The Worst Job I Ever Had

Years ago, I worked as a bank teller for Great Western Bank. I was there full-time and the pay was good, but it was a terrible place to work. The branch manager was a domineering woman who liked to show her authority, and she was constantly reminding us how easily we could all be fired. There were a thousand and one things that could get you fired, and for awhile it seemed like someone was getting fired every week. The atmosphere was always tense, partly because we were all wondering who would be next. Once a friend of mine stopped in to say hello. There were no customers in the bank at all, and he wasn’t even there 2 minutes. When he left, the manager walked over to my window and said, “Be more careful in the future, that’s the kind of thing that could get you fired“. She literally ran the bank like some kind of Nazi. In our staff meetings, she told us that she wanted us to “eat, sleep and dream about checking accounts”. That was the big thing, getting people to open checking accounts. She wanted all of us to obsess over checking accounts and she wanted our job at the bank to be our whole life. We were all encouraged to donate a small portion of our paychecks to a charity, and she strongly suggested specific ones. When I skipped her choices and chose AMFAR (American Foundation for Aids Research) instead, it was frowned upon.

But that wasn’t the only issue there.

One of the supervisors was verbally abusive to some of the tellers, on a daily basis. She was very rude and condescending, with many insulting comments, and would often have some of the girls in tears. Management knew this was happening, and did absolutely nothing to stop it. She would frequently threaten us with mandatory overtime. My work day began at 8am, and one day I walked in the door at 8:01 am. She told me to put on my timecard that I was a minute late. Several of us had complained about her behavior, and we were told, “She’s having problems at home” and to just try and deal with it. They made excuses for her behavior and allowed it to continue.

Eventually it was my turn to get fired. One of my responsibilities was to count the Traveler’s Cheques every day before we closed. This was a 2-person job, with the other person verifying that everything was correct. One Monday I had come back to work after a short vacation, and at the end of the day I was brought into the manager’s office. Apparently some Traveler’s Cheques had gone missing over the weekend, and I was accused of stealing them. I did not steal them, and I told them so, but they chose not to believe me and I was let go. I wasn’t the only person who had access to them. The other person was a supervisor, who we all knew was having sex with another supervisor in an upstairs storage room. Since I wasn’t the person who stole them, it had to have been him. He wasn’t questioned, as he was a favorite of management who they thought could do no wrong.

When I walked out of that bank for the last time, I was more relieved than anything else. I was glad I didn’t have to go back there and put up with bitchy supervisors and egotistical management. When I later learned the branch had closed down, I silently celebrated. I could never be a bank teller now. I don’t have the patience that I used to, and that “customer is always right” nonsense doesn’t fly with me. We had some really shitty customers, I can tell you. Some of them were exceptionally rude, and you had to stand there and take their abuse and you weren’t allowed to defend yourself.

Fuck that.

Tattoos, Books and Self-Care

I finally got another tattoo. This one is on my right hand, and I’ve been wanting this for a long time. It is the words “I Must Not Tell Lies” in a black gothic font. You may recognize this phrase from Harry Potter, which I still love and still means a great deal to me, despite recent comments from the author. It doesn’t mean I have to suddenly turn my back on all things Harry Potter, and anyway, she didn’t make any money off my tattoo. A few people have asked why I didn’t get it in a red font, or make it look more like a scar, and the reason is I didn’t want it to look like that. I didn’t want it to look like it does in the films. I wanted it to be bold and noticeable, and in a gothic style. For me it’s more about what the words represent. In the updated version of Spells and Scars I have added a short poem that explains what I Must Not Tell Lies means to me on a personal level. While I was getting the tattoo, it did sting a bit, but it didn’t take long at all. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what Harry must have felt like when the words began to carve themselves into his hand. I have to keep the Sani-Derm strip on a couple more days, it’s a breatheable strip that protects the tattoo and helps it heal faster.

I’ve been reading a few different books, some are witchcraft studies, and this new series of books that explore the concept art and graphic design of the Potter films. There are 12 in the series, each one exploring a different theme. Each book comes with an art print suitable for framing. Amazon has them fairly cheap, and when they’re all together they look like this.

Photo: Amazon

Remember the Dark Shadows audiobooks I wrote about in an earlier post? Well, I received the first one, only to discover it was an MP3, and it will not play on either of my CD players. Apparently they’re all like that, so I won’t be ordering any more of them. I’m not sure if Amazon will take it back since I’ve already opened it. I don’t have an MP3 player, and anyway it’s on a disc. No big deal. It was only $6.99.

The state of the world continues to be a horror story. Thankfully we have a sane president now who is making positive changes and un-doing some of the damage caused by the orange dictator. I am hoping he is able to pass some stricter gun laws. America has the highest rate of gun violence in the world and other countries are warning their people about coming here. There was a shooting in a town not far from here, some whack job just shooting random people. I think in America it’s about macho ego, Rambo wannabe’s and “does this gun make my dick look bigger”. We need stricter gun control laws, the gun situation in this country is awful. Most of the gun-worshippers were supporters of the orange dictator. I do not and will not associate with Trump supporters. And yes, I was one of thousands of witches casting spells to have him removed from office. Now he’s gone and good riddance. I am grateful that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are working to restore some normality back to our country.

Self-care has become more important than ever. I am doing whatever makes me happy, whatever brings me peace. I read. I listen to music. I watch British comedies and documentaries of European history. I take naps with the dog. I browse the internet. I write. I make candles. I have plenty to do at home. Other than a few hours out on the weekend, I go to work and then come directly back home. I’m avoiding people as much as I can. Right now I need as much solitude as I can get.

Til next time,

Rick

Spring Shadows

The flowers are growing, the trees are sprouting leaves and warmer days are ahead. My day job has had to limit some services, but my schedule hasn’t changed much at all, for which I am thankful. Even so, this kind of work has it’s own challenges and I continue to wonder how much longer I can keep doing this. I’m not getting any younger. I’ve stayed with the same company for so long because I get great benefits and lots of paid time off. So there’s that.

Here in Pennsylvania, COVID cases are on the rise again, due to all the sociopaths who still refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated. You really see how widespread mental illness is in this country when you see all these people who still think the virus is a hoax, or that it alters your DNA, or that it was created by the government so that people would have to take a vaccine, thereby “controlling” them. You have to question the sanity of a person who willingly believes these whacked out conspiracy theories. I’m avoiding people as much as possible these days. I still have to go to work, however, but even then my contact with others is limited. The husband and I will go somewhere on the weekends, just to get out of the house for a few hours, but that is quite enough for me. Today we did a little shopping and stopped at Taco Bell to get something to eat. Of course, as soon as we walked in, an argument broke out between two of the customers. People are losing their minds.

I get my new tattoo next Friday, and I’ve taken the whole day off. It’s been a long while since my last tattoo, but this one will be on the back of my hand, so I’m not expecting it to be as painful as the ones on my neck were. After this tattoo heals, I want to take some new pictures for the updated version of my book. I’ve made it a little less formal and a bit more artistic and creative. I’ve expanded on some things and added some poetry and a few specific ‘flashback’ memories from favorite places and experiences. I’m still calling it Spells and Scars, but I’m dropping the tagline “My Personal Story of Magical Discovery” and changing it to “Confessions of a Gay Pagan“. I think this will be more interesting to potential readers.

I’ve become much less concerned these days about what others think, and I’m doing whatever makes me happy, whatever brings me peace. There was a time when I would say to myself, “I shouldn’t write that, so-and-so will be reading this and what will they think?”. Now I just don’t care anymore. I’m much more outspoken than I used to be. There are so many people on social media telling others what they should think, how they should practice, dictating what they can or cannot do. They will say you can’t do Yoga, chant mantras or do chakra work unless you’re Hindu. They will say you can’t use tarot cards unless you’re Romani. They will say you can’t burn sage unless you’re Native American. They will say you can’t connect with deities outside of your own culture. Bullshit, I say. Complete and utter bullshit. I will practice how I want, using any practices I want. I don’t mind being a rogue pagan.

The husband got his 2nd Moderna shot on Friday, so now we’re both fully vaccinated. We hope to go back to San Francisco and to Universal Orlando late in the year. I’ve been thinking about San Francisco alot lately. I miss it terribly. I write about some of my experiences there in Spells and Scars. We would move back there in a heartbeat if we could afford it.

Before the Taco Bell fiasco, we were at a used music store, and I picked up a CD from U2 and the soundtrack from “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them“. Both were deluxe editions with bonus tracks and they were only a few dollars each. I also found a 6-disc collectors edition DVD of the original Dark Shadows, which I’ve become mildly obsessed with lately. We’ve been watching it every night when we have dinner. I also discovered they have recently released all the old novels as audiobooks on Amazon. I listen to audiobooks when I go to bed at night, so these will come in handy. It looks like there’s over 30 of them, and they’re fairly cheap.

These will keep me busy for awhile. I plan to get all the audiobooks since they’re so inexpensive (around $6.99 each).

Okay, I have laundry that needs to go in the dryer and the dog is feeling neglected, so I must end here.

Til next time,

Rick

What a Week…

We’ve had more chilly weather this week, I thought it would be a warmer by now. A few snow flurries this past Wednesday threatened my already fragile emotional state. But it’s Saturday now. I don’t have to be anywhere. No one is expecting me, and I like it that way. I have a cup of strong coffee next to my laptop, right next to my anxiety and blood pressure pills. It’s the first cup of the day, with more sure to follow. This weekend will be all about unwinding, relaxing and creativity. Behind them are little figures of John Cena, whom I’m a bit obsessed with. If you don’t think he’s gorgeous, there’s something wrong with you.

This week was not a good one for me emotionally. Issues with my crappy car triggered my anxiety and had me on edge for three days. It’s an old car, a 2001 Chevy Tracker. I hate driving it. The windows don’t work properly, the heating barely works at all, and it drives like it’s about to come apart at the seams. Remember that scene in Herbie, The Love Bug when the little Volkswagon is splitting in half, and the passengers inside are all holding on to straps to keep it together? That’s what my car feels like. The tires easily slide even when it’s been raining, I have to take corners slowly. It overheats if I’m sitting in traffic for too long. The driver seatbelt is knotted and twisted, I have to contort myself to get it on. For the kind of work I do, sometimes I have to use my car. I haven’t needed it for work in a long while, but Tuesday I was informed I may need to transport someone on Wednesday. This triggered an anxiety attack. Tuesday night I was in bed by 7pm. I was mentally drained and physically exhausted. Wednesday morning I went to get gas, and when I pulled the door handle to get out of my car, the handle broke in two. I tried to open the door with the little piece that was still attached, but it wouldn’t budge. I called my supervisor and and my husband to get advice on what to do. My supervisor said not to worry, I could use a company vehicle. Husband said to schedule an appointment with the garage. I drove it to work and climbed out the passenger side, which isn’t easy due to the gear shift in the middle. When I drove my car home from work on Wednesday I noticed a “Power” light was on. Whatever that means. It’s never happened before. Maybe I somehow turned On/Off power steering? I don’t know. When our Kia Soul is paid off (husband drives it), which won’t be long now, I’m getting another car. So there’s that. But until then, my current car is a constant source of worry and anxiety. My husband drove me to work Thursday and Friday, and I have rides home. My car has an appointment to get the door handle fixed on Monday.

All this anxiety about my car brought about some other things as well. I had some moments of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. I was thinking things like, “My books are crap. No one likes what I do. I should stop writing and making candles and the other things I do“. Then I would think about all the pagans I see on Twitter who are so narcissistic and critical of what others are doing, and I would get angry and realize, “You know, I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for me. Fuck what they think“. I don’t need anyone’s approval for how/what/why I do what I do. I don’t get some of these people on Twitter who project a sensationalized image of themselves, like they are some kind of super-witches with perfect lives and no vulnerabilities or weaknesses. They’re not being real or authentic. It’s a false image. I don’t agree with this idea going around that if you’re a witch, you’re not allowed to have anxiety or personal struggles. Being a witch doesn’t make you omnipotent.

As far as my own classes are concerned, I think I should hold off on that until I get my anxiety more under control. I’m in no condition to teach others when I have my own issues. But I can still create. I can still write. I can still make candles. I can still make other magical tools and offer them to the community.

I get my next tattoo near the end of this month, and once that has healed and looks good, I’m going to release an updated version of Spells and Scars. I have some new material to add, along with some new pictures and poetry. I’m changing the format a little, to something a but more artsy and avant-garde. I think that will be my new writing style, a sort of magical buffet. A little of this, a little of that, but all centered around magic and self-awareness, and very personal. I’ve been reading some of Sandra Bernhard’s old books and I find them inspiring.

It’s 10am now, and my husband will be waking up soon. I foresee a Mocha Latte reaching my lips in the very near future.

Rick

Cafes, Cookies, Pumpkins and Crystal Balls

This is my Black Obsidian crystal ball. It looks small in this photo, but it’s actually about 6 inches in diameter. Getting a photo without many reflections in the ball was nearly impossible, so this will have to do. When researching information about the magical properties of crystals, there is a lot of conflicting details out there, so I usually read the works of practitioners I respect. I love that Scott Cunningham describes the energy of Black Obsidian as “quiet power”. I can totally identify with that. Nicholas Pearson states that Black Obsidian brings protection while sharpening focus and the powers of the mind. Black Obsidian is wonderful for divination. Some people say you should only use clear quartz crystal balls, but I say hogwash. You can use any kind of crystal ball for divination. I’ve seen beautiful Amethyst and Rose Quartz crystal balls. I use my Black Obsidian crystal ball during the New Moon or Dark-of-the-Moon phases. I mainly use it for personal private divination, never publicly.

Most of the evil snow has melted, and tomorrow is the Spring Equinox, or what many pagans call Ostara. I will do a private ceremony here at home this evening. Every year I make a new wand from an oak branch, and release the previous wand back to the earth. Near where we live there is a park with a waterfall and a rushing stream. I will release it there this weekend. I have many new things to bring to tonight’s ritual. New changes to my classes, new books, new transformations taking place within myself. I will offer all of these to Cerridwen and ask for her guidance and inspiration. I need to order more copies of my latest book, “Spells and Scars” and take them to local bookshops and ask if they will sell them there. Have you ordered your copy yet?

I’m already planning a three-volume series of short books called The Magic Cafe. These will be avant-garde style books, with a buffet of personal anecdotes, poetry, photographs, witchcraft, gay male sexuality, memories and lots of other things. Since Lulu (the publisher) requires a table of contents before they will publish it, I will have to think of some creative way to separate sections into chapters. However, I want these books to be more of a collection, a scrapbook of sorts. I’ve seen these kinds of books before, and I’ve been inspired by them.

The husband and I have been watching the original Dark Shadows every night when we have dinner. It’s become an addiction. Vampires, witches, creepy experiments…love it.

Sometime today I’ll be scheduling my next tattoo. I’m going to the same place where the husband got his, because I liked the level of detail they did. My new one will not be so elaborate. I just want the words I Must Not Tell Lies placed on the back of my right hand. You may recognize this from Harry Potter. The husband asked me why I wanted something that was intended to be a punishment, but for me it means something else. It expresses my desire to be true to myself, to be authentic, to not hide who I am for the benefit of others, to express myself freely.

I recently developed a new appreciation for OREOS. They have so many new flavors now, and I just can’t get enough. Birthday Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut, Red Velvet. And they’re a gay-friendly company, always supportive of the LGBT community. I eat them with almond milk, which by the way, is the only milk I drink anymore. I stopped drinking regular milk months ago.

As much as I love the words Witch and Druid, and still proudly use them, I’ve found it easier to call myself a pagan, as that encapsules everything. I’m not just a witch, not just a druid. Pagan covers it all, so that’s what I’ve been using lately. Also, I have a few new items available on the New Products page. If you’re interested in any of them, contact me for Paypal information.

Now here’s a song that makes me happy, from one of my favorite bands.

Books and Bonuses

My book, “Spells and Scars” is now available, and several copies have already been sold. You can get it through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or directly from the publisher at this link. Since I self-publish, I have to do my own promotional work, so I plan to take some copies to local bookstores. Some of them have “Local Authors” sections, and hopefully they will sell my books there too. Since my book is available on the Barnes and Noble website as well, I’m hoping the local B&N store will take some of my books as well. I know some people like to criticize self-published authors, which I find incredibly arrogant and elitist. Self-published authors are just as valid and important as those who publish through traditional publishers. Even some well-known pagans started their own publishing companies so they could self-publish, so don’t give me any bullshit that self-published books are “less than” or somehow inferior. Not true.

I had to make the painful decision to postpone Blackthorn classes yet again. I hate having to do this, but it is just not possible at the moment. At least not until Covid gets more under control and more people get vaccinated. I was dissatisfied with most of the locations I looked at for in-person classes. They were either too far away, too expensive to rent or too hard to find. I can’t justify paying $100 for a space I’m only going to use once a month. I will keep looking until I find something suitable and reasonably priced. If things are better by the Fall, perhaps I’ll start classes again then. They have removed some of the restrictions here, more places are opening back up, but thankfully we still have a mask mandate. Most people here still wear their masks, but there are a few assholes who don’t care if they have the virus or if they infect others. Sociopaths.

Some good news is that I got a hefty bonus at my day job, since I have been there 15 years. I never intended to be there this long, but the benefits are good, the hours are perfect for me and it’s not a horrible place to work. We’ve had some awful managers in the past, but things are much better now. The last one was horrific. I had to do some major banishing magic to get rid of her: poisonous herbs, a poppet, blackthorn needles, calling the Morrigan, Saturn energy, dark moon, the whole works. Let’s just say she is no longer with the company. I don’t mess around. The bonus really came in handy. I needed a new crystal ball, my other one had cracks in it, and I just had to order Kristoffer Hughes’ new book about the Celtic goddess Cerridwen. He is one of the very few pagan authors I respect and admire. I work with Celtic deities exclusively, this is my personal choice. My family came from Yorkshire in the U. K., so there must be some Celtic blood in there somewhere, but that is irrelevant. One does not have to be descended from a Celtic bloodline to worship the Celtic gods. I don’t fall for this “cultural appropriation” bullshit. If something works for you, do it. Screw what other people think. There are too many gatekeeper assholes out there who say “You can’t do this practice unless you’re (insert adjective here)”. Fuck them, I say.

I’m happy with how the book turned out, and I like that it’s not super-polished or perfectly professional looking. It has that self-published feel, it’s written in my style and shows my personality. I don’t feel the need to present some spooky and mystical persona like I see so many pagan authors doing. Realness is important. I’m just that guy you always see at the coffee shop, who happens to be a druid witch and teaches privately. I think it’s important that pagans be approachable, yet still respected and feared in equal measure. Many people have this mistaken idea that witches are all about pretty crystals and Enya music, but that is a false impression. We are not docile and harmless. If you provoke a witch, you’re in trouble. I do not follow the Wiccan Rede, because I am not Wiccan. Before Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente, there was no Wiccan Rede. Witches were simply witches, following their own moral codes and ethical standards. Don’t police my practice.

I still plan to get a tattoo on my hand, but I’m going to wait until the next stimulus money comes, provided that the corrupt Republicans haven’t stalled it even longer. I’m putting this on my right hand…

This is from Harry Potter, and it holds so much personal meaning for me.

I hear the husband stirring now, it’s nearly 9am and I’m craving a latte. Time to go back to the coffee shop! I may write more tomorrow. I appreciate all of you for following this blog, thank you so much.

Rick

Good Things, Bad Things

I received the proof copy of my book, and it looks great, just how I imagined it. I did add a few more things to the inside, so I’ve ordered another copy. Once I approve that one, it will be available for sale. As I flipped through the first proof copy, naturally I started obsessing over things that I “should have/could have” done differently, but I’m leaving it alone now. It will be fine. Compared to other pagan authors, I’m rather small-fry. I’m not trying to compete or be famous or the “next big thing”. I write mainly for myself, the way I want to write, and that is all that matters. I have my own style and it works for me. This is my humble offering to the pagan community. Maybe others can learn from my own experiences.

I’m reading three books right now. Actually, one is a journal that you write in, called “The Me Journal“. It asks questions about your life, opinions and beliefs, and you fill in your own answers. There are lots of books like this, but this one is the best I’ve seen so far. I love it. I also started reading The Witch’s Coin by Christopher Penczak. It’s about the witch’s relationship to money and prosperity. I’ve had this book for awhile, and I’ve already read small portions of it, but I decided it was time to dig in and read the whole thing properly. I hesitated so long, because quite honestly, reading about money is not one of my favorite things. I’ve never been good at budgeting or saving money. I am good at spending it. Thankfully, the husband manages our finances and takes care of the bill-paying. We always have extra money for things we want, but I must admit I’ve done alot of emotional spending in the past. There’s nothing wrong with buying things that make us happy, but I’ve learned to be a bit more selective. I know I want to donate more to certain charities and support pagan businesses. I would consider us successful. We both have good jobs, a roof over our heads, food to eat and a purpose in life. We may not have some of the things other people have, but we are doing fine. I also started re-reading another book I’ve had for ages, Way of the Wizard by Deepak Chopra. This book is about personal transformation, through the eyes of the wizard. It’s quite wonderful. I saw a lecture Deepak presented based on this book, so I had to get it.

I mentioned in my last post how I was still debating whether to offer classes again this year, and that I would be consulting the tarot cards for some insight. Well, they were pretty straight-forward. They answered with a definate NO. There were themes of sacrifice and patience, and even the Tower card came up in the spread. It seemed to indicate some troubling times ahead and that I need to wait awhile longer before offering classes again. I need to focus more on being the student rather than the teacher.

I had looked at a few places that were offering space for classes, and wasn’t really thrilled with any of them. A few other places wanted to charge ridiculously high prices to rent their space. My intuition is telling me this year is not a good time. I considered offering a home-study course as well, but the truth is I did not prepare well for that. My classes are better in person, which just cannot happen at the moment.

I’ve spent much of the weekend listening to this awesome alternative band, Jimmy Eat World. I had them on all day Friday and yesterday I picked up one of their CD’s. And, the lead singer Jim Adkins is, shall we say…Gorgeous. I will be buying up all their music as soon as I can. (There I go with the spending). But they’re worth it. Maybe someday I’ll see them in person.

One of the husband’s favorite bands is American Authors, who are also incredible. I’m running out of space to put all my CD’s, I’m going to need more storage cases. More spending. I know alot of people just download music these days, but I still prefer a CD I can hold in my hand. I like the artwork and photos and reading the liner notes.

In other news, I got my 2nd Moderna shot. I’m vaccinated now. I had no reactions other than a sore arm. Very sore. I was scheduled to get it on Thursday, but we got dumped on with more snow and ice. Work was cancelled and roads were impossible. When I went in to work on Friday, the roads were still pretty bad, so they sent us all back home. I was able to re-schedule my shot for later Friday afternoon. Roads were fairly clear by then and I was able to get in right away. I barely felt the needle go in, but boy, the next day my arm was extremely sore. Since I work in health care I was able to get the vaccine right away. The husband still has not been able to get his first shot. He’s in the ‘high risk’ category so his should be soon. I know locally they’ve been running low on vaccine supply.

At some point today we’re going to Lowes to get a peg board, so I can put some of my Harry Potter ornaments on a nicer display. I have so many of them that I’ve collected over the years, and it would be nice to display them better. Once they’re all up I’ll share a picture. We also have to go pick up our grocery order. We order online and then we drive to the store, where they put them in the back of the car. We don’t even have to get out. Are you supposed to tip them? We could never figure that out.

Speaking of food, I need to eat something now.

Til next time,

Rick

Snow, Ice and Tarot

We did get a massive snowstorm after all. My car (an SUV) was completely buried. It took two days to dig out, and I needed an extra day off work just to recover. Some of it has melted, but many areas are still covered with snow and ice. The following days brought even more snow. Tomorrow night we’re getting an ICE STORM, which means I’ll likely be staying home Tuesday. My car is a piece of crap even in good weather, so when there’s snow and ice on the road, forget it. My tires slide even when it’s only been raining. When we finish paying off the husband’s car, I’ll be getting another one for myself. Thankfully I have a day job that allows me to use PTO when I need to. I feel sorry for people who still have to go to work in life-threatening conditions. It’s always profit over safety in this country.

For good news, I finished my book and have ordered a proof copy. As it always happens, I thought of other things I should have added, so I added them and ordered a second proof copy for version 2. I self-publish my books, partly because traditional publishers reject my manuscripts or ask me to contribute $$$ to publish them, and partly because I’m not keen on the idea of my work being subject to the personal whims and biases of an editor or publishing company. Self-publishing means you retain control of your work, but it also means you have to do your own marketing and publicity. I’m okay with that. Self published books are not “less than” or inferior to those published by a traditional publisher. Those who suggest so are only exposing their own arrogance.

Later this evening, I’ll be doing my weekly devotional to Cerridwen. These devotionals always include divination with tarot and sometimes with the Ogham staves. For several years I used the Sacred Circle Tarot, but I had become so dependent on this deck, with it’s easy keywords on each card. Last Samhain I felt it was time to move to another deck, one that I had already been learning, the DruidCraft Tarot. It combines imagery and symbolism related to Druidry and Witchcraft, which make up most of my practice. No keywords on the cards, which meant I really had to dig deeper to understand the card meanings. It is the only tarot deck I use now, and it has been very insightful. I’ve been indecisive about a few things lately, which is a rare thing for me, but COVID-19 has thrown a lot of things out of whack, and I have some choices to make. Some things may need to be put on hold. That’s kind of what I’m feeling at the moment, but I want to see what the cards have to say. I’ll share a photo of tonight’s tarot spread in my next post. For now, here’s a look at the DruidCraft Tarot. It’s quite beautiful.

The DruidCraft Tarot

I will be anxious to get home after work tomorrow before all the ice and sleet begin to fall. They said we could get up to half an inch of ice, and we may have power outages, the whole nine yards. Lovely.

Til next time,

Rick

Imbolc Snowstorm

There is a legend that connects the two Celtic figures of Brighid (an Irish Goddess/Saint) and the Cailleach (Crone of Winter). One version of the legend tells us that on the Winter Solstice, the Cailleach slams her blackthorn staff on the ground, signaling the beginning of Winter. She rules over the dark Winter months until February 1st, a day known as Imbolc, sacred to the Goddess and Saint Brighid. (Brighid the Goddess and Brighid the Saint are one and the same). On Imbolc, the Cailleach hands over her staff to Brighid, who awakens from her slumber and signals the first stirrings of light and life to the land. The legend goes on to say that on Imbolc, the Cailleach begins gathering firewood for the rest of the winter. If she desires the winter to last longer, she will attempt to make the day of Imbolc warm and sunny, so that she can gather more firewood. If the day of Imbolc is filled with snowstorms, sleet and rain, it means the Cailleach is still sleeping. She will soon run out of firewood, and the cold, wintry weather will soon come to an end.

Imbolc is tomorrow. Where I live in Pennsylvania, it has already started snowing. We are forecasted to get up to 22 inches of snow, with heavy winds. Tomorrow is also a Monday, which means I obviously won’t be going to work. Perhaps not Tuesday either. Not if I have to dig my car out of two feet of snow. I’ve been curbing my anxiety with meditation, watching mindless British comedies and house-cleaning. I loathe and despise snow with every fiber of my being. It annoys me when people say, “And yet you live here“. Irrelevant. I am here by necessity, not by choice. We moved here because California was too expensive and the husband’s family is here. Now that all of our parents are gone, we have no strong family ties keeping us here, we have considered moving elsewhere. Florida, perhaps. Even the United Kingdom. Yes, I know it snows there too, but I think winter in London would be much easier to deal with than winter in small-town Pennsylvania.

I’ve spent most of the weekend cleaning our kitchen and bathroom. We’ve let them get into disastrous shape (you just kind of get used to it after a while), so we’ve deep-cleaned both rooms from top to bottom. It’s good to see shiny surfaces again. We’ll see how long it lasts. We’re not the kind of gay guys who keep everything immaculate all the time. We don’t fit any of the classic gay stereotypes. Do those even exist anymore?

I haven’t written any more of my book for a few days. I’ve been stressed and tired due to the day job, this god-awful weather, my classes that are supposed to start soon and a few other things. I did actually get the first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine (since I work in health care). Moderna. I get the second dose on February 18th. My arm was sore for a couple of days, but other than that, no bad reactions.

I’ve been reading these two books, The Art of Magick and The Art of Mysticism, by Gabriyell Sarom. I had them on my Amazon wish list for months, so the husband got them for me. I regret it now. I was drawn in by the book covers, and while the exercises in the books are useful to help one enter proper states of mind for magical workings and mystical experiences, I can’t agree with the author’s repeated statements about the whole purpose of magic and mysticism being “Union with God”. There are lots of references to God and getting to know God, which I find very disturbing and off-putting. I will finish reading them, but when I’m done, these books will get donated to a local used bookstore.

Since we can’t go to the gym due to assholes refusing to wear masks, and the gym management refusing to enforce the mask mandate, we’ve been working out at home and trying out a new fitness plan called the Fit Father Project. We did have to buy a few specific things for making meals, but it seems like something we can do. We’ll see. We were taking walks in the evening, but since outside looks like The Day After Tomorrow (see below), we won’t be doing that for a week at least.

The dog is hinting that he needs food, and so do I, the only thing I’ve eaten all day is a bowl of Pumpkin Spice flavored Frosted Mini-Wheats. So, I’m going to make dinner now and watch more Dark Shadows.

Wherever you are, stay safe and warm.

Rick

Working and Hibernating

Last week was very tiring, and I was in bed by 9pm nearly every night. My day job is mentally draining, plus I did a lot of driving around. Thankfully the snow has stopped (for now), and we look to be snow-free for another week at least. By the time I get home, take the dog for a walk, make dinner, the husband gets home (he works later than I do), we eat dinner, watch another episode of Dark Shadows and by that time I’m literally exhausted.

I did manage to do some meditation before bed at least three nights last week. Deepak Chopra is wonderful.

Some of the things we ordered finally arrived: business cards to promote this blog, some DVD’s and a book. The business cards looks great, with rounded edges and a glossy shine. My husband ordered me three seasons of Still Open All Hours, a hilarious BBC comedy that I first saw on PBS and fell in love with. I think there are about 5 or 6 seasons. We also got the first season of Being Human, another BBC program with the gorgeous Russell Tovey. It’s a dark melodrama about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who befriend each other and get into all sorts of shenanigans. We wouldn’t be able to watch these at all without our all-region DVD/Blu-ray player. It was one of the best things we ever bought, we can watch any DVD from any country. Alot of these programs are not available in the U.S. and the DVD’s won’t play on American players. Because American products are crap.

The cards look great, don’t they?
The cast from Still Open All Hours. I love this show.
We’ve just started watching this, and it’s great.

Also, this came.

This is a hardcover edition of The Mabinogion, a collection of ancient Welsh tales. I’m rather attached to these stories. I already have several paperback editions, but this hardcover is quite lovely and I’d been wanting it for ages.

I’ve been getting that feeling again lately that I should hold off on teaching. My new classes are supposed to start in March, but things are still uncertain regarding the plague. There has been some interest in the home-study course, but even that has me feeling a bit anxious. I’m just sensing that now is not a good time. Even though the orange dictator is leaving the White House in just three days, I think we’re in for some violence and turbulent times. Speaking of the plague, I’m getting my first vaccine this coming Tuesday. I know some people have had bad reactions, some that required a trip to hospital, so I’m a little nervous, but I’m going to do it.

I worked on my book some more today. I wanted to have it finished by now, but I don’t want to rush it. I keep thinking of more things to add. It’s so hard to write during the week, I may have to schedule a couple of days off work to finish it.

In a few hours I’ll be doing my weekly devotional to Cerridwen, along with some divination and meditation. I do this every Sunday night at 9pm. I always do tarot and ogham readings to get some insight into the coming week. With the inauguration happening, I’m curious to see what the cards and the staves have to say.

So that has been my week. Rather uneventful.

And it looks like Winston has lost one of his toys under the sofa, so I guess it’s time to stop for now. I’ll try to write again during the week, but no promises…

Next weekend for sure.

Rick