Category Archives: Year and a Day

By Oak, Ash and Thorn!

We have a song:  Human life is very boring, fairies have it very gray. Life of witches, now there’s the charm, let’s go fly some broomstick! Life of a witch, life of a witch, yes, that is the best of all! Oh, how good is to be a witch, if you have learned it all!”

Here’s the original in Estonian if you’d like to listen. We, Estonians, adore it. For to be a witch, especially learned, puts the awe in awesomeness!

So, yes, I get irritated sometimes, when I meet folks at my age, who claim to be witches and then do something that is beyond bewilderment! Like having a video how to use oak charms  and then you go from “very nice, yes, that’s lovely” to “this can’t be right page…”
Given how many these days began their Wiccan and Pagan paths with very little knowledge of nature, I couldn’t help but write to the author and explain her: The leaf you use as oak leaf is actually hawthorn leaf. Her response was: “No no no, that is oak leaf! See? The seller told me it’s read oak!” and my astonishment grew.

Why on earth would you believe what the seller is selling without double checking it? Although there are many good sellers, whose herbal knowledge is widely known and receive my full respect, I am paranoid enough to still question! It’s not the seller, who needs this to work! As spellworker, YOU are the one, who has to make sure you have the right set of tools! As a herbalist – that would be punishable act to use herb without checking if it is the correct thing! THINK!

Here, my dears, is a lovely link to any sort of oak tree you can think of that you can check out yourself.  Red oak is the leaf left on below. However -> that picture on my right is hawthorn leaf. I do believe that list is missing few, like kermes oak, but what I want to say – there is a difference! Even the size should be dead giveaway and the texture of the leaf! Oak is leathery – hawthorn is small and tender. Oak you pick from a tree that has thick bark  – the other one IS A BUSH!

So, I’m up to picking arms and ready to go against ignorance! You can not be ignorant or hide behind someone else, when you do magic! You want your spells to work? Use the right stuff!

There are many books that help you go through the first year of your witchy life. I am yet to see one that goes together with “Wildlife ABC”, but the more and more I happen on such “educational videos”, who have problems even identification of the plant, I am seriously considering to give you all a short list of “MUST HAVE BOOKS” if you are on your journey.

To be a witch means you have to know what you are doing! Just reading from books and following instructions is not enough! You got to get out, touch the plants, compare them and love them and feel the energies! It is one thing to follow authorities, but you shouldn’t be afraid to question them! They are teachers, but you have been to school yourself – how much did you learn, when you were doing it just because the teacher told you to do it? Step out of their shadow and dig up your curiosity – learn from them and add to it! Question it, check it out yourself and understand, why it didn’t resonate with you.

I think I’ll do that witchy learny list right now, when I still have few minutes.

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Suvisted

Old card wishing Happy Summer holiday, or Pentecost by Christian calendar.

We had suvistepüha. Although not really celebrated in general, for native Estonian religion, it is a marker of end for the sowing period and start of the summer works like making hey. We cleaned up our entire household for this just last Friday and then went home to relax, do as minimal work as possible and then to go in sauna! Madli finally came to terms with niece and instead of just growling, she discovered that it is rather fun to share her rubber balls with her and run for hours with no end. Even sis was impressed when she did listen what she was told and she decided to ignore her from behind my back. Safest place to hide, right? Only when she was behind my back, she still growled if either niece or sister got too close to her. Yeah, sharing me isn’t her expertise and probably never will be.

 

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Secret script

How to make secret scripts? Easy! Write out the alphabet and reorganize it or replace by numbers or just do  mambo jumbo and use that as an alphabet!

As it turns out, it is far from being easy. Especially if you are in love with systems and your ideal version is the elves language Tolkien created. Actually, it is not. My perfect secret script is from my childhood, when I was in hospital and older girls had a secret language they used in their diary. It was flowing and you could connect the symbols up so they looked like nice flowing writing.

I’ve been striving since to get something similar. Not for a made-up language in a fantasy book. I want a Voynich manuscript! Yep, you heard me right. Now that the pages have been cut out for Luain, I woke up one morning thinking that after all the trouble, I really don’t want it to be just another Estonian book, but if I’m already going through that monster trouble with the pages I might as well screw it up completely! 😀 Make it unreadable for the picky and nosy. Not because of all the “secrets” that it is suppose to hide, but because besides my very own BoS, I’ve also wanted a secret language almost as long as I’ve wanted BoS. So, why not?

What makes it so difficult? Why make it so difficult? The why part is easy – because I can. The writing might take a year more perhaps, but I think it would be really cool and in the end somebody, who will get that book one day will go “oh my god, she really WAS nuts!”. And let’s be honest, that title attracts me more than to be president of something.

Ok, the difficulty of the task is that I’ve always wanted it to be based on Estonian. If I’m gonna write in that script, or code, I need it to be memorable without having to translate between languages. Estonian alphabet consists all the letters that can be found in English as well, so it seemed logical.

It has 32 letters, 27 f you don’t count the “foreign letters”. Those 32 is divided into vocals, consonants, audible and non-audible sounds and plosives. Like any other language. I like systems. What I’ve done so far is to divide them up in groups (including groups based on the way they are written – for example P and B, O and Õ and Ö, A and Ä, i and ä and ö and ü, etc) and tried to figure out symbols that would share certain characteristics for easier remembering.

The extra demands to this language are that it should be as close to handwriting as possible for it is always easier to write in a consistent line than painting out each symbol. And it has to be readable in rather small type size. I need to write a lot of text and the book has limits (sort of), so I need it to be readable even if it is very small. This means it can’t have many dashes or dots to make  difference in the letters. Third – it has to be easy to master. If you have ever learned any symbol based language (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hieroglyphic or Tolkien), you know there are always some symbols that don’t stick. No matter how much you learn them, you always seem to forget them. Well, I’d like that sort of “pseudo problem” to be out of my way before I take it in use.

Then I start going over the styles and try out symbols and see what comes of it, testing them out as a text. Omniglot has become my most visited page (thank heavens for it!) and I am now aware of far more ways to search “secret code” then I ever believed possible. Secret script, secret language, secret code, fictional script, fictional language, secret alphabet, alphabet scripts, fantasy alphabet, alien code, alien alphabet… I have even found few font makers, yet I am disgruntled by the fact that it is English based and allows no tweaking in that line. Meaning – I can’t actually use them.

Guess what? The only alphabet that I’ve managed to work out so far that falls under all of the categories above are runes! Although cute and adorable, I am still not sure of them. They are cool alright, but it doesn’t feel like me.

I know I should be more productive in writing area, but I’ve been running around miles and I’m dead tired. So tonight I’ll try first the language and then, if the mighty still gives, I will try some writing.

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Past lives

I have very distinctive taste in music. I may carry lists of music with me, but when it comes to preferences, I more often end up on something of Scottish or medieval.

One time, when I was at it again, mom asked me what I knew of past lives. Well, we have all done the numerology test in our family and come to the “fun” conclusion that because sis and I are born on the same day, then we both were goat herders in Siberia in 14th century. The “fun” part about it is that if you approach it scientifically, I can’t really recall goats in Siberia… She asked me out of the blue if I had ever thought why I keep ending up on Scottish music and viking lives. Why I liked them so much?

I said out of the blue that I feel like I’m home when I listen to Scottish music and think about 9th-10th century early vikings. I really do (now say it with Bofur’s voice). I’m always torn between loving vikings and Scots and thus mom burst out “Probably that’s where you hair color comes from, too!”

As funny as it seemed, it made me think of why I feel so home with them? Music apart, I like them. Not just the decorations, but their way of life, their humor. Their life is far from easy, but oddly I’m not scared of winters nor harsh winds and I do dislike too much Sun while mists or thunderstorms make me giggle like little girl. Funny as it sounds, probably that would be my second home if I could afford it. 🙂

Because, let’s be honest – who wouldn’t like to wake up to something like this?

Loch Torridon, Scotland

 

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End of the world is near!

In the light of recent events there is something that I would like to be clear on.

I am Pagan – it is not an invitation to be converted.

There’s no such thing that “I see you are religious, therefore you’re already half Christian and thus all you would have to do is convert to the right religion!”.

I do not switch between religions just because a better one comes around. Not to be Christian is decision I made when I was sober, sane and aware of all the given facts. It is based not on the propaganda, but on thorough research and years of experience. 

I like Christianity based on Bible and people I’ve met, but there are things I can’t accept and I have made my peace with God through prayer and through visits to church. So yes, I can say I have made my peace. Can you say the same?

And for love of God, something as stupid as “We began  counting our known time with his birth, so he (Christ) must be somewhat important” is now categorized under one of the stupidest pick-up lines I’ve heard from Christian missionary work. 

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Pagan holidays

Maypole dance – we don’t actually have this.

There was an article in local post about how one ought to not follow the traditional farmer’s calendar, because the holidays are way off and how we should embrace the true Christian way of holding dear only the most important dates throughout the year.

I will skip the part that it was Christian, who wrote this, and by the looks of it, I would not think very highly of him, because if he would have taken closer look at the systems he is so hardheartedly bashing about, he’d see that they are actually created by Christians. If he’d study even a little bit of history of calendars, he’d see that those holidays were put there by Christians to take over the local traditions splattered around and create some kind of system that would unify their systems so the holidays could be held in general in the same time. And of course, pay taxes in the right time. To call such gallant work by Christians now pagan and evil is just beyond me.

Leaving this aside, the holidays themselves.

I know there has been a lot of calls also among pagans to skip the Christian holidays, because they are presented as something evil and off the astrological dates. Agreed, they don’t fall together so well with astrological dates and that’s because they don’t need them to be 100 percent accurate in that matter.

However, those calls to toss those holidays aside just because they are related with Christianity now is also a bit foolish in my opinion. Especially as, in reality, I wouldn’t say the general pagan solstices and equinoxes don’t quite follow the pattern of the weather either, especially as they are not based on farmer’s calendar (which is still widely used in these parts) and is actually astrological calendar. To me this means that although the Ostara can be around 21st of March, but all that it represents doesn’t actually fall in line with the weather outside. I’m sure I’ve said somewhere earlier that this is the reason why I like to mix the holidays up. That in witchy work, I keep in mind the astrological dates, but as spring symbols and such I do celebrate the holidays with the rest of the nation. Oh yes, I know how evil that sounds for the purehearted.

I have very good reason for it. I already mentioned that the Christian calendar was brought in action, when there became a need for more steadier calendar system  that each family celebrating things in their own time. Estonian national belief system presents the week counting. It was called Lugunädalad, an oral way to remember when some holiday would come and also which time was for which work in farm.

The weeks went like this (or in similar ways depending on the place, it varied a bit):

From Yule it went 6 weeks to Candlemass
From Candlemass 7 weeks to Mary’s Day (25th of March)
From Mary’s Day 4 weeks to St. George’s Day (23rd of April)
From St. George’s Day 9 weeks to Midsummer’s Eve
From Midsummer’s Eve four to St. Jacob’s Day (25th of July)
From St. Jacob’s Day 2 to Bartolomeus Day (24th of August)
From Bartolomeus Day 5 weeks to St. Michael’s Day (29th of September)
From St. Michael’s Day 6 weeks to St. Martin’s Day (10th of November)
From St. Martin’s Day two to St. Cathrin’s Day (25th of November)
From St. Cathrin’s Day 4 weeks to Yule.

As you can see, it is a bit different than would be the world wide known Pagan holidays. Yet, if you put them next to each other, then you see that most of the holidays match. What won’t match is the autumn calendar and that for the good reason that we are, after all, in north.

It is treated as treacherous in some traditions to vary from the astrological dates. Well, as lovely as they are, but as with everything – the cultural, astrological and all that can be fun in general, but the reality is – I will never start following the same calendar that they follow in Italy for example for the pure reason that it doesn’t match up. And as astrologically correct as the pagan calendar is, it is rather pointless to start celebrating chicken blooming in egg laying if the chicken will give you grimaces if you open their  roost, whining “Are you kidding me? It’s cold out there! I ain’t movin’ from me fluffy warm place!”

Everything is relative. Even calendars. If leaving the astrological accuracy aside, it should still follow the nature outside rather than forcing the nature within you and outside to follow human foolishness and need for rhythm in their life. That’s why the old folk read the calendar in weeks – it didn’t have exact dates, but weeks. You looked for the signs outside and decided that this was the best time to celebrate chicken laying eggs or sheep giving birth. Sometimes it came few days earlier, in other cases a week later.

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Vanakaru

Vanakaru, Meelis Säre, the man, who made my knife has passed away.

I had great respect for this man. We only met few times, but he was one of the reasons I got involved in researching viking era deeper and his knife has been my loyal companion since I got it from him. I thank him with all my heart for all the joy he has brought to us as an acquaintance and as a friend.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends.

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