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.


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.


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.


~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats, The Kids

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

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

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.

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


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.


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

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.


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

Can you feel alive today?

Seriously, this is one of my all time favorite songs, by the band Omnia.  Alive!

It has a great beat, and a great message.  Not to mention, I just love how it makes me feel around this time of year when I need a reminder to be “alive”.

Happy and blessed Imbolc everyone!!



~ Ravenna

Categories: Life

It’s that time of year again!

So we’re a few days away from the winter solstice, also known as Yule… which comes a few days before the Christian/Secular holiday of Christmas.  What’s that?  I called Christmas secular??  Well, actually, it is a secular holiday, AND a religious holiday.  An important one at that.  Before people get all up in arms about it, there’s nothing wrong with a religious holiday – especially one as widely celebrated as Christmas – being a secular holiday as well.  Granted, 75% of celebrants are most likely Christians, other people who don’t identify as Christian will celebrate it too.  And what’s more?  I know ATHEISTS who celebrate it!  Oh my Gosh! Really?  Yep!

All over the world people celebrate a winter holiday, typically in the month of December (I say typically because from what I learned, Chanukah moves around the calendar a bit, and I guess last year it was in November.  Honestly, I don’t know a lot about Chanukah, so maybe I should ask my sister’s hubby’s family about it, since they’re Jewish and can probably explain it nicely for me so I know what it is!  Anyway!  So people all around the world celebrate a holiday in the winter months to mark the return of the sun.  With the Winter Solstice falling on or around the 22nd of December (in the northern hemisphere I should say), it is the longest night of the year, and for our ancestors, it seemed like the sun would never return.  Of course we know better, but back then things were a little different.


Imagine if you will, hundreds of years ago, before the industrial revolution, before electricity, hell, before we “discovered” the Americas, our ancestors lived in a time of hardship.  We had to work the fields, tend to farms, tend to families and hope that we survive the winter.  Our herds were culled back in October for Samhain, and we’ve now reached a time where it is cold and dark.  The nights are long, and sometimes it was hard to believe that the sun god would ever return to lighten our days and warm the lands.  Then we reach that point… where the night is the longest it’s ever been during the year, the winter solstice, and during those few days where the night is longest, the Goddess of the land begins to labor to bring forth the reborn Sun Child.  After a few days, our ancestors would notice that the sun was up a little more each day and would celebrate the reborn sun.  It would be a time of feasting, celebrating and gift giving.  Eventually, this would become the basis for our modern day Christmas celebrations.


Modern day Christmas is a blend of traditions and practices from all over the world, from different time frames, different cultures, and different beliefs that would somehow blend together in a beautiful harmony and give rise to some of the most classic icons of Christmas.  Christmas itself is the celebration of Christ’s Mass, and while we now know that Jesus was very likely born in the spring time, we celebrate his birth in December because he is the Son/Sun of God.  The Child of Light, who brings peace and goodwill to all mankind.  It fits that the Christian savior would have his birth celebration at this time, his mythos blends in to the season in a beautiful way.

Something many people know about me, is that I love Christmas, I love the music, the lights, the food, so many different things.  I tend to get overly emotional about the music especially, Christmas music reduces me to tears every time.  Particularly “Happy X-Mas/War is Over” by John Lennon and “O Holy Night”, though I particularly love Michael Crawford’s rendition of that song.  I love watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the scene where Linus recites the Christmas story from the Bible, makes me cry, and my heart is so full.  There’s something about children telling that story that just moves me.  I’m not a Christian, but I can find joy and peace in the message of their Christ.  When I was a child, Christmas was magical, and it seemed like everyone really took the message of peace and goodwill to all mankind to heart, and even the biggest jerks would be kind and generous even for a few days.  I used to give out Christmas cards every year, and would personalize the messages and even the envelopes.   One year in high school I gave a card to a boy who was well… he was an ass to me on a regular basis, but the look on his face as I gave him this beautiful card, with a message of kindness and a doodled envelope was something that is still etched in my memory.  He looked at me with confusion and said “But I’m not nice to you.  I don’t like you.  Why would you give me a card?”  And I smiled at him and said “You’re my friend Erika’s friend, and it’s Christmas! Why wouldn’t I give you a card?  Happy Christmas!” and off I went to class.  He was nicer to me after that, but we were never friends, and that is okay.

yulebulbsSomething that bothers me every year is the “battle for Christmas” that seems to be ever more prevalent each year.  Christians claiming that pagans “stole” their holiday, pagans arguing back that no it was the Christians who “stole” their holiday… and then everyone else who is like who the hell cares?  I don’t understand what the big deal is.  Why can we not all just get along and wish each other joy and happiness (not just at Christmas, but every day of the year) and stop fighting.  We’re fighting over a greeting for heaven’s sake.  Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, Blessed Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa… whatever the holiday greeting… it’s turning into this big huge deal that is quite honestly, stupid.  I mean it.  Arguing over how you greet people is STUPID.  There are far greater and more pressing issues going on in the world and you’re going to be all butt hurt over the fact that someone said “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas”?  You know, Christmas ISN’T the only holiday in the month… aside from other winter celebrations, we also happen to have the secular New Year’s celebration at the end of the month.  Perhaps your greeter is wishing you not only a happy Christmas, but a wonderful new year as well.  Didn’t think of that, did you?  Ha!  Really people, get over yourselves and stop puffing up in false pride.  I believe Jesus warns against that you know.  Again, not Christian, but I am quite familiar with the Bible, and I think Jesus had a lot of good things to say and teach.  I wish more of his followers would, well, follow in his example.  Unfortunately, it is something I don’t ever see happening.  Though, I will admit, it’s not just the Christians, it’s everyone.  It doesn’t matter the religion, there are assholes everywhere.  *sighs*  I wish it was different.  I wish that mankind was more gentle with one another, more caring, less selfish, less greedy.  I wish were more hopeful, kind, selfless, generous.  Maybe someday.  We’ll see.

yulebarAnyway, this is it for now, I hope to write more later, but it’s going to be a busy week as we gear up for both my pagan Yule celebration and the family’s Christmas celebrations (which I LOVE).  Any time where there is joy and family and food, I am up for it.

In the meantime, Peace, Joy, Harmony, Blessings and Goodwill to you all and have a Blessed Christmahanakwanzisolstica!!  LOL!

~ Ravenna

Categories: Food, Life, Paganism, Sabbats, The Kids

Blessed Samhain! Let’s Talk About Death


Happy Halloween, and Blessed Samhain to all my friends and readers!!

Samhain, (pronounced sow as in cow – en) is a Gaelic word that most say means “summer’s end” and goes back to when the Celts viewed only 2 seasons, summer and winter. Contrary to some theories, there is no actual evidence of any god anywhere by the name of Samhain, so if someone says that to you, they probably don’t better, lol.

So! Samhain celebrates the Third Harvest, which is the meat harvest, when our ancestors would cull the herds, leaving only the strongest and healthiest animals for breeding over the winter. It is also said the the Veils Between the Worlds are thinnest on this night, and that the souls of our loved ones are able to come and visit us, to let us know they are there. It is also said, that along with the souls of our loved ones, the things that go bump in the night, would also roam our realm.  Which is where the practice of wearing costumes comes from. It was believed that if you dressed as a ghost, a goblin, or as one of the fae folk (or any creature), you would trick them into thinking you are one of them, and they’d leave you be for the night. Asking for candy was actually an old Christmas tradition that somehow made it’s way to this holiday, but we’ll discuss that closer to Yule.  Also worth noting, Samhain is considered to be the Witch’s New Year, as this is the point that the cycle of life ends, before it begins anew at Yuletide… again, which we’ll discuss closer to Yule.

It’s interesting to note, that most cultures around the world have a day set aside to celebrate the dead, the most famous of which is the “Dia de los Muertos”, which is a big deal in Spanish speaking communities.  Even more interesting though, is the realization that most of these days of the dead fall around the same time, late October/early November.  I think it’s actually a good thing that a special day is set aside to honor our ancestors and beloved dead.


Death is a hard subject for many people.  I mean, seriously, it’s a taboo subject.  We don’t want to talk about death and dying.  We don’t want to acknowledge that we are not immortal, and that all who are born, will eventually die.  Yes, death can be sad.  It can hurt, you can and will feel sad.  It’s okay.  But we also need to realize that death should be a celebration – of life, of the life that was lived, and those who are left behind.  Having had several people in my life who have died (and I know I’m not the only one out there), I have a somewhat strange view of death and dying.  I’ve had people suddenly die, in the prime of their youth, and I’ve seen people die slow deaths from illness.  I’ve seen the whole gamut of how people grieve and I think I have an interesting perspective on the whole process.  Some people get angry, some people cry, and some people feel numb.  All of those reactions and everything in between is normal, and it’s okay.  Everyone has their own way of grieving.  My own grief process is very private, and I’m not much for expressing my emotions in public.  For me, that’s okay, too.  I’m actually the one who is usually being the shoulder of support, the one who offers hugs, and comfort when people are hurting after losing someone.

I’m also the one who won’t mince words, and I am the one who will express gratitude when someone I love who has been ill for a long time is finally freed of that pain.  I am the one who rejoices in the life that was lived.  I celebrate death, and recognize it for what it is, a time of rest, of peace, and a time to prepare for the next life.  I fully believe in reincarnation, and it is that belief that brings me comfort when someone dies, the knowledge that someday, somewhere, my loved ones will return to live another life.  They may not remember, but deep down in their souls, they know.  I know that I will see them all again someday, in another life.  There was only one moment that I have let my grief be seen by the public, and that was the death of my dear friend, James.  I think it was his death that really brought it all home for me.  We were all very young, and when we’re young, we like to think we are invincible and that death will not touch us directly.  It’s quite the shock when it happens, but we work through it.   I will be honest with you, Death sucks for the living.  We are the ones who are left behind and it sucks.

As hard as it is for the living though, it’s a good reminder that it’s okay to talk about death.  It’s okay to have that conversation with your loved ones about your own end of life wishes.  It’s good to think about it when you’re young, to let people know what you would want to happen.  I absolutely don’t think it’s morbid to talk about death, and I feel it’s very important to talk about it, maybe not all the time, but a few times.  I’ve had that uncomfortable conversation with several of my family members, and I know what their wishes are for when their time comes, and it comes for everyone.  I’ve told a couple of people about my own wishes.  It’s a strange conversation to have, and it’s really uncomfortable.  But it’s important, and I encourage everyone to discuss their own end of life choices.


So now let’s talk about the Witchy aspect of Samhain.  Not only is this sabbat about death, and rebirth, it is also closely associated with Crone Goddesses, Underworld Gods and Goddesses.  Dark Mother energy is felt strongly at this time.  In Wiccan mythology, the God has died and has gone to the Underworld to rest before His rebirth, and the Goddess has grown weary and old in Her grief, even though She knows the God will return and be born again.  She also retreats to the Underworld, to be with Her Beloved as they await the turning of the Wheel.  In more shamanic thoughts, Samhain is the time we begin to understand that in Death, there is Life, and even at Beltaine, when we celebrate Life, there is a seed of Death.  Many people notice they are more intuitive, and have more psychic phenomenon at this time of year, and it is a popular time for people to seek out readers, or people who practice various methods of divination.  Something for people to consider is meditation and contemplating the meaning behind Samhain, and how it fits into the Cycle of the Wheel of the Year.

Well, I’ve talked long enough, so for now…

Happy Halloween, and may you have a Blessed Samhain!  Remember, stay safe, there will be kids on the roads tonight, and animals as well.  Be well!


~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats

Prepping for Samhain, and some Stuff

First things first… Samhain is a WEEK away!! HA! For once I am on top of things!!  The last few years, it’s felt like the sabbats have been sneaking up on me, and this year I’ve been feeling keenly aware of the cycling of the seasons.  Which, as a Witch, is a good thing!  I’ve got what feels like a million things going on all at the same time, and I’m learning how to deal with it all.  It sure as hell isn’t easy though.  It’s okay, I can work through it!

So anyway, I’ve been busy plugging along on my website lately, changing up the way it looks, and I have to say, I’m really happy with the changes I’m making.  Still playing with bits of code to try and have new components to the site, but I’m going to put that stuff on the back burner right now, so I can focus on other things.  Which is good!


So I’m doing something new lately as I said in an earlier post, a fitness and nutrition program.  This is a GOOD thing, trust me.  I’ll actually be chronicling my journey and progress here, on Facebook, and my BeachBody Profile.  I’m not sure if I’ll post pictures here, but I might.  We’ll see.  But anyway, what I was starting to say is that, I am teaching myself how to eat properly again.  In this day in age, where everything is go, go, GO! We fill ourselves up on junk food, fast foods, processed foods… and then we feel icky.  Well, I for one am tired of feeling icky!  So I’m pretty excited about going back and giving in to my love of food, making it tasty AND healthy!!  And I’m doing this right before a major Sabbat.  Wow.  It actually dawned on me last night as I was thinking about what I was planning to make for my feast… that I’m going to have to rethink my usual go-tos and try something new this year.  So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend, going over my menu and tweaking it so it will not only be delicious, but healthy.  It’s going to be AWESOME!!  So far, I’m looking at a more vegetarian friendly menu, because I’ll be honest, I am an omnivore to the core and I like to eat some meat, cheese and milk… though I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to have to strike the milk from my diet as I’ve been having umm… issues lately.  Not fun times, trust me!  But it’ll be okay.


So what are some things I’m doing for Samhain this year?  Well, I’m going to do pretty much what I do every year… meditation, simple ritual honoring those in my family and friends who have passed away, celebrating Life and eating.  Also, there will be trick or treating.  I should never forget trick or treating, haha!  The boys are pretty excited for Halloween this year, or at least, the younger two boys are.  Finn especially loves his costume, he’s an archer.  We went to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire over the summer and he absolutely fell in love with the concept, he’s been planning his costume since August.  He also keeps asking me about when we can have another D&D session, which I don’t know, because most of the kids who were playing with him are much older, or have moved away, so we’ll see what I can set up.  Finn is very much an imaginative and creative soul, and I love that he wants to use his imagination so much.

Dylan is obsessed with Dragons.  It goes beyond his previous love of all things Thomas and Friends and has become a full on passion for dragons.  And Godzilla.  He loves Godzilla, too.  The old ones, like original terrible English dubbed Godzilla movies are his favorite.  But back to Dragons.  From the moment my little boy laid eyes on “How to Train Your Dragon” he was done for.  After that it was the tv series, the HTTYD Live Action Spectacular show (which was awesome), and then “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (not out on DVD yet, dammit!).  So he’s got the special “tankard” with Toothless on it.  He’s got Toothless pajamas, HTTYD t-shirts… and like 30 dragon toys.  He’s got a whole collection of them!  And he wants more.  Jeez.  Well, I don’t actually mind, because he is so cute when he plays with them.  Anyway, Dylan is going as Toothless for Halloween, and I swear that boy practically cried when he got his costume, he was beyond thrilled with it.  Should be fun times!!

The teenager has decided he’s too old for trick or treating and thinks it’ll be far more fun to attempt to terrify anyone who comes to our house for treats.  I might have to discourage this idea of his.  We don’t want the neighborhood afraid of our house, lol.  When I was a kid, everyone was terrified to go down my Gramma’s driveway because it was so spooky.  Until one year when one of my sister’s classmates overheard us saying we always got full sized candy bars, and he came to our house and trick or treated.

So I’m feeling pretty pumped right now.  I’ve been working on planning a major Samhain event for NEXT year, which will be truly something epic to behold, I’ve got these great ideas just flowing into my mind, and of course I’m going back in my memories to other awesome public rituals I’ve been to (and been in) and I’m culling experiences from those to plan in my head this new event.  I want the works, theatrics, costumes, the altar set up, music and powerful ritual.  It can be done, it just won’t be easy.  I am feeling hopeful that we’ll be able to work it though.

My Witchcraft 4 course is plugging along fantastically.  I’m feeling great about it, actually!  The things I’m learning have been so amazing, that I’m just beyond words at times.  We’re working our way through the Qabala’s Tree of Life, and last month we worked in Netzach, the sephiroth of Victory.  Holy oh my sweet mother of maple syrup!  It was so INTENSE!  And emotional.  Like seriously, I had a powerful emotional reaction to working with Netzach.  This month is Tiphereth, and it is also pretty intense. But I’m loving every moment of it.


Finally, let’s talk about Beach Body, this new fitness and nutrition thing I’m doing.  Guys, it’s awesome.  I’m not really someone who is going to try and push a program that doesn’t work.  In fact, I’m pretty skeptical most of the time on the vast majority of these fitness things, because they all make promises that they can’t keep, or promise results that they can’t back.  This is a little different.  Sure they make promises, too… but I’ve seen the results first hand from numerous people.  It WORKS.  Like really works.  The Shakeology is pretty phenomenal.  I’ve talked to my doctor about it and she’s even said it’s completely legit, so that’s great!  I love my Shakeology, actually.  I’m trying out different recipes for it, and I’m thinking tomorrow of making a Mayan chocolate variation tomorrow to see how that tastes.  So far, every one I’ve tried is pretty good… though you can bet your sweet behind that I will NEVER try the chocolate licorice flavor.  Eww.  Black licorice and me so do not mix.  At all.  We’re talking instant vomit session just smelling it. Ewww.  So yeah, I won’t do that flavor, but I’m eager to try every single one.  So yeah, I’m not usually one to toot the horn of some product or another… but THIS is one I will happily stand behind and say “Yeah, you SO want to try this!!”  I’m pretty jazzed, so yup!


So this is one super long, meandering, random blog post… which is what we all know and love about Ravenna’s Random Ramblings… because they are pretty random!  Don’t worry though, I am actually planning on making some pretty regular posts from here on out, so woohoo!!


~ Ravenna

Categories: Food, Life, Paganism, Sabbats | Tags: ,

Another Random Post

Well, I’m not sure I’ve ever done a double post before, but here we are! Doing a double post!!  So what’s new?  Aside from the earlier post talking about my new health and body changes (which I really am jazzed about, trust me, I’ve never been more excited about the prospect of doing something so healthy in forever!!) It’s awesome!  I encourage everyone to check out my links and give the Shakeology a try, that stuff is bad ass, trust me, you will not come across anything quite like it.  Drop me a line if you want to know more, too.


Moving on!!  So Samhain is coming up around the corner, and believe you me, I can feel it.  It’s been an insane year thus far, and we’ve lost one family member over the Spring.  Great-Gramma Ross was 83 years old, though tired, and frail, she was active and happy up until one Friday where she suffered a massive stroke.  She fell into a coma and the doctor said she might wake up, but I heard the Boat Man that night.  I heard him calling for her and I knew it was her time.  Her children kept her on life support for a couple of days to allow family from out-of-state to come and give their farewells, and when I finally had my moment alone with her, I stuck 2 coins in her hands for the Boat Man.  She died the next day.  I guess no one in the family noticed, but a nurse asked me if the coins where for what she thought they were for and I said “yes”.  They cremated her with those 2 coins.

Death is such a frightening thing for the living.  We fear it, we fear the unknown.  We all secretly fear that there is nothing after this life, and once we die, that’s it!  As a pagan, and a Witch, I refuse to let myself think that way, and having experienced some crazy things over the years, I FIRMLY believe that there IS life after this one.  That all who are born will die.  All who die will be born again.  The family took Great-Gramma Ross’ death hard.  Especially her daughters, and grandchildren.  I found myself being the strong one for them, the rock of support and understanding.  I said over and over that we all grieve in different ways, and allowed them to feel how they needed to feel.  Steve was angry, so very, very angry.  Ryan was broken and angry.  Fran was devastated (it was her mother, after all) and my boys, well they didn’t know what to think.

Aiden told me he felt bad because he felt nothing.  He wasn’t sad, or angry, or anything like that… he just accepted it and moved on.  I told him that it was okay.  He might or might not feel that way later down the road, but it was okay because they were his feelings to feel.

We had a bit of a difficult time deciding whether to allow Finn to visit her in the hospital while she was in the coma on life support.  Do we allow him to see her, and have that be his last image of her forever? Or do we refuse and have him resent us and angry for the rest of his life for denying him that chance to say goodbye?  In the end, he chose to not go.  The night before she died, he had a dream that he was in the hospital with her, and she was sitting up.  He told her that he loved her and was going to miss her, and in his dream, she held his hand and squeezed it, saying “goodbye.”  And then he woke up.  I have no doubts in my mind that it was her spirit come to see him one last time.

Finally, there’s Dylan.  Who didn’t understand at all.  He asked what happened and I told him that Great Gramma was very sick and in the hospital.  He asked “is she sleeping?” And I said yes, she was.  He asked with such innocence “is she sleeping forever?” and I said yes one more time.  And he said “But we’ll still see her at Christmas.”  Oh wow.  His faith in that concept that he knows she’ll still be there is amazing.  I don’t think he understands yet that her physical body is gone, but he’s getting there.  He still asks sometimes when he’s going to visit Gramma Ross’ house.  And I have to remind him that she died, and that her physical body isn’t alive anymore.


I made the memorial slide show, and literally went through hundreds of photos.  Of her in her youth, with her siblings. Her and her husband, with her children, and then grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.  There were pictures of her on her many adventures around the country, she was an avid hiker and adventurer.  I sat for days and decided on music for the slide show.  I worked on this when no one was home, because it was the only time I could grieve myself.  I spent a lot of time helping the family with their grief, giving hugs and holding them while they cried.  I’m a private person when it comes to grief, I never show it when people are around.  In fact, the only memorial where I cried in public was when James died.  The rest, I just took comfort in the fact that they no longer were in pain.  One thing that helped me with Gramma Ross’ death was the knowledge that with her death, she was finally reunited with her beloved husband, who passed over 30 years ago.  She told her children back then, the only reason she didn’t follow him in death was because she wanted to meet her grandchildren first, and then it was her great-grandchildren she wanted to see.  She was such a wonderful, genuinely kind, beautiful woman.  I am blessed that she considered me like a grand-daughter, too.

So I made this beautiful slide-show, worked on it like a mad woman for a full week straight, getting it just right, perfect to honor this amazing soul.  I cried a lot.  When the time came for her memorial, I was numb.  I’d seen it so many times by then, that aside from the feeling of pride for such a fitting tribute, I couldn’t cry anymore.  I made copies on DVD for everyone in the family and they were so very grateful, and touched that I spent so much time working on the tribute for her.  So that’s that!


Some other stuff I’m working on is a redesign of the Wheel of the Year website, and it’s coming along nicely.  The Samhain section is really cool in my opinion and there’s a couple new additions, one new story in the Stories section and a couple new rituals added to the rituals section.  I still feel like something is missing, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough.

My Witchcraft 4 (Temple of High Witchcraft) course is coming along nicely as well.  I’m about half-way through the course, so that’s pretty awesome.  LOTS of information and things I’ve never been exposed to before.  Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true, I’ve KNOWN about some of the exercises, just never put them into practice.  Like the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram (LBRH for short).  Whoa is that ever an intense experience.  As many times as I’ve done the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP for short), I’ve never done the LBRH before, and the energy is so different.  The LBRP just sort of flatlines the energy of the circle, adds a level of protection and prepares the space, and the LBRH charges the energy and opens the space for the work to come.  It’s different, stronger.  Both rituals together remove all traces of previous energies and leaves the space clean, like a blank slate, ready for the work ahead.  I like doing them before meditations now.  So I’m working my way through the Tree of Life, this month focusing on Tiphereth, which has some pretty powerful connections to the nature of sacrifice and what it actually means.  It’s crazy, but in such an amazing and eye-opening way, that I just can’t help but feel awed by it all.  I’m loving this course, challenges and all.  And believe you me, I have been challenged, big time.  I like it though, being challenged, gets my mind working and helps me learn what my Will is.  What my purpose is.  Where am I going and How am I going to get there?  But I guess that’s the whole point in life, right?  We all want to know where we’re going, how we’re getting there, and who is going with us?  It’ll be okay in the end… the Gods have a funny way of making sure that we always end up where we need to be when the time is right.  Even if we don’t exactly realize it.

Well, I guess this is all for now, I’ll be back in a couple of days to update everyone on my fitness and health progress, as well as have more things to share on Samhain, I’ve got some great stuff in the works, so woohoo!!

Many Blessings everyone!

~ Ravenna

Categories: Life, Paganism, Sabbats

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