Bedtime life lessons

Mostly every night, Witchlette asks for Asguard stories before her lullaby. 

Tuesday night, she asked for me to read from her Asguard Stories Book the creation of man. 

This one

Within the three pages of the retelling of the lore, a handful of stanzas from The Havamal are included. 

This is one of them

I remember, pre kids, listening to Louis C. K. and how realistically he discusses being a parent. One in particular is about his daughter who sees wild ponies, is bitten by one, and looks up more information about why they bite to learn it happens all the time. Over the course of the conversation with his daughter, Louis lets slip that one day, she will die. This breaks her heart and her mind. She is 8-10 and just learned that people die. Classic loss of innocence moment. 

Witchlette isn’t going to have that. We don’t speak of death daily and it’s not something we obsess over, but it’s also not something we shy away from. I have never directly stated, “One day, you will die,” but we have discussed death and our version of an afterlife. What we talked about in years past actually lines up pretty closely with what was depicted in Moana, which we just saw this summer. 

She experienced death with my mom’s dog. She understands that plants die and the flowers we see the following spring are new. She understands animals and people die as a part of life, and that it’s just what happens. 

Maybe it’s the world view in which I was raised. Perhaps it’s just the way I’m wired, but I didn’t come to that conclusion until my late 20s. Death was something to be feared. 

Perhaps it’s still too far removed for her to really understand, but perhaps it’s her Pagan upbringing that is making things right. 


Eath Day musings

The web of life. All things are interconnected. All life is one. 

Scientific theory and spiritual ideals say the same. The Earth is alive. Call her Gaia, Jörd, Danu, Terra, Mother Nature, or any other name…She is alive. 

Whether you see her as this 

Or this 

Or this

One thing is clear. We are killing her. 

And in doing so, we are killing ourselves. 

Every person on ever country needs to live as if it matters. We all collectively need to do our part, if not for the good of all of the interconnected life, then selfishly for themselves. 

Humanity is literally burning her away until there’s nothing left. And when that comes, there will be nothing left. 

We have the power in our hands to fix it. 

A little death makes life more meaningful

Weeks ago, Witchlette asked me where babies come from. I smiled and told her, remember when Witchling was growing in my belly?

Slightly exasperated, she said, Before that, Mama.

Ok, well…I remembered back to what I discussed with my grandfather before he passed. He asked me what I believed happened after death. I shared with him what I call The Ether.

The Ether is a delightful place. It is a place of warmth, comfort, and love. It is a place where your spirit rests and recharges after death.

This is what I explained to Witchlette. The Ether is where your spirit is before you are born. When the baby is ready to grow in the mama’s belly, the daddy gives a seed to put into the mama’s egg. The spirit leaves The Ether and enters the baby. Then, the baby is born.

About a week ago, Witchlette experienced her first death. My mom had to say goodbye to her pup, who she has had since I went away to college and who the little Witches played with each week. I sat her down and reviewed our discussion of The Ether. I explained that that is a place where spirits are before they are born and it’s where they go back to after they have died. We talked about physical bodies breaking down due to illness and the physical body passing away while the spiritual body goes to The Ether. She took it all very well with an understanding far beyond her years.

Rest well Pup.

[titular inspiration]

The beauty in death

It has taken a long time, and has been a powerful, painful journey to get to this point. 

A friend of my mother’s passed earlier this year and I felt I could almost shrug it off. I felt as though I didn’t feel enough and I felt callous and cold towards those who are experimenting the death of a loved one. I feel for those who are left, who now have to learn how to live without their dear one in their lives. Especially in cases of the death of a parent when a child still has so much life left to live, or a parent who has to ever say goodbye to a child. But I do not feel sad for the one who has passed, the way that I used to. I do not feel sad for the fact that they have left this plane, for it is merely a transition. It is simply a part of life. 

When my Pops passed, I felt it deeply. It hurt. Not his death, exactly, for he had lived a long and full life. He had a goal, and he surpassed it by two generations. He hoped to live long enough to see his children fully grown. He actually lived long enough to see his oldest grandchildren fully grown and know two great-grandchildren, see pictures of a third. I never hurt for him. I hurt for myself and my family that we would never see him again. I felt pangs of jealousy that my cousin’s child, while very young, would have pictures to look back on and know that she knew her great-grandfather. Pops was ill and Witchlette was too young to risk being in that environment. Witchling wasn’t even a figment in our imaginations yet, and I felt pangs of jealousy when he first came home- he too would never know my Pops the way others did. But none of these hurts are about his death, they are about experiencing life with his absence. 

This brings about the hardest part of death. 

Let them go. 

Samhain is approaching and with it comes time with our beloved dead and time with our ancestors. They should be regularly remembered and celebrated. And that’s what’s great about Samhain- a time to recall the past without reliving it everyday. A one-night celebration without being trapped in what was. 

Think about the Cycle, or about Karma. When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird has died, ants eat it. It’s all about balance. To have life, we must also have death. Without an end, we would not have drive and passion to guide us through life. Death is beautiful because it makes life worth living. 

Embrace Samhain night, enjoy time with your beloved dead. Then release them back from this mortal plane. Do not become trapped in the past. Let them go and continue to live. 


Hard to believe it’s been a year…

After my sister’s passing, and the change in philosophy, I have a different perspective of death. I don’t think it makes me realist or cold…maybe a tad detached…

Change is hard and traumatic. It’s a big deal to move dwellings and change jobs. It’s a huge deal to get married. The bringing together of two lives is not without it’s growing pains. But all of these pale in comparison to the two biggest changes with life- starting it and ending it. Death and birth.

Birth is a hard, and it can be very difficult on a baby. Everything was warm and comfortable and dark and peaceful and warm. And now everything hurts. And I’m hungry. And it’s bright. And it’s cold. But after some time, babies adjust to life outside of the womb and they begin to thrive. The painful period is temporary. Mind, body, and soul receives nourishment in this beautiful journey we call life.

The act of death, I don’t doubt, is just as hard. I also don’t doubt that it’s painful for the person experiencing it. The body shuts down. The mind shuts down. The soul is separated from the body, the physical from the ethereal. But this again is temporary. When the act of death is over, I truly believe, the souls finds peace.

The pain that remains is only for those left behind. The separation from our loved one, the change to a life without that person in it, is the hardest part. The pain is for the living alone.

Perhaps it is because I am able to rationalize this that I am less saddened by death even after only a year. Perhaps I am simply in denial. Maybe a bit of both working in tandem.

I miss my Pops and I treasure dearly all of the memories we shared. He was at the end of his life- a life that he would admit surpassed his own expectations. He was suffering at the end. I cannot mourn that he is no longer here because that would be my wishing he was in pain and I don’t. He is at peace and I find comfort in that.

For my favorite Marine, Irish to his core.





Hubby and I took Witchlette to the playground, which is about a mile walk from the house down a greenway. It’s a very pleasant walk plus a cute little playground at the trailhead. Mid-December it’s a seasonal high in the mid 50s but feels quite nice in the sun. On the way home, I took in the green intermixing with the brown, took a quick snapshot, and had the following poem jump into my head.

Brown, green together
Life and death lay side by side
What was, will again

Life: The Masquerade

It was the great bard who once said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. This was the beginning to a poem which outlined the 7 stages of life but the opening lines fit so many facets of day to day life.

“Life’s a show and we all play our part”, a line written by Joss Whedon for Once More With Feeling. Same concept, almost the same words, but rewritten for today’s audience.

The clothes we wear are our costumes for the show we call life.

When we go to work, depending on the job, is how we dress. Professional level jobs have professional career attire; go to most any store and one can purchase these nicer clothes for work. A suit, dress shirt, and tie for the guys and a suit separate set, either pants or skirt, for the ladies for the upper tier of professional employment. Khakis and a polo shirt for business casual attire. Many employers require uniforms on the job. All of this is done to distinguish employees from the other. To show the employees as a unified team, as a one.

When going to certain events, one dresses a certain way. For sporting events, one dresses in the garb of their team. This goes back to the employees-uniforms relationship. If all fans wear the same jersey, we are all showing that we are a cohesive unit. We can also tell the us from the them. In Raleigh, it is not uncommon to see a good number of away jerseys in the stands. This area is a big location from transplants who may have adopted the ‘Canes as their new team, but their ultimate allegiance will always be to their original home team. There are also the fans who “dress” in paint rather than apparel to show their warrior side and to prove they are “more” of a fan than the person next to them who is just in a t-shirt. You know who I mean- the pack of fools who stink of cheap beer and have to remember their seating order less they end up spelling the word painted across six chests wrong. Again, the cohesiveness compounded with the us vs them…even if everyone is on the same side.

On a first anything…date, interview, day of school…one dresses above and beyond normal expectations in order to put their best selves forward. But the self is always there, just below that perfectly groomed surface. As soon as one opens one’s mouth, the other party can decide if the candy shell goes with the gooey middle.

There is a reason why make-overs are such a big deal. There is a big psychological tie between what is shown on the outside to what is perceived on the inside. One psychological trick when you don’t feel all that great, it to just smile. Even if you don’t mean it, smile anyway. Soon enough, the physical act of smiling will trigger something in your brain and you will actually mean the smiles you are showing. You can trick yourself into feeling happy. By dressing in a way that makes one feel special, one begins to perceive oneself as special.

Our appearance…our every day costume: clothes, hair, jewelry, etc, are all an outer reflection of how we see ourself. They can also cast inward a new perspective if we feel we need a change.

Here in the South (not so much when I was attending church with my mom as a kid in NJ), folks really do wear their “Sunday best.” Hubby has a Homer figure which I got for him many many years ago (pre-Pagan discovery) mostly because he likes Homer but partially as a sarcastic joke- his view of attending church. Homer is in his Sunday best and he has his Bible…and his sports radio and his foam finger. Hubby would physically be in church with his family, but mentally he was already on the couch for the pre-show of the Football games.

When I attend Circle, I have been wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Super casual. Nothing fancy. Comfortable.

I feel I want to do more, bring more to the table. Feel more “pagan-y”.

Hey, maybe a cloak!

So I started researching cloaks. Viking cloaks, Celtic cloaks, long cloaks, mid-thigh cloaks. I’ve been waffling about purchasing one for some time now. Every time I go to Pagan Pride Day, I visit the cloak maker but I never actually go through with the purchase. The more I look, the more I feel like it’s wrong.

This time was more of the same: the more I looked at the various styles of cloak, the more inauthentic it felt. Like I was pushing the issue of being “more pagan”. I was trying too hard.

So I stopped looking.

Something that feels more authentic, more “me”, is a boho look. I dress this way anyway, so it’s nothing new and it’s nothing extreme. I went out and got a few pairs of sweater leggings. I have no problem doing the boho look in the spring, summer, and early fall. I start to have issues when it starts to get chilly and I just want to wear pants to stay warm. Sweater leggings should solve that issue. Boho look it is!

Then last night I had a beautiful ask and ye shall receive moment: my mother-in-law came by to drop off Witchlette’s Halloween costume. They sat with us while we had dinner and played with Witchlette until it was time for bed. On her way out the door, my mother-in-law said, “I saw a coven picture you posted recently…with all of the cloaks. Do you have one?” I’m pretty sure I squealed.

Having a cloak made for me doesn’t feel inauthentic at all. In fact, it feels right. She is an avid sewer- it is her favorite past time (other than playing with Witchlette). Yay!!!!