Samhain, Rememberance, Yule presents, and NaNoWriMo

Sorry I’ve been quiet.  The death of my ex hit me pretty hard, and I haven’t done a lot of anything, including NaNoWriMo.  I’m at roughly 1900 words, and it’s day 7.  I need to decide to either catch up or give up.  I’m not going to be hard on myself either way, I’m just going to see how much writing I CAN get done.  It would be great to finish the last 35K of my first book before the end of the year.

Samhain was relatively low key.  We were babysitting some rats for a couple that Bear met on Reddit, and they came over to visit their kids.  We invited them to share some of the corn chowder I made, and we had a great time shooting the shit.  It turns out that we all have loads in common, though they’re a bit younger.   So I didn’t get to do some big ritual like I had planned, but it was very nice and mellow, and was exactly what I needed.

One thing I DID do, however, was to write letters to both my ex and my father.  The letter to my ex was mostly an apology for not getting to see him more.  The letter to my dad was..  Well…  Angry.  I got to say a lot of things that I needed to get off of my chest.  It was very cruel, very honest, and very cathartic.  I intended to burn them, but didn’t get to it until tonight.  It was nice to watch the flame spread over the paper and let go of the things I needed to let go of.

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I finally feel like Samhain tide is over, and now I’m starting to think about Yule.  I have plans for my altar, and I’ve already started looking for what I want.  I can’t afford the ingredients for the incense yet, but I know what I’ll be using.

After reading this post by The Witch of Forest Grove, I realized that I wanted to make Yule presents.  I haven’t done that in quite some time, and I truly didn’t have any better ideas.  I can only give so many people so many damn candles before they start throwing them at me.

So this Yule, I decided to make liquers.  I do this by infusing cheap vodka with various fruits and herbs, and I’ve done it a few times before.  It’s been a while, however.  So this year, I decided to give it a shot again, and also try some new things.  For my first experiment, I infused the vodka with roasted pumpkin and Werther’s Originals candies.  I wanted a rich butterscotch flavor, and it really does come out.  It’s been infusing for maybe 20 days now, and I’m going to strain it and add more roasted pumpkin.  The candies were interesting to work with, however, as they contain quite a lot of fat.  That fat separated and created an interesting look.  Nothing smells rancid or iffy at all so far.

 

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

 

I have plans for two other batches.  One will be elderberry/mandarin orange and the other will be lavender/lemon/vanilla.  I just need to save the cash for the vodka.  Even cheap vodka is expensive when you’re using this much of it.

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So, new words written since my last post: 1900
Writing goal: Do the terrible thing to the character I really like so that the story can close  *sigh*

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That first love

There’s a person out there who will always have a piece of my heart. We weren’t meant to be together, and the love faded in time, as happens when that’s the case. But he has always been someone that is incredibly special to me.

You see, we grew up together. We did stupid teenager stuff together. We got high together, we explored kink together, we spent hours and hours digging through the woods for rocks together. He lost his virginity to me. And as far as I know, he still has my name tattooed on his arm.

And he’s in bad, bad shape. He had a massive stroke a few days ago, and he seemed like he was doing better. Now he’s doing much worse. The swelling and bleeding in his brain has taken over, and from what I can tell, it looks like he won’t make it. I’m gleaning as much information from Facebook as possible from his wife and sister’s posts, so I only know so much.  I’m going to visit tomorrow.

He’s 40. We were supposed to live SO much longer than this. We were supposed to live forever, in fact.  What the fuck happened?
It’s been a long year of that.  Asking what the fuck happened.  I don’t have any answers.  I won’t get any answers.  It just is what it is.  The wheel turns, and our time has a limit.  It makes it tough to keep any faith that there is something better out there.  It’s nearly impossible to believe that the nearly constant loss will let up.  It’s the dying of the year, and it feels like my spirit is dying a little too.

I hope I don’t have to write another letter to put on the altar.  😦

 

Prom

Prom- was I really that young and thin?

 

 

Samhain Altar

Samhain altar

Samhain altar

This is it! The only thing we have left to add is letters. I’m going to write a letter to my dad, and Bear and J might write letters to their loved ones as well. I’ll place them on the altar (behind everything), and then we’ll burn them on Samhain.

The incense also turned out really well. The patchouli didn’t come out as strong as I thought, but the cypress is DELICIOUS. It’s definitely worth making again. 🙂

Gathering ingredients for Samhain incense

My husband is lovely.  Simply lovely.  He truly is the best thing in my life.  And when I asked him yesterday if he would like to go to the cemetery with me to gather some ingredients for incense, he didn’t hesitate.  He was even a bit excited for another one of my cemetery adventures.

Cypress

A gravesite being taken over by a leaning cypress tree

He gave me space to meditate and commune with the trees to ask if I could use some of their materials for my incense, and he held what I had collected while I went on my mad search to find the next thing I needed.  Did I mention that he was sick and felt gnarly the whole time?  He’s lovely.

At any rate, I haven’t decided if I’m going to list my entire ingredient roster here, since I have a dream of one day hawking my incense wares on ETSY or some similar forum.  But I will show what I got on my collecting trip.

Ingredients

This is the stuff I gathered for my Samhain incense and altar

I got some graveyard dirt (and quartz and acorns and a shard of milk glass) to put into a small jar to keep on the altar.  I also got some leaves from a live oak, and cypress needles and bark.  The cypress smells soooooo good!  Those will all go into my incense.

Unrelated to the Samhain incense, I also got some lovely, crispy-dry hop flowers from an unnamed source.  Hops are great for anything having to do with sleep or relaxation.  They may find their way into a dream pillow at some point.

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On Figment a few days ago, there was a contest where you were asked to describe a totem in 33 words.  I seriously thought about it, and while I decided not to enter the contest, I did consider totems in my world, and which character would benefit from something of that nature.  Vine weaves charms into her dreadlocks as she moves along on her journey, and that was what sprang to mind immediately.  However, I began to think about some of the more peripheral characters, and dreamt up a short story for a character that’s dedicated to Cernunnos.  I’m feeling especially drawn to Cernunnos right now, probably due to the time of the year, and it seemed to write itself.  Now to type it out.  🙂

Pain and Tiwaz

Good news: I found my runes while looking through my old herb collection!
Bad news:  All of my herbs are waaaayyy too old and stale to use for anything.  They all smell like dust.

Good news: I found a great supplier who sells the herbs I need cheap on Ebay!
Bad news: I spent my last $20 getting some things I needed for a Samhain incense.  Should have been more responsible.

Bad news: Spent last night in the ER.  😦  Have been having some serious back pain, which escalated in a major way last night.  I was also having trouble breathing.  I was scared that I was having a heart attack.  Everyone else is doing it, I thought it was my turn.  😦
Good news:  They Xrayed my chest, and heart and lungs look good!  Also got an ultrasound, and my gallbladder and liver look good as well.  I was really nervous about 3 of those 4 things in particular.  My heart, for obvious reasons, my lungs because of all the lung cancer in my family, and my liver because that’s where the majority of the pain is centered.

Bad news: Still no idea where the pain is coming from then.  It’s mostly centered around my right rib cage, but my entire back is pretty fucked up as well.  I’m a little worried it might be something chronic.
Good news:  I pocketed a vial of my own blood that was just sitting there when I was released.  It’s going on the Samhain altar.

Good news: I’m making a Samhain altar.
Bad news: I don’t know where all my stuff is so I’m having to buy more.  I really should organize one day.

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This pain thing really has me in a weird headspace.  I’m kind of feeling like this is my karmic lesson for this lifecycle.  My great skill is endurance.  I endure pain and stress.  It’s pretty much the thing that I’m best at.

I’ve had chronic pain from my hip for most of my life.  I had a hip replacement and a hysterectomy when I was 31, and that alleviated most of my pain.  It was such a huge, welcome relief.  I hardly knew what to do with myself for those years that I felt good.

But it’s creeping back up on me.  Part of it is that I have a somewhat physical job.  I could handle it if it wasn’t for my hip, and the way my body/skeletal/muscular system was twisted (straightened, actually, but I was so used to being twisted from my bad hip that the straightening fucked everything up).  I sometimes feel OK, just a slight ache, and sometimes I feel like I’m being stabbed.  There also isn’t a single morning that I wake up where I’m not in pain.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way, but it goes a long way to robbing me of any joie de vivre I might otherwise be able to summon in the morning.

I’m just..  Tired.  Very, very tired.  All I want to do is sleep and hide from pain.  There isn’t a great way to do that and make a living.  If I move around too much (like at work), I hurt.  If I sit around here at the house, I hurt.  I can take ibuprofen and feel somewhat better, but if I took the dosage I need as often as I need it, my stomach would be a bleeding mess.  I’m going to switch to Naproxen and see if that doesn’t do the trick.

So, I just keep doing what I have to do.  I have to work to pay bills, etc.

Why am I bringing this up here, on my writing blog?  Because it’s yet another excuse for why I haven’t been writing.  You would think that writing would be just the thing to get me through all of this, but I find that I don’t have joy for much these days, except for Bear.  I’m going to try to power through, but it just is what it is.

Also, reading back at previous entries, I’m noticing a trend.  I come here to make excuses for why I’m not writing.  Maybe if I was a bit easier on myself, the stress wouldn’t compound like it does.  Because I’m 100% sure the stress is just making things worse.

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Anyways, enough whining.

As I was digging through my herbs, I found my runes!  I have been looking for them ever since I moved to this house, and I was SO happy to find them.  However, the paper I’d printed with the meanings wasn’t there.  That’s fine, I’ll make a new one.

Today I pulled Tiwaz.

Tiwaz

Tiwaz

According to this website;

Tiwaz:    This is the Rune of faith, truth, trust, loyalty and devotion, summed up by the old word “troth.”  You can expect justice, especially if you base your actions on well thought out plans.  The path to enlightenment may lead through self-sacrifice.  If you have dark corners, clean them out now.    If you need help to cleanse the corners, seek an expert.  Only then can the harvest ripen.  If you evidence “troth,” you can expect it in return.  This Rune may signify a scientist, philosopher or scholar.

Hopefully soon, I’ll dig out my tarot cards as well.

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I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately.  If you’d like to see my favorites, check me out over there at http://www.youtube.com/user/AmieRavenson

One of the things that really strikes me about some of these videos is the materialism of Wiccans and Pagans.  We do like to have our specific herbs/candles/oils/etc.  I’m guilty of this myself.  However, I definitely believe that you should be able to build an altar in your mind, and do a ritual with nothing more than your imagination.

I may make a video on that topic.  It’s one of those ‘maybe someday’ projects.  Along with a description of the difference between Wiccans and Pagans and why I don’t tend to call myself Wiccan.  *shrug*