Monday, August 29, 2011

The Dark Side of Wicca, or, Forcefully Digging Up My Roots

I was going to write about the aerial acrobatics I saw over the weekend. I was going to write about magickal movement. But this subject will have to wait until another day because I've finally hit the point where I'm quite miffed with my local new agers.

If you keep up with my insanity, you know that I recently read the book, Diary of a Witch, by Sybil Leek. I wouldn't have pursued this book were it not for the fact that I have been grossly disappointed in the lack of history provided in most books on Wicca & Witchcraft lately. I've looked through my own collection and tried to sort out the truly informative books from the ones that offer just mild summaries. Unfortunately, none seem to cover the topic. They skip right to the "makin' magick" sections. Even Scott Cunningham takes a great leap over hundreds of years of history to magickal correspondences in his introductory books. Edain McCoy? Nothing. Laurie Cabot!? Zip! Phyllis Curott!? The woman whose book, Book of Shadows, inspired me to learn about Wicca in the first place!? Zilch.

I don't know if this pattern stems from historical ignorance, the need to sell books, or simple apathy. Whatever the reason, I've been on a quest for the last year to find as much material on Wiccan history as I can so I can spout more than just incantations (This way I can know where they come from). In addition to the Sybil Leek book I've read Gerald Gardner's, Witchcraft Today, Margot Adler's, Drawing Down the Moon, and most of Michael Howard's, Modern Wicca. The Golden Bough is also on my shelf, though remains a permanent hurdle next to War and Peace

For a long time the next book on my list has been, Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley. And here's where the madness begins yet again. It seems that not only are Wiccan authors content to skip our history, but they are also intent on removing Aleister Crowley from the picture. While I've come to learn that he was quite the, well, drug fiend, womanizer, sadomasochist, and black magick artist, it doesn't give me an excuse to ignore his contributions to modern magick and Wicca. He might have been considered the most evil man in the world in the mid 1900's, but he also met with many famous witches - not to mention two of which were Gardner and Leek. And while his definition of magick alone ("the science and art of causing change in conformity of will") has been referenced in numerous books on magick and witchcraft, Crowley himself seems to disappear from texts.

In search of Mr. Crowley, I first tried my local new age store. Nothing. Not even a bibliography on the man. I asked at the front desk and got an offer to order. I went in order of books stores down the street.  Neither of the used bookstores had anything by or about him. And when I stopped at the other new age store and asked the sales attendant  if they carried any books on him she said, "No. We like to keep our material positive here." WHAT!? This is why we Wiccans are portrayed as tripped out hippies lady! Just because something isn't kittens and ponies doesn't mean it's not IMPORTANT! I briefly considered becoming a Satanist until I remembered Anton Levay's, The Satanic Bible (Yes. I read it. If I'm going to be accused of Satanism I should know what I'm not. And I don't think I'm cut out for Satanism. I'm too perky.).

I've resolved myself to finally ordering the AC biography, Do What Thou Wilt, by Lawrence Sutin, off Amazon. It won't be on my shelf for a while, but once I read it I'll let you guys know how it was.

Has anyone else found it unnervingly hard to find good historical data on Wicca? Have you ever hit the wall of "keeping things positive", as I have? I feel like this may be a common thing. Any good suggestions for history books?

By the way, in the list of Wiccan books with diddly squat on history, Silver RavenWolf actually wins for her book, To Ride a Silver Broomstick - just because she actually lists the Wiccan beliefs as set out by the Council of American Witches in 1974, as well as short descriptions on different traditions. It's still not too high a score though, as some of her descriptions err on the side of WAY too basic and even slightly wrong (For example, I'm pretty sure that a solitary witch is not the same as a natural witch.). But I'll stop there. Silver's a whole new topic all on her own. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stickin' it to the Martha

For the last week I've been pouring through Stumbleupon's craft diy finds and thinking why I haven't been able to figure out how to make some kind of artistic masterpiece out of... I don't know... duct tape, a car bumper, and a live pony. I finally dug through my box o' stuff, and it may not be rocket science, but I came away with something. It's a flower pin that will go to my recently hitched friend - made from a button from her bachelorette party, fake rose petals from her wedding, and embroidered with her initial.
And on a segway rolling 5mph down the street with a little old man on it trying to be cool, yes, I have finally found a background that works, and I'm sticking with it.

P.S. It is currently 3:11AM. I can't sleep and my ear hurts (Making me really wish I could just take off my body parts like those orange guys from Labyrinth.), and I'm just now realizing that I didn't have anything for dinner except some tea and wasabi almonds. But none of that matters too much because I'm giggling at the only thing I can hear over my typing: shuffle, shuffle, shuffle...BANG!...shuffleshuffleshuffleshuffleshuffleBANG! The hamster's in his running ball. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Multilingual Magick

For those of you who have ever wondered about the lack of magick posts on here, it mainly has to do with the fact that my spells tend to be of the spontaneous kind. Very rarely am I one to plan out an entire ritual unless it's a holiday. Well, and unless I have time to plan a large ritual.

Last night in celebration of, and in preparation for, the start of the new school year I conducted an impromptu spell to help me draw upon my strengths. I needed to be reminded anew of all the things I was capable of doing and all the things that made me good at what I do. It might sound fairly run-of-the-mill magick, but if you've ever worked in a public school before, you know how political, dramatic, catty and horrible it can get. Going to work for me is like putting on a suit of armor - and this year my armor is a very heart-felt protection circle latched to my very skin. When you work with mostly women, and students with behavioral problems, you need it.

Something was different about this spell, though, in that I switched to Spanish in the middle. I am not fluent but I know enough to get me through a conversation. The spell came out as a bilingual one. And it must have worked well because when I had to draw on my Spanish today I was babbling with fluidity that I don't normally have (This is always extremely fun to me because of the look I get from the Latino parents when I start talking in Spanish. It's the one of pure relief and surprise that says, "Thank you, GOD! The small white girl can speak Spanish!).

Often times in Wicca we talk about the power of colors, symbols, elements, or beat. I think the spoken word gets lost in the correspondences. And personally, I find that Spanish is one of those things that I turn to when the flat and guttural sounds of American English just don't get across the feeling I'm going for. There's something powerful in rolling my R's, and calming in pronouncing those soft D's right in between my teeth. Although I know what I'm saying, it almost makes the magick I'm working that much more mysterious and emotional. Maybe it's the slight unfamiliarity I have with the language that does it.

I also speak a bit (a very very very petite bit) of French (At least enough to utter the phrase, "I can't study the history of the badger anymore! I've had enough!), and even that gets added into my spellwork occasionally.

I'm very curious to know. What are your experiences with language and magick? Do you switch between languages, and if so, which ones? Do you think we could put correspondences to languages just as we put them to the cardinal directions, altar tools, etc?

I think languages can be magickal, and switching between them almost even more so. Then again, languages can be hilarious too - something that can't always be said for our other magickal correspondences. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doggy Demento, Tofu, and a Question for Moms

When I was in high school I got it into my head that I needed a new breed of pet. Hamsters were cute and all, but I was running out of small boxes and spots to bury them in the back yard. So out of the blue I opted for a parakeet. I named him Hermes and trained him more or less well, albeit the fact that most of his training involved trial and error with the windows. Nevertheless, after a few months my younger brother decided that he also wanted a parakeet. And that's how Tofu came into our family. You may be wondering what this amigurumi dog has to do with a small, blue bird. Well, the demented look on the dog's face (you know, the one that says, "I hunt the mice around the house by bashing my head into the wall!"), was the same one plastered to Tofu's that made him annoying beyond all reason yet strangely cute. 

The Tofu with wings managed to get himself stuck in our chandelier, inside a dresser drawer, and briefly, inside a toilet paper tube. He was also obsessed with defeating the other bird in the bathroom mirror, and frequently moved the battle to the reflections in the windows and to those of the spoons on the dining room table. They must have had differing political views because often times the spoons would go flying off the table edge with a satisfied and vengeful looking bird glaring down at them.

The following tofu has no wings, and gets along fairly well with spoons. Also, my amigurumi dog will be up for sale shortly, as will the pattern. Isn't train of thought fun? Ooh! Trains!
Cooking Adventure: Lime Curry Tofu Stir-fry
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Slavgnostik by Unkle Ho
Prep Time: 10-15 min.
Cook Time: 15-20 min.

I made this extremely delicious veggie meal after a full day of babysitting my nieces. I gave my four year-old niece the job of choosing lunch and she picked Kraft mac n' cheese, wafer cookies, and blueberries (the blueberries were so we could "be healthy"). While I seem to have lost my taste for powdered cheese a bit, I will say that it made making lunch for the girls really easy. As I was cutting up the veggies for this meal I had to wonder: How do you moms DO this? How to moms find time to make healthy meals for their kids? Especially since the easiest & quickest things to pick up from the store and whip together are not always the healthiest? I'd be very interested to know how those of you who are moms manage this, and if some of you could share your easy recipes with the rest of us. That, and do you have one arm that is ungodly muscular? I carried around the one year-old all day, and cuteness doesn't necessarily correlate with a decrease in weight. People kept passing me in the grocery store saying, "Aw! She's adorable!" I felt like saying, "Really? That's so nice of you to say! Would you like to carry her around for an hour while the feeling comes back into my arm?" Don't get me wrong. I love my nieces, but once they become accessories attached to me for too long the cuteness starts to wear off a bit.

Okay. I'm breathing. I feel better now. :) Onto the food!

 - 2 tablespoons peanut oil
 - 1 (16 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, cut
into bite-sized cubes
 - 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
 - 2 tablespoons red curry paste
 - 1 pound zucchini, diced
 - 1 red bell pepper, diced
 - 3 tablespoons lime juice
 - 3 tablespoons fish sauce (The original recipe calls for soy sauce. Don't use that. Use fish sauce. Smells really funky on it's own. Tastes amazing when blended with other stuff.)
 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
 - 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown. Remove the tofu and set aside, leaving the remaining oil in the wok. 
2. Stir the ginger and curry paste into the hot oil for a few seconds until the curry paste is fragrant and the ginger begins to turn golden. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the lime juice, fish sauce, maple syrup, coconut milk, and tofu. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer, and cook a few minutes until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is hot. Stir in the chopped basil just before serving. 
**Serve over rice. I used basmati & that works fairly well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mental Blockage

Do you think that if I drink Drain-o and wait fifteen minutes before rinsing my mouth out with water that it would remove the blockage from my brain today? I think it might. Although, not in the way I'd want. The last thing I want to do is have my spirit staring up at the Goddess hearing, "Just for that, your next life will be as a tapeworm."

The brain clog is mainly keeping me from finishing this latest pattern. I swear it started out as a capybara. Then it sort of morphed. For a while it was a dinosaur. then it became a dismembered puppy. This project started last Thursday and has gone on five days too long. The little fucker better turn out cute. BE CUTE DAMN IT! Isn't the amigurumi process precious?
I checked out the house yesterday and it was, unfortunately, too small. The loft bedroom had a low enough ceiling that my husband bumped right into the hanging fan. Nothing weird about the place, although we found out why it had no taxes listed. It is currently being sold by the local Benedictine convent. That also explains the crucifixes in every room. Unlike my dismembered ami dog at the moment, the house was cute, just not the right fit - literally.

I suppose I have to abandon my dreams of designing it (something I secretly do with all the houses I look at). I'll have to go back to small, artsy-fartsy projects involving duct tape and toilet paper tubes. <sigh> You know, someone should really figure out a diy way to kidnap and enslave Martha Stewart's design team. That way I can entertain like this and be hated yet loved by all women! Mwa ha ha ha! I need to get out.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Wallpaper & Weird Houses

It is absolutely amazing how long you can spend searching for a just the right blog background. Long enough to watch all of the movie, "Stardust" and still have time for surfing. I suppose one day I'll pony up the money and get a custom template. Though for now I think this will do.

I finally took the music off the sidebar too after realizing that if it bugs me to suddenly have music pop up (especially when I haven't been careful and my speakers are turned up to 11), then it probably bugs other people as well. Besides, if anyone misses the tunes, they can always look up one of the recipes with the bellydance song of the day.

 Today I'm finally getting a well-deserved rest after a good two weeks of out-and-aboutness. This weekend my husband was out of town for a roller derby ref training in Minnesota - leaving me without the car. Being two wheels and a few horsepower short, I've been walking and biking everywhere this weekend. Including, but not limited to, a two hour hike to an open house and back.

If I weren't actually looking for houses, I'd probably still go see the open ones. It's almost like getting to take a tour of your own neighborhood.  Plus, you get to see all the weird things people do with there abodes. Yesterday's wasn't too strange - although one woman had ripped up random squares of carpeting in one of the bedrooms. When I asked the realtor what happened, he said the dog chewed up the carpet in those spots. The woman figured she'd just cut off the spots and then replace the whole carpet later. Of course the first thing I thought was, "What the heck kind of dog does she have!?" I imagine it's some kind of mix between a doberman and an evil chihuahua who got so unbearably lonely that it started having its way with the floor.

Other houses I've seen have had cupboards in the kitchen so high that you would have to use a full ladder to reach them. That was the same house that had a mini bath-tub right next to the kitchen, and looked like it would be a great place to shoot a movie about a serial killer. My husband decided that it wasn't the house for us, but rather for a small group of diabolical acrobatic circus midgets. We also saw one that very same day that had a functioning toilet in a closet. Not like a broom closet or a closet-sized room. I mean a working toilet in a walk-in-clothes-hanging-up-fully-carpeted closet. And it's not like the toilet was sectioned off either. You could sit there doing your business while looking right across at a collection of hooker heels (Yes, those were also in the closet.). I can see it now: "Honey, could you hurry up in there? I really have to get dressed!" And could you imagine what would happen if you had real intestinal problems causing you to stink up your bathroom-closet? You'd walk around in putrid clothes that had soaked up the odor of a walking port-a-potty! Ew.
I'm heading out to actually be shown this house today. So of course, I'll let you know what I find. :) If I know it's not for me, then I'm really hoping to find porcupines living in the basement. Ooh! Or possibly a dishwasher attached to the ceiling!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For Non-Crocheters

If it wasn't a word before, it is now. :) I now have a little pink version of the monkey up in my Etsy shop. I'm already getting ideas for my next project. Maybe I'll try constructing the animal I don't think I'll ever be able to have as a pet. Capybaras!
They're so adorable! They're like giant swimming guinea pigs!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Finally Did It!

I'm finally on Etsy with my little monkey man! Just the pattern is up for sale now; though, as per a request from some of my readers, I will be making a few more to sell for those not ready to take up a crochet hook yet. :) You can find him here at The Blue Faerie Boutique. ... Yay!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lessons Learned at the ER

My town is killing my friends. I feel like the last two times they've come they've had to deal with heat-related maladies and exhaustion in various stages. This time it was both. A group of us went out camping at Blue Mounds State Park (Excellent spot for the beginner camper as it has showers, a pool, and flush toilets. Yeah, we spoiled ourselves this weekend.). We came back from a short hike Saturday morning to take naps, and only to wake up and find that our friend, Lindsey, was sweating profusely and puking up everything that had been or would be in her stomach. We all jumped in the cars and headed for my apartment - a quick drive back into town - to cool her off. When we all realized that Lindsey couldn't keep down liquids, her husband and I made the trip with her to the ER.

I think that if I ever decide I'd like to change career paths, I'm going to see what it takes to become a receptionist/nurse in the ER. I had opted to give Lindsey and her husband a bit of space before I went barging into the room, so I sat in the waiting room watching the comings and goings. Most of it was fairly normal: a guy with a swollen leg, a man suffering an allergic reaction, and several new moms with their newborns panicking over their baby coughing once. But the best by far, was the GIANT man to emerge from the treatment rooms. No hair. No clothes. Very large toga.

Apparently, there was an outdoor rock festival going on just down the road and the ER had been getting people in from their all day suffering from heat exhaustion, way too much alcohol, and/or broken/twisted limbs. It looked like toga man was a victim of the first two because when his friends came in to pick him up he was saying, "It was the heat man! And probably those six beers I drank... I don't even remember how I got over here!" He was the only patient left and there was no TV on, so my eyes kept gravitating back to the construction of the toga and down his side where I don't remember seeing any pants. I decided it was a good time to go visit Lindsey - before my eyes traveled too far.

Lindsey ended up being fine. The doctor had her hooked up to an IV with fluid getting into her system, and she got medication for her nausea and headaches. It was nice of them to give her meds for that, but it's amazing that a trip to McDonald's and plenty of sleep works just as well. Go holistic medicine! So what did we learn from this?

Lesson learned by me: ER waiting rooms are boring and yet highly entertaining - figure out how to work in one.
Lesson learned by Lindsey: On a hot day drink water even when you're not thirsty.
Lesson learned by toga man: Beer does not substitute for water, and you better be fine with the outfit you're wearing because while they'll provide medication, CAT scans and ice packs, the ER will not provide clothes.