Tarot Card of the Week: Death Reversed

death tarot card

The Death card came up reversed for me this week. I read reversals as a blockage, stagnation, or confusion of the energies involved.

Death tells me that changes are coming, but incomplete or slow changes. Something big is about to change, but it’s going to happen at a snail’s pace and require my patience.

I feel a little frustrated with this card, especially after last week’s card, which told me to be patient with things I’ve been working on. Nothing is happening all at once for me, and after a lot of busyness in my life, slowing down feels a little aggravating. The good things are worth waiting for though, right?

I feel like this week’s card is a continuation of last week’s card. Things are maturing now, just not as quickly as I expected.

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My First Seed Catalog Came in the Mail!

rare seed catalog homestead

My seed catalog came on Wednesday!

Having never planted a garden before, I wasn’t sure who to order from, so I got a couple different ones. This one is the only one that has arrived so far. It’s from Rare Seeds. I chose rare seeds because they’re non-GMO and because it was a company I had heard of.

I started going through today and wish-listing things with a big black marker, like I used to do with the JC Penny Christmas catalog as a kid.

Oh my goodness, I have never seen such an array of vegetables! Just looking through this catalog makes me hungry.

I had no clue that there were upwards of 20 kinds of carrots or that tomatoes came in colors other than red, that watermelons mostly don’t look like what I buy at the grocery store and that there are more types of beans than I could probably ever taste!

It’s a bit overwhelming. I have never heard of half these varieties, so I’m going by the descriptions of looks and tastes, as well as pictures, to decide what I might want to grow.

I’m still waiting on a few other catalogs, to compare prices and varieties, but I sort of feel like, if it’s our first year planting, there’s nothing wrong with trying a little of this and that to see what we like.

Even Big Bee–the veggie hater–is glancing through the pages, at least to pick out hot peppers that sound good.

Have you started planning your garden? Who do you order seeds from? What’s on your wishlist this year?

Compromising for a Happy Homestead

Homesteading was my dream first. Big Bee kind of stumbled into it when he asked me to marry him.

I tend to be on the more radical end of homesteading. If it were up to me, we’d be homeschooling 4 or 5 kids in a tiny house with no TV or plumbing, composting everything in sight, and making everything we own from scratch.

If I were still a single lady, I probably would live like that, minus the kids.

But I’m not a single lady, and I’m devoting the rest of my life to this very sweet, very bearded man.

Big Bee likes the idea of homesteading, of being self-sufficient and providing for our family. He’s a “worry about me-and-mine” kind of person. He also loves video games, HBO, and pooping in a toilet that flushes. He likes my home-cooked meals and plans to work side-by-side in our garden this summer, but he prefers Tide Pods to homemade laundry soap, has no interest in wearing anything I might figure out how to make out of wool, and was totally grossed out when I insisted he take my herbal tincture instead of Tums. So we’re learning to compromise.

It’s nice because we bring different skills to the table. I was raised in a family that didn’t have guns, while he grew up target shooting and hunting. I can’t imagine slaughtering anything bigger than a chicken or a rabbit without bawling my eyes out, and even then, I think it’s going to be hard for me. Big Bee’s family does an annual family pig slaughter. I’m more comfortable with small livestock–goats, chickens, ducks–while Big Bee is comfortable with the idea of pigs and cows.

I’m a crunchy, organic, veggie-gobbling witch who cares deeply about everything and has no problem expressing my very loud opinions all the time. Big Bee is a quiet, junk food junkie, meat-loving, agnostic gamer who only has something to say when it really matters. We disagree about a lot of things, but we also bring balance to our lifestyle. I think we make each other better people. I help him eat healthier by cooking up whole foods and keep him from being completely antisocial. He reminds me to let go and be more spontaneous when I’m over-planning and over-thinking everything.

I think our individual strengths are what make us strong as a whole.

Tarot Card of the Week: January 5th

As a way of getting back to tarot in 2015, I’m going to draw a tarot card of the week each week. This card will answer the question, “What energy do I need to be aware of in my life this week?”

This week, it’s the 7 of Pentacles:

7 of pentacles

The 7 of Pentacles tells me that this week, I need to be patient in waiting for the fruits of my labors to grow. The foundation has been laid for success and growth, now it’s just about waiting.

Pagan Headcovering

tichel

There was a lot of talk about Pagan Headcovering on the interwebs a few years ago. I seem to have come to the conversation a bit late, but the idea has been so intriguing to me that I feel I need to say something about it here.

Pagans, and women from all faiths, cover their heads or hair for all sorts of reasons: modesty, a calling from god(s), to modify energy within themselves during ritual, to cover hair loss from cancer treatment or alopecia, to mark marriage, as a fashion accessory. I’ve seen a lot of blog posts (like this one here and another here) defending and promoting a woman’s right to cover her head for any reason she chooses. I’ve also seen a few posts around the internet condemning headcovering as unnecessary, un-Pagan, and a part of cultures in which women are expected to be submissive that are not in alignment with the freedom of Paganism.

I grew up in a neighborhood where a lot of my neighbors were Saudi Arabian. Graceful, veiled hijabi women were my friends’ moms, and it never seemed abnormal to me. They were just moms who spoke Arabic and dressed differently from my mom.

In fact, we have a huge Muslim population here. When I worked close to the university, I saw women wearing hijabs every day. As I got older, I felt a fascination and connection with these women, and it enraged me to read about places where governments were trying to a) force them to cover or b) infringe on their right to cover. Why should someone else get to decide what clothing these women wore or how to connect with their God?

Despite a multicultural university culture here, a lot of towns outside the main town are still really conservative and xenophobic. A woman I worked with at the mall saw a hijabi woman once and said, “I could never live like that, with my husband controlling my life.” People here are still very ignorant of what it means to cover. They don’t understand that, for the most part, covering is a choice. A lot of it is Islamophobia too…no one ever says a word about the Amish and Mennonite women wearing headcovers around here.

To me, there was something deeply spiritual, completely regal, and out-of-my-grasp about these women’s choice to cover. I was almost jealous.

But Pagans veiling and covering? I had no idea that existed, and when I stumbled upon blogs and forums and conversations happening on the internet about it, I was completely hooked on the idea. This was something I could do, and as I learned researching it, that any woman of any faith  could choose to do.

So I started experimenting with styles, and I fell in love with the traditionally Jewish-style headcovering: the tichel.

headcovering, tichel

At first, my fiance was totally opposed to headcovering. “You can do what you want,” he said, “but I don’t find anything attractive about it.” Then I started Tichel Thursday, a few weeks in which I covered every Thursday when I went to appointments and ran errands. I got some lovely compliments on my scarves, and I texted pictures to Big Bee. And guess what? He thinks my tichels are pretty.

Then I didn’t cover for awhile. To my disappointment, I didn’t feel a calling from any of my gods to cover. I didn’t feel like I needed to cover to express my womanhood or spirituality. I didn’t feel the connection I was hoping for at all.

It’s only recently that I’ve started  covering again. I don’t cover every day, and it doesn’t always hold grand significance other than, “Hey, this is easier than fighting with my mess of curls today.” I think that’s okay, and that pull to cover, that  fascination with women’s coverings and reasons for veiling is still there. It does make me feel more feminine, though not necessarily more spiritual. It makes me feel pretty and classy and fashionable and womanly.

The beauty of headcovering lies in a woman’s choice to cover for whatever reasons she wants.

My go-to inspiration site for tichels, Wrapunzel, has this to say about wearing headcoverings: “Anyone can wear a tichel – and MANY people do!  There are many women that wear it simply because it’s fashionable, and others for health and healing.  There are also so many different religions that cover – and many also do it not affiliated with any religion but just for spiritual connectedness.  It is certainly becoming a revolution that many ladies are joining!  (It also adds a whole new element to your wardrobe!)  One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Will Jewish women be insulted if I wear one if I’m not Jewish?”  The answer is, “Not in the least!” – it is 100% okay – more than okay! – (we take it as a compliment) for everyone and anyone to wear these lovely creations!  Join the sisterhood!”

I’m in agreement with them. It’s my right as a woman to choose how I clothe myself and how I want to perceive myself and show myself to the world.

I still don’t cover all the time. I’m still not sure what covering means to me yet. I’m still having bad tichel days where my scarves look horrible, my bun looks stupid, and I throw my scarves aside, exasperated. But this is a journey, and I’m not sure what this part of my journey means, but I’m going to continue to explore it.

pagan headcovering

More on headcovering:

* Wrapunzel Tichel FAQ

* Christian Headcovering

* A Muslim Woman’s Experience Choosing to Wear the Hijab

* More On Pagan Headcovering

2015 Homesteading Goals

103Every New Year I set goals for things I want to accomplish in the coming year. This year, these goals have been broken down into personal, spiritual, and homesteading goals.

I am so new to this homesteading lifestyle. This is the first year we’re really in a place that we can embrace it and start experimenting with things because we’re in a new apartment. Our old apartment didn’t even get enough sunlight to grow a tomato in the windowsill.

I may not be able to keep goats and chickens (they don’t allow livestock or poultry in our borough) or spin my own yarn from wool, but there are a lot of things I can do here! I am embracing the idea that you can homestead wherever you are.

Here are some things I want to work on this year.

The garden is going to be the major project for Big Bee and I this year. We are hoping to build a raised bed garden and also grow herbs and some plants in containers on our porch, which gets ample sunlight. I have a wishlist a mile long for things I would like to grow, but we’ll see what space allows for. So far, I have ordered my seed catalogs.

I am planning to build a compost bin and start composting in the next few months. Ideally, I’d like to keep rabbits for their outstanding poo fertilizer, but Big Bee is not keen on the idea right now.

A few months ago, I made my first herbal tincture, and once the herbs are growing this year, I want to continue to learn about herbal remedies and uses of medicinal plants. I need to learn about harvesting and storing herbs correctly, and I want to try making teas and syrups this year too.

If all goes well with our vegetable garden, I’m planning to try out canning this year. I made quick pickles that last two years, but I want to preserve food in a more long-term fashion. I may also see if I can borrow my in-law’s dehydrator to try out.

Two simple kitcheny things I want to try are baking bread and making cheese. I have made dough before, but have failed miserably at using it for anything. My several attempts at creating calzones from scratch were awful.

While I can’t keep sheep, learn to sheer, and spin wool right now, I’d like to give crocheting another shot. It’s been a few years since I tried to crochet anything, and I’m a little worried about how it will impact my carpal tunnel issues, but it’s worth a try!

Lastly, I want to build something this year. From wood, with tools. My previous attempts at building things were limited to things I made for pets when I still lived at home with my parents: converted Rubbermaid hamster cages and one really awful bird perch for my parrot. I am torn between a book case and a new enclosure for our python, both of which we really need.

I think that’s a good list to get our family started on our homesteading journey!

What are your homesteading goals for 2015?

5 Reasons Why I Want to Homestead

why I homestead photo

People homestead for a lot of different reasons. For some, it’s a calling to get back to a simpler time and way of life. Others do it for financial reasons or to be more self-sufficient. Whether you’re homesteading on 100 acres in the country or in an urban apartment, everyone has goals they hope to accomplish through a homesteading lifestyle.

Here are the top 5 things that motivate me to homestead:

1) Self-Sufficiency

It makes me really nervous to rely on others for everything I need to survive. Most of the farmland in the country is controlled by a few big companies. I don’t want the government or corporate CEOs controlling all the food my family eats. And, in the event of a disaster that causes food shortages, I want to feel that my family has security and won’t go hungry.

2) Health

It gives me comfort to know where my food comes from and how it’s grown. I know that it’s not grown with pesticides, processed with preservatives, or refined into something that doesn’t resemble its original form.

3) Humane treatment of animals

I am not a vegetarian or vegan, and I’m not opposed to eating meat. I am opposed to keeping animals in cruel and unsanitary factory farming conditions. I feel that I have a responsibility to eat animals that have been kept and killed in a humane way.

4) Closeness to nature and the land

I connect with nature on a spiritual level, but I think that many people–of all religious beliefs and worldviews–have a desire to be close to nature. For me, it’s a need to play in the dirt, a need to crunch autumn leaves and see things growing in the spring and summer. It awakens a child-like part of myself that I need to keep in touch with.

5) The feeling I get when I do things from scratch or by hand

I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I build something myself or cook something from scratch. I feel proud of the effort I put into things I make by hand, and I cherish them more for all the love and care I put into them.

What drew you to the homesteading lifestyle?