Saturday, August 27, 2011

Surprise, Surprise...LOL

I went for a walk in my park today, but instead of going in my usual entrance which is here,
I wandered up the College Drive a little bit further towards the first turn-off to the right.  The reason for this is simple,  I decided that I would make a secret garden in the park and what looked like a perfect location was a small field in behind the scrub at the end of the Cul-de-sac.  I had looked up everything on Google Maps and Google Earth.  So I see the road, and walk in towards the Cul-de-sac that I know is at the end of a houseless street (according to the maps); however, this road is no longer houseless, there are, I believe four houses there, three closer to College Drive, and one near to the little round about.  Along this road is a fine selection of wild flowers that usually grow near woods, in the open areas.
I see these pretty blue flowers all over Nanaimo, along the roads and more wide open areas.
Broom is everywhere, and next time I'm remembering to poke a spare bag in my collector bag, so I can drag some home, dry it out and try my hands at making a besom style broom.
This little beauty was covered in purple flowers, and bees by the score were harvesting full throttle,how perfect I want an apiary in my secret garden, this would be ideal, so close and convenient.
This thistle too, gave me time to reflect on how wonderful this area would be.
'Well now!  This is exciting!' I thought and became giddy with delight at how close to the Hedge (the forest wall that seperates the tame and lawful from the wild and unlawful) this was.  I walked past the fancy and final house and my anticipation grew so much so that I could feel a big smile all across my face, only to be greeted by this:
and this:

Well I am a witch, a hedge-ryder, and a trouble maker extraordinaire.  I will not be held back by lame signs that mean to keep me from my goal.  I want a a secret garden and I will have one or know the reason why!  I put on my grumpy Ember face and trudged along the poorly blocked path into the scrub area just in beyond the rocks.  Ok, so no secret garden here, for there was downfall and roots standing on end, and big rock piles and no way to get past anything.  In fact, it was dangerous in there.  I knew that a new sub-division was going in not to far from the other end of those rocks, so there would be no privacy.  Although my way was blocked and this site holds absolutely no promise for creating my garden aspirations, there are some prospects on the other side of the lake, so all is not lost.  It is mid dayish and I don't do well in heat and sunlight.  I'm very fair skinned, and can be burn within 15 minutes of exposure to the sun, so I wear large baggy clothes and a hat that covers me up and provides shade, but still has a tendency to cause overheating.  I looked around my little lost area and in no time discovered a path that lead into a familiar part of the Park I'd been exploring.  I quickly made for the path with little more than a hint of regret for the loss of future garden and headed into the woods, my favorite part of any walk.
Looks like I found the forest spirit.  I want to come back and look at her, see where she's pointing, it looks like the other side of the lake, but I could be wrong.  All in all it was an excellent and informative walk.  I have lots of food for thought, now that my sleeping is back on track. 
 I finally got my partner to understand that I don't have to sleep with him when he works graveyards, but I can come and visit him, lay down until he falls asleep, do my chores, and return close to waking time and be there as he wakes up, then he doesn't miss me so much.  It has been difficult for us, this graveyard shift, but we are starting to get the hang of it and devell,op a new rhythem for a happy and productive life.
A quick definition on chores is in order as well.  I don't work, or at this point bring a penny into the house.  My partner completely supports me; however, I cook and clean, this is my nature, I love a neat house, and he is a tidy man, so it's not a bother.  He wants me to relax and enjoy my life, be as though retired.  He wants me to take the time to work on my arts, my crafts, my magic and my cooking, reading, writing, all the things I wanted to do, but never had time to do when I was supporting my kids all on my own.  He likes my art and he wants me to be the artist I was meant to be.  He supports me financially, emotionally, spiritually and even promotes my work to others.  Everything else aside, I am a lucky girl, to have someone like him and it's worth putting up with the shenanigans, guess that's what it means by unconditional love.  <3

A Little Wand Work

I am truly enjoying the end of Mercury in Retrograde.  Being back on track is just one of the advantages.  Doors and Eyes were opened between my partner and myself that should bring an ease to what has always been a turbulent relationship.  Commitments are being kept and the atmosphere is jubilant.  I'm loving it f.  Of course I know that it will ebb and flow a bit, however the intensity and frequency is gone.  I once again have the freedom to do as I please and get things done.
This include my cedar wand.  I've decided that it should be a wand for hedgecrossing.  I have been practicing my vines and using felt pens drew some blue morning glories around the wand.  However, when I went to use a fixative on it, so it wouldn't run, it ran.  I guess I need to protect and then ink it in, and then protect again.  Luckily I can sand off the old picture and put a new one on top.  I think I need to invest in some indelible inks in green, red, blue, blue, and brown.  Looks as though I have a little research and hunting to do.  I'm good with that though.  I should have the wand done by Samhain.
As well I want to work on some more magic items, not sure what, but it will come to me.  Sean is being more amenable to heading to my Son's place so I can pick up my things.  He even has access to a truck, so I might be able to do it one fell sweep.
I think, though, if I am smart, I shall work on my business cards.  I really want to get my name out there and start getting orders in to more personalize the items towards the user.  Once again I"m dithering at the end of a strangely satisfying but long day.  Time to grab my private journal and hit the sheets.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The End of Mercury in Retrograde is upon us! :D

It is 1:38 am as I write this now, on the 26th of August, 2011.  Mercury in Retrograde is now over, and there was even a sense of it coming on.  My partner looked up at me lovingly as we were ambling out of bed in the afternoon and said "Did you know it's National Kiss and Make-Up day?"  Then he gave me a kiss and I looked at him knowing what was coming to an end, and kissed him back, how appropriate, the fates certainly have a sense of humour.  I feel better and so far so good, no bickering, no mean, no constant threat of attack.  I feel like I"m more in tune with my own life now too.
I also have discovered that if I want to get anything done, I will have to keep notes and my own form of Daily agenda that includes my magical data, phases of the moon, mercury in Retrograde, Sean's schedule, and any upcoming events.  On bad days with Sean, I don't get an opportunity to get to my lappy as often as I may need to, because he's being so needy and demanding, micromanaging my every movement when he has his I am King of the Universe spells going on.  By keeping a copy by my bed, I can plan what needs to be done next and when to redo something; it's not a big deal unless I make it one.  I have started to use this and it's working well, at least so far.  I'm getting ahead of the mayhem and the mess, and my stockpiles are going up.
Today I am working on my wands, as Sean watched me, he started to rummage through his tools, since I was using an emery board for my nails to sand my cedar wand.  The next thing I know he's handing me a file, a mini saw and a whetstone for my knife so I can sharpen it.  I thought that was so sweet, so as demanding as he might be, he is also loving and one of the most supportive people I've ever had in my life.  This is why I stay, because the bad stuff we work through and unlike most guys, he's willing to work through it, and his good stuff is excellent.  All in all when weighing the good against the bad, the good wins out every time, besides he looks so damn cute in his security guard outfit.
And now back to my wand-crafting before bedtime.
On the bottom is a cedar branch with twigs and bark removed.  On the top is a more polished version, sanded and more smooth.  I still have a lot of work to do, but you can see that it is one step closer to completion.  I think what I will do, is continue to smooth and round off each end, then I'm going to draw on some embellishments as the Muse guides me, and perhaps practise my carving skills, with some embellishments as well.  This is my first real attempt at wand making, and I want it to look good and still work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Crossing the Hedge

I have been focusing for the last year on what I call travelling the Hedge, hence the name of my blog, Somewhere Over the Hedgerow.  There are many different names for what is basically astral travel, and the destinations although all similar are a world beyond ours, where we go through the mists to visit with ancestors, other wordly beings, the divine, ancient races that exist in this realm no longer.  The entrance is achieved via trance and this can be reached using entheogens, meditation, alcohol, just a  little loosening so that your mind is free.  It is important not to be inebriated, just happy, open to the adventure.  Where you go and what you set up is up to you.  A guide is vital, as there can be dangers once you follow the crooked path.  An open mind is good, but don't fill the open mind with thoughts of your own, let them come to you, and they will come.  After all, you don't want to be having imaginary conversations, you want to stimulate the life spark and speak with those beyond.  I chose to look for my Grandma, who when I was a child, looked out for me and my best interests even when my own mother would not.  I loved that woman and knew that she would be a good choice for me to let me know what is up, which is what the guide is for.
If you are confused, don't worry, it can take a long time for all of the ideas and concepts to sink in.  Once embarking on the path, maintain time in the real world.  Grounding yourself in the real world is important, as spirits can be cheeky or malevolent, kind or curious to see what reactions they can get from you.  They are not like humans, there is a sense of nonsense to them and for them that is natural.
I have a fairly easy time of it, getting to the meeting place I mean (there is nothing easy about crossing the hedge).  When I was 6 my appendix ruptured and I died on the table.  I remember looking down at my body and this was my first out of body experience.  I saw them working on me and then suddenly I was waking up in my bed and I was very sick.  I was in the hospital a long time, I went in just after Christmas and came out Easter Sunday.  I convalesced at home for a month, and then returned to school.  Now TVs in hospital rooms were not the norm, so I had to entertain myself, it was then I develloped a passion for books.  
As I grew up my dreams became interesting, I saw things and knew things that others did not.  For me, these things were obvious, but it set me apart from my peers and they just thought I was creepy.  It was the 70's and you just didn't go around yelling... woo woo... I'm a witch.... You just kept it to yourself.
However, in 1977, Rankin and Bass made an animated film of the hobbit, and the notoriety of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit opened the eyes of many people.  Magic and wizards filled the air, and suddenly the 1980's had witches starting to come out of the broom closet.  This was great because suddenly a wealth of information including anthropological studies, women's studies, art, science, crafts, started to make sense.  
So with my new found information and a lot of floundering, I found my own way, albeit slowly, over the hedge.  I taught myself to go into a trance without falling asleep.  I would meditate walking along a wooded path and then going beyond the hedgerows and into the wildwood where I would sit by a fourway crossroad and just wait to see who came by.  I had problems connecting with anyone there and often sat alone on a rock.  Then one day I reached out to my Grandma on my father's side, I called out to her and she came.  She has been guiding me ever since.  
I have worked on the crossroad, and now there is a beautiful garden at the crossroads with an outdoor pub, where I get together with my recently departed relatives and we talk.  We keep away from my mother's relatives, but that's a tale for a different day.  Anyways, this is how I get in.  In your mind, you can build a crossroad, a safe place, and from there your guide can take you into the world beyond.  I have not travelled often beyond the safety of my crossroad, but it's an issue with my mom and as I said earlier, that's a tale for another time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mercury in Retrograde

I have been unable to focus much on anything lately, my communication with my partner has been bad.  Words, which rarely escape me, have vanished upon my lips and I have been stuck standing there with a vacant look wondering what the hell was I getting yelled at for.  The last few days have been rough in other ways too.  Time has become elusive and I am sleeping for 12 to 14 hours a day at times.  It's like I"m loosing control.  Items are moving about all over the place and nothing is where I left it any more.  Attacks from the other side of the Hedge have me sleeping at night with my wand in my hand shaking in fear (I am the one who picks up the cast iron griddle to go chasing down burglary noises in the house).  As for my cooking, that is starting to leave a lot to be desired as well, although adequate enough it is not up to my usual standards of deliciousness.  I was going to go off on this rant about how crappy all of this is and then, as I was reading my morning Witchy news a certain theme has come up over the last couple of days and I need to take heed.  Damn.... Mercury in Retrograde is at it again and he's here from August 2nd to August 26th, or perhaps I should say, he's not here.  It's actually the lack of him being around that creates this little travesty of life-cycle.  Thank the Gods that it's short, only about three weeks and then things stat again on a more even keel.
LOL, I knew I forgot to put something on my personal calender.  All I can say is one big OUCH!  Now I can cast all those feelings aside and look for ways to somewhat neutralize the effects of this not so stellar time period.  I figure there is less than 2 weeks to go, so I'll just do what I can on my end to keep the worst of the effects away.

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Old Idea Revisited

Over the years I have toyed with creating my own farm, city, town, getaway, community, village, home.  My mediums have gone back and forth, from cob, to rammed earth, to log cabin or just plain wood planks.  I have gone so far as to create my own communities using graph paper and copious notebooks filled with statistical data and relevant information leading to a village that was almost completely self reliant.  I know it's radical and I always wanted to find about 10 to 100 acres of farm land, real cheap outside of a small town to try my experiment on.  I love the idea of creating Utopia, but then there are rules and as I would talk with my friends, they no longer shared my vision, control of this enterprise was being yanked from my grasp and suddenly I would play only a minor part in my own creation because someone appointed themselves in control of my ideas.  It all came down to rules and what should and shouldn't be allowed and as visionary as my ideas were, without money to back it up, things fall by the wayside.  However, I loved creating the towns, coming up with the ideas, re-inventing the wheel, so to speak.  There is also a certain sense of ownership when you have copywrited your ideas in some way, protected your creative process and you walk out with the file of creativity.  My closet is full of those (I have a temper) ... lol.... most of my ideas don't make it beyond the initial planning stages, but I am nothing if not prolific.
As I was tooling around with that idea of being a hermit, which I like to harbor every once in a while because for some sick reason I get solace from these thoughts, it struck me that I really miss (more than words can ever say) living in touch with nature; in the thick of things, where you can tell the seasons by the way the days feel on your skin and the aromas of the various aspects of each season in succession.  I had that when I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands, but I had no way to hold onto it, and I have been feeling sort of lost ever since.  All my feelings about gardening and housing, community and market, friends and family started to come together last night when my partner went to work.  I downloaded Google Earth and found this picture:
This picture by Uncle Bob from Google Earth map.
It's a picture of Westwood Lake from the Mount Benson side.  You can see the lay of the land and one edge to the other, even hints of where the sun hits the land.  Wow it's really awesome to see the way the Lake is nestled between the city of Nanaimo, with the harbor beyond, and Mount Benson.  As I continued to look, I wondered, wouldn't it be cool to set up a garden just beyond the back of the lake, a little, but not too far off the beaten track.  Like a secret garden, with possibly even a small orchard.  It shouldn't be too hard to set up something like that and to find a custodian who will take care of it when I am gone, either from this area, or from this life.  If for any reason I move, I can create a new one.  I need never be without a garden again.
This picture by Uncle Bob from Google Earth Maps
Here is an old cabin on the bluff that overlooks Westwood Lake below.  It was something that I had considered putting in the garden, after all, who knows if the day is long, you may need a place to hang your hat for the night.  Although in some ways, it would fit in with the surroundings, I wanted something different.  For a long time I had been in love with cob building, as well as daub and wattle.  The very idea that everything that you need for a house was right there on the land waiting for you.  I think what I would like is to fence in an area... an acre or two (not really so big as you might think in the scheme of things).  The more I thought about it, the more an idea has begun to set it's roots in my mind.  I think it's time for me to sit down with pen and paper, do a little graph work, toy with a garden and some out houses (not a toilet) and a bog (a natural toilet), even a stove.  
Now where's that notebook and pen, I gots some ideas festering. :D

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reclusive by Nature

For  a long time I have tinkered with the idea of being a recluse; moving into the woods, living off the land, selling a few items for what I can't grow or make myself.  There are several things involved here that sort of make this interesting.  I'm not some city woman rambling about moving into the woods because she has had it with society, so it's no snit.  I actually lived in the woods with my husband and kids nineteen years ago, where we lived off the land.  I grew fruits and berries and vegetables of all types, even had a green house.  I got up every morning, lit the cook stove, made the breakfast, taught the kids, tended the garden, ran the household.  Our cottage housed four of us and was twenty feet, by twelve feet.  The kids loft was across from ours, theirs being more of room, with two beds and a large play area to play with their legos in during the winter.  It was wide open, so there was no privacy anywhere in that house except for the bathroom.  Our loft was basically a pedestal for our matress with drawers and storage beneath it.  Under the kids loft was a small den, teaching area (the kids were homeschooled), and a bathroom with a shower and toilet (one does not want to be running to the outhouse at the edge of the when it's bear season. We had a tiny kitchen with a wood stove where I preserved things by jarring, like salmon, deer, fruits and vegetables.  I also had two cold rooms, one beneath the house and one on the northern face of the house, for storing winter vegetables.  After a couple of years of living like this and finding I was doing the majority of the work, I went on strike and we moved into town.  I do not see how going hunting with your buddies everyday and coming back with nothing, but that stupid I been smoking pot all afternoon and you don't know smile truly contributes to the household.  I was worn out, doing everything myself and catering to the whims of a big baby of a man and when we moved into town I discovered more about his antics and lady friends, so he became my ex, and I moved me and my children away from the peace of the Queen Charlotte Islands. I miss my home in the woods, and had it just been me, I would have stayed.
So this is something I know I can accomplish.  I mostly want garden space and a place to put my head at night, or just watch the stars.  I look forward to working in the garden during the spring summer and autumn, falling to studying during the winter.  I craft and make things out of nature, so I will have mountain to study and collect in .  I am highly creative and at this point in my life just want to devote myself to my studies.  I have one thing in the way.... My partner, who I love very much.
I am in a relationship, it is not easy, he is very in tune with me and feels me want to run away and enjoy my freedom.  everytime I get the inclination, things become intense because he grips tighter.  I just need space, but the tighter he reigns me in, the more animosity I build up towards him.  He is trying to give me the freedom to do as I please.  If only trying were succeeding and I do give him credit for his attempts.  We do love each other, but that being said, is love enough.  I know it should be and I keep that thought in mind.  I have found that sometimes by giving in, I am rewarded with more freedom. Couples are all about power struggles, and I hate power struggles.  Being adults and working towards a happy medium is what we both are doing, but anyone who's been in a relationship knows that there are factors that need to be taken into account and that there is always more to things than breaking up.  What's the point if you are inexplicably drawn back to each other over and over again.  Anyone who's been there knows what I am talking about.  Learning to be together is part of the relationship process, just as much as learning to be apart.  This makes it hard for me, because for the most part, I wish to be alone, not catering to anyone else.  I've catered to others all my life.  I want to be responsible just for me, I'm fifty years old and I have been responsible for people since I was a small girl, starting with my little sister when I was five, then my mom when I was ten needed constant watching and keeping out of trouble, and then it blossomed, with my mom always bringing me back home to look after her and my father until he died, my sister also pulled me in to look after mom after dad died.  I had kids, far to many family members and boyfriends pulling me in to look after this and that, each one telling me that I was being pulled from the important responsibilities.  Each participant in this dance of the responisibilities believes they are special and that they are the only one allowed to make demands on my time, all others are interferring and I must cast them aside now.  In their eyes, first and foremost, I am a worker bee, busy and chipper, always smiling, always needing something to do so that I can be happy.  I have explained to my family and friends that I don't mind helping out once in a while, but I happy to work quickly, so I can get on to my OWN endeavers.  I have put some things off for over twenty years and now my body is not fit enough to do what I wanted and sadly enough there was not enough time for me to exercise in the past few years and now I"m really out of shape.  I absolutely do not need help finding things to do, I have a huge pile of unfinished projects vetoed by well meaning friends and relations.
The only one who actually gets that I really need freedom to be creative now is my partner, so I'm not in a hurry to turn my back on him.  We are working both of us, to achieve freedom and serenity within our home.  This being the case, I may very well just include him in my plans, but do them behind his back and then move him in.  Or perhaps, I'll be a sometimes hermit, going on sebaticles to get away from it all.  Ultimately, where I am at in my life, if anything were to happen to Sean and I find myself on my own, I would want to have my own little hermitage to fall back on.
All my little forays into the Westwood Lake area, and looking at Mount Benson, I'm sure I could find a little secluded acreage, where I could put up a temporary shelter with a bed and fireplace, as well as an intensive garden. 
Well that is a lot to think about, all for a little freedom and security for my future. LOL
Perhaps less talky-talky, writey-writey and more looky-looky in the park is in order.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I love my Park

So, another fine day and another fine walk in the park has me feeling that all is well with the world.  Each time I enter, I return with gifts from the forest; today it was some arbutus bark, a rather large peice that had fallen off the tree in front of me and the spirit in the forest was urging me to take it because it will come in useful quite soon.  How exciting, I can't wait to find out what it's for.  As well I found a fourway crossroad and made sure to grab a goodly portion of dirt for drying, sorting and sifting later.
I was under the impression that Indian Pipeplant is rare, however everywhere I look these days, I see it.  Either it's not as rare as it's been made out to be, or the woods is full of mycelium of the right kind that creates this.  After all, in the early spring there were quite a few fly agarics everywhere I looked as well as emetic russela.  What with the strange year and it's weather patterns being unseasonably off kilter, and my suspicion that there is mycelium throughout the entire park, it is no wonder that there are so many Indian Pipeplants.  If that holds true, my desire to gather some beautiful amanitas to dry and prepare for teas and oils etcetera should happen in September and be ready for final consumption by Samhain.  What a way to start my magical year.
I think the next place we move I will have a motorized scooter so that I can get around.  I've been forming this opinion, and as the years grow so does my desire for this increases .... The desire to move into the woods and live a completely different life, all but off the beaten track.  That is probably more of a pipedream, \which makes sense when you consider all the pipeplants I've seen laterly. LOL

Do You Believe in Witches?

It has come to my attention that some people do not believe in witches, they think they are hogwash and well, that peole who think they are witches are nuts.  I'd be careful tossing that insult around, after all, what if you are wrong and we are right, we do have the ability to curse after all.  Now in the bigger scheme of things, I know that you are not going to be seeing huge fireballs errupting from my fists anytime in the near future, I'm not crazy.  However, in the past I have had lightening bolts, very thin, white ones emerge from my fingertips and head skyward.  I was sleep walking and my partner woke me, not so daintily I might add and I saw at that time the light from my fingertips and the look on his face confirmed I wasn't seeing things.  It was not some big glorious eruption, but it was a large enough shock to pretty much put an end to any life he and I had left together.  A couple of months later, my kids and I left him and the island.  It was not as cool an experience as one might have hoped for, perhaps had it happened in a more openly pagan town things might have been better for us.  Alas, the churches had one big agenda on their list... to pray for the heathens to join or depart instead of live and let live.
Lucky for me, my Doctor was awesome and we were in the same Women's are group.  She did not think me strange or perverse and said she had heard of cases where women pick up on the electric static in the air and channel it out when it becomes too much in a safe manner.  I felt better about the whole situation, and it made me realize, that yes interesting fireball or lightening strikes could happen under just the right circumstances, but that it was a rare occurance.  Besides where would one train for something like that. Yes once again I find myself wishing there was a real Hogwarts. 
One thing I always remembered about my Dad was that he wanted me to keep my feet on the ground.  He disliked me reading and thought that I lived in a fantasy world.  He kept telling me that one day I would grow up and see the world as it truly is.  Now I do a lot of reading and there is a plethora of people out there claiming to be witches, some are, some aren't, but it's those that are that intrigue me.
When you read their blogs you know that they walk the crooked path, or take journey's over the hedge.  There are so many ways of the cunning folk to travel and meet.  Yes the internet has made it easier to believe, I must admit, but then I never had a problem with believing. LOL!!! I think that ultimately, what I am saying is that things have turned around some.  I think that there is more of a belief in witches than there ever was, and this is for the better. We can preserve the knowledge at last and keep it safe for future generations, so that never again will it be banished to a broom closet and practised in fear, rather we shall hold it in reverence and supreme respect for the powers it brings.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Walk in the Park

I am fortunate to live around the corner from Westwood Lake in Nanaimo.  If you google it, you will see a huge lake surrounded by woodland, part of which goes up a mountain.  I have walked up to the main beach from my place and that is an easy half hour round trip kind of saunter into the park.  There are a fair amount of people, but it's not overly crowded.  I use the entrance by the mobile home that veers left into the woods passing by a rather eerie tree with dessimated towels hanging from it and it feels as though someone had harboured the idea of skinning an animal there.  In late winter, early spring there was a rash of bizarre deer huntings by bow that left more questions than answers and I suspect this little outpost is a remnent of that hunting debaucle.  I don't mind a little eerie on my walk, so I just go in that way, and am always pleased with the results. 
Nearby I have found Indian pipe weed, Rusella mushrooms, and some amanita pantherinas.  If you turn right you can head towards the main beach and concession stand, this is usually where I turn around and head home when I'm on a short walk.  It's wooded and pretty, verdantly abundant, a good place to turn around.
However; this is not the route I took.  I live on Weaver, so I turned left at the top of the road, onto college drive and headed towards the Westwood Lake Trail.
This area has less traffic and so it is more fun to take pictures and root around a little before someone comes snooping along to see what you are doing.  I always have a pocket knife with me for snipping off bits of this and that, (not without permission of course) carefully so as not to leave the plant hurt.  It's a much longer route to the lake, but then the lake is not my destination, the woods are.  I was looking around at the bounty provided and was reminded of hunting for huckleberries when I was a kid and we lived right near Lynn Canyon Park. 
I was halfway tempted to start picking and eating, but then thought better of it.  I left the bright little red berries alone and continued to walk coming across some salelle.  I hate salelle berries, I think they taste gross, however; I have friends who just love them and claim they make great jam.

There is one thing for them, they sure look pretty with their dark green foiliage, scattered across the woodland floor.
I must admit, I am rusty, and there are some things I am having trouble identifying, so if you have any idea what they are I would appreciate it.  My fabulous book of wildlife is at my son's house, packed up to come here, but not available yet.
I'm curious to know what those white feathery floaty flowers are.
I would like to know what the serated dark green foilage and the blue berries are.
Also am interested in finding out more about the light green viney plant covering the forest floor is.
I'm going to try to figure out what these are because I want to know all about the herbs, trees, plants shrubs and mushrooms in the area are.  I love herbs and know they hold keys to all kinds of healing.  And it's right about now that I'm wishing I knew a shaman in the area who could help me train up in local herbarl lore.
Now of course I did have a purpose in going into the woods.  I was actually looking for some willow.  I guess I didn't look in the right places, because it evaded me.  Luckily I found a few other things that piqued my interest.  I harvested a nice long cedar branch, straight and true, bark on.  I had forgotten my offerings, but I did have a quarter in my bag, so I polished it up and gave it to the tree in thanks. 
I love where my studies are taking me and am working on more walks that last longer, go further and garner more wildcrafting.
Secretly though.... I want to find a little place, fence it in, put up a small tiny little house and live quietly..... Dream on Ember... Dream  :D

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The importance of printing and cursive writing

I was watching the news the other day and I discovered something most disheartening in this intellectual, technical age.  Did you know that your child is no longer being taught to print?  Yes, they are being taught keyboarding skills, but, they are not being taught to print.  Oh yes and cursive writing has gone by the wayside a while back.  What the hell!!!
Yes, I mean What the hell, not WTH or the ever popular WTF, and thanks is not spelled thx.  I cringe when I think about what we are doing to our language skills.  The very act of learing to print and write helps us study art, or is art going by the wayside as well.  My God, are we going to be sketching on a computer and getting the computer to copy the colours so it can be perfect, or will  photographs replace art. 
I'm completely boggled, I do not know what to say.  I mean come on, is it too late to bring back printing and writing.  Or is that going to become something that we have to get tutors for our kids in the future.  I just want to shake someone, this can't be correct, but it is.  Are we going to follow the path of Farenheit 451.  I know that progress demands we move on, but I feel this move is in the wrong direction.
Crafting, writing, reading, sewing, cooking, gardening, these are all a big part of my life.  I don't know that being unable to write using pen and paper is something we can do.  I just can't see why we would want to loose such an important part of expressing ourselves.  If so, there would not be so many alphabets, so many written languages. I'm going off to growl in my room and think.  I believe that something needs to be done about this!!!
Ahhhh!, but one more thing before I go, we move forward until we can't move forward any longer, and what happens when technology breaks down and we have to go back to basics.  That is something we may one day have to face.  I have had a full life, built houses, made furniture, sewed, cooked cleaned, created things, ridden horses and many other old fashioned skills that are no longer really taught, just handed down.  I have written instructions on how to do a lot of things.  This may one day be important, let's just hope they don't get rid of reading.  Although one would think if reading is gotten rid of there would be no more need for schools.
I must stop thinking about this, it's burdoning my soul.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder

Have you ever made something and someone told you that they felt it could be better, or it's not your best work is it?  Or they said something that at first seems nice, but in retrospect it was catty and unnecessary, or just plain freaking mean.  Making things whether it's a painting, a dress, a story, or a cake, it's all art in some way, and you have put a bit of you in it.  Who needs to hear peoples crappy opinion of your work, especially when you are in the initial phases of learning, after all what have they done that's so great.
For a long time other peoples words would fester in my head as I tried to make something better (for them).  I just never could and I would feel angry because I felt I had wasted my time.  I had trusted these peoples opinions because they came to me as someone I held in esteem whether they were friend or family member.  Then someone, one day, made a big mistake and insulted me on something where I reign supreme, they knocked my cooking.  I am a damn fine cook, I have been since I was a young girl.  I can walk into a kitchen and make something out of practically nothing and make it taste good to boot.  Well I looked that person in the eye and I said "Really, lets see you do better."  There was dead quiet in the room as they tried to explain that they needed to have just the right pots and ingredients.  I just turned to them and in a loud whisper I said "No... I want you to do better with what I had to work with, come on lets see you."  I made room for them in the kitchen and they then had to admit they didn't know that much about cooking and they backed off and disappeared, never to be heard of again. 
I do not know why people do this and I don't care.  However, don't take to heart anything bad that anyone says.  For the most part, they are just blowing smoke out their ass, making you look small so that they can look large.  It is a shallow game they play and one you can easily avoid by saying a simple thank you, without an explanation.  You know where you are with what you are doing, and if you think you are improving, you are.  If you think you are in a rut, try a different genre.  Do not give up on yourself, practise will improve anything.  It took me a long time to find the things I really liked doing and the interesting thing about that was I discovered I was good at what I liked.  The more I liked it the better I became at it.  I still have a long way to go to be really good, but I am pleased with my progress on things. 
I am also fortunate enough to have a partner who thinks it's the cutest thing in the world when I'm sitting on my lazyboy with the feet up and knitting one of my little hats.  He watches my progress and tells me those are good enough to sell.  He wears some of my hats and sometimes people even want to buy them... It's really odd that the ones people want to buy are the ones I can't bear to part with, (like my completely black santa hat).  My partner has talked me into making a whole bunch of various pieces, some hats, some charms, some pretty little bits and bobs, and when I have enough stock, he's going to rent me a stall at the farmers market.  I hope that anyone whose had the "you suck speech" meet ups with a person as supportive as my partner.  And one more thing to remember, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, but not all need to be heard or accounted for.  When you make art, it is for you, it does not matter what anyone else thinks, all that matters is what you think.

A quick addendum to this little rambling rant, If someone who is good at what you do offers you constructive criticism so you can improve, that is a whole different matter.  Even if it comes across as a little gruff, they will show you something for your level that will help your work immensely if you are open to it.  Like if Wolfgang Puck slaps your soggy pizza crust into your hand and then offers for you to come to his restaurant and he will teach you to make a proper one, those you just have to jump on.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wheel of the Year

So while my partner has been at work, I've been working on my blog and my arts and crafts.  I've been talking about creating a Wheel of the Year, and I started it days ago.  I made the circle, divided into eighths and then penciled in a besom broom, titling it Samhain and posting the date.  After much staring, the next day I added Yule and the date, and the third day I added a wreath beneath the title.  I really wanted to do this, but I couldn't get into it.  So I started studying my moon phases and days of the week correspondences, creating an agenda for the next year for myself, getting me in closer contact with my subject matter, the year.

As soon as I had finished the calender I had a sudden desire to fill in my Samhain section on my Wheel of the Year.  I'm looking at my completed work and am quite pleased with it.  I just got right into it and let it happen.  I was excited to do it and everything just revealed itself.  I like the folk artsy feel of it and the way it triggers memories for me.  It was a fun project and kept me awake until close to when my partner gets home, he's home at seven am.  It was good to get it finished and I feel like I accomplished something.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Harry Potter and the effects of the Goblet of Fire

I was introduced to Harry Potter in a strange way.  As often is the case, this story starts off sad, but in the end, there is a happily ever after, so to speak.
I worked in Market Research, on the phones and enjoyed the work, very much.  It was easy and there wasn't too much in the way of politic to get in the way of my family life, which was important because I was a single parent.  In my first year there, I made friends with the owner of the company and I didn't even know it.  He was just some guy in the lunch room as far as I was concerned, and i didn't give it much thought.  He even helped me out with the supervisor a couple of days later when I had to move all of a sudden and needed emergency time off.  He smoothed it over with middle management and there was no disciplinary action.  We became friends from then on, and it was then as well that I found out he was not just a middle management worker, which is what I expected, but the owner.  He was an awesome friend throughout the seven years that I worked there.  
On the first day of spring break, 1999, my son was hit and killed by a stoned driver.  Work was awesome, they arranged a week off with pay, helped me with the funeral and had people check on me during the first couple of months after he passed.  I became hard, and probably drank more than I should have, but I had good support at work and before things became out of hand, they were handled.  However, I was still grieving and often I would go into work, depressed, sad, lost, but that subsided as time went on.
Now my boss, being the kindly man that he was, suggested I read Harry Potter.  This man was an executive, he wore suits, ran meetings, organized social events, was a mathemetician at UBC, had actually read all the books so far and he wanted me to read a children's book.  I told him that I might read them, but I was not overly fond of children's books.  He kept up and kept at me, until finaly I relented.  I got through the first book in just a couple of days.  I couldn't put the book down, in fact I read it on the bus to work, had it on my lap under my desk at work and I just kept reading every chance I got.  I caught up quickly and by the time book 4, Goblet of Fire came out, I was under it's spell completely and chomping at the bit to read it.  It was perfect timing for me to read that book when I did.  I have fallen in love with Harry, and seen myself feeling as though my own son had come back to life, and when Cederic Diggory died, and so suddenly, I could relate to the fathers outburst, and it was then I finally let loose with a barage of tears that put an end to the misery I had been feeling for so long about the loss of my own son.

Needless to say, I have enjoyed the entire series of books; the movies, the memorabelia (I even have a Hedwig packsack, some chocolate frog haulographic cards, some knuts, some t-shirts and more).  I am a total fan, simply because of the healing properties within it's pages.  My son was 12 when he rode his bike over to the other side of the hedge, he always wanted to be mage, and well he was just an incredible kid.  I thank J.K. Rowling for bringing him back to life for me in a small way, and for helping me come to some closure with The Goblet of Fire in particular.

Matthew Justin Graham
December 10, 1986 to April 13, 1999

Friday, August 5, 2011

Indian Pipe Plant

So the other day I went for a walk and discovered some Indian Pipe Plant growing in the area.  It's an interesting little plant, that when touched will turn to black goo, or blacken and wither, so harvesting it, is not an option.  This interesting little plant has no chlorophyll, so naturally it is eerily devoid of colour.  In fact it almost has a luminescent quality that reminds me of glow in the dark toys that suck up the light from the sun and when you put them in the dark, they glow.  Due to the nature of the plant being so easy to destroy and the fact that it is a parasite and requires two hosts makes the Pipe Plant rather uncommon.

Since the plant has no chlorophyll, it cannot make it's own food, therefore it's survival relies on a host. Two hosts actually, one being a mushroom either the Russula or the Lactarius, that the plant can attach itself to the mycelia (root like threads) of the above mentioned fungii, which is already taking nutrients from a beech or pine tree.

Now luckily for me, I had been out mushroom hunting and noted that not only were some Amanitas both Muscarias and some Pantherinas nearby, but also there were some Russula.  I noticed them peeking out from beneath the gnarled roots of pine that grow near the pathway into Westwood Lake by the mobile home.  I did not pick up any of the mushrooms, I was not in the headspace to sort out good from bad, but I took note of their shape and form, drew a few by hand because I find the shapes appealing and there has always been some secret there that I know one day I will unlock, that day is close, but it is not here yet.
However; I know that I will find the amanitas again, probably come fall, just before Samhain, which is my goal really, to have some amanitas for Samhain, and as a backup, I will see if I can pick up some amanita oleum, only to take a small dose.  I'm not looking for a full on drug trip, just a more heighted experience of my normal journies over the hedge.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A little change in how I practice

I have always done my magic on the fly.  My workings constrained by jobs, my mother, my kids, partners (there were only a few, but some had incredible demands on my time and I was always a long term kind of girl), friends.  I pick things up easily, have a generous nature, work hard and have acquired a number of good skills.  I also make friends easily and here is where the rub comes.  Not all people who are friendly towards you are true friends, although they say they are, you can find yourself mired in their work as well as your own.  I was forever helping with resumes, or anything clerical, as well as cooking, cleaning, etc., and there was nothing in it for me, for once I'd performed my task they were too busy with their own life to return the favor.  So, in the last little while I have learnt to say no I'm busy, especially after seeing how much I had accomplished for others and how little I have for myself.  It's bad business, the whole lot of it.  I love my new word and it's good to be able to say it and mean it.  I've even learned not to explain myself, that just opens it up for people to convince you why it should be yes, (ever heard the words "I would never do that" duck and cover, get out of there fast.  A flat out no stands up on it's own and a quick stern look locks it into place. 
For the first time in my witching career, I can actually plan my rituals, and spellwork, as well as my craftings.  This makes me happy, as I've done well on the fly, but I like to imagine that I can do more if I perform my work at the more auspicious times.  Although I've done well in the past, I never really felt that connection.  I kept hoping that as I grew stronger I would feel it, but no.  There is a whole hierarchy to connecting with the spiritual side and talent aside I just felt like too much was missing.  I needed to more fully commit.
After reading a few blogs, The Witch of Forest Grove and Swampwitchery were the ones that I clung to most.  I had always been interested in brooms, flying ointments, and the history of witchcraft.  I never believed that witches simply crawled on a broom and flew about the skys.  I just had to know more and strangely enough, I wanted to try it.  I wanted to  go where they went, however they went and see what they saw.  So that too is part of my journey, to get more in touch with my spiritual me go over the hedge, commune with my relatives on the other side of the hedge.
The other thing that was lacking was my homage to my diety, Ember, the Spark of Creation.  I have always loved that name, Ember.  It came to me when I was a young girl and in studying the name discovered it was also part of the ember months, or the burning months.  It has a lovely history all it's own and in my head I chose her as my deity.  I worship her and try to emulate my ideals of her.  I do not believe she created thing,s all on her own, I believe she has a consort, that changes, and I had decided this long before I had ever read any history of people and religion and pagan history etc.  Even as a child I knew it took two to create a world and it was their dynamic natures that governed it.  I understood that woman tended the hearth and made the home beautiful and that men kept it safe, and stocked with meat.  That being said, men had a life cycle that was much less than a womans so in my young mind it just made sense that Ember and her consort ruled the universe.   However that is an entry for another day.  Needless to say, I have not been sacrificing or paying homage, as she so justly deserves.  In my life I have had losses, but losses are different, they are lessons to be reminded of or learnt, but they are not in lieu of holding the divine in a state of reverence and presenting them with gifts for the many gifts they give us.  I was not lazy, I was interrupted with too many things on my plate.  In the last couple of months I have been giving gifts when and where I can, a home made biscuit with yummy raspberry jam, a piece of fine imported chocolate, some fruits, but I need to learn more about gifting the gods.  It's not a payment, I do love my Ember dearly, I want to make her happy, because she makes me happy.
As simplistic as this entry is, it is leading to the fact that things must be done auspiciously and never before have I felt such a pull as now.  I am working on my crafting room, which will also contain several altars, one to Ember, one to my ancestors, and perhaps one for the consort.  I'll be working on my timing of events and will be using my Correspondances more diligently from now on.  Making sure I'm doing things at the right time of the month, on the right day of the week.  Eventually I will have a Correspondance for what you do magically during the year, but I want to get first the first wheel of the year before I'm out of my depth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Wheel of the Year

It’s barely august and I’m already thinking about Samhain.  I have been reading and getting in touch with myself and my arts and crafts, the little things I do every day.  I am so bad at doing the right thing at the right time because I become sidetracked or distracted.  It’s like a curse, and guilt had always worked wonders upon me.  Finally, my partner, one of the worst offenders told me I should start saying no.  He noticed I was becoming unwell for extended periods of time and that I rarely seemed to get a moment to myself to do what I wanted to and when I finally did it will filled with constant interruptions.  He was awesome in the way he pointed it out and from that I have discovered that time is starting to slow down and that there is time for me now that I have no back in my vocabulary.  With that said I want to create a blog devoted more to the Wheel of the Year and less time on my trials and tribulations with my personal life.
Officially, the blog won’t really start until the 31st of October, however; I will be updating, adding and subtracting various elements, until I have it stylized just right to my needs, and hopefully you too will enjoy the read.  For now, I will just let you know what I am up to and where I am headed until that remarkably fateful day occurs.
During the year, I will outline my rituals, discuss my wild-crafting travels and the goodies I pick up, my crafting and creating of magical items, my journey to find a shamanic teacher so I can get to my next level, and so much more.  I’m excited about this journey, because I think it will bring me closer to my true spiritual nature.  Hell, even my partner is backing me up, and he isn't a pagan.  I figure I have enough time to get calendars together and everything set up so I can bring them up in advance.  A calendar of events for the month, followed by that month’s magical journal, holy days, and moon phases and the antics I get up to (including pictures).  I am fortunate enough to live 5 minutes away from Westwood Lake in Nanaimo, so foraging for wild-crafting will be an amazing adventure in itself.
I am also creative and enjoy crafting of all types, cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, drawing and much more, and as I create thing magically, I will be posting what I do.
In other words, welcome to my magical life.