Just a few thoughts

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Crystals from WitchOnTheRocks pt.1

So these are just a few of the stones and crystals I've gotten from her. I'm still in the process of getting pictures of everything. Check out her store: http://www.witchontherocks.com/
Her YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/WitchontheRocks
And her blog, http://hearsetoheaven.blogspot.com/

Uruguayan Amethyst, my prized piece (I wish this showed up better, it's absolutely stunning!):





Rough Amazonite:


Rough Moonstone:


Rough Tiger's Eye:


Big hunk of Lapis Lazuli (my husband's):



Blue Celestite, I believe:


Rough Crazy Lace Agate (ignore the bed and toys in the background lol, that was the place with the best lighting):






Large piece of rough Blue Apatite (I'm going to post more of this later because it's gorgeous!):



Two of my tumbled Sunstones:


Tumbled Lepidolite (trying to get better pictures of these):

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ostara

I rarely actually celebrate a Sabbat, and today is no different.  I actually had intentions of letting my daughter do some Ostara themed crafts with me (she's way too young to do them alone), but I really lost track of time. It's been a busy week for my family, and because I'm not really a Spring/Summer person and this winter has been more Spring-like than Winter-like, I'm not really in the "Celebrate Ostara!" mood.

Ostara was the first Sabbat I ever celebrated on my own, 3 years ago. Well, not on my own really, since my husband was there. It was a nice, crisp and cool day and that evening we walked to the park and then just enjoyed the breeze, the returning ducks and other critters, the budding leaves, etc. It was nice.

Though I've held Pagan beliefs as far back as I can remember, after the passing of my grandfather I went through a rough patch. I was 18, newly married and pregnant, and all around spiritually confused (because of my past with my family, in a Christian home and my newfound freedom as a legal adult) and miserable. I basically went through an "atheist phase" where I couldn't believe there was a higher power because of how badly he suffered at the end. I hate saying "atheist phase" because I know that, like Paganism and being Goth, Atheism isn't really a phase, but I can't think of any other way to put that.

Basically, I was finally free to quietly practice whatever religion I wanted, and it was a beautiful Ostara day. The next year, and since then, the winters grew milder and spring became an early summer and I grew to sort of hate this time of year. I hate the heat, once temperatures go over 60-65 (and today it's supposed to be 80, which 5 years ago was nearly unheard of here in March), and I lost any warm and fuzzy feelings I had once held about Ostara.

I say once again that I am not Wiccan. I am very Eclectic and I celebrate what feels right to me to celebrate. I do celebrate Samhain, usually Yule, and a couple other Sabbats throughout any given year, but I celebrate other "special days" as well.

So if you're ever wondering why I don't do a big, elaborate post for the Sabbats, that's why. If I don't feel strongly enough about one to celebrate it, I'm not going to do a blog telling about it, how I celebrate it, etc.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stones & Crystals 1: Amethyst for Healing and Well-Being

I'm going to try to do an ongoing series about stones and crystals, my experiences, recommendations, etc. I am not an expert at all on this subject, I am very much a novice still, so bear with me. There are, however, some stones that I have much more experience with and those are the ones I'll be talking about first (stones that I think everyone interested should acquire first).

I have no idea why, but for about two years now amethyst has been my favorite stone to work with. It's so useful and versatile, I think everyone should have at least a couple of pieces.

Amethyst can be used for depression, headaches, general well-being, insomnia, nightmares, calming, stress and anxiety relief, heightening intuition and other metaphysical abilities, and much more.

It's almost like clear quartz, in my opinion, in how useful it can be. Clear quartz is like the white candle of the crystal realm- you can use it for pretty much anything. Amethyst, at least for me, is a close second.

If you have tumbled amethyst, you can use it in many different ways. You can take a crystal bath, place it on your body, carry it with you, etc. I personally always keep at least one piece of tumbled amethyst on my bedside table. I've had nightmares for years, and I'm an insomniac, and I'm bipolar, AND I'm prone to debilitating migraines. I've found amethyst to be very helpful for all of these things, and more.

When you have a headache, you can hold a piece of amethyst to the points where the pain is worst. I had a headache last week that lasted for about 3 days. On the final day, I went to bed and broke  out my amethyst as a last ditch effort. Within 10 minutes of alternating where I held the amethyst, the headache was almost completely gone  and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I'd slept well and the headache was gone.

When I'm battling a period of depression, I keep amethyst on me at all times. I'll hold a piece at night while falling asleep, keep a piece in my pocket  throughout the day, bathe with it, etc., and I think I can thank amethyst (at least in part) for finally breaking away from cutting and suicidal thoughts.

I like to carry some around with me in general because it helps keep me calm during times that may prove stressful (family gatherings, trips to the mall because I'm empathic and it can be overwhelming, trips to the doctor when something may be really wrong, etc.), and now that I have  a bunch I'm going to keep a piece in my car and purse.

I also typically keep amethyst (and a couple other stones) handy while I'm working with the tarot. I usually meditate for a while with the stones, after programing them for working with a divination tool, and then proceed with readings.

Overall, if you're starting a collection of crystals/stones, amethyst is definitely one of the first I would recommend acquiring because of how useful it is.

Let Me Clear Some Things Up

First of all, I am *NOT* Wiccan. I am a Witch and I consider myself a Pagan. NOT a Wiccan.

Second, if I give out a description of how I do things, or make a suggestion, etc., you do not have to agree with it or take my advice, etc. If I recommend a book, or say that I do something a certain way, and suggest trying it, that does not mean YOU have to try it. No book, blog, YouTube channel, etc., is going to give you all the information you will ever need or instantly make you a Witch. Yes, they can be helpful and I recommend reading/watching everything you possibly can to help you figure out what feels right to you, but that doesn't mean that after reading a book and watching a couple of YouTube videos you instantly know how to do everything.

When I talk about "winging it" with rituals and the like, that doesn't mean you have to. I have been doing this for a while (not decades, but I have been a student of sorts for over 10 years, at least in this life) and I have come to a point where I know what works best for me and what feels natural, etc.

Pretty much everything I do is very simple. Think Cottage/Kitchen Witchery. I'm not into big, elaborate rituals and ceremonies. It doesn't feel natural to me and I can not focus properly to accomplish anything in such a setting.

If you're wondering where this is coming from, there seems to be a troll on YouTube who keeps going around to tons of Pagan/Witchy themed channels, watching a video or two and leaving rude comments about how the owner of the channel is not doing things right and other such nonsense because they aren't practicing the same thing the troll is (or claims to be). I saw this particular troll's comments on a few more well known channels and it really shocked me to find a comment on mine, since I'm a nobody on there, but I was targeted as well. I replied to a comment left by this troll before I put two and two together and figured out it was the same person I'd seen hateful comments for in the past on other channels. So, I felt the need to clarify a few things.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hiding Who You Are Will Not Make You Happy

This is something I've struggled with for most of my life: Trying to be what/who everyone else wants me to be, instead of just accepting myself and moving on with life and actually ENJOYING it.

First, I tried to squash out my Pagan, Witchy ways to conform to my family's ideas of what a person should be (Christian). That obviously didn't work out, which I realized shortly after high school. However, they still do not know (at least not for sure, even if they do suspect) that I'm not a Christian. I intend to keep them in the dark, at least until I'm much older. Where I live, grandparents have rights to grandchildren (at least under certain circumstances, it's hard to explain simply and quickly), and I've seen first hand how ugly it can get when a grandparent isn't happy with the parent's way of parenting. That is not something I want to go through, nor could we afford to go through it. It's a long and complicated story, so I'll move on.

In high school, I knew what "Goth" really was. I found out sometime around the age of 11 or 12 because I'd heard about it, became interested (since what I had heard seemed to describe me and my personal interests and the like), and did my research. I found that I adored the fashion aspect, loved a lot of the music, and seemed to have the mindset. I had found the thing that best described me in a single word.

But, I attended a high school full of judgmental idiots who took everything Hollywood said in movies as gospel (more on this in a moment).

I'm bipolar, that became apparent when I was about 10 or 11, and because of various things I turned to self-harm. So Goth, right? WRONG! Now not too many people knew about the self-harm thing. In fact, I don't think anyone knew until high school. I also wrote (and still write) poetry. I started writing when I was 4 or 5 (things of my own, that is) and continued. The things I wrote about almost always had a dark aspect to them.

Add the writing dark stories and poetry to wearing all black, and bingo we have a Goth! At least according to the idiots at my school. But they also associated the depression, and other random less than happy things with being Goth. So, my instinct was to protect the name of the subculture and deny it applied to me...vehemently.

Sure, I tried educating the idiots (no, I do not feel bad at all calling these people idiots because they were, and most still are), explaining what "Goth" was as well as the historical aspects of "Gothic" (architecture and the like). It did no good. I spent most of 7th-11th grade being bullied, teased, etc. until people became afraid of me. They weren't afraid of me because I was violent, but I wouldn't take crap from them. Each year there were fewer and fewer people who dared try to start a fight with me or bully me because I wasn't afraid to call them out on how stupid they were being and the fact that I was twice their size (I was a size 3/5 at the time and about 110lb and 5'3" so you can imagine how tiny some of the girls were). As for the guys who were twice my size, well, one dispute with the largest football player in school was enough to silence them after they saw I didn't back down.

Sure, I took the crap a lot of the time and just ignored them, but when it's the same people every day, eventually it gets old. I was more likely to immediately jump to a friend's defense than my own, though, so they learned quicker to leave my friends the hell alone, at least when I was anywhere around.

By 11th grade, the year I left my public school so I could graduate early, most people just left me alone and some were even nice to me. But, by the time I started going through some of the same crap in college and my family was still pressuring me to be "normal," I was starting to give in to dressing more "normal."

I still got all "Gothed up," but not like I used to. Those were the days I was happiest and felt most like myself...and it showed to those around me. But, when I was about 20 I almost completely stopped the "Goth thing," and my depression, and other negative emotions, came out full force. I lived for about 2 years pretending every day to be someone I'm not and it wore me down a lot. A while back, I gave up on that and decided that I was a freaking adult and it was time to stop pretending for good because if I tried to please everyone else, I would never be happy. So, here I am in all my "Gothiness." The first day I was totally back to normal, my husband actually told me he had missed my "Gothiness," but hadn't realized what it was he was missing until it came back. I was happier, all around. Our home is no longer full of building negative energy and there's peace, for the most part.

The point of this horribly long post is that you shouldn't hide who you are to please other people because you will not be happy and it will backfire at some point. Sure, giving up the act didn't fix every problem in my life, but nothing will fix everything. It did, however, make life much more enjoyable.

On Being a Pagan Witch and Part of the Gothic Subculture

Hmm... I am by no means the picture perfect example of either. But really, who is? Everyone is different, that's part of the beauty of being human, we all have our individual tastes, interests, etc.

This has been on my mind a lot recently, but I haven't really had time to sit down and blog because of various family things, but hopefully that's changing now and I'll be back to blogging at least a couple times a week. With that said, I'm going to jump right in to this and my thoughts, sorry if I ramble or don't make sense, but feel free to ask questions or comment on something and I'll try to clarify anything that didn't make sense.

First of all, I do not know any other Goths in "real life." I also do not know any other Pagans or Witches in "real life." Well, that's not entirely true, but I live about 350 miles from the one that  I do know and I haven't seen her in about 7 years. We do talk from time to time, though. So, most of my contact with other Goths and Pagans/Witches is online.

As for the Goths I know online, I haven't had a single one tell me I'm less of a Goth because of my religion. Within the Gothic sub-culture, there is no established religion, so why should they, really? However, I have encountered other Pagans and Witches who have told me I'm less of a  Pagan or Witch because I'm a Goth. Perhaps this is because they've only had personal encounters with "pretend Goths..." The type of people who dress in all black, do seriously weird makeup, walk around blaring Marilyn Manson, and try to scare people, etc.

Ok, that is not Goth. Trying to scare people and act like you're the biggest badass on the planet is not Goth. Usually  those people are younger, teens, who think they know what being Goth is all about, but they really don't.Those are the people who give Goths a bad reputation and make people believe we're all like that and we're evil, blah blah blah. NO!

There are also those Pagans/Witches who say that "embracing the darker parts of life/finding beauty in the darker things" can not possibly be Pagans/Witches because it's all about balance. Ok, how do those two things NOT go well together? Embracing the darker side of things/finding the beauty in them does not mean you're focusing solely on them! It just means that you see the benefit of BOTH the lighter side and the darker side. In my opinion, that fits in pretty well with Pagan beliefs as well as with Witchcraft.

People seem to get hung up on absolute basic descriptions about things, and instead of learning more, they immediately shun them. Isn't that what a lot of people do when they hear about Witches, Pagans, etc.? And don't Witches/Pagans complain about people being close minded and not taking the time to learn about things before judging them based on what Hollywood and the like have said? So why in the world do they (Pagans/Witches) do the same thing? Because it's human nature.

I think I'm going to stop this blog now because it's getting long, but I will definitely be posting more on this subject later. Possible series? We'll see.