Life Musings

Reflections of a single woman on her journey through life.

This Is Me

2007-08-19_03As I pass my mid-thirties, I’ve reflected on the years of life I have under my belt.  There are many things I am… and equally as many which I am not.  I’m a survivor of sexual assault, emotional and physical abuse, and depression.  I consider myself a “survivor” of depression, because after my breakdown at age 22, I knew I was going to fight.  Even if it requires a mild dosage of anti-depressants, I have survived and developed very strong beliefs regarding depression and those who suffer from it.  It’s debilitating and can be utterly frightening, however, the knowledge of what it is and how it affects me is what makes me a survivor.  I recognize my “ups & downs” and I’m extremely open with others about depression and how it has affected my life since childhood.  I am not ashamed of it.

In 2001, I started blogging to provide myself with an outlet where I could anonymously discuss the traumatic events of my life and more.  It has since grown and, while I rarely dig up those memories, it has given me a “home” for my thoughts and fears.  The things I cannot share aloud.  My life has taken me from the Midwest to the East coast and then to the West. I’ve been a Marine wife during a time of war, and although my marriage did not last, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

Laura

PERSONALITY

I have found that while I have been an ISFJ for years, I am now showing characteristics of an INFP as well.  I feel that I settle quite well into a little bit of both.

ISFJ: (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging) The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying “no” when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people’s needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that “everything is all wrong”, or “I can’t do anything right”.

ISFP: (Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving) ISFPs are extremely perceptive and aware of others. They constantly gather specific information about people, and seek to discover what it means. They are usually penetratingly accurate in their perceptions of others.  ISFPs are warm and sympathetic. They genuinely care about people, and are strongly service-oriented in their desire to please. They have an unusually deep well of caring for those who are close to them, and are likely to show their love through actions, rather than words.

ISFPs have no desire to lead or control others, just as they have no desire to be led or controlled by others. They need space and time alone to evaluate the circumstances of their life against their value system, and are likely to respect other people’s needs for the same.  The ISFP is likely to not give themself enough credit for the things which they do extremely well. Their strong value systems can lead them to be intensely perfectionist, and cause them to judge themselves with unnecessary harshness.

The ISFP has many special gifts for the world, especially in the areas of creating artistic sensation, and selflessly serving others. Life is not likely to be extremely easy for the ISFP, because they take life so seriously, but they have the tools to make their lives and the lives of those close to them richly rewarding experiences.


The Willow symbolizes the female and rhythms of the circle. This tree was sacred to the Moon and, in Celtic lore, the Universe was hatched from two crimson serpent eggs (which contained the Sun and the Earth) hidden among the boughs of the Willow. Hens’ eggs were later substituted for those of the serpent and symbolically eaten as part of the Beltane feasting. This ritual was eventually transferred to the celebration of Easter in the Christian calendar with the eggs becoming Easter eggs. Staves cut from this tree were often used for fencing, roofing house and lunar wands. Along with Sandalwood, Willow bark aided in the conjuring of spirits forth from the Otherword. It was also said to help soothe those who felt bitter or jealous and proved to be an effective medicine in the cure of worms and dysentery. Both Willow bark (containing Salicin) and the Primrose (the plant associated with the Willow) were once used as analgesics, particularly in the treatment of arthritic diseases. Pregnant women would lay cloths beneath the tree in order to catch the leaves, which were believed to assure an easy birthing process. Always known as a “tree of enchantment,” the Willow is reported to have bestowed the mystic gift of eloquence upon Orpheus when he visited the sacred grove of Persephone at the Temple of Delphi in Greece. The Celts associated the Willow with poets and young suitors would commonly wear a sprig of Willow to acknowledge the power and status of the old “wise one” (the Cailleach of Celtic myth who was the Crone aspect of the triple goddess and to whom this tree was sacred). The words “Witchcraft” and “Wicca” are both derived from the word “Willow.” The Willow was also host to the sacred Mistletoe of the Druids, which was often more commonly found growing on the Willow and the Poplar than it was on even the mighty Oak. This tree was once referred to as “Witches Aspirin,” probably not only for its reputation in resolving dilemmas, but also for its headache-relieving properties. In the past, some cultures have been known to “Wear the Green Willow” in order that others might be aware they were going through a period of mourning and Druidical sacrifices were customarily offered in Willow-wicker baskets. It was once said that if someone felt an overwhelming need to confess, the secret could be shared with a Willow and be forever trapped. Its wood was often used for planing and lining burial graves due to its associated symbolism with death and protection.There are at least 500 species of Willow…from tall trees to Arctic plants barely two inches tall. The European Willow, found in central and Southern Europe, is also known as the White Willow because of its greyish bark. The American variety is called the Black Willow due to its black-colored bark. Together with Poplars and Alders, this tree is usually found growing beside streams and lowland rivers, with a preference for damp and boggy areas. Its spreading branches, which reach toward the source of water, create a full shape and its leaves are long and slender, covered with silver hairs that give the entire tree a “shimmering” appearance. Willows can reach 80 feet in height and sprout vigorously from stumps. Its flowers are tiny and bear no petals. It is an imposing tree with a thick trunk and heavily-ridged bark. The Willow’s catkins, which appear in early Spring prior to the appearance of leaves, attracts bees to begin the cycle of pollination.

There are two distinct types of Willow individuals (a division which relates to all Celtic Tree Signs). The “new moon” character is associated with the first two weeks of a sign and the “full moon” character is associated with the last two weeks.

The “new moon” Willow individual tends to more inclined to sudden mood changes and displays more unreliable character traits. These people are however receptive to change and quick to take advantage of any opportunity which presents itself. The “full moon” Willow individual tends to disregard advice, even though his or her own reasoning power often lacks credibility. The “full moon” Willow is, however, the most resourceful of the two types and is blessed with an even more exceptional memory than his or her “new moon” counterpart.

In general, Willow individuals are basically articulate, strong-willed, resourceful and possessed with excellent memories. They touch upon all aspects of nature and its association with the Moon. Emotional and enigmatic, Willow people respond quickly to situations but are prone to sudden mood changes, which can make them difficult to get to know. Being shrewd and practical, they can be brilliant inventors but are also drawn to the unexplained mysteries of life. As a friend, the Willow individual can be a powerful ally…on the other hand, he or she can make for a formidable enemy. Willows have a type of passive tenacity and can be extraordinarily wise counselors and extremely nurturing parents who are protective of loved ones. The Willow person is often reluctant to forgive and forget, which can lead to permanent rifts with friends and family. In the work force, Willows are usually employed in very responsible positions but find it hard to settle upon a definitive career. If the career choice should be in the field of education, however, they are counted among the best teachers. Willow individuals seldom express a controversial opinion in public (which makes them appear very amiable) but privately, their views are usually strong one way or the other. They are possessed with an overactive imagination and tend to fret needlessly about health matters. The Willow has a deep interest in family loyalty and history and usually becomes the family genealogist. The figure of the mother tends to dominate and influence the Willow throughout his or her life but once, married, there is no more devoted individual when it comes to the spouse and children.

The lunar energy of Willow people can be positively channeled into the arts, but it can also suddenly activate latent creative skills that may appear to change the personality. For the most part, Willows are incredibly difficult to get to know due to the type of “veil” over their personalities which hides a great deal. Their sense of humor is not always easy to define and tends to “come and go” depending upon the occasion. Blessed with a potential wisdom that makes them wise advisors, they are usually valued members of society. Willow individuals usually marry at a young age and close personal relationships are of the utmost importance. With the correct partner, Willow individuals create a powerful bond that tends to strike an affinity between the sexes. Willows must learn how to trust their inner voice or they can become moody and chronically indecisive. Since the Moon has always been associated with those who can influence the public with the force of their personality…either good or bad…the Willow individual is usually one to be reckoned with.

There will be some Willow individuals who fail to fit the character pictures described above. These are, in every sense, the great magicians of the world. Appearing on the surface to be the most conventional of human beings, he or she will be experiencing an incredible inner life or imagination. However, there will be a time when this hidden potential suddenly bursts forth. It may take the form of writing to public figures or perhaps adopting a personal political role to address the rights and wrongs of a particular issue. Then again, there will be periods when such personal motiviation ceases as suddenly as it began and the intuitive nature of such a Willow individual appears to crave a complete break from the routine rigors of daily life.

Physical Goal: To encourage a comfortable relationship with the material world, which is full of lessons and cycles of changing values. Change is paramount for growth…and values are no exception.

Mental Goal: To gain understanding of a particular concept…a steady accumulation of facts is the foundation of understanindg. Not everything may be learned in one lesson…the key is repetition.

Spiritual Goal: To learn that there must be periods of rest rather than continual activity.

Amergin Verse: “I am a Hawk on a Cliff”

Ogham Association: Saille

Polarity: Feminine

Color: Known only to be “bright”

Class: Peasant

Letter Character: “S”

Month: February…the fourth month in the Celtic Ogham. A time for purification and cleansing of the old while making way for the birth of the new season. Its name is said to have derived from the Latin Februarius, which means “to purify.” Alternatively, it may have come from the Roman Goddess Februa, who is also known as June Februa, or from the God Februs who was later identified with the Roman God Pluto. According to legend, Romulus (founder of Rome) did not include this, the shortest month of the year, when he created the first Roman calendar, which contained only ten months.

Alias: “Witches’ Moon” and “Moon of Balance”

Magickal Properties: Romantic Love, Healing, Protection, Fertility and Female Magick

Some Famous Willow People: Charlotte Bronte, George Clooney, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Conan O’Brien, Jerry Seinfeld, William Shakespeare, Uma Thurman and Leonardo da Vinci


Symbols


Gemstone: The Willow gemstone is the Moonstone (also known as Feldspar), an opalescent and transparent gem which is sometimes said to resemble a raindrop. It can come in a variety of soft sheens…including white, pink or yellow. Sometimes referred to as “Selenite,” the Moonstone was used in ancient times in various parts of the world as a lucky charm and some miraculous cures have been attributed to the power of this stone. The Romans believed that the gem enclosed the image of Diana, their Moon Goddess, who represented the “moonlight splendor of night.” It was said to have the power of bestowing wealth, victory and wisdom upon its wearer. The Druids suspended Moonstones from fruit trees to ensure a good crop and believed the stone changed color according to the waxing and waning of the Moon. As a gift for sweethearts, the Moonstone was thought to arouse tender affection and, if placed within the mouth at the Full Moon, was believed to grant the ability of foretelling both good or ill fortune.
Flower: The flower of the Willow is the Primrose. It was highly-prized by the Druids and its abundance in woods, hedgerows and pastures made it an easily-collectible plant. The Primrose is in full flower during April and May and, in sheltered areas during mild Winters, may even be found in blossom during the opening days of the year. Primroses were often carried by the Druids during certain rituals as a protection from evil. The fragrant oil of the flower was also used by the Druids to annoint their bodies prior to specific rites in order that they might be cleansed and purified. The medicinal properties of the Primrose were believed to ease muscular rheumatism, cure insomnia and also aid in the healing of some forms of paralysis. An infusion of the flowers was recommended by some herbalists in order to make Primrose tea. If consumed during the month May, this tea was thought to cure “phrensie” or nervous hysteria. The Primose was once thought to fall under the jurisdiction of the Roman Goddess, Venus, and its leaves most beneficial as a fine salve to heal wounds. In ancient culinary arts, Primrose flowers were the chief ingredient of “Primrose Pottage” and its ground blooms were also used in a dish containing rice, almonds, honey and saffron. Its leaves are said to be consumed voraciously by the common silkworm.

Celestial Body: The celestial body associated with the Willow is the Moon (“Llun”), which traditionally represents the mother figure and is associated with the maternal nature. It is also linked to the unconscious mind. The Moon has always been considered a symbol of illusion for it is constantly changing and dissolving. The Realm of Dreams is considered to fall under the jurisdication of the Moon but also relates to the residue of memory.

Deity: The Willow deity is Cerridwen the Moon Goddess, also known as the Great Mother, Grain Goddess and Goddess of Nature. Cerridwen was the wife of Tegid the Giant and the mother of three children: a beautiful girl named Creirwy and two ugly boys, Avagdu and Movran. The ancient Welsh Bards called themselves Cerddorion or “Sons of Cerridwen.” The Bard Taliesin was said to have been born of Cerridwen and to have tasted a potent brew from her magic cauldron of inspiration. This potion, known as “greal,” is believed to be the origin of the word “Grail.” Cerridwen was associated with death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells and knowledge. Her symbol was a white sow. She was said to also be the Goddess of dark prophetic powers and was believed to be the Keeper of the Cauldron of Underworld in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. Cerridwen is often equated with Hecate, the crone of Greek mythology and also to the Greek Muses, but in a more violent and dark form.

Also associated with the Willow is Morgan le Fay, a formidable lunar sorceress and half-sister to King Arthur. It was the power of Morgan le Fay, working against Arthur behind the scenes, which eventually destroyed the unity of the Order of the Knights of the Round Table. The motivation behind her actions was revenge for the death of her father who had been treacherously killed by Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur. In Celtic lore, Morgan le Fay symbolizes the darker forces of the psyche, which require great understanding and recognition.

Animals:

The Adder – The Adder is symbolic of wisdom and spiritual energy. Snakes have long been associated with wisdom, reincarnation and cunning. Druids often carried an amulet called gloine nathair or serpent glass, which they stated was formed from the egg of an Adder, but is thought today to have actually been made of blown glass.The Hare – The Hare was an animal particularly sacred to the Goddess Andraste. The movements of the Hare were sometimes used for divination. It is said that Boadiccea used the Hare in such a fashion just before her last battle with the Romans. Associated with transformation, the Hare is symbolic of adaptation, hidden teachings and intuitive messages.

The Serpent or Sea-Serpent – In all ancient myths of creation, Serpents have been closely aligned with the growth of humankind in spiritual terms. Legends of Serpents are usually associated with the aspect of transformation found within the fire festivals of the Celts. The sacred Serpent is associated with the Goddess aspect of the Moon…a passive but form-creating spirit.

The Sea Serpent by John Hays

April 15-April 20: Those born between these two dates also fall under the lesser influence of a secondary tree…the Maple, whose motto is “Combative Angel” or “Independence of Mind.” Maple individuals are far from ordinary and never completely satisfied with standard replies. They admire those who clearly assert themselves and rise eagerly to any challenge. Maple people are full of imagination and originality, inclined to stand out in a crowd due to their willpower and sense of committment. Though appearing shy and somewhat reserved, they are truly ambitious, proud and self-confident. Maples hunger for new experiences and have a desire to impress. They enjoy what is unknown, strange and even hostile. The inherent Maple need for independence often clashes with the need to be surrounded by a community. With a tendency to be nervous, Maple people have many complexities. They possess excellent memories and easily learn new things. The love relationships of Maple individuals tend to be complicated affairs.
April 21-April 30: Those born between these two dates also fall under the lesser influence of a secondary tree…the Walnut, whose motto is “Looking for a Homeland” or “The Passion.” Walnut individuals are unrelenting, considered somewhat strange by many and full of contrasts. Often egotistical, Walnuts are aggressive and noble with a broad horizon. They are unexpected and sponteneous in their reactions with little or no flexibility. Walnut people possess unlimited ambition and can make for difficult and uncommon partners. Not always liked but often admired, the Walnut individual is an ingenious stategist, who is very jealous and passionate by nature and rarely given to compromise. Walnuts will accept and endure a multitude of troubles in order to satisfy the desire for pleasure. An uncompromising character, the Walnut individual will undertake a project with inexhaustible perseverance and once in love, tends to love until death.

May 1-May 12: Those born between these two dates also fall under the lesser influence of a secondary tree…the Poplar, whose motto is “Overcome Doubt” or “The Uncertainty.” Poplar individuals have a decorative appearance but tend lack self-confidence. They are prone to mature very quickly and assimilate things equally as quickly. Displaying courage only when absolutely necessary and hostile only toward extremists, the narrow-minded or hotheads, Poplar people prefer the goodwill of others and pleasant surroundings. This individual can be somewhat choosy, is often lonely and may harbor great animosity toward others. Artistic by nature, they are good organizers who lean toward philosophy. Reliable in almost any given situation, Poplar people cherish their friends and surround them with love. They take partnerships very seriously but are inclined to be generous only toward those who are generous in return. The life of a Poplar individual is made of judicious transactions and all manner of exchanges. If the Poplar perceives a warm and friendly atmosphere, then the heart and spirit opens…if not, then he or she will withdraw.