Monday, May 24, 2010

I've Been a Bad, Bad Girl: Money Magic & the Dilettante

I'm realizing as I'm pondering writing this entry, that I've always managed to have enough money for whatever I've really wanted/needed. Now. Before you start putting me in your Burn Book about this, what I mean by that is I've always gotten by. My car gets repaired when it needs to, I've bought the occasional expensive handbag or pair of shoes, I've traveled a lot, I've bought fancy clothes, I've always had a roof over my head, enough to eat, heat in the winter, I've even managed to buy a house.

Now, this hasn't been due to diligence and proper planning and money management, not in the past at least. In the past it was due to maxing out credit cards and having a larger income than I do now, which could always make the math work out well enough to do whatever. My twenties were spent in a happy tequila haze of purse licking and dancing on tables and not giving a shit about retirement. For me however, there was nothing like turning 30 and divorcing to make me suddenly start caring about my old age a lot.

In my present, I started to pay off the sins of my twenties by consolidating my credit cards, operating from a "cash only" standpoint, and not buying a lot of unnecessary stuff to clutter up my house and my bills. My pension plan just started (whoo!) and it's handy that my mortgage now counts as an investment verses rent. It also helps that my condo was bought through the Mount Laurel Project which means while I will never make a bucket of money on it, I will at least always be able to turn a small profit no matter what (due to the rules of the Project). Post divorce, I really started streamlining my possessions, though I will still readily admit to a clothes habit (though now 95% of the time I only buy on clearance, usually with an additional coupon). Sounds good right? Don't get too excited. Remember I come from a family of Ferengi. My sister is now sitting on a huge pile of money because despite also spending her twenties in a similiar manner, she never acquired a clothes habit, never liked nice restaurants, and got to get paid to see the world by becoming a flight attendent which meant that she could live with Mothra without any CSI mother-daughter issues because she was gone for weeks at a time. Mothra is an accountant and enjoyed working for the IRS which I think says everything that's needed to be said there. But every family needs a black sheep, n'est-ce pas?

So, I've been trying to slog through The Four Hour Work Week which came highly recommended to me. I would put it at an 80/20 split (. . . .ironic given that he's so into the 80/20 thing) of 80% of the time it feels like he's apologetically jizzing in your hair, and 20% of the time he says something useful or thought provoking. There is a really rabid cult surrounding this book and . . .I don't know. To me, it feels like (a) there's a lot of privilege in this book (b) I can only take so much of OMFGBBQ! I AM SO AWESOME! (c) I'm not seeing a super clear distinction distinction between the new rich and the walking dead as yet, honestly. But, knowledge is power so I will finish it and see if there's anything useful to me. I think a big part of the problem for me with the book is I already left the corporate rat race and started doing more with less a while ago so it's not revolutionary to do so for me.

I will say, I've gotten so spoiled working for my boss in our tiny little company that if god forbids we ever went under, my plan would be freelance work, crafting, and temping. She's eventually going to want to retire, so that would put me in my my 40's when that happens, which is why I'm working on building a portfolio and a crafting business now and paying off my debt. Outside of house and maybe a car, I will be debt free in five years. So if it happens on plan, I will really be ready for it and if it happens off plan I could get ready enough with the help of unemployment to manage. In this economy, it's what's helping me sleep at night. Unless there is no other way for me to be self supporting, I can't picture going back to the rat race.

On the other side of the coin, the Amish* are also weighing in on how they do business.

And now, a honeypot spell for your faces. I have started doing this myself and this month I have managed to pay all my bills on time even though I've missed work, had a doctor's visit, and bought some clothes (before I was sick). If you try this out, let me know! I'm trying to track results for when I get my shit together enough to produce a book.

I like neat-o ingredients like lodestodes and High John and other fun things, but as I tend to get the urge to do magic on like a Wednesday at 7:03p, I need to rummage through what I've got and be able to buy everything at a local grocery store or craft store because I lack forethought and restraint. You would think I would start stocking harder to find ingredients, but see previous sentence.

Steady Work Honey Pot

Items needed:
Grapeseed oil
Butter melter or Fragrance warmer
Coffee Filter
1/4ish cup of honey
Small green taper candles
Sewing pin or needle
Bay leaf
Cinnamon sticks
Irish moss
Piece of your own hair
Piece of green paper
Mason jar or jar like this with a lid that can handle heat

0. If you can manage to have a little forethought, try to do this on a Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday during a waxing moon. You can feel smug before you even start! If not, as we say in Dianic Wicca to cover all mistakes, The Goddess is forgiving.

1. The day before, make a candle dressing oil using Mrs. B's Method.
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chamomile
1 cinnamon stick (broken up)
1 teaspoon irish moss
1 teaspoon allspice

Store your oil in a small tupperware container in a cool, dark place.

2. Enscribe your candle using your pin or needle* with the symbols for Mercury, Jupiter, and Fortuna Major (Geomancy). If you'd prefer to use other symbols, knock yourself out.

2. Hand tear your piece of green paper so all four edges are torn. Write steady work eight times (or, if you're a writer like me where work does not always equal payment, "steady incoming generating work") without your pen leaving the paper (. . .I'm not great with this as yet) and then turn the paper 90 degrees and write your name over it. Fold the paper towards you. You can say Psalm 23 if you like, I don't, so I go with a simple, "So I will it, so mote it be."

3. Put your name paper in the jar. Put in 3 cinnamon sticks (make sure the jar will close), a pinch of allspice, and the lock of hair in. I personally chose these spices because I like the way they smell and it looks aesthetically pleasing in the jar (oh yeah, they're good money herbs too). Open your honey jar. Before putting it into the jar, I take a little taste. Oshun (Yoruba) likes this and depending on your point of view and which deity, some of the Hindu pantheon likes that too (See? Look? I'm not poisoned and it's not gross! It's delightful for everyone!). I figure, if I was a goddess, I'd want human poison tasters too. Pour honey in. Close up the jar.

4. Here is the part that makes me uneasy. I recommend a small candle as it will burn out faster and save you agita. Light your candle and think about your steady work. Now drip some of it on the top of your jar. Now try to get your candle to stand on top of your jar's lid. Let it burn out, ideally all the way through in one shot. If you are a nervous person like I am, I recommend having a sparking clean kitchen sink where you can put this and it's unlikely to burn your whole house down.

5. Dress new candles and light them on the appropriate days to keep the magic going. Some people put specific time frames down for this. I am not good at that. I find it to be more helpful for me to feed a magical item when it feels like it's starting to not do its job.

* My bff and I have an unhealthy obsession with all things Amish

* I would tell you to use a new pin or needle, but I totally didn't. But I would say try to keep your hexing needles and your charm needles separate.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Question: Mojo Hands

I know no one is supposed to see it, but why? I mean, I know no one is supposed to touch it, which makes sense, but the not seeing it less so to me. I mean, if you wear it in your bra, you take off your bra to go to bed which means it has to go *somewhere* where theoretically it could be seen.

Can you use a mojo hand to do a working for another person? How does that work with the whole no one can see/no one can touch thing? I would assume it would need to marinade on one's altar . . . .

You shut your mouth/ how can you say/ I go about things the wrong way?

Jow says that my many years of Catholicism come out especially when I do magic. Because when in doubt, I Cast Science at it. He says my vetting process as to whether or not something is magical is similar to the Vatican when attempting to prove a miracle. I am also told that this is not as fun at magical gatherings as *I* perhaps think.

It's not that I don't believe that superwonky shit can happen magically, it's that I don't believe it just because someone's telling me it happened.

How to Make Me (and Other Right Brained People) at Least Contemplate Your Story as True:

* Cross Examination. This is the segment especially disliked by Jow as it either sucks the fun out of the story he's telling me or something about how it embarrasses him at an occult party. Look, I watch a lot of Judge Judy and she does typically have a way of ferreting out details of the story from people. But if you can answer sensible questions like, "Really? Okay, when's the last time he ate?" "Which drugs was she rolling on that night?" "Has he tried looking for a job using boring items such as internet job searching and going to job fairs?" in a reasonable manner, then I'm more inclined to consider your magical act as possible.

* Multiple Factors. Your story is way more believable to me if you include "real world" possibilities in it. Such as: "I started to think maybe the house was haunted after having an exterminator, plumber, and contractor by. Also I found an article where it said that there were twelve murders in the house in 1812." or "I made a kick ass money hand that really helped the money keep coming in, along with some temp work and quilting."

* Admit Mistakes. This is surprisingly difficult for some of our occultist brethren, but I'm a lot more inclined to believe your story about how the sky opened up and started raining frogs in your living room if it's also prefaced with, "So, um, it seemed that I made an error in translating the text. I thought it called for six dead frogs but really it was four live bats. . . "

* Put it into Context. For instance, everyone rolls their eyes about the gamer who uses his or her gaming system as magical practice. OMG UR DOIN IT RONG! YOU MAKE THE REST OF US LOOK BAD! A few people have drunkenly confessed to me that Mage: The Ascension makes more sense to them magically than anything nonfiction they've read. Well, duh. Uncle Phil Brucato helped write it. He also wrote about real world magic for a Pagan magazine. White Wolf also worked much harder than other gaming publishers (I'm looking at you, Wizards of the Coast) to promote gender and race equality and when they wrote magical systems that came from indigenous people, they generally tried to get their facts straight. Were the actual facts always reported correctly? Were the systems of magic always related accurately? Um, no. But people, we argue with each other about things that are presented as *non* fiction and the questionable fact checking there (see: Silver Raven Wolf, Edain McCoy, DJ Conway, Alstair Crowley, etc., etc). So if The Spirit Ways works for you and you can put it into context, then rock out. But context means that some of the concepts resonate with you and you've been able to incorporate them into your magical work, not thinking you're an ascended master, brah.

How Does This Translate into Your Meat Life, Deb?

Firstly, my friends are surprisingly laissez-faire about my foray into the Dark Arts. Most only vaguely believe magic is possible, but they seem to think it's therapeutic for me so whatever. I have only just completed my first full trick involving the Dark Arts (. . . I suppose insisting on using a Harry Potter reference to talk about doing ill intended magic doesn't help my case about this being srs work) yesterday so it is far too soon to tell if it worked or not, but I can say with absolute surety at the very least I feel better about the situation so it's done that much for me already. The rest remains to be seen. But I can't see myself taking all the "credit" for whatever happens with the situation I did my trick about, there's a lot of other factors involved too. Maybe it is just internal therapy. Who knows? But I feel like I could answer reasonable questions about it if it does (in my estimation) work, and if it doesn't or backlashes, I know I could admit those mistakes too. The more you know!

Secondly, I am indeed one of those people, bringing the rest of us down. Let me be honest, nothing I've ever learned in magic has stuck to me entirely. I choose to not be Catholic anymore, saying psalms as part of my magical practice in hoodoo squicks me. I'm a white girl in the suburbs with some shamanic training. I can't be bothered to cast a circle every freaking time I want to accomplish something magically. The whole adf ritual is a great public ritual, but privately? No thank you. I've been too shy to go to a Hindu temple and too far out in the 'burbs to get much formal Yoruba training. And those are just the parts that stuck, that's not even counting the much larger sandbox of things that haven't been able to stick at *all* that I am now constantly pestering others and reading about just to better educate myself.

While, yes, I ran a teeny tiny con that had many people thinking that I wore corsets and striped stockings and drank tea out of a matching tea set on the regular (which, gentle readers, is shamefully not so. Even while running it, I was more likely to be found wearing yoga pants and a tshirt drinking bagged tea out of a chipped mug) and I appreciated the gothic aesthetic primarily for dress up purposes and then reluctantly secondarily for the music, as an older goth, it's not something you would immediately peg about me. I also don't really believe (most days) that the world is just an exercise in nihilism.

I will confess, in magical practice at least, I identify most with being a Hollow One, more than any real life tradition. But why? I mean, firstly because the world takes a rather dim view on people trying to actually play out the Euthantos paradigm in an exciting but impractical Boondock Saints sort of manner and frankly I haven't even killed a deer as yet, let alone a person. But joking aside, I do believe in Romance as an archetype. The way I feel about death, the after life, and rebirth is shaky and uncertain at best, though certainly hopeful about it. My view is more agnostic than dogmatic about all that. I tend to do magic simply, using whatever I have around the house most of the time (which is why Gordon's grocery posts make me so happy). I try not to cobble together stuff in a non sensible sort of way (Yemaya and Kali Ma walk into a bar . . .), but I will change something if it doesn't make sense to me. Though I try to learn as much as I can about it first. And if no one is around to help me figure out what to and there's no information I can easily find . . .I make it up. Because, if it works, then it works. And if it doesn't, well that's my problem now isn't it?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wheel of Morality Turn, Turn, Turn. Tell Us the Lesson We Must Learn!

So last we left our intrepid dilettante, she was having a complete crisis of faith.

So it started happening again - I'd start to get better, decide to take it upon myself to have a Tiki Party with a massive amount of help from the bfs and gf, take down a heroic amount of shots and . . .start to get sick again.

Slowly, it started to dawn on me that maybe, just maybe this was not fibro related. Maybe I was just . . .sick (inconceivable! I always Cast Doubt about that because I feel being such a lemon physically that I should get a free pass, n'est-ce pas?) or had an infection or something.

It's been more than three weeks of this low grade . . .thing. So finally, I cave about going to see a doctor (I'm insuranceless or my ass would have been there like a bat out of hell week one).

Being insuranceless, my *ideal* doctor's appointment would be: you have a minor infection, here is a script for cheap or free antibotics.

Because! If it is:

You just have fibro/a cold/allergies/nebulous stinky cat syndrom - *rage!* because I had to pay a lot to hear that.

You need some kind of procedure - *rage!* because I don't have money for that.

I was *going* to go to the MinuteClinic but Mothra acted like I was going there for a back alley abortion*, all, WHAT! ARE THEY EVEN DOCTORS! WHAT DO THEY KNOW ABOUT FIBRO! So I was like, oooooohkay, I'll go to my usual doctor.

So, I did and it turns out I have a bronchial infection and have been put on a five day dose of Zelasomething and sent home after the appointment. So, it went according to plan, basically. I am going to take it easy this week and look forward to returning to my usual state of feeling sort of like ass instead of flat out like ass. She also said that even a low grade fever is going to fuck up my fibro like whoa. Which means I'll be plotting, commenting, writing, and other mischievous acts again v. soon.

I picture the conversation between my deities to go something like:

Yemaya: I've been trying to tell your daughter this for weeks --
Crow: My daughter? Why is she always my daughter when she gets crazified? I've been trying too, I've sent crows everywhere to tell her to get her ass to the damn doctor--
Yemaya: She never listens.
Shiva, Durga, Parvati: Srsly. Not even a little.

* The closest one to me isn't v. close anyway

Monday, May 10, 2010

You have limitations, don't go chasing flies/ I must be protective/ You cannot be reckless/ That's what is expected/ when you are infected . . .

Gather round, kiddies. I haven't been writing as much in the last two weeks or so due to my fibro. Apparently, my body has now decided it's great fun to let me think I'm holding the leash, only to be reminded in the morning who the bitch is.

It's hard. Mostly, I don't talk about it, because I'm busy living and doing and being a good little match girl. But lately, if I do (1) "out of the box" event, I'm paying for it for a week. When I'm dancing on tables and shot gunning caffeine and booze down my throat in equal measures (what? Isn't that what you do at a sci-fi/fantasy con?), I know that the bill is going to come due and I'll sign my name and take the hit to be low grade ill for a week.

But when it's smaller events that simply require getting up early, or staying out late, or being outside when it's a little cold and the bill comes due, demanding similar tribute as a weekend of debauchery, it's more than dispiriting.

This is also where I tend to have trouble interacting with others, even loved ones. Because I don't look sick most of the time and can put on a pretty decent act about being a real girl, it's easy for many to live primarily in Denial Island. When it gets bad, the reaction often shoots over to Ohmigod It's Like You're Dyingville, which is also completely exhausting in other ways. Getting only one of two of those reactions often feels completely skitzo to me, because I live with this every damn day whether I want to or not.

Those close to me want to hear my usual Pollyana attitude, that I will push through this and I will be better again on a cocktail of meds, sunshine, and wishes. That this is just a rough patch. I will be normal again and no one will have to worry anymore. I will be drinking champagne and wearing too much jewelry and laughing again.

And here's where my crisis of faith always happens. I can't promise anyone that. I don't know when and if I'll get better again or if I'm at another dip in the road.

Words that are meant to be encouraging like, we'll get through this, aren't. I'm getting through it right now, thank you. I want my fucking life back. I don't want to just get through this. Digging my claws into my job and being able to write >500 words a day and being able to spin >1 oz in a day (and not both together, let's not get crazy!), trying to socialize for a couple hours, and trying to manage making dinner isn't my fucking life. It's substandard. It's unacceptable. Attempts to find the magic scientific equation (if I just do x amount of work in y day, I will have z energy . . .) are equally frustrating.

I'm sure you'd like this entry to feel a little more occultish and a little less lj. It's the thought I am afraid to even have - what is the point of this? What is the point of my fibromyalgia? Who am I when it rules me? Who would I be if I were without it? Is it a matter of, oh sorry kid, we live in a random ass universe where random ass shit happens and you shot craps? Is there a purpose to it? To make me more magically delicious? To make me stronger, faster, harder, more appreciative, more introspective? Because let me tell you something, days like today, I want to give that fucker back, if it's some kind of so-called "gift". And let me tell you, while my magic is effective and while my character sheet dots have been balanced in other ways (that I always have loved ones, that I always have enough money, etc), nothing I've ever accomplished has frankly been impressive enough to warant this level of what's been of late constant suckage. I wish I were more deluded, that I was constantly fucking around on the astral, thinking I'm pew! pew! pewing! my way into some kind of huge bit of arcane power through my sacrifice.

And if it's not for some divine purpose, or not in my gods control, why is it happening? And if it is in my gods control, why do they let me live like this? I mean, I know, starving children in Africa, someone always has it worse, blahfuckingblah. Other people having it worse is often at best an intellectual concept to me when it gets this bad for me.

I keep thinking, that somehow living with this is something I can just power through and overpower through sheer force of will, and that's what most of my days are when it's not this bad. In the last 21 . . .I keep failing. I don't even fail better. I. Just. Keep. Failing.

Two crows are sitting at my window, their backs politely to me as I sniffle at my desk at work. Always there. Always watching.

I just feel . . .lost. Because, what if I don't get better again this time? What if this is it and it's just a slow steady decline?

If I were a Catholic still, I would believe that my God had a plan and a purpose to this. If I were a mage, I would believe my magic could make me better and I could return to at least my former sick self through my will. But I'm neither. I'm just another lost dilettante with no answers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Catholicism, Hinduism, and my Inner Ferengi

111) Never sleep with the boss' wife unless you pay him first.
112) Never sleep with the boss' sister.
113) Always sleep with the boss.
- The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

Jow thinks I'm secretly a Ferengi. Dark secret, I'm closet geek. The Star Trek thing, I have my mother to blame. Jow likes to sometimes try to coax out how deep I am into the dork forest by making seemingly innocuous statements about various parts of the various series which *always* forces my hand in my frothing retorts to show what a complete geek I am.

Now, okay, granted it took a while for women's right to really kick in there, but it happened. The Ferengi never got involved in slavery or other imperialistic bullshit which does suit my Damn the Man sensibilities but they were always there to make a profit regardless of whatever crap everyone else was fighting about, which I also appreciate. The Ferengi are totes the corner coffeehouse to the Alliance's Starbucks (and that's all you're getting!).

I'm an industrious little squirrel. I always have been. I like busting my ass towards a goal, I like getting shit done, and I like making money.

Now, bear with me. Flashback! I was Catholic, dutifully praying constantly for whatever it was I wanted in the moment, a pony, the love of Scott Reiner. I rosary'ed like a champ, I went to confession on the regular without playing the how long can I make the priest take to listen to me before he's forced to take out the Bible game my sister favored, I went to church, I did what I was supposed to do like a good worker bee. I liked the ritual, the structure of how prayer worked in Catholicism, but I disliked that the output was so capricious, at least in my experience. Constant prayer + the desperate desire for the love of S.R. = canoli afterwards? That can't be right!

So blahblahblah why can't I be a female deacon/personal general liberal agenda/general unsuccessfulness of personal prayer/need to irritate my mother, and here I am Pagan.

Except. . . I totes need structure personally. I wasn't too successful in coming up with my own structure, and man, the idea of doing a full ADF ritual or Wiccan circle just to get some prayer done is enough to make me want to give up all my shoes.

Which eventually brought me to the Hindu pantheon in a pagan context. The way I was taught it was as follows:

1. There are mantra you need to be given by teachers, but the basic "seed" mantra is for everyone. I know not everyone agrees with this, but my general feeling is the seed mantra is like calling your deity on the phone, there's only so much you can screw up unless you're actively trying to. Learn the pronunciation of the seed mala, learn the general protocol associated with the deity, and hey don't "call" a deity who is either easily offended or likely to be offended by you particularly if you don't entirely know what you're doing. I don't "call" Lakshmi because she would take one look at my house and look at me and say, "Ugh. Seriously?"

2. How to do puja. I dig puja, it's an (often) mini ritual that can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like and it involves a bell.

3. The stories, of Shiva's family especially. They just really resonate with me, they seemed a lot more like something I could relate to. Joseph and Mary according to Catholicism just had baby Jesus . . .immaculately and . . .fin. There's nothing wrong with that, and celibacy is sacred too but it's not my path. Shiva and Parvati's story of a blended family, fighting and making love is a lot closer to what I can relate to.

4. How to mala. This is where things *really* started to click for me. Mala was explained to me as a banking account, which appealed to my inner Ferengi and the rosary and mala are very similar which made the transition easy for me.

So, mala as a bank account made a lot of sense to me. Every time you complete a mala, you get to put a few pennies into your bank account. If you do enough malas, every boy, every boy in the whole world can be yours! Okay, that would take a lot of time, effort, energy, and austerities. But! Parvati totally got her man that way. Shiva didn't want to pay her no mind and she was all, that's cool. I WILL JUST MAKE YOU LOVE ME WITH THE STRENGTH OF MY DEVOTIONS TO YOU. And I appreciate that level of drive and motivation.

After reading Eat, Love, Pray, I realized my life was missing a nightly devotion. I had hesitated about any kind of nightly practice doing anything because I generally don't remember to even water house plants, but it felt like it was time. Except . . .I was in the hole to Durga for quite a few malas I never said to her that I said I would say for bringing B. back home safe from Iraq. So like a proper Ferengi, I decided to do the math to figure out *how* many I owed her and when I would be finished being indebted to her. While indebted, I would endevour not to ask Her for anything, past being grateful that she held up her side of the bargan even if I was lazy/sketchy at best at following up in a timely fashion with my side.

So after Christmas, but before New Years, I started my practice with a rotation between Durga, Shiva, and eventually Parvati when I finally found her seed ohm, heavy on the Durga side. Right before Beltane, I finished my debt to her and it felt really good. Even though I've said a total of around 140 malas, I haven't yet asked for very much, at least not for myself. Shiva is known especially for granting requests as long as the work has been done, which is handy. But it feels a lot more cause and effect than saying rosaries did for me. And should I ever decide that I *really* want that pony (which Jow would probably prefer to live with instead of SR who moved away when I was thirteen, so who knows what he became. Meth lab head? Stock broker? Househusband? Doctor?), I feel like I could get one which appeals to my squirrel Ferengi brain.

So far, I've gotten help with a tooth ache, a blister, a v. nice Beltane, got my friend G. knocked up (by her request! She and her husband were trying for their second), and so far M.'s husband E. has been doing okay with chemo. It's powerful stuff!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Catsup, catsup

I have a bunch of posts in mind, but I would like to follow up on some previous posts.

1. Unrelatedly, I just beautified Jow's blog. Go check out its glory. There was minimal orneriness on his end and when he disagreed with me, I just bit him to subdue him.

2. Secular Beltane - Mine was pretty pleasant. Wasband decided for reasons unknown to me to not show, tiny children managed to not maim each other in the traditional stick dancing, the maypole was performed, singing was done. I then passed out for a few hours when my mom called me to inform me my somewhat tiny cousin's communion party was that day not the following. I suppose it was appropriate enough to be at a country club, drinking vodka tonics, dancing with a baby on my hip and dancing with my mom and stuffing my face with expensive food. There were still tiny children in white running around as well.

Conversation with my mom:

Mom: What's Beltane? Someone asked me and I want to make sure I got it right.

Me (thinking: Oh . . .shit. Who's asking her about Beltane? Moreover, how does she know anything about it? Don't talk about gratuitous fucking and that it's okay to have a bastard child as long as the math added up right!) : Um . . .okay. Well, it's a holiday to celebrate winter being over and summer coming. There's dancing, people try to wake the earth up with sticks and making noise, singing. There's . . .a maypole which is more dancing but also . . .represents . . .fertility.

Mom (satisified): That's what I thought you godless heathens were doing.

3. Aphrodite - not a cheap date. Getting stuff ready for her altar for my grove's celebration of Beltane happening this weekend has not been what I would call inexpensive. In the further adventures of boundary settings with your gods, I did make it clear that when I ordered stuff for her (after checking with vendors about delivery dates) that if things were not received in time, there would be no "double buying", altar items would then be obtained from items around the house. But I got a lovely wine glass hand painted with a pink daisy at the bottom and some other things. I also decided, inspired by Mrs. B to have a board up for glamour bombing post its for Operation Beautiful which I too have enjoyed! It seems both Beltane and Aphrodite appropriate.

4. Trevia - Jow had gotten fixed on starting candle making soon. We're going to do a test run for Beltane, and thanks again to Mrs. B's great idea on herbal oil making, I'm looking forward to dressing our candles. It will also come in handy for mojo hand making too I think. Also, because I'm a planner, otherwise known as oh shit! Beltane is in T-5 days and getting to a witch store is nowhere in sight, I'm going to try my hand at making cone incense for my Aphrodite altar.

5. Hexing - I had thought my more moderate spell would suffice, but I had come to find that the issue I have on my mind was really, really starting to eat away at me. I carefully considered my "case" and decided to bring it to what I have started calling The Court of the Ladies which was held in our dining room (Jow scampered through there faster than a cat for several hours). When I called in one of the Ladies, a random storm rolled in which Jow told me was an indication typically of said Lady that she is present. I will likely post more about all this at a later date.

6. Perfect Day - I talked to my boss who nervously mentioned that if business did not improve, cutting summer hours would be necessary that I could likely collect partial unemployment on top of my reduced hours which seemed to be a relief to her. It's going to depend on a meeting she has next week. I find myself surprisingly open to either possibility. If my hours get cut, I just (as in today) got some more potential freelance writing, I could shop more at the farmer's market, make my own household products, reduce my consolidated credit card bill (most likely), cut cable potentially, even the intertubes potentially if need be, work on my kitchen witch book, work on more novels and short stories, craft more, etc., etc. I'm letting this roll and feel pretty zen about it which then in turn freaks me out and restores my natural internal order. So Gordon, feel free to take all the credit or the blame for this when it all comes down. ;)

7. Life hacking - Jow and I had an impromptu meeting at Starbucks (how professional!) about life hacking. We are testing out Leechblock which is pretty cool, you can set it however you like to keep you from massively wasting time on the intertubes. We are attempting to not watch telly before 8p. He helped me brainstorm for my steampunk story and we had a general state of the state meeting on what we would like to accomplish (for me, see Perfect Day). We figured out house cleaning (our levels of cleanliness actually match up pretty good and we share labor pretty well, but things weren't getting done the way we'd like. So we decided he would do the things that are hard for me to do with the fibro - dishes, cat litter, garbage, vacuum, and laundry and I would take 15-30 minutes every day to do general household cleaning). I also decided I'd like to be more active, and got out my yoga deck and came up with a routine and then promptly got sick with some kind of allergy/head cold/stinky cat syndrome thing that Jow got too, but it's a work in progress.