Monday, August 31, 2009

Schooling

I'm about to start my course work at The New Seminary. I'm reading The Ten Challenges by Leonard Felder, and have my other books ready to go. I'm bouncy, excited, and wanting to work.

I'm also nervous, and a bit shakey. I've taken courses aplenty over the past eight years, but none that were "bought and paid for" or that mattered one way or the other. The other courses were for fun. This one is more real, in many ways. This one counts.

I'm also suffering from just a little bit of guilt. The family is going through such a tough time, financially. We're not starving or anything, but we are very tight and scrimping all around. Part of my brain keeps asking me to put off my education, to set it aside "for the good of the family." I feel guilty because school will take time away from my keeping up the house, cooking, farming...

On the other hand, my education IS important. It's important for my self esteem, and it's important because other people in the family have had their dreams addressed and now it's my time. But I'm still struggling with that guilt.

I'm very pleased with my new altar layout. Things in my room feel much more spacious and clean, and I think it looks both neater and more focused. Because so much of my work this year will be inner work, I wanted to make certain that my altar areas were ready for use, ready to be sat down at and paid attention to. I think that's true, now. My altar spaces now beckon to be knelt at, or stood in front of. They're set up in such a way that they invite my presence. This is a wonderful, good thing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Altar Setup


I had to re-do my altar spaces, because I had to make room for this lovely piece of antique furniture, courtesy of Farnham's wife. This is a gorgeous dark wood vanity, which I have transformed into an altar of many levels. I think it's just incredible! And, of course, now my room is really clean. *grin*

The vanity is three tiered, and I have made the centar section for my ancestors and cthonic gods, the left for Dionysos and the right for Hecate. The mirror is draped with my himation, which can be unfolded from the top to cover the mirror if I need it to be. It provides a beautiful saffron colored frame.

This is my ancestor shrine. For whatever reason, perhaps due to the cthonic nature of it, I always want to have my ancestor shrines under things. This used to be under the bottom shelf of my bookcase, and now occupies the space where your legs would go if this were being used as a vanity. It contains photographs of the people I love that have passed away, and a few small items. There's also a candle in a "chunky red candle holder" that isn't pictured, because I hadn't found it when I snapped the pic.

This is the central, lower part of the vanity. It is the upper part of my cthonic altar. Because it's impractical and somewhat dangerous to burn things under antique wood coated in oil, I have placed my images and skulls, and a tan clay offering cup on the top. I feel this is a safer alternative to burning down the house... Heh. Some of these items were originally on my Hecate shrine, but did not feel like they matched anymore. The bowl of crystals and stones (somewhat right rear, directly in front of the skull picture) is a candle for Persephone as Queen of the Dead. Beside it is a dark green pillar candle for Hades.

Here we have Dionysos' altar. The short Roman pillar will eventually be going outside to the grape arbor shrine, but for this winter it will be here in my room. It has an ivy plant and a lounging cherub on top of it, and a small hand-carved rooster. The side of the vanity holds my tall brass candleholder, a wine cup, an offering bowl, and a small green votive candle that smells like fresh linen. I also have a small pitcher of water there, which is for mixing with wine for offerings.

This is Hecate's side of the vanity. It holds my owl collection (I have UPG about Hecate and owls), the second tall brass candle, a small candle for Hecate, and a clay owl cup full of the feathers of various birds. There's also a little glass offering bowl. I like each altar (or section of altar) to have its own bowl, simply because I sometimes dispose of offerings in special places. For instance, offerings to my ancestors sometimes go out to the graveyard, and sometimes to the formal midden up the hill. Dionysos' offerings often go out to the garden, because they're more organic in nature.

This is sort of an all purpose shrine. It has an offering bowl, my zen garden, two statues that remind me of Aphrodite, and a diffuser (you put a scent in the top part and a candle in the bottom and it makes everything smell nice). This is on top of my dresser. I'm not sure why I have it there... I had these items and I wanted to put them somewhere. I suspect this is the space I will use for the worship I'll be engaging in during my Seminary training.

This is the poster above the aforementioned altar. It's an absinthe poster from the 1870s. It just reminds me of Aphrodite, because of the way her robes are draped, and her stance. She looks extremely sensual. And of course she's a red-head. Heh... I'm fond of this kind of art, but don't own much of it. Farnham and I got this poster a long time ago, on a trip up to New England from Pennsylvania, way before we moved up here. I fell in love with the poster (and I'm very much in love with absinthe), and had to have it. It's a quintessential "goddess poster" to me.

And there you have it, a short tour of the new altar spaces. I hope you enjoyed looking as much as I enjoyed putting it all together!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Upcoming Challenges

On September 12th, I will begin my seminary odessy. Wow, it is just coming up so incredibly quickly! Tomorrow and Friday I get the last of the recommendations and doctors' notes that I need, and my application with check will be sent off. I have the first two of my books (one is waiting for me at home), and thanks to half.com it didn't cost a thousand bucks.

The book which has me most intrigued is The Ten Challenges by Leonard Felder, Ph.D. Read the reviews on Amazon if you get a chance - high ratings and then comments like, "It is so intense I can only read a few pages at a time," and things like that. Oy.

In the front of the book, there is an Author's Note. It reads:

Some of the issues addressed in this book can stir up intense feelings and memories. Anyone who has a history of psyciatric disorder, feels empotionally unstable, is taking tranquilizers, or is on antianxiety or antidepressant medication should not do the exercises in this book without first consulting a qualified mental health professional.


Wow. Now that's intense. From what I can tell from talking to other students and others who have read the book, the author is quite sincere in his commentary there. I am prepared for the next ten months to be extremely challenging on an emotional/spiritual level.

I have a meeting with Rev. Alison on Friday, where we'll discuss my possible internship with my church. I would be incredibly thrilled to be allowed to intern there. I would get practical experience in a loving environment, and on top of that I'd be giving back to a spiritual home that has made me feel incredibly welcomed.

Alright, off to finish my Exegete application for Neokoroi...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Survey

Please take a look at this survey. I think it's interesting, and I suggest that we pass the information along and let those willing answer the questions. I filled it out! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Because I am the Grammar Queen

I just had to share this with everyone! I laughed when I read it. I wonder how many of the high school kids will understand why it's so funny . . .

The Student Theme
by Ronald Wallace

The adjectives all ganged up on the nouns,
insistent, loud, demanding, inexact,
their Latinate constructions flashing. The pronouns
lost their referents: They were dangling, lacked
the stamina to follow the prepositions' lead
in, on, into, to, toward, for, or from.
They were beset by passive voices and dead
metaphors, conjunctions shouting But! or And!

The active verbs were all routinely modified
by adverbs, that endlessly and colorlessly ran
into trouble with the participles sitting
on the margins knitting their brows like gerunds
(dangling was their problem, too). The author
was nowhere to be seen; was off somewhere.

Today, I'm grateful that I have a room to go into, close the door, and be alone in. It's nice...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gratitude Month

I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere, someone said that August is Gratitude Month in the blogosphere. So... I am going to try and remember to write up what I'm grateful for each day this month.

Though I was busy the first three days this month, I did make note of my gratitudes:

Aug 1 - I'm grateful for having plenty of wood for heating us this winter!
Aug 2 - I'm grateful for a place of worship that is supportive and joyful.
Aug 3 - I'm grateful for friends and dinner parties and kids running around.

Today's gratitude:

Today, I'm grateful for neighborhood teens who lend a hand with the garden and do a great job!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The New England Bean Supper

Well, I've finally participated in an official NE bean supper, and at my church, no less. Sis and I volunteered as waitresses tonight, and it was a good thing we did, as several others didn't show up and we did a bit of double duty. Luckily it wasn't busy (according to the regulars, at least... seemed plenty busy to me LOL). We were running in and out with plates of wieners and bowls of two kinds of home made baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and a variety of desserts.

I have to say, it was fun. It's a great fund raiser for the church. Apparently tonight was the 342nd consecutive monthly bean supper at the United Church of Winchester. Whew!

What fun!