In Contemplation of 2017

Winter vacation is over, and we are slowly starting to get back to our normal day-to-day. The remaining holiday decorations have come down (save for the door wreath – I usually leave that up a while longer). Cleaning and cleansing of the house, while planned for earlier in the month have been a bit of a slog. I guess the blahs are stronger this year than I had previously assumed. There are still a few things to do before I pull out the smudge.

In my mind, I feel like I’m juggling a hundred paths forward, with no idea which ones to choose to follow. New adventures, both physical and spiritual are on the horizon for me. This new blog is likely where I will be keeping my free thoughts, crafts, and practises. The old blog is being retired after a long, and fruitful run.

Over the holidays, I received the unexpected gift of a Casio keyboard, so after years of wishing and wanting, I am finally learning to play piano (or “keys” if you prefer). It’s going well, so far. I think I have an aptitude for it, so long as my achy arthritic fingers want to cooperate.

The practical life of a mom resumes, slow and steady. After a month of cookies, goodies, and snacks, I feel like I’m re-learing how to cook nutritious meals. The kid is back in school, and I’m trying to fit errands around a strange mid-day class time while still finding the energy to be up and awake past 6pm.

I always have the urge to add more to my plate than I really need – things like a new fitness regime or a new diet are all very popular resolutions for the new year. I have decided not to do that this year. I walk the kid to school every day, and I hope to hit the treadmill at least once on the weekends (if we don’t end up going anywhere), but aside from that, I am keeping with a moderation diet. Eat what makes me feel good. Eat as much as I need to satisfy my hunger – no more, no less. Get out in the sunshine. Meditate. Smile more. Enjoy life outside of the computer screen.

I am considering a blog challenge to help fill things out a bit here. I haven’t decided whether I will do that or not yet. I am sure that I will have plenty to write about without the need for fodder, but some of them can be fun – providing, of course, that the prompts are well thought out and not terribly repetitive.

I’ve also had the urge to finally get moving on creating a Book of Shadows. Funds have always held me back from actually getting started. This year, I think I will be able to manage funding a post-bound leather BOS. It’s something I’ve been wanting for well over ten years. I think I deserve to treat myself to something that is just for me. I always start to balk at large purchases that I can’t say that I need, but I’m not getting younger, and I would like to have the book finished before my kids graduate school.

And then there are the devotional dolls. That has been moving slowly, but forward. I need a quiet day to get started on the sculpt. I think I will get back to that in the next few weeks.

I have also hopped on the adult colouring bandwagon as a way to keep my hands busy without actually doing anything productive. I find it to be deeply satisfying. I think I have spent far too long with the ‘Monetizing Your Hobbies’ monkey on my back. I hate it, and I am falling in love with doing something that can’t possibly make any money. There is a divine thrill to doing something that really is just for me. This is something that I will definitely be doing more of in 2017.

Like many others, I am optimistic about this new year, though that optimism comes with trepidation. I worry for my American friends. Their path will be a rocky one, but I have come to realize that my role is to focus on my own Craft. And be ready. Je suis prĂȘt.

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The First Bardic Gwers, Among Other Things

So many other things. I have seen a lot of bullet point posts recently, and it seems a good way to get things out of the head without need for prosaic niceties. So, here we go:

  • I have gotten back into meditating recently. I know that it is something that I should be doing daily, and yet, it never seems to work out that way. Meditation for me is like a weekend get away. I tend to wait until I really need it. Not healthy, I know, but here we are.

In my recent spate of meditations there has been a lot of shapeshifting. This may be due to my reading material, but boy is it transformative (see what I did there?). Aside from being a tree, which is fairly usual for me, I have been an earthworm, a wild horse, a spider, and a stag (which I have been before – it’s awesome, I highly recommend it). The earthworm was the most surprising for me because it just kind of happened in the middle of an inner journey.

What I learned from the earthworm is a lesson about keeping on even if I can’t see how far I’ve come or how much I have accomplished. Also, it is so nice and quiet deep in the earth – comforting. I liked it.

  • Next, my introduction package from the OBOD finally arrived. It is kind of awesome, even if it is in desperate need of an updating (they don’t even have their current URL in the handbook material). But that is my inner editor again. She chaffs at such things.

I have read the first Gwers (Welsh for “lesson”). It is all about the history of Druidry as the Order knows/accepts it. It’s very in keeping with my own beliefs and knowledge. I have to say that I kind of love it when historians and scientists find evidence that allows them to adjust their theories with what is already handed down through folk wisdom. In fact, one of my favourite things about science is how fluid it is with its theories. While I don’t like having to give up things that really resonate with me (like the idea that Atlantis was once a real place), I can accept that no, perhaps things that I had previously thought were never historical fact.

Just like the folks who had to learn to accept that Mars was not an inhabited planet so long as humanity has been a thing. But, that doesn’t mean that the stories about the Red Planet that were written during the times that people believed it was possible do not have value. I believe that all stories have value somewhere in them. <- One of the many reasons that I have finally answered the call to study the Bardic arts.

  • Brigid. Another long time call that I think I am finally going to go ahead and answer. I am trying to decide if I should do some manner of formal dedication or not. I don’t really think it is necessary. I am sure that she has watched me twist myself in knots searching and seeking, and then finally coming around and going, “Oh. Well, aren’t I stupid?”

inner_goddess__brigidThis is one of my visions of Her. I have been chasing this image for a lot of years – ever since I first saw it as someone’s avatar back in some forum. The copyright on the art is 2004, so it has been a long search. I think I finally found her original artist only last year.

Click the image, and it will take you to the artist’s DeviantArt page, if you are interested in her or her work. She also does a Guinevere/Morgan Le Fay pairing that I absolutely love. Someday I will own them as bookmarks.

Another of my images of Brigid is here:

This image also links back to the artist’s DeviantArt page, and will become a print on my bedroom wall in the new year. I need to measure and pick up a bookcase before I can order it.

  • A feeling that is coming upon me as I study Druidry and grow closer to Brigid is that my relationship with Christianity may begin to change – specifically with regards to Catholicism. While the idea that the Druids welcomed Christians with open arms is more myth than fact, the fact of the matter is that our ancestors did accept them, and eventually converted. It was Christian monks who set our ancient tales to paper. It was Christian nuns to tended Brigid’s sacred flame and protected her tales.

I think that to truly know Brigid, I will need to, in time, come to know the saint as well as the goddess. And then there is the feeling that scholarly knowledge of a dominant religion is never wasted.

One thing that has really caught my eye (and truly has always been something that I have had an eye for), is the rosary – specifically, the Irish penal rosary (or single decade rosary). I am thinking that I may make one to serve as the prayer beads in my travel altar.

I will need to make some adjustments – I already have a triskel that will replace the crucifix, and I think I will use 9 beads instead of 10, a mixture of moss agate, carnelian, and carved horn, with carved antler as the head bead. Now I just need to decide if I will use a ring at the opposite end or if I will use another medal/charm. I like the idea of the ring because it can be slipped over a finger during meditation, but I haven’t decided yet. I am taking inspiration from this rosary:

  • And along with that, I am giving thoughts to how I can turn my visions of Brigid into something three-dimensional. I have given thoughts to creating my own statuary, but I am finding myself leaning more towards a ball-jointed doll approach. Dolls are more me.

I have already ordered a new strawberry haired Blythe-style doll to make into a Flame Child. But I also want a more adult looking figure. I expect it will take a lot of work to create, and I am willing to put in the hours sculpting and creating – what I am trying to decide is more along the lines of – do I sculpt from scratch or do I take one of my many MANY doll head blanks, and build? Probably the latter, now that I think on it. I will need to see about doing some sketches so that I can figure out what style of body I want and with what sort of clothing options.

I think that once I get going on the bjd devotional doll set, I might fall down a rabbit hole. I have always wanted a Boudicca, and twin Guineveres (one wild, one mild), and a few other characters who have always whispered to me. Focus has never really been my strong suit.

  • It is so very easy to ramble when you can just hit the bullet and change topics. I think I will stop here, and give my fingers a break. There is a lot of thinking and considering to do. And I should probably get the holiday cards out before the holiday arrives.