The Veil, Lifted – Part 2

Photo from Pixabay.com
Photo from Pixabay.com

Continued from The Veil, Lifted – Part 1

Oh, it came out in spurts here and there, like an overblown balloon letting out little puffs of air. My restrained rebellion continued to grow. Frustration and depression at not being true to myself and being so conflicted within, led to days of uncontrollable crying and rage. It was almost as if I was two different people. I performed very well in school with perfect grades and involvement in several extracurricular activities, and I hated it. Outside of my ‘performances’, I was a dark and angry individual, but I never gave that part of me a voice. I wasn’t normal and being normal wasn’t working for me. I felt like an outsider. No one understood me and there seemed to be no place for me.

At 17 I ran away. I was caught three days later and dragged back home. At 18 I moved out but I wasn’t done running. Over the next few years, I ran off to Florida and California unannounced. I know this was very hard on my family. It was selfish and inconsiderate. I don’t know what I was running from. Maybe I was trying to find myself.

By the time I turned 26 I was ready to settle down and make a go at being a ‘real’ adult. You know, all of that mind numbing, stress inducing stuff like a full time job and a savings account, 401k’s and life insurance. (I’d rather have needles driven under my fingernails.) I also decided that I should go back to church full time.

I tried several different churches, but the judgement, gossip, backbiting, and hypocrisy was more than I could bear. Don’t get  me wrong, I met a lot of great people and there was a lot of good things going on. It just didn’t feel right to me so I stopped going all together and did my own thing at home.

I was really disillusioned by some of the things I encountered in various churches. The Mormons told me the moon would turn to blood to signal the rapture. I suffered from nightmares over this for several years. The moon would turn to blood, the rapture being upon us, and I was frantically running around looking for my children who were nowhere to be found. I was terrified of the moon and, for several years, refused to even look at it.

I tried another church that wouldn’t permit us to leave until we spoke in tongues, and another in which the pastor became so enthusiastic he began throwing the fold up chairs. I don’t know about you, but this just isn’t my kind of thing.

At 29 I began suffering from severe anxiety attacks. When they began, I didn’t know that’s what it was. I thought I was having a heart attack. After my third trip to the emergency room in a month’s time, the doctor put me on prozac. I don’t even know how to put into words how this felt. Aside from the typical symptoms of heart palpitations, an inability to breathe, and numbness and tingling in my arms, I was convinced something was horribly wrong with me. I must have a brain tumor, or I was going to suffer an aneurysm or some other horrible death inducing malady.

I felt disconnected from my body, like I was floating. It felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin and I couldn’t be touched. All I could do was curl up in a fetal position and hug a pillow and breathe my way through it. These attacks eventually tapered off. They were fewer and fewer until they only happened once or twice a year. I mention all of this because looking back now, this was the beginning.

I’ll explain why later.

Not long after the anxiety attacks began, I started researching on the internet. I had questions. I was still experiencing paranormal activity. I developed tinnitus and refused to sleep without the television on because the high pitched ringing would drive me insane. I was afraid of what was happening to me and I was tired of being afraid.

I began my research with paranormal activity. Over several months, I researched ghosts, hauntings, and different types of entities. That led to mediums, psychics, and various other types of psychic abilities. As I was going through all of this I stumbled upon Wicca.

I liked Wicca. It felt right and made sense to me, but I was still a Christian. I found myself trying to reconcile one with the other. Could I be a Christian witch? Could I be a witch that still believed in Jesus? If I don’t believe in Jesus I won’t get into heaven right?

I was at the home of an older friend of mine helping her with some cleaning and rearranging when I happened upon a book. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the book but it was very old with a blue jacket and a title that I found, at the time, somewhat offensive. I asked her about it and she says “Oh, That’s my dad’s book. He doesn’t believe in God. He says it’s all a lie.” I didn’t know anyone that didn’t believe in God. The thought was profound.

The book led me to research Christianity and the bible. The more I learned the more I questioned until it finally hit me that I had been lied to my entire life. I had lived my entire life afraid of what would happen to my soul. Afraid of making mistakes and not being good enough. This sudden realization hit me like a ton of bricks and I. Was. Pissed.

Back at my friend’s house, she asked how my research was going. I launched into a tirade. “I’ve been lied to by everyone my entire life. I’ve spent my entire life fearing for my immortal soul and it was completely unnecessary. Everyone I’ve ever known has lied to me. I’m just done! It’s so much bullshit! I can’t believe everything I’ve always believed in has been a lie! I’m never speaking to God again!” She patiently listened to me vent and when I was finished she says, “I think there’s a joint in my drawer.”

I was truly beyond furious. I stopped researching, I stopped talking to God, and I threw out every bible in the house. I was mad at everyone who had perpetuated this lie in my life. I blamed them all for pulling the wool over my eyes over such a huge and important matter. If someone had walked up to me and said, “Jesus loves you!” I would have punched them right in the nose. This level of anger didn’t subside for a good six months.

To be continued. . .

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The Veil, Lifted – Part 1

Photo from Pixabay.com
Photo from Pixabay.com

It’s hard to say exactly when the questioning began. It was always there in degrees. The way things were done in the world just didn’t make sense to me as a child. I asked “Why?” a lot, and the answer I was always given was “That’s just the way it is.” That’s it. That answer always came with a shoulder shrug, the mouth turning down slightly at the corners. No one really knew I suppose.

I was raised in the Christian faith. Sunday school and church were a regular weekly occurrence. Each week, I sat in the pew beside my grandmother, my tights itching my legs, and suffering a level of boredom greater than it seemed I could bear. I would mindlessly doodle all over grandmother’s bulletin with those little stubby pencils they put out for marking the donation envelopes.

Even though I was never really listening, the preacher’s words still found their way into my psyche. It always sounded like he was preaching love and morality. Love thy neighbor as thyself and do unto others. These are wonderful messages in and of themselves, but they don’t come alone. There were many other not so nice undercurrents woven through those messages that wiggled their way in also.

Messages that created fear, low self-esteem, and a sense of hopelessness, I am a sinner. I am not worthy. I am an earthly human, with earthly desires and needs, and I will never be able to stand in the presence of God unstained. I will be judged for everything I’ve done wrong, and God sees everything.

For years I worried and fretted over the state of my eternal existence. Every night, I prayed God would forgive me, and hoped I would be good enough to get into heaven. I even asked to be forgiven for the things I did wrong that I didn’t remember or didn’t realize were wrong. It’s exhausting trying to keep your soul unblemished, and since God doesn’t come down and put his hand on your head and tell you it’s okay, you never really know if you’re forgiven. You must have faith that you’ve been heard, and then cross your fingers and hope all will be well in the end.

I was so concerned about my soul, I spent ten years in a very bad relationship because I was afraid I wouldn’t be forgiven for breaking my vows. So upset in fact, I ended up going through several therapy sessions with a pastor from a local church when things did come to an end.

I should mention I had stopped going to church at 18 when I moved out on my own. Sunday attendance was very hit or miss with very long stretches in between. That doesn’t mean I stopped being religious. I read my bible, prayed every day, and pathetically cried, begged, and pleaded for direction and answers to my struggles.

Now, running along side all of this simultaneously, is the fact that I am an extremely rebellious personality. The best way to get me to do something is to tell me not to do it. Every time I would begin to get out of line though, I would be shushed and shamed into submission. I couldn’t stand injustice, and I saw it everywhere. Hypocrisy too. My view of the world was largely colored by archaic church lessons. Passages and stories from the old testament taught me that God was selfish, egotistical, and cruel. When I voiced my opinion about various things that I saw as wrong, twisted, or just plain stupid, I was told “Shush!, Don’t talk like that!”. It was impressed upon me that you don’t question God, and you don’t question adults.

In addition to this, I was experiencing a lot of paranormal phenomena, balls of light, ghostly apparitions,voices, premonitions. All the things I shouldn’t be seeing and hearing. This has been a theme throughout my life. At the age of ten, I had the pleasure of being terrorized by something horrific for several weeks. I don’t suppose playing with a ouija board had anything to do with that.

We lived in a split level home with the main living areas on one floor. On one end was the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and at the other the bedrooms and baths. At two in the morning, without fail, I would be awoken by a high pitched wailing outside my bedroom window. That would stop and then footsteps, that sounded like someone in cowboy boots, would start in the kitchen and work their way back the hallway to stop at my bedroom door. Then the process would start all over. I was also suffering from horrible nightmares of being chased by a black entity. It’s the feeling I remember most, pure evil. I would be enveloped by that kind of fear in which you can’t even scream.

My family looked at every possible explanation for this. Perhaps there was new equipment running on the night shift at the nearby mill. Maybe there’s a bobcat coming around at night. It could be new neighbors that have recently moved in and they’re making noise. No explanation could be found and the episodes continued relentlessly. Out of desperation, I was sent to stay with my great aunt in Buffalo, New York in the hopes that a change of scenery would help.

It didn’t. It followed me there. The nightmares got so bad my aunt would find me sleeping on the bathroom floor. Why there? It was a small bright room and I felt somewhat safe there. And, if I was lucky, I could coax her crazy siamese cat into keeping me company.

One night, really fed up with sleeping in the bathroom, I ventured out on the second floor balcony and lay down on a chaise lounger. I lay there dozing on and off. At one point, I opened my eyes to see the image of a demon face staring down at me. Let me tell you, I lost my shit. No one knows that though. At this point, I had stopped mentioning it. It was too disturbing for the adults.

Believe it or not, the end of this story is really simple and uneventful. Once back from New York, my mother took me to see a therapist. She suggested I change bedrooms. She told me that would fix it. So we took her advice, and it never happened again. Just like that. Power of suggestion? To this day, I have no idea what all of that was about, but I know I never want to experience it again.

Anyway, the point of all of this is, here I am, rebellious, dealing with a level of psychic hoodoo, and religiously indoctrinated. We all know this kind of stuff is frowned upon by the church. (Church and God were synonymous for me at this point.) Can you imagine the internal conflict? So I buried this stuff as far down as I could, and when something happened, I put my hands over my ears and squeezed my eyes shut, and said, “La, la, la, I can’t see you.”

Don’t you suppose, at some point, all of this is going to blow wide open?

To be continued. . .

Just Us

Photo from Pixabay.com
Photo from Pixabay.com

What if we woke up tomorrow and there were no religions, no boundaries, no political parties, no rich and no poor? What if we woke up tomorrow and everything that divides us, everything that keeps us separate, no longer existed? What if we were just seven billion humans standing on this planet with the exact same needs, wants, and desires?

What if we woke up tomorrow and there were no corporations, no government, and no media? What if there was no one to continually bombard us through news, magazines, and the internet telling us what to think, how we should feel, how we should look, what we need to buy, and what we’re hungry for?

What if there were no jobs to go to, no bills or taxes to pay, and no required schooling for our children? What if there was no such thing as money? What would that look like? How do you think we would act?

I think some would say all hell would break loose. We would be enveloped in murder, madness, and mayhem. We would all be stupid without forced education. We would all starve to death with no fast food joints and processed foods. Of course, without laws and law enforcement we would be raped and pillaged. Without taxes there would be no roads and bridges. (Insert anything else you can think of here.)

I have more faith in humanity than that. Remove all the things I mentioned above and all that’s left is seven billion people that want the same things. We want to be loved unconditionally. We want to feel safe and cared for. We want to be free to be ourselves without judgement. We want our basic needs met without having to struggle for them. We want the freedom to learn, grow, and express ourselves in whatever way we choose.

I believe deep down we are all inherently good people. I believe that being treated with love, kindness, respect, and compassion brings out the best in each of us. And, I believe that without all of the things I mentioned above we would all come together to build a beautiful world for one another.

Every one of us has amazing talents and abilities. Every one of us has a purpose. Every one of us has something beautiful and valuable to add to the whole. With everyone giving of their talents and abilities not one would be lacking for anything.

Look at it this way. Consider a potluck. When was the last time you went to a potluck and there wasn’t too much food? More food than everyone could possibly eat? Joe can’t wait for you to taste his famous meatballs, Sally brought her best potato salad, and Betty is praying she didn’t over bake her glazed lemon cake like last time. It’s a smorgasbord of amazing dishes. This is humanity in a very simplified example. Now take that and multiply it by seven billion, and apply it to everyday life.

But we’re not just talking food here. Some people would build things because they like working with wood. Some would tend a garden because they love gardening. Some would cook because they love to cook. Some would make clothes because they love to sew. Some would teach the children because they love to teach. There are artists, musicians, mechanics, inventors, actors, writers, and so on. Everyone brings their talents to the potluck and we have a smorgasbord of everything we could possibly want or need. An overabundance really.

Can you envision a world like this? A world where we all live in harmony with nature. Our homes are self sufficient and eco-friendly. Our food is pure and organic. Our air is fresh and clean. Our medicine is natural and rarely needed. Our children are allowed to direct their own education and are encouraged to pursue their interests and talents. Everyday life is peaceful and stress free.

I firmly believe it was originally intended to be this way. We now pay for all of the gifts that were freely given to humanity. Water, fruits and vegetables, land, and the ability to build shelter. We are not permitted to be self sufficient and attempts are being made to make sure we aren’t. This is made glaringly obvious by the laws that have been passed in some areas making it illegal to grow a garden on your property or collect rain water. I think if they found a way to suck all the air out of the environment and make us pay for it they would.

The question I have to ask is, why do we accept this? Why do we accept life as it is? Are you happy with it? Do you like going to work every day? Even if you like your job, tell me you’re not ticking off the days until you can retire. We all do it because that’s the way it’s been since we entered this world. It’s what we think we’re supposed to do. What if it could be different? I think a vote would be unanimous here.

I hold a vision in my heart and in my mind of communities all over the world just like I described. I focus on it every day. I want to see a world where no one is hungry or homeless. I want to see a world where everything is free and money no longer exists. I want to see a world where every one of us is loved and cared for. I want to see a world free of prejudice and judgement. I want to see a world free of division, separation, hatred, and war. I want to see humanity just being human. Underneath the skin color, the religions, the sexual preference, the disabilities, the nationalities, we’re all just human. We’re all different but at the end of the day, we’re all the same.

Can you join me in this vision?

Get Your Blood Racing

“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.” – Hunter S. Thompson

When is the last time you did something to get your blood racing? When is the last time you did something that made you feel truly alive?

Yesterday, my son borrowed my motorcycle to take his girlfriend to her grandmother’s for dinner. After dinner, he offered to take grandma for a ride on the bike. She could have said no. She could have said “Oh, but what if I get hurt?”, but she didn’t. She could have said “Oh, gosh no, I’m too old.”, but she didn’t. What she said is “Really? I haven’t been on a bike since I was sixteen!”

Bike Ride

Now that’s the kind of attitude I truly love. The kids brought back video of her on the bike with my son to show me. Her arms were up in the air over her head as she whooped, her excitement and joy uncontainable. Such a simple thing, but for a few minutes, she felt alive. It was a wonderful thing to witness, and I’m so glad someone enjoyed my bike as much as I do. I can truly identify with her because that’s exactly how I feel when I’m riding. I smile from ear to ear like an idiot, and I’m lucky I’m not picking bugs out of my teeth when we get home.

Grandma has now decided she needs a bike of her own. I hope she gets one. She is, by the way, only 63, just a year older than my own mother, and she looks amazing. With her attitude, I can see why.

When we’re young we’re always up for excitement and risk. As teenagers we feel invincible. We’ve all got stories of the crazy things we did. As we get older we take on descriptives such as mature, responsible, dignified, and respectable. We spend our days working, running errands, paying bills, and raising our children. Our discussions begin to center around things like 401k’s and life insurance. We begin to emulate society’s expectations of age.

Then we wake up one day and realize we’re too old. Too old to do all the awesome things we always said we’d do someday. And with age comes fear. The older we get, the more we worry about what could happen. Being cautious is smart, yes, but at what cost.

Do you remember who you were at sixteen? What were you passionate about? What got your blood racing? Did you ride dirt bikes, a skateboard, roller coasters? Maybe it was something less daring. Maybe it was painting, dancing, playing guitar, or a cause that meant something to you. When did you stop?

Decide today, for your own sake, to rekindle those passions. Spend some time thinking about who you were before the world of grown ups took over. Begin now to bring those things back in to your life.

The pursuit of passions that excite us is what keeps us young and vital. So, thumb your nose at society, at the naysayers and the killjoys, and go do something that gets your blood racing.

The Beast – A Love/Hate Relationship

Our first ever motor home was a 1978 Georgie Boy. Need I really say much more. It had the classic 70’s red carpet throughout, with the striped upholstery to match.

thebeast thebeast Yes, it was ugly. The first thing we did was rip all that red carpet out. Whoever installed it really enjoyed using their staple gun. I’ve never seen so many freaking staples! We pulled staple after staple for hours. But finally, the floor was clean and we laid down a wood laminate.

thebeast

thebeast

This was a huge improvement. We had plans to replace the upholstery also, but it never got that far.

We scrubbed her down inside and out. We turned the rear seating area into our bedroom by adding our mattress and hanging a new divider curtain. A shopping trip to Walmart got us new dishtowels and linens. We were ready.

Pleased with all our hard work, and excited to give this beast a try in a campground, we scheduled a weekend with my parents at Jamestown, just an hour from our house.

On the highway, at 70 mph, she ran like a champ. Jim says you can’t beat a Ford motor.

After working late Friday, we didn’t pull onto our site until 11 pm, so we decided to wait until morning to fill up with water. At the water station the next morning, Jim shut her down while we filled the tank. When we were ready to return to our site, he turned the key and nothing. Nothing. Not a click, not a sputter. Nothing. What. The. Hell. I call my dad and he comes to our rescue. He crawls under the motor home and starts touching different things with a screwdriver while Jim tries turning it over. Finally, she fires up. It’s an electrical problem.

Jim spent the entire weekend buried in the dog box rewiring the starting system. We had no idea if she was going to start again so we could drive her home. We discussed and worried over the cost of a tow for 40 miles for something that big. And Jim was cranked because my parents only eat bagels or sweet rolls for breakfast on Saturday morning. He has to have meat. Bacon, sausage, whatever. (Seriously, he’s unbearable.)

Regardless, on Sunday morning, after a hearty breakfast of grilled sausage and keilbasa, Jim, in a much better mood now, got her fired up. Thank goodness. She drove home with no problem and we were so relieved he had fixed the issue. I’m so very glad I married a mechanic.

Our next trip, over the fourth of July, was just as much fun as the first. We met Jim’s parents at Bayshore campground in Andover, OH. This time we didn’t even get out of town before we broke down. Now, mind you, she was running great when we pulled out of the driveway. Heading up the hill out of town, however, she sputtered and stalled. What. Now.

So, we’re near the top of a very steep hill. It’s 4 lanes, and it’s rush hour. We’re in the left lane, and we can’t move. Knowing this was a fuel issue, all Jim wanted to do was get to level ground. There was a side road behind us to our right. Now that the police were present, Jim asked them to block the road for a moment and allow us to coast backwards onto this street. Oh no, that was too dangerous. So, our only option was to call for a tow truck. It cost $150 for the tow truck to pull us 50 yards to the top of the hill. Once there, she started up just fine and Jim pulled off onto a side street and changed the fuel filter in just a few moments. We were on our way again and had a great weekend with his parents.

Our third and absolute final trip in “The Beast” was to Tionesta State Park. This was our longest trip, and we had the whole family there. My parents, Jim’s parents, and Jim’s daughter and her husband, all agreed to meet at the park around 4 pm. We left home around noon that Friday. It’s roughly 20 miles to I80 and we had no issues. Just as we started to breathe easy, the beast began to overheat. Pulling over on the side of the interstate, Jim eliminated the heater core from the cooling system. This seemed to solve the issue and we were on our way again. Ten miles down the road, she overheated again. Jim took the next exit, found an auto parts store, removed the thermostat, and installed a new gasket to allow better water flow. After this, she was running great and we made it to Tionesta by 6 pm. It’s normally a two hour trip.

We had a great weekend. Sunday afternoon, on the way home, we start struggling with the hills. She’s running, but there’s no power on the upswing. We’ve got a line of angry motorists behind us, so we pull over every so often and let everyone pass. Once we get into Oil City, we stop and Jim replaces the second fuel filter (yes it has two.). Now we’re cruising. Jim’s smiling and says “Honey this is the best she’s ever run! I think we finally got it!”

Then my mother, who chose to ride home with us (this is a whole story on it’s own.), exclaims “What’s all that green foamy stuff coming out from under the dash!” You’ve got to be kidding me right? So, there we are on the side of I80 once again. This time it’s the radiator and there’s no quick fix for that. Luckily Jim’s son-in-law and his family own Watson’s Towing and they cut us a huge break towing it back to their yard. At this point I didn’t ever want to see “The Beast” again. So we sold it to Watson’s for $150. It is now used for practice by towing companies from around their area. They knock it over on it’s side and learn how to strap it up and pull it upright kind of thing. So she’s been put to good use. The best use rather than a junkyard, because I sure wouldn’t have sold her to anybody.

This sounds like it would have been a nightmare of a summer, but we had the best time. Yes, it was beyond frustrating but we handled it with as much humor as we could muster. We laugh about it now, and part of us really misses “The Beast”. Despite breaking down every. single. time. we drove her, she made a lot of great family moments possible. Listening to your 5 year old grandson fart and giggle before falling asleep is priceless. That was also the summer we learned that we absolutely loved this way of life. So here’s to “The Beast” for being a life changer. May she rest in peace.

Since then, we have definitely upgraded. We moved up a few years to a 1995 class c. I know I’ve posted a pic or two, but I will share some of the inside also. Clementine is classic 90’s rose and blue. I’m over that too, but I like it way better than red. The great thing about her is that everything works and she is very cozy. No matter where we are in the country, she’s home to us.

clementine

clementine

clementine clementine4

clementine

 

We’ve made a few changes since we got her. I updated the wall lamps in the living room. The love seat is no longer there. It’s been replaced by two space saving recliners. And, that tiny little t.v. in the front is now a 42″ smart t.v. with storage in the hole behind it. Jim also added a surround sound system so movies sound great when we have the time to watch one. We replaced the kitchen sink faucet with a fancier model and Jim added a sprayer for me.

We’ve had a couple small problems but nothing like we experienced with “The Beast”. One thing I’ve learned since we began travelling is never, never waste your money on a brand new motor home. I’ve met so many people with brand new motor homes dealing with so many issues. I’ve seen them have to return for repairs over and over again. It’s best to buy a used motor home a few years old. By then, the first owner has all the kinks worked out. It’s sad that the quality of work nowadays is so poor. Just a bit of advice if you’re thinking of purchasing a motor home. Save yourself the headache.

Wishing you a magic filled day,

BethAnne

 

I Have a Dream

Ihaveadream

There’s something about camping. I don’t know if it’s the smell of wood smoke in the fall, s’mores over the fire, or looking at a starry night sky. Maybe it’s that first cup of coffee on a misty morning, reading a good book in the sunshine on a lazy afternoon, or taking a walk after dinner for no reason. I do know it’s a way of life that I absolutely love.

Two years ago, Jim and I made the decision to adopt the RV lifestyle full time. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Our days are relaxing and stress free. Every day is open to create whatever we please. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and if you’re thinking about it, I would highly recommend it.

Rosie has already adjusted nicely to our new lifestyle.
Rosie has already adjusted nicely to our new lifestyle.

It took us roughly a year from the time we made the decision to the time we actually pulled out on the road. We spent several months deciding what type of RV we wanted. There are so many to choose from, and we knew we needed something that would be super comfortable for us. I, of course, needed a fully functioning kitchen. Jim needed plenty of storage for tools and man stuff. We needed to be fully self-contained and able to dry dock for up to a week at a time. We looked at so many different ones, but finally the perfect RV showed up.

The most difficult part of all of this, was selling our belongings. We let go of everything. We reduced our belongings down to enough clothing for one week, items we needed for the kitchen, tools, towels and linens etc. We kept our computers, printer, camera, and dvd player. We reduced our keepsakes and memories down to one tote each. This was the most difficult part. We kept the things that were most important to us, momentos, pictures, journals, cards from the kids and such. What we had to remember was that they are just things. The question we would ask is “Are we going to let this item stop us from the adventure of a lifetime?” That would always put things into perspective. I can’t say some tears weren’t shed in the process.

There’s nothing wrong with loving and enjoying your stuff. If you’re happy with where you are in life, that’s ok. But, if your stuff is preventing you from achieving what you want, it’s time to let it go. In talking with others, I’ve heard comments such as “I’d love to do what you’re doing, but. . .(Insert reason here.)” The house will be paid off in a few years, we just redid our floors, we just bought a new car, I can’t leave my job, I’ve worked so hard for everything I own. It’s just stuff. And in the next breath they proceed to talk about how exhausted they are, they can’t wait to retire, life is so stressful. All I can say is, change it. It’s your life. How do you want it to be? The minutes of your day are yours to spend. How are you going to spend them? Who are you going to give them to? Just something to think about.

Jim's beloved Ford.
Jim’s beloved Ford.

We spent three months selling off our belongings. We held a “house” sale rather than a yard sale. I put price tags on everything and let people walk through and pick what they wanted. We let go of a 73″ flat screen television, a race car and trailer, my coffee and end tables that I absolutely loved, a ford pickup, all of my favorite dishes and serving ware, a really great Steelers collection, all of my favorite wall art etc. We also filled a thirty yard dumpster. There were times we felt like we would never see the end. It wasn’t easy, but we’re not sorry. It’s the best thing we ever did.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you set your focus on it. We had some pretty surprising things happen that just proved to me the universe was conspiring to make our dream a reality. We have a decorated box with a lid that we were stuffing our money from the sales in. I call it my magic money box. Now Jim, being OCD, would straighten, align, count, and paperclip by denomination this money every night. One morning we found six 20 dollar bills laying loose in the bottom of the box. No explanation for where this came from, and no chance Jim missed it. It happened again with an added 35 dollars. We also had an unexpected $500 check show up in the mail. The point to all of this is, never underestimate what the universe has in store for you. There is always a way in places you will least expect it. Keep yourself open to receive the gifts meant for you, and never say something is not possible.

A month before we pulled out, we moved into the RV in the back yard full time. That gave us a chance to adjust to the space and work out any kinks or quirks before we left. We discovered the furnace made a heck of a racket, so Jim tore it apart and cleaned and oiled everything. We also discovered you will go through a lot of propane in really cold weather. Other than that, we were peachy. On November 28, 2013, after a foot of snow had fallen, we headed for South Carolina chipping off a little bit of ice in every state. It’s our goal to never see snow again. Well, maybe from a distance, on top of mountain peaks or something.

Blue skies and sunshine!
Blue skies and sunshine!

In Camp Eicher Adventures I will be sharing tales of our journey, where we stay, the food we love, RV tips and tricks, campground reviews, and anything else I think of. No matter what you’re dream is, whether it’s to take on the RV lifestyle, travel the world, start a business, write a book, whatever, I hope I can inspire you to go after it and follow your heart.

Wishing you a magic filled day,

BethAnne

17 Inexpensive Tools for a Well-prepared Witch

 

17 Inexpensive Tools for the Well-prepared Witch

This is a list of everyday mundane items we may not give much thought to, but have very practical uses in our magickal workings. These inexpensive, even dollar store, tools will give you a witch’s toolkit ready for just about any spell you can find a need for. This is by no means a complete kit, but makes a great starter kit or you can put together a beautiful gift basket for your favorite witch.

  1. Salt- Salt is as ancient as the earth and has been revered by many cultures for different reasons. Salt sprinkled around the exterior of your home offers protection. Used on the altar it can represent the element of earth. Sprinkle salt around your circle to protect your magickal workings.
  2. Hemp twine – I love hemp twine for it’s naturalness. Use hemp twine in binding spells, knot work, protection spells, and prosperity spells just to name a few.
  3. String – Very much like twine in it’s uses, it can also be strung with beads or woven through candles.
  4. Chalk – Chalk, white or colored, is wonderful in it’s versatility. It can be used to draw symbols, talismans, runes, sigils on just about anything without the worry of causing damage. Draw your circle on the floor or an amulet for protection on your front door. Chalk can also represent earth on your altar.
  5. Glue – Great for binding spells, of course, among more practical uses.
  6. Glitter/Glitter pens-A beautiful and fun way to add symbols to your spells or altar.
  7. Ribbon – Braided, woven, or knotted, ribbon is perfect for binding, protection, love, and healing.
  8. Wax – Use wax for amulets, seals, divination, spell work, ointments, and balms. Seal the tops of jars or bottles used in spells.
  9. Ink – Ink can be purchased in many colors and scents. The most popular is red. Wicca Spirit Book of Shadows has a nice list of ink recipes and uses. Write out your spells, sign contracts, and draw symbols and amulets.
  10. Matches – Always handy for the fire element. Seems witches are always burning things. Use for incense, candles, burning herbs, paper, etc.
  11. Ball jars – Ball jars are so handy for spells. Sweeten someone with a sour disposition by filling a ball jar with honey or sugar water and plopping their photo in there. Seal it up, say a few words, and toss it in the freezer.
  12. Rubber bands – Seal mojo bags and talismans, wrap candles, or anything else you can think of.
  13. Candles – White or colored to be used on their own or in addition to other elements of your spell.
  14. Charcoal – Charcoal is used for inscribing much like chalk but with more mess. Herbs can be burned on charcoal blocks.
  15. Feathers – Representative of the air element, feathers can be placed on the alter or used in cleansing spells.
  16. Cord –  Cord is the strongest for knot work and binding/releasing spells.
  17. Hat pin or Needle – Use a needle or pin for inscribing symbols in wax or candles. Pins or needles can be added to witch bottles and buried or strung up for protection. I’m sure the image of a poppet of your ex with pins sticking out all over has crossed your mind already. Just remember the rule of three.

mortarpestle

So there you have it. Seventeen simple items that will give you a complete arsenal of spells. I would like to add that most of us, when thinking of a witch’s proper tools, think of a cauldron, athame, wand, crystal ball, tarot cards, bolline, etc. These items, while unnecessary, are worth investing in. However, I would not want to receive these items as a gift, nor would I purchase them as a gift for someone. This is solely my preference and personal opinion, but I feel that these items should be personally chosen by the user. It’s important to feel the energy of these items for yourself. I have a mortar and pestle that I picked up in an antique mall and it literally gives me chills when I hold it. I have no idea of it’s origins or handlers, but I can feel the energy this item carries.

As always, you should cleanse your tools before use to remove any negative energy they may have acquired. Even the simple ones. Smudging or moon bathing are the simplest and quickest methods.

Wishing you a magic-filled day,

BethAnne

The Power of Your Rainbow

rainbowtitle

White light. White light contains all of the colors that are. If you pass white light through a prism you will see the colors of a rainbow or the color spectrum. Basic middle school science. There are also colors in the spectrum we can not see with the naked human eye. Does this mean they don’t exist? Of course not.

Everyone carries this light within us. Actually, we are this light. We’ve heard this message in various ways from various figures all of our lives. Whether or not we understand it is something else. Maybe being the light means I should be happy all the time and be a good example to others. Maybe being the light means I should always bring my smile and share my ideas and creativity with the rest of the world. Maybe being the light means I should always stand up for what is right and fight against injustice in this world. Absolutely, those are all wonderful things. But they’re not the point. You ARE the light. There is nothing you need to do but recognize this fact and BE yourself. And this light that you are is a rainbow inside you. Does this mean you’re going to fart fairy dust and shoot rainbows from your fingertips? Wellll. . .maybe someday, but I don’t think we’re there quite yet.

energyshield

So do something. Take a few minutes and sit still and focus on your body. Take a few deep breaths and see if you can feel the center of this light or the seat of your power ranging somewhere between the center of your breastbone and the center of your upper abdomen. I can feel mine at the tip of my breastbone. If you can’t feel it, just keep trying, you will.

Once you’ve located this center of power, it’s just sitting there. What do you do with it? Well, let’s expand it out. Imagine this light expanding around your body and creating an egg shaped barrier or cushion of protection around yourself.

I often do this when I’m in a crowded place to block out the bombardment of emotions from others. Walmart is a fabulous example. I see nothing. I hear nothing. It’s just me and a razor sharp site line to the pedigree or the eggs or whatever is next on my list.

I use it when I feel threatened emotionally or physically or simply as a precaution. When we travel I expand this field out to include us and our vehicle. When you’re new at this, like anything else, it can seem daunting and maybe even tiresome, but you will eventually do it out of habit.

So you’ve located your center and expanded your light out around your personal space. Now let’s play with it. Expand it out, bring it back, bounce it in and out. How does it feel?

Remember, this white light is made of all the colors of the rainbow. These colors have their own attributes and carry different energies and effect different things. You can use the colors of your rainbow to alter an environment or aid yourself or someone else.

The next time your family is having a rough day, tempers are flaring, the kids are arguing, and there’s a general ‘I want to kill you for no apparent reason’ tension in the air, find a quiet space for a moment. The bathroom should work. Focus on your ball of light. Now turn it green. Expand it out until it encompasses your home. Leave it in place and go on with whatever you were doing prior while maintaining this green light in the back of your mind.

If you’re comforting a friend, surround them with the love and nurturing of a soft pink glow.

Whenever you need to focus on something, use yellow for mental clarity.

If your children go off to play in the park, surround them with black or brown for protection.

If you’re doing magical workings, use purple for psychic protection.

You get the idea.

colorreference

I’m sharing a small quick reference color chart I put together. This is just a basic list. There are many colors with various meanings and a google search will bring those up for you. I’ve perused these lists and the conclusion I’ve come to is there is no right or wrong way to use the energy of your colors. Whether it’s candle magic, crystal magic, healing, or your own light, the best advice I can give is to sit quietly with your colors and determine what they represent to you on a personal level. The energy, vibration and power of your rainbow is as unique as you are.

One more thing, you’ve expanded your light as far as your home. We’ve practiced increasing and decreasing the size. Let’s make it bigger. Take it out around your neighborhood. Then further. Surround your state, the country, your continent, now the whole earth. Make it pink. You’ve just given the whole world a hug.

Wishing you a magic filled day,

BethAnne

What Rhymes With Bat Wings?

Batwings

Double, double, toil and trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.-

William Shakespeare, MacBeth

Why do witches rhyme their spells and incantations? And why do they use ingredients like bat’s wings and eye of newt? It all sounds really cool, and gross, but there are very practical reasons.

I wrote a post recently on the power of your words. Your words, spoken with intention and emotion, are very powerful on their own. Now add rhyme and rhythm and that power just escalated.

When casting a spell, the incantations are often repeated three, five, seven times. When repeating an incantation in rhyme, certain syllables are stressed leading to a rhythm or beat that induces focus and an altered state of mind. This method has been used by various cultures and practices since the early times from the ancient Celts to the Native American Indians.

Crafting a spell’s incantation in rhyming verse takes some extra effort, and will infuse the spell with a greater level of your personal power. The more thought and effort you put into it, the stronger it will become.

Rhyming also makes a chant easier to remember. I have several shortened versions of chants that I repeat on various occasions for different reasons. Here is an example of one incantation I wrote when I was unhappy at having a large sum of money taken from me unjustly. I feel the need to add that this was not written or spoken out of anger or with ill-intent. Remember, what you put out will come back to you.

Take from me and you shall see

The value shall be returned to me

In my pocket I shall hold

The value of riches ne’er told

What you have taken shall be lost

Three times three the greater cost

Returned to me so mote it be

three times three times three times three

Anyway, over the years, this has been shortened in my mind to simply ‘three times three’, or maybe ‘three times three so mote it be’. When I’m feeling ripped off in some way, I’ll repeat this a few times and I don’t dwell on it or allow it to upset me. I simply release it for the universe and karma to handle.

Do your chants have to rhyme? Nope. If you despise composing verse, it’s no big deal, so don’t throw away your athame and BOS just yet. An incantation can be perfectly effective when it doesn’t rhyme. Rhyming verse, however, is not so difficult and if you’re feeling overwhelmingly challenged by it, I would suggest grabbing a pen and paper and giving it a go in fun. You never know what you’ll come up with and you might discover you’re actually really good at it. Remember, also, these are your personal spells and you don’t have to share them with anyone.

So what about all those weird ingredients witches toss into their cauldrons? Does blood of goose mean you have to go out and kill a goose in the dead of night? All of the strange ingredients in old spells refer to the various herbs that were used. I’ve read of several reasons for these names. One is that most people back then were illiterate and not familiar with the Latin names of the herbs, so they called them by names of common things that looked similar such as lamb’s ear. It also made it easier for teaching the next generation. Another theory is the recipes were kept secret to keep common folk from poisoning themselves with herbs like belladonna. Regardless, in witchcraft, it is never necessary to pop out a newts eyes or clip off a bat’s wings. All you really need is mustard seed and holly leaf. Here are a couple of ancient herbal name reference lists for you at The Village Witch and Witches of the Craft. And for those of you looking forward to your first chicken sacrifice, I am sorry to disappoint.

Wishing you a magic filled day,

BethAnne