Taking up the challenge

After several takes, a few stalls, and some days of just spacing out and forgetting I can film, I’ve started in the Youtube Pagan Challenge. Some of you are taking part, but if you’re not, it’s a series of questions to be answered in video format. The challenge is already on week six, but I have this and week four already done. Maybe by the weekend I can pull off being up to date with the question. Enjoy!

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Love of the gods.

My sister in Jackal Sobeq speaks volumes on having real love for the Gods. Plus, I miss writing.
Beloved Jackal Dad, please obliterate the obstacles in the way of my moving forward, and in the way of my Doing and Creating. Kheperu.

carrying their light

I’ll be the first one to admit that my perspective on all things Kemetic is fairly insular. I don’t look too far beyond the Kemetic Orthodox community. I browse Tumblr but don’t really engage much. So anything I speak about is going to come either from what I’ve learned in the House of Netjer, or what I’ve learned through my own interaction with the gods. All this is to say: I’m not the most informed on what other people believe, so I’m speaking purely from ignorance here and nothing more. (It’s possible that, given my ignorance, I should just keep my mouth shut — but where’s the fun in that?)

I’ve noticed huge diversity in how people describe their divine relationships. There’s some who almost give off a sense of distrust for the gods, as though They were so capricious that they might turn and bite their devotees on a…

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12 Nights of Yule for 2015: Hagalaz and Nauthiz

Hagalaz: What upheavals have I dealt with?

Nothing much new for this year. But the upheavals of the last few years are still sorting themselves out. I’ve managed to get some of them settled though. That to me is a major achievement. And maybe this year I’ll handle a few more.

Nauthiz: What do I need?

Most of all I need a lot of physical contact with other people and a few weeks of sex, to start. (Not had any for about four years, and now you know.) A lot more free time. Focus. Physical energy. Someone to plan my meals, especially the ones which go with me to work.

12 Nights of Yule for 2015: Gebo and Wunjo

Wow I am running behind hard on all these. Epiphany is almost upon us even (I’m involved with Vodou as well, so even though I did not spend any time as a Catholic I’m kinda aware of the holidays now) and I am not even a third of the way through these. But since I can’t seem to rouse myself enough to tidy around the house or unpack more, and am just at the end of Jessica Jones, I want something else to occupy my brain.

Gebo: What gifts have I given and received?

For giving, well, Yule just passed, along with a wedding, and I’ll admit to indulging in some generosity this year. It was good to do but I need to work on making more gifts and better planning.
Received? I got some nice things over the holiday. But my better gift this year has been the company of people. That tends to be what I want more than anything now.

Wunjo: What has brought me joy?

People I care about. My cats. My nieces and nephew. Some media. Warm weather.

12 Nights of Yule for 2015: Raidho and Kenaz

It’s either been a super crazy or super relaxed time on this vacation. On Monday there was minimal movement throughout the house as we all recouperated from the holidays and wedding. Last night was also, quite possibly, the first House of Netjer meetup in the state of Florida. We ate Ethiopian food and talked for many hours. It would have been longer but enough people had to work today that it made things impossible.

Today I did not get out of bed until almost noon and have spent the day in pajamas. Now this is what I call a vacation.

Raidho: What journeys (either literal or spiritual) have I made this year?

The literal journeys have been Pantheacon in February (and I have never had a con where I’ve been so tired throughout the whole weekend), New York City in July because I am a fangirl, and now in Florida.

Spiritual journeys this year take two forms. First there is the trance work, which has been limited to holy tide celebrations. The second has been new deities on the personal radar, coming from cultures with which I have not interacted. These are still in their infancy and I have no clue where they might go.

Kenaz: What have I crafted?

I’ve made some spells, I’ve knitted, I have colored. Nowhere near enough, but I did it.

12 Nights of Yule for 2015: Thurisaz and Ansuz

My nephew got married today. It was a lovely service and I got to dance with one of my nieces. Oh, and caught the bouquet and had a 17 year old boy putting the garter on me. I may have worn a cougar dress but I was not expecting that in any way.

In other excitement, there will be a Florida gathering of members of the House of Netjer this week. So so excited for this!

Thurisaz: What obstacles stand in my way?

I can identify two with ease: my health and anxiety. The first I went into some of it yesterday. The anxiety has developed as connected with the first. It’s difficult for me just to start anything because there is no guarantee of being able to complete whatever it is. And having more piles of stuff around my house just leads to more anxiety. If anyone has suggestions of how to deal with this (I don’t have a PCP so medication is out, and for me it’s not the step I want to start with.)

Ansuz: What inspires me? How do I inspire others?

Inspiration is in living, in my chosen family, my Unseen ones, even my cats. Seeing other people able to lead “normal” lives, in that they do not have to chose between one activity or another unless they want to be wiped out for days, makes me want to continue caring for myself.

How I inspire others? I have no idea at this point.

12 Nights of Yule for 2015: Fehu and Uruz

All these plans, all these ideas, and seldom do I get a chance to DO anything with them. During the weekend I remembered that Beth had created journaling questions for the 12 night of Yule using the runes. It seems like as good a task as any to get me back into posting here a little more and taking stock of this secular year.

I had planned to start this at the beginning of the week on Yule, but that did not happen. This has been my week: 3 days of work, a day of scrambling to pack/catch flight/sit through delay for fueling/Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/my nephew preparing to get married in about 14 hours. How was your week?

Fehu: How has abundance manifested in my life this year?

Oh what a laugh this brings me now. Normally I (and a lot of other people) associate fehu with prosperity, but it’s not just money. It’s accumulating. And in my case, I don’t like the manifestation. Those of you with whom I may speak regularly know that I sometimes bitchcomplain about the fact that I still have most of my mother’s possessions in the house. I’ve barely been able to keep up with my own day to day necessities, so how could I even think of removing anything from the house? What I am hoping is that after this trip I can start taking even an hour or two each week to start sorting through stuff again and removing it. That must be done before I will tackle my own belongings (which could probably stand some weeding) because I need to know how much space I have before I start.

If anything, this experience is showing me that I do not want to put any friends, loved ones, or descendants in the position of having to go through stuff of mine which should have been taken out years before.

Uruz: Where is my strength?

My perseverance. The only reason why I am starting to do better at the end of this year is because I would not give up. Even through all the months when I dragged and stopped doing everything but the essentials, I kept at it and knew that at some point things would improve for me. I’m ending 2015 with a larger spoon capacity than I had at the beginning. I finally have my supplements working enough that I can get through my days with a better degree of clarity, and not wanting coffee at 2.30pm when I am starting my work day.

Black dog of the sharp curve

(oh my, it’s been two months since I said I wanted even to write this post, and now in early November I am forcing myself to do so. Eff you again, brain and body. Give me back myself.)
(Especially since there was a month between what I wrote up there and my finishing it today.)

This took place on September 1. As these things go, perhaps a good time for a liminal experience. Not only was it the start of a new month, but also the start of a new semester. And as such, the day I switched back to my now much more common evening schedule. (I work 2.30pm-11pm when school is in session.) It may not have been the witching hour but that was coming close enough.

As more lead up, I am a creature of habit. I almost always take the same route to and from work. While I could take the main avenue near my house which goes directly to the street where I must turn, I skip it because the speed limit is low and there are a lot of lights. My preferred route is of a similar speed limit but fewer lights and a little more wild space. When I would take this route home last year, I occasionally saw foxes and one night, a buck. Much more appealing for me.

On the night in question, I didn’t see anything unusual at first. All I knew is I was tired because my body had not had the chance to make the switch to working later into the evening. And like I said, I was probably primed for this. Coming closer to my house, the road I take makes a 90 degree curve. It’s perilous even in the best conditions, and during winter it can take you into a snow mound if you cannot handle the curve.

it looks so banal even at night

it looks so banal even at night

This is the area as I come upon it on my drive home. Notice the collection of street lights on the left giving good light to an area of trees. It didn’t look like this on that first night. I came up to this part of the street and it was black. My rational mind says there is no way all those lights were out at the same time, and yet it was black. And in that blackness came another blackness. Coming closer to the curve, for about two seconds, I could perceive and nearly see a large black canine head extending across the road. It was gone by the time I took the curve but I could still sense that otherness of the spirit world as I drove home. Every night since, when that curve first comes into my line of sight, I look at it and it looks as it does in the picture. Even so I do not doubt what I sensed on that night was real.

I will admit that my knowledge of black dog legends is low at this stage; my ability to read fast is but a distant memory right now. That Wikipedia article has been a help even in its minimal form, and I am okay with only having the one sighting. It also provided me with an amazing tidbit, there is a black dog legend not far from where I live. And while my “dog” was much larger, the first visit did fill with me joy. Even if the spirit is not a dog in its native form (and how often do we see spirits as they “really” appear?) I don’t mind. I think whatever it was, dog or no, showed itself like that because I would recognize it.

And as such moments do, I got to thinking about where I live. Those of you who have known me for a long time know that I had a somewhat nebulous plan for several years that I would move out west. With my mother’s passing and inheriting her house, that is on a burner way in the back. Maybe even off the stove but who knows what the future brings. So I am here for a while now. And for all that I complain about the people here, I do love the land. Even my home, a condo. Despite the management’s and our overculture’s ideas, a fence can’t keep nature out. I share my land with a flock of turkeys across the street because no one told them the fence means do not enter. There are birds aplenty, squirrels, possums, skunks, at least one owl, vultures, and I swear I once saw a kestrel. Not to mention the woods, the grass, the end of the nearby lake creating wetlands. There is much magic and mystery just waiting outside my door, and I know where to look and how to see it.

Sarah Lawless did this piece not long after I saw the dog and she hits on the essence of my wanting to stay. I need the green spaces. I need to be areas mostly left alone by human reshaping. I need to see the stars overhead and feel soil under my bare feet. I also need to be near an ocean, which is an interesting family quirk/wyrd. IF you need this kind of space, a little more removed from modern hustle and bustle, look around. There are plenty of smaller towns in the US hoping for people to move. My area isn’t one of them but I think I’ll be okay sticking around here for a while.

(addendum: Hey, it’s post 250! I never imagined getting to this point. And I have about five more waiting to happen. Bless everything for my wonderful nutritionist tweaking my supplements last week and bringing me yet more clarity of mind. I can write again! and finish things!)

And a few more notes I forgot

1. Two weeks ago I went to a presentation on the Mighty Dead by Chris Penczak. I picked up his book,t he talk was interesting, he mentioned some Traditional craft stuff, and I think I can incorporate some of what he discussed into my own work.
The weird part is that in a full room (a good 20 people), I was one of the most experienced practitioners there. The only ones with more experience (at least who spoke up) were Penczak himself and Siduri, and I showed up with her. If I could offer one piece of advice to a seeker, or someone “electic” whow asn’t really sure which direction to go, I would just tell them to stick with something. One thing. Learn it more, and deeper. Let it integrate with the other parts of your life.
Sometimes it seems like neo-paganism as a movement suffers from serious ADD.

2. If you’re not reading Rue and Hyssop you are missing out on some serious goodness. Jen’s currently giving away a bunch of books this month to celebrate Halloween. Go have a look! (And maybe stay, she’s good people.)

3. Link editing has begun. Instead of doing it all in one sitting, I’ll update slowly as spoons allow. If you have someting you really really want to see there, speak up!

A few little notes

1. The weekend before the equinox Siduri and I did our Mabon rite. Since early in the year we’ve been working through the rituals in Sunna’s Journey. It’s a collection of rites for the eight holidays of the neopagan year, along with some others, all done in the ADF ritual style. We both like the ritual format, and the book itself, but that’s the extent of any work either of us will be doing with ADF. It IS nice to have a Heathen-style ritual format which also allows for spiritual and magical workings. We’re already plotting for Samhain and want to do a few different things then.
During the rite we also did trance work involving Bear Mother. It’s something we’ve done in the past at different times but I felt strongly like I wanted to do some that night. We both used some of Sarah’s ointments to aid in our working. My choice was one of her datura offerings (Datura and Dwale, a limited item made earlier this year) because I have been wanting to work with datura and had not before. My travel was rather different from what I have experienced with her other salves. Instead of it opening me up easier and helping guide, I found myself doing the trance but the moment my focused wavered I wound up in a new, random setting. Nothing troublesome, thank Gods, but nothing I have experienced before. I’m hoping over the winter to work more with both datura salves I have, since they seem to produce a notable response for me.

2. Beth and I have been friends for over a decade and I’ve been supporting her shop since she started. Over the summer she put up a cord I gazed at longingly for a few days, but when I wanted to buy it, the cord had been sold. To my joy, she made another one recently, and I jumped on the new sovereignty cord as soon as possible. It’s such a tranquil and grounding item I can’t get over it. Plus, it’s purdy.

sovereignty cord

sovereignty cord

(please ignore my old Projekt shirt, I was in lounging around the house clothes when it arrived and didn’t feel like getting changed.)

3. The new deities in my house both have shrines now. One has a statue, the other a print, but both have candles and incense (again, from Beth), a necklace each, and for one, a pouch I made at Harvest Gathering in August. Soon there will be photos because shrines continue to manifest in my house.

4. It’s a wonder what a good additional supplement or two will do for sleep. In my last consultation with my nutritionist I mentioned less than ideal sleep, and she suggested melatonin (which I’ve used before to mixed results) and an amino acid called serine. The first night alone was such a marked change! I give a lot of credit to both for my health improvements over the last month. Oh what good sleep can do for a person!

5. My favorite Thracian posted late in the summer that someone he knew would be offering a few weeks of one on one language instruction in about a dozen different languages. Me being the budding linguistics nerd jumped on the offer. At first I thought i would do Vietnamese (because the caveat was it had to be a completely new language to the person) because why not, then realized ancient Greek would be a better choice AND helpful to my job. (Yes sometimes I do need to be able to figure out the random phrases in Greek letters included in book requests.) Four weeks in and it’s been rather enjoyable. Now if I could just get enough hours and focus to work more on the material on my own! In case your own language interest has been peeked, check out ILT for information.

6. Yes I did change the blog theme. Next up, a full update of links! And maybe a few more posts.