Welcome

Merry Meet, all. Hummingbird, here. 19-year-old eclectic Pagan who works primarily in stone magick and energy manipulation. Demisexual, with a wonderful girlfriend. Not currently following any deity(s) more specific than Goddess and God, but interested in many pantheons including Greek and Shinto. Attending college with end goal of a degree in Interior Design.

This blog is a digitalized record of my life as a Pagan. It includes spells, charms, meditations, notes on the properties of various magickal items, and my own personal experiences with my practice. Sometimes I post multiple times a day, sometimes it's once a month.

All are welcome here. Please, make yourself at home, and let me know if I can help you with anything. )0(

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23rd, 2015

While at the zoo on Saturday, I stumbled across this:


It's a slice of Amethyst, shaped to resemble a stylized bear, along with some beads on a cord. I was drawn to it immediately, and when I saw it had been marked down from $50 to $10, I was sold. I love Amethyst, and the pendant reminds me of my grandma, who loves bears. 

The stylization used here is clearly intended to be reminiscent of Native American depictions of the bear. Bears were bringers of medicine, healing, and food, and it seems appropriate to associate them here with Amethyst, given the stone's propensity for healing. That being said, I need to do a lot more research before I try any deeper explanation of the bear's significance - most of the online sources immediately available come across as rather disreputable, and certainly not authored by First Nations people.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22nd, 2015

I missed my Ostara post, as usual, but seeing as it was also my birthday on Friday, I think the gods understand.


It's been absolutely perfect weather here at school the last couple of days, and when not going out for sushi with some friends or doing homework, I have gotten to enjoy it. In fact, I've had my window open all day today, letting in a nice breeze. 

I also got to go to an art museum, and to the zoo, yesterday, so that was a great opportunity to soak up some of the creative, springtime energies abroad in the world. Today, I finally got around to doing my ritual. My roommate moved out last Monday; seeing her go was sad, as we'd gotten on quite well for never having met before this school year, but it does mean that now I can have a proper altar laid out without having to worry about making her uncomfortable. It's pretty nondescript at the moment, but then, most of my decorations are back at home. 



And then I have my little Basil plants. They're growing very slowly, but they are growing. The taller one just started putting out a second pair of leaves. I put some eggshell in the pot for added nutrients, but I think I need to pick up some fertilizer. 


I put a moss agate in there, as well, to help encourage them to grow.

And now, for kicks, here's some pictures of spring flowers from the zoo yesterday. Happy (belated) Ostara!






Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16th, 2015

I realized that I have never posted pictures of all of my dreamcatchers, so I thought I might do that today, and also explain some of their history. In order, from newest to oldest, these are mine:


Made by my friend Destiny, she gave me this as an early birthday gift just last Friday.


A gift from my grandma, I received this one perhaps a year or two ago. She wasn't sure I would want it, so take from that what you will about her understanding of my interests.


If you dig way back through my posts on this blog, you will see that I went to Niagara Falls a few years ago. There was a Native American woman there selling traditional, handmade dreamcatchers, and I was more than happy to purchase one.


A Yule gift from my Aunt C, I've had this one for probably four or five years now.


My oldest dreamcatcher, I purchased this one while on a sixth grade field trip to Springfield. As I recall, I got it in a gift shop located in a reproduction of Abraham Lincoln's home town.

~~~~~

Dreamcatchers were originally created by the Ojibwe-speaking people of the North American Great Lakes region, primarily in Canada, but extending south into the American states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and etcetera. The Ojibwe words for dreamcatcher include asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word "spider", and bawaajige nagwaagan, meaning "dream snare".

In the 1960s and 1970s, during the beginning of the Pan-Indian (later the Pan-Aboriginal) Movement, Native Americans sought to unite their efforts for the protection of the rights of native peoples in the United States, and the dreamcatcher became a symbol of the First Nations. Some Native Americans, however, do see dreamcatcher as being over-commercialized, or even culturally appropriative, and it is important to bear that in mind.

According to Ojibwe legend, Asibikaashi, or Spider Woman, cared for the children of the native people. As the Ojibwe people spread across North America, it became harder for Asibikaashi to look after all of the children, so the mothers and grandmothers made magical webs for the children by tying sinew cord around willow hoops. The dreamcatchers filtered out bad thoughts, only letting good ones enter the mind during sleep.

The willow frames were traditionally either round or teardrop shaped, and the string tied in a fashion similar to snowshoe webbing. They could then be decorated with feathers and beads.

~~~~~

I am not Native American, and the brief history presented above was researched entirely on the web. It is not my place to comment on the trend of non-Natives using dreamcatchers, but I think it is important to remember that they are special objects and deserve to be treated as such. If you want to buy one, support actual Native Americans and purchase from them rather than getting cheap knock-offs, if at all possible.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 14th, 2015

Look what my friend Destiny made me for my birthday!


It's a beautiful dream catcher! I've got a small collection, and this is a brilliant addition to it! She put so much thought into making the beads and the feathers elementally colored, and then added wind chimes, a turquoise stone, and a jar of fairy dust from Faery Fest. It's absolutely wonderful. I've got it hanging up in my room right now (I'm on spring break), but I'll be bringing it back with me to put up in my dorm.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5th, 2015

Okay, so, it took me a couple of days, but I did finally finish my bigger painting to put on my altar. It's about 12"x12", I think.


The symbolism probably speaks for itself, but in general I was going for elemental colors surrounding the God and Goddess.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25th, 2015

As a little "thank you" offering, I made a little painting for my altar Monday night. I'd also like to do a bigger one this weekend, if I have the time.


It's obviously a very simple little piece of work, but I feel like it has been well-received. Here's my whole altar at the moment:


Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23rd, 2015

The universe is really on my side today. I lost my purse this morning and was freaking out, when my Speech teacher went to use the restroom and found it tucked in the corner in there. I'm not sure how I managed to miss it either of the two times I looked, but whatever. Problem solved.

And then, I gave my speech! I think it went really well; to recap, I had to give a 4-5 minute informative speech about a culture I belong to, so I decided to talk about being Pagan. It seemed like a good opportunity to actually talk about something important. Here's a transcript of my script. I'm going to leave the formatting as-is, because I'm lazy:

Cultural Artifact Speech

I. Introduction: A. (Attention Getter) Merry Meet, everyone. That phrase, “merry meet”, is commonly used in Pagan circles to open a ritual or ceremony.
B. (Background/Need) Paganism, and the many forms thereof, is growing as a religion in the United States. Most contemporary estimates describe the American demographic as being about 1.2 million people. Despite this, mainstream media rarely acknowledges the many branches of Paganism or terribly misrepresents them.
C. (Thesis) As a Pagan myself, it is important to me that people understand something of my religious background. Prejudice and discrimination are serious problems that we face every time religion enters the conversation.
D. (Preview) In opening that dialogue today, I will share some of the most common beliefs held by modern Pagans and a special ritual chalice, as well as where I fit into this conversation.

*** Transition*** To talk about religion, it helps to contextualize what a person actually believes in.

II. Culture: All systems of belief have ideology, and they have practices.
A. Beliefs: Paganism is extremely varied in individuals’ beliefs; it has been said that there are as many branches of Paganism as there are Pagans in the world. That being said, a few elements are common themes through most branches. Pagans are polytheistic, which means we believe in multiple gods. These may be referred to simply as “God” and “Goddess”, or we may choose to call upon a specific deity from a specific region, such as Zeus or Astarte. We also tend to believe in other spirits or energies. Many Pagans accept that there are plant and animal spirits, as well as ones of earth, air, fire, and water. Respect for nature, as well as the idea of reincarnation, feature heavily in most branches of Paganism. We do not have any concept of Hell, but many of us do believe in karma, and that the actions we take come back to affect us in our lifetimes.
B. Practices: Pagans do not have designated church spaces – the majority of our worship is done in the home, or at the homes of Pagan friends. Most of us keep altars which display statues of our deities, candles, incense, and other ritual items. Those following Wicca, the most well-known Pagan subculture, have eight holidays throughout the year celebrating the change of the seasons, human growth and development, and mythological cycles. Non-Wiccans may also celebrate these holidays, or others specific to their deities. We also have a monthly ritual called an Esbat on the full moon, because the moon symbolizes the goddess. Pagan rituals usually call upon the elements and our deities. After that, we worship. This may include singing, dancing, making offerings, or whatever those involved deem appropriate. At the end, the elements are thanked, and we take communion.

*** Transition*** Now that you know a little Pagan 101, allow me to introduce this special drinking vessel.



(You may have seen this before - I've posted pictures of it in the past.)

III. Artifact: There is a communion expression which goes, “Drink. May you never thirst”.
A. Chalices: Chalices are a common feature of Pagan altars and represent the goddess. The cup shape is reminiscent of the womb, and suggests creation and female power. A woman entering into adulthood is often given a chalice as a symbol of her coming of age, and her right to choose her path for herself. Male Pagans are traditionally given athames, a type of ritual blade which is symbolic of the god, and is used to direct energy in rituals.
B. This chalice: I was given this chalice by my Aunt Christine as an eighteenth birthday present. The symbol in purple represents the goddess in three parts: as a young girl, a woman, and an elder. I use it in ritual to hold communion juice.

*** Transition*** Having now seen the chalice, I’d like to take a moment to explain the significance of my religion, and also the chalice in particular.

IV. Significance: Paganism has affirmed my existence in a way which organized religion was never able to do.
A. Culture: I was raised in a Christian household, and couldn’t feel enthusiastic about a judgmental god looking down upon me from heaven. Moreover, I disagreed with a lot of the Bible’s content. I was only twelve when, after doing months of research, I decided that Paganism was a path I connected with. Since then, I’ve been to Pagan festivals and local, Pagan stores. One of my best friends is also Pagan, so sometimes we get together for group rituals.
B. Artifact: My aunt is the only Pagan – and indeed, the only non-Christian – of which I’m aware in my family tree. I always connected to her and her beliefs growing up, and I felt so validated when she gave me the chalice. My choices are legitimate to her, and her support next to my family’s usually unsupportive attitude couldn’t mean more.

*** Transition*** You should now understand the basics of my religion, and why I practice it.

V. Conclusion
A. (Review main points)
Having explained Pagan culture, my symbolic chalice, and some of their significance,
B. (Restate Thesis) I hope that you can respect us for what we believe in, even if your beliefs are very different. I also hope that I’ve cleared up any misunderstandings you might have had.
C. (Concluding Remarks) Merry meet, and merry part, until we merry meet again.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 14th, 2015

I had been going to compose a post today about how St. Valentine was not only the patron saint of love but also pestilence and bees, and then I got distracted by the realization that the Roman festival of Lupercalia runs from February 13th through the 15th.

~~~~~

Some scholars are of the opinion that Valentine's Day was introduced by the Catholic church to try to supercede Lupercalia, but given that there's little to no evidence actually supporting this claim, it sounds like that theory's been pretty well disproven. That being said, there are some thematic similarities, which we will explore next.

Lupercalia was observed to banish evil spirits from the city of Rome, and to purify the city by invoking health and fertility (seeing the "love and romance" correlation yet?). It replaced the earlier spring festival of Februa, which was also a cleansing festival held at the same time (a later Roman god, Februus, personified both the month and the cleansing; the month of February is named for the festival, not for the deity).

The word "Lupercalia" is believed to have come from the Roman "lupus", meaning wolf. Lupercus, a Roman god
often identified with Faunus (the Roman Pan), was god of shepherds, and his festival on the 15th honored the founding of his temple. Ceremonies were held in the Lupercal, a cave on the south side of Palatine Hill, where it was believed Remus and Romulus (the founders of Rome) were raised by a female wolf.

Lupercalia, which literally translates to "Wolf Festival", was directed by priests of Faunus called the Luperci. They dressed in goatskins and officiated the ceremonies. In the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, Mark Antony (historically, the head of the Luperci) bestows a ceremonial crown on Caesar to foreshadow his intent to become king during the Lupercalia rituals.

The festivities themselves involved the sacrifice of two goats and a dog. A pair of young Luperci were then anointed with the sacrificial blood, and the hides of the animals were cut into thongs. The Luperci dressed in the remnants of the skins and ran around the old Palatine city. The citizens would gather to be struck by the thongs - getting hit with one was meant to ensure fertility and ease the pains of childbirth.

~~~~~

Interested in celebrating something a little more Pagan with your partner? I'll grant you, spring cleaning doesn't make for the most romantic of dates (and if you're into getting whipped with thongs, that's your prerogative, but I can't give you a whole lot of advice there, myself). Still, there's nothing stopping you from skipping out on all the hype of the 14th, buying a boat-load of half priced chocolate tomorrow, and then going out to dinner or a movie the evening of the 15th when places will be much less busy. Then there's always the option for a formalized ritual of romance - this asexual hasn't got much for you in the way of sex magick tips, but again, if that's your thing, I imagine there's all kinds of advice out on the web for coming up with creative costuming and dialogue for one heck of a night in.

Whatever you do (or don't do - focusing on yourself and self-care is just as important this weekend as ever), be safe, and have a good time!

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9th, 2015

I'm going to be giving a five minute speech in my speech class about what it's like to be Pagan. It's exciting, but also a little nerve-wracking, because the last time I was that open about my religion in public, I got pretty horribly bullied for it. That being said, my peers here seem to be pretty relaxed and open-minded, so I'm hopeful. We'll be working on our speeches over the next two weeks; I'll probably post my script here when it's done.

In other news, I rearranged my altar again today. After having a wintry theme to it for several months, I've returned it to a more spring-y design, in honor of the warming weather down here, and my hopes that spring comes earlier in the south. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8th, 2015

Way back at the beginning of last semester (I'm going to guess sometime in September?), I was walking across campus when all of a sudden I was struck by an incredibly powerful impulse to just stop and turn. To my delight, I discovered that the tables being set up outside one of the lab buildings, which I had only vaguely noticed out of the corner of my eye, were covered with crystals. As it turned out, the geology club was hosting a rock sale, and I, being the crystal witch that I am, was drawn over there like a moth to a light. I ended up purchasing a chuck of Orange Calcite, about half the size of my palm, for only $3.

Because I am a lazy person, I set it on my dorm room altar but then never did any actual research into its properties. I finally got around to doing that a week ago, but for the aforementioned reason of "I'm lazy" and also because of an obnoxious pile of homework, I never got around to typing up that research. Here it is now, finally.

Orange Calcite

Physical Characteristics: Calcite comes in numerous colors, including white, red, grey, green, blue, yellow, and orange. Its texture tends to be smooth, with a soapy or greasy feeling when rubbed.

In Nature: The Calcite family is a very common group of minerals, and they are found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The mineral is the primary constituent of limestone and marble, and can be used to neutralize acids.

Chemical Composition: CaCO3

Mohs Scale Hardness: 3 (low)

Can be Found: Madagascar, Brazil, India, Germany

Healing Properties*: Because of its joyful, sunny energy, Orange Calcite can help to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, or seasonal affective disorder. Use it also to strengthen brittle hair or nails, as well as to heal ulcers or diseases of the spleen and kidneys. 

Magickal Properties: Orange Calcite stimulates the Sacral Chakra. Its playful energy lifts the spirits and increases appreciation for the sensuous, be it a piece of music, a soft blanket, or a nice back-rub. The stone helps its bearer to remember that pleasure is pleasure - if you deal with insecurity during sex or other forms of physical intimacy, this mineral can help you to feel more comfortable and confident. It could also be useful to LGBTQAIP+ people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual or romantic orientations. For those seeking creativity, Orange Calcite could give you the stimulating boost you need. Develop your creativity or break out of artist's block with this stone. If you're feeling low on energy, Orange Calcite can help to return your sense of vitality. 

Chakra Association: Second (Sacral) and Third (Solar Plexus) chakras

Element: Fire

Energy: Projective

Planetary Association: Sun

*Magickal healing should never take the place of seeing a doctor and following any recommended prescriptions, actions, or other advice. Magick works best in tandem with physical efforts, anyway, so don't skimp on those check-ups!