Archive for October, 2013

Old hallows eve, or Halloween to the man in the street is celebrated every year on the 31st of October. The night thought to have the thinnest veil between the living and the dead, when spirits come out and energies are among us… Or more recently, the night where kids get dressed up and go begging door to door for sweets.

Why I have a problem with this? Don’t think I dislike Halloween, I most definately do not, but we live in the Southern Hemisphere and this means that tomorrow is not in fact Halloween but rather Beltane or May Day is if is more commonly known by our Northern hemisphere counterparts. Halloween (or Samhain) was celebrated by traditional Pagans in May… Nowhere near October :) What frustrates me is those who mention Halloween is against their religion and therefore won’t dress up, yet I hardly take offense to the holiday being celebrated 6 months after the fact.

To put this simply for the non Pagans among us (I love you all, just by the way), Pagans live by the Wheel of the year… The phases of the moon… The changing of the seasons. Here is the Wheel of the Year for the Southern Hemisphere :

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What we incorrectly celebrate as Halloween on the 31st of October is the night of the dead. It is the acknowledgement of the death of the god and the death of harvest, crops, life. It is a celebration of the end to acknowledge that before there can be a start, there must be a finish. This is Samhain. The end and the beginning of it all. While the premise is correct, the time of year is all wrong and should be celebrated in May (Autumn/Winter).

What we should really be celebrating is Beltane or better known as May Day (October Day for us?). The holiday that falls around Spring / Summer. The celebration of life, fertility, sexuality. It is when the God and Goddess become lovers and the start of true Summer… It is a festival of abundance and of course my favorite holiday! It’s a holiday of love and fire.

May Day

Beltane

That said… It doesn’t mean I don’t love to celebrate and yes, I will be dressing up for ‘Halloween’ tomorrow… Just remember to get your witch hats out again in May, I will need someone to celebrate with then.

For those interested, here are brief descriptions of the Pagan holidays :)

Neopagans usually celebrate Samhain on 31 October – 1 November in the Northern Hemisphere and 30 April – 1 May in the Southern Hemisphere, beginning and ending at sundown.[57][58][59][60] Some Neopagans celebrate it at the astronomical midpoint between the autumn equinox and winter solstice (or the full moon nearest this point). In the Northern Hemisphere, this midpoint is when the ecliptic longitude of the Sun reaches 225 degrees.[61] In 2013, this is on 7 November.[62]

Neopagans usually celebrate Beltane on 30 April–1 May in the Northern Hemisphere and 31 October–1 November in the Southern Hemisphere, beginning and ending at sunset.[32][33][34][35][36] Some Neopagans celebrate it at the astronomical midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice (or the full moon nearest this point). In the Northern Hemisphere, this midpoint is when the ecliptic longitude of the Sun reaches 45 degrees.[37] In 2013, this is on 5 May.[38]

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Samhain
April 30/May 1

Northern Hemisphere Date: October 31st
Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween.
The Pagan year begins (and ends) with Samhain. It is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year. This is the time when the boundary is thinnest between the worlds of living and dead; the powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful but dangerous time to communicate with lost loved ones. Pagans celebrate Samhain as an acknowledgment that without death, there can be no rebirth. At Samhain, the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God passes into the underworld to become reborn of the Goddess again at Yule. It is a time to honour those who have gone before us and it is a poignant co-incidence that Australia and New Zealand’s day of Remembrance for their fallen in war, ANZAC Day on April 25, should be so close to the southern Samhain.

Find out more about Samhain from Wikipedia and All Hallow’s Eve.

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Yule (Winter Solstice)
June 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: December (20-23)
Winter solstice or Yule is the shortest day, and also the longest night of the year. It marks the return of the Sun’s warmth and light, and the promise once again of a productive Earth. Pagans celebrate these aspects with candles, fire, greenery and feasting. At this time, Yule logs are burned. The Yule log must traditionally be the root of a hardwood tree, and in Australia mallee roots are ideal for this purpose, as are Tasmanian oaks and all types of Eucalyptus. The Yule log is burned down until nothing but a small piece remains, which is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year’s Yule fire. A Yule tree is placed within the traditional Wiccan home, with a pentagram (five pointed star) at the top, symbolizing the five elements. Presents are exchanged and many Witches stay up all night to welcome the sun. This is symbolic of the Goddess giving birth to the God and then resting after her ordeal.

Find out more about Yule from Wikipedia and Midwinter’s Eve: Yule.

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Imbolc
July 31/August 1

Northern Hemisphere Date: February 2nd
Also known as Imbolg, Candlemas, Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia and Brigid’s Day.
Imbolc is the time of the beginning of beginnings, the time to consider carefully what you will do with the year stretching before you. Imbolc brings the awakening of the life force when the first green shoots of bulbs appear. Life is stirring again and this marks the Goddess recovering after giving birth while the newborn God is depicted as a small child nursing from his mother. The God is growing, spreading sunshine all around causing things to grow. It is a time to honour the feminine and get ready for spring. At lmbolc, the Australian forests are bright with the colour yellow, the Acacia trees coming into full flower. Until fairly recently, the 1st of August was “Wattle day” in Australia (it has now been moved to the 1st of September).

Find out more about Imbolc from Wikipedia and Candlemas: The Light Returns.

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Ostara (Spring/Vernal Equinox)
Sept 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: March (20-23)
Also known as Eostre.
The Equinoxes are the balancing points in the cycle of the seasons, when the day and night are of equal length, reminding us of the harmony of the whole. Buds of flowers and leaf, all manner of eggs and just-born life are celebrated in decorations and imagery as Pagans rejoice in the Earth’s reawakening. The urge of spring is to do, create and bring in the new. Here light overcomes darkness with lengthening days bringing the magic of new growth. Ostara is associated with childhood and new life, and the God and Goddess are perceived as children, personifying youth and innocence before their entry into adulthood. The Goddess, as the Maiden, covers the earth with flowers and love while the God grows to maturity. This is a time to honour the masculine and to celebrate everything that is great about being alive.

Find out more about Ostara from Wikipedia and Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox.

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Beltane
Oct 31

Northern Hemisphere Date: May 1st
Also known as Bealtaine, Walpurgisnacht, May Day, (Northern Hemisphere) & Novey Eve (in Southern Hemisphere).
Beltane, the beginning of the summer months is at the November cross-quarter. This is the festival of the Great Rite – of sexual union between Goddess and God. Beltane is the spring fertility festival and there is feasting and celebration – a great festival for lovers! Beltane is the most popular time for Witches to be handfasted. This is the time when the brilliant red flowers of the Flame Trees highlight Australian forests and gardens. Our famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup, is happily coincident with southern Beltane, being run on the first Tuesday in November and taken as an unofficial holiday across Australia.

Find out more about Beltane from Wikipedia and A Celebration of May Day.

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Litha (Summer Solstice)
Dec 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: June (20-23)
Also known as Midsummer.
This is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a time when the powers of nature are at their fullest. In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short night. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Due to fire restrictions in Australia throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those throughout the rest of the year. No candles can be lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed outside throughout much of the country. Litha falls in the dry stifling heat of summer in the southern part of our land, but in the north, Litha falls in the hot, wet season, and represents fruitfulness. In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time. This is a time of ascendancy of the God, at his most powerful now, while the burgeoning Goddess brings forth the bounty of the Earth.

Find out more about Litha from Wikipedia and A Midsummer’s Celebration.

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Lammas
Feb 2

Northern Hemisphere Date: August 1st
Also known as Lughnasadh or Lunasa.
Lammas is the “cross-quarter” day marking the first harvest of early grain, where the first loaf of the bread from the harvest is broken and shared in the name of the Goddess. All crops associated with grain and of the season are sacred to this time. Much festivity is coincident with Lammas in Australia, with Australia Day being marked on January 26. It is a time to reflect on the successes of the year and to reward yourself for jobs well done. Lammas magic can be magic of facing up to change. The God gives his energy to the crops to ensure life while the Goddess, as Mother, prepares to transform into her aspect as the Crone. The God loses his strength as the days grow shorter.

Find out more about Lammas from Wikipedia.
Find out more about Lughnasadh from Wikipedia, and about both from Lammas: The First Harvest

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Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
March 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: September (20-23)
Also known as Madron.
Mabon is a balancing point in the light and dark of the year, the day when the sun has equal hours in and out of the sky. It is also the second harvest. At this time food is prepared for storage, jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved for the coming winter. Pagans celebrate this as a rite of Thanksgiving, a celebration of harvest abundance, an appreciation of hearth, home, and family. It is a time to reflect on what it means to be a Witch and re-affirm your commitment to the Craft. This is the time when the Goddess is mourning the God even though she carries him within her, to be born again at Yule.

According to Elton John and Blue and some other dude who did it before they did, sorry seems to be the hardest word… I disagree. Sorry may be the most embarrassing word but it’s Goodbye that’s the hardest (Actually, most difficult but who’s a grammar nazi here anyway?).

I remember a dark, dingy, hot and sweaty Doors nightclub a few years ago where a placid girls night out turned into a party that left me with a cracked toenail and a year long blood blister… The UDI’s were endless. That night I met an awesome person who has turned out to be an amazing friend and almost a brother to me!

Tonight, a few years on, I say Goodbye to CaptainAwesomeDownUnder as he starts his new life across the seas in jolly Oz… And parting is such sweet sorrow!

It’s difficult when you know that your friend is doing the best for himself. When the decisions he is making are the right ones and when everything he is doing is to better his life and his future, it definately doesn’t mean you want to see him ago :(

So thank you my friend, for the drunken debauchery and quiet dinners. For being a part of our lives, however brief, yet making the most incredible impact. Thank you for providing laughs at your Dutchman jokes, for witty banter and for your dry sarcasm that we have grown to love and will miss daily! I hope that you never forget us and never replace us! See you soon… Ok?

Until we meet again…

V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villian by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. (he carves a “V” into a sign) The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. (giggles) Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

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My 29th birthday is mere days away. I am not like most people around their birthdays in that I actually thoroughly enjoy mine and look forward to it for months before the time. My poor husband has to contend with birthday lists and entertaining me and my notions of my birthday ‘month’, birthday ‘week’ and of course my actual birth DAY.

It is not all party and craziness though, I assure you. As I am getting older, I spend the time around my birthday reflecting on what I have, what I would still like to achieve and how much time I have left to do it. It goes without saying that around this time, throughout all this thinking, I am reminded of where I came from and what I have learned.

So for this year, here is what I have learned up to my 29th birthday…

  • Almost 30 : Not everything has to be achieved and completed by 30. At the age of 21, 30 is thought to be old. At the age of 29, turning 30 is only the beginning.
  • My mom was always right :  With 2 children of my own at the age of 29, I find myself constantly echoing my mother from my time as a child. It is unavoidable.
  • Handling my mistakes : No matter how many mistakes I have made, I have bounced back. I am still here, stronger than ever and even when I didn’t realize it, I was learning something from each and every mistake. (And trust me, there have been many)
  • Love : So I didn’t marry my childhood sweetheart, I don’t think I even had one? I kissed many frogs before I found my prince and I am quite confident in saying that I am now married to him. He accepts me for all my flaws, he loves me because of them and not in spite of them.
  • Be Yourself : It is perfectly socially unacceptable to be different and I love to be different. I am a 29 year old mother of 2, full of tattoos and piercings with a love for things dark and alternative. I used to think I was the black sheep of, well, everything. Now I truly don’t care J I am different, I am unique, I have my own sense of style and my own way of doing things. I love myself for it!
  • Acceptance : That said, it is best to allow your children to be whoever they want to be. I have a daughter who is girlie, loves pink and every now and then throws a skull tee into the equation. I have another daughter who prefers the tom boy way. I love them both equally – No matter who they want to be.
  • Choosing your Battles : Very importantly and especially this year I have learned to choose my battles. And there are many… I face battles daily at home, at work, with friends, with family, with my husband, with my children and even with my cats. Life is not normal without a battle or 2 here and there, it is how we choose to deal with them. I used to only fight battles I knew I could win (Which was mostly all of them), now I fight the battles that will be for the benefit of myself and others.
  • Let bygones be bygones : I have loved and lost many times, friends and family. Often at my own stupidity, however recently an old friend has come back into my life and it was as if we were never apart. I think I have become wise in my old age, accepting when I am wrong (Sometimes) and having the gall to apologize when an apology is due.
  • Change : My life is a constant roller-coaster of change. The truth is that the only constant in life is change and I am learning to accept this. More importantly, the change I am seeing within myself! Yes, I am a dark goth-like princess with a penchant for nail polish but sometimes every now and again I have started wearing dresses and headbands, channeling my inner Marilyn. I notice the change within myself thanks to friends and family pointing out my latest style habits and commenting that they actually like it. Every now and again I like to get girlied up, deal with it.
  • Eat cake, but not too much : I cannot handle the cake like I used to, a glass of coke and slab of chocolate goes straight to my ass. Sadly, I am coming to an age where I do have to watch everything I eat. That said, enjoy life. Take a day off. Have a cheat day. Eat cake, just remember to share.
  • Excesses : On that note, I cannot even drink like a Trojan anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I can handle, I just don’t want to. This is a sign that I am aging. I don’t fancy getting slammed every night and staying out until 5am, purely because I don’t think my body can handle the hangover. That does not mean I don’t enjoy doing it every now and again, I will be sure to have a few drinks tomorrow night and be properly hungover on Sunday, it is tradition.
  • Lastly… stop moaning. If you don’t like it, change it. We all have a rough day here and there but as I read the other day, it is a bad day and not a bad life.

Happy birthday everyone, hope you have as much fun on the day of my birth as I do!!!

Until next year

Shevy

 

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Rarely does a news story grab my attention and prompt a blog post about it but this one I couldn’t leave alone. A parliamentary attendant from the public, asked to remove himself from parliament for his casual clothing and you guessed it… Visible tattoos. (a beautiful geisha and day of the dead girl might I add).

This display of discrimination for whatever reason, choice of clothing to choice of ink, has prompted this ink owner to visit the equality court and lay his case. He has been discriminated against and not because of the color of his skin or sexuality that we expect.

I’m not ENCA or CNN or any other news acronym you can think of and I’m not here to give my version of this gentleman’s story.
What I do want to comment on is the discrimination against tattooed people, every single day.

I know hundreds of people with tattoos, from one tattoo to ‘you have an addiction’ (That would be me). My husband is tattooed as well, in his corporate client visiting environment, all tattoos must be covered at all times. In my own corporate environment, my own tattoos must always be covered. In church, tattoos should not be visible. Even at weddings and funerals. Many situations call for the ink to be hidden, it’s just the way of a stagnant society in an ever changing world.

Now I have no problem covering up at work, I understand my dress code and adhere to that willingly. Do I continue to tattoo? Yes. Do I cover? Yes.
What I have a problem with is a family and friend visit to the zoo with our children where you’d swear that we were the zoo animals, the elephants got no love that day. Thought to be the worst parents in the world for inking our skin.
Trips to shopping centers where stares are countless.
Let’s not forget my wedding pictures where myself and bridesmaids were well tattooed, they’ve been guffawed at many a time.

I ask the question, when will tattoos truly be acceptable? When will people finally get that our choice of decoration is exactly that, a choice? Will it take the generation of our children to encourage the world that our tattoos do not make us misfits as your high heels don’t make you a hooker?

I don’t mind being stared at… Each new piece giving someone something to talk about… I only hope that the stares one day become admiration instead of anxiety.

Miss Understood
Shevy

Every day I travel the same route home on my scooter and every day I get to one stretch of road in Bryanston that is absolutely horrendous to drive on for me and my bike. The road is bumpy, hardly tarred and practically one massive pothole that has been filled and refilled a hundred times. My poor bike (and bum) take quite the daily beating.

Why not change my route you ask? Truthfully, I have thought about another possible route and somehow all routes lead back to this well used stretch of “road”. There are days I drive and think, what am I doing to myself / my scooter and then there are days that I strategically navigate the road all Jason Statham like and come out unscathed ready for the rest of the journey home.

The truth is, I have come to expect this horrid road and have almost started to look forward to it. Each day that I drive over this poor excuse for Tarmac, I get better at it. Each day I learn new ways to get around it, better for me and better for my bike. I am becoming so skilled at navigating this road that cars actually follow my lead and know exactly where to put their types to avoid calling auto quick… With a little 2 wheel leadership :) My entry speed has become an exact science. My seated position almost second nature. It just so happens that this all goes down at approximately the half way mark home and I have gotten so used to it that I don’t even bother thinking of an alternate route anymore… I just weather the storm.

Sometimes in life you have to be that bike, sometimes in life there will be obstacles like that road. Some days you will find a way around it and other days you will encourage and motivate yourself to navigate through it. Some days you may get a bent rim, other times a following into greener pastures. For the first time ever I am equating my mundane journey home to life. You just have to push through the obstacles and you will be a better driver, you will know what to expect and you will be able to lead people through those obstacles with you…

I have never given so much respect to that terrible stretch of road, but I am starting to look at it in a new light. A challenge. An obstacle. A hurdle I am getting damn good at overcoming, even if I do say so myself.

Remember that there is never any reward without risk… Avoiding the road would just be playing it safe. No one every achieved anything by doing that.

It’s not roses everyday, but at least make sure you are in the rose garden, playing amongst the thorns.
Miss understood
Shevy

Last night at about 1:30am, I woke up to yet another disturbing dream which I could vividly remember. I tried to recount the dream to various people today and with each retelling, the details I remember get fewer and fewer. A work colleague gave me the idea of keeping a dream journal… At first I thought this a lot of work but now I think it’s a phenomenal idea. What better way to relive my dreams than to write them down and read them out and investigate them even after my own mind forgets it.

First dream journal entry… 30 September 2013

What’s left of my memories don’t make much sense.
A large mansion like house
Children and husband present
Large wolves attacking the building, crashing through doors
We were on the top floor of the building and a large black wolf came to attack
The wolves were clean and washed with no blood
I was breaking up dining chairs and pulling off legs of the chairs to use as weapons

That’s all I can remember.

I promise the dreams get a little more exciting with the more I remember.
Time to keep up this dream journal.
Happy dreaming :)