Archive for the Experience Category

A Time For Creativity

Posted in Experience, Fun and interesting, Grimoire, Hekate on November 13, 2013 by theredlass

As the first blusterings of winter start to roll in, we naturally dwell more indoors. There is a subtle but definite shift in our habits. Meals become stockier, made to warm the belly and keep in the freezer. We sleep harder and better, cocooned in our blankets and pillows. Our clothing goes from style to comfort and we do whatever we can to maintain this till the thaw.

We are also more given to our creative impulses.

It’s something of a comfort to know that the cycle of life hasn’t really changed that much in the last few thousand years. The warm months are made for activity, action and productive work, physically based effort. The cold months are for mental awareness, letting our minds being to take over and flourish. I intend to use this winter to catch up on some much needed stocking of my witchcraft supplies, as well as trying out some new crafts I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

I’ve been wanting to make invocation candles for Hecate for some time now. I used beeswax from Mountain Rose herbs (LOVE THEM), cedarwood amber (for it’s smoky, sweet scent), yew leaves and worm wood (both of which has symbolic connection to Hecate). It went rather well, good strong scent.

Beeswax, Cedarwood Amber, Wormwood, Yew leaves, red food coloring.

Beeswax, Cedarwood Amber, Wormwood, Yew leaves, red food coloring.

melting down wax

melting down wax

almost melted

almost melted

Finished Hecate candal

Finished Hecate candal

I also need to start putting work into my grimoire. it’s funny, once I decided to make one of my own I was so nervous about putting anything down in it! Doing something “wrong”. Putting something down that would fuck it up. but I finally decided to get started. Take my time and put into it the creativity that I enjoy so much.

Fall Foliage

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Mead Experamentation

Posted in Circle, Experience, Mead with tags , on November 25, 2012 by theredlass

At our first Samhain as a group, everyone chipped in to help make a large 5 gallon batch of simple honey mead.

As the secondary fermentation nears, we all made the decision to split the mead into 5: 1 gallon jugs. Each member who pays for a jug will get to experiment with a gallon of mead, playing with ingredients, taste, and such. This has a double intention actually, as a 5 gallon batch is expensive to make, but a 1 gallon batch much less so. This way, when our first mead is done, not only will everyone know how to make mead, but we can all continue through out the year on our own at very little personal cost. I’m think about next Yule (2013) hosting a mead contest to see who made the best batch by vote.

As it stands, I will be making a mix I am dubbing Snapdragon Mead, with a mixture of peaches, almond extract, and ginger. I know one of the members is going to be fiddling with pomegranates, another is doing blackberry/raspberry, someone is doing apple/cinnamon and another isn’t sure yet but she’s thinking on pears. Since everyone put money/time/ingredients into the original batch and we have 9 members, the hope is that everyone will get at least 3 bottles of mead to rack and drink later. Plus we will be keeping 8 bottles aside for the Sabbats to drink as part of the “cakes & ale” portion of the ritual. Plus, with Yule coming up, the secondary fermentation should be ready to bottle at Yule!! *sequels of delight*

Aside from that, I have to express about a 50/50 level of disappointment and enjoyment with how the groups lessons are progressing thus far. For our first meeting after Samhain, only 4 members showed up, with the rest either making no notification or (in two cases) having perfectly legit reasons not to be there. However, I am happy to say that everyone seems to be keeping up with their book lessons as well as reading the material I’m providing online so not bad really.

I set up this first year as a group with only minimal expectations. I am 27 where as most of the members are in their early 20’s, so I am taking a lot of the responsibility on myself in order to create lessons, provide resources, host events and as such. I am not the high priestess (mainly because I disagree with the entire hierarchy), but as the more practiced member I am more or less providing a map to where people need to go. We decided as a group not to call ourselves a coven/grove/etc. for at least the first year because a lot of us are either entirely inexperienced or haven’t practiced in a while. So it felt unfair to try and place labels on ourselves. That being said, the curriculum I set up amounts to a first degree study program for eclectic paganism and I am expecting it to be treated as such.

Next Samhain (2013), we had discussed holding a large, overnight festival as well as “initiation” of ourselves as a formal coven/circle/whatever. However, I had made the proviso (which in hindsight was a little short sighted or me) that anyone who could not attend at least 14/18 of the years meetings would not be up for initiation into the group.

My intention was to see who was really sincere about studying along these lines. Be honest, we’ve all gone through phases and interests which petered out later on and while I would generally welcome anyone who wanted to learn or felt they wanted the experience into a group, we all agreed we were looking for something a little more formal and frankly that takes work, time and effort. But what I didn’t put into consideration was that 6 of our members are still in college, three of them hold full time jobs, and one lives about a half an hour drive from our meeting places.

In other words, I have to make allowances.

After conversing with another group member (as well as my girlfriend) the decision was made that 14/18 would be ideal and something that should be striven for, but if someone can not make all of those meetings, that is okay. I will post all the info, discussions and resources on fb and ask people to keep up with this in their field grimoire. At the next meeting (whichever they can attend) when we all take the opportunity to comment on what we’ve learned, they can show that they have been keeping up with the group even if they can’t be physically present. Anyone who is sincere in their interest is more likely to “show their work”.

 

A Year in the Spiritual

Posted in Experience, Fun and interesting with tags , , on August 16, 2012 by theredlass

So that while Teaching Wiccapagocraft thing…

Yeah we’ve decided to make it a full out class.

“Class” meaning that we will be gathered together in pursuit of the same general goal of furthering our spirituality and (possibly) becoming a coven/circle/grove/ around Samhain 2013.

Less of a class in the fact that I will be doing the exact same thing all the “students” are doing because I think it will be just a beneficial for me to go through it as everyone else and share my own experiences as oppose to pretending I’m a teacher or qualified under whichever pagan degree is most popular right now.

I’m actually really enjoying putting this all together. There are about 10-18 of us depending upon what work schedules look like that week and we range from “I had a freaky experience and I want to go deeper” to 10 years in and out of the craft through various traditions. (Yeah the last one is me.) So for the most part I’m going to keep it eclectic and based in practical application. I’m advising that they read between 4-8 books in the next year (hey not everyone drinks books like their chugging soda) along with keeping the discussion group vibe and providing resources. We will have D.I.Y days where we teach how to make different objects for our use, Live Demonstrations (like crystal healing and ecstatic dance), Nature Walks (thankfully this part of Ohio has like 4 parks within a 30 minuet drive), celebrating the Sabbats, Crafts, and Movie Nights!

I’m still coming up with a full curriculum but I have till after October. (We decided to wait till after this years Samhain in order to see who’s going to stick around and who is just going to be in and out.) We also have some people who are still tentative about delving deeper, and this gives them some more time to really consider if they want to be involved at this level.

I’ll be honest, I’m very excited about the prospect of doing this! I kept reading and being told that when “the time is right” and “teacher will be given to you”. It never occurred to me that I’m my own damn teacher just as much as anyone else is and that simply being involved with a group would mean we could teach each other. I’m really excited for one of our members Crystal Healing demonstration. I’ve never had much luck with crystals myself, but she’s shown proficiency in this and I can’t wait to have her try it out on me. I’ll be doing an example of simple healing salves and lip balms.

I’ll probably be blogging about this from time to time, looking for advise and assistance with resources if people are willing to offer.

Start of the Harvest Season

Posted in Altar, Experience, Life with tags , , on August 2, 2012 by theredlass

I’m really thrilled to know I will be spending Lammas with my spiritual discussion group! If I can find the time tomorrow I am going to try and bake an actual loaf and do a small ritual with them, but beyond that I’m going to be doing once a month cooking with my mother-in-law.

Does this sound weird, or does that sound like a Lammas celebration in and of itself?

We recently got some very troubling news which I have decided to blame on Mercury in Retrograde (from now till the 8th I am blaming shit on this cosmic event kay). This news has resulted in us being shit broke. As in having to struggle to make rent broke. But it has resulted in some good things.

1) It’s really forced me to go out and push for a job where as before I was being admittedly lackluster about it. (I have 2 interviews this week!)
2) It’s forcing us to reorder ourselves so we stop with some of our bad habits. (Like eating out 5+ times a week)
3) My mother-in-law and I have decided to split the food budget.

Here is the deal. I come from a large family where when you cooked, you cooked enough for 8 people plus lunch for everyone tomorrow. It’s been 9 years since I last had that many people but I can’t get myself out of the habit of making that much food. It’s the southerner in me I swear. Because of this we end up wasting food either by it going bad or getting freezer burn. So my in-law and I have decided to split the cost of our food budget and we will just cook a bunch of meals and split those for our freezer. We’re planning on getting 20-25 meals done over the next two days.

And as much hard work as it’s going to be, it’s also going to be a lot of fun. I get a lot of enjoyment out of cooking for people. I like making big meals that everyone enjoys and it makes me feel a sense of connection to people. There is a deep contentment when people share a meal together and it has always stuck with me.

Beyond  that I finally got my Hekate altar set up. For the longest time I had this gigantic altar in the office which I kinda…just…forgot existed most of the time. I think because I relegated it to the backroom it wasn’t somewhere that I felt any dedication to whatsoever. So I put that away and I replaced it with a small, functional altar in the living room.

 

Graduation

Posted in Experience, Life, Theory with tags , , on June 8, 2012 by theredlass

This Saturday, I will graduate from college with an Associates in Early Childcare.

Crossroads are funny things. As pagans we tend to think of them as great mystical portals and places of sacred power. But in day to day life we interact with crossroads all the time and give them barely a thought. We decide what to have for breakfast, we decide what route to take to work, we decide how to prioritize our workload. All of these decisions are small, but they can impact our entire day and on some occasions, our entire life.

I am the sort of person who believes that choices are, at best 50/50. You can use your best judgement, think carefully about the outcome, and consider all points of view, and still have everything turn to shit in your hands. I also believe that hindsight is perfect, and it doesn’t do to blame yourself overmuch for things that can not be changed. Nature does not move backwards, but is perpetual, and so much we be, moving forward through our life and accepting the cycles as they come.

Easier fucking said than done.

About a year ago I lost a well paying job. Since then I have been working hard at school and opening my business The Red Lass Emporium. I still want to get a full time job but they are few and far between for childcare. I would be happy enough for a decent part time teacher’s aid position, which would enable me to continue with my education both financially and experience wise. My long term goal is to be a high school English teacher. That will take a masters degree. Another 3-4 years of schooling. Not bad considering it took me 5 to complete my associates from community college.

There are other things developing as well. My wife of 9 years and I have been talking for a while now about having children. We have even spoken to a friend of ours about providing sperm. The process is a long and frightening one. The agreement has always been that we wouldn’t try for children until we both had graduated college and had a steady job. (See the pattern forming yet?) Not to mention that a child is a HUGE life changing step. it is something we both want in our lives but at the same time we enjoy our selfishness just a bit. We like sleeping in late. We like picking up and going where we want when we want. We like having a rum and coke or two after a hard day. We like having copious sex whenever we feel in the mood. All these things change when a child enters the picture. It may not change in the way you think or it might be just as bad or worse. I am without illusions about child rearing. It can be hard, thankless, selfless and absolutely consume your life. it can also be brilliant, life affirming, and the greatest confirmation of your ability as a life giver. (And plus there will never be such a thing as a clean house AGAIN, or at least till you can enact child labor.)

And lastly, we have started the conversation about the possibility of a house. Urrgh. When I think of a house all I am of two minds. One sees the labor, the bills, the responsibility, the credit, the money, the repairs, the permanence, the effort, the time. The other sees the sense of ownership, the making of something that belongs to us, the setting in of roots, the creative possibilities, a place that is OURS.

So there you have it. My three faces. Job, Home, Family. All of this looming on me as I try to think of the coming graduation, the party, and seeing my family again. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to this weekend and everything happening! I really am excited to see my mom and grandmom and have everyone get together for the BBQ and going out on the town! I’m so excited.

And at the same time I stay awake at night and think about how to ebb the flow of the river as the rains pour down on me and mine.

Someone remind me why I ever wanted adulthood.

Of Cereal and Business

Posted in Experience, Family, Fun and interesting, Life with tags , , on April 17, 2012 by theredlass

*squeels* You remember when you were a kid and you would eat box after box of crappy, tasteless cereal in order to get enough box tops to send off for the prize? And then you would wait not-so-patiently for the day when that prize would arrive? Well that’s something of what it’s like waiting for items you’ve ordered when you run your own business. You work hard, scrimp and save in order to be sure you can afford what you need and then once your order is placed you check the mail each and every day (even though you are tracking your order on-line) for everything to get there.

It’s going to be a flurry of activity over the next month. I have a mead tasting I’m hosting this Saturday, once the containers are delivered I have to renew my Peppermint Plush lipstick, start a Ginger Tincture, make cough syrup, finish the Pumpkin Poultice and start placing more orders for the teas and lotions I’m going to be featuring. The Ashville Viking Festival is coming up soon so me and a group are going up there. I need to fill out the information for Springfield Farmer’s Market, get that sent off. Set up for Spring Fling at the college aaaaaaaaaaaand…

*gasp*

MY FAMILY IS COMING UP FOR MY GRADUATION!!!

For those who don’t know, I am originally from Texas. I moved up to Ohio about 9 years ago to be with my girlfriend (now my wife) and because of finances I have only been back to see my family 3 times. <_> Well they are finally going to be able to come up here so that I can show them around. We have a lot of plans. Yellow Springs Street Fair, Wright Pat Airforce Museum, all that good stuff. But most of all it’s just going to be nice to have my family around!

Second Class Citizen

Posted in Experience, LGBTQ with tags , on February 29, 2012 by theredlass

*sigh*

There are those of us who remain unsurprised by the reality of the world at large. I am one of those who is constantly dissapointed by it none the less. For those who do not know, i live in Springfield, OH. For those who do not know, I am a lesbian.

For those who have watched the video and read the previous statement, prepare for Rant Ignition.

I spoke on behalf of the LGBTQ community at one of their previous meetings regarding the general public opinion on an ordinance which would have created protection against LGBTQ discrimination in housing and work in Clark County. While federal law prevents discrimination from refusing to HIRE and HOUSE an LGBTQ person based on said identity, it does not prevent firing or evicition based on the aformentioned. I believe in not fixing something till it is broken, but I have faced discrimination in the past both on the job and home front with this issue and I went as a representitive of a local organization to support the LGBTQ rights.

I was not the only one by far. The room was (like this night) standing room only and many people held strong opinions on this issue. Most of which I am greatful to say were in SUPPORT of this ordinance, hoping to bring a better state of acceptance and tolerance to Springfield’s darkening image as Amercia’s most depressing town.

I am profoundly depressed and resentful at the moment. A mood which I am sure will eventually pass or at the very least smoulder into a deep brooding anger that violates the laws of time and space to create a hole of black energy which will consume this universe as we know it.

To put it succinctly ladies and gentlemen, I am miffed.