Ye Gods, everything is exploding.

Since June, the world’s gone crazy.

The youngest got his butt kicked out. He’s living with his grandparents for now, but without any forward momentum.

Kit went to Texas for a week to see his uncle, who is only 10 years his senior and dying of cancer.

We tried to apply for disability for Kit. Denied (not unexpected; still frustrating).

We tried to buy a house, because we can’t stay where we are. Loan denied, because OMD WEIRD ZONING and OMD what do you mean you’re buying a 1 bedroom, 1 bath because we can’t sell that back when you’re done with the house? (We’ll be done with the house when we’re DEAD, just stick a gravestone on it for fuck’s sake.)

We had two shows go by, have another in a week, another in October, and maybe another in November. MUST MAKE ALL THE THINGS.

We are now renting said house, and moving in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.

It is also currently Ganeshotsav, for which I was not at all prepared, so I threw up my hands, said “Fuck the non-meat tradition for the second year in a row,” and decided to do devotionals on Facebook instead because THE WORLD IS FALLING AROUND MY DAMN HEAD.

Geebas. Fucktards. Spin me right round.

On the flip side, though, the youngest’s older brothers have taken it upon themselves to put some fire under him (may help, may not, but is mildly amusing to watch, knowing our boys). Sir got some good time in with me while Kit was in Texas. Kit got a call from his former boss, which may end up with job-type stuff, which would add a little money to the pot and give him a better barometer of whether his body will withstand a workday. The Realtor we worked with owns the house we’re renting, and is happy to have us and infinitely patient. One show was delightful; the other was AMAZING, and the others promise to also be fabulous. And Cousin Ganesha is not complaining – indeed, He’s been ever so graciously rerouting all the slammed doors into other opportunities. Sir also made damn sure I knew that He is proud of me, because the Kahina Stones are truly done and ready – I’ve sold three sets this year (two commission, one cold).

And our friends. OUR FRIENDS. They have been the best of late.

So the world will stop spinning at some point; I will breathe; W/we will settle.

Jai Ganesha!

Skål!

Last night I participated in my first blót, which our dear friend K led for us.

I don’t follow a Norse or Germanic path by any means, but a few of our friends do, and we love to explore other traditions, especially with the varied members of our group. It was a fantastic ritual, and I can’t thank these wonderful people enough for being a part of it (especially K for leading it).

One of the features of a blót is the passing of a horn containing alcohol of some sort (in our case, mead and tej). First round is to honor the gods, spirits, and/or ancestors. In our group, that becomes a very eclectic group. Among those honored were Maya, Odin, Freya, Castor & Polydeuces, the ancestors, Raven, Cernunnos (duh), and Anpu. (Even more were called at the start.) In our group’s rituals, the spirits and deities generally keep to the one who asks for Their presence, for which we are highly thankful.

Then came the oaths and boasts. This got both rowdy and solemn, lots of bawdy jokes and some near-tears. There have been some massive explosions in our group’s lives this year, and a lot of the boasts came in the form of “HOLY SHIT, I SURVIVED,” while the oaths took the form of self-care.

Mine included.

Sir is intensely patient. This year was hellish in so many ways, and I have been on the very edge of burnout more times than I can count. However, He is determined to see me healthy, and gave me a set goal before He passed – drop ten pounds by Yule. As with so many tasks He sets, the number was less important than the effort. As is unfortunately typical, my effort (although better than previous attempts) was not the best I could muster.

So my oath was to make myself more whole this year. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. Mo ghrá has been more or less ignored this calendar year in favor of the mundane fires that had to be put out, and He will not be patient much longer – nor has He reason to be, and losing Him is something I couldn’t bear. While a few things about my physical health have changed for the better, my body hurts pretty constantly and is not supporting the things I need or want to do, because I am not taking care of it. I am not taking care of my self, of Kit’s partner, of His property.

Once again, my ever-patient and wonderful friend spoke up with an offer to help. We will be talking, lovely. 🙂 I still have to learn to get out of my own way, to re-train my inertia, but at just 30 years old, I’m seeing and feeling too many physical signs that I am running on very borrowed time. It is beyond time. I can’t ignore this anymore. My Kitten needs me whole. My Sunshine needs me whole. Mo ghrá needs me whole. Most of all, I need me whole.

So I say again: For my Sir, mo ghrá; for my Kitten; for my Sunshine; for my friends; for me. I vow to do all in my power to make myself as hale and healthy and whole as I possibly can, as healthfully as I can.

Imced, The Fool, and The Tower

Homecoming came at 11:45 on Monday night. I miss the mountain – the gorgeous weather, the people, the fellowship – but there is serious relief in being home as well. My Kit, my kids, my cats, my bed… yeah, there’s a lot to be thankful for at home.

My clan this year was Camel, focused on yoga. Yoga is many things, but much of it is breath. Yoga is the mind surrendering to the breath and the body, quieting the chatter and focusing on maintaining the flow.

Much of yoga is balance. Balancing the body in the pose; balancing the breath with the imcedmovement. And when I drew a tile for my weekend goals, it was imced. The weaving comb represents, among other things, balance, or a need for balance. I was surprised. In hindsight, perhaps I should not have been.

That’s hindsight, though. In the moment, I was surprised.

My favorite depiction of The Fool, from the Shadowscapes Tarot  by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

From Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Sunday night’s ritual continued the theme, but added a wrinkle. There were dark places during my walk, areas where I could not see the terrain below. In order to continue, I had to trust the darkness, the unknown. Imced was needed… as was The Fool. Be ready to fall in the pursuit of your answer, and embrace the fall.

I did the walk twice, focused on my questions. In what form or manner do I find imced? I wondered during the first walk. I was asked, “Why is this your question?” and suddenly found myself in tears. When asked, “Did you find your answer?” I could only nod, because the tears were pouring down my face. To speak would have meant complete breakdown; if I needed the breakdown, I promised myself, I would have it later.

My answer was chaos.

I touch on it a lot, but don’t detail much about my day-to-day life. First thing: I adore my family and would not change my life in general. That said, I’ve mentioned a few of my Kit’s various challenges, which have only gotten more so over time. We both have day jobs, and then the household has to be managed as well (including cats, a teenager who shows signs of fibromyalgia, bills, and so forth). Kit tries hard to help, but because of his various conditions, much of it falls on me. I knew it before, but somehow this weekend it hit me that much harder that I have caregiver fatigue. For months I’ve been teetering on the edge of actual burnout. And no, I haven’t sought the support that would help me cope, nor have I taken the time to take care of myself. My mind has been in complete chaos trying to keep up with everything, and I have felt entirely helpless to change it.

This weekend, I was shown that I am not helpless.

Imced is order. The Fool is, to some extent, chaos. One cannot exist without the other. I cannot impose order in my life and expect it to stick – it’s neither realistic nor desirable for me. So it came time to determine my next question: “How do I balance order with chaos?”

Again I walked the circuit. Again I was asked the questions. This time, I did not find my answer. This time I was Told, “This is what you must learn. This is your winter Work.”

For eight years, I have had the tool to find that balance. Yoga.

Have I mentioned that I’ve always loved it? There are a million excuses as to why I haven’t pursued it more, but with encouragement from my clan, my friends, and my family, those excuses are fading.

16-Tower

Close to the exact print I received.

I finished the Sunday ritual feeling sore, but accomplished. I had my Work; I had my tools. I sang with the Covening and prepared for a good dinner.

And then I received my tarot card.

Ouch?

I don’t know tarot as well as I know my Stones, but there are a few cards that have stuck with me. The Fool is one; the Tower is another. It means change – dramatic change, out of which one does not escape unscathed. Per the Shadowscapes deck I have:

Upheaval and sudden change, crisis, releasing all emotion, suffering a blow to the ego, revelation and seeing through illusions.

It doesn’t mean bad change, nor does it mean good change. But dramatic.

My immediate reaction was fear. Now that I have a little distance, I can see where it would apply to my winter Work. I can see pain and some upheaval on the path ahead. Finding balance is never easy, and with yoga in my toolbox, I can imagine a complete deconstruction of my ego. (This is not a bad thing, but it will not be easy.)

Monday morning brought gentle yoga to restore from the night’s hike, a little sunburn, and a delightful ride home. I have brought home that gentle yoga routine and continued it, ten minutes or so every day, to keep from seizing up or losing my groove. Meanwhile, an awesome friend (who is a certified yoga teacher) will be helping me set up a daily practice, and for that I am crazy grateful.

Today is my second day back at my day job, headed back into my daily routine. This time, I feel more prepared to cope.

I am a Camel. I have resources to get through the changes ahead. I am not helpless, and I am certainly not alone.

camel2013

My clan, and the gorgeous lake at the mountain.

Collecting Themselves.

Happy July, kids.

Yep, two months. Not that I haven’t had anything about which to talk, necessarily, but here. Pick a reason I haven’t written about them.

A) OMD BUSY.
B) OMD KITTENS.
C) OMD BURNOUT.
D) OMD WRITER’S BLOCK.
E) OMD ALL OF THOSE.

There’s been a lot of mundane stuff happening. The day job went crazy for a while. We brought home two kittens (they are SO CUTE and SO DEMANDING). I’ve had commissions to do – they’ve built up to seven. The strange summer weather here on the east coast has been destroying Kit and making his various conditions all flare, meaning all the running-the-household stuff has fallen to me and the youngest, when I can wrangle his help (he’s better than I was at his age, so I really can’t bitch too much). I’ve been burning out somewhat, which means words? Yeah, they don’t flow very well.

Notice Something missing? Or more specifically, Someone?

That’s because He’s been very, very quiet.

They’ve all been very, very quiet.

Sir is still there. I reach out, and He reaches back. But even though He is at His strongest now – Father and Hunter and Master of the Wood – He isn’t chatty. He is making no demands or requests of me. I still have tasks, make no mistake. I still need to sit at my altar (after I remove a kitten); I need to start Their offerings again; Kit made mention of “walking in His forest” (a meditation of sorts). But He isn’t pushing.

Danu is quiet. Ganesha is quiet. Redwing is quiet. Tamalut is quiet. Even The Folk are quiet.

I talk to Kit. I talk to J. Their patrons are quiet. (And when Raven is quiet, you know something is up.) No one is angry. No one is upset. It feels like They’re collecting Themselves, gathering Their strength… almost waiting.

Something is coming is the message that keeps popping up. It’s been coming up for several people for over a year now. Soon, soon. “Soon,” of course, is in Their time, not ours. But Their gathering, Their quiet… I’m no so much nervous as I am a little lonely, and a little cautiously curious.

But I have work – and Work – to do. I have instructions from Him. That’s kind of the funny-odd part of being slave and lover to a Deity. Just because He’s quiet doesn’t mean the Work stops; it doesn’t mean W/we are no longer lovers. It means that both parties are busy, just with different things.

Actually, the thought just occurred to me – the six months of training and post-collaring  follow-up meant W/we were very very close for a long and intense period of time. Can anyone say breathing time? *chuckles*

So yes. The mundane front is CA-RAZY busy; it’s still quiet – but steady – on the spiritual front.

Gratitude Project Catchup – Days 3-6

The past few days I’ve been out of town, reestablishing some ties to family-of-choice. I tried very hard not to mess with a computer while I was there (with limited success), and so need to do some catching up.

Day 3: I am grateful for the hospitality of our friends. They opened their home to us and made us feel welcome.

Day 4: I am grateful for friends who, while they may not understand or follow the same Path, will listen while I talk about mine when I need to share and not judge. I am surrounded by friends like this, and I am so thankful.

Day 5: I am grateful for Home. Home is where my L/loves are.

Day 6: I am grateful for my collar. I have been instructed to not wear my daily one for the moment, as it needs to be cleaned, and I feel bereft without it. It will be cleaned today.

Friendship

One thing I haven’t quite processed from this past weekend, but needs mentioning, is Saturday night’s drum circle. Not because I danced for Him; not because I sang for Him. (Those are subjects for another post.) But because of a conversation I had with a friend.

They sat with me at the fire circle and apologized to me for being distant the last time we were in a room together. The details of the conversation are too precious to share; suffice to say they read what happened, then read the blog, and it hit a trigger so big that they needed to detach themselves from me for a while.

I knew, in my head, that being on this path and having to be open about it would make things difficult. I’ve already felt the sting of criticism from strangers. I was in shock at how close I came to losing a friend, and it hit hard. Understanding the theory is very, very different from the experience.

I was very lucky this time. My friend and I are in a good place and able to move forward. Many of the other friends who know about my path have been supportive, even if they don’t understand it. But I’ve seen what can happen to a community when a path diverges, what happens with some people when someone travels a road not always understood. I will not always be so lucky.

Not everyone will understand, I know that. I don’t ask them to. My path winds so far out into left field that, for some, understanding just isn’t a reasonable expectation. But acceptance… that’s different. And I think that’s where we, as human beings, sometimes go wrong. It’s one of my biggest personal challenges. I want to understand! I want to know why! And sometimes there isn’t understanding. Sometimes it’s just not possible. Sometimes it’s just about accepting. That’s where I need to approach this, living this path so publicly. It’s not about getting people to understand. It’s about explaining it, providing the chance to accept… and then accepting it myself if they can’t.

So to all my wonderful friends… I love you. Thank you for accepting. ❤

Home and more processing

I am home from my very favorite festival ever. I’ve helped organize this one for the past three years. It keeps getting better.

This was the first year I attended and worked as a godslave. It did make a difference, and I’m still working that out.

For now, I go crash, since I return to the “real world” tomorrow.