Pagan Kids: Book List #1

Ever since I could read I’ve devoured books. Some of my most poignant childhood memories are sitting in my room, lost to the world around me, absorbed in words and pictures.

We’ve read to our eldest daughter, C, ever since she was born. But now that she’s three board books are too simple, and much to my delight we’re moving on to more complicated stories. C is now way more involved in the process of reading. She is enthralled by innovative or beautiful artwork, likes to ‘read’ the stories with us, and asks questions about the subject matter.

So now I’m on the hunt for books. We have a large collection of board books, and some nice picture books (the current favorite is Dragons Love Tacos), but I’d like more that introduce…well, Pagan-y themes. I’ve cruised Amazon for a few hours and here are some I think fit the bill. If you have any recommendations, please add them to the comment section!

A picture book that explains what happens to the land and animals as they begin to prepare for winter.

A story of the same place during each full moon of the year. The artwork looks absolutely stunning.

A lyrical picture  book about a young girl anticipating a rain storm after a drought.

A classic. I read this book as a kid. A father and daughter go on a nighttime journey to find owls.

This is a fairly new book. A lonely girl discovers that her crayon can draw her imagination. She steps through the door she draws and into another land.

A young girl on vacation is encouraged by her parents to build fairy houses in the woods.

*Note: These aren’t sponsored links to Amazon. Just thought it’d make shopping easier 🙂

Transitions and Change

So, it’s a bit dusty around these parts! That’s okay though. Life has been busy. I thought before I got back into posting regularly I’d do a little life update, so the next posts have some context.

There have been different life…erm, things…(sorry, My Little Pony is on in the background—brain not totally functioning!)…stewing for awhile and it seems like, all of a sudden, many of them might be on the high-boil.

First, I found out I was pregnant (again) in early December. I didn’t let it affect me for months and months. I went through the motions, but I haven’t really connected to the pregnancy yet. I’m 20 weeks, and on Friday we’ll have the anatomy scan where we’ll find out the sex and see if there are any complications. I think if the scan goes well the pregnancy will finally feel real. The baby will be due in late August/early September.

Second, we’ve been looking to downsize for a couple of months. J and I have some pretty specific parameters—a couple of acres, a liveable mobile home that we can (maybe) rent out after we build a custom home, cheap, and near my work at the vineyard. We started considering this move before I found out about the pregnancy, but when we did we felt more uncertain about actually moving that far south and 45 minutes away from our support network until…

We happened upon a property 15 minutes from my work, nice land, okay mobile home, and below our price point. It was very tempting, but with the nature of my job + pregnancy and the newborn stage was moving down to Dripping Springs really feasible? Would I still even have a job?  Then…

My bosses told me yesterday that after the baby is born they want to work me into a full-time salaried position! There is a lot of factors that go into this—it’s very tentative due to profits, etc.—but exciting nonetheless.

So now, baby + new home + job. Which means a move, putting our house on the market, weighing J’s career ambitions and my own. Deciding about still being accessible to town but 30-45 minutes away from most of our friends, not to mention my new Pagan buddies. And that decision will be made tonight, probably.

Whew.

To throw more into the mix, I’ve joined ADF and am starting the Dedicant Path. I’m excited to participate in a formal learning program, and even more excited that our proto-Grove is hosting a Druid Sunday School so a group can do it together over the course of a year. I’m not really sure that I’m a Druid, but I’ve only heard highest compliments of the program.

That’s all I can remember in my addled state. Hope that this spring season is off to a good start to you and those you love. I’ll be back soon 🙂

Late November.

I have a book of Celtic/Irish poetry and in it there is a poem about late November. I’m too lazy to get it now. Not really lazy—contented. My baby is sleeping way past the usual time. The air is slightly chilly, the yard filled intermittently with golden sunlight or gray haze. Two cats are chasing butterflies in the backyard. I’m only beginning to plumb the depths of Spotify’s music collection, especially on the esoteric and drumming side. I just ate a biscuit slathered with butter and honey and drank too-sweet-too-milky tea with it. A pretty awesome afternoon.

I took an unintentional break from most things internet in November. I didn’t even do NaNoWriMo this year, which kind of broke my heart. But I knew once October 31st rolled into November 1st that I didn’t have the juice for anything more than existence in November. It turned out to be a wise choice. Not that anything bad happened—thank gods—for one month this year everything was just…normal. No miscarriages. No car wrecks. No financial strain. No trying to make a baby. No travel. Nothing. Just life. Boring old life. Even though that meant giving up my beloved NaNo, it was…kind of amazing.

I returned to things that I normally do. I started weight-lifting again, running sprints, turning my eating back towards normal and balanced. I had the pleasure of staying at my parents’ house for a week, and they took care of Claire while I visited with some great, longtime friends. Like I said. Everything was normal. And that normalcy was…kind of amazing.

But now it’s that time of year when I feel things spiraling into the dark (in a good way, non-pagan readers, in a good way). It’s just that time of the year. The trees down here are finally releasing their leaves. The sunshine is at once weak and yet over-exposes every surface it lights on. Night comes early. Mornings are foggy. Once again we’re in drought—no rain in Austin for the whole month of November, actually—and that’s another kind of death.

On the spiritual/religious side of things, November was very even keel. My altar has a thick layer of dust, no lie. So do my cards and journal. I’ve been reading a very complicated book—RJ Stewart’s Underworld Initiation—and I kind of love it. It’s kind of crazy, but also kind of brilliant and also kind of obvious all at the same time. It’s definitely food for thought.

I’ve been attending the North Austin Pagan Meetup since August, and the November meet was by far my favorite. See, “they” forgot to change the date so there was some confusion, and in that confusion only about 10 people showed up. Usually anywhere between 35-50 attend the meetup. The first part was a bit awkward, truth told, because of the unexpected intimacy of the situation. So we got to know each other a little bit, then after about an hour a man, V, asked about a spirit situation in his house. So that got us all talking and we chatted on into the night about spirits and the land and all sorts of things that one can only really talk about in the presence of other p/Pagans. Comfortably, anyway.

Now, after a renewing November, I’m ready for the Yule season. I’m actually getting pretty excited to put up our small tree and decorate with our little ornaments. Claire is now at the age where the holidays are a joy. I can’t wait for her little, “ooo!” when we light up the tree! Later tonight I’ll order some Solstice storybooks off of Amazon (we need a change from October’s Room on the Broom, cute as it is…). And tonight, with the low slung clouds and increasing fogginess, I’ll go on a run and visit with Niana for a bit.

Hope this dark season is finding you all well!

 

 

I received an award!

Yay! The lovely Thalassa over at Musings of a Kitchen Witch tagged me for a blog award! I’ve actually never done one of these before…so, here goes.

The Award:

 

 

 

 

 

The “Rules”:

The “rules” of the award are as follows:

1.  Display the award certificate on your website.
2.  Announce your win with a post and include a link to whoever presented your award.
3.  Present 7 awards to deserving bloggers.  Create a post linking to them and drop them a comment to tip them off. [My list is light…but, I didn’t want to pad it! These are blogs that I read often and really enjoy.]
4.  Post 7 interesting facts about yourself.

Award Recipients:

Pagan Princesses

Hearthwitch Cottage

The Deepest Well

The Whimsical Cottage

Pixiecraft

The Domestic Pagan

These are all Pagan blogs that I love. They’re inspiring and thought-provoking, and I love to read them! I’m a lurker at most of them, so…this might be a bit surprising when I let them know…

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. I am a stereotypical redhead. Freckled, ruddy, stubborn and short of temper.
  2. I work at a winery. I love it.
  3. I don’t think I could be any more of a political mish-mash. I would describe myself as part of the social liberal, fiscal moderate, please-just-behave-yourself-and-be-kind party.
  4. When I drink wine, I talk. When I drink beer, I get happy. When I drink liquor, I pass out.
  5. My favorite books are the Oultander series, and when I heard last week that it’s in development to be a TV show I squealed, out-loud, and woke C from her nap. And I did not care.
  6. My first Otherworld experience was when I was 14-ish. I remember the details clearly, and it still gives me tingles to think about it.
  7. When I watch any version of Pride and Prejudice, I giggle, squeal, blush and basically curl up into a little ball of cashmere pink femininity until it’s over. Then I heave a dramatic sigh, and my husband laughs at me.

Religious Progression

Saw this on a forum and thought it was interesting. What’s yours?

Southern Baptist —> Angry Teenage Agnostic, flirting with Paganism —> Conservative Evangelical Charismatic (wha?) —> Angry and Confused CEC —> General Pagan —> Medium-Polytheistic Pagan, flirting with ADF (do I want to take their course? Do I? ::waffles to and fro::), practicing low kitchen witchery, with a hyper-local practice, attending a UU church.

Obviously, labels become much more confusing in Paganism. Hahah.

The Darkening Time of Year

I love, love, love this time of year. I love the early setting sun. The persistent shadows that stretch across my backyard and throughout the house. The sun is bright and white; everything but the deepest shade is overexposed.

J, C and I just got back on Sunday night from six days at the in-laws for Thanksgiving (…) and I couldn’t be happier to be home. November was packed to the brim: NaNoWriMo (finished!), Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer (quit!*), Thanksgiving visits and at the very beginning of the month, Samhain. Whew. Add in the usual household chores and a burgeoning garden (yay!!) and we had a busy, albeit fulfilling, month. But, like I said, I’m happy to be home, and I’m happy to be blogging again.

Sunday night I pulled out the garland and started decorating for the upcoming Solstice season:

Last year because of being the sleepless mother of a four-month old, we didn’t do much besides hang a swag of lighted garland. This year, I have grand plans that include making these hurricane candle holders and sewing up PJs for some friends’ kids and the fam.

I’ll admit it: I love the Christmas/Solstice season. I celebrate both. Culturally and traditionally, I celebrate Christmas. Personally, I celebrate the Winter Solstice. Last year my parents, Claire and I went to the beach. The cold wind buffeted our faces, waves crashed against packed sand and when I went home I watched online as the solstice passed along the globe.

This time of year always seems to bring about discussions of whether or not P/pagans should celebrate Christmas. In an interesting turn of events in our family, one of my über-fundamentalist Christian relatives has decided to not celebrate Christmas (or Easter) since the Torah apparently (I don’t know and I’m not invested enough in the argument to find out) says to not have anything to do with pagan practices, ever. Apparently this means trees, garland, mistletoe (did you know, this person told me, very bug-eyed, that pagans had sex in front of everyone under the mistletoe?!–it sounded like information from a bad 101 book…and about Beltane, not the Solstice), Christmas music and gift giving.

I tried a little to explain and give them historical context, etc. but it didn’t really take.

On the spiritual side of things I’m about to start working through a book called Tarot Shadow Work. A lot of thinking about regeneration and survival. I feel like, even though I’m not a Christian, that this is a time of advent for me.

So, that’s enough of catching-up. Anyone reading this, how was your T-day? What are your plans for the holidays? What are your thoughts on the whole Solstice or Christmas discussion?

*I started Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer, which you can find at bodybuilding.com, about 10 weeks ago. I progressed through the first six weeks easily, but on top of 6 days of weights they add 4 days of 30 minute cardio. Then, in the third phase, plyometrics. It is way, way too much. Even scaling down the frequency of workouts and cardio, I ended up hurting my back. I’ve never had a hurt back in my life. I know how to lift weights: I took a course in college, and I’m a trained yoga teacher which provides me with some knowledge of anatomy and form. In my opinion, informed by additional research and my experience, this is not a well-designed or safe workout program.