05 July 2013

house buying, home building

I took a hiatus from blogging and took refuge in my old livejournal account to get me through the last couple of years. A year and a half ago, we bought a new-to-us 103 year old house that was in dire need of repairs and that has had pretty much all of my attention. Our poor friends have humored our pretty constant barrage of "And then this happened! And This! And now we need to do this, this, this, and are you free next Thursday night because we need to rip out/repair/haul away something else?"
The scary picture. The steps alone were worth a pause. 

It has been exhausting, on all possible fronts.

But with the transition of the physical comes change here as well. I'm back to writing, working on improving my lackluster photography skills (you'll have to suffer through my awful shots for a bit longer, sorry!), and most importantly getting back into my craft and communion with my ancestors, spirit of place. Our home is a work in progress which is both frustrating and amazing. Over the course of the time we have worked on the house, we've grown closer -- both the boyfriend and myself, and us with this house.

As I posted forever ago, each place has a spirit. This genius loci is a guardian spirit, a feeling, a tickle in the back of one's mind that one is being watched even though no one is obviously there. Different cultures from the Romans to the Orient to the Americas all had versions of this spirit and always recognized that the spirit was powerful in that place, should be respected, and could be called upon for guidance and favors. Offerings would be left, prayers said, and communion was constant though not necessarily highly ritualized as we modern pagans like to be. These practices, these artful leavings, have been largely forgotten in the hubbub of what our world currently is, but much can be gained from the simple communion with that place that is Home.

The dogs exploring the disaster that is the kitchen. 
In our home, we were aware of the Spirit the first time we walked in. The house felt - for lack of better word - forlorn. Even if you subscribe to less hooky explanations, the whole house was in obvious disrepair and neglect. The previous owners had run into some super bad personal life messes which led to not being able to make the mortgage, let alone repairs, and eventually this led to busted water pipes, a kitchen that hadn't been updated in decades, old wall paper and plaster peeling off the walls due to other water damage from the roof, and grime inches thick in some places, and that was just to start. Some of it was just poor handy work, impatience run rampant, and lack of training or know how.

But because we are who we are, because we worship the way we do, we listened to the house. A lot. When we started ripping out the battered and mostly missing drop ceiling in the basement, we talked to the house. We said out loud everything we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it. Even before we bought the house - which was a saga in of itself - we were in the house several times and each time we whispered how much we wanted to work with her.

In the end, it was those whispers and our super awesome Realtor (who thought we were crazy but totally worked her own awesome magic) that finally got it and us on the right track.

And while we have reached a fair accommodation with the house, and the spirit, I still make offerings of incense mainly, or sometimes cut flowers, sometimes honey, at our main fireplace. I tell her frequently how much I love her and how happy we are to be there, sharing these moments with her and stories of her. We uncover bits and bobs of her history when we tear down the walls and gingerly recreate the what might have happeneds and hope that we are just part of the middle, that with our work and patience she will out live us by another hundred years.
The door knocker. How can you not  fall in love with this? 

So upcoming posts will focus on what we found when we found our house and how we've managed to make it our home. There will be a lot of DIY crazy, hopefully some decent photos, and some musings on the spirits we've encountered.

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