Spring, Shines, Sewing and the Sea

Coltsfoot

FIRST! Blooms. The colors start in the ditches here. Coltsfoot.

I already have Coltsfoot included in my photo set of wildflowers, but it was hard to resist snapping the first blooms of the season. A Modern Herbal has the medicinal uses for it, but in addition to those Coltsfoot cheers the heart.

wildflowers

Chickweed, Periwinkle Myrtle and Purple Deadnettle.

I have not seen the Early Saxifrage this year, and the Chickweed almost had me fooled. Two years ago I nicked some of the Periwinkle Myrtle (I linked to M. Grieve’s entry for Periwinkles as the blooms are the same, but this species is different) for my back yard pots and it is going strong; however, until I get the gardens in more order, I’ll not be taking pics.  Purple Deadnettle will be all over soon in the corners of newly sewn fields and some of it will stick around through summer. 

copper kettle

Another thrift find for 3.04$. There is a marina named The Copper Kettle a couple of towns over.

The price was rubbed off of this B & M Portuguese kettle and I think the cashier thought I had done it. I am naive sometimes. I didn’t know people even did that at thrift shops. The manager came over and gave it a weird but very low price. I asked if he was sure because clearly even in the condition I found it, it was nearly perfect. He insisted. The handle and screws are brass and wood. This will be used!

Candle Holders

The magnet stuck a bit to these so they are likely just brass coated.

I should remember to carry a magnet with me when thrifting. I should remember a lot of things. But these were adorable and less than a dollar, so even though they aren’t solid brass, they were a decent find.

Brass Solids

There was no hint of a magnetic pull on any of these and scratch tests indicate they are solid. If not brass, then an alloy much like it.

The ornate ones are a lighter color so I am not sure what they are, but they are solid. It may seem odd to be shining metal when on vacation time, but I found it relaxing. I listened to Oliver Sacks’ book Hallucinations while I worked with these. (Fascinating book which I may write about later because it does put the idea of otherworlds, OBE’s and astral things in a new light. But right now, I’d rather give a useful tip about polishing ornate things.) Using bamboo skewers with the nonabrasive cleaner makes shining ornate things easier. As the pointy tip mashes up it will get into the tiny crevices and buff them beautifully.

patterns

One of these things comes in a pattern, the rest are seat pant flyers.

I went looking for the bald eagles at Old Woman Creek but the best I could find was their awesome visitor center tiles.  I made several sets of curtains for the office and the dining room (only a pic of the green, sorry) and a dress from the extra fabric. I still use sheets because the price per yard is usually outstanding.

Fill Kill

What’s for lunch? Gizzard Shad apparently.

Every spring and fall there are little fish kills due to the change in water temperatures, but this year there seemed a bit more than usual. They weren’t Sheepshead I saw on closer inspection (the year they had a kill I came home with 30 + lucky stones per beach visit), but Gizzard Shad. So while there will be no influx of otoliths, the seagulls will be very well fed.

I did reflect and write a bit about the underneath of things, but as usual these days (years), the writing is more for me than for blogging. It should be obvious that sometimes to find the beauty or usefulness in a thing it requires taking on a different perspective and often work.    I am not afraid of either and find solace in both.

~~~

A Spring Drink Recipe – Bitter Be Gone: Equal parts mugwort and a flavored tea. Steep, chill and sweeten (in that order especially if using raw honey to retain those benefits). Never before has the dream herb gone down so easily and pleasantly. Oh, this needs to be used in moderation! For those who’ve never tried it, be prepared for vivid dreams (some say prophetic) and major phosphene shows. 

The Grands and the Goods

My father and his sisters are German. Nothing else in that mix that they know of and they’ve compiled their tree back to the late 1600s. (I’d thought it was the 1700s but was corrected after Easter dinner.) The aunts are a wonderful group of tough ladies who share common values and dry senses of humor. It has taken until my adult life to appreciate them beyond being my father’s family. They are generous, powerful and hilarious.

Their mother has always been a figure in my head. One day I was chopping vegetables and my father came by to empty his work lunchbox. I didn’t look at him at first as this was common practice for him. But he stopped amid his chore and stood still across from me and this caused me to look up. When I met his eyes, he blinked something away. “It’s gone now,” he said. I lifted my chopping knife and told him he’d better tell me what was gone as I was armed, aproned and ready. “Just then you looked just like my mother. You’d don’t now, but just a second ago I’d swear you were her there.”

And that was all it took to make me fascinated in the woman. I’d only met her a few times when I was a child and then her mind was already in the cruel process of deterioration. She still had some great and useful jokes. When one of us fell hard to her floor from playing too roughly, she would scold us for denting her floor and our tears would cease and be replaced by a respectable guilt.  (I’m pretty sure her sense of humor was passed down. One aunt described a couple who played music at her church this way: He plays the guitar and she shrieks.)

Odelia

Odelia and I think my Aunt G.

During my first go at college, history courses were a challenge to my consciousness. I strove to stay awake. Often to do this I would imagine a house with a front porch swing and in short order both of my grandmothers would appear on the swing. They would hold hands the way young women would before it had any romantic or sexual context. Silent conversations were had by us while lectures boomed around the college hall. I knew they’d met in some hereafter, but at the time, I had no words to apply to the experience.

I didn’t bring it up at Easter, but I did ask after a photo of my grandmother that I’d remembered as being quite complimentary to another one of my maternal grandmother (both are below). I was lucky again and permitted to photograph a few more that were at hand.

grandmothers rule

Grandmothers.

My paternal grandfather has never ceased to be a topic of conversation at family gatherings. He died before I was born but he left his mark so indelibly that I feel I know him. Stern, strict but intensely creative was this German choir director and brewmeister. I found out that his father, my great grandfather was a China painter and somehow my own father’s tendency to paint made sense.

say cheese...okay, don't.

I am going to assume they are smiling.

Arriving back at my parents’ home, my mother was apt to find more photographs of her mother for me too. I grew up with Dollie and her twin Fae and the day I do not jump at the chance to get photos of them is the day I am either dead or bound and gagged. During this last photo dig, I asked about many photos that I’d passed before. My grandmother had worked for a photographer at some point and there were several photos of her with various boyfriends. She was a looker and fun person to be around.

Gratuitous Cuties

Dollie and Ollie – I could not resist posting another these cuties.

But there was a large photo of a handsome man that made me curious and always has whenever it has popped up. I had no idea who he was and never asked until this night. “That is my mother’s father. Your great grandfather.” I was astonished that I had not known this. He cuts a mysterious figure and I was surprised I never noticed the genetic resemblance at least in the eyes which are still evident in myself, my sisters and one of my nieces.

Chillin in some leaves.

Jonah Ivey – Mom said they called him Joney. He’s my great grandfather and apparently a fan of nature.

My mother said it had been duplicated from a photo that was taken by a traveling photographer. My grandmother was never the sort to have extra money for such things, but took advantage of working at a photography shop to preserve the image. I suspect they may have used it as a kind of advertisement to attract and persuade others to employ them for such purposes.

My parents are garage sale pros.

My father painted the first one and the others were intuitive buys of his and my mother’s.

My parents are what I call “finders.” I only have a little bit of that gift, but my older sister is a very strong finder. When I needed four leafed clovers, she found me 21 in short order. Finders are excellent to have in the family.

Other things happened at Easter and I came home with a statue of what may be an Indian monk, a Chinese wood carving of masks and a decorative puppet of Prabu Kresna. It is a refrain of mine to say that I am lucky, but damn, it’s true.

 

~~~

This is going to be my last Pagan Blog Project entry. I’ve found it more frustrating than fun to be on a schedule. However, by all means head over there to check out some blogs if you’ve the inclination. I’ve found and followed some very cool blogs through that project.

Expecting

Hallway

I went to the kingdom of a queen awake but in a seeming dream. The open halls were wide and naked, and upon first glance, appeared forsaken.

 

Not Balla Fasseke exactly.

But faces came as if griots and sang of expectations.

The early robes.

Raiments made of green and cold floated in contemplation.

And looking closer I could find royal scepters with tips of wine.

And looking closer I could find royal scepters with tips of wine.

Moss built carpets and soft thrones too for certain assignation. She is coming, if signs hold true, to tend her sacred nation.

~~~

A poem for spring added to the E’s of The Pagan Blog Project.

Elementally Experimenting

There are few more critical paths to learning than experimentation for me. I can read all about a thing, but it is only when I try a thing that I actually learn the nuances and form deeper meanings.

It has been a forever practice for me to experiment with a few divergent ideas at once. More often than not, unrelated ideas begin to mesh and before long I can see their relationships. This informs me and I’ve never worried about choosing ideas to try. It is probably in this regard where I feel the closest to whatever or whomever teaches me.

There are risks to every type of experiment and knowing those can be helpful but it can also be a mistake and an obstacle to learning. For example, I went to see my father to make sure he was okay after his recent surgery. He was and he was up to his old tricks. He told me while sitting at his computer, “You should always have at least four ways to make fire.”

poppie and lila

Poppie as drawn by one of his granddaughter who gets less flamey lessons and who loves him madly.

He pulled out one of his kits and took a tuft of steel wool from it and asked, “Hey is there a 9 volt battery over there? You should hold it.” For those who understand, you can see what’s coming. I held the 9 volt and he tossed me the tuft of steel wool and told me to touch it to the top of the battery. Yup. Lots of fire. No trashcan was without tons of paper, no bowl, no glasses, nothing was within reach to put it out. My fingers beginning to singe, I ran to the bathroom and put it out in the sink. Going back to him he said, “You have to run slow with fire or it’ll get bigger, or at least that kind will.” I had found that out and so did my shirt.

I cannot imagine a more dangerous and effective teacher. He giggled like the madman he is the whole time. “It appears I have graduated to fire. How did I do?” I asked him. “You passed,” he said between giggles.

The short experiment forced me out of my comfort zone, made me rely upon my senses and resources and taught me a new way to make fire and how to control it. And it made an old man laugh. Wise? I think so given the student’s experience. Safe? No. Nothing is. But his trust in me to make things safer was my reward and I cherish that. I don’t know if everybody has this type of learning happen, or can understand why it is important, but for those who do, Poppie has a garage and office full of lessons. It’ll cost you a fart joke or several.

ether

Ether is a gas. It is already halfway to fart joke.

When the air is full of energy and/or when consciousness reveals the spirit of air, I call it ether. Long before I ever heard the word “astral” I referred to that idea as the ether too (only in recent years have I found out several other names for it).  As I wrote in the entry just prior, it can be surmised that I’ve experimented in and with the ether from a very early age.

Some things I’ve experimented with may be silly or may be things I should have done sooner. One type of experiment I did last year was to blend myself into the elements while in journey. It sounds simple but for me it took a great deal of letting go as well as control and focus. I had to let go of typical visualization and allow my body to dissolve into air and later water.

The feelings were intense and a little scary. Parts of my mind were so far from other parts and each part was experiencing something different. It took a great deal of focus to call my parts back together. After air and water each time I “reconstituted” I arose out of trance state gasping and feeling the desperate need to ground.

Blending with earth was less frightening as my parts did not seem to move as quickly, it felt comfortable and thick but it left me with a huge migraine. And finally, blending with fire, something even my guide thought was stupid, was pure pain. The white hot type of pain. My parts condensed and I felt myself disappearing. I tried to access memory but realized too late that I’d let go of that type of access. Only a very basic emotional reaction was at my disposal.  I was not able to reconstruct myself, but found myself whole a bit away from my own ashes sometime later (I think I passed out actually).  I was a sweaty wreck coming out of trance and afraid of fire for a couple of days after.

When I went back to the spot in the ether where I stupidly immolated myself, there were still ashes. I covered them with sand, gave my respects to that which destroys. Later, after a personal tragedy, I cried at that spot and dug in the sand. It was the kind of digging a person does not for any purpose but grief. A wailing dig. I found a metal box there and in it were some pretty amazing golden items.

I learned something about tempering that I had not realized and I finally found the good in seeming destruction.

If these are things we send ourselves or if they are sent by others, I do not care to know most days. I think that could be too safe and confining a knowledge.

seedlings

Seedlings reaching up to the false god of my dining room light.

And now for something completely different, I am growing some plants from seeds this year. Catnip, beans, basil, and of course dill and pickles (if these make it to pickling I will squeal joyously). I haven’t tried this since I was forced to in grade school. Planting outside, sure, but not this table top cold winter deal. Honestly, two weeks ago when I started, it went so quickly that I was sure it woud fail. The greens have proved me wrong.

They’re in danger risking growing where they are. Curtain pooping cats and forgetful waterer exist here. But they took the spark of my idea and it seems they’ve kind of given a “what the heck, why not?” nod to the endeavor.

This experiment has only tangential relationships to the other two, but their connection is forming and I can almost word it. There is something of fire here too and of air and water and earth. Of control and risk. Of letting go and growing.  Of resourcefulness and of survival.

Other newer experiments involve a Chromebook, an old dresser and some spray paint, a quilt and some napkins, and some sheets. They are waiting in the wings for spring break. (Except the Chromebook which will be poked and prodded daily by myself and everyone who could find use in it.)

I will be tardy for the Pagan Blog Project entries it seems. I am not sure it matters. That is an experiment too. We’ll see how it goes.

Dream Season

There is a page on this blog that I use during my dream journaling season. I should be starting that again soon, and with one D left to go in this round of Pagan Blog Project entries, it seems an opportune time to write about it.

I have had various sleep issues most of my life and they were the impetus to my dream recording. Before I was in double digits, I was able to recognize patterns in dream due to recording and become lucid. I used dream lucidity to cure myself of terrors and even began to be able to recognize the onset of nightmares and that helped me be less afraid and more adventurous.

I stayed with the practice because it had become very useful to me. Much of my early dreams were drawn. I won contests with pictures of fanciful things from my dreams. Candy, make-up for my mother in a mother’s day contest, and silver dollars kept me trying to recall the things I had seen in dreamscape.

eyes

However, extrinsic rewards were not the only things that kept me recording the doings of my inner worlds. Healing, learning, growing and understanding and more, being understood, have all been draws. Still there is a pull as well. Something over which I am not certain I have control, at least not the way control is commonly understood.

It has been natural for me to fall off the journaling habit that helped me reach lucidity and adventure and “just get some rest.” This was something I said, but also something my sister with whom I shared a room advised, frequently. She was very young when she first offered this wisdom, and sometimes, when she’d seen a scary movie, she would ask that I not go anywhere while sleeping. So as a matter of love and practicality, I realized that taking breaks was a useful thing. Later, I read about the possible need to unlearn that may happen in REM sleep too, and that has been another reason I take long breaks. (I regard it as akin to defragging.)

As an adult I came to understand that my processes could interfere with my daily functioning. Waking several times in a night only to go back to sleep and work at something in dream, left me tired and blurry in waking hours. I could hear the wind of an inward world sweeping across my daytime and be in near trance at the sound. But I wasn’t raised a shaman or a mystic. I was raised with the belief that self sufficiency was a primary goal second only to leaving this world a better place than what I found it. I needed to study and train, but the call and draw inward never abated.

Eventually, I chose a career that would help me to achieve both primary goals and the bonus was that it gave me two months a year off to delve as deeply inward as I wanted or needed to go. 

hole

I do not blog the contents of my lucid dreams or journeys publicly, but I do record the simple dreams I have as a tool to “get there.” Some of them do cross over but that is rare for me to see at first glance. Mostly (there are some oddities of type), my dreams are like everyone else’s as can be gleaned from reading them (typos abound). 

The process for me begins in earnest again at start of spring. Last year marked a significant change for me in regards to the residual effects I attribute to journeying and dream work. The dream work never stopped fully but became less intense and more seemingly mundane. Journeying became packed with symbolism in shorter bursts. Nights of just getting rest happened too. I have been able to be very productive in different worlds the way I never have been before. Learning here has always enhanced learning there, but now learning there has enhanced learning here especially in regards to magic. I am not sure what caused this change, but I look forward to this new season and any mysteries that it may present or unravel.

Dusty & Delayed

“Delay” sounds like really unfortunate sex when you think about it for too long. Worse than “mislay” which only sounds like something has gone amiss due to inexperience or too many candles on the nightstand.  Still, I’d rather think of it that way than how it applies to this blog post which is more in the way of tardy than anything approaching sex no matter how fumbling.

I’m going to blame work because it doesn’t complain when I blame it for things, but I have to admit a single card draw that told me to look to the earth had me wanting time outside. Then I found out that woman I barely know but who gave me the honor of using her poem passed away. I went outside and took food with me then. A treat for the burrowers.

I dropped the food in a high paw traffic area and took my time with the couple of miles back to the car. I looked at the earth but it was covered in snow. So I looked to the horizon and I said her name into it. I said her name in all directions. Then I looked to the snow again and it glinted sunlight here and there as if someone had scattered diamond dust onto a field of white. That’s my kind of holy.

dust

I got home and while delayering I noticed the dust on the lamp stand over my bed. I think I still had an eye out for paw prints and that’s what made me notice. Only one cat went there. Other than a shredded side of a chair, those prints are the last sign of him in the house. Maybe the world.

Sometimes I don’t want the snow to melt. Sometimes I don’t want the sun to go down. Sometimes I want everything to stay. Even the dusts.

Calumny

I have misused the word calumny at least once in the last week. (I think, the week has been full to bursting.) What happened on Tuesday feels as if it occurred last year. One might think in a week filled with moments of inspiration, heavy work loads and ridiculous dramatics (in other words – a normal week) that focusing on such a simple error would be lost or at least forgiven.

But it’s not.

My mind is a cat sensing my little errors like mice under grass. My claws come out to scratch only myself. And I nod at the pain and feel it deserved. With every check and double check for someone else completed to a temporary satisfaction, my own words  have been let to go awry.  I convince myself repeatedly that I deserve pain. A misused word, a typo, buying the unbest Chinese New Year gifts, carry the weight of the world because they are my errors. My shame.

Recognizing the enormous ego needed to make one’s own errors hold sway over any and all actions of merit and true consequence in the world only adds velocity to the angst. Fast unthinking angst becomes rage. Action becomes reaction.

If I am guilty of one, I am guilty of all! A slander to the self only the self can accept or deny.

And then I hear it. A chuckle.

Oh, there is a molehill. Ready the crampons. 

And then I see it. A spirit.

Let me in. I’m cold. Stop looking at that and look at me. 

And then I finally feel it. A warrior.

Fuck that. There’s work to be done with or without you. I prefer with.

And then I know. The way a babe knows that everything is going to be okay when it is held in strong arms: I am lucky.

I cannot call it religion or faith that pulls me back and refortifies my strength and mind because I am not privy to that. I’ve not been obligated but honored to be able to hear and see and feel and know. I have been gifted richly of spirit and so I give generously of it in return to others. And when I begin to ride on a fumes of errors, an unknown benefactor deposits a few more precious drops of spirit in the tank. No weak calumny can withstand that kind of gift. It never has.

~~~

Reflecting on the Pagan Blog Project has had me questioning if my posts are pagan enough to be fit contributions to the effort. After some thought, the question as ceased to be relevant to me. However, I’ve not really enjoyed the C’s. They remind me of the cruel  bent of a Proust question that makes a body reflect on the lowest depths of misery. A pagan life is far from miserable and it is my hope and intent that as the letters flow and the seasons change, another view will emerge.