Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Adonis!

Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet man. The Goddess was smiling on us both the day you were born.

Last night at dusk we walked Lugh by the water, the air thick and humid but starting to cool, the sky glowing pink. The new moon was a gauzy silver crescent poised at the place where pink turned to violet in the evening sky.

I love our life together. I love the sweet earth we share.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lazy weekend

The worst part about blog hiatus is feeling the need to catch up. This hiatus was unintentional; suffice it to say that my new job has taken most of my energy these past two weeks. I haven't been as spiritually focused, but I've been counting my blessings all the same.

Today is a warm, muggy Memorial Day, and Adonis and I are relaxing after a weekend of graduation activities for his brother. The last two days I've felt like I should be motivated to do something for myself - clean the kitchen, which is getting funky in the heat, or shop for herbs to start my front porch garden. But instead, I've been napping, reading, lazing about. I have mixed feelings about this. I wish I didn't.

Apropos of nothing, except my sweet dog, Lugh, I give you this:

Playing with your pet isn't just exercise it makes them HAPPY! You want a happy pet, if they aren't happy, then they're depressed. Health specialists for humans know what depression does to our health, do you think it wouldn't do the same to our pets? They need JOY! They need hugs and pats, strokes and, if it doesn't repel you, kisses! They want snuggles and love. I hate hearing of animal trainers that say, "keep your dog of your bed at night, only the pack leader gets the most comfy spot." OH GET REAL.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Working, blessed

I've been hard at work trying to learn the publishing ropes. My new job is very interesting, but I'm tired. I went from working not at all to working a regular eight-hour day, and I've decided that it's far too much for anyone to work. The cult of work in this country, with people proud of their fourteen- and sixteen-hour days, is sick. Hard work can be a good thing - although I'm not convinced it's good for it's own sake - and anyway we're way out of balance.

Still, it's a good job - interesting work, very nice and intelligent people, a lovely old house to work in, in the town where I want to live. I'm blessed. The Goddess has made it clear that She wants me here, in my spiritual community, tending the books, the dog, and my body and spirit. I need some help with tending my body. My diet has been crap for the last few weeks. I'm trying to be gentle with myself.

Saturday (late Friday) was the full moon in Scorpio. I didn't get my usual post up. Still, if you've been feeling rich, prosperous, or blessed lately, you're feeling the energies of that moon.

I've been experimenting with flower essences and reading Molly's Blog, which I highly recommend. She has a fascinating worldview. I've just placed an order, through a friend of mine who's a Reiki practitioner, for some essences for Lugh and me. I got Maple flower essence after reading this post:

I can get derailed into thinking I need something from some specific person or that other people can hurt me with their actions, even when the truth of the matter is that their actions have nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own learning.

Maple lifts me out of this tug of war of I need this from YOU and nobody else but YOU. Maple reminds me the real job of being in the world as a grown up is to figure out what I need to give myself to nourish and support my essential self and then give it to myself.


For a start, a Maple tree nourishes all parts of itself with life giving sap. This sap flows everywhere in the tree from the tip of its roots to the top most bud. That sounds obvious even corny to mention, but it is significant. Do any of us take care of all our parts so thoroughly? I have a distinct tendency to neglect figurative and literal parts of myself. A Maple tree never does this. Maple knows its own life is its calling. I have never met a Maple who wanted to be the tree next door. Maple puts all its energy into its own journey of self expression.

These ideas speak to me right now.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Good news

I got the job!

The job, as regular readers may recall, is an editorial assistantship (really an apprenticeship) at a publishing company. I am totally psyched.

It has been an amazing time in my life. There has been a lot of uncertainty but also, somehow, a lot of faith that the Goddess is leading me, that magic is real, that the signs will appear to guide me on my path, and that I can trust my inner knowledge. Getting this job is such a blessing and a portent for the future. I always get exactly what I need, and I'm learning to notice and appreciate that. My work at the mystery school gets deeper and deeper; this past weekend, the Goddess answered my cry for help in a profound and surprising way, much to the pleasure and amusement of my classmates.

I feel Her blessings all around me, and I wish them for you, too.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Near the beginning of Ghostworld, one of my favorite movies, Enid - an alienated young artist and our heroine - and her best friend Rebecca are at a dorky high school graduation party. A guy awkwardly approaches the pretty Rebecca, ignoring Enid, so Enid butts in to ask, "So what are you going to be when you grow up, Todd?" Todd, looking at Rebecca and in a small effort to impress her, replies, "Well, I'm going to major in Business Administration and, I think, minor in Communications." Enid hauls Rebecca away by the elbow, saying to Todd, "Yeah, see, that's exactly the kind of thing we're trying to avoid."

In that spirit, I offer you a crazy-ass time management guy (why are time management guys always guys?):

Audio learning is the perfect multi-tasking activity. Most people who know me know that I'm listening to audio books, podcasts, etc. several hours every day. I'll do this whenever I'm driving, while exercising, doing stuff around the apartment, etc. I've been able to crank through an unbelievable number of books in the last year.... One of my favorite things to do is to go for a run with a few podcasts or an audio book queued up. In fact, I recently completed the LA Marathon while simultaneously listening to the first half of John Battelle's book The Search. It was kind of fun to know that I was getting both a workout for my body and for my mind.

Yeah, see Todd, that's exactly the kind of thing we're trying to avoid. Books are not information-delivery systems. I don't want to learn to sleep five hours per night, or schedule meetings with friends at the gym so I can work out while fulfilling my friendship duties, or save time by listening to books while commuting.

"There is more to life than increasing its speed" (Gandhi).

Friday, May 05, 2006


Sonja's blogging about living more slowly, which she describes as mindfulness and enjoyment of life. Like many people, it seems, she learned the lessons of slowness after falling ill.

I remember my early 20s when I lived on cigarettes, beer, Coca-Cola, coffee and adrenaline. Then this all came to a spectacular halt in 2002 when I had 2 major surgeries in 24-hours. I lost my gallbladder to my lousy lifestyle and ended up with liver surgery to repair damage caused by the incompetence of the surgeon who performed the gallbladder surgery. Today I live with high blood sugar problems and Chronic Fatigue. The Chronic Fatigue isn't bad anymore because it was an effect of the surgeries on a cellular level; so it can be beaten. After my almost one-month stay in Vancouver General Hospital, I came to a new awareness which naturally lead to my interests in Wicca, Witchcraft, Taoism, Yoga and Ayurveda.

I stopped being a monkey on a typewriter fueled by caffeine and pop-culture and turned inward and gave myself over to the Earth.

My own lessons in slowness came when I was living in Slovakia just over ten years ago. I didn't have a TV, phone, or refrigerator. The World Wide Web was nascent at that time, and there was no such thing as a computer, let alone an internet connection, where I lived. (Of course, now my town has a web site, albeit a quaint one.) My monthly teaching salary was the equivalent of 25 USD, and it was plenty to live and travel on. The trains were terrifically slow. I lived perhaps four hours by car from Prague (I don't really know), but I spent nine hours each way on trains to make the monthly trip. My teaching schedule was leisurely. I bought my food each day, and had to remember to buy food on Saturdays because all the shops were closed on Sundays. I wrote in my journal. I ate in restaurants (delicious pizza and a pivo for $1.50; a family of four would usually share the modestly-sized pizza, but I ate the whole thing myself and still lost weight while I was there). I read whatever books were available in English at my school, all donated by former American, Canadian, and British teachers. I wrote long letters to my boyfriend back home. I hiked in the mountains. I sat by the river. I drank coffee with my students. Being invited to dinner at someone's house meant picking up flowers or red wine (one kind, available everywhere for about 50 cents a bottle) and spending at least five hours drinking, eating, telling stories, laughing, and drinking some more. The Slovaks had few of the luxuries of modern Western life, and they weren't able to travel easily even in that newly post-Soviet era, because their salaries were so low. But their pace of life was enviable. I met one American who packed in his old life, married a Slovak woman, and stayed because he wanted to raise his children in that culture.

The lessons have slowness have stayed with me to some extent, even as they're harder to live in my culture. I love having to take an hour or two every day to walk in wild places with my dog. I love not having to commute - I don't know how people do it with any sort of satisfaction. My partner has taught me a lot about being committed to time with friends and family and not prioritizing work in the way we're "supposed" to; he still does excellent work, is productive, and earns recognition for it. I've also met a lot of people who place a premium on healing themselves and the world, on building spiritual community, and on cultivating health in the broadest sense. I'm steadily learning how to do what I love - including trying new things to love - instead of just doing what I think I ought to be doing.

I thought I wanted to be a university professor and scholar. Yet the two times I took teaching jobs - wonderful jobs that were truly gifts - I had health crises. I'm still surprised that my body has told me that those seemingly ideal situations were not what I should be doing. Similarly, I love my dissertation topic. But I haven't been writing my dissertation. Good, trusted friends are starting to suggest that maybe my not writing isn't about being blocked (and I haven't been blocked; when I manage to sit down to write, I write), about being lazy, about procrastinating, about refusing to grow up, or what have you. Maybe I'm not writing because some very deep part of me knows it doesn't want to be writing that project. This seems crazy to me - but crazy in the way that true things often first appear.

Slowness. Mindfulness. Awareness. Being fully in my body and fully on the earth. Knowing what I truly desire. These are the difficult, surprising, authentic, and only things.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

New books

I promised last week that I would mention the new books I've added to my occult library. Here they are.

Be A Goddess! A Guide to Magical Celtic Spells for Self-Healing, Prosperity and Great Sex by Francesca DeGrandis - Was there ever a fluffier, more market-driven title? Yuck. Nevertheless, this is a serious book with a lot of useful content. DeGrandis teaches Feri Witchcraft and was herself a student of Victor Anderson's for many years. Her description of Feri, like Starhawk's in The Spiral Dance, is lovely and quite appealing. I do wonder what Reya would say, though, given her cogent criticisms of Feri.

All Women Are Psychics by Diane Stein - Stein, a longtime devotee of women's spirituality and a prolific writer, takes a lot of risks in writing about topics that may seem downright loopy. Yet the more I grow on my path, the more I gain from her books. A few years ago, I would never have bought a book with this title. Now I'm fascinated by it.

The Wiccan Wellness Book: Natural Healthcare for Mind, Body, and Spirit by Laura Perry - I adore books about "alternative" modes of healing, and this is the first I've found written from a Wiccan perspective (although its application is much broader). It's a good book for someone new to holistic models of health and healing, but even as someone not new to these ideas, I was attracted to its witchiness, its clear layout, its emphasis on true wholism, and its easy instruction for beginning to work with the Green Ones.

Odyssey With the Goddess: A Spiritual Quest in Crete by Carol Christ - A very personal book from this academic writer.

Orders of the Great Work: Alchemy by Manly P. Hall - I picked this up at a used bookstore; it was published in 1949. It's a sympathetic, brief history of the alchemical schools in Egypt and Europe and the origins of the Rosicrucians.

The Planets Within: The Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino by Thomas Moore - An early book by the author of the well-known Care of the Soul. Ficino, "presiding genius" of the Florentine Academy in Renaissance Italy, is considered the first depth psychologist. That's all I know till I read this book.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Clean feet

Lugh, my puppy, is seriously licking my bare feet tonight. I don't know why, but I choose to interpret it as affectionate grooming. Sweet dog.

Beltane fairies

Secrets of a Witch continues to post all sorts of good things for Beltane. Here is a fairy spell. I don't know if the fae are real, or if they still exist, but I can't take them lightly. Hey, I've read Jonathan Strange.