erynn: Gaelic merman image (get pagan sinfest)
Had a really good day today. I've sold all of the copies of my poetry book except one, and many copies of both of my other books. Talked to a lot of the folks I've been wanting to be in contact with, and have plans to get in touch with many others. There have been hallway conversations, a discussion of CR with a gal who lived in Ireland for a year and who was wondering how all the texts and folkloric material might be practically applied, attended a Manannán ritual with one of the Druidic groups in attendance (where I met the woman who lived in Ireland), hung out with the ADF folks, and participated as a ritualist in the Ekklesía Antínoou Lupercalia ritual. Much more was said and done than I can really quite describe, but I've been having a fantastic time.

I talked to Chris Penczak briefly in the Temple of Witchcraft hospitality suite. When I have more information about actual dates I'll be in New England, we might be able to arrange for me to do a workshop on ogam for his people, pending his talking to the board of directors. He's based in New Hampshire, and it would only be a couple of hours from Springfield while I was out there. That would give me an opportunity to get a little gas money for the rest of the trip, and maybe sell some books. No promises, but I suspect there's a good chance I can pull that together.

Tomorrow's a busy day. I have the Immanion authors panel at 1:30 in the Silicon Valley room, 5pm in the ADF suite I have the informal photo show & tell about the Ireland & Isle of Man pilgrimage, and at 11pm the spirit work and PTSD joint session with [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb will be happening in Carmel/Monterey. I suspect that one will be pretty well attended.

Sadly, my day starts rather earlier than I would like. There's a pre-ritual meeting in our room early in the day, so the alarm goes off at 9am. I don't see things I'm likely to be very conscious for at the 11am session, so I will probably be dealing with something vaguely resembling breakfast at that hour.

After the Lupercalia ritual, I got a chance to meet an African Raven, brought to the festival by Our Thracian Colleague. He is a beautiful bird and I got a chance to hold him and talk to him a bit and ruffle his feathers. He's got unusual coloring for a raven, in that he has some grey feathers and his eyes, rather than having gone to black, are a dark grey-amber color. He's really amazing and I'm going to see if I can take a few photos of him tomorrow if I run into Andrew during the day. That was really quite a treat!

And now, given that it is going on 2am, I'm goingt to check a couple of other websites and then head up to find myself a little snooze.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Book of Dreams)
After contemplating it for several months, I finally went to Lulu and spent all of last night and most of today putting together a 20-page hardbound photo book of my pilgrimage through Ireland and the Isle of Man. It's available by link only, not as an open search item on Lulu.com, so if you're interested, you can have a peek at the book by clicking here. It's $35, because it's hardbound and full color. I've got my proof copy on order but everything looked fine online. Once I get my copy (when I get back from PCon, as there's no way it would get here before I leave), I'll add a permanent link and information for it on my publications page over on Searching for Imbas.

There are a couple of pages of narration, and some material identifying where the photos are from and what they are, but beyond that, it's just some pictures of places I went and things I experienced. There are a couple of other people in some of the photos, but not usually faces, or the faces are far enough away to not be clear. This was primarily necessitated by the fact that I often simply couldn't get photos without people in them at some of the places. Two photos (of me) were taken by others, and the photographers credited. There's no ISBN, so it can't be got through Amazon or other online outlets. It's only available through the link. Anyways, please pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested.

I did most of the work on Firefox, but the browser wouldn't actually process the file to publish, so I had to switch over to Safari for the final work. It eventually got done. It was annoying, though.

This evening I went over to Lake Stevens hang out with the steampunks, and we plotted and planned stuff for the coming several months. March 17th we'll be having a tea & whisky tasting at my place. Other things are planned as well, but mine will just be a small, quiet affair starting about 2pm. If you're interested in coming and having tea and booz0rz with steampunks, let me know.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor is going to be starting up Irish classes in Everett soon. I'll post information as soon as I have it.

Tomorrow will be spent doing more PCon prep.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Steamy time travel)
I got an email today that [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm won't be making it down to PCon this year (I am sad), but we will get together sometime soon, with any luck, just for hanging out purposes.

B has moved in today. We discovered that the guest bathroom tub does not drain if one takes a bath. I'm going to have to get some drain unpluggy stuff for it tomorrow when the stores are open.

I have started [livejournal.com profile] ogam's flamekeeping shift, followed immediately by my own, tomorrow. Also, there will be steampunkery at the AFK.

I dredged through McQuarrie's Manannán dissertation and dug up incidents of Manannán as a healing deity. I also put together my basic outline for the presentation. Tomorrow during the day, I'll drag out my big pad of paper and start writing out the names of the 30+ deities so that people will be able to spell them properly (at least from the sources I've compiled) if they are interested in exploring these figures further.

Also, there is banana bread. Noms.

Oh, and here, have a vid from the Abney Park show I went to earlier this month:

erynn: Gaelic merman image (praise manannan)
Today's task was heading over for a visit with [livejournal.com profile] aion131. I'd purchased a piece from him at the EBC, but he was having a show at Gargoyles later that month, so I told him I would pick things up later. I haven't been able to arrange to meet him until this afternoon.

I went over about 3:30 or so and hung out for a couple of hours. R also came home while I was there, and we had a little chicken soup and some great conversation. We talked about writing and upcoming festivals and cons and such, and about his ceramics work. Now that I have the pieces from him, I'll be rearranging the Manannán altar, but that'll take a little planning first.

Tomorrow I'll probably be over at AFK in the evening, seeing if any of the steampunks will be there.

Life. I need to actually do some grocery shopping and stuff. And pay invoices for a couple of book orders. And update one of my pages.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
Today I was able to drag my sorry ass down to Douglas and catch the steam train to Port Erin and back but I didn't bother to even try to do anything there, I just hopped on the immediately departing train back to Douglas. Some of the views were lovely and the trains themselves were fun if you're into steam trains. There were a couple of classic vehicles (a 1929 Austin racing car and an Austin six from probably the early 30s) on display. That was pretty cool. Sadly, I've just not been feeling that well and have been having a hard time eating much. I am leaving a stream of disappointed/insulted chefs in my wake because I just can't eat more than a tiny bit of what they bring me.

I've really been emjoying my time here, but it is definitely stick a fork in me time. I'll be very glad to get on the ferry to Liverpool tomorrow and only hope I'm able to manage the one or possibly two transfers from Lime Street Station to Blackburn. When I'm feeling like this, brain engageument is not guaranteed.

I shopped out my books today from the post office down in Douglas, so that was actually two things accomplished, and the most important one of the two. I've been way too fried to find someone to take my photo up in the arms of Manannán. If I can't do it tomorrow, I'm just going to have to forgive myself and move on. I'm at minus levels of spoons right now and feeling it pretty badly. For the record, I'm really really glad I'll be staying with friends for the rest of this trip, because at least they can keep me from wandering out in front of a bus accidentally when I'm too tired to pay attention.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor is on her way to California. [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson is picking up the mail for me. Sol is watching the DoDC+3 at his place in Seattle. All at home seems generally well. I've been informed that the books from Hodges & Figgis in Dublin arrived today, so that makes me very happy.

Tomorrow I have a minimal amount of packing to do, and I'll be able to stow my stuff in a locker down at the ferry terminal when I get there, so I won't have to haul it all around Douglas until it's time to check in and get ready to board the vessel.

The cmapsite has started getting crowded for the weekend, right about the time when my tolerance for pre-teen dicks is getting to the large E on the dial. I'm hoping that, for the most part, they'll stay far away from my little cabin, because the last thing I need is a full night of yowling pre-teen boys nearby.

On the up side, Breesha sent me an email and a contact email with a link to some photos of the Brigid's well at the St Brigid's nunnery where her office is located. It's the one that was on the other side of a locked gate from us on Wednesday. The well is nearly inaccessible, under a fallen tree, and very much a mess now, but still flowing, at least. You can see the remains of the stone shelter that had been erected over/around it, but there's not much of it left. I'm hoping next time I get here, I'll be able to visit it myself. The chap who took the photos has written a dissertation on the nunnery and the well, so he'll be well worth talking to about the site when I get back home and have some time to recuperate.

For brekkies tomorrow, I bought myself a pear, a tiny thing of goat cheese, and a bottle of ginger beer. Between that and my tea, I should be good to go.

And now, I think I'm going to curl up and read in my jammies, even though it's only 8:40pm. I'm just Too Damned Tired for anything else.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
Today I was able to drag my sorry ass down to Douglas and catch the steam train to Port Erin and back but I didn't bother to even try to do anything there, I just hopped on the immediately departing train back to Douglas. Some of the views were lovely and the trains themselves were fun if you're into steam trains. There were a couple of classic vehicles (a 1929 Austin racing car and an Austin six from probably the early 30s) on display. That was pretty cool. Sadly, I've just not been feeling that well and have been having a hard time eating much. I am leaving a stream of disappointed/insulted chefs in my wake because I just can't eat more than a tiny bit of what they bring me.

I've really been emjoying my time here, but it is definitely stick a fork in me time. I'll be very glad to get on the ferry to Liverpool tomorrow and only hope I'm able to manage the one or possibly two transfers from Lime Street Station to Blackburn. When I'm feeling like this, brain engageument is not guaranteed.

I shopped out my books today from the post office down in Douglas, so that was actually two things accomplished, and the most important one of the two. I've been way too fried to find someone to take my photo up in the arms of Manannán. If I can't do it tomorrow, I'm just going to have to forgive myself and move on. I'm at minus levels of spoons right now and feeling it pretty badly. For the record, I'm really really glad I'll be staying with friends for the rest of this trip, because at least they can keep me from wandering out in front of a bus accidentally when I'm too tired to pay attention.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor is on her way to California. [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson is picking up the mail for me. Sol is watching the DoDC+3 at his place in Seattle. All at home seems generally well. I've been informed that the books from Hodges & Figgis in Dublin arrived today, so that makes me very happy.

Tomorrow I have a minimal amount of packing to do, and I'll be able to stow my stuff in a locker down at the ferry terminal when I get there, so I won't have to haul it all around Douglas until it's time to check in and get ready to board the vessel.

The cmapsite has started getting crowded for the weekend, right about the time when my tolerance for pre-teen dicks is getting to the large E on the dial. I'm hoping that, for the most part, they'll stay far away from my little cabin, because the last thing I need is a full night of yowling pre-teen boys nearby.

On the up side, Breesha sent me an email and a contact email with a link to some photos of the Brigid's well at the St Brigid's nunnery where her office is located. It's the one that was on the other side of a locked gate from us on Wednesday. The well is nearly inaccessible, under a fallen tree, and very much a mess now, but still flowing, at least. You can see the remains of the stone shelter that had been erected over/around it, but there's not much of it left. I'm hoping next time I get here, I'll be able to visit it myself. The chap who took the photos has written a dissertation on the nunnery and the well, so he'll be well worth talking to about the site when I get back home and have some time to recuperate.

For brekkies tomorrow, I bought myself a pear, a tiny thing of goat cheese, and a bottle of ginger beer. Between that and my tea, I should be good to go.

And now, I think I'm going to curl up and read in my jammies, even though it's only 8:40pm. I'm just Too Damned Tired for anything else.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Inis Man)
Bus pass acquired, my tent is set up, I've had lunch and tea, and have got maps and guidebooks. The campsite has sporadic wireless access and I'm at a cafe back in Douglas. The campground is setting up a huge effigy of Manannán for their Mannifest, a large local music festival starting next week. It's windy but not raining. I have taken a ride on the horse tram. I was considering taking the train up to Snaefell today but I'm really tired and ought to try and get some rest. Can't get fuel for my camp stove until tomorrow as the shop is closed on Sundays (along with half the island). There's a brochure at the campsite for delivery Chinese, thai, and English food if you order more than £10 of food. Maybe that for dinner later.

I will do ALL THE THINGS before I leave on the 28th.

First, though, scribbling in my notebook, as I have only limited access to power for the gadgets, and warm, dry places for writing.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Inis Man)
Bus pass acquired, my tent is set up, I've had lunch and tea, and have got maps and guidebooks. The campsite has sporadic wireless access and I'm at a cafe back in Douglas. The campground is setting up a huge effigy of Manannán for their Mannifest, a large local music festival starting next week. It's windy but not raining. I have taken a ride on the horse tram. I was considering taking the train up to Snaefell today but I'm really tired and ought to try and get some rest. Can't get fuel for my camp stove until tomorrow as the shop is closed on Sundays (along with half the island). There's a brochure at the campsite for delivery Chinese, thai, and English food if you order more than £10 of food. Maybe that for dinner later.

I will do ALL THE THINGS before I leave on the 28th.

First, though, scribbling in my notebook, as I have only limited access to power for the gadgets, and warm, dry places for writing.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (d'oh!)
Due to my losing track of time and brewing up a migraine this morning, I had not realized that my ferry leaves tonight at 1am. I thought I had one more day here in Dublin, but I'm good with getting on with the adventure. I don't get a refund for tonight from the hostel, but I do get to hang out and/or take a nap today if I need one. I may. I've taken some meds for the pain, but it's only helping a little.

I got to the National Library again to check out the reading room, but it was closed except for a tour starting at 2:30 (it was about 1:45). I went over to the museum next door instead and checked out more of the Egyptian materials and then went down to the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibit. There were several bog bodies, which were an odd combination of fascinating and kind of nauseating, but the nausea could well have been migraine-triggered from the museum lighting and just general headache nausea. The had a replica of the Gundestrup Cauldron there. The display information said that the plate illustrating a deific figure holding dragons/monsters was a sea god and equated him with Manannán, though I think that's a stretch. They were identifying the draconic figures as "sea monsters" in an attempt to make a case for him being a sea god. I'm willing to entertain the notion, but it just doesn't quite sit right with me. That said, Manannán keeps popping up in the most surprising places during this trip.

I took a few photos of the shrine of St Brigid's shoe before I saw the sign that said no photography was allowed in that part of the museum -- I wasn't sure which parts were what because the signs occur at odd intervals. Anyway, after dealing with that, I had some tea in the museum cafe. I was still sipping at it when the tour at the library started, but I wasn't really up to it anyway, so I wandered back to the hostel. I'm probably going to go lie down for a few while I let the electronics charge up again.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (d'oh!)
Due to my losing track of time and brewing up a migraine this morning, I had not realized that my ferry leaves tonight at 1am. I thought I had one more day here in Dublin, but I'm good with getting on with the adventure. I don't get a refund for tonight from the hostel, but I do get to hang out and/or take a nap today if I need one. I may. I've taken some meds for the pain, but it's only helping a little.

I got to the National Library again to check out the reading room, but it was closed except for a tour starting at 2:30 (it was about 1:45). I went over to the museum next door instead and checked out more of the Egyptian materials and then went down to the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibit. There were several bog bodies, which were an odd combination of fascinating and kind of nauseating, but the nausea could well have been migraine-triggered from the museum lighting and just general headache nausea. The had a replica of the Gundestrup Cauldron there. The display information said that the plate illustrating a deific figure holding dragons/monsters was a sea god and equated him with Manannán, though I think that's a stretch. They were identifying the draconic figures as "sea monsters" in an attempt to make a case for him being a sea god. I'm willing to entertain the notion, but it just doesn't quite sit right with me. That said, Manannán keeps popping up in the most surprising places during this trip.

I took a few photos of the shrine of St Brigid's shoe before I saw the sign that said no photography was allowed in that part of the museum -- I wasn't sure which parts were what because the signs occur at odd intervals. Anyway, after dealing with that, I had some tea in the museum cafe. I was still sipping at it when the tour at the library started, but I wasn't really up to it anyway, so I wandered back to the hostel. I'm probably going to go lie down for a few while I let the electronics charge up again.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (crane)
Today we visited the Cruachan Ai cent in Tulsk, Roscommon. The center was small but well done, and the archaeologist and the volunteers were really well informed and just wonderful to us. We were given some history and archaeology, then we took a short tour around some of the sites. One thing I discovered there that I hadn't known about was a Manannán site called Cashelmanannain. The archaeologist said it was a "druidic site" with the implication that it was a ritual site, and he speculation, at least locally, is that the site was a druidic school. I wasn't able to get out to the site, but I was able to get a glimpse of it across the field at a distance from Owenygat, the Cave of the Cats.

A few of our number, including [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm, went into the cave, but I was so exhausted and shaky today that I almost didn't go on the trip at all. She carried a ritual item into the cave for me, and I spent some time meditating and reaching out to the Manannán site, then talked for a while with one of the local women who was a volunteer at the center. We had a fantastic conversation, and I was able to offer a little more information on Manannán than they previously had. I've made some notes about a few things that were said and will have some things to think about when ye olde braine is functioning again.

Tomorrow is the final day of our formal pilgrimage, and we'll be visiting Mullingar and the Hill of Usneach, where we'll be doing our closing ritual. Tonight most of the group went down to Sligo town for a pub night. I was able to talk to Michael and he said he might have my piece done by late tomorrow. The vey kind folks here at the B&B will pick it up for me, and if it's not ready then, they'll get it Wednesday and ship it home to me. I'll give them the money for it if it's needed.

For now, I'm too achy to focus very well, and it's time to go lie down.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (crane)
Today we visited the Cruachan Ai cent in Tulsk, Roscommon. The center was small but well done, and the archaeologist and the volunteers were really well informed and just wonderful to us. We were given some history and archaeology, then we took a short tour around some of the sites. One thing I discovered there that I hadn't known about was a Manannán site called Cashelmanannain. The archaeologist said it was a "druidic site" with the implication that it was a ritual site, and he speculation, at least locally, is that the site was a druidic school. I wasn't able to get out to the site, but I was able to get a glimpse of it across the field at a distance from Owenygat, the Cave of the Cats.

A few of our number, including [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm, went into the cave, but I was so exhausted and shaky today that I almost didn't go on the trip at all. She carried a ritual item into the cave for me, and I spent some time meditating and reaching out to the Manannán site, then talked for a while with one of the local women who was a volunteer at the center. We had a fantastic conversation, and I was able to offer a little more information on Manannán than they previously had. I've made some notes about a few things that were said and will have some things to think about when ye olde braine is functioning again.

Tomorrow is the final day of our formal pilgrimage, and we'll be visiting Mullingar and the Hill of Usneach, where we'll be doing our closing ritual. Tonight most of the group went down to Sligo town for a pub night. I was able to talk to Michael and he said he might have my piece done by late tomorrow. The vey kind folks here at the B&B will pick it up for me, and if it's not ready then, they'll get it Wednesday and ship it home to me. I'll give them the money for it if it's needed.

For now, I'm too achy to focus very well, and it's time to go lie down.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (lynx seek)
This morning I got an email from Jhenah about some of the files I've sent, so I'm glad that some response has been received. We're supposed to set up a time to talk about stuff and plan out some rituals. I just sent her an email with my timeframe for getting things done so that we can set a date as soon as possible.

Jhenah was asking about the context for the ogam materials I'd sent and I explained what I wanted to do with them, and how I envisioned the morning activities going as far as reading, meditation, writing prompts, and a short period of free-writing (or art) for those who are wanting to do them. It should help with planning for each day so that we'll know about how much time we need to have between getting up and getting out the door for our daily travels.

One of the things I found online last night while looking for something else was a photo that said it was the Stone of "Manau" in Clackmannan, Scotland. The sign at the stone says that it was dedicated to Manannan, but it isn't in situ. It was placed on top of a pillar (originally a local standing stone) in 1833, apparently. The person recording the information said that the report might not be true (there are apparently other explanations for the name of the town [one reading is "Manannan's Stone"], for instance), but it's certainly interesting and, at some point, I'd like to see it for myself.

Looking for thematic readings for each day has been challenging, but I found three today, which leaves me with only three more readings to deal with. Once I've talked to Jhenah, we can work out some of the ritual stuff, though I am probably going to work on outlining things, at least in rough, as soon as I can. I was pleased to have got three together today. I'll need to copy or transcribe the readings for each day once I've got them all together. I'll put each day's material into a file for that day so that I can print them out, or perhaps transfer them over to my iPad so that I don't have to carry extra weight in my bag. I'm still trying to figure out logistics for all of this.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor met me over at the AFK this evening after she was done at the place she's moving into. I was already done with dinner and none of the steampunks had showed up (I wasn't really expecting them to, but I really needed a break), and then we came back here. We just got done watching an episode of Cadfael, given that it was short and didn't require massive amounts of brain to deal with. Mike, one of the servers at the AFK, wanted to get together with us before I headed out, so I gave him my card and told him to send me his contact info. He says if I'm down in Seattle for Pride weekend, maybe we can catch him and his partner there. I doubt that will be the case, but I will be in Seattle next Wednesday for my shrink appointment, so perhaps then, if he's not working.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
It was another gloriously sunny day today, in the high 60s, and I went for a walk around the lake again. I forgot to put the knee brace on first, so I was kind of creaky when I got back (hip as well as knee), but it was a good walk. I stopped for a minute to take a couple of photos of some Canada geese and their goslings on the lake as I was on my way through the park.

Photobucket

When I got back, I wrote up a brief author interview for someone's blog. I'll post a link here if/when he posts it. The interview was about writing and publishing, so a little different than the usual Pagan stuff though, of course, Pagan stuff got mentioned because it's what I write about. He's also interested in disability issues, as he has Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was 5, so I also talked a fair bit about the whole geilt and PTSD connection as well, and the challenges of writing with fibromyalgia, chronic pain issues, and migraines.

Today's online Isle of Man trip research netted me a web cafe with wireless access in downtown Douglas, on Victoria Street, open from 9am to 6pm, about 4 miles from the campsite I'll be staying at (and not far at all from the ferry terminal), so I should be able to be online for at least a brief update most days. I've also located Keeil Vreeshey, which is the ruin of a St. Brigid chapel, so I'll be doing my best to get out there while I'm running around. I'm thinking that renting a car for a day or two might be a really good idea so that I can get to some of the more outlying areas easily. My google-fu, let me show you it!

Last night's roast duck is currently being turned into broth for lentil soup for tomorrow. I'll be taking the bones out shortly and stripping the remaining meat from them. I walked down to the Safeway to pick up leeks and some other supplies for the soup and whatnot. I did have some veggies, but not the right sort of thing for lentil soup. I did wear the knee brace for that walk, and it helped a bit, but I had to take it off after I'd been sitting for a while when I got home. I was too tired to do much for dinner, so I made some thick hunks of toast with the kalamata olive bread I have, topped it with some goat cheese, then covered it with gravy I made from last night's roast duck. It was fabulously delicious, and I still have gravy left over, so I can do something like that tomorrow, as well!

Shiuwen from Floating Leaves sent out an email saying that from now until Saturday all the tea is 20% off, as she's clearing the decks for her trip to Taiwan in May to bring home the spring season teas, so I'm going to have to head over there and pick up some of her House Black, if she still has any in stock. I haven't been over in some months and have been out for a while. I've been drinking tea bags of English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast instead of the good stuff. ;)

I talked to Teo Bishop today on Twitter about his blog post and said I was planning on doing a response to it. He was pretty excited by that and was looking forward to seeing what I had to say, and he told me he'd link people over to my post when I have it up over on Searching for Imbas, so that'll be nice.

I did a small crafts/repair project today as well, having nothing at all to do with either the pilgrimage or writing. I have an old eyeglasses case that my glasses came with back in the 90s. It's metal and the little plastic padded case inside started coming loose. The faux leather outside wore off several years back and it has been just some slippery fabric that was rather difficult to open. I'd dealt with that temporarily by putting some duct tape in the places where I'd grasp it to open it. It was not the best solution, but it was what I could do without really thinking about it. Today I took a hot glue gun to the interior so that the part that's come loose is affixed once again, then I took an old, worn out Tibetan prayer flag and glued that to the outside. The fabric is rough enough to offer a good grip, and decorative enough to be pleasant to look at. There are a couple of photos of the finished project behind the cut here.

Two photos ahead! )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Brigid Smith)
With the information from the Brigid book I got in the mail yesterday, I was able to find the entryway to the original Brigid's well in Kildare.

This link shows the overhead view. There are three intersecting pale lines in the view, and just below the one angling off to the right there is a little curved footpath. That's the entry to the well.

Sadly, from Google Maps you can't actually see the well itself, but from the street view, you can see down along the path into the area where the well can be found. What I can see there matches up with photos I've seen of the area surrounding the well.

I also spent time today looking in the various sources I have on hand and found that the "Barrule" spoken of in the Manx Traditionary Ballad is, in fact, South Barrule and was where offerings were made to Manannán at midsummer. The site is also associated with Lughnassadh celebrations. There is an ancient stone fort at the top of the mountain (it's a hill by Northwest standards, but is one of the highest points on the island) which was said to be Manannán's seat. It's apparently a 30-45 minute hike at a "moderate" pace, so I ought to be able to do the ascent within an hour to 90 minutes, even with my achy bits. I've been digging up a fair amount of other stuff as well, which is pretty exciting. I want to be reasonably well prepared when I get there so that I'll know where I want to go and how I want to get there.

Mom called today and we talked about health stuff, and my upcoming travels. She's really eager to see photos of where I travel, and I told her I'd post what I could while I was over there, but most of the pics would be posted when I got home. I also let her know that I'd check in as often as I could here while I was traveling. I don't know that I'll have access to wireless every day, particularly while I'm on the Isle of Man, but I'll see what I can do. I don't want her (or anyone else) to worry, after all.

Yesterday I'd taken a duck out of the freezer and today I roasted it and have had a bit. The rest of it is in the fridge, waiting to be taken apart and for the drippings to be turned into some gravy. I'll probably make rice tomorrow. When I was considering dinner, I figured I would sauté some asparagus, but someone mentioned that roasted asparagus was really good and told me how to do it, so I did that instead and it was, in fact, quite tasty.

It was a lovely, warm, sunny day today, almost 70f. After yesterday's physical issues, I wasn't sure how I'd be doing, but I decided to go out and take a walk around the lake anyway. I do need to get myself into somewhat better shape for all the walking I'll be doing while I'm overseas and the best thing to do is to try and get out around the lake every day. It takes me about 45 minutes to make the circuit, moving at a good pace, so it should help me get myself together. I did pretty well today and didn't have any trouble, though I'd forgotten to put the new knee brace on before I left, so my knee was a little cranky by the time I got home. It took about 15 minutes for my legs to stop having muscle twitches once I got back, though. That always feels really weird.

Tomorrow is a day for more research, and for some work on pilgrimage rituals and writing prompts and whatnot. So much still to do, but I'm enjoying the process.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (17 onn)
Today I bought my ticket from the Isle of Man to Liverpool on the Manannán. The ferry leaves Douglas at 3pm on July 28th and arrives at 5:45pm. The ferry from Dublin to Douglas, however, leaves at 1am and arrives in Douglas at 5:45am -- the departure time isn't unreasonable for me, as a night owl, and I do have a reserved seat, so I'll be able to sleep. Getting to the dock at a little after midnight to check in might be challenging, but I can always get a cab if necessary. I didn't reserve a seat on the ferry to Liverpool as they have a cafe and a restaurant on board, apparently, so I can nurse a cup of tea for a fair while and they may also have wireless. If the weather's good, I can go out and wander on deck a little as well.

This evening I was also able to catch the sib online on Skype just before he headed out to work. I sent him my flight information from Venice, and told him when I would like to be picked up in Prague. He says he's very excited, and that my timing is excellent, because I managed to get him out of a big inspection/war game. I'm very much looking forward to the road trip from Prague down to northern Italy.

My flight from Venice leaves early-ish, in the 7:30am range, so I'm not sure if we'll spend the night before in Venice or if we can drive in. That'll be up to him. For all I know, he may have a friend there with a spare couch or something that we could crash with. I've been updating my itinerary doc with the various notes about flight numbers, departure and arrival times, and all that stuff. Once I have all the various tickets and reservations for lodging, I'll fill out the rest of it with contact information for the places I'll be staying so that I can be in touch while I'm in the area. I'm also going to leave information about where I'll be and who I'll be visiting with a few people here, like [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor, so that folks can check in with me if I've been silent for anything resembling a suspiciously long time.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the various B&Bs in Penrith that I've contacted. If I can't get one, I'm sure there's a motel or hotel in town that will have a room, probably for a somewhat equivalent price. I checked into the one hostel I could find in town but, sadly, they're already pretty much booked up for the season at this point. They're right along the Coast to Coast bicycle route and always have cyclists and backpackers there in the summer.

I took a trip over to Lowes today to pick up some diamond bits for the dremel. I will need to get a couple more, as the moss agate is rather harder than I'd expected and I've worn the diamond off the ones I got. What has been truly fascinating is that the high speed of the bit's movement means that there's a flash of fire inside the stone as I'm doing the work, so it feels very magical.

While I was at Lowes I also bought a new horizontal blind for the lanai door. The vertical ones have been kind of mangled by the DoDC+3 when he freaks out about the other dogs outside. If the blinds have been partly closed, he'll end up biting them, so he's destroyed a couple of the slats. With the horizontal blind, I can just lower it enough for privacy, but not so low that he can reach it and bite it when he's in one of his frenzies. That should resolve the issue. It is, however, a two-person job. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor says that she'll help me out when she gets here tomorrow afternoon before her band rehearsal.

Today was, again, a very headachey day. My stomach has been giving me a lot of trouble as well, as I think I noted last night. Today I finally gave up and took a tramadol, an extra pill for the acid problem, and also one of the anxiety pills, which seems to have helped a bit, as both my stress and my stomach are calming down a bit. I've eaten really sparingly today and had only one small cup of oolong tea when I got up so as to have enough caffeine in my system to be sort of functional. I'm still not quite together, but with the slightly lowered anxiety level, the stomach does seem to be reacting less. Right now I'm having a bowl of mushroom udon.

Lastly, I did a beta for a friend's fic today, and had a lovely time reading it over. I think the fandom in question is really going to enjoy the story.

I've not been sleeping well lately. I really think the stress of crossing the Canadian border hit me harder than I expected. The stomach trouble has been manifesting since I got home from the trip, and I'm sure that the border crossing crap has had something to do with it. The anxiety about buckling down and dealing with booking transportation and lodging has also taken its toll. Believe me, I'm not at all sorry I'm doing these things, but I have to remember that I do have PTSD and an anxiety/panic disorder and that doing something so very far outside of my comfort zone is going to cause my anxiety to spike pretty hard, with all the accompanying physical symptoms. At least when I have some idea of what the triggers are, I can try to step back and work through it. It's hard, but worth doing. Excitement is its own kind of stress and I have to remind myself of that. Even happy things mess with my system, sometimes too much.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Inis Man)
I had a rather bizarre half-asleep experience last night. There were a couple of thumps on the mattress I was sleeping on and I looked up to see a large white shape with a curvy white "neck" coming up out of it. My brain went "swan" and then went "that's too small to be a swan, it must be a snow goose." The next immediate thought was "how the hell did a goose get into the house?!?!!?"

It was Fintan's kitty ass and his curvy tail on the chair above me. *headdesk*

I'm happy to report that, when last seen, [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde was doing very well. She was hoping to go off for a meditation session, I think, when I ducked out a little before 10am this morning. Her mom had returned from a relative's house, and I packed up Garuda to go.

There was about a half hour to 40 minute wait at the border. When I got there, the border guard (who wasn't hostile, just fucking clueless) asked how I have the time to come up and take care of a friend during the middle of the week. I said I was a disabled vet. This usually stops their questions. Sadly, he was ex military and wanted the gory details. I gave him as little as possible and spent the rest of the trip back fuming and furious. He had apparently never actually met anyone who had been sexually assaulted in the military and wanted to know about the whole thing. I mean, I give him props for wanting to learn about it but it's very bad form to ask a random woman at the border about being assaulted, thank you very much. Way to be all triggery and shit.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor was still asleep when I got here but got up because, of course, the DoDC+3 went ballistic when I put the key in the door. He was exceedingly excited to see me. (She was pretty happy too, I must say.) I dealt with my stuff, grabbed a shower and changed my clothes (it was too chilly this morning at [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde's before I left, and I didn't want to keep her when she needed to leave), then we curled up on the couch and watched Big Trouble in Little China and giggled hysterically.

I grabbed some teriyaki chicken for lunch/dinner and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor practiced her harp while I pulled together some of the pilgrimage stuff and dealt with emails and whatnot that needed attention when I got home. I spent time in chat with an AT&T rep asking questions about overseas phone and options and now know what to do while I'm in Europe for short phone calls and text messages. I won't be getting a data plan, but the phone calls will be .99 a minute (except in Prague, where they will be $1.39 a minute) and outgoing texts will be .25 each (.50 in Prague, all incoming are free). That means I can take my own phone with me and not worry about having to deal with finding one over there for when I have to arrange to meet people. I'll just have to keep things as brief as possible, but for me that's rarely a problem with the phone.

I've sent off emails to [livejournal.com profile] fififolle and [livejournal.com profile] eydimork about transportation issues and options, and will be contacting [livejournal.com profile] tdancinghands regarding the Prague end of things for picking me up at the airport sometime soon. I've checked out airfares (EasyJet) from Liverpool to Paris and from Paris to Prague, and can do both for a total of just under $200. Getting from Paris to Vennes is a detail I'm having to ask [livejournal.com profile] eydimork about, as the website for the train was in French and they don't book tickets until about 3 months out anyway.

I did finally get a date for the Dublin to Douglas end of things after the pilgrimage. They sail once a week and I can make the trip on July 22nd, so I bought a ticket for that trip. I'll buy the Douglas to Liverpool for the 29th when I hear back from [livejournal.com profile] fififolle about travel options from Liverpool to Cockermouth. There are several sailings a day from Douglas to Liverpool, so I just need to figure out what time things need to happen in order to (a) get there on the ferry Manannán and (b) get to reasonable transportation to get me to Cockermouth. This is in progress.

I've contacted a B&B in Penrith for the overnight there to meet Stephen, the ceramics artist, at Potfest in the Pens, then back to Liverpool for the trip to Paris. Once again, train schedules are not available until 8-12 weeks before booking, so I haven't a way to tell just yet what will be available when, though I do have a target time for the Liverpool to Paris flight. Once I've got things more closely nailed down, I'll book the EasyJet flights. Their carry-on dimensions are slightly more generous than RyanAir's so that's good by me.

I've got a short list of questions for the folks at Rick Steves' Travel in Edmonds tomorrow. My appointment is 4pm.

Why do I feel like a grownup?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (LGM hack your OS)
Yesterday was pretty quiet and I went for a walk to grab a falafel sandwich for a late lunch. It was drizzling slightly, but the weather wasn't too bad. Today it's been pretty cold out but thankfully not bad enough to snow; it's been a sharp cold but more from the wind really.

I read a chapter of Wisdom of the Outlaw to [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde today, then handed her off to one of her other friends while I went and spent a few hours with Bruce and Heather. I took them out for dinner and we went to a Japanese place near their house. I met their new (to me) kitty and heard about their various travel adventures of this past year to Hawaii and Australia. It was fantastic to spend time with them again; I've missed them a lot. I'm just sad that the border crossing is usually such a miserable hassle for me so often.

I'll be leaving a stack of postcards for the pilgrimage up here with [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde, who will see that they get out to the local bookshops where folks might find them of interest. I'd been intending to take some over to Heather and ask her to take them to Banyan, but I forgot. Brain and brain, what is brain?

Earlier today I sent off a text to Slippery Elm to see if he was going to be available to get together for a cuppa tea or something, but I haven't heard back from him. I think he's off at a protest at the moment, so I might not hear from him before I get back to Everett. It would be nice to see him, though, if it's possible.

[livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde will be loaning me her copy of Pagan Past and Christian Present in Early Irish Literature. It's one I've read before, and I have a photocopy of one of the chapters at home, but some of the other stuff will likely be useful for me in preparing for the pilgrimage as well. We talked about the badly made Brigid source material book and agreed that while the quality is just crap, the information brought together is probably useful to have all in one place. There is literally nothing beyond a sentence or two regarding the goddess Brigid in the book, but what, I suppose, would one expect? He does talk about how Brigid is associated with vultures, but the only place I've ever seen that is in Mary Condren's The Serpent and the Goddess, and that, for the most part, is a pile of crap that can't be trusted. I really should read Lisa Bitel's book on Brigid and a French saint when I get home. She's possibly got more insight that I could actually use.

I really do think that a realistic book on Brigid and flamekeeping is long overdue. I have a lot of material toward the book already, it's just a question of dealing with the pilgrimage then starting outlining and other work when I get home from Europe. With any luck, I'll be able to include some color photographs of places I visit as well, as they relate to the practice, but that I'm not going to worry about until much much later in the process.

For all I know, a book on Manannán might also come out of the time I spend on the Isle of Man, but I can't even think about that beyond a brief acknowledgement that it's something I'd like to do at this point. I've got way too much on my plate right now as it is.

Tomorrow is likely to be another quiet day at [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde's place. I showed her Plants vs Zombies last night and she was pretty amused. I'll probably just let her play on the iPad for a bit at some point tomorrow so that she'll have something funny and mindless to do, then I can do a little reading and note-taking at the same time.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
There are any number of things that could be said about this, of course. As I noted previously here, I will be traveling to Ireland as a part of a Brigid-focused pilgrimage. There are moments when it all feels so overwhelming.

Preparations of all kinds need to be made: transportation, study, developing the exercises and workshops and rituals that we as a group will be undertaking, making sure I have everything I'll need to pack along, devotional work and rituals in preparation for leaving, dealing with photography along the way, finding ways to cope with my fears and anxieties surrounding travel, and figuring out ways to finance the travel I'll be doing after the Irish part of the pilgrimage but before I return home, among many other things.

A pilgrimage is an opening to mystery. It is opening oneself to a time and a place, to people, to imbas, to the touch of deities and spirits. I'm throwing myself into the stream of life, hoping I will be carried to a deep and meaningful experience, even if it takes a long time to understand what has happened and why after I return home from the journey. Yet, even in throwing myself into the experience with wonder and abandon, preparation is essential.

I know there are those who feel that study and scholarship are antithetical to the kind of experience I'm seeking in this journey, a barrier to directly touching those things and beings I seek. To those people I offer that preparation and study are a part of what allows me to immerse myself in the experience when I am there. It means that I am able to better understand all the things I'm seeing, the spiritual currents, the voices of power and place that I may encounter. Study and scholarship offer context and a map to at least some of the territory being explored.

Without good preparation, it is possible to become lost, whether physically or spiritually. Lack of good preparation can leave someone stranded by a roadside, out of gas and without money for a place to stay the night, even should assistance arrive in the form of a local who can drive you to the nearest town. Being cold and wet while doing a ritual outdoors in an isolated place in poor weather can make even the best-designed rite an uncomfortable or even illness-producing experience. Without taking the time to learn something of the customs of a place, it's possible to give offense without intending to or to damage in some way the very thing which we seek to honor.

Creating and cultivating an appropriate attitude toward the work is also an important part of the preparation. Approaching the sacred might be as simple as taking a walk along an ancient trail, but doing so mindfully is part of the art of the act. Singing quiet prayers along the way changes the experience profoundly.

When I leave Ireland after the group pilgrimage, my own personal pilgrimage is not over. I'll be traveling to the Isle of Man alone before continuing on to visit friends in England and Europe, and finally staying with my brother in Italy. For me, the Isle of Man portion of the journey is just as important spiritually, for Manannán is another deity who is extremely important to me. My plans include camping for a week on the island, with trail walking, exploring heritage sites, and possibly attending part of a Manx and Celtic traditional music festival that will be taking place part of the time I'm visiting. The fact that I'll be camping will save me a fair bit of money, but it also means a lot of advance preparation of the sort I would have to make for any camping trip, and dealing with updates to some of my equipment and arranging to ship my gear home when I'm done on Mann. I also need to be prepared to find a hostel if my body can't hold up to a week's sleeping on the ground in a tent after having already been traveling in Ireland, or if my health otherwise fails.

In traveling and intending to write about my journeys and keep my family and friends updated, I have to be aware of access to things like wireless internet, dealing with overseas phone and data issues, and keeping expensive electronics gear reasonably safe while I'm on the road. Even this is a part of the pilgrimage and has to be properly prepared for. If the physical aspects of the journey are dealt with properly, the spiritual aspects will flow much more easily and my mind and heart can be devoted to the spiritual work and openness to serendipity, rather than worrying about what might go wrong.

If you would like to support my pilgrimage but cannot journey with me, I invite you to make a donation of any size toward my travel, food, and lodging if you feel called to do so. Your generosity would be most deeply appreciated and will help offset the basic costs of getting from place to place and feeding myself after I leave Ireland. I know how very blessed I am to be able to make this journey at all, and I am very excited to be able to share part of it with you through my writing and the photos I'll be taking.










Thank you!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Magical Sigils)
Today I hauled [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and M back to Seattle then met [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands and [livejournal.com profile] mimerki very briefly at Remedy Teas to deliver a copy of [livejournal.com profile] dpaxson's The Way of the Oracle (signed of course) to TWH. Immediately having done that, I headed back north to pick up [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson and a hard drive enclosure, which it turned out I didn't actually need, due to the fact that the drive I already have did in fact have a USB2 port on it and I had a cable in one of my boxes that I could use.

Stuff and things were transferred, but I haven't yet been able to move my old mail to my new computer. I've got the mailboxes, but none of the contents. The computer itself currently has two conflicting admin accounts, and the two are talking to one another only minimally, so I may have to erase the new computer entirely, transfer the information, and then reinstall OSX Lion and the extra bits that [livejournal.com profile] lwood had given me in order for everything to work together harmoniously and without two admin accounts snarking at each other across the great divide.

I got teriyaki chicken for the two of us while we futzed with things and poked at manuals, then I took the unused drive case I'd got in California back to the local Best Buy for my money back, and hauled [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson back to his place, whereupon I came home and synched the new phone with my iTunes so that it has everything on it that it's supposed to. I'll deal with synching the iPad tomorrow.

The cloud did in fact eventually download the email that I'd saved onto my iPad, so that bit works, but I'm still kind of flustered about the potential loss of all my other emails and the information in them. We'll see what happens. I still have the old computer here, deciding to hang onto it until the entire transfer is dealt with, then I'll give it to [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson, as it will be a fairly significant upgrade to his system.

I'm still busy trying to adjust the settings on this critter so that it does what it's supposed to. Some of the new OS's settings and habits are a little odd to me, but I'll adjust. I'm just glad I have some time to myself in the next few days. I am so entirely peopled out I can hardly handle it. Tomorrow is my flamekeeping shift. That should help me settle back in a little more. Getting back into my ritual routine should be a comfort. I need to do some work in the incubation chamber as well, as Himself noted to me during the Echtra, Immram and Aisling workshop. I didn't really get into journeyspace beyond being told to hit the incubation chamber when I got home; I was too distracted by the room and the people to try to go deep, but the workshop wasn't designed for folks like me, it was designed around beginners to journeying, and I think for that it did a pretty good job.

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September 2013

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