Thursday, November 15, 2012


I found a nifty article the other day:

I am impressed by this on so many levels.  Firstly, I think it gives a lovely workable model for exploring the worlds of Norse cosmology through the wheel of the year.  I find these types of models fascinating.  There are so many levels on which we approach our practice, and finding connections between them are always valuable. 

I also appreciate the fact that they explain their thought process.  I love seeing how people's minds work, and reading about how they worked out what went where and why they felt it worked not only makes the end product more understandable, but it helps show how you could apply the same method to other things.  My practice is very much a fusion of different aspects I have found appealing, and finding ways to weave different practices together into a working whole is always valuable to me.

I think it is interesting to note that this was written, not by a Heathen group, but Druid.  Granted, one of the goals of their group is to find ways to connect the different Indo-European practices so that they can communicate with each other and work together, which I find a very admirable goal. 

But it is something I have noticed before, often inspiration comes from outside the circle it influences.  It is as if people on the inside are afraid to mess with their own practices.  Perhaps that is just my eclectic mind speaking, but innovation of my own practices is pretty high up on my priority list.  It seems like a lot of groups tend to work with whatever method they were taught and never question if that is the best way to do things.

I don't think there is any single best way for everyone, but I do think that questioning how and why we do things, even if it doesn't lead to change at all, strengthens our practice.  Seeing the meaning behind the actions and looking for ways that we can deepen that meaning makes our practice a living, breathing thing that grows with us.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I was at a lovely gathering the other day for Day of the Dead, and had a minor part.  As I had gotten the lines a day in advance, and there were only six (and they rhymed, so even better) I decided to memorize.  And of course, I flubbed a little bit.  It's funny, I can recite things flawlessly on my own when it's not important, but in front of a group sometimes I still freeze.

I work very hard to not be shy, but ultimately, when in a social situation, I am very aware of myself.  I dunno if it stems from being on the fringes as a kid, and it just carries over, but especially amongst people I just met or don't know very well, I am pretty self-conscious. 

But back to the Day of the Dead.  If it had been someone else, who had stumbled on their part, I wouldn't have thought any less of them at all.  It occurred to me, looking back (which I do...endlessly if I don't stop myself) that I judge myself way more harshly than I judge anyone else.  I will beat myself up over really inconsequential things...stuff I would never consider giving someone else grief over.

There is a fine line between striving to be the best you can be and really being down on yourself for trivial mistakes.  Obviously, we all want to succeed at everything we set out to do.  Ultimately, there will be little trip ups (and sometimes big failures) along the way.  Don't let it get you down!  Pick yourself up, and move on.  Take a moment to recognize what happened if you like.  But make sure you look at the bigger picture.

At the end of the night, we had an absolutely lovely ritual, and any hiccups in the execution didn't diminish in any way from the beauty of the gathering and the purpose it fulfilled.  I am quite sure that in a month or so, I will probably be the only one who remembers that I stumbled in my part (okay maybe a few others will now that I've rambled about it here *grin).  A year from now, it won't make a difference if I had said it perfectly, forgotten it entirely or said the wrong word (for some reason I kept trying to say winter's end when I would practice, not sure why).

After looking at the big picture, step outside yourself for a moment.  I can't remember where I read it but someone once said that most people are concerned more about themselves than other people.  And I mean that in a good way, not that they don't care about other people, but that five minutes after you embarrass yourself most everyone else will have forgotten (if they were even aware of it in the first place).

Just a quick aside:  there are idiots and bastages out there who live to make other people feel bad.  These people will go out of their way to loudly and publicly mock you for anything they can possibly make up.  They aren't worth the time to respond to, and your real friends won't listen to them anyways, so don't give them the satisfaction of bothering with.

Bottom line is this.  Treat yourself with the love and forgiveness you would treat another.  Let your stumbles, mistakes and down right failures go with a laugh and a smile.  Know that each step you take is a step forward, even if it involves falling flat on your face.  It's never as bad as we think it is.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today begins my month of madness.  I have been doing National Novel Writing Month for years now (I want to say five, but not certain).  I am crazy enough to have finished every year.  I won't lie, it is hard, and there are definitely days that I don't want to write.  I set my daily goal higher than the minimum...high enough that I can finish 5 days early, or have 5 days to slack off if I end up getting busy with other things.  2000 words a day doesn't sound like that much, or look like that much, but when you are trying to write with a goal in mind, sometimes it seems endless.

What really surprised me the first time I did it, and to a lesser extent every time since, is how having that 2k word goal a day not only pushes me to write, but pushes me to do other things too.  As I have mentioned before, I am a stay at home mom.  There are quite a few days where I really don't have anything specific I have to do.  And this can be problematic for me.  I kind of like having stuff to do, not just stuff I can be busy with, but a focused goal.  Even goals I set for myself can be kind of set aside.  It is easy to make excuses to one's self (though those are the worst excuses to make, trying to pull the wool over your own eyes is an exercise in futility).

I go through periods where nothing seems to appeal.  I will find myself sitting and staring off at nothing, just trying to sort out what I want to do.  I will turn to things that will distract the mind but that don't require much effort, such as TV or reading (what I call easy reading, things that don't require or encourage thought).  Sometimes I can't even get myself motivated enough to do those.

When I have a project to work on, everything else seems to fade away.  I can become consumed, and for me that is a good thing.  It snowballs.  One good project gets my mind fired up, and I seem to run in all directions at once.  It brings it's own struggles, trying to stay focused enough on one thing to get something done can be a challenge.

NaNo (the short way of referring to National Novel Writing Month) was intimidating the first time I thought about it.  Writing 50,000 words in one month.  Even broken down, 2000 words today, it is big.  Part of that scope is what makes it exhilarating.  At the end of my words for the day I feel like I have done something.  If I know I am going to have a busy day, and I push and get my words done, I feel even better. 

And I find that the writing process sparks interest in many other things.  I sometimes have to work to keep at the keyboard and finish my words because I'll get drawn into doing something else.  I leave myself notes (I absolutely love having sticky notes as an application on my computer, there are little notes all over it somedays).  Notes are a tiny extension of lists, of which I am also a huge fan.  Lists help me get things done, and help me remember what I need to do when memory fails me.  Lists help me organize.  And much like breaking NaNo down into bite sized 2k word a day chunks, lists give a sense of accomplishment as each item is checked off and the list finally gets done.

This year I am really challenging myself.  Every other year for NaNo, I have written fiction.  I have written things that let me be crazy and go in whatever direction my mind leads.  I don't judge my NaNo writing.  I have written a novel that was more or less one long dream sequence.  I wrote one that started out to be a vent against people who annoy me and ended up being a kind of random food description.  My vampire novel spent pages exploring crazy technology I dreamed up.  But this year, I am going non-fiction.  I am going to write about my form of modern Paganism, which should prove challenging.  I am always second guessing myself, when I write non-fiction, wanting to include more information, all the why's and how's and all those other questions that swarm around in my brain.  I want things to be perfect, and I never feel like I am explaining myself well.

So here goes, my foray into non-fiction in a crazy month of writing.  Wish me luck!