I'm Still Alive; Thoughts on Life, Peace, and My "First Harvest" This Year

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I'm sorry for my long absence this year.  I felt it necessary to take a hiatus and focus more on trying to get my life back rather than worry about blogging.  Once again I (quite blitheringly obviously) fell off the PBP wagon, but hey, there's always next year to try again if I wish.  I don't know if I will, but I've got time to figure that out.

My life still has a long way to go to get brought on track to where I need to be for my kids as well as myself.  But as odd and difficult as this year has been, it's also been, in many ways, far better than years I've had previous.  Oh, it's had its share of dire frustrations and stress, but it's also had just as many moments that have been flat-out amazing.

I've been cutting a lot of crap out of my life, things that have been poisonous and had, thus, poisoned me and turned me into a person I didn't like.  April marked a year since Druid and I broke up, but the effects of that direly toxic and abusive relationship took a LONG time to weed themselves out of my system.  I still have a long way to go before I feel ready for a relationship and that's ok.  I've come a long way, though, and I'm glad.

When Druid and I first broke up, I felt like I would never be in a relationship again because, obviously, I made him miserable and why would I want to inflict myself on anyone else?   However, in the time since, particularly after this year began, I finally was able to realize that the person I became during that gods-awful relationship is not the person I really am.  The person I became was due to the abuse I received from him.  Don't get me wrong, I fully acknowledge that I didn't have to go that far into Shitsville just to stand up for myself.  There were plenty of times that the way I treated him was just me giving him a taste of his own medicine (not that he ever got it; he still doesn't) but there were plenty of other times that the way I treated him was entirely unprovoked and, therefore, was me being an abusive ass in return.  It's not something I'm proud of, but facts are facts.

At least I can take responsibility for myself.  It took Druid the better part of 6 years to FINALLY acknowledge how much of an asshole he was with regards to his insecurities and his treating me like a cheating whore.  And it wasn't because someone tried, yet again, to explain it to him.  No, he had to suffer that kind of treatment at the hands of a girl he was seeing (uber) long-distance.  And the funny thing?  She'd never been cheated on in her life, but she still was treating Druid every bit the way he treated me -- the interrogations about every female he's friends with on Facebook, the uber mistrust, etc.  He got ALL of it, every bit of the shit he gave me.  Not gonna lie, but I kinda smirked when he told me about it.  To his credit, however, he didn't tell me in a whiny way that sought sympathy.  It was purely expressed in a manner that said he FINALLY understood how I had felt for all those years with that kind of treatment.

I was glad that he finally took responsibility for that, but that didn't last long. It never does, really, when he and I get into tiffs.  When things are good, he can acknowledge efforts I've made, admit to shit he's done, and things will seem fine.  When we get into arguments, he miraculously gets amnesia and forgets every effort I've made, every apology I've tried to tell him, etc.  And at the one that permanently ended our friendship that I tried to keep for the sake of the kids, he tried to subject me to the same crappy shit and get me to believe the crappy things he thinks about me yet again.  But the nice thing about having rediscovered the person you really are?  It gives you the strength to not subject yourself to that person's twisted delusions again.

When you know you've grown and someone is trying to act like you haven't and all that shit, that person does not need to stay in your life.  And I flat-out told him I was done.  It's not worth trying to maintain a friendship with him anymore.  Of course he can still keep in contact with the kiddos, but any desire I used to have to still be friends has totally died.  What can I say?  Double standards have that effect on me.  Especially when someone demands that I respect his feelings (which I did) but he had absolutely no respect for mine or for the boundaries I felt the need to put in place.

So, that's that.

I'm actually grateful for the people I have culled out of my life.  My vision is far less clouded about myself and I know that I have grown and improved as a person -- as a mother as well as personally and other areas too, if that made any rutting sense whatsoever -- and I'm still trying to.  I am determined to get my life on more settled and stable ground for me and the kids.  I'm determined to be able to give them the childhood that they have always deserved, and I am determined to not accept anyone into our lives as my potential mate if he/she is not a good fit for ALL of us (yes, I said "she" -- I'm bisexual. I have just as much likelihood to fall in love with a woman as I do to fall in love with a man).  If s/he is not a good fit for my kids, s/he goes.  If s/he is not a good fit for me, s/he goes.  It's got to be a good fit for my kids AND me because that's what we all deserve.  We deserve someone who will love ALL of us wholeheartedly.

So, with Lughnassadh recently passed, I look at my "First Harvest" and what has thus far brought me to that point.  My connection to the Goddess has strengthened as I have chosen to let go of the things and people that have kept me imprisoned in hatred and negativity and as I sit here writing this, I can feel the flutter in my heart from excitement as I know it's only going to get better from here.  My "First Harvest" is, yet again, being able to recognize who I am now as opposed to what I was for a while, the ability to recognize that it was the positive steps I have taken to get me to this point, and the ability to recognize and thank the Goddess for all that she has brought me and my family through.  She didn't CAUSE any of this, She's just been here for me through it all, even when I felt at my most hopeless.  My "First Harvest" this year has been the resulting peace as I feel that I finally understand that no matter what I'm going through, it's all going to be ok.  The Goddess has brought us through.  Hell, she brought me through some of the worst times of my life and I'm still here, my family is still together, and we're doing better.  I've gained a lot more trust and peace because of that.  :-)  These are things I was thinking on as I was doing some grocery shopping earlier today and I just felt SO overcome with gratitude that I spent much of my shopping time just quietly and passionately thanking the Moon Mother for everything.  Is life perfect right now?  No, not even close.  But I cannot deny that, even with everything that's gone wrong this year, I feel a lot more sturdy and unshakeable because of her.  Even recently when I had to battle the fear that it was all going to come crashing down on me again, I focused on Her and remembered all that she had brought me through and OMG She did it again!

The situation I feared ended up becoming resolved and other pathways have been cleared for me.  The Moon Mother is still taking care of me and my children and there is so much peace and joy in knowing that :-)

Pagan Blog Project Wk 3: B is for Belief

Saturday, January 18, 2014

noun: belief; plural noun: beliefs
  1. 1.
    an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
    "his belief in the value of hard work"
  2. 2.
    trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
    "a belief in democratic politics"
    synonyms:faithtrustrelianceconfidencecredence More


When I met my Year and a Day teacher, Greyhart, last year at the Paths and Traditions fair that Living Earth was hosting, he was sitting behind a table that held an assortment of altar objects. I had just gotten done speaking with Chris and Kelly, the representatives of a local Celtic Reconstructionist group and Greyhart's table was right next to theirs. I was feeling terribly awkward and shy as well as stressed out from worrying (too much) about my kids' behavior. Greyhart had put me at ease pretty quickly and when we started talking, he asked me a simple question: of all the altar objects on the table, which one was the most powerful?

I quietly looked at the objects for a moment -- I remember the athame, but I honestly can't remember what else was there. Doesn't matter. After a moment's hesitation, I looked up and said "It's not the objects that are powerful. They're only as powerful as the person holding them."

Altar tools are nice to have. Hell, I love having altar tools. Most of the pieces on my altar are treasured knick-knacks -- a Faerie Glen faerie and a Native American faerie that one of my dearest friends gifted to me, a horse figurine that was a Christmas gift from my brother when I was still a kid, and a horse tealight candle lamp that I received as a high school graduation gift from the woman who taught me how to ride.
The more definitively Pagan items I have on my altar is my Goddess statue, my Moon Phases goddess tealight holder, and my athame, which I don't even keep on my altar full-time because, obviously, I have kids and I'm not comfortable leaving it out where they can get to it.
The Goddess statue I have on my altar
Pentacle Goddess by Abby Willowroot
as shown on SacredSource.com

Anywho, getting back on track toward the point: I love my altar tools, but while they're nice to have, they are not NECESSARY for doing magick. They basically provide a focus for the magick we wield.

The most important tool we have to make our magick work for whatever purpose we have is our faith and belief. Our certainty that our spell will work gives it the energetic punch to get more than a figurative few feet from our workspace, get out there into the Cosmos, and get it done.

It's nice to have the additional energies of things like herbs and candles and incense and whatever else, but if we don't have any of those magickal helpers at our disposal for getting a spell done, we are not left helpless and bereft of accomplishing our magickal goal(s).  If we have no tools or other supplies to work with, we can still have a full-on spell/ritual without them, even if all that's done is simply meditating on our goal and sending out energy to have it done.  But all the acts of going through ritual motions and what-not in the world doesn't mean a whole lot if you don't have the belief/faith/conviction that your spell will be successful.

Bringing your emotions into your spell can help fuel your belief.  As previously mentioned in an earlier PBP post, anger can be a very powerful fuel for a justice spell or a protection spell or even an appropriately-spun curse or hex or whatever.

Strong desire for a particular result, for example you're wanting a particular job, -- wanting it SO BADLY that you can practically taste it -- can put the punch into a job spell.  But the desire should be a productive desire, not a whiny, petulant desire.  Does that make sense?

Your desire for said job has to be the desire of determination, not the type of desire you see from a tantrum-throwing child who wants a toy.  That shit never accomplishes anything good.  But to envision yourself with that job, seeing all the hard work you are going to do when you get that job, seeing the things you'll do to better your life and the lives of your children (if you have children), etc can put a hefty dose of oomph into your job spell.

Simply going through the motions of a pre-written spell isn't enough.  I'm not saying pre-written spells shouldn't be used.  Not at all.  But I know from prior experience that even if you've got the spell and all the items you need/want for it, if you don't have the desire and the belief for the spell to come to fruition, all you're doing is putting on a play.

This past week I've done a job spell.  I have a job interview coming up for a job that I DESPERATELY want, and I do mean DESPERATELY.  If I get this job, not only could I build a viable career off of it instead of only being stuck in penny-anny jobs that go nowhere, but it would also pay well enough to adequately support my children!  I would finally be able to build a GOOD life for us, start chipping away at my debts, build up my savings, and accomplish the financial goals I have set for myself.  This job would have the potential to get me to where the kids and I want to be and actually be successful and independent, no longer having to rely on the help of government assistance!  :-D  That would mean no more Foodstamps, no more TANF!

I could go on and on and on about this job.  But I won't.  LoL

Before I got scheduled for an interview, the hiring manager told me that she wasn't sure if they still needed any more people for the job and that they had just hired one person.  She told me to call her back within a couple of days and that she'd be able to tell me if they were still hiring or not.  I'm not gonna lie, I was ready to freak the hell out because if this job didn't work out for me, then I'd be stuck back with fast food jobs and that is SO not what I want!

After we got off the phone, I began to focus like crazy on that job.  Filling a bath with some Lavender Epsom salts to cleanse off the despondency and fear I was feeling, I relaxed, closed my eyes, and meditated on the job.  "There IS still an opening for that job, I WILL have a job interview for it, and I WILL get hired!" I said over and over and over again.  I finally went quiet and visualized my interview with the hiring manager and saw it going well, I repeatedly visualized myself going into the business place to start my work day, standing behind the counter to help people, taking their payments, learning the things I needed to know, busting my ass to progress, etc.  Every time I felt my concentration slipping onto other things, I'd give myself a mental shake and bring myself back to the visualization of me going to work and doing the job.  I didn't move from the bath until I had that mental image so firmly ingrained in my brain that there was just no doubts left in my mind that I'd get the job.

After taking my shower, I put some Cinnamon Mint scented oil into my oil warmer.  Both Cinnamon and Mint are very good for attracting money, prosperity, jobs, etc.  I also got a couple of cinnamon sticks from my spice rack and burned them in my cauldron.  Granted, of course, they wouldn't stay lit by themselves, but I didn't mind.  Focusing on them burning, repeatedly re-lighting them, just helped to sharpen my focus on my drawing that job to me.

The next day when I spoke to the hiring manager, I was EXCEEDINGLY delighted to learn that, indeed, they do still have one more opening for the job I want and I was scheduled to meet with her in a job interview this coming Wednesday.  I can't even BEGIN to tell you my delight!  I'm not even kidding, after we got off the phone, I jumped around in ridiculously stupid circles, squealing my head off!  So far, my job spell has worked!  And I am still certain that it will continue to work until I am walking into the business for my first day of work!  We shall see!

But my point to all this is that lighting the cinnamon sticks and putting the oil on my oil warmer in and of itself didn't do jack shit.  But my focus and belief that this spell would work combined with the energies of the cinnamon and mint has, so far, brought about the (uber) desired results.

When you want a result to come about, you HAVE to believe that it will work.  You can't let yourself doubt, as difficult as that may be.

And even then, we know that there will still be times that, no matter how much a punch we put into our spells, belief and all, it still might not work out the way we want it to.  That does NOT make you a failure or your spell a failure.  I, personally, just take that as a sign that whatever it was was not meant to be.  The gods/the universe/the fates/whatever energies/deity(ies) you pray to or whatever still have the right to tell us "no", "not yet", "I've got a different plan for you" or whatever.

But in this case, I have the fullest faith that a job that I can actually prosper at for me and my children is DEFINITELY what I'm supposed to have.  I have felt pulled toward this job since it was first mentioned to me that they were hiring for it and that I didn't have to have any prior experience or certifications for it.

I know that this PBP entry wasn't uber well-written and was a bit scattered, but I hope I've managed to put the point across nevertheless.

Pagan Blog Project Wk 2: A is for Adapting

Friday, January 10, 2014

I'm a Gemini/Taurus cusp.  The Gemini side says that I'm supposed to be flexible to changes in life whereas my Taurus side digs its heels in.  Probably because most of the time when things have changed, they've been changes that I haven't wanted.  I stubbornly clung onto two toxic relationships, particularly the second one, because I didn't want to give up, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If I could show that kind of fortitude but in a GOOD relationship, my stubbornness would be most fruitful.

However, my stubbornness, when change is inevitable, is a shot in the foot and it prevents me from learning to adapt.  And not being able to adapt is something that can even get in the way of my spirituality.  I'm struggling in my being able to adapt to my new surroundings.  For the past 2 years, I was in my home element of Colorado.  My beloved mountains of the Front Range greeted my eyes every day, lush grass in my favorite park caressed my feet when I'd take my children there to play.  The shade of my favorite tree there embraced me in its coolness even on the hottest days.  I'm a Colorado girl to the bone.  My favorite trees are the Aspen, their leaves turn such a brilliant shade of gold in the gorgeous autumn season.  I also loved the Maple tree that stood in front of my kids' old school and the vivid shades of red it would become.

But now, for the time being, I'm stuck in the desert.  There's more saguaro than there are trees. There's only one house I can think of in this whole neighborhood that even has any grass.  There are still mountains to see, but the ones close by are utterly bare save for the forests of saguaro that warn me that those mountains are not for my roaming pleasure.

Despite my efforts to see every bit of beauty in this place that I can, I'm homesick as hell.  I don't feel any connection to this land, though I'm trying.

My difficulty in adapting to my new surroundings has caused me to struggle a bit more with depression which has, in turn, caused me to struggle with keeping up with my spiritual goals, such as drawing a Tarot card every day.

I don't intend to be stuck out here in the desert forever.  But while I'm here, I think one of the lessons the Goddess wants me to learn is to be more adaptable to the changes in my life and to my surroundings.  I need to find a way to establish a connection to the land here.  Perhaps try to establish a friendship with the nature spirits like the ones I feel under the tree out front.  I love that tree.  There's a few more of its like in the back yard, but the one in front is the one I feel drawn to.  It feels like, for lack of a better term, a sentinel.  Like it's standing guard and watching over the place.

When we're so busy fighting against the things that have happened/are happening in our lives, we run the risk of missing the opportunities that these things may bring before us.  Opportunities to learn, opportunities to grow.  Opportunities to emerge as a better person, both mundanely and spiritually.  A better Witch/Pagan/Druid/whatever else, depending on what our goals are.  Change isn't always fun.  It can be scary and painful, but it can also be exciting and joyous too.  It is whatever we make it to be, we just have to be ready and willing to adapt.

Pagan Blog Project Wk 1: A is for Anger

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

With the holidays just recently wrapping up, I haven't any doubts that stress levels have been high even for people with lives that are, overall, normal and without any of the excessive amounts of crapola that still so many others have to deal with.  I'm definitely no stranger to stress building to such a level that anger becomes the end result.  This is something that I'm working on bringing under control.

But we, for the most part, are always hearing about the dangers of anger and for very good reason, of course.  Anger is a very powerful weapon and it's a weapon that's abused more often than it's put to good use.  I mean, come on, that is pretty much part of the theme of the Star Wars movies, yes?

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

All true. Anger is an emotion that can get out of control if we let it and it is certainly not an emotion that I would recommend holding onto.

However, anger can be a powerful motivator IF IF IF IF used properly.  If there are things in your life that desperately need changed, anger can be the power punch you need to fight back against the things that are going wrong.  For instance: if you're stuck in an abusive relationship, anger can help you have the courage to stand up, refuse to take it anymore, and to get the hell out.  It can help you, depending on the situation, to stand up to your abuser, and refuse to take their bullying anymore.

Please understand, however, that certain cases are unwise for using your anger for direct confrontation.  If your abuser, for instance, is someone who beats you or does other physical things or you haven't any doubt that he/she WOULD enact out physical violence of some sort, your anger is best suited to motivate you just to get the fuck out as a physical confrontation runs the risk of it not ending well for you.  BELIEVE ME, I am not recommending that anyone take any route that leads to physical violence.

Getting to the more Pagan aspects, anger is a way powerful way to raise your energy for spellwork for things like justice spells.

One of the entries I made for last year's Pagan Blog Project was B is for Breaking Out the Bitchcraft in which I talked about the use of harsher magick for things like justice spells or appropriately used curses or hexes such as what Dorothy Morrison talks about in her book "Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes, and Other Unsavory Notions".

One thing that Morrison spoke about in that book that has stuck with me is that when/if you come to the conclusion (after, of course, trying to solve the problem on a more mundane level -- remember, using a bazooka on a mosquito is just silly) that breaking out the bitchcraft is necessary, you HAVE to get to a level of utterly and direly PISSED OFF.  If you're having to work some harsh magick to protect yourself, to seek justice against someone trying to cause you harm or whatever, you CAN'T be shy about it.

As previously mentioned in my entry from last year, there is a terrible amount of hotheads in the overall Pagan community who about have an apoplexy at the very idea of doing any magick that isn't in the "Love and Light" category.  But, I'm sorry (not really), if someone is trying to cause you harm, "Love and Light" isn't gonna cut it.

If someone is coming at you with a knife, "Love and Light" and warm, fuzzy feelings is not going to stop that person from shanking you.  Fighting like hell, however, just might.

Image by Aeonsend on DeviantArt
In the 1st chapter of her book, Dorothy Morrison writes, "If a serial killer were holding a gun to your head, a knife to your neck, or was delightedly slicing off bits of your flesh, would you be the least bit concerned about his well-being?  Would you really give a rat's ass if he was happy? Secure in his own skin?  That he would somehow manage to get out of the situation safely and without personal, physical or psychological damage? Of course not! The rules would be damned, and all you'd care about would be getting away and seeing to it that he was too incapacitated to hurt you or anyone else ever again."

Damn skippy!  And, of course, if anyone were in that situation, anger would be an immensely useful tool to overcome your fear to fight back by any means necessary so long as you don't let your anger blind you.  As anyone with self defense experience knows, trying to strike out of anger has a high likelihood of getting your ass kicked.  But if you use it to put the power behind your strikes rather than control them, you have a higher chance of coming out of the fight victorious.

Anger is tricky.  Trying to bring it to heel can often times be like trying to grasp a wet bar of soap.  If you keep your determination to keep your control of it, your anger can be the fuel that kicks you in the ass to strive for a positive change in your life instead of constantly being made life's bitch.

This is where I am at right now.  For far too long I've not been in control of my own life.  I've not been able to be prepared for when things tumble down the shitter and it's cost me and my children dearly.  And it's not like I've WANTED things to be like this.  My life has felt like I'm standing on an oil slick on a gymnasium floor.  I've fallen down so many times despite trying to get to more stable ground.  And for the past several months, I've been flat on my back like a gorram turtle and life has grabbed me by the ankle and dragged me around like a rag doll.  To say that I'm sick of this shit would be a massive understatement!

So now I'm pissed!  I'm furious!  I'm sick of my life being so beyond my control!  I'm fucking sick of not being able to withstand the trials that life throws at me!  It has brought me to a place that I don't want to be, but it is still an opportunity.  Where I'm at right now, I have the opportunity to finally be able to stand up, throw down some figurative sand in this oily glop, walk to solid ground and stay on my feet.  I now have the opportunity to take my life back for myself and my children!  I'm so pissed that I've finally said "Enough of this shit!" and have begun to formulate plans and set goals.  I'm at a place where I know I can get this shit done and I can't wait to start checking these items off my list so my life can be one of self-sufficiency for the sake of my children as well as myself.

So, if your life is not what you want it to be for whatever reason, don't just wallow in your discontent and hopelessness.  Those feelings are understandable, but get mad, dammit!  Get mad and start finding a way to change your life!  Where there is a will, there is a way, and a will fueled by anger because you're sick of the shit is going to be a helluva strong will to contend with indeed!