Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice with my daughter

I had not planned anything for Winter Solstice this year. With everything else going on; packing for our move, my grandmother's passing, and being generally to busy and stressed - I just figured I would wing it this year with some prayer and meditation.

Monday my parents were here. I was getting ready to drive them to the airport - they are going to my grandma's funeral. We exchanged some gifts, as they won't be here for Christmas this year, and inevitably - we talked about grandma. My 6 year old had some questions about death, and my mom was telling her that "Grandma is in Heaven with Jesus now." I don't mind that my kids are exposed to my mom's faith... I think that being exposed to many different beliefs will help them find their personal path when they are older. Now, my mom has no idea what my spiritual beliefs are, and I prefer to keep it that way. Long story short - she is Southern Baptist to the core, and I would prefer to keep my relationship with her in good standings.

Anyways, here we are talking about Grandma and Heaven, and my oldest daughter, 10 - says, "Yeah, but she doesn't have to stay in Heaven. She can be born again as a little baby and have a new life, but she won't remember us if we meet her." (I am choking on my tea.) My mom, says "What?? What are you talking about???" and gives me that questioning/scared/worried/disapproving look that only a religious mother can give. Miss Zee, confused, says, "You know mom. What's it called again when we are reborn?" (Quick, come up with a cover story! The last thing my mom needs to worry about at her mother's funeral is the state of her daughter's eternal soul...)

"Um, yeah, honey. It's called Reincarnation." I smile reassuringly to my daughter even though I have been screaming shut up shut up shut up inside my head. Then I turn to my mom, "Because, you know, she is curious about different beliefs, so I told her about them." My mom, still unsure and frowning, says "Oh-kayyyy....."
Awkward Silence....

Anyways... somehow or another someone changed the subject. We visited some more, and then Dad decided it was time to go. Dreading the long drive to the airport with my parents, I spontaneously invited my oldest daughter to come along for the ride. She was more than happy to come along, though she didn't know it would take over an hour to get there. I dropped my parents off, we hugged and exchanged our final tears and goodbyes. I wish I could go to my grandma's funeral, but life and kids and finances.... *sigh*... she understands and knows I would be there if I could.

Anyways, on to my story. Back in the car with my daughter, starting the long drive back home, I decide I might as well talk to her about what happened earlier. I have told her in the past that I would prefer it if she doesn't mention mommy's beliefs or "Wicca, magic, or cards", around her grandma... but I hadn't fully explained why. Apparently now was a good time to go over this with her again, before she decides to out me completely. We talked about how I have different beliefs than grandma, and that's OK, everyone is entitled to different beliefs. But some people think that their religion is the only "right" one, and other beliefs scare them or bother them. I was happy to find that my daughter feel that this kind of judgement is "Totally unfair and not cool."- Then I had to explain to her that her grandma is one of those people who just doesn't understand, and no matter how you try to explain things to them, they may never understand. I found myself, driving down the interstate at 7 pm on Winter Solstice, having an amazing conversation with my ten year old daughter about religious diversity.

Then, another amazing thing happened. I was telling her that Grandma is not wrong or bad for believing the way she does, but she might be very sad or upset if she knew that I didn't believe the same thing as her. My daughter said she understood, and she likes reading the bible and going to church with grandma... "But, I want to learn more about what you do, because I think I believe in that." I told her, "You don't have to believe in something just because I do. I want you to learn about many things and decide for yourself." She said, "I know mom, but I want to learn more about Wicca. I mean, I know how you pray and use candles and crystals and cards but I want to learn about that stuff." I'm trying to make sure I'm in the right lane for our coming exit - while smiling and feeling so proud and happy at the same time, and I tell her, "Yeah? No problem.. you're getting bigger now anyways... I can teach you about that stuff. And you can ask me questions about it at any time - I hope you have always known that."
"Yeah mom, I know. But I'm curious now and I want to learn more."

"Okay... I've got something we can learn about right now. Do you know that tonite is a special day for Wiccans? Tonite is the Winter Solstice"
"Ooooh, I've heard of that! We put decorations of the Sun on our tree for that... what else does it mean?"

I went on to explain about the seasons, the solstices, and how on Winter Solstice it is the longest night of the year, but after this night the days start to grow longer again. I told her how it's a time to welcome back the sun, and remember that even though winter is still not over yet, the Solstice is a promise of the coming Spring. We talked about how our lives can seem like this; sometimes things are sad, or "dark", but eventually things get better again and we heal and grow and move forward.

She wanted to know about other "Wiccan Holidays", as she called them, and I told her about Beltane in the spring, then the Summer Solstice, then Samhain in the fall. She confirmed that she has indeed been paying attention to the little things that I have told her about these Sabbats in the past, by remembering little symbolic acts or items that she had seen. We talked and talked, so much that I missed my final exit and had to take a 10 mile detour to get back home!

THEN, my night just kept getting better, because she asked me if we could do something together to celebrate the Solstice! As I said, I hadn't planned anything, but I couldn't turn this down! After the younger kids were sleeping, I pulled out some candles and sage and books. We did some yoga and breathing exercises together. We sang together. (I taught her the simple Element Song) Then we lit candles and sage and read out loud the Yule Ritual from Scott Cunningham's "Wicca - a guide for the solitary practitioner". We prayed. I used my Angel Therapy cards by Doreen Virtue and did a one card reading for my daughter, and then or myself. We talked and prayed by the candlelight, and eventually closed the circle and said goodnight, as it was rather late. We both went to bed feeling happy, and I know I finally found the peace that I have been missing for the past week. My unplanned Winter Solstice turned out way better than if I had planned it, even with that awkward silence and disapproving look from my mother....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Winter Goddess in a Grimm's Fairy Tale...

I found this at http://paganparenting.org/ and wanted to share. It is a folktale that is most likely connected with with the Germanic Goddess, Holle, who was celebrated in Winter. It's a good story, and seems fitting of the season, read it and enjoy!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paper Fetish!

I like looking around at etsy shops. Even though I currently don't have the extra money to buy most of the things I see, I still like browsing around at what people are making and selling. Today I found this site called Paper Fetish. OMGs! Talk about something that is ALWAYS on my wishlist! Blank Journals and Notebooks... handcrafted... leather... or farbric.... this place has some beautiful hand made journals and I would love to get my hands on some of these! I always have journals laying around.... and when I go in a bookstore it takes a huge amount of restraint and self-control to not walk out with more blank journals! If you're interested in journals, or are looking for a gift for someone, I would suggest this etsy shop, Paper Fetish!!!

I found out about this site from the "31 Days of Yule Giveaway" at The Soccer Mom's Guide to Wicca!

My Life, New Moon in Capricorn, and The Devil

The past couple of weeks have been exceptionally hard for me and my family. It seems that this time of year we always struggle more financially - things just seem to catch up with us in December. The phrase "When it rains, it pours" is present in my mind these days.
First, along with our financial situation getting really rocky, we found out that my grandma is very sick. She was hospitalized for pneumonia and anemia, and they found cancer in her lungs. Since then her condition has been steadily declining and she probably won't be with us much longer. She lives far away, and I haven't seen her in 10 years. My heart aches because I can't afford to go see her one last time. My two younger children have never even met her, and my oldest was too young to remember the last time we saw her. I wish I could be there with my mom, aunts, uncle, and cousins during this time, but it is just not possible.
Then, we had a heavy blow concerning the house we are buying. Our offer was accepted in November, and we have gone thru the process of the "short sale" and have everything signed except the title. We were planning on moving next week - half of my stuff is packed and ready to go. The papers went to the title company, and when they did the title search, they found that there was a second mortgage on the house - something that the previous owners failed to disclose. So this really sets us back. We have to basically sit and wait while the second bank decides if it is going to allow the sale. Worst case scenario- the second bank repossess the home and puts it up for auction, and we start again looking for a house. I feel lost, confused, depressed. We can't stay in this apartment much longer, it is too small for our family, and we financially can't afford it anymore. Our realtor told us we have an option of going ahead and moving into the house anyways - but if the bank doesn't allow the sale we will have to move out again in a couple months. But - we could live there rent free until the choice is made. So we are faced with this crazy choice -uproot the kids and try to save money and hope for the best, and move again in a few months if it doesn't work out. Or - stay here and continue to struggle, and wait. Either way, it's a waiting game again.
Being a Capricorn, I HATE waiting. I Hate not knowing my future, at least when it comes to things like where my family is going to live.
I feel like I am having trouble trusting my intuition too. Because everything in my heart told me that this was going to be our house, but now I'm not sure anymore. Did I feel that way because I wanted it so bad? It's one of those things - psychic readers and tarot readers will tell you they have trouble reading for themselves, because the emotions and ego get in the way.
Every day I have been forcing myself through the motions. Get up. Eat. Clean the house. (I have fallen WAY off my FlyLady routines) I didn't even notice that today was the New Moon, and I'm usually on top of watching he moon cycles. Today I have had so much trouble getting moving. Crawling out of bed was a chore in itself, and it's a miracle that I have washed the dishes and gotten dressed but I had to force myself to do even those mundane things. I noticed on a website widget that today is the New Moon. So I pulled out my almanac calendar. As usual with a New Moon, it's been Void of Course most of the day. Perhaps that explains my total lack of feeling today. Looking further, I noticed that tonite, the moon will enter Capricorn. Hmm.. a New Moon in Capricorn. Maybe this is just what I need to get myself out of this rut and back to working again. Maybe the start of this new cycle will bring about a more successful end to my current situation....

I found this New Moon in Capricorn Meditation and I hope to use it tonite to try and get myself back into the spiritual balance that I am craving;

I have also been thinking about The Devil card - this is the card related to Capricorn. Sometimes, dealing with the harsh realities of life and being forced into certain situations can give us the change of perspective that we need. Being locked in to any situation, or feeling like things are out of our control can wake up our survival instincts and help us make those tough choices that we would otherwise avoid. Alternatively, The Devil deals with temptations, and my temptation is to just allow myself to sink into a depression and self-pity. So which way am I going to go when the New Moon energy manifests? Despite the chains on the Devil card - I am not locked in to this. Because the "Devil" that I am chained to is nothing but my own fear. And as Rebecca Brent's article and meditation point out, my sense of power lies within me, and within my ability to pick up the pieces, get organized, and just keep on going.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Tarot!

Corrine Kenner (author of Tarot For Writers) just put together a Christmas Tarot deck based on Victorian Christmas Postcards and Art!! It's a Major Arcana only deck, and she is offering it for download and print for only $2.09 this Christmas! Come check it out;


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yule - the Altar (and an update from me!)

I'm trying to get back into my blogging again. Yes, I was absent from the bloggingworld for almost the whole month of November - but I have a good excuse!

YES! I was participating in NaNoWriMo, and I DID IT!! I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days! It's a great start on my novel, which is far from finished and may or may not ever see the light of day. We shall see...

Anyways, along with my soul-searching and writing, I have been busy with the kids, and doing this crazy Real-Estate dance that has driven me almost to the brink of insanity! I can't say much right now except for that we WILL be moving soon, into our very first HOME, and I'm so excited and happy yet so stressed beyond belief! We are waiting to sign the final papers (the title) and then get the keys and move!!

So.... funny thing... when you write as much as you can for 30 days straight, it actually becomes a habit! I have started journaling again just to keep writing, and as you can see from the previous two bogs, I have been inspired both poetically and spiritually. Today I kept thinking of several things I would like to blog about, but the day passed me by rather quickly as I cleaned my kitchen, and did my usual household stuff - and then of course I had to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on tv. So I finally get back to my computer and wonder... what should I write about?

Looking thru my blog list I remembered this site - Pagan Blog Prompts and I figured today's prompt was a perfect way to get my wheels turning!! I had wanted to start posting some Yule related stuff anyways, and today's prompt is;

Your winter altar

Show or describe your altar as it stands in the winter months. What sorts of imagery do you focus on? Which deities do you call in via symbolism? Where in your home does it sit?

I love the colors of this season... pure, crisp whites, with dark greens and deep reds. Highlighted with golds and silvers.... these colors are refreshing and empowering and I try to include them on my altar if I can. I have a dark green tablecloth that I use as an altar cloth, and white lace doilies on the top give it a perfect touch. Of course I have two white candles, and I usually include a large red candle right in the middle - cinnamon scented if they have it. Pine cones, holly leaves, and mistletoe will decorate my altar if I can find them (sometimes I have to substitute the fake plastic stuff, but I don't mind). I also try to place some representation of the Sun on my altar at this time of the year, as I find this is an important, yet often overlooked symbol of this Sabbat...

Yule, or Winter Solstice, is traditionally thought of as the first day of winter, as the hemisphere is now tilted away from the sun and the colder weather is here to stay for awhile. But the night of Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, meaning that after Yule - the days slowly become to get longer again, and the Sun slowly regains it's balance and prominence. This year I painted a little ceramic box with paint ad beads = a picture of the sun, and I am looking forward to giving it a place on my winter altar to help welcome back the sun and recognize that brighter times lay ahead!!

I don't currently have my altar, or any seasonal decorations put up, because we will be moving sometime in the week before Christmas. I am hoping to be settled in by Yule so I can put up my altar. Wish I had some pictures to show you, but instead I found these Yule altar photos at Pagan/Wiccan About.com, as well as this article about what other types of things or items might be placed on a Yule Altar...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Warm Home Cider Spell

Kitchen Magick is all about letting everything you create in your home or kitchen have a focused purpose. Every moment can be magical, if you want it to be. When you cook something, think about each ingredient you add, visualize, meditate, pray. Focus on your food or drink being *more* than just physical sustenance, and visualize the outcome you desire.

Here is a recipe for Hot Spiced Apple Cider, and a spell I wrote to g along with it.

*Hot Spiced Cider *
8 cups Apple Cider or Apple juice
2 cups Orange juice
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
6 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tsp Whole Cloves
1 Tsp Allspice
1/2 Tsp. Ginger
1 small apple or orange

Slice the apple or orange, stick the whole cloves into the apple or orange. Combine all ingredients in crockpot, slowcooker, or large pan. Heat slowly, serve while Hot!

"Warm Home Cider Spell"
Collect all ingredients for the recipe above, or for your own variation of Spiced Cider. As you add each ingredient individually, visualize the positve traits of these plants and spices entering your home. As the cider heats, the aroma will infuse these gifts into your home.

Apples / Apple Cider - Health, Healing, Fertility, Prosperity Creativity, Luck, Leadership, Happiness, Love

Allspice - Health, Healing, Creativity, Confidence, Communication, Happiness, Marriage/relationships

Cinnamon - Health, Healing, communication, confidence, employment, prosperity, success, wisdom.

Clove - Health, protection, fertility, confidence, employment, communication, love, stress relief, peace, happiness, understanding

Ginger - Grounding, health healing, breaking bad habits, happiness, love, marriage, success, prosperity, wisdom

Later, as you serve full cups of hot cider toyour family or friends, tell them each that you love them and name one reason you are thankful for them. Remember to tell yourself that you love YOU too, and think of at least one reason you are proud of yourself. Drink and enjoy and feel the warmth, health, love, and prosperity filling your home!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chasing Time (A poem)

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
I chase after you
and it is like arriving at the bus stop just in time
to hear the sound of the yellow diesel monster
driving away.

Tomorrow and tomorrow
I am ever reaching out
to grasp the cold air where you will someday stand,
my hand falters, I stumble.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
I chase after you,
and just when I know that you may be lurking
right beyond the next corner
I slow my step - afraid.

Tomorrow, oh Tomorrow,
I forgot my shoes, my bag is not packed,
my homework is not done...
I will have to catch up with you

~W.J.M. 2009