Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story

I'm taking a break from the absurd amount of cooking that I do for a holiday that I enjoy through the eyes of my beloved to post a link to a free story. For those of you who have read Don Kilcoyn's first book "The Law is My Shepherd," this story takes place sometime before those events (although they do not involve the same people). For those of you who haven't purchased Don's book, here is a chance to download and read (for free!), or read online one of his stories.

The Wide Men: A Christmas Story

Yes, it is a Christmas Story.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Among Pagans, Heathens and Magicians? Really?

It seems that there has been some debate as to the date of the Solstice and as to whether it happened concurrently with the Full Moon/Eclipse. The Full Moon and eclipse were easy (if the sky was clear), all you had to do was look up. It is the timing of the Solstice that is in disagreement. The actual time that the Sun moves into Capricorn is 6:38pm on the night of December 21st. That is the moment of the Solstice. So there was a full day of daylight between the time of the Full Moon and the time of the Solstice. But what of the celebration, or vigil, or watch, or ritual or...? That is usually during the "longest night" as we await the return of the Sun. Rather than simply saying "well they both happened on December 21" which is how is has been reported in the popular press, how many have checked the daylight and dark hours? I did. Pallas Renatus did. Guess what? We ended up with different answers. Go figure. (and the last time I checked, the Naval site was down, maybe it crashed due to so many checking the timing?) PR did his "longest night" work last night. I shall observe it tonight.

Last night was Full Moon and eclipse work. While I very much liked the direction and suggestion that Patrick Dunn had for Full Moon/Eclipse magic, I approached it from a different angle. Rather than working FOR freedom and economic increase for our society, I worked to limit and then reverse the movements and tides that are limiting those freedoms and the economics of our nation and society. It just seemed a more appropriate method for the already full, but shrouded Moon.

Tonight will be Vigil and Return of the Sun. The hearth has been cleaned and a new fire laid. The candles are ready to be lit. Yummy "sun" foods have been prepared (although tomorrows breakfast bread is still rising). The offerings are ready. And, although it is completely non-traditional anywhere, I will be drinking peach schnapps. Nothing says to me "warmth and sun and summer will return" more than that. And, at the moment of sunrise, I will toast the Sun with my Sun tincture.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Odd Enough To Be Worthy Of Mentioning.

I am not a monotheist; I know (note: not believe, know) multitudes, of Deities, Devas, Wights and Kami. Overwhelmingly, to the point of exclusively, those that I know are Female. (another note: to those who have argued with me in the past over the gender of deity-the use of language influences reality as much as the other way around, but don't argue with me about it, find an expert in linguistics to discuss it with you.) When I first dedicated the circle, while it was dedicated to the Goddesses whom had made themselves known to me, I did acknowledge the Gods. I just didn't invite Them in. It didn't, and doesn't seem to be a problem, my psychic, spiritual and magical worlds are mostly female.

Every year, between the Cross-Quarters commonly known as Samhain and Imbolc (what can I say? I'm not Celtic, and I don't celebrate them as Samhain and Imbolc.) I do a lot of deep trance work. I get confirmation on how well (or not) I've done my work and my projects in the previous year. I get hints or assignments or messages regarding the coming year. I meet and interact with Others, Elsewhere. This year, there has been a boy, or maybe a Boy, I don't know yet. Night by night, he is growing up and growing older, and yet I know him to be the same "person." I've met him in different surroundings, from inner-city urban to a rather swanky country estate, as well as some places not easily described. In November, he was a street kid, trickster-ish and while not malevolent, definitely possessing an edge. I don't come across him every night, but each time I do, he is a little older and a bit more polished. Tonight, a week before the Solstice, he was named heir to the king. It will be most interesting to see who he is the night after the Solstice, and what he will want of me. (As of yet, nothing.)

I am fully aware that these are archetypes that I am dealing with, not yet Individuals. But I am finding it fascinating, that after all this time, the male gendered portion of the Otherworlds is making itself known to me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yesterday, after a business meeting, I was called "machiavellian" in my behavior. Since I had been acting in good faith, at first my feelings were hurt.

And then I started thinking:

This guy has given me a big clue to his thought processes. I could use this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Final Planetary Tincture

I really did finish this project!

This funny looking thing is a picture of the salts from my sun tincture. I'm afraid I didn't do the best job photographing the plate-there is a deep green tablecloth under the clear plate and salts. But just imagine...

My notes read: regularly shaped crystals, oval to rectangle, spread evenly over the entire surface of the plate. The color is nearly clear, with the faintest orange tinge. The "during the process" notes state that I dissolved and reformed the crystals three times. Each time I added the distilled water, the resultant liquid turned nearly black. I would then wash the plate in yet more distilled water, filter the menstruum and pour it back into the plate for the crystals to form. Each time, the crystals would be nearly clear. Why did I then re-dissolve them? I don't really know, other than I felt that I ought to. And then finally, I didn't feel that need.

The tincture, in a glass of water is red/orange/gold, with a scent that is (so says my notes) Awakening! Refreshing! But the effect of drinking it was like drinking the rising winter sun. I didn't notice much of anything when taking the tincture earlier in the Fall. But now that it is cold and dark and winter approaches? There is a definite sense of slowly increasing warmth and brightness after I've taken it. It will be most interesting to see if this continues into the Spring.

In terms of both effect, and taste, this is my second favorite of the planetary tinctures; my favorite is still Mars/Tuesday/Ginger. Despite my exclamation points, the Sun tincture is far less aggressive and "in your face" than the Mars. I want it, and enjoy it, but do not get the same sense of "I need this" that I get when taking the Mars tincture. Which brings up another interesting point, in terms of elemental attributes, they are both fire. While this series was planned as a planetary one and the ingredients were chosen by their planetary attributes, it appears that the effects on me are elemental. Which, in a way, does make a great deal of sense, as it is through the elements that we experience those things outside of ourselves. Which would also explain why these two tinctures appeal to me so much more than the ones relating to the other elements, I've felt for some time that I could use just a bit more elemental fire in my personal mix. These tinctures could be my favorites simply because I need what they contain more than I need what is contained in the others.

This project took me far longer than I thought it would (especially the write-ups. Mea Culpa). I've learned quite abit about myself, listening to, and paying attention to the personalities involved in my projects, and the grains of salt I must add to some of my learning experiences with humans. I will probably do something similar in the future. Just not right away.

To recap, these are the tinctures:





Jupiter-Lemon Balm



(for whatever reason, Google spell check doesn't like "comfrey," it would prefer "comfier?")

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Metaphor, simile and all that crap

Thank you, to whomever read the previous blog post and didn't sputter at my statement that I didn't have as much time to write, now that my children are out of the house. Because, of course, it is always a question of how one chooses to spend time, and clearly, with more time at my disposal, I am choosing to not write. Well, duh. Even as I was typing the last post, I was aware of that. So, thank you for not publicly getting on my ass about that.

I've spent the last few months analyzing and closing out the books, if you will, of a large and significant portion of my life-that of "hands on" parenting. I'm not sorry that it is over, although I will admit to missing my daughters company, they are just good people to spend time with, but I am ready (oh more than ready!) to relinquish the 24/7 practical, manual stuff. (The emotional, psychic stuff? Not that long ago, I asked my father when the tiny, back of the mind, always present thought of ones children goes away. He said that he would let me know when it happens.)

Around the time that we were doing the final packing for the younger one to move off to college, we noticed a damp spot in the street, right at the edge of our wall. By the time the older one moved to her apartment and started graduate school, the damp spot had become a small, bubbling puddle. And by the end of September, the puddle became a source of a small stream, that ran down the street in front of our house.

Calling the water company wasn't reassuring. First, I was told that "it wasn't an emergency." Then, I was told (more than once), that it was quite likely that the leak was from one of the pipes belonging to me, not the water company, in which case, any repairs would have to be done, and paid for, by us. As you can see in the second picture, the leak wasn't in the driveway, any repair on "our side" would require us to take down a stone wall and remove quite a bit of earth (and gardens!) from the front of our house for even an exploratory dig.

At the beginning of November, the water company finally sent someone to look into the leak, one man with a shovel, and one man with a cell phone. Then, power tools, and finally, the backhoe appeared. The more they dug, the more, and faster the water welled up. But, the leak was on "their" side, not ours.

Besides intact pipe to contain and safely direct our water, what was on "our side?" Huge rocks and cement block, extending well below the frost line, across the front of, and supporting the house and property.

Whatever the changes, my life is built on a very stable base.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just a placeholder, really

while I try to figure out why I have less time for writing now that I have no children here at home.

The picture above is our remaining Japanese red maple, in all of her glory. Alas, they are not long lived trees and this one is beginning to show the ravages of age. But in the meantime, isn't she beautiful? The suggestive rock formation in the foreground is marking the direction north on the outer edge of the circle.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Have Friends Who Write Books

The book is well written, fast paced, and funny as hell. Don claims that "The Law Is My Shepherd" is fiction. But I suspect that many people familiar with certain sections of Northern New Jersey will argue that this police procedural involving the undead isn't a fantasy work. Either way, it is definitely worth the read. Look for it (and buy it, really!) at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Way Behind...

Which is better than left behind, I suppose.

There was a phenomenal storm here the night of the Full Moon/Equinox (which, as of this writing was nearly 2 weeks ago). While the torrents of rain didn't continue for more than an hour, the thunder and lightning stuck around long after the rain moved off. And what thunder and lightning! I love those types of storms.

Because the weather turned "bad" my neighbors all went indoors earlier than they usually do, and that allowed me to have more privacy outdoors-or so I thought. But whether it was the storm, or the Equinox, or the Full Moon or the combination of the three, my yard was very crowded. It was as if the lightning had rent the veil between planes or the change in the atmosphere allowed me to see those beings that might always live near me, but that are normally beyond my vision. Most of these beings ignored me, as I suspect they usually do. I wonder, too, how much of the crowdedness had to do with the fact that our land management (if such a pretentious phrase can be used regarding property of barely half an acre) doesn't make the spirits uncomfortable; my neighbors yards certainly seemed less busy than mine. Unless the Devas were throwing a party?

The circle was clear and empty, but when I stepped into it, I was surprised. There, standing directly to the west was a woman. Or, what I thought was a woman, except she was about 10 feet tall, taller than the trees of the circle in that section. She was solid, manifested and clearly "there" unlike the more sylph-like spirits partying elsewhere in the yard. Tall, solid, dressed in silvery grey apparel, over her crooked arm was a basket? Or a shield, with a basket embossed on it. While she was solid, what she carried, wasn't. She stood and watched, saying and doing nothing. She seemed satisfied and pleased, but was non-demonstrative. She vanished as I was closing the ritual. I have no idea who she was, nor how to find out. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If you can't admit to even the tiniest smidgen of good in your life, how could you ever recognize true abundance or blessings or gifts......

A Teaching from Gershon Winkler

There is this strange concept in ancient Jewish wisdom: You cannot fill a vessel that is empty. Only if it’s got something in it, of any quantity. To receive Blessing you need a “Vessel capable of grasping Blessing”, the ancients insisted, for “Less grasps More” (Midrash Bereisheet Rabbah 5:7). This seems puzzling on the surface of it because why else would I be in need of Blessing if I weren’t running on empty? It is precisely because I am lacking that I am in need. So if I am empty, please fill me up!


Let me tell you a story. About 2800 years ago, there was a great Jewish prophet named Elisha. He was the foremost disciple of the prophet Elijah (Eliyahu), and he was a seasoned miracle-worker, a real true-blue shaman. One day a guy comes to share some bread with him,and Elisha instructs his aide to share the bread with everyone. The aide looks around at the several hundred people gathered around the prophet and says, “No way. There are only like twenty loaves here.” And Elisha again insists that he share the bread with everyone. So the aide goes around, and lo and behold the loaves of bread multiply and keep multiplying until everyone in the crowd has been fed (Second Kings, 4:42-44). So he was that kind of guy. Well, one day, a widow who had fallen on very hard times came to Elisha to seek his help. She had lost everything, was very poor, and in deep debt, to the point that shewas going to have to offer her sons as indentured servants unless some miracle occurred soon. Elisha then asked her “What do you have in your home?” She says, “I have nothing in my home other than a teeny-tiny drop of oil.” Says Elisha, “Go to your neighbors and borrow from them as many empty vessels as you can. Then go home, shut the door behind you, and pour that teeny-tiny drop of oil into all the vessels.” The woman went to her neighbors and with the help of her sons schlepped dozens of empty vessels to her home, then went inside, shut the door behind her, and began filling all of them with oil as her teeny-tiny drop of oil miraculously swelled into gallons and gallons until she ran out of vessels. Elisha then instructed her to sell the oil, which she did, and soon she recouped financially and lived happily ever after (Second Kings, 4:1-7).

The Zohar teaches us the following about Blessing, that Blessing is drawn to us from Above by what we already possess if we cherish the gift of what we already have. When we cherish what we do have, no matter how little of it we possess, the appreciation itself is potent enough to draw further blessing from the Root of all Blessing. This is why, when that poverty-stricken woman came to the prophet Elisha seeking his help, he didn’t ask her what it was that she lacked. Rather, he asked her what it was that she already had, that she didn’t lack, that she cherished already having. Her reply sounded pathetic: “I have nothing in the house. Well, I do have a smidgen of oil” – which the Zohar elaborates on, “Meaning, just enough to spread across the tip of her finger”. Elisha’s reply, the Zohar elaborates, was: “Oh! You have consoled me. I was worried you might feel like you have nothing at all. But what you acknowledge that you do have is more than enough to draw Blessing from Above”(Zohar, Vol. 1, folio 88a).

In other words, you took the time and effort to look beyond the obvious scenario of your situation to uncover the hidden, the blessings in your life that were overlooked, overshadowed by your problems.The woman could have said, “I have nothing whatsoever.” Because what is a smidgen of oil? But since she demonstrated her awareness of even so little being precious enough to consider as a blessing of some degree – it sufficed to draw down further blessings of further degrees, enough to fill all of the pots and pans that she had borrowed from her neighbors. Great teaching. In order to invite more of what you need, you must first come to grips with what you already have, and acknowledge the gift of it, even if it’s just the shirt off your back, or your health, or enough of your health to move around, and so on – even if you have absolutely nothing at all but peace, it’s a good start, “for there is no greater vessel capable of grasping Blessing than Peace” (Midrash Bamid’bar Rabbah 21:1).

It’s like the Kabbalistic take on Creation, that the fledgling primeval universe was completely empty, and therefore when the Light of Creation entered it, it exploded, it shattered, because it was not a “Vessel capable of grasping Blessing” – having nothing within it. Shattered, it became filled with the sparks of the Light of Creation that it failed to contain, and thus, by becoming filled with something,even the debris of the implosion, it became a vessel capable of receiving the subsequent unfolding of existence as we came to know it. Blessing is primarily drawn not by virtue of what is obvious to us that we have, but to what is not obvious to us that we have (Talmud, Baba Kama 42a).

What is conspicuous to us, is in that moment measured, large, small, worth five dollars, worth three dollars, worth a buck fifty, great, not so great, etc. On the other hand, taught the 16th-centuryRabbi Yehudah Loew of Prague, what we have that is not right off obvious to us is in the realm of the immeasurable and draws Blessing because Blessing is immeasurable as it emanates from the realm of the Infinite as opposed to the Finite, “For the eye casts boundaries and limitations, whereas Blessings are without either” ( _Maharal in ChidusheiAggadot_, Vol. 3, folio 21).

This is an exercise that requires us to look deep inside our life situations, to seek out what gifts we have been in possession of all along but have been oblivious to all this time. This takes effort, this takes introspection. “The Blessing Flow from Above comesto us in strengths and quantities commensurate with our desires and efforts to draw it Below.

This is akin to breast milk, abundant and ready to flow forth, but dependent upon how determined the infant is in suckling” (Kitzur Sefer Yo’nat Ilem, No. 122). The widow in the story of Elisha did not stop at declaring that she had nothing in the house. She stayed with the question, examined deeply her situation to see if there was anything of any value in the house, and remembered that there was a teeny-tiny drop of something worth being thankful for.

The Hebraic New Year 5771 is almost upon us, sneaking up on us earlier than usual this year. What an auspicious time to examine Blessing in our lives. Often we become frustrated and skeptical around this time that promises renewal in the year to come. And then the new year comes, and it’s same-old, same-old. Perhaps that is because we expended so much energy and intention praying for a better year than we had without really examining the good stuff that came to us during the past year, the Blessings. Instead, we skimp right over all the wonderful things that happened and pray for something better. This Rosh Hashanah, it would be refreshing for a change to spend a little time being thankful for whatever went right this past year and only then praying for a good year ahead. By so doing, we will create in our lives “A Vessel Capable of Grasping Blessing.”Like the ancient rabbis taught: Before you ask God for what you lack, thank God for what you have (Midrash Devarim Rabbah 2:1).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Pair of Mysteries


Tuesday night, during my Full Moon work, I asked that I be told where I should place my "Thank You" offerings at the next (Harvest) Full Moon. That night I had a very clear and vivid dream, and I am pretty sure that the answer is here, if I could only tease it out.

I was sitting in a restaurant, at a long table. Crowded together at
the head of the table were my two daughters, my (deceased)Grandmother and myself. I remember feeling quite impatient and hungry in the dream. Finally, the waitress (who, in "real" life owns the restaurant) brought to the table a single, hard boiled egg. My Grandmother took it and placed it in front of herself, halved it, but didn't eat it. My younger daughter, knowing I was hungry picked it up to pass it to me, but my Grandmother took it from her and said, "It isn't for you" and put it down again at her place.

Eggs, and hard boiled eggs have many symbolic meanings. To most, the clearest meaning of the egg (at least the non-hard boiled variety) is that of fertility. To Jews, and those of Jewish background and learning, it is also a symbol of the sacrifice given at the Temple in Jerusalem. By extension, the hard boiled egg is generalized to be a symbol of sacrifice and also of mourning, because the Temple is no more.

So what is my Grandmother trying to tell me?


How is it that this blog gains readers when I don't post? I'm not complaining, mind you, but it does surprise.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shielding-An Experiment

It is Renaissance Faire season, and my "home" faire has opened. This means that there is a more or less public place that I shall be at, where I am not habitually shielded. I pretty much go "shields up" every time I leave my home, dropping them only when I have arrived at what feels to me is a safe place. Public spots rarely qualify. My home faire is one of those places, and I've been known to say that my faire day doesn't really start until I've been served my first hard cider and a small child has seen me and said "Look, a witch!"

This past spring, I attended two other faires and had a chance to run a small experiment. At the first one, I dressed identically to the way I've dressed at my home faire. But this one, held on an open college campus, did not say "safe" to me, and so protections stayed in place. I spoke with people, including children. Not one looked at me twice, I was a tourist faire attendee, just as they were, watching the chess match and debating the wisdom of eating a turkey leg.

The second non-home faire was held in a park, although in a somewhat enclosed area. Many of the attendees were familiar to me. I was not wearing my usual attire. I wore bright blue, with a circlet of gold flowers in my hair. But the place felt safe, so the layers of protection came down. And a little girl pointed at me and said "Mommy, a witch!"

I am glad that I do not scare these children when they really see me. But except for those rare and special places, the shields will stay in place.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The tree circle is nearly 4 years old. I find that odd to think about, because I know that there were other things in that yard before then. There was a swing set, and it was fenced, so the dog could run and the kids could play safely. The dog, the swing set and even most of the fence are gone, but the idea, the sense of safety, of sanctuary is still very much part of the personality of the space.

We started the planning of the circle not long after DH started his adult (as opposed to his teenage) studies and foray into Western Ceremonial Magic. Up until that point, I used our bedroom for my altar and working space (with the exception of anything that require large fires, actual outdoor doings, etc). But after DH had started working there, it took longer and longer for me to step into the proper psychic space. It bothered him greatly that he "threw me out" of space that I had been using, but I've come to the conclusion that it was more a case of pointing out the deficiencies of the space for what I had been using it for. I still have altars in the room, and I still use it for some ritualwork, but all of my more organic ritual and magic have moved outdoors.

We live in one of those suburbs "overrun" with deer. While we had our wolfhound, they never came in the yard. But I suppose the last generation of deer to "remember" the dog that was bigger than they were is now gone, and the last few years has seen more deer damage on our property. This year, with the seemingly wanton destruction in my tomato garden and apple tree, I declared war on the deer. (This war has not been without a few good points-the wonderful scene of DH, hair unbound, wearing nothing more than a pair of gym shorts and brandishing his Renn Faire Wizard prop staff while chasing a buck out of the yard is a picture I happily call to mind on a regular basis.)

We chase them. We yell at them. Most effective have been the rags, soaked in neem seed oil and tied to the garden fences and (soon) to the tree branches. The deer now know (at least this season) that we are not welcoming them. And yet...

I came home midday from a session with a client on Friday to see a pair of very small, spotted fauns reclining in the middle of the circle. They were clearly visible to the street and the neighbors dogs, and yet they looked perfectly relaxed and comfortable. Mama was nowhere to be seen, but it was clear that she had put them there and told them to "stay." There was no sense of fear from them as I walked towards them.

A safe place. Sanctuary.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Point lost

I think the point was lost in the (admitted) pathos of the previous post. My experiences were not unusual, but unless you have lived in non-Christian communities in this country, you would probably not be aware of such happenings. And, by non-Christian, I am not referring to the "we are Pagan, but we have a Christmas tree, only, you know, we call it a Yule tree, community." I am speaking of the Jewish communities, the Bahai, the Hindu, the Muslim, perhaps the Buddhist (I currently have no experience with intact, distinct Pagan communities in the mode of the others I've refered to, so I am not including them here.)

The problem with the concept of evangelism is that it is seen from the side of the "giver." "Ooh, look what I have to share!" There is no space available in the concept to ask whether the recipient is a willing one. And, no matter how enlightened, how "unpushy" some people may be in their beliefs, the history of humanity has shown that eventually, it becomes not "look what I have to share" but "you will take it, whether you want to, or not."

I made mention in one of my comments on another blog about the different versions of the Golden Rule. There are two (in English, at any rate) that I am aware of. The more common one: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. (attributed to Jesus, via Matthew)
and: Do Not Do Unto Others As You Would Not Have Them Do Unto You (attributed to Hillel)

So now I am curious. How many people are there who disagree with me and are neither Christian, nor of Christian background or heritage?

Framework, or some of where I am coming from

Imagine this.

A ten year old girl, going to sleep away camp for the first time. Being adventurous, the camp chosen is far out in the rural countryside, a world away from the city and suburbs that the girl knows. Before arriving at the camp, she knows no one else there. Adjustment is not easy, but since most of the girls at the camp come from the same area, she finds a friend or two. One day, the campers go on a field trip, to the local County fair. This being a bygone and far more innocent age, the campers did not have to walk through the fair in long strings, holding hands and counting off. Everyone wore shirts identifying them as from the camp, and as long as everyone showed up at the appointed place and time for attendance checks, the girls were free to wander.

Our girl visited the chickens and admired the 4-H rabbits, and then walked through the area with the craft and souvenir tables. Passing one table, a woman called out "Camp girl, do you know Jesus?" (yes, she actually called out "camp girl." damn t-shirt.) Politely, the girl answered "No, I'm Jewish." At which point, the woman came out from behind the table, along with 3 other people (2 other women, 1 man) and surrounded the girl. There was talk of Jesus dying for someones sins, even though she and her people killed him. There was talk of hellfire. There was no sense of personal space for the girl, nor any space between the sentences for her to speak, even if she had any idea of how to respond to this.

This is not the behavior of people sharing good news. This is the behavior of predators.

Finally, one of the camp counselors appeared, as the girl had missed one of the check-ins. At the sight of an approaching adult in a camp t-shirt, the girls hands were shoved full with pamphlets, "your mother will want them" she was told, and the 4 people went back behind their table. Needless to say, the counselor wanted to know what was going on, and as the girl and the counselor rejoined the rest of the people from the camp, the girl told the story. There was a bit of shrugging, but as the girl didn't get in trouble for missing check in, she was relieved.

During the car ride back to the camp, the driver (a local employee of the camp) stopped short and suddenly at an intersection. She then started joking about all the near accidents she has had over the years while driving campers and how even the "little Jewish girls" would start saying their rosaries. How she always had a extra one with her, "just in case one of them wanted one." She seemed to be completely convinced that she was being amusing.

This was not the behavior of a "born again fundie" but it was the behavior of someone whose religion and belief hold complete disdain (at best) for someone who does not believe as they do.

After Jason posted his Father Matthew video,
he professed surprise at the reactions he got to the post. While I can't speak for anyone else, my reaction, first and foremost was to this line: "Certainly among non-Christians, there is nothing that makes them less comfortable than the idea of Evangelism. The fact is though that it is a duty of Christians to evangelize."

Uncomfortable? Now why would you think that might be?

The video is not actually about evanglizing or reaching out to non-Christians, but rather counteracting, amongst Christians the onslaught of the fundamentalist movement. To which all I can say is: fine, clean your own house, and then we will talk about my discomfort.

Oh-and the reaction of the mother of the girl to this story and the pamphlets? Do you know the phrase "Hell has no fury...?"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Deb, at Charmed, I'm Sure

I don't know how many of the readers of this blog don't read Deb's blog :

but she has the lead essay at Witchvox this week. If you aren't a past reader of her blog it is an essay worth reading.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Upside

One thing I can say about this "learning how to draw astrological birth charts without using a computer program" project; my sewing skills are improving.

Since starting the astrology project I've made and finished a leine and a giornea. I've now started a second leine and have fabric and pattern for a (non-faire garb) dress. By the time I've done my tenth chart I should at least have some idea of what I am doing chart-wise and will have a nice wardrobe in addition.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Aura is Clear and Beautiful

Three times over the past year I've been told so, by total strangers. By now, you would think that I would know how to respond to a statement like that, but I have been taken aback by it, each time.

Last night in the circle the feel was giddy/happy/holy. What more could you want for a Dark Moon/New Moon/ Eclipse night? In the cup of my hands, I saw a blond woman, in a white "blousy" blouse. I didn't recognize her and later thought that she might have something to do with the Renn Faire, because of her blouse.

Except I met her today.

I had stopped in at a new store in town, an "astrology boutique" and the blond woman in the white blouse greeted me when I stepped into the store. It was she who told me (today) of the state of my aura. A sales come-on? Possibly, except I would think that mentioning a smudge or a darkening would be a better sales pitch. We started chatting and she realized that I came in as a local business person, to welcome her to Main Street, not as a potential (at least today) client. We exchanged business cards. As I was leaving, she also told me something that I had received in other types of messages.

So, how would you respond to an uninvited comment as to the state of your aura?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Spagyric Report Returns

(The work has been ongoing, but the blogging-well, you know...)

Back in October, when the Sun, the Moon and Venus were all in Libra, I put together the ingredients for the Venus tincture, 1/4 ounce of home grown and dried rose petals, even divided between pink and white (currently, we do not grow any other color roses) and the Everclear. 1/4 ounce doesn't sound like a lot, but when you are talking dried flower petals, the volume is significant.

My notes read: The pink roses had faded to sepia, except on the inside bases of the petals where they were still pink. The white rose petals were still white, except at the very edges of the petals, where they were beginning to brown. There was a very strong fragrance of rose as I crushed the petals. Once in the jar, with the Everclear poured over the rose petals the scent of the flowers became even more pronounced, as if the scent molecules were being carried aloft by any instantly evaporating alcohol. The Everclear picked up an almost gold tinge, but mostly seemed to magnify and emphasize the details of the petals in the jar. I wrapped the jar tightly, labeled it, and put it aside.

And there is sat, for months and months. When I first started this project, I went by the directions I had been given, having no experience with spagyrics. The time frame for the creation of each tincture was pretty short-as long as the moon phase was appropriate for the part of the job to be done, the actual time elapsed didn't seem that important. But as I've gone along, I've gotten far better as listening to the herb and tincture and working on that time frame. And Venus kept saying "Not yet. Patience." (so has Sun, which, as you may note, does not yet have a dropper bottle.)

This spring, with Venus, Sun and Mercury in Taurus was time. In fact, maybe having to do with the Moon in Leo, it was quite emphatically time. Six months had elapsed since I had put the herbs up to steep, but from the sensations I was getting from the bottle, I wouldn't have been surprised in the least had it been 9 months (I was a little disappointed, when looking at my notes and the calendar, that it wasn't 9 months.)

When I strained the rose petals out of the liquid, they crumbled and nearly disintegrated under their own weight. The menstruum was a deep gold, and the scent was heady and very sweet, but not noticeably rose-like. When lit, the petals burned to a fine ash very quickly, and once cooled, dissolved into the purified water without any residue. The crystals that formed out of the evaporated water were colorless, but very very bright. They were even and consistent in shape, and (for once!) easy to scrape out of the plate and back into the menstruum.

The taste/use/effect of this tincture? It is all sweet things, but not cloying. There is no scent or taste of roses, instead imagine the most perfectly ripe persian or honeydew melon. In fact, it brought to mind the idea of "round." Not a circle, a sphere. Whole. A deep, unrestricted breath. The idea that all the ideas, all the symbols that artists and mystics try to cram into the Empress Card of the tarot is sitting in this little dropper bottle, waiting for me so that I might know them.

Somehow, "cool stuff" just doesn't cover it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Book Game, Part 2

(I just really like this picture!)

I am about to leave for a few days in Boston, doing a Mother Job. I may or may not have to time blog (I have left notes, should I get to it), isn't that what Starbucks is for? It certainly isn't for the coffee! Anyway, Jason suggested creating a list of the next 5 books on the To Read pile.

So here they are, in no particular order:

Magic, Science and Religion, by Bronislaw Malinowski

Reading the OED, by Ammon Shea

The World Is Not Enough, By Zoe Oldenbourg

The Encyclopedia of Spirits, by Judika Illes

The Snouters, Form and Life of the Rhinogrades, by Harald Stumpke

(I am currently reading Whisper of Stone, by Tess Dawson)

I will bring the Malinowski book and the most recent copy of Vogue Magazine with me, as they take up the least amount of space and weigh the least of the items on this list.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garden Blogging

Lavender, at dusk. Soothing, no?

I haven't completely figured it out, but the years that are good for the roses aren't good years for the lavender. The good lavender years are not good rose years, either. This is a lavender year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Tried

The book game, that is. But after spending far more time at it than I really had, I've put it aside for now. At one point, the book list looked like my college text shopping list (I majored in the Classics, minored in Linguistics and Medieval History). Another list was mostly childrens books, with the addition of some gardening books and a book on feminist, thelemic sex magic. (try saying that 3 times, fast). The problem I faced was; do I create a list of books that helped to shape me? Or a list that I would use to shape someone else?

(interesting how spell check suggested that instead of "childrens" I meant "chaldeans.")

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Sumptuary laws would have gotten me for sure

The gold and royal blue brocade surcoat (more properly, a Giornea), mostly finished. I added a storm grey silk collar, since the brocade can be itchy. I may place a few tucks near the waist, or do something with the front, in order to show off more of the undergown. (I don't like the way the front corner hem turns back and shows up under the back hem.) But I am putting aside the Ooh Shiny project for now. I have more astrology charts to do.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some things I don't understand at the moment

but with a little more time and work, I might.

Things experienced in the circle last night. Large ornamental koi, a crab, seafoam and a red dragon that swims as well as being able to fly. What does any of this have to do with a full moon in Saggittarius?

Dreams experienced after the ritual last night-about books and authors. One dream had me reading a book that was itself a list of books recommended. The book was written by someone I know (whom, to my best knowledge has not written any books), and the books most highly recommended were all on the subject of seidr (again, to my best knowledge, not something this person has experience with) and written by women. A second dream had another acquaintance (who has written books) as a long term family friend of the people who live across the street from me. They were surprised to hear that I knew him. He was coming to live with them and eventually buy their house. (hmm, the house in question is actually waterfront...)

And, something else, while I am discussing things not currently understood...

Something else I don't really understand-the current blogosphere issue of Christianity/Jesus/Christ/belief/Golden Dawn/etc. etc. etc. Christianity is/has become a "universal" religion. Thus, it must absorb and incorporate, like the Borg, all that has come before it. Anything that will not, or cannot be absorbed is thus in conflict with it. (btw, Christianity is not the only religion with this stance.) Thus, the hermeticism that has become the basis for most Western magical systems. But, if your basis (religion, code, ethics, whatever) is tribal, racial (in the modern world, a very ugly term), or in any other way non-universal, you have a far easier time shrugging off the "other" as simply that. Other.

I am not confused in what and how I believe, I just don't really care if anyone else agrees with me. I also have no ego issues with saying "I don't know."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grounding and Centering

Do you want a good test of how effective your grounding and centering practices are? Try phoning your local motor vehicle bureau. Between the absurd upbeat psuedo jazz soundtrack and the recording telling you that customer service representatives are eager to assist you, you will find your talents truly stretched. Whatever you do, do not watch a clock as the minutes go by, interrupted by further messages that much information is available 24 hours a day on the DMV website. Because if the information that you were looking for was available on the website, you would not be spending your time sitting on the phone.

How well do you think you would do on this test? Do you want to reach out and blast something, yet?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Out of the frying pan...

In celebration of my having finished not one, but two hand drawn, with-no-help-from-computer-program astrological charts, I have succumbed to the Ooh, Shiny! and have started making a royal blue and gold metallic thread brocade surcoat. Thereby guaranteeing, that had I lived in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, if I escaped being accused of witchcraft, the sumptuary laws would have gotten me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Recently, there was a spate of blog posts on the subject of money and wealth spells-do they work? Are they a good idea? I didn't get involved in the discussion because my view of wealth does not so much involve actual dollars and cents, but the quality of my life, and the lives of those I love, and the lives of those who touch my life, however tangentially.

Jason Miller made a point at his most recent workshop that asking for help from a Celestial spirit to become "rich" might be less than totally effective-at least from the point of view of the magician doing the work. The reason Jason gave was that pretty much anyone in the Western Hemisphere, much less someone who has the time and inclination to do such magic, IS rich compared to the rest of the world.

Want to know how rich (money-wise) you really are? Try here:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Wheel, She Turns

This past Sunday was Mother's Day in the United States. It was the 22nd occurrence for which I was one of the honorees. It was also likely to be the last one for me with one of my children resident. The Friday before the holiday was my younger daughters high school prom. Next week, my older daughter graduates from college. In less than a months time, the younger one will have her graduation from high school. Come the end of the summer, they will both leave, one for college, one for graduate school, heading in opposite directions, to other states.

Life moves on, which is as it should be.

I am not a sentimental person, although I am a person of strong emotions.

I posted a picture of my daughter in her prom finery, and in addition to the totally deserved "wows!" (well, she is gorgeous and she had designed and made the gown, which was also gorgeous), there were comments referencing the existence of sodden tissues and a sense of the bittersweet. I simply do not understand. This was an occasion of pure joy, a celebration of what has been achieved so far.

I could understand sadness if she hadn't chosen to do and be who she is and had accepted, without thought, to be mediocre, run of the mill, or ever less than that. I could understand a sense of the bittersweet, if I were discontented, if I would have preferred to have had a different life. Or even worse, if I had preferred to be in my daughters place, to be belle of the high school ball, again or still. (If there is anyone reading this, who knew me in high school-feel free to laugh at the idea.)

But I chose my life, and having chosen it, did the best I could at it. The preliminary results look promising.

Not to say that is has been easy, it certainly hasn't been. I am absolutely convinced that neither child slept through the night until they were teenagers. As soon as they could handle books and flashlights, we would stash them under the girls pillows so they could have something to look at or read at night. And very very early on, I taught them how to get their own breakfasts (assembled by me, the night before), in a effort to get "just a few more minutes of sleep." Both girls are now very well read and good cooks.

Because my younger daughter has played in the honors section jazz band, and DH works an "unusual" work schedule, I have been getting up between 5:30 and 6 in the morning, and counting myself lucky to be in bed by midnight. For more than 3 1/2 of those years, I just did it. Wasn't easy, but I managed. The end is in sight, the final jazz concert in 3 weeks. And all of a sudden, my body says "enough!" I have taken more naps in the last 3 weeks, than I did in the 3 years preceding. Body and Spirit know that this period in my life is coming to an end and that is just fine.

I love my daughters beyond the ability of words to express. I have every Mothers Day card they have made me (and they always made their cards for me). I have every birthday card, every letter they wrote from camp, the portraits they drew of me, every newspaper clipping that mentioned them. They have been amazing (and challenging!) children.

I can't wait to see the amazing adults that they are becoming.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

postscript to last night.

Clearly, I was a little loopy last night, with the last blog post. Salamanders were not the point of the evening, although they were among the guests. I wouldn't have minded more two legged guests, a drummer or two perhaps, and people to dance with. There should have been more people than just me dancing around the fire. Eventually, there was another. He was always on the far side of the flames from me, keeping time. I could feel his presence more clearly than I could see him, but he was there.

I did not sleep restfully afterwards. There were many, many dreams. One was a warning? Or an explanation of what was possibly to come? Others were just strange. Former President Carter hacking a Star Wars computer game?

The first bird sounds of the morning came a little before 5am. I got out of bed and went back outside. Near the rose bush by the kitchen door, I knelt down and rinsed my face with the morning dew that had collected on the grass. I said "good morning" to my daughter, who was awake for the day by then. I went back to bed. Finally, I slept well.

(The picture at the top is not a rose, it is one of the peonies. The roses will start blooming next month.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where do the salamanders go
When the bright coals turn to ash?

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I don't know if this should amuse me or not. I've noticed that adults address me as "MiLady" at RennFaire type events. But children point me out as a witch. Even when I am wearing blue and talking on a bright red cell phone.

Friday, April 30, 2010

More Beltane Walpurgis May Day musings.

I am going to admit right now, that tomorrow, May Day, Beltane to so many, will see me dressed in, yes, RennFaire Garb. I might even grab a ribbon and dance at the May Pole, should ribbon and pole be available.

But you see, I will be at a RennFaire type event. I will be at the Hudson Valley MayFaire and Farmers Market.
This is a fundraiser for the Queens Galley of the Hudson Valley, a not for profit organization that provides awareness, education, relief and prevention of food insecurity in America. The Queens Galley also runs a food pantry and soup kitchen, serving 3 meals a day to those who need it, any and every day of the year.

This doesn't negate anything that I might have said about my own observances because...(many of you know the chorus, right?) a Cross Quarter day happens on the astronomical midpoint between the Quarters. That happens May 5th this year. The night of May 4th, I shall light the fire. I will dance. I will feel the tides change and the magic swell.

Sometimes, its good to be pedantic. I get to have the public fun and silliness and the real stuff, too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

(almost) First of May

Whether it is Beltane, Walpurgis or May Day to you;

May it be a Day/Night of appropriate joy and fear.

And if it is merely May 1

may you enjoy this:

(lyrics not work or young child appropriate)
(Thank you, Frater POS at Doing Magick and Jack Faust at Dionysian Atavism for the inspiration)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Q & A #2

What is the magick of your land? How does your land feel different from other lands you have visited?

This is actually a far harder question than it appears. To me, it is akin to asking "how do you feel differently from other people that you may know?"

The land on this property had been abused when we bought it. It had gone from forest to farm before the farm was split up and our house was built. The man who built and occupied our home was a gardener; he planted and nurtured and encouraged. When he died, his nephew inherited. Trees were cut down, flowering bushes and flower gardens dug up, the land and its spirits, starved. People in the neighborhood started parking their cars on the lawn, throwing their trash on it, walking through what was left of the flower beds. In short, it was neglected and abused.

It didn't trust us at first. Why should it? And we made mis-steps; planting things in places they had no business being planted, getting over-ambitious with projects and not following through, experimenting with chemical gardening before going organic. Little by little, we learned to pay attention and the land and its spirits learned that we would listen. We paid our dues, our homage, our sacrifices, in time and effort, in sweat, tears and blood, shed both accidentally and deliberately. The land is cared for and protected and in turn, it cares for and protects us.

So what is the feeling of the magic of this land? It is a rich place and a place of protection. When I come home tired, stressed, drained, I can walk on the grass, into the circle and feel myself being fed. The sensation comes from below me, from the ground. It comes from the sides, from the trees and bushes. It comes from above, from the tallest bordering trees, the birds, the air itself.

There are birds and animals here that do not spend time in other peoples yards, preferring the wild areas. But my gardens have (for the most part) been left alone.

I'm not really sure how to compare this place to most others. Most of the time I keep myself so tightly shielded when I leave it, that to effect me the sense of a place must be very strong.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Postmodern Magic

I've removed Patrick Dunn's blog Postmodern Magic from my sidebar. Not because I don't read it, or I don't think that other would find it interesting, but because I couldn't figure out how to convince blogger to update the sidebar listing when he would publish a new post. Go here:

and subscribe. That way you will be able to see what Patrick writes, he is definitely worth reading!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Q&A # 1

"Okay, question for you AND for your followers: is east or south Fire for you in your workings, and why?"

I tend to do things in a rather traditional manner, even if my way of getting there is less than academic and always specific to where I am.

East is Air, the first breath drawn, the coloring of the clouds at dawn, the ruffling of birds feathers (diurnal birds, at least) as they awaken.

South is Fire, far less poetic, but is the force that compels me to close the window blinds on that side of the house in the summer.

West is Water; in that direction is the largest part of the lake that I live next to, and is the direction that the streams that feed the lake flow.

North is Earth, while there are hills and small mountains surrounding the lake area, the closest tall land is to the north. It is also, interestingly enough, the direction that feels "cozy" to me. Whether that is because earth itself has a cozy feel or because winter and winter weather causes me to seek out and create a sense of coziness, I haven't completely teased out.

I am of firm belief that the attributions of Element and Direction should fit your location-if I lived on the Atlantic (while still being on the North American continent) I would be very surprised if I didn't feel that Water was East.

As for my followers, I am taking the position that the question refers to the followers/readers of my blog (as far as I am aware, I have no followers/acolytes. If I do, I could use a hand with the weeding in the garden). Anyone reading is welcome to leave their answers as comments to this post, I will certainly publish them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The value of memes

I now understand why so many bloggers went through an "ask me anything" phase. It helps keep up the word count and traffic when you just aren't inspired otherwise. (I have noticed a distinct lack of magic and paganism among my subjects of late. The offline activities are there, I just seem to be lacking the desire to write about them.)

If you so desire, go ahead and leave a question in the comment box. I may answer it. I might not. But as I am leaving for Boston at stupid o'clock tomorrow morning, nothing will be done until next week.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

(Yes, I am still here. I apologize for the length of the hiatus-I never intended it to be as long as it became. For a blog whose sole reason for existence was to give me a place to express thoughts, with no further profit sought, I am both amused and humbled by how much value I place on those of you who read here.)

We are now post-Equinox and it is spring (the picture above is rhubarb, the first sign of life in my gardens this year). I would have said "finally" spring, except time is such a strange thing. The winter was long (what winter isn't?), but the year short. The mars retrograde was long, but not as long as the one in 2007 (by mood and effect at least). The years when I had very small children at home seemed to last for ice ages (I really didn't think I would survive), but now it appears that the whole active mother with children at home stage seems to be going by in the blink of an eye. And, tomorrow night, when I go out into the circle for the Full Moon, time will stand still. What am I to make of all this? I really don't know, other than:

1. I didn't mean to go as long without a post here as I did; and

2. the faster time goes, the easier it is to appear patient.

Tomorrow (Full Moon) will be the start of Passover. The house is almost ready (if you don't know how to prepare for Passover, imagine the most thorough spring cleaning and multiply by 10), and by sundown tomorrow, all the dishes, pots and pans, flatware, indeed, anything that has anything to do with food will have been cleaned and packed away. All of the dishes, pots, pans flatware and anything that has to do with Passover will be cleaned and set it place. We will hold 2 Seders, one with the extended family and one here at home. Although she gets short shrift in our traditional haggadah, Miriam and her Well have their place of honor at our table. We will honor our ancestors and remember when we were slaves. We will think of those who are still held in slavery-there are chains of all types. We will honor and celebrate the spring harvests that came even before the story in the haggadah. And we will honor our own spring harvests, in this house, they are the college and graduate school acceptance letters my daughters have received.

In essence, we will honor Time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Purim, during the rx

I'm still dealing (fighting with) the whole Mars retrograde in Leo business. Much of my thought processes feel as if they are large ornamental koi, swimming up near the surface of the water that is my conscious self; and just when I think I have a really good look at them or even a chance to grasp them, they sink below the surface again. Possibly, this is because my natal Mars is in Leo, possibly because I was born on a Tuesday, moments after dawn (Mars day, Mars hour).

In honor of Purim, which is today, I will leave you with an old blog post I wrote some years ago, and a link to a new post, by Rabbi Dennis.

Friday, March 21, 2008
Purim and Hamentashen
(apologies to those with delicate sensibilities...)The word "hamentashen," which refers to the cookes eaten at Purim, is commonly translated into English as "Hamen's Hats." Which is strange, because "taschen" means pocket, not hat. I found this blog post attempts to explain this, but wearing my more rad-fem mythologist hat (or pocket) I don't think that it goes far enough. The blog post:The etymology of hamentaschen is fairly well known. They did not originally refer to Haman (and therefore the Hebrew אוזני המן oznei haman - came much later.) These pastries were originally called "mahn-taschen". Mohn means "poppy" in German, and tasch is a pocket. When you add the Hebrew definitive article ha, they become ha-mahn-taschen, which is easy to associate with Haman. Of course there are many "midrashim" (really Purim torah), that expound on the connection: that Haman had three-cornered ears like the pastry, or had a three cornered hat, or a new one for me, that it refers to המן תש - "Haman became weak." Posted by DLC at Sunday, March 12, 2006 7:47 AM

OK, but why pockets. Or hats? Or ears (another name for the cookie)? What do all of these things have in common, besides not usually being triangular (the shape of the cookie)? Answer: they are all receptacles-something to put something in. Purim is the least "Jewish" of modern Jewish holiday observances. A holiday of the full moon of the spring Equinox, the main player is a woman celebrated for her beauty, rather than piety, or observance, or obedience. Esther (think Aster, Ishtar, Innana) has the power of life and death, renewal; regeneration in her hands. Power she exercises by touching the "scepter" of the king. The man that Queen Esther chooses gets to rule the people. (does this sound familiar to you, Tammuz?)

But, back to the cookies. Look at them. Really look at them. Dark triangles (traditional fillings being poppy seed or prune), bounded by a paler, finer textured border. We already have the kings scepter, held out. So what exactly are these little pastry triangles, given the names of various receptacles? What do we celebrate so joyously, each spring?

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my heart was moved for him.I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with flowing myrrh,
My beloved is white and ruddy, pre-eminent above ten thousand.His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are curled, and black as a raven.His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks; washed with milk, and fitly set.His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as banks of sweet herbs; his lips are as lilies, dropping with flowing myrrh.His hands are as rods of gold set with beryl; his body is as polished ivory overlaid with sapphires.His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether
lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend. (Song of Songs)

And, from Rabbi Dennis:

Friday, February 26, 2010


On the Yartzeit (Yid. "anniversary"), the soul is at its greatest strength and in its fullest glory. With each ensuing year, this radiance again shines forth in the world and in the Heavens, as the soul is elevated to a higher spiritual level...


This is the first year anniversary of death of my Grandmother. My sister posted this very glamourous picture of her and I thought I would share another story of this amazing woman who influenced so many.

For much of his career, my Grandfather traveled quite a bit, leaving my Grandmother to raise their three daughters without his presence. As anyone who has raised children knows, this can take quite a toll on the resident parent. After one overseas trip or another, my Grandfather said to my Grandmother; "Helen, you have really let yourself go." Years later, when my Grandmother told me the story, she emphasized that she didn't think he was meaning to be unkind, he was just very tired and glad for the opportunity to say anything to the one person he didn't need to edit himself for. Even so, in telling me the story decades later, I could hear just how much the words stung.

A few months later, my Grandfather left for a short trip, and since he wouldn't be away all that long (and, traveling light, had little luggage), it was decided that he and my Grandmother would meet at the opera and have a night out together, upon his return. As soon as he left, my Grandmother went shopping for (for lack of better word) a Va-Va-Voom type dress and shoes, and then went and had her hair bleached and dyed platinum blond. At the agreed upon meeting place in the lobby of the opera, she had the pleasure of watching my Grandfather walk past her, and do a double take before accepting that she was, in fact, his "dowdy" wife.

He never criticized the way she looked, ever again.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I will be so glad when the Mars Retrograde is over for the year

I dream a lot. I know everyone does, but I remember most (?) of mine, in detail, color and sound. I always have. I stopped keeping a dream journal when I realized that I was spending nearly an hour a day writing the dreams down, and that I was on my fourth volume for the year. My sister once read a magazine article which said that the "average" person remembers X number (I don't remember the number) of dreams a year. Looking back at one of the books of my dreams, I realized that I remembered that many in 6 weeks. Even knocked out on cold medicine I tend to remember bits and pieces; the last time that happened, I floated up toward consciousness with the thought "Damn, I hate having dreams that foretell my death." That was annoying, because I couldn't remember what came before that point. (oh, and the romantic and possibly Victorian idea that if you die in your dream, you will actually die in reality is false-I've seen my own death several times, and I am still here.)

Last night, I had a series of nightmares. After each one I awoke, practiced some calming breathing patterns and tried to turn the mood. It didn't work.

In the first dream, my younger daughter and I were on the run from the Nazis. If you are of Jewish background and raised post World War II, there is no easier symbol of complete and unbeatable evil for the subconscious to use, than the Nazis and their death camps. In the dream, a friend offered to hide us in his house, even while knowing the danger that he was putting himself in by doing so. Alas, we were betrayed by a neighbor of his, and as I woke up, heart pounding in panic, the final experience was of being in a desperate crowd, being driven by whips and trying unsuccessfully to hold onto my child.

The second dream was far less linear. There was something to do with shopping in a huge food warehouse, full of tropical and summer fruit. Then, I was enclosed in a room with a hungry and possibly rabid, bear. The room was filled with bear-proof hiding places, but they were all already filled with people and there was no room for me in any of them. I had placed all of those people in those places of safety and they trusted me. I could displace any one of them, merely by asking them to move, then I would be safe, but that other person wouldn't be. I tried to escape the bear by climbing to the top of a file cabinet, knowing that if the bear really wanted to, it would have no trouble climbing after me.

The final dream again had a clear story line. I am on some sort of business trip with both people I know very well and some that I cannot now identify. And from the hotel that we were staying at, we had to make a side trip to another city. On the return to the hotel, the taxi exited a tunnel into what looked like a war zone, with tumbled and destroyed buildings. Our hotel, and the buildings directly surrounding it were in a clear and safe area, though. It wasn't safe within the hotel, however all of the threats to me were of the mental, emotional and psychological variety (and of these, I am NOT going to go into any details on the blog.), although at one point, I did say "Fine, I will just go play in traffic!" which sounds far more petulant now than it did, then. In the end, I packed my suitcase, full of iridescent tee shirts and dresses and left. I woke up very depressed at that point.
I spent the morning thinking about each dream and what it might possibly mean. But I have come to the conclusion that individually, they mean less than they do as a set. They are meant to be thought of as chapters in a single story.

Dream #1 I am completely helpless and totally dependant on the aid of someone else. When that aid fails, not only am I destroyed, but so are my works, my hopes, and my future.

Dream #2. I am not completely helpless. I have managed to feed and protect my work as well as others, but only at the price of sacrificing me. This, however was not so much a deliberate sacrifice as much as not thinking things through and re-acting rather than acting deliberately.

Dream #3 I am not helpless. And I carry with me (as long as I remember that I do, and "pack my suitcase.") the tools that I need to recreate and reincarnate who and what I am, although not necessarily who and what I appear to be at any given time. (I apologize for the skimpiness of the details about dream #3, but this is a public blog. I doubt very much that anyone who might read this could send Nazis or bears after me, but the situations of dream # 3 could be recreated by the malign and skilled.)

This is the story of growing up. Not just the growing up from baby to legal drinking or driving age, but the growing up into being the self that you are intended to be. A review, if you will of what I have come out of and where I am heading. I suppose I should be grateful for the Mars rx review that has shown me that there has been progress. But I really wouldn't have minded some peaceful sleep.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Explaining the Subtitle

It has come to my attention that not everyone understands the subtitle of my blog as I meant it to be understood. "Doing the small magics everyday, because many small things become something big" is not meant to be self denigrating, nor self deprecating. It is a philosophy of life. If you are familiar with Aesop's Fables, I am the Ant in the "Ant and the Grasshopper;" the Tortoise in the "Tortoise and the Hare." If you are happier with the world of JRR Tolkien, I am the Galadriel of Trilogy, with her heavily guarded (but not always visibly so) borders and mirror, not the Galadriel of the stories in the Silmarillion, who sought Power and Rule Over others (carefully chosen capitol letters.). Or maybe more accurately, I am Samwise, the gardener and caretaker. This isn't the type of role that is lauded by modern society, if, in fact it was ever lauded anywhere, at anytime. There is little overt glory in such a role. I have skills and talents; there are things magical that I am very good at, but I try to avoid the need for big showy stuff by taking care of things before they require big and showy and NOW!

A story that once (maybe more than once) made the email rounds:

One day a man comes home from work to find total mayhem at home! The kids were outside still in their pajamas playing in the mud and muck. There were empty food boxes and wrappers all around. As he proceeded into the house, he found an
even bigger mess. Dishes on the counter, dog food spilled on the floor, a broken glass under the table, and a small pile of sand by the back door. The family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing, and a lamp had been knocked over.He headed up the stairs, stepping over toys, to look for his wife.

He was becoming worried that she may be ill, or that something had happened to her. He found her in the bedroom, still in bed with her pajamas on, reading a book.She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"She again smiled and answered,
"You know everyday when you come home from work and ask me what I did today?""Yes," was his reply.
She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it!"

The story is a broad and amusing (to me) demonstration of my life and magic, my life of magic. There is little drama, no fanfare and certainly, no fame. I don't shoot fireballs out of my wand as if it were a roman candle, and I don't make claims to know or do more than I can back up. What I do is often not noticed until I don't do it, whether it is the strengthening of the wards, doing a healing, cooking a meal, seeing a client, doing herbal work, charging an amulet or nurturing my spouse or my daughters. As I do more, I find that I say less (DH may disagree!), which certainly puts me at odds with the common culture. I am not likely to leave a permanent mark on society, neither writing books, teaching students nor organizing public events. I suppose there is the slight chance of entering into and becoming part of the local mythology-and with that, I will have to be content. Content is fine. I am good at content.

With the coming of the New Moon on Friday (East Coast) and with Mercury no longer retrograde, I have several projects to start, and projects to go back to. I will be making incense sticks, and starting an amulet project for someone. There are several very patient people waiting for mail from me. Much of my "regular" life that was put down in December (MIL visit, my trip to New Orleans, Chanukah, Christmas, the Swine Flu, New Years) is being picked up again. Life is good. You think that doesn't involve some major mojo?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Importance of Knowing, Not thinking that you Know; Or How to Raise the Morale of Our Vets

As some of you may know, my daughter and I go to belly dance classes together. Our teacher leads a dance troupe that is a not for profit charity, raising money for the local food bank and for a woman's shelter. The troupe also dances for audiences that don't have much opportunity for entertainment, such as nursing homes, physical rehab centers and veteran's centers. Last weekend, the troupe did a show at a home for disabled Vets.

As Sherri was dancing around the room, one of the men in a wheelchair spoke to her. She thought he said "can we keep in touch?" Which, she said later, was a sadly frequent request at some of these shows. The music was loud, so Sherri leaned forward to ask him his name. Turns out, he hadn't asked what she thought he had.

He had asked "Can I touch?"

And since Sherri responded by leaning forward and toward him...

He did.