Saturday, October 22, 2016

How my path keeps winding....

This blog started out as a way to help me with my ADF dp study but as you can see, I haven't been here for several years.  In those years I have discovered something about myself.  Somewhere over the last several years I had lost the person I used to be, the one I loved being.  Somewhere, trying to conform to what I thought I should be I lost who I was.  

I think it started long before I started down my pagan path.  I was a single mother, trying to make ends meet, be the "best" mother I could be and give my daughter a childhood full of happy memories.  I put away things I loved because I felt she came first.  Don't get me wrong, I don't regret any of the things I did to make sure she was happy and had what she needed to thrive.  Well, I should rephrase that.  I regret putting my identity aside to fit the mold I thought I should fit into.  Doing that was a major dis-service to both her and myself.  When I started exploring paganism, reading different books and exploring the net, I felt a stirring.  My old self was wakening up.  Taking my daughters' hand, we started exploring, following a new path, feeling like (at least I) was waking up.  

This was a good time, feeling my way and learning new things.  Then came the time to meet others in "RL".  Well, the first group was an eye-opener.  There were a lot of good times but unfortunately those good times soured.  Egos got in the way.  I started really hating the group but more, hating the person I was turning into.  A very mean, vindictive person.  I'll admit it.  I did things I am not proud of.  But at the same time this group was turning poison.  Leaving them with very bad feelings  I found ADF.  I love the grove I joined, still a member of for that matter.  It took a long time to let go of that hate I felt towards the others, but it's no longer there.  Thankfully, I really don't like that person. 

My journey with ADF has been a lot less bumpy, at least until the last few years, but that's a whole other story, not worth talking or thinking about.  Most of my time here has been good.  I don't regret being here at all.  I love the public rituals, the friendships I've formed are very special to me.  But these last few years I've felt like something was missing.  So many of my friends are doing really good stuff, I'm happy for them, but I feel like I'm lost again.  

Because of these feeling of loss I've been re-examining things.  Trying to figure out who I am and where I want to go.  So, getting to the point of this rather long post, I want to let anyone who follows my blog or wants to follow it.  My blog will no longer be about my ADF dp, I'm on a journey to rediscover myself.  I'll be blogging about that, which will include everything from spiritual posts to the "mundane".  

My life, my rediscovering myself.  You're welcome to follow my journey, if you so desire.  Who knows were I'll end up, lol, heck, maybe my wanderings will give you something to think about.  No harm there.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lughnasadh 2014

Walking down the path to the meeting area, I was pleasantly surprised at how cool it was down there.  Usually Lughnasadh is one of my least favorite high days because it is so hot but this year it was very pleasant.  Standing in the meeting area and looking around at our new home it dawns on me how much this place is growing on me.  I love being surrounded by the tall trees and listening to the birds singing above us.  The sun shone down through the trees while a pleasant breeze stirred the leaves.  The ground is mainly covered in a mix of moss and grass with a tall plant poking up here and there.  This place we are now calling home is very peaceful and has a calming effect on the soul.   

Ritual started kinda late this time, but that was okay because there was a lot of socializing going on.  We had a very large turnout this year, it was really nice to see new faces and friends from other groves come and join us on this beautiful day.  We even had an old friend come back and celebrate with us.  The meeting area was filled with people talking and laughing, occasionally a loud pop would happen when the balloon Gen was blowing up and filling with rose-petals would explode. The whole atmosphere was very festive.

This ritual we were honoring Lugh and Ana.  At Lughnasadh we tell the story of the battle between Lugh and his grandfather, Balor.  Part of the ritual is a brag/boost round.  Everyone tells about the best thing that happened to them in the past year or an accomplishment that they are particularly proud of doing.  The proud winner is then crowned and will be Lugh in the re-enactment of the battle.  There were many boosts this year.  In my opinion every one of them was very good and I applaud them. But this year our winner was our Senior druid Rob H.   Rob had a rough time this past year.  He's struggled a lot and through it all he is winning.  Diffidently a champion!

After Rob was crowned came the fun part.  

With the spearing of Balor's eye and the shower of the rose petals came a loud cheer!  Lugh is victorious again!  

Afterwards our omen taker reads the runes.  This is what we got.  Othala - Dagaz - Fehu  A good omen indeed!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A hunting we will go.....for beneficial "weeds".

I've been thinking lately, uh-oh, about what grows in our yards.  How a plant is named a weed just cause someone decided not to grow it in a garden.  How many beneficial plants grow in your yard that you don't know about? Or along the roadside.

I'm starting to explore wildcrafting.  What is wildcrafting you ask?  Well, "Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat, for food or medicinal purposes.", Wikipedia.  Wildcrafting does not automatically mean just plants in the wild, it is just uncultivated plants.  You do have to be careful and follow state and federal laws.  Most parks won't let you harvest from them and you should always ask before you go onto someone else's property to make sure it's okay to harvest on their property.  Also, harvesting endangered plants is a big no-no.

Now, right now I'm not to worried about harvesting on state or federal property, heck not even worried about my neighbors yards.  I'm starting out by basically wandering around my yard and seeing what I have growing here.

I know I have plantain weed, dandelion, lamb quarters, chicory, queen annes lace, catnip and I think purslane.  But I have some weeds here too that I'm not sure about, like pigs' ear for example.  Can one do anything with it?  Actually, I'm not sure what the correct name is, it's just the name I know it from since childhood. 

I think today when I go to the library I am going to have to see if they have anything on the subject.  I'm interested in learning how to use them for a variety of reasons.  But a big chunk of my reasoning is because I just want to be able to say "Hey! That's such-an-such and you can use it for ____".  And the looks on peoples faces when you explain these facts to them is priceless. 

Pimping it out?

I was thinking the other day about how in some rituals people just follow a routine and don't vary from it ever, doing the same thing every time.  Now, don't get me wrong, routine is good, I am not complaining about that.  But I got to thinking.  Is there a way to deepen the experience and still follow a set routine?  

So I start thinking.  How to add umph! without having to constantly change what I'm doing every time?  So my mind starts it's normal wandering, anyone who know me knows this is perfectly normal.  I started thinking about one of my first blog entries on scents and using your sense of smell to enhance your experience.  This started my thinking, well, if adding scents helps what would happen if you start adding your other senses to the mix? 

This thought got me to thinking about the last Beltane ritual at Shining Lakes Grove.  Gen and I had suggested that everyone bring decorations to "pimp out" the nemeton.  We were hoping that by doing this it would bring a festive, party atmosphere to the ritual, perfect for Beltane.  Truthfully, it turned out a lot better then I was hoping for.  We had pinwheels, lots of strings of colorful beads draped everywhere, glittery gold clothe draped on branches and alters, wind chimes.  It was great.  You could feel the difference, it was a very happy, party atmosphere to it.  Several people, including some new people who showed up, commented on how they loved the decorations and how it made it feel so festive.  

Why did it effect people like that?  Well, I can't speak for them, but I'm a very visual person.  I love decorating for special days.  It doesn't just represent the day but it also helps me put myself into the moment.  To me, setting up the decorations was a lot like centering and grounding yourself before a ritual or meditation.  I feel more connected to what I am doing when I put special effort into the "extras" then when I just do a high day ritual with no extras.  

If you don't believe me let's think about this.  When you think of a holiday what do you see?  Is it colorful lights, snow and candy canes for example?  Or how about flags, fireworks and parades?  Or pumpkins, scarecrows and colorful fall leaves?  Each of those holidays have certain visual items that make people think of them, connect with it.  Now before you say "Oh that's not me! I don't need that stuff."  Think about it.  Don't you love decorating for these days? Or at least some of you do.  Well, why can't you extend that into your rituals?  I know in my neo-wiccan days we used to add extra things to our main altar for the high day.  It added to the festive feel of things.  I loved doing that.  So why did I stop?  Because I felt like I had too, but lately I'm re-thinking this.

So, in my opinion, adding the extra time to decorate your altar or work area for your high days is well worth it.  It will add a depth to your experience, in fact I believe making sure each of your senses is involved deepens the over all experience but that will be in more future blog entries.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earth Day/Work Day

Today several people started four day ritual honoring the Earth. Today was about getting out there and doing something, be it clean the side of the highway, plant trees, clean a park, get out and enjoy nature. Whatever it was, do it and post about it. 

Well, I spent the afternoon cleaning our groves Nemeton. We raked leaves off the pathway and out of the meeting area and the Nemeton. Several small trees where cut down or the tops lopped off to make poles for the tarp we are using as a canopy.  We expanded the meeting area, pulled up stumps and cut firewood.  It was a very busy, exhausting afternoon.

I will be truthful, at first I wasn't looking forward to it. Nope, not at all. But once we were there and really digging in (yes, pun intended) I found I was enjoying myself.  It felt good reconnecting with the nature spirits in that area. Feeling the energy that flows through there was a pleasant surprise. It seems like every time we work on the area it seems to have a little more welcoming feel to it.  I don't know why the nature spirits feel more welcoming in the woods then the ones in the field, but there is a diffident difference in the energy in the Nemeton here.

Beltaine is in a couple of weeks, I can't wait to see the reactions of our grove mates when they see it. Also looking forward to "pimping" out the Nemeton for Beltaine. Hey! It's a holiday of fun, color and laughter, why shouldn't the Nemeton reflect that. I'm going to try and get people to help me make it look like a fairy exploded in it. That would be so awsome!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ConVo 2014

Well, we went to our first ConVo this past weekend.  As norm my daughter and I completely stressed about everything for a couple of weeks before the event.  That's nothing new, we still do that before Midnight Flame and we're going on our 4th year of that festival.  So as norm, my daughter is running like a crazy person and I'm procrastinating till the last minute.  By the time we are ready to go both of us are rather stressed.  

The drive there was kinda nerve racking, I really don't like driving in or around Detroit, between the potholes and the crazy drivers, it's not a pleasant experience.  But we made it in one piece and truthfully, it was quite easy to find.  

I have to admit, the way some people were talking about it I really expected a HUGE hotel with trillions (okay, maybe not quite a trillion) people everywhere.  The hotel was actually very nice and there were quite a lot of people.  I think it was around a thousand people coming and going to the events and checking things out.  Of course, I'm guessing on that but at the raffle drawing they called a number that was over a thousand and since that was the number on our badges, it's a safe bet there was over a thousand. Either way, there was a lot of people there.

There was a room for artists to display and sale their artwork.  A good friend of ours had her prints on display.  She does lovely stuff.  It was interesting to look at the different displays.  I liked how there was such a variety, not like going to a crafts show and everyone is selling the exact same thing.  Next year I'm going to have to set money aside just for that room, I'm thinking.

The merchants room was smaller then I was expecting, I won't lie, but there was so much to look at and want.  It's probably a good thing it wasn't as big as I expected.  Of course we had to visit our friends' stall, The Magical Druid.  I really like their items and highly recommend them.  There were quite a variety of merchants, I spent way to much time and money in there. But I bought several things, magical and mundane, that I can't get around here.

I took several classes this weekend on a variety of subjects.  I was very impressed with all of the instructors.  It was a breath of fresh air to take a class from someone who had a good knowledge on the subject they were teaching.  The classes gave me some ideas on how to expand my practice.  They also solidified a few of my beliefs on my magical practices.  I am really grateful for the wonderful people who were willing to take the time to share their experience and knowledge.  

The thing that I enjoyed maybe the most was meeting up with old friends and just chatting and hanging out.  We had several new people come in to check us out, I do believe we may have some new members.  I know there was one lady who told us that we were the only group that actually welcomed her in and made her feel good.  Unfortunately, I had noticed that it was rather cliquey which is rather unfortunate.  It seemed like this is an excellent opportunity to expand your friends and experiences but a lot of people just seemed to only want to stick with the same people doing the same thing.  That was a bit of a disappointment, I will admit that. 

All in all, I really enjoyed myself.  Next year will be even better.  I'm looking forward to more classes, lectures, dancing and meeting more people.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Next Step?

The other night while at work my mind started drifting, not an unusual thing since most of the jobs I do are very repetitious and it's very easy to zone out while doing them.  Anyway, I got to thinking about some friends who are Kemetic and some of their beliefs.  This thought led me to thinking about a visit to the Toledo Museum of Art that me and my daughter had taken a few years ago.  We were so excited to go because they were having a display on Ancient Egypt.  There were pieces of art work, jewelry and statues that had been taken from a tomb.  The big item that we were so excited to see was the mummy that they were displaying.  This was a big thing, you hear about them, see pictures of them but we were going to actually see a real one in "person", so to speak.  

Now, when we finally got to the case that held the mummy, all I could think of was how sad it was.  Looking down at this withered body wrapped in rags and looking so tiny and fragile, my only thought was how sad it was to have ended up here, on display for anyone to stare at.  The more I thought about it the sadder I became.  This withered, dried up thing used to be a person, someone who loved others, had people who loved them.  A person who had lived, loved and dead.  Their whole belief was that the items we were just admiring were buried with them for the sole purpose of their being able to continue their lives in the next life, like they had lived in this life.  Without those items, the artwork that talked of their life, their accomplishments and their funerals, most importantly, their names, they would cease to exist. I wondered, what happened to this poor soul when the items were taken from their tomb?  Was s/he living happily in the afterlife, then suddenly ripped out and scattered to nothingness because of the actions of the people who were taking their stuff from their tombs?  Did this person cease to exist?  While I enjoyed looking at the items, the mummy really depressed me, made me wonder why we needed to remove the body from it's resting place.

After thinking about this rather depressing subject I started thinking about how different religions had their own beliefs on what happens when we pass from this life. There are so many different places people believe we go after we die. Heaven.  Hell.  Nirvana. Isle of Apples. Summerland.  Reincarnation.  Nothing.  You get the picture. There are so many thoughts of what waits us when we leave this life.  

What happens once our spirit leaves this body?  My belief is that our minds, to some extent, create our afterlife.  Bare with me, this is an ongoing, evolving belief that I've been working on for years.  I believe that our minds, our thoughts, help form the afterlife we will be experiencing.  I don't think it controls it all, but I believe that at the beginning, when we leave our bodies, that our minds will create a reality that we expect, that we can deal with.  Of course this can be a double edged sword, if you believe in Hell and feel that is what you deserve, then that is where you go, same as if you believe you deserve Heaven, or Summerland.  That is where you will go.

Now, this thought lead me to what about Reincarnation? What about the belief that we all come from one source and that when we die we go back to that source?  How does this fit in?  I don't know, but it makes for some interesting thoughts. I honestly can't say I believe in either, but I remember reading somewhere that energy does not cease to exist, it is always there.  I believe our spirits are made of energy, so when we die we have to go somewhere.  Now, do we keep living different lives for all eternity? I don't know.  Maybe, but why?  Would it be to learn lessons?  That you can't move on till you learn that lesson? Or just to experience different types of life?  Would this go on forever? Or would it stop when you learn or experience all that you want?  Do you eventually find your way back to the one source that all life comes from. Before anyone says "Hey! What you mean by that?" I do believe that all life, everything in existence comes from one source, even the gods, goddesses, nature spirits, all that, come from this source.  That is my belief, so since this is my blog, I'm going with it. 

I remember reading in a Dean Koontz book, Odd Thomas, one of the main characters believed that this life is just boot camp, that the next life is war or the great adventure.  Now, I don't believe this is boot camp, but I kinda like the thought that the next life (and possibly the next, etc) are great adventures.  Before anyone laughs at me for developing an idea from a book, I am not saying this is what I believe in, but I think it's an interesting thought.  Sometimes you read something that makes you go "hmmm?"  Even if it's fiction, if it's a "hmmm" thought, it can be worth looking into or at least exploring.  When you think about it, it is in a way another variation of reincarnation.  I think I could go with each life as an adventure or a new experience over lessons to be learned.  After all, who's to say you won't learn any lessons having an adventure?  

Thinking about all these ideas about the afterlife makes me wonder why some spirits don't move on.  I know some people say they could be just an echo of something in the past, kinda like a recording of an event that happened.  Maybe, could be.  I don't know.  Could it be this persons' soul is stuck at this moment in time?  Forced to relive this one moment over and over again?  I'm thinking it's a possibility, especially if our minds are what really makes the afterlife what it is.  Maybe these echoes are people living it over and over again, unaware that they are doing it and unaware of anything else around them.  But then I started wondering about the spirits that are aware of the "living".  Why are the aware?  Why do they refuse to leave?  What are they afraid of?

Which makes you wonder, if these spirits we are seeing are just humans in another energy form, why are they stuck in this spot or time like this?  Was the experience so bad that they can't stop relieving it? Are they to afraid to leave?  I know some claim family members come back to warn, comfort or just check up on them.  So that leads to another thought.  As energy forms, can we not only choose our afterlife, but could we also choose to travel among different planes of reality or time?

As you can see, my thoughts bounce all over the place and take me on some interesting adventures.  I was hoping writing this would help me sort out my thoughts on this subject.  It did help some, but now I've more questions because of it.