Midsummer: a time to pause

Happy Midsummer to those who celebrate!

I’ll be honest; this isn’t a festival that normally gets lot of attention from me. In pagan Scandinavia it was considered one of the three great holidays of the year, with the biggest sacrifices being made in the spring for victory, at Midsummer for the coming harvest, and at Yule to keep the unpredictable spirits of the Wild Hunt at bay. At Midsummer, the faeries and landwights were propitiated for the health and abundance of that year’s crops, and in one of the sagas a Christian visiting Iceland from Norway is told that if he interrupts this important festival “Odin will be angry.”

But especially since we moved to Oregon, mid-June is generally too hot for me to feel very ambitious about any type of religious celebration, especially one that traditionally tends to happen outdoors. June is also the height of allergy season for me (or at least it seems to be this year!), and for the last several years of Corbie J’s life it was also health crisis season: every summer, there was some new and expensive life-threatening emergency for him. Last year at this time, the now-infamous Oregon wildfires of 2017 were in full swing, and–depending on the direction of the wind–more days than not saw choking smoke pouring into Eugene, making the air thick and unbreathable. For Jo (who has asthma) it was bad. For Corbie (who was struggling with chronic heart failure)…Well, halfway through the summer we were pretty sure it was going to be his last.

So, now Midsummer is unavoidably a time when Corbie is heavily on my mind–especially this year, our first without him. For me, I think this holiday is always going to be a somewhat quiet one, a time to pause–just as the sun is doing–to reflect on what has passed thus far before embarking on the second half of the year.  Of course, even though we are still missing Corbie we now have Molly, and to say she is a source of much joy would be an understatement. This Midsummer, she has been with us for a little over six months–definitely cause for celebration! So here are some photos taken on walks with her (my very favorite activity of each day!), showing Eugene in full bloom! Strolling though our city streets in June is very much like wandering into Oz or fairyland, with an abundance of roses, lavender, cherry trees heavy with fruit, and overblown poppies everywhere.

 

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What Stories Do You Love?

Stories are where memories go

Artist credit: Amanda Dawe | Quote credit: the 12th Doctor

Long before I started making stuff, long before I started considering myself pagan, I spoke–and devoured, and was passionately in love with–the language of story. I grew up wanting to write stories of my own–and I did, for a while, although I haven’t dabbled in fiction for years now. I got my college degree in English literature. (My original career plan was to teach it.) I even married a writer, FFS.

But I’m not unusual in this; I think most of us speak the language of story quite fluently. It’s how we communicate with one another, and how our dreams are framed at night. Even what we love about our gods is largely inspired by Their stories, if you think about it–either the old stories that have come to us as “lore,” or the new stories They tell us Themselves.

So, I thought we’d get a little bit of a conversation going here: what stories do you love? What fandoms do you follow? What TV shows are you addicted to, what are your favorite books? If you have older children or teenagers, what are their favorites?  (I love young adult fiction; it always seems to embrace a much more imaginative world, full of possibilities unspoiled by the jaded adult mind.)

While I genuinely want to know your answers (and I might even be looking for viewing/reading suggestions, as I suspect I’m in a bit of a pop culture rut), I’ll also admit there’s possibly some product research hidden here.

And since I asked, I’ll go first! If you’ve followed this blog for longer than a few months, you probably know I love Doctor Who. I’m also a big fan of Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things, and Buffy when it was around, and…there may be more, as far as TV is concerned, but right now I can’t think of any. (You see what I mean about being in a pop culture rut? I watch a lot of documentaries currently–which are stories in their own way, tales of the past–but I’d like to update my 21st century pop culture creds, too.)

Movies and books…The Wizard of Oz is probably my all-time favorite, though I’ll confess to not having read the books. Not many people know it, but this blog and my business were named after Glinda the Good Witch, not the Northern gods.

I love the Harry Potter books and movies, though I’m probably not quite as big a fan as many are. I enjoyed the first Percy Jackson book, but didn’t read any of the others in the series. And I LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia books, but the movies were kind of meh, in my opinion.

In the realm of mythology, I love all of the stories of Odin’s adventures and sacrifices, I love the story of how Isis tricked Her father Ra into giving Her supreme power over everything (by revealing His name), and I love Milton’s version of the Fall from Heaven, with all its doomed grandeur.

What about you? What are some of your own favorites? What are your kids reading?

A fresh start, and some beach malas

beach malas

I finally cleared out a ton of posts and images from this blog to make room for new stuff (I was about at WP’s limit for posting images and still having your blog be free), and accidentally ended up deleting way more images than I’d intended. OOPS! At least I have the really important ones (such as pet photos) backed up elsewhere.

I apologize for the frequent name changes and sawdust over the past few weeks. However, my intended rebranding has been put on hold because I had an even better idea, so it looks like The Wytch of the North is here to stay for the time being.

But in the meantime, I felt inspired to dig through my stash of leftover beads and put together some necklaces. I’m informally calling these my “beach malas” because they’re so light and wearable, perfect for a relaxed summer outing, a pagan or music festival, even a day at the beach. Each one has 72 beads, and is hand knotted every third bead. Think of them as a more laid-back type of mala-style necklace. You can find them in my shop here.

I also have a new batch of ritual cords in the works!

My Patreon Blog

A a follow-up to my last post, I want to make sure everyone knows I also have a blog over at Patreon. Most of the posts there are locked unless you are a Patreon supporter. In other words, you have to be pledging me at least $1 per month, and be logged into your Patreon account, in order to read them. My Patreon blog is where most of my Patreon rewards are delivered (such as the Lunar Letters I’ve been posting all year), so if you are a Patreon supporter and you aren’t reading it you are really missing a lot of content from me!

If you aren’t sure how to log into your Patreon account or otherwise need help using the site, let me know and I’ll walk you through it! It’s very important to me that everyone who’s supporting me on Patreon is getting the full benefit of that support! (Once you are logged into Patreon, you tend to stay logged in even when you migrate away from the page or close the tab, so you won’t need to be logging in again every time you go there.)

I have been posting notifications to Facebook whenever content goes up on my Patreon blog, but it’s occurring to me now that not all of my supporters are on Facebook. So from now on, both here and at the new WordPress blog when I migrate over, I will also be posting a link to my public blog whenever Patreon posts go up–so if you’re a supporter all you’ll have to do is click and read!

Corbie J.

corbiebeach2016I’m not ready to go into a huge amount of detail about it (and who knows if I ever will be? I know Jo plans to write about some of his adventures eventually, but I will likely be keeping my memories more to myself), but I did want to let my blog readers know, since so many of you have rooted for him (and even provided financial support for his expensive heart meds) throughout the years.

On Monday, Corbie lost his almost-four year battle with congestive heart failure, and our vet agreed with what we reluctantly felt in our hearts: that it was time to say goodbye. He actually had suffered a stroke (which I was there for) a few days beforehand, which meant he went from sort of okay to barely conscious within a couple of days.

He was part of our family for more than ten years, and this is a huge, devastating loss for us. I know not everyone will understand the scope of this, but many of you will, especially if you factor in the ways in which a long illness (for any family member, human or otherwise) can dominate attention  and finances for an extended period of time; so much of the way we’ve lived out lives for the past few years, especially, has been determined by his needs and his illness.

End of life vet expenses are pretty hefty, and we were already behind on bills from his recent bloodwork–which is why I opened up the 2018 year ahead readings yesterday, when I had not planned to do so. I don’t know whether I will continue offering readings beyond this (my preference is not to), so if you want a reading for me this may be your last chance for a while.

The extra expenses are also why I will be posting a sale of many of my remaining Tarot and oracle decks here on the blog within the next few days–so watch for that if you’re so inclined.

I have comments off on this post because I just can’t cope with getting condolence messages just now. We are getting through one day at a time. The Etsy shop IS still open, and will remain so–and I’ll be adding more new products (including tea!) within the next few days.