The Spiritual Mother

Celebrating Motherhood as a Spiritual Guide and Path.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How a Kitchen Witch Does Yule..

In my family growing up Christmas was a huge deal.  My mother had about 10 different themed trees from a Waterford Crystal  and silver tree, to a Coca-Cola tree and more.  We celebrated the Italian feast of 7 fishes on Christmas Eve, and had tons of presents and a huge meal with a ton of family including all the cousins, 2nd and 3rd.  We always got dressed up and had a meal that would give a nutritional a heart attack.  We started out with fruit cocktail, all hand cut and prepared.  We then had a lasagne course, then the main meal and then salad and then dessert.  It was a big deal!  It wasn't about the birth of Jesus at all.  In fact it was rarely brought up!  It was about family and sharing a big meal and giving to each other.  It was about love.  I see allot of pagans today creating a big deal and hoopla about Christmas.  It is a combination of things too.  Some people go off on huge tirades about how Christmas tradition is actually pagan and they are upset that everyone says this or that.  The other people get into the whole "well I am pagan now so I want nothing to do with Christmas". Well I am going to give all these pagans the words of Italian sage advice and say "Fagedaboutit".  Having a different spiritual belief than your family does not mean you need to dismiss the traditions of your youth. 

Then we have pagans that celebrate both holidays and blend the old with the new.  I am of this last school.  For us Christmas is a family day when we spend time with our bio family.  The span of time over December gives us homage to both traditions.  We start here with the decorations.  I am always aching to put them up as soon as Samhain decorations get put away.  This year I put them up before Thanksgiving, which always causes a stir on the Facebook page!  But I just love them because everything is up for a reason and reflects my cultural upbringing and my spirituality. 

For example, my tree this year, pictured above, is turquoise to represent the cool of winter, and gold to reflect the birth of the sun.  I have a golden pentacle on top with pentacles and dragonflies in honor of my totem.  I hang fairies in the windows, I put out more candles.  I also do things to bring my past celebrations of Christmas to the ritual circle, such as putting color coordinated nutcrackers at each quarter, and drinking cocoa and cookies instead of cakes and wine. 

I also have traditions with foods, such as the feast of seven fishes on Christmas Eve.  Italians do not eat meat that day and traditionally eat a huge variety of seafood in the evening.  I also cook a huge pasta selection for my annual Yule party and invite my pagan and mundane friends.  We have a social gathering and drink and be merry with a golden candle lit for the Sun God each year.  My penne alla vodka is always a huge deal and has become a tradition among friends. 

We also do Christmas Morning.  We get up like other children and turn on the tree to discover Santa has been to our home.  Santa to us is an analogy of the Gods.  We leave him a "libation" of milk and cookies and in turn he provides us with gifts.   That does sound familiar.  Even if we don't celebrate Christmas it allows my son to learn about that symbiotic relationship on his level.  It also allows him to experience something with other children, the magic of Santa.

We all know that the traditions of the holidays come from many sources, pagan and non-pagan.  We hear people making a huge deal about putting the "Christ back in Christmas".  I also hear pagans being infuriated by this last group of people and creating a large hoopla about it.  Who cares if people want to be bigoted and ignorant, we do not need to feed their energy.  The best thing you can do is to celebrate the holidays the best and most fun way you can.  Blessed Yule to all.    

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Harvesting Change and Healing

When we go through tough times, we seek ways to find comfort.  As you all know I have had hard times lately with the loss of Jessie.  But the last six months have had more than just that held up in store for me.  I have had everything happen to me from my car dying to financial problems (I am the 99% for sure) to discovering friends I had for years were never really friends.  To top it all off, add in the stress this has all added to my marriage and we are a steam pot of stress and emotional heart ache.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least.


I have been pretty much going through a major change of "Return to Saturn" proportions this last year.  I have found comfort in music songs like the video posted above.  It almost seems like a sign that it keeps coming on my Pandora stations.  Music seems to comfort me and allow me to cry when I normally would not have allowed myself too.  I have been keeping myself busy with many projects to keep my mind off things.  Harvesting out the bad and making room for the new is a good thing.  There are good things that come with trying to find that happy place again after epic bad times.

 The most important part of being at a low point in your life is to remember that things will get better.  Harvesting this idea and the positive energy of regrowth is always the hardest part.  You can not let the negativity get you down, but you also need to allow yourself time to grieve, heal and learn from the negative experiences.  How does one do this?  Well that is different for everyone and a very individual process.  Some people need to sit in bed in their jammies and stuff ho-hos in their mouth and be miserable, like that episode of Roseanne in season 9, where Dan leaves Roseanne for another woman.  But other people, need to dive into new projects and stay busy.  Some people need both.  I am one that needs to stay busy. 

One of the hardest parts of being a pagan in this country is the lack of people to connect with on a spiritual and friendship level that have similar beliefs as you.  Many pagans tend to be alone in many areas of the country.  I have felt this myself the last few years.  But with my own pain lately I have been trying to change that.  A few of my pagan friends and I have started a local Earth based spirituality group.  It started off as us finding a wonderful place to gather and hold meet-ups.  We then planned a Samhain retreat.  When we decided to do it we said to ourselves that if more than one person showed up besides us, it was a success.  Well now we are nearing 40 people attending, and are being sponsored by the biggest New Age shop in the area, and have started an organization that will be hosting many events in the future. 

It has been growing so fast and keeping myself busy working on our projects together has not only given me a new focus that is positive, it has offered me a support structure of people I can connect with spiritually to help with the healing process.  I also am able to help new people that have come to us.  Ever since we started advertising our group we have had pagans come to us grateful to have found us, as they are new on their path and needing spiritual guidance in their lives.   That feeling to me has been so amazing to know that I am helping someone and guiding them to answers they had in themselves but needed help finding.  I wonder if they know how much helping them is helping me. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Now...

This is not my first pregnancy loss.  Back in 2006 I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks.  As soon as I found out, I lost the pregnancy.  It took me a long time to heal.  We still started trying right away after the loss. But this is different this time.  I was pregnant for an entire trimester.  I went through all the symptoms, being nauseated all day every day, and struggling to stay awake.  I even got to feel the baby kicking me in those final weeks of being pregnant.  I had much longer to get used to the idea of having another child.  But now that is gone.

It has made some things very hard.  Facebook is just horrible at times, and it makes me glad I have 2 accounts because honestly, my primary account is loaded with other child bearing mothers and I see a pregnancy announcement every week it feels like.  Going out and about is hard too, because pregnant women are everywhere.  I am very happy for them, but every time I see a round belly, it is a reminder that My Jessie is gone.  We went from planning to have another family member to trying to cope as a family with the loss of that new family member.  My 3 year old son was just starting to get the concept that mommy had a baby in her tummy.  He still asks about "Mommies Baby" and I just do not know what to say to him.   He understands death as squishing a bug. 

I now get some perks, like being able to drink at a bunch of parties and gatherings that I was not going to be able to.  I am actually looking forward to getting a bit tipsy at the Samhain festival in a few weeks.  I am also looking forward to the homemade hard cider my friends are making for Yule.  I got to dye my hair seeing as that I had massive roots from getting highlights early in the summer.  I also do not have to worry about the fact that I only had one pair of Maternity jeans and had to buy more for the winter to make it through till March, when I was due.  I also get to do some magical workings I was wanting to do since I do not do spell work while pregnant.  And I get to be intimate with my hubby without worrying If my nausea will take over and I will get sick on him.

But none of that compares to having my child that I was expecting in my arms and alive and healthy.  Healing emotionally is the hardest part of it all.  There is nothing anyone can really say that makes the pain hurt less.  Some people suggest turning to faith to heal.  And I do, but no matter how much I meditate or cleanse with salt, or how often I wear hematite, nothing is a cure all.  I know that only time can heal these wounds. 

I find strength in staying busy.  I have been writing more blogs, working on planning the Samhain Retreat, working, cleaning my house over and over... the list goes on and on.  I find that the more I do physically, the less time I have to think about how sad I am about loosing my child.  Having a long to do list is so comforting.  I just worry that if I do not face these emotions I will not heal the way I need to.  

There is one thing that I am hoping helps with the healing process, a passing ritual for Jessie.  My close friend Coedwig will be doing the ritual in Jessie's Honor in a few weeks.  He planned our sons baby blessing for us and it was wonderful.  I am hoping that ritually saying goodbye helps and I feel closure in some aspects.   But I know that the pain of this all will always be with me.  I hope that I can find the inner strength to grow from this experience and find peace with it all. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here and Gone

For the past few weeks I have been working on a very special post.  It was to announce my pregnancy.  I had kept a log of every week and how I was feeling and journaled my emotions and everything.  I was so excited about it, but kept it a secret for all these weeks because I wanted to share it at a special time.  I had told some of my friends but not all of them to see if the others would guess, we even made games of it.  See the pregnancy itself was a miracle to me in some lights.   I had just gotten my IUD removed and it was our first cycle with no protection.  It took us 2 years to conceive our son so we literally were in shock when we saw that Big Fat Positive pregnancy stick. I had also gotten pregnant right after returning from Pagan Spirit Gathering, where I had a crone bless my tummy.  It was meant to be and a gift from the gods in my mind.

I had been pretty sick with this pregnancy, suffering from all day nausea and requiring 9 hours of sleep each night and a nap daily.  I had a feeling this pregnancy would stick around, and hoped it would since I had been so sick.  We told our son and a few close friends and family members, but never announced to the general public or the entire family.  I was waiting to see the baby on an ultrasound, even though I had felt plenty of flutters.

I anxiously went to my 12 week appointment where they gave me an Ultrasound to confirm the heart beat and check the size of the baby.  We found the heartbeat right away.  And saw it flickering away on the screen.. I had tears in my eyes.  The tech took some more measurements and then said she had to go talk to a doctor.  We sat there for 15 minutes waiting for her and she finally came back and then asked us to go to the waiting room, and even gave us a few pictures.

A few minutes later a doctor called me into a room.  She informed me that my baby had a 7.6 mm swelling from the forehead down to the tailbone.  This swelling, called Hydrops, was indicative of a huge genetic abnormality.  Hydrops also most of the time comes with fatal heart defects and organ malfunctions.  She then proceeded to go on and say that this was not the biggest of the worries.  The baby also had underdeveloped arms and legs that we way too short for the gestational age of my baby.  They also said they had a hard time locating some of the organs but were unsure if this was because they were missing or it was their equipment.  She said she was not sure what was wrong but a geneticist would contact me in the next few days.  She mentioned that there was a possibility of Turner's Syndrome or a dwarfism condition, and left it at that.

We sat waiting for the phone to ring for 5 days.  It is not until you are waiting for a life altering call that you realize how much you hate telemarketers.  I finally had to call them and the geneticist asked me to come in that day for CVS testing.  I drove the 90 minute drive with my husband and we went in for the testing.  The doctor we had was the only high risk doctor in the state who specialized in genetics.  She told us that the baby was the worst case she had seen in 20 years and that the outlook didn't look good.   She was not able to do the testing because of the location of the placenta in my uterus and we would have to wait till 16 weeks to do an Amniocentesis. 

We were then called into a room with a counseling nurse who sat us down to discuss how sick our baby was.  She told us that the baby would most likely not make it to term and would most likely be still born.  She also said that if the baby was born there was a very high risk that the baby would pass any time after birth and spend allot of time in the NICU at the University.  SIDS risks would be very very high as well.  She said that they were actually shocked that the baby had made it this far.  We were then sent home, in tears and forced to make a huge decision.  Did we want to go any farther with this doomed pregnancy. 

We only want 2 children.  This was going to be my last pregnancy.  I wanted to enjoy every moment of it and cherish it as a sacred time in my life.  Pregnancy to me is the peek of motherhood.  But hearing all of this news and discovering the problems with my baby destroyed it for me.  I had known something was wrong.  Most women have a strong intuition about gender from early on in their pregnancies.  I on the other hand only cared about one thing, having an Ultrasound.  I had gone to two appointments at 2 different doctors offices, and been told I was getting one only not to get one.  I was very angry and panicked both times this happened to me.  I knew something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it.

At first I was worried about the baby not being alive.  But then the flutters started coming.  I was then worried that I was further along than I thought and that I had drunk alcohol during the first few critical weeks.  Then I was worried that I had more than one baby and that I couldn't handle having twins or triplets.  It all went through my mind, and I spent the majority of my first trimester worrying about my pregnancy.  But to hear this news that my baby was so sick.  It just was worse than I could ever imagine.

We had this choice to make, to let nature take its course and have hope, or to trust science and our beliefs to not bring a sick and suffering child into this world.  We were being asked if we wanted to "pull the plug" on our baby.  If we waited to do the Amnio at 16 weeks we would not have answers till 18-20 weeks or longer, making a stillbirth even more likely.  We were told that we could have a D&C now, a D&E for the next few weeks, and after 24 weeks we would have to wait it out no matter what as per state laws.

It was a question of faith.  My husband was pretty firm in his beliefs on the matter.  He felt we should trust science and not bring a suffering child into this world, but his heart hated to admit it and go through with it.  I on the other hand was torn more than you could even imagine.  I wanted to trust that the gods gave me this child for a reason and that they would take it away for the very same reason.  I wanted to trust that nature and my body knew what to do and would make the right choice for the baby on its own.  But I knew that I did not believe in bringing a suffering child into this world, who would positively suffer from a dwarfing condition, and genetic abnormalities on top of it.   Giving up hope for my child was the worst of it all.

Science is a gift in itself from the gods.  It allows us to understand our world like we never have before.  It backs up theories like the Gaia Theory.  We get to see so many things that we could never see with out the help of science.  We also knew that the thought of holding a stillborn baby at 20 weeks or more was unbearable to us and would just destroy us emotionally.  I was already struggling with feeling the baby kick me with its stubby little legs knowing it could die at any time inside my body, making my uterus a tomb instead of a cauldron of life.  I knew what I had to do.  So at 14 and a half weeks gestation, we ended our child's life and gave our child, Jessie Quinn, the gift of mercy.  It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I know that I will think of Jessie for the rest of my life.  I only have a copy of Jessie's foot prints and a few ultrasound pics to remember them by.  I know we made the right choice because even the feet were miss formed, and the doctors confirmed the severe Hydrops covering all of Jessie's body, more than indicated on the Ultrasound.   I love Jessie more than life itself and I know one day we will meet again.  Be it this life, another incarnation or in the Summer lands. 

I love you Jessie Quinn, born sleeping 09/30/2011.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fertility

Fertility might be one of the most scary or avoided forms of magic by many people.  Say you were to have a fertility statue in your home and someone picked it up and asked, "What's this for?".  You know that if you say, "fertility" to them the chances of them dropping the statue on the floor directly from their hands is a very great one.   Fear of having a bunch of babies or even one unplanned is a great fear.  Fertility does not just focus on a womb full of fetuses.  If we look at the definition of fertile, we can gain new ideas about fertility on a magical level:

"fer·tile  –adjective

1.  bearing, producing, or capable of producing vegetation, crops, etc., abundantly; prolific: fertile soil.
2.  bearing or capable of bearing offspring.
3.  abundantly productive: a fertile imagination."

Fertility is not just about bearing a child and multiplying our population.   It also includes other forms of creation, from having a green thumb, to being imaginative.  Creativity being a big one here.  When we make an art project or find ourselves fruitful in our work, we are in fact experiencing a fertility type of energy.  When one does fertility magic or raises fertility energy it can manifest itself in any of these categories.  

Now, I am not saying we can not fine tune the energies to fill a certain goal in these categories.  You can be specific and focus more towards a green thumb, being productive or in fact creating life in yourself.   But as I well know, raising fertility energy can result in a new art project when you were hoping for a baby.  Now I do not mind having a new art or writing project, or developing a green thumb, or having another child.  In fact I welcome them all. 

I regularly invite fertility energy into my life because of my strong ties to motherhood.  I am always hoping to be productive.  One way I do this is to wear a fertility charm on my neck.   This is my Howlite mama goddess that I bought a few months back from Wild Mother Arts on Etsy (Thank you for the photo btw).  It has been on my neck ever since I got it and it truly is a remarkable piece of jewelry.  Most importantly, it is child proof, as it keeps finding ways to consecrate itself, by finding its way into babies hands and sometimes mouths.  It really pissed off one of my husbands cousins who said it looked like violent headless pornography (ignorance is wonderful!), whom I thought was going to kick me out of her house for it.  But most people come to me and give me so many compliments on it.  It is filled with fertile motherly energy and reflects who I am spiritually.  For I am a Mother and a Goddess, and I am filled with fertility.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blossoming Jasmine Journal- Entry 2

It is amazing to me how much can change by going to a festival.   As you may know I went to Pagan Spirit Gathering 5 weeks ago, and every since I have been way more creative and focused on everything in my life.  I still have not made headway in all of the things I want to be working on but I have gotten allot more done and been way more in touch with my faith.  I just have a full plate.  This means that things I want to work on have yet again been pushed back in a fashion, and new things keep coming up in my life.  I hate that I am making excuses for myself, I really do.  But wow, its just so much, and it piles up quickly.  And on the other hand I keep getting new ideas for things and PSG just flooded in so many new ideas to try and work out. 

I am writing a book.  I came home with so many ideas and the drive to actually write a book.  There is not many books out there that encompass the spiritual path of the mother in pagan faiths.  This has always made my head scratch, as the mother goddess idea is used in MANY pagan and earth based paths.  I have an outline and I am working on this slowly.  Maybe I will get a bunch of ideas written down and more of it done once I get my desk cleaned off.  I am not pushing myself on a time line or anything, I am writing it when ideas come to me and when I get the chance to do good quality writing. 

I need to limit my time on pagan message boards and discussion groups.  Yes it is wonderful to be able to chat with others and debate concepts.  However, so many people of different paths have so many ideas that it really is just a circle of unending drama lamas competing for being the Guru of all knowledge.  Its like watching a video game where everyone battles for the ultimate rank of Paganus Supremo.  And then there are the cynics.  If you can not prove an idea with scientific evidence or historical fact, then it is crap to them.  Yes I believe in the passing of real knowledge and deep inner wisdom.  To me that should be a goal for all people of faith (and I know many people disagree with that, but I choose to not believe that).  But really you need to just have some faith, and let go and know that one day people will get to the part of the journey of the path they are on where really none of it matters. In the end my energy is best spent writing here and working on my book and my path and most importantly, my family. 

I have been doing good about focusing more on my health.  I have cut caffeine out of my diet for the most part, I am down to less than 3 cigarettes per day, and I have been cooking healthy low fat meals and eating a salad every day.  I also have been drinking more milk and I have been eating breakfast.  Now I just need to add in an exercise regimen, which I have been reading a few books about and just keeping more active with my family.  We have been outside every weekend for several hours each time, we have gone camping, despite the last camping trip being the worst one I have ever been on.  And I have been including myself in activities that enrich my mind.  I have cut out my texting habit almost completely with the exception of keeping in touch with a few friends. 

I also want to mention that my Jasmine plant that I have been caring for, for nearly 3 years, had the biggest bloom its ever had, from the solstice until about a week ago.  It was heaven to go outside and be able to smell it and feel the connection I share with it.  I can't wait to see it again.  I need a better camera so that I can share pics with you in the future.  Blessings to you all ~ Jasmine. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Choosing My Religion

Recently I read an article over on Patheos Pagan Portal in regards to raising your children pagan.  The article was titled "Hand-Me-Down Paganism", and said that pagan parents should expose their children to their practice.  I have always been of the mindset that my path was not my sons and he should find his own path.  If he asked I would teach him.  But this article got me thinking.

Mr. Scott suggested that this belief I too carried was due to most pagans not wanting a repeat of their childhood in which faith was pushed on them.  In my case this simple is not true.  I was raised with the ability to choose.  My mother was catholic and my father was protestant.  They could not decide which to baptize me and choose to let me choose when I was older.  Now they were expecting me to go with a christian faith, but minus going to a Lutheran preschool for a year and being one of Herod's wives in Jesus Christ Superstar,  I was not taught any faith.  I started seeking when I was a teen, and honestly paganism was my first faith.  I enjoyed seeking and finding my own faith, it has made me who I am.  But that doesn't leave me without regrets.

My biggest regret is that I wasn't able to grow up in a pagan household.  I really feel that it would have been an amazing experience to learn from my mother, who now happens to be a Reiki master and despite being Catholic, has a belief system similar to Alchemy.  Scott was able to have that opportunity and loved it, and speaks very highly of it.  He also feels that if you don't share your path with your children, they are missing out on part of who you are.  Now that really struck me.  Having to keep allot of my path to myself over the years has been rough.  The result of that is that not many of my family members and some of my friends do not know me to the fullest extent that they could know me.  Why would I want to do that to my son.  I want him to know me and have a close relationship with me for life.  Sharing my faith with him would only further that bond and connection that we share.

Having a close bond like that with my son and sharing my path with him would be a blessing, and would not leave a void of emptiness in his heart.  Yes I still want him to find his own path, and I still can teach him about many different paths.  Teaching him mine in no way voids him of the ability to choose and my ability to be open to him finding his path.  I know that his life will not have the same dogmas as my own.  But him not learning about my path in an open and family was doesn't allow him to see much of my dogma at all.  I want to be able to have family feasts around the Sabbats, I want to teach him a love of the earth, and I want him to be a well rounded individual.

There has also been the issue of us that my Mother in Law wants him to be exposed to faith.  She has been calling and trying to give nudges about taking him to church or vacation bible school.  And I realize she wants him to be exposed to a faith of some sort, but neither my husband (who is now agnostic) nor myself feel comfortable with the Christian Dogma.  I have no issues with Christians, however I have this deep seated fear that he will come home and say "Mommy you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to hell".  I would be heart broken by this and no matter if it happens or not, I don't feel comfortable with the environment at this time.


So I brought it up to my husband and we discussed it and he said he feels more comfortable with our son being raised in my path than in any other.  He wishes he could help and that he had a connection to it like we do.  However my path does not force ideas or dogma onto others like other paths.  So we have officially decided to start raising our son pagan.  Its not a far stretch either for us because he is already a nature lover and very in tune with the earth already and he isn't even 3 yet.  I am excited to be able to teach him and help him grow in what ever path he may choose later in life.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Lack of Patriotism: A Self Reflection.

Something I have always struggled with on the 4th of July is that I have no real deep emotional ties to being an American.  I feel bad that I don't but if I were to rank it on labels that I could apply to myself, it would still be towards the bottom of my list.  It would be above hypoglycemic and sufferer of IBS that is for sure.  But for me, Mother, Pagan and Wife would be a close tie for the top spot.  I didn't realize how low it ranked for me until this morning when I was sitting at the parade this morning here in Independence, IA next to a woman who was Canadian and celebrating her first 4th of July.  She was wearing a denim dress with an American flag bandana on her head, while I sat next to her wearing a hippy skirt and a coral top.  I was one of the only people not wearing red and blue.  The fact of the matter is though, I don't wear, or own for that matter, many red and blue clothes.  It is just not my favorite colors or ones that I feel a connection to.  Yes I value freedom, it has been a mantra for me for a long time.  But all the political stuff for me, it has always degenerated my faith in my country.  This side arguing with that one, people not getting to live their lives with out politics and the law getting in the way.  The fact that I have to pay an arm and a leg to see a doctor and maintain a healthy life style while everyone argues about it makes me cringe internally.  I could go on and on here, but when I do, I feel even less of a connection.  For me this day really is about eating corn, being with family, enjoying the weather and the fireworks.  Because true freedom is in my heart and soul. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pagan Spirit Gathering: Part 2, A Review

Pagan Spirit Gathering was not my first festival, but this was my first time seeing so many pagans in one spot.  Before I traveled to this fest in particular, I had been to ones with about 300-500 attendees.  This one had nearly 1000 people.  It was an awesome experience to be surrounded by that many pagans.  So I a writing this review based on my experiences at previous festivals and I hope to do my best to describe the feelings I felt while in attendance. 

What I Liked

I liked the sense of community that all of us shared together.  It felt nice to be able to be free and not have to hide anything about my primal pagan side.  Most of the people were open too, I only felt that closed off energy from 1 or 2 people I came across.  I also liked the set up of the day.  Workshops were held after lunch time, leaving time for people to sleep in, get up and get moving and still not have to miss a workshop.  I also liked that so many people lit torches at night around their tents.. it was almost impossible to see otherwise and I do not like tripping over tent stakes. 


What I loved

I loved many things about this festival.  I loved the quality of the workshops, which as I discussed with Selena Fox, I have had bad experiences with in the past.  I actually went to a local meet up with workshops that had a girl just reading us her tarot book instead of actually teaching the workshop.  Here at PSG, the people actually knew what they were talking about and made me feel like I could learn something.  When you have been involved with paganism as long as I have, that is hard to find. 

I also loved the Rituals.  I have never been one for public rituals.  A combination of being empathic and me not feeling comfortable with the way other people do rituals has always turned me off to them.  The way they were done at PSG, they were very open to many paths.  During the Croning ritual, Selena instructed us to connect to the universe or deity of our choice in the tradition that we connected to most.  And that made me feel comfortable enough to actually enjoy the ritual at hand. 

The shopping was incredible.  The items that people had were mostly hand made.  It was so nice to be able to browse and find things that were one of a kind pieces of art.  And to be able to see them up close and personal and feel the energy first hand that was put into their creation.  Wonderful.  If you plan to go to PSG in the future I suggest taking money, and cash, since the ATM kept crashing from all the use of the WiFi at the site.  Don't be surprised if you are wanting to spend 100$ or more. 

What I would have changed

All of my major beefs with the festival were all related to the actual site.  I would have had more flush toilets, and cleaned them more often.  And more showers.  I would suggest some outdoor showers or more just because of the lines we had to wait on to get there.  And be warned, your feet will not be clean till at least 2 showers are taken once you are home. 


If you plan to go

Bring socks to sleep in,  it got chilly at night and this was the best way to keep my nasty dirty feet from making a mess and to stay warm.  Do not plan to go online.  I still cant figure out why people would want to be online at a place like this, but the network was constantly crashing from overuse.   Bring cash, make a budget and bring that amount of cash for the whole trip.  Bring extra clothes, it got very muddy, and chilly at night.  Bring flip flops for the shower, they are gross and hard on the feet.  Prepare to take the quickest shower of your life.  Just go for the entire week unless you literally can not take the time off work.  Bring pre-made cards with your contact info on them to exchange with others whom you wish to stay in contact with. 

The Bottom Line

I will be going again, next time for a full week.  The only thing that could keep me from going would be that I couldn't afford it or I was medically unable. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pagan Spirit Gathering: Part 1, My Personal Experience.

I recently attended Pagan Spirit Gathering in Earlville, IL.  hosted by circle sanctuary and Selena Fox.  I am still "recovering" from this.  My kitchen has a few camping items left out that are in the process of being washed..but my once mud soaked clothes are now hanging to dry, the bedding is cleaned and put away and I feel a strong connection to my faith and the earth that can not even be described in words. 

I traveled from my small town in Independence, IA with the other 2 pagans in our town, we dubbed ourselves the Independence Iowa Pagan Alliance for shits and giggles and travel the 3ish hour drive to the festival.  We used our GPS and from the road all you could see was a little drive way.   Once we pulled in, we were in a different world.  We were welcomed with open arms and being that this was our first time at the festival we were greeted with people calling us "virgins" and asked to ring a bell..I rang that bell with all my might and we were welcomed home. 

I have been to several other festivals in the past, such as Phoenix Phyre, but this was the largest one I have ever attended.  What I liked about this fest is that it was so big that we were literally tent to tent and were forced to get to know our neighbors.  When we arrived, which we just went for the weekend instead of the full week, all of the shaded camping areas were filled and we had to open tent in the quieter area.  I wasn't happy about it when we got there, because I fully intended to stay up till 5 am each night enjoying night time festival activities.  However, I was more than happy with being there when I didn't stay up till 5 am partying like a maiden. 

I was not able to attend any workshops the first day because we were still unloading and setting up camp at the time, but we were able to chat with our tent city neighbors and met some really nice people.  We chatted and shopped around the merchants row area, which highly impressed me.  There were over 20 vendors (probably even double that) and not many that had the same crap you see at every pagan shop that is made in china.  Most of the vendors had homemade goods that were unique and very calling to me.  I really wish I had about 500 bucks to spend there, because I would have spent it all between the crystal balls and hand made goddess outdoor hangings, or the hand carved statues.    I came home with a CD by Emerald Rose (which I forgot to have signed.. boo), a handmade deer skin and quartz necklace for my son, a new goat skin head for my djembe and the biggest mortar and pestle I have ever seen. 

That night I attended the festivities which several drinking parties were commencing.  There were hoards of half naked women and men in kilts and loin cloths, and even people dressed like Pan.  I do not remember many parts of that night because the jungle juice is still clouding my brain (I only had one after my few glasses of wine with din din).  But I can say that it highly messed with me.  I thought the bull frogs from the swimming pond were following me and started yelling curse words at them at 2am.   I had walked about 5 times back and forth from my tent to the bathroom to the party and I probably stumbled drunkenly about a total of 5 miles that night.   I danced around the drum circle a bit and sat down and enjoyed it allot.  I got to meet a nice drum troop that fully reminded me that I am so not a maiden anymore!

The next day I woke up after about 3 or 4 hours of sleep and I got up early to try and beat the rush to the showers.. but I was wrong.  I had to wait over an hour to shower, but the blessing was that Selena Fox was online right behind me and I got to chat with her and I must say I was impressed!  Most pagan festivals I have attended, all the bigger named people tend to either go to a hotel instead of camp out, or have very private area.  But she was waiting on the line with the rest of us as an equal.  She was a very nice woman and very charismatic and funny.  I don't think I have ever felt someone have such naturally happy energy.  I also attended a few rituals she hosted during my short stay and I was even impressed with those because the way she did it was very polite and welcoming of everyone's beliefs.  I definitely will be checking out gatherings at Circle Sanctuary (about 3 hours away from me) for the near future. 

I went to the morning meeting and afterwards attended 2 different workshops.  Both of these workshops had a strong effect on me.  One was a guided meditation that just opened me up and brought me into the feeling of community at the festival.  The other was about using the Charge of the Goddess in every day life that was just wonderful. 

That night was the main ritual that was the biggest ritual I had ever seen, with nearly 1000 people.  It was allot of standing and walking but beautiful in its own way.  Afterwords we sat at our camp and chatted all night with a crone that came by with popcorn and marshmallows to share.  We chatted all night and shared stories and ideas about life and paganism.  It was so nice to be able to chat so openly. 

The entire experience renewed my sense of pagan community and opened up things in my personal life that I needed to handle on my own.  I felt healed and energized and came home with some new ideas.  I will be definitely going next year and going for the entire week. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blossoming Jasmine Journal- Entry 1

We all have things in our head that we want to do with our lives.  I get an idea and see myself going for it, but eventually it just fizzles out and I don't get it done.  Well I have recently decided that I want to get working on some of these things.   I don't want to say to myself anymore that I will do them and just not.  I want to personally thank my online friend Amy Waters for giving me the title for this venture of mine.  I wanted to be able to portray the idea that this was similar to a bucket list, but it was more about living not about things I wanted to do before dying.  The name she suggested fit this perfectly, good job Amy!  I want to blossom in my life and I hope that sharing this publicly, I will be able to stick to it and honor these ideas fully.  So I will start this by creating a list of things I want to do and I will begin working on them over time.  I also encourage you to do something similar and I also encourage you to share it too.  So here is my first list of things I currently want to work on:

Jasmine's Cupboard-  I have been working on this idea for about 5 years now.  I want to sell my home made herbal creations and I have been piddling about doing it.  I have the majority of the things I need to get started, and even some stuff ready to sell at any time.   But I get to my Etsy page and I freak out when I am about to put something up for sale.  Its the part where they want me to pay a fee to place something up for sale.  What if no one buys it and I waste the money I spent listing it?  What if I undercharge for shipping and end up loosing money?  What if no one likes the items I make...  but I know people love what I make, I get compliments on it all the time. 

Working Out-  I have a huge list of exercises I want to do.  Yoga, belly dance, tai chi, ballet... yep they all call to me.  I just need to step away from all of my other work I am constantly doing and just go for it.  When I was growing up I used to be a ballet dancer and a Baton Twirler (I even was on a national championship winning team) and I spent literally the first half of my life moving around.  I need to reconnect with this part of me and the excuses need to stop.  I plan on starting with a new book I just bought on my kindle (yay I found a sale last week) that teaches you to do 15 minutes of yoga in bed before you get out of bed each morning.  I need to read it this week. 

Healthy Eating-  Just because I have cut things out of my diet that I think are unhealthy doesn't give me room to eat crap because I have finally stopped eating other things.  I feel that this is almost a cross addicting thing for me because I give up coffee and then I find myself sneaking dr. pepper's more often and breaking my code of "no more than one pop per week".  I also hate bread I have discovered.  I love good Italian bread and homemade breads but really I just need to get rid of the idea of crappy carbs all together.   I eat allot of whole grains but I catch myself sneaking crackers and cookies that I just don't need.  I think that I should just stick to spinach wraps honestly... and I need to start having my morning smoothie again.. when I drank those I lost like 20 pounds in a month! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Goddess Series- Gaia.


Whether it's Gaia, Gaea or Ge, the theories concepts and stories surrounding this goddess and scientific theory are all fascinating. I first came into contact with Gaia from the idea and theory that all life is connected together. It is a fascinating theory and is pretty popular among certain circles of pagans. The idea of Mother Earth has always been a popular concept with general society. A combination of myths and theories has evolved Gaia to be a very important Goddess to consider in our paths.

Writing this, however, has made me feel a little like the terracotta Gaia in the picture at the left. There is so much information to sift through on the internet, but when it comes to finding her in classical mythology, it becomes almost irritatingly bleak. Gaia tends to get reduced to small paragraphs that describe her as "name for the earth" or "Greek personification of the earth as a goddess". If you travel to some of the sites I have listed, you will see that some of them span pages beyond pages of information on Gaia. I found separating information based on the original mythology and archeological research, and which is based on personal gnosis and belief has been a challenge. However understanding each of these aspects is important to understanding the importance of Gaia to our society today.

Mythology

Gaia was the grandmother of Zeus, mother of Titans, Cyclops, and more in ancient Greek mythology. She represented what we would call today "Mother Earth". Some call her the first female, some consider her the ultimate creator in Greek mythology. She was born of pure chaos, and birthed the sky, and then went on to bare more children with the sky. She was described by Hesiod as having birthed the heavens to surround herself in and be a home for the gods. If any single goddess can be credited with the "Mother Earth" title, Gaia is it.


Gaia Thesis

In July of 1971, Oberon Zell wrote a paper for the Green Egg, titled THEAGENESIS: The Birth of the Goddess, introducing the concept of the earth being an interconnected spiritual force. Now I have never been a huge Oberon Zell fan, but I do like the way he presented his ideas for this particular article. He broke the idea down to the cellular level and then compared the Earth itself to the human body. On the cellular level he states that when a cell reproduces or divides, it leaves part of itself in each of the new cells. This idea connects every living organism on the cellular level. He goes on to further explain how different ecosystems are like organs in a body. Each one has a different role to play on making the entire unit work. Natural disasters and weather are a part of this unit, everything that happens on the Earth is geared towards the greater good of itself as an organism seeking its own survival.




Gaia Theory

In the 1960's, James Lovelock came up with the theory that the earth was a self regulating all encompassing organism. It uses all life and even non-living compounds to regulate the environment for the best possible conditions for life. An example of this process is clouds formed over open oceans. Algae from the ocean emits a large sulfur molecule, which is then becomes the condensation nuclei for raindrops. Eventually the cloud moves to land and the sulfur molecule returns to the terrestrial ecosystems. Many processes on the Earth have been measured with this theory including global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, and others.  Solid research and development is always coming to light in regards to this theory and backing it up. If you are a scientific mind, you should definitely look at some of the research out there.

My Thoughts

I love the idea and theory that the Earth is a single organism in itself. What I don't agree with is that we refer to it as a woman or a Goddess. Yes, I believe that the earth in itself is a divine force, but a balanced one that is genderless. But the Earth itself is comprised of duality on many levels. We create life by the joining of male and female to make a new being. Oberon Zell claims that even genderless organisms are referred to as females in the scientific community. However, when it comes to the aspect of Divinity of the organism of the Earth, I feel that it is important to distinguish between genderless and gendered. When doing scientific research, it is said that by simply observing a subject, we change it. By giving a gender to the Earth, we are changing the nature of it. We try to view the Earth based to our predetermined ideas of a woman by giving it a gender, when it not always is. Viewing it without gender allows us to see the Earth as a more natural and primal force, the breath of life. When we only view half of the duality, we are given an unbalanced world view.

Regardless of the gender of the Earth, I think that it is most important to consider the idea of the earth being all connected into one unit. It connects us all with every person and culture, with every rock and stone, with ever plant, we are all here for survival and survival of the planet is crucial for all of us. If we all incorporate this idea into our daily lives, we become more aware of what we do to each person and our environment, we are doing to ourselves and the planet as a whole. This in turn allows us to actively see the changes we make on the individual scale, change the world.  Raising our children to be good conscious Earth loving individuals is better for us all. What we are doing as mothers and parents is one of the most important jobs we have ever had. If this is the lesson the goddess Gaia has for us than she too can earn her place as one of the great mother Goddesses.




Resources

Gaea: terra-cotta statuette. [Photograph]. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/5606/Gaea-terra-cotta-statuette-from-Tanagra-Greece-in-the-Musee

Bulfinch's Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch, 1855.  

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/223365/Gaea
http://original.caw.org/articles/theagenesis.html
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Gaia.html
http://www.ancient-mythology.com/greek/gaea.php
http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Gaia.html
http://www.gaiatheory.org/
http://www.jameslovelock.org 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Pagans and Criticism: An Editorial.

For the past week I have been following several pagan boards, blogs and discussion groups.  Each of these groups has had their own drama to contend with.  The pagan mommy blogs have all been watching the unfolding of an issue with a ratings contest at Circle of Moms.  The boards have all been lit up with posts regarding others being mean to them, stating how they do not like criticism.  And finally, the discussion groups have all been in an uproar about more experienced and practiced pagans fighting with seekers and newbies.

First, before I go any further, I must explain that I try to avoid disagreements if at all possible.  This said, I also believe in speaking my mind, especially when someone questions the integrity of my path or those of my loved ones, or says something that is a flat out lie.  I do not believe in trying to change a persons path at all, but I do believe in helping people with offering what I can in the way of information and guidance.  I only offer it if it is asked of me or actively sought.  If I offer this help I expect to be respected for my knowledge, experience and opinion.  I also expect people not to assume that I will follow their personal dogma or adapt it to my practice in any form.  But ultimately I believe that the pagan community has many lessons to learn from each other as a community, and should value the lessons that everyone has to offer.

But not everyone is open to this.  An example, from one of the boards I travel this week, one woman posted a reply to a topic where she stated she didn't want to have anything to do with pagans who didn't follow the Rede.  I severely hope that I took this the wrong way, I'm really trying to give the benefit of the doubt.  However, how in the heck do you expect to come into a community looking to outreach to pagans if you can't even have an open enough mind to communicate with over half of them?  You can't be all "love and light" by avoiding so much, it defeats the purpose.  And I would love to help her and show her something new.  I would say to her that "not everyone believes in the Rede, including some Wiccans and this (insert long list) is why".  I would not expect her to understand them all but I would expect her to listen nicely and consider what i am saying.

Now on the discussion groups on Facebook, I am seeing pagans attempting to help people and state their firm yet researched opinions, and newbies flying at the elders and more learned pagans.  They call them names, attack them personally, attack their ideas and then cry out that they are being attacked when the person, trying to help them, defends themselves.  And this doesn't even matter that people are able to state multiple sources, the less experienced people still cry out "persecution".  In one instance, a pagan asked for someone to state their sources or tradition they practiced to further their own knowledge.  The other pagan flew at them, ignoring the request for a source, called them names, sent her husband to the discussion to call the person who questioned an idiot.  Seriously???!!!

I just don't get why pagans act like this.  When I was a newbie, this path was always referred to as "the path of the wise", and somewhere that has gone to the birds.  What ever happened to valuing elders and knowledge?  The part that bugs me about all of this is that you go on these same communities and find people begging for spells and saying they want to find a mentor.  It is disheartening, as a pagan who has studied for 15+ years, and as a person who is always seeking to further her path.

I did however get to see pagans coming together this week, a little glimmer of hope.  On the blogosphere, a contest is underway on Circle of Moms, that is seeking to find the top 25 faith based mommy bloggers.  A Christian mother attacked the pagan mothers and said that their faiths were not valid and should not be considered for the contest.  This lead to many pagan mommy bloggers teaming together to promote their blogs as a group to show that we are a strong community.  I am so proud to be a part of this movement, and hope to see many more actions like this.  The best part of this event was that it didn't matter if we agreed with each other or not, we were all attacked and stood together and I hope that one day we see more of this in the community.  And I know that this is asking allot because we are such a diverse group of people with so many different beliefs and histories, but I know that as a whole, pagans can get along.  Here's to wisdom!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Goddess Series- Paleolithic Figures


One of the most popular figures related to ancient goddess forms is the Venus of Willendorf, one that I have been drawn too for over a decade. One of my first pagan jewelry items that I purchased was a mini amethyst Venus figure, which I was always able to get away with wearing because everyone always thought it was a bunch of grapes. I have always felt drawn to images from this period of human history, including cave art, earth art and of course, goddess figures.

There are several aspects that have always drawn me to these figures. First and most importantly, her shape. She reflects a natural and realistic view of a woman, instead of our modern emaciated models. She has a large flabby tummy, wide hips and enormous breasts. She also does not hide her body or attempt to hide her sexuality. In Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, the figure actually hides her breasts and genitals and shows modesty. However, Venus of Willendorf places her arms above her breasts and displays them and her enlarged vulva for the world to see. She is exposed in all aspects and to me this is tied to embracing sexuality and womanhood fully. It shows her power as a woman and yet does not denigrate who she is. And lastly, she has no face, and thus she could be anyone and also a part of us all. Her anonymity also reflects a certain aura of her being beyond personification. If she had a face, it would distract from these Venus figures more womanly and openly fertile representations. Overall, when I see these figures I see a woman in her most fully primal state and it reminds me of the Goddess within myself.


There has always been some debate over the meanings behind these, the biggest being the battle over if these figures represented goddesses or not. Some believe they are representative of fertility and womanhood. Some think they were made by women to aid other women through menstruation, and child bearing. The Venus of Willendorf has a coating of red ochre, possible symbolism anyone? However, language and cultural barriers aside, no one is going back 25,000 years to ask the artist what the piece represented to them.

Regardless of what they represent, there is no doubt in my mind that these figures were made with an important agenda. Think about this. Can you go camping with nothing but hand tools and come back with a perfect replica of the Venus of Willendorf? I know that I couldn't not even if I used special tools designed for carving limestone. If someone spent the time and energy to make such a piece of art, wouldn't you think it was rather significant? Yes we see in our art world some things that have no meaning to us on a deeper and spiritual level, but they have some to the artist. If we look at it from an artists prospective, we still are given a high probability that this statue honored fertility and womanhood. One Carving in particular, The Venus of Laussel, carries a cornucopia in her hand with 13 notches on it. The number 13 is the same amount of lunar cycles in a year, which is paralleled by a womans cycle. Honoring these, is indicative that they too honored the feminine aspects of humanity on a larger scale. Even if these Venus figures are not goddesses, they represent a huge part of the female experience and should be honored as such.

There are lessons we can learn from these figures as spiritual beings ourselves, despite the meaning behind them. Be yourself and do not hide your femininity, embrace it and let your inner goddess shine. The scars of motherhood are not to be shamed, wear your hips, tummy, and breasts as a badge of honor. We may be very different from those who created these figures, but we still have a common tie through our womanly features, cycles and birth. Most importantly, we are surrounded by goddesses every day and they should be honored as such.


Resources

http://donsmaps.com/willendorf.html
http://arthistoryresources.net/willendorf/willendorfdiscovery.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Laussel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_figurines

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MamaJasmine's Tomato Soup

I have been asked for this new recipe of mine recently and I figured here would be as good a place to share as any. Now this is originally derived from a recipe by Mimi Riser in, The Kitchen Witch Glossary to Cooking Herbs and Spices. I, as usual, tweeked her recipe for Fast Tomato Tarragon soup to my liking. This is a wonderful soup, which once you taste it, a can will never do again.

One thing everyone should know about how I do recipes is that with spices, I never measure by standard means. I use my hand and make a small cup and fill it by how much I think it needs. I stick with large handful, medium and small. I do this because I crush the herbs and spices with my thumb and release the oils in them.

Ingredients.

1 small onion, diced.
2 28oz cans of whole tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and diced finely.
1 cup of organic chicken stock.
1 large handful of dried tarragon leaves
1 medium handful of basil
1 small handful of mint
1 large handful of sugar in the raw
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
enough EVOO to coat your pan.

First Start off by sauteing the garlic and onions in the EVOO, slowly adding in the herbs. Once the onions are soft add in the tomatoes, chicken stock and sugar. Heat to boiling and then lower and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done transfer to blender (or use a handheld like me) and puree soup till it is of a smooth texture. I then let this simmer 5 extra minutes and then serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Goddess Series- Intro

Yesterday Morning I went and got a new tattoo. I have been asking my husband to get a new tattoo for 8 months now (we always decide on things outside our budget together). Yesterday he finally said yes. I went to the tattoo shop and got a spiral Goddess on my right ankle. For me this is a symbol I have been wanting to get for a long time. I have been wanting to find ways on how to honor my inner Goddess. Being a Goddess is part of being a mother. We bring life into this world and nourish it and help it grow. We slowly plant the seeds of the seeds of the next generation and the future. This is an important job and in turn it is important to honor the Goddess within ourselves.

It is because of this that we will venture into, for the next few months or longer, the Goddess Series here at the Spiritual Mother. We will cover many aspects of goddesses including discussing different goddesses around the world, honoring her in yourself, teaching your children about goddesses and more. I can't wait to share this with you and want to remind all the women out there that you are a Goddess!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day, in my mind is a very important day for me spiritually. In fact I might consider it the most spiritual for me of all the traditional observed American holidays. Why? Well besides getting roses, breakfast in bed and getting to put my feet up most of the day, its about celebrating the beauty and wonder of the goddess through myself and all other mothers. It is a deep connection to the all through caring and our bodies bringing life into this world that ties us. It is also very important for non-mothers to honor their own mothers in their lives. So I wanted to share with you my experience for this past Mothers Day, not only what my family did for me, but how I honored the mother in myself.

- I slept in. I know I work hard taking care of myself, home business and my son and I owe it to myself and family to get extra rest when able.

- I enjoyed family time. My family is very important to me and I value every second we can spend together where work does not factor in. We even went to see all the cousins which was a special treat.

- I read a book. Not only because my husband got me a Kindle and I was excited to use it, but also because I value time where I can enrich my mind and grow on a spiritual level. This is also one thing I always want to do but rarely get time for.. and to be able to read for even 10 minutes is a blessing!

- I got a few things done that I had been putting off. One of the best perks of mothers day is that my husband helps out and tries to cover things I normally do in a day and gives me a full and complete day off. And now that thing that was in the back of my mind bothering me to get done is done. Not having to worry about one less thing being done is always a gift that keeps on giving.

- I ordered myself a new mother goddess pendant. I am so excited to get it and it will be worth the wait, but I needed to treat myself and find a new trinket to honor my motherhood.

- I meditated. Because alone time with nothing on my mind is always SWEET.



So what did you do for yourself this past mothers day?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I FAILED My Own Challenge...

A few months back I issued a challenge and I failed my own challenge. I fully planned to take this on wholeheartedly, but I must admit I did not force myself to do this. I planned on trying to be an eclectic pagan for 30 days and following the basics of that path. I posted on one of the forums I frequent, looking for suggestions and the basic response was, "Well, solitary eclectics get to do what ever they want so just go with what ever feels right". Well that was where I hit my problem.. my path already was what feels right. So I decided that I would go to my book shelf and pick out the first two books that called to me that I hadn't read in a while. So I picked up a book on shamanic healing that was loaned to me by a friend that I never looked at, and a book and cards kit on goddesses. I figured I would get familiar with both and then put together a shamanic goddess ritual for the next full moon. Well I tried..I picked up both and flipped through them several times. I tried to sit down and read them both. The problem was drive, I had no ambition to actually sit down and take time out of my day to read them. So there on my shelf by my bed the books sat. I would glance over at them saying to myself "I need to read those" but it just didn't happen.

My conclusions to this is that Solitary Eclectic was a bad choice on my part..I should have gone with something like Celtic Reconstructionism, Dianic or Buddhism, but Solitary Eclectic was way too broad. In the end we all follow what feels right to us, regardless if it has a certain structure or is a grab bag of ideas... If we didn't, we wouldn't follow it at all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Fever

It is spring and I look out my window and see robins doing a mating dance in my back yard. It is nap time here at my house and the relaxation music is flowing in the background. I feed my daycare baby a bottle as he looks up into my eyes with a loving glance, and I can feel it, the back of my mind wishing and longing to be pregnant.

To have another child of my own.. to see 2 pink lines on a pee stick.. to get to eat everything in sight.. to shop for maternity clothes.. pick out new baby items... get new clothes ready for them.. to see my son kiss my expanding belly..to be ready to get this darn thing out of me! To have my bags ready to go..to hold a newborn for the first time and let them nurse hungrily at my breast... to walk around my house with a tiny newborn in my sling and stare at them sleeping at any time..

My body feels the fever all over, like a twitch in the back of my head that connects to every part of me. To me this is one of the most natural feelings in the world, and even though at times it can be wrenching and cruel, I welcome it. It shows me that I am alive and in tune with nature and who I am through the very core of my being. It is the creation of the world, the gift of the Goddess. For it is through me that the Goddess lives, and through my womb she calls me home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Passing of Wisdom

This morning, my great Aunt Pauline passed away at age 95. She was my grandmothers sister, and the last person of my grandmothers generation to pass. She was my oldest living relative of course. I was lucky enough to be able to take my son to meet her in January when I was visiting my family out east. It hit me really hard to hear of this because she was the last connection to that generation in our family. I remember being a little girl and sitting around the kitchen table with her and hearing stories of their youth and their lives. It has always been amazing to me what that generation got to see in their life times. Imagine being born in 1916.. before we had the technology we have today.. living through the great depression, and both World Wars.. the 60's...the cold war... and getting to see the changes that we see today. She was also the first generation of our family to be born in this country, as my great grandparents immigrated from Italy before they were born. The wisdom that has passed today is something that is such a huge loss to our families...no longer will we get to hear stories of the youth of my grandmother and her family... I hope every person out there today takes time to honor those that have lived such great long lives, and touched so many people.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chai

Since giving up coffee, I not only have lost 15 pounds (um big woohoo!), but I have also started a new romance with Chai. I drink at least a cup a day of it and have been trying different brands. Here is a review of these:

Good Earth Chai- I would love it way more if it didn't have licorice (anise) in it.. it kinda cancels out all the wonder of the other spices and its all I can taste... I like the price though.

Stash Black Tea and Chai- love it.. but why do I have a hard time finding it in the store.. boo hiss!

Stash Green Chai- Oh Em Gee.... this is a heavenly blend! I love that when you steep it in 1/2 milk 1/2 water it comes out such a pretty light shade of spring green.. it tastes wonderful with sugar in the raw too.

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Chai- it is potent with the spices.. but I would like some caffeine please.. I'm a mother not a barbie doll.

Oregon Trail- the prices is blech.. the tea in the jugs was decent but such a waste of money... ya I know I should try the bags of you if you want a fair shake.

Local Indian Restaurant House Chai- the best chai ever when they brewed it... deep warm spices that were actually a touch on the real side of spicy.. I bought a box of it.. but it is a fine powder that when ever I add it to water it goes right through my tea strainer and leaves a nasty funky sludge on the bottom of my cup.. big Eeewww.... I guess I will have to go eat Indian food more because because the chai there was so good it was like the hottest actor or actress you can think of begging to give you oral...ya I know that is graphic.. but it was literally that good.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hot Love

I was once told in a class for my daycare license that the difference between a love for a child from a mother and a day care provider was that a mothers love was hot and a providers love was warm. A mothers love is fierce, protective, deep, passionate and eternal. A providers love is giving, safe, and when needed. Having a Day Care in my home with my son as one of the kids has been a journey for me to balance my hot love for him out while trying to care for him and the other kids. On one hand I see my son in the way of a mother, trying to protect my young at any cost. On the other it is about being objective and helping all the children in a way that aids their development. This week that was balance was testing in a profound way for me.

On Monday one of my clients came to me and said that her 5 year old claimed that she was being bullied by my 2 year old son. She also said her 2.5 year old was saying "he hit me" over and over. This is the same child who every time was at my house would go to the window and whimper "I'm sorry mommy" over and over and rarely play in my care. The child who got owned by a 10 month old. The child who would only play with his sister, and when she was here the two children formed a clique and never would play with other children. The same child, who hit my son on the head repeatedly with a drum stick. When I took the drum stick away and told him that it was for the drum and using it on my son this was was not safe, he had a mental break down and screamed for 20 minutes. I have been working with kids almost 20 years now, and kids hit each other and take toys from each other all the time, especially 2 year old boys. This is normal behavior... and to hear that woman call my son a bully when he is acting within the normal diaspora for a toddler.. well my blood boiled. I was so mad I simply smiled and told her if she felt that way it was best not to come back, while in my head I was jumping at her like a protective lion clawing her face off. How dare she talk about my son like that, I was raging in my head. I wanted to scream at her and tell her that I thought there was something wrong with her son, that he was wimpy and low functioning emotionally. I have been tooling the scene through my head all week. Trying to put it out of my head.. which has been challenging. I keep reminding myself that this wasn't my fault and my son was being completely normal for his age.. and feeling sorry for that woman that she would assume that I would let her kids get hurt in my care, and that I wouldn't protect them. Feeling sorry for those kids because obviously they don't have a parent that would teach them to handle adversity and face the world head on, showing them how to handle dealing socially with different personalities. Teaching them to cower in fear for something so petty, it just boggles my mind. But despite that my "motherly" hot love has been taking over and.. Im just so angry! I have been meditating and trying to not think about it all week.. but ya.. I'm mad.. no matter what I tell myself. This was the first time for me to have my motherly instinct enraged...and I know it will be challenged again... Hopefully I find ways of coping and taming the beast within before the next time. How do you cope with your motherly hot love?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Spirit.

Taking care of our spirit is something that we as moms tend to put off..I know I do. During spring I like to take some extra me time and focus on my spiritual connection to the all. Reconnecting is always a deep experience.

-Take time to ponder how you are a goddess... that you are a mother and a creator of life...a vessel of love and a care taker. Feel the goddess pumping through your veins and treat yourself as such.

-Take a ritual bath. Cleanse your spirit by bathing in sea salt and focusing on all the bad stuff going down the drain. Anoint yourself with essential oils after, using your favorite flower oil.

-Sprinkle and smudge yourself and home. Concentrate on getting out all the negative energy in your home and the sea salt and water washing it away and the smoke working to clean it.

-Spiritually Sweep/besom your home. Focus on getting all the bad stuff just cleaned out of your house. Start at a door and work around your home room to room in one direction until you finally sweep out all the old energy out the door you started.

-Make time each day to Meditate. Take time to contemplate the wonders of spring.

-Set up a spring altar. Include eggs and flowers and and even pictures of your children and or small animals.

- Dye and Paint eggs with your kids with sygils or important spiritual symbols of your family.

-Plan a spring feast...Plan to celebrate Ostara, Easter, Spring Equinox...Maybe even Beltaine...But plan to do a feast to honor spring with your whole family. For me growing up I always associated spring with my grandma making the pizzagaina, so that might be what our meal is built around in our family.

-Have a Spring fling... Take extra time to flirt with that certain someone special and be reminded of the fertility of spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Coffee....

Dear Coffee,

We have been in a toxic relationship for a while. We have been together for almost 20 years now. I remember sneaking you in my house when I was 10, going to school with you in high school, and surviving college with just you, and waking up thinking of you ever since. We have had many good times, but it has become very clear what you have done to me, slowly destroying me. You have not been supportive of me having a healthy lifestyle, tempting me with sweetened creams and fancy sugars, slowly adding to my waist line. I was obsessed, I needed you 5 times a day, drinking in your essences with a starving hunger. We recently took a break from each other and I discovered a few things. Without you, I feel healthier, I have tried new things like Chai and Earl Grey (they are soooo hot btw), I have been feeling uplifted, and I have had a better connection to my spirituality. You even have left a bad taste in my mouth. It is for these reasons that I am changing our relationship. We will now have to be just casual acquaintances, only having you on special occasions. I know that what we had was very long term, but I just can't see having you around in my daily life anymore. You will always have a special place in my heart.

Sincerely,
Jasmine

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Body.

Very seldom do we think of spring cleaning to take time to pamper ourselves.. but with all the changes going on with the earth, what a better time to take some time for yourself. Being a mom usually means that our needs tend to come last. But doing something great for yourself is a must to keep yourself going for the benefit of your children... and we all know that. Keeping our bodies clean and healthy is a great way to lift your spirits and guide your spirituality to new places.

-Take a super long bath once a week during the spring. Get new soaps and razors and sponges and enjoy your bath time.

-Give up a bad habit. Do you smoke? Drink coffee? Eat fast food? have a secret stash of twinkies? Guzzle pop by the 2 liter? Take spring cleaning as a time to give up one of these habits, in the best way for you..even if this means slowly weaning yourself or going cold turkey.

-Do a body cleanse. I know I love the feeling I get when I have eaten a very healthy meal or eaten light for a few days.. it feels amazing! There are many ways to get this feeling.. from detox tea, fasting, drinking extra water or green tea. Cleaning out your body is a great way to kick off spring.

-Take up a new form of exercise. Trying something new can be such a mood booster.. and lets face it we all could exercise more. Have a yoga class you have always wanted to take? Or the belly dance DVD you have sitting in the cabinet? Try something new and different.

-Get a pedicure... because you know you want nice soft pretty feet for flip flop season.

-Start a new Diet. Shed those pounds you have been wanting to loose, eat healthier and start making healthier meals for you and your family.

-Be a goddess.. because you are one!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The Physical.

I have made huge spring cleaning lists in the past where it covers 4 pages of stuff I would like to get done, complete with highlighted items and check marks the works. Spring cleaning is always an exciting time for Virgos. However, I have found with time that other methods work better for me. I like to consider spring cleaning a joyous time and a part of a journey. I consider this time of year a way to get out the old and let in the new. So I like to crack windows and let in fresh air, smudge, light candles and of course play music. So here are my tips for getting your house ready for spring:

-set the mood that best helps you clean, and find ways to minimize distractions.

-go room to room and deep clean one at a time, covering everything from top to bottom.

-work from the inside out starting in late winter moving to early spring for indoors and later spring for the outdoors.

-take advantage of wonderful weather...even cracking a window on a 40 degree day can help boost your mood and help get germs out of the air in your home.

-Get rid of any old items that you know you don't need. Getting rid of clutter will help the energy flow in your home, boost your mood and help you keep your home clean in the future.

-Rotate toys, it will help keep old ones interesting and in better condition.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It is February and my least favorite month. The dreariness of the outdoors always bothers me, a combination of gray skies, dirty snow on the roads, cold. But as soon as Imbolc comes I find myself wanting to start my spring cleaning. For us this year it was actually on Imbolc that we started our list. We even took a night where we sent the kiddo over to Grandmas house and spent the entire night deep cleaning our house.

Spring Cleaning is a natural part of life, and it has been practiced in many cultures for centuries. In modern American culture, most people focus on just cleaning the home. But It doesn't have to be just cleaning your home. In the next few weeks we will discuss in detail several areas of "cleaning" including physical, emotional, body and spirit.

And just a heads up to all of my readers.. My laptop broke recently so my time online is now limited.. hope to be back in full swing soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Spiritually Sound To Do List

I have a massive to do list right now..Between taxes, my laptop dying, laundry and being sick earlier this week, and making and putting up valentines decorations, I have a ton of things I need to get done. How do I not let it bother me and get myself stressed out? How do I keep my very Virgo self from raging on the inside when I have so much to do? Well here are a few steps I take when I have a giant to do list:

-Set up to have a relaxing mood. Sometimes I will start by smudging the areas I need to get done... working my intent to get it done in a timely fashion into the mix. I will then light a few candles and turn on some calming music (I have a Jasmine's Peace Mix on Pandora just for this usage). Also being in comfortable clothing helps to keep your mind on the tasks at hand.

-Do the item with the most visual impact first..If your laundry is taking up half the space in your hallway being sorted into piles or your dishes are filling the sink and part of the counter..tackle this first.. seeing a difference will help you feel more accomplished with all the tasks at hand.

-Praise yourself with every item you cross off your list...take a 5 minute breather or enjoy a cup of tea or coffee as a reward..you got it done YAY!

-Do not feel ashamed if you have to ask for help..passing off an item or 2 to a spouse or helper will just take the weight of it off your shoulders and help you to get more done.

-Plan a very special time for yourself when you are done. like reading a book, a long shower or a glass of wine..plan to put your feet up and enjoy the fact that you are DONE!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Take the Challenge!

In my last post I challenged everyone to learn about a different path for one moon cycle. Here are the complete details of that challenge, which I hope we find several people to try this.

Please comment here or email me directly (jasminemoon@gmail.com with the topic TSM Challenge) stating the following:

- Your name
- Your Current Path
- The path you will be trying
- When you will be starting your month.
- Any concerns or roadblocks you fear you may face.


When you are done with your month I will post a Post here and describe what I found and my experiences with this different path. I plan to include:

A book list of things I read, a list of websites I surfed, a brief description of things I tried and my over all feelings towards the path.

In turn I will share with you my details:

-Jasmine
-Gardnerian and Kitchen Witch
-Solitary Eclectic Pagan
-Today
-I got sold all of my solitary eclectic books years ago and I will really have to look at the books I currently have to find some really eclectic stuff.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Opening Yourself and Your family to All Paths

One of the topics I read about and have seen often in my internet travels is Pagans who disagree with the paths of other pagans and spiritual paths. I find this an odd thing because many pagans will claim to be open minded and want others to be open minded to their beliefs. The reality of open mindedness when it comes to faith is actually a very difficult journey for some. I know for me personally I have no interest being involved in Dogmatic Christianity. I have struggled with this for a while because I do not like when Christians tell me I am a bad person for following my heart. But I still see beauty in that path and try to keep an open mind, but I do not agree with it and do not participate in it.. I struggle with the idea of letting my son go to a church. We are raising him without a particular faith and allowing him to choose when he is ready. But the idea of taking him to a church is very "bah". But what about other pagan paths? Yes there are some I would rather him not participate in, but in general I hope that he learns about as many as possible. When the time comes I will help him if he asks and until then we will look at as many faiths as we can together as a family.

I have a challenge for you...

I would like to see pagans look into and study in as much depth as possible a different pagan path or tradition other than their own for one moon cycle. This includes reading books on that tradition, researching it on the net, maybe even looking at some message boards and immersing into the path as well as possible.. and finally for extra credit, attending a ritual of this pagan path if able. I would then like to see a written account of what you liked what you didn't like and what you learned. I am even willing to share your experiences here at The Spiritual Mother. And I would love to know that you plan to do this.. what say ye?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Nap Time Spiritually Blissful

Nap time is a great time for bonding on a spiritual level and teaching meditation to young children. A mixture of meditation techniques and healthy sleeping techniques and Reiki can make a wonderful afternoon. Here is a break down of things I do with my own son and my Day Care children to help them fall asleep:

-Set the mood; darken the room, put on some tranquil music (we use Pandora's Nature Sounds Radio), use aromatherapy candles or oils, set up a sacred nap time space. Include many soft surfaces like pillows and blankets or comforters.

-Prepare the child by setting up a daily routine. This may include finishing lunch and putting on the music and darkening the room 10 minutes before hand. Stay away from any exciting activities and treat pre-nap time as "wind down" time. You can also add in hygiene practices such as hand washing (a mini ritual bath) and tooth brushing. Read a book out loud to them for extra Credit.

-Prepare yourself. "Are the dishes done? Did I pay the bills? What time is DH going to be home?" A woman's brain can get pretty active. Clearing it out and getting into a calm place helps so much when helping a child to nap. Find ways to calm quickly, such as a worry stone in your pocket, of taking a few breaths of fresh air. Ground and Center.

-Lay the child down, and give them any lovies such as a binky, stuffed toy or a blankey. I tend to cover the child with a blanket covering most of their bodies including their eyes, but leaving room for them to breath. I find this helps them know its nap time and know that I am putting them down for a nap.

- Gently rub their backs in a circular motion, moving to a more massage type touch. Gently massage the child's back while focusing on them being calm and relaxed. Think of this as an energy transfer and concentrate on putting them in a state of relaxation and sleep. Once child is in a state of sleep or extreme calm, feel free to switch to Reiki to help balance the chakras. If is a smaller infant feel free to rock them to sleep, but you can still use massage and healing touch techniques.

-Give the child time to get into deep sleep before leaving the room or getting up. Helping the child by just being in the room for these times helps greatly from them waking up and having to start over. Keep your energy focused during this time. If you are able and want to you can also join your child in a nap.

-If you choose to stay awake, use the quiet time to relax or meditate and recharge in your own way. This is a perfect time for a cup of coffee or tea.