Friday, July 1, 2011

Stepping Out of the Broom Closet

With all the things going on in the Pagan world these days, I had decided that I just had to do something.  I see so many people offering to help with prayers or money, but I suddenly feel some kind of greater calling.  For years, I have practiced alone.  Sometimes, I practiced only very rarely.  Sometimes, I had no more than the thoughts in my head to work with.  Those of you who have read my earlier posts know where I come from with all of that.

But now, there's something new in my heart.  There's a need to do more, and be more.  A few weeks ago, I followed a few links and discovered a church where I could be ordained, which would have given me the ability to offer Pagan services that so many of us have to go without.  I thought of how wonderful it would be to perform legal Handfastings and Wiccanings.  To be able to provide something for our community that I would have given so much to have had for my own family.  But, I've spent so long practicing alone that no one really knows me.  I have no paperwork or proof that I have been involved in my faith for so long.  Could I truly expect anyone to welcome me into their life for such momentous occasions, if I had no way to show that I was the "right" person for the job?  No, I needed something more "real."

I have never really hidden my faith from anyone.  I've always been as open with it as I can, without throwing it into everyone's faces.  But, I'm just not very social.  Okay, I've been worse than just not social.  I've been a recluse.  Mild agoraphobia seems to be the best way to put it.  I have been afraid of being in public.  I have been afraid of answering the door.  I've even been afraid of answering the phone.  So, how am I supposed to get out there and do something, if I can't bring myself to get out there at all?  Fortunately, I've been making some serious progress with that little issue over the last few years.

Enter Witch School, stage left.

I confess that I snickered a little bit when I first saw the link.  I mean...Witch School?  Seriously?  You've got to be kidding me.  I clicked on the link just to satisfy my own curiosity, expecting to find a website filled with teens all dressed in black, playing the game without ever really learning the path.  I was wrong.  I was WAY wrong.  It turns out that Witch School is exactly what I think so many of us are looking for.  Online courses, some with Mentors to help you through.  And no rushing through!  Ken and I both joined and started on their First Degree class, and we really will be working on it for a year and a day.  Perfect!  I am beyond impressed, and slightly ashamed of myself for thinking as I did when I first heard of it.  In a few years, if I finish all three degrees, then I will be ready and able to be truly useful to the Pagan community, with a school and paperwork to back me up.

And then, I found CUUPS.  Hmm.  Was I ready to go out and meet some real people?  What if I made an idiot of myself?  What if they didn't like me?  What if *they* turned out to be the teens dressed in black and playing games?  I was wrong about Witch School, so I convinced myself that I should be more open.  We attended our first meeting on Tuesday, and had a fantastic time.  We were neither the youngest or the oldest in the group.  We were neither the least nore the most experienced.  They were warm and welcoming and generally just a blast to be around and talk with.  I've never had the chance to talk to other Pagans in person, or to sit outside with a group and brainstorm and share thoughts and ideas for upcoming events.  It was nothing short of amazing.

In the end, I found another level of myself that I wasn't aware of.  I see, now, that this feeling I've been having is a need to go deeper into the forest, farther along the path, and higher into the skies.  Eventually, I think that ordination will bee my goal.  For now, I will complete the First Degree class and get involved with the real world.  It's time for me to "walk my talk."

And so, my first new lesson is learned.  Never hide from yourself, and never ignore the beating of your heart.

Until we meet again,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Year And A Day

This Tuesday will be our first anniversary.  We laugh and say that we can't believe we've made it through a year without medication.  We joke and say that we still have a few days left to kill each other.  We smile and tease each other about how we met, and whose "fault" it is.

After my divorce from my first husband, I swore that I would never do that again.  Commitment was too much for me, and too hard to get out of, once it's done.  When we met, we were just going to be friends.  Once we got over that idea, we were just going to be a fling.  He was going to be deploying to Iraq, and I sure wasn't going to be tied down to someone that I couldn't see for a year, when we had only been together for a few months.  By the time he actually left, I was telling myself that he wanted me just so that he could say he had someone waiting for him to come home, and I was with him just so that I could decline any offers, since I was already involved with someone.  A year after that, I moved up near Ft. Drum to live with him.  Actually, I moved up here to prepare a home for him to come home to.  But, it was still just a temporary thing, right?  Right.  Then he got in that car accident, and the Army was going to be looking at putting him out.  It was suggested that we might get married so that we would all be covered by his health benefits and such, even after he was out.  We both sort of hemmed and hawed for a while, and finally decided to do it.  Sure, we can do that.  It's practical and beneficial, for financial reasons.  Certainly not because we were really, you know the word.  It was the smart choice, not the silly, foolish emotionally based one.  Humph.

So, on June 21, 2010, the Summer Solstice, we were married.  It was a casual thing.  And by casual, I mean that the retired judge who performed the ceremony for us was wearing a mumu and slippers.  Ken wore jeans.  My best friend was my witness, and he wore jeans, as well.  Ken's witness, the father of our future Guide Daughter, wore a stunningly stylish white suit.  His wife, Nadia, was just a month and a half away from having the baby, and she was in charge of the pictures.  My sons were there, apparently as the peanut gallery and comedy relief.  It was hilarious and fun...and perfect.

And now it's been a year.  Not an easy year, I promise you that.  We've already been through just about the worst we could possibly go through.  We've had the quick bursts of not-so-happiness, like my breast cancer scare, his mother's stroke.  We've had the longer, more drawn out issues.  Don't even get me started on his brother and that house in Texas.  Ugh!  That one nearly cost us the marriage a few times.  We've had fights.  I've handed him my ring a few times.  He even left the house to go sleep somewhere else, once.

I wouldn't trade a moment of it.  Not for all the world.  Somewhere along the lines, I discovered that I do, in fact...  Well, I...I...  *le sigh*  Okay, you win.  I love him...and Oreo Double Stuff (You'll have to ask him, if you want an explaination for that one.  ;) ).  He has given me the freedom to fly, but he hasn't been afraid to shoot me back down to the ground when I got too close to the Sun.  He has made me angry beyond words, but he has taught me not to hold a grudge for days at a time.  He makes me laugh, sometimes just because he's laughing at something.

You know, when we first decided to sign our lives away to each other, we wanted a Handfasting.  Of course, that just wasn't possible.  We couldn't find anyone in the area who could do that for us, and still have it be a legal marriage.  So, we had the simple, outdoor, still-sorta-Christian wedding.  On Tuesday, we will have been married for one year.  I think, on Wednesday, I'll pledge to him another year and a day.

Until we meet again,

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Don't Believe You

A very good friend recently told me that fairy tales don't exist.
I wept. My heart broke.
When I was a little girl, my father told me that I was a Princess.
Someday, he said, a Prince would come on a white horse, and he would
love me forever, and make all of my dreams come true.
My father has been gone, now, for many years.
How well he knew me, for I am like him.
I see. I dream. I reach for things that may not be there.
There was no Prince.
No white horse ever came.
I knew it never would.
But, if only in my father's eyes, I was a Princess.
Wherever he is now, I know that I am still his Princess.
A very good friend recently told me that fairy tales don't exist.
I don't believe him.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


A HUGE congratulations to Mrs. B. and the other Pagan moms who placed in the "Top 25 Faith Blogs By Moms."  You earned it!  You deserved it!  And, to top it all off, you managed to turn the ugliness that was surrounding it all into a chance for Pagans to come together, support one another, and maybe even make a few friends.

Wonderful blogs.  Great information, ideas, and stories.  I highly recommend them all to everyone.

Until we meet again,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Perfect Imperfection

Sometimes, I let my desk get cluttered.  Sometimes, my favorite cookbook is the Yellow Pages.  Sometimes, I get fussy over small things.  Why?  Because I am perfect.  And so are you.

Most of us spend our lives trying to attain perfection.  We fault ourselves for our flaws, and we hold grudges against ourselves for our failures.  I often find myself thinking about what I *should* have or *could* have done.  I have a lot of "what if"s in my head.  I often doubt or second guess my own choices and actions.  I've been told that I'm an insufferable perfectionist about a lot of things.  It has even been suggested that there might be some OCD in a lot of what I do.  I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a few of you, out there, who find the same things in yourselves.  In fact, I think that many of us are even harder on ourselves than we are on people whom we dislike or whom we feel have wronged us.

I invite you, now, to step outside and take a look around you.  Do you see a perfect blade of grass?  Do you see an imperfect tree?  How many things do you see that are both?  Things that are made so much more perfect, simply *because* of their imperfections?  I am reminded of a tree that I drive by quite often.  I call it (Him?) "Axle, The Grumpy Tree."  Named after a friend of mine, whom I often refer to as "Grumpy Bear."  The man is as gruff as they come, and often has a look about him that could scare the blue from the sky.  But, once you get to know him, he's actually very smart, very funny, and absolutely adorable.  The tree is damaged (by lightning, I think) and has only just a branch or two left that still grow leaves in the spring.  Even one of those branches fell a few weeks ago in a windy storm.  And yet, I find this tree to be one of the most interesting and wonderful trees that I have ever seen.  The Grumpy Tree is perfect, in my eyes.

Have you ever heard of a "Persian Flaw?"  Do you know what it is?  Persian rugs were once among the finest in the world.  So fine that the rugmakers began to fear that the Divine would become enraged or jealous of their craftsmanship.  After all, only the Divine is supposed to be perfect, right?  Well, *that's* a chat for another day, but you get the idea.  ;)  In any case, in order to keep things even, the rugmakers began to add a deliberate flaw into their weaving.  Something small.  Something you may not even notice, if you weren't looking for it.  But, it was enough, for the sake of humility and modesty.

There is nothing on this Earth that is not flawed or imperfect in some way.  And that is what makes it all so perfect.  As long as we learn lessons from our own mistakes, and the mistakes of others, then how can we truly be so unhappy that they exist?  If there were never any mistakes made, then we would never really need to learn new things, would we?  We would never have the opportunities or the chances to improve.

There can be no good without evil, and no evil without good.  There can be no beauty without ugliness, and no ugliness without beauty.  Opposites are what give us the ability to see both sides of a coin.  Why does my desk get so cluttered?  Because I am taking an online course to be able to get a great work-at-home job and improve my family and myself, so I spend a lot of time at my desk, studying and learning and making progress toward my goal.  Why did I order pizza instead of making a good, home-cooked meal?  Well, to be honest, my cooking stinks.  So, I call it taking pity on my husband and children when I order pizza.  ;)  Why do I get fussy over such small things?  Well, when I learn the whole truth on that one, I'll get back to you.  But, without those things that I so often see as my failures and my flaws, I would never be able to appreciate the things that I'm good at, and I would never be able to find ways to improve myself.

Look over your own life, and look deep and hard.  You are perfect, just like me, because we are both so imperfect.

Until we meet again,

Friday, May 27, 2011

The First Whisper

You know, I had it all planned out.  This first post was going to be deep, philosophical, well planned and well written.  But then I sat down and looked at the blank page.  Instant writer's block.  *le sigh*

I suppose that I should start with an introduction.  I am Wysp.  I am 33 years old.  I am the mother of two sons, currently 12 and 14 years old.  I am the wife of an Army Combat Medic.

And I am Pagan.

By all means, feel free to close the window now.  No hard feelings, I promise.

Still reading?  Well then, céad mile fáilte!  Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

So, why did I decide to start a blog?  Well, I'm mainly a solitary practitioner of the Celtic persuasion.  My husband is Pagan, and one of my sons is just starting to be interested in learning the Craft.  But, we do not belong to a coven, and we do not always practice together.  I have no problem with covens, but it's just not my 'thing.'  On the other hand, being a solitary witch can sometimes be...well, lonely.  I thought that a blog might be a good way to connect with others, without any kind of commitment or expectations.  Maybe you'll learn something from me.  In your comments and responses, maybe I'll learn something from you.  Isn't that what we're all looking for, after all?  I, for one, wish to learn something new, every day, until the day that I die.

How long have I been involved in the Craft?  I was about 12 when I started on this path, but I can't really say that I've been active  for 21 years.  I've not always been free to practice my faith.  I was raised Christian, as so many of us are.  My mother is still not entirely comfortable with my choice to leave the church.  For many years, I was married to someone who scoffed at Paganism, and so I practiced as quietly and discreetly as possible.  Sometimes, that meant not practicing at all for months at a time.  I kept my faith in my heart through all those years, and I held tight to the belief that it was enough, no matter how small it was.  Now I am remarried, and my husband has given me the gift of freedom.  For the first time in my life, I have a place set aside to practice Paganism.  An altar.  A collection of herbs.  All the little things that I dreamed of for so long, but could not have.  I would have to say, if you asked me, that I have been of a Pagan mindset since I was 12.  But, I have only just found my Pagan self and blossomed into a Witch over the last 2 or 3 years.

And now, I would like to share with you my first whispered secret.  It's something new that I've learned, and that I think you might benefit from, as well.  What is the secret?

Remember what is good, and let go of what is not so good.

It's that easy.  I discovered it quite by accident.  I was reading an article on learning to communicate better with your teen, and one of the suggestions was to try to come up with just 5 good things that have happened in the past week, and discuss them with the family.  Perhaps at dinner time.  Or on family game night.  Whenever you get the chance, discuss them, or even just mention them.  That way, your children will see that there is, in fact, a brighter side to life.  At first, I thought it would be impossible.  I spend so much of my time worrying about everything.  I worry about money.  I worry about my health, my husband's health, my children's health...  If ever I find myself not worrying about something, I begin to worry that I may have forgotten something that I should be worrying about.  How can I possibly pull 5 good things out of that mess?  But, I did.  They were small  things, but they were things that went right, and things that made me happy.  And, in thinking of them and remembering them, I was happy for the rest of the week, and less stressed, less focused on the things that didn't turn out so well.  Could it be that those things weren't really as bad as I had been thinking they were?  Then, I found that the happiness carried over into this, the second week.  Today is Friday, and I have been writing down a list of all the good things that have happened this week.  I'm up to ten.  Ten good things have happened this week.  Some were small.  Some were bigger.  But, in finding a way to celebrate and hold on to that happiness, I have also, unexpectedly, forgotten to worry about the negative things.  As I sit here, right now, I'm thinking.  Thinking hard.  Thinking harder.  Nope, I can't remember anything that happened this week that's worth stressing over.  It was so easy.  So simple.  I wasn't expecting it to be like this.  But, it is.  And so, I'm sharing it with you.  Try it.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.

Well, I think that my first post has turned out to be much longer than I originally intended.  Maybe not too 'deep and philosophical,' but not too bad, either.  Hope it held your interest long enough to get to this point.

And now, I invite you to comment.  Introduce yourself.  Ask your questions.  Share your opinions and feedback.  If you try that little trick I've shared with you, then let me know how it works.

Until we meet again,