New Routines

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For a long time, my evening routine, such as it was, consisted of coming home exhausted, getting on the computer, and staying on it, even if I wasn’t doing anything at all, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. At least when I’m working.

And when not working, even less than that. It would be a “good” night if I spent time exercising or cleaning or anything at all, really.

Lately, I find myself turning off the computer, putting on a new age station on Pandora and sitting on the porch as twilight turns to dark.

Sometimes, I simply sit.

Sometimes, I read – right now: You Are Here by Thich Naht Hanh.

Sometimes I write, either in my personal journal or working on The Desire Map or one of my other journaling/goal setting notebooks. A couple of times, I’ve taken my watercolors out there, too.

I think it started with the Mindfulness class I did at the VA Mental Health Clinic. I started meditating in silence, which I think I’ve mentioned was a little new to me. And I began to crave the quiet time.

And then Tuli came along.

She’s so different from Pumpkin.Image

She likes being outside (Pumpkin didn’t like open spaces).  But it’s dangerous around here, so I can’t really let her out to just explore.

As often as possible, I open up the sliding glass door to the porch and let her go out there.

Having the door open somehow makes me want to go out there more.

I’ve spent more time out there in the last month than I probably have in the 6 years I’ve lived here combined.

I keep wondering why I didn’t do this ages ago. It’s pleasant and relaxing. My allergies act up a little, but still, it’s nice.

Next step: work yoga into the routine, either in the mornings or evenings. I need more movement in my daily routines.

Pagan Blog Project: H is for Herbs

When I was a baby witch, just learning my craft, I got really into herbs.

From Pixabay
From Pixabay

Like REALLY into. 🙂

I had the classic Herb Book, which is likely still in my library somewhere!

I bought herbs at magick shops and food co-ops.

I had mason jars and containers full of herbs.

Cooking herbs.

Healing herbs.

Essential oils.

Tinctures.

I made my own incense.

I made massage oils and candles.

I made tea (technically tisanes) and potions.

Wet and dry potpourri.

Cordials.

I’m not much of a cook, but give me a shelf full of herbs and a pot of water, and I’ll mix something that smells good, at least.

At various times, I’ve had herb gardens.

Herbs are at the heart of magick for me. laurel-272961_640

In pretty much every culture, there has always been a healer, a witch, a wise one that knew the ways of plants and how to use them to ease suffering or to conjure dreams and visions.

And this is another thing that somewhere along the way I lost touch with.

I had an herb garden when C was a baby. When we lived in Washington, there was a huge herb farm nearby (which seems to have “retired” now).

But as we moved around, I had to leave behind living plants, or give up space on my shelves for things that had a higher priority.

I used up or got rid of my stash.

Eventually, all I had were the basic cooking herbs.

As our financial situation worsened, and my daughter grew, and my faith waned. . . I gave up my herbs. I gave up my magick.

Last summer when I was going to one of the local farmer’s markets, there were big bunches of purple basil and mint.

I brought them home and used some of the basil for a tomato sauce and mint to flavor my water, but I didn’t want to waste the huge bunch, so for the first time in a long, long time, I hung up my herbs to dry.

Weeks later, I was looking for my regular, old, bought-for-cooking dried basil and couldn’t find it.

Then I remembered, among my cluttered shelves, I had hanging this beautiful basil.

My mortar and pestle, if I still have them, are in storage, so I pulled the leaves off the stems into a bowl and rubbed the dried leaves between my hands to make them smaller.

As I was doing it, I wondered, “How did I ever get away from doing this?”

My hands smelled like fresh basil, and the taste of the herb was strong in my sauce.

Basil is for flying, faithful love, and drawing money to you.

I felt so good to be doing that simple thing. Refreshed.

One of my Core Desired Feelings is “Restored”.

I felt restored.

As my daughter is pretty much grown up now, and I’m rediscovering who I am without the “C’s mom” added to my name, I know that I need to bring the herbs back into my life.

I regret leaving them behind and not bringing my daughter up with the full appreciation of the art of herbal magick.

I don’t know if I can realistically fill up my shelves again the way I did in my early 20s, but I want to start again.

I wonder if the apartment complex will notice if I cut a few rosemary branches?

 

Pagan Blog Project: C: Cunningham

I was almost certain my “C” post was going to be about candles or candle magick.

But I also felt like that is soooooo overdone – I’m sure there are at least a million websites and blogs that talk about candles. After all, they’re a mainstay. And I’m not sure my take on it/them is unique in any way. I couldn’t think of a way to make it interesting.

Then I looked at the prompts given for the week.

And I saw Scott Cunningham on the list.

This is an old story, one my close friends have probably heard way too often, but others may not have heard at all.

1988/9.

I was in the Navy, training to be an electronics tech in Great Lakes. Some of us started playing with psychic energy – and when you get that many young adults in one place that can get interesting all on its own.

There were some things that I knew instinctively were “right” and, well, some were bullshit. My personal life was an absolute mess.

But somehow I managed to make it through, and was high enough in my class to pick my own specialty school.

Shortly before I left, there were rumors that this one girl, K, was a witch. Like a really real witch.

I was not friends with her; she was fairly new as I was getting ready to leave. But one day I saw her give a book to someone else. It was this one:

A couplefew weeks later, I was home in Florida on leave before driving out to San Diego for my specialty school.

My mother had just bought the same book. She hadn’t read it yet, but it was sitting on the table.

I picked it up and read the back and the “about the author” blurb.

And I found out the author lived in San Diego.

Well, if the book is going to follow me around the country, maybe I should read it.

And read it I did.

When I got to San Diego, I checked out some of the stores he mentioned in the back of the book. Well, haunted them really.

Whenever I had money, I spent a good chunk of it at this one particular store. I used to spend a lot of time there. They had free psychic fairs every couple of months, and speakers/classes happening quite often.

One day when I was just hanging out, Scott Cunningham walked in the store, greeted the store owner, and started signing some of his books. I had a total fan-girl moment. 😛

The most recently published was his aromatherapy book. He was in the store to make arrangements to teach a class on the topic. I chatted with him for a few minutes and signed up for his class.

I went on to immerse myself in Wicca and magick for many years. I made contacts at that store that led me to others. The really real witch from Great Lakes came out to San Diego and we connected for a time.

Would I have found this path without his books? Maybe. But these were the events that led me to this path.

Cunningham’s books were many people’s introduction to Wicca, and I’m glad that I found them. They lacked oppressive dogma and arcane knowledge and didn’t hint at more secrets to come. They were ARE straight-forward and easy to read and easy to begin a practice with. I’ve passed some of them on to my daughter.

When he died, I was once again living in San Diego and attended a public ritual for his passing. I was grateful to be there.

 

Balance

I’m still working with some of the stuff in the Incredible Year workbook, and I’ve also discovered Wild Sister Magazine.

Like a lot of stuff I’ve read, the core of the information is not new to me, but in both of these sites, the women who run them are excited about what they do, and their emotions and encouragement of others come through very strongly which makes it feel a little fresher.

The one thing I’m having a problem with, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is that they are almost too woman-centered.

Now, first off, I’m a Feminist with a capital F. I worked in a male-dominated field (electronics), in a male-dominated organization (military). My degree is in math, which is still male-dominated. My spiritual path was originally chosen as one that honored the sacred feminine.

I believe women should have autonomy and sovereignty over their own bodies – to dress as demurely or sexy as they wish/feel comfortable with, to have sex when and with whom they choose, to decide if and when to have babies and so on.

I love reading about and meeting strong women. I’ve read Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Naomi Wolf. I know how deeply patriarchy is inherent in our culture.

Twenty years ago, the woman-centeredness would have spoken to my soul.

It still does, to an extent, but. . .

In my personal spiritual practice, I long ago moved towards a more balanced perspective: balancing the animus and anima, honoring the sacred masculine as well as the feminine. After all, while women hold up half the sky, so do men. And while men may still have some unconscious advantages in this world, there are some areas where they seem to be being left behind.

There is wisdom in these pages that a couple of men I know could stand to hear, but I don’t see them dealing with all the. . .  girly shit and curlicues and so on to hear the stuff that they could use.

This really isn’t a criticism, because the wonderful women have found their niche, and more power to them!

But I think I would prefer to make my focus a little more gender-neutral. [And guys, if you’re looking for this kind of good stuff, you could check out ZenHabits.]