painandlight: (happy shamrock)
I got some news a couple of nights ago that pissed me off. Doesn't matter what the news was, it was the sort of thing whose only appreciable impact on my life is how I react to it. I'd be lying if I said it didn't still piss me off. But fortunately, I've got better ways to feel and for the most part, I've been in a pretty damned good mood since the morning after (indulging my bitchy side and mentally composing a multitude of "fuck you!" blog posts that I'll never actually write has been a significant contributor to this.)

Instead, I'm writing this.

I just want to give a huge thank you. To the gods, to friends, to everyone who's been so supportive of me and Gavin for the last couple of years now, for anyone who's helped in any way, offered help, or wanted to but couldn't for some reason, even something as seemingly insignificant as a virtual hug, has made some difference. To everyone who's stuck by us and given half a damn. Thank you. We are so blessed, and things are just getting better.

I'd like to offer a list (certainly not exhaustive, I'd be here all night) of thine things for which we are particularly thankful right now.

-For having moved to Eugene, necessary mistake that it was. I haven't written a lot about it, but after moving to Eugene, a lot of things got worse for us than they were in Baltimore. Thankfully, money wasn't one of those things and one of the great blessings of living there was that it quickly put us in a position to get to someplace much better for us.

-For moving to Portland. Eight months in Eugene, and by the end of the first week, it was already feeling like a distant bad memory. Two weeks beyond that, it barely crosses my mind. When we moved to Eugene, we were so thankful to be out of Baltimore. Now, we're thankful to be in Eugene, but we're even more thankful to be in Portland. Three weeks here, and if we had to leave tomorrow, I couldn't tell you how sad I would be after this short of a time.

-For my job. The one for which I shouldn't have even gotten an interview. The one for which they broke rules to hire me. A job I've done before and liked doing. One that I'm good at.

-For our new apartment. Getting it was a fiasco. And then we got here and found out that it wasn't supposed to be ready for at least another week. but the maintenance guy and the leasing agent (and a friend of the leasing agent!) rolled up their sleeves and had it usable in just a couple of hours. There's still a bit of cosmetic work to be done, but that will be taken care of this week.

-For the movers. We were supposed to have a friend help us move, but when we were forced to change our plans a move a week later, he was no longer able to help (though we were still grateful that he was originally going to). After the last experience that we had with movers, we were very reluctant- but had no choice. These guys were so much better than we could have asked for from a moving service. (Uptown Movers out of Marion, Oregon if anyone needs a mover- I highly recommend them.)

-for the leasing agent from the apartment that we didn't take who was really nice and told us a bit not only about the area where that apartment was, but also about the area that we ultimately moved to. We were originally going to go with her apartment, but after we handed in our deposit, we then noticed some fatal flaws that made the place completely unworkable for us. She offered our deposit back without us even asking, when legally, the company was perfectly entitled to keep it.

-For my commute, if you can believe that. It's really silly, but every day I head off for work, and I sit there on the train and I get a little excited when it gets to the arena and I can see the western side of the city looming across the river. It just makes me a little giddy for some reason. I love that Portland straddles a river. And that we live in the free rail zone, where we can take the light rail and street car for free. I still have to get a transit pass because I use it every day to get to work- but I get to buy it for half price through my office- something else to be thankful for! Oh, and TriMet in general. I love the public transportation system here. I love how they post the arrivals of trains and busses and update them in real time.

-I am thankful for Gavin, the one I love, who has been here with me through everything, who has kept me from losing it completely more times than she will ever know. Everything is so much better with her here.

-I'm thankful that, since everything else has worked out and there are so many things that we don't have to worry about anymore, that figuring out ongoing spiritual issues of the last few years has also improved greatly and more so than ever, relationships with the gods are truly improving again, and new things are happening as well. Shortly before Christmas, I started working on getting to know Ares. It's going slowly at this point, but I believe it's as real as anything else has been, and I also believe that he helped us out at least as much as Apollo and Hermes, and I also believe that he has, at least a bit so far, helped me with some personal things with which I don't really know that I'm entirely capable of handling entirely on my own. For all of this, I am most grateful because without them, I don't believe that any of this would be possible.

So I'd just like to say that I am thankful for all this and so much more- beyond words.

Also, I was fairly amused when I was first writing this post on Friday. On my way to work, I was doing it the old fashioned way- in a notebook to be transcribed later. I had my iPod on shuffle, a play list of about eleven hundred songs. The song Peaceful world by John Mellencamp came up, and the line "Money's good, work's okay. Looks like everything is rollin' our way" played just as I was writing about my job. So I shamelessly borrowed it for my subject line.

Oh, and I can't remember the last time I played a video game. (It's an inside joke!)
painandlight: (Default)
Being unemployed, and having more than enough time to think about this shit, I can only think so much before I start to wonder if I'm not assigning too much emphasis to some thoughts, or if I'm not imagining that things are affecting me more than they really do. But that's me. For as long as I can remember, I've downplayed the severity of so much in my mind. Like my recent post about my stepmother and stepsister...it wasn't that long ago that I was thinking about all of those things and brushing them off as being not a big deal, telling myself that they had no lasting effect on me when clearly, I'm wrong.

I don't think I could ever flat out say "I was abused as a child", but at some point during the two and a half years that I was seeing a therapist in Baltimore, I could say that there were numerous incidents of abusive behavior from several of my family members.

So when I think of the shit with the former supposed friends, and how they affected me while we were friends and how it now affects me to realize what happened and be removed from it....I start to wonder if some of the thoughts I have are genuinely a result of that, or if I've manufactured them and shouldn't just shut up and get over it.

I was never, that I can remember, told to just get over it- in so many words or not. I think a lot about how differently things could have gone, how, looking at how they've affected others, it could have been a lot worse for me too.

But still, it does. It affects me. I'm worried about Doing It Wrong too. though, instead of worrying about doing what's right for me and having it be the wrong thing because it's not their way, I'm worried about doing what's right for me, and that it could look too much like them.

Rational brain tells me that it shouldn't matter, that if something is right for me, who cares if it does look like them, it's not going to make me turn into that. And it probably doesn't look nearly as much like them as I imagine it.

For example, I haven't touched my blog in months. Not that I don't want to- there is plenty that I really want to write. But I think about it and I just think about how they have blogs and how they write on them all the time, and go on and on about "when you do as much ritual for as many gods as I do.....blah blah blah" and "I'm taking life-altering vows for the sixth time todayyyyyy and oh how I suffer- today I'm going to walk across a bed of razor-sharp glass shards for the gods, I hope my feet won't be too badly cut but even if I can't walk for days and days it will have been worth it because I love the gods soooooooooo much and this is how I show mah epik boobs devoshuns now gimme teh beeeeeadzzzzz!

Rational brain also tells me that all I need to do is look at any one of my blog posts and compare it to any one of theirs and...well, they're just not the same. I'm writing about and for the gods, they're writing about everything that they do for the gods.

I've also given some more thought as to why I want to keep using the blog, and other than it existing as an offering, I also have the blog because no one else did when I was looking for something like that. It's not that I'm terribly concerned about educating the public, it's just more good reason to do something I already want to do.

Then there's things like making "devotional playlists". Now...I've been making playlists since before I ever saw them talking about it. I have a list of songs that I associate with gods, even with gods that I have nothing to do with. I hear a song and my brain goes "oh, that sounds like *insert name of a god here* and if, on more than one hearing, the same thought comes up it goes on a list, or occasionally if a song is directly about a god, it goes on a list. Most of it isn't all that significant, especially as pertains to gods with which I have no connection- for example, the song Secret Life by Thriving Ivory reminds me of Persephone. Songs like this remind me that such gods exist, and sometimes it's interesting to let the list play and think a bit about them, sometimes I wonder a bit about the gods that I'm not connected to- but it's not devotional anything, it doesn't mean much more to me than the fact that I also have a set of playlists for morning, afternoon and night because for some reason, certain music just um, sounds like certain times of day for me and makes sense to listen to at those times. I do have playlists for a couple of gods- Apollo, Dionysus and a very short one for Hermes. But I don't go looking for songs for them, they just get added when I hear something that sounds like it belongs.

I've also had cause to think a bit about some things I've done, said or felt in the past with regards to religion and how it might be connected to them. One of the things that's been discussed a bit has been the wanting religion to be the most important thing, even coming ahead of romantic relationships. I used to feel this way. I feel it important, though, to make it very clear that I felt this way before I ever had anything to do with them. This had come with my earlier involvement with ADF and wanting to train as clergy. I think I could say that they reinforced that for some time, though eventually Gavin and I both came to a point where we just realized that religion didn't come before each other, but was more of equal importance. It makes sense though, seeing as it was the gods that threw us together.

I've been feeling for a little while, to some extent or another that god relationships have been somewhat contaminated- not irreparably damaged, but...hmm...overshadowed? I know that Apollo isn't going anywhere, and I don't think I could give him up if I wanted to, and divination indicates that I shouldn't drop Dionysus either, though it could be a little while before I really have much to do with him again.

I have, however, been thinking for probably a couple of months now that maybe what I need is something new, something different, something untied to them. The idea that working to establish a relationship of some sorts with a new god has floated in and out of my mind even before the issues with the former supposed friends came to light, and has been coming in more frequently since we realized how damaging all of their shit was. For a while there, I was thinking of taking a shot with Selene- who at one time I thought may have been a possible patron- or Helios, but no, my interest in teh gods of the Various And Assorted Shiny Things in The Sky(tm) is- wel, whatever it is, this isn't it.

A few weeks ago, I started hearing "You need me" coming from Ares in my mind. Now...this was not The Voice Of Ares, it was my mind manufacturing the voice, but it was fairly repetitive. I started thinking more about it, and after talking to Gavin about it, decided to do some divination and see what came up. I threw around some cards and results indicated that yes, I was right about Ares. Results also pointed out- repeatedly- that yes, this is a good idea, but I should be sure to not forget the limits of this new relationship. Which makes me think, a bit, of the fact that not long ago, I was advised by Apollo to learn about other deities who have aspects in common with him. Odin was specifically named- but with the order that I not engage in any worship of him.

So far, I haven't gone far beyond thinking about it. I did make a necklace a few days ago- I thought I was jumping the gun, but I just really felt like I needed to, so I did. Carnelian, red tiger's eye, red garnets and dark charcoal grey seed beads. Very smoke and blood, feels very right, and since I put it on, he's been on my mind pretty consistently. Nothing major, just a thought that doesn't entirely go away.

I also feel like I'm getting ahead of myself wanting to set up a shrine for him, but I do want to put something together, if nothing else because my current shrine is set up entirely for Apollo and the table it's on is pretty small, and I'd be hard pressed to try to make room for another god there= that and the fact that, with an exception of a brief stint sharing with Dionysus, it has always been strictly Apollo's place. So I'll figure something out.
painandlight: (Default)
Why (not) paganism? I'll start by pointing out that it's been a very long time since I've called myself "pagan" or referred to what I do and believe as "paganism". The word doesn't really hold meaning for me. No one can decide what it means exactly, though the definition which many people seem to subscribe to is that it covers any non-Abrahamic religion. That doesn't work for me, and it certainly doesn't even begin to give the vaguest idea of defining me. And I'm not an ancient Italic country-dweller either.

So...pagan? No. I won't argue that it's incorrect, but I don't actively describe myself as such.

I tried to be Christian for many years. I was a member of ADF for several years- I even got to the point of beginning clergy training. But I'm not any of that. And all three of those points will be addressed later in other posts on this meme.

So to steal a thought from my girlfriend, My religion is Apollo. There are other elements to it as well, but they are (mostly) minor in comparison. I have been dedicated to Him since April of 2007, and he has been a major fixture in my religious life since 2005 and present in some way or other for several years before that. He is the one thing I am always certain of, the one thing I have never been afraid of losing. He came in and took over for another deity (also to be addressed in a later post) and has been connected to pretty much everything ever since.

I don't know if I first called to him, or answered his calling me. It doesn't matter. Why Apollo? Because Apollo is what I want, but more importantly Apollo is what I need. Nothing else would be right.

Okay, I got it done tonight. Oh, and I've made a change to the list. )
painandlight: (Default)
I did the same thing as Gavin today. By now, you've probably seen her post about a devotional hair-wrap as something that isn't easily forgotten about. I used some gold/tan variegated embroidery floss and added one spot to attach/detach a charm.

The charm is the seven stones that I associate with Apollo (Rutilated quartz, Larvikite, Citrine, Iolite, Garnet, Sunstone and blue tourmaline. Here, aquamarine stands in for the blue tourmaline, as it is mindblowingly expensive and the only blue tourmaline I have are some practically microscopic chip beads that already have a sorta-plan for. Aquamarine works- we had some on hand, and hey...Apollo is associated with water, so...yeah. The little spacers are just some copper-metal lined clear glass seed beads that I love. They're very Apollo.

And that's me, totally looking like an evil teenager.

Apollo hair

Apollo hair charm

Thanks so much to Gavin for helping and taking the pictures!

This reminds me, I want to do a blog post on the stones that I associate with Apollo.

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Memories of Pain and Light

July 2013

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