Getting Over Yourself and Coming Clean

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Tonight, I was making Shepherd’s Pie for my partner and roommate.  As I stood at the cutting board just chopping away at the onion, I felt the knife slice through the tip of my thumb.  I cringed…I don’t do well with human blood in general…or pain.  My first reaction was to run to the bathroom and grab the bottle of hydrogen peroxide (a leftover from my mother).  I stood over the sink and poured it over my thumb, screeching like a banshee from the burn.  I wasn’t thinking about the pain that would come….all I could think of was cleaning the wound.  I watched the peroxide bubble around the cut and after watching the bleeding stop, I brushed NuSkin over it.  Again, I screamed because of the burn.

I realized that lately life has been about cleaning out the grime of the past, and moving forward.  Has it been painful? Quite. I have made some decisions lately that haven’t been so popular with those around me, but they are things that I have had to do for myself.

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For the past few months, I have been a part of a lifestyle change.  I have detoxed, I have exercised, I have eaten more fruits and vegetables than I have ever eaten.  I have been working with our company’s nutritionist and her goals for me are to resolve the issues I have been dealing with for ages.  Through the work done, I am no longer snoring, my reflux is gone…many positive changes are happening.  The most significant is weight loss.  When I started the program, I was at my heaviest….343 pounds.  My doctor offered encouragement as we went through the physical for the program.  “You are the healthiest obese person I have ever seen.”  Yes….this offered so much hope.

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When we started the program, we took before pictures.  With this, you are forced to face yourself with a constant reminder of where you started.  I keep this picture of my gut on the fridge, on my computer at work, and on the bathroom mirror.  The program lasts a year and as we enter a new step, we dig into the reasons that we gained the weight to begin with.  I have shared many of the processes that I have gone through over the past months here in the blog.

I have cut out refined sugars, most of my caffeine (I have to have coffee every so often), and as of late, my nutritionist has asked me to stop eating meat products for a bit.  I am on a fruit and vegetable diet for almost two weeks now.

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Living on just fruits and vegetables and vegan protein has been a challenge to say the least, but I do have to say that my body does feel better.  I feel cleaner….but there are some days that I would cut a bitch just for a porkchop.  As a result of this program, I have lost 45 pounds to date.  I have been learning how to deal with the stresses of life by working out and pursuing new ventures.  I go tomorrow to start an archery class…I have also taken wood-carving classes.  If I keep it up, I may truly become a renaissance man.

I have also made more of an effort to spend more time outside.  Summertime in Georgia can tend to make this a bit challenging.  I have had to learn that when I want the solitude and calm and renewing, that I need to go out really early or really late.  I have been exploring parts of Atlanta that I never knew existed.  I have hiked Red Top Mountain.  I have found small wooded parks and small man-made lakes or creeks to enjoy.

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I have been trying lately to find local stables where I can go riding.  There is nothing more freeing than moving through life on the back of a horse.  When you are moving with that horse energy, it is the closest I can imagine to flying.

As the photo earlier stated, I have been on a complete detox…Spirit, mind and body.  I am realizing that there is so much garbage that I allow to become a part of my life.  I have set aside the drama of others.  This is a feat within itself….especially in this time of constant accessibility.  I have had to learn to put my phone down, to navigate Facebook gingerly, and to leave television almost completely out of the picture.  Isolation?  Hardly.  If I lived in the days of old, I would move into an old cottage in the woods…only me and the animals…that would be isolation.

Last night, I settled into one of the pieces of furniture in the courtyard.  Just me, the moon, the stars.  My mind felt awake…my body felt alive.  I stared into the darkness above me dotted with diamond-like bursts of pure energy.  I could hear the cicadas singing in my ears.  It was in that moment that it felt as if the earth and her sister elements were singing their own spells over me.  The air smelled of the lemon and eucalyptus oil that I use to repel bugs…citrus-y and bright.  My roommate knew I was out there and opened the door to let Friz out.  I lifted him into my lap and we lay curled up on that glider as the moon washed over us.

I have a blue and a green andara crystal that I carried outside with me.  The blue is said to bring powerful connection with the celestial realms.  The green is said to hold the energy of magick.  It brings forth vision and manifestation and holds ancient knowledge.  It awakens the wisdom of the grandmothers.  As I sat there holding them, I meditated on the energies they held.  I pulled that energy into myself and into my little blue chihuahua.  As I closed my eyes, I could hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear.  No words….just a soft humming.  It was the way it used to be when I would curl up in her lap as a child and she would sing as I drifted off to sleep.

I started to fade into a peaceful, wonderful, magickal sleep and could hear Friz softly snoring in my lap.  In my dreams, I traveled to beautiful places…places I had never been to…places that only exist in dreams.  I could feel the energy of each destination enveloping me…feeding my spirit, renewing my mind.  Each place was similar but different at the same time.  With each new dream, I became strongly aware of myself and my breath.  This was the first time in so long that I was able to escape the confines of my own mind, thoughts, and feelings.  It was a feeling of being aware that there was newness around and coming toward me…almost like learning to walk again.  I received a vision of Friz as a puppy…his eyes just opening…the brightness…learning to adjust to seeing things for the first time.

As hot as it was outside, I woke up to a wonderful cooling breeze.  Friz yawned as he looked up at me…aware that we had just shared something that only magick can give.  I am constantly amazed by those that think that magick can only take place in ritual or ceremony….I am learning that if you open yourself to the possibilities, that magick will show itself in every aspect of your life.

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Society as a whole has learned to exist….surviving from one crisis to the next.  I refuse to live my life like that.  Yes, there are requirements that life has demanded, but I will not squelch that which needs to be wild, alive, and moving.

Maybe what I am feeling comes with maturity, but I am unwilling to compromise all that has risen up in me.  I grow weary of battling the attitudes of others.  Some people just seem to live their lives to piss and moan…never able to find peace with themselves and constantly driven by the drama that others and circumstances seem to throw at them.  I am learning something powerful….Silence is a powerful thing.  Most people don’t take advantage of it enough.  Silence allows us to listen to spirit.

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If I told you that you had inside of you, all the magick you would ever receive, what would you say?  Most would argue with me.  Most would take it as a challenge to their potential.  I tell you though,  you do have all the magick you will ever need….right there within your reach.  We just tend to let everything else get in the way of accessing it.  It is all a matter of getting past ourselves….letting ourselves embrace that magick.  To be blunt for just a moment….too many of us are too busy bitching and whining to look for it…or to let it surface.  I can be the same way.  Sometimes it is far too easy to complain than just get off of our broadest part and do it.  Maybe some of us just need to get a little more gumption about us.

I refuse to live my life rolling over and playing dead.

Blessed Be!

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The Season of the Lion

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As we come into the season of Lughnasadh, we have moved into the astrological sign of Leo.  Since my birthday actually falls on Lughnasadh, I have always felt this time of year brought more strength and more power into my life and to my path in the Craft.  I have spent this past week journeying into the soul of the Lion and looking at his attributes.  One book that I have been reading is Steven D. Farmer’s “Animal Spirit Guides.”  Here is what he says about the mighty Lion:

If Lion shows up, it means:

Hold your head up high and keep your dignity, no matter what you’re faced with.

You’re much stronger than you think you are and need to use your emotional strength in this situation.

Call upon the well of courage that’s available to you to confront this uncomfortable situation.

Listen closely and discern carefully before acting, rather than moving ahead impulsively and recklessly.

When faced with a tough decision, follow your heart rather than what you think you should do.

Call on Lion when:

You feel particularly stressed or beaten down by any situation and want to boost your sense of power and self-confidence to deal with these circumstances.

Your dignity and integrity have been called into question and you want to recapture your self-respect.

You’ve been called upon to assume a position of authority and leadership.

You’ve taken on a project that at first seems overwhelming, even though you know you have the necessary skills and intelligence to complete it.

If Lion is your power animal: 

You have a strong presence and a dignified manner, such that people always notice when you walk into a room.

Although your anger can sometimes be triggered rather easily, you generally have a great deal of compassion for others.

You’re a natural leader and have great organization skills.

You’re at your best when you function as part of a group or community rather than being alone.

You like to stretch your capabilities and are always seeking to learn more.

As I read through this passage in the book, I realized that different energies encompass us at different times based on our need.  While the thoughts behind having Lion as your power animal definitely seems to ring true to those who are born under the sign of Leo, there are other animals that walk beside me on a more consistent basis…however, I do feel that lion power ever presently watching over my shoulder, always instilling in me my sense of self.

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As we walk through day to day life, we encounter those things that constantly tear at our spirits.  We are bombarded with words and images that tell us that we are less than we should be.  Those who we thought were friends or lovers rip our hearts out and stomp them, either unaware of what they are doing or vindictively trying to hurt us.  It is in these trying times that we should pull on the strength of Lion.  He stands dutifully guarding us, poised to attack anything that comes against us.  He stands in quiet strength until we decide to access that part of our spirit…and then he readies himself for the kill.

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This year has been a year that this Leo has had to learn to roar, and roar loudly.  Over the past two years there has been a series of new beginnings in my life.  Each time one of these new opportunities surfaced, there was a part of me that wanted to shrink back and settle into the background of life.  Each time, an advocate, human and spirit would intervene…pushing me to the forefront, encouraging me to fight, to meet each beginning head on with strength and courage.  Whenever I rose to the challenge, success became imminent and a new challenge would follow.

I watched over the past couple of years as my life started to build on itself like a magickal staircase….each opportunity building on the one before it.  The more I rose to the challenges, the more I felt something begin to build inside of me.  I found that the little annoyances of life seemed not to be such annoyances anymore and they started to work themselves out.  I found that the way I carried myself was evolving, and as a result, the way people responded to me changed.  I observed those who used to challenge me, no longer challenged me.  These people, figuratively speaking, started moving out of my way to let me pass.

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With each success, though, there were different challenges.  These challenges seemed to be more internal.  I have been a part of the business world for as long as I have been working.  I have come to realize that the success of the business is not necessarily  attributed to the customers.  It comes from those who work internally.  If they don’t work together and take care of that business, the customers just won’t come.  It was the same with me.  When stresses would appear in my life, my body would attempt to break down.  I would become sick or end up hurt in some way…or have some past emotional garbage try to surface.  It was in these times that I had to stop and realize (or have it pointed out to me) what was going on and to deal with the issue and press forward.  In my own weakness, I found more strength than I actually thought I possessed.

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As I said earlier, this has been my year to learn to roar.  In my study of the lion, I have realized that a roar is not a yell…it is not strained.  It is simply a different part of the lion’s voice…and is a part of who they are.  According to Nature Center Magazine, “A male lion may roar to let the other members of the pride know that all is well. The female lion’s roar is usually different than the male’s roar. They are much quieter than the large male lions. A female can call out for roaming or lost cubs, and she can give a roar to bring the other adult pride memebers back to help in case of danger.  So a lion’s roar can be explained rather simplistically. It is used to communicate with the rest of the pride. It’s like a quick status update or a call to come home.”   Solitary lions tend to stay quiet. Only those who belong to a pack tend to roar.

I had no idea until I began my studies that female lions roared.  We are always shown the male lion roaring on documentaries.  I found it fascinating that the male roar was more for status updates…the females roar, however, was to call for those roaming or lost or as an alert for danger.  Most see the female as the more docile in the pride, but it their responsibility to guard the pride and to teach the cubs to hunt.  The females of the pride do almost all of the hunting.

As I walked to the woods this morning with Friz in tow, I could feel the heat of the summer breeze hard on the back of my neck.  It is funny, my grandma used to refer to that type of breeze this time of year as the lion’s breath or the dragon’s breath.  My mind ran in circles as I got closer to the canape of trees.  As each month of this year has passed, I have become more aware of myself…not just who I am, but what lies deep within me.  I have been getting more and more acquainted with my authentic self.  I have to admit….I like this part of myself tremendously.  I have found that part of myself to be strong, compassionate and unfaltering.  I have found that part of myself to be more open to others, but uncompromising as far as who I am.  I love harder, deeper and with more abandon…but I am not willing to be bypassed or stomped on.

As I settled down into the bed of leaves beneath me, I could feel something welling up inside of me this morning.  I was feeling the rumblings of my own roar.  It wasn’t surging forward to threaten anyone.  It was leaping forth to say, “Here I am.  Like me or not, this is me and I am more than happy with where I am and what lies ahead.  My spirit is strong and my teeth are sharp.  I stand strong and will not let my heart falter.  I stand strong in my own freedom.”

Blessed Be!

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Aching Joints, Calloused Feet…But Hard-Headed As Hell

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I have heard it said more than once lately that most witchcraft has become nothing more than fluff.  I think this school of thought comes about because there are some out there who aren’t willing to see past their own noses.  The Craft comes in all shapes and sizes.  I have come to realize, through my journey, that there are as many types of witchcraft or paganism as there are dialects…nationalities.  Are any of them 100% right?  Completely and not at all.  What may be the right path for one person, may be completely wrong for someone else.  Out of all of my friends, none of us practice our Craft exactly the same.

Now I have friends who practice “Love and Light.”  I also have friends who practice shamanism…others who practice Voudou…others who practice chaos magick.  Do I understand all of these areas of the Craft?  No…I don’t even pretend to….but I don’t discount the power in any of the methods.  To me, magick is like a recipe.  Everyone and their brother is going to have a different way of making a recipe.  They are all going to taste different and look different…but you still call a cake, a cake.  As long as the work is put in, there will be results.

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As I have said before, I tend to be my own worst enemy.  My body or thoughts or something is going to try to get in my way.  I tend to be that person who will walk, but constantly look behind.  As I told someone today, constantly looking behind us only causes us to stumble over ourselves.  This week, I have been having a time with the things that tend to come with getting old.  Things like this always seem to happen when something new surfaces in my life.  I am in the midst of a new position at work and also in preparation for the possibility of moving to London in a couple of years to start a new office.  My knees have taken the wonderful opportunity in the past two weeks to feel as though they are crumbling.  I know that it is more than likely some arthritis kicking in, but they still hurt.

My first thought was to sit and complain and to focus on the pain, but the golden tongue of Maluna kept resonating in the back of my head.  I went out on Thursday night, bought a knee brace and some Aleve and have been plugging on.  I have found that plugging on keeps your brain from being pre-occupied with how it feels…and once I am engaged in other things, the pain isn’t as bad.  Am I hard-headed? Yes, but there is too much to accomplish.  I don’t have the time or the energy to sit and whine….and yes I know there are many witches out there that are the exact same way.  I have friends who deal with fibromyalgia, depression…etc.  Do you think any of that slows them down?  Not in the least.  Witches are a strong-willed bunch.

Last night, our air conditioning broke.  Now for late July in Georgia, that is not a good thing. As I lay in bed perspiring with the fan pointed toward the dogs and cats and my partner,  I wanted to whine.  Being a child of Lughnassadh (meaning I was born on August 1st), one would think that I would be a child of the sun….relishing the warmth that it brings through that harvest.  Not on your life.  I do not like to feel hot….can’t stand that nasty wet feeling of humidity.  That is why I retreat to the woods….so that I am covered by a canopy of leaves…can feel the coolness of the leaf strewn ground.  I happened to have only gotten an hours worth of sleep last night in that glorious sweat inducing room, so I lay there and tried to ponder magickal things.

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My mind went to different potions I could make….different spells to write and try…my mind even pondered shape shifting.  By 5am, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I woke Friz up and we went for an early trek to the woods.  This morning, however, I had to grab my staff.  My knee was acting up like nobody’s business.  I had to laugh.  Now as we walked, Friz was the one walking normally and I was the one gimping along.  I told him that we were just like the old wizard and his wolf walking the path of the ancients.  I heard my grandma laugh in my ear, “Anybody else would have gone to the doctor.  You are one hard-headed something!”  I have lived most of my life with most of my family and those close to me thinking I was hard-headed.  Everyone around me knew better than to ever tell me that I couldn’t do something….I would die trying.  My granny told me that she knew when I was little and asked her about flying…the minute she told me I couldn’t that I would be right on top of that barn.  I think back now and it is an absolute miracle that I have made it to be as old as I am.

Once we made to the woods, I sat down and breathed in the smell of the air around me.  The woods never smell stale or stagnant to me….there is always movement and newness there.  I came needing communion this morning.  I needed nature more than I had ever needed it before.  Once you find yourself drowning in technology, sometimes you have to be submerged even deeper into those things natural to combat what residuals are left behind by the modern world.  I hate what so much technology has done to us.  We keep our noses buried so deeply in our phones now that we ignore the people around us.

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I always take my shoes off when we get into the woods and I noticed Friz was licking at one of the callouses on the ball of my foot.  My granny had those same type of callouses.  She always told me that it came from a love affair with the Earth.  She told me that only those who were intimately acquainted with her had those callouses.  “You can always tell a person who is intimate with the Earth Mother.  They are the ones with hands and feet made rough from contact.”  I rubbed the pads of Friz’s feet.  I noticed the same rough feel…and he always smells like the outdoors.  Even my little blue chihuahua has his own magickal path.

My roommate has been baking tonight.  The smell of cake is wafting through the house.  He made my partner a “Poke Cake” for his birthday. He didn’t use the recipe that I have used all these years, but once  you bite down into it, I am sure it is going to be just as moist and just as flavorful.  My partner likes strawberry…I prefer orange.  That doesn’t make it any less of a cake or any less delicious.

Blessed Be!

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The Magick of a K.I.S.S.

As the Fourth of July approaches, I know that most would expect me to climb on my rainbow colored pedestal and expound on the events of the past couple of days.  While marriage equality is near and dear to my heart, I feel that Facebook and other media forms have afforded equality more justice than I could ever deliver.

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My dear friend Maluna said it best:

Blessings and love to everyone. I’m a simple person. I look at everyone equally. I have lived many years keeping my views to myself….it’s better than arguing….being told what to think…when I walk into a voting booth…it’s my business…my beliefs and my personal contribution to society. I choose my friends for the goodness in their hearts…nothing more. My page looks fluffy to some…cats…flowers….a healthy dose of sarcasm to balance. Recently I’ve seen many pull away from Facebook…too much negativity….I choose to scroll by the negative…and keep my page on a positive note. I’ve said before, many times, I don’t care who you love…just simply love and respect your partner. Same-sex marriages are rights and laws….now you can get divorced and do battle…and lawyers will make money off you all too. (sarcasm inserted here)….the people of this country seem to take a step forward for rights….and step back for the controversy over a flag and what it stands for. Face it…people are just hell bent on fighting…which leads me back to my gardens…and cats…and loving everyone…and keeping my opinions to myself…and being kind. Am I Suzyfuckinsunshine? No. I’m simple. I’m me. And I’m strong in my convictions. And I do change this world. BB

I have come to the conclusion over the past week that life really isn’t all that hard.  It is people who make it hard.  In days of old, Vikings, Celts, Native Americans, had wars.  These wars were for land, livestock, and freedom.  Now we create our own wars.  Most of the day to day wars are a result of our own bruised egos.  It is as my dear friend said so eloquently…”People are just hell bent on fighting.”

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Maluna is one of the most genuine people I have ever known.  She lives for her gardens, her cats, and most importantly…love.  She loves with complete abandon.  She invests her heart and soul into people and the magick that comes with them.  She is honest to a fault and takes you at face value.  If that is what she means by simple…then I want to be simple.

I have watched her live her life.  She is one of the few genuine people I know.  She is a witch who completely believes in “Do no harm, but take no shit.”  She has been a true friend to me.  Sending praise for the good things I accomplish, but she has also read me faster than a set of Cliff Notes.

There has been many a moonlit night that Maluna and I meet astrally in her gardens or my courtyard, or in the woods outside of our condo.  Our spirits discuss those things that matter most to us. We commune with nature and the elements.  I dare say that she has as much of a love for Friz as I do…and I feel the same about her cats…and her skunk friends that visited her last year.  The one thing that I have tried and am continually trying to learn from Maluna, is to live a simple life.  She has taught me to pull on the experience of past lives and to trust the heart of the ancients within me.  She has taught me that the spirit is as old as the universe herself, but that the same spirit has no boundaries and cannot be confined.  She has encouraged me to do things I never thought I would be able to do.

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I went to the woods this morning before sunrise.  There was a coolness to the air.  The sky was spitting mist intermittently.  That little blue chihuahua walked beside me the whole way.  His leg is getting stronger with each walk.  In my backpack I have honeysuckle candles, my crow skull, matches and spell paper. I also carried a thermos of green tea and snacks for both of us…plus a bottle of water for Friz.  I had written mini-spells on the papers, hopes, poured all the magick I had in me into those small pieces of paper.  I sat down on the ground, lit the candles and after calling to the directions and elements, I lit each slip of paper with the flame from the candle.  Friz loved watching the pieces fly up and spark as they disappeared.

I pulled out his water and biscuits and watched him contentedly enjoy each morsel, while I nibbled on whole grain toast and yogurt.  He lapped at his water and then decided to christen one of the nearby trees.  I watched him balance himself on his stronger leg.  He is such a character.  I drank my tea and lay back against another tree.  I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. I could smell the dampness of the ground…the moss surrounding the trees seemed more alive with the mist than I had ever seen it.

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Friz had joined me and was lying stock still at my side.  There was silence.  It was as if even the birds realized that this was a sacred moment.  We were still and silent for a while.  Our spirits did the communicating…nothing else was needed.  Then the silence was broken by the lonely sound of Friz leaning back baying….”Bowwoooooooo.”  Heart of a wolf, that one.  You can’t make magick any simpler than that….and trust me, it was pure magick.  We lounged on the floor of the woods a while longer, communing with the trees, birds, bugs…anything sent our way.  Friz always gets a good nap in his bed beside the sofa after a trip to the woods.

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After my errands tonight, Friz and I headed out into the courtyard.  I took a comfortable blanket and a box fan.  We lay side by side with the fan blowing over us….not exactly completely back-to-nature, but it worked.  As we lay there looking at the moon, stars, and clouds, I could hear the laughter of the fae ringing in my ears.  Friz and I both drifted off to sleep…lulled into the magickal simplicity of everything and nothing all at once.

I rest in the simplicity of living in that moment.  In that moment, there is nothing but the moon, stars, me and my dog.

Blessed Be!

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A Taste of Freedom

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During the New Moon this year, as I performed my ritual, I prayed that I would experience freedom like I have never experienced before.  There was a promotion on the horizon at work…I was hopeful.  On the other hand, I had been the ear for so much anger, bitterness…the type that makes you feel as if your skin will burn off if their words touch you.

I breathed a prayer, “Please Luna…breathe freshness and newness over your people.”  As I closed, I placed the seed from my moonflower plant in a cradle of soil on my altar.  I poured water over the seed and called for the elements to nurture everything that was lying dormant in that seed and bring it to fruition in my life….hope, growth, newness, and freedom from the shell it was housed in.

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As the week progressed, I watched New Moon Blessings manifest.  The promotion took effect today, lines of communication have been better between my partner and I,  Friz seems to be better (he hurt his leg a few weeks ago)…newness was pulsing all around me.  I can feel wonderful new changes stirring inside of me.

Today at work, I talked and laughed with new clients, had a meeting with my new team, and shared my knowledge with the ones who replaced me on my old team.  The day had been good.  At 6:00pm, I was packing my briefcase to go home…feeling content with the day’s accomplishments.  My phone rang.  I looked to see that it was my mother.  She knew it was my first day in my new position, so she was probably calling to see how my day went.

“Hey there sweetie.  It’s Mama.  I just wanted to call and tell you that your cousin died today.”  Now this wasn’t just any cousin.  This was one of the cousins who sexually abused me as a child.  My breath caught in my throat.  Suddenly, all the years of counselling came flooding back.  All the fear I felt when I first told my parents it was happening and they wouldn’t believe me.  I felt my cheeks flush…actually, I could feel every ounce of blood rushing through every vein in my body.  I didn’t know how to feel.

All at once, I was confronted with every emotion I owned…still sitting in my cube.  As I sat there not sure whether to feel sadness, elation…my mentor came up behind me and asked what was wrong.  “My cousin died,” I dryly said.  “There is more than that happening, but ok.  I am here if you need me.”  He patted me on my shoulder and smiled at me.

All the way home, all I could think of was how awful my cousin was to me.  His abuse didn’t come disguised as caring, loving…his abuse was just that.  Controlling, dominating, hateful abuse.  I am able to look back now and see that it was much of his own self-loathing surfacing, but that excuses nothing.  I have seen many in the same situations not resort to physically hurting others.  I remember the constant torment he put me through.  He would hit me and trip me.  I would go home bruised from his house as he told my parents that I was so clumsy…that my feet were too big for my body and I fell into everything.

I forgave him years ago.  I did this for myself…not for him.  He never changed.  I did.  No matter how far away I was from him, there was always something looming over me.  Forgiveness came easy, forgetting…not so much.  Dealing with the emotional scars to me was so much easier than seeing the physical scars on a daily basis.  Am I a stronger person for having dealt with this?  Yes…but no child…no adult should ever have to deal with this.

When I got older, he knew better than to mess with me.  I had come into my own and would as soon stomp him than look at him…and he always seemed to be at every family gathering.  I guarded my girls like a mama wolf when he was around.  They knew never to be alone with him, but it never stopped him from acknowledging me with that shit-eating grin that made him think he got away with something.  The other cousin who took part in this was more docile as he got older…not this one.

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As I drove home, I felt sick to my stomach…angry for feeling relief that he would no longer be standing there staring over my shoulder….sad, because this piece of shit left a wife behind (thankfully he never had children)…and thrilled that no one, ever, ever could be a part of his warped existence anymore.

I ran to the woods as soon as I got home.  I completely lost it.  As my body heaved, I could feel years of tension, years of feeling like the family guard dog, years of hatred and lack of control leaving me.  As I sat in the midst of the woods with my head resting on my arm, I felt something that I have never felt before. It was Freedom…Freedom.

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Blessed Be!

With the Heart of the Ancients

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I have been daydreaming a lot this week…more than normal. I find myself swept off to faraway lands full of forests and animals. It also seems that everyone I have been around this week has eaten a double portion of Bitchy Puddin’. In the midst of all the turmoil brewing around me, I have tried to drift away as often as possible. I have also been reading much about recognizing whether one has an old soul or not.  Apparently the Characteristics, according to one article written by Richard Crown, are as follows:

1.  You’re curious about whether or not you’re an old soul. Just the thought that you may be one strikes a chord somewhere deep inside of you.

2.  You enjoy spending time alone… a lot of it. For you, being alone is not lonely. You feel much more comfortable with your own company than by being surrounded by other, less mature souls engaged in frivolous pursuits.

3.  You tend to see the deeper meaning in every situation you encounter. You understand clearly that every event happens for a reason, that there are powerful forces at work in our lives that are not readily apparent.

4.  You make a living in an old-fashioned or artistic way. Maybe you deal in antiques or handmade artifacts or you’re an artist. Perhaps a traditional occupation like being a carpenter, farmer or a weaver appeals to you.

5.  Some of your friends are older or much younger than you, and you’re very comfortable with them. Age is not important in choosing your friends. Their level of maturity is.

6.  You enjoy being outdoors in natural surroundings. Time spent in the great outdoors in nature resets and recharges is you better than anything else.

7.  Your idea of a good read is something that stimulates your mind, provoking thought and self-examination. Spiritual books, history and philosophy are far from boring to you.

8.  You’re not interested in the National Enquirer, gossip and idle chat or football scores. You’re easily bored with popular TV and idle time wasters.

9.  You spend money on spiritual pursuits or helping others. You get more pleasure and satisfaction from spending money for a spiritual journey or meditation retreat, or on helping another person, than from buying the latest gadgets or indulging in expensive restaurants.

10.  People trust you and come to you for advice. Other people are not afraid to open their hearts to you and share their most intimate problems. They know they can trust you, confide in you and rely on your advice to help them make the best decisions.

I will admit that many of those things do describe how I am or how I feel, but I believe that there is something missing from those characteristics. I believe in the midst of all those things, there is longing…a yearning…a homesickness for certain places and certain time periods.

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I have found myself in that boat many times over the past week. I have found that when I close my eyes to rest or sleep, that visions and dreams come to me of a place long buried in my memories. I dream of an Irish countryside…of a modest hovel buried deep in the forest. There are people there that I recognize…people that I have heard stories of from my mother’s mother. A cousin, who has long since faded into family history sits at a primitive table…if I had to guess, I had made it with my own two hands. I am standing close to the fire preparing herbs and other ingredients gathered for the potion at hand. My face is furrowed with the etchings of a challenging life and my beard is scraggly, long and white. We laugh together as I speak over the pot in a language far from the butchered southern English I speak today. The brew is for one of his animals…staving off sickness. I have had this dream…this vision over and over this week.

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I have also dreamed of a woodland village deep inside the hills of North Carolina. In this vision, I am sitting in the center of a shelter made of grasses and animal skins. I listen intently as one of the young men of the village asks me for guidance as he prepares for a hunt for food. I close my eyes and I can smell the smoke of fire close by. I can feel the earth beneath me as I listen to what the spirits might tell me that could be useful for this young man.

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The dreams I have had have seemed more real to me than the reality that has manifested itself around me. With each dream…each vision…I awake with a deep yearning, a hunger to be back there. I have walked through each day with a dull ache in my chest….feeling as if had left something behind. In each dream, there is one spirit that I recognize no matter what form he may be. It is the spirit that resides inside my little blue chihuahua. In the vision of the forest cunning man, his spirit shows itself to me in the form of a fox that has taken up residence with me. In the vision of the old shaman…the Didanawisgi, I recognized his spirit in the body of the young man seeking guidance. He has been a part of many lives for me…either as familiar, charge, or teacher.

As my mind has circled this week around these visions, I am reminded of the movie “Somewhere In Time” starring Christoper Reeve and Jane Seymour…lovers, friends whose relationship transcended the boundaries of time. I can easily relate to the feeling that Reeve felt at the end as leaving the past became harder and harder. I found myself dwelling on these places…on these times. I found myself yearning for the person that peered back at me through that portal. I found myself yearning for the land around me…the coolness of the woods around me.

It is funny…as I grow older, these dreams/visions become more frequent….stronger. In these dreams, there is always a life lesson for me. Deep in that Irish forest, there is the lesson that we must always take care…protect those things we were given to keep watch over…whether it be our animals, children, family. Inside that shelter in the midst of the Cherokee village, I am taught that bravery is not something that comes to one automatically. It must be learned…it must be nurtured. I have awakened with my joints and muscles sore…as though I am older than I am, but their recovery is fast. I have also found myself looking deeper into the soul of that little blue chihuahua.

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We are told that we should train our pets…teach them to obey. But it is the soul of that little dog that teaches me patience, endurance, strength. I have watched him move in pain this week without once wincing. I have seen him show joy no matter how badly he hurt. He has listened and quietly sat with me this week with no judgment. I dare say that I have so much more to learn from him.

I lost a dear friend last weekend. His wife died almost a year ago to the day. She was the first person I came out to…the first person that I made my heart the most vulnerable toward. I spoke to him two days before he passed. Many were praying for healing…many were cursing their gods for taking him too soon. Sometimes the greatest healing takes place in the transition from one plane to another…and now he is able to walk side by side with the love of his life. I did learn something invaluable from him…find the joy in everything. Even as he spoke to me that one last time, he said to me, “I am so happy.” “Why?” I asked. “I get to be with Donna again. I have missed her so much!”

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Yes, I am an old soul. Yes, I long for the times that are embedded in my mind, heart, and subconscious. …but I have so much to do here. There are so many people depending on me that I haven’t even met yet. This life prepares me for the next. I take the lessons I have learned and the ones I have taught into the lives that follow this one. I am sure I will encounter some of you in that journey. There is one thing for sure, though, there is a little blue chihuahua that is walking beside me in each life I transition from and to.

I only hope I prove myself as faithful to him as he has shown himself to me.

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Blessed Be!

Midsummer: Sunshine, Brambleberries, Playing in the Dirt, and a Little Dab of Truth

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I am a solitary witch.  I love everything about being a solitary.  I don’t begrudge anyone who belongs to a coven…some of my dearest friends do.  This is my path and my preference.  Yesterday was spent outside…all day long.  Just me, the dogs, dirt and the Lord and Lady.  Now I am normally not a hot weather kind of guy…as a matter of fact, I abhor summer heat.  Lately, though, here in Georgia, it has been quite a mild summer.  Our days have been supplemented here and there with rainstorms and showers, so when I have been outdoors, it doesn’t seem to be as bone-drying hot.

As the Summer Solstice draws nearer, I find myself craving time in amongst the sunshine and the trees.  After the afternoon storms, the smell of wet dirt calls me seductively….begging me to run my fingers through her and to feel her shifting under my feet.  Yesterday was one of those days when it wasn’t sweltering hot and a soft breeze visited regularly just to let you know that all of the elements were out to play.  I knelt, crouched, walked, scooted over all the planted areas around the condo.  I made sure the ferns and hostas and hydrangeas inside the courtyard were comfortable and well-watered. I left a small plate with a couple of creamer cups with milk and honey just under the biggest Autumn fern for the fae.

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Then it was on to the outer courtyard wall.  I spent most of the afternoon weeding and raking and back filling as I watched the plants spring to life.  I sang and talked to the plants and the dogs as we passed the time.  The dogs were tremendous helps digging right alongside of me.  We worked until time for them to eat…I left milk and honey underneath the spiderwort this time.  The lime green leaves with the bright purple flowers remind me of a canopy that the fae would use for a party.

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I was outside until the wee hours this morning.  When I flung myself across the bed, my body was achy and stiff, but it was worth every moment.  The fact that I was exhausted with very little sleep did not keep Friz from pulling me out of the bed at 5:30 on a Sunday morning.  He knew that the woods were beckoning.  I pulled on a pair of cotton lounge pants, my sandals and a tshirt and we were set.  Candles, a thermos of coffee, and a bottle of water were stashed in my backpack.

As I unpacked the candles and coffee and settled into the dirt and leaves, I watched as Friz moved over toward a bramble bush.  I have always said that he would eat poop if it stayed still long enough…and he has.  I called him to me and he is just smacking and chewing.  He had a big ole mouth full of blackberries, or brambleberries is what we called them growing up.  I walked over toward the bramble with him and picked enough to fill my shirt front.  I drank coffee and filled up on brambleberries while Friz had water from the bottle and what seemed like just as many berries.

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After we were both stuffed, I lit the candles and called on the directions.  Then I called on the elements and then invited Mama Crow and Wolf to join.  We spoke to the Oak King bidding him peace as he moved into his time of rest.  We spoke to the Holly King and welcomed him back.  This is when I completely adore practicing alone.  I plunge headfirst into my ritual…I am immersed in the Lord and Lady.  I am laid bare before them….no pretending…no mask.  They see who I am, warts and all.  I always have those around me who will hold me accountable…trust me, I get away with nothing, but when I work magick, there is none but me, god, goddess, and all things magickal.

There have been so many changes in my life lately…wonderful, fantastical changes.  We all know, though, that even with good changes, we tend go kicking and screaming.  While our animal friends are adaptable…humans don’t adapt well.  With all the changes taking place, I have made it my goal to simplify.  Life, in general is complicated.  I found myself feeling the need to explain myself to everyone.  No one could understand what was going on and most don’t care…I only allow a few the insight needed to add their voices to my life.  I started dissolving relationships with those who insisted on elevating life to a reality series.  I cut the cords with those who sucked the life out of me harder than any vampire on True Blood.  I have endeavored to pull on as many positive aspects of my life as I can find. There is a quote that has been credited to Meryl Streep, but it is actually her quoting a quote.  It was originally written by José Micard Teixeira.   It is as follows:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep quoted it as words she lives by!  

It seems that I have spent so much of the time allotted me, trying to prove myself.  There is no need.  I only need to be true to myself…being who the universe has called me to be. I am only one person…and it is far too easy for one person to become lost in the multitudes. Life whirs by too fast.  Over my years of working with the Craft, I have learned that humans are the only creatures who don’t take things at face value.

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I am exactly who I am supposed to be.  There is no time for closets anymore.  Everyone who knows me, knows I am gay.  A select group know that I am a witch.  No more pretending.  It is time to stand in the sunlight and let the midsummer sun shine through us and show us as we really are.

Blessed Be!