The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the category “stuff”

Tchotchke Oracle: Rocking the Magic of Everyday Things

contents of tchotchke oracle

Tchotchke Oracle

As we enter the path of Wicca, Paganism, or adopt a new divination system, we enter a new world of exploration, and of shiny objects and alluring collections of really neat things.  Garb, cloaks, fantastic objects, athames, wands, and so much more.  We can be lead to believe that we need the perfect cloak, the ideal chalice, and all the other accoutrements available.  I once quipped (and have never lived down) that this is the shopping religion.  The same was true, I might add, of mainstream religions.  When I was a Christian, I spent a great deal of meager salary on the perfect leather-bound Bible with gold-edge pages in exactly the right translation.  Then I accumulated more translations and commentaries.  None of these things deepened my walk with Deity; study, communication, fellowship, and prayer did that.  The same is true of the Pagan path.  It is our actions and connections that bring us closer to Spirit. Deborah Blake writes about this online and in her book, Witchcraft on a Shoestring.    She presents practical and frugal ways to practice our Craft along with ways to be authentic and magical.
I once heard Ted Andrews speak and he said that nature is speaking to us all the time and that we need to turn our minds and our ears to hear a new language.  I think the same is true with objects.  The objects we have in our lives accumulate meaning and symbolism that mean something to us personally.  We can read that meaning and let the objects talk to us, help us solve or problems, or lead us to new insights.   This idea was further verified when a friend on Facebook, Morewenna, posted a picture of her Magpie Oracle.
Her posting spurred a lot of conversation and discussion and I realized I could do this too.  I would name mine Tchotchke Oracle for several reasons.  Tchotcke is fun to say, my father used to pepper his talk with Yiddish phrases picked up from people he met in his gregarious ways, and I grew up in an area rich in Jewish lore, customs, and humor.  One woman told me her fiance defined the word tchotchke as “cute little things” and he referred to his balls as tchotchkes.
Kristen Madden in her book, Magick, Mystery, and Medicine has an activity she calls a junk walk.  Go outdoors and with your spiritual mind notice things for your junk bag.  Ask permission to take it with you, and then add it to your bag.  This bag and the contents can guide you and the nature spirits will talk with you through the contents.
I went around my house cleaning out draws, crannies, and other hidden places for little things to put in my oracle.  These things reflect my eccentric interests, hobbies, spiritual path and family life.  There are charms, shells, buttons, and all sorts of items.  I am proud of the fact that I didn’t have to buy a things, not even the bag.  It is large.  Plastic, manufactured, useful, and not useful were all part of the oracle.  I did a little ceremony in front of my altar to welcome the wisdom of the oracle into my life.
I’ve used it in several ways.  I had the members of a shamanic class I was leading put together their own oracle bag.  We were exploring a particular question so each of us drew objects from our own bag and talked about what it said in relationship to the question.  Since the amalgam of our insights were not clear, we drew a map to represent the question since it was centered on a place.  We then closed our eyes and tossed (gently) our objects onto the picture.  I then drummed and we journeyed to the place and explored our question.  Our journeys and the objects intertwined and overlapped, giving us all deeper insights into the complex question we were exploring.
I’ve drawn objects at random moments when I’ve needed a lift, at a time of reflection, or just fooling around.  I have laid out objects in a pattern used for Tarot so each object serves a role or poses a question.  I then read the objects in relationship to their position and then as a collective message.  Sometimes the oracle speaks clearly, sometimes eloquently, sometimes mysteriously, and at other times, just kicks my butt.  I’ve used it in tandem with Tarot, my divination tool of choice to augment a reading.
Others, such as Carrie Paris , have developed oracles according to other systems such as Lenormand.  On her website, she provides a free sheet that you can download.  You then place your charms, objects, and tchotckes and read it in relationship to whatever you are exploring.
This time of year is one of two where the veil between the worlds are the thinnest.  The messages and omens from the other realms are more easily accessed.  It is a time of ancestors, death, harvest, waning times, and preparation for hibernation (retreat).  Every time is a good time to reach out, this may be an easier time.
Wishing you an open heart, ears to hear, and eyes to see.  May the Spirits speak their love and blessings to you!




The Wisdom of the Dumpter, or, See What Happens When You Take Out the Garbage

Several–more than ten– years ago, I was in a difficult and intense relationship that was ending badly. Actually, the fact that it was not ending was really the problem. I have on occasion referred to this man as “my stalker,” since he would not go away. He suddenly died while he was on vacation in another state. Then I was pitched into a whirlpool of emotions, confusion, and adjustments. It was complicated by many factors.

I learned many things: the value of shock; my own strength; the kindness of strangers; the harshness of others; and how to be a deep feeling human being. It took a while to emerge from those emotions.

Then one day, I realized that I had integrated those feelings, emotions, and knowledge. I was whole again. Hearts knit back together with awesome strength and beauty. I realized that I had given away much of his stuff, burned some, and kept some. That night was the night to take the garbage out, so I got out a bag and gathered up anything that still did not belong to this whole me. I took it out to the curb and it was hauled away. It was an act of power and it was a spell.

Just because I was heart-whole didn’t mean I was seeking relationships. I’ve always been a little laggard in that area. A couple of new men had come into our circle and while there was a lot of interest in them around me, I didn’t really consider dating a situation that applied to me. At a gathering, a friend returned a deck of Tarot to me. Since there was a lull in the activities, I did a card reading for myself. The possible outcome was Ace of Cups. I rolled my eyes.

It was clear shortly afterwards that one man was very interesting and was interested in me. We did connect and that man is now my husband. A fabulous, passionate, fun love story then and now. When I tell the story of how we met, I often follow it with “See what happens when you take out the garbage.”

Our stuff is a potent teacher. George Carlin has a classic stand-up routine about stuff.  This routine has a lot of wisdom, at least to me. I have a lot of stuff. I inherited a lot, bought stuff, and was gifted stuff. I spent a lot of money and time acquiring stuff. I spend a lot of time moving stuff, organizing stuff, and (not) using stuff. Lately though, I’ve felt I’ve got too much. I don’t want to move it and I’d rather spend my time doing other things.

In November, my husband and I had a lot of words about stuff. While it was a little impassioned, we came out with a constructive solution. We rented a dumpster. It was a wonderful, miraculous thing to happen. We cleared out a lot of broken things, a lot of things not used, and things that no longer served us. It was difficult. I had to make up some rules. A friend came over to help and before she came in the door, I told her THE RULE: you are not allowed to ask me if I’m sure I want to get rid of this. If it’s ready to go, I’m done. If I rethink my decision, it will go back in the house. That one rule was simple, effective and quite a blessing.

I also donated a lot of books to the local Friends of the Library, to a local sewing recycling place, and to the Salvation Army. Blessed be them!

I still have a lot of stuff. I’m still passing along clothes, books, and other things. It’s easier now that I’ve been initiated into the wisdom of the dumpster. I feel like I have more space to expand, more time, and can relax more. I’ve had a corollary story about stuff, throwing out and dumpsters at my job. Obviously, the Universe believes this is one lesson that keeps on teaching! Ordinary things can teach us so much.

May all your lessons be gentle, ordinary, and deep!

Why Do When You Can Overdo?

I am a big fan of the show Clean House on the Style Network. It makes me feel good about my massive amounts of stuff. A lot of mine is put away and I do have clear floor space (when it’s not covered by dog). One of the show’s experts is the yard sale Diva, Trish Suhr, who is from Kentucky and retains a strong accent; her words are delivered in a raspy, husky voice. In a recent episode, they are helping a family who were from India to clean up their clutter. Because the lady of the house owned many, many saris, Trish decided to have a theme of “Bollywood” for the yard sale, saying, “Why do when you can overdo?!” It was delivered in this wonderful accent of rocks, hills, and hollers.

My rowdy goddess posse has adopted this as a theme and one of our sayings! Why do when you can overdo is the essence of rowdiness. Gaudy, bawdy, glittery fun. Don’t just do it, go over the top, over do it. It’s all about enthusiasm. Enthusiasm of the things that capture our hearts and imagination infuses us with the will and desire to achieve, to know more, be more, and find more. Enthusiasm is what drives us to immerse ourselves in what captivates us. It is an important part of a passionate, goddess-touched life.

Exuberance is another part of this rowdy part of doing and overdoing. Exuberance is the bounce we have when we are totally in the moment with our enthusiasm. It is part of the ecstatic living of the shaman, the witch, and the goddess-touched. I gave one of my friends a gaudy acessory to wear out in public at her birthday outing. She put it on and said, “I’ll wear it out.” To which I replied, “Of course you will.” We got there and she put it on. A little girl sitting in the restaurant with her mother was watching and her face lit up as my friend donned her gaudy, glittery hairpiece and modeled, saying, “Why do when you can overdo.” The little girl took that in and smiled widely. She became goddess-touched, rowdy, and understood the exuberance that is living in joy.
May you find your bounce and live enthusiastically today and everyday!
(oh by the way, even filled with enthusiasm and exuberance, we still need to put our stuff away!)

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