Other Ways of Being

Spent two hours on a Migrant Farm handing out free children's books (mostly written in Spanish) and trying to understand Spanish as it was spoken today. Had to thank my ex for taking every opportunity to speak Spanish to other Spanish speakers-- I'm actually practiced at trying to understand a full-speed conversation from the few words I can recognize. And the more I listened, the more words I remembered (basic ones like Gracias and La Biblioteca and los libros-- books).

It was hot, dusty, and challenging, and I am TOTALLY EXHAUSTED. I can't imagine what it must be like for the farm workers-- most of whom do not speak any English-- to deal with these conditions-- including the lack of language skills-- every day! We went with a great group of dedicated people who brought free clothes and free food and ice cream for the kids. They offer to help people fill out forms, and they provide domestic violence intervention. The volunteers all speak Spanish, and all they want is to help their fellow people who are new to America to find her many opportunities.

I also realized that I'd been so nervous and scared about doing this because I viewed migrant workers as "those strange beings" who had nothing to do with me or my life. The thing is-- they are just normal people trying to get through their day. The clothes they wear are like ours because they are the clothes we outgrew or stopped liking and donated somewhere. These people we met with took great pride in their appearance, and many looked cleaner, and more slick than I did by a long-shot-- since I was hot, dusty, tired, and I just don't seem to control my hair very well at the best of times.

The teen aged girls had cliques and insider comments to make to each other. The little toddlers just wanted your full attention and as many books as they could hold. The parents and adult workers just wanted a little extra to put aside for hard times, or a special treat for their kids-- and free is a very good price. Just normal people.

And we didn't go to Tumbucktoo to see them, either. We went to the corner of two main streets-- where they meet about a mile from the center of town. It's the outskirts, but definitely not the boonies. There were still fences with lawns and shrubs on both sides of the street. And then we turned in to a gravel drive. There was a guard who had to approve our entry. He did this by glaring at us as we drove past, and then waving an arm at the parking area where we were supposed to set up our stuff.

So I'm glad I went. And I want to go again. But I also feel even more strongly about taking those Conversational Spanish classes as soon as I graduate. I have a lot to learn about my fellow wo/man. I think maybe we all do.



Had a funny experience yesterday. I've been working to key in on my intuitive voice lately, as you know, and yesterday I realized I'm actually making progress! See, my parents were delayed in meeting me for lunch yesterday (by a flat tire, no less!). They planned to call me when they were on their way again. The chatter in my head claimed that "oh, great, it'll probably be an hour or more!" But that was just chatter, so I didn't pay much attention.

Called a good friend on the phone to pass the time. Spoke with my friend for about 25 minutes, then told her-- "Well, I'd better get off the phone now so my parents can call." I hadn't really been thinking about the time passing. And since I have call-waiting on that phone, I was also not worried about missing their call... but suddenly it was time for them to call, and I knew it. We said goodbye, and hung up. Two minutes later, my parents called.

I had to laugh at the timing. And feel good that I'm doing better at listening to that little voice that KNOWS things. And ignoring the chatter that seems to always be there in the background. You know about the chatter. It's the voice that nags at you when you are late, that makes you feel foolish if your hair flops over your eyes, that always predicts dire consequences or tries to inflate your ego with stories about how cool you'll look if you take this stupid risk.

The intuitive voice is friendly, calm, quiet. It's easy not to hear when you are stressed, rushed, or preoccupied. It makes suggestions-- ones that may not even make sense logically... but that is the basis of intuition. It helps us prepare for eventualities in our lives-- or other peoples' lives-- that we don't even know are going to happen. Another example of this-- I am learning herbal healing. I know a little bit about a few things. It's how everyone starts to learn.

My parents are not so into herbal healing, though they aren't against it either. But for some reason, I felt it would be a good idea to bring one of my books on herbs and their uses to our lunch yesterday. And I'd no clue why. But I thought-- this is intuition speaking-- so I did. Turns out, my dad has a case of poison oak, and they wanted to know if a healing salve I'd used on mom's open sore (small surgery left a hole in her arm smaller than a dime) would help his sores dry up, too. But the worst thing you can do for poison oak (sumac, ivy, etc) is use an OIL-BASED healing agent.

Luckily, my book verified that another healing mix I had with me, called Kloss after the man who made it long ago, was perfect for the job. We tried it, and it helped dry up the sores and make his skin less red and angry. Until the poison oak went systemic. Then he needed an MD's help, and not an apprentice herbalist's.

Anyway, the points I'm making are these: I feel good that I'm finally starting to identify which voice is my intuition and which is just chatter; and that herbal healing is great for a lot of illnesses, but so is scientific medicine.

Oh, and the book? An excellent resource, recommended to me by an excellent herbalist.
Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar.


Is it Intuition or Monkeys?

I went to a Journaling Workshop last night. Great experience. Pagan group of women. Knowledgeable group facilitator. Wow.

Not only did she teach me a great new method of getting something meaningful out of my writing, but we ended up having a short discussion about recognizing the difference between the voice of intuition in your head, and the voice of the chattering monkeys. At least, that's what we started calling it. See, the voice we are used to hearing is like a chattering monkey. Skeptical, gnawing, not supportive, telling you what to do. It just talks. A lot. And it tries to push you around. That "monkey voice."

The thing is-- it's NOT supportive. And we don't really get value out of harsh judgments and gnawing expectations. So the key is to turn down the volume on this voice. Maybe you can't shut it out completely, but you can turn down the volume, and recognize how different the monkey chatter sounds from the voice of your true intuition.

Intuition is the voice of wisdom. Peaceful. Friendly. Flowing like a deep moving river under your consciousness. It comes from the gut and the heart. Quiet. Not linear. Maybe not even seeming to fit with the general flow of your life at the moment you hear it. And that's one of the challenges. To trust yourself and your inner wisdom-- your intuition-- enough to heed its voice when you DO hear. One must be quiet to hear it. Serene. Vanessa, or group facilitator, stated it this way: You have to trust your own competence. You have to say "I'm worth it, even if I make a mistake." This is the bridge. This is how we begin to recognize our intuition as a unique wisdom in our life process.

And the writing technique? Well, free-write for five minutes. About whatever comes into your head or out of your pen, without stopping. Set a timer. Then go back and highlight four or five words or phrases that really seem important-- unsettling, wise, curious, interesting-- whatever they are. Pick one. Use it as the title for your next free-write.

With your new title as a starting point, the goal here is to get deeper into your writing. Stop your flow often and insert a dash "-- what I really want to say is...." and use that as an opportunity to deepen your focus and your writing this time. "--what I really want to say is..." Set the timer for seven minutes.

Stop and re-read what you wrote. What is it really about? Is there a theme or a lesson? Pick up your highlighter again. Select about five words or phrases that jump out at you or snag your attention in some way, as before. Select one and use it for the title or focus of your next timed writing exercise. For ten minutes, write deeply. Don't forget to set the timer. Use the dash to deepen your focus within your writing. "--what I really mean is..."

Great. Now read over and think about what you wrote this time. What did you learn? What did you write about? Is it deep and meaningful writing? Is there wisdom in your words? If you could summarize the experience of this writing exercise, and what themes/lessons you gained from what you wrote-- what would you say? Write that down, too.

It's amazing how meaningful of a life-perspective can grow out of a simple unformatted free-write, isn't it? I was blown away. It was just a great group and a great experience. Vanessa did a great job in putting such a meaningful and purposeful evening together for us, and facilitating it effectively. Thanks.


Dating. UPdating.

I just updated my profile on WitchVox. It's kinda scary having a real and very honest profile of me available to the general public. But it was also educational. How do I represent myself to the world today? What do I believe to be true about myself in a general way? What do you need to know about me before you decide you like me? Do I care if you like me?

So, since it's all about the Pagan, I'm including my observations in a Pagan Practice Post, too. Here's what I ended up with:

Your Likes:
Helping people smile and feel appreciated just as they are, petting contented cats, the Pacific Ocean, and probably the usual-- Nature, cat-naps, family meals, reading, walks/hikes, listening to stories-- especially from Old Wise Women and men (I hope to be one someday) -- learning new things, fresh air, tea with friends, laughing, clear communication, the color blue...

Your Dislikes:
Distress, active hatred, lies, politics (depends on what they are, probably) ... Most of the time, I'd rather look around me and find a reason to laugh.

Your Personal Profile:
I'm learning to listen to my inner Guides in new and better ways. It's definitely a process, with lots of opportunities to laugh at myself (and laugh about the world around me) and grow. I'm nearing 30 now, and working hard. Means I rest hard, too. I like that part.

I've always had a penchant for listening to people tell stories about their lives-- especially stories that are important to THEM. Now I'm learning to listen to how those stories inform ME, and my relationship with Ancestor Earth, Mother Moon, the Forest Father, and the Greater Good.

So far, I'm learning to effectively apply herbal healing, EO's, my slight knowledge of the 7 chakras, and healing stones. I've learned that I'm not Wicca, but I do a lot of work in a similar fashion to Green Witches, Kitchen Witches, and Tree-Talkers. I'm practicing my Medicine Woman Tarot, and listening to the magick around me when I go with friends on hikes. Trying not to anger the fairies in my living room, honoring my Guardian, and laughing at the hedgewitch in my head who advises me when I cook. (It tastes better if you don't look at it first. Hey- fresh greens and garlic go in EVERYTHING, right?) I'm laughing a lot more than I used to, too.

I have an old soul, and a new start-- I'm using both gifts to make the best life I can. It's pretty great so far. When I finish my Masters, I'll be hunting for official librarian positions so I can go on helping people find the information they need to be their best selves, too. And believe it or not, most of the librarians I know are NOT boring. They're crazy. You know how it goes-- it's the quiet ones you have to watch.

I am also learning about both this Witchvox thing and this Pagan thing, and creating a presence for myself within it seemed like a good place to start. So, here we are. I'm creating a presence, making my connection to this wonderful community official, and this is it for now. By the way, if you have found any reliably accurate and easy to use books on herbal lore, kitchen lore, and homeopathic healing, I'm interested!

I wish you well in your travels-- whatever form they take.

and you know, it's funny... This is me. It IS me. And when I read this, I feel I've managed to communicate these goals and this reality on my blogs. It's a good reality check for my self-image, you know? I mean- yes- I do still get a thrill from a fresh box of crayons... but other than that, I'm a functional adult. And I'm really proud of that. Most of us (including me) have very good reasons in our past that we COULD have become very messed-up adults. And I'm not. Not very. My kitchen-- now THAT is messed up. But I'll clean it tomorrow, so no harm done.

Have a great morning, and a restful afternoon.
Blessings Be to You from Me.



My Aunt-- the woman who called me her Spirit Child, and taught me a little bit of many magickal paths as a child-- used a pendulum for much of her life. She even gave my cousins and I crystals that were appropriate for our age/size to use as such, and told us her method of figuring out the basic yes/no communication process.

A pendulum is a rock crystal, usually circular and with a pointed base, used to assist the user in determining the best answer to a given question. I've heard two basic belief systems for why this works: Either your guardian angel/spirit/goddess is guiding the crystal's movement; Or it resonates with your inner self, which has greater wisdom than your conscious self, and therefore has the ability to know the best answer for you in that moment-- and the rock moves accordingly.

I've also learned of at least three different ways to figure out the basic messages your crystal can give you. For my Aunt, there was a certain finger of your hand that you'd hold the pendulum over and this would mean "yes," and another for "no." I could never remember which finger was supposed to mean what-- and really, I think this was just a way for you to condition the pendulum to move in only one way for "yes." If you focused on "yes" and on the crystal moving, then it would make a "yes" movement. Another method is to write outcomes or chakras on a round piece of paper, divided like a pie. Whatever the pendulum sways toward is the answer to the question you've posed. No mater what, the most important aspect is to always use only one chosen method, and to remember that a pendulum only has one interpreter.

The way I did it was to ask a question to which I already knew the answer-- a "yes" answer. You have no idea how hard it is to come up with a truly yes/no question with no alternative interpretations!! I did the same with a "no" question-- and from there I knew what two movements to look for. I wore the stone in a pocket against my body for several days before doing this, to be sure I was in tune with my pendulum, by the way.

I've learned in practice that the faster my rock moves, and the more cleanly the movement is repeated, the more I can rely on that answer-- the more clearly an opinion has been expressed. I also don't have the crystals my Aunt gave me so long ago. I think I was six or seven at the time. And I found that a random semi-precious stone bead I'd picked up was the right thing for me to use anyway. It is not quite round, but has a definite point at the base. My stone is made of Amazonite.

Amazonite is a blue-green opaque stone, known to have a "powerful filtering action." It is said to open intuition, communication, and balance. It is used in healing and in filtering/connecting information and perspective for the best possible outcome. When I learned about these qualities of the pretty bead I'd randomly purchased... I understood why it would be such a great pendulum for me. And while I wear it nearly every day on a necklace, I don't use it to answer every single question that comes across my desk. I use my own intelligence and sense of rightness as much as possible.

I use my pendulum when there is no obvious way for me to know the best answer to a question before I make my decision. And then I have to be very careful about asking a question whose answer will be easy to interpret based on my skill at reading the movements. "Is this a good suppliment for me to take right now?" "Will this suppliment effectively heal this aspect of an illness I am experiencing?" (Two very different questions!) "Do I have access to something that would be better than this for that task?" (Now I just have to find it!) Asking if something will be good for you is a very general question-- maybe "good for you" is like those painful character-building activities of your childhood. Or maybe "good for you" would be a temporary kind of good-- as in a good person to learn the fine art of kissing from, but not a good person to marry...

Once I have a question in mind, I hold the item in my palm (or envision it's likeness in my palm if it is too big or not available), and concentrate on the desired outcome/the question as single-mindedly as possible. Sometimes my pendulum doesn't have an answer for me. Sometimes it takes a moment to decide. Sometimes it is not the answer I want to hear. But always, it is helpful to have this input from a greater knowledge than I consciously possess at this time.

If you've decided to look into pendulum work, I'd love to hear what kind of stone or crystal you've selected, and why. And if you know more than I do on the subject, I'd love to learn about a good book or other resource for learning more advanced pendulum readings.

Blessings Be.


Full Moon Rising

Tonight is the full moon. Come to think of it, so was last night. Technically, I believe the full moon lasts three nights. As, technically, the new moon does.

And since I've been having a lot of fear, worry, and dread of the future in my mind lately, I'm using my celebration of the full moon as an opportunity to celebrate coming possibilities, and the fruition of my efforts thus far. I'm going to turn those worries into hope, those fears into dreams and that feeling of dread into awareness of my will to make whatever life I want for myself. I'm going to celebrate the Mother Moon. Her beauty, her constance, her enlightenment and illumination of the good in my life, and in my mind, and in my world. Because there is good there. I just haven't been acknowledging or appreciating it lately. And the best way to have more good is to celebrate its existence. So, tonight, I'm going to celebrate.

What a relief to have something to celebrate! What a relief to be planning something positive, and not just fighting for survival and trying not to forget to actually do anything crucial, and worry and... No. Tonight is about joy, abundance, personal strength, and good intention toward my future. Tonight is about Mother Moon.

And later, next week and the week after, in the waning moon phase, I will celebrate Grandmother Crone Moon-- wisdom and rejuvenation of hope, death of fear and decay of worry, the great cycle and the big picture. I will celebrate the cycle of life. Both within my own consciousness, and in this great earth organism of which we are all a part.

I thank the Goddess that no one has the right to take away our ability to celebrate! Our ability to choose a perspective-- happy or sad, realistic or long-range. Our ability to work toward our goals, no matter what the physical or emotional obstacles are to our success. Our acknowledgement of the ABUNDANCE in our lives!