Musings of the leonine flitterby

Minimalist altars

My Altar at the Cherry Hill Seminary Intensive in 2013

My Altar at the Cherry Hill Seminary Intensive in 2013

I was recently going through my photos, and came across this one. This altar was created ad-hoc at the 2013 Intensive for Cherry Hill Seminary.

I normally travel with a minimal altar – 3 stones to represent fire, well and tree, and a small bowl for offerings. In this particular case, I didn’t realize that we needed to create an altar for the classes until I was in Missouri .. well away from home.

For this altar, I used the cloth I had brought with me for my room altar, my normal offering bowl, a candle and small bowl that I purchased from the shop where the class was being held (Willow Elements) and a glass with a sprig from outside … fairly quickly, I was able to pull together a fire, well and tree altar!

For new folks who are concerned about making sure that they have a good enough altar … this is more than good enough! It worked great at the intensive and similar altars have worked well for me in my travels.

Welcome to balance in 2016!

It’s a new year, and it’s been a crazy couple of months. My big project at work was released and pretty much all of my time was taken up with that! I did start playing the piano in the middle of the chaos. I’m not very good, but I’ve noticed that even taking 20 minutes to just practice exercises helps me to break out of the stress-work-stress cycle.

When I get into that stress-work-stress cycle, just about everything else goes away. My creativity and study habits get dropped, as well as any focus on my relationship. Luckily, I have an amazing partner who is familar with this and understands.

As I enter 2016, one of my focuses is balance – balance between the types of work that I do, balance between personal time and work time, balance between spending time with my partner and spending time alone, balance.

It’s easy to talk about balance. But the quesiton is how do I implement it? One of the ways is keeping track of things that I need to do, and things that I want to do, and trying to make sure that I get some done. I’m scheduling time for study and for play as part of my “need” time. Exactly what I do in those times might change depending on what’s going on, but the focus is to make sure to spend time every week to do something.

How do you find balance? This is going to be tough for me, so suggestions would be appreciated.

Habits continue

It’s been a little over a month since I started the effort to be creative for 30 days, and I did it! Even with a trip in the middle (go socks) there was creation every day. Now I find that I really enjoy the creativity and I’m actively looking for different ways to add creativity into my day.

Ride in Peace – Paris 2015

As a result, I have a number of different projects in the works, and most of those are presents, there’s no finished projects to show .. so .. have a bit of creativity that I found in Paris this Summer.

May your lives be filled with smiles and creativity!

A habit might be forming

It’s been really interesting as I try to form habits of practice. I seem to have a lot of difficulty doing so, and quickly fall out of habit once my schedule changes. I travel often enough for work that this is an issue.

Recently, I’ve been doing the 30 Day Creativity Challenge from Little Girl Designs. The basic premis is that you spend 20 minutes a day doing something creative. Jennie has created a downloadable mini-workbook that includes space for you to give yourself permission to take the time every day and a 30 day calendar to track your progress. I printed up both of these sheets and have been writing down my progress every day. The printed sheet lives by my laptop, which is right next to the chair that I usually sit in to knit, spin or crochet.

I wonder if there might not be something about having a printed sheet right there that I can fill in that helps to keep me on track. That and it’s only 20 minutes a day.

I’m on day 13 right now and I find that I have the urge to create every day. Today I was busy and didn’t do anything until about 30 mins ago .. and I wanted to create .. there was a desire to pick up yarn and make.

I’ve already created one thing – the dino pictured here – and I’m working on a shawl that has been in the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile for a long time.

I do have a good bit of travel between now and the end of the 30 days, so we’ll see if the habit can continue. I’ll definately take socks with me to make!

An Extrovert Alone

I identify as an extrovert. I’m not a very strong extrovert, but I’m definately more extroverted than not. Still … there are times when I don’t feel very extroverted. For years I thought that maybe I was really an intervert who was good at playing an extrovert. And then I realized that I’m not really, I just get tired of being “on” all the time.

Having spent many days back to back in meetings, or working on fires for work, I need some time “alone.” But here’s the difference between my alone time and that of my introverted friends. My “alone” can include other people ….. in fact, I don’t enjoy spending days of time completely by myself. I need that connection to other people.

“Alone” really means that I’m in a situation where I can be myself, do what I want, and choose on if to engage or not. In these situations, I don’t want to feel as if I need to take care of someone, or respond in a certain way, or engage in conversation – but it’s still nice to see the world passing around me. Going out to the library to read, or sitting in a park, or walking through a street market can help me recharge and re-connect.

Time when I am truely alone, with no one nearby, is still useful and does allow me time to get things done that I want to do. But that not-quite-alone time is also very helpful for me to recharge. Walking through the city of Paris, or Seoul, or Frankfurt, or San Francisco … just myself, my thoughts, and a lot of strangers helps me to re-connect, to center, to be me.

There are lots of different ways to connect, to center. This is just my way.

Visiting a Buddhist Temple

I recently visited Bongeunsa Temple in Seoul, South Korea. It was my first visit to a Buddhist temple, and I’m not sure what I expected.

It was a week before Buddha’s Birthday, which is celebrated in Korea on May 25th this year. The temple was decorated with lanterns and floats for the celebration.

As I walked in through the massive entryway, guarded by four guardians, I heard the chants being piped over the loudspeakers as well as the chanting from the Buddhists who were currently in service.

This particular temple has a massive statue of Buddha where people were saying prayers. Seated in the heart of the most high-tech part of Seoul, this temple is an oasis of peace in the insanity of the rush of everyday life. Standing on the Temple grounds was so peaceful and centering.

This Temple offers an overnight stay where they feed you and teach you about Buddhism. It’s a very peaceful way to encourage others to learn your faith.

While I may not follow the Buddhist way of life, I find a lot to admire in it.

 

 

Walking through Fire

This post was inspired by the Pagan Experience May posts.

Lately my daily divinations have been … interesting. They speak of a trial, of healing a hurt, and walking through the experience. In my Soul Work class at Cherry Hill Seminary last Fall, we talked a lot about moving through the Fire.

When you walk through Fire, you have to have the right mental state, and take care to move lightly and softly, or you’ll get burned. If you don’t go into it with the right mindset, it hurts!

I have been going through the Fire lately. It’s been all personal and internal, but it definitely affects my external experience. My mindset has not been the best and there has been pain.

Today, my rune pull was algiz. Algiz is about the connection to the divine. It’s about aligning yourself with the greater plan and all the luck, protection, and well-being that that brings. It’s about letting go and trusting.

I haven’t been great about letting go. I over-think a lot and keep worrying at an issue that I can’t resolve. Instead I should acknowledge how I feel, how it makes me feel, identify anything that I *can* do, and trust the divine in the rest.

It’s time, trust in the divine, and just walk through that Fire.

Survey of North California Pagans

Greetings to the few of you who follow this blog!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am taking classes at Cherry Hill Seminary.  One of the classes that I’m taking now is a Public Relations class and our current homework is to understand our audience better!

My project is to come up with a PR plan that will help my local group to grow and attract new members.  Doing that means that I need to get a better understanding of Druids, Heathens and Pagans in our area!

I’ve created a survey to help me get a better idea of the folks around me.  No personal information is recorded and I might post the summary results after it’s over.

I’d really appreciate if you could answer the survey for me.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NCalDruid2015

The survey ends at midnight on March 13th, 2015.

Thanks!

When papers are good

Some folks may be aware that I’ve been taking classes at Cherry Hill Seminary   I’m into my 3rd semester and I’ve enjoyed all the classes I’ve taken so far and am really enjoying the current classes on Modern Paganisms and Public Relations!  
This week, I managed to have three reasonably large peices of homework due and I got them all done!  My ADF studies had to slip a little bit but that happens sometimes.  I’m still thrilled that I was able to get all three papers submitted on time.  I might be getting back into the swing of classes!

If you’re interested in getting a Master’s degree, or if you’re just interested in learning more about cool topics you should check them out.  I’ve taken classes from Vivian Crowley and am taking a class from Heather Greene of the Wild Hunt   There’s more classes than I have time to take.  Cherry Hill does shorter 4 week classes called “Insights” and the longer master’s classes.  If you are looking to expand your horizons in a pagan-friendly atmostphere, it’s definately worth looking at.

Disclaminer: I am not paid in any way by Cherry Hill Seminary, but I do occasionally do volunteer consulting work for them.

Personal Practice – work in progress

This week’s Pagan Experience post is about our personal practice.

I am following a Druidic path – one that balances reconstruction and experimentation.  I find that understanding, why the practices that I’m doing, were done before, helps to deepen my experiences of them.  Knowing that what I do today has echoes to the past is important to me, but so is doing practices that make sense to me. I’m learning more every day, and adjusting my practices to match the new information that I’m learning – both experimental information and historical information.

In a more practical overview, have a daily practice, well more like five times a week practice, which includes weekly devotionals and meditation.  My practice balances between the Ancestors and the Gods.  I have two different altars – one for my ancestors and one for the Gods and spirits – and I move between them depending on what the focus of the day is.

For the rest of my practice … I’m still working on it.  But then, as many folks have said, that’s why it’s called “practice,” not “perfect.”

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2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Victoria has read 1 book toward her goal of 6 books.
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