The Long Way Home

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The past two weeks seem to be the longest two weeks ever.  Through the pandemic, the only places I have been are the grocery store, the woods, and hiking.  I haven’t been to North Carolina to visit my family since Christmas of 2019.  Yes, I talk to my mama every day or so…I text my nieces almost daily…I video chat with the babies every other week…but it just isn’t the same.  Hugs and kisses over video leave you feeling a little lackluster.

During this time of separation, I have been trying to be productive.  I have been studying, creating, building, searching.  One of the things I decided to try was Ancestry.com. I have been able to trace one side of my dad’s family back to the 1500’s in Nairn, Scotland.  Our surname has evolved many times over the years…centuries.  We have been Gaddy…then further back, Getty…the back further, Gettie…then before that, Goudie…and prior to that Gowdie.  I have traced my lineage back to an Isobel Gowdie….now whether or not that is the one and only Witch of Scotland, who knows.  It is a nice thought though.  It is nice to have a history.

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I have been studying a book called, “Scottish Witchcraft” by Barbara Margaret Meiklejohn-Free.  I have been pouring through the pages absorbing every morsel.  One area of the book speaks to ancestral magic.  She addresses the fact that there are blood ancestors (those you know) and unknown ancestors.  She speaks of finding her own connection to unknown ancestors and the journey that they led her through.  I have loved building a new ancestral altar separate from the one that I have for my blood ancestors.  It is an altar that holds the breath of Scotland and the Welsh countryside close.

During the full Strawberry moon and eclipse last night, I called upon those ancestors.  I could feel the power surging…I could hear their ancient voices on the wind as I stilled myself and prepared for what they wanted to teach me.  It was like I could feel myself walking the Scottish landscape and could sense them walking with me.  I could see the many standing stones as we weaved in and out…I could hear the lilt of their voices whispering ancient secrets.

 

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There is something to be said about walking the worlds with those whose spirits resonate with your own.  There is a familiarity and a magical feeling just knowing that you are part of the same clan, so to speak, but on completely different planes.

I have also been trying to go to the woods more.  There is something in me that craves that connection with nature.  Rituals under the patio or in the courtyard don’t hold the same power as sitting under a tree listening to the sounds around me with a small sand-filled cauldron with a candle burning and natural elements scattered around.  I have become a hoarder of bark, walnut casings, sticks, and rocks.  If it calls to me, it stays with me.

Lately, when I visit the woods in the early morning or close to dusk, I am visited by a young fox, a squirrel, and a crow.  The fox won’t ever get any closer than 20 or so feet away.  He’s always watching, but still seems comfortable enough to lie down where he is.  It’s almost as if he wants to be a part of the magic happening.  The squirrel on the other hand likes to play.  He or she is a mischievous little creature who seems to enjoy throwing black walnut hulls at me as I do my workings.  The crow, who I like to think is Mama crow, sits on perched in a tree about 10 feet away.  I can hear her cawing and of course, I answer back.  We are an odd group, but there is a camaraderie there.  A knowing that none in our circle is there to harm the other or interfere in the business of the other.  I am not one who feels the need to pursue the animals or call to them like pets.  If they speak, I answer back.

It has been important for me as of late to create many of my own tools.  I needed something that would make transport easy, so I created a potions/incense/tool case. It holds my favorite incenses, candles, snips, my mini Book of Shadows, my mandrake root, and a small athame…all the essentials.

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I have found that in the makings and workings as of late, that the feelings and needs that home and family provide are never that far away.  Through the ancestral workings, I have been introduced to the spirits of family that I never thought to engage before.  Being away from my homeplace for so many years, I have learned that home isn’t necessarily a building or a piece of land.  It is the feelings and spirit that you carry with you in every moment.  In every memory…in every working…I am more at home than I ever have been.

I guess what I took the long way around to tell you is:  Don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Don’t look at solitude as loneliness.  Utilize all that is within you and around you and you will never be that far away from the magic and purpose you are called to be a part of.

Blessed Be.

 

Becoming the Keeper of Your Own Flame

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This morning was indeed a glorious morning.  I was up before the sky goes from midnight blue to sunrise pink.  I did something this morning that made my time in the woods seem like a spa day.  I packed a thermos full of dark rich espresso flavored with stevia and hazelnut creamer.  As I led Friz down that familiar path, I could feel the warmth of the thermos pressed against my back from my backpack.

As we settled down onto the ground, I pulled that warm to the touch thermos out of my backpack, and as I unscrewed the top, I could see the steam escape.  Wonderful scents of cream and hazelnut and strong coffee wafted toward my nostrils.  In that moment, I couldn’t resist joining that joyous dance which is coffee.

I believe that all things happen for a reason.  There is magick to be found in all situations.  As I was dusting my bookshelf this week, one particular book leapt from the shelf and onto the floor in front of me.  This book is titled, “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee.”  This wonderful book came to me through a dear friend in the fall of 2013.  As I leafed through the pages, I would find myself smiling or chuckling as I remembered when I first read this book by author J.V. Manning.

As I began to re-read the entries, I came across one that resonated deeply in my spirit.  This entry, “Only in Silence, Can You Hear,” speaks of taking a step back…removing yourself and allowing yourself to live life instead of allowing life to go on automatic pilot.  In that entry, the author herself was dealing with some storms in her own life…but think about it, even when storms aren’t surfacing, how often do we live on automatic pilot?

I know in my own life, each day has seemed to become more about rushing from one happening to another, barely taking time to breathe, let alone still my mind.  We are constantly bombarded with work issues, home issues…just the daily taking care of business.  Somewhere in that busy-ness, we are expected to nurture our own spirit, work splendid magickal workings, and take care of the needs of others around us.

As Imbolc approaches, I have been reading more about the goddess Brigid and who she is.  She is goddess of the land.  She is the goddess of peace. She is the goddess of the home fires.  She is the goddess of healing.  She is the goddess of contemplation.   All of these are things that I need to take to heart as the next part of winter moves upon us.  flamehand

For some reason….and I don’t know why…I always kind of kept it in the back of my head that it was the responsibility of the goddess to keep my fires “stoked,” so to speak.  I would continue running around like a chicken with my head cut off and scream up into the trees, “Stoke those fires within me, goddess!”  Then I would wonder why I would burn out faster than a Qtip soaked in pig fat.

This week has been a lesson in taking time.  Time for me…stopping and listening to the silence around me.  It is in that time that my spirit, my very soul is able to speak.  It is in that time that I am able to listen.  I have been using my sacred space that I created…to most it would seem like a large closet, but to me, it is a refuge.  A place where my heart can hear and listen.  It was in this time of separation and silence that  I was able to ask the goddess to show me the heart of someone whom I hadn’t given a proper chance.  It was in those moments of solitude and quiet that I was able to hear her tell me to look at this person’s heart…nothing more, nothing less.  It was in that silence that my heart opened to who this person truly is and the potential they hold.

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We have to take time to take care of our own spirits.  Life has become a whirlwind around us.  If we don’t make the time for those small, seemingly insignificant moments where we are allowed to sip on a cup of coffee and process life around us, then we have become machines.

This morning, as I leaned against that comfortable old tree with that little blue chihuahua in my lap and my hands wrapped around a thermos lid full of coffee, I closed my eyes…I listened as my own voice broke the silence…”Let me be real slow to anger…Let me speak blessings…Let me look on each day and each circumstance with gratitude…Let me always be honest to a fault, with myself first and then to others.  Let me be a vessel of peace and healing…Give me the strength to always fan the flame within my own spirit first and then to help to fan the flame within others.”

In that moment, I felt a warmth from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.  I don’t know if it was the coffee, the goddess…all I know is that at that moment, the hearth fires within my very soul were burning strong.

The Magick has come easier this week.  I have learned that sometimes it isn’t about creating the spell…it is about listening to everything around you and letting the spell create itself.  Magick is weaving itself around us all the time.  It is a living breathing thing that is constantly moving and constantly changing…and just waiting for us to catch up to it.  If we could only learn to stop trying to outrun it.

Blessed Be!

 

 

Here is the link if you are interested in a copy of “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee”

http://www.amazon.com/Random-Thoughts-Lotsa-Coffee-Collection

 

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.

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Having a Morrigan Morning

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This morning, as Friz and I made our way to the woods just before sunrise, I could smell the dampness in the air.  It was coolish…our nights have had lows in the twenties this week.  It seemed as I walked, that I was walking in slow motion.  The trees were stark looking against the dark morning sky.  You could smell the earth going dormant with every footstep. As I looked around me, I could see the toll that the below freezing temperatures had taken.  Rose bushes and plants had that wilted and defeated look about them.  I could tell that the Goddess was preparing for her winter’s death-sleep.

The crows have been more prominent lately.  My partner told me the other day that he watched as a crow flew above him with a McDonald’s bag with two other crows on his tail.  He asked me what the significance of this was.  I was at a loss.  I said, “He was hungry?”  He was not amused.  The sad thing is that the poor crow dropped the bag and the two hamburgers he managed to pilfer fell to the ground and the other two crows attacked them ferociously.2014-10-02 12.49.53

Although I follow the path of the Morrigan year-long, I know that in these months that the world grows darker that she is more prominent.  The Morrigan is often seen as the goddess of death…but she is also the goddess of fertility.  So as the earth goes into its own death-sleep, she is the one planting those seeds of rebirth as it sleeps.  I have seen her do the same in my life.  As one vision dies, she is busy planting that seed for new visions….and giving me strength for the battle.  I have found that the more I work with her, the easier it is  to allow her to control certain areas and for me to take myself out of the picture.

The thing that I keep in the forefront of my mind, is that the hero was never slain at the hands of the Morrigan…unless he refused to acknowledge her sovereignty.  I have found that she fights alongside of me daily.  The issues I face may sound trivial to some, but she is willing to take up her sword for and with me.  She is willing to offer me wings.  I have always said that we are all born with wings, but we let the world steal them.  I remember a quote from the movie Maleficent:

I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.

We allow the circumstances and people that come against us to steal those wings.  We then spend more time grieving over the loss than seeking out a way to fly again.  The Morrigan is that way of soaring.

As Friz and I sat in the midst of the trees stripped bare of their foliage, I listened for the heartbeat of the universe around me.  I was greeted by a crow caw…loud and coarse and crackled.  I looked above me and I could see Mama Crow against the gray sky.  There were three or four other crows with her…each cawing back and forth to each other.  It reminded me of listening to my grandmother and her sisters gossiping when I was growing up.  They would lean back and throw out their harsh, cracked belly laughs for everyone to hear.

I placed my crow skull on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones I had made.  I pulled out my small cauldron and placed a charcoal disc inside.  I burned it with my lighter until it was white hot and then I put some of the Morrigan incense I have on it.  I light the red tealights I brought.  At this point, I rubbed some of the Ave’s Flying Ointment that I had bought from Sarah Anne Lawless, on each temple.  The scents of amber, dragon’s blood, juniper, rosemary and thyme encircle me.  As my little blue chihuahua sleeps in my lap, I fall into an almost trance-like state…so many friends and family in so many battles right now.  I begin to chant:

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of change,

Strengthen me and those I cherish with the power to fight those battles that come against us head-on.

Goddess of fertility, birth in us new visions and plant the seeds for new magick.

Goddess of shapeshifting…help our spirits to transform into whatever we need to face our enemies.

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of battle,

We stand ready to fight.

Circumstances, disease, ourselves.

We will emerge victorious!

A slight breeze begins to blow.  I listen to the rhythm of the trees as they softly sway.  They seem to sing to me as I wrap myself in the magick all around me.  It is amazing the lessons we can learn from nature.  The trees bend to the breeze rather than fight it.  Nature doesn’t fear the cold that winter brings, it adapts to it.  It takes that time to rest and regenerate.  The trees whisper to me…”Learn our lessons…move when you need to. Stand strong when required. At the end of life is when you lie down and return to the earth.”2014-11-16 16.07.45

 

While my eyes are closed, I hear the sounds of nature around me….birds and breezes, leaves being rustled by small animals.  I open my eyes and and the air around me chills me to the bone.  I notice that Friz has edged closer to the candles and the cauldron but still manages to stay covered in my cloak.  In that moment, I feel like if I leaped toward the sky that a pair of strong, powerful wings would burst forth from my body and I would soar high above the trees.

Mama Crow is still above me.  I think I entertain her…but she has become accustomed to me.  My heart is racing…my spirit yearns for its wings.  Soon…very soon…I will fly beside Mama Crow.

Blessed Be!

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Slow Dancing and Living Life On My Terms

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Friday was my birthday.  I made possibly the worst decision of my life.  I sat down at 11pm and watched a movie by myself.  The movie?  “Marley and Me.”  I heaved and I sobbed for the last hour of the movie.  I had to get a hand towel from the closet, it was so bad.  It pulled every emotion I felt for the past twenty years up and out.

Now this little sob fest had nothing to do with the fact that I am now two years from fifty.  It had nothing to do with the fact that life in general is a whirlwind.  It was because this movie takes you from birth to old age and finally the death of a beloved friend.

I have always believed deeply in the quote at the top of the page.  It has always been my mantra that we are the end result of all the choices that we make in our lives.  Our hearts, spirits, bodies are the summation of every good, bad, or so-so choice we have ever made.  If you think back far enough, you can take a choice that you have made and correlate it with a later event in your life.

I was in Florida most all of last week.  Many things were presented to me in that leg of my journey in life.  I was able to visit with a friend…able to walk by the water with him….feeling that balmy breeze against my face.  We were looking for makeshift ingredients for a spell.  I look back now and see that it wasn’t looking for ingredients as much as it was about listening to the sounds around us.  I think back on that night and I see more of who I am becoming.  It is becoming more obvious that the Morrigan is the goddess with whom I work.  My words, my actions are becoming more blunt…less willing to allow things that I think are harmful to come into the picture at all.

I know that age is a part of that too.  Too many times I have wanted to pull someone aside this week and ‘enlighten’ them…simply because I have been there before, I want to save them the pain, I want them to be able to see with the eyes of the crone…one who has felt that pain and moved past it.  But I also know that each one has to walk out their own path, their own journey.  I can’t do that for them.  We each have to feel the pain and elation that comes with life.  The only thing that I can do is pray for clarity.

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One thing that I have mulled over in my mind all weekend is the fact that we, as witches, are often quick on the draw with the spellbook.  If you think about it, though, every word that leaves your mouth is a spell of sorts.  Whenever you sit and fume over what the neighbors do…you form intention and out spews exactly what you wish would happen to them.  Each argument that you have with your spouse or partner has the power to build up or rip to shreds.  The words you say speak your own truth daily. Think of your own self speak.  What do you speak into your own life?

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Last night, I dreamed that I found a baby raven.  There was no mother or father anywhere to be found.  As I sat talking out loud to this little black ball of fluff, it ambled out of the nest and plopped itself right down into the middle of my hands.  I picked it up and carried it home with me.  I wasn’t sure what to feed it, how to feed it, or how to nurture it.  Throughout the dream, with no help from me, the raven seemed to grow and mature.  It was a time span of only a month, but this raven had grown into a throaty, raspy voiced adult that only attached itself to me.  Wherever I went, it went with me….riding contentedly on my arm.pet raven

Has a new vision been birthed in my life?  Is it a vision that is going to take a growing strength? Or maybe I am adding to the vision inside of me.  I won’t pretend to be this gentle, plodding soul of a Cunning Man who constantly navigates the woods or creeks or ponds of life.  There is also just that much of me that lives life here in the city and curses when he is cut off in traffic.  He is that person that struggles sometimes with whether or not to break out a poppet and stick it full of pins instead of blessings.  I am the witch who would honestly rather use “Bitch Be Gone” Powder more than “Come to Me Oil.”

I feel that as I move more into the Samhain of my own life, when not everything is about ‘love and light,’ that I have to become more confident in the magick that is brewing inside me.  If I were to feel little bubbles of light all the time…honestly, knowing myself, I would just have to chalk it up to gas.

The one thing that I strive for more than anything with the rising number of years that come with each birthday…is transparency.  I always want to show forth exactly who I am.  Some days that can be a good thing…some days, not so much.  I always want people to look in my eyes and see that no matter what, I will never compromise who I am.

While I was away last week, we were thrown a party.  There was food and drinking and dancing.  I sat at my table and watched as the men and women danced.  I watched as heads were lain on shoulders and people got lost in the moment.  It was during my little daydream that a male friend of mine sat down at my table.  “I feel bad for you.  You don’t have anyone to dance with.”  With those words, this tall, rugged looking straight man takes my hand and leads me to the dance floor.  “You’ve got me for the rest of the evening.”  With that, I put my head on his shoulder and listened to him hum.  He was no less straight and I was no less gay.  He was completely comfortable with who he is and living his life on his terms….and forever, he will be my hero.

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

So When the Moon Tells You Something… Believe It.

2014-06-14 15.19.13Darkness. That’s the first thing I remember. It was dark, it was cold, and I was scared. But then… then I saw the Moon. It was so big, and it was so bright. It seemed to, chase the darkness away. And when it did… I wasn’t scared anymore.

 

Why is it that all secrets seem to be cloaked in darkness.  We feel that secrets protect us when all they do is hurt us in the long run.  This has been a week of ‘Can you keep a secret’s.’  The truth is, no, I can’t.  My face gives me away every time.  If I even try to tell the smallest white lie, I go all red in the face…I giggle like a twelve year old trying to tell a dirty joke, and I try to escape.

I remember when I was a small child, my father had planned a surprise for my mom’s birthday.  Everyone around her was sworn to secrecy.  My mom comes into the room one afternoon as we were making plans and asked what we were doing.  Yes….you guessed it…I sang like a canary.

When I joined the ministry, I was scared to death.  I had heard all of these pastors around talk about ‘pastor/parishioner confidentiality.’  It horrified me.  I did find, however, that it was totally different than telling a lie or keeping a secret.  It was just a matter of not acknowledging the information at all.  Even now, at work, if someone comes up and says, “So you’re gay?  So you’re a witch?”  I just smile and answer with yes…it just saves me the stress of trying to hide it.

I determined very early in my life that I would never give anyone the stress of holding onto my secrets.  I never wanted anyone else to feel that feeling that I would get in the pit of my stomach when someone asked me for information that I had promised to guard.  It was in those early years that I began telling my secrets to the moon.  I could whisper them or yell them, she never ridiculed me and she never told those secrets to anyone.2014-06-04 08.50.15

Lately, I have come to trust others with my secrets.  Now I share those secrets with Wolf and Crow.  Wolf guards them ferociously and Crow takes them high into the sky on her wings and drops them among the clouds.  I am never threatened with them coming back at me at the wrong time.

I remember the hardest secret I ever had to keep.  It came about when I began my first long-term relationship.  I had been dating a wonderful man for about four months and like was turning into love.  He was tall, dark, and handsome…an ex-marine.  When he held me in his strong arms, the world stood still.  He invited me to his apartment for dinner one evening and after we ate, he sat me down on his sofa and said softly, “I need to talk to you about something.”  My heart broke many times in that moment.  I imagined everything from him breaking up with me to him telling me he was moving out of state or re-enlisting.nightmares

He grabbed my hand and told me, “Now you can’t tell anyone.  I am trusting you with my life.  I am HIV positive.”  You have to remember that this was in the days before much was known about the disease and everyone was afraid.  I was just as afraid, but my love for him was stronger than any disease or any fear.

I stayed at his place that night.  After he went to sleep, I opened the french doors to his balcony and walked out into the moonlight.  I called to the moon and I sighed deeply as she appeared before me.  I whispered my troubles and secrets into her ear.  The moon always actively listened and sent her energy to strengthen and to hold me up. She was full that night.

I think it is funny…the things that follow us through our lives.  As much as I leaned on the moon for strength in those years…she has always been there.  Nowadays, she has learned to text…”You OK?”  I text back that I am ok.  Somehow, she always knows when I am not being completely honest.

I have heard some of our friends simply call her ‘the Moon Lady.’  To me, she will always be ‘Maluna’ and to me that will always mean ‘my moon.’  It seems that she has always been there…I have known her in my heart and spirit for as long as I have known the moon herself.  When we talk, it isn’t about secrets…it is about where our energies and magick can better be spent.

Thursday night, I got home late…honestly just in time for the full moon.  I gathered everything with me, except Friz.  He fought valiantly to stay up until I got home, but sleep won that battle. I walked to the woods in silence…almost a feeling of reverence under the moonlight.  I could hear her calling.  We needed to talk.  As I settled into the warmth of the night with my cauldron and candles burning, I could feel her energy soaking into me.  She has always been faithful to me…even when I felt like I was alone.

I have honestly never been alone.  The moon is who called Wolf and Crow to me.  It was under that moon that Friz was dedicated.  It was under that same moon that I made promises to my first partner and also that moon where I made promises to my current partner.  She is an old friend…she is there through every season of the year and through every season of my life.  She is the one who first called me the Weathered Wiseman, and she will be the last one to call me that name.  It is by her that I rest and by her sleep that I awaken.  It is the moon who promised that magick would always encompass and encircle me.

I share that magick with you.  So when the Moon tells you something… believe it.2014-06-14 21.44.57

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!

Ostara: Rebirth and Renewal

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Let me start by saying that I love books.  Books of any kind….my favorites are books that stir the imagination or cause one to think or fantasize.  I love books that you can share with other adults…but more than that…with those witchlings that may be watching us as we practice the Craft.  I think that is why I love one book in particular, this time of year.  It is Edain McCoy’s Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.  In this book, I was re-introduced to Ostara  just as one might see an old friend through new eyes.  It always helps me to go back at this time of year and see again what symbols and rites and other magick comes with this season of greening.

When I was a child, this time of year brought a renewed excitement for me.  My family was never overly religious, so springtime always meant the arrival of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs was imminent.  This, in my opinion was even more exciting than Santa.  I was taught by my granny at an early age to smell the air and to feel the earth.  She told me over and over again that I would always be able to smell the seasons changing and that I would know by the feeling of the Earth Mother’s belly when the birthing was going to happen.

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I learned early on to recognize the signs that spring was around the corner.  I remember dragging granny out of the house by her skirt-tails to see the tiny green leaves on the hydrangea or the necks of  the daffodils bent reverently…holding the heavy bloom that couldn’t wait to show itself.  I remember the heady smell of hyacinth that hadn’t quite bloomed yet, but was so anxious to show itself that its scent preceded it out of the sheath.

I finally finished putting my Ostara altar together yesterday.  There were a few things I was waiting on.  A friend had promised delivery of some blown out quail eggs and an antler.  I was so excited to see the box sitting inside the courtyard Friday that I could hardly contain myself.  I arranged some of the eggs carefully into a wooden bowl onto some lime green reindeer moss that I had and put the antler behind it.  I pulled out two of my favorite lavender-colored candles that are scented with jasmine, put some of my favorite amethysts and other crystals around…as well as my ‘keys to success.’  I lit the candles and just sat in front of the altar absorbing the peace and power that flooded the room.

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Growing up, I remember the feelings that Easter stirred in me.  Many times, we would go as a family to a local sunrise service given by one of the many churches in the area.  One service that remains vivid in my brain was one called the ‘God/ Goddess of Creation.’  The service was done in the midst of a field and during the prayer we were all encouraged to close our eyes and take in the sounds and smells of creation around us.  The service was presented by a female pastor who included the Goddess in all of her sermons….thinking back, I am quite amazed that my parents allowed us to stay and be a part of it…..and I also know that this was my first exposure to the thought that if, indeed, there is a God, that there must also be a Goddess.  Needless to say, I took that and ran with it.

I haven’t been feeling well this weekend.  It is just a cold brought on by the change in seasons.  I have lived the past few days hopped up on Alka Seltzer Plus Cold and Elderberry Tea.  More than anything, it is just an inconvenience….but I have been sleeping in in the mornings.  Last night around midnight, I felt the need to go to the woods.  I have found that when the woods call, I have to listen.  I sneaked out while everyone was just starting to doze off.  I carried my flashlight and necessities.  I could feel dampness moving in and knew that today would bring rainshowers.  As I walked, I listened.  I could hear a familiar crow caw.  I think that city living has left Mama Crow’s inner clock a little tightly wound.  Then again, one of the names of this full moon is the Full Crow Moon.  I love the different names that Mama Moon lives with.  Humans will fight all day long over those names….I guess she really doesn’t care as long as we do call on her.

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I got my altar ready….everything in its place.  I lay down with my cloak wrapped around me, shielding me from that heavy feeling of dampness.  I placed my hand tenderly against the earth.  I touched…I listened.  Oh yes….the Earth Mother’s belly is full to the point of bursting. The Lord of the Hunt started the preparation weeks ago.  I lift my head and sniff like a scent hound on the trail of a rabbit.  I can smell the earth ready to be reborn.  I can smell the seeds ready to show themselves.   The plants are excited about showing off their new spring collections.  My preparations seem small when I think about the grand party that the Earth Mother will give to usher in another season of renewal.

I close my eyes and listen.  I inhale.  It is as if I take in the breath of the Earth herself.  I have been stressed in the past week.  I have held onto things that need releasing.  As I listen and breathe, I realize that I am holding onto things that need to be released.  As  I breathe out, I can hear Mama Crow in the background…laughing.  She’s not laughing at me.  She is laughing with me…she wants to share the joy that comes with release and rebirth and renewal.

We, as humans, have become adept at hiding the things that make us vulnerable.  We can’t let anyone see us in our weakness.  The earth is so much more transparent.  You can’t hide when a tree has been uprooted or cut down.  That sparrow that died from falling during its fledging doesn’t just disappear.

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One thing that I have come to realize over the years is that when the root of the problem is hidden, so are the blooms from the solution….and yes there are definitely going to be thorns in between.  There is so much inside of each one of us…potential waiting to bloom forth, but we have forgotten to listen for the signs of the birthing.   We have stopped closing our eyes and just listening to what is moving around us.

In my own life, I have found that it is now time to stop pretending and time to bloom.  For me, that means no more letting myself get in the way of the power that is trying to show itself.  It is time to stop making excuses and just move forward.  It is time to let that which has been sleeping the winter away, wake up and lead me into darkness, light, dusk or dawn….wherever I will find the most wonderful, undefinable magick and utilize it.

I have finally realized…Life is not about the “Once Upon A Time’s” and the “Happy Endings.”  It is about the adventure in between.  The alarm has gone off….it is time to wake up and be about the business of magick.  I am not hitting ‘Snooze’ anymore.

Blessed Be!

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The Heart Beats Stronger in Springtime…

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I am sitting in the courtyard this afternoon with a glass of Chardonnay in my hand.  I have soft jazz music playing in the background as the soft cool breeze caresses the prickles of hair on my head.  It is afternoons like this one that make me miss my family most.

I remember many an afternoon like this one…seventy degrees, breezy, the smell of flowers attempting to bloom for the first time.  My whole family would gather in the backyard by the pasture and mama would make sweet tea.  We must have emptied gallons of that syrupy strong brew as we rocked back and forth on the porch swing solving all of life’s problems.  In many ways, life in that small town in North Carolina was very much like the Mayberry  that Andy Griffith made famous.  singalongs-porch-andygriffithshow-secretsofabelle

We would sit there, guitar in hand…each member of the family adding their own harmony to one of the old songs as the bass-string strum provided the background music.  The dogs would run through the pasture playing chase with the younger ones or with each other.  It was in that place that the world couldn’t touch us.  It was there that we didn’t care how much money we didn’t have or what we couldn’t afford.  It was in that place that my granny used to say that she could hear the grass, trees and sky singing at the top of their lungs.  Most of the ones who shared those front porch moments with me are gone now, but I can’t help but think that they are a part of the symphony I hear as I am captivated by the concert that only nature can give.

I have spent much of today out cleaning the winter debris from the courtyard…uncapping the pots from their toppings of leaves and old mulch.  It is much like unwrapping a present.  I get so excited to see the small shoots coming from my hostas, and the spindly little purple leaves from the spiderwort are already showing themselves.  Even as near that half a century mark, I am still amazed at all the work that the Earth Mother still does in her sleep state.

This morning as Friz and I ventured toward the woods, the sun was already wide awake to greet us.  I love watching that little blue chihuahua as the sun rays bathe his back.  He stretches into it….just like he would if he were being rubbed from head to toe.  This morning, he stretched his little face to the sun with his eyes closed and his teeth showing, almost like he was smiling.  You could almost hear him telling the sun that he missed him and was glad to see him back.  He walked over to one of the bunches of daffodils blooming by our neighbors door….just as I thought he was leaning in for a sniff, he raised his little leg and peed in them.2014-03-02 14.48.08

We took our time getting to the woods this morning.  We spent the extra moments admiring the blooming tulip trees and weeping cherry trees.  It has always been mesmerizing to me that, in Georgia, spring seems to come overnight.  One week it is brutally cold, then the next week we are in the seventies with flowers and trees blooming all around.

Last night was spent with the New Moon.  Even though much has happened over the past month, there are even more new beginnings looming in the horizon.  For the first time in a long long time, I feel as if things are coming together for me.  I am seeing more than the light at the end of the tunnel….I am seeing the smoke clear and the magick is now more vivid.  Not only am I seeing spells taking shape quicker…I am also seeing prayers and whispers that I have only shared with the wind coming to fruition.

This mornings workings were orchestrated with the sun as an ally.  The newness of the morning, the evidence of life abounding around me….we have now come out of the darkness and are given the promise that the sun and spring have spoken of all winter long.  I started this mornings magick with a brightly colored thin blanket underneath me and Friz.  I brought gifts of bread and cheese and fruit for the fae and the woodland elementals (Friz didn’t seem to mind a nibble here and there either).  We could hear the birds singing all around us, the leaves rustling in the breeze…but there was one voice singing loudly that will never be ignored–Mama Crow.  It seemed as if she was playing in the tops of the trees, dancing in the sunshine.The_sun1

As I lay there sprawled out under the canopy of trees with the sunlight dappled all over me, Friz found that one spot that the sunlight never seemed to leave and settled into it.  As he lay there warming himself, I could hear soft snores coming from that little blue heap.  Underneath me, I could feel the vibration of the earth.  Even with the chill left  from the night-time air, I could feel the stirrings underneath me.  It was almost like sitting through the warm up of the instruments from an orchestra…first, the strings, then the woodwinds, then the brass was added and finally percussion.  With the percussion came the feeling of a heart being jump started once again.  il_340x270.431970633_cz5w

I have found over the years that I never have to beg the Earth Mother for the ability to hear her heartbeat.  I do, however, have to be willing to be still and quiet enough to listen.  In the world outside our doors, we are expected to be businessmen and business women.  We are expected to be husbands, wives, mothers and fathers.  We listen to the world tell us over and over again that we don’t and never will measure up.  It is in those moments that I make myself stop and listen to the heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  I am not what the world thinks of as glamorous, fascinating or even beautiful….but when I am alone with the heartbeat of the Earth Mother in my ear, none of that really seems to be important at all.

As I finish writing this, I have turned off the music and am just sitting here snuggled into the cushions of the outdoor sofa listening to the sounds of the Earth Mother.  I finished that glass of wine ages ago and decided to go for a nice cold glass of sweet tea.  It’s funny, as I sit here humming along with nature, I can hear my granny and my two aunts harmonizing softly in the background.  Funny, nothing ever truly leaves you…those things that mean the most to us come back to visit just at the right times.  Come and sit down and pull up a cushion…here’s a glass of nice, cold sweet tea.  Harmonize with me a bit as we listen to the sounds of the world stopping for a moment…if only to allow us a second or two to just breathe.

Blessed Be!