Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best of Baton Rouge

I am so loving my new hometown, especially now that I have a car! I've been exploring a bit more, have joined a lovely knitting circle full of girls my age, and am working like crazy over at the law school. Now Mardi Gras season is pretty much upon us, too... I've already eaten at least three king cakes, have ordered a custom designed hair fascinator to wear to the parades, and am finding myself inexplicably drawn to anything in green, purple and gold!

I haven't made it down to New Orleans yet, but that's in the works too... I should be going down there for a training session next week. It'll be nice to revisit a city that I haven't seen since 1999! Today, while shopping at one of my favorite local shops, Coyote Moon, I even found a book on the history of New Orleans voodoo, which I'll probably go back and buy as soon as I get paid.  Maybe I can add it to my Pagan Reading Challenge...

All in all, this is such a cool place with so much to do and learn. There must be a reason why all the vampire novels are set in Louisiana, right? What a fun and mysterious place, my new hometown...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Witches Sing the Blues

Recently, I was given the honor of an invitation to the Etsy Witches' Cottage team, where I've taken on the role of recruiter (ahem, I mean "hearth keeper") and have been meeting a lot of really nice people. Now, those who know me in real life are probably saying, "Whaaa? But you're Catholic! I remember when you used to sing in church choir!"  So what gives?

It's a funny thing about spirituality. I have found throughout my life that the more I learned about my own religion, the more I became obsessed with learning about other religions and practices. In college and law school, it was Islam. I took some classes at Yale, and then in law school, met my best friend in the world, who is half Muslim. Studies in Islamic law led to further studies in Judaic law, and then a general interest in learning everything that I possibly could about Judaism (and I have to admit that living in New York City definitely helped with that.)

Over the past few years, I've become interested in the pagan traditions and in divination, which is something I hadn't considered since high school. It was the 90's, tarot cards were the "in" thing (thank you, My So-Called Life), and in my very Protestant high school, reading tarot was a way to stand out from the crowd. Now, however, I look at these things through the eyes of an adult, and wonder what it is about paganism that fascinates me so much.

And I think I know. There's something about the idea of an intent-based religion that is very appealing. I'm sure that it's why so many young women, in particular, are drawn to Wicca. Having been raised in a religion that was based entirely on faith and prayer (or as it sometimes feels, begging for God's intervention), the idea that you can control your fate through the power of focus and intent is the most liberating idea. Spellwork, though very similar to praying, in fact, has the added elements of making you feel in control of your destiny, getting you to focus on making changes in your life to achieve your goals, and allowing you to ask the universe for change without feeling guilty for wanting it. Though a certain amount of faith is required, that little element of control is, for me, the difference between praying and casting a spell.

These are all intriguing ideas that I've had yet to put down in the written word. But, having learned all about Islam and Judaism, why not learn about Paganism as well? I've met so many wonderful witches and pagans in my travels as an Etsy seller and in my knitting circles on Ravelry. So this year, I plan to take advantage of their knowledge to learn about something that is relatively new to me. I've joined the Pagan Reading Challenge, to which I plan to take a rather interdiscplinary approach, and have pledged to learn as much as possible about reading runes and learning about their history, which is something that I've wanted to do for my entire life, but which I've always found to be incredibly daunting.  Most of all, I want to learn about pagan history... having been a history major in college, I find myself fascinated with the wheel of the year and the pagan sabbats' correspondence to the Catholic holidays with which I grew up.  Even my new job at the law library has allowed me to order books on law and magic, spiritualism, and witch trials throughout history.  What a rich field of knowledge to read about and learn!

To honor my teammates in the Witches' Cottage, I've put together a treasury entitled "Witches Sing the Blues."  Check out these lovely, healing, calming items and the wonderful and interesting people who make them.

Nota bene:  This post constitutes no more than my own rambling musings on my religion and my fascination with those that differ from mine.  I'm certainly no expert on religion, and certainly not on any of the pagan religions!  These are just my thoughts and speculations as I embark on a new intellectual journey.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Well, it's been awhile since I've visited my little blog! The past few months have been a whirlwind of moving, settling in to a new job and a new apartment, exploring my new city, making new friends, and just generally adjusting to changes in every area of my life.

Baton Rouge has been great so far. It's certainly a far cry from life on the east coast! I'm finding that aside from having a lot of nice people and a ton of amazing food, Louisiana is a place where one can really be oneself. There's certainly no shortage of diversity here. I find it very inspiring when it comes to my art, and I find myself wanting to embrace my inner steampunk, goth and vampire a lot more than I ever did while living on the east coast!

Today is the first day of the new year. Last year I decided that I wouldn't make any resolutions. Instead, I resolved that I would, quite simply, make my life better in some way over the course of the year. I figured that some opportunity would present itself that, if I took it, would improve my life in some way. I wasn't wrong. I did improve my life in many ways... some exciting, some creative, some difficult, and some very unexpected. It was a lot of work at times, and fun at others, but on the balance, things improved quite a bit. I ended the year with a new job in a totally new part of the country, and am on my way to making a good group of friends here. I also started my Etsy shop, challenged myself creatively, and proved to myself that I can be more than just a hobbyist when it comes to my creative pursuits.

So, I think I'm going to stick with the same goal for 2012. I am resolved to strive for a continually better life, and to take advantage of the opportunities that will surely present themselves. Here's to life constantly getting better! Happy New Year!