Rennovating The Den

I do feel fortunate to be able to have a home that I can freely paint, add or take away from, or otherwise alter. For my practice, my home is my altar. From my actual altar to my kitchen, living room, dining table, even storage… My home is my altar. For years I let it sit, and did nothing to it. That changed this year, after celebrating my ritual new year. I don’t know what it was, something ‘woke,’ up in me. And… Things changed.

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Yea, not so magical – but it is.

I’m nowhere near done, but I’ve got one hell of a good start!

 

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I blessed my home anew with this new arrangement, and celebrated the altar being out of a room and in the main living space. It brought so much peace of mind for me.

Gearing up for the auction as I rearrange, and renovate. Don’t worry! The auction is coming!

 

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Ostern

Ostern,’ is still the name I use for this holiday – haven’t heard much from the Gods, spirits or Ancestors to change it. So, after years of using it – I suppose it’s permanent. Works for me!

I actually got up at dawn, cheered to the rising sun – then slept peacefully for another three hours. It was nice to sleep in for a change. Spent the morning cleansing the house, honoring the Bear Mother’s rise in the spring, the Daughter of the Bear’s renewal of the world’s lights, the Antler’s Weaver’s return to her spinning, and the chasing of the old year out of the house.

Took some time to re-bless my ritual tools, ritual jewelry, my skin bottle (coming soon), the bone-room itself, the house, and every breathing body within it. Yep, even the dogs. I chanted, sang, and hummed as I finished my spring rites. Pulled out two wreath-starters to build summer and autumn wreaths, we’ll see what happens.

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The hearth-bowl fumed wonderfully, the warm glow of the oil lamp filled the room.

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Happy to work with the well back on the altar!

Fresh linens on the bed, fresh bodies after bathing, re-freshening the home and hearth – sure there was snow on the ground but the air was lighter than it had been for some time.

Got to cooking some spring foods:

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German Rouladen which was delish!

Along with fish, black eyed peas, fresh salad, hard-boiled eggs, along with fruit the feast was delicious, and filling. With our feast, we were accompanied by the skulls, and we dined together. With the gramophone playing an old record – it felt like a feast outside of time, yet embraced in both.

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With the ice/water skull, the fire skull, and the bear-cub we feasted together.

Checked on my deer skin, legs, and doe skull, and all are coming along nicely. Looking forward to further developments! Added some new items to the store:

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Small charm pouch.

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Boar’s tusk necklace.

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Beaded antler necklace.

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Antler pendant.

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Private commission for Jungo/ Jongo – a wolf’s fang necklace with a hematite stone. I hope he likes it!

Today was a good day – I was able to have some retail therapy from one of my favorite online stores Smoke and Fire, in which I will wait impatiently for the package to arrive! I adore this store – for an American folk practitioner it keeps me in touch with history yet able to carry history into my own modern life. Awesome!

Spent the evening listening to 50′s radio recordings and laughing at the plethora of stories and jokes.

I hope your spring is filled with laughter, stories, and the company of loved ones. Gesegnete Ostern!

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First of Three Folk-Art

Found three pieces of plywood in the trash, and I decided to do something with them. This is the first of three:

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I loved how the grin turned out!

 

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March Moon: Rising Moon

This is the first full moon of this (now late) ritual year, where the dawn of the year is appearing. Buds are blooming, and the weather is getting warmer slowly but steadily. Rabbits have been spotted frequently, heralding the true arrival of spring!

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D’awww…

Been finishing up the private projects for friends, and spring cleaning. Oh my – can a house become cluttered over winter!

Finished up a new spirit house:

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Middle-aged raccoon skull – so contented in his sticky paws I made a home for him.

Oh! Been working with Old Stormalong for a divination set using shells – if anyone knows a good source for research – PLEASE let me know!

Picture 1063Finally got the iron chips and incenses (with a powder) into the store, granted the containers are less than glamorous – but they do the trick.

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Can’t beat a secure container!

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Working with a handful of worry-dolls, and true enough – they do help your dreams, your worries, and give clarity of mind!

I looked at the altar, as I took a moment of pause during my fury of spring cleaning – and trying to commune with the bones lately has been akin to sitting at a table with six other people – all of them talking to you simultaneously! I offered an alternative – a bone shrine – in which I can commune, and let them rest without any other ritual work getting in the way. They agreed, after a two week consideration (best not to push the old bones).

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Anyone who works with bones knows that sometimes the vessels have trinkets and items they are fond of – and I placed them with the bones on their shrine.

I was thrilled to give a permanent place to the other spirit houses, a place that they can truly rest and not be disturbed. Some of the trinkets made sense, while others – well, I scratched my head and nodded. Sometimes, we just like what we like – and verbal bones aren’t that different. They just speak in their own way.

This moon was full of change – to my own altar having a well and a hearth-bowl once again was superb to work with! The bone shrine went together smoothly, and the house is ‘feeling’ more air than it has in some months. Can’t complain.

Simplicity is one of my by-words. Always has been. The Sacred does not need to be complicated, or overwhelmed by bells and whistles. There are so many times that I take all of them away- because they are distractions for the deeper trance work I’m doing. Just because it’s fancy or dressed up doesn’t mean it’s more ritually potent. I was honored enough to see an altar to the sea that contained one sea-turtle shell (with ribs still there) and holed stones. Still makes me contemplative when I think on it.

With rising river water that I keep in a sacred glass jar (and refill yearly) I wiped the tables and room clean, and returned all things to their places. I swept and used a ritual wash on the floors – not just the ‘bone-room,’ but the whole house. It isn’t done, but I will wait a few days for the waning moon to be ‘rid of,’ the old year. And then – prepare for the ritual new year.

Thank you dear readers for the links! I will be trying the new year in March (reading German again was new for me, but I loved the challenge!) and I learned that in Bavarian Germany March was a new year for some time, and I will honor the pull to this date this year. We’ll see how it goes.

There will be a private auction soon – of books, tools, resin-cast incense burners, and other things on this blog (about three weeks, maybe two) so don’t miss it!

So for tonight and tomorrow I will finish preparing goodie-packages for AJ and Jen – with letters, and finishing my house-cleaning. I hope your own full moon is full of new things, new ideas, and good change.

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Traveling

So I’ve been gone for a bit – went to Florida for a short vacation and for a change in scenery. I left the snow-covered terrain of my home for the hot, humid, and muggy Floridian climate. Whew did it hit me when I left the terminal!

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Greeted by a bear – I waved, I admit it.

Visited my beloved Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, and it’s a guarantee that if there is one in town – I’m visiting. At the bottom of this post are some photos of the museum in Orlando – for such a small museum I spent 1 1/2 hour in there, just staring and reading. I got to the room with drums playing on a television/overhead speakers by tribal-men and I almost fell over in complete trance. It was an old recording – but it did the trick regardless.

It was so odd- I felt as if I was being crushed, but exploding out at the same time. Best way to describe it is play-doh being squeezed out of it’s plastic can.

I got lead out of that room and taken to a new one and I felt much, much better. Another reason why I love those museums – the potency! The workers there were so patient and helped with the photos. Good people if you ask me!

Orlando is such a strange city – so young, yet so old. I kept hearing shouts, instead of voices, and it made it so damned hard to sleep I had to have  salt beneath my mattress. Not much was understandable – but it reminded me of a mall on Black Friday. Loud, brain-pounding, and aggressive. So many forms that were just out of sight, so many felt memories – it was intense.

Strange place. But I will visit again (I’m weird that way.)

I was able to take my shaman items with me on the plane (for Pete’s sake, they’re spiritual items, what am I gonna do? Bless you? Heal you? Listen to your problems? Pour you the drink the attendant gave you?)

Which is what happened on the flight – the person next to me noticed my bear-claw necklace and bird-foot pendant and began talking to me. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – just surprised me, is all. To my mind, with my tattoos and attentive demeanor I’d think I’d turn people away. Huh, that’s what I get for assuming I suppose.

Visited Universal Studios, had a blast – but that was only part of one day, afterwards there was a plethora of driving to odd places and walking. I found ways in Orlando to fulfill promises made years ago (which made me very, very happy) and I came home with so many treasures.

Made a new friend – ‘Jongo.’ Good guy, groovy company – and I adored his sense of humor. Will make a point to visit again!

Not only that – but so many project ideas that I will be exploring them this weekend. I’ll post Sunday or maybe Monday night (depending).

And now – for the gallery:

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ME. Every Monday morning.

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Whatever the Weather

Had the first of several spring feasts this weekend, with delicious roast and oven-roasted potatoes, with all sorts of other sides and fixin’s! Good stuff!

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Oven-roasted potatoes – part of the first of several spring-time feasts! The plaque is one I made this weekend to honor the Antlered Weaver.

I’m debating on adding my plaques to the store – mostly because they are tradition oriented, and I’m not sure if anyone else would be interested. They are slivers that were carved from the same lightning struck elm that one of the antlered staves is made from – still figuring out how to ship it without the USPS bickering about it. Will keep at it – no worries there.

With all the horrible weather we’ve been having, I haven’t had a chance to forge yet. Every time I have time and I am eager to swing the hammer – we’re hit with a snow storm. Figures. I’ve got some new designs for antler handled knives- small utilitarian knives and the start on an antlered bowie knife. Starting to get antsy about it – ready to get to it!

A west wind blew for most of the day – a yellow wind named Favon. It is very much a communicative wind, of charm, thinking, and divination. So I threw the bones several times to some questions I’ve been having and noted their answers.

The biggest question is something that’s been hanging on my mind for three years. I can’t find much information on it, but several Continental European calendars began on ‘Lady’s Day/ Lady Day,’ basically the Spring Equinox. If anyone knows a good website or book – point it out to me for further research. Moving one’s calendar is a monumental move, and I’m taking many, many nights to divine about it, think on it, and work with my Gods on this issue. So far everything is ‘thumbs up,’ but I’m a stubborn one and I’d like to do more research.

We will see how everything pans out from the forging to the calendar.

 

 

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Documentary

*Due to the high winds in the area, our wireless internet has been acting up lately. So – I post this link instead to the documentary.

I just saw the first episode of the Vikings, on the History Channel. I’m a direct descendant (one of many) of Ragnar. I got goosebumps withing a few minutes – watching a story of my OWN Ancestor! Bad-ass!

Here is a documentary about the Vikings themselves. If you know of a Germanic or Celto-Germanic, or even a Celtic one, let me know. I would rather be a book and documentary fan, than what I’ve seen recently from other media… In all honesty.

Granted, I am not sure if I fit into the ‘Heathen,’ definition. From the dictionary sources I do, but from a practitioner’s perspective – I’d love to just sit down with a Heathen, and see how we relate. Who knows… Given enough rum.

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Little Doll

I went to the tree that was struck by lightning,

I went quickly, to my sighting.

I took as many limbs as I could,

Well, as much as any shaman should.

I carved, I crafted late into the night,

The storm raged, the thunder’s flight,

I ended as I placed upon her a little green hood,

Was my doll, made of elm-wood.

I chanted and I sang, over her little wooden bones,

I recited old incantations in low tones,

The dawn approached, and it was understood,

I might not give life to my doll of wood.

I fed her despite it all, with honey and milk,

I bade her sleep, on a bed of silk.

I did all that I could,

To bring to life my little doll of wood.

I fell asleep reading, before the moon was seen,

In my half-awake sleep, I saw her little hood of green.

She pattered around my house as much as she could,

With her fingerless hands, made of wood.

I awoke with quite a stir,

To find that she was not… Where I had left her.

She was resting next to me, my little doll of wood-

“Ah,” I said,with a smile fixing her green hood,

“You have found a place that is good.”

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February Moon: Snow Moon

Even though snow is still lingering, the frost still in the air and all of the greenery still sleeps, I brought in fresh flowers in offering for the coming spring. I have not seen the Daughter of the Bear’s heralds yet, but I keep my eyes keen whenever I’m outside. For now, the Bear Mother still sleeps.

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I found old playing cards half-buried in the snow-covered dirt, in a small patch that was snow-free. I looked around but I only found the four. So, I presented them to the Avian One.

I offered fresh farm eggs that were given to us from a friend, his chickens laying far too many eggs after a time of barrenness. I thought the offering was appropriate, along with milk, whiskey, nuts, and a fresh apple.

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Three bundles and a ritual knife about to be blessed.

The bundles were blessed and as we speak I’m putting them into the store. In the coming days I’ll keep adding more, and I am cleaning the containers for my powders, iron chips, and incenses.

So far, so good – I’ll keep chipping away until I’m done. It was a quiet moon for me, spent some time practicing on my lap harp and re-tuning my fiddle. I feel change in the air – even if I can’t see it yet.

 

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Quiet with the Bear Mother

I sat still for some time tonight, just thinking on all of the things I’ve learned from the Bear Mother from start to finish. There are some years to take in, and so many lessons to chew over in my mind. The candles flickered, the air was still. But my mind – was a whirlwind.

The Skulls of Fire and Ice/Water

Offerings of alcohol, bread, sweets, cookies, nuts, and rose-hips were given.

I began my lessons with Her as a metalworker and blacksmith. It’s a point of view I know well, and has aided me in many interactions. Sure, Arta is a metalworker – of copper. Primal metalwork. But She is more than that- the mother of warrior-kings, berserkers, and stout folk in general. She is the mother of healers, the medicine makers and ointment placers – the chanters that chant sickness away. She is the quintessential Shaman, the one of rites and rituals. Mostly, She is the eldest Ancestress of my house.

As the Ancestress, there is little She cannot remember. Her children embody Her memory and then some – such as the smithy goddess: Daughter of the Bear. If I had approached Her as anything but a smithy, would I have met the Daughter of the Bear? I’m not sure, in all honesty.

I sit, and I think on the mysteries of fire and ice/water. In so many mythologies the two forces are creation itself. Not just of metalwork, but of medicine, martial arts, magic, songs, and even people. To approach Her underworld home is to begin the journey in becoming whatever it is in you to become. One of the many mysteries within the duo of fire and ice/water is creation on many levels. It goes beyond even my own metal work and crafting. It goes beyond medicine (plants that cool/freeze to those that heat) and beyond most arts. But, it is all of them together. I hope this makes sense.

So it is this, that I have come to understand about her – the abundance and wisdom that comes with all of her mysteries and lessons. I let my mind think on all of it, and I began thinking of art projects to reflect this. What will come of this – well, we’ll all have to see (including me!).

Despite the unholy-hectic schedule of my life right now, I still find more time in-between those times (if that makes sense as well) to be still, and quiet. I didn’t realize that once you get into the habit of it, it becomes more and more ingrained in your life. It isn’t any easier, but more of a natural part. Sigh. I wish I could explain it better.

So this is where I ended up at the end of the mental sojourn – and as I venture into the Upper Worlds further, I will take this lesson with me.

 

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