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It’s Just Not Right


Last Wednesday, we adopted a new cat.  His name at the shelter was Bucky, but we named him Alex.  We used a local non-profit animal rescue group that makes a big deal out of adopting healthy animals that have been thoroughly checked out, neutered, and microchipped.  They were even having a special in order to move as many cats out of the shelter as possible, so he wasn’t expensive.  It seemed like the stars were in alignment.

Well, they were in a negative alignment, it seems.  The first day, we noticed he made an odd cough and that he seemed warm.  Just in case, we separated him from the rest of the house so he couldn’t infect our existing cat.  The second day, he coughed a couple more times, more severely, like a wet bronchial cough.  The third day he had his wellness check at the vet, where he was diagnosed with a viral infection and to bring him back in a couple of weeks if he wasn’t better.  The next day he was listless and his breathing had become bubbly.  The next day he was worse and I called the shelter where we had gotten him.  They scheduled a vet visit for the next day.

We took him in and they diagnosed him with pneumonia.  After a brief inner debate as to whether he should be hospitalized, the vet decided to send him home with me along with a number of treatments: antibiotics, appetite stimulants, subcutaneous fluids, a nebulizer, and a syringe for force feeding him if necessary.  I steeled myself for ten days of cat nursing.

The first day went fine.  At his fourth nebulizing treatment I noticed that the inside of his carrier was getting wet and musty, which  they didn’t tell me to watch out for (they didn’t give me any instructions at all, really), so I got it all cleaned out.  His breathing went back and forth between improving and getting bubbly again.  He still wouldn’t eat, so we had to syringe feed him.  He didn’t like it, of course, but we managed to get a syringe full of food into him.

He spent that entire night moving around the entire room about once every half hour.  It reminded me of Yin-Yang before he died, who just couldn’t get comfortable and kept moving around.  I couldn’t sleep for the sound of his bubbly breathing: it was awful.  He was laying in weird places, too, as well as laying very limply.  He may have already been on his way out.

The next morning, it was time for more antibiotics, food, and nebulizing.  He had trouble with his pill and I had to try twice to get him to take it, and I’m not sure if he ever swallowed it properly. Then we tried to feed him, which was much more difficult than it had been the night before.  I took his resistance as a sign that he was feeling better so we burritoed him in a towel like we had seen on the internet.  I knew to keep him in a sitting position much like he’d be in if he were eating normally so he wouldn’t choke, but this feeding was not going nearly as smoothly as the one the night before.  Whenever he appeared to be having trouble, I’d stop and let him settle, then try again.

Then towards the end of the feeding, he opened his mouth wide, arched his back, and went limp.  We laid him down, he exhaled, and he didn’t inhale again.  It was horrifying.  I’ve never seen anything die in front of me before, and I still can’t help but think that it was my fault somehow.  Everyone tells me that it’s not, especially since he should never have been sent home with us in the first place, but still.  I feel so terrible.  I was trying to help this poor creature get better, and now he’s dead from that very treatment, even if I was merely hastening the inevitable.  I just wish that his last few moments hadn’t been so tortured.  That’s what I feel the worst about, that I may have inadvertently caused this poor creature agony in his last moments.  I didn’t mean to, and I’m so sorry.  I’m so, so sorry Alex.

I wish that they had kept him for hospitalizing on Monday instead of sending him home with me.  I wish that they had realized last week that he was sick and not adopted him to me in the first place.  I wish that I had said no, I don’t want a cat with a history of an upper respiratory infection when they told me he’d had one while in the shelter, even though he’d been treated for it (not well enough apparently).  I wish that they had given me better instructions for how to care for this obviously very, very ill cat.  I wish that I had more experience in caring for sick cats and doing things like syringe feeding.  I wish that I had stopped the instant he looked like he wasn’t digging the feeding and just called the shelter again, but I had never done it before and didn’t know what to watch out for and he really needed to eat.  I mean, you’re force-feeding a cat: there’s going to be mess and unpleasantness.  I wish for so many things that might have changed what happened yesterday morning.

Even though he was only with us for a week, he was still part of the family, and we treated him as such.  He got the same treatment Yin-Yang and Babalon did when they died: I wrapped him up, smudged his body and his grave, and we said some words over him before burying him with his head towards the West.  He’s next to Yin-Yang, who will hopefully help him on his way to the Great Catnip Field in the Sky.

As for us, we’ve spent the last 24 hours sanitizing as much as we can so the other cats don’t get infected.  To a certain extent all we can do is pray, because he was out and about for a while before we knew he was sick.  God only knows what he touched with his face.  I can only take comfort in the fact that the germs will die by themselves in a few days, and within 24 hours if they get hit with proper cleansing and some Lysol.  I’ve done probably a dozen loads of laundry to clean every single thing in the room he was in, vacuumed the carpet with germicidal baking soda, Lysol’d the areas he spent the most time in, and am fumigating  the air with more germicidal oils.  Anything that can’t be washed has been sprayed with Lysol and left out in the Sun.  And I’ve done similarly to the whole house since his disease may have been airborne (in which case the horse is out of the barn anyway).

It would be bad enough if our own cat, Samadhi, gets ill because of Alex.  It would be even worse if the two kittens we are fostering got sick because of him.  I would be up the ass and down the throat of the shelter who gave us to him in the first place to make these kittens well.  So far everyone has been healthy, and it’s been about a week since anyone was exposed to anything Alex might have breathed on or touched, so hopefully we’re in the clear.  I won’t stop holding my breath for at least another week, though, when I know it’s been two weeks, which is how long the shelter tells people to isolate pets to ensure health.  If nothing is wrong within two weeks, everything should be okay.

And they’d better be, because we like these kittens and are thinking of adopting them.  We were a house of three cats, and we’d like to be so again.

*shakes head*  It’s just not right, but I’m going to try and make it right.  This summer can just kiss my flabby white butt.

And Then There Was One


We took our sweet MamaKitty to the vet this morning to be put to sleep.  In much the same way as her son YinYang, she had greatly degraded in health in recent weeks.  Just more slowly.  By the time we decided that today was to be her last day with us, she was having trouble walking, was eating and drinking less and less, and hadn’t purred in days or weeks.  It was obviously her time to go.

The only thing that made me doubt our decision in the slightest, and then only fleetingly, was that she still wanted to be with us.  But she had always wanted to be with us.  She had always shown the highest gratitude for the life we had given her.  New Year’s Eve, 1996, I finally let her freezing, pregnant self into my kitchen to eat tuna fish.  I got tired of seeing her huddled next to the steam vent on my furnace outside when she had a perfectly good home next door that was neglecting her.  She was one of a pack of mostly and completely feral cats that roamed the block, and she was the only one friendly enough to let me touch her.  In fact, she was very friendly and would let me pick her up.  That’s how I discovered she was pregnant.

Our landlord had given tentative permission to have a cat but only with further discussion.  Further discussion be damned, I let the poor thing in.  She was starving, and let me know just how much by the plaintive wail and platter-sized eyes she displayed when I started opening the can of tuna fish.  She scarfed an entire family sized can of tuna in less than twenty minutes.  I left the back door open so she could do as she wished.  Within a couple of hours, she was curled up on my couch.  And so Babalon came to live with us.

She was very thin and fattened up so much over the next couple of weeks that you couldn’t tell she was pregnant any more, but that changed after another couple of weeks.  Before long, she looked like she had a large cantaloupe in her belly.  She slowly grew unable to lay on her belly, and then her side, and was eventually only able to sleep mostly on her back, partly propped up by her belly undulating with baby kittens.  She grew very insistent about asking for her food in the morning.

I knew that cats like to hole up somewhere private to have their babies, so I made a nice spot for her out of a large cardboard box once home to a stereo.  I taped up the bottom flap so it had a protective wall and propped the upper flap up on the sides so it had a bit of a protective roof, and put it in the corner of the bedroom.  One evening she kept coming up to me with an anxious expression on her face and repeatedly walked back to her box.  I walked back with her and encouraged her to hop into the box, which she did.  I walked away, and she followed me.  We repeated the dance a few times.  Finally I brought the box out next to the computer where I sat every evening.  Happy, she jumped in and laid down.

A while later she issued a single loud growl, and didn’t make a single sound for the rest of the night except to brace her paws against the sides of the box to push.  Her first baby was born at 12:45 am, Valentine’s Day, 1997.  That was YinYang, her only son, who died last month.  The rest were all girls, each one born about 45 minutes apart.  The last one was the runt, who I only knew was the runt because Mama tried to ignore her by laying on her rather than putting her with the others to nurse.  An awful squalling came from the box.  I quickly looked in to see what was wrong, saw the kitten underneath Mama’s back, and carefully picked it up and put it with its siblings.  She eyeballed me warily but didn’t object.  She would try to abandon that kitten twice more over the next week, but I would have none of it.  She gave up after the third try.  That would be Samadhi, now our last surviving cat, ironically.

The other kittens found homes and eventually we had our happy little trinity of cats.  Babalon became our shadow.  We lived a block or two from a convenience store and went there frequently for smokes, beer, and the like.  She always followed us to the corner, waited in the bushes of the house there, and followed us back home, or walked in front of us.  She was a beautiful cat, a tabby point Siamese, and as such the bottoms of her feet were black, so it looked like she was floating if you walked behind her at night.  When I was pregnant and we frequently walked up the hill to the local university, she also followed us.  She followed us so far one night that she exhausted herself and we had to make her stay home after that.  She waited for us, though, right where we had left her when she couldn’t follow us any more.  She must have walked through a dozen other cats’ territories, but she was going to stick with us.

She was an awesome mother, too.  Not just to her own children, but also to mine.  When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, she looked at her very oddly, but in a special way that I suppose Mother Nature reserves between all mothers and children.  As if to say, “Ah! You made another one!”  Our daughter was a fairly demanding baby and cried a lot.  If she had been crying for too long or too loudly, even if we were right there with her, Babalon would come up to us and plaintively meow and look at us as if to notify us that we really needed to be tending to this problem now, it was important.  As our daughter grew older and got to the tail-grabbing stage, she was very patient with her and didn’t get the claws out until it was really necessary, and even then she looked very sheepish and apologetic about it.  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to!”

I’ve never had such a beautiful cat, either.  She had a very long tail with beautiful rings of black and brown, and the combination of the tabby stripes and Siamese coloration gave her the most gorgeous face and markings.  She was every color of brown from the lightest to the darkest.  It was a privilege to have been graced by such a creature for so long.  She was nearly 17 at the time of her death, almost precisely four weeks to the minute after her son died.

There are now two small mounds in the back of our yard.  The cat statue stands between them, on guard.  We have had quite enough of death at our house for a while.  My husband would very much like to not have to dig any more small graves, and I would like to not have to cut any more death shrouds.  We are now a one-cat house.  It will seem very quiet, at least when she’s not yelling at us (Samadhi definitely got the Siamese vocal cords in the cat family).  We will do our very best to relish our time with her.

Fair sailing to the Great Catnip Field in the Sky, Babalon.

Beautiful Babalon

FffffuuuuuCK


I’ve been saying “fuck” a lot lately.  Usually when I can’t find something, or something isn’t working right.  That sounds silly to say.  Isn’t that when everyone says “fuck”?  Anyway.  Right now I can’t find my fucking glasses.  I was just fucking wearing them the other fucking day.  (spot the fucking post them!)  Okay, I won’t keep that up the whole fucking time.  🙂

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that not being able to find something is in all likelihood my worst peeve.  I hhhhhaaaaaate not being able to find things.  Drives me absolutely batty.  Especially because we have a small house.  It’s only a thousand square feet, for fuck’s sake.  There are only so many places a pair of glasses, or whatever, can be.

It’s also cram packed with an amazing assortment of stuff, a great deal of it in the heirloom-and-tchotchke department.  Not to mention the books.  Dear Goddess, the books.  And the five foot long-and-high fishtank that is essentially another wall.  And the guinea pigs, which live in a cage that is actually big enough for them, which means it’s about 3’x6′, not a little cage that sits on a table. And the altars, which have been covered in other posts.  And the photos.  The art supplies.  The sewing stuff.  The sparring gear.  The office supplies.  So on and so forth.

And I’m looking for a brown, plastic-with-white-flowers-on-the-temples pair of rather rectangular glasses in this delightful mess I call home, and like all things that are lost, I can see them in my head sitting on a magazine on my desk, which is the last time I saw them a day or two ago.  Of course, the desk is much cleaner right now, having been devoided of at least one stack of stuff, but the glasses are nowhere to be found.  Something brown lost in a sea of brown.

So I have the spare pair.  The blue ones, with the Pacific island masks along the temples (they were out of the ones with the skulls-and-bones: I love Zenni Optical).  Also like all things that are lost, their location will pop into my head at a most inopportune time, like 3am, or while I’m driving.  In the meantime, until I find them, I will undoubtedly, reflexively, and irritatedly look for them no matter what I am doing throughout the day, because it bothers me.  FfffffuuuuuuCK.

*edited to add: Found them! On the floor. Next to the computer. Nowhere near the other desk.  O_o

Healing Garden


Well, it’s been just over a week since the cat died. I feel much better today than I did a week ago: I cry a little less each day. I planted a whole garden a couple of days after we buried him, and now the seeds are coming up. I go out to water them every day and I always say hello to his little mound by the cat statue.

In his absence, his sister, Samadhi (sah-mah-DEE correctly, but we’ve always said it wrong and accent the middle syllable: oh well), has taken up his old habits and sleeping spots. Not all of them, but enough for me to notice that her behavior more resembles YinYang’s than it did before. Which strikes me funny, because she’s never really liked him, nor him her. Not that I don’t have pictures of them sleeping together, but they did have a classic sibling rivalry going on throughout their lives. I’m sure she misses him in her own way. Though I think both she and their mother knew far before I did that he was on his way out of this world and said their goodbyes a long time ago. It occured to me later than neither of them had really spent any time with him at all in a couple of months, and it was odd for his mother not to tackle him every now and then and give him a bath. Something else I didn’t notice and am trying not to beat myself up over.

Back to the garden, though. I think I may have mentioned before that I’m planting a “Three Sisters” garden, the traditional Native American combination of corn, beans, and squash. You can use any vining vegetable, not just squash, so it’s filled with pumpkin, gourds, cucumber, squash, melon, and watermelon. I have several seed varieties of midget melons, which will be perfect for our three-person household. The plans I’ve read call for planting the vining plant seeds in groups of three, and vining seeds are usually planted three at a time anyway, so there are three groups of three in each area. Some of them have three different things growing out of them! Or will, anyway. So there will be about ten different things growing out there, hopefully, and not too much of each thing, so we won’t have to worry about wasting a lot of fruit.

There are also four kinds of beans and two kinds of corn growing. There’s some colored corn, like you can get in the fall, and also broomcorn, which should grow in a bunch of different bright colors and can be tied into bunches for decoration. If there’s enough, I’ll be gifting some of that to my friends. I’ll be gifting *any* leftovers or extras to my friends, for that matter. Anyway, the beans. Two bush varieties and two climbing varieties. One of the bean varieties is called “yin-yang” because they’re black and white swirled together. I thought that was fitting. 🙂 The others are “dragon’s tongue”, pretty purple beans; Hidatsa, a brown traditional Native variety; and “mother stallard”, a red-and-white speckled bean. Two of them are for drying, the others for eating fresh.

I’m very interested to see how this garden patch turns out! I’ll be posting pictures as soon as there’s anything to take pictures of. Elsewhere in the garden, the Mediterranean herb patch is growing extremely well. I’m already pruning back the various oregano plants so they bush instead of sprawl. Next year I bet it’s wall-to-wall oregano and thyme at that end of the raised bed. At the other end, the rosemary, lavender, and Mexican tarragon are all doing great. I’m pleased to be successfully growing a rosemary plant! And it will *stay* there. I’ve killed them before by trying to transplant them. They just don’t like it. I’ve also killed them by overwatering them. All three of those plants will thrive in poor, relatively dry soil with infrequent watering and fertilizing. In fact, they prefer it. So they’re at the other end of the garden bed where they’ll get less water than the rest. I’m also eager to see that end bush out nicely. And today, I got a blood orange tree!  I *lovelovelove* the way citrus flowers smell.  I’m *so* looking forward to it blooming and making oranges for me.

Got back to work on Tuesday. There were many emails awaiting me. I spent most of my shift just catching up. The next day I went to a social media marketing seminar, which sounds incredibly boring (and was for a couple of hours: I know how to use Facebook better than most people already), but gave me a lot of information I can use at work. That seminar combined with another about non-profit marketing strategies and a book about non-profit sustainability gives me a whole lot to work with in terms of better promotion of the school.

I really enjoy my job. I haven’t really enjoyed a job since I worked at the bookstore way back in the mid-to-late 90s. I’m quite passionate about books and am also an organizing nut, so things like the Dewey decimal system and bookstore sections get me all hot and bothered. It was very hurtful to me when politics and personal drama seemed to overtake the mission of the store and I eventually had to move on. I’ve been looking for something that really fires me up ever since then, if not in exactly that way. I think I have it now and hope I have the privilege of staying on for a good long time.

Right now, though, it’s my day off. Time to resume wasting time on the internet. 🙂

I Can Hear Again


My altars reassembled themselves yesterday.  My next Spiritual Nomad task was to put three important things back onto my altar.  Since I had so many of them, I decided to put three things back onto each one of them.  That started a chain reaction I was unable to really stop.  As I placed the deities back where I needed them to go, the other things that needed to go with them became undoubtedly apparent, so I went ahead and placed items that shouted “I need to go here!”  I should also add that this process was kicked into motion by the arrival of our Hekate statue.

She’s even prettier than I thought she’d be!  I set her on a bureau to await the process of altar placement.  There was a mirror behind her, which enabled me to see both sides of her at once.  It was a magical moment and started the ball rolling.

So I spent about an hour setting the altars back up, first with their deities, then the other items.  After a while, I discovered I was standing over the table of Things, and nothing was speaking to me any more.  I realized it was because I had had too much stuff on my altars before I disassembled them.  What’s there now is exactly what needs to be there, with the possible exception of the family altar, which is on a good table, but in a bad place.  So I need to figure that out.

The energy of each altar is so much cleaner and clearer now without all of the extra stuff, and also because they focused themselves in the process of reassembly.  Previously, the altars were kind of muddled, with a bit of this and a bit of that thrown in, spiritually speaking.  Buddha had a place on nearly every one of them, and Lakshmi and Ganesha were also frequent altar attendees throughout the house.  This time, there are very clear energies associated with each one.  There’s the main shrine in the yoga room which still holds Buddha, Kali, and Shiva, but they’re arranged completely differently.  There’s one source of fire, not five.  I picked a different Buddha, the one made of clear lucite (also my first and oldest Buddha), and placed it in front of my Himalayan salt lamp.  It’s beautiful.  On the other side, Kali stands with Shiva before her.  Again, it’s really beautiful.

Lakshmi and Ganesha live on the family altar that still needs complete reassembly.  Buddha also lives on the dining room table along with a small singing bowl.  Hekate has her own place.  Quan-Yin in the form of an incense burner and Buddha in the form of a candle holder live on the kitchen windowsill along with a potted bamboo: this is the only altar that automatically has all four elements and needs nothing else.  It represents home and hearth, being in the kitchen.  I still have Buddha and Ganesha on my small computer altar.  Removing obstacles and staying calm are both good things when I’m on a computer.  I can’t seem to get away from having Buddha in multiple places around the house, but that’s okay.  He’s where he wants to be.  And I gave Erzulie her own space.  In the bedroom, of course, being a love goddess.  My divination tools also live there.  Her space needs further arrangement, but it’s definitely hers.

There’s a small luck altar on the top of a small drawer unit next to Hekate’s altar: it’s made almost entirely of Ho-Teis (the laughing or lucky Buddha for the rest of you: rub his belly!), of which I had six!  I also made a giant space for the hubbie to make an altar, something that he has not had since 1996, for a variety of reasons.  I went through the box of miscellaneous altar and other stuff and separated the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and then separated his stuff from mine and put it all in a box for him.  Hopefully he’ll be able to re-establish his own sacred space, although I know for a fact that one of the reasons he’s never reassembled his altar is because I’ve imbued the house with so much spiritual energy and positive chi: it was almost superfluous for him to have his own.  Not that I tried to take over the house or anything.  🙂

Last but not least: the protection altar by the front door consisting of Bast and my dragon, which holds a protective energy I imbued into it a long time ago.  Cats were long regarded by the Egyptians as guardians of the house, and of children in particular.  I like having her by the front door, just as one of my own cats might greet me when I return home (they’re more like dogs than cats sometimes).

This is what’s left post-altar reassembly:

image

It’s made of candle holders, incense holders and burners, boxes, jars, bottles, and a few other miscellaneous items.  A few still need placing on an altar, since I really want to have the four elements represented somehow on each one, and incense has the benefit of being both Fire and Air.  Earth and Water are a little trickier, though I do have quite a collection of really nice rocks and rock slices.  Having all of this stuff together, I can tell which things are going to Goodwill (or a friend’s house) and which ones are staying.  Few of these things have any spiritual significance: they were just extra things that wound up on the altars because it’s hard for me to get rid of my pretty tchotchkes and the altars were the only places to put them.  I think what I’ll have to do now, if I want to keep the good stuff from the pile above, is make a box for the garage and then rotate items out from the house when I get bored with them.  It’s kind of a nice problem to have, having too many pretty things.  🙂

I think what has been the most wonderful things about tearing the altars down and then rebuilding them, is that I can hear God again.  Her voice is right there, in different tones for each altar or energy I’ve established.  And yes, God is a She to me, because I’m a naturalist and I think of the Earth as being female (which is not to disparage very necessary male energy in the world: I just choose to associate with the more feminine aspect, which is no less powerful than the masculine).  Her voice was very clear as I tore them down and placed things together, and even clearer when it was time to put things back.  It’s very nice to hear that voice and feel that energy again, and reminds me of my favorite spiritual experiences in the past.  There’s been a lot of flashbacking as I’ve handled each item and cleared it of stale energy.  And of course, there was a lot of that as I recalled when I got each item and who gave it to me, if pertinent.

In any case, if the goal of the exercise was to make the voice of God a bit clearer, mission accomplished!  And that voice gets a little clearer with each exercise I do.  Right now I’m working on a spiritual journal, which will be filled with images and quotes that remind me to stay connected to my own spiritual energy.  It’s already one quarter filled!  Once I got started, it was hard to stop.  It’s such a fun activity!  I’ll take anything that puts me in touch with that comforting energy again, which has been so long absent.  Welcome back, Dear.

Attraction


Spiritual Nomad is coming along nicely. I stripped ALL of the altars. All TEN of them. Jesus Christ (no, that’s not one of them). It took me two days to gather all of my altar things together. I had so much stuff that I had to do a filtering process, essentially: deities first, then incense holders/censers, then candle holders, then everything else. Everything got the same careful cleaning treatment. I kept finding things to put with the important hoo-hahs so there were a couple of days where I had to keep lifting the cloths covering everything to put more under there. Good thing I haven’t found anything else, because I’m out of room under there.

The really neat thing about the process was that as I held and cleaned each thing, it was very apparent which things ‘fit’ and which things didn’t. Consequently I’ll have a small pile of Meso-American styled stuff that I’ll be giving to someone who would appreciate it better than I do. There are a couple of other things that I’m ambivalent on, like a statue of Ganesha that’s very modern and minimalist in its style. It’s not just its appearance that sets it apart from the other things. Its energy is different. Then again I’ve only had it for about a year and it hasn’t really been used for anything other than living on my little computer area altar. I’ll have to think on that one.

Another cool thing that happened was that new altars were forming in my mind as I cleaned everything up, and I discovered altars that had formed themselves over time, like Erzulie‘s space. I had slowly grouped things like hearts and shells together for a while, and then acquired some Erzulie imagery at a goddess campout a couple of years ago. It was all loosely gathered in one place without intention. But when I gathered everything together more purposefully and with attention, her presence and desire for her own space was extremely clear. Even though everything is separated into like piles of stuff, her things are all together because she wanted it that way. She’s a fierce one. I’m unfamiliar with how she wants to be treated, but she plainly wants a presence in my life.

Overall, things wanted to be grouped in a certain way, particularly the deities. They’re perfectly content to live all together on the table until it’s time to live somewhere else, but some of them didn’t want to be next to others. Erzulie’s very picky about who’s around her, and nothing can be blocking her in front. Lakshmi doesn’t like to have anything set on top of her, though she made an exception for a small yin-yang. Buddha, of course, didn’t care, or was at least accepting of his situation. Neither did Ganesha, though like Erzulie, he didn’t really want anything blocking him in front. I tried to arrange that table by size so that no one was being blocked. I have a blue-violet dragon statue that I’ve had for some time and have viewed as something of a protection totem. It’s never mixed with anything else, though, and has usually stood alone in the house. On the table, though, it was very clear that she needs to live with Bast, who is never unhappy here: I worship my cats like gods.

Things that were missing were also apparent. I will soon be acquiring a statue or image of Jesus and/or St. Francis. Stripped of the suppressing fetters of Christianity, I find their energies very soothing in much the same way that I find Buddha soothing. The Gospel of Thomas is a beautiful piece of writing, and St. Francis was just a naturalist at heart. He knew that God was not found in a building, but in Nature.

But perhaps the thing I am most excited about acquiring is this:

Hekate has been our patron goddess since we met, and longer for my husband. But we’ve never had a proper image of her. Apropos of her nature, there are few images or representations of Hekate in antiquity, at least compared to the number of representations of other deities in the Greek mythos. But someone took it upon themselves to create this beautiful statue, which has her primary associated symbols: keys, dogs, and a torch. She’s also standing at a triple crossroad. A trivia (try-VEE-ah). Yes, that’s where the word for useless bits of information came from, annoyingly, though technically it’s correct since it really means information that has been split into smaller bits. Anyway. It should be here on Wednesday. I think I’ll leave her in her package until she can be properly placed along with the other deities when it’s time to rebuild the altars, but I’ll see what she says when she gets here.

I’m getting ready to work on my fourth assignment for Spiritual Nomad. Making my life path and stripping the altars were the first two. Yesterday I completed the third: a guru board – a board full of images of people who have literally been a “dispeller of shadows”, the definition of guru. Only in the mind of a Scorpio can Trent Reznor, Stephen King, and Sarah Connor be considered dispellers of shadows, but that’s how I roll. Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and Gandhi also share space, as do Aristotle, Socrates, and Vincent van Gogh. Not to mention Rush, my favorite band. I know it sounds so cheesy, but the lyrics the drummer of that band has penned have seriously lit my path on many occasions in my life, and the music they are set to is sublime to my ears. Even Geddy Lee’s screeching voice, which I try to imitate in vain when I’m driving and listening to music. I figure anything that has given me hope in the past is worthy of placement on that board.

Anyway, the fourth assignment is a Journey Book, or whatever I want to call it. It’s a book of inspiring sayings, prayers, images, what have you. I’m looking forward to getting mine started. But first I think a nap is in order.

Clearing


Yesterday I wrote about getting stuck on this one aspect of Spiritual Nomad: stripping down one’s altar. Seeing as how I have at least five, that was a confusing thing to figure out which one I should pick, or if I should strip ALL of them. I went with the latter choice. I cleaned up the yoga room so there would be space to put everything (wahahaha! as I would discover), and then one by one went to each altar, removed each deity, and lovingly cleaned it with a cloth dampened with a bit of wood polish and then a dry, soft toothbrush to get into all of the little nooks and crannies that are always on statues.

Before I did that, though, I took a picture of each and every altar and all of the surfaces that have nice things that *could* be used on an altar. There were more than ten places in the house! I had no idea there were so many. I’ve just gotten used to them: I’m surrounded by deities no matter where I go in the house. I didn’t know how many until I put them all in one place. Holy crap. There are multiples of each deity with the exception of Hekate, who really, really needs her own statue (I want this one: http://www.goddessgift.net/hecate-miller-RP-HEC.html), seeing as how she’s the patron goddess of our house. We also do not have a statue of Hestia or Hathor, who are goddesses of hearth and home, one from Greece and one from Egypt, respectively.

Who we do have is this: Lakshmi, Ganesha, Quan Yin, Ho-Tei, Kali, Shiva, the Green Man, Bast, Dragon and Turtle Dragon, Lucky Cat, Catrin y Catrina, and La Virgen de Guadalupe. Wow! With everyone standing side by side, I couldn’t help but notice that the figure of Quan Yin is almost identical to the figure of La Virgen de Guadelupe. I’m willing to bet that happens a lot between the deities of the world. Take Buddha and Jesus. Both left a mundane life to pursue higher spiritual goals. Both preached peace and love as the path to wisdom and freedom. I imagine it goes on and on. I don’t know enough about the actual people, Jesus and Siddhartha, to be able to do any more comparison.

I also gathered together all of the candles, wax and oil, and cleaned them off as well. I have a lot of really pretty stuff after all these years. I’ve accumulated these things in waves. I’ll acquire a bunch of things, then get rid of some. Then I’ll get another bunch, and I’ll refine the collection again. So on and so forth. I’m really happy with what I have. Putting everything all together, though, I see a few things that I realize don’t jibe with everything else in the house that I really love. Some of the items I touched yesterday positively radiated with energy, particularly as I gently cleaned each one off with the soft toothbrush, which seemed to be scrubbing away not only years of dust and dirt, but also muddled chi.

The chi of our house is generally pretty good, as evidenced by how many people come here and say, “I love your house, it’s so peaceful.” But even good chi can get confused with itself and wind up in a tangled mess, like a pretty necklace that wasn’t stored carefully. So I felt that I was removing the cobwebs, so to speak, and in doing so revealed each statue anew. I held each one and carefully considered it as I cleaned it, especially their faces. I remembered where I had gotten each one, or if someone had given it to me, who it was and what they meant to me. Most of them had good memories associated, though a few had unhappy memories attached to them. Not because of anything that happened regarding that actual object, but because the relationship with whomever had given me that object had dissolved in the ensuing years.

Regardless, each received the same careful attention. When they were all lined up on the table, I surveyed the entire collection as a whole. I have never put all of my statues in one place like that before. The energy was so interesting, but not disharmonious whatsoever. It was easy to tell which things didn’t belong any longer, though. Those things are no less sacred: they just don’t match up with the energy of everything else. So I will try to gift those things properly so that they have a home where they will be properly loved.

Today I tackle everything else on the altars. The deities took the most time since there are more of them than anything else. But there still remain the incense holders and burners along with any other significant objects that live on the altars, like my triquetra medallion for Hekate or my skull mala beads from India. A cool thing from yesterday was rediscovering my ankle bells! They were around Lakshmi’s neck. She was happy to have them off, though. They had gotten very dirty with dust over the years, and as I took them off and cleaned them I could feel her energy build and even out, like an engine reaching its sweet spot. She is nearly as important a goddess around here as Hekate is. She deserved special treatment. 🙂

As an aside, I can’t help but notice that every time I finish a 750 Words entry, it takes me to an analysis page where it tells me my typing speed, how long it took to write, and other mundane statistics. But it also tells me what sorts of things I was writing about and how I felt, along with telling me if I was focused on myself, others as a whole, or another person specifically. I notice that as I write about working through Spiritual Nomad, the observations of my posts have been much more positive and extroverted than usual. Instead of being a mix of all kinds of good and bad things (often more negative than positive), they’re definitively upbeat. I think I should take note of that considering this is the first time I have truly focused on my spirituality in a very long time.