So I’m moving in December and in the interest of clearing out some stuff (both so I have less to keep track of, and because every little bit will help this move go more smoothly), I have a Destash: Crystals & Misc section at my Etsy shop. And while I have raised the prices on pretty much everything else at my shop to be fair to myself re: supplies + cost of labor (so some pieces have gone up dramatically), I kept a few lower-end items on clearance (but once these items are gone, nothing else will ever be clearanced in my store again, just saying). If you get any of these items you are doing me a favor, because again, it helps with the move. Even though my ticket is booked, I still have to do things like ship my stuff, pay for a shuttle (both to PDX and then in New Haven), etc; I spent over $300 to ensure my cat can come with me (both with the cost of putting him on the plane and having to procure a carrier per airline specs of dimensions, etc).
So, a few things to tempt my audience with today.
Left to right:
Golden Aura Quartz Points: $2/each.
Rainbow Aura Quartz Points: $2/each.
Violet Flame Aura Quartz Points: $2/each. (These are actually going pretty quick, so if you’ve been wanting some and holding off, you probably want to act soon before they’re gone.)
Rainbow Aura Quartz Nuggets: $6/each.
Peacock Ore: $4/each.
Lot of three BPAL imps: $12 for the set.
Lot of four coyote teeth: $3 for the set. (One of the teeth is slightly imperfect so you’re getting a tooth free [$1/tooth]; read the description.)
Golden calcite double-terminated wand: $15. This cost me $40 new years back.
Earth Mother necklace: on clearance for $10.
Green Turquoise bracelet: on clearance for $6. (I wear its twin.)
Dark Rainbow bracelet: On clearance for $6.
There are many more items available at my shop. I do in fact do international shipping (though please check your customs laws before purchasing, especially if you’re looking at the ‘yote teeth), and I also will do holds and work out layaway plans upon request (which includes a custom layaway order if you’re looking at purchasing several items). Thank you for your support and patronage!
In 45 days, I am going to be leaving the west coast, probably for good. (I allow for the possibility that in a couple of years I may fly back for a weekend to do something like Pantheacon, but as this is going to be my third cross-country move that shit is getting old now and I’d like to stay put for awhile and there are worse places to do it than New England.)
45 days is still far enough in advance that it’s not coming at me all at once, and as such I am getting done what needs to be done in stages between now and then, so I can minimize the amount of last-minute running around I’m doing (which will already be enough). (Also D helps a lot with timetables and planning, he is frighteningly efficient. His presence makes this go a lot more smoothly than it would, left to my own devices.)
Yesterday I made the first FedEx run to ship my stuff. A couple friends of mine came down from The Couv to The Beav, and five packages are now on their way to Connecticut. This is not ALL THE THINGS – I will need to do at least two more FedEx runs (the last one being the week before I go). But it was a significant haul – among other things, in that shipment was my altar stuff, which I packed Thursday/Friday.
I don’t really *~need~* to maintain altars – for starters, D is around much of the time and we’re not exactly formal, and once I’m back in New England I plan on doing most of my “Vanic stuff” outdoors – but having work space and tangible representations of the sacred, in my life, has been helpful. I’ve lived in situations where I was not allowed to openly maintain altars or any semblance of a pagan practise, so I know how to practise sub rosa as well as do with a minimum of tools or no tools at all. But having “anchors” helps, and my altars now being taken down, is a little sad. For starters, they were nice altars, pretty to look at, and the chances are good I am going to have to change the layouts when I can get altars set up again where I’m going, so they may not be laid out the same way again, and I may not be able to maintain more than one either depending on space confinements (in which case I am going to have to get creative, and make some compromises – D’s stuff may wind up on my desk, which I s’pose would be fitting considering he helps me with my work).
But even more than that… this is the inescapable reminder that life is changing again, and about to change in a really radical way.
Now, I have less anxiety about this move than I did when I moved to Portland in July 2013, in part because
1. this isn’t the surprise “you have ten days to find a place or you’re going to be on the street because I’m moving cross-country without you and decided to tell you just now even though I’ve been planning this for two months, lol” shit that got me sent up to the PNW to avoid being on the streets of LA
2. this is my third cross-country move and as much as I’d rather not do this again, it’s kind of like “oh OK I know that routine la la la” and
3. D is coming with me. When I left the east coast in 2006, it was to live with someone who I thought was going to be my life partner. That situation didn’t work, obviously, but I did wind up actually finding my life partner out here, and that D and I are actually going to build a life out there – I have hope for a better life out there, as stressful as things have been over the last year it’s been an uphill climb, not a downward spiral… that makes all the difference. And really, just having D around makes the difference, period. He’s good to me and good for me, and I appreciate him more than I can say. I found my soulmate, he’s just non-corporeal, but that scarcely matters considering how immanent he is (scarily so, sometimes).
That said, I still have anxiety about the impending journey. One of the ways I cope with anxiety is snark – I’ve made cracks about going to the Grey Havens with Frodo (we’re flying into New Haven, I’m PTSD-addled and need respite and can get that where I’m going, and one of my pet names for D is Frodo for in-joke reasons [it doesn't help that he said we can have "elevensies" on one of our layovers]). There are the obligatory “Snakes on a Plane” jokes because of my Serpent tribe affiliation. But I hate flying, and while D has said he will do what he can to help me keep calm on the day of the flight, it’s still going to be, well, a cross-country flight and an all-day thing. I have this inner ear problem where the G forces of taking off and landing are a lot worse for me than they are for other people, and I can’t walk on a moving vehicle without falling over (which includes planes, I can still feel the motion) so I’m grateful for the layovers wherein I can actually use the bathroom and not feel like I’m going to fall out of the sky. I am also going to a few really big airports (and then a tiny one), with a furry animal in tow… and Sheldon, my cat. *rimshot* Sheldon is a very docile cat so he should be OK in the carrier and when he has to go through TSA (he’ll probably just purr), but I still worry about him being stressed out as we go on our epic journey.
So looking at the empty tables that held my altar things… this is that reminder that This Is A Thing. I’m mentally preparing myself, and I’m also trying to keep busy so I don’t fixate on it and work myself up.
This is also going to affect my Samhain plans. As it stands now, D and I are just going to watch Rocky Horror and eat candy he says he’s got candy for me in his pants. If my ritual cord arrives before the 31st (this was a mental health purchase which I might elaborate on at some point) I might spend time dedicating it that evening, but otherwise my plans to do srs ritual and magic are not really going to happen beyond a very brief and minimalist ceremony to honor the beloved dead. I dunno.
And I bring this up because Samhain seems like it’s going to be a microcosm of the future of my pagan practise. While I’m getting my own room where I’m going, and I’m living with someone who is OK with me being pagan and so on, I’m going to have less space which means I am most likely going to be maintaining maybe one altar, and have to make compromises with what’s on it and where other stuff goes and how it’s arranged (like keeping a small space for D on my desk, which kind of fits considering he’s my business manager). I definitely plan on keeping at least one altar (and a space for D) because anchors, so shipping my altar stuff was not a waste (and there was more than that in the shipment, anyway).
That said, my practise has been fairly pared down over the last few years – I used to do a lot of big, elaborate ritual, and over the last few years my practise has gotten simpler and simpler. There was a period of time in 2013 where I was literally living on someone’s living room floor, so I had to figure out workarounds to keep stuff going (brief little things like libations became a more standard part of my practise rather than big devotional time). I get the sense that my practise is going to continue to get simpler as time goes on, or at least as much as it can be having a complicated-ass spirit-worker life bound up with two different pantheons. I have fewer and fewer fucks to give about whether or not people think I’m doing it wrong; it’s in the negative fucks right now. For all that I would have been horrified a few years ago at the way my devotional life looks now, wyrd seems to want me to keep things simple and have a more organic practise… so, that’s a thing.
Life is changing… wyrd seems to keep pruning until it’s just right. I’m more OK with this now than I was a year ago.
I cannot praise Jo’s post highly enough.
I’ve been on the receiving end of getting snotty bullshit from other pagans because I occasionally shop at big-box stores. (I haven’t been to a Wal-Mart in a couple years, mainly because the nearest Wal-Mart is prohibitively far, so I do shopping at Fred Meyer which has been described as “classier Wal-Mart”, but once I’m moved out of the Pacific Northwest and am back on the east coast, it’s going to be Wal-Mart and Target again.) I get tired of myself and people in situations like mine being treated like we have no conscience for the environment and workers when the reality is I need to be able to pay bills and feed myself and my cat and that’s really fucking hard to do enough as it is when you’re on a fixed income or you’re one of the working poor (I’ve been in both situations). As someone who owns an Etsy shop, I do in fact encourage people to buy handmade if/when they can, and I myself try to buy handmade for certain items as I can. But if I have the choice between spending $2000 on a handmade quilt on Etsy v. a $40 comforter that will keep me warm during the winter, guess which one I’m buying.
(I do a lot of thrifting, incidentally, I actually made a Goodwill run yesterday with a couple friends because I had no clothes appropriate for New England winter [having spent seven years in southern California, and having dramatically changed clothing sizes over the last two years] so while I was out shipping some stuff via FedEx I ran into Goodwill and got some nice sweaters that didn’t cost me much. I love Goodwill… when I can find clothing in my size. Where I lived in SoCal there was really not much available for larger people in thrift stores; here in the Portland metro area I’ve gotten lucky with finding mens’ clothes in my size. Thrifting is a good option for those of us who are poor, but it’s not always an option for people because of things like size and availability… or condition of items for that matter.)
The other thing that I’ve heard is “well you could just make clothes.” Sewing is not the easiest skill in the world to learn, despite what a lot of people say. (I can bead but I can’t sew. I’ve tried.) It’s also labor-intensive. I have all the respect in the world for people who can make clothing, who can knit, etc, because I can’t do that. But to get back to what I was saying, the “make your own” option sneered at someone for shopping at a big-box store is condescending and fucking offensive. Do you make every single one of your clothing items by hand? Probably not. So shut the fuck up, if you’re saying this kind of shit to other people.
It is easy to judge a person’s “lifestyle choices” when you’re not living their life, and let me be blunt, when you are poor like I am, you don’t really have a choice, your choice has been made for you by the way the economy works in this country. In a perfect world we would all be able to do local organic handmade everything. But we’re not. And I find that too often the people who are preaching the loudest, do jack and shit towards food justice issues and workers’ rights and so on, and in fact are the biggest perpetuators of the economy that is hurting people.
Classism is a prejudice that is fairly rampant in the pagan community (and one that I will explore further on my Patheos blog where I go into Captain Social Justice mode), but let me say, in short, it ain’t cute. Please try to check your privilege when you condemn people for things like shopping at Wal-Mart. It’s not as easy as “make wiser choices” and “buy secondhand, buy handmade, make your own”. If it were, I wouldn’t be trying to navigate a crowded store with bright-ass fluorescent lights, y’know?
Now go read Jo’s post.
Originally posted on Strip Me Back To The Bone:
Today was an errand running day for me. In my capacity of (volunteer!) Fiberwytch Assistant (or, F’wytchlet), I made my way to acquire some additional storage drawers, a bead-and-charm organizer, and a sync cable that did not come with the new store camera, despite the sales clerk insisting that it did, indeed. Heading out to our big box stores is always interesting to me. If I only look at the buildings, I realize could be Anywhere, USA. It’s a type of magic, really, that playing with reality and space, that something can be the same no matter where in the country one find’s oneself. When I look at the scenery, everything changes. Huge open sky. Mountains in the distance — from one particular vantage point, I can see a snow-capped peak most of the year. At the right time of year (read: most of the year) I can see the…
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Not only is this a beautiful essay about a lesser-known god and a devotee’s relationship, but this is a customer who bought a piece of mine in his honor and she talks about it here (thank you). <3
Originally posted on Rose is Reign:
That sentence popped into my head when I wondered what to title this post, so let’s go with that.
When I first began to practice as a Pagan, I favoured the Fire element – my first magical name, Scarlet, came from the mental image of a red-hot flame – and disliked Water, associating the element with soft and “wishy-washy” sentiments. I wanted to radiate the vitality and passion of fire, fill myself with Fire’s strengths; I resolved also to avoid Fire’s destructive energies, especially the unwise habit of making impulsive decisions. How I worried about appearing soft and unserious, in all things, even the Gods for whom humour is divine! As I learned more about divinities, I determined to choose one pantheon and remain strictly within it, to avoid mixing groups together or chasing after any god who merely caught my interest. I strove desperately to be “better” than those
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In a recent post to her blog, my fabulous friend Beth talked about small talk while she was getting her hurr did, and how awkward that was… and I related to that post a little too well, and as happens, I have a post now springboarding from that topic.
Recently I took a cab to get some errands done. I was already stressed out as it was, and my stress got compounded that much more by the cab driver (two different cab drivers, two different ways) chatting me up.
For context: I am a New England native, I spent the first twenty-six years of my life there. People from the Northeast US are often perceived as “rude” by the rest of the country – the word “Masshole” exists for this reason – in large part because when you do basic “errand transactions” like go to the store, go to the post office, take a cab, etc, people are not asking you to tell them your life story. Meanwhile having lived the last eight years on the West Coast, and the norm for these “errand transactions” is to deal with complete strangers asking me invasive personal questions, I myself consider that rude, not friendly. When I am buying something at the store, I just want to get my shit and get out of there, not play 21 Questions about shit completely irrelevant to what I’m doing.
Now, yes, I have anxiety disorder, and one of the ways that manifests is social anxiety. (I am medicated for this. It is a volume control, not an off switch.) I am socially awkward to begin with. But when I’m in these types of situations it gets that much more compounded because it is a very glaring reminder of how Nono Is Not Like The Other Children.
For example. A question I get asked a lot is, “What do you do?”
I’ve found in years past that people are referring to employment and expect this question to be answered with the 9-5 “normal” job people think you have, and if you answer this question with “I’m disabled” and you’re not in a wheelchair, people will typically give you the side-eye because “you don’t look disabled” and will now think you are the mythical welfare queen scamming the government. (Because as we all know, $740/mo is a life full of sipping champagne in a hot tub every day, straight out of a rap video. OH WAIT IT’S NOT.) So my answer to this is usually “I’m a writer” (because the other answer, “I’m a small business owner,” inevitably gets into “What kind of business?” and I don’t particularly feel like saying “occult shop” to total strangers, even in a liberal area, or “jewelry shop” and then have to go into tl;dr about “what kind of jewelry” with people who really don’t actually give a shit). And “I’m a writer” always, always leads to “What do you write?”
“…I write about elves.”
If I’m lucky, that particular topic stops there, but sometimes I get the “What kind of elves? Like Tolkien or something?” and my brain’s immediate knee-jerk answer is Kinky pansexual elves who are obsessed with their hair, but I usually just say “Shapeshifting elves.” And then I start playing with my cell phone, hoping the person will stop asking me about elf books.
Other questions that random strangers tend to ask me when I’m just trying to get errands done, usually involve my social life, my love life, celebrities I’ve never heard of, TV shows I’ve never watched, movies I haven’t seen, sports I don’t give a shit about, and so on. Questions where all my answers are the wrong answers. Where people assume that I’m doing what everybody else is doing, and I’m not. And there are yet more ways in which I am Other – if I take a cab, the cab driver assumes I know exactly how to get from Point A to Point B because the assumption is that I drive (as opposed to, you know, maybe taking a cab because I can’t drive) and have lived in an area long enough that I am very very familiar with everything. (Directions is something I have a hard time with [clue #1 that I'm really a guy, just saying] – when I lived in the Portland city limits, I would not have survived without Google Maps.)
So a lot of these incidences of having to make small talk with strangers, reinforces that I am Other. Even without getting into the trans queer disabled thing which itself makes basic random small talk chitchat awkward (like when I get misgendered, or someone is unsure what gender I am and being weird about it). My life being as bound up with the spooky as it is – most notably having a partner that is non-corporeal – I have a very, very hard time navigating basic social transactions that everybody else in the world seems to have an easy-peasy time with.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything mundane, or that I look down on mundane things per se. But even when I do mundane things, it is bound up with spirits. I’ve learned Present As Sane to the public, so if D has running commentary at the store, I know how to mask my reactions and not look like that crazy dude laughing at nothing; I don’t talk out loud to D when I’m in public places (though I have muttered “troll” or something to that effect under my breath). That said, there is really no separation between my mundane life and my spiritual life. My life is complicated. I’m complicated. And I dislike making small talk with total strangers because I have no easy way of parsing that to other people, and there are things I can’t give answers to – like when people make pop culture references I don’t understand, or think I give a shit about sports, or assume I’m watching $THING because everyone else is, and so on.
Even with actual friends of mine, it can be hard to have conversations because so much of my life is woo. If you ask me what I did today, I either sound like the most boring person in the world, or the craziest person in the world, and I have to be very, very, very, very, very comfortable with you to be able to talk about the particulars of my weirdshit – after stuff that’s happened over the last few years I have a lot of trust issues and wounds I am licking in private and I tend to keep people at an arm’s length, there are only a couple of people who I let in past “the velvet rope” anymore (and you know who you are) and it doesn’t mean I don’t care about the rest of the people I know on the other side of it. Quite the opposite. It means that I have been badly hurt in the past, and as a result I am really, really self-conscious about talking about various facets of my life, especially when it pertains to weirdshit like non-corporeal partners and such, because I’ve been hurt letting people into that part of my life, I’ve had personal information in confidence used against me before, I’ve been in sticky and complicated messes, and then there’s the fact that D and I are private people so beyond some general things on my blog and the occasional amusing anecdote, there’s a lot about my relationship with him I don’t discuss because it’s private, intimate… like revealing a sacred mystery to non-initiates, if that makes sense. (Or never even mind “like”.)
And it isn’t just with woo – I am really, really self-conscious about talking about the way my headspace is sometimes with the various issues I am still working through (like my gender identity, wherein it feels like just about everything I could talk about that isn’t connected to woo in some way is trans this, dysphoria that, misgendering this, identity that… when it isn’t about working on PTSD shit, and keeping tabs on how my medication is affecting me and so on, because that is the most interesting and happy topic of discussion right there). I once had an ex-friend – someone who is LGBT by the way – tell me I made too much of a big deal about gender identity. I don’t know, you try living in the wrong body for 34 years and see how fucking trivial and “it doesn’t matter” it is. Even with people I know aren’t going to be an asshole about the trans thing – even other trans people – I get self-conscious, because of my past experiences with others punching me in my vulnerable spots, and then kicking me once down, people who you think would understand because they fall into Category X but they really don’t. When you’ve been burned enough times, you guard yourself, even if you logically understand someone is not a douchebag, it’s just… self-preservation.
“You could talk about your writing and art!” I have a hard time talking about my writing and art for the same reason that most people don’t give explanations of how they breathe. The creative process is something that’s hard for me to quantify in words, which is why, as much as I am a Maker and that is a huge part of my identity, I don’t talk about it often. (And then there’s the fact of it being tied to woo, which is hard to discuss openly, and then shit like my synaesthesia which makes it even harder to explain.)
After the way my life has been the last few years I just don’t really know how to talk to people anymore, with a few exceptions (and again, they know who they are)… I am really, really bad at being an IRL BFF because of stuff like this. And I own my shit there. My social awkwardness gets compounded by my difficulty opening up to people. I also have a lot of brainweasels because of past hurts, so that compounds it further.
If it’s difficult for me to open up to people I actually like and care about, it is excruciatingly fucking painful to be expected to chitchat with random strangers about topics of my life that are hard to talk about even with friends and family.
And in fact one reason why I’m handling the impending move back to New England without completely falling apart is because I am going back to familiar territory where I can be a “rude Yankee” and not have to have conversations about nothing with random strangers. I can do shit like take a cab or buy groceries and not have to worry about the inevitable questions re: sports, my job, my love life, and shit where I don’t even understand why people want to know any of this shit regarding someone they don’t know and are probably never going to see again. And I don’t buy the “it’s human nature to be curious” shit as an explanation because people in New England seem to get this.
About a year ago, when I first signed up for Tumblr, this image made its rounds, and I saved it to my computer because it amused me, and it actually amuses me even more now for reasons, but… this image, right here, sums up my life.
So first, I’d like to remind everyone that I am moving cross-country in December, and this move is not going to be cheap (especially as I am bringing my cat), and I am in the process of going through my stuff and weeding out things I don’t need. I have a bunch of crystals I’m parting with as well as odds and ends. To make room for my new section (as Etsy only permits you to have ten shop sections at a time), my Crystals and Odds & Ends sections have now merged into Destash: Crystals & Misc. You are doing me a favor if you pick up one or more of these items, you’re taking stuff off my hands so I have less things to worry about packing and keeping track of, and every little bit helps this move go more smoothly. There are some really, really pretty aura quartz crystals available, and as I was cleaning and packing yesterday I found a set of three Moleskine journals I have never used which I’m parting with, and have listed for $5 (not counting shipping) for the set of three.
And now, onto the newest arrivals in my shop.
Earlier this week I posited a question to the audience about new products I’m interested in offering in my store, and there is overwhelming interest in devotional beads. To that end, I have my first three sets available and there will be more in the future. (I am going to try to make a few more before I leave, because 1. beading relaxes me, 2. it’s easier to move finished products than loose beads, 3. holidays are coming.)
I have a set of Loki beads.
Many of Loki’s followers associate Loki with the fox, and I’d agree that’s an animal that suits him – clever, cunning, mischievous, opportunistic, but still adorable. This bead strand has a ceramic fox pendant as its focal point, with orange jade lentil beads – jade has associations of wealth and prosperity, is a stone noted for luck, and seemed appropriate for the “trickster luck” of Loki – with two fiery lampwork beads, and dyed red bamboo, with glass seed bead spacers. Bead strand is approximately 12″ circumference, and is strung on sturdy monofilament. Because it’s a smaller set I’m only asking $28 for these, which I think is fair. You can find it here.
Next we have a set for Frigga.
This bead strand measures approximately 28″ circumference and is strung on sturdy monofilament; the key pendant is approximately 2″. The key pendant is pewter, and the bead strand consists of lampwork beads, blue quartz, freshwater pearl, and white amethyst (with a fine gossamer crackle that looks like spun threads). I am asking $100 for this piece (it’s quite substantial) and you can find it here.
Finally, last but not least, I have a set in honor of my patron, Asmodai. Let me start off by saying I really wanted to keep these for myself because they’re beautiful and they’re very *~him~* and Asmodai was like NO SELL THESE YOU NEED MONEY. I’m not going to argue with him. (At least not about this. :P)
The focal pendant is made of black glass, with his sigil in parchment, affixed to the pendant and sealed. The strand of beads consists of glass seed bead spacers, finely etched red acrylic beads, Baltic amber, golden agate, larvikite (also known as “black labradorite”), and onyx; the bead directly above his pendant is obsidian. This piece is “fire and ash” and more attuned to his face of severity and judgment, but still bears his energy for whatever face of Asmodeus you work with (wrath/justice or lust, wealth, etc). Upon request I will perform a small ritual to dedicate this piece to him. I am asking $75 for this piece and you can find it here.
The devotional bead sets that I make can be used for multiple purposes: prayer or meditation, or to have an energetic “anchor” to the entity, or serve as a tangible reminder of their presence. They can be gifted on an altar, hung on a wall, or carried around like a portable shrine. I will be making more sets for different entities in the future (including at least one more set for Loki; I will be doing a set for Lucifer and probably a couple other demons, and have plans to do a set for Brighid at some point) before I move, so watch this space for details.
I would also like to remind my audience that I do in fact do holds as well as layaway plans for people, so if you see a piece you like but you don’t get paid till next week and want me to hold it for you, or if you need to pay me in installments (just theoretical example, five payments of $20 or four payments of $25 for the Frigga beads), convo me, I am very, very flexible with payment plans and willing to work something out with you (because believe me, I know about money being tight). Thank you for your support, appreciation, and patronage.
ETA: Loki beads are SOLD (damn that was quick \o/) but no fear everyone, I am going to be making more Loki beads soon so there’ll be at least one more set next week. (They will be different from the above though, a bit.)
|We Bring The Fire on Destash Monday|
|caelesti on Nono’s Modern Life|
|Wicked on Packages|
|Nornoriel Lokason on Packages|
|Nornoriel Lokason on A little reminder|