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As I scrubbed the last of Fehu off my wrist this morning, I pondered more on the concept of wealth. And wealth that we circulate and share versus wealth that we alone gain from.

The use of the word "wealth" in our modern Western society is most standardly thought of as a measure of monetary resources.
How much do we have?...
...is it enough for what we want to buy or do?...
...how well do we handle it?...
...how can we get more of it?
These seem to be constant, main themes in our society. Many people equate their own happiness to how much money they have, as if that alone dictates the amount of joy they feel.



Fehu's wealth references more than money. It is a representation of abundance. Abundance in good things, abundance in bad things. Light and dark. Just like the universe.

Common saying:
"You have to spend money to make money."
Let's take the word "money" and replace it with another word.

This phrase perfectly embodies the aspect of Fehu that encourages mobile wealth. It applies to all things. It applies to love, to hate, to inspiration, to apathy, to artistry, to skill, to boredom, to joy, to frustration, to anger, to affection... and the list goes on.

When we focus on increasing any one thing we expend some of it and end up with more of that thing plus the positive or negative vibe that comes along with it.
- It can apply to how we deal with other people in both positive and negative ways (uplifting others increases their happiness and desire to uplift others; denigrating someone increases their dissatisfaction with themselves and their need to insult or bring down others).
- It can apply to how we deal with ourselves (positive or negative self-talk tends to breed more of the same in us).

I find myself today feeling thankful for the wealth of positive abundances in my life. Sure, there are some negative abundances in there, too, but I am slowly chipping away at them bit by bit.

Fehu, thank you for your insight.
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I decided not to wait around my house today for my delivery like I did yesterday. The stupid USPS apparently doesn't care about a Priority Mail delivery once it misses the original delivery date... who cares how long it takes now, I guess. Whatever.

I spent my morning with my daughter and it was wonderful. Lots of smiles and happy things talked about. Lots of baby holding. Lots of watching of little Michael who is 8-and-a-half years old now. I left a note for little Breonna taped to the wooden frame of her bunk bed... hopefully it helps her bring her focus around and helps her to mind her mother more.

My relationship with my long-lost kitten seems to be rebuilding slowly. My greatest fear through all of this has been more arguments, more heartache, more wedges driven between us.

But.....
...we just look up and wave back at the colored spiders who smile and talk to us and everything ends up okay...
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CRAPPY Stuff
I spent my entire day waiting for a package to arrive that never did, despite the website saying that TODAY is the delivery day. The status shows IN TRANSIT still. The USPS website sucks so bad compared to UPS.

=======================

HAPPY STUFF
On the plus side, I spent my entire day making homemade chicken soup from the carcass of an entire chicken! We roasted the chicken for a dinner over the weekend then with the leftover meat from roasting it we got two lunches out of it. Then today I boiled the carcass to create broth and removed all the meat and then added stuff to it and made soup! And we had dinner plus we have one huge container in the fridge for lunches an one huge container in the freezer for the future! Victory!!!!!

=======================

SPIRITUAL STUFF
For the mentor group I am in (the study group that is similar to a year-and-a-day program) every Tuesday we are to write 3 path-related things that we are grateful for. It is called GratiTuesday. It is tougher than I thought it would be.
Oh, and ancestor veneration. I have the picture. I have the jewelry, the rosary, the dresser items. What am I waiting for?

=======================

O, and that wind, yo. It has been blowing like crazy all day, bringing rain with it sporadically. I have heard branches hit the side of the house multiple times just since I have been up here in the rec room. The sound of fire trucks keening in the distance is almost constant and makes me realize how fleeting life can be. Hug your loved ones.
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Yes, I am livid. Seeing red. However you want to put it... and it isn't something new, as you might think.

My brother died alone in his home one year ago today. He led enough of a solitary life and was kind of a dick so he wasn't found for two more days. .... Guess that is better than my father who died alone in his apartment and wasn't found for three days.

Whatever. They were both assholes and they knew it. Prided themselves on it.

I am angry because I am the Personal Representative for my brother's estate. That means "Executor" in the old way of thinking... the one that takes care of everything after the person passes away. Yeah... that is me. I am both happy and sad that I have that role. It has its good side and its bad side, like everything does.

I am angry because the attorney that we chose to advise us for our estate has really done nothing but mislead us, albeit unintentionally, the entire time we have retained him. We were led to believe that the estate would close quickly and it didn't. We were told that since we found all the heirs it would be simple and it isn't.

He died a year ago and the estate still isn't closed. We made commitments based on the timeframes that we were given... in effect, made plans, paid for a future trip, based on the shitty, half-assed info from the estate attorney's office who didn't actually know what they were talking about.

Friends of ours paid ahead for some of this trip with the understanding that we would pay them before we left. The trip is scheduled for the end of April... three and a half months from now. Today is fucking January 9th.

Why the hell is this still going on??????????????????????????
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I have been thinking quite some time about something that I haven't really put into words. I am going to attempt that now... so forgive me if it is incoherently written.

I read about and spend a lot of my time thinking about things that are mythical, liminal... and by that I mean a lot of it is historical story, folklore, legend. Tales that modern man would imagine were being told around a campfire like a ghost story. They are things that modern science cannot witness and examine; they cannot position it upon a steel laboratory table, shine a glaring light on it, and take apart and dissect it so as to figure out its inner workings. To attempt to do so causes the thing to dissipate like so much mist.

Though the centuries cultures have developed tales of gods and heroes, villains and demons, fantastical creatures both big and small, to help them explain and deal with the happenings of their existence on this planet.

Last year, in 2016, after the deaths of two siblings who I loved dearly, I started noticing things out of the corner of my eye. Not just weird things that I couldn't make out at dusk or in the dark of night. They were there in full-on daytime.

I have become good friends with pagans who believe sincerely in things others would snicker at. Some of them believe that sitting atop their house is a dragon that not everyone can see... and that all houses have them. Almost all of them believe wholeheartedly in the presence of gods and goddesses in their lives... enough that they dream of them often, take messages from them, feel emotions from them, etc. I know people who believe in house spirits like brownies or house elves. I know animists who believe that all things in nature have spirits (I am one such person).

I have started putting things together in my head like the things I always see out of the corner of my eye... or the movement my eyes catch at the edge of a curtain... faces in firelight or in the movement of leaves... a person of an older culture, one steeped in mystery and legends, would immediately ascribe these goings on to these Other Folk. Meaning, they would not automatically discount the experience to a trick of the eye and forget about it. After these things kept happening, they would start to create stories around them. They would start using their imagination to assign features and traits to these beings.

The reason I know this is because I am starting to do the same. I am starting to create the stories and characters from my instincts... if it feels male or female, if it feels good-natured or mischievous... perhaps even what it looks like. My mind is starting to record details of where and when the phenomena occur.

This is how stories are made. This is how families and children create traditions. This is how humans create meaning where there is none.

I am seeing more by keeping my eyes half-closed than I ever did with them wide-open. I am seeing magick and possibility, energy and potential, dark and light... the yawning chasm of the abyss as well as the way across.

The edges are the key.
It is the literal that holds us back.
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How have I never heard of this guy before???

Dr. Martin Shaw
He is like a male Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés but about humans and storytelling!

This is what hooked me! Best 8 minutes I have spent in a long, long time!
TRAILING THE GODS BACK HOME: An Interview with Dr. Martin Shaw

Here is his website and available courses:
West Country School of Myth
(::drool!::)

This man describes how I write:
"I work with the notion that my mind is not contained in my head but is actually part of the porosity of the forest or wherever I happen to be walking. So they start with small little seeds and I ruminate and ruminate and they grow in that fashion."

A fascinating take on writing:
"As a writer, I am interested in what I call Skin Memory, Flesh Memory, and Bone Memory. Skin Memory is the stuff you put on the CV [standard resume items]. ... It's objective. Then you have Flesh Memory and Flesh Memory are a little bit like acupuncture points. They're the moments in your life where you've been really touched by something deeply. Maybe it was an illness, it was a love affair, it was something that marked you. So when you remember it it touches you deeply. But Storytellers, Mythtellers, to use a big word, the really great ones, the tribal ones, they trade in a deeper dimension again. It's what we all chthonic and it's what Bone Memory is. Now Bone Memory is when contained in the inner rhythms of some ancient story there are motifs and images that speak directly to your soul. ... But it's not related necessarily to anything you can claim around you at that time. It's a deeper thing."

"I have always had access to Bone Memory. I remember things that are not tied up with the walk of my 45 years on the planet. They're deeper than that."

"Bone Memory is what we need. We are living in such perilous times now that the stories that we need have to have that caribou dust in them. They have to have a remembering in them."

"What's going on with the laptops and the screens and everything it means that our gaze is becoming compromised. We no longer feel the 10,000 trembling secrets at the edges of our vision. But go to any indigenous hunter and say 'Where is your vision most potent?' and it is on the edge of things."
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We bought our current home in the fall of 2007.
I remember very clearly the first time I saw this house. )

Now that we had found it, we set to the business of living in it as American middle-class families do.

The house and the land it inhabits have always felt abandoned to me.
Bare.
Silent.
Abandoned by the original wights that hailed from this place.

From what I know, this was farmland for decades and then that was cleared in the 1970s to hold houses for the growing city. I guess "empty" is the best way I can describe it. In my defense, American culture does not teach or encourage recognizing entities like wights or vaettir. I had read about the practice when I first found heathenry but didn't feel comfortable implementing any sort of veneration at that point in my life.

Being an animist, believing in these spirits is not difficult. To be honest, I have been assigning specific personalities and feelings to the house and our yard for years. It is now time to start acting.

Something tells me that our house and land wights have not left for they are tied to this place.
Sleeping, eyes half-closed in that dreamy liminal space dappled with starlight.

Time to get busy.

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My inaugural Project-of-the-Month will be to complete all of the things that I keep tossing on to my sewing machine. You cannot even see my machine because of all the stuff piled on top of it.

Specific items are:
- A bag of fleece for the Animal Care and Control no-sew kitty blankets (group project)
- A prototype for hubby's vest of plates (for SCA heavy fighting)
- Hemming and altering a blue kirtle for me (SCA)
- Two tops that are too big - need to make them fit my shoulders and chest
- A pair of cool jean shorts that are too big - want to narrow them to fit my waist and hips
- Two old pairs of jeans that I *hate* as pants but may love as shorts

This is the starter list and it may change as the month goes forward. I hope to post progress and pics in comments to keep me accountable.

EDIT: 1/4/2017
- Adding a cotton corduroy coat I want to overdye.
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In the wake of my decision to devote myself to one faith, I was gifted a dream that has me very excited.

I usually have very scattered and disorganized dreams full of disconnected images and emotions that are hard to interpret. This dream was different in that it had a specific part that had me sitting up on the edge of my bed in the darkness of pre-dawn with the name "Loki" repeating in my brain. I stumbled up and went to find the Dream Journal binder I had made for class so that I could record the details before they slipped away. I kept all the lights off so that my rational mind didn't kick in too soon. I discovered that I had not put any paper in it, only the plastic sleeves used to hold hand-written sheets of paper. Then... still finding no notebook or something with lines on it, I grabbed a piece of printer paper and started writing.

Intuitively, I did not try to write in sentences. I just wanted to get down the main details of the different sections of the dream so that I could recall images later.

The Dream and My Analysis )
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Well, my hope last year of becoming more consistent with my journaling really took a nose-dive. It has been almost two months since I posted something. To be honest, it even crossed my mind a few times and I didn't do anything about it. I do better when I keep my laptop out and easily accessible instead of put away.

My holidays were not great and I spent most of my time in a funk.

I have decided that my 2017 is going to be better than 2016. That shouldn't be hard since I have no more close relatives to lose. :/

I wrote something on Facebook the other day that I would like to share here. I will not call it Resolutions, per se, though my husband pointed out that is what they are even if I do not call them that. He can kiss off, though... I wrote them because they are things I want to focus on changing in myself. The timing of the statement is irrelevant.

===================================

My 2017 Changes
Monday, January 2, 2017

Well, I have to say that 2016 was a tumultuous year for me and for many folks.
Time to turn our gaze forward and work to make our future more of what we want it to be.

MY CHANGES FOR 2017:

1. I will be on Facebook only a couple times a day, not all day. I am leaving my phone on the charger and going about my day as needed. I have specific things that demand my time every day of the week. Facebook is not one of them. For anyone attempting to reach me, you can still message, text, or call me. I am just not going to be attached to my phone anymore.

2. I am establishing a Sewing/Craft Project-of-the-Month. The PotM will change on the 1st of each month and I will post it as a Journal entry which I will then share to my Facebook wall. Updates through the month with progress pictures, thoughts, changes, etc., to the project during that month will be in comment form under that one post.

3. I am devoting myself to being a better and more attentive student. I started last year with that goal for myself and then my world imploded with the death of my little brother. I am past that now and am starting anew.

4. I am devoting myself to one faith. Due to the amazing generosity of a friend, I have been expanding my thoughts, processes, and even my spirituality into all sorts of different areas to see what sings to me, what breaks my mind open. In the end, it is still the Northern Gods and Heathenry that speak to me.

I plan on checking in with this plan periodically through the year, to touch base with myself regarding my goals.

I wish myself and all of us luck during 2017! : )

===================================
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Yup... two days since I journaled is way better than weeks, right? Gotta see the positive.

So... my trip to North Carolina has been canceled. I am annoyed and kinda bummed but also relieved.

I had originally planned it as a trip for just me to go see my son... then I decided to invite my daughter and my 3-month-old grandson. And then the expense of the trip just kept mounting: $150 for a hotel room, $150+$200 deposit for a rental car, $100 in gas, then food.

And for the last few weeks I have had this little voice in my head telling me that I shouldn't go... I searched and searched for a rational reason to cancel the trip but I could not find one.

Now I have the perfect reason: Since our recent trip to Mackinac, our budget has been decimated. So.... now I am not going.

So... boo and yay all at the same time. :/
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Yeah, my plan to journal every day fell by the wayside, obviously.

What has been going on in my life?

Well, hubby and I took a glorious mini-vacation up to Mackinac Island, Michigan and stayed at the amazing The Grand Hotel. There are tons and tons of pictures in my Mackinac 2016 album on Facebook (which is locked down due to privacy or I would link to it here).

Other than that:
- I have stopped working out
- I have stopped watching what I eat
- I have not been sewing
- I have not been creating or writing or doing anything

I am kinda in a weird slump.

On the up side, this coming week I will be traveling to Wilmington, North Carolina, with my daughter and grandbaby. My son lives there so we are going down to see him and spend a couple days by the ocean before the snow flies.

Other than that... nothing exciting.

Regardless, I need to start journaling again.
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Yup. Yesterday kinda sucked, just like most of my birthdays do now.

All of my birthdays growing up were a big deal. Cake, balloons, presents. So as my kids were growing up I made a big deal out of their birthdays even if I didn't have a lot of presents to give them. I made a big deal out of my husband's birthdays, too, always coordinating some sort of friend-get-together or somesuch so that he would smile.

Well.... as the years went on and the friends that I bought presents for didn't reciprocate and my husband didn't make a big deal of my birthday and the kids grew older and older, I just got away from making a big deal out of birthdays.

The problem is that it just makes me:
1. feel guilty about not doing for others on their birthdays
2. feel even sadder when my own birthday comes around again and my life is like a ghost town

So... yeah.... yesterday sucked. I drank two 22 oz. draft beers at Applebee's for Zach's birthday dinner (his birthday is 10/11 - two days before mine) and then, being super full and somewhat tipsy, I came home, tried to watch a Harry Potter movie with my husband, and then just fell into bed.

Yay. I am another year older.

Today dawned as yet another day does. And I just need to turn my thoughts inward and take care of me, I guess... just like every day.

Yay.
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I woke this morning with passionate ideas about things I wanted to do, notebooks I want to start, a plan of attack for a Meditation Journal, a Dream Journal, a Shifting Journal, a Journeying Journal, a Magick Workings Ideas/Journal... and all those plans slowly faded away when I realized that my evening was already planned for me.

We had invited a young couple that we know over for dinner and I needed to come up with a plan for what to cook. I decided on White Chicken Chili and cornbread because I had 90% of the ingredients and I haven't made that in ages. The chili recipe seems easy but there are many steps to it and the longer you let the ingredients simmer together the better it tastes. And then I had to do the cornbread from scratch, too. So... I basically spent my entire afternoon inn the kitchen. We had a totally yummy dinner but my inspiration for new directions of my passions had to be put on hold.

Then after dinner our friends didn't leave until after 8pm and by that time hubby and I just wanted to relax and unwind.

My ideas for notebooks is still there... it is just faded in the stark light of life and commitments.

Here is hoping that my creativity will come rushing forth tomorrow morning.

Oh. And tomorrow I turn 51 years old. Yeah. You heard me.
Not sure what I will do tomorrow... I want to fill the gas tank and take off.
Somehow I do not think that will be happening.
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Part of the assignment of the Year-and-a-Day program I started a year ago was to journal every day and to meditate on a regular basis.

Early on, I tried to journal in a manual, hand-writing way and failed at it so I gave up.
Early on, I also tried to meditate and struggled with it so I gave up.

I started this Dreamwidth journal to get myself to journal every day and so far it is working. I am actually feeling the need to write stuff down every day which I have no felt for a very, very long time.

As far as meditating, yesterday... so October 10, 2016.... I downloaded two meditation apps to my phone to try to get myself to meditate regularly. I tried them both and found that I like the one and not the other. I deleted the one that I do not like and I am going to stick with the one I like. It is called Headspace and it is based out of the UK. I think that after a free trial period you have to pay monthly but I am going to see if I can just use the free stuff.

Day 1, 10/10/2016
The initial meditation was 10 minutes long. I like the guy's voice and the directions. I fall asleep 5 minutes into it and wake up a half-hour later. So... not a failure. Just need to stick with it.

Day 2, 10/11/2016
I decided to redo the first meditation since I fell asleep the first time. I got through the entire thing and even listened to some of the other stuff on the company website Headspace. So... improvement!
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Tonight our Caffeine, Conversations, and Pagans group had a class with hand-outs. It was called "Divination 101" and talked about all the different kinds of divination done throughout history.

Most of it I had already heard of.

Divination systems I have and have used in the past:
- I-Ching
- Tarot cards
- Oracle cards
- Elder Futhark Runes

Divination systems I am interested in and need to read more about:
- Palmistry
- Tea Leaves
- Ogham Runes
- Sortilege: throwing or casting, such as bones, cowrie shells, etc.

I also took pictures of some beautiful tarot and oracle decks and books that were passed around that I would like to have:

The Runic Tarot - Dang! More than $100!

Witch's Runes - How to Make and Use Your Own Magick Stones - Intriguing!

The Halloween Oracle - Lifting the Veil Between the Worlds Every Night - WANT BADLY!

Using the Wisdom of Trees Oracle - TREES!!

Shadowscapes Tarot Deck and Book - These cards are really beautiful but reading the reviews on Amazon I see that there is a complaint that the details of the images are too small to read them intuitively.

Yeah.... my Amazon Wishlist is ridiculously huge. Maybe someday when I win the lottery I will be able to buy it all. (Notice me not holding my breath!)

Rough Day

Oct. 10th, 2016 09:33 pm
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Today was unexpectedly rough, but I am going to journal cuz my goal is to journal every day.

I have been sewing odds and ends this week... which is weird enough since I have been in a creativity slump for months. Just this past week I:
- mended and added colorful patches to a friend's flatcap
- dropped the cuff on hubby's work pants
- made a brown Viking hood for hubby
- made a black Viking hood with appliquéd yellow crossed swords for hubby to marshal heavy fighting

The last few days have been filled with a surprising flood of creativity. I managed to sew and work on things without my usual self-sabotage and negative thinking. It has been a relief.

My next project is to put back together a blue-and-black cotehardie that I made a year or so ago and had taken apart to make a pattern from. Need to find it, though so today I decided to tackle some of the boxes that my brother-in-law sent back with me from his house.

See... my older sister passed away last August much to my dismay. Her husband and I are fairly close even though everyone else in the family hates him. He sent her sewing machine and what fabric she had with me not long after she passed and he is just now starting to sort through the rest of her things. This time he sent family photos and some boxes of random stuff. There are three tubs of photos and picture albums and three or four boxes and tubs of other stuff. I felt brave enough to start on the random stuff boxes because they have been just cluttering up the floor in my rec room and I need the space back. Well.... I found pictures in with the stuff.... pictures of all sorts but most importantly old pictures I have never seen of my mom, my dad, me, and my little brother - all who are gone from this world... she is gone, too, obviously....

Immediate Family death years:
- Father, died 1995
- Mother, died 2005
- Older Brother, died 2007
- Older Sister, died 2015 (last year)
- Little Brother, died 2016 (yup, this year)



Yeah........ I feel pretty beat up emotionally today and I haven't even touched the bins with the pictures and photo albums in them.

Ugh.
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So.... I came to a realization yesterday of who and what I am in an otherworldly sense and now that I am actually able to put words to it and connect things from my past to it now I need to start moving towards refinement of that gift.

I am a shifter.

It is a pretty heady thing to own up to.
And, at least for me, I have to exercise quite a bit of bravery even to believe that of myself.
I am just done being a chickenshit.
It is time to take a leap of faith in myself.

I am able to shift my consciousness to one that is not my own. Up to now in my life, I have mostly experienced this in a random, more organic way. It is what I have labeled "inspired" when I write. It is the letting go of the me in this world and giving myself over to the character and place of my imagination. I cease to exist in this world on a spiritual, psychic level and I am drawn into the abstract world of my imagination.

How I know... )

That was my first experience with what I have always called "inspired writing". Basically I leave myself and I live, breathe, feel whatever my character feels and all the while I am putting that experience into writing. It always feels like it is just funneling from my mind and heart down through my hands and on to a page.

So now I must figure out what to do with my newfound knowledge...

It makes sense to me to start a course of study with myself. There are obviously no books or manuals out there to help me hone this skill. Initially, I am thinking that I need to start giving myself assignments and then journal or write about them. I mention this second step because as I get older I do not believe that the writing down of the experience is what makes it real (which I thought when I was young). I believe it happens whether I have a means to write it down or not.

Also, I think this will be a great segue-way into my first Book of Shadows.

Art and writing... nothing comes closer to spilling my insides out than that.
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Since it is the weekend, my husband is usually with me but today I am alone. Most people would think this is a bad thing. However, I find it kind of liberating.

My husband is a gigantic distraction to me... even just his presence in the house is distracting and means I cannot delve into my head like I usually want to do. So with him not being here until later I am free to do and think as I please.

What am I choosing to do? Today I am working on piecing together enough black linen to make him a new Norse hood to marshal at Midrealm Crown Tournament (SCA - What is the SCA?).

But it is noon already and I have managed to do exactly squat sewing-wise. However, I have spent quite a bit of time taking care of myself spiritually this morning.

Go, me! :)

Fail!

Oct. 8th, 2016 11:48 am
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So.... my plan to journal every day has experienced a bit of a hiccup. I know why it happened. For many years, my life has not included journaling every day. This means that I need a reminder to do it. Cell phone to the rescue!

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