Imbolc – Season of Renewal


Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Another sabbat, the Wheel turns and a new season is ready to greet us.  The land is still sleepy, blanketed in cold and snow in many places.  There are still some signs of the coming spring, and we know that the light has returned by noticing the Sun is awake longer and longer every day since Yule.  The air is fresh and crisp, still containing a cleansing bite.

It is a time of renewal, of purification, of initiation.  A time to clean out the old and make way for the new that we know is coming to us.

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In my household this year, we are in the midst of a remodel.  It’s not the ideal time of year for this project to be happening, this much we are aware of.  But circumstances led us to the discovery of a massive leak in our roof which has caused some of the supporting beams in the walls of a couple rooms in the house to be damaged badly, and are forcing us to repair the damages.  While we’re at it, we might as well make it look nicer than it has in a long, long time.  We started with my mother-in-laws room.  The walls were wet in some places because of the leak.  So we replaced the walls.  Painted them and made them beautiful.  We ripped out the old carpet to discover the original hardwood flooring still intact and in excellent condition.  So we sanded it, buffed it out, polished it to a glorious shine.  Bought a nice throw rug and turned it into a quaint sanctuary for her to enjoy.  It certainly made the room look even larger, which is always a bonus.

The next step was the bathroom, which we’re still working on.  The floor was rotted in some place and so were the back two walls.  So it’s all torn apart while we get those fixed.  We will follow it with new walls, new flooring, new bathtub, new sink and toilet.  There will be beautiful new tiles with a lovely mosaic design.  I’m excited for it.  Our living room will be the final room (though maybe the kitchen later down the road) at this point.  We now know the original hardwood stands throughout the house, so all the old carpet is coming out in order to showcase our beautiful flooring.  The walls will be painted, new shelves and bookshelves.  A new 3-tiered toy box for the children to keep their toys and games organized.  A smaller computer desk I believe would be nice as well.  Fewer places for me to hid my little knick knacks and baubles.  I’ll have to organize them, too.

Since this is the season of renewal and purification, I’ve been doing small rituals of room blessings and simple spells to aid us in our work.  Truth be told, I haven’t done much, the heavy work is being done by the menfolk, while I am left with the task of going through all the clutter and things we don’t need.  And there is a lot of that, trust me.  It’s a daunting task, and to be honest, I kind of lose the will to live looking at all the junk we have aquired over the years.  But downsize we must!  I have to just keep reminding myself how much better it will all look in the end, how much better we will feel and how much more inviting our home will be.

Many members in the house don’t agree or follow my religious beliefs, but I think it’s just a matter of perspective and misunderstanding for them.  I will continue with my blessings, my chants and simple spells and rituals.  I will remove the stagnant energy and use this season to breathe new life into everything.

It’s time for some change.  I have to work with them, instead of against them.  I have to quit bucking against the men when they tell me what to do, because in this case, it isn’t about sexism or them holding lordship over me, but about them asking me to partner with them, to help them reach their goals, much like I should be all along.

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I’ve been ranting a lot in the past, and I think while I will always be the random Ravenna we all know and love, it’s time for me to show how much I’ve grown up.  Because I most certainly have.  There was so much pain and angst written here, and it bled through to all my readers, to which I thank you for all your support.  I’ve been working hard to build more patience in life, to let the little things roll off my back, because wasting the time being angry, is just that – wasting time.  I have better things to think and worry about.

My Witchcraft V class is coming along really well, too.  I’m loving every moment of it, and it is HARD.  There are assignments where I have to take a good long look at myself and be truly honest with myself.  Where I have to admit to things, even though they made me uncomfortable.  One assignment is called the “I Use List” where we listed all the things we use and how we use them.  For me I added things like “I use music to help shift my moods and make me happy.  I use the internet for entertainment as well as education.” The one that bothered me was “I use people to make myself feel better about my life.” It just sounded wrong, like I was using people for the sake of using them, the same as any other tool.  But it isn’t quite like that.  I use people as friends, as comrades and in some cases I guess as enemies, and they all help me make my life better.  Whether it is listen to me as I rant and rave about the injustice of life, or they give me advice and wisdom to better my life, even to remind me that I am not an evil person who does evil things.  I use people.  It still sounds wrong, but it was the truth and so I included it.  In the end I was praised for that bravery of being so honest about myself.  My next assignment is “I Connect” and I’m still working on that one.  I know it will come together the way it needs to be and I am okay with that.  In the end, this course will change my life for the better, and has already changed my life.

It’s worth all the hard work.

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I’m still planning my main Imbolc ritual, I’ve got an idea in place, it’s just a matter of getting it set up and performing the ritual.  I’m pretty excited about it, so that’s always a plus.  I shall be purifying and renewing myself this year.  I will wash myself clean of the things that bogged me down last year and start fresh.

I plan to make a small feast for it, too.  The menu isn’t quite set yet, but again, I have some ideas.  It’s still cold out, so I’m thinking hearty comfort foods.  Maybe a shepherd’s pie.  Some fresh bread and homemade butter.  One of our jams that we preserved over the summer.  It will be nice to celebrate again.  But it will be a quiet one, not quite the same frantic energy of the earlier winter holidays.  Like I said, Mother Earth is still sleepy, not quite ready to awaken and green the land.  But She is waking, just a little.

I’ve been thinking about music again. Creating playlists that fit the sabbat.  There are quite a few songs that I enjoy and fit very strongly with the season.  A few old favorites and a couple new ones as well.

Brighid’s Kiss by La Lugh is one of the new ones that I’m enjoying very much.  The singer died some years ago, but this song remains for us to enjoy.  It’s quite beautiful.

Alive! by Omnia this one has been a favorite of mine since I believe 2010 or so.  It makes me want to get up and move and dance.  To get my blood flowing and awaken myself to greet the slumbering Goddess and young Sun God.

Music feeds the soul.  It gives nourishment, much like the maiden Goddess offers nourishment to the young God and to the earth itself as she awakens from her long sleep throughout the cold of winter.

Let us dance and awaken the Mother my friends! Let us renew our Selves and allow the energies of new life and growth welcome into us!

sleeping mother earthWelcome to the Maiden Goddess as She wakes and stretches Her hands across the land, bringing a gentle greening.  Let the fires of Inspiration, Healing and the Forge of Creation burn brightly within us all!  Let the blessings of Brighid be welcomed into our hearts and lives!

Blessed be my friends, have a Happy and Joyful Imbolc this year! May you all be blessed with joy, happiness, abundance and good health.

Much love,

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats | 1 Comment

Feeling a little too stressed out…


It’s been building for a while, actually.  I know this blog gets linked to my facebook, and at this point I could give a flying fig who sees or reads this.  It’s MY turn to rant!!

I have a large family.  I am the oldest girl in a group of 15 grandchildren.  I was also the first to have children of my own.  My youngest cousin is younger than my middle son, though not by much.

I love my family and have hundreds of happy memories of all of them, from random visits, to huge family gatherings for holidays or summer vacation.  Those were some good times.

There was always a little drama involved though, I mean, NINE aunts and uncles (and their spouses) and 13 cousins? It’s hard for there not to be some drama there. It’s part of being in a family.

In my mid-teens we had a bout of even greater drama, and it kind of fractured (okay not kind of, it totally obliterated it) family relationships.  The next few years saw us all struggling to find our new happy medium and some of us *cough cough* me *cough cough* had a hard time with it.  I had lost something really important to me, and I wound up looking to replace that relationship in whatever way I could.  I was a little out of control, though not surprisingly, not too out of control.  I stopped paying attention to what was most important (school) and gave everything I had into my friends.  I didn’t go to school.  I dropped out, I tried to kill myself, more than once.  I had an unhealthy obsession with my boyfriend and picked up some bad habits from him (cigarettes, alcohol).  When I finally got a clue about Life, I had already done something I needed to face the consequences to.  I wound up pregnant.  For those that know me, NO I didn’t do it on purpose!! My god, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that said to me!  You don’t know what happened.  The night I found out, it was to prove my mom wrong.  I was SURE I was late because I was super stressed at having just lost my job.  So I took that test, ready to say “See? Not pregnant!!” But upon seeing the results of that little test, at 19 years old, my life changed.  My boyfriend and I went to the clinic the next day for an actual doctor’s test.  I cried.  I cried a lot, they offered me counseling to “look at my options”.  I walked away saying I would think about it.  And I did.  I changed my life because I was going to be a mother.

My friends were supportive, and so was my family (or so I thought, some of them were) and I was ready to make it work somehow.  My son was born and it was the happiest day of my life.  I had never seen anything more pure and wonderful in my life until I laid eyes upon him.

I went back to school for him.  I went to college for him.  I gave up my freedom for him.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Right before I finished my last year of college, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was in disbelief.  I had been taking my birth control, sure I was stressed and there was other drama going on, but what the heck? I took 5 home tests before I saw my doctor.  I took an incomplete in my classes for him, and knew I would go back.  At least that’s what I told myself.  I got a job that I hated.  I dealt with really pissed off people over the phone for shit pay everyday of the week and sometimes on Saturday.  It sucked.  Eventually, I had to leave that job, especially when it became apparent that the company profits were going up the CEO’s nose.  No shit, I saw it and quit the next day.  As much as that job sucked though, I loved my co-workers and cried when I left.

Then I started to really unravel.  Let it be said, that from my mid-teens (when Big Drama happened) I had become increasingly unstable, emotionally.  My Grams took me to a shrink, I saw that woman 2x a week for 3 months, and at the end the shrink told me that I was nuts and needed medication.  My Grams said hell no and we left.

But when my then 2 children were 5 and 2 years old, I had a psychotic break.  I would cry over nothing, rage at the world, I thought about suicide a LOT.  I heard news from my boyfriend I didn’t want to hear and the wave of anguish was so great that my friend in Hoodsport called me 5 minutes later to ask about the “disturbance in the force” that she felt.  It was crazy actually.  I had hung up the phone and then she was calling, no time for me to say anything to anyone.  I kept spiraling.  My one friend, whom I give massive credit to for saving my life, would make a crack here and there whenever I would say something suicidal to her.  I mentioned to her once I wondered if eating a whole bottle of tylenol pm would kill me.  She said no, but I would spend the rest of the night puking (actually it can, btw) but after that we had Real Talk and she encouraged me to go see a doctor.  I did, and I was afraid.  But when the doctor and I sat and talked about what was going on, she told me I had an illness.  A real one, that was treatable.  I could find my happy medium again.  Bipolar disorder is not a fun diagnosis, but I cried with relief that day, because I believed I was losing my mind. Instead I found hope.  A month later another friend of mine calls me and asks “Are you pregnant?” Me: “Noooo. Absolutely not.  Wait.  Are you vibing me?” Her:
“Nooooooo….” I went right out an bought a test and wouldn’t you know! Pregnant!!

I guess I should have read the pamphlet for my new medication a little better.  Turns out it causes BC to be ineffective.  Yay.

Almost died having my last one, so he really was my last one.  It’s now 15 years since that day I found out I was pregnant the first time.  Lot of mistakes made, lessons learned and trials to be overcome.  That’s Life.  I never did get to go back an finish my degree, and now so much time has gone by, I think I’d like to do something different.  I don’t know.  Having the bipolar diagnosis certainly explained a LOT of things to me about my earlier years.  Turns out it manifests in the teen years, so right around that Big Drama, I started manifesting.  My boyfriend (we manage to work things out) now fiance has never known me when I was “normal”.

So what is the point of my story? So let’s get back to that family I was talking about earlier.  My grandfather was disappointed but loved my oldest son, he unfortunately passed away before the second was born, but he would have loved him too.  One of my uncles died after my first was born, and I will forever hold dear to my heart the day he came to meet my son the first time.  My uncle had cancer you see.  So he was bald, and weakened.  But he was filled with life that day, didn’t even wait for the car to fully stop before he was jumping out and saying “Where’s that baby? Where’s my new nephew?” and he swooped up my son in his arms, held him so gently and said “look! we’re twins!”

When he died, we had a memorial for him.  I brought my infant son with me.  A family member asked to hold him, and then said to me: “Your son is a bastard child and will burn in hell you know.”  Say what now? Wow, well isn’t that such a wonderful and ever so Christian-like thing to say to a young mother and her beautiful little boy.

I didn’t talk to that branch of the family for a long time after that.  In fact, I had nothing to do with them until the day I walked into the hospital room where my grandfather lay dying, pregnant with my second child and begging him not to die.

Now it’s many years later, and I get all kinds of comments about my life.  I have all kinds of comments to offer others about their lives.  My comments stem from a “Been there, done that. Please don’t go that route!” attempt to try and make someone see the colossal trainwreck they are headed for.  “Keep out of trouble, stay in school, get a job, get settled in your own skin.” Those are things that I tend to say, a lot.  Now it’s getting to “quit fucking whining you stupid brat and grow the fuck up! Life is hard! It’s not fair! Stay in school, quit bitching about yoga pants and put your nose to the grind.  Get a job, a career that you will love.  Worry about the rest after that.”

But wouldn’t you know, I’ve got those family members waiting in the wings.  Ready to defend their special snowflake by “putting me in my place.”  I had an aunt, while very drunk, tell me, in front of my teen son that she thinks the worst thing I ever did in life was have my children.  Wow, well.  I didn’t hate you before, but now I’m pretty damn close to it.  I spend way more time than I should reassuring my children that they are loved and wanted.  That they are NOT mistakes.

They are getting older now, and comprehend a lot more than people give them credit for.  I just recently unfriended someone who has been close to the family for years because she called me a freeloading slut.  Well fuck you very much.  She later private messaged me and called me a coward for unfriending her.  Nope.  It’s called being an adult and choosing not to play.  Now, I’ve got another family member calling my children mistakes.  Calling me a freeloader.  Again, fuck you very much.  You don’t know me, you know what you hear through the family grapevine.  I don’t need you and my kids don’t need you.  You don’t deserve the privilege of knowing my amazing boys.  Who are a GIFT from the gods.

I will not tolerate any negative comments about my boys.  From ANYONE.  This is the last warning.  There will be no more forgiveness given for this offense.  I am better than that.  I choose to walk away (yes, even from “family”) rather than listen to you try to convince me of where you think I went wrong in life.

Peace,

~ Ravenna

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Back in the Swing of Things, plus some cool things!


So here we are again, back to school time! The boys all started a couple weeks ago, so we’re finally settled into our schedules which is good.  I’m pretty hopeful this year will bring some good things our way! Gosh, I’m not even sure what to write about right at the moment!

autumnlnOh wait! I know!!  Ravenna’s Wheel of the Year has MOVED! To it’s own domain!!  Oh my gosh! I’m so excited! It took me a while last night to get the domain and hosting company up and running and most of today transferring files and pages from the old site to the new one.  I’ve got some cool things in store for the new domain, I’ve finally got a lot more freedom to stretch my creative wings, so YAY!!

The old site is still up and running, but I’m going to gradually start pointing people to the new one, and hopefully once I figure out who all is linked to pages of mine, I will be able to get the word out about ravennaangelline.com.  Needless to say, I’m pretty happy and pleased with the starting results.  It can only get better!

autumnlnSo yeah, not much going on tonight, like I said just sprucing up the website, thought I’d add the new links here and watching me some slap happy dancing on Dancing with the Stars… if only my hips would cooperate with me so I could dance like that.

autumnlnMabon/Autumnal Equinox is coming up around the corner as well… I’ve got some new stuff brewing there and some awesome recipes that I am excited to try out.  I love being able to create delicious foods for my friends and family, though Goddess only knows that I don’t get much opportunity for that these days.  Sometimes it sucks being a solitary witch.  Yes, I have a lot of freedom in my practice and worship, but I honestly very much miss working with a group.  I keep hoping that maybe someday I’ll come across another group that I mix well with, but it’s hard to say.  Every group is different and there are some out there that I just don’t meld with.  *sighs* It’s alright.  I know I don’t need a group to practice my Craft… I just miss it sometimes.

autumnlnOkay, so that’s all tonight, I’ll be back again to share with you later!

Blessings,

~ Ravenna

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Not sure why there’s an ugly camel…


Seriously? What the fuck is up with wordpress? That is an UGLY ass camel as my header, and where the feck did my background go? Why did you go and change my stuff and leave me unable to change it? Not cool WordPress, not cool.

Change it back!

~ Ravenna

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Today is a GOOD day!


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This is what I woke up to today.  It’s everywhere.  All over facebook, twitter, tumblr… whatever social networking you are on.  There are rainbows EVERYWHERE.  And I freaking LOVE it!!

*dances happily*

Now, before I get too carried away, allow me to clarify myself.  I am straight.  I have always been so.  But I am also an ally to those in the LGBTQ community.  I am beyond thrilled that today, in an historic move, the Supreme Court of the United States voted that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional.  Which means, that marriage for those who are LGBTQ is legal in all 50 states.  WOOHOO!

However, some people are not rejoicing in this news and it makes me kind of sad.  Seriously.  Why is it such a big deal if someone wants to get married to another person who is the same gender?  How does that honestly impact your life in any real way?  Gay marriage is NOT going to destroy the sanctity of marriage.  In fact, it might solidify it more.  In truth, marriage it not really treated as a sacred thing these days.  When you think about it, you take these vows – to love, honor and cherish, through good and bad, rich or poor, sickness and health – and very, very few people take them seriously.  You take a vow of fidelity, to stay true to your partner and not sneaking around to cheat on your spouse.  Or hell, not even sneaking, just plain ole’ cheating!  I know a man who is on his 3rd marriage (granted his first 2 marriages lasted for 20 years each, but his cheating ways were what caused those 2 divorces), and we’re already taking bets as to when divorce #3 happens.  It’s kind of sad, because we know this man pretty well, and we can already see him getting caught in little lies here and there.  And some stupid ones, too.  Like telling his then fiance that my boyfriend and I were married, then calling me to ask when we got married.  It was kind of confusing because I was like “Um, we’re not married.  We’ve never been married – to anyone!” He was like “Yes you guys did get married! It was a few years ago!” My reply was “Well, we were supposed to get married before Finn was born, but if I recall, you talked him out of it!”  It was a stupid lie, and I just don’t understand it.  I guess it was to try and show new wife to be that his family was a good, solid, Christian family.  Ummm. No.  For one, I’m pagan and proud of it, and for two, he’s probably one of the worst Christians I’ve ever met.  Fake.  So sad.  But sooner or later, the new wife will figure it out and she’ll leave too.  I wouldn’t blame her a single bit.  Even if she annoys me with her ultra conservative thoughts and ideals.  She’s still reasonably nice.  I’m not sure she knows I’m pagan yet… it hasn’t really come up in conversation, so I just let it be.

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Anyway, so today marks a great day in US history, as the day the supreme court said that no longer would we treat gays and lesbians or anyone else as second class citizens.  Years from now, people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.  They will look back like we do now, when we see pictures and video clips and learn the history of the civil rights movement, and wonder why people were so stupid.  Back when my father was a child, it was against the law for a black person to marry a white person.  Which is stupid.  When my grandmother was a young child, women were just barely given the right to vote.  Who knows what sort of thing will get people all hot and bothered in the future?  The times they are a-changing.  I think we’re finally taking steps in the right direction.

Today is a day that validates the young men and women who are growing up now, who are just coming into the knowledge of who they are and want to be, who realize their sexuality isn’t the “norm” and don’t have to be as afraid that society will shun them.  There will always be bigots out there.  There will always be the few who still cry up in outrage, and sadly there will still be parents who reject their children over this.  This is the time that we can gather those children up, hug them tight and say “WE still love you for you!” and heal the damaged hearts and minds of the wounded souls who just want to follow their hearts.

My son has a friend, they’ve been friends for ages now, and we call that boy “other son” (we have a lot of “other sons” really) because he’s become practically family.  He called us up not long ago and pushing aside fear of rejection, bravely came out to us.  The genuine, true blue fear that he would be rejected and ridiculed for his sexual orientation was there.  My son’s reaction? “Cool dude. So you wanna go on xbox live or what?” My reaction were feelings of joy and pride for them both.  For my son to accept him, and for other son for being so brave.  We still love him to pieces and honestly I want to meet his boyfriend, whom I’ve heard nothing but good things about (he has to pass the other mom test, lol).

We can rejoice because today, we are all a little more equal.  It’s a good thing.

I’m 34 years old.  I’ve been with the same man for 18 years, he was my first.  We’ve had a couple breakups here and there (jeez guys, we were 16 when we got together!) but we always wind up back together again.  For a lot of reasons, too.  Mostly, it’s like we’re two magnets who can’t help but be pulled to one another.  I love him, and he loves me.  We’ve never been married, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think we ever will, no matter how much I want the pretty dress and the gathering of my friends to witness a life-long commitment.  He doesn’t (I think he’s afraid of it).  We have three beautiful children together, and we’re mostly happy.  Because we’re a heterosexual couple, we’ve always had the right to marry.  But my gay friends who have been in relationships just as long as I have, didn’t have that right, no matter what state they reside in, until today.  So I will rejoice with them.

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Of course there are still things that will squick me out… but those are things that transcend gender and sexuality.  I firmly believe that you should NOT be making out or pawing all over one another in public – regardless who you are with.  I don’t want to see a woman practically devouring a man’s face in public, and I don’t want to see man devouring another man’s face either.  I think that sort of thing is best left for privacy.  But that’s just me.  I’m not an exhibitionist.  I also don’t like seeing skimpy clothing on ladies either.  Why? It’s not a matter of slut shaming or anything like that, and I think a woman should wear what makes her comfortable.  Just not at the expense of my 7 year old asking why that girl’s hoo-haw is showing.  Seriously, girls, your shorts should have an inseam that is more than 1 inch.  I don’t want to see your butt cheeks, and I don’t want to see your lady bits.  Men, pull up your fucking pants!  If I want to look at a man’s underwear, I will happily look at my boyfriend’s underpants.  Yeesh.  But that is not the point of this blog post.  One thing at a time, I guess.

So yeah, I am happy today.  The sun is shining brightly (it’s hotter than Hades out there, I swear), my kids aren’t trying to kill one another and I got me a nice cold glass of Pepsi sitting next to me.  Today is a GOOD day!  To my friends and those who are like family in the LGBTQ community, congratulations you guys!! I fucking love you and I celebrate this victory with you!

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Blessings,

~ Ravenna

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Nine Days and Counting…


Until summer vacation begins.  And 2 days after that is the Summer Solstice!! Hurrah!  Not that I have any idea what we’re doing for it.  Not to mention, since my laptop is down and access to half my files is limited, I can’t really hit up some of my favorite recipes.  Bummer.

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I have to say I am actually looking forward to this school year ending.  It’s been rather traumatic for us.  I mean, it started off well enough, and then in October it all seemed to go to shit.  The youngest had, had a few behavioral problems at the end of the school year, but nothing serious.  Mostly just running around and being silly instead of sitting quietly.  It was the end of the year for crying out loud! I wouldn’t expect ANY 6 year old to sit perfectly still in the final weeks of school.  I thought it was “normal”.  The other two boys were the same way at that age, granted not quite to that extent, but still, little boys are wiggly and there’s nothing wrong with that.

How wrong we were.

So we start this school year and it seems to be okay, though the youngest seems to still have some issues sitting quietly and following all the rules.  Hey, it’s hard going back to rules and schoolwork after vacation! Especially when it’s so gorgeous outside!  But as we crept into October, his behavior started getting more and more out of control.  And then it all just went to hell in a hand-basket.  What followed after that is months upon months of doctor appointments, testing, medication, medication re-evaluation and changes, therapy, schedule changes.  It was a lot.  The biggest issue of course were the daily phone calls from the school to “come get my kid”.  DAILY phone calls.  If I had a job back then, I would have been FIRED.  That is fact.  I can’t get a job now, because even though things are better (I’ll get to that), I still have to take him here there and everywhere for appointments, and I still sit in fear that I’ll get a phone call to come and get him.

It was so bad, I couldn’t even leave the house while he was at school, because I sat there waiting for the phone call to come.  I couldn’t go to the store.  I couldn’t go to any of my doctor appointments, I couldn’t do anything.

And he was being traumatized, too.  At one point, I arrived at the school to find the principal physically restraining my little boy by pinning his arms and legs to the ground.  Then she complained that he tried to bite her.  Well, no shit, Sherlock.  I’d try to bite your ass if you pinned me to the ground, too!  They made it a “reward” for his bad behavior, he KNEW if he acted up, he would be sent home, which is what he wanted.  They TRAINED him.

But I did what any good mother would do.  I took him to see a doctor.  I took him to a pediatric psychiatrist, I took him to a neurologist.  All of them agreed, my kid was legitimately ADHD. He was not one of those “oh we just don’t want to deal with him, so let’s medicate”, but a real, true blue case.  Couple that with oppositional defiance disorder and sleep apnea and we’ve got a powder keg of crazy.

His father and I did something we said we would never do.  We medicated him.  The doctor put him on adderall, and let’s just say after 1 week of that shit, we went back and told her NO!  He was fine the first few days, and we saw a dramatic improvement… but it was PAINFULLY obvious when the medication wore off, I mean, his eyes got all dilated and he acted like he was all cracked out until 2 am.  So we put him on a different medication… concerta, which let’s be honest, I might as well not given him anything for all the good it did.  Thankfully we were only on that for a week before we finally got in to see the pediatric psychiatrist.  She put him on something else and we’ve been on that ever since.

We then started a REALLY intensive counseling program, called Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT).  It involved weekly sessions, where the counselors gave me an earpiece and coached me through various activities with the boy.  The first half of the program involved child led activities, where I practiced new skills on how to play with my child.  How to have fun with him and let him realize that HE was important to me.  That part was great.  Moving on to the Parent led portion was more difficult.  We would still start off sessions with child led activities, but then we gradually started having me add commands for him to obey.  That first session was a nightmare!  One simple command “Dylan, please put the green block into the box” and it all went downhill.  What followed was 2 1/2 hours of screaming and crying and refusing to obey.  He had to sit in the time out chair.  He wouldn’t sit in the time out chair, so I would take the toys and leave the room (the counselors could still see him and monitor him) and he would try to lock me out, he threw chairs, kicked the walls and screamed.  I would go back in the room after a minute and ask him to sit in the time out chair, he wouldn’t do it so I would leave the room again.  We did this for 2 1/2 hours.  He started begging “please, mom, I just want to go home! I’ll do anything! I’ll sit in the chair, just let me go home!” But we couldn’t leave until he complied with my command.  He did it, but it was hard.  I will admit, when the begging came, I would have normally caved in to him and let him get his way, but they wouldn’t let me.  They helped me stay firm, and in the end, as hard for me as it was (I was a basket case when I got home) it was a good thing.  We only had one more bad session after that, but we managed to make it through the program with flying colors!

The school kept sending him home during this time, until finally after his I don’t even know how many suspensions, we had a meeting with the school admins and district people.  My suggestion from October (can we do a partial homeschool with him?) was finally given consideration and we began half days for him.  He spent the mornings with me, doing school work and would go to school right before lunch to finish out the day.  He was getting better.  He was spending time in the resource room (special ed classroom) and developing a rapport with the teachers then and started doing his work again.  After a month of this, we increased his time at school.  He’s only been sent home a couple times since we started doing this schedule, but mostly over silly misunderstandings.  This week, he’s going back to regular schedule and we’ll see how it goes from there.

However, they want to send him to a different school next year.  Where he would be in an extremely restrictive classroom environment with other behaviorally challenged kids.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I mean, he would be in a classroom with a smaller number of students and more teacher support… but he would be leaving all his friends behind and would be away from his older brother.  He would be picked up by the short bus and driven all the way across town to a new school.  And should there come a time when I need to go and pick him up (say he gets sick or hurt) my new worry is, do I have the gas to drive across town to get him?  Rock, meet hard place.

We have to decide before the last day of school if we are going to sign the paperwork for his transfer.  I managed to get the district to finally agree with me on letting me see the school and classroom they want to send him to.  So that’s a good thing.  That will happen later this week, so we’ll see how it goes.

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So that has been my last several months.  It’s been difficult.  While this was all going on, I felt like I was going to lose my mind at times.  I even told the school I felt like I was losing it (they gave me the number for the suicide hotline – um, I said I was frustrated, NOT suicidal, but thanks I think?) If it weren’t for the support of my own therapist, psychiatrist, family and friends, I probably would have been a lot worse off.  They’ve been amazing.  My Witchcraft 4 class also gave me something to focus on that was completely unrelated to what was going on in my personal life.  Well, mostly.  I mean, my spirituality is a huge part of me and my life, but I was able to use my classwork as a way to keep my mind sharp and not constantly worried about the boy.  It helped.  I’m also happy to say that I was accepted for Witchcraft 5 – the final level in the Temple of Witchcraft series, and I am stupid excited for it to start.  Which is not until October.  WHY?!?! Why must I wait so long?! Haha, it’ll be okay.  I think it’s a good thing that I have such a long break before jumping back into things.  It’ll give me plenty of time for things to sink in, and for us to adjust to whatever happens with Dylan, the fact that the oldest is entering high school and the middle boy is in his final year of elementary school.  We have some pretty intense changes coming this fall, so I guess… I am really happy that summer vacation is coming up, because we really need the break from the insanity.  Time to chill, relax by the river and have some fun!  Our weather has been phenomenal for the last few months, and it just keeps getting hotter and better (at least I’m liking it!).  So now I need to start thinking about solstice and what I want to do.  What it means.  How do I want to celebrate.

I’ve got some ideas, but I guess I will share those in my next post, which shouldn’t be too long from now.  Since things are starting to calm down a bit, I think I’ll have more time to do some writing.  Until then, be happy everyone!  And remember, if you’re having hard times, there is an end, it DOES get better.  It might not seem like it, but I promise, there is a light at the end.

Blessings,

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats, The Kids | Leave a comment

Stuck in my Head


So I heard this song today, just by chance… and now I’m stuck on it.  Like I seriously can’t get it out of my head.  I’ve been listening to it all day long.  It’s almost trance-like.  No, it’s not almost, it is trance-like.  I’ve already seen a glimpse of how my Samhain will go this year, and it’s not for 6 months.  I was driven to write an invocation to Odin in a moment of fevered frenzy.

The last couple weeks I’ve been literally in a frenetic, creative state.  I’m getting ready to finish my fourth level of the Temple of Witchcraft’s Mystery School, one of the assignments is to create a Reality Map.  I drew it in one of those states of frenzy, after inspiration struck… quite literally by a rumble of thunder rolling across the skies.  There was no lightning, just this deep, resonating crash of thunder.  Then the vision of the map was shown to me and I HAD to draw it.  So I did.

Now I’m in another state of frenzy and I’ve been moving back and forth through trance states all day.  It’s a little freaky.

How do I ground myself from this?  Do I even want to?  Gods, I’m in a weird place today.

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism | Leave a comment

Being a Jerk on the Internet


Okay here we go! Epic rant time!!  Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve had one of these, but it’s time for me to hop on my soapbox and say something.

Now, for some back story, let me tell you some stuff.  I read fanfiction, a lot of it actually… I even wrote a post about some of the ones I read, (What Has Ravenna Been Up To?) and the reasons why I love them.  But lately I’ve been hearing some things.  Awful things about fanfiction.  Mostly on Tumblr (which I don’t use) where internet bullies (Trolls) are going around on people’s pages, authors or commenters, and are telling people to KILL THEMSELVES.  I’m not kidding.  There are actually assholes out there actively telling young people to go kill themselves.  You know why? Because they don’t like or agree with what the other person likes.  What. the. Almighty. Fuck? Really?  And the saddest part, is that those young people are listening to those trolls and actually committing suicide!!  WHAT?! WHY?!

What is WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!  I’m not kidding, what the hell is wrong with the world?  I almost didn’t want to believe that this was a real issue, and then it happened to me, here on this blog.  Because some shithead out there doesn’t like that I like Helsing fanfiction featuring Alucard and Seras together.  Oh my goddess.  I was just flabbergasted… I’ve never had something like that happen to me before.  I couldn’t believe it!

So here I am, sitting here stewing on that little bit of hatred sent my way (I mean really, of all the things I could be blasted for, you blast me for liking a fanfiction pairing?! Really?) and I remember hearing about other people being told to kill themselves or being threatened with rape and murder.  Female game designers.  You know, I don’t want to get in on that mess, really, I don’t.  But I will say one thing – telling someone you are going to find them, rape them, beat them, and/or kill them is WRONG.  It should be a crime against humanity.  Telling someone to go kill themself because they have a different view than yours is WRONG and should be a crime against humanity.

To all those internet trolls out there, do you act that way in real life, too?  Are you that much of an asshole in reality that it bleeds into your internet usage as well? What gives you the right to tell people such cruel things?  Does it make you feel powerful? Do you get off on it?  Does it somehow make you feel better in your own miserable existence to make someone else feel awful?

The world is not black and white.  It is in full color, and there are MANY paths to walk in this life.  There are many ways to think, feel and express ourselves.  But it doesn’t need to be done in such a way that you are hateful, cruel or just downright evil to another human being.  YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO TREAT ME LIKE SHIT!!  YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TREAT OTHER PEOPLE LIKE SHIT!!  It is things like that that make me lose my faith in humanity.  I am just floored that people really act like that.  ADULTS act like this!  I can’t stand it! I can’t stand the hatred and evil that is spewed everyday all over the world because people don’t want to get along.

I wrote a blog post a couple years ago on bullying of all kinds.  Why are we so afraid of people who are different?  Are we not secure in our own lives that we must bring another down in order to feel good again?  We must continue to spread hate instead of turning around and saying “I recognize that you are afraid.  It’s okay, I’m afraid too.  Let’s work together to find how we are similar.”  That we cannot turn around and say “I love you”.  Why?  Why can we not just take joy in the fact that we are alive?  Why must we point out all the ways we are different (religion, gender, sexual preference and identity, race, political leanings, age) instead of finding how we are similar (human).  What makes you think that you are the person who gets to be the judge, jury, and executioner on the internet?  I try to spread love as much as I can, but I am also human.  I get angry, and make mistakes and react just as much as anyone else.  But I don’t go around telling people messed up shit.  I have never told someone to kill themself.  I have never told someone to harm themself.  Especially not over something so stupid as to what they like to read.

There are a lot of things going on in the world right now, and I honestly believe that if we stopped just for a moment and recognized our sameness, 90% of our problems world wide would vanish.  I’m not joking.  We all want the same things – to love and be loved in return.  To be happy, to have homes of our own, to be successful, to care for our families.  We need to stop being jerks and hiding behind masks on the internet.  There is a sickness in the world, and we are feeding that sickness by not taking to task the ones who are hateful.  We are not doing our jobs of making sure that we call out people for bullying.   How are we supposed to end it, if we don’t speak up against it?

Do me a favor.  Stop and think before you say/write something mean to another person.  Ask yourself, would it make you feel good if someone said it to you?  And if the answer is “no”, then don’t do it.  Take the advice of Thumper from Bambi… “if you can’t say something nice – don’t say anything at all.” We don’t need any more negativity in the world.  Stop feeding the hate and instead feed love and acceptance.

Okay I’m done for now.

Peace and Blessings to you all,

Much love,

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life | 2 Comments

Happy Ostara!!


So here we are at the Spring Equinox, where just for a moment, things are in balance before the scales tip towards the light half of the year!

And not a moment too soon. I think I can safely say that most of the United States (particularly those on the East Coast) are ready for spring to be here. While we here in the Seattle area have been blessed with a lovely and warm early spring, today it is overcast and a bit drizzly. *sighs* Well, it’s good for the earth so I won’t complain too much.

We have a rare and somewhat unique astronomical event happening today as well, as not only is it the Vernal Equiniox, but tonight is also a Super New Moon and there was a total solar eclipse earlier as well. Though I am sad that I wasn’t able to see the eclipse… in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Hm, well, maybe someday! Either way, today’s triad of cool stuff doesn’t happen often and I think according to the news it won’t happen again for like 200 years or something like that. Well then!

So today I am celebrating Ostara, the pagan/Wiccan term for the Spring Equinox, and I’ve been just kind of dinking around most of today, getting set up for my dinner and private ritual. I’m having a quiche by the way. Which honestly isn’t that important, I just thought I’d share.
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So some stuff about Ostara? Hmm, well a few years back, I wrote a fairly long post about the significance of the day, so maybe I’ll write a little bit about other ways to focus on Ostara.  So some things I’ve learned about Ostara recently is that it may not have been named for a Teutonic goddess name Eostre.  I guess there is very little evidence that She existed and it is one tiny little reference that somehow took off on a grand scale and here we are today!  While we don’t know much about Eostre, we do know that she is related to the Greek goddess of the dawn, Eos; and that this time also dovetails with the Greek Eleusinian mysteries with the return of the goddess Persephone from the Underworld.

So here is some thoughts and themes for Ostara

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At this time, witches cast spells for careers, relationships, and love. It’s a time for planting new ideas. Seek harmony and balance in the incredible energy of the season, and project good health, good fortune, and confidence in achieving goals. This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back.

A Shamanic theme for Ostara is resurrection.  The Goddess rises from her sleep, and the land is renewed.  Flowers bloom and the land is revitalized after the long, cold winter. Ostara can mark the beginning or end of a time of training, with a symbolic rebirth.  It is a time of planting seeds, both literal and metaphoric.  It is a time to ask what seeds are we planting? What are the goals your community is working towards?  During this time of balance, transform your dense energy and use it as “fertilizer” for your new hopes and dreams.  Seek resurrection and plan for the future at Ostara.

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So tonight I will be doing a simple ritual in honor of Ostara, most of my rituals are done at night when the children are sleeping, so it should be nice and quiet and I will be able to do a meditation while I’m at it.  Tonight’s meditation will be on where I need balance in my life and how to go about getting there.  I’m hopeful that this year will bring some positive and life-changing things for me, so I will be planting seeds of hope as well.

Blessings and Happy Spring everyone!!

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats | Leave a comment

Soooo bored…


It’s been terrible.  I’ve read all the books I own and some new ones to boot.  In fact, my friend who runs the Sassy Little Book Fairy has been a Goddess send when it comes to new book recommendations, and considering she works with books all the time, and her taste is awesome, I tend to listen.  She hasn’t failed me yet, lol.  But yup, I’ve run out of dollars to buy new books and have yet to visit the local library in the hopes that they have some of the ones I want to read in stock.  Go figure.

*sighs* It’ll be okay, Ostara and Mother’s day are coming up and I usually get a new book or 2 for those, so I can be happy and wait.

Speaking of Ostara… holy oh my goodness! It’s right around the corner! HUZZAH!  Not that I really need much of a huzzah in my corner of the world, we here in Washington are experiencing an unseasonably warm and early spring.  I am LOVING it.  I NEED the warm.  I do feel bad though, since my sister is STILL buried under an ungodly amount of snow over on the east coast.  I mean, here I am all warm and cozy, and they’ve got people jumping out of windows into snow that’s like 7 ft deep… in a URBAN area.  Not the mountains of anything like that.  SEVEN FEET OF SNOW in BOSTON.  I am soo glad I live in Washington now.  It may drizzle much of the time, but at least I don’t have 7 ft of snow.  And I’ll get back to Ostara again in a moment…

Any way!! So yeah, I’ve been bored to tears lately.  And filling my time watching the History 2 channel and their endless marathon of “Ancient Aliens”.  Wow.  That shit is unreal!  It starts off really interesting and they’ve got some cool theories, (such as the Great Sphinx originally being an Anubis statue… I could see that!) but then BAM! ALIENS! And I’m like “…aaand ya lost me!” lol.  One episode was on the prevalence of the number 3 in religion throughout history and then they get to talking about the third eye and the pineal gland in the brain (all very fascinating) and then… BAM! Aliens!

doyouevenscienceAnd I’m like these guys <—- (Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson) going “Wha?” But it’s not enough to make me want to stop watching.  I’m such a glutton for this kind of ridiculousness.  At least it gives me something to laugh about later as I go on a weird knowledge quest again.

I love learning stuff, even if it’s weird.  But I definitely prefer it not being too weird.  I mean, weird for me is downright bizarre for most, and weird for others is to me awesome sauce and I need more.  *shrugs* that’s just me I suppose.

So I’m almost done with the fourth level of my Temple of Witchcraft classes that I’m taking.  Which makes me both sad and ridiculously happy.  Sad, because it’s been really interesting and I don’t want to stop, but happy because this will hopefully lead me to starting the fifth level, and learning how I can better serve my community.  Because I think that’s where this has been leading me to all these year, “how can I serve the people around me?  What can I do to help improve their lives? What can I do to make a difference and make the world a better place?” Granted, it sounds kind of conceited, but I really want to know how to make the world a better place.  The older I get, the less patience I have for foolishness and the greater my desire to see the next generation live in happiness and peace.  *shrugs* We’ll see.

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So yeah, back to Ostara.  A time of balance, when the light finally overtakes the dark of night and we can fully enjoy the lengthening days that will eventually lead us to the Summer Solstice in June.  In the meantime, I will enjoy my time of balance.  Working my way through Temple of Witchcraft gives me a unique opportunity to mentor students in lower levels, and this year one of the people I’m working with gave me the most brilliant idea ever when it comes to finding balance.  Mot of us, when picturing balance, use “scales” and will shift things between the two sides in order to create balance.  This student said “no! We don’t always want some of the gunk that weighs us down!” and visualized “chipping” off little bits that didn’t fit, instead of shifting them around until things felt balanced.  She MADE balance by ditching the crud we don’t need.  I was like “WHAT?! Why did I never think of this before? How did I miss this!! You’re freaking brilliant!!” because lets, be honest, we all give lip service to that sort of thing, but rarely practice what we preach.  Here I am now, sitting here thinking about it again, especially now that I’m prepping for my Ostara ritual, and wondering where in my life am I out of balance?  What needs shifting and what needs ditching in order to find that balance?  I’m doing a little personal and metaphysical house-cleaning if you will.  Taking stock of what I have, who my friends and family are.  What I do with myself.  It’s kind of surprising.  I find that I am closest to people I rarely see, and a few I’ve never met face to face, but for reasons the Gods know, turn out to be the best friends I’ve ever made.  I have the most AMAZING UN-biological Sisters and Brothers in the universe (let it be known, my actual brother and sister do rock in total and complete awesome ways), and I feel particularly blessed in that I see to make a bit of an impact in the lives of people I meet.

It’s a good feeling.  My work with cub scouts, as stressful as it can be, it is so worth it, when I see the smiling faces of all these boys and their families and knowing that I had just a tiny part of making sure they had fun and learned something while they were at it.  Hoping that someday, they will look back on their childhood and remember that one crazy lady who was always laughing and being silly but made sure I had fun at camp… yeah, that’s an awesome feeling.

Ostara is coming in about a week.  The spring equinox.  Equal day, and equal night.  What does it mean?  What is it all about?  Something to think about in the next couple days.  I mean, I’ve thought about it a lot over the years, and my views have changed, matured and shifted as I’ve grown.  I have a great post in mind later this week all about Ostara, but in the meantime, I challenge my readers to learn more.  THINK about what it means.  What it represents.  We are at a time of balance, of renewal, a time of planting seeds, literal and figurative.  What can you plant in order to bring new blessings in your life in the coming months and growing season?  I’ll tell you my goals in a couple days and we’ll see where to go from there.

But right now, I have a little boy bouncing around the house like he’s eaten a vat of sugar that I need to tend to.  Much love and many blessings, my dear friends and readers!!

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats | Leave a comment

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