Tuesday, April 29, 2014

carving out your own practice

One of the benefits of a tradition is that often said tradition has very defined practices that you can fall back on and follow, which is especially helpful when you're new or when you're attempting to create a disciplined practice.

Some people thrive on traditions and structure, while others do better with a looser, freer form of practice.

Honestly, I suspect I'm a bit more of the former (structure lover). Call me a Capricorn but it's true. I simultaneously chaff and thrive on structure. I chaff over the rigidity of structure and long to be free of it, all the while, doing my best when I have some sort of guidelines. It's not always something I like about myself but I have come to accept the truth in it.

As I move towards creating a practice of my own, I see how this need for structure and freedom is both frustrating and invigorating. Some days I completely just do my own thing, others I follow the structures I've been taught.

In the end, I find that what is working best for me is fusing me into the structures by loosening them up, adapting what I love in the structures and making them my own. For some reason, carving out something from nothing is daunting to me because I find it hard to remain consistent when I do so. I forget from day to day (or rather sometimes week to week) what I did and didn't do, what worked and didn't work, etc.

So I'm borrowing the general framework of what I know and infusing it with what calls to me that day, thus I have just enough structure to keep me focused and self-disciplined, but enough freedom to feel like my daily practice speaks to me and my needs that particular day.

For me, loosely, that looks like starting with some sort of relaxation technique like breathing or yoga, then a prayer or blessing, before moving into meditation and then a closing prayer/thank you of sorts. It's very simple but it works for me right now as it starts my day off right.

There are other exercises I'd like to add in but for now, like journaling (art and written), elemental working, divination training, etc, but for now, this is what works for me consistently. The rest comes and goes based on what life looks like at that moment. For someone who sort of craves structure, it gives me just enough to feel secure, but enough freedom to appease my resistance to structure and space for exploration, which is exciting and a little scary for yours truly! But since I like to over-complicate and over-think things, the looseness of the practice is a good exercise in letting go and flowing.


Monday, April 28, 2014

#paganlists: ways to shake the cranks

Lately the weather here has been veering from bright and beautiful to cold and grey, which has been bringing out my cranks.With that in mind, I thought I'd do a list about things I do to shake the cranks:

What are your go to things to do when you're feeling a bit cranktankerous?


Monday, April 21, 2014

#paganlists : ways to make a space feel like it's yours

While I know that home decor and all the stuff is really just stuff in the end, I'm still pretty big on the stuff as a means to make a space feel like home to me.

One of the best compliments someone gave me was that I manage to make any space I live in, mine. That my home always has a "me" feel to it. While I've found a little harder to do when having to share a space with Mr Faye, I still always work on making my home feel like a space that reflects me/us, and, when possible, strays as far from cookie cutter status as I can possibly make it!

I like to be different, even in home decor, what can I say?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

spring meditations: a Goddess by any other name?

There is a flood warning for river around the corner from my home (not so close as to be a concern for me). In general, it looks like the homes in the neighbourhood will be fine, but the water is higher than I've ever seen it. In fact, while I knew that much of the land around the peninsula I live on is swampy, I had no idea just how much of it was touched by the water. The way the homes have been developed in my area (with big sections kept forested) makes a lot more sense to me now!

The flooding, caused by the crazy hectic melting of large amounts of snow, is just another event in a long string of things that have marked this spring as one of the most unusual I've experienced since I've lived out here. Combined with being home all winter with a new(ish) baby, it's been a hard season and I'm suffering from cabin fever.

I am eager for the warmer days of spring and walks outside.

In fact, a recent card reading about ways to connect spiritually came back with this beauty:

Oh the ironies.

So it looks like I'll be spending a fair amount of time, as the weather warms, watching the river water levels recede, in the name of spiritual connectivity.

There's another layer of irony that the universe seems to be sending my way in this card. I've been pondering God/Goddess names a lot lately, wondering what names I'm comfortable with as the archetypal paradigm from which I view divine consciousness. I've been experiencing a certain amount of dis-ease with this topic lately as I contemplate what names mean within a practice.

For example, when calling on the Goddess as Aradia, what does that say about my perception of the Goddess and my aspirations as I work with her?

Does that make sense as a question? Sometimes I write these posts to help myself figure out where I am within a thought process, only to realize how very complex and untranslatable my thoughts are. This can be super frustrating of very rewarding depending on my ability to figure out a way to synthesize my ideas coherently.

But back to the question I've been pondering.

I've written before about the fact that I am not a big fan of reducing the divine into personified gender binaries and this discomfort has led me to think a lot about what I am choosing when I identify the God or Goddess as a particular deity. Who is Aradia, what does she represent, how does choosing to identify Goddess as her impact my practice, aspirations, and understanding of the path?

A lot of what we "know" about Aradia comes from Leland's Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, which is a problematic text at best. Regardless of (or despite) this text, I've always understood Aradia as an Inanna-esque type figure; she who descends into the abyss, sacrificing self for knowledge, only to learn the suffering of humanity, and return with a boundless willingness to help ease that suffering. Her love is infinite though not always easy or necessarily gentle in her quest to help us see ourselves as we are in order to enable us to see our own divinity.

There are loopholes that can be explored in the story of Aradia I have been working with but that's a conversation for another day. What I want to consider is this: does this infinite love, gentle or not, fit with the ideals I hold about our divinity? And if so (or not), how? Does she reflect my highest spiritual aspirations? Why or why not? Is she reductive or limiting? And if so, am I ok with that? Do I need to be complicating my ideas of Goddess in order to get beyond the maiden, mother, crone triptych of pop paganism?

And most importantly, do I still feel like I am in communion with her?

I am happy to say, after a fair amount of contemplation, that the answer is positive. Aradia, despite feeling disconnected from me while I stepped away and made my way through said questioning, still remains the lens through which I understand the feminine divine, and by extension, my journey towards embodying my spiritual self in my daily life.

There is so much more I could say about this but I think sometimes that less is more. And while this post isn't necessarily in the less side of things, the questions I'm asking are more what I want to share than the actual answers because I feel like that's what my muse is calling for... opening the door for contemplation; not answers.

So my dear friends, who are the faces you draw your practice around and how do they reflect your aspirations? Do the Gods and Goddesses you work with honour your deepest spiritual aspirations or are they too limited and reductive? Perhaps this question is moot for you if you are practicing pagan paths that are very different than my own. But honestly, I think I might find the answers given based on totally different paths equally fascinating to me!


Monday, April 14, 2014

#paganlists : things about you that might surprise

What are a few random things about you that people would be surprised to know?

True facts. I really need to curb my love of cold goodies. From cold coffee to popsicles and most especially, frozen yogurt. If there were 1 thing to blame for my gallbladder issues (food wise), it would have to be my fro yo addiction!

Friday, April 11, 2014

this week I am

Life around here has been busy

The snow is finally melting and we have a river of sorts in our back yard and the cat is mewling to get outdoors again (she hates being locked in during the winter months)

Baby Faye has started crawling and pulling up on pretty much everything.

I attended a bridal shower extravaganza (seriously I don't think I've ever celebrated a couple getting married quite so much and I'm really struggling with my reaction to it. On one hand I find it ostentatious, on another I'm happy for them they are so loved, and on my third, invisible hand, I think I'm a little jealous because of the 2nd reason). But seriously, despite my reactions, I love her dearly and wish her the best.

But whilst celebrating her upcoming wedding to my cousin in law, I tried my first sake bomb and cookie decorating. So new experiences abound

Sake Bomb. Surprisingly light and tasty.
Mine weren't anywhere as nice as these but you get the idea!

I've been working on the meditation and have gotten 2x a week on average since the equinox. Not quite the 3x a week I wanted but still better than before especially given Baby Faye's atrocious sleeping, busy life, and then stomach flu.

I've also been working slowly on an embroidery pattern for our bathroom door (our hall has 3 doors and it always confuses people so my dancing day of the dead pattern is the solution).

I did the rib cage but then didn't like it, so I've since undone that section and sort of stagnated on the project. Mental note to get back on track. If you're wondering where I found this pattern, wonder no more, Urban Threads is the answer.


Monday, April 7, 2014

#paganlists : scents to meditate to

What are your go to meditation scents?

These are mine right now:

There are so many more that I love but these are the ones filling my space these days.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

chase your dreams

What are your dreams?

These days I'm working on figuring out what my big dreams are, which ones I want to manifest in my life, and what I'm going to do about making them reality. It's so easy to get caught up in the dreams but never realize any of them.

Build castles in thin air, as it were.

But at some point you have to move on from being just a dreamer. At some point you have to chase your dreams. So right now, I think, I'm in list making mode as I hone in on which dreams I really want to chase and make lists (read action plans) about how to go about manifesting them in order to get it done!

Yeah, I'm a little type A. Or Capricorn. Pick your poison!

For example:

I have a dream about creating a line of custom stamps. Here's the to do list:

  1. Research custom stamp companies 
  2. Pick one and set up wholesale account
  3. Narrow down sketches
  4. Design stamp
  5. Budget
  6. Order stock
  7. Etsy & blog promo
  8. Local contact and fair
I'm currently on step 4 and 5. It's exciting. And while I should probably shut up about it because I should wait until things are actually done to talk about it, I'm excited about my new adventure so in true to me nature, I'm sharing the journey as it unfolds. 

And there are other lists. I just need to figure out which ones I want to pursue first, or even pursue at all. How many dreams are you chasing right now? Are you like me, with way too many ideas on your plate and setting up lists to sort through them? Or are you less intense than I am?