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Excited for Tonight

Visiting family usually means that my mental discipline goes out the window.  Not that I’ve had much recently in regards to religion…  With a craft show coming up, my free time is filled with more sewing than meditation, ritual, or spellwork.  I even brought my work with me so I can create while visiting family.  So far I’ve made a small dragon and another mushroom spirit.  I’m in the middle of working on a larger doll.  I think I’ll have a nice collection of whimsy available for the craft show!

Obviously I have my hands full and am mentally distracted.  I brought my traveling altar with me and did a quick devotional on Thursday evening.  Otherwise it’s hard to find a private, quiet time to do anything.  I pray or chant to myself.  My Gods, while they do like attention, are not so full of condemnation when I cannot visit my altar each day.  They hear my whispered prayers, I think.  They are tribal Gods and seem to understand the importance of family time.  My patroness is pleased by art and, to me, sewing is a way of bringing her honor because she is my muse.  It is a different sort of ritual and I am coming to terms with that.  There is a sort of magic in art – that cannot be denied. 

  My family is not Pagan, although some of them have animistic tendencies.  They are accepting of my beliefs, and I am free to talk about them, but I do not go out of my way to rub their noses in it.  I may pray in front of them from time to time, as I did for Thanksgiving, or discuss my ways, but I generally find myself a quiet corner to perform any rites in.  I prefer it that way.  I don’t want to be a spectacle. 

Not tonight!  Tonight will be full of magic and socializing – with my witchy friends in Utica!  Since moving to the North Country, my old Pagan pals stopped meeting openly.  The high priestess*, my dear friend, has learned a lot from her teachers and she is forming her own coven/circle/study group**.  They’ve continually made it known to me that, no matter my path or where I roam, I’m always welcomed to join them.  I’ve started to take them up on that offer.  I miss the frequent magic and Pagan fellowship.  Between ADF rituals and amidst so much work, this is exactly what I need. I cannot exactly put into words exactly what I feel about working with them all except to say that we’ve all grown.  There is a palpable trust and understanding between us which allows me to feel very comfortable and welcomed despite my different ways.  I think we intersect on our love of folk magic and academic study.  The high priestess and one of the others seem more and more influenced by traditional witchcraft – something I am also continually drawn to.  I feel like Druidism is my religious path, but traditional witchcraft can fit very nicely in there.  This is something I’m still exploring, and the group in Utica is just what I need.  I’m so excited for later.  🙂

*I am not sure if she is comfortable being called such, but, to me, that is what she is and that is the role she plays.  In my opinion, it sounds less cult-like than “leader.”  😛

** They are not actively calling it a coven, but I can see it going that way. And you know what?  I’ve grown spiritually since a couple years ago and find myself comfortable being a part of that.  Totally another entry for another day…

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I’ve had an enjoyable weekend so far.  I was able to visit some of my family which is always wonderful.  My husband was able to spend a lot of time with his best buddy and our future brother-in-law (I’ll call him Hunter).  Now that I’m older, I get along better with my sister (I’ll call her Georgia).  It’s fun to to be with her and her fiance.  It’s always a very relaxed time, and Weretoad and I can be ourselves.  They always have a new drink for us to try that further inhibits us.

We took advantage of the visit to finally unveil our new car to the immediate tribe.  It’s a lovely green hatchback with spectacular headlights which I like to think of as dragon eyes.  In fact, I fancy the whole car a dragon (symbolically, of course).  I’ve referred to it as a green dragon, but my husband cringes due to the drug reference.  It’s been very difficult living in the North Country with only one car – and an old one at that.  We’ve already had some situations that made me feel uncomfortable and even helpless.  The public transportation system around here is practically non-existent.  There are buses that come to our area, but the hours are so limited that they don’t fit into my husband’s work schedule at all.  I need to adjust my sleep habits so I have time to walk to work in the morning.  I would really like to develop that habit as reducing my impact on Mama Earth is very important to me. We would have liked to find a hybrid, but they are out of our price range.  We did a lot of research and went for something that achieves decent miles per gallon and can assist us in transporting the kayaks we’re getting for Solstice.

Now that we have a new car, I’m thinking about creating a protection charm to hang in it.  It will probably have something to do with Lugh.  The Romans equated him with Mercury, a patron of merchants and therefore travelers.  This opens up the possibility that the Celts (or at least the Gauls) saw him in this way too.  In the Irish myths, Lugh has to travel to the Tuatha de Dannan before he is accepted by them (perhaps a stretch…).  I have been praying to Lugh for protection on the road for years now and I feel that he has heard and helped me.

I spent some time this weekend working on my Samhain costume.  I’m planning to be a forest fairy.  I’ve got the pieces of the vest cut out and ready to be stitched together.  I found ear tips this weekend but will have to paint them.

Finally, my husband found a Victorian card with a green fairy on it while we were browsing in an antique store.  I absolutely had to have it.  She’s Victorian, but not as silly looking as most fairies represented in that era.  I can’t wait to display her on my wall.

* At least I’m writing a substantial post!  I haven’t done that in a week it seems!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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As of August 6th, Weretoad and I have been residents of Northern NY for a year.  We moved up here from the Mohawk Valley last year.  It’s been a bit of a transition.  I’ve been meaning to write about it.

In many ways, the North Country is similar to the Mohawk Valley.  It’s still NY and therefore we witness similar plants and animals.  Each area enjoys productive agricultural areas and lovely rivers and/or canals.  We’re a couple hours away from the Utica/Rome area, so I’m not seriously removed from my family and friends.

That said there are differences.  Few people see wild bears in the Mohawk Valley, but they’re quite common up here, as are bobcats*.  There have even been lynx and cougar sightings.  This is probably because life up here is more agriculture than in the Mohawk Valley which is heavily urban and suburban except for a few happy exceptions.  The bigger animals haven’t been driven out yet.

The rivers in the North Country seem more appreciated.  They are a central part of life here and not just something discussed in 4th grade social studies.  People celebrate our rivers.  Schools incorporate them into their songs.  The St. Lawrence is huge to our tourist industry, and many people who reside in this area enjoy it for sport, beauty, and sustenance.

The urban and suburban centers, while spread apart, have grown on me.  Alexandria Bay is kitschy but the views are beautiful and the swimming area is great on a hot day.  Clayton is one of my favorite places to go.  It seems to be the artistic center of Northern NY with its textile museum, antique boat museum,  studios, galleries, opera house, and art classes.  The view of the St. Lawrence is just as spectacular there.  The dining is also wonderful and vegetarian friendly.

Potsdam, an hour away from us, is a lovely college town full of cafes, international cuisine, boutiques, and access to the Raquette River.  There is art and academia, and it seems very pedestrian friendly.  I wish it were closer so I could live there!

Our city is Watertown.  While smaller than Utica, it seems cleaner and more alive.  There are many shops, restaurants, a huge and ornate library, and a thriving farmers market that is right in the middle of everything on Wednesdays (although parking is hard to find…) and a second, smaller one closer to the community college on Saturdays.

I am finding things to keep me busy outside of work and home.  There are a lot of classes that I would like to take advantage of when I have a little more money – yoga, sustainable/organic gardening, tai chi, weaving, drumming….  I’ve even found belly dancing classes a few towns away.  The CUUPs chapter is now providing me a place to practice Paganism more regularly with others.  A second New Age shop just opened up here.  The Mustard Seed in Watertown is my vegetarian cafe.  We have an amazing Thai restaurant, a decent Indian restaurant, and now have hibachi!  We are super close to the Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Ottawa, and Montreal.  The military presence originally gave Northern NY a conservative feel, and I’m sure a majority of people here are very conservative, but the area is more diverse than that.    I’m feeling happier here and more at home, and that’s even without me waxing poetic about how I have an amazing job with wonderful people!

There are things I miss.  The proximity to my family and friends is one of them.  My parents, especially my father, keep talking about moving up here.  They really like it.  I wish they would.  I miss seeing them as much as I used to.  There are things about Utica I miss as well: the amazing Stanley theater and the art museum mostly.  The Stanley gets Broadway shows and MWPAI has a spectacular collection as well as their affordable film series.  Weretoad and I used to take advantage of that all the time.  We also miss Minar, the Indian Restaurant in Utica.  The place in Watertown isn’t bad – it’s quite good really – but the environment at Minar was special.  The staff knew us and the decor was warmer feeling.  Utica also had more independent cafes.  I’ve found some in Clayton, Canton, and Potsdam, but Watertown only seems to have Paneera and the closest thin in my hometown is a Jrek’s Sub Shop.

I also miss how close everything was in the Mohawk Valley.  Unless living in the extreme outskirts, it only took 15-20 minutes to get anywhere.  Up here, we have to drive 30 minutes to Watertown, 30 minutes to A Bay, 40 minutes to Clayton, 40 minutes to Canton, 1 hour to Potsdam…  It’s annoying and stressful to someone who wants to be more environmentally friendly.  But even if I were to move to Watertown so I could be closer to everything there, I would then be 30 minutes from my job.  I can’t win, aside from moving in between – which is what we’d like to do.  But, as the author of F that S says in her latest blog entry, living in the North Country comes with a lot of driving.  Her entry assuaged my inner guilt, reminding me that the little things one does to help the environment do add up.  Thanks for that!

While I’m certainly not close-minded to moving elsewhere down the road, I am finding myself happy here.  I have days or moments when I am annoyed by the driving, but that’s really the worst part, and I want to focus on the best parts, of which there are many.

Here’s to another year of exploration and growth in the North Country!

* I’ve not seen either yet, but my place of employment was on lockdown due to a bear once.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I’m back from a lovely weekend in the Mohawk Valley.  I was able to visit my family and some friends who graciously invited me over for tea.

I stayed true to my oath (vow?  Perhaps I should have gone to Seamus’ workshop at Wellspring…) and performed a full ritual this week.  Because I was away from my altar I used my traveling altar.  I had been using the little dishes some tea lights came in as offering bowls.  When the candles were used, I decorated them with different designs.  I offered some oil Friday evening as part of my ritual.  Actually, that was pretty much all I had to offer because I can’t fit much in the little box that is my traveling altar.  I left the oil in the dish over night and it seems to have weakened the plastic.  I’ll have to rethink this…

In other news, I tweaked the color of the links.  It should look better!

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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  I was meditating before bed last night.  I found myself in my astral nemeton and briefly met with my lynx spirit guide.  He chided me for not visiting often.  I next started to focus on a symbol – the triquetra.

It’s the symbol tattooed onto my back and is very significant to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever been able to focus so intently on a symbol before.  If a nagging thought threatened to derail me, I easily waved it away.  Suddenly a great blue heron flashed in my mind, flying across the triquetra.  This made me recall the once hopeful Misty Marsh Protogrove I and a few others were attempting to start in Utica.  We felt that the Utica Marsh was such an important part of our eco system and we were attempting to use the great blue heron in a logo.  My husband actually designed a prototype of a heron standing in front of a triquetra.  The group thought it was too Celtic (which I hadn’t considered at the time) and so we decided not to use it.  In the end, the group wasn’t meant to be and now I’m up in the North Country while one of the other possible grove members is in Albany.  C’est la vie, right?  Anyway, I felt it was strange that I saw the heron but it evoked memories of home.

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Happy spring!

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox and I went down to Utica for a reiki workshop led by friend and reiki master Imagickat.  This was her first class on reiki and the first time she’s given attunements.  I must admit, before the class I knew very little about reiki.  She’s given me reiki treatments before and they always really helped.  They make me feel at peace, like massage but in a different way.  This will sound strange, but I love to be touched.  Not in a sexual way – but spiritually.  It’s warming and comforting.  
Back to what I was saying.  I’ve been largely ignorant about reiki.  It’s something I knew existed and, like I said, even experienced from time to time.  For whatever reason I never bothered to read about it.  This is mostly because I have so many other interests that it never dawned on me.  I always (wrongly) assumed it was derived from Shinto  practices in Japan.  I didn’t think it would be appropriate for me to dapple with.  However, I learned that it’s adaptable to any spiritual practice and that it was even brought to America (by the Japanese) and changed so as to be better understood by Westerners.  It’s also incredibly modern, the practice only having been founded in 1922 by Mikao Usui.  
Learning this put me at ease.  Originally, I felt inclined to attend the workshop because I wanted to learn more about using and sensing energy.  I wasn’t sure if I would actually want to go further than learn, but in the end I’m glad I did.  The attunement wasn’t orgasmic, but I definitely felt something.  I’m much better able to sense energy within myself at the moment, but practicing yesterday enabled me to better sense it in others.  I was practiced on so much yesterday that my sinuses cleared for a whole day.  I later practiced on willing family members who said they felt at peace, that headaches vanished, and that they felt something sucked out.  I sensed a weird energy in my mum’s knees and she said they’ve been bothering her recently.  It’s all very interesting.  
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the ritual at Muin Mound in Syracuse.  I was feeling ill yesterday morning and felt that I shouldn’t go after an already busy afternoon (especially considering the necessary and long drive home afterwards).  I missed it but it was wonderful to see my old Pagan friends in Utica.  I’m hoping to do a Druidic ritual with my husband later.
I hope everyone has a blessed celebration of spring!  Just ignore the snow we had this morning.  😉

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Study Programs


My progress is slow.  I’m waiting for my books on magic in Northern Europe to arrive.  I cannot wait to attack them!  As far as the art SP is concerned,  I have to combine my working outlines into one document.  I was going to do laundry today but I think I’ll do that instead!  Last night I finished my book about Brighid and, oh my goodness, I learned so much.  A full review will come soon.  I promise.

Where were you when I needed you?!


The “former” MVPN forums* have a new member – a person who just moved from the “North Country” (not sure from where, exactly) to Utica.  Not only that, but she and her husband have recently become interested in Druidism!  When I was in Utica trying to start a protogrove, where were the other Druids?  Now I’m up here, and they move to Utica.  Bugger all!

Unfortunately for them, although the MVPN forums are still an open, networking space, the group no longer exists as it was.  The Wiccans are having more intimate gatherings at their homes and have every intent to focus more on their liturgy for the sake of personal development.  I hope the new Druid sees my reply in which I encourage her to check out ADF and Muin Mound in particular.  I hope to see her there!  

Sad News


I discovered a couple nights ago that my “oath ring” was not on my finger. That’s right, the ring that belonged to my mother.  The one I used to replace to broken ring.  I’m officially bummed.  That ring was important on so many levels.  I’ve looked everywhere…  I know it’s not tragic and that there are people with way worse problems, but I’m allowed to feel sad about it.

On the plus side, I felt driven to sit down and *really* meditate before bed.  I was having a difficult time getting into it for a little while.  As soon as I entered my “mental nemeton,” I found my fox spirit waiting for me.  I’ve been seeing and hearing about foxes everywhere recently so I wasn’t surprised to see her there.  She lead me through the forest and over a hill to a lake where she told me to bathe.  I washed and somehow felt better but also felt the desire to cleanse myself in a physical lake.  I also felt an overwhelming validation that the ring was not my spirituality – it was merely a symbol of it.

Hmmm…  I should do a reading.  I definitely feel that there are lessons to be learned from this, but I would like to hear what the Kindreds have to say about it.



* I say “former” because, although we have decided to change the name, the boards are still called The Mohawk Valley Pagan Network.  I’m really pushing for a name change and for the group to become a networking site for all of Upstate NY.  For more on this, please see my post “On the Vital Importance of Pagan Community.”

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