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Everything posted by Abhainn

  1. Abhainn


    re: Aurelian, it might be that the baser, nastier emotions are stronger, more primal and visceral, so they pack a harder punch than, say, contentment. Being able to empathize with someone as opposed to, as you say, actually experiencing their emotions. I would imagine being inundated by others' emotions would make one into a cold-hearted bitch simply for survival.
  2. I use runes in divination and certain ones as charms on my altar. I don't have a ritual per se. I like the idea of blooding the runes as a sacrifice and as a connection to yourself. My favorite rune is probably Ansuz. As a sidenote, has anyone any experience with Ogham fews?
  3. Abhainn

    Selling Witchcraft

    I was looking at the flying ointments on Etsy just a couple of days ago, wondering if anyone would seriously try to sell them, and if they were real flying ointments or simply snake oil. And I was shocked at how many flying ointments there were on Etsy alone. But, when I think about it, snake oil was pretty prolific back in the day, too. And a lot of people bought it because they didn't know better.
  4. Abhainn

    Hard Year

    This past year has been terrible for my husband's family in Colorado. A terrible motorcycle accident, prostate cancer (the same person!) and another motorcycle accident that claimed the life of a wonderful young man. And today I learned that my husband's uncle's prostate cancer has returned and they give him a year. Seriously. How much bad news can one family handle? I got to meet this family for the first time at the aforementioned funeral in July. You can't find a better group of people. Open, loving, fun. They don't deserve this kind of back-to-back catastrophe. I know I just fell into a cliche trap, but it's the truth. And no amount of philosophy (everyone dies, it's a natural event, it's best to accept its inevitability) can really combat the feelings of injustice. I'm probably just over-sensitive at the moment. Seems like one slam of painful news after another for both sides of our family, and being so close to my own tragedy, I feel it. Probably more than I would have last month. This is where my Buddhist leaning fails me. It's one thing to convince yourself that you can let things happen, can let people go. It's another to actually do so. It's one thing to say you're going to treat a funeral like a celebration, and it's another thing to actually find something to celebrate amid the loss. And as often as I have said to myself that tragedy isn't specific, doesn't choose people for certain reasons or hover over them, it's hard to see so many terrible things happen to such wonderful people and not get angry at least a little. Not angry at God, but angry at circumstances. How much more does life have to throw at them? Damn, maybe I shouldn't ask that. We're going to see them this Thanksgiving. What was intended to be a get together because we love each other has turned into a chance to hold each other up and maybe even prepare for the next tragedy. Maybe even say goodbye for the last time. Damn I'm tired of this.
  5. Marshy! Haven't seen you in a long time! So glad to see you. :)
  6. Glad Curly is doing better. Scorpions can be nasty little creatures. They make good "playmates."
  7. Abhainn

    Mum's diagnosis

    Hope the surgery goes well for her. I will also send some healing comforting energies to her and to you. ~ A
  8. I was pretty sure that when my mom finally passed on, she was saying "HOT DAMN!!"
  9. I love my uncle, the Southern Baptist preacher. I love his exuberance, his sunny personality, his sense of humor. He has been an enormous help and source of support. He was grieving as well, but he made sure that I had as much trouble as possible deflected away. He made calls, he set up everything for the reception after the graveside, he spoke for my mom's surviving brothers and sister, letting me know that we were all in accord about how to proceed. He has been a solid support through this whole painful event. And I know that his faith is paramount. I love that about him. He has no doubts about what he believes, and he lives it. Really lives it. He's not too enthralled with my nonchristian path, though, and he shuts down if I make any shadowy mention of it. I can't help smiling about it, because he sees himself as my father-figure, and he feels disappointed that I have left the fold, while his daughters are happily married to ministers and living in Zambia as missionaries. After 5 years of trying very hard to compete with my cousins for Most Likely To Rise in the Rapture, I realized that I AM NOT either of them, and I am not under my uncle's jurisdiction. I may be his niece, but I am not his responsibility. He sincerely worries when someone he loves leaves the fold. I don't blame him. He's all real - a "true believer." I got a few little mini-sermons this month. I made one comment that it would be good to have a pagan hospital chaplain and I got the cold disapproval face from him. I could have given the cold disapproval face right back for every one of those mini-sermons, but I didn't. I could have upbraided him at the graveside for trying to make my mom look like a long-time Christian when she has told me time and again that she wasn't interested in Christianity, but wanted me to at least give it a chance. (She was uncomfortable in churches in general.) But I let him do this because HE needed it. He NEEDED it for his own piece of mind. Because once she was gone, the whole process of the funeral was for the survivors. WE needed to see her as we wanted, as much as is possible that is, in order for us to move on. So to my uncle, she was an imperfect Christian, but Christian nonetheless. To me she was a woman who struggled with faith and religion in general. She wasn't crazy about my path, but not because she was afraid for my immortal soul. She doubted the existence of magic. Anyway, I could have done what he did to me, but I respect his faith so much that I won't resent him for living by it. Even if he got a little intolerant of alternative paths. I can forgive that in him.
  10. Glad you're back! :welcomehome:
  11. Magic is, essentially, neutral - the morality comes from the person using it. People can use magic for selfish reasons. There's nothing wrong with trying to make the best of your life. If existence were "fair" then I would understand not using magic. But it's not. Existence itself is neutral and gains its morality from the person living rather than from an overarching scheme of right and wrong. A genius shouldn't smother his intellect because others aren't able to think like him. A person who can manipulate energies, work with spirits, etc, shouldn't have to stop doing so because someone else sees the practice as strictly self-beneficial. Besides, people can and probably do use magic for selfless reasons, as well.
  12. I don't think I'm getting less tolerant, but I am getting more specialized. When I got started, I embraced everything because I didn't know which direction I wanted to take. Over time, I've weeded out a lot that just doesn't resonate with me. I find the New Age people are more willing to talk about topics I'm interested in, and are usually more informed. Makes sloughing off the surface of the conversation easier so we can get to the meat of the topic. I haven't met any New Agers that exude the love and light thing. Most of my experience, though, has been with Elementalists, Native American spirituality, etc., and they tend to be pretty down to earth (no pun intended).
  13. Abhainn


    **Googles "kantele"** That's cool!!! What inspired this purchase?
  14. Abhainn

    Blog Name

    I'm looking at my blog name (Brave Enough to Burn) and realizing that I've got a nice double-meaning there. The name is taken from SJ Tucker's song "Firebird's Child" (still one of my faves). I am the firebird! I am his daughter! I am the firebird's child! I am a firebird! I am his daughter! And like the flame, I am wild wild wild wild WILD! I am the firebird! I am his daughter! I am the firebird's child! I am a firebird, the boldest song you've ever heard Join in the dance, and make it wild, wild, wild! Join in the dance and make it wild! To see a maiden dance around a fire is not so strange but fire dances round the limbs of this uncommon maid! Be brave enough to burn and you'll be brave enough to fly! Join your sister Solace as she lights the morning sky! I am the firebird... Wonders of the water air and earth are all the same you'll never know a wonder like the wonders of the flame! Freely fly as what you are and never walk in shame! You must not fear to blister if you'd live a life in flame! I am girl and firebird and solace is my name! I am the firebird... If you're brave enough to dance then you are brave enough to fly! Forget what's right and proper! You won't know until you try! If you're brave enough to fly, then you are brave enough to burn! Take my hand and join me in the Carnival of Dawn! I am the firebird... Sister will you follow me? Sister will you follow me? Sister will you follow me? Sister sorrow walk with me! (Solace, Sorrow, round and round Sisters burn the morning down Solace, Sorrow, round and round, Sister, burn your Sorrow down!) Like a flame you must be wild/I am a firebird! I am the firebird... You must not fear to blister if you'd live a life in flame! Freely fly as what you are, keep dancing just the same! You'll never know a wonder like the wonders of the flame! I am girl and firebird and Solace is my name! I found this song when I first started on my path. The line "Forget what's right and proper; you won't know until you try" became something of my credo at the time, because I felt as though my actions defied everything "right and proper." I was leaving my Christian faith behind, engaging in witchcraft, doing things that confused and scared my poor husband. But I had to do all of it. It stopped being a dabbling little hobby of "religious tolerance" and became something altogether more internal and true. Authentic. Those first steps were serious acts of will and faith in myself. Rather than allowing someone else to dictate my spiritual parameters, I was admitting that I didn't believe any of what they swore was true. And I had let others dictate my beliefs for most of my life. I wanted to burn the whole thing down and start over. And this song resonated with that desire. A few days ago, though, ,my eyes caught on the thread about burning witches and I thought about how horrifically those people in the video died - whether they were really witches or not. I asked myself if I was willing to be burned alive like that because I claim to be a witch. It's an eerie reminder of the same question asked by and about martyrs of every religion. as well as freedom fighter. Is this enough to die for? I'm grateful that I don't have to make that decision.
  15. This is from Michele's original post. Many Traditional Witches will say they don’t need to work in a compass, and they are right. The witch (and any other human for that matter) is already in the center so there is no need to lay the compass or call the land to place one’s self there; however, to gain true understanding of the center, what the center is, and what the human’s relationship is with the center, the keys are within the compass and must be worked to be understood. The center is the Center – it is the World Tree, it is the Point in the Circle, it is the Pole Star around which everything revolves. And many witches will say they already know this – and they do. However, few actually “know” this on the deeper level. The knowledge of the compass is a bit like having your first child. You plan to get pregnant, you have taken your vitamins and prepare, you’re read every book and watched every documentary and attended every birthing class. You know that birth and parenthood will be the biggest endeavor of your life and that nothing will ever compare to what you will feel for this child. Fine – you know this, but you know it intellectually. No matter how much you truly REALIZE this, everything you thought you understood about parenthood is reduced to trivial dust beneath your heels the moment your child arrives and you actually see it and touch it. You won’t even be able to put it into words what you feel because it doesn’t translate into something so trivial as language. Suddenly intellect falls to the bottom of the barrel of understanding. You knew intellectually that you would love this child but that knowledge was completely insufficient to prepare you for what you would feel. This is the difference between intellectually knowing the meaning of the compass and the fact that we are already at center of the compass and actually “becoming” a part of the compass. Actually “knowing” this truth in every fiber of our soul, not simply in the brain which is a physical manifestation and will be reduced to bone and dust upon our demise. Source: Laying a Compass v. Casting a Circle I think I've read this thread half a dozen times, and only now "got" it on an intellectual level. I wasn't ready for it previously. I was looking for instruction rather than insight. When I first started my path, influenced entirely by Wicca, I raised a circle because I was instructed to do so. It got annoying to do so when I felt every time I raised it and started working, my husband would invariably barge in unwittingly. Or I would leave something on the outside. Eventually, I was just using the perimeter of the bedroom as the perimeter of the circle (square, technically, then). And eventually I just dropped it entirely because I associated it with Wicca... And now I'm returning to it not in the Wiccan sense, but not entirely devoid of that sense, either. Because the Wiccan version had to come from somewhere, and it has its own significance. Also, I'm still mostly experimenting with methods, trying to determine what feels right. I haven't experienced laying a compass yet. I want to, but not as some little random thing with no real purpose other than saying "hey, look what I did." But perhaps the first experience needs no pre-determined goal. If I'm spending all my time and focus on the goal, then I'll miss the experience. Or I'll just end up ditching the goal anyway because I'm so wrapped up in the experience. Anyway, thanks so much to Michele, who is willing to share her experiences and knowledge. I think I'd still be incredibly lost if not for her posts.
  16. Abhainn


    It's funny - some days I can say "fuck 'em" about everyone's expectations and go on, and some days I drop back into the self-analysis-and-pity-puddle. I can see how this process could drive a person to drinking (or depression, or both...). Not only because you start to question everything about yourself, but because you start to question everything else, as well. Or you can say "Yeah, that was a lie, too" and feel somehow vindicated.
  17. Abhainn


    HA! He's got "Rock Star Syndrome!" Now I'm just being bitter.
  18. Abhainn


    Looking into areas that I had previously left on the "perhaps later" list. Either because I was afraid or I wasn't ready for it. Likely both. But instead of quickly dismissing some topics or possibilities, I'd might as well face my fear, right? This was originally going to be a post in the thread "The Shadow and the LHP," but it felt too *something* to post as a part of the conversation, so I dragged it over here. The question for me about the Shadow is, which parts of me are "me" and which are the culturally trained aspects? Not to get "victim-y" but I can remember the exact moment when I realized that my personality wasn't "socially acceptable." I grew up in the country with no real neighbors, and I guess I was a little wild. Chatty, imaginative. And loud. (practice for my "teacher" voice). And one day I saw some schoolmates somewhere where hanging out with adults was intolerable, and I went to play with them. I asked if I could join them and they refused me, turned their backs and ignored me. I was utterly devastated, started asking why they wouldn't want me around. I started to second-guess everything I did - modifying my behavior to suit those around me as much as I knew how. Only that didn't work well, and I became a consummate loner. Only now, I wonder if this "other" facade that I've developed over time hasn't become the "real" me (shy, inhibited). I've been encouraged to become more outgoing, to be less "antisocial" as my dad would say. And I try, but the same issues I had as a grade-school kid are still around. I'm still socially awkward, shy. And if I try to be more outgoing, I end up acting like herky-jerky Frankenstein monster. I've accepted that I'm just an introvert. Or worse, just plain shy. Social-phobic. I've heard some silly adage "inside every shy violet there's a snapdragon waiting to burst out." Is the shadow the violet, or the snapdragon? Or both? Complex as this whole process is. This is surface, and I realize this. And it might not matter in the long run, as both are "me" to some extent, and the final objective isn't to beat one unto submission and let the other wander freely. I wonder if the part that rubs salt in the wounds isn't the Shadow as well. The part that plays back scenes from my interactions (with pithy commentary and analysis like a post-game show) for days afterward. Of the part that says "Fuck em all, I'm tired of bowing and scraping." Or are they all just layers, and I'll find that when I get through them all there's nothing at the center but a me-shaped mold of petrified soul. Because I often find that what I do is mimicry of someone else - someone whose behaviors succeed in garnering acceptance. And if I was to strip all these layers of mimicry away, would there be anything of me left? Or did I die that day when some classmates turned me away? Even now, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just delete this whole thing, because I don't want people to think I'm whining. Because the "me" that you see is carefully crafted (no pun intended). Which leads to the observation "Damn, this woman has a control problem." It the Control Freak "me," or is it the Shadow, or both? Round and round.... developing some severe spiritual vertigo.
  19. I had forgotten about my Conway book...Maiden, Mother, Crone.
  20. "Witch in the Kitchen" by Cait Johnson. When she started suggesting painting symbols on the stove...but I kept the book because I like the recipes.
  21. Abhainn


    Yeah, that makes sense. And if they require payment, then perhaps complete devotion and reliance is what the Judeo-xian god wants as payment for his involvement. (must. not. be. petty...)
  22. The Gods and Goddesses thread got me thinking. So if you don't mind, I'm going to use this space as a sounding board to flush out my thoughts. My original concept of deity was determined by my Christian background. It took a long time to realize that I had, to some extent, carried that concept with me into my current path. That concept basically comprised of an omniscient God who had everything under control and knew more about my needs and destiny than I did. There was also a self-image that went with that concept: that I was pretty much a perpetual fuckup and couldn't do anything good without God's help. That concept created in me a sense of helplessness and reliance upon God that I carried with me out of Christianity. Not only was I carrying the boat with me, but the rusty anchor as well. Once I left Christianity behind, and began looking into witchcraft and paganism, I viewed the gods and goddesses I worked with basically as a "foreign" version of the Judeo-Christian god I had left - namely, omniscient and ever-present, and a constant companion to smooth the way for me. And my serious experiences with the goddess I worked with was exactly that - a constant companion upon whom I leaned for every step of the way, scared to death of moving on my own. This past February and March, I started working on moving away from that goddess toward a different one. It was a lesson to me of my own strength. This most recent goddess, I felt, has been decidedly less "available." And I was taken aback by that - annoyed, etc. I thought the purpose was the get accustomed to change, but I think it's also something more. It wasn't a matter of walking on my own to another goddess only to collapse and have her be my crutch again. It's "training wheels off, time to balance yourself." And for someone who has been relying on someone else for so long (despite my insistence that I'm an independent and self-sufficient woman) that's scary as hell. Like looking back and realizing that Mom has let go of the back of the bike, and I'm on my own. Wobble and fall or keep pedaling, it's up to me. So the progression continues. I recognized while I was working with goddesses that I was for the most part using their mythology as guides. And, for the most part, the mythology is where the power comes from. Identification. The energy of the guide, the energy of the warrior, the energy of the sage. So instead of looking at a goddess as an entity in herself, I can look at what characteristics she embodies, what energy she represents, and build those things within myself rather than waiting for someone else to teach these things to me. I was also hoping that they would "take" me somewhere. Again, a passive expectation. I wanted to sit there and have someone else to everything for me. It's embarrassing, to say the least. But again, it's part of the progression, part of the process of burning my ill-formed bridges. I think I've arrived at the point where I can leave the boat and the anchor behind. There's more that I have to sort through, too. And I'm not sure that I've reached my final conclusion. But it's a start, at least.
  23. I have some egg shells from a local songbird that I found on a recent scavenge. I think (since they were crushed accidentally) that I'll make them into some egg shell powder. Thanks for the idea!
  24. That's really cool, RF. How did you take the experiences initially - were you scared, or were you peaceful?
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