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Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Award! Yay!

Wooo! I won an award! I never win anything lol. I didn't actually think anyone read this little blog :) I want to say a Big Thankyou to Willow Silverhorse at collegewitchexperiences for honouring me with the Beautiful Blodder Award!


Here are the rules of the award:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.


7 Things About Myself:

1. My heritage is part Scottish, Scandinavian and Japanese
2. I'm under 5 ft tall
3. I love Wendy Rules music and can listen to her all day long
4. I'm craving sushi really badly through this pregnancy :(
5. I love scifi. Can't help myself, I'm a big nerd at heart.
6. I'm a SAHM
7. I'm a Reiki practitioner


The Ten Bloggers I Pass This Award On To:

1. Hibiscus Moon
2. dollyandtheblackdog
3. confessionsofacraftywitch
4. hedgewitchhollow
5. SquishyBumMum
6. Blog of an Obscure Pagan
7. Vethorn's Hof
8. ravingsfromateacherwitch
9. craftychickscuppacoffee
10. shadwickfamily
11. Natural Living and Parenting
12. Monster - The personal stories of a Woman and Monster
13. A Pagan Tapestry
14. Daily Meditation
And last but definatly not least
15. Woodland Witch


These are not all the fantastic blogs I have bookmarked but they are each wonderful in their own right :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sanctuary


For me my altar space is my sanctuary, the place I feel most at home. I'm a visually orientated person and my altar has become a visual expression of my spirituality. It's the place where I meditate and perform my daily blessing and my spiritual workings, most importantly it is the place I go to honour Gaia and my connection to her. While I would prefer to have a small shrine outside under the cherry blossom tree in our backyard, the downside of living in the city is lack of privacy from our neighbours who have a direct view over the fence.

I have always tried to place my altar by a window so that I can open it and allow the breeze inside. I am lucky enough at the moment to have a window that faces east so the morning sun is able to shine upon it come dawn and the moon rises before it come nightfall.

My altar has had many incarnations. I started out with a small shoebox hidden under my bed as a teen, I've used a breakfast tray and a small set of nesting tables. After the round decorators table that I used literally fell apart after 9 years I decided it was time for an upgrade. I searched for what seemed like forever through every furniture store in town until I accidentally found a small business that handcrafted wooden furniture from reclaimed and recycled materials.

The most expensive items I have purchased for my altar was the Millennial Gaia statue by Oberon Zell and the small 6" statues I had commissioned but you don't have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful and meaningful space. Most of my altar items I buy from cafter's markets, op shops, dollar stores or eBay. I've been collecting odds and ends for years and I love finding a new purpose for items such as coffee jars that I wash and use to store herbs and incense or the egg cups that I have filled with the element representations. I absolutely encourage getting down and crafty with your altar. I've made statues from air dry clay and modified a music box before. I make and customise soy candles and incense for specific uses. If you don't feel very crafty you can always find something in nature to bring inside as well. A great source for altar cloths is sample size fabric from craft or fabric stores which sell for only a couple of dollars and if you don't have access to a sewing machine there is double sided iron on tape to hem the sides (which I should really get off my butt to do........one day)

I would love to have a Bonsai tree on my altar (my Grandmother was Japanese and had the most beautiful garden with a pond of Japanese carp and tables filled with Bonsai) but I'm like the worst Gaian ever, I have a black thumb when it comes to indoor plants and they never seem to be able to survive the week lol. So I've had to compromise and faux flowers it is for me.

Like many, my altar share's a duel space in our bedroom, which I actually prefer as it is the first thing I see in the morning. A couple of years ago we lived in a large house with 4 bedrooms so I was able to use one of them as my altar room but I found that I hardly ever went in there. It was at the back of the house and with a three year old at the time I just didn't have the energy to set time aside to spend extra time there. I've found that keeping my altar in the bedroom means that the energy of the altar has strengthened because I am able to tend to it daily, even for just a few short moments. Sharing a space has ment though that the area around the altar needs to be cleansed regularly and kept clean and clear, this means my husbands dirty socks will have to land on the opposite side of the room lol.

I love taking photos of my altars but I do wish I had taken some of my first altars, alas that was in the days before phone cameras. I like looking back and seeing a visual evolution of my practices and beliefs. I change the decore whenever I feel it needs a revamp but usually at the start of each season or before a sabbat comes round.


The most important thing about my altar is that it represents me. Every item is carefully thought about before I will place it on there. Everything has a purpose or a meaning.



I have a couple of videos on youtube of my altars as well.
http://www.youtube.com/user/Pyrivala

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Witchy Mamma


Like many parents I'm juggling little ones - Master 5 and Master 18mths as well as awaiting Master #3. My days are spent doing the school run and changing nappies among the seemingly never ending pile of washing that grows and mutates daily. I bathe and read to the boys before bedtime, bake them cookies and comfort them when they have a nightmare or have hurt themselves. All the normal things a mum does, the only difference is that, well, mum just happens to be a Pagan.


Now truthfully I haven't previously given much thought as to how my boys would be influenced by their mum's chosen spiritual path, most likely due to the fact they are still very young. I must admit that I now think I was being a bit naive. I hadn't really stopped to think about this topic before I was asked to write a blog post, at least not as in-depth as I have been for the last couple of weeks. I decided that the best way to see if I was pagan parenting would be to observe how I interacted and engaged with my children. To my astonishment I began to notice telling details right away. Things that are so second nature to me that I didn't even notice I was doing them, things that are now obviously inheritatly born from my personal spirituality such as attachment parenting (which I didn't realise had a label until I was so informed by SBM) expressing my views of the world from topics such as my preference for natural, non-commercial products to our weekly sage cleansing of the house or that we have various crystals hidden all over the house and buried in our yard. Master 5's seemingly inherent knowledge of candle safety and maintenance. Simpler things like the lullaby I sing to Master 18mths, picking him flowers to dissect or chatting to Master 5 about the different seasonal changes in our backyard and why they occur. He turned to me this afternoon on our way home from school and informed me the 'element air' was being very cheeky and playing with the leaves on the pathway ahead as a gust of wind picked them up.


I didn't think I had passed on anything as I don't involve them directly in my pagan ways. I strongly believe in and encourage their freedom to forge their own path in life, but I have to acknowledge that while the boys may not join me during my rituals celebrating the energy of the moon or cycle of the seasons Master 5 has (probably) inevitably taken a keen interest and has an inquisitive eye for the natural world around him, and as his mum I couldn't be more chuffed. Walk anywhere with me and you must be prepared to take your time. I'm the kind to stop and smell the roses......... and touch the trees, watch the bee's, listen to the birds...... well you get the idea. Yesterday we were home 15 mins later from school just so I could show they boys an interesting lizard I spotted. He has expressed a connection with nature that is unfortunately a rarity in my own generation let alone his and if there is one thing I want to pass on to my kids it would be the love, respect and nurturance of the Earth. Just the other day he requested a small Goddess shrine to Gaia/Mother Earth be erected on his bookshelf where he can place the two gemstones he carries with him to school daily to 'recharge'. He never fails to remind me that they must be placed in his pocket before he sets foot out the door in the mornings.


I always thought of myself as a wife & parent first and Paganism was a secluded part of my own life, but I've come to realise that there really is no separation. I self identify as pagan, my spirituality has become the basis for who I am and who I will grow to be. I have discovered more about myself and my beliefs every time my path has evolved to another level. If I try to stifle or remove my spirituality from my parenting then I am not giving all of myself to my children. They deserve to have a whole parent, one who is not secretive or afraid to express herself and share of herself. Fortunately I have been blessed with an open minded husband who sees no ill will or forcefulness from my actions or maybe we have been together so long that like me he just doesn't bat an eye at my hippie ways any more lol.


I have been on the Pagan path for over a decade now and to be honest it hasn't always been an easy road to travel. When you find yourself placed outside the 'norm' (who defines normal anyway?) you inevitably have to deal with the ignorance and bigotry of others from time to time. This is true though for anyone from homosexuals & young parents to 'alternative' religions and even those darn trekkies sometimes cop it. In all seriousness I do worry that I may be setting my boys up for some rough times. This has been on my mind a lot more since Master 5 started kindergarten this year. I'm out of the broom closet, always have been but that doesn't mean I want my boys to be subjected to whispers or bullying. This is a path I have chosen but they didn't get a choice in having a pagan parent. Personally I'm very private when it comes to my spiritual beliefs and practices. Even those closest to me will only hear about anything specific if they initiate the conversation. I have been lucky enough not to receive such treatment in a long while, the last incidence being before Master 5 was born from a neighbour who I swear bore a remarkable resemblance to Mrs Kravitz.


The real decision I have to make will be one of the hardest, it may well end up being the tale of a double edged sword. Do we live openly and authentically as who we are and expose ourselves to potentially upsetting bigotry from people such as other parents at school to Pastor Danny Nalliah (not that this man has ever had anything remotely credible to say) who is convinced that Canberra Witches' covens had cursed our federal government with blood sacrifices on Mount Ainslie. (I actually went up to take a gander at the so called 'sacrifice site' and personally my opinion on this is that if you can't tell the difference between dried red soft drink and blood you're a freakin' moron (using my nice words today)).


On the other hand if we decide to be secretive what message will this send to my boys? Is there a middle ground? At the end of the day I realise that if my husband and I have raised thoughtful, considerate children who have the confidence within themselves to acknowledge exactly who they are then we have done our job well.




x-posted to Squishybum Mum
http://squishybummum.blogspot.com/