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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