Friday, November 25, 2016

My Issues with the Law of Attraction

I'm seeing it again today... A person going through a rough time, lots of shit all happening all at once. They're at a low point and looking for help, only to be told that their current situation is due to negativity and poor thinking in the past. BULLSHIT!!!! And STOP saying that to people, especially hurting people!!!! This is victim blaming at its finest. You caused this mess because you allowed in negativity, weren't thinking positively enough, aren't right with god, didn't pray enough, etc, etc... Telling people this is upsetting at best, mentally and emotionally abusive at worst. This is just as bad as saying "God never gives you more than you can handle." FUCK THAT! Maybe we survived it, but it fucked us up for the rest of our lives... God (if you believe in him) doesn't do that, doesn't work that way. People who say this shit make me want to punch them in the throat, though I likely would never do so.

Shit happens. Sometimes it seems to be coming all at once. But life is way too complicated for a run of difficult times to be all caused by negative thinking. There are SO many influences that are outside of our control. The decisions, choices, and free will of others can and does affect us and influence the world around us. Of course how we think can and does affect the things within our control and how we handle the stress of difficult times. So addressing how we think can help us in how we cope with life. Our choices have consequences, so that affects things too. But it's not as simple as "negative thinking created our shitty current circumstances."

One way to help address how we're thinking is Mindfulness. It's about being in the present moment, experiencing what's happening, without judgement of the situation or yourself. An excellent resource for working with this is the book "How to Wake Up, A Buddhist inspired guide to navigating joy and sorrow" by Toni Bernhard. I probably sound like a broken record, as I've mentioned this book fairly frequently lately. I've just gotten so much help and comfort from it that I like to share it. It's available in print, ebook, and audiobook (on Toni Bernhard is also chronically ill. She's a great inspiration to me. Her other two books are excellent as well.

What resources have really helped you in coping with chronic illness? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Today I spent the day starting to get ready for Thanksgiving. With all my food intolerances, I have to make my own bread cubes from loaves of bread. Spent time cutting up loaves of bread into cubes and then drying them in the oven. I did a LOT of other things today too. I almost filled up my entire day's space in my planner where I write my got done list. I did a lot yesterday too. I'm going to have to be careful tomorrow. There's more to be done to prepare. I don't do well doing a lot multiple days in a row. I'll have to delegate some stuff I was planning on doing to the hubby tomorrow.

It's difficult trying to pace when getting ready for a big event like a holiday. Luckily it will likely only be me and the hubby, at home. We don't usually travel home to family for the holidays. We do a full Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves, but tend to spend the day cooking in our pajamas, vegging on the couch watching movies and TV. It's kinda nice and low-key.

How do you handle trying to pace before and during the holidays? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Should of Doing

I think I’ve put a LOT of pressure on myself to “do”, to accomplish. I wrote my daily “got done” list at the end of every day (most days) to show that yes, I’ve gotten stuff done despite dealing with chronic illness. I’ve worked with some goal setting tools this year that absolutely have helped me improve my mindset and my efforts. But now I wonder if I’ve swung too far in the opposite direction.

I feel an obligation to “do”, to accomplish, to get stuff done, despite dealing with chronic illness. Why, I’m not sure. Probably in part because my life is NOTHING like I thought it would be before I became ill. I desperately want to be useful, functional. I see others around me accomplishing so much and I’m so jealous. Though I know it’s not true, I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing and I’m going nowhere with my life.

But what if I could be content to just “be”? Can I be content and not worry about how much I did today, or yesterday, or how much I might do tomorrow? I know my worth isn’t reliant upon what I accomplish. But there’s so much I DO want to accomplish and feel like I can’t due to chronic illness. Maybe that’s why I’m grasping so tightly at what I do actually do.

I think I’m going to take the rest of the week off from doing my “got done” list at the end of the day. I think I’m going to try to not worry about what I think I SHOULD be doing. I’m going to try to be content and just “be”.

Do you worry about "doing"? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spiritual Healing and Victim Blaming

I’ve been reading books on healing lately. I feel frustrated. I feel an undercurrent of victim blaming with chronic illness in many of the healing books, especially those with a more spiritual bent. It feels to me like they’re saying that if we just get our emotional issues and possible spiritual issues worked out then we should be physically healed too. Especially from the ones that say they used “x, y, z methods” and they healed themselves of their chronic illness. I’m just not so sure it’s that simple.

Oh, they always throw in the disclaimer that “your healing may not be the elimination of physical symptoms, but a healing of acceptance” or something like that. But the undercurrent feels like, “well, I was able to heal my chronic illness with this, so you should be able to also.” Sometimes it’s even more overt than that, with actual victim blaming of you’re still sick because you’re not right with god, didn’t pray enough or believe enough, are still allowing negative thoughts in/aren’t thinking positively enough…

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely believe in the mind-body connection. When my body isn’t doing so well my emotions are affected. When my emotions aren’t doing so well, my body is affected. But I’m just not sure every body can be physically healed. Sometimes the body just gets broken beyond repair.

But then I worry that maybe I’m wrong and I AM just not thinking right, doing enough of the emotional work, etc. You hear all the time about “blockages” and such. Is my “blockage” not believing I can get healthy? Is that what’s keeping me sick? Am I keeping myself sick? My biology background says no. My biology background says that body systems can be broken beyond repair and science can only do so much for them. But there’s always that little voice of self doubt in the back of my head. What if I’m keeping myself sick? What if the past nearly 20 years of chronic illness and disability HAVE  been all in my head? Not imagining it, but that I’ve somehow kept myself sick. It makes me feel crazy when I know deep down I’m not.

So I try harder. I push a little more. And I crash, physically and emotionally. It’s such hard work trying to find that oh so fragile and delicate balance of pacing and doing what you can without overdoing and triggering a crash/flare.

I guess all I can do is the best I can. All I can do is try to keep a balance of mind/body/spirit. I can do the best I can to address each of these to try to bring about the best I can. Maybe that will be full physical healing, or maybe just acceptance. I dunno. It’s a fine line between acceptance and resignation…

Oh, I highly recommend Toni Bernard’s books. She’s an amazing author who talks about her experience with chronic illness from the perspective of a practicing Buddhist. She’s still sick… I’ve read all 3 of her books. I recently finished her book “How to wake up, a Buddhist inspired guide to navigating joy and sorrow.” I found this one to be the most helpful for me.

Have you seen or experienced victim blaming in coping with chronic illness? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

When Mediocre is Enough

In dealing with chronic illness, hearing and reading all this stuff about doing more, more, MORE, and dreaming big and setting big goals feels so absolutely and completely overwhelming and unattainable and frustrating. I KNOW that big, huge goals just aren't realistic for what I can actually accomplish. But then it feels like I'm being made to feel like I'm limiting myself. I see all this stuff about removing blocks and "sure, you can do ANYTHING you want if you remove your blocks and put your mind to it." The reality is that's just not possible for me, given my current health issues and physical limitations. I HAVE to accept that or I'll drive myself crazy and probably make myself sicker. But I'm told that acceptance is resignation and I'll never move forward with that attitude.

This is where I've found so much peace in some Buddhist concepts. Mindfulness, impermanence, equanimity, these concepts are helping me to find peace with acceptance, not resignation. I've been reading Toni Bernard's books lately, which are about coping with chronic illness. Her book "How to Wake Up, A Buddhist Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow" has been especially helpful for me.

How do you find balance between accepting reality but still trying to move forward and set goals? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fall Days

Yesterday and today were recognizably Fall days. It was in the low 70's max during the day and 50's at night. For the first time in nearly a year I was able to turn off the air conditioner in the bedroom at night to sleep. I actually got cold last night and needed another blanket. That's optimal sleeping for me. Tonight will be the same. I'm loving it and so is my body. Today was a decent day, though I stayed at home. Cool, comfortable, I was happy and felt decent. Might not seem like a big deal to most people. When you're dealing with chronic illness that's dramatically affected by the weather, a good weather day that leads to a good physical day is heaven. I'll take it and hope for many more... :-)

What kind of weather helps you to feel your most optimal? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Clearing Up Merlinite Confusion

OK, I'm glad I read this article. I'm fairly pissed off to find out that Dendritic Agate is being called "Merlinite." What a scam to jack up the price on a simple but nice Agate.

My hubby recently bought me a piece of "Mystic Merlinite" or Indigo Gabbro. It is a nice stone, though I haven't worked with it much. I'll be calling it Indigo Gabbro. It reminds me a lot of Sodalite, though the color of my piece is much darker than the average piece of Sodalite.

I HATE when crystals and stones are given high fallutin' names just so the price can be jacked up. So ridiculous...

Have you bought a "fancy" crystal or stone with a fancy name only to find out it wasn't fancy at all? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Difficulties with Malachite

I've come to realize that though Malachite appeals to me visually, I don't react well to it at all. I'm not sure why. Every time I try to use Malachite I sink into a depression and feel shitty.

Malachite is considered toxic, especially in its raw form. I only work with it tumbled, but I feel awful every single time. It's especially bad if I try to use it in a grid or layout.

In The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall, she talks about Malachite amplifying and bringing out both positive and negative emotions. Well, I must be dealing with more depression than it seems, cause that's how I feel any time I try to work with it. So I guess I'll skip working with it for now and try again at a future time.

Do you have any crystals or stones that don't agree with you? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Full Moon Tarot Reading

Today is the Full Moon. Apparently it's a super moon in Taurus (I don't really work with astrology...). Part of my honoring of the Full Moon is do a specific Tarot reading. I call it an Energetic check in.

Energetic Check-in Reading

  • What is fading away/do I need to release or let go?
  • What is fully present?
  • What is coming to be?
  • How can I most effectively let go of what's fading away?
  • How can I most effectively work with what's fully present?
  • How can I most effectively prepare for and embrace what's coming to be?
This Full Moon I did this reading with the Deviant Moon Tarot deck. While the artwork is kinda creepy and odd, the messages are quite straight forward. I really enjoy working with it.

I also did this reading with my Nature Speak Oracle deck. I haven't worked with this Oracle in a while. I'd forgotten how spot on it is for me. It's basically the only Oracle deck that works for me for answering questions. All my other Oracle decks don't seem to work for answering specific questions. They only seem to work for giving a general message or for my combo readings. I'm thinking I'll be able to use the Nature Speak Oracle for clients.

Do you have any decks you use for specific readings, like the Full Moon? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Visualization Difficulties

I started my spiritual journey after leaving Christianity by looking at Paganism. I continued to read and study more about spirituality and energetic/metaphysical healing as I was/am dealing with chronic illness. Virtually every book I read emphasized visualization. So of course I tried it. I experienced flares of physical symtoms and crashes virtually every time I tried doing the visualizations, even ones that were supposed to be healing. It was so frustrating. These things were supposed to be helping me. Yet every time I just felt worse.

Besides divination, one of the first practices I worked with was shamanic journeying. I connected with a shamanic journeying group and we met twice a month. I LOVED it! I loved the people in the group, doing the journeying, meeting with my guides and gaining insight. I found that after journeying I would crash physically. While it’s supposed to be healing, I would have significant flares of my chronic illness symptoms afterwards. I would rest for a few days and recover. I continued on because I loved the people and the experience so much. But each time the crash would happen.

I was so frustrated and confused. Visualization and journeying are supposed to help me and be healing. I found them to be quite the opposite. I just couldn’t understand. Was I experiencing some sort of blockage? Was I subconsciously keeping myself sick?

I started looking into this more. An article I was reading about chronic illness and pacing helped me finally understand. For people with chronic illness, any type of exertion can be draining to us. Exertion isn’t just physical. It can be mental, emotional, etc. So mental exertion can be just as tiring as physical exertion.

BINGO! Visualization IS exertion, mental exertion. Apparently, with my chronic illness issues, the mental exertion of visualization is just too much for me. It leaves me feeling drained and brain foggy. So I’ve gone against the “conventional” recommendations and I don’t work with visualization. It just leaves me feeling worse, rather than better.

I bring this up because I decided to try a shamanic journey not too long ago. It’s been nearly a year since I last tried. I used a 10 minute shamanic drumming track from Spotify, rather than actually drumming for myself. I got some interesting information. Unfortunately I experienced a significant flare/crash afterwards. I had to go lay down for a nap pretty much right after. I didn’t feel great after I woke up. The rest of the evening I felt weak, sore, and brain foggy. I didn’t start feeling improved until I did a personal crystal healing session before I went to bed. Even with that, it took me a while to figure out which crystals to use that didn’t make me feel worse and actually helped. That’s not usual for me.

So shamanic journeying is still out for me, along with visualization. I’ll keep on with Tarot/Oracles and working with my crystals and stones. I’ve also had some nice experiences lately with mindfulness and some concepts of Buddhism that I read in Toni Bernhard’s book “How to Wake Up, A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow.” I’m finding these concepts particularly helpful and comforting lately.

So don’t feel bad if certain techniques don’t work for you. Find what does work for your individual needs.

Have you found any healing techniques to be difficult for you? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Tarot Books

Here's a list of my favorite Tarot books. They are in no particular order, with the exception of number 1.

  1. 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer (probably my favorite book. So incredibly helpful.)
  2. Tarot 101 by Kim Huggens (Deeper than many 101 type books. A comprehensive course in Tarot with exercises and journaling.)
  3. Tarot Spreads by Barbara Moore
  4. Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (This is a monster of a book, over 900 pages. I haven't  read it all yet, but what I have read so far has been incredible. A comprehensive reference for the serious Tarotist.)
  5. Tarot for Yourself by Mary K. Greer
  6. Who Are You In Tarot by Mary K. Greer 
  7. Tarot Tour Guide by Christiana Gaudet 
  8. Practical Tarot's Quick Start Guide to Learning and Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore (two short ebooks that are decent and inexpensive)
  9. Your Tarot, Your Way by Barbara Moore 
  10. A Magical Course in Tarot by Michele Morgan
What are your favorite Tarot books? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

What If You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be?

5 Questions to ask yourself if you're not where you thought you'd be

I resonate so strongly with this. Not because I had no direction. I've had direction since I was a teenager. I was going to be a veterinarian, period, end of discussion. So I did everything to prepare for that and move in that direction. Then I got sick and everything changed.

I did accomplish something major, which was graduate college. I remember days where I wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk across campus to get to my classes. But I did. I pushed and did it. Then I crashed, physically and mentally. I worked some vet and animal related jobs, but I always crashed. I was always fighting being sick.

Then I just couldn't work anymore. Pursuing spirituality really gave me something to focus on, an interest to pursue. And my marriage to my amazing hubby. And my animals. Any my family and friends. So I keep on, feeling behind, feeling frustrated when I look at the lives of others, where they are. And then I'm reminded of all the good things I DO have, the many things I have actually accomplished especially considering how long I've dealt with chronic illness, the many things I can be grateful for. It helps a bit. I just have to remind myself not to focus on others.

This week has been difficult for me. I'm having a physical flare/crash, and with that comes emotional difficulties. I'm working through another wave of grief over losing my physical ability to work with animals. It's just not physically possible for me right now and may never be again. But then I feel silly because I've been so happy working with Tarot and working towards setting up a Tarot reading business. Sometimes it just hits you... All you can do is ride it out. I'll be ok...

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dharma In Uncertain Times

Dharma In Uncertain Times (here)

I will try...

This is all I have to say today, in light of the results of yesterday's presidential election.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Self Care When You Feel Lost

This is an EXCELLENT article. I'm utilizing a lot of these in my own life now.

I'm having a few rough days, flaring and crashing with chronic illness stuff. Sorry this post is a short one.

What self-care rituals and techniques do you find most helpful? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

New Crystals and Stones

New Crystals and Stones:

  • Bumblebee Jasper x 3
  • Green Aventurine x 3
  • Dumortierite x 2
  • Apatite
  • Green Aventurine x 2
  • Aragonite x 2
  • Amethyst Cacoxenite x 2 (maybe, this is what it was labelled, but I'm not sure if that's what it is; but it's pretty and feels nice and I like it)

What new crystals and stones have you gotten recently? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Card of the Day Practice by Christiana Gaudet

Christiana Gaudet wrote an excellent technique here for a Card of the Day practice. I’ve been using it, albeit not every day. I’ve REALLY enjoyed this CotD practice better than any other one I’ve seen. Since I’m at home most days, with not a lot going on, predictive CotD practices don’t really work for me. They also have increased my anxiety on occasion. This technique works really well for me. This technique could also be used for Oracle cards, Runes, many different forms of divination, maybe even the day’s numerology.

“Simply choose a time of day (usually in the morning or evening) to pull one card. You can write about it or you can meditate on it, or just think about it.

Don’t think of it as predictive, as much as instructive.

How is this card currently present in your life?

Do you want it to be present it your life, or is this an energy you need to mitigate?

What advice does this card give you for the day?

Taking a few moments every day to be mindful with tarot will give insight and grounding, and will sharpen your tarot skills!” (By Christiana Gaudet)

As I really enjoy working with crystals and stones also, I thought it would be great to choose 1-3 stones to either support or mitigate the energy of the CotD when using this technique. A neat way to add some energetic support or mitigation for the energy of the day’s card (Oracle card, Rune, number, etc).

Do you draw a Card of the Day? Do you find it useful? What technique do you use? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Top 10 Oracle Deck/Tarot Deck Combinations

One of my favorite methods of doing readings is a combo method I came up with. I draw an Oracle card as a topic card, asking "What do I need to know right now?" Then I draw three Tarot cards to get more information about the topic or message brought up by the Oracle card. I also draw a Rune, asking "What else do I need to know?"

This combination method is really great for when you're not doing so great and need a message but aren't sure what to ask. Using the three different tools helps make sure you don't just see what you want to see, but see the actual messages. If the three tools are all saying similar or coordinating messages, then you can be sure you're not just seeing what you want to see.

This method really helped me a lot. Using this style of reading, I was able to get myself out of a very deep rut I had been in while dealing with coping with chronic illness.

I like to use decks that have similar or related themes. I looked at my collection of Tarot and Oracle decks and combined those that had similar themes and seem to work well together. Here is a list of combinations I really love. They are in no particular order.

  1. Witchlings/Joie de Vivre Tarot
  2. Oracle of Shadows and Light/Happy Tarot or The Deviant Moon Tarot
  3. Oracle of the Shapeshifters/Tarot of the Magical Forest or The Animal Wisdom Tarot
  4. The Faerie Guidance Oracle/Paulina Tarot
  5. The Ceccoli Oracle/The Ceccoli Tarot
  6. Earth Magic Oracle/The Gaian Tarot
  7. The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle/The Wild Unknown Tarot
  8. Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle/The Crystal Visions Tarot
  9. The Transparent Oracle/The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding
  10. Oracle of the Mermaids/The Shadowscapes Tarot
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Oracle of Visions/Legacy of the Divine Tarot or The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore 
  • Froud's Faery Oracles (either/both)/The Wild Unknown Tarot or The Runes
  • Oracle of the Dragonfae/Fantastical Creatures Tarot
  • The Faery Forest Oracle/ The Tarot of Trees
Do you have any divination tools you like to use together? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Oracle Decks

The following is in no particular order, with the exception of number one.

  1. Oracle of Shadows and Light (It was a tough choice, but this is my favorite Oracle deck.)
  2. Oracle of the Shapeshifters
  3. Earth Magic Oracle
  4. Ceccoli Oracle 
  5. Witchlings
  6. The Faerie Guidance Oracle 
  7. The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle
  8. The Nature Speak Oracle 
  9. The Wild Wisdom of the Faery
  10. The Oracle of Visions
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Transparent Oracle
  • The Faerie Oracle
  • The Heart of Faerie Oracle 
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Top 10+ Favorite Tarot Decks

This list is in no particular order, with the exception of number one.

  1. The Sun and Moon Tarot (This deck is the very first deck I ever learned Tarot with. It is the first deck I ever got intuitive hits with. This is my favorite Tarot deck.)
  2. The Happy Tarot
  3. The Joie de Vivre Tarot 
  4. The Gaian Tarot
  5. Tarot of the Magical Forest
  6. The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore (cause there's more than one Steampunk Tarot)
  7. The Shadowscapes Tarot
  8. The Deviant Moon Tarot 
  9. The Ceccoli Tarot
  10. The Wild Unknown Tarot
  11. The Crystal Visions Tarot
  12. The Animal Wisdom Tarot
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding
  • the Tarot of Trees
  • The Zombie Tarot
  • The Housewives Tarot
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Perspectives on the Tower Card of Tarot

Theresa Reed Guidance in Every Card-The Tower

This article was groundbreaking for me. It showed the Tower card not only as something that may be happening TO you in your life, but also that you can CREATE the Tower card's dramatic changes in your life. The difference being between passively accepting what's going on (which is sometimes, or even often, necessary) and actively being the one to create the changes.

Previously, I'd always looked at the Tower card as that cataclysm or dramatic change that was going to happen to me. While that definition and perspective still plays a role, it's not complete. Sometimes that dramatic change is going to happen to us, that it's unavoidable. We can also choose to tear down the Tower to its foundation, choose to make those dramatic changes, and rebuild from the ground up. Sometimes, that's the most effective and best thing to do, a total tear down and rebuild.

Has the Tower card manifested in your life recently? How so? Do you need to manifest the Tower card in your life? If so, what's stopping you? Please feel free to share in the comments...

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Reflections on Halloween

I spent yesterday putting up a small setup of decorations and handing out candy to trick or treaters. I dressed up a little, kept it simple. I didn't have the energy to go all out with a costume, like the corset costume I wore last year. I was alone this year as the hubby was out of town for work. I rounded off the evening with eating dinner and watching Hocus Pocus.

I've thought about what Halloween means to me. Honestly, I'm really not that big on the whole ancestors thing. I know, how very un-Pagan of me... It just doesn't resonate with me. Not sure why, but it just doesn't. For me, Halloween seems to really ring in Fall/Autumn. Right now, we live in southern California. There isn't a ton of seasonal changes here, when you're used to four distinct seasons from having grown up in the Midwest. But at Halloween, I really feel Fall. The light has changed. Here, it starts to be much cooler more consistently. It really FEELS like Fall. So, that's what Halloween really means to me. Definite Fall, moving towards winter.

I know the veil is thinner at Halloween. I can feel it. "Activity" picks up around then. I'll often do divination on Halloween, though I didn't this year. I was too tired from all I did with getting ready for trick or treating and handing out candy for three hours. I don't mind a bit of spooky stuff, but I really don't like lots of gore or really scary stuff. I like black and orange and purple. I like the typical trappings of pumpkins, black cats, spiders, etc. I guess you could say I like my Halloween rated PG at most.

For me, I guess I tend more towards the secular of Halloween than the spiritual aspects of it. My spirituality tends to be more based on nature, rather than a specific spiritual or religious path. I love Halloween and the fun it brings. I honor it for being a harbinger of Fall and winter for me.

What does Halloween mean to you? Feel free to respond in the comments.

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