Walking Backwards

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Yesterday morning was overcast.  There was a bit of a drizzle of rain as Friz and I made our way to the pond.  I needed the pond yesterday.  This week has been a rough one all the way around.  Wrenches were thrown into everyday life, clients were more irate than usual…..I was yelled at more all week than I have been all year.

My mind, my body and my spirit were tired.  I felt more drained than I have in a long time.  It is a feeling that you have been beaten so much that you just don’t know if you can get back up.  My neck and shoulders hurt from carrying the stress of the week in them.

Friz could sense every bit of this on the walk.  He was more subdued than he has ever been.  He padded along softly beside me, knowing where we were headed.  When we got to the pond, we found a stump where one of the trees had been.  I know for a fact that the tree wasn’t dead, but the maintenance folks around here have been cutting down trees with a vengeance this week.  This just added to my tension.  I felt something welling up inside me and a muffled sob came to surface. 

I could feel so many thoughts rifling through my mind.  The first was that humans just don’t know how to leave things alone.  Everything has to fit into our way of thinking.  We have to squeeze and mash and tear and beat something until it fits into the box of a world that we have created.  We do it with everything….the environment, animals, and other people.

I have to watch myself….especially around my own animals.  Because I live in the city now, it is easy for me to forget that animals are animals.  I find myself sometimes expecting the dogs and cats to force themselves into a mold that I have created.  The dogs hear a noise, it’s natural for them to bark in response.  In my mind, they should know that we live in a condo (or glorified apartment) and that they should be quiet.  No barking for you….restrain your voice.  The cat knocks over a picture frame trying to look out the window, we scold him for knocking something down that we have placed a value on…not him.  We are the ones who have confined him (technically a wild animal) to the indoors with only a glimpse of the outside through a window. 

Animals are such wonderful spirits.  They can pick up on our moods…they offer their own type of empathic consolation.  They have adapted to the fishbowl that we have placed them in.  Our environment has had to learn the same.  We go ripping through forests with saws and bulldozers….all for the sake of progress.  God  and Goddess knows, Atlanta does not have enough empty office buildings or condominiums.  The tree that was cut down over the course of a day (even though there was nothing wrong with it) unfortunately was probably blocking someones view.  .

We humans have also become so completely intolerant of each other.  If someone elses lifestyle or belief system doesn’t fit with mine….I am going to tear them to shreds…beat them down until they can’t stand anymore.  We watch to see where their spot of vulnerability is and that is where we strike.

I have watched this week as the arguments for and against Marriage Equality have taken place.  I am so blessed….so fortunate to have surrounded myself with friends and family who feel that there should be no difference….that love is love.  But on the flip side, I have experienced co-workers who argue and spit comments about how “that’s not how God intended it to be” and if I hear the phrase about “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”  one more time, I may vomit.  Humans don’t like to feel like their little closed-in box of a world is threatened.

I have also witnessed the intolerance of religion all over Facebook this week.  So many witches getting their knickers in a knot because other witches want to celebrate Easter and Ostara.  I have so much fun with both.  I celebrate Ostara…my altar is adorned with flowers and eggs and rabbits and crystals. When Easter approaches…my altar is adorned with flowers and eggs and rabbits and crystals….Hmmmm.  Again, I feel like someone feels like their own little boxed in world is threatened.  Personally, it takes a little bit more than an Easter egg and fluffy chicks for me to feel threatened.  If someone wants to believe that Jesus rose from the dead…more power to them.  That is hope for them.  We as pagans have way more than enough Gods and Goddesses who are resurrected.

Trust me….I get it.  I have my own comfort zones.  But I sit back and watch as the world goes back to a survivalist mentality.  If it threatens me….I get rid of it.  I think that it is amazing that we put dogs down on a daily basis for acting the same way that humans do.  We have become the growlingest, snarlingest, teeth-baringest bunch of folks around.  We have decided that it is our job to back-stab, bitch-slap and bad-mouth anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with us….hell, lately it is just as bad if someone looks at us cross-eyed. 

I am not, by far, High Priest “Stick Up His Ass” by any means.  I don’t care to be.  My tradition is my own, paired with teachings that I have received from those I trust and the Ancients.  I don’t really care if you don’t like it or not.  I am not you….nor do I ever care to be.  I am gay….I am a witch…I live a pretty regular life…I love my partner, my family, my animals, and my friends.  It isn’t your job to decide what is right or wrong in my life.  I am a grown man…I make those decisions.

Isn’t it time that we all leave the venom to those animals it is given naturally to?  Isn’t it time to not always have to fight about something? 

I have been beaten and mocked and made fun of for being gay.  I have been mocked and made fun of for being a witch.  I look forward to the day that both of those things are not shocking to others.

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Promises, Promises….

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For as wonderfully warm as last weekend was….this weekend was wet, dreary and cold.  Last week we welcomed in the Spring Equinox and the first day of Spring around here with a hailstorm on Monday and then flurries and sleet on Thursday, followed by umbrellas and jackets for this weekend.

Now I can promise you that I am right up there on top complaining about the cold and damp of winter and then beating that same dead horse in the summertime as sweltering temps and water shortages typically hit us.  My two favorites seasons are Fall and Spring here in the south, but with the way the weather has been over the past few years….the south seems to be going to a two season year…..Winter and Summer.   Last year, specifically we went from the cold and chill of Winter directly into the blistering heat that Summer has to offer.

Last night, I had gone to some friends house for a “card night.”  Since I am such a night owl, we left at about midnight…knowing that the dogs would need to go outside one more time before bed.  It was pouring rain the whole way home.  As we pulled into the condo parking lot, the rain let up for just a minute…long enough to jet inside, harness up the dogs, and do a quick pee run. 

Afterwards, as I tried to snuggle into bed, I heard thunder start to roll.  I knew what I was in for.  As much as thunder relaxes me, it scares the Bejeezus out of the cats.  I could hear the oldest trying to get one of the closet doors open on one end of the bedroom and watched as Merlin scurried under the bed.  As I tried to calm them and talk them through the storm, I could see the terror in their eyes.  They didn’t know what that noise was and they were sure it wasn’t a good thing for them.  Finally, I got the old girl to crawl under the covers with me and Merlin was lying across my throat…that is how we drifted off.

I got up fairly early with the dogs this morning and  went for my usual weekend morning walk.  Yesterday when I walked, I was thoroughly drenched.  I did that walk by myself.  That little blue chihuahua tends to like to just stand in the midst of the rain not moving.  This morning, though, I harnessed him up and we walked through the courtyard for a few minutes before venturing out.  I saw my hostas jutting up through the dirt uncompromisingly.  My foxglove stretched open as if to tell me that all she did was take a little nap and now she is ready to move out of winter.  The hydrangeas purposefully greened up even more, as if overnight.

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I remember, as a child, watching ‘Frosty’s Winter Wonderland’ with my grandma.  Parson Brown had to tell the children, Frosty and Jack Frost that winter couldn’t last forever.  He was talking about the seeds and bulbs.  He said, “Nature made them a promise…that someday they’d be pretty trees and flowers.  Could you imagine how you’d feel if someone broke such a promise to you?”   If you think about it, the oak tree is the promise Nature made to the acorn.  As I walked around this morning taking in all the promises looming in the ground, I was encouraged.   When we curse the snow, the cold and the rain, we forget that all that is necessary to create the Spring.  We get so frustrated when the weather…the seasons don’t go the way we planned it….but we forget that the Great Mother has had it all planned since the beginning of time.

We mourn a few frost bitten blooms when winter shows it last flash of teeth….”Oh my poor flowers…oh my poor tree…they were just starting to bud…now because of the cold snap the blooms will die.” Maybe there was a purpose in it….maybe those buds and blooms weren’t going to be strong enough to begin with.  We begrudge the Great Mother when she needs a little extra time to make things just so…but we don’t think a thing about burning or uprooting a grove or forest of trees for the sake of progress. 

I live in a concrete jungle.  I see green space disappear every day to make space for condos and businesses.  Goddess has given me a space here in the city that I can call my own and that I can help ‘green up.’  I am her human assistant in nurturing these plants and her helper in taking care of those outside critters.  It has now become second nature when I feel a chill in the air to set up stations for the outdoor animals…to make sure they have access to food.

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This morning, I decided to splurge a bit for breakfast.  I made pancakes.  I only had three medium sized ones myself, but as I ate them out in the courtyard with my cup of coffee, I could hear Mama Crow in the distance.  I walked out with one of the compote-free pancakes and crumbled it up and placed it down on the sidewalk in front of our condo.  Mama Crow does love her food.  She scouted around for a while….had to make sure it was ok to come down.  Then she comes down and prances back and forth on the sidewalk eye-balling the pancake. Then Boy-Howdy she ate that pancake up with such gusto….I laughed out loud.  She cawed at me real loud as if to say, “Hush your mouth, boy!” 

I walked back into the courtyard to finish my pseudo-coffee (decaf) and to read a bit.  I glanced at my witches grass and saw a spiral starting to peek out from the gravel beneath it.  I got to thinking about something.  The Great Mother made a promise to all those seeds and bulbs and plants….but she also made a promise to me.  There are things that have been growing and moving and swirling around the insides of me all winter long too….what happens to those?  Do I let other people discourage me and kill off those budding promises?  Do I let my own self doubts pluck the leaves of expectation off and throw them away?  Do I let the drought of my own fears wither away the blooming of things never before surfaced?

I don’t think so!  There is too much brewing inside of me to let it go to waste….just as I am sure that you too have way too much brewing to watch it wither.  This spring is going to be phenomenal!!!  When that final wisp of cold breath of winter is gone, the Great Mother is gonna have a field day….and you just watch what she is capable of!  Same with me…..you just stand back and watch….I am capable of so much more than even I imagined!

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Spring Fever

Yesterday was so nice here.  It was like spring had come on full force.  I got up early and took a walk around the complex.  I was greeted by so many different plants raising their heads to the sun.  So many shoots are coming up.  Inside my own courtyard, there are hostas starting to show themselves.  Hydrangeas are beginning to green up.  On the outside of the courtyard, the daffodils and muscari are greeting spring full force.

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As I walked down by the pond, I could see a sea of daffodils springing up….dancing in the wind.  I looked over to a nearby tree and there sat Mama Crow.  The caw, this time, wasn’t a reprimand….wasn’t a warning….it sounded like the course laugh of an old aunt who had smoked way too much in her life. 

As I went back into the courtyard, all I could think of was sitting in the sun.  I had on a sweatshirt, which became way too hot, so I went inside to change into a lighter shirt and to get the fairy house I have been working on for weeks.  I still had some gluing to do and the fumes would have been way too noxious to stay indoors.  I loved feeling the textures in my hands.  I used natural items to decorate the house.  The stones, the sticks, the moss…..my roommate told me as I was working on it last week that he dreamed about the house one night.  In the dream, he said he kept hearing over and over again that I needed to bless it.  I told him that I didn’t think I needed to bless the fairy house because I wasn’t going to use it for magick.  He said, “But you are.  As you work on it, you are healing and centering yourself.  You are visualizing yourself there.  You are using it as a way of grounding yourself.  Now, I am not a witch, but that all sounds like magick to me.”  Who’d a thunk it?!??  I guess maybe a little witch has rubbed off on him!  LOL!!!

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This has been a hard and very rough winter for me.  I feel like I might have accomplished more by hibernating….but alas, humans aren’t allowed to do that.  We have our jobs, and families, and responsibilities.  This winter, it seems that I have been eaten up in so much sickness…whether it be a cold, a sinus infection, the flu, pneumonia, depression, and cancer scares.  I have a wonderful support system though.  When I am sick, I tend to isolate myself.  I just want to be left alone to hibernate.  I have friends who know me and refuse to let me brew and steep. 

I was told by friends, when I came down with the flu, that I needed to be up and moving….that I didn’t need to lie down constantly.  Instead of listening, I laid there….wallowing in the sickness.  It reminds me of watching yeast activate.  You add it to all the right conditions and ingredients and it bubbles and multiplies and that yeasty smell kind of overtakes everything.  I was bathing in that yeasty smell on a daily basis.  I did everything I shouldn’t have done and pneumonia bubbled up inside of me.  When the doctor discussed the lump on my chest with me, I decided that I wasn’t going to do the same with that.  I jumped at the chance to have it biopsied….started checking into natural anti-cancer agents.  Then when the report came back that no cancer cells were seen, I decided that I should still look for natural immune support….one of which is just getting out in the sunshine.

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After I finished working on the fairy house yesterday,  I took Friz for a walk.  He was a complete handful.  He loves the smell of flowers and digging in the dirt.  He danced, he pranced.  We can learn alot of lessons from our animals.  He did everything that I wanted to do, but tend to stifle because somebody might be looking.  I always did hate conforming.  As we walked,  I decided to do like Friz….so I danced and pranced and when he stopped to dig, I did too.  He thought it was grand fun.  He looked up at me as I was kneeling down in the dirt with him and I swear that pup was smiling as I put my hands in the dirt and started to dig.  It made him dig harder….which made me laugh.  When we got back to the courtyard, we were exhausted.  I sat on the patio sofa and he curled up on my lap.  We both dozed off.  I woke up to such a strong presence of the Goddess.  The breeze was caressing me…I could smell earth and fire and air and water.  I could sense the fae playing close by.

A friend said it best.  “You are healing….after a long…horrid winter….you are reborn!”

Blessed Be!

Pitching a Hissy-Fit When Things Don’t Go the Way We Planned

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I remember one thing I learned long ago in a little country town in North Carolina. It was a hard lesson that my grandma taught me. Temper tantrums accomplish absolutely nothing. For that matter, any type of “hissy-fit” as she called them accomplished zip…nada…not one damned thing.

I was six years old, and though I am sure that when I was younger I threw quite a few tantrums her way, but knowing her…she paid em no never-mind. I was told by a little boy in my first grade class that if I cried and screamed and kicked that I would get anything I wanted. He apparently didn’t know my grandma.

My grandma always babysat us after school and in the summer time. So we would go to her house (which was not laid out with all the most modern conveniences) and we would spend several hours or the whole day. She kept a huge garden in the back of acreage and would always haul us out there with her. We were too young to leave in the house and she would always hang blankets from the trees around and we would play under them. One particular day, we were going to pick up ‘taters as she dug them. I hated picking up taters. I will be honest. When I was young, I was a slug of a boy. I wanted to be in front of a fan watching tv. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned to appreciate what nature had given us. It was on this day that I decided to try the wisdom of that other six year old boy in my class…so I sat down in the middle of the dirt and proceeded to “pitch a hissy-fit.” I wailed and I cried and I kicked and I stomped…just knowing that my grandma was going to crumble before my eyes and beg my forgiveness for expecting me to ever step away from in front of the tv.

In the middle of my hissy-fit, I hear something strange coming from my grandma. I stopped what I was doing and looked directly at her. She was laughing. Well, she was not just laughing….she was laughing at me. I stomped my foot at her and turned red. She stopped laughing. She cocked her left eyebrow, walked over to me, whomped me on the butt hard with her hand and told me, “Boy, if you ever do that again…you will see me pitch a hissy-fit, and I guarantee that you will not like it.” I never pitched another one.

Over the past month or so, I have had a few challenges rise up to meet me. I have dealt with the flu, pneumonia, and now another little issue. I had a biopsy done of a lump below my right pec on Friday. When this little lump showed up a few months back, I headed to the doctor and he stuck a needle in it and aspirated it and it looked like fat. When I went back for the pneumonia, the lump was firm and not moveable. He told me that he would feel better if we did a biopsy. I was ok with that.

When I first got the news that he wanted a biopsy, I was fine. Kinda numb actually….I mean I had an aunt die from cancer this past year, a grandma that was diagnosed with cancer on her kidneys right before she died, another aunt diagnosed with bone cancer…..hmmm seemed like cancer was running rampant through my family. Fear tried to kick in. Panic attacks started. I wrapped myself up so tightly in the fear of what could happen, that I pulled into myself and then proceeded to pitch my own little hissy-fit. I pissed and I moaned to the elements….to the Lord and Lady….to any of the natural elements that would listen. After all, I didn’t need to burden my friends, family and loved ones. I moved into my bitchy zone.

I really didn’t spend all that much time outside….I just kind of boarded up my own little pity house and moved in. I didn’t even realize that it had been a full week without any noise or sound from Mama Crow. A dear friend texted me one night after I had finally ‘come out’ with the news of the pending biopsy. “How are you?” “Fine….well, actually a little scared.” “You have to get control of yourself through this!” Huh?!? You mean she wasn’t going to join my ‘poor me’ party? All over again, I could hear my grandma telling me that if I didn’t stop it, that I was gonna see a hissy-fit like I had never seen….and I wouldn’t like it. It was just the smack I needed.

I walked out the next morning to take Friz to pee and I noticed that Mama Crow’s nest had been torn down from the telephone pole. In the complex, every so often, they try to keep the ‘scavenger’ animals out. So I am quite sure I know who took the nest down. Over the next few days, I noticed the silence in the air. No calls through the trees, no reminders of things to come. Silence. I was prepared to start the grieving process for a friend lost.

I came home from lunch on Wednesday of last week and heard a familiar sound. That harsh crackle of a voice ringing through the trees…I looked up and I see Mama Crow back on top of the phone pole. What is she doing? She is rebuilding her nest. I had to laugh. A setback did not eliminate her….it didn’t deter her….it only changed her path for a few days. 120401fi

My grandma was a lot like that old crow….and I should be too. When the wind changes, that crow doesn’t just stop flying. She just changes the position of her wings. She doesn’t piss and moan and curse the wind, she just makes the necessary changes in her….hmmm couldn’t we all learn a lesson here? I have purposed that no matter what the results of the biopsy are….I will not let my life be derailed. I will continue forward. Do I know where forward will take me? No. But I never did before either. I only need to continue moving.

Blessed Be!

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Last Forever…

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I have had a lot of time over the past few weeks to think about many things and observe many things.  One of the things I have noticed….particularly on Facebook is the viciousness that tends to spew forth from people.  I find it quite disheartening that anyone who has beliefs or feelings that are different than the majority is attacked in pack mentality and then stalked to see if they are still standing.

I have witnessed this in many different arenas.  You would think that we, as witches, would remember the power of words and intent.  We utilize this every time we work Magick.  We invoke the Goddesses and Gods.  We call on the elements.  We create elaborate and beautiful spells.  A phrase comes to mind with all of this…..”You kiss your mother with that mouth?”  We have no problem going before the Goddess as the powerful witches we are…full of intent and strong Magick, but we also have no problem tearing a fellow witch to shreds with just as much intent and Magick…whether we realize it or not.  I have learned to just separate myself and stay silent.  I am not saying that I have never done this.  Sometimes my own personal hurt gets in my way or my ego gets dinged a bit.

We are also just as vicious and careless with the words that we speak over ourselves.  I had a bit of personal experience with this over the past few weeks.  I had the flu, which turned into pneumonia.  I was asked how I was doing.  I kept responding, “I feel like death.” or “I feel like I am dying.”  I started to feel worse.  Hmmm, wonder why?  I learned that I needed to acknowledge the positives that I was feeling daily.  “I am not completely better yet, but I am feeling a little better every day.”  With this, I am not ignoring the sickness, but I am not giving it the upper hand either.

Another little medical issue I have been dealing with and learning to respond to is a lump I found in my chest a few months ago.  When I first felt it, the doctor did a fine needle aspirate of it and determined that it was a fatty lump.  When I went back for treatment of the pneumonia, he felt it again and said that it wasn’t as moveable as it was at first and seemed firm.  It was determined that when I was over the pneumonia, we would biopsy it.  That is set for next Friday.

Now to say that fear set in is putting it mildly.  Every voice in my head told me that I am dying of cancer.  Panic tried to step in.  A dear friend of mine had to remind of the power of words.  Whether it is cancer or not, it is all about how I approach things.  My mind and heart will always be stronger than my body.  The power of Magick is always going to be stronger than my body.  I had to resolve within myself that I accept things as they happen.  I should never breathe them into existence before they come to being.   What is going to happen is going to happen.  I am stronger than all of it.

I have lived through many things in my life.  I have been called Fag.  I have been spat on.  I have been beat up for being who I am.  I have been called fat, ugly….you name it and I have probably been called that.  Yes, those words have hurt me tremendously and have always and will always stick in my mind and heart….but those words were mostly spoken by people who have no clue who I really am.  Even those who were closest to me who spat out those words never really knew the “me” inside. 

Another thing that I have seen done is when someone lies to make themselves look good in the eyes of others.  That can be just as harmful.  When we tell ourselves and others lies about who we are, it causes things to fester inside of us.  When you constantly skirt around lies so that people won’t find out the truth, that lie can eat at the inside of us until we can’t breathe.  I will compare this to me trying to pretend I was straight…all the while knowing that  I was gay.  It began to eat at my insides until I felt like I was going to have a breakdown….which eventually I did.  The truth was freeing for my mind, heart and spirit.

We had a guest in our home this weekend who did not know that I am a witch.  I struggled with the thought of “de-witching” the house.  My better judgement won out.  You see, I made a prejudgement of him.  He was inquisitive and open and very excited.  He taught me something new about myself.

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I went walking this morning to the pond with Friz.  As we walked, snow flurries whirled around us.  I have always found snow to be very purifying, cleansing.  Parts of this blog were also whirling around my brain.  I started to ponder what would happen if I made a conscious choice to make the words that come out of my mouth healing words…encouraging words.  I started with Friz.  His response to words of praise was immediate.  He wiggled, he licked and he wagged.

What would happen if we chose on a daily basis to keep our words venom free?  What if we pulled the claws in and offered hands of healing and powerful magick that lift up and encourage those around us? What if, we were honest with those around us, but temper that honesty with love?  What if we actually went out looking for the positive in other people?  How about we start looking toward the Lord and Lady once again and stop looking for the boogie man around every corner. 

This is my intention.

Blessed Be!