Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Place Where I Belong

Growing up I was very interested in religion, though my family wasn't a church going bunch.  My older sister was part of a kid's bible study group and she had her own Precious Moments bible.  I remember wondering why I couldn't go along and constantly flipping through her bible when I could.  Eventually I had friends who went to church every Sunday and I made sure to spend the night on Saturdays so I could go to church.  I ended up enjoying three things about those church going days: getting to wear special outfits, the singing, and the food.  No matter what, I am never bashful to admit that church lady food is the best.  I don't know why, lol.

I never enjoyed Sunday school and I didn't like sitting down and listening to a man go on and on about something I didn't find interesting.  After a point, though, I did begin to pay attention to what was being said and really absorb it all.  My earliest memory of comprehending all of that information was this: 'How can one God do all of that? There is too much to do, he needs help!'  I never accepted the idea of the Judeo-Christian belief of God being all powerful.  It just didn't sit right with me. In middle school I began reading the bibles in the house, and found that while I did find it interesting I just couldn't believe in it.  Something felt off.

During 8th grade I went to a slumber party, which was a huge deal because I wasn't much of the social butterfly.  We did the usual things: movies, junk food, and games.  When it got to be around 11pm our hostess's parents retreated to their own room and my friend began to talk about witchcraft.  The Craft was roughly a year, maybe two, out of the theater and looking back on it I believe that's where she got the idea.  All of us listened to her and we messed around with things.  I made a voodoo doll but eventually removed the pin since I didn't think it was doing anything.  What surprised me was that the girl nearly broke her leg and I ended having some issues with said leg for a while.

After that moment I began to search for things pertaining to witchcraft online, stumbling upon Wicca along the way.  I read the websites that seemed reasonable and would sneak around in the public library to read the books outside of my mother's watchful eye.  After a point, though, I wanted to own some of those books.  At that point I was in high school but I still didn't have an after school job, meaning I had to ask dear mother for about 15$ to buy the book.  When we went to Borders I found one that I wanted, bounded over to her, and asked.  She took one look at it, noted the pentacle on the front, and said no.  I was crushed but didn't argue.  Sometime later I posed the question again, with the same book, and she asked me if I worshiped Satan.  By that point I was able to call forth the information I needed and explained things to her rather quickly and to the point.  My mother finally agreed.  While my mother isn't much of a religious person, it is obvious that she hold onto what she had been when she was younger(she tells me she's a recovering Catholic).  My father doesn't seem to mind and has recently found himself to be an agnostic.  My younger sister dabbled in Wicca/witchcraft, as did my older sister but she claims to be an atheist now.

I slowly began to amass a decent group of books on Wicca.  Scott Cunningham's books were easy to come by and, no matter what anyone else says, I enjoy them and their simple way of going about things.  My first boyfriend bought me my first tarot deck for Christmas, one that served me well for years(freakishly so) and was finally 'retired' after nearly 6 years of use.  I still kept things hidden from my family and never really explained or showed them the extent of my belief in all of this.  I kept a small altar in my room that looked like an odd collection of things and performed my spells and rites after everyone was asleep or while people were doing house/yard work.  My practice of the holidays never took off since I didn't have a way of doing it on my own or with others of the same faith.

It wasn't until I met Grendal and his family that things seemed to change.  Grendal is a polytheistic agnostic, his older brother is possibly agnostic as well, and his older sister and parents are spiritualists with a slight Wiccan bend.  This was the first time that i had run into a family that seemed to be like me.  I remember giving Grendal's mother(who, like my mother, says she's a recovering Catholic) a tarot reading and she gave me one in return, using a deck of playing cards and explaining to me that a neighbor girl taught her how to read cards like that when she was still a kid herself.  Grendal's father is interested in Hawai'ian spiritualism, Huna, and talks to me about it since I'm half Hawai'ian.  While I've never heard of it myself, I listen and find it rather interesting.  The family's personal library has a plethora of New Age books in general and I've found myself looking through them and pulling out random titles.  While Grendal's parents and older sister still refer to God, they mean it in the sense of a higher consciousness, though it rankles Grendal to hear that word.

I've come a long way after 13 years of studying and practicing.  While I'm still nervous to discuss my beliefs due to loosing friends, I'm getting better.  My extended family on either side don't know what I believe in, or the extent if they have an inkling.  To some degree neither does my immediate family.  For the most part I don't find it necessary to talk about it and be very 'out there' about it all.  Yet, I will have no qualms speaking up and defending it if I have to.

I am proud to be pagan.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is it Safe?

I'm not much of a Black Friday shopper and, honestly, try to stay inside most of the day.  Luckily I succeed!

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Grendal and I spent time with my father's family, and I didn't give a thought towards my mother because it would have only stressed me out.  I did get a text from her later in the day saying she hoped I had a good time and, even though I'm 26, she wanted me to email her my holiday gift list.  So all is well for now.

Usually when I search the internet I end up being in odd places thanks to following links that catch my eye.  This happened again and I ended up coming across a blog post about Natib Qadish.  The word captured my attention because I didn't know how to say it or what the hell it meant.  So I read on and, lo and behold, it's a reconstruction of the Canaanite beliefs.  I tweaked out for a second and read through the article, very much surprised that this movement was about and that I could get more information on Ba'al.  Needless to say I have two websites bookmarked that talk about Natib Qadish and have requested a book on the subject as a present this year.  Whether or not I strictly follow the belief or mix it in with my eclectic pagan ways, I'm not sure.  Either way I'm learning some pretty interesting stuff!

Natib Qadish, Canaanite Paganism

Grendal and I are moving to the upper part of his parent's home(not sure if I mentioned this before).  What's awesome about this move is that I will be able to construct my first altar.  Before it was always makeshift things and on the spot whenever a ritual/spell/holiday was in order, and it was small.  Now I have a decent sized table to set things up and decorate. This makes me unbelievably happy and, with some luck, we should be moved up there and have the alter set up by Yule!  If I feel gutsy and comfortable with it, I may snap a picture or two and post it.

That's enough out of me.  I have to make some dinner. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pagan Blog Prompts: Clothing Optional?

Obviously trying something interesting.  I stumbled on Pagan Blog Prompts and couldn't help myself.

How is your ritual clothing different from your daily wardrobe, if at all? Are you one to attend ritual skyclad (naked)? Why or why not?

Are there certain items you wear on a regular basis that are always present in your rituals (a necklace or ring, perhaps)? Does the energy of that item change for you?

I practice alone.  There was a time when I did have a small group and when we got together we wore certain clothes. Mine was a dress I bought at a Halloween shop.  While that is embarrassing to admit, it was all I could manage and it looked wonderful!  Nowadays, though, I don't have a specific outfit to wear for rituals.  In a way I am a little sad about it but most of the time what I do is spontaneous and I don't have the time to slip into that something special.

As for going skyclad.....I would never do so in a group and that is because I'd be nervous and way too self conscious.  I know there would be no need for any of that but its just one of those things.  I have done a few solo rituals skyclad, on a whim, and things ended up nicely, so to each their own and I may do it again!

There is a piece of jewelry that I always wear.  It's a coin/pendant that I bought at a renfair.  On one side there is a cat and on the other there is a dragon.  I used to wear another one which had a Celtic cross and pentacle done in Celtic knot work.  The time came, though, for that one to be retired and I have a new one.  This piece of jewelry has become a part of me and I think it does help when I wear it during ritual.  There is just something special about it.

One Step at a Time

People have told me the holidays are a stressful time.  Up until recently the only stress I've had is how am I going to make it to all the Thanksgiving dinners.  I just stirred up trouble in my family's life and, sadly, I am the reason why my mother canceled the holidays.  I won't go into any details mainly because I doubt anyone wants to hear about it and I just want to push it aside.  I've said my piece to my mother, she's said hers, and what damage control I didn't fix either of my sister's will.  My father and I are just fed up.

Anywho, enough of that!  What I'm posting about is my faith.  More importantly the deities I follow.  This is more of getting myself used to talking about this and being proud of who and what I am!

Reading through a bunch of books and websites/blogs, I've come across some interesting things about picking deities or even pantheons to worship.  One big thing is some people believe that you have to be of Celtic lineage to worship Celtic deities.  I've heard the same about Norse, Native American, and even Japanese deities.  In some cases it was that you had to be of that 'race' or in that country (because we all know that the Gods can't traverse the oceans, right?).  Living in the states there isn't much in the way of native deities unless, by some standards, you begin to worship the Native American Gods.  I suppose I have a way out in the fact that I'm half Hawai'ian so I have those deities to pay homage to, yet something didn't seem right.

Going through the Hawai'ian pantheon I did find some draw to Pele and Mahina but I think it was more out of interest of their stories and my own heritage.  I dabbled with the idea of worshiping Pele but I began to notice my temper growing short.  While she is a lovely deity I figured that I would call to her in desperate times(in a sense I see a similarity with 'dark' Goddesses when it comes to her destructive nature and want to protect her children).

I thought about worshiping Nyx but, again, there was no intense connection.  I found her to be a wonderful being and very intriguing but I couldn't get myself to follow through with what I wanted.

At this point I hadn't thought about a God, just a Goddess.  One afternoon, though, it changed.  Now I have to say that when people tell me they have psychic dreams or someone/something contacts them through a dream, I am skeptical.  I know its weird but I am a very skeptical person when it comes to profound religious experiences in any religion/faith.  Its the person's word against yours.  Yes they could be telling the truth but they could easily be lying as well.

Back to the point!  One afternoon I had fallen asleep.  I usually don't take a nap in the middle of the day but I just fell asleep.  Most times I don't remember my dreams.  I wake up and I either slept like a log or it was fitful night.  This time, though, I remembered every detail of the dream in a way that just shocked me:
I was standing in my parent's driveway/back yard.  I was looking at the house and noticed that the sky was cloudy.  As I stood there, noting that it was going to rain soon, a figure came riding through the clouds on a cloud of his own.  There was lightning and thunder in his wake.  The man flew at me but 'bailed' at the last second, twisting himself away.  The man's face came incredibly close to my own and I noticed he was wearing a mask that had openings for his eyes only.  He wore a skirt that had reminded me of something out of ancient Egypt but it seemed off in a way.  His hair was shaggy and it seemed like he had horns that swept forward.  In his hand he carried what looked like a mix of a lightning bolt and a staff, and he had bony protrusions coming out of his elbows.

I woke up and was shaken, and the first thing I did was tell Grendal about the dream.  He was shocked(he knows that I 'don't' dream) and told me to write it down and sketch out the figure as best as I could.  There was some letters that had popped up with the dream, but I still haven't found a meaning(2 years after the fact) to them if there was one.

It took me a while to find out who this figure was and when I saw a statue it was almost an instantaneous "That's him!" moment.  The God that I believe came to me was Ba'al.  The image I saw and the descriptions I've read match up.  I do know there are different Ba'al's but I believe that they're aspects of the same being, and it has yet to steer me wrong.

I have found a Goddess and, honestly, I don't know why I hadn't realized that she had been with me for a long time.  Bast.  I will say that it was probably the fact that I didn't want a 'mainstream' Goddess to worship that I hadn't noticed it sooner.  Cats have always been in my life, I have loved them greatly, and they have brought me nothing but joy.  When ever I meet a new cat there is an instant liking between us, even with cats that are normally a little put off by new people or generally grumpy.  Another big thing is the fact that my mother had collected a few cat statues for a while.  One of them was a cat that wore an Egyptian necklace and was sitting rather proud.  I was always drawn to it and always wanted to touch it, hold it, and put it in my room.  When I realized there was a connection between Bast and myself, I took the statue and placed it on my makeshift altar.  Everything has been well since.

So yes.  I have a God and Goddess to worship other than the Mother and Father.  I do find it rather interesting that Ba'al has a connection with Egypt, being likened to Set.   Things always seem to come together in the end. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burning Bridges

I used to suffer from clinical depression.  I didn't believe my mother when she told me I was depressed and when I was given medicine I would just dump it down the drain at my designated time.  It wasn't until I was taking a psychology class that I realized that I fit everything to a T.  Finally I agreed to see someone about it and learned during my first meeting that my mother suffered form depression as well(my father was the one that said it and he seemed none too happy).  I began taking pills that seemed to work.  After meeting Grendal(my boyfriend) things changed.  I was still taking them but he convinced me to stop slowly because I didn't need them.  Of course I was reluctant but I tried it.  Sure enough I was fine.  Grendal was my rock.

There are still moments when I slip into depression but everyone does.  Its not an issue unless it lasts for a long period of time or reoccurs every day.  My problem is that my short bouts are pretty hard.  I slip rather deep but, luckily, I have Grendal to pull me out.

I've stated before that my relationship with my mother isn't the best.  She favors my other sisters and I'm a black sheep.  My mother has pulled some shit before.  Things like telling me that a get together starts at a certain time when it doesn't or starting the family dinner early without telling me so when Grendal and I show up we're pretty much eating leftovers.  Its not a good feeling.  This has gone on for a while but today was the final straw.

My eldest niece was having her birthday party.  I was told it started at 1 but it started at 12.  It takes me nearly an hour to get to my elder sister's house.  Being fed up I decided not to show because I was angry and I didn't want to ruin the party.  I vented to my little sister(about our mother) and told her I didn't need a guilt trip when she asked if I didn't want to see our niece.  Big mistake.  Since my mother and younger sister are best-o-friends she turned on me.  She told me to stop the poor me crap and that this was family.  Why was I going to see my friends later tonight if I wasn't going to spend time with family.

I didn't respond to her....I told my mother not to bother cooking because I canceled gaming.  To be honest I'm thinking about not returning to gaming at my parents' house.  Might not join them for the holidays if I'm going to be ridiculed.

I'm not going to apologize.  I need to tell my mother how I feel.  How do I feel?  It seems like my father is the only one that enjoys my presence.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fable speculations

(Warning: This is nothing but video game rambling and speculation.  Possible spoilers, blah blah blah.  Feel free to add comments, dispute, and what not.  I like to hear these things.)

Okay, with Fable 3 being out for a bit now and so many people having beaten the game and what not I thought I might start this up since I'm a nut for the story of the entire series.

How do you guys think it all fits together?  The stories for Fable 2 and 3 are lacking majorly compared to the story of the first game.  Yet if you put the stories of 2 and 3 together, since they're so close in time, it makes them a bit better.  This makes me believe that every game following the first game is nothing more than one giant story.

There is a 500 year gap between game one and two, and only 50 between two and three.  One major thing that I noticed was the serious decline in the appearance of heroes over that 500 year period.  Seriously, in Fable you couldn't throw a rock and not hit someone who was a hero.  Yet in Fable 2 there is a total of 4.  In the first game many of the enemies you killed were Heroes but in the second game the big notable deaths were of the Commandant and Lucien.  In Fable 3, again, you are a hero and then you have Reaver, no one else.  You also have the sway of life or death, by your own hands, on two people: Logan and Captain Saker.  What is going on?  Has the hero bloodlines begun to dry up or what?

I think this boils down to one thing, or person: Theresa.  There is obviously something up with her.  In Fable 2 you are told that the Spire would disappear after you made your wish(if I remember correctly, if not show me otherwise), but it doesn't and Theresa says that the Spire is hers.  How is this possible?  She knows something more about the Spire.

The major thing here is Theresa's manipulation of her own bloodline; she is the ancestor of the heroes of Fable 2 and 3.  Why?  In the second game she manipulates the others, having a hand in the death of Hammer's father, probably informing Lucien that Sparrow and Rose purchased the music box, and still being in contact with Lucian through it all(around the time your dog sacrifices its life, Lucien makes a comment about how he just listened which makes me believe he was listening through Theresa).

In Fable 3 Theresa contacts Logan after his return from Aurora and his narrow escape from The Crawler.  Logan is shown what is coming to Albion and he tries to save it.  Now, its up to debate on whether or not Theresa knew what type of King Logan would turn in to, if he has the potential to become a Hero like his sibling(there is no specific way one awakens to the power and Theresa is proof that more than one child can be a hero in a generation, for their particular bloodline), or if she manipulated him further to get what she wanted out of the prince/princess.  Theresa doesn't have as much of a hand in the Hero's life as in the second game but she still omits certain things that could have been helpful.  During your fight with The Crawler it says "Did the Blind Seeress not tell you about us? Did she not warn you?"  Theresa knew you would head to Aurora and did not tell you what waited for you there, making it obvious that she was in contact with The Crawler.  It has been waiting centuries to attack Albion, but there is no specific length.  It may have been during Theresa's time which means she could have easily been in contact with it sooner(same thing with Reaver, he was there before you yet didn't run in to the damn thing.

My opinion is that Theresa is trying to distill the hero bloodline.  Again, why would she do such a thing?  (This is taken from the Fable wiki, so credit to them)The Fable II Limited Edition Guide Bundle, the concept art book called "Ye' Olde Art Book" has the Art Director, John McCormack quoting:
"We used a few hooks and links to the original Fable in the sequel. One of the main ones was the use of Theresa, who was the Hero's blind sister in the original Fable. She is now a strange, ageless, wandering fortune teller in Albion who acts as the player's guide throughout the game... but there's more to her than a simple tutorial, quest giving device... she has secrets and her motives aren't particularly clear."
That makes it clearer that Theresa is hiding something and I think its sinister.  I believe it has something to do with the Archon bloodline.  She may not believe that what she is doing it wrong and with her powers sees the positive outlook but its not beyond Theresa to ignore the lives of others to attain what she wants.  She puts the heroes' life in danger for her own means.  Think about it....Fable 2 wouldn't have happened without her getting Rose to seriously think about buying the music box.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am....

A new blog.  I'm starting collect these like old newspapers.  I don't know why I can't keep one going for more than a while.  Guess its like I'm worried about leaving the proverbial paper trail.  I don't like to get too comfortable in one blog or something.  Who knows.

This blog will be more about me and my actual life I suppose.  The other ones were more of a glossed over version and made me feel rather happy about the fact that nothing is happening in my life.  I need to be honest to the strangers that venture here.  Then I will be happy!

I am a 26 year old chick.  I don't say woman because I don't feel like a 'woman' and I don't say girl because I'm not a child.  I am a chick.  I am a tomboy and very much in touch with my inner child.  This is not to say that I'm immature but I do know when to have my fun and when to get serious.  I enjoy serious conversations about religion and the problems of the world.  I also don't mind arguing about the meaning behind video games and why something should or shouldn't have happened in said video game.

I am unemployed.  The job market here sucks and I have been jobless for a couple months now.  It started when I left school on a break for my own sanity.  School screwed me over and I no longer attend, which means bills are going to start appearing in my mail box any time now.  I know I need a job and I have been trying desperately to get one.  Then again so are hundreds of other people in the area.  My chances are slim but I still hope that something positive happens.

I am a starving artist.  Like I said, I am unemployed but my dream is to become a published author and has been for years.  I still remember one of my first little stories that wasn't a class assignment.  I was in the second grade and it was about a unicorn named Buttercup(yeah, girly me and my love of My Little Ponies).  The whole point of the story was that Buttercup was alone and wanted to have some friends.  She always watched the human kids playing and, one day, she was able to play with them.  Happy ending right there.  I've written many things after that and, thank the gods, my ability as a writer has grown immensely.  I have one story in the works and it is my child.  I know I can finish it and shine it up until its the gem I imagined it to be.  My worry is whether or not it'll actually be published.....and then enjoyed.

I am the black sheep.  My relationship with my immediate family is, in my opinion, shaky.  I feel closest to my father.  I am the middle child of three girls.  My mother favors our older sister and she is best friends with my younger sister.  I am the only child that has left home and not had constant contact with my mother.  I see her once a week, which is great.  My younger sister moved back in with my mother after a failed attempt of getting schooling in Hawai'i(where we are from) and my older sister talks to my mother about every day and my mother watches her two daughters constantly.  I live 30 minutes away with my boyfriend of 6 years.  The reason why I don't hang around my mother is because I feel like I'm a failure and a burden, but also because my mother is a poison to me.  She drove me to depression and made me feel no bigger that a mouse.  Moving away and having a supportive boyfriend healed me.  I still love my mother but I have to do it from afar.

I am a pagan.  This is the one thing I usually stray away from in my blogs but I know I shouldn't.  There are others out there more than happy to have blogs dedicated to their journey and every day life with their beliefs.  For some reason, though, I always keep mine hidden.  My mother is a recovering catholic(her words) and when she found out I was reading books on Wicca and Paganism she asked if I was worshiping Satan.  I was able to explain things to her and things were smoothed over.  She may have thought it was a phase but I've been practicing/learning for 13 years.  What made me weary about telling people my faith was one of my friends.  We had a great friendship for over a year and one day I brought my tarot deck to show another friend the images(Brian Froud's artwork is amazing).  He took one look at the deck, knew what it was, and left the table until it was put away.  He said nothing about it and, after that, stayed away from me for nearly 5 years.  Even now our friendship is no where near what it had been.  I guess I'm afraid of being shunned and ignored.  Its not a great feeling.  But I know there are some great people out there.

That's it.  I got that out there.  Future posts should be more upbeat from now on, unless a rant of some sort is called for.