Feb 24, 2014

Heeding the Call

Last night I felt a strong call from my patron, Gwynn ap Nudd, to journey to him and have a chat.  He likes to do that sometimes, especially when I need talking to.

Source: http://legends.alisonwrenn.co.uk/2013/03/iv-gwyn-ap-nudd.html

Before I journeyed, I prayed about what's been troubling me, to help center me and guide my journey.  In essence, I have been floundering in my practice for the last couple of years. Now that I am engaged and building a home and a life with my sweetheart, I feel like it's time to get back on the (magickal) horse.  I've been going to shamanic journey classes led by a good friend of mine, and while that's a good start it's not enough.


When I was in a coven, I practiced regularly, but mostly only with the group.  And unfortunately, I gave so much that the group - unwittingly, I'm sure - sucked me dry and left me unable to practice much at home. 

Now that I'm solitary again, I have much more energy for journeying, magick, etc.  Except that without that structure of regular coven rituals and meetings and such, I find myself getting lax about practicing.

So I asked Gwynn for guidance.  He told me that my home, my every day life needs to be more magickal - basically I need that everyday foundation to get me into the right head space for regular practice.  For starters, he reminded me that I need stronger, more stable wards.  Then he showed me the cover of a book I've had for years but never read - The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington. 

So I guess I have some reading to do!  And some magicking to do around our home, too.  ("Magicking" is a word, right?  Well if it's not, I'm making it a word right now.)

As I write this, I'm also reminded that for a while there, I was saying a daily prayer of gratitude.  I should really get back to doing that, starting right now: 

Thank you for my existence.  
Thank you for what health I retain.  
Thank you for clarity of mind.  
Thank you for my love.

Jan 23, 2014

Go Down, Listen


This is a chant I wrote several years ago as part of a project to write chants for the Sabbats and five elements.  I had initially intended to write 5 separate chants, one for each element.  Instead, when I started putting pen to paper, a chant about deep listening that incorporated all of the elements emerged. 

It's certainly not one of my best chants, and it's a remnant of a path that I have happily (and healthfully) moved beyond.  Still, there's something about this one that moves me to find that still, quiet place and just listen.




Go Down, Listen
Speak softly, listen quietly,
The Water sings to you.

Sing lightly, listen well,
The Air whispers to you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.

Dance fiercely, listen fully,
The Fire cheers for you.

Talk slowly, listen deeply,
The Earth drums for you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.

See clearly, stand openly,
Spirit calls to you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.


(c) Colleen Beaty.  You are free to share my post and SoundCloud widget, and to use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission.


Jan 10, 2014

Oh hai thar, 2014


Wow, this poor blog has been neglected since September.  I posted a chant and then... I realized I had been focusing too much on trying to make the blog successful enough to monetize (I was nowhere close), and lost the enjoyment of blogging.  So I decided to take a break from blogging and come back to it if and when the music and writing called to me again.


Lately I've been feeling like I want to get back into creative writing, and I want to start writing and posting my chants again.  Other creative types will understand when I say I've started to get the "itch" to write again.  To write those things that work their way up from my soul and need me to put their words to paper.  To sing those things brought forth from within and put their melodies to a microphone.

I don't think I will be posting others' music very much anymore - probably just when I'm feeling inspired by it, or when it goes with a piece I'm writing, or somesuch.  And I'm going to stop worrying as much about how having a popular blog, because let's face it, the audience for pagan bloggers is not nearly as large or enthusiastic about commenting as that for fashion and mommy bloggers.  So I'm going to post for myself, and for any who choose to read - and stop worrying about the rest.

I have two chants sitting on the back-burner that I'd like to post soon.  One is a few years old, and the other was written this fall after I went through something extremely traumatic (I'm still unsure if I want to share that story in such a public forum, so pardon my vagueness.)  I also have a few pieces of writing about music that want to happen.

2013 was a year of changes, of love and hurt, of renewal.  It was also a year of starting to find the core of who I am and how I want to practice my spirituality.  So here we are in 2014.  I've decided that my theme for this year is "building."  Building a life with my sweetheart, building a home together in our new apartment, building my spiritual practice up from this core and into something even more vibrant and powerful than before.

What are you building in 2014?

Sep 6, 2013

The Morrigan Sings

Ever since the Conjure Dance at last year's Sacred Space, the Morrigan has been bugging me to write a chant for her for future Conjure Dances and such-like.  So as you can imagine, I've been feeling this chant building in the background for awhile. 

Then all at once once night a couple of months ago, she had me light a candle for her, sit down, and then worked through me in the space of about 20 minutes to write it.  It was intense!  I finally remembered to record a cleaner, stronger version of it 2 weeks ago.  Those of you who follow my Facebook page probably already saw this when I linked up to my SoundCloud that same day.

This chant was written specifically with possession/drawing down/aspecting in mind, but it would also be a great chant to request her aid for things like self-empowerment or dealing with anger.



The Morrigan Sings
Calling through the dusk on the wings of black birds,
The Morrigan knows!
The Morrigan sings!

She cries out her fury and her fury is mine,
The Morrigan cries!
The Morrigan screams!

She grabs at my hands and her strength becomes mine,
The Morrigan laughs,
and then we both sing! 


What do you think?  Does this speak of The Morrigan that you know and work with?  Is this the kind of chant you'd use in ritual?
 
(c) Colleen Beaty.  You are free to share my post and SoundCloud widget, and to use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission.


Sep 4, 2013

Guest Post: How to Make a Custom Witch Tool Box

Today I'm bringing to you a guest post by my dear friend Annie of the newly-formed Seekers of the Wild Heart coven.  Annie is going to show you how to make a cushioned, decorated box for your witchy tools.

I've been searching for a box to keep all my tools in, and, more importantly, transport them. I have a very pretty, custom-made ceramic chalice and a rather delicate glass pentacle, and was concerned about taking them outside the apartment for ritual. When I searched for boxes for ritual gear, though, many of them were quite expensive and even more simply didn't fit my tools. My wand alone is 19 inches long, which meant it just didn't fit in most boxes.

For this project, I spent about $40 in supplies (some of which can be used again). Your mileage may vary, depending on the size of box you use and which of the supplies you already have on hand. It took about one solid day of off-and-on work (lots of time was spent waiting for things to dry), plus an evening.

Supplies:

- A plastic box that will fit all of your tools, allowing at least 1" on each side and at least an inch (preferably more) between each tool (lay your tools out on the floor and measure the space they consume). I found this one for $10 at the Container Store
- Plenty of paper and ink in your printer
- Hairspray (a travel-size one will work fine, if you don't already own any)
- Mod Podge - the 8 oz. container should suffice
- Some popsicle sticks for removing the occasional air bubble
- A small foam brush (available at Michael's for about 50 cents)
- Krylon crystal clear acrylic coating
- Enough sheets of 1" thick foam to fill the box (I used two packages of this)
- X-Acto knife
- 1 yard of satin or other fabric you wish to line the box with
- Needle and thread (color does not matter)
- Duct tape

Process:

1. Find and collect dozens of images from Pinterest (or elsewhere) that evoke your deities, the elements, whatever you choose, then arrange those pictures in a word processor or graphic design program and print them. Err on the side of gathering too many images, rather than too few. You'll have a lot of surface area to cover. You can always save the extra images for another project. I ended up printing 22 pages worth of images, and just barely had enough.

2. Spray each printed page with hairspray to make sure the ink doesn't smear when you apply the glue to it later. Let each sheet dry separately for 15 minutes or so.

3. Cut or tear each image into the shape you want (I did boxy shapes for the earth pictures, flowy, irregular shapes for the water pictures, spiky shapes for the fire pictures, and smooth, even, round shapes for the air pictures, for example).

3. Wash your box box thoroughly with soap and water and allow it to dry fully for a few hours.

4. Arrange the pictures on the box the way you like. I covered both the lid and the sides of my box with images, putting the earth images on the top part of the lid and the side adjacent to it, the air images on the right part of the lid and the side adjacent to it, the fire images on the bottom part of the lid and the side adjacent to it, and the water pictures on the left part of the lid and the side adjacent to it. But of course, you can do whatever pleases you!


5. Remove the pictures a few at a time, painting Mod Podge onto the box with the foam brush in an even layer, then smoothing down the pictures and coating the top of them with Mod Podge. You may need to use a popsicle stick to press out the occasional air bubble, but be gentle, as the paper tears easily.

6. After all the images are arranged and glued on, paint one more layer of Mod Podge over the top, and allow the box to dry for at least 15 minutes.

7. Apply another couple of layers of Mod Podge, letting the box dry for at least 15 minutes between each application.

8. Once the box is totally dry, spray it with Krylon crystal clear acrylic coating and allow it to dry again. I ended up doing three coats of Krylon, allowing it to dry for 15-30 minutes between each coat, but one coat may suffice. Just add coats until you're happy with the texture.

9. Cut and arrange the foam to fit precisely inside the box. I ended up with five layers of one-inch-thick foam, each layer consisting of two pieces of foam (because no one sheet was wide enough to fill the box).

10. Remove the top layer of foam and set it aside. That'll be the part that gets stuck to the lid of the box.


11. Arrange your tools on the top layer of foam that's still in the box, allowing at least one inch of space on each side and between each tool. Using a Sharpie or pen, trace around each tool (you may have to press the tool into the foam a bit to get a good trace). Remove the tools from the foam.


12. Using the X-Acto knife, cut along the trace lines through the first layer of foam. For tools that require more depth, once the hole is cut, trace within the hole using your pen or marker and cut that layer with the X-Acto knife. Repeat until the hole is deep enough, but allow at least 1" of foam at the bottom that is untouched.

13. Nestle your tools within the holes you created to make sure they fit okay. Make any adjustments needed.




14. Take your fabric and cut it into two pieces - one that will wrap around the reserved layer of foam (it doesn't need to fully cover the back, but it should wrap around each side and have enough left over to be tacked onto the back), and one that will lay over the foam that's been carved. Be sure to allow enough fabric on the latter for it to fill each hole you've cut for the tools and still have enough to tuck into the sides of the box.

15. Take the piece of fabric that goes into the box and lay it over the foam, pushing it into the holes and tucking it into the sides.

16. Take the remaining piece of fabric and wrap it around the reserved layer of foam. Holding it in place, use wide stitches to stitch the fabric to the foam, being sure not to go all the way through the foam (you don't want your stitches to show on the "good" side).  Stitch all the way around, paying particular attention to the corners.

17. Roll strips of duct tape so that both sides are sticky, then arrange them onto the inside of the lid. I used about a dozen strips to do this.

18. Press the stitched side of the top foam piece to the duct tape, making sure it's aligned in the center of the lid.



All done! Put your tools into the nice, fabric-lined holes, put the cushioned lid on top, and you're good to go.

Aug 18, 2013

Two Years

My 2-year blogiversary slipped by quietly last Wednesday - I had actually plum forgotten it was coming up.  Since I did not at all plan out what I would do for my blogiversary, I think I will forgo the more celebratory post of my 1st year on this blog, and just say...

Happy 2nd blogiversary to Heartache Into Beauty!

Yes, that bobblehead has been #VandalEyes'd by my father.  Twice, actually.  You can't see it, but underneath the giant googly eyes on the glasses, there are also smaller google eyes underneath the glasses. 

My thoughts of celebrating my blogiversary this year are dampened because I am feeling uncertain of the merits of posting to this blog with the frequency or earnestness I had been over the previous year.  You may have noticed a decrease in posting over the summer.  I'm starting to feel that, after 2 years, my blog is not providing the value to the neopagan community that I wish it were.  I've tried to use it to promote the neopagan music scene, and yet my Monday Music Break posts - what I feel is the meat of my blog - receive the fewest comments and hits.  Honestly, most of my hits are for my more ridiculous posts about things like llamas.

Don't worry - I am not quitting blogging!  Music feeds my soul, and I want to share my love of pagan music with my community.  I also want to share the music I write, however infrequently that happens.  I think I just need to know how to do it in a way that people actually want to read and respond to.

I'd really like your feedback on what I can do to spark your interest in visiting and engaging with me on my blog.  Is there something missing from my MMB and chant posts that you'd like to see?  Are you having trouble listening to the songs?  Is there another facet of the pagan music scene you'd be more interested in, like music reviews or interviews with pagan artists?  Do you prefer my non-musical posts?

Aug 5, 2013

Monday Music Break: Queen of the Grudge

I've been feeling a bit out-of-sorts lately, so tonight I decided I needed something a little odd and maybe a little melancholy to match my odd mood.  I once again check out the "pagan" tag on Bandcamp and found this interesting self-titled EP by gypsy-folk duo Pisces Rising.  Pisces Rising consists of Arielle Bryant and Austin Moss, two established singer/songwriters and poets based in North Carolina.  

Pisces Rising
The song I picked from their EP is called "Queen of the Grudge."  The funky little guitar and contemplative vocals just really fit what I needed from my music today.



Right now they're offering downloads of their EP, with the option to "name your price" for the download (it can be $0).  I just sent them a few bucks in appreciation for such great music, and I'm looking forward to listening to it lots in the future.

Aug 3, 2013

Not Alone

I wrote this chant in 2011 at my then-tradition's annual retreat.  It was given to me by our tradition's tool while I was working alone with it in the Great Circle.  I was so excited and energized I actually ran into the house and asked if anyone had a phone or computer I could record it on.  J was sweet and let me use his phone to make a quick recording of it so I wouldn't forget it later.  And then when I got home I promptly forgot I had even written it.  That's channeling headspace for you.  When I dove back into chant-writing a few months ago I found that rough phone recording, and today I finally decided to record a cleaner version of it for ya'll.

Whoop there it is!

It's a simple little tune, but I really like it for its message of hope from the Goddess.



Not Alone
You are not alone.
You are in my hands.
Hear my words and find your way back. 

Please let me know what you think!

You are free to share my post and use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission.


Jul 17, 2013

Fire spinning show!

One-Eyed Mike spinning fire staff

Blackjack spinning rope dart

flaming hula hoop


Last week I went to watch a local fire-spinning group called Stupid Things with Fire perform over at my favorite haunt, Piratz Tavern.  And as I always do at Tavern, my fellow pirates and I had a great deal of fun hanging out, and eating and drinking delicious things.

big jerk chicken - NOM!

And check out the videos I took during their performance!  This first one is of The Mad Scientist (AKA "Leather Pants" and my favorite satyr-boy) spinning fire staff and Joe (AKA "Other Guy" because, well, he's new and we forgot his name) spinning columnar poi.


And here's part of Thud's performance.  He breathes fire!  It is surely the stupidest thing you can do with fire, but it sure is spectacular.  The heckling you hear in the background is Blackjack and One-Eye doing their Statler & Waldorf routine, with the crowd joining in.


Jul 15, 2013

Monday Music Break: Starbound Beast

Music fans may have already heard that Huntress released a new album, "Starbound Beast" a couple of weeks ago, and will be touring the US and Canada all summer.  (Unfortunately, the closest gigs to me are several hours away in Pennsylvania, so I'm probably going to miss this tour.  Tempted to gather a few folks for a road trip...any takers?)

Huntress is a female-fronted, occult-themed metal band.  According to their site, they thrive on thundering drums, heavy riffs, spectral solos and catchy choruses that come from the band‘s musical concoction of occult science and bong rips. HUNTRESS remains true to the roots of melodic heavy metal with a penchant for thrash, death and black metal.  Love it.

Huntress
Source: http://huntresskills.com/music/
So I decided this week to share a song from their new album, because seriously this music is just sick.  Check it out!  This one is called "Zenith."


And a bonus song from their new album, because damn, I do love me a hot chick who can growl on that mic.  But who doesn't, right? :)  This is the title track, "Starbound Beast."



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