Poetry – Master of Time

pocket-watch-3156771_960_720Master of Time
By: Maranda Russell

Make the closed circuits
and tinker with the channels.
Embrace the metal of your own making
as well as that of the Gods.

Hold the pocket watch of eternity
in your shaking hands
and watch as time
starts to run backwards.

Today is the past,
yesterday, the future.

October 2018 House of Rituals Pagan Subscription Box

I received my October Mini House of Rituals subscription box a few weeks ago and have already used the stuff from it, but I wanted to show you all what I got anyhow. Here is what came in the box:

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The theme this month was Samhain & Diving with Spirits. The package included a 3-card spread tarot reading cloth, 3 tarot cards chosen individually for each subscriber (I got The Lovers, The High Priestess, and the 3 of Wands cards), a tarot card reading guide, a book about various kinds of spirits and how to work with them, 2 silver candles, full moon incense, an old-fashioned pocketwatch, an antique photo, a sun/moon decorative tile, a chunk of rose quartz, and instructions.

When I do rituals I tend to kind of disregard the instructions and just do what feels right, so I used the materials to do a small altar spread honoring the spirit of Samhain and The Day of the Dead. I did keep the theme of past, present, and future and did feel that the 3 cards they sent me fit well! Here is an image of my finished altar spread:

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My personal interpretation of the 3 cards is as follows:

Past – The Lovers: Duality in my past spills over into my present.

Present – The High Priestess: A need for my subconscious to heal from the pain of the past so I can move on.

Future – 3 of Wands: Harmonious prosperity (hopefully a good result to my upcoming SSDI hearing?)

I mostly consider the Tarot a system that is fun and helps you get in touch with your own inner thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs through meditation, so I don’t necessarily try to use it to “predict the future”, but if it wants to tell me the future looks good, I will accept that!

The Most Humiliating Experience of My Life

Today I’m doing something rare for me…two posts in one day! I didn’t plan to post this second entry today, but I feel compelled to do so and get something off my chest that I’m tired of hiding. For a long time I debated whether to tell my real story or not, because even when our family hurts us, we still feel a need to protect them.

So this post is about the most humiliating and potentially traumatic experience of my life. It happened when I was 15 years old. At that point I had already endured a rough childhood of turmoil, including being surrounded by and sometimes the target of verbal, mental and physical abuse, my parents’ constant instability in relationships, and the death of my father when I was 12. So, I was already pretty banged up emotionally and mentally. Not to mention the fact that I had undiagnosed high-functioning autism, which made it really hard for me to find my place in the world or understand it.

Anyhow, when I was 15, a boy who was I had been school friends with for years started showing interest in dating me. He was two grades ahead of me and 17 years old at the time. I agreed, but wasn’t sure if I really wanted to date or just be friends. So, I did bring him to my house a few times to hang out with him. In the end, I decided I just wanted to be friends and we decided not to date. Ironically enough (as you shall soon see), my mother actually helped me officially “break up” with him. We never kissed or anything like that, but the kids at school thought we were together and he was technically the first boy I ever “brought home”.

So after deciding to just be friends, I thought life would just go back to normal. But I was wrong. My mom started acting sort of weird. She was sneaking around having mysterious phone conversations and I even once caught her hiding outside, smoking, something I had NEVER seen her do before! I knew something was up, so one night I quietly picked up an extra phone extension to see who it was she was talking with at night. I was shocked to hear her and the guy I had been “dating” exchanging “I love you’s”. I confronted her after the call and she admitted to being in a relationship with him. I was angry, humiliated, shocked, and sickened.

After that, she quit hiding it and started taking off on dates with him pretty much every night, leaving me all alone night after night after night, or even dumping me off on random people so they could go away for days at a time. Before long, she moved him in and I had to live with them. By this time, everyone at school knew that he was dating my mother, which brought me a lot of uncomfortable questions about the situation, since they had all thought I had dated him. I even overheard teachers talking about my mom and the boy. Everyone treated me like my family was insane, and I felt like they had a right to do so because we WERE insane. It felt like Jerry Springer type stuff.

One of the most hurtful incidents I remember during this whole time was when I got into a fight with my mom’s new boyfriend. It was just a verbal fight, but I made him so mad with what I said that he punched me. I was so hurt by this that I jumped on my bike and rode away, even with my mom yelling after me to stop. Eventually I came back home, and instead of making him apologize to me for hitting me, my mom threatened to send me away to live with relatives. At this point, I felt like I was nothing and no one wanted me.

My mom married this boy the very day he turned 18. So I was going to the same school with my new “step-father”. Even though school had always been a refuge for me in the past, now it felt like torture every single day. I started skipping constantly and barely ended up graduating in the end because of all of it. When I was 16 we moved to another state and I went to a new school, but the feeling of shame followed me and I had given up on caring about school or about anything else. I was soon diagnosed with depression for the first time (not surprisingly!)

To this day I still hold a lot of resentment, anger, feelings of betrayal, and embarrassment about the whole thing. I have a relationship with my mother, but it is precarious and not the most trusting.

Review of “Mud Puddles and Muscadines”

Mud Puddles and MuscadinesI’ll admit that before I even started reading “Mud Puddles and Muscadines”, written by Pat Brannon, I had to look up the word “muscadine”, because I had no idea what it meant. I guess you just don’t hear that word much where I grew up. So in case you are also unfamiliar with the term, please note that a muscadine is a grapevine species that is native to the southeastern United States.

Now, on to the actual book review. “Mud Puddles and Muscadines” is a collection of personal essays and poetry about the author’s experiences growing up in rural Arkansas. Ranging in time from the 1950’s until the 1970’s, the stories cover a broad range of people, places and memories that deeply affected the author’s life in one way or another. To me, reading through the book almost felt like watching an “Andy Griffith” marathon. Being a child of the 80’s and 90’s who was born in an urban, northern area, I certainly never experienced a place as innocent and charming as Griffith’s Mayberry, but while reading through these essays, I felt like I was vicariously experiencing the simple country life I had only before seen on tv.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the author of “Mud Puddles and Muscadines” always had an easy life surrounded by perfect people. She is very honest about the virtues and vices of those she knew and the struggles and victories she experienced growing up. However, even though life back then might not have been idyllic, there are some lessons our current culture could definitely learn from the past. It’s no wonder that many people long for a time when communities were close-knit and the people took care of each other. In our materialistic, often rushed modern society, it seems that some important things have been overlooked. Luckily, there are people like Pat Brannon who still remember those things and are willing to share them with the rest of us.

I would highly recommend this book for those who feel a bit nostalgic for their own past or for those who wish to experience the charm of an old-fashioned, small town world for the first time. For more information about the book and how to purchase a copy, please visit the author’s website.