Monday, September 27, 2010

Things I Am Thinking Thinking About That You May or May Not Care About

1. I think this is the Kitchen Witch anthem.

2. It's frowned upon in most parts of the world to stab one's pregnant sister in the hand, no matter how irritating she may be.

3. I edit my blog titles now to be in line with the title editing standards at Demand Studios.

4. I have just spent a far bigger chunk of my day addressing baby shower invitations than I would prefer. I think my anxiety/rage psychotic breaks were now at an end now that her highness' wedding is done but no, that would be incorrect.

5. I will be guest blogging over at Mrs. B's on October 21st, giving out my super sekrit stuffed pumpkin recipe.

6. I need to focus and make my focus board and stuff to focus on as per my PEH.

7. We just bought some Crayola window markers for sigil work, also as per my PEH. I am also contemplating how to use them with prosperity magic (so far: one above the stove, one under my honey pot).

8. Clearly I am soon going to need a trip to AC Moore the Pagan Store.

9. Our Spare Oom was first going to be a magic room (well, first, it was going to be Jow's Super Sekrit Magical Hideaway but I was like, um you know I'd like a sewing room too just saying. Compromise!) and then a spare room and now we're contemplating that it really should be an office/study for both of us, especially if I start working from home. I would like to put my board in there I think. I will need a desk soon I think.

10. While I have not yet formally made any offerings to Erzulie, I have bought the offering and plan to make the offering once it stops constantly raining. I have had no protests so far from any of my current patrons, but I *have* had dreams and various other real world signils that makes me think I'm being courted (Here at ErzulieCo. we offer . . . ). I got free pumpkin spice in my iced tea at starbucks from a youngish guy among other things. I am still moving slowly however.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Erzulie Freda

While discussing my burning question with RO, not only did I realize how to clarify my question, but also that Erzulie Freda might be trying to make herself known to me.

Pros: She's in line with this whole radical self acceptance thing, she likes the same things I do, gets along with Yemaya, never fully clicked with Aphrodite.

Cons: High maintance, don't know where to put her if I do start working with her, don't want to become a crazy god lady.

The idea of keeping her altar clean all the time is daunting. I suspect if I started working with her, she would live on my vanity which is notoriously a disaster area. The whole difficult and demanding thing is also pause making but at the same time, let's be real, I've been described the exact same way by people who actively love me let alone people who don't. The Yoruba pantheon is not at all unfamiliar to me, and it has lots of fun layperson rites. But I've never worked with a deity described as "demanding" and I'm not sure how well I'd play the "Whatever Erzulie Wants" game. But! I'm good at drawing boundaries with the gods and am somewhat of a cement head which I've learned is long termedly to my advantage. But as a cementhead, the fact that I'm getting the memo at all is giving me pause about how to proceed.


Question for the Masses

As some of you may know, Jow and I will be opening Trevia soonish in the next few months. My question is, if we want to do work for a client who works with different deities than we do or do an incense for a deity we don't work with, how do you work with deities like that? I'm working on a sekrit project involving Eruzlie and (a) I don't work with Her (b) I don't really want her "moving in" and (c) she's notoriously easy to offend. How do I work with her on a contractual business level and then . . .leaving so soon? Here's your hat, here's the door, without offending Her and other potential deities.

I've never worked with deities on a contractual level, usually I wound up getting invested in them and starting a relationship. Tips?

Edited to add: Really, I think what I'm trying to figure out is that while I would never take on a "service" request that I couldn't reasonably fufill due to moral, pantheon, layperson issues, what about standard pagan store supplies? Like candles and incense? Is it necessary to have any kind of relationship to make items in honor of a deity? Should these items come pre-"zinging" or is it up to the practioner? Is research and formulas enough to make these items?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Now, today may be confusing for some of you because Mabon is sharing a day with an equally important holiday, Rex Manning Day.

It does present a plethora of potential etiquette dilemias, especially with the touchy subject comingling Pagans who don't celebrate RMD and RMD Believers who don't celebrate the Pagan holidays due to faith schism issues. And O What About the Children? Like me! I celebrate both! No one wants the stress of both holidays melting down over your lovely dinner and religious arguments are so boring.

So here is what you do. You honor both. Because? Let's face it, it's a Wednesday and you have almost no will to do anything. Especially, if like me, your sister just got married over the weekend and you just cooked a rehersal dinner for 20 and had Maid of Honor Duties.

1. Invite your friends to help celebrate! Pagans, RMD Believers and non believers alike! Everyone likes booze and/or ice cream!

2. A lot of guys like quests when celebrating religious events. Jow has not yet been exposed to RMD so I sent him on a quest to try to find Pumpkin Pie flavored ice cream and perhaps more apple cider as I suspect he bathes in it. J. will be getting the holy text for the evening.

3. Now that it's fall, peruse Halloween decorations. If you're like me, you like some of the nicer stuff to decorate your house year round anyway. Also, it's getting cold. Celebrating also means getting a new chunky cardi, *especially* since there's a sale.

4. Celebrate both holidays by drinking spiked apple cider, eating popcorn and ice cream and watching the sacred text.

p.s. I also came up with a formula for my super secret Trevia project today also.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've got the answer here/ I just gotta find it . . .

Welcome new readers! Hello, old readers! My sister is getting married on Sunday and is craaaaahrzy because she's also preggo and due in Nov.

So, let's play some Q&A. Have any questions regarding kitchen witchery, spinning, reality television, polyamory, fibromyalgia, Dianic Wicca, or anything else you've been dying to get my opinion on? Ask! I'm actually v. hard to offend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Into the Dark

I think everyone wants answers through their spirituality for the bigger questions. Why are we here? How do we know the gods exist? Do we have souls? What happens after we die?

With larger, more unified faiths, there's usually a pat answer (except for Judaism as far as I know). Heaven. Reincarnation. These religions also tend to have clergy where one of their jobs is to give you answers to these questions.

While Pagans have clergy, we don't have a unified lengthy training program. Many of our clergy need to have day jobs to support themselves, which is a different topic in and of itself, and many Pagan clergy members don't set themselves above their fellow Pagans.

So we ask each other. And some of us answer with confidence from the work we've done, the spirits who speak to us, the austerities we accomplish. We ponder and sometimes fight with each other about fine points of practices and faith here on the blogosphere to try to find answers.

As many of you know, I like order and routine. So I put together a neat little package of answers to my questions so I can get out of bed every morning and most days that's enough.

But should I ever be considered to be in a position of authority, I don't want my neat packet of answers to be mistaken for deep, unshakable faith. Because, I don't have that. I did, as a child and teenager in Catholicism, but somewhere along my dad's long, painful drawn out death, I needed more answers. As a mad girl scientist, I immediately thought, books! I took classes in college on the Old Testament, Western Religion, searching, searching and still coming up shaken. I became a Dianic Wiccan shortly after I attended a circle as part of my class assignment (to attend a service for a faith other than mine).

For those of you who have ever seen it, Scrubs is generally a comedy about working in a hospital told through the eyes of JD. But once in a while, they have a serious episode and that's when it's a cascade of tears for me. "My Last Words" is about a man dying who has a lot of questions and no sure faith in anything in particular. JD and his friend Turk start out with platitudes and other reassuring things, but end with, I don't know. We have to fight death every day and we don't know and it's terrifying. And . . .that's how I feel. As a Crowgirl who has attended far more funerals than weddings, I still don't have any answers. In the episode, they use a song by one of my favorite bands, Deathcab for Cutie called, "I Will Follow You into the Dark" which really sums up my feelings on the whole matter.

I don't have answers. Death scares me. But, the lyrics of the song sum up how I feel.

The last bit of the episode. Deathcab's alternative video using a picture book with rabbits. Amanda Palmer's cover.

Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of the spark

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me "Son, fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me
Have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes
Are all worn down, the time for sleep is now
But it's nothing to cry about 'cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
And I'll follow you into the dark.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Black Swans.

When I first started out in the blogosphere, it took me a little while to get introduced to Gordon, but one night Jow was laughing while reading a magic blog so I was immediately interested. I then started reading Gordon and launched a one women campaign of desperate devotion. Eventually, Gordon was unable to resist my assault on his blog and my dogged fan girling and gave in. It soon became apparent that we likely shared a wine addled brain and had similar views on magic and weeknight drinking. Both of our partners have been indulgent about our marriage of the minds and I have come to refer to him as my PEH (Platonic European Husband).

I love all of my other blogosphere buds, and they're always really good at making me think about various things (especially RO, Jason, and Kenaz) in different ways, but Gordon has always managed to articulate the habitrail that makes up my brainmeat into succinct, concise English. More over, he makes it into a plan.

Sometimes our little corner in the blogosphere gets into a hivemind. In late April, we all got crazy about LifeHacking and who wrote books that were good about it and who wrote books that weren't and what did it really mean to have the perfect day. I was new, I needed shit to blog about anyway, so I jumped in as desperately wanted to smoke with cigarettes with the cool kids.

Then things started to get weird. Or wyrd for those of you with a spelling fetish. My boss started talking about cutting my hours and somewhere in there, Jason was talking about not forcing things to happen a certain way as in, yeah, I could be focusing all my mojo into getting more business for my boss's company or I could say something along the lines of, oh hey, I'll bust my ass, I'll write, I'll craft, I'll hustle/whore any kind of project that's in my realm, I'm trusting You (collective You, my gods who are kind about my dilettantism and how I couldn't contain my Pokeman tendencies in my baby Pagan days) to not let terrible things happen to me.

I love my day job. Not because it's particularly awesome, but it's mindless, it pays v. well, it has kickass hours, a really kind boss and a window. I would honestly stay here until my bosslady retired or dropped dead. Security is indeed the whore in me as Heather Nova sings. But it's a tiny company, just me and the bosslady and we're affiliated with the pharma industry and . . .everyone's merging and downsizing and tanking so it's been pretty barren.

I love Jason's explanation of doing magic, with the three levels and all of that and I see it working super amazing awesome. On an intellectual level, I would think, yes, this is the way magic should be done. Jow does awesomely with it, people get awesome results and who doesn't do magic to get results? But in reality land, my brain is a mess of tubes and wheels and many Hyperbole and a Half moments where I can never manage to think about the three levels when it's go time.

In early summer, bosslady and I started talking about cutting my hours and I felt That Moment. And . . .I didn't have all the pretty words that Gordon has or a way to articulate it right because I didn't even realize I was doing it. But I had a Shrödinger’s Cat moment and I started shoaling like whoa. I didn't know I was doing it because I didn't have the words, though I had the actions.

So I started thinking, okay, if my hours get cut, I can collect a little bit of unemployment, we can cut off our delicious delicious tv for a while and use the farmer's markets to eat more produce and it will be okay. My boss never cut my hours, but I immediately started working on other projects in a slow steady manner. I managed to land a respectable freelance writer gig that pays decently well for writing and allows me to work as much or as little on it as I can manage.

When shit started getting real around the office as we say in Jersey, my boss let me know that unless something major changes, we're going to be out of business by the end of the year. Gordon in his infinite kindness when this all started to go down, said, you should write this. Make your blog into a book, make it happen. And a few weeks later, it went from shoaling to a black swan moment. All the while, I had been doing magic - japa, candle devotions, mojo bags and hands, a honey pot. I had been trying to write a kitchen witch book for years, but it never came together right. One day after work, I went home and wrote enough notes to see that it could be a book.

Since then, things have been happening fast. I calculated my potential unemployment with a little freelance writing and realized I could easily take a couple months off, perhaps three. During that time, I can write my outline and really get down to brass tacks in making magical supplies for Trevia. I can write a few fiction outlines (though, to be honest, while I had always thought I'd be a fiction writer, most of the gigs I'm getting are nonfiction, so perhaps not or perhaps not as a staple). After the three months, I would be able to do enough content writing with a bit of freelancing to make approximately what I am making now.

All of these things that I've wanted - to make my own hours, to work from home, to be able to have many small streams of income shoal together into one actual income seem to be coming together. If this were to happen and my book was to be accepted, I would be able to really hustle and promote it, unfettered.

And it's sped up even faster this week. Jow and I put together a really solid plan for Trevia on Monday while sitting at a posh bar in the middle of the day. And during this week, I used another one of Gordon's tricks, A Secret Spell Booster Enchant in Real Time. I'm scared to say it because the ink is not yet dry on the paper, but if one of the things I am working on gets final finalized, my freelance writing is going to be boosted into a whole new arena, allowing me to write lifestyle pieces in addition to content writing. I've also submitted four pagan pieces this week which would be really good on my resume for the book potentially.

I'm not going to lie, I'm exhausted and vomity feeling about all this. If my company does go under (and that seems likely) by year end, the potential to have the professional life I really have always wanted is right there in front of me. And I have been hustling hard for it. But right now, that's all it is, is potential. I could suck working from home, I could suck writing/crafting for a career, I could wind up having to work retail again. It's all just spinning right now and I don't know where the arrow will stop.

But dear goddess, how I am trying. And every bit of will I have in me right now is working to make my own luck and to be more than a barely published sickly secretary who can't work a regular 9-5. Every black swan moment since this started, there has been a constant devotional in the back of my head. Please just let me succeed as a career writer and crafter. Please let everything I've worked for and tried at and failed at and succeeded at be leading up to this.

My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our foundation, / and I know that I should let go, / but I can't.

I'm not dead, I will be getting back to regularly scheduled posting soon.

Things that I am doing that you may or may not care about:

* Planning my sister's wedding rehersal dinner

* Going on vacation to Florida for a few days

* Getting my Maid of Honor dress/jewelry situated

* Planning my sister's baby shower in Oct

* Japa practice

* Writing articles for various Pagan publications to lay groundwork to have a good resume so I can write my kitchen witchbook when/if I get laid off in the next few months (I have a post about that eventually, Black Swans, my PEH, all the good things in life)

* Writing articles for paying venues

* Planning our pre-launch/launch/marketing plan for our magical supply shop, Trevia.

* Watching as much reality tv as I can handle when my brain goes to mush.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I have to believe in a better world." - Giles, BtVS

RO asks a very good question in my last post, and my answer got so long, I decided to make it a post.

Why is it that when you or I have to grow up and be responsible, it's a spiritual quest with Super Spiritual ramifications? Is it just that we have a spiritual scapegoat? Or is it that we have a Helper, a "Supernatural Assistant" to guide us through what comes to most people anyway?

Well, I lean towards agnosticism even bordering on athesim on dark days which is another reason I'd make a bad godslave because in the back of my head I'm always like, hmmmm, how do I know this is You or that this is real?

So here is the my hand to gods truthful answer as to why I feel that way - I honestly don't know to the cockles of my heart if I am led by the gods or if it's just a chaotic universe that works out often enough.

On a good day, I can tell you because I feel it, I feel it when certain things happen and when the threads in the tapestry move around and that there are signs everywhere if I know to look for them. Also, I honestly don't claim trials all that often. I may have alledgedly been married to someone who thought every other day was a trial, but to me, I've only had trials during major life shifts - getting diagnosed with fibro, transitioning from maiden to mother, my divorce, etc. And it doesn't necessarily need to be called a trial, it could just be called a life shift. But as a shaman, that's how it's identified especially if you get some kind of confirmation from your totem who generally acts as a "Supernatural Assistant" anyway.

Here's the thing, we live in an incredibly uncertain world and I know in my heart I have no answers except there's a lot of mysteries. Having no answer, it's human nature to want to fill in the blanks. I fill in the blanks with what makes the most sense to the way I see the world - I want there to be one soul, I want there to be a guidence counselor at the end of my life to go over what I did right and wrong and to place me, I want to see certain people in my next life, I want there to be a next life here on earth because I love being a hamster on the wheel, I want suffering to mean something, I want to believe that when I "visit" my gods in meditation and They speak to me, They're speaking to me. All of these things don't cause anyone else harm, no spirit has told me to kill my family and wear cotton candy for clothes and the advice given, whether it's gods given or subconscious given is generally good, like in EPL, Go to bed, Liz. So I believe in them because honestly at the end of the day, no one can concretely tell me otherwise. Do I have doubts about all of this? Um, for sure.

What's neat about the "fill in the blank" system for me is that it can be extended into psych issues too (as per my friend with a Masters in Psych!). My life sometimes has illogical emotionally charged issues presented to me by people I am not on good terms with. And . . .I search for reason. Why would they do these things? Once I knew them and loved them, I try to guess at their motives by outdated information I once had and I chase and gnaw at my tail until it's a bloody thing and I'm exhausted. It's a function of my anxiety disorder to do this. Since I will never really know their motives (and honestly, at the end of the day, if you really want your ant farm shaken up we don't *really* know anyone else's motives but people we love generally follow reasonably predictable patterns unless they have drug/unassisted mental health problems and when they don't, we can talk to them about it) and it's not like I'm going to talk to these people I'm no longer speaking to about it though they may be doing shady things to disrupt my life, I may as well assign a motive to them that seems reasonably logical to my brain from what I know about them and move on. Even if it's Y person is doing X because Y is a bag of dicks, it's a reason and then my brain can move on to worrying about something more pressing or settle the hell down.