Tying Yourself Up With Your Own Rope

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Many times when we witches use the word banish, most of the world around pictures large ominous black clouds behind us and a cauldron with large billowing fumes pouring forth. We chant hardcore chants and screech toward the sky as the banishing takes place. It sends that which we see as a threat deep into the abyss of nothingness for eternity.

Banishing to me, is just another coin of a phrase. It is simply relinquishing, releasing, letting go. Granted, this is something I don’t have completely under my belt yet, but this has been a week of lessons about release and letting go.

We will start with the first of many hard lessons. I have a dear sweet Cherokee grandma who is on her deathbed right now. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t make her out to be a saint….this woman is a fighter…or as a dear friend calls her, a warrior. She is sweet when she wants to be….her words can drown you in syrup when she desires….or she can be tough and as strong and protective as an old grizzly bear mama. This week, however, has shown her in a place between the two worlds. Her mind and spirit are ready to move into the summerlands, but her body–as tired as it is, still has fight in it.

I visited her last month and she and I had “the talk.” She told me in her own way that she wouldn’t be around when I came home next. She told me that it was “her time to move on.” I knew inside that it was true. It hurt me tremendously, but I knew I had to say my goodbyes then. We hugged many times during that visit and most of those hugs held a little longer than normal. When we kissed and hugged at the door as I left, we both told the other how much we loved each other and knew that it was from a place inside that was so raw and real with emotion that it felt like it wrapped us both up into it. I eased into the front seat of the car and I felt in the deepest part of my being a release…..it was then I handed her spirit over and knew that it would be taken care of. That doesn’t mean I won’t feel it when she actually passes. It just means that I have released her spirit to move on when it needs to.

Another hard lesson I had this week was in regards to my own anger. Once again, I allowed something at work to piss me off more than it should. My blood pressure had been playing the up and down games that it normally plays when I am stressed. I am standing in the hallway of the animal clinic I work at. I watch as a puppy is getting angry at its own leash. It starts winding itself through the leash until it is completely tangled up. It is now lying on the ground unable to move. At that moment it hit me. I am just like that puppy. I am letting things that are only an aggravation wrap itself around me until I can’t move, think, or function. I am tying myself up with my own rope. The people that I was aggravated and angry with could care less. I was the one getting worked up. I was the one causing my own frustration. If I had just moved past the initial aggravation, that rope would have loosened up and I could have escaped.

I have to be brutally honest at this point. Letting go of something can be the easiest thing in the world. It can be as easy as letting a balloon go flying out of our hands and into the sky. It can be. I am one of those people that sometimes, just as the balloon escapes my fingertips, likes to jump up and grab that string back.

I was confronted by another issue this week that I thought I had released. I have talked about my last partner who died a few times in here. Well, there were some money issues that were left with me when he died. This week, those issues came back to try and haunt me for a bit. I found myself grabbing hold of that balloon string. I was angry…..I also realized I was just a tad bitter and I had not forgiven him for putting me in that situation. Now, this is where I will throw a little of what I learned in bible school out. I used to always hear that once God forgave you, that he forgot your sin. Me, being the nosy-assed thing that I was went and researched that. I had always been told that you “forgive and forget.” Well, like I said, I researched that information and found out that the translation was not to forget….which is an unconscious effort, but it was “to choose not to remember.” Now that action takes some work.

So, me and Jim had a talk this week. I sat down with that memory and released that bitterness and anger and I forgave that boy. Now honestly, I don’t really think it affected him one way or another, but with me, it loosened some of those ropes. I began to realize that there were so many other strings I was holding onto with so many other people, so I decided it was a good week for a new beginning. I loosened up some more ropes. I could feel myself lightening up. Not so much anger inside…..the blood pressure wasn’t flying up as often.

I remember as a little boy, my grandma would take me out into the woods. We would watch and listen to the animals and the sounds the woods made. One afternoon, I caught a butterfly. I was a mean little kid then. I wanted to put it in a jar. Granny always carried a mason jar in her apron to collect plants and all kinds of goodies in the woods. She told me that day, “You don’t want to put that butterfly into a jar. It don’t do nothin’ there. It just sits.” She put the butterfly into the jar and sure enough, it didn’t move. At that point, she takes the butterfly out and as he sits on her finger, she waves it. The butterfly takes off and she laughs. “That’s what they are supposed to do! They fly! Don’t ever let anybody clip your wings boy! You fly just as high as that butterfly every day of your life.” I never forgot that lesson….and no one has ever clipped my wings.

Lessons don’t always show us the shiny side of our own coin. Sometimes we have to be the one to take out the rag and scrub it. But if you work at it hard enough, I can promise it will always come clean. I had to be taught again this week how to let go….but I also had to be taught to choose not to remember those things that had made me feel so compromised.

I am still flying granny. Sweet dreams!

Remembering How to Fly…

I got a hard wake up call last night. The roomie and I were walking through Target when this sweet looking little old lady stopped us. She said, “You are both two pretty big fellas. I don’t know that I would want to mess with either of you.” Then she pointed at me and said, “Especially you!” As we started away from her laughing, she turned to us and sweetly said, “Father and son?” She gestured toward me for the father comment. I am only three years older than the roomie. I really had to squelch the thought of wanting to bitch-slap an old lady in those few moments. Again, in those few moments, the roomie spoke some truth that was hard to hear. “You know, you do act older than you used to. You used to laugh alot more….you used to be alot more fun.” I walked away feeling like the one who was bitch-slapped.

Now, it is true that the different trials and tribulations that we tend to face as we age can, as the little saying that is out there goes, dull your sparkle. I just didn’t think my sparkle was so dull. This all made me think of a certain scene from the movie “Hook.” The kids were all sitting around the table trying to get an adult Peter Pan to remember how to use his imagination. One of the kids said out loud, “Awww, he’s forgotten how to play!” The kids then encourage Peter to use his imagination to conjure up a fanciful feast. After some word to word combat with one of the kids, what ensues is a huge imaginary food fight.

I can remember, as a child, swiping mama’s broom out of the utility room and running around the yard with it between my legs, laughing as loud as I could and screaming that I was flying. As adults, we forget to throw ourselves into things with complete reckless abandon. We forget how to be completely inappropriate. Children say whatever comes to mind. Children don’t care what they look like when they do things. Embarrassment is not something that is a part of our make-up. It is something that is learned. Fear is not a part of our make-up. It is also something that is reenforced as we mature. Think about this one long and hard…..If you have a fear of spiders, imagine what your life would be like if you never knew what a spider looked like or what it could do. Would you be afraid of it?

I watched the dogs playing tonight. They were completely lost in the ecstasy of chewing on each other and chasing each other and barking at the top of their voices. They didn’t care that they were making the cats nervous or that the neighbors might hear them. They were enjoying the reckless abandon of play. Adult humans forget how to play. We worry about our next paycheck or the next bill or whether our supervisor sees us as something expired past our “use by” date.

We are often so caught up in all the things around us that we can’t even muster a good belly laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you actually might have peed a little? Or when did you last abandon your dignity enough to climb on a see-saw in the middle of the playground?

A friend of mine was talking about all the things she was able to experience at a street festival today…..It brought back memories of another friend. This friend had a tumor on her pituitary gland when she was younger so it affected the way her brain “aged” so to speak. She was always asking me to go to fairs and festivals and all kinds of things that most adults are through with. I remember one night in particular at our county fair. There was a ride called the bullet. Now that night, not only had she stuffed me with every kind of carny food known to man, but she stuffed my rather substantial ass into “The Bullet.” I was wedged in so tight that I could barely breathe. The ride spun and slung and twisted and I could feel every ounce of that food churning. When the ride stopped, I realized I was stuck like a sausage inside of this metal tube. The guy manning the controls pulled and pushed and did all he could to get me loose, but it wasn’t happening. I was laughing and crying and screaming all in one breath. I finally resigned myself to the fact that they were going to have to call for the jaws of life to release me from my metal prison. I visualized the headlines of the local paper the next day and I screamed louder. All of a sudden something loosened and I poured out like melted butter in the dirt. I laid there laughing so hard that I forgot how embarrassed I was.

So this morning, I woke up in a real pissy mood. It stayed that way for most of the day. Finally at about 5 o’clock I had gotten damn tired of it. I went into the closet and dug out my fanciest besom. I took it into the courtyard, climbed on top of the yard sofa, and jumped and ran around the courtyard. I really didn’t give a double damn about who might have heard or seen me. I needed it. I needed to do something with complete reckless abandon. And I needed to laugh at myself doing it…..and I did.
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The Wild Man In the Woods

When I was back home last, I was able to sneak away and re-live some moments that were distinctly mine.  I disappeared for a few hours into my woods.  These woods were the woods of my childhood.  These were the woods where I first experienced the Fae.  Where I first heard the call of the wind and the earth.  These were the woods where I first communed with the water spirits and where I would sit at night and watch the fire, which I had built for warmth, dance around me unabashedly. This was where I learned to, at first, mimick that dance and later was the same place that dance took root in my spirit.  All of this reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music when Maria was reprimanded for climbing the mountain outside the convent.  Mother Superior asked her what would happen if she had gotten lost.  “Oh, mother, I could never get lost up there, that’s my mountain, I was brought up on it,…It was the mountain that led me to you.”  I feel the same way about my woods.  They are the woods that brought me to Goddess.

When I visit home, it is very hard for me to get a minute to myself.  I have often hungered for time to visit my woods.  This time the visit would be filled with more Magick than I had ever experienced there.  As a child, we often fantasize about things Magickal.  We eventually dismiss them in our adulthood as something that could have never happened.  I visualized many things out there as a child…..I saw myself as Merlin of Camelot and the old pond out in the middle of the woods was, of course, the home of the Lady of the Lake.  The many critters that would scurry past became the dwarves and fairies and gnomes that I just knew were supposed to be a part of day to day life.  Oh if I had only known then……through the eyes of a child.  Children believe without seeing.  It is only in adulthood that we are told that we should see to believe.

As I said earlier, I was able to sneak out to these woods on a hot, muggy Saturday evening.  I laughed to think that most of the adults in the area were afraid of those old woods.  They were horrified that a wildcat might come after them….or what about an old coyote.  As I entered the edge of the woods, I could feel the years melt away from me. I could feel the Magick of my enchanted forest whirling and twirling around me.  Once again, I could hear the fae shuffling through the leaves around my feet.  I walked a little more gingerly…..couldn’t step on them.  I got into the center of the grove of oaks that I used to play around.  It was like seeing old friends.  I could hear the very breath of the trees as they welcomed me back.  Just like it is with our oldest friends, we picked up right where we left off.  I settled in against the largest tree and could feel the energy coursing through me. I began to call the beings around me….and should I have even been surprised….one of the biggest old crows settled into the tree across from me.  We both chatted and cackled and laughed…..back in the distance I could hear the brush of what I was sure was deer slowly but gracefully checking out this wierd human sitting in their midst.  At that moment, Cernunnos came to my mind.  I called on him and thanked him for the ability to be in his midst.  I remembered to bring out offerings for the fae and for the God and Goddess of the forest.  Such a peaceful time.

Suddenly, though, I felt the Wild Man stirring up inside of me.  Thankfully those woods are isolated….but then again, I really didn’t care whether or not I scared the neighbors.  I jumped up and stripped off every stitch of clothing I had on and made a running jump for that pond out in the middle of those trees.  It is probably a good thing I don’t scare easily because when I jumped in, I scared something out of the water…..still can’t tell you what it was…it moved really fast.  So here is a 46 year old man splashing in this pond like some kind of crazy person.  I was laughing and giggling like I was 7 again.  It really was such a wonderful time.  I stayed in that water until I started to prune up real good…..felt so good on that muggy evening.  I am sure the Lady of the Lake was ready for me to go by then.  I trodded up the bank and back to my oak tree.  I found some rocks and built a little circular pit….got me some sticks and leaves and thankfully had taken a box of mama’s kitchen matches.  I built me a small fire to dry myself out.  I watched those flames dance and move and enjoy themselves that it just got the best of me.   I got up and started dancing with them!  Then the thought popped into my head what I must look like…..an old, fat, hairy nekkid man dancing in the twilight by a fire.  I got tickled and started to laugh out loud…..then it hit me…..I am doing the exact same thing the ancients used to do.  I was doing nothing more or nothing less than enjoying the world around me which had been created by the loving hands of a Wild Horned God and Powerful Goddess.  In that moment, my heart connected with all the witches and sorcerers and wise men who had ever existed and I could feel that power rising.  I could feel that energy breathing all around me.  At that moment, I felt as if I was flying into the branches of my friend the oak tree.  It was a moment that I never wanted to forget…..just me, those woods, the fae, the wildlife, and the God and Goddess.

At the end of my time in those wonderful woods, I got dressed and thanked the elements and the Lord and Lady, and moved slowly back to the farm.  My heart, that night, constantly giggled and laughed in remembrance of all that had transpired.  In that moment, I think I realized….sometimes you just have to say what the hell, strip down and go running nekkid in the woods. 

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Frazzled Witches

Today’s world is what I have come to call a 24/7 society. I remember as a child that most businesses closed by 6pm in the evening and only some were open on Saturday until 6pm or 7pm and nothing was open on Sunday. Then again, that was small town life in the Bible belt. It just seemed easier then to get some solitude.

If you look at the lives of the ancients, most of them lived away from the towns, either close to or in the woods and forests. I look at them now and I think of how smart they were—even though at that time it was done for survival reasons. Unfortunately, as witches today, most of us are thrown right into the midst of day to day jobs away from home. We are nurses, veterinary assistants, domestic engineers, factory workers, teachers….you name it, the list goes on.

I have found that I can compare my life to those of the ancients in certain ways. They worked from sun-up to sundown–whether in the fields or at jobs in the town they travelled to. They dealt with the constant stress of survival. Oh, so we don’t deal with that, huh? Looked at your checkbook in the last 24 hours? Wondered where money was going to come from for the power bill? Wondered just how few groceries you can get by on this week? And of course, how certain is that job that seems to be stressing you out? Survival.

The ancient witches and wisemen had to do their rituals in secret to avoid persecution. Some of us live our lives with a “Fuck it” mentality. “If they don’t like what I am doing, they don’t have to watch.” I tend to fall in that category. But there are still those of us who are in the broom closet. Everything comes in its own time. So there is still that “What if someone finds out I am a witch” thought that lingers over some. Again, stress.

We, as witches and energy workers, have got to take time today to recharge. Remember here, I have five fingers pointing back at myself. I have heard for years and years that you become like those people you spend the most time with. Think about that for a moment. If we spend more time just hanging out with our gods and goddesses—–who do we become like??

I find that in my frazzled times, it is important for me to call on the elements….but most importantly the element that I most identify with. When I need to recharge, I am most likely going to build a small fire in my cauldron (no matter how hot it is) and I will lie in the dirt close by it and just let goddess do whatever she needs to at that time. As a matter of fact, I will often speak out, “My dear lovely Lady, I am empty right now. I have nothing left of myself inside of me. Do what you will and what you need to do.” I will hold my wand close to my heart….the tip is aqua aura ( I understand that this stone is to bring out your inner beauty). I absorb the energy of the fire, the earth, the air, and I will also keep water with me to constantly drink as to bring that element into me.

On Lammas, which was also my birthday, I did a very heavy-duty ritual. I had been going through a very rough time myself and was just finally back to normal, so I decided to give back. I spent my time in circle, did my drawing down of the moon, did energy work for those that I knew were in need, and did my weather witching. I danced in celebration of the harvest. Just as I was about to close circle, I distinctly heard the voice of the goddess say to me, “This is just as good a time as any to go ahead and soak up a little extra energy.” I poured myself out onto the ground and I could feel her using the power of the moon to fill in the cracks and crevices that were left over from an exhausting week. I felt like I was positively glowing when I finished. Goddess gave me another gift that night. She gave me the first blossom on my moonflower plant. It glowed gloriously in the moonlight.

I went to bed that night revived. As I slept, I dreamed wonderful dreams. I dreamed that my partner and I were walking hand in hand in a cave where the walls were all aqua aura crystals. The floor was amethyst. We walked and smiled at each other as our fur-babies walked quietly in a circle around us. This was an important dream of healing. You see, he and I had some really rough times over the past couple of weeks. There were times that we wondered if we were still supposed to be together.

I had another dream that night. I dreamed about a wonderful friend of mine. I know that, he too, had been a bit frazzled. In that dream, I saw him as plain as day sitting in a creek-bed. He was doing magick. He had a beautiful blue stone with him. I felt the need to ask him the next morning if he had an affinity to any particular stone. He did mention aquamarine and amethyst, but later I got a text that told me that he had received a piece of pale blue celestite in the mail. He went to the creek to work some magick. It was a time of renewal for him.

I know when we don’t feel like ourselves, that those are the times we don’t really want to do anything. Those are the times that it is most important to spend time with the Lord and Lady. Those are the times the most can be done with you because you are empty, tired, undone. Those are the times that Magick truly can happen in the most wonderful ways!
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