Monday, November 23, 2009

I am not going to finish my NaNo this month. I currently have too much going on right now. But I am determined to finish it before the year is through.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Days 13, 14, and 15

Catching up, catching up, catching up....
I am still 5K behind, but that's 5k to the half-way point. I have 30k+ to finaly finish this thing. I honestly think ´╝ęcan make it. I've been saving it online at Google Docs, so if you want, you can see it in progress at: http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AdFGpjR_lR3QZHdtY2R6Zl8yZ3c5N21wZ2M&hl=en

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Days 10, 11, and 12

Been playing catch-up and hope to reach 25K by Saturday. Been writing it in a notebook and transcribing it to computer. Fingers-crossed I make it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 9

Mabon and Ritual
In Wicca I celebrate 8 different celebrations, half having to do with the turn of the season, the other half being quarter points in between. While the “year” ends and starts with Samhain, the Wheel of the Year always turns. We follow the cycle of Mother Earth.

Since it's November, Thanksgiving is coming up. Now my family is pretty laid-back on family celebrations. we never make a big deal out of anything. The only reason we're doing anything remotely secular this year is because we were invited to join with our neighbors. As we all know, Thanksgiving is a day where we join together as friends and family to honor that on which we are the most grateful for being blessed with. I, personally think it's a load of bullshit considering the fact that the only reason for the first “thanksgiving” was because the original European settlers hadn't done shit to prepare themselves properly for the upcoming winter and the Natives were nice enough to share. Then they were graciously thanked by being killed with weapons and disease as well as have their homes destroyed. I don't believe land belongs to anyone, but I do believe that you should share a land to live on instead of claim it as your own.

I celebrate a type of Thanksgiving in September, during the fall equinox, or the first day of fall. This celebration is Mabon and was known as the second harvest. The Welsh god's name, Mabon, means “great sun” and the story goes that he was kidnapped from his mother and hidden in the Underworld. This is the explanation the Welsh had for why the winter months were ahead. In many ways, the story of Mabon is very much the same as the Roman goddess Persephone's. Another explanation for the start of fall is that the Mother Goddess is now pregnant—well into her pregnancy, and the Father God is dying and can no longer support the earth. Since this is an equinox, equal parts light and dark, we also keep in mind balance.

Being a time for harvest, it is a time to celebrate the Earth's bounty. At this time we thank her for all that she had provided for us. For this reason it is considered a type of Thanksgiving. For us it is a total thanksgiving where we thank the old that has passed and the new that will come. We honor our families in this manner as well.

I did not celebrate Mabon this year. I had just had Zinnia not too long before and I was still adjusting to having three small children. However, I still remember a ritual I had with my healing circle to celebrate this occasion.

We first prepared the altar. Along with the candles we had a knife, a bowl of apples, and a balance beam on the floor. We cast the circle, called the quarters and invited deity to join us that evening. Then Eartha and her husband took turns conducting the ceremony. The purpose of the celebration was stated. We then walked along the 2x4 placed on the floor as a symbol for balance. An apple was then cut in half and the seeds passed around. They were symbolized as the seeds of healing and the fact of planting them in fall was explained. Afterward, we sat and ate and shared with each other what we were thankful for. It was a simple ritual, but very effective.

Which brings me to another topic. Most people believe ritual has to be this big showy spectacle, but in reality, it really doesn't. Some people find comfort and solace in planning and creating and later executing a large, long-winded ceremony with or without other people present, incorporating all of their magical tools. Others, like myself, prefer something simple and quick, but well thought out. Sometimes just a quick hello to deity to acknowledge the holiday will suffice. It does NOT have to be elaborate or extravagant.

The majority of my celebrations are just a simple poem dedicated to a particular deity that corresponds to the season and a prayer. I don't have the time or energy to do much more than that. With my house as full as it is, I won't be able to do much for a long time. However, the gods always hear me and know that even though I am busy I make an effort to honor them no matter how small.

Mother's Day
Along with my Pagan holidays and celebrations, I celebrate modern holiday and celebrations with my own twist. I always feel that even if it's not a “major” holiday, the gods like to join in on the fun as well. Ever since i had my daughters, my favorite holiday has been Mother's Day. Now, while I was pregnant with Zinnia, I didn't participate in or practice any ritual work. The most magic I did on any day was my daily meditations. So this year I did no ritual work until Samhain and before then I hadn't done anything since the Samhain before. wow, so I just realized that I took a year-long hiatus. Last year's Mother's Day, Daisy was only about 6-and-a-half months old while Violet was a little over 2 years. I had decided that she was old enough to join me in ritual work for Mother's Day since she could now speak and understand the dangers of fire. I thought I'd have a nice, small ritual with my daughter and that would be it. I forgot to take into account that she was still a toddler.

I had set up a simple altar honoring both my biological mother and earth mother, as well as the women who had been like a mother to me. In the center of all my “mother” mementos was a pale green candle. After taking some time to meditate on my mothers and motherhood, I brought my children into the ritual space to join along.

Since Daisy was still quite small, she entertained herself with lying on her back and chewing on ribbon and the altar cloth. Violet was next to me and while I lit the candle I had her repeat a poem my friend Dragon had written for the occasion.

I honor my motherhood
who gave birth to me
they comfort, console
bless, teach, and love me
May they be blessed
with love, honor, and prosperity.
Blessed be.

A beautiful poem and Violet recited it perfectly. However, being a toddler, she kept blowing out the candle! I kept laughing through most of the ritual. “See, this is why we can't have Pagan babies!” I couldn't keep a straight face. Every time she would finish a line, shed blow out the candle. Every time she'd blow out the candle, I'd burst out laughing and would have to re-light it. Needless to say it was a fun and interesting experience. Not at all what I had thought.

I hope to one day continue incorporating my children in my rituals. They always make things interesting. For the sabbats, if I am working in a group setting, I always encourage the girls to join in if they want to. It's always a blessing when they share a special moment with me. I will treasure them always.

word count:1216

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 8

I can't believe a week has already passed. Couldn't turn my internal editor off. I was doing ok with it, arguing. "November is for writing, December is for editing" But it won today and I spent the entire time adding and subtracting words. *sigh* I am so behind. Tomorrow will be a lot of catching up.

NaNoWriMo: Day 7

I have been playing "catch-up"


Rites of Passage
I don't know about most religions but I know that Catholics do Rites of Passage as part of their faith – baptism, communion, et cetera. Wicca, too, has Rites of Passage. But seeing as my oldest is only just turning 4, I haven't gotten past the baptism. The Wicca equivalent of a baptism is called a Wiccaning. However, like any baptism, this dedicates the child to the actual faith and god(s) that they need to follow. Instead of a Wiccaning I prefer to do a baby blessing. That way she is blessed and guided by the gods throughout her life, but she doesn't have to follow a set faith or dogma until she is old enough to choose her own way.

Violet was blessed by my mother at her church. Being a polytheist, I do not discriminate between gods. I believe all gods are worthy of watching over my children and guiding them spiritually when they seek it. Being as it was almost four years ago when it happened, though, I don't really remember how it went. I remember a prayer and Violet being blessed with the holy oil and that's about it. She had been only a couple of weeks and so I was still seriously suffering from “mommy-brain.”

Daisy's was different. It was held at my house and was performed by my friend, Eartha, who was ordained by Universal Life Church. It was simple, with candles, and with only our family, Eartha's husband. and out friend Boston. I had chosen a Wiccaning Rite out of the book Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft and tweaked it to better suit my needs. There was nothing wrong with his rite, it was just too specific to the Wiccan faith and I don't want to force one faith on my children. So it went as follows:

I set up the altar, which was my coffee table, with all the necessary accouterments. I had one main candle to light to honor the Goddess and four smaller candles place at the four corners of the earth, North, South, East, and West, with the corresponding colors; green, red, yellow, and blue. I then called upon the gods and the Watchtowers to supervise the blessing while Eartha blessed the water.

PARENTS: Here we offer [BABY'S NAME], the fruit of our love, to the Gods. May they watch over her as she grows.

OFFICIATE: (bless baby's forehead with holy water, anointing oil, or blessed salt water) [BABY'S NAME], may the Gods smile upon you, guard you, and guide you through this life. May they help you choose between right and wrong and that no harm befalls you or others through you.
(to PARENTS) You are both blessed by the Gods. Will you lead [BABY'S NAME], with love, through the ways of life and teach her to honor and respect all life and others?

PARENTS: Yes, we will.

OFFICIATE: Will you teach her to strive for her happiness and desires, and, when the time comes, to choose her own path with the Universe?

PARENTS: Yes, we will.

OFFICIATE: (to all present) And so we welcome and bless [BABY'S NAME] unto this world. May the Gods protect her always. Blessed be.

ALL: Blessed be!
After all was said and done, we passed Daisy around and she was held by all while they whispered their blessings to her. Their gifts to her were yellow carnation flowers.

Zinnia's blessing was also held at our house not too long ago, about a month ago if I'm not mistaken and even that one was done differently. I had chosen an Omaha tribe children's blessing tat I had come across one day and found absolutely suiting and beautiful. This time, more people were present and all from our Pagan healing circle. Boston officiated this one as Eartha is currently pregnant and I figured she'd prefer to sit this one out.

I set up the altar before hand, very similar to the way I had done last time, but instead of invoking the gods and calling the quarters then casting a circle, I just called upon the gods to join us by lighting the largest candle and lit a corresponding corner candle when the blessing was read.

Sun, Moon, Stars, all you that move in the heavens, hear us!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Make his path smooth, that he may reach the brow of the first hill! (Here I let the red south candle)

Winds, Clouds, Rain, Mist, all you that move in the air, hear us!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Make his path smooth, that he may reach the brow of the second hill! (Here I let the blue West candle)

Hills, Valleys, Rivers, Lakes, Trees, Grasses, all you of the earth, hear us!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Make his path smooth, that he may reach the brow of the third hill! (Here I let the green North candle)

Birds, great and small, that fly in the air,
Animals, great and small, that dwell in the forest,
Insects that creep among the grasses and burrow in the ground, hear us!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Make his path smooth, that he may reach the brow of the fourth hill! (Here I let the yellow East candle)

All you of the heavens, all you of the air, all you of the earth, hear us!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Make his path smooth, then shall he travel beyond the four hills!(At this point, Zinnia was blessed with the holy water)

When all was finished, we then explained the meanings of the Medicine Wheel and the four hills while the baby was passed around. Everyone told her their wishes and blessings for her as well as gave her gifts. We then hung out and all had pizza.

even though each was different, all the blessings were special and had the same purpose, to give my children spiritual protection and love. I can't wait until they are older so that we can do other Rites of Passage together. I think it would be nice to enter into womanhood with their mother behind them to support them. When I first started my menstrual cycle I was nervous, ashamed, and horribly upset. I was not happy that I was female at all. Then again, i had just turned eleven and didn't like the idea of being a woman. I knew about all the physical changes my body was going through already, I had researched it, but my mother, thinking that I already knew enough, wasn't “there”. It was never a big deal and I couldn't really talk about it because I had been taught that it was something private that we kept to ourselves. I don't want my daughters to feel ashamed to be a woman like I did. I know my mother was just doing what she thought she was supposed to do, what she had been taught, but it didn't benefit me in the least. I want to be there for all the spiritual and physical monuments in their lifetime. I think it is paramount to guide them through and cheer them on.

word count: 1207

Friday, November 06, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 6

I wrote nothing today and instead took a break and spent the day with my awesome family.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 5

I've bee procrastinating


Happy Place Meditations
When you sit down to meditate do you have a special place that you “go to?” When I was a child I was sexually abused by my stepfather for almost three years. Since I didn't feel safe in my own home, I had to create a safe haven for me to go to when my stepfather was hurting me. It was a little house in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful scenery. The house was small. It had absolutely no rooms and only two windows. There was a fireplace and no back door, yet i still had a kitchen of some sort.

The house was a small brick cottage. from the door you could see directly to the back of the house where there was a window. Below the window was a bad long-ways against the wall. The head of the bed was at the left and southeast corner with a bedside table. At the foot of the bed was a large wooden trunk with clothing and other belongings. A little bit away from the bedside table was a small fireplace. It always had a small fire burning in it. In front of the fire was a large and comfy chair with a matching ottoman and there was a large bookcase full of books against the wall on the left northeast corner diagonally from the chair. Behind this chair, on the opposite side of the fireplace was a small wood-burning stove, a pantry-like cupboard, and a fridge. On the wall above the stove was a window, and above that, on the ceiling, hung a handful of pots and pans.

Directly outside the front door was a pond full of frogs, dragonflies, and coy. Further out, on the northern horizon, were mountains. To the east was a large field and further out you could see rooftops of a decent-sized village. To the west there were woods. while the south had a glorious meadow. Under my kitchen window, which faced the west, there was a small vegetable and herb garden. I was also always visited by a cow.

This safe haven was all in my head and I went there every night to escape from what my stepfather was doing to me. As I got older it became like a second home. After he committed suicide, I stopped visiting this place because I felt I didn't need it anymore, However, as I began to delve further into wicca, I realized this was a good place to visit when I needed to unwind and collect my thoughts.

My given name, the one on my birth certificate, is not Luna. On the contrary, it is something else entirely. But this is the name I go by in the Pagan community. It is the name that was given to me by the goddess one day while visiting my happy place. When I was a child going through all that shit I was put through, I was always visited by a small black cat in m safe haven as well as in my dreams. She was always there, watching me with her yellow, purple-speckled eyes. It didn't matter where my mind was at, what I was dreaming or thinking about, she was always there in the background. Some time after my stepfather's death and shortly after I dedicated myself to my path, Iwas meditating in my happy place when this cat saunters up to me and lands in my lap. I was petting it absentmindedly, sitting at the edge of the pond with my feet in the water when suddenly the cat turned into a women with her head resting on my lap, her dark black hair cascading over my knees. She was beautiful and pale – her skin the color of fresh milk and her eyes gold with violet speckles. I knew who she was then. I knew she was my mother goddess and realized she had always been with me. She had always watched me over me but I had been to afraid and confused to reach out to her. As we relaxed in the sunbeams by the pond she spoke to me. She told me I kenw who she was, which I did. Then she looked up at me with those amazing eyes, placed a hand on my cheek and said, “You are my moon baby; my lunar sky.” And so Luna Skye was born.

I know it probably sounds super corny, but it was real and bautiful and speacil to me. She gave me the name and I wear it proudly. It's super special to me so i only share it with a few people and those in the Pagan community. It also gives me a sense of anonymity so to protect my children from the harm people inflict on the loved one of Pagans.

edited to add more
The Fifth of November
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

To me, being American, Guy Fawkes night was just any other night. Tonight, however, I really will always remember the fifth of November.

Today is November 5, 2009 and in my hometown of Ft Hood, Texas, something tragic happened. Fort Hood is actually centered inside of Killeen, where I grew up. I went to elementary, middle, and high school there. I was married and had my first child there. I've lived where I live now for almost 5 years now, but Texas will always be home. Today, at around 130 at the soldier's Readiness Center, a mass shooting was conducted by one of the soldiers. Apparently, a Major, a psychiatrist, ironically enough, was getting ready to be deployed to Iraq when he pulled out two handguns and opened fire on everyone. He was shot down by emergency personnel, but not after injuring 31 and killing 11 victims.

I am horrified and sickened by this man's crime. It's so disconcerting. I was worried sick for my and my husband's family who work in or live near the military base so much so that i started crying while I made dinner. I knew they were all right, but I was terrified and scared and alone. I wanted to be with them instead of at least three states away.

I have been praying for everyone affected by this tragedy, including those close to the gunman. I just do not understand what could have been running through his mind at the time. It was such a senseless act of violence and a so many innocent lives were lost over one man's carelessness and insanity.

I truly have no words. I just pray to the goddess that everyone will be able to heal from this.

word count: 811 1129

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 4

Raising Children
When i go to public rituals I always notice the parents and I've noticed that a lot of them are raising their children Pagan. Now I'm not saying I'm against this, but I just hope they stay open minded pagan because there are crazies in every religion.

I've had people come up to me to admire my beautiful girls and ask me if I was raising them Pagan. I'm not. I'm not raising them without beliefs, I'm just not giving them a set doctrine to follow. I remember growing up with my mother and that when it seemed like i was "straying from the narrow path" my mother would force me to go to church. By the tie I was in high school I just didn't care anymore. I had had the Christian religion shoved down my throat so much. One thing I was glad about was that even if she forced me to go she couldn't make me listen. I slept through most sermons. I don't want to be that to my children. I want them to be able to choose and follow the path they feel the most comfortable with. If they end up atheist like their father, so be it. If they end up Catholic or Jewish, I don't really care which as long as they are happy and not wreaking havoc. I believe their souls are their own and that the path they follow is theirs to choose. I have plenty of literature for them to go through. Plenty. we own about 7 different bibles in two different languages and 3 different translations. I have the book of Mormon in both Spanish and English. then of course i have a ton of literature on Wicca and Buddhism and other pagan religions. if they ever need someone to talk to, I'm pretty well read on the subject matter. i just really don't want to be like my mother was to me when it came to religion.

one of the things i really hated about church as a kid was all the hypocrisy. it was ridiculous. my mom's boyfriend once asked me why i didn't like to go to church. i told him it was because all the women spent 90% of their time gossiping about the rest of the member in the church. thankfully my mother was never one of them. she may have been seriously too devout for my liking, but she wasn't a hypocrite in that aspect.

i would always find them in the coffee room chatting it up about "hey did you hear about sister so-and-so" which would irritate the hell out of me. I mean, what kind of example are you setting to the youth of that establishment with talking about fellow members behind their backs? what does that say about you as a Christian, as a person? It probably wouldn't have bothered me so much if it hadn't been the Pastor's wife who was the ring leader in most of the gossip groups. That had to be a terrible feeling when you would walk in on them and find the lady in charge of the place talking shit about members of the church.

That actually happened to my mother once. She came up to me one afternoon and asked if I had said something mean about her. I told her I had been joking with my friend KC that you'd probably say I needed Jesus, but that i really wasn't serious. he and i were just making a joke. But apparently someone else had heard and was passing it around like my mother was this terrible parent who didn't have control over her daughter. My mom, being awesome, totally confronted them ad they spoke about her and corrected the,m. Then she told them how unprofessional and just downright classless and tacky it was to talk about people and gossip. "Thou shall not bear false witness against one another."

I just can't stand hypocrisy. I try my damnedest not to be like that. Granted, I'm only human. I'm sure I've messed up multiple times, but i really try. What I believe in is what makes me who I am and I try and follow that wholeheartedly. I don't want to be a flake. I don't want to be a nut. I don't want to be a pat of a system where it feels like they should be a part of cereal (flakes, fruits, and nuts) I want a better example for my children when they are old enough to choose what kind of religious path is right for them.

I want them to be fulfilled. That was one problem I had with going to church. I used to be very devout. I was an officer in my youth group. I graduated from the school of ministry when I was only 13. Even now, I took three years of theological study and became an ordained minister. But i just never felt complete. I always felt like something was missing. I never feel like that when I'm at home lighting a candle and praying to Gaea for insight or to Aphrodite for some serious self-esteem boost for sexy-time. I always feel safe and protect and whole when I practice. I never felt that way in Christianity. I always felt awkward and ashamed. Is that the kind of feeling I want my children to have? Heavens, no. so they get to choose.

I was in a forum where one of the people there was raised in a Wiccan household. She stated that her mother was the equivalent of a Christian fundamentalist, except Wicca. I shuddered. It doesn't matter what religion it is, please, let your children decide. I understand as parents who have to nurture them and guide them, but when it comes to spirituality, let them choose for themselves when they are old enough to understand. And then let it go and support them if it is a healthy choice that does them no harm. research it with them and support them. Telling them they are wrong and shoving it down their throats is only going to push them away or scare them into believing something they don't agree with.

Reactions
So I spoke to Leigh today and actually asked her all of my questions. She wasn't offended at all! I was actually very surprised on how she responded to my curiosity. Whenever I ask someone serious questions about specific topics discussed in their religious texts they get huffy and defensive. I'm not trying to attack them by all means. I just want to better understand. Leigh, however, was excited for the challenge. She was honest with me and let me know that she didn't have the answers but that she was going to go home and research them tonight and then come back later with whatever answers she could acquire. I admire her zest.

I told Jay how Leigh handled my inquisition and was impressed by how wrong he was about the outcome. I guess we both were. This is the first time anyone has been grateful for questioning. Most just get upset and are like “How dare you question my Truth!” Leigh on the other hand, was thrilled. She saw it as a test to better herself on her faith. She welcomed it, accepted it, and is working through it. She told me she was excited that i was asking such deep questions and thanked me because then she could strengthen her faith and knowledge by being able to find these answers. She loved my questions and found them to be very insightful.

This is refreshing. It's nice to find someone who is not ashamed of not knowing and is okay with saying “I don't know – but I'll find out!” I think more people need to be like that instead of just trying to pull a bunch of bullshit out of their ass to make themselves feel superior. Granted, I still don't agree on her belief that everyone who doesn't worship Jehovah is wrong, but I can't deny that I like her style.

word count: 1349
6618/50000

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

Before I post what I wrote today I just want to say that if you don't have livejournal and are doing Nano this year, go join LJ. Then, go join the community Nanowrimo. When you have done that, go get an America Online IM. THEN go join one of the sprints in a chat room that is being hosted by all_yearsprints and the nanowrimo LJ community mods. It's AWESOME! I only did three sprints last night during the "into the night" session and came out with 1571 words! Do you know how awesome that is? On the last sprint I joined I somehow pulled 806 words out of my ass! My ass was probably not please by this but I was fucking ecstatic! I loved it. It really pushes you. So, if you're a fellow Nano-er, I highly recommend doing this!

Thoughts in a Black Out
What can bring the magic out better than a city-wide blackout? Thank God I'm Pagan. I never run out of candles! Haha! Some people would probably think “city-wide?!” but I live in a small town (population 3,000) so it's not the same effect as if, say, the whole city of Austin blacked out.

I'm sitting on my floor writing with several candles lit so I'm not in total darkness. Thankfully the girls are asleep so this hasn't phased them. It sucked for Jay who was in the middle of his school work online. He left at nine for work to take advantage of the fact that there isn't a black out there and he can use their Internet. Unfortunately that means he had to leave for work three hours early. At least he works the graveyard shift on a computer all night or else he'd be out of luck.

The cats are completely unfazed by this. Gary is chasing some Asian beetles that snuck inside while Jules is asleep on the stairs. My dog, on the other hand, is being spastic and pacing the living room. Every time I move she jumps. I know she's 9 and getting old, but I'm afraid I'm going to end up kicking her in the face by accident if she keeps freaking out.

I'm taking this time to meditate on loved ones who need healing. One of my friends just had a miscarriage so I am asking Gaea to keep an eye on her and guide her on this her time of need. Another just lost a beloved cat. The cat was such a cutie – a calico who was lovable, fat and fluffy and was the size of a small child. I've talked to Bast about it and I know that Morgana is in a peaceful place where she will not feel any pain. I know she was a cat, but I think she knew how much her human family loves her. My friend Starr is in a rut creatively. I prayed to the Muses so that they could help inspire her. She really needs it.

It amazes me how little energy I use when praying but how big an impact it can make. The power of prayer really is a magical thing. Christians say that prayers can only be answered through Jesus Christ, but what about my prayers? I pray to other gods entirely, but my prayers are almost always answered. If my petitions can only be answered by Jesus and Jehovah and I haven't been sending them out to them, who's been answering all these years?

I can't deny that there is a higher power. My experiences in live have shown me otherwise. When I was pregnant with Violet over four years ago, I was supposed to have lost her. I prayed so hard to Gaea for her health and safety and as we know, she's here and healthy and a large pain in my ass. But that's just one example of the many things in my life that show me that there is something out there watching all of us. It's a refreshing feeling.

The power's back on. I guess now would be a good time to feed the baby, thank the gods, and go to sleep.

Faith
If you don't believe in a certain deity, can you really worship it? Can you truly worship something you don't believe in? I asked that question to my friends today and most came up with the same answer. Lou, who studies religion for fun, went on about how some religions are based solely on ritual. The way you do the ritual is how you worship, you don't necessarily have to believe in deity. Buddhism is similar in the fact that you don't have to believe in deity to reach enlightenment but have to follow the eight-fold path. However, I was speaking about religions where the majority of worship and ritual are based on your faith and devotion to a specific deity.

The reason i asked my friends this was that just the other day I was hanging out with my friend Leigh. She's a very devout Jehovah's Witness and most of our time is spent in Bible study. I had always heard a lot of negative things about the Witnesses, but instead of believing it all I decided to actually study with her to better understand her beliefs. Anyway, we were discussing a topic in the book "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" and I mentioned Stella's problem from last time about the whole cross dilemma. When I said that Stella was a Pagan, Leigh asked what I meant, so I elaborated and said that she was Wiccan. "So she worships the Devil." Wait, what? Her reaction completely threw me off that I actually stuttered and just said 'sure'. I had no words. She was just so set on the belief I knew there was no reason arguing with her. But that comment really made me think.

So that's when I asked about worshiping something you don't believe in. My friends said no. They agreed that you couldn't really commune with a certain deity if you did not believe in its existence. So then I asked if they truly believed that, why were other gods being worshiped considered devil worship if the worshiper did not believe in the Devil? How is it possible to worship something you do not believe exists? No one could give me an answer.

I haven't asked Leigh these questions yet, but I fully intend to, as well as a bunch of other questions about her beliefs, but not all at once. I don't want to hurt her feelings or anything. It made me glad to know that Leigh doesn't' know my religion if that's what she thinks of anyone who doesn't follow Christ.

I guess I should also mention that I don't believe that Satanists are evil. I have met a couple of Satanists in m time who were wonderful people, but I've also met a few who were ruthless and corrupt--but I've met those in every religion. I find Satanists to be a lot like some of my friends who practice Chaos magic and follow a Discordian path. They accept the "darker" side of things and appreciate it more than others. People are all good. People are all evil.

Questions to bring up to Leigh for discussion next time she visits:
Belief: Jehovah is One true God; false religions based on Satan's lies--worship to Satan
Question: Can you truly worship an entity you don't believe exists?
Belief: Prayers are to be directed to Jehovah through Jesus Christ; Satan is invisible ruler of world
Question: Is God the only one who can answer prayers? If so, how are prayers said to other gods answered? Does Satan have the power to answer prayers?
Belief: Obey human laws that don't conflict with God's laws--always follow God's laws
Question: Should we still stone certain sins to death or kill them with fire? Is a menstruating woman still impure, dirty, unclean? Why are some of these "laws" ignored. (see laws in book of Leviticus)
Belief: Only 144,000 will reign in Heaven while others will stay on Paradise earth
Question: I know it's only a small group compared to those who go to Paradise, but why is number taken literally and not symbolically? If number is literal shouldn't fact that number is chosen only from the 12 Tribes of Judah be literal, too?

Hopefully asking her all of these questions doesn't bother her. Jay thinks I'm going to hurt her feelings or piss her off. I don't think I will. She may be incredibly closed-minded in her beliefs but she's devoted to the wholeheartedly Unfortunately, I think I've made her believe I want to be a Jehovah's Witness as well, and I seriously do not want to be. I think these questions would be a good opener for my "hate to break it to you, but I'm not going to join you." I gave her false hope and that was not my intention. I just wanted to learn more about it, not join the organization! I'm sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around their logic. I'm just open-minded, to accepting to believe religion is black and white; it's either this or that. i just can't. There is so much grey in this world. I don't believe that religion isn't just as grey and blurry as well.

Full Moon Thoughts
When I was younger, as in 10 years ago, I never really took the time to look and admire the moon. When I started looking into alternative religions I slowly began to get closer to nature. Now I've always loved nature in general. I was born in Puerto Rico and up until we moved to the States when I was almost 4, we were always doing something outside. I have pictures of being a little toddler around Daisy's age camping with family on the beach. Another of me as a baby being held by my mother in a river by a waterfall. And then, one of my favorites, as a kid around Violet's age fishing with my mother. I LOVED the outdoors. But when my mom married into the military, we were always stuck in suburbia.

I was thirteen when we moved to Hawaii. There is where I started my research into Paganism. I would go camping on the beach with friends from church. Or climb out of my window and sit on the roof just to look at the stars. There was vegetation everywhere and you just had to stop to absorb the beauty. All that red ash, though, really stained my pants.

By the time we moved back to the mainland I was already on my way to dedicating myself to my religious path. I felt so connected with nature. I went to high school with my husband; we were friends first. At night we would stand on the sidewalk in front of his house and look up at the stars. We'd try to name the constellations and fail miserably.

After I got married I really wanted a baby girl. So when the full moon would come around, the full, round Mother Goddess, I would pray to Gaea to help me become pregnant. One those nights, for three days, I would sit and watch the moon in all her beauty. The day before, of, and after the full moon I would just sit there and commune with Mother Goddess. By the time the fourth full moon came around, i was already a month pregnant. So now I feel an even deeper connection with the moon. she is my Mother and my friend. I confide in Gaea when i need motherly insight and pray to her when I seek protection for my daughters.

Tonight is a full moon. Many Wiccans take this time to pay homage to their Mother Goddess. A lot of them do this through ritual. I rarely have time to goo to the bathroom in peace let alone perform a full-fledged ritual, so my ritual is simple. When the girls are all in bed and Jay is doing whatever it is he does before going to work, I sit outside on my patio with my dog on my lap in the moonbeams and commune with my Mother Goddess. Missy's a good dog so she'll stay still while I sit on our bench and thank Gaea for my children. Tonight I thank her for my beautiful children. I thank her that they are happy and healthy. i thank her for listening when I gripe about when those beautiful children are pushing my beautiful buttons. I thank her for my maternal instincts. And then I tell her all of my goals and changes I wish to accomplish so that I may be a better wife and mother. It's a very long list of thank-yous.

I feel that ever since I became a mother that I need to take time out to be with my mother. However, I'm not really close to my actual mother. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother and I think she's awesome a lot of times, but we don't connect a lot. We are very much the same person but with different views. It's difficult to feel close to her when our religions are so different.

when I had Violet my mother found out through my profile in a networking site that i was/am bisexual and a pagan. she asked me about it and I told her. There was no reason to lie. It was just information i hadn't shared with her and for good reason. She then proceeded to go on one of her "Jesus is your savior" speeches. I didn't mind. I had heard these many times before. However, she threw in a kicker that night. I was told I was a bad parent b/c of my religion and sexuality. I was horribly upset and told her that the well-being of my child had nothing to do with my religion or my sexuality but everything to do with how much i loved her and how much effort i put into taking care of her and giving her what she needed. my mother actually said no, that it was love for God. I mean, seriously? My husband is an atheist. Is he a terrible parent just because he doesn't believe? I don't think so. He's an awesome dad who loves his daughters very much. She later, much later, realized she had put her large foot in her mouth. We haven't spoken about my religion since. I don't mind at all.But I think she just conveniently forgot. which is fine by me. I mean we talk about the Bible all the time. I think it's good to discuss religious beliefs. It helps iron out all of my own personal beliefs and gives them a firm and stable foundation. But I think because of all of our discussions my mother believes that I have found Christ again and am "back." I seem to have a bad habit of making people think I'm on their side on religion. The only side I'm on is my own. And I like it here.

With the moon as my mother, she does not judge me. She watches over me and guides me in the dark and I revel in her moonbeams. My mother has a privacy fence and when I lived with her I would dance in the moonbeams naked. It was so enlightening; so invigorating. I felt free, like nothing could stop me. I did it once in the rain, and i would only do it in the backyard. I didn't want any of the neighbors looking through a window and seeing my mother's naked daughter dancing out in the yard at 2 in the morning. Haha. So I've always felt close to the moon. My mother goddess has always been with me when others have not.

Every time the moon is full I feel a little less tense, a little less sad, and a little less stressed. I love the moon and the moon loves me. Haha.

I am her moon baby.

word count: 2555
5,280 / 50,000

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

Introductions and Salutations, among other things.
Name: Luna
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Marital status: married 5 years
children: yes – 3 girls

Today is November 1st. Last night was Halloween and the girls dressed up and went trick or treating with their father. Though today it is a secular celebration for costumes, candy, and fun, this used to be a very serious holiday called Samhain (pronounced sow-in) An ancient Celtic festival, it was celebrated on the last day of the Celtic year. This day marked the end of the summer and the start of the winter, which was oftentimes associated with death. The Celts believed the on October 31, the day before their new year began, the veil between the worlds of the living and dead were thin. They believed that the spirits of the dead returned on this day, mostly to cause mischief. They also believed that because the spirits were resent on this day that doing divination and making predictions were made easier. This Celtic festival was later mixed with a similar Roman festival called Feralia. Depending on cultures and upbringings, a lot would use Jack o' Lanterns to scare away any spirit who would cause mischief. Candles were lit and placed on windows to guide lost spirits home.

While my children napped yesterday, I set up my altar so to honor these ancient traditions that i, too, believe in. I took a large black candle and placed it in the center as a symbol for death. Surrounding the candle were pictures of skeletons and loved ones passed as well as dried flowers and small gourds, pumpkins and squash. I said a prayer to the gods hoping that all the dead were having a restful sleep in death, lit my candle and read the following poem to “anyone” listening.

Though your life force may be gone
Your energy still lives on
You visit us this time each year
We try to listen and to hear
For those whom from us depart
You will rest inside out heart
We pay homage to you today
'Til Hecate and Hades light your way

I left the poem on the altar and the candle lit for the rest of the evening.

We had an early supper so the girls could go out and trick or treat afterward. We placed a setting for any invisible guests and after everyone ate in silence, I took the food outside as an offering to both the dead and Mother earth.

The girls had a great time trick or treating with their daddy. Now that she's two, Daisy really enjoyed going out today. I had to stop Violet, though, from eating all of her candy. She thinks that since she's almost four she can make the decisions on her food. These kids are crazy. I stayed home with Zinnia and passed out candy. She was so cute in her pumpkin costume. Violet and Daisy went as a princess and a pirate. I dressed as a sexy fairy while Jay wore a super creepy mask. I told him it wasn't necessary. He has a natural super creepy face. Haha!

All in all it was a very eventful and fun day yesterday. I took tons of pictures and feel connected to those whom I've lost. A “new year” has started for me so I'm off to brainstorm on some goals to set. So fa all I have is “lose 10 pounds”. Haha!

The Cross and Crucifix
Stella called me last night wanting to know if she was right in saying that the cross originally was not a Christian symbol. I let her know hat she was correct and asked her why she wanted to know. Apparently a friend of hers told her it was blasphemy that she'd worn a cross when it is a Christian symbol and she's Wiccan and that she should take it off because it offended her. Stella was peeved and told her friend that the cross was first a pagan symbol but her 'friend' blatantly ignored her. People like her 'friend' make me want to punch them in the face for their ignorance.

Firstly, Jesus Christ did not die on a cross. He was impaled on a tree trunk that he had to carry with him as a punishment for his “crimes.” In the New Testament, the Greek writing mentions that Jesus was hung on a “stauros” as well as a “xylon”. Stauros means “upright pale or stake” while xylon was a large “stick, club or tree.” And even if he was hung on a cross, he died around 40 AD long after the cross was in existence.

Before Jesus' time, the cross represented the staff of Apollo. It had a lot of connections with the sun gods, the heavens, and the weather. Only were Christians were trying to convert did they adopt the cross as they're own. In some other places the cross was also used as a symbol of protection.

I don't know why some people get bent out of shape over symbols. They mean something different o different people. Stella's classmate is one example of what the cross means. To Stella it means protection. She wears it to protect her from harm. Unfortunately it doesn't protect her from the stupidity of others.

It just irritates me so much when people feel they are better than you just because of their religion. Nobody is better than anyone. All of us are all trying to connect with the Divine and are finding it in different ways. We all want something in the afterlife. Why can't everyone understand that?
Every Day
I was asked if i do magic every day. My automatic answer was no. I am way too busy to do magic every day. But then I sat down and thought about it. I *do* practice magic every day. It might not seem like magic to the untrained eye, but it totally is.

Every morning when I wake up to Violet and Daisy yelling and fighting at and with each other in their room, I take a few minutes to pray. Usually Zinnia wakes up at this time as well and while I breastfeed her I can lay down in bed with her and meditate with the gods.

Most days I pray for patience. I've spoiled my baby girls and I know this. Hell, I think they know this, too. With their daddy they are careful with rules and boundaries. With their mother, on the other hand... Well, they walk all over me. But I can't help it! They are just so damn cute! But because of it they stress me out to no end. Hence the praying for patience. They do love to press my buttons and if I don't meditate daily I just fucking fall apart. We end up having an afternoon where all four of us are crying for one reason or another at the same damn time. We're such drama queens. Haha!

On regular days I pray for their protection and health. Daisy and Zinnia are always at home with me, but Violet is in preschool now and I don't get to see everything that's going on with her anymore. She's an incredibly bright kid, but sometimes lacks common sense. She's still three, of course, and still learning, so she's prone to get hurt by herself or someone. I pray for that kid's safety every day and every chance I get.

All this recollection was what made me realize that i practice magic every day. Communing with the gods, even with something as simple as praying, is a magical experience that I make sure I do on a regular basis. I have to, though, or else I'd probably do murders.

words:1290
2734/50000

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

When someone mentions 'witch,' what do you think of? Do you think of an old and raspy-voiced crone with green skin and warts all over her face? Or of a woman dressed in all black with long fingernails and the power to turn you into a frog instantly? Or do you think of that quiet young girl at the front of the bus with her nose in the Torah? Or the man hailing the taxi wearing a nice crisp suit on his way to a business meeting? When someone says witch, I think of home. why? Because I am one.

Some might think I'm crazy when I say I'm a witch. They think I'm saying it for attention or because I have some sort of mental disorder. To be honest, this isn't something I really want attention for. And though I suffer from depression and that's considered a mental disorder, I'm not delusional. I don't think I can produce anything with my fingertips and the only way I'm flying is through American Airlines.

So why do I consider myself a witch? I don't have telekineses or any supernatural power. Hell, unless you count the disappearing act on my food whenever it's dinner time, I'm not even a great illusionist. so why witch? Because I practice witchcraft. Now, there's usually two reactions to this. The first and most common is concern for the well-being of my soul/spirit. Those people end up telling me that I'm on a path of eternal damnation and that I should seek forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ and his father Jehovah/Yahweh. That's usually cut short. The concern is usually well meant but not necessary. I grew up in a Christian household. My own mother is a Nondenominational Christian pastor. i even study the Bible – I've done so for years and even know it better than most “Christians.” The second reaction is intrigue. They want to know why, how, and some even ask for favors on “cursing” others. The most hilarious reaction for m was when one actually asked me if I could fly like they did in the movie The Craft. I think I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard.

One thing that a lot of people seem to think is that witch=evil and that witchcraft=religion. Both are wrong. For one thing, almost, if not all, every religion uses some form of witchcraft. It's a common practice that people have gotten used to they can't truly identify it. For example, prayer. What is prayer but focusing our energies for a desired outcome. Are we not using magic when we place our hands upon a loved one and focus, pray for healing? Let's pull out the dictionary for this. according to Webster's Dictionary, witchcraft is said to be “the power or practices of a witch.” Okay, so we're back at 'witch.' What's a witch? The dictionary's first definition is “a person believed to have magic powers, esp: sorceress.” So now we look up sorceress which then leads us sorcery which is defined as “the use of magic.” Now when I say 'magic' what's the first thing that comes to mind? Depending on age, it can be anyone from Houdini to Criss Angel. don't get me wrong, the dictionary's third definition of magic is “sleight-of-hand” but that's not the kind of magic we're talking about here. The first two definitions in the dictionary say the following about magic--”the art of persons who claim to be able to do things by the help of supernatural powers” and “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural force.” so for the sake of argument, what is God if not a supernatural force? what is prayer if not a petition for help from said supernatural force? what is praying to God if not magic? So if we take into account the proper definitions of these words, if you use magic on a regular basis, practice it daily, are you not a witch?

If you sit down and think about it, everyone uses magic, whether it's a quick prayer that your children arrive safely to and from school or having your fingers crossed for a new job. all of it is a form of magic. You're tapping into some supernatural energy to bend it to your will for a desired outcome. So you see, witchcraft and those who practice it are not evil. They're not good either. Some people wish malice on others but that doesn't mean the practice is evil. The practice is neutral just like everything else. It has no feelings. It's neither good nor evil. It is the person who makes it so.

The only reason magic and witchcraft are frowned upon is because people. mostly religious leaders, have been taught and have taught others that it is. Those others therefore teach their children, family, and friends. It then just goes on down the line until it is accepted as fact. Racism is geared a lot in the same way. One person doesn't like a group of people because they look and/or do things differently, therefore it must be wrong. never did they think that it might just be different and nothing else. However only we as humans can discern the difference between “good and evil”. Only we are the ones who make something good or bad. For example, if I spent all of my magical practice trying to cause pain and misery to others that would make me the bad person, not the initial practice. I wok it to do bad things. The same happens if I practice to help others. Real magic is neither black nor white. It is both because nature is both loving and cruel. Look at the difference between a rainy day and a hurricane; a windy day and a tornado. Universal energy is both and neither. We make it, work it the way we want it; mold it to fit our desire. Whether it is good or evil is defined by us.

Now as I've stated earlier, witchcraft is not a religion. It is often confused as such because it has been incorporated into the practice of religious ritual. It is most common in Pagan religions. Now what is “pagan?” The true definition is “country dweller; heathen.” When those leaders in Christianity were trying to convert, those who were not a part of the city and therefore did their things their own way were called pagan or heathen. Heathen is defined as “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible.” Just because they worshiped differently did not make them evil. They believed in God, or more than one, and were following traditions passed down to them over the years.

These days the term 'pagan' has been coined to describe the non-Judeo-Christian religions such as Shamanism, Wicca, Santeria, et cetera. There are a lot of religions out there—too many to list here, that are not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Heathen pretty much has the same meaning now as it did back then, just more rarely used.

Now that I've gotten that wonderful vocabulary lesson out of the way let us get to where I really want to go with this. As I've said, I am a witch. My practice is incorporated into my religion. My religion is Pagan—Wicca to be exact. Do I worship Satan or the Devil? No. Do I believe in Satan or the Devil? No. Am I evil? No. Or at least I like to think so. I'm only human after all. Do I believe in an all evil entity? No. How about an all good entity? Again, no. I believe that all gods are pretty much neutral. I am also a polytheist, so I believe in more than one or two gods. I worship several and believe that they each serve a specific purpose. does everyone who follows this religion believe as I do? No. everyone is obviously different—if not, we wouldn't have so many religions to choose from.

The reason for this kind of introduction is to better understand the rest of this book. This is not a teaching guide or how-to book on Wicca or Paganism in general. This isn't even a journalistic book of research on witchcraft. This is more of a diary of sorts to show, or maybe prove, that even though I'm a witch and follow Wicca, I'm just you're every-day girl next door. I'm hoping this will give some insight on how normal me all are.
Luna Skye
November 2009

1444/50000

NaNoWriMo: Count Down!

I am so ready for this!
I finally have an idea for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that might actually work.
This is my fourth time doing Nano, and the last three attempts at getting 50000 words by the end of November were bust. I dont think I ever made it past 4000. This time though I'm doing it differently. I am so ready and patiently waiting for midnight so I can get started!

I'll be posting my progress and work here if anybody is interested.

*starts singing* It's the final count down! Doo doo doo doo. Doo doo doo doo doo,..