Rewriting the Story

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Yesterday as I was doing my normal trek through friends postings on Facebook,  I came across a posting that literally left me breathless.  Why this thought had never occurred to me, left me dumbfounded.  The passage below was written by Jeff Leavell.  He is a writer in Los Angeles, CA and you can find his blog at Jeffleavell.com

I was talking to a friend today. Telling him about some things that are going on in my life. He told me a story and then gave me some advice: “When I was 43 I was sleeping in my car, high on meth, kicked out of Slammer and Melrose Spa for being that fucked up. I was nobody. But I had this idea: all this, it’s just a story I’m telling myself. About being a meth addict, about being homeless, about having AIDS. It’s just a story. And I can decide to change that story. The next day I went to AA. I stayed homeless for a while, but I went to the doctor and within a few months my HIV was undetectable. About a month after that I got a job at a grocery store. I got an apartment. And then, at 44 I had to figure out what I wanted to be. The grocery store, the tiny studio, the beat up car about to die, were just stories I was telling myself: even though I had changed my whole life I was still telling the story of failure: I was a failure.

So I stopped. And I told myself: you’ve succeeded. You are an amazing success. And if you can do this you can do anything. I’d always wanted to be a writer. So I started writing again. Something I hadn’t done in years. And I wrote a lot of really bad shit. And I went to meetings. And the story I told myself was I was a writer. Seven years later I sold my first book. Three years after that I sold my first script. I bought a house. I got a dog. Two years after that I started dating a guy too young for me: but it was okay. I was happy. I wrote another script and then another and then I won some awards. That guy I had been dating, he moved in with me. We were in love. And then I found out he was cheating. And the story I told myself was about betrayal. And lies. And how I can’t trust anyone. We fought for months.

And then one day I thought: I can tell myself a different story, where he’s a just a human being and I’m just a human being and we have been so in love for so long, that maybe we could still be in love. We still struggled, he didn’t buy into my idea of just changing the story line: he needed to work things through, go to couples therapy: but that was okay. That fell into my story: it just showed how in love we were. We got better. We sold my house and bought a house together high up in hills. The kind of house where you could see the ocean on a clear day.

And then he got cancer and my story changed. And I showed up and took care of him. And I was lying next to him, fully aware, holding his hand, the day he died. And my story became sorrow and loss and fear. Until one morning I decided I am going for a hike. And I took our two dogs and I went for a hike and I talked to my dead lover and told him I am ready to change the story.

You, you need to change the story you are telling yourself. That is all. Just change it. It won’t cure you of HIV, it won’t make you instantly rich, it won’t solve all your problems: but it will suddenly make clear things that weren’t even visible the day before. It will change how you relate to the world: and the world will change how it relates to you.”

This reminded me of something that I remember hearing when I was a part of the Assemblies of God church.  My pastor at the time was a very kind and gentle man.  I would have to say that he was probably teaching me spellwork long before I had ventured into the Craft.  He was one, that when you were feeling depressed, didn’t want to hear you talk about how despondent you were…or to hear you say, “I will be ok.”  He was one that coaxed you into professing what you wanted to feel like.  He didn’t like to hear people talk about how much of a failure they were, he wanted them to look toward what they wanted to see themselves as.

This wasn’t a ‘Name it and Claim it’ gospel for him.  He wanted us to be able to look past circumstances and feelings and mentally put ourselves in a place that would offer hope.  He never chastised us for having the feelings or being in the circumstances, but he always offered the hope and motivation for moving beyond those things that kept us bound up.

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Just after Christmas, I began entertaining an old friend…a friend that I hate and thought that I had left behind 20 or more years ago.  This is the friend that always told me that I could never be good enough, that I would always fail, that life just wasn’t worth living.  As I would go to sleep at night, I would hear him whisper in my ear that even though my partner would hurt at first, that soon I would be forgotten…only a wisp of a memory.  This friend was the master of secrets.  I remember feeling that secrets were all I had left.  As long as no one knew that I was having suicidal thoughts, then they wouldn’t have to blame themselves when something did happen.

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This time around, I decided to talk…no more secrets.  I called on my closest friends and told them what was going on…what I was feeling.  I forced myself to do things that I felt too ‘tired’to do.  This time would be different.  This time I was older, had more fight, more resolve.   This time the reflection in the mirror couldn’t just be cracked, it had to be shattered.

And then, last week happened.  On Monday, I was taken to the hospital from work in an ambulance due to what was later discovered to be a mini stroke.  I remember the fear that overtook me as I laid in the floor with coworkers looking down over me.  They would ask my name and I could hear the halted slurred speech as it came out.  I could feel the weakness in my left side as the EMT asked me to squeeze his fingers.  Then later that week, the overwhelming tiredness and weakness of just getting in and out of the shower.

This one time in my life I decided to do exactly as the doctor ordered.  I took the time off work.  I rested….a lot.  I hydrated…I nourished my body.  I did crafts to keep my mind and motor skills as sharp as I could.  I had my follow up visits and am working with a TIA clinic to put myself at the lowest possible risk of this happening again.

I have been rewriting my story this week too.  There are some characters that may need to take their final bows.  There are some characters that may need to have their parts fleshed out more.  The main character in this book is me…and I determine what the next sentence is…what the next chapter is…how it ends…when it ends.

But I have to strip away all the old thoughts, ideas, and the way I thought it should all play out first.

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Blessed Be!

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When the Workings Feel Stale

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This morning I went to Red Top Mountain…my partner looked at this as a casual outing for us and a friend, but for me it was so much more.  For the past couple of weeks, I have felt stretched, stressed, tired, and stagnant.

Funny how things find their way into our paths when we need it most.  As we began our journey on the mountain, we came across a bit of stagnant water.  The closer we got to it, the worse it smelled.  My partner kept telling me that water couldn’t possibly smell like that.  He thought that something had died.  I told him to get closer to it.  He knelt down and took a large breath and then choked on it.  He apparently never encountered something like this growing up on the plains of South Dakota.  I explained to him that there was no source other than rainfall and no escape…so there the water sat…murky, polluted, dead.

As I explained this, a light came on in the back of my mind.  Of course, this is how I have felt lately.  I have circled too many times around things that didn’t deserve the worry I had awarded them.  I have sat around too much with my brow furrowed…contemplating things that needed to just be dealt with.  My rituals lately had been cardboard cut-outs of what I normally experienced.  The magick itself seemed to try to fly, but petered out a few feet off the ground. Then again, when the effort and intention is half-assed, then so is the magick it produces.

My trips to the woods had been quick and sporadic…the equivalent of a magickal quickie.  I could even see a change in Friz.  He would sluggishly climb on the back of my comfy chair and peer at me with one opened eye.  Silently pouting because we had been house-bound for too long.  When I would let him out into the courtyard for bathroom breaks, his selective hearing started.  He would get as far away from me as he could….spending as much time outside as possible.

I was feeling the onset of major depression.  This time there was no desire to fight.  I wanted to lie down and sleep forever.  I disengaged as much as possible.  I lived on Excedrin Migraine.  Avoiding issues and battles that we are too afraid to fight have that effect on us.

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This past week, I finally got tired of all of it.  Thankfully, there was some semblance of fight left in me.  I realized that as long as I allowed myself to wallow in this and feel like this, that it was never going to end.  I may as well just stay asleep.  I asked a friend for a tarot reading.  It was dead on.  Successes at work…questioning my abilities…emotions that need to be dealt with…the “I care about you but I am mad at you” feeling…the feeling of being tired of going in a circle…the feeling of “I used to know the way but now I’m stumbling on a half-lit path”…and finally knowing that with all the decisions that have to be made that the wheel would continue to turn.

I needed something besides a small patch of woods behind a condominium.  I needed to spend the day among the trees and woodspirits…I needed to reconnect.  There was too much going on around me to spend the time needed in the woods.  I needed a mountain.

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We set out early this morning, cooler bag in tow.  I had asked a friend to go with us so that my partner would be entertained and I wouldn’t feel rushed.  It worked like a charm.  Once on the mountain, I was able to lose myself among the hiking trails.  As I wondered off the main trails and deeper into the trees, I watched in the distance as my comrades meandered slowly on the regular path.  I took my lunch separately and ventured out.

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As I climbed over fallen trees and through brambles, I noticed that there were mushrooms everywhere.  I was intrigued by the shapes and colors…fairy rings were rampant across the forest floor.  As I walked, I started seeing something that I had never seen as long as I have lived in Georgia.  At first, I thought that I was wrong…surely it was just another type of mushroom.  I moved closer to them.  Sure enough…Fly Agaric!  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I felt something stir in me.  I was reminded of blog after blog written by Sarah Anne Lawless about the Poisoner’s Path.  The baneful plants have always held a certain intrigue for me…that is why I have added mandragora and belladonna and monkshood to my gardening ventures.

I moved closer to the lake.  The sunshine felt good after being in the shade for so long.  It is sad that I have been in Georgia so long that 50-60 degrees feels cold in the shade.  As I flirted with the edge of the water…visualizing water nymphs singing their sirens songs to me, something beautiful and orangey-red caught my eye.  I could hardly believe it…more Fly Agaric!  As I moved closer to take a photo, I could hear that mushroom singing my name…calling to me like nothing has called to me in a long, long time.  I had to answer.

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I don’t believe it was coincidence that I had a paper towel in my pocket left over from a spring trip to this same mountain.  I reached out with the towel in hand and plucked the largest one.  I could feel its energy vibrating in my hand…this powerful mushroom singing to me the rest of the trip.  Just having it near brought a strong magick.

I sat and ate my lunch there at the edge of that lake.  The breeze pushed against me like an impish child.  On the other side, on the bank, there was a father with his children.  They laughed and chased each other.  I could hear their faint squeals.  It was like listening to the fae.  I was finally able to disconnect myself from that horrible numb feeling and I laughed out loud.

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It was an amazing feeling to feel like I could breathe again.  I am one of those people who would rather not air all my dirty laundry on Facebook, so when the depression tries to take hold, it is easier to joke on there and withdraw into my own cocoon…hiding so that no one can see the iron bands wrapped around my heart and emotions.

Fortunately there are witches who have a connection with me that is strong enough to sense this…and tend to call me out on it.  They (or should I say she)won’t allow me the luxury of wallowing in that muck and stench of a stale and rancid heart.  The reprimand comes quickly, “Get out into the woods! Now!”

Last night in preparation for my little journey today, I burned some of the Morrigan Incense that I have.  As it burned, I let myself drift into a meditative state…calling out for enough strength to fight the battles before me.  She listens strong and answers swiftly.

During my time on the mountain today, I was surrounded by crows…and I mean surrounded.  They played chase with each other in the trees.  The ran across the dead leaves on the forest floor…they cawed, they screeched.

After what ended up being more than a six mile hike, I was exhausted.  I cradled myself into a large tree and closed my eyes.  I felt a fortitude like I haven’t felt in weeks.  I closed my eyes and rested in it.  I heard my name.  I continued to rest…thinking the fae were close.  A hand reached out and touched my shoulder and I just about jumped out of my skin.  It was my partner and our friend.  They were ready to go home.  I had been exploring that mountain for almost seven hours.

I stood up and stretched my wings.  The steps ahead aren’t so sure…the path is overgrown and crooked…but I can see the light coming through….pushing me and guiding me.  I just need to let the wings do the work.

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Blessed Be!

Everyone Has a Story…

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Our lives are a collection of stories.  Truths about who we are, what we believe, what we came from, how we struggle and how we are strong.  When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness–the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

–Dr. Brene Brown–The Hustle for Worthiness

This time of year, we are regaled with every type of story and legend that one could imagine.  From childhood, we are taught the legend of Santa Claus.  We are told of this large, big-hearted man dressed in a red suit who watches every move we make.  As witches and pagans, we tell and re-tell the stories of the Goddess and the Holly King and the return of the light when the solstice comes upon us.

As I walked through the stores at the mall this weekend, I saw stacks and stacks of storybooks.  There was everything from “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” to “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”  As I walked haggardly through the aisles, I started people watching.  I wondered what the stories were behind the faces of the people passing me by.

A dear friend of mine from back home came to mind.  She was a strong, determined woman.  You see, she had survived a concentration camp in Germany.  She was a singer in her younger days and when the Nazi regime took power, her mother made the daughters bleach their hair platinum so that they looked ‘more German.’  She traveled the German countryside by bicycle to avoid the SS soldiers.  One day, she had taken a route she had taken many times over.  She was stopped by a Nazi soldier. Her Jewish features would betray her to this soldier and she was sent to Dachau concentration camp.  Because of her musical background, she was used as entertainment for the soldiers.  At night, she would sing to soothe the nerves of the children imprisoned.  She would tell stories of how women who were able to hold on to one piece of treasured jewelry (including her own mother’s diamond) would swallow the jewelry first thing in the morning, then with the evening bowel movement, clean the jewelry and hold onto it for dear life as they slept.  This beautiful woman was and is a survivor.  She will tell you that is by faith and determination that she was spared.  It is the same determination that you see in every part of her life today.  It encompasses every fiber of her being.

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As I walked through the woods this morning in the wee hours, I thought of my own story.  Mine is a story entwined with many things that children should never be expected to endure, but it is also woven together with magick.  When I think back, even in the days of the sexual abuse, I can see where magick came to the rescue.  Even in those days, I was being taught by the Lord and Lady how to bring vision and intent to the front of my mind.

I was reminded that even in the midst of the deepest depressions, I was being guided by Crow magick.  I was being taught not to dwell inside myself for too long, but in those times of depression, to reach outside of myself and toward others. It was in the times of my darkest depressions that I was able to be the biggest help and guidance to others.

I watched Mama Crow this morning hopping from tree to tree.  I watched as Friz sought patches of non-existent sunshine as a soft drizzle fell on us. I lifted my face into the light mist and thought about the fact that the darkness was receding bit by bit and that the sun was returning.  I visualized the goddess rising from her sleep dressed all in white, silver and pale blue.  She stands before the Horned God and offers her hand to him.  They begin a slow waltz across the wooded floor carpeted with leaves and debris.  As the light becomes stronger, the dance becomes faster…raw and wild.  At the end of the dance, the maiden becomes heavy with child…ready for the next turn of the wheel.  Her story…always continuing…a circle…never truly ending.2014-12-20 18.26.16

My story continues…with every step I take…every breath.  I am the only one who can decide that the pages stay blank.  My book of shadows is filled with little reminders of who I am:  feathers and spells, things I have found on my journeys, pictures that I love…things that all tell my story.  To anyone else who ever found it….it would seem a book filled with useless trash…but it is me.  It shows that I, just like my dear friend who survived the concentration camp,  I am determined….I am a survivor.  Don’t we all have to escape from our own prisons daily?  Don’t we all have to swallow those things we find valuable sometimes for the sake of others?  Don’t we have to dig through crap on a daily basis?  My story swirls with magick.  It holds adventure and excitement….love, power and magickal creatures untold.2014-12-17 23.07.35

An old friend died this past week.  I got to know her when I was working on a Lakota reservation years ago.  She would tell me stories of stories that her mother had told her of life after the white man invaded the Lakota way of life.  She would talk of the strength of her people…she would talk of the power of the Great Spirit…and she always talked of where she was going tempered by the experiences of where she had been.  Her eyes sparkled…her spirit danced.  Oh how I loved the heart of this warrior…stronger than any male counterpart.  I can see her dancing across the summerlands…this warrior doesn’t carry a shield.  She carries with her the story that she created and engaging anyone willing to listen.

What is your story?  I would love to hear it?  Weave your magick for me.  My email is: weatheredwiseman@yahoo.com

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Incantations and Curiosities…

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Sticks and stones, fur and bones…

Serpents skin and feathers

Skull of crow and blackthorn’s stick,

Break the chains that tether.

 

Winds I engage to blow away,

Water drown it all…

In Earth it’s buried, deep and still.

Flames around it sprawl.

 

Mandrake, hellebore aconite…

Poison to the core

Raven’s wing and ground wasp’s sting

Drive away forevermore.

 

Lightning, Thunder, Wind and Rain…

Encircle me with power.

Wipe away those things that interfere

At my intention, cower.

 

With all my strength, I do push through

Evil’s held at bay.

Success and magick, all that’s good

Are now my life’s due pay.

 

Funny, just as I put that last line into the blog…the wind whips outside, thunder booms, and lightning flashes.  We were just hit with a gully-washer of a storm.  It always intrigues me, the things that take place when one is fed up.

This week has been a struggle.  Not just a struggle, but one of those weeks where it feels like you have someone standing next to you with the sharp end of a tack pointed toward you, poking you at any moment you find yourself peacefully resting.  I have been poke to the point of feeling raw and irritated and bruised.

I have been in an internship program at work now for three months.  I have pushed myself beyond my comfort levels….I have out-performed those who were years younger than me….I have watched the initial group go from eight to now two people.  Last week and tomorrow, we have been and will be going through assessments to see if we fit the positions available.  My gut feeling Friday told me that I did not do so well on the written part of that particular assessment…but then, I have never tested well.  Sit me down in front of the product and I can show you, with determined accuracy, the things that need to be done.  I have watched as one by one, those who did not perform well, were ushered out the door.

Those of you who are familiar with the Weathered Wiseman know that I am my own worst enemy, my own worst critic, and my harshest competitor.  I have beat myself over the head continually over the past week….I have given myself many more lashes than anyone else could ever deliver.2014-04-27 17.52.37

Last night, I went a friend’s house for a night of playing cards and drinking.  Funny how those who have known you the longest tend to pour sympathy over you…..”Well, you have been in worse spots.” “It isn’t like you haven’t worked hard.  You don’t have anything to worry about.”  It is also amazing how much of a difference a whole bottle and then some of wine will make.

There is always the tender, warm fuzzies that you get from witches when you are feeling sorry for yourself.  Encouraging? Yes.  Supportive?  Yes.  Warm fuzzies?  Yeah, not so much.  LOL!!  One friend, whom I treasure dearly and is always there for me…spoke harsh truth, “Go outside NOW!!  I am sending strength to you on the wind!!  GO OUTSIDE, NOW!!!  The Morrigan HAS SPOKEN!!!”  She knows better than anyone that I gather my strength from the elements….and of course as I stand outside, a strong coolish breeze wraps around me like a hug and a spanking all at once.  I realize that I am a stubborn witch…I also realize that most of the time, I need my ass kicked rather than kissed.

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Yesterday, during the day,  I was in such a funk that I sat inside all day long with the shades closed, cup of coffee in my hands, “Bewitched’ dvd’s in replay mode on the television.  The only thing missing was the big fuzzy robe and thumb sucking.  Friz didn’t know what to do with me. We didn’t go through our usual romp through the woods or pond.  We didn’t lie down in the leaves under the canopy of trees.  There was no backpack with candles, no skulls.  Just re-runs, coffee and chocolate….not even good chocolate.  We are talking Easter leftover chocolate bought on sale in the Kroger candy aisle.  At one point Friz climbed up my chest and looked at me eyeball to eyeball.  If he could have talked, it would have been, “Heifer, get off your butt and walk with me to our private place.  Take your magick stuff and you will feel better.”  Instead, I stayed in my lump until we went to play cards.2014-04-13 19.23.21 HDR

I woke up this morning a little more determined.  Friz did too.  This morning, he headed to the woods.  It was evident that he was going with or without me.  Luckily, I packed my backpack.  I didn’t realize that I had put everything that I could think of in it.  I took out the skulls and bones and stones and feathers and fur and as I addressed the directions and invited the elements in, I sat and quietly started to address my own self pity….my own feelings of inadequacy…my own feelings of depression.  I pulled out a small journal that my friend Jackie gave me and I wrote the spell that started this blog.

I know my own heart.  I know my strengths and abilities.  I know what I am capable of.  I know that I have poured all of my talent and knowledge and drive into this internship.  My only prayer to Lord and Lady is that those around me and those with the decision making power see that.  I have never given anything less than 100%, no matter what it involved.  I don’t do half-assed.  I am not without fault and not perfect, but I am who I am and I pour myself wholly into people and life.  One incident does not define me.

Peculiar…it takes a chihuahua, a handful of boisterous witches….and a bottle and a bit more of wine  to make me realize that the only time the magick won’t work is when I stop seeking it and expecting to see it all around me….and also realizing that it is working and all around me whether I see it and believe it or not.grey_wizard_2014_01_01_14_by_skydancer_stock-d70elsn

Blessed Be!

That Place Between Sleep and Awake

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We have all had those moments when it seems like we are lost in our own darkness.   Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I have learned to fight my way through the tangles and snarls of vines that depression seems to lay along the floors of the forests of life….or so I thought.  Over the past couple of months, I have been making my way through those forests…plodding out trails…hacking through the vines, only to find myself at the beginning of the trail I had started, wandering aimlessly like a man lost in his own thoughts with all the monsters that he has created keeping a steady pace behind him.

I couldn’t even seem to avoid these battles in sleep.  The moment my head would hit the pillow, dreams of battles and terror and anxiety would invade the calm that I tried to manipulate into being before lying down.  I found myself becoming edgier and angrier because there was no rest to be had.  It was easier when people around me asked how I was to reply with a short, curt “Fine.  Hope everything is ok with you.”

Yesterday morning, I got up really early and retreated to the woods.  Inside the house, I have no escape.  Every room is full with humans or animals at every minute.  I can’t even take a long hot bath anymore without someone knocking on the door, asking me where something is.  There is no silence.  It is broken by the sounds of barking or meowing or a television blaring….so I go to the woods.  I sneaked Friz out of the kennel…away from the eyes of the other pets.  I gathered my cloak and backpack (for some reason, I have come to think if I wear my cloak, I can’t be seen).

We got into what I think of as the middle of the woods…I know that they go on farther, but this is the center of my woods.  I set everything in the place that I feel it needs to go, and I face-plant in the dirt  Friz curls underneath my cloak…and there we stayed for a while.  By a while, I mean that we were there from about 6:30am until around 10:30am.  Just a face-plant…no rituals, no wand-wielding…just a face-plant.

As we walked back to the condo, I snapped a pic here and there of the trees and bushes that caught my eye.  The colors stirred something inside me and for a time, took me away from myself.2013-11-02 17.24.58

Even in the midst of that beauty, I felt lost.  As I went through the rest of the day,  everything that could happen….did.  I even went as far as to doubt where my relationship with my partner stood.  It is funny to me how the universe around us has a way of knocking us out of self-pity.  To side-track my partner and I from an argument….we had a dishwasher that burned a hole in its own bottom….we had a pup that became a living, breathing diarrhea machine.  We had to stop, pull ourselves away from ourselves and concentrate on other things and animals around us.

I went to sleep last night completely exhausted wondering where the magick was in this magickal life.  I hadn’t been asleep hardly anytime before I felt pressure on my side of the bed.  I can’t tell you if it was a dream or reality….those lines were blurred.  I looked up and saw a familiar face.  It was the face of Jim…my partner who had died many years ago.  He looked at me and my partner.  He quietly smiled and began to stroke the side of my head and cheek. Jim looked at me frankly and said to me, “When are you going to stop trying to see in the dark?  Everytime you try, you end up stumbling over yourself.  Why don’t you try walking in the lighted part of life around you?”  He told me about a bush that I had taken a picture of yesterday.  It is called a beauty berry bush.  The leaves are such a vibrant chartreuse that I got caught up in that coloring.  Jim said to me, “That bush isn’t named for the leaves.  You looked right at it and were so overtaken with the color of the leaves that you didn’t look past them and see the berries.  The berries are where the bush got its name.  It is the bright, brilliant purple berry that makes that bush stand out.  You think you have no place to run and hide when you are feeling like this…..STOP  running and hiding.  You will never defeat something while you are running from it.  Face it head on….run directly into it with the intent to make it run.”2013-11-03 09.31.33

I woke up feeling rested, even though it felt like I had been up all night talking.  I know the veil is thin this time of year….I just never knew that it could be like that.  You feel that sense of comfort, but you also feel like you have been whopped up side the head.  I put on my crocs and went to where I had seen the beauty berry bush.  I picked a leaf and a stem of berries to dry for my book of shadows…my book of remembrance.  Sometimes it only takes something small to remind us of the love and energy that surrounds us on a daily basis.  Sometimes it takes that which only magick can supply to show us who we are in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, I am still fighting through….but I am fighting.  The sword is drawn and the shield is up.  I am winning.  I will come forth stronger and more powerful because of it.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

Dream It Anyway

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This week, I was disillusioned a bit.  I guess I put the type of expectations on everyone else that I have for myself.  Sure, it disappoints me when others don’t seem to live up to those expectations, but you learn to live with it for the most part.

It has been a while since I have been through the scouting and interviewing process of job-hunting.  I had done everything that I was required to do.  I submitted my resume, got the reply that a phone interview was required, replied with my schedule and availability, and I waited.  I waited while my roommate got a reply to his reply….I waited and watched my roommate sit and wait by the phone at the scheduled time for the interview…I waited while my roommate went on to the gym because an hour and a half past the interview time, no one had called.

My roommate came to me Friday night.  “What’s wrong.” “Nothing.”  “Yes there is.  Are you feeling depressed?”  “No…..well…a little.  How can someone tell you that they are going to do something and then not do it?  So much magick was poured into this.”  “Are you doubting the power of magick?”  “No not at all.  I have no doubt that magick is real….I don’t know what I am questioning.”

My brain was racing…soaring….all over the place.  I went to bed Friday night and dreamed about my childhood.  Dreams and memories overtook every moment of sleep.  I remembered the moment when I found out that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real.  That didn’t seem so much of a loss, but next came the demise of the Easter Bunny.  This revelation shook me a little more, considering that Easter is one of my favorite times of the year.  But when I was forced to take a good hard look at Santa…..lying comatose in the remnants of fantasy and glitter….it shook me to the core.  It shook me so much that I forced myself to ‘believe’ for two years longer for the ‘sake of my younger brother.’

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Those next two years were horrible for me.  The very foundation of my belief system was shaken.  Doubt replaced certainty.  If none of the magickal beings I had come to trust were real….then was magick, in itself, real?  I spent hours talking to my grandma about all of this.  I asked her how she was still able to hold fast to the legends and stories she was told as a young girl on the reservation.  I asked her how she was able to hold onto the belief in the power of all those spirits that were supposedly around us…especially when she couldn’t see them.  I still hold fast to the words that she spoke to me.  “Just because you can’t see the wind when it’s blowing through those trees…doesn’t make it any less real.  Just because you smell the rain before it gets there…doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.  Just because you can’t hear that tree talking….doesn’t mean it’s not talking.  Sometimes you have to dig deeper inside of you than you ever needed to dig before….just so you can see with your eyes closed.  All your life, people are going to tell you that you can’t do the things you know that you can.  It is your choice as far as what you believe.”2013-10-05 15.40.32

When I woke up this morning, I could feel my dreams still swirling inside my head.  I could hear my grandma’s voice echoing in my ears.  It was almost like having a dream hangover.  As I walked outside with Friz with the New Moon barely showing herself.  I wondered why I believed now as strong as I believe.  I realized that through this job-hunting episode, it wasn’t my belief in magick that was shaken….I think I have just grown even more weary of trying to excuse the bad personality flaws of others.  In any case, my feelings should have never gotten hurt over the fact that I was ‘overlooked.’

Friz and I set out with a mission this morning.  The woods were calling and we had a wand to pour energy into.  I also have a Facebook friend who is dealing with seizures and other medical issues who needs my energy more than that job.

We got into the woods and settled in under a tree.  We saw our little calico friend just a few feet from us.  I called on the spirit of Wolf and Crow.  I have never doubted that they would be there when I called.  My grandma always told me that whenever I needed my helpers, that they would be there.  I laid the wand between the two skulls and blew sage smoke over it.  I called to the Lord and Lady in behalf of the person the wand would be going to and in behalf of the friend battling illness.  It was at that moment that the wind came.  This wind was a familiar one.  My grandma was in this wind.  I smelled gardenia.  Her perfume always carried that heady essence of gardenia.  It pulsed around me, Friz and Beatrice.  Friz recognized this wind too.  He sat as if being told to do so….he licked at the air.  You see, my grandma was the first person he met after meeting me……we went straight to her house after picking him up.  She held him in the crook of her arm the whole time he was there.  She entertained  the kitten with scurrying leaves….my grandma never completely understood a cat.

It shouldn’t have shocked me that she would come to me in the wind.  She loved nothing more than the balmy breezes of summer and the crisp winds of Fall.  I asked her to bless the wand and to pour energy into it.  I talked to her about my friend.  It was as if I could hear her voice in each rustle of the leaves and could feel her quiet but mischievous strength.  I could hear her telling me….”Now remember, belief is all fine and good….you finally got that up under your belt.  Now it’s time to give those beliefs and dreams hands and feet.”  I could feel the kiss of the wind against my forehead as our time came to an end.  No sadness….just the feeling of hope that she always seemed able to leave me with.

Things are going to happen….I, as well as others, am going to screw things up.  Things aren’t always going to go the way I want them.  Dreams change and beliefs shift….but I intend to do the one thing she always told me to do…..”Dream it….Believe it anyway.  Who is gonna stop you?”

Sometimes the Most Powerful Place to Be is Inside the Darkness

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The photo above was taken by my roommate a couple of weeks ago just prior to a pretty major storm.  When he sent the photo to me, he commented about how powerful the energy felt in the midst of the lightness and darkness of the clouds.  As I looked through the photos on my phone tonight….I kept going back to this one.  It reminded me that the strongest, most powerful areas of our life are where lightness and darkness intermingle.

When I look back at some of the most profound moments….the deepest changes….the most powerful magick in my life, it is always….and I dare emphasize always when light and dark butt heads.  When I think of this, one of the darkest times in my life comes to mind.  I was just out of high school.  I had left home and family hoping to find myself among the bright lights of New York City.  I had been there for eight months, sharing an apartment with six others actors, waiting tables on the side…sharing crumbs with the roaches.  I was struggling with my sexuality at the time….after all, nobody in television or on stage was gay….ok, right.  It was 1984.  I had done some commercials, voice-overs, even some theater.  I was actually doing pretty well for just starting out.  I can remember sitting on the fire escape one night….trying to get a glimpse at some of the stars that it seemed I had left back in North Carolina.  I watched as the lights of the city flashed around me.  I looked down and watched the sparkle in the streets.  I yelled out, “I am gay!!”  I did it a couple of times.  Finally, a voice shouted back to me, “Good for you! Now shut up and go to bed!”  My being gay was such a heart wrenching ordeal for me….but in that moment, someone who really didn’t care…let me know that it really didn’t matter all that much to the world around me….why should I let it bury me in self-loathing.New_York_City_at_night_HDR_edit1

Another instance when light and dark met for me was just as I was finishing up my college for the ministry.  I had become so intwined in the problems of others….learning to hide myself again…that I fell into a deep depression.  I went to bed and slept…..for weeks.  I remember my mother coming into my room and saying to me, “Where is my David?  I am used to him being my rock….my strong place.  I don’t know what to do with this one.  My insides hurt when I look at him.”  I crawled back into myself and listened to my spirit cry.  “Why was I who I was?  Why couldn’t life be easier?”  I had been on antidepressants, sleeping pills….whatever could be prescribed to numb my heart.  I had pulled myself out of bed to go to church one Sunday morning in July.  It had been raining for a week and I had to go over a bridge to get to the main road.  As I have mentioned before in here, the water came behind my front tires as I tried to back up.  I was swept out into the flood.  I watched my car sink as I struggled.  It would have been so easy to give up, but something rose up inside of me as I saw the sun between the trees.  I fought with everything I had and hung in a grove of trees until someone heard my screams and a rescue boat was sent out.

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Probably the darkest time I have endured is the death of my partner.  We had loved each other wholly and completely for three years.  When I close my eyes still today, I can remember everything about him.  He was 6’4, an ex-marine, bright blue eyes, brown hair, muscles in all the right places.  His heart was as good as any man’s heart could be.  I knew he was HIV positive when I asked him out for the first time….I never dreamed he would say yes…he himself was a dream.  He did say yes and we spent three short years in bliss.  Nothing was ever too much to handle as long as we were together….he ingrained this mantra into my mind and my heart.  But then, that day came when we weren’t together….when the ambulance took him away.  That day was so dark….watching him on that ventilator day in and day out….finally watching him slip into the summerlands.  This was a time when I realized just how strong I am.  I came to understand how strong loving him had made me.

It is in these darkest times of my life that I learned how to fight.  I understand that as witches, sometimes it can be easier to roll over and just say, ‘Goddess has got this.’  Yes, she may have the situation well in hand, but she also teaches us where our strengths lie and how we are best suited to battle.  I can see in each situation, how I was shown how to get my armor and weapons ready.  Each trial teaches us how to more effectively wield our sword.

I have to admit, it is far to easy to whine about all the little things around us. Trust me, this week I have done my fair share of bitching….about air conditioning not working, people being bitchy.  It is in those times that I need to reach into those recesses and pull on the power that Goddess has placed inside of me. 

If you think about it, we are becoming more like tempered steel every day.  The heat that we endure with each circumstance we face….the strikes that every day life lands against us only sharpens and purifies us.  We are more powerful when we strike because of the processes we go through.

No, I haven’t endured what you have.  You haven’t been through the things I have.  I am not trying to one-up anyone.  All I am suggesting is that we each utilize those things in our lives that should knock us down for the count….show what we are actually made of and bounce back like the biggest mother-fucking ball you have ever seen. 

I have mentioned to you before…a circle of strong witches that I have come to know as family.  That circle grows more and more daily.  I am fortunate….I have a strong circle of witches (male and female) that surround me.  They call me on the carpet when it needs to be done.  I do the same with them.  I love them….I cherish them…..they stir up the fight in me daily.

When you find yourself surrounded in darkness….all you have to do is keep walking forward.  Eventually you are going to see the sun shining through…and I bet you find yourself even more battle-ready than you thought you could be.

Blessed Be!