Becoming the Keeper of Your Own Flame

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This morning was indeed a glorious morning.  I was up before the sky goes from midnight blue to sunrise pink.  I did something this morning that made my time in the woods seem like a spa day.  I packed a thermos full of dark rich espresso flavored with stevia and hazelnut creamer.  As I led Friz down that familiar path, I could feel the warmth of the thermos pressed against my back from my backpack.

As we settled down onto the ground, I pulled that warm to the touch thermos out of my backpack, and as I unscrewed the top, I could see the steam escape.  Wonderful scents of cream and hazelnut and strong coffee wafted toward my nostrils.  In that moment, I couldn’t resist joining that joyous dance which is coffee.

I believe that all things happen for a reason.  There is magick to be found in all situations.  As I was dusting my bookshelf this week, one particular book leapt from the shelf and onto the floor in front of me.  This book is titled, “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee.”  This wonderful book came to me through a dear friend in the fall of 2013.  As I leafed through the pages, I would find myself smiling or chuckling as I remembered when I first read this book by author J.V. Manning.

As I began to re-read the entries, I came across one that resonated deeply in my spirit.  This entry, “Only in Silence, Can You Hear,” speaks of taking a step back…removing yourself and allowing yourself to live life instead of allowing life to go on automatic pilot.  In that entry, the author herself was dealing with some storms in her own life…but think about it, even when storms aren’t surfacing, how often do we live on automatic pilot?

I know in my own life, each day has seemed to become more about rushing from one happening to another, barely taking time to breathe, let alone still my mind.  We are constantly bombarded with work issues, home issues…just the daily taking care of business.  Somewhere in that busy-ness, we are expected to nurture our own spirit, work splendid magickal workings, and take care of the needs of others around us.

As Imbolc approaches, I have been reading more about the goddess Brigid and who she is.  She is goddess of the land.  She is the goddess of peace. She is the goddess of the home fires.  She is the goddess of healing.  She is the goddess of contemplation.   All of these are things that I need to take to heart as the next part of winter moves upon us.  flamehand

For some reason….and I don’t know why…I always kind of kept it in the back of my head that it was the responsibility of the goddess to keep my fires “stoked,” so to speak.  I would continue running around like a chicken with my head cut off and scream up into the trees, “Stoke those fires within me, goddess!”  Then I would wonder why I would burn out faster than a Qtip soaked in pig fat.

This week has been a lesson in taking time.  Time for me…stopping and listening to the silence around me.  It is in that time that my spirit, my very soul is able to speak.  It is in that time that I am able to listen.  I have been using my sacred space that I created…to most it would seem like a large closet, but to me, it is a refuge.  A place where my heart can hear and listen.  It was in this time of separation and silence that  I was able to ask the goddess to show me the heart of someone whom I hadn’t given a proper chance.  It was in those moments of solitude and quiet that I was able to hear her tell me to look at this person’s heart…nothing more, nothing less.  It was in that silence that my heart opened to who this person truly is and the potential they hold.

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We have to take time to take care of our own spirits.  Life has become a whirlwind around us.  If we don’t make the time for those small, seemingly insignificant moments where we are allowed to sip on a cup of coffee and process life around us, then we have become machines.

This morning, as I leaned against that comfortable old tree with that little blue chihuahua in my lap and my hands wrapped around a thermos lid full of coffee, I closed my eyes…I listened as my own voice broke the silence…”Let me be real slow to anger…Let me speak blessings…Let me look on each day and each circumstance with gratitude…Let me always be honest to a fault, with myself first and then to others.  Let me be a vessel of peace and healing…Give me the strength to always fan the flame within my own spirit first and then to help to fan the flame within others.”

In that moment, I felt a warmth from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.  I don’t know if it was the coffee, the goddess…all I know is that at that moment, the hearth fires within my very soul were burning strong.

The Magick has come easier this week.  I have learned that sometimes it isn’t about creating the spell…it is about listening to everything around you and letting the spell create itself.  Magick is weaving itself around us all the time.  It is a living breathing thing that is constantly moving and constantly changing…and just waiting for us to catch up to it.  If we could only learn to stop trying to outrun it.

Blessed Be!

 

 

Here is the link if you are interested in a copy of “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee”

http://www.amazon.com/Random-Thoughts-Lotsa-Coffee-Collection

 

Duct Tape, Sage and Healing the Spirit

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The one promise I made myself when I started this blog was to always share the truth surrounding my life.  I always wanted this blog to be a source of help and hope to others.  I made the decision that sometimes no matter how  badly it hurt, the truth should be shared.  So let’s go ahead and take the corner of that bandaid and start ripping.

It has seemed that every time I turn around lately, that something happens. If something good happens in my life, I have pretty much come to expect something bad to come as a counter.  I get a promotion….I go to the emergency room.  I get a raise…someone hits my car.  Nothing like the power of positive thinking, huh?

I remember when we were home at Christmas…my dad, normally a pretty jovial person, seemed sullen, moody, angry.  I tossed it off to the curmudgeon-ess that comes with old age.  Then last night, I was admonished by a dear friend after I had pissed and moaned a neighbor hitting my car and breaking off the driver’s side mirror.

Listen to yourself.  You hate.  You hated the neighbors upstairs…you hate this guy.  You are so filled with negative energy, you are filling yourself with sickness!!!!!  You have insurance?  It can be fixed.  You go against everything you practice by hating.  STOP IT NOW…LET IT OUT OF YOUR BODY…your mind is just consumed with drama and SHIT…nothing good is going to come to you if you keep it up.  I love you..and because I love you, I’m saying this…GET A FUCKING GRIP…I can’t send you anything because I see it just go all black around you.  I love you.  I do.  You are my heart and soul…but Morrigan will say the same thing if you listen to her…it’s coming from her.  I know you are tired…and no one can help you unless you help yourself first…that allows the flow to come in…CLEANSE YOURSELF…curdling is nasty…life sucks…but you just keep focusing on the positive and let the other fall away.

Sometimes a dose of the truth is like really bad cough medicine.  It tastes like cat piss going down, but you know eventually it is going to do you a world of good.hate

I turned off Facebook and pulled Google up on my Ipad.  I looked up the word ‘hate.’  Hatred is therefore a hardening of the mind and spirit. Hatred attaches you to the thing or person you hate.  This person or thing that you hate becomes a constant part of your thoughts and emotions.People-Tied-Together

I decided that it truly was time to dig down into the center of this festering purulent wound and start the healing.  I started with a cleansing bath (I am a shower person personally, so to even lower my substantial rump into a tub was a beginning).  I poured Dead Sea salt in first…to draw out impurities.  I then added sage leaves for cleansing, lavender oil for calming, eucalyptus oil for energizing, juniper berries for more cleansing and some spearmint bubble bath for suds.  I sank down into the bubbles and inhaled the different scents.BA13535

My mind raced back and forth over Maluna’s words.  Yes, my heart had become darkened by hatred.  Where did it come from?  I questioned whether or not it came from my parents….no, no sense in giving anyone else the blame.  I am the one who took it in like a homeless kitten.  I am the one who nurtured it and fed it and allowed it to grow.

I had called on the Morrigan so many times in my anger.   As I felt the suds against my legs, she reminded me that she was not a goddess of hatred and anger…not a goddess of getting even…but that she was a goddess of justice.  My brain raced over and over that definition of hatred that I found, “Hatred is therefore a hardening of the mind and spirit. Hatred attaches you to the thing or person you hate.”  My mind and my spirit had been blocked…I had been looking a foot in front of me the whole time…never seeing the whole picture.  All this time I had talked about how powerful and strong magick is, but I had been tucking pieces of it into small boxes all around me….only keeping that which I was comfortable with close to me.

As I write this, I read the words of another dear friend, Celtic Oaksoul, “Just be…take in the darkness and make it your own.  Relax and let the storm take its form outside, around you.  It will always subside.”  I just realized that I had forgotten the most important thing about life….All things are temporal!  Nothing lasts…things only happen for a season.  I have been treating it like it is the be all and end all.

I lay in the tub feeling the water become cold and my fingers and toes becoming pruny.  There is more to do than cleanse…I have to turn and walk away from the hate.  I have to make a conscious decision every day, every moment of my life to let go and move past the temporal.  My hate doesn’t do anything to the people I hate…they could care less.  I am the one that pays the price….it is my blood pressure, my health…my heart and my spirit  that will end up shriveling into a poisoned wad of anger, bitterness and hate.

Duct tape fixed my car mirror for the time being today.  It won’t, however, fix the holes I have put in my spirit.  Those are going to take time with the gods and goddesses…the innocent fur and feather people…the elements.

The ones we love aren’t there to always tell us how wonderful we are…sometimes they are there to dig out the painful and hurtful parts of us that we have become blinded to…and we are never too old for admonishment.

As I spent time in the woods this morning, I did a spell to help me to always look toward the good things with gratitude and not dwell on the bad things that happen.  I know this is a spell I will have to do more than once.  As Maluna said, “It isn’t about looking at the world with rose-colored glasses, but knowing what’s important…about focusing on the positive and letting the other fall away.

Sometimes that splinter doesn’t all come out at one time.splinter

 

Blessed Be!

There’s Something About the Woods….

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You’ve changed.  You’re daring.

You’re different in the woods…

You’ve changed.  You’re thriving.

There’s something about the woods…

The past couple of weeks have been challenging around here.  I have had the flu, an upper respiratory infection, and a blocked salivary gland.  In that time, I have worked, I have traveled, and had the opportunity for far more activity than rest.

Friday, my body required me  to pause long enough to have to be checked out.  I woke up Friday with the left side of my face swollen so big that it actually scared me.  There was a tremendous amount of heat coming from it.  I texted my boss and headed to my doctor.  He looked at my jaw and put his fingers all in my mouth and told me that he was sending me to Emory for a CAT Scan and Kidney bloodwork.  I looked down at  the prescription he gave me to hand them with his instructions.  The first words I read:  Cancer Check.  My heart sunk as I read and I called my roommate to see if he would go with me.

We got there and spent a huge amount of time waiting.  I remained patient, knowing that the flu season had officially started in Atlanta.  I watched as a little grandma across from me wept and whispered how much she hurt.

When I was finally ushered into one of the rooms, I endured the smacking of fingers against veins and listened to the nurses tell me what I hear all the time, “You don’t have much in there as far as veins.  I am going to have to use the back of your hands, legs, tops of your feet.”  They all seemed amazed at the amount of swelling in my jaw and neck. “That just happened overnight?!?”  I would nod and smile.

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After the CAT Scan and bloodwork, the doctor seemed certain it was a blocked salivary gland.  She prescribed antibiotics and lots of sour candy to get the saliva flowing.  I promised as I left that I would check in with my own doctor yesterday morning.

I followed through and went to my doctor yesterday.  He was surprised that the swelling had not reduced much.  He brought up the fact that there had been a resurgence of mumps lately (which I, of course, had never had).  I went back home to my sour candy and antibiotics that would give an elephant diarrhea.

Late last night, I had been house bound as long as I could be.  I begged Jay for a trip to the movies.  We went to see “Into the Woods.”  This has always been one of my least favorite musicals, but I thought that it might make up for my having to be away from my woods for so long.

After the movie last night, I drifted to sleep.  In my dreams, I walked the woods over and over with Mama Crow and Wolf at my side.  I dreamed of Frisbee dancing alongside me.  Funny, I was never the baker, or Red Riding Hood, or Jack in my dreams….but always the witch…always searching for those perfect ingredients for healing.

I woke up this morning as the rain was still spitting and hissing through the clouds.  I couldn’t stay inside one more moment.  I had to be apart of the outdoors.  I had to be a part of that which I had been born of.  The elements called to me…I could hear the birds and the wind.  They longed to dance and play.

I pulled on my cloak and roused a wild little chihuahua.  We made our way through puddles and mud into a place where we feel more at home than on our own sofa.  I had brought a tarp and blanket.  I have found that after a good rain, it keeps us from being soaked but still allows us to feel the ground under our rumps.  As I closed my eyes and inhaled the smell of the damp outdoors, I could hear the sounds of nature around me.  I had the feeling that I would see the Green Wizard this morning…just one of those knowings that brew deep inside of you.

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Of course, his first words are, “Oh my gosh, what happened to your face?!”  I explained what had been going on.  He laughed and asked if I had dried arnica, dried calendula,  charcoal,  and lavender oil back at the condo.  I told him I did.  He told me to go get it.  He was already digging out red clay from an area behind us and getting handfuls of other things as I walked back to the condo.

I came back with the requested items and he added them to the clay mix.  After everything was mixed thoroughly, he plastered the muck behind my ear and down the side of my jaw and neck.  He told me to leave it on for a couple of hours and then I could wash it off.

Today was a singing day.  We would take turns breaking out in songs that just came to our heads…..some based in pure nonsense, some serious.  We took turns dancing with the dogs and the breeze.  When we collapsed on the blanket…laughing and breathing heavy…he smiled and told me that he could tell that the Weathered Wiseman needed time with himself in the woods and that he would give me my time.  Part of me wanted to object because we were having such a good time, but there was that part of me that knew he was more than right.  I rubbed Boomer under his chin as Friz did one more play pounce on him.  The Green Wizard picked Friz up and rubbed him on his neck and then put him down in my lap.

As I watched the Green Wizard walk off through the woods, I am sprawled out with that wild chihuahua bouncing on my belly.  I listened as Mama Crow crackled out her sounds of approval.  I speak out loud to her, “Mama Crow…what is coming?  Where will the magick take me?”  She laughed her course laugh again…in a way telling me that no matter what, I need to meet it with flexibility and all the magick I have in me.

I close my eyes and ponder over my dear friend Maluna’s words:

Cold, Wolf, Chaste, Ice Moon, Sunday at 11:53 pm. Looks like ice and cold are on tap here. Winter is about to descend on us with a vengeance….Things are bare…except for the evergreens, and the Ivy that surrounds our house….ever green…ever Goddess. It’s pouring rain…it will turn to ice tonight….the deadliest of the Water forms (in my book)…it shows no mercy. My thoughts and studies turn to Brigid….goddess of springs, holy wells…fire…and for me she represents the waters of our land right now. Old farmers are saying the water content is low….for the coming growth season we welcome the rains and snows…one of the reasons I don’t get depressed this time of year….what is happening now….will benefit the summer. This is the full moon before Imbolc….February 2nd…full Quickening Moon….the 3rd. I have a full month of workings before Imbolc….confused? It’s ok….this works for me…you’re welcome to try it if you like. I’ll work this Cold Moon for the abandoned and abused animals….wildlife has a tendency to survive Nature….or not….that is their law….humans and their cruelty kill more than the Elements…I provide as much food and shelter possible….opening myself to the fires of Brigid for warmth….protect them all…please. Deepen your winter journey….work to provide for others, help those in need, the elderly…use the warm and cleansing energies…If you focus positive energy on the future, understand what is happening in the coming months….(granted, we don’t LIKE it) but it’s much easier if you accept and acknowledge the flow of Nature. It’s challenging….and rewarding to work with the Elements….without Earth, Air, Fire, and Water….we would not be….I give thanks for their gifts…and survive. BB

That is the one thing about life and magick…it is always moving forward.  We have to choose whether we move with it or not.  Nature is always changing, as shown by the seasons.  The wheel doesn’t wait for us to catch up.

It is never more evident than when I am in the woods that I am a part of that.

Oh, and by the way, after two hours with that muddy salve on my neck, jaw and ear…the swelling had almost completely gone.

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