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30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-16-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

What is my favorite myth from my tradition? Why?

This one is a little tougher that it looks like it should be.

As much as I love the Greek deities and their myths, I can’t pick just one of them, so I think I’ll detour to the north and pick Blodeuwedd’s story.

Why?  Because she is the epitome of “I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”

For those who aren’t familiar with her story, read on.

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Blodeuwedd was the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

He was cursed by his mother (Arianrhod) first that she would never give him a name (which she was tricked into doing) and then that she would never give him weapons (which she was again tricked into doing).

Furious at having been twice tricked, she cursed him that he would never have a wife of any of the races of the earth.

So his uncles (Math and Gwydion, both powerful magicians) formed a woman from the flowers of oak, broom, and meadowsweet, and breathed life into her.  They named her Blodeuwedd, which means “Flower Face” and gave her to Llew as his wife.

Lleu Llaw Gyffes spent a fair amount of time away on business, and Blodeuwedd grew lonely.  She fell in love with Gronw Pebr, a neighboring lord, and they conspire to murder Lleu, which was much more difficult than you might think, as he could not be killed during the day or night, nor indoors or outdoors, neither riding nor walking, not clothed and not naked, nor by any weapon lawfully made.

Blodeuwedd tricked Lleu into demonstrating how he could be killed, so at dusk, he wrapped himself in a net and stood by a riverbank, with one foot on a cauldron and the other on a goat.  While he was in this position, Gronw threw a spear forged for a year during the hours when everyone is at mass.  (It’s that last bit that makes me want to dig deeper and find an older pre-Christian version of the story.)

But Lleu wasn’t killed, just transformed into an eagle. His uncles coaxed him down from the tree he was perched in, nursed him back to health, and sought revenge on Gronw and Blodeuwedd.

Gronw ended up dead, but Blodeuwedd was transformed into an owl.

“You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day ever again, and that will be because of enmity between you and all other birds. It will be in their nature to harass you and despise you wherever they find you. And you will not lose your name – that will always be “Bloddeuwedd.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there’s the short down and dirty version.

She wasn’t given a choice, and rebelled against the role assigned to her by the patriarchy.

From Damh the Bard:
“To many Blodeuwedd is seen as a betrayer, but not to me. She was conjoured by Gwydion and Math to be a wife for Lleu Llaw Gyffes, so she was a trapped woman, and we all know that this is NOT a good idea….”

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kQwkekR1ORE&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

 

For the first part of the story:
Oak, Broom, and Meadowsweet

 

 

 

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30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-15-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

If I were to take a pilgrimage, where would I go and why?

This one’s easy!

Greece.

More specifically, Delphi. I want to visit Apollo’s temple there.

And Delos, the birthplace of Apollo.

And the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

And…

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’ve figured it out. I want to visit the temples of the deities that have meant so much to me for so long.  I think it would be overwhelming – in a good way.

 

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-12-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

What are my favorite types of spells to do?  Why?

I mostly do protective and blessing magic.

Lately my most used spell is probably the freezer spell, used to “freeze” people who are causing trouble for you.

For those who aren’t familiar with it:

Write the person’s name on a small slip of paper. (If you don’t know the exact source, just write “The one(s) causing trouble for me.”) Fold the paper with the name on the inside and put it in a small container of water (a small pill bottle will work, or even a sandwich bag). Seal it up and put it in the freezer. (I add a pinch of salt for purification.)  I don’t usually use a verbal component to my spells but feel free to make up something of your own along the lines of freezing the person out of your life.

As for whether or not I have a favorite type of magic… Not really.  I just use whatever is on hand or whatever seems appropriate.

Sometimes that’s candle magic.

Or Fire magic (burning away something that I want to banish).

Or Air magic.

Or Water magic. (Like the freezer spell, or “flushing” a problem away.)

Sometimes Earth magic.

Sometimes I’m a kitchen witch and enchant food as I’m cooking it. (I’m still looking for away to banish calories from cookies and chocolate cake, though.)

In short, I use whatever is necessary to get the job done. (I’m a practical witch.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-10-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

My favorite Pagan authors are…? Why are they my favorites?

Scott Cunningham.  He was my first, and I love his gentle soft style. I think I have just about every one of his Pagan books and they are the ones that never seem to be up for shelf-purges. He passed through the veil far too soon.

Trish Telesco. Another down-to-earth writer. (Urban Pagan was one of my favorite books way back when.)

These days I’m looking for more traditional and less fluffy writers, though. And less “how to” and more… in depth explorations of spirituality and living life as a Pagan.

Alaric Albertsson’s book To Walk a Pagan Path is excellent and I want to get some of his other Pagan books.

It seems, though, that the longer I walk this path the harder it is to find authors who don’t set my teeth on edge. (I’m even pretty sure that if I’d go back and reread Cunningham or Telesco that I’d get irritated.)

I’m getting more discriminatory in my reading, I suppose, and there are some things that I really don’t like and are automatic turn offs.

I’m not a fan of books (or traditions) that are strictly Goddess-oriented. Yes, I understand that there’s a reason for them, but they don’t feel any more balanced to me than Christianity does.

Another turn-off is books or writers that are all fluffy and white light. You can’t ignore the dark. If you do, it eats you up and eventually controls you. (The Devil card in Tarot comes to mind.)  You need balance. The autumn equinox (no, it was never called Mabon*) is coming soon – a good time to reflect on said balance.

Anyhow, I guess I don’t have any favorite contemporary Pagan authors.  I’m going to have to remedy that.

 

*(The autumn equinox may actually never have been anything special to the ancients, either.)

 

 

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-9-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

What are my top three resource books? Why?

This question is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I first read the list of prompts. I haven’t bought any new Pagan books in ages and rarely refer to the ones that have been sitting on the shelves for years.

Why is that?

I think it’s because after a while you stop relying on books and start relying on your own intuition and knowledge and observation and understanding and…

Still, there are some things that it’s good to have a reference for, so I think I’m probably going to go with books that I used a lot – and still do pull when I need to find something specific.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews (also by Scott Cunningham)

Aw, heck. Just books by Scott Cunningham. I just looked through his bibliography and I’m not going to try to pick a third.

Why his books?

Well, because the first book on Paganism I read was his book The Truth About Witchcraft Today. It’s what led me home.

And because his style of writing is approachable and… soothing somehow.

Will my list of books change?

Probably. I have some books on Hellenic practice that I need to read – and a list of some that I need to get. And I have a friend who is into more traditional witchcraft and she has some recommendations for me.

But for now, I’m sticking with that list.

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-8-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

How would I like to change or improve my daily practice?

That’s easy.

Consistency.

I really want (and need) to become more consistent with everything from worship through meditation to spell work.

The answer was easy. The implementation? Er… yeah.

This journaling challenge is helping.  It’s making me think about stuff on a daily basis and put that thinking into action (writing).

But what am I going to do when the month ends?

Well, they say it takes 21 days to establish a new habit, so maybe by the time October rolls around spending some time each day on some sort of spiritual practice will be a part of my life.

And maybe by then the insanity of my new job will have settled and I’ll have developed some sort of routine in the rest of my life as well.

 

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-7-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

Do I work with deities? If yes, who and why? In not, why not?

Define “work with.”

Are there deities that I worship, that I make offerings to, give thanks and praise to, and ask for Their assistance?

Yes.

Do I ask Them to do things for me (other than protection, or giving me the strength, courage, and knowledge to handle challenges)?

No.

Do I use Them when I’m casting a spell?

No.

Why not?

Because They are my deities, not my familiar spirits, or members of my (non-existent) coven.

But do I pray to Them and meditate on Them?

Yes, of course I do. I seek Their guidance and counsel, either through prayer and meditation or through divination or just staying open to signs in the outer world.

(Note: not everything you see is a sign. And if you ask for one, being specific is a good idea so you know that you’ve been answered.)

As for which deities, I am primarily Hellenic in orientation, with special devotions to Apollo, Hermes, Athena, and Artemis.

Why?

The answer to that might fill a book or two or three or…

Athena for Her wisdom and courage. When I need strength to fight a battle She is the one I turn to. When I am truly angry I’m probably closer to Ares in nature, and She provides the calmness, logic, and rational outlook that I need to temper my temper. “Revenge is a dish best served cold” and She keeps me from burning it.

Artemis because She is both huntress and protectress of the wilderness, and it is in the latter aspect that She calls to me. I was raised in an area where hunting is almost a way of life, but so is respect for and conservation of the wilderness.  Both of my maternal grandparents were very big on conservation, so Artemis is a natural (pardon the pun) choice for me.

Apollo… What can I say? God of the sun, music, poetry, prophecy, healing (and also pestilence) from the very first I was drawn to Him, perhaps because I used to write a lot of poetry. (Hey! I was in high school. That made a lot more sense as a reason to choose a deity then than it does now, but even so, looking back I can see His presence and guidance throughout my life ever since.)

Hermes is a more recent addition to my life, I think stemming from when I worked at the jail. A friend and I were having a conversation (an email exchange, actually) and he commented that the jail was very much an “underworld” type of place. Hermes journeys freely between all the realms – Olympus, Earth, and Hades. Hermes is also the god of thieves – and of protection from thieves.  He is also the patron of travelers and I was doing a lot of driving back then.

Outside of the Greek deities, I have a fondness for Kwan Yin, “She Who Hears the Cries of the World” because if there is anything this entire world needs it is more compassion.

And Blodeuwedd. Her story spoke to me from the first moment I heard it. (Years ago I read a quote attributed to Muhammad Ali (“I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”) and when I first learned of Blodeuwedd that quote came to mind because She is the embodiment of it.

And there you have it: the deities that hold a special place in my life. My life would be much the poorer without Their presence.

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(If you would like more information on the Greek myths and deities, I recommend The Theoi Project.)

30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-5-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

Where has my study focus been recently?

That’s a really good question as I’ve actually been rather unfocused lately. (As evidenced by the long hiatus this blog has been on.)

That doesn’t seem to be too unusual, actually. I’ve heard from several Pagan friends that they seem to take a break from active learning and participation. (That doesn’t mean that we stop practicing or following our path, just that we ease off for a bit now and then before being called back to a more active approach.)

For me that “call back” seems to be coming in the form of wanting to learn about herbs, both medicinal and magical.

That and a desire to set up shrines to my deities, but that’s going to be a somewhat lengthy process as it’s tied up in the “but firsts.”

As in:

But first I need to get craft stuff moved out of my bedroom and into my craft room so I have room to set up shrines.

But first I have to get my craft room set up as an actual working area instead of a craft storage area.

But first I have to get it decluttered and organized so it can be an actual working area instead of a craft storage area.

But first I need to get some sort of organizers set up.

But first I have to make room in my craft room to put organizers.

And now we’re into a vicious cycle of “but firsts.”

But I’m working on them.

And I’m looking into herbalism courses.

 

 

 

Summer Solstice 2014

On a (primarily) cross stitch related message board that I frequent, there is a handful of Pagans and we started a Daily Pagan thread. It’s marked as OT (Off Topic) and as REL(igious) in nature. All are welcome to come and read and ask questions, etc, but they need to expect that some things will be from a Pagan perspective. (Mostly we just talk about our day to day lives.)

One of our many lurkers posted that Summer Solstice always seemed to come too soon and then we begin to lose daylight. That got me started thinking…

One of my favorite things about Paganism is the Wheel of the Year, and the lessons that it teaches. Pagans know that just as the light doesn’t last forever, neither does the darkness.

And that led to the realization that the balance between dark and light is achieved not on the points of equality, but in the flow from one to another.

May we all find balance as the wheel turns.