Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Scribe

Some years ago, before I knew what Paganism was, I started to visualize aspects of my psyche as locations. Unsurprisingly, the place where my memories are stored became a library. And since I am continually thinking about and reacting to my environment, I created a figure to record this information and archive it. I called her The Scribe. Basically, she is a bookish version of myself, with the long single braid I used to wear, glasses (of course), and wearing comfortable robes. You Chaos Magic people might call her a construct, from what I understand: I "created" her, or she is a part of me. She is the steward of my history -- even the things I have repressed or forgotten. As such, she is something of an intermediary between my conscious and unconscious mind. Once, I asked her about recovering past life memories, if I had any. She led me down to a neglected area. Badly damaged books littered the room. Then "she" said, more or less:

"Every time you die, this library floods, or burns, or is ruined some other way. You can try to piece together stories from the scraps that remain. Maybe they will trigger something deep within you. But it would be a long and frustrating journey. Are you certain you want to begin?"

I still haven't answered. Of course, this was a staged conversation between me and myself, instead of an outside entity, and therefore was (almost) entirely under my control. But it helps, to visualize my mind thus. Plus it's a good mental exercise. Maybe someday I'll describe the library itself, and other locations.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Another way to get to know your tools

It's pretty obvious that I will not complete the Pagan Blog Project this year. I've heard there will be  one for 2013, though, and I intend to sign up right away for that.

Not much new in my spiritual life. The other day I improvised a Tarot/Oracle card spread to ask about the nature of my wands, because I have trouble "hearing" them. I got the idea from Dusken's post "A Wicked Pack of Cards: Learning to Love Your Deck-Spirits," in which she suggests a
spread for getting to know your deck. This one is asking your deck to describe another object.

It may help to set the deck near the object you want to ask about for several minutes beforehand, and/or have the object nearby as you work. Shuffle, and ask, "Please describe [Object X]. What's it good at? What is it not good at?" and lay out the cards as numbered above. (More may be required, in particular in the Description section -- I felt like my answers were rather brief. Feel free to modify as needed.) Be warned: depending on the nature of your deck, your answer may be biased.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pagan Blog Project 2012 Master List

It was high time to make a master list for the Pagan Blog Project 2012, because I found myself forgetting what I had and had not done. Plus, it'll be good for archiving purposes.

Altar Overhaul
(Otherworldly) Awareness, or the Lack Thereof

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Blackberry Season

Stone Impressions: Carnelian
Crafting As Spellcraft

EDIT: ...And then I ran out of energy to catch up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Calm Autumn Day

Today is a beautiful autumn day, a no-work Saturday, a day to get things done. This is the view from my kitchen window.

From left to right: basil plant, candy corn-infused vodka (in progress), an autumn harvest scented candle in kitty-shaped holder, and a dwarf rosemary bush. Not quite in frame: abalone shell from the (cramped) water altar, and a dead & dried sage plant that seemed grumpy when I first moved it off the sill to make room for the candle, so I put it back. Maybe it isn't as dead as I thought...

Speaking of dead:

I found this little charmer at the drugstore yesterday, on sale. There is just enough abstraction to give it (him?...I'll go with "him") character. Right now he is sitting in Hekate's territory on the altar. Not sure who/what he is for, yet, but I am confident I will find out in due time.

In closing, here is a picture of the feline roommate also enjoying the day, if not the camera. Say hi to Issy (retraction of "Missy"), and kindly overlook the state of the floor.

Back to work.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


So I may have made my partner Sunlitgarden a sistrum/sesheshet this summer in a jewelry-making class.

For the curious, here is how I made it:

First, I cut a small sheet of copper into strips, and drilled holes for where it would attach to the handle, and where I wanted to put the wires that held the jingles. I bent the frame pieces into shape, then soldered them together with a silver-zinc alloy. Since I had to anneal (heat to soften) the metal to work with it, it was still too bendy afterward -- it could barely hold its shape! My instructor showed me a device called a tumbler: basically, a bucket full of ceramic pellets with a little water added, with a lid, attached to a motor that gently shook the contents. Working (hammering, bending) metal hardens it, and this machine does it gently, without distorting the shape. I put the sistrum frame in for about an hour. Meanwhile, I worked on my favorite part: the jingles!

I cut squares of about 3/4 inches (using a jeweler's saw) and drilled a hole in the middle of each. It wasn't important that they be perfect, because I would be distorting them. Many of the pieces were scraps from other students' projects, anyway. Once I had made enough, I hit each piece on a sand-filled leather pad with a round plastic hammer until I was satisfied with their shape, and they were completely hardened. I then strung them on wire and put them into the frame, securing the wire by putting loops on each end.

For the handle, I already had a suitable wood dowel (I forget what kind) from a failed wand-making attempt; all I had to do was saw off the extra and sand it...and sand, and sand some more. I finished it with a clear one-step oil and finishing product. Turns out I cut it too long, but better too long than too short, eh? I drilled a pilot hole and fastened the base of the instrument to the handle with a single all-purpose screw: not the prettiest, but I couldn't find a copper-plated one at my hardware store and it needed to be sturdy.

And there you have it! My explanation makes it sound simpler than it was. I made a plan, but I had to modify it a little as I went along. My instructor suggested that I could make more of these sistrums outside of class in the future, using cold-setting (rivets), but I haven't been brave enough and/or willing. Sunlitgarden is the Kemetic, not I. :) I hope Bast approves.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Experiment

Since I am fond of drawing elaborate medallions, I thought I'd try my hand at sigil-making. In the attempt I realized I had to par down the designs, make them simpler and more easily understood. So, please tell me if these symbols "say" anything to you, even if it's nothing at all! Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

Fig. 1

 Fig. 2

 Fig. 3

 Fig. 4

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Still Around

Sorry I've been so absent. My Deep Thoughts(TM) are slow to emerge at best, and absent at worst. But today I picked up some brain fodder: "The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries" by W.Y. Evans-Wentz (1911), and "The Magus: A Complete System of Occult Philosophy" by F. Barrett (1801), both provided by the publisher The Lost Library.

The former seems to be a report on The Fair Folk of the British Isles, primarily. The author, a curious American, did a lot of information gathering at ground-level, so to speak: he traveled the countryside and talked to people.

"I have set forth in the first section in detail and as clearly as possible the testimony communicated to me by living Celts who either believe in fairies, or else say that they have seen fairies; and throughout other sections I have preferred to draw as much as possible of the material from men and women rather than from books. Books too often are written out of other books. [...] For us it is much less important to know what scholars think of fairies than to know what the Celtic people think of fairies. This is especially true in considering the Fairy-Faith as it exists now." -- Introduction, Section IV

I like this guy.

The second, which I have only flipped through, appears to be a summary of ceremonial magic, alchemy, and Kabbalah (The Kaballah?), with a dose of history and the author's own techniques. This paperback printing is faithful to the original, so all the Ss look like italic fs, which makes the words have a kind of lisp in my head. Though it may be dated, it looks fascinating.

I have a Pagan Blog Project post coalescing in my mind on my personal definition of deity. These books may give me more ideas, or at least better ways to word them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

PBP: Crafting as Spellcraft

Sometimes, I make jewelry. I've crafted a couple wire rings, and a few bracelets, but my favorite thing to do is pendants and necklaces. Often, I just get this itch to craft something, so I sit down with my supplies and work with what feels right. In my deepest crafting-trances there's a corner of my mind that thinks I'm going crazy. But I've come out with some powerful stuff. Look:

Found length of copper wire, and hematite beads. 

It may not look like much, but this thing is heavy. It has resisted becoming a pendant, even though I added a thin bale; I just don't have the materials to wear it in a way it wants to be worn -- or if I do, I haven't figured it out yet. So it sits on my altar, soaking up the energy of the objects that surround it, until the idea comes to me.

I also can draw -- moderately well, better with reference. I am just skilled enough to have a chance that the images pressing for attention will come out right, and I get viciously disappointed when they do not (which is often). Coloring confounds me. As a result, my best works often begin as idle doodles. I have pulled some interesting things from my subconscious this way.

I want to be an apothecary and/or hedgewitch, damnnit.

Still not sure what this is. A minscape scene, perhaps? I was melancholy when I drew it.

So what am I getting at? Any artist or artisan worth their salt, no matter their world view, simply must pull from within themselves to create a meaningful piece. That's a bit of your soul, right there: on that scrap of paper, that clay bowl, inside that carved wood box or scattered in pixels on your computer screen. At very least, it's time and effort, a piece of your life. The process is similar to spellcasting, at least how I understand it: you set out with intent, take a dive into the Otherworld(s), and use your tools to make it happen and/or bring a part of it back. This can be draining...which is one of the reasons I am not a prolific artist. (The others are related to the overly high bar I set for myself.)

For the Spirit-deaf or -blocked, like I most likely am, art may be the best way to tap into the...other side. By "other side," I mean all incorporeal realms: mindscapes, the astral, lands of the Dead/Fey/Spirits, et cetera. (Fandoms, too.) I am lumping them together because I have no experience in consciously traveling them; they are not distinct to me -- yet. Perhaps that can change with persistent effort.

If you're curious about the other things I've managed to pull out of myself, scan, and post on the Internet, visit my Deviantart account.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PBP: Blackberry Season

I am shamelessly turning this into a Pagan Blog Project post, because I need a second B.

Today, instead of taking a 5-minute drive down the street, I took a fifteen minute walk to a store and back again. I am now slimy from the combination of sunscreen and sweat (you're welcome, for that mental image), but it was worth it. Doubly so because on the way back, I picked blackberries as I went. They were growing wild amid the landscaping and didn't seem to be targeted by anything harsher than pruning shears, so I figured, why not? I nearly filled my water bottle with them. I had to empty it to make room; but it made a nice expression of thanks for the thirsty plants. Water is easier for a human to come by.

Blackberries are rather special to me: I grew up in a suburban area, but with the benefit of a designated, no-can-touch greenbelt behind the backyard, so I had a wonderfully leafy view. Because it surrounds a streamlet, the land is swampy, and blackberry bushes crowd the ground level. Unfortunately, the neighborhood committee sometimes poisons the ones growing on the edges, to control the brambly tide, so I wasn't allowed to pick the fruit as a kid. I know now that they're an invasive species -- that's why they take over so easily. But their presence was welcome. In addition to the blackberries, that strip of land houses cottonwoods, alders, low-growing willows, indian plum trees, and a couple salmon berries. (At least the last two are native.) Someday, I'll remember to take pictures when I go back to visit my parents.

Speaking of pictures, I decided to share this bounty with the gods on my altars. There is no prayer behind these gestures; they're presents, and tokens of good will.

I recently bought a nice blend of green and white teas from Celestial Seasonings. I thought Kuanyin might like some, so I gave her a portion from my mug in addition to the fruit.

I dared not leave Hekate out.

And even though Athena has been quiet lately, I decided to put two berries in her offertory dish, too.

Now, sometime tonight, I'll have to move or break down my altar so it doesn't get paint on it when the porch door is finished up. It would be all right if I was the one doing the painting, but I'm not. Call me a hermit, but I do not enjoy strangers entering my home, even on legitimate business. If it was up to be, the apartment complex would have never been painted in the first place....grumble-mumble. On the bright side, maybe I'll have new altar pictures to show you soon; that arrangement in front of Hekate is, I feel, out of date.

Monday, August 6, 2012

PBP: C is for Carnelian

I attempted a second B post for the Pagan Blog Project. But when I tried to write about my beliefs and thoughts on the nature of belief in general, the result was a lot of me talking about things I knew next to nothing about. So, I decided to skip ahead. The following is more or less copied from my journal.

Stone Impressions: Carnelian

Carnelian is one of my favorite stones, for its vibrant orange-red color, translucency, and pretty banding. It's a kind of quartz, variety chalcedony, which as far as I understand it means it doesn't grow in visible pointed crystals. I own a string of beads I got at a street fair, a ring from a bead shop, and a bracelet made from it and bloodstone that I found at Goodwill.

According to the snippet of info I got at the local Pagan bookstore, carnelian facilitates creativity and is good for the 1st and/or 2nd chakras (don't remember which). Honestly, I wonder how many of these "official" crystal uses were/are derived solely from a stone's mundane properties, such as color. Not that that isn't a valid starting point, but...Okay, some of the metaphysical descriptions I've read smell of bullshit. And I have a low tolerance for bullshit. I considered buying one of those big crystal guidebooks, to save myself work, but once I figured out they were essentially the author's personal impressions, seasoned with scientific info, I decided I would be an idiot if I spent $20+ dollars on it. I have several rock identification textbooks and a gemstone-focused geology class under my belt. I could do the rest myself. And if there's one thing I can get a mind-feel for, it's stones. (And crafted objects. But that's a story for another day.)

So, let me chat with my ring, and I'll get back to you.

Five days later...

So, I couldn't get a feel for my ring. I wasn't in the right frame of mind, it had soaked up too much of my energy, and/or it was being an elusive bastard. But today I was excited to find a large piece of tumbled and polished carnelian at the bookstore, and it has a much bolder "signature."

(Reminds me of a dried apricot.)

 As with all the carnelian I've encountered, it...kind of clears my head -- this one almost emptied it completely when I held it near my forehead, and not in a pleasant way, either. So, note to self: keep away from third eye?

I haven't properly meditated with it yet, because I am undisciplined/unpracticed in the art. However, this stone is like a small, comfortably warm fire in my hand. This is not a substance for introspection, but for getting things done.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paga Blog Project: B is for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab makes perfume oils. Amazing perfume oils inspired by literature, mythology, and a touch of fantasy. Ever wanted to smell like a cold, wet forest? Try Nocnitsa [1]. That was the one that hooked me. I was amazed that someone could put that precise scent in a little 5 mL bottle. Not surprisingly, people can and do use them in their religious practices. I am one of them.

First, and most obviously, there's the method of anointing yourself or an object with an appropriate oil for a ritual or spell. I've only done this once, as part of a little service to honor Hekate at the new moon. I wore the scent that bears her name [2] on my skin. In theory, being cloaked in scent would help create a working space, and help me focus...But that time, the ritual fell flat. The phone-line to Deity was connected, but I didn't have anything to say, so I just...listened to the dial tone. (I realized later that I was wearing my Athena owl necklace during the whole thing. That may have contributed to the awkwardness.) I intend to try again at the next new moon, if not sooner.

(Sidenote: The owner and prime perfumer, Beth, is a pagan too, and also provides "charged" ritual oils at Twilight Alchemy Lab. From what I've read by the people who've used them, they pack quite a punch.)

Most of the time, though, I use my selection for a far more basic purpose: to prepare for the day ahead. It can be just as effective as using it for a spell. I call it "perfuming with intent." For example, I've dabbed on Athens[3] for Athena when I need a little strength. (Or Whip[4], when I want to be a SECRET DOMINATRIX. Ahem.) Simple psychology, right? But it's effective. Not to mention the compliments you'll get because you smell so good and/or interesting...

Does anyone else use scents as a part of their craft? I'd like to know!

-   -   -   -   -

Official descriptions:
[1] "Also known as Krisky, Plaksy and Gorska Makua, she is a nightmare spirit, the Night Hag of the Woods, who haunts Polish, Russian, Bulgarian and Slovak children during the darkest hours. The only protection against her torments is a circle drawn around a child's cradle with a knife, or an axe or protective poppet hidden under the floorboards beneath where a child sleeps. Her scent is that of a lightless fir wood, nighttime air, wet forest mosses and upturned earth."

[2] "Magnificent three-faced Goddess of Magic, the Dark Moon and the Crossroads. She is the Mother of Witches, and the midnight baying of hounds is her paean. Her compassion is evidenced in her role as Psychopomp for Persephone, and her wrath manifests as Medea's revenge. Deep, buttery almond layered over myrrh and dark musk."

[3] "A reformulation and modernization of a true Classical Greek perfume, myrrhine: voluptuous myrrh, golden honey, red wine, and sweet flowers"

[4] "Agony and ecstasy: black leather and damp red rose."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pagan Blog Project 2: "A" is for Otherworldly Awareness

Full title: "Otherworldly Awareness, And How I Get By With Very Little Of It"

I have a confession. I call myself a pagan, but have little contact and discourse with spirits. I know they're there -- I've read too many true accounts to say otherwise -- and sometimes I feel like I've brushed past a...something, but I cannot say I've shared a meal with a land spirit or joked around with a god. I'm honestly not that sensitive. Nor do I want to be, because from the sound of it, it can be...unpleasant and distracting. One of my former coworkers once told me how she went to a series of plays (theater was her thing) in a building that was on the site of bad Native American and European interactions. The atmosphere was so hostile that she and her sensitive friend had to run outside every intermission and catch their breath. A close friend of mine is an empath. I seem to have a talent for finding and befriending pagan-leaning people. (And GLBT people; the two often go together. I suppose that's another story.) I can do this, but I couldn't tell you if I have a guardian spirit or not. It is a limitation I find incredibly frustrating -- yet I am afraid of trying to climb that wall, because of the scary and dangerous crap that may happen on the other side. This is a common theme in my life.

Perhaps I should explain a little. I was an acutely anxious child. Pretty much anything new was terrifying just because it was unknown. And then depression crept in at puberty. Real life just hurt too much. So what did I do? I wove a dense cocoon of not-feeling around myself and retreated inward, into subworlds I created. Those, at least, were mostly under my control. It took incessant needling from a friend (Byakko) to poke a hole in that cocoon, then tear it open. She urged me to have opinions, where before I had none. This was a good thing, in the end, but gods, it hurt. Her influence, going away to college, and the people I met there helped me shrug off the heaviest of the threads. (And Celexa. Let's not forget the correct antidepressants.) But while I was within...Well, if you ever find a version of Tolkien's Mirkwood while astral-walking that features a red-haired elf-guard, let me know. Even at the time I realized it was an elaborate metaphor for my own depression and/or my entire mindscape, but I sunk almost four years of my life into that place. It wouldn't surprise me if it's still around somewhere besides my own mind (and Byakko's to a degree). I'll elaborate on this in another post...possibly under M for Muses.

I emerged from that experience incredibly soul-tired, and bitter. I realized I could not live entirely in my own head anymore. Either I could have internal awareness, or external awareness -- not both at once. And I opted for the latter. So maybe you can understand why I am reluctant to make an effort to, in a way, throw open that door again.

So how do I practice? I keep an eye out for coincidences that may actually be more than that, and follow my hunches. I balance this awareness with common sense. For instance, I see crows every day. This does not mean that The Morrigan is trying to contact me. I might think so if they did something unusual, and, say, in a group of three. And I'd follow it up with good old-fashioned research, to see if anything else stood out. The gods/spirits can still reach me. They just have to be louder about it. For example, I was intrigued by Hekate, but figured she'd want nothing to do with me, or that I had no reason to petition her for anything. It took a piece of art, some moths flying like cinders under a lamp, and a thunderstorm all in one day to convince me otherwise. :)

Maybe I'll have a breakthrough someday. Until then, I'll just muddle along, same as always.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


So today stuff happened at work. I got in trouble for one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations, the manager scolded me, and I cried -- after the phone conversation was over. But I still think my course of action was right; I refuse to reward anyone who threatens and whines like a bratty kid, no matter how much money they'll spend.

My point is, Hekate warned me. Today I gave her a dried apricot and some incense in addition to the honey of the last two nights, in thanks. I also rearranged the stones in front of her portrait, because the previous pattern was no longer needed.

I cannot quit my job immediately, but I will redouble my efforts to find other employment. The last of my sense of obligation snapped free today.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pagan Blog Project 1: A is for Altar Overhaul

Well, I was planning to talk about something else for my first Pagan Blog Project entry (maybe I'll do that for the second "A" prompt), but today Hekate, who had been lurking about, thumped me over the head with a piece of art I found at a local Pagan shop and demanded a spot on my altar. Mine has felt stagnant lately, so I obliged.

(A photo from when I first set it up in February. In the course of the last few months, it fell into disrepair. I wanted to change it, and fitfully shifted stuff around, but nothing felt right.)

I worked by intuition. I moved the shell moon and sun windspinner down to be more a part of the altar space, instead of a wall decoration. Thus I wound up with a day/night theme. The moon neatly coincided with where I put the Hekate devotional. The Athena owl statue got moved back to Sunlitgarden's and my shared space; there wasn't a spot for her. I have a hunch she didn't want to be too close to Guanyin or the Lady of the Crossroads. I hope Athena isn't too annoyed...

(On the upside, she got her own little offertory dish.)

Here are a couple of shots of what it looks like now.

Full view.

Light side. I made the 3-point wooden symbol myself. The pieces lock together in a kind of puzzle.

Dark side.

(...I think I made an energy grid. From base to top, left to right: the copper and hematite tangle I made, something dark with translucent white spots, blue tiger's eye, red jasper, A MASSIVE LUMP OF HEMATITE, and red tiger's eye(??) banded with black & grey. All I know is it's for Hekate, as are the three candles. I have a hunch the grid has something to do with the path ahead. Forgive the shitty photo.)

(Other objects used, clockwise from bowl: a chestnut, a piece of rose quartz for Guanyin, a clay pendant with a spiral on it I made in gradeschool, serpentite, a glass shard, and an unidentified greyish-purple stone. And a new wand.)

I found a wand today, too. It is carved from Hornbeam, which is a plant I do not believe I have actually seen alive. I spent more money than I intended, but it called to me. The wood is wonderfully pale and smooth. Wikipedia tells me it is nicknamed "ironwood" for its density. According to the description on the tag, "Hornbeam is a lucky wood. It brings good fortune to the bearer. This wood is the bringer of change. It helps promote love and creativity." And, "Hornbeam helps promote creative expression, eloquence, and art of all types. It aids in opening a person up to their full potential." Fitting. I would have chosen it anyway, but...yeah. I could use some change.

Before today, I felt burdened by the expectations of others, and my own unfulfilled wishes. They hung like a huge weight over my head. Now, I feel like things could move soon, in my favor. Maybe it has something to do with giving a little money to the Ganesh statues at the store. That, and I had a good outing with Sunlitgarden today. ^_^ We so rarely get the same days off work, it's a treat to go out and do things together.

Postscript: One more thing. At the Pagan shop, Sunlitgarden, a Bast follower, found an adorable plushy of her Goddess.

(Isn't it the cutest thing?)

With my super serious Hekate image, there was a lot of deity in the car on the drive home!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Second Introduction

Today I signed up for the Pagan Blog Project. Another introduction is in order.

I AM A DEWY-EYED, GLASS-HEARTED NEWB. Expect naivete, trepidation, and heaps of self- doubt. Actually, those last two are everyday traits of mine...I could have just as easily called them "healthy amounts of caution and common sense."


Why the name Sunstone?
     Back in my mid-teens, this girl and I were very close. I'll call her Byakko or Byakko-chan, because that's what she goes by on the internet. So Byakko went away for a week or two to visit the Redwoods in California. She bought me a gift there: a small pouch of tumbled, clear yellow rocks, billed as "sunstones." Later I learned that they were probably citrines, but the name stuck. They look more like solidified sunlight than the true sunstones, anyway. I consider myself more of a solar/day-aligned person than one of the "night" (in all its connotations, except "evil": shadowy, dark, mysterious, et cetera), though I try to balance the two.

 Also, as you may have already guessed, I like rocks.

What Gods/Forces/Entities do you work with?
1.) Athena.

I've been poked by her several times in my life. Here's an example: while reading Pagan Holiday: On the Trial of Ancient Roman Tourists by Tony Perrottet, I felt like she was looking over my shoulder during the chapter on Athens, saying, "Are you paying attention? You are learning something about me, yes? Good." I think of Her as both the personification (deification?) of the city, as well as a standalone goddess. She is the voice in my head urging me to become better and more focused in my artistic pursuits: the intellectual side of the creative drive. She also demands that I stand up for myself. Though I often fail at that, I greatly admire Her inner strength. I wear a little owl necklace when I feel I need protection from the sticks and stones people randomly throw at me at my job (retail). The jewelry isn't necessary, of course, but it's a nice physical reminder. :)

2.) Kuanyin/Kannon/Avalotitesvara (esp. the first "face"). I first encountered Her/Him in a Chinese Art History class. As part of an assignment I visited the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which housed a life-sized wood statue of the Bodhisattva. That statue...had such a presence. It radiated kindness and calm. I visited several times throughout the quarter and afterward, and I always spared a few minutes to sit in front of it. Sadly, it left for several years to tour its homeland (China) and other parts of Asia. (Sad for me, that is. I imagine the statue quite liked visiting where it came from.) I do not know if it has returned, yet. For my everyday needs, I recently bought a statuette and placed it in a lotus-like candleholder. I get much the same feeling from it, so it's a good little conduit.

     Kuan Yin touches me on the head from time to time, to remind me to calm down, step back, and view the bigger picture. She also gently reminds me to be less harsh about others, especially those who annoy me, because there's more to that person than I can see. In that respect, she is entirely different from Athena, who prefers Justice (of the Tarot sort). But until I can install shelves on the walls of my home, those two will just have to share altar space. Like this:

Besides, I think it would be tough to rouse a being of pure compassion to rivalry. I am imagining Kyuan Yin offering the feisty Greek goddess a cup of conciliatory tea. It is a somewhat humorous picture. (I am now wondering if I should give the Bodhisattva an offering of nice tea -- it's calming to me, at least. I'll look into it.)

I think I will save writing about fictional (book/TV/movie) characters as potential spell-guides for another day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Introduction Survey

Since I entirely overworked my attempt at an introduction post, I'll just dive in. I'll take a survey done by the amazing Dusken:


Do you have a magical/Pagan name? No, because they often strike me as silly. Your religion is a part of everyday life, and the name your parents (or friends) gave you a part of it as well. However, following Dusken's advice, I have thought up a name to use whenever I make a formal trip to the Astral.
What does it mean? Uh, you can probably guess. >.>
How did you find Paganism? Slowly, after separating myself from Christianity, which I did not agree with. That phrase implies active resistance, though, and I mostly just ran away, mentally screaming.
How long have you been practicing? Been trying to articulate my beliefs for at least five years.
Solitary or group practitioner? Solitary. My partner and I share living and worship-space, though.
What is your path? Erm...eclectic? Trying to avoid the buffet-style paganism.
Are you out of the broom closet? To some. I'll rant about how I dislike that phrase later. I had to come out of the sexuality closet, too (or, as an acquaintance called it, dropping The G-Bomb)...That was worse, at first.


Who is your patron God? I almost answered with a female deity...damnit.
Who is your patron Goddess? Athena, if I had to pick.
What Gods do you worship? I want to have more of a reciprocal relationship: they help me with something, I repay them. Hekate has piqued my interest, lately...
Do you fear darkly aspected Gods/Goddess, or rather respect them? I am...wary of approaching them (or any spirit in general) without cause.
Do you worship the Christian God? No. The human followers pushed me out of that. Can't say I'd want to meet him, either.
Do you ever worship animals? I consider them different, but not inferior, lifeforms. They know things we don't.
Or plants? The same. My partner, who often goes by Sunlitgarden online, has a degree in plant biology. She patiently teaches me to identify the local flora, and tells me interesting tidbits about them. Trees in particular are amazing. There's something powerful about staying in one place for so long, with your feet deep in the earth and your arms in the sky.


Do you regularly commune with nature? I try. I live next to a largeish park, which is hardly wild, but I say hi to and admire the plants and birds there when I visit. (And the domestic dogs. There's a no-leash area, which they love.)
Ever walked barefoot in the woods? I took off my shoes for a brief time. (This was before I identified as pagan.) I think I got a splinter.
Taken a camping trip just to talk to nature? Not yet. It's on my To Do list, directly above "do Sunlitgarden on said camping trip." ;-)
Describe the moment you felt closest to Mother Earth?  Hmm...probably while spending time with a friend (the same friend as my first spell experience below). We were poking around a woodsy area at dusk, and sat down out this huuuge rock (one of those massive, tumbled things deposited by a glacier) jutting out over a small gully. I loved it there. Too bad we had to leave because of approaching punks.
Do you have a familiar? No, though I like the idea of an astral one. I wouldn't want to impose on the indoor cat. She'd probably say no, anyway.
Have you ever called upon the powers of an animal in ritual? Not yet. Still figuring out how animal spirits/archetypes fit with the real creatures.
Or a plant? Do you consider astral drugs/plants real plants? Haven't encountered any yet. In case you haven't figured out by now, I'm reluctant to dive in and find out for myself.
Do you hug trees? Sometimes, to show my admiration and fleeting ambulatory mammal love. Hopefully they appreciate the sentiment.
Give them gifts? Rarely feel the need to.
What is your favourite flower to work with? Roses. Thanks, Shoujo Kakumei Utena / Revolutionary Girl Utena.
What is your favourite tree to work with? Hmm...Cottonwoods. There's a grand lady (these trees have different sexes; most have both sets of parts) who lives on the edge of a greenbelt where I grew up and my parents still live. I adore her. I also have a wand of sorts I picked up from my college campus; I think it's oak? (That doesn't sound right.) I just liked the feel of it.

W H E E L . O F . T H E . Y E A R

What is your favourite holiday?
What is your least favourite holiday?  Easter, though I enjoy spring. Mostly I just get sick of pastel colors. :-\
Have you ever held a ritual on a holiday? I am self-conscious about such things.
Ever taken a day off work to celebrate a Pagan holiday? Haha no. I work retail. Any day I can work is an opportunity to get paid. And I'm not big on formalized ritual, anyway.
Do you celebrate Yule on the 21 rather than the 25? Last year my partner and I exchanged presents on Solstice. Can't get away from the excitement of the 25th, though...And it's a good time to reconnect with family.
Have you ever felt the veil thin? Yes. Sometimes I feel I can almost touch the things beyond, or hear them. Not so much see.
Ever danced the Maypole? No, though it looks like fun. I'm okay with twining ribbons around a symbolic cock. Less okay with interacting with a real one, personally.
Know what the Maypole symbolizes? Does the phrase "pole in hole" mean anything to you?
How do you usually celebrate the Pagan holidays? By rearranging my altar. I want to do more, my partner and I are just super self-conscious.


Do you use Tarot? Yep!
Do you use runes? I have a set. A friend must've bought them on a whim, because when she moved to Japan she didn't want them. It seemed wrong to give them away, so I took them. Odin's a crafty bastard, though, (a crafty, intriguing bastard, who plays on my issues with men) so I'm not sure I want to employ the divination system he created.
Do you use a pendulum? No, though some of the ones I've seen are gorgeous. I love stones.
Do you use dowsing rods? Nope. No idea how I'd use one, either.
Do you use astrology? It's interesting how accurate it can be, but no.
Any other form of divination?  Nope.


What was the first spell you did? Well, I think my overprotectiveness once prevented (what I believed at the time was a risky) meeting between a female friend and a boy. I may have also been jealous, on a level that I did not understand then. Bad things happened to him soon after. I'm not so egotistical that I believe I was solely responsible, but I do wonder if my torrential teenage emotions and prayers to whoever would listen made something happen...
What was the latest? To get my fires back.
Ever done a love spell? No. That shit is dangerous. Besides, I'm pretty happy in my current relationship.
A job spell? Yes, though since just asking for any other job may backfire, I instead asked for the personal drive and confidence to resume searching and make good impressions. I got several interviews.
A healing spell? Yes. Sometimes I feel my well-wishes leave me like birds.
What was the most powerful spell you’ve ever performed? See the first.
What deities do you usually call on? None. I might ask Hekate, if I did. She seems knowledgeable.


Do you believe in Vampires? Astral, at least. Wouldn't surprise me if there were some actual bloodsuckers out there, but you wouldn't want to meet one. It would probably be far less sexy than the current trend would have us believe. I do like that general trend, though. It is pretty sexy. I do not count Stephanie Meyer's works, or derivations thereof.
Werewolves? Sure. The stories had to come from somewhere.
Shapeshifters? Yes, at least in spirit.
Elves? Spirits taking on a semihuman form, from nature or someplace more abstract.
Faeries? Similar to elves.
Dragons? I believe I once met one spun of sunlight between sleeping and waking. It tried to eat my face. I threw out a shield-bubble, and it dissolved. I felt bad for "killing" it.
Nymphs? Sure.
Sprites? How are they different from Faeries?
Mermaids? Creatures who lure sailors to their doom? Yes. Pretty half-fish, half humans? Less likely, but I like the idea.
Satyrs? Bawdy goat-men? Sure. Though I'm not interesting in dick.
Ever “seen” any of the above? Met several people who sucked out my energy, and the surreal dragon experience. That's it.
Ever talked to any of the above? I would now, if I did.
Ever used any of the above in magic? "Used." How? (Answer: no.)
Do you have one of them as a personal guardian? Well, I did have this elvish fellow start out as a character in a Lord of the Rings fan fiction, but he was more than that to me for a while.


Do you see a rabbit, a man or a woman in the moon? A face. Or: a pockmarked surface of varying albedo.
Own a cat? Yes, one petite, sassy tabby-tortie name Issy. We took her in for fostering at first, but since nobody wanted a brown tabby who didn't immediately warm to them, and she had to us, we eventually adopted her.
When you meditate, what does your happy place look like? 1.) The field between a forest and a huge lake -- I'd call it an ocean but the water is too calm. There's a small but steeply vertical cityscape in the distance. This is the consistent visualization of my mindscape. 2.) A run-down cottage in the woods, with the sun shining through the gaps in the slats. There's a work-table and space for a bed. Herbs hang from the rafters. I should probably repair it, but there is beauty in its neglect, and peace: no one has been there but me in a long time.
Do you work with Chakras? Sometimes I visualize them when I'm trying to meditate.
Do you believe in past lives? Yes. I believe I've gotten a glimpse or two into them.
If so, describe a few briefly: One image of watching a lady dance barefoot by a fire. She was wearing a green dress. The second, standing on a pebbly, grey beach with a feeling of loss. Both triggered by music.
Do you believe in soul mates? Hmm...yes. Though not always the same one, or, it's possible to have several different kinds. I feel fate-tied to several people, you see.
Do you have a spirit guide? I once went through I guided meditation, and my guide was a fox. But that is hardly consistent. Mostly I just stay in my home and/or internal spaces.
Is it always love and light? Hell no.

Hopefully I'll feel like expounding on the things I hinted at here soon.