Day Time Adventures

Day time adventures are my personal favorite because I can take pictures and actually see the building in natural lighting.  Although the buildings are losing their old looks, they’re gaining new characteristics such as vines and erosion that give them a unique, beautiful look.  There’s a rich history to be accounted for once you really take a look at them.  Each place has a story to tell.

Source: Your Guide to Urban Exploration | EVERYTHING EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE

I prefer daytime adventures too. I like to see everything and I’m not looking around hoping to scare myself with ghosts.

Hybrid Vehicle Travels on Railways

There are so many unused railway tracks. I wonder how much of that could be repurposed (or still safe to use) if people began using it for personal transportation again.After nearly 5,000 miles of railway tracks were abandoned in Mexico and Ecuador 20 years ago, communities were left isolated without easy access to the world outside. Two artists want to re-open…

Source: Funky Aluminum Hybrid Vehicle Travels on Railways to Reach Abandoned Communities | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Old Photos and Old Blog Posts

I haven’t updated my own photos to my Flickr account (or the groups I started there) since 2013. I feel guilty, sort of. Mostly I think I just ran out of steam. I have still been taking photos. Getting them up online was a routine for awhile and then I got behind and more behind and then drastically behind.

I still moderate at Flickr. I don’t login as often as I used to but I’m keeping the groups going. I like to see the new photos come in and (for the groups which I moderate for someone else) new photos can’t get posted without moderator approval. On my own groups I didn’t set them up that way. But, this means I have to have faith in people to post relevant photos. I’ve been really lucky or fortunate. I seldom need to moderate my groups for Ontario or Canadian explorers. Now and then someone posts a road trip photo, not understanding the idea of urban and rural exploration versus a road trip.

Anyway, I am merging older posts from my personal blog into this one so my older exploring and photos will be here, soon. I’ve started adding some but the old blog is a disorganized mess. It has been around since before the days of categories and tags. I’ve found posts which don’t have anything, not a title even. So, it is taking time to sort out the madness.

The nice thing about doing this is finding places I had forgotten about. I only hope all the photos will come along nice and easy as I move the posts over. At least it is another WordPress blog so it shouldn’t have a conflict that way.

Wish me luck!

Hello World

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This house used to be in Bradford, Ontario. It was demolished several years ago.
  • This page is now outdated. 
  • Word Grrls – Writing inspiration, creative writing exercises and ideas.
  • ASCII Artist – My own ASCII art illustrations. This site is not as active as I would like.
  • Road Trip Directory – About road trips and urban exploration. An idea I’m working on.
  • Wrecky Rat Bird – I will put up my urban exploration (mostly rural) photographs here.
  • Green Living History – About green living, history, traditions and some Pagan ideas. Not an active site right now.
  • Laura the Canadian Explorer – Adventures in Obesity: Cause life keeps happening even when you don’t look like you fit in. Migrated my personal blog here and it stuck.
  • DIY Creative Blogging – Creative web publishing you can do yourself.

Are You Sure You’re Pagan?

dark pentacleIs your Faith Misplaced?

One thing I seldom see in Pagan writing are posts about world news and current events from a Pagan perspective. (Unless the events actually relate directly to religion/ Paganism).

I also don’t see people talking about taking comfort in Paganism or Wicca or Witchcraft the way some other religions do. Is our religion a fair weather friend? Something we take out when we intend to, or want to, but other times it’s just not there.

These are the things I’ve been thinking about lately.

When you have a personal tragedy, do you turn to your Pagan beliefs for comfort?

I’ve seen people talk on and on about what they believe, defend it, teach it and promote it. But, is it still so personal to you that you could turn to your beliefs when you really do need something to believe in – not for a cause but for your own heart? You might perform a ritual because it’s the thing to do. But, is your heart really in it? Is this giving you real comfort? Or are you just doing what’s expected of you as a Pagan/ Wiccan/ Witch?

When did you last think of something in the news from a Pagan perspective? I don’t mean news about anything religious. When did you hear the news from the perspective of being Pagan and think to write about how this made you feel, as a Pagan?

Not all news is relevant to being a Pagan, yet, if you are a Pagan shouldn’t you see the news from the perspective of your beliefs rather than adding them in later?

Do you wear Pagan jewelry, collect Pagan tools and magical items? Does each one have real meaning to you or are they just part of your collection? Do you wear black because that’s what Witches do or because you actually like wearing black?

When you ‘Go Green’, do you stop and think about how you are helping the Earth or do you just recycle because that’s the right/ popular thing to do?

If you work with spells are you really taking into account “Harm’s none”? Or do you just like creating a spell because it makes you Pagan and special. Are you a Witch because spellcraft makes you feel special and important?

When someone talks about Pagans in a negative way do you need to spring up and rush to counter them? Why? It’s not for us to convert anyone and you are more likely to change their mind from your actions, not your words.

Do your Pagan beliefs reach right down to your soul? Are you satisfied with what you believe will happen when you die? Not about being gone and death itself, few would be satisfied to leave life. But, do you get comfort from the beliefs you have about what happens to your soul after your body dies?

Is being Pagan a fair weather friend for you or is it in everything you do and feel and believe? There’s no rule that says it has to be. Being Pagan is about making your own choices and decisions, finding your own values and ideals. Have you taken that to heart or are you following the popular path without really accepting it on that deep, personal level?

After reading this are you going to leave me a comment to prove how Pagan, Wiccan or Witch you are? Are you already listing your Pagan credentials, ready to type them all out? Stop and think about why you need to prove how Pagan you are.

Could you be Pagan and not tell anyone, ever? Could you be Pagan and not need to prove it to anyone?

Being Pagan, Wiccan or a Witch is a choice of religion, spirituality, beliefs and faith. Do you have faith in your choice?

Have you looked at enough of the other options? There are endless choices inside of Paganism itself. Find the one that really speaks to you, the one that reaches your heart and soul, the one you want to live and grow with. Don’t settle too easily for what looks shiny and new or popular.

Where the Wild Things Are: Talking About Being Pagan

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 16, 2003.

Staying safe, in your own safe little world. Is that where you are? Many of us choose our adventures, how far we will go depends on where we have our safety nets.

For instance, have you told anyone you’re Pagan? Have you told your family, friends, co-workers, boss? I’m not suggesting you rush out and do it. I’m certainly not daring you to tell them either. It’s a personal thing. Being Pagan is a personal thing in itself. A personal choice and something just for you.

It should not, however, be some dark secret. Something deep, dangerous and naughty. That’s not what Paganism should be. It’s not something you should have to hide from your family. Being Pagan is about caring for life, the Earth and old traditions. How can they really object to that? Still, you can find the safety zone. You can let them know you’re into nature, environmental issues and historical traditions. You can be Pagan without saying the word Pagan to them.

People don’t always get that. They think they have to hide being Pagan because others won’t like it or will be shocked by it. They turn it into a deep, dark secret. By doing that they make it become something dark, secret. No wonder so many people still think of Pagans as devil worshippers.

You have the power to find where your safe world is, set the boundaries and set the record straight if you choose to. Let people know you’re Pagan, if you can or if you choose to. But, don’t make it some dark mystery. Don’t let them find an altar, a book or a pentacle in your room without explanation. If you make being Pagan something to be ashamed of or fear you hurt all of us.

Instead be proud of who you are and be as honest about it as you can. For me, the only person I couldn’t talk to about being Pagan was my Grandmother. It scared her. She couldn’t think of it as anything but dangerous for me. She didn’t understand that it’s not something dark, but something light. She didn’t know what I made of being Pagan, for me. She only knew the stereotypes she had heard all her life.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagans and Writing

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, November, 7, 2003.

What have you written or published lately? Not that every Witch or Pagan needs to be a writer or share their writing with others. But, we do tend to be journal keepers of some sort. Most like writing in their Book of Shadows; thoughts, ideas and experiences. Some choose to go farther and share those same ideas and experiences with others. Of course, each of us chooses where and how large our audience is. Also, how personally connected they are to yourself.

Anyway, I’ve found a lot of Pagans in the arts: writing, crafting and so on. We’re a pretty artsy bunch.

If you do want to dip your toes in the water and share your Pagan writings you can find plenty of online groups. Some are geared to specific areas of Paganism and some are geared to those who are Pagan and writers. It’s not trading one craft for another, it’s growing yourself and your craft.

Of course, you are taking a chance. You can count on finding someone to disagree with whatever you write about. Sometimes they disagree in the form of an attack against you personally. You can choose to ignore this immature stuff, though it’s not easy to stop yourself from feeling defensive. This is all very personal stuff after all. But, if you’re lucky enough to stumble into a group of like-minded people you will have so many new ideas, new angles and slants on old ideas and access to so many experiences. It’s like finding a vast treasure vault without having the expense of hiring a boat, getting seasick and risking pirate attacks, well something like that. You get the idea.

Anyway, this newsletter is one of the things I have written to share with other Pagans. Before this I write a few articles for a print zine and assorted other odd bits here and there. Some newsgroup postings too but that was quite a long time ago before the newsgroups got so snit picky.

I wouldn’t count myself as some grand high authority on everything Pagan. But, I do think I have some ideas and a sense of what I believe to be right and good that I can share. You, the reader, can decide how you feel about what I write. I’m always glad to hear from you, even if you don’t think everything I write is glorious and completely right. We all see things differently and what feels right to me could seem completely crack-brained to you. I don’t mind. I’ll listen to you and make up my own mind. Just as I expect you do with the blatherings I type in here.

If you do post/ publish your Pagan writings online let me know. I’ll be glad to give you a link in the newsletter. Although I believe in reading things I don’t agree with, in order to get more perspective, I won’t link to or promote something I believe is completely harmful.

Seasons Greetings (cause it’s always some season).

Where the Wild Things Are: The Whole Circle

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 1, 2004.

The magic circle, sounds so mystical… But it’s like many things in Witchcraft, it’s adaptable to your own style, your whims and personal needs of the moment.

Witch/ Wiccan rituals take place in a circle. Not always, it’s not written in stone with blood or anything really dramatic. But, it does make things tidy in it’s own way. You draw in power and you keep it to yourself, out of the way of others. Then, when you’re done you release it. It goes back to nature and the powerful parts of yourself.

We draw the circle and then we close it. Some people cast the circle and banish it at the end of the ritual. I tend to think of it as drawing and closing the circle. When you draw your circle take a moment to bless each of the elements at each of the 4 directions. Yes, you might need a map to know where north, south, west and east are in relation to your location. If you choose, bless the goddess and god too. Then bless the Earth and life, those are most important to me. When you close your circle just do the steps in reverse order. Gather your pebbles, erase your chalk, whatever you used as you go around in the 4 directions again. Sounds too simple? Why shouldn’t it be simple. You’re welcome to make a bigger production out of it. I like it simple.

You can use chalk, hemp rope, embroidery thread, pebbles, sand, dust bunnies, anything really. Consider a circle of jack o lanterns for Samhain, wouldn’t that be fun! It depends on how fancy you want to be or how close to natural elements. My personal choice are pebbles. I love them. I collected them from a beach here in Ontario. Took my time to find stones I especially liked for their shape, colour or some markings on them.

The circle represents wholeness, the cycles of life and the seasons, the wheel of life to make it simple. In theory it is without beginning or ending and perfect in it’s completeness.

To draw the circle is to make a place set apart and sacred. Where ever you are- living room, backyard, beach, clearing in the woods – the circle becomes a place where we focus on magick in ourselves and the Earth around us. The circle is a pure place where we can think, make notes in our Book of Shadows, create and practice rituals, anything. It doesn’t have to be dramatic and you don’t have to feel you must do something special. It’s your circle, your dime.

This summer when I have a road trip out to the beach I want to cast a circle on the beach. Using a piece of driftwood to draw my circle and some stones to point to the directions. I don’t even know what ritual I might do. I just want to sit in a circle of my own creation and enjoy the world, life and being alive.

“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” -Charles Lindbergh

I take thee, herb, to cure my ills
or perhaps while dancing pon the hill.
I’ll dip you in the cauldron fine
Then asperge a circle in the pines.
I’ll make you into teas and brews
when picked from ‘neath the morning dews,
or hide you in a pillow seam
to guard me close, come night and dreams.

– Marian Loresinger

Where the Wild Things Are: Spilling the Pagan Beans

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 2, 2004.

If you read my general blabberings around BackWash you will have heard of Eric, my boyfriend. He is still pretty new but we are getting along great.

Anyway, I haven’t really talked with him about Pagan ideas and what it means for me to be an Earth Witch. That is some sort of limbo in everything. I don’t mind leaving it there, for awhile. But, I have wondered what he really thinks.

We went for a walk on the frozen beach and while he was testing the thickness of the frozen lake (testing his luck I thought at the time) I was drawing a pentacle in the sand. I used a piece of driftwood and 6 smooth stones from along the beach. I placed the stones around my drawn pentacle. It was something special for the day, for my Grandmothers and for St. Patrick’s Day.

Eric noticed it when he came back, not drowned luckily. He said something about it, nothing much. I think just noting that I had drawn it or used stones, something easy going. But I wondered what he was thinking. Anyway, I left it at that. I didn’t push it or go into lengthy explanations. It was something personal to me and though I didn’t feel I needed to hide it I still wonder what he thinks about this element of me.

How do you begin to share this with someone you care about? Is it something you leave lying on a coffee table for him to find? Is it something you bring up right away and make into a big issue? Or do you let it simmer on a back jet, there and yet not getting in the way? I’m not exactly sure how I want to handle it. So, I will do what I usually do when I’m not sure, I will ask him. Not quite yet though. There is time and space, too much of both right now. We will see.

Book of Shadows

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

The Book of Shadows could be called The Book of Life. Just the opposite of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (A series of spells to help the dead travel to and exist in the afterlife.) The Book of Shadows (BOS, for short) contains notes Wiccans have made along their journey of life and learning. Grimoire (A book of magickal spells and techniques) is more Medieval than Book of Shadows but they serve the same basic purpose.

Essentially, the Book of Shadows is a workbook containing ritual patterns, rules governing magick, instructions for circle casting and banishing, religious rituals, the consecration of tools, herbal lore, herbal recipes, dreams, divination results and personal thoughts and experiences. It is the Book of Shadows, which keeps the traditions of a solitary or coven alive. Without the Book, everything would be passed on from word of mouth with the chance of being forgotten, lost or misinterpreted.

A coven will keep a Book of Shadows so members can record and memorize the coven’s rituals in their own Books of Shadows. Some contain lists of the pantheon, training exercises and initiation ceremonies. Books can be passed from one Wiccan to another, usually on initiation. Often each individual Wiccan creates their Book and keeps it to themselves.

Until recently, a Book of Shadows was always hand written. With all the advances in multi-media today a Book of Shadows can be a Disk of Shadows. Some Books (or parts of them) are published on the Internet. Typed and photocopied Books are also common. You may choose to have more than one copy or form of your Book. One can be hand written, the other can be preserved on a disk or photocopied for safe keeping.

To make your own Book of Shadows begin with any blank book. It does not have to be something antique or beautiful, a notebook from the dollar store will do. The Book of Shadows gains its value from the amount of energy and effort used to create it and the positive energy surrounding it each time the book is used for magick and rituals. A binder with loose sheets will let you move your pages around and add new ones in the middle if you need to.

Simply write in this book any rituals and magickal information you have worked on, learned about or just read somewhere and want to remember. Keep it organized into sections for rituals, divination, herbs, and etc. Add your own personal touch with some poetry, a few pressed leaves from your first ritual, a drawing which inspired you, or anything else bookable (able to fit into a book, one way or another). Also, because this is your Book you can write any thoughts you are having at the time. You don’t have to write to impress anyone. Keep track of your feelings (both negative and positive), questions you want to find answers to, and any other personal information you would write into a journal or diary.

Keep your Book of Shadows in good repair. Some rituals may call for placing herbs in or on your Book of Shadows. Prepare for this by giving your book a fabric cover or tissue paper between its pages. Keep this in mind when or if you want to decorate your Book of Shadows. Watch for decorations that might damage your pages or make your ink run. Put some thought into your decorations of choice. Though macaroni art may have seemed “funky” at the time, it might not feel the same when the lumpy noodles won’t let you keep your book open on your altar. Remember, your Book of Shadows serves a purpose. Make sure its usable when you are trying to read it half way into a ritual and you just can’t remember the line you wanted to say as you sprinkle eye of newt into your cauldron.