It’s a Love Story

In my update of life, I promised to try to do three things: a depression post, a lifestyle and a love story. I did the lifestyle one, and as you can probably guess, I’m not here for depression. So let us begin.

 

I wanted to do this elaborate short story for ya’ll, with visuals and stuff, and while I still may in the future, my love story is a pictorial one. I took all of these myself and I will show you, through these pictures, the greatest love that I can.

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This frog was found while I was getting the pumpkin patch ready for planting.

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This is our puppy, before he went to the groomer. His name is PupPup.

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My husband bought me flowers just for funsies.

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This is the road I named “Shady Lane” when I was a kid, because of all the trees. Most of them have since been cleared out by the Amish.

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The berry bushes at my parent’s house. We’d gather in between 15 and 20 gallons of berries each year.

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Milkweed, which will come into play in a moment.

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This was the batch of wildflowers that served as my wedding bouquet.I dried them out and they are now in a labeled ziplock.

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This was taken at the park near my parent’s house. I absolutely loved the way the snow slung to the branches.IMG_1245

Also from that park, on one of the nature trails.

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The picture directly above this sentence and directly below are of the same field, just different years. It’s right across the street from my parent’s.

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I told you that milkweed would come into play. This was the best picture I’ve ever taken of a caterpillar. You can see the little drops of dew!

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And here the caterpillar is all grown up and transformed. I knew it was the same one because it remembered me and only came around when I went looking for it.

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This next picture is probably my hands-down favorite. I got to drive my dad’s car that day and the way the mirror lent itself to the view is just perfect. Same “Shady Lane” as before, just different direction, different season.

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These little purple flowers are all over the roadside and I love them!

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There are plenty more to share, but for now, the story is at an end.

Spirit Animals

I wanted to go in a slightly different direction today. This is a mental purge, a way to get out of my system some of the bits of information floating around in there. I don’t think it’s too incredibly political, too advocating or too anything, really. It’s just what I said- a way to expel some of the thoughts which bound around in the top of my being.

  When I was younger, I had a deep fascination, and someone what infatuation with dolphins. I drew them all over my stuff, I bought posters and books and binders with them on it. And I mean, who didn’t want something with a Lisa Frank dolphin? That animal, to me, represented all that I wanted in life: freedom, the ocean, happiness and a boundless place to roam. Dolphins were a symbol of great beauty and I attached all my wants to that symbol.

  When I grew a little older, I found myself slowly attaching those same ideologies to butterflies. They were just as free, just as beautiful, but they took to the sky, drinking from the beauty that is nature. I once more drew them on my things, made little artworks with them on it, went out of my way to help them live, to feed them. I held butterflies in highest regard and found myself wistfully hoping to be one of them one day.

  I force-fed the next animal down my own throat. I felt like I needed something cunning, powerful and strong. I needed something that embodied those traits, but also some of the ones quickly seeding in me: introversion, solitude, independence. And I settled on the wolf. It isn’t flashy, like say a lion or a tiger, but it’s also very symbolic of the person I wanted to be, and still do. A wolf hunts ruthlessly, sometimes alone, sometimes with others, but remains a wanderer. And as much as I wanted that to fit, the wolf and I are just mutual friends. It was simply not to be.

As I watch life pass by, I realize more and more that I don’t need to be like everyone else, that I don’t have to use my twenties to make crazy, irreversible mistakes. I certainly can, and will likely do so, but I do not need to feel pressured into it. I do not feel the need to sit at a party, guzzling drinks. I do not feel the need to vandalize things and riot. (Although, there are several things I will defend vehemently, but non-violently.) Instead, I am the watcher. I look at the people who are where I want to be, people who are not on the path I want to be on and everyone in between. I embrace solitude, but know that I am not alone.

I could be free, free to travel the world, free to settle down. I can keep my eyes wide open, waiting patiently. I can sneak up on life, as it does to me so often, take it by the hand and lead it where I want to go. And I can choose to not be afraid to ruffle some feathers, even if they’re my own. It seems that all along, I was being chosen. And I love life’s little lessons like that-where you’ve been doing things which lead up to a certain point without actually even knowing it. Your subconscious is a beautifully terrifying thing. And I do not find it at all mystifying that when I searched for an animal who embodied all the traits I was after, I came upon the owl. 

  All of these animals have been my guides, my spirit brethren. And I will value each of them and their lessons. But I know that I am not finished and this journey is just one fork of many on the red road of life.

(No credits were given on Pinterest for these photos, so I unfortunately can offer no credit either.)

It Isn’t Like They Say

Yesterday I started my job, and it was just swell. But by the time I got home and got finished with my homework, I barely had enough time to eat before I fell asleep. Thank goodness my husband understands and just let me sleep. Today I’m back at the grind, but also, I’m back to posting about things that mean worlds to me. I wanted my first post in this last month to be about something I hold very dear to my heart: beliefs. And before I jump right in, I’m going to preface by saying that these truths are my truths. Everyone has different experiences and that leads them down different paths. These are the ones for me. And therefore, you are free to make your own conclusions, but it will not affect mine because I have lived them, I have experienced and grown as an individual.

As you can see, I changed my blog title to To Be An Equal. I got to thinking, isn’t that what my point is anyway? Pointing out reasons why we should all be accepting and help foster the levels of equality amongst all peoples? So I wanted something that reflected that. Also, I want to open up the option of suggestions. If you have something that you wish to see me rant about from an anthropology student with a deep love of people and bring in facts and whatever, let me know. I’m always up for a greeat discussion. So anyway, back to my story.

So where to begin? The beginning, of course.

I went to church in an exceptionally small town, so small I won’t even name it because you wouldn’t know it. It had, in its hayday, 100 people,  but most of the times that I remembered were 40-50. As a small child (of 4 or so), I was unfamiliar with the ways of the church, and my parents took me there. I remember one Sunday the teacher brought in a Qur’an and told us that in order to defeat the devil, we had to know who he was and told us to rip up the book. This also happened with the Book of Mormon, I believe. Later the papers were lit on fire. I was told what behavior was acceptable, including the need to squash down questions. When I was a preteen, I had several questions. Now, I was not asking these questions to be a delinquent. I thought that the questions I had would aid me in being a better Christian. (If women in the Bible have their heads covered, is hair enough, or should I have a covering? If anger is a sin, how can God be without sin if he got angry at the Jews…a lot? andan assortment of those questions.) I went to the pastor, because I assumed that he would have the most answers. He told me I shouldn’t ask questions and just accept God on faith alone, because that’s what true Christians did.

  Obviously that didn’t jive with me. I was an inquisitive person, with feelings and concerns who got shot down. I didn’t like hurting books. Books couldn’t harm people, could they? They were just words. (I admit, that was naive of me. But really, there is no reason to be murderous towards a book of peace.) And on top of that, the people there judged you on what you wore to service, and I witnessed one girl get removed for wearing a tank top and shorts (It was the only pair of clothes she had without holes or stains.) So by the time I was 17, I was out of church, I didn’t really want to return, but I went occasionally for my mother, although we did switch churches. I was saved, baptised, I was a member of the first church and everything. 

I entered college soon after and began to find something missing in my life. I wasn’t sure I was okay with the church stereotype I’d been given, and needed to find something else. I took a lot of quizzes, looked online and decided maybe I belonged to a UU (Universal Unitarianism) church. But I would find out that I didn’t belong there really either. I just didn’t like the way that everyone seemed to need a scape goat. SO I didn’t stay.

I stumbled onto Wicca through a series of bizarre recollections. I’d come across an article in the 90s about paganism from like 17 magazine! And I remembered reading it and relating, so I looked into it one my laptop. I alomst immediately loved what I read. It was a transition period, mind you. I had gone from one supreme deity with (as had been taught to me) a sexist attitude, a vengeful anger problem and jealousy issues to many deities and a connection to the energy of the earth, as well as the loss of a need for forgiveness. I could be whatever person I wanted to be. And the pat that made the most sense was theline in the rede (the “bible-like belief code) that said “And it harm none, do as ye will.” I had a whole new world open up to me, and I could still have a moral ground to thrive on.

  But as all good things do, this phase came to an end. I felt the pressure to be a supply hoarder: candles, books, incense, herbs, everything. It soon began taking over my life and I felt suffocated by it, just as I had with Christianity. There was also a reverse sexism that I understood much later: against men. We spent so much time focusing on the feminine that the masculine became marginalized. So I began my search once more. But where would I end up? It turns out, as a druid. Well, with hoodoo tendencies, anyway.

So what do I believe now? Well, let me explain it to you.

According to the teachings of druidry, there are three aspects of your life that are of utmost importance: wisdom, creativity and love. I think that describes my life perfectly. I shift between the acceptance of many deities and the focus on just my personal one: Danu. I found her through the Morrigan. Danu is the three aspect mother goddess. I can go into all that more if you’d like, but for today I will leave it there. I can also talk about after death, before life, and really all the other spiritual things in a different post, if anyone wants to know, but I think I’ve gone on quite long enough so I’m going to use the rest of this post to dispell some stereotypes about witches and magick folk, as well as hopefully answer some questions.

  Do I work magick? Doesn’t everybody? Have you ever made a wish on a birthday candle, a star or a dandelion? But yes, I do personally do so. I pray to my ancestors, I speak with the great mother, I use tarot cards and crystals, I have a juju bag for protection. How often? Every single day.

Do I curse people? No. That’s a personal choice, but I still hold by the “do not harm” rule. Do I have the capacity? Yes. Do I? No. I just don’t feel right about it.

Do I have a religious book? No. Not really. Although I do have in possession two bibles, one qur’an, a book of shadows and a cook book (that one I use most)

Would I ever go into a church? I do. Not regularly, but before I moved out of my parents’ house, I would go to functions held in churches. It doesn’t bother me. I like to think that the Christian God would approve of my attempts to be a good human being. I do, however, make jokes while I’m there about being struck by lightning or spontaneous combustion. It’s just to relieve the stress.

Do I face any discrimination? Well, yea. Doesn’t everybody? I’ve had people give me judgey looks and glares while wearing religious symbols, as well as the occassional ignorant comment. Mostly it’s just people who don’t understand that worshipping nature is my fact, just as Jesus is theirs. 

Anyway, I hope this has been an informative look into the beliefs of a religious dabbler. I’m sure it will come up more again. Thanks for reading!

   (This is my favorite picture of Danu. She is fierce, she is the great mother goddess, and a wonderful symbol for mother earth). Also, the artist, who I do not know, is fabulous.

Thankfulness, Day 13

Friday the 13th. Typically known as an unlucky day, but I want to see it differently. I choose to see today as a lucky day, a day in my favour. I have a job interview today with the administration of the department of my major and I really think that I stand a good chance to get it. I’ve packed a good mojo bag, made myself a giant cup of coffee before I left and now I’m blogging about it before I go up. (What else am I going to do for half an hour?) Last night I was working away, trying to get prepared for my day today, and hoping ot get ahead on the homework, when the idea came to me for my post today.

Today is different than the ones which came before. Today I will be thankful, of course, but today I want to be thankful for the sake of being thankful. Not all the time do I need a six page essay about why I’m thankful, or the inspiration for such (even though Ifeel very verbose today). 

I woke up still sleepy, afraid that if I didn’t set five more alarms (I’m one of those people.) then I wouldn’t wake up on time. I poured myself some coffee as the husband took the dog out and got dressed. In true Michelle fashion, I have a dress shirt, blue jeans and aqua converse. Everything is color cordinated. (I’m gonna save the reason why I’m wearing jeans for a different day.) I walked out of the apartment to leave and sure enough, I felt winter’s chill, and that excited me. I love winter. Not driving in winter, but existing in winter. And then I walked with my husband to his class and sat down to begin this post. It’s amazing to me that I can be so alive, so in the moment sometimes. (Everything amazes me at some point, but I feel great depths of amazement each time-so it counts.) 

  (Here’s an old picture of our puppy, just because I know you were all wondering haha. He’s been since groomed and shaved, but I don’t have a more recent picture. He’s a Havanese, born Christmas Eve 2012).

Last night as I was preparing for bed, I got on Pinterest, as I usually do. It is a great source of inspiration for me, as is the point of that website. And I got to thinking. When I was in church, prayer was a great deal of my time. Feeling sad? Pray. Feeling happy? Pray. Need a job? Pray. Need a friend? Pray. Have blessings? Pray. When I got out of the church (again, a post I shall save for another time), praying was something I retained. I like talking to the universe and to those who made it. (Maybe I should save my belief system for a different post too.) And I came to realize that even though I do not need a formal prayer like The Lord’s Prayer, The Shepard’s Prayer, Hail Mary or Our Father, a part of me missed having something that I could say that would be like a little ritual all its own. So I set to work on that before I went to bed. And may I present, A Prayer to the Earth Mother.

  

Sacred mother, living within,

Call to us by name

Your garden grows, rests and thrives

Now as we wait beside you.

Call us to action, that you may prosper,

Let your rivers run clear and sweet.

Fulfill our needs within your forests and glades,

And the grasslands, tundra and deserts.

May we never take for granted all the gifts you bestow

As protectors of paradise

And gather us back to you when our time comes

That we may nourish those who follow in our stead

May the full extent of our actions be shown to us,

As you are a just and nurturing mother.

Let us live amongst your finest creations

As equals, forever connected, 

With mercy and compassion as our guides.

So it shall be.

Thankfulness, Day Four

Today, I am thankful for nature.

I lived in the country almost my entire life, minus about a total of four years. Some of that time, I was only a baby and do not remember. I lived on my own for a year and now I live with my husband in the big, sprawling city. I have no complaints about my life so far, save the fact that I cannot enjoy nature they way I could when I did not live in the city.

Nature is this big, glorious thing. It’s filled with magick and mystery and wonder. In the morning, there is dew on the grass, which you mowed the day before. There are gravel roads which stretch on for miles, sometimes the dust kicks up when you drive too fast, or the weather has been too dry. Trees line the roads, like they did in old fairytale stories. The lazy days of summer can be handled with a little time in the creek. In the spring and fall, thunderstorms bring mudrunnin and dancig in the rain. 

In the spring, your world blossoms with green and white and pink, little shoots of crops tilting their head towards the sun. By the summer, whole fields of food are alive, catching the unforgiving warmth of the sun, the blissful cool of the rains. In fall, harvest begins and with it, the chance to see hay bales, mazes and hayrides. You’re greeted each day by the magnificent art that crosses your eye at every glance. And just when you think life can be no more beautiful, the first snowflakes dance lazily across your face.

Little cottonballs litter the browning ground, a little more each day. Sometimes the temperature warms and they disappear. Sometimes the temperature drops and you are left with little sheets of ice. But on those most special occasions, you awake to find you have inherited acres worth of diamonds. Your coffee feels a little happier, blankets a little warmer and your heart bursts at the prospects of getting outside to make snow angels.

The thing is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nature is more than just seasons and weather patterns. It’s the coraking of bullfrogs late summer evenings. It’s the migration of butterflies in fall, along with the geese returning in spring. It’s each individual organism being alive and being recognized as sentient, beautiful creatures living in the same space we are. You can’t help but feel small and large all at the same time. And that’s why I’m thankful for nature.