Sunday, November 22, 2015

Elegy of the Dark

I am the darkness.
Weary.  Jaded.  Irritated.
Bored with the games people play
People are selfish
deceptive

Rage builds
They are worthless
They are parasites
They are vampires
They are evil
They take
And take
And never give
      anything
         at
            all.

The darkness is new
I don't remember choosing it
But how can I flow through a sea
of dark toxins
black poisons
and vile parasites
without getting stained?

So many energies
all of them dark
But which one is mine?
Dread creeps in
I am lost
in a land of vampires.

Dark cannot fight dark
Dark is dark
Dark gets lost in the dark
Dark is not the way

     ...but then...

light must be the way.
light shines through dark
banishes it
vanquishes it

I found my star
it is faint
but I see it
It is shining
it will show the way back
Now my Moon will glow
Soon my Sun will blaze again

Our star is somewhere else's sun
What if my Sun is someone else's Star?

What if they are lost too?
What if they are not dark by choice?
What if they have become parasites
    only to survive?
What if they wished they could find the way
    out of the darkness?
What if they are flailing
    drowning
        in the dark sea
             because they can't
                  find their star?


I will not be the darkness.
I will be the Star.

Friday, August 7, 2015

ルナサード!

As the entry title says, today is Lughnasadh (by the archaeo-astronomical calendar as opposed to the Roman one, naturally), so we're taking time to celebrate our skills.  One of my skills is the ability to write, so this entry is part of the celebration!

Tangentially, I've been off on a Japanese kick recently; I've been making a lot of Japanese food at home (sushi, authentic teriyaki salmon, Japanese pickles, and lots of Japanese rice and onigiri) and am getting interested in trying to learn the language as well (which explains the Japanese writing scattered around).  I don't know that I'm even far enough along to be called a beginner yet, but maybe by next year's Lughnasadh I could have another skill to celebrate.

おにぎりベネディクト
My beautiful wife is nothing but supportive of my interest; she believes that I might have been a geisha in a previous life.  This morning, she suggested I make some Japanese rice for a East-West fusion breakfast!  We've played around with variations of Eggs Benedict in the past (doing things like Pancakes Benedict, as an example), and she suggested trying it using rice in place of the English muffin.  We each had one rice patty (a flattened onigiri) that was plain, and one that was toasted in a pan (yaki onigiri).  I even made what was probably my best homemade オランデーズソース* ever!
We were impressed by how well the flavor combination worked with the plain rice; the toasted one wasn't quite as good, which is the opposite of what I had imagined going in, so the side-by-side comparison turned out to be a smart thing.

象印炊飯器
We decided that, to honor my skill of cooking and also to honor Lugh's status as a God of the Forge, we were going to have steaks on the grill.  While I was at Costco, I also made a purchase that goes along with the Japanese subject:  I bought a new Zojirushi rice cooker.  My old one was a gift from my sister, and it served me well but it had just about had it; the non-stick was basically gone from the pot, and I did want to upgrade to a fuzzy-logic style cooker (the newest version of neuro-fuzzy-logic cookers are called "MiCom," for micro-computer).  I haven't had a chance to try it out or even open it yet, but I am looking forward to playing with it.

The steaks turned out quite nice; I was able to hit the temperature I wanted perfectly (right in the middle of rare to medium-rare) and we had an excellent dinner.  I had originally planned to take a picture of that for the blog as well, but... food can be such a transient thing, can't it?  Here one moment, gone the next.

クロススティッチ!
I also did some counted cross stitch tonight, since that is another skill that I have, and one that I have not been using as much recently.  The project I am working on both the biggest and most ambitious project I've done, and the first one I will be doing for myself instead of for a gift:  I am making Mirabilia's Bliss Fairy for myself.  I am less than halfway done with it, but there are flowers and a good portion of the fairy's wing.  I want to use today's momentum, having gotten it out again, to maybe get serious about finishing it; I think once it is framed and on the wall, it will be something I can really be proud of having accomplished.

These are not the only skills I can count as my own, of course, but they are ones I have chosen to celebrate today.  Like Lugh, I have many skills, and I give thanks for the lifetime that has allowed me to learn them.

Before the Costco run, I took Bodie for a walk, and even though I felt a bit tired and thought about turning around earlier than our usual circuit, I decided I should push myself and do the whole thing.  I'm glad I did, afterwards, and it got us thinking, that perseverance is the root of skill--when something feels hard, but you do it anyway, that is when skills get developed, honed, enhanced.  And I think it's important to do those challenging things, even when there is the option not to, to grow as a person.  And you know, Lugh has many skills, but I expect he learned them one at a time.  Which is why I think, if I can get to the next Lughnasadh with one more skill or one more accomplishment than I have on this one, that will be the best way to honor the spirit of ルナサード** that there could be.

*:  "Hollandaise Sauce."
**: "Lughnasadh."


Friday, June 12, 2015

Vampire Killer

The entry title has a double meaning, as I often enjoy doing.

Firstly, and more immediate to today, it is a reference to the Castlevania series of video games, of which I am a long-time fan.  That doesn't completely sum it up, though; there is something about the series that I have found inspirational in a deep way, and I'm not completely sure I can put a finger on it, but I will try.

A few years ago, a bit before I met the lovely lady who would become my wife, I had a dramatic change in my life.  It was a rebirth for me, where I found my true authentic self and started claiming my happiness, my spirit, and my power back.  I finally ended an emotionally abusive twelve-year-long marriage when I stopped being what someone else wanted me to be.  I turned away from the rigid, judgmental, and sterile Church of my upbringing when I found a true connection to the Divine through a Pagan path.  And I claimed my power, when I started to finally be what I had always wished I was--or really, what I had always known I needed to be, but had never imagined to be possible before.

As a culmination of this process of rebirth, I was granted the opportunity to rename myself, legally:  I could choose any name I wanted for myself--first, middle, and last.  I 'tried on' a couple of different last names, ones that honored a grandparent, or a great-grandparent... but in the end, the thing that felt right to me was to name myself for the line of inspirational heroes from the games I loved, those heroes who faced daunting odds and impossible challenges, all to oppose an immortal adversary that can never truly be defeated, but has to be continually controlled.

And this is why, today, I am a Belmont.

The creator of many of my favorite Castlevania stories, Koji Igarashi, wants to continue making more of this kind of games and stories, and despite publishers telling him that nobody wants 'those games' anymore, the public is telling him differently through his Kickstarter project, which is ending today.  I am backing him with $125 (for 2 backer-exclusive copies of his new game) so far, and I'm tempted to go higher even though I probably shouldn't.

IGA, I hope you get to keep telling your stories forever.  I will be there to enjoy them all; I am, after all, a Belmont.

---------------------------------------

The other thing that the title refers to might actually be the more important of the two, at least as it affects my spiritual well-being:  The psychic vampire that I had been forced to work with as part of my job is no more.  Or at least, she's gone somewhere else, which is just as good; the point is, she no longer works with me.

I'd like to take credit for this victory, actually; it was after she (literally!) asked me to be "her champion" (against our boss!), and instead I finally stood up for myself and told her how it would be, that she abandoned her job.

I have to say, I could immediately feel the difference once I knew she had left for the final time to turn in her work property and that thread had been cut.  I'm feeling much more positive this past week, and I am looking forward to restoring my physical and spiritual health back to where it was before she came in to my life.

I guess I wouldn't be a real Belmont if I had never had to defeat a vampire...  :b

(I'll just hope I don't have to go round up her body parts and fight her again to get things back to normal.  Simon can keep that nonsense to himself--I will be happy to never get a sequel, personally.  She can be someone else's problem in 100 years.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

As the World Turns

Interesting how the title of a popular [melo]drama series can sound so Pagan in another context...
Much like the script of the alluded-to TV show, life moves inexorably forward, whether we want it to or not.

Tomorrow is Bridghid, the next Solar holiday, or sabbat (celebrating the true astronomical cross-quarter, and not the calendar convention, as usual for me).  Tomorrow is also the next Lunar 'holiday,' the full Quickening Moon; the two events occur just over an hour apart, which seems auspicious to me.

'Wintering' the Yule season hasn't been without its bumps in the road; we had to have a run of drain pipe that wasn't installed correctly dug up and redone, and there's a tree that needs removed to keep the roots from messing up the drain again.  Our fence gate is in need of work, too, and now we seem to be in the market for some new furniture.

I think I have let work drag me down again, too.  People want to try to understand, but I think even the most well-intentioned don't quite get what a 12-hour shift with no break is like unless they've done it on a regular basis before.  If I leave the house before 7:00am and don't get home until after 7:00pm, that leaves pretty much zero time for absolutely anything around the house, not even relaxing.  Days off become precious commodities since 'evenings' don't exist, so then when things happen to claim your days off as well, it can be hard.

I did make some candles in honor of the double Holiday yesterday; I will take them out of the molds today and see how they turned out.  I wanted to have some verses written the way I did with Yule, but I haven't done that yet and for some reason it's not feeling as necessary for Bridghid, maybe because I crafted the candles as a Spell instead.
What I do plan to do to honor Bridghid is to rededicate myself to the home and hearth, and to the simple important things.  I picked up my cross-stitch again recently for the first time in years, and despite learning how much worse my vision has gotten, it felt nice--and felt right--to have worked on it.  The Bridghid 'season' seems to speak to me of the "spring cleaning" that everyone talks about but no one ever does, so Jo and I are going to take the next six weeks to simplify our list of possessions, releasing things that don't hold purpose in the present, and organizing those that do.  We will be working to put our home in order, which sounds like a wonderful way to honor the Goddess of Hearth and Home.