Reality and Rhythm

Nearly New Moon

(Sorry about this entry rambling a bit. I’m taking it from notes I wrote in my journal.)

I’m currently reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Today as I was reading it, I thought my own sense of reality isn’t always normal. Also, if perception is reality, then why do I continue to imagine a conflict between the reality I experience and the reality I imagine “normal” people experience? I know the world is more than mortar and stone. Mortar and stone are real, but so is spiritual reality. The god-forms in American Gods are real too in a way, not just in the imagination of its author.

I believe our gods change over time, as we change and our environment changes. Rather than new gods being created though – as happens in the novel, – I think the powers we think of as gods adapt to become associated with new things and new ideas. Deities of communication, crossroads and commerce, for instance, become associated with the internet, electronic communication, and virtual worlds. Lilith probably started as a Sumerian demon, but has since become a modern goddess of modern women. Odin is All-Father to modern Norse heathens, much as He was to Vikings of old. His modern worshipers are different from old Vikings though, so He must be changing somewhat too.

I believe I have a matron deity who’s name I don’t know. From dreams, I see her as being associated with the sea, with a kind of primal sea of creation, death and rebirth, and with a subterranean sea. Sometimes I wonder if she could be Yemaya, Mami-Wata, Mara or Nammu/ Namma. She might even be Isis for all I know.  I usually see her in my dreams as the ocean itself. The one time I saw her as a person, she had fair skin, but deities can appear however they wish to people. There was a dialog in American Gods in which the main character was asked, “What is a god?” My immediate answer was “power”, so maybe deities can be viewed as concentrated and conscious forms of power? I view all things and all deities as aspects of the one Deity of Creation, but each has it’s own persona and associations.

My reality seems often to be a conflict between “should” and “want”, between hunger and self-control, between imagination and mundane reality.  Just wanting doesn’t make things happen though. One has to gather, focus and direct power. One has to plan, work and believe. What if practical actions were teamed with magical belief and focus? I can burn a candle inscribed with runes while I look for jobs online. I can cast spells before and after job interviews….

There’s a part of my mind that says “Magic isn’t real. It’s just a delusion,…just like auras & chakras, psychic empathy, psychic vampirism, spirits, gods and hope are delusions. Nothing is really real except hunger and death. Everything else is just a trick we play on ourselves to keep us alive and reproducing.” If this is true, then there is no real reason to keep living. I don’t have children. I don’t have a pet to care for anymore. A few people would be sad for a while if I were gone, but they’d get on fine without me.

I sometimes feel like there is a power that’s trying to destroy me. Sometimes I think this is my Devil, the one portrayed on my Soul Collage cards. It tries to get me to lose hope and give up. It tries to get me to kill myself or, if it can’t do that, to make me so anxious and depressed that I can’t do the things I’m meant to do in this world.

The world we live in is so complicated and interwoven that it’s possible for us to have huge effects on other people through relatively small actions.  Maybe I exist in this world to push positive events in small ways?

I’ve been thinking lately of the magical power that must reside in regular places and objects. Magical power isn’t only in what we call the “natural” world, because everything is natural. Some things have been manipulated and crafted by people, but their components (physical and spiritual) are still natural. Spells are ways to gather, focus and direct magical energy. As such, spells can use sticks and stones, pen and paper, pixels on a computer screen, or just the imagination and will of the caster. Using symbols that have an understood meaning to many people (and spirits) through time and place help a spell to more easily direct power, – but everything is symbolic when it comes to communication and spell work.

I recently read a novel called Fifteen Dogs, in which the gods Hermes and Apollo make a bet on whether a group of dogs given human intelligence and language would end up just as unhappy as humans or not. There is a line in the book that I think is an important idea on how both prayer and magic work. It said something like, “Nature loves rhythm.” One dog in the story started praying to his idea of what must be the ideal dog, which he thought must be a real dog somewhere, not just an idea. He began leaving offerings for this ideal dog in a secret clearing, over and over again, until Zeus took notice of him and took pity on him. It probably helped that this dog was the leader of his pack and wanted to be a good leader (because like calls to like). Zeus couldn’t interfere with the bet between Hermes and Apollo, but he did appear to this dog as this ideal dog and told him that when he died, He would grant him any wish he had at that time.

Nature loves rhythm. We can see this is true in the tides and the seasons, in the spiral shape, in the pulse of quasars, in light waves and magnetic waves. Chaos and imbalance have a place in nature too, but patterns, repetition and rhythm can create structure and control.

In magic, rhythm can take the form of a repetitive chant, drumming, or a repeated ritual. If we repeat the same prayers or similar rituals over and over, they probably gain power to catch the attention of deities and spirits. They do certainly affect our minds, since a repeated prayer or mantra can bring calm and better focus. Repeated behavior becomes habit. Repeated thoughts become ingrained. Repeatedly trod paths become roads and highways.

I took off work today to get my car air-conditioning fixed. It cost me $865, but I have to have AC with my long commute to work. I keep worrying about not having enough money. I keep fearing that everything is going to fall apart in my life. I keep fearing I’ll end up homeless and sleeping on a sidewalk or that I’ll end up killing myself. If there’s a Devil that wants me to kill myself, it has my anxiety and depression to use against me. I also have a primal resistance in my psyche that wants me to stay alive though. – Repeated negative thoughts have power, but so do repeated positive ones.

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Depression doesn’t just go away

Depression - grey rose

I’m almost ok.

My job is ok – except that I worried all Thursday about making a mistake clocking in and Friday I worried over wasted time that wasn’t even my fault. I worried over whether my supervisor was annoyed with me, when he probably wasn’t. I have enough money for rent and gasoline, but not much else. I sold plasma today, and my arm hurts now. My dog has medical issues, and I can’t afford a vet. I cried several times last weekend because I missed my old friend who made me homeless. I’m angry that my life has been difficult. I’m sad that it isn’t much better already.

I don’t want to complain. I want to explain.

I isolate myself, then feel alone. I want more, then feel like I have less. I’m glad that I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, that my car runs, that I have food to eat,…but I’m still not happy. I’m still depressed.

Depression doesn’t go away when things get a little better.

I’ve been trying to focus on buying what I need, rather than what I want, but I still bought a few books and fast food. I don’t want to feel guilty about that. I want to be able to treat myself to a few treats. I want to be kind to myself, because it hurts too much when I’m mean to myself. The world is hard enough without me telling myself that I don’t deserve little treats, that nobody likes me, that I’ll never be happy, or that I’m a failure at my life.

I shouldn’t keep thinking that I wish I’d been able to kill myself when I had a chance, that my mother had aborted me, or my father had killed her when she was pregnant with me. I should keep thinking that I’m here for a reason, and I wasn’t able to kill myself because I still need to fulfill that reason.

I need to believe that my life will get better, not keep thinking that maybe it will only get worse again. I need to be happy that I have a job I don’t hate, rather than fret over how this company hires 70% temps so they don’t have to keep them for more than a year and never have to pay them decent benefits. Let the glass be half full, instead of half empty, and don’t worry that the water might be poisoned.

Enjoy the rose, without worrying about the scratch of the thorns.

 

How Do You Keep Your Balance?

balance - rocks.jpg

My second night back at the phone bank job went well. I’m losing some of my anxiety and hesitancy to ask for money when a potential donor says no right away.

I woke up feeling ok this morning. I sold plasma and got to see the end of the movie Passengers at the plasma center. I bought a few groceries – but spent too much on dog food that was marked down but still too expensive.

I still don’t feel safe most of the time. When I read my cards, I’ve had bad cards come up a few times, including the 10 of swords, which could mean someone planning to stab me in the back. I keep wondering if it’s my roommate. She said she was glad I worked things out with our landlady, but I have a hard time trusting her completely. We’ve got one of her friends living here now, taking over my landlady’s old room. Maybe she wants to get me out so she can have another of her friend’s here? She and her friends are all young and smoke weed for fun. I probably seem like an old fuddy-duddy. I think being witchy is not seen as a bonus for most people either. That probably either spooks people or makes them think I’m weird. I try to stay out of the way and in my room most of the time.

How can you tell when your intuition is good vs. just being paranoid?

The betrayal and abandonment I’ve already experienced in my life makes me hesitant to trust people. When my roommate throws out my food, puts her stuff on my bathroom shelf, or when I can’t find things, I immediately think she’s trying make me feel marginalized. When I find the things I misplaced though, I’m glad I didn’t say anything about it.

Am I misreading the vibe I keep getting that she doesn’t really want me here?

I’m not happy. I’m still scared. I still don’t feel safe.

Lately I keep wondering if I should move to Vacaville, to be close to my new job. I don’t have money to move though. I don’t even have enough for the rent I’m supposed to be paying where I’m living now.

The next payday will bring some money, but it probably won’t be enough. As long as my blood protein level stays up, I’ll be able to get some money for my plasma though.

I wish I could be feel safe and be safe.

My Ancestor Altar (Soul Collage Cards)

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My mother isn’t actually dead, but she’s not the person she used to be. Alzheimer’s has slowly eaten away at her brain for the last ten years, so now her mind is like that of an infant. As my Soul Collage card for Mom shows, ours was often a strained and difficult relationship, though we had some fun times too. I admired her for her independence, strength, resilience, humor and “joie de vive”.

My relationship with my father was better, despite him being married to another woman other than my mother and how he abandoned me after I graduated from collage. He looked after me after school when I was younger, helped me do my homework, read with me, taught me how to ride a bike and swing a bat. He taught me a love for science and logic, as well as for keeping an open mind about hidden creatures and paranormal phenomena. He gave me my allowance and bought me ice cream when I got good grades. He shared with me the poetry he wrote about fallen comrades in WWII. When he left, he gave me the items he’d kept in a safe deposit box while I was growing up, including a little poem he wrote about me as a small child.

I put a cup of coffee with lots of sugar and milk in it on my ancestor altar for him today. Next to that I put 3 butterscotch candies. He liked coffee candy too. Maybe because he grew up during the Great Depression, he learned to add as much cream and sugar into his coffee as he could? He had a harder childhood than my mother did, but she also had her share of hardships. He was named after an earlier sibling who had died in infancy.  He always hated that, because he felt like the “ghost” of that other child made it hard for him to be his own person when he was young. He used to do his homework in the local pool hall, because there was too much yelling and noise at home. He hung out at the local brothel and was sent to buy little necessities for the prostitutes, because they weren’t allowed on the proper side of town. He probably left home pretty young to make his way in the world. He never said much about his father, who I gather wasn’t very nice, but he loved his mother, who was probably kinder.

I used to have a few black and white pictures he gave me of himself as a baby, his mother, himself as a young man, and the house he was born in, but they were all lost when I became homeless last year. I have a few other pictures of him with me as a young child that I rescued from my mother’s house before the squatter took it over and changed the locks.

I have a picture of my sister and her boys on my altar. She has them to mourn her and think fondly of her. My father probably only has me.

I have a picture of my dear wolf-dog Tasha, my “fur-daughter”, who was the closest I’ll ever have to a child of my own.

These are the 3 passed-over relatives I think of most often, though I sometimes think of  my mother’s aunts and parents too. Her mother died when I was a baby, so I only know her from the stories my mother told about her.

Once she sent my mother out to pick a bucket full of cherries for a pie. My Mom thought she couldn’t fill the whole bucket, so she put dirt in the bottom and cherries on top. When my grandmother dumped the bucket out into the sink, my mother ran, thinking she’d get in trouble. My grandmother just laughed though, realizing my mother hadn’t meant any harm. My mother said her mother often cried, so I suspect she suffered from depression. She said she was thankful for her wonderful children though, so I imagine she was a pretty good mother.

My mother and my sister took their middle names from my grandmother. When I was born, my mother gave me my sister’s name for my middle name. My grandmother complained that I should have been named after her too, because a child is supposed to be named after their grandparents, not after their siblings. My mother laughed and said, “You already have 2 named after you.” I’m glad I was named after my sister, but I used to think that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her after my grandmother to continue her remembrance.

On my mother’s side of the family, I’ve always felt like the “throw-away child”. My mother put my sister’s and brother’s names on our great family tree,  but she never put mine on it. My mother used to tell me that she thought my father had a son by another woman, but he never spoke of any other children, so I think I was probably his only child and the end of his line.

I think he tries to look after me now, so I don’t feel quite so alone.

Running Out of Time?

Hourglass

I expect my landlady may show up tomorrow and try to hand me a 3 day notice. She sent a copy of one to my roommate to give me today, but if it’s dated for tomorrow, that’s probably not legal. I didn’t respond to her text notice last night, and I don’t think sending a text like that is legally binding anyway.

I  filled out online forms for my new job today, the one that doesn’t start until November 28. I also talked to a hiring manager who’s interested in hiring me for my old job at the company that’s now under new ownership. That would be closer and probably easier, if my old supervisor wouldn’t stop them from rehiring me.

Almost all the tarot readings I’ve done for myself or that others have done for me say everything’s going to be fine, Success is either here or right on the horizon, but I still need money that I don’t have. One guy did one reading for me with the 5 of Pentacles (Poverty and Suffering) in the future, but that card was pretty much the exception from the rest of the reading.

My roommate wants me to talk to our landlady and explain to her that I’m about to get a job and rent money. I feel like I want to hide from her until I have the money to hand to her.

The job in Vacaville scares me, mostly because the company is so strict, but also because the long drive might be hard on my car and the long hours might be hard on me.

Taking my old job seems easier, but every time I dreamt of going back there to work as a temp, the same management problems from before were still a problem. In my dreams, I always leave thinking I don’t have to work there anymore and it’s not my fault that they’re still so messed up. In “real life” people seem to be leaving that company like rats leaving a sinking ship, so I don’t think that’s actually a secure job either.

I wish I could get something NOW, to start Monday or sooner, so I can pay my rent and other expenses that will hit next week.

I sold plasma this morning and put $20 of that $25 into gas money. New California gas taxes hit tomorrow, so I wanted to fill up my tank today. I can get another $30 for selling more plasma on Friday or Saturday, but I can’t continually give twice a week, because my blood protein levels would drop too low.

A Devil & Paper Horses – part 2 (dream interpretation)

40217317 - white orlov trotter horse in rye, golden sunset

The Devil in tarot can represent being bound by addictions. For me it represents depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s the force that tries to destroy me, the self-destructive force which I have to continually fight against.

According to this page – http://www.spiritanimal.info/horse-spirit-animal/ ,

The horse spirit animal symbolizes personal drive, passion and appetite for freedom. Among all the spirit animals, it is one that shows a strong motivation that carries one through life. The meaning of the horse varies depending on whether this animal spirit guide is represented as wild, tamed, moving freely or constrained.

Horse spirit animals are likely to represent your inner strength and driving force in life. A typical symbolism for the horse is one of an animal representing physical strength, vitality, but also our psychological or emotional ability to go on in life.

Depending on what this spirit animal means to you, it could symbolize your ability to overcome obstacles in life and pursue your goal no matter what may stand on your way.

According to psychologist Carl Jung, horses symbolize natural forces mastered by human beings. Just like we harness a horse to ride it or use its power, we can harness our own energy or nature’s to serve us and bring us further.

A horse spirit animal, especially when it appears to you in a dream, is likely to represent your energy or drive to express your authentic self and succeed in life. This spirit animal could also be a reflection of how well you deal with your primitive desires and urges, whether you live with them in harmony or if they are difficult to control.

If your horse spirit animal appears to you in a bad dream as a weak or suffering animal, it could characterize a mental or emotional state you experience in your waking life. If the horse is mistreated or suffers in the dream, your animal spirit guide could warn you to take your needs seriously before you’re going deep in trouble.

Such an image is likely a call to consider what supports you and brings your energy and joy in life as opposed to confining yourself into limiting beliefs or other people’s expectations. For instance, look at constructive ways to support others while taking into account your own needs.

White is associated with elevating your mood or spiritual aspirations; the white horse is a symbol for developing awareness of your instincts and intuition. [End quote]

For me, the 3 white paper horses are a direct corollary to the 3 white puppies in the previous dream. The puppies represented my child-like vulnerable side that needs to be protected, but is in some way being neglected and starved.

The paper horses may represent writing, as well as the antidote to the negative thinking which the devil symbolizes. In some way this negativity creates my desire to write, and thus to harness and transform my negative emotions into something positive and aspirational.  The Devil in Tarot is not entirely negative, but is rather something that challenges us to overcome it’s negative aspects, while incorporating it’s life-affirming positive aspects. Horses represent a similar kind of physicality and life-affirmation, but controlled and thus without the negative side that the Devil represents. The color white further emphasizes positive spirituality.

In the earlier dream with the puppies, the one told me it was in need of nurturing. In this later dream from the same night, I helped rescue the vulnerable pets, then went back to rescue the paper horses – symbolizing my desire to live and create meaning and purpose in my life.

The clock tower building represents time somehow – either the pressure of time or learning through time? – Note also that I’m not alone in this fight against the devil, but have the help of some friends or a kind of community of like-minded people. Battling this devil is my own fight, however, even though I have their help in establishing a place where we can all feel safe.

Why are there multiple pet animals? Just now I’m reminded of the animal spirits called daemons in the book, The Golden Compass. Perhaps they represent the daemon spirits of the other people too?

 

 

A Devil & Paper Horses – part 1 (a dream)

origami horse

I’m writing this dream here instead of in my dream journal. It’s an anxiety nightmare.

I’m looking over a big dark room below me, like a basement full of clutter. I’m standing at the top of these stairs after just climbing out of the room myself. Maybe there’s a storm coming and water threatens to flood the room? There were other people and a bunch of small pets in the room that I just helped climb out, and I think they’re on their way to a safer place. Then I look back and see 3 more small animals. They seem to be tiny white horses. I walk back down the stairs to rescue them too. They’re small enough that I can hold all 3 of them in my hands, but as I pick them up, I realize they’re made of paper. They’re just slips of paper that have somehow been magically animated. They still seem alive though. They still seem to have individual “souls” of some kind. As I hold them, I can feel the paper softly brushing against my hands. I know I’m dreaming now, and the physical sensation seems very unusual and wonderful.

I realize the devil or a devil is down there in that basement too. I think he created the horses to try to keep me down there longer. He’s trying to trap me again, but I’ll keep fighting him. I’m also not going to abandon these amazing little horses just because he’s trying to use them to make me vulnerable to him. I hold the horses in my hands as I run away from here and find the place where my friends and the other animals have gone for safety. It’s a tall brick building. The upper exterior looks like a clock. I fly up to a balcony and go inside. There’s a big room here too, dry and well lit, full of furniture and shelves full of all kinds of things. I put the paper horses down on the ground, and they run around as if they’re alive, just like the other pets here. There are dogs, cats, and rabbits.

Everyone here seems safe, but I still worry about the devil chasing us. I fly outside to look around, then try to come back into this room. Outside are dark, narrow, winding city streets, with tall buildings flanking them. The space inside looks a little different now, maybe not as safe and comfortable, but I know places keep changing in dreams, so I tell myself this is the same place and we’re all still safe. I know the devil is still out there too somewhere. I can feel him still stalking me and trying to get me. I wake some time after this.

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My Soul Collage card for my “Devil”.  It represents depression and suicidal thoughts.

 

I’m trying to get ready this morning for another interview at 11 am, for a chemistry lab technician job. It would be a little closer and probably pay better than the one I interviewed for yesterday. – Wish me luck.