It’s Really Real…

Oh, dear god… We start schooling on Monday.

I am so frazzled.

We also have an inspection for the apartment that day. We are doing our Imbolc cleaning, getting everything taken care of and making sure the house looks good for the inspection… I finished the kitchen today – well, nearly finished the kitchen, I still have to finish the bar-counter and do some spot cleaning.

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2016 Goals (UPDATED)

I was inspired by Kaar to create some, hopefully, attainable goals for this year. These seem like a lot of goals, and a glance they really are – but most of them are tied into each other, in one way or another. Many of the Hearth/Home, Homeschooling, and Health goals are connected to each other in the concept of RHYTHM – establishing a rhythm will benefit all the areas. The curriculum we chose for Sunstone will get me moving, get me out of the house (nature walks!), and therefore will help me to further my progress toward my Health goals. I am nervous about what sits before me, and a part of me feels rather apprehensive about what I have outlined below, but I know that they are all attainable within a years time. I can do this.

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101 Followers?

I just wanted to give you all a quick little shout out and say thank you for following my blog. It really means a lot to know that people come here, read my work, and choose to follow and see what else I put out there. I know sometimes I fall off the face of the planet, but I am going to work on getting better at writing a few times a week (and actually keep it going). Again, I just wanted to say THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. YOU FREAKING ROCK!

Your Amazing Witchy Self

Found this on Small Town Pagan, who found it on YouTube. I decided to answer the questions as a sort of inventory for myself, to see where I am right now.


1. What kind of witch are you? I am an Eclectic Witch – I have leanings toward Hedge Witchery/Shamanism, but I am definitely eclectic.

2. How did you discover your path? My mother raised me as a Witch, though I identified as a Christian for a number of years during my childhood. She was my first introduction to a truly eclectic path; I started to develop thoughts about my spirituality at 10 years old, but I didn’t truly build my own personal beliefs until I was 19, on my own, and pregnant with my oldest child. I defined a lot of my beliefs with my kids biological father (who, for all his failings, was a good listener). It took a lot of reflection and thought and research to find out what my path detailed for my practice.

3. How long have you been practicing? Technically my whole life, but I truly only count the last 15-16 years as truly practicing, because that has been the length of time I’ve been doing things on my own (learning and practicing).

4. What path/tradition do you follow? Eclectic with a dash of Hedge Witchery and Shamanism.

5. Are you solitary or do you have a coven? Solitary.

6. Do you practice divination? If so, what techniques? I generally only do the Tarot, but I dabble in Astrology.

7. Do/would you teach and practice witchcraft to your children? I plan on raising my children with Paganism and Witchcraft, but I will encourage them to study other religions and find their paths as they deem appropriate.

8. Do you have a patron/major deity? Yes, and I am grateful for their patience and undemanding nature with me.

9. Favorite pantheon? I have a deep love of the Greek pantheon, always have, but I do not exclusively use this pantheon. I also love the Egyptian pantheon and Celtic pantheon.

10. Favorite goddess? Hekate

11. Favorite god? Lucifer (he is definitely a deity, whether he is widely seen as one or not).

12. Your sun sign? Aries

13. Your moon sign? Aquarius

14. Do you have a familiar? I searched for so many years for my familiar, and when I finally stopped caring about having one, I found him. I have a black cat (his given name is Loki, but I also just call him Black Cat) who cuddles in my lap when I perform magic, talks to me, points me in the right direction – he might knock things down, but it is always for a reason. He is a little shithead, no use denying it, but he is definitely my familiar. His older brother (whom we have had since my daughter was about 4 months old) is also my familiar, but he sits at the edge of the circle, watching and making sure everything remains safe – he is an indoor/outdoor cat, and whenever I leave he is waiting for me to come back. He has waited hours before, watching out, keeping an eye on the house, just waiting.

15. Thoughts on the afterlife? I believe in reincarnation, and I believe that a soul reincarnates multiple times and that there are lessons to learn in each life. Once our soul has learned all of the necessary lessons, it ascends back to the Great Spirit (the energy that makes up everything in this Universe), and becomes a star or some shit like that. I don’t know, I haven’t ascended yet. I have a very complex view on the afterlife and what becomes of us once we are no longer required to remain on this plane of existence.

16. Have you had any paranormal experiences? Too many to talk about. I am still very sensitive to the paranormal, and will likely continue to have experiences like the ones I’ve had in the past. One of the most notable experiences was, and still remains, the ‘imaginary’ friend I had when I was 7. We moved into my grandmothers house, and immediately I met Sarah, who was my age and looked similar to me but had brown hair and blue eyes – her skin was just a single shade darker than mine. When I told my mother about her, she flipped nuts – my grandmother accused me of lying and kept asking me how I knew about Sarah. Turns out, she was pregnant when my mother conceived me – my grandmother had a still birth of a baby girl she had named Sarah. They kept her headstone downstairs behind the couch before we moved in, and we kept all of my grandmothers furniture the way it was for a while. Sarah is still attached to me, and in honor of her, my daughters first name is Sarah (though that is not what we call her).

17. Are you out of the broom closet? if so, how do your friends/family feel about your path? I am most definitely out of the broom closet. I don’t usually hide it, unless it is for the sake of friends or out of respect for family. I might be open with my mother in law, but I would never discuss my beliefs with my husbands grandparents (unless they pressed and pressed and pressed and I finally snapped).

18. What is something that inspires you? Art. Writing. Music. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Paganism/Witchcraft, cleaning, or whatever else – art, writing, and music are my inspirations for everything I do.

19. Do you have an altar? Yeah, I do – but the question is, do I use it? Because the answer to that is no, no I do not. Why? Because I am lazy and messy and harebrained and can’t sit down for a second to do anything that might further my spiritual path without finding something else to do first. I’m terrible.

20. What’s a spell that you’ve done? Money spells! Whenever I do my taxes, I always do a money spell to make sure the correct amount comes to me without deviation – I can’t stop the IRS from delaying it, but I can make sure I get it in the end. Job spells are another one I’ve been known to do. Protection and cleansings are spells and rituals I do regularly.

21. Do you have a totem animal? if so, what is it? Yeppers, Black Cat/Panther and Coyote. I have Wolf and Snow Leopard as well, but Black Cat and Coyote are my main ones (my Totem’s are the same as my Spirit and Power Animals).

22. Favorite pagan holiday that you celebrate? My number 1 favorite is Ostara, but Samhain is number 1 as well, if that makes any sense.

23. Do you meditate? I try? Yeah, let’s go with that. I try.

24. Have you gone to a psychic/tarot reader/reiki master/healer/etc? Tarot and Palm readers, who all sucked balls – except for the last one, who offered me a job managing one of her stores because she believed I had ‘the gift’.

25. What are some witch books that have influenced you? The Spiral Dance by Starhawk (really, all of Starhawk’s books); the Temple of Witchcraft Series by Christopher Penczack; any and all of Cunningham’s work.

26. Favorite witch websites? I don’t have one?

27. Favorite witch movie? Practical Magic

28. Favorite mythological animal? Well, not mythological, but Dire Wolves. But I also like… Pegasi.

29. Favorite season? Nope. I can’t pick one. It used to be Winter, but I love Spring and Autumn as well. Here in the desert, we have Monsoon and because of that, everything is green and muggy and alive and perfect – so I love that season as well. Can’t, and won’t, pick one. Bite me.

30. Favorite herb? Lavender and Sage

31. Favorite gem? Hematite, Bloodstone, Amethyst, and Quartz

32. Rune of your choice? Meh, I generally don’t mess with Runes. Not my thing.

33. Tarot card of your choice. The Sun, The Moon, and The Star (I can’t pick one!)

34. Symbol/sigil of your choice. Spiral, Tree of Life, or Pentacle.

35. Your athame (or one you want). Nope. Don’t have one, or want one.

36. Your wand (or one you want). Any stick I find, or my son finds, works just as well as any elaborate wand you could make or buy (at least for my path).

37. Your cauldron (or one you want). An aluminum pie dish, which are fireproof and just fine. Or maybe a glass baking dish, if I just need to mix some stuff up. I don’t really care, as long as it doesn’t break.

38. Your book of shadows (or one you want). OMG. I have two handmade, leather bound, handmade paper journals (one for each child so I can pass them down), regular black journals, a binder, notebooks, files on a computer, this blog… Sheesh. I want a giant tome but meh, whatever. I would never use it anyways. Even after all this time, I have no desire to write down the information because my path is constantly evolving and I don’t like ripping pages out of things.

39. Your tarot deck(s) (or one you want). The Tarot of the Cat People and Shadowscapes (I saw all the artwork for Shadowscapes before the deck was publish, and I am in love with the artists work so hard, omg, and I wanted this deck for years before I finally got it a few months ago).

There you go. Yep. Awesome. Peace out people, love, light, and sweet dreams!

Fear

I know that fear is healthy, especially when you are starting something new. It is healthy to feel apprehension about something, because that is a part of our learning process, it is an instinct that keeps us safe, but it can also be paralyzing. I wasn’t feeling fear when my husband left for basic training, because I am not afraid of being alone, I am not afraid of handling things on my own – I hate that he is so far away, and that I barely get to talk to him, and that he is going through some tough shit right now with the army, and I am scared of what might happen if he doesn’t make to/through basic training, but I do not feel fear of him being gone. I got this. I am strong. I can homeschool, and keep a clean(ish) house, and I can work on getting my online storefront ready. I can do this.

But right now, the fear is real. No lie. I have this anxiety building in my stomach. Are we ready to homeschool? But I don’t have this, or that – oh, Sunstone needs this for his lesson! What about this? Or that? … I don’t feel prepared. I feel like such a newb, and I am so scared. What makes me think we can do Waldorf inspired homeschooling when I was recommended to be held back in a Waldorf school?! What makes me think I can teach my son any better than the teachers at an established public school? I don’t have training!

Right now, I am working on a set of stories to give Sunstone a deeper understanding of the vowels and language in general. He has the basics down, thanks to public school – he knows the vowels, knows his letters, and can read little bits (but he gets very frustrated with reading, so I am hoping this deeper understanding will help to alleviate some it). I am also finishing up a set of Math Gnomes for when we start our Math Block.

But is it enough? Is it too much? What about the schooling area? Is Moonstone’s Frozen table really a good learning table? Should we have wood bowls and plates? What about playsilks and wooden toys? Nature table or tray?

I am scared. I am nervous. I am ready to start this, but at the same time I don’t feel ready at all. We are all so excited about February 1st, when we had decided to start schooling. I am grateful that we live in a state with pretty relaxed homeschooling laws. I can pretty much do whatever I want as long as we touch on the core subjects. I have a First Grade curriculum that is amazing (and so easy to tweak and add to).

I know that I need to do some inner work, do some reflection and have some time to myself to really focus on the root of the feelings I am dealing with. But trying to find the time right now is such a pain.

Something I need to realize, and accept, is that I am not everyone else. I am not calm, I am not peaceful – I yell, I get angry, I hide in my room for days on end, I just can’t even on some things. I am me, and all I can do is be the best me I can be for myself and my husband and my kids. I can work on myself, but I will always have a temper, I will always have to deal with anxiety and being an introvert, and I will always cuss like a fucking sailor. But I am ok with that – deep down, I know that I am ok with the negative things in my personality.

I just need to stop worrying, because in the end, we will all learn what works best and what needs to be discarded. We will figure it all out.

The Alphabet

So, we are going to be using the Earthschooling curriculum for first grade, and we are starting with the August lessons (the very beginning of the academic year, the month deals with Language Arts and getting into the rhythm of school). I like some of the stories offered in the curriculum, but some of the verses, and the delivery, are lacking. Because of this, I decided to give Bran and Bryn some more face time with the kids, and they will be going on a quest to obtain all 26 symbols, place them in a magical book, and keep Wisdom in the world. The finished product will be The Tales of Bran and Bryn: The Alphabet. The tale is inspired, highly, by The Wise Enchanter by Shelley Davidow. The letters themselves will still be introduced by the tales and in the order provided by the curriculum (at least if I like the stories), but they will be introduced in the context of Bran and Bryn’s quest.

Bran and Bryn’s first symbols will be A and E (AH and EH). The book will not be in alphabetical order, so in its final form it will not work for traditional school (however, I don’t doubt that the resourceful Waldorf homeschoolers out here in Blogging Land, will be able to modify and adjust the stories to fit their needs).

I just finished the Prologue and AH-The Vowel of Wonder, and am starting to work on EH-The Vowel of Balance. I will post the tales each week, with the artwork that goes along with it (both my feeble attempt at chalkboard drawings, Sunstone’s MLB, and whatever else we decided to draw, paint, or make).

I’ve also written some verses for the vowels (currently need to work on EE and OO) with suggestions for movement/eurythmy for each line.

As you can plainly tell, I am super excited about this. I am anxious about not being prepared, but I am so ready to start! I am going to introduce the vowels with a story starting on Monday (last week of January) – the story is provided with the curriculum, and is called The Golden Key-Rainbow Colors. I will read it to the kids while we drink our chamomile tea before bedtime. It is a really long story, so it will work for the entire week, and then on the first day of school, we will read the Prologue I wrote.

I will leave you all for now, I have to work on these tales!

Oh, as a side note, I got some wooden People from Hobby Lobby and painted them yesterday! I have the Math Gnomes done, and I even made one of Bran and one of Bryn! I will post some pictures once I have their capes and other accessories finished!

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Esbats

Alright, so I know I posted about this last night – I wanted to expound upon the topic of these stories a bit, and where I want to go with the series.

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Esbats is a series of short stories that follow the adventures of the siblings Bran and Bryn each Full Moon. I believe that next year, come January, I will begin writing short stories to go with the Sabbats as well (as Sunstone and Moonstone will be older and more solid in knowledge of the seasons and the Wheel of the Year). Though we plan on working through the Sabbats starting with Imbolc this year, I will be using tales found on the internet. For all my studies these last 15 years, I am still at a loss for Sabbat inspiration! I am going to try and outline some ideas for the Sabbat series before January comes again, try to get a feel for what it should entail and such.

Though deities do have a role to play in the Esbats series, they may not play a traditional role as we adults would view it. They guide the children on their quests, and offer materials that will help them in their spiritual growth. In Storm Moon, the children meet Brigid of the Well, and she gives them a clear crystal that will summon her if their need is dire (it wont work for simple problems or mundane tasks, more of a life or death situation). She also gives the children a task – to find her three sisters. I know that Brigid is a Solar Deity, a Fire Deity, but the Sun and Moon are linked and therefor her three sisters are Lunar Deities: Diana, Arianrhod, and Selene.

Why did I choose Deities from different pantheons? Because I believe in providing my children a well rounded spiritual education, and they need to know that all deities ARE equal. I am not against those who focus on a single pantheon, I did for many years (started with Greek, then Egyptian, then Celtic) but realized that it didn’t matter who I called on for specific work or that I mixed Hindu and Greek deities in a job spell – it all worked for me, nonetheless.

Back to Storm Moon. Bryn holds onto the clear crystal. Diana gives Bran an enchanted Arrow that will guide the pair to her at any time – really what it means is that it will guide them out of the path of danger, but it uses Diana’s energy so an arrow may appear to direct them away from the danger, or her Stag may appear. Arianrhod gives Bran an owl shaped Moonstone pendant that will help the siblings to be wise and to find the answers to even the toughest questions. Finally, Selene gives Bryn her torch in order to light their way through darkness – whether physical or otherwise.

I just want to say that though I used traditional deities, they may not appear in any of the tales as how you might see them. The reason for this is because I write about my experiences with them, however brief they may be, not traditional experiences.

I really do hope that everyone enjoys these tales, and if you decide to use them in your own practice, I sincerely hope that you are yours enjoy them as well!

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Storm Moon

So, instead of waiting to reveal the tale of the Storm Moon, I have decided to post it early in case anyone else wants to use it. I am doing this with some serious faith in the blogging/reading community. Please understand that this story is mine, and it took time to write.

If you use this, please leave a comment on this post telling me how it worked. I would strongly prefer that you only repost a portion of the tale, and link back here so that your readers can get the full version.

If you repost without credit or claim this as your own tale, I will probably get incredibly pissed off, send some strong words, and perhaps do some retribution work – though the first two are not too severe, retribution work is nothing to take lightly. Again, I am trusting you to be respectful of me as an artist and a fellow Pagan.

A note on Age Range: Though my children are 4 and 6, I believe this tale is good for any and all ages, even adults! 

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The Tales of Bran and Bryn

So, I stated in my last post that we are homeschooling now. Well, we are starting in February, and the curriculum is a Waldorf one. This style of education is art centered, and very free in the academic department. It is wonderful, and with all the problems Sunstone has been having with traditional education, I truly believe that this is an appropriate educational method. I will talk about it more in a later post.

The Waldorf style allows for a lot of introduction into my faith, which is generally a Pagan faith. I am very eclectic, and though I am not particularly religious about my observances, I know that children benefit from having a faith. So, I’ve decided that Sunstone is old enough to start learning this path. We are going to start with basic Sabbat information – pretty much a story, a craft, and a meal will be our rituals. I am also going to get Sunstone and Moonstone into doing Full Moon rituals. They are going to be a bit more involved, but I will post our ritual once we perform the first one (for the Storm Moon in February).

For these rituals, I decided to write a story. I am going to write each story the month before, which means I just finished the story for February. I am of the mind of a Universal Pantheon, which means I draw deities from all over the world, and even mix deities in my rituals. I have never experienced anything negative from this, and I definitely do my research before hand.

These stories are called The Tales of Bran and Bryn, and are based on a brother and sister who go on adventures and meet Gods and Goddesses associated with the Moon and/or that particular Full Moon for that month. As Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, is February 1st/2nd, this month they will be meeting Brigid who is in search of her sisters Diana, Arianrhod, and Selene – all of which are associated with the Moon.

I am going to sit down over the next few days and try to do some artwork to go along with the story, but I may just end up doing some little peg figures to represent the children and symbols for the deities. We shall see. I will post the story after the Full Moon ritual, with how it worked for the kids.