Friday, November 29, 2013

Shiny Things

The necklace I commissioned came today! It's exceedingly gorgeous. I know it looks gorgeous in the picture but it's even more gorgeous in real life.

The green stones are moss agate. The grey are dark larvikite, and they have a gorgeous sheen to them. The darker small beads are blue tiger's eye (or hawk's eye I think it's sometimes called), and the clear stones are quartz :3 I love the degree of variation in the green, and the way the larvikite could be stormy skies or stone peaks. The quick sliver of shine from the tiny tiger's eye is like a whisper, a ghost, here and gone; the flash of lightning or of a blade; and the quartz may as well be ice.

The whole piece glows in the sunlight, but in a really subtle sort of way, like it has hidden secrets.

Morgandria names her pieces, and this one she called The Silent Wood. I love having jewellery pieces that have names.

I bought a couple of pieces off've her website as well. Sorry for the poor images. I only realised they were a bit sub-par when I'd loaded them onto my tablet and at that point I couldn't be bothered going through the process again.


Greenwood is aptly named; the stones really do look like wood. I believe the stone is called serpentine and it definitely has a snakey feel to it. It has a fresh, living quality to it. It has a simplicity to its nature, too. It's a pleasant, fresh spring breeze, heavy with morning dew.

Third Harvest
Smaller beads of Third Harvest are bone. It's got a very sort of blood-and-bone, feast for crows, Samhain-y look on the one hand, but the red stones - garnet, I think - also have a very berry-like element to them. Death and food. Vibe-wise it feels very bare, like bones lying out on the ground, and in that sense feels very honest. It makes no pretences.

I like sitting here, turning them over in my hands and seeing what they say to me. What the stones sing and what the pieces sing as a whole.

I am a big fan of Morg's work (and Morg as a person!) and I know for sure I'll be ordering more from her in the future, and probably commissioning more personal pieces as well. She works a lot with stones and she has a good feel for what works together, and she can take a set of ideas and coalesce them into something beautiful. I really encourage you to go take a look at her work. It's gorgeous stuff. Many shiny things! Check out her website, Witch's Cauldron Creations, and her Etsy page.

For the past couple of days I've been collecting prayers and folk charms. I found one by a user called SierraDawn on the comments to this page that got me thinking about folk charms and spells, and I'm in the mood now to go hunt for some interesting ones. I used her one today and felt better for it. One uses it when adding sugar to coffee or tea and goes thus:
(Stirring anti-clockwise) A little less headache, a little less strife,
(Stirring clockwise) A little more sweetness into my life.
Theoretically one could stir widdershins and deosil instead, but I liked doing it this way; clockwise felt like it was setting something for me, or confirming it, which may be due to me being right-handed, or may be because that's the way you turn things to tighten them. I'm going to hunt down some more folk charms, prayers, and spells, and scrapbook the ones I like, even if I never intend to use them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Starting with Structure

Part of taking care of oneself means taking care of the spiritual side. I've been neglecting that element of self-care in favour of ones involving more instant gratification lately, but I really think it's an element I should be focussing on quite strongly at the moment.

I don't know if I mentioned it last time - I think I did - but I've been in need of some structure or guidance. I don't think I can find it wholesale from anywhere else, but that doesn't mean I can't use some of the same tools others use to help me find my own personal way. On the Path in the Woods I have paused. I'm prodding the ground ahead of me with a staff, to help me find my way. I look to each side, and down, though I still look up to the sky more often than not, but for guidance this time - Sowilo, the sun, the stars, the compass. Judging the next step.

So it has to be a day-by-day thing. Today I might read something and write some notes, tomorrow meditate on something specific... I don't even know what I'll do or when I'll do it, to be honest. But I need to plan ahead, even just a day ahead, instead of blundering along and getting nowhere fast.

It's funny.... Well. Let me start again. I need accountability with things that need to be done on the regular, or I forget and let them fall by the wayside. I often think I'll jump on some forum or tumblr and update some sort of public record for that accountability - people are expecting me to do it. I always fail, and I fail because I'll do the task but I can't be bothered updating the diary. It's adding an extra (and frequently tedious) step onto something I'm likely to procrastinate from anyways. Pretty soon I quit with the record-keeping altogether and it's not too long after that that the rest of the task also gets neglected.

But here I am, doing it all over again. Except, not a record, this time. Record-keeping always seems fine when I start it but soon it's unutterably boring and I can't keep it up. It's a shame, too, because I like the idea of looking back at however's long worth of records and seeing change or improvement. This time I want to do something more formless. I want to come on here a couple of times a week (instead of a couple of times a month!) to talk about some of the thoughts I've had or things I've read or done. As on the Path, I'm only feeling ahead a step or two before I take it; I'm building my structure as I go. It could grow or collapse or take on a wholly other form.

So here's today. Well, the above is today also, but - I was walking my puppy (have I mentioned my puppy? I have a puppy. He's a mix of two herding breeds so he's a barker but very smart. He's asleep on my bed right now) and we walked somewhere I used to live as a child. I crouched down and it was exactly as I had remembered it - and suddenly the air seemed more still and more dew-heavy, and there was a pleasant scent I couldn't identify... maybe flowers from someone's garden, or the damp wood of the fence. It smelt like... not precisely like life in general terms, or fertility or anything vibrant, but the cool peace of things being quietly alive. I could have been transported back in time, it was so like the days I remember as a child. Like a pocket-universe where things don't change.

I commissioned a piece from Witches' Cauldron Creations a little while ago and when I asked for what I wanted, I tried to invoke that same sort of feel of heavy stillness. Deep green forests and heavy grey skies and a hint of nostalgia, but crisp air instead of warm. The same scents of moisture.

Here, I still have the message I wrote to the artist, Morgandria, about it:
I'd like something, not "ritual garb" as such, but something celebratory. Something to wear on festival days. If you feel like making something Nordic and slightly stormy, let me know. My mind is full of iron and steel, swords and spears, grey skies and green woods and soot-blackened hearths.
Part of it was working with Teiwaz and Berkana, the rune of Tyr and that of the birch, steel and green. Part of it was reading the Eddas. And part of it was playing Skyrim, in the sort of vague way where all you do is run around looking at scenery and building houses. Skyrim has, for me, a heavy layer of melancholy tinged with nostalgia. Maybe it's the music. I don't really know what it is. There's probably a German word for it. No... actually, the Portuguese "saudade" might be more accurate. A sort of fatalistic sense of sorrow; a longing for something one cannot get back.

And I felt a little of that today. We grow up and we change and, gods, it was so much easier as a child, when the weight of the world and life's expectations didn't crush you further into the dirt with each exhalation. And there I was with the grey sky overhead threatening to rain, and the green hedge to one side and the wooden fence to the other, crouched down and seeing everything exactly the same as it had been, and it felt wrong to straighten and be tall again, and so much has changed, and everything's much more sad now than it was. Saudade.

Not that I ordered it to make me sad. The necklace, I mean. I don't think it will make me sad. It's to  celebrate all those things, and the Gods, and the world. Not sadly, but not cheerfully either. Things I don't remember, but at the same time I feel as if I almost do... things that feel important, like the smell of steel and rainy days in the mountains.

I'll post pictures when it arrives.

Also at some point I'll answer your emails. I'm avoiding it at the moment because I feel heavily guilty for neglecting them for so long, resulting in me neglecting them for even longer which is not helpful but there we are. I'll get to it.

PS it's too hot here. I need to move to Reykjavik or something.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wanting Peace

I haven't written a ranty - or informative - blog post for a long, long time. The fact is while there are things to discuss, like that offensive "god graveyard", I'm just not in the emotional zone for writing things like that. At least, not when it comes to my religion.

It's early summer. A year ago, I was consumed with an anxiety disorder that was getting worse and worse. Now, I'm medicated, and much more stable. A year ago, I was feeling the urge to "start over", to get back to basics when it came to religion. Now, I still have that feeling, but it's combined with one of wanting simplicity, wanting peace, wanting to bask in the world around me as it is and reach out to nature and just be, and now I'm mentally in a better place to do that.

Part of it is that I've recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. (My fibro seems to be pretty mild, so generally speaking, I don't mind it - I'm happy just to have a diagnosis and that it wasn't something more serious like rheumatoid arthritis.) Even after a good night's sleep, I often feel tired. Sitting down and burning through a bunch of energy on a ranty post, and dealing with potential arguments in the comments, just feels like too much energy to be spending. Which isn't to say some subjects aren't worth the spoons... but personally, I don't want to write like that at the moment. Right now, that's not what I'm chasing. 

I do, however, want to write more often. I'm hoping next year will bring some new blog project or set of prompts, so I can write something actually interesting from time to time. That's one advantageous thing about the secular year starting in the middle of summer: things are alive and fertile, and so's my creativity, so it's a good time to start new projects. 

I'm holding rituals, I'm praying, but aside from that I don't feel as if I'm doing on a spiritual level. I don't feel like I'm connecting. I'm going to go and hunt for some spiritual exercises to help me feel more "in tune"... or maybe it's that I need something to muse on. The "sit! stop! listen!" drive remains with me, but I'm finding it hard to do. In my last post, I talked about how in the visual metaphor of my spiritual journey, I am not looking where I'm going. In a way perhaps this is a reflection of that; I'm stumbling and I feel like I need a guide of some kind.

The full moon is hanging above the ocean like an enormous copper coin. Tonight might be a wonderful night for a full moon meditation.

Quick admin thoughts before I disappear.... first, I haven't checked my email in like 6 months, so if you sent me one and I didn't reply, uh, sorry. I'll go check them now. Second, I might set up a G+ for Hagstone. I had one for about two weeks and didn't like it so I closed it, but it may be time to try it again, so if you see me on there say hi. :) Thirdly, a very special thank you to everyone for your comments and good wishes over the last year. It's been a year of health issues and confusion and unrest for me, and I'm really really thankful for all the support. You've been amazing and I can't thank you enough for it.


Edit: G+ is still awful but here is the Hagstone page anyway. Also I had a bunch of amazing emails and now I feel awful for not checking my inbox earlier.