After a great deal of consideration, I’ve decided to close MistSeeking. Posts that I found to still be useful and/or thought provoking have migrated to my primary blog, The Little Sea Witch. I hope to see you there!
I’m thinking about closing MistSeeking and transferring the more useful posts over to my main blog, TLSW. I’ve not had a whole lot to say over here, and nothing that I couldn’t say over there. I go through phases of compartmentalizing and merging, and I think right now I’m in a merging one. I don’t see any harm in having a separate blog for specifically religious stuff, but I’m not sure it’s doing me any good either, and I always have trouble when I give myself too many projects to juggle at a time.
I guess we’ll see how motivated I am in the next few weeks!
(This was originally posted on 12/21/14, but thanks to a minor hiccup with the tail-end of my domain and hosting transfer, it got lost.)
The deck’s name is misleading- it’s actually a 33 card oracle deck. (As the creators mentioned, “Tough Shit Oracle” just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely.) The cards are fairly standard playing card sized, and are very nice quality. The box is pretty standard cardboard, and I have a feeling it’s not going to hold up well to long term use- it’s already starting to separate on one side- but it does the job for now. The card faces have no imagery at all; they merely state the name of the card and the meaning, which eliminates the need for a LWB.
1. Most important characteristic: Creeper.
The bluntness of this deck is right there in the name; the tone is definitely not for everyone, and this is absolutely a deck that may tell me things I don’t want to hear.
2. Strengths: Grab A Juice-box And Then Take A Nap.
This deck will make you deal with your shit- but part of that means being aware of yourself and your needs, and taking care of them, before tackling the big stuff.
3. Limits: Pork Chop In A Synagogue.
I think this is probably not the deck to ask about relationship issues, unless they are truly dire.
4. Lessons: Stop Your Whining.
(I did say this deck was blunt. Christ.) Actually, the meaning is less, erm, mean than the title implies; this card, and this deck, are to remind me to be actively grateful for the blessings I have.
5. How to learn & collaborate: Shit Happens.
(Amusingly, this was my Grandpa Ray’s life motto. I have a photo of him wearing this on a tshirt, and it was part of my eulogy for him, which made everyone laugh.) This is a reminder that I am a serious control freak about some things, and I will learn better if I figure out how to let go of that.
6. Potential outcome of working relationship: Tuck And Roll.
I think this card means this deck will help me see my situations more clearly, so I can make better decisions about getting out when I can. I am prone to either holding on til it bleeds and then some, or cutting early because I think I smell blood in the air- I need to stop letting fear dictate my choices, but I also need to stop letting my emotional attachments get the better of me.
7. Any entities: Stop Being Such A Pussy.
(Oh lovely, gendered insults. I may write to the creator, because augh.) I have no idea who this could mean. Based on the tone alone, I could see this as being a decent choice to consult with the Morrigan, or Set.
Bottom of the deck: Horny.
Have fun, be safe, and don’t go looking for commitment. I think I can do that?
All in all, it looks like a pretty decent deck? Gendered insults aside, that is- which I do think I’ll write to the creators about. The deck can be blunt, funny, and even insulting without reinforcing unhealthy crap like that. Otherwise, I’m enjoying the deck’s visual simplicity, which I think goes quite well with the cutting-through-bullshit spirit it has.
The year is drawing to an end, and naturally I am drawn to reflecting back on it. I’ve successfully created a cycle of regular, simple offerings that seems to work for me. I miss offerings sometimes, and they’re not particularly complex; I suspect part of me will always be drawn to something intricate and complicated, but a teacup full of fresh, cool water and a beeswax tealight on the saucer seem to be sufficient for now.
One of my primary goals this year was to work on my relationship with my Dead, via their shrine and their holydays. I think this trend will continue into the new year- I’ve spent most of the day trying to wrangle some brainweasels that popped up as I went to bed last night. I’ve spent a good bit of the past few days cleaning and reorganizing, more of which I will continue to do today and tomorrow; as always I struggle with TooManyThings in insufficient space. In this instance, it’s a matter of shrine space. I purchased two of the honeycomb shelves I mentioned in this post, and while I am very fond of them, I don’t have the wall space for the numbers of them I want. I’ve also done a significant amount of work on my family tree lately, increasing the number of Dead whose names need speaking, whose lives I want to remember in some small token. I went to bed last night feeling frustrated, like I was letting them down because I can’t tend their graves, I can’t create a memorial to each of them.
I don’t know if it was a message from one of my Dead or just my mind rolling around the guilt I went to sleep with, but I dreamt of illuminated manuscripts, and this morning I decided it was a very interesting idea. I could make a very different kind of Book of the Dead, with an illuminated false door/gravestone for each member of my family. Either they could be loose in a folio format or bound into an actual book; either way, I could display the page in question and set my offerings in front of it. I’d need a lot less space, and I could keep the honeycomb shrines focused on just the Dead I have memories of.
All of that said, a Book of the Dead will be a long time in coming, as I’d want to do it by hand. I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy anyway, but it’ll take a while to get to a point where I’m happy with it. As for the illuminated part, well, I suspect I’ll be tracing a lot. Luckily I’m not too bad at painting inside the lines! Anyway, it’s a thought, and one worth attempting, I think, even if it will be a rather long term project.
The other Dead-related brainweasel I’ve been chasing today is making a set of prayers to different gods to be recited at different points following the death of someone I love. (Thank you for your help with that, Kiya.) I’ve settled on some definite prayers. One to Hermes, at the news of death, to ask him to bring the deceased safely from the world of the living. One to Brighid, at the wake or funeral, to ask her to comfort the living while they caoine. One to Hekate, during the seventy days following death, to ask her to guide and guard the deceased during their travels. One to Djehuty, on the 70th day after the death, though I’m not sure what specifically to ask in terms of the weighing. And finally one to Hetharu, on the day after, to ask her to welcome them to the West (which is also when I’d set up their spot on the shrine.)
There are, of course, many other entities in all three pantheons who I could direct my prayers to as well. Whether or not I will, I’m not sure. I’m reluctant to reach outside my twelve, as far as gods go. I may reach out to some of the Hellenic spirits, though I admit the line between god and spirit can be hard to find sometimes. The only one that comes to mind at the moment would be Kharon; I could bury a penny to pay his fee, or leave one in a store for Hermes to take to him. I expect an offering to the Moirae at some point would also be appropriate, keepers of life, death, and fate that they are. There’s plenty to think about, that’s for sure, not to mention the actual prayer writing. Which is far from my favorite thing in the world.
Hopefully now that I’ve gotten the brainweasels on paper, so to speak, they will stop rolling around in my head and let me focus on other things for a little while.
On my current calendar, Thanksgiving sits with Opet and Grinchmas as community holidays, but I’ve never had that strong of a connection to it. If I want to incorporate it into my life in any meaningful way, then- as opposed to going through the ‘traditional’ motions because everyone else does- I’m going to have to do some work.
My family has never been huge about Thanksgiving. There was an assumption on both my mother and stepfather’s sides that we would get together, but that was mostly because that is what’s always been done; neither side has ever been particularly sentimental. My mother’s side isn’t very sentimental about any holidays, really. My uncle with the kids is religious-ish- they’re Episcopalian, and seem to be fairly active in their church community, but they don’t talk about it with the rest of the family. We get together on birthdays and traditional holiday weekends because it’s what people do. My stepfather’s family is much closer and more involved in each other’s lives, and they’ll take any excuse to get together. But their family is Polish and Ukrainian- Grinchmas is the Big Deal for them, not Thanksgiving. (Particularly Grinchmas Eve, a never-ending bone of contention between my mother and her mother-in-law.) Thanksgiving for them usually consists of celebrating the kids’ birthdays, turkey, and football; it’s a prelude to the Big Deal. And, of course, I never saw my dad, who was usually working (and also lived several hundred miles away), nor any of his family, who lived another few hundred from him. I don’t know any of their Thanksgiving traditions (aside from the fact that Papa volunteered at a soup kitchen for years before he died) or their traditional foods (though I think one of the typical desserts is pecan pie, possibly) or how important it is to them.
There wasn’t much emphasis on Thanksgiving outside my family either. At school, it was all but ignored in my older years- it was simply a day off, periodically with a large homework assignment from the less pleasant teachers. In the younger years, it consisted of making construction paper hand turkeys, and talking about the First Thanksgiving with the Brave Pilgrims and the Noble Indians. We made construction paper Pilgrim hats and genero-Indian headbands with brightly colored feathers sticking up at the back. It was fairly typical for the US public school system, I think, and did not instill any particular love of the holiday for me. In fact, as I got into my high school years, I turned my cynicism on the holiday (like most everything else, I’ll note) and did a lot of grumping about the treatment of Native Americans versus their role as noble savages in our mythology, and compared Thanksgiving to Columbus Day as another token “Indian” holiday where we pretended that we hadn’t slaughtered them.
…okay, so my cynicism hasn’t entirely worn off. But it leaves me in a weird position. There’s the history of the civic holiday, which is Judeo-Christian thanks-to-god along with some nationalism. There’s the history of the actual practice, which is rooted in New England Calvinism, since days of thanksgiving were fairly common. There’s the history involving the actual First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, which was a three day feast after the colony’s first successful harvest, which only happened because of the help of Squanto and Massasoit. There’s my family’s “do it because it’s what’s done” approach. And then there’s the overall US communal stuff, parades and turkeys and football, with varying emphasis on religion and charity, and the ever-increasing encroachment of Black Friday and Grinchmas. Honestly, just looking at this, I have a bit of a headache.
One of my first thoughts is how in a lot of cases, the Thanksgiving “season” begins the day after Halloween. In fact, autumn into winter is a set of seasons- Opet, from the end of September into early October; Halloween, which for me is roughly mid October until the 31st; Thanksgiving, most of November; Grinchmas, the remainder of November through most of December. They are all also giving or sharing holidays- Opet celebrates and reinforces community bonds, Halloween is basically giving candy to children and could be argued as giving fun and escapism to adults, Thanksgiving has a lot of giving to the homeless and less fortunate, and Grinchmas continues that along with giving to family and friends. And I forgot Samhain, which overlaps with Halloween and the beginning of Thanksgiving, for giving to the Dead. Looking at it this way, it also seems to be a progression from larger community to smallest. My Opet celebration involves giving to people around the world through Kiva.org; Halloween and Samhain have a lot of local or specified community aspects; Thanksgiving continues the local theme but starts to narrow down to family; Grinchmas is primarily family oriented.
I’m still not sure where this leaves me. I’m not in a position to be doing much in the way of donating money, and I didn’t do volunteer work growing up, so the idea of getting into it as an adult, by myself, kind of terrifies me socially awkward introvert kind of way. The school essay of Nykti’s I proofread comes to mind- she did a Medicine Walk with an Aboriginal group, giving the medicines of laughter, compassion, and peace to people that the group came across; those are important gifts, ones that I myself would like to give, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to integrate myself into community. It’s not even that I feel unwelcomed, exactly, I just feel nonexistent. (“Go to the UU in Raleigh” pops into my mind, but I am reluctant, and I don’t know whether it’s the social anxiety or something else.)
All of this said, I still don’t know what, if anything, I’ll be doing for Thanksgiving next week. I do have some things to work on, though: taking a good look at myself and seeing what I have to give, and figuring out how to make those first steps toward community and away from being an isolated shut-in. This might take me til next Thanksgiving!