Category Archives: Wicca

Christmas, our way

Draco, Mini-Me and I were determined that we were only giving a nod to traditional Christmas this year, and we accomplished it. Here is a little share of how our day went down.

I forgot to turn off my weekday morning alarm all week, so even though there’s been no point, an alarm has woke me up at 6 am, including today.

Around 7 am, we woke Mini-Me so that she could open her new (and approved of) boyfriend’s gifts via Skype. We all sat around the table and watched (she got gifts from us on Yule last Friday).

After that was over, we went in search of an open store, but came up empty handed. Mini-Me spotted an IHop though, and offered to buy breakfast, so we stopped, beginning our first new Christmas day tradition.

We laughed, we ate too much, we had wonderful iced mocha coffees, passed food around the table and made too much noise. It was great!

By then, Draco and I were running on too little sleep and full bellies, so we headed home to nap and figure out what to do with the rest of the day.

When we got up, Draco was out of Mt. Dew, so he suggested trying to find something open again. Corner stores are open on Christmas, so armed with his 2-liter and a few 20 oz drinks, we hit the road with no destination in mind.

We ended up in Georgia (we live in southern SC) in some quaint little towns where we saw stuff like this

And this

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A windmill decked out in lights.

We stopped at a lake and took a walk around, allowing me my first boost from moving water away from the house

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We crossed the Savannah River twice

And Mini-Me chilled in the back on her phone

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Even Dutchess was relaxed

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After three hours, we finally made it home. I think Mini-Me enjoyed the change from the normal hustle and bustle (and stress – the cops got called at my ex’s family’s Thanksgiving, and that kind of crap is common over there), and I know Draco and I did.

On our way in, we did a round through the cemetary at the end of our street where many Union and Confederate soldiers are buried, along with many much older graves no one tends anymore. We gave holiday greetings to “the forgotten” and felt a wave of embracing energy as we left.

It was dark, foggy, and raining, so I can’t be certain, but I’m sure I caught a glimpse of outlines in the rear-view mirror when I tapped my brakes. A longer press revealed nothing but lonely markers in the mist.

The food portion hasn’t happened yet, but will soon (it was supposed to be a Yule dinner, but we were on the road bringing Mini-Me home that day, so it was put off).

Mini-Me starts volunteering at the Equine Rescue tomorrow, and I need to go grocery shopping, so tomorrow will be another busy day.

Hope everyone in Blogland enjoyed their holiday and is ready to make the New Year incredible, magickal and unforgetable!

Blessings,

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A Very Pagan Christmas – Exploring Phases

As I’ve mentioned before, I had a very Christian upbringing until I was 12. I have been saved (more than once) and was even Baptised as an adult. We celebrated a very traditional holiday season.

Now that I’m an adult without many family ties, what is the holiday shaping up to be like at our house?

I decided around Thanksgiving that I wasn’t going to celebrate Christmas, that we would celebrate Yule, and that was it.

As the Yuletide season closed in, we put up our Yule-tree, which looks suspiciously like a Christmas tree.

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Planning the dinner menu, which was supposed to be held on Yule but we’ll be spending 5 hours in the car tomorrow picking up Mini-Me — so it’s looking more like Sunday, it was a unanimous decision that it would stay the same since traditional Christmas foods and traditional Yule foods are pretty much the same.

Gifts between Draco and I were small and exchanged today. Mini-Me will get hers when we get home tomorrow night, on Yule.

So, what’s so different other than the date?

Not much, actually. If the wind dies down (it’s really going here right now) we plan to have a bonfire and a small, informal ritual. That’s pretty much the only difference.

Much of our religion is like though since many Christian traditions and symbols were absorbed from the Pagan cultures when they were attempting to convert them to Christianity. (Ever asked yourself what dying and hiding eggs and bunny rabbits had to do with the resurection of Christ? They don’t. Those are Ostara/Eostra customs). Just like decorating a tree doesn’t have much to do with Christ’s birth.

But I digress.

Next year, I plan to take Yule in a more rustic direction, but I just didn’t have the financial means to buy stuff this year. Maybe between now and then I will think up some creative ideas for incorporating more Yule traditions.

What is Yule/Christmas looking like at your house?

Blessings,

Raven Moon

Reflection

I awoke this morning to a layer of frost covering everything my eyes touched and it reminded me that in spite of the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, that the Winter Solstice is only a week away.

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The days following the Solstice, leading into January, is the time Draco and I normally celebrate Yule, although we haven’t truly celebrated in years.

At my friend B’s urging, we finally put up a small tree last weekend that she sent from her Mom’s house, insisting we use it since her mom passed last month and she leaves today for Switzerland and then Italy, to spend the holiday with her daughter and grandchildren. Before that, my only concession to the holiday season had been a table cloth she insisted I take.

Draco knows I’m trying to reclaim our holidays now that Mom is gone and Mini-Me is grown, but he also knows how hard this year is for me. He is following my lead, listening to every word, and trying to make it easier. I appreciate him for this all the more because being attentive isn’t normally his strong suit. He’s used to me being an independant, strong and assertive woman – at least in our home and marriage. He doesn’t really know what to do with the uncertainty he’s seen in me the last few years. To be honest, I really haven’t known what to do with it either.

As we finished putting up the tree last weekend, which was just a string of lights and a star on top, I mentioned that it looked a little bare without decorations, so last night, he snuck off and bought 2 boxes of ornaments (all our Yule decorations are in storage 2-1/2 hours away).

I had also mentioned recently how I missed the smell of oils in the house (I’m an oil burner junkie), so when we stopped at a store and a lady was selling oils from the trunk of her car in the parking lot, he bought a bottle and got her number so that I will have a steady connection for my oil addiction.

Another thing about this time of year is that as we moved past Samhain (Halloween), we entered the dark half of the year. A time when the harvest is nearly done, sunlight begins to loose its strength, nights get longer and the cold begins to creep in.

At Yule, we are entering the heart of the cold and the dark. It’s a time when activity is limited and families gather around the fire to share stories, memories and to reflect on the passing seasons.

For me, it’s a time of reflecting on my personal harvest from the year and when I attempt to plan better for next year, so that the harvest will be plentiful.

As I reflect, I see that we weren’t really prepared last year and because of it, I am still scrambling trying to lay in supplies for the barren months we now face. There is no doubt that this winter will be a difficult one, but I know we will manage somehow, just as we have in winters past.

I also know that I have learned some very valuable lessons, especially about planning for the lean months.

While I own that our planning could have been better, I refuse to give myself too hard of a time for it this year. This time last year, things were falling apart fast at my parent’s house. We were blind to the fact that Mom had discovered a lump in her abdomen that she would announce to the family after the New Year in January. We were looking for our own place and trying to stay close enough for me to help with Mom without having to live there. We were planning, but Mom’s annoncement in January would throw my family, and my life, into a tail-spin no one was prepared for and all my plans would fall apart at my feet as I tried to help my family while loosing my mom.

That is something I had no way, and no opportunity, to plan for.

Now, it’s just me and Draco. My family is pretty much non-existant with the exception of Mini-Me, Chicklet and a few friends that have clung to my side through it all.

Moving two and a half hours away was “planned”, literally, in a week. When we got here, we didn’t even have a home to come to and stayed in hotels for nearly 3 weeks. My health had gone downhill, especially my mental health, while I spent the last 3 years trying to take care of everyone but myself.

My spiritual life suffered so much that I’ve begun to redefine it and what I want from it. I don’t believe that I could have honestly prepared us, or even myself, for what the last year had in store, so I chalk it up to one of life’s many hard lessons and move forward. We will get through this. I will get through this.

In the last six months, I haven’t always felt certain of that. Loosing my mom has been an experience, and a pain, unlike any other. I have learned so much, so fast, about the woman my mother really was. I have been forced to see our relationship for what it really was. It has been one of the most difficult times of my life, but I have survived.

My family, that I always thought was so integral in my life, has treated me as if I were disposable, and it nearly broke me completely, but I have survived, and what’s more, is that I have learned.

I know now that I can make it without them. I know that with only myself to answer to, I can make the decisions that need to be made. I know that my life should be what I make it, not what others choose for me. And? I know that no matter what life throws at me, I will survive that, too.

Blessings,
Raven Moon

The Cards Speak 12/13/12

I’ve felt a pull to my cards all week but due to my anxiety, I’ve avoided them. In reflection, that was probably the opposite of what I should have done.

In any case, this morning, I pulled my basic 3-card spread that I use when reading for myself on a day-to-day basis.

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The cards I drew were The High Priest (also the Magician in some decks), Justice and the Page of Pentacles.

The High Priest speaks to new ideas and thoughts being revealed. Some of this card’s energy is already in play, I believe, although I can’t be certain it’s done. Over the last week or so, I’ve been nearly bombarded with new thoughts, new ideas, new ways of looking at things.

I’ve begun exploring again spiritually. Everything from Chakras to Feary Wicca to yoga. I also found a local UU Church that Draco and I plan to check out on Sunday.

There’s also been ideas and planning for the future passed between Draco and myself, but in the context of the other cards, I believe this reading is mainly referring to the spiritual.

My 2nd card was Justice. Although it can refer to justice in the mundane sense, it also speaks to balance. Balancing the scales between spiritual and mundane.

It’s no secret that my practice has fallen by the wayside, especially since my Mom’s health began its decline nearly 3 years ago. It wasn’t a lack of faith, or even a crisis of faith, so much as I know that whatever I could have attempted to do for her had to be with her consent, and she never would have given it to me.

I was afraid that with her health so fresh in my heart that there was no way for me to ask for anything that would not have been in an effort to help or heal her. I didn’t want anything to backfire and bring me bad karma or to interfere with whatever the Divine intended. So, I did nothing. Six months (to the day, in fact – she passed June 13th) after her passing, I’m finally turning back to my faith in an effort to heal myself, both physically and spiritually.

I believe it’s time for me to balance my life once more between the spiritual and mundane. In life, you can not live wholly in both, and live a balanced life. 3 years have been spent almost entirely in the mundane world. Now it’s time to reconnect spiritually.

The Page of Pentacles made me stop and ponder for a moment. It can refer to a child-like person, or a person holding a child-like job (such as taking care of someone’s dogs perhaps?), so I wondered if this was an identifying card, which I sometimes get in readings.

Or can also refer to a good turn in health and as I said, healing myself is more foremost in my mind right now.

The anxiety has been so incredibly bad this week, that I find myself hoping the cards are attempting to ease my mind and comfort me, letting me know that I’m thinking and moving in the right direction. That the decisions being made recently are sending us in the direction we’re meant to go.

Tarot reading is something I’ve felt pulled to since I learned what it was, and my cards are usually pretty accurate, but like Amy other form of divination, it’s all open to interpretation and an objective self-reading can be difficult sometimes.

So for now, I’m left with my interpretations and a glimmer of hope that better times and things are coming. I will continue in the direction I’m heading in the hopes that I’m right.

Blessings,
Raven Moon

Who Am I?

I’ve been seeing a lot of controversy lately, both on blogs and Facebook pages I follow about people arguing over beliefs, or rather, misunderstandings and misconceptions about beliefs not their own.

I have not been left out of feeling the effects myself, even though it’s been much less “public”.

After my Mom passed, my Dad got understandably concerned about religion for a time, wavering between a faith he was raised to believe in, his own doubts and issues stemming from his personal experiences, and being angry at God for taking my mother from him. All understandable feelings in my opinion.

This finally led my father to bring religion up to me, the “known black sheep of the family”. I say “known” because my sister is Satanic and my brother is Agnostic. My daughter is Christio-Pagan. I’m not certain my father is aware of all this, so he brought his “religious curiosity” to me.

He finally asked me one night what, exactly, it is that I believe. Somewhere along the way, he picked up a few of the general misconceptions that a lot of people seem to have. He was obviously under the impression that I don’t believe in God, that I don’t pray, etc. We had a lengthy and in-depth conversation in which I tried to explain my belief system to my dad. I won’t rehash our private conversation, but I felt that maybe it was time to add some tag pages to the site going into a little more detail of what it is I believe, how I came to be a Pagan, why I call myself “Pagan” in a general sense instead of branding myself as one particular path, why I am solitary, why the only Pagan-type labels I do refer to myself with are Kitchen, Green and Hearth witch…and so on.

Obviously, this isn’t the work of a single post, as most of the things I’ve mentioned deserve their own posts, so I will most likely turn this into some type of series…possibly reviving my “Just Another Phase” tag or something similar where I showcase my more personal posts that explain who I am and how I got to where I am. Stayed tuned for new pages to go up, possibly this weekend.

For my non-Pagan followers lurking out there (yes, I see you), any religious information on this blog is not meant as an attempt convert you or anyone else. It is not intended as a method of teaching a path. It is not intended as an attack on anyone else’s beliefs. It is simply my own, personal experiences, beliefs, questions, etc. If anything on my site offends you in anyway, I offer a sincere and heartfelt apology and I invite you to explore the methods availabe to you to unfollow this blog, or me personally.

I realize that @PhasesOfMe started out as a “mom/empty-nester blog”, not a “Pagan” blog. It still is a mom/empty-nester blog. I am still the same person I always have been. I was Pagan then, just as I am now, I just didn’t talk about it on my blog.

While I welcome and encourage questions and thoughts from all of my readers, I will not remove posts from my site because of anyone else’s feelings when it comes to my experiences, beliefs or my truths in life, be they religious or of any other nature, but I will remove hateful, hurtful, derogitory or prejudice comments without warning or explination.

I suppose I haven’t talked in-depth here because I was afraid of controversy, afraid of loosing followers, afraid someone wouldn’t like me, or would disagree with my beliefs. I realize now that this reluctance lent itself to a feeling of shame over my religion that I don’t (and shouldn’t) feel. I will not hide anymore and I won’t refrain from celebrating my faith simply because someone else may not understand or agree with it.

With that said, I hope you will all join me on my magical journey through life, love, mental illness, faith, family and empty-nest parenting!

Blessings,
Raven Moon