DoMagick – 30 days of meditative acts

Image from Stephanie Law

This December, I am taking part in Andrieh Vitimus’ #DoMagick 30 day challenge. The theme for December is meditative acts. I have to admit that the timing for this is almost perfect, as I have been reading Digital Ambler‘s working with the Archangels and have been wanting to begin using those devotionals myself.

To get ready for the challenge, as the research has been done for me, I am doing a few things.

This weekend, I cleaned my home from top-to-bottom. Things not being used and/or worn were given to charities and clutter was organised.

I have been looking at beads to make my chaplets for reciting the angelic devotionals. I’ve also found a set of small statues that I will be purchasing for my altar space. The chaplets will be made and consecrated to the work before December begins — quite probably over Thanksgiving break, in all honesty.

I have also been taking up the daily practice of banishing. I am trying to get both morning and evening rites done, but they have been a bit hit-or-miss, with generally at least one occurring daily. The banishing that I am using is from Phil Hine. I don’t know if it has a formal name, but I call it Circle of Stars. It just gels with me and for me, and I have noticed that work days are much calmer (at least for me) after I begin the day with the banishing. I do struggle to get to it at the closing of my day, but am going to be trying it as a transition from the work day to my own time when I get home from work.

So, here it is, my public declaration of intent. Sometimes she talks to angels, indeed.

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I ran with scissors~

About a month ago, I cut my hair.

Radically.

I went from almost being able to sit on my hair to a long bob in the span of 45 minutes.

I needed a change. I needed to cut the past from me, and begin fresh. I needed to know that I would survive, still fierce and free.

And… I liked it.

It’s not easier to care for, by any means. I can no longer skip a few days between washes, although arrow root is my best friend some hectic mornings. I’ve also fallen in love with the beach-babe wave my hair naturally has when it is is shorter.

Much of my resistance to cutting my hair was a hold-over of my mother always pressuring me. For the past 15+ years, I’ve had long hair (varying lengths, but always below the shoulder) and refused to cut it because that was the expectation my mother’s generation had.

It was a surprise to me when I went and did it. An impulse out of the blue that I acted on, much to the nervousness of the stylist. I know she sees many people go for a cut and then lament it, but hair is hair, and it grows. I have to admit that much of my resistance to cutting my hair was a hold-over of my mother always pressuring me. For the past 15+ years, I’ve had long hair (varying lengths, but always below the shoulder) and refused to cut it because that was the expectation my mother’s generation had. Women of a certain age should have short hair. Nonsense to that!

However, I did see a photograph of a beautiful older woman with silver hair in a long bob. Her expression was one of fierce determination. She was not finished with living her life, and damn if she wasn’t living it to her terms.

I admire that.

My haircut, on my terms. My life, on my terms.

And right now, I’m digging the sea salt spray and scarlet leaves on the shore vibes this year is bringing.

Silk-spun hermitage

I have cocooned myself this summer~
wrapped myself away from the daily chaos modern life bombards us with;
wrapped myself away with silk-soft strands of animal wisdom around me.

I learned from my dog to play with abandon;
to bark & howl with sheer joy a moving body brings;
to wag my tail & invite others to play – without shame or judgement – & share this exuberance of life.

I learned from my cats it is okay to walk away when I am done;
to nap without excuse & to do nothing with serene & regal grace;
to blink my eyes slowly in the face of ‘should be doing(s)’, stretch languidly & reply that I am doing nothing but being.

I have cocooned myself away this summer.
I shall not break free – that struggle is for the butterfly & not me.
I wish to expand this cocoon of earned wisdom & find others of like mind.
Together, we can create the world I long to Be in.

Near Midsummer

Hot crabs, cold beer, & Old Bay – that’s what Maryland summers are made of.

“Crabs are done!”

Hot spice scent fills my house, steam rises from red cooked crabs,
cats and dog circle round trying to figure out how to penetrate
armoured hard shells protecting succulent white flesh.

Sweat drenches, it’s hot, hot work steaming a bushel of crabs-
a gift from a friend “just because.”
Kindness is currency and will cycle back round to him
and back again to me. It’s just how we do things on the Bay.

“Aren’t you having any, Mom?”

Oh, yes, baby. Just not yet.
It’s hot, hot business doing crabs right – but it’s in my bones,
I learned it right growing up on this water.

1/2 a quart taken in and another 1/2 quart of water to take in,
replacing water steam has called out of my skin. Don’t replenish water lost with beer – not yet. Save it, save it for after-

“I’m going to take the dog out first.”

Into the night, teased by clouds, but still cool and the breeze
tickle-kisses the rest of the sweat from my skin. More water drunk as the pup mozies along, taking in all the day’s gossip peed out by others.

He adds his own replies several times,
and I hope he doesn’t advertise our windfall of crustaceans.

“Want a beer, Mom?”

I sure do. I’m ready now, body cooled, soul soothed, appetite roused.
Sure smells good in here, and feels better, too. The fans all put in valiant effort to suck out the kitchen heat and suck in the cool night air

Natty-Bo cold in my hand, crab still warm and
smothered with Old Bay before me,
life is good in the summer.

Day dreams, day trips, and walkabout~

The 12-pack even comes with a handy treasure map inside!

Summer break is just around the corner for me, and I find myself optimistically happy about this. Last year, summer break was very short due to end of work dates before summer camp started, and an unexpected move. Naturally, I don’t really wish a repeat of that, so I’ve been thinking about adventures.  Granted, the Devil’s Backbone Virginia craft brew adventure pack I picked up last night is also helping to turn my mind toward adventure.

There are two of each of the collaborative brews included, so my son and I sat down to sample them. This year, the brews are:

  • Craic Stout (4.6% ABV, 39 IBU): Classic Irish Style Dry Stout, a collaboration with Mad Fox Brewing Company
  • Cross Eyed Stranger (7.8% ABV, 90 IBU): India Pale Ale with Exotic Hops, a collaboration with Ocelot Brewing Company
  • Tide de Mars (6.1% ABV, 21 IBU): Bier de Mars Ale, a collaboration with O’Connor Brewing Company
  • Sixth Circle Sour IPA (5.7% ABV, 19 IBU): Sour India Pale Ale, a collaboration with Parkway Brewing Company
  • Crystall Brett (5.5% ABV, 26 IBU): Special Ale Brewed with Crystal hops, a collaboration with Three Notch’d Brewing Company.
  • Devils Backbone Basecamp Favorite Vienna Lager (5.2% ABV, 18 IBU) is also featured in the Adventure Pack.

Let’s make small talk~

How do you find time for adventures when you’re busy? Or do you, like me, live vicariously through the adventures of others whilst biding your time?

I have to be honest and give them all a five out five star rating.
The Sixth Circle Sour was especially tasty in the heat of the afternoon, which bumped it up for me. I have the feeling that if I tried it in cooler weather it would have only gotten 3 out of five.

Sadly, we sat down without any note taking equipment — just ourselves and our taste buds, and the sultry June evening. The good news is, this means I need to get another pack next weekend so we can properly make notes about the sampler pack whilst we plan out our day trip to Virginia.

A Witch looks at Fifty

Morning & Evening skin care products.
Recently, I celebrated a milestone birthday. It was a bitter-sweet occasion marked by the physical absence of my mother, but my children and I still invoked her memory at dinner, and thus, she was still with me.

One of the memories I shared was how, a few years ago, I had begun using some night creams. I admitted to being a dabbler in that area, never quite seeing the need (good genetic trees can make you a bit blasé to a few things), and how my mother cracked a smart-ass remark about being early on the skin care bandwagon. My dabbling continued off-and-on over the years, until now. It’s that milestone, and a few other things, drawing skin care more readily to mind.

“It was one of the few sorrows of Granny Weatherwax’s life that, despite all her efforts, she’d arrived at the peak of her career with a complexion like a rosy apple and all her teeth.”
Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

This winter, I taught swimming classes after school three nights a week. All that time in a chlorinated pool did terrible things to my skin. Dry, tight, dull, and flakey are words that spring readily to mind. To say that I was displeased was an understatement. Fortunately, the means to the remedy was very close to me. My daughter is (and has been for a decade) a fan of K-pop. K-pop idols have beautiful skin, so I began to do my research on the latest fashion fad — which is Korean beauty regimes. I like these, because the look is dewy and fresh, not flat and matte, as is the trend here in the USA.

The classic ten steps (I know. “Ten!” was my first thought, too.) are the basic: (daily) 1. Oil cleanse 2. Water cleanse 3. Toner 4. Essence 5. Serums/Ampoules/Face Oils 6.Seal/Protect 7. Eye Cream 8. Skin Cream/Moisturiser (added once weekly) 9. Exfoliator 10. Masks.

It seems a lot at first glance, but I have gotten proficient with following these steps morning and evening, cutting the application time down from 10 to 5 minutes. It has been worth it to add this to my morning routine, and the results are now noticeable. I’m shopping at Peach and Lily now, and customizing my skin care regime to get the healthiest skin possible. Granny Weatherwax and I do disagree on this aspect of witch-hood, after all.

~*~
I have begun to buy all my products from Peach & Lily. They have a reward point system, and if you’d like to try them, click this link and you will get $10.

Good Friday with the Saints of Heresy & the Sages of Blasphemy

I have an interesting relationship with Christianity~ and to be fair, it started before I was born. My mother was born into a mixed marriage. Her father was (Irish) Catholic and her mother was (Hungarian) Methodist. My father’s family was the opposite: (Irish) Catholic mother and (Hungarian) Methodist father. Needless to say, family get-togethers were entertaining.

For myself, from a young age, I noticed that the parishioners (of either religious flavour) were as sweet as could be to your face on Sunday, but wouldn’t piss up your arse on Monday if your kidneys were on fire. This always struck me as wrong — and I came to the conclusion that I was probably the only person in the congregation(s) actually listening to the words in red when they were read to the people.

I also was always drawn to the inherent esoteric mysticism within Gnostic Christianity — which was/is a big ‘no-no’ in the dogmatic structure of the church(es). Needless to say, I gave absolutely no fucks and continued my own spiritual explorations without the added benefit of the benedictions of either sect.

So here I am, sat at my table, eating baked haddock (seasoned with lemon grass, garlic, and a hint of red pepper) thinking about my mom and watching the sun set over a verdant line of trees that have ‘miraculously’ regreened after winter’s embrace.

I am not, as my children reminded me when we went shopping for fish, a good Christian, but I am a decent mystic. May the Mysteries reveal themselves to you this weekend, and may the blessings of Spring find you in good health.

Today…

the sun rose, though it was veiled by rain clouds and falling autumn leaves.

I went to work. I read (with pride) my daughter’s Facebook post schooling those who dared to blame yesterday’s results on people who ‘threw away their vote on a third party candidate’. (I’ve been a card carrying Green longer than her friends have been alive.)

I listened to people gloat and to those who were depressed. To both, I wanted to whisper, “Wake up and smell the Pleroma.” It is all just an illusion…

Today, I determined that I will live as I lived on Monday. I will speak my mind; support those who have fallen; say ‘no’ when it is needed and to whom needs to hear it; I will dance under sun and moonlight, whispering heresies to the trees; and I will continue to work toward humanity waking up to its birthright — no matter how much they may not deserve it. (Shades of A. Hamilton…)

Tomorrow, the sun will shine. My dog will greet me with a smile, and my cats will cozy up to me, and I will go to work and hope for more small behavioural breakthroughs with my students. And I will resist creatively… and fiercely.

I will be the witch in service to the land — though it poison some as it heals others.