Imbolc

I did a ritual at my house this past weekend.  I had reservations about doing Imbolc, or doing it at “home” anyway.  This isn’t my home anymore, or at least it’s becoming not my home.  I’m trying to emotionally distance myself from it, to make having to leave my home of over a decade hurt less, but in the end, I decided that since I am still here, it is still my home.  The place I live is the only place to do Imbolc.  So, that decided, I invited my friend’s over and did ritual.

The main thing I do every year on Imbolc is get ready to clean.  I buy any cleaning supplies I am low on, I get a new broom and bless it, I start my spring cleaning.  I did all those things, going to target the day before and getting new dishcloths, a spray bottle, so many great smelling candles and other supplies.  I spent the morning of the ritual making the ritual space clean, renovating the fire pit and trying to dry out the wood a little after all rain.  I went to Lowe’s and got a few supplies for the working as well. IMG_20180204_162102

Once my friends had arrived we did a short, fun and casual ritual.  Wine was drunk, cookies were eaten.  The new broom was blessed (which I must admit a new broom feels pretty wasteful since I can’t really take it with me when I move in 5 months).  We planted flowers in little clay pots and talked about the things we want to “grow” in our lives this year.  It was a nice afternoon, full of friendship, laughter, and love.

We went to my favorite sushi place, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, for dinner after.   https://www.yelp.com/biz/kura-revolving-sushi-bar-doraville-2

It was a nice day.  A good way to start the transition from winter to spring.

The next day I started cleaning, but in a totally not actually having done any cleaning yet sort of way.  I will explain that in my next post! 20180207_232231_Film4 (1)

First Rays

This year’s solstice was amazing! I watched the first sunrise of the new solar year over the ocean!

burn 2017This was something I had been wanting to do for years but it never happened for lots of reasons, like money, other people’s interest level, and my own motivation to make it happen.  This year, however, I wanted it bad enough to declare that I was doing it even if I had to drive up by myself and sleep in my car. Someone who cares about me paid for everything as a Yule gift, because even though I’m working I’m not in a good financial place yet.

I had to work Thursday, December 21st until 7 pm, which was several hours after sunset.  That presented a little bit of a problem, but I was able to take a short break around 5:30 pm (thank the Kitty Goddess for work at home jobs!) to light last year on fire in my ritual area.  I lit a yellow candle with the last of the sparks of 2017.20171221_171710_Film4

As soon as work was done I gathered my things, made the candle as safe as possible in the car and started the 5-hour drive to the coast.

It was a long drive.  We talked as much as we could, we listened to some of Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather”.  The first few hours were ok, but on the dark, empty country roads around 1 a.m, the night started to feel pretty creepy.  We were definitely in the slasher movie zone.  That neon red smiling “Piggly Wiggly” sign is not a friendly sight on Darkest Night in “I don’t remember where” South Carolina.

Once back on the highway everything took on a real dreamlike feel, good thing I wasn’t the one driving. Thankfully we made it to the hotel around 2 am. As soon as I opened the car door I could hear the ocean, but not see it. The air felt more humid and smelled of the sea. The plan had been to set up most things in the hotel room and only go down to the beach for the sunrise.  Oddly enough, no one was in the lobby, so we couldn’t check into our room. Plans change.

We took ourselves and the magical sun holding candle to waffle house for about an hour.  I ate hash browns covered in cheese and sang pop songs,  maybe this should be a new dark night tradition.  After that we drove around the old fancy parts of Charlson, the only car around, looking at the gaslights, French accents and the tastefully extravagant Christmas decorations on the ridiculously expensive mansions.

Dark beachAround 4 am we went back to the beach, parked in the garage under the hotel we were booked at, the only one on Island of Palms.  I changed into my ritual dress in the parking garage, got all the ritual supplies, mixed rum with a nice wassel from Trader Joe’s and made it to the beach a little before 5 am.  Which was barely on time surprisingly, given that sunrise was at 7:18 am.  The sky was totally dark to the east as I started to set up, but within minutes of getting there, I could see it lightning to grays and pinks.

 

I did most of the same general ritual steps I would use at home, but this was very different from previous years.  My normal Yule crew of the last 7 years or so wasn’t with me for one.  Erik, who normally does a runic divination for us and runs the bloat, which is the  “boast, oath and toast” part had moved to Massachusetts last spring,

So this year I read the tarot cards instead, just for me.  It was a quick reading and I didn’t get much out of it, but maybe I need to take some time to explore the reading further.  Lori wasn’t there because she was celebrating her anniversary of her secret wedding.  The other person who had been there for every Yule for the last 10 years isn’t part of my world anymore.  It didn’t make sense to invite anyone else this year.

It was just me and someone who is new to my life as of about 10 months ago, and who had never done Yule or maybe any pagan ritual.  Mostly he watched and took amazing pictures, but he joined in some.

We did boasts.  I’m proud of myself for how I managed to deal with the extremely bad injury that I suffered in March, damaging 3 tendons in my left leg and breaking two bones.  My friends were there for me and helped where they could, but mostly I did it on my own.  I learned to live alone, sleep alone, do my grocery shopping alone and function as an independent adult while in a wheelchair and on crutches. It was maybe the hardest, most badass thing I have ever done.  I’m down to just a brace now when I go out and I can deal with the pain.

We did oaths.  Going from running three times a week to being unable to even walk without assistance, plus the depression that I have been dealing with has meant I’ve gained almost 20 lbs in 9 months.  That is not good for my recovery, the extra weight is hard on my tendons.  And it’s not good for me emotionally.  I started losing the weight for a bad reason, to deal with an emotional trauma, but by the time I was running it was about me. About being strong, about owning my body, about pushing myself.  I’m probably never going to run again unless I’m being chased by something that wants to eat me, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up being strong, fit and happy in my body.  My oath was to get back down to the weight I was the day I broke my leg, 154 lbs.

We did toasts.  I toasted my companion.  10 months ago we were strangers.  Two weeks after our first date I broke my leg.  He has gotten to know me at probably the lowest point in my life, and yet he had been the most amazing friend I could ask for.  He has seen me at my very worst and chooses to stay.  It’s been an emotionally awakening to be around someone that good.

We drank, at each phase.  And maybe I drank between phases.

As the sky turned pink, I wrote down things I wanted to give up on tissue paper and watched them burn before hitting the sand.   Drank a little for the passing of each of those.

I was silly excited as the sky lightened to almost daylight brightness but the clock said we were still 10 minutes from sunrise.

I was holding my breath, staring at the lighted area when in the time it takes to blink,  the sun was reborn.  Seeing that tiny, beautiful dark orange, burning sliver of life peeking over the water brought tears to my eyes, and not just because I dumb enough to stare at the sun.  That moment felt exactly the way I had imagine it would for all of these years.  The stress of planning it, the mad dash after work, the drive, the cold, the pain of my leg walking up to the beach, it was all worth it.  Maybe everything else was too, everything that finally brought me to this place, on this morning, for this miraculous moment.

I always joke about protecting the spark on the darkest night and bringing it back like to my friends on Facebook, and they said thank you. This year’s was the same in that regard. What was different was a stranger who was staying in the hotel saw what I was doing and came down at the end and told me it made her happy. I have always felt like I’m doing something, connecting to something on Yule night.   I know, of course, I don’t bring back the sun, but pretending I do gives me a nice easy goal to accomplish every year because I know that the sun will rise with or without me, that the earth turns whether I’m alive on it or not.  This last year, there were so many times when I almost wasn’t anymore.  There were so many moments when I didn’t want to feel any more pain when things were just too fucking hard.  There were so many days when I was just too damaged, hurting too much and so very alone.  There were so many days when I thought the darkness was going to last forever, but even the longest night has a dawn.  I’m so glad I got to see this one.

I lit three candles repenting virtues I want to focus on this year.    We did “maybe you never hunger” eating the cookies I made and sacrificing others.  We did “may you never thirst” drinking some more spicy, applish rum drink and pour some out for lots of reasons. I sat in the new light, unfiltered by houses, trees, other people and started my new planner for 2018. I swam in the ocean in late December and worked on my tan.

I felt happy, productive and a little tipsy. I get a lot done before lunchtime some days.  Which was a fabulous place btw, but restaurant reviews are a different post.

 

 

 

I made sure that the sun was reborn this year. A bright, beautiful one. Hopefully a good one.  You’re welcome. Most of these photos were taken by and belong to P. Travis.

Solstice Eve

Figuring out the right day for solstice this year was hard,  it could have gone either way.  It could have been December 20 going into December 21,  or December 21 going into December 22.   I decided since both nights are almost exactly the same length that I could pick the one the worked best for me.

I have a day job now, started a few months ago.  Taking two days off would have been difficult, but just one day I can manage.  I could have probably done it without taking a day off if I was doing the ritual the way I normally do,  staying up all night, tending a fire in my backyard ritual area.  However this year I’ve decided to do something I have been wanting to do for a decade.  I’m going to watch the first sunrise of the year from a beach on the east coast.   

I’m not going to have to find the perfect spot in my yard, where I can see around my neighbors houses to maybe possibly see the sun.  Even then, it is at least an hour after official sunrise before I get my first glimpse at the fresh new sun.   I’m not going to have to worry about what my neighbors think as I stand out in the front yard, holding a candle and singing the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” at 7 a.m.  

This year, I’m going to see the sun the moment it comes up, I’ll see the first perfect rays hitting the water, I will be the first person touched by the sun. I’m so excited to be doing this!  

20171221_121421_Film4Today before work and during breaks I have been getting everything ready.  I made some neat sun swirl sugar cookies flavored with orange juice for the ritual tomorrow morning.  I have winter wassel and rum for libation.  I have a basket full of candles, tarot cards, tissue paper and pens.  I’m almost packed,  I even brought a bathing suit, because it’s supposed to be 65 degrees tomorrow!  

Last year my solstice night was horrible and lonely,  and this year has been hard.  Maybe those two things have nothing to do with each other, maybe they do.  Either way, I want to start this year right.  If I cry tonight, this time they will be tears of joy!

 

 

Goodbye 2017

The only way my celebrations make sense this time of the year is if I think of everything from solstice night to new year eve as one big festival.  

From Thanksgiving to now is a time for reflection, thinking of the things I’m thankful for, or the things that sucked.  It’s the time for going over mistakes and successes.   

Tomorrow starts my New Year.  I’m going to spend the whole night awake Thursday night, on the beach, waiting for the sun to rise.  That will be a quiet night, for thinking about the darkness, for wishing for the light.  With the dawn it is the New Year officially, but it’s a festival season.  From Solstice morning to calendar New Year’s  day is the Yule festival, with gift giving, putting together the new planner, overeating, visiting friends and family, making plans and resolutions and going to parties.  

With the end of the festival on New Year’s day is time to get busy and make things happen.  

 

I wrote a poem for 2017

I’m angry.
I get a few seconds of fuzzy innocence in the morning.
Safe, pain free, warm, purring
My first thought of the day is “mmmm…”
My second is “Fuck!”, as I remember who I am and when I am.

It’s 2017, I’m angry.

Most days I don’t cry.
Most days I don’t scream out in pain and fury.
Most days I calmly get up and pee, seething with rage.

I hate my ex as I brush my teeth.
I hate my house as I splash water on my face
I hate my age as I put on moisturizer.
I hate my fat as I get dressed
I hate my leg as I painfully clump down the stairs.

I eat too much for breakfast, sweet and decadent,I feel like this should make me happy
It doesn’t.

I drink 16 oz of water and take vitamins, fucking life affirmation or some shit.
Life sucks, being well be hydrated and full of expensive chemicals can’t make it worse.
At least I’m worth as much as my component parts.
You could have sold me for scrap instead of tossing me in a fucking landfill, your loss assholes.

I am so angry deep inside. Road rage level angry.
Fuck you up, find you and beat the shit out of you angry.

Instead I do PT, and imagine how someday I can be strong again. I can run again.

I ran a lot last year.

2016, I was ashamed.

I was ashamed because I was afraid to say no, so I ran to escape that failure.
I was ashamed because I was violated, my body didn’t belong to me. I tried to shrink until all the nasty parts were gone.
I imagined sexual assault lived in my fat, that it could be burned away.
Shrinking didn’t work.

I never got fast enough, small enough or far enough away to feel unashamed.
I drank a lot of tequila, that helped.

Oh well. I don’t feel ashamed now, I guess the fire of my hate is hot enough to burn away shame. Neat.

Enough about the past,
It’s 2017
I’m angry.

I knit angry, making beautiful beaded lace with breakup gift yarn.
I look calm, as I check my planner, mark off my tasks. If you were watching me you wouldn’t know my secret, like the Hulk, I’m always angry.

I’m angry as I read, angry watching tv, angry as I cook, angry scooping cat litter.
I’m angry while at work, angry while I drive, angry when I’m smiling, laughing, spending time with my friends.

I’m not angry in bangs and screams.
I’m not angry in explosions.
I’m not angry like a bomb.
Not angry like a man.

I’m angry like a woman. Who did her best and was never enough.

It’s the proper ladylike anger of an educated, responsible divorcee rebuilding her life.

I’m appropriately angry in the kitchen,
Slow , silent, scalding steam until the pot boils dry

In 2018 maybe everything will have burned away
I’ll be empty.
The heat will die and I’ll cool.
In 2018 I’ll be empty and clean.

Count Down to Dragon Con – 4 Days

I know I over extended myself on the cosplay this year.  I think I could have managed one really good costume,  but not three.  I’m afraid that all my cosplay will look unfinished and rushed.   Oh well, might as well just keep working at it and everything else, because if you have to be alive one might as well be doing things.

Today I worked on Imperator Furiosa’s crest belt.

20160829_124941I haven’t done much leather work,  it’s been a hobby I’ve tried to stay away from because it’s costly and I already have enough hobbies.  However a little bit of leather working was necessary.  Since this piece is supposed to look a bit rough I decided that I might as well give it a try myself instead of asking my leather-working buddies for help.  My first step was cutting out a rough circle of black leather and using a rotary punch to make lots of holes along the bottom.

20160829_131133After enough holes had been created I started cutting chain to attach. I thought that her belt crest only had one type of chain, but I was wrong.  It is mostly silver/chrome colored and off a similar design to what I got a few days ago at the craft store, but there are a few different types thrown in. I had a gold look chain in my supplies, but I would like a few other types.  I’ll see what I can find tomorrow.

20160829_141015Polymer clay is always not one of my hobbies. Sculpting is something I’ve never had a knack for and to be honest I really sort of hate doing it.  I don’t like the feel of the clay against my fingers, I don’t like trying to shape it into the shapes I need.  I get easily frustrated working with clay.  I did the best I could and I came up with something similar to what Furiosa was wearing, but not very similar.  I’m hoping no one looks to close, and also that the flame points don’t break off.  But this is a pointless dream, I have never made anything of polymer clay that didn’t break.  One must accept impermanence, to do otherwise causes suffering.

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Some black and oil slick colored nail polish and a silver paint pin made it look a little better.  After cutting up a few belts I temperately attached everything with super glue and then started trying to sew it, using a big needle and waxed thread.  I had to stop before it was finished because my household is asleep and I feel an awl and mallet are needed to finish.

Hopefully I can finish this tomorrow before switching back over to the gin fairy.  Will I ever get back to working on Negasonic? Or is that one just not going to happen?

 

Dragon Con Countdown – 8 days

The Gin Fairy cosplay is coming together.   I spent a few hours today on the overdress.  I’m not much of a seamstress and I seldom make garments from scratch, but I’m pleased with how this is turning out.  I’m hoping to finish the overdress tomorrow and then decide if I have time for anything else on this one.  I love the sleeves! I might make several of this design in different fabrics just for these dramatic flouncy sleeves.

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Two blog posts in two days!  I’m a superhero!

Countdown to Dragon Con – 9

WTF!!!!!  OMG!!!!  OH NOZ!  

I’m over playing this for dramatic effect, as I’m actually not stressed yet.  Ok, I little stressed.  But not at all bad.

I have three new cosplays this year.  Which in hindsight might have been a tad ambitious, given that I’m not great at time management or finishing things.  Oh, what’s that?  Yes, I’m glad I pretended you asked that, I do have pictures of my progress so far.

Negasonic Teenage WarheadNegasonic-Deadpool20160823_175442

I’m specifically cosplaying her appearance in last year’s “Deadpool”.  She is so fucking emo!  I was in love with the look the second I saw her,  and in love with this version of the character just a few moments after she came on screen.   I have to be this character!

I guess you noticed, her head is shaved.  Yep,  I’m doing it.  Unless I freak out and can’t.   Nope, totally doing it.  Maybe….

`Imperator FuriosaSs-mad-max-fury-road-104

20160823_175823Two for the price of one on that head shaving thing.

Sorry about the super blurry picture.  She will be great to cosplay, if I can get  enough of the accessories done to make it work. I don’t even think I will get time to attempt the arm, not that I really have the skill set for that anyway, but I very much hope I can come up with something for the gear/skull belt.

I’m doing such badass characters this year, when normally I go for cute.  Maybe I’m finally growing up….

Gin Fairy

20160823_142043Seriously, don’t tell me you believed me for even a second on the growing up thing.  We are talking about my rather serious hobby of playing dress-up.  Of course, going to a fancy tea party is always in the cards for this sugary sweet lolita,  except this year the part of “tea” will be played by hard liquor and the “fancy party” will be a group of lovely ladies who want to be the anthropomorphic personification of their favorite booze.   Keeping it classy, bitches!

As you can see, not much done here yet.

I will post something new here every day until Dragon Con starts.  Mostly so I can stave off the guilt and shame that will descend upon me when I go to writer’s track sessions, where I will be forced to think about how very little I have written this past year.  I need the high of getting all pumped up listening to successful writers talk about their success, and being able to project that into my personal future for the coming year.  I can’t have the reality of my crippling self-doubt and rather epic ability to avoid work get in the way of my happy brain chemicals and delusions of grandeur.  When I hand out those business cards I will be able to say  “Oh, yes, there are so many posts on my blog, my own website isn’t wasted money at all, darling. I’m a professional”.  


Until tomorrow!