Sunday, 29 June 2014

Reflections on the Past Year: Living with Depression, Upheaval & Knowing that the Hurricane Won't Last Forever

        As June draws to a close and the hot days of summer are upon us in the Northern Hemisphere I find myself both exceedingly warm and rather thoughtful. About this time last year, my world was rather in bits and pieces and home wasn't really home anymore. My parents were splitting up which is absolutely fine, I totally think its for the better, but it did mean that my life was a tad extra chaotic. I'd just moved back home after my first year of university to discover that I'd outgrown living with parents. Work was well work, filled with long hot days grilling hot dogs and burgers, the only part of which I am truly grateful for is a friend who I met who I know consider a sister <3. On top of everything I was diagnosed with depression, and I was in the middle of a major crisis of faith.... all in the single month of June 2013.

        But really why am I talking about all of this? Well, because I'm not in the same place anymore and because I want to let other people, who are in the middle of a rather large figurative hurricane, know that it will be okay. Being diagnosed with depression made me feel like I wasn't crazy, reaffirmed that wanting to throw up from stress and having a stomach that was alway upset did not mean I was dying, and really its always a comfort to know that you're not dying. To help cope with everything I was put on antidepressants which in case you are wondering are not 'happy pills' (a common misconception), they actually serve more as a stabilizer than anything else, yay for having an appetite again! After seeing counselling and being on antidepressants for precisely a year now, things are more stable in my life, sure I still have bouts of depression but they usually last a couple hours or so not a week.

        I guess what I'm getting at here is that its okay to be diagnosed with depression, its okay to get help, see a doctor, take antidepressants and talk to a counsellor, its okay. The hurricane won't last forever and you can pull yourself out, but that is a choice you have to make. It takes commitment and more than a little bit of effort to get out of bed and go about your daily tasks at first but in time it won't be as hard (you just won't want to leave bed because its cozy rather than because you're depressed). Take a breath, or two, look outside and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings whether the weather is sunshine, rain or storm. My counsellor once told me that thoughts are kind of like the tide, they ebb and flow, let the bad ebb away and let the good flow towards you, and take comfort in the fact that the hurricane really won't last forever.


Thursday, 26 June 2014

A Mead or Cinnamon Apple Cider Brew

      While I was pinteresting away a couple days before Litha I came across the image at the bottom of the post and as my boyfriend and I have been tasting craft brews for a little while now, the words Easy Mead jumped out at me. Mead, one of the more traditional brews of beer is something that harkens back to the yesteryears of Britain, and as a side note is also exceedingly difficult to find in the liquor store (ours only carries it around Yule). 

Hard Cider Mead/ Apple Cinnamon Brew Recipe:
  • 1 quart of dry apple cider (hard or alcohol-free its up to you)
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of sliced citrus fruits (we used 1 sliced and peeled orange)
  • 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • Instructions: Combine everything together in a jug just large enough to hold everything (we re-used an orange juice jug) and shake once a day (we shook it a couple times for good measure) for five days, strain before drinking. 

      To start, we went to the liquor store and picked up 4 500ml cans of Dukes hard, dry cider. Then we went to the Bulk Barn (a Canadian Bulk Foods Store) and picked up 3 large cinnamon sticks and finally an orange from the grocery store. Seeing as we already had honey in we didn't need to buy any. Then, when we got home we did as the recipe said, combined everything and gave it a shake a couple times a day for 5 days. After 5 days most of our honey had completely dissolved. Today, after shaking for the past week or so we decided to give it a go and got out the strainer to see what we had made (see pictures). 

Dry Apple Cider for Making the Mead
     I don't know why I was expecting it to taste like beer, but it certainly doesn't. Keep in mind that I've never really had mead before though so I don't know how accurate of a mead judge I am. After five days the carbonation is gone, as to be expected, and even though I do miss the fizzies a little bit I wouldn't say that its absence hinders the taste of the brew at all. In my opinion in tastes exactly like its ingredients a sweet, orangey, cinnamon, apple cider but beer, not so much. 

     Even though it doesn't taste like beer or like a honey wine, which mead is also sometimes described as, it is most certainly delicious. Imagine a sweet and subtly spicy fruit punch and you'll have a decent idea of its flavour. Although I can't really say that it is for sure a mead taste, it is a wonderful fruity summer drink to enjoy throughout this summer season! 

If any of you give it a go be sure to share your thoughts in the comments :)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Otherworldly Energy in the Misty Morning

      Once again I am on a relatively early morning bus heading to my orthodontist who works 2 hours away from where I currently live. Even though my brain and body were not very happy to crawl out of their warm blanket nest this morning, there is something wonderful about getting up early when the plants are still covered in dew and there’s a foggy mist hanging in the air. On the other hand it is not particularly lovely that woman who just sat in front of me smells like she bathed in perfume this morning, not necessary, a little soap, and a touch of fragrance will do, some people are allergic to strong perfume....

      Back to where I began with the misty morning air.... Aside from the fact that I was a tad on the sweaty side trekking across my campus to get to the bus stop, there was something particularly special about my morning walk, the energy. As an empath feeling other people’s energy is not out of the ordinary for me and as someone whose first real encounter with witchcraft was feeling the energy of the world around me, I’m not a stranger to the experience. But this morning the energy I’ve been feeling is particularly strong and its not just coming from a few things, like trees or some fae folk following me around, today the energy is everywhere.

     Everything around me, the very air itself seems to be buzzing with magic. I can feel it seeping into my bones and filling me up with every word I type and every breath I breathe. Although this isn’t my first time feeling the energy of the world this strongly, it is not by any means a common encounter for me, I can only count maybe a handful of times in the past year when I've felt it this strongly.

     So, while I’ve been sipping my green tea this morning I started to ponder... First of all the energy feels deep purple, dark forest green and ultramarine blue, and its otherworldly. I feel for certain that the energy is otherworldly but that’s where I’m stumped. I’m not sure whether I feel all of this magical energy around me because the veil is thinner today or because I myself have been getting more perceptive, or maybe a bit of both?!

     Either way I’m going to make sure I have my shields up so that I don’t take in any of the negative energy that could potentially be wandering around and enjoy the tingles while they last. Hope you have a wonderfully magical day, if you have any thoughts on why all this energy might be up and about or whether its my own reception strengthening, or have a similar experience to share please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Writing about Writing

    This June has been an exceedingly quiet blogging month for me, I haven't really had a a wordy month at all really. Aside from reading historical documents, and for my history classes I haven't done a lot with words as of late. I think that perhaps the tide of the seasons is however changing this in favour of the writing thing again. This morning after I went on the we're out of eggs for pancakes adventure and ended up with a suitable plate of pancakes (although they were  a bit denser), I felt the proverbial paper and quill stir in me again. So I sat myself down in bed (due to minimal space when I'm home my bed is currently my desk, office, couch and of course bed-- oh student living), and got out my laptop and zipped through editing my primary document analysis for school.

      Although it was all about school this morning by the afternoon, after some grocery shopping and a delicious burger out at The Works I'd settled into reading some witchy blogs (check out my blogshelf in the sidebar for some neat witch & pagan blogs) and I began feeling the witchy writer in my start to bounce about. While mopping up the floors about a half hour ago I had just about decided on writing a blog post on hedge witchery (interesting to read about not sure if I'm a fan of the whole worm-wood tea, flying ointment and seeing things deal though- Just a further note I have since broadened my mind on hedge witchery- we all make mistakes- read about that more here) or tarot but when I started typing my fingers apparently decided that I was going to write about writing, so more on those topics later.

      So here it goes, about two or three months ago I started writing a book. Gasp another writer, didn't see that one coming, I mean its not like she's writing a blog or anything. This is the third time I've started writing a book, the first two that I started in high-school were fiction and between the whirlwind of life and writers block they kind of got discarded. Unlike my last two books which I figured would end up being length volumes of wonderful prose this time I'm being realistic. My book isn't going to be particularly long, at most 100 pages (novel size not 8.5 by 11), nor will it be fiction. This time around I'm writing a nonfiction witchy book using some of the writing skills that I have hopefully improved over the last two years of this rather expensive university thing.

The Witches Sabbath, Painted in 1880 by Luis Ricardo Falero
 I'm hoping to finish writing it by the end of this calendar year, because without a deadline I think I'm probably just going to brush it off. I'm also hoping that by writing this I will have established a wee bit of accountability for myself to actually get it written. As to the subject? Well that's something for a later date, I can't ruin all the surprise now can I?!

       On that note now that my fingers are all warmed up and ready to go I think I'm going to go do some witchy writing of the book sort.

Have a Magical Summer Everyone!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Some Rambling Thoughts on Practicing Witchcraft in Groups or Covens

       Coming from an organized religion into the world of witchcraft definitely lead me to believe that the only way to learn or even be initiated into a religion or belief system was through schooling of some sorts. When I first set about trying to figure out what sort of earth based religion I wanted to follow, the idea that I had to join a group was almost overpowering and not in a good way. After being in a religion with a designated priest and designated roles that required you to devote yourself to God in the way the catechism stated I was certainly not all for the idea of leaving one organized religion and hopping into another one.

       Quite honestly, although I quite like many of the philosophies of druidry I think the idea of having to take a course on it (which is what the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids suggests), put me off. I have every respect for learning about your faith practices through a sequential period of lessons but it wasn't right for me a year ago and its not right for me today either. I think growing up with such a hierarchal religion really deterred me from organized faith. I just don't agree with the concept that individuals who study in seminaries or theological schools have the right to tell you how to practice your faith, going to church every Sunday does not make you devout if your spirit isn't in it.

      I don't go to church every Sunday now, and to be honest I don't really go to church (unless I'm accompanying a family member to be with them as they celebrate) and overall I'm a whole lot happier about it. I'm not just talking about Christianity here either, Wicca has its own church in Canada, aptly named The Wiccan Church of Canada  with a central location in Toronto, Ontario. I think its great that Wiccans who seek to celebrate together have a place to do so, its just not for me.

      Realizing that I definitely didn't want to practice in a group left me in a really interesting place. So very many Wiccan pages state that the only way to truly become a witch (never mind traditional witchcraft) is by meeting with a Wiccan group and having them initiate you. Totally totally wrong. There are thousands of Wiccans out there who don't practice in groups, never have and never will, and guess what they are still Wiccan. 

Any site that says you need to go to an initiation ceremony to believe what you do is off its rocker!

      After all this rambling, what I really want to say is that you don't have to be Wiccan to be a witch. You don't have to practice in groups to be a witch. You can be a witch without being Wiccan, its called traditional witchcraft, and you can practice by yourself, its called being a solitary witch. The world will not end if you want to celebrate the Sabbats by yourself. Just be who you are (if that means practicing in a coven, practice in a coven :) ), there is no need to force something on yourself that doesn't feel right. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Playing a Bit of Catch Up + Thoughts on Game of Thrones Ascent & Penny Dreadful

      I know I haven’t been blogging as much as of late and for that I do offer my apologies. I could list all the different excuses but in the hopes that you are a human reading this and not an internet crawler or an outer space alien (if you are an alien, you are also welcome btw) you probably understand that living a human life is busy, busy, busy! On a side note saying, ‘busy, busy, busy’ always reminds
me of the magician in original Frosty the Snowman cartoon after Santa Clause sends him on his way.
Left: Magician,  Right: Frosty the Snowman
      What’ve I been up to lately? Well a bit of this and that. I went to see my orthodontist (who works 100km away from where I live) which is always a bit of a journey, visited my mom whose busy house hunting (send some goodwill & energy her way house hunting is proving a challenge), university always keeps me busy, and sending out a couple Etsy orders yay people like the things I make

Visit IttyBittyCelticWitch on Etsy
      As of yesterday I’ve also started playing a computer game called Game of Thrones Ascent. I love, love, love it and am totally addicted! For those of you who love GOT I totally recommend it. Its not violent in the sense that you’re not killing people like a FPS (first person shooter –learned the acronym last year I’m totally out of the video game thing). Its more of a strategy game that follows the GOT of thrones plot line. Like Simpsons Tapped Out (another game I’m totally addicted too :p ), you are sent on quests and such which take time to complete so in some senses it really is a bit of a waiting game. But for those of you who feel the incessant drive to level up in strategic computer games and also love fantasy or GOT I think you should give Game of Thrones Ascent a try... if you haven’t already ;)

     Another new thing that has captured my eye is a show called Penny Dreadful. Currently I’m four episodes in and I just have last night’s episode to catch up on. Essentially Penny Dreadful is classical horror story, paranormal, mystery, show set in the 19th century. By classical horror story I mean it incorporates the classic 19th century literary horror stories i.e. Dracula, Dorian Grey & Frankenstein. At the same it is also a paranormal show in the sense that it elaborates on the classics first by including quite a few characters from their stories as well as adding new elements i.e. a Texan whom I have some suspicions about but I will leave that up to you to figure out ;) The entire story is also set amidst the life of 19th century London, from plot to set to attire, there’s no cars racing about in this show! So far I’m really enjoying it and because it has so many twists and turns I’m super excited to see where it goes!

     Well that is for the night , its almost  midnight here and I should really get ready for some ZZZZZssss. Have a good night everyone and be sure to let me know in the comments if you’ve played Game of Thrones Ascent or are watching Penny Dreadful (please no spoilers though I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else!)
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