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

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

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

Samhain Ghost Stories ~ Living in a Haunted House 1

Many years ago, my mother and step-father rented a house. Witchlet and I spent the night with them once, sleeping on a pallet in the living room. They had already told me of strange happenings in the house, and I had a few experiences that night, but nothing overly spectacular (noises mostly…the covers got pulled off us once but in a playful way).

When they moved out, Draco and I moved in. It really was a nice house.

It didn’t take us long to realize that the activity was either much more severe than they’d let on, or it got worse when we moved in.

It started with what they’d talked about. Noises coming from the kitchen, like someone was in there bumping around going about their business, when no one was in there. The pantry door would not stay closed even if you propped something against it, things like that. It was all pretty mild. For a while.

I think it was about two months after we moved in when things really started happening.

I awoke in the middle of the night, at 2:30 am on the dot. I generally slept with my back to the door, curled up to Draco. This night, and the few nights that followed, were no different, although I continued to come fully awake at 2:30 am for no apparent reason.

Several days into this pattern, I awoke, again at 2:30 am, but this time, I’d turned over sometime in the night and was facing the door.

As I opened my eyes, I was looking straight into the hall, and saw a woman in a white gown walking quickly past the door headed towards the kitchen.

Convinced there was an intruder in the house, I woke Draco and together we checked the entire house, every door and window. There was no sign that anyone had been in the house other than us.

I continued waking at 2:30 am, this time, deliberately going to sleep facing the door, and every time I awoke, I saw the same woman walk past our door. Every time, I got up and went after her only to discover an empty kitchen and quiet house.

About 4 months after we moved in, I was raking leaves in the yard when I saw our neighbor across the street, an older man about the age of my parents, watching me. He looked indecisive in some way I can’t describe, so I raised my hand in greeting. He slowly, almost reluctantly it seemed, walked across the street to where I was.

He seemed uncomfortable as he introduced himself, asking the usual questions new neighbors will ask, making small talk. I could tell something was on his mind, but I decided to let the situation play out and let him get to it in his own time, figuring he had some sort of neighborly complaint or perhaps wanted to borrow something.

He soon steered the conversation in the direction he was headed, asking how we liked living there, had we known the previous tenets because there was more than a passing resemblance between my mother, daughter and myself. I said I did and that it was my parents and little brother.

He said he’d been real surprised that they’d lived there as long as they had and that someone they knew had moved in after them.

“Folks don’t usually stay long in that house anymore”, he said, “used to be a real nice house. My best friend and his wife raised their family there, but of course, they’re long gone now. Nobody’s lived there long since except you and your folks. I’ve heard tell of some strange things going on over there. You noticed anything out of the ordinary?”

I admitted that I had, in fact, noticed some things and asked him what he knew.

He said that things were fine there, as far as he knew, for a long time. Nothing strange, that he’d ever heard, happened until right before his friend passed away. That was when the strange things started.

He said his friend had never been a drinker, not in all the years he’d known him, but he got up one night to get something to drink and noticed the light on in the garage. This was unusual. It was the middle of the night and his friend had never been up that late before. Worried someone had broken into their garage, he came over to check it out and found his friend with a bottle of whiskey, acting strange. Talking strange. He said his friend was going on about something he’d put up in the house and couldn’t find and when he suggested maybe he should go on to bed and sleep it off, his friend got mad and practically ran him off.

Apparently,  according to my neighbor, they’d been friends a long time and never had a hard word between them in all those years. He went home confused and more than a little hurt, intending to give him a few days to cool off and then going to talk to him.

A few nights later, he said, he woke up to sirens and the flicker of flames in the kitchen window.

He said he found out later from his friends wife, that he’d been acting very strange, going on and on about something he couldn’t find. He claimed to have hidden something in the kitchen pantry and was convinced it’d been taken by someone.

They were an older couple, his wife feared his mind was going. There was nothing, that she knew of, ever hidden in the pantry, but he became obsessed about it, going through every drawer, every cabinet, in search of it. He would never say what it was.

The man was taken to the hospital that night, still raving, and died a few days later. The wife followed shortly behind her husband.

According to my neighbor’s account of the wife’s story, the night of the fire, she’d been sleep in their room. The house had been remodeled after their passing and the master bedroom had been the room at the end of the hall. Our room, had actually been two smaller bedrooms. The adjoining wall had been removed and one of the doors closed off.

She’d awaken to noises in the kitchen and had hurried down the hall to see what was going on. Her husband had been in a state, tearing the kitchen apart as flames flickered in the sink threatening to catch the curtains and wall on fire. She’d called 911 but couldn’t calm her husband. Because of his agitated state and the fact that he’d started a fire, police and paramedics agreed to take him to the hospital for observation. He never came home.

The wife was overcome with guilt that she’d let them take him and that he’d died.

Other tenants had claimed to hear noises in the kitchen, complained of the pantry door refusing to stay shut and seeing a woman in a white nightgown hurrying down the hall at 2:30 am exactly, the time of the fire.

It was thought that the noises and her spirit was what is considered a residual haunting, where a particular event plays over and over like it’s on loop. These events are usually believed to have been tragic or traumatic in some way and have left an “energy imprint” on a place.

I believe that what I witnessed each night was simply a wife trying to save the man she loved from himself, hoping each time, for a different outcome.

As far as I know, the house still stands, activity continues and the landlord still finds it hard to keep tenants for very long. Last I heard, my family was the longest tenants he’s had.

While the story of the husband and wife was certainly the most frequent activity in the house, it was not the only activity we experienced while we lived there. I

I will tell other stories of this house and other haunted houses we’ve lived in (we seem to be attracted to haunted houses…or they’re attracted to us…), as well as some I’ve heard, throughout October. I’ve never written down my paranormal experiences before, so this is something new. I’ll tag them as Ghost Stories for those interested in reading them all.

Wishing you all a spooky Samhain Season.

Blessings,
WW

All I had to do was ask…

Finances have been topping the list of “things we’d rather ignore” in the Lair, as of late. There have been mixed rumors about how long Draco’s overtime would last and the holidays are coming. The company will be closed 2 days for Thanksgiving and since Draco is currently a temp, he won’t get paid for them. Needless to say, it’s had me a little concerned.

This morning, out of the blue, Tiger calls me. Looks like we’re back in business. I’m so excited I can’t see straight.

Honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

It takes so much worry off my mind as well as giving me something to do. Between this and the Etsy store, I might find myself working damn-near full-time, but doing things I enjoy rather than punching a clock.

Also, it gives me an excuse to spend more time with Tiger, who I have seriously missed since we moved out. Sounds like a win-win to me.

I’m not sure how much of an effect this will all have on my recent plans for blogging, if any, but I do still have a house to run in addition to any work I do as well as having time for myself, my hubby, my spiritual path and just general down-time. I suppose that part I will just have to play by ear.

As for now, I have to go do dinner prep because I have to pick up Draco in an hour.

All in all, I can seriously see Hestia moving through my life, helping me bring security to my home…and all I had to do was ask…

Blessings,
WW

Witchlet

The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  All my fears welled up inside me until I felt that I would burst from the pressure.  How could I possibly be doing this?  I was too young, my marriage, though still new, was already in trouble.  What was I thinking?

Then, a soft cry that became a lusty bellow into the stillness of a new day.  It was done.  Months of fear, pain and discomfort evaporated as I looked into the deep blue eyes of the life I’d created.  I knew in that moment that my life was no longer my own.  I vowed that I would do anything I could to give you the love that had never been mine, to shelter you from the suffering I had endured.

But time is a funny thing.  The wheel sometimes spins so fast that you wake up one day and realize an entire life has passed in the blink of an eye.

I can still see you in my mind’s eye with wrinkled pink skin, tiny fits already pumping in the defiance you would one day possess.

Bouncing in your seat to the beat of the radio.

Drool running down your chin, cookie grasped firmly in hands you were still learning to use and a crooked smile displaying two tiny white teeth.

I see chubby legs stumbling across the yard to chase one of your ever-present dragonflies.

Streaking through the house with no shame, soaking wet from a bath and laughing madly as you evaded the towel.  Mischief and mayhem following in your wake.

Head laying in my lap, whispers of “I love you” as you drifted to sleep.

A perfect princess in a pink Tu-Tu.  Long hair tied up and reminding me how much you had grown.

A vision in black with a flower pinned to your dress, me hiding behind a camera I was too shaky to hold to keep you from seeing how emotional I was.

Realizing that although you’ll always be my baby, that you no longer are a Heidibaby.

Watching you bring your own life into the world and seeing the love shine in your eyes as you held your own miracle.  Realizing that my baby had become a mommy herself.

Moments and pain and pride, success and failure mingle with the tears of years gone by and flash through my mind as I sit at my computer and think of the wiggling pink bundle of love I brought into this world.  Although it seems like only yesterday, it was, in fact, 21 years ago.

It’s still hard to remember sometimes that you’re grown now with a child of your own.  It’s a feeling I often think I will never get used to.

I love you and I’ve never regretted a moment I spent with you.  I only regret that those moments couldn’t pass slower, that I didn’t have the knowledge then that I have now, so that I could have enjoyed them more fully.  My heart is full of my love for you.

Happy Birthday, Witchlet.  Mommy loves you.

A voice in the darkness

Freedom is a thing of dreams. Shackled by a society that could never find a way to accept what they don’t understand. Kept in the dark where I am the thing that goes bump in the night.

A monster created by things no sane mind could accept. Locked away while life goes on outside my prison walls.

I dream of things created in darkness, of dark moons, flames flickering, skeletal branches scratching on the window, wind and wolves are the music that fill my empty hours.
image

I am the shadow on the wall, the owl singing it’s lonely song, the clouds that dance across the night sullen sky.

I am your heartbeat in the depth of night, I am your every fear and your worst nightmare come true.

I am the rage that pounds in your veins at injustices left to rot in your soul. I am the tears of heartbreak, the moaning of your lonely soul when you think no one is there to hear.

I am the memories you try to forget, the grudges you think you don’t hold.

I am pain and in your pain, I am power.