Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Massive Personal Update

I'm terribly sorry I haven't posted lately. Its been a long, hard winter with plenty of personal hardship. While I feel I shouldn't be making excuses, I thoroughly apologize for those who have followed my blog and actually read (and possibly enjoyed; though I won't make assumptions there) it on a regular basis. 

For one thing, I've had a bit of a personal crisis. I started doing poorly in school. I started feeling disgustingly depressed. I also lost motivation and the want to go out and do the things I love to do; including ride horses, take photos, and design things. After visiting a councillor and a physician, I've been diagnosed with moderate to severe clinical depression and started on a course of medication as well as personal counselling. It has been a drastic change for me; someone who has always been known as an extremely happy, enthusiastic individual - but this sort of thing runs in my family and sooner or later I figure it was going to rear its ugly head. Now, though, it is under management and I will be taking Reiki classes with a Reiki Master (who is also my best friend's mother) to help me centre my energies and ground myself when I'm finding I get overly anxious. 

Another thing that has happened to me is a sudden change in heart when it comes to my schooling. Currently, I'm at McMaster University studying Earth Science and Evolutionary Biology. I've come to the conclusion that this isn't the path for me - learning from diagrams and lectures just doesn't cut the mustard, in my books. I have always been a person that learns through demonstration and by doing; labs have honestly been the thing saving my ass throughout this semester. Two weeks ago, I applied to the community college in my hometown for Photojournalism. This program has an international reputation for producing incredible photographers, and is also the only program of its kind in Canada. A week later, I found out I was accepted while I was at the school on a tour and while talking to the faculty. While I need to spend over $5,000 on new camera equipment (sorry, D40, you're just not going to cut it), I will be able to live at home and have a more grounded living environment. I am so thoroughly excited for this - you have no idea. I finally feel like I've found the career path thats made for me and I'm more than ready to jump feet first; its not going to be easy (the course is a lot of work and is quite stressful), but I know I will do well.

I figure, as well, I should update you in the course of my Pagan faith. I've decided to branch away from the teachings of Oak & Mistletoe; while Amethyst is a wonderful teacher and the community is fantastic, I feel that I'm not ready to be bound to a particular tradition and want to go off on my own. I'm scientifically-minded first and foremost, and I would like to form my Pagan path around those beliefs. Soon enough, I will have an article on how I view the Universe from a scientific and Pagan perspective. But for now, I figure I should mention that I've had a bit of a crisis in faith. I haven't done much communicating with the Universe lately and its been hard on me; I feel my mental health hasn't really helped this along. I think, though, with Ostara just around the corner, it is time for a new beginning; its time for me to be reborn, like the annual buds that are bursting through the no longer frozen earth, and start anew. 

After all, spring has sprung!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A small update...

Hello everyone. I'm really sorry I haven't posted much lately; with the Holidays, New Years, as well as getting back into the grind of school, I've been incredibly busy. Needless to say, getting back into routine and the stress thereof is starting to take its toll on me. I've been sick on and off with mysterious stomach technical difficulties and now some sort of cold; its really irking me and I hope it goes away soon.

In other news, I bought some wonderful books with some money I received for the Holidays. I think it might be a good idea for me to post reviews and general feelings about them up here as I read through them. Some are Pagan-related, others aren't. I'll keep you posted.


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Goddess Within - Maiden, Mother & Crone

Cross posted at WitchVox.

Christmas eve, 2009. Though no one in my family is stoutly Christian in any way, we still gather each year on December 24th and 25th to spend the time together as a group. Its a joyous time, filled with celebratory drinks, a vast variety of traditional Irish and non-traditional foods, and plenty of reflection on the year and years past. The family gathers in the living room around the real wood fire, surrounding the celebration that is the burning of a Yule log. We remember those that have come to pass, but we also talk about experiences and things that are up coming in our lives. Often, too, there is an exchange of gifts; its traditional in our household to open one gift each on the night of Christmas Eve. Yes, my family is usually pretty right on-the-button when it comes to tradition at the festive time of the year.

This year, though, was a little different. Not only was 2009 my first year as an “out of the broom closet” Pagan with my family, but it is also a year in which I have grown up immensely. Moving to university in a city three hours away not only forced me to gain more independence from my family, but it also saw me maturing greatly in the four or so months I have thus far not lived at home. I am responsible for feeding myself; I live in a house with my landlady, who is rarely home for her work schedule - this leaves me to fend for myself. I cook, I clean, I do the laundry, I pay the bills; it has made me older internally as well as wiser.

Still, though, it doesn’t stop me from giving my mother a phone call to see how her day is doing. Or a call to my grandmother to check up on her in her little bungalow. Though I am far apart from my closest family members, my mom and my grandma, I feel that our bond is strengthened. Through my growing up and through my realizations that have come from living life as a Pagan, I have discovered and became knowledgeable about some wonderful things, and have also become that much closer with my mother and grandmother.

I feel that the Goddess is alive within the three of us; we are the embodiment of the maiden, the mother and the crone. Never was this more apparent to me than on Christmas eve, when myself, my mom, and my grandmother were in the kitchen fussing over dinner. The male half of the family had been gracefully kicked out to leave us ladies to the food preparation. Hearing us speak, sharing wisdom between each other from our various view points, I was reminded that the Goddess truly does live through us in her various aspects.

I am reminiscent of the Maiden. Like this aspect of the Lady, I am going through beginnings and changes; I am beginning to experience independence for what it really is. Still, though, at the end of the day, I am an adolescent; even at 18 years old I still turn to my mother for guidance and compassion. At the same time though, I embody the spirit of courage that the Maiden exemplifies - as I step up to take on the challenges that my life presents head on, I meet them with more than mere enthusiasm; I’m tackling life with a renewed view since becoming a Pagan five years ago. Within the next bunch of years, I will be able to complete my phase as the Maiden and move on to the Mother. I will have matured and blossomed, and be ready to move on to the next stage of mine and the Goddess’s life.

My mother echoes the same sentiment of the Goddess; she is a maternal being, first and foremost. My mom has always said that she puts my brother and I first - that we are her life, and she would do anything to protect her children and her family. With my father, she has built an incredibly tight-knit family who will last through thick and thin. She is understanding, compassionate, and loving; just as the Goddess is throughout her life yet particularly so within the Mother phase. My mom is nearing the end of her years as the Mother aspect of the Goddess; soon, she will take on the role of the Crone and will move into the wisest aspect of feminine life.

Finally, my grandmother embodies the Crone. Her many years have left her wise in life and love. She has undergone the transition from being a dedicated housewife and mother to being a strong, independent individual. The Crone aspect of the Goddess is one that is full of wisdom. My grandmother is not short of this. She is a sharp older woman, quick to share the experiences of the past or input her opinion when called upon. My grandmother is teaching us the traditions of our family, something important to her; and to this, we are receptive. While her physical body isn’t as strong as it once was, her mind is as strong as ever; she has been through Hell and high-water, experienced death and change first hand when my grandfather passed away two years ago, and has become an independent older woman who is more than able to take care of herself and also keep our family strong.

The Goddess lives within us. Whether you be a Maiden, Mother or Crone, she walks with you; reach out to her and reflect upon the experiences of your life and how you can become more connected not only with the Lady, but with the other aspects of Her within your family. Give mom or grandma a call; if they have passed on, honor them with a celebration of ancestors. It is my belief that one of the greatest things we can learn from the Goddess is the strength of the family and the wisdom and love that is within us all. So take a moment. Thank your female ancestors. And thank the Goddess for giving you the wisdom and love that She instills in us all.

Believe me, She will listen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Quest for Patron Deities

Lately, I've been looking a lot into the various pantheons of the world. I feel compelled, perhaps by Spirit, to start my search for my patron deities. While my beliefs don't necessarily reflect the existence of an absolute Goddess and God, I do feel that there are certain energies and historic ethers that draw us in. Personally, I'm highly interested in the Aztec, Egyptian and Australian pantheons; it is my belief that my patron Goddess and God nestle within those ancient mythical families.

I'm curious to know! Who are your patron deities, and how did you find them? What drew you to your particular God and Goddess? What do you do to connect and celebrate them in your day-to-day life and your ritual workings?

I think that, for myself, more research is in order; consider Moonlight Flights my springboard for research into my patron and patroness. I think in the next few weeks there will be posts reflecting the history of Gods and Goddesses from each of the three pantheons I mentioned earlier, as well, perhaps, as some that I've become interested in over time. Feel free to add your insights and knowledge about these deities, so as I may learn more about them! Once I get iWork 2009 up and running on my new iMac, I'll be making beautiful pages for my Book of Shadows - my writing is terribly messy, and while it is not so traditional, I feel that a printed book will best suit my needs.

Hope you all had a wonderful Yule as well as Christmastime with your families (if that is how you celebrate). Best of luck in the up-coming New Year. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Checking in...

I just thought I'd check in quickly to show everyone I'm not dead. I've been doing a little bit of visualization and practicing the O&M stuff, as well as working on my own outside of the school. I have picked up a few more books to expand my horizons. Also, the past few days have seen me start putting things together for my Book of Shadows, which at this point is a cheesy (albeit affective and easily edited) three-ringed binder with glitter glue decorating the cover. Ah well. At least I get creativity points!

Here at home the snow is much more plentiful than it is in Hamilton; also, it is significantly colder! It was nice to have my significant other here for a few days to keep me nice and warm - now, however, its being left up to many layers and more blankets to keep me toasty!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Yule; I know I did. I just said a few quick dedications and prayers the evening and morning of, lit a candle, and meditated on the return of the sun; it wasn't much, but I'm sure the Universe doesn't mind at all - its the thought that counts! For those of you that still celebrate Christmas with your families as I do, have a wonderful time! Enjoy the holiday season ahead; I hope Santa brings you all wonderful gifts! ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Quick Update...

Hello there, everyone. Sorry I haven't posted much lately; exams are really forcing me to hunker down and work my butt off in order to keep my pretty decent grades. I wrote calculus yesterday (we're all hoping the professor bell-curves that one!), and tomorrow is Geology. I'll be heading back to my parent's tomorrow after the exam to spend a few days there, then I'll be back in Hamilton Sunday night for my last exam on Monday morning. Then after that, its the holidays!

Didn't mean to ramble much about my personal schedule there, but ah well. Anyways. In terms of magickal happenings and experience, there hasn't been a whole lot; I've kept up with the Lesson 1 Oak & Mistletoe visualization and I'm gradually getting there. I'm able to reproduce the smells and the tastes in my nose and on my tongue - at first, its a little unsettling. But after a while you get used to it and eventually it sort of becomes a cheerful surprise. Meditating on other things is also becoming commonplace in my routine; YouTube has a lot of nice guided visualizations and meditations that really help strengthen those relaxation and concentration muscles!

Also, I am in the process of writing a solitary Yule ritual. I've never done this before, but it should be fun! My family plans in partaking in the burning of a Yule log as well as a general observation of the solstice; I'm going to convince mom to make up a nice dinner on the 21st to further the celebration! I'm not sure when I'll do my actual ritual, however; I may end up doing it this Saturday. My boyfriend is coming home with me for a few days on the 21st, and while he knows about my faith, I don't know if its fair to ask him to partake in ritual. I think it'd be interesting, but if he doesn't want to thats entirely his choice. So, as previously stated, Saturday seems like a wonderfully feasible option to celebrate Yule in terms of a formal ritual. I think I'll post whatever ritual I write here (it may be a modification of one that already exists; either way, I'll let you know) so everyone can see what I've done. I might also take a photo of the ritual space, which I plan on being outside! :D

Anyways, hope everyone's holiday season is starting to shape up wonderfully. Smiles and blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Some Observations of Nature...

Its definitely getting colder in this part of Canada. Though Hamilton isn't known to have incredibly snowy winters, it sure does get cold down here; and when it snows, it really snows! The past couple days we've had weather just below zero Celsius, a few scattered flurries which have now dusted the ground lightly with a covering of snow, and a rather wild wind that chills the bones (its gusting at around 50kts - around 85 km for those without aeronautical training). The days are short and cold - but there is nothing like seeing the sun poke out from behind the clouds and offer that little shred of warmth that is so comforting in the winter months of the year.

There's no birdsong now, save for the occasional corvid - but even they no better than to come out in this wind. The squirrels are darting about attempting to get their hands on the last of autumn's spoils before the upcoming snowfalls, and the city's wildlife are gradually trailing off as they go into their winter arrangements.

I find winter a lot more dull in the city. It seems to lose its beauty and serenity that it has back at home - my family lives in a big, beautiful farm house in the middle of Prince Edward County, one of the best and most loved vinery, tourist and beach places in all of Ontario (check it out if you ever get the chance). I miss being at home and being able to take the dog for a run in the freshly fallen snow, or see the deer gingerly leap between the giant drifts that form on the top of the hill at our windy farmstead. It'll be sad not to see my foal experience her first snow; if she's anything like our previous babies she'll romp with her mother and have a grand old time. The stars at home, too, become that much more prominent in winter; it has to do with a lack of smog in the atmosphere, which is usually catalyzed by the heat and humidity of the summer. Here, in the city, especially one like Hamilton with a lot of industry, the stars are scarce. I can go home and sit peacefully up at the barn (bundled up, of course), looking up at the stars, planets, and occasional nebulae or galaxy (I have a perfect view of the Andromeda galaxy as well as the Orion nebula - both show up spectacularly clear, even to the naked eye).

All and all, it is without a doubt winter is coming. I look forward to being finished with my finals so I can escape the city and head home to my country retreat, if only for a few weeks. Yuletide is upon us and I look forward to celebrating this year! I have a lot to look back on but I also have a lot to look forward to. Now to go find the toques, scarves, and mittens that will keep me warm!