Don’t Make Eye Contact

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I remember growing up around my mom…she lived in a state of constant worry and a state of constant fear.  She moved away from it more as we grew older, but I remember when we were younger how afraid she was of everything.  She was afraid of thunder.  She was afraid of bugs.  She was afraid that we would wander too far from the house.  She was afraid.

The thing about people who live in fear is that many times that fear tries to transfer to the people that live with them.  The one phrase that I remember my mom using constantly was, “Don’t make eye contact.”  Now there were particular people or groups of people this was directed toward…strangers, in particular, but also those who others categorized as mentally challenged…homeless people and stray animals.AP_romanian_stray_dogs_jef_130913_16x9_992

 

My mom never felt comfortable around any of those things.  It makes me wonder what kind of life my mom had growing up….so much fear.  As you can imagine, many of my mom’s fears began to take root in my heart as I grew up surrounded by them.  I remember a group of mentally challenged teens who attended my elementary school….I would see them coming and I could feel my whole body go rigid.  I would silently pray that they would stay far from me.  I remember as a youngster walking toward a stray dog that came into our yard and hearing my mother screech from the front porch, “Don’t touch that dog! It might have the mange!”  Well, at that time, I didn’t know what ‘the mange’ was, but I was sure I didn’t want it.  So I ran. It was then that I started nurturing the beginnings of a fear of dogs.  Finally, I remember my mother talking about ‘Crazy Mary’ the local homeless woman.  My mother had heard stories of how Mary went crazy because she had always wanted children.  When she miscarried after her first and only pregnancy, it drove her to the depths of insanity and she walked the streets looking for a child to call her own.

I carried each of these fears with me through grade school, high school and even part of college.  When I passed the homeless…my mother’s voice would ring clear, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I worked at a grocery chain and the adults from the local group home came in to shop, I made a bee-line for the stock room with my mother’s voice ringing in my ears, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I met my friend Susan who worked with rescue animals and finally saw what ‘the mange’ looked like, my mother’s words haunted me, “Don’t make eye contact.”

I have never been the type of person who wanted to be limited by anything, most of all, myself…so I made it a point to put myself into situations where I had to address those fears.  The first fear I addressed was the fear of those that others called mentally challenged.  When I was in bible school in Knoxville, TN back in the days of Moses, I had to work to be able to afford school.  I worked full time evenings in a bookstore, but on weekends I worked at a facility for adults with learning, mental and physical challenges.

My first five minutes in that facility were pure hell for me.  I broke out in cold sweats and shook continually.  My biggest fear was that someone would actually talk to me.  My first duties were to help clean a fellow up after his meal.  He laughed and smiled at me the whole time.  It made me feel ashamed of the fear I had lived with for so many years.  I looked in his eyes and I saw joy…pure elation that someone was taking the time to help him.  He smiled even bigger.  I could feel a tear loose itself from my eye and I felt his hand wipe at my face.  He told me, “No cry….happy…happy.”  He laughed out loud and I joined him.

I turned around and there was a woman in her forties standing almost close enough to me to be my shadow.  “I love you!”  The worker with me told me quietly, “That’s her thing.  She loves everybody.  She will tell you 100 times in a few hours.” I smiled at her.  “I love you!” I was perplexed.  I leaned in and said, “I love you too.”  She looked me eye to eye and quietly whispered, “For real?”  I whispered back, “Yes, for real.”  She smiled from ear to ear.  That was the only time she asked me that night…but we made it a point to say it once a day each time we saw each other.

I often find it amazing…the places and situations I have found myself in.  This young fellow who was scared to death of getting ‘the mange’ moved to Atlanta and the only job he could find was a job at a veterinary clinic.  I learned all about mange and what would treat it.  I learned about animal handling and treatment.  I could do the job in my sleep. Five years into the job, the opportunity came for me to work with a mobile vet.  We went from house to house treating and working with pets and then one of her pets became gravely ill.  There was fluid on the heart and it would only get worse.  She was encouraged to bring him in and ‘put him to sleep’ when it was too much of a struggle for him.  Instead, she decided that it would need to happen at home surrounded by his loved ones.  She asked if I would do it for her.  I looked into that sweet dogs eyes as I introduced the needle into his vein.  I watched through tears as the spirit of life swept from him and I laid his head on his paws.

This morning I had volunteered to go with a work group to deliver clothing to the homeless.  Collections had been made for weeks and we stood in groups next to tables full of coats and sweatshirts and pants separated by size.2015-02-28 11.29.07

My first encounter with the homeless was in New York City in 1985.  I was being shown around the city by a roommate who had been living there six months longer than I had.  I was informed that you didn’t touch the pigeons and you didn’t make eye contact with the homeless. “They are like rats (the pigeons and the homeless).  You can’t be nice to them…they follow you everywhere.”

Years later, when I was working in the ministry, I  was asked to be a part of a homeless ministry who cooked breakfast and served it underneath the bridge in Charlotte, NC.  I got to know and became friends with many of the people who gathered under that bridge to eat and hear me sing and teach. As I talked to one fellow, I found out that he was my age and he had missed one paycheck.  Not so different from me after all….one paycheck.

This morning as I foraged through stacks on tables and shifted clothes.  I hear some of the others talking to people coming through the line.  I hear a familiar laugh and a scruffy bark.  I turn around and I make eye contact with the Green Wizard.  He is there in need of a sweatshirt and a blanket.  I smile at him and he smiles back.  I introduce him to those around me as my friend…not as ‘a homeless person I know.’eyes

 

It’s funny…over the years…the most powerful magick I have ever found were in the things of which my mother was most afraid.  I found magick in the eyes of those whose mind danced differently than my own…I found magick in the eyes of animals whose hearts were far purer than my own…I found magick in the eyes of those who use the earth as their pillow and the stars as their nightlight.  I am far richer for it.

Blessed Be!

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Dig A Little Deeper

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This time of year has always seemed to be a time of introspection for me.  The temperatures are cooling. The veil is thinning.  It is in this season that we can hear the whispers of those who have gone before.  It is in this season that emotions run raw for most people.  The cats and dogs are more sensitive than normal and so am I.

I told my roommate early last week, that I have been dreaming more about my partner who died lately.  He looks at me sternly and says, “Somebody has unfinished business…him or you.  The next time he comes to you, engage him.  Ask him what he needs.”  I told him that I would think about it.  He called me a chicken.  In certain areas of my life, I have lived on the premise of ‘leave well enough alone.’  He is gone.  I put him behind me years ago.  I don’t really have anything left of ‘us.’  I packed it up a few years before me and my current partner met.  The only things there are memories…or so I thought.

This week, I have dreamed about him every night.  In each dream, he stands…just looking at me with that same love in his eyes that I remember.  In each dream he looks a little sad.  Each dream ends the same way…he strokes the side of my head and kisses my forehead and leaves the same way he came.  By Friday night, I couldn’t bear any more.  I felt like I have been barely sleeping.  I have felt more like I have spent my sleeping hours walking between the worlds. My body feels haggard and worn out.

I have one friend who can feel my very soul.  There is no hiding from her.  She knows me as well as I know myself.  I know that when she texts me and asks how I am….I can almost see her roll her eyes when my answer is a short and sweet, “I’m ok.”  And yet she sends energy.  She knows me well enough to know that I need it…even when I think I am fine.

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Last night, I went to bed.  I could feel the restlessness already.  I drifted off and dreamed of a forest trail.  I walked slowly.  I looked around for something familiar.  Friz wasn’t there.  I looked toward the end of the path and there he stood….looking exactly as he did at his healthiest.  He smiled and reached out his hand for me to take it.  I could feel the warmth of his strong hand around mine.  I looked into his eyes…the eyes that I fell in love with more years ago than I could count.  I choked on words as I tried to talk.  He walked beside me in silence.  I looked into his eyes and asked him, “What do you need from me?”  He spoke one word, “Forgiveness.”  I remember the pain that shot through my heart in the dream.  I didn’t think I was holding onto anything anymore.  He whispered again, “Dig deeper.”

In the dream, I began to cry…deep heaving sobs.  Things flooded to my mind.  Memories of feeling deserted to finish raising my nieces by myself…memories of the financial struggles and having to deal with his family.  Memories of dealing with the hurt by myself with no one else to lean on.  I leaned into him as years of hurt poured out of me.

I awoke at 3:03 am with tears streaming down my face.  I managed a whisper, “I do forgive you.”  My partner stirred beside me and asked, “Are you ok, honey?”  I kissed him on his forehead and whispered to him, “I am now.”  I got out of bed and went into the living room.  I opened a blog that a friend of mine wrote earlier in the week.  It’s funny how things come full circle.  What was the blog about?  Forgiveness.  I have included the link below so that you can read it for yourself.

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So this morning early, I woke up a snoozing little blue chihuahua so that we could go to the woods.  He was so sleepy.  I am convinced that when I am restless, that he is just as restless.  I had to carry him the whole way.  He would look at me with one eye closed and yawn wide.  When we got to our clearing, I made myself comfortable among the fallen leaves.  Friz leaned in closely and finally crawled in between my legs and dozed off.  As I lit candles and placed the skulls, he barely moved.  I welcomed the directions, the elements, the Lord and Lady, and my spirit guides.  I had read a dear friend’s post on Facebook yesterday.  It was a stern warning for the seasons ahead:

We seem to have slammed….yes…head on slammed into the waning time…emotions are running amuk….be it retrograde…the dark season…a combo of things…but it’s not good for many. I’m going to be stern, and blunt…get a grip…a hard solid grip on yourself…and your emotions. NOW. Life is to be lived…it’s not always good..or fun..or fair….but it is a gift. And should be cherished. I’ve been called fluffy, a sunshine light worker, Pollyanna…a number of things…but I work so hard to balance the negative of everyday life….I know the aftermath of death….I see it. You can fall into the abyss of darkness so easily. When the walls between the worlds are thin….when darkness creeps in…when the earth prepares to sleep…many of us slither into depression, despair…get lost in the mists and choose to stay there. The Morrigan I follow fights for life….rises up to the challenges of everyday stress….she battles hopelessness and darkness with a sword so bright it will blind you….and you can follow her into the light…you rise up and face that great void…you cross…and you raise your sword and shield in victory! DO NOT give up…no matter how much darkness is around you…the sun rises, there is light everyday….see your way out and greet it! BB

 

This morning needed to be a celebration….a celebration of my life and who I have become.  It needed to be a morning of joy. I began to sing from deep in my spirit.  I could see Mama Crow and Wolf moving rhythmically to the sounds coming from me.  Almost as if on cue, that little blue chihuahua flopped onto his back in my lap with his belly in the air.  He squirmed at me which is his signal for me to rub him.  I laughed out loud.  I find that laughter can be powerful magick.

In this season of the waning time, as we walk some days with darkness only two steps behind.  As those who have gone on pass through once again, it is important for us to dig deep into our spirits and remember and hold to that joy that may be buried to sustain us.  This is the time for laughter to overtake us…the time to dance.  It is in this season that the earth’s heartbeat may grow a bit faint…but mine is strong and mine powerful….and when I think about the witches and fur people who have been placed around me….my heart leaps.  My voice carries through the night sky as I lean my head back and dance.  I am a witch…I am a witch.  There is magick yet to be done.

Blessed Be!

An Ounce of Intention…

intentionsWe always have the best intentions, don’t we?  I’m talking about the “Oh, someday I will….”  Well, lately I have been in a whirlwind of newness and changes and plodding forwards.  One thing that I have learned about life over the years is that it and time never stand still for anyone….they never wait on you.  You either move with them…alongside of them or you get left in the dust to wonder why your life never changes.

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By now, readers, you know that one of my spirit animals is Crow.  I ran across this wonderful bit of information this week:

Crow is the left-handed guardian. Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. There are several species of crow. Raven is one of these and magpies are another. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. Do not try to figure crow out. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen.

If you have a crow as a totem, you need to be willing to walk your talk and speak your truth. You must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and “caw” the shots as you see them. Crow is an omen of change. If he keeps appearing to you he may be telling you that you have a powerful voice when addressing issues that you do not quite understand or feel that they are out of balance.

Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and is thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.

Crow is the sacred keeper of the law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.

When you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.

I have, as of late, been steadily on the path of self-discovery.  Finding out more and more each day who I truly am.  It has required much discipline and willingness to look inside and dig out the thorns of the past that have been buried so deeply for so many years.  It has also required me to learn to ‘get over myself.’  I have had to learn which habits have hindered me from reaching full potential.

Being a witch encompasses so many things…..it encompasses sharing power with nature and animals and spirits of all sorts.  These are magnificent and wonderful responsibilities.  In my soul searching over the past few months, I realize that it means so much more.  Being a witch, to me, means genuinely being who you say you are and respecting the rights of others for being who they say they are.  Do  you have to like who they are?  No.  Is it any of your business? No.  To me, it compares with being gay.  Do I want or need anyone’s opinions in my bedroom? No…no more than I need them in my cauldron.  If I say that I am the Weathered Wiseman, though, I had better walk it wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly.

I have also learned to be mindful of the energy I surround myself with. I have spent more time over the last few months blocking and banishing the energy of others that hangs off of you like one hundred pound weights and sucks every ounce of life and joy out of you.  I have found that what was required was eliminating that from my life all together.  If that means walking away from certain people because they refuse to take the steps required to change or improve themselves, then that is what I have done.  I have had to make the difficult decision of distancing myself from our roommate.  He has been offered the opportunity over and over again to better himself, but chooses to wallow in the muck and mire of circumstance and self pity.  While I feel like I am a very strong person, I am not strong enough to carry another human through life.

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My beautiful friend Maluna said it best during the waning moon:

Last day of the waning moon….it’s been very productive…but looking forward to the new….new projects, plans, moving forward…always….it’s time to banish the unwanted, things not necessary, simplify and enjoy the warm days of summer. With this new moon….growth, gardens, summer trips, children out of school, new adventures, fresh produce, exercise, a healthier lifestyle. So much to look forward to!

Society has taught us to no longer look forward….always back.  I have learned that the only reason I need to look back is to see how far I have come.  I choose not to whine about the things I don’t have, but to enjoy and be thrilled with what I do.  I can take a lesson from my partner in this.  He can be very child-like at times.  He looks at something and most times can see the wonder and newness in it.  He can easily get lost in the fun of some of the most mundane situations.  He believes in meeting the immediate need.  He saw an old orange cat wandering the complex a couple weeks back….nowadays, most people would call the pound.  He called the cat over to a bowl of food and then made him a place to sleep.

I have determined that I am looking forward from now on (for the most part).  When you walk, you don’t walk backward….obstacles constantly get in the way. You always walk forward with a purpose.  This morning, I got up around 5:30am and Friz and I headed toward the woods.  Friz can sometimes get tangled up in his surroundings because he likes to meander.  Friz had his head to the ground sniffing….and as he did, he wandered into some branches that had fallen from the rainstorm yesterday.  His leash got tangled first…then his feet…until Friz was rendered completely immobile by this branch.  The only thing he knew to do was to look up at me and whimper.  I spent a good part of fifteen minutes getting him loose.  Afterwards, he decided to bark at the mean old branch that caused him so much trauma.  It didn’t seem to matter that he wasn’t paying attention to begin with.

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But you know, isn’t that how we are?  It is often easier to get mad at what gets us tangled up than to be accountable for the fact that it was our carelessness that brought us there to start with.  Even better, it is easier for us to play the part of that person who has it all together and look down our nose at others as the dirt castle around us turns to mud…or we are that person who people have invested themselves and their energy in…but we choose not to change ourselves at all…we enjoy the attention we get by whining and being the victim.  No matter what the scenario…it is time to change.  It is time to be the genuine you.  Will everyone like you?  No.  Will everyone hate you? No….but who cares.

We, as witches and magick workers, have learned over and over that the spellwork is about the intent.  Isn’t it time that we actually poured some intent into our own lives?  You aren’t going to be happy 100% of the time, but you can be content.  This morning, when I went to the woods with Friz, I took ‘flying paper.’  I wrote goals for the next few months on each sheet, twisted them just a bit, then set them on fire.  I watched as they soared upward….giving wings to my intentions.  I smiled as I watched them fly.  I laughed at the little blue chihuahua chasing them as they rose.  He was so traumatized only minutes earlier, but now all was forgotten as he chased hopes that were lifting toward the sky.

Isn’t it time to finally live life with a purpose and stop winding ourselves tighter?  I choose to watch my intentions soar.

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Finding Your Way Back To The Magickal Path

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Help me find my way again,

I’m lost and am afraid.

Take my hand Earth Mother,

My confusion now will fade.

Spirit Guides surround me,

Nature’s heartbeat lead.

Show me now the good right path,

Your lessons I will heed.

Water, Fire, Air and Earth

Revive in me your power.

Create in my heart a grand rebirth.

Come to me this hour.

Wolf, teach me where to turn.

Crow, show me how to fly.

Lord and Lady show your peace to me.

Joy, now over take me, no reason now to cry.

Combined with my intention, three times three…

As I will, so mote it be

 

It is no secret that I love the woods.  I love the smell, the feeling of the trees wrapping around you like a wonderful hug by the earth mother.  I love hearing the rustle of the leaves and sticks and dirt under my feet.  I love the sense of security and peace that I find in the woods.

This morning, really early, Friz and I made our way to those woods that have become like a second home to us.  We walked into the opening that has become like the arms of an old friend. For some reason, Friz seemed particularly energetic this morning.  He bounced and pranced through the leaves and debris on the floor of the woods.  I laughed and watched him….right past our normal spot.  I laughed and danced along side of him as we went farther into the woods.  I didn’t even notice the change in the path or the trees or the fact that the woods seemed more dense.

When I finally looked around, I realized one thing.  I had no idea where we were.  We were completely lost in the woods that had become more than a friend to me.  Friz put his nose to the ground…smells of things that weren’t familiar to him either.  We were lost.  2014-05-17 20.03.03

 

Just to be honest, I am not the bravest person in the world…and Friz is kind of a big chicken himself.  Needless to say, every little noise spooked us.  We would hear sticks crack or rustling in the canape of leaves above us and we would go into defensive mode.  Friz would make half-hearted bark sounds and I would tense up.  Something seemed to whir through my head….from deepest crevices of my brain.  When I was a kid, my grandma would tell me that if I ever got lost, to just sit down where I was and someone or something would find me or the spirits of nature would tell me which direction to move in. So I sat down.

Friz was glued to my side.  I unpacked my backpack.  I pulled out my candles, my wolf skull and bones, my crow skull, my Palo Santo wood (a type of incense I got at a Pagan Market…smells a lot like sage with less smoke), and my newest addition, a cat’s skull.  I had brought the cat’s skull into the woods to cleanse it.  It had been found in the side yard of a friend’s house when he was doing some digging.  He sent it to me because he knew that I loved working with animal spirits and that it would be treated with respect.2014-05-17 20.22.29

 

As I opened the door and welcomed in the directions, the elements, my guides, the Lord and Lady…a spitting of rain began working its way through the woods.  I brought my cloak over my face and set Friz in my lap and covered him.  I was surprised that the candles stayed lit.  I moved the smoking Palo Santo stick around the cat skull offering prayers for the spirit of the animal….that, if it was tormented in life or had a harsh death, it’s spirit would peacefully cross over into the summerlands.

I closed my eyes, the smell of the burning incense wood wafting through my nostrils, and I waited.  I waited for nature to speak to me.  I waited for someone or something to come find me and lead me back onto my familiar and comfortable path.  I listened.

In those next moments, I heard a familiar old cackle.  I looked above me and there perched Mama Crow.  She was comfortable.  There seemed to be no distress or rush for her to move.  I took my cue from her.  I continued to cleanse the cat skull.  I place her carefully between wolf and crow.  I thanked the directions and elements.  I blew out the candles and packed everything carefully away.  I stood and watched as Mama Crow flew from tree to tree….Listen to nature…hmmm.  I followed her direction.  It was not a way I was familiar with.tumblr_n58qpyIm7Q1rz4573o1_500

 

I picked Friz up.  I could tell he was tired of walking.  I felt another energy with us.  It shouldn’t surprise me that Wolf joined us.  Normally, wherever there is Crow, there is Wolf.  I could feel Wolf imparting new knowledge to me as we walked.  “Though the path we walk may not be familiar…it is not necessarily the wrong path.  We may end up somewhere that we need to be instead of somewhere we want to be.  Just because you don’t know where you are, doesn’t mean you are lost.  It just means you needed direction…something new…something fresh.  Stop.  Breathe in the Magick. Become acquainted with the newness of the magick around you.  It is ever-changing and always moving.  Sometimes humans just have to stop trying so hard to catch up.”2014-05-17 23.02.21

 

I looked up and saw that the trees were thinning.  I was coming upon the edge of the woods.  Where did I end up?  How far out of my way did I go?  I laughed out loud as I realized that I had come in behind the condo complex….actually even closer to home.  I had not traveled the wrong path at all….just one not so familiar…but one that brought me even closer to where I needed to be all along.

I remember a phrase my grandma used to use quite a bit.  “He went around his elbow to get to his nose.”  This morning I realized that sometimes you need to take that longer path. Wisdom and understanding may just be waiting for you on that path.2014-05-17 21.05.54

 

Blessed Be!

The Gift of Magick

0e381d066b5dd51d017787b16f3eccacYesterday was a day of peace.  Yesterday was a day of renewal. Yesterday was a day of gifts.Yesterday was a day of being a part of all four elements and drinking in the wonder of nature all around me.

The day actually started off rather dismally.  I had gotten so little sleep the night before that I finally just got out of bed at 5am, fed the dogs, put Bella back to bed, and took Friz outside for our weekend witchy time. This morning, I felt the pull of the pond, so Friz and I leisurely walked in that direction.The sky was still a mixture of dark and light (a theme I am honestly getting used to and comfortable with in my own path). As we got closer to the pond, I squinted in disbelief.  I saw a figure in a cloak sitting on a stump close to the water.  Next to the figure was a dog…an all too familiar dog. Friz couldn’t stand it…he had to be near them…and I have to admit, my excitement was hard to contain too.

As we got closer, both the Green Wizard and Calliope turned to greet us. He had a broad genuine smile on his face and her whole body wagged.  It is hard for me to put into words what these small magickal visits do for me. It is almost as if I have a chance to spend fleeting moments with someone who transcends time.The green wizard

“Good Morning, Weathered Wiseman.  We had hoped that we would see you this morning.”  I answered his good morning and sat down in the grass.  Calliope rolled over onto her back with her tongue hanging as far out as it could go.  Friz, being the gentleman that he is, took that opportunity to pounce into the middle of her stomach.  She didn’t flinch.  She only licked him on the top of his head.  “Today is a day of gifts for you, Weathered Wiseman.”  He reached down beside him and brought out a walking stick…but not just a walking stick.  The textures and the feel of it were incredible. The color was rich.  My mouth fell open and I heard him chuckle, “Do you like it?”  ‘Like it’ wouldn’t do justice to what this gift meant.  I stammered, “Oh, you shouldn’t…”  He said, “No…don’t say it.  A gift should never come with a ‘you shouldn’t have.’  When a gift is given, it means only that the person giving it recognized that you needed it.”  I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated the walking stick and then we continued our conversation.2014-05-03 22.07.05

As we talked, he told me that he enjoyed this time of year most.  He explained that this was the time of year that all four elements seem to be most comfortable.  It is this time of year that he is able to feel the strength and peace of God, Goddess, and all manner of animal spirit.  It is in this time of year that his heart melds more with the heartbeat of the earth.  As the sunlight overtook the sky, I could feel myself getting sleepy.  I closed my eyes.  I heard him say, “Rest, Weathered Wiseman, rest.”  When I awoke, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the Green Wizard was gone.  He is always in and out with the breeze. I looked at the time on my phone and picked Friz up and ran back to the condo.  I had exactly 30 minutes to be ready to go hiking on Red Top Mountain with my roommate and a friend.2014-05-03 12.01.51 HDR

 

I haven’t been hiking in ages…and yes, it is murder on the body…especially when you don’t realize that you have aged a bit since that last time and your body is completely out of shape. I had the walking stick that the Green Wizard gave me….and thank goodness, too.   Without that walking stick, I would have surely been dragging myself through the trails and ferns.  The one thing that amazed me was the fact that I breathed so much easier on that mountain.  Here at home, I wheeze and gurgle…a combined effect of fat, age, apnea, reflux and smog.  As I walked among the trees, I listened to myself.  Was I out of breath?  Yes.  Was there wheezing and gurgling?  To my amazement, no.

We hiked over hills and through trees.  We observed all manner of wildlife.  As we turned at one part of the trail, we all saw this giant crow.  Our friend mentioned that he had never seen a crow that big.  My roommate chuckled and said, “It’s his fault.  They follow him everywhere.”  Then he turned to me and said, “Don’t call it to us….that thing is as big as a dog.”  I laughed and told him that I have no control over whether or not he follows us, so he just needed to make sure he played nice.2014-05-03 12.14.04 HDR

As we climbed the hills on the trail, it was evident that the lake was coming into view more.  I asked the guys if we could go sit by the water for just a while.  They agreed and we made our way down a trail to the edge of the lake.  Both of the guys with me know that I am a witch…so there is no surprise when I start picking up sticks to make wands out of. But imagine the surprise on their faces when I open up my backpack and pull out candles and skulls and crystals and my own wand.  I had to laugh out loud at the looks on their faces.  “Are you going to do spells here?”  “Well, I really hadn’t given it much thought.  Do you think I should?”  I looked at them with a sideways grin and set everything up.  They went about their business for a little while (taking selfies against the backdrop of trees and water), then they came over to me and asked what I was doing.  “I am quietly enjoying nature and the elements around me.  I am giving thanks for this time with yáll and the heartbeat of the earth beneath our feet.” They quietly sat down on each side of me, closed their eyes and began to breathe slowly.  I looked up at one point to see each of them staring at my wand….so I looked around me and found two sticks that I had collected.  I handed each one and told them that this was a tool that I used to focus intention.  They placed them in their laps the way I had mine and closed their eyes again.  I could feel that wonderful peacefulness washing over all of us.  For those moments that we sat there enveloped in all four of the elements at once….we were concealed in peace and tranquility.  Nothing existed that would cause worry, pain, confusion….only calm.  At that moment, I explained to them that I liked to whisper the names of those close to me into the wind….offering them blessings.2014-05-03 12.10.55 HDR

 

It is in these moments of sharing that I see how truly strong the power of magick is.  It isn’t about becoming all powerful.  It isn’t about knowing or being more than someone else.  It isn’t about ‘see what I can do and you can’t.’ It is about showing others the magick around us and letting them know that they have access to it too.  It takes one simple thing:  Belief.

As we continued to walk the trails, I would point out areas that looked like little fairy mounds….covered in moss and flowers. It wasn’t long before we were all pointing them out to each other.  Yesterday was about allowing everything bothersome to wash away and allowing ourselves to turn our faces to the sun, feel the breeze against our skin, hear the sound of the water around us, and feel the earth beneath our feet…but more than that, to experience joy and laughter and peace.nature worship

Sometimes we just need to lose ourselves in the magick around us forget what the world expects of us.  The brothers and sisters I have in the Craft are a giving group.  When something calls to us for someone…we listen…whether it be a stone, wand, candle, or time.  It is always the perfect gift at the perfect time.

Do yourself a favor this week.  Give someone the gift of magick.  Both of you will benefit from it.

Blessed Be!

Run and Hide Your Crazy…

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I heard a phrase on the radio the other day that I haven’t heard since I was a young’un.  I was listening to a country music radio station on the way home from work and a song by Miranda Lambert came on.  The song is called, “Mama’s Broken Heart.”  In the song, Mama tells the girl to ‘Run and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.’  I laughed out loud because I can remember Mama telling her brothers and sisters that they needed to just ‘run on and hide their crazy.’

It is just so funny to me how things just kind of surface in our lives to give us a ‘heads up,’ so to speak.  Who knew that I would be dealing with bat-shit crazy this week?  Something always seems to be stirring, huh?

Let me preface what I am about to write.  Firstly, I am not Wiccan.  I am not Gardnerian.  I am not a Voudouist.  I am a Witch.  I practice in many different ways.  I employ animism, rootwork, herbalism, spoken and written spells, rituals to God and Goddess, dancing (naked and clothed), naturism, shamanism, and Native American medicine.  I am accountable to a small circle of friends, not a coven.2014-03-26 22.26.35

 

I have had a love of magick (and yes, I spell it with a ‘k’ because I choose to).  I am a part of the universe and the elements and they are all a part of me.  I make no excuses for anything I do in my Path…and I ask for no one’s approval.  As long as I feel the energy of the earth, sky, seas, sun and moon….all is well with the world.

I will also say that I have many friends who walk many different paths….Wicca, Voudou, Gardnerian, Shamanism–so many it is hard to even count.  They walk their paths with integrity, purpose and devotion.

So…you may ask, what brought all this on?  I received a scathing message this afternoon from someone who read my blog.  In this message, I was berated for not having been initiated properly by a High Priestess and Priest.  I was told that my ‘practices’ were essentially for naught because I did not belong to an  authentic tradition, and that I had not fulfilled the ‘year and a day’ requirement.  I was told that my spellwork  and rituals were too simplistic and my blogs too ‘fluffy.’  I was also warned of my association with the ‘dark’ gods and goddesses.

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Did I get angry, you may ask?  No.  Did I send a message back ripping this person from horn to hoof?  No.  Did I hurl a powerful, gut-wrenchingly painful curse or hex at this person?  No.  This person has already made their own bitter, hate-filled, narrow-minded cave to live in.  Just by this persons own divisive way of thinking, they have alienated themselves from such a powerful part of the magickal community.  They will never allow themselves to get to know some of the most creative, lively magick-filled folk ever created.

I do speak a warning to those of you reading this.  Do not discount the power that others hold.  Be warned, lest you fall into the ways of the mainline church.  If we start to behave the way this person did, we will soon be denominationalizing paganism (though I have already seen some leanings).  When we start to get ‘preachy’ about one way being right or wrong, others start to walk around us and avoid us…just like the street envangelist standing on a wooden box at the crosswalk.

My question to you is:  How do you respond when you find out that someone’s path is not like yours?  Are you open to what they believe?  Do you listen intently as they tell their experiences…even though they may not line up with what you were taught or do you stand there with little besoms and flames  darting in your eyes just waiting to tell them how wrong their chosen path is?

I am more than used to being told that I am wrong.  Being gay, I have been told that my ‘lifestyle’ is not natural so many times, I could circle the world with all the little gay rainbow fairies that passed out by the sheer shock.  Being told that something I do is wrong doesn’t even phase me anymore.  If I am wrong, I will be the first one to tell you.

It is not your job to live your life as a dementor.  It is not required for you to suck all of the happiness and joy out of the world.

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If the pagan community were to join energies, despite our differences, just imagine the magick that would encompass this world.  To most of the mundane community, magick has been confined to fairy tales and fiction.  Gods and goddesses have become only mythology and dragons and other magickal beings have been relocated to artwork and toys.

We have the potential to show paganism and witchcraft as honorable and full of integrity.  We have the ability in our very minds and hands to focus intention in ways never dreamed possible.  All we have to do is Learn to Play Nice!!!   2014-03-30 19.45.34The power is right there in your hands!

Blessed Be!

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!