Can I Breath Yet?

So, it has been a month since the disaster. I suppose it’s time for an update.

Divo is currently employed full-time with a big name coffee shop. While he is happy working with coffee once again he is not happy with the way they do it. He was spoiled by the hands on approach we had. We could tweak things, control things, and fine tune it all. At corporate coffee shop, not so much. He is bemoaning it all but I know he is enjoying himself to some degree.

Myself? I too have wandered back to corporate America. There is a clause in the papers I had to fill out stating that I can’t really talk about them so no name. I shall allude to them! They are big with bread. I think that is vague enough. I have been with them for a week now, having worked alongside Grendal previously. It’s odd to be in this atmosphere again. To make things worse I went from being a store manager of a small local store to being the bottom rung of a chain store. I bitched in my head how I knew how to do more then what they had me doing. Dishes, cleaning tables, and tidying the lobby? I could man drivethru if they let me. True, I don’t know how to make their meals but that is besides the point! Luckily I spent the better portion of my 9 hour shift learning how to construct their salads. I was happier. Not to mention I think they agreed to make me full-time.

I haven’t received a paycheck but Divo has and has gotten back to paying rent. We told him he could wait but he said he could and wanted to. It came like a blessing. We are getting towards the end of what little money we had. We have LINK for groceries but that doesn’t help with bills. Like I said, we have been lucky.

So, now we go day by day and see how things go. I no longer have the steady schedule that I was used to. Yes I can guess the time I start on a day that I work but there are to promised and consistent days off. It sucks to be back to that. There is the slightest of possibilities that may change in the near future. I have a friend and his long time girlfriend wanting to open up a coffee and game board place. They asked me to head the barista portion of it, and give them some idea of things that could be needed. They say the pay will be great. They have a backer and a plan. All I can do is cross my fingers and wish them luck.

Now I play the waiting game.

My Tower Crumbled

In a not so spectacular way either.

Two days before Valentine’s Day the boss came into the office while I was doing some work.  She waited until another coworker left the office and closed the door.  It was time for something serious.  Really serious.  The store was closing.  Not only that but the store was closing in three days.  I was the only one to know for most of a day, thanks to my status of store manager(whee).  Then it began to trickle down through the ranks.

Our household of three employed people was suddenly down to one.  We have had our home for only 3 months and the shit hit the fan in a major way.

I remember sitting in a stunned state up front, trying to go through the motions and trying to remain chipper with a coworker who had yet been informed.  I remember calling out to the gods in my head.  Weeping in my mind and hoping that something positive would happen.

I spent Valentine’s Day filling out applications for a job that would pull more in then the job that Grendal helped me get.  For the time being I am a bus assistant at a local school district.  It is something new.  It is interesting.  It helps us, barely, pay our bills.  Most of all, it keeps me from slipping into depression.  Grendal fretted over me and I finally cried a week after I was first told that the store would be no more.

I am employed.  Divo is employed.  For the moment we are safe, but not comfortable.

Grendal pushed for us to find a table for our altar. We found one and it is up. We placed the items on it. We placed offerings out.

Even my mother told me to pray and place offerings out for the gods.

I am seeing things. More like little signs. A book I read. Seeing a bottle of wine I associate with Odin (Ravenswood) at a restaurant where it is an atypical brand.

It seems like I need to listen. Someone is trying to reach out and I have to accept the aid.

When I Was Young

Are you sensing a theme here? Last one for a while, I swear.

I mentioned in my previous post about roughly when I began to wander down the Pagan path but, to be honest, it started earlier than middle school.

Religion wasn’t really part of our lifestyle when I was growing up. I vaguely remember my older sister going to a bible study group and there being a Precious Moments bible with her name in it. When ever we visited my grandparents (before we moved up here) for Christmas we would go to the midnight service and sing.

On the other hand my mother told me about a few practices still held in Hawai’i. Offerings were and are still given to Pele. Fish were cleansed with blocks of salt so nothing would steal away with it to your home while the fishermen still asked Kanaloa, the Sea God, for permission to fish.  It had struck me as strange that a large catholic community was paying homage to old gods.  Ones deemed unreal by the prominent faith.

Yet it the idea of multiple gods wasn’t strange to me.  Even at a young age I didn’t believe that one being could take care of everything and answer everyone.  I went to a few churches through my friends.  I loved the singing, didn’t like sunday school, and thought the church with the potluck lunch was amazing(I still think church food is the best food).  The biblical stories never resonated with me.  I didn’t gravitate to them.  I knew them, though.  I knew of the Flood.  I knew of the Jews and their Moses.  Jesus and his doings.  After that, not much else.  It all seemed so dry.  The Old Testament was more interesting than the New Testament.  I read through my mother’s old catholic bible.

I gravitated to the Greek/Roman mythologies.  While being Hawai’ian and having a mother who still partially believed in the Gods of the islands, she never told me their stories.  I would have loved them when I was younger.  I devoured the stories left over from the old times.  I knew the gods names and who correlated with who when you compared the Greeks and the Romans.  Hercules was my favorite television show for a while because I knew the characters.

But those gods never spoke to me.  I did try to connect with them.  I may have tried to force it, but you can’t really force a god to do something they don’t want.

I tried connecting with God’s. Different ones. Hawai’ian deities, Greek gods, Japanese gods, and Celtic ones. I spoke to the faeries and spirits. They answered but the gods were always quiet. I tried speaking through meditation and tarot but nothing happened.

Grendal is the one I can thank for bringing me close to the Norse gods. He has ways had an affinity towards Thor. Hindsight is always 50/50. Looking back on it I should have known that they were close. Things were shifting. I was seeing more. The Norse gods found me.

I thought I could pick who was my main deity to work with. I read about the gods and couldn’t wait to choose. Odin made it clear that I was to contact him first. Slowly I felt Loki, dancing at the edge of it all. Things go missing or misplaced for an hour. Thor is there, peripherally, with Grendal. I have sensed Frigga as well as Frey and Freya. Then Skadi came to me, in the midst of last year’s frigid northern winter. Bow making and hunting has become a widely talked about subject.

I am sad that the Hawai’ian deities didn’t take an interest in me but my father’s side had been ignored for so long. Leave it to the black sheep to be the one They reach out to.

Yet, I was waiting.

Oh, to Be Young Again

Please note the sarcasm.

Imbolc happened over the weekend. I saw people on various social sites wishing each other the best and showing pictures of their celebrations, no matter how small.  While I am no longer some semblance of Wiccan I remember the holy days and have a few friends who still practice in some form.
Despite all that I saw none of my local pagans wishing each other a happy Imbolc.

Then again it might have had something to do with the fact we had blizzard conditions that day.

When I started on my pagan path, nearly 18 years ago (I was one of those girls who got interested thanks to The Craft[only one to stick with it]), all I had were dated books and random websites with MySpace like glittery banners. I would sneak some reading time at the local library and eventually worked up the courage in asking to buy one. My mother said no and her long lost catholic childhood reared it’s ugly head. I printed up information on Wicca to calm her worries and it seemed to help.  For the most part my family was accepting (I had gotten in trouble a year earlier for having one of the books and passing ‘evil’ notes with a fellow girl). I got my books in time.

One of the big things I wanted to do was celebrate the holidays within the Wiccan belief. I wrote down the names and the dates, learned what they were about. I was so excited but always confused. The dates made no sense. A good example is Imbolc. How could I celebrate the coming of spring when the air is frigid, the world still sleeping, and everything dusted in snow?

It wasn’t until many years later, honestly a few years ago, that I found people who were of the thought and opinion to shift things around so it fits your locale. The idea seemed so foreign, full of hearsay, and too damn good. I went with it, slowly fixing things to suit the northern lifestyle. This was also around the time where my beliefs were shifting once more. I was being pulled towards heathenry/asatru/what ever it is I try to call it. Past experiences were finally making sense. No more confusion and worry. Three years later it hasn’t changed.

My holidays now rotate how the world outside my door is happening. Spring hasn’t occurred. There is no specific day for the changing of the seasons now. I see sprouts and buds, spring is coming. The world is hot and in full bloom, summer is there. The cicadas are singing, fall is about to happen. And, for me, it is never truely winter until snow is falling, though the frigid temperatures do help.

If I could go back to the new pagan me, I would tell her to go with what seems right, but keep reading. Explore Wicca until you are done. Your gods have been waiting but know you will find them when the time is right.

Bigger, Better

“Is it just a human problem that we’re never happy?”

“No.”

“No?”

“It’s not a human problem.  It’s a sociatal problem.”

“Really?”

“Yes.  We’ve been told we need bigger, better things from a young age.  We reach our goal and go for another one.”

“A bigger, better goal.”

“To get bigger, better things.”

“Gotta go to college to get a bigger, better job so you can get a bigger, better car and a bigger, better house-”

“Where you put all your bigger, better things.”

~5 minutes of silence/staring at each other~

“Why can’t we be happy with what we got?”

“We just have to realize we don’t need anything more.  We just want more.”

New Year

New me.  Pfffft. Who am I kidding?

I believe I gave up New Year Resolutions years ago. Most of the time they were too ‘out there’ and the other times I just didn’t bother. Besides, the resolutions about eating better? Doing that already. Working out? Might happen eventually.

That ‘New Year, New Me’ stuff, though, seems a bit much. I suppose if your had a bad year, for what ever reason, that mentality could be a wonderful thing but for me, I think I am at a pretty good place in my life. True I can spruce things up but New Me? I like me.

We finally got some snow on the ground here in Northern Illinois and with that we also got some cold weather. Grendal’s winter break has been extended thanks to that but the other drivers aren’t too happy. Heavens forbid they work a little into June and a few days of summer vacation gets eaten up. Then again, even when I was a student I never understood the upset of having to go to school a little into summer.

Yes. It finally feels and looks like winter. It is becoming a favorite season for me. While most people feel alive in summer, I feel like I am melting. The half-Hawaiian girl who doesn’t like warm weather. Go figure.

This also seems to be the time of year that I look at my spiritual beliefs and feel the resurgence of it all. I don’t know exactly why, but it happens. Its the time of year that I noticed Skadi and feel her the strongest. I also feel a little closer to Odin, another bit that I don’t understand. With Odin I think it is because I, usually, have larger bouts of creativity in the colder months. Skadi? Well, it is winter and there is snow!

I have yet to put up the altar in the house, something even Grendal is worried about. The table that I had used before is now our dinning table and we have nothing else to use. That and I am unsure where to place it. My thinking is upstairs in the general living space. That is where people would see it and there are windows! So there would be sun and the ability to see Grendal’s eventual flower garden. Yet I thought about the basement where we commune.

It will probably be upstairs. Sun, flowers, and quicker access to food and drink.

Speaking of drinks, Grendal and I FINALLY transferred our mead. The first one we tried was made with Cotton Candy Grapes at the behest of Divo. It turned out okay. Not too much of a flavor and on the dry side. Smooth, though! The one I was excited about was the Spiced mead. Made with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg. A wonderful winter drink. If there is any left I may have to try some warmed.

Things are different this season, though. Odin seems absent and I only have the inkling of an impression from Skadi. They will be who and what they are, but this absence is strange. Perhaps it’s the new place. I haven’t been able to cleanse it yet. I haven’t kept my promise but cold weather has stopped it. The altar to the wights or any other spirits will be up outside in spring. I will honor Freya, Frey, and Baldr there. Odin and Frigga will have the main spot inside but all are welcome.

I just wish I knew why there is silence.

In Which I Refuse to Leave Middle Earth

It’s weird. I listen to my coworkers talk about how Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies were huge part of their childhood and I get confused. That is when I remind myself that there is at least a 9 year difference between myself and most of them.

The Fellowship of the Ring was released my senior year of high school. I saw it on a whim. It was after a winter performance for our madrigal group and a group of us were out eating, in costume no less. We wanted to see a movie and someone suggested The Lord of the Rings. We went. It had already started. I don’t remember what part it was but we were there. I do remember seeing Elrond and whispering to my friend, “Agent Smith decided to go into an RPG”. They laughed. I also remember wondering when the movie was going to end moments before it did. I was in awe. We were asked if we had dressed up for the showing.

I was hooked. I don’t know what about the series did it for me but I was in love. I read the books soon after, read up on Tolkien, found out about the history of it all, delved into the history. The trailers excited me. I couldn’t wait for more. The battles, the heart break. Listening to others get excited about this scene or that battle. Lord of the Rings was a modern epic I had to see before I knew it existed. While it saddened me I hadn’t read the series when I was younger, I was desperate to catch up.

I have become a huge fan, if you couldn’t tell. For coming into the fandom a little late I have reached a point where I am comfortable with. There is much for me to learn but I am content with my pace .

Now it is time that I touch on my original point for this post: Battle of Five Armies. So, if you haven’t watched it don’t look under the cut. Though, I do suppose it doesn’t matter if you look at it if you have read the book. You know the gist of what happens.

Read ahead for personal opinions and slight ranting.

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