PBP Wk. 9: E is for Endings

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Madison and her mother, Natalie
RIP, Maddie
For some reason, the Pagan Blog Project site has not been updated with the topic ideas for this first week of the E's.   But Endings are something that is very Pagan-related.  Hell, that's not even accurate.  Endings relate to us all.  However, it is our attitudes about them that make the difference.

What endings am I talking about?  Death.  And this is a topic that weighs heavily on my heart today.  I follow Kallan Kennedy's blog The Secret Life of the American Working Witch.  For those who don't follow her, Ms. Kallan has been keeping people updated as to the health condition of a little girl named Madison, asking people to send her healing.  Madison fell ill quite suddenly a few days ago.  She basically went from being this feisty, vivacious 3-year-old to being lethargic and then unresponsive.  Maddie slipped into a coma and was in critical condition.  At one point she almost died, but that brave little girl clung to life as long as she could.

The doctors had treatments in mind for the cancer she was diagnosed with, but they had to do a brain scan on her first.  The brain scan revealed, tragically, that Maddie was "brain dead".  For those unfamiliar with the term, it basically means that there is no electrical activity in the brain that shows any life.  The body is still living but only because the machines are keeping it so.  Maddie was taken off of life support earlier today and released to the Summerlands.

I had been trying to keep up with the updates on Maddie, but life has been completely chaotic over the past couple of days.  I only found out about Maddie about an hour ago.  I'm sitting here in my college library as I write this and I'm not going to lie:  when I found out of Maddie's passing and read the words of her mother that Kallan had posted on her blog, I completely broke down.  All I could do was stare at the picture of that sweet littler girl and her mother, Natalie.  My heart is broken for Maddie's family in a way that I can't even put into words.  It's the sorrow that a mother feels for another mother for her loss.  I don't know how else to put it.  While I cannot fully comprehend the agony that Natalie must be feeling, it's all to easy to imagine how my heart would shatter if I were going through this with one of my own children.  But imagining and empathizing doesn't really come close, does it?   It's a muted, dull ache in comparison.

I don't know what religion Maddie's family affiliates themselves with (or if they do at all).  Quite frankly, I don't care.  It doesn't matter.  But it does come to mind that it can matter where other people are concerned as they seek to offer their condolences because it can affect how Maddie's family is treated as they begin their long journey through the grieving process.  And this is where my point about attitudes come in.

First of all, death is completely natural, people.  Everything dies.  As Pagans, we see death as being part of the cycle.  We are born, we live, we die, and at some point, we are reborn.  On and on it goes until we have learned the lessons that we're meant to.  To us, life really is a school.  One lifetime is a school year.  At the end of our school year, we get our "Summer vacation" in the Summerlands where we rest, rejuvenate, and prepare ourselves for our next "school year".  It's easy to talk of such things without putting any real emotional attachment to it.  We all know this, but it doesn't make it any easier when we have to say goodbye to someone, especially when it's a child so young.    When we are faced with death, we have to face something else that is completely natural too:  Grief.

I've seen people make efforts to comfort the grieving but end up making total assholes out of themselves. I hate to say it, but I've seen the most gaffes spoken by Christians.   If I were in Natalie's shoes, for instance, and someone were to say something to me to the effect of  "Those who believe in Jesus have no need to mourn because they know they'll see their loved one again someday."    Yes, I have seen people use that one or a variation of it.  It's appalling, really.   If I am mourning the loss of someone, I don't need to hear someone tell me that my feelings basically mean that I don't believe in God.  Particularly their God.   There is no comfort in that.   Plus, it just makes it sound as though Christians are the only ones who believe in an afterlife.

And the other crappy thing about being told such nonsense is that there might actually be some people who buy into that crap.  I've seen people who, when they're told that and made to believe that their grief is a sin because it shows a lack of faith in Jesus, they stuff their grief down and, instead, try to put on a happy face lest they be seen as a "bad Christian".

Please understand that I know that Christians aren't the only ones who pull garbage like that.  For the same reasons that I've seen Pagans tell other Pagans  "You're not really a Pagan if you don't do a ritual for every Sabbat and for every Full Moon, New Moon, etc.," I've seen some Pagans go all  "Well, every ending is a new beginning" in a very blase' sort of manner.  I don't know how else to put it.

My point, people, is if you know someone who is having to go through the grieving process, PLEASE don't stunt it for them.  I know that people mean well, but please try to hear what you're saying.  I know I haven't given very good examples, but I hope that they were good enough to at least provoke thought as to how one deals with those who mourn.   I know that we all wish that we could take the pain away from those we love who grieve their loss.  I know we all want to try to find that one thing to say that could convey our feelings and our longing to comfort the bereaved.  But sometimes, the best thing we can do is to give them our love, give them a hug (if they are ok with it), and just be there for them in any way we can without smothering and overwhelming them.   And DO keep them in your prayers and send them loving, healing, and peaceful energy.   Many of us know from experience that the pain never fully goes away, it just becomes easier to live with over a gradual course of time.

I know that this wasn't an overly eloquent post.  I don't really care.  My thoughts, even in their clumsiness, lie with Madison's family.

If any of you who are reading this would like to make a donation to help Maddie's family pay for her hospital costs, please go to this website:  Miracle for Madison   I daresay that they could also definitely use help for the funeral costs.

Year and a Day: The First Two Weeks

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Yyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh.  I know. I totally forgot to post how my first class went last week and now I've got two classes to write about. It's only two classes in, but I am REALLY enjoying it thus far! 
Last Monday it ended up being just my teacher, myself, and one of the two other students, a guy I'll just refer to as J.  The gal who wasn't there (S) ended up missing because she was sick.  For the first class, Greyhart discussed the overall history of Witchcraft.  There was a lot I'd already read out of Raymond Buckland's "Big Blue Book" but there was just as much that I didn't know such as the actual purposes of the Pyramids at Giza.  Yyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh.  I know. I totally forgot to post how my first class went last week and now I've got two classes to write about. It's only two classes in, but I am REALLY enjoying it thus far!
Last Monday it ended up being just my teacher, myself, and one of the two other students, a guy I'll just refer to as J.  The gal who wasn't there (S) ended up missing because she was sick.  For the first class, Greyhart discussed the overall history of Witchcraft.  There was a lot I'd already read out of Raymond Buckland's "Big Blue Book" but there was just as much that I didn't know such as the actual purposes of the Pyramids at Giza.  Of course, the Witch Trials and Inquisitions were discussed (big, resounding "duh" there LoL).  I learned a bit more about the Malleus Mallificarum ("The Witches Hammer"), a book written by Heinrich Kramer.  Jakob Sprenger's name was put on there as a means of giving the book a bit more credibility.  However, I learned that it was not nearly as unanimously accepted as I thought.  There were some places where the Malleus Mallificarum was used in the Inquisitions where the local churches flat-out rejected the book, basically, as complete and total bullshit.  I guess it's relieving to know that, as it is today, not all the Catholic Churches stood in agreement with the harshness and cruelty of the witch hunts.

Some of the random discussions centered around Greyhart's personal travels to places like England and Italy.  In the first class, Greyhart mentioned (interjected during a discussion of the Greek gods and the Titans) a tour he'd gotten to take in Italy where, in one place, you can almost see the silloughette of a Titan in the hills, similar to how one can see the form of the Goddess in the area surrounding the Glastonbury Tor.

There was so much that we talked about that class (which is scheduled from 7pm - 9pm) ended up going about 20 minutes over.  After that, the three of us ended up gabbing for nearly another 3 hours.  It was a quarter to midnight when I left.  I didn't really talk much, but I very much enjoyed listening to Greyhart and J converse. Topics ranged from a yearly festival called Dragonfest, Greyhart's travels, J's life being in a military family, and there was much talk about guns that piqued my curiosity.  I've never shot a gun, but it's something I'd eventually like to learn. Between conversations from both Mondays, I've learned that I'm apparently the only one who's never even fired a gun.

I ended up staying even later the next class.  Thus far, I can't seem to help myself.  The conversations and fellowship that occurs after the class is over is so enjoyable and I've missed getting to have such interactions.  Still, I need to learn to excuse myself earlier than midnight since it is a school night.

Anyway, last Monday, S was able to make it.  It was good to meet her; she seems quite nice :-)   J & I filled her in on the topics discussed in the previous class.  J did more of the filling in than I did anyway.  I suck at recalling information when put on the spot.  -_-  *facepalm*   Something I definitely need to get better at doing.  After catching her up, the topic for the class was discussing morality vs. ethics, the Threefold Law, and taking personal responsibility.  It was definitely a very interesting conversation.  I'm not quite sure what to write about that one.  It provided a lot of food for thought, much of it consisted of things that I've already believed for several years, and a few things pretty much boiled down to a difference of opinion.  Really, it doesn't matter.  Bottom line, I'm very much enjoying the classes thus far and I'm looking forward to the one tomorrow.  :-)   However, one thing that Greyhart asked us to do for homework was to start writing down our personal codes of ethics and WHY we hold to these things.  I still need to start that.  It's kinda an intimidating project in a way.  There's never really been words for the code I live by.  Basically it can be boiled down to "Would I want someone to do this to me?"  If "no", then I try to not to do those things to others.  I try to be a good mother, girlfriend, and friend.  I try to treat other people with respect but I'm not afraid to break bitch on someone to protect those I love.  Hell, one of my best friends has referred to me as her "guard wolf" for a few years now for that very reason. When she meets new people or when she'd meet a new love interest (even when she got back with the man who is now her husband), she'd tell them,  "Fair warning: If you do anything to hurt me, my best friend, Morgaine, will pretty much eat your soul."   And that's how I am with all those dear to me.

However, I've also had to learn the value of discernment.  I've had to learn to back off unless my help is wanted/needed.  I've learned to not do anything unless those I want to protect say that it's ok for me to because, unfortunately, I've caused them needless drama in the past by defending them without their asking me to or allowing me to.

I try to always show appreciation for kindnesses done for me and to not take such things for granted.  I try to show people that I don't think myself entitled to anything.  I don't think anyone owes me anything.  No one owes me any favors or anything.  I also try to give back in whatever ways I can.  It's these things that, quite frankly, make me infuriated when people try to use me or abuse any help I offer.  But then I also realize that I'm not responsible for the way these people act.  I can only try to make sure I don't behave that way.

PBP Wks 7 & 8: D is for DOUBLE POST!

Friday, February 22, 2013

I don't see any point, really, in doing two separate posts for the D topics at this juncture.  The topics I have chosen are 1: Depression and 2: Discipline.

Depression -

I've mentioned this on my blog before, a conversation I had with my mother not terribly long ago.  It, for me, was a very disheartening conversation.  It felt like my relationship with my mother had taken ginormous steps back.  I'm talking "Back to when I first came out of the 'broom closet' with her" sort of thing.  I know she doesn't see it this way, but I felt that she was judging me ill for being a Pagan when, obviously, it hasn't made me the happiest fucking fluffy bunny on the face of the planet.

That's how it's supposed to work, right?  You find the spirituality that you feel is right for you and everything bad in your life, including depression, just magickally goes POOF! and disappears, right?

WRONG!!   I'm sorry, but it does not work that way.  Not even for Christians, despite how much they might protest to the opposite.  Religion/spirituality is not a cure-all.  It does not erase from us the responsibility of seeking out our healing and working through our problems, no matter what it might be from.  What it does, however, is empower us with the strength to strive for our healing.  And for things like emotional/mental issues like depression, it is a lot of work!  Mind you, I don't take medication for depression, though there are many times I wish I could.  I have no doubt that I've got a hormonal imbalance that contributes, but even then a pill isn't going to fix the situations that contribute to depressive episodes.  What I end up having to do is find coping methods when I go into a spiral or I feel like I'm heading that way.

As it is, I've been dealing with clinical depression for probably around a decade and a half.  I was 19 when my mother had a talk with me to tell me that that's what I have.  Have I ever been officially diagnosed?  No.  But it doesn't take a genius to see that I exhibit a good 98% of the symptoms.  Trying to find ways to deal with it hasn't been easy, especially after spending the better (or worse, rather) part of 6 years with a husband who scorned me for having depression to begin with.  He was thoroughly unsupportive and would even make fun of me if I ever made the mistake of telling him I was dealing with a spiral.  Oh, and then he would go into these tirades about how he was manic depressive and he could deal with it in these ways, so I should be able to as well and blah, blah, blah.   Never could I count on him for support of any kind -- I can't count how many times he treated me like a weakling because of it.   I could go into so much where he's concerned, but what's the point?

The point is that, despite what people like him (and Tom Cruise) say, depression is a very real and very valid  affliction.  If you are having to deal with it, I want  you to understand something:  YOU ARE NOT WEAK.  YOU ARE NOT A STUPID PERSON.   And if you have anyone in your life who treats you like this because you deal with depression, then they need to be booted from your life ASAP if at all possible. Things like that can turn a depressive person suicidal in real short order.  I had suicidal thoughts because of my ex-husband a couple of times.  I felt like he didn't care (he didn't).  I felt like nobody really cared.  I felt like it must seriously just be me with the problem.  That shit can cause a deathly spiral in no time.   And even the one time I told my ex-husband that I was feeling suicidal, can you guess what reaction I got?  Here's a clue: it wasn't a caring one.  It wasn't a supportive one.

Being Pagan has not cured my depression anymore than being a Christian did.  And it, quite frankly, stung me when my mother said what she did.  I, honestly, wanted to tell her  "Are you kidding me?"  I wanted to ask her if being a Christian had helped her past her depression and issues from things she suffered as a child (which I will not go into here, but trust me, y'all, it was BAD especially when she started to remember them) or if she'd really had to work at getting past and healing from these things.  'Cause lemme be the first to tell you that she had to fight like hell to get past these horrors and to even forgive enough to not be enslaved by her hatred.  I was there for it.  I was there as I watched her snub off contact with her family until, gradually, she healed enough to be able to first endure them and then finally love them again.   It was not easy.  God did not give her a magickal cure-all anymore than He and Brighid have given me one.  And believe me, I've got my own childhood issues to deal with, especially where my step-dad is concerned.

However, what God and Goddess/Brighid HAVE done for me is be there for me.  They've given me the empowerment and the strength to keep working at shedding the situational garbage that has contributed to my depression.  Am I there yet?  No.  I'm not.   I still have a LONG way to go, especially where it concerns being freed and healed from the things that's happened in my life.  It is a daily effort.  Especially where it concerns my thoughts.  There are so many times where I'll start to think about painful things that have happened and I get angry all over again.  And then it runs around in my head like a couple of ferrets and I find myself diologuing in my head.  I'll find myself daydreaming of getting to tell these people EXACTLY what I think of them and where they can shove it.  I find myself daydreaming of telling my ex-husband and one particular family member who thinks himself infallible that you CAN'T just say hurtful shit to people and then act like THEY'RE the problem and to grow some balls, stop putting the focus on me and actually start looking at themselves and realize what horridly unkind people they are.

That kind of shit runs through my head for hours if I can't get it to stop and, believe me, it is seriously difficult to get it to stop.  Especially if it's during the time that I'm supposed to be sleeping.  It is a genuine effort that I have to give, sometimes daily, to not allow myself to be haunted and tortured by these things.  But it is possible!

One thing that's definitely helped me is looking for things to be happy and thankful for -- to realize how much God and Goddess/Brighid have stuck by me through thick and thin.  They have brought me through so much and in one piece!  I still struggle, but it gets easier to remember as time goes on.  I think back on where I used to be and realize that, even though things aren't even close to perfect, I am still so much better off than I was.

I'm still an angry person.  I'm not gonna lie.  And I still go through REALLY BAD depression spirals sometimes.  I had one this last summer that was a total doozy; it was the worst spiral I'd had in YEARS!  And Druid, thank Goddess, stuck by me through it all.  Not unscathed, that's for sure, but he stuck by me and supported me as best he could.  He didn't call me weak or pathetic.  He didn't scoff me off.  He didn't treat me like I was a stupid burden who could control these things from happening.  I'm so thankful to be with him.  We've endured so much shit over the past few years -- things that would have had other people throwing in the towel and moving on.  We've stuck together and fought for each other even as much as we've fought against each other.  I honestly don't think I could have gotten to where I am -- made the progress I have -- without him.  <3

Discipline (or the lack thereof) -

Truthfully, I lack it.  It sort of, for me, ties a lot into my depression issues.  It's hard for me to stay motivated and keep going on something that I should be doing, especially if I'm dealing with a spiral or I'm over-stressed by shit going on in the every-day life.  But I'm learning.

I lacked the discipline to be able to go through my Year and a Day on my own as a Solitary.  Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  I prefer the "monkey see, monkey do" approach.  I know that what I'm doing now will still require A LOT of discipline to keep going with it even when those times inevitably arise where I feel like "But I don't WANNA go!!!"

It's not even just Paganism where I lack discipline.  Lack of discipline has gotten me in trouble where my schoolwork is concerned (which is why I'm trying very hard to make sure that I stay caught up on everything this semester!) and it's even made it to where I've not made any progress on my health and fitness goals.  And, believe me, I know I have no one else to blame but myself.  I mean, yes, life gets busy and it's hard to find time to work out like I would like.  But lack of discipline has shown me that I'm a total weakling right now where food is concerned.  I totally trashed my metabolism by compulsive snacking and it's been hard trying to break out of that rut.   There are so many things that would be better for me if I just get stubborn and whip myself into shape.

The path of the Witch is one that really does require discipline.  It requires that we really know ourselves, we know our motives, and we don't get in a habit of lying to ourselves about why we do the things we do.  Being a Witch really does require some cajones because it's not an easy thing to be honest with ourselves.  If we're madder than a wet hen at somebody who's done us wrong and we want to just automatically blast them with some sort of delicious hex, it's hard realizing that we still need to be responsible enough to figure out if that's truly necessary.  I'm fully of the belief, as I've said before, that breaking out the bitchcraft is perfectly acceptable and appropriate at certain times.  However, most of the time we might as well just be shooting a mosquito with a bazooka.

Being a Witch means we need to be able to recognize when we can solve something on a mundane level instead of using magick as a cure-all.  It's perfectly alright to turn to magick to solve things, but it's much better if we try to solve things without it first.   If you've had a fight with your spouse or best friend, don't just automatically break out the freezer bags for a spell unless you're just as willing to do one on yourself. After all, is it not quite possible that you're just as at fault for the bullshit?  Do you, perhaps, need to be the one to apologize this time?  At least for your part of it.  Mundane means like trying to make amends sometimes is all it takes and it's good for us to do things like that.  It exercises our character-building muscles.  ^_^   And, believe me, it's a lesson I'm still learning.  I used to be a lot better at apologizing and realizing my own fault in conflicts, but that got lost somewhere along the way and I'm having to re-learn.  I'm having to re-learn that, as much as it stings the pride, saying a sincere "I'm sorry" can be one of the quickest balms to a wounded situation between two people.

Overall, having discipline means to be able to look at yourself honestly, recognize your faults and where you lack, and to try to find ways to better ourselves.  It means to find it within yourself to set a goal and to stick to it.  Don't be wishy-washy like me.  That's something I'm still having to work on.

)O( Morgaine )O(

Falling Behind

Oof!  I'm behind on the Pagan Blog Project and I know I've yet to post about how the Year & a Day classes are going thus far.  Unfortunately, I'd gotten a little behind on my homework, so I haven't had a chance to do those yet.  I've got a post started about how the first two classes have gone, but still need to finish it.  Thankfully, I've just gotten caught up on my Math homework, so I'm good!  I just need to study out of my textbooks over the weekend.

As for the Pagan Blog Project, I'm looking at the list again of the D topics and I'm still completely blank on what to write about!  D:  A good portion of those topics are things I don't know very much about.  There are some I know a teensy weensy bit about, but not even enough to be dangerous.  Obviously, the answer to that is "Duh!!  Research, woman!"  *sigh*   I know I need to.  Honestly, though, it just feels like more drudging homework.  LoL   How sad is that?

However, I adamantly don't want to bomb out on the PBP again (and this is around the time that I biffed out last year), so I'm just gonna have to suck it up and deal.  Soooooo, I'm going to take a gander at the blog list to see what's already been posted and see if I can't possibly come up with some inspiration.  ^_^

A New Beginning After Nearly a Decade of Waiting

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tonight begins my Year and a Day.  In the month since the Paths & Traditions Fair, trying to correlate my schedule with that of Greyhart and my two classmates has been.....interesting as my schedule has had to be at the mercy of Druid's work schedule.  I'm excited and nervous and anxious and....a lot of things.   I know this isn't going to be easy, but should things work out that I accomplish this next year without anything fucking it up, it will be worth it.  At the end of it, I'll have achieved my 1st Degree as a Priestess -- something I've wanted for quite a while.

I gotta be honest though: my excitement is tempered a bit by the worry that something will screw me out of this.  Honestly, it's been the story of my life thus far.  Any time I've started something that I REALLY wanted to do, something has always screwed it up for me.  I am DESPERATE to not have that happen with this, but part of me wonders if I should just refrain from getting too excited lest something DOES happen and then I'm even more crushed if it does.

Don't get me wrong:  I know that this is not a good frame of mind. I know it's not constructive and that it's not doing anything good for me.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel like everything will work out with this.  I think I'll just feel better when I get to class tonight and things begin.  I hope so, anyway.  I hope that the Goddess grants me the courage to face whatever I'm met with in this class.  Greyhart warned me that this is not going to be easy.  And I'm ok with that.  Easy doesn't make for a skilled or learned Priestess.  I just want to do well and I want to accomplish my goals.

Another thing that's been tough is Druid's attitude over this.  We got into a bit of a spat the other night over this and part of what came out sounded like some resentment over the fact that Druid is not my teacher.  He started out as my teacher, but it just.....I don't know.  

Mind you, I'm fully aware that I'm part of why that situation never worked out.  It is true that when it was him teaching me, I did not stay on task as I should have.  It's no one else's fault but mine.  I didn't keep myself going the way I should have.   It's hard for me to explain as to why that was.  I know that part of it was that I just was not really meshing well with being strictly taught out of Raymond Buckland's "Big Blue Book" (as so many of us affectionately call it).  I mean, it's a good book, don't get me wrong.  But there were some things that I just didn't mesh with.

And then, at the end of it there, things kinda got switched around.  It ended up with me asking Druid when we'd continue and then it would just never happen.  And, quite frankly, I need more structure than that.  I also need to have a teacher who's willing to kick my ass into gear if I'm flagging.   I'm a Gemini, people.  I'm a flibbertigibbet.  Geminis aren't generally known for sticking to something of their own volition.  And this is where I need to learn to invoke my Taurean aspects (love being a cusp!).  I know it's still more my responsibility to stick with things than it is for other people to have to crack the whip over my head.

Something else that made me decide that I wanted to be taught by someone else is the fact that I wanted to learn within a group.  I wanted more formal training, basically.  I wanted to truly earn my 1st Degree and be able to have others say that I really did earn it and that I wasn't talking out my ass.   I wanted to be in a group so that I could be held more accountable.

Does any of that make sense?

For me, it feels like I've made the right choice in going down this path.  And I'm going to stick to it.  But still, it's not fun having to deal with Druid's resentment.   I never meant anything personal and I've explained my reasons multiple times for wanting to achieve my Degrees this way, but he's made it pretty obvious that it's caused him a case of sour grapes.

*sigh*   Things will be alright though.   It was never meant as any slight against him or against him as a teacher.  But I hope that he ultimately realizes that I have to do what feels right for me, especially in regards to my spiritual growth.  To me, it feels like Greyhart will be teaching me exactly what I need.  Druid is a wonderful teacher, but his path is different from mine in several ways.  I need to be taught by someone who is living daily the path that I feel called down.  I am a "monkey see, monkey do" kind of person.  I just hope that Druid soon realizes that it's not about him.  I hope he realizes, when he sees the progress I make, that I made the right decision for me and that it was never meant as an insult against him.

Anyway, I have to get packed up and head to my Paralegal class.  I'll write about this first class later tonight and, hopefully, have it posted no later than tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Squeee!!!! New Witchy Treasures!

Friday, February 08, 2013

I got my tax refund yesterday. Most of it went toward bills, but I got to take a trip down to Isis Books & Gifts to get a book that I've been BADLY wanting to read for months! Also, I was able to buy my first ever copies of both SageWoman and Witches & Pagans magazines!!  :-D

Here's some pictures what I got--the magazines I mentioned (sorry I can't place the pics better. I'm writing this with the Blogger Android app and it doesn't let me position pictures where I want them):

And the book is "The Goddess of Denver" by Paulie Rainbow:

I is a very happy Witch!  :-D I've already read the first couple of chapters and I am loving it! I'll write a full review when I am finished.  I just find it so wonderful to see a Pagan novel written by a local Witch!

PBP Wk 6: C is for Craft Name

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

One of the most well-known quotes by Shakespeare says "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet."   So what's the point of Craft Names?  To some, Craft Names are a silly tradition where Fluffy Bunnies pounce on the chance to call themselves uber pretentious names that begin with "Lady" or "Lord".   Some of us feel a huge rush of embarrassment at some of the names people come up with. (for a satirical laugh, check out "Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names")

Others, however, put a lot of thought into our Craft Names should we feel compelled to take one.  It's not something we do to make ourselves feel more special or more important or anything.  To us, our Craft Name is a way to connect us more to the Divine and to switch our mindset from the mundane to the magickal.  When we hear our Craft Name spoken, when it's the right one, there's that feeling of rightness -- like we've discovered part of our higher selves and we're on the right track.

That's how I feel, anyway.  Obviously, I can't actually speak for everybody, but I have heard the same said by other Witches.

How long does a Craft Name last?  Is it something that can stay with us forever or do we change names?  Yes and Yes.  I've seen some Witches retain their Craft Name for the rest of their lives from the time they take it and I've seen others eventually grow out of that name and feel compelled to search for a new one.  I fall into the latter category.  I'm not going to go into what my first Craft Name was.  In some ways I miss it, but even in recent times where I've tested it on myself, I can feel that it no longer fits me.  But at the time that it did?  I loved that name.

So how does one go about choosing their Craft Name if they feel that they should?  In my opinion, you search for the name that feels right and magickal to you.  Some might insist that using Numerology is the only way to divine your Craft Name, but I don't personally like that.  I get the point of using Numerology, but I find it to be too restrictive.  What if there is a name that fits your Karmic Number but it's not a name that you connect with personally?  Should you force yourself to just accept that name and be done with it?  Not in my opinion.   I've tried that method and it just didn't fit.  But there are others, of course, that are perfectly content with that method.  Perhaps for them they find it easier to find their name through the use of Numerology.

For myself, when I found my first Craft Name, I used things out of Nature (yes, it was a real hippy-sounding name, but there's nothing wrong with that XD).  They were things that, I felt, had lessons for my personal growth and what characteristics I wanted to develop in myself.  And when I found my name, my gods, I felt what I can only describe as a glow within me.  It just FELT right.  Did it match up to my Karmic number?  No.  But it, in my feeling, didn't have to.

My current name, Morgaine Kildare, was also chosen because of things I want to aspire to and connect with.  I feel a particular connection with the name Morgaine, partially because of the book "The Mists of Avalon".  I admire the character of Morgaine Le Fay as she was written in that story.  To me, it made a lot more sense than any other depiction of her I've ever heard.  But, also, I admired the fact that she made mistakes, she was lost for a while, and then she found her way back to the Goddess.  She re-obtained her Priestesshood on her own through quiet practice and study.  She re-learned to align herself with the tides of nature.  She re-learned her herbal lore.  She fought her way back to the Goddess and the ways of Avalon that she'd forsaken out of her pride.  I find such strength and fortitude a trait to be admired.  It's one of the reasons that "The Mists of Avalon" has become one of my all-time most favorite books.  Hell, at some point, I'm going to have a physical copy of it (I only have an electronic copy on my Kindle).  That's one of those books that, to me, is too magickal to only have an electronic copy; I badly want to be able to physically touch that book.  

And the name Kildare was my way of aligning myself with my Mother Goddess, Brighid.  It was my way of declaring myself as one of Her daughters.

Will this name last me forever?  I don't know.  But I don't anticipate changing my name any time in the near or even distant future.  This name will be mine until such a time as I feel it no longer fits me.

Blessed Be!

)O( Morgaine )O(

PBP Wk 5: C is for Candlemas Happy Imbolc!!!

Friday, February 01, 2013

I didn't want to pick a topic that would be obvious, but I just can't help it for today.  Today is Imbolc/Candlemas.  Also known as Brighid's Feast.  Most everybody already knows the basic information about Imbolc and Brighid's hand in ushering in the Spring according to Her lore.  Most know that Imbolc is the celebration of the halfway point in Winter before the Spring Equinox.  I'm not going to be writing about facts (but if there's anything you want to know, you should check out this Wikipedia article about Imbolc).

I've been feeling Brighid around a lot lately.  She has helped me a lot through this latest bout of depression that I've gone through concerning some things that I've had to realize about my family.  It's a long story and it's not something I'm going to go into here.  But Brighid has been showing Herself to me a lot lately as though She's trying to remind me that She is also my mother, She hasn't given up on me nor looked down on me for my failures. Hell, She doesn't even see them as failures; they're merely chances and opportunities to get up and try again.  To Her, mistakes are not something to beat me over the head with; they're just chances to learn and to better myself.

I was writing about these things on my desktop diary software (shameless name-dropping here: Chrysanth is awesome!) and as I was doing so, I literally felt a loving warmth and peace settle over me and I knew it was Her.  I feel Her even now.  So, to celebrate my Mother Goddess' day, I'm going to be doing a Flamekeeping shift.  It's not my scheduled day to do so, but you know what? I think when it's Imbolc, every daughter of Brighid should keep the Sacred Flame if she feels compelled to do so.  I have no doubts that Brighid keeps it alongside us today.

I'm also have been feeling the need to work with my Tarot cards again.  Unfortunately, that's something I slumped back on, but since Imbolc is considered a good day for divinations, I think it's a good day to begin again on my journey to learn my Tarot and to try to do better at doing my Daily Card readings.  I wish I could have a chance to visit a stream today, but that's probably not going to happen.  However, cleaning my water fountain and refilling it can be the next best thing. ^_^

I'm so thankful for Brighid's love.  I'm so thankful that she truly does still love me and sees the best in me even when I can't see the best in myself.  Even when others, such as people from my family, can't seem to see the best in me.

Imbolc is a celebration of the journey from the darkness of Winter to the coming light of Spring.  I'm thankful to my Mother Goddess, the Bright One, for her continuing to help me work through the darkness of things that have troubled me for many years.  One doesn't wade through that amount of muck overnight.  It takes time and effort, but I can feel myself gradually shedding these things and as I do, I feel more and more light.  Working through all these things that I've buried down isn't pleasant by any stretch, but it's necessary.

It wasn't that long ago that my mother basically scoffed at my spirituality because it hasn't seemed, in her eyes, to have made me a happier person the way Christianity is "supposed to".  SMH   And that was simply because, yeah, on my Facebook, I'm often expressing my anger and worries about a bunch of different things.  I'm sorry, but it's really sad that so many Christians think that  "Oh yes!  I've accepted Jesus into my heart, so God is just going to go and make everything better!!"   It doesn't work that way.  If it did, then there'd never even be such a thing as a Christian who experiences troubles and depression.

I had to tell my mother that, basically, that just because I still experience troubles and depression doesn't mean that I'm not happy being Pagan.  Are you kidding me?  I LOVE being Pagan!  Being Pagan has brought me far more joy than being a Christian ever did.  But, quite frankly, I've learned to be more expressive about what I feel instead of trying to stuff it down, so yes, I even express when something has pissed me off.  I've learned that my feelings (when they're not dripping sunshine and rainbows) are inconvenient to other people, but that's their problem. Not mine.

Do I still have a lot to learn about working through my emotions in a more constructive manner?  Oh, definitely!  But I have no doubts that Brighid will help me with that too.  May the Bright One give you many blessings on this, Her Feast Day!

Happy Imbolc/Candlemas and Blessed Be!

)O( Morgaine Kildare )O(