vintagewitch: (Default)
Note to Self: Medication is actually a really important part of managing your anxiety. Like, for real.

I ran out of medication before the pharmacy was done refilling, and yesterday was ... not like, debilitating anxiety, but I *definitely* felt it. Thankfully, I now have my medication and I'm getting back to normal. 

But for real: This is something I need to pay attention to and have coping mechanisms ready for if this kind of weird gap happens again.
vintagewitch: (skies can't keep secret)
I threw myself into social things over the last several weeks because I've been on break and don't have as much time to be social during the semester. I think I'm hitting a wall of needing alone time to think about my priorities and get some stuff done. Ran out of anxiety meds a couple days ago, so I definitely felt on edge today. Thankfully I'll be back on track with those tomorrow.

Next week is also extremely full. I'm going to have to find solace in short moments and tend to my mindfulness. 

I've been doing Yoga with Adriene's Yoga Camp, which has been delightful. The name makes it sound like it's all "argh boot camp get in GEAR" but actually she's bringing in a lot of mindfulness and tending to mental as well as physical health this year. Today's practice was all about being good to yourself and just letting it feel good, and slooooooowing down. Which was just what I needed. 
vintagewitch: (wild unknown tarot draw)
 Hey dreamwidth!

So some really cool things have been happening for me lately. I got over some social anxiety, and put it out on twitter and facebook that I'd like to do more tarot readings for other people. I've been practicing for over ten years, and I'm at a point where I need to read for others to learn more. 

I now have 13 readings set up, and more people are showing interest.

For a while, I've been feeling drawn to write more and be more open about my eclectic pagan practices. I've thought about maintaining a blog. I believe I've written a bit about this here, but this intense interest in my abilities and my take on this practice has me thinking I should do a bit of an experiment. See if I can make a bit of a business out of this. 

I'm also increasingly using Twitter for witchy things, but often need to use it professionally (using my real name). So I'm thinking that I need to create a pagan-specific account, just in case I end up tweeting for work in the near future. 

And because names are hard and scary to pinpoint, I'd LOVE if you could help me out by filling out this google poll!

vintagewitch: (wild unknown tarot draw)
 Y'all, 2015 was rough for me. It wasn't as rough as 2014 was, but it was still rough. It was a year of making difficult decisions to keep moving forward. It was a year of leaving behind people and jobs that were doing me harm. And it was the year that Matt and I broke up. He wasn't doing me harm, but it became necessary for me to leave him to continue learning about myself.

2015 was also the year I started graduate school, which was both incredibly stressful and very rewarding. I ended my first semester with straight As! Woo! And considering all the personal life stuff that was going on this last semester, I am so happy and thankful.

I think that resolutions can sometimes be bad for mental health. I heard someone say recently (I think it was Adrienne Mishler of Yoga with Adrienne) that it shouldn't be New You, but True You. And so I'm looking forward to the next year with setting not so much resolutions, but intentions, and amplifying the things that I'm already doing that make me feel good.

So, my intentions for 2016:

Continue eating healthy foods, and make a concerted effort to eat more veggies
Get outside more
10k in April, and keep running after that
Do more tarot
Learn more about astrology and practice
Find an internship or job during the semester (but hopefully only 10-15 hours per week, because omg time and grad school)
Develop a side hustle project (this may look like doing tarot readings, blogging in attempts to make money, etc.)
Travel
Above all: TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. If that means foregoing some of these things for a bit, that's ok. That's why these are intentions, not resolutions. There is some flexibility.

This career stuff might look a bit daunting, but my master's has an internship requirement, so it would be good to start working toward that. I am setting a firm boundary that I will not take an unpaid internship during the semester. Nope. Can't do that. But at the same time, grad school is a fantastic time to jump-start my career, and I want to take advantage of the connections I'm making.

I'm going to get moving for the day - I've got a meeting at 1 to prep for, and I have a couple other things I need to do around the house.
vintagewitch: (Rory Reading)
I read a lot more in 2015 than I have in other years. Part of this was the long stretches on un- or under-employment. And I was thinking about it, and realized that it was actually kind of difficult to remember all that I've read. So I stared at my bookshelves a good long while, went back through my defunct book club's facebook group, and pulled together a list. Some of these will get a couple of short words in the post, behind cuts in case you just want a snapshot. 

Books I've Finished:
Kindred b. Octavia Butler
The Last Unicorn b. Peter Beagle
A Short History of Nearly Everything b. Bill Bryson
Neverwhere b. Neil Gaiman
The Haunting of Hill House b. Shirley Jackson
Love Medicine b. Louise Erdrich
The King in Yellow b. Robert W. Chambers
The Spiral Dance b. Starhawk
Wild Seed b. Octavia Butler
Sandman original arc vols 1-3 b. Neil Gaiman
Spiritual Cleansing b. Draja Mickaharic
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories curated b. Roald Dahl
Brave New World b. Aldous Huxley
Bird By Bird b. Anne Lamott

Books I've Read Part Of:
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate b. Naomi Klein. NOTE: I really enjoyed this, but I started it right as grad school was beginning, so I had to drop it. Highly recommend, though.
The Hero Within: 6 Archetypes We Live By b. Carol Pearson
Rogues - collection of short stories by multiple authors all centered around a rogue character. DEFINITELY recommend - I only read some of the stories, but they were all fab.

The Goldfinch b. Donna Tartt 
Read more... )

Maddaddam b. Margaret Atwood
Read more... )
vintagewitch: (wild unknown tarot draw)
Oh, and I just remembered after hitting "enter" on the last entry. I wanted to put these here.

Chani Nicholas is one of my favorite astrologers, and she sent out a quick blurb on the year ahead for each sign in her newsletter today. I'm already feelin' these 2016 vibes. I thought this was hopeful for my year.

Sun Sign: Cancer )

Rising Sign: Virgo )

Also I've been slowly making my way through a fantastic book on astrology that [personal profile] syntaxofthings lent me. The more specific I get with astrology, the more it makes sense.

In other woo news, I'd like some more practice with tarot. If anyone would like a free 2016 "looking forward" spread, I'd love to do one for you! Just comment/let me know.
vintagewitch: (Gilmore Car)
 I introduced my parents to the X-Files. It's hilarious.

Also it's been years since I saw the very first episodes. Full of gold. Scully started out way more sassy/petulant. 

That's really all. Headed home from the farm tomorrow.

Holidays

Dec. 27th, 2015 04:48 pm
vintagewitch: (Gilmore Car)
This was a very odd Christmas.

Went up to see Grandma. She has a really bad cold at the moment, and was up coughing most of Christmas Eve. She is much more frail than the last time I saw her.

I'm mentally bracing myself for her funeral. She's 93, mostly blind, mostly deaf, and since she broke her arm, hasn't been able to do much of anything. I think her activities around the house are largely to thank for keeping her alive and happy, and this time she just seemed ... a little defeated. Frail is the really the best word. 

So it's important that I make time to call and see her. 

There wasn't much for around-the-dinner table debate, except for when my uncle came out for lunch. He and dad got into it over taxes. Of course, these are things that I know about, but it was much more about them duking it out than about learning. So I zipped my lip and didn't really participate, which I think was probably the best move.

Had a weird health thing happen last night. Had a friend over to make pierogies, and right after we made some to eat and were to continue with the second half of pierogi forming, I had to go to the bathroom and throw up a bunch. He actually stayed and finished making the pierogies (we figured it happened waaaaay too soon to be food poisoning from the pierogies), and left.

I woke up this morning feeling tired, but not bad. So that was odd. It's almost like there was dehydration or some vitamin weirdness going on. 

So that's weird. Today I've just been cleaning and prepping the remaining pierogies to be frozen. They'll make for nice, quick, tasty food when I'm too busy to cook. 

This evening, I'm going to take it easy, maybe continue cleaning a bit, and get ready to head out for Christmas/gift exchange with my folks. I'm taking Wednesday with me in case we get snowed in. 
vintagewitch: (Death Sandman)
 The semester ended, and all the feelings I was pushing aside since the break-up have been coming out of me. 

I can't figure out if I want to be around people (yay nurturing others and myself! yay not being alone!) or whether I need some serious introvert/cave time (holy hell I have lots to process). 

I can usually put on a good face in public, but that's exhausting. But it also feels necessary and good. Good exhaustion? I don't know.

Feeling adrift. 

Seeing grandma later this week - my dad and I are joining mom and grandma for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. I really hope I'm not guilted into attending her church. It's painfully stunted Minnesota Lutheran. It's a church where I walk in and think immediately "This god is dead. This place is empty of meaning." And also these people would be hostile if they knew I was queer, let alone if they knew I was a witch. That's just ... oof. Lots to deal with at the moment.

And my grandmother is a very spiritual person. It's just ... not MY god, not my church. But I will go, if it will hurt her feelings that I don't. 

Holidays are not normally this tough for me.

That feel.

Dec. 13th, 2015 08:24 pm
vintagewitch: (writer between drafts)
 That feeling when your 9-page policy brief already has over 115 endnotes/citations and there's still a critical area in which you need to gather research. 

I will come back to Dreamwidth and my real life on Friday. That is when I will be DONE with this semester.

Still here

Dec. 8th, 2015 02:44 pm
vintagewitch: (tea)
 Managed to move almost all my things to the new place on Saturday. I left a few random things behind and will be going to get them and dropping off my keys later this evening. 

Matt and I said formal goodbyes. He gave me a big (consensual) hug. I might see him again tonight when I pick up the last of my stuff. Bracing myself.

I have exactly one week left of classes, and then just three more days of finals. I'm feeling a bit buried, but after I turn in my stats report on Thursday it will be a huge weight off my shoulders. 

Need to get back to it. Just thought I'd shoot off a quick update to show you all that I'm still here.

Mini break

Nov. 27th, 2015 09:49 pm
vintagewitch: (Gilmore Car)
 I thought it would be far easier to work when visiting my folks than it has been. That's ok - I think that I'll be fine when I go home and just pound out a whole lot tomorrow. Most of what I need to do is working on policy briefs, and those are mainly group projects. It will be much easier just to take care of that once I get home.

But this mini-break has been good. It's been great to be with parents, and to get away. I'm experimenting with taking Wednesday when we go, and that's been working out pretty well. The first time we brought him, my parents' cat went crazy territorial. This time there were definitely some standoffs, but they have largely just decided to be in different parts of the house. 

Have been thinking of what to do when finals are over, and I finally have some time on my hands to unwind. Dreaming, more like. Here's my list so far:

1. Finish reading the Octavia Butler series I started before the semester
2. Finish reading Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything" (that title will never cease to annoy me, no matter how good the book is)
3. Get my novel printed and spiral-bound
4. Begin editing the novel (eeeee! I am waiting on the edge of my seat to start with this one!)
5. Figure out an exercise regime that doesn't bother my wrist. 
6. Finish watching the X-Files - new season this January, I thought? I don't have high hopes, but I want to see what it's all about!
7. Polish up my resume 
8. Maybe write a short story?
9. Read Roxane Gay's "Bad Feminist"
10. Read Janet Mock's memoir "Redefining Realness"
11. Maybe read some short stories by Caitlin Kiernan? Maybe?
12. A lot of these are book oriented. Good thing I have experience reading hundreds of pages in a day for grad school! 
13. Weirdly in the mood to re-watch season 1 of "The L-Word?" I know it's a shit show, but ... but ... I dunno ... nostalgia, maybe?
14. Maybe experiment with making some more beauty products - I do love some DIY, and it's so great to combine hobbies with treating myself and saving money
15. sleeeeeeeeeep. A lot.

If I do even half the things on this list, I will be soooo happy. 

vintagewitch: (Death Sandman)
My heart hurts.

Five protesters were shot outside the 4th precinct by white supremacists last night. 

There will be a march at 2 pm today. Not sure if I can make it - it depends on whether or not I feel ok skipping class. I might go back to the 4th precinct this evening to help hold the protest, if I can get some other work done.

Most of my friends here are not from the area. If you are unable to be physically present for the protests but want to support the work happening on the ground here, there are some things you can do.

You can donate to the bail/legal fund here.

You can donate to MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. This is a fantastic group working on a myriad of issues in the area, including economic aspects of racial justice. Their offices were burned down earlier this year, and they're trying to rebuild. Read more and donate here. 

Don't have much time for a lengthy post at the moment. Grieving with my community and rushing to wrap up projects as the end of the semester draws nigh.
vintagewitch: (tea)
AROMATIC SALT BODY SCRUB

makes six ½-cup salt scrubs

INGREDIENTS

1 cup bulk almond or jojoba oil
2 cups bulk dead sea salt
15–30 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)

SUPPLIES

Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Small glass jars with tight-fitting lids)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Mix all ingredients to combine, adding more oil or salt until you reach desired consistency.
  2. Spoon into glass jars, seal and get ready to gift!
NEED this in my life again. I'll feel like a glorious, glamorous, wonderful witch whenever I leave the shower.

I've really been digging the effects of lavender + peppermint on my psyche lately: both soothing and clarifying. So this batch I'm making for myself will be that scent, because it's amazing.
vintagewitch: (tori storm)
 So today I hit a wall where self-care was necessary.

Have been on the periphery of the 4th precinct shutdown here. Trying to get out and show support as much as I possibly can, and donating funds/resources when I can't be there in person. Grad school is really amping up assignments for the end of the semester. Relationship stress is really taking its toll on me as well.

Managed to host an awesome party last night. Felt lots of cognitive dissonance, but it felt so good for my soul to have so many friends in my house. If you believe in astrology, I'm a Cancer and we are incredibly nurturing people, so it felt amazing to feed people last night and welcome them into my home.

But today ... I need to nurture myself. 

So I'm going to watch TV, and in between episodes do some "light" work on a group project. I've lit some candles, we've got some wine leftover from last night, I managed to make myself bean tostadas. This is good. This is needed.
vintagewitch: (Gilmore Car)
 Finally got some time in for self care.

Thank you, Dreamwidth community, for being the wonderful, caring individuals you are. You are all so supportive and wonderful.

<3
vintagewitch: (fuck it button)
 Dude in my stats group was really frustrating me yesterday. Super condescending (although that was both to me and my other male group member), and then when I opened our group report I found that he had put the tables into our word doc as jpegs, and they were so small they were illegible. LIKE WHAT EVEN.

So I spent three hours this afternoon RE-DOING them by hand.

Then I went to my energy policy class where we were presenting our video project drafts today. There's this one really infuriating dude in my class who always talks over people, always has a quip handy, and is in general extremely condescending and infuriating. He and his group presented a video on trains carrying explosive gas - bomb trains. Probably 4 out of 6 minutes was footage stolen from other sources, all images of explosions, no information, and it was extremely inflammatory.

Naturally, my professor was extremely critical.

Then, he said something that was totally off-base about policy. Specifically, that no legislation had been passed. And, of course, because I was commissioned to write an informational briefing about this this last summer, I raised my hand to politely correct him. He talked over me, continuing to assert wrong information. So I snapped a little to finish my sentence, and after I was done made eye contact with a friend of mine in the class.

I may have sworn a little under my breath. I'm hoping the professor didn't hear me. I was just so done with cis white men harassing me, insisting they were right when they're wrong, taking over group projects, being condescending ... just no. No. There is only so much of that bullshit I can take in 48 hours.

There was a great post on Captain Awkward about dealing with this exact issue last week. So ... I'm gonna reread that and try to take some advice. 

I'm thinking today will be better. I ended up with a migraine last night, so I went to bed super early. So tonight ... mostly about self care. There's a Keystone XL rejection party that I sort of want to go to, but transportation is complicated and I don't think I have energy for it. I need a serious cave night at home. I'm thinking wine and Netflix and tarot.

RAGE

Nov. 8th, 2015 10:41 pm
vintagewitch: (fuck it button)
 UGH. So many things imploded today.

This has not been a good weekend. My brain weasels are freaking out and really playing into the impostor syndrome. I was at a party with some of my more radical environmental activist friends, and was in the uncomfortable position of explaining - almost endlessly, there were people who kept asking me questions - energy policy stuff. And I just got in a mode. 

And all day Saturday I felt like utter shit because oh no, I didn't share the opinions of everyone around me.

I'm also trying really hard not to apologize constantly for my existence, for being intelligent, and for having opinions. And I steadfastly didn't apologize on Friday. And so ... I was a bit of a wreck yesterday.

Then today. I had several group projects implode. As I was heading out the door this morning for a group meeting, I started having an anxiety attack. I was still a bit of a wreck by the time I got to the train station, which was Bad News.

TW: Sexual Harassment + Anxiety )

So I got off at the next stop, walked home, and Matt drove me to school.

Thankfully the group member I met with for the video project is turning into a good friend of mine, and he's just delightful, so our group meeting wasn't hellish. He was also very sympathetic and disgusted when I told him about the sexual harassment I'd dealt with.

Then after that meeting, another group project I'm working on imploded. 

Then, surprise! Matt's mom wanted to have dinner with Matt and I.

And now ... I'm fucking exhausted. 

But I'm finally done with work for the day, and I'm going to go to bed now. Tomorrow's a super busy day - I'm filming a protest for my energy film project, and I've got many classes, and I've got a Statistics group report due on Tuesday. Here's hoping I at least feel more solid on my feet tomorrow.
vintagewitch: (Death Sandman)
 This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and at the outset I want to say that I am not totally settled in my feelings/thinking on this topic. This could be an entire book's length, or a career's worth of academic study. I haven't done a ton of research, and this is mostly based on my experiences as a pagan person in the community. I am interested in discussion, because I'm not totally settled in my thoughts and feelings about these complex issues.

As someone who is concerned about racism, as a dedicated pagan/witch, and also as someone who is white, I have been thinking very critically lately about appropriation as it pertains to my spiritual community.

Many pagans feel that our religion and spiritual beliefs have been appropriated into the general public. As Christianity spread in Europe, it is known that Christian religious leaders adjusted their practices to mirror or reflect pagan practices - this made pagans more comfortable with converting to the Christian faith. In some cases where Christian leaders were more hostile, pagans continued some cultural practices that weren't overtly spiritual, or hid them. An example of this would be the Yule log, or the celebration of Easter including decorated eggs. It must be noted that other religions have weathered the spread of Christianity this way - medieval Jews maintained a lot of the kosher practices of their people in secret, but attending Christian church and appearing to be Christian. 

So paganism has a complicated history with appropriation and adaptation. 

Pagans often worship ancestors, looking back to and connecting with your ancestors' mythology and ancient practices. For me, those ancient practices are Norse, and I have studied aspects of Asatru. In fact, when I was "learning Wicca" the group I learned from had a very Gardnerian focus on Wicca, but also some roots in Norse mythology and interest in Asatru. We incorporated ecstatic and shamanistic elements into our very traditional Wiccan rituals. I am interested in Norse mythology - the nine realms of reality, the trolls and giants and frost giants, Freyja's carriage driven by giant forest cats, Odin's ravens, and rune lore - are all fascinating to me. I feel a connection with these things through my ancestors. My grandmother is extremely Norwegian and makes lefse by hand, and has taught her daughters the recipes of the old world. We've gone to lutefisk feeds (which is a tradition I am more than happy to let die), my great-aunt decorated intricate Ukrainian Easter Eggs, and my mother makes Sanbackles every Christmas.

On a more personal note, I have interacted with beings that name themselves Odin or Freyja, and they have become an important part of my practice. I don't know whether these beings are the Odin and Freyja, but they answer to those names and Norse mythology seems to resonate with them.

Recently, I've been learning more about the dark side of Norse mythology and contemporary Odinism. Of course, I've known for decades that the Nazis envisioned an "Aryan race," but I did not know how closely that tied very specifically to an appropriation of northern European mythology. Many white supremacist groups around the world have rejected Christianity in favor of Odinism, and they will commit hate crimes in "honor of their ancestors." Because of this, it might be even MORE important that I'm open about my association with my Norse roots, and show that this is not ok. But sometimes I don't know how open I want to be about my spirituality, even without having to navigate troubled waters about being confronted/accused of being associated with white supremacy.

I have also traveled in India, and had a couple of deeply spiritual experiences there. I visited Bodh Gaya, and meditated at the tree where Buddha gained enlightenment. I have interacted with spirits that are definitely not-Western-pantheon-spirits. But I feel uncomfortable publicly talking about these experiences, because sometimes I worry that this is not for me. And I want to respect that.

As a pagan with connections to her roots and also a commitment to antiracism, all of this becomes difficult to navigate. I don't know what to do. 

I don't want to continue the essentialist belief that connecting with your ancestors means connecting only with the pagan practices of your particular ancestors. I would also like to recognize and honor the ancestral practices of people from around the world. I don't want to whitewash my understanding of paganism or polytheism. 

At the same time, I don't want to appropriate. There are some things that are just not for me as a white person, and that's totally ok.

I recently had a conversation with one of my very dearest friends about this stuff. This friend got their master's degree in comparative religion, so they know their religious history. Basically, my friend explained that in the development of any major religion, there has always been appropriation. Case in point: This friend studied Christian history, and basically said Christians developed a new faith, but were very much in love with the Jewish god, so they stole large parts of Judaism and/or gradually incorporated them. Religions are greatly influenced by one another; there is a lot of crossover study.

The fact that the neopagan movement is still relatively new means that we're struggling with these growing pains, but we also have the rich language of cultural analysis and contemporary social justice philosophy to draw on and inform our practices and community. And I think that there's a tension between recognizing the cultural diversity of mythology, esoteric practices, and pagan roots globally, but also finding our place collectively.

So there are really several problems that I'm struggling with:

1. How do I disrupt racist and essentialist practices within my own spiritual community?
2. How can I reclaim Norse practices and practice them in a way that is antiracist and antioppressive?
3. How can I diversify my understanding of world pagan/polytheistic practices, and possibly incorporate wisdom from other areas of the world into my own spiritual practices, without blatantly appropriating a culture that is not my own?
vintagewitch: (Default)
 Sometimes I wish there was a Dreamwidth app. Today's train ride home was one of those instances - too burned out to do any reading for school, but too wired to just zone out.

It would also be a good time for reflection.

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