Thursday, June 30, 2011

Plans and ramblings (about rats) :)

I have two plans for the next month that I'm pretty excited about.

Plan number one:

One of my mom's coworkers who knows me is going out of town for two weeks in July. She asked me to house sit for her.

This means that I will be living in her house, alone, with her kitties.

As she said this will be a good chance for me to practice having my own place. Also, as I later realized, it will be a good opportunity for me to find out if I can happily live by myself or if I need to make sure that I find a room mate when I finally get out of my parent's place.

Plan number two:

I'm going to get a pet rat. I would love to run out and get one today but I'll wait until after I'm done house sitting...I doubt that getting a pet and then a couple weeks later taking off and making my family care for it for two weeks would be a good idea.

(As it is they'll be saddled with my boisterous cat Kokopelle...)

Actually, I'll probably get two rats. There was one time I just got one rat and I wound up buying a second one since the first one didn't seem so happy all by herself. Rats tend to be social critters.

Ratty ramblings:

I had rats years ago and loved them. They are so friendly and affectionate.

Oh, and the memories that come back, thinking about them...my mom used to wake me up in the morning by locking the cats out of my bedroom and letting the rats lose on my bed.

Then there was the one time when I was doing (or rather, not doing) homework on my bed with the rats out...and one of them got ahold of the paper that I was doing (kinda, sorta) my math on and began to pull it away to her hiding place among the stuffed animals on my bed. "Well, you see, my rat ate my homework..."

My first rat was Rosie, and Tall One soon got another (male) rat he named Beauty. They bred, and Rosie had more than fifteen pups. And yes, that is A LOT. I'm not sure how many pups are normally in a littler, but it's way fewer than fifteen. Amazingly, each of the pups survived. And yes, I did watch the pups being born.

I remember one time when all of the pups were just old enough to wander and they were clambering after Rosie and she was perched on top of her water bottle trying to get away from them. lol Poor Rosie!

And each of our rats, when they started getting on in years, got tumors. I didn't handle that very well, at least not once the tumors got about as large as the rats and the rats were so skinny because of them. I said I would never get another rat because of those tumors. The worst time was when Solana's tumor burst open (I assume that killed her instantly) and I found one of the other rats in her cage, Stella, eating the open tumor. I refused to sleep in my bedroom, where the cage was, that night. I also held a grudge against Stella, even though I knew that I was being unreasonable, and even though dad told me he'd also seen the other rat in the cage (Salita) eating the tumor too.

But I'm older, and I think I'll handle the tumors better. And rats are so wonderful and loving that that outweighs the problems with senior rats. Plus I now know that feeding them chocolate (something which I did frequently) adds to their tumor problems. So I won't be giving them chocolate this time.

I remember them hiding under my hair on my shoulders, and sticking their noses into my ear. And falling asleep beside me as I read. :)

Photo Giveaway!

Do you want a chance to win some of my awesome photography? I'm doing a giveaway and four lucky people will win one (or more!) of my photos.

I'm doing the giveaway through the new blog I created for my Etsy shop, and if you want to see the particular post with instructions on how to enter the giveaway just click here.

I will pick winners on 7/7 in 7 days. :)

ps. I've got some new stuff in my shop, some of which is Pagan themed.

Why wear a pentacle?

This is a re-posting of my May 18th, 2009 post.

...

First of all, let me clarify what a "Playgan" is for those who may not know: it is someone who is merely playing at being a Pagan, and is actually pretty darn clueless at what Pagans actually believe. Or else they know, don't really believe it, and are just playing at being a Pagan to tick off their parents or whatever.

There is an interesting discussion on an online forum, in which someone has said that people who openly wear a pentacle are Playgans. His reasoning is that a person's religion is private, and that anyone who wants to "flaunt" it can't be taken seriously.

I say phooey.

I openly wear a pentacle, for three reasons:

1) I know that some people are convinced that us Pagans are evil and worship the devil. The more of us who are visible to the public, the better chance we have of correcting this stereotype.

2) I love talking religion, and I love learning about other people's religions. When people make a comment or ask about my pentacle, that opens up a way for me to ask and learn about their beliefs, which tends to lead to fun conversations.

3) I just plain old like to identify and be identified by fellow Pagans. Of course, there are those "Playgans" around, so you can't always assume someone with a pentacle is a Pagan.

I don't claim to be an expert on the Pagan religions. Not by a long shot. There is a lot out there to learn, even if you just stick to one particular Pagan religion. And with a variety of Celtic deities showing up, and Pele also inserting herself into my life, I have a lot to learn. Still, I know what I believe, and my beliefs are Pagan. Not Playgan.

...

Do you wear a pentacle? Why or why not?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A few Pagan words

Here's a re-post of my June 30th 2009 post. It was my last post for Pagan Values Month that year, but it isn't my last post this year! :)

...

It's the last day of Pagan Values Month, so I want to share just a last little bit: some Pagan terminology. I'm sure my Pagan readers already know these, so this is more for my non-Pagan readers. I'll stick to just three things, because more aren't coming to mind at the moment (but I'm sure they will after I hit the "publish post" button :P) and because I have schoolwork to do!

"In the closet" and "Out of the closet"

When we talk about being "in the closet" or "out of the closet," we're talking about whether or not we're openly Pagan. It is a fact that Pagans can and do get hassled -- sorry, but the law allowing freedom of religion somehow doesn't protect people as much as you'd expect. Just ask any Muslim what it was like for them after September 11th. (I know that some weren't hassled, but virtually all I've talked to had been.) So, there are plenty of Pagans out there who are "in the closet." Some are "out of the closet" to their friends, but "in the closet" where they work and to the general public. There are also those, like myself, who are so far "out of the closet" that we couldn't find our way back into the closet if we wanted to.

Heathen

Some people think that Heathen is another way of saying Pagan. I used to think so, before I started hanging out on online Pagan forums. But it turns out that while all Heathens are Pagan, not all Pagans are Heathens. Heathens specifically follow the Norse deities and practices. They might honor deities from other traditions, but it's the Norse ones who are first and foremost for them. I think that the term "Heathen" has its roots in some plant (heather?) which grows in their homeland, but I'm not sure.

Pagan

I may not remember the roots of the term Heathen, but I do remember the roots of the word Pagan! :P

Originally it was an insult. I guess it is still used as an insult, by some, in today's world. Our word Pagan comes from the Latin paganus, which meant "country dweller." After the introduction of Christianity it was sort of a put down, making fun of those who clung to their "old superstitions" instead of worshipping the Christian god, since Christianity was spread more easily in the cities than in the countrysides. I'm not sure exactly how the term evolved, but somehow it changed into the modern meaning(s) for Pagan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Pagan singing Christmas songs

Here's a post from my first week at Marylhurst University. The day was September 26th 2009. In this post I explain why I'm fine singing Christmas songs in a choir.

And as to the reason I couldn't sing that first day -- I was recovering from a bout with the swine flue during which I had mostly lost my voice. I hadn't even known that people could get laryngitis during the flu!

...

At school I'm part of a choir. Rehearsals are two days a week, we have two directors and they both get to direct us one day a week. Oh, we're also working on different music with each of them.

Since we've only had one class so far I only have music from one of the directors. In retrospect I shouldn't have been surprised that it was mostly Christmas music, and the two songs that aren't Christmas songs are about Hanukkah.


I don't mind singing Christmas songs in a choir, even though I am Pagan. After all, I do absolutely love Jesus, even if he's not the deity I'm most likely to turn to for help. The only thing that would make me uncomfortable is if the lyrics were something like "Jesus is the only way," and we don't have any songs saying that. So, I'm quite happy. :)

I also don't mind singing Hanukkah songs. Why should I? True, their deity is one that I don't feel any particular fondness for (to clarify: unlike many, I regard Yahweh and Jesus as two separate deities), but so what? They're fun songs, and I'm part of the choir, not representing my own personal beliefs.

Singing solo on the other hand...singing solo and presenting songs that I've chosen to perform, it would depend on the lyrics as to whether I would want to sing certain Christmas or Hanukkah songs. But that's another post! This one is about choir. :)

I wasn't singing on our first day, due difficulty in merely speaking. However, I was able to sit and listen. The director didn't have us spend time practicing the music -- she just had us sight read each song through. That was nice to hear, even though people were mostly unsure of their notes and sometimes of the rhythms. I look forward to actually being able to sing with everyone else.

I predict that this will be fun, and look forward to seeing what our other director has in store for us. :D

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Oregon tartan

Yet again I find myself in the midst of the Highland Games season, and it is time to explain my blog background for those who were not with me last year.

My blog background is the Oregon tartan. I adopted it because Oregon is my home, and it's where I've set down my roots. When I learned that it has an official tartan (as does each of the US states) I knew instantly that it would be my own.

My brother, Tall One, does not wear the Oregon tartan. I'm not sure if he knew about the tartan when he was picking out what to wear (I know I didn't, when we first started talking tartans) and he settled on the Douglas tartan. But even that decision was made because of a certain connection to where we live, I think -- the official tree of Oregon is the Douglas Fir tree, which was named for a Scot from clan Douglas.

Of course, Douglas is only one of two tartans that my brother wears. When playing with his pipe band he wears the tartan that they picked out. :)

Now, it's true that we do have Scottish heritage and that we could choose to wear the tartan that our ancestors wore. But we choose not to for a few reasons:

1) About five or seven generations back an ancestor of ours got our branch of the family disinherited. Or he disinherited himself. It's sort of debatable.

2) After this feisty ancestor was disinherited the king of Scotland pointed the clan nobles (or those who were in Scotland, anyways) and yelled "treason!" Whether treason was really plotted is debatable, but the fact that the clan nobles in Scotland got executed is not. (Or anyways the men were. One noble woman just got married off.) The clan was disbanded, but some of the noble family was outside Scotland at the time and survived.

3) Because the band was disbanded the tartan is no longer officially in use. I could probably get ahold of it if I were determined to, but I'm not really interested. I'm sure I have distant relatives who still use the tartan.

So that's all about my blog background, and a little family history. :)

People and nature

A re-post from October 11th 2009 concerning the relationship between people and nature. Definitely a Pagan post, so far as I'm concerned.

...

People these days generally consider themselves separate from nature. Yet, today I found more proof that we're still closely connected to it.

I was reading the Sunday comics, and noticed that more than a few of them (I didn't bother counting) were about the coming of autumn. One of them was about raking leaves, and the others were about the beauty of the leaves that are changing color.

Think about it. When winter comes, the comics will start talking about snow, and the fact that it's winter. At the beginning of spring, they'll start talking about the return of migratory birds, about the weather slowly warming up, and about plants starting to grow again. When summer comes, they'll talk about the long lazy days (I always laugh at that) of summer, and the characters will be wearing tank tops. Oh that's another thing -- people wearing different clothing, according to what the season is. And of course when it rolls back around to fall again next year, they start talking about the changing leaves again. So the cycle goes.

Of course, this is a reflection of real life. Even as people say that nature is something that isn't really part of our lives any more, it's all around us, and we notice it whether we realize it or not.

By the way, this seems like a good place to mention, I'll be changing the header of my blog according to the seasons, and perhaps also according to whatever fancy strikes me. So you might be seeing some random headers up there, but you can also safely expect to see the header changing according to the seasons. That's just a reflection of my own earth based spirituality. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Does Canada have more Pagans than the USA?

Yesterday I attended the B.C. Highland Games in Canada. It was somewhat cold, and somewhat wet. I soon discovered that I sort of had two options: I could either sit in one place where I would be dry but chilled, or I could get up and move around so that I would be warm but also a little wet.

I opted to be warm.

During my meanderings I met two Pagans in less than ten minutes. Neither of them wore pentacles, but I was wearing my pentacle pendant and I have found that other Pagans have ways of identifying themselves to me. The first one asked where I'd gotten my pendant, saying that she'd been looking for a pent styled just like mine but was didn't have much luck. (I got my pent several years ago and all I could tell her was that I found it online via a Google search.) The second Pagan greeted me with "Merry meet!" (Unfortunately I'm not used to people greeting me that way so it took me perhaps five seconds to register exactly what had been said and what it meant.)

Just meeting two other Pagans at one event was surprising enough. But later in the day when I was getting some food I realized that the woman who took my order was wearing pentacles! So that was three fellow Pagans (ok, three Pagans not including my own family members who were also in attendance) I met at one event in Canada.

Then today I was looking at a paper that we had picked up in Canada. I was looking at an article about dogs, and there was a photograph of a guy with a dog. Much to my surprise, I realized that this guy was wearing a pentacle!

Based on everything written above, I could come to the conclusion that B.C. Canada is swarming (relatively speaking) with Pagans. This isn't something that I've noticed in previous visits to Canada, though.

I know I have some Canadian readers. How many Pagans are there up there?

A Pagan view of death

Here's a re-post from November 29th 2009. I wrote this after attending a funeral.

...

I'm keeping this short, because I do need to get to bed soon...

There's something that was asked several times today, throughout the course of Joe's funeral and the reception: "Why did he die?" I have to admit, I was surprised to hear that question, and it reminded me that there are many different views of death.

Those asking the question were Christian, and they believe in one all mighty all loving god. Naturally, it seems strange that an all mighty all loving god could allow someone to die when they still have so much left to do.

I, on the other hand, believe in many many deities, not all of whom are really interested in us humans. Yes, there are some who love anyone and everyone and want to help us (Jesus and Brighid, for example), but there are also tricksters who like to stir up trouble (for example, Loki). And as wonderful and amazing as Jesus and Brighid (and others like them) are, they aren't all powerful, which means that tricksters sometimes get their way.

I'm sitting here with so many thoughts going through my head. I could keep going, but I really should get to bed. It's probably a safe bet that you'll see more on this topic from me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My relationship with Jesus

A re-post from March 11th 2010. Here I share one Pagan's relationship with Jesus.

...

I got to thinking about my relationship with Jesus when I was working on Vivaldi's "Gloria" with my choir -- see the videos here if you haven't already -- and am finally writing a post on the topic.

We never went to church and we didn't really read the Bible, but my parents raised me Christian. We celebrated Christmas and Easter (we still do) and said blessings before meals (again, we still do). Of my own accord I eventually started saying prayers before going to sleep each night.

There were some things that didn't make sense to me, such as Jesus dying so that everyone could live forever. But in my usual style I just sort of ignored those confusing details, and went ahead and prayed to him. So, I began my relationship with him.

I do have a couple of memories I'd like to share that will give you an idea of what it was like. It's difficult to describe these experiences, though. lol I guess it's just had to explain anything of this nature.

One night when I was saying my bedtime prayers I felt overwhelmingly that I was loved, and I knew that the love was coming from God. Of course, "God" being the name that came to mind at the time. These days I'm more specific about which deity I encounter.

The other memory I want to share is actually a dream I had. I don't remember much of the dream, other than just a tiny bit of it.

There wasn't much detail of our surroundings. All I remember is that everything was white, and Jesus was there with me. Neither of us said anything, but we embraced. That's all I remember of the dream.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Which deity to turn to?

Here's a re-post from June 6th 2010.

Another Pagan did comment on my original post saying that it isn't that simple for her, and that in her experience the gods can get jealous of each other. That hasn't been my experience (well, mostly not...), but maybe we're working with different gods.

...

I've been busy with school stuff so I haven't really done much as yet about Pagan Values Month. But, I'm finally at my computer and in a blogging mood! :)

I was wondering what kind of things I should write about, and then I remembered a few years ago in an English class when we were studying old mythology. One of my classmates said "All these gods, it's crazy. How do you figure out who to pray to?" I didn't say anything at the time, but I decided to answer it now, by asking a few questions:


When your faucet is leaking, who do you go to for help? The plumber.

If you want help with selling your house, who do you go to? The real estate people.

If you want piano lessons, what do you do? You find a piano teacher.


I think you get the idea. Different deities have different specialties, so who you pray to depends on what your situation is or what you need help with.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hullo, and belated happy Litha!

I posted about Dragonfly's Laughter on Litha, and intended to do another post addressing Litha...but never did!

So, I would like to say happy belated Litha.

I didn't really do much for the summer solstice since I wasn't feeling well (I'm still not feeling my best, but I'm rather better!). However, I did make some candles on midsummer eve.

You know how when you finish with a candle there's always a bit of wax left over? I've been saving that extra wax and that's what I used to make candles. :)

And also....

I have made a blog for Dragonfly's Laughter. If you want to keep track of what I'm doing with my Etsy shop you might want to wander on over there.

The url is: http://dragonflyslaughter.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dragonfly's Laughter and FB

In case you don't already know, I sell fun handmade stuff (made by yours truly) on my Etsy shop, Dragonfly's Laughter.

And also in case you don't already know, my online shop also has a facebook page.

And I am going to be absolutely shameless here and ask you to go to my FB page and, if you like what you see, to *like* that page.

(Of course, if you really like what you see you can also stop by my Etsy shop and buy whatever has captured your fancy!)

I'm making this request because my URL for the FB page currently looks like this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragonflys-Laughter/128946057142385. I'd like for it to look something more like www.facebook.com/DragonflysLaughter. That would look much nicer, wouldn't it? But I need to have 25 *likes* for the page before I can change it, and since I'm currently sitting at 21 *likes* that means that I only need four of you to help me out here.

Of course, if more than four of you want to *like* my page I won't complain... ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brighid

For today's Pagan Values Month post I am going to share a song about a very popular goddess: Brighid.

Brighid is a goddess of the home, fire, smith craft, inspiration (poetry), creativity, childbirth, healing...have I forgotten anything? I also think of her as a goddess of marriage, and therefor of relationships.

This song also considers her to be a goddess of land, streams, and dreams, none of which are generally attributed to her in the articles found through Google. But if I can find more qualities to attribute to her, why can't others? :)

Besides...

Brighid is a goddess of Ireland, and bodies of water (especially springs and I think streams) are often associated with divinities or other entities. So why not have Brighid associated with streams? Additionally she is sometimes considered one and the same with Danu (although I view them as two separate entities), who is the earth goddess of Ireland. From that viewpoint I guess it would make sense for Brighid to also be a land goddess. And Brighid is already a goddess of inspiration, which can come from dreams...and vice versa. So I guess it isn't a stretch to call her a goddess of dreams.

Ok, enough rambling. On to the music now!



If you're a very visual person like me and you want to see the lyrics you can just go directly to where the video is on YouTube and they're there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Too sick to donate blood

It has been precisely a year and a day since last I donated blood.

No, I didn't sit down at the computer to write a mystical blog post. But I looked at my blood donation page on this blog and said "Oh, the last time I donated was a year and a day ago!" So, I just had to write it that way. :)

Anyways, I'm not happy that it's been that long since I've donated. And yet, I can't help it. Although I haven't been seriously sick in the last year I keep getting mildly sick, just enough that they wouldn't want my blood. And I never seem to be well long enough to get myself over to a blood drive.

Last week I said to myself "You know what, I'm gonna change this. I'm feeling pretty well, and I am going to make an appointment to donate blood and I'm going to donate!" And so I set up an appointment for tomorrow.

That was Thursday.

Saturday afternoon I got a sore throat.

Saturday night it crossed my mind that I might throw up. Fortunately I didn't.

Sunday, today, I am coughing. And my throat is pretty much raw.

When the Red Cross called to remind me about my Monday time to donate blood I told them that I'd have to cancel.

Dangitdangitdangitdangit...

&%$#@?????????

So, what am I doing to make myself feel better? Here's what I'm telling myself will help:

* Eating ice cream. It numbs the throat temporarily! This is the one that I know really does help. :) Unfortunately I can't eat as much of it as I'd like. :(

* Eating canned green beans. I've found in the past that it helps mouth sores, so my theory is that it'll also help raw throats. It's only the canned green beans that work, though. Or anyways, that's what I've been told.

* Eucalyptus essential oil!! I've used it as aromatherapy in my bedroom, and I put some of the oil on my wrists so that I can carry the smell with me into the rest of the house. Hey, it can't hurt. May as well try it. And it smells heavenly. :)

*Watching the movie Tangled.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A hawk

I stepped into the backyard with a slice of peach pie. It's like apple pie, only with peaches, and I took my first delicious bite just as I stepped into the sun.

As soon as I was in the sun a shadow passed over me and was quickly gone. I guessed it was a hawk and this suspicion was confirmed when I looked into the sky, shielding my eyes from the sun with one hand while still holding my plate with the other.

My pie was half forgotten as I watched the hawk circle over my house and backyard. Its shadow fell on me a second time, and it even flew directly over me.

Hawks aren't an uncommon sight in my neighborhood. This is our third year in this house, and each year we have had red tailed hawks nesting on our block. Despite being used to them I love to watch them, and it's not often that they fly directly overhead.

The hawk's circles were drifting, getting further away from the front of our house and becoming more centered over my backyard. Then, to my surprise, a lone crow flew towards the hawk. I was even more surprised when this crow, all by itself, proceeded to harass the hawk.

I know that a group of crows will team up on hawks, but I had never heard of a single crow taking on a hawk by itself.

Thinking to myself that the crow was crazy I murmured "Silly crow."

The hawk continued circling, adjusting its wings at times when the crow got too close, and shrieking his displeasure. But soon enough he broke off circling to retreat over my house and out of my sight, back to where I know the hawk nest is and away from the crow.

I guess the crow had just wanted to keep the hawk away from a nest, or something else, because the crow flew off in the opposite direction when the hawk retreated.

Still surprised by what I had just seen, I took my second bite of peach pie.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A letter to certain drivers

Dear Drivers,

A lot of you are nice. You either acknowledge my existence when I stop at a cross walk or drive way to let you drive by, or you even pull to a stop to let me cross. Whichever you choose to do, you guys are great, and even sweet.

This letter isn't to you sweet drivers.

Just ten minutes ago I was at an intersection and I was waiting for the walk signal. When I got the walk signal I started to cross...but I had to stop pretty quickly because some guy took a right turn. I don't think he even saw me.

Ok, that happens often enough. Frustrating, but some drivers don't look out for pedestrians. What's less common is that I decide a car is going to sit put, and then it decides to get in my way, as was the case here.

So after the blind right turn guy was out of my way (not that I'm saying that was a blind turn -- I'm saying that the driver doesn't know what his eyes are for) I started to cross the street again. But again, I had to stop!

This time people were taking left hand turns.

Yes, they had a green light. But I also had a walk signal. Why in the world we both have the go signal at the same time I have no idea, but for some dumb reason that's how it often works in Oregon. And what does that mean? It means that the drivers need to look out for pedestrians.

But they don't always do that.

If the first left hand driver had been using his/her eyes, it would have been obvious that I was trying to cross and had been cut off by the blind right turn guy. Yet this person was either also blind, or decided to disregard the pedestrian (me). I tried making eye contact with the people making left hand turns after the first one, but none of them noticed me at the curb. Or if they did, they didn't realize what had happened.

In the end I had to push the cross button again.

I have one simple plea:

PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES.

I know I'm yelling this, but I'm frustrated. And I'm not just frustrated with this one incident. Even though I don't often have to push the cross button a second time I do frequently come up against drivers who don't notice the pedestrian (me, or others) who have patiently waited for the cross signal and only want to do what the signals have given us permission to do.

So please, be aware of your surroundings, and remember that you have eyes for a reason. That's all I ask.

I really don't want a ride in an ambulance, which could happen despite the fact that I try to be careful when crossing roads.

Sincerely,

A Frustrated Pedestrian

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Communing with Nature

Not all Pagan paths are nature centered, but many are. For those of us who do follow a nature centered path it's sometimes nice (wait, did I say sometimes? I mean often and frequently) to commune with nature.

You don't have to go very far to commune with nature. Sure, it's nice to go hiking in the woods, to get out your tent and go camping, or even go backpacking. But you don't have to do that. All you have to do is step into your backyard, or go to a quiet spot in a local park.

Sit on the ground and listen. Look at the grass or other plants around you. Do you hear birds? Can you see them? You might see insects when you look down. When was the last time you just sat and watched an insect as though it was the most fascinating thing in the world? Feel the breeze on your face, and close your eyes to notice what the earth feels like underneath you.

Just sit. Just exist. Just notice.

Even if your spirituality isn't nature centered I think you'll find this very relaxing.

And if you feel moved to, give an offering or say hello to the spirit of the land.

:)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My most popular post...

I recently discovered the stats page (which is apparently new) for my blog. Here's what I found as to what my most viewed posts are:


I was more than a little surprised that my hair seems to have been the most popular topic. (If you missed that post you can view it here.) I'm no longer experimenting with my hair, but in case anyone is still interested in what I'm doing with it I have discovered that this is the best stuff for me. Yeah, I abandoned going no poo. No poo didn't work too well for my hair.

Just thought I'd throw that out there, considering what the interest in my hair seemed to be.

I'm just surprised that my hair seems to be more interesting than what's under a kilt.

Pagan Values Month: The edition about offerings

Well, I should probably write another Pagan Values Month post, shouldn't I?

A very common Pagan practice is to give offerings. I haven't really talked to others about why they give offerings, so what I say here will reflect my own personal practices, though I'm sure that I'm not the only one who gives offerings for these reasons.

I give offerings to build a relationship with deities or entities, or to stay on (or get on) their good side. Among those I give offerings to are: the spirit of the land I live on; the fey around my house; other land spirits; one or two other deities. Mostly entities connected to the land.

And what do I give as offerings? Let's see...

* I once gave a marble egg
* Nuts
* Bagel
* Yummy bread
* Buttered bread
* Potatoes
* Cinnamon roll
* Banana
* Apple
* M&M's

Try carrying around a plate with M&M's on it. It's noisy! And of course, there are many more things that can be given as offerings.

Also, it should be noted that once something is given as an offering that that's that. If it's food, it is not fit for human consumption. I wouldn't recommend feeding it to animals either, but if you leave your offering outside and squirrels or something else get into it I wouldn't worry.

Likewise, if you give something other than food, then you don't reclaim it. You don't take presents back from a friend, do you? The marble egg I mentioned before? I put it out in my garden for a land spirit, and it's going to stay there.

Now, a question for my fellow Pagans -- what do you usually give as offerings?

Monday, June 13, 2011

DONE!!!

I am through with spring term and have the summer off. Wow.

(Actually, I don't really have the summer off. I need to find a job, promote Dragonfly's Laughter, do some other stuff...)

I got to thinking about my break after my very first term at Portland Community College.

I'd gotten home from one final final exam, and was happy. I planned to spend the rest of the day being completely lazy, and doing nothing I didn't feel like doing. So I plopped myself down on my bed in my totally messy room with a book...

...wait, did I say that my room was totally messy? Yes I did.

After maybe half an hour of reading in my (probably unmade) bed I finally got irritated enough with the mess in my room that I decided to tidy up the top shelf of a book case.

Then I tidied up the next shelf.

Then I tidied somewhere else.

Then I kept tidying...

...by the end of that break my room was completely clean. No place was untouched, whether it was under my bed or in the far corner of my closet. It was a lot of work, but I was happy with myself.

My bedroom doesn't need such a thorough cleaning job this time, but my plan is to put the same amount of energy into other things, such as making money and reading. And writing. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An animist's view of addiction

This is a re-post of a June 13th 2010 post. Maybe it's a weird topic, lol, but that's me.

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In writing about coffee the other day and mentioning my previous addiction(s) to it, I suddenly realized that addiction is another good subject for Pagan Values Month. In particular, I am writing about addiction from the point of view of someone who believes in animism.

What is animism? Good question. I could never remember what that weird word means until I eventually discovered that it's a word for something I believe in.

An animist believes that every thing has a soul. Everything. Your pet cat, the tree in your backyard, the fruits and veggies that wind up on your plate, the plate itself...you get the idea. Each and every single thing has a soul, whether it's something that's obviously alive or is an inanimate object. So even my cute little computer that I'm using to type this up has a soul, and is alive in its own way.

When you believe in animism, "substance abuse" takes on a whole new meaning. Now that I believe in animism, that phrase means that to abuse a substance is to abuse and hurt its spirit. I also believe that the phrase "substance abuse" can be applied to any addiction, whether it's to an obviously deadly thing like tobacco or to a rather benign drink like coffee. So in its way, an addiction to coffee is just as bad as an addiction to tobacco, even if it isn't going to kill you in the long run, because it hurts the spirit of coffee.

I know that this whole thing about hurting the spirit of coffee may sound strange, but then again I know that animism is a rather unusual belief. But this is Pagan Values Month, and even though animism isn't something that every Pagan believes in I wanted to write about it.

Other animists might see things differently and disagree with me, though. So I want to ask, are there any people reading this blog who believe in animism, and if so, what are your thoughts on this subject?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

This being the end of the school year Pomp and Circumstance is getting played all the time. And every day of the week after the bell chimes three o'clock (yes, we have a bell on my campus!) that very song gets chimed out.

Every time I hear that song I think of Donal Duck. And here's why:



When I finally graduate I'll be hard pressed not to giggle due to thinking of what Fantasia 2000 did with the piece.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The history of Halloween

A re-post from October 29th 2010.

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I came across this brief video explaining the roots of Halloween, and I wanted to share it here.



Modern day Pagans still celebrate Samhain, including yours truly. I'm not sure that I believe that all of the dead wait until October 31st to finally head wherever they're going, but otherwise this is a pretty good explanation of Samhain as I see it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Someone's having fun with me...

This weekend I went to the Bellingham Highland Games with my mom and brother. We headed over on Friday, and came home after the closing ceremony on Saturday. (Don't worry, I did do schoolwork while I was away.) The Games were fun, and deserve a post all of their own. However, that's not what I'm talking about right now...

...what I'm talking about right now is someone having fun with me after I got back. I'm thinking it might be the faeries. I frequently blame them when weird stuff happens.

When the Games ended in the late afternoon we got in the car and headed directly home. We arrived home at about 11pm, after which time I unpacked, did some reading, and then went to bed. But before going to bed I put a TMD splint in my mouth.

My splint fits perfectly (it was made special for me) over the teeth of my lower jaw. It protects my teeth from the nightly grinding, and prevents me from chipping them. Yes, I have chipped one front tooth due to grinding my teeth at night, and I might have chipped others that aren't so visible. So, for the meantime, it's sort of important for me to wear my splint to protect my teeth from me.

My splint came with a case that I keep it in whenever I'm not wearing it. So the following morning (or maybe it was afternoon...) I got out of bed and looked for the case...and I couldn't find it.

I looked all around the bathroom.

I looked around my nightstand, which is where I normally keep it.

I even looked in the suitcase I'd used this weekend, even though I knew it couldn't possibly be in there.

Wherever I looked, I couldn't find it.

Then a couple hours ago today I just happened to find it under my altar, which is bizarre. There are only four scenarios I can come up with for how it got there.

1) I randomly threw it across my room and it happened to land under my altar. I assure you, this did not happen.

2) A member of my family decided to place it under my altar. I can't see them doing that, though.

3) The faeries, or some other Otherworldly being, is playing with me.

4) The cats did it.

Option three seems most likely.

Gotta love the faeries!

I guess this post can even fit into Pagan Values Month. This story illustrates that a sense of humor is important when living alongside fey folk, which I think we all do. They're everywhere, even if we can't see them. And they sometimes decide to entertain themselves by playing with us! When this is the case, laughter is important if you want to maintain your sanity.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paganism = Umbrella word

Here's a re-post from December 9th 2009, on a topic that I know some people are confused about. These days it's usually one of the first things I clarify when people ask about Paganism.

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Anne, over at TGAB, was recently asked "So. What do you Wiccans do at Christmas?" Realize, she's not Wiccan. However, the guy asking the question knew that she is Pagan, and jumped to the conclusion that that means she's Wiccan. (Her post is here, if you want to see it.) Reading her post made me decide to finally write about a certain topic.

I think that most of my followers are Pagan, and as such already know what I'm about to say. But I also know that some of my followers are not Pagan, and as such I wanted to clarify some things. And if all of my followers already know what I'm about to say, then I guess this post is pointless. lol So here goes...

Paganism is not a single religion. Rather, Pagan is an umbrella term which covers many different religions and spiritualities, which are sometimes very different from each other. Wicca is just one of these religions, and it's the one that everyone has heard about.

I sometimes describe it this way: You know how there are many different sects of Christianity? You have Lutheran, Baptist, Catholicism, Presbyterian...the list goes on and on. Well, Paganism is a little like that. Except we sometimes have even less in common with each other than the different forms of Christianity have with each other, which I guess is really saying something when I stop to compare the differences between the different forms of Christianity. lol

Anyways, I just wanted to clarify that little detail, that Wiccan and Pagan are not synonyms (hey, I learned to spell a new word!).

ps. Darned spellchecker! First it didn't think that "Wiccan" was a word, and now it doesn't like the plural "Wiccans" either!!! Darned darned darned spellchecker...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Defining "myth"

Here is one of my very first Pagan posts, posted on January 1st 2009, concerning my view of mythology. You can find the original here.

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I've been reading, on and off and on again, "A Story as Sharp as a Knife," by Robert Bringhurst. (Incidentally, I've got to take it back to the library tomorrow...) As I was reading today, there was something that jumped out at me, and I thought I'd share it:

"[...] myth itself is neither fact nor fiction. Myth is a species of truth that precedes that distinction" (113.)

I think I've found mythology defined just as well as it is here, but I don't know if I can find it defined better. Incidentally, it reminds me of something from Northrop Frye's book, "The Great Code," which was one of my textbooks in my Bible class last term. Something discussed in chapter two is history; specifically Weltgeschichte, and Heilsgeschichte. Don't ask me how to pronounce those words - I never could figure it out exactly. All I know is that they're German. Anyways, Weltgeschichte is history as it literally happened. Heilsgeschichte, on the other hand, Frye defines as

"This may not be what you would have seen if you had been there, but what you would have seen would have missed the whole point of what was really going on" (48.)

I take back what I said before, about that first quote being the best definition for mythology. That quote, paired with the definition for Heilsgeschichte, is the best definition for mythology I've yet encountered.

Pagan Values Month

I've come to this post with pretty much no idea what to write, other than the topic: Pagan Values Month.

Today is the beginning of Pagan Values Month, which is the month for Pagan bloggers to write about Pagan values. This will be my third year participating, and I am excited. I think my goal is to post one post a day, some/many of which will be reposts that I think worth reposting.

Let the fun begin! :D