31 days of Paganism

Starting tomorrow, August 1st, in addition to your regularly scheduled programming I am going to be posting each day answering different questions regarding my relationship to paganism and witchcraft, and talk about how my spiritual practice has become what it is today. I’m calling it 31 Days of Paganism! I’m really excited to share parts of myself with you all, and hopefully it will inspire some discussion with you all about your own paths, what is similar and what is different, and strengthen our little community. I know, big dreams, but I’m an idealist. I really believe that if we keep ourselves open and honest and really put intention in our work, we can create community, even on the internet.

I found this idea on a couple of blogs which I linked on my 31 Days of Paganism page and I decided to do my own version. Some of the questions or topics are the same as the originals I found and some of  them are rephrased to specifically relate to my own life (like my interfaith relationships), questions that I imagine people would ask me if they wanted to get to know me and how I live a spiritual life as a pagan/interfaith-y person. So yeah, get excited for 31 days of awesome. And if you want to get in on the fun and join my 31 days of Paganism, please do click on the link above or go to my home page and  click the drop-down menu and select “31 Days of Paganism”, where I will have the questions for each day listed. If you post anything, you can count on me to share it with others!

On Top of Spaghetti, All Covered With Cheese

I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed!

A few weeks ago at work I participated in an orientation of sorts for new hires (I’ve been working here since November, but as a temporary worker. I was offered a regular job here at the end of June). I won’t go into specifics about what was done during orientation, but during one session we were asked to remember a childhood song and share it with the group. I picked what I’ve always called the Spaghetti song, even though it is obviously about meatballs and not pasta. When I sing this song, I think of the many MANY hours I spent in the car with my brother to and from Davis, where my parents would meet pick us up/drop us off for their scheduled weekends. There were some years where we lived most of the time with our mom and visited our dad on weekends, and sometimes it was the other way around. But we always met in Davis because my dad’s house and my mom’s house were in cities three hours apart, and Davis was the halfway point. As you can imagine, two kids in the car for 6 hours every weekend is fun for no one, so we would sing to pass the time. One of the songs we would sing was the Spaghetti song.

Many times my grandmother would drive us and we would beg her to sing that song, and plenty of others, over and over again. There was Strawberry Jam, Dear Henry, the Dummy Line, and later on I’m Gonna Tell, which is one of my favorites:

I’m gonna tell, I’m gonna tell!

I’m gonna holler and I’m gonna yell,

And I’ll get you in trouble for everything you do!

I’m gonna tell on you!

It’s such a goofy song, and it makes me laugh (that’s why I like it so much). One thing  that is so central to my life is singing. I sing when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I want to remember and sometimes when I want to forget. There are songs I cannot get through without crying because they are so emotionally significant or stimulating that I can’t stop the flow of tears (of joy, of pain, of grief and relief). Singing keeps me connected to humanity. Singing with others is one of my greatest joys. I think singing can and should be a part of any spiritual practice because it is an easy and meaningful way of connecting with others and with the Divine. I don’t know a lot of spiritual songs that I feel i can incorporate into my rituals, but I plan on creating my own in the future (don’t worry, I’ll keep you in the loop).

Living While Phone-less

Last Friday my iPhone was stolen. It was a real bummer. I have no idea who stole it, and there’s no way to find it at this point because I had to erase all of its data so all my personal stuff wouldn’t be compromised. At first I was just kind of shocked  that it was gone, then I had hope that maybe it was just misplaced, or that it would turn up again soon– maybe I would find it’s hiding spot, or a good Samaritan would find it and bring it back to me. No such luck. And unfortunately I was foolish enough to decline insurance, and I’m 8 months into a 2 year contract, which means I have to buy a new phone at full price. Of course, I don’t have that kind of cash right now, which means i’m phone-less until my next paycheck– next Friday. So yeah, two weeks without a phone.  Continue reading

Letting Go Feels Pretty Good.

After putting Judaism on the back burner I felt an almost immediate sense of relief. Honestly, it’s hard spending most of your time defending your spiritual decisions, and although it was fulfilling I don’t think I was fully ready to take that on. So when I finally gave myself relief I had this burst of energy. I wrote a song, a chant, and wrote a poem for my prayer book! I’m not ready to share anything yet, because part of me is really self conscious about my creative works, but just getting it on paper is a big deal for me. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that I’m not perfect,so not getting it right the first time I put pen to paper, having to revise or do more than one draft infuriates me and prevents me from starting a lot of creative projects (including blog posts). That’s probably why I have so many half finished short stories in abandoned notebooks, and also why I have so much yarn and yet no handmade hats or scarves to my name at the moment (I knit and crochet). The truth is that I have a hard time enjoying the journey– I’m all about the destination. I want things to get done and I want them done right. and that can really interfere with my learning because I get tunnel vision on the destination and I don’t explore. And if I hit an obstacle I give up in frustration. Continue reading

Stepping Back from Judaism

I am feeling more and more everyday that a jewish identity and a pagan identity are incompatible. As much as I love the idea of being a Jewitch, I worry that it is too much to have to fight for. I can’t find much of a community for those Jewitches, online or otherwise. Most resources online are really outdated– one blog dedicated to jewitchery hasn’t been updated since 2013. that’s twelve years of silence! Most people who define themselves as Jewitches are Jewish born women who follow a pagan path, but still culturally define themselves as Jews. They don’t participate in most (any?) Jewish practices, but because being a Jew is as much about ethnic identity as it is about religion, they are still considered Jews. Once a Jew, always a Jew– maybe a bad Jew, maybe a heretic, but still a Jew.  Continue reading

Even Candle Holders Are Important

I have added a new candle holder since I last talked about my altar. Look at this beauty!  It’s very sturdy and shiny and I’m sure would be great with regular sized taper candles. This is the type of candle holder I wanted when I first imagined what my altar would look like. It’s very antique-looking, and it makes me think of women back in theIMG_1132 day, lighting candles in their houses to light their workrooms as they mixed herbs and created home remedies for the common cold or something like that. And that makes me feel so witchy! Because part of witchcraft is connecting with those who have come before you, connecting with people who done what you do (or want to do). I’m not talking about practicing magic specifically, but more about relying on herb lore and being a little superstitious and taking care of house and hearth. They probably didn’t call themselves witches, and they certainly weren’t Wiccans. They were probably Christians or Jews or Muslim or any other kind of religious women who believed in their skills and the practices handed down to them generation by generation, and possibly (like me) believed there were forces out there beyond our understanding, and that was okay– they didn’t need to understand the intricacies of the universe to believe. That’s how I imagine myself being as I learn more about what it means to practice kitchen witchery. When I look at this candle holder, I think about all of that.

No More Eating in Bed and Other Life Changes

For the past few months Kourtney and I have been talking about getting healthy, a topic that is really hard for me to engage in because of my eating disorder history and body image issues that have yet to be resolved. Health is such a loaded topic– it’s burdened with politics and stereotypes and misinformation, with body shaming and societal pressure and for me, grief and pain. So I often try to avoid the conversation because it makes me feel very small and huge at the same time. Small because I feel worthless, like I’m so worthless I don’t even exist. And huge because I am a physically big in a world made for smaller people so my size is very conspicuous. Health, weight, worth and self esteem are tangled together in my life, so it feels impossible to separate them. How do I get healthy without worrying about weight? How to I love myself as I am if I actively work to change my body? How can I separate weight from self worth if I keep seeing before and after shots of sad fat people in happy new skinny bodies?  Continue reading

Duhe Family Reunion 2015

This past weekend we spent a lot of time and money dealing with the little creatures that decided to hitch with us from Nola– meaning we had to basically bomb our apartment with chemicals to get rid of the beg bugs. It was the worst! And it definitely put a damper on an otherwise amazing family trip. I’m hoping we got all the little bastards, but we’ll be doing another treatment in a couple of weeks just to be doubly sure.

I know that there are many pagans out there who are all about not killing bugs, but I’m not one of those people. Not for bed bugs. Those suckers are truly awful, and excuse me, they are taking MY blood, which I need thank you very much.

Gaston and Brigette

The Duhe Family

Anyway, I promised I would share some of the pics from our super fun, amazing family reunion in New Orleans, and I aim to please. So! Two weeks ago Kourtney and I, along with my mother and grandmother and cousin, flew to New Orleans for our Duhé family reunion. I don’t carry the Duhé name, but I do carry their blood in my veins, from my mother’s side of the family. We trace the Duhé line back to two brothers who moved from France to Acadia (French Canada) before making their way down to Louisiana. They mixed with slaves (awkward) and then, down the line, Gaston Duhé married Brigette Leche, and they had six children. Continue reading