Welcome

Merry Meet, all. Hummingbird, here. 19-year-old eclectic Pagan and witch who works primarily in crystal magick and energy manipulation. Asexual, with a wonderful girlfriend. I am just beginning to learn the path of Athena. 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(

Tuesday

September 1st, 2015

It's been an interesting day, and I have some news, but I'm probably going to wait to share that on here until I've got all the details hashed out. I did think that I would share a picture with you all, though.


This is where I ended up putting my dragon statue I bought Saturday, on a shelf over my desk. I've attached some warding to the statue, and put an offering of water in the glass dish. He wanted some crystals set around him, so I put a Black Onyx and two Tektites on the shelf as well.

On either side of the statue, I have two Japanese amulets for academic success; to the left is my green Maneki Neko, and to the right is a little mini shrine-shaped amulet I bought at Meiji Jinja in Tokyo.

I also have two little shells sitting there, although they're hard to see in the photo. One shell is holding water, and the other is holding salt. I don't have a Kamidana at this point in time, although I would like to acquire one. In the meantime, I am using the shells to hold offerings to the Kami.

Monday

August 31st, 2015

I've been doing some more research into Japanese Shintoism, and was specifically looking at information on the Kamidana, or "God shelf". These are small personal shrines for one's home or place of business which are made by traditional craftspeople and blessed by the Shinto priests. A lot more goes into one than I was aware, so I thought I would share the information I found as a bit of an intro.

All Kamidana look a little different, but here is one style for reference.


In the back is the Kamidana itself, designed in the style of a Shinto shrine but in miniature. Depending on the model, the doors usually open and the whole front may be removable. This is necessary so that the Ofuda can be placed inside. The Ofuda is a blessed and consecrated piece of calligraphy which is what enshrines the deity, or (O)Kami-san, in the Kamidana. The Ofuda must be replaced every year to keep the blessing fresh and current.

Another thing to note is that the Kamidana should be placed on the north or west wall so that the doors face south or east. Additionally, it should be set above eye level (generally 6' or higher off the floor), and one should avoid walking under it. If the building has other floors above where the Kamidana is placed, one should put a paper with the Japanese word "Kumo" (雲), meaning "cloud", above it to ritually designate that as sky. This keeps people on the upper floors from walking through Kami-sama's space.

Directly in front of the Kamidana doors is the shinkyo, a special stand set with a kagami, or sacred mirror. The mirror is considered one of the sacred treasures of Japan, as seen in the story of the sun goddess Amaterasu and the cave.

Set around the Kamidana in the image above is a shinki set. Often, the set is seen on an ozen stand in front of the mirror. The shinki set includes porcelain dishes to hold rice and salt, a lidded bowl to hold water, and two taller vases to hold sake (rice wine) or mirin (rice wine vinegar). Any and all of these are given as offerings, although the latter two are often reserved for festivals or other special occasions.

A shinki set may also come with two more vases to hold sakaki tree leaves. The leaves can be procured fresh, although practitioners frequently use artificial leaves, as the fresh variety can be hard to find on a regular basis.

And finally, a shimenawa, or rope made of rice straw, is hung over the Kamidana to mark it as a sacred place. The white origami shide hanging from it represent lightning, and therefore also the power of nature.

There are other accessories, amulets, and etc. one can purchase when practicing Shinto, like the omamori I brought back from Japan last summer, but to my present understanding, these are the basics of setting up the God shelf Kamidana.

Saturday

YouTube Channel Update

As you guys probably know, I've been trying to revamp my YouTube channel the last few weeks. I started off by going back and adding closed captioning to all my videos. I am happy to say that as of tonight, all my older videos are fully captioned. Of the new set of four I posted today, only the first one is captioned; hopefully I can get the other three up to speed tomorrow.

Speaking of new videos, check it out! I did a four-part series today just briefly introducing people to my crystal collection.





August 29th, 2015

I'm super excited! Today, the Gaia House was having what they called an "Omni Sale" - basically a rummage sale with books, clothes, art, household goods, and more. They are fundraising so they can do some much-needed renovations, and let's face it, I'm a sucker for a good bargain.

To start off with, I got several books. They were all only $1 each!


I first picked up this, The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk. I read her The Spiral Dance several years ago and really liked it, so I'm interested to see what this one is like. The back synopsis made it sound like it's a work of fiction. I guess we'll see!


Then I got Kundalini Experience, by Lee Sannella, M.D.. I've not read extensively into kundalini energy, and I am interested to see what this has to say.


I also picked up Being-in-Dreaming: An Initiation into the Sorcerers' World. My understanding is that this one is an autobiography of a woman, Florinda Donner, who participated in a Mexican variant of sorcery. Once again, it looked neat! I'll report back with reviews, eventually. 

While I was there I also got a vegetarian cookbook; I think that'll be a Yule gift for my Aunt C.

The last thing I picked up was this fine gentleman:


This dragon is actually an incense burner! One sits a tea light in the receptacle between his wings and then pours essential oil, liquid incense, or etc. in the glass dish above; wax melts would also work. Then one lights the candle, which heats the dish, and causes the scent to be released! I probably won't be using him in this fashion anytime soon, but in the meantime, I think he's going to be a little room guardian. He seemed to like that idea! 

Friday

August 28th, 2015

I think I'm going to like my Architecture History class. Parts of it are definitely going to be a challenge, but my professor is very knowledgeable, and he keeps throwing out pieces of mythological information. Take this picture, for instance:


Many of you have probably seen this design before in sculpture or molding. What you may not know (I certainly did not) is that this pattern can be called "egg and dagger"; the egg component symbolizes life, and the dagger symbolizes death. The pattern hails from ancient Greece, and specifically belongs to the fertility goddess Artemis of Ephesus. This is not the goddess as the Huntress, but rather as a deity of abundance. Her temple at Ephesus is one of the seven wonders of the world.


To the right is an image of Artemis. My professor actually pulled a reproduction of this statue out of his pocket while he was lecturing. The bulbs on her chest have been interpreted as breasts, eggs, ox testicles, and probably more. The scholarly analysis is that they are gourds, which are a particular symbol of this aspect of Artemis. 
That's what I've got. I just thought you all might appreciate this little tidbit. I also did another video today, if anyone's interested in checking it out.



Thursday

August 27th, 2015

I've been working some more on my YouTube channel the last couple of days. I'm still working on getting all my videos properly captioned, and also just put together kind of a personal introduction.


You would think that I would have made this several years ago, but better late than never. Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while is probably aware of most of the things in this video, but if you're the sort of person who likes hearing the voices of other people, consider checking it out. I talk about my craft, my school, my art, my asexuality, and about some of the neurodivergence I have going on in my head.

Hope everyone out there is having a great week. I've been extremely busy with school, but I'm hoping to relax a little this weekend. Maybe I'll even get some more posts up!

Wednesday

August 26th, 2015

Okay, I won't be posting this until I get out of class, but this was hysterical, and I just have to share.

Today, as part of my Architecture History class, we went out on a hike around the campus and my professor was explaining the stories behind the styles of some of the buildings. This one draws on some Greek architecture:


The photo is hard to see because it's at a distance, but in the center over the door is a broken pediment, a shield, a shell, and a cornucopic vine of the sort that were hung on sacrificial animals. Such a carving was a repeating motif throughout Hellenic Greek architecture. 

My professor explained this, and then held up a model of the Parthenon of Athens. He had one student hold it, and others play the role of a priest, a sacrificial oxen, and a virgin maiden. He then had them recreate a ritual sacrifice to the goddess Athena Polias, with the "maiden" (portrayed by a good-natured boy) walking up to the temple model throwing rose petals from a basket, while the "priest" mimed slaughtering the "oxen" on a black stone altar. 

I will say again that we were doing this little example of Greek ritual in the middle of campus at 12:30 in the afternoon.

I did collect some of the rose petals after the fact, and I will be putting them on my altar.


Monday

August 24th, 2015

I had my first round of classes today, and on the whole, they went pretty well. I did spend a couple of hours doing homework this afternoon, but it luckily wasn't anything too stressful. I was able yesterday to read my new book from the thrift store, but by the time I finished it, I didn't get the chance to do a review. Hopefully I can bang one out in short order here.

Once again, the title of this was We'Moon '07: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn. The 2007 theme was "On Purpose".

This was a datebook and sort of almanac for the year 2007, but it also contained a lot of general astrological information, poetry, short stories, information on the sabbats, and lots of gorgeous illustrations. Interestingly, the calendar component also followed the lunar calendar, so there was that element of femininity to it.

Parts of this book were really great, and parts I was less interested in. The spelling of "women" as "womyn" threw me off a bit. I do have grapheme > color synesthesia, and any time the spelling of something is altered, it also changes the color of the word, so that was weird. They did it, they explained, to create a word etymologically separate from the word "men"; "women", "female", and etcetera are all obviously derived from words referring to the male gender, which the authors apparently found too patriarchal. I sympathize with the sentiment, but found their solution to read as rather contrived.

Besides that small linguistic criticism, I found it to be very readable, and actually more inclusive than I had been afraid it would be. Obviously the calendar was eight years out of date, but if this sounds like the sort of thing you'd want to look into, they are offering a 2016 datebook on their website here.

The message of this book, On Purpose, was really about intention, and using one's energies to focus on the future. A lot of the works asked, what can I, as a person, do to make the world a better place for future generations, and I think that's a message which still bears relevance eight years later. Much of the discussion was about the environment and climate change, but social justice was also a prevalent theme.

There was a poem about being gender-nonconforming, some art and a story by disabled women, works which crossed racial lines... In general, it struck me as being one of the more intersectional books I've come across.

I'd originally bought the book thinking maybe I'd cut out the artwork and do a collage or something, but now that I've read it... Yeah, I think that's just going to stay intact on my bookshelf.

A few other things from today...


That's my "back to school" picture outside the design building.

And then, I was able to pick some sage today!


I only got a couple of leaves, but remember that spiral garden I helped build last spring? Sage and kale were about the only things that grew, and there's a lot of them! I'll probably harvest more gradually, but I need to clean out another jar first.

Saturday

August 22nd, 2015

I am officially moved in to my dorm room for this year! My mom and I got to my building around 9:30, at which point we had to haul everything up the elevator to my floor. It took the greatest bulk of the time to get the furniture placed correctly, but once that was done, the decorating went pretty smoothly. I didn't set my altar up at the time because I didn't want to make mom uncomfortable, but I was able to do it this evening after she left.

Once I had the basic unpacking done, she and I went to lunch, and then went shopping. We checked out both the local thrift store and the mall, and I found some very cool things I would like to share.


This is a book I got for a dollar at the thrift store. It's called We'Moon '07: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn; there's no single author, as this almanac was compiled by many people, but it was published by Mother Tongue Ink in 2006. Obviously, the 2007 calendar is way out of date for 2015, but the book contains some beautiful illustrations of goddesses and other figures, poetry, astrological information, and what looks like a lot of other cool things. I'll write you all a review after I read it.


Next, we went to the mall, and I went into my favorite store, Earthbound. They had Himalayan salt candle holders for $6.95, so I picked one up. I'd been wanting a salt lamp of some kind for years, and although this one wasn't fitted for an electric light, I still liked it a lot.


I also got this: a baggie of Guatemalan Worry People. The bag holds seven of the little figures. One is supposed to whisper one's worries at night into the bag, and then the Worry People will carry away your worries. That seemed like the sort of thing which might help me manage my anxiety, and they're handmade, so I was happy to pick up a set. 


Tonight, I got my altar set up. Last year, I put it on my dresser, but this year I didn't want my bed lofted, as that turned out to be a huge hassle. My mom suggested I put my dresser under my bed to make room in my closet, and it doesn't even have an inch of clearance. That left my mini fridge as the only available flat surface. It actually seemed to work out well. My altar cloth fits perfectly, I have crystals all over it, and also some offerings for Athena. In addition, I took a Starbucks Frappuccino bottle, cleaned it out really well, and made a hyssop infusion in it. I'll probably talk about that in a later post.


Hanging off the edge of my bed, I have my travel altar kit, as well as a pixie dust bottle from Fairy Fest. My travel altar I may use to do outdoor rituals, to take on Pagan retreats, etc. 

So that's what's going on here. Days until school starts: T minus one...

Friday

August 21st, 2015

I'm not moved in yet, but I am down near my school now. My mom and I are staying the night at a hotel, and then I'll be getting settled in tomorrow morning. On the drive down, we stopped at a little rest area, and they had this advertisement in one of the displays:


The ad is for some winery (I apologize for all the glare - the poster was behind glass), but I did a double take when I walked in, because the drawing of the woman looks just like a Neoclassical goddess. I then did a second double take, because the heading across the top reads, "From the earth to the vine, from the grape to the wine; to you..." which in my mind sounded bizarrely like a commonly-used line in the Cakes and Ale ceremony. Possibly this is a coincidence, but I'm taking it as a good omen nevertheless.