Don’t Make Eye Contact

660c44068df20c800f723804fab2ce5e

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!

Advertisements

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!

Forging New Paths

2013-05-10 13.21.36

It has gotten to the point that I do my best writing at night.  I sit here with a cup of hot wild blueberry tea with some mugwort mixed in and sweetened with a bit of honey….soothing to the spirit.  It seems like just yesterday that we greeted 2013 with optimism, excitement and enthusiasm.  I just knew that this year was going to be a year like no other.  Boy, was I right.

2013 held many surprises…good and bad.  Through the course of the year, I have seen friends come and go.  I have watched as death took family, friends, and four-leggeds.  I look at the past year and can see how I have grown because of situations and circumstances.  I have also seen areas of my own life that need to be improved upon.

The coming year for me, is to be a year of Truth.  I have always been one who thought that honesty was the best policy and I believe that being honest with oneself is the greatest truth one can find.  This year, I intent to be more honest with myself, first and foremost, than I have ever been.  It is time for the rough edges to come off even more.  It is time for the Weathered Wiseman to open himself up to more magick than he could have even fathomed.

It is also time for truth to be the first thing that pours out of my mouth.  I have told you before that I am a horrible liar.  I have never even been able to tell those sweet little white lies that everyone tells to spare hurt feelings.  My face always gives me away.  My goal for this year is to temper that truth with as much love as I can muster.

The truth is never easy for any of us to take.  It is especially hard when we have concocted a truth from lies we have told ourselves.  We have made something that was never real to begin with and given it life.  We have created something that grows legs of its own and walks about creating destruction.

The second thing I intend to do with this new year is to get an even stronger backbone.  It isn’t to say that I don’t have a pretty strong backbone now…..but I want one that can’t and won’t be bent.  When I plant my feet, that is where I will stay.  AntBackbone

Trials have hit me this year….we have all had a plethora of them.  I have stood strong…but in 2014, I intend to stand stronger.  Does this mean that I won’t cry…won’t hurt?  Hell no.  It means that through those tears and pain there is gonna be one strong man standing to face the issues.  I will not be pushed down.  Nothing is so strong that I cannot overcome it.

The third thing that I intend to pursue this year is Peace.  I have grown tired of becoming frazzled at any little crisis.  I have become over-tired of being anxious.  Worry is not a good trait to have.  Worry makes one old before your time.  Worry causes health issues.  Anxiety causes blood pressure problems.  When I was pastoring, there was one scripture that always amazed me. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”  tumblr_lzsta29z901qb30dwo1_500

If you look around you at the grasses and trees and the flowers in the spring….they don’t sit around and worry about where their nourishment is coming from.  They trust that the Lord and Lady will take care of them.  They are tended by the nature spirits.  Don’t we have that same gift?  We have been given all the elements….right there at our fingertips.  Yet we are so afraid to utilize them.  We have been gifted with magick.  We are so quick if someone asks, “I need a little extra energy…mojo…juju,” to pipe up with ‘Sending!’  But honestly are we just saying that or do we truly believe that we have been gifted the ability to manifest it?

The final thing that I fully intend to embrace with the coming of 2014…..is Living in the Magick.  You have heard the phrase, “Living in the Moment.”  Well, I am going to live every moment in magick.  I intend to let magick permeate every part of my being.  I want to see it manifest itself more powerfully than I could ever anticipate.  I am going to walk in the energy of the universe around me….constantly surrounded and guided by the gods and goddesses.  I will hold dearly to all of the elements and to the spirit guides around me.

2013-05-07 19.18.24

I went to the woods with Friz this morning.  It was hazy and cold and drizzly at times.  My mind was racing over many things that have happened over the past few days.  I wore my cloak (it seems, when I wear my cloak that the world disappears around me and I am transported at that moment into a world of magick) and gathered my backpack with all of my supplies.  When we got to the woods, I unpacked everything and got it all set up listening to Friz doing ‘play growls’ with that little calico.  She had somehow slipped in as I was attending to the business of magick.  I settled in front of the skulls and candles and made my circle…I called on the elements and my spirit guides.  As I sat there, I heard a major rustling in the trees above.  I heard Mama Crow, but then as I looked up, there were many crows gathered in the tree tops.  I sensed the presence of wolf and welcomed him in.  I talked back and forth to Mama Crow and her entourage as I communed with the god and goddess.

As I sit there in deep conversation, I am reminded of one of the Native American legends of Crow:  A white crow warned buffalo every time that hunters approached.  This led to hunger and starvation in the village and the crow is eventually captured by the hunters and thrown into a fire. But it escapes before being completely burned, being only blackened by the flames; black becomes its permanent color.  As the crow flees, it promises never to warn the buffalo of approaching hunters again.  The crow becomes a type of phoenix that rises from the ashes, symbolizing renewal, transformation and promise.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I call up to Mama Crow, “Is this what you wanted me to remember? Is it time for renewal, transformation and the promise of better things?” I only hear a cacophony of crow calls above me…but in the midst of those crows, I swear I can see one old female crow up there smiling and the sounds from her sound more like a deep laugh.

I complete my ritual and pack up.  As Friz and I walk back to the condo, I feel something deep building inside of me.  Hope? Determination? I even thought I felt that backbone get a little bit stronger.

Blessed Be!

The Healing Stick

2013-06-19 21.20.37

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working on something that I have wanted for a long, long time. I have been stripping and sanding and smoothing my own staff…..an honest to goodness sorcerer’s staff. Not unlike Gandalf’s staff in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy but also completely unique…encompassing those things that I love about the Craft and my magickal life.

The wood is the vine called ‘Tree of Heaven.’ You can see these vines on pretty much anything that will stand still in the south….but the twists and turns of the wood show so much movement on something so stationary. The staff will be topped with a crow’s skull and wrapped at the top with humanely harvested wolf’s fur with crow feathers hanging from the top. Embedded in the wood will be stones of Merlinite, Moonstone, and Dragon’s Breath. I will engrave sigils and runes on the staff and stain it with a red mahogany stain.2013-06-09 14.48.42 HDR

Working on this staff has been a wonderful refreshing time for me. My grandma had always taught me that the best way to get bark off of a branch or piece of wood was with a ‘tater’ peeler. I remember the first strips of bark I watched slide off the staff and on to the ground…..it came off like butter..so easy and so quick. Then I did the next thing my grandma taught me. Put the wood in a dry, even temperatured place for a couple of days to dry a bit. This is so the layer of orange-ish bark will show itself and then that layer can be taken off. I sat on the stoop outside of the condo. This time the stripping was a little more involved and meticulous. I used the ‘tater’ peeler and carefully and slowly began to remove the orange colored stripes that had come to light with the drying process.

As I sat there and worked, my partner opened the door and he came out into the courtyard with the dogs. He sat down beside me and the dogs were lying there on the cool patio as I smoothed out the wood under my hand. As we talked, he asked me what the staff was for and why I had wanted to make it. I explained everything to him and he listened intently. We talked about the meanings of everything that would be included on the staff. He ran his hand along the vine amazed that it was becoming so smooth. We talked about our relationship….and I opened up and told him that I felt like I was becoming more and more callous as I grow older. I told him that sometimes I feel like my heart is frozen…almost unfeeling at times. He looked me in the eyes and quietly told me that he understood…it was time to take the dogs to potty and then back inside. As he stood up, he leaned in and kissed my cheek. “Do you love me?” “Oh honey, I love you so much!”…then he walked out the gate with the dogs. I sighed quietly to myself and continued to work.

I got to a stopping point on the staff and decided to put it in the utility room until the next time I worked on it. I sat down on the couch with a book and started to read. My partner came over to me and kissed me on the cheek. “Do you love me?” “Yes honey, I love you more than anything.”…then he headed to the bedroom.

I finished the chapter I was reading and decided to head to bed. I leaned over to kiss him goodnight. “Do you love me?” “Honey, you know I do. Why do you keep asking?” “Because I know that you love me…..you just need to realize that the heart inside you is a good heart….one full of an infinite amount of love….a heart that is capable of anything you can imagine. It hasn’t become hard or unfeeling….it just gets tired and stressed sometimes.” I rolled over quietly. My mind was going hundreds of miles an hour.

As I rolled over onto my side, my mind raced back to my days in the church. My partner had reminded me of a sermon I had given years and years and years ago. I have always held the thought that we can learn something from all faiths. I watched myself in my mind standing behind the pulpit. I was delivering a sermon based on the scripture where Jesus had been resurrected and was talking to Peter. “Do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, I love you.” “Feed my sheep.” “Peter, do you love me?” “Yes, my Lord, I love you.” “Feed my sheep.” He asked him a third time, “Peter, do you love me?” “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” “Feed my lambs.” In these verses, Jesus did not ask Peter if he loved him so that Peter might feel shame…or that Peter might think that Jesus questioned his love. Jesus asked these questions of Peter for Peter’s sake. Jesus did not want to condemn Peter….Jesus wanted Peter to get a glimpse of his own heart. It wasn’t Jesus who questioned Peter’s love….it was Peter. It wasn’t Jesus who thought Peter had failed…it was Peter.

As a Pagan…a witch….I think we feel that others are always passing judgement on us. Most of the time, we are the ones who question our own hearts and motives most harshly. If a spell or energy working doesn’t go the direction we think it should, there must be something wrong with us…..we don’t take into consideration that the universe works in ways that we may never get to see.

I have determined that I am my own worst enemy. I will never have to worry about the proverbial Dorothy dropping a house on me…I will have already stood under a condo, a house, an office park waiting for the worst to happen.

I have lived a full life….that life includes hurt, betrayal, confusion and the death of dreams. There is still so much love that radiates from that stringy little organ inside my body. I feel that love every time I sit in the courtyard under the moonlight with a friend who is hundreds of miles away physically. I really don’t have the time or the energy anymore to concentrate on who hurt me when…or who all has ever betrayed me. Those are the things that harden the heart.

What is it that brings healing? Sitting on the stoop in the courtyard barefooted, feeling the shavings hit my feet as I whittle and carve on a stick….a stick that can help facilitate a lot of healing….a stick that prompts conversation and thought…a stick that may mean nothing to anyone but me….but it is my healing stick.

Blessed Be!

Where the Wild Things Are….

2013-05-16 18.08.26

When I was a little boy, the one animal that I always wanted was a wolf.  I was intrigued by the way they looked, the way they acted.  I remember the stories that my grandmother would tell me about wolves.  The most memorable and the one that I still see surfacing all over is “Two Wolves.”

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

Wolves have always played a big part in Native American Legend.  They are also a strong component as well as ally in certain areas of the Craft.  As you know, on many a trip to the woods here, I have been accompanied by the spirit of wolf.  It is wolf who has taught me about survival and family and resourcefulness.  It is wolf who has walked me through tragedy and death and helped me to keep my nose to the wind.  It is wolf who has taught me that change is constantly around us and that we must adapt to those changes.

I remember going to the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina as a teen.  On the way, we passed by many tourist-y type locations.  On one of the doors to a local business, I saw an advertisement for wolf-dog puppies.  I was ecstatic!  I was finally going to be able to have a wolf (even if it was only part wolf) and live the dream of raising a companion who would help me walk life’s road.  As I hurriedly scribbled the number onto a receipt I had crammed in my pocket, my grandmother came up behind me.  “Where do you plan to keep this wolf?”  “In my room.”  “Where will it be able to run and hunt?”  “In the back pasture and the woods behind.”  “What happens when his true nature shows?”  “Huh?”  “What happens when wolf shows forth and dog is forgotten?  You cannot change the nature of something…no matter what you try to mix it with.” 

As my grandmother asked me these questions, I could see a familiarity glistening in her eyes.  Even though she chose to leave her people behind for my grandfather, there were many times I watched as the Cherokee took over.  I remembered what she was like as she led me into the woods and down by creekbeds.  I remember the glint in her eyes as she taught me to track rabbits and squirrels.  The glow as she told stories of her childhood.  It looked as if she was flying when she would start dancing in the kitchen…..complete abandon as she shuffled and turned.  She knew personally what it felt like to be taken out of your element and what it was like to conform.  I think this is what made her the easiest to tell when I realized that I was gay.  All she did was continue what she was doing with a huge smile.  “One can’t control the nature of the heart.”

It is because of my grandmother that I continued to nurture my love of the wolf.  I revered and honored them with my own energy and magick.  I gave offerings to them.  I was allowed the honor of meeting a wolf-dog once in my life.  I may meet others yet, but this dog had a profound effect on me.  He was an older soul, around 11.  He belonged to a man who had lived ‘way past any usefulness,’ as he put it.  I was in bible college at the time in Tennessee and had to make the six hour drive home.  Mountain driving was a necessary evil and not a drive that I completely enjoyed.  I tended to make any stops I could and made that long drive even longer.  I stopped at an old stand of sorts.  Mountain apples and apple cider were always something I craved.  There weren’t many apples there, but the old man offered what he had and a big cup of cider.  I looked to see an old dog walk slowly toward me.  From a distance, all I could tell was that he was a good size….couldn’t really decipher the breed.  When he sat in front of me, there was no mistaking that there was wolf in those eyes.  My heart quickened from the excitement.  “Wolf Dog?”  “Yep.  Name’s Injun.”  “Really?”  “Yep.  He’s a good ‘un.  He was a bit hard to handle coming up, but now that there’s some years on him, he’s settled down.”  My grandma had always taught me not to look an animal in the eyes unless I was invited to do so, so I kept my head low. Injun came up and nudged my chin with his head, so I took it as an invitation to look at him.  It was as if a part of us connected.  I could feel that there was nothing tame in this animal…he had just adapted to the life that was given to him.  I felt our spirits communing with one another and magick and wisdom being transferred back and forth.  As I sat there on the porch steps talking to the old man, Injun laid down beside me and put a foot on my leg.  “Never seen him take to anybody like that.  Guess the injuns would call that medicine, huh?”  “Yeah, I guess that’s what they would call it.”  I thanked the old fella for the apples and cider and walked toward the car.  Injun was right beside me.  I thanked him for what he had shared with me and again our eyes met.  I knew at that moment that I had been allowed to share in wolf energy.  That is something that I will always cherish and will always be as fresh in my mind today as it was the day it happened.  I got into my truck and drove on toward home….knowing that because of wolf energy my life would be changed forever.2013-05-16 18.08.01

This week, I was surfing the net and for some reason decided to google “Wolf.”  Now with one word like that, you know that millions of things are going to come up.  I was surprised by the first entry on the screen of my computer.  Wolf Haven International.  I read about their facility and was thrilled by all that I read.  Even more exciting was the fact that they offered the opportunity to ‘adopt a wolf.’  I looked through the gallery of wolves in their sanctuary and wondered how I was going to afford to adopt all of the wolves shown.  As I scrolled down, however, one wolf caught my eye.  It was Shadow.  Shadow is a 3 year old male wolf with a dark grey-black coat and amber eyes.  He had lived in three different homes before going to Wolf Haven.  He has endured much for such a young wolf, but now is living a life as close to normal as he can.  I decided that Shadow was the wolf I needed to adopt. 

As I made my decision, I was automatically connected to the energy of Injun.  My memory raced quickly back to the day I met wolf energy face to face.  I look forward to keeping up with the life and antics of Shadow and am thankful that there is a way that I can contribute and give back so that  wolf energy may continue to thrive.  I am thankful that I am able to give to such a wonderful organization that help those that should have lived life untamed may be able to move back in that direction.

Blessed Be!

The Moon, The Stars and Me

531273_386483018080879_441527697_nWednesday night was a wonderful night.  It was rainy and overcast and the moon was shining through at intervals.  So many inconveniences had happened in the five days preceding.  My partner had put his phone and Kindle on top of his car and drove off with them up there.  The neighborhood that they flew off in offered no hope of ever getting them back.  His insurance check that he was going to use for the down payment on his car was four days past the refinance date.  My bosses had been nit-picking all week.  Hinting that I ‘seemed down’ over the past couple of weeks….and that I needed to find a way to be more upbeat. 
 
I needed this ‘moon time.’  I gathered my cauldron, some herbs, matches, candles, my cloak, my wand and some paper voodoo dolls of things that needed to be banished from my life.  Worry….Fear….Anger…things that I felt were holding me back.  I lit my candles.  I lit a fire in my cauldron.  I called on the directions.  I called on the elements.  I called on the Morrigan.  I could feel something pushing up inside me.  I felt the assurance that I had been longing for all week.  I love my partner dearly, but I am constantly having to be the strong one….I am the one who is not supposed to show weakness…I sometimes remember that part of my last partner.  He was an ex-Marine.  When I felt too weak, I was allowed to crumble into him.  It was only in the months leading to his death that I had to call on all the strength that was within me.  I haven’t let that strength rest since. 2013-04-03 20.24.31 HDRIt isn’t that I have felt like crying.  It isn’t that I have hurt.  It isn’t even that I have felt vulnerable.  I have just felt tired….weak…..even maybe a little unsure.  It was only in these couple of weeks that I have begged for dreams of him…..dreams where I could feel that strong backbone and those enveloping arms….dreams where I was the one being told that it would all be ok….but they never came.  It was as if the Lord and Lady were telling me that it was time to rely on other things.  It was in this realization that I started to crave time with the moon. 
 
I did everything I could earlier in the week to spend long amounts of time under her, with her.  Every day I could hear Mama Crow fussing at me from her phone pole…..reminding me with that course caw that I needed more time with Mama Moon.  I would try to settle under her as daylight was conquered by nightfall, but something always interfered….either we got torrential rainstorms or I was side-tracked by the needs of my pets…or somebody in the household needed me to be strong for them…again. Wednesday as I started preparation for ‘moon-time,’ I quietly beseeched the Lord and Lady under my breath, “Please, do not let me be interrupted tonight.  I truly truly need this time.” 
 
As I settled in front of the fire in the cauldron, the heat from the flame felt like the broad chest of the strongest person I could imagine.  I imagined in my mind that it was that chest from long ago…but then a realization hit me.  It wasn’t him.  It wasn’t a familiar feeling…not a bad feeling…actually a strong and incredible feeling.  I realized that I had fallen upon the chest of Lord Cernunnos.  I could feel a quicker heartbeat than anything human.  And so I rested.  As I rested, I felt the hands of the Triple Goddess upon my head….caressing, encouraging.  I sat stock-still absorbing the magick of this moment…..whether it was all in the intention stirred inside me or a manifestation of that need.  I knew that it was just that….sheer magick.
 
In my own courtyard, I felt the silent strength of the wolf spirit wander up beside me. I felt that noisy, ambling spirit of crow make its way to brick beside me.  I could feel the fire burning through them.  I took each paper doll…one at a time and set them on fire by the candle flame and dropped them into the cauldron….visualizing each barrier disappearing into the ash as it fell….feeling each chain falling to the ground.  I could smell the sage and mugwort intermingling with the smell of burnt paper.  As each doll burned, I watched the issues that were scrawled on each one evaporate into the flame and then into the smoke that rose toward Mama Moon.  I could feel the flames leaping and reaching…encompassing all around me.  The spirit of wolf was smoldering as was the spirit of crow….everything around me was smoldering….like the end of a fire, but also like the beginning.  2013-03-06 08.28.14I feel strength burning inside of me again.  I don’t feel like I did when I walked outside…like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, with a pole shoved up my back for support.  The strength I felt now was a burning strength….not a strength that could be pulled from a partner or a friend or even a group of witches.  This was a strength that came from all elements….Fire, Earth, Air and Water….each direction…South, North, East and West…..a strength that could only come from the Lord and Lady.  It reminded me of a verse I learned in Bible school…..”I lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence my help comes….”  My help comes from everything that encompasses those hills…..all of the elements, the spirits, the Gods and Goddesses.2013-04-06 11.53.20 HDRSpiderwort is one of my most favorite plants.  Two years ago when I was working for a horrible boss in a bad situation,  I would walk up the driveway into work every morning and I was greeted by these beautiful purple smiling faces that seemed to be perched on top of weeds.  These little purple blooms signified hope to me….the fact that something so beautiful and unusual could bloom out of a patch of what looked like weeds.  I walked outside this morning and  I found a small purple face smiling up at me…..a familiar friend had resurfaced to show that there is so much hope….so much wonderful to look forward to.  I am reminded of a quote from “Steel Magnolias,” “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
 
Thankfully, life doesn’t just give us thirty minutes of wonderful….instead we are given many thirty minutes of many wonderfuls…..all we need is the strength to open our eyes.  I found my strength this week.2013-03-31 11.37.24