Friday, June 5, 2015

The magick of birthdays


My high priestess has said the first spell most of us cast is making a wish and blowing out candles on a birthday cake. There is a ritual associated with birthdays: gathering people together, lighting the candles, singing, wishing, blowing out candles, cutting the cake.


I couldn't tell you what I wished for on my first birthday, but it looks like there was a candle and a cake!
 Last week was my 35th birthday. It wasn't a super eventful birthday, but it did remind me of the magick of friendship, and birthdays in general.

I had a few close friends over; as in introvert, small gatherings are best! We sat around and talked and ate (Pagan gatherings always involve food). We didn't play silly games like most of us did as kids (though I may need to bring back that tradition next year), but there was something special about spending time with people I care about and who care about me.

And of course there was cake!



The grown-up version of birthday cake, was the Salty Dog from Decadent Creations. I'm not going to jinx it and tell you what I wished for this year, but the cake was delicious :)

And after the cake there were presents! As far as I know, none of my friends discussed this beforehand, but my birthday seemed to have an unofficial bird theme. There was a sparrow lantern from one friend, an owl figurine from another, an owl offering bowl from someone else, and even a flamingo card from my mom.
The owl has always been one of my main spirit animals, and this was the perfect time to update my personal altar:



The silver pentacle was a gift from another friend, and the malachite owl was a birthday gift from a previous year.

This year I also decided to give goodie bags to my guests. I don't remember the last time I did this, but I remember it was fun to get a small gift for attending parties as a kid. I have also been trying to do some spring cleaning, so it seemed like a good time to find new homes for items I no longer need. I recycled a few paper bags and put a couple of items in each: a pendulum and dream catcher in one, a book about chakras and a box of incense in another. Everyone randomly picked a bag, and it was amazing how well the contents suited each person. I couldn't have planned it better if I tried!

Birthdays are more special when they're shared, and I wanted to share some of my birthday magick with you. May your next birthday be as magickal as mine was!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2015

I didn't mean to neglect the blog for this long, but what better time to dust it off than the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl?

This year's crawl lasted from March 5 - 8th. (I had hoped to post my recap sooner, but have been busy working to pay for all my purchases ;)

The first day of the crawl I visited Knit Purl, Dublin Bay Knitting Co., and Pearl Fiber Arts after work. I also managed to stop by Black Sheep at Orenco on the way home, thanks to their extended hours!

Day One purchases:

Already thinking about knitting more shawls ;)

Friday I visited a couple of papercrafting shops after work (more on that later), so no yarn crawling.

Saturday was a long day, which started out at the Knitting Bee, then on to For Yarn's Sake (where I admired the Spincycle Yarns, and ran into a friend I hadn't seen in awhile). Next was Northwest Wools and Wool 'N Wares, two shops I don't visit very often but both had fun trunk shows going on. 
Then it was over to Yarntastic! Fiber Arts, which was a new to me shop, so I couldn't resist getting  a special skein of handspun, handdyed yarn and a row count bracelet. Next was Yarnia, which is always fun to visit and I hadn't been to since they moved last year. The day ended at Happy Knits, where I had fun checking out the Three Fates Yarns trunk show. 

Day Two purchases:

At least I didn't just buy yarn ;)

Sunday was the last day, so had to make it to the remaining shops! First up was Littlelamb and Ewe, which is a cute shop but the furthest one from home, so I don't make it over there often. Next was Twisted, where I visited with pdxknitterati and showed my mystery shawl to designer Debbi Stone (though I didn't think to get a picture). 

Then it was time for a snack, so stopped at Pip's Original since I had heard about their mini donuts and chai:


A dozen mini donuts! So yummy :) I also had a heart of gold chai.

Then on to the final two shops: Close Knit and the Naked Sheep Knit Shop, which are both cute shops I don't get to visit very often.

Day Three purchases:


More squishy yarn! Planning a couple of cowls and maybe a hat.

Overall it was a fun weekend, with lovely weather for wandering around. Now to focus on knitting all this wonderful yarn! Already working on a new cowl :)







Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aware

Welcome to week 2 of the Pagan Blog Project! So far I haven't managed to keep to the schedule and post on Fridays, but at least I'm only a day late this week!

As promised, this week "A" is for aware. Since I have a degree in English, I often find it useful to start with a definition:

aware
adjective \ə-ˈwer\
: knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists
: feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound, sensation, or emotion)
: knowing and understanding a lot about what is happening in the world or around you

I like that this definition mentions feeling and experiencing as well as knowing and understanding. We can be aware of sensations and emotions even if we have difficulty understanding them or expressing them in words. Emotions and experiences are an important part of my spiritual practice.  It's one thing to learn about Pagan beliefs and practices from a book, but truly becoming Pagan involves trying out those practices and discovering which ones help you connect to spirit. Furthermore, I believe spell work is more effective when I feel a connection to what I am doing, instead of just looking up standard correspondences.

Let's see if I can think of an example to illustrate this better... Let's say I want to do a healing spell, and I'm trying to decide what color candle to burn. By doing a quick online search I found a chart listing yellow as a suggested color to use for a healing spell. But I wasn't aware that yellow was associated with healing. Instead I would probably pick green, since I think of green plants as being healthy and vibrant, and I want a color that will help me focus on healing energy. By choosing something that helps shift my awareness I can increase the effectiveness of my spell.

Of course, my associations may be completely different from another Witch's correspondences. I don't think anyone's way is right or wrong, but I do believe it is important to be aware of why you are doing things a certain way. 

Here's another example... When casting a circle at the beginning of a ritual, I generally begin in the East, because I associate the East with new beginnings (this is where the sun rises after all). I have a friend who prefer to being in the North, which she associates with the Earth - where all things begin and end. I could also see beginning in the South or West, if one of these elements was central to the theme of the ritual and you wanted to place extra emphasis on these qualities.

Again, I don't think anyone's way of doing things is better than anyone else's. By being self-aware we can determine which ways of doing things are more effective for us, and develop a truly meaningful spiritual practice. 

Participating in the Pagan Blog Project is a way for me to increase my awareness of my spiritual practice. And I hope reading my ramblings will help you increase awareness of your practice, whether or not you are Pagan.




Monday, January 6, 2014

Again...

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted on here. So, it's a new year and thought I would try blogging again :)

Also decided to participate in the Pagan Blog Project again. Hoping to make it further in the alphabet this year!

As you may have noticed, today the letter "A" is for Again.

Sometimes I do things again because I didn't like how they turned out the first time. Other times I do things again because I enjoyed them and want to repeat the experience. Repeating things again and again can lead to them becoming a tradition. There can be comfort in doings again because they're familiar. I think the challenge is to keep learning and experimenting, even when doing a familiar activity.

Let me see if I can explain better with a few examples...
I have started keeping a Spell book, in order to keep spells and chants I have written (this is separate from my Book of Shadows, but we'll talk more about that in a future post). Anyway, I have one healing chant I wrote a few years ago that I have used several times when a friend requests some healing energy. Using a familiar chant means I can concentrate more on raising energy than on trying to remember the words. So in this way it can become more powerful each time I use it. The problem would be if I was merely reciting the words without paying attention to what I was saying, or if I continued to use an ineffective spell because I was too lazy to create a new one. To help me stay focused on the intent of the chant, I may place a picture of my friend on the altar or charge a crystal that I can give to her later. I might also light a candle in my friend's favorite color and inscribe it with her name. So even though I'm using the same chant again, the ritual is never exactly the same.

And a more general example...
I recently knit several pairs of fingerless gloves for friends. I don't often knit the same pattern multiple times, and knitting gloves means I'm already knitting the same pattern twice (since most people wear gloves in pairs). If I want a matching pair I can't switch yarn or needles to help keep the project interesting. But, I am more likely to have the pattern memorized, which makes it easier to knit on public transit! And having the pattern memorized also means I can settle into a rhythm, allowing the knitting to become a form of meditation.

To further connect knitting to my spiritual practice, I have found myself using simple chants to help keep track of where I am in a pattern. For example, if a pattern says "knit 3, purl 1" instead of counting the stitches, I may chant "maiden, mother, crone" for each knit stitch, then pause to purl, and so on. I think this is similar to how people use malas or other types of prayer beads.

Are there things you find yourself doing again and again? Do you see these as positive or negative things?

I don't think repetition is inherently good or bad, but I do believe in becoming more aware of the patterns that we are repeating. I think I will stop here for now, as that seems to be another topic. So, stay tuned for next week, when "A" will be for Awareness.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rose City Yarn Crawl Finished!

Finally finished adding pictures and links! So here is my (overdue) recap of the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

Saturday was my main yarn crawling day. My significant other agreed to drive, and we started out around 10am.

First stop was the Knitting Bee where I had fun looking through more of the One of a Kind Buttons. Decided to bring these ones home with me:



I was tempted by the yarn featured for their lovely shawl pattern but decided to wait. It's not like I have a shortage of sock yarn in the stash!

Next stop was For Yarn's Sake, where I had won a $5 gift card for answering their shop trivia question correctly. I got to show off my Ballerina Shawl to Knitted Wit and picked up this skein of her yarn, along with the Trellis Rose Shawlette pattern.



From there we headed to Northwest Wools and All About Yarn, where I managed not to buy anything. Then on to Wool and Wares where I picked up this skein of Alexandra's Crafts yarn:



It was a special colorway for the shop, so I couldn't resist :) Still looking for pattern ideas though...

Then across the newly reopened Arch Bridge for a stop at Wynona's Studios. They specialize in recycled and local items, so it was fun to look around since I don't spend much time in Oregon City. Ended up with a small braid of fiber, fun skein of sock yarn (any ideas for this one?), and a sparkly shawl pin. They also put purchases in cute handmade bags.



Close up of the shawl pin:

Next stop was Yarnia, where we found the local news interviewing the shop owner: http://www.kgw.com/video/featured-videos/Thousands-show-up-for-4th-annual-Rose-City-Yarn-Crawl-194678271.html

Chatted about the yarn blending process with a few people also waiting to get their passports stamped, and then off to Happy Knits. They have a great selection of yarn, but I managed to resist buying anything since we were only about halfway through the day. Then a stop at Yarn Garden, which had a cool fiber art piece on display. I didn't think to take any pictures, but you can check out more here: http://www.yarngarden.net/se-art-walk/.

Next stop was Gossamer, where I admired the shawl pattern they had designed for the crawl. Decided to get the featured yarn for the pattern, and have been working on it this week. It's a long shawl, so this is probably only like an 1/8 of the finished shawl! It's about the right size for the cat though ;)



Then we stopped at Twisted where I watched Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts spinning silk hankies. She also explained how to peel off the layers of silk and knit them without spinning first. Very cool! Almost bought one, but had already spent more than I had planned. I did pick up a skein of Woobu though, since a couple of my coworkers had asked me to make them cowls. Should be enough yarn for two and they agreed to reimburse me for yarn.



Next was Close Knit, another shop I don't get to very often. We had fun admiring Teresa Ruch's lovely yarns, and learning a little about how they make tencel and bamboo fiber. She also had some great samples, and I was intrigued by the texture of the rayon boucle yarn.

I ended up with 2 skeins with plans to make fickleknitter's rayon boucle shawl.

Our final stop was The Naked Sheep. I picked up a small bottle of Eucalan (can always use more wool wash!) and picked up a copy of their crawl pattern. Also admired the samples from Chrissy Gardiner's Indie Socks book. Definitely need to make some of these! Chatted with a few other people about their handknits - thinking about making the Botanical Cowl out of Yarnia's 5th anniversary Golden Ticket yarn...

Turned in my completed passport - forgot to snap a picture, but here's my tote bag with  all of the shop buttons!



And the SO even got a Naked Sheep sticker for driving :)



Now focusing on knitting through the stash and saving up for next year's crawl!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rose City Yarn Crawl (Days 1 & 2)

Last weekend was the Rose City Yarn Crawl. If you haven't experienced the craziness fun before, the goal is to visit 18 yarn shops in the Portland metro area over 4 days.

I started with a quick stop at Knit Purl over my lunch break. Lots of knitters having lunch in their downstairs knitchen! A couple of skeins of ShiBui staccato decided to come home with me (great discount so I couldn't resist!)



After work I took the streetcar down to Angelika's, and bought the suggested yarn for their special yarn crawl pattern. The pattern is for a bag, so I thought this would be a nice, go with everything color:


Then back on the streetcar to head down to Dublin Bay Knitting Company. Always nice to chat with other knitters and hang out on their comfy couches. Refueled with some tea and treats, and couldn't resist a skein of Sweet Georgia sock yarn:
Not sure if this wants to be a pair of socks or a shawl.. any suggestions?


From there I walked to Pearl Fiber Arts. Once in the door I was instantly drawn to the baskets of one-of-a-kind buttons. Couldn't resist an owl and a sun (which come to think of it, are both symbols that relate to past nicknames).


While there I started talking to Kara, a knitter/crocheter who had driven up from Salem. We couldn't resist the Caress wrapped in luxury yarns, and learned how to knit and crochet this bulky yarn on our hands. After about half an hour of giggling and chatting we each ended up with a super long, super cozy scarf!




The next day I had to go to work, but managed a trip out to Kathy's Knit Korner in Forest Grove. There I met up with Kara again for more chatting and yarn fondling. My significant other picked out this skein of yarn so I can make him a hat:
 
Have to pick out a pattern, but I told him he'll have to wear the hat on next year's yarn crawl ;)

Will update on the final day of yarn crawling later!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Moon Chant

Life has gotten busy and I've gotten behind in the Pagan Blog Project. I was working on another post for the letter C, but wasn't happy with it. So I figured I'd do a short post just to get back in the habit of blogging and attempt to catch up.

Yesterday was the February Full Moon, often called the Snow Moon. I found the full moon inspiring, and this is the chant I made up on the way home yesterday. Hope you enjoy it :)

Snow Moon Chant

Mother Moon guide me home
no matter where I roam
welcome me with open arms
and keep me safe from harm

So mote it be