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This Pagan House

I just realized that I never updated the link to my current blog.

This Pagan House

Why the Blog

Here’s something I’ve been considering lately.

Why the blog?

I started this blog to be a part of a community. I don’t have a true spiritual community, and I wanted to have a place where I felt someone might hear what I was saying. And they did.

I’ve never been a real deep writer on this blog. The purpose of it was/is mainly to catch passing thoughts, the forerunners of what goes into my private journals. It’s unrefined, not always well-written and naval gazing.

But I like it. I always have.

However, I’m wondering if it’s time to start something new. Like I will get a new journal for this journey, maybe it’s time to consider a new blog. A more intentional place to keep records, a more reflective place to become part of a community.

As I write this I know it’s true. And it saddens me, a lot. A new blog? Just archiving all of these posts? I don’t know. I don’t particularly like the idea of “all new”–I think that these posts contain a foundation, and that’s important. However, I also am not comfortable just continuing posting on top of the older stuff. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, I’ll let you (my small viewing public, hello, husband :)) know.

There was no way 5:30 a.m. was going to happen this morning. Suffice to say it was a long, interrupted night. I just put Claire down for a nap, so I decided to do a quick Tarot draw and some reading. Today I’ll write about each card and then (perhaps, maybe) come to some sort of conclusion at the end.

Question: What insights do I need to make this weekend beneficial to the whole family.

Deck: Shadowscapes

Spread: I drew one card per day (Friday night, Saturday, Sunday) and a clarity card.

Friday: Five of Cups

Aeclectic.net tells me that Fives “represent the fly in the ointment. Instability; the changes that make one humble and allow for growth”. Fives are equated to the Hierophant. I know that Cups are the water suit and represent emotion. The card on first glance says to me introspection and worry. It’s a desolate card with one lone figure gazing into a bowl, though richly colored. The deck book tells me this card is about wallowing in sorrow, grieving for what might have been. Aeclectic calls it the “spilled milk” card, while admonishing one to open their eyes to look at what is good and not wallow (harp on) what is bad/”lost”.

Saturday: Six of Pentacles

Sixes are balance and harmony, equated to the Lovers. Pentacles represent the earth, grounded, unmoving. Aeclectic says: “These cards predict a solution, and not just any solution; there will be an exchange, a give and take that results in a new equilibrium.” I’ve drawn this card from this deck a few times and it’s always been hard for me to read–my interpretation doesn’t match up with deck book. The deck book says that the card depicts a “self-sustaining cycle”. A piper sits on a crumbling stone ledge and his music nourishes a vine whose roots and tendrils buttress the ledge. Biddy Tarot places more emphasis on the financial aspects of the card, calling it the “money in-money out” card. The gist of their interpretations is that it is a peaceful financial card, one of balance, harmony, generosity and charity. A wise financial decision (or resource) decision that benefits everyone.

Sunday: Wheel of Fortune

To me, this card is “change is coming”. Maybe good, maybe bad, maybe life, maybe death. But change. And with any kind of change, you can take a step back to see that life is at one part of the wheel and someday will turn again. Aeclectic says that it is a card of change, but almost always good change, luck and fortune. Biddy Tarot speaks of change, maybe good or maybe bad, but the point is to be active in the change. If life changes for the “worse”, then be active in changing it again for the better.

Clarity: Ace of Swords.

Aces are “raw potential” akin to the Magician giving tools to the Fool. Swords are the suit of the air element, one of intelligence, wisdom and the mind. The deck book states that the card depicts a “double edged sword” that will soon have to cut one way or the other. Aeclectic says this:  “The breeze stirs through the trees and the fledgling thinks of trying out its newly feathered wings. The sword is lifted, and the querent wants to test its edge.” Most interpretations I read spoke of the dawning of something powerful, pruning, success.

Conclusion: I’m not sure. Regret, generosity, change, pruning. Sorrow, old-new balance, fortune, decision. In my mind this can relate to a struggle I’m having about “coming out” as it were and pursuing my path as a…what? See, that’s the thing. I don’t know what I am. I’ve discussed labels before, and come to the conclusion that this is not the right time for me to apply one. However, I’ve been longing for my home to be able to be my home. I keep all my books in my night table stand, I hide away my journals and my tarot deck, I don’t have an altar though I’d like one. All because I’m afraid for someone to see it–anyone–friends, parents, inlaws. How I’m going to bring up Claire religiously has been gnawing at me.

I can see them now for what they are, in a way–a distraction. Will they have to be dealt with? Absolutely. But right now? I don’t think so. They are exaggerated fears, especially for this moment in my life.

Things are changing, to be sure. I am changing and have changed. I’ve been worried about it, uncertain, flakey and nervous too much. Time to accept what is coming, what is, know that I have a good balance and step out in it.

Also–enough naval gazing! (But…but…then would I even have a blog? ;))

I’ll report back after the weekend to see if I have any other insights into this spread. Any input into the spread is welcome, as well!

So, I said I was going to do it. And here I am.

I got out of my warm, cozy bed after Claire’s first morning feeding–at the ripe hour of 5:30 a.m.–and blearily wandered into the living room. My heart was willing, but my body was not. A quick yoga routine (man! that felt good!) fixed that and then a Tarot draw for the day.

Intention: what should I be aware of in myself or others today (something that will help me or give me clarity/direction?)

Card 1: Kind of Wands

Clarity Card: Four of Cups

First off, I was very mystified by the combination. I’m not very familiar with the Tarot yet, so I read some interpretations. Now it makes a lot of sense. For the past few weeks, after weeks of success with weight-loss and fitness I have relapsed pretty hardcore. It’s always the same, isn’t it, with any bad habit/addiction? Anyway. Yesterday I felt confused about it.  I spent the whole day (while eating-for-comfort the whole time, not necessarily bingeing but close) in circular contemplation about WHY WHY WHY I couldn’t get over this. I dithered the whole day, which just ultimately made the problem worse. No action. Just dithering.

To me, the King of Wands tells me that today I need action. I need some fire in my gut. The Four of Cups could be seen as yesterday, in one way, but I also think it is to give me pause about the action I take. I’m an extremist. A perfectionist. I have failed perfectionist syndrome like you wouldn’t believe. Four of Cups seems to me to say that the action is wonderful–but it needs to come with a dimension of contemplation and direction.

Also, the Four of Cups could mean that I’m sick of this problem. Which I am.

That’s the most immediate meaning to me. This can also relate to my creative life. I finished NaNoWriMo in November and I’ve been letting my manuscript sit fallow. Which is awesome; it needs to do that. But perhaps I should start polishing it off and deciding just what I’m going to do with it.

Was the yoga and card reading worth getting up for? Yes. Most definitely yes. I feel grounded, energetic and hopeful–albeit tired. The first days of new routines are always wonderful, non?

Daily Work

So, after years of dithering and dabbling, I’ve decided to begin.

I guess it’s not so much a ‘beginning’ since I’ve been one-toe-in for over a year now so…I guess I’m saying, I’m committing.

I think I’m going to commit from Yule to Yule, a full year, of daily practice of some kind. I’m not going to label it or try to shape it.

I’ve recently had some success in my life in areas of life-long self-sabotage. I finished NaNoWriMo and damn near completed the novel (!!). Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I did it. The fall garden is doing well. I’m doing great things for my body, consistently and lovingly, which is such a change from the violent relationship of the past.

It’s kind of like house cleaning. Now that I have certain things in order I want to commit to a year–I think–of spiritual practice. How does this look? I’m not sure. Will it be scheduled? Eeeeh. I’ve tried to schedule such things before and it doesn’t happen for me. But is that part of the work? Committing to a schedule? I’m not sure. I’m going to take the next three weeks to consider, plan and pray…and we’ll see.

I’m excited. This feels right in a very deep place.

Jack-O-Lantern, standing (sitting?) sentinel for the night

Colcannon, beer and trick-or-treater goodies.

Tarot reading. It was confusing. It'll take some time to decipher.

Remembering the beloved dead and promising that I'd tell their stories

A prayer and dedication for myself, as well.

Cakes (pumpkin muffins) and ale (Harvest Moon) for myself, and an offering of thanks and remembrance

Is Halloween creepy because we make it so in our minds? Is it our culture, our psychology? I don’t know. But something about the first drop in temperature and rustling leaves makes you feel like something other is nearby, right at hand. Almost palpable.

Yesterday was like that for me. I don’t know if it was a real intuition or just cultural expectation, but the whole day felt a little…? I don’t even know the word. I could say “full”, because the air felt full of…what? I could say “breezy” because it was that, for sure, but there was also a different kind of wind, one that crawled up your neck and rested behind your ears, just on that spot that at once tickles and feels good.

Last night after we shut down our candy operation I went outside on our patio for a short prayer ritual. It took a bit of concentrating to get in the right frame of mind. Once there the night absorbed me for a while. I prayed and read the Tarot–a confusing reading–and I remembered my relatives. I sat in silence for a while, contemplating the…deity, I suppose?…that has been calling to me. Wanting it to be and wanting it not to be at the same time.

Anyway, so as I was engaged in this silent meditation–and the next thing happened in about ten seconds–I heard something. A rustle. My mind registered it. Then I heard two steps on the dry grass (I shit you not!).

Then? Then I freaked the fuck out and ran inside. My husband gave me a headlamp (hah) and sent me back outside to finish what I was doing. He’s a good man.

Anyway.

So the cakes and ale portion was moved up on the list and I settled into a more comfortable rapport with the deity I was praying to. The evening finished out beautifully. I came inside completely energized and refreshed, but it was the best kind of energy–grounded, contented.

When I have time I’ll talk more about some different spiritual things that have been moving around here. The lead up to Samhain was very important, but as I’ve dedicated myself to National Novel Writing Month I feel like I should honor that engagement.

This whole entry seems so somber! Really. I wish there was video of me freaking out at the possum/spook incident. Any other night I would have…what? What would I have done? Who knows. It sounded like footfalls, and it was probably a racoon coming to eat the pumpkin muffins I set out.

Autumn Equinox/Mabon

Misty Mabon Morning (...I love a good alliteration...)

Autumn, as noted many times on this blog, is my favorite time of year. Perhaps because it makes me take notice more as I try to feel every cool breeze and see every turning leaf. These small signs are precious to me, and they begin as early as mid-August, though you really have to look for them. The first rainstorm where the breeze slides cool and silky over your skin. The first hard drop of autumn rain as opposed to the big wet splats of summer.

And, of course, the Pumpkin Spice Latté at Starbucks, right?

I spent this Autumn Equinox/Mabon mostly inside with Claire, but we went on a walk and I made soup and enjoyed it with some hard cider. I had planned to do a ritual outside but weather, then mosquitoes, prevented that.

The day started misty, the light having a certain diffused, liminal quality that makes you feel like everything you see is somehow on a different plane than you are. The mist burned off (and so did the cool breeze) by the time Claire and I made it out for our morning walk. Instead we walked in hot, humid, soupy heat with the occasional lavender raincloud offering shade as it raced to gather with others for an afternoon storm.

Fields of wildflowers have given way to tall, golden grass

We walk in a park not too far from our house. It’s a nice place where the city has made a little marshland trail. Birds love it and in the summer I’d see Blue Herons, cranes, sparrows and wrens happily munching on minnows and assorted bugs. As Claire and I strolled through Wednesday morning the skies were quiet, save for the flitting of the occasional dragonfly.

Over the past few days a blackbird has sat on our bird bath watching the house. It got to the point where I started looking up myth and symbolism of the blackbird because I’d see if everyday, on the bath, watching the house. Since Mabon, however, the blackbird has gone. I remember on Wednesday noticing that there seemed to be hundreds of blackbirds roosting in the oak trees, caw-ing as they do, but since…since I’ve only heard the passing call and seen none.

Mushrooms sprouted after our extremely wet weather.

Recently the weather has been so wet. First a tropical storm rolled in and now just persistent moisture. The air is full of water, weather cool or hot, and is by turns pleasant (cool) and awful (hot). This weekend our first cool fronts will pass by and the temperatures will drop into the eighties, accompanied by dry air. Dry air signals the beginning of autumnal temperatures in Texas and will be a blessed relief from this summer’s persistent humidity.

After our walk Claire and I mostly stayed inside. Several afternoon and evening showers dumped rain on us and by the time Jonathan got home I had begun to cook dinner. We ate a vegetable, barley and chicken soup and drank hard cider. After dinner I went outside to enjoy dusk. The lavender rain clouds were gilded gold by the setting sun and made for a beautiful twilight.

Acorns are all over the ground from the ubiquitous oak trees

Dusk on Mabon

All in all, a pleasant and quiet holiday.