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.

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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.

 

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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.

An Amazing Thing Happened

Our computer, the one that bit the dust, has risen from the dead!

Grendal decided on a whim to switch to our old video card and the machine booted up. Went through a whole to do in safe mode, found ALL of our stuff and ran a malware and virus scan.  It’s running a little slow but the machine is “old”.  Now we can take our time and save up for a newer machine.

And when I say we found all of our stuff, I mean all of what we thought was lost.  Those anniversary pictures that I thought were gone forever?? They are still there. I will probably have a few choice shots posted later today.

This also guarantees renfair shots right away!

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.”

To Quote Daria

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When the typical person thinks about a little girl and her potential toy they probably get the image of a baby doll.  Cute little kid running around with a doll that goes everywhere with her.  Tea parties, dress up, doctor, house.  The usual thing for a young one.  Dreams of being a mommy and raising kids, making a friend being the father.

Me?  I don’t remember baby dolls.  I think they were there but I don’t remember dragging them with me.  I played with the TMNT figures with a younger neighbor kid, Godzilla too.  I remember being upset that I had to be Maid Marion while playing Robin Hood (I wanted to be Robin Hood’s sister, who did the same stuff he did).  My Barbie didn’t want to marry Ken and would routinely jump off the top bunk on her wedding day, usually to her death but there were occasions that her huge dress would act like a parachute and she would land safely.  Of course she would have to marry Ken then but she was NOT happy about it.  Then there were my My Little Pony toys that went on cross living room excursions, making the perilous journey through the snow that graced our fireplace mantle during the holiday season.

I think the reason for the odd things I did and played out was thanks to the fact that I lost 60-70% of my hearing as a child.  I tended to stay in my own imagination and let things run wild.

Oh!  Most of my hearing is back.  Still go off in my own world but we’re safely grounded.

Back to the point.  Kids!  Children.  Those little people usually have dreams of becoming parents and raising little ones of their own.  They have that urge.  Whether it is through pressure, their own want, hormones, what have you!  It is there.

Except for me.  I don’t remember wanting kids when I was a kid.  I wanted to be left alone.  I didn’t like the screaming, the crying, and the fact that they couldn’t speak to me.  Not to mention they had an odd smell.   There was no interest.  Sure, I went along with the rest of the girls.  I wanted three kids, a husband, and a big house.  I would have an awesome job too, or perhaps I was a work free mother.  That was the way it was supposed to be.

Then I picked out names for kids.  More like names that I really liked and wanted to hang on to.  I did always say that if I had a child their name would be this or that, but I had no drive or urge to make that happen.  I still have those names stored away.  Nowadays I think maybe it was just my writer coming out and just taking names to my memory for safe keeping.  It would also explain the reason why I go through baby name books and sites.  I have the tendency to look at the meaning before settling on a name, and those names are usually pared with characters in stories that never quite make it.

My friends have kids.  Most with one with the second just announced.  Why it seems to happen all at once, I don’t know.  So I get to watch the updates on Facebook about hormones and all that occurs with pregnancy.  I watch as most of them have had a personality shift while others seem to be little changed, or even enhanced by the fact that they are a parent.  It is an odd happening.

I have nieces.  Two from my elder sister and three from Grendal’s family (one from the brother, two from the sister).  I have watched all five grow.  The oldest just turned 13 and the youngest is 6.  I have watched the different parenting methods and how the kids react.  I see some as being better adjusted to the world and the others being too sheltered.  There are the ones that I love to see and get excited to talk to. Then there are the ones where two weeks without seeing them doesn’t seem long enough. This is the first time in my life when I can actually look at a child and think, ‘I don’t like you one bit’. It’s strange but the parent did want us to treat said child like an adult despite the age. You don’t always get the outcome you want.

Something has shifted, though, and I am not sure if I like it.

The thought of a child isn’t as annoying or upsetting. I see more that make me smile, but there are still those that make me cringe. I don’t have “baby fever”. Right now it just seems less of a problem.

Grendal, on the other hand, hasn’t wavered on his stance but he has said the thought doesn’t turn his stomach nearly as much.