Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Lazy Day

I'm finally on vacation, and will be until August, so I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands.  I've been sewing a lot, for one.  I made a cat plushie, altered several dresses, and have been diligently working on a fairy doll*.  I've been working on another pair of socks here and there.  I've also been attempting to tidy my apartment and maintain my garden.

ADF-wise, I'm nearly done reviewing my first DP and have been reading, reading, reading for my own study programs.   I also started a Google group for the vegetarians and vegans in ADF called ADF Veggies**.

I have been very productive!

Today, however, I feel lazy.  I worked a little on my doll (sketched an outfit concept, painted some beads...), but otherwise?  Maybe I feel a little lost without my job this month.  I do everything I normally pack into the evening in the morning now and am left...  with a lot of time!

I started to watch "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."  A few episodes aside, I've never really seen much!  A friend once tried to get me into it.  She showed me a few episodes but never from the beginning.  It always seemed really hokey to me.  Indeed, it is, but by starting from the beginning the corniness has grown on me.  I find the characters amusingly delightful.  The occult references are often hilarious, but for every Hollywood cliche or seemingly offensive cultural appropriation, there's always a surprising "Wow, they actually know that!" moment.  I've been urged by several friends to keep going as it "only gets better."

*Photos coming soon!

** Are you a vegan or a vegetarian?  Join join join!

( For My LJ Friends: )

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

C'mon get happy!

I'm not sure who originally took this photo (or photoshopped it if that is the case...) but it sure makes me smile!

( For My LJ Friends: )

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chant Help

Four or five years ago, when I was feeling my way through Wicca and eclectic Paganism, I was feeling "chant envy."  Several of my Pagan friends knew more chants than me.  They could all spontaneously break out in chant and everyone knew the words...  I felt left out so I went on a chant hunt and found some classics as well as some things that I don't often hear people use.

One of them went like this (more or less):

The Earth she is singing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth she is laughing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth she is dancing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth is our mother
Oh ma ma ma 

Oh ma ma ma hey oh ma ma ma
Oh ma ma ma hey oh ma ma ma

I fell in love with it and was lucky enough to find an mp3 of it.  It's one of my favorites and I often sing it around the house.

Almost a year ago, some of my grovies came back from a festival where they had learned it and it was incorporated into our rituals when we honor the Earth Mother.  I was really surprised but delighted all the same. The only problem was/is...  people don't really know it.  Last week, during Summer Solstice, there was an embarrassing moment when we started the chant and the bard didn't know it and everyone was mixed up.  I was singing the version I learned, but even before the ritual there was a minor dispute between the grove organizer and the senior Druid as to what the actual order of the lyrics were.  It pains me to admit it, but it sounded horrible and the energy just wasn't there for me during that part of the rite...

I was searching around for the lyrics or even the mp3 I used to have but I can't find it anywhere!  Can anyone help?  My grove likes to sing and dance to it but we really need to be on the same page.  It's one of my most favorite chants and it's really embarrassing when the grove flounders so...


( For My LJ Friends: )

Keeping My Oath

Some of you may remember that I made an oath a few weeks ago in which I promised the Kindreds (and myself) that I would honor them with a formal ADF ritual every week.  I did this week's ritual just a little while ago.  Although it wasn't anything groundbreaking, I did feel more confident.  Brighid put some honey on my tongue or something.  I still tend to forget one bit of the COoR and then fit it in right away before the end.  It makes me feel a bit stupid but the Gods never seem offended.  Just doing ritual makes me feel closer to them and, each time I perform a rite, I improve.

Before my ritual I took a shower and did my best to focus on grounding and removing any negative thoughts.  I've found that ritual gestures are very important to me, if only to put me in the proper mindset for magic or ritual*.  In the shower I put my head under the water and then lowered my hands across my body until my fingers went into the water.  I visualized/felt the negative energy of the day flow out and down the drain.  Very effective for me!

* I recently read in Real Magic by Bonewits that tantric traditions refer to ritual gestures as mudra.  

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The Joy of Gardening

I know that I keep bubbling about this, but gardening makes me so, so happy.  Something about the success of caring for a living creature, the production of my own food, and the intimate relationship with nature that it fosters...  I always find something new and exciting in my garden.  Sometimes I find things that are disturbing, like a Japanese beetle.

Toads have been burrowing hiding holes in some of my larger pots.  I don't mind at all.  They're making them in corners and so I don't think they're upsetting the roots.  They are probably eating some pesky bugs while they're there.

Today I found baby tomatoes!  Let me explain why this is so exceptional.  I had a container garden last year when I lived in Whitesboro.  When Weretoad and I prepared to move up north, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of a little tomato plant.  It never prospered the same way the others did.  It never even produced fruit last year.  All the same, I valued it as a living creature and brought it up to my new home to give it a chance.  I decided that, even if it never blossomed and just continued to grow as a green plant, the smell was heartening to me in the winter.  I kept it on the kitchen window with the chives and catnip.  It grew and grew and grew...  I had to tie it in place eventually.  When late spring came, I transplanted it into a larger pot and snaked it around some bamboo poles.  A couple weeks ago I spotted little yellow flowers.  "That's it!" I mentally told it.  "You're finally doing it!"  Today I spied wee little tomatoes!  How exciting!  I knew it had the potential!

To me, Gardening is so Druidic!

( For My LJ Friends: )

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Show and Tell

Catnip in a crocheted hanging basket.

Some of my cucumbers (they're finally flowering!), a tigerella tomato plant, and a fox to guard them!

A gnome stands guard amidst the oakleaf lettuce and dill.  Below are marigolds and lemongrass.  

A sunny wind chime adds to the relaxing atmosphere that is my patio garden.  Hanging next to it from a barely visible hook are a strawberry plant and a bird feeder.

Obviously, our cats love the bird feeder.

So those are some of the things in my garden.  There are more, like my other herbs, including chives in another crocheted hanging basket.  I also have several small tomato plants waiting inside as well as some eggplant seedlings that need to go out.  First I need a few more pots and some soil.  I lost my carrots but... live and learn, right?  I can't wait until I have actual land and can have a much bigger garden! 


I crocheted some socks!  They fit really well.  I have some issues to figure out as I make the next pair (already in progress) such as the spacing around the toes.  I want to get thinner yarn and a smaller hook because these, while perfect for boots, cannot be worn comfortably (or fashionably) with dress shoes at work.  As I said, the spacing between some stitches needs work, but they are some of the most comfortable socks I've ever worn.  They breathe!  

( For My LJ Friends: )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Favorite Band of Mine

Blackmore's Night performing "Cartouche."  Ahhh, it makes me want to dance!  I'm definitely adding the album to my Amazon wish list!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

The longest day of the year was largely overshadowed by work today.  I'm thankful for the celebratory time I had this weekend.  I would like to pick strawberries though.  Weretoad and I have a tradition in which we pick strawberries on or around the Summer Solstice.  I know there are places up here; it's just a matter of getting the time.

We made today special by visiting with a friend who was in the area with her boyfriend on vacation.  I haven't seen her since our handfasting in October.  It was great to actually hang out with a friend in our neck of the woods for a change.  Immediate family aside, people generally don't visit us.  We're rather far from the tribe.  We went to the Lyric Cafe in Clayton and sat outside.  Weretoad and I had iced chai lattes and roasted mushrooms with onions and peppers.  Mmmm...  The Bay makes for a nice atmosphere, even when it's only a appreciated in the background.

My vacation officially starts next week.  I'm looking forward to more time in Alexandria Bay.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Developments

1) As stated earlier, I'm an official member of Muin Mound Grove.  That means I can plan rituals and run for office.  So, I am running for grove secretary - unopposed.  LOL  Our current secretary is going to be the new Senior Druid since the old one is MIA.  Some of you who know me may remember that I was MVPN's secretary.  I had a laptop at the time but have since converted back to a desktop.  I will have to take notes the old fashioned way.

2) I volunteered to make the main offering for Lughnasadh - a doll of Tailtiu.  I'm really excited!  Part of my oath to Muin Mound Grove at my welcoming ceremony was that I would bring my art to help the grove.  I already have ideas!  It's so exciting.  She will be minimally armatured.  I will probably use a stick or dowel for her spine so that she sits up, but otherwise...  Everything has to be flammable and safe for the fire.  The front hem of her skirt will be stitched to her hands so that everyone can place small harvest items in it.

3) I'm officially a Dedicant Program reviewer!  I have my first DP to look at and am impressed thus far!  The individual is an excellent writer.  I've only read one essay but it's left a very good taste in my mouth.

4) Slowly but surely, I'm delving into Janson's History of Art: The Western Tradition.   I'm very much engaged with it, in part  because I've always been motivated to take a history of art class but never had the time or maneuverability in my college scheduling.  I finished the first chapter which was a brief explanation about why art is important and how one should take a varied approach when judging its worth.  I'm getting into the second which is all about prehistoric art.  In the meantime, I'm waiting for judgement on my muse essay...

So, yes.  I'm getting more and more involved with ADF.  I love it and it makes me happy.  :)

Thoughts on the Wicker Man

From Friday to Saturday, I underwent the vigil to become an official "folk" of Muin Mound Grove along with Candee.  What this means is that, along with having a history of attending the grove and a good relationship with everyone there, I am taking on more responsibility.  If need be, I could be asked to lead a significant part of a ritual.  I'm expected to do more for the grove.  It's really exciting for me.  I love everyone there and I'm proud to be a part of it.   I want to do more for my Grovies of my religion in general.

Muin Mound has various traditions that are part of becoming a folk.  Along with staying up until just after sunrise, we made Muin Mound pins to wear at ritual, underwent a long guided meditation, participated in a ritual, were formally welcomed during the main worship service, and watched the Wicker Man.

Now, I'd never seen the Wicker Man before.  It's not the sort of film my parents would have had around the house.  It also has the reputation as a horror film and, for all my recent posts about ghosts and zombies, I don't often watch such things.  When I found out what becoming a folk entailed, I decided to put off watching it until my vigil.

Why is the Wicker Man part of our vigil tradition?  Well, it's a hugely popular movie in the Neo-Pagan community.  Everyone seems to rave about it.  Groups are even organizing Rocky Horror-like parties where people watch the movie and sing along to the beautiful songs.  I suppose we watch it because it's become such a huge part of our Pagan culture and to become so involved in said culture is to experience its art*.

So what did I think of it?

Let me just get it out right now and say that I didn't enjoy the end.  If you've never seen the movie, look away right now.  Did the uninitiated leave?  Ok, good.  Now, the movie is called The Wicker Man because, at the end, the investigator, who also happens to be a virgin Christian, is sacrificed to the Gods by being burned alive (along with various animals) to ensure the fertility of the land.  The residents of the all-Pagan island of Summer Isle, known for their apples, had a poor harvest the year before and wanted to give a really large sacrifice to aid them.  Now, I always knew this was going to happen because of the movie's reputation and my background knowledge.  Julius Caesar wrote about the Gauls use of wicker men but, other than that literary blurb, no other evidence for the practice exists.  We know that the Celts did sacrifice people and animals, but the wicker man method was either incredibly rare, a one-time event, or a rumor that Caesar noted/created.

The film, over all, did not meet my definition of a horror film.  It simply did not "horrify" me until the very end.  I'm sure it's more horrible to Christians who are easily offended by nudity, sex, and polytheism.  I spent most of the film giggling at the protagonist's discomfort (or growling at his rudeness) and wishing that I lived on an island of Pagans.

And this brings me to why I didn't like the end.  As stated, I know our ancestors sacrificed animals and people to the Gods.  I don't feel that we have to do that any more.  Our society has evolved and, while I know some people still maintain such practices, I feel that we are in an age that requires less killing and destruction. We ravage our environment enough.  We kill too many factory farmed animals.  We have too many hungry humans in the world to justify killing animals to use up other important resources like grain and water.  Human sacrifice is now murder and animal sacrifice is now arguably unsustainable.  A better sacrifice to the Gods in this day and age would be to give up something you worked hard on, or, better yet, an environmentally damaging practice that is convenient to you (I could do more of this).  There's also giving up time for community service.  There are many types of sacrifice and all are appropriate, in my opinion.  If you really feel that the Gods desire blood, put a razor to your own fingers.  If you must offer an animal, buy an animal to feed an unfortunate family in the name of your Gods.

Some people giggle at the sacrifice of the Christian at the end.  Me...  I was uncomfortable with it.  In the modern sense, it was a murder.  The Pagans of Summer Isle claim that he was a willing sacrifice because he came to the island by his own free will, but that isn't so.  They tricked him and then sabotaged his means of escape.  I worry that many Pagans love the film because of their own bitterness towards Christianity.  As much as the religion makes me uncomfortable, I know too many good Christian people.

Now, I know that most Pagans wouldn't dream of doing an actual wicker man.  Most are level-headed enough to know that such practices are best left to ancient history.  Hopefully most are aware that The Wicker Man is fictitious and that modern groups just don't do that (knock on wood).**  After watching it with some of my grove mates, we had a brief conversation about how it was fictitious.  I think the key to Pagans watching and enjoying the movie is that it must be followed by discussion because it can be educational and inspirational.  When showing it to new Pagans or the highly impressionable, it should be prefaced in some way so as to cushion the blow.

Ending aside, I actually really liked the movie.  A level-headed person should know that it's all fiction and that it's not an accurate portrayal of modern Pagans (Are any movies?).  The music was beautiful.  I was familiar with a majority of it.  Damh the Bard does an excellent cover of "Gently Johnny," and Mediaeval Baebes produced a playfully melodic "Maypole Song."  Also present was the traditional "Sumer is a Cummin In" that I so loved from MVPN's Beltaine rituals.

Mediaeval Baebes' "Summer Isle (The Maypole Song)."

In the end, and after a night to think about it, I really did enjoy "The Wicker Man."  The ending made me uncomfortable, but that is the point of horror films, I suppose.  Even though the movie wasn't much of a horror film otherwise, it gave me something to reflect upon.  "The Wicker Man" can be a useful educational tool, is fun to watch as a fictional piece***, and has a lovely soundtrack.  I think I would like to add it to my DVD collection.

*I say this is Pagan art because I've read that the crew consulted with Pagans for ideas and traditions.

** My brain would explode if someone showed up for a Beltaine rite with an animal to put in a wicker man.  "But I thought that's what you guys did!"  Oh that would be so weird...

*** opposed to a basis for practice or belief.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Favorite Legendary Creature

A few days ago I posted asking about your favorite supernatural creatures.  Lhinelle responded with the Peryton - something I never knew about (although I'm reminded of something from World of Warcraft...)!  It is a stag-bird hybrid with a penchant for human flesh.

When I made the post, I never answered myself.  My favorite legendary/supernatural/mythical creature is the griffin, although the hippogriff comes in an extremely close second.   Something about the way they look...  I've always wanted to make a plush griffin.  I saw a website that belonged to a doll artist who did just that and they were so amazing...

I also have a fondness for the ever popular, horribly cliched dragon.  I know so many Pagans obsessed with them.  I wouldn't say I'm obsessed...  I just find their lore and look attractive.  I have a few dragon statues around the house and garden.  I think of them more as gargoyles than the menaces that they were to many Indo-European cultures.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Ignore this.

Supernatural Creature

So you may remember the post I made about aliens and ghosts.  Well last night my husband and I watched a fascinating documentary about zombies, their folklore, and film history.  Obviously I'm on a "supernatural creature" kick.

What are your favorite supernatural creatures?  Zombies?  Werewolves?  Ghosts?  Vampires?  Something else?  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ghosts vs. Aliens

Last night I convinced my husband that we should find something about ghosts to watch.  I love viewing programs about haunted houses and such things.  They do send a bit of a chill up my spine but they don't make me terribly frightened.

My husband, on the other hand, would prefer to watch shows about UFOs.  Shows like that tend to take the stance that UFOs are from other planets and thus controlled by aliens.  Something about that concept scares me more than ghosts.

I believe in both ghosts and extraterrestrials, but I've had more experience with the spiritual world.  I won't boast that I know as much or more than others - but I've had spiritual experiences that I can't explain.  I've never, to my knowledge, had experience with alien life.  Perhaps that is why ghosts are less frightening to me.  I believe that our ancestors can come back to visit us or that people who had horrible deaths can be trapped in a limbo of sorts.  Even if ghostly apparitions are ghastly or even violent, there's the understanding that they were once human or, at the very least, of this world (or a different realm in this world).  They are somewhat familiar*.

Aliens?  Not so much.  The whole abduction theme makes me nervous.  Yes there are legends of fairy abductions, but even the most chilling tales pale against the stories people tell of probings and rapes.  Perhaps those stories are just the ravings of unstable people or attention seekers...  but it doesn't make me feel any better.  Ghosts, for the most part, wander around aimlessly and occasionally whisper or stare.  The scariest things about them are that they remind us of our mortality.  Alien rape?  Now that just makes me want to curl up and rock in a corner!

Don't worry about me, dear readers.  I'm not so unstable that a belief in extraterrestrials will really disrupt my day to day activities.  This entry is merely an exploration of why I would rather watch shows about ghosts than aliens.  I'm still not sure why my husband prefers the opposite...

*This won't make me all the more willing to wander into an abandoned orphanage, though...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Of Visits, Traveling Altars, and Color

I'm back from a lovely weekend in the Mohawk Valley.  I was able to visit my family and some friends who graciously invited me over for tea.

I stayed true to my oath (vow?  Perhaps I should have gone to Seamus' workshop at Wellspring...) and performed a full ritual this week.  Because I was away from my altar I used my traveling altar.  I had been using the little dishes some tea lights came in as offering bowls.  When the candles were used, I decorated them with different designs.  I offered some oil Friday evening as part of my ritual.  Actually, that was pretty much all I had to offer because I can't fit much in the little box that is my traveling altar.  I left the oil in the dish over night and it seems to have weakened the plastic.  I'll have to rethink this...

In other news, I tweaked the color of the links.  It should look better!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Look!

Woah...  Blogger added a million more template and background options...  I like it!  Behold the new and improved "Ditzy Druid!"  I liked the image of the path through the woods.  The symbolism should be fairly obvious, but I also chose it because I love being in the woods.  I don't spend enough time there, but when I do I feel more at peace.

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First Harvest!

My husband and I made tempeh sandwiches with a side of steamed asparagus for dinner today.  We sliced some organic tomato for the sandwich and also used some freshly harvested oakleaf lettuce from my garden today!  I have some more stored in the fridge for future sandwiches or salads.  I think I would like to get another container for some spinach now...  Gods, I can't wait for some ripe home-grown tomatoes!  Those are the best.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thinking About Storms

The sky is overcast and it's a little windy out.  It rained earlier.  I wish it would storm.  I haven't experienced a good storm in I don't know how long.  You know?  The loud kind that causes lights to go out and everyone gathers in one room to cuddle in blankets while listening to the majesty of nature?  I'd love one of those...

Now if it were to happen tonight, I would like my husband to be home from work so I can cuddle with him under a blanket.

I love storms but I don't feel like I have any real connection to storm spirits or Gods*.  At least not in my hearth culture.  Whenever I hear thunder, my thoughts first turn to Thor - not to Taranis.  I don't feel any pull to the Gaulish deities, actually.  My husband has this "thing" with Thor.  I say it like that because he doesn't worship him or necessarily consider him real**.  To Weretoad, Thor is an entity (mythical, fictional, or real) to be admired.  He bonds with him through comics like Marvel's "Thor" or Eric Evensen's "Gods of Asgard***."  My husband thinks Thor is "cool" but in a distant way and I so dig it.

Weretoad is agnostic but we actually have more spiritually in common than most think.  For example, I'm pretty agnostic about some things - like the afterlife - and we are both animistic to some degree (although he doesn't label himself as such).  Needless to say, my agnostic, semi-animistic Thor fanboy gets along quite well with myself and other ADFers most of the time.

There was a time I worried about our religious differences.  I wish I could go back and whisper in my younger self's ear about how compatible we really are, how we're happily married, and how I can't wait for a thunderstorm so that the two of us can cuddle up and think about the amazing Thor throwing Mjöllnir around****.

*Really, my life is more consumed in art and study, so the patrons I have are very fitting!  I'm not complaining at all. :)

**Nor does he consider him unreal.

*** "Gods of Asgard" is very good.  I'm not as well-read on Norse mythology, but from what I know it seems in tune with the lore.

**** We both grinned giddily when Mjöllnir appeared after the credits ran for Ironman 2.  :P

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In case you haven't seen...

ADF's new Arch Druid made The Wild Hunt!  Check out the lovely photo.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Art, Books, and Joy

First of all, here is my new Deviant Art page.  I still have a lot of dolls to upload (not to mention some profile tweaking) but those are the most recent works.  I'm currently stitching a new fairy doll.  Fairies were the most popular (as far as sales and compliments went) at Wellspring, and I realized that I haven't made a fairy in a long, long time.  Last summer I made a pair of fairy wings out of nylon with the help of my friend/sister-in-law.  I need to take those semi-new skills and apply them to my dolls!

In other news, I've been working hard on the study programs.  Still no word about my muse essay, but I've been reading and organizing notes for Art History and Magic I.  The study programs fill the void that was college.  I miss academia and, though I'm planning to go to graduate school next year, I feel lucky to be part of a religious tradition that values study just as much as it values spirituality, artistry, and magic.  I'm currently working my way through Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits and the gargantuan Janson's History of Art. I recently finished The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain by Lewis Spence.  I found it to be helpful in better understanding some aspects of Celtic belief, such as the Otherworld, fairies/spirits, and the "second sight," and was mildly, if wryly, amused by the out of date nationalism and/or racism.  The author kept talking about how amazing Britain is and how superior the Celtic beliefs/practices/philosophies are to other "barbaric" cultures.  Yay for 1945!  The art history book is proving to be interesting and inspiring even though I've barely put a dent in it.  Uncle Isaac's work (his first published book) is also interesting.  I dig his humor and even his mild elitism (and older and wiser Bonewits apologizes for it in the forward), and find it heartening to know that I'm not the only crazy who believes in multiple truths and universes.  I'm only up to chapter three, but I'm really gaining a lot from his insights.

While in the shower this evening, I realized just how much I get back from ADF and the study programs.  I feel like I've learned so much and I know I will learn more.  The beauty is that it's learning for the sake of it.  I'm not doing it because society tells me I need a job or because it's "the logical thing to do" after high school.  I really enjoy it and want to make it a bigger part of my life.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gardening, Vigils, and Life Lessons

My sweet peppers have been eaten by something.  This makes me sad.  I shouldn't have put them out without a milk jug over them...  They were so little...  Everything else seems to be doing ok.  My hot peppers have flowers!  

 I was reading up on the vigil/welcoming ceremony Muin Mound does for people becoming a Folk of the Grove. I'm going to undergo the ritual in a couple weeks.  I'm really excited but also a little nervous about staying up all night!  I won't be alone.  My grovie Candee will be going through it as well!

Today I also sent an apologetic email to someone.  I was bothered by something and felt guilty so I wanted to get it off my chest and be honest.  I hope I did the right thing and that I didn't make things worse.  I did an ogham and animal deck reading shortly after because I was nervous about doing it.  The Kindreds seem to be telling me that it was a necessary step in the right direction and that it will mark a new beginning.  I'm hoping it means I will be closer to that person and think more carefully about what I say and do in the future.    

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 14 - A song I listen to when I'm happy.


"Alive" by Omnia.

Day 01 - Your favorite song
Day 02 - A song that makes you happy
Day 03 - A song that makes you sad
Day 04 - A song that reminds you of someone

Day 05 - A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 06 - A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 07 - A song that you can dance to
Day 08 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 09 - A song from your favorite band
Day 10 - A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 11 - A song that describes you
Day 12 - A song from your favorite album
Day 13 - A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 14 - A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 15 - A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 16 - A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 17 - A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 18 - A song that makes you laugh

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Contemplating Excellence and the Stress ADFers Put Themselves Under to Get There

I just sent my Art Muse essay in.  I'm hopeful that it's okay but I'm always prepared to make revisions.  I know a lot of people in ADF get uptight about that, but I guess I got so used to having to do it in college (I was an English major) that I know it's just part of the writing process.  Nobody is perfect and it often takes another set of eyes to help us find the areas that need tweaking.  Sometimes it's grammatical and sometimes it's content-related.

"Why not excellence?" is a wonderful motto, but I think sometimes people lose sight of the necessary journey to get there.  Rarely is someone or something "excellent" in one go.  I can understand the feelings of frustration and despair when something you've worked hard on is ripped apart and you thought you had it all right to begin with.  I've been there.  I've also survived it and am better of for it.  I don't condone professors/tutors/reviewers/editors who belittle a writer - but I also think that people need to realize that writing essays is a process.  Having to revise is not equal to failure - it's just a necessary detour to your growth.

Whenever my essay is officially accepted, I'll be sure to add it to my website and post a link to it here.  :)

Now...  Off to continue working on Magic 1!

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Friday, June 4, 2010

This is worth watching.  It's a TED lecture given by a National Geographic photographer on the oceans.  There are some amazing photos in here.  Nature takes my breath away.

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Taking Care of Business

Wellspring really motivated me to delve deeper into the study programs I'm working on.  I kept making excuses for why I wasn't working harder.  Some of them are arguably valid, such as being tired after work, but I only work for five days out of seven.  There are two days that I could easily get something done.

Tonight I started to edit a book review for Oak Leaves, continued my work on the muse essay for the Artisan study program, and did a full ritual.  I used ogham to seek guidance from the Kindreds and they seemed to have a lot of positive things to say about my desire to do a ritual every week.  All signs point to it being the best thing for my spirituality.  The Kindreds seem to be saying that in doing so, I will grow closer to the land, myself, and the Kindreds in general.  I made an oath that, so long as I'm physically able, I will perform a full ritual once a week.  Should I fail, I will give up the internet (my biggest time sink) for the following week.  The only exception to that is my work email.  Otherwise, no surfing or checking status updates at all.  I've been pretty good about keeping my oath to do a devotional every day unless I participate in some other ritual.  Oaths motivate me.

So I feel pretty good about myself and my spirituality tonight!

In other news, my garden is doing so well!  The marigolds are starting to blossom which adds some much needed color to what is otherwise a collection of green.  I can't wait until my forget me nots blossom!

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Musical Meme

Day 12 - A song from my favorite album  
Hmmm...  This is kind of tricky.  I like a lot of bands...

I think I'll have to choose "Ready Steady Go" from the Smile album by L'Arc-en-Ciel. They're one of my favorite bands and I've already used two or three Beatle songs for this meme... This song is probably one of L'Arc's best and most well-known thanks to "Full Metal Alchemist." It always makes me happy.

Day 13 - A song I listen to when I'm angry.

Hmmm...  I tend not to listen to much when I'm angry.  I usually just take a shower or try to watch something funny...

But if I were to get really angry about something - like a social cause or something like that - and I had to fight for my rights or beliefs, I can see this song being really motivating.  It's called "Morrigan" by Omnia.

I still get goosebumps whenever I listen to it...

Day 01 - Your favorite song
Day 02 - A song that makes you happy
Day 03 - A song that makes you sad
Day 04 - A song that reminds you of someone

Day 05 - A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 06 - A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 07 - A song that you can dance to
Day 08 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 09 - A song from your favorite band
Day 10 - A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 11 - A song that describes you
Day 12 - A song from your favorite album
Day 13 - A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 14 - A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 15 - A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 16 - A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 17 - A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 18 - A song that makes you laugh

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My 21 Lessons of Wellspring

Emerald, our Bard Laureate of ADF, posted her "21 Lessons of Wellspring" on Facebook and I thought it was a lovely idea!  Here are my own.  Enjoy!

1) Next year, pack less clothing.  It's not like I really need to wear it there anyway...
2) Sarongs are the BEST item of clothing ever invented.
3) Regardless of whether or not sun screen causes cancer, I need something on me or else I will burn burn burn!
4) Hanging out with naked people is actually not awkward at all!
5) People in ADF are some of the nicest, most hospitable people ever.
6) Drumming makes rituals more exciting!
7) Dancing barefoot in sand is a great way to exfoliate your feet.
8) Stoicism is basically common sense but talking about it really puts things into perspective.
9) Use your diaphragm!
10) There are a LOT of vegetarians in ADF!
11) People with a cane and a leg brace are still capable of dancing!
12) Skip can dance!  I've seen it with my own eyes!
13) It's actually a lot of fun to run back and forth between a freezing pool and a boiling hot tub!
14) Kirk does look pretty in a tiara.
15) Whenever I say "regalia" I have to look around and prepare myself for a spanking.
16) Vegan marshmallows make people really uncomfortable.
17) 6'5" men in nothing but leopard print sarongs and purple fairy wings make people even more uncomfortable.
18) Druid Sticks looks really scary.
19) I do believe in reikie!  I do!  I do!
20) There is a boy Grey!
21) Pack less clothing but bring more blankets!

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Musical Meme Catch up

Day 6 - A song that reminds me of a certain event.

"The Hills They are Hallow" by Damh the Bard.  It reminds me of Wellspring.  :)

Day 7 - A song that I can dance to

"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga, or really just about any song by her.  I love her style of dress, music, and dance.  To me it's all about being true to yourself.  Sure she may not dress or dance like most other people, but it's refreshing.  I can't help but move when I hear her work.

Day 8 - A song that makes me fall asleep

This is a tricky one...  I generally cannot fall asleep to any music...  I'm going to skip this one.  If I think of something, I'll come back to it.

Day 9 - A song from my favorite band

"Helter Skelter" by the Beatles.  It's one of my favorite songs by them.  I always have to sing and shake my head when I hear it.

Day 10 - A song that no one would expect me to love

"The Little Drummer Boy" - Performed by Celtic Women in this video.  It's one of my favorite holiday songs and I think it's what Christmas is supposed to really be about.  It's such a beautiful story, too.  I try and remember this song when I get mad at Christianity in general and think about all the Christians I know who are more in touch with this simple message than all the crap that is out there.

Day 11 - A song that describes me

This could be seen as a cop-out, but I really couldn't think of anything better.  Everything else is probably more how I would like to be seen or completely inaccurate.

Woo!  I think I'm all caught up.  Sorry for the huge post!  Remember, if you're on lj, you can't see the videos unless you actually click on the below link and go to my blog.

Day 01 - Your favorite song
Day 02 - A song that makes you happy
Day 03 - A song that makes you sad
Day 04 - A song that reminds you of someone

Day 05 - A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 06 - A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 07 - A song that you can dance to
Day 08 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 09 - A song from your favorite band
Day 10 - A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 11 - A song that describes you
Day 12 - A song from your favorite album
Day 13 - A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 14 - A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 15 - A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 16 - A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 17 - A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 18 - A song that makes you laugh

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My husband is amused whenever anyone talks about finishing or nearly finishing the DP (Dedicant Program in ADF lingo).  He says, depending on his mood, his first thoughts are usually about Dr. Pepper or double penetration.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...

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Wellspring 2010 - A Reflection

Like many, I don't really know how to describe my time at Wellspring.  The word that keeps popping up in my head is transformative.  I had a wonderful time and learned a lot about myself.  I feel closer to my grove, the ADF community, and the friends I've made there.

It was great to finally meet so many people who I've only known online.  I spent some time with the Daws and Lesley who I know through Facebook and the ADF chats.  I also met my lj friends athenamsb and Thread_of_Song.  It was amazing to spend time with them.   I briefly spoke with Michael Dangler, Seamus, and Jamie.  I also saw Robb for the first time in a year or so!   I wish we could have talked more but such is the nature of a festival I guess!

Weretoad and I spent a lot of time with our friend Parallax who moved out to Albany earlier this year.  We've not been able to see her as often as we'd like to, so having her at Wellspring was great!  Her husband wasn't able to come but we're already plotting plans for next year!

I feel that Wellspring was transformative for me because not only did it increase my bonds with ADF as a whole, but it helped me to better understand my own insecurities and then deal with them/move past them.  I thought that being in a clothing optional campground would be hugely stressful.  In the end, it became very normal and even relaxing!  I felt more at ease and secure in my own beauty and worth than I ever have.  Like Michele said to me in the hot tub, eventually a switch goes off and you realize that there's a definite difference between nudity and sexuality.  This was also my first time camping so I learned a lot and know better what I do and don't need next year.

The rituals I attended were wonderful.  Kirk's installation as Arch Druid was moving and powerful.  I've never seen so many Druids in one place!  The symbel on Sunday was a lot of fun and different from any ritual I've ever been to.  My husband's favorite was the closing ritual on Monday.  He liked that it was more relaxed and that he could sit (he liked that about the symbel as well).

Goodness...  What else happened?

- I attended several helpful workshops including the Daws' lecture on Stoicism and Kirk's basic ritual skills.  I got a lot out of them!

- Several of my dolls were for sale in the ADF Store.  I even sold six of them!  I hope that everyone enjoys them!

- I entered the doll at right, Manannan mac Lir, into the Artisan Competition and won first place in the Sacred Art category!  Woo!

- Weretoad and I fell in love with sarongs.  I think they're now our favorite form of clothing.

- I bought several sarongs, a dragon statue for my garden, and the book Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits.

- I enjoyed the annual meeting.  I especially liked Kirk's idea to honor some of the most helpful people with certificates and rewards at the end.  It's good to acknowledge the many dedicated volunteers!

- I did a LOT of dancing and it felt wonderful!  My grovies want me to do a workshop on dance sometime.

- Candee and I spoke a bit about reiki and she did some on my face because I was feeling so sick on Sunday.  It really helped and I am so grateful to her!

All in all, I had such a spectacular time and am so amazed with the hospitality of everyone from Stone Creed Grove to the solitaries!  I am honored to be a part of ADF and I cannot wait until next year!  Congratulations to everyones accomplishments!  Hail to the folk and our Kindreds!

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