Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a wonderful dream /It seems to be/ 'Cause I love him.

Jow proposed to me and I said yes! He wanted to propose to me last night at a concert by our favorite band but it wound up being a comedy of errors and we couldn't get there (it was monsooning, a water main break, almost getting rear ended, endless traffic, etc., etc.). We went to dinner and then he said he had a surprise planned for me at home. Me, being me, I said, did you teach the cats how to clean up their own poop? (No.)

He got down on one knee and proposed! I was so surprised I think I took like a minute to say yes :D: We then went to my Mom's to show her and by then it was starting to sink in so I started getting *super* excited and my throat felt like I was running. Mom already knew because Jow asked her for my hand!

We went to the grocery store to get champagne to celebrate and I wanted to run up and down the aisles flashing the ring ( . . .but I didn't as it was late and I didn't want people to call security because they thought I was on drugs. I did however make friends with the cashier. When she was like, how are you? I was like, ENGAGED!)

So when we got home, we played our favorite songs by the band we missed in my car and danced under the stars! It was perfect!

We're thinking September 2012, we know we want to go to Canada/New England on a cruise. We're sorting out the rest (though definitely something intimate).

Right. Magic. Omens. Well, on our first date we saw deer in the parking lot and on our way hone from the grocery store last night two deer stopped right by our car, gave us a nod and then calmly trotted across the street to eat a neighbor's backyard. Today in Trader Joe's, one of my dad's favorite songs (somewhat obscure) came on randomly while we were there together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh Lordess, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: White Girl Suburban Shamanism

Dear gods, why did I agree to give a class on Animal Totems for my local Pagan Picnic?

It started out innocently enough, I wanted to start publicly speaking again, I'm entertaining enough and I know enough to be glib and also enough to say "I don't know" as many times as applicable. If I ever stop fucking around and learn to juggle the chainsaw mess of nannying/freelance writing/crafting/dropping it like it's hot/social obs/religious obs/crafting/blogging and oh yeah going to the gym and writing (. . .sigh) and get published and whatnot, book touring is super necessary and having pagan workshop experience is helpful.

Well. My local pagan picnic is having a 'arry Potter theme for the obv reason so all the classes have to be themed after the Hogwarts classes. I tried in vain to get an easier one but one of the few open was Transfiguration, which I pitched as:

Transfiguration 101: Learn about what a totem spirit can bring to your life and participate in a meditation to find your own totem, hear what s/he has to say and experiment with meditational transfiguration yourself!

Of course they accepted that one. Of course.

This is what my process has looked like:

1. Ignore. That was easy until I started getting gentle notes about my bio/abstract.

2. Panic. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd, WHAT WAS I THINKING! Why do you want to open up this old wound that's covered in exhusband cooties and remember what you figured out? That you don't know anything about anything? Remember how you decided to stop calling yourself a shaman post-divorce and you've been (as the LBGT comm kindly says) "questioning" since then? Remember how you've been working suuuuuper hard not to be a misappropriating asshole? WHY THE FUCK DID YOU PICK THE SOFTEST SQUISHEST MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF YOUR SPIRITUALITY ON DISPLAY THEN?

3. Realize there is no way out. You've agreed and need to keep your grown up commitments like a grown up.

4. Research. Look to people you trust who have written books and come from a similar background (in my case, sub/urban American and Euro mutts). Start with Lupa because you met her once at a festival and she was nice to you.

5. Spend some time retreating back to panic.

6. Ponder. Figure out where you still fit in the whole shamanic world. Resolve not to put myself out there as anyone other than me while still somehow not discrediting myself as being a trustworthy source by going too far the other way.

7. Outline. Write it all out. Send in abstract/bio. Look at outline. Feel momentarily pleased as I realize I've made it make sense in my current personal cosmos while managing to not turn it into an eclectic mess. Pleasure quickly gives way to:

8. Panic, obvs.

9. Distract self from panic by focusing on other things I can control. Reorder Uncle Ted's Animal Speak as it got lent out at some point. It's a Harry Potter theme! Luckily I'm already a HP dork so I have some stuff I wear for Arisia that can be used and summer-rized (knee length grey pleated skirt, drape-y black t shirt, time turner, green tie, legwarmers if it's not ungodly hot). Try on ensemble. Make note to self to order a Slytherin patch. Do so.

10. Blog about it.

I feel like this is going to shake up my internal antfarm even if no one comes to my class (which is always possible). I remembered that my dianic circle has always said I'm super good at *leading* meditation which is a good workshop transferable skill if not awesome for personal enlightenment.

I'm beginning to seriously co-sign on Penelope Trunk's theory on being happy or being interesting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

[Recipe Monday] Chicken Pot Pie

I just made up this recipe which I think was omnomnom.

Chicken Pot Pies

4 skinless chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (I did mine on my Foreman grill)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 carton of mushrooms, sliced
6 sprigs of thyme
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 chicken stock
2 packages refrigerated pie crust
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat the olive olive in a big sauce pan and preheat the oven to 425. Put in the onions to brown with the celery and mushrooms and cook for about ten minutes. Add the white wine, garlic, thyme, peas and chicken. Cook for five minutes. Add the chicken stock and flour and salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes. Turn off heat. Cut each pie crust in half. Add a scoop of filling to each half and then fold over the pie crust and pinch shut. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Makes 8 mini pies!

Monday, July 18, 2011

[Retro Recipe Monday] Rainbow Witches

Inexplicably, in the Easter section of recipes in the General Foods Cookbook I find:

Rainbow Witches

1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 envelope Dream Whip Whipped Topping Mix
24 large chocolate wafers
Food Coloring

Combine milk, vanilla and dessert topping mix in a small bowl with a narrow bottom. Blend; then beat vigorously until topping forms soft peaks.

Divide topping into 4 equal parts 1/2 cup each). Tint 3 of the portions with a few drops of food coloring - red, green and yellow.

Generously frost half of the wafers with the toppings and then cover with the remaining wafers to form individual sandwiches. Place in freezer and freeze three hours or until ready to serve. Makes 12.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

[Pagan Agony Auntie] On Honey Pots

As always, if you have a burning question that you want my input on, feel free to drop me a line at corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com and I will keep you anonymous and dazzle you with my insight or not. Whatev. As always, you're the captain of your own ship and feel free to disagree with me as often and loudly as you like!

Today's question:
A while back, I made myself a money-and-employment-and-contracts honey pot.

The message I put in it covered a lot of different options, some of which I no-longer want to pull on. I'm currently wanting to narrow those options a bit in order to come-hither the specific kinds of paid work that I actually want to do. My question is: How do I go about "updating" my honey pot?

Do I just cut the seal, open the jar, switch out the message, reseal it and get going? Do I need to start over completely? (If it's the latter, do I have to do anything Special in order to de-activate the current one and dispose of the contents, or can I just up-end the thing into my compost bucket?) Do I need to do something entirely different that just hasn't occurred to me yet?

I figured of all the magical folks I hang out with, you would probably know best on this one. Help?

I took a bit chewing on this because I wanted to figure out what I would do. On one hand, waste-not-want-not. As we have previously discussed here, we have reassembled/updated Jow's Mojo Hand due to an Unfortunate Incident With the Washer/Dyer. But . . .while he did update his petition paper, there was nothing in the previous petition paper that had something he *no longer wanted*. I think that's the key part there, if you've had a petition paper marinading with possibly herbs or other whatnots related to the no longer desired items, it seems really difficult to separate that out from the previous magical workings, I think the previous workings would confuse the current/future workings personally.

You mentioned that your previous working was more general and you want it to become a lot more specific which also makes me think that it may be better to start from the beginning. I know it's a drag - starting a magical working over is a pain because you have to squirrel around for supplies and you lose out on the previous workings' energy that has been accumulating, but if it's not the right focus . . .as an example all the plumbing jobs offered to you in the world won't matter if you're trying to get clients to be an accountant. And if your previous jar was wired for "plumbing jobs" and not "accounting jobs" . . .it's not going to do you much good.

The proper way to dispose of it would be to thank it for all its hard work and to release it from its work to go onto other things and leave the honey jar at a crossroads or to bury it. Would I be incredibly tempted to thank/release it and then upend it into my compost heap and recycle the jar as it's kinder to Gaia? Yes. Is that the "proper" thing to do? No. Would I likely do it anyway for this particular working? Yes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When You're Not the Specialist Snowflake

You want a truly humbling experience? If you as a Pagan have a practice that is not indigenous to your ancestry, go to a place where people who are indigenous to the practice shop.

I had thought I got pretty slick about doing that - being respectful and being able to conduct myself, only minorly getting the stink eye and generally still winning over the shop employees by the end of my purchase. I felt like I knew what I was doing when it came to Puja by now. So when J. said he found a new puja shop that did flowers too, I was like let's do this!

I didn't know that it was a video store too which threw me off a little (my "usual" place was a kitchen supply store as well which for some reason went together better in my head) and they were snipping and sewing flowers at the speed of life. I stole a glance to their puja wall, sure I could just grab a few things, buy them and then get out as soon as possible.

Shopkeeper's teenaged son (Appears to think: Maybe she wants to rent Freaky Friday or she's lost): Can I help you?

Me (Utter panic sets in when I realized that I recognized nothing): Um, I. I . . .need . . .a clay pot. For a ghee lamp.

STS (confused): A clay pot?

Shopkeeper (steps in to help her son) (briskly): Can I help you?

Me (a little desperate as I can see that my communication skills are going to be a problem here in addition to a terminology issues): Y-yes. I need a ghee lamp.

SK: Oh! Give her the ghee lamp!

STS (hands me something that doesn't look like any ghee lamp I've ever used)

Me: Um, I've never used a lamp like that. How does it work?

(SK shows me how to use the wick with the lamp and essentially appears to tell STS not to complicate things for me when he starts to say something about a five star wick)
(I realize I have become their not-too-bright puppy - adorable, I do cute amusing things, they want to help me because I clearly can't help myself but clearly needs strong supervision)

Me: I also need an offering bowl?

STS (Hands me something completely unfamiliar)

Me: Um, for food?

SK: Oh that's for camphor! STS! Give her a plate!

Me: I'm sorry, I'm just starting out (UGH! For like six years! How can it be that I still apparently know nothing!). I need a bell.

STS: (Gives me a bell)

SK (kindly): Who is this all for?

Me (oh Jesus - wait, wrong pantheon): For Parvati?

SK: Who?

Me (desperately): Parvati?

SK: Gauri?

Me: . . .yes? Um, the Holy Family - Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Kartikeya? (sort of points to the picture of them)

SK (pleased): Oh it's good that you are getting to know God! Okay. You need this bowl for milk --

Me: Just for milk?

SK (sternly): Only for milk! The offering for camphor which is right after the ghee lamp. (despite some communication issues this part is v. clear) ONLY LIGHT A LITTLE. ONLY HALF A TABLET AT MOST OR YOU WILL LIGHT YOUR HOUSE ON FIRE! DO NOT DO THAT!

Me: Alrighty. Um, what flowers would be appropriate for them?

SK: How big is your idol?

Me (oh god) (Makes a small gesture)

SK (giggles) (busily makes a tiny gorgeous jasmine flower garland and puts in big cheerful yellow mums to offer as well while she bustles to STS to the puja wall and makes sure that all my offering bowls and such are an appropriately small size) (rings me up) Here's my card. (writes down her phone number) Call me if you need anything!

I leave in a daze. I spent more than I wanted (but not more than I could afford. I *highly* doubt that was a coincidence) to but honestly? We work *a lot* with the Holy Family and they deserve a nice puja set. But I was used to a *super* tiny set so I had to figure out how this would work. Despite having our altar set up for less than a year, we're already bursting at the seams (there's way more stuff on it now). I eventually came to the conclusion that I should store all the puja stuff in a ziplock bag (I have become militant about that - whenever "like" magical supplies can be stored in a ziplock, I do so. It helps soooo much) and store it under the altar and when it's puja time, we can do that on the dining room table or kitchen counter.

After Jow stopped laughing at my story (and I was sure to point out that he owed me big time because I go through all the awkward stuff generally in the name of our magical projects and he gets to reap the rewards), he had a moment of "OMGs, we are doing this rong! How will we puja!" And then I got to laugh at him. I'm not sure that our puja format is perfect (I'm a'guessin' it's not) but I think it's close enough at least. As far as I can tell from my previous puja instruction (from various sources) and recent puja instruction, the basic puja layout for the Holy Family should go like this: (and if anyone knows better, please pipe up. I'm not proud)
Ring bell
Eight Directions
Honor Ganesha
Honor Agni
Ohm for the Holy Family
Offering of Camphor
Offering of Incense
Offering of flowers
Offering of milk
Offering of food
Thank Ganesha, Agni and Holy Family
Eight Directions
Ring bell

As much as this outing felt like sticking my face in a blender, it was really good for me because it reminds me that I really sort of know nothing, despite some diligent effort on my part. I have a big gorgeous Hindu temple near me that has an online site which includes directions on how to go to the temple so that's my next step, along with doing puja regularly again (we've never done full puja here in the new house, the Holy Family's puja supplies mysteriously went missing in the move). I wish the temple did a Hindu 101 but they only do that for children. Maybe on a festival day? But I'm sure if there's one to be found I will find it.

This also brings me to (again, despite some diligent effort on my part) I know nothing about Shamanism and I want to read more and go to some powwows and maybe figure out how to finagle going to a sweat lodge again at Free Spirit (I would need to put plastic retainers in my piercings which is a huge pain in the ass but . . .I think it would be worth it) next year.

My goals with Hinduism/Shamanism/Hoodoo/Voudon is to become an educated layperson who can perform basic layperson functions.

Somewhat unrelatedly, Mrs. B is partly to "blame" for all these revelations because I was inspired by her entry to start offering my gods first bits of dinner and start a hearth light so that was also part of what I was shopping for. ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

La Luxure, One Last Time

Due to an internet kerfuffle, there's one more parfum left. Listing can be found in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[Recipe Monday] Black Beans

I'm aware that it's Wednesday, you could judge me or you could have delicious black beans to eat while you watch Toddlers and Tiaras. I didn't stutter.

Black Beans

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 pieces of bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 packet of Goya Sazón with Tomato and Coriander

Fry bacon in the pot. After two minutes, add onion. Cook until the onion is browned. Add black beans and Sazón. Cook for ten minutes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just as an FYI: La Luxure Parfum Sold Out!

I will be making future products as well including oils, goddess dollies and some more limited edition products.

If there's anything you would like (mojo hands, solid parfum, oils, candles, etc) and you would like it custom made for you, please feel free to drop me a note at corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com

Friday, July 1, 2011

On Showing Up for Yourself

Thorn writes awesome blog posts on the regular, but her latest one struck especially close to home for me: Self Respect: Come to Your Success. You should read it immediately because it's frankly life changing and also the rest of this entry won't make sense without it.

This part really struck me:
When are we not showing up? When are we avoiding our success? We aren’t late to meet friends for dinner, so why do we put off working on our novel? We aren’t late to our jobs, so why do we not get out of bed when it’s time to meditate?

I suck at showing up for myself. I really do. I'm more motivated than the average bear- if there is a strict deadline, other people involved, or it's money related, I have my shit together like 95% of the time. But when it's something non deadline related (my hearth witch book) or something that strictly benefits me (a regular magical practice, going to the gym), I suck super hard.

I'm not sure why that is or why I do this to myself. I am honestly and truly so close to becoming the person I want to be and when I get to the part that I'm just about to tip over the edge, I freak.

It's true! You can ask Jow, Jason, Gordon or anyone who knows me in real life. Freaking sounds so . . .cavalier. What I really mean is I have an actual full on panic attack which renders me useless. I will often self sabotage in exciting ways like messing with my schedule which always gets me crazified or taking my pills late or skipping breakfast or a host of other not helpful behaviors which I work really hard at not indulging.

But there's something about showing up for myself that has been problematic for a long time. I think fear is a big part of it for me. What happens if I accomplish everything I've been trying to accomplish and it changes me? What happens if it's not what I've always thought it would be? Like it or not, I've been hurdling towards this for quite some time and I've been fairly successful in my efforts so far but I'm also struck with mind killing fear.

In Dollhouse, the dolls always ask, "Was I my best?" And we use that as short hand in our house because in like everything else, that is my perfectionist, apple polishing modus operandi. I want to be my best at everything right up until it's about being my best for myself.

I saw this really amazing play recently with J. called Sleeping Beauty Wakes which is about what would happen if Sleeping Beauty has been sleeping hundreds of years and then taken to a sleep clinic and there's this really awesome song that Beauty sings that's called "Good for Me" which really describes my struggle with myself, Whatever I like you take away/ you drag me back from where I go/ you never listen to what I say/ whatever I want the answer is always no/ for my own good/ you lock me up in a padded room/ so safe I never feel a thing/ you tie me down in a silken tomb/ a perfect little princess puppet on a string/ for my own good/ I have a will that will not be denied/ I will be the one who decides what's good for me/ you're gonna see just what I'm made of/ I'll find the thing you're most afraid of/ Because I would rather die than live this way . . .

I need to ride the tiger and not let the tiger ride me anymore and I need to wake the fuck up. I think today after I do my magical household cleaning (which I have been a total slag about), I'm going to make some vows in front of my gods about showing up for myself, which terrifies me as I was taught through ADF/GoG that the gods do not fuck around about vows so you better mean them.

I need to.