Both Mom and my new glasses had come in to the store, so today we went to pick them up. Dad also came along, as Mom has decided he, too, needs a new pair. Unfortunately, the store didn’t have room in their schedule for an eye check today, so they made an appointment to come back.
Then we went to HEMA for lunch, it’s kind of a tradition when we’re at the mall here, and did a bit of shopping. After which they dropped me off at work.
Went to the city this morning with Mom to get our eyes checked and pick out new glasses. It has been quite some time since I last got a new pair, and since it is still 2014, my insurance will still cover it (I’m scaling it back next year). Once at the store we always go to, it turned out that I last got new glasses seven years ago. So yeah, I’m due for new ones. It being seven years ago also meant updating my data, and it’s always fun to see how people react. The dude was very professional and only mildly surprised 😀
Got the full eye check-up done, it seems my eyes got slightly better as my cylinder deviation has apparently gone away. After measuring we picked out frames. I wasn’t, and still am not, completely satisfied with what was available. I wanted something as close as possibly to my old pair: black rimmed, rectangular and not too tall from top to bottom. But apparently that’s out of style, so they are a bit taller now. I’ll get used to it, but it’s not my favourite. Mom found herself a very pretty red pair.
Then we picked out the options on the glasses. I went with extra thin, an anti-reflection coating and a blue-screen thingy so it mellows bright white light a bit and this brought me nicely to the €6 below the max coverage my insurance gives.
Now, I’m back home and focusing my attention for the rest of my free day on the gloriousness that is my newly delivered Warlords of Draenor. Black Portal, here I come!
The cemetery where my grandparents are buried held a remembrance event last night. They covered all the paths and walkways on both sides with tealights in jars and invited people to come and bring a light to their loved ones there. They also offered warm drinks and cake because winter’s nights are cold. If you didn’t have a candle or light, you could get one there. And there was also a rack to place lights on if your loved one wasn’t buried here. All of this free of charge, just asking for a donation if you could.
I went with Mom and my Aunt and were planning to visit not just my grandparents, but also my grandfather’s parents, and my grandfather’s brother and his wife. We had planned in advance, so I had bought two lanterns while I was at Ikea getting my plates. My aunt had also bought a lantern so we had one for each grave. And earlier in the day, Mom and I had stopped at the florist for some pretty plants that can withstand the winter.
The cemetery looked beautiful, and it was really nice to see so many people there. We visit the graves fairly regularly, individually, and then we clean it, or maybe bring some new flowers. But now we were together, not just the three of us, but all of us people, sharing a moment.
We cleaned the gravestones, put up the plants and the lights. And in the background they played music, interspersed with people reading poetry. Once we had done that, we went back towards the entrance to get something warm to drink. I got one of the candles they offered there and placed it on the rack for people not buried there in remembrance of others that have died, both in my family as well as friends.
I ordered a ridiculously large cat tree for my monsters 😀 It’s fantastic, and I think they’re gonna love it!
Wednesday I went to see If I Stay with Ingrid and Nienke. It was a fun movie (insofar a movie about people dying or almost dying is fun). It matched the book well enough, and I liked the actors (especially the parents).
The next day, as if to compensate, wasn’t so good. I felt out of sorts and crappy the whole day, and then when I went home I got annoyed at the darkness (brain: stupid winter), the train (brain: why don’t you leave now instead of on your scheduled time in 15 minutes), the people in line at the Burger King (brain: order faster!) and the people working at Burger King (brain: gimme ma food!).
Luckily, when I got home, I cuddled the cats and made snacks for Friday’s party which made me feel better.
Friday evening we had a little Halloween party with some friends. We’d decorated the house and with the snacks it was all set. To stay on theme, we had Halloween music for background and later watched a Halloween movie 😀
Today is my 30th birthday 🙂
Yesterday I celebrated with my friends. We talked, ate, drank, listened to music and played games. An iPad, combined with a smart TV and a app to do presentations with makes for an excellent pictionary setup 😀
Today was family day, which I always enjoy very much. Especially when almost everyone is there 🙂
I was also spoiled with awesome presents. Eva gave me a wooden box that she had decorated by pyrographing my original birth announcement on it, but then with my new names instead of the old ones. Gert gave me a glorious book-in-a-book-in-a-book that I can’t wait to read. Kim gave me If I Stay (and its sequel) which was on my list. Aunt Zwaan made me a file folder with a custom fabric cover and ribbon closure and so on.
And with that, I’m going to bed! Partying is exhausting 😀
Had a needed lie-in this morning. Last night I went out for dinner with my aunt and uncle, their kids and grandkids, and my parents. All in honour of my uncle’s 80th birthday. We went back to Yankee Doodle, where we’d also been with them last March. Had a great time, but didn’t sleep well. I woke up around three and lay awake until seven. I entertained myself playing iPad games and messing with the cats.
When I got downstairs, I found Captain had slept on the sofa 🙂 So much progress in just a few days!
And in the afternoon my new Pop Vinyls arrived. Special ordered from Australia a few weeks ago, which is not something I’ll probably repeat soon. The shipping charges are atrocious. I picked the cheapest option and it still was half of the cost of the dolls while taking weeks and offering no tracking or anything. I figured it would be okay, but it is still weird waiting for it. Ah well, winged Castiel and the mystery item I bought for Nienke for December gift giving make up for it.
Now I have to go and get ready. I’m off to the Oosterpoort tonight for my birthday present to myself: a concert by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir singing the Vespers of Rachmaninoff.
I don’t have a specific connection to Eostre above other holidays, but, well, playing with letters and such… My exposure to the pagan holidays started with the Wiccan versions of them, centered on the journey of the Goddess and the God throughout the year. As I ventured off that path and onto generalised Paganism with a center on nature, I also took the holidays for their more seasonal nature instead of the metaphorical journey. As such, I generally observe the solstices and equinoxes and refer to them as such. The other holidays in between, I know of them, and I appreciate them, but I do not generally observe them.
Also commonly known as Yule. It is the time of the shortest day of the year, a moment to acknowledge that the deep of winter is here, and from now on we move again towards the light. A festival of rest, really, as many things are in slumber and the weather is (generally) not conducive to much activity outside the house. As the world is clad in darkness, it is also a festival of light and warmth. Literal light and warmth from candles, hearth fire, but also metaphorical light and warmth from spending time with friends and family. A moment to show your appreciation of them by sharing your home, your food, and gifts.
Here’s the titular Eostre 🙂 A festival for the awakening of the earth. Spring is at hand and it shows in the emergence of new life. Weather is improving and as such people drift back outside. A time to appreciate the new and the young, to revel in what the earth has to offer. A time, also, to work and prepare the land, sow the seeds and help new life come into existence.
Also referred to as Litha. It is the time of the longest day of the year, the opposite of midwinter. Time to give thanks for the light as we realise it will wane as we journey towards the darkness of winter. Life is at its height, animals are full, plants are lush, there is no shortage of food, and as such it is the perfect moment for grand celebrations.
Otherwise known as Mabon. Winter is getting closer and humans and animals alike prepare for it. Harvests are ready and brought in, food is stockpiled and animals that sleep through the winter eat themselves round. It is again a time to work, but this time we bring things inward, into the home, instead of outward, into the land.
Divination is a practice wherein one, through ritualistic method, tries to find meaning and gain insight to answer a question or help make sense of or deal with a situation. The name implies that the found insight is given by a a deity. However, I believe that the answers and insights found are a combination of factors. We have many layers of consciousness and are often unaware of a lot of things inside our own brain. Working with a divination method can bring things to the surface. Also, the energy with which you surround yourself influences how you see things. And beyond that, I believe the universe, or even one or more entities can push things when you’re interpreting if they feel you need to know something, or take something into account.
There are so many forms of divination, but I am mostly interested in two of them: tarot/oracle decks and runes.
Tarot and Oracle Decks
Tarot is a deck of cards with a specific set of cards divided in two subsets. The full deck consists of 78 cards of which 22 numbered ones make up the major arcana and the remaining 56, split up into four suits, are the minor arcana. There are many variants in design for a tarot deck, but all generally use the same terms and numberings. Oracle decks are similar but generally have different terms, different number of cards, different themes. The general idea in using them, though, is mainly identical to how you would use a tarot deck.
For a standard tarot deck, like the Rider-Waite version and direct spin-offs, there are standard interpretations of the cards. However, interpretation can differ from deck to deck as the individual designs evoke different feelings and insights. Plus, I’m notoriously bad at remembering the standard meanings, and don’t like to continuously consult a book or booklet. So for me, a more organic reading feels better.
Oracle decks are generally already built for a more organic reading, and I think that’s why I like them. There is no implied ‘right’ way to read a card. Plus since they lack the constraint of the standardized tarot deck, they can be in literally any theme you can think of.
The use of a deck is also varied. You can pull a single card from the deck as a card-of-the-day type thing or have an elaborate layout to answer questions or process complicated situations. I prefer simple spreads because I like to ponder over the result and extrapolate from there. So card-of-the-day things, or maybe a basic three card spread in a past-present-future setup. There, the first card details what came before the current situation, the second indicates what’s up at the moment, and the third card gives insight in what might happen.
It’s important to have clear, before you start a spread, what the function of each place in the layout is. If you use the aforementioned three-card one, you need to narrow down what exactly you need it to show. Because ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ are too broad. If, for example, you feel stressed out at work, you can define the past-card as ‘what is the root cause of the stress’, the present-card as ‘what is currently the main thing keeping me stressed’ and then define the future-card as ‘what do I need to focus on to get past the stress’ . While not strictly foretelling a future here, it can give you insight into what to do in the future to help your current situation. Extrapolating, you can build a spread to suit your question or situation.
As such, tarot isn’t so much ‘telling the future’ as it is a tool to help you understand yourself, your situation, your life.
I’m a very minor collector of decks. I don’t have as many as I would like, but good decks can be pricey. I started out with a regular Rider-Waite deck, bought in my teens during my first steps on the pagan road. For years that was the only deck I had. I used it occasionally. It’s only been the last year or two that I’ve gotten more interested, even though I still don’t read as much as I’d like. But step by step we also get where we go. I have in that last two years acquired more decks, and it’s fun to see that each has its own vibe and different decks fit different moments, questions or feelings.
I’m currently eyeing this oracle deck. I bought her tarot deck in the same style in her previous kickstarter and it is fabulous.
Runes fascinate me because they are also an alphabet. And languages in all their forms are like magic unto itself to me. Plus, they have this long history, which is another passion of mine. Runes were in use among Germanic tribes in the first couple centuries of the common era and evolved in form. In Scandinavia the Elder Futhark was simplified into the Younger Futhark with less characters, while Frisians and Anglo-Saxons did the opposite: they created the Futhorc which had more characters.
Every rune isn’t just a letter, it is also a word. And from and through that, it derived meaning. The runes were used as signs and charms, ascribed magic powers they got imbued with it. They were also used for divination by throwing them on a piece of white cloth and then taking a number of them and interpreting their meanings together.
As such, they are still used today. However, since very little is known about how the divination was done exactly, there are different interpretations on how to do this. Some people use runes in a way that is similar to tarot/oracle decks in that they use spreads and layouts where runes are placed as they are drawn and then interpreted according to the layout. I, however, prefer to use casting whereby I throw the lot of them on a cloth.
I then take the ones that fell blind (since the rune is only on one side) out, as they don’t count for that casting. I also take apart the ones that fell outside the cloth, or the shape that I’m using. Depending on the question, these runes either get interpreted as being outside influences, or also get discarded. The remaining, open, runes get interpreted together.
A quicker method, for a simple draw if you have little time or a simpler question is to cast your runes as above. Discard the blind ones and the ones outside the perimeter and then grab three at random from the remaining open ones to interpret. You can also use a daily rune draw as a motivator or power word for the day.
If you want a middle ground between casting and spreads, you can construct a pattern with different areas and then cast the runes on to that. This allows you to interpret groups of runes together, as they apply to the area they fall in.
In the end, for both systems, it’s important to do what feels right for you. Only you can tell what does and does not work for you.