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Archive for the ‘General Things’ Category

It struck me this morning that I’ve never talked about (or sent readers to) the craftswoman I buy a good portion of my devotional items from. She’s made a number of things throughout the years (my prayer bead addiction was not helped by the time she spent making hand-beaded things).

Right now her shop is smaller – she’s recovering from some tough financial times and crafting requires a lot of overhead/upfront costs – but I think the items she makes are absolutely worth looking at.

The order I received this morning was for handmade charcoal incense.  I purchased it in three scents:

  • Queen of Heaven: jasmine, amber, spikenard, myrrh – for Frige
  • Dweller in the Green: juniper, fir, cedar, patchouli – for Ing Frea
  • Memento Mori: galangal, myrrh, amber, black pepper – for Hela

They smell *wonderful*, are long burning, and have been (in various incarnations) part of my ritual practice for years. Beth’s original incense blends were deity specific, but the burden of keeping up with SO MANY blends eventually made that unsustainable. She has blends now that are more “function” specific.

Beth relies on her shop profits to keep her household running, and I cannot recommend her service highly enough. Her prayer beads are wonderful – the energy of them is just fantastic, and they are very well made and sturdy. Also, the tea light candles that she dresses are perfect little portable devotional items, and they smell wonderful. She does still do custom items and prayer beads as well, and I’ve been super happy with both her willingness to work on ideas for us coming up with the perfect item and with her intuition as she creates the items.

I’m always a fan of supporting pagan crafters, and I’ve been a long-term customer of Beth’s. If you see something you like in her shop, I can’t recommend her highly enough.

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For years, I have sat on the same purple cushion in the same little bedroom in front of the same little altar space to meditate.

I am still not allowed to do it without help.

meditation with cats

And no, I can’t just close the door. If I close the door, they sit and paw at the door and meow loudly in protest (there are two of them).

*Since I know someone will ask, the mala was handmade for me by Beth Wodandis, and I can’t recommend her services highly enough. This one is onyx, bone, coral, and amber, and I am absolutely delighted with it every time I pick it up to pray or do magic. I’ve had to keep myself from buying all of the prayer beads that she makes (I’ve had a problem with collecting prayer beads for a long time). Her etsy shop is here.  

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Last year I didn’t get a garden in – the first year since we’ve lived in our house that I waited too long and missed the planting window.

This year I was determined to not let that happen again, and so this past weekend, in celebration of the coming spring (and of my birthday, which was on the 2nd) ((and of the last freeze date, which is March 1 here)) we put in the garden.

My main garden bed is 10×12, so I’m limited to that plus what I can grow in containers. This year the in-ground bed contains:

  • Tomatoes (6) (Celebrity hybrid, my best producer in years past)
  • Eggplant (2) (White Beauty hybrid)
  • Okra (6 hills) (Clemson Spineless)
  • Beans (3 rows) (Bush Blue Lake)
  • Dill (Fernleaf)
  • Parsley (Flat leaf)
  • Cilantro
  • Basil (Genovese)

I also totally re-did my container garden, with a heavy weight toward hot and sweet peppers, which do very well here in pots (they don’t like as much water as tomatoes and eggplant and beans, so if I plant them in the main bed, they tend to not produce much). In containers I have:

  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Sweet Yellow Banana Peppers (6)
  • Jalapenos (6)
  • Sugar snap peas (with a trellis)
  • Picklebush cucumbers (with a trellis)
  • Zucchini (compact variety, hoping that works in a pot)

I can’t plant curcurbits in the ground because of downy and powdery mildew here, so I am trying them in pots. If it works, hooray, and if not, I’m only out the cost of the seed packets and a big tomato cage.

It was a perfect weekend for planting. 55 degrees and cloudy, with a light breeze – cool enough to need a light jacket, but hopefully also to help keep tiny seedlings from getting too stressed. My parents were in town to help with the garden, so it was a community effort, and quite fun. I got dirt under my fingernails and in my hair, and it was glorious.

At the end of the day, we grilled our dinner, and I made a burned offering of various herbs and resins to the fire, as a blessing for my newly replanted garden. I always try to make offerings to the fire when I can, and I’m planning a formal ritual for the gardens where I will take the blessings in return for the offerings I make, and pour them out over the plants (probably in the form of a watering can 🙂 ). The spirits of my garden tend to respond very well to poured offerings of various kinds as well (they’ve received everything from wine to cider to goats milk mixed with kahlua).

If all of this does well, I will be drowning in produce come May, which is exactly how I want it to be. I’ll make salsa and pickles and eat fresh warm tomatoes with fresh basil and olive oil and salt.

 

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Marking this for future reference. As at home as I am with the Anglo-Saxons, there is such a dearth of lore that it’s easier to work with other Northern Kin entities most of the time. Also, we’re doing a ritual that includes offerings to Sif tonight, and it’s good to know more about Her.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Thank you again, Freki Ingela, for this question:

What are your thoughts of the feminine divine in Germanic polytheism? I notice that very little is known about the household Gods, the Gods that women in their homesteads would have revered, the deity of the hearth, for example. This is a problem for me (I am a woman) and to be really honest although I am proud of my ancestral Gods I have a feeling that we have lost too much knowledge of the non-warrior Gods, the Gods of the women, the family, the hearth fire – so much so that we must look to kin-religions, such as Roman polytheism, to try to bridge the gap where so much knowledge has been lost. What are your thoughts on this?

That our ancestral lines were sundered is one of many great tragedies.  The loss of traditional communities, and much of the lore, rituals…

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Litany to the Disir. Saving this for later, so I can use bits of it in my own work. (I see several bits that are definitely going in the (in progress) Prairie Godmother devotional.)

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

I adore You, Mitochondrial Eve.

I adore You, Ancient Women.

I adore You, Eldest Kin.

I adore You, Embla.

I adore You, Women of Strength.

I adore You, Women of Power.

I adore You, Women of Resolve.

I adore You, Women of Wisdom.

I adore You, Leaders.

I adore You, Warriors.

I adore You, Healers.

I adore You, Farmers.

I adore You, Hunters.

I adore You, Crafters.

I adore You, Grandmothers.

I adore You, Mothers.

I adore You, Sisters.

I adore You, Daughters.

I adore You, Aunts.

I adore You, Nieces.

I adore You, Who are Women in Heart and Soul.

I adore You, Strong-standing.

I adore You, Fierce-hearted.

I adore You, Unbent-backs.

I adore You, Unscorched Souls.

I adore You, Blazing Hearts.

I adore You, Strong of Hands.

I adore You, Steady Legged.

I adore You, Firm-footed.

I adore You, Stout-hearted.

I adore You, Holders of Lines.

I adore…

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Litany to the Vater. Saving this for later, so I can use bits of it in my own work.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

I adore You, Chromosomal Adam.

I adore You, Ancient Men.

I adore You, Ask.

I adore You, Men of Strength.

I adore You, Men of Power.

I adore You, Men of Vision.

I adore You, Men of Will.

I adore You, Leaders.

I adore You, Warriors.

I adore You, Healers.

I adore You, Farmers.

I adore You, Hunters.

I adore You, Crafters.

I adore You, Grandfathers.

I adore You, Fathers.

I adore You, Sons.

I adore You, Uncles.

I adore You, Nephews.

I adore You, Who are Men in Heart and Soul.

I adore You, Glad-Hearted.

I adore You, Gentle-Handed.

I adore You, Steel-Spined.

I adore You, Unbowed-Heads.

I adore You, Resolute Souls.

I adore You, Tree-Legged.

I adore You, Fierce Hearts.

I adore You, Rock-Willed.

I adore You, Guards of Generations.

I adore You, Shield-Wall of Kin.

I adore You, Guides of Wyrd.

I adore You, Unbroken.

I adore You…

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“Cat hoovering (also Cat vacuuming) – 1. any excuse to avoid writing, even vacuuming the cat (Gerri); 2. A pointless exercise used to avoid real work. (HughSider)”

I was reading this article by John Beckett (if you don’t read his blog, you should) on what priests are and aren’t. He said the following:

A priest serves as an exemplar.  He should model the behaviors and lifestyles he advocates.  He is human and will not be perfect in any of this, but he should strive to live a life in alignment with his highest values and in the spirit of the Gods and Goddesses he serves.  Or, to borrow a phrase from my Baptist childhood:  “practice what you preach.”

A priest will be a counselor.  Show a little competency in leadership and begin exemplifying the Divine to any extent and people will begin telling you more than you want to know about themselves.  One of the most valuable services a priest can provide is simply to listen and be an unanxious presence.

While a proper mixture of divination, prayer, ritual, and counseling can be helpful, a priest can’t solve people’s problems for them.  What he can do is to be with them and support them until they can solve their problems themselves.  A priest must also recognize the limits of his expertise – is what you’re hearing a spiritual problem or is it mental illness?  A priest must know when to say “I can’t help you – you need to see a mental health professional.”

A priest serves as an organizer.  He should make sure the trains run on time:  rituals are performed, offerings are made, classes are held, this-world actions are taken.  A priest doesn’t have to do all that himself (nor should he, in most cases), but he should make sure his religious community does the things it needs to do.  People can – and should, and at least occasionally – be allowed to fail.  Communities can never be allowed to fail.

Now, to start all this off – IANAP. I am not a priest. (or a priestess.) I am a Druid, and an ADF dedicant, and a student working towards Initiation. After which I intend to do at least the first circle of clergy training, so someday I will (maybe) be a priest.

However, I’m doing a lot of things that are similar to the work of priests right now (as would anyone who is in a position of leadership in a pagan group), and gradually getting more and more familiar with that role. But it’s a hard one, and one that I contemplate a lot. I don’t know if I have the personality or the credentials to do this “right.”

And I’d be lying if I said that my mental illness didn’t sometimes factor into my worries about my future in ADF. There’s a reason I started with the IP – Initiates are called to individual service, where Priests are called to community service. Individual service lets me set more boundaries to my own availability and time.

Plus? I’m a human being. I screw up. I get frustrated and say angry things that I don’t mean, or use a tone of voice that makes people feel defensive and hurt. I’ve only been working in an ADF community role for about 9 months, and I’ve already done that at least once that I am aware of. I haven’t had the chance to make amends about it either. (Having done so makes me feel doubly unqualified to do this work.)

I know this is what the virtues are for. They are guides, things to strive for, things to judge my actions against. Have I been a good host? Have I been a person of integrity? Have I shown wisdom? What is my vision? I know I did a bunch of essays on this in my dedicant work, but somehow I still feel like I’m redefining and reimagining those things in my life. As a solitary, the virtues were very personal, and were thus much easier to write about. In a position of leadership (even of a small group), the virtues get stickier. How do I maintain my focus and still be open to others? How do I maintain the traditions of the group but allow for change and growth? How do I respect that my local group has been around for 10 years (but not had much/any growth) but still convince them that growth is possible?

Yngvi would say (and has said) “We do the best we can with what we have, and the rest will follow.” And he’s right, but there’s a lot of in between to that kind of thing. Plus it’s getting hard to juggle supporting the protogrove, planning lessons for the study group (which includes dedicant mentoring), my increasingly complex daily practice, and my own studies on the IP. I’ve completed two courses, and I’m tackling the journaling portions of Liturgy Practicum and Divination II right now, plus the reading for I-E Studies (which will probably be my next submission). Things have changed rapidly from my writing some essays over a year into Druidry taking up a big chunk of my life – which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something to think about. (And maybe think about ways to maintain my identity as a person who is more than just a Druid.)

I’m probably thinking too hard about this, but it feels like I’ve gone from being someone who can do as she pleases with very little or no ramifications to anyone else to someone who is now *responsible* for stuff. And I dunno if I always like that feeling. But then, I also know I get a lot of fulfillment out of the work I do for the study group and the protogrove, so perhaps it’s a trade off. It’s one I think I’m glad I’ve made, but sometimes it’d be nice to not have to think deeply about every action, and just fly by the seat of my pants for a bit.

Lots of thoughts, not all of them productive, I’m sure.

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