Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moving to Wordpress

Hello dear readers!

I'm updating to let you know that I've moved The Ditzy Druid to Wordpress.  I've been contemplating this move for awhile after looking through several wonderful looking blogs.  After fiddling with the features, I find that I really like it more than Live Journal, Blogger, Tumblr (Tumbler?) or any other blogging site I've tried.  It looked complicated at first, but it's really more user-friendly in my humble opinion.  I also moved my website to Wordpress so everything is combined and easy to navigate.

I'm still tweaking it (Weretoad is going to make me a personalized banner to replace the stand-in), but everything is set up.  All the old posts and comments have been imported, my study program was moved over, and I am happy.  I'm going to keep my Blogger account for now to maintain my online identity.  I regret to inform my LJ readers that I cannot figure out how to easily forward my Wordpress posts.  I may end up just ignoring LJ for awhile.  Most people I know have given up on it anyway which kind of sucks because I have fond memories attached to it.  Worry not - I will continue to check the accounts from time to time to keep up with friends who use Blogger and LJ.

Otherwise, I invite you all to visit my new blog/website: http://ditzydruid.wordpress.com/.  There is an RSS feed as well as an option to receive updates via e-mail.  If those do not please you, you can also catch my updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for reading The Ditzy Druid on Blogger!  I hope you will continue to follow me on Wordpress.

Grey Catsidhe

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Holly, Jolly Solstice

Weretoad and I had a lovely Winter Solstice!  I was so excited and in a festive mood.  While he was away at work, I finished wrapping gifts, put on some Solstice music, and lit the tree.  It's the only night we leave it on and it's a great reminder of what we're celebrating.

I also busied myself preparing the feast you see at left.  I made a vegetarian roast with baked scallions, carrots, and potatoes.  I also made fresh bread, steamed brussels sprouts, and bread pudding.  Mmmm...carbs... Magical, wonderful carbs!

In addition, I brought home cranberries and made popcorn to turn into garlands.  We did that after our ritual.  After discussing what we should do, Weretoad and I decided to honor the Nature Spirits who have to struggle through the bitter cold.  It is a hard time to be wild.  Many creatures die.  Food is scarce.  We forget that in our warm homes with our stocked larders.  Our main offering was the garland which we put on the little spruce we keep on our patio.  Next year I would like to do more for deities as well but I'm still uncertain as to who I should honor.  Should I visit the Norse deities of my Germanic ancestors and honor Odin as he rides through the sky?  Should I honor the Cailleach as the crone of winter?  Should I give praise to Angus as he is associated with New Grange and thus the Winter Solstice?  I lean more towards the latter two...  I guess we'll see what next year brings.

We went a bit overboard on gifts this year.  In years past we kept a tradition - three large gifts and three stocking stuffers.  This year...  we kind of forgot and got lost in the joy of giving to each other.  We really need to restrain ourselves next year.  That said - I got some lovely gifts from my husband!  In addition to some shiny and practical items, he also contributed to my growing Pagan library. I got a recycled three ring cardboard binder - something I want to use to make my new Druidic grimoire.  I also received The Black Pullet (an old grimoire) and Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl Ph.D.  (For my birthday a week ago, he gave me Toads and Toadstools: The Natural History, Mythology and Cultural Oddities of this Strange Association by Adrian Morgan.)  Needless to say, I have a ton of new books to enjoy and learn from!  Squee!

Today I am busying myself with last minute gift sewing and wrapping.  Yes, I still "celebrate" Christmas with my vaguely Christian family.  I love the excuse to see them. They know I consider the gifts I give them to be Solstice gifts just as the ones they give me are for their own holiday of giving and love.  We somehow meet on common ground.  At the same time, I look forward to having my own large home and throwing wonderful Winter Solstice parties for the whole family...  Some day...  This year, I enjoyed my quiet Solstice with Weretoad. :)

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Blessed Winter Solstice!  Merry Yule!  Hail the sun and hail to life!

We've finally made it to the 21st day of December and my series of Solstice music!  I give you a classic with a Celtic twist - "Deck the Halls" from the seemingly generic Lifescapes album "Christmas Celtic."  It's one of those atmospheric CDs you can buy in card shops.  My mum gave it to me when I first started studying Druidism.  I love it.  I've never heard holiday music like it.  Deck the Halls is an old standard with incredibly Pagan lyrics, and this begins sounding typical - but wait until the middle!  Everything picks up and all I want is to be in an Irish pub dancing away the Solstice with the tribe!  It always gets me in the mood for festivities.  I've played it several times tonight as I prepare the Solstice dinner.

On the menu tonight: a vegetarian roast with baked potatoes, carrots, and scallions; steamed brussels sprouts; fresh bread, and bread pudding.  We're going to eat, have a Solstice ritual in honor of the sun and the Nature Spirits enduring the cold, then open gifts - but only after giving a garland of popcorn and cranberries to the Nature Spirits.

May everyone have a wonderful Yuletide filled with love, joy, good food, and light!

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

I'm back from a successful and amazing craft show!  I will post more about that some other time.  For now I need to catch up on the 21 Days of Solstice Music!  Eeep!

Let's start off something psychedelic.

"Shaman Spirit Reindeer of Siberia" by Magicfolk is one of the most interesting holidays songs I've ever heard.  The music video is bizarre but playful*.  I can't help but love it.  You see, each December I find myself contemplating the complex origins of Santa Claus.  Was he a Christian saint?  Is he the modernized, transformed winter Odin or Thor?  Is he a demi-God?  Or was he originally a reindeer shaman in Siberia?  (There are whole books dedicated to that possibility.)

The next selection cannot be embedded so I'll link it here.  It's Jesse L. Martin singing "Abundance and Charity" from "The Christmas Carol" musical.  I'm posting this because the Ghost of Christmas Present reminds me of An Dagda.  The actor in this video isn't how I imagine An Dagda looking, but the Good God is all about providing for the tribe.  His cauldron makes sure everyone gets what they're due.  Sometimes that magic manifests in us and inspires us to take care of each other.  (Perhaps there's a little bit of An Dagda in Santa?)  He is also, in my experience, all about enjoying life.  Food (his cauldron and ability to pack it in), music (his magical harp), and sex/flirting are some of his specialties.  The actor in this clip really captures that.

Here's a classic - "The Christians and the Pagans" by Dar Williams. It's another one of those songs that can (should) be common ground for multi-religious families.  It captures the real meaning of this time of year - coming together as a tribe, no matter our differences, to celebrate the season and love.

Finally, I couldn't celebrate the Winter Solstice and the sun without George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun."  Ok, so it's not what most consider a traditional holiday tune, but 1) I'm a huge Beatles fan and 2) it's all about the sun and how its "coming" gives us happiness and reassurance - even in the cold of winter.

Join me tomorrow for the final selection!

* I totally own the dragon plush they use...

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Goodness, I've been really delinquent this time!  I apologize for the lateness.  As usual, I've been really busy working on items for the craft show this (THIS) weekend.  I also celebrated my birthday which kept me away from the computer.

Anyway, here are some Winter Solstice tunes!

First off, the Daws of ADF composed a Winter Solstice song.  If you're an ADF member, you can see the lyrics and even listen to an audio clip!   The Daws are wonderful, musical people and I love to show off ADF's talent.  I apologize to the non ADFers who weren't able to sample their piece.

Second, I give you "Once Upon a December" from the movie "Anastasia."  Ok...so the fictionalized recovery of a Russian princess isn't particularly festive or Pagan, but I've come to view this song as a seasonal favorite.  It's all about memories associated with winter.  We all have them - a song, scent, or object triggers our memories and we remember something from our past.  Sometimes it's dreamlike.  Did it even really happen?  There can be magic to it, as in the magic of childhood we are forced to recall this time of year.

Speaking of memories...  and Russia...  I can't help but post "Trepak" aka "The Russian Dance" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.  It's short but amazingly sweet.  I used to play the viola in high school and we traditionally played this every December.  Once upon a time, I could play parts of it by memory. One of these days I'll buy a viola and this sheet music...  Anyway, I associate this with the holidays.  Really, any Nutcracker music.  Although the characters start off celebrating Christmas, the focus moves to a magical world inhabited by all sorts of spirits - outsider-like rat spirits, a plethora of fairies, and sprites associated with everything from different cultures to household sweets.

Finally, a new favorite of mine from the ever inspiring Damh the Bard - "On Midwinter's Day."  It's another great song for Pagans and our more open-minded monotheistic friends!

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Another chunk of songs for your Solstice enjoyment!

We'll start with something more serious.  This one was a suggestion from a reader (onelittlepagan) - a Paganized version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Craig Olson.  The images of an actual Solstice celebration are beautiful.  What a lovely home!  Thanks for sharing, onelittlepagan!  I had only ever heard the Christian version and this cover, I find, works well.

How about a song about nissers, spirits from Norway and Denmark who are basically gnomes?  They've become associated with both Christmas and Solstice.  Many families leave porridge with a pat of butter out for them during the holidays.  Perhaps nissers are in Santa's spiritual DNA?  I wouldn't discount it.  I don't know if I have any Norwegian blood in me (if I do, it's from a very, very long time ago...) but my husband does.  I wonder if there are nissers around, just waiting for us to befriend them?  Anyway, this adorable little song is called "Jeg Tror Der Findes Nisser" ("I Think There are Gnomes") by Thomas Kjellerup.

And while we're dealing with European spirits, what Solstice would be complete without The Krampus Christmas Song?  While Nissers can have a malicious streak if crossed, the Krampus is a bit terrifying.  Meeting him and his birch whipping rod is way worse than getting coal.  Krampus is a huge tradition in parts of Europe (and even some parts of America).  On a certain day of the year, several adults will dress up as Krampus and roam the streets to frighten children with old chains.  Some even lightly hit people.  Sounds fun, to me!

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Tumakhunter sent me a suggestion for my 21 Days of Solstice Music series - a lovely Paganized version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."  It's called "Make Ye Merry Gentlemen" and is by a group called Lhiannan.  Thanks for sharing, Tumakhunter!  If anyone else has suggestions, do let me know.  I have a few other songs lined up, but there's always room for more. :)

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Apologies for the delay but I've been feeling ill.  Thanks to all my readers on blogger, lj, and facebook for your support for this series, and even some suggestions!  I've got a few more songs coming up later this week, but I wanted to post a couple new ones that I discovered through The Juggler.

"Santa's Pagan Too" by Emerald Rose.

I sometimes feel jaded by the trickery associated with parents performing as Santa.  This song reminded me that Santa is really a spirit who can possess or inspire us to give.  Sometimes his image, like so many, is used to excuse materialism - but I don't think that's really what he's about.  Santa stands for generosity, fun, the magic of childhood, and good family memories.  Still, I think I would go about the tradition differently should I ever have children of my own.

"The Solstice Song" by Finvarra’s Wren.  A lovely folk song that looks forward to the spring, much as our ancestors would have done this time of year.

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Monday, December 6, 2010

Personal Growth

Today was a stressful day.  It was, as I told my husband, the Monday of Mondays.  Getting to work was not difficult, but once I was there it was one thing after another.  There was a lot of absenteeism today.  Many people are out with whooping cough which is kind of uncomfortable.  I took my lunch break to run some errands.  I sent my grad school application off which was good.  The rest is in the hands of the administrators and the Gods. I then took some time to make what I thought would be a quick business call.  It turned into a very long and stressful exchange, but supposedly everything was rectified.  A second time.  Gods willing, everything is fine and I will get my bloody certificate of authority so I can legally sell at the upcoming craft show!  Everyone was very kind, patient, and helpful so I can't fault them too much...

I've come to accept that it's going to take me awhile to finish my Initiate Study Program.  Hell, it took me at least a year to delve into my DP, and three years after that to finish.  I took my time.  Who can blame me?  I was working on my first degree while working part time and maintaining various hobbies.  Working full time while attending grad school?  I know I'm going to have my hands full.

I am finding myself less resentful and guilty for my limited Druidic studying.  I do what I can.  I do my short daily devotionals, I pray, I make offerings to Brighid when I sew, and I do my weekly ritual complete with ogham reading.  I practice bits of kitchen magic here and there.  I try to make time for meditations and walks in the woods.  I listen to Pagan music and podcasts.  I alternate fiction with Pagan studies when I read before bed.  I get in touch with my inner self and the spirits through my art.  That is how I am living and experiencing Paganism now.  Do I feel like I could do more?  Sure.  But I'm not beating myself up over it now.

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

Don't you love those traditional, non-denominational winter songs?  They can make us nostalgic, connect us to family and friends who celebrate Christmas, and help us find the positive in all the snow we have to shovel.  Up here in the North Country, we have a lot!  Be that as it may, I love leaving my home in the morning to see a frosted forest.  If you look at the snow just right, you can see it glitter like magical fairy dust.

Enjoy this old favorite - "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" - by Dean Martin.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Continuation of Crafty Goodness

I forgot to add a few things.  Here's more that I made this weekend!

Five new Goddess dolls.

A dark brown catsidhe with pink wings.

And finally, a demonic catsidhe.  OMG isn't he amazing?  *fiendish grin*  

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

My Weekend Thus Far...

...has been spent sewing.  I did mention in my last post that I also worked on my grad school application, but a majority of my time was spent preparing for the upcoming craft show.  I did a lot of work, especially yesterday.  Some things aren't done yet, but here's what I did complete.  I apologize that some of them are a bit hard to see.  I need to make a light box.

A small teddy bear.

Side of a small black dragon.  It will eventually be turned into an ornament.

The front of the mini dragon.

A pixie.  She will also become an ornament.

Mini wizard.  Another ornament.  

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

I'm a little behind in posting Solstice music, and for that I apologize.  I've had a lot going on - namely preparing for a craft show and filling out a grad school application.  Enjoy a triple dose of Yuletide cheer!

Faith and the Muse - "A Winter Wassail."  I adore this tune.  Solstice isn't complete without it!

"The Holy and the Ivy" - a traditional holiday piece.

This song is one of the best examples of how Paganism influenced early Christianity.  Most people miss that it is as overtly Pagan as Christian, what with the rising sun and running deer imagery.  Not to mention that holy and ivy were very sacred plants to many of our ancient ancestors and have nothing to do with Christianity save the symbolism borrowed from earlier cultures.  I continue to love this song as it is common ground for my family and I to meet on.

Finally, a "Paganized" version of a Christmas hymn - "Gods Rest Ye Merry Pagans." Somehow...  this just works.  I really like it.  :)

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

It's December 2nd and we inch ever closer to the Solstice!  Today I'm posting one of my favorite holiday songs.  While technically a Christmas song, it appeals to my Irish blood as it's by the Pogues and has the sound of an old Irish bar ballad.  "Fairytale of New York" tells of the failed relationship between lovers.  I'm not sure if they're both immigrants, or if one was and moved back home.  I find it interesting that it's one of the most popular holiday songs in Ireland and Britain, but it never gets played on US radios.  Perhaps it's the cursing?  I must admit, the unconventional but nostalgic vulgarity of the song is part of the appeal to me.  It sounds so different from the other holiday music on the radio - and let's admit, most of that is just rubbish!  Listen to this instead.  It's a wonderful story with some great Irish sounds.

"Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues and featuring Kirsty McColl.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

The Cailleach - Crone of Winter

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

When Magic Doesn't Go as Planned

Sometimes magic doesn't go as planned.  Sometimes we aren't as specific or focused as we need to be.  Sometimes the spirits have other ideas.

Thus it went with me last night as I prayed to the Cailleach for such a blast of winter that travel would be impossible and people would have to cancel school.  I just wanted a day to myself...  Thanksgiving vacation was so rushed and busy with the traveling and socializing...  I enjoyed it immensely, but now I'm behind on housework, sewing, and my grad school application.  To top it off, there is some extra event after work hours that I must take part in.  I just wanted some me time...

And that's what I got when I woke up this morning.  I am stuck here and unable to get to work.  Just me.  Nothing else was cancelled.  I was forced to  take some time off work until someone can help me reach my car which is stuck inside a frozen garage.  

I should have thought twice before praying to the cold Cailleach for assistance...  Then again, I got what I wanted... just not how I wanted it.  Now I am forced to miss some work and look like a helpless twit.  Such is magic.

Should I pray for help to come faster?  Nah...  At least I have some me time...

For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grey Catsidhe's 21 Days of Solstice Music!

I'll start off with a favorite of mine - "Solstice Bells" by Jethro Tull.

A joyous song, the sacred hunt, mistletoe, Druids, and a quirky Medieval music video complete with a dancing Death!  What's not to love?

It's snowing in the North Country.  My spirit guide is happy!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )