Family update

Our family is decreasing by one.

From two grown ups, two kids, and two dogs down to one dog.

We will be saying goodbye to our Boxer, M, this week.

It made it feel real when we told the Littles this morning. Real that it was happening and real that it was hurting.

After breakfast, the kids and I sat down to play a board game and M came over and curled in my lap, as she has always been known to do. After the game, she went to the backdoor and laid out in the sun. Today will likely be the last long afternoon sun she will see.

Hubby and I did not come to this decision lightly. We thought we would lose her more than 5 years ago, when Witchlette was just two months old. We thought we would lose her before then and since then. We’ve had long nights of cluster seizures. But she’s always pulled through. She’s always come out the other side.

Her first seizure came at 6 months old, and she was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy at 1. We started potassium bromide around 2 and added phenol barbital when she was 5, the night we thought we would lose her, 5 years ago. Surprisingly, she is outliving her epilepsy. She hasn’t had more than one seizure at a time in over three years. She hasn’t had more than a focal tick in a year. She also has neurological issues where her backend is no longer connected to her brain. She has no control over her back legs, a rather common issue that has been exasperated by her epilepsy. She has had the neurological issue for so long, she has gradually lost muscle mass in one of her legs. As of yesterday, when I took her for her afternoon walk, she was walking on the tops of her paws- and wasn’t noticing. She falls when as she stands. She falls when she walks. As of last week, she falls when she eats.

Today, while I was bathing the Littles, the doorbell rang and there went M- rushing the door as best she could and barking up a storm. A few hours later, when I tried to get her to go for her afternoon walk, she made it from the front door to the strip of grass along the curb and lied down. After some coaxing, she rose again but only took a few more steps before she lied down again. This was my cue that we are in fact making the right decision. That while she may not be feeling any pain now, it’s likely because of nerve damage and that she should be feeling pain. She constantly scrapes her feet and drips blood everywhere, but isn’t aware that it’s happening.

Before Witchlette was born, when everything seemed to go wrong and every thing seemed to fail, M was there. I went into what eventually because Witchlette’s room and sat on the floor and sobbed. All my frustration and anger, all my sorrow and mourning. She curled herself into my lab and nuzzled me as I sobbed into her.

She taught me how to handle overnights with a baby, as she herself cried all night as a pup. New environment, scared and seemingly alone. So, I slept on the floor outside her crate until she was fully house trained.

Once Witchlette was born, and again with Witchling, M joined me for every overnight feeding. She curled at me feet or sat watch at the door. When I went back to bed, she softly padded behind me. During crib naps for both kids, she slept on the floor beside both kids’ cribs to make sure her tiny humans were safe. When either baby woke, she came and got me before they cried.

She kept me company while Hubby was away for work for what seemed to be weeks at a time a few years. She guarded the house while he worked the late night live audit that had him coming home after midnight. One night, she heard him come in and bolted down stairs, barking and growling thinking he was someone else. When we wasn’t, she calmly padded back to bed.

She was always there, up until two months ago, right by my while I was doing Magick. Some times she would lie beside me. She could feel the seriousness other times and would automatically sit with her back to mine, like she had my 6. Drawing tarot cards, pulling Runes, or journaling, I could always count on her head nuzzling into my lap. She helped me ground while I meditated, giving my breath guidance and allowing me to put my focus on her heartbeat. She hasn’t been able to climb the stairs, where my main working altar is. And I haven’t been able to do deep Magick so workings since then. I’m only just now putting the two together…

Thank you for leaving your paw prints on my heart. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

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Life from Death, a haiku

Clearing out decay

Death from fall to wintertide

Life will grow again.

We had a very busy day today. There’s still more to do, but we’ve got a large portion of what needed to be done done. Huzzah!

Side by side, what we have left

And all of these leaves waiting for pick up

Imbolc weekend

This past weekend we celebrated Imbolc. Saturday we made Solar Crosses with pipe cleaners and Sunday we attended the Imbolc ritual with CotE.

I made two Solar Crosses. One in yellow and green, the Littles’ favorite colors, and one in red and black, Canes’ colors.

For the inner cross, I used two pipe cleaners, each folded over in the middle and one wrapped around the other. For the outer ring, I used three pipe cleaners, each folded over in the middle, and connected them at the points of the cross and to each other.

1) bend 5 sticks in half

2) cross two sticks over and wrap one stick around the other

3) attach the top of the cross to the end of one of the loose sticks to make the first part of the outer ring

4) pull the outer ring down to the left side of the cross

5) attach the second piece of the outer ring

6) bring it down and attach it to the bottom of the cross. It should go past the bottom

7) attach the final piece of the outer ring to the dangle past the bottom

8) attach the right side of the cross

9) attach the last portion back to the top of the cross

10) adjust the cross “seams” as needed to make them even

Here’s a pictorial step by step, using 5 different color sticks to make directions easier. The final product comes off as messy with the various weaves visible, but the steps are clear and that was the point here 😉

Witchlette watched me complete this project and decided to complete her own version. She only used two pipe cleaners, and she started with the outer ring then wove the cross into the middle. Here it is pictured with my originals.

It’s funny that she made something that looks like a heart rate monitor 👩‍⚕️

Disablot/Charming of the Plow/Imbolc

The eve of Imbolc fell on a Friday, and it just felt more than appropriate to hold our Disablot on that night. It was on the night of the February Full Moon when Frigg made herself fully known to me. I wanted to honor both her and this time of knowing.

I gathered table supplies- Frigg totem, seeds to bless, horn of juice, silk flowers to place next to the snowflake candle holders to highlight the juxtaposition of this time.

First, we did our table blessing. Then, we each lifted the horn and completed the Disablot by giving honor to our female ancestors. At each of the kids turns, they honored their chosen gods. Witchlette made offerings to Skadi and Idunn as well as all the Fae and all the “lady gods” while Witchling made a boast to Ullr and Odin.

We enjoyed our meal together and were winding down when I started the Charming of the Plow portion. We talked about the plant life cycle and the seasonal life cycle; we talked about how we would plant some veggies at our new house. We each made offerings in honor of the new growing season, that we would find success.

Lastly, I made an open offering to Frigg by pouring some juice from the horn into the offering bowl. I then led the kids in a round I adapted from Nordic Wiccan. Since I made each line double, it became a call back that I led the the Littles responded: (to the tune of Are You Sleeping)

Spring is coming

Spring is coming

Full of flowers

Full of flowers

Idunn and her apples

Idunn and her apples

All is young

All is young

Corn will be golden

Corn will be golden

Hair of Sif

Hair of Sif

Thor is making thunder

Thor is making thunder

Rain pours down

Rain pours down

Fruits and bounty

Fruits and bounty

Gifts from Jord

Gifts from Jord

Frigg’s hearth and fire

Frigg’s hearth and fire

Safe and warm

Safe and warm

Wintertide

Wintertide

Skadi skis

Skadi skis

Ullr goes hunting

Ullr goes hunting

Ravens cry

Ravens cry

After bedtime, I returned alone to the dinner table altar and made an offering of milk to Frigg.

This morning, I took the offering bowl, and some seeds, and went out to the front garden to finish the Charming of the Plow aspect of the ritual.

Wolf moon

This evening we celebrated the Full Moon at the dinner table.

I was not as prepared as I had hoped to be… alas what was old from 2018 seems to be new in 2019. But, it went off well. I took some insights from Moon Circles and read the small blessing at the end of the article as well.

After bedtime, I have a pile of laundry waiting for me, then I hope to have enough energy to do Moon Work.

Today I said it aloud

I’ve been holding onto a thought since October.

The modern enigma: balance.

Here, I’m not thinking of work-life balance. I thinking of inner balance.

The heavy thoughts started in October, as I ventured out on my one while camping, searching for a meditation site. And oh boy did I find it.

I meditated on the balance needed to function between wife, mother, teacher, and person separate from all of those facets.

I looked to Frigg. The mother, yes, but also the wife, master of the house, and standalone woman who is not defined by her relationships but rather by her meaning to society as a whole.

I have searched for and meditated on Frigg as the wife figure and while she wholly is, she is so much more pivotal as mother that even I have trouble reconciling her as both.

Confession time: I tend to lose myself in my relationships. I always have. Everything I am boils down to who I am in conjunction to X persona. Heck, I am where I am on my spiritual path today because of the ending of my mortal relationship with my sister. I am so head-over-heels with my kiddos that I often choose not to do other events when the kids don’t want to. Other times, despite not wanting to, I go. And I have a really good time. But I get home and hear stories of all that I missed that afternoon and despite enjoying the “my” time, I feel what has been missed to be worth so much more. There are times when I feel, real or perceived, that wanting to be with my kids is wrong. That I need to be without them to be whole. And so I’ve been riding this pendulum since I came out of the darkness with Witchling: All In Mama and Going Out Mama.

I keep swinging between being Mama is “my thing” and being Mama can’t be “my thing” because one day “my thing” will leave me, as it should be, and go stake their own claim and establish their own “thing”. The swinging, really, just left me with heartache and whiplash. Because I am a mom who works. I have “my thing” 6-7 hours a day. I love what I do and I have embraced being unapologetically good at it. It’s my thing, but not my only thing. Trivia night with other moms. Divination and Tea. Showing up late for book club but being welcomed anyway. Being a friend to those who both love my children and respect my want to spend my non-working time with them. Because frankly, my kids are fucking awesome and I have never bought into the mom culture of having kids to get away from them. I want to be around my kids.

I said this aloud to my friend G this evening: I am leaving the shame, real or perceived, from those who don’t have kids, or who have grown kids, over how I spend my downtime in 2018. I am doing what feels right for me and my family, even if it’s not in vogue. If an event is outside of work but before bedtime, and are either unable to attend and unwilling to attend, my chance of attending is decreasing. It’s what has been happening, but I’ve felt I’m doing it “wrong”. And I let what I perceive others to think of my actions dictate how I feel about my actions. I’m not raising them. I’ve got to tune in harder to what matters most.

Theology in Wild Kratts?

In Wild Kratts episode 134, “Little Howler”, the brothers come across a wolf pup stowaway in their backpack. They retrace their steps to return her to her pack.

During their adventure, they find a pack and notice how the wolves are almost always followed by…ravens!

I smiled at Witchlette and asked, “Do you think this is where our ancestors got the idea that Wolves and Ravens are both sacred to Odin?”

We kept watching, and later learned the cooperative behavior between the two species: Ravens act as a security system for the Wolves, and in turn the Wolves allow the Ravens a share of their kill. Wolves run at marathon speed for long distances, but Ravens flight speed allows them to keep up.

Witchlette and I agreed for sure that our ancestors were able to observe this behavior in the Ravens and Wolves of old and figured only Allfather could have a beast of land and a beast of air bond so closely. We’ll never truly know, but it’s a good conjecture.