Ending Slavery to Stuff

“Not right now, Mommy has to clean”. I have said this more than once since becoming a parent. Each time I felt incredibly guilty. Most days, I wait until the kids go to bed and forgo sleep and me time to work on the house. But some days I utter those words and I hate it.

I hate it because my kids are not going to be this age for long. They aren’t going to hang on me and ask me to play with them for long.  Soon I will be chasing them for time. I choose the memories and moments that will build strong relationships.

I refuse to continue to feel torn between family time and time for myself. I refuse to be a slave to stuff. The great purge begins.  Last night I started with my bedroom. My room is always the last to get done so it is the worst.

I bagged up everything that didn’t fit or I didn’t love. Since I just had a baby in October this was incredibly easy! I rearranged the furniture in a way that turned our bedroom from functional to sanctuary. Today, I will finish the closet, dust and vacuum.

I am bagging things up for charity and yardsale. Already I feel lighter and freer. Having space and not seeing all the clutter is making my anxiety drop. I feel less pressured when I walk into that room.

One hour a day is what I am giving to this project. One hour to free myself from stuff. Not only is this a lesson for us but for our kids. We do not need tons of things to make us happy.

George Carlin – Stuff

Feeling Lighter,



Courting Ohio

With the last few days being warm I have spent a great deal of time outside. Yesterday, I ran around the yard barefoot feeling the soft grass and cool earth upon my feet. Matched by the cool breeze and bright warm sun upon my face I felt my spirits lifting.

Ohio is very gray during the Winter months. The dull grayness is what dampens my spirits rather than the cold weather. I long to live near mountains in a sunny climate.  Fall weather is my favorite with the cool nights and warm days. Plus if you live in the right region there is the changing of the leaves. For now Ohio is our home because that is where the job is. The future is fluid but as long as the five of us are together we will be happy.

I am researching hikes in central Ohio that are small child friendly. The baby is getting used to being in a wrap and we have a backpack carrier for the toddler when he isn’t walking. The rest of us can enjoy walking. Otherwise the plan is to be outside as much as possible. Being pregnant last summer really curtailed that for me. It left me not feeling like myself.

I want to fall in love with the landscape and show that to my family. Teach the children how to love where they are in life so they can always embrace happiness and not solely chase dreams. Living in the moment is just as important as our dreams.


Pesto Feta Chicken Salad

Salad Greens, Mix Romaine and Spinach.

Top with Sunflower seeds, green pepper, red pepper, tomato, and parmesan cheese.

The chicken can either be leftover meat or canned, diced or shredded. Mix with 2-3 tablespoons of pesto (to taste), salt, pepper, and quarter block of feta.

Top salad greens and you have a quick flavorful lunch that does not require dressing. 

This has become a new family favorite. It is also something the kids can help make.



A Season of Introspection

Life flows in cycles and seasons. Once, I was an active extravert with a heavy social life.  Following my heart changed the cycles and seasons of my life in ways I did not expect. However, it brought me closer to the mental image I had of myself and my life. This last year brought me to the height of my introspective season, a fact that I did not realize until a friend commented on this. During my pregnancy I developed Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel. Daily tasks became agonizing. This left me without any physical ability to continue with a lot of activities that I love and that help me define myself.  This left me with a lot of time to think and reflect.  With the birth of my son the season began to change. The deep introspection is receding and I find myself yearning to create and reconnect with the Nature Spirits.  More later as the tiny human requires sustenance and I need to figure out why my enter key is not working!  Much Love, Irisa

Spirit of ADF, a symbol of hope?

Spirit of ADF.  Why does this concept give me hope?  It feels like a symbol of unity for me. A way for each individual to experience the heart of ADF druidry in a manner most meaningful and needed at this moment in their personal druidry.

ADF has  COoR that gives members a spiritual framework and language with which to share the heart of celebration.  However, the “why” or “what” speaking to each individual is as unique and varied as the individual having the experience.  I believe that exploring the concept, Symbol of ADF, is a step toward discovering my personal connection to this spirit and perhaps once again finding my place within my spiritual home.

My personal connection to the Spirit of Adf is in its infancy.  Yet, I feel that this journey is comprised of a tapestry of moments that touch my mind, body, and spirit.  Moments that remind me of my connection to the magnificent web of life.

Reflections on the moments I have had, as well as anticipation of future moments are giving breathe to my personal connection to the concept Spirit of ADF. My journey with this concept has just begun, but it fills me with hope and excitement for the next portion of my spiritual and personal journey.


Blessings from the Kindreds

Today has been an intriguing day.  First I receive gifts from India, Cranes a mother and child. So much meaning for me that is unknown to the couple who gave them to me.

Then I did devotional to Odin from the Order of Raven and Falcon. Bear cub helped me with offerings and virtues. Calling Hunin and Munin has much meaning for me, as well as deepening my relationship with my patron.

Add in conversations with friends on messenger and the spirit of ADF, I am filled with hope. Hope for my faith and place in my chirch. Hope in my heart community.

Hope and love have been with me since I conceived my child. I was much changed, and continue to be changed by my cubs these last few years, as well as this pregnancy. 

I look forward to continuing this journey of voice, hope, and love




ADF, a spiritual home

The following paragraph is an excerpt from a larger writing that I will circulate to the ADF community later today.  I share this here to further comment on something that is deeply meaningful to me.  Why did I leave the more personal aspects out of what I will be circulating within ADF?  Because I wished my email to convey certain points that I believe will be helpful to the discussion and I do not wish my more personal viewpoints and experiences to distract from those points.

We are an organization made of people who have each given their dedication, time, and resources to the spiritual home they are drawn to and believe in. I believe that this is a time for us to remember what we love about our spiritual home and work together to change what it is time to change.  Let us honor all the work that has brought us to this point and move forward in an open and honest manner. Be mindful that we are all folk and within our folk are those who have taken up volunteer positions within our spiritual home.  We need to listen to each other and work together as a tribe to continue guiding our spiritual home in the direction that both current and future folk will wish to join their hearts and minds with ours in honoring the Kindred.

This sentiment is one that I had been struggling with for some time.  I have felt burnout from volunteering, appreciated, unappreciated, that I had a voice, that I didn’t have a voice, included, excluded, etc.  This cycle continued for a long enough period that when I had massive changes in my personal life I was feeling enough strain from my spiritual home that I had to take a break from something.  My personal life and spiritual home had been so intertwined that I felt the only option was to take a break from my spiritual home.  I am going to voice things today that I have never voiced before.

Hindsight being what it is, I deeply regret the decision to take a break from my spiritual home.  I wish that I had leaned on and listened to the guidance of my grove priest more and stayed within the grove despite my separation and divorce. I miss my grove, the fellowship, companionship, support, and education.

This fully hit me when I visited our Nemeton for a friend’s initiation ritual and stood beside people in sacred space that I had not stood with in a long time, yet was once a monthly privilege to do so.  I was reminded of all we had shared for so many years of experience and fellowship, as well as the hopes and dreams we had for our future together that I now feel are long lost.

I thought I was doing the right thing by stepping back.  I had believed I was saving my grove heartache of seeing long-standing members go through what turned out to be a nasty separation and divorce.  I allowed myself to feel guilty and ashamed for finally doing what I had needed to do for years, leave a situation that was making me miserable and bringing out the worst in myself.

I was deeply hurt and embarrassed by the turn of events at my separation and divorce.  A variety of feelings were felt when I found so much of my personal life being shared with  friends within ADF, but humiliation and feeling violated were the large emotions when strangers came up to me at ADF festivals telling me what was being said about me.  Some of those folks were nice and concerned for my well being, others gave their opinion on my life to my face.

The bombardment and isolation, plus feelings of guilt and shame triggered my PTSD and left me feeling as I did when I was a young girl recovering from abuse and violence.  For the first time in my life I was without a spiritual foundation.  I was more lost than ever, but also more certain that I had done the right thing for my own long term happiness and well being.  But the loss of my grove and spiritual home haunted me; I had never wanted that.

I quickly regretted leaving my grove but did not know how to go back to them or my priest once it became evident how nasty this situation was.  I should have reached out to my priest, but I did not. Would he have had an answer? I do not expect so, he is just a person watching events unfold around him with no control over any other individuals actions. But I wouldn’t have felt so alone if I had just told someone I trusted how haunted I felt.

Realization:  I never did thank him for all the support he offered in the beginning or the support he has given me since.  Each time I have reached out, he has been there.  That is something I will remedy this week when he returns from festival.

Due to the reception I received at the festival following my separation.   I no longer felt welcome at festivals or chenille canopy events within my region.  This contributed to my isolation and silence.  I had been so shocked by the turn of events that I panicked, withdrew, and shut down.  I was completely overwhelmed and could only focus on so much.  That focus went to my day to day life.

However, the absence of my grove, spiritual home, and spiritual connections haunted me.  It was through ADF that I met my best friend and now life partner.  It was through that connection that this pivotal relationship and many other friendships had been formed.  Now there was a gaping void.

Many friends have been gently pushing me to come back and try again. To reclaim the home I once felt within the ADF community.  I have recently picked up my lapse membership and begun working devotionals at home and with others.

What has been most healing and encouraging has been the reaction of my children.  They love devotion and ritual.  The joy they find reminds me of the joy I once found.  Explaining Earth Mother, Sky Father, and the Kindred to them reminds me of what I love about ADF.  Having our 4 year ask me to help her build her own shrine both amazed and touched me deeply. As does showing her and her brother how to find their own path to honor the Kindred.

Their smiles and joy when helping with devotions or ritual are what has given me strength to once again try to find my spiritual home within ADF.  Together our family is once again trying to find the deep connection we once had to the ADF community.  We are slowly reaching out and becoming involved once more, but this recent storm has us wary.  Perhaps we have just been too battered by personal storms the last few years. Our only sanctuary being each other.

I do not know, but I do know that I need to once again be here with an open heart and open mind.  That I want the core of what once made ADF my spiritual home to still be available to me and my family … welcoming people, fellowship, community, support, education, and shared devotion to the Kindred.  Time will tell if this is where my family and I need to be.   I dearly hope that it is still the right home for all of us.

Much Love,



Ritual Reflection

Saturday evening was special to me.  My friend has worked hard on her spiritual path to become an ADF initiate.  As she was discussing her journey I could not help but be proud of her.  I was reminded of the discussions and spiritual work we shared over the years. The connection that grew into friendship and heart family. 

Another friend was there assisting with the ritual. I was also so very proud of her.  This came to me when I watched her pull the ritual omen. I remember how hard she worked to understand and master the Olympian Oracle. Now she is an ADF priest.

The site chosen for the ritual brought back a lot of happy memories of fellowship.  Another friend and I were reflecting on being there with our partners and children.

Each of us has grown so very much. Following our hearts and dreams over the years.  Our journey bringing happiness, heartache, fellowship, experience, and wisdom.  I am grateful to have these amazing people in our lives and look forward to our future.



A Coven’s Call

Odin, master of Hugin and Munin
Years ago you answered a coven’s call
By the fire we stood hoping for a glimpse of your majesty

One child had never heard of you. Looming over her her, you reveled in her fear. A Warrior’s Heart broke through her fear and she stepped into your presence.

The smile that was initially grotesque became beautiful and from your eye the world was ablaze. Time passed without her recollection. The ritual ended, she returned to the mortal world changed in ways she could yet imagine. Ravens haunting her dreams and guiding her steps.

Years passed and the Ravens were never far. The sound of the Corvus bringing joy to her heart and the tinge of magic to her touch. Many dreams came and went, often with her knocking on your door, so she may once again fly with hugin and munin; her favorite companions.

Years passed and she meets another reason. His mistress a Celtic Warrior. Together their Ravens take flight as brother and sister … family is born. Too quickly their time passes and he is called home to Valhalla. From him she learned the way of the Viking and they named her the lucky Ravyn.

Lost without him she relies on midnight flights. only with those does she retain her sanity.  for a year and a day she cares for all those he left behind; her own world at a standstill. Transformed upon the year and a day she crosses the Mist back to the land of the living. Forever changed by his absence.

Old ways no longer Comfort; new roads must be found. The paths are hard for she can no longer deny the path of the Raven. Magic abounds and with magic come self realization and self-knowledge.

The beauty of her soul shines forth, truth spilling from her lips. Her words and Flame the souls around her. The fires of Illumination bring forth new ken and burn away the dross.

Around the fires of transformation she dances. Under the moon and sun she sings. Hugin and munin her guides, forever more.

Copyright 2012
Irisa Mackenzie