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.

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.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With the blood of my enemies.

So Grendal and I have decided that a garden is going to be our thing. Two gardens, actually! We have bought the flowers for his garden in front and we have the seeds for our veggies in back! It shall be glorious. At least, I hope. We have tried a garden once before but it failed. We both worked wonky hours at the time and no one in his family felt like helping. But when they started their garden, dammit, we had to help. That garden did well until sister-in-law stopped receiving praise and then it rotted for half the year.

But I digress.

So we are doing the typical veggie thing and I have finally started eyeballing flowers. They aren’t really my thing. I know only a few by name and even fewer by glance(I know of the Tiffany rose thanks to my elder sister wanting a plant with her name), so when Grendal wanted to look for seeds I just went along. He has a color scheme worked out: deep purples, rich reds, and blues. There is a marigold in there, adding orange to it, and a black pansy as well. Grendal said as long as it fit his color scheme I could pick out a few flowers that I liked.

Of course leave it to me to find ones with interesting names that I think look amazing!

The two that we ended up snagging seeds for was Molten Fire and Love Lies Bleeding(respective pictures to follow). See what I mean about the names?

Love the reds!

Reminds me of dripping blood……Not really. Who came up with this name?

Other than the planting for decorations I did manage to get Grendal to okay this ceramic toad leftover from the coffee shop. We also have this guy:

His name is Luigi.

His name is Luigi.

He is a garden troll! We had been looking at garden tools and I wandered over to where the lawn ornaments were.  Giving odd looks to the flamingos and side eyeing the modern lawn gnomes(Monroe impersonators and bikers galore), marveling at the large amount of toads (ours could have a friend!) then I saw the trolls.  They were on the top shelf and I had to stand on my toes only slightly to grab at them.  There were quite a few!  Luigi, (going off of memory and some of my own name after this) Stumpy, Mother Troll, Father Troll, “Odin” Troll(barkskin cloak and hat!!), Two-Fries-Short-of-a-Kid’s-Meal troll, baby looking troll. I think that was it but I could be wrong.  They all had a very natural look to them and were very much a garden and lawn addition.  Of course I grabbed Luigi, showed him to Grendal and promptly brought him to the pack.  He was just as smitten as I was, and just as alarmed by the Gnomes near by.  We took Luigi home with us and placed him near the front door.  I plan on buying Mother Troll and placing her in the garden since she has a basket full of fruits and veggies.  I will probably grab the Odin looking troll and placing him in the garden in front as well.

The trolls are a welcome addition, especially since I was trying to think of a neighbor friendly item to represent the wight in the area.  Whether there is one or I am attracting it is still to be seen, but I will be placing offerings around the trolls to entice them.  Probably Luigi for the flowers and Mother Troll for the vegetable garden. the “Odin” troll will just be a nice little addition and surprise for anyone searching for such and odd thing.

Grendal and I plan on being that strange couple with the awesome looking house/garden.  I think the trolls and oddly named plants will key into that!

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.