While we’ve “celebrated” it for years, I never actually looked it up before. It’s a fun, laid back, no pressure holiday. (Dan has a really cool icon on his live journal today.)
It’s been a nice dry, cool, week weather-wise. We’d worried that there would be rain on Sunday when we were at the Eastern Massachusetts Pagan Pride Day, but it was gorgeous, and we made a lot of money. We sold so many striped stockings we put in another order although we hadn’t expected to need to for another several shows.
(RI PPD next weekend, with the Connecticut Renn Faire starting after that) My workshop on Kitchen Witchery was well received- basically about how to use awareness of the energetic and other properties of the food, cooking techniques, etc. you are using to have better control over the final effects. Over 30 people came to it; I went back to the table and told Willow she needed to let some air out of my head, it was so swollen. The program director for next year talked to me about doing RunValdr next year- cool.
As in previous years, the music was nice, but a bit too amplified (it was hard to hear the speakers at the workshops I attended. Thank goodness mine was the farthest out.) Willow and Kat liked one group enough to buy a CD. I found a wolf’s tooth from Canada for $5. The only real reason to get it is because it’s an authentic Anglo-Saxon amulet- I’ll have to look up what it’s for, but I like having authentic stuff. I think other vendors expected rain too, because there were several empty spots- they moved us over to where the blacksmith has been in previous years (right across from the entrance) which probably had something to do with the good sales. We put the brightly colored socks and painted silk up and made a lovely display to greet people when they entered. We were next to Pentacle Press (they sell good books, discounted), and Willow’s immediate reaction was “Keep mother away from the cash box!”. I did find a few books I “had” to get- one is on the pagan background on Halloween (translated from the French) which is fascinating (reminding me of all the wonderful Celtic folklore I’ve been neglecting).
I found a picture from MEPPD where Kat won her TV
This week I’m getting ready for the workshops next weekend: “I’m not a witch! I’m not a witch! They dressed me up like this!” which is about the many other types of pagans who aren’t witches, something that shouldn’t need to be said, but I think Pagan Pride Days are the best place to say it. I’m also doing Perceptions of Witchcraft, which on the surface looks like the same thing, but it’s not at all. It’s about the various different ways people use the word witch and think of witches. I’m also doing one on introduction to Runes, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to many other workshops. Look- this one even has my picture! http://www.ripaganpride.org/index_004.htm
I spent a lot of yesterday working on my class list. At this point I’ve got over 100 workshops I’ve done, some several times, or worked up. I think I’m a good speaker, and I enjoy it. Now I just have to figure out how to get paid for it.
The horror movie marathon continues- I was particularly impressed with Silk, which was a a chinese (I think) horror movie. Silk is what the “mad scientist” called that which connected ghosts to other people- and it was visible with the technology he was using. Huna calls it Ika strands, and it’s called the Web of Wyrd in heathenry. Something connects us all. Silk was a good movie totally aside from the usual creepy effects and plot revolving around ghosts. I’ve found that the oriental horror films are REALLY creepy- one of the things I find most disturbing was explained in a “making of extra”- they have the ghost actor move in slow motion then speed it up which results in that weird way they move. These movies are giving me the impression that oriental ghosts are much more malevolent than European and American ones. It could be that I just have studied our ghosts so much that I find them rather pedestrian, but really, there are very few angry or dangerous ghosts that I’ve read about outside of fiction. Mostly they seem to be either just energy imprints on the world, or spirits who usually come to us because they need to tell us something- usually to our benefit. Of course, anything that makes you change your view of how the world works is painful, and scares a lot of people because they aren’t “supposed to” exist.
There was a really spooky Japanese film called Premonition we saw a couple of weeks ago, so we watched the American Premonition, with Sandra Bullock, which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spooky, just confusing. The premise is that all of our days are so similar it’s hard to tell them apart, and somehow one week of this woman’s life (the one where her husband dies) the days get shuffled so she experiences them out of order, so one day she wakes up and he’s there, one day she wakes up and he’s alive. But they had a problem because they missed a major plot point which would have clued her into which day was which, and they totally ignored it. Didn’t even mention it in the commentary. That annoyed me.
Watched Cabin Fever- a fairly standard college-kids-go-out-into-the woods-and-run-afoul-of-a-mysterious-dang
Aside from the Netflix I’ve been watching the Stargate CDs Mark loaned us (he loaned us, I think, nine full seasons, so it’s going to take a while to watch them all). It’s a good show- amazingly I don’t think I’d seen more than one of them- must have been on a channel that doesn’t come it well for us. Of course, I am frequently irritated by one thing. The premise is that some alien race has taken bunches of people from earth and seeded them all over the galaxy. This is a convenient way to set up that the planets where star gates were built are all pre-selected to be places humans can live (no need to justify a need to put a plot on “type M planets”). Still, they have not yet explained how the aliens managed to grab whole villages undetected (vaguely possible), but worse, how these villages are able to survive without any supporting culture to trade with. Most cultures have some external contacts. Even more irritating is the (unstated) theory that in the absence of cross cultural contact, these cultures stay exactly the way they were when displaced centuries or even millennia ago. Of course, I’m willing to grant a lot less change, but people would come up with new ideas- especially under the pressure of isolation in a new environment- there must be external pressures to not deviate from the norm just as there are catalysts for change. It’s not huge, but it has been making me think. Even small villages are part of a larger culture.
For example, if you take a farming or fishing village which is so small that it needs no warrior class, there is probably a warrior/ruling class that comes by, or protects them. If the tripartite divisions (Warrior-Priest-Farmer) Georges Dumesil suggested for Indo-European cultures, is correct- there would be an internal pressure to re-create the balance if one part went missing. Even if there are other cultures (non-indo-european) that don’t show the same pattern, if they were already in it, there would be an internal pressure to maintain it, and the change would spur some sort of deviation from the original pattern. Which would mean that a thousand years later, the humans wouldn’t seem so obviously Viking, mongol, Mycenaean, etc.
I have mostly been reading my non-fiction books to inform my workshops, but I also tripped over a Charles de Lint book, Spirits in the Wires, which I hadn’t read yet, and liked it very much. I love the way de Lint brings magick into the modern world- in this case, the computer. I also like that in his books, people who are jerks can get better, and sometimes worry about whether or not they are jerks.
I read, or skimmed the Encyclopedia of Natural Magic. It was mostly about the properties of stones, times, herbs, etc. I’m not big on magickal correspondences- so often they seem arbitrary or forced. I tend to remember the woman who said that a ceremonial magician tends to see things in fours. If you find four of something and a couple of them seem to clearly be associated with fire and earth, and one can reasonably be argued to be water or air, then the other must perforce be of the remaining element (whether it is or not). Of course, this same tendency to force connection is done with astrology, runes, numbers, and all sorts of other groups. Let’s just let things be what they are. It’s like when we were kids, I was “the artistic one”, but the thing is, there was a lot of artistic talent in the other kids, but I’d taken that “category”, which was really unfair to the others. When Elizabeth (Willow) started liking unicorns, Diana (Dan) told her that she couldn’t because she’d already chosen them, Elizabeth could have Pegasus if she wanted. Or when Willow was about eight or ten months old I was trying to find out what her favorite color was, and I’d offer her a selection of colors, and she’d always pick pink. If I removed the pink, she’d look for it or refuse to choose. Like people say “what’s your favorite number, or flower or animal?” (or sport?) I don’t have one. Some people do. I don’t think forcing it does any good. If you try to, the results you get will be inaccurate.
I was recently asked what my specialties are: well, Anglo-Saxons, and divination, and healing, and portraits and writing, and cooking and… every time I tried to stop I thought of something else I am really interested in and know a lot about and have spent a lot of time on. How can you leave them out? What am I? I can tell you what I’m doing at a given moment, but that doesn’t define all of me.
Willow got through the show Sunday, but was wiped out Monday again. The extra vitamins, and yogurt, and healthy food I’ve been pumping into us doesn’t seem to be helping much. I still believe in nutrition, but am beginning to wonder why. Is it helping? Would we be worse if we weren’t “being careful”?
Freya is really jumping on Greymalkin a lot lately. Just now Kat surprised her with a live mouse in her mouth which she dropped. Swell. We bought a venus fly trap- not because we figured it would get rid of the flies but because it was cool and cheap. I’ve been trying to pay more attention to cars when we are driving. I figure that if I can learn different herbs and symbols, I can learn to tell a Taurus from a Saturn. Dad said he’d learned to recognize different planes by their silhouettes. I think it’s a case of not giving a darn about what a car looks like, and I figure that’s disrespectful of all the people who seem to care about it. Like sports teams. Obviously a lot of people really care, and I just don’t get it. Which reminds me- every so often I catch an episode of the Power of 10, the game show where the contestants try to figure out what percentage of Americans polled gave a given response. I figured I would be absolutely abysmal at that because I just don’t understand “normal” people. But oddly, as I guess at home- which is, of course what every does, and is part of the appeal, I seem to be predicting these reactions better than the kids (because I’m older?) but MUCH better than I’d expected. Generally within 5-10%. Not that I don’t blow some of them completely, so if I went on the show I’d probably bomb. I was just surprised that I was getting as close as I do. Maybe I’m getting them right because I’m using psychic tools which wouldn’t work under the interference of the audience pressure.
We continue cleaning- somehow the more I clean, the worse the parts that haven’t been cleaned look, so it feels like I’m making things worse, even though I know it’s getting better intellectually. And when cleaning one area, the mess spreads out over into the other areas that were cleaned already. Sigh.
What else? Last Friday I finally got to see Dr. Q. He says that the hernia isn’t immediately dangerous if I don’t go poking at it again, but it probably should eventually be fixed. I guessed it would cost $10-15K, he figured it would be more like $7-8K, and maybe less if I can do without the general anesthesia again. Still, it’s money I don’t have. We can keep trying to improve our income, but even if we get to where we could afford health insurance, I’m sure that it would be not covered as a “pre-existing condition”. As long as it’s not dangerous, I’ll just have to try and save up for it (I think we’ll have to replace the car first). Meanwhile I can try to lose weight. I got weighed on intake, and am over 240 pounds. I’m sure the less fat they have to work around the easier it would be. On the other hand, I haven’t figured out how to safely, permanently take it off in the last 30 years, so the only thing that might make a difference is if the hormonal fluctuations of menopause provide a difference of which I can take advantage.
I went to the lighting store to get the track lighting to install in the kitchen. Actually found some that wasn’t too intrusively modern. But as they were going for it, I asked how we turn it on- because what we have now is a bulb with a pull string. Apparently track lighting always has a wall switch. We are still waiting to hear back from the electrician what to do about that. You may recall that he said that such fixtures should only have 60 watt bulbs in them, and that rather than put in hundreds we should install track lighting with 3 sixties. Of course, another thing about track lighting is that they are directional, which I figure means more dark spots. This is a farm house. It can live with plain bulbs with pull strings.
I stopped at Toyland to try to get a folder for my collection of state quarters, and found that this year the new Playmobils are Romans (or maybe Greeks- inspired by Troy and the 300?) They’ve got a circus and charioteers! I love playmobil. I wish I could figure out how to have a space to leave them set up. Of course, I also like the heroclicks. I like games. And gaming. I think the best thing about gaming is that even if you feel too busy, you do it anyway because it would let down the others who game with you. I wish I could find a gamemaster who’d do a campaign using the playmobils as models. That would be cool.
This month Shaw’s is doing a promotion with Irving where the more you spend the bigger the discount you can get on buying gas. I got 50¢ a gallon off, so we saved about $7 at the last fill-up. Funny how when we work so hard to get 4¢ per gallon off from one station to another 50¢ seems like so much, but how much has it really saved?
Well- that’s about it. Much more mundane than usual. Time to go swash a buckle (or at least put on Captain Blood while I make supper).