Angels, Owls, and Buddhas – oh my.

I admit it. One of my favorite things to look at is spiritual spaces. This includes but is not limited to churches, synagogs, spiritual centers, pilgrimage locations, and personal altars. Today’s post explore my own little area, where I meditate, journal, cast spells, drink tea, and pray:

This is my spiritual space in its entirety (as far as a physical shrine full of stuff goes). And, as you can see, it’s pretty eclectic in its nature. (Hur. I guess that’s not particularly surprising, being an eclectic witch.)

I once had a space in my living room for the same purpose. However, if you look at all the neat-o thingamabobs that I have and give yourself the mentality of a three-year old, you can immediately see the “playtime value” in having all of this within arms’ reach. It was that train of thought, paired with finding bits of my things in my son’s room, that prompted a move.

I’m actually quite proud of my scrounging skills here. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for aesthetics, but I wasn’t particularly willing to buy a very pretty shrine table when the funds could be used elsewhere (e.g. bills, gas, cat food, Christmas shopping).

Eventually, I’ll buy (or build) a beautiful piece of furniture to accommodate my love for all things crafted and pretty, but until then I opted for garage diving. I found an old television stand that I should have thrown away about five years ago and deconstructed that down to a kneeling-height table. (And yes, it’s made out of plastic and compressed sawdust.) The shelf was doomed to the donation box (namely because I’d had it for over a decade and never could figure out what to do with it), and I re-purposed it into… well, it’s actually still just a shelf. But now it’s a shelf with stuff on it.

Here’s a close-up of my Buddha shrine.It’s pretty minimalist in terms of Buddha shrines: three red (apple pie scented) candles to represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism, a bell, a white meditation candle, flower offerings, an orange offering candle (lit as a replacement for stick incense – which, by the way, is sort of terrible for your respiratory system), a bowl of salt, water offering, a cauldron and some crystals in a bag.

The cauldron is, well… frankly, I don’t know many Buddha shrines that have a miniature cauldron on it. However, I use it to occasionally burn natural and department store (bad for your health) incense. It’s also heavy enough to break someone’s nose on the off-chance that I lose my mind and forsake my pacifist ideals.

How do I convert my shrine into a spell table? Buddha gets put away, the offerings stay on the table, and things get rearranged. The picture more or less shows a possible set-up; the actual placement of objects and additional bits depend on what I’m doing. If you noticed the many chests under the table (in the first picture), that’s where the majority of my other things are stored away. Those contain things like herbs, oils, incense, candles, smudging equipment, etc.

And here’s the shelf, in case anyone was particularly curious about it. I have a statue of a barn owl (my “power animal”), a mortar full of dried herbs, a statue of St. Gabriel the Archangel, a seven-day spell candle (this one’s purpose is to rid negativity in the home), and a terrarium. Because green things are great. On the bottom self is several bottles of herbs, oils, and spell ingredients; a mini-besom (which I don’t actually use), and most of my oracle and tarot cards.

And there you have it: my happy little corner of meditation, mindfulness, and magic.

Mini-Haitus Return

Ah. Back to blogging again. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve conjured up a post – and I can thank my elbow for that one. For the past two or three years, I mistook a rather large (and admittedly, gross) growth on my elbow to be a common cyst. Which I should have known better, because none of my other cysts looked anything like it. Suddenly, people – strangers, even – began to make concerned comments. Even my son’s entire daycare, chitlins (i.e. kids*) included, were worried.

Oh fine. So I went to a dermatologist to get the thing looked at. Turns out everyone and their aunt was right: it was a tumor – a dermatofibroma, to be exact. It was benign, so that was the good news. Unfortunately, I still needed it removed (mostly for cosmetic and practical reasons). Halfway through the procedure, I remembered one moderately important issue: I’m a chronic fainter. After the doctor finished, I stumbled towards the front desk and promptly passed out in the waiting room. Yay, vasovagal synocope!

In other news, I learned something pretty shocking. I was talking to my husband (who is currently deployed) via Skype, and we got to talking about his mom. Suddenly, he made mention of his mom having once owned a set of tarot cards and ‘smooth stone things that she kept in a bag.’ This was back when he was only a kid, and he remembered his mom abruptly throwing her cards and stones away and becoming a devout Christian practically overnight. (She also went on to become a Protestant minister.) I asked him about anything else she might have done.

After listening to an hour’s worth of recalled events, I realized that his mother was dabbling in magic. Except she apparently jumped into the whole thing for all the wrong reasons. On top of that, she went straight into the deeper, darker end of witchcraft (e.g. summoning demons) – stuff that I would never touch. No wonder she ran to the Church, screaming. I probably would too.

It really does remind me that it’s not the tool (e.g. witchcraft), it’s the person behind it. It can be a wonderful, beautiful thing in the right hands. In the wrong hands, it just goes all to pots. Sort of like my ability to cook.

*Speaking of which: chitlins also refers to a dish made of fried pork intestines.

Post-Samhain Recap

Happy (belated-) Samhain!  Two days after the fact, I’m still recovering from the night’s reverie – which is a little sad, considering I spent it alone with my three-year old son. However, the cynics at his daycare decided to feed the kids sweets that day and so I was treated to a hyperactive preschooler ping-ponging off the walls all evening.

I really had to muster up some enthusiasm for Samhain. This year, my husband is deployed, sobering my usual kid-in-a-candy-shop October mentality. I finally decided to “buck up” and plan a nice Samhain evening for my son and myself.

This year’s Samhain set-up, complete with pumpkins and soul cakes!

My sacred space was fitted with some miniature pumpkins, a seasonal candle, and some fake leaves. (I tried using dried leaves but my cats promptly ate those.) I also decided to bake some soul cakes as both a nod to the (supposed) origin of trick-or-treating and as a replacement for candy. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to put up an ancestor shrine.

I did, however, set up some kid-friendly activities to entertain ourselves. We painted some miniature pumpkins (including one for my husband), watched some Halloween programs, and played with clay. I wanted to incorporate ancestor veneration and prayer but decided against it, knowing he wouldn’t really understand the concept.

Samhain dinner was especially delicious.

Although I was tempted to order Chinese, I made us a rather nice dinner. I was actually very proud of it, to be honest; I didn’t burn anything. (I’m not a very good cook.) We had “Remembrance Chicken” with lots of rosemary and spices, rosemary potatoes, corn, and mind-numbingly awesome baked acorn squash. Aiden (my son) enjoyed it, which made me one happy mama.

I didn’t get to do any sort of tarot spread or even meditation as I was pretty exhausted by Aiden’s bedtime. I just crawled into bed, cuddled with my cats, watched some ghost-story programs, and went to bed.

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good Samhain.

And so it begins again…

I’m going to be completely frank: I’ve sat down at the computer with the intention of writing out a re-introduction post more times I can count. Eventually, it occurred to me that I’m probably over-thinking the situation (and the blog in general). So, here we go; time to just shoot from the hip:

After several months of inactivity, I’m staring this blog over again. There was some minor content before – definitely a few articles that I’ll reintroduce in the future – but for the most part, I ran into a significant point of stoppage about eight months backActually, I’m a little sketchy on the time frame but since specifics don’t really matter, let’s just make that the ballpark estimate.

I’m trying to work out the exactitude of what happened but for the life of me, I actually can’t pull anything together into a singular event or reason. I think the most accurate assessment that I can make is that I just had a complete nervous breakdown or something. A culmination of events and situations occurred both simultaneously and in rapid succession and somewhere along the way, my overall consciousness just checked out for several months.

Luckily, I managed to pull myself together after some deep introspection and decided that blogging would be a useful tool to utilize as I reconstruct myself. I deleted all prior content in the spirit of “starting over” – which is probably for the best, considering my mentality for certain things has changed significantly.

Anyway, in the interest of stopping while I’m ahead (and before I turn neurotic about my own writing), I’m going to bring this post its ultimate conclusion. Plus, it’s time to read my son his ” Thomas the Train” book for the millionth time.

Ellery

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