Sunday, February 28, 2010

Altars over time: Part 2

Despite calling this "Part 2", there were a couple steps between what was previously posted and my altar's current setup. That being said, here's the photo of ye olde altar at my new apartment:

I have added some dried sprays of leaves (oak and rowan) living in my tankard for the tree, a vase of dried flowers from this past autumn, Tarot cards, a drop spindle, an in-progress wand, and a hankie full of shavings from making the wand. It seemed better to save those shavings for a future spell or blessing of some sort than throwing them out.
There's also an oil warmer in the upper left, which currently has some scented wax that melts down and makes my room smell like clean laundry ^^ That scent and the white color remind me of spring.
Alas, I have no candle to place in the vine-carved holder, so for now it's helping to prop up one of the Tarot cards. I'm sure the right candle will come along eventually.
You might notice a bit of broken glass in the upper right corner... that used to be a seven-day candle and was part of my largest/most powerful spell-working to date. The glass is there as a reminder of the true power words can have and that every action has consequences, regardless of intentions. That particular spell may have served its purpose, but I must still learn to wield such power wisely and only in times of great need. (The other reason it's still there is I haven't gotten around to cleaning it up or replacing it with something else. Less noble, but just as true.)

Otherwise, most of the elements found on the altar's previous incarnation are still there, if moved or covered by something else at the moment. I think with the warming days and change of life, my altar will soon change again as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Altars over time: Part 1

I saw this thread on the ADF Ning site for a while now--basically a show-and-tell of personal altars and how they change and develop over time. Having finally dug out my camera, I can now start my own little story ^^

Going clockwise from lower left corner:
The white candle in the small tray is for the Ancestors, lit in remembrance of my family (both blood and spiritual). The two round brown things are buckeyes, which I picked up as a freshman on campus. I liked having them in my pocket just to run my fingers over (and later on noticed the resemblance to guy parts... but that's ok. Somehow I doubt Frey minds ^^).
The oil lamp in the upper left is reserved for the dark half of the year, which I define as when nights are longer than days. Since I got this all set up over a year ago in September or October, it wasn't quite the Fall Equinox by then, hence the oil lamp with (fake) yellow flowers in the lower right for the light half of the year. The oil lamps also serve as a kind of offering to the Alfs and Wights, earthen spirits. Back to the top center is a green candle (scented of kitchen herbs, as I recall) for both the Tree and the Gods. Its carved soapstone holder has a decorative vine motif which I thought fitting as well.
In the center is a green pair of chopsticks crossed with an Irish flute my aunt brought back for me from her trip to the Fair Isle. I can play a little, but I'm better with a recorder... generally, this one stays on the altar.
To the upper right are a mug which once held a vanilla-scented blue candle. It looked quite nice there, was another thing to light on fire (hehehe) and I had a vague hope of burning out all the wax in order to use the mug. Haven't gotten that last bit out of the bottom yet though...
And the tray next to that holds some looseleaf chai tea that I'd rather keep and use as incense than throw away after spilling it.
The very center is the offering bowl, where bits of food, flowers, and small burnables go.

At the time I had this setup, I was living in a different apartment than I am now. Back then I was able to bury my offerings in a corner of the backyard and scrub out the offering bowl with soil. It was also easier to light candles and incense more often, and I was able to smudge with a sage stick when needed.

Whew. If you read this far, congrats! ^^
Next week: new apartment and new setup.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Unexpected, yet welcome change

With all the stress and bs my guy and I have been going through lately, I've noticed that the lack of physical activity is having an effect on my waistline.

Related to this is the fact that due to differing opinions and stress, S. has decided that he's done with everything dojo. Given that it was such a huge part of his life before this, it really saddens me that he's willing to throw it all out the door over a poorly salvaged talk. It doesn't help that he's taking this whole thing extremely seriously and personally, and as such can be very pessimistic sometimes... I just hope things will turn out all right and he will decide that maybe dojo isn't worth just throwing away.

That being said, we've stopped going to dojo on Tuesday and Wednesday nights these past couple of weeks and dangit, I had to do something. Since S. has a class that runs pretty dang late on Mondays, I decided that tonight I would haul my sorry behind up to the local university gymnasium and spend some time working out.
I did have some misgivings about it, especially when I was home looking for suitable clothes to bring along. yet something in me said "You know what? Just go there and do it." I'm not quite sure where that little voice came from, but I'm extremely grateful it came when it did!

I started out on a stair machine for 25 minutes, and then did some reps on a couple different machines for upper body strength interspersed with my almost-regular set of sit-ups. I think I spent about 45 minutes there, and by the end I was feeling energetic and confident (both qualities which have been sadly lacking lately). This is good, and I intend it to continue--along with Tuesday nights at the dojo, hopefully I can stay in better shape and keep on feeling like at least something is working out as it should.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seeing the silver lining

With all the snow we've been having, it's amazing that I see next to nothing as far as snowmen, igloos, etc. around here. You'd think a college campus would have some more creative artwork around here... which is why I bugged out of work early on Friday to make one.
Although I don't have a picture for you at the moment, what I made is an homage to this (click photo to see the whole thing):


(Calvin and Hobbes are copyrighted to Bill Watterson, of course!)