Finding Our Voice and Testing the Wind

2014-10-12 22.13.40

 

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.

2014-10-12 13.33.09 HDR

 

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!

 

Advertisements

Having Been Erased….

1010845_2bac_625x1000

It was a unique day today.  I won’t say that I have felt melancholy today….more like I knew something was going to happen.  I got up as normal, showered, shaved, drove to work, mechanically did my appointed tasks…you know, all that ho hum, work-a-day stuff.  I was in no way prepared for what was looming around the corner at lunchtime.

Now, I have talked about most of my relationships…..but there is one that I have not even shared with my dearest friend or my partner.  It wasn’t that it was so painful…but it was..and it wasn’t…and it was confusing and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  This was my very first relationship…in my mind, I put it into a special compartment….where it existed on its own, apart from my other relationships….but also where it didn’t exist.

I was very young.  We had been dating for five years.  We met when I was sixteen.  It had happened by accident.  He was a sweet boy the same age as me.  We did everything together.  We went hiking, white water rafting.  We discussed poetry and languages and wondered to each other about where we would be when we were fifty.  We were in our fifth year together and making arrangements for me to move in with him.  His family didn’t like me and mine didn’t like him….all because being a couple made both sides face the truth of who we were and who we were becoming.

Then it happened.  I got a call from a friend who worked with the local VFW.  There had been a fire.  They had found him unconscious hanging halfway out of a large window.  I rushed to the hospital.  He was still unconscious.  The family let me into the room for ten minutes.  Then I was hurriedly ushered out.  From that point on, I was not allowed to go back into the room.  I was alerted a few weeks later that he was coming around.  He would recover physically, but one thing had happened.  His memory was gone.  He couldn’t remember much of anything but bits and pieces.  He had no clue who I was. 

His aunt was appointed his caretaker. She had gone into his home while he was in the hospital and removed all traces of me.  She had taken all photos, all gifts…anything that might stir any kind of memory.  In one puff of smoke….I had been erased from his life.  To him, I had never existed.

I was hurt…confused.  How could someone be so inconsequential that they could be wiped completely from someones memory.  Not one speck of me existed in any of the recesses of his mind.  It was as if someone had gone into that big whiteboard of his mind and wiped everything clean.  I had become Mr. Cellophane.

Most people would have crumbled under these circumstances…..I proved something to myself in those months.  I am stronger than any situation that can hit me.  I decided at the moment that I was “removed” from his life…that from then on, I would always be memorable. 

It was then that I continued my pursuit of acting and singing for a time.  It was then that I gathered the strength that I would need to eventually be a pastor to hundreds.  It was then that I pulled from what was buried deep inside of me to begin the study of the Craft.  It was then that I began my journey into what would become the Weathered Wiseman.

In the years that followed, I did all the things that would make me, me.  I don’t regret one thing.  Have I said some things I shouldn’t have?  Sure.  Have I done some things that I might have been able to live without doing?  Sure.  Have I lived a life instead of existing?  Definitely.  Have I lived a life erased or invisible?  Oh Hell No!!  I am stubborn, opinionated, funny, loving, wise, and all over awesome.  Not because I was erased from someones memory…but in spite of it. 

I have learned so many things over the course of this journey…..things that I may have never learned had things taken a different turn.  I think on it now….the element that I most identify with is Fire.  The element that changed my life the most…..Fire.

Many years later, I was working at a local retail store. He came in with his aunt (who didn’t realize I was working there).  He looked me in the eyes and smiled that smile that I had known so intimately.  His aunt politely said, “This is Dave.”  He looked at me quizzically.  “It’s so nice to meet you, Dave.”  Once again, he was hurriedly ushered out of my life.  I sighed. It hadn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.

Back to today….I had gone home for lunch like I always do to walk the dogs.  I spent a little extra time looking at the different plants and flowers poking their lazy little heads out from the dirt.  I had just finished walking the dogs and was rounding the courtyard.  My phone rang.  It was my mother.  She said, “David, I am off work today and the strangest message was on the answering machine when I got back from the grocery store.  It’s for you.  I don’t know who it is.  It’s just strange.”  She played the message into the phone.  It was very brief, but very powerful at the same time.  The words spoken were, “Dave, it’s me.  I don’t know if you are even still at this number.  I don’t know if you even still live around here.  I just wanted to let you know….I finally remembered you.”  Then I heard the dial tone.

All he did was confirm what I had already known.  I am not and will not be erased.  I am not Mr. Cellophane.  I am far too strong to ever be invisible.  I am content.  I hope he is.

InvisibleMan2

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
   

Walking Hand in Hand with the Ancients

563656_10151562033252656_1248123872_n

Today was, at its best, challenging.  Well, let me just be bluntly honest….I was in the pissiest mood I have been in for a long while.  I was over answering phone calls with bitchy folks on the other end, tired of answering questions that had basic common sense answers, tired of dealing with inadequate co-workers.

I set up my mini altar on my desk early on today.  I had some tealights and crystals within reach, but it didn’t seem to be helping my mood.  I needed to vent and I needed to vent badly.  I vented to some friends on Facebook….in private.  I also vented at my roommate when I went home for lunch.  I went back…..I was seething.  Not over anything in particular, but over everything at the same time. I huddled in the corner ignoring everyone around me….then at 3pm I heard a noise outside my window.  I looked up….I recognized that sound.  A familiar caw greeted me as I watched a crow on the grass just outside my window.  I felt a peace pour over me.  I picked up my quartz stone and held it tight.  I kept myself in my corner until time to go home at 4pm.

When I got home, I decided that a trip to the woods was in order.  I needed the solitude.  I needed to be away from people.  I needed time to regroup.  I heard Mama Crow calling to me in the distance.  I harnessed up the little blue chihuahua and we walked slowly toward the woods.  I found my way to a familiar tree.  I felt rather primal…..all the emotions from the day welling up inside me.  I decided I needed to call on wolf energy.  I had one of the amulets I have been making in my pocket.  I pulled it out and started some breathing exercises.  Steadily and rhythmically my breath came.  I pushed myself into a trance-like state.6946_10151562886092656_933734159_n

I called to the ancient spirits around me.  I could feel animal energy moving around.  I could feel the energy of my ancestors…..I cried out loud for the energy of the people….I needed to feel the breath of the Cherokee move around me.  I felt the need to dance in the circle of trees.  I have found that when my heart feels like it is in that dark place, dance motivates my spirit.  As I think about it, it felt as though my heart had gone into hibernation…..almost burying itself….waiting for the light to show itself.  Today, I had to go seek out that light. 

Exhausted from the dance, I rested against the tree.  My mind went back to the summer I spent on the Lakota reservation in South Dakota.  It was a feeling I will never forget.  My grandma and our tribe were mountain folk, woodland people.  This environment was foreign to me, but familiar at the same time.  One afternoon we climbed buttes to pass the time.  As I huffed and puffed up that rocky terrain, I cussed as I would stick my hand against something thorny.  I longed for the familiarity of grassy wooded areas and trees.  One of the men that was with me told me that we all have the same blood running through our veins..just different tribes.  He told me that the same grandmothers and grandfathers that watch over him were walking with me that day.  He reminded me that we were all a part of Wakan Tanka or The Great Mystery.  He picked a handful of wild sage and explained to me the sacredness and the power that the sage held.  We sat on the top of that butte for an hour talking about the power and sacredness that was within all things.  He started to chant…it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.  I knew his song was Lakota. 

I closed my eyes and basked in the ethereal around me.  The atmosphere was smokey, and for a moment my breath caught in my chest.  After that tiny silver burn eased, I could breathe fully, deeply….taking in the spirit of my surroundings…truly being “inspired.”  My companion took out his lighter and I watched as the leaves of the sage burned and smoldered.  The smell still permeates my nostrils as I sit in silence.  He moved the sage around me in a clockwise motion…still breathing out his sweet song.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced.

Later in the evening, my friend gave me a small hand drum.   I loved the history and the stories he gave me as he presented me with this gift that carried deep traditions and spirit.  It was during the time I spent on the reservation that I grew to appreciate the spirit in all things.  I felt that special bond with the animal spirits.  My friend told me that it was no surprise to him that I felt that closeness.  My penchant for “crow medicine” was something he told me to never take lightly.  Because the crow is the voice of the spirit world…he told me that I must always be diligent to walk in truth.  Truth was never really an issue…it was the tempering that comes with wisdom.  One must learn how to help someone to swallow a medicine that is not necessarily pleasant tasting. Shoving the spoon down their throat forcefully only chokes the individual……I am still learning.

He also taught me how to call on wolf.  Always approach respectfully…in a non-threatening way.  Always remember that wolf is a teacher and is willing to show you something new about yourself and your surroundings.  Wolf energy helps you to focus on relationships  and will help you seek out hidden places.  I call on wolf a lot.  He helps me to find my way when I feel most lost.

As I pulled myself away from the memories of South Dakota, I felt Friz stir in my lap.  He always looks at me as if I have been on a long journey and he is so happy I have returned.  I have always been able to see the piercing glint of wolf in his eyes.  I have tossed my shoes to the side while I was in my dream-like state.  As I stretch I push into the dirt with my toes…it feels natural and fulfilling.  I feel flushed as I rise up off of the carpet of leaves and pine needles…much like I felt on top of the butte that afternoon so long ago.  I thank the spirits and the elements as I ready myself to go home.  Sometimes the best medicine is the medicine of old friends and those who guide us.

I walk hand in hand with the spirit of the Ancients.  They comfort me and guide me.  They call me by name.  They know me better than my closest friend.  They shield me and nourish me.  They are all around me.

Blessed Be!

A Little Burnt Biscuit…

Let me just tell yáll. I was raised in North Carolina in the country. One of the things I remember most are those great big ole cat-head biscuits my grandma used to make. They were so good….slathered in butter with maybe a piece of ham or sausage tucked inside or just a little bit of scuppernong jam.

My childhood was jam-packed full of good old country cooking. All of my best and worst memories were always surrounded by this type of food. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, school accomplishments….all were centered around great big old spreads of fried chicken, banana pudding, hoe cakes, fat back, pinto beans and potatoes by the bucket. Everything was coated in cream or gravy or mayonnaise or a fried crust and was absolutely heaven on a plate.

Is it any wonder that when I am stressed or angry or sad or hell, even happy that these are the foods I have always turned to? Living away from family, I had to bring out the memories of the way granny used to make her biscuits. There weren’t any cups or measuring spoons in her kitchen. Everything was measured right there in the palm of her hand. Trust me, figuring out those measurements was something else too. She wasn’t real crazy about having anybody else in her kitchen…especially looking over her shoulder, so it was essentially a glean what you could as you could scenario.

Now, it’s funny that all these memories of food are coming to me now…..a week and a half after a fearful doctor’s visit where I thought I was having a heart attack. I was on my way to work and I could feel that elephant on my chest type feeling. I drove myself on in to my doctor’s office….don’t ask me why the hospital wasn’t my first thought. Well, it turned out to be hypertension…which I don’t take lightly. I had put myself into a full blown panic attack which resulted in the heart attack-like symptoms. The result of all this was having to give up all that which was sacred to me. No more fried foods, no more gravies, no more deep, rich black coffee, no more salt….having to totally retrain my taste buds.

The big thing for me was alleviating my stress. When the doctor told me that, I rolled my eyes with a “yeah right” type of attitude. He told that he was very serious and that I was going to have to become an expert at letting things go. Not all that easy for a Leo that is a very very strong fire personality. The hardest thing about all of this was the fact that food is what alleviates my stress. As I said earlier, I eat when any emotion raises its head…..it brings back happy memories.

Well, I have done really well with the diet part of all this. I did a little motivation spell when it all started, so that has helped quite a bit. The stress part has been a little more, shall we say…challenging. Of course, anything and everything that I would react to is going to happen when I am cutting out caffeine and refined sugars. Hell, that alone is like going through detox. Anything anyone said to me was like nails on a chalkboard….grating through to every nerve ending in my body. Anything that could go wrong at work has gone wrong. I have to say that, honestly, I failed most of those “don’t let it stress you” tests.

Now, I haven’t talked about my mama much, but my mama is a sweet little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. She is one of those women who hug you with their whole body. She is also full of spit and vinegar. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. The one thing that I have noticed…..even set back and pondered…is the fact that I have honestly never seen her stressed about anything. When money was tight, we just had a few more eggs that the chickens laid or potatoes from the garden. When something broke, we did without it until a new one could be bought. When she and pop fought, she was always the first one to say, “I’m sorry.” I never saw her and pop go to bed mad at each other.

I finally talked to mama last night about what was going on healthwise, and she just very matter-of-factly said, “Well, now I guess you just have to do it. No turning back, just eat what you have to and you got to stop letting things get to you. You just have to ask yourself if it’s really going to make any difference in a hundred years. Now my guess is, in a hundred years, you are going to be really old or really dead….so it really won’t matter.” Alot of wisdom comes out of that little lady.

So today, I get an email from my mama. It was the following story:

When I was a little boy, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned biscuits.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired.. And besides – a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

It slapped me across the face a little bit. I had to realize that there are things that are important and things that really don’t matter one bit. Is it really worth getting stressed out because I am standing in the midst of a rainstorm and the dog won’t pee? No. I should relish the cleansing that the rainstorm is bringing. Is it worth getting bent out of shape about something at work that can be fixed in ten minutes time? No. I should just fix it or show the person who made the issue how to. It is a lesson learned. Is it worth getting pissed at my partner for not scooping the cat litter? Again, no. I should just go ahead and scoop it and be thankful for the hundred other things he does in the course of a week.

Isn’t it funny? My mama used food to teach me a lesson. Only she would be able to do that and still keep me on my diet. Is it any wonder I love her so much…..that beautiful little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. Even across the miles she sent me one of those hugs with just enough vinegar in it to sting a little but not burn.

Blessed Be!