Embracing the Shadows

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Growing up, I was such a skittish child.  Everything that you could think of scared me.  I was scared of the dark…I was scared of unknown places…I was scared of pretty much everything that I love and embrace now.

This week, I stepped into a place that I haven’t been in a long, long while.  I stepped into my darker self.  That place where all the things that I don’t like about myself reside.  It is a place much like the pensieve that Dumbledore has in his office in the movie, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”  It is that place where I put the thoughts and feelings that tend to crowd my mind…the things that ‘don’t fit’ what everyone expects me to be.  That is where most of my anger and hurt and confusion and melancholy go.  After all, witchcraft is all about love and light, right?

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I have found that witchcraft in many ways is exactly like the churches I left behind so many years ago.  We have tried so hard to keep from being a ‘traditional’ religion, that we adopt all of the practices and symptoms.  We are so embracing, but we are the first to ridicule Christian holidays and the meanings that they have placed behind them.  Unfortunately, that move from tradition means that we expect everything around us to sparkle and gleam…..clean of all the sediment that life can throw at us.

The fact that a lot of this week was overcast and drizzly may have contributed to my ‘darker’ side coming to surface.  In describing what I have felt, I like the term that I heard a friend use a few years ago…he described it as his “shadow self.”  In looking at it, that is a more accurate description.  It isn’t dark or evil, it is just that part of myself that I am not completely comfortable sharing or seeing.  It is that part of us that is hidden away until it becomes too restless to hide anymore.  It is that annoying relative that comes bursting through the door during holidays who doesn’t really fit the family dynamic.  The fear of the ‘shadow self’ comes from being afraid that we will see who we really are…or a part of us we never wanted to see to begin with.catwolf-shdw

It is in these moments that I must access the Morrigan.  It is in those moments, more than any, that I need the strength for the journey…that need for change. It is in those moments that I have to remember that the shadows aren’t bad or evil….the shadows are just those parts of me that I have become uncomfortable with…that don’t fit with my everyday life.  It is in those times that I go into myself.  It is in those times that I have learned to access the shadows to create…to make the tools for the Craft that I need and that I feel others may need.

It seems that in those moments, I hear wolf clearer than any of my spirit guides.  I hear his low howl moving higher….addressing that brooding, melancholy part of my spirit.  It is also in these times that things come to me when needed.  I have a friend who constantly forages the woods around her.  She constantly finds animal bones and parts…..and she knows that I call on those spirits, so anytime she finds anything related to wolf, she sends it to me.  I bless the bones or fur just in case the animal met with a violent end…sending it peacefully into the summerlands.

I have been wanting an athame for a long, long time, but could never find one that suited me.  Last week in the mail, I received two beautiful wolf femurs and some fur.  I have decided to use these to make my own athame.  She also sent me the toe bones.  I will use those to create runes.  It is honoring the dead animal and pulling on that energy that I have felt all last week, plus it is becoming a tool for the Craft that I love so much.

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As I walked to the woods this morning, I could hear Mama Crow behind me.  I have learned that where one goes, the other always follows.  Friz has gotten used to her.  Her loud caws don’t even rattle him anymore.  As we got closer to the woods, I have to admit that a part of me looked around to see if the Green Wizard had shown up, but there was another part of me that knew we would not see each other today.

I settled into the damp shaded area of the woods that I always went to.  I could smell the wet, mildewed and rotting smell of leaves left from the fall.  I settled in and pulled the skulls from my backpack along with candles and herbs and stones.  As I lit the candles and welcomed the elements and spirits, I could feel my shadow self lurking behind me….always pacing at the edges of everything…never fully becoming a part.  I invited that part of myself into the circle.  It was in that moment that I was overtaken with every emotion it represented.  Instead of fighting to confine that piece of me….the darker parts of me, I found that those parts were just as powerful and just as necessary as the ‘love and light’ part of me.  I found that just as with intention, that it is all in the direction….it is all in the movement and force that you give your shadow self.  I won’t allow that part of me to rule me, but it isn’t fair to try and put it away so I don’t have to deal with it either.  It can actually be a valuable asset in energy work and other magick.  Power/Magick/Energy is only dangerous when the heart of the user is not seeking the betterment of those things around him or her.

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I had a dream Friday night.  In that dream, my whole family shared a large Victorian house.  The house was an ancestral home. In the dream, my mom and aunt were witches too.  We were guarding the home against some force.  I had taken Friz (the chihuahua) and Bella (the dachshund) and the cats, along with Bella’s puppies (she is spayed) into a room, and magickally sealed the room with a protective charm.  My aunt put all the family (including my partner) into a room and sealed it with a protective ice spell.  My aunt, my mom and me were the only ones left to guard the house. We had a tower of green ancestral candles  in the main room.  Ma sat on the sofa, my aunt was by the fireplace and I was by the door.  A tornado-like force came at the house.  It was my grandma (who is dead) flying in through the fireplace.  She told us that we needed to be prepared, strong and ready to fight for all that we knew was true.  Ma summoned all the fae around the house and told them to go outside and stand guard.  We all took our stations and with hands raised, we pushed and shielded against something akin to a hurricane.  I remember vividly feeling the sweat form on my forehead.  As we pushed forward we could feel the force weaken.  We gave one final push and felt the force break.  We looked around and could see that we were all disheveled, but knew that victory had been won.

Victory is always ahead…..it is in accessing every part of ourselves and knowing to continue to push.

Blessed Be!

Corn-fed Crows and Resurrection from Rubble

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This afternoon, my partner and I drove past my dream home.  Yes, the picture above is that house.  I have driven by this house at least once a week for the ten years I have lived in Atlanta.  Up until now, it has remained there…in a certain state of disrepair.  For some reason, I thought it always would be there.  Nothing ever seemed to change.

I would stop by on a Saturday here and there to sneak peeks through the window.  You could see where the kitchen had been gutted.  There were leaves in the fireplace.  The small wooden porch in the back that had been enclosed was starting to crumble.  This was a house, that just by looking at it, you could tell it had a story to tell.

Today, when we drove by that crumbling little cottage that I had so many times, in my mind, refurbished and resurrected…we saw a ‘For Sale’ sign.  Not just a sign that noted that my little gray cottage was for sale, but that it was under contract.  I quickly texted my landlord to see what was happening.  He asked if I wanted to take a look inside of it, and of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

As we walked through each room, I could feel wonderful energy throughout the house.  The fireplace that, in my minds eye, I could see generations of families laughing in front of….the dining room, where I could visualize birthday parties and holiday meals…the attic, which was so huge and spacious and full of marvelous energy.  We walked through that gutted kitchen and I could feel the energy swirling around as decades before, meals had been prepared and canning jars lined the counters.SHORPY_8b30802a.preview

I have been in old houses where you could feel turmoil and anger….not this house.  This house had been a much loved home.  My landlord laid out the story of a little old man who had held onto his home….refused to sell it as long as he was alive.  A man, who fought with all he had to keep this little gray cottage, even in its disrepair, until the day he died just a little over a week ago.

As I walked up the permanent attic stairs, I could feel something surge through me.  This would have been my workshop of witchery.  Something that would well outshine what those girls from “Charmed” had.  I could visualize my book of shadows on a stand in the middle of a pentagram painted onto the floor.  I could see the walls lined with bookshelves filled with all of my ‘witchy’ books and all manner of herbs and magickal accoutrements.

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As we finished our walk-through, my landlord broke the news to me.  Not only was the house under contract, but the house was being torn down.  It was bought for the land and the promise of a brand new, generic looking, cookie cutter monstrosity being plopped down over the space where this wonderful cottage stood.  I went into mourning for the rest of the afternoon…until a beautiful friend suggested harvesting some bricks (with the new owner’s permission) for garden work…I could also use it to make brick dust.

Of course, I can see how everything in life orders itself.  This morning, Friz and I decided to walk a path that we haven’t traveled in a while.  We headed out toward the pond. As we got closer, Friz’s tail starts rotating wildly.  If it could have propelled him hard enough, he would have left the ground.  I looked up and in the distance saw a familiar mutt loping toward us.  Friz couldn’t stand it….he wanted to play.  I have to admit, too, that my heart skipped a beat or two in excitement.  I questioningly called out, “Calliope?”  The dogs tongue lolled out of her mouth and she ran harder toward us.  When she reached us, she danced around my legs and Friz danced along with her.

We walked along the path that had been created by so many of mine and Friz’s journeys before.  As we arrived at the edge of the pond, we moved closer to the trees that dotted the landscape.  Leaning against the one that Friz and I normally shared was the Green Wizard.  He was reaching into his pocket pulling out handfuls of something and throwing it toward a murder of crows scavenging the grass.  As I got closer, he stopped what he was doing and stood to his feet.  A smile came to his face as he said, “Good morning, Weathered Wiseman.”  I smiled and chuckled, “Good morning, Green Wizard.”

I explained to him that I wasn’t sure that I would ever be seeing him again.  He looked at me with a seriousness about himself and told me that he had thought the same thing, but had felt that our time together was not quite finished.  We both sat down in the grass….the talk came so easy…as if we had known each other for centuries.  We talked of the coming Blood Moon and the energy that would be available at that time.  We talked about the closeness of Beltane and our mutual love for the sleek black gravelly voiced birds that surrounded us.  We laughed and talked about our love for the fur people and feathered ones and any other manner of critter.qri-17a

 

I asked him what he had been feeding the crows.  He pulled his hand out of his pocket and opened it to reveal many golden kernels of corn.  I asked him where he had gotten it.  He told me that there was a huge pile of it under a few trees a ways back….then I remembered the neighbor who likes to feed the squirrels.  More than once, I have seen Friz look up at me with yellow crumbs around his mouth from foraging and finding her huge piles of corn….and of course, the plethora of poop that followed.  I was amazed at the number of crows withing walking distance of us.  They were having the most wonderful time.  They were cawing back and forth…moving non-stop.

The Green Wizard turned to me again and with a more-than-serious face asked, “Why aren’t you afraid of me?  Why don’t you rush in another direction when you see me…the way your neighbors do?”  I answered truthfully, “I am not threatened by you.  I see nothing to fear.  I feel a kinship….and my dog likes you.”  Right then, as if on cue, Friz stretches and pushes his back feet against the Green Wizard.  He laughed and told me that was the reason he trusted me….his dog liked me.  I told him that I learned a long time ago not to judge based on differences.

I was actually able to look into his eyes at that moment.  There, staring back at me through damage inflicted by the elements, was a softness.  Such kindness and truth like I had never seen, looked right into my spirit.  I don’t give into that type of vulnerability often.  I keep myself shielded until someone proves their authenticity to me.

He smiled and said to me, “Weathered Wiseman, the coming moon brings so much to you.  You need to take your time with her.  Woo her. Sit with her and talk to her.  She is the key to all that you have set into motion.”  I sat there with my mouth gaped open.   I am amazed that such wisdom comes out of someone so young.  I am then reminded that even though he is young, he has been seasoned well by wind, water, earth and the fire of the sun.  7521dfb1e888171f287d63e396bc5b9f-d5kdtom

It was then that he said something to me that I knew beyond knowing.  He told me that we had known each other in other lives.  We had been connected many times before and we would be connected many times more.  I know where the connection lies and I feel he does too, but we quietly sit and enjoy the sounds of the dogs snoring and grunting.  He leans his head back to rest and I do the same.  All I can think is that this is a man who seems to have nothing other than his dog….but yet, not once has he ever asked me for anything.  I get up and tell him that Friz and I will be right back.  I go to the condo and make an egg and cheese sandwich with a travel mug of milk.  I bag up a big portion of Friz’s kibble for Calliope.

I walk back down to the pond and he is standing up.  I hand him the sandwich and he thanks me.  He eats it slowly….savoring every bite.  The reaction I didn’t expect was the one I got when I handed him the dog food.  He choked on the words as he thanked me and scooped his hand into the bag.  He talked to Calliope sweetly and tenderly as he fed her from his hand.  She, too, seemed to savor every bite.

We said our good-byes.  I don’t know if today is the last time we see each other in this life or whether I will see him again next week.  All I know is that I have learned valuable lessons in perception this week.

Never look at anything the way those around you expect you to.  Always look upon someone or something with a heart of magick, vulnerability, truth and love.  It is in those moments that you will see that person or thing for what it truly is.

Today…I am awe-struck.  I am humbled.  I have possibly spent time with the greatest wizard in the world.  He lives his life simply and with great humility and love.  I have witnessed some of the most powerful magick that exists.

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When You Meet the Wizard, Your Whole Life Will Change…

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It seemed, when I was small, that I constantly got into trouble for who I talked to.  The words meander through my brain now as I write..my dad would constantly warn me, “Don’t spend your time talking out loud to the animals.  People will think you are odd.”  I never had a sense of not being able to talk to the animals…they always talked back to me.

Then there was the local homeless person, ‘Crazy Mary.’  She wandered the streets of my home town dressed in every stitch of clothes that she owned with a shopping cart she had ‘borrowed’ from Gamble’s grocery.  She was always kept in supply, by that same grocer, of the one snack that she adored…mustard covered sardines.  Ma told me a few years back that my dad had taken me downtown (ten stores and a courthouse) one Saturday.  We were walking along and my dad ran into an old friend of the family.  After their conversation, they looked around for me and I was nowhere to be found.  They finally found me sitting on the covered stoop next to the movie theater laughing out loud and sharing a tin of mustard covered sardines with ‘Crazy Mary.’  I was probably five….I knew no fear then, but in later years was taught to fear her just because she was different.

I think that is where my heart for abandoned people and animals started.  I have never understood categorizing someone or something as having no worth.  Surely there was something important enough about the essence of the spirit that caused that person or animal to come into being.  I am scared to death of an opossum, but that doesn’t mean it has no purpose.

Monday of last week here in Atlanta was so pleasant.  It was so spring-like in the evening.  I came home to the roomie having every window open and the inside of the house smelled fresh….like the cave-like conditions of winter had been pushed out the windows.  The plague of ‘green snow’ had not fully hit, so it seemed like a good evening to take Friz for a walk.

We walked our usual path toward the woods.  It seemed like the perfect evening to just lie down under the canopy of branches and leaves that the woods had erupted into overnight.  I talked to Friz every step of the way and he listened intently.  As we rounded one of the corners of the complex over close to where we scoot off the pathway, I looked up and sitting on a column of bricks was a young man of about 28 or so with a medium sized mutt at his feet.  He was dressed in a brown shirt with brown pants and a green hooded cloak.  Everything he wore had a patina to it…you could tell that they had been well-worn.  As I stood there tracing his form from head to toe, I noticed that the shoes he wore were black converse that had seen better days.  The soles were falling off and you could see his dirty socks inside.

I trust my dog completely when it comes to the nature of other people and animals, so I looked down at Friz to see if he was giving me any sign of alert.  He looked straight at the young man and his dog with his tongue out and his tail wagging…so I took this as my cue to move forward.

As we moved closer, the young man looked up at me underneath the hood and spoke softly, “He won’t bite.  He is really gentle.” We moved even closer.  Friz initiated the dog handshake and after they had both gotten a nostril full, Friz licked the gentle dog on his muzzle.  The docile animal turned to Friz and only licked back.  I leaned over and gave the dog a scratch behind the ear and he leaned in sweetly.  The young man pulled the hood away from his face and introduced himself to me.  “They call me the Green Wizard and this is my dog Calliope.”  I weighed the situation cautiously at first.  “They call me the Weathered Wiseman and this is Friz.”  He leaned in to Friz to give him a scratch under his chin and Friz licked the calloused hand making its way toward him.

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The ‘Green Wizard’ looked up at me and smiled as wide as his mouth allowed.  “There’s gotta be something said for the wizard’s dog.”  He laughed out loud as his dog and Friz rested on top of each other.  As we sat there talking, he told me stories of his travels….how he prefers to sleep out among the grass and trees, under the moon and stars.  He told me about the animals that work their magick around him and the importance of seeing magick in everything that makes it way to us.  I watched as his eyes twinkled and he seemed exude something akin to faery magick.

Was everything he told me true?  I don’t know.  Was he who he said he was?  Again, I don’t know.  My dog liked him.  His dog liked me….and honestly, he could ask himself those same questions about me.  The only thing I knew for certain, at that time, was that I was able to spend a couple of hours talking to someone fascinating….someone who held a magick within himself whether I or anyone else around believed it.  The magick within him resonated
something strong within my own spirit.  Whether it was the truth that the world would believe, maybe not.  But this was his truth…and for a brief moment, I was allowed to share it.

I only know what my heart felt like that evening.  My heart felt completely alive in those couple of hours.  It was as if the heartbeat of the Earth Mother sang in my own chest.  Was the interaction between he and I dangerous?  I trust my dog…and I trust what is inside of me.  I know if there had been something awry, that my own spirit would have kicked into overdrive and our paths would have never crossed.

As we finished talking, I looked down at his shoes.  Those shoes had seen so much travel.  I remembered that I always kept an extra pair of shoes in my car and our feet looked to be about the same size.  I asked if he would be there for a few more minutes.  He told me he would.  Friz and I sprinted to the back of the complex to my car.  I pulled out a pair of athletic shoes that hadn’t been worn much….but they were about to embark on a journey that cannot even be fathomed.

Friz and I walked back to that brick column and I handed him the shoes.  I told him that I wanted to give him something that would help his journey.  He thanked me with a hug and asked if he might ‘give me a blessing.’  I told him that the time I had spent with him that afternoon was blessing enough.  I bid him peace and safe travels.  Friz and I stood there as the moon began to rise.  We watched the Green Wizard walk toward the glow of the moon.  That young man may never have another occasion to remember me, but he is etched into every corner of my mind and a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed….for eternity.

Blessed Be!

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Run and Hide Your Crazy…

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I heard a phrase on the radio the other day that I haven’t heard since I was a young’un.  I was listening to a country music radio station on the way home from work and a song by Miranda Lambert came on.  The song is called, “Mama’s Broken Heart.”  In the song, Mama tells the girl to ‘Run and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.’  I laughed out loud because I can remember Mama telling her brothers and sisters that they needed to just ‘run on and hide their crazy.’

It is just so funny to me how things just kind of surface in our lives to give us a ‘heads up,’ so to speak.  Who knew that I would be dealing with bat-shit crazy this week?  Something always seems to be stirring, huh?

Let me preface what I am about to write.  Firstly, I am not Wiccan.  I am not Gardnerian.  I am not a Voudouist.  I am a Witch.  I practice in many different ways.  I employ animism, rootwork, herbalism, spoken and written spells, rituals to God and Goddess, dancing (naked and clothed), naturism, shamanism, and Native American medicine.  I am accountable to a small circle of friends, not a coven.2014-03-26 22.26.35

 

I have had a love of magick (and yes, I spell it with a ‘k’ because I choose to).  I am a part of the universe and the elements and they are all a part of me.  I make no excuses for anything I do in my Path…and I ask for no one’s approval.  As long as I feel the energy of the earth, sky, seas, sun and moon….all is well with the world.

I will also say that I have many friends who walk many different paths….Wicca, Voudou, Gardnerian, Shamanism–so many it is hard to even count.  They walk their paths with integrity, purpose and devotion.

So…you may ask, what brought all this on?  I received a scathing message this afternoon from someone who read my blog.  In this message, I was berated for not having been initiated properly by a High Priestess and Priest.  I was told that my ‘practices’ were essentially for naught because I did not belong to an  authentic tradition, and that I had not fulfilled the ‘year and a day’ requirement.  I was told that my spellwork  and rituals were too simplistic and my blogs too ‘fluffy.’  I was also warned of my association with the ‘dark’ gods and goddesses.

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Did I get angry, you may ask?  No.  Did I send a message back ripping this person from horn to hoof?  No.  Did I hurl a powerful, gut-wrenchingly painful curse or hex at this person?  No.  This person has already made their own bitter, hate-filled, narrow-minded cave to live in.  Just by this persons own divisive way of thinking, they have alienated themselves from such a powerful part of the magickal community.  They will never allow themselves to get to know some of the most creative, lively magick-filled folk ever created.

I do speak a warning to those of you reading this.  Do not discount the power that others hold.  Be warned, lest you fall into the ways of the mainline church.  If we start to behave the way this person did, we will soon be denominationalizing paganism (though I have already seen some leanings).  When we start to get ‘preachy’ about one way being right or wrong, others start to walk around us and avoid us…just like the street envangelist standing on a wooden box at the crosswalk.

My question to you is:  How do you respond when you find out that someone’s path is not like yours?  Are you open to what they believe?  Do you listen intently as they tell their experiences…even though they may not line up with what you were taught or do you stand there with little besoms and flames  darting in your eyes just waiting to tell them how wrong their chosen path is?

I am more than used to being told that I am wrong.  Being gay, I have been told that my ‘lifestyle’ is not natural so many times, I could circle the world with all the little gay rainbow fairies that passed out by the sheer shock.  Being told that something I do is wrong doesn’t even phase me anymore.  If I am wrong, I will be the first one to tell you.

It is not your job to live your life as a dementor.  It is not required for you to suck all of the happiness and joy out of the world.

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If the pagan community were to join energies, despite our differences, just imagine the magick that would encompass this world.  To most of the mundane community, magick has been confined to fairy tales and fiction.  Gods and goddesses have become only mythology and dragons and other magickal beings have been relocated to artwork and toys.

We have the potential to show paganism and witchcraft as honorable and full of integrity.  We have the ability in our very minds and hands to focus intention in ways never dreamed possible.  All we have to do is Learn to Play Nice!!!   2014-03-30 19.45.34The power is right there in your hands!

Blessed Be!

The Things We Search For Were Really Never Lost

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I have pushed myself so hard this week.  I have always been my harshest critic.  I can’t perform any less than 110% when it comes to anything.  Most would say that this comes from a childhood of always feeling as though I had to compete for approval. Not true.  My grandmothers made sure that I was made to feel important no matter what.  They were the foundation of my strength of heart…they always told me that there was something inside of me that no one else would ever be able to possess or take away from me.

Normally, when I would have a week like this one has been, I would be able to call either one or both of my grandmas and the sound of their voices would bring peace.  Their voices…I never thought I would have to learn to live without those voices.

It was in the midst of this week that I found my mind…my body….my very heart and spirit craving the elements around me.  There is a large maple tree just outside of our courtyard wall.  On Wednesday afternoon, I got home at the regular time….I could feel the weight of pushing myself exhausting me.  I stopped.  Only for a moment and leaned against that large old maple tree.  It was as if I could hear the voices of my grandmothers whispering in my ears again.

Once I had gotten inside and changed out of business casual into backyard grunge, I went back into the courtyard and started digging in the dirt….just to get that cool damp feeling on my hands…that connection to the Great Mother.2014-03-26 22.37.11

 

Friday I craved contact with water…..it was as if all day long I could not get enough water into my system.  I drank water non-stop.  It was rainy most of the day here….there was a part of me that did not want to come inside.  I hungered to be out among the rain drops…feeling the rhythm against me and around me.  Again, when I got home from work, I stood in the midst of a short rain shower….feeling it wash me from head to toe.  I could feel the rush and pressure from the week washing away as each drop caressed me.  I sat in the middle of the courtyard…smelling each plant as it soaked in the nourishment.

The rain continued into the morning today.  I took a clue from Friz and spent more time smelling the air and enjoying the clean feeling that only rain water can bring.  I wore a tshirt and shorts out and walked barefoot in the mud.  Sometimes, it is just being able to feel the wet earth under my feet that keep me grounded.

2014-03-26 22.37.04This afternoon, my time with wind came.  We had just gotten back from the grocery store (where a crow perched on the shopping cart beside the car….scared my partner to death).  As we were getting out of the car in front of the condo, a strong cool wind came up.  My partner mentioned that it got really cool quickly and the wind was so strong.  He ran inside with the groceries, but there I stood in the courtyard with my arms spread like I was ready to take flight.  I believe if I had concentrated hard enough, I may have gotten lift off….and damn! My besom was inside.  I could hear the throaty laugh of Mama Crow in the branches above me.  She sensed my joy in the breeze.  She sensed my hunger to be a part of air.

2014-03-26 22.37.01 I could not leave my old friend fire out of the circle.  Tonight, just before sunset, I went to the woods with my smaller cauldron.  I sat down in the cool leaves and put my altar in place.  I brought some dry leaves with me and set them to smolder in the cauldron along with some sticks and incense.  I watched as the fire danced in front of me.  Something about watching those red-orange flames burning away the deadness of the sticks and leaves leapt into my spirit.  I stood and danced with the flame.  Sometimes I have to abandon all feelings of ‘what if someone sees me’ and just do what my spirit is compelled to do…..it is the most freeing experience that I could ever describe.  Too often we become bound up in what is proper and what is ‘normal’ that we forget that freedom that magick brings…and the relationship to the masculine and feminine divine.

I had a wonderful dream last night.  I was trekking through the mountains.  The air was cool.  The sun was shining all around.  There were a few other people there that I knew.  I remember meeting my old friend wolf in a grassy field.  We wrestled and tumbled.  I laughed until my stomach hurt.  I went into the small log cabin with wolf at my side.  In the cabin was a dark haired, dark eyed woman….a witch of Nordic descent.  I knew this woman and I knew her well.  She was extremely gifted in psychic abilities and divination with candles.  I remember after laughing and talking to her, going to a cabinet to get the candles out.  As I looked at each candle, runes appeared on the bottoms of each.  I remember that I could read them very clearly.  One, in particular, carried the words, “There has been a path forged before you by the ancients.”  It essentially told me that the path I am on… I am not to venture off of.

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As I think back on it….a friend brought it up tonight, the woman in my dream was a part of me.  It is the part of me that I still search for…the part of me that I enjoy the company of, but haven’t entirely embraced.  Maybe now is the time.

Blessed Be!

Hellebore, Henbane, Aconite…

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I have always had an interest in unusual plants.  That is why early last year, I ordered a Mandragora Officianarum root, and have coddled it and nursed it.  It is coming back this year with the promise of blooms.  I am so excited, I can’t stand it.

I guess before we moved into the condo here, that the Horned One and the Lady made a witchy path for me before I had even settled in.  There were rows and rows of light and dark hellebore in front of our unit and yarrow grew in abundance by the bedroom window.  It made me wonder more and more about the history of the condos.  I know for a fact that it was housing for military personnel back in the forties and fifties…but between then and the early eighties there isn’t much information about the residents.  When Friz and I make our rounds, though, it is like a wonderland of witchy herbs and plants springing up in the hidden reaches of the complex.

I have found rosemary planted by almost all of the doors that stand in sunshine.  I have found sage planted in so many sunny spots that I can’t even begin to count.  Lavender grows in abundance by the playground…but the strangest, wildest flower I found today while walking.  I haven’t seen aconite in many, many years….as I was walking, though, I recognized a hooded purplish blue flower.  As I got closer to it, I picked Friz up because he is known to eat any plant within his reach and Wolfsbane is extremely poisonous.  Of all plants to see in Georgia, this was the last one I expected.  I always carry ziplocs with me nowadays….just in case I run across some plant or some animal that has died along the way and the bones might be used for magick.  I put Friz close to an old tree and told him to stay.  He listens well to that command.  I harvested the root, flowers and stalks of the plant using bags over my hands to handle everything and then putting everything inside of a bag.  I stuffed it all into my backpack and then Friz and I had our  time in the woods.

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My mind raced back and forth as to what I would use this magickal plant for. Protection is a major magickal property of Wolfsbane.  I also know that it can be used in magickal work with the goddess Hekate.  I would definitely want to use it to consecrate my athame when I get one ( that is the one magickal tool that has concealed itself from me until the right one comes….I want one with a handle made from bone).  In the meantime, I would use it as part of a banishing spell that I have been working on.

There is a neighbor here that gives me a ‘bad feeling’….the energy isn’t right there.  He is constantly learing at people and lurking outside.  I have scared him more than once when he tried sneaking into my courtyard as I was doing magick.  Imagine his surprise when he opens the gate and sees a six foot tall, large man standing there with a staff with a skull on it, a wand, a cauldron and certain animal skulls surrounding it…..all in the dark with a fire roaring inside the cauldron.  He ran off screaming that night.

 I do, however like to feel safe in my own home.  So I have done tiny protection bottles.  So you are going to get one of my protection spells as a side-note here:

With my mortar and pestle, I grind up a couple of tablespoons each of black salt (witches salt), High John the Conquerer root, any kind of snake bone you can find (rattlesnake is wonderful), stinging nettles, a small amount of snake shed, hellebore flowers, and wolfsbane flowers.  Grind it until it is very fine.  Then funnel it into tiny potion bottles.  When the bottles are full and corked, I dip the top of the bottle into red wax first and then black wax to seal the spell.  I bury the bottles at each corner of my condo and recite:

The evil that you bring is through,

Leave in haste, I’m done with you.

All around here now is safe.

You have no choice but leave this place.

These buried vials will make a fence,

Keep you at bay for our defense.

By wolf and crow I’m guarded here.

You won’t come close…you won’t come near.

By Cernunnos, Morrigan, and Hekate,

This spell is sealed, so stay away.

I am a fierce protector of those that I care deeply for.  That is why I invoke the spirit of wolf for Friz every morning before I leave.  Anyone with ill will toward my household and those in it, will see the wolf spirit when they look at Friz.  My dear Merlin holds the spirit of panther, and our little Bella gets to rest with the Crow through the day.snarl

I know that some folks might balk at my use of ‘baneful’ plants, but I have always been taught that when you use things correctly, that anything can be safe.  If you treat the sweetest dog in the world with enough cruelty and hate, it will eventually bite you.

The best advice I could leave you with this week is:

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Blessed Be!

Ostara: Rebirth and Renewal

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Let me start by saying that I love books.  Books of any kind….my favorites are books that stir the imagination or cause one to think or fantasize.  I love books that you can share with other adults…but more than that…with those witchlings that may be watching us as we practice the Craft.  I think that is why I love one book in particular, this time of year.  It is Edain McCoy’s Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.  In this book, I was re-introduced to Ostara  just as one might see an old friend through new eyes.  It always helps me to go back at this time of year and see again what symbols and rites and other magick comes with this season of greening.

When I was a child, this time of year brought a renewed excitement for me.  My family was never overly religious, so springtime always meant the arrival of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs was imminent.  This, in my opinion was even more exciting than Santa.  I was taught by my granny at an early age to smell the air and to feel the earth.  She told me over and over again that I would always be able to smell the seasons changing and that I would know by the feeling of the Earth Mother’s belly when the birthing was going to happen.

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I learned early on to recognize the signs that spring was around the corner.  I remember dragging granny out of the house by her skirt-tails to see the tiny green leaves on the hydrangea or the necks of  the daffodils bent reverently…holding the heavy bloom that couldn’t wait to show itself.  I remember the heady smell of hyacinth that hadn’t quite bloomed yet, but was so anxious to show itself that its scent preceded it out of the sheath.

I finally finished putting my Ostara altar together yesterday.  There were a few things I was waiting on.  A friend had promised delivery of some blown out quail eggs and an antler.  I was so excited to see the box sitting inside the courtyard Friday that I could hardly contain myself.  I arranged some of the eggs carefully into a wooden bowl onto some lime green reindeer moss that I had and put the antler behind it.  I pulled out two of my favorite lavender-colored candles that are scented with jasmine, put some of my favorite amethysts and other crystals around…as well as my ‘keys to success.’  I lit the candles and just sat in front of the altar absorbing the peace and power that flooded the room.

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Growing up, I remember the feelings that Easter stirred in me.  Many times, we would go as a family to a local sunrise service given by one of the many churches in the area.  One service that remains vivid in my brain was one called the ‘God/ Goddess of Creation.’  The service was done in the midst of a field and during the prayer we were all encouraged to close our eyes and take in the sounds and smells of creation around us.  The service was presented by a female pastor who included the Goddess in all of her sermons….thinking back, I am quite amazed that my parents allowed us to stay and be a part of it…..and I also know that this was my first exposure to the thought that if, indeed, there is a God, that there must also be a Goddess.  Needless to say, I took that and ran with it.

I haven’t been feeling well this weekend.  It is just a cold brought on by the change in seasons.  I have lived the past few days hopped up on Alka Seltzer Plus Cold and Elderberry Tea.  More than anything, it is just an inconvenience….but I have been sleeping in in the mornings.  Last night around midnight, I felt the need to go to the woods.  I have found that when the woods call, I have to listen.  I sneaked out while everyone was just starting to doze off.  I carried my flashlight and necessities.  I could feel dampness moving in and knew that today would bring rainshowers.  As I walked, I listened.  I could hear a familiar crow caw.  I think that city living has left Mama Crow’s inner clock a little tightly wound.  Then again, one of the names of this full moon is the Full Crow Moon.  I love the different names that Mama Moon lives with.  Humans will fight all day long over those names….I guess she really doesn’t care as long as we do call on her.

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I got my altar ready….everything in its place.  I lay down with my cloak wrapped around me, shielding me from that heavy feeling of dampness.  I placed my hand tenderly against the earth.  I touched…I listened.  Oh yes….the Earth Mother’s belly is full to the point of bursting. The Lord of the Hunt started the preparation weeks ago.  I lift my head and sniff like a scent hound on the trail of a rabbit.  I can smell the earth ready to be reborn.  I can smell the seeds ready to show themselves.   The plants are excited about showing off their new spring collections.  My preparations seem small when I think about the grand party that the Earth Mother will give to usher in another season of renewal.

I close my eyes and listen.  I inhale.  It is as if I take in the breath of the Earth herself.  I have been stressed in the past week.  I have held onto things that need releasing.  As I listen and breathe, I realize that I am holding onto things that need to be released.  As  I breathe out, I can hear Mama Crow in the background…laughing.  She’s not laughing at me.  She is laughing with me…she wants to share the joy that comes with release and rebirth and renewal.

We, as humans, have become adept at hiding the things that make us vulnerable.  We can’t let anyone see us in our weakness.  The earth is so much more transparent.  You can’t hide when a tree has been uprooted or cut down.  That sparrow that died from falling during its fledging doesn’t just disappear.

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One thing that I have come to realize over the years is that when the root of the problem is hidden, so are the blooms from the solution….and yes there are definitely going to be thorns in between.  There is so much inside of each one of us…potential waiting to bloom forth, but we have forgotten to listen for the signs of the birthing.   We have stopped closing our eyes and just listening to what is moving around us.

In my own life, I have found that it is now time to stop pretending and time to bloom.  For me, that means no more letting myself get in the way of the power that is trying to show itself.  It is time to stop making excuses and just move forward.  It is time to let that which has been sleeping the winter away, wake up and lead me into darkness, light, dusk or dawn….wherever I will find the most wonderful, undefinable magick and utilize it.

I have finally realized…Life is not about the “Once Upon A Time’s” and the “Happy Endings.”  It is about the adventure in between.  The alarm has gone off….it is time to wake up and be about the business of magick.  I am not hitting ‘Snooze’ anymore.

Blessed Be!

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