Maybe it’s the holidays and people just being festive and cheerful, but today was a red letter day for me and my mask.

Me and My Mask – Setting up dolls for the Eleusinian Mysteries Altar 2007

Because of my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) I have to wear a carbon filter mask (I buy mine from I can breathe and then decorate them 🙂 ) when I leave the house. This keeps my level of exposure to toxins like perfume, car exhaust, plastics, fabrics and the like, to a mostly tolerable level if I am careful about where I go. No department stores, new car showrooms, or all you can buy malls for me!

Now normally when I am out and about in my mask I get one or two smiles or nods or nothing at all. Mind you, I live in Liberal-ville :), right on the borderline between Berkeley and Oakland, really, of all the towns to live and be seen as normal, this is the place! Every now and then someone will stop me, usually on the Berkeley side of the line, and ask where I got the mask or if it came with the beaded fringe (nope, I added that myself – has to be shiny!) and I pass on cards for the company.

Today it was like everyone SAW me and my mask. The security guard at the pharmacy, the guys in the art supply store, people in line, people in the parking lot, a guy even watched me walk past him and smiled saying “Beautiful”! What the heck?!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind any of this, its just… odd. It felt… inclusive. Not that people steer away from me, well except once a guy did while asking me if I had Tuberculosis, oy. But normally I live in a little bubble of isolation created by my mask and my need to not breath in the chemicals that most people don’t even notice.

Sometimes I let the whole thing get to me. I choose not to leave the house, almost don’t get out of bed, and think that people forget that I even exist. It’s hard to be the hermit crab when I am used to being the show girl. The hermit crab almost won today. After my allergy shots I was worn out and fell into an hour and a half nap. I almost let that be the rest of my day, but I push through and made it out of the house. If I hadn’t left home, I would never have been blessed with an afternoon of cheerful people connecting with me and my mask.

Sadly the mask only keeps some of the toxins away from me, so I still came home drained and aching, but with a smile on my face from all the sweet comments people sent my way. That aught to keep me getting out of bed for a few more days at least.

Blessed Holidays everyone!

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So remember how I said I wasn’t going to plant anything this year? (No, well I did somewhere, so bear with me). Apparently I spoke to soon. I walked into my local WholeFoods about three weeks ago and did the sapy eyed thing over a bunch of plants. Me! over plants! What the heck? Agricultural Goddesses, I tell yay!

So I yeah, I bought some plants and some potting soil. Then I rant out of soil. And pots. So I *just* had to the local plant nursery to get more supplies. And of course, since I was there, I just happened to see a few plants I liked… er… yeah… and so I filled up the back of my van with stuff.

Mind you all this was After my husband got his garden on by working on our front yard! *sigh* The House Kaleidicopia (yep, that’s what we call our home) yard project of 2009 is well and truly under way and I and up to my neck in dirt and plants and loving every minute of it all! Who’da thunk?

To begin at the beginning…

We have been needing to redo our front yard forever. About a month or so ago my hubby asks me if I would like a labyrinth in the front yard. Would I like??? He knows me far too well! Thus began the plotting of the front yard. We don’t really don’t have enough space to do a full size labyrinth, but we should be able to squeeze in a mini five circuit beastie similar to this kind:


The “Classical” Pattern. Original graphic © Shane Odom.


To do that we first have to move all the roses that are (were) where we want the labyrinth to go. That, and offering to buy my hubby a few more roses got him rolling. Over two weekends he, our youngest son and two friends moved first our ailing pear tree from what we now call the Rose side of the front yard to the back yard, where it will get much more sun and be waaaaay happier, transplant all but one of the Labyrinth side roses to the Rose side of the yard, and plant not one but nine more roses all told in the front yard! When they all the grow in we will have two hedges of yummy lavender and white simplicity roses (one on either side of the front yard). The Rose side is now a mini Rose Garden with only one rose still in shock from the transplant process.

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The Labyrinth side still needs to denuded of its top layer of weed infested soil, but once that is done, I have a friend who is a wiz at building labyrinths and she has agreed to help me experiment with layouts till we find the right design for our yard. Then we can start laying down the ground cover (probably Irish moss) and pebbles to make up the pattern!

Ugh… lots of work, but it is amazing to see it all coming together!

In the back yard, my adventures in container gardening feel like they are going better this year. I have been reading up on the plants I potted, so I might actually be able to have produce by the end of the season this time!

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I now have cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, sunflowers, digitalis, mint (two kinds), sage, rosemary, Echinacea, hollyhock, California poppies, aloe, and Aeonium canariensis growing in my garden. Oh, and I have seeds sprouting for the Lupines and poppies that I am going to add to the front yard, and the cilantro that I will be growing in the back. And just today I planted my summer crop of barley. I’m keeping it in back with the rest of my produce, and hoping that without the massive rains from the winter, I might actually produce some barley plants this time. We shall see.

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And last, but never least I have achieved Pomegranate! Yup. I am the proud owner of a pomegranate shrub. It now lives in an enormous faux terracotta pot a former housemate left us, and sits beside my external Demeter altar.

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So somehow, in all of odd Chemically Sensitive, exhausting life, I have managed to garden. I don’t feel like I can be called a Gardener yet, maybe if I pull off an actually harvest this year, but I do feel like I am making a better connection to the earth and myself. And behind all of this has been Demeter, puttering around behind, inside and with me all the while I have doing working on myself and my plants. It’s a new sense of spirit and spirituality for me, to just be in the moment with no expectations and no requirements. I’m finding I rather like it.

My stuff is on display at Baycon come see!!

For those of you who dont know, I have joinned forces with Jamie Morgan of the Silver Kitsune Jewelery, to create a company called Mirth & Reverence.  We have slowly be blending our work and our wares to the point where we are selling our stuff on line together at Artfire in our combined shop here: MirthReverence This weekend we are doing our first big convention as dealers!! woohoo!!

Jamie, the Wonder Partner :), has taken all of our stock and a whole lot of new stuff away to Baycon 2009 in San Jose CA. (Because of my Chemical Intolerances / MCS I cant do public stuff – so she gets the brunt of that work).  If you are in the area stop by the dealer’s/vendor’s room.  The Mirth & Reverence booth is near the back door in the corner and VERY hard to miss – here I can show you… Jamie kindly sent me a photo right after set up!

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On site we have a host of new Jewelery from Jamie – lovely necklaces with Venetian Glass, Steampunk stuff with gears and bits, more of her famous twisted rope necklaces, and new cell phone charms and earrings!

From me you get a new batch of horses all lower cost and yet amazingly still filled with attitude (funny that) Some even have wings! And I finally got around to making some of the nifty staves I have been promising!

New from both of us and ONLY for the convention, these are not going to be in our shop – Hair falls in a range of colors and sizes: Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Night, Day, – come on its’s us, of course they were going to be pagan related! :)

And for those of you looking for my high end dolls, those are at the convention as well – in the Art show on their own table. I sent down ten dolls in total including the two new steampunk dolls Lady Elizabeth and Steampunk Gaia. With them are JB the Technicolor Dream Horse, Don Colorado, Sir EJ, Wiccan Star Goddess, Wiccan Horn God, Warrior Oy, Witch Queen Oya and on loan from her new home: Hekate.

So there is lots to see and buy so come take a look.

Blessings,

Kate

For the ritual my buisness partner Jamie and I wrote for PantheaCon 2009 I set myself the challenge of crafting the main god figures for the center altar. It took a while, but i managed to get them done just in time for the convention and the ritual!

Now that ritual is over they are for sale in our Artfire shop and I can show them off here! 🙂 The awesome photos are by Jamie (of course) who now has a whole bunch of her photography up in the shop by the way!

I’ve also been doing a little bit of writing for Artfire.com’s Art Daily. So far they have posted two of my pieces. One is a short article about how to create your own beaded doll head. The other is about how to be friends with people with allergies and chemical sensitivities (like me!) I hope you’ll swing by Artfire and take a look!

Blessings,

Kate

Ahh the joys of having a chronic illness… it throws all your well laid plans for a loop! December was supposed to be the month that spent continuing my Demeter work by learning about Poseidon. I had Tonsilitis instead. This, mind you, was on top of the strep throat from November and the flue from October, you begin to see what I mean about well lain plans?

Thankfully, the gods of my life seem to be cutting me some slack. I “woke up” meaning I got enough energy and spoons and life back this month that I have been able to do the research I needed to do on Poseidon AND write up my notes! (This on top of working on a new doll – I am definitely feeling better). Since my notes are ten pages long, I think I will stick to a few excerpts for this blog post, and some really great links where you can get more information about the Lord of Water and Earthquakes if you are interested.

Homeric Hymn 22 – To Poseidon

“I begin to sing of Poseidon, the great god,
Mover of the earth and of the barren sea,
The sea-god who is lord of Helikon and broad Aigai.
O Earth-shaker, two-fold is your god-given prerogative,
To be tamer of horses and saver of ships.
Hail, Poseidon, black-maned holder of the earth!
Have a kindly heart, O blessed one, and come to the aid of sailors!”

Poseidon is the brother of Zeus and Hades. In some stories he is the older brother of Zeus, in others the younger. All three are the sons of the Titans’ Kronos and Rhea whom they over throw early in their lives. Once the younger gods and their siblings (Demeter and a few other nice ladies) have control of the world, the boys divide up the realms. Zeus gets all of the sky, Poseidon all of the Sea and Hades all of the underworld. Theoretically they are all equal portions but in all the stories Hades and Poseidon seem to feel that Zeus managed to get the better part of the deal some how.

Poseidon is generally depicted as a man of mature stature, usually with a full beard, holding a trident and interacting with waves in some way. He is often seen with a fish or dolphin in his hand(s). while the descriptions do not come out and say it, he was also quite the ladies man and managed to produce more offspring than even Zeus. There is a very nice description of Poseidon in the Iliad Book 13 lines 17-31.

Poseidon was a busy busy boy… He had a whooole lota lovers goddess and otherwise. For a great list of his lovers you can visit theoi.com at this link: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/PoseidonLoves.html

He also had a whooooole lota children human, god and otherwise. Probably the best known of his children is Athena. For more on the kids see this link: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/PoseidonFamily.html

There is some debate as to what Poseidon’s name means. Many references state that he is Lord of Earth or Husband of Earth. Walter Burkert disagrees. In “Greek Religion” he states that “the first component of the name is obviously the vocative potei-, Lord, but the second element da- remains hopelessly ambiguous; that it means earth and that Poseidon is therefore Husband of Earth is quite impossible to prove.” [136] However, Poseidon’s two main aspects of water and earth mover make his title of Lord of Earth fairly reasonable. He is first and foremost seen as a god of the oceans and therefore as a protector of fisherman. His less well known secondary aspect is that of ‘Earth Shaker’ He is known to bring earth quakes and hurl rocks into the sea [Burkert 137]. There is also a key story between Poseidon and Demeter in which they both changed into horse form and mated. Through their union the child/horse Areion was born, and later given to the hero Adrastus. Here again a case could be made for Poseiden being Lord of Earth or Consort of Earth because of his relationship with the De-Mater herself.

Poseidon was honored with sacrifices, festivals and games. His most common sacrifices were bulls, first fruits from the sea and less often horses. “The Isthmian Games were held at Korinthos in honour of Poseidon. It was one of the four great Athletic Festivals of Ancient Greece–the others being those of Zeus at Olympia and Nemea, and those of Apollon at Delphoi.” [theoi.com] In addition the month of Poseideon was dedicated to Poseidon and the eighth day, called Posdidea, was especially sacred to him.

Correspondences

Please Note – Unlike with some gods and pantheon’s Poseidon at least does not have a specific day of the week that he was worshiped, perhaps because fisherman went to sea when the oceans’ allowed, no matter what day of the week it was. Likewise, there is no specific number associated with him beyond the reference to the eight day of his fest month being particularly important. The Greeks did not assign colors or flowers and such in the way that we do now, there fore the data that follows is a list of recommendations only and is based on my experience working with Poseidon personally. As they say on the Net, “your mileage may vary”.

Number: 8

Day of the week: N/A, try Wednesday or Saturday

Month: December

Element(s): water and earth

Colors: all the shades of watery blue from phototrophic (the bright stuff at the top) to benthic (the dark stuff at the bottom), storm colors, with a dash of rocky earth – browns and grays more than life based green

Symbols: three pronged trident, fish, dolphins in particular, Tuna fish and tuna fishing, horses

Offerings: fresh fish, tuna, beef, wine, incense / smoke of some kind but NOT tobacco

Bibliography

Print
Athanassakis, Apostolos Translator The Homeric Hymns. Baltimore, NY: Johns Hopkins University Press 1976, 2004

Burkert, Walter Greek Religion. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1985

Parke, H. W. Festivals of the Athenians. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977

Robertson, Noel. “Poseidon’s Festival at the Winter Solstice.” The Classical Quarterly (New Series), 34.1 (1984). pp. 1-16.

Web
Ancient History.about.com
Gill, N.S., “Greek Winter Solstice Celebrations, Solstice Celebrations Honoring Poseidon”
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/sexualit1/a/GreekSolstice.htm

The Iliad of Homer on line at Internet Sacred Text Archive as of January 6, 2009
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/homer/ili/index.htm

Theoi Greek Mythology, Poseidon main page as of January 6, 2009
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html

My last post “Living the Demetrian Wheel, Reality Strikes” was a first for me. Turns out it was the first time I have ever publicly written about having Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). After two years of living with this condition that seems a little odd, but its true. Up until now I have confined my writing and processing about life with MCS to my private journal, MCS email lists, and discussions with friends. Honestly I think it has taken that long for me to come to terms with this condition and make a certain level of peace within myself around the situation. But as an artist, ritualist and priestess, eventually what is in my heart and mind becomes a part of my work, and I guess my last post was the turning point.

All of that brought to mind that it was time for a little bit of truth in advertising for this blog. A little bit of “who is this crazy lady writing about MCS, ritual, art, gods and goddesses and the like?” And what is it that I am likely to write about on this electronic page of mine?

Five or Six years ago I would have answered that question by saying that I am writer and creator of ritual and ritual theater works, a mother and a priestess. At the time I was the founder and Artistic Director of Magical Acts Ritual Theater an experimental performance group in the Oakland, CA area that explored the boundaries between theater and ritual, between the sacred and the profane. We never made a living at it, but we did manage to pay the bills in the end, which if you know anything about nonprofit, volunteer theater is saying something! I resigned in the fall of 2002 to get some sleep, do some writing and rediscover my family. That worked for a while… but we Type A’s get bored soooo very quickly!

My Bio Photo from my days as AD of MART

Sadly, whatever I had planned for my post-MART days was eaten by the “Flue that would not go away” which started sometime around late 2004 / early 2005. Anyone familiar with MCS can see the plot begin to thicken right about now. Turns out that sometime in that period I was exposed to a very large dose of formaldehyde through a large remodel that was being done on the building that I worked in at the time. Lots of cheap industrial paint and cheap industrial carpet all over the place including right under my feet. Being “normal” at the time, it never occurred to me that this was a problem. Except that from that point on I had this flue and these sinus head aches that would not quit and would last for a week or two, go away, and then reappear – lather, rinse, repeat, over and over again.

In the summer of 2005 I was diagnosed with a massive dust mite allergy. WTF?? I had never had allergies in my life! That started the prescription medication and the allergy shots routine that I now live on. A little over year later I was on my second, or was it third?, sinus infection and a new round of antibiotics. Then in October of 2006 came the lovely adventure to the Emergency Room while at Disneyland that I wrote of in my last post. This was the triggering incident that brought the slumbering formaldehyde into full toxicity and me into the world of life with MCS.

My purple hair – dyed in celebration of my new life with MCS and suddenly jobless because of my health

– weird, but hey it was fun while I could still do it!

The first six to nine months of life with MCS I spent sleeping or watching DVD’s. There was just no energy – no spoons for anything else. So I missed most of 2007, which sucks when you have growing teenagers. Bless my house mates and husband! They stepped in and took over when I couldn’t be there and got the kids and me through the worst of those days! Slowly I learned to breathe again and think again. I discovered that there was a world out there… and of course… I got bored! Lol.

As luck would have it, around the time I got sick, a friend of mine had introduced me to the world of Robert Tonner dolls and Fashion Repaints and it occurred to me to try my hand at redo a doll for myself as an icon of Demeter. So I did and it was fun and other people liked what I was doing… so I tried a few other designs… and people liked those dolls… and started asking if I would do commission work! And now I have the seeds of a business doing Altar dolls! Getting sick lead me to my art – who knew? I have no idea if I will ever be able to make a living doing this, but for the moment it keeps me (mostly) out of trouble, and pays for itself, which in this economy is an absolute requirement!

The Demeter Altar Icon on my altar behind my desk

With my art has coming my writing – my ritual work specifically. I used to say that I was a Writer! Ok, I don’t *think* I was that bad, but I might have been. But this enforced downtime has helped me figure out that its not that I must *write* in the sense that a novelist or short story writer might use that word. When I need to *write* it is almost always to write ritual. I am a ritualist first and foremost, all the writing about ritual comes afterwards. But the requirements of MCS, staying away from all scents and chemical fumes, makes working and being in public damn near in possible – so for now, I am limited to writing ritual for my coven which is small and very MCS wise, and writing about ritual. Yes, its frustrating as hell! And actually its not the complete truth… I am writing rituals, just more complex and detailed ones; the kind that need time to brew and percolate to become their ideal selves.

And last, but never least, I am a priestess. Somehow this has always been true, and now, even with the MCS, or perhaps because of the MCS, it is even more so. I am a priestess of several powers. My work for the rest of 2008 and through June of 2009 at least will focus on my relationship to Demeter, hence the recent spat of work on the Demetrian Wheel of the Year.

So what is Sacred Seeds Weblog about? Art, ritual, life with a chronic condition… ways to celebrate life no matter what the universe throws at you!