Thursday, January 31, 2013

C is for Cats

Cats can be very magickal creatures. Cats have been associated with gods in many cultures. In Egypt, they are associated with Bast, a goddess often depicted with a cat head. In Norse culture, they are associated with the goddess Freyja, whose chariot was pulled by two cats.
In Burma, a group of monks, called Kittahs, are believed to reincarnate as cats before achieving Nirvana. And in Japan, Bekoning Cats are used to bring in good fortune, health, and wealth.
I have a cat that literally showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago. We named him Falkor, after the dragon from "The Neverending Story". He reminds me of the Japanese Bekoning Cats. Since his arrival, my partner and I have gotten a lot of good paying contract work.
Cats have the Sight and often react to things that aren't visible to the average person. Once I was mediating outdoors when I was approached by a wandering spirit of some kind. When it realized I knew where it was, it attempted to hide itself. I knew it was still there, but I couldn't pin down its location. My cats could still see it though, and I was able to track its location by observing where my cats were staring.
Cats have long been associated with magic. The most memorable is when the Christians killed thousands of them believing them to be the servants of the Devil. Ironically, this led to an explosion of the rodent population which precipitated the Bubonic Plague which wiped out a third of Europe's population. Talk about karma.
The witches I have known have all worked with cats in one form or another, either by having them as pets or owning figures of them. I have heard that The Lady of Wicca is based on Freyja, who I have already mentioned was affiliated with cats.
Cat energy can be powerful to work with, but it can also be capricious. Cats come and go as they please, but can also be jealously territorial. As with any other gods or spirits, they can be powerful allies, but care must be taken to not offend them.
Until next time, remember to look for the magickal in the little things.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Liebster

First of all I would like to say thank you to Homelight of Spirit Stitch for giving me the Liebster Award. It means a lot that one of my readers, and a fellow blogger, would nominate my blog for an award.

For those bloggers and readers who are unfamiliar with this award, “The Liebster Award" is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Here are the Rules for this Award

Thank the person who nominated you.

When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Pass the award onto 6 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!) You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees. 

You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

You paste the award picture into your blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

11 Random Facts

1. My parents were Christian missionaries
2. I spent a lot of my childhood in southeast Asia
3. I have had no formal training to be a shaman outside of books and the spirits themselves
4. I like to cook
5. My specialty is breakfast
6. I have my own business,
7. I am not very good at foretelling the future, but I own two Tarot decks and a set of Oracle cards
8. I love movies, but am still catching up on movies released before the late 90's
9. I have a daughter that is amazing!
10. When I was a kid I wanted to be a paleontologist
11. I have watched "The Lorax" at least 10 times this week because my daughter loves it

Questions from Homelight:
1.  What advice would you give to other bloggers?
The most important thing to do when you decide to start blogging is to keep at it. Try to always post regularly and not have long lapses between posts. I have been guilty of this myself.
2.  If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I don't have any specific place in mind, but I would like to move out of the city and into the country. I would like to buy a little piece of land and start homesteading.
3.  What is your favorite season and why?
Spring. It is so nice to see everything come alive again after the cold winter. Everything looks so much more vibrant.
4.  Last book you read?
Cold Days. The latest Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher.
5. Early bird or night owl?
Night Owl
6. 5 things you are grateful for today?
My girlfriend
My daughter
My friends
My health
That I managed to get into nursing school
7. 3 things you can't live without?
Because I have been to Third World countries, I know first hand that a lot of what people think they can't live without, they actually can. My three things: air, water, food
8.  Favorite movie?
So many good ones to choose from, but possibly the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
9.  Vampires or Zombies?
Vampires. Not the sparkly ones though. I don't think they count. I'm currently running a Vampire: the Masquerade table top game for some of my friends.
10.  Favorite vegetable?
Again, so many good ones to choose from. Maybe broccoli. A vegetable that I was only recently introduced to, but is one that I already have come to love is parsnips.
11. Your definition of a witch?
I think I am going to pass on this one since I do not consider myself to be a witch.

My 11 Questions
1. What inspires you to blog?
2. What advice would you give to other bloggers?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
5. If you could, would you go back to school and for what?
6. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?
7. Have you ever traveled outside of your country of origin?
8. What is your favorite thing to make?
9. If you do magic, what kind do you use most often?
10. If you garden, what is your favorite things about it?
11. What is the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?

My Nominations
Gardening Adventures
Walk the Circle
Book of Shadows and Blessings
Confessions of a Would-be Mountain Woman
Standing at the Centre

Thursday, January 17, 2013

B is for Bees

My Pagan Blog Project post for "B" week is about bees. Bees are amazing little creatures. They live and work with thousands of other bees in hives. They are very industrious and work very hard at their assigned tasks to keep the colony alive and healthy. Every day they work their tiny miracle of turning pollen into honey. Along the way they pollinate the flowers as they collect nectar. Honey bees do most of the agricultural pollination in the world and it has been said that without them a large portion of the human population would starve.
Honey is worthy of its own post. It's healthy and is a natural preservative because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Honey can remain good for over a hundred years.
I have a bee in my magickal supplies. Bees are associated with fertility, community, and productivity. Some cultures have other associations, but those three are pretty much universal.
In preparation for writing this post, I did a journey to Bee to ask what message it had for me. It took me on a tour of what it did. We gathered nectar from flowers, transferring pollen in the process. We brought it back to the hive and communicated with others about our find. Then Bee told me something powerful. The things Bee does are for its community. For Bee, community is more than itself or its hive. Community is the flowers it pollinates, the other animals that survive by eating the plant, fruit or seeds that grow because of the pollination. It is also the things that survive off the decay of those other things.
Our society is very wrapped up in the individual. It's all about Me. Bee reminds us to let go of our egos and care for others. Even small acts, like pollinating a flower, can have enormous effects. There is magick, even in the little things, if we only look for it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A is for Agriculture

I picked agriculture as my Pagan Blog Project "A" topic because growing my own food helps to keep me connected with the universe and the local spirits. It also fits in neatly with last month's "Z" post about finding magic and mystery in the mundane.
When I prepare my garden I speak to the spirits of the land. I whisper words of strength to the seeds as I plant them. I give thanks to the plants as I harvest them for the life that they give to me. It is a mystical experience and I hope it always will be.
A lot of people my age and younger have never grown food for themselves. I've been lucky to have grown up with a garden. My father was the son of a farmer and we always had at least a small garden. Now I have a daughter and I will pass along this tradition to her. Below is a picture of spinach growing in the raised bed she "helped" me build last year. Spinach is a winter crop and it grew until we got almost a foot of snow a couple of weeks shoo.
It doesn't matter who you are, if you trace your roots back far enough you will find a farmer. Creating a garden can not only help you connect to the land, but it can also help you connect to your ancestors.
I find that my garden also helps me to connect with my faith. Many pagan religions are earth religions. The major festivals and holidays revolve around agriculture. As an example, I will use festivals that most on the Pagan Blog Project will be familiar with. Planting is done around the three fertility festivals of Imbolc, Ostara, and Beltane. Fruits and vegetables will be ready for harvest around the three harvest festivals of Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain.
Aside from the spiritual benefits of having a garden, there are practical benefits as well. Growing your own food can be a lot cheaper than buying it in a store, and better for you too. Plus there are the additional health benefits of being outside working in your garden getting fresh air and sunlight.
Even if you don't live where you can plant a garden in the ground, you can still grow things. I've seen gardens grown on rooftops, balconies, and window sills. If you are new to gardening, start small and with something easy, like garden herbs.
I really enjoy my garden and I hope I inspire you to start your own. Remember to always find the magick in the little things.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Countdown to Nursing School

The big news is that I have been accepted into the nursing program. With that comes the frantic scramble to get all of the paperwork in order before classes start. A lot if it is done already, but there are a couple of things I still have to finish before class starts on the 23rd.
I have a mini class that begins tomorrow that is supposed to help prepare me to be the best nursing student I can be. I'm taking it mainly to bring me up to twelve credit hours so I can get the most out of my financial aid. It will probably be helpful though.
We want to get chickens this year and the city allows ownership of up to six hens (no roosters) as long as we have a coop and run that is approved by a city inspector. I want to build one from as much recycled and scavenged material as possible to see how cheaply I can build it. Also for the challenge. My original goal was to complete the coop before school starts, so we will see how it goes.
I am going to build the coop primarily out of wooden pallets. I also have a piece of roofing left over from the patch job we did on the roof a few months ago. I don't have any chicken wire yet, but I'm hoping some will show up on Craigslist. Of course I will blog about it and post pictures of my progress. I got an off brand reciprocating saw from Harbor Freight  Tools for $20 with a coupon to help dismantle the pallets faster.
My daughter is as cute and adorable as ever. My wife and I both got an avalanche of contact work, so we are set financially. Things are good, if busy.

We'll see how the next couple of weeks go. Hopefully I'll have the coop done on time.