If I Could Turn Back Time

“I wish I could turn back the clock.”

“I wish I could go back to high school.”

“I wish I could talk to myself ten years ago.”

I’ve heard some iteration of these questions many, MANY times.  I’ve been asked them.  I have pondered them.  I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want to go back to high school.  It wasn’t the best time of my life.  Far from it.  That time was awkward and full of times that, while they weren’t damaging, weren’t fun.  Sure, if I could go back and tell myself that everything would be okay, I would.

Everything will be fine.

Learn from this.

Hang on to those happy times.

The one thing that I would do, though, is go find myself as I’m teetering on the cusp of paganism, grab myself by the shoulders, and shake myself violently.

Kinda like this.

I would tell myself to listen to my gut.  The books aren’t the end all, be all of how things work.  The elaborate rituals sound amazing and probably look amazing, but for the time being you’re solitary.  Work with yourself.  Listen to the whispers.  If something seems right, do it.  Read mythology and pick up books on ancient practices when you find them.

Believe in the magic you weave.  It works!

Thinking back on it, I started everything at the age of 13.  That means I’ve been practicing paganism for nearly 20 years.  I have to tell myself that.  This isn’t a phase.  This isn’t some passing fancy.

I am pagan.

I am a heathen.

I wish I had found blogs, websites, forum posts on paganism on a budget at an earlier date.  It would help me with the idea that the books aren’t the only way.

I have a box full of books on Wicca.  It was the path I started on.  I bought books when I could.  Bought the ones that jumped out at me.  A few with pretty covers.  Some that worked with dragons.  There was so much stuff.  So many guidelines and things that I had to remember.  I was a theater kid.  I should have been able to remember how to call the quarters.

None of the books mentioned going with your gut feeling.  Listening to your inner voice.

Do these sorts of spells when the moon is in this phase.  Use these herbs.  Use ONLY these colors.  Black is the color of negativity. Evil. VOID.

There is white magic and black magic.  Don’t do black magic.  There is grey magic, because some times you need to hex a bitch.  No one warned me that I should be careful with voodoo.  The local library and book store only carried books on voodoo that dealt more with the anthropological side.

Don’t forget the rule of three.  Or is it nine?  Don’t forget the Wiccan Rede.

I don’t know when it was that I shrugged off that oppressive feeling of so many rules.  When I got back to the root of it all.  I know it was after I began my relationship with Grendal.  After I found out his family was perfectly fine with paganism.  They read tarot cards, talk with spirits, and believe in faeries.  He sees things, speaks with them.

We’ve come together in our different practices, Grendal and I.  We talk about these feelings we have.  He encourages that I follow them.  He is also the voice of reason and has stopped me from cursing people in the heat of the moment.

I use magic as I cook, as I work.  I talk to the spirits in the garden, using three lawn trolls as physical representations.  I talk to crows and squirrels when I can.

I wish I could have done this earlier.  Embraced the fluidity and organic nature of what paganism should be.  You shouldn’t HAVE to buy all the things.  Those items aren’t needed.  They’re extensions of yourself, used to focus and pour yourself into.  It is nice to have but not necessary.

Things have change so much for me.  After 20 years it feels like I have finally become the witch I was suppose to become.

Frances. I’m supposed to be Aunt Frances.

It’s Not a Phase, Mom

GAH.

Everyone goes through some phase or another.  I know I have.  The longest running one was my obsession with Phantom of the Opera that sprang into existence when I was in second grade.  I was going to see a stage production of Heidi with a school friend.  Her father was taking us.  I think they really liked theater and I remember he was playing a recording of the Phantom of the Opera.  Like, someone had sat in the audience and recorded it sort of thing.  I was enthralled with the music.  He told me little bits about it and I remember he mentioned that the actual opera house had a lake beneath it, AND that the theater we were going to had a river beneath it.  Looking back on that now, I don’t know if THAT was true but let me tell you, it sent my imagination spinning.

Needless to say, I begged for a tape of the Phantom of the Opera when I got home and I received it.  So since roughly 1991 I have been obssessed with anything Phantom of the Opera. I have different recordings, saw the Weber musical, read the original novel, read and watched the HORRID sequeals, love Susan Kay’s version, I know the entire script by heart, etc etc.  My prized possessions are music boxes from the San Francisco Music Box company.  Every year from middle school I would get one for christmas.  I treasure them still.  Hell, I LITERALLY just looked at their site and they have them still.

I’m no longer a HUGE fan of it.  I mean I like it and will watch it every so often….

But that isn’t the point of this post.

Way to go me for rambling so damn much.

Anyway, PHASES!  We have them.  I have them.  They go in some odd cycles (PotO may come back to me at some point).  The one that bothers me and I don’t know if I ever touched on is my spirituality.

My beliefs never go away but my wont to practice is VERY lackluster.  Want to know a sure fire way to kick my but into gear and get me actively practicing again?  Show me pictures of altars, documentaries that talk about these practices, or movies.  Hell!  Watching The Craft is a sure as shit way to get me doing SOMETHING.

Speaking of documentaries, I ended falling down the rabbit hole known as youtube and watched a few things from VICE/Broadly about different people and their practices.  I enjoyed them to a certain extent and, wouldn’t you know, I have that itch to get things spruced up around here and get back to practicing a little more actively.  I was already getting that tingle thanks to the season change but these videos just sent me over the edge much sooner.

 

 

 

It was specifically that last one.  I am always fascinated and in awe of the people have gone back to “ancient” practices and brought them to the modern day.  It just strikes a cord with me, no matter which pantheon.

There is something else that has always put a damper on my practicing.  I’ll cover that, though it will be in another post.  My ramblings about Phantom of the Opera has made this post seem a little over full.

I’m a dork.

And given the chance to ramble on about Phantom of the Opera, I can, will, and have gone on for hours.

 

 

In Which I Reminisce About Young, Pagan Me

[sorry to the folks who saw this posting before.  it was very far from finished. this is what I get for using multiple devices to post.  also, GIF WARNING!  there are a few here and one were there is lightning/flashing lights. so just a heads up to those who are sensitive.]

I love The Craft. Always have! There was something about the movie that just captured my interest.  I had been in the 6th grade when it came out, not seeing it until it was on television some time later. I have two memories about the movie.  The first was my older sister telling me I couldn’t be a true fan if I didn’t know which actress was Fairuza Balk (she is the same one who said I wouldn’t get a quote from Revenge of the Nerds because “it was before your time”[it was before hers as well]).  The other one was going to a slumber party where we did try Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.

LaaF,SaaB

Sadly, it didn’t work.

What it did end up doing was jump start my journey down the pagan path. That slumber party was the turning point of it all.  Sure we played the game, talked about and watched the movie, but then a few us of TRIED stuff.  Specifically voodoo dolls.  Long story short about that bit in particular, I stay away from it because I nearly hurt myself and obviously didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  I mean, a few young, middle class white girls in the midwest had to business messing with the stuff.

The girl who was hosting the party and I REALLY got into the witch stuff, though.  We picked out ‘code names’ and had a notebook we traded so we could share information.  She checked out the witch books because I couldn’t.  Unfortunately she got caught and, in turn, so did I.  I ended up rediscovering everything, so to speak, only a few years later but she stayed away from what I can recall.

But The Craft was the beginning of it all and set me up with a very romantic version of witchcraft.  The first few seconds alone roped me in.

 

giphy

It was beautiful then and even more so now.

Like I said, I had a romantic view of witchcraft thanks to the movie.  Even now I prefer the movie up to the circle on the beach.  After that, everything goes to shit because Hollywood. Yet it was the scene on the beach that was most powerful and amazing.

beach

I watched the movie only a few days ago and Grendal and myself both agreed that this movie was perfectly fine up to this part.  Like I said, everything after this goes to shit but it’s because of the whole Rule of Three bit.  They stuck with it and made things roll out so everyone got what was coming to them.  Except Sarah, who is the movie’s hero.  Sure, the dude she roped with the love spell got way too creepy and died in the end, but it wasn’t her doing for that.  She never TRULY got what was coming to her and quickly got onto Manon’s good side before shit went down big time.

High School was my re-initiation, so to speak, into paganism.  I found websites, snuck away at the library to read books, and eventually asked to buy one.  I was shot down because my mother freaked out.  She was born and raised in a strict catholic community and while she no longer follows the religion it was very much a part of her still.  I remember printing up a bunch of pages of information about Wicca to show my mother that it wasn’t bad.  It did the trick.  She was still nervous but she finally let me do my thing.

College, though, was where things began.  I remember trolling around our school’s online community and going into the religious board.  Usual fair of stuff.  I loved, and still do, religious debates and discussions.  There was someone on the board looking for anyone interested in paganism.  I shoved aside my shy side and responded.  We chatted for a few minutes before she asked if I was currently on campus, and I said I was.  She wanted to meet up and do a proper introduction and asked where I was.  Turns out we were both in the library.  I was on the main level and she was on the second.  We met and it was amazing. She is still a dear friend to me.  We hit it off right away. Discussed things and connected quickly.  It wasn’t long before we gathered a few other girls on campus that were also interested or practicing pagans (all I still talk with, though the first girl is the only one besides myself who still identifies as pagan).  We quickly had our own little group of five girls.

We had a few circles, we went to a local pagan Halloween ball, supported an amazing local New Age store, celebrated the Holy Days, the works!  While things were going, it was amazing.  We were never able to make ourselves into a school club but it was an amazing time of growth for all of us.  Like most things, though, it ended when life began and people wandered off to different schools or finished there time at the college.

Watching The Craft made me miss those days.  The time that I had a close group and even a small sisterhood of sorts.  I miss it and find myself now part of the bitter old pagan brigade (don’t think that is a thing and I’m not REALLY bitter, it just seemed funny).  I truly want to immerse myself back in my own craft and stretch those muscles once more.  While it’s no longer new and I’m seeing it with world weary eyes, I know that I can reach that spot again.

I’ve gone through this many times before.  Times where I go to rediscover things but always end up in the same spot.  This time, though, I can reach that happy medium.  I have Grendal to help me along the way if I stumble.

It will be glorious.

In Which I Crawl Out From (the fallout) Beneath my Blankets

So, holidays have come and passed.  The hectic life of the retail employee has died down as people recover from the spending.  My own dread and distaste has gone and so the humdrum life has crept back in.

So, what have I been doing for the past 3 months? Besides working, holidays, being annoyed by family, etc.?  Gaming, of course!  And not just D&D like was mentioned before my disappearance but thanks to a new PC game.

Fallout 4.  Surprise, surprise, I know.  I have a soft spot for Bethesda’s games, and while I like the sword and sorcery of the Elder Scrolls Saga there is a nice charm with Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.  And, again no surprise here, I have begun the foray into taking screenshots galore.  The reactions of companions aren’t as amazingly hilarious as the Mass Effect companions, but I do find the humor there.  They have romantic companions, a term I use loosely because its more like ‘I like you, do you like me? Yes? Cool. We are together.’ Sure you have to be charismatic enough and do enough things for the character to like you, but there is nothing IN GAME other than dialogue to show for it.  Well, you get a perk or two but that’s it!  No hugs.  No smooches.  No wiggly eyebrows and innuendo. Nothing.

Modding community, I am waiting for you to work your magic once the kit comes out (which is taking too damn long).

Other than screenshots I have tumbled down the family hole of the internet that contains fandom workings, mainly fanfiction.  Mainly the Fallout Kink Meme site.  I know, I know. Smut galore but there are the fluffy things.  The comforting works.  The friends being dorks and taking on the world. Alternate Universe stories.  But yes, there is smut.  And with this current fandom my only contribution has been 3 pieces of work, two smutty and one smut-adjacent.  I consider it to be a way for my flex my writing abilities.

I do openly admit to people online and to real world friends that I write smut/erotica (word choice depends on the person).  I am, however, VERY reluctant to fork over said pieces, and there are a few, of any erotic work that I have written.  It makes me nervous.  People know that I have a dirty mind and pairing that up with the fact that I have been with Grendal for 10+, there is no doubt that I have done ‘the nasty'(my inner child giggled at that).  Yet for me to hand something to a friend and ask them to read about two characters getting it on in some way, I clam up.  So the anonymity of the internet is my friend.

But yes, I am back.  Nothing other than holidays and gaming has taken place over my absence.  Sad but not much so.  Winter is a time to reflect for me and stay cozy.  Unfortunately this hasn’t really been winter.  I suppose that’s the reason why I have been so pissy.

Living Out Some Fantasies

I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, at least on here, that I am a BIG Dungeons and Dragons fan.  I knew of it’s existence in high school, perhaps earlier, and wanted to be part of it.  The problem was, I didn’t know anyone who played.  No one in my circles of friends seemed like the type nor did they even skirt around mentioning it.  It wasn’t until college and when Grendal and I were in our early relationship that I was FINALLY introduced to the game.  I dove in and never looked back.

Dungeons and Dragons has been an excellent vessel for me.  I’ve been able to flex my story telling abilities and was able to make new friends.  Acting was easier for me as I was able to get into different mindsets.  Whole worlds opened up!  I began to write and create such lush worlds and peoples.  I would be doing myself a huge disservice if I didn’t link the game to the majority of my writing, having inspired and influenced me in many ways.

What I had never expected, though, was that this game would be an amazing way to find out about myself.  Not what I would do in certain situations, but who I was.  Yes, my first few characters were off beat and goofy.  Hippy types that would spout flowery type things and go on about the awesomeness that is nature.  While that is a part of who I am, it wasn’t anything new.  The more I read about the game and found new classes, the more I peeled away bits of myself.  While not every portion of myself and my personality is the best, it is interesting to see what is there.

Kanaloa was the first character that I played that I feel like I finished.  I could play her again but there would be little character development and growing.  Her story was told.  Oddly enough, there was so much about her that when I looked back on it I saw myself in the strangest ways.  She was a half aquatic elf which was an odd way to mirror my half Hawai’ian bloodline.  Never really fitting in with her aquatic family and finally having to live with her father and his kind (my parents are happily married but I have never really felt like a part of either family).  She was loyal to a fault to the royal family she worked for, being a companion to one of the princes.  She was a bounty hunter.  A skilled woman, cold to those who didn’t know her but warm to the few she called friends.  Kanaloa was all business and was brash with the ones she cared for.  She never truly let anyone close.

Xyrygosa, the second character I finished.  Again, a half breed (half dwarf and half fire elf) but this time accepted by her families, for the most part.  A temper that was hard to manage once brought forth.  She was small in stature but a powerhouse (while I’m not a powerhouse, I am small and have an awful temper).  She was the unlikely hero of the group and brought forth power when least expected.  Xyrygosa was also the one that led the group to their death because no one questioned us (the character and myself).  I learned, through her, that I had the ability to persuade people if I was confident in my actions.

Ruslan, my third and most recent character to finish.  A human reaching the age in life where adventuring is not much of an option (the ripe old age of 48).  A widower who raised a child and thought of nothing more than to see that his daughter had the best he could offer.  A wounded man, losing his arm in the same incident that took his wife.  While he was, technically, disabled he was still a captain in the city guard and trained new recruits.  He was the power of the group and the most grounded.  Ruslan was someone that I was becoming.  Family oriented, proud, and weary.

Now we’re starting a new game and I begin a new character.  I know this one and I have danced around this portion of my being before.  He (no name just yet) is manipulative.  While he care for others, he sees many of them as a means to an end.  Aloof.  He ridicules people.  He enjoys planting seeds of doubt in unsuspecting people.  He sees no problem in using those around him if it means he won’t have to dirty his hands.  This character is sadistic, hedonistic, and has little reason to deny such things.  He is the smallest portion of my personality, a portion that rarely ever crops up these days, but wants to be seen in some fashion.

I guess this is the place where he can do his thing and nothing ill will come of it.

At least in reality.

It’s (nearly) That Time Again

The time for so many things!

In about a week Grendal and I are taking my nieces for their, and our, yearly renfair outing! My oldest niece is reusing a Halloween costume due to the fact that we are going during the fair’s ‘Steampunk Invasion”. She’ll fit right in. My youngest niece is still not sure on what she will be, but seems to be leaning towards a woodland archer. Grendal and I are doing Viking and Scottish costumes, and still have to fine tune things. Either way it’s going to be fun. We get the kids the night before and I will show them either Dark Crystal or Labyrinth for the first time. Y’know, to set the fantasy mood for the next day.

The trip looks like it might begin to take on a new reason as well. My oldest niece has been having some issues. The younger one too but the eldest had begun some self harm and has some bouts of depression, to the point where she yelled at her mother claiming that I was her birth mother and she was only raising her(not true). Honestly, it isn’t too surprising that she has these issues. I suffer from depression as does my mother and my brother-in-law placed himself in the psych ward at a hospital so he could get help with his bipolar issues(I honestly don’t know the extent and it isn’t something I want to bring up). So, I feel like this moment can be the time that I can reassure my niece and tell her that I know the pain and problems. She and I are more alike than anyone thought was going to happen. If one could have nieces act more like their own children, then that is what’s happening. Even the youngest has some of my tendencies.

On to lighter things!

The seasons are close to changing. I am hearing cicadas, the weather is slowly getting less humid, and the mornings are darker. While we weren’t able to do as much as we wanted to the house this year, we have fine tuned our plans and ideas. We are crossing our fingers that our tax return is better than last year, giving us the ability to get our deck made and Grendal’s forge going.

I may have said it before but fall through early spring I feel more alive and active. Grendal and the dogs are the same. We can’t wait for chilly evenings and I want to see if our property’s lone tree changes color.

I am also crossing ky fingers that I can scrounge up a little extra money to dress my altar up for the fall season. Apples for Idunn and something to celebrate the harvest season, especially now that Grendal has more of a connection with that aspect of fall. I know we will be decorating for Halloween, so I need to sit down and.figure something out for Hel. I haven’t worked with her but I want to do something for her and, in a small way, Baldr. I don’t know if people do that, but it seems to be fitting for some reason. No one has corrected me yet.

On a Lighter Note

Now that things have calmed down a bit I can talk about some of the better things that have happened during this past week.

Grendal and I were told that anything in his grandparents’ kitchen could be ours since we had recently moved into our first home. It was heartwarming in the middle of all the drama, anger, and overwhelming sadness. We waited a few days before returning to look at what was there. We waited so Grendal could work up the courage and not cry looking at the empty house.

So I began looking through the cupboards, feeling a little awkward all the while. One I opened had a small collection of cookbooks. My one weakness, and apparently Granny’s.as well. I pulled them down and looked through them. Most were rather recent and had to do with health issues. Recipes with low sodium, heart healthy, etc. I found two cookbooks, one older than me by 10 years, that had been put together by a small community in Wisconsin. The book had hand written notes on pages. Apparently the zucchini bread recipe on page 10 is worth looking at (I love zucchini bread).

In the midst of all the recipes I found what looked like a large pamphlet. Upon further inspection it was a folded up, poster sized paper. Alone and curious as a cat, I began to unfold it.

My little witchy heart was all a flutter.

Staring back at me was a large grid of common herbs and what could be harvested from them. A column for uses to ease ailments. How to dry them properly. Luckily for me no one was in the kitchen so they didn’t have to witness a 30 year old woman jumping around like a child. I showed Grendal once I calmed down and he was just as interested, especially since he is now known as the ‘Herb Guy’ at work due to making up a nice herbal tea concoction to ease a friend’s lungs.

While I do worship the Norse gods and the title of heathen is the closest thing I can relate to, kitchen witchery has always been an interest of mine. I have dabbled in it, putting in extra energies while baking or preparing a meal. Knowing that certain spices aid in certain things. I never got to the point where I am comfortable in adding kitchen witch to my title. Hearth and home, though, are big things to me. I think that mat be one reason why my home has to be just so and that meals are a very big thing to me. Especially in winter.

I suppose this little ramble is done. Like I said, happy things coming out of the recent drama. 😀