Slow Dancing and Living Life On My Terms

Choices

Friday was my birthday.  I made possibly the worst decision of my life.  I sat down at 11pm and watched a movie by myself.  The movie?  “Marley and Me.”  I heaved and I sobbed for the last hour of the movie.  I had to get a hand towel from the closet, it was so bad.  It pulled every emotion I felt for the past twenty years up and out.

Now this little sob fest had nothing to do with the fact that I am now two years from fifty.  It had nothing to do with the fact that life in general is a whirlwind.  It was because this movie takes you from birth to old age and finally the death of a beloved friend.

I have always believed deeply in the quote at the top of the page.  It has always been my mantra that we are the end result of all the choices that we make in our lives.  Our hearts, spirits, bodies are the summation of every good, bad, or so-so choice we have ever made.  If you think back far enough, you can take a choice that you have made and correlate it with a later event in your life.

I was in Florida most all of last week.  Many things were presented to me in that leg of my journey in life.  I was able to visit with a friend…able to walk by the water with him….feeling that balmy breeze against my face.  We were looking for makeshift ingredients for a spell.  I look back now and see that it wasn’t looking for ingredients as much as it was about listening to the sounds around us.  I think back on that night and I see more of who I am becoming.  It is becoming more obvious that the Morrigan is the goddess with whom I work.  My words, my actions are becoming more blunt…less willing to allow things that I think are harmful to come into the picture at all.

I know that age is a part of that too.  Too many times I have wanted to pull someone aside this week and ‘enlighten’ them…simply because I have been there before, I want to save them the pain, I want them to be able to see with the eyes of the crone…one who has felt that pain and moved past it.  But I also know that each one has to walk out their own path, their own journey.  I can’t do that for them.  We each have to feel the pain and elation that comes with life.  The only thing that I can do is pray for clarity.

J.K.-Rowling-quote-Harry-Potter-And-The-Deathly-Hallows

 

One thing that I have mulled over in my mind all weekend is the fact that we, as witches, are often quick on the draw with the spellbook.  If you think about it, though, every word that leaves your mouth is a spell of sorts.  Whenever you sit and fume over what the neighbors do…you form intention and out spews exactly what you wish would happen to them.  Each argument that you have with your spouse or partner has the power to build up or rip to shreds.  The words you say speak your own truth daily. Think of your own self speak.  What do you speak into your own life?

baby raven

Last night, I dreamed that I found a baby raven.  There was no mother or father anywhere to be found.  As I sat talking out loud to this little black ball of fluff, it ambled out of the nest and plopped itself right down into the middle of my hands.  I picked it up and carried it home with me.  I wasn’t sure what to feed it, how to feed it, or how to nurture it.  Throughout the dream, with no help from me, the raven seemed to grow and mature.  It was a time span of only a month, but this raven had grown into a throaty, raspy voiced adult that only attached itself to me.  Wherever I went, it went with me….riding contentedly on my arm.pet raven

Has a new vision been birthed in my life?  Is it a vision that is going to take a growing strength? Or maybe I am adding to the vision inside of me.  I won’t pretend to be this gentle, plodding soul of a Cunning Man who constantly navigates the woods or creeks or ponds of life.  There is also just that much of me that lives life here in the city and curses when he is cut off in traffic.  He is that person that struggles sometimes with whether or not to break out a poppet and stick it full of pins instead of blessings.  I am the witch who would honestly rather use “Bitch Be Gone” Powder more than “Come to Me Oil.”

I feel that as I move more into the Samhain of my own life, when not everything is about ‘love and light,’ that I have to become more confident in the magick that is brewing inside me.  If I were to feel little bubbles of light all the time…honestly, knowing myself, I would just have to chalk it up to gas.

The one thing that I strive for more than anything with the rising number of years that come with each birthday…is transparency.  I always want to show forth exactly who I am.  Some days that can be a good thing…some days, not so much.  I always want people to look in my eyes and see that no matter what, I will never compromise who I am.

While I was away last week, we were thrown a party.  There was food and drinking and dancing.  I sat at my table and watched as the men and women danced.  I watched as heads were lain on shoulders and people got lost in the moment.  It was during my little daydream that a male friend of mine sat down at my table.  “I feel bad for you.  You don’t have anyone to dance with.”  With those words, this tall, rugged looking straight man takes my hand and leads me to the dance floor.  “You’ve got me for the rest of the evening.”  With that, I put my head on his shoulder and listened to him hum.  He was no less straight and I was no less gay.  He was completely comfortable with who he is and living his life on his terms….and forever, he will be my hero.

Blessed Be!

slow dancing

Riding the Brakes and Rubbernecking

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Over the past few days, it has been raining off and on here in Atlanta.  I am not fond of driving in Atlanta traffic in the rain.  Wait….that may be a tad understated….I loathe driving in Atlanta traffic in the rain. 

I am not one that speeds.  I typically drive within the speed limit…but that is just it.  I drive.  Here in Atlanta, when it rains, most of the population ride their brakes.  On the way to work this morning, it did not matter which lane I got in, the person in front of me rode their brakes the whole way…then when someone rearended another brake-rider, traffic came to a dead halt so that every car passing could rubberneck.  I never understood that either.  It isn’t like you really know that person or really intend to stop and help. 

Of course, this got my brain reeling.  How often, in our own lives, do we “ride the brakes?”  We let fear of the unknown or the opinions of other people dictate how we live our lives.  Personally, it would be really easy, as a witch, for me to live my life that way.  I mean, who wants to deal with people thinking that you are just a few bricks shy of a load because you “stir energy,” or “believe in fairies?”  On a daily basis I deal with raised eyebrows and giggles when I don’t behave the way that the world around me does.

I remember when I “came out of the broom closet” to my partner.  I just knew that he was going to laugh at my spiritual practices or he was going to lump me in the category of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus.  The relief that flooded over me when he told me that he was fine with whatever I believed or did because it was what made me, me.  Fear had tried to put the Craft on the backburner, but truth made the magick flourish.

Riding the brakes can go another direction also…in today’s society, it is far too easy to become buried by day to day activities and troubles.  I am as guilty of this as the next person.  Back in October, I was told by my doctor to decrease my stress….yeah, ok, right.  I live with two gay men who apparently know no other name in the household when it comes to resolving issues.  I have four pets…end of that sentence.  I have a job that changes constantly with more and more requirements each week….and even with the lifestyle change that I have undertaken, I am obese. 

Many days and nights, it takes everything I have just to spend a few minutes in meditation or in the great outdoors.  I put my foot through the floor board to try to get the world to slow down around me.  If only my memory weren’t too short.  If only I could remember that it is in the meditation and in the time outdoors that I am renewed.  If I could just stop twisting my neck out of joint trying to see what everybody around me was doing and concentrate on what is going on right in front of me there might be a better flow.537393_193957130744475_2044726616_n

I read the above quote on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it struck me as profound.  If you think about it, when you feel disheartened, dispirited and depressed….that is when you need your spirit stirred the most.  Dancing gets your circulation going.  When you put your whole self into the dance…when you feel it down to the soles of your feet…it brings life back to the body.  If you are like me, when you sing, it comes from the deepest part of your being.  Singing moves my spirit like nothing else…that is when raw emotion touches every fiber of my heart.  Stories….I love a good Fairytale.  It makes the brain race forward and the imagination take you on exciting journeys.  Silence helps us to feel ourselves….truly feel who we are.  It allows us to touch our own souls.

I will add one more to this list.  Make a little magick.  This doesn’t have to be some elaborate ritual.  Just do something.  For the kitchen witch it may be as simple as whipping up a delicious treat, for the craft witch making something cute and simple, for the garden witch digging in the dirt might do it.  Remember….it is in the intention.  If you do something with the knowledge and intent that what you are doing is magickal…..the worlds will open up before you!  Trust me….I have been fortunate enough to be shown the magick in a simple walk.  If you see yourself as ordinary, you will be ordinary.  If you see yourself as the wonderful witch, wizard, or alchemist you are….then guess what??  You will see magick unfold right before your eyes.  After all, believing is seeing.2012-08-24 14.51.02

I have had to think today about what makes me put on the brakes and stare out at what others have crashed into.  So many things try to distract me.  It is time for me to lose the distractions, put my foot on the gas and move forward….Can I help it if magick sparkles fly out of the tailpipe?

Blessed Be!

Running Alongside Your Destiny

When cold winds are calling,
And the sky is clear and bright,
Misty mountains sing and beckon,
Lead me out into the light.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

Where dark woods hide secrets,
And mountains are fierce and bold,
Deep waters hold reflections,
Of times lost long ago.

I will hear their every story,
Take hold of my own dream,
Be as strong as the seas are stormy,
And proud as an eagle’s scream.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

And touch the sky.

Chase the wind, chase the wind.

Touch the sky

Today was the first day I have felt 100% since before Christmas.  I have been wheezing, sniffling, and snorting….forcing myself to do the things that I normally take pleasure in.  I have had to make myself go to the pond and to the woods.  I knew that going there would draw strength and healing into my body.  I have been forcing myself to work through the entire sickness, rarely taking time to rest.  Just when I would think I was back to normal….I was knocked on my ass again. 

Ever since I woke up this morning, I have been feeling the call of the outdoors.  It has felt as though the fae themselves have been calling me, beckoning for me to come out and play.  It was all I could do to sit still in my cubicle until 4pm.  My desk is right by a window, so I sat most of the day dreaming of being out in the sunshine and feeling the breeze against my face….even though it has been colder than I-don’t-know-what here.

When the clock hit 4, my body lurched from my desk.  I practically leapt at the door.  I jumped in my car and got home as quickly and safely as Atlanta traffic would allow.  I rushed into the condo, stripped out of my scrubs and put on my jeans, a sweatshirt and raced out the door.  I felt something welling up in me.  I haven’t run in years….haven’t been motivated to and haven’t felt the need.  As soon as I hit the sidewalk, I started to run.  This wasn’t a jog or a leisurely run….this was a hard, fast sprint.  I could feel all of the elements swirling around me.  I told a friend later that, if I had hair, it would have been blowing  in the wind.  I ran around the complex three times.  I could feel leaves and twigs crunching under my feet.  As I got to the gate of the courtyard after the third lap, I was breathing heavily, but I was completely exhiliarated and every circuit I had was popping.

I walked into the condo….gathered up my cloak, wand, and little blue chihuahua  and made my way to the pond.  Friz and I slowly circled the water.  Black and white cat has gotten to the point that he just joins us wherever we are.  He is rubbing against my legs and against Friz.  I inhale the moist air around the pond and we head toward the woods.  Like I said, it was like the fae were calling me to frolic with them.

As we entered the clearing, I felt the familiarity of my spirit friends…wolf and crow.  Energy was high today….it was as if there was an anticipation of something wonderful and powerful looming.  I have been saying that this year holds something big…..I can feel it deep in my bones.  I feel something life changing coming….something that will change me down to my very core.  I can smell it in the wind.

I have loved the Pixar movie “Brave” and have watched it many times since it came out on DVD.  I watch as a young Merida fights to be able to follow her own destiny.  She tests and tries everything around her to be able to live her own life.  Our destiny is just within reach.  So many of us, however, are afraid to open our eyes and see it.  I know, this year, my destiny is right in front of me…..I am ready to grasp it.  No more fear on this end.  I refuse to live my life sheltered away from the adventure that life brings.  I stand poised….ready to jump on the horse of destiny and ride wherever it takes me. 

I think about the past couple of years.  I have allowed people to trample me, cripple me emotionally, manipulate me….I am no one’s clay to sculpt but my own.  I am a masterpiece yet to be unveiled.  Most people would say that at 46 years old it is time to settle down and hibernate.  I say that it is a wonderful time for new beginnings.  Time to initiate wonderful changes.  My destiny has yet to be fulfilled.  I am looking forward to a fantastical ride!  I have wonderful travelling companions….Gods, Goddesses, fae, spirit animals, animal helpers, witches and all sorts of wonderful friends.

As Merida said at the end of Brave:

 There are those who say fate is something beyond our command.  That destiny is not our own, but I know better.  Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.531902_538910342793421_951664636_n

Remembering How to Fly…

I got a hard wake up call last night. The roomie and I were walking through Target when this sweet looking little old lady stopped us. She said, “You are both two pretty big fellas. I don’t know that I would want to mess with either of you.” Then she pointed at me and said, “Especially you!” As we started away from her laughing, she turned to us and sweetly said, “Father and son?” She gestured toward me for the father comment. I am only three years older than the roomie. I really had to squelch the thought of wanting to bitch-slap an old lady in those few moments. Again, in those few moments, the roomie spoke some truth that was hard to hear. “You know, you do act older than you used to. You used to laugh alot more….you used to be alot more fun.” I walked away feeling like the one who was bitch-slapped.

Now, it is true that the different trials and tribulations that we tend to face as we age can, as the little saying that is out there goes, dull your sparkle. I just didn’t think my sparkle was so dull. This all made me think of a certain scene from the movie “Hook.” The kids were all sitting around the table trying to get an adult Peter Pan to remember how to use his imagination. One of the kids said out loud, “Awww, he’s forgotten how to play!” The kids then encourage Peter to use his imagination to conjure up a fanciful feast. After some word to word combat with one of the kids, what ensues is a huge imaginary food fight.

I can remember, as a child, swiping mama’s broom out of the utility room and running around the yard with it between my legs, laughing as loud as I could and screaming that I was flying. As adults, we forget to throw ourselves into things with complete reckless abandon. We forget how to be completely inappropriate. Children say whatever comes to mind. Children don’t care what they look like when they do things. Embarrassment is not something that is a part of our make-up. It is something that is learned. Fear is not a part of our make-up. It is also something that is reenforced as we mature. Think about this one long and hard…..If you have a fear of spiders, imagine what your life would be like if you never knew what a spider looked like or what it could do. Would you be afraid of it?

I watched the dogs playing tonight. They were completely lost in the ecstasy of chewing on each other and chasing each other and barking at the top of their voices. They didn’t care that they were making the cats nervous or that the neighbors might hear them. They were enjoying the reckless abandon of play. Adult humans forget how to play. We worry about our next paycheck or the next bill or whether our supervisor sees us as something expired past our “use by” date.

We are often so caught up in all the things around us that we can’t even muster a good belly laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you actually might have peed a little? Or when did you last abandon your dignity enough to climb on a see-saw in the middle of the playground?

A friend of mine was talking about all the things she was able to experience at a street festival today…..It brought back memories of another friend. This friend had a tumor on her pituitary gland when she was younger so it affected the way her brain “aged” so to speak. She was always asking me to go to fairs and festivals and all kinds of things that most adults are through with. I remember one night in particular at our county fair. There was a ride called the bullet. Now that night, not only had she stuffed me with every kind of carny food known to man, but she stuffed my rather substantial ass into “The Bullet.” I was wedged in so tight that I could barely breathe. The ride spun and slung and twisted and I could feel every ounce of that food churning. When the ride stopped, I realized I was stuck like a sausage inside of this metal tube. The guy manning the controls pulled and pushed and did all he could to get me loose, but it wasn’t happening. I was laughing and crying and screaming all in one breath. I finally resigned myself to the fact that they were going to have to call for the jaws of life to release me from my metal prison. I visualized the headlines of the local paper the next day and I screamed louder. All of a sudden something loosened and I poured out like melted butter in the dirt. I laid there laughing so hard that I forgot how embarrassed I was.

So this morning, I woke up in a real pissy mood. It stayed that way for most of the day. Finally at about 5 o’clock I had gotten damn tired of it. I went into the closet and dug out my fanciest besom. I took it into the courtyard, climbed on top of the yard sofa, and jumped and ran around the courtyard. I really didn’t give a double damn about who might have heard or seen me. I needed it. I needed to do something with complete reckless abandon. And I needed to laugh at myself doing it…..and I did.
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The Wild Man In the Woods

When I was back home last, I was able to sneak away and re-live some moments that were distinctly mine.  I disappeared for a few hours into my woods.  These woods were the woods of my childhood.  These were the woods where I first experienced the Fae.  Where I first heard the call of the wind and the earth.  These were the woods where I first communed with the water spirits and where I would sit at night and watch the fire, which I had built for warmth, dance around me unabashedly. This was where I learned to, at first, mimick that dance and later was the same place that dance took root in my spirit.  All of this reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music when Maria was reprimanded for climbing the mountain outside the convent.  Mother Superior asked her what would happen if she had gotten lost.  “Oh, mother, I could never get lost up there, that’s my mountain, I was brought up on it,…It was the mountain that led me to you.”  I feel the same way about my woods.  They are the woods that brought me to Goddess.

When I visit home, it is very hard for me to get a minute to myself.  I have often hungered for time to visit my woods.  This time the visit would be filled with more Magick than I had ever experienced there.  As a child, we often fantasize about things Magickal.  We eventually dismiss them in our adulthood as something that could have never happened.  I visualized many things out there as a child…..I saw myself as Merlin of Camelot and the old pond out in the middle of the woods was, of course, the home of the Lady of the Lake.  The many critters that would scurry past became the dwarves and fairies and gnomes that I just knew were supposed to be a part of day to day life.  Oh if I had only known then……through the eyes of a child.  Children believe without seeing.  It is only in adulthood that we are told that we should see to believe.

As I said earlier, I was able to sneak out to these woods on a hot, muggy Saturday evening.  I laughed to think that most of the adults in the area were afraid of those old woods.  They were horrified that a wildcat might come after them….or what about an old coyote.  As I entered the edge of the woods, I could feel the years melt away from me. I could feel the Magick of my enchanted forest whirling and twirling around me.  Once again, I could hear the fae shuffling through the leaves around my feet.  I walked a little more gingerly…..couldn’t step on them.  I got into the center of the grove of oaks that I used to play around.  It was like seeing old friends.  I could hear the very breath of the trees as they welcomed me back.  Just like it is with our oldest friends, we picked up right where we left off.  I settled in against the largest tree and could feel the energy coursing through me. I began to call the beings around me….and should I have even been surprised….one of the biggest old crows settled into the tree across from me.  We both chatted and cackled and laughed…..back in the distance I could hear the brush of what I was sure was deer slowly but gracefully checking out this wierd human sitting in their midst.  At that moment, Cernunnos came to my mind.  I called on him and thanked him for the ability to be in his midst.  I remembered to bring out offerings for the fae and for the God and Goddess of the forest.  Such a peaceful time.

Suddenly, though, I felt the Wild Man stirring up inside of me.  Thankfully those woods are isolated….but then again, I really didn’t care whether or not I scared the neighbors.  I jumped up and stripped off every stitch of clothing I had on and made a running jump for that pond out in the middle of those trees.  It is probably a good thing I don’t scare easily because when I jumped in, I scared something out of the water…..still can’t tell you what it was…it moved really fast.  So here is a 46 year old man splashing in this pond like some kind of crazy person.  I was laughing and giggling like I was 7 again.  It really was such a wonderful time.  I stayed in that water until I started to prune up real good…..felt so good on that muggy evening.  I am sure the Lady of the Lake was ready for me to go by then.  I trodded up the bank and back to my oak tree.  I found some rocks and built a little circular pit….got me some sticks and leaves and thankfully had taken a box of mama’s kitchen matches.  I built me a small fire to dry myself out.  I watched those flames dance and move and enjoy themselves that it just got the best of me.   I got up and started dancing with them!  Then the thought popped into my head what I must look like…..an old, fat, hairy nekkid man dancing in the twilight by a fire.  I got tickled and started to laugh out loud…..then it hit me…..I am doing the exact same thing the ancients used to do.  I was doing nothing more or nothing less than enjoying the world around me which had been created by the loving hands of a Wild Horned God and Powerful Goddess.  In that moment, my heart connected with all the witches and sorcerers and wise men who had ever existed and I could feel that power rising.  I could feel that energy breathing all around me.  At that moment, I felt as if I was flying into the branches of my friend the oak tree.  It was a moment that I never wanted to forget…..just me, those woods, the fae, the wildlife, and the God and Goddess.

At the end of my time in those wonderful woods, I got dressed and thanked the elements and the Lord and Lady, and moved slowly back to the farm.  My heart, that night, constantly giggled and laughed in remembrance of all that had transpired.  In that moment, I think I realized….sometimes you just have to say what the hell, strip down and go running nekkid in the woods. 

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Defying Gravity

Most little boys spend their playtime with a towel tied around their neck, jumping off of beds, pretending to be Superman.  Not me.  I was jumping off of the bed alright, but instead a towel to power my flight….it was Mama’s favorite kitchen broom wedged between my thighs and me pretending to be Samantha from Bewitched.

I believe that we are all born with a desire to fly.  We hunger for that one on one encounter with breezes and clouds.  We hunger for fellowship with bluebirds and falcons and even crows. We lust for the feeling of wind underneath us, guiding us higher and higher into the unending sky.

I love to dance with the wind.  I love to feel the breeze against my face as I jump and twirl into the midst of a breath of a cyclone.  I chase after anything that will make my desire to fly a reality. I have to admit….when I am home alone, I still love to break out my besom, straddle it, and leap off the sofa while playing, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked

Air Magick to me is about freedom.  I love to wear light, loose-fitting clothes and move effortlessly amongst the breeze.  I feel the power of the air when I watch birds in flight.  I love to stand out by the pond here at the condo and watch as cranes gracefully launch themselves into the air and then settle back down with the delicacy of a ballerina. 

Because of Air Magick, I have often felt an affinity with birds.  I love the owl.  We have had many baby owls come to the clinic I work in.  It takes so much discipline for me to deposit them into the hands of those better equipped to nurse them back to health.  I also have a love of crows.  I know, most look at these creatures as scavengers, the rogue of bird-dom.  I see a very dapper animal.  I see an animal who for all purposes must be creative and sly while cavorting about.  I see alot of myself in this bird. 

People would call someone like myself a “Jack of All Trades and Master of None.”  I have walked through many lives encased in this life alone.  I have been a singer, a dancer, an actor, a model, a rodeo clown, a minister, a florist, a grocer, and an accountant.  My life has run the gamut.  It is not that I am not able to settle down, but the fact that I do not ever want to be an 80 year old man sitting in a rocking chair saying, “Oh, I wish I had.” I want to be that same old man sitting there cackling at the top of my lungs screeching, “Oh what a time I had!”

I went bungee jumping a few years ago.  Crazy?  Maybe.  It was so much fun!  I screamed the whole way down, but I have never felt so alive!  I fully intend to go skydiving before too long.  I will be scared to death, but I can’t wait to feel that exhilaration! 

The other day, I was on my way back to work after lunch.  I was feeling a bit down that day….not at all like myself.  I whispered to the breeze—“Lonely and sad is how I feel.  I hunger now to desparately feel, the freedom that flows with so much ease.  I long to dance with the whimsical breeze.”  At that moment, I saw it start over at the edge of the gate to the parking lot.  I saw a baby cyclone pick up a handful of leaves and dance toward me.  The next thing I know, I am swept up in the middle of it, laughing and dancing in the middle of a parking lot.  I felt like a child again.  I felt the freedom of whimsy envelope me. I envisioned myself as the witch from Oz caught in the middle of the cyclone and got even more tickled.  I imagined those ruby slippers being kicked off and me zooming through the wind.

Yes.  I defy gravity on a daily basis. I just close my eyes and leap.  I fly on a breeze of hope, joy, and pure unadulterated bliss.