Finding Your Strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Preparing Your Den

This week, I asked a dear friend to share her magick with you.  Hearth and home have always been places of comfort for me.  Celtic Oaksoul will share with you how she prepares her den for the anticipated turning of the wheel of the year.  Sit back, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy!

2015-11-08 22.34.12After years upon years in our home…22 to be exact…I began what I do every fall, I began to deep clean. Purging my home of years of what no longer serves a purpose. Years of “I have NO idea what this is nor who it belongs to”. This year…this year became different. This year was by far, the worst to date. This one became a total cleansing of my home, my life, my world, my being. All that is present in my presence and within these walls. This year became a new awakening in my 56 years. The actual re-awakening of myself.In being a Druid, I turn to Mother Earth, open spaces, kindness, love. I try to let things go…”water off a duck’s back”! Now, I won’t say I don’t give out my share of words to others nor tears shed due to them and their own words. But, for the most part, I strive to be a congenial, loving and forgiving human being. Yet, I have also allowed my home and myself to become a dumping ground of sorts, a storage unit for clutter…both materialistic and of the heart, soul and mind. I have allowed my internal, Spiritual self to become just as fouled up and stacked with unnecessary things as my home.

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I do so long for these months. The months when I slow down, as Mother Earth slows down. When there can be so much more one can do than anyone realizes, while being inside out of the cold. More reading, crocheting, lounging around with the furry ones and also have some family time. Yet, in this time…I must have ME. In this dark time, when we really believe we are ready to “settle in for the winter”…what have we done, if anything, truly, to prepare ourselves, for ourselves? Hold that thought…..

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As I was saying, I have been cleaning out and purging my house. It had become stifling in here. No breathing room, no space to be individual…when you have had 22 years of every single person who grew up here, lived here or stayed here, left behind in one form or another. How will one actually enjoy this down time that is so freely given to us, each turn of The Wheel, when we cannot Spiritually breathe, in our own, Solitary-gifted, space? How…I’ll tell you! You absolutely open your eyes, wide, look at what is in front of you and say, “you have no purpose here, in my home nor in my life!”, and give it a good heave-ho out the back door for the junk to be hauled off or donate what you choose to a worthy cause, and just breathe. In doing this, each season of the dark months, you are the one that is being cleansed. You are the one that is being de-cluttered, purged, your load lightened. YOU are the one being re-found, rediscovered, released and able to function as yourself, again.

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So, what have you done to prepare yourself for this time of year? Does it matter? Not one bit. The only person it matters to, absolutely, is you…and you are the one that completely counts in all of this. You certainly didn’t ask anyone to deposit their left over items in your home or their energy…negative or good…on upon your self! Flow as the waves in the ocean, as you settle your home for this most wondrous of times. Glide as upon birds wings, through what you do. Smudge, as each box, closet, under bed, room is gone through, cleaned up and cleared out. Light each space, once again, with the open freedom from all of that past, that you are feeling. And relearn to breathe, just for you! Once you are free of ALL of your past…take your bare feet and walk through your house and your yard. Ground and center back into YOU…into your life, heart and soul. I smile. I’m giddy as a school girl. I laugh, dance, through my arms out and head back. I want to whirl around in circles (but it makes me really dizzy)!

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Just know this…that you have prepared your den, once again, but this time, it’s for good! Know that your preparations have been all about you…for YOUR winter of settling in, keeping warm and that your beautiful magick is all yours…all of it, again…close to your hearth, heart and soul…and not tucked away in some corner, in some box, under a stack of junk…in the hidden recesses of your mind! And, that whomever reaps the benefits of your labors of love, of home and self, will do so because you have allowed them to share your newly cleaned and cleansed den…and your happy, sacred self!
Deepest love, warmest light and Brightest Blessings

~Celt

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Magick with a “K”

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It seems as if my pens, paper and computer have lain dormant for quite a while.  As I relaxed on the sofa this evening after a day of hiking, I could feel my thoughts bringing the past few weeks together into a blog post.  I peeled back the blanket I had been napping under and made my way to my desk…all under the grimacing face of a little blue chihuahua who had made himself far too comfortable nestled in the crook of my leg.

I made myself a promise at the beginning of 2015.  I vowed that I would spend more time living life…experiencing new things…going on new adventures.  I had started seeing life as too routine…a little too mundane.  I was starting to settle into middle agedom.  It was becoming far too easy just to come home, put on pajama pants and crash mindlessly in front of the television.

My partner and I had planned a trip to Orlando with some of his family.  The planning all came to fruition a couple of weeks ago.  We had made arrangements to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.  I am a huge Potter nerd, so that part of the trip was for me and me alone.  My partner was so patient as I rattled on about the movies and books.

We got to Universal early that morning.  I practically flew through the park…I had to locate Diagon Alley.  As I rounded one corner, there was the Night Bus.  Stan Shunpike was standing next to it with the shrunken head in the window.  It wasn’t exactly easy finding the entrance to Diagon Alley, so we engaged the young man in conversation.

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He directed us toward the entrance. As I moved through the brick wall, my breath caught in my throat.  It was a sight like I have never seen.  It felt as if I had just come home after a long, long trip.  All around me was whimsy and magic and  all things fantastical.WWoHP-Diagon-Alley1

 

My partner stood back and smiled as he watched me run from store to store…gazing in all the windows.  He told me later that the only thing missing was the broom…otherwise, I was flying on my own.  We went on the Gringott’s ride, we wondered through the shops.  We stepped into the line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Even with the children in line, there seemed to be a type of reverence as we stood there.  We were ushered into the heart of the shop and an older woman was chosen for the wand ceremony.  Her excitement could hardly be contained as the birch wand with the dragon’s heart string chose her.  Then as we were taken into the purchasing area, I chose Sirius Black’s wand…interactive of course.

I made my purchase and my partner and I went to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  The traditional English fare and butterbeer had us stuffed to the gills.  As I looked at the stack of cauldrons beside me, Jay announced that he needed to use the facilities.  We walked over toward the restrooms and I wandered into the beastiary.  I walked outside to try my wand with the interactive windows and saw a little girl wildly waving her wand at the window.2015-03-10 12.49.57

 

I watched the little girl as she dropped her arms down by her side and her chin went to her chest.  I heard her say, “I guess I’m just not magical.”  It broke my heart.  I couldn’t stand the thought of someone whose heart was so excited about all the magic around her (whether it is an illusion or real) thinking that there was no magic in her at all.  I knelt down beside her and held her arm and wand toward the window.  I told her that all she needed to do was to picture the magic happening with all she had.  As she made the motion toward the window, the bird stopped singing and toads began to move.  Her eyes lit up and she yelled out, “I do have it!  I do have magic!”  Her mother came up to me a moment later and told me that she really appreciated the kindness I had shown her daughter and that now even she believed there really was magic in the world.2015-03-10 17.42.35

The past few weeks have found me at Hogwart’s, Diagon Alley, and every part of the Magic Kingdom.  I have seen children and adult’s alike excited by the very thought of magic being real.  At the end of the day, I was able to hold on to that excitement because magick encompasses every area of my life.  It swirls around me and within me on a daily basis.  Many people have asked me why I spell magick with a ‘k.’  A friend posted something on Facebook that said it best:magick

 

 Didn’t we all grow up entranced by the illusion?  Isn’t that what first brought us to magick in the first place?  That thought…that hope….that somehow, someway….it all has to be real…isn’t that what motivated us to find our way to the Craft.

To others we may seem odd…eccentric.  After all, we believe in spells and energies and potions and all manner of magickal beings.  So what?  I am who I am.  I am a witch.2015-03-28 22.04.08

 

Last night, I fell asleep in the woods.  I went to the woods after a stressful day at work.  I left my cell phone and anything else that might remind me of the modern world behind.  I wrapped myself in my cloak and made my way to that familiar spot in the woods.  I dug out a hole and surrounded it with stones and built a small fire.  I stared at the sky and felt the cold ground beneath me as I called out to the elements and the goddess to clear my mind and awaken me to the sounds of the earth around me.  I remember starting to count the stars.  I awoke at midnight with the fire completely gone and a chill to my bones….but I was relaxed.  It was as if the earth herself soaked up the stress of the day and pushed her own strength into me.

I woke up early this morning to go hiking at Red Top Mountain State Park.  I went with friends and we took a picnic lunch.  There was no agenda….just a need to escape into nature and re-connect.  We walked, we laughed, we absorbed earth, wind, and water energy….we soaked up the fire energy of the sun.  For today…magick rushed around us.  We could all feel it sweep the week away and usher in renewal.  2015-03-28 11.54.30 HDR

 

We got back to the condo and our bodies called for rest.  We each snuggled under blankets and let our minds be captured by dreams.  I dreamed of the magick of the moon…the stars…simple things that hold far more magick than they are credited for.  Sometimes letting ourselves be swept away in the magick of those simple things is some of the most powerful magick around.2015-03-28 22.55.22

 

Blessings my dear friends.  Blessings.

The Energies Around Us

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My partner and I took a long weekend trip to Savannah last weekend.  It was a wonderful trip…we were able to spend time together, get to know each other all over again.  It was a wonderful time.  So many old sights and old beautiful buildings…it truly is one of the oldest cities in the south.

One thing that I have found as I have visited many areas in North and South America, is that with old cities comes energies…lots of energies.  Years ago, when I visited Ecuador, as we traveled the mountain villages of the Quituan people, the ancient energies permeated the atmosphere around us.  It was the same as we walked the lands of the Lakota on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.

I had always heard that you couldn’t walk two feet in Savannah without walking over a dead body.  After visiting the city, I can believe it.  There is energy coming from the Native American spirits buried beneath the city.  There is energy coming from the settlers and those who died from yellow fever who are buried in mass graves throughout the city.  There is pirate energy left by those who ran rum and shanghaied sailors….and there is energy left inside the houses of the long-dead rich who showcased their fortunes through these grand homes.2014-08-30 10.58.17

To be honest, as wonderful as our trip was, I was surrounded by what felt like constant static electricity all weekend long.  We would come back to the room at night and we both would completely sack out.  I realized later that this came from the constant buzzing of spirit energy around me.

On Sunday night, we took a tour of the Sorrell-Weed house…equipped with EMF detectors, recorders and cameras.  I listened as people tried to provoke spirits.  We were warned not to get left behind.  Of course, we are all in the basement and I walk around a corner, only to be warned from a distance that it is the corner of the basement with the most activity.  I turn around only moments later to find that I have been left alone in the basement.  I ran to the courtyard to join the group and am standing over an area of bricks to be told that where I am standing is where the lady of the house plummeted to her death.  I moved quickly.

I realize that we are around spirit energy every day of our lives, but this was so much concentrated energy.  This was old energy…energy that has had centuries to build.  I also realize that we need to ground and cleanse after that much exposure to that much energy.  I dealt with this energy most of my week last week.  Every day that I worked, I faced the harsh, unresolved energy that most often raises its head in anger.  This anger came through the tongues of my customers.  By the end of the week, I was exhausted.  I was not going to have time to myself until after I got back from my partners Friday night bowling league.2014-09-05 14.08.57

When we got home, I made a run for the woods.  If I could have crawled inside of one of the trees, I would have.  I needed to feel grass.  I needed to feel dirt.  I needed the feel of tree bark against me.  I needed the calmness of the elements.  I nestled myself against a large oak tree.  I closed my eyes and called to the elements to pour over me…to cleanse me of any residual energy that may have come with me from the trip.  I dozed off against that mighty oak, comforted by the heart of the tree and the earth beneath me.  I was awakened by the scream of the cicadas swarming around in the night air, but still so masterfully hidden.  I stumbled back to the condo…rejuvenated but still tired.  I crawled into bed and dreamed of witchy things.  It is funny….I think sometimes that I am the only witch who seems to have Harry Potter-like dreams.  I soar on broomsticks and watch as magick flows from my wand.

I woke up before dawn this morning.  Friz missed our weekend ritual as much as I did.  He spent last weekend boarding.  He had to trade his walk through the trees and grass and leaves for a cement floor and sleeping in a room with his sister.  He was ready for lap time with his Pop and morning woods time.  We made our way into the heart of the woods.  Even though the heat is still in the air, you can also smell the beginnings of autumn.  The wheel has begun its shift.  Leaves have started turning and falling.  This morning I took pumpkin scented candles with me and one called ‘smoke.’   As I lay there watching the flames lick the air, Friz curled up under my chin and drifted off quickly.  I could feel the heartbeat of the earth under me.  I listened as Mama Crow and Wolf joined us.  I took deep cleansing breaths….breathing in the freshness of the trees and leaves around me.

As I absorbed the calmness…I couldn’t help thinking about what I hold inside me.  I walk through each day with the power of magick.  Everything I touch, I impart magick to.  As I grow older…just as the Lord does this time of year, it seems that those beyond the veil become more approachable and not so hard to connect with.  As Mabon and then Samhain draw closer and the veil becomes even thinner,  I intend to spend more time among the trees absorbing their strength and calm…and when I lie down at night to sleep, I will continue to dream of flying.

Blessed Be.

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Waiting…Quietly, Waiting

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Some days I wish I could wave my wand and disappear.  Not in a “I am tired of this existence” kind of way…more in a “can I get a little bit of peace and quiet” kind of way.  It seems that this week has been noise on top of noise on top of noise.

The neighbors above us have absolutely no consideration.  They tromp around like a herd of elephants and try their best to asphyxiate me with every cigarette they toss over into my courtyard.  Then there is the crayola haired heifer that lives across the way who is determined to park in the parking space directly in front of my unit and then yell at me when she gets caught.  Lastly, there is the little Mexican man who loves to play mariachi music as loud as his truck speakers can pump it out.

I hate when I have to play the part of the wicked witch.  But some people just bring that out of you.  I decided for the upstairs neighbors benefit, it was time work some magick so that he got a little bit of an eyeful.  I have talked to him nicely about all I can about the noise level.

During the dark moon the other night, I gathered my cauldron and candles, black salt and banishing oil and incense and set up in the middle of the courtyard.  I set everything a-blazing and I created a circle around the courtyard with the black salt.  I sat down in the middle of it and I waited.  The time had to be perfect.  The night was dark and humid.  The wind was still.  I whispered my greeting to the Moon.  I acknowledged and invited the directions and the elements.  Air was the first to join.  I felt the tickle of the smallest breeze against my cheek.  It combined with water (which I provided through sweat).  I ran my fingers through the dirt in front of me and the watched as the cauldron flame finally burst forth and danced in front of me.  Now it was the perfect time.

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As I lifted my voice to call on the Morrigan, the sliding glass doors above me opened.  It was in that moment that crow caws could be heard all over the complex.  One caw….three answered back.  I waited.  I could feel the neighbor straining to see just what I was doing, but I was just out of his range of vision.  I did all my spell work right there under his nose, but in the shadows.  As I finished, I blew out the candles, thanked the elements, directions and the Morrigan.  As I cleaned up the magickal remnants, I saw him up there leaning over the railing.  I smiled brightly and quietly said, “Wonderful night, huh?  Goodnight.”  They have been quiet as church mice since.

I figured while I was on a dark moon roll, I may as well continue.  Well after midnight…when everyone was in bed,  I went out to my parking place, moved my car into another, and drew a banishing sigil with black witches chalk.  It was already sprinkling rain so I knew that the sigil would be gone by morning, but the energy would remain.  I felt almost giddy as I did it…it was like being a child with sidewalk chalk, but with more purpose.  Sometimes, you just get tired of being yelled at when you didn’t do anything.  The next morning, I sat just outside the courtyard.  She circled the parking lot a couple of times and then went and parked in front of her own unit.  black chalkLastly, the little mariachi loving Mexican fellow…this little fellow has been horrified of me since he first walked into the courtyard and found me doing magick.  He always averted his eyes when he saw me and I could always hear him muttering ‘brujo’ under his breath.  I found that the way to keep him in check was when he got out of line…all I had to do was give him the sign for ‘I’ve got my eye on you’ and he would quickly turn the stereo down.  Well, one night last week, it was extremely late and I hear the thump of familiar music outside my bedroom window.  I was far too tired to deal with him, so I just whispered into the air, “Please, Morrigan, deal with him.”  Then I waited.  The next thing I know, flashing lights are outside my bedroom window…I look out and see a firetruck with firemen scouting the area with flashlights.  I see the little Mexican fellow scrambling out of his truck as hard as he can go and falling to the ground as he makes a mad dash for his apartment.  No music after that.brujo

This morning I was craving time by myself.  When you have three adult men, two dogs, and two cats in one apartment, it can seem impossible to get quiet time.  I don’t have a space in the apartment other than my altar space and even that can be overtaken by a fat gray and white cat.  To write in my Book of Shadows, I have to move his hefty rump to the bookcase by the window.  One thing about it though, my Book of Shadows should be more than pleasing to Bast.

I walked out to the woods alone this morning.  I didn’t take a backpack or candles or skulls or wands.  It was just me and the woods.  Friz looked like I had completely forsaken him and I did have to deal with sufficient pouting when I got back.  I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes.  I waited…just waited.  It was like I could breathe again.  I didn’t have to clean up vomit or hairballs or anything else.  I was able to just sit…and wait.  It felt so good not be rushed or hurried or have to worry about noise.  It was wonderful listening to the trees singing to me and in the distance I hear Mama Crow.  She is singing at the top of her lungs, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t sound like the sparrows. It is her voice.  This was my week for raising my voice…sometimes it isn’t going to be pretty, but it will be effective.  Mama Crow reminds me that sometimes you have to be just a little loud and a little brash to get what needs done, done.

My home is my comfy space.  To me and others it is that cozy space to sit and have a glass of wine or a cup of tea…to lounge in magick every moment you’re there and to feel as if you have been given a comforting hug when you’ve left.  I will protect those feelings…no matter what it takes…like a mama wolf protecting her den.

Blessed Be!radagasts house

The Things We Search For Were Really Never Lost

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I have pushed myself so hard this week.  I have always been my harshest critic.  I can’t perform any less than 110% when it comes to anything.  Most would say that this comes from a childhood of always feeling as though I had to compete for approval. Not true.  My grandmothers made sure that I was made to feel important no matter what.  They were the foundation of my strength of heart…they always told me that there was something inside of me that no one else would ever be able to possess or take away from me.

Normally, when I would have a week like this one has been, I would be able to call either one or both of my grandmas and the sound of their voices would bring peace.  Their voices…I never thought I would have to learn to live without those voices.

It was in the midst of this week that I found my mind…my body….my very heart and spirit craving the elements around me.  There is a large maple tree just outside of our courtyard wall.  On Wednesday afternoon, I got home at the regular time….I could feel the weight of pushing myself exhausting me.  I stopped.  Only for a moment and leaned against that large old maple tree.  It was as if I could hear the voices of my grandmothers whispering in my ears again.

Once I had gotten inside and changed out of business casual into backyard grunge, I went back into the courtyard and started digging in the dirt….just to get that cool damp feeling on my hands…that connection to the Great Mother.2014-03-26 22.37.11

 

Friday I craved contact with water…..it was as if all day long I could not get enough water into my system.  I drank water non-stop.  It was rainy most of the day here….there was a part of me that did not want to come inside.  I hungered to be out among the rain drops…feeling the rhythm against me and around me.  Again, when I got home from work, I stood in the midst of a short rain shower….feeling it wash me from head to toe.  I could feel the rush and pressure from the week washing away as each drop caressed me.  I sat in the middle of the courtyard…smelling each plant as it soaked in the nourishment.

The rain continued into the morning today.  I took a clue from Friz and spent more time smelling the air and enjoying the clean feeling that only rain water can bring.  I wore a tshirt and shorts out and walked barefoot in the mud.  Sometimes, it is just being able to feel the wet earth under my feet that keep me grounded.

2014-03-26 22.37.04This afternoon, my time with wind came.  We had just gotten back from the grocery store (where a crow perched on the shopping cart beside the car….scared my partner to death).  As we were getting out of the car in front of the condo, a strong cool wind came up.  My partner mentioned that it got really cool quickly and the wind was so strong.  He ran inside with the groceries, but there I stood in the courtyard with my arms spread like I was ready to take flight.  I believe if I had concentrated hard enough, I may have gotten lift off….and damn! My besom was inside.  I could hear the throaty laugh of Mama Crow in the branches above me.  She sensed my joy in the breeze.  She sensed my hunger to be a part of air.

2014-03-26 22.37.01 I could not leave my old friend fire out of the circle.  Tonight, just before sunset, I went to the woods with my smaller cauldron.  I sat down in the cool leaves and put my altar in place.  I brought some dry leaves with me and set them to smolder in the cauldron along with some sticks and incense.  I watched as the fire danced in front of me.  Something about watching those red-orange flames burning away the deadness of the sticks and leaves leapt into my spirit.  I stood and danced with the flame.  Sometimes I have to abandon all feelings of ‘what if someone sees me’ and just do what my spirit is compelled to do…..it is the most freeing experience that I could ever describe.  Too often we become bound up in what is proper and what is ‘normal’ that we forget that freedom that magick brings…and the relationship to the masculine and feminine divine.

I had a wonderful dream last night.  I was trekking through the mountains.  The air was cool.  The sun was shining all around.  There were a few other people there that I knew.  I remember meeting my old friend wolf in a grassy field.  We wrestled and tumbled.  I laughed until my stomach hurt.  I went into the small log cabin with wolf at my side.  In the cabin was a dark haired, dark eyed woman….a witch of Nordic descent.  I knew this woman and I knew her well.  She was extremely gifted in psychic abilities and divination with candles.  I remember after laughing and talking to her, going to a cabinet to get the candles out.  As I looked at each candle, runes appeared on the bottoms of each.  I remember that I could read them very clearly.  One, in particular, carried the words, “There has been a path forged before you by the ancients.”  It essentially told me that the path I am on… I am not to venture off of.

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As I think back on it….a friend brought it up tonight, the woman in my dream was a part of me.  It is the part of me that I still search for…the part of me that I enjoy the company of, but haven’t entirely embraced.  Maybe now is the time.

Blessed Be!

I Am the Weathered Wiseman, and I Live at the Edge of the Forest…

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For as long as I can remember…I have always retreated to the woods.  It didn’t matter if things were good or bad….the woods called me to a place that I could not access anywhere else.

I remember when I was younger, 8 or 9, my mom would have my grandma tell me the stories about the Booger Woods to try to keep me from disappearing amongst the trees behind the house.  Little did she know that later on, my grandma was pulling me aside to tell me that as long as I walked hand in hand with the tree spirits, the four-leggeds and the winged ones, that they would never allow anything to hurt me.

Most of the time, I would pull my shoes off at the back door and make a run for those woods.  I have always been able to feel the call of the trees and critters that lived there.  I never knew any kind of fear of any of the animals there.  I can close my eyes and remember sitting there among deer and foxes and birds galore.  Isn’t it funny?  Children don’t know that they aren’t able to do things until adults tell them that it just isn’t possible.  I never knew that it wasn’t possible to carry on conversations with my four-legged and winged friends.  I would sit for hours talking to an old fox that my mom was quite sure was vicious.  I would take bread out by the buckets and feed the crows and all the other birds.  I never knew that a crow was supposed to be a nuisance.  To me, they were friends.  I remember how mad my dad used to get with me because most of the time I had a ton of birds following me.

One animal that always called to me as a child was the hedgehog.  I remember a cousin of mine had one and everybody thought that that little hedgehog was mean.  I have never been afraid of any animal…now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t approach carefully and with the utmost respect…and was absolutely enthralled with this little hedgehog.  I went over to my cousins one afternoon and we were sitting in the floor.  That little hedgehog was out running around.  He ran up onto my leg and curled up in my lap and went to sleep.  My cousin couldn’t believe it as I sat there and rubbed that little hedgehog’s belly as he snoozed on my lap.128326692466252947

I preface with all of that information, so that I could talk about my trip to the woods yesterday.  Friz and I slept in a bit yesterday, so the sun was already up when we headed outside.  I had my cloak on and the backpack packed.  It is so funny to watch how excited that little blue dog gets when he sees a loaded down backpack.  He took care of whatever business he needed to take care of before we plodded down the sidewalk.  As we got closer to the edge of the woods, the energy of nature itself bathed us from head to toe.

I unloaded the backpack and placed the candles and the skulls and my cauldron.  I felt that incense needed to be burned today, so I pulled out some the wonderful woodsy, earthy incense that a friend sent me.  As I sat there in front of the cauldron with my legs crossed, Friz crawled into the hollow that my legs made and curled up.  I should have taken that as an omen of things to come.  Wolf and Crow energy manifested quickly….but there was energy coming forth that had not been there with me before.  I recognized this energy from my childhood….it was hedgehog energy.tumblr_mn2bcgPhOW1sn1e5oo1_500

The woods seemed to dance around me.  The birds sang even more excitedly welcoming this new energy.  The trees swayed rhythmically to welcome our new friend.  I thought that it was no coincidence that Friz seemed to pull himself into an even tighter ball as he napped between my legs.   I leaned back and soaked up the sun peeking through the leaves of the trees above.  My hands were flat against the earth and I could feel her wonderful soothing heartbeat against my palms.  It felt as if I was seeing everything around me with new eyes.  I inhaled deep and could feel that wonderful earthy, woodsy incense pulling deep into my chest….building a strength and hope.  I could feel it pulling up wonderful memories of past times of playfulness and I had to take my shoes off and run my toes into the dirt of the floor of the woods.  Even though it was chilly out, there was something that kept pulling me closer and closer to the earth.

I cleaned up and Friz ambled around me smelling the incense and the skulls.  We walked leisurely  back to the condo and I settled down onto the couch….I had to look up hedgehog energy and symbolisms.  This is what I found:

The hedgehog is symbolic of fertility and being connected to the earth. It’s belly is close to the Mother (earth, that is) and this close proximity is symbolic of its connection to earth and all that is fertile. The hedgehog’s tendency to curl up in the fetal position is also a message of centering, and connecting with the source.

Further, central Asia and parts of Iran associated agricultural abundance, fertility and the gift of fire to the hedgehog. In these cultures it is considered a solar power animal, and is strongly connected to the energy and vitality of the sun. This may be further understood when we think of the hedgehog’s splayed spikes look much like the spanning rays of the sun.

Being a nocturnal creature, the symbolism of the hedgehog deals with intuition, psychic ability, prophetic dreams and visions. This is because the night deals with concepts that are cloaked in shadow – a realm that is not altogether clear. That the hedgehog’s active time is at night is symbolic of “second sight.”

Another testimony to its spiritual power is the hedgehog’s natural resistence to snake venom. This is carries extreme importance with many Native American Indian tribes and is seen as a symbol of victory over evil. This attribute is also a portent of resurrection, life after death, or defeating death completely.hobb5

This little critter packs a powerful punch!  So many things to learn from it.  I appreciate what the Lord and Lady have given me and helped me to nurture in my relationships with animals as I have grown in the Craft…..but I do miss sometimes the innocence of childhood.  I talk to the animals around me all the time, but fear of other humans and what they may do to them keeps them from getting too close.  I miss the days of lying barefoot under a canopy of trees and chattering away with the fox and the deer (and the one my mom hated) the snake.  I have had it proven to me over and over that their energy seeks me out, but still I miss the contact.  They teach me constantly.

Blessed Be!tumblr_mubrajT6PH1rjdnouo1_500

You Better Work It…

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I have been reading about the New Moon coming up on January 30th.  They call it the “Black Moon.”  It is the second New Moon in the month of January.  It is an omen of change and during this moon, hidden truths are brought to the surface.  It is in the midst of this “Black Moon” that I will be moving into another phase of my life.  I am leaving behind my work at the animal clinic and moving back into corporate work.

Am I sad in this transition?  Maybe I should be.  Am I?  No, not at all.  This is a time of celebration for me.  It is time to move past a time of oppression and stagnancy into a time of joy and forward movement.  This change has been a long time in coming.  I have done ritual after ritual devoted to this change…..friends have dedicated ritual after ritual to the same purpose.  It has not been an easy road, but finally I am able to see the manifestation of months and months of magick and hard work.

Work?  Yes, work.  Any real witch will tell you that magick takes work….and dedication….and purpose.  Most folks are used to seeing what is represented on television as far as the Craft goes.  While I love the fantasy that most of those shows represent….the Samantha Stevens, the Endoras, the Charmed Ones, and the newer Witches of East End….we all know that instant gratification is a rarity in the Craft.

I remember the first “spell” I ever cast….*note I used cast here and not ‘the first spell I ever worked.’  Being a new witchling, I stood in front of my altar and waved my hands like a fool and uttered something that I thought was magickal  and waited to see the puff of smoke and the explosion of glitter….or even the little ‘tinkle, tinkle’ sound I heard on “Bewitched” whenever a spell was cast.  Nothing.  I was devastated.  Of course, I had not studied under anyone or with anyone…I knew nothing about the elements, directions, herbs, intention….not one thing.  I only knew what I had seen on television.  All I could hear in my head was the sounds of large tongues blowing raspberries.

Now some folks would have probably given up after casting with no sparks, bells or whistles.  Not me.  I was determined to find out why it didn’t work.  I began to devour books on the Craft.  Some of the first ones I got my hands on were Scott Cunningham’s books.  I was transported to a world of magick I had no idea existed.  Then one day, when I was browsing in the ‘occult’ section at a local bookstore, I was invited to a local coven to take part in their program for initiates.  I enjoyed much of the teachings and the natural setting.  I settled in there for a time and then realized that the path they were on wasn’t the path calling to me.

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That was the one thing that I enjoyed so much about the Craft.  There was no one path for everyone.  There were so many directions one could pursue.  No matter which path I was interested in, I found that it still entailed work.  There were still so many things to learn….how to send energy without depleting your own energy stores…how to charge crystals, candles, etc…how to pour yourself into the workings of the magick and how to ground yourself before, during and after so that you didn’t become one big ole quivery jello witch.

The biggest things that I personally had to learn was how to listen to and utilize and trust my intuition  and how to purpose my own intent.  I compare it to a baby learning how to talk.  It surfaced on its own….at first it was clumsy and broken and hard to understand, but the more I practiced; the more I worked….it flowed better…it became second nature.  I still work and practice on a daily basis….there is no room for laziness.

As I continued to grow in the Craft, there were other adventures that were opened to me.  I had always heard other witches refer to spirit animals.  I thought that it was a wonderful thought….having the spirits of animals at your beck and call.  Again, I got every book I could find on the subject and read and re-read.  I talked to my grandma about the Native approach to spirit animals…then I began the work….the constant vigil of observation, the energy work.  I will never forget the day the first manifestation came.  I was lying in the dirt…my mind lost in thought about my spirit animal.  I closed my eyes and focused my energy.  It was in that moment that I heard that lovely, melodic scream of the crow.  I looked up and there she perched on an old fence post.  In that same week, wolf came to me in my dreams….again, after a time of focus and intent.   The work had been worth the end result.

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This morning, I went to the woods.  This morning, there was no little blue chihuahua to be seen…he was allowed to sleep in.  This morning, no calico kitten showed up.  In my backpack were the usual tools…my skulls, candles, incense, matches.  This morning, more offerings were carried than normal.  This morning was a morning of gratitude.  The directions were called upon….the elements invited…Mama Crow and Wolf took their places.  Candles were lit, incense was burned.  Notes of gratitude and adoration were written on flying paper to all involved in the magick that was manifested.  The notes were carefully twisted and set on fire.  I watched as they flew into the air and disintegrated into the breeze….the wind carrying the magick forth.  I cracked an egg onto the ground for the animal spirits to devour.  I poured milk, honey and wine into the earth in gratitude to elementals and any other spirits involved.  For the lady herself, a small bouquet of dried flowers….grain and corn rounded out the offerings for the Horned One.

Was the work finished?  Only for this phase of the magick….it continues every day.  I have found through my studies and experiences that magick is a living being.  It is constantly moving and changing…just as we should be.  So it is because of magick that a 47 year old witch is now embarking on a brand new adventure.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Blessed Be!

As the Crow Flies…

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Two weeks ago today, I went to meet up with some new friends for brunch. As our time together ended, we looked around us because we heard the noisy caws of a crow. We scanned the skies and noticed that the crow was getting closer with each caw. Finally as we looked toward the eave of the house, there perched the crow on the eave above the door. One of my friends is familiar with my writings about Mama Crow. He said, “It looks like she followed you.” There was a part of me that wanted to believe that, but there was that tiny ounce of doubt too. I chatted with him later on and found out that the crow left after I did. I have read about crows being able to recognize people’s faces. My hope is that Mama Crow has become so much more than a guide….a presence of spirit….a representative of the Morrigan….but maybe also, a friend.

I have noticed that when challenges surface in my life, Mama Crow makes herself more evident. Last week when my car battery died, Mama Crow was on the post in the apartment complex making so much noise on my lunch, the day before. Whenever a challenge seems to await me, there is Mama Crow…carrying on like no other. It seems that there is one woman in the apartment complex who just seems to have it out for me. She tends to catch me just as I am about to get in my car to go back to work from walking the dogs….she wants to rant at me because my car is parked in front of my condo and she thinks she should park there because she wants the shade tree. I stand there rolling my eyes as Mama Crow bounces from branch to branch in a nearby tree, raising a ruckus.

The Morrigan has made her presence known so much more in my life lately. I realize that she is one of the dark aspects of the goddess and I do realize that I am at the croning part of my life…I shouldn’t be shocked that she is becoming more of a presence. My life, as of late, seems that it is in a constant state of change….I realize that the Morrigan is also a goddess of transformation and change. I embrace these changes….I allow them to be a part of me….it does not mean that I don’t kick and scream the whole way.

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Worry has always been a large part of my make-up. I get this from my Mama. My mama is one that worried if the phone didn’t ring exactly four times before being picked up….she worried if we sneezed once ( had to be the flu)….she worried if we ate a tiny bit less than we normally did. I didn’t get the worry gene that badly, but I am a worrier. I am one that thinks constantly about where I stand with my job. If any little thing seems off with my animals….I worry….I let my thoughts overtake me.

Last night, I went out with friends to celebrate my birthday, which always falls on Lammas. We started the evening with dinner, then went to a piano bar afterwards. I had several drinks and was feeling good, but not enough to be drunk. We got home at about 1:00am and I headed to the woods by myself. I laid down on the ground….I could feel the coolness of the dirt beneath me. I knew I needed grounding….so much happening as of late….so many things swirling around my head…things I won’t share in a blog, but things that those closest to me will know. I missed my little blue chihuahua laying on top of me and beside me….but he was sleeping too peacefully to rouse.

I have been feeling, as of late, that something major is happening magickally. There is an energy working its way through the atmosphere. Though my heart is at peace, my mind and my spirit have been racing. I have sensed something in each of the animals. Merlin has taken to sleeping under the new altar table I placed in the bedroom. Tamira wants to be touched constantly…even if it is nose to nose. Bella craves time under the moon….she walks my partner to death at night. Friz longs for magick…..as I write this, he is not feeling like himself. He has been trembling and his tail is tucked. I have been using Reiki and healing magick on him all night. But still, in the midst of this…I know something powerful is coming2013-08-03 00.34.29

I have been out tonight walking the perimeter of the condo….using the last of the waning moon’s energy. As I walked, I sprinkled stinging nettles…uttering spells to banish negative energies…to banish negative people from stepping foot near my sanctuary…banishing sickness, hurt, confusion, fear……casting away all things that might hinder my household from thriving, from prospering….calling out the names of my friends who I know have had a rough time of it lately….banishing those things from their lives that have interfered with them living the most abundant and productive lives.

As I walked, I could feel Lady Luna looking down at me, nodding her head in agreement as I borrowed and shared her energy. As I walked toward the place where two paths joined next to the condo, I could sense the breath of the hounds of Hekate…..them sensing the nervousness and fear and worry I have over my own dog. I could feel their strength, their passion….my worry took a back seat as I reached out to see if I could feel their coats. The breeze greeted me and sent the energy they gave forward. Finally, I could sense the Morrigan….always accompanying me through the battles of day to day life. I hold the utmost respect for her, knowing that she holds the very balance of life and death in her hands. I could feel the winds shifting….I could feel my spirit shifting….I could feel my mind shifting. The time for fear and worry is past….it is time for action. We as witches have to move past circumstance….for we will be tested every moment. We as witches must live by spirit and magick.

It is a hard thing for me to see past myself most days….but I constantly get lessons from the gods and goddesses. The spirit knows what the mind and body need. Tonight, as I told a dear, dear friend about Frisbee….she told me that he has absorbed and absorbed so much lately. She reminded me about what I felt about something happening magickally with the regards to the animals. She happened to mention that maybe Friz needed grounding. An hour or so after our texting, I took Friz out for his final walk of the night. After we had walked for a few minutes and he had peed, he lay down in the dirt. I remembered what Maluna had told me, so I sat down beside him. I rubbed him as he absorbed the power from Mother Earth herself. Then I brought him in, kissed him on his head, placed my amethyst on the kennel, lit the healing candle I have….and I sat down at the desk to finish writing. He needed grounding. His spirit knew better than I did….better than he did.

Now, he sleeps…just as I will. I will dream of the things to come. The changes….the struggles…the triumphs. That is the way of the spirit.2013-08-03 16.25.56

Blessed Be

When the Morrigan Calls

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Ever have one of those weeks that seems to beat you like that old rug hanging over the clothesline?  Not that everything happening to you is bad….it’s just that most of everything that throws itself your way is overwhelming.  That is what this week seemed to be…..and I feel just dead tired this weekend.

The first part of the week started innocently enough…with phonecalls from home.  First, the call from Ma….telling me all the things she has dealt with this week from my nieces and my brother’s wife.  Then I get phonecalls from my brother’s wife and nieces explaining to me that my mother is being unreasonable…..there is a reason I live six hours away.

The middle part of the week came with head-butting confrontation with my partner and my roommate.  My partner was in one of those moods that would argue with everything I said.  If I said the sky was blue, he would counter it with the argument that it was more purple-ish.  If I said the grass looked greener, he would say that it looked a little more brown.  The roommate was in one of his OCD modes with regards to all the television electronics…..he insisted we could get better results if I were to call our cable service and blah blah blah.  I told them both that I would put a Ziplock bag over their heads while they slept if they didn’t shut up.

The latter part of the week was haunted by all the idiocy that the people at work could conjure.  We are short-handed….but we are supposed to cut hours?!?  We are doing better financially but we are supposed to keep payroll down?!?  We all stand there dumbfounded as more work is heaped upon us.  My blood pressure ran rampant this week.

I could feel myself drawing into myself on Wednesday.  It is in those times of turmoil that I often retreat into that one squishy confused tower that I have….myself.  It is also in those times of turmoil that I start to see more crows.  I should have guessed what the week might be like when I pulled into the parking lot at work after lunch on Monday to find a murder of crows….funny that name.  One would automatically think ‘flock,’ but instead it’s a ‘murder.’  How appropriate.

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The crows around here can sense when I need magick…when I need my battery jumped.  I saw them everywhere throughout the week.  Mama crow sat at the top of her telephone pole all week long surveying what was going on.  I got home yesterday and all you could hear throughout the condo complex was one crow call after another.  At one point, it seemed so loud that it seemed to drown out all other noises. 

I am many things, but foolish is not one of them.  I know when someone is beckoning to me.  I recognized all of the signs that Morrigan was calling my name….the only thing that could have emphasized it more would have been a crow flying into the middle of my forehead.  It was also this week that I found the remains of a dead crow not far from my condo.  I was able to harvest the skull and seven of the wing feathers…I looked toward the skies and thanked Morrigan for the gift.

When I pulled into the parking lot on Friday to the symphony of crow calls, I was pretty well whooped, but here it was the Summer Solstice.  I needed to prepare myself and have my ritual time.  Unfortunately, one thing after another kept rising up.  Before I knew it, everyone in the house was in bed….but me.  I used this opportunity to load my backpack full of candles and matches and feathers and skulls and crystals and anything else I may need for this time that awaited me.

I snuck out the door as quietly as I could.  I hurried down the sidewalks to the point where one ended at the edge of the woods.  It was if I had stepped into a different universe.  I could feel waves of energy coursing through me.  I settled down onto the floor of the woods, set my candles and crystals around me, invited the directions, the elements…..then I closed my eyes and called to the Morrigan.2012-09-17 20.43.37

Now, I know that we all have ways of seeing deity.  I am fine with that and I won’t blast you for your perceptions if you will offer me that same courtesy.  As I called to her….the smell of the incense I had burning grew stronger….it is a blend I made to bring to mind the forest and the feel of wildness.   I could sense the Morrigan approaching….my heart started to race…not out of fear, but in anticipation.  As I began to spew out all that I had dealt with for the week, I could sense something different in the air.  It felt a bit like when my mother was getting a bit perturbed at me and would stand with her arms folded, tapping her foot.  It was in this moment that I looked toward the heavens and called out, “What would you have me do?” 

I sat and listened intently.  I could hear the answers rumbling forth. “Where is all that fire power?  Where is the fight that is inside of you?  Where is that lion’s heart that was born into you on Lughnasadh?  Where is that heart of a wolf?  Instead you sit here whimpering like a pup.”  At this point, I swear I heard my grandma’s voice, “Get some fight about you, boy!  Don’t just roll over and play possum!”   I could feel a smack upside my head and I could feel it hard.  I realized that all week, I had essentially just been ‘bending over and taking it’ and it wasn’t fun at all.  It was time to let the warrior show…..to let the wolf and lion growl for a bit.  I took out my pen and paper and wrote down the things I knew I needed to do in the coming weeks.  It was time to let that heart of a warrior shine through.  Why was I allowing stupid stuff to get to me?  I had allowed circumstances and situations to take away my power.  IT WILL NOT HAPPEN!!  It was time to show a little backbone, as my grandma would say.

I finished up my ritual time and settled against a tree with my canteen of wine.  I dug my toes into the earth around me….that’s the best way in the world, in my opinion, to ground yourself.  After a time of relaxation under the moon, I packed everything up and walked quietly back to the condo.  I crept in the door, changed clothes, and crawled into bed without anyone waking up.

This morning started as most others….Friz and I taking our Saturday walk.  We walked to the pond….spent some time down there.  The whole time I could hear the voice of one crow in the background.  I knew it was Mama Crow.  I chuckled to myself, thinking of all the crow activity in my life this week.  Friz and I got closer to the condo and right in front of it, on the outside of the serpentine wall, I see Mama Crow on the ground.  She is eating what is left of something dead…I didn’t really feel like investigating.  She looked up at me….did not blink once.  Friz was amazed…he has never stood that still.  In that moment, I could feel her energy…that of a survivor…that of a fighter.  I thanked her.  She went right back to eating and Friz and I went inside.  My mind was racing.  Nothing like being hand-fed the power of the crow so early in the morning.2013-06-22 21.32.18

Blessed Be!