Archive for the Life Category

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!

Happy Vernal Equinox

Posted in Life, Ritual, Spring Equinox, Uncategorized with tags , on March 20, 2012 by theredlass

The goddess Ostara is much debated in the pagan community, mostly because there really isn’t a whole heck of a lot about her pre-8th century and we tend to be sticklers for that whole re-constructionist thinggy. But honestly what does it matter. Ostara is more for secular Wicca and paganism that anything else, so the title of the holiday doesn’t mean so much as the recognition of this time of year. This is the month of Cuithe, (March/April for our modern calender), when wind is prominent and flowers are finally coming forth. The druids called this time Alban Eiler, and it marked one of the four important quarters of the year for ancient Celts.

I have a lot planned for this celebration, so much so that I’ll basically be celebrating it all week! I have to decorate my alter, create a new ritual robe, spring cleaning is done thankfully, work on a new ointment for the ritual portion of my shop, and order some herbs for some of the lotions and such I am coming up with.

I also have been giving a lot of thought to my path as a witch. Something the Witch of the Forest Grove wrote really stuck with me. She talked in her Grimoire article Divisions of Witchcraft about the different roles one takes as a witch and how it effects their relationship to other witches and the divines/spirits they serve. Like many other witches, I am very attracted to the darker side of witchery, The skulls and bones of necromancy fascinate me and like any former goth I love the mystery and other worldliness of it. However I am forced to admit to myself that being interested in something is not the same as having an affinity for it. I like artwork too but that doesn’t mean I can draw for shit. Unlike so many others I have never had any experiences which would indicate to me a connection with the Underworld or it’s spirits and deities. I have textbook knowledge to some extent, but it’s not the same thing.

What I am good at is healing.

Now mind you I am not calling myself a witch doctor. I am not trained enough for that nor have I had enough practice in the ritualized aspect to say so. I would like to but witch doctors in southern Ohio are few and far between. What I do know is when my wife is in pain, I heat lavender oil and coco butter in an oil burner and rub it into her skin for hours, forcing her muscles to relax and, as she puts it, “Finding just the right spot.” I know when someone is hurting or depressed and I have often listened to strangers talk to me about their problems and (when asked) lent my advise and suggestions on their situation. (Which anyone who knows me will tell you that if you ask my opinion you WILL get honesty, so be sure you want it). I know when the house feels wrong and unclean and I can feel the shadows looking at me it is time to clean both physically and spiritually and to push the unwelcome advances out. I know when friends need to be comforted and hugged without asking and open myself to them as much as I can. I have become fascinated with the production of healing products, like salves, oils, tinctures and such and the effect of herbs on the body. I am currently learning as much as possible and I try out everything on myself first before releasing it for trail to friends.

I will stop short before it feels like I am bragging. I am not a doctor or witch doctor, but those in the craft know healing goes well beyond the physical and deep into the psychological and spiritual. I am a neophyte, but I want to learn. And for that reason I have begun to meditate on the goddess Sirona.

Wilder Dreams

Posted in Dreams, Life with tags , , , on January 16, 2012 by theredlass

Sometimes…more often now that I think about it, I wish to goodness that I didn’t live in the city. Especially this particular city. I get aggravated at the sounds and sites and the dirt and people. I become less enamored with the convenience of it as time goes by and, frankly, bored with the surroundings.

It’s not that I don’t like our apartment. It’s nice. Two bedrooms, one bath, medium sized living room with a large dining room and kitchen. Not bad for two little lesbians who are barely covering expenses. And it’s not that I don’t like our neighbors. The ones there are to speak of (and there are few) don’t bother us and we don’t bother them. It’s like that in a renters place. People move in and out with such startling frequency you hardly give much thought to getting to know them after a while.

It’s not that I don’t like having my friends close at hand. It’s nice to know there are people within a ten minuet drive that you can count on. A party here and there, perhaps a night out on the town is a lovely thing for the soul on a physical and social level.

But there are times that I sincerely wish we lived very very far away from everything.

I see in my minds eye a long road going upwards, trees and forest on either side. You roll down the windows and smell green things and dirt and air. There are no sounds but birds and water and the roll of your wheels across the gravel as you drive.

The cabin, not to big, perhaps no bigger than the apartment we have now (save the bathroom which needs to be large enough for a wheelchair to 360 in). It’s warm in the winter, cool in the summer and quaint and cozy no matter the time of year. In the kitchen most of the food is home canned, home made, and well stocked. Mountains make for poor passage in the winter time.

Outside the house is a box garden or two. Corn, tomatoes, green beans, lettuce. Good things. Things we provide for ourselves. The plants I truly love, lavender, ginger, chive, their planted where I need them, close to the back door where I can simply walk outside the kitchen and cut what I need.

There are people, around the ways a bit. Not so close as to where I can’t walk outside naked and risk them seeing me. Not so far as to not be actual neighbors.

This is my view from the back porch.

My friend know where I am, so does my family. And they can all reach me any time. They come and spend a week or two in the summer. And we BBQ and laugh and I show them the creek where the water is just clear enough to see the bottom and just deep enough to cannonball in without hurting yourself. There are turtles and fish. You can fish if you want.

You can hike for miles in any direction and smell the world without cars or city scents.

Sometimes…

Wolf Moon

Posted in Experience, Fun and interesting, Life with tags , on January 11, 2012 by theredlass

*sigh* This is truly a beautiful moon. The past two months of last year it was so cloudy and rainy out that I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve seen a familiar silver face. She is not quite silver tonight though, she is a creamy color, staring at me from within the window of a college classroom. I wanted to do a ritual at her height, but it ended up a rather lovely evening of sharing my experiences and conversing with a friend who was showing a burgeoning interest in witchcraft. We talked about the concepts of witch and witchcraft, the hesitancy to refer to yourself as one, what exactly qualifies one as a witch…also getting beyond the whole beginners mentality. I kind of described it as going to college again. You need to choose or delve into a major in order to learn something. I borrowed a bit from Witch of the Forest Grove, I felt she had the best summary of the different parts one can play as a witch. It was fun! We had meant to make mead but I still don’t have enough honey! :((

Do You Really Believe This Stuff?

Posted in Experience, Life, Theory with tags , , on December 12, 2011 by theredlass

Sometimes, when making new friends or going into a new job, you get asked questions. Most of them are simple enough to answer. How old are you? Where are you from? Do you like in town? All very mundane things that help people get to know you and help develop friendships and lines of communication between the people you will now be with on a frequent basis.

For pagans, witches and the like, this line up often includes some variation of the question: What is that star for? It can take many forms, my favorite is “Are you Jewish?” my least preferred is “Are you like, a devil worshipper?” I am thankful to say that this second one has only cropped up once or twice. I’ve found that for my little area of Ohio most people are fairly willing to, if not accept, at least listen and consider what I am saying when I tell them I am a witch. It’s kind of funny to see the surprised double take when a person hears that word used without irony r sarcasm. They often don’t know what to make of it and frankly, wonder if you are serious. Let’s be honest, can you blame them? But after a brief explanation I usually get asked the following;

Do you really believe this stuff?

For some of us the simplest answer is yes. After all what else can you say after proudly proclaiming partnership with the polytheistic peoples. But what I often end up saying is; “It’s a bit more complicated than that.” I don’t often have the time it takes to really get down to it and explain everything to someone, so I feel bad leaving them with possible misconceptions about what it means to be pagan /wiccan/heathen/etc.

The truth of the matter is, ask 5 pagans what it means to be pagan and you will get 20 answers at least. I’d assume it’s the same for most religions, but pagans in particular are quite proud of their eclectic and broad individualism. I explain that, while I can describe what I believe, they should by no means take this as a general statement as to what pagans believe as a whole. We have just as many if not more sects as Christianity so it all needs to be taken on a person by person basis. I try to narrow them down to the important questions, the ones I know they really want to ask but, (for risk of offending me) are hesitant to ask.

1)      Do you believe there is more than one god?

  1. Yes and no. I believe there is a conscious, contentious Source of all things that is translatable into any religious path. It is neither male nor female at its core, and yet can easily be seen either or none at all for their qualifications are within its prime make up. As humans, we are simply unable to understand the enormity of the Source and all its power, it is too far above us. It is however a part of us, as it is a part of all things, and we can connect with it because of this. Through socio-cultural conditioning, psychological and philosophical perceptions, we visualize the Source in images which are translatable to us, things which are familiar. Thus, all religions have some validation in that we create the Gods which we follow to meet our needs. To me, the name of the Gods are representative of aspects of the Source which reflect our needs, wants, desires and the world around us.

 

2)      Do you practice witchcraft? Like do you cast spells and everything?

  1. On occasion yes, I have been known to cast a spell or two. But I view spells the same way I view asking any god for a favor. The gods won’t do for you what you won’t do for yourself. I do rituals and make offerings to increase my connection with the Source, to recognize it better and to open myself up to its presence in all things. I don’t do love spells or money spells, both are the product of greed and desperation. I do practice witchcraft in that I endeavor to learn more about the gifts of the world around me, herbalism and healing arts, necromancy and meditation, that sort of thing. I will occasionally do magic for a friend, if I can, but more often than not I simply give them the tools and know how to do it for themselves. My request will never be as strong as their own.

 

3)      Offerings? Do you sacrifice cats and stuff?

  1. Some branches, like Santeria, Vodou and Hedgecraft do practice animal sacrifice, but cats are not recommended or ever used for this. Mostly it’s livestock animals like chickens or goats. I personally have never made an animal sacrifice either from live or already butchered meat, though I know some who have. With this it is more important to understand what the animal represents to the people who sacrifice it. I don’t raise chickens, so if I went a bought a live chicken and then killed it, it doesn’t mean as much as someone who got the chicken as a chick, fed it, raised it, took care of it, and kept it safe only to give it to the gods as an offering. I garden. My herbs take time, care and concentration to grow and be fertile. So a handful of fresh green onions, the fattest tomatoes and carrots mean more because I have worked to make them good. Offerings are not as simply as throwing something into a fire. You offer it because it is your best and the best goes to the gods. This shows both sincerity and a willingness to give up something in order to achieve something.

 

4)      Do you worship the devil?

  1. I do not give recognition to the Christian concept of the devil. Nor to any other god meant to represent ‘evil’. Obviously as there is light and dark in the world, there is also light and dark inherent in the Source. But the idea of ‘evil’ is more of a human invention to explain it or give someone blame when bad things happen. I believe we create most of the evil in our world both on a personal and large scale. If you take an objective look you will realize that we facilitate our own fates either be taking control or by allowing someone else control over us. By either taking good advice or by ignoring it out of pride or ignorance. I try to recognize the darkness in the world as simply part of the natural balance. Would the colors of a sunset be so brilliant if not for the contrasting shadows? Would the full moon shine as brightly in the daylight? Would the deep void of space not leave of us wonder of limitless possibility if we could knew just how far the blackness went? No, no the only evils that exist are of human invention, the Source is amoral, and acts out of nature and necessity for everything in the cosmos, not just for the outcome of one planet, much less one species.

 

5)      Do you worship nature?

  1. As much as I worship anything else. Much like Shinto beliefs, I think everything has a spirit, this includes the earth itself. Both as individuals, like trees, rocks, rivers and plants, and as a whole, the earth represents a microcosm example of the order of the universe. Everything is connected to the earth, much like everything is connected to the Source. Though I can’t claim to have seen these spirits, I think they exist and like to be appreciated for their efforts. Once again you are going back to the idea that the Source is inherent within all things, so whatever form you view it as is legitimate.

 

6)      So what does the star mean?

  1. I explain that most pagans give a great deal of significance to the five elements and their place in both ancient witchcraft and alchemy. The circle confining the star represents one’s desire to control these elements and find the harmony of using them in both their mundane and witchy workings. For my part, I personally prefer the aesthetic, introspective and historic nature of the triquetra. It is more simplistic and rooted in a practical mindset. 3 was considered a sacred number to the Celts and it could take on many interpretations both in ancient and modern thought. (Earth, Sky, Sea/ Mind, Body, Soul/Maiden, Mother, Crone/Youth, Father, Sage/Male, Female, Androgynous/ Gay, Straight, Bi/)

I am not saying that these are the ‘correct’ answers for anything. They aren’t. They are simply my thought process and often it goes a long way to easing people’s concerns when they first meet me. It is not, by any extent, the end of what I believe in, and I would greatly appreciate comments and conversation as to your own thoughts and beliefs! But hopefully this gives other people a chance to really gather their minds and give good answers when someone comes to you with legitimate curiosity.