Monday, December 29, 2008
In reality, this was the ashing stage of my spagyric project that I've been unintentionally coy about. I started the project at sunrise on Thanksgiving, which was also the morning of the New Moon in Sagittarius. Sun, in Sag, Moon in Sag, hour of Jupiter-not bad for the starting of a Jupiter tincture, I think. The lemon balm was homegrown (at last, a use for an herb that was making my pantry smell like furniture polish!) and organic, and when I added the Everclear, the liquid turned the most fantastic gemstone green. I sealed it, and wrapped it carefully, and everyday, I shook it gently. Christmas day was the 4 week anniversary. It was also the last day of Jupiter before the New Moon. I've no idea how important that is to traditional alchemy, but the moon has been my calendar for long enough that I can't not take it into account.
Since DH had to work on Christmas evening, we "did" our Christmas the night before and in the morning, leaving me the night of Christmas for this work. It was surprising to me how "dry" the lemon balm felt, even as I could see the liquid dripping through the coffee filters. I didn't bother to dry it in the oven. One, it looked and felt pretty dry. Two, I have a gas oven, and having blown the door open when baking fruitcake, I was convinced that putting Everclear in the oven was a sure method for a large explosion.
So, lemon balm in stainless steel bowl, boots on my feet (we still had about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground), I went out into the yard. Not surprisingly, all I needed to do was place the (looooong nozzled) lighter near the herb and it lit up. It was a beautiful and very large bright blue flame. It was a long lasting, large bright blue flame. Long lived enough for me to take pictures (fumbling with gloves and the flash control) and really really hope that my neighbors didn't decide to call the police. And then, the flames died down and it began to smolder and smoke. At which point, I actively began to pray that my neighbors wouldn't call the police-burning herbs smell like burning herbs, if you know what I mean.
All in all, I was out there, in the snow, in 20 degree weather, for an hour, before the last of the embers died. But at least, when I brought the bowl in, I could see that the ashes were white, white white, so no further heating was necessary. There wasn't even any real need for grinding the ashes at this point. I mixed them with distilled water, and filtered it through yet more coffee filters. What truly astounded me at this point was the brown mud that was left in the coffee filters afterwards-where did that come from?
At this point, I have a glass pie pan with these amazingly beautiful crystallized salts in it. I am going to try to get a couple of pictures of that, before I add them back to the menstruum. And, Thursday, I will get to sample my work.
NB: I am very glad that sunrise is so late at this time of year. This past Saturday morning, I got up at dawn (Sun in Cap, New Moon in Cap, day of Saturn), and started the process with comfrey...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
"We suggest to follow (weather and time permitting) the illumination of the passage tomb inside Newgrange, timed for tomorrow, Sunday 21 December. A live Webcast will be available free of charge on http://www.heritageireland.ie/ and at http://www.astronomy2009.ie/ from 08:30 to 09:30 GMT "
How cool is that?
If you don't know about StonePages, the web address is: http://www.stonepages.com/
and you can subscribe (which I highly recommend) to the newletter from there!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Today is the last day of DH’s vacation and we had been planning on going into NYC for the day. It would have been a counterpoint to our day in the city last week, when we saw “Equus” and ate Turkish food in a restaurant that he is a frequenter of. It took DH nearly a week to admit that “Equus” wasn’t exactly hot date material. (To say that we have differing views on entertainment is to tread lightly-when we saw the Martin Scorsese film “The Age of Innocence” he really thought it had a happy ending, because the main character in a final voice over stated that in the end it was a good thing that he hadn’t left his wife for the Countess Oleska, because his wife was good, respectable and faithful and had died nursing one of their sons through a disease. High romance, no?)
Anyway, we had intended to see Worshiping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens at the Onassis Cultural Center (http://www.onassisusa.org/occ.htm) and then, head uptown to the Metropolitan Museum to see Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C. and maybe, if our feet held up, Art and Love in Renaissance Italy (http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp). At some point, we would have stopped to get something to eat (I admit to being partial to the Petrie Court Café at the Met, behind the Petrie sculpture hall.). But, we hadn’t counted on the snow.
So, instead, I made chicken soup with matzoh balls for dinner. Or actually since when I make chicken soup it is a three or four day project, I finished making the chicken soup. And, I baked mandelbrodt, which is one of those traditional Chanukah foods (think of something halfway between shortbread and biscotti). Weather wise, it was certainly a better day for baking and cooking than traipsing into Manhattan. The house smells “homey” and the kitchen is warm and steamy from the soup. It would have been an entirely satisfying day but for the fact that I had planned to be somewhere else (and someone else). Oh well. At least we shall dine well.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
DH and I had chinese food take out, last night.
His fortune cookie read: "Your success in life must be earned with earnest efforts."
Mine read: "You will always get what you want through your charm and personality."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
And...my Soma Luna order arrived today. 4 ounces of Comfrey for my Saturn tincture.
Friday, December 12, 2008
hey, we share all kinds of things...
(but I'm not going anywhere, folks...)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
But now it ain't gonna happen. Not because the play and the production wasn't marvelous and thought provoking, it certainly was. Richard Griffiths and Kate Mulgrew were wonderful. (and also thereby proving physical shape has little to do with attraction-to me it was Griffiths who was the wow.) DH and I discussed "what the play was about" all the way home, bringing into the conversation religious fundamentalism and various tarot cards (and causing the person in front of us on the bus to contort himself mightily, so he might hear us better). But as I said...
I spent 4 1/2 hours at a spa, today. I finally used the gift certificate that DH had giving me for my birthday, back in June. There were reasons I didn't use it then. And then, there were reasons to wait until now. And, with the economy being so much in the dumps, the spa was running all kinds of promotions, allowing me to really live it up. And I did. Full body exfoliation, mud wrap, massage, reflexology, facial. I've never experienced a day of such pampering, but I feel like my brain was relaxed along with my muscles, cleaned up like my pores. Conversation is difficult.
Tomorrow, I will go back into overdrive getting ready for various holidays (I keep threatening to add Diwali-why not? We celebrate nearly everything else). Tonight, I think I will just bob along in a sea of calm and contentment. May your evening be thus, as well.
Friday, December 5, 2008
So what does this have to do with Mark Stavish?
Nearly a year and a half ago, DH and I attended a pagan festival. Mark Stavish was one of the two featured speakers. Marks first workshop on the day that we attended was on spagyrics, and, I suspect, far too early in the morning for those who were up “festival-ing” the night before. Four of us attended this workshop, and only DH had read anything on alchemy. The workshop started as if it were a lecture, with the other two attendees earnestly taking notes. Then, Mark started asking us questions, and it became more of a conversation between him and DH (it was apparent that the other two attendees had no background in alchemy or hermetics.) I sat and listened. After a while, Mark looked at me and said “everyone participates, everyone answers questions...” OK, fine, although at the time I had no formal study in alchemy or hermetics, either. (I do, however, seem to have a talent for absorbing information atmospherically, and my long ago degree in the classics probably doesn’t hurt.) It was an interesting morning, although I did not understand all of what was said, when it came to certain practicalities, he and I had a common ground.
After a break for lunch, there was a second workshop, this one, better attended. The topic of this workshop was supposed to be lucid dreaming. Before he started, Mark went around the room, asking each of us our magical/spiritual background. The first half dozen people were Wiccan. Then, two young women dressed and pierced in their best “still trying to piss mommy off style” said that they were “eclectic” and one said that she was having trouble doing path work with tarot cards. Mark looked at her and said, “That’s because you don’t know what you are doing.” Uh oh, because now its my turn, and I am nothing if not eclectic. Which is what I said. (Well, minus the “uh oh” part) His response? “But you know what your are doing.”
If I were the better person that I aspire to be, my chagrin at the embarrassment of the woman next to me would outweigh the pleasure I got (and still get!) from someone publicly saying that I know what I am doing. But I am not that better person, yet. So, if you are one of those people that has said something complimentary to or about me, where others might hear it, know that you and the event have a special place in my heart. Thank you.
(and eventually, I will get to the spagyrics project of Thanksgiving)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So…yesterday I roasted a pumpkin for the soup and for a pie. I sautéed the vegetables for the stuffing. I prepped 2 pie crusts.
Today, it was finishing the stuffing, prepping the green vegetables and baking a pecan pie.
Tomorrow, I will make the pumpkin soup and bake the pumpkin pie. Roast the turkey. Steam the vegetables and make mashed potatoes and cranberry apple crunch. Oh, and the gravy, can’t forget the gravy!
None of this would be a big deal, except unlike those mythical grandmothers and great-grandmothers of yore, there were other things going on in my life. (I know that was all myth, anyway-my great grandmother ran a business, and never cooked). Due to the holiday my client appointments were all over the place and at off times and days. And, due to the economy, when I was given the opportunity to attend a business networking meeting at no monetary cost to me, I took it. So, I was up and business attired and out of the house by 6:40 this morning. The only thing civilized people should be doing at 6:40am is sleeping! Then, there was a wee small problem with our hot water, and we ended up with a team of plumbers here this afternoon. A late training session, and oh-I forgot all about making dinner for tonight!
Tomorrow will be easy, just cooking and sitting and eating and talking with some of the people that I love best in this world.
Of course, there is the matter of that spagyric project that I will be starting tomorrow at sunrise…
(possibly, I might still have it together tomorrow evening to write about that, too.)
Monday, November 24, 2008
I have flowers, cut flowers, in a vase, sitting on my kitchen table. This makes me very happy. It is my/our wedding anniversary, and DH sent me flowers. In a life where most things are measured by functionality, as well as beauty (at least until we get the second child through the college tuition years), a gift of flowers at the end of November has no functionality at all, except to make me happy. Which, it does.
Because our anniversary is on a Monday this year (24 years of being recognized by the government; in the spring, it will be 29 years since we recognized each other), we won’t be doing a lot today. We exchanged cards this morning, and then bled the radiators, since they were noisy-love isn’t the only thing that is supposed to be hot! DH went to work, and I went to see a client. As DH won’t be home until around 11pm, any other publicly announced festivities (such as might be mentioned here) will happen some other day. Next month, we will see Equus, starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe.
But, in the meantime, I have flowers on my table and a silly grin on my face.
(perhaps another reason for the girlyness of the post is that
http://genderanalyzer.com/ analyzed this blog and decided that “"We guess http://hearthwitchery.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (59%), however it's quite gender neutral." And, while I certainly have nothing against men, I did marry one, after all, I am not one, myself.)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Our pre-Halloween snowstorm ended the saffron harvest. The bulbs are still growing, and the newly planted bulbs are starting to send up shoots, but there will be no more flowers this autumn. I had harvested 111 stigma, which gave me approximately 1/5 of a gram of dried and useful herb. I say approximately, because I do not have a scale that measures such small amounts.
By yesterday, it had dried and was smelling pretty intoxicating. (Between the saffron drying and the esrog sitting in a dish, my desk has become one major olfactory delight). It was time to make more incense. I have the proportions down, now I needed to work on form. For whatever reason (and I do not have a clue) the incense cones that I made last time, work perfectly well for me, but do not stay lit for anything, when DH attempts to use them. This time, I would try making sticks. Using a metal syringe (labeled on one side of the package as a clay gun, and on the other side as a dough gun), I rolled the incense dough and put it in the cylinder. All I needed to do now, was to press down on the handle and squeeze out a line of incense, right? Sure, if you don’t mind your incense sticks looking like crazy birthday cake candles. But I figured it out. And the incense dough is cohesive enough that if I don’t pipe out the sticks longer than then length of my hand, I can gently roll the sticks into a more uniform shape. The nice thing about the incense sticks is that they dry quickly. I made them late morning, and they were dry enough to use that night. They fit into the incense holders we have and yes, they even stayed lit for DH.
Gold, of a more liquid type…
On a paper plate, left at the crossroads near my home: Honey and bread, a fig and a section of a pomegranate. Also left with the plate were a couple of dog biscuits (You don’t think that Hecates hounds would like a snack?) and a pledge to make a contribution to a local food bank, a pledge that I fulfilled today.
More turmeric capsules filled. I don’t really like the color that the turmeric dyes my hands, but the iridescent yellow gold that my fingernails end up is pretty cool, at least for a little while!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I've been having some connectivity issues with my wireless router, blogging and email have been somewhere between difficult and impossible. Until I can stay connected to the web for more than 45 seconds at a time, this may be the last post on any subject. But a week after election day, I still have trouble believing that Prop 8 passed in California.
A couple of links:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
"Obama reached the 270 electoral votes he needed for election at 11 p.m. ET, when NBC News projected that he would win California, Washington and Oregon. The Associated Press reported shortly after 11 p.m. that Obama’s opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, had called Obama to offer his congratulations. "
I am very proud of my country, I actually have tears in my eyes. (and Barack Obama was not my first choice during the primary season)
Anyway, we went off to the polling place, with identification and fully prepared for long lines and long waiting times to find...no lines, poll workers who knew us, no challenges to our right to vote, and no smiley flag stickers that announced our good citizenship! Hey, you mean all we get is representational government?
Its no secret that we voted for "That One," yeah, the one that "The Other One" kept calling a socialist. Which is pretty funny, because there were at least 2 candidates from 2 different socialist parties running, here in New Jersey. Besides, Barack Obama is no socialist. I know, I am related to a man who was a socialist his entire adult life and it would be wonderful if Barack Obama could grow up to accomplish as much as my Great Grandfather did.
Pop (my great-grandfather, the socialist) came to this country at the end of the 19th century, two steps ahead of the czarist police and not quite a full step ahead of the woman who would be my great grandmother (but that is a different story). Pop was a tailor by profession, but a union organizer by avocation.
(If you were taught American history by the Great Man method, I suggest that you google: The Homestead Strike and Riot, The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, The works of Jacob Riis and read "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. That will at least be a start. If you were never actually taught American history, well crap, we do have a problem, don't we?)
When Pop arrived in this country, working class people were often seen as less than fully human, and were treated as such by the owners of capital (let us get is straight right now-democracy is a type of political system, capitalism is an economic system-they are not synonymous). Do you have weekends off, or regularly scheduled days off from work? Thank the unions. Prior to the rise of unions in this county, working people could possibly have Sunday off to attend church, many times, though they would only get 1/2 a day off. Pensions? Also, thank the unions, working class people were expected to work until they died-and then the widows and orphans would go to the poor house, wherein "respectable" society would moan about the cost of supporting such useless waste. The expectation of health care? Of the six children born to my great-grandparents three survived childhood, not an unusual ratio in working class slums.
Now, I know that Pop was one of many many union organizers. He was one of many who, through hard and dangerous activities tried to bring some balance to the economic life of this nation. At the same time, he managed to support a family as a tailor, help start the American Garment Workers Union (no Wobbly, he. Sigh, yeah, google that, too), and go to school at night to learn English, which would be the fourth language he ended up being able to speak. (eventually, he learned 2 more, but was never quite as fluent in Spanish or Italian as he was in Russian, Polish, Yiddish or English). His three surviving children, all daughters, finished high school, went to college, and ascended out of the working class-which is the way it is supposed to be.
Speaking of the three daughters (one of whom is my Grandmother, whose 97th birthday we will be celebrating this winter), once Pop felt that his union was firmly established, he moved his passions to a new cause. For most of the rest of his life, he worked toward removing the barriers to higher education for women and girls. All of his female descendants and all but one of the male (extenuating circumstances) who have reached adulthood had university degrees.
So, where am I going with all of this? One-go vote, dammit, if you haven't yet. Two-Barack Obama is no socialist. Three-what this nation needs is an economic system of balance (umm, middle pillar, anyone?) and Four-name calling is crap, what positive affect have you had on society?
Monday, November 3, 2008
Silly though we may usually be, we at the Committee to Elect Michael Palin President would like to take a moment to say, in all seriousness...
Vote like the wind!
Vote like you've never voted before!
Vote like your life depends on it! (It may)
Vote like the ice caps are melting! (They are)
Vote like if you don't then the Spanish Inquisition will fry you up and toss you into a Spanish Omelet!
Vote like a crazed weasel with its head on fire that has to vote in order for someone to dunk its head in a bucket of water, thus dousing the fire and eliciting a collective sigh of relief from every other potentially flammable weasel, stoat or ocelot in the vicinity.
VOTE, YOU MISERABLE BASTARD, AS IF BY DOING SO YOU CAN KEEP AN OIL-DRILLING, WOLF-KILLING, IGNORANT ALASKAN MOOSE-MUNCHER FROM EVER GETTING HER IGNORANT,WELL-MANICURED FINGER ANYWHERE NEAR THE BIG RED ARMAGEDDON BUTTON! (You can)
We believe we've made our point.
And now back to our regularly-scheduled silliness...
Until next time...
Your friends at the Temporarily Serious Though Usually Quite Silly Party
P.S. If you're not a U.S. citizen, please feel freeto close your eyes and vote metaphysically.
From: Michael Palin for President
11870 Santa Monica Blvd.Suite 106-535Los Angeles, CA90025US
Friday, October 31, 2008
More seriously, though, Halloween is tonight. The working with the tides and energies of the astrological cross quarter will be next week. But the tides are flowing, I can feel them.
Last night, I paid a shiva call (also known as a condolence call). The deceased was the mother of someone I've known casually for about 20 years. Looking at the people gathered, I came to the realization that somehow, I've become one of the elders in this community. Now how did that happen?
I was approached by another woman, who acknowledged how long I've been a part of this community. She asked "are you afraid of dying?" I said "no." "are you afraid of dead bodies?" Again, my answer was "no." She then asked if I would be willing to join a committee (for lack of a better word) that ritually cleans, blesses and prepares the newly dead for burial. I pointed out that my beliefs were far from standard (much less orthodox) and she smiled and said that everyone was aware of that! But that I also had all the requisite skills and abilities to do the honors properly.
Being asked to help my sisters move to the next phase of existence? And, being asked at this time of year? There was never a chance that I would turn down such an honor.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I bet that you are thinking that I am going to follow this up with some cautionary tale of a childs death or disappearance, but this is actually about the opposite.
Yesterday morning, a father in our neighborhood saw his daughters off to the school bus, a perfectly normal morning in what is a perfectly normal world for many of us. For those girls, their brothers, that world is gone forever. A massive heart attack, out of the blue and fatal, finished it off. Those children never got to say goodbye, and he never got a last chance to say "I love you." No more of whatever were the special daddy-daughter or daddy-son activities.
(I am not denying the horrible pain that the mother/wife will be feeling when she isn't numb, but I think that most of us can accept the possibility of a spouse dying first).
My mother didn't live long enough to see my sister graduate from high school, or to see either of her daughters graduate college, marry, to see her grandchildren. But in some ways, perhaps her long illness helped us, her death wasn't a shock and a surprise. And, maybe I've been effected by this event because my sister and I were the age of two of the siblings in this family. But, think of the look on the face of your child (of whatever age) as they come looking for you, expecting you, only to be told that they will never see you again. Can you contemplate that calmly?
Go kiss your kids.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
And now, back to what I am much better at: life off the computer. In 15 minutes it will once again be the hour of the Sun, day of the Sun (even though the sun set nearly 2 hours ago) and I will start grinding saffron for a new batch of incense.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Look what I won!
Mrs. B. is giving away stuff every day this month.
(and a very cool gift for my daughter...)
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
A picture of the flowers, once I’ve finished the harvesting. Because I don’t destroy the flowers, nor upset the pollen, I can work along side the bees, they don’t seem to mind me, which is pretty cool. And, since the flowers are sterile, in any case, I am not interrupting the lifecycle, either.
The first batch of saffron incense smelled right, but wasn’t the right proportion of saffron to makko, and the cones would not stay lit. I ended up burning them on charcoal, which allowed the new moon/new year ritual to go on, but wasn’t the point of making the incense, as opposed to simply putting the plant matter on the charcoal. The second batch was much better. The scent was only slightly more subtle, but the cone stayed lit and burned thoroughly. Eureka!
Off to do some more research on the ancient associations with saffron, to add to the personal and more modern ones. But I think I have a winner, here.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Despite the reassurances I’ve received from many quarters about how “its all based on Kabbalah,” the fact remains that most authors and “authorities” have been, and are Christian (or Gnostic, or Greek philosophic) in their beliefs or background. I have no problem with this. But, as fish may notice changes within the water that they swim, but most likely do not notice the water itself, most people in this society, unless deliberately raised in a non-Christian situation do not realize how influenced by Christianity the water we swim in really is.
Every now and then, I will come across a concept that is so foreign to me, that I just cannot bridge the divide. It is like reading Pride and Prejudice, or Jane Eyre, and coming to a page written in Urdu, or Sanskrit; my mind just can’t take it in. Recently, some of my blogging friends tackled the subject of guilt; this was one of the “I just don’t get it” moments. In fact, I was relieved to find that at first, Witchdoctor Joe didn’t “get it,” either. Of course, he too, is not Christian, and was raised with a consciously not-Christian upbringing.
But now, as I wait for sunset and the start of Yom Kippur to start, I think I have figured out my thoughts on the topic. It is a question for me of systemic, versus individual guilt. Not being raised within a system where my God has died for my sins, or where there is a concept of “original sin” or the idea of the “fall of man” or that creation is evil, I just don’t understand the concept of systemic guilt (I shudder at the burden placed on a small child, who having been taught that “Jesus died for you” is then faced with brussels sprouts for dinner and is told that “good children eat what is placed before them”).
Individual and specific sin and guilt are other things altogether. Humans are imperfect, that is why there is the Work. We make mistakes, hurt others, accidentally and/or intentionally. Yom Kippur is usually translated as the Day of Atonement (later, perhaps, I will post Rabbi Gershon Winkler’s comments on this), the day when all Jews are to fast and to pray and to plead that God will “write them into the book of life for the coming year.” BUT none of that will do you any good; if you haven’t gone to those that you have sinned against during the year, and asked for forgiveness. The one thing that all Jewish authorities have always agreed on is: all the fasting, all the prayer, all the breast-beating, abasement, pleading in the schul, what have you, will be a complete waste of time, unless you have made amends with your fellow humans FIRST.
So, guilt exists, but it is a specific and a human thing. As long as we are human we will have to deal with our own failings. Here, and hopefully now.
If you feel I have wronged any of you, in the last year; I offer my heartfelt apologies. It was not intentional.
May you, and your loved ones be once again written into the Book of Life.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The kitchen smells very interesting, freshly ground pepper, mixed with hand powdered dried saffron. I have no idea how much pepper DH used, but I used a total of 1/2 teaspoon of saffron-and the scent held its own.
This years saffron harvest will start in about 4 weeks, and I just got a delivery of another 40 saffron bulbs to plant. If the experiment is successful, I expect I will be making more. And, if it isn't, well there are plenty of other uses to put it to (besides, I love paella.).
At this point, my hands are an interesting collection of colors. Earlier this week, I had been experimenting with a leather dying project, in a bright Chinese lacquer kind of red. Despite my care, I still show signs of the dye on my hands. Saffron stains a bright yellow. Tumeric, with which I fill capsules, stains a duller, orangy yellow. Maybe I will have to start a trend of women wearing fashion gloves.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
You may have thought we wanted a woman on a national political ticket, but the joke has really been on us, hasn't it? Are you as sick in your stomach as I am at the thought of Sarah Palin as VP in control of women's right to choose in the United States...May I suggest the following brilliant alternative? Make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. And here's the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name, they'll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor. Here's the link to the Planned Parenthood websites:
Go to: Honorary and Memorial Donations
You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:
McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street 1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202
Feel free to send this along to all your friends and urge them to do the same.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
There was a full moon in Pisces this past Monday morning (5:13 am, here on the East Coast). It was the first of the harvest moons and ushered in the start of the season of the new year. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, harvest and new year, but I come out of several traditions that start the day at sundown, so why not start the year at harvest? Next Monday is the Autumnal Equinox, and the Monday following that is the New Moon. Two weeks after that will be the second Harvest Moon and the culmination (for me, at least) of the start of the year. (Of course, I will also celebrate the start of the calendar year on January 1, and the start of the solar year, when the sun enters Aries-I like to celebrate)
This first harvest moon is one of my favorites. School has started, which means that I can go into the circle before the middle of the night, and know that the neighborhood will be quiet. It is cool enough to discourage the insects, while still allowing me to go barefoot, without courting frostbite. I can feel the somnambulism of the summer ending, and with the cool evenings and mornings, I really do feel as if I am waking up from a long nap. Between this moon and the equinox, I can feel my enthusiasm and energy growing for the projects to come. But I will wait, and let the energy grow.
(Somehow, I've written nothing about this specific full moon ritual. I'm just having a very hard time getting it into words. Perhaps, I will try again, another day.)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tonight, my daughter needed help with her music theory homework. Hooray! This I was able to do. Whew, and again, I say whew.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Whatever the message was, whatever the test or assignment was, I clearly wasn't getting it, because by autumn of 2007, the snakes were joined by alligators (or crocodiles-I never got close enough to see which they were). This went on through the beginning of the New Year. (Every now and then, when someone would complain to me about not remember most of their dreams, my response would be “sometimes that can be a good thing.”) And, then, toward the end of February, I dreamt of climbing through a brushy waste, and about to step on a log, realizing that it was an alligator (or croc). I stepped back, the alligator (or croc) looked at me, and left me alone.
Last night, I dreamt of releasing baskets of snakes in an animal preserve. The snakes flowed over the edges of the baskets, gracefully. They were beautifully colored and patterned. Their tongues tasted the air. Each snake looked at me, and then slithered off. I felt satisfaction for a job well done. It was only when I woke up that I realized that this was my first snake dream since January, and I didn't wake up trying to scream or cry out.
But it still leaves me with the question: what job was it that I had done? I realize the PTB (Powers That Be, to those of you who never watched any of the shows in the Whedonverse) have no requirement to make things easy for me. But if I've learned an important lesson, or passed a test, I would dearly like to know what it was. I know there will be others, I would love it, if the I didn't need that kind of “encouragement” next time.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
And finally, do you consider yourself Christian, Jewish or Muslim?
My response was "do you have an 'other' catagory?"
The pollster said that there was one.
"Fine," I said, "Other." (damn, this is New Jersey. How come Hindu wasn't up there with the big three?)
"What is your religion? I have to put something down."
"So it can't be just 'other?' OK, put me down as Judeo-Pagan."
I get my fun where I can grab it, and something tells me that fun is going to be in very short supply this campaign season.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
A Priest, a Pastor and a Rabbi are discussing "when does life begin?"
The Priest says, "Life begins at conception."
The Pastor says "Life begins when 'quickening' is felt within the womb."
The Rabbi says, "No, you are both wrong. Life begins when the youngest child leaves for college and the dog dies."
Well, the dog has been gone for a couple of years, but the youngest child isn't leaving for college yet. On the other hand, she did start school today (high school junior-how did that happen?), so I do feel that some of my own life and my own time is being returned to me.
So, now, back to my own projects.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
(I know that usually the title Temperance is connected to the idea of cutting wine with water, but looking at the title of this post, something else occurred to me. Might it be the act of tempering? As in tempering steel by subjecting it to controlled heating and cooling? The strengthening of “something” by repeated controlled exposure to fire and water. This would certainly tie in with the other names for the card. Am I to do the tempering? Or am I the “something/one” being tempered? Or both?)
Thursday, August 7, 2008
"Magic, Power, Language, Symbol: A Magicians Exploration of Linguistics" by Patrick Dunn, and
"Paths of Wisdom" by John Michael Greer. Of course, DH took Patricks book with an "Oh Cool!" so its just as well that I have plenty of reading material.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Mostly home and hearth magic lately.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We’ve worked on cardiovascular training and endurance. We work on muscle strength. Balance, flexibility, and coordination work are all part of our routines.
Over the years (and it was a very slow start), we have gotten him from morbidly obese, to grossly obese to “merely” obese. He has 5 grandchildren that he delights in spoiling. The dosages for his cholesterol medications and his blood pressure medications and his heart medications have been cut. His memory is better. He passed his last 2 stress tests with flying colors. He no longer needs his sleep apnea mask and is no longer dependant on sleeping aids to sleep at night. Whereas, when he first came to me (or at least before the heart attack that drove him to consider a personal trainer), he was playing golf once a week, and had to avoid taking practice swings because he would exhaust himself otherwise, he now plays golf 3 or 4 times a week and every year for the last 5, he has broken his own records for drive lengths.
So what is he most outwardly pleased with? That he can now reach behind his back and grab one wrist with the other hand. He showed me this yesterday with great excitement (although I knew that he had been capable of this for a little while), and said “Look, Look! Now, if I get arrested, I can be handcuffed, without my shoulder muscles tearing!”
Friday, August 1, 2008
This could have something to do with my Jewish upbringing, when the Autumnal Equinox heralded the coming new year. Or, it could be that being the child of parents who pursued their higher education goals, even as I was starting school, September seemed full of new books, new clothes and excitement. Or, maybe it has to do with my psycho/spiritual “cell memory,” hearkening back to the Mid-East, to Mesopotamia, to Canaan, to Egypt, where summer, with its fierce sun and lack of rain was the season of death.
My pensiveness is most likely amplified by a traumatic, but in the end, miraculous event of earlier this week, but that isn't where it originates. This is the time of the conserving of energy, for the activity that will come. It is the Alef, the intake of breath, before B’rasheit, when it all starts again.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Since the beginning of the year, I've been having dreams that take place in high schools. These are not, thankfully, your standard nightmares about not remembering locker combinations or math tests. In each and every one of these dreams, I am an adult, walking through schools that while in use, are complete dystopian wrecks. Since the beginning of July, these dreams have become even more frequent, coming every second or third night.
Late last week, I finally made it into one of the classrooms. There was a huge board on the wall, but not a blackboard-it was an orange board. It was filled with Hebrew letters that kept hopping and moving around. The only letters I could make out were Aleph and Shin. I woke up annoyed that I couldn't read any more of the letters and that they wouldn't stay in place-I was trying to make out and read words.
Two nights ago, I found myself staring at the same board, this time the only letters I could make out (and they kept shifting order) were Ayin, Nun and Yod (DH’s comment was “No Resh?” No, no Resh).
Some thoughts on this. If I add up the values of the letters for each of the nights, and then reduce that to a single digit (yes, yes, I know that is mixing methodologies) the value is the same for both nights 4. Which is Dalet. Dalet is on the 14th path, between Chokmah and Binah, it does not touch the Middle Pillar. The Tarot card for the 14th path is key 3, the Empress.
If I take the Tarot key associated with each letter, and add up the numbers of the Tarot cards for each night, and then reduce that, I get 3, which is the Empress card, Dalet. So I suspect that there is something here that I should be paying attention to (but no simple English prose, yet!)
Another thing noted. In the last month or so, we have had flocks of sparrows around our house-an inordinate amount. The sparrow is one of the birds associated with the Empress Card, along with the Dove and the Peacock.
And one more thing before I go off to bed, hoping for information. All of these letters that have shown up in my dreams are on paths that touch the Middle Pillar of the Tree. But not all of them-Yesod is not represented here. Is that because I am Lavanah? (insert small smile, here)
Our eating and drinking patterns have changed over the years, too. When we first started going away together, sans husbands and children, we drank. A glass of wine at lunch, 3 cocktails and maybe champagne at dinner. This year? Iced tea with our lunches and 1 cocktail each at dinner, which we requested to be made weak, and we still didn't finish. Otherwise, we drank water or tea. In the beginning, we ordered full meals for each of us at lunch and dinner, but would share a bowl of berries with our room service breakfast. This year? We shared the fried calamari appetizer at lunch (but ate our own lobster salads). We each had our own bowls of berries with our toast and coffee at breakfast.
What did we talk about? Art, fashion, politics, religion, the economy, blogging, travel and society, in general. I find it highly encouraging that the longer she and I go away together, the more we find to talk about the isn't tightly wound about our homes. She and I are interesting people-at least to each other.
I love going away with my sister. But as much as I enjoy it, I love coming home to my life, again.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A couple of nights ago, DH and I had a conversation that touched on a tender subject for me (tender as in bruise, not tender as in romantic). This kind of thing can happen when you live (or work) with someone closely for nearly three decades; the conversation was really of no importance, but for what happened afterwards, or may, have no bearing at all on what happened afterwards.
After doing the Middle Pillar exercise, I noted that I was seeing auras in several clear and colorful layers. When cupping my hands, I got a remarkable swirling of light. And then, something strange. The light turned red. Sometimes it was a fiery red, sometimes closer to a blood red. And it got very, very hot. I also got the sense that whatever “it” was, it wanted me to open my hands and let it out. I said “I don’t know what you are, I am not letting you out until I know what you are.” (that could have been foolish, in retrospect, since the phrase implied that all I needed was to know what it was to let it loose, even if it were something that I would then know shouldn’t be let loose). The sense of agitation in my hands grew stronger, as did the sense that my hands were burning. The red light also was quite bright. I repeated, “I don’t know what you are, tell me what you are.” But I got no reply. The “thing” grew little arms and hands (at least four of them) and tried to pry my fingers open. Again, I said, “No, I don’t know what you are” and didn’t let it out. By this point, my hands were hurting and I was getting tired. But I guess whatever “it” was, was also getting tired (or bored, or something). I just sat there, grimly fascinated, and determined to not let “it” loose. Eventually, it started to fade, in color (paler and paler reds and then pinks) and energy (less visual definition, swirling, and heat). Then, it was gone and my hands were empty. I felt completely drained.
So, the question is: what was it? And, did I do the right thing by not setting it loose? It felt, and feels, like that was the right thing to do, but this was a first experience of this type for me.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
At the beginning of this month, just after the New Moon, I performed the Self-Initiation ritual from the appendix of the book. (I had help with the astrological timing of the ritual from some one who choked at the idea of “self” initiation-but that is what JM Greer calls it, and I was working with his text. However, self initiation or self dedication, the help with the timing was greatly appreciated.)
I think that it’s fair to say that I was completely blown away by the intensity of the ritual. Surprised. Floored. Shocked. Amazed. There was some serious Presence in my presence (or maybe it was the other way around?) Hours later, when DH came home, I still wasn't fully grounded-that didn't happen until the next day, with the full-blown poison ivy symptoms.
Since then, I've suffered from (in addition to the poison ivy, and the side effects from the medications) a sense of let down, loss and “now what?” Probably a perfectly normal set of reactions. After the Full Moon, I will start the work of figuring out the”now what” and the “what next.”
I am also going to get started on that pile of books, waiting to be read. RO was highly amused by my describing the pile as being as tall as I am. (being somewhat vertically challenged, it is possible to stack the books up to my height, they totter, but the tower holds.) Well, that was old news, Brother Red, there is a second pile now.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
But the stones also have different “feels” to me. To me, the emerald is the Empress Card. The stone is lush, ripe, here and now, in your face. The emerald is a perfectly ripe peach, on a late summer afternoon. It is a perfectly aged Bordeaux on a mid-winter evening. It is the perfume Opium (as it was originally formulated-not the “lite” version). It is a fur coat, turned inside out so the fur is against the skin, on a cold day. Emerald is almost, but not quite, too much.
Peridot is all that in promise, but not yet. It is one of the Princess or Page cards (of Wands?). It is one of the brightly flavored spring fruits, early strawberries or perhaps the rhubarb that grows so well for me. Plenty of sweetness there, but tart, too, to make your mouth water for more. It is a glass of champagne, and the feel of a breeze, that brings the smell of far off flowers. It is silk chiffon, not silk charmeus. Peridot is the promise that is delivered with the emerald. It is late spring, as opposed to late summer, waxing, rather than full, moon.
One of these days, I will work with emeralds. I (and the budget!) just haven’t gotten there, yet.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I’ve never worked with gemstones before, and their size (3mm) was a real challenge. Even using fine pointed tweezers, it was hard to hold onto them. In fact, the day I started work with them, I lost one. I had been holding it with tweezers and the tweezers snapped shut. The stone flew in the air. My daughter and I both looked up and said “uh oh.” But neither of us saw where it landed. For that matter, neither of us heard it land. We both searched for it, we crawled on the floor; we took rags and swept everything before us. No peridot. When DH came home, I told him the story. His first comment? “Did you look in your hair?” Well, no, I hadn’t, but by that point, I had pulled my hair up, put it down, ponytailed it and took it down again. If it had landed in my hair, I figured it was gone. Well, you can guess how this story ends; the next morning, when I was combing my hair, I found it. Somehow, through all the messing with my hair, with sleeping, the stone stayed put until I was able to retrieve it. I was very pleased to tell DH that he had been right.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Now, as for why this should work this way, I am not entirely sure. I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that I’ve been working steadily with the LBRP for months now, and it’s the regular use of the ritual that is the effective part, rather than the specifics of the ritual, itself. It’s entirely possible that if I had been using the Sh’ma or a Goddess chant the same way, I would have gotten the same result.
The LBRP was referred to as a “Jewish lullaby” on one of the discussion groups, today. But really, can you come up with a more soothing image? To this jewitch magician, it certainly is more reassuring than “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep…” That passage always makes me think of Patti Smith “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine…my sins, they only belong to me.”
OK, obviously, the meds are kicking in-time for me to go find the hammock…
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Alas, even if you are not one of those "get your hands in the dirt" kind of people, you might still be affected by the increased CO2 Another effect is that ragweed is creating more pollen, so airborne allergens are getting worse as well. (just in case you thought the reports that claim every year is the "worst yet" for allergies was hyperbole) A link to an article about scientists who are studying the effects of CO2 on plant and specifically weed growth:
At this point, I am not even sure what has been the worst part of all of this, the actual physical reaction (disgusting rash and mad itchiness), or that the physical reaction has caused me to not sleep well, and is so distracting, that concentrating for any period of time is difficult, and reading to retain content impossible, or lets face it, that the rash is intensely ugly and disfiguring. (ahh, vanity!)
Coincidentally, DH and I planted more than 65 trees this spring-what are you doing to help combat the rise in CO2 levels?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I wasn’t expecting anything different from the Merc Rx this time around. Big mistake. Is it because I’ve become more attuned to such things, or is it (as I suspect) that the retrograde period landed like a boulder on the birthday week of 50% of my household (with me being one of those making up the 50%)? There weren’t many technical problems, although one was particularly painful, the invisible death of a phone (meaning that there was a display, so it didn’t look dead, even though it was), which meant that I didn’t get a message about particularly desired delivery on the day the item was desired. Which meant, of course, no delivery. A typical Merc Rx sort of thing.
No, it wasn’t so much the technical stuff as the crossed messages themselves. Things assumed to be understood that should have been talked out in great detail. Other conversations that were better left unspoken. Much running and driving around (at astronomical gas prices…) because plans were incorrectly laid.
My New Moon intentions, created and stated June 3, did not come to pass, (in fact, I “achieved” the exact opposite) how much of that could be because I didn’t bother taking the Rx into account? Today, Mercury is stationery, at least for those of us on planet Earth. I find myself holding my breath, wondering “how long is it going to take me, to put things right?” And, “is this going to be a three times a year thing, from now on, or only when it lands on my birthday?”
Monday, June 16, 2008
I have also seen such an action advocated for much less dire issues than death, when the discussion of numerology comes up.
Other than various crowned heads of Europe, has anyone ever heard of a person choosing a new birthday? (Alright certain founders of religions have been given new birthdays, too.) If you have heard of such a thing, how was it done? Why was it done? Was the goal achieved?
Other than that, just not feeling chatty, these days.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Some time ago, long enough ago that I was not yet comfortable referring to myself as a woman (as opposed to girl), but was already mother to a child, I had a conversation with my Grandmother. I was complaining about how difficult it was to be the oldest child of “Saint Irene.” (for those of you coming late to the story, my mother died, after a long illness, before her 40th birthday.) My Grandmother retorted “Your mother was no saint!” And then, proceeded to tell me how wonderful was my mother was. Although this was of no help to me at the time (and in fact, made me feel worse), I let my Grandmother talk, after all, my mother was her oldest child, and even in the mood I was in, I knew that little could compare to the pain of watching your child struggle and die, and know all the time that there is nothing you can do for her.
Over the years, at family gatherings, occasionally the subject of my mother would come up. And you will have to forgive me, if I sometimes wondered why the church hadn’t started the beatification process, yet. (the first saints were Jewish, weren’t they?)
Last month, I attended a family funeral. This was for someone on my Father’s side of the family. My mother has been dead for nearly 25 years, my father has remarried. Four people came up to me to tell me how they missed my mother, and the great affect she had had on them, how wonderful she was, how smart, how kind, how beautiful. What I want to know now is:
DID ANYONE TELL HER ANY OF THIS WHEN SHE LIVING?
I am only human, and can only try to learn from the mistakes of others. But I am going to try much harder to let the people with whom I come in contact, that I appreciate them, and why. To any of you who are reading this, Thank you, for sparing some of your time to read my musings. For those of you whom I have more direct contact, I can (and will try to be) more specific.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Lately, the water in the goblet was cold enough that the goblet was sweating on the outside. When I lift the goblet, there is an obvious water ring on the silk altar covering. This bothers my hearthwitchy soul. Next time, I will make sure that the goblet has a saucer-silk can get discolored and stained by water.
I can see more in this kind of working. While the Archangels are not contained within the Temple, I can see them-or at least some parts of them. In "outer" work, the best I can manage is to sense the characteristics of the elements in the four quarters (hot/wet, hot/dry, cold/wet, cold/dry).
Why do I get the sense that Michael is amused by me or by what I am doing?
And, finally, grounding afterwards. When I start my daily ritual, I very often see layers of my aura expand. Lately, it feels as if I am grounding in layers, too. I will feel "ok, grounded and centered," then, "whoa! Ok, now grounded." "Whoops, now, I am." There can be as much as 20 minutes between each one of these landings, and I feel perfectly centered and grounded until the earth drops out from under my feet. And, yes, I am eating afterwards.