30 December, 2016

Viewer Survey! My First Ever!

Greetings, dear Readers!

Now, you may not know this about me... but I'm the kind of person who REALLY LIKES SURVEYS. Frankly, I don't know why I haven't done one for my channel before. I've been thinking about it for years.

But today I finally sat down and made one! Demographics questions, YouTube audience questions, FUN questions, questions to get to know a little more about your lives and what you like and what you're interested in, what your experiences are, what your background is, and so on!

Annnd then I found out you could only have 10 questions at a time in the free survey version... And mine was 28. I wish I'd known that before I spent four hours on it. >.< ANYWAY, then I spent another hour deleting the "just for fun" questions and moving things around. I narrowed it down to 20 questions, and split it into TWO PARTS. Here they are:

PART ONE is basic audience demographics - Your age, race, gender, sexuality, religion, and so on.
PART TWO is about you as a viewing audience member - How long you've watched my channel, what kind of content you like, your opinion on some of the different things I've been posting... plus two questions that I had extra room for and wanted to include. =)

Unfortunately since they're broken up, I won't be able to see how the data from the two sections relate, but I still think they will be valuable to me as separate entities the way they are.

So PLEASE take both surveys--they're only 10 questions each ;) and I think it'll really help me get an idea of who my audience is, and understand better what you like about my channel content.

I'm all about improvement and connection in 2017!

Here are the links again in long form:
Part One: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NDY8W7N
Part Two: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NDSWC2J

Thanks & Blessings~
-C-

Update: I've now been informed, via an email from surveymonkey, that I can only get 100 responses to the surveys without upgrading to the paid version. I don't know if this means it will collect all responses and I just can't SEE them unless I pay, or if it will cut you off. I'm sorry, I was unaware of this when I made the surveys using this website! I'll do my best with what I can!

19 November, 2016

Snow Globe

It is Noon on a Saturday.

Everything is quiet. The cat sleeps soundly. The plants stretch toward the window glass. Blankets drape effortlessly. Pillows hunch together for warmth. The light, diffused, soft, comforting.

You'd never know the world was falling apart.
In our heads, in our hearts.

The snow that silently fell outside this morning gave everything the feeling of living inside a snow globe. Only the snow is outside. We live in the dollhouse within the glass bubble, crafted by the hand of an unseen artisan. And that's no metaphor for Creation. Do not be confused.

The world outside is tilted.
Is it the bubble, knocked off its base on the mantle of the gods, that skews the outside? Or is it the outside world itself that leans and veers off somewhere we can't see from here, whence the wind comes?

The snow has already gone. Melted. The Sun, though weak today, is still the Sun.
The quiet is broken. People stomp overhead. Who are our neighbors in this Doll's House?

Who will be the first to walk out, and slam the door?


-C-

03 November, 2016

Spells of the Broken

As a person who has a problem with attachment to things, I typically get very upset when things break.

Very. Upset.

However. I am also a Witch, and one who believes in magick, signs, and messages. So when I opened my glasses case and one of the clay talismans I made this year at Pagan Pride--which was put in a glasses case for protection from breaking--was BROKEN... I was initially very upset. This one came out the best, and I was very proud of it. But when I realized that the only one that had broken was the one that had actually been made with an intention, I started to think its breaking was perhaps the completion of its purpose.

Odd, I thought, since I hadn't even had time to sit with it and "do" anything.

Its creation was its onset, though. It's been a couple of months. So here's what we have. Now I'm just working out what it is that's come to pass...

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Blessings~
-C-

09 October, 2016

Purpose

Hey, Readers,

It's been a minute.

If you haven't been keeping up with my YouTube channel, you may not know what's been going on with me. And if you have, you haven't heard the latest things, because I haven't shared any of that yet. But it will come.

Things are different. There are good days and bad days, good weeks and not as good weeks, as always.

I think I know what I'm meant to be doing next.

But it's terrifying. As all these shifts are, and have been, and will be.

That's how I know it's right.

It's hard work. It's deep work. But it's important work, to me. To others. To the world.

I'm not sure how much I can say about it right now, other than that I'm excited, and scared, and anxious, and doubtful, and confident, and I just sincerely hope that when I am ready to begin and put it out there, that my work will be met with enthusiasm and support.

You have all been so delightfully good to me over the years. This is something that will give back... if only I can remove the blockage of monstrosity and step forward, despite fear.


Blessings upon you, may the Spirits be fair.
-C-

04 April, 2016

Goddess Worship, Archaeology edition

When people confuse matriarchy with misandry, archaeology edition...

Hey, Readers,

I'm rereading The Spiral Dance by Starhawk and got to the part where she discusses that people say Goddess worship always included human sacrifice in a literal sense (as opposed to the symbolic sacrifice of burning poppets, etc), but archaeological evidence does not support this. She lists several sites determined to be home to matrilineal cultures where Goddess imagery was common, yet no evidence of human sacrifice was present.


One of the sites named was Çatalhöyük or Catal Hüyük, where she notes that many figures depicting the Goddess and animals were found, but there are no provisions for human or animal sacrifice. Not knowing much about Çatalhöyük, I decided to look it up and read a bit. 

It turns out that the original excavations found hundreds of figurines, most of which depicted the female, some of which depicted the male. Later excavation lead by another person (in the 2000s, decades after The Spiral Dance was written) found two thousand figurines, most of which were animals, and took that, along with a few other findings, to mean the city was not decidedly matrilineal or patrilineal.

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article, quoting from an article in the Turkish Daily News:


In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Hodder is reported as denying that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchal society and quoted as saying "When we look at what they eat and drink and at their social statues, we see that men and women had the same social status. There was a balance of power. Another example is the skulls found. If one's social status was of high importance in Çatalhöyük, the body and head were separated after death. The number of female and male skulls found during the excavations is almost equal."[26] In another article in the Hurriyet Daily News Hodder is reported to say "We have learned that men and women were equally approached".[27]

This tells me that for this archaeological team to believe the culture was Goddess-worshiping or matriarchal, they believe they would need to see evidence that the female was more important than the male, or had more privilege in the society. In other words, the direct opposite of the system of patriarchy we see now in many places. 

Unfortunately, this is the view a lot of people have of reverence of the Divine Feminine--that it must mean the female is superior. This is a big issue with how some people use the word "feminism" today, as well. Some people, like these archaeologists, believe that Goddess worship and spirituality of the Divine Feminine would look exactly like the opposite of the many current examples of patriarchal power-over.

I would argue that these archaeologists actually just gave the greatest argument that Çatalhöyük was, indeed, a matriarchal culture. Because that's what the Divine Feminine wants for, and from, her children: equal treatment, support, sharing, working together, community. Hodder used a phrase that is precisely the goal of a Goddess-worshiping feminist Witchcraft tradition, such as Reclaiming: "a balance of power."

I'm excited to look into some of the other accepted Goddess-worship sites to see what kinds of statements have been made where people believe they see evidence for or against. I'm not an expert in this field, and we are always learning new things. But I am a Witch who reveres the Goddess, perhaps unlike these archaeologists. So we do have a different way of seeing the truth in what they say, even as they think they are negating a feminist myth. 

Here is the Wikipedia article. The quote I shared is from the "Religion" section:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Çatalhöyük#

Blessings~
-C-

09 February, 2016

Restricted Practice / Craft Without STUFF

Hey, Readers,

Someone asked me about a topic I know I've talked about in the past: Restricted practice of the variety where you live in a household with people who aren't welcoming toward Paganism, and maybe even won't allow any "trappings" of it in the house, whether this be Pagan books, crystals, incense, or even candles. To help them find where I've already talked about this, or the collab has, I went through my blog, YouTube channel, and the collab channel. I discovered that all the times I've talked about this have been on the PaganPerspective collab! I have no blog posts about this specific topic, nor have I talked about it much on my personal channel, at least not in specific. Probably I figured we talk about it on the collab every so often, so there's no need to cover it on my channel, as well.

But I do think there's more to say and more specifics to be said, or ways I can update what I've said previously. So that is now on my list. But until then, I've compiled some links here to videos I've done on the subject, one video that one of my old substitutes on the collab (Sissors) did, and links to the PaganPerspective BLOG list where you can find links to all the videos done that week. So here are some past resources to check out until I get to doing some new stuff!

-C-


Cara (paganperspective Year 2) - Spiritual Materialism (Practicing without STUFF)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu0re_TPBt4

Sissors (paganperspective Year 2) - General Restricted Practice (Living with parents, practicing at college/university where things are not allowed, etc.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK_Xp8LIxBs

Also in Year Two, search "spiritual materialism" and "restricted practice" to find all the videos that all the hosts did on those two topics
http://paganperspectivecollab.blogspot.com/2013/05/yeartwo.html


Cara (paganperspective Year 5) - "This Is Not A Locked Door" (living situations that are not open/welcoming to Paganism)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIygrg5pBeM&list=UUfulmtopwKbTkvVa04PaSRw

Also in Year Five, July 2014, take a look at Week 49. "Living situations that are hostile to Paganism--belief and/or practice" to see all the videos that all the hosts did that week.
http://paganperspectivecollab.blogspot.com/2013/09/yearfive.html

26 January, 2016

Unflinching Heart / Thank You

Hey, Readers,

I didn't set out to write a blog post tonight. I just started writing a little update on Facebook and it turned into a much longer post--longer than a status but perhaps shorter than a blog post--so I decided to instead publish it here. That's what I have a blog for, right? =)

About halfway through this status update-turned-blog, I realized that I was doing the work I began last weekend at a Priestessing Skills (read: Leadership Skills, of a Priestessing nature) workshop. But you all don't know about that yet. I don't know if you will, explicitly. This one may just be revealed to you in my leadership, in my priestessing. But I will tell you that it was working with acknowledging our fears about leadership, and with letting go of the idea of "perfection" in leadership. So without further adieu, here are the thoughts that sprang from my head, fully formed, before my fingers knew what they were typing.

~

Uploading the next installment of my little series about witchcamp now! And I got another comment from someone, eh not sure if they were really complaining or just making an obvious observation, about the repetitive lines in my Shit People Say video (which still needs the sequel done, I know). But now my feeling is kind of like, if nobody had gotten it, maybe it could have been done better. But since a ton of you precious souls resonate with it and feel exactly what I was doing, and just some people don't really understand what I was doing... well, that makes it feel more like art to me.

A few people have made and sent me their own versions of/responses to it. =) And on the other side, numerous people have directly copied it (I get links and screenshots from my viewers when they recognize things that are eerily close to my video--good lookin' out!) without acknowledging the source/inspiration, sometimes straight up putting their own username on it. Sooo... if it's good enough to pay tribute to, AND good enough to plagiarize... =P


It's all part of my journey, this stuff. Getting over the fear of sharing (What if I get negative comments? What if people steal my ideas? What if I'm not saying anything worthwhile? What if everyone else does it better?) and continually saying SO WHAT? Even IF that happens, even WHEN that happens (because it does... all the time), I will still be here. I will step into my work anyway.

And I thank you, those of you who "get it," those who maybe don't "get it" but support and enjoy it, those who engage in positive ways and share and learn and grow alongside one another, alongside me... Thank you. For being my people. For having my back. For walking your own walk and Never Forgetting To Be Awesome.

Blessed Be--I am blessed by your presence.


-C-

02 January, 2016

My 2015 Lessons, My 2016 Intention

"What is Your Intention?" asks Thorn Coyle's blog post from a few years ago. I haven't thought much about a single intention for this new calendar year yet, so I'd like to do that, now. Though the whole "Yuletide" season (which for me begins slightly before the Winter Solstice and extends slightly past the change of the Gregorian calendar year) feels like a shift into a new chapter for me, I did feel a significant change in this year's New Year's Eve into New Year's Day, January the 1st of 2016.

I learned a lot in 2015 and went through several shifts in my path. I talk about the major changes in those shifts in my 2015 Year in Review video, which just went public on my YouTube channel a few hours ago. I do feel that I'm not done with those lessons at all, and am continuing on the path they set out, so doubtless those three main messages from the Universe will go on to inform 2016. For reference, those messages, as I heard them, were

SPEAK YOUR TRUTH | BE YOUR TRUE SELF | BUILD YOUR BONES

While those are the messages as I basically ended up phrasing them, they came in wordless forms, or in many phrases at once. That first one, consciously acknowledged in April, I think of as my Crow Medicine, because that's how I received the message--from a crow. It is also my Raven lesson, as ravens and crows intermingled in my ally work at Witchcamp this autumn. "Speak your mind while being mindful" is the message I had for my online followers at this time. "Speak your truth, clearly and resolutely" is what Crow had for me. Then in the summer, when it seemed I was getting that lesson under my belt (still working on it, but familiar enough with it to keep going and incorporate something new), the message expanded to "BE your Truth," or as I phrase it now, "Be your true Self." This message, to me, had a lot to do with my path as a Witch and emboldening that. It was during this time that I looked into the possibility of attending Witchcamp and made those plans concrete. And through working through what becoming my true Self means, how to do that, and what it would look like, I started receiving some heavy repetitive messages and imagery and synchronicity of events/images/etc. that spoke to me what I actually most often refer to, to myself, as my Bone Lessons. I'm learning my bone lessons, is how I say it to myself, and how it resonates with me. But in describing what that lesson is, I choose the phrase tattooed on the arm of a significant female figure in my life, one of my employers (who contributed, unknowingly, to some of the imagery of this Shift): Devo farmi le ossa. I must build my bones. It means building oneself from the bones, from the "ground" up, from the inside out. So these are what I think of as the three main Shifts that I experienced in 2015: my Crow Medicine, my Witch Self, and my Bone Lessons.

But actually, there was one more preceding all these that I didn't consciously recognize or acknowledge as a Shift, but which definitely paved the way for the rest of these to occur. It was a resonant message shared in a Facebook post back in 2014, something I identified with as a lesson I needed to learn, and I made it the lock screen on my new smartphone so as to remember it. That was in the summer of 2014. It's still my lock screen now, because it's an ongoing reminder:

DO NO HARM (BUT TAKE NO SHIT)

I posted a video on my channel in March 2015 about this Shift in Taking No Shit, but I didn't feel this real pull to specific lessons and work until Crow practically knocked on my skull in the Spring. From there, everything followed.

Some beings left my life in 2015, for better, for worse, or with neutral results. New friends and allies entered, and oh, how welcome they are! New lessons, new skills, new family and community. New, and at the same time, old. Familiar. I'm talking about people, but I'm also talking about animals, allies of all species and corporeal states. Some cycles ended, and some began. A lot has happened, is still happening, and I'm encouraged by the progress and growth I've seen and am eager to continue.

So now, looking into 2016, I ask myself, what is my intention for the year?

There are some lessons I definitely want to keep in mind and keep working on that I would like to enumerate here, some of which are things learned at Witchcamp, others of which came out of other aspects of my life this year:

  • The three main Shifts discussed above, as well as Taking No Shit
  • Love. Love is bigger than all of this, than all of us. "There is nothing to fear when it's Love that you come from. There is nothing to fear when it's Love that you're made of." - Ginger Doss
  • Listening to the Universe is an important, life-changing thing, in general for me.
  • Cracks are how the light gets in.
  • Time is my ally.
  • We are the ones we've been waiting for/Be the ally.
  • Living like a Witch, what that means to me.

I know that Love is a big one for me right now, and has been for a couple of years. Love kind of encompasses everything else, such as ally-ship and forming alliances and relating to allies, loving myself and therefore being my Self more authentically, loving others and continuing to grow in service to the community and also to my personal path... So perhaps Love, and my chosen Truth about it that I've come to know and share throughout this year--Love is bigger than all of this--is intention enough to go from. Operating from a place of Love. All extends from there. That Ginger Doss quote I mentioned has been a good one for me to express what I mean when I talk about the power of Love as a concept (noun, verb, all good stuff).

If I were to put these thoughts into some ritual intentions, they might look like this:
  • Speaking the Truth from my Bones, I grow into my True Self.
  • Made in Love.
  • When the Universe calls, I will answer. When Allies speak, I will listen.
  • "Live in ways that are sure to horrify the few and inspire the many." - Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Dangerous Old Woman

Some things I want to work on developing in 2016:
  • My art. Some of those intentions will likely be made into artful objects and given as gifts and/or shared with you via my Etsy shop.
  • My relationships with my Allies, Deity, and the Universe.
  • My sense of Self. Being Cara, being a Witch, my place in community, my place in solitude.
  • My connection with Water and Earth, the receptive elements.

At this point, I'm not sure what single intention I hold for 2016. It definitely comes from Love, lifts up the Self, and speaks from the bones. It comes when the Universe beckons and embraces unexpected allies.

Until I choose, if I choose, a specific set of words strung into an intention, or a set of images to set my focus on, or any other number of ways to hold something with intent, I welcome the intent shared by Thorn Coyle and passed around in blessing for years now:

"Love. Health. Prosperity. Knowledge. And Great Sex!"

Blessed Be, and have a Happy New Year (whatever calendar system you use).
-C-