How to Find your Magickal Name

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People have magickal names for a few reasons.

- its a name that is sometimes used only in ritual circle (more commonly, people who are out of the broom closet use it within the Pagan community, at meetups, coven meetings, online, etc)
- its a name used to disguise, if someone isn't out of the broom closet
- its a name that aids a person in getting into the ritual mindset


In some traditions, a teacher or priestess will give you your magickal name, but I think it's important that you choose your own (or it chooses you). There are several ways to choose a name.
One way is to use numerology. Take the numbers of your birthday at and add them up until you get one number. For example, 6/12/1980 would be 6+1+2+1+9+8+0 = 27, 2+7 = 9. This would be your birth number. Then, think of names that you like. Use a numerology table like the one found here (http://www.witchcrafts.net/zine/numerology.htm) and find the numbers associated with the letters in your ideas for names. Add the numbers up for each one, until you have a single digit. Try to match your birth number. If you go along this route, you can change the spelling of the name that you really want, until the numbers match up.
Another way is to find your name through asking the God/dess through meditation. In my opinion, this is the best way. Begin meditating with the intent of finding a name. Ask the God/dess for a name. S/he may even show you the symbolism around your new name. However, you probably want to make sure that you are okay with taking what s/he gives you. I used this for finding my magickal "last name" (there are LOTS of Ivys out there) and I wasn't too excited about the name "Rainriver," but she gave it to me, and showed me the symbolism, and kept it I did- for awhile at least.

Yet another way is to choose something that you are attracted to. Some people take the name of a god/dess, (personally, I don't think taking the name of a deity is the way to go, but that's just my opinion), some people choose a natural object, an animal, stone, etc. If you go this route, you may wanna stay away from the names that are generically associated with Witchcraft, like Raven, Stone, Moon, Silver, Willow. There are LOTS of people out there with these names. Unless you are really sure that that is what you want your name to be, then go with it.

These are just a few ways to find your magickal name, a jumping-off place to point you in the right direction. When you find your name, you'll know. It will resonate with you, deep inside, and you'll know you made the right decision!

Yule by Any Other Name

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Webster’s Dictionary defines Yule as: the feast of the nativity of Jesus Christ. Many other dictionary sources cite similar definitions. So, at first glance, Yule doesn’t seem like it would be a holiday for Pagans to celebrate. After all, think of all the Christmas carols that speak of celebrating yuletide, and bringing Yule cheer!

However, Yule wasn’t always associated with Christmas, and the birth of Christ. Prior to the birth of Christ and the development of the Christian religion, many native peoples celebrated a winter holiday that occurred on or near the winter solstice. The winter solstice happens on or around December 21 (20-22) each year. The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year. Most ancient European peoples celebrated this holiday with festivals, each similar to one another, but very different.

The most well-known Pagan winter festival is the festival of Saturnalia- the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The Romans celebrated this festival with friends and family in homes decked with laurel and holly. Evergreen boughs were brought into the home and decorated temples as a sign of the cycle of life. No criminals were executed during this time, and schools were closed, and the people rested. Good luck gifts were exchanged with friends and family, and the season was a time of goodwill. Parades and processions through the street were very common during Saturnalia.

In the area of Scandinavia, it would be dark for days during the winter months. During this darkness, scouts would be sent to the mountain tops to watch for any sign of the rising sun. Many people would light candles in their windows to help encourage the sun to return. Once the sun returned, the scouts would return to the villages with the good news. A great festival would be held. This festival would be called Yuletide and people would celebrate with bonfires and feast around the Yule log.

The people in the Mesopotamian area celebrated a new year’s festival around the Winter Solstice called Zagmuk. The peoples of Mesopotamia believed in many gods, but above all, they worshipped a chief god, Marduk. They believed that Marduk would do battle with the demons of chaos. During Zagmuk, the people planned to assist Marduk. According to tradition, during this 12 day festival, the King is supposed to die as a sacrifice, and return to fight alongside Marduk. However, instead of the king actually dying, the people would dress up a criminal and treat him as royalty for a day. Then, the criminal was slain, sparing the king, but yet aiding Marduk in his fight.

The Persians and the Babylonians celebrated their festival of Sacaea. Their festival was very similar to Zagmuk. One interesting highlight of Sacaea is that during the festival, masters and slaves would change places. Also celebrating a similar holiday were the Greeks, who made sacrifices to aid the God Kronos, who would be gearing up for battle against Zeus and his Titans.

For many years, Christmas was celebrated on various dates from December to April. In 350 CE, Pope Julius I decreed that the official date of Christ’s birth was December 25. Many scholars disagree, but since 350 CE, Christmas has been celebrated on that date. Even though most people no longer practice the ancient Pagan festivals, the winter traditions of olde are still evident and practiced each holiday season. Next time you see a Christmas tree, a pile of presents, or lit candles in a window, know that these traditions transcend centuries of celebrations.

Mistletoe- Not Just for Kissing

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Did you know that Mistletoe- one of the holidays most inspiring traditions- is really a parasitic plant named for bird feces?

Mistletoe grows on hardwood trees, such as oak and apple trees. It’s parasitic, and as it grows, it thrusts its roots into the bark of the tree. While this rarely kills the host tree, mistletoe sucks nutrients and water from the host tree and uses this to further its growth. The berries of the mistletoe are eaten by birds, who then deposit their droppings on the branches where they’ve feasted, thus ensuring the cycle of life of the mistletoe plant. Actually, the name “mistletoe” is derived from the Anglo-Saxons. Their word for dung was “mistle” and the word for twig was “tan.” “Mistletan” was Old English for Mistletoe, and that reminds us that it was named for the bird droppings.

Bird poo aside, the Druids believed the mistletoe plant was of divine origin. In serious Winter Solstice rituals, druids would lead long processionals through the forest, until they came upon mistletoe growing on an oak tree. The head Druid would cut the mistletoe away from the host tree with a golden sickle. It was then caught upon a white linen cloth and was not allowed to touch the ground. The Druids believed that this plant was able to cure illness and other maladies and gave it the Celtic name “uile” or All-Heal. They also believed that it was a fertility plant, given to them by the Gods. You can still find All-Heal in many herbal shoppes, though it is poisonous and can cause stomach issues and it may even be fatal.
In rural Sweden and Switzerland, people believed that in order to get the full potency of mistletoe, one had to collect it in a special way at a certain time. The sun had to be in Sagittarius, and the moon must be waning. Also, the mistletoe had to be shot or knocked down and caught before touching the ground. It was also believed to protect against witchcraft and sorcery and was used in counter magic, in order to counter curses and hexes.
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe most likely came from the associate of the plant with the Scandinavian cultures. Frigga, a Norse Goddes,s had taken the oath of every person and plant that they would not harm her son, Balder. All, except the mistletoe plant- she thought it too young, small and inconsequential. Loki found the mistletoe and, steering his hand, convinced Balder’s blind brother, Hod to heave the mistletoe at Balder. The dart of mistletoe went through Balder, killing him instantly. Frigga’s tears turned the red berries of mistletoe to white, and with his mother’s kiss Balder was restored to life. Frigga was so grateful that she declared that anyone who walked under mistletoe shall be bestowed upon them a kiss.
Mistletoe is one of the most revered and holy plants of the ancients. Transcending cultures and geography, this herb is known for its powerful healing and harming properties. So, next time you kiss someone under the mistletoe- remember just how powerful the herb above you might be.

One more toe in the pool!

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So, I've made one more step into actually turning my hobby into a business. I registered a domain name, and am trying a hosting service. I'm planning on using wordpress, since it looks like many of my peers are using it. Evidently there is a shopping cart plug in? Well, I'll see, I guess. I don't know that I'm going to apply for a merchant account right away, since I'm signed up for paypal and google checkout.

I need to take new photos of all of the jewelry. I'm only going to take a few photos of each, so I don't get overwhelmed (or get the hubby to do it for me ;)

I want to turn this into an actual business, so I need to research how to do this. I tried to get the state to stop sending me business tax nonsense once I stopped selling IRW, but they didn't close my account or whatever. I guess I need to get them to close that down so that I can apply for a Sellers Permit under my business name instead. Unless I can just change that. I got something in the mail- I think it's all done online now- so I'll look into that.

I'm kind of excited, and looking forward to 2010.

I bought new tackle boxes yesterday to migrate my beads to- will give the old ones to the hubby along with the rest of the tackle box. I really liked that box, because it had a shoulder strap, but now I have too many beads for it anyway. Also hit up the Beadworks and Wal-Mart Saturday. Bought some fun glass beads- was planning on doing some multi colored/random bead bracelets on memory wire, but one of my coven sisters beat me to the punch and I got one for Yule. Its so pretty and I love it! So, I don't want to look like a copycat- so, I guess for now I'll stick to the monochromatic ones that I've been working on. Cookie Lee has multi-colored beaded jewelry in the catalog this go-around, and I want to make a necklace like the one my co-worker has.

Once I'm organized, I want to try to organize a beading meetup or something! Along with a scrapbook crop, since I have a blue million prizes I could give away. Oh my. I just typed "blue million." That's something that hubby always says- yikes!

TMP Post: Friday, July 08, 2005

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Originally posted on Friday, July 08, 2005
Notes: I think he added me to his 'list' anyway.

sohail_2475: show ur boooooooooooooooos
sohail_2475: show ur boooooooooooooooos
sohail_2475: show ur boooooooooooooooos
sohail_2475: show ur boooooooooooooooos
ivyfyre: Whats a booo?
ivyfyre: A ghost?
sohail_2475: where u frm
ivyfyre: A place where people are educated and can spell correctly. They even can check profiles where I'm from. Where are you from?
sohail_2475: sorry dr i thk i hurt u
ivyfyre: I think that you are a moron.
sohail_2475: i thk u r the right person to whom i can chat
ivyfyre: Im not so sure.
sohail_2475: why dr u dont want chat wth me
sohail_2475: can i add u in my list
ivyfyre: No.
sohail_2475: ok f9 as u wish mam

Introducing "Time Machine" Posts

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When I don't feel like posting, I've decided that I shall post something from my previous blog.

Way back when I was single/relationshipped, in an online coven, solitary, living in a studio apartment, etc. Sometimes the post will be funny, sometimes serious, sometimes a random flashback, sometimes something that will actually make sense.

For the Good of All and Harm to None!

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“… for the good of all, and harming none…” This is a fun little statement that many Pagan and magick books like to add at the end of a spell. Just in case? To hedge your bets? I can’t remember the last spell I did that used this statement at the end of it- though I’m sure at some point when I was a n00b, I did, since the books advised to. I think at some point, though, I started to actually think and analyze what I was I doing when I mentioned that little tidbit at the end. I believe that the authors had good intentions when they advised their readers to add this statement. I believe that they were probably trying to minimize blowback potential. However, going about it this way completely hinders the energy of the spell.

First of all, one should have a good sense of their personal ethics and morals before doing spellwork. A witch needs to know herself well enough to figure out what she feels is right and wrong (I use the word “feels” as some matters are completely subjective) before trying to create change using magick. Another thing that I feel a witch should have is the sense of self-responsibility that seems to be missing from many people coming of age in this new generation. If you do something that screws something up, one needs to be able to take responsibility for it (not blame others), and step up fix it. Too often, I see witches say, “Well, the Gods must have willed it this way.” Which, of course, may be true, but if it’s obvious to another witch that you’ve left yourself open to blowback- it could be your fault that your love spell generated your stalker.

What is magick? Magick is change generated by the witch.. It’s not prayer- which is by definition communion with deity- it’s action. It’s the energy of the witch manipulating energy (whether this is personal, elemental, deity, etc) to create a change on the energetic/astral plane that will be reflected on the physical plane. That’s a lot to say, and it’s a lot to do, at times. A Witch should have enough confidence in her spell to not feel the need to put a qualifier at the end of it.

Also, you can’t throw out a spell meant to harm someone, add the qualifier and release yourself from responsibility. That’s another case of “Oh, well, the Gods must have willed it. After all, I DID say ‘with harm to none’.”


It’s the equivalent to saying “Harm to none- If the Gods will that no one be harmed, may these blessed batteries not work” and zapping someone with a stun gun. If you have done the work (ie: checked the batteries) and you know how to use the stun gun, most likely the stun gun will work. Using the qualifier at the end of a spell does not release you from the responsibility of the end result. There are better ways to reduce the potential for spell fallout than a silly phrase at the end of the spell.

Of course, if the Gods decide that your intended result of a spell is not to be reached, then of course your spell will fail. You don’t need to add “if the Gods will it,” at the end of your spell. How pointless. It takes away from your focus, like the FTGOAAHTN qualifier. You are the witch. You are doing the magick, you are enacting change. If you aren’t confident enough in your intent and skill (and your ethical code), why bother doing it at all? It just gives the energy another thing to focus on besides your end result. Why set yourself up to fail? The point of magickal spellwork is to change something- to focus your energy in order to make a change. Why take away from that focus with qualifiers?

What goes around, will come around- even if you mention a cop-out phrase at the end of your spell. There really is no copping-out.

The "Mysteries"

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My advanced comp teacher in high school taught us several ways to start an essay. One way is with a definition. I always really liked to use this to begin my compositions, because it usually helps clarify a point, even before you start making whatever point you are trying to make.

The first definition of "mystery" listed at m-w.com is this: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand. And this is the perspective of what I write about today. The "mysteries" of Wicca and Paganism. Many people speak of these mysteries, many student want to learn the mysteries. Sorry, friends.

You can't learn the mysteries. You can't know the mysteries. You can only experience the mysteries. Are the mysteries only able to be experienced by adepts? No. There are mysteries around you every day. The changing of the seasons, life, death, taxes (well, maybe not taxes) are all mysteries. If you allow yourself to mindfully experience these things, rather than take them
for granted, you may find yourself a bit enlightened in an unexpected way.

Also, everyone's walk with their god/dess(es) is going to be unique. As everyone walks a personal path (even if one belongs to a coven, or practices a tradition), every person will experience the mysteries differently. Magick and other practices related to Paganism are also full of mysteries. Why does one working succeed, and another fail? How did this stupendous experience happen when it defies the laws of physics? Why did I have this wonderful and enlightening experience during meditation? Communing with the Gods? It's all part of the mysteries- one needs only to be mindful and open their heart to it, and experience the mysteries on their path.

If one just takes it all for granted, or only sees the mysteries through a self-centered looking glass.... "I defied the laws of physics- 'cause Im awesome like that." "The goddess spoke to me in a dream, because I'm so adept, and thats how She rolls." "My magick failed because I must have timed it incorrectly."... one will never know them.

In the Charge of the Goddess, it is said that "and you who seek to know me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without." Your mysteries are within your grasp. Open your eyes and mindfully open yourself to these experiences. I know this is a random post, but I felt compelled to write today.... and I'm listening to that 'inner voice.'

Geiger Counter and Thermographic Camera

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Recently, I joined a paranormal group, and was asked to research two pieces of equipment: a Thermographic Camera and a Geiger Counter. While I posted it on my paranormal blog, I wanted to cross post here!

Geiger Counter

What is your device and what is it used for in ghost hunting?

A Geiger Counter is a device used to measure radioactive particles. Most measure beta particles and gamma rays, but some also measure alpha particles. Alpha particles positively charged and are composed of two protons and two neutrons. Beta particles are negatively charged, as they are fast moving electrons. Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation and are neutral.

A Geiger Counter is made up of a gas filled tube that briefly conducts electricity when it comes into contact with a radioactive particle as described above. The tube conducts a brief current and this will cause the device to click, move a needle, or light up (depending on the type of device one uses).

Geiger Counters are used in the paranormal community to measure paranormal activity, much the same as an EMF meter. Many investigators will take a baseline reading, and then during the investigation, keep an eye on the Geiger Counter for any strange readings. Obviously, it would also help if one wasn’t sure if dangerous radiation was present.

How do you use it?

Typically, there is a “read” button that one depresses to get the reading. A normal reading is 0 to 1, and a possible paranormal reading could be anywhere from 1 to 20, or strange needle movement.

How do you maintain it?

Check the battery- in many devices, the “test” button will test the battery. In older models, calibration might be necessary.

What kind of paranormal activity does it detect?

The theory is that the Geiger Counter may detect possible spirit manifestations, that might also be caught on video or audio devices.

Do I need any accessories for it? If so, what?

Extra batteries, dependant on the model. Some are available with remote sensors.

What are the drawbacks or controversies of using this device?

There are really old devices floating around that may need calibration. There have been people selling other types of radiation detectors as Geiger Counters. The devices can be expensive. They start around $30 for the old cold war versions (that may need calibration) and the newer ones range from $200- $2,000+.


Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geiger_counter
http://www.getghostgear.com/KnowledgeCenter/GeigerCounter.htm
http://www.liparanormalinvestigators.com/equipment.shtml#im179


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Thermographic Camera


What is your device and what is it used for in ghost hunting?

The thermographic camera (sometimes referred to as FLIR- Forward Looking InfraRed- device) senses infrared radiation and uses this information to create an image where colors refer to temperatures. All objects emit a bit of radiation due to their temperatures, and this radiation shows up on the screen as colors within the objects shape. White is the warmest, black is the coolest.

In paranormal investigating, it’s used to sense cold spots (like a thermometer), but because one can get an image of a wide amount of space, it allows the investigator to get a bigger picture of the environment. This include natural cold/hot spots- for debunking purposes, and of course non-natural temperature shifts that may be paranormal. This can include human shaped cold (or hot) spots. It’s also helpful to see small animals that might be active within the walls, making sounds that others might think is paranormal.

How do you use it?

The model I was looking at- the FLIR i5- one pushes a button and is able to scan an area.

How do you maintain it?

Check the battery, replace it if it’s low or not working. This depends on the model- most that I looked at were ‘field replaceable.’


What kind of paranormal activity does it detect?

It detects hot and cold spots. A theory is that in order for a spirit to manifest, it might need to use the energy from the air, generating a cold spot.

Do I need any accessories for it? If so, what?

Extra batteries.


What are the drawbacks or controversies of using this device?

One of the drawbacks is that, while it will show the investigator the temperatures of an area, the heat can reflect off of shiny objects.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermographic_camera
http://www.flir.com/thermography/eurasia/en/content/?id=24076

Just another weekend.

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This weekend, I did a craft fair. It was a really small affair, in the crop room of a local scrapbooking shop. Only a few vendors came, but I had a great time with the other women. I made jewelry while we waited for customers. I ended up making $45, but better than that, I went by myself, and was actually very happy with how I felt about it. I was a happy camper last night.

Then, today! The red fairy visited, and I felt like poo all day. So, I babied myself. Went to my moms, and visited my sister and niece (and BIL, of course), My sis had an awful reaction to H1N1- she's asthmatic and was scarily sick. SCARY. Lots of prayers went up for her this week. So, other than sleeping late (slept like shit last night) and resting I just babied myself all day. I just got out of a candlelit shower and feel relaxed.

I popped my deep fryer cherry today and made fried mushrooms (and zucchini 'cause I had leftover batter). It was a great red wine and garlic butter. It smelled like The Melting Pot to me. They will forever be known as "Melting Pot Mushrooms" from now on.

The end is coming!

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At least, the end of my online classes! And not too soon, as Wicca 101 classes start up at the end of November. I love the Wicca 101 classes, and its great having sisters who will volunteer to teach, so I don’t get burned out. The online classes sometimes end up feeling like a chore. I think, if I got paid, rather than doing it out of the “goodness of my heart” I might feel better about it. It’s just that the students move on afterwards, and I end up feeling empty. Maybe it’s because with my regular classes, the students are working toward initiation, and at the end of the day, I receive feedback and continued interaction with them. They (usually) integrate into my coven family, and we all become sisters. And then I feel like my hard work and energy actually influenced someone, rather than being a 12 week blip on their calendar.

I’m wrestling with whether or not I should continue to be the manager of the Circle of Teaching. I don’t know that I’ll be able to give it the time I feel it deserves in 2010, as I have some new projects that I have launching, including trying to turn my crafting into a business, and a Pagan networking project I’d like to give some time to. I’d also like to focus on my personal studies, something that I have totally flaked out on. I do MUCH better with structure, and support- though it didn’t always used to be the case. I need to focus on tarot more, and work on a daily devotional. I just need to figure out a way to structure that so I actually FOLLOW through with it.

Samhain!

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Samhain night was wonderful! Here are a few photos of our altar!



















And what Sabbat blog post would be complete without a recipe! And as Samhain is the third harvest festival, the meat harvest, a traditional food to eat is pork. Below is my recipe for Pork pastries.



Pork Empanada/Pasty Things
Makes 16-20

Ingredients:
1 pound ground pork
pork chop seasoning packet
small can of sliced new potatos
dried chopped onions
garlic powder
salt/ pepper to taste
olive oil
Package of 2 refrigerated pie shells

Directions:
1. Take out the pie shells to thaw a bit.

2. Get out a medium sized skillet with raised sides. Drizzle the bottom with olive oil, and turn the burner on medium heat. Put the ground pork in the skillet, and break up with a spoon or spatula. Brown the pork, about halfway through sprinkle half the seasoning packet over the meat, as well as some of the dried chopped onion (to your taste).

3. Open the can of potatoes and dice them. Once the pork is pretty much cooked through, add the potatoes, and shake some garlic powder over the whole pan, stir lightly to get everything seasoned. If it looks a little dry, add more olive oil. Turn off heat.

4. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

5. Roll out a pie crust on parchment paper. Use a wide mouth glass or circle cookie cutter to cut circles (at least 4") out of the pie crust. Repeat with other pie crust. Ball up the rest of it, and roll out to get as many circles as you can.

6. Take each circle and use a rolling pin to flatten into an oval. Spoon a bit of the pork mixture onto the pastry and fold over. Crimp edges with a fork.

7. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

This is good for potlucks, just refridgerate afterwards, and then warm up in an oven before serving.

Just for fun...

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In the spirit of Samhain, I saw this posted as a "serious spell," on a discussion site. This spell, from Charmed, has a really great feel to it, and I don't know why it couldn't be adapted and utilized IRL.

Hear my voice, hear my cry, spirit(s) from the other side,
Come to me, I conjure thee, cross now the great divide.

On Being the High and Mighty Priestess. Or Not?

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After priestessing my group for about five and a half years, I’m still waiting to feel like the high priestess.

Upon the formation of the group, I was sure that at some point, I’d start feeling powerful. Or at least that I was smarter/better/wiser than the other people in my group. Or that I would always know what was best for the group, and that I’d always be supremely confident in every single decision that I’d make. I would share my wisdom to people who would love and respect me. I’d be the one that everyone always came to for everything. I’d get used to a more dramatic ritual style. My evocations would be flawless. I’d have a structured daily practice and be completely comfortable with speaking in front of people. I’d magically be able to memorize everything super easily. I would become this image of a high priestess that I had in my head. Not that I wanted to be high and mighty, I just felt that if I was able to do all these things, I’d be a better witch!

Riiiiiiight.

Almost six years later. Shocker- I’m the same person. I’ve been told that I’m a triple virgo (sun, moon and rising signs- though I’ve also been told that my moon is in Taurus). My ruling planet, Mercury is also in Virgo. I have almost NO air in my chart. Barely any fire at all. In high school, my straight A (even in honors) report card was besmirched by my B in drama. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in that class that got a B in drama. And I did lame extra credit, even! I can joke around and be dramatic, but when I try to act dramatic, it comes out weird (at least in my mind- its rare that I attempt any sort of acting in front of other people). I can read dramatically, but evidently I self-criticize too much and get really embarrassed about acting- always afraid I’ll overact. I’m usually very guarded about my actions.

I do share my wisdom with people who love and respect me, and they do so as well. I don’t want to be the one that everyone comes to for everything- who wants that, really? It’s not practical at all. It’s better that I work within a group of sisters who come from diverse enough backgrounds that we all can contribute to the collective knowledge of the group. I still have issues with memorization (I used to be stellar at it in junior high- what happened?!) and I’m getting better at spontaneous ritual. At the last Night of a Thousand Goddesses event, I had NO idea how we were going to finish the ritual. But it came to me, and we finished it and all was well- not nearly as scary as I had expected.

I’m not infallible, nor am I always super confident. I have insecurities, as does everyone else. The older I get, I find that I struggle more with my social anxiety- moreso with people I don’t know, and meeting new people. But that’s how it is, and I manage it the best I can. I’m a person, and there are things about me, that –try as I might- I probably won’t be able to change as drastically as I’d like. But then if I changed so dramatically, would I even recognize myself? There are things that I can change. I need to let go more often, relax more, stop stressing about things, and stop putting pressure on myself for things that don’t really matter in the long run. And there are things I probably won’t. I’m always going to be more practical than dreamy. I’m going to let that go.

No one is perfect. I need to stop trying. I know I’ve written posts about that before, but maybe the more I write about it, the easier it will be to accept and act in accordance to the statement.

So, I still haven’t found myself as feeling like a ‘high’ priestess. I figured I would, but instead I still find myself feeling like me. A coven leader, one of a circle of wise, loving, intelligent, awesome sisters. Coordinator of rituals, events, meetings, and rules. Not the high and mighty, all-knowing, infallible priestess I had expected to feel like.

I like this me better than the person who I had hoped to become.

My Pillow is NOT Your Bed

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Ok. I know Cindy thinks I?m turning into the cat lady, but since I?ve never really been around cats before, it?s really not surprising that this cat kind of fascinates me. So the cat has been sleeping at my feet, on the floor or on her kitty bed by the bedroom door for ages now. If she?s kicked out of the room, she usually just lays in front of the door until I get up, then she?ll follow me around all morning and try to convince me to stay home from work.

Well, lately, she?s decided that she should sleep on my pillow. Seriously? Like I want cat hair on my pillow? Or a tail thwapping me in the face- she thwaps her tail a lot, even when she?s happy. Weird bird. Anyway, so she?ll start down by my feet, the floor ,or her bed, and the minute I fall asleep, she?ll creep up and lay down on my pillow, above my head. If I wake up, I block and send her down to the end of the bed, but she?s getting fairly sneaky about it. So I wake up to a tail thwapping. Or sometimes she?ll pat my head with her paw. The other night, I reached up and she bit me. Not hard at all, mind you, but I?m training her not to bite. She KNOWS it too. When she bites, she gets forced off of wherever she is, or gets kicked out of the room. I think she thought I wouldn?t notice if I was asleep. So I kicked her out. I hope she learns soon, I?m trying to use cat treats to help. Hubby is a pushover and will feed her cat treats non-stop. I?m going to have to hide them from him. LOL!

The Changing of the Seasons

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I don’t have a favorite season. My favorite time of the year is the time between seasons. It’s like there is literally change in the air, something coming right around the corner. It’s like twilight, or shadows- places between the worlds. There’s power in that.

Hair Flowers!

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So, I know I haven't posted in awhile, but I wanted to share my little hair flowers that I've created. I've been really busy working on crafts for Pagan Pride Day this weekend, but haven't had a chance to photograph them all just yet. :)









Coven Member Collection

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I recently received an email on one of my witchy yahoogroups. It was about a Pagan Meet and included these words: Meet new people and check out the members of my Coven!

Oh my goodness! If my high priest/ess had sent an email like this inviting people to come meet new people and “check me out” I would leave in a heartbeat. People are not for display, nor are members of a coven collectable. The point isn’t to get as many people as you can, or to grow your number. A coven is a spiritual family, and whether you have a group of 3 or 13, the point is to become close-knit like a common family. “Our numbers are growing” is another phrase I have seen from people who are creating new covens. It’s not a war- you aren’t building an army. Sure, it’s nice to have more like-minded people around, but I bet that these new leaders of groups will find out very quickly that more does not always equal better.

This was one of the issues with the first covens I participated in. We had 13 or so people, but not all of them were on the same page. Some wanted a teaching group, some wanted it to be a working group, some had Norse leanings, others wanted to honor deities of other cultures. Expectations were not laid out, the group cohesiveness was missing, and the leader accepted anyone who wanted to join. Which meant we had a few people with some sort of traditional training, and others who thought that they could fly. The group fell apart in less than a year. If one focuses on quantity, rather than quality- then this will be the eventual outcome. People will be unhappy, and leave. A coven is also not about the high priestess. A coven is about the group- the synergy that is created when all are of one hive mind. If a high priestess is on a power trip, then she won’t have members for long. Unless she likes the simpering sycophant. But sycophants do not make the best energy work partners.

I don’t know. This email made me stop and think. As I don’t really know anyone on the list, and don’t want to get a reputation of a troublemaker I’ll keep my mouth shut. When really I’d like to gently let the writer know that his/her coven members might not appreciate being objectified. But I’m pretty sure, I’d get that overly-diplomatic, holier than thou reputation that I wrote about in my last blog. I might reach out to this person and touch base with them, as I’d like to get a community ritual together. And it’s completely possible that the writer misspoke. If this is so, I’m glad s/he did so that I’d be inspired to share my feelings on groupweaving on my blog.

Disappointment, Feelings and Analyzing

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I have flaming angry PMS. And I haven’t blogged for awhile. Its only in the past year that I’ve really started getting PMS. Short TMI alert. My boobs get sore, I go from normal to ragetastic in 3.4 seconds, and its hard to keep a grip on that. I also want to eat EVERYTHING. Kind of like when I have to take the Prednisone. STARVING. Makes me really look forward to actually having a period.

So, I haven’t let the environmental issues at home get to me, really. The kitchen is torn up, the office is of torn up. The playroom is crowded, and so is my room. The backyard still has a bunch of shit in it. I’m so disappointed. I’ve been so focused on trying to stay positive for the past month or so, and now I’m letting myself let things go. Like, I was so excited to have a birthday party. I haven’t had a REAL birthday party since I was like 12 or 13 and last year, for my 30th, we were struggling to even pay bills on time to not let things get shut off. So, needless to say, no party for me. So, I had decided that I was going to have a party this year- it was going to be my 30th birthday party- on my 31st birthday. It was supposed to be funny. I really wanted to have a party for that milestone, so why not? Well, with all of the shit going on, its not going to happen.

Obviously. I’m not trying to dwell on it, but this weekend is my birthday, and I had planned out this awesome party. Not like anyone knew that/what I was planning, but I was really excited about it. I can’t do it next year, either, because while having a 30th birthday party on a 31st birthday is funny, having it on a 32nd birthday would just be sad. I know, in the big scheme of things, in the big picture, its not that important. I’m healthy, I can actually pay my bills on time now. I have a great, loving husband, and a great family. But I think its still okay to be disappointed. I try to stay on the positive side, a lot, and I try not to let things “get me down,” and I try to ignore things that bother me, but I think it’s probably better to be authentic- and recognize things that suck, while letting them go. It’s okay to be upset and disappointed, because it isn’t fair. But that’s life.

In addition to this, last weekend, a girl quit a yahoogroup ( but we meet in person) that I’m a listmom for, in a very dramatic way. Basically said that no one cared about her, etc. She said she sent it to all of the groups she was part of. I was irritated because I felt as though she was telling US that we didn’t care, etc. Which is exactly what she did do. Even though I got a little mama bear on her, I tried to help her, and tell her she could work through her problems, and I could tell she was strong by her posts on the group (which is all true). I got a very very angry and mean email back. People in the yahoogroup were quick to respond- they defended me, they are really supportive, but I got a lot of “she just didn’t know how to take you.” Both on the list and off. This event has me re-thinking (and over analyzing) what I post from now on. In my passion for trying to help people, It’s possible that I come off holier than thou sometimes, when that’s the last thing I mean to come off of. I am protective, though not possessive, and I’ve been mistaken for being power-trippy, when that’s the LAST thing I am.


It makes me want to take a break from EVERY SOCIAL GROUP / INTERNET GROUP so that I can over analyze in peace for awhile, and get back to being okay with what I type. I’ll be posting less, that’s for sure.


I try to be really diplomatic. Some people get a chuckle out of this. But it’s not easy to be diplomatic. Really. Not. Easy. Especially when I want to tell people what I really think. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings- so I avoid this at almost any cost. Especially when someone is lashing out and hurting. I’m just glad the listquitter didn’t quit this week- as I’m easily angered, and could easily have fired off an email that she could have construed as hurtful. Not like that would be any different than what I originally sent. One day, I’ll probably tell people what I really think. Ivy uncensored.

Labor Day Weekend

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This is the least intuitive computer I've ever been on. When I double-click on a picture, don't open photoshop- it takes like 10 minutes to fully load. Damnit. Anyway.

This labor day weekend has been full of labor, and lazy. This past Saturday, my coven had an open event called Night of a Thousand Goddesses. It was really nice. Too bad my wrist was hurting so much, I could barely concentrate on my presentation. Blowage. We had new interested sisters, and I like to be at my best when we have new people. Oh well. Perhaps its the Goddess telling me I try too hard? I learned two things that night: 1) I shrug my shoulders like a moron when I get excited, and 2) if I write notecards from what I know, just go from my brain, stop focusing o the cards. I was in a lot of pain, so I wasn't at my best, like I said. Bummer.

I don't know whats really up with my wrist and forearms, but they were hurting like the dickens, with big swollen lumps of muscley goodness Saturday night into Sunday morning. Sunday, I ran around with the hubby- picked up some sweet tea vodka. Yup, its super super good. Today, I helped my MIL pick out some new rugs for her bathroom. I think she wants to upgrade the style of her bathroom. Cool deal!

We ate so well tonight. Crab legs, shrimp, steak, corn on the cob... yummers! I only ate a little of each, as my tummy hates it when I mix my meats. *rimshot*

I uploaded my Lopez Lake camping pics to my facebook and my photobucket. Had hives really bad- scratched myself scabby this weekend. So, I sucked it up and took the prednisone. It drive me crazy because it makes me want to eat everything in sight! So its harder than usual to not do that!

And what would a blog entry be without a cat video/photo/story. Okay, so I went to put away my laundry (yay, its all done), and I found the cat in my back room. The back room is a mess due to the flooding issues we had here, and so the cat was crazy and climbed the the highest point in the room. So, of course I took a little video. I was crazy sceered that she would hit her head on the ceiling fan...


Really? Now what.

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So, my hubbys office is flooded. Which means, his stuff goes into my room (the only clutter-free room in the house. My one place I can actually relax). Our bathroom is wrecked, the bedroom is still messy, and the playroom- which is to be our living room is still filled with boxes that need to go to storage, and his sisters crap that she didn't take with her. So. Basically this means, I'm pretty much confined to our bedroom thats pretty messy, or the 5'x5' spoce where the couch is in the playroom.

I know that this is NO ONES fault. But I'm quite unhappy. I enjoy not having to pay rent, but this is fucking ridiculous.

I haven't been home yet, but it seems as though I won't have any space to be able to do anything. We can't even sit at the dining room table, because the stuff from the kitchen is on it. I have more to add, but I just got back from a training and have to pee. so. bad.

Camping!

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This past weekend, my husband and I went camping! We headed up to Lake Lopez in the San Luis obispo area. It was warm, but the breeze off the lake made it bearable. The deer came right through the campsite, and there were also wild turkeys and quail and squirrels, and hawks... it was wonderful. I'll be posting pictures, later. :)

Looking forward to camping!

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We're going camping this weekend. Due to the heat, we were forced to find a new place to camp. We usually camp at Lake Hemet. Its a great place to camp, as its really relaxed- there are no campsite, you just park your stuff whereever you want. However, its going to be 100+ there, so that was a no go. You can't even swim in that lake!

So, we've decided to give Lopez Lake a try. I've been there before, but I was really little, so I don't remember much, except that we were in the Quail campground. I'm really excited, though hubby doesn't seem too excited. I hope that changes. I'm looking forward to spending a weekend with him. The last time we went camping, just him and I? March 2004. Six months after we got together. A long time ago, yes! I will be twitpicing photos- I'm ivyartemisia at twitter. Add me if you like! :)

Proof I Have a Teenage Sense of Humor

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So. I like youtube.
More than just the viral videos that come out.
I subscribe to many people.
One of these people is Shane Dawson (ShaneDawsonTV and ShaneDawson TV2).
He’s 21 (looks younger) and the type of guy you’d love to hang out with. Hilarious as fuck. Just a really funny guy with a nice following on youtube.

Well, another youtuber, Buck Hollywood (WHATTHEBUCKSHOW) created a video about getting to know other youtubers and asked a lot of questions, like,” whats your first name, how old are you?” Shane made a video response to it, and mentioned answering the questions on Bucks channel or his channel. And oh, my god! Every one of the comments I read were from people 12-18 years old. Of course I wasn’t going to go through over 9k comments (yeah, he’s got [and deserves] quite a following), but I went through at least ten pages. Not one comment/response from someone that was 21 years old or older. Of course, I tried to justify this by thinking to myself that maybe all of the “old” people like myself are working right now. And are responsibly not watching youtube. And that’s why the only people posting are kids on their summer vacation.

But let’s face the reality of it. Most adults are probably doing grown-up things.

Like. Um. Washing the car, or cleaning the house, or watching Lifetime Movie Network or some shit. Which, of course I do.. but youtube is so relaxing for me, and can really pick me up after a crappy day at work, or teach me how to wire wrap a crystal bead. I love youtube. Its my friend.

My plan is to eventually get a small camera and make a few videos of my own. Other than ones of the cat. Though I am really addicted to TheMeanKitty channel. I don’t know… people have told me in the past that I’m funny- not that I’d be doing it for other people, mostly just for me. Maybe a different type of creative outlet. If I got a camera, I could make a vlog, or write a short little movie, or do jewelry or witchy oriented tutorials, like how to create an herbal infusion or a gem elixir. It could even give another facet to the online witchy classes I teach.

Not that I plan on ever becoming any sort of youtube celeb, but I’d like to really be part of the youtube community. Even at my old age of 30. Wait. Next month I'll be 31.

I'm a hypercritical hypocrate.

People said I'd love my thirties, but I hate them. I feel too young for old people stuff and too old for young people stuff. I think to myself sometimes, "Am I too old to do this?" The kicker of it is, I'm the FIRST person to tell people that age doesn't matter at all! And in my head I know this- but why am I do fucking hypercritical of my age right now? Maybe once I have a kid, I'll feel more my age. Whatever thats supposed to be, anyway?

Goddesses.... so hard to pick just one!

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No, no, I'm not talking about a patroness.

This weekend, my group is hosting a community driven event- Night of a Thousand Goddesses. I posted a bit about it before. Each participant can create an altar to her chosen Goddess and can do an evocation and/or some activity related to her goddess. We are a Wiccan group, and honor both the Lord and Lady, but as women, it seems to be easier to relate to the Goddess, and so we do these type of events.

We did this event a few years ago, and it was really fun. Its casual, fun, low-key and educational. Last time, I did Inanna. I wanted to focus on a Goddess that I wasn't really familiar with. This time, I'm thinking of focusing on Brighid or Hestia. I was drawn to Artemis earlier this year... but this time I'm going to stick with the Shining Arrow- Brighid. :) She's associated with wells, and fires- she's the goddess that rules the fire, forge and inspiration. She's also Irish, as am I. :)

OMG. Just as I typed this, I remembered a meditation I had of her not too long ago. Yup, I'm going to do Brighid! I will post photos of my altar this weekend. :)

Monday, Monday. SO magickal!

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Last Saturday’s circle left me feeling quite magickal. And inspired by a post by an interested party on our groups message board, I’m going to try to do a divination journal a few times a week. So, here we go!

Today’s Rune: Pertho


This rune sits on the second aett of the elder futhark runes. It is representative of a dice cup, and is sometimes related to the Wheel of Fortune tarot card. Some believe that it means that something is out of control. Others believe it may mean secrets or mysteries revealed. There are plenty of websites out there- for more info, simply google.

I pulled this rune out of a bag this morning. I didn’t have a question or situation in my mind when I pulled it, nor did I have a place, like in a spread for it to fit into. I pulled it with a blank mind, and blank intent. From now on, I’ll make sure I figure either an intent, or a place when I pull a rune, for contextual purposes. Without a context, I’m just going to assume that this has something to do with me, at some time in the future or present. Lately, I’ve decided that I need to meditate more often, as well as do more spiritual practices. I’ve already started doing offerings (and sometimes sacrifices) daily. I’ll need a separate post for that. But perhaps, as I’ve made the decision to focus more on my personal spirituality (rather than mostly just fostering others) the mysteries that I seek shall reveal themselves.

I’ve found that daily spiritual practices can be sort of like going to the gym. I make all kinds of excuses why I can’t, but when I’m there- in the moment- I’m SO glad I did it. I KNOW it will lead to spiritual health. And I know that I should not let my spiritual health and connection fall by the wayside. And so, next weekend I’m going camping. I need some nature time. Some forced relaxation. Time to read books, and practice tarot and meditate, and drum. And have alone time with my husband. The move has been a little challenging for him to adapt to, and so a weekend of fishing, might be in the cards for him, as well. We have a place we go often- its more deserty, than foresty, but it will do. Maybe I will learn something while out in nature. Maybe that’s what Pertho is saying to me.

Dottie Chronicles: Catnip and Treats

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This first one is of Dottie writhing around in her new catnip laced bed.





The second one is of her trying to get the lid off of treats. She likes treats better than catnip.

Can I Have a Side of Asbestos With That, Please?

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It’s Thursday? Already?! Where did the week go? Why do I feel so behind?

Well, I guess I’m not that behind- did some required shopping and stuff last night. Although I still haven’t had enough time to send out an evite for next weeks event. I don’t know that anyone will really show up, save for our prospective aspirant. It will be fun, no matter what, though. J I don’t know that I’ve blogged about this, but last week, the kitchen flooded. Something broke in the fridge, and water was everywhere. Since then, they’ve had giant blowers and humidifiers, and all kinds of emergency water damage stuff going on. Well, yesterday they finally picked up the blowers. They sent the floor out be tested, and it turns out that not the floor, but the stuff under the floor has asbestos in it. Hooray! This means that the kitchen will be off limits while they tear it all up. Nothing says fun like trying to keep seven animals out of a plastic wrapped room. And I don’t really know how off-limits, “off-limits” is. Does that mean we can’t go in there to get food? How will we eat? How long will it take? Lots of questions- but I’m rarely home this week as it is, so it won’t affect me as much as it will my dear hubby and his folks.

Tonight I head off to my BFFs house to rehearse and talk about this weekend’s circle. As we haven’t done it in like, two or three years, we’ll need a bit of a refresher, I assume. I’m so excited to officially welcome these two new sisters into our circle. And then, next week’s event will be fun, as well. One of those most fun things about next weeks event is that its so community, that we all get to participate equally- even our guests. I just have to choose which Goddess I will choose to represent. Last time, I did Inanna- that was really fun. I’m thinking possibly Bast this time. I’m very Brighid and Hestia focused on a regular basis, so part of me wants to go outside what I’m used to and research another Goddess. SO fun. I wish we did this every month. And of course I will share pictures. :)

NOATG 2009

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I'm really looking forward to our Night of a Thousand Goddesses event this year. Its a small, low-key fun women's event that we've done. I'll post more later. Including another cat video.

This week and the next, I'm going to be super busy, so I might not have time to blog. We have initiation coming up, the aforementioned open event, people joining our Outer Court, and I'm helping get Mystic Wicks Circle of Teaching up and running- and this means I need to get my ass in gear, finish posting my Spellcrafting online course, and Finish WRITING my Wicca 101 online course. And I have a CoT update to write for the MW magazine. Oh. And get ready to start in-person Wicca 101 classes again.

So, if I just post little blogs or photos, or silly cat videos, please bear with me. *hugs*

More details on NOATG on the Coven Blog.

PITA Kitty!

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So, I have nothing to say, since I'm crampy and icky feeling, so I'm posting a photo of a pain in the ass kitty! :)




That is all.

Oh, great Goddess, why have you cursed me?!

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Ok, not really. And I know that being a woman, being able to nurture the spark of life inside of us is magickal. And that every month we get an awesome reminder of how magickal we are. Why does it sometimes feel like the worst flu in the entire world before and during “that time of the month?” The older I get, the more symptoms I get: bloating, nausea, sore/tenderness, cramping, exhaustion, irritability, and just overall hellish feeling.

And then we get smacked in the face with “Have a Happy Period” commercials from Always?

Epic fail, Always.

I will NEVER buy another Always product. Because a PAD-of all things- will not give me a happy period. Vicodin might give me a happy period. Possibly a Percocet could give me a happy period. But NOT a flying pad. Why do pads have wings, anyway? To protect your underwear? Oh, that’s right- because pads like Always have “lock in leak protection” or some other BS. Which means, its not very absorbent at all, hence spillage. I don’t care if it “pulls wetness away from your body.” Can you just absorb? Then there will be no need for flying pads. Pads are not usually my product of choice, but I feel very strongly about how they are supposed to work.

And twitter is down?
WTF, Twitter! Why have you forsaken me?! Something is not right in the world when I cannot update my status and/or know if my friends are eating lunch, having tea in the UK, or even going the bathroom! How am I supposed to keep up with everyone?

I think I’m feeling a little bit dramatic today. Well, better this blog then ANOTHER blog post about the cat. Again. I'm turning into the cat story lady.

Current Personal Altar (Summer 2009)

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My altar isn't especially decked out for the season this sabbat. Partially because we're still adapting to our new surroundings, and partially because I've just been exhausted, lately. I moved it in front of the window, where it should have been all along. This evening, I put an offering dish of water up on it, and kitty went directly to the bowl and drank. When I replace it with alcohol tomorrow, I hope she won't repeat that. Originally, I took a right side shot and a left side shot and planned on explaining everything, but you can see everything from a full frontal shot. ;) It sits on top of white cubes that hold some craft (not Craft) supplies. :)

Here it is:



And we must have a candlelit shot.






And a close-up of my maiden goddess statue.





And one of the corn dolly I made at Lammas. I know, its a Brighid's cross, but that's about the only wheatweaving I can do.



If you have any questions about what the objects are, or what they symbolize, leave a comment, or hit me up on twitter- @ivyartemisia.

From Her Fingers to God's ears?

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Today, on my way to work, while stopped at a traffic light, I saw a woman walking along the sidewalk to the intersection. She was mentally ill. I don’t know how I knew that, as nothing about her appearance really gave it away. She was dressed in jeans and a tank top and carried an innocuous square tote bag. Her hair was blonde, not styled, but not completely unkempt. As she got to the intersection, she started eagerly yelling to someone across the street. I looked to see who she was yelling to, as she was obviously trying to talk to someone- and I was pretty surprised, as I had pegged her as mentally ill. I look to see who she’s talking to, and no one is there. Then she starts talking to me through my windshield, though at a decent distance, as she was still up on the sidewalk, on the corner. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she was gesturing wildly- it looked like sign language almost. All of a sudden, she looks up toward the sky and starts fingerspelling (ASL alphabet) words toward the sky as she smiles. I’m catching some of it, as all I know of ASL is the alphabet, girl scout promise, and a bit of this land is your land. She fingerspelled something very intensely, almost as she was yelling to God with her fingers. Then she threw her head back, laughed and walked across the street with the light.

I kind of really liked her. I wanted to know what she was saying. Or if she was deaf. Something about her made me want to know more about her. What an interesting start to a day.

New creations in my eCrater shop!

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I got the chance to upload some new creations to my eCrater shop yesterday!





Firstly, my favorite. :)



Lunar Goddess Prayer Beads
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025542
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025510







Also, here's a green glass pendulum- I love this one, as it reminds me of fantasy and sci-fi movies.
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025451




Then a large carnelian slab necklace- its on a long chain. I just saw something similar on TV.That made me happy! :)
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025640






I also created a multi strand necklace for a pretty ceramic focal piece I found.
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025598


I also created four new pairs of earrings.

Violet Earrings
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025195



Shades of Caramel Earrings
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025291



Heart of Sea Glass Earrings
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025339



Romantic Heart Dangle Earrings
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5025424






Lughnasadh/ Lammas/ First Harvest

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This weekend is the celebration of Lughnasadh/ Lammas/ First Harvest.
Personally, I like "Lammas," because a) easier to spell and b) sounds like Llamas. :)

This is considered one of the “greater sabbats” within the Wiccan wheel of the year. Usually celebrated on or around August 1, it’s the cross-quarter day that falls between Litha and Mabon. This is the time of the first harvest- the moment where all of the hard work you put in this year finally comes to fruition. The first harvest is the grain/corn harvest, though in many regions, many berries come into season at this time, too. This first harvest transcended cultures, and many regions throughout the world celebrated the harvest with feasts and wine. Many regions of the world had customs and traditions that they practiced at this time of the year. Some left the last sheaf of grain unharvested as an ode to the spirit of the field, that the field wouldn’t become fallow. Others saw this sheaf as sacred, believing that the Corn spirit/god lived in this sheaf. A corn dolly would be fashioned from this sheaf and kept safe and warm during the winter. This dolly was brought out in the spring, to awaken the spirit within the fields.

In the Celtic wheel of the year, Lughnasadh heralded the Tailtean Games, fifteen days of games honoring the Sun god Lugh’s foster mother, Tailte. At these games, crafts and merchanting were done, and Tailtean marriages (year and a day marriages similar to handfastings) took place, and of course, Tailtean marriages from the previous year may be dissolved. The name Lughnasadh was changed to Lammas by the Christians, as they slowly took over the land. Lammas means ‘loaf-mass’ and it still ties back to the harvest of grain.

Ideas to decorate your altar to reflect the Sabbat:
Anything gold
Gold, yellow, or orange altar cloths
Anything that you feel might symbolize the sun
Sunflowers
Bread, grain, wheat, bowl of berries
Candles, especially in orange, yellow, gold colors


Ideas for your Lammas/Lugh circles:
Honoring Lugh and Tailte
Center around what it means to ‘foster’
Getting rid of bad habits/ obstacles in your way to success
Offerings of bread or grain
Honor a Sun god
Honor a corn god/ field god
Focus on thanksgiving
Focus on sacrifice


Ideas for the holiday that you may like do outside of circle:
Harvest in your garden
Any other hard work
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Make corn dollies
Bake bread
Can jams or jellies
Make wine


Long term project that could culminate at this Sabbat:
Food/ canned good drive.


I’m not going to add any recipes, but the main staples of the season are breads, grains, corn, wheat, and berries. You can find a whole lot of recipes, and one that will fit your tastes on allrecipes.com. I wish everyone a safe and blessed harvest! Photos from my covens altar will be on our coven’s blog at http://twilightmooncoven.blogspot.com.


Random thought: I see many Pagan ‘celebs’ with “official” blogs and it kind of makes me giggle a little bit. I don’t know why, but it does. Would I sound important if I labeled my blog “official?” This is the official “Beyond the Circle” blog! Hey. That sounds like a cool Podcast name. Uh-oh. :)

How much faith do you put in a tarot spread, really?

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I know people who constantly read their cards and take them at face-value (sometimes literally). They believe that the cards tell them what is REALLY up and make most of their decisions based upon what they read in the cards. Others will read the cards, and not put much faith in them- they believe that really, they are simply pieces of cardboard dealt out at random. Where am I? Somewhere in the middle- its dependent upon the situation, too.

If I’m going to weave some magic, and I’m pretty unsure about it, I will read the cards, and follow what I read in them. This has saved my ass several times in my life by preventing me from acting strictly upon my emotions and doing some pretty unethical stuff magickally. However, if I’m reading cards in regards to a situation, and my feelings aren’t in line with what the cards are saying, then I definitely use the knowledge of the cards in order to frame my decision. What I’ve found interesting today, is that I was reading cards as they relate to a situation, and it turned out to be about something completely different that might possibly relate to the original situation. By this I mean, that a card in the FUTURE slot in a spread might not have something to do with the immediate people in a situation, but may reflect an issue with a person on the outskirts of a situation- possibly becoming a major player somehow. This is interesting to me. I don’t read tarot regularly- its one of my goals-to increase this- but when I do, sometimes I’m really surprised with what the cards say, and how they educate me more and more each time I read.

Consecrating a New Tool or Magickal Item

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Well, I wanted to do something like I’ve seen in other blogs, and have a Magickal Monday or a Witchy Wednesday. Does that mean that I need to wait until one of these days if I get inspiration, or a bug up my butt to share something? I don’t think structured blogging would work out for me. Today I decided to share a very simple consecration, and I can’t think of anything witchy (besides tarot) that would go with Tuesday. Oh, well. Twitchy Tuesday?

Anyway, Once a witch gets a new tool or object to use in magick- it’s a good idea to consecrate it before your first magickal use, as it might have leftover energy or ethereal gunk on it from other people who may have touched it. To consecrate means to make sacred, and here is the formula that I use.

To create a consecration, I use the three Cs. Cleansing, Consecrating, and Charging. When cleansing, you are ridding the object of all old energy so that you can make it yours in this simple ritual. Some people like to get rid of all harmful and destructive energy, rather than all energy- the choice is up to you. I like a clean palette usually, unless I know or can “feel” where the object came from. Your second step is consecration- the actual act of making it sacred. I do this with the aid of the four elements. I’ve found this to be particularly helpful within a ritual frame where one might evoke the elements at the beginning of a ritual. Your third and final step is to charge it with your energy. The trick is to not push all of your energy into the object- you don’t want to get tired… think of it more like sharing your energy with the object. At this point you can also add any directives- examples are in the consecration below. Basically any ‘job’ or intent you want to imbue in your object can be stated at this point. Many people close their consecration with a “So mote it be” or “Blessed be.”

Below is a simple consecration that’s pretty easy to memorize.


Envision all negative and harmful energy dispersing from the object, back into the universe to be recycled- as energy naturally does.
Say: I cast from this [object] all energy, that it shall be a pure vessel for my intent.

Move object through each of the elements- consecrating and blessing your object with each of the four elements.

Move object through incense smoke.
Say: By (or with or in) the power of Air, this [object] is sacred.

Sprinkle object with water.
Say: By (or with or in) the power of Water, this [object] is sacred.

Carefully wave the object in or above the candle flame.
Say: By (or with or in) the power of Fire, this [object] is sacred.

Sprinkle object with salt.
Say: By (or with or in) the power of Earth, this [object] is sacred.

Hold object in your hands, or hold hands above the object. Envision some of your energy flowing into the object.
Say: I charge this [object] with the divine energy that flows through me. This [object] is cleansed, blessed by the four elements, and charged by me is a sacred [object].
(can add any other directive here, such as: and shall be used in only the most positive of ways, OR will belong to me as long as I desire, etc.)


It’s a pretty simple and easy ritual- and all you need are four physical representations of the elements. Let me know your thoughts, if you like.

Haven't blogged in a few...

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So, I haven't blogged in a few. And as my kitty decided to sit on my bum, I thought I might upload a video of her. The funny thing about this video is that its all about how she used to be a bitch and now she's sweet... and she bites me at the end of the video!



Also I added more to my eStore: a necklace, prayer beads and more...
http://apartmentfourteen.ecrater.com/

DIY Photo Shoot

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Now, I have a little jewelry website to sell some of the pieces I've made and a few people have asked how I get my photos. They obviously aren't professional, but they don't suck, either. Plus, I use a point and shoot camera. Here's a little set up that I have found works for me. I keep everything in a little box.



Opened, you can see that I have a bunch of stuff in there.



The first thing you'll want to have is a bunch of props for you to put your jewelry on.



Other things you'll want is direct sunlight (I use an OTT Lite), a white sheet or fabric, and opaque plastic box.







I also like a little bit of clay to hold things in place (really good for earrings) and I bought this tiny tripod at the Dollar Tree. Its the best thing I ever bought from there! Well. Except for glow sticks. Anyway.






Okay, so the first thing I do is put the box on its side and drape the white fabric around it, including the top. Make sure its smooth against the sides of the box.



Then place your items inside the box, and your camera (if you have a tripod) in front of it.



I use my camera on the auto setting, as I'm not a photography wizard, I'm a lameass (that was for you, Cindy). The most important thing to remember is to set your macro setting. This is the setting that looks like a little flower. Its used for close-up shots. If you don't use this setting, you might have issues with your camera focusing on the item. Another tip I have is to use the timer function. My camera has a 2 second timer, and I love to use it.

Make sure your item is in direct sunlight. For me this used to mean going outside and getting my back sunburned. So wear sunscreen if you do that. Or, get an OTT-Lite. Its a daylight lamp. I got mine at Tuesday Morning for $30. It's great!

I've found that you have to just adjust for the light you have, and sometimes your photos just won't come out wonderful. Shrug and try again later, or use what you have. I suggest taking several different viewpoints, both close-up and far away. I'm definitely not an expert, but its working out for me so far!

"In da club" | Tarot Reading as Fortune Telling?

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Yes, I listen to “popular” music. This includes pop, R&B and even some rap and hip-hop. In much of the hip-hop music today, it seems as though the stripper culture is glorified. There are so many songs about strippers, and being in the club (obviously a strip club), and women showing their body while they are on the stage, etc. And then there are songs about being in a dance club. Both types of songs refer to “the club.” So, now I’m confused when I hear “the club” in a song? Is it a dance club? A strip club? Wtf? I need to know!

Well, I just had to get that off my chest.

The other thing that’s on my mind is: divination for the immediate future. I’ve been practicing with my cards lately, and last night, I decided that I was just going to pull one card before I went to bed to see how my day was going to be tomorrow (work, in particular). I pulled the 10 of pentacles, reversed. Reversed, the 10 of pentacles could mean any number of things- mostly negative and centered around money or family/community. All of a sudden, I didn’t really feel positive about going to work the next day. Usually, when I read, its for myself, and helps me understand a situation more in depth or gives me more options to deal with a situation. I don’t normally read for the future, but it might be a good experiment. Like a weather forecast. What’s my forecast for today, tomorrow and the day after? That might be something fun- or not. I don’t really like knowing when bad things are going to happen- since I’m a worrier and a stresser. I don’t want to know it’s the apocalypse until I’m dead, you know? Looking at it from an objective standpoint, it might be a good journaling experience. Even if I just pull the cards, note them here, and blog everyday- I might be able to analyze it afterwards. Hm. Sorry- blogs for me aren’t the most well-written articles, they are more stream-of-consciousness narratives.

I am working on a very simple consecration that I’ll be posting shortly, along with a simple triple goddess (MMC) ritual. I’m working on creating these few solitary rituals that are simple, - where the liturgy rhymes, so that it’s easy to remember and repeat.

One more weekend gone...almost.

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I did get a lot out of this weekend. I organized some more of my Craft stuff. I did get up a bit of an altar. It lacks the personal flair that I'd like to add, and is definitely more shrinish than altar-ish. Its atop a bookcase, which works fine for me. I did want to put it by the window, but for some reason dottie-cat has attached herself to me and likes to sit in the window. She's very graceful, but I'd rather not put breakable sacredness in her way. I'll take a photo of my current altar and post it. It's nothing special at all, really- just a very basic traditional Wiccan altar- no athame, but everything else I need for circle is there, pretty much.

In addition to that, on Friday, I took a ride to storage (if you follow me on twitter, you may remember my twitpic!). Other than that, we have no AC so it's been hotter than a muther. Which means not much else got done other than swimming. I haven't even been eating much lately. So, I'm looking forward to getting on the scale tomorrow. Who actually says that, right? I tend to lose weight when I'm not trying, and NOT when I actually give a crap. I've lost a little more than 20 pounds since September. Not trying, really- stress, I guess helps out a bit? Hey- I'll take what I can get! I've had a relaxing weekend, totally blew off unpacking more- it's really too too hot to do any of that crap. When its over 95 in the house- you are SO over physical labor. Hopefully it will cool down this week so that we can get our room together and Ben can go to Savers this weekend.

I wanted to have a Lughnasadh party this year. But maybe next year, I can't see getting everything together for a big shindig. Maybe I'll have a few people over and have a carbalicious potluck. For those who don't know, Lughnasadh is an Irish celebration of the first (grain) harvest. So, many people (like me) bake bread as an offering purposes(and for feasting afterwards). Last year was the first time I baked bread from scratch. NOW I have acccess to a breadmaker- watch out world! Lughnasadh is also sometimes thought of as the God Lugh's funeral, but really- it was also a celebration of his mother's funeral. In her honor, the Irish celebrated with the Tailtean games (Lugh's mom was named Tailte). Lots of athletic games were held in her honor.

Oh! Another thing I did this weekend was create a necklace, a bracelet, and some petite prayer beads- 28 lunar goddess prayer beads. I LOVE these because they are the size of a really large bracelet. You can slip it on your wrist easy enough, and you can roll them right into your hands. SO thrilled with these. It's already late tonight, but maybe tomorrow night, I might blog about how I take photos for my ecrater shop. :) It's not perfect or pretty but it works okay!

Tomorrow is a work day, but I had such a forcibly relaxing weekend, I think I'm actually okay with that. Even though I DID get a sunburn. I like it when my hubby puts aloe on me. ;)

The New Altar. Or Lack of One Altogether.

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So, I've decided that its time to put together an altar in here here room. However, there isn't room for the kind I like. So, it will have to be the top of a bookcase... but I'm gonna be cool with that. I'm trying to decide if its going to be shriny, or Wiccan altary. So I want to include my trad altar, or just make it a shrine? Or both.

See, before, I had shelves and sconces, etc., but they would look silly in this room. I have been so ridiculously stressed out at work (I know, I need to call the EAP) that I feel that I should be doing daily devotions. I just a) need to create a sacred space and b) need to figure out my daily devotional prayer.

I got beads to make prayer beads (and came up with a kick ass goddess string) and that might be helpful... lighting candles seem to be silly cause Id have to a) leave them unattended, or b) have to put them out right away. So I need to find some other way. I was thinking of creating a tree from branches and tying a ribbon on the branches each day. I have TONS of ribbon. Like TONS. My altar is a complete blank slate now, a flat wooden shelf with my coven's working book of shadows at one end. I'll post a photo of course, once its done.

Sorry if it offends you conservative facebookers (since the blog is fed to facebook). Okay, I'm not really SORRY sorry- but you can unfriend me if you really want to. I wouldn't like that- but you hafta do whatcha hafta do. :)

Blessed be!

My New Fave (annoying) Song

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Its like the verses are how I feel about my non-work social life sometimes, and the chorus is sometimes my work-life! Especially when I'm doing things for other offices or dealing with tickets, etc.


Four letter word just to get me along
It's a difficulty and I'm biting on my tongue and I
I Keep stalling, keeping it together
People around I gotto find something to say now
Holding back everyday the same
Don't wanna be a loner
Listen to me oh no
I never say anything at all
So with nothing to consider they forget my name ame ame ame

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name
That's not my name
That's not my name
That's not my name

They call me quiet girl
But I'm a riot
Mary-Jo-Lisa
Always the same
That's not my name
That's not my name
That's not my name
That's not my name

I miss the catch if they throw me the ball
I'm the last chick standing up against the wall
Keep up falling, these heels that keep me boring
Getting glammed up and sitting on the fence now
So alone all the time and I lock myself away
Listen to me
Thought I'm dressed up out 'n all
With everything considered they forget my name ame ame ame

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...
That's not my name
That's not my name
That's not my name
They call me quiet girl
But I'm a riot
Mary-Jo-Lisa
Always the same
That's not my name...
That's not my name
That's not my name

Letting Go of "Being Perfect"

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I was thinking to myself this afternoon- If only I was perfect.

If I was perfect maybe I’d get a promotion of some sort (not like any are actually available), or I’d be more respected, or new opportunities would fall out of the sky for me. Or I’d be happier. Or stuff. But I’m not perfect, and trying to be a perfectionist will drive me insane if I let it. Then I started thinking about how everyone else’s lives seem so much easier/ better/ happier than mine sometimes. But I *know* that everyone has their problems- it just doesn’t show on the outside. So, then, of course I started thinking about wondering if my problems show on the outside. Because really- I’m not a private person. I’m just not. Usually, I’ll happily discuss what’s on my mind- I don’t feel the need to keep things secret. If I am having issues paying my car payment this month- I’ll totally say that when shopping with a friend. I don’t feel embarrassed or any of that, usually. Maybe that’s “over sharing,” but I just wouldn’t judge anyone for things like that, so that’s what I expect in return.

Though, of course, that’s not always the case. Some people ARE judgy. But I’ve found that the most elitist/judgmental people usually are very conflicted and have lots of problems of their own- so it makes them feel better to put others’ down, even if it’s just mentally. Sometimes that’s not true, though. Sometimes they are just bitches. The bitches seem like bitches- even if they think they seem cool. They usually gather in small groups of 2 or 3 so they can whisper among themselves and all. I feel sorry for them because they are obviously bitches. I find those kind of actions completely pathetic.

And bitches like this love open people like me. “Open” being a relative term, as I’m open with my feelings, and talking about myself and my life sitches (though I usually have a giant filter up when talking about other people). But I’m not open in other ways. I have lots of walls up, I have big ol’ blocks, I have trouble relaxing, I have trouble letting go and a big fear of losing control. See- here I go, oversharing!  The only reason this really bothers me, is that I KNOW I have undeveloped psychic and spiritual shit going on. I’d be more interested in divination. I’d have no problems aspecting. But try and try and try and try- and I still have lots of problems letting go, and relinquishing control. I feel balanced, but maybe I’d feel better if I was better at letting go.

Maybe I need to let go of the idea of being perfect or the best? I’m competitive and worry about other people a lot. Maybe I should just let go- experience life for me, so what *I* want to do and not be so hard on myself.

Ugh.

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I hate it when people don't tell you the whole truth. Or omit something that they know would piss you off. Or secretly delay saying that they won't be able to make a scheduled gathering so that it's dropped on you at the last moment- completely screwing already created plans, and not giving people a chance to change/correct/fix plans so that they aren't so screwed. That is SO inconsiderate. This has happened to me so much lately, I'd think that someone is whispering in peoples' ears that they should do this. It makes me distrustful. Is that a word? Not trusty? Whatever.

That being said, its Monday. And I'm SO tired. I said to Ben last night that I would help go through boxes and stuff this evening. So we can take stuff to storage and stuff. But lawdy, lawdy, Im so tired. I couldn't sleep last night, and then around 2AM, I had to take an Atarax because I was itching so much. A side effect of Atarax is sleepiness, and it makes me sleep like a log. So I was completely dizzy and groggy this morning and almost fell asleep driving to work. Its so funny because medications like Atarax and Xanax do not make me sleepy, unless I need them to. But when it does make me sleepy, I SLEEP!

I may do laundry tonight. Let me tell you how awesome it is having a washer and dryer available. Our situation may not be the best, but it's definitely nice having that around. I feel spoiled now- with my own room, washer and dryer, etc... but the problem I'm having is that now that Ben and I have our own spaces- while its great- I find that I miss having him in the same room as me all the time. Now, THATS something I didn't expect! So, I must make up for that with snuggles! More later!