“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” ~Ben Franklin

As the creative flame of fire continues to burn, I have had the inspiration to complete make projects around the home. Mainly painting and designing the laundry room and hallway bathroom. Planning out & implementing the creation of spaces is something I’m passionate about. Sometimes I become overwhelmed with all the people that live with me to honestly pursue this within my home, and it is quite a daunting task when I look at the whole house. I’ve decided I’ll be doing this one room at a time, starting with the smaller rooms I can finish in about two days.

The girl’s bathroom and the mudroom are next on the list.

Other things I’m looking to be creative in: taking belly dance classes, taking tennis classes (maybe joining a team?), creating artsy things for the home, sitting and coloring with my children, baking more with my children, playing my cello more frequently.

For those who like this kind of stuff, here are some before & after’s of the rooms I worked on:

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           Laundry Room: BEFORE

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Laundry Room: AFTER

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Hallway bath: BEFORE

Hallway bath: AFTER

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Plus, we baked cookies!

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“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled” ~~Plutarch

Soon after understanding the deity I would be working with during these Fire months would be Aphrodite, I created an altar for her. As one does…

I lacked a statue of Aphrodite, but recently painted a wooden apple gold (creative act, Numero Uno) at the Temple of Aphrodite’s Aphrodesia ritual this July. (http://www.templeofaphroditeoakland.com/). I knew this was to be that representative icon in Her honor…

But I like photos…so TO THE INTERWEBS I GO!! I find 2 really great ones that sang to me, and printed them out. Ok fab. Add to that an Aphrodite bumper sticker I got from The Sacred Well (http://www.sacredwell.com/), a wall hanging I purchased from Milk & Honey a few years ago and a Sigil I created at a BRHP rite…and BAM. I had all the visuals I needed.

But there was more missing here. I took a walk through my home, through cabinets and drawers. Through boxes yet unpacked. I surprised myself when I discovered that i already had all the pretty things needed to make a great altar to Aphrodite. A place to make an offering and light a candle and charge items by. I mean really…i was shocked. I had never had an inkling before to work with Aphrodite. Not only did she call to me loud & clear, but she made apparent to me that I already possessed the things I needed to do great magic. I smile. I nod. I sing Her song…

Soo….my second creative act was to set up Aphrodite’s altar. I decided to place her in my bathroom. Why? Well, for REASONS. Without revealing *too* much of the mysteries, I can say this: How many women, particularly Mothers…Particularly mothers of many HUGE children…particularly large bodied women… look at themselves naked in the mirror daily? And not a fleeting look…but a LOVING LOOK. Yah… there are *some* of you. But sadly I think it’s all too true that thanks to media, celebrities, pornography, most women can only seem to see their flaws in their naked bodies. Too much this, not enough that, one boob bigger than the other, a large mole or birthmark…

One of my biggest struggles my entire life is my own body acceptance. Due to more REASONS from childhood, nudity is not a comfortable place for me. The extra weight on my frame, the loose skin from the HUGE babies (no really….kid #3 was 10.5 pounds…induced as the docs thought she was going to be 12+ pounds), the saggy boobs (thanks again kids) only adds to the already poor self-image I’ve harbored my whole life. Really…if I could go back and tell the 22-year-old me how fucking HOT I was….but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Soo…the Aphrodite Altar…the altar to honor the Goddess of love, passion and beauty…. OF COURSE needed to be in my bathroom near my mirror, right?? (I see your head nodding…that’s cool….)

After it is done, i feel compelled to share with my Hive and with Lady Yeshe a photo of its completion:

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Awesome, right??

Oh…but things get better. You remember we’re working with FIRE, right? Fire sparks in one place, and can fly off & catch in another. Little did I realize that this little altar flame of mine would send an ember of inspiration off to Lady Yeshe, who had taken a day off to originally clean her home…but upon seeing my new altar was inspired to tend to her own altars! Cleaning and feeding her Goddesses. She sent me photos too…AMAZINGLY beautiful!!     https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153132131014480&set=a.10152548820714480.1073741829.601424479&type=1&theater

See…I had been working in Fire, on things, for REASONS that were my own. The work was personal. I had forgotten that the reason I’m going through this training is to become a public Priestess. Part of that role I’m working towards involves taking my magic, my workings, my revelations and inspirations and bringing that forth into the world. This one day of creating an altar that then inspired another Magical being to tend to their own….was huge. It was huge in that this initiate has the power to inspire a High Priestess, and it was  what I needed to experience in order to remember WHY I’ve taken on this feat: it’s not just about me.

Bonus Photo: soo…which two cards did I pull after creating and dedicating this altar to Aphrodite…

yup:

2015-07-02 (1)Which is basically…..my husband. ❤

Let’s all play with some Fire now….

Fire brings light. Fire brings Heat. Fire wards off predators and fire transforms lands.

Spiritually, Fire is courage, justice, passion, devotion & conflict resolution in the world.

In my training, I entered the period of working with Fire a few weeks ago. I didn’t quite know what to expect, what would develop. An aspect of fire I’ve always been able to connect with had been with the harsher aspects of the element. Fire spirit, in my mind, was that part of me that was fierce, hot-tempered, and argumentative. Fire BURNED. It burned fiercely and completely until it was out, which is hardly a healthy & balanced way to go about facing one’s problems in life. So as I entered this next phase in my training, I truly wasn’t sure what might come up. I also wasn’t particularly sure which deity I’d be working with…

After the meeting and some great conversations, it was becoming clear to me that my work with Fire was to build up my personal courage to seek out my own passions in life. Now, I don’t mean “Find” my passions. No No. I have many ideas and things I wish to learn, wish to do more of, or wish to make. But most of my personal passions have been sidelined since I’ve had children. It happens to soo many Moms. It’s kind of a “thing.” So my intent with Fire is to bring these passions back to my life… play more music, take some dance classes, play tennis regularly, make art…. things I enjoyed doing pre-motherhood.

As I’m writing this today, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve begun this work with Fire. In this short amount of time, MUCH has been revealed. Aphrodite came out loud & clear as the deity to be working with. THEN a message from Isis-Aphrodite came through when I least expected it. This work with Fire is really moving things…. and it’s FABULOUS!!

Something I pledged to do as part of my work with Fire was to do something creative or passionate each day. It can be BIG, like repainting/redecorating a room, something smaller like coloring or baking with my kids, or something more intimate like a long love making evening. I did not put any real stipulations to this part of my work other than “Be creatively passionate daily”

I will be blogging these creative feats during these months with Fire using photography as much as is feasible (I’ll save you all from the intimate bits…). I hope that my creativity, and maybe some of my passions, ignite or rekindle your own inner fires.

Amma, Aset!

Blessed BE!

On Being an Artist

Yesterday I was in “Accomplish All the Things” mode. It’s that mode I get into when I’ve been putting off this project, or that chore, or this stack of papers from a month ago that I should probably *actually* grade. It’s the mode where I become hyper-focused and get shit done.

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      One of the projects to accomplish was painting my daughters table and chairs. At 3, she’s already mini-Goth and wants everything in her room black and red. I painted her bed, got her red curtains and black bedsheets. Now I wanted to paint her little table and chairs.

It was beautiful yesterday, so I took my painting outdoors in the sun. The kids all stayed inside to play and watch TV, so I had a rare moment of peace. Ah… peace. Those rare moments where I can be in my own thoughts.

Of the many thoughts that went through my mind was the act of creating art. As I began to slop on red epoxy paint to the blue chair, I began to think “I wish I was more artistic. Maybe I could’ve done something more brilliant with this chair, other than just paint it…”

One thought leads to another connected thought. It’s amazing what happens when I’m not interrupted by requests for water or diffusing sibling arguments. I began with this self-defeating thought of “Why can’t I ART?!?!” and began to remember my experiences in art classes growing up. I HATED art class. I was always told what the medium is, and what to make, and not given much direction on skill or methods of using the medium. I would look around and see fellow classmates create elaborate and detailed paintings, drawings, and sculptures. My paintings had all the wrong colors, and faces were NEVER symmetrical. The pencil drawings where my grey scale ended up being all the same value. Sculptures?? Well, let’s just say that I was always being asked very politely, “Oh honey it’s lovely… WHAT IS IT?”  Adding to that a MAJOR lack of self-confidence in anything I did as a teen, I told myself, I suck at art.

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But here’s the thing. Here’s my Epiphany that came to me as I painted these red chairs…

Art takes time to grow 

My cakes, for example. My very first cake was a “follow the pattern” Blues Clues cake. It came with a shaped cake pan and directions on how to mix icing and where to place the different colored icings on the cake. It came out GREAT. Why? Well, I’m really good with step-by-step directions. Paint by numbers? Yah I can totally do THAT. That first cake was over 12 years ago.

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      Now my cakes can be pretty elaborate. Fondant shaped into intricate designs. I still hate hand-piping anything on a cake, (symmetry is harder to fix with icing than it is with fondant), and people sometimes commission me to make a cake for them.No one hires a bad artist, so I must be good then, right??

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      But it wasn’t always that easy. I had to experiment, fail, clean up and try again before I found my own tricks and ways to do things with cakes. I still have my limitations, but so far I’ve only had one true Cake Wreck.

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Sugar Balloons are HARD

This realization about art and my cakes expanded out into other areas of my life. Currently, I’m trying to find my niche with a divination system. I’m taking a Tarot class, I’m working with the Lenormand oracle, and I’m slowly creating my own runes. SOMEWHERE in all that I should find a straightforward system that speaks to my being and my intuition. But I’m still struggling. I don’t feel confident in any of the 3 major systems I’m playing with. Much like I didn’t feel comfortable making art, or making my first cake.

These things need TIME and PRACTICE. I’m constantly looking for that “instant download” mainly because my life is soo busy and there are always, ALWAYS too many things I need to do in any given day. My feelings of frustration or struggle with divination stem from my desire to just freaking KNOW it already… but…that’s just not how these things work.

As I look around me at other witches that can tout off what the 7 of cups means without skipping a beat, I tend to foster feelings of envy, then disappointment in myself for not having that knowledge ready at my fingertips. Much like I would in art class as a kid….

What I had to remind myself is this: My Art is Fabulous.

What I do everyday, in all the things I do everyday, is just what it needs to be. No, I won’t be able to download all the knowledge of ANY divination system as quickly as I’d like, as I only have the time to work on it in small periods of each day. But I can still develop this knowledge by consistently carving out the time everyday. Which then spirals to a remembrance of a conversation from a week ago.

Gardens need tending.

Daily Practice needs tending.

Magic needs tending.

      I cannot expect to perfect my craft, let alone just make “amateur” status if I’m not tending to my magic frequently. Sure, I’d still love to just download all the information I need, but in reality there are no short cuts. The path must be walked by the individual.

It is MY art.

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Maybe I will find time for photography. Or not.

P.S. Art gets messy.

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It’s Blog…It’s Blog….

And here is the Random….

I keep having Ren&Stimpy’s “Log” song running though my brain, only instead of “log” I say “blog”

It’s Blog, it’s Blog,
It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood.
It’s Blog, it’s Blog,

it’s better than bad, it’s good.

Everyone wants a Blog
You’re gonna love it, Blog
Come on and get your Blog
Everyone needs a Blog
Blog Blog Blog

But I have some troubles word smithing the first verse so that it applies to Blogs….

I challenge you to adjust that verse!!

What rolls down stairs
alone or in pairs,
and over your neighbor’s dog?
What’s great for a snack,
And fits on your back?
It’s log, log, log

For reference: 

Poetry on the Forge

This weekend I had the privilege to work on Caya Coven’s Maker’s moon. In it, we honored the Goddess Brigid, and crafted a lovely tincture in her honor.

This was my first experience Invoking a goddess for a public ritual. I raised my hand to the task, for some reason unknown to me. You see…much of my magic and my crafting is done wordless. I might make a sigil for a spell (ok…the sigil at ONE point had words…but it’s not the same as speaking them aloud), but most of the time, I just visualize. I see the energies around me, and ask them to do things with and for me. I see the faces and the energies of the goddess and the god… I see these things with my Third Eye. Because I see  and feel the energies and the energies I’m working with move, I rarely feel the need for words.

But, when working a PUBLIC ritual, I cannot simply have people enter my brain and see what I see. (Do you see what I see???). Even if I were to attempt to put words to my visions, things tends to come out garbled, as some energies just don’t really have words to describe them. They just are. I see them, and they ARE. What does it look like? Well, you know… stuff.

This initiate year will challenge me in a lot of ways, but particularly in the area of WORDS.

Invoking the Goddess Brigid, and bringing a message from her to the circle. My first large wordy task in a ritual. How appropriate that it is for the Goddess that inspires poetry?

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Now, what I knew of Brigid before this ritual was typical of what i know about most deities I don’t work with regularly: very basic, surface-level knowledge. She’s the Goddess of the Forge and Hearth. She’s a celtic Goddess. She’s celebrated at Imbolc and she was made a Saint & is honored at Candlemas. Sooo…of course I need to do my homework to get to know her better in order to invoke her and offer a message to the community…

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On writing an invocation

I was given some great advice on how to write an invocation: meditate and create some poetry (doesn’t have to rhyme) on the key aspects of the Goddess. But before I did that, I did a google search to see what others have written in Her honor. While many of the invocations were good, none of them really felt right….really felt long enough or felt like they honored the many abilities she has. My invocation to Brigid pulls from my learning more about what she represents the days leading up to the ritual. It took longer than I expected to put it together, but I felt that it brought more meaning to her invocation than many I found online:

Hail Brigid. Exalted One. Daughter of Dagda

Come to us. The Smith who forges us into tools of change in this world. Through the power of shaping, by Fire and by Water

Come to us, as the Harp of Poets igniting  inner creativity and passions.

Come to us, the cup of healing Your sacred wells a salve, to soothe wounds, heal bodies and spirit.

Come to us, spring mother Hearth of comforts, with bounty and plenty. Bringer of first spring of new life.

Come to us The Woman of Skill, crafting the herbs Angelica: that clears congestion  Basil: that eases the stomach and Blackberry: that cleanses kidneys

Come to us Brigid, Goddess of the Forge, of Poetry, Healing, and the Hearth. Hail & Welcome

On bringing the message from the Goddess

And here is where my nerves really began to kick in. Personally, I have received some amazing words of wisdom, of insight, things to think about in my life while attending various rituals. The priestess always spoke with a certain eloquence. I’m not talking Aspecting here….oh no…that’s a whole different blog. I’m talking about where a message is given to the participants. A message from the Goddess that will provide insight & advice. And that was on me. The One Who Lacks Words.

All I could think about is: “I can’t Word”

So…I prepare myself by getting to know Brigid more. I write up a blurb I thought would be neat to say. And then I kept getting this questions rolling through my head. I knew these questions were the message I needed to deliver. But….it wouldn’t be very impressive to stand in the center and just rattle off 3-4 questions with no explanation, say Blessed Be and sit down. So I write up a thing. A script of sorts. And I fully intended to have it memorized and it would work out oh-so-peachy…

But…

Then job & kids happened, and it did not get memorized.

Now what?

After talking with the other priestesses working this ritual about my nervousness, it was brought to my attention that essentially I already had the knowledge i needed to just speak without memorization. But that honestly scared me. You see, I have a very “Monkey brain” when I’m speaking. I go off on tangents. Even in the classroom, a lesson will devolve into a story (though related) about my family, or some other anecdotal tale from another source (but they like to hear about my kids…). I found my mind, even when writing up my little paragraph of a message, going off on tangents. There are soo many aspects of Brigid, and many miracles associated with her. What if I get on a tangent and babble on? What if I forget my train of thought and freeze up? What if (and this is my biggest fear) I say something about Brigid that offends in some way a devotee of her? Or even offends Herself? Soo much doubt. I truly hold a lot of doubt within my brain.

As the ritual moves on, my nerves for this section build up. I have a general outline of what I want to say, and I deliver the message.

Guess what?

It wasn’t the total train-wreck I feared it would be.

It totally….TOTALLY could have been tighter, and more precise. I felt my mind trying to go off onto topics I hadn’t planned to talk about. I had to keep bringing myself back…I had to resist the urge to say “you know, that thing”, as I cannot assume everyone in the circle knows a great deal about Brigid. I’m sure they did, but I cannot just make that assumption.

And then there is ending….I need to work on my closing.

I now know some very specific things I need to work on for the next ritual,and all the rituals after that: keeping my words clear & concise. It will be a challenge.

Coming soon: A post about what I learned about Brigid….