Forging New Paths

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It has gotten to the point that I do my best writing at night.  I sit here with a cup of hot wild blueberry tea with some mugwort mixed in and sweetened with a bit of honey….soothing to the spirit.  It seems like just yesterday that we greeted 2013 with optimism, excitement and enthusiasm.  I just knew that this year was going to be a year like no other.  Boy, was I right.

2013 held many surprises…good and bad.  Through the course of the year, I have seen friends come and go.  I have watched as death took family, friends, and four-leggeds.  I look at the past year and can see how I have grown because of situations and circumstances.  I have also seen areas of my own life that need to be improved upon.

The coming year for me, is to be a year of Truth.  I have always been one who thought that honesty was the best policy and I believe that being honest with oneself is the greatest truth one can find.  This year, I intent to be more honest with myself, first and foremost, than I have ever been.  It is time for the rough edges to come off even more.  It is time for the Weathered Wiseman to open himself up to more magick than he could have even fathomed.

It is also time for truth to be the first thing that pours out of my mouth.  I have told you before that I am a horrible liar.  I have never even been able to tell those sweet little white lies that everyone tells to spare hurt feelings.  My face always gives me away.  My goal for this year is to temper that truth with as much love as I can muster.

The truth is never easy for any of us to take.  It is especially hard when we have concocted a truth from lies we have told ourselves.  We have made something that was never real to begin with and given it life.  We have created something that grows legs of its own and walks about creating destruction.

The second thing I intend to do with this new year is to get an even stronger backbone.  It isn’t to say that I don’t have a pretty strong backbone now…..but I want one that can’t and won’t be bent.  When I plant my feet, that is where I will stay.  AntBackbone

Trials have hit me this year….we have all had a plethora of them.  I have stood strong…but in 2014, I intend to stand stronger.  Does this mean that I won’t cry…won’t hurt?  Hell no.  It means that through those tears and pain there is gonna be one strong man standing to face the issues.  I will not be pushed down.  Nothing is so strong that I cannot overcome it.

The third thing that I intend to pursue this year is Peace.  I have grown tired of becoming frazzled at any little crisis.  I have become over-tired of being anxious.  Worry is not a good trait to have.  Worry makes one old before your time.  Worry causes health issues.  Anxiety causes blood pressure problems.  When I was pastoring, there was one scripture that always amazed me. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”  tumblr_lzsta29z901qb30dwo1_500

If you look around you at the grasses and trees and the flowers in the spring….they don’t sit around and worry about where their nourishment is coming from.  They trust that the Lord and Lady will take care of them.  They are tended by the nature spirits.  Don’t we have that same gift?  We have been given all the elements….right there at our fingertips.  Yet we are so afraid to utilize them.  We have been gifted with magick.  We are so quick if someone asks, “I need a little extra energy…mojo…juju,” to pipe up with ‘Sending!’  But honestly are we just saying that or do we truly believe that we have been gifted the ability to manifest it?

The final thing that I fully intend to embrace with the coming of 2014…..is Living in the Magick.  You have heard the phrase, “Living in the Moment.”  Well, I am going to live every moment in magick.  I intend to let magick permeate every part of my being.  I want to see it manifest itself more powerfully than I could ever anticipate.  I am going to walk in the energy of the universe around me….constantly surrounded and guided by the gods and goddesses.  I will hold dearly to all of the elements and to the spirit guides around me.

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I went to the woods with Friz this morning.  It was hazy and cold and drizzly at times.  My mind was racing over many things that have happened over the past few days.  I wore my cloak (it seems, when I wear my cloak that the world disappears around me and I am transported at that moment into a world of magick) and gathered my backpack with all of my supplies.  When we got to the woods, I unpacked everything and got it all set up listening to Friz doing ‘play growls’ with that little calico.  She had somehow slipped in as I was attending to the business of magick.  I settled in front of the skulls and candles and made my circle…I called on the elements and my spirit guides.  As I sat there, I heard a major rustling in the trees above.  I heard Mama Crow, but then as I looked up, there were many crows gathered in the tree tops.  I sensed the presence of wolf and welcomed him in.  I talked back and forth to Mama Crow and her entourage as I communed with the god and goddess.

As I sit there in deep conversation, I am reminded of one of the Native American legends of Crow:  A white crow warned buffalo every time that hunters approached.  This led to hunger and starvation in the village and the crow is eventually captured by the hunters and thrown into a fire. But it escapes before being completely burned, being only blackened by the flames; black becomes its permanent color.  As the crow flees, it promises never to warn the buffalo of approaching hunters again.  The crow becomes a type of phoenix that rises from the ashes, symbolizing renewal, transformation and promise.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I call up to Mama Crow, “Is this what you wanted me to remember? Is it time for renewal, transformation and the promise of better things?” I only hear a cacophony of crow calls above me…but in the midst of those crows, I swear I can see one old female crow up there smiling and the sounds from her sound more like a deep laugh.

I complete my ritual and pack up.  As Friz and I walk back to the condo, I feel something deep building inside of me.  Hope? Determination? I even thought I felt that backbone get a little bit stronger.

Blessed Be!

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A Season of Peace

As I sit here right now, I have a hot cup of mugwort and lemon balm tea sweetened with honey sitting in front of me.  Tissues are scattered around the desk and I have Vick’s Vapor Rub under my nose.  Yes, I know, not the witchy, swarthy version of the male witch that you have pictured.  My partner and I went to my folks house for the holidays this weekend and there was such a change in weather….and of course, I had to spend time outside…so I caught a cold.

As we drove the country roads through North Carolina, I could feel my witchy blood dancing through my veins.  I knew, without a doubt that I was going to get to spend time in my woods.  Those woods are so much a part of me and who I am that it is like visiting an old friend who I haven’t seen in a month of Sundays.

The times I have been home lately have all been for funerals.  So many family members and friends have passed over through this year.  Always a whirlwind trip…flying up there, funeral, fly back.  Even though this was a quick weekend trip, it was very relaxed.  We stayed at my aunt’s house with her and her five dogs….so I got all the puppy lovin’s I needed…and it helped me not to miss my dogs so much.

Late Saturday afternoon, I decided that it was time to socialize with my old friend.  I had taken my backpack with me and filled it with all my altar items, including my cloak and skulls.  I started on the trek to the woods but it didn’t seem right without at least one animal companion by my side.  It is funny how the gods and goddesses make the necessary arrangements for us ahead of time.  My dad found two kittens a few weeks back and got them good and tamed up and made them into comfortable little barn cats.  I am not talking about a stark, cold barn.  I mean inside heating and nice comfy beds….I couldn’t have done better myself.

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As I walked into the woods, these two little furballs were right on my heels….one, a little black and white..the other, solid white.  The black and white one tangled himself around my feet more than once, forcing me to try not to fall face forward.  I decided that it was time to cleanse and dedicate my skulls once again.  What better place than my home soil and what better time than the Winter Solstice?  I dug holes deep enough to place each skull in and placed the crow and wolf skull gently into the earth and then covered them with the surrounding soil.  I prayed a blessing over them.  The kittens played contently around me.  The little white one walks over to where the skulls are buried and pats gently at the dirt.

I sat there in the midst of my woods and watched.  I knew deep inside that there would be a crow somewhere close.  I looked into the trees and sure enough, I was greeted by that hard brash caw.  I greeted her with the same greeting I use in the courtyard back home.  I closed my eyes and could feel my years melting away.  I was once again the young boy who sat in the pasture or in the woods talking to the animals…listening to them as they shared their wisdom.

As the dark approached, I could see the Christmas lights of neighboring farms in the distance.  Peace came over me like no other time before.  I breathed in that feeling that can only come from the elements.  I opened my eyes and I was surrounded.  It was a funny sight.  Here I was sitting in the middle of the woods with cats, goats, chickens and a cow all standing around me.  I finished my ritual with them standing near and then wished them all a blessed Solstice.  A night of peace and comfort and familiarity…all sent to me as reminder that sometimes you have to take those roads back to where you started, if only to rekindle what brought the heart forward from that point.

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This morning, Christmas Eve, I went to the woods here behind the condos.  I had my backpack and skulls and candles and cloak….and one little blue chihuahua.  Friz was feeling particularly frisky this morning and as we got to the edge of the woods, he wouldn’t budge.  I stood there trying to get him to move, but then as that calico kitten (who is not so small anymore), ambled up beside him…he moved on.

I settled onto the cold ground.  I put the skulls in the places that felt right and lit the candles.  I placed the crystals carefully around them.  I burrowed down inside my cloak and was oblivious to the two little critters I had burrowing into it too.  As I sit there, I breathe out Christmas blessings into the wind for those dear to me.  I hear very loud purring coming from underneath my cloak and feel warm fur next to me.  I am also greeted by the snores and wrigglings of that blue chihuahua.  I watch in wonder as my wishes and prayers fly toward the heavens like reverse snowflakes.  Again, Mama Crow squawks in the distance.

She reminds me that this season is about the rebirth of the sun.  It is about renewal in us.  Is it any wonder that the animals came to me in my woods back home? This is the season of the horned one.  Is it any wonder that we crave time indoors by the hearth fires and with trees lighted with magickally colored bulbs.  It is the season of the hearth fires.  It is that time of year that we long for the light of the sun.

My wish for you during this holiday season…..nothing more or less than Peace.  Peace with yourself, those around you, your decisions, your dreams, your shortcomings….in all if these things I wish you peace.

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Blessed Be!

The Heart of the Season

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The Wheel of the Year keeps turning.  It seems that just yesterday, we celebrated Samhain….then we watched as the world celebrated everything it was thankful for.  Now, we are looking toward the Winter Solstice and Yule.  Our homes and altars are all decorated with greenery and pine cones.  We smile to ourselves as we light the candles on our Yule log.

We bake and we add more lights and we run to the mall and we run to the grocery store and we run to party after party.  We stand in line at Target and find ourselves getting more and more agitated.  “Can’t that cashier go any faster?  Doesn’t she realize that I have a party I have to go to in two hours and that is not nearly enough time to get ready?”  We give a slight smile to the person out on the corner collecting for charity.  Do we put money in the bucket?  Sometimes….but we have to keep every extra penny to buy gifts for friends and family.  For the month of December, we forget to listen to the heartbeat of the earth.  It may be a tiny bit more faint than normal, but the heart of the earth still beats.

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Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  I hurriedly picked up the things I needed because, of course, I had plans for later in the afternoon and evening.  I run with my cart to the cashier and I end up standing behind a little old woman who was standing there counting her pennies.  I looked at the order in front of me, which included generic Ensure, a loaf of bread, cat food and bagged beans.  Apparently, she didn’t have enough money and asked the cashier if she could take the Ensure off of the order.  In that moment, my heart broke.  I couldn’t stand the thought of this little old woman walking out of that store without everything she needed.  I put my hand on her shoulder and asked her if she would mind me paying for her groceries and if we could go get a few extra things.  I told her that she reminded me of my grandma and that I was missing her a lot this time of year.  We went back through that store arm in arm and I could feel the earth’s heartbeat as we talked and laughed.

My grandma used to love to go barefoot….even in the winter.  She told me that the reason she loved being barefoot was because she was able to feel the Great Mother’s heartbeat better.  I have found that to have so many meanings as I think more about it.  It was in making a part of herself more vulnerable that she was able to feel the Great Mother stronger.  I had to stop yesterday and see something outside of myself….be willing to feel the heart of someone else.

I got up this morning and went to the woods….it was wet and cold.  I could feel the breath of spirit on me as I led that little blue chihuahua through the morning mists deeper into a world that he and I have become so familiar with.  When we cross the threshold into ‘our’ woods, we feel spirit, ancestors, animal spirits….we become lost in a time when magick danced through forests freely.  We get caught in that energy and feel more at home than we do in our comfy cottage-like condo.

I get everything set out as usual….skulls, candles, and herbs.  I covered myself in my cloak in front of it all and rolled onto my stomach.  I put my hand on the earth and my ear to my hand.  I could feel the cold of the ground permeating my hand.  In the silence, I could hear the breathing of my little blue dog…but more importantly, I could hear the heartbeat of the earth.  As I lay there lost in the wonder and simplicity of this magickal moment.  I committed, to the Lord and Lady, not to lose the lessons I have learned about this time of year.  I lay there in silent meditation….opening my heart to everything that needed to be taught to my spirit.  I heard Mama Crow and Wolf to the sides of me.  I watched as wolf circled and finally laid down.  Mama Crow landed on the ground beside him and nestled in his tail.

I reminded by them both that this season is a time of rest before the regeneration.  It is time to feed the spirit and heart.  This is the time of year that the earth slows down.  This is when the roots of the plants grow….when the plant produces the beginnings of the buds.  This is the time of year when the internal work is done for the external explosion of spring.

I called on the power of the elements and the Lord and Lady to give me heart and spirit to listen to all things around me.  This is the time when temperatures plummet and animals seek shelter.  My courtyard and surrounding areas are set for any that may need comfort from the elements.  You will find boxes and blankets all over in anticipation of winter visitors.  There are bird feeders and areas for the squirrels to eat….places for stray cats and pooches to dine in secret.  I have seen other neighbors adding to the areas.

There are people in need all around.  I wish to walk in compassion this season.  I wish to nurture kindness.  The homeless person sitting in the cold needs warmth…..coffee, a blanket.  Starbucks here has a program going where you can give money for coffee so that if anyone who can’t afford it comes in for coffee, they can get it at no charge.  If you want to jump start your heart…volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Most of the people that show up are no different from you.  The only difference may be a missed paycheck.homeless

 

It is time for us to “take off our shoes” and feel the heartbeat of the earth.  My goal for this holiday season is to keep things simple, give more of myself, love with complete abandon, and let the magick happen around me.

Blessed Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be!

May you spend this holiday season dancing to the song that your heart sings!YB-yule-ball-238849_1024_768