Still Learning ~ Keys and Incense

I spent most of yesterday meditating on keys. No surprise there since the key is one of the primary symbols of Hestia.

Some of you may know that I recently got a new tattoo on my arm of a key, to symbolize my devotion to Hestia.

The top part of the key, within the circle (the circle being the artistic liberty of DO who designs and applies all of my inkwork) is a symbol we found online connected to Hestia, representing the hearth-fire.

This is probably my most meaningful tattoo to date. I wanted it somewhere I could easily see it because it represents, not only my devotion to Hestia, but my devotion to my home and family as well as my path as a Kitchen Witch.

In my meditations yesterday, I asked myself what keys specifically symbolize to me.

I remember the very first key I owned as a child and that was a very small key that came with a diary I was given for Christmas one year. That key symbolized privacy and the keeping of secrets.

A common symbol of keeping a secret as a child was to mimic the turning of a key over your mouth and toss the key away.

The next key I owned was a key to my childhood home. If you’ve been following the Facebook page, you probably know I’ve been dreaming a lot about that house recently. Perhaps it’s because of the thinning of the veil, perhaps it’s because I’ve been thinking so much about keys, and that house was the first place I owned a key to. For me, that key symbolized maturity and sanctuary. I had been deemed “old enough” to be responsible for a key to “home”. I could never be locked out or denied entry.

Another key from my childhood that I did not own but that I had access to, and was very important to me, was a key to what we called “under the house”.

Not a basement  really. You couldn’t stand upright and the floor of it was dirt. It got smaller as you went deeper in. This was the home of the hearth fire. The furnace, with the pilot light that was forever going out when you opened the outside door or a gust caught the gap at the back porch just right. It was also home to my most prized possession, my bicycle.

That key symbolized both the freedom my bicycle offered and protection. The safe-guarding of my bike was my first lesson in protecting the things that mattered to me.

Moving through life, keys have been a sign of status, a symbol of protection, a representation of holding the key to someone’s heart (remember the necklaces that were a heart and key), a symbol of safety and security, and a symbol of secrets.

We only “lock up” things that matter to us, things we wish to protect. We lock our cars and homes to prevent theft, we lock our doors to protect ourselves and those we love.

We lock up anything of value, including ourselves and our hearts, sometimes.

I realized that keys have played a major role in my life since my earliest childhood memories.

I also took some time last night and this morning to study the making of incense (a study that is on-going), another thing that has held much meaning in my life.

I have a thing about smells, both good and bad. My mother had the nose of a bloodhound and was all about smells. I’m sure that’s where I get it from.

Some of my other early memories are of my mother obsessing over smells. I was what my family called a “yard child”. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to sit in the house all day like kids are now. I was also a tom-boy. One of my mother’s first commands was “go take a bath, you smell like sweat and yard” or if I’d been playing with someone’s pet “go take a bath, you smell like wet dog”. She could tell where I’d been and what I’d been doing with one sniff.

She was just as funny about house smells. She was forever cleaning and being in her twenties in the 70’s, she was always burning incense.

I grew up with incense, lava lamps and bead curtains, some of the things I still love.

Even I find it surprising that I never learned to make incense. I’m really not sure how that skill passed me by other than because of the ease of simply purchasing them nearly everywhere until recently.

However it once escaped me, I decided one of the things I wanted to include in the shop next year (and make for myself) was incense and I’ve made it my business to start researching it. It’s a good thing I started early because I’ve gotten rusty on some of the associations for things outside of my spice cabinet in the kitchen, so part of that learning curve will be to familiarize myself with those associations again.

It’s been busy, as you can tell. I’m realizing that it’s a blessing in some ways that I haven’t been able to jump head-first into the store. This time to think and plan may very well end up being the difference between success and failure for me.

Blessings,
Wicked

Finding Focus – Finding My Way

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Pisces, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoy spending time near water. Luckily, there is a lake about 45 minutes from where I live.

I had to make a run today for some craft supplies and it just so happens that we cross that lake going both ways.

On the way home, we found a little out of the way place and had lunch on a little bank looking out over the water.

Water does a lot for me. It soothes and recharges me but it also helps

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me focus and sort out problems. Today was no different.

As I sat looking out at the rolling waves of a heavy chop, I thought about a few questions that’s been reoccurring a lot lately. What makes me happy? What kind of life do I really want?

I know, some of you may be thinking, “Wicked, you’re almost 40. Shouldn’t you have figured this out a long time ago?”

Maybe I should have, but the truth is, I’ve never really had roots anywhere. The unwanted child, threatened with being sent to a girl’s home until I was 12 and went to live with my mother.

Between 12 and 17, we moved three times.

At 17, I was out on my own with the boy who would be my first husband. In two years, we lived in five places.

After we separated, I lived in a number of places, including my car, until I meet DO.

DO was in the army when we met and went on to drive a tractor tailor for over a year. Home was wherever we parked at night. Because of this wanderlust, we traveled light and didn’t really own anything until about 2 years after we got together.

Since then, I can’t count how many places we’ve lived.

“Stability” has been measured by staying together, not by staying in one place.

EQ asked me a year ago (and again a few months ago), what kind of life I wanted. I parroted off what I guess you’re supposed to say when someone asks you that, but the truth is, I wasn’t really sure.

The last year has been an exercise in trying to find out what that actually was.

What I ended up finding out was all the things I didn’t want.

Roots and wings don’t usually go hand-in-hand. An effort to find a balance between them landed us in the camper back in March.

It wasn’t a completely horrible experience. There were parts of it that I actually loved and under different circumstances, I’d gladly do it again.

I will say this. Don’t assume that just because a smaller one is easier to transport, that it’s easy to live in. Don’t underestimate the importance of dedicated rooms and a decent-sized bed. Don’t buy a really old one and think you can fix it up, especially if it’s been siting unused for a while. More things break than you think will.

I suggest buying new, or nearly new. One with a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen at the very least for full-time living.

What I loved most about it was it being a more rustic-style of living and cheaper to run. I loved the idea of a portable washing machine, clothes hanging on a line, trees all around (once I got used to the large wildlife anyway, lol), feeling so close to nature in so many ways.

I missed regular plumbing, but if we’d been somewhere with septic hookups, it wouldn’t have been as bad.

What I didn’t love was lack of space. Space for storage and space to move. Feeling like I was tripping over everything we owned with no where to put anything. The tiny kitchen was a pain, too, for someone that loves cooking as much as I do.

So I spent time thinking about all that and then I spent some time talking to DO and doing a little research.

After all that, I realized that it wasn’t the camper I wanted, exactly. The camper was one way to accomplish that goal, but not the only one.

There is a name for the kind of life I want. It’s called Modern Urban Homesteading.

I like having certain things. I’m a blogger and now I run all the online interests of mine and EQ’s business as well. I’m not giving up computers, internet or cell phones unless I have to.

What I would like to do is spend my days crafting, canning, baking bread, making cookies and homemade wine and writing.

I like for the TV to be off when there’s nothing on. I like the idea of idle moments being opportunities to be creative or productive.

I like the idea of knowing (at least mostly) where my food comes from and what is in it.

One day, if we ever do buy a place, I’d like to walk outside and get my eggs directly from the chicken in the mornings.

As I’ve found out, all of that is still considered homesteading, just not in the extreme sense. It’s Modern Homesteading in urban areas. People who still have internet, electricity and indoor plumbing but try to reduce their impact and develop a closer relationship with their life and the things they use and consume.

We aren’t vegetarians, so DO is considering eventually hunting and fishing for our meat. We’ll then use whatever other parts of the animals we can. Some of those things might eventually turn up in the Etsy store since EQ and I are both part Native American, RH was a Boy Scout and DO grew up on a farm. We all share the idea that if you’re going to hunt, do it for food and use everything you can.

People may scoff at the idea of living this way within the modern world, and I’m sure not everyone will understand, but this is the life that I think would make me feel happy and fulfilled. It appeals to my roots as a Native American and also my ideals as a Pagan. DO agrees and wants the same life.

I credit, and give thanks, to my Gods for helping me see this. For giving me the direction and space I needed to figure it out and for leading me to an afternoon spent on the bank of the river to find the focus to figure it out.

Blessings,
Wicked

Wickedly Evil Social Media

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to social media lately. I’ve bounced around them all.

I recently took a break from Facebook completely, including my personal page. I spent some time on G+, Twitter and YouTube. I rebranded everything except Facebook, which I did this morning (although the URL remains the same).

I had thought I wouldn’t return to Facebook at all, not even the blog fan page. I did comment on a few friends statuses this morning, but realized I still didn’t really want to be there.

I considered making a whole new profile and just using that, but the truth is, I worked hard on the page I use for the blog there and I don’t want to loose it.

There is a way I can transfer control to another profile  but I need access to an actual computer to do it.

After much thought, I’ve decided to revitalize the Facebook Page for the blog. You can also find me on Twitter, and of course, there’s always the shop.

As for G+, I will leave my profile up. My blog automatically posts there, but I doubt I’ll do much with it other than possibly commenting on the occasional YouTube video.

The truth is, G+ is great…if you’re a vlogger, which I’m not. I spent a lot of time patronizing various vlogs, commenting and trying to build relationships, but unless you post vlogs, the relationships end up feeling very one-sided, even if you write something in response to them.

Anyway, you guys know where to find me if you need me.

Wicked

Honoring the Dead

The man in the picture was my grandfather, my mother’s father.

He passed when I was in my late 20’s and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.

He was an unusual man, with an unusual sense of humor, and an unusual outlook on life. I loved him very, very much.

He was always good to me, even when I didn’t deserve it and I tried to pay him back by caring for him when he became ill.

I spent countless nights on a hospital cot when my own family needed me at home, so he wouldn’t be alone. There was nothing I wouldn’t have done for him if I could have.

This is the time of year when I remember him most frequently and clearly.

When I think of trying to live my life in a way that would make someone proud, he is one of the first people to come to mind.

When I need help, advice, guidance, it’s his voice I long to hear most.

He was my Papa and I loved him more than words can say. When I think of honoring an ancestor, he is one that was truly worthy of honor.

Blessings,
Wicked

Winning the battle, not the war

That’s exactly how I’ve felt lately. Not exactly treading water, but not really getting anywhere either.

Oh sure, there are parts of my life that seem to be moving forward, even if only minutely. The blog is coming along and I’m occasionally enjoying real interaction with other bloggers.

The Etsy store, even though there’s not much to see at the moment, has hit a record number of views already this month.

Plans are in the works for new merchandise to be listed in the near future and the team that runs the shop, myself included, seem to be on the same page.

Finances are still a little rough, but we’re making it, and with a little more grace than we used to.

All of those things are going well, to varying degrees, and I’m thankful and blessed for each and every one.

Unfortunately, as important as all those are, and as much as I’m grateful that they’re progressing in a positive direction, there is an unseen battle I fight every day.

As some of you may be aware, I suffer from a handful of what they’re now calling “invisible illnesses”. Depression and anxiety being the top two, or at least the two I have to fight the hardest and most regularly.

You would think that with all I have to be grateful for, that there wouldn’t be any room for depression (I suppose anxiety is more understandable with starting a new business). I wish it worked that way.

Depression is often hard to understand, even by those of us who live with it daily. The truth is, I can’t always put a reason to my feelings, especially when so much seems to be going right. It seems silly, even to me, but sometimes -most of the time- it’s just there.

Last week was a rare good week. My spirits were high. I spent a lot of time at EQ’s house, which is rare in itself (I really am a home-body). I was focused and mostly happy.

This week, although it’s been a decent week so far (other than I randomly got sick last night for no apparent reason), has been harder. I don’t know why.

Last week felt like I didn’t even have to try really. The joy was just there. This week is feeling like “fake it till you make it”.

Used to, I didn’t blog, or even write, when I was depressed, or fighting with my depression, but I promised myself this time that I wouldn’t leave the crickets chirping here because of it. That even if all I could say was that I was struggling, that I’d say something. I’m keeping my word.

I realize no one wants to hear someone go on and on about things like this, but the truth is, depression is just as much a part of the woman behind this blog as anything else. It is what it is.

Tomorrow, or even later today, I might be fine. This time next week, I might be in the throws of a depression I can’t crawl out of.

All I know for sure is that for today, I’m fighting it. I may not never win the war, but at least I feel like there’s hope in winning the battle, and that’s something.

Blessings,
Wicked