The Death of the Green Man

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As the seasons swirl around us, we are entering into the transition from light into darkness and back into light again.  We have gone from the wild abandon of summer into the time when the Green Man’s colors begin to change and death overtakes him to make way for his transition into the Holly King.  Our lives seem to always be centered around transition.  Those things that we wish we could control…we have no control over at all.

As we move into this Yule season and cold overtakes the Earth (even in Atlanta, we live in anticipation of the shift in weather).  The briskness that comes with the Northern winds jolts us into a state of expectation.  As we celebrate the different manifestations of our own holiday with others who celebrate in their own ways, we set our eyes on the approach of the longest night of the year….knowing that the light of spring is not far off.

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 Over the past few years, I have become intimately acquainted with the green man through visits from an unexpected stranger.  Someone I have introduced to you as simply, the Green Wizard.  I have learned first hand what a kind, gentle spirit can accomplish through him.  I have learned to listen more intently to what the earth teaches…all through him.  I have learned to trust the heart of faithful friends more. I have learned to love someone who could do absolutely nothing for me other than be a friend and a magickal confidante…someone who represented purity of heart and selfless abandon.

I found out yesterday that the Green Wizard has journeyed into the summerlands.  I received more information this afternoon.  He apparently collapsed on the sidewalk of a small town close to the Tennessee border.  They took him to the hospital where it was found that his heart was giving out.  Boomer, his dog, was put in holding in the local animal shelter.  He quietly slipped from this plane in his sleep.  They found my name and Atlanta, Georgia written on a sheet of paper in his pocket.  The authorities assumed that I might be the next of kin.  I explained that I was a friend and asked what happened to his dog.  I was also told where his pup, Boomer was located.

I engaged my cousin who does animal rescue and she arranged for someone who works with her to go and get Boomer and set up a fostering situation.  There are many more things that have transpired due to his homelessness…especially since there was no identification of any kind associated with him and no direction as far as family or even a name…the one thing that was told to me by the contacting authorities was that at least he knew friendship…there were many who passed on knowing nothing but rejection and hatred.

In my mind, though, I will always see him dancing on the wind.  I can close my eyes and see his ruddy face, his eyes twinkling with hopes and dreams and always that sparkle of magick.  He enjoyed the freedom of being who he was…an extension of the wild God.  I can hear his hearty laugh echoing through the branches of the trees in the woods.  He will forever be Peter Pan to me….always dancing with the moon.

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Am I sad?  Yes…but I can never forget that wonderful spirit.  He always looked for that bit of magick in all things…whether it be an old pair of sneakers…a dog that was considered a throw-away…or a weathered old wizard who seemed to be a little out of sorts himself.

Especially, in this season, I know that so much of the world seems to slumber…waiting patiently for rebirth.  It will be the same for my Green Wizard.  He only sleeps now….we have known each other before in other lives and other magickal places.  It is only a matter of time before we see each other again.

I am excited for him.  This is a new adventure….a fresh beginning coming with the new moon.  This is his chance to be reunited with his beloved Calliope…a chance to dance and finally fly among the stars.  I am privileged to have been able to be a part of his magick.2015-11-19 07.28.06

His energy will always soar around me….sneaking up behind me when I least expect it…laughing heartily at the unexpected.  He was a child of the moon and sun…the earth was his bed and the grass, his pillow.  He was friend to the winged, and four-legged.  He loved completely and wildly and unconditionally.

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As the Green man sleeps, the blood of the Holly King courses through his veins…anticipating his awakening beneath a shield of ice and snow.  With magick, nothing ever completely dies.

And so he goes…with the heart of a true witch.

Blessed Be!

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Dogs, Pickups and Trust Falls

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How I have longed for the weekend this week.  I found myself encompassed by everyone’s mini-crises but mine throughout the work-week.  I know that Mercury is in retrograde and all that good stuff….but I have come to realize that people, in and of themselves, thrive on drama.  The most incredulous I encountered this past week was a co-worker sitting in her cube crying because one of her false eyelashes fell into her coffee.  I thought there may be more to it than that and asked her if everything else was alright.  In her biggest “I Love Lucy” Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!  She cried out that everything else was fine, she just didn’t want to go around with one eyelash on.  When I suggested that she take the other one off and asked if she carried mascara, you would have thought I saved the world.  Lord and Lady….I need to spend days…weeks in the woods.

It has been so much more than a yearning for the weekend for me though.  I need time.  I need space.  I need to feel the breeze pushing me from behind, the sun pulling me forward, and nature singing me to sleep.  I will get the time and space soon enough.  My partner is taking a trip back home to South Dakota for a week.  Those times are wonderful for us.  They give us time to miss each other…to think about the things that we enjoy about each other.  In a way, it can be more romantic for us than date night.

The yearning I am feeling is the type of hunger that makes you throw camping gear into the back of a pickup, put your dog in the front seat, load your backpack with your witchy goods and drive into the Tennessee hills until you can’t see civilization.  I want to get lost in Nature and rely on her for all that I need.  I want to curl up in the lap of the Goddess and feel that motherly nurturing…but also want to roam the land as the stag Lord, bellowing at the top of my lungs so that those within earshot feel my strength.

I am in need of Adventure.

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I can hear those mountains calling to me…just as they first called to me fifteen years ago.  I was living in Knoxville Tennessee at the time.  I was in school full time, working full time, and feeling completely lost.  I rarely got any time to myself and days off were scarce, but I happened to have one Saturday with absolutely nothing to do.  One of my school mates had agreed to keep my aussie at her farm so that she and I could be together.  The farm was only a ten minute drive from the apartments I was living in, so it worked out wonderfully.  That Saturday, I threw some sandwiches and sodas in a cooler, put it in the back of my old Ford Ranger, and stopped off to get my dog.  She bounded into the seat beside me sensing what was stirring in my craw.

We just started driving.  The windows were down and I could feel the breeze pulling me deeper into those Tennessee Hills.  We ended up somewhere outside of Sevierville in an area that was some sort of State Park/camping area.  I got out and Patches came bounding out behind me.  She was one of the best herding dogs I ever had, watched me like a hawk and did exactly what I asked her to do.  We both climbed onto the tailgate of that old pickup.  I opened the cooler and dished some of the cool water in my hand.  Patches lapped at it until she had her fill.  We ate sandwiches ( I would have a bite, then she would…this is the way we always did it).  I washed out one of the coke bottles in the lake nearby and filled it with the water from the cooler and we both started up the mountain.  To be that skinny and in shape again…LOL! We trekked through the trees and trails…Patches was so excited.  She had a grin that always indicated to me that nothing in the world could be more fulfilling.

We walked a little slower as we came to an area with a beautiful view of the lake.  I sat down on a fallen tree and there was my dog sitting right beside me.  She was the first animal who truly had laid claim to my heart.  She was mine and I was hers.  She was fearless (well, except for thunderstorms) and she was the one who taught me to let my senses lead me.  She is the one who taught me that some of the best sleep happened in the woods with a dog next to you.  To Patches….everything seemed new.  She romped and jumped and danced at everything.  Her favorite thing of all times was to play tag in the back pasture.  Many days I would find myself running  back and forth…all for the entertainment of that blue merled sweetheart.

Patches taught me many things.  She taught me how to walk fearlessly toward anything new.  She taught me to always run toward those things that showed promise.  She taught me to be a fierce friend…and on this day, she taught me that you could always climb mountains as long as you had momentum behind you.  She also taught me something else that day…probably the most valuable lesson I have ever learned.  I had turned my back for a minute and Patches had run up the ridge behind us.  I turned around and she was leaping toward me.  There was three feet between me and the edge of that mountain.  There was no doubt in her mind that I would catch her…and there was nothing else for me to do.  I had to catch her.  I reached into mid-air and grabbed her and held her as close to my chest as I could.  She looked up at me panting, but smiling that uncomplicated, trusting smile.  She knew I would never intentionally let anything happen to her.

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I realized in that moment that life is one big trust fall.  Things happen….alot of shitty things.  So many of us have become untrusting of so many things…even ourselves.  That day, that innocent little dog taught me to trust in myself, my doubts, my fears.  Over the course of time, I let circumstances and the turbulence of life make me afraid.  Sometimes when it would have accomplished so much more to leap head on into life…I held back, scared that there would be no one or nothing there to catch me.

Lately, my heart has begun to crave the new….the uncertain.  Lately, life has been about conquering the unconquerable.  Too old….not me.  Too fat…give me time.  Never been done…watch me.  I don’t know what has shifted in me lately, but when I look into the distance, I don’t see something I can’t reach.  I see an adventure lying on the horizon just waiting for me to leap toward it….and I fully intend to bring a few folks with me.  Some may go kicking and screaming and some may embrace it…but I am not going alone.

If no one else wants to come…I know a little blue chihuahua who embodies that same spirit of trust and adventure who will run right alongside me.

Blessed Be!

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Being Magick

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Me?  ‘Course I want somethin’.  Want a buckle made outta shiny silver to fasten onto my shoes.  Want a dress with lace.  Want perfume, wanna be purty, wanna smell like a honeysuckle vine.

Want things I’ve heared of and never had before–a rubber t’ard buggy, a cut-glass sugar bowl.  Want things I cain’t tell you  about–not only things to look at and hold in yer hands.  Things to happen to you.  Things so nice, if they ever did happen to you, yer heart ud quit a beatin’.  You’d just fall down dead.

I can remember sitting as a kid with my aunt Cathy watching the musical “Oklahoma” as Laurie fantasized about all the possibilities that the Elixir of Egypt could bring.  I remember thinking to myself that one day I would make a potion like that…one that would bring all my wildest dreams to life.  I could feel the excitement of all the magick that one little bottle might hold rising up inside me.

I also remember listening to stories my grandmothers told about spirits and haints and otherwordly happenings.  The other grandkids would run to the other rooms to avoid hearing the tales, but even as scared as I was, I would sit and listen to every word with my head covered by a blanket.  I remember the stories of the uncle who knew when things were going to happen….the cousin who knew when someone was going to die…the Cherokee cousin who would sing to make the wind blow.2015-05-21 08.49.34

I remember all those years of wishing that I was special…wishing that there was some kind of power within me.  I can remember lying under the stars in my backyard begging them to imbue me with some sort of magick.  I remember begging the universe to make me anything but ordinary.  And so the journey  began…

The little things that seemed to come so naturally to me, I didn’t think twice about.  I thought everyone held conversations with goats and chickens and dogs and cats.  I thought that it was normal when I would see things in the corner of my mind’s eye and then later on they would happen.  I thought it was normal to have dreams in which those who had crossed over talked to you.

I guess I was fortunate in the fact that I was never told that I couldn’t do something.  I lunged through life expecting to be able to accomplish everything I had ever dreamed of.  Many times growing up, I was pushed toward the challenging….more by my grandmas than anyone else.  It was one grandma who taught me to be as intimate as I could with nature…it was the other who pushed me toward academics, music, art.  It was one grandma who talked me into working for a summer on a Lakota reservation…it was the other who talked me into majoring in Art and Music the first time through college.  I grew up feeling like failure could never be an option.

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Through this time, I begged the universe for magick.  I needed it more than anything.  My coping mechanisms were worn out.  Here I was in college in a large city…there was no nature around me that I could see….no animal friends to talk to.  I found myself withdrawing.  I found myself….well, lost.  For so long, I had wanted to do magick.  I kept waiting for the sparks to fly from my fingers.

A minister friend noticed the change in my personality.  He consoled the best way that ministers can, I guess…by suggesting I pray about it.  I looked at him and flatly said, “I never have quite understood prayer.”  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Prayer, my friend, is all about energy.  You have the supernatural energy and you have your own energy.  Prayer is where those two things meet.”  Nothing more profound could have ever been said to me.  My thoughts started to grind together like the gears of a watch.  “If prayer does that…..and prayers start as words, then wouldn’t a magick spell do the same thing?  Different dieties…different direction…but it is energy.”  That is the moment when I became magick.

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It took time for all of this to soak in.  This epiphany that magick wasn’t necessarily some lifeless ‘thing’ to pursue was something that wrapped itself around me and through me….it is me.

As I walk my path today, I still find myself thinking that magick is some outsourced product…something that lies just within reach.  Each year that I mature in the Craft, though, I realize that magick is something that I am, not something that I do.  It is kind of like the words Human Being.  It refers to what I am….not what I am about or what encompasses my time.  If that were the case, we would be called Human Doings.

I have had to share and direct my energy quite a bit over the past two weeks.  There were wands to finish crafting and ship out….as I work on them, I chant, I sing….I share my energy.  There were deaths to walk through…my mom’s dog crossed over last weekend.  My mom had the wonderful opportunity to sing to her with her head on her chest as she closed her eyes to sleep as she moved into that next plane.  I shared my energy with my mother as she remembered the beautiful energy that little dog brought.  I have shared my own energy with Friz as he recuperates from a leg sprain and the challenges of aging.  Tonight in the woods, we held a type of croning ceremony for us both.  We lay together in moss and grass of the woods, combining our energies…embracing the aging cycle that is unfolding before us.  This doesn’t mean we are lying back waiting on death….it means that we were manifesting the energy that it is gonna take for us to go dancing and singing and running into old age.  We might be slowing down a bit, but we refuse to stop.

Every challenge that I have ever faced in life has scared the shit out of me.  Many of the challenges that I have walked through, folks have said at the end, “Oh, you must be terribly brave to do that.” No….I am not brave at all.  I just move forward…knees shaking, sweaty palms, and shallow breaths and try to look toward the end result.  I think that the biggest fear that most of us have is that fear of being insignificant…..but we are afraid to take the steps that might make us exceptional.

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Had I not decided to take on that mantle of Magickal Being, those who have required my energy and the magick it holds, may have been left in despair…hurt…pain.  I can buy or make every magickal tool you could think of, but without the magick within me, those tools do nothing.  Without my intent, a spell is just lifeless words written on a piece of paper.

Since he hurt his leg, Friz isn’t allowed to jump up on furniture.  This is especially hard for him because he wants to be as close to me as he can be.  If I am sitting on the sofa, he feels the need to jump up to be there.  I have been lying in the floor an awful lot this week.  Friz doesn’t care why I am on the floor…the only thing he knows is that I am being with him.   In that moment, nothing else matters….just being.

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Don’t Make Eye Contact

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I remember growing up around my mom…she lived in a state of constant worry and a state of constant fear.  She moved away from it more as we grew older, but I remember when we were younger how afraid she was of everything.  She was afraid of thunder.  She was afraid of bugs.  She was afraid that we would wander too far from the house.  She was afraid.

The thing about people who live in fear is that many times that fear tries to transfer to the people that live with them.  The one phrase that I remember my mom using constantly was, “Don’t make eye contact.”  Now there were particular people or groups of people this was directed toward…strangers, in particular, but also those who others categorized as mentally challenged…homeless people and stray animals.AP_romanian_stray_dogs_jef_130913_16x9_992

 

My mom never felt comfortable around any of those things.  It makes me wonder what kind of life my mom had growing up….so much fear.  As you can imagine, many of my mom’s fears began to take root in my heart as I grew up surrounded by them.  I remember a group of mentally challenged teens who attended my elementary school….I would see them coming and I could feel my whole body go rigid.  I would silently pray that they would stay far from me.  I remember as a youngster walking toward a stray dog that came into our yard and hearing my mother screech from the front porch, “Don’t touch that dog! It might have the mange!”  Well, at that time, I didn’t know what ‘the mange’ was, but I was sure I didn’t want it.  So I ran. It was then that I started nurturing the beginnings of a fear of dogs.  Finally, I remember my mother talking about ‘Crazy Mary’ the local homeless woman.  My mother had heard stories of how Mary went crazy because she had always wanted children.  When she miscarried after her first and only pregnancy, it drove her to the depths of insanity and she walked the streets looking for a child to call her own.

I carried each of these fears with me through grade school, high school and even part of college.  When I passed the homeless…my mother’s voice would ring clear, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I worked at a grocery chain and the adults from the local group home came in to shop, I made a bee-line for the stock room with my mother’s voice ringing in my ears, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I met my friend Susan who worked with rescue animals and finally saw what ‘the mange’ looked like, my mother’s words haunted me, “Don’t make eye contact.”

I have never been the type of person who wanted to be limited by anything, most of all, myself…so I made it a point to put myself into situations where I had to address those fears.  The first fear I addressed was the fear of those that others called mentally challenged.  When I was in bible school in Knoxville, TN back in the days of Moses, I had to work to be able to afford school.  I worked full time evenings in a bookstore, but on weekends I worked at a facility for adults with learning, mental and physical challenges.

My first five minutes in that facility were pure hell for me.  I broke out in cold sweats and shook continually.  My biggest fear was that someone would actually talk to me.  My first duties were to help clean a fellow up after his meal.  He laughed and smiled at me the whole time.  It made me feel ashamed of the fear I had lived with for so many years.  I looked in his eyes and I saw joy…pure elation that someone was taking the time to help him.  He smiled even bigger.  I could feel a tear loose itself from my eye and I felt his hand wipe at my face.  He told me, “No cry….happy…happy.”  He laughed out loud and I joined him.

I turned around and there was a woman in her forties standing almost close enough to me to be my shadow.  “I love you!”  The worker with me told me quietly, “That’s her thing.  She loves everybody.  She will tell you 100 times in a few hours.” I smiled at her.  “I love you!” I was perplexed.  I leaned in and said, “I love you too.”  She looked me eye to eye and quietly whispered, “For real?”  I whispered back, “Yes, for real.”  She smiled from ear to ear.  That was the only time she asked me that night…but we made it a point to say it once a day each time we saw each other.

I often find it amazing…the places and situations I have found myself in.  This young fellow who was scared to death of getting ‘the mange’ moved to Atlanta and the only job he could find was a job at a veterinary clinic.  I learned all about mange and what would treat it.  I learned about animal handling and treatment.  I could do the job in my sleep. Five years into the job, the opportunity came for me to work with a mobile vet.  We went from house to house treating and working with pets and then one of her pets became gravely ill.  There was fluid on the heart and it would only get worse.  She was encouraged to bring him in and ‘put him to sleep’ when it was too much of a struggle for him.  Instead, she decided that it would need to happen at home surrounded by his loved ones.  She asked if I would do it for her.  I looked into that sweet dogs eyes as I introduced the needle into his vein.  I watched through tears as the spirit of life swept from him and I laid his head on his paws.

This morning I had volunteered to go with a work group to deliver clothing to the homeless.  Collections had been made for weeks and we stood in groups next to tables full of coats and sweatshirts and pants separated by size.2015-02-28 11.29.07

My first encounter with the homeless was in New York City in 1985.  I was being shown around the city by a roommate who had been living there six months longer than I had.  I was informed that you didn’t touch the pigeons and you didn’t make eye contact with the homeless. “They are like rats (the pigeons and the homeless).  You can’t be nice to them…they follow you everywhere.”

Years later, when I was working in the ministry, I  was asked to be a part of a homeless ministry who cooked breakfast and served it underneath the bridge in Charlotte, NC.  I got to know and became friends with many of the people who gathered under that bridge to eat and hear me sing and teach. As I talked to one fellow, I found out that he was my age and he had missed one paycheck.  Not so different from me after all….one paycheck.

This morning as I foraged through stacks on tables and shifted clothes.  I hear some of the others talking to people coming through the line.  I hear a familiar laugh and a scruffy bark.  I turn around and I make eye contact with the Green Wizard.  He is there in need of a sweatshirt and a blanket.  I smile at him and he smiles back.  I introduce him to those around me as my friend…not as ‘a homeless person I know.’eyes

 

It’s funny…over the years…the most powerful magick I have ever found were in the things of which my mother was most afraid.  I found magick in the eyes of those whose mind danced differently than my own…I found magick in the eyes of animals whose hearts were far purer than my own…I found magick in the eyes of those who use the earth as their pillow and the stars as their nightlight.  I am far richer for it.

Blessed Be!

There’s Something About the Woods….

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You’ve changed.  You’re daring.

You’re different in the woods…

You’ve changed.  You’re thriving.

There’s something about the woods…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!2015-01-02 23.53.58

Everyone Has a Story…

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Our lives are a collection of stories.  Truths about who we are, what we believe, what we came from, how we struggle and how we are strong.  When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness–the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

–Dr. Brene Brown–The Hustle for Worthiness

This time of year, we are regaled with every type of story and legend that one could imagine.  From childhood, we are taught the legend of Santa Claus.  We are told of this large, big-hearted man dressed in a red suit who watches every move we make.  As witches and pagans, we tell and re-tell the stories of the Goddess and the Holly King and the return of the light when the solstice comes upon us.

As I walked through the stores at the mall this weekend, I saw stacks and stacks of storybooks.  There was everything from “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” to “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”  As I walked haggardly through the aisles, I started people watching.  I wondered what the stories were behind the faces of the people passing me by.

A dear friend of mine from back home came to mind.  She was a strong, determined woman.  You see, she had survived a concentration camp in Germany.  She was a singer in her younger days and when the Nazi regime took power, her mother made the daughters bleach their hair platinum so that they looked ‘more German.’  She traveled the German countryside by bicycle to avoid the SS soldiers.  One day, she had taken a route she had taken many times over.  She was stopped by a Nazi soldier. Her Jewish features would betray her to this soldier and she was sent to Dachau concentration camp.  Because of her musical background, she was used as entertainment for the soldiers.  At night, she would sing to soothe the nerves of the children imprisoned.  She would tell stories of how women who were able to hold on to one piece of treasured jewelry (including her own mother’s diamond) would swallow the jewelry first thing in the morning, then with the evening bowel movement, clean the jewelry and hold onto it for dear life as they slept.  This beautiful woman was and is a survivor.  She will tell you that is by faith and determination that she was spared.  It is the same determination that you see in every part of her life today.  It encompasses every fiber of her being.

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As I walked through the woods this morning in the wee hours, I thought of my own story.  Mine is a story entwined with many things that children should never be expected to endure, but it is also woven together with magick.  When I think back, even in the days of the sexual abuse, I can see where magick came to the rescue.  Even in those days, I was being taught by the Lord and Lady how to bring vision and intent to the front of my mind.

I was reminded that even in the midst of the deepest depressions, I was being guided by Crow magick.  I was being taught not to dwell inside myself for too long, but in those times of depression, to reach outside of myself and toward others. It was in the times of my darkest depressions that I was able to be the biggest help and guidance to others.

I watched Mama Crow this morning hopping from tree to tree.  I watched as Friz sought patches of non-existent sunshine as a soft drizzle fell on us. I lifted my face into the light mist and thought about the fact that the darkness was receding bit by bit and that the sun was returning.  I visualized the goddess rising from her sleep dressed all in white, silver and pale blue.  She stands before the Horned God and offers her hand to him.  They begin a slow waltz across the wooded floor carpeted with leaves and debris.  As the light becomes stronger, the dance becomes faster…raw and wild.  At the end of the dance, the maiden becomes heavy with child…ready for the next turn of the wheel.  Her story…always continuing…a circle…never truly ending.2014-12-20 18.26.16

My story continues…with every step I take…every breath.  I am the only one who can decide that the pages stay blank.  My book of shadows is filled with little reminders of who I am:  feathers and spells, things I have found on my journeys, pictures that I love…things that all tell my story.  To anyone else who ever found it….it would seem a book filled with useless trash…but it is me.  It shows that I, just like my dear friend who survived the concentration camp,  I am determined….I am a survivor.  Don’t we all have to escape from our own prisons daily?  Don’t we all have to swallow those things we find valuable sometimes for the sake of others?  Don’t we have to dig through crap on a daily basis?  My story swirls with magick.  It holds adventure and excitement….love, power and magickal creatures untold.2014-12-17 23.07.35

An old friend died this past week.  I got to know her when I was working on a Lakota reservation years ago.  She would tell me stories of stories that her mother had told her of life after the white man invaded the Lakota way of life.  She would talk of the strength of her people…she would talk of the power of the Great Spirit…and she always talked of where she was going tempered by the experiences of where she had been.  Her eyes sparkled…her spirit danced.  Oh how I loved the heart of this warrior…stronger than any male counterpart.  I can see her dancing across the summerlands…this warrior doesn’t carry a shield.  She carries with her the story that she created and engaging anyone willing to listen.

What is your story?  I would love to hear it?  Weave your magick for me.  My email is: weatheredwiseman@yahoo.com

Blessed Be!2014-12-20 18.28.16

I Finally…Finally Found Me

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This week was a whir of activity…as most weeks closer to the holidays tend to be.  Not only are we heading into our busy season at work, but the weekends are filled with being dragged from store to store by my partner, who has to buy Christmas gifts for his family…not only buy, but touch everything in the stores.  I spent alot of time today sitting on benches in the middle of malls with many, many cups of Starbucks in my hands.

This morning started by getting up early to take a very whiny mini dachshund to the vet for a 3 year rabies vaccine.  While we were sitting in the lobby, I heard the woman next to me complaining because now she couldn’t afford to get her new weave because the county was making her get her dog a rabies.  I felt sorry for that dog.  I looked at it and it looked as if it had resigned itself to its station in life long ago.  Afterward, we went to breakfast at a local diner where I got to listen to the couple beside us gripe about what a bother the holidays were.   After that….the mall.  Shoppers Visit The Westfield Shopping Centre In Stratford As Traders Are Boosted By The Increased Olympic Footfall

Most days it can be all too easy for me to live a hermit-like life…hiding myself from human-kind and socializing only with the four leggeds and the winged ones.  I was in a state of over stimulation listening to the children screaming to their mothers and fathers about what they wanted for Christmas.  Parents screamed back at the kids…it was an environment that oozed with the holiday spirit.

When we got home, one would think that time for relaxation would be at hand.  One would be wrong.  Of course, everything that had been left undone when we left this morning had to be done.  Dishes needed washing, laundry, baths for the dogs.  When this was all accomplished, I plopped down on the sofa…wrung out and useless like an old dishcloth.

As I prepared for a long lazy night of staring at the Christmas tree and drinking wine with Friz at my side, I felt her calling.  It was almost as if I was being wooed…my ears were being caressed with her song.  I had not spent time with the moon.  I leave my pajama pants on and grab a few things along with my backpack and cloak.  As I head out the door, I feel something against my leg.  How could I forget my little guard dog…my minuscule wolf.  I scoop him up and away we go.

Tonight we went deeper into the woods than we have ever been.  I felt the need to disappear from the world…if only for a small amount of time.  As the woods became less and less familiar, so did the noises surrounding me.  There were more scurrying noises…more wings beating against the air…more shifting in the trees…and howling in the distance.  I took my cues from Friz…ever at the alert, but never pushed to fear.  We sat down in a moist, leafy area.  I brought out the things I had brought with me…the crows skull, a new seed pod to use as a tealight holder, my crow claw ring, my Morrigan dreamcatcher that a friend made for me…and blackberry moonshine.  I needed to charge pieces of a wand I am creating and thought that blackberry moonshine and sweet bread would be a fitting offering.2014-12-06 22.20.38

 

My mind was racing (once again)…but this time to something that my dear friend Maluna and I were talking about.  This season, for her, is a thriving time…she glows in this turn of the wheel.  For me, it has always been a waning time…a time to conserve my energy…like the big bear who hibernates in the winter…I feel sleep and regrouping trying to overtake me. I have been reminded by Maluna this week that we are what we allow ourselves to become.  While peace and calm are good….this is a time of rebirth.  We get the opportunity to become new and improved.

I watched in the mall today as a teenager tried walking up an escalator the wrong way.  I watched him huff and puff as he struggled to get to the top…only to be brought right back to where he started.  He finally became frustrated and gave up.  As I sat in an unfamiliar part of the woods tonight, I pondered, “Am I doing the same thing?  Am I wasting energy on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things?”

I am wasting energy on things that don’t matter.  I have been guilty of letting the opinions of those who don’t really know me, bother me.  I have put far too much energy into neighbors who are far too stupid to realize how inconsiderate they are.  I am like a dog chasing its own tail.  Once I catch it and bite it, I have only hurt myself in the long run.English-Bulldog-on-back_shutterstock_58565428

I realized sitting under that glorious full moon tonight that far too often I have been wearing the Lord and Lady like the cloak on my back….putting them on and taking them off as it suited me.  I was almost haunted by the words that Maluna force fed to me earlier in the week after I had vented about a situation I didn’t like:

You have a wand.  That is more powerful.  I knew that tonight.  I felt that tonight, as before in those situations.  You have to let the magick…the Morrigan lead.  You have to become her.  You can.  You blend to the point there is no line.  You become what you believe.  You have to take that next step.

As these words rang through my mind over and over again tonight, something happened.  The time for preparation is over, as is the time for regrouping.  It is now time to act.  The wait is over.  I stood under that chilly glowing orb above me.  I opened my arms and I spoke loud enough to scare anything questionable in those woods away.  “I AM READY!  BECOME ONE WITH ME, WARRIOR GODDESS! I POUR OUT MYSELF THAT YOU MAY POUR IN!”

A prayer was shared with me today…use it.  Use it as a spell, a mantra, a chant…Just use it!  Isn’t it time that we all embrace who we truly are, what we are truly called to, and learn to become what we believe?2014-12-06 10.37.42

I was asked a question tonight, “How may I regain the spirit I had in me that made me feel I could accomplish anything?”  That spirit never left. We let everything else in our lives cover it, bury it…but it is still there.  How long has it been since you gave in to it with complete abandon?  There is still time.  Embrace who you truly are…become one with those you call on.  Dance….sing….fight….and as my dear friend Maluna would say, “If you live in fear, fear is all that will ever manifest.” Step

Blessed Be!