle. Beyond the costumes and decor (which I love), this Sabbat is still an important one because it asks us to turn inwards and at the same time look outwards.

This year I'm really trying to connect more to this Sabbat by doing the 8 reviewed posts, getting into the season through decor (to be visually reminded of the symbols of this time of year/spiritual process), and rethinking my traditions in order to manifest this turn of the wheel more in my daily life. Of course, this is easy to do given that this really is the season of the witch and society makes it easy to merge the spiritual into the mundane because it embraces the holiday. But that's ok, it works to my advantage so it's a win for me.

What are your thoughts this year about this Sabbat? What does it mean to you? How do you celebrate it?


*By profane I simply mean non-sacred.


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Halloween decor: outside

As promised, a quick view of our front yard.


I have plans to add a dumb supper scene on our front porch with day of the dead dolls. I found some skeleton dolls but probably won't add them in this year. I'm going to keep them for next year... you know, to keep the neighbours guessing!

Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

8 reviewed: day eight

something to let go of (death, friendship, habit, emotion)

Oh this list could be endless because let's face it, as a culture we love to focus in on what we need to change or how we need to be different. 

So I'm going to surprise you all and pick something really small but important.

I'm going to let go of the habit of not drinking enough water. I struggle with this. I never drink enough water. My goal for the year ahead is to change this. Drinking enough water will mean that I feel fuller, than my skin is better, my joints more lubricated, etc, etc. It's such a small thing but has a huge impact on overall health. So as I approach 37 it's time to make a change in the ways I take care of myself, starting with agua.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

8 reviewed: day seven

8 things you're grateful for during the past year

My life has been filled with so many blessing this past year I don't know where to begin but since I said I would, here goes. 8 gratitudes, chosen at random and by no way representative of all the great things that have passed in the past year:


  1. The office baby shower. My coworkers decorated, potlatched, and gifted me off into motherhood. I have some amazing colleagues and it was such a warm send off that I was overwhelmed by it. It was more than I ever expected and touching beyond belief to know that I have such loving coworkers
  2. A year full of adventures : from seeing live rollerderby, to local theatre, to Q, to dinners out, and art galleries. From soap making, trying to grow my own garden, and Halloween decorating. I wanted to make this year count and get out there and live it more fully. And I have. Inside the home and out. 
  3. The practice of doing gratitude journals/calendars. It's amazing how many little things we have on a daily basis to be grateful for but that we lose track of if we don't write them down. While I'm not a pessimist per se, I definitely can be more of a complainer than thanker and I think taking the time to remember something to be grateful for has been a good practice to introduce into my life.
  4. Fall colours. I know. It's an odd one to put into a list but as I'm currently surrounded by them again, I can't help myself. I love this season. Always have and even more so now that I'm living out east. The season always reminds me to step back and appreciate beauty, to get outdoors before it gets too cold, to marvel in how amazing nature is. 
  5. My family this year. Especially my little brother who despite his social awkwardness, keeps trying to be there and reminding me that he thinks this family business is important. That he keeps fighting the fight to keep family together. That we're in it together and that I'm not alone in trying to maintain family bonds with people who live across the globe.
  6. Follow up care from both my doctor and my doula. I'm pretty jaded about health care in my province. Ok. REALLY jaded. But when push comes to shove and I needed information or quick responses both have been phenomenal in terms of their attention and follow up. From making sure that I got important results back asap to answer tricky questions and doing extra research for me, both my doctor and doula have really helped to lessen my jadedness. 
  7. My HPS and fellow coven teachers for giving me the space I needed this past year. For weathering the hot/cold storm that has marked my practice and commitment over these 12 months. I've not been an easy student or coven mate as I sorted through my shit and as I adapted to pregnancy and parenthood. I appreciate that they have been willing to stay on the journey with me and have done so with love and flexibility. 
  8. The fact that my husband took my most terrified confession and held it safely without judgement. That he stood with me and by me as I fell apart and picked myself back up again. Repeatedly. Spiritually, physically, and emotionally, several times this year. That despite all the bad sides of myself that I show him, he still sees good in me and reminds me of this all of the time. When anger and frustration make me far from the parent I mean to be, when pain and sickness cause me to sacrifice my ideals and feel hypocritical, or when I just feel lost and waiver back and forth constantly over decisions that I rehash over and over again. The list of times that I have been grateful for my husband this past year, for picking him and him picking me, is a long one.
So that's it. 8 big gratitudes. 8 big lessons in love and kindness that others have brought into my life, reminding me to pay it forward and back; reminding me to aspire to living a life of loving kindness.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

8 reviewed: day six

moment that filled you with pride (for yourself, for others, for something achieved, learned)

Watching my baby brother graduate from college. After not completing high school and moving in with my husband and I for a year and a half to get his life together, watching him cross the stage 2 years later was amazing. 

Yes I cried and took a few dozen pictures. I was also 8.5 months pregnant so I might have cried a lot. But each and every one of my tears was of joy and pride over watching the resiliency of another. 

You see, my brother was beaten up so badly 5 years ago that he was put into a coma and suffers from brain damage to his short term memory. This in someone who didn't like school to start off with and who struggled to maintain a C average. The challenges he faced in going back were pretty intense and yet, he really wanted it and he did it. With As and Bs. 

When he moved in with us he could barely go out in public without trembling he was that much of a mess. And I was worried that he was potentially showing signs of schizophrenia, which runs in his family (he is adopted). When he first moved in with us, I wasn't sure if he'd make it and pull his shit together. I have never prayed or worried for anyone as much as I worried and prayed for him in that first year. He gave me a glimpse of how intense a journey parenthood was going to be and honestly, sort of scared me off of it for a while! 

But, in the time that he lived with us, he came out, overcame his social anxiety, learned coping mechanisms for his memory, figured out what he wanted to do in his life, and sought out a program that would offer him the skills he needed. 

So when he crossed that stage at 23, I have never been prouder of anyone in my life. He earned each and every one of my tears of joy and pride, even if it meant that I was 8.5 months pregnant and crying in public like a crazy lady.


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

8 reviewed: day five

world event, person, or artwork that impacted you this year

There are so many things that I could talk about in this post. But I'm going to leave it at one person or show: Q with Jian Ghomeshi. I love this show. I don't always love the interviews or music or info, but I love his dedication to his work and the topics, more often than not, make me think about the world I live in. 

I got the opportunity to see him do the show live and it was one of my best nights out in the year. And this past year was a good year for adventures (I packed a lot in before Baby Faye entered the world. From Roller Derby, Art Exhibits, New Foods and Comedy). But of all my adventures, my first night out post baby, without baby, was the high point of my year because it was just so interesting and thought provoking. 

So while there were many events, people, works that moved me this year, this reviewed topic goes to Q because it made my commutes more interesting and filled a void that I didn't even know I was missing in my life: a daily dose of media, culture and contemplation.

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mamahood and a few spiritual lessons along the way

We all have a dark side/shadow self; a side of ourselves that we want to hide from the world and from ourselves.

I've mentioned before that motherhood has been a bit of kick in the pants for me because it has forced me to look at how anger shapes my life. Here's the thing... it's not easy to admit that you find yourself angry over the sacrifices that the newborn phase demands of you. It's not easy to share that with the people in your world and seek help for it because it is so taboo.


Mothers are supposed to be self-sacrificing and happy that they are giving to a greater cause. And it feels pretty damn shitty to realize that you're not as noble as you'd like to be! Or at least appear to be.

And this is fodder for a great deal of spiritual contemplation... like... more than you really have time to process in the chaos that is a new baby. [Before you start worrying about my son and my mental health, rest assured that I am writing this post meltdown and we're doing much better now].

You see, for me this path isn't just about the maiden, mother and crone [hell, to be honest I'm really not all that into reducing womanhood into these 3 archetypes because I hate how quickly archetypes can become rigid]. For me this path is steeped in a tradition of service and higher aspirations. Now, I don't mean that I am striving to be perfect or even think that I will anywhere near attaining it [I know I'm no Buddha under the tree and that Nirvana isn't in this lifetime]. Rather, I am trying to learn to live my life in line with my higher aspirations; to not get bogged down in the mundane petty stuff (or at least not that often).

My path centers on a few core tenets:

  • To remember to see each and every person who I cross paths with as an expression of the divine and as the divine him/herself even if they don't remember this and live far from that realization
  • To remember my own divinity and seek to embody (as best I can) the higher nature of said divinity
  • To live a life that reflects that higher aspiration; including how I treat others and the land around me
  • To learn the crafts of healing, sustainability and creativity in order to be able to manifest my will and higher aspirations in service of the greater good

I think this about sums it up (off the top of my head anyways).

So as I fuddled my way through the newborn phase, so often out of sync with those goals and unable to find my way towards them, I found myself in a state of spiritual crisis (while oddly also being in a state of great spiritual awakening... funny how life works out sometimes). I couldn't process the lessons that life was giving me because I was overwhelmed by how many lessons life was throwing my way.

Stepping back and admitting that the darker side of what I was going through was key for me to be able to begin the process of making sense of some of it (not all... far from all). And like always, the minute that I did this, the universe stepped in and offered me a helping hand. Hell, it had probably been shoving said helping hand down my throat for a good while but I was too stubborn to see and accept it. [just call me a goat headed Capricorn].

Like the end of a great storm, the clouds broke and Baby Faye made his way out of the newborn stage, past a huge developmental milestone, and life suddenly got easier. And while I'm not sure which came first, my relaxing and accepting, thus becoming calmer and Baby Faye feeding off of that or Baby Faye crossing over, thus becoming easier and my relaxing, life has gotten easier over here in Faye land. I am once again able to see my higher aspirations reflected in my attitudes and choices again. I am far from perfect but I am closer to embodying my ideals today than I was two weeks ago. It only took facing my darkest self/fears and asking for help but hey... nothing worth learning in life is easy? After all, Inanna didn't just descend into the pits of the underworld on a whim...


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

8 reviewed: day four

celebrations of abundance

This one goes to a simple celebration: a small dinner party with my son's godparents a few days after we came home from the hospital with Baby Faye. They came over, bearing a cornucopia of gifts (food, belly massage oil, baby blanket, etc). The generosity was overwhelming and the thoughtfulness behind all the gifts, from bringing dinner to helping us set stuff up and making us feel human again after the roller coaster ride that was the delivery experience. 

It was the most amazing reminder that not only have we picked the bestest godparents/guardians for our son, but that our world is surrounded with an abundance of love. I think I have shed more tears over the overwhelming love that has been shared since Baby Faye's birth than I have over the hardships that have marked the motherhood journey. That dinner not only made us feel like we weren't going it alone, but that we had a community of love to lean into; people to celebrate with us and to hold us when the going gets tough. 

Hell, I get weepy eyed just thinking of it now. Stupid mama hormones... I'm a bloody mess! 

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