Sunday, November 25, 2012

On my Meditation Schedule

Hello all. Sorry, I've been slack again.

I've been anxious (which you may know). This may be because of the warming weather and the bright sun. Summer-SAD, perhaps. But whatever brings it on, it's not really pleasant and it's not really conducive to a happy life. Or a productive one. I sleep poorly enough as it is.

With this extra, radiating nervous energy, and with this horrible anxious, unbalanced feeling, I'm thinking it's time to get really seriously back into meditation. Maybe part of the reason I'm feeling what I'm feeling is "the universe" trying to kick me in the arse again.

So I'm going to get serious this time. No more messing around. Every day, even when I'm tired, I'm going to sit and meditate. 

I'm going to start with grounding exercises, because I want to try to transmute some of this unpleasant  nervous energy into cool, stable energy. But when I start to think about a daily practice, I always want to cast around for different ideas. One of the things I find very interesting is the way people ritualise things: what do people do when preparing for meditation? Do people do it in magic circles, before altars or shrines, outside, on a particular seat or stool? Do people light candles or incense? Do people listen to music? Do people make particular movements, prayers, affirmations before they begin? All this stuff interests me, and if you have any ideas on Pagan or witchcraft-themed websites that have a nice store of this sort of thing (or indeed if you have a particular meditation "ritual" you would like to share) do post a comment. Any meditation plans or courses you've done and enjoyed would be interesting, too - I may not do them,

You'll have to wish me luck, as I'm notoriously bad at doing things like remembering to meditate regularly. You know, I've been very slack at my daily prayers lately, also. That may be a part of why I'm so out of kilter of late. Taking time in front of my altar every night does give me a sense of inner calm and stability.

I think I'll keep a bit of a log of how I've been doing on my tumblr. (Cor lummy, I've just realised I've changed the URL and old links on this blog will be dead. Oh, well.) So I'll let you know of anything interesting I find from day to day on there, and I'll post larger updates here every once in a while. I think doing that will help me keep at it, as well as give me a record to look back on. Besides, I think sometimes other people are interested in that sort of thing. And it lends a greater sense of structure to the exercise. I've talked about how I sometimes long for structure before. I don't really feel like that now, but I suspect it is something I need about now.

So. If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to find something to meditate over. I'm thinking apples. I don't know why.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hello everyone. You'll be glad to hear I'm in a slightly better mood today.

My blót for Hel the other day went very well, and I think She enjoyed the framboise. I was meant to hold Summernights and whatever I'm going to end up calling my "Beltaine" holiday yesterday, but I was so exhausted after the elections I didn't. I'd only had an hour or so of sleep because I always enjoy the elections in the States, and I didn't want to miss anything. Sleep deprivation is just a fact of life for me whenever I have to get up at a time everyone else considers "normal", so no biggie, but it does mean you end up eating a lot more than usual to keep yourself functional. 

The election was marvellously exciting. I know quite a few Americans, as I am on the internet and there are a lot of them around. I am sure you are the same way. So I was reassuring some of them as we went along and they started to panic at Romney's rising numbers. But Republican numbers always rise to begin with. The Democrats always have California, which is huge. Obama would have won even without any of the big swing states. But the important thing for me, I think, was seeing how many women turned out to vote and put their feet down, and how many women are heading to the senate. Elizabeth Warren! I love her, I really do. I've loved her since I first saw her on the Daily Show, her first segment, when she was nervous and jittery and a little intimidated, but then came back after the commercial break with new confidence and blew everyone away. It's premature, but if Hillary decides not to run, Warren's my pick for the US's first female president.

Really, though. Feminism has been under attack in the US recently, and seeing such a response to the War on Women was really moving. And a possible 51st state in Puerto Rico! That's tremendously exciting for those of us who have only ever known 50. There have been 50 states all my life and decades before it and it has always seemed so set in stone. It's so exciting to think that another star will be added to the flag.

It was a day of excitement and stress and of staring at the little video on the BBC website, streaming the results while the liveblog ticked along updating on the side. All that jittering on top of not much sleep and I was exhausted.

So those first-of-summer rituals will be held tonight instead (incidentally today is a much more "summery" day). In celebration of the changing seasons, a changing blog. Look at all the nice green. It's so pleasant.

I actually rather like early summer, despite my whining the other day. I suspect summer is bad for me on an emotional level, rather like SAD - I get tense, irritable and anxious in summer. It is too bright to go outside, I have a morbid fear of skin cancer (which is very common where I live) and I don't do well in either heat or humidity. In short I shouldn't really live where I do. But I do, so. That's that. 

But early summer has its advantages. The it's-been-far-too-long-since-we've-had-rain cracked earth of late summer is still a long way off. The humidity yet hasn't settled upon the country, and the sun, which at this point is not too oppressive, is tempered by cool sea breezes. The greens are very green. The colours are bright. The birds are happy. And the "holiday season", the long, laxed-out period of midsummer, of lying around doing nothing and sipping cold glasses of alcohol at any time of day, is on the horizon. Christmas and New Years here are pleasing just because everyone is so relaxed and half-naked and just has no fucks to give about anything. Fucks are for February. Until then? Beer, or gin and tonics, and the beach and lying around reading shitty books.

But that's in the future. People aren't relaxed yet. The world isn't relaxed yet. But that's on the horizon, and everyone can see it, and the pre-Christmas rush hasn't yet kicked in so they're all just anticipating summer with a small smile. Colours abound, and ease.

That's early summer. Late summer I can't wait to get rid of, when the heat really bears down and there's no escape from it and everyone remembers they have jobs.

I survived last summer quite well. There have been years I have not. But last summer was, despite the unpleasantness that was Christmas, actually not so bad. It wasn't overwhelmingly hot. So I wonder whether my emotional reaction is more out of anxiety at the coming of summer rather than during the summer itself. It's something I will be interested to observe in myself this year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pagan Insights #4

In Your Own Words
I have rituals today and tomorrow, and I am so tired. I didn't get enough sleep last night. I kept waking up. And I'm staying up all night to watch the election because, you know, international side-show. I love the commentary on this shit. BBC rocks my world.

But I have rituals to do and I'm so tired. And I have words to write, and I am so tired. And. And it's sunny! God, you guys. I am writing this part of the entry last, like hours after down in Eureka, and so I've been out this afternoon and it was so goddamn bright outside. I wear specs so I don't have any sunnies, and I wasn't really in the mood to take a parasol and the stupid sun hurts my eyes. And then I couldn't even find anything I wanted so I spent all that time slathering on sunscreen for NOTHING.

GOD I HATE SUMMER. Just leave me here in my dark cave to DIE.

Although the sky was a lovely shade of blue and things are all green and the breeze was rather lovely. But jesus christ I need to live closer to the poles. One pole or the other, I mean. Summer, man. Fuck that.

Post a Pic
Gawd. Pics. OK, well, here is a picture from someone else this month. I was looking through my favourites folder and it reminded me of the post I made last week, about the path through the woods. This isn't want the path in my head looks like, but it's pretty, and evokes the same sort of whatsit. 

Musical Musings
What have I been listening to lately, aside from Theatre is Evil.... a lot of Emilie Autumn, actually. I've been a bit slow to get into her new album, but "Girls, Girls, Girls!" is amazing, and so is "One Foot in Front of the Other". None are particularly Pagany but I thought I'd mention them because... well, I don't know, I guess it's interesting to know the music that stirs people. Anyway, on a more relevant note, I'm a big fan of the Mediaeval Baebes. Much of their music is Christian, just because of the time frame they're drawing from, but they have some more general stuff as well. I love them. 
Here is Scarborough Fayre:

Action, Action!
Like every year, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. This year, with an hour to go before the clock ticked over to November 1st, it occurred to me that I should probably accumulate some characters. With no other real recourse, I grabbed some tarot cards and drew out some random cards to be my characters.

And it worked really really well. Like, exceptionally well. Every card was not only bang-on the sort of character I was looking for, but even the quote that came along with it in the accompanying book seemed to sum up the right character for the right role in the right story. It was amazing. I filled out my cast in about fifteen minutes, with figures and roles I hadn't even thought about using. Of course it helped that the deck is a really good match for character work, with the vivid images and the sense of a story to it. I was still very impressed with the ease at which things came together.

My Eureka of this exact moment is that it is Walpurgisnacht and I still haven't bought something for Hel. Am thinking absinthe? but we'll see how things go when I get to the booze shop and see what their prices are. 

Turns out there was nothing there that particularly caught my eye. Looks like red wine or mead for Hel and framboise for Freyja and Freyr tomorrow.

And I don't have anything else to eureke about at the moment, I must confess. Most of my life at present is comprised of writing nonsense at a frenetic pace, and then pausing to obsess about Boardwalk Empire or Downton Abbey. And my studies have suffered for it. I'll feel bad tomorrow, but right now I just want to crawl into a hole and fall asleep.