1/28/13

PBP: Week 5: C - Compassion

Tying into the post for last week's theme, I'd like to talk about compassion. Compassion means to 'suffer with' another. It has come to be understood as kind acts towards other people (and beings). If you have seen some of my other posts, you will recognize that I feel that kindness is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.

Kindness is not limited to human. Studies have been done and observations have been made that animals exhibit kindness/compassion. At times going outside of their own species.

There are countless cases of dogs and cats adopting other dogs or cats young when rejected by their parent. There are also recorded cases of them adopting outside of their species. This is part of what is behind the concept of a 'feral child.'

 If we can have compassion seen in the 'lower' animals of the world, then humanity must get over their egoism and extend it to all the world. It doesn't require some sort of grand gesture. It can be as simple as lending a bit of time and willingness to hear another person's story. It can be picking up refuse that is left along the roadside. It can be pulling weeds from a flowerbed or making a feral cat shelter from spare materials.

I sincerely believe that each act of kindness is blessed.

PBP: Week 4, B - Beautiful

Beauty can be seen in many places. People forget, however, that their perspective of beauty is not the absolute. One could wax on and on about what is beautiful and what is not, in their own perspective. It is my opinion that to the gods we are ALL beautiful. All that exists, down to the most miniscule and grotesque thing, is beautiful in their eyes. Because what is existence if not their beloved children. We should keep this little thought in mind as we go through our world. Find beauty where it lies, treasure it, and realized that all are beloved.

1/26/13

First Ritual of the Year

Full Ice Moon (Age: 14 days)
Sign: Cancer
Weather: Some lake effect, high clouds, 
and bitter cold
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It was a very simple little ritual with the boys. I took a birthday cake candle and put it in its own special holder. I then lit it. I brought it before the boys and told them that this was their wishing candle. And that they were to make a wish before blowing it out. After they blew the candle out, I put it on the altar and explained that their wish may come true by the next full moon. They were excited about that. They told me that their wishes were to get trains and to watch trains. Two very easy things for a crafty witchy Mom to make happen.

That business done, I put a few offerings up for the gods, the wights, and the dead. I also am using our oil diffuser to put a bit of rose essential oil into the air. I put the statuary back on the altar. It looks a bit more crowded now, but it feels more correct. Tomorrow, I will put the offerings outside in a hidden spot.
 
I hope that the gods, the wights, and the dead enjoy my offerings tonight. It was a bit of special fudge that I bought at the store to treat myself and some vodka. I plan on making another bottle of infused vodka over the next few months. I think I know what I'm going to infuse into it. I received a box of oranges from my maternal grandmother this week. I think I am going to take the peel from some of the oranges and use that to make orange infused vodka.
 
I think it will make something nice to give in offering. I have a jar of boozy peaches that I am considering decanting some of the liquor off to use for offerings. Again, I'm not entirely decided on how to approach that. I feel the urge to do more baking. I think when February's full moon comes, we'll do something with cakes and juice. If I do it right, I can ease the boys into a full ritual, possibly by the time Litha comes.

1/21/13

Entitlement.

Waxing Ice Moon ( 9 Days old)
Sign: Taurus
Weather: exceptionally cold (arctic temps), 
overcast with moderate lake effect

I am going to do something that I don't usually do here and talk a bit about a social problem that pops up everywhere of late it seems. If you listen to the politicians and their associated talking heads, you have a lot of nattering on about people who have an entitlement attitude. If you listen to the social commentators around, they go on about how people 'deserve' things. And then you have the endless advertisements that go on about stuff like 'get the credit you deserve'. There's also the subtle version of that 'get what you really wanted.'

Entitlement has several definitions. I'd like to think that the politicians are talking strictly about that third definition that has to do with benefits from government programs. I get the terrible feeling that they are actually talking about one having grounds to make claim of something. And that all of the arguments are over what people seem to opine are the legitimacy of others to things. Throw in a bit of confusion over what precisely those 'things' are and some sloppy word play... Well, you wind up with a mess.

I'm going to play out here an idea. If you agree with me, let me know. If you disagree, let me know. I would be *really* excited to see some discussion going on in the comments. :)

My idea:

What all people have a legitimate claim to (regardless of race, age, social status, nationality, creed, or any other distinguishing factors)

  1. To live unmolested and in a fashion that is conducive to their well being
  2. To have access to clean water, food, shelter, and other basic necessities of life
  3. To be able to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs (whilst adhering to points number one and two in the case of their dependents)
  4. To practice their chosen belief system (whilst adhering to prior points in all interactions with others)
  5. To have free expression of their thoughts via what ever medium they wish to exercise (while... you know)
  6. To have freedom of thought wherein they are not punished or penalized for their ideas, beliefs, or other thoughts even if they go against the majority - a person's mind is their kingdom and sacred ground that must be respected for it is the source of all autonomy


Here's what I think is not on the list:

  1. A big house, fancy cars, or other trappings of wealth. Nice to have but you earn them and create them.
  2. Power over other people. Dependents are a trust that belongs to future generations. They must be handled with care and dignity, for you are literally shaping the future in how you treat them.
I know that there's a lot that I didn't cover. If you feel that there is something that must be added, put it in the comments. If you feel that I was wrong about one of my points, let me know. I recognize society creates systems that control and manipulate all of these things. I also am of the opinion that society must be constantly subjected to a critical examination to determine if it is working for the good of all parties and enabling all people to live as genuinely as the possibly can.

1/18/13

PBP 2013: wk 3: B - Blessing

Blessings are not always the wonderful flowery things that people describe. Sometimes it is a roof over head, food in the belly, and dry clothes to wear. Sometimes it is a fire to drive back the cold. Sometimes it is have all the fingers and toes you were born with. And sometimes it is having a prosthetic to replace the ones that you lost.

Blessings are easy to find if you keep a grateful heart.

1/14/13

New Moon, new altar.

Waxing Moon (3 Days)
Sign: Pisces
Weather: Unusually warm, cloudy skies with threat of rain
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A decision that I made is to observe the new moon by reshuffling my altar. It is my goal to keep up with this for every new moon as part of my effort to get back to being more consistent in my ritual observances. I still have a fair amount of my altar furnishings put away. This slick, trimmed back altar is a function of necessity rather then desire. 

My children are fascinated with the altar and have decided it would be a lovely thing to play with. I'm still in the midst of teaching them what it means. I think it's going to be a few months before they've figured out enough not to play with it.

That said, here is January's New Moon Altar pic!




Loki said he wanted one of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I was having for lunch, so I gave him one. In the cup is the last of my Jameson whiskey. The little boat figurine is for Narvi. The crochet baggie beside it holds some other small offerings for Loki. In the silver bowl is a stone with a drawing on it that I am giving to the gods. Before the boat figurine is a stone that Cuddle Bear decided he was going to give to the gods. Away as the far left of the picture is one other offering that I honestly don't know what to do with it now. I made a crochet rose for Dea.

As I give more offering that are less food oriented or easily scattered for the wildlife, I don't know what I am going to do with it. I am considering a box for those things to go into. I don't know if that would be appropriate or not. I am sure that the gods will let me know how they want me to handle these things.

1/12/13

PBP 2013: week 2: A - Anger

Lots of people talk about anger. Lots of people have really insightful things to say on this topic. I'm not sure if my addition to the countless plethora of blog posts and articles is going to make much of an impact. It is, however, my deepest thoughts on something that I have found challenging for years.

Anger is a harsh emotion. It has the sharpness of a blade and can be used as such a tool. When used in a healthful fashion, it can be the surgeon's scalpel that excises illness from our souls. When used in an unhealthful fashion, it becomes the common thug's switchblade that is used to extort others or force them into acting against the validity of their own souls. Anger itself is a morally neutral thing.

I struggle with anger. The popular opinion that anger is a dangerous emotion has crept into my life and puts it into the realm of something to be controlled and withheld from view, lest it prove something too disruptive for others. Oft quoted aphorisms that talk about how anger is something we are supposed to remove from ourselves tend to pop up a lot on my Facebook feed and meet me on a regular basis when I am looking at how to best manage my illnesses.*

The real struggle that I face when encountering anger is not that wild, uncontrollable sense of anger that people talk about. It is owning my anger and embracing it when it is valid. We should not be a culture that decries any emotion. Emotions happen. They're our response to the world around us. We should be embracing them and upholding them as valuable.

Anger is what motivates me to act against injustice. Anger is what motivates me to speak up when I see someone being needlessly cruel. Anger is what pushes me forward when I find that my depression has overwhelmed me. Anger is not our enemy. Anger is as much our friend as pain. It tells us when something is wrong. It gives us the strength to fight for what is right. It is the voice that says "You will not ignore me. I am am a vaild human being. You WILL respect me."

I'm working to embrace that healthy aspect of anger. And I sincerely hope that others shall do so as well.

~*~*~*~*~

* I will be talking a bit more about mental illness and my own faith later this week. I'll be posting a link to that entry here in the foot notes.

1/5/13

PBP: Week 1: A - Absolutism.

Absolutism is the enemy of reasoned discussion. When one orients themselves to a fixed point and refuses to consider any others, even as an intellectual exercise, they stagnate in their ideas and concepts. Their brain becomes increasingly rigid and less adaptable to new input.

The pagan religions are coming close to their half century mark of renewed practice. In this time, the beginning of orthodoxy are starting to show its heads. (And I truly believe that a hydra is the best metaphor for this collection of ideas and its pervasiveness.) Mere superstition has come to replace theological exploration. Absolutism is making its presence known.

It is a seductive concept. We find comfort in things established as 'fact' and practices with a measure of 'history' behind them. We must not allow our desire for comfort to make us complacent in our spiritual efforts. We must continue to be the bold explorers that we started out as.

With out the quest for growth, we will die a slow death. Absolutism is poison and we must resist its siren song.