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Thursday
Sep272012

Different kind of horror: watching your kids be afraid

I just wanna let everybody know ahead of time this is going to be a blog of a more personal note.

To give you a little bit of background, I've had a bit of an obsession with law and Order Special Victims Unit for many years now. Before I started watching it I had worried it would ruck up incidences of my own past, but in the end, I found it occupying most of my time durring the latter portion of my pregnancy with my first daughter.

I have watched through the first 12 seasons what you're still available on Netflix but then to the last several years netflix has not released any of the new seasons. We recently picked up Hulu Plus so that we could stay current on shows rather than waiting for them to come up on Netflix, and I noticed 1 of the shows available there a special Victims Unit.

I started watching an episode every few days over nap time and reacquainting myself with the show. Needless to say my earlier obsession came back with a vengeance.

My oldest daughter is now almost 4 years old. And quite a sneaky little girl when she wants to be. She tends to fight most days going down for nap and at this point and my husband and I have acquiesced to allow nap time to me only be "quiet time". On 1 or 2 occasions, she has snuck onto the staircase with out of hearing in an effort to stay up. I even found her sleeping in the hallway once when I went up to go to bed.

Today during naptime the episode that I watched was from Season 13.  The episode was called "Strange Beauty". A general overview of the episode is that the woman is abducted and then her body is discovered with the leg having been amputated. The core of the episode goes on as most on order episodes do, with the police officers working to discover who the killer was. It delves somewhat into the realm of body modification and deals slightly with some of that culture, but stays mostly on the subject of amputation, and voluntary amputation at that.

I did not know at the time that my daughter had snuck onto the staircase and was watching the episode silently from the stairs until I heard her crying. She wanted to know what was going on. According to articles that I have read relating to children and television, kids at her age are not able to distinguish the difference between television and reality so now I was really worried.

This all seems very circumstantial when discussing things like "Phineas and Ferb" or
"Yo Gabba Gabba" or "My Little Ponies", but when suddenly your face with a 4 year old who has now witnessed what may be construed as a violent crime on the television it leaves you wondering what you should do.

My husband and I are gamers and strong advocate against video Game rating system thinking it should be based more on maturity of the person using it then the number of their age, but there are some things that definitely belong in an age bracket. Law and Order special Victims Unit is not something my 4 year old should see.

I wonder now as I am getting ready for bed tonight what kind of issues I can expect to run into what kind of worries in troubles will enter her mind and whether or not lying and passing off the people without legs in this episode as pirates will actually work. There so many things that you don't want to explain to your children.

I'm going to go now and get her ready for bed, and hopefully tonight will hold only princesses and unicorns for her.  It really makes me want to examine the kinds of things I watch on a regular basis and whether or not I need to be rethinking the catharsis I use in my own life for fear of hers.

Wednesday
Sep122012

Book of Shadows: A window to our practice

In this day in age that is normal for pagans to want to take down the events and details of their practice and their life. I myself have started many such documents over the years, but most of them end up being left unfinished as I have moved onto a new book and/or phase in my life.

A little over 6 months ago, I began the most recent of these books. This time, it moved into a 3-ring-binder. I was now building my "book of shadows" not just for myself and my practice, but also for my children. It is by far the most extensive work I have done to date.

Contained in this book is not just a listing of things I have done or tried, it is a path I am laying out for my children. Although it does contain a section on spells (and rituals are listed for each of the Sabbats and Esbats), it contains information I feel is much more important . This volume holds stories and tools for teaching. It has every thing from creation stories, lore and history of holidays, recipes, crafts,  correspondence charts, informational sections teaching about the phases of the Moon, the energy field and chakra systems the body, to the path of the sun. It is truly a book rather than a journal. There's even a section where I keep the CD that contains pictures of rituals we attended and music they have especially loved. The most important thing about this book is it evolves with us. We add to it as we need to.

I have laid out a place to keep track of coming of age ceremonies they will go through as they pass through the phases of their life.  I have entitled this book of shadows, "The Book of Light and Shadow." It is a guide and a reference not only for me but for them as well. And I hope it will serve our family and continue to grow as we all continue to move our lives.

Here is a Slideshow of images from the book

 

 

Does Your family have a "Book of Shadows"? How do you have it organised, and how do you use this tool in your home?

Saturday
Jun232012

Coexist 

We have all seen this bumper sticker, and We all wish people would really listen to it, but a few months back when I saw it... I got to thinking...


 

 

This Coexist image shares an idea of working together with our Beliefs.  Essentially showing that although we are all different, together we make a something more than our separate parts... 

This got me to thinking about beliefs.  We each believe a million separate things on a day to day basis.  Now I’m not talking about large overarching beliefs, but the little ones that make us who we are.  Remember the definition of the word*:

be·lief /biˈlēf/

Noun:

  1. Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction*

*As per Google


 

As I sat and pondered this concept while driving with my kids to my parent’s house, I found myself tuning out the vocals styling’s of Phineas and Ferb and drifting off into La-La land.  I found myself thinking about a time, in each of our lives, when belief defined who we were on a much more basic level.  Children show us a lot about how a simple belief can bring people together and how they can drift us apart. 

For the purposes of illustration, let’s use a group of 6 year olds in an art class as an example (as they tend to share all their beliefs every chance they get)  

They all gather around the tables in the room with the art supplies in the center and within minutes we begin to hear arguments pop up all over, “Markers are the best.” or “Paint is awesome, it lets me get dirty.”  A collective groan comes over all adults in the room, as we know that this is not an argument that anyone can sway short of saying, “Everyone likes different things” or “just agree to disagree” which have little to no effect on small children. 

The spats begin to escalate.  We might begin to hear things like, “But Sarah took the blue marker and that is my favorite.” Or, “Yellow is a stupid color.  You don’t want to use that one.”  Idle chatter among 6 year olds, yes, but one that brings up interesting thoughts as far as beliefs. 

Favorite color is an extremely subjective concept, as there is no fact to prove that one color out shines another, it is just an opinion.  These kids, however, will most likely not agree with you on that point.  To them, their favorite color might be part of what defines them, part of what makes them who they are.  And the idea that what they “know” is true might not be true for everyone is a concept that they will most likely not come to terms with for many years.  (Hell, I know a lot of adults still struggling with the concept… lol) 

Now let’s say an argument about favorite color did break out and the whole room got involved.  You may see kids who normally don’t congregate, but who have the same favorite color start to band together.  These newly forged bonds may cause a group to work together to try convince the room that their color is the best.  If left alone long enough, without some kind of intervention, violence may even pop up.  Bring in a teacher, parent, or figure of authority, and all the kids will flock to them looking for confirmation of their beliefs.  At this point in my minds ramblings I began to think of myself as a teacher, and of how I would break up such an argument. 

I would decide to stop the fight.  I’d look at all the separate groups of children, each in their own “color” group, and ask them to bring all the art supplies to the table at the center of the room.  I’d proceed to separate all the supplies into color groups.  I'd go and retrieve as many Crayons, Markers, Paint, Pencils, Pastels, Charcoals, and light Gels as I could find; and spread them out into their separate color groups.  In total I'd hope to have about 50 different shades of each color. 

I'd pick a group at random from the crowd.  Let’s use “Blue” for the time being, although these actions would take place with each color.  I'd bring all the kids in the blue group over to their pile and ask them to find their “favorite shade of blue” and although some would choose the same item, most would chose different shades.  The children might then begin to snicker at each other the way they had the children in the other color groups. 

I'd speak to them about personal preference, and about how when all was said and done each of these shades was “Blue”.  I then went to the kids who had chosen a “Blue-Green” color and the kids of the “Green” group that had chosen a “Green-Blue” and asked the kids if these colors were really that different. 

In my mind’s eye and in my mental ramblings, it had seemed a wonderful way to convey a point.  In the months that followed, I have not been able to get this idea out of my head.

So here we come to the end of my mental rambling.  How can this idea of favorite colors tie into the idea of religious beliefs? Once again we turn to the definition:

re·li·gion/riˈlijən/
 

Noun:
  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.*
  2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.*

*As per Google

 

So... "Details of belief as taught or discussed" and belief being, "Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction".  So basically, we are saying a belief is, "Details of something one accepts as true or real; as taught or discussed." In other words, just what we accept as true told to some else.  Kinda sounds like those favorite colors huh?

I find myself thinking about how religions beliefs and favorite colors and other such beliefs are treated differently in our society.  Why is it so much more important where we came from? Because it is a vital part of our identity; the same way favorite color is for those kids.  The kids have yet to go in search of ideas such as religious beliefs.  They are still getting to know the world around them; so this is a somewhat new decision for them, a new discovery, and it is vital to them that they defend it.

Adult humans are no different.  We get very defensive of our beliefs and as we form bigger, more complex ideas, we feels more defensive of the validity of those ideas.  We find others with similar thoughts and band together with them in order to justify our conclusions.  We feel threatened when someone else comes along to challenge them.  But they are really just ideas, personal truths, not absolutes.  We should really learn to accept others beliefs and live in tandem with them.  The same way we all learned to accept the color choice of another all those many years ago.

 

So in closing I leave you with two questions... What is your Favorite color? and, What beliefs do you hold?

 

Check out this great Religious Comparison Chart

Wednesday
Jun132012

Floor Washes in the modern day.... Bringing in the Magic

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We live in a world full of cleaning products, some of which are not too fun to inhale, but we all have to clean our floors.  Many years ago, these cleansings were not just done in an effort to remove dirt, but also a way of re-charging the energy of your home, and the people who enter it by sending magic up through the feet.  Different traditions throughout history have different types of washes and waters. In modern magical practice, though, the use of floor washes has diminished a lot.

The old idea of a special wash or water used to clean and infuse your home has been replaced by the likes of Mr. Clean and Clorox.  Even in the Pagan community, most cleansings are done either through smudging or spritzing, chanting or ringing, burning or drumming... Not many of us want to get down on hands and knees (after already cleaning floor the modern way) to apply a spiritual floor wash, and then allow it to air dry...

I have to say though; I love them, and use them regularly.  Today I’m going to share how I use them.  It may differ from the “norm” and show you how you can include this special tradion in your home, without spending time on your hands and knees.  I’ll Share a few of the washes I use most often.  Most of which are from “The Elemental Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells” (which if you don’t own it is a wonderful book.  You can get it here: The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells) and One or two of my own mixtures as well…

 

There are many different ways to work with a magical wash.  The most obvious is to get your infusion and your bucket, get down on hands and knees, and go to work.  I have to admit, this is not the way I do it, and I suggest anyone who can avoid spending that much time on their hands and knees should. 

I own a Libman.  (And by that I mean I own one of those generic Swiffers where you get to use your own cleaner and wash the pad when you are done…  Here's a link in case your grocery store doesn't stock them: Libman CO 4002 Freedom Spray Mop, Extra Wide ) I love this thing for its ability to clean, but also b/c I can use it for floor washes too… I also own a Coffee Maker (but don’t really drink coffee.)  My Coffee pot is used primarily to make hot water for tea and infusions.  With the use of these two simple household products, you can make your own floor washes in minutes…

When I go to make a floor wash, These are the steps I take:

 

  1. I start by gathering my herbs from the garden or from my stock of dried herbs.
  2. I then place it into a coffee filter, and run a “full pot” of water through it.
  3. Allow it to cool, Mix with vinegar, and fill bottle
  4. Attach bottle to the mop… and clean!

 

 If you want to say a spell relating to the intensions you are using, you can... but you don't need to.  Just visualizing the work you want it to do will surfice... 

**Make sure to allow floor to air dry!**

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

 

Here are a few Good recipes for floor washes that I have tried and love…

 

Aura Cleansing Floorwash 

Agrimony repels and sends back hexes.  Peppermint is an aggressive cleanser the beckons the presernce of helpful benevolent spirits.  Combined, these botanicals create a particularly potent floor wash. 

 

  1. Make a strong infusion from dried Agrimony and Peppermint.
  2. Strain out the herbs and add the infusion liquid to a bucket of water, together with white or rice vinegar.
  3. Cleanse floors and surfaces. 

 

 

New Home Floorwash

This is recommended for a preliminary cleansing when moving into a new home.  This removes old vibrations and emotions lingering from past residents and allows you to begin with a fresh slate. 

 

  1. Make a strong infusion from Basil, Hyssop, and Pine needles.
  2. Strain out the herbs and add the infusion liquid to a bucket of water, together with white or rice vinegar.
  3. Cleanse floors and surfaces as needed. 

 

 

This is the wash I created and use in my own home most often:

 

Cat’s Floorwash

This is a “catch all” wash that I use at home to bring protection, Purification, encourage cooperation, increase the effectiveness of our actions, and just raise the overall vibrations of our home.  I also take the left over infusion and pour some onto the corners of our property.   

 

  1. Make a strong infusion from Basil, Black Pepper, Peppermint, Sage, Bay leaf, Bergamot, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Rue, and Rosemary.
  2. Strain out the herbs and add the infusion liquid to a bucket of water, together with white or rice vinegar.
  3. Cleanse floors and surfaces as needed. 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about My take on floor washes and how they can improve your life and the atmosphere of your home!

 

 

Saturday
Jun092012

We are all a few bits of everything... 

I've been doing a lot of thinking since opening my shop about what I want to do with this blog space. I've seen hundreds of blogs out there as I have surfed the net, and there are many that I like; and many that I don't.

This is because we are all different people, comprised of different interests and ideals. None of us are just pagans. We are all multifaceted people going through our lives while building our connection to the earth.

I for one, am a pagan, a mom, a wife, a tech nerd, a gamer, a small business owner, a science geek, a home owner, a book worm, a free time gardner, a full time craft addict, an amateur painter, a yoga enthusiast, puddle jumper, swing-set hog, and someone I search if IT work...

...among many other things.

This make for an interesting combination when you mix it all together.  Looking at my email inbox and RSS feed, you would think someone just randomly grabbed pieces from the internet and tossed them together, but all these pieces make up who I am.

In this space I intend to talk about many things. I will try to keep it to things orienting around paganism, as that is the part of me that is reflected in this site, but there may be cross-overs to other parts of my life as well...

So I just thought I would throw this up and let you all know I'll be trying to write something in here most days... some days it may just be a blurb, and others a book (lol).  But I will be trying to make an effort to write.  

So in closing... What are the bits that make you up?