Misplaced in the Past from the Future

hillbilliesEvery new generation in each new century thinks they have it much better than their ancestors in the past. We have the modern conveniences. We have medicine, indoor plumbing, opposable thumbs… When we look back we see ourselves as better off. Isn’t it funny that each generation thinks the same and yet each generation takes their turn at becoming the past. A generation to come will look at us and think how we must have struggled without all the modern conveniences. How backwards our health care was, how did we live without all the medicines and cures they have.

Put yourself in the past and look forward to our future. How do things look? What would you most wish to bring back with you into the past and how would that change the future (to have something modern brought into the past)?

Stupid about Passwords

Password must be between 6 and 30 characters long and must contain letters in mixed case.

It is annoying enough to be told you can’t comment without registering for a site. Usually that is where the journey ends for me. But I wanted to leave a comment this time. So I’m registering for what is likely to be a one time comment, even though I do keep up with this blog fairly often.

But, doesn’t it go a bit more than too far for them to tell me what I have to do for the password? I use the same password for almost everything, especially for something like this where I don’t feel a need for a secure login. (Or any login). It is annoying to have to use something else now. Something I won’t remember because it won’t be the standard password I use.

Starting Your Book of Shadows

Once upon a time I was writing for Suite101. It was actually the start of the second round I had signed up with them. But, I didn’t see much point in staying. Basically just too little results for the amount of energy I had to put in. Yesterday I went back to check my account and I’m signed up as a writer but not allowed to post anything. I guess my login as a writer timed out as that was 2007. Anyway, here is the article which I had written for them. Deleted because it was written in first person, something that was not a problem when I wrote it but changed afterwards I guess.

TITLE: Starting Your Book of Shadows

SUBTITLE: Keeping a journal of your magickal road trip though Paganism.

SUMMARY : The Book of Shadows is a creative and practical way to journal your adventures as you explore Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism.

BODY: A Book of Shadows or a Grimoire is your journal/ scrapbook about your explorations into Wiccan and Pagan ways. The Grimoire is a bit more of a recipe book, like a technical manual. You may decide to keep a Book of Shadows with all your experiences, thoughts and technical details or you may have both a Grimoire and Book of Shadows to separate the technical side.

Don’t make it a pressure cooker, something holier than thou you can only write in with perfect results. It is there for you to use, to keep track of little things and big things, great things and great mistakes. It’s a guide to where you have been and would like to go.

Don’t be intimidated by your journal, enjoy it and feel free to be creative. It’s not perfect, it’s not a symbol of your commitment to being Wiccan. You could even decide Wicca isn’t for you and look at other belief systems and continue to use the Book of Shadows, but call it something else to suit you.

The book itself needs to be something adaptable to grow and change along with you. A binder with removable pages is good. That way you can move them around and sort them into subjects or dates as you choose. In some cases you may have physical elements to add such as photos, clipped out articles, some sand you used in a ritual, a feather you found on the way home, a napkin you doodled an idea on… don’t feel limited to just what you have written on standard paper. If something doesn’t easily fit into the book format adapt it, take a photo or draw it.

Use your Book of Shadows to collect phrases and quotes that appeal to you. These will be great when it comes to writing your own rituals. Not that you want to copy someone else but everything that inspires you should be saved. A special turn of phrase, one that feels right or opens your mind and emotions is a great way to jump start your own words for your own ritual. Your Book of Shadows is documenting your adventures.

Don’t cheat yourself by taking short cuts like printing something from the Internet and leaving that as a whole package when it’s only something you have read and not something you have really felt or experienced. Do print something from the Internet and make notes right on it or on another page which you attach it to.

It’s a very personal book, this collection of your deepest thoughts and treasured moments, be careful about sharing it. If you are part of a group you might pick a topic and each person gives thoughts and experiences they have written in their Book of Shadows. But you aren’t likely to photocopy a page and hand it over. It’s not about keeping information to yourself as much as it’s about having a safe place where you can continue to be very honest and open with yourself about the things you are experiencing and thinking as you take the Wiccan path.

Your Blog Should Fit You

I wrote a comment in a thread on the CMF Ads forum in reply to Erin who is feeling she is not cut out to be a blogger. First of all, I don’t think it should be seen as some exclusive club. If you post to a blog, you are a blogger. If you stick with it, you’re a better blogger. Anyway, for your consideration on the topic of not being cut out for blogging…

You need to make your blog more your own creation again. I think one problem for new bloggers is that they try to play to the reader so much that the blog stops being their own. If you direct too much to the reader you are giving away power and then it does feel flat.

Do something new with it. What are you interested in? What hobby do you love? What topic are you really interested in or what have you really wanted to spend some time finding out more about? Maybe you have always wanted to learn to draw or take better photos? Maybe you collect teacups? Maybe you just need to write for yourself again, free writing.

Take a week off to break away from the old plan and then start again with the new version. Give your blog a total revamp, start from scratch, change your colours or just a new header. Whatever it takes.

I don’t think you are not cut out for blogging, just that your blog has stopped being a good fit for you.

Little Red and the Goodies

You’ve just become The Big Bad Wolf from the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Kind of interesting to see yourself wearing fur. Anyway, it is your job to chase down Little Red and grab the goodies in her basket. But, she is only carrying a sort of squashed apple pie and soggy peanut butter muffins. Not really what you were looking for. Take Little Red aside and tell her what it will take for you to chase her and all the rest. What goodies are you looking for?

The Dullness of Comment Spam

Why can’t comment spammers come up with something more interesting? I check my comment spam often, looking for something out of the ordinary and I’m disappointed. It’s all the usual selling drugs, offering to grow a penis I don’t have, and money laundering schemes from Nigeria. It’s over done, been there, got the T-shirt kind of stuff.

Create something unique, fresh and original as comment spam. Maybe a new product or service never spammed before? What can you come up with?

Objectify Your Front Page

Does your front page guide your reader into your blog? Or do you kind of leave them to fumble their way around?
This is part of a post at ProBlogger for the 31DBBB:

Think about Objectives and Call to Action – one question to ask when looking at your blog’s front page is ‘what are your objectives?’ What do you want people to do when they arrive on your blog for the first time (remember your front page is a logical place for new people to be visiting)? Do you want people to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsletter, click an ad, tell a friend, drive them to your best content, buy a product, hear your story…. what do you want them to do? Once you’ve identified your objective you can then position a call to action in a prime location on your blogs front page.

If I look at my own front page I am not accomplishing my goal as well as I could be. My goal is to have people find my content. But the top post is not always one that really gives the best face forward for my blog. How can any one post really speak for your blog all the time? So I need to find something to stick a selection of my posts in a place where they can easily be seen by first time visitors.

Something else to work on.

Hanging Over the Edge

If you hang over the edge of your bed, looking up at the ceiling as if it were the floor, will you eventually find yourself in an alternate universe?

Try it. It really does give you a weird feeling to see the ceiling as a floor. In the doorway you have to step over a threshold and it is a bit odd to have a painted floor instead of hardwood or carpet. But, you’re in an alternate universe where you should expect the unexpected.