About weatheredwiseman

I am just a regular fellow approaching a time in my life where I only want simplicity, coziness, and happiness. I surround myself with good people, my animals, and lots of good food

The Story Spell

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Last weekend, after I finished my blog, one of my Facebook friends posted what I thought was a profound comment on the Weathered Wiseman blog.  I asked him if it would be ok to post his comment on the Weathered Wiseman Facebook page and he agreed.  This led to a back and forth about magick and experiences.  He told me of a spell that he uses in his work with a shelter.  This moved me tremendously and led to something that I have wanted to do for a while.  Over the next few weeks, you will see posts by several trusted friends.  The only guideline I gave them is that it must be based on their experience and their magick.  Other than that, there are no holds barred.  I welcome you now to the experiences of my dear friend Daedalus.
Toward the end of our training my classmates and I were challenged to discover ways we could bring our skills and abilities out into the mundane world and use them “For the good of all, harming none”. What I learned thru the practical application of Magick is that the concepts of “good and evil” help and harm” are all relative and depend on perspective. Here is one example of how I use the skills and abilities I learned to help alleviate suffering in others.
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                                               The Story Spell
      I work in a local shelter helping homeless families find and keep housing in one of the larger cities in the state where I live. As part of my work I deal with issues such as developmental disabilities, mental health issues, as well as substance abuse issues in the folks who come to our door seeking shelter. Needless to say I have learned to practice detached and objective compassion while shielding and warding heavily for self care and protection. One of our alternate names for the family shelter is, “The drama factory”. I work the majority of the evening shifts when the guests return to the shelter after being out in the community all day. as a result I witness and have to defuse all kinds of “drama bombs”.
  When one of the guests come to me in crisis mode I first listen quietly. My job training tells me I must “model the behavior”. If I want them to calm down I have to present a calm and rational example for them to follow. My magickal training tells me that something has triggered their shadow self and before that entity can be put back to sleep it has to be able to dissipate some of the anger it holds centered on being awakened. I let them tell me their story while “listening between the lines” for what the triggers are that woke this particular beast. while they are spinning their story I soften my focus, fill the room with “safe energy” and wait for their shadow self to reveal itself. While I`m waiting I call on my guides for help and support. I also divide my attention in preparation to allow part of myself to leave my body both for safety and to allow myself to better practice the “detached compassion” that is key to the work I`m about to undertake. Part of me steps outside myself, joins my guides and we all watch me sitting there shifting in my seat, gesturing at appropriate moments, and answering with short simple replies if need be in order to keep the discharge of discordant energy actively  flowing. Once that energy is released my guides and I transform it into more “safe energy” while setting some of the transformed energy aside to be used later. My “second self” as well as my guides are all heavily cloaked at this point so the guest`s shadow self is not aware that it is being observed.
I will many times use a technique I learned when working with autistic adults who were in crisis. I sit beside the person talking rather than in front of them. I also avoid eye contact and minimize movement. I sit close enough so they know I am there if they need me yet not so close that they feel intimidated or in any way threatened. While I am sitting quietly I look at my hands and use my peripheral vision to monitor the guest, the entity driving them, and the flow and direction of the energy being released. At some point during their telling of their story/ release of discordant energy I usually take either a stone or a coin out my pocket. I find the small “watch pocket” just below the belt loops of most jeans work well for storage of these items. Retrieval requires far less shifting and digging around than pulling something from the bottom of a main pocket. I know a friend who also using a similar technique who keeps his “items of distraction” in a small leather “mojo bag” he wears around his neck. When I feel the person winding down I stare at the object in my hand as I listen and maybe begin to add some slow calming hand movement to the exchange to help distract them so they can detach themselves if they are looping back into the story. Before too long they have breathed in enough of the calming energy in the room to begin winding down. When they come to a stop my physical self asks them if they are done with their story and would like to be free of it. Sometimes they want to hang on to their anger for a bit longer for whatever reason. I tell them they can always come see me whenever they are done with it and want to move on.
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     If I have done a complete extraction and my guides and I have effectively transformed the energy in the room most times we can move to the second phase of the work at hand. At this point my physical self becomes a vehicle for a second story as either my Second Self (some would say Higher Self) or one of my guides steps forward to tell a simple story of transformation while I stare at the object in the palm of my hand as the story is being spun and the vision conjured. In effect we are spinning Glamour spell. The object in my hand is the bait and the story is what makes the object flash and shine enough to catch and hold the guest`s attention. While they are being entranced my guides and I take that calming energy we had set aside, concentrate it, and then send it out thru my heart, down my arm ,into my hand and out into the object. We aim to infuse the object with a concentrated burst of “perfect love and perfect trust” to be triggered as soon as contact is made.
  More often than not the glamour takes hold, the guest reaches out to touch the object in my hand and the energy is delivered. The delivery of that burst of energy will many times wake them from their trance and they`ll sit back in their seat with an apology for getting too close and/or touching my hand. Most don`t recall how they got that close in the first place.
  After they leave I do some breath work, clear myself and the room and prepare for the next crisis to arrive.
     I find this technique has allowed me to observe and experience aspects of the Shadow Self related to addiction and mental health that I never would have been able to otherwise work with. I hope some of you find this helpful and look forward to hearing how you tweak it, adjust it, and apply it in new ways as you make it your own. This, I believe, is how Magick builds, grows and moves us all thru this world, thru being shared as the “Work of Head, Heart and Hands”.
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We are all powerful catalysts for change.
Be and Live Well,
Daedalus

Magickal Partnering

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Have mercy!!!  This week has got to be the most stressful I have ever had…possibly in my life.  Since I took this new position at work in July, I have become responsible for 20 different accounts.  This means that I trouble shoot anything from company setup to payroll to tax setup and research.  This past week at work, I end up with two companies that won’t sign off on quarter end tax submission.  I have to research why they owe what they owe.  I have the companies yelling because they think they shouldn’t have to owe it and I have the tax department yelling because the customer needs to sign off.  I have to orchestrate getting all of this done….on top of all 18 of the other companies screaming for attention.

Add to all of this, stress at home…talks with the roommate.  Having to be more blunt than I have ever been….trying not to be hateful, but not compromising either.  Letting him know that I am in a difficult situation and that I don’t intend to stay there.

Oh and one more thing….the nutritionist and fitness guru launching 20 emails a day at me because I only lost a pound at the last weigh in….having to put my foot down and tell her to back the f*** off.

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I could feel myself crumpling like a Halloween Whopper wrapper.  I was strung so tight that the wrong word would have just set me off.  One customer threatened to report me to someone higher up because she didn’t get the answer she wanted.  And then I received the text:

You know I’m sending you everything I’ve got.  I love you!

It was in this instance that I was reminded to breathe…that no matter what I did, it wasn’t going to be perfect.  I decided to engage a manager that I trusted at work.  He told me that this wouldn’t be the first time or the last time that something like this happened and that communication was my gift and to stick with it.  I reached out to the customers constantly through the week, and on Friday at 4pm, they signed off.

My boss called me into her office and told me that the one thing that makes me different from many others on the floor, is the fact that I actually care.  She high-fived me and told me that I had done a wonderful job of coordinating the whole process. One of my co-workers imparted some words of wisdom to me:

The greatest peace you will ever know is when you accept that you don’t know everything, and you never will.  You learn what you can, teach others, and be courageous in your journey.

In my office, we have a phrase that we use a lot.  We talk about ‘effective partnering.’  We try to be an effective partner internally and externally.  This week, I found that it is also a living and breathing practice in magick.

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Even though I am a solitary witch, I have found that magickal partnering manifests in many ways.  The most obvious is typically through that common Facebook post, “I am dealing with xyz, can you all please send a little extra energy?”  With each reply of “You got it.” or “Sending,” we have joined in magickal partnering.  We are, in that moment, sharing a part of our energy and even our own spirit.

Another area of magickal partnering that we often forget about or take for granted is that bond that we share with our ‘spirit animal’ or familiar.  I can’t tell you the times this week in the midst of my stress that Friz curled close to me and joined his energy with mine.  At one point I observed that if he could have crawled up into my skin, he would have.

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Mama Crow appeared at every corner…knowing that I needed strength for the fight.  A warrior’s greatest enemy is not the battle.  It is the fatigue that comes from fighting.  She constantly cawed to me to remind me never to grow weary of wielding the sword…never grow tired of bearing the shield, but to stand strong…feet planted for battle.

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I also found comfort in partnering with Nature and the elements through this week.  As I sought refuge in the woods, the trees reminded me to stand strong, but to remain pliable.  The storms are going to come one after another, but if I allow stress and anger to rot my spirit, I will be dead inside and will topple over with any catastrophe that I am confronted with.  If I learn to move inside the storm, then I stand a better chance of standing strong afterwards.

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Many witches I know seem to be afraid of showing vulnerability.  No one can know that there are battles that we need help fighting….we are strong and can win on our own.  Not all the time.  Sometimes you need someone to lean on….you need those in your life that will support you, build you up, and call you out when you need it.

Even as a solitary, that brotherhood and sisterhood is an undeniable part of the Craft.

Blessed Be!

When the Workings Feel Stale

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This morning I went to Red Top Mountain…my partner looked at this as a casual outing for us and a friend, but for me it was so much more.  For the past couple of weeks, I have felt stretched, stressed, tired, and stagnant.

Funny how things find their way into our paths when we need it most.  As we began our journey on the mountain, we came across a bit of stagnant water.  The closer we got to it, the worse it smelled.  My partner kept telling me that water couldn’t possibly smell like that.  He thought that something had died.  I told him to get closer to it.  He knelt down and took a large breath and then choked on it.  He apparently never encountered something like this growing up on the plains of South Dakota.  I explained to him that there was no source other than rainfall and no escape…so there the water sat…murky, polluted, dead.

As I explained this, a light came on in the back of my mind.  Of course, this is how I have felt lately.  I have circled too many times around things that didn’t deserve the worry I had awarded them.  I have sat around too much with my brow furrowed…contemplating things that needed to just be dealt with.  My rituals lately had been cardboard cut-outs of what I normally experienced.  The magick itself seemed to try to fly, but petered out a few feet off the ground. Then again, when the effort and intention is half-assed, then so is the magick it produces.

My trips to the woods had been quick and sporadic…the equivalent of a magickal quickie.  I could even see a change in Friz.  He would sluggishly climb on the back of my comfy chair and peer at me with one opened eye.  Silently pouting because we had been house-bound for too long.  When I would let him out into the courtyard for bathroom breaks, his selective hearing started.  He would get as far away from me as he could….spending as much time outside as possible.

I was feeling the onset of major depression.  This time there was no desire to fight.  I wanted to lie down and sleep forever.  I disengaged as much as possible.  I lived on Excedrin Migraine.  Avoiding issues and battles that we are too afraid to fight have that effect on us.

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This past week, I finally got tired of all of it.  Thankfully, there was some semblance of fight left in me.  I realized that as long as I allowed myself to wallow in this and feel like this, that it was never going to end.  I may as well just stay asleep.  I asked a friend for a tarot reading.  It was dead on.  Successes at work…questioning my abilities…emotions that need to be dealt with…the “I care about you but I am mad at you” feeling…the feeling of being tired of going in a circle…the feeling of “I used to know the way but now I’m stumbling on a half-lit path”…and finally knowing that with all the decisions that have to be made that the wheel would continue to turn.

I needed something besides a small patch of woods behind a condominium.  I needed to spend the day among the trees and woodspirits…I needed to reconnect.  There was too much going on around me to spend the time needed in the woods.  I needed a mountain.

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We set out early this morning, cooler bag in tow.  I had asked a friend to go with us so that my partner would be entertained and I wouldn’t feel rushed.  It worked like a charm.  Once on the mountain, I was able to lose myself among the hiking trails.  As I wondered off the main trails and deeper into the trees, I watched in the distance as my comrades meandered slowly on the regular path.  I took my lunch separately and ventured out.

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As I climbed over fallen trees and through brambles, I noticed that there were mushrooms everywhere.  I was intrigued by the shapes and colors…fairy rings were rampant across the forest floor.  As I walked, I started seeing something that I had never seen as long as I have lived in Georgia.  At first, I thought that I was wrong…surely it was just another type of mushroom.  I moved closer to them.  Sure enough…Fly Agaric!  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I felt something stir in me.  I was reminded of blog after blog written by Sarah Anne Lawless about the Poisoner’s Path.  The baneful plants have always held a certain intrigue for me…that is why I have added mandragora and belladonna and monkshood to my gardening ventures.

I moved closer to the lake.  The sunshine felt good after being in the shade for so long.  It is sad that I have been in Georgia so long that 50-60 degrees feels cold in the shade.  As I flirted with the edge of the water…visualizing water nymphs singing their sirens songs to me, something beautiful and orangey-red caught my eye.  I could hardly believe it…more Fly Agaric!  As I moved closer to take a photo, I could hear that mushroom singing my name…calling to me like nothing has called to me in a long, long time.  I had to answer.

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I don’t believe it was coincidence that I had a paper towel in my pocket left over from a spring trip to this same mountain.  I reached out with the towel in hand and plucked the largest one.  I could feel its energy vibrating in my hand…this powerful mushroom singing to me the rest of the trip.  Just having it near brought a strong magick.

I sat and ate my lunch there at the edge of that lake.  The breeze pushed against me like an impish child.  On the other side, on the bank, there was a father with his children.  They laughed and chased each other.  I could hear their faint squeals.  It was like listening to the fae.  I was finally able to disconnect myself from that horrible numb feeling and I laughed out loud.

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It was an amazing feeling to feel like I could breathe again.  I am one of those people who would rather not air all my dirty laundry on Facebook, so when the depression tries to take hold, it is easier to joke on there and withdraw into my own cocoon…hiding so that no one can see the iron bands wrapped around my heart and emotions.

Fortunately there are witches who have a connection with me that is strong enough to sense this…and tend to call me out on it.  They (or should I say she)won’t allow me the luxury of wallowing in that muck and stench of a stale and rancid heart.  The reprimand comes quickly, “Get out into the woods! Now!”

Last night in preparation for my little journey today, I burned some of the Morrigan Incense that I have.  As it burned, I let myself drift into a meditative state…calling out for enough strength to fight the battles before me.  She listens strong and answers swiftly.

During my time on the mountain today, I was surrounded by crows…and I mean surrounded.  They played chase with each other in the trees.  The ran across the dead leaves on the forest floor…they cawed, they screeched.

After what ended up being more than a six mile hike, I was exhausted.  I cradled myself into a large tree and closed my eyes.  I felt a fortitude like I haven’t felt in weeks.  I closed my eyes and rested in it.  I heard my name.  I continued to rest…thinking the fae were close.  A hand reached out and touched my shoulder and I just about jumped out of my skin.  It was my partner and our friend.  They were ready to go home.  I had been exploring that mountain for almost seven hours.

I stood up and stretched my wings.  The steps ahead aren’t so sure…the path is overgrown and crooked…but I can see the light coming through….pushing me and guiding me.  I just need to let the wings do the work.

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Blessed Be!

Take Me Back to the Country

Some days, city life can be completely exhausting.  Yes, everything seems to be within reach at all hours of the day, but then again, it feels as if everything is always awake…nothing ever rests.  I think I feel this even more when autumn envelops the city around me.

This week, Mabon almost seemed to sneak up on me.  Work has been ‘hectic’ to say the least.  I feel as though I am constantly chasing my tail or cleaning up the messes that others make.  My celebration was a quiet and simple one.  I sat in the woods, Friz at my side with my cauldron blazing, a crusty piece of homemade bread, and a small glass of mulled wine.  I fed the fire with the leftovers of summer…and for the first time all week, I breathed.  I could feel my spirit calming as I lingered in the smoke of leaves and grass and just a small amount of dragon’s blood (I have always used dragon’s blood resin to enhance any magickal working).

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I listened, almost mesmerized, to the trees singing as they started the process of releasing their leaves.  The songs were a bit melancholy, but also rang with the sound of relief.  Those wonderful trees reminded me that there was no reason to hold onto to anything that was no longer of any use.  For me, this Mabon was a time for releasing those things that weighed me down…words spat out in hatred, the memories that had left too many scars to count, fears that really never were realized.

This year has been a year of cleaning, clearing, and creating.  It all started with my body.  I knew that my health had gotten worse.  In May, I began cleaning my body up and out.  I eliminated those things which were no longer beneficial and began eating healthier and exercising.  To date, I am down 62 pounds and my doctor says I am healthier than I have been in a long time.  I also started clearing out my spirit.  It was time to take those memories and any baggage that I was holding onto and clear it out.  I would keep those memories that were dear to me…those which stirred good and wonderful thoughts and emotions.  As the year has moved forward, I have also begun to create things.  I have been painting and crafting, using my hands to make things that spoke beautiful and magickal things to me.  These things may never mean anything to anyone else, but that doesn’t matter.  They speak to my spirit.

This time of year is when I dream more.  My dreams are vivid, wild, carefree….but they also take me places that are close to my heart.  Last week, I had a dream about being back home.  I was running through the woods with my grandma.  Every animal I had ever had in my life was running alongside us.  My partner said that I woke him up laughing so hard that he thought that I had possibly gone off the deep end.

A friend who does a lot of hunting (this is how he gets his meat) gave me some squirrels that he had hunted last week.  I could feel my grandma behind me as I wondered what I would do with them.  I decided that I would treat the household to a pot of my grandma’s squirrel dumplings.  I gave them the warning that ma always gave me before heading to granny’s house…”Whatever you do, don’t look in the pot.”

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I know that many don’t care for squirrel, or that some are vegan or vegetarian, but I am including my grandma’s recipe for those who might enjoy a bit of my history.

Squirrel Dumplings

Ingredients:

2 – 3 squirrels
1 1/2 qt. water
1/2 cup. shortening
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups. flour
1 cup. chicken broth, cooled
1 tsp. black pepper
Directions:
Clean and cut up the squirrels and cook in water, salt and shortening until tender.  Remove from broth, cool and remove bones.

To make dumplings:

Combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt and cooled broth. Mix well. Roll out on floured surface until thin. Cut in strips about 2 inches long. Return to boiling broth with black pepper. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add squirrel meat and serve hot.

Nobody looked in that pot that night, but they loved the flavor of those dumplings.  You would have thought that I had made Prime Rib.  My grandma was just a simple country woman.  She grew up living off of the land and she taught us that same way of life.

I was talking to our roommate the other night about how technologically advanced society is now.  We agreed that sometimes that can be detrimental.  How many times have you yourself been buried in a phone or computer, only to ignore those people and animals around you?  Friz has become quite insistent in his senior years.  If he thinks I have been on my phone or IPad for too long, he climbs on my chest looks me in the eye and starts to paw at that mechanical creature interfering with his time with me…or he goes and lies down on my shoes and breathes (or should I say huffs really loudly).  This is his way of telling me that he wants to go to the woods.

This morning, I went to the woods…by myself.  It was raining and I didn’t want Friz to have to deal with being cold and wet.  Sometimes there is something so freeing about walking in the rain…especially when it feels like it is rinsing away everything that clogs up the spirit.  By the time I had gotten to my go-to spot in the woods, the clouds were just barely spitting.  I threw my behind onto that wet ground like it was an old comfortable mattress and lifted my eyes to the trees once again.  I could hear the familiar, abrasive call of an old friend.  I looked into the trees and saw Mama Crow.  She was having her own little party in those trees.  I started to laugh and I could hear her croaky voice laughing along with me.

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It made me realize that sometimes…even in the midst of the city, you can find refuge, comfort, and peace…and if it takes travelling back in time through your dreams…even better.

Next week, I am heading to Tennessee with a group of friends.  Squirrel dumplings might just be a good option for one of our meals.  We can chase it with a shot of blackberry moonshine and a few stories and laughter.

Blessed Be!

When the Song Seems a Bit Off Key

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It seems like it has been a while since I have sat down to write.  Life has its way of bulldozing us over every once in a while.   I shared with you that I was having some gut issues…well, one emergency room visit and multiple xrays and ultrasounds and scopes later, I find out that there are ulcers raring their nasty little heads.  While everything is fairly calm now due to more changes in the way I eat and the way I handle stress, life still runs headfirst over us.

I am now up to 23 accounts at work and have inherited two difficult customers.  These are the type of customers who expect your system to be able to deliver exactly what they want.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the system is capable of.  I have had to bring out the very direct and stern Weathered Wiseman on more than one occasion with them.  Let’s add to this more hours to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  When I get home lately, I just want to pass out and not think.

To compound matters, I live with another fire sign and a water sign.  The partner (water sign) has been very needy…looking for approval, needing to be coddled and have his ego stroked and the fire sign (the roomie) has been like sandpaper, rubbing me wrong in the worst possible way.

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I have needed time by myself more than anything.  I have needed to isolate myself, but it seems when the chance arises that something seems to get in the way.  On Wednesday night of last week, I managed to  find a few moments to escape to the woods.  I took very little with me and Friz and I practically ran for the covering of trees.  We made ourselves comfortable, and I lit a couple of candles.

My self-soothing method has always been music.  When I feel stressed or lost or overwhelmed, I normally sing or hum to myself.  The moment I feel it rising in my throat, I can normally feel a calmness wash over me.  I thought that this evening might be the same.  I opened my mouth, breathed in deep and felt it rise from my chest and then my throat.  It was the ugliest, croakiest sound I have ever heard.  I have heard cats yowling that sounded more like music.

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It has to be a fluke.  I breathed in and let that horrid sound lurch forth once more.  I know because of the ulcers that I have been vomiting quite a bit.  I know that the acid can do a number on the esophagus….but what had it done to my voice.  Thinking back, people have been saying that I am not speaking as loudly or clearly as I have before.

Now, here is where ego kicks in.  Singing has always been a part of me.  I grew up singing on my grandma’s knee.  I remember the excitement in her eyes the first time she attended my performance with a cabaret group in New York.  I remember when walked into a studio in Nashville to add my vocals to a demo recording…my first vocal performance in a television commercial.  Not only had singing been a major part of my life…at one time it paid the bills.

I am not one of those people who can’t deal with the reality that things change with age, but I also know that when everything else seemed to fail, my grandmother had been able to keep her singing voice until the day she died.  Even when her hearing completely left her, she could feel what the pitch of a note should be as it rose from her throat and it still came out beautifully.

As all of this rushed over me on Wednesday night in the woods, I completely lost it.  A part of myself that I had always been able to rely on was dying….fading into history.  As the tears came, Friz leaned up to lick my cheek…maybe out of compassion…maybe just to taste the salt.  I gathered him up and walked back to the condo feeling defeated.  I slept restlessly that night…just as I have for the nights leading up to today.

I got up fairly early this morning and drove to our local metaphysical bookstore.  When I finished looking through some of the newer arrivals, I got in the car and instead of making a left out of the parking lot to go home, I turned to the right.  After driving for about ten minutes, I came upon a sign for the “Old Roswell City Ruins.”  This isn’t something that one normally sees in Atlanta, so I turned in the direction the sign pointed me.  It turns out that it is actually the ruins of an old mill with a covered bridge and falls and walking trails….an utterly beautiful place.

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I explored every area of those woods and water and trails.  I had walked and smelled and touched every piece of nature around me…an area abandoned long ago, but still kept very much alive.  As I climbed the trail to the falls, I could feel the breeze calling to me.  It was beckoning for me to become a part of it.  I sat on some rocks at the edge of the dam and looked up.  There perched on a tree next to me was a crow.  I sat quietly and listened as she cawed.  The sound blistered my eardrum, but was beautiful none the less.  As she raised her voice…however tuneless and harsh it may sound…it was none the less magical.

I was reminded of a story I had heard as a child:

Rainbow Crow

It was so cold. Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The animals had never seen snow before. At first, it was a novelty, something to play in. But the cold increased tenfold, and they began to worry. The little animals were being buried in the snow drifts and the larger animals could hardly walk because the snow was so deep. Soon, all would perish if something were not done.

“We must send a messenger to Kijiamuh Ka’ong, the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be,” said Wise Owl. “We must ask him to think the world warm again so that Spirit Snow will leave us in peace.”

The animals were pleased with this plan. They began to debate among themselves, trying to decide who to send up to the Creator. Wise Owl could not see well during the daylight, so he could not go. Coyote was easily distracted and like playing tricks, so he could not be trusted. Turtle was steady and stable, but he crawled too slowly. Finally, Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful of all the birds with shimmering feathers of rainbow hues and an enchanting singing voice, was chosen to go to Kijiamuh Ka’ong.

It was an arduous journey, three days up and up into the heavens, passed the trees and clouds, beyond the sun and the moon, and even above all the stars. He was buffeted by winds and had no place to rest, but he carried bravely on until he reached Heaven. When Rainbow Crow reached the Holy Place, he called out to the Creator, but received no answer. The Creator was too busy thinking up what would be to notice even the most beautiful of birds. So Rainbow Crow began to sing his most beautiful song.

The Creator was drawn from his thoughts by the lovely sound, and came to see which bird was making it. He greeted Rainbow Crow kindly and asked what gift he could give the noble bird in exchange for his song. Rainbow Crow asked the Creator to un-think the snow, so that the animals of Earth would not be buried and freeze to death. But the Creator told Rainbow Crow that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be destroyed.

“What shall we do then?” asked the Rainbow Crow. “We will all freeze or smother under the snow.”

“You will not freeze,” the Creator reassured him, “For I will think of Fire, something that will warm all creatures during the cold times.”

The Creator stuck a stick into the blazing hot sun. The end blazed with a bright, glowing fire which burned brightly and gave off heat. “This is Fire,” he told Rainbow Crow, handing him the cool end of the stick. “You must hurry to Earth as fast as you can fly before the stick burns up.”

Rainbow Crow nodded his thanks to the Creator and flew as fast as he could go. It was a three-day trip to Heaven, and he was worried that the Fire would burn out before he reached the Earth. The stick was large and heavy, but the fire kept Rainbow Crow warm as he descended from Heaven down to the bright path of the stars. Then the Fire grew hot as it came closer to Rainbow Crows feathers. As he flew passed the Sun, his tail caught on fire, turning the shimmering beautiful feathers black. By the time he flew passed the Moon, his whole body was black with soot from the hot Fire. When he plunged into the Sky and flew through the clouds, the smoke got into his throat, strangling his beautiful singing voice.

By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black as tar and could only Caw instead of sing. He delivered the fire to the animals, and they melted the snow and warmed themselves, rescuing the littlest animals from the snow drifts where they lay buried.

It was a time of rejoicing, for Tindeh – Fire – had come to Earth. But Rainbow Crow sat apart, saddened by his dull, ugly feathers and his rasping voice. Then he felt the touch of wind on his face. He looked up and saw the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be walking toward him.

“Do not be sad, Rainbow Crow,” the Creator said. “All animals will honor you for the sacrifice you made for them. And when the people come, they will not hunt you, for I have made your flesh taste of smoke so that it is no good to eat and your black feathers and hoarse voice will prevent man from putting you into a cage to sing for him. You will be free.”

Then the Creator pointed to Rainbow Crow’s black feathers. Before his eyes, Rainbow Crow saw the dull feathers become shiny and inside each one, he could see all the colors of the rainbow. “This will remind everyone who sees you of the service you have been to your people,” he said, “and the sacrifice you made that saved them all.”

And so shall it ever be.

Crow is surrounded by magick, unseen forces and spiritual strength. If crow enters your life, get out of your familiar nest, look beyond your present range of vision, listen to the messages in its caw and act accordingly.

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I would love to finish this writing with the news that my voice rang forth strong and beautiful in song as I sat there communing with the crow…but it didn’t.  My voice was just as raspy and hoarse as it was on that dark Wednesday evening.  My voice may never be the same….it could come back stronger or it could stay brash and ragged , but there is no less magick there.

What is a lesson I have had to learn from this?  Magick isn’t always going to be pretty.  It is something that is fluid and constantly changing.  Just like that water moving over the falls today…as long as it is moving and changing, it will never grow stagnant…much like us.

Blessed Be!

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Whispers of Our Ancestors

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This week was a hard week physically for me.  I caught some god-awful virus through work that completely threw my system off.  While I have been trying to lose weight, the violent projectile vomiting that came with this virus, is not what I had in mind.  I have lived for almost five days now on Pedialite, Ensure, and cold-pressed juices.  I will say one thing though,  I may not have much of an appetite for food, but I have hungered after time in nature…I have longed for the songs of the cicadas and dramatic dances of the trees.  I have dragged myself from the house just to spend time with familiar voices, spirits, and animals.

The past couple of weeks have been full of pleasant surprises from the past for me.  My mother had been digging through boxes of things that my grandma and grandpa had collected over the years.  During her digging, she came across a collection of gnomes figurines that had belonged to my grandfather.  He collected a series of figurines made by Tom Clark at Cairn Studios in Davidson, North Carolina.  My grandpa was the reason that I started collecting them.  I was talking to my mother on the phone one night and she asked if I wanted her to ship them to me.  Of course I jumped at the chance.

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When I opened the box, I saw familiar faces of old friends from my teen years.  My grandpa was a rotund little man.  He would sit around for hours and tell us stories of gnomes, and woodland elves and nymphs.  Even as older teens we were enraptured by the tales.  It was if he knew these creatures personally and had walked the same paths that they had walked.

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I know that I have recounted many memories of both my Cherokee grandma and my little Scots-Irish grandma…but my grandpa always seemed to keep us kids at arms length.  The only time that he seemed to engage us much was when he would tell us his stories.  Most of his life he was far too serious…gruff and cruel at times.  It was only during these stories that a twinkle that seemed to have faded into years of far too much bitterness and responsibility, leaped out at us and we would laugh alongside him for just a while.

Now back to that box…that wonderful, magickal box of his that my mother sent me.  In the bottom of the box, wrapped in newspaper dated from the 1930’s, was a small hardback book.  The cover was a worn green and there were white flowers spread across with a mountain scene in the background.  The book was written in German and the only information that gave me any indication of who it belonged to was her name and the year 1898 inscribed on the title page.  I did look up the translation of the title.  It means simply:  Edelweiss:  Stories for Young and Old.

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I called my mother to see if this book was left in the box by accident and if she wanted me to send it back to her.  She quietly said that it was time for things to move to other generations. I asked her about the woman who so unobtrusively had written her name with only the year beside it.

My mother explained that she was a very quiet woman who had not been treated so well by her husband.  She had found solace in books and music.  She said that while my grandfather didn’t talk much about his mother and father and brothers, my grandmother found her mother-in-law to be a likable woman.  Ma said that it wasn’t unusual for my grandmother to walk up behind her as she shelled beans or hung the wash and hear her singing old German folk songs….and she would tell my grandmother stories about growing up in the German countryside.  My mother told me that she is where my grandpa got his love for the forest folk.  She said that my grandmother had told her of memories my great grandma had of the boys all gathered around her.  She would tell them stories of the forest gnomes and elves and changelings.

My mom laughed as she remembered one story my great grandma had shared with my grandma.  She said that one night she found all of the boys tangled up in bedsheets with flashlights.  They had gone out to catch them a kleiner Mann (a little man), and got tripped up in the sheets.   She said it was one of the few times that my grandma could remember her laughing.  Ma said that my grandmother remembered her as a wonderful cook.  There was always fresh bread and sweets on the table.  My grandma passed my great grandma’s recipe for Pfeffernusse cookies down to me.  I added the recipe with some modernization.

pfefferneuse

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a brown paper bag(my recipe calls for a pillow case).

  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside.

  3. Place butter, brown sugar, and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes (my recipe requires all of this be done by hand).  Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Pinch off dough in tablespoon amounts; roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Arrange balls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

  4. Bake until cookies are golden and firm to the touch with slight cracking, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Working in batches, place cookies in paper bag (my recipe says a pillow case); shake until well coated. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container (again my recipe says to leave in the pillowcase in a closet for 6 weeks)

As I sat in the woods yesterday morning, my memories swirled back to everything I had talked to my mother about.  My great grandma has been dead since 1938 and my grandpa in 1992.  My grandma lived until 2007.  Each one of them is a part of me.  As I sit in the shadow of the trees, it is easy to imagine an old German folk song softly floating past my ear…or a story of the forest folk and an old man’s laugh.  Just as I have settled into a memory that isn’t really mine to begin with, Frisbee jumps and barks at something moving through the bushes.  It startled me for a moment and then I tell him to calm down…after all, it’s probably a gnome or elf or one of many fae.

I have pieces of my ancestors all around me…books, hats, figurines.  When I look at these pieces, it is evident how the parts of my own soul came to be.  I am a puzzle…made up completely of past present and future.  I have the strength that was forged by those who came before me, the power that is so much a part of me now, and the legacy that I leave for those who come after me.

Blessed Be!

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The Scent of Wild Air

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Yesterday morning was an early morning for me.  My partner has been working all weekend, so to be nice…I volunteered to get the dogs up, feed, and walk them by myself.  I was pretty much still halfway asleep through the process, but as I finished walking Bella (who always takes the longest), I walked over to the pot where my mandrake root is planted.  This plant has been hidden for the whole summer.  They don’t tend to like the horrendously hot summer days that Georgia is known for.  When I looked down into the pot, I saw three tiny little green leaves.  My four year old mandrake root was showing itself!  I hurried inside to drop off my canine bundle and rushed back out to the courtyard.  I knew for a fact that if my mandrake was surfacing, that cooler weather was on its way.

I heard the french doors creak open and looked up to see my partner sleepily pushing Friz out the door with a “He was whining to come out.”  I picked Friz up and we slowly made our way around the property.  Friz lifted his head into the air and sniffed repeatedly.  “You smell it too, don’t you?”  Just every fleeting so often, you could feel and smell coolness right in front of you.  I could feel myself shiver at the prospect of brisk air, breezes, and jackets.

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My heart skipped a beat as we walked over to where the pond used to be and I saw a partially yellow leaf lying in the grass.  I know that most look at fall as a time when things die, but to me it has always signified new beginnings.  I use this time as a chance to clean house.  I clean out the closets and anything that hasn’t been touched or used in a year either goes to Goodwill or some other charity.  I even do this with the animals things.  The local shelters are always in need of something.

Autumn is always the time of year that seems to bring out the pup in Friz.  He becomes more playful, more active.  He runs through the house and patio like a wild man…but then again, fall tends to do that same thing to me.  In autumn, I crave time outside.  On weekends, I am typically outside from before the sun rises to well after it sets.  If I could, I would sleep outside every night and use the stars and moon as my nightlight.  Autumn stirs something in me.  That is when my magick feels strongest.

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With the seasons moving toward fall, I feel closer to nature and all the things it encompasses.  When I walk past the trees, it is as if I can hear them singing in preparation of shedding what they have carried through the first part of the year.  Like me, they are anxious to release the things that they have carried through the first part of the year.  It is almost as if you can hear them sigh in relief as they slowly start to release their leaves and then as if they are too tired to hold them one more moment, they purge themselves of the remaining leaves so that they too might feel the freedom and simplicity of being burdened no more.

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When Friz and I got back into the house yesterday morning, I felt that ‘hibernation’ mode start to wash over me. I pulled the ottoman in front of my big chair, pulled a couple of cookbooks and my coffee over toward me, grabbed a blanket and nestled in with Friz.  We read for a bit, and then drifted off into dreams of colored leaves and brisk breezes.

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Autumn is my time for reading and pouring myself into every kind of book imaginable.  I read everything from books on the Craft, to cookbooks, to fiction, to magazines, to seed catalogs for Spring.  I pull even more into myself and relish the simplicity of everything around me.  It is my time to keep things simple.  Life is far too complicated already.  Fall is a time of comfort food and warm drinks.  It is nesting time for humans.  We spend Spring and Summer going non-stop.  Fall and Winter are the seasons of reflection, introspection, and clearing out the cobwebs that the rest of the year leaves behind.

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As we approach Autumn, I envision the Fae hunting and gathering for the upcoming weather changes and make sure to leave extras in the courtyard.  I add small pieces of flannel that I have cut up for them to use as blankets, matches, milk, bread…anything that they might need for their own comfort.  In my mind, I see them curled up in their own version of a comfy chair reading or sewing with an acorn cap full of warmed milk and a toasted piece of my homemade bread.

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When I walked Friz this evening, I was jarred back into reality.  I felt that balmy late summer breeze lick at my skin and I smelled one of the neighbors grilling out.  As we walked through the haze of hamburger and hotdog smoke, I closed my eyes to try to get back that feeling I had yesterday but try as I might, I was hurled back into late summer.  The little mandrake is holding its own, waiting for the cooler temperatures right around the corner…with each new leaf sprouting, hope for Fall.

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As we walked back toward the condo and my mind is racing toward work tomorrow and all of the challenges it will bring, I take a deep breath.  I can already taste small amounts of stress starting to surface.  I have to be reminded that I have to keep my life simple.  Worrying about things won’t add one more minute to my life.  I watch Mama Crow on the sidewalk fighting with the remains of a cicada.  I laugh out loud.  As Friz and I go through the french doors into the house, I hear my cuckoo clock in the back bedroom.  For some reason, it reminds me to take a deeper breath and not be so serious….and to always smell the breez for that hint of wild air.

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“Wise Men Hear and See As Little Children Do.”

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This week has been a baptism by fire of sorts into the depths of human nature for me.  I have always been one of those people who tried to see the best in people.  This week, however, I have listened as people outright lied to cover their own derrieres or to get other people in trouble.  I have witnessed people so wrapped up in themselves and the stress that surrounded them that they were willing to compromise their own system of ethics.  I have also seen people so wrapped up in ‘life’ that they could not take a moment to breathe, smile or fantasize.

As I watch people living daily life here in Atlanta, it scares me sometimes.  I remember a time when people actually laughed and didn’t take themselves so seriously.  I watch as we become robots of sorts.  We have become devoid of any emotions except for anger and fear.  We have become a ‘get-even’ society.  “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

I called my mother last night.  While we were on the phone, I heard my nephew and his cousin playing in the background.  They were throwing things and yelling.  I asked my mother to put my nephew on the phone.  I asked him why they were throwing things and yelling. He said that they were grownups and that they were at ‘work.’ Out of the mouths of babes…

This morning, my roommate and I went out for lunch.  While we were perusing the menu, we listened as the woman behind us screamed at the waitress.  Her sandwich, from what we and everyone else in the restaurant could hear, was dry.  “But you ate the whole sandwich,” the mild-mannered waitress pointed out.  “Well, I just kept hoping it would get better at some point.”  The waitress comped the meal as the woman continued to loudly protest.

We have become a society of liars, thieves, and generally crabby-assed people.  It is our right to be offensive and hurtful and to deliver our opinion whether people want it or not. We have carried that over into every area of our lives including social media.  Adults have become worse than children.  We don’t know how to play nice anymore.

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As we grow older, we are supposed to grow in wisdom, and love, and understanding.  I have not so much seen that lately.  I look around and see a group of people who have forgotten how to see the magic in the world around them.  Sure….life sucks sometimes.  Situations and circumstances happen, but we choose how we respond to those circumstances and situations.  Now, you notice I said respond, and not react.

One of the definitions I found for the word respond is: To react quickly or positively to a stimulus or treatment.  One of the definitions I found for react is:  To respond with hostility, opposition, or a contrary course of action to.  Both are related, but one is seen as positive and the other more negative.

I have always loved the story of Peter Pan.  In the chronicles of Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie, adults are seen as pirates out to squelch the innocence of childhood.  Once one reaches adulthood, magic ceases to exist.  I dare say that even as witches, we sometimes become so wrapped up in the ritual and following everything to the ‘T’ that we forget to let the magick do what magick does.  Magick should flow from us and through us on a daily basis….moment by moment.  It isn’t something that should always have to be stirred up or manipulated.  The butterfly doesn’t have to be coaxed from the crysalis…it is a part of what it is and does.

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Even in my own life, it has become far too easy to react based on the emotions surrounding a situation, than to stop, breathe, and respond with the magick that stirs within my very soul.  If I were to reach inside myself and pull from the stores of power that swirl through my veins, I might handle a crisis quite differently.

Normally my Saturday and Sunday mornings are spent in the woods.  I come to think that they are more magickal than anywhere else around….but this morning, Friz and I slept in (which we never do).  Instead of our morning trip to the woods, we went for a walk just before twilight.  We walked a different path…one that we thought would get us to the woods before dark…through the playground of the complex.  There we saw two little girls and a little boy who I have gotten to know over the years.  “Mr. Gaddy, you and Frisbee come and play with us…Pleeeeeeeeaaasssee!!!”  I relented.  Friz and I headed to the middle of the playground.  “He is the king and she is a knight.  I am a beautiful princess.  You can be the wizard and Frisbee is a dragon.”  I am standing there thinking that it was kind of type-casting but these children have also walked up on me talking to trees and plants and making a bit of magick.  Friz play-bowed as if he knew his part.  He barked and ran in circles with the kids.  “Spell him, Mr. Gaddy! Spell him!”  I laughed out loud.  Mercy, I had not run around like this and laughed like this in what seemed like forever.

When we finished, we plopped down on the swings and Friz rolled onto his side in the dirt. “You are really good at magick,” one of the kids said.  I laughed a bit and under my breath said, “It takes practice.”  The smallest girl overheard me and agreed that yes, it must.  They all waved goodbye to me and Friz and headed home for their dinners.  Friz came over to me and leaned against my leg.  We stayed like that for a while realizing that we had both just witnessed magick through the eyes of a child.

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It was in this moment that I realized that I don’t want my spirit to grow old and brittle.  I am a magickal being.  I need to find ways to guard my heart against anger, bitterness, offense, I have noticed when children play…they may get mad, but they are quick to forgive.  As adults, we have learned to hold onto that grudge, nurse it, feed it.

We say that we believe in all things magickal, but do we truly?  Have we learned to compartmentalize magick? “This doesn’t work for me, so it can’t truly be valid.”  I have friends who follow many different paths.  None are any less real or valid than my path.  Just because I believe in dragons and you don’t, does not mean that dragons aren’t real…same with the fae.

Where have we put all of the wonder that brought us to our path to begin with?  I want to be able to see magick the way a child sees it.  I remember when my girls were 4 or 5 years old and it was Christmas Eve.  We were all sitting in the floor of the family room with wrapping paper and ribbons and tape all around us.  My dad had gone out to check on his goats without a flashlight and tripped and fell against the house.  Steph’s eyes widened and she said, “Oh my doodness! Santa Cwaus is here alweady! Let’s wun for the bedwoom!!”  It didn’t even cross her mind that her grandpa had fallen against the house even though she saw him go outside.  Oh to be able to see with our eyes wide open once again.

When I got home today, I decided to create an easy spell to help me with that child-like spirit.  It starts with a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  As I stirred the ingredients for the cookies together, the spell began to roll off my tongue:

Eyes wide open, breathing deep…

A child-like heart will no more sleep.

Wonder, hope, excitement, thrill…

Now renewed, my heart will feel.

From a brittle spirit, set me free.

All things magickal, now I’ll see.

Flow within me everyday.

Teach my heart and soul to play.

chocolate chip cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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Blessed Be!

So Is Mischief Really Managed?

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When people get to know me, they realize early on that I am pretty much a “what you see is what you get” type of person.  I have never been one to live on pretense and don’t believe that I should have to be any less than who I am.  I forget sometimes that not everyone else is like that.  Most people allow you to be a part of their lives as long as the need suits them and then you become an inconvenience….or they hold you to a standard that only they are aware of and when you don’t fit that standard, or you step outside of the box that they have constructed around you, you become a parasite that must be eradicated.

This weekend was my birthday.  It was filled with wonderful friends and acquaintances well wishes….except one.  At one time, I thought that we were close.  I would pay visits to his house when he had needs arise with his pets.  After all, he shouldn’t have to dole out money at a vet for something that I could accomplish in ten minutes, should he?  I found myself watching my phone for a text from this person…scanning Facebook for any chance of a ‘Happy Birthday’ wish from him.  I found none.

I have always been one who didn’t think that others opinions of me mattered….until this weekend.  My mind raced back to a phonecall with this person a couple of weeks ago.  He had become irritated with me over the course of the call and reprimanded me.  I quickly corrected him by stating that I would not be spoken to like a child.  In the next few contacts we had via text, everything was cordial, but you could tell they were forced on his end.  I excused it as his right to feel miffed if he felt he needed to be, so I pushed it to the back of my mind.

Friday night, I prepared for my Blue Moon Ritual.  I used part of the ritual as a release.  I always try to push those things away from me that seem to no longer serve a purpose or are harmful.  I always include toxic relationships.

I sat quietly under the moon….watching through the glass jar of water I had put on the table to charge under the moonlight.  Visions began to move through the water.  I saw battles ahead…but I also saw victories.  The thing that sticks out, was that I watched a scene in that water that made me cringe.  I saw relationships being severed with a steel blade.  I know that this is a normal part of life.  Relationships change…people move on.

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I left the tealights burning in the circle around me and curled up on the outdoor sofa.  I woke up in total darkness.  I don’t wear a watch so I had no idea what time it was.  I gathered everything up and went inside.  I quickly glanced at the clock and saw that it was 5:10am.  I had pretty much spent the whole night underneath the moonlight.

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I realized early in the day Saturday that I probably had a good healthy overdose of moon energy.  I was fidgety, antsy…to much energy and not enough outlets for it.  I kept glancing at my phone.  Facebook was filled with well-wishes and Happy Birthday posts.  It was wonderful seeing each one and they filled my heart with love…but there was one missing.  Isn’t that just like us?  We could be sitting in the midst of a banquet searching for one single grape.

The worst part of this was that I let this situation fill me with self-doubt.  What had I done that was so wrong?  Should I have been more understanding?  More sympathetic?  Did I say something hurtful?  No….I had nothing to apologize for.  I would do everything the same way if I had to do it over.  I can only control the things that have to do with my actions, reactions, and words.  I wasn’t hurtful.  I was asked an opinion.  I gave it.

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My partner came up to me at one point yesterday and told me that I seemed down.  “Is it the fact that you are almost 50?” “Yeah, that’s it.”  I lied.  “I am going for a walk in the woods.”  I put Friz’s harness on him and we set out on a far too familiar path.  We walked a little slower than normal.  My mind was a million miles away.

Friz can tell more than anyone when I am out of sorts.  I plopped down in the midst of the decaying leaves.  Friz crawled up into my lap and licked at the tip of my nose.  I looked directly in front of me and saw one of the larger trees.  I studied it.  There were gouges and dents in the bark, but there it stood.

old tree

My thoughts followed the contours of that old tree.  It had been exposed to the elements.  Weather and animals and humans had added divots and grooves to the outside bark….but that tree continued to grow.  That tree had survived drought, Georgia summers and urbanization….but yet it continued to grow as if none of that existed around it.

As my eyes followed the gnarls and cracks in the bark, I had the realization that I am now almost a half century old.  I have my own cracks, divots and gnarls, but the inside is still growing and learning.  There are things and people that are going to move in and out of my life.  I have to realize that everything is for a season only…some lasts for multiple seasons, but everything has an energy all its own.  Sometimes that energy is no longer works alongside mine and I must release it and not let it fill me with doubt.

Today, my partner took me to “The Sound of Music” Sing-Along at the Fox Theater.  One of the lines used in the movie stood out to me.  I have watched this movie over and over through the years and never realized that these words were said.  Two of the sisters were discussing Maria’s future at the abbey with the Reverend Mother.  Sister Berthe suggested to the Reverend Mother that Maria’s antics should remove any doubt regarding Maria belonging at the abbey.  The Reverend Mother replies, “I always try to keep faith in my doubts, Sister Berthe.”

I guess I am learning to do the same.

Blessed Be!

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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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