Finding Your Strength

2016-04-11 20.51.54

It seems like an eternity since I have sat down to write.  Life has a way of picking us up by the scruff of the neck sometimes and shaking us like a dazed puppy.  Since January, I have had two strokes, my mom has been hospitalized for over a month, and our oldest cat TeeTee is preparing for her journey into the summerlands.

I hate to admit it, but in the midst of everything that has happened, magick tended to be done in hindsight…an afterthought at first to the situation at hand.  There were days after the strokes that I would find myself just sitting…staring out of windows…more conscious of the drooping or the lack of strength on my left side.  Funny, the doctor says that I have had ‘mini strokes.’  In talking to a friend of mine and through reading, I have found out that a stroke is a stroke.  There are no minis or maxis.

Through the challenges of recuperation, there were, constantly in the back of my mind, visions of my great grandma’s sister.  We called her Aunt Carrie.  I often wish I had gotten to know her before the strokes.  She was a beautiful woman always dressed to the nines, very passionate and eloquent from what I was told.  She was a teacher.  When I got to know her, she had been ravaged by stroke after stroke.  They had rendered her bed-ridden, only able to mouth and garble words, and only able to barely motion.

I lived in a world of not feeling like myself, fear of being that shell of a person I once was…but it was in the words of friends and family that I found the strength to push myself.  I found out from my mother that Aunt Carrie was given the opportunity to go through therapy but chose not to.  Her marriage was bad, her husband used to beat her.  She hoped for death but was given an existence with a husband riddled with guilt who now decided that he needed to try to make up for the earlier hell she had to suffer through.

I determined that I would not recreate that scenario for myself.  I had many friends that not only supported me through my healing but also pushed me.  They knew there was more fight in me than I was showing.  They also realized that I had pushed my magick to the sidelines.  Working side by side with them and my doctor, I used magick and medicine toward healing.  I did the therapies…I did the dreamwork.  I utilized stones, crystals and visualization.  I found myself in a good place.  My doctor had even told me that I had made progress that she wouldn’t have expected until the six month mark.

2016-04-23 13.46.01-2

I built a moss and fae garden to keep me close to the earth at all times…wear hematite for grounding.  Things were looking better daily.  I began to breathe again.

Then we noticed that our older cat TeeTee was losing weight and throwing up more.  We took her to the vet for bloodwork and xrays.  The bloodwork looked ok, but when they pulled up the xrays, I breathed in sharp.  I worked at a veterinarian’s office for ten years.  I had learned to read xrays.  When I saw the large fibrous mass staring back at me, I knew immediately that it wasn’t good.  We discussed options with the vet and came to the conclusion that as long as she wasn’t in pain and seemed to have a decent amount of energy that we would do whatever was needed to keep her happy.  We have blended the stinkiest of foods, hand-fed her, given extra attention…and now as I type this,  we know that it won’t be much longer.

2016-04-05 17.26.39-1

We know that we have given her the best life she could have.  From a wild, white feral kitten to a spoiled content house cat, she has been cuddled, pampered, catered to, and loved with complete abandon.  Where is the strength we pull on here? The knowledge that she will rest and walk side by side with Bastet…back with the energy and magick she came from.  We also know that they truly never completely leave your heart and side.

When you think you can’t handle anymore…the flood gates tend to open.  Toward the middle of April, I got a call from my aunt.  My mom had been admitted to the hospital that past Saturday.  No one wanted to worry me (give me another stroke) so they didn’t let me know.  My aunt was calling, however, to tell me that my mom had to be put on a ventilator and that the doctor had suggested calling the family in.  We left immediately for North Carolina.  My partner and I sat by her bedside for five days straight.  They had induced a coma…hoping that the rest would do its part in the healing.

My mom has always had a strong faith and believed in energies and such (with our family history, how could she not).  I had witches from all over sending healing and energy toward her.  My brother, who thinks my mom is more along the lines of a conservative christian, asked how I think Ma would feel knowing all those witches were sending her healing.  My aunt walked into the room behind him and whispered in his ear, “I think she would be completely fine with it.” With that comment, she looked at me and gave a wink and kissed the air.

In the process of that hospital stay, my mom coded not once, but three different times.  She always made her way back though.  She is a fighter.  She has always been the bedrock of our family.  I knew that if anything happened to her, that would fall to me.  My first visit, I whispered to her, “I am not strong enough for this yet.” I have no doubt that she heard me.

It has been a long, hard battle but she is now awake, aware, winking, smiling, and breathing air and not on oxygen.  They have decreased the size of the trach opening and have moved the feeding tube from her nose to her stomach.  She is now going through therapy and trying to mouth words.

I feel like in the midst of all of these things happening around me, that I have lived any spare time I have beside ponds, in woods, and walking mountains.  On my last trip to Red Top Mountain, I looked forward at the path ahead.  It was crooked, scattered with rock, muddy in places, but oh so calming and lush.  An old bible verse sprang to my mind, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where my help comes.”

There is an area hewn into the rock on Red Top…I crawled into that cubby and lay my head back.  I woke up an hour later after the most peaceful sleep I have had in months.  Life is going to give us twists and turns, scratches, bruises, pain…and yes, even death.  I have found though that I do have the strength to face each one.  It doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt or that there won’t be loss or challenges, it means that I can survive.  I can come out of it stronger…the armor might be a bit dirty or scuffed and even broken in places, but I have the choice of getting up and continuing on, or falling back and dying.

I walked out into the courtyard yesterday after work.  I finally gave up and just started leaving food for the birds, squirrels and anything else that might be hungry out there.  Mama Crow was perched on the wall eating peanuts.  She looked straight at me and gave me her comforting ‘Graaaaaaaackkk’

I will keep getting up as long as I am able.

2016-04-13 19.39.38

 

Advertisements

When the Song Seems a Bit Off Key

harry-potter-fat-lady-copy

It seems like it has been a while since I have sat down to write.  Life has its way of bulldozing us over every once in a while.   I shared with you that I was having some gut issues…well, one emergency room visit and multiple xrays and ultrasounds and scopes later, I find out that there are ulcers raring their nasty little heads.  While everything is fairly calm now due to more changes in the way I eat and the way I handle stress, life still runs headfirst over us.

I am now up to 23 accounts at work and have inherited two difficult customers.  These are the type of customers who expect your system to be able to deliver exactly what they want.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the system is capable of.  I have had to bring out the very direct and stern Weathered Wiseman on more than one occasion with them.  Let’s add to this more hours to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  When I get home lately, I just want to pass out and not think.

To compound matters, I live with another fire sign and a water sign.  The partner (water sign) has been very needy…looking for approval, needing to be coddled and have his ego stroked and the fire sign (the roomie) has been like sandpaper, rubbing me wrong in the worst possible way.

sandpaper

I have needed time by myself more than anything.  I have needed to isolate myself, but it seems when the chance arises that something seems to get in the way.  On Wednesday night of last week, I managed to  find a few moments to escape to the woods.  I took very little with me and Friz and I practically ran for the covering of trees.  We made ourselves comfortable, and I lit a couple of candles.

My self-soothing method has always been music.  When I feel stressed or lost or overwhelmed, I normally sing or hum to myself.  The moment I feel it rising in my throat, I can normally feel a calmness wash over me.  I thought that this evening might be the same.  I opened my mouth, breathed in deep and felt it rise from my chest and then my throat.  It was the ugliest, croakiest sound I have ever heard.  I have heard cats yowling that sounded more like music.

cat singing

It has to be a fluke.  I breathed in and let that horrid sound lurch forth once more.  I know because of the ulcers that I have been vomiting quite a bit.  I know that the acid can do a number on the esophagus….but what had it done to my voice.  Thinking back, people have been saying that I am not speaking as loudly or clearly as I have before.

Now, here is where ego kicks in.  Singing has always been a part of me.  I grew up singing on my grandma’s knee.  I remember the excitement in her eyes the first time she attended my performance with a cabaret group in New York.  I remember when walked into a studio in Nashville to add my vocals to a demo recording…my first vocal performance in a television commercial.  Not only had singing been a major part of my life…at one time it paid the bills.

I am not one of those people who can’t deal with the reality that things change with age, but I also know that when everything else seemed to fail, my grandmother had been able to keep her singing voice until the day she died.  Even when her hearing completely left her, she could feel what the pitch of a note should be as it rose from her throat and it still came out beautifully.

As all of this rushed over me on Wednesday night in the woods, I completely lost it.  A part of myself that I had always been able to rely on was dying….fading into history.  As the tears came, Friz leaned up to lick my cheek…maybe out of compassion…maybe just to taste the salt.  I gathered him up and walked back to the condo feeling defeated.  I slept restlessly that night…just as I have for the nights leading up to today.

I got up fairly early this morning and drove to our local metaphysical bookstore.  When I finished looking through some of the newer arrivals, I got in the car and instead of making a left out of the parking lot to go home, I turned to the right.  After driving for about ten minutes, I came upon a sign for the “Old Roswell City Ruins.”  This isn’t something that one normally sees in Atlanta, so I turned in the direction the sign pointed me.  It turns out that it is actually the ruins of an old mill with a covered bridge and falls and walking trails….an utterly beautiful place.

2015-09-12 14.29.59

I explored every area of those woods and water and trails.  I had walked and smelled and touched every piece of nature around me…an area abandoned long ago, but still kept very much alive.  As I climbed the trail to the falls, I could feel the breeze calling to me.  It was beckoning for me to become a part of it.  I sat on some rocks at the edge of the dam and looked up.  There perched on a tree next to me was a crow.  I sat quietly and listened as she cawed.  The sound blistered my eardrum, but was beautiful none the less.  As she raised her voice…however tuneless and harsh it may sound…it was none the less magical.

I was reminded of a story I had heard as a child:

Rainbow Crow

It was so cold. Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The animals had never seen snow before. At first, it was a novelty, something to play in. But the cold increased tenfold, and they began to worry. The little animals were being buried in the snow drifts and the larger animals could hardly walk because the snow was so deep. Soon, all would perish if something were not done.

“We must send a messenger to Kijiamuh Ka’ong, the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be,” said Wise Owl. “We must ask him to think the world warm again so that Spirit Snow will leave us in peace.”

The animals were pleased with this plan. They began to debate among themselves, trying to decide who to send up to the Creator. Wise Owl could not see well during the daylight, so he could not go. Coyote was easily distracted and like playing tricks, so he could not be trusted. Turtle was steady and stable, but he crawled too slowly. Finally, Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful of all the birds with shimmering feathers of rainbow hues and an enchanting singing voice, was chosen to go to Kijiamuh Ka’ong.

It was an arduous journey, three days up and up into the heavens, passed the trees and clouds, beyond the sun and the moon, and even above all the stars. He was buffeted by winds and had no place to rest, but he carried bravely on until he reached Heaven. When Rainbow Crow reached the Holy Place, he called out to the Creator, but received no answer. The Creator was too busy thinking up what would be to notice even the most beautiful of birds. So Rainbow Crow began to sing his most beautiful song.

The Creator was drawn from his thoughts by the lovely sound, and came to see which bird was making it. He greeted Rainbow Crow kindly and asked what gift he could give the noble bird in exchange for his song. Rainbow Crow asked the Creator to un-think the snow, so that the animals of Earth would not be buried and freeze to death. But the Creator told Rainbow Crow that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be destroyed.

“What shall we do then?” asked the Rainbow Crow. “We will all freeze or smother under the snow.”

“You will not freeze,” the Creator reassured him, “For I will think of Fire, something that will warm all creatures during the cold times.”

The Creator stuck a stick into the blazing hot sun. The end blazed with a bright, glowing fire which burned brightly and gave off heat. “This is Fire,” he told Rainbow Crow, handing him the cool end of the stick. “You must hurry to Earth as fast as you can fly before the stick burns up.”

Rainbow Crow nodded his thanks to the Creator and flew as fast as he could go. It was a three-day trip to Heaven, and he was worried that the Fire would burn out before he reached the Earth. The stick was large and heavy, but the fire kept Rainbow Crow warm as he descended from Heaven down to the bright path of the stars. Then the Fire grew hot as it came closer to Rainbow Crows feathers. As he flew passed the Sun, his tail caught on fire, turning the shimmering beautiful feathers black. By the time he flew passed the Moon, his whole body was black with soot from the hot Fire. When he plunged into the Sky and flew through the clouds, the smoke got into his throat, strangling his beautiful singing voice.

By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black as tar and could only Caw instead of sing. He delivered the fire to the animals, and they melted the snow and warmed themselves, rescuing the littlest animals from the snow drifts where they lay buried.

It was a time of rejoicing, for Tindeh – Fire – had come to Earth. But Rainbow Crow sat apart, saddened by his dull, ugly feathers and his rasping voice. Then he felt the touch of wind on his face. He looked up and saw the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be walking toward him.

“Do not be sad, Rainbow Crow,” the Creator said. “All animals will honor you for the sacrifice you made for them. And when the people come, they will not hunt you, for I have made your flesh taste of smoke so that it is no good to eat and your black feathers and hoarse voice will prevent man from putting you into a cage to sing for him. You will be free.”

Then the Creator pointed to Rainbow Crow’s black feathers. Before his eyes, Rainbow Crow saw the dull feathers become shiny and inside each one, he could see all the colors of the rainbow. “This will remind everyone who sees you of the service you have been to your people,” he said, “and the sacrifice you made that saved them all.”

And so shall it ever be.

Crow is surrounded by magick, unseen forces and spiritual strength. If crow enters your life, get out of your familiar nest, look beyond your present range of vision, listen to the messages in its caw and act accordingly.

crow-wallpaper-9

I would love to finish this writing with the news that my voice rang forth strong and beautiful in song as I sat there communing with the crow…but it didn’t.  My voice was just as raspy and hoarse as it was on that dark Wednesday evening.  My voice may never be the same….it could come back stronger or it could stay brash and ragged , but there is no less magick there.

What is a lesson I have had to learn from this?  Magick isn’t always going to be pretty.  It is something that is fluid and constantly changing.  Just like that water moving over the falls today…as long as it is moving and changing, it will never grow stagnant…much like us.

Blessed Be!

2015-09-12 14.46.10

There’s Something About the Woods….

2015-01-04 00.55.24

 

You’ve changed.  You’re daring.

You’re different in the woods…

You’ve changed.  You’re thriving.

There’s something about the woods…

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

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

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

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

2015-01-02 19.55.31

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-12-19 08.21.19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!2015-01-02 23.53.58

I Finally…Finally Found Me

Full-Moon_2624117b

 

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!

What Happens When the Magickal Path Doesn’t Seem Quite So Magickal

2014-11-28 14.39.56

 

I overheard a conversation in our local ‘witchy’ store late this afternoon.  As I rounded a corner,  I saw a group of twenty-something young women looking through the candles and the statues.  One of the young ladies wrinkled her nose and sneered at the candle in her hand and said, “They don’t have anything in here that looks like what they used to have on ‘Charmed.'”  My roommate grabbed me quickly by the arm and dragged me into the other room as I protested with the need of having a talk with those young ladies about real witchcraft and pointing them toward some useful resources.

I realize that all of us were introduced to magick somewhere.  For me, it was the movie, ‘Bell, Book and Candle’  with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak.  I marveled as she sang over Pyewacket and laughed as she used Jimmy Stewart’s fiance’s fear of thunderstorms against her.  I pondered about a witch not being able to fall in love without losing their powers.  I was doomed….I fell in love at least every other weekend.

I started the research process.  I devoured any book on magick and witchcraft I could find.  When I was a witchling, resources weren’t quite as readily available and to call yourself a witch where I am from was like admitting that you slept with the devil himself….but still I studied.  I spent more time with my grandmother who schooled me in the shamanistic practices of the Cherokee.  She taught me to walk sided by side with Nature and to listen to every word she whispered.  She taught me to draw on the magick that was already inside of me.

Now, I am not going to lie….every day of my life is not full of fireworks and thunder and lightning.  Sparks don’t fly with every wave of my fingers.  I remember the disappointment I felt when I first realized that every moment of every day wasn’t like ‘Bewitched.’  As I sit here, I remember the disappointment I felt when I realized that twitching my nose did nothing but make my nose itch….but I never gave up.

motions - 110-2d27

As I read, I watched a path open up before me.  At first, there seemed to be nothing magickal about it.  It was about visualization, moon phases, elements and intent.  There was nothing about potion making or any of the preconceived ideas that I had about magick swirling around my head.  Whether I realized it or not….I was growing in the Craft.  The path that was ahead of me, didn’t so much sparkle like the gold brick of the yellowbrick road…I couldn’t find that fairy godmother to lead me through…my grandmother was the closest to Endora that I had.  My path in fact seemed to illuminate just every so often as I felt my way through the dark.

2014-11-23 12.47.11

 

I continued to walk this path that opened before me.  I started to truly understand my relationship with Nature and the elements around me…and then I was introduced to the Gods and Goddesses of this path that was unfolding.  Something inside of me became very much alive.   As I started to relate to the Gods and Goddesses and I began speaking to them and having relationship with them, it was easier to see the magick in my path.  Now, in my own mind and heart, it seemed as if I was being guided…led.  The visualization became easier…the intent became stronger.  It was becoming easier to control myself.  I continued to walk this path….this time keeping  a watchful eye out for anything magickal that might lead me in different directions.2014-11-29 15.48.56

 

I was listening better…hearing things around me and within me.  As I continued to grow in the Craft and learned to rely on my instinct combined with all I had learned and I communed more with the Gods and Goddesses and the elements around me, I realized that magick was not something that we had to work to attain.  It was something already inside of us.  We only had to access it.  It screams out to us on a daily basis…we have become deaf to it.  We have learned to walk through life as robots…pushing down those callings…the yearnings.2014-11-23 12.33.44

 

The quote above is the closest I have come to finding a definition of what magick encompasses to me.  When I started the search for magick, who would have thought that the place it would be found is inside me.  Roald Dahl said it best:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes

The whole world around you,

Because the greatest secrets are always

Hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in

Magic will never find it.

This morning as I walked to the woods with Friz….with each step, I watched as my breath left my body.  I remembered my Greek classes from college.  With each breath, my mind exhaled the word Pneuma, which means spirit.  I watched as a piece of my spirit danced in front of me.  Magick is more about learning to control ourselves than anything around us.  Our mind can be the one thing that can limit us.  When I am standing in the wind, if I think too much, my mind will tell me, “You can’t do anything with the wind.”  Instead, I have learned to open my mind and dance with that same wind….to call to it and listen to it answer.  Jason Miller said it best.

It is my opinion that a Sorcerer who cannot control his breath is no Sorcerer at all.
There is a reason that in many cultures the word for spirit or energy is also the word for breath.  In Hebrew the word is Ruach, in Tibetan it’s Lung, in Sanskrit it’s Prana, in Greek it’s Pneuma, in Arabic it is Ruh.  Even the word spirit or spiritus means breath in Latin.  The breath is life and is so important that it is treated in some eastern traditions as a mantra in and of itself.  Yet, we pay surprisingly little attention to it.

I sat down among the brown leaves, closed my eyes and listened.  I listened to my own breath. I listened to the heartbeat of the earth mother.  I could feel her calling to me.  “Something new is brewing inside.  Something new is always brewing….it is up to you to heed its call.”   I invoked the Morrigan.  I heard Mama Crow answer.  There is more magick on this path I’m on than anything I could ever see on television.  It isn’t about mastering the nose twitch or throwing potion bottles at other-worldly beings.

What am I to do with it?  Walk this path…this magickal path…and teach.

Blessed Be!2014-11-28 21.42.40

 

Why Are People So Afraid of the Dark?

darkness

 

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.

2014-11-22 15.34.46

 

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.

jalapeno-jelly-10

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.

2014-11-22 14.31.00

 

Blessed Be!

Having a Morrigan Morning

crows gif

 

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!

2014-11-16 15.51.25