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!

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!

Why Are People So Afraid of the Dark?

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This past week was a thought invoking week.  My brain has been mulling over so many things.  One of those things was the result of a wonderful new friend’s post on the Weathered Wiseman Facebook page.  She had simply posted, “I am thoroughly enjoying your blog!!  I found you on The Pagan Black Book.”  I responded by telling her that I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear this and I offered her blessings upon blessings.  Later in the comments, someone asked, “Are there dark blessings?  I didn’t know that.”  I didn’t think anything about the comment.  My response was, “Everything is a mix of dark and light.  It’s all about finding balance.  I don’t just work with the Dark Goddess.  I also work with Brigid, Cerridwen, Cernunnos…I always try to work in blessings.”

This made thoughts fly through my mind like snow flurries.  Why are people so afraid of the dark?  For that matter, why are they afraid of anything that they perceive  as dark?  Is it because the darkness is so mysterious?  Is it because darkness is seen as unpredictable?  In light, you can see everything that approaches you.  In darkness, you may hear what is coming, but you may not see it right away.

This morning I experienced the truth in that last statement.  Friz and I had gone to the woods early…before the sun came up.  It was dark.  The trees were very stark looking standing in front of me.  Add to this, the fact that I have horrible vision in the dark anyway.  I picked Friz up as a safety precaution.  I didn’t so much want to carelessly step on my dog.  We sat down next to one of the trees and I leaned back and closed my eyes.  As I sat there resting, I heard a rustling.  I shrugged it off.  I figured it was a cat, possum, a ground bird…everything that didn’t threaten or make me nervous.  I continued to sit there with my head back and my eyes closed.  I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I yelled.  My trusty guard dog barked after the fact because he recognized the scent attached to the hand.  It was only after I composed myself that I realized that I had picked Friz up and run quite a few feet.

As I composed myself, I realized that the Green Wizard and his ‘not such a puppy anymore’ pup was standing in front of me.  As I stood there breathing heavily, he apologized for scaring me…explaining that he thought that I had heard him.  I told him I did, but passed it off as being noise from an animal.  He leaned down and stroked Boomer and laughed saying that I was half right.

We settled down and I reached into my backpack and handed him a couple of sandwich bags that I had filled with biscuits.  I had intended to feed the birds and animals with them, but I would bring more back later and the Green Wizard looked like he needed them more at the moment.  I pulled my black candles out of the backpack along with my crow skull (I longed for simplicity this morning and what better for the dark part of the year and the dark moon).  As I lit the candles, the Green Wizard asked me, “Why black?” I explained to him that black was for protection and banishing any negative energies.  I told him that the crow skull was a representative of the Dark Goddess, the Morrigan.

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As we talked about the different attributes of the Morrigan, I explained that many people are afraid of her and that she is seen as a dark, harsh, killing force.  He smiled crookedly and said that people have a way of misconstruing things that don’t make sense to them.  He agreed that it was fear of the unknown.  I asked him if he saw me as a dark wizard.  He laughed out loud and told me that I was the farthest thing from it. He said that if nothing else, I was a very passionate wizard with very strong beliefs and convictions.  He went on to say that my practices fall back to the ways of the ancients as far as the herbs and roots I use and that the skulls and bones I use may make folks wonder, but that the honor I give to the animals and the protection and healing magick that I use would give evidence to the true nature of my heart.

I started to ponder the word ‘passionate.’  When we think of passion, we often think of something mysterious and brooding.  Does passion come from that ‘feel-good, love and light’ part of us?  No. It doesn’t.  Passion comes from a part of us that stirs deep inside of us…it is that part of our energy that can be unpredictable and sometimes untouchable.   Our passion tends to be something that we guard closely.  It is something that we don’t give away or show readily.  It comes from that hidden part of us.  If you were to ask someone what their passion is….first, they will hem and haw….then they will nervously giggle…then they will say quietly, “No….it’s stupid.”  We are leery of sharing that deep, hidden part of us with anyone.2014-11-22 15.15.46

 

I know that some people refer to this part of themselves as their ‘shadow-self.’ I remember a conversation some years back with a friend of mine.  He was just beginning to delve into that darker part of himself.  He was starting to see himself as he truly is…a mixture of light and dark.  It was after this soul journey that his passion became more a part of his everyday life and his business began to flourish.

Searching for your passion is not for the faint of heart…nor is it for the brainless.  Wars have been fought because of passion.  Men have died at the end of a sword controlled by passion.  Relationships have thrived and been broken to pieces because of passion.  On the other side of the coin, though, new world’s have been discovered because of passion. Lives have been saved because of passion.

A dark wizard?  No, I am definitely a combination of the two.  My passion?  Magick.  Completely and fully….I love watching energies swirl around me.  I thrive on seeing what the elements are capable of.  It gives me chills when I experience the Gods and Goddesses.  Am I afraid of my dark side?  Oh no….I have learned to embrace it and walk fully empowered by it and that part of me that calls to the light.

Here is a spell I concocted to stir that passion in all of us.  All you need is some hot red pepper jelly, some cream cheese and crackers.

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I start by taking out two of the crackers, spreading them with the cream cheese (a nice big dollop)….and then heaping that over with a nice spoonful of spicy hot red pepper jelly.  As they sit in front of me, I envision that part of me that I wish to access…that passion that I have kept hidden for so long:

Both hot and sweet, I call to you.

Stir in me what I’m to do.

Awaken passion deep inside…

No more to slumber or to hide.

Dark and Light I now embrace,

And with myself come face to face.

Heat and cool now intertwine.

A balanced life, now is mine.

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Blessed Be!

Having a Morrigan Morning

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This morning, as Friz and I made our way to the woods just before sunrise, I could smell the dampness in the air.  It was coolish…our nights have had lows in the twenties this week.  It seemed as I walked, that I was walking in slow motion.  The trees were stark looking against the dark morning sky.  You could smell the earth going dormant with every footstep. As I looked around me, I could see the toll that the below freezing temperatures had taken.  Rose bushes and plants had that wilted and defeated look about them.  I could tell that the Goddess was preparing for her winter’s death-sleep.

The crows have been more prominent lately.  My partner told me the other day that he watched as a crow flew above him with a McDonald’s bag with two other crows on his tail.  He asked me what the significance of this was.  I was at a loss.  I said, “He was hungry?”  He was not amused.  The sad thing is that the poor crow dropped the bag and the two hamburgers he managed to pilfer fell to the ground and the other two crows attacked them ferociously.2014-10-02 12.49.53

Although I follow the path of the Morrigan year-long, I know that in these months that the world grows darker that she is more prominent.  The Morrigan is often seen as the goddess of death…but she is also the goddess of fertility.  So as the earth goes into its own death-sleep, she is the one planting those seeds of rebirth as it sleeps.  I have seen her do the same in my life.  As one vision dies, she is busy planting that seed for new visions….and giving me strength for the battle.  I have found that the more I work with her, the easier it is  to allow her to control certain areas and for me to take myself out of the picture.

The thing that I keep in the forefront of my mind, is that the hero was never slain at the hands of the Morrigan…unless he refused to acknowledge her sovereignty.  I have found that she fights alongside of me daily.  The issues I face may sound trivial to some, but she is willing to take up her sword for and with me.  She is willing to offer me wings.  I have always said that we are all born with wings, but we let the world steal them.  I remember a quote from the movie Maleficent:

I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.

We allow the circumstances and people that come against us to steal those wings.  We then spend more time grieving over the loss than seeking out a way to fly again.  The Morrigan is that way of soaring.

As Friz and I sat in the midst of the trees stripped bare of their foliage, I listened for the heartbeat of the universe around me.  I was greeted by a crow caw…loud and coarse and crackled.  I looked above me and I could see Mama Crow against the gray sky.  There were three or four other crows with her…each cawing back and forth to each other.  It reminded me of listening to my grandmother and her sisters gossiping when I was growing up.  They would lean back and throw out their harsh, cracked belly laughs for everyone to hear.

I placed my crow skull on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones I had made.  I pulled out my small cauldron and placed a charcoal disc inside.  I burned it with my lighter until it was white hot and then I put some of the Morrigan incense I have on it.  I light the red tealights I brought.  At this point, I rubbed some of the Ave’s Flying Ointment that I had bought from Sarah Anne Lawless, on each temple.  The scents of amber, dragon’s blood, juniper, rosemary and thyme encircle me.  As my little blue chihuahua sleeps in my lap, I fall into an almost trance-like state…so many friends and family in so many battles right now.  I begin to chant:

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of change,

Strengthen me and those I cherish with the power to fight those battles that come against us head-on.

Goddess of fertility, birth in us new visions and plant the seeds for new magick.

Goddess of shapeshifting…help our spirits to transform into whatever we need to face our enemies.

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of battle,

We stand ready to fight.

Circumstances, disease, ourselves.

We will emerge victorious!

A slight breeze begins to blow.  I listen to the rhythm of the trees as they softly sway.  They seem to sing to me as I wrap myself in the magick all around me.  It is amazing the lessons we can learn from nature.  The trees bend to the breeze rather than fight it.  Nature doesn’t fear the cold that winter brings, it adapts to it.  It takes that time to rest and regenerate.  The trees whisper to me…”Learn our lessons…move when you need to. Stand strong when required. At the end of life is when you lie down and return to the earth.”2014-11-16 16.07.45

 

While my eyes are closed, I hear the sounds of nature around me….birds and breezes, leaves being rustled by small animals.  I open my eyes and and the air around me chills me to the bone.  I notice that Friz has edged closer to the candles and the cauldron but still manages to stay covered in my cloak.  In that moment, I feel like if I leaped toward the sky that a pair of strong, powerful wings would burst forth from my body and I would soar high above the trees.

Mama Crow is still above me.  I think I entertain her…but she has become accustomed to me.  My heart is racing…my spirit yearns for its wings.  Soon…very soon…I will fly beside Mama Crow.

Blessed Be!

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Finding Our Voice and Testing the Wind

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As much magick as I know resides in me, over the past two weeks, I have been reminded just how mundane my body is.  I have been nursing a sprained ankle (which, by the way, I have not slowed down for in the least), feeling the various aches and pains that come with aging, broken out from the stress of a sick cat, and felt more of a hunger for sleep because of a friend’s cat who is dealing with cancer.

It seems that the physical has been the part of me that interrupts more than anything else.  Last weekend, my partner and I went on a long weekend mountain trip with eight other friends.  During the trip, we walked, climbed….constantly.  My body ached under the stress of its own weight.  I pushed on.  I could feel my ankle giving under the pressure as I slid down a portion of the mountain.  The swelling later told me that my suspicions were true…a sprain. 2014-10-16 13.43.10

We drove through the Cherokee reservation.  Off to the side of the road, we saw elk.  As we pulled the cars over, I was reminded of the strength of the elk.

Elk’s medicine includes stamina, strength, sensual passion, respecting those of your gender, ability to pace oneself in tasks, agility, nobility.

Elk’s medicine will teach us how to make the best use of our energy, helping us to take on no more than we need to accomplish, and to persist on our chosen route until we have fulfilled our goals. Don’t try to rush – pace yourself. You may not necessarily be the first to arrive, but you will arrive without being burnt out.

Possessing tremendous stamina, elks are able to run for a very long time. They are powerful with strong reflexes, responding speedily to anything that appears on their path. Elks are very alert and can sense danger the moment it arrives and can show us how to become more observant of subtle energies. Elks are temperamental and unpredictable, subdued one moment and aggressive the next.

 

As I studied these strong, graceful animals, I silently whispered to the Earth Mother to give me the attributes of the Elk.  I slept the rest of the ride into the mountains, dreaming of Elk the entire rest of the way.

We arrived at our mountain cabin mid-evening on Thursday.  While we were out on Friday, I get a text from the roomie, who is watching the fur-kids.  One of the cats is urinating in the bathtub and there is blood in it.  In that moment, I am ok.  It is probably the female and a course of antibiotics will clear it up.  I continue through the activity of the day (hiding the pain in my ankle as best I can).  One of our stops was Dollywood.  While everyone else was interested in the outfits in her museum, I was out among the birds in her raptor rehabilitation program.  My partner found me outside talking to a large crow named Poe, telling him what issues I had been smacked up side the head with.2014-10-17 13.56.08

Later that evening, I get another text…it is the male cat, Merlin.  I panic.  Male cat + UTI + Blood = Blockage.  I was in a frenzy the rest of the night.  We agreed that the roomie would take him to the vet the next morning.  In the meantime, I am concentrating on how early we need to leave to go back home.  I post on Facebook for all my witchy friends to send energy to my poor cat.  I text a few that I know will pour energy into him.  I set off by myself into the woods of the mountains in the dark.  In hindsight, I probably should have thought about bears, mountain lions, etc, but my cat needed me.

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I pulled my mini cauldron out of my backpack, along with my crow skull and the cat’s skull that I have.  I lit candles and incense and I called out to the Morrigan and to Bast.  Actually it sounded more like wailing to start…then I remembered a dear friend of mine who had asked me to sing out to Bast in the mountains for her and her own cat who had crossed over earlier in the week.

I started to sing…it sounded to my ears like the voice of the Cherokee…the ancients.  I felt as if the spirits of my ancestors had gathered around me in a circle. I know that this time of year allows communion with those who have moved into another station of existence.cherokee

 

The more I chanted and sang, the more power I could feel surging through me.  I could feel the energy of hundreds of grandmothers and grandfathers who had gone before.  I never thought that I would ever feel that energy by myself.  I had felt it at Powwows and in drum circles, but never alone.  The energy pressed around me.  I sang and wept. I could feel the heat rising from the deepest part of my spirit.

In those moments, the fear was gone.  Nothing would touch me in the midst of all that energy.  I was encompassed by Bast, the Morrigan, and more ancestors than I could have imagined having.  No bear or mountain cat would dare interrupt that energy.  I could feel myself almost leaving my own body….moving into the plane of the others, but still stationary.  I knew that everything would be alright.  I felt the release.  I packed up and went back to the cabin.  I fell on the bed.

My wake up call the next morning was a text telling me that Merlin would be fine and that antibiotics would clear the infection up.  My call to the woods that same morning was a time of gratitude.  I danced with my ancestors.  I blessed Bast and the Morrigan.

My friend Maluna said it best,

Some are children of The Morrigan….we have the wings of black etched on our souls…we travel through life and face whatever comes…but then…we come into ourselves, face ourselves….the wings unfurl…spread…glistening black…sparkling with drops of fire….we find our voice, we test the winds…we fly. We soar. It’s time. Make it your time. BB

 

I still ache.  I am still breaking out.  I am still tired…and I am still hobbling around….but I have found my voice.  It is the voice of my ancestors…the grandmothers and grandfathers who came before me.  I test the winds…I fly…higher than I ever thought possible.  I soar…and yes, this is my time!

Blessed Be!

 

Investing in the Magick of Others

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As I sit here writing tonight, Lifetime has a small Hocus Pocus marathon playing.  As I peck on the computer keyboard, I hear Winifred Sanderson wailing out, “Boooooooooooook!  Let thy presence be known!”  There is a slight (very slight) chill in the air…a light breeze.  The windows are open and I can hear the trees dancing a bit.  I have a cup of hot tea sitting in front of me, sweetened with honey.  Friz is lightly snoring on the back of the overstuffed chair and Merlin lies wrapped in a blanket on the ottoman.  Mabon has just passed and we run with gusto toward Samhain.  The wheel is turning.

I love the sky this time of year.  When I look up, it seems as though every cloud and open space has been painted with the colors of the season.  Yesterday when I got home from work, I could feel the sky calling to me.  It drew me near with an eerie orange color.  I pondered to myself about why it is this time of year that everything and everyone seems to be drawn to the color orange…the color of pumpkins and leaves.  I took Friz out for a quick walk before I left with my partner for his night with his bowling league.  Friz smelled the air and pulled against the leash.  I knew exactly which direction he was heading.  I had to corral him back to the condo with a promise of going out for a longer time once I got back home later.2014-09-07 22.57.47

 

I will spare the details of me sitting at bowling stuffing my face with chicken fingers and tater tots as my partner and his team bowled strikes and spares and splits and Tony Orlando and Dawn played loudly over the speakers.

We got back home and I told my partner that I was taking Friz for a walk.  “But it is after 9pm and it’s dark outside.”  I told him that I would be ok and that I had my ferocious wolf-dog to protect me.  He cocked his eyebrow at me in disbelief, but he agreed that I would be fine.  I knew I would be fine, but it was nice to hear the concern in his voice.

Friz and I followed our normal path.  As we walked, I talked to Friz about the changing of the season and the turning of the Wheel of the Year.  This was a busy week for us.  We had Mabon, a dark moon, and a New moon all in one week.  As much as I love the full moon…I love the New moon.  The New moon for me symbolizes starting over…new beginnings.  The way I look at the New moon is kind of like a large round magic eraser.  It has the power to do away with the past and make everything brand new and squeaky clean.  Hmmmm….Just like Magick!!  I can already hear people saying, “But it doesn’t do that for me….I have the same problems that I had before the New moon happened.”  Well, I am going to ask something that may sound a little harsh.  Why do you try so hard to hold onto it?  

Friz and I rounded our usual corner…that same one that we always look toward with anticipation.  We weren’t disappointed.  There perched the Green Wizard, but at the bottom part of the column, was a lump of hair.  I strained my eyes to get a better look.  As we got closer, Friz went into his little general pose.  His tail went straight up and he began a low siren in his chest that generated into a loud wail.  There was a dog with the Green Wizard.  As I got closer, I could see that it was some type of herding dog mix.  It was a good looking dog…but how did it come to be with the Green Wizard?

When I got close enough to both of them, I could see the immense grin on the Green Wizard’s face.  By now, Friz was calming down a bit and the sniffing had begun.  There were no growls…just tons of sniffing and butt-wagging.  I asked the Green Wizard, “Where did you get him/her?”  “He is a him, but he has been neutered.  I was walking in the outskirts of the city and on a not-so-busy street, a car drove by and I watched as he was pushed out of the door as the car slowed down.  He chased the car for a bit, but finally gave up.  I walked toward him and held my hand out.  He looked as if he had just lost everything…so I asked him if he wanted to go with me…and here we are.”  Unfortunately, one thing I have seen in Atlanta is that some animals as well as some people are looked at as disposable.

I was totally amazed at the story.  I could see a few abrasions on the dog.  He seemed to have good teeth and strong musculature.  He was probably only about a year old.  He had the shape of a mix of Border Collie, Shepherd…who knows what mix.  He was probably way too much energy for the people who abandoned him.  I told the Green Wizard to meet me back here in the complex in the morning and we would take him to get him checked out.

We walked on toward the woods.  I asked the Green Wizard if he had named his new friend.  “His name is Boomer.  That’s short for Boomerang.”  He winked at me as he said this.  I had told him the story of wanting to name our other dog Boomerang so that we would have a Frisbee and a Boomerang in our care.  So here we walk toward the woods…a Weathered Wiseman, a Green Wizard, a Frisbee and a Boomerang.

Friz is a great judge of character…I guess he figured that since this new dog was a friend to the Green Wizard that he might as well play nice.  We settled down in our clearing.  Boomer nestled in closely to the Green Wizard…he put his head down on his leg.  I can imagine that he longed for that contact…that certainty that he wouldn’t be deserted again.  The Green Wizard leaned down and kissed him on the top of the head.

As I set up the altar…candles, skulls, crystals…I would lean in to light the candles.  I will say that Boomer is a curious pup.  He would lean in close to the candle where I guess the smoke tickled his nose.  He would huff and blow the candle out.  We went through this process at least three times. It was a night of animal magick.  Crow and Wolf stood at a distance.  I performed Reiki on Boomer as Friz wallowed in the lap of the Green Wizard.  When I finished, it was like having a wobbly putty-like dog in my hands.  He ambled back over to the Green Wizard.  I watched as they put nose to nose, forehead to forehead.  I listened as the Green Wizard whispered to his new companion that he would never have to worry about being left or abandoned again.  I watched as this dog leaned his weight into this young man, choosing to believe every word he said.  He chose to cling to his new beginning.

I whispered blessings over my friend and his new companion.  I watched as they both drifted off to sleep under the night sky.  I packed up and asked him if he wanted to come with me.  He followed me through the complex.  I had not even paid attention to the fact that Boomer was wearing the collar that Calliope had worn.  As we parted, I told him to meet me at the front of the complex as soon as it was light this morning.Starlight-night1

 

I drove to the complex entrance and there sat that young wizard and his new friend.  I had them get into the car…which was a bit of a struggle for poor Boomer.  I imagine memories don’t fade that quickly.  It was 7:30am and we arrived at a low cost clinic.  We went in and signed in and I think the Green Wizard was more nervous than the dog.  He pulled out a $20 bill and told the receptionist that he wanted Boomer to have what was necessary and this was the money he had.  I had already arranged for vaccines and a physical when we walked in and told the receptionist to take what he offered and I would cover the rest…just not to let him know it.  It isn’t charity…It is like I told a friend today, “I believe in investing in the magick of others.”  I have never been disappointed….and I have always received far more than I have ever given.

I challenge you as the seasons change and the wheel turns.  Look for ways to invest in the magick of others.  You will be surprised at what comes back to you.  The investment can be in humans, animals…any number of things.  Isn’t that what truly encompasses the heartbeat of the universe?

Blessed Be!

 

Riding Out the Storm

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For some reason, I have never really been afraid of storms.  I can remember, as a child, when a storm would come, my mother would gather us up (kids, dogs, cats, everyone) and run to the middle of the house.  She needed for us to be as far away from windows and doors as possible.  We would all huddle in the hall next to the bathroom and she would sit and rock and cry.  My inclination was quite the opposite.  I wanted to run toward the door, fling it open and be right in the middle of it.  The lightning was fascinating.  My grandma would tell me stories of the Cherokee Thunderers…they were fierce beings, but I was never made to feel afraid of them.  I saw them as something otherworldly and magickal.

Still now, when I feel the electricity that comes with a thunder and lightning storm, I am drawn to it.  I feel the need to be right in the middle of it.  When I hear storms brewing, it brings to mind what I learned in school…”the calmest place is in the eye of the storm.”  Right there in the middle of the storm is the calmest, most still air.  It is funny to think of it this way, but right there in the middle of what may be a hurricane, is the lowest amount of pressure.  That area is where there can be an opening for light to come in and where the breezes are light.

I have been surrounded by people this week enveloped in storms.  It is like I have said before, people are attracted to the magick they see in others.  I have been called on by folks in the midst of breakups, depression, anxiety. My advice?  Learn to ride the storm.  The one thing that I have noticed regarding humans, is that they always want to fist-fight the wind.

Watching people weather the storms in their lives reminds of the rodeo.  It is much like bull riding.  Why in the world would anyone want to climb on the back of a bull and see how long they can stay on? A sense of accomplishment?  Maybe.  To prove that they can? Possibly.  They reason that cowboys will climb onto the back of a bull to see how long they can stay on…the prize at the end of the ride.  So you just climb on the back of that bull, sit down and do nothing but wait for the ride to end, right?  No.  Your body has to follow the motion of the bull.  You must be aware of the movements the bull is making and mirror that to some extent.  You definitely have to be flexible.

bull ride

I was walking Friz through the complex this morning.  Again, we were greeted by the sight of green dusty cloak and a familiar mop of dirty brown hair.  He sat in the same spot he was last week.  It tore at my heart to see him sitting alone.  Isn’t that how most of us try to face the challenges and hurts in our lives, though?  Alone. His face lights up when he sees little Friz saunter up to him.  Friz’s whole body shook with joy seeing our friend against the early morning darkness.  The green wizard scooped him up and leaned into the thousands of licks that invaded his cheeks.

We walked and talked as he carried Friz close to his chest.  He talked about how hard the past week has been for him….like a part of his heart had been ripped out.  He said that it felt like walking with one leg and no staff.  Sleeping was hard because he had always fallen asleep listening to Calliope breathing.  I looked in his eyes and noticed that the sparkle that is normally visible was faint. His eyes looked weak.  As we moved closer to the center of the woods, he seemed relieved to see the canape of branches and leaves above us.  He lay down in the midst of the leaves and pine needles.  Friz took the opportunity to crawl up onto his belly and nestle.

I never know how often the green wizard gets to eat, so this morning I had made a cottage cheese carton full of grits and eggs and cheese. I handed it to him with a bottle of juice.  He laughed out loud, “Who would have ever thought that I would have run into another magickal being here in the middle of this condominium complex…much less two?”  I saw him wink at Friz as he said it.  He ate slowly….savoring every bite.  He shared a bite with Friz here and there.  We talked about magick.  We talked about animals.  We talked about friendships.  We laughed about unlikely friendships.  I sat there as he rode the winds of his own storm.  I watched as he released the pain of loss.

It amazes me how much magick is contained in the things that we seem to take for granted.  The Hedge witches of old knew this.  Most of their magick involved the things found in everyday life.  Herbs, animals…the things that were right outside their doors.  Who would know that tears could be such a powerful potion.  It is the magick that stirs inside of us that could very well bring healing, peace of mind, understanding and courage.

I was taken back to my childhood today.  I have written about Crazy Mary…the local homeless person in my hometown.  Everyone was afraid of her…they always went the other way.  I remember her smile as a five year old Weathered Wiseman hugged her.  That memory washed over me today.  As I wrapped my arms around the green wizard, I could feel the magick working.  How many had turned the other way when they saw him?  How many had kept from making eye contact?  He had his own storms to ride out just like everyone else.

In all my years working at a vet, I have seen dogs with storm phobias out the wazoo.  Thankfully, my dogs have never been afraid of thunder or rain.  This afternoon, however, I was sitting on the sofa when a huge boom of thunder rang through the house.  My cat, Merlin, sat straight up on the dining room table….I could see his eyes dilating.  I began talking to him.  “What’s wrong, Merlin?  Everything is fine.  Do you want to come and sit beside daddy?”  With those words, this seventeen pound cat, who most of the time seems fearless, climbed onto the sofa beside me…leaned hard into my side, closed his eyes and purred.  In the midst of his fear, he found that calm place….right there in the middle of the storm.

Blessed Be!

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