Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Hippie, Living Simply, Wicca

Hippie Wicca! Part II

75c8e6cc4b8e1108bfe2e86ab29a8b03Somebody left a comment on a past post the other day. The post was Hippie Wicca! from April. The comment led me to reread the post, which was basically the final post in a series of posts about losing my way spiritually, and what I went through to rediscover it.

I was thinking about that post this morning, early this morning about 2AM, which is just about the hour I usually wake up because of some nocturnal anxiety, and contemplate my lot in life. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I grabbed my iPad and read through Flipboard, which is my go-to news aggregator. As I read article after article about the sorry state of politics in the U.S., that post kept coming back into my mind.

It eventually dawned on me that I hadn’t taken Hippie Wicca far enough in my life. It’s true that I’ve settled into a hippie Wiccan mindset. I’ve been better at performing rituals, spells, and prayers. I’ve inched my way into some meditations, and I’ve resolved to learn tarot. I’ve become an earth husband at home, using homemade & green cleaning supplies. I make all my own body care products, I ditched liquid soap for bar soap, I have used only water to wash my face for the past year, and am in the horrid phase of water only hair washing.

I’m a happier person overall, but I’m still having anxiety & depression issues. That’s where I hope that more hippie will help. Politics has weighed heavily on me since Obama became President, with all the abuse he received. Now with Trump, that weight has grown dramatically on my mind. I read all the political articles, and I become incensed, and then I’m on to the next article. It’s a vicious cycle.

One of my grown children once imparted some advice to me. She doesn’t read much news, and it has helped lower her anxiety by leaps and bounds. It’s not that she isn’t aware of what’s happening in the world, she simply doesn’t seek it out, nor dwell on it.

So I started thinking about that this morning. She has a point. I’ve found myself reading articles and furiously writing comments, or ranting about them on Twitter or Facebook. I’m pretty sure more than 1/2 of my Facebook friends have stopped following me. And where has this gotten me? Waking up in 2AM panics, that’s where.

I made the decision that I’m going to unfollow most of my political accounts on Facebook & Twitter. I’m going to stay away from people who mostly rant about it constantly. My obsession with this, my hundreds of posts have done nothing but affect me negatively. You don’t change anyone’s mind, you simply shout out into the ether.

This will free up lots of time for me to increase my time meditating, learning tarot, reading all those books I’ve been meaning to get to, and just spending more time being a witch. It will also give me more time for family, and friends.

I’ve changed the world in small ways. I’ve driven less, used less, recycled, reused, and repurposed. I have enlightened others about this, and have some happy converts. Those hippie-like changes I’ve made, and continue to make, do 1000 times more good than all the ranting on social media and to anyone who will listen.

More hippie, more Wicca!

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

Posted in Everyday Life, Living Simply, Wicca

A Witch Finds Joy At Home

7a3322e96568e2934133adf7be8be21bI always enjoy the tales of people, especially fellow Pagans who find enlightenment and peace through travels to destinations that inspire them. I read a lot about people “finding themselves” on such journeys. While I have traveled a bit, I’m not a journeyman. I rather like routine, and traveling is the opposite of that.

However, the double edged sword for me has been that while I love being home, I have often felt a bit trapped at home, feeling that I’m missing out on something because I’m not there. For a good number of years, that “there” was a party, a tavern, or a social event that I attended with my own St. Elmo’s Fire type group of friends.

But that group of friends has disbanded. Some of us stay in touch, but when we see each other, it’s awkward. In the past we bonded over good times and booze. Now we have little in common, so the conversations are forced, often falling back to “remember when we….” There are friends from those days, who I saw nearly everyday back then, whom I haven’t seen in years. So were they true friends? Obviously not. Just people who felt an artificial close bond due to circumstances.

But old habits die hard for some, and I’m one of that “some.” While most of those people from the past were able to move on, I tried my best to hold on to the past, to the party all the time lifestyle. The problem was that most of the time I was by myself, trying to infiltrate the good times of other groups who happened to be at the places I would go. It was unsatisfying, to say the least.

Over the course of the last 13 years, after deciding to embrace Wicca and Paganism, I found a bit of diversion from my desire to keep the “good times” rolling. I looked deeper into life than the depths of a glass or beer bottle. The frequency of “going out” has dwindled. Some of the friends we did hang on to distanced themselves when they discovered I was interested in Wicca or Paganism.

So home became both a comfort and curse. We have a lovely home of many years, and it contains everything to make us happy. Yet, there were times where I felt trapped, those feelings that I was missing something once again bubbling up. So out we would go, trying to capture the fun of the old days, only to realize the next day that it was a futile pursuit.

These days, home represents many things. A comfortable shelter, an entertainment center, a magickal place, a temple of sorts, and a shield from the memories of days gone by that occasionally beckon. It’s a fairly goth place, decor wise. It’s also becoming more of a hippie place, with decluttering and banishment of chemicals for cleaning and body care. Sandalwood and patchouli hangs lightly in the air. Ok, patchouli sometimes hangs a bit more heavily in the air…. Our home, even after 20+ years is always a work in progress. Not construction wise, but because of the attempts to make it into something that staves off the call of yesteryear.

It’s taken me 50 years to become relatively comfortable in my own skin. It took embracements of Wicca, witchcraft, goth and hippie lifestyles, and time, but the transition is largely complete.

My wish for you, dear readers, is that you find that self love far sooner than I. I know there are many younger people that read this, and I’m here to tell you that it’s important to find friends that will last a lifetime, not only situational friends. Learn to really cherish your home. Fill it with items you love. Try not to spend money on decor that will bring you joy for years to come. Trust me, that $50 spice rack you just have to have for your kitchen, will eventually be seen by you as counter clutter, and will end up at Goodwill or a future garage sale. Recycled bottles work much better!

I had always heard the adage that happiness starts at home. It took me an incredibly long time, and bumpy journey to realize that is the absolute truth.

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Everyday Life, Goth, Hippie, Living Simply, Paganism, Wicca

Oh Dear Gods, Resolutions! Egads!

lens_cornelis_-_tanz_der_ma%cc%88nadenSo yesterday, out of the ashes of another boozy holiday, a different me rose like a phoenix. It isn’t necessarily a “better” me, just one that is perhaps more focused on what’s important. As I indicated yesterday, I changed my social media accounts. I went full on witchy. What had happened on my mundane accounts was a devolvement into awful political discourse. It has become increasingly crystal clear that the round and round arguing only served to aggravate everyone involved, and was without purpose. I’m not going to stick my head in the sand, but I’m no longer going to be the person who constantly harps on it. Honestly, I would much rather hang with other Pagans and witches, discussing spirituality and magick.

In the past, I’ve stayed away from New Year’s resolutions. They so often fall by the wayside. This year, I’m not waiting for New Year’s. I have a few things in mind. First, I want to be kinder to myself. Mind, body, and soul. That involves a dedication to meditation, to reading more books, to eating better, and ceasing to beat myself up over what I don’t like about my life. Accepting the things I can’t change, and working to better those that I can.

Secondly, extending more kindness to others. Becoming a Wiccan all those years ago went a long way to improving that, but there is always room to be a better person. More time with my grandchildren, and more quality time with my wife. More kindness extended to strangers, and to my friends. I know for a fact that that kind of thing comes back to you three and four fold.

I want to continue to simplify my life. This year, I made great strides in that area. I largely ditched shampoo, shifted from chemical laden soap products to simple bar soap, detoxed our cleaning supplies, went to water-only face washing, using only carrier oil and essential oils for moisturizing, and deodorant. We decluttered, and continue to do so. I’ve stopped comparing my life to the lives of others. If we are happy, that’s what’s important.

I know we could do more. Even though we recycle religiously, we could bring home less plastic from the store. We could eat less meat, and probably buy fewer unnecessary items than we do. Change is difficult, and changing behavior of 40+ years isn’t as simple as I thought it might be.

Lastly, I am going to allow myself to move between mindsets without all sorts of self analysis. I’m not sure how it’s happened, but I’m equal part barefoot hippie, goth, Wiccan, chaos magician, devotee of Hestia, chaste Goddess of the Hearth, devotee of Dionysus, God of religious and sensual ecstasy and madness (a particularly fun devotion!), and countless other deities and aspects of their personalities. For better or worse, the sum of all parts make us whole. Understanding why is, at least in my instance, best left to the deities.

So that’s it. Most of my “resolutions” are things I’m already working on. A few are new, and some are just a further embracement of current practices.

Thanks for reading! I love that people find what I ramble on about here fairly interesting, and am truly grateful for your feedback and comments. It makes my heart sing.

Blessings to you all.

 

Posted in Everyday Life, Goth, Hippie, Living Simply, Paganism, Wicca

A Wiccan Pledge

img_1879This morning I had to drag my butt out of bed, and I’m sitting here feeling unwell. Through whatever set of circumstances, Christmas, and the few days preceding it have become synonymous with a drinking fest. Apparently, I’ve fully embraced Saturnalia.  But this is payback day. It’s the day I try spend recovering, and consider the option of rehab…

These are also the kind of days I look at my life and think about how I can improve it. Today’s epiphany is not a new one, rather one I’ve had several times, and failed to successfully act upon it. It’s a revelation that is difficult because it involves ego, and we all know how strong ones’ ego can be.

But this morning I had a discussion with my ego, and we came to an agreement. We decided that he was going to take a backseat to my true self, since he’s been driving the bus for over half a century. The ego has been suppressing some character traits for most of my life, and other interests that have developed along the way.

I’ve decided to lose myself in my spirituality. The days of witchcraft being second fiddle to other interests are ending. This is going to begin with all my social media accounts that disguise the fact that I’m a witch. My personal Facebook page will become dormant, and I will attend to my witchcraft page. My ego would have me come out as a witch, blazing with both wands to all my friends and family, but that really serves no purpose to me. Besides, I always feel so much more free to express myself without worry about how my friends and family will take it.

I plan to fully embrace my interests, no matter how strange they may appear to others. I enjoy aspects of a hippie, goth, barefoot, and bohemian lifestyle. That may be an odd mix to some, but I am ceasing to care. I’m crushing any male superiority aspect of my ego. Personally, I found Wicca appealing because it elevates the importance of women. Women give birth, they provide life and nurturing. Women should be worshiped as they were in ancient times.

Most importantly, I am ending any doubt in my mind about the validity of Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism, and the existence of deities. I’ve spent far too much time mentally challenging myself, only to find myself appealing to deity when the chips are down. It’s easy to question when you don’t have a need for the gods and goddesses, but you simply can’t have it both ways. Either they exist or they don’t. From this point forward they exist for me, no questions asked.

This is a total deconstruction of myself and my ego. The person I was yesterday will cease to exist. My remaining years on this planet will be devoted to my spiritual path, and to who I truly am, and what makes me truly happy. It may seem daunting to others, but I think it’s the only path to true joy.

My spiritual path has become the gateway to many of the things I’ve grown to cherish. It has opened my eyes to the hippie and goth within. It has given me the courage to forsake societal convention, and to live a simpler lifestyle without wanting what I don’t have. It’s time to give it my full attention.

Happy holidays & Blessed Be!

Posted in Living Simply, magick, Paganism, Spells, Wicca

Witchcraft Clutter

img_1509The other day we had some plumbing work done in our bathrooms. To prepare for that, we had to remove everything from beneath and on top of the vanities. I must say that it is truly amazing just how much crap you can accumulate in an under-the-sink cabinet, and how used you can get to a cluttered bathroom countertop.

After the work was finished, I cleaned the countertop, and stood back. I was struck by how good it looked, and perhaps more importantly, how great it felt to have a countertop with only a soap dish on it. Also, only about half of the stuff I took out from the cabinet needed to go back in. Forced decluttering, but the results were, for the lack of a better word, freeing.

After seeing that, I looked over at my altar, and saw a cluttered mess. Now, it can get that way during rituals or spells, but it doesn’t need to be that way on a daily basis. So I proceeded to tidy it up. I may not be finished, but I think it (pictured above) looks quite calming now.

We’ve been decluttering for several years now, and we’ve made some good progress. However, we still end up with cluttered countertops in the kitchen and on table tops. The kitchen is a problem spot for us. We need to steel ourselves mentally, and become ruthless in our elimination process. Those pesky, “we may need this someday” thoughts are hard to overcome, when you are thinking about getting rid of things you spent good money on at Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn. However, I’m not sure we need 30 martini glasses or wine glasses. Our collection of kitchen gadgets is impressive, but we use about 10% of them. We have 5 junk drawers with lots of those “we made need this someday” items.

Through the years, we were buyers, gatherers, and collectors. That spilled over to my witchcraft life. However, there are lots of things I keep that may come in handy in spells. Pieces of twine, ribbon, dried flower petals, dried herbs, finger and toenail clippings, empty bottles with lids, coins, keys, and other stuff.

So I’ve found there is a balance needed with clutter in witchcraft. I’m now striving for an uncluttered look on the surface, but behind those cabinet doors, there is a wealth of clutter in the form of witchcraft supplies. Twelve year old black pepper essential oil may not be very helpful medicinally (though it probably is ok), but it is perfectly fine for magickal rituals or spells. That bottle of nail clippings will come in handy for protective witch bottles, as will that jar of old nails, screws, razor blades, and old candle stubs.

Life is a balancing act, as is everyday clutter. Witchcraft clutter though, at least hidden behind closed doors or drawers, is a necessity.

How do you manage your witchcraft supplies? Do you keep lots of things, just in case you may need them? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Everyday Life, Living Simply

Bubble, Bubble Soap & Trouble

For some time I’ve been using bar soap in the bathroom I use most. There are several reasons I’ve switched to bar soap. First, full disclosure. We are weening off liquid soap in all the other bathrooms and kitchen sink. We will probably keep liquid soap in the kitchen and hall bath on main floor, just due to visitors using that bathroom. We are switching to safer liquid soap in those areas. It costs a bit more, but we will be using much less of it.

If you look at the two photos at the top of this post, I think you can see the main reason for the switch. The liquid soap has tons of stuff I’ve never heard of in it, and note how there is the warning to use this soap on your hands only! If this soap is so bad that you can only use it on your hands, why use it at all? The other photo is of a bar of soap on an inexpensive wooden soap holder that lets the soap air dry.

There are a lot of bar soaps on the market, many by large companies. Some of these soaps contain many of those chemical listed on the liquid soap bottle. The best commercial soap I can readily find is Jergens. This can easily be found at Target or other department and grocery stores. Jergens has less chemicals than most commercial soaps, and the company is well rated, as you can see from the link.

A couple bar soaps commonly mentioned are Dr. Bronners and Mrs. Meyers soaps. Personally I find them a bit too harsh and drying. Their scores are on a par with Jergens.

I am also interested in buying handmade soaps. They are generally more expensive than commercial soaps, but many have a wonderful blend of essential oils.

The other big reason to use bar soaps is the packaging. Paper or chipboard packaging vs. a big plastic refill container of liquid soap. A no brainer. Method brand liquid soap is readily available, has a good safety score, and the refill packaging is not plastic. This is more expensive than Soft Soap or store brand liquid soap, but again, since we will be using more bar soap, we will be using far less liquid soap..

Soap is not a sexy blog topic,but it pertains to all of us. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and we only had bar soap. Ivory soap was the go-to soap in our house. I started using liquid soap in the early 90’s because it was convenient.

It seems that we pay a big price both with our health and our environment for convenience. Something to think about.

Thanks for reading and as always,

Blessed Be!

Posted in Everyday Life, Living Simply

Decluttering Tips That Helped Us

tumblr_np68itTQI81ux2o26o1_400I came across this article about decluttering, detailing why it’s difficult to part with things, even if you don’t use, or even see them, that often. We have accomplished quite a bit of decluttering over the past few years. Getting rid of some stuff has been easy, some not-so-much. I thought I would throw in my two cents as far as tips to make it easier for anyone struggling with the process.

But I spent so much money on that. One of the biggest hurdles is thinking about the money you spent on the stuff you should declutter. Let’s be honest here. If you have stuff squirreled away in boxes, drawers, and closets that you never see or use, you already don’t care about the money you spent. If you are really fretting over it, have a garage sale. Otherwise, donate it, and write it off your taxes if you can.

Clothing. Other than the money you spent on clothes from which you should divorce yourself, the second hesitation is: “I might wear that when I get back in shape.” If it’s not couture or some absolutely beloved piece of clothing, chances are that if you do get back to that size clothing, you will probably be happy about losing weight, and you will want to buy some new stuff. Plus, is that jacket with shoulder pads ever going to be in style again??

Photographs. Many people have their “treasured” photos stored in boxes. When was the last time you looked at them? It took me the better part of two years, but I scanned in every photo we had in boxes, albums, and drawers. I won’t lie, the process of doing so is tedious, but many of those photos hadn’t had eyes laid upon them in over 20 years. Having photographs in boxes under the basement stairs isn’t doing anyone any good. Now that I have them on the computer and online, I look at them all the time.

I threw away the photos after I scanned them in. Many people my age were aghast at that, but younger people said, why wouldn’t you? My kids have grown up in the computer age, and most of their photos were shot using a cell phone camera. Their photos are all on the computer and online. They have no hard copies, and don’t think twice about it. I have them on my hard drive, on a back up external hard drive, on another external hard drive, and on Apple, Google, Flickr, Amazon, Photobucket, and One Drive. They are safer than they were in cardboard boxes.

Paper. Anything paper got scanned into the computer and tossed. Ticket stubs, programs, newspaper clippings, kid’s “artwork”, receipts, and anything I thought I might need in the future. Obviously, you want to keep certified copies of birth/death certificates, and other extremely important documents. But you would be surprised at how few of those there are.

Music. We had a fairly large collection of CD’s. I spent months ripping them into the computer and onto iTunes. To be honest, I’ve rarely listened to them since. We just find streaming more convenient. I felt like I wasted a lot of time, and I wish I had been more selective. Would ever want to listen to that White Snake or disco CD again? My wife put her foot down on throwing out the CD’s themselves. I acquiesced, realizing we all have a limit on what we will part with.

Those were the hardest things to deal with. Clothes, photos, music, and paper stuff. Obviously, there are junk drawers, unused kitchen items, glassware, dinnerware, and other things to deal with. But emotionally the things I covered above were the most difficult.

Lastly, and this helped us a lot, we would visualize the house giving a sigh of relief when we got rid of all the stuff we decluttered. These things were occupying air space, weighing us down emotionally, and weighing the house down physically. Our home is an extension of ourselves, so if it is cluttered and weighed down, so are we. And because I’m an extreme animist, and think that everything has some kind of spiritual essence, I thanked everything we gave away or tossed. All those items meant something to us at one time or another, and I just wanted to thank them for bringing us happiness or joy when they did.

We don’t have a minimalist home. We like our eclectic decor, so there is a bohemian/goth/hippie/witchy vibe to our home because of our stuff. But the stuff that was “stored” no longer served its’ purpose sitting in boxes, so we either gave it another life through putting it online or on the computer, or donating it to someone who might love it just as we had at one time.

Hope this helps someone who is thinking of purging their stuff.

Blessed Be!