A Taste of Freedom

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During the New Moon this year, as I performed my ritual, I prayed that I would experience freedom like I have never experienced before.  There was a promotion on the horizon at work…I was hopeful.  On the other hand, I had been the ear for so much anger, bitterness…the type that makes you feel as if your skin will burn off if their words touch you.

I breathed a prayer, “Please Luna…breathe freshness and newness over your people.”  As I closed, I placed the seed from my moonflower plant in a cradle of soil on my altar.  I poured water over the seed and called for the elements to nurture everything that was lying dormant in that seed and bring it to fruition in my life….hope, growth, newness, and freedom from the shell it was housed in.

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As the week progressed, I watched New Moon Blessings manifest.  The promotion took effect today, lines of communication have been better between my partner and I,  Friz seems to be better (he hurt his leg a few weeks ago)…newness was pulsing all around me.  I can feel wonderful new changes stirring inside of me.

Today at work, I talked and laughed with new clients, had a meeting with my new team, and shared my knowledge with the ones who replaced me on my old team.  The day had been good.  At 6:00pm, I was packing my briefcase to go home…feeling content with the day’s accomplishments.  My phone rang.  I looked to see that it was my mother.  She knew it was my first day in my new position, so she was probably calling to see how my day went.

“Hey there sweetie.  It’s Mama.  I just wanted to call and tell you that your cousin died today.”  Now this wasn’t just any cousin.  This was one of the cousins who sexually abused me as a child.  My breath caught in my throat.  Suddenly, all the years of counselling came flooding back.  All the fear I felt when I first told my parents it was happening and they wouldn’t believe me.  I felt my cheeks flush…actually, I could feel every ounce of blood rushing through every vein in my body.  I didn’t know how to feel.

All at once, I was confronted with every emotion I owned…still sitting in my cube.  As I sat there not sure whether to feel sadness, elation…my mentor came up behind me and asked what was wrong.  “My cousin died,” I dryly said.  “There is more than that happening, but ok.  I am here if you need me.”  He patted me on my shoulder and smiled at me.

All the way home, all I could think of was how awful my cousin was to me.  His abuse didn’t come disguised as caring, loving…his abuse was just that.  Controlling, dominating, hateful abuse.  I am able to look back now and see that it was much of his own self-loathing surfacing, but that excuses nothing.  I have seen many in the same situations not resort to physically hurting others.  I remember the constant torment he put me through.  He would hit me and trip me.  I would go home bruised from his house as he told my parents that I was so clumsy…that my feet were too big for my body and I fell into everything.

I forgave him years ago.  I did this for myself…not for him.  He never changed.  I did.  No matter how far away I was from him, there was always something looming over me.  Forgiveness came easy, forgetting…not so much.  Dealing with the emotional scars to me was so much easier than seeing the physical scars on a daily basis.  Am I a stronger person for having dealt with this?  Yes…but no child…no adult should ever have to deal with this.

When I got older, he knew better than to mess with me.  I had come into my own and would as soon stomp him than look at him…and he always seemed to be at every family gathering.  I guarded my girls like a mama wolf when he was around.  They knew never to be alone with him, but it never stopped him from acknowledging me with that shit-eating grin that made him think he got away with something.  The other cousin who took part in this was more docile as he got older…not this one.

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As I drove home, I felt sick to my stomach…angry for feeling relief that he would no longer be standing there staring over my shoulder….sad, because this piece of shit left a wife behind (thankfully he never had children)…and thrilled that no one, ever, ever could be a part of his warped existence anymore.

I ran to the woods as soon as I got home.  I completely lost it.  As my body heaved, I could feel years of tension, years of feeling like the family guard dog, years of hatred and lack of control leaving me.  As I sat in the midst of the woods with my head resting on my arm, I felt something that I have never felt before. It was Freedom…Freedom.

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Blessed Be!

You Can Blame It On the Moon…She Started It

 

 

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The pull of the full moon was strong this week.  I keep up with the phases of the moon on a regular basis, but this week, I could tell the full moon was powerful without the use of phases or almanacs or signs.  The moon revealed herself this week through nature…not nature as related to trees and the outdoor element, but through the nature of people.

Funny, the derivation of the word ‘Lunacy’ comes from the response of people’s spirit, nature, moods and energies to the moon phases.  “Moonstruck” is what this word meant in Latin.  I got a good strong taste of it this week.

Let me preface this by saying that I have had to implement some major lifestyle changes this week.  After a trip to the ER last weekend, I was told that if I didn’t put ‘healthier lifestyle choices’ into place, that my partner might be waking up next to a dead body sooner than later.  That was both a jolt and a slap in the back of the head at the same time.  Of course, my thought process on this was, “Ok, let’s do this.”  I didn’t give myself a choice….I didn’t look at other options…it just has to be done.

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Dieting can be stressful enough as it is, but when you have to allow for everyone else’s feelings and how they are responding to major changes, it can become even more stress inducing.  Tuesday night, my partner and I had a huge fight….about stupid things.  It boiled down to one thing, he was scared.  He wasn’t just scared about the fact that if I didn’t make changes, I wouldn’t be here long, he was scared of what was to come.  He has grown comfortable with me being heavy.  He has become used to my lethargy and lack of motivation.   Change can definitely be hard on the person that it directly affects, but it can also be a challenge for those indirectly affected too.

I normally try not to go to bed angry, but I did.  I stewed all day Wednesday.  When I got home from work Wednesday, I was still irked….perturbed.  As stood outside, I called on the wind.  Might have been just an eensy bit of a mistake….the elements do tend to feed off of our energies. The wind picked up and whipped and lashed and became cold quickly.  I didn’t have one bit of issue with that….it fit my mood.  Rather than go into the condo right away, I decided to walk into the woods.  I leaned against a tree…I sat down on the ground as my back rolled down the bark of the tree.  I knew I needed to release that anger.  It accomplished nothing…the argument was stupid.  It was an argument rooted in fear.  I utilized the power of the wind to blow that anger off of me.

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Did we make up?  Yes.  Was there understanding? Yes.  More than anything, though, it was about release….letting that energy flow out and away from us.

As I took Friz into the woods this morning, my mind raced.  This week was a week full of anniversaries of deaths, birthdays of those who have gone on, high energies and emotions.  As we settled down on the ground, I could feel the coolness of the earth beneath me.  The heartbeat is faint. The earthmother is in her death-sleep…waiting for spring.  Friz climbs into the circle inside my legs.  He curls in tight and looks up at me with sleepy eyes.  I rub under his cheek and leans into it and sighs deeply.  I start to rub his body with long sweeping strokes…breathing in and out deeply as I do.  His body completely relaxes…his trust for me is evident by the way his body feels against me.  It is much the same way I feel when I lean against a tree or lie against the ground.Spoolknitting silver thread and spool diy necklace

My friend Cindy said it best,

We together are a tapestry…but one silver thread connects the Goddess and you.  If it’s cut…all will unravel.  Enforce it tonight…make it strong.

In that moment in the woods, I realized that it was all about release.  As I released my own energy into the body and spirit of my little blue chihuahua, I felt his own energy meet mine.  Together…combined with that of the Goddess, the Earthmother…we felt the scales of emotion move into balance.  This morning was about my friend, my comrade and companion…who never seems to ask for anything.  His happiest moments come from just being close to me.  As we made our way back to the condo, I made a commitment…today would be about release.  I would pour my energy into those who needed it most.2014-04-13 19.23.21 HDR

 

We had planned last night to go today to the Atlanta Pet Expo.  It was a fun way to get to see other people’s animals and to see pet foods and products.  As we pulled into the parking lot, I could already feel the animals pulling on my energy.  As we walked, I would stop and talk to those dogs that seemed to call out to me.  We wandered through booth after booth…the newest cat litters, pet clothes, grain free dog foods… as we visited the booths and I stopped for the different pets, we could see the rescue areas in the distance.  I could feel the pull.

Years ago when I worked with holistic vet, I was trained and attuned in Reiki…I started the training focusing on humans, but my final trainings and attunements concentrated on animals.  I can and will do Reiki for humans, but would rather and feel more at ease working with animals.  As I rounded the corner of the first lot of rescue cages…I felt that little nudge…I could hear my inner voice telling me that now it was time for release….and so it started.  As I moved from cage to cage, from dog bed to cat bed, I performed Reiki on each one of the rescues I encountered.

The stresses and fears that sometimes our pets and familiars feel are sometimes enough to drive us crazy…not knowing how to fix those things.  The stresses and fears of those in limbo…shifted from foster home to foster home…waiting for that one person or family that will love and watch over you for the rest of your life…so many animals wound tighter than an overused wristwatch.

I slowly started to release my energy into them…one by one.  Sometimes the emotions that overtook me were overwhelming.  I left more than one animal with tears streaming down my face.  No.  I can’t save them all, but I can impart a bit of my own magick into them.  Many come into this world because of the carelessness and selfishness of us and then become throwaways.2014-11-08 22.47.16

I turned around to see a little chihuahua shivering in his kennel.  So much fear was present.  I had to start slow.  I rubbed his back through the bars.  He relaxed.  I rubbed more….he leaned back, sitting on his rear and eyes closed.  Then I took him out.  As I massaged and cuddled and poured into this little guy, he started making a low moaning sigh.  I finished and put him back into the kennel with a prayer that soon he would know the comfort of a lap and the warmth of sleeping next to someone who would love him completely.  With tears streaming, I silently wished I owned a farm where the leftovers could come and live…always surrounded in comfort, always surrounded in love.

When I look at the four leggeds and the winged ones…I always see them as the ones who held magick first.  I see them as the ones who don’t out grow it or stop believing.  The Goddess can communicate with them purely and without anything getting in the way.  2a71fcaecea94fe25e270662a93e0134

 

I make a commitment.  This commitment is the result of having loved several cats over my lifetime, an australian shepherd named Patches, and a little blue chihuahua.  As long as I am able to pour energy and love into any animal I come in contact with…each animal that meets my eye or sniffs my hand will know love, completely and fully, if only for the moment that we have together.

You can blame it on the moon.  She started it.

Blessed Be!

Dig A Little Deeper

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This time of year has always seemed to be a time of introspection for me.  The temperatures are cooling. The veil is thinning.  It is in this season that we can hear the whispers of those who have gone before.  It is in this season that emotions run raw for most people.  The cats and dogs are more sensitive than normal and so am I.

I told my roommate early last week, that I have been dreaming more about my partner who died lately.  He looks at me sternly and says, “Somebody has unfinished business…him or you.  The next time he comes to you, engage him.  Ask him what he needs.”  I told him that I would think about it.  He called me a chicken.  In certain areas of my life, I have lived on the premise of ‘leave well enough alone.’  He is gone.  I put him behind me years ago.  I don’t really have anything left of ‘us.’  I packed it up a few years before me and my current partner met.  The only things there are memories…or so I thought.

This week, I have dreamed about him every night.  In each dream, he stands…just looking at me with that same love in his eyes that I remember.  In each dream he looks a little sad.  Each dream ends the same way…he strokes the side of my head and kisses my forehead and leaves the same way he came.  By Friday night, I couldn’t bear any more.  I felt like I have been barely sleeping.  I have felt more like I have spent my sleeping hours walking between the worlds. My body feels haggard and worn out.

I have one friend who can feel my very soul.  There is no hiding from her.  She knows me as well as I know myself.  I know that when she texts me and asks how I am….I can almost see her roll her eyes when my answer is a short and sweet, “I’m ok.”  And yet she sends energy.  She knows me well enough to know that I need it…even when I think I am fine.

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Last night, I went to bed.  I could feel the restlessness already.  I drifted off and dreamed of a forest trail.  I walked slowly.  I looked around for something familiar.  Friz wasn’t there.  I looked toward the end of the path and there he stood….looking exactly as he did at his healthiest.  He smiled and reached out his hand for me to take it.  I could feel the warmth of his strong hand around mine.  I looked into his eyes…the eyes that I fell in love with more years ago than I could count.  I choked on words as I tried to talk.  He walked beside me in silence.  I looked into his eyes and asked him, “What do you need from me?”  He spoke one word, “Forgiveness.”  I remember the pain that shot through my heart in the dream.  I didn’t think I was holding onto anything anymore.  He whispered again, “Dig deeper.”

In the dream, I began to cry…deep heaving sobs.  Things flooded to my mind.  Memories of feeling deserted to finish raising my nieces by myself…memories of the financial struggles and having to deal with his family.  Memories of dealing with the hurt by myself with no one else to lean on.  I leaned into him as years of hurt poured out of me.

I awoke at 3:03 am with tears streaming down my face.  I managed a whisper, “I do forgive you.”  My partner stirred beside me and asked, “Are you ok, honey?”  I kissed him on his forehead and whispered to him, “I am now.”  I got out of bed and went into the living room.  I opened a blog that a friend of mine wrote earlier in the week.  It’s funny how things come full circle.  What was the blog about?  Forgiveness.  I have included the link below so that you can read it for yourself.

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So this morning early, I woke up a snoozing little blue chihuahua so that we could go to the woods.  He was so sleepy.  I am convinced that when I am restless, that he is just as restless.  I had to carry him the whole way.  He would look at me with one eye closed and yawn wide.  When we got to our clearing, I made myself comfortable among the fallen leaves.  Friz leaned in closely and finally crawled in between my legs and dozed off.  As I lit candles and placed the skulls, he barely moved.  I welcomed the directions, the elements, the Lord and Lady, and my spirit guides.  I had read a dear friend’s post on Facebook yesterday.  It was a stern warning for the seasons ahead:

We seem to have slammed….yes…head on slammed into the waning time…emotions are running amuk….be it retrograde…the dark season…a combo of things…but it’s not good for many. I’m going to be stern, and blunt…get a grip…a hard solid grip on yourself…and your emotions. NOW. Life is to be lived…it’s not always good..or fun..or fair….but it is a gift. And should be cherished. I’ve been called fluffy, a sunshine light worker, Pollyanna…a number of things…but I work so hard to balance the negative of everyday life….I know the aftermath of death….I see it. You can fall into the abyss of darkness so easily. When the walls between the worlds are thin….when darkness creeps in…when the earth prepares to sleep…many of us slither into depression, despair…get lost in the mists and choose to stay there. The Morrigan I follow fights for life….rises up to the challenges of everyday stress….she battles hopelessness and darkness with a sword so bright it will blind you….and you can follow her into the light…you rise up and face that great void…you cross…and you raise your sword and shield in victory! DO NOT give up…no matter how much darkness is around you…the sun rises, there is light everyday….see your way out and greet it! BB

 

This morning needed to be a celebration….a celebration of my life and who I have become.  It needed to be a morning of joy. I began to sing from deep in my spirit.  I could see Mama Crow and Wolf moving rhythmically to the sounds coming from me.  Almost as if on cue, that little blue chihuahua flopped onto his back in my lap with his belly in the air.  He squirmed at me which is his signal for me to rub him.  I laughed out loud.  I find that laughter can be powerful magick.

In this season of the waning time, as we walk some days with darkness only two steps behind.  As those who have gone on pass through once again, it is important for us to dig deep into our spirits and remember and hold to that joy that may be buried to sustain us.  This is the time for laughter to overtake us…the time to dance.  It is in this season that the earth’s heartbeat may grow a bit faint…but mine is strong and mine powerful….and when I think about the witches and fur people who have been placed around me….my heart leaps.  My voice carries through the night sky as I lean my head back and dance.  I am a witch…I am a witch.  There is magick yet to be done.

Blessed Be!

Battling Societies Demons

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I love Joel Robison’s photography.  It seems to portray every emotion that I could ever think of feeling.  His work gets right to the heart of people.

I had errands to run this afternoon.  This meant that I had to go out into the midst of people.  As I grow older, I despise being around crowds more and more.  As I strolled through the mall looking for jeans (nope, I don’t wear cloaks and robes all the time), I constantly had to dodge couples with strollers, endure screaming children, and watch others who felt way too entitled, run sales clerks ragged.  As I stood in line at one store to purchase that one pair of jeans, one of those self-entitled people pushed her way in front of me.  “I only have the one item.  I don’t have time to wait in line.”  Yep.  Wrong thing to say to this witch.  I could feel those flying monkeys raising up inside of me.  I could feel the poison beginning to drip over the apple. I looked at her solemnly and quietly said, “You need to get back in line.”  She ignored me and pushed me out of the way.  The push was all it took.  “Get the fuck to the back of the line, bitch!” roared up from my chest.  She stood there with her mouth gaping open staring at me.  Again, quietly, I said to her, “Get to the back of the line.  Your lack of manners and your sense of self importance aren’t going to get you anything with me.”  She slowly backed away from me to the tail-end of the slow moving line.

The second part of my journey took me to Michael’s.  I needed a few more fall leaves for the top of my buffet.  As I walk through the store, I hear a mother screeching at her child across that store and the child screeching back.  This went on for the entire 45 minutes I was in there.  I got in that line and who do you think I got behind…the banshee and her brat.  They are yelling back and forth at each other as they stand in line.  In fact, they are yelling so much that they don’t hear the cashier call them up to check out….five different times.  She screamed louder.  I told her that the cashier was calling her up. She then screeched at me.  I looked at her with fire in my eyes…”Listen, you loud-mouthed screeching heifer who is apparently passing all of your wonderful qualities down to your wretched child, move your ass to the checkout, shut your mouth, and get out of my sight.”  My mama always told me to offer directions to folks who needed them. 2014-10-05 19.09.14

The final part of my journey today, brought me back home.  As I settled in for a much needed nap,  I hear the upstairs neighbors.  It sounds as if they have the whole entourage of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus up there.  I hear thump….crash….boom.  My dogs nerves are shattered.  My cats are hiding in the closet.  I walk purposefully up the stairs to the door of the condo.  I ring the doorbell.  The guy answers and his words are, “What’s the problem?”  “Oh, I don’t know.  Could it be the fact that you and your children sound like herds of wild horses running across my ceiling.  It isn’t like we haven’t discussed this before.” He responds, “I don’t think they are loud.”  As I walked down the stairs, I told him that it’s ok…from this point forward, the police will be called, the landlord…whoever I need to call.  I am tired.2014-10-05 08.59.19

I needed the woods desperately.  I could feel my blood pressure climbing higher and higher.  I needed to ground.  I needed time with my dog and no one else.  Friz and I head past the condos and back toward the edge of the woods.  I had my mini Book of Shadows with me.  Everything inside me wanted to spew out curses.  I was lying on my stomach in the dirt turning page by page.  I came across an entry from over a year ago.  I read it slowly.  As I read, I realized that I wasn’t battling people.  I was battling the demons or oppressive energies of society.  People are so stressed now.  They honestly don’t know whether to wind their butt or scratch their watch.  I look around and I see people moving in auto-pilot.  At least I have nature. I can look in their eyes and see that there is absolutely nothing there.

All I can do is try to insulate myself.  I have to keep myself surrounded in magick at all times.  It is hard to remember when tempers flair.  As I absorbed the coolness and the energy from the earth, I listened for the heart beat of the Earth Mother.  This time of year as the veil grows thinner, it is almost as if I can hear my grandmother in my ear.  “You have to move like the trees in the breeze.  You have to move like water…let things flow around you and through you….as long as there is movement, it will filter out the negative.”

I stayed in the woods for a long long while this afternoon….hours.  When I finally pulled myself off of the ground, my body was cold.  I could feel it down to my bones.  I think I realized today…I need to be in the woods more.  I need not to hear the voice of society…I do that enough at work.  I need to hear the wind, the leaves, the wisdom of the trees.  After all, isn’t that where the witches of old sought council?  Animals….trees….spirits.  I need to stop being bound by the devils that society has welcomed in and entertained.   I need to remember how to fly.2a244c55aaef21ef7f528aa59e3cd5b4

Let Freedom Ring

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This week has been a challenging one.  It seems that I have put on my counselor’s hat most every day.  Everyone I have talked to seems to be bound up…bound up by things that they can’t control.  It is like I have watched as people wrap themselves tighter and tighter in issues that they have either created or have let into the cracks of their lives and irritation resulted.

I talked to one woman who was consumed by jealousy.  When I asked her what her husband had done to build such jealousy and distrust in her, she answered that he had done nothing….that it was just the way she was.  She searched through his phone when he wasn’t looking, she followed him constantly (only to see him go exactly where he told her he was going), she questioned him and needled him every waking moment.  He had simply told her that he was tired.  She was so tightly wrapped up in her own mind, that she didn’t realize that she was exhausting the relationship.

A male friend I talked to this week, could do nothing but mourn the loss of a relationship that he had seven years ago.  He blamed all of his inadequacies on this person deserting him seven years ago and how this other person was ‘his heart.’  He kept going on about how I could never understand that kind of loss in my life. (Honestly, at this point, my eyes had rolled back into the back of my head in an ‘oh please’ type of reaction.)  No, I doubt that I could understand losing someone…never mind that I had dealt with the loss of a partner to AIDS.  As I sat there listening to him tell me how painful every day still was, I wondered why it was easier for him to wind himself up in the turmoil that he had created and not live his life a little more carefree.

As I listened more than talked this week…I think I realized something about people, in general.  People are afraid.  People are afraid that, without drama in their lives, they will be overlooked.  They are afraid that they will just blend in with everyone else.  As I talked to the jealous wife, I realized that her value didn’t come from her family or her relationship. It didn’t even come from who she was.  It came from being able to weave the tales of his betrayal…to be able to earn sympathy for something that her husband had given her no reason to believe.  When she told me that he hadn’t done anything and that jealousy was just a part of her nature…it told me all I needed.  Her nature was the damaged part of the relationship.

My male friend, even as he spoke about living with his heartbreak….in that same breath asked me why I don’t have any photos of Jim.  I told him that it wouldn’t be fair to my current partner and that was a part of life that was finished. There was no way that it could ever be what it was.  When I buried Jim,  I also had to bury that relationship.  I still carry the love and memories, but the love and memories don’t possess me.

Many may read this and feel that I am cold and heartless.  It isn’t that.  I just can’t imagine being bound by anything extra.  Life throws enough at you.  Why hold onto things that can make your life even crazier.  I have always been the type of person who believes that you live and you let live.  As long as you don’t hurt others or aren’t spewing vile…then I will peaceably live my life alongside of you.  Just like with my friend that is seven years out of a relationship….I asked him, “How often do you think he sits and thinks of you?”  Just like I asked the woman bound by jealousy, “Have you ever thought that if you let go of the jealousy that you could actually be with the love of your life, living your ‘Happily Ever After?”broken-chains

So many times, we concentrate on such tiny things….the things that rub like sandpaper.  If we were to just give a tug on those chains, we may just find that they are made out of paper.

My step-grandpa used to have cattle.  I watched as he trained an old bull not to tear down the fence.  My grandpa used an electric fence.  He would walk that bull up to that fence and right into it.  The bull would get shocked.  He did this many, many times until finally that old bull wouldn’t get anywhere near that fence.  While I don’t condone his methods, they were effective.  After that bull had it ingrained in his mind that the fence would shock him, my grandpa turned the electricity off to the fence.  In that bull’s mind though, that fence was still capable of shocking him if he went near it.

We have pretty much done the same thing.  We have confined ourselves based on past experiences.  The electricity has been off for years, but we don’t dare test it.  I guess I was always the stubborn child.  I would constantly go up to the fence, touching it to test it every time….not for fear of getting shocked, but in the hope that the next time I touched it, it would be powerless.

I have watched some witches become like Christian church.  I have always believed that whatever your path, faith is the primary part.  Faith puts feet to belief.  I can believe that the fence won’t shock me all I want, but until that moment I reach out and touch it, it is something only my brain has concocted.  The cunning men and women in the community were the ones that the townsfolk would come to for guidance, for magick, for something that everyday life couldn’t supply.  Isn’t it really time we lived up to that?

A friend of mine posted a photo today…I took it to heart.  Most might get offended, but it struck me as an epiphany.

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Blessed Be!

Waiting…Quietly, Waiting

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Some days I wish I could wave my wand and disappear.  Not in a “I am tired of this existence” kind of way…more in a “can I get a little bit of peace and quiet” kind of way.  It seems that this week has been noise on top of noise on top of noise.

The neighbors above us have absolutely no consideration.  They tromp around like a herd of elephants and try their best to asphyxiate me with every cigarette they toss over into my courtyard.  Then there is the crayola haired heifer that lives across the way who is determined to park in the parking space directly in front of my unit and then yell at me when she gets caught.  Lastly, there is the little Mexican man who loves to play mariachi music as loud as his truck speakers can pump it out.

I hate when I have to play the part of the wicked witch.  But some people just bring that out of you.  I decided for the upstairs neighbors benefit, it was time work some magick so that he got a little bit of an eyeful.  I have talked to him nicely about all I can about the noise level.

During the dark moon the other night, I gathered my cauldron and candles, black salt and banishing oil and incense and set up in the middle of the courtyard.  I set everything a-blazing and I created a circle around the courtyard with the black salt.  I sat down in the middle of it and I waited.  The time had to be perfect.  The night was dark and humid.  The wind was still.  I whispered my greeting to the Moon.  I acknowledged and invited the directions and the elements.  Air was the first to join.  I felt the tickle of the smallest breeze against my cheek.  It combined with water (which I provided through sweat).  I ran my fingers through the dirt in front of me and the watched as the cauldron flame finally burst forth and danced in front of me.  Now it was the perfect time.

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As I lifted my voice to call on the Morrigan, the sliding glass doors above me opened.  It was in that moment that crow caws could be heard all over the complex.  One caw….three answered back.  I waited.  I could feel the neighbor straining to see just what I was doing, but I was just out of his range of vision.  I did all my spell work right there under his nose, but in the shadows.  As I finished, I blew out the candles, thanked the elements, directions and the Morrigan.  As I cleaned up the magickal remnants, I saw him up there leaning over the railing.  I smiled brightly and quietly said, “Wonderful night, huh?  Goodnight.”  They have been quiet as church mice since.

I figured while I was on a dark moon roll, I may as well continue.  Well after midnight…when everyone was in bed,  I went out to my parking place, moved my car into another, and drew a banishing sigil with black witches chalk.  It was already sprinkling rain so I knew that the sigil would be gone by morning, but the energy would remain.  I felt almost giddy as I did it…it was like being a child with sidewalk chalk, but with more purpose.  Sometimes, you just get tired of being yelled at when you didn’t do anything.  The next morning, I sat just outside the courtyard.  She circled the parking lot a couple of times and then went and parked in front of her own unit.  black chalkLastly, the little mariachi loving Mexican fellow…this little fellow has been horrified of me since he first walked into the courtyard and found me doing magick.  He always averted his eyes when he saw me and I could always hear him muttering ‘brujo’ under his breath.  I found that the way to keep him in check was when he got out of line…all I had to do was give him the sign for ‘I’ve got my eye on you’ and he would quickly turn the stereo down.  Well, one night last week, it was extremely late and I hear the thump of familiar music outside my bedroom window.  I was far too tired to deal with him, so I just whispered into the air, “Please, Morrigan, deal with him.”  Then I waited.  The next thing I know, flashing lights are outside my bedroom window…I look out and see a firetruck with firemen scouting the area with flashlights.  I see the little Mexican fellow scrambling out of his truck as hard as he can go and falling to the ground as he makes a mad dash for his apartment.  No music after that.brujo

This morning I was craving time by myself.  When you have three adult men, two dogs, and two cats in one apartment, it can seem impossible to get quiet time.  I don’t have a space in the apartment other than my altar space and even that can be overtaken by a fat gray and white cat.  To write in my Book of Shadows, I have to move his hefty rump to the bookcase by the window.  One thing about it though, my Book of Shadows should be more than pleasing to Bast.

I walked out to the woods alone this morning.  I didn’t take a backpack or candles or skulls or wands.  It was just me and the woods.  Friz looked like I had completely forsaken him and I did have to deal with sufficient pouting when I got back.  I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes.  I waited…just waited.  It was like I could breathe again.  I didn’t have to clean up vomit or hairballs or anything else.  I was able to just sit…and wait.  It felt so good not be rushed or hurried or have to worry about noise.  It was wonderful listening to the trees singing to me and in the distance I hear Mama Crow.  She is singing at the top of her lungs, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t sound like the sparrows. It is her voice.  This was my week for raising my voice…sometimes it isn’t going to be pretty, but it will be effective.  Mama Crow reminds me that sometimes you have to be just a little loud and a little brash to get what needs done, done.

My home is my comfy space.  To me and others it is that cozy space to sit and have a glass of wine or a cup of tea…to lounge in magick every moment you’re there and to feel as if you have been given a comforting hug when you’ve left.  I will protect those feelings…no matter what it takes…like a mama wolf protecting her den.

Blessed Be!radagasts house

The Raven Himself Is Hoarse…

burning crowCircling, waiting…poised to lunge.

Snarling, snapping…toward me you plunge.

You cannot touch me…Wards around.

The space around me is sacred ground.

Only troubles for you are found

Inside my circle made.

 

My spirit guides encamp around.

Your intentions now are bound.

You won’t come near me;

my chest I pound.

Your empty threats now fade.

 

Elements, directions, show your power.

Wolf and Crow, threats devour.

All multiply by three.

 

Seal this with the Moon’s embrace.

Begone from me without a trace.

Nevermore, I’ll see your face.

As I will, mote it be.

There have been some strange energies floating around the neighborhood over the past week…not just the neighborhood, though…big parts of Atlanta.  It has been like watching a television show where mental instability is the major theme.

I know that Atlanta traffic can be harrowing in itself…but I have watched this week as drivers seriously try to run each other off the road.  I watched in horror yesterday as an SUV came within inches of a sedan…forcing the sedan off onto the shoulder.  The driver of the SUV railing his fist out of the window and yelling obscenities.  I have watched in my own condo complex as gangs of kids walk the streets after hours, trying to bully anyone who reprimands them.  The police have been out here at least three times this week.bear

The neighbors have become combative and possessive. Energies have been way over the top. It feels like I have done more banishing and warding than ever before in my life.  On top of the anger that seems to be coming from all directions, crazy seems to have reared its head too. Not only are we dealing with the nasty neighbors, but at midnight we are hearing the unstable woman in the corner walking to the dumpster singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the top of her lungs.  I have been battling insomnia all week long so hearing “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…” swelling through my bedroom windows don’t make me any more friendly in the mornings either.

I find myself going out in my witchy garb now just to scare the piss out of the neighbors.  They already look at me with a cocked eyebrow when I am out…but most everyone seems to leave me alone. Of course, though, you are always going to get that one neighbor who is going to try to pick a fight.  Early this morning I encountered her.  She was bitching about me parking in front of my own unit and then when I drove to the post office, she put her car in my place.  I put a note on the car asking her to park in front of her own unit…then it hit.  I got blasted.  She railed up one side of me and down the other.  I wish I could say that I was the model witch.  I wish I could say that I kept my cool.  I didn’t.  There was fire in my eyes and my heart….there was anger overtaking me.  What I was feeling came from deep inside my belly.  I looked at her and essentially said, “Do you have any idea who you are dealing with?”   I pointed at her and began an incantation….not the one above.  I created that to combat all the anger and negativity coming from all sides…and the gang mentality here.  Well, that woman got in her car and practically squealed her tires as she moved to the front of her unit. 2014-02-25 22.23.00

Shortly after, Friz and I took our walk.  I decided that today would be a good day to go to the pond.  To me, water energy seemed to be calling.  I needed the calmness, the coolness. I laid down on my stomach and swirled my fingers through the water.  I wrote my name in the water and watched the ripples reach farther and farther.  Friz climbed up on my back and patted my head with his paw and then proceeded to lick the top of my head.  This gentle pup was the same one who puffed out his chest and angrily barked at the gang of teenagers huddled outside talking about what trouble they could get into last night.

After my time at the pond, I took Friz back to the condo and then my partner and I got ready to go to a friend’s pool.  It was a wonderful time to soak up the power and light of the sun and to absorb the cool and calmness of the pool water.

Tonight, though, it was time for more spellwork.  I brought out my cauldron and dried nettles.  I had collected paper that the teen-aged gang had left…candy wrappers.  I also had one of the notes that the woman had left on my car along with something I had seen the “Battle Hymn” woman drop.  I combined all of this in my cauldron with just a tiny bit of denatured alcohol and copper sulfate (it makes a beautiful green flame).  I watched as the flames burned away the issues…and chanted the spell at the beginning of the blog.  As I brought everything to a close, I called on dragons and gryphons to guard my household…to fight off anything that I did not invite in.

There will be no more insomnia starting tonight. I will not tolerate the energy that has been swirling around the complex like a rogue hurricane. Sometimes you have to fight. Sometimes you have to let it fly. I am fine with being nice. I am not fine with little bogey men running around me trying to control every aspect of my life. I will take charge and it will be gone. So mote it be.

Though the Sorrow May Last Through the Night…

Photo Jan 04, 7 57 50 PM

I have been hated for many things over the years.  I have been hated for things I have done….things I have said….my belief system….who I am.  Through all of the persecution, I have always tried to be the bigger man.  I have always tried to reason with my brain and respond with compassion and love.

For some reason, though, the events that have bombarded the United States and the world over the past few months have drowned my heart in sorrow.  I am referring to the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda and Russia….also this “Turn the Gay Away” bill that seems to be rearing its ugly head in so many states.men-holding-hands-3CROP

I am a tolerant man.  I try to respect and honor all faiths. I try to respect and honor all races.  I try to embrace the differences that make us all individuals and make this world a more interesting place to live.  I try to surround myself with people who have the same kind of heart.

For those of you who don’t know, I served as a pastor for two mainline denominations for over ten years.  In those ten or more years, I was only met with intolerance once.  In that instance, the pastor of the church told me that he suspected me to be gay.  At the time, I was not out of the closet or quite as sure of who I am as I am now.  He told me that I needed to have an HIV test done and have the results submitted to him and his wife.  I had never been so humiliated.  In that moment, I hated myself for who I was and tried to hide anything about me that would give me away.

Fortunately, after that incident, I was hired into a large church in Charlotte.  I was met at the door with open arms and a love for any uniqueness that made me…me.  In time, I became more confident in who I was and more secure in my sexuality.  I remember one day when I went into my lead pastor’s office.  I had requested a meeting so that I might talk to him about my being gay.  He sat thoughtfully in his chair with his glasses perched on the tip of his nose.  I mustered all of my courage and said, “Pastor, I am gay.”  No reaction.  I said, “Pastor, perhaps you didn’t hear me.  I am gay.”  No reaction.  He picked up his bible and started thumbing slowly through it.  All I could think was that I was about to be blasted with scripture.  Instead, he turned to me and smiled.  He said, “Did you grow an extra head or something?”  I said, “No.”  He looked at me and laughed and said, “You are still one of the best pastors I have been blessed enough to serve with.  Now get back to work.”  With that declaration, he pulled me in for a hug, then put his hand on my shoulder and sent me back to my office….feeling more loved than I ever have.

There was a song we did in that church….the lyrics still come to my mind as I type:

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

[Chorus:]
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Thinking of these lyrics today reminded me….it is only in squeezing or crushing the grape, that the sweetness of the juice is released.

I know that there are those out there who would call themselves Christian who would rather spew out hate and vitriol than take the teachings of the biblical Christ to heart.  My days in the church were not spent studying a Christ who belittled and hated.  I spent hours in my office composing sermons of a Christ who sat and ate and drank with tax collectors and prostitutes (the vilest of the vile in his day).  I became acquainted with a Christ who, when told that a woman was caught in an act of sin and should be stoned, looked down at the ground and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He then looked at the woman with compassion and asked, “Where are your accusers?” She said, “There are none.” “Neither do I condemn you…go and sin no more.”004-jesus-washes-feet

My fondest memory of this Christ who receives the blame for so much of the hatred that spews from man….is the Christ who spent the night before his death washing the feet of his disciples.  He knew that one of them would betray him that very night….but he chose to take on the role of servant.  And again, I studied of this Christ….the one whom people blame for their right to picket soldiers funerals, and burn the sin out of people…this Christ returned from the grave to offer those who had denied him and spat on him and killed him, another chance for redemption.

So, if I have all of these wonderful memories of the church…all these wonderful remnants of who Christ was, buried inside me, why did I become a witch?  Because Christianity, to me, was limiting.  Why limit myself to one god….even if he was a three in one.  Gods and Goddesses encompass so much more than we are willing to give them credit for.  Humanity has always wanted to keep that which we don’t understand confined….if you don’t believe this, go to a zoo.

Caged_Freedom_v1

My trip to the woods this morning was a heavy-hearted trip.  As Friz and I settled in, Friz could tell there was something different about my spirit.  He quietly licked my face. He nuzzled me…he stayed close by.  I called on the elements, the directions…and this time I did not stop at the Lord and Lady I normally call upon.  I called upon the Christ that I had been acquainted with years ago.  We chatted about those who are using his name to hurt and harm and hate.  We also chatted about those followers of his who actually “get it.”

It doesn’t matter what faith you pursue or what you believe….there is never a place for hatred.  Hatred only destroys.  It turns the hater into a predator whose thirst for blood can never be sated.  It turns those who are hated into prey…constantly pursued and never able to rest.

As I lay back onto the earth this morning, I saw Mama Crow perched in the trees above.  She has only ever asked one thing of me….”Be true to myself.”  I have not been able to hide who I am in years, and I do not intend to start now.

I will stand tall with my sword at the ready…not fighting for the sake of the fight, but so that change may actually be affected.  I will love stronger than I have ever loved, and with every swing of the sword, I shall breathe compassion and healing over any who become part of the battle.  I will never go back into hiding. Witch or gay, my true self will always shine through.

As I lay there this morning, feeling Mother Earth pouring her magick into me and the Wild Man of the Woods pouring his stamina into  me,  I looked to my side to see a grouping of daffodils…not yet bloomed, but the color of yellow just barely peeking through.2014-02-22 15.13.15

Though the sorrow may last for the night
Joy comes with the morning!

Blessed Be!

When the Past Comes Calling…

shadow-hand-old-door-10770992

This week was a very tiring week. There has become so much to do at work. I feel as though I am trying to cram two weeks into one. It has become the practice of the management to continue to add more and more duties to the ones that already exist for me. Of course, when I become overtired, that is an opportunity for things to surface in my life….most of the time, things that require working through.

On Tuesday, on the way to work, thoughts came racing to my mind from a good twenty five years ago….a time when I wasn’t so confident in the person I was….a time when the very essence of who I was needed, in my opinion to be kept secret. I was serving a church in the foothills of North Carolina. I was full time there as a project coordinator and part time in the local funeral home. I was struggling with what the church said God required of me and what my insides were telling me. I was living with one foot in the church and one foot in the gay community. I tried to live the way the congregation expected me to, but I felt like there was a constant war being fought in my heart and in my spirit. I remembered my last day at that church. I remember the accusations being hurled at me….the words spat at me in anger. The requirements made of me by someone completely ignorant of who I was or what my heart held.

I remember the pastor’s wife coming into the office that I was being sequestered in. She looked at me scowling. She roared at me, “You are a homosexual!!! You have AIDS!” I will never forget that punch in my gut…the sick, I’m-gonna-puke feeling. I was forced and driven to the local health department and made to take an HIV test. As I look back on this now, there are so many things I should have said and done, but I was a scared 22 year old kid. I did well to even remember my name in all that ruckus. This one incident effected the rest of my life.

I was required to take a mandatory leave of absence from another organization I worked with until I “worked through my transgressions.” I had to report to elders each week like someone in prison reports to a parole officer. I had to walk past faces filled with disdain and hatred as I walked past congregation after congregation….”working” my way back into the good graces of the church. To this day, that is why I hate to hear the phrase, “We need to talk about something.” and why I hate someone looking down their nose at me. It still haunts me…and this past week was one of those times.

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Throughout this past week, I have also been struggling with the need for “me” time. It seems that lately there has been no respite from anything. I escape to the woods and the pond as much as I can…but the mosquitoes are now getting fat. At home, my partner takes over our bedroom, the roomie has his bedroom, the living room is common area….sometimes I just take my phone, notebook and a pen and I sit in the bathroom floor for an hour, just for a bit of peace.

Yesterday morning, though, I knew that I was going to have some time to myself. I got up extra early and suited up my partner in crime. Friz wasn’t quite wide awake yet and wasn’t too keen on coming out of the kennel. After much coaxing, he finally stretched his way out, I harnessed him up and we disappeared to the woods. There was no ritual this time…no purposeful seeking out. I wound up my cloak and put it under my head…Friz curled up in the middle of my stomach and we slept. This was by far the weirdest sleep I had ever had. I dreamed constantly of the church scenario that I described above. Each time I would close my eyes and dream, it felt as if a tiny piece of my spirit and my heart was being ripped and shredded.

I lay there for what seemed like hours and tried to make my mind obey me…to stop re-living something that was no longer a part of me. At that point I heard Mama Crow caw loudly. It snagged me away from that horrible memory and jolted me back to present. It was a loud, harsh caw….I look back on it now and realize that it was a call to magick. She was reminding me to take control of a situation and not let something so far away control my todays. It was time to take the person I have become and let that person battle the person I used to be. I created a scenario in my head of what I thought I should have done to respond to that situation and as I drifted back to sleep, I let that person take over the dream….who would have ever thought that one could reclaim a memory so easily and work it out for my benefit.

After I had reclaimed that memory, I scooped Friz up and we made our way to the pond. He yawned as I cradled him and we moved toward the water. We both sat closer to the water than we normally did. I got a stick from nearby and wrote in the water with the stick. I wrote all the negative things about myself that had been brought to mind this week…..all those horrible memories. When I finished writing, I took a nearby rock and threw it into the middle of where I had been writing. I watched as the ripples dissolved all those memories I had written in the water. Then I took the stick and wrote words in the dirt that described who I am now…who I have become over the course of the practice of the Craft. I smiled as the letters took form…..Strong…Outspoken…Wise…Dependable…Gay…Role Model. It took a long time for me to love the me I have become, but I am proud of the person I look at every morning. There is no need for me to let small minded criticisms from far too long ago take root.

I have decided that from now on, when the past comes calling, and it isn’t something that I want to visit with…a locked door can be my best ally. Why let the past take pieces of my spirit…..when it really isn’t worth the memory wasted on it.

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Blessed Be!

When the Morrigan Calls

2012-11-22 08.27.08

Ever have one of those weeks that seems to beat you like that old rug hanging over the clothesline?  Not that everything happening to you is bad….it’s just that most of everything that throws itself your way is overwhelming.  That is what this week seemed to be…..and I feel just dead tired this weekend.

The first part of the week started innocently enough…with phonecalls from home.  First, the call from Ma….telling me all the things she has dealt with this week from my nieces and my brother’s wife.  Then I get phonecalls from my brother’s wife and nieces explaining to me that my mother is being unreasonable…..there is a reason I live six hours away.

The middle part of the week came with head-butting confrontation with my partner and my roommate.  My partner was in one of those moods that would argue with everything I said.  If I said the sky was blue, he would counter it with the argument that it was more purple-ish.  If I said the grass looked greener, he would say that it looked a little more brown.  The roommate was in one of his OCD modes with regards to all the television electronics…..he insisted we could get better results if I were to call our cable service and blah blah blah.  I told them both that I would put a Ziplock bag over their heads while they slept if they didn’t shut up.

The latter part of the week was haunted by all the idiocy that the people at work could conjure.  We are short-handed….but we are supposed to cut hours?!?  We are doing better financially but we are supposed to keep payroll down?!?  We all stand there dumbfounded as more work is heaped upon us.  My blood pressure ran rampant this week.

I could feel myself drawing into myself on Wednesday.  It is in those times of turmoil that I often retreat into that one squishy confused tower that I have….myself.  It is also in those times of turmoil that I start to see more crows.  I should have guessed what the week might be like when I pulled into the parking lot at work after lunch on Monday to find a murder of crows….funny that name.  One would automatically think ‘flock,’ but instead it’s a ‘murder.’  How appropriate.

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The crows around here can sense when I need magick…when I need my battery jumped.  I saw them everywhere throughout the week.  Mama crow sat at the top of her telephone pole all week long surveying what was going on.  I got home yesterday and all you could hear throughout the condo complex was one crow call after another.  At one point, it seemed so loud that it seemed to drown out all other noises. 

I am many things, but foolish is not one of them.  I know when someone is beckoning to me.  I recognized all of the signs that Morrigan was calling my name….the only thing that could have emphasized it more would have been a crow flying into the middle of my forehead.  It was also this week that I found the remains of a dead crow not far from my condo.  I was able to harvest the skull and seven of the wing feathers…I looked toward the skies and thanked Morrigan for the gift.

When I pulled into the parking lot on Friday to the symphony of crow calls, I was pretty well whooped, but here it was the Summer Solstice.  I needed to prepare myself and have my ritual time.  Unfortunately, one thing after another kept rising up.  Before I knew it, everyone in the house was in bed….but me.  I used this opportunity to load my backpack full of candles and matches and feathers and skulls and crystals and anything else I may need for this time that awaited me.

I snuck out the door as quietly as I could.  I hurried down the sidewalks to the point where one ended at the edge of the woods.  It was if I had stepped into a different universe.  I could feel waves of energy coursing through me.  I settled down onto the floor of the woods, set my candles and crystals around me, invited the directions, the elements…..then I closed my eyes and called to the Morrigan.2012-09-17 20.43.37

Now, I know that we all have ways of seeing deity.  I am fine with that and I won’t blast you for your perceptions if you will offer me that same courtesy.  As I called to her….the smell of the incense I had burning grew stronger….it is a blend I made to bring to mind the forest and the feel of wildness.   I could sense the Morrigan approaching….my heart started to race…not out of fear, but in anticipation.  As I began to spew out all that I had dealt with for the week, I could sense something different in the air.  It felt a bit like when my mother was getting a bit perturbed at me and would stand with her arms folded, tapping her foot.  It was in this moment that I looked toward the heavens and called out, “What would you have me do?” 

I sat and listened intently.  I could hear the answers rumbling forth. “Where is all that fire power?  Where is the fight that is inside of you?  Where is that lion’s heart that was born into you on Lughnasadh?  Where is that heart of a wolf?  Instead you sit here whimpering like a pup.”  At this point, I swear I heard my grandma’s voice, “Get some fight about you, boy!  Don’t just roll over and play possum!”   I could feel a smack upside my head and I could feel it hard.  I realized that all week, I had essentially just been ‘bending over and taking it’ and it wasn’t fun at all.  It was time to let the warrior show…..to let the wolf and lion growl for a bit.  I took out my pen and paper and wrote down the things I knew I needed to do in the coming weeks.  It was time to let that heart of a warrior shine through.  Why was I allowing stupid stuff to get to me?  I had allowed circumstances and situations to take away my power.  IT WILL NOT HAPPEN!!  It was time to show a little backbone, as my grandma would say.

I finished up my ritual time and settled against a tree with my canteen of wine.  I dug my toes into the earth around me….that’s the best way in the world, in my opinion, to ground yourself.  After a time of relaxation under the moon, I packed everything up and walked quietly back to the condo.  I crept in the door, changed clothes, and crawled into bed without anyone waking up.

This morning started as most others….Friz and I taking our Saturday walk.  We walked to the pond….spent some time down there.  The whole time I could hear the voice of one crow in the background.  I knew it was Mama Crow.  I chuckled to myself, thinking of all the crow activity in my life this week.  Friz and I got closer to the condo and right in front of it, on the outside of the serpentine wall, I see Mama Crow on the ground.  She is eating what is left of something dead…I didn’t really feel like investigating.  She looked up at me….did not blink once.  Friz was amazed…he has never stood that still.  In that moment, I could feel her energy…that of a survivor…that of a fighter.  I thanked her.  She went right back to eating and Friz and I went inside.  My mind was racing.  Nothing like being hand-fed the power of the crow so early in the morning.2013-06-22 21.32.18

Blessed Be!