Yule-related posts

Candles!

I made my first batch of candles yesterday (Wednesday).  For my very first time making candles, they came out pretty good.  For the curious, I used soy wax.  I have fragrance oils and dyes to play with, and I also put in a little bit of glitter.  For molds I used recycled small plastic cups, which are easy to cut open and take the candles out when they’ve set, and then the cups get recycled again.

Here are some pictures:

firstcandlebatch1

firstcandlebatch5

So for my test batch I made candles for

  • the Queen of Vanaheim (purple with pink, blue, and silver glitter, and the scent was a mix of “ocean” and rose [for his names])
  • Lucifer (blue-green with blue and silver glitter, and a subtle very clean, calming woodsy/floral scent)
  • Asmodai (brighter red with red glitter, frankincense and myrrh)
  • Lucifuge Rofocale (darker red with gold glitter, amber, woods and spices, and a touch of leather)

I have a buyer for candles for the latter three.  (As an amusing anecdote, my stepfather was like: “Lucifuge is, like, a Danzig album, right?  You named a candle after a Danzig album?”)

Aaaand here we have finished candles for Rofocale and the Queen.  Their candles are having diplomatic relations.

firstcandlebatch2

One of the test candles burning:

firstcandlebatch4

You can’t really see the glitter in these pictures, and the glitter in the first batch of candles is very subtle – a sprinkling, not a bombing, though for future candles I might glitter them up a bit more.

The candles smell really nice when they burn – the fragrance is noticeable, and will last for some hours after the candle is done but it’s not overpowering.  The candles are not standard votive size – they’re halfway between tealights and regular votives as far as size, and take about the same amount of time to burn as those little tiny taper spell candles you see in occult shops, which makes them perfect for devotional work and magickal work (or at least I think so, they’re to my preference as far as burn time for one-shots).

I’m going to be making a second batch of candles tomorrow, this will include candles for Andromalius, Frey and Freya, and Njord.  I will be able to figure out what price is after I’ve made a few batches of candles and have gotten past the learning curve and can say what the cost is as far as supplies + labor.  I want to be able to offer some candles in my shop regularly, as well as be up for taking commissions for candles for specific entities (or specific magickal purposes).  I know I’ll definitely be making some candles for my own usage as well – it’s pretty addictive.  :D

Things I assume you know about me

So I now have 1320+ subscribers to this blog.  Some of you have been with me since my return to public blogging on Tumblr in late 2013, some of you – a lot of you – are more recently subscribed to this blog, and may have found me via Patheos and PaganSquare which is my “professional face” (this is my personal space) and as such may be saying “WTF is going on here” from time to time – I have an About page, and I mention some things about myself and my life here and there, but I tend to write on the assumption that we’re all on the same page, and that’s not necessarily so.  As such, this post is a sort of background reference for context on things I talk about.

-I’m in my mid-thirties (at the time of this writing [12/17/14] I will be 35 in eleven days).  I am a gay male.  I am a trans man (assigned female at birth; he/him/his pronouns).  I am single bio-side (if that phrasing seems odd, we will revisit that in just a moment).  I’m white.  I grew up poor, and have lived in poverty my entire adult life; I’m disabled (PTSD and some other issues).  I’m from New England originally, spent 2006-2014 on the west coast (California and then Oregon), and in December 2014 moved back to Connecticut, where I live with family.  I have a cat named Sheldon.

-I am, religiously speaking, a pagan.  I am Vanatru, which is to say I work primarily with the Vanir (a pantheon of gods focused on nature).  I am also a demonolater – my patron is Asmodai, the demon of wrath (Grumpy Cat and Grinch jokes abound), and I work with a few others.  I am a hard polytheist, however (I have to make this disclaimer due to the very bad behavior of a few other polytheists) I have better things to do with my time than police the beliefs of other people and I don’t particularly care whether you’re a polytheist or one of the “Big Tent Pagans” or something else entirely – I am pretty much cool with everyone so long as you’re not a dick.  In addition to dealing with deities and other spirits, I am a magick user (I practice witchcraft, but also do seidhr and rune magick), I read runes and Tarot, and I am a professional astrologer and Reiki Master.

-I am a “woo” oriented pagan.  I do shit like astral journey to Vanaheim.  I interact directly with gods and spirits.

I have a spirit companion who I refer to on this blog as D, a named-by-lore demon who does not want me outing his identity for a handful of reasons (but I will go on record to say he’s not Asmodai, he’s not Lucifer, and since I’ve been asked this about a dozen times now, he’s not Belial, either).  D and I are also romantically/sexually involved, which is like having a human partner, just he’s non-corporeal – yes, I’m “one of those godspouse people” (however, I didn’t jump on any bandwagons – I was married to Frey from 2004-2010, so being involved with deities is not exactly a new thing for me), and D does ask that I not have relationships bio-side, and this is OK with me.  In addition to our relationship – and pleasure comes before business, in my relationship dynamic with him – I would consider [D’s title] to be my other patron – [D’s title] has taught me a lot over the last year, has helped me in a lot of ways.

I also am involved with a couple of Eshnahai (Vanic elves, citizens of Vanaheim) – “Clarence”, the elf I talk about the most often, was a wulver in Scotland for a very long time, and identifies as Scottish even more than he identifies as Vanir, AND IS VERY VERY PROUD OF BEING SCOTTISH, AND WANTS EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT.  IN CAPSLOCK.

D lives with me – yes, like a roommate, only non-corporeal – and Clarence lives elsewhere and visits at least once a day.  I have other entities come and go – D has this place warded like Fort Knox and there’s a very short list of approved guests, but there are some, and that makes things interesting, like when Loki (aka Dad) comes to visit. That said, my life is a lot quieter than it might seem from a glance at this blog – most of the time it’s me and D and he and I are both pretty chill (though D has snarky/perverted running commentary, and a soundtrack).  I have learned the fine art of Present As Sane so I’m not “talking to myself” or constantly gigglesnorting “at nothing” in public (though it is hard sometimes).  D multi-locates, so he’s not “stuck with me”, but he actually really likes doing completely mundane, “normal” shit with me, and he values the R&R time he gets with me as well – he calls me his home, he says that being with me is his sanctuary, and when I’m happy, he can handle just about anything.  D and I greatly enjoy each other’s company – he is my best friend, and my partner in the truest sense of the word.

So this makes the “you can’t mix the carrots and peas” crowd uncomfortable, but my People are aware of each other and interact to a degree – D and Clarence have a sort of Vitriolic Best Buds relationship, and Clarence and Asmodai are quite fond of each other (Asmodai hates everyone, so this is impressive).  Vanaheim does not exist in a vaccuum – the Vanir have alliances and diplomatic relations with assorted pantheons and realms, and my relationships with the Powers is a microcosm of that.

-I am perfectly, keenly aware of how crazy my shit sounds, and the amount of fucks I give is in the negatives.  Putting it this way: I am openly trans.  I am openly queer.  I have blue hair.  I have piercings.  I have been pagan for twenty years.  I have been a weirdo my whole life.  I have been on the receiving end of bullying for much of my life.  Once upon a time I made a career out of suppressing who and what I am to get along with others and not be “different” to the point of literally wanting to fucking die with how stifled I was, and people still found things to criticize, so fuck ‘em.  If “doing it wrong” and “you just want to be special” and “you’re delusional” and “hurr you claim a god ‘told’ you $THING and you’re just disrespectful and crazy” was enough to convince me to change my mind and make me see The Error of My Ways (TM), I would have stopped doing what I’m doing many, many, many, many, many years ago. Meanwhile, the validity of my experiences proves itself to me all the time.  One of the reasons why I blog openly about my shit is because I know for a FACT I am not the only person out there having the experiences I’m having, and I wish there had been someone like me out there when I was a new pagan, talking about the things I talk about.  One of the great things about the Internet is we can find others in similar circumstances, and relate to each other, and have a support system going.  Another great thing about the Internet is that if you don’t like what someone has to say, it is as simple as not reading their blog.

-I am a writer – I have written a few books – and an artist.  I have an Etsy shop showcasing handmade jewelry.  I also do digital art (photomanipulation) and I like doing crafty things.

-I am very, very, very, very, very busy.  At any given time I am

  • working on blog posts for the different blogs I maintain
  • working on book projects
  • working on articles for other people’s books
  • working on stuff to list on my Etsy store
  • processing and shipping Etsy items
  • doing divinations for clients
  • doing natal charts for clients
  • doing distance Reiki for clients
  • taking art and jewelry commissions and doing commissions

And this is in addition to the chores of my mundane life, and maintaining the various relationships I have.

I am, as of the time of this writing, actually a little behind schedule due to the cross-country move earlier this month and losing Internet access for about a week and then getting sick right after my laptop came (and I’m still not 100% recovered, my nose is producing gallons of yuck every day).  I have not been promoting my Etsy store as aggressively because I haven’t had the mental bandwidth, and as such my sales have taken a hit this month (though I’ve had some, but it’s not as good as I was expecting for the holidays).  In addition to recovering from the move and from illness, I’m also licking my wounds from some fucked-up shit that happened, and some of that means necessarily being away from the computer and doing things like cuddling with D.  I would love to say things will be “back to normal” in January, but I honestly have no idea what normal even is anymore, as I am still getting my bearings and re-adjusting to life in Connecticut with my family, and new routines and so on.

That being said, I’m like a shark.  I have to keep moving.  I do better mentally when I have productive things to do.  (Capricorn, Aries rising, lots of shit in Virgo.)  What I’m doing with writing and arting and astrologing and so on, and actually making a living from it, is what I’ve always wanted to do.  A lot of people never get to realize their dreams in life.  Things could be a lot worse.

-I am a leftist, politically speaking. I try to not talk about politics on this blog as a rule, but my Patheos blog Ride the Spiral will sometimes get into social justice issues, and this blog here on WordPress will get into topics of queer spirituality and LGBT issues, periodically.  If you like Fox News and you tend to vote Republican, you probably will not like me.

-I like the word “fuck” a lot, and appending the words “and shit” to the end of my sentences, and shit.  I really fucking like to fucking swear, especially when I rant, and I do quite a fucking lot of fucking ranting because I fucking can.  I also have a bit of an off-color sense of humor though I try to keep it toned down a bit online (which is an AMAZING feat when you consider that D and Clarence are like a slightly more intelligent version of Beavis and Butt-head [“hurr hurr, you/they said $INNUENDO” or “that’s what she/he said” is a regular refrain in this house]).  I am Sassy Gay Uncle Nono, and I’m exactly like that offline too (if anything I’m somewhat worse offline – I once led a drum circle in a rendition of “Jungle Love” by Morris Day and The Time, and I play a mean game of Cards Against Humanity).

 

Being a writer will ruin your life

Currently in the news, the US mending fences with Cuba* is the hot new story.

I cannot hear the phrase “diplomatic relations” anymore without snerking my head off because of this scene from the chapter “Helm of Awe” in Voices of Vanaheim of Anar (the current Queen of Vanaheim) and Yanlin (outlander diplomat):

I spent most of that day in bed; Qael came in at some point. “There’s been a delivery for you,” he said, looking a little… disgruntled. I came out – I really didn’t want to get out of bed, but I wanted to see what this was. There was a bouquet of a dozen roses… purple roses… more accurately, a shade of  deep plum, my favorite color. They were exquisitely beautiful and their fragrance was delightful. Whoever sent this to me, I must have made an impression on them – they spent a pretty penny to get these to me. I looked at the note attached and it said, simply:

Holla at me.
-Yanlin

I think I fell for him right then. He spoke my language… the language of undignified royalty who give no fucks. “Who are those from?” Qael raised his eyebrows at me. I smiled and said, “A new friend.” I had a servant fetch me parchment and a quill, and some wax. When they were brought to me, I wrote a note:

Come see me sometime.
-Anar

I sealed the note with wax, and imprinted the wax with my signet ring – my personal seal, the ægishjálmur. I got a messenger to port the note so he would see it within the day. Sometime turned out to be the next morning… I slept by myself, and woke up with Yanlin in the bed next to me. Naked. Beautifully erect. Stroking himself. “Good morning,” he said, kissing the tip of my nose.

“How did you get in here?” I asked him.

“Told your guards who I am, showed my identification, claimed I was on official business.” Yanlin leered at me. I couldn’t help cackling at “official business”.

“You’re… mighty forward, aren’t you?” I grinned at him.

He kissed me and then he said, “Well, I have a few… pressing… diplomatic matters… to discuss.” He pressed his hard-on against my thigh.

I kissed him back. “Do you now.”

After we… furthered diplomatic relations… we smoked. I needed it.

DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.  :P

(*I am not interested in having a political discussion on this topic on my blog, I am mentioning it only for context of this post.)

The more things change…

My package from FiberWytch got here and I am putting new cords on my Vanir altar, and in the process the MacLeod tartan I keep accidentally fell over on the floor, and then I got sidetracked by other stuff and forgot about it for a bit.  Later on my mom says to me: “Your Irish thing is on the floor.”

your Irish thing

your Irish thing

your Irish thing

I can hear Clarence all the way in Vanaheim: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

D starts laughing his ass off, which just gets a drive-by of Clarence poking his head in and going ò_ó at us, and then a bunch of Gaelic swearing, which makes D laugh even harder.

Clarence: [FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF INTENSIFIES] *shuffles off, muttering in Gaelic*

My mom (before Clarence completely vacates, passing by my room): Are you going to hang that with your lucky charms?

D: *can’t breathe*

Clarence: ò_ó *incoherent motorboat noises* ò_ó

D: Well, that incense does smell magically delicious.

Clarence: I AM SO FOOKIN’ DONE WI’ YE

Me: And yet you’re still here.

Clarence: ò_ó

Me: …Oh, Clarence.  Here, let me give you some Talisker and make it up to you.

Clarence: *waits*

My mom: *pokes in again, makes a face* …is that Guinness?

Clarence: [MOTORBOAT NOISE INTENSIFIES] FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

ò_ó

ò_ó

D: *crying* CALL AN AMBULANCE.

Clarence: I CAN BOOT YE IN THE ARSE, IT’LL GO FASTER

Me: Here, drink your Guinness.

Clarence: THIS IS WHY PEOPLE GOT FOOKIN’ ELF-SHOT BACK IN THE DAY.  I’M JUST SAYIN’.

…I moved 3000 miles, have a whole new routine, have a new room, am beginning a new chapter of my life, and Clarence still loses his shit if you confuse Scottish and Irish. I love my family.  <3

At Patheos

On my Patheos blog Ride the Spiral, my Broke-Ass Witchery series continues: Part Six looks at ritual on a budget, Part Seven talks about keeping altars with limited space or being in situations where altar space needs to be more discrete.

Some peektures

A little look at my new room (aka [D’s Title]’s Den of Debauchery :P).  This isn’t everything to see in my room, but it’s a few things anyway.

Vanir altar 1 Vanir altar 2

First we have the Vanir working altar, which is not quite the way I want it yet (it may be changing some), but is not bad for ten days in, just getting unpacked.  And then:

Dai altar

This is Asmodai’s altar, which was one of the very first things I got unpacked and set up.  (The shot glass of scotch on his altar, though, is for Clarence, because it was really the only place I could put it, and neither of them particularly minded it being there.  Everything else on the altar is Asmodai’s.)

Smores nativity 1 Smores nativity 2

Yes, that is a Smores nativity scene, with a marshmallow!snowman Baby Jesus.  My mom gave this to me on my first night back in CT because I have a fucked-up irreverent sense of humor like she does, and D thought this was the funniest thing ever (well, next to The James Brown Auto Alarm, which makes him literally roll on the floor) and made me put it next to his little shrine at my workstation.  It’s just wrong.

With regards to D’s shrine, I am actually NOT allowed to share photographs this time around (there’s a wee portion of it in a picture below but he don’t curr) because there are some new items and potential identifiers among them, but it is on my desk, which is otherwise not very exciting, with my (new) laptop, speakers, and printer (and the Smores nativity scene because what is this troll).  Having D’s space on my desk is actually really helpful, not just as a constant reminder of him (not that I really need one considering he’s there and has energetically marked his territory with me and this entire damn house up to eleven, but still), but also helps me concentrate better when I’m working here.

Speaking of fruity things, my mom is very crafty – one of her favorite things to do is take old furniture and fix it up, and she also likes to paint lamp bases and make lampshades.  She made a couple lamps for my room.

She painted and embellished the base to this, which was all white and pitted when she got it (pretend that the dryer ball isn’t on the lampstand):

Room 2

The lampshade is not in this picture but my mom put beads around the top and bottom bases, and there are grapes on the panels.  I’ll try to photograph it at some point when it’s daytime.

Directly across from that lamp is this lamp.  Ignore the mess on my craft table (I’m still getting organized):

Room 3

She sewed beads around the top and bottom of the lampshade and made a pull-thingee of beads for inside the lamp to turn it on and off, and polished up the lampstand.  I asked my mom if her idea of putting the fruit lamp across from the rainbow lamp was intentional or not (and said it was totally fine if it was, because I am the gayest gay to ever gay), and she says it wasn’t, but it’s still funny.

Last but not least we have my bed.  Ignore the mess on my craft table and my (super gay) rainbow slippers on the floor.  :P

Room 1 Room 4 Room 5

Because I had to show off the fabulousness of the red LED lights.  Also that Bert doll, I have had since I was 2 (for those of you playing along at home, that Bert doll is 33 years old).  YES I AM A GROWN-ASS MAN WHO SLEEPS WITH BERT AND EEYORE.  I GIVE NO FUCKS.  (And on the headboard there is a Christmas mouse and a white dragon [the stuffed dragon is Lucifer’s >.>] and a wee lamp I use as a nightlight.)  Behind the canopy curtain to the right is Asmodai’s altar.  I normally would not put him *~so~* close to the place where I boink D, but anywhere in my room you can’t really avoid that, and there weren’t really too many places I could fit the altar.  There is at least a curtain there.  :P

Directly across from Asmodai’s space, to the left of the Vanir altar, is my Reiki altar, which I will photograph at a later date when I have better lighting (as it’s in a corner and we need daylight there) and it’s set up just the way I want it.  Almost, but not quite.

Aaaand I’ve got fairy figurines hanging from the ceiling, and some pagan-y framed art by David Delamare and Amy Brown and whatnot (all of that was gifts from my mom), and I’ve got a pretty stained glass mirror (and a matching set of full-length mirrors on my closet), and windchimes, and a shelf for my stuffed animals, and my gnomes are on top of a shelf unit that contains various business and art supplies, and I have purty rugs.  I have a little couch (black) – my craft table has a black cloth on it, and my desk chair has red and black pillows on it (so my room has a red and black theme for the most part [or “red and black and gay”, as I said once]).  I regularly have Japanese incense burning.  It smells nice, it looks nice, it feels like home.  It is my sanctuary.

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