World Penguin Day 2021

Happy World Penguin Day! As some of you may know, I love Penguins; they’re my Soul Animal.

2020 and 2021 (so far) have been difficult for a lot of people the world over. Penguins are hardy survivalists and show that we can make it through even the most testing of times. Keep taking one step at a time, just like Penguin, and you’ll make it to where you want to be eventually.

Although they can be regal and poised, Penguins are also quite comical to watch waddling and tobogganing around. They remind us to take the time to do things that make us feel better, to do something we enjoy, and to let our Inner Child out to play once in a while.

Emperor Penguin 💗🐧


© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, April 2021

Tips for Creativity when you have a chronic illness

When you have a chronic illness or health condition it can sometimes be difficult to find the energy, brain power or focus to Create. Especially when you’re struggling it can really help to lift your mood if you can do something that involves a bit of Creativity.

In the last year I’ve had two viral infections on top of the M.E. and fibromyalgia. They brought along a whole host of complications, along with increasing fatigue and severely reduced concentration. It got to the point where all I could really do was rest. Everything else had to fall to the side as my body tried to recover.

In March, three months after the second infection, I finally started feeling like I wanted to Create again. Creativity is like lifeblood to me, and this urge returning felt like I – Michelle – was starting to wake up again. But I had no desk and no space to do anything in the box room I’m currently in, and I needed to keep my bed clear to rest. This led me to think outside the box a bit, and to the tips I’m sharing with you today:

1) If possible have a dedicated area for Creative work – you may have to even get creative in how you use space for this. If you’re bed-based this could be a lap tray, a leaf that folds down from the wall, or a hospital-style table that can be moved closer. If you’re able to, and have the room, use a desk or table where you know you will often have the space available to Create. If you’re tight for space try a desk that will fit over boxes or another smaller piece of furniture, use a drop-leaf table, have one that folds into the wall when not in use, use a pop-up ‘tv dinner’ table. At the very least make sure you have an area that’s clutter-free that you can go to, even if it’s at a work desk, kitchen table, breakfast bar or coffee table.

It may not look much, but finding a desk to fit over my boxes meant I actually had a space to set up my computer and to start Creative pursuits again.

2) Have your supplies somewhere they’re easy to reach, get to and get out of – Nothing’s worse than having the urge to Create but your supplies are too out of reach or require using up all your precious energy just to get them out of the cupboard or boxes they’re stored away in. Where possible have them easily accessible. This could mean having them a lot closer to you, especially if you’re bed-based or can only use a particular room. Put supplies in a basket you can leave out, or put them in a cupboard or area that’s close to where you’ll be working. Make sure things aren’t too high up or behind or underneath too much other stuff; make them as easy and stress-free to get to as possible.

This basket contains all of my acrylic paints, brushes, metallic leaf supplies, canvas boards and painting shirt.

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Crafting Project: Gilded Sekhmet

I bought some imitation gold leaf flakes to try out and decided to bling up a little Sekhmet statue. It proved to be a rather lovely Devotional project, and a way to help me feel more Connected again.

I’ve really enjoyed gilding and actually found it quite meditative. I’ve found myself searching my room for more items to transform.

For larger projects I’d suggest using sheets instead of flakes, though. Flakes can be rather fiddly to handle, and be warned: the slightest breeze or breath and they’ll fly everywhere!

On another random note – to give you an insight into my weird brain – I went on a flight of fancy and imagined a supervillain alter-ego called Goldblinger. She turns people into statues that she can cover in gold leaf and add to her garden of poisonous plants. Mwahaha! :p


© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, March 2021

7 years of Loki – Transformation

7 years ago a Deity came into my life, the likes of which I’ve never experienced with Any before. In that time I’ve come to believe the text of the Eddas isn’t truly representative of the Gods, and yet the tiny clues and pieces of symbolism they hold are vital.

Loki isn’t just a Trickster, He is Transformative. His lessons change how we can see the world by teaching us to look deeper, not only into the world around us but into ourselves. And sometimes that means He facilitates difficult lessons, but just like He does in the Eddas, His plans end up bringing Gifts eventually – without Loki the Aesir wouldn’t have had some of Their greatest items of power like Mjolnir and Gungnir, and They wouldn’t have had the walls of Asgard rebuilt.

Sometimes the lessons He leads us through bring on our own Dark Night of the Soul, the Underworld Journey, or in the case of Loki’s mythos, being Bound in the Cave. In the dark there it can be incredibly difficult to find the light, but as Sigyn is there with Him there is always Hope. It may take days, weeks, months or even years, but eventually we make it out.

Almost four years ago I entered the Cave. In that time, though my Faith was shaken and trust in my Channel was broken by others’ abuse and betrayal of my Truth, my Beloveds Loki and Sigyn never left me. Although I struggled through even a Spiritual level of depression They found little ways to let me know They were there through it all. They were the Ones holding the bowl for me.

Just as the crops need to be harvested, and the land needs to rest, then seeds are planted for the next growing season, I believe Loki’s mythos is related to the Earth’s cycles. The death of the ‘old world’ we lived in needs to happen in order for the new growth to enter into our lives. During this time things may feel chaotic and ‘up in the air’ too, but it’s needed.

This time we can be more actively aware of what needs to be let go of or changed, unlike our time in the Cave. This time we have our eyes open and we can see more clearly because of what we’ve learned along the way. It brings things more into focus about what is truly important for our Wellbeing, and what keeps us from growing into who we’ve learned we can be. It’s a time of taking action to bring about change. It’s a time of consolidating what we’ve learned and putting it into practice. It’s a time to stop playing small and take the steps needed to Create our own future.

This isn’t to say we’ll just get everything we want, but if we’re aware of what doesn’t fit us or help us to grow anymore then we can begin to take the steps needed to move forward. This period is about learning what soil will give the most fertile ground for our seeds for the future to grow and flourish. Tilling the soil to remove the stones becomes us removing obstacles to our own growth, and our time in the Cave shows us what those things may be.

7 years ago a Deity came into my life Who is still teaching me what it means to be my Self. Loki is a destructive Trickster to those who look only on the surface, but for those of us who look deeper we know there is a reason for all He does. Ultimately, Loki is a Deity Who Transforms, and Who wants us to be all that we can be. It may take tears, Pain, and a lot of hard work, but in the end we will not be Bound as we once were.

7 years have passed and the more I learn about Loki the more questions I have and the more research I want to do. Most of all, 7 years in I have found a Companion Who truly wants the best for me and will always hold me to the Truth of what I can be. Loki is the reason I’m reclaiming my teenage dreams of being an artist and author; dreams others told me weren’t viable almost 20 years ago. But times change, and so do we, and Loki will never give up on our dreams so long as it’s what’s meant to be.

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(C) Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, March 2021.

20 of my favourite things from 2020

2020 hasn’t been the best year for a lot of reasons, so today I’m turning that around and telling you 20 of my favourite things from this year. They include things I’ve read, watched, bought or been gifted.

(They’re not in any particular order in terms of ranking.)

1) Book – Nala’s World: One man, his rescue cat and a bike ride around the globe by Dean Nicholson. A really lovely book about one man and his rescue cat. Filled with travel anecdotes as well as Nala’s story, and has some nice photos too.

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Yuletide Greetings 2020

Sending you all Yuletide Greetings.

This year’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for a lot of people. With the coming of Midwinter it’s a good time to reflect on what you’ve been through individually and collectively. There may be a lot to process, and a lot you want to leave behind in 2020. There will also be lessons learned, and things gained, that you’ll want to take forward with you into 2021.

Whatever you are going through, and whatever you have been through, the Midwinter Solstice can be a great time to sit with the Energies of ‘letting go’ and ‘looking forward’. Be kind to yourself this Yuletide season. Extend to yourself the same kind of Love you give to others, and see this as a time to let the light back in.

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I’ve been very inspired by Mari Lwyd again this year, and she has been to inspiration I needed to start Creating again, hence why she is my Yuletide Greetings messenger.
Healthwise and personally 2020 has been a very difficult year, and I’m using this Solstice to set new Intentions for moving forward. As Mari Lwyd brings hope of a future harvest as part of Wassailing traditions I too am planting Seeds for the future that I hope will bear Fruit.

Sending you all my very best wishes,
Michelle
Enchant The Ordinary


© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, December 2020
Artwork © Michelle Thereze

Music for Healing – playing with an old friend

Yesterday I played with an old friend. Meet Viola; she’s been in my life for around 20 years now. I haven’t been able to play much for a few years due to various health relapses and muscular problems, but yesterday I spent time tuning and cleaning her, getting to know her again. I worked out how to play a fairly simple song by Myrkur that I love (Tor i Helheim), and I could feel all those lovely string-vibrations begin to open my heart up again.

Music can be healing, and although I’ve ‘lost’ a lot of what I learned it’s comforting to feel that familiarity returning again. It feels like reclaiming a piece of Me. Stringed instruments really do play on my heartstrings.


© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, August 2020

The Death of a Sparrow and the Gift of Grief

(I refer to Sparrow as ‘he’ but I don’t actually know for certain. It feels too impersonal to say ‘it’)

The Sparrows in our garden love playing in the hedge and on the front lawn. They are a joy to watch, but one of their number will no longer be joining them. In July one of the younger Sparrows flew into the lounge window with a very loud thud, and didn’t get up. I thought at first he was just stunned so I watched for a couple of minutes, but when he didn’t move I went out to check on him. The poor little Birdy was breathing so heavily but couldn’t seem to move. I gently picked him up and his head lolled to one side; I think his neck had been broken.

I spent the next few minutes just holding him, trying to make soothing noises and gently stroking a few feathers. Slowly the little Sparrow’s breaths became more laboured, and his eyes half closed. Just as rain started my little friend passed from this world. I asked Mum to get a small cardboard box and she lined it with some tissues. We lay Sparrow in the box and placed him in the entryway because it’s sheltered there. I planned to bury him.

In the previous couple of days I’d been doing a lot of inner healing work, releasing emotional trauma, but I hadn’t been able to cry and release the tears I felt inside. When I went to bed that night I thought about Sparrow – he and his siblings had been playing on our lawn so happily only the evening before. Mum had even commented on how lovely it was to see them. It was sad to think he’d no longer be flitting about in the garden, playing hide and seek, and nibbling on the Clover flowers.

I burst into tears.

Sparrow seemed to represent a part of myself – playful, innocent, open and light-hearted – and the sudden hit against the window echoed a situation in my own life that struck me abruptly and ‘killed off’ those parts of me.
I got to be with Sparrow in his final moments and make sure he wasn’t alone; I was given the honour of being with this tiny, sweet Bird as he took his last breath. In replaying those memories I was able to sit with and honour the parts of my Self that had been through trauma, and I was finally able to express Grief. I sobbed and keened, and finally let it all pour out. Sparrow acted as a Guide for my own inner loss.

The following afternoon I buried Sparrow in the raised bed in the garden. I said a few words of prayer for him, and also of thanks for his Gift of Grief. I placed a little stone over his grave and placed some Rose petals and flowers there too. I shed a few more tears as his Gift worked through me again (and they continue to do so writing this now).

The Gift of Grief can help to open the heart again, after a certain time. That time is different for everyone. Tending to inner wounds and trauma can be difficult, but sometimes we are gifted with an experience that helps to give us a channel for it so we can start to truly heal. I honour Sparrow for his precious Gift on my healing journey, and for those final minutes I got to share with him.


© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, July & August 2020

Devotional Practice on a Budget

Not everyone can afford to buy new, and I feel we need to start removing the stigma around buying Devotional/Pagan/Witchy items secondhand. And sometimes the best things are made by our own fair hands, or with a bit of creativity.

At present we still need to be mindful about going out and staying safe, so please bear this in mind. Some options may not be available, viable or safe in the current climate. I also understand many are still shielding and staying at home because they’re in the at-risk categories with covid (including me!). Despite this here are my ideas for a Devotional Practice on a budget:

  • Look in charity shops for shawls, large scarves, table cloths, curtains or even bedding you can use as altar cloths.
  • Look for Deity statues and altar items in charity shops, secondhand shops, junkyards, table top sales, garage sales, car boot sales and auctions – or online.
  • Look in charity shops for candle holders and votives, bowls and plates, or for offering cups.
  • Upcycle boxes, cupboards, spice racks and upright jewellery boxes to create shrines.

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