Category Archives: Paganism

Amity Dawn, GoFundMe, and JaxPPD!

Another progress report, guys.  I know you’re getting sick of them.  I’ll have new content for you soon!  Right now, I’m focusing on getting ready for school, muddling through draft one of Amity Dawn, and fundraising.  It’s been an odd summer; one filled with motivation, support, and love, and it just keeps getting better.

So, let’s start with Amity Dawn.  It’s still a working title, until I can find the one that pops at me.  I’m working through chapter 7 at this point, and getting ready to convert chapters 1-4 into third person perspective.  Kadri is just about to confront the primary villain for the first time, after muddling through lead-up conflicts lackeys for the first six chapters.  I’m excited.  This novel is taking shape slowly, coming to life from the outline I began a year ago this month.  Unfortunately, I put it down for a bit too long, but better late than never, right?  Before long, I hope, I’ll be hunting down beta readers.

As for school, I still need to raise some money to buy my books.  I’m still selling Byzantine chain bracelets for $20 a piece (+$1.50 for shipping within the US).  You can see the details of that in this post.  Alternatively, you can visit my GoFundMe page and check out some of the smaller donation amounts.  They come with neat perks.  =]

Lastly!  I may be sharing a table with another writer friend of mine, J. Meridith Harmon, who has recently released his new novel Snyper: A Matter of Caliberat Jacksonville Pagan Pride Day!  Check it out on Amazon!  Anyway, I’ll be volunteering at PPD regardless, so you should come visit if you’re in the Jacksonville area on Sept 22. =]  If we do get the slot, I’ll be selling bracelets, G&L bookmarks, and possibly prayer beads (if I can settle on a couple of patterns I like, I’m being fickle).  It’s going to be awesome.

See you kids around. <3

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Interview with The Balanced Witch

I know, this is a Paganism-related blog post, but I felt like posting it here anyway.  I’m still hammering out the niftiness of Thistle in the Wind… so it’s on the back burner for awhile.

ANYWAY.  I was interviewed over at The Balanced Witch for being named Member of the Month for February 2010.  For everyone who hasn’t checked out The Balanced Witch blog or The Circle of Balanced Witches forum, well, all you witchy everyones, I absolutely recommend checking it out.  Fantastic content.  Fantastic people.  So far, the best Pagan forum I’ve had the pleasure of being part of.

READ MY INTERVIEW!

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Some stuff!

So, I’m working on a piece of flash fiction that was supposed to be done today, but it’s not.  I’ll post it tomorrow.  =]

Also, I’ve been ultra busy creating a separate blog for Paganism.  I figure it’s best to keep my writing blog separate from my spiritual journey, so here we are.  Thistle in the Wind is up and running, but still being tweaked and tuned to what I need.  It doesn’t look pretty at the moment, but content is what’s important.  =]  I’m getting there.

Today is the debut for my Celtic Paganism social networking site as well!  Caraid Còmhlan!  You’re all welcome to check it out, though since I have more writer friends than pagan friends on this blog, I’m not holding my breath. LOL.

I’m getting back on track, slowly but surely. <3  I missed you guys!

I’m super glad Mckenzie has Flash Fiction Thursday up and running again.  I needed a set day that made me feel bad for not writing or I never would.  Damn my own lack of self-motivation.

Woo!  And things. <3

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And a cheery update to you, too.

So, here’s to getting back into the swing of things with the new year!  I’m devising a posting schedule for myself so I don’t fall so far behind again, because really… I have no decent excuse.

As of right now, I’m working to finish and polish Ossuarium because a family friend (also an author) has taken great interest in the storyline and is intent on getting me published.  Unfortunately, settling in here has been difficult, and home sickness has been beating me over the head, so I haven’t done much of any writing since I’ve been here.  It’s depressing.  BUT!  I’m sick and tired of being brought down, and I’m not letting it happen anymore.  I have a life and a future and friends and I have every intention of reminding myself of that daily.  I’m not feeling sorry for myself anymore.

Of course, I had this breakthrough revelation on December 29th (or so says my notebook), but immediately got so ridiculously sick that I couldn’t get out of bed or function on a basic human level until yesterday.  So.  Awesome.  I’m a little late in starting, but at least I didn’t forget. LOL.

SO!  I plan on picking a day of the week and writing a flash fiction piece every week for that day so that I can post it on my blog.  The more samples I have, the better, right?

I’m also taking my ’30 Days of Paganism’ (which went nowhere because I had to move) and converting it into a brand new blog.  I’ll link it here, and I’ll be posting on both regularly.

While I’ve left Inkwell Imaginings for the time being, Jessi at A BA in BS is keeping transcripts and creating webinars of the writing workshop content.  I think the schedule is still bi-weekly, so every other Tuesday or so I’ll be posting the webinar.

Hopefully all of this will keep me fantastically busy and I can forget how little of a social life I have. LOL

I apologize to everyone for not commenting on your blogs.  Hopefully this time when I say ‘I’m back’ I can actually hold to it. =P  I missed you guys!

Love,

Kit <3

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30 Days of Paganism Day 1: Why (Not) Paganism?

I have to admit, that this post may be the easiest of the entire 30 day list, and it’s also the one I’m dreading the most.  This has been a growing part of who I am for seven years now, so to look back and remember why I made the conscious decision to pursue this path is going to be a bit difficult.  It’s been a part of me, and I’ve rarely had to chronicle how that came to be.

For starters, I was introduced to Wicca when I was 11 or so, when The Taproot bookstore took up its post in Whitinsville, MA.  My friends and I, out of sheer curiosity, went in after the grand opening one day after school, and were immediately met with a wall of sweet-smelling incense.  The entire store was decorated in Native American trinkets, dream catchers, instruments, and artwork.  There were several bookshelves lining the walls, and in the center of the shop was a station that had sage bundles, tumbled stones of every color, geodes, and all sorts of herbs.

While my friends were completely engrossed in the “colorful rocks”, I was drawn to the bookshelves.  (I started my geekish love affair with books when I was three, so don’t be startled.  By the time I was eleven there was no hope in making me a “normal” kid.)  I can’t recall the titles of the books, but there were dozens that passed through my hands.  A book on Wicca (again, the title escapes me.  It was a long time ago) was the last one I picked up, and sat on the floor, thumbing through it.  Before long, I had my other three friends sitting on the floor with me, all completely enraptured by the contents and the notion that magic was real.

Fast forward eight years.  I graduated from high school and had absolutely no direction in my life.  I’d been working at Subway for just about a year, and felt myself spiraling downward.  My best friend was in college 75 miles away, and I had no way of seeing her.  My other friends, at the time, were work friends (though they became much more eventually) and I didn’t feel comfortable confiding in them.

A metaphysical shop moves in across the street from where I work.  The Purple Moon.  My boss, my coworkers, and I all stood in the large Subway window, looking across the street, making speculations.

“I hear they sell statues.”  Mark said.  He was the boss, but acted more like a big kid with a massive twitchy mustache. Kind of like Luigi from Super Mario Brothers.  He died a few years back from cirrhosis, it was awful.

ANYWAY.

“It doesn’t look like it sells statues,” I said, and looked up at him.

“Maybe.  Go over there.” He responded.

“You mean leave work and go shopping while I’m on the clock?”  I grinned and popped my Subway polo shirt collar like the dork I am.

“No, you’re investigating, not shopping.  Ten minutes.”  He opened the door.

No one told Mark that curiosity killed the cat.  I didn’t come back for over an hour.

Inside The Purple Moon, which was heavily Wicca-oriented, I was met with Pam (the proprietor), Angela (her daughter-in-law and partner), and Pam’s son (whose name escapes me now).  They welcomed me, talked to me, let me browse as I saw fit.  And told me I smelled delicious.  Damn Subway.

Leaning on the counter, I started talking to Pam’s son about the nature of the shop, which had me completely wide-eyed and making connections back to that day when I was eleven.

“So, how do you know if you’re pagan?”  I asked, thumbing through a copy of Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

“Have you ever watched a sunset, or stood in the rain, or gone hiking for the experience and not the fitness, and thought ‘maybe there’s more to it than this’?”

“Yeah, but isn’t there?”  It seemed obvious to me, a connection to the world around me, ‘something more.’

“Maybe for you there is.  Why don’t you research a little on your own, and when you’re ready to talk more, we’ll be here.”

A life-altering experience just punched me in the face… and I had to go spend the next four hours at Subway instead of doing that research that was now nagging to get started.

Those are my roots.  It was a long story and I’m sorry for overloading you, but I’m a storyteller by nature.

At The Purple Moon, I took two levels of Wicca classes hosted by Tala, but by the end of my first year in that course of study, I decided Wicca was not my calling.  Since then, I’ve been referring to myself as ‘eclectic pagan,’ which, so far, has been reasonably accurate.  Recently though, over the last year, I’ve been feeling incredibly wrong about the mix-and-match style of conventional neo-paganism, and I’ve been seeking something a little more culturally exclusive.

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism enters here.  The problem?  I’m not looking to recreate an entire Iron Age culture in my every day life.   Some of the customs adapted to my modern lifestyle are more than welcome, and I certainly want to learn as much of the gods, land spirits, and ritual as possible.  Recreating what was mostly lost to the ages, and tainted by the Romans, is a difficult undertaking, but I’m a researcher.  I suck up information like a sponge.

I want to know more, and I want to continue finding me.

So, why paganism?  It’s just who I am, even if the path has been somewhat indirect.

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30 Days of Paganism

So, in light of recent events (and in an effort to counter how crappy I feel), and also as a procrastination aid for NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to take part in the 30 Days of Paganism blog meme.  Keep in mind that I may not post every day, because I have crap to do, and I really don’t care to rush myself through this.  So, there will be an installment regularly, just not daily.

I’ve never had to distinctly define many of those things on that list before. Now that I’m in transition from eclectic, non-definable paganism (culture theft, which bothers me immensely) to Celtic Recon, I think this exercise will really help me put myself together. I may do a “This is what I’ve been doing vs. Scots-Celtic Recon and how it resonates on a deeper level” thing.

Here’s the list of topics:

30 Days of Paganism
1. Beliefs – Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism etc
6. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs – Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs – Holidays
9. Deity Gender
10. Patrons
11. Pantheon – For these posts, pick a deity or speak of elements of the patheon, such as tribes or nature spirits, etc.  You’ll get each deity as I go.  I’d like to work on this part on a less rigid framework.
12. Pantheon –
13. Pantheon –
14. Pantheon –
15. Pantheon (anti) – On finding a pantheon.
16. The meaning of terms like “earth-based” and what they mean to this path
17. My ways of worship
18. Community
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Paganism and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Priest? Clergy? One or both? Neither?
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Places of spiritual significance

Stay tuned, kids.

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A brief rundown on my faith…

… because no one can seem to grasp it, and I want to have it documented.  This is actually taken, mostly, from my profile at PaganSpace.net with bits and pieces added on.

~~~

I am not my faith. My faith is a part of me.

In the options listed below (on PaganSpace, there are boxes you can check to describe your path), I’ve selected Pagan, Witch, and Wiccan from the list. I am not Wiccan. My path/ritual/worship is often structured in a similar manner as Wicca, but I don’t identify as Wiccan. That would be false.

“Harm None” is not my credo. Circumstance creates an expansive grey area, and if by doing a little harm, I can accomplish a larger good, then that’s acceptable to me. I won’t hurt anything or anyone intentionally if it can be reasonably avoided. It’s more a matter of compassion than of ethics.

I identify in my path a Goddess and a God and I favor neither over the other. I believe the same in life: women are life-givers, and sacred, but there would be no possibility of creating life without the seed of a man, and there would be no men if women didn’t birth them. We are equal halves in the grand scheme of things.  I’m currently getting to know the broad pantheon of Scots-Gaelic gods, and the Old Traditions that managed to have been documented.  Information of Celtic Recontructionism has been infinitely valuable in that aspect.

I’m American, but I honor my heritage, and where my families have come from: Holland, France, Scotland, and England. I’d like to dig deeper into my genealogy, but I’m having difficulty getting started. I find nothing wrong with being American, so everyone who thinks that Americans who enjoy researching their ancestry are discontent or ignorant can go fly a kite. <3 I like to know what made my family what it is today, whether my great grandparents were American or Dutch or Scottish or English makes no difference, as long as I make the connection with who they were.  In old Gaelic culture, ancestor-reverence is a large part of worship.

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Blessed Lughnasadh ~<3

Lughnasadh is upon us!  It’s really not that epic, but as a pagan woman, I figured I should make known that it is, in fact, Lughnasadh  (Lammas to some).  I scribbled out a short synopsis of the holiday for a class I took recently, and thought I might share.  So, for everyone unfamiliar with Lughnasadh and its roots, please enjoy.  =]

Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas and August Eve, is celebrated on August 1st to mark the arrival of the beginning of autumn and the first of the three harvests. The three harvests, Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain, are observed now to celebrate and give thanks for the abundance of the God and Goddess, and mourn the death of the God. “The Goddess watches in sorrow and in joy as she realizes that the God is dying, and yet lives on inside her as her child.” (Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, p. 70. Cunningham.)

One of the Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, Lughnasadh is a cross-quarter day on the Wheel of the Year. Though August 1st is
the date it is typically celebrated, August 6th is referred to as Old Lammas; Lammas being the medieval Christian word for ‘loaf-mass’ when loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest of the season, though, regardless of date, it originally coincided with the first reaping. In Irish Gaelic, Lughnasadh was observed to celebrate the funeral games of Taillte, the foster-mother of Lugh, the god of light and the sun. Many people believe it to be an observance of Lugh’s funeral games, but Lugh does not die until the Autumnal Equinox (our Mabon).

Coinciding with Irish beliefs during the Tailltean Games, Lammas is one of the most appropriate times to perform a handfasting.  Much like the Tailltean Marriages, a handfasting is traditionally observed for a year and a day, or until the following Lughnasadh, when the couple would be given the option to continue the marriage for another year and a day, or part ways. They were not performed by a parish priest, but of priests or priestesses of the Old Religion, bards, or poets, and were very common into the 1500s.

Lughnasadh was also the most popular date for Saint Catherine’s feast day, when they would cover a wagon wheel in tar, set it on fire, and roll it down a hill. One of the speculations is that this was done to symbolize the sun god’s decline in power, and carried over from the pagan traditions into Christianity.

During Lughnasadh, it is common to weave corn dollies, visit fields, orchards, and lakes, and plant the seeds from any fruit consumed in the Lughnasadh ritual. Should the seeds grow into plants, they should be tended with love, since they symbolize the connection with the divine. The sorts of foods that should be eaten include bread (which can also be baked into the figure of the God and used in The Simple Feast), any sort of berry, acorns after the poisons have been removed, crab apples, and any sort of produce or grain due to the fact that Lughnasadh is the grain harvest.

References:
Eight Sabbats of Witchcraft by Mike Nichols
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
Firefly: Wiccan Advancement by Iris Firemoon

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Be Gentle with One Another

I’d like to share a post I read over at Sacred Mists, entitled Be Gentle With One Another.  A list of affirmations.

1. Never jump to conclusions.

2. Always give the benefit of the doubt.

3. Make constructive criticism the only criticism you will give.

4. Always give a second chance.

5. Find forgiveness in your heart, no matter the issue.

6. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, even yourself.

7. Always treat others how you wish to be treated.

8. Never forget to place yourself in the other person’s shoes, even if just for a moment.

9. Recognize that we all carry baggage. Don’t make yours someone else’s.

10. Recognize that we have all come to Mother Earth to learn our life lessons. You can choose to help those who are learning, or reject them when their lessons become hard to deal with.

11. Always give importance to yourself in every situation, but not so much that it removes compassion and understanding.

12. Open yourself to the love and harmony that is offered within your spiritual path.

13. Remove yourself from any place or person where you find yourself incapable of being loving and nurturing, but always recognize that it is your issue and not their own.

14. No one can do anything to you that you do not allow them to do, consciously or subconsciously.

15. We are all complete with perfection and faults that balance us into imperfect beings.

16. To dislike, hate, or otherwise reject one whom you feel wronged by is to reject your own ability to learn lessons that are being presented to you.

17. Be a positive influence.

18. The old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” holds true in all group settings, at a minimum. Create a “safe haven” experience wherever you are. Be a part of holding that philosophy in every interaction.

19. Love. Simply love. Yourself, and others.

20. Be the change you want to see in the world.

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A Call to Prayer for All Faiths – June 21st, 2010

The BP Oil spill has been at the forefront of every major American newscast for sixty days.  There’s a hole in our planet that needs to be patched up, and no one knows quite how to go about doing that.  That’s not to mention the loss of wild life, beachfront, and the overall health of the Gulf itself.

“Crisis” and “disaster” seem like understatements.  “Heartbreaking” is a word that seems to have lost all meaning.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota has taken a stand against this disaster through spirituality and prayer.

“A man or a woman without spirit is very dangerous,” Looking Horse explained in a recent phone interview. According to this Sioux chief, the absence of spirit is causing suffering everywhere. “We are in a time of survival,” he said. “But we don’t want to believe it because we have forgotten our spirits. We have forgotten that Grandmother Earth has a spirit.”

So, he proposes:

“It’s everyday life for us that we hold Grandmother Earth sacred, we hold the trees and the plants, everything has a spirit. We need people to be really respectful for each other. The Great Spirit put us here all together.  If we’re going to survive, we need to have spirit and compassion. On June 21 we’re asking people to go to their sacred places or sacred spaces to pray.”

There is so little we can do from a physical standpoint, it seems only right that we take things to a spiritual level.  I know, I know “Kit’s getting all preachy again.  Let’s go read something else.”  But hear me out.  You don’t have to be religious to keep the Gulf in your thoughts. You’d be surprised to find what a few little words of hope in your heart can do.

Reference:

http://www.owlsdaughter.com/2010/05/a-message-from-the-lakota-keeper-of-the-sacred-white-buffalo-calf-pipe/

http://mendotadakota.com/mn/2010/06/14/chief-arvol-looking-horse-world-peace-and-prayer-day-june-21-around-the-world/

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