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Today was a stressful day.  It was, as I told my husband, the Monday of Mondays.  Getting to work was not difficult, but once I was there it was one thing after another.  There was a lot of absenteeism today.  Many people are out with whooping cough which is kind of uncomfortable.  I took my lunch break to run some errands.  I sent my grad school application off which was good.  The rest is in the hands of the administrators and the Gods. I then took some time to make what I thought would be a quick business call.  It turned into a very long and stressful exchange, but supposedly everything was rectified.  A second time.  Gods willing, everything is fine and I will get my bloody certificate of authority so I can legally sell at the upcoming craft show!  Everyone was very kind, patient, and helpful so I can’t fault them too much…

I’ve come to accept that it’s going to take me awhile to finish my Initiate Study Program.  Hell, it took me at least a year to delve into my DP, and three years after that to finish.  I took my time.  Who can blame me?  I was working on my first degree while working part time and maintaining various hobbies.  Working full time while attending grad school?  I know I’m going to have my hands full.

I am finding myself less resentful and guilty for my limited Druidic studying.  I do what I can.  I do my short daily devotionals, I pray, I make offerings to Brighid when I sew, and I do my weekly ritual complete with ogham reading.  I practice bits of kitchen magic here and there.  I try to make time for meditations and walks in the woods.  I listen to Pagan music and podcasts.  I alternate fiction with Pagan studies when I read before bed.  I get in touch with my inner self and the spirits through my art.  That is how I am living and experiencing Paganism now.  Do I feel like I could do more?  Sure.  But I’m not beating myself up over it now.

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

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Busy Busy

Life has been so busy recently.  Since Pagan Pride Day, I feel like my schedule has been full of non-stop action.  Work, two equinox celebrations, Pagan meetings, more work, car hunting, grocery shopping, cleaning, pot lucks, Dungeons and Dragons …  I feel like, even when I have a spare moment, I don’t have the energy for artistry or meditation.  I still do my devotional every evening, though, and that helps keep me connected.  Last weekend saw me at Muin Mound for the Equinox ritual, and that counted as my weekly formal rite.  This weekend I will make time for another on my own and I’m thinking about using it to meditate.  I really need to stop and do nothing  but focus on my breath.

The lack of art depresses me.  I bought some materials to use for wildcrafting and sewing – I just have to have the time and energy.  I’m also trying to decide what I want to do for a Samhain costume.  Muin Mound is having a contest and, while I have no particular need to win, I think it’s a wonderful excuse to make a new outfit.  I’m thinking about being a fairy.  It’s not particularly original, but I want something whimsical and nice enough to wear to work.

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters from Wild Hunt posted a fascinating and alarming blog entry today about an evangelical  Christian group called Repent Amarillo and their bullying tactics against anything they perceive to be immoral, including Paganism. *  This is very frightening to someone living in a predominantly rural setting with, in my opinion, limited safe havens for liberals.  I’m surrounded by Christian churches.  Right now, they seem more welcoming and peaceful than anything else, but there’s always that fear of what they would do if they knew about my beliefs.  What could I do to protect myself?

Jason writes:

That doesn’t mean we need to out-militant them, but it does mean that Pagan communities, especially small and vulnerable Pagan communities, need to prepare for the coming storm. They need to come out of the “broom closet” now to their employers and family before they are outed by these “soldiers”, they need to be prepared when the faux-military trucks and loud-speakers roll up to their events, they need to know the law and how to use it, and they need to be ready to network with the larger Pagan community and other sympathetic minority faiths so we can get the word out, show solidarity, give aid, and withstand these bully tactics. They may have come for the swingers first, but if we show no shame, and stand up, it can end with the Pagans.

At the moment, I stand with one foot in and out of the “broom closet.”  I’m very open with close friends and family.  I was very open in college and where I used to work.  In my current field I’m extremely reluctant to confide this side of me in anyone.  I’m lucky enough not to be the only vegetarian at work, but I don’t want to tempt alienation anymore after such a short time there.   (For the record, my diet has not alienated me, but it was something I kept to myself until I learned of the other.)  I suppose, if I were faced by the “coming storm,” I would have to first research and make certain my boss and HR people weren’t involved with any such militant organization.  Then I would probably request a small meeting with my boss, HR, and even mentor to let them know what I am and that I want to be up front and protected.  I would hope that my actions now would speak volumes about who I am and that an added label wouldn’t damage my reputation.

In the meantime, I’m not going to go into a panic about it.  Everyone I’ve met is, for the most part, a wonderful, welcoming, helpful person.  Barely anyone has even attempted to discuss religion with me, and when they do it’s fleeting – what kind of wedding they plan, etc.  At the moment, I’m not worried.

That said, I do wholeheartedly agree with Jason about networking.  The Pagan community is fractured and it is such a weakness in these instances.  We’ve been able to put aside differences and work together to get pentacle headstones and throw lovely Pagan Pride Days…  But thats only the start.  It’s what I’m hoping to get going in NY State with the transitioning MVPN.  I would love to see the forum become more of a networking site for Pagans all over upstate NY.  We need to come together as a community instead of wallowing in our perceived isolation.  We need to have bonds so that, if we ever get negative press, we have solidarity.  We need to know who in our community are lawyers, cops, and politicians.  We need to know who we can turn to and what their reputation is from the get-go.  We need physical meet ups to feel comfortable.

So those are just some thoughts.  As always, thanks again to Jason for a thought-provoking and informative article.

*http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/03/first-they-came-for-the-swingers.html

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