Ending the Year of Reckoning – Entering the Year of Dancing+Triumphant

When I chose a word for the year at the end of 2017, the word Reckoning kept coming to mind. I was slowly slowly coming back up from having horrific memories of my sexual childhood abuse come back and I knew that those memories were the last pieces of the trauma I have been picking apart and healing for the past decade of my life. My healing had reached a massive head and I finally felt I had all the pieces of the puzzle that is my life. I had reached the place of being able to step back and see the massively beautiful chaotic picture.

Reckoning – an accounting, as for things received or done.

Reckoning felt like the right word; a daunting word, but the right word. I knew 2018 was going to be the year I would be facing head on some of the things I have never been able to process before. Right out of the gate, my health took an extreme nosedive and I experienced my first two ER trips ever within the first two months of the year. By March, I was in the middle of my fourth surgery of my life, and by June, my fifth. There’s that book called The Body Keeps The Score, and my body sure as hell was replaying and bringing back all of the scores its kept since my childhood. It is a draining thing, to say the least, to watch your own body seem to just deteriorate and nothing you do seem to stop it. I experienced friends drifting away, people telling me my health was too much for them to hear about. I myself withdrew into the darkness as I struggled to find doctors willing to listen to me as my inner body yelled at me. I was blessed to have an incredibly competent primary care doctor and I found a new gynecologist to help me with my major hormonal imbalance. I was officially diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Hormonal Imbalances, Endometriosis – all this on top of my Fibromyalgia, and some kind of auto-immune issue. Oh, and I can’t forget the chronic Epstein Barr Virus I have, as well as always carrying the risk of having a bad CMV flare up every single time I get sick.

But then August arrived, and I went away for an incredibly intense and awakening magical weekend. I felt, for the first time, like I had truly come home. I mean, the moment I stepped foot in Denver almost 4 years ago felt like coming home. But this? This was a coming home of my full being and a deeply spiritual arrival. I was surrounded by women who were damaged and broken in the most beautiful way. We spent the weekend lifting each other up, holding space for each other, and allowing the magic and spirits to flow through us. It was during that weekend that I felt Goddesses calling to me and since then I have leaned into the magic I have felt in my spirit since childhood.

My journey away from the organize religion of my childhood has been completed. I have found my place, I am wholly content with where my beliefs sit, and I absolutely adore the constant shifting and growing and learning that comes with where I rest now. Every day I feel the stirrings of my magic within me, and I gaze with fondness on my little altar in the corner of my work area. I have landed on a stone that has chosen me as much as I chose it. I am prepping for beginning my own deck garden in the spring, and am gloriously hands deep in herbal infused oils. I long to get back to communing with my Goddesses, but for the time being it’s okay that I have not had space to dive in as deeply as I’d like.

I feel like I have a somewhat okay handle on my own health, and even though there are still days when my body feels like death warmed over, I’m on the right track.

One of the biggest things I’ve done this past year was drastically removing toxic and undeserving people from my life. Toxic people who have been using me and manipulating them all because I made the mistake of letting them into my vulnerable years ago. Undeserving people who have proven they are unworthy of having access to my safe spaces. It has been cleansing and releasing to cut ties with people who have tried to put me down or who have sided with my abusers. I deserve better and I am reaching for better. My life has been so full of backstabbers and people who seem to have no qualms about choosing to side with the people who have broken and abused me. I do not have time or space for anyone who tries to use me or who is unwilling to accept me for me. I refuse to water myself down or hide parts of my life because it’s too messy.

That leads me to the words that have been given to me for 2019 –

Dancing + Triumphant

One of my ex-parents recently tried to push through boundaries I clearly and firmly set up 2 1/2 years ago. Her blatant disregard for my boundaries was not triggering as it was once. If anything I was able to see clearly what she was trying to do, and I felt no self-doubts that I had made the wrong choice in cutting her off. I am stronger – oh so much stronger than I was 2 years ago. I am a fierce warrior goddess who is willing to stand her ground to the last enemy. 2019 will be my year of finally getting to dance through the storms life will throw my way. It is my year of triumphing over the trauma that tries to drown me. It is my year of moving and swaying with the flow of life. It is the year I get to move forward with confidence instead of desperately just trying not to drown. I have learned to release and grow and to allow space for the memories of the trauma I have endured to flow through me. They fucking hurt and threaten to pull me under, but they no longer have power over me.

I have learned to acknowledge and show respect to the equal parts of light and dark that I hold within me. I will always have darkness, and be one with the shadows. But I am also a being of light and a healed/healing soul. This was my year of reconciling with the shadows and welcoming them instead of hating them and feeling lost within them. I am a complete being – a broken, beautiful, whole, cyclical being.

I am excited to enter the chaos of 2019. I have no illusions it will be a pretty year, or an easy year, or a year I get to sit down and relax and throw my feet up. It will be a year of working, it will be a year of learning, but how I’m approaching the work that is coming is very different. I have a different perspective now. And that is a beautiful thing.

Herbal Infused Oils & Rose Water Toner – update

A few months ago I mixed up two herbal infused oils to start the 6 week wait for the herbs to infuse. Since then I have added two more herbal infused oils to my collection. 

One of the things that is recommended for herbal body oiling is to use the oils daily. This is so the herbs can get into your system and build up to help your body’s immune system, or nervous system, or whatever the goal of the herbs are that you used in your oils. Truthfully, I have not been oiling daily, but I do take baths with the oils several times a week now. My favorite way to use the oils I’ve made are to pour about two tablespoons into the bath water with pure epsom salts and then soak for about 20+ minutes. This never leaves my bathtub oily and there is enough oil in the water to cover my body and the epsom salts help with easing the aches my body deals with daily. 

Okay, so the first oil I infused contained Jasmine, Lavender, and Damiana. The oils I used were half Sweet Almond Oil and half Olive Oil. This oil does smell more strongly of olive oil, but the combination of the aphrodisiac of the damiana and jasmine and the calming of lavender makes for a very relaxing bath. I’ve used this oil for a massage oil as well. I honestly wasn’t so sure I would be able to tell a difference in how my body felt when using the oils. I am pleasantly surprised that I can tell when I’ve used the oils and my body feels calmer and less stressed or inflamed. 

The second oil I infused had Calendula, Lavender, Dandelion root, and Motherwort. I used unrefined coconut oil, and while this may have been a mistake, the oil did turn out good. The only thing I probably should have done different was use fractionated coconut oil so it would be in a constant liquid state. I have used this oil primarily when my kiddos take baths! It seems to help calm them down before bed and also moisturizes my youngest’s skin and his eczema. 

I also tried to infuse some distilled water and witch hazel with dried rose petals, jasmine, and lavender. It was supposed to infuse for 2 weeks, and when I opened the jar after 2 weeks, I found mold on the herbs at the top of the jar. So instead of the long infusing method, I decided to use a different method and have successfully made rose water toner that lasts exactly 2 months with me using it every day. 

The recipe I use is to place about 3/4 cup of dried flowers/herbs into a small pot, then pour about 1 1/2 cups of distilled water into it. I’ll bring the water to a boil, then let it keep boiling until specifically the rose petals have lost their color. This usually seems to take about 5ish minutes. Once I feel like the petals have lost all their color, I’ll turn off the heat, move the pot, and let the entire thing cool completely. Cooling completely seems to take about an hour or so. Then I use a fine cloth (usually the $0.79 white and red towels from Ikea) over a fine mesh strainer and pour the liquid and herbs/petals into the cloth and strainer. I’ll use a wooden spoon to gently press all the liquid from the herbs/petals. Then pour the strained liquid into an amber or blue glass spray bottle! I almost always use masking tape and write a label with the date to stick on the bottle, then put and keep the bottle in the fridge. 

I used dried rose petals, calendula, and chamomile flowers for the toner pictured above! As I’m still struggling with persistent hormonal acne, I wanted to add the powerhouse flowers of calendula and chamomile as they are really good for calming the skin and soothing inflammation. Besides, chamomile flowers smell amazingly like honey! 

As I’m still working to heal my body from the inside out, I wanted to create another oil with the specific purpose of balancing hormones. I used a grapeseed oil as the base oil this time, and the herbs I used were Damiana, Passion Flower, Calendula, and Rosebuds. Damiana and Passion Flower are good balancing herbs, Passion Flower specifically is good for calming anxiety and the nervous system. Calendula is also another herb good for anti-inflammatory purposes. When I use this oil in my bath, I feel rejuvenated and calmed when I get out. This oil in addition to some new herbs I’m taking as supplements, my body is feeling more balanced than I can ever remember. 

Last but not least, I made a fourth oil specifically to use on my spouse’s and my face. I have long been using Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil for acne control. Sea Buckthorn is a powerful antioxidant and contains a lot of beta carotene which causes the almost disturbing orange-ish color. I promise, in tiny amounts, this oil doesn’t not stain your skin! As I know chamomile and calendula have some amazing facial benefits, I used those two herbs and infused the oil for about 3 weeks in Sea Buckthorn Seed oil and Grapeseed oil. Once this oil was done, I mixed it with some essential oils – tea tree, frankincense, lavender, and eucalyptus. My spouse and I use this oil on our faces every evening once we’ve washed our faces and used witch hazel as a toner. 

Something I have not been able to do yet and which I plan to do, is to return the herbs and dried flowers used in the making of these oils to Mother Gaia. It’s been too cold outside, but also due to my own health and the chaos of having started a new job, I have not had the motivation to do so. But it is important to me to to honor Mother with the giving of her bounty so I can make these oils. It’s all about honoring those cycles of life and death! 

The Journey I’ve Been On – on becoming a Druidess

Truth be told, this is merely one of many blogs I’ve written on over the past decade. I see blogs as a way to merge my ever shifting thoughts and beliefs with the world I live in and my interests, however fleeting they may be. 

I discovered writing as a way to release the chaos in my head and soul when I was a young girl. But I have never been able to traditionally journal. Having so many health issues, specifically issues with my hands and wrists, holding a pen or pencil for any length of time makes the constant low-grade inflammation in my hands and wrists blaze alight. I never felt like I could keep up with the thoughts in my head with a pen on paper anyway. Blogging was a way for me to not only keep up, but also edit and easily rewrite something when I didn’t feel like it accurately expressed the thoughts in my head. 

Writing was one of the few things my abusive and toxic ex-parents couldn’t take away from me. Despite having inherited the gift of words from my father, I have worked hard to claim this gift as my OWN. When I chose to open this blog, I had a feeling it would have to become public as some point. I have never been able to live for long in the shadows. I was forced to live my childhood isolated and alone and I have promised myself *never again.* When I left Christianity roughly 6 years ago, I felt equally relieved and lonely as I felt a tiny hole reveal itself in my spirit; I was made for spirituality, but not the spirituality religion tried to promise. When I moved to the soul-freeing state of Colorado 4 years ago, I felt an even deeper pull towards the mythical, the mystic, the spiritual energies of witch-hood. But even then, I had a lot more junk to remove from my soul and heart. It was not time. 

I came across this article NUMBER OF WITCHES RISES DRAMATICALLY ACROSS U.S. AS MILLENNIALS REJECT CHRISTIANITY a few days ago and it really got me thinking. I don’t particularly care for the title, as I would say that a lot of my peers are not “rejecting” per se, it’s more of a shrugging off the toxic confines of a religion that has damaged and broken them. As the state of the country and world falls into more and more disrepair, I believe there are many of us who are feeling the waning of positive energies and are fighting to restore balances that desperately need to be healed. 

It’s taken me 6 years to finally be to a place where my heart and soul are ready to allow spirituality to be reborn. Honestly, almost every christian who spouts their beliefs still make me want to puke and make me all ragey, but I am moving past that. The vitriol I feel towards [most] christians is merely a glimpse of how badly and severely that religion broke and tried to destroy me. It seems the farther I get from that religion the less tolerance I have for [almost all of] those inside of it. 

*note: I have several friends who are still Christians, and these feelings are not directed towards them. I have more tolerance for them as I know them personally and even have respect for them for not pushing their beliefs on me or scorning me for my beliefs. 

The path I’ve chosen and have been slowly working towards has been revealing itself tenfold over the past 6 months. When I went through my deconstruction period, erasing the toxicity of christianity, I went that path alone. Only my therapist knew the truth depth of what I was processing and fighting with. The reason for that was because I wanted to make sure every single fucking decision I made was MY and MINE alone. It worked, when I rose out of the deep darkness it took for me to peel off all of the brokenness I felt freed and able to see clearly for the first time. Every time, since then, that my beliefs have shifted or fallen away or solidified, I have done it alone. Which, by the way, is an extremely lonely and alone place to be in. But it is what has been needed to restore any confidence I have in my own mind and ability to make decisions. 

Shortly upon moving to Colorado, I had reached out to several Wiccan covens, but I never followed up on any of the responses I got. Over the years I have learned to listen closely to my intuition and it has never directed me wrong. When my gut said it wasn’t time to approach Wicca, I walked away. And my gut was correct; shortly after that, I entered a massive struggle with my health that only now, after 3 1/2 years, is coming to a place of hopefully balance and healing. When I went to the Mermaid Divine Feminine retreat back in August, it was the first my intuition dove forward and spent the entire weekend whispering in my ear “you’ve come home, my darling, it is time.” I spent most of that weekend in tears reveling in the incredible homecoming feeling surrounding me. 

I had realized a year or two ago that Wicca was not for me. I spent 15 years in an organized religion and I am still saying never again 6 years later. Although Wicca is very closely related to where my spirituality has landed, it is too organized, too close in structure to the organized religion I grew up in. And as I have delved more into my Irish heritage, I have found my peace with joining with my ancestors and the beliefs that are ancient. I have found my deities to worship and honor. I am overwhelmed with the equal level on which I can approach these Goddesses. There is no shame, there is no guilt that I didn’t pray or read my religion texts today. There is a deep sense of power and worth that I have been given and have found through the communion I’ve with my Goddesses. There is a harmony between my beliefs and my daily life. I don’t feel any need to have a balance of when I do my “religious” practices and when I do my day to day life tasks. 

This harmony has given me so much grounding and balance in my heart and soul. How I go about worshiping and honoring my deities is solely on my terms, it is wholly my spiritual practice and there is no to be accountable to anyone other than myself. 

What has drawn me to calling myself a Druidess is that I deeply desire to carry on the vocal traditions of passing down knowledge of the Irish deities. I am drawn to the Morrigan who is closely tied with the Goddess whose name I carry. I am drawn to the beauty and power and balance between death and life the Irish deities hold. The powerful circle of life and death is heavily worshiped and almost every God or Goddess of the Irish Ancients is both a God/Goddess of life AND death. It’s honoring the cycles of healing and destruction, it’s respecting that there is a time for death and lifting up the darkness while allowing the light to be reborn and life to start again. It is so beautiful it makes me teary as I enter into those cycles. Being a Druidess has given me the tools for honoring my own life and the things I have been through and am still going through. Being a Druidess has given me the words to understand the gifts I have been given, including the ability I have always had of being able to look at someone and see their soul. My intuition is powerful and it is only where it is because I have given myself space and permission to be the being I’m meant to be. 

For the first time in my life, I feel whole; complete; not lacking or missing anything. I have stepped into my birthright and through doing so I am claiming the power and healing that has been mine all along but I couldn’t see it. It is a heady feeling stepping into my own. It feels like lying down in a soft and fluffy bed after a hard day of being on your feet all day long. It’s that feeling of standing under a stream of hot water after you’ve been freezing all day. It’s that feeling of receiving a hug from your very favorite person. It’s that feeling of finding a word that perfectly describes exactly what you’re feeling. 

It’s that feeling of coming home. 

And So It Is.