By Raven’s Wing and Deep Woods Song

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All week long, I have been dealing with the effects of aging.  I have noticed that as I read and as I work, that I am squinting more….things are blurrier than I am used to.  My eyes have grown so weary so quickly.  I love nothing better than sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a book…losing myself between the pages….throwing myself full-force into the lives of the characters.   This past week, I would read until the letters started blurring together and then put the book down….go on Facebook long enough to make a comment or three and then wait for alerts to buzz.  After I put my old friend back onto the bookshelf (and yes, to me, they become old friends) I make my way to the woods.

Thursday night was the night of the New Moon.  I had anticipated my time in the woods all day long.  I was excited because this was the night that I would be consecrating a wand that I made for a friend and my staff.  I have been working diligently on both for a few months now.  I had packed my altar materials in my old canvas backpack along with the wand.  I walked leaning on my staff…the first of many trips it would be taking with me.

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This trip to the woods would be made without my trusty little blue chihuahua.  I needed to be able to concentrate fully on what I was doing.  As I entered the edge of the woods, I heard that all too familiar caw.  To most, it would seem harsh and crass.  I have come to see it as a rough and raw melody.  I looked up and watched as Mama Crow flew above…I don’t think I had ever noticed how gracefully she winged her way from tree to tree and post to post.

I disappeared into the wooded grove and settled in amongst the trees and leaves and rocks that have become more than acquaintances lately…more like friends that I have known since the beginning of time.  It is true that the earth has its own spirit…its own heartbeat.  You can feel it in every part of it you touch.  I squatted down (not too gracefully) underneath a large maple.  I unpacked my candles and skulls and the wand.  I leaned my staff against this magnificent tree.  I knew that the energy from that tree would encircle and move within and around my staff.  I sat down cross-legged in front of it all and I started to breathe.  Just breathe.

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I closed my eyes.  It felt good to rest them.  I invited the elements and  the directions.  I called to Morrigan and to Cernunnos.  I held the wand up under the moon.  I whispered to her for her energy and her power to move from one end of the wand to the other.  I whispered another invitation for the energies to combine for my staff.  I felt the New Moon’s energy pouring over me.  I quieted my own spirit and just listened.  With my eyes closed, I could see stories that the moon had hungered to tell me.  I watched as colors swirled around inside of my closed eyelids.  It reminded me of sitting at the feet of my granny when I was a young’un.

As I sat there lost in the story-telling of the moon, I felt something brush against me.  Now, when you are by yourself in the woods and and it has just started getting dark, your mind goes to everything from snake to rat to skunk.  Just as I was preparing to sprint back to the condo, I heard a small little purring sound and felt something making biscuits in my lap.  I opened my eyes to see that little squirt of a calico kitten getting comfortable on me.  I could almost hear my granny cackling out loud about how a kitten could scare the Be-Jesus out of a big old fella.

After I had calmed down again and my breathing had slowed, I looked up through the trees.  There was a breeze rustling through the tops…you could feel the rhythm building…the music that comes when the earth and the heavens meet.  I stared at the moon and the stars and quietly whispered my favorite quote, “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”  Once again I could feel my dear friend pouring her light and energy down into the small circle.  I watched as the opal aura on the wand caught its light and danced with its energy.  The more I heard the purrs coming from my lap, the more I relaxed back into the energy of the earth.

I could feel my spirit familiars there with me….Crow and Wolf.  I could sense their protection and their magick.  I closed my eyes again and listened.  Just listened.  I listened with my spirit….with my heart….to the stories of when all the elements began…when the moon began to pour herself over the earth.  I listened to the stories of when Wolf and Crow came to be.  I knew that something wonderful and brand new was happening here…..something that I am probably not describing as best as I could here….but something that would completely and magickally intertwine with my spirit.  For the first time in so so long….I felt completely lost in the magick of the worlds and energies and spirits around me…..so completely bathed in a power that I could never harness or control.  I felt a part of the universe that I honestly believe that I haven’t tapped into yet.  It was a time for me when all that I worshiped and all that I held dear melded into one energy.  This energy poured itself onto me and my staff and the wand and this sleeping kitten.

I felt like I had been in the woods for days, but had only been there a couple of hours.  It was the feeling that Ebenezer Scrooge must have felt after the visits of the three spirits….it was hard to fathom that all that took place did so in that small amount of time.  I scooped up the kitten and held her in one arm as I packed everything up.  She yawned and stretched as she just sort of laid there hanging across my arm.  As I started off, I put her on the ground and she slowly walked out of the woods.  I now know which condo she lives in and that her name is Beatrice.  Her mom met me at the gate of her unit and laughed and said, “She sure does like to explore!”  I responded with, “She sure does.” and looked down to see if the little booger had looked up to wink at me.  The things that little one has experienced just in the few short months she has been around.

I slept like a rock that night.  The dreams I had were vivid.  I dreamed about the outdoors and fae and many many friends.  All I remember thinking as I crawled out of bed that morning was, “I need more nights like I had last night!”

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Blessed Be!

The Magick of Listening

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I have found myself in a myriad of emotions this week. Anger, elation, melancholy, and apathy. I started the week the way it normally starts….work. It seems that somedays, everything there….every person can push every button I have and summon up such a rage inside me, that each time it rises, is the worst I have felt. Then there is the melancholy that comes sometimes with just dealing with everyday issues….bills coming due, little past remembrances that can creep in. Apathy….now I will admit, I do not feel this very often. I am normally a raging heap of emotions….a large rubberband ball of raw emotion….but this week, I was to the point that I disconnected so quickly (and it was quite evident, by the way) that people asked if I was still in this large gelatinous form I call a body. Of course, there is my favorite of all these emotions…..elation. The uncontained euphoria of hearing that my partner had come through his ear surgery beautifully and that the surgeon was optimistic that he would regain most of his hearing.

Now, this week was submersed in the details of the ear surgery. There was the anticipation of the positive results, but there was also the dread that the hearing would not improve and that total deafness in that ear would be the end result. We talked….a lot. We talked about possibilities and fears and we made promises and laughed about how silly we were being too.

All of this emotion surrounding one of the five senses made my brain go into overdrive. What would I be without one of those senses? Where would I have to make adjustments? How good of a listener am I, really?

Today was the first full day after the surgery. I spent the rest of yesterday worrying about whether he would bend over wrong….strain….move the wrong way….do something that would destroy the positive results forever. He was drugged up and feeling pretty good, so he really didn’t give a rip. I constantly asked him, “What does it sound like? How does it feel?” Questions and Loritabs don’t really mix well. I was told to stop and let him sleep.

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This morning, I woke up tired. I tossed and turned all night long listening for any signs of pain or discomfort. Of course, at an especially early hour, I hear whines coming from the kennel at the foot of the bed. The dogs want to be fed and walked. Bella was content with eating, pooping and then going right back to sleep. Friz on the other hand expected more. It was a comfortable temperature out, the sun was shining. He was pulling me with all the force a chihuahua could muster toward the pond.

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Friz and I settled in beside the old oak tree. I closed my eyes and for the first time in a long time…..I just listened. I could hear my breath coming in shorter bursts at first because of the exertion of the walk. Then I listened as it lengthened….became softer, easier, calmer. I listened to Friz’ panting. Heavy at first….then gently relaxing. I could hear him twisting his body to fit my lap….could hear his breathing become heavier and then dissolve into soft snores.

I heard a familiar sound approaching us from the wooded area behind us. It was a soft padding catching the leaves that were left from fall and winter and the taller grasses as it came closer. I could hear a loud purr roar forth from an old fae cat that hadn’t seen us in what seemed like ages. I listened as he cuddled into Friz and the sound of a small motorboat was roaring forth from his insides. I heard so many sounds around me that I would typically ignore just because it didn’t directly effect me. There were sounds that made my imagination dance. I just knew I could hear the fae playing hide and seek around me…..the flit of wings and tiny little giggles.

My brain raced into technicolor visions of creatures that I have longed to see and look eyeball to eyeball with. Every splash I heard in the pond water was not just that boring old bullfrog that I have seen time and again….but a beautiful mermaid or merman splashing about. That breeze that I could hear swooshing around my ears was the aftermath of a low-flying dragon. Oh the joy that was stirred up in me…..just from listening harder than I have ever listened before.

As I sat there with visions and sounds rushing around me, I quieted my spirit enough to whisper, “Lord and Lady, take this time, in my silence to teach me.” I listened harder. If my ears could have bled from the strain of listening, this would be that time. What was I waiting to hear? A thunder clap? The roar of a hurricane? A tidal wave? It must be something that is going to be huge….ginormous….something fantastical! The longer I sat there, though, the quieter it seemed to get. The wind had become still. The splashing had stopped. My spirit, however, did quicken. I felt an excitement…a wonderful stirring. And then, it was like I heard a whisper. It was a whisper that seemed to echo with the divine masculine and the divine feminine. “In your stillness, in your silence, you are learning. You are learning of the kisses and caresses of the wind. You are learning of the laughter of the water. You are learning of the joy and warmth of fire through the sun….but most importantly, you are learning to hear the heartbeat of mother earth. It is in your connection with each of these elements that you learn from and connect deeper to the Lord and Lady. Our spirit becomes a part of your spirit. You know us as well as you know yourself.”

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I breathed in deeply. It was almost as if I was taking in my first breath. Not only did my hearing seem sharper…..but every sense seemed more alive and hyper-sensitive. I inhaled deep and caught a faint scent of jasmine penetrate my nostils. I shifted my weight and it was as if every grassblade underneath me became evident….nature’s carpet. It was almost as if I could taste the wind on my tongue. Finally as I opened my eyes, I could see everything glowing in the light of the sunshine.

The one thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I can be a little thick…not the brightest crayon in the box. Nature has found a way to show me the things I miss from time to time. I have often told my friends that Friz is one of those dogs that ‘doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.’ Now I am beginning to think that I was the one all along with no sense. When I watch that little dog in a rainstorm, he turns his little nose into the air and sniffs just as hard and fast as he can sniff. He doesn’t stop to worry about the fact that he is getting wet. He is living for that moment….that second…and with that moment comes all the smells that rain brings out.

Today we had a rainstorm. Of course, Friz had to go out at that exact moment. The only difference was that this time, I was standing right there beside him…nose raised in the air, sniffing as hard and fast as I could. It smelled fresh….it smelled new…..just like another new beginning.

Blessed be!!

Spring Fever

Yesterday was so nice here.  It was like spring had come on full force.  I got up early and took a walk around the complex.  I was greeted by so many different plants raising their heads to the sun.  So many shoots are coming up.  Inside my own courtyard, there are hostas starting to show themselves.  Hydrangeas are beginning to green up.  On the outside of the courtyard, the daffodils and muscari are greeting spring full force.

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As I walked down by the pond, I could see a sea of daffodils springing up….dancing in the wind.  I looked over to a nearby tree and there sat Mama Crow.  The caw, this time, wasn’t a reprimand….wasn’t a warning….it sounded like the course laugh of an old aunt who had smoked way too much in her life. 

As I went back into the courtyard, all I could think of was sitting in the sun.  I had on a sweatshirt, which became way too hot, so I went inside to change into a lighter shirt and to get the fairy house I have been working on for weeks.  I still had some gluing to do and the fumes would have been way too noxious to stay indoors.  I loved feeling the textures in my hands.  I used natural items to decorate the house.  The stones, the sticks, the moss…..my roommate told me as I was working on it last week that he dreamed about the house one night.  In the dream, he said he kept hearing over and over again that I needed to bless it.  I told him that I didn’t think I needed to bless the fairy house because I wasn’t going to use it for magick.  He said, “But you are.  As you work on it, you are healing and centering yourself.  You are visualizing yourself there.  You are using it as a way of grounding yourself.  Now, I am not a witch, but that all sounds like magick to me.”  Who’d a thunk it?!??  I guess maybe a little witch has rubbed off on him!  LOL!!!

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This has been a hard and very rough winter for me.  I feel like I might have accomplished more by hibernating….but alas, humans aren’t allowed to do that.  We have our jobs, and families, and responsibilities.  This winter, it seems that I have been eaten up in so much sickness…whether it be a cold, a sinus infection, the flu, pneumonia, depression, and cancer scares.  I have a wonderful support system though.  When I am sick, I tend to isolate myself.  I just want to be left alone to hibernate.  I have friends who know me and refuse to let me brew and steep. 

I was told by friends, when I came down with the flu, that I needed to be up and moving….that I didn’t need to lie down constantly.  Instead of listening, I laid there….wallowing in the sickness.  It reminds me of watching yeast activate.  You add it to all the right conditions and ingredients and it bubbles and multiplies and that yeasty smell kind of overtakes everything.  I was bathing in that yeasty smell on a daily basis.  I did everything I shouldn’t have done and pneumonia bubbled up inside of me.  When the doctor discussed the lump on my chest with me, I decided that I wasn’t going to do the same with that.  I jumped at the chance to have it biopsied….started checking into natural anti-cancer agents.  Then when the report came back that no cancer cells were seen, I decided that I should still look for natural immune support….one of which is just getting out in the sunshine.

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After I finished working on the fairy house yesterday,  I took Friz for a walk.  He was a complete handful.  He loves the smell of flowers and digging in the dirt.  He danced, he pranced.  We can learn alot of lessons from our animals.  He did everything that I wanted to do, but tend to stifle because somebody might be looking.  I always did hate conforming.  As we walked,  I decided to do like Friz….so I danced and pranced and when he stopped to dig, I did too.  He thought it was grand fun.  He looked up at me as I was kneeling down in the dirt with him and I swear that pup was smiling as I put my hands in the dirt and started to dig.  It made him dig harder….which made me laugh.  When we got back to the courtyard, we were exhausted.  I sat on the patio sofa and he curled up on my lap.  We both dozed off.  I woke up to such a strong presence of the Goddess.  The breeze was caressing me…I could smell earth and fire and air and water.  I could sense the fae playing close by.

A friend said it best.  “You are healing….after a long…horrid winter….you are reborn!”

Blessed Be!

Here Comes the Sun….

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I woke up this morning with a craving for sunshine.  It was a consuming feeling that overtook me the moment I lurched from the bed.  For the past two weeks, it seems that it has been overcast and dreary and rainy here.  Now, I know that sometimes those conditions come with the winter season, but I also know that I need to feel that lightness that comes with a morning walk under a misty sunrise in the south.

Thankfully, I was rewarded, when I looked out the window.  The sun was just beginning to come up over the courtyard wall.  I hurriedly fed Friz and harnessed up that little blue chihuahua and made a mad dash for the gate. Poor little guy’s head must have been spinning, because he looked at me like an animal caught in headlights.

It is really funny.  A friend had posted on his Facebook. wall wanting to know if you considered yourself a Sunrise or a Sunset type of person.  I have always strongly identified myself with the twilight hours and the moon.  Then again, I have always had a strong love for the sun. 

Most of my treasured memories center around a wonderful strong morning or afternoon sun.  I remember vividly going fishing with my best friend on a coolish spring morning while the sun slowly burned the dew off of the grass.  I remember going camping at the beach with my mom and dad as a kid and my dad getting me up early to watch the sunrise over the ocean.  Even memories of home…being greeted by the sun as I walked out the back door toward the chicken coop and the goat pasture.  I used to watch the baby goats dance and jump in the rays of the sun as I put their food out.

This morning, as Friz and I moved through the gate into the glorious light of the sun….I felt a transformation in my spirit.  I could feel that sunshine warming me up from the inside out.  It is also so funny watching that little blue chihuahua sometimes…..it is so evident that he mirrors so much of me.  When he felt that sun on his face, he leaned into it.  He closed his eyes and raised his little face up and it was like he was breathing in the sun.  Then the little booger got really playful.  I decided that this would be a good day for a trip to the pond.  The woods are wonderful, but the sun is masked by the canopy of trees above and I felt that Friz and I both were craving more sun-time.

As we started that familiar trek, I looked down beside one of the cars outside the courtyard and there stood black and white cat.  He is getting braver and braver. Now he is within 10 feet of our condo.  Hmmm…wouldn’t surprise me to see him curled up in the courtyard one morning.  I will have to make him up a sleeping box under the patio porch.  As this thought plays across my brain, the motley crew of a little blue chihuahua, a black and white cat, and a middle aged witch in his cloak head out on an adventure by the pond.

When we arrive, you can smell the sunshine as it caresses the blades of grass.  I leaned against that old oak and could hear it asking me where I had been.  My senses seemed to super sensitive this morning.  The smells, the sounds, the sights all around me were much more vivid and alive.  As I waited for Friz and Black and White Cat to make themselves comfortable in my lap, I quietly thanked Brigid for the warmth and beauty of the fire of the sun…for the blaze that I could feel her stirring in my own spirit.  I thanked Cernunnos for keeping that wild part of me alive that I might experience newly the power of outdoors and the strength of the animals.

I sat and just listened for the longest time.  I heard Mama Crow, of course.  It seemed as though I was getting another lecture.  Maybe this time it was for being away from the pond as long as I have.  I looked overhead and saw four Canadian geese flying.  That unmistakeable honk from the lead goose and the rear goose were penetrating the morning sky.  As I looked around, I could see the beginnings of daffodils springing up.  Here in Georgia, they show there leaf shoots in late January and early February…which still amazes me.855587-shoots-of-spring-flowers-daffodils-in-early-spring-garden

As I leaned against my friend Oak, I could feel the sun’s rays warming me from head to toe.  I watched as it glistened on the coats of Friz and Black and White.  I put my hand on their backs thinking I could feel the warmth of the sun through them.  I did, however, feel the peace of sleep and the warmth of their bodies absorbing that sun-strength.  I watched as a sleepy yawn escaped Friz and Black and White stretched so long that he just about fell off my lap.  As he raced toward righting himself and looking at me with his, “You did not just see that” look, we all began our slow walk back to the condo.  Of course, Black and White disappeared the way he always does just shy of the condo….probably to do his morning hunt (even though he did just devour a half a can of cat food).  What can I say, we like our food around here.

As I opened the condo door, I could see one more creature who was craving the sun this morning.  Merlin.  He sat on the edge of the end table chattering away through the window.  I have always said that when he does that, he is talking to the fairies.  He looked at me with eyes pinned by the sunlight, said his customary “Merrrp” in greeting and went right back to discussing what he needed to with the fae.  Of course, all the picture frames and anything else that was in his way was lying down on the table.  I just decided to clear the space for him…after all, we all deserve to have our place in the sun.2013-01-20 09.27.08

Blessed Be!