Book Review Monday – A Legacy of Druids by Ellen Evert Hopman

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Buy It Here: A Legacy of Druids

Anyone who is interested in the history of religion and Druidry in particular will really like this.

This is a collection of interviews from roughly twenty years ago with Druids from all over the world and from different backgrounds.

In Druidry, and I think in religion in general, everyone looks towards the distant past and argues about precisely what the colour blue meant to someone living 2000 years ago.

This has some relevance, of course, but what happened twenty years ago is, in some lights, vastly more important.

We cannot understand where we are today without understanding where we were yesterday.

It is at once vastly comforting and vastly infuriating to read these interviews.

Comforting, in the way that so many of the fears back then never came to pass, which bodes well for some our fears today.

Infuriating, in that a lot of the problems that plague this community are still around. However, this does give me some hope, in that we do have proof that these are in fact, serious problems, and not some PC sensitivity that too many people insist is the truth.  We should be able to delight in our differences, not spurn them.

This is a fascinating glimpse into our history.

How to Survive Mercury Retrograde

 

How to Cope

(First thing’s first, if you’re not sure what any Retrograde is, check out the beginning of this post.. If you’re wondering why all the sudden posts about Retrogrades, five planets decided it would be hilarious if they all went Retrograde at the same time. Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. We’ll be looking at Jupiter and Saturn next week. Hooray.)

Honestly, it’s not as bad as you think.  I know Mercury Retrograde gets a really bad rap. I can’t think why a planet that rules communication, contracts, the Internet and electronics in general, going backwards would cause anyone any distress… /sarcasm.

Still, as with any Retrograde you just gotta roll with the punches and try and learn the lessons that the planets bring. If you’ve got any sort of problem that you’re avoiding, the Retrogrades will ceaselessly bring it up. It’s probably better to use that energy to deal with it instead of trying to shove it back in the sock drawer.

Here are nine things to bear in mind when Mercury goes … weird.

Think before you speak.

Someone summed this up very well, and forth he life of me I can’t remember who.

Anyway, there are three questions you should always ask yourself before you open your mouth, lest you suddenly put your foot there.

‘Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me now?’

Read terms and conditions.

And not just written ones either.

A lot of relationships come with unspoken terms, conditions and boundaries.

The key to a successful friendship and/or romantic relationship, and indeed family life, is to all be on the same hymn sheet about what is acceptable and expected in the relationship.

Jobs are exactly the same. You can’t expect the new girl to suddenly fall in with your office culture of At Least An Hour’s Overtime Every Day* without telling her that’s a thing.

In my experience as a Tarot reader, I suspect at least 60% of problems can be solved with an Uncomfortable But Necessary Adult Conversation.

Don’t be Nick Burkhardt** and go around asking all of your friends and acquaintances about your girlfriend’s sudden life issues without talking to her first. Really.

Truth is relative.

There is no such thing as complete and unvarnished truth.

Everyone’s perception is influenced by their experiences, beliefs and mental state at the time.

You will never get closure by asking for the truth. You get closure by accepting what you were presented with, healing and moving on.

You will never know why he left you/why she cheated.

In the grand scheme of things, the whys are not always important.

Sorry about that.

Are saying/doing what you meant?

Ah, childhood. ‘But Muuum, I didn’t mean that.’

Intent isn’t always magic.

For example, my Grandmother probably thinks she’s doing me a favour when she puts my fresh laundry on top of my altar.

My stepmother probably thought she was helping when she pulled my jewelry business to pieces.

Thing is, they weren’t.

They didn’t ask whether I would actually like for those things to occur, just assumed that because they’d find it acceptable and pleasing, so would I.

I’ve done it too. We’ve all done it. Just assumed that everyone can read our minds and see precisely what we meant by any action or conversation.

And we’ve all hurt people by doing it.

Just talk to people. Really. Please. Just ask someone if they want something doing.

Oh, and if someone consents to being given your advice, make sure they know when they’re letting themselves in for. What one person sees as friendly advice, another sees as an insult.

Speak up.

Still riffing off the ‘People aren’t mind readers’ thing, what about your words left unspoken?

Alright, some of them probably don’t need to be spoken to another human being, but they don’t need to fester inside of you either.

You don’t have to be ‘good’ at art or writing for it to be helpful.

You have permission to release anything that you want to say into a journal. No one will judge you. It’s your own private space to let go and say what you have been repressing for so long.

Information Overload

We spoke in another post about not hate-reading blogs and why you shouldn’t do that.

You also shouldn’t carry on reading/watching/doing stuff that you’re a bit ‘meh’ about.

Give yourself permission to not consume media that doesn’t fire you up (in the right ways). I know people who’ll read a book to the end even if they’re not enjoying. How. Why. Stop.

You’re also hereby freed from having to read/watch/listen to something as soon as it comes out.

And, and, and you honestly do NOT have to answer the phone just because it’s ringing.  Carve out space and time for yourself to just Not Do.

We live in a 24 hour world, but we are not 24 hour people. There is no way you can possibly catch up on EVERYTHING so stop trying.

How are you coping with Mercury Retrograde?

*Personally I think that’s a shitty office culture anyway, but the point stands.

**Y’know, from Grimm. No-one has a conversation in that show about emotions until it’s far too late. Least of all Nick.

 

 

PBuP: 0?: Jewelry and Rescue Pigeons with BK

This week I’m talking to BlaqKatJewellry about balancing business with a spiritual calling.

(Talk of animal harm, but no details below)

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Why did you specifically pick to make pagan/witchy jewelry?

I’ve been a practicing Pagan for years and always wanted to run my own little Pagan shop. I had visions of how the shop would look, where the items would be displayed and how I would grow it. However life happened and I just never got the chance, but the desire never went away.

Eventually I figured that while I might not be able to start a full Bricks and Mortar Pagan shop, that I could at least take small steps in that direction. So when I found Etsy I knew that was perfect for me. I started with jewellery quite by accident in fact I had actually planned on starting with candles as I love to make spell candles.

However I was bored one day and uncovered an old jewellery making kit I’d purchased (on a whim) years ago. I tinkered around and created several pieces all very Pagan-oriented probably because those are the items that I wear. After getting compliments on them when I wore them out, I started to create more and more pieces, things that I would love to wear, things that inspired me.

My jewellery has been really well received, especially my Chakra pieces and charm bracelets so this is still at the forefront of my shop, though I have branched out to include items such as book marks, pottery and keyrings and I am still planning to branch out into even more products.

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Do you see your animal rescue as part of your spiritual practice, or as a calling?

My animal rescues are definitely a calling. Since I was little and found a little dead bird on the side of the road, I felt moved to look after the Earth’s wild things. It felt so wrong that they could be killed and injured so easily, often by people who were not being careful or who didn’t understand their impact on the natural world.

In my time I’ve rescued a plethora of wildlife and have become a go-to person for others who find injured animals. I would love to move this calling into having a full animal rescue sanctuary to run to help in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured wildlife.

While my animal rescuing is a calling, my deep love of nature is also connected to my spirituality, as I truly believe you cannot be a Pagan without reverence to the Earth and all her creatures.

Pigeon
What’s your best piece of advice for someone who wants to start a pagan business?

I think the best piece of advice is that you need to understand that a Pagan business, just like any business takes a lot of time and effort. I’ve seen a lot of people rush into starting their own business, then 2 months in they are querying why they have no sales. It’s a long process, it’s a continual process. Very few businesses hit success overnight. You have to build up your brand and your stock.

You need to know your products, know your strengths and weaknesses and create processes to streamline your business to make it efficient.

That may sound very jargon-y but it’s actually true. Making the products is the fun part, but running a Pagan business is more than just creating jewellery or making candles or incense etc. There is all the official side too including keeping accounts, doing taxes, dealing with customer queries/complaints, about marketing and pricing. All this can affect your business.

LINKS:

Etsy Shop – http://blaqkat.etsy.com/

Website – http://blaqkat.weebly.com/

Blog – https://witcheryandwhiskers.wordpress.com/

More from Siobhan:

ResurrectionJewelryx Shop

Tarot Readings and More

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5 Lessons from Pluto Retrograde

Pluto Retrograde(If you’re wondering why all of the Retrograde posts at the minute, that’s because 5 planets decided to go Retrograde at the Same. Damn. Time.   Fun.)

What Happens When a Planet Goes Retrograde?

See the Mars Retrograde post for an  full overview, but basically it goes backwards and anything it rules also goes backwards.

What Is the Difference Between an Inner Planet and an Outer Planet?

Pluto’s status astronomically is irrelevant, because astrologically it’s still a planet.  An Outer Planet, to be precise. An Outer Planet plays its effects out over a much longer time – a whole generation of people will have Pluto in a particular place in their charts. This means the planets  a) go retrograde for longer and b) their retrograde is less immediately knee-quakingly BAD. (Although, I do explain why Retrogrades are kinda like injections at the doctors rather than great horrible stab wounds in the Mars Retrograde post.)

Since the Outer Planet Retrogrades deal more with grander feelings and less with specifics, there really is only one lesson with Pluto Retrograde: LET SHIT GO. Since Pluto is Lord of Inner Looking, you are going to be confronted with all of your bad habits and behaviours.  Since at the time of writing, Mars is also Retrograde which is causing you to look back into your past, you will find the answers of why you do certain stuff, and how to not to do it.

Here are some examples to kick start the process:

Bad eating habits

This is not just comfort eating, yo yo dieting and masking your feels with sugar, although those are all bad.

How much of your life are you spending contemplating or talking about what you put in your mouth?

‘Healthy’ eating can quickly become an unhealthy obsession, especially when you’re using it to mask something else.

Can we all just stop ascribing moral judgement to food? Most people couldn’t care less whether you’re having the cake or the salad, and anyone that does is another thing you can remove from your life.

Fuel your body properly, but don’t let it become an obsession, or use food as a way to mask or replace something else.

Using food as a crutch is a weirdly difficult thing to let go of; so don’t feel down if you’re struggling with this. Sugar plays directly with our chemical emotions and it is addictive. As always, if you’re really struggling, seek help.

Spring clean. Everywhere.

You don’t have to do it in a day if you don’t have the energy. In fact, I recommend you don’t, because you won’t. Sort out one small area at a time, and really sort it.

(NEVER go full on with decluttering. Always ends in tears.)

This time, when you declutter, think about why you kept each item. Was it a gift you felt obliged to keep? A keepsake that didn’t really do anything or fit anywhere, but you had it anyway? Something that no longer fit you, but you kept in the vain hope you’d magically lose weight/gain weight/grow two inches? Something you’ve been meaning to mend for the past decade? Something useless you picked up because it was really cheap?

Get them sold, get them donated, get them gone.  Vow not to fall into the same trap again.

If you need a kick up the arse regarding physical clutter, and you have kids, realise this: you will die. You will die, or before then, you might become ill or disabled, and it will fall to your kids to deal with your crap instead of you.

Do you want to be like my Dad and try and find a reason to justify why you’ve kept almost empty paint tins from twenty years ago to your exhausted daughter who’s just spent an entire morning cleaning out your kitchen? The answer is: no, you do not.

But don’t forget that the physical is not the be all and end all of clutter. The other steps in the post will help you deal with spiritual and mental clutter, but have you thought about virtual clutter? My mother has more than 7000 unread emails in her inbox. Please learn how to use the sweep, mass delete and/or block function in your email client. You will feel so much better. It’s not just emails of course, when was the last time you curated your social media accounts? Defragged your disks? Went through your files?

(Psst: Sometime this week there’ll be a post on Virtual Cleaning on ResurrectionJewelry.)

Checking In With the Body

Do you really listen to your body anymore? Its pain? Its pleasure?

When was the last time you saw a doctor?

When was the last time you ate a vegetable?  Conversely, when was the last time you had a treat?

The body is not some sinful thing that weighs down your soul. It’s one of the most important part of you, and needs looking after and listening to.

Learn to speak the language of your body again.

It will tell you when you need to rest, when you need to eat something, when you need to change what you eat or when you need to run.

Listen to your pain instead of ignoring it. You can’t fix something you won’t acknowledge.

We are all stuck with the bodies that we have. All we can do is listen to them, and make the best of them.

Re-learn the difference between self-centered, and selfish.

Every human is self-centered. It is, however, easy to step over the line to selfish. You can take advice and comments about this from other people, but always take them with a pinch of salt.

Sometimes people are trying to make you feel small about yourself so they can manipulate you.

Sometimes people just plain don’t like how you are, and if you don’t really like them deep down, let that go.

However, we all have bad habits, and if someone you’re close to has a problem, try working with it/them. The best habit you can get into is really listening to people.

If you decide the person you’re listening to isn’t worth bothering with, than you can discount their advice.

But the only way to get the true measure of a person, is to listen. And the only way you can listen, is if you’re silent.

 

I can’t tell you* where to change your inner self, but you can use this time to look deeper, and clean out all the crap. It’s a sucky process, but apparently so is everything worthwhile.

What thing/person/attitude have you got rid of this week?

(*Except I totally can with a Tarot reading from my shop, but you know what I meant.)