Thursday, December 24, 2009

Art of the Month: Yule

Last year one of my projects was to finish this stocking for Ky. My mom made each of her three kids a stocking and the whole stocking experience is big in our family. I decided to honour the day as Ky's birthday as much as I could since in some ways he will miss out on having the 25th be only his day, the way other kids are able to have with the other 364 days a year. This will mark the second year of using this stocking and I am happy with how it turned out.

Christmas morning 2008

I wish you all a happy evening as you hang up your stockings tonight. Ours are eagerly awaiting Santa's goodness. Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Poem of the Month: Solstice

Whenever I find little gems of holiday spirit that present an alternate to the traditional songs I grew up with I like to share. So here is this month's offering: Ring out, Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull. I thought I'd post both the lyrics and the song itself since it's a very entertaining video (check out their Robin Hood style boots, love them!)

Ring Out, Solstice Bells

by Ian Anderson

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.
Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A little reminder

I wanted to re-post my Yule gift wrap post from last season just as a little reminder to try and cut down on wrapping paper. Have a look around your house for gently used gift bags, boxes, fabric and such instead of running back to the store for another roll of paper. The Earth will thank you and you'll save the hassle of dealing with the crowds.

Happy wrapping!

Green Yule Wrapping 101

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heading out....

As this posts we are on our way to the airport. I wanted to wish you all a happy Yule/Christmas/Chanuka/Kwanzaa season full of love, peace and good food.
I have set up some posts to post every few days and I hope to be able to pop in here and there to share some pictures of our family time in Quebec. I can't guarantee that I'll do that tons but I don't want to leave you all in the lurch.

I have some fun things to share in January when all the holiday stuff settles down again.

Blessings to you and yours and a happy calendar new year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For the Senses: Holiday

Here is a sampling of products that I have tried or would love to have/share. It is nice to think of gift giving or purchasing things in general in relation to our senses. Which of the five senses will this gift honour? Making a new memory with a smell, delighting your fingers with something soft, a soothing voice to calm a hectic day, all these things and more can be part of your holiday shopping whether you are at the mall, online or at a craft fair.

Taste ::

Marks and Spencer Organic Camomile, Limeflower and Lavender Infusion Tea
This tea was a gift from my mother-in-law. Dave and I are both obsessed with it. It tastes great, and relaxes you and it is perfect before bed or while you sit curled up in front of a fire.

Sound ::

Melissa Etheridge's holiday cd A New Thought for Christmas. She rocks out to most songs and definitely puts her own spin on some traditional holiday songs. But my favorite is her reworking of O Night Divine, she puts a pagan/secular spin on it that is refreshing.

Touch ::

The holidays would not be complete without a cuddle or two and there are some perfect afghans to cuddle under on Etsy. My favorite is this one by AVintageObsession. The colour is called Bright Holly...need I say more?

Sight ::

There is so much to be said for the artwork in tarot decks. They thrill our sense of sight while giving us insight into questions inside our souls. Animals Divine Tarot Deck is the first deck that I have wanted since purchasing my first deck many moons ago. The artwork is just stunning. The description of this card, the 3 of cups Polar Bear is: overflowing happiness, feeling celebratory and copious creativity.

Smell ::

This candle scent from Partylite is such a wonderful holiday smell. Sweet but spicy and not too overpowering. I would have it burning in every room to bring in the cheer.
Iced Snowberries even the name is heavenly.

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey through our senses. I have not received any free products etc. for this feature. I simply wanted to share some gems that I've found/enjoyed and find yet another way to evoke seasonal sensations in blogland. I will make this feature a seasonal one so visit again in the Spring for a host of new products.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Tag

Rue at Rue and Hyssop passed this little holiday tag onto me. Thanks Rue. It was a fun one. I'm not going to tag anyone just because I doubt I'll get to reading the answers before the holidays but feel free to tag yourself if you want to participate.

Here are the rules:

- Copy and paste the questions to your blog.
- Then Tag 5 or more of your favourite blogs and leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged.
- When you post your blog, please spread some Holiday Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's Blog as well as the one who tagged you.

Here are the questions:

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
I had to be done by now since we leave in two days. Earliest ever for me.

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Our little family of three is still in the foundation building part of making traditions. But one of my favorites from childhood was waiting upstairs with my sister and brother on Christmas morning until my father came into the house from the barn. Once he came into view we would rush down the stairs to see what Santa brought for us.

3. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?
No. And you could not pay me to shop in such a frenzy. It would be a nightmare to me.

4. When do you put up your Tree?
We will help my parents put up theirs, probably this weekend sometime.

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Travel this year which will be the first time in 8 years.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
The year my sister and I got skis and she cried dramatically until my parents agreed to take them off of her (not before some hilarious photos were taken though). I don't think we even made it to the hill beside the house before she fell 3 or 4 times and well, you just have to know my sister to know how funny that was. (sorry Jess!)

7. What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
"It's a Wonderful Life." It has the essence of what the season is about for me.

8. Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I have begun to make new things each year to develop a tradition but so far I make cookies as gifts and vegetarian tortiere (french for meat pie) which is a traditional food that my Mom makes each year. I love too many things to count that my mom makes but tortiere always says Yule to me.

9. Fake or Real Tree?
Real all the way. From a charitable source and chopped up for mulch afterward.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Just about now....yesterday.....luckily Ky is still not too aware of it all so I don't have to panic per se...only

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Probably not this year.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
This year it will be just being with my family for the day, and celebrating Ky's second birthday.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Making ornaments is fun and I also like to make wreaths.

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
Yes. Absolutely. "Deck the Halls" is a good classic. I'm also partial to "Jingle Bells".

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
Planned and did finish last week. This was a benchmark helped to have such an early deadline.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Gifts to Me

Each Yule I try and pick out one small item, usually a decor item that I can add to my collection. I visited 2 local craft fairs this year that were held at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre. One was put on by the Danish community and the other by the Swedish community. I had so much fun at both and found some wonderful deals and I found my Yule gift to me.

Here he is: The Yule Goat.

I saw these lovely wheat woven goats flanking the huge fireplace in the Centre and just loved them. I came across a lady who makes them as well as other lovely little ornaments in red thread and Swedish wheat. The Yule Goat is on of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Christmas symbols and traditions. A goat was slaughtered at Yule and this little guy represents that but has came to be associated with singing carols door-to-door and as the giver of Christmas gifts. The Norse God Thor's chariot was drawn by two goats which could attribute to why a goat was given this significance.

In Sweden the Yule Sacrifice was dramatized by a man dressed as the goat being slaughtered by a group of men and then resurrecting. It is amazing how the sacrifice and rebirth theme permeates customs at this time of year. The cycle continues.
So even though I'm not decorating full force this year because we are leaving soon, I have my Yule Goat on my little kitchen altar to preside over our travel preparations.

And the other little gift I got for myself was these white-tailed deer antler buttons. The gentleman that made these had beautiful rune engravings on rune sets, charms, and necklaces. I would have bought much more but used my utmost restraint since it was not time for me to overindulge. He told me that he makes his rune sets in sacred space in the Viking tradition and well, I just may have to get me a set one day. These buttons do not have a specific purpose yet but they contain so much magic to me that right now I want to just admire them as they are.
I hope you all get yourselves just a little something this year to make your season bright and magical as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Button

My smart and handsome husband helped me make a button. Link at your leisure.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book of the Month: December

A dream of mine for many years before becoming pregnant was to read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens out loud to my growing baby. Kyan was due to be born on January 15th and so I thought I had tons of time to do this and I was so excited as December approached in 2007. I bought this edition which also has other Christmas writings by Dickens and began reading the story around the Solstice, planning to finish by Christmas day. Dave listened in some nights as well. Well, as you may or may not have read here, the boy arrived at 7:17am Christmas morning and well...I didn't feel much like finishing the story while breathing through contractions.

I love the way Dickens wrote, the way the words moved across the page and brought you concretely into another time. This story is so insightful. A man who thinks he has all the answers, who believes that he has no hope or goodness left breaks out of his self imposed darkness and is reborn. There is a reason that this story is a staple of this holiday and that it is loved by so many. Rue over at Rue and Hyssop wrote of her tradition of reading this classic.

I hope that the pregnancy for baby #2 will offer up a chance to accomplish my goal, whenever that may be. But regardless someday I hope to read it out loud each year to the family and let us all be steeped in the magic of transformation.


I wanted to share a wonderful new e-zine that has just been published. Rhythm of the Home is a warm and brilliant place to spend some time with a cup of coffee or tea. The articles are written with care and are full of ideas for celebrating, crafting and loving. Check it out you won't be disappointed.
And I wanted to also mention that the new issue of PaganPages is up and my article for this month is full of ideas for connecting as a family post-Yule. It is called The Wintertime Family. Back with more soon. I've got to get on this festive bandwagon, this is my favorite time of year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

In the Home stretch...

Wow, there is lots of goodness going on in the blogisphere right now. I feel a bit behind in terms of getting the holiday cheer feeling emanating from here but I'll get it happening very soon. We are having a respite from the typical rain in this rain forest of ours and so I've been out and about and getting some much needed cleaning done around here before we leave.

While visions of sugarplums are dancing in my head I am also very aware that Kyan is almost two and that my breasts are feeling the burn. Yes everyone, this post is going to be about breastfeeding a toddler, a teething toddler, a toddler who really likes to nurse and is showing little sign of weaning anytime soon. At this point if I'm honestly counting he nurses about 6 or 7 times in a 24 hour period. My feelings about breastfeeding are jumbled. I love it, I resent it, I'm so happy that I've done it for almost two years, I love that it is a special bond that I have with Ky, but man my nipples are overworked and underpaid.

I had always had plenty of milk until this summer. My body has decided before Kyan has that it is done. It wants to stop but Ky is having none of it. It makes me sad when he cries for milk and I know there isn't any. I try to explain it to him and he is starting to understand that he is reaching "big boy" territory in which Mama no longer provides the milk. I have never read or heard much about other women going through this. As far as I know most Moms have weaned their children because they were done, or the child decides they are done. But not having the milk for the appetite? I'm sure someone out there has dealt with this but I feel a bit alone on this road at present.
Ky breastfeeds more when he is teething and his second year molars are in on the bottom and the top ones must not be close behind from his behaviour today. My goal before he was born was to be close to finished nursing by 2 years old. We are close....but at this point the pace is a bit much. After this nursing process began I began to see the benefit of letting a child decide when he or she is ready to stop. That being said I'm not going to nurse until he's four, or nurse through a second pregnancy whenever that may be. I need a break. Seriously. As rewarding as this is, as important for his health as it has been, the factory needs shutting down.
And then....I look down at him and it makes me sad. The emotional component of weaning is much more powerful than the rational side for me. All he has known for 2 years is that having milk from Mama is comfort, food, love, warmth, sleep........the list is infinite. The transition away from this is harder than I could have expected. He has never taken a bottle so I hesitate to try and introduce it as a go between. Perhaps I am making it into a bigger deal than he will. Perhaps after we return from our holidays and I begin the complete night-nursing weaning it will be way easier than I thought and he will be ready to let it go. After nighttime feeding is over he'll slowly loose interest more and more until he goes a whole day without mentioning it.
Part of me longs for that day, part of me is sad about it, and part of me is bewildered. Our Mama-son bond will change after that day. I am excited to see how that change will manifest but also sad that I will have proof that the baby time is over for him, never to return.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Art of the Month: November

One year ago I gave my friend Heidi this piece for her birthday/new baby gift. I call it Birth Giver in the Red Tent. You many remember another version of the birth giver as tree of life symbol that I did for my Memory Keeper Project last year. This piece incorporates the tree of life and a poem from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Heidi is a doula and was at Kyan's birth and so I wanted to thank her, and honour the birth process that she was about to revisit. I was hoping she could use the piece for a visual marker during the labour process but Lu decided to arrive before I could get the gift to her. To date this piece is my best example of the style I'm developing and where I see my artwork evolving in the future. This is hand embroidery, beading and applique on linen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Ramblings

November has flown by with fewer posts than normal for me. It seems that the desire has been there but not the drive. Part of that was an attempt at combating what I see as a recipe for a lower immune system, too much stress and too little sleep. As the little guy deals with his two year molars coming in and we wash those hands to avoid viruses I have tried to be mindful of the natural rhythm this time of year brings to slow.
So while my physical self has taken that literally my brain is full steam ahead. I have so many lists floating around in there, planning for our holiday trip, getting the house, finances and blog in order before we leave, developing some new materials for Chasing Domestic Bliss, Pagan Pages and some other web content, work as always coming in and out each week and the small detail of an overwhelming desire to re-organize my entire house. This desire has crept in as a little idea here, a hint there and then just a realization that as another birthday rolls around for the little guy new stuff will arrive with it. And that of course means that some of the older stuff needs to go or be put away. I also want to rethink his bedroom since he has had the same room placement now since his birth. I've changed a few things here and there but overall it is the same room. We will probably move him into the larger bedroom that is now a guest room/office in the next six months and with that will come the intimidating (probably more to me than him) big boy bed. His new stuff also needs better placement in our home. Art supplies, toys that require more space, books shifting with seasonal changes etc.
Today I put my sewing stuff away until after the holidays. I need to focus my energy in other creative areas and take some time to develop projects and time lines. Making plans is a fun part of the change of the calender. There seems to be infinite possibilities and potential. I do tend to over plan and bite off more than I can chew but it's nice to dream a little and let reality come calling later on. Here's to your holiday & new year dreams.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book of the Month: November

Creation's Heartbeat: Following the Reindeer Spirit, written by Linda Schierse Leonard takes the reader on a journey with the writer and her husband. A journey to distant lands and to visit with cultures that venerate the Reindeer. This book is one that I feel the need to reread now that I have connected with the deer spirit. Leonard is a Jungian analyst who was inspired by a dream her husband had of a reindeer woman. In her research and work with different cultures that have deer goddesses an archetype of strength and gentleness takes form.
Reindeer are more than cartoon characters that pull Santa's sleigh. They are vigilant animals and both males and females have antlers. The pregnant females travel a great distance to birth their young and will use their antlers to defend them.
If you have an interest in northern legends relating to deer or tribes in Siberia and Alaska and their complex relationship with reindeer this book will be a great addition to your inner journey.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthday Walk

On Friday Ky and I took a walk to our (his) favorite spot. We had a slight respite from the rain for a time and so getting a walk in on my birthday was more enjoyable than it would have been hours later during the thunderstorm.

His passion (right now) is trains. Chu-chu trains, transit trains, Thomas the Tank Engine...if it's a train he wants to see it.

Trying to talk to him when the train is going by is impossible. He is enraptured. Luckily we live close to a bike/pedestrian bridge and we can watch it from above. When becoming a mother I never would have guessed that learning the train schedule and rejoicing when we happen upon one would be such a huge part of my day.

It is challenging to convince him to keep walking so that we can get to the part of the walk that I like. He would wait all day for another glimpse.

A fallen birch tree. More and more birches strike me with their beautiful bark.

Still Creek. I loved the reflections of the moody clouds and the stillness of the water. Despite the dreary November weather I was able to find some soul enriching beauty to wonder at that day. It's always nice to have something beautiful to fill you up on your birthday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From Wolf to Doe

Puberty brought me my first encounter with a spirit animal. I use the term here in the sense of an animal that you feel drawn to or that comes to you and that guides or imparts wisdom through their nature that aides one on their spiritual path.
I probably heard of the concept during my teenage years and when my fascination with wolves took hold I equated it to the New Age/Indigenous People's mold. Over the years wolves not only decorated my bedroom walls but called to me from movies, books and art. I dreamed that one day I would go on a organized group trip to howl with wolves to the light of the full moon, and yes it was an interest that was very romantic to me. I was often angered at the misconceptions about wolves in our culture, how they were blamed for everything from low elk numbers to stealing children and I used any opportunity presented to dispel myths about them.
As far as the spiritual side however, I can't say that I did much work with the wolf spirit. One meditation that came to me frequently was running through a dense forest from a wolf's perspective. I felt breath, low, quick movement and physical power in that state. It has been years since the wolf and I have conversed but she has remained an animal that I have great respect and admiration for.

Fast forward to my trance work now. I have received a different visitor. In two trances I have interacted with a doe and her fawn. In the last one she informed me that she is now my spirit animal. This shocked me somewhat. I had just assumed that I would stay with the wolf spirit my whole life. But the doe informed me otherwise. She told me that it was time to move into my mother role and embrace the qualities that I need to feed my soul now. I have reflected on this a lot since the meditation and I've come to some conclusions through research into the differences in the animals.

While wolves are obviously still mothers in their packs I think the wolf was my maiden animal. Puberty brought the wolf to me when I needed to learn to respect my emotions and unconscious urges. My early twenties brought me to face my darker side which the wolf is supposed to aide with. They are fiercely loyal and that quality is one that will always be with me, I still see many wolf qualities in my nature. But as I learn of the doe, and examine my new fascination with deer I see that the internal fierceness that I needed during my teen years and during my twenties is quieter now. I still need to be fierce but in a radically new way: that of compassion, gentleness and patience.

During my pre-natal classes I was asked to pick some words that I felt would represent my internal needs during childbirth. I picked Surrender Warrior. Dave thought that they were a contradiction and on first glance they are but to me they made the most sense to the childbirth process and my feelings about it. Two years into motherhood they still make sense to me. The doe listens, she offers alternative paths to a goal, she sacrifices for the higher good and all the while maintains a fierce protection of her young. The outward picture of gentleness and grace can be overcome in an instant if a predator is near. The doe is my helper and guide through the trials of motherhood, the good, the bad and the ugly. But while she is an example of how I connect with my mothering she is also a herald of my journey inward. The Hind (red female deer) referred to as the Eilid in Gaelic, tempts one to explore their own magical and spiritual nature. She has arrived just as I feel called to look deeper and find more meaning. So while I greet her with open arms and am so glad to have been chosen by her, I miss my wolf self slightly. Perhaps she will return in another incarnation someday, but who I was before, who she was before is now a part of the past.

Deer now pop out of the woodwork everywhere I go. The Stag visits as well, though he reserves his lessons for very select periods so far. I've also realized that indications of this change have been coming up for several years now but I guess I was too distracted to listen to the signals. I have several books related to deer that I thought I had read and absorbed but now I feel compelled to read them again. I love that the universe spins you sometimes and says Ha! You thought you had it all figured out but you didn't. And in terms of my soul this could not have come at a better time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rainy Reflections

The rain is here. Torrential at times, blustery at times, and rather cold. When Kyan woke up for some milk around 5:30 this morning it was very much a downpour. I could hear drips and I immediately had a flashback to last year. Same month, perhaps a week later and crazy amounts of water coming out of our fireplace. At that point Kyan was crawling and was not fun. I briefly mentioned it in this post from last November. As I lay in bed this morning debating whether to go and check the fireplace (I didn't. I correctly convinced myself it was not coming from downstairs) I sensed that the experience had left a bit of panic in me. My body was remembering that ordeal, the weekend following which was my birthday and in which I had a pretty bad flu, and Kyan having a cold that lasted three weeks. To sum up these feelings left me unable to get back to sleep for over an hour.
Our family is slowing down at this time. Sleeping more, cuddling more, trying to stay cozy and dry. I feel that this year with H1N1 out there and the fact that we are going to Quebec to visit my family for the holidays we need to be as rested as possible. Last night some friends and I had a wonderful meal, did foot soaks and facials and watched an entertaining movie. A great night and very needed for our bodies.

November wants us to slow but it is such a hard thing to do. I'm doing my best this year to not let the frenzy of the holidays spin us around like tops. This has meant not signing up for some fun holiday blog events that I would have liked to participate in and deciding that my ambitious list of homemade gifts was going to have to be seriously cut down. But there is always next year. Take care of yourselves. Rest, sleep and eat good food, you deserve it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Life in Shoes

Getting an early birthday present led me to examine the shoes that I've had over the last 8 years. My life has gone through some pretty drastic changes in this time. I guess the last 8 years have brought me into adulthood. And it all began with hiking boots and a sunny stroll in a field.

These boots were a gift from my mom just before I moved out to British Columbia. I was proud of these boots. They signified my new life. A life of adventure, being an artist, hiking in the mountains, traveling to far off places and even marching for causes. They were the culmination of 4 years of Fine Arts education, feminist theory, and a renewed love and respect for nature. I don't consider myself much of a material possession obsessed girl but I remember taking a walk through a field on the farm I grew up on and looking down at these boots. The feeling running through me then was one of contentment and anticipation for my new adventure.

After several weeks in Vancouver without a single call from a coffee shop offering a job I tapped into an old dream. This dream left my hiking boots on the back burner and took my feet in an entirely new direction: Modeling. As I said, I had wanted to do this as a teenager and then had never pursued it. But opportunity knocked and I said yes please. So instead of hiking boots being the shoe defining my days it was high heels. I was now walking local runways, doing fashion photo shoots and having a great time. Some woman have difficulty walking in heels and I don't. I'm certainly not good at standing in them for hours on end but I can walk a 20 minute fashion show well. It was a great sense of accomplishment to be good at something that I dreamed of for countless years. Many circumstances led to modeling ending for me. My agent had hoped to get me modeling internationally but that was not meant to happen. And then my shoe selection changed too.

My Pumas! I saved up for these babies. And I've had them now for 4 years. So they were a great investment and are still the most expensive shoes I own. These shoes went to South Africa with Dave and I. They are comfortable, stylish and versatile. They represent a period of comfort to me. The days that Dave and I were in love and without obligations, the days leading up to our wedding and our honeymoon period, a time when I thought I was busy but really had SO much free time. They have transitioned well into the next phase of life too where comfortable and practical shoes are very important: Motherhood.

Here are the newest edition to my shoe arsenal. They allow for treks through suburban rain storms, muddy trails behind a stroller and most importantly jumping in rain puddles. Clothing and footwear have ceased to be primarily about style for me now. Action is what my shoes are about. Ease of use, comfort and fun. I want to have fun with Ky and jump and play and enjoy nature and these boots are perfect for this time of year in Vancouver. Since we don't get much snow here they will work throughout the winter and into spring as well. My life is now about the little guy more than me. My hiking boots are still in use from time to time, I wear my Pumas often, the high heels are used very rarely. So much so that my feet protest slightly and my back strains to remember the muscles used to stand in them. But I don't miss them that much everything has a season, especially shoes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poem of the Month: Tribute

Today is Joni Mitchell's birthday. Last year I wrote a post with details of my love affair with her music. This year I have chosen song lyrics to share. Her songwriting is superb and this one is very timely for the season. Enjoy.

Urge for Going

by Joni Mitchell

I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky, then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold and all the trees are shivering in a naked row

I get the urge for going
But I never seem to go
I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

I had me a man in summertime
He had summer-coloured skin
And not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win
But when the leaves fell on the ground
Boy winds came around, pushed them face down in the snow

He got the urge for going
And I had to let him go
He got the urge for going
When the meadow grass was turning brown
Summertime was falling down and winter was closing in

Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying and all that lives is camping out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing out before the snow

They got the urge for going
And they got the wings so they can go
They get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Little Things Fall into Place

Wow, what a week. It seems that the post ideas percolating in my head have only just now sorted themselves out to come out of my fingers and onto this page. In September I wrote about my feelings concerning my path and how I should define it for the pagan community at large. The universe is a magical place and when I said I was open to change it decided to grace me with some insight. Trance work has been the key in this transition. Symbols have been coming up and revealing clues to further research. I can't delve into each one in one post but I wanted to mention one in particular because it seems that November is offering up some wonderful giveaways for us all to enjoy.

I have had two runes present themselves to me in my sacred trance space. I have never studied runes before, despite having a set that some friends made for me years ago. Divination in general has never been a huge focus of my practice. I would search it out here and there when I felt the timing in my life needed it or it suited the ritual I was doing but I have never felt the need to study runes before now. These two images were illuminated on the entryway to my internal trance space. The first one was laguz:

"(L: Water, or a leek.) Flow, water, sea, a fertility source, the healing power of renewal. Life energy and organic growth. Imagination and psychic matters. Dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld. Success in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility of loss"

This symbol helped me to see that change was coming. An inward change that I spoke about in September, a change that was renewing and soul affecting. This rune came to me in January of this year so it was a lengthy herald of future soul work.

The next one that emerged during the October full moon meditation that I did was ansuz:

"(A: The As, ancestral god, i.e. Odin.) A revealing message or insight, communication. Signals, inspiration, enthusiasm, speech, true vision, power of words and naming. Blessings, the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth, wisdom."

During this trance I was seeking guidance and help with a few emotional issues. One concerned parenting and the other body image. This trance presented me with several answers and revealed some wonderful insight into who I am today. In relation to runes, seeing this rune and learning its meaning made me think about researching runes further and that despite my apparent lack of Scandinavian heritage I was called to explore them as a divination tool. If anyone can recommend a good Rune meaning book I'd love for you to mention it in the comments. I have found a fantastic website from which I've quoted the meanings above called I have not read it extensively yet but it is on my to-do list.

And serendipitously this month there are two rune set giveaways in the blogsphere.
Domestic Witch is giving away a rose quartz set of runes that are just lovely. So head on over. You can enter until the 28th of November. And Mother Moon's Message is giving away a set made from willow wood that was reclaimed from a fallen tree on her property. You have until November 30th to get your name in.

Runes have given me new eyes through which to view messages from the universe. Despite my confusion concerning how to label my path I am asking for guidance and receiving it. I'm very grateful for the blessings of autumn's stillness within me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Just a reminder that the new Pagan Pages is up. This month Pagan Parenting Everyday discusses family values beginning with Thankfulness. Enjoy.

Ancestor's Dinner

Our Samhain celebration was last night. It was understated and simple since I have an almost two year old and a non-pagan to please. We had a feast of lasagna, Caesar salad and apple crisp with yogurt. And we set out a place at the table for the spirits to join us.

Before we ate I read this blessing:

Tonight we honour our beloved dead. As a family we honour those that came before us, whose blood runs through our veins. Those who toiled, who laughed, who birthed, who hunted and who cleared the land. We remember the ancestors we have had the pleasure to know, the one's whose faces we can picture and the one's whose names we have spoken: (insert names of family members here) ....and the many others.

We welcome you to our table with thanks and respect. You are with us in our hearts,
what is remembered lives.

Unfortunately death is very present with us this year. The mists are covering a dear one and will soon bring her away, and another has already moved into the next stage. This has made this time very poignant for me and very emotional. After my Spiral Dance trance I didn't feel that more magical work was necessary last night. Instead I did a simple chakra cleanse before sleep while imagining what the full moon must have looked like behind the shroud of the clouds. Today on our walk Kyan and I will spread the food from the ancestor plate in the woods and we will continue to burrow into our little nest as the nights get longer and longer. Blessings.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Art of the Month: October

Here are my Halloween critters. An owl for Ky, and some funny spiders. I wanted some little critters that were a bit creepy and homemade. They are probably more funny than creepy though...

Oh and here's a dancing Tigger...just because he's cute.

Happy Halloween and a blessed New Year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Here are our offerings to the pumpkin spirits for this year. Dave made the skull, (here's hoping he wins the pumpkin carving competition at work tomorrow) Kyan's is a mummy. Out of all of the characters associated with Halloween he seems to like mummies best and I saw an example of a mummified jack-o-lantern in a magazine this year. And I chose a funny shaped pumpkin and thought an owl (also a favorite of Ky's) would be fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book of the Month: October

As usual I like to keep the book of the month posts as thematic to the seasons as possible. This month I've chosen The Pagan Book of Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells and Lore by Gerina Dunwich, which is now out of print it seems but she has another one, released in 2007 named A Witch's Halloween with the same subtitle. This book was borrowed from a friend and I found it useful in writing my guest blog post for Mrs. B's day 5 of the 31 Days of Halloween.

There is lots to read about in here as the subtitle suggests but I would say that it mainly focuses on the folklore surrounding Halloween. She has assembled an overview of just about everything you can think of that is associated with Halloween today: black cats, bats, jack-o-lanterns and such. It is a nice book to have as a reference and as a guide towards deeper research. It is a fun read but is not written for the pagan reader who wants to delve into specifics, so just keep that in mind if you consider adding it to your collection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparing to Dance the Spiral...

I've caught the fever for posting ever day as we lead up to Halloween/Samhain. This is going to be an experiment for me but I'm just loving every one's posts for Domestic Witch's October Party and of course Mrs. B's 31 days of Halloween giveaway. If this week works out well I think I may do this for each Sabbat as a way of keeping myself present and mindful of the seasons and festivals.

Last night was Vancouver Reclaiming's 17th annual Spiral Dance. This was my fourth time attending. It has become a tradition for me and several of my friends. It is a chance to celebrate the New Year with other pagans and honour the ancestors, newly dead and newly born. Each year there is a trance journey to the summerland to visit the ancestors and last year I found that I had a hard time staying in the trance. I took some steps in the following months to work on trance and this year I noticed a huge difference. I also prepared myself by trying to have a mellow "ish" day.
I took a bath which was only interrupted once. Of course the interruption meant that the water filled with tangerine-sage bath salts got cold but I tried to enjoy it once I got back.

My witchy outfit. For the last three years I've worn this vintage feather hat and it really puts me in an otherworldly mood.

Took this one just before I left. The evening was thought provoking as always and this year they had some wonderful music. My trance was interesting and I'm still thinking about the messages and images I received. I will go into more details about them in the coming month as I plan on doing some introspective posts during November since it's the new year and my birthday month. There is usually a lot that comes up for me at this time of year. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Behind the Pomp: Pagan ceremonies & the Olympic torch

I was so thrilled to see the images of the Olympic torch being lit in Greece on Thursday. As you may or may not know the 2010 Winter Olympic Games are here in Vancouver this February. Representatives from Vancouver, tourists and dignitaries from around the world were witness to the ceremony that took place at the Temple of Hera where a theatrical group lead by an actress playing a high priestess made some prayers to Apollo and Zeus and passed the "sacred" flame and an olive branch to a Greek runner. I though the visual was lovely and I let my brain imagine a real ceremony and meaning behind the words, many moons ago. The eternal flame portion of the games was created for the 1928 Amsterdam games. Detailed in this article:

According to recent research by Bob Barney of the University of Western Ontario's International Centre for Olympic Studies, the mystical flame has its origins not in glorious Greece but in the rites of Freemasonry, and its belief in the regenerative power of fire.
"Jan Wils, the architect of the Amsterdam stadium, was looking for inspiration," Prof. Barney says. "And so he turned to his lifelong infatuation with the Masonic order."

When you get down to the nitty gritty of it all, well, this ceremony is a fabrication. The actual torch relay portion of the Games in which the flame is carried throughout the host country originated during the Berlin 1936 Olympics when the Nazis ruled Germany. In short they fabricated it. They admired the strength and power of Ancient Greece and even conveyed some propaganda about Greece's sacred sites being created by Nordic immigrants.

Does this remove the meaning for me? Well, I can't say I'm a huge Olympics bandwagon girl anyway. I think that each year they become less about the ideals of peace between nations through the glories of sport and become more corporate and more political. I still feel misty when that Canadian national anthem plays...but I don't put much stock in that feeling for long.

The interest in this story for me was that somewhere deep down we still feel our pagan roots. Some dramatist somewhere thought, how lovely to put some stunning women in gowns, with simple stones, and a modest fire container and have them pray to the old gods. And the result is something that visually struck me and probably many others who aren't pagans as well. I wish those priestesses would have been real ones and I wish that the ideals that the Olympics represent were real too. I hope they are real for the athletes because they are the ones that I care about when it comes down to it. They dedicate themselves to their sports and work very hard to make their dreams a reality. Apparently the only pagan ceremony that happened around the Olympic games in ancient times was the sacrifice of 100 oxen on the altar of Zeus.

Somehow I doubt that would move us to the same degree.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Fall Change over

Fall took a while to arrive this year. We had some really warm days after the equinox and it wasn't until October pulled up that we turned the heat on.

Summer decor is more sparse for us. I tend to simplify in the spring, removing clutter and making things feel lighter so that when the summer heat engulfs us we aren't reminded of it by our surroundings.

Autumn brings us a different perspective. The increase of chill in the air, spending more time indoors, I head towards cozy. Our bedspread changes from a fresh, cream coloured quilt to a thick, dark brown duvet. The throws are put out on the couch and the basket of baseball caps is replaced with one filled with toques, mitts and scarves in all their wooly warmness. I haven't yet been able to get the Halloween decor up, but at least our entryway is prepared. The shoe rack/catch-all table now has a black table runner to contrast the fresh green on from the spring, My sole surviving fall leaf tealight holder (from a set of 3....don't still makes me cry to talk about it) sits there and fills the room with the sent of pumpkin.

I'm busy these days with work and our second runny nose of the cold season but I am having fun too. Visiting, anticipating the fun of Halloween, gearing up for the Spiral Dance here in Vancouver on Sunday and revamping our family meal plan to create more balance and nutrition in our food. How is your fall progressing, what are you stirring up in your cauldron for the season?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Well here I am...several hours into Blog Action Day and just getting to my post. This morning was not the easiest as Ky was in quite a mood. So despite a to-do list the length of my arm and the breakfast dishes (now joined by lunch) still on the kitchen table we headed out the door for a walk. My intention was to ground both my little earth sign and myself and write some notes while he played at the park. As we walked, Climate Change this year's topic, swirled through my head and was reflected in many different things. My son's delight as he saw transit trains and buses bringing people from place to place. A homeless woman's smile at Ky in his pumpkin hat while she ate cold food out of a tin can. She had spent the night on a slab of concrete beneath the bicycle bridge leading to the park. The Styrofoam container floating in the creek we crossed over which is a salmon habitat. The beauty of fallen leaves, a warm overcast day, and the sound of birds in the trees. And now I sit here to write about something that I am ashamed to say I barely knew about a few months ago. Something that is a Canadian issue with climate, oil and how we interact with the natural world.

Several months ago I listened to Sierra Club Radio's podcast from 2008 about the Alberta Oil Sands. They were trying to lobby Hilary Clinton to prevent a pipeline being built to pump the oil from Alberta into the United States. I had heard of this before but I did not know the extent of the actions that our provincial neighbours were taking to extract this oil. In their March 2009 issue National Geographic published an objective and well written article on the oil sands entitled: The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom. This article presents facts that are important for all Canadians and Americans to know about this oil. Here is a sampling:

-"The U.S. imports more oil from Canada than from any other nation, about 19 percent of its total foreign supply and around half of that now comes from the oil sands."

-"Oil sands production uses enough natural gas daily to heat more than 3 million homes."

-"The oil sands are still a tiny part of the world's carbon problem-they account for less than a tenth of one percent of global CO2 emissions..."

Despite the obvious reasons that I would object to this method of extraction which can be explained more in the above link to the National Geographic article, I feel the underlying issue for me is the effect of this type of oil refining on the earth. On the Government of Alberta's website they say regarding the oil sands:

"Through ongoing research and technology work continues to find new and improved ways of recovering this significant resource and reducing the environmental footprint."

My question is how is that possible? The environmental footprint from this practice is HUGE. The means is not justified by the end. In the long term the area where this extraction is taking place is being destroyed. Again quoting Robert Kunzig from The Canadian Oil Boom:

"No where on Earth is more earth being moved these days than in the Athabasca Valley [Alberta, Canada]. To extract each barrel of oil from a surface mine, the industry must first cut down the forest, then remove an average of two tons of peat and dirt that lie above the oil sands layer, then two tons of the sand itself."

This oil is the result of the Athabasca River eroding away billions of cubic yards of sediment that once covered the bitumen which is eventually made into oil. This process took millions of years. How long will it take for this part of the Earth to regenerate from this horrible process? The key to this issue is to stop extracting "dirty oil" and work towards alternative fuel methods. The oil sands employee thousands of people many of whom have traveled from other provinces in search of work. I feel for these people and yet I believe that the oil sands must stop. Our climate, our Earth, our health and the health of wildlife in Alberta is at stake here. Sustainability is what we must work towards and this method takes too many resources and creates too much damage to ever be worth the oil to me.
If you live in the United States I encourage you to contact your local officials and let them know that you do not wish to buy oil from the Alberta Oil Sands. Here in Canada I hope you will all voice your displeasure with their existence as well. Here are some more links with relevant information.

Greenpeace Stop the Tar Sands

Sierra Club BC Minister: Climate Plans in Peril

Find your Member of Parliament to send an Email

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Just a quick note to say that Dawn at The Domestic Witch has posted an interview that she did with me. So head on over for a visit. I have been loving her October Blog Party. Hopefully she'll have it again next year so I can get my act together and join in.

And don't forget to check in tomorrow for Blog Action Day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Still Yellow

As I write this a pumpkin pie bakes in the oven. It is the first of two pies that I am making for this evening's third and final Thanksgiving dinner. Dave has been off work for the past five days which have been filled with family, food and for me a little relaxation. I had a massage on Saturday and while my body was relaxing my mind meditated on the glorious autumn leaves that are on display. In the summer I wrote about my new love affair with yellow and it is certainly not diminishing as the days turn colder. The hues are getting more subtle, more golden. They blend with other colours now so that I have to look a little closer to find them.

the bright yellow of a fallen maple leaf

golden leaves with hints of orange and brown

cranberries, garlic chives, basil and parsley. some for the freezer and some turn into...

cranberry sauce to go with the turkey. in a bowl with a hint of yellow

Happy Thanksgiving Canadians.