Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween is Coming

Halloween tomorrow. Strange energy swirling through the air. Pumpkin lanterns ready to be lit to light the path for our loved ones, carved with scary faces to frighten away the evil spirits. Candy in bowls ready to be passed out to children seeking treats door to door wearing costumes cute or scary. The veil between the worlds lifting and tearing. The return of standard time and the sun setting earlier, cozy nights spent curled up by the fire.

I love this time of year, and yet I fear it because of the biological changes that happen in my life and in the lives of some of my friends. For some of us it is chronic depression aggravated by the changing season. For others it is a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know to expect it, but somehow it always manages to ambush me in its annual manifestation in my life. Just when I think that I have managed to support myself through the drastic shifting so that I don't fall completely to pieces I find myself in a puddle of tears on the floor, wondering what hit me and why I can't seem to function properly, if at all. I hold myself gently, allow my soul mate to lift me up, and then look at the good things and move on.

With some of my friends it is much more drastic, with much longer lasting anguish for them and for those who love them. I wish I could go to them and hold them close and offer them all of the healing that I could possibly be able to offer them - teas, energy, and love. Instead, I watch from outside, knowing that until they admit that something is wrong all I can do is hold them in a space of love and tenderness, lifting up a light of love and prayer in the darkness, and hoping that they will grasp the hands of their friends who are waiting to help them through this darkness.

It seems that autumn has become more difficult for people in the last few years, though this year it is more dramatic than I have ever seen it. The friends around me severely affected by the season are showing signs of the effect going deeper, lasting longer, feeling even more hopeless than before. Others have remarked on strange, even hostile, energies in the air this year. Whatever your preferred method of spiritual and energetic protection, I urge you to engage in it even more mindfully than you have been. Whatever light you work with, call even more of it into the world to help counteract this trend.

Be safe!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Challenge

Last night I took the plunge. I've seen it on blogs before and just ignored it, telling myself that I couldn't do it. So this year I'm going to try. What have I committed myself to? I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo 2009. You can find out all about it here. Basically the premise is to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch during the month of November, which is National Novel Writing Month. Hence the name NaNoWriMo.

I'm sure I could do it if that was my sole focus, but to make things more complicated I will be spending much of November at my parents house assisting in creating wonderful baked goods for them to sell at the Marketplace at the Best Friends Holiday Home Tour in Point Loma. I'm sure that will have some influence on the development of the story, too!

So, I am looking at this as an experiment. I am determined to make it to the 50,000 word mark to be a winner in this thing, but even if I don't I will have tried something new. Perhaps this is nothing more than an invitation to a massive case of writer's block. Perhaps I will create something wonderful. Either way, I am excited to participate and see what happens.

One thing I am sure of is that I will not be doing much editing. As they say on their website, December is for editing. November is for getting the words on paper. I'll share a few excerpts here as I go and perhaps use my other blog, Wild Oak Chronicles, to share more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

Today's Wishcasting Question is:

What Treat do you Wish for?

I wish today for the treat of being gentle with myself. In my struggles with depressive episodes and other icky stuff I often forget to be gentle with myself and am often up against a cycle of negativity toward myself while lifting others up and out of the muck around us. I know it would be much easier to help and heal others if I weren't spending so much time beating myself up for not helping others as much as I would like to and know that I have the ability to. So my wish is for the treat of knowing and valuing healing myself as much as I value healing others.

To join other Wishcasters, visit Jamie Ridler at her studio...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Changing Seasons

The wind is picking up, the sky is shades of grey, and the temperature has dropped dramatically since yesterday's clear blue skies.

We are supposed be getting the edge of an Alaskan cold front for the next few days and it is helping me get in the mood for Halloween. Samhain, if you prefer. All Hallows Eve. Followed by All Hallows (All Saints) and All Souls days. Dias de los Muertos.

In other words, the veil between the worlds is thinning at this time and we are preparing for visits from friends and loved ones who have passed on. It isn't that they can't visit or send messages to us at any time, but this time of year is especially potent for celebrating and communicating with them. In many cultures the dead are welcomed with feasts of their favorite foods, special lanterns set out to guide their way and make their path easier, and elaborate displays of photographs and mementos. Think of it as a giant family reunion if thinking about dead people scares you.

I look forward to the shifting energies of this season. The welcoming of those from the other side for a time of reunion, checking in and sharing messages. The turning inward to celebrate and give thanks for all of our blessings, whether we are happy about them or not. The further turning inward to experience the fallow season as we rest and prepare for the return of spring and the blossoming of seeds that have been planted and rested in this quiet time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gift Giving at the Cottage

Over at Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op today there is a post gathering Simple, Green and Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas. Since I've already started on our gifts for this year I thought I'd add my two cents to the gathering.

Over the last few years I have been leaning more and more towards gifts that will be useful and not end up gathering dust somewhere. We are presumably giving gifts to people we care about, so why should we give them something that they will never use and perhaps may not even want?

For most of our friends and associates we will be giving "goodie bags" consisting of homemade goodies that are consumable, whether it be cookies, candies, nuts, or other treats with homemade jam or marmalade and perhaps some hand-blended tea added as well.

For the really close people in our lives like parents, godparents, and (bonus) daughter I am making some kind of useful item such as a collection of scarves or an afghan. Something tangible but most definitely usable. These will complement our "goodie bags" for these people.

Several years ago I began a tradition of writing a personal "gift" to each of my loved ones each year, expressing a special prayer for the coming year. Very often when I sit down with a collection of special cards to do this I am not at all sure what I will be saying. I put on some quiet Christmas music, light a candle, wrap a blanket over my legs and meditate on each person before I begin writing. Letting my love for this person flow onto the paper creates a gift that has become a cherished tradition for those I share it with, even the younger ones who I was afraid wouldn't care!

What do you do for your holiday giving?

Friday, October 23, 2009

What are you the goddess of?

Goddess Leonie over at Goddess Guidebook and Goddess School asked the question a little while ago as part of a giveaway she was hosting, and while I answered it off the top of my head at the time it has not left me alone over the most recent days of clearing and organizing.

My first answer was to say that I am a goddess of healing and domesticity. In their own ways, that is a true answer, but it doesn't go far enough. It is too glib and surface-skimming.

I am a goddess of healing, but most specifically of natural healing. Helping the body and soul to work together for the greater good of all. I was born with a gift for energetic healing - I have often been told that I have "magic hands" - and working with herbs. I blended tisanes by instinct for many years, then took some herbal basics courses and learned that what I had been doing all along was correct. Since then I have been given my first level attunement in Reiki and I have reached level two training in Healing Touch, as well as taken several hours of massage training. Listening is a part of this gift, knowing how and where to direct the energy. Deep intuition and some level of listening to the guidance of higher powers than I are key to this.

I am a goddess of domesticity in a specific way, also. I can create an atmosphere of welcome and sacred space given some time and a few tools to work with. I cook well (perhaps it was all those afternoons spent making "soup" in my barbie pool with leftover herbs and other plants as a child!), and love to set a beautiful table. Hospitality is a gift I have been given. Serving others in a way that makes them feel valued and important. I also create art in a domestic setting - I crochet, knit, and sew. I use the term "fiber artist" rather loosely, but it still applies to what I do. Keeping an immaculately spotless house is not a gift or skill that I have been gifted with, though! My domesticity appears to be rather limited in that sense.

The most recent months since I lost my job have forced me to wander the woods and fields around the cottage, seeking my own most authentic life. I know that in moving forward I must honor these divine gifts that I have been given. I still am not entirely sure what that looks like, but I am trusting that there is a path set before me and a plan in Someone's heart for me and my highest good.

Here in the cottage I have been clearing the clutter a little at a time, uncovering and remembering my authentic self and all of the fears and worries that I have developed over many years that have kept it hidden. I have always been afraid of being who I seem to have been created to be. It is very powerful to carry the knowledge I carry within myself, and I am afraid of using that power. Of how it will get me labeled. How I have been labeled when I exercise my gifts. So now I sit here, the oaks sheltering my little wilderness are stirred by the autumn wind, and I am hearing the call to return to myself. To feel the fear and do it anyway. To embrace the titles of healer, artist, soul-lover. To open myself even more to explore the depth and breadth of my gifts and powers. To heal myself, first and foremost.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

Today's Wishcast Wednesday question is:

What do you wish to say yes to?

I wish to say yes to this new life that emerging, slowly, into being within me. This wonderful, delicate truth that has been within me all along and is raising it's wings like a butterfly after squeezing out of the chrysalis of failure and disappointment. This is beauty rising from pain, the little bit of Easter after the horrors of Good Friday. I wish to say yes to this beautiful, strange, familiarly unfamiliar terrain that I am traversing now after years of ignoring and hiding my gifts, stuffing away my power, shame at who and what I am, and humiliation at the hands of others who do not understand and are afraid of me and my truth.

Thank you for wishing with me and all of those who share their wishes today!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yarny Fun

It seems early to some, but I have begun working on Christmas presents recently. It all started with a coolish day a few weeks ago, when I pulled out some yarn and began on a special afghan. Then I remembered a baby shower coming up in early November and that got me going. The blanket for the baby is finished and I have my patterns picked out for almost all of the rest of my Christmas projects.

I have to admit that it feels really good to have my fiber projects going again. Over the summer I focused on small cotton projects - sets of cleaning cloths and a few hair ties and kerchiefs. Of course, my list keeps growing of all of the crafts I would like to do around the house! A pillow or two for my living room chairs, finish a doily or two that I have been working on for what seems like forever...

Almost all of this is exclusively crochet, which is my strongest skill. I'd love to pick up the whole knitting thing again, too. I keep thinking about all of the beautiful sock patterns I've seen (though I've seen quite a few crocheted ones popping up) and how there is so much fun sock yarn out there just waiting for me. I've also admired the knitted sweaters with all of those fun cables and different laces that I haven't been able to reproduce in crochet. I guess this winter it will be time for me to focus on using two (or more) pointy sticks instead of one hook!

Perhaps this winter will also be the time I finally open my Etsy shop. I've been talking about it for almost a year now but have been afraid to take the plunge. Much of it is fear that people won't like my work, but I need to get it out there so that I can find out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

What do you wish to let go?

I have a regular laundry list of things I wish to let go of, things that I have struggled with for so long it seems like I don't remember a time when I haven't been wrestling with them.

I wish to let go of this nagging feeling of never being "enough". Good enough, busy enough, enough like the "popular" or "successful" people all around me... the list of not being enough is long. The little feeling follows me around, even on good days, the way the lingering effects of a cold hang around. I'm working hard, being true to myself and who I was created to be, but I feel a bit of a shadow lurking.

I wish to let go of feeling like being myself is somehow "wrong". Just because my natural gifts, talents, and tastes are not exactly mainstream for the world in which I currently live I feel as if I can't talk about them or even admit to them. I'm tired of hiding. I'm tired of being afraid of myself and my potential.

So much big stuff to let go of, so many baby steps to take on the path to letting them go for good!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grey Monday

This morning I am looking out my window at a low grey sky and hoping that there might be some truth to the prediction of showers over the next day or so. We have been living in drought conditions for the last couple of years, and I love the occasional years when our winters give us the gift of being a true "rainy season".

It is a time for turning inward; setting the house in order (a never-ending job it seems!), looking to the harvest and preparing for winter, and turning inward as a person. Winter has always been a season of introspection for me. Time to examine relationships that I may or may not have nourished as I should through the past year. Time to look at my relationship with myself, the one I am most intimate with and will be even more so as the indoor seasons are upon us.

So I look to the grey sky, hoping for that whisper of rain to begin the cleansing, nourishing cycle that blesses us more generously every few years that usual with its abundance and wait.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

Today is Wishcast Wednesday over at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today's wishcasting prompt:

What do you wish to complete?

On a basic level I wish to complete the projects I have going around the house to make it more of a home. This is important to me on several levels, but I keep running into a lack of physical energy to get it done and a whole lot of energetic resistance to doing the emotional work to get over the lack of physical motivation.

I wish to complete this portion of uncomfortable waiting in my life while I do the work to close the doors to the recent past and prepare for the future that is waiting for me. I think I see where the next step is, but I am not ready for it yet. I am firming the foundation for what will be built next.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Routine

There is a definite nip in the air this morning as I sit sipping my hot cocoa (usually tea, but I wanted to celebrate the first really autumnal morning with something special!) with a dog wrapped like a burrito in his blanket at my side. The Monday busy-ness has begun with laundry going; trash, recycle, and greens trucks roaring through the neighborhood; and above it all, birdsong. I am grateful for the reminder that this world goes on after a weekend, as my own home world is quieter with my husband at work.

I find the Monday routine comforting: wake up, take the trash and recycle out, sort and start laundry, try to find the kitchen again after my husband has been in it over the weekend, look ahead at what I need to try to work on this week. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever really get a handle on my house or if it will forever fight me and being neat and organized. It amazes me how, over two days, everything that it has taken me a week to put away is now spread from one end of the house to another, plus some additional stuff. No wonder I get down about it!

I am going to put on some pleasant music, start folding laundry, and dream of a house that doesn't take a week to semi-clean. Perhaps this time it will come true.