Coming soon: a new web address for this blog!

[[[At the end of November I'll be migrating this blog to a new address, which will be:]]]

30 November 2012

.... or not.

So, the art show isn't happening.

I got to the gallery to set up, and was told all the art had been moved to someone else's studio, so that the gallery could be used for something else this weekend.

The person whose studio everyone's artwork had been moved to, wasn't around.

I'm a bit irritated. And totally bummed.
If I had more energy, I'd be more irritated than bummed, but I mostly just feel... tired.

Art Show Today!

28 November 2012

a very minor epiphany

Usually I can look back at a relationship and see why I loved that person in the beginning, even if I don't necessarily feel so friendly to them in the end. With Husband #2, I look back and just see my own mental illness.

That kinda makes me laugh, which isn't very charitable.

26 November 2012

blog organizing

Ok, so in light of all this meta-blogging I've been doing (that is, blogging about blogging), I figure it'd be good to post some links to the other blogs I'm working on. I'll get them up on a side bar as soon as I can convince blogger to cooperate with the rearranging.

fictional story I'm writing:
poems (and some prose):

This blog will remain my 'diary.'

My previous posts in this blog which were specific to the story of my abuse have been moved to a private blog. That will be published... someday. Honestly, it will probably take me a very long time to finish that. The main thing I have to do before publishing it, is to tell my mother the story. I'm not ready for that. Actually that's pretty much the only thing I have to do before publishing it. Still. It's gonna take me a while. 

25 November 2012

party planning step 1: determine reason to party

My first post in this blog, 18 January 2012. Reading it again, it feels like my first post ever. But I had two blogs before this one. Neither told the whole story, but that wasn't what they were for. I haven't deleted them - I hate to throw anything away - but I haven't posted in them, either.

I went back to it because I couldn't remember what I had written, or exactly which day I had started it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that what I had said then, has held true. It reminded me of the struggles I have surmounted within myself over the past year. This blog was the beginning of holding myself accountable for who I was, both the good aspects and the bad. Though at the time, what I saw seemed more bad than good. That's no longer the case, by the way. I'm pretty happy with who I've become, for the most part. In that purpose - holding myself accountable - this blog represented the first point of inner light which led to the end of a very dark time in my life.

That  is what I'd like to commemorate for my first blogoversary - points of light that lead us home, turning points and internal ordeals, and being a Survivor. 

24 November 2012

anticipating blog-evolution

I've been doing this particular blog for almost one year.

Hmmm.... blogoversary party? I'm considering it.

I'm also having that internal discussion which is epidemic among bloggers nearing their anniversary, about the evolution of this blog. It developed from a place for me to figure out what the hell is going on in my brain, to whatever it is now. Which is, it seems, more of a spirituality blog. ...I'm cool with that, by the way. I don't know that I really need to 'redefine' my purpose here, but I do think it's important for me to recognize how my focus here has changed.

This is my diary, after all. No reason to put whatever the hell I want into it.

At the same time... I want to write my story, my survival story, and I think that will need its own space. But I feel it would be best for me to write that story in its entirety before publishing it. So - I think I just decided - those stories which are relevant will be moved from this blog, to a private blog. That will allow me to write my tale 'silently' and without pressure to finish it sooner than I am ready to. This blog will continue as it is; I will leave a summary of my already-posted stories here, perhaps on a separate tab or something.

I'd like to talk more about my art here, too, how it intersects with my spirituality, and the growth of these things together... My life is becoming more integrated than ever before. This blog will continue to reflect that integration. If all my interests become potential topics, which does seem to be happening, then you will see more of these in the near future: my paintings, my academic interests (developmental and evolutionary psychology, anthropology, and gender development, in particular), my animals, and even my child (maybe). If you're reading this because it's a pagan blog, don't worry. My spirituality has fully integrated itself into my life. It's never far, never separate. 

21 November 2012

idle thoughts

"Don't say things like that, child."
"Why not, Mom? You are the best."
"Because best turns to worst so quickly, and I can't live up to either."


I just woke up. I'm not really fully awake, but I fired up ye ole computer anyway and opened up blogger. I was thinking about my story. Ideas...ideas... And then I noticed that people are actually reading my blog! Holy crap! And, thanks!

19 November 2012


I started a project today. Actually, I started it the day before yesterday. It stewed in my brain until it got too big and I had to let it out. I know, I know - just what I need, another project. Maybe I should finish the 78 days project, eh? Well, I didn't say those 78 days were going to be all in a row, did I? No? Good. Cuz they won't be. And this new project, well... it just had to get started, or my brain was going to explode. So there ya go. *Clicky* to see the new project: some fiction from Bones.

17 November 2012

W is for Mr. Wednesday

I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Again. I'm remembering the last time I read it, when I wasn't so much of a 'practicing' pagan, and I was too distracted by life to really pay attention to what was actually being said in any book I read. I read this book as an adventure story - which it is, at least superficially - but I missed out on the most interesting bits.

That is to say, I didn't give the nuances of the story a lot of thought.

Why, for example, is Mr. Wednesday - Odin - portrayed as he is? And... just how  is he portrayed?

Before I started re-reading this book, I read 'somewhere on the internet' - I should have marked it, but I didn't, and I can't remember where except that it was in a comment on some webpage about the book - that some person had read the book and thought Odin was portrayed very negatively, and therefor incorrectly. That sat wrong with me, though I wasn't sure why. I just hadn't been left with that feeling of negative portrayal, the first time.

Re-reading the book, this time with a greater awareness of the characters' stories (and identities), I grew to like the Mr. Wednesday who was portrayed, though I feel like Odin is somewhat less  of a con artist than he's made out to be.

I suppose if I had read the book (the first time) when I was a child - and more of an idealist - that I might have seen Mr. Wednesday as quite the villain indeed. Back then, I might have thought that anyone who even attempted a con, was a villain. But the first time I read the book was during my deployment to Iraq (with the Army). I was spending my days interviewing suspected terrorists, hoping to glean a bit of information that might save somebody's life. A little con-artistry for the sake of survival was nothing, on my scale of good-versus-evil.

Then again... my own beliefs of what deities are, in general, would negate the entire plot of the book. I believe the forces which we call gods would not cease to exist if we stop believing in them. They're still there, personalities and all (though "personalities" is a poor term for it), because they were always there. In naming them, we only recognize what is already true. At the same time, I don't think they're particularly concerned (to put it lightly) with taking human physical forms, subject to the same laws as human bodies, which was a central idea to Gaiman's plot. So, the Odin I'm getting to know would have no need of the trickery which occurs in American Gods.

But...  I have to wonder, how would  Odin act, if the situation in the book were true - if he were actually threatened with being extinguished by the disbelief of humans? And if he could actually be killed by a gunshot or starvation? I can't say I'd entirely negate the idea behind the characterization of Odin as a trickster in league with Loki. It doesn't really seem that far fetched. He is  ruthless, afterall. And if anybody could pull off the plot of the book, it's Odin and Loki.

Regardless, I'm not convinced that we should hold our differences against the author. He tells us very early on in the book that Mr. Wednesday is not exactly the Odin we know from lore:

    "Mead," said Wednesday. "Honey wine. The drink of heroes. The drink of the gods."
    Shadow took another tentative sip. Yes, he could taste the honey, he decided. That was one of the tastes. "Tastes kinda like pickle juice," he said. "Sweet pickle-juice wine."
    "Tastes like a drunken diabetic's piss," agreed Wednesday. "I hate the stuff."

This is a fictional Odin, a character based on Odin but with some artistic license applied.

We do get a glimpse of the "real" Icelandic version of Odin, the one who came before the American version in Gaiman's story. In his very brief scene, I got a sense of the Odin I'm coming to know; he was the wise god who had sacrificed himself for knowledge, an All-Father. The contrast made me realize the urgency of the American Mr. Wednesday.

The edition of American Gods  I have, has a section in the back which includes an interview with Neil Gaiman. In it, he is asked how his writing has changed since he moved to the U.S. from England (where he grew up). This statement begins his response:

"I wrote about America a lot in Sandman  [a previous publication of his, which I highly recommend], but it was a slightly delirious America - one built up from movies and TV and other books. When I came out here I found it very different from the country I'd encountered in fiction, and I wanted to write about that. American Gods  was, in many ways, my attempt to make sense of the country I was living in."

Ah, and there we see why Mr. Wednesday - Odin - is portrayed as he is.

If we were to take the gods of the old countries, and put them in situations where they could truly die of disbelief or any human ailment, and then set them in modern America, changing their natures to fit an American morality... what would  they do? Honestly, I think Gaiman may have it right.

16 November 2012

x is for xylophone: a short story

When we were kids, little kids, before any bad things happened, my brother was partially deaf and had trouble learning words. Later, Mom would have his tonsils removed, and that somehow fixed his hearing, because the deafness was linked causally with frequent and severe ear infections. But until that happened, he said words like, "Kee qu-oom," which meant 'thank you.' Our older half-brother, who was a teenager at the time, delighted in giving the younger boy words to say, just to see how they would be repeated back.

"Hey, say 'thank you.'"
"Kee qu-oom!" *giggle*
...and so on.

Until one morning at breakfast,...
"Say 'xylophone.'"
"Xylophone!" *grin*
...and jaws dropped all over the table.

Some things just come naturally. Some times, it's a thing we least expect.

15 November 2012

labels: a short rant

It comes down to: labels don't change the nature of the thing.


As I was driving home this morning, my mind wandered, as it does on the long stretch of highway between there and here, and I thought of a conversation I've never had with a particular Catholic friend of mine. She's very smart, this friend, but would be a bit scandalized by my opinions on Catholicism. I think it's a fine religion, in its essence. But I would classify it as polytheism, the worship of many divine entities (the holy trinity, for example, though they could also be called three faces of one entity, although they're not; perhaps all those saints are a more clear example). On second thought... if "God" is in all things, as they say, wouldn't that make Catholicism pantheistic, technically? Well, not according to the Catholic church. But the labels they use don't change the nature of their religion. Perhaps that's why I'm so hesitant to label my own path - it doesn't fit neatly into any pre-existing labels.

And then my mind wandered again... to a recent, real, conversation in which she mentioned the visual political difference between the two towns we live in. Here, she said (in my town), there are GObama stickers everywhere. In her town, there are Romney stickers everywhere. This conversation was just days before the election... and I thought, neither is ideal. Neither really deserves my enthusiasm. But: Romney scares me. Obama doesn't. I differ with Obama on his foreign policy (drones, specifically), but anyone who thinks Romney wouldn't do the same or worse is fooling themselves. I differ with Obama on his signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, but again, Romney would have signed it, too. Any president would have, in my opinion. Romney scares me because of his views on, well, anyone who isn't a rich white man. Frankly, any of his policies would have worked to dis-empower the individual people of this country. He believes in the supremacy of government; he believes his experience of privilege extends to all of us - the rest of us are just too lazy to take advantage of it properly. "Small government" my ass. Call it what you want, the label doesn't change the nature of the thing.

On an unrelated note: calling an Archangel a demon, doesn't make it so.



12 November 2012

self-renewal and repurposing my home

I've been quiet of late, I know.
I'm reordering my life. I'm focusing more on my relationships - with my child, with myself, with my gods, and with my loves - and I'm reorganizing my house, so that it will be more of a sanctuary - for my child, myself, my gods, and my loves. That's what I've always sought in a home; that's what I will create, here, for the first time in my life. A sanctuary, gestalt.


Odin seems to have taken up permanent residence on my altar. I think I need to make him an altar of his own, so I can retain the general-usefulness of the one current altar in my house. I'm not sure, yet, where I'll put it. Probably in my bedroom somewhere. But I need my altar for other work.


Yesterday I spent a large-ish chunk of time contemplating ways to make my home stronger, less malleable to the expectations of others. Hmm, I suppose that requires some explanation.

Here's the thing: I wouldn't have thought of this if it hadn't happened. I'm still not totally sure it isn't coincidental, but the more I think about it, the more my doubt fades. It just doesn't make sense any other way.

Every night, my dogs sleep soundly from the time I go to sleep (or earlier), until I wake up in the morning, and I wake them up by opening my bedroom door. Frequently, me opening my door only wakes up Bella, the younger of the two dogs. I have to intentionally rouse Roxy, my old lady dog, to get her up for her morning potty break. And every day, my child sleeps until at least 8am, if not 9am. I am always the first one awake in my house. On the rare occasions that I oversleep, the dogs stay quiet, waiting for me and snoozing, while Child plays quietly in their room. If I oversleep, it's because (I'm exhausted, and) the house is quiet enough that I can. In the mornings, as I get close to waking, I sleep very lightly indeed.

Every time that Archer spends the night, something happens to disturb our sleep. The dogs have a coughing fit (I'm lookin at you, Bella, with the one ticklish hair caught in your throat), or they've eaten something that disagreed with them (oh Roxy the Ravenous) and are loudly vomiting all over my carpet (really, you couldn't at least aim for the tile?). Or Child wakes up at the crack of dawn, and knocks on my door because "it's morning, Mama!" W.T.F. household. Why you gotta be like that? And why do you only do this shit when Archer is... here? Oh....

There has to be a reason. Archer and I have been together almost two years - the longevity of this issue makes me really think it's not a coincidence, any more. Maybe it was at first, but not after so long. It has become... habitual. And why is that? It could be that Child and my dogs feel a change in the household when Archer is here. It could be. But... that doesn't feel like it's a strong enough variable to be independent. Their energy is unfocused, reactive but not driven. Archer's energy, on the other hand, is Driven. He is powerful, whether he means to be or not. His expectations have a way of coming true.

So I think that my house needs to be given a purpose. It needs direction of its own, and the energy to resist the expectations of anybody who isn't Me. It's My house, dammit. As I contemplated how to do this, Sretya seemed to come back out of the mists. Of course - homes are her thing. In hindsight, that's probably why she didn't want to be involved in my recent spellwork that opened the door for Odin coming into my life. It was to help something that was outside my home, and outside my household. Duh.

Anyway, that's why I need the only altar I have, back. Odin is here, so with his and Sretya's approval, I'll include him in the ritual, In fact, with the approval of all three, I'll include Hela, Odin, and Sretya, each for their own reasons. But, Sretya is the power behind this upcoming work. Hela and Odin are there for me, in their ways, but Sretya is there for the home. The altar will need to reflect that. And Odin needs his own. Maybe Hela does too - I'll ask.

Once I complete this work, I'll get back to working on learning the tarot and the 78 days project, and re-learning the runes.

I'll keep you posted.

09 November 2012

Working with Woden

hmm, yes, so... I've been busy, the past few days. Catching up on my life.
The new meds are working... Is this what "normal" feels like?


I'll tell you a story, the most important one of the last few days.

It's about Odin.
Actually, it's about how I came to Odin.

I had decided to do some Work.
And by Work, I mean a spell, but I don't like the word "spell" because there are too many connotations which make the word inaccurate for what I'm trying to communicate. This has nothing to do with me demanding anything from the universe, or trying to mold it to my will, or blue fire coming from... wherever. This is about me asking the assistance of the Energies around me. It's more like a prayer, but less passive.

I came to the idea for this work when I was faced with a loved one's problem to which I could see no way of helping directly. I asked my oracle cards - and was inspired to use them in a Working, to ask them to guide this person and help resolve the situation. So I got permission from the person to do this, and then figured out the details of how.

Six animals from my deck immediately jumped out at me as being the  right ones for this task. Then, as I puzzled over how I would conduct the ritual, I realized I wanted to ask one of my deities for help with this, too. I don't usually do a ton of deity work outside of my own internal pathworking, but it felt right. Since the two deities I have worked with most over the past couple years are Sretya and Hela, I thought of them first.

I dismissed the idea of asking Hela pretty quickly. I didn't want her deciding that this person was better off by shedding the source of the problem rather than working through it - that would have caused far more hardship; her help can sometimes be more brutal than what I was hoping to achieve.

Sretya was a logical choice, with her talent for finding the happy side of fate, but... she felt very distant, as I mulled the question around in my mind. So I thought some more. Was it wise to ask a goddess for help when she felt like she didn't want to be involved?

I don't remember where the inspiration came from, exactly, but somehow Odin came to mind.

Now, it's important to know that I've really never worked with Odin. Sure he was called on in some of the rituals I participated in when I was involved with a military open circle that leaned heavily toward Heathenism, but a) that was in 2008, and b) those rituals were holiday celebrations, not "working" rituals. As any pagan who has hung around for a year or two, and especially as one who has made even a cursory study of the runes, I'm familiar with Odin's story. But I'm using "familiar" as the military does: I would recognize it from 50 meters, but don't ask me any nitty-gritty details. So when it occurred to me to work with Odin on this, I was confronted with a couple more questions that had to be answered before I did anything else.

1. Is it rude/inappropriate/somehow-not-good to ask a god for help the very first time you work with them?
My instinct said Yes.

2. I was planning on working with my oracle cards, and I felt they were essential to this Work; would Odin, who gave us runes, be offended by the use of a different system in a ritual requesting his aid?
That worried me.

So I researched, and read blogs (Galina Krasskova's blog, Gangleri's Grove, was particularly helpful, especially since she just began a series focusing on Odin, and she knows her stuff). In the end, it was (divine?) inspiration that provided the answer. I realized, in a "dug" moment, that I should ask Odin via the runes. So I did.

I picked up my rune bag, which has been relatively ignored for too long, and asked, "What will result, if I ask for your [Odin's] help with this Working [which includes my oracle cards and would be our first together]. Then I reached into the bag and blindly pulled out Ehwaz.

Image from this site:
The image was the best part of the site.
I recalled that Ehwaz was something about togetherness... I found and opened my copy of Taking Up the Runes (by Diana L. Paxson; it's my go-to book for runes). Opened it with the intent to flip through until I found Ehwas... no need to flip: it opened to that page.

This is what I read:

"Meaning: Horse... Horses are also associated with Odin... Thorrson explains the meaning of Ehwaz as symbiosis between partners - man/horse, man/woman, for example - or opposites working together harmoniously toward a single goal." (page 196-197) Further reading confirmed my initial impression: this was as strong an affirmative as I could have hoped for.

It all felt right, except, I felt like I needed an offering for Odin. I was out of mead. I eyeballed my bottle of sangria, and dismissed it. I sniffed my already-open, half-full bottle of shiraz, and... it smelled like mead. Well then. That worked. For reasons I couldn't possible explain, because I don't understand it myself, I chose the best apple from the bunch I had bought a day or two prior (I'm planning on making pie) to add to the offering. I put the apple in the bottom of a larger clay cup, and poured the shiraz over it, until the apple was covered. It finished off the bottle. It felt right. The ritual went smoothly, and I felt like I had done all I could to help the person I was trying to help.

I also felt obligated to Odin, in a good way. He stepped in to help me in a time of need - I owe it to him to learn the runes and his stories better, and to include him in my practice. Each evening since that ritual, I've felt the urge to do something for Odin. The first evening, I flipped open Taking Up the Runes, randomly landing on page 134, where Eihwaz begins. Eihwaz, the yew tree, is sacred to Odin and represents the Worldtree Yggdrasil, where Odin hung to learn the runes. I'm not sure why I was surprised at the synchronicity. I began my studies there.

This is from the same website as the first.

Today, I learned that there is indeed a connection between Odin and apples. It wasn't just my own UPG.

01 November 2012

Samhain, obviously

It's the morning after, but I'm not done with this season yet. In my book, Samhain is a season, not a day. And I like it that way. The veil is thinning  - it doesn't just I'm always a little sad when each day of the season is over; I won't have an excuse to do all this again until next year (without looking awfully eccentric, that is).

We still have Dia los Muertos to celebrate. That's a big deal in this region, and the themes are the same as those we recognize in Samhain, so we celebrate that despite not being hispanic or latino. Besides, it gives us a chance to share in a public celebration of the dead, which we don't usually get as pagans.

Yesterday was pumpkin carving, costumery, trick-or-treating, and a mute supper. In other words, awesome. I cooked dinner, which I almost never do. Beef roast, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and baked beans. I made everything from scratch except for the baked beans, which were canned. That makes it sound like I did a lot of work (unless you cook, and you know how little work goes into mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and a roast done in the crock pot). That's my kind of home cooking. I was going to make pumpkin pie, but I didn't have enough evaporated milk, or anything to substitute for it, and I really  didn't feel like driving to the store. So we'll do that tonight.

The down side? Missing Archer. This holiday is so very family oriented; it felt strange to not have Archer near, and stranger still to know that he is on the other side of the country and sick with something flu-like, and the distance is keeping me from being there for him. Making him soup. That kind of thing. His illness compounds the normal missing-him part. I want to help, but all I can do is get off the phone with him, so he can sleep. Are you reading this, Archer? I love you.