27 February 2011
“What if I had a thing on the side? Made you cry?
Would the rules change up, or would they still apply?
If I played you like a toy?
Sometimes I wish I could act like a boy.”
In a departure from my normal musical preferences, Ciara has been resonating with me lately. I think it’s the righteously angry tone. One of my roommates listens to her incessantly, and I’m beginning to mind less and less. Regardless, that’s the mood I’m in, and thus ends another too-short-and-yet-too-long weekend. How many more days until I graduate again? Oh yeah, too many.
I spent time with family and friends, and had a generally good time, but I feel like something is missing from my life. I’m not sure if it’s just me feeling lonely (lame) or if it’s something bigger, but for some reason lately nothing seems to shake that nagging empty feeling. Then, suddenly, a big ole’ wave of “I now know exactly what I want, and it’s entirely impractical” just hit me.
I want to run naked through the woods.
Or, perhaps, I want less of a “run” and more of a “frolic.” I’m sick of the winter and the cold and the hard, frozen ground. I’m tired of being forced indoors for classes and inspections and formal events. I’m bored out of my mind of the monotony and childishness and misunderstanding that permeates the culture here. I want it to be summer right now, and I want the sun to shine bright and bold at noon, followed by fleeting storms in the afternoon and the hot, sweet smell of evenings. I want to be without responsibility and without authority, for myself or for anyone else, and I want to be free to run outside along pathways no one else can find. I want to run with the Wolves and fly with the Ravens. I want to wander, to dance, to lose myself in the foliage. I want to braid wild violets into the twists of my perpetually tangled hair. I want to embrace my inner Amazon and disappear into the hunt. I want to be alone, completely and truly alone, and I want to be happy with that.
As I am fully aware, this is all an entirely impractical stream of wants. I am responsible, not only for myself, but for about 40 others. I do have a certain amount of authority, and I can’t escape that, nor can I avoid answering to the authority of those who are responsible in part for me. I can’t make the winter suddenly disappear, nor drench myself in the sun that almost never shines over this particular stretch of New York. I can’t go wandering in a dark wood without consequences, and I can never quite be happy completely alone, no matter how hard I try…and that’s precisely the crux of my deeper problem.
I want so badly to wear the Amazonian mantel, and yet I am unworthy of it. I don’t deserve to run with Wolves nor fly with Ravens, because I can’t even run or fly solo for long without feeling sorry for myself. It’s pathetic. I hate it. I hate that drama, despite my best efforts to eliminate it, always seems to stir back up in my life. I hate that I have such good friends and yet I can’t talk with most of them about what bothers me.
Sometimes I wish I could act like a boy. I wish I could be an asshole and not care about hurting anyone. I wish I could just take what I want and feel no guilt, no shame.
I wish I could stick to my guns and not talk to Stargazer, no matter how much it hurts.
I wish I could find my Orion.
24 February 2011
|Picture from here. It made me chuckle.|
Once upon a time, I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. I don’t think I was technically an insomniac, but when I laid down for bed at night, my mind would keep me awake. I would be physically tired, with eyelids like lead and dead-weight limbs, but my mind refused to slow. I’d be spinning round and round at full speed, looping and backtracking and wondering always what the future held. It did not help that I have been something of an academic masochist from the moment my schooling started, and the implications of that became significantly more severe by the time I was in high school and taking five Advanced Placement courses any given semester in Latin, German, Physics, English, History, Calculus, et cetera. I took a total of twelve AP tests before I graduated, but I won’t make you vomit by recounting all my scores on them, which sadly, I still remember. Let’s just say I got to validate more than a few classes when I got to college.
Talk about nerd…but I think we’ve covered my nerd-dom ad nauseum already. For crying out loud, my tattoo is in Latin, and I translated the phrase myself and can explain how the grammatical ambiguity of the cases used provides multiple layers of meaning. Who does that!? More importantly, who the hell cares!?
Anyway, all those classes added up to a LOT of homework, which I wouldn’t be able to get started until I got home from practice every evening around 1900 (or, for you non-military types, 7:00 PM). Because I was OCD about leaving anything unfinished, I’d have to do all of it. I didn’t learn to prioritize and discern between what assignments were necessary and what I could get away with not doing until much later…like, last year, later. Thus, back in high school, I’d drive home, shower off the sweat from running, shovel dinner my throat, and then hit the books. Usually I’d finish by midnight, but if I had a paper or problem set due the next day, I’d be up until much later. I never intended to procrastinate—much like I still never intend to procrastinate—I would just have so many short-term pressures that the larger, long-term targets tended to be forgotten until they became “oh shit, that’s due tomorrow” moments. What was especially delightful about my daily schedule was getting up the next morning at ungodly early hours to go to AP Physics. And by delightful, of course, I mean horrendous. The class met an extra hour before classes normally started to account for being a double-blocked course, but luckily I only had to deal with Physics my senior year.
Even then, after I would finally finish all my homework, I’d have to begin the long process of trying to sleep. I developed a fairly effective mental system for it by the time I was 18, but even that took about half an hour. Half an hour of lying awake was a huge improvement upon the two hours it used to (and sometimes still did) take, and without learning how to consciously slow my breathing (in hindsight, limiting my oxygen flow was probably not the healthiest way to fall asleep, but it worked and it sure beat lying awake), who knows how long the mild-insomnia might have continued.
To summarize, my day usually went something like this:
0600/0700 – Wake up, shower, eat
0620/0720 – Running out the door to my car
0630/0730 – Roll in without a minute to spare for AP Physics/Home Room
1500 – Classes end, Cross Country/Track practice starts
1830 – Practice ends, cool down, stretch, chit chat, etc
1900 – Get home, eat dinner, shower
1930 – Start homework
2400 – Lay down in bed
0200 – Actually fall asleep.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Five days a week.
Weekends were awesome, at least. I had to get up usually around 0500 to make it to the bus in time to leave for a meet or invitational (we had one almost every Saturday), but then I could at least sleep on the bus and then beneath the tent until it was time to warm up for my specific race. Sunday was my favorite, however. I got to sleep in until around 0800 before my überCatholic parents drug me to mass.
However, it went away by the time I got to college. I think all the years of sleeplessness finally caught up with me, and furthermore, that by then…I had nothing left to mull over at night. I knew where my life was going and what I’d be studying, doing, and where I was ultimately headed. I’d be so exhausted by the time I’d be done with my academic and military assignments, that I’d lay down and fall asleep. Just like that. I’d close my eyes, and BOOM. I was out. Dead to the world until my alarm started screaming the next morning at 0500 or 0600 depending on the day and whether or not we had a morning workout. Most days now I’m usually asleep by midnight or shortly thereafter, but every once in a while, something triggers the insomnia again, and I’m awake until the wee hours of the morning. I just lie there, not really thinking about anything in particular, just pissed that I’m not sleeping yet. It’s such a waste of time to be in bed and not actually sleeping, because that’s time that could be spent accomplishing something important.
Either way, I hope it’s not permanently back to the days of “Well, I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I’m too old for that now. My twenty-something (ah, to be just barely allowed to legally drink again) body can’t handle it. I know, I know. I’m still young. I don’t feel that way, however. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way.
Looking back, I wonder if my lack of sleeping contributed to my finding my way to Paganism. I started practicing in high school, secretly, in my room at the full moon. I didn’t have any nosy roommates back then, and so I could lock my door and open the windows to let in the cool night air with the scent of the oaks and maples and hickories and pines and cedars outside, all colored by the bright moonlight. I had no idea what I was doing; I made up my own little rituals, pieced together from what I had read in historical fantasy novels by Juliet Marillier or the lovely, myth-drenched tales of Patricia McKillip, and of course what I had studied of history. My study of Latin was a huge influence there, and I drew a lot of what I whispered to the Goddess from Roman ritual words…at least, what I knew of them.
Since I did not stumble out of the broom closet until my junior year of college, I remained a guarded practitioner, performing my little works only in the dark long after my roommates had started snoring. It was harder for me to stay awake then, since I only really stayed up past midnight for the rituals and then on the occasional night an important paper was due (excluding, of course, two semesters ago, when I averaged about two hours of sleep a night due to a 25-page thesis paper in Russian about Baba Yaga as a symbol of initiation). However, this is getting really freaking long, and so I’ll save the rest of my nostalgic musings for another day. Or several days. Until then, blessed be.
23 February 2011
|Picture from here. Apparently, I'd meet this|
bro's dating standards. I'm a top ramen pro.
I ate my last piece of chocolate and a packet of pre-cooked tuna with soy sauce and garlic pepper last night. I am now completely and utterly out of food, so my sole sources of sustenance include the mess hall or dropping a $1 on ramen from our company store.
More noodles, anyone? Or am I the only carb-addict here?
First, I have to walk a bazillion miles just to get to my car. Ok, ok, you caught me. I’m exaggerating again. It’s actually about a 20 minute walk in normal weather conditions, but with the ice and snow built up all winter coating the shortcuts and pathways up the hill—did I mention the entire trek is a steep incline?—adds an extra ten or 15 minutes just to account for how many times I slip and fall. Then, after I’ve finally completed the journey to the parking lots, it’s a 30 minute drive to anywhere approaching civilization where I could actually purchase anything worthwhile. Of course, that’s 30 minutes not factoring in bad traffic, which is horrible in this part of New York. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if there is a part of New York where traffic isn’t terrible. Regardless, by the time I make it to a grocer, pick out what I want, and then get back on post, I have to deal with gate security, finding a parking space, and finally walking all the way back to my building from the lots. Thus, I can’t buy more than I can carry. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m not very big.
The whole thing trip takes about two or three hours, and if I want to stay well-stocked in noodles and crackers and cheese and fruit and the other yummy goodies I like to eat, it’s a bimonthly excursion.
I don’t have that kind of free time.
However, I did have time to make some more jewelry recently using wire, tiger tail, aventurine, hematite, glass, shell, black stone, and dark green agate. I made a matching set of earrings, cuff bracelet, and necklace. I call the set: Green Mystic. Pictures below. Enjoy!
16 February 2011
|"Princess Louise Henriette of Orange|
as the Goddess Diana" by Willem
van Honthorst, 1643.
I don’t pretend to be some powerful mystic, but I firmly believe that all things are connected, and that when we try, when we focus, when we open ourselves up to possibility, we can tap into those connections. We can feel the cycles, the patterns, and follow along the threads through the web that forms the fabric of the universe. I am a woman; I have cycles, tied to the moon. Thus, I am tied to the moon. The oceans are tied to the moon through the tides. It’s gravity. It’s string theory. It’s the binding, blinding glow. This all feels so much like common knowledge and simple wisdom to me, like the deepest, purest truth, that I can’t understand how so few of us feel it. Why can’t everyone see the patterns? Even though I don’t see them perfectly—I don’t think anyone really can—I know they’re there; I feel them, I can touch them sometimes, I can make out the shiny threads of life through the fog of human comprehension. Why am I one of few?
Gazing at the full moon or even just meditating on that gorgeous ball of reflected light always makes me feel closer to Diana. The Huntress has called to me since before I knew how to listen, and the older I get, the more I realize that. I think she had singled me out before I was born and tried to subtly prepare my family for it, starting as far back as my grandparents, perhaps even farther. My grandfather was a very talented artist, and his specialty was wood working. I’m told our styles are very similar, especially the way we portray trees and people (about the only two things I draw with any talent, in my opinion…although I’m beginning to develop some skill with mountains and sky). He passed away when I was seven, but he left behind myriad works of art that now litter with memories the basement of my childhood home, my aunt’s house, and my uncle’s house. He left us statues, paintings, carved trays, even a full-size wooden bar (I plan on stealing that one when I have my own place and am no longer changing states every couple years).
One statue my grandfather carved long ago, way back when my mother was young, was a statue of Diana hunting. Most of his art was grounded in real life, in things and people and places he saw, like an old cottage hidden in a dark woods, or a portrait of my uncle as a child, or their family dog chasing chickens across the farm yard. Sometimes his carvings were abstract but elaborate experiments in texture and medium, and usually they served a purpose. A table, a tray, a bowl. I’ve always loved the statue of Diana; I would stare at it when we went to visit my grandparent’s house for hours. She was meant to be a lamp, but the lamp part was never finished. He carved her from a big block of hardwood. She stands with one arm clutched to her breast and her other outstretched towards the sky. Her feet are bare, pressed into the mottled base, textured just like forest underbrush. A large cat—my grandmother always told me it was a leopard—follows close behind her, its face serene. Diana’s own face is calm and knowing with a slight smirk, and there’s a wildflower stuck behind her right ear. The statue, however, is now imperfect. A wheel chair accident and a dog that liked to chew everything his teeth could reach took their toll, and so Diana’s outstretched hand is snapped off, lost somewhere to time, and the leopard’s ears are missing as well. However, the statue holds a close place to my heart, and after my grandfather’s death was bequeathed to me. It sits in my old room back in my parents’ house, and I’ll be taking it with me when I move to Texas next fall.
Oh, Diana. May your shining face always illuminate the dark woods, and may your arrows fly swift and true for the necessary kill. Death and decay, rebirth, growth. Life.
15 February 2011
|Lovely green tea photograph from here|
Furthermore, not only am I a snob, I’m also addicted to all of those beverages better served hot. I drink about 5-6 cups of tea, coffee, or cider a day, and most of the rounds are usually tea. By “cups,” I do not mean the measurement of 8 fluid ounces; I mean one mug that, when I’m using my own favorite green ceramic number, actually holds about three and half *cups* of liquid. It holds four if I fill it all the way up to the brim (which I often do, and then subsequently spill some of it en route to my mouth). As I write this, I just managed to polish off a mug of this morning’s tea of choice: English Breakfast.
I only have about another two weeks’ worth of English Breakfast at the rate I’ve been boiling through it, and I only have about one or two more mug-fulls of Pu’erh left, as well. My herbal supply is still fairly well stocked, but I could always use more chamomile and I do feel like drinking the Dream blend from my preferred tea and herbal source, Mountain Rose Herbs. I haven’t bought that one in a while. However, I still have plenty of their Women’s Balancing blend and another favorite, Fairytale. I definitely need more green tea, and it’ll probably be either Matcha or Oolong.
There’s something so calming about drinking tea and coffee for me, even if I’m drinking a caffeinated version. I’m morally opposed to decaffeinated (why bother?) coffee as unnaturally taking the caffeine out of a naturally caffeinated beverage seems wrong to me. However, I do understand how some people (like my father) have to drink decaf because of heart conditions, et cetera. I’m young. My heart can handle it. I have no problem drinking a naturally caffeine-free tea, like pretty much every herbal tea on the market, although some contain trace amounts of caffeine.
In other ramblings, my parents and youngest brother are coming up to visit in a few weekends! We have a formal banquet as well as a musical put on by my classmates, in honor of being 100 days away from graduation. Don’t tell anyone…but the actual count is 94 as of today…so it’ll be 80something when we have the actual banquet for it. Whatevs. I still get to see my family again, which is always welcome :) And on that note, I’m going to wrap it up for today and get back to work. I have yet ANOTHER paper to write and a presentation to give on nuclear nonproliferation. Joy!
13 February 2011
|"Priestess of the Autumn Lake" by me|
Nevertheless, I’ve been tapping into my multi-purpose artistry rather successfully this past week. I shook the dust off my guitar strings and my gig boots (a pair of rather bold and intimidating black pleather, lace-up, knee-high punk rocker boots with slight, clunky heels, which I have worn every time I’ve ever played a gig since sophomore year of high school) last Thursday to perform at a local club. It was for a talent show, so I only got to play one song, but it’s the first time in about four years since I’ve played for a group larger than a handful, and after a standing ovation and about 20 people asking me for a copy of my latest CD, I was asked if I wanted to actually play there again sometime. Naturally, I accepted. I now have extra motivation to keep those guitar strings frequently dusted.
I also dusted off the colored pencils Saturday morning and drew the picture that now decorates my profiles here and on Witchvox. I titled the finished product “Priestess of the Autumn Lake,” and it was inspired by my locating my Mists of Avalon DVD (note: the thin crescent on her forehead and watery attire) and a general desire to consecrate my black stone scrying bowl with a use. Eventually. There still hasn’t been a good time to entrench myself in ritual, but in all honesty—will there ever be?
In other my-random-life news: this time next year, I’ll be living in Texas. I’m pretty excited about moving further south, if only because I’m so goshdarn sick of snow and cold and this terrible New York weather. Texas isn’t Virginia, obviously, but it’s warm, so I’ll take it. I’ll be taking a stop through Missouri for a few months first, but then it’s on to good food, lots of sunshine, and shorts in wintertime. Can’t wait!
I think I’ll be spending the rest of my afternoon watching Mists of Avalon (beautiful book, as well) while one of my roommates takes a nap, and then hunting for apartments in Texas. Maybe dinner will sneak it’s way in there, but who knows? We’ll see. Hope you enjoy the new blogger profile picture, and that the bad-juju tainting the air here doesn’t touch your life. Blessed be.
04 February 2011
|Picture of the star Betelgeuse found here|
So. Time for a little introduction on why I think this is so interesting and so important.
At this point, pretty much everyone has heard one thing or another about the bazillion end-times theories surrounding 2012, from the rapture to comets to the Maya predictions to zombie apocalypse. I believe that anything is possible, and there’s really no way to prepare for an apocalypse, but some of the theories people have cooked up over the years are pretty entertaining, if not necessarily valid. Whether the world ends, changes, grows, or stays exactly the same, all we can really do is try to keep living. However, sometimes I wonder if a great-change really is in the works. With climate change becoming ever more apparent (it amazes me that some people still try to claim that the scientific community hasn’t proved anything in that department. Like, really? When was the last scientific journal YOU read? Because all the peer-reviewed ones I’ve encountered are pretty clear about a few things, namely that oh yeah, the world climate is changing and temperatures are getting more extreme), and with the gross increase in intrastate conflict throughout the world (particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia), not to mention the rise in volcanic and other seismic activity (although since studies on supervolcanoes have only been conducted in the last 100 years or so, the results are somewhat inconclusive because we have no idea what would constitute normal versus increased activity), and then, of course, the potential for another magnetic pole shift (and we have absolutely no idea what that would do to the technology grid since the internet did not, incidentally, exist during the last pole shift) and now there’s this bit about Earth getting a second sun.
Wait. Hold up. Second sun? you ask. Yes, a second sun, but it’s not really that simple. Apparently Betelgeuse, one of the brighter stars in our night sky (already a red giant), might go boom at any day now, and a physicist from Australia has predicted it to go supernova by 2012. Although, in all fairness, he qualifies that it could just as likely happen tomorrow, or next week, or in another 100 years, or not at all. Betelgeuse could just as likely turn into a black hole or a neutron star. We won’t know until it happens (or doesn’t happen), and given the speed of light and distances in the universe being you know, pretty far away, whatever we see will have actually happened something like 640 years ago.
If the star goes supernova, the explosion will produce so much energy that we’ll experience it as a second sun, lighting up the day and night sky for a few weeks, and then fading into nothing over the period of a few months. Possibly. Again, we really can’t know. Things like supernovas are such macro events that they’re nearly impossible to study with any conclusiveness. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. The full article I initially read, as well as one that goes into more detail about the scientist’s specific theory (he outlined his prediction in a lecture recently) are linked below:
“Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012,” Huffington Post
“Tatooine's twin suns - coming to a planet near you just as soon as Betelgeuse explodes,” news.com.au
As soon as I saw this article, I was reminded of a poem/song I wrote earlier this year. It’s posted under my lyrics & poetry page, and I also devoted an entry to it after I originally wrote it. What this two-sun phenomenon brought to mind specifically was the promise in the lines, “By the time the blood-sun rises, I’ll have stripped you of your crown.” This bit of lyrics was the product of my not really thinking, but just sitting down and writing what came to mind. Thus, I was never really aware of what I was writing, per se, I just wrote. I discuss this tendency of mine to not pay attention to what I’m actually writing about until it’s done, and then I read between the lines to figure out wtf was I thinking, usually to no avail, in the entry where I originally posted part of the song, which you can find here. Blood-sun. Second sun. It’s an interesting parallel, if not necessarily a connection. I am very, VERY curious to see how this Betelgeuse thing plays out, if it does at all. The year 2012 isn’t all that far away.
I generally don't put much stock in conspiracy theories, as fun as they are to read. However, I suppose it’s never too late to start stocking up on zombie-fighting gear.
01 February 2011
|Picture from here. Warning: it's cheesy.|
However, now that I’m done with that tangent on the fabulousness that is a free and active press, back to my scrying bowl. So I’m sitting there trying to think of something witty to say about Chinese text messaging censorship, and when I leaned back in my chair, I caught sight of my little black stone bowl, sitting there on my shelf nestled all cozy-like in between my mini-cauldron and Gregory the Gargoyle (thanks again, Werewolf06) and my scented votive collection. I picked it up and held it for a few moments, drinking in the cool texture of the stone and the lingering scent of the scarf in which I used to wrap it. Immediately, I wanted to turn out the lights, light a black candle, fill the bowl with water and a pinch of mugwort, and see what was to be seen. But I couldn’t. Obligations and assignments once again got in the way.
Plus I’m not sure what my roommates (both present at the time) would have thought of that.
So I just sighed and put the bowl back on my shelf. Perhaps this weekend I’ll get a chance to use it. I would love to do some divination at the New Moon and see what the darkness wants to show me, but I don’t think I’ll get a chance.