There’s Something About the Woods….

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You’ve changed.  You’re daring.

You’re different in the woods…

You’ve changed.  You’re thriving.

There’s something about the woods…

The past couple of weeks have been challenging around here.  I have had the flu, an upper respiratory infection, and a blocked salivary gland.  In that time, I have worked, I have traveled, and had the opportunity for far more activity than rest.

Friday, my body required me  to pause long enough to have to be checked out.  I woke up Friday with the left side of my face swollen so big that it actually scared me.  There was a tremendous amount of heat coming from it.  I texted my boss and headed to my doctor.  He looked at my jaw and put his fingers all in my mouth and told me that he was sending me to Emory for a CAT Scan and Kidney bloodwork.  I looked down at  the prescription he gave me to hand them with his instructions.  The first words I read:  Cancer Check.  My heart sunk as I read and I called my roommate to see if he would go with me.

We got there and spent a huge amount of time waiting.  I remained patient, knowing that the flu season had officially started in Atlanta.  I watched as a little grandma across from me wept and whispered how much she hurt.

When I was finally ushered into one of the rooms, I endured the smacking of fingers against veins and listened to the nurses tell me what I hear all the time, “You don’t have much in there as far as veins.  I am going to have to use the back of your hands, legs, tops of your feet.”  They all seemed amazed at the amount of swelling in my jaw and neck. “That just happened overnight?!?”  I would nod and smile.

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After the CAT Scan and bloodwork, the doctor seemed certain it was a blocked salivary gland.  She prescribed antibiotics and lots of sour candy to get the saliva flowing.  I promised as I left that I would check in with my own doctor yesterday morning.

I followed through and went to my doctor yesterday.  He was surprised that the swelling had not reduced much.  He brought up the fact that there had been a resurgence of mumps lately (which I, of course, had never had).  I went back home to my sour candy and antibiotics that would give an elephant diarrhea.

Late last night, I had been house bound as long as I could be.  I begged Jay for a trip to the movies.  We went to see “Into the Woods.”  This has always been one of my least favorite musicals, but I thought that it might make up for my having to be away from my woods for so long.

After the movie last night, I drifted to sleep.  In my dreams, I walked the woods over and over with Mama Crow and Wolf at my side.  I dreamed of Frisbee dancing alongside me.  Funny, I was never the baker, or Red Riding Hood, or Jack in my dreams….but always the witch…always searching for those perfect ingredients for healing.

I woke up this morning as the rain was still spitting and hissing through the clouds.  I couldn’t stay inside one more moment.  I had to be apart of the outdoors.  I had to be a part of that which I had been born of.  The elements called to me…I could hear the birds and the wind.  They longed to dance and play.

I pulled on my cloak and roused a wild little chihuahua.  We made our way through puddles and mud into a place where we feel more at home than on our own sofa.  I had brought a tarp and blanket.  I have found that after a good rain, it keeps us from being soaked but still allows us to feel the ground under our rumps.  As I closed my eyes and inhaled the smell of the damp outdoors, I could hear the sounds of nature around me.  I had the feeling that I would see the Green Wizard this morning…just one of those knowings that brew deep inside of you.

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Of course, his first words are, “Oh my gosh, what happened to your face?!”  I explained what had been going on.  He laughed and asked if I had dried arnica, dried calendula,  charcoal,  and lavender oil back at the condo.  I told him I did.  He told me to go get it.  He was already digging out red clay from an area behind us and getting handfuls of other things as I walked back to the condo.

I came back with the requested items and he added them to the clay mix.  After everything was mixed thoroughly, he plastered the muck behind my ear and down the side of my jaw and neck.  He told me to leave it on for a couple of hours and then I could wash it off.

Today was a singing day.  We would take turns breaking out in songs that just came to our heads…..some based in pure nonsense, some serious.  We took turns dancing with the dogs and the breeze.  When we collapsed on the blanket…laughing and breathing heavy…he smiled and told me that he could tell that the Weathered Wiseman needed time with himself in the woods and that he would give me my time.  Part of me wanted to object because we were having such a good time, but there was that part of me that knew he was more than right.  I rubbed Boomer under his chin as Friz did one more play pounce on him.  The Green Wizard picked Friz up and rubbed him on his neck and then put him down in my lap.

As I watched the Green Wizard walk off through the woods, I am sprawled out with that wild chihuahua bouncing on my belly.  I listened as Mama Crow crackled out her sounds of approval.  I speak out loud to her, “Mama Crow…what is coming?  Where will the magick take me?”  She laughed her course laugh again…in a way telling me that no matter what, I need to meet it with flexibility and all the magick I have in me.

I close my eyes and ponder over my dear friend Maluna’s words:

Cold, Wolf, Chaste, Ice Moon, Sunday at 11:53 pm. Looks like ice and cold are on tap here. Winter is about to descend on us with a vengeance….Things are bare…except for the evergreens, and the Ivy that surrounds our house….ever green…ever Goddess. It’s pouring rain…it will turn to ice tonight….the deadliest of the Water forms (in my book)…it shows no mercy. My thoughts and studies turn to Brigid….goddess of springs, holy wells…fire…and for me she represents the waters of our land right now. Old farmers are saying the water content is low….for the coming growth season we welcome the rains and snows…one of the reasons I don’t get depressed this time of year….what is happening now….will benefit the summer. This is the full moon before Imbolc….February 2nd…full Quickening Moon….the 3rd. I have a full month of workings before Imbolc….confused? It’s ok….this works for me…you’re welcome to try it if you like. I’ll work this Cold Moon for the abandoned and abused animals….wildlife has a tendency to survive Nature….or not….that is their law….humans and their cruelty kill more than the Elements…I provide as much food and shelter possible….opening myself to the fires of Brigid for warmth….protect them all…please. Deepen your winter journey….work to provide for others, help those in need, the elderly…use the warm and cleansing energies…If you focus positive energy on the future, understand what is happening in the coming months….(granted, we don’t LIKE it) but it’s much easier if you accept and acknowledge the flow of Nature. It’s challenging….and rewarding to work with the Elements….without Earth, Air, Fire, and Water….we would not be….I give thanks for their gifts…and survive. BB

That is the one thing about life and magick…it is always moving forward.  We have to choose whether we move with it or not.  Nature is always changing, as shown by the seasons.  The wheel doesn’t wait for us to catch up.

It is never more evident than when I am in the woods that I am a part of that.

Oh, and by the way, after two hours with that muddy salve on my neck, jaw and ear…the swelling had almost completely gone.

Blessed Be!2015-01-02 23.53.58

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Be the Witch You Are

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Sitting outside, minding my own business, playing with my phone and eating my lunch while overhearing a small group of inconsiderate Buckhead Bettys talking smack about everything from their husbands to the maids and everyone in between. When a bird flew by and crapped in one of their salads. You should have seen the look on her face and heard the shriek she let out when she bit into a spoonful of bird crap.

This is from the Facebook post of a friend of mine.  We have all been fed crap at some point in our lives.  We have been told that we aren’t doing something correctly or that something we believe isn’t the truth or that we are wrong for being who we are.503155

In looking back, in so many ways, I was a chameleon.  I was always changing to blend into my surroundings.  I think back to my high school years…I was neither jock nor redneck or geek or popular.  I blended with all of those crowds.  It was easy to fade into the background, never having enough voice to speak to who I really was.

As I aged, I became more confident in who was inside my skin.  It became easier to say the “G” word.  I was confident enough to walk down the street holding hands with my partner.  Charlotte, North Carolina was not quite as confident in my ‘gayness’ as I was.  I remember being beaten up a few times just for standing strong and believing in who I am.  I couldn’t understand why other people should be allowed to show the love they had for their significant other in public places, but I couldn’t.

More years added more callouses.  I came out of another closet…the broom closet.  Once more the chorus of background voices started singing the “you need to…you ought to…you’ve got to…” serenade.  People can’t seem to understand that others have to walk their own path.  We feel the need to push them bound and gagged down the path we think they should follow.

Social media has become a great source of access to those practicing the Craft, but with the many groups, it can also be a great source of judgement for those who may be new and walking with a bit of uncertainty.  Don’t get me wrong, there are groups out there that are honestly interested in the growth of those new to the Craft.  It is when I see others take a holier than thou attitude when it comes to aiding someone in their journey that starts that slow burn in me.  I also have no time for those who will question or ridicule a path that someone walks because it doesn’t mirror their own.1375283_10152309486609007_5108159257972466424_n

Our lives are an evolution.  We are constantly growing…branching into many different directions.  We have to allow others to walk, to fall…but we have to be willing to pick them up.  We have to be willing to change.  The world around us shows us that change is the only constant in our lives.

This morning, when Friz and I made our way to the woods, I could smell change in the air.  Even though it was still warm-ish out, there was a crispness in the air.  I carried Friz most of the way this morning.  It had been a week since we had seen each other (I was away on business in Florida).  I honestly have to say that as we rounded the corner to the column where the Green Wizard normally shows himself, I felt a bit disheartened when I didn’t see him.  I walked toward the woods with Friz cradled in the crook of my arm.  We got to our little clearing and I started unpacking…candles, bones, magickal what nots…and breakfast.  Just as I settled in, I heard a rustling that startled me.  I turned quickly and let out a short yelp as the Green Wizard rushed toward me.  Friz was all excited.  I think I peed a little just from the surprise.

He fell onto the leaves laughing and I did a mock scowl.  He chuckles out an apology.  I can’t be mad….after all, I was so disappointed when I didn’t see him…and it was so good seeing the twinkle in his eyes coming back.  We talked about everything and nothing all at once.  He asked about the trip to Florida and I questioned him about his journeys for the week.  We talked about the approaching change in seasons and Mabon.  We talk about things to come.  The Green Wizard’s mood becomes more somber, “You know you are the only person who doesn’t look at me and see a homeless bum.  You have taken the time to get to know me.  You understand who I am.  You have taken time to understand my hopes and my dreams…to know that there is more to me than ragged clothes and a wandering path.”

I explained to him that to some degree, we are all wandering.  We are all ragged and dirty from all that life throws at us and throws us into…but we continue the journey.  We find who we are buried in those moments when no one else is looking at us…when we fade into the background.  It is in the silence that we learn to hear and recognize our own voices.

I read a piece written and shared on Facebook by a dear friend of mine, Cindy Maluna,

Mabon…September 22. The second of the three major harvests, and also the autumn equinox. The balance between light and dark. Southern hemisphere….Ostara…spring equinox. The days grow shorter, darker from here on out. Things die, or will become dormant…a necessity. This marks the descent of the Sun God….he will return at Yule. Just a short time actually…and the coming months are full of activities to keep us busy. We’ve enjoyed the veggies…will savor the fruits…and survive the winter. We will. We’ll order bulbs…plan our gardens….tend our houses. You can’t change the cycles…one balances the other…death. Rebirth. You have to look at it with practicality, with realism. Our bodies change, we grow old, we die. Those who give birth….our legacy…goes on. Those who don’t have children….you leave your mark on this world…your thoughts, deeds, yes…you are still part of the great thread of life. We’re entering the Crone stage….and believe me…it’s an awesome time…can’t have children anymore? Give birth to yourself….create this special time of YOU. I move slower, ache more, take longer to do things….but I enjoy what I do, what I create….I savor it. I love it. You have so much to contribute to this world…until the day you die…you have opportunities right in front of you. Don’t miss out by looking back… what you were…..create what you will be. Harvest, eat it up…and enjoy. You are on this Earth….make it count. Become a legacy….welcome Mabon. BB2014-09-20 18.38.13

 

I explained that it was through Magick, through our own legacy of the Craft, I came to know and to understand him and him, me.  I walked him through my own daily journeys….learning every day to be a more genuine, effective me.  Those closest to me see my failures…they watch me fall.  More important than anything in the world, though, is the fact that they see me pick myself up, brush off the dirt and keep on moving.  I have only one desire and that is to be the best I can personally be.  I fully intend to be the witch I am.

Blessed Be!

Little Narrow Gate

sheep gateThere’s a little narrow gate
At the top of a hill
And it beckons my heart to enter in
And follow where it will
Oh, where it will
And the path that leads through this gate of dreams
Takes me away

With the wind at my back
The journey before me
I set my feet on the road that leads to life
And take the hands of the ones
Who’ll be my companions
For they will show me the place to begin

Most of my life has been a constant battle.  The battle hasn’t been with any one person.  The battle hasn’t even been with myself.  It would be easy to fight those battles.  When one has a visual of an enemy, one has something to focus on defeating.  My battle is within my mind….my emotions.  Every day of my life, the battle that I wage is against anxiety.  It isn’t just plain old every day concerns…because in my mind, those concerns become monsters.  They twist and contort to become something far worse than they started out to be.

I have said in earlier blogs that I am, by nature, an introvert.  I make myself act like an extrovert.  Over the years, I have learned what it takes to make oneself seem at ease in public places and the one in the room who makes everyone laugh.  It is far easier than explaining the social anxieties I feel whenever I meet someone new. It is far easier to be the one who makes everyone else feel at ease while your own heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and your face is flushing.  It is easier to make them think the flush in your cheeks is due to the gut-busting laugh you just let fly.  All the while….you stand there feeling like a fearful little boy who only wants someone to take his hand and tell him that it’s ok and will all be over shortly.

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This past week has been particularly challenging for me.  It seems that every moment was inundated with anxiety rearing its ugly head.  “What if you aren’t able to perform up to par at work?” “What if you were left all alone for the rest of your life?”  “What if something happened to…your dog, your family, your partner, your friends?”  It also hasn’t helped that I am anticipating a week long work venture starting next weekend where I am constantly surrounded by hundreds of colleagues.

Normally, when I feel overwhelmed, I bury myself in comfort.  This week has been all about Peanuts comic strips, Harry Potter movies and a whole lot of sage and incense. I separate myself…I disappear into nature.  Unfortunately, this weekend, that has been hard.  It has rained almost the whole weekend.  I have either been forced to be social or to sit inside and pace like a caged wolf.Rain GIF

 

Normally the rain would be soothing, but that is only when I get out in the midst of it.  This morning was the first morning that it had only been spitting rain here.  It wasn’t a steady pour, but more like the Great Mother was blowing a raspberry.  It has been chillier than typical for this time of year, so I decided that, for my own sanity, I had to venture outside.

I gathered up Friz before the sun even came up this morning.  His sleepy little eyes begged me not to take him to the vet again like yesterday.  I got my backpack sorted, threw my cloak over me and headed for the woods.  Friz wasn’t feeling the walk in the spritzes of rain, so I picked him up and tucked him inside my cloak.  We made our way through the small canape of trees and found our familiar clearing.  I sat down in the midst of the wet leaves.  Who cares how much they soaked through?  I pulled out my candles, crystals, skulls and incense.  The circle this morning was made by putting various colors of rose petals in a circle around me.  This morning, I needed to feel that love that I knew was only a breath away.  I scattered petals over the skulls and around the candles.  This morning would be a ritual for me.  Sometimes you just have to make it about yourself.

I closed my eyes and sang to the elements.  I could smell the wet earthiness and floral fragrances.  I could feel the breeze against my cheeks and the heat of the candles as I moved my hands above them. I called to Mama Crow and to Wolf.  This morning, more than ever, I needed teaching and magickal enlightenment.  I could sense them moving quietly behind me.  I continued to sing.  I remember my grandma…in times of trouble or uncertainty, she sang.  She said that she did it to make her heart match the spirit around her.  Sometimes I sang words that I knew and sometimes I let the spirit moving inside me birth words that seemed unintelligible.  As I smelled the sweet sage and incense wafting around me, my heart began to lighten.  My grandma used to tell me that sometimes we just have to wait for the mind and heart to catch up with the spirit.2014-07-18 23.48.50

 

I realized that I had waited too long to try to lift this mood.  The moment I felt it, I should have been in the woods pouring my spirit out before nature and my guides.  It was strange.  Mama Crow and Wolf kept their distance until my heart felt lighter.  After that moment, they came closer…Mama Crow sternly reprimanding me for taking so long and Wolf patiently staring at me to see if the lessons he gave had taken root.

I thanked them, the elements, and all of Nature around me and gathered all that I had brought.  Friz had apparently slept well inside my cloak because he was ready to walk now.  We walked the newer path we had found  and as we moved to the top of the hill, we saw a narrow little wooden gate.  It reminded me of those we used with the goats back home.  Within a matter of moments, I heard a sound I hadn’t heard since our last trip to North Carolina….the sound of goats.  I remembered last year when they brought goats in to clear the brush around the complex.

I was reminded of the lyrics to the song I started the blog with.  Most of our lives, we spend on the safe side of the gate…where we won’t encounter anything that we might not be completely comfortable with.  This morning, I walked through that gate.  In my mind’s eye, I could see me holding onto Wolf’s coat as I walked and I could feel the weight of Mama Crow on my shoulder….and leading the way was  a little blue chihuahua who knows no fear.

With the wind at my back
The journey before me
I set my feet on the road that leads to life
And take the hands of the ones
Who’ll be my companions
For they will show me the place to begin

Sometimes, even an old Weathered Wiseman has to start from the beginning of the journey….it keeps you from getting too big for your britches.

Blessed Be!2014-07-19 18.46.03

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!

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!

A Walk Through the Gardens with Friends

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When I was growing up, I was always reminded how important friendships were.  My mother was still friends with the people she was friends with in grade school.  My grandma still talked daily to “the girls” that she spent time with in high school.  Friendship and devotion were ingrained in me from an early age.  I am still friends with many of my exes simply based on this philosophy that was constantly spoon-fed to me. 

I still think of a group of guys I used to meet on a weekly basis, just to have coffee and mull over the happenings of the week.  I am still friends with the whole group.  We may only get to communicate via phone or Facebook now, but we do still communicate.

I was thinking about my friends and acquaintenances in the pagan community.  I have a large circle…but those that I am closest to are like my own kin.  In my immediate circle of men and women is a group of those that I trust implicitly.  It is with those people that I share parts of me that no one else gets to see.  Among those friends are also four leggeds.Basset Hound Laying in the grass.

I have long been a wanderer.  I guess you could say that I am quite a bit like a hound dog.  My nose leads me.  As I walk, a new scent will distract me and head me off into a different direction.  Today as I walked with Friz in the light mist of rain that encompassed the condo complex, I caught a whiff of something familiar, but wild at the same time.  I pulled the leash as I made my way around corners and through small groves of trees, up to a small patch of a garden.  I looked down and was surprised by what I saw.  One of our neighbors had planted a small batch of marigolds.  That familiar stench had wrapped its way around my nostrils and taken me back many years.

I remember sitting at the edge of my dad’s garden with my best friend from grade school.  We were playing and decided that we needed to cover our own scent with the smell of the marigolds my dad had planted throughout the garden.  We gathered the bright orange, yellow and burgundy heads from everyone of the small flowers and ground them into our skin. That smell still takes me to the verge of vomiting today.  It was that smell that your hands hold after a full evening of catching lightning bugs…..that wild musky rank sickening smell.  I laughed as Friz got close to the blooms and then recoiled at that stink. 

When we got back to the condo, I curled up on the outdoor sofa with Friz by my side and looked around at everything showing its springtime faces and blooms.  Many of my witch friends came to mind as my thoughts drifted toward herbs and flowers.  There have been many a night when I have danced through the courtyard knowing that the energy of my friends was dancing with me.  Some of these friends I have never met face to face….but I know better than I know some of my own family.  Some of them I have met and giggled with and hugged and it was wonderful!  It is in my darker times that I close my eyes and can feel those hugs and the giggles singing in my ears.

I remember a spell that I spoke out into the universe as a witchling long long ago.  I was sitting out by the chicken coop on the farm playing with one of the baby goats….I whispered into the air, “I never want to be without friends.”  At that moment in time, I was specifically talking about the four leggeds, but Goddess is far more faithful than we can imagine.

I know that it is very easy in a moment of loneliness to sit around and say, “Nobody cares….nobody loves me.”  You have no idea.  You have absolutely no idea how many people in the span of minutes have let you play through their minds and memories….thinking of how much they care about you. 

I danced in the courtyard again tonight.  I saw the faces of those who danced with me.  My darling Donna, Jerry, my little fireball Heather, Jason, my dear Jackie, my sweet Maluna….but the one who danced the hardest, laughed the loudest and sang with the most abandon was the Lady herself.

Come sisters and brothers, take my hand.

Dance with me across the skies.

Two-leggeds, four leggeds join in the song.

From this, our beginning, our spirit flies.

The brew, without you, is not complete.

Lend your voice to this, our spell.

As we cry, “So Mote It Be.”

The work is done and all is well.

Blessed Be!

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Spring Fever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!