Leaving the Winter Behind

BLIZZARD WORCESTER

For some of my friends, this year has brought a rough winter.  They’ve been faced with, and buried by, tall snow drifts.  And this winter, I feel we have all been buried in some fashion…whether it be in snow or ice or emotions or pain.  This past year has been a year of death and endings; this winter has been exhausting.

I have watched those I care deeply about struggle and trudge uphill, only to be met with cold winds and pushed backward by other forces or energies.  So many have been confused and been made to stumble against the blizzards life has brought.  So many have taken to hiding from life itself; never wanting to leave the comfort of their own space….others have gone recklessly into the streets causing havoc in the midst of their own turmoil.

My partner just got back from visiting his family in South Dakota.  He said the wind was so cold (-40°), that it felt like it was biting to his very bones.  Ever felt that fear….that dread…that went to your very bones?  This winter has brought that for many.  I have heard so many complaining of sickness and depression/discouragement.

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This morning, early, I took to the woods with Friz.  It was a bitter cold….I was wrapped up in my cloak and had Friz in his hoodie (I think I need to invest in a chihuahua sized wool cloak for mornings like this).  I packed my small cauldron away with my other altar supplies in my backpack.  When we got to the woods, I unpacked and set up the altar.  I lit the charcoal pellet inside and sprinkled incense over it.  I lit the candles and placed the skulls.  I invited the elements and the directions.  I welcomed my familiar spirits wolf and crow.

I found the most incredible thing at my local metaphysical store here in Atlanta.  It is called flying paper.  You write your spell…wish….intent on the paper and set it on fire and it flies off.  I wrote in black ink, my intent onto the paper and the names of those who needed my magick.  I watched with childlike eyes as the papers drifted up above me and disintegrated….breathing my intent and magick into the universe.  I could feel a lightness in my own spirit as I looked in front of me and could see wolf and crow dancing and playing with each other.  Friz was tugging on my cloak and play growling.  This past full moon…..something happened…even though the cold of winter is still upon us, the warmth of spring can be felt and smelled.  It is, of course, a distant feeling and scent….but it is still there all the same.  This I feel in my bones.

I feel a hope and excitement stirring inside of myself.  As I sat in front of the cauldron, I pushed all of those feelings into giant balls of intent and moved them out to all of those I know are in deep need.  It is that same energy that surrounds the bulbs nestled in the earth…..that anticipation and promise that a beautiful blossom stands at the end of the wait.

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We have waited patiently through the winter…through the harsh and bitter cold.  It is now time to begin the work.  It is time to dig our way out. We come out of hibernation much like the bear…..gaunt and ravenous.  We have used up the magickal stores that we gathered and tucked away for the winter months.  It is now time to dig into those most magickal parts of our spirits.  It is time to nourish our spirits….come out of hiding and watch the magick unfold in front of us.

You can’t tell me that you haven’t felt it stirring.  You can’t deny that something has taken grip of your very spirit and sparked your thoughts and feelings…..something new….something powerful.  I feel it…..the animals feel it……the elements feel it…..the very earth beneath your feet feels it.  Her heart begins to beat with the beat of excitement.  A time of rebirth and newness is around the corner.  As I lay on the ground this morning in front of my cauldron, I placed my ear to the ground.  I could feel the heartbeat of the earth mother…..pregnant with more magick than we could ever fathom.

For some reason, most of us truly fear what the Lord and Lady have called us to.  We are afraid of the magick that we pursue so hard.  We run toward it and just as we see that it is right there in our grasp, we pull back……afraid that what we have so desired may actually happen.  We long to see our gifts and abilities work in full force, but at the same time, are so afraid of it that we dare not tap into what sits right in the palm of our hands.

Do not be afraid to travel a new path;

It may be the way to find what you’ve been looking for all along.

It is time to release all that has held you back through this rough and bitter winter.  Release…what a freeing word.  Release everything that ever held you back.  Don’t you deserve to live in the fullness of the Earth Mother’s heartbeat.  Release that anger….that bitterness…that lack of confidence.  We are walking…..no, running toward a new season.  Take off your shoes and run barefoot toward your destiny.

For Once in your Life, Do Not Live Your Life Afraid!

Experience the freedom of singing out loud and not caring if every note is perfect.  Even if you don’t have a stick’s worth of rhythm, dance to the drumbeat of the Earth around you.  Look at yourself and see the beauty that is you.  Let that inner lion roar….let that inner wolf howl at the moon. You are capable of things that no other person is capable of and you have a purpose.  Fear and self-doubt only stifle the magick.   The more your heartbeat lines up with the Earth Mother….the stronger that heartbeat will be.  This morning,  I sang along with a wolf and a crow.  I sang to a chihuahua.  I laughed with the wind and I danced along to the rhythm of the heartbeat of Mother Earth.  Today, my little blue chihuahua and I, walked in the woods alongside Brigid and Cernunnos.  Our intentions flew like fireflies dancing across a night sky.

My hope for you this year is that you don’t hold onto those things that bind you and your magick.  My hope for you is that you live a life of magick fueled by the heartbeat of the Earth around you…that you learn to sing with the winged ones and the four-leggeds…..that you learn to dance with the wind…..and that you can change the world around you with your intent and magick…..that more than anything, you learn to let go of all those things that don’t serve your spirit in the most powerful of ways.

Blessed Be!

So Here’s To Life…

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Storms happen in life sometimes.  If you have lived any amount of time, you know this.  Bad things happen….good things happen…you deal with it.  I remember reading somewhere a while back that when pilots encounter storms, they try to get above the clouds.  Sometimes, though, you just can’t help it…you get thrown right into the middle of the storms.

This morning, Friz and I started out for our weekend morning walk and time in the woods.  I hadn’t listened all that carefully as I was getting dressed…Friz, however, did.  When I tried to get him out of the kennel, he stayed toward the back, curled up in the blankets.  I got him to come out and got his harness on and my cloak.  We started out the door, to be greeted by torrential rain…not just a tiny rainstorm, but an all out gully washer.  I was eager for Friz just to pee and then we would run inside.  Friz had other ideas…he had to do something a little more, ummm substantial.  There we stood….completely drenched as Friz hunkered down to accomplish what he had set out to do.  When I got back in, I stripped down and dried Friz off.  Cloak was hung to dry and clothes in the dryer.  Friz and I decided that he would go back to bed and I would have coffee and read.  I have learned that in all things there are lessons.  The lesson this morning is, “Sometimes no matter how hard the storms come at you, you have to do what you started out to accomplish.”

When I lived in North Carolina, I worked with an exotic bird group.  My job was to help hand-raise the little Macaw  babies.  Now Macaw babies remind me of puppies.  It was not an unusual occurrence to see me walking around the building with three or four little Macaws waddling after me.  If I sped up, they sped up.  If I slowed down, they did too.  I would put blankets in the middle of the floor and they would all be on top of me playing and making some of the weirdest noises you have ever heard.MacawAfrican_grey_and_many_other_parrots_for_sale

Then came the day that my four babies fledged.  All birds must learn to fly, at some point.  It is a part of who they are…it is built into every fiber of their beings.  I was cleaning the building one afternoon and all of the babies were playing on a playtop that had been designed just for them.  The next thing I know, I hear strange squawks and I turn around and there are four baby Macaws flying straight at me.  There was nothing I could do except stand there and wait for them to land.  I had two on top of my head gripping with sharp little toenails and one on each arm.  They were all very proud of what they had accomplished.  The only thing they needed to do was take that first leap and there was no turning back.

We humans have become so fearful of that first leap.  It becomes too easy for us to settle into whatever we have allowed life to create for us.  I am just as guilty of this as the next person.  In the fall of 2010, I went back to work with a company that I had tried for years to escape…all out of necessity.  I went in with a plan to only stay in the position for a year to gain some experience in accounts receivables, payables and inventory.

Soooooo, here we are three years later and I have watched myself settle into a position that I do not enjoy at all….I have watched myself become a zombie of sorts, staggering about the workplace, repeating the same old things that I have heard those in the position before me regurgitating.  I settled….yes, I settled in major way.  I compromised myself.  I never compromised my own values, principles or morals…..but I did compromise myself.  So when my roommate was ‘let go’ at the end of November….it was the motivation I needed to find myself again and see what could be accomplished.tumblr_myl8rv1NjI1qcm7gio1_500

I started interviewing for positions with a company that has such a wonderful ‘people first’ policy.  I knew that this would not be an overnight process.  I called on those around me and those I knew in the Craft to pour magick into and around me.  I did spell work.  I burned incense.  I called to my familiars…my ancestors…the elements….and the Lord and Lady.  This all came to fruition this past week.  I was given an offer to join this company….in a temporary position that would become permanent.  That word….temporary….freaked me out in every way.  I like stability.  Change is one thing, but temporary, to me has always been a shaky kind of word.  Something that could disappear at any time.

You have heard me talk over the past few months about needing to simplify.  I have worked very hard on this.  I have made myself slow down…quite a bit.  I have learned to breathe.  I have learned to sip my tea instead of gulping it down to rush into the next project.  Was I going to go about this decision differently?  No.  I did exactly what I did when I went bungee jumping years ago.  I stood there feeling that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach…..I took in a few slow breaths….and then…I jumped.  I hurled myself fully into whatever lies out in front of me.

With the decision to move into this made and the response to the offer on its way, I breathed.  This breath was a breath of release….a release of fear….a release of the strain my past job had put on my health, mind and spirit.  I could feel myself moving into that simplicity again.  I dove right into the middle of the storm and what did I find?  Peace.

I am reminded of a song by Shirley Horne…”Here’s To Life.”

No complaints and no regrets.
I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets.
But i have learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you got.
I had my share, i drank my fill, and even though i’m satisfied i’m hungry still
To see what’s down another road, beyond a hill and do it all again.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life the dreamers and their dreams.
Funny how the time just flies.
How love can turn from warm hellos to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you’ve memorized
To keep your winters warm.
There’s no yes in yesterday.
And who knows what tomorrow brings or takes away.
As long as i’m still in the game i want to play
For laughs, for life, for love.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life, the dreamers and their dreams.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.

You want to talk about a spell?  The lyrics of that song make a hell of a spell.  As I sat in front of my cauldron Wednesday night watching the fire blaze, I had this song playing softly in the background.  In my smaller cauldron, I had a charcoal disk with incense that a wonderful friend had made for me.  I closed my eyes and visualized all those that I care about dancing across my mind.   I sang this song to each of them.  I sing this song for those of you who will take the time to read these words.

I took a slow walk through the woods this afternoon after the clouds cleared.  I could see in my mind’s eye all of the magick that had taken place in those woods over the past year.  I am sure that each of you can visit those same sacred spaces in your own life.  I realized that it is so important when other things try to overwhelm us….we have to revisit those places of power and peace that we have been gifted with.

I had a wonderful, wild dream last night.  I dreamed that some neighbors had captured a crow. They came and got me because they didn’t know what to do with it. When I got there, I looked eye to eye with this crow. It was very obviously Mama Crow. She was biting everyone else….but when I offered her my hand, she climbed onto it. She nestled herself in the crook of my arm and fell asleep. I never caged her or restrained her, but she never got more than ten feet away from me…cawing nonstop.2014-01-11 22.27.59

I spoke to a wise sister about the dream.  She told me that I had taken many positive steps over the past months.  I ignored what others might have me do….I have listened to the Goddess.  I have become much more confident in myself and my magick….I like the sound of that…my magick.  Nothing that anyone else has given to me….just what has come from my relationship with the Lord and Lady, the elements, and the spirits around me.

This is the year of new beginnings and I am excited to see where the road will lead me.  Yes, there will be rough places in the road…but I will keep moving forward.  So, Blessed Be….Here’s To Life!

Forging New Paths

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It has gotten to the point that I do my best writing at night.  I sit here with a cup of hot wild blueberry tea with some mugwort mixed in and sweetened with a bit of honey….soothing to the spirit.  It seems like just yesterday that we greeted 2013 with optimism, excitement and enthusiasm.  I just knew that this year was going to be a year like no other.  Boy, was I right.

2013 held many surprises…good and bad.  Through the course of the year, I have seen friends come and go.  I have watched as death took family, friends, and four-leggeds.  I look at the past year and can see how I have grown because of situations and circumstances.  I have also seen areas of my own life that need to be improved upon.

The coming year for me, is to be a year of Truth.  I have always been one who thought that honesty was the best policy and I believe that being honest with oneself is the greatest truth one can find.  This year, I intent to be more honest with myself, first and foremost, than I have ever been.  It is time for the rough edges to come off even more.  It is time for the Weathered Wiseman to open himself up to more magick than he could have even fathomed.

It is also time for truth to be the first thing that pours out of my mouth.  I have told you before that I am a horrible liar.  I have never even been able to tell those sweet little white lies that everyone tells to spare hurt feelings.  My face always gives me away.  My goal for this year is to temper that truth with as much love as I can muster.

The truth is never easy for any of us to take.  It is especially hard when we have concocted a truth from lies we have told ourselves.  We have made something that was never real to begin with and given it life.  We have created something that grows legs of its own and walks about creating destruction.

The second thing I intend to do with this new year is to get an even stronger backbone.  It isn’t to say that I don’t have a pretty strong backbone now…..but I want one that can’t and won’t be bent.  When I plant my feet, that is where I will stay.  AntBackbone

Trials have hit me this year….we have all had a plethora of them.  I have stood strong…but in 2014, I intend to stand stronger.  Does this mean that I won’t cry…won’t hurt?  Hell no.  It means that through those tears and pain there is gonna be one strong man standing to face the issues.  I will not be pushed down.  Nothing is so strong that I cannot overcome it.

The third thing that I intend to pursue this year is Peace.  I have grown tired of becoming frazzled at any little crisis.  I have become over-tired of being anxious.  Worry is not a good trait to have.  Worry makes one old before your time.  Worry causes health issues.  Anxiety causes blood pressure problems.  When I was pastoring, there was one scripture that always amazed me. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”  tumblr_lzsta29z901qb30dwo1_500

If you look around you at the grasses and trees and the flowers in the spring….they don’t sit around and worry about where their nourishment is coming from.  They trust that the Lord and Lady will take care of them.  They are tended by the nature spirits.  Don’t we have that same gift?  We have been given all the elements….right there at our fingertips.  Yet we are so afraid to utilize them.  We have been gifted with magick.  We are so quick if someone asks, “I need a little extra energy…mojo…juju,” to pipe up with ‘Sending!’  But honestly are we just saying that or do we truly believe that we have been gifted the ability to manifest it?

The final thing that I fully intend to embrace with the coming of 2014…..is Living in the Magick.  You have heard the phrase, “Living in the Moment.”  Well, I am going to live every moment in magick.  I intend to let magick permeate every part of my being.  I want to see it manifest itself more powerfully than I could ever anticipate.  I am going to walk in the energy of the universe around me….constantly surrounded and guided by the gods and goddesses.  I will hold dearly to all of the elements and to the spirit guides around me.

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I went to the woods with Friz this morning.  It was hazy and cold and drizzly at times.  My mind was racing over many things that have happened over the past few days.  I wore my cloak (it seems, when I wear my cloak that the world disappears around me and I am transported at that moment into a world of magick) and gathered my backpack with all of my supplies.  When we got to the woods, I unpacked everything and got it all set up listening to Friz doing ‘play growls’ with that little calico.  She had somehow slipped in as I was attending to the business of magick.  I settled in front of the skulls and candles and made my circle…I called on the elements and my spirit guides.  As I sat there, I heard a major rustling in the trees above.  I heard Mama Crow, but then as I looked up, there were many crows gathered in the tree tops.  I sensed the presence of wolf and welcomed him in.  I talked back and forth to Mama Crow and her entourage as I communed with the god and goddess.

As I sit there in deep conversation, I am reminded of one of the Native American legends of Crow:  A white crow warned buffalo every time that hunters approached.  This led to hunger and starvation in the village and the crow is eventually captured by the hunters and thrown into a fire. But it escapes before being completely burned, being only blackened by the flames; black becomes its permanent color.  As the crow flees, it promises never to warn the buffalo of approaching hunters again.  The crow becomes a type of phoenix that rises from the ashes, symbolizing renewal, transformation and promise.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I call up to Mama Crow, “Is this what you wanted me to remember? Is it time for renewal, transformation and the promise of better things?” I only hear a cacophony of crow calls above me…but in the midst of those crows, I swear I can see one old female crow up there smiling and the sounds from her sound more like a deep laugh.

I complete my ritual and pack up.  As Friz and I walk back to the condo, I feel something deep building inside of me.  Hope? Determination? I even thought I felt that backbone get a little bit stronger.

Blessed Be!

A Season of Peace

As I sit here right now, I have a hot cup of mugwort and lemon balm tea sweetened with honey sitting in front of me.  Tissues are scattered around the desk and I have Vick’s Vapor Rub under my nose.  Yes, I know, not the witchy, swarthy version of the male witch that you have pictured.  My partner and I went to my folks house for the holidays this weekend and there was such a change in weather….and of course, I had to spend time outside…so I caught a cold.

As we drove the country roads through North Carolina, I could feel my witchy blood dancing through my veins.  I knew, without a doubt that I was going to get to spend time in my woods.  Those woods are so much a part of me and who I am that it is like visiting an old friend who I haven’t seen in a month of Sundays.

The times I have been home lately have all been for funerals.  So many family members and friends have passed over through this year.  Always a whirlwind trip…flying up there, funeral, fly back.  Even though this was a quick weekend trip, it was very relaxed.  We stayed at my aunt’s house with her and her five dogs….so I got all the puppy lovin’s I needed…and it helped me not to miss my dogs so much.

Late Saturday afternoon, I decided that it was time to socialize with my old friend.  I had taken my backpack with me and filled it with all my altar items, including my cloak and skulls.  I started on the trek to the woods but it didn’t seem right without at least one animal companion by my side.  It is funny how the gods and goddesses make the necessary arrangements for us ahead of time.  My dad found two kittens a few weeks back and got them good and tamed up and made them into comfortable little barn cats.  I am not talking about a stark, cold barn.  I mean inside heating and nice comfy beds….I couldn’t have done better myself.

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As I walked into the woods, these two little furballs were right on my heels….one, a little black and white..the other, solid white.  The black and white one tangled himself around my feet more than once, forcing me to try not to fall face forward.  I decided that it was time to cleanse and dedicate my skulls once again.  What better place than my home soil and what better time than the Winter Solstice?  I dug holes deep enough to place each skull in and placed the crow and wolf skull gently into the earth and then covered them with the surrounding soil.  I prayed a blessing over them.  The kittens played contently around me.  The little white one walks over to where the skulls are buried and pats gently at the dirt.

I sat there in the midst of my woods and watched.  I knew deep inside that there would be a crow somewhere close.  I looked into the trees and sure enough, I was greeted by that hard brash caw.  I greeted her with the same greeting I use in the courtyard back home.  I closed my eyes and could feel my years melting away.  I was once again the young boy who sat in the pasture or in the woods talking to the animals…listening to them as they shared their wisdom.

As the dark approached, I could see the Christmas lights of neighboring farms in the distance.  Peace came over me like no other time before.  I breathed in that feeling that can only come from the elements.  I opened my eyes and I was surrounded.  It was a funny sight.  Here I was sitting in the middle of the woods with cats, goats, chickens and a cow all standing around me.  I finished my ritual with them standing near and then wished them all a blessed Solstice.  A night of peace and comfort and familiarity…all sent to me as reminder that sometimes you have to take those roads back to where you started, if only to rekindle what brought the heart forward from that point.

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This morning, Christmas Eve, I went to the woods here behind the condos.  I had my backpack and skulls and candles and cloak….and one little blue chihuahua.  Friz was feeling particularly frisky this morning and as we got to the edge of the woods, he wouldn’t budge.  I stood there trying to get him to move, but then as that calico kitten (who is not so small anymore), ambled up beside him…he moved on.

I settled onto the cold ground.  I put the skulls in the places that felt right and lit the candles.  I placed the crystals carefully around them.  I burrowed down inside my cloak and was oblivious to the two little critters I had burrowing into it too.  As I sit there, I breathe out Christmas blessings into the wind for those dear to me.  I hear very loud purring coming from underneath my cloak and feel warm fur next to me.  I am also greeted by the snores and wrigglings of that blue chihuahua.  I watch in wonder as my wishes and prayers fly toward the heavens like reverse snowflakes.  Again, Mama Crow squawks in the distance.

She reminds me that this season is about the rebirth of the sun.  It is about renewal in us.  Is it any wonder that the animals came to me in my woods back home? This is the season of the horned one.  Is it any wonder that we crave time indoors by the hearth fires and with trees lighted with magickally colored bulbs.  It is the season of the hearth fires.  It is that time of year that we long for the light of the sun.

My wish for you during this holiday season…..nothing more or less than Peace.  Peace with yourself, those around you, your decisions, your dreams, your shortcomings….in all if these things I wish you peace.

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Blessed Be!

The Heart of the Season

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The Wheel of the Year keeps turning.  It seems that just yesterday, we celebrated Samhain….then we watched as the world celebrated everything it was thankful for.  Now, we are looking toward the Winter Solstice and Yule.  Our homes and altars are all decorated with greenery and pine cones.  We smile to ourselves as we light the candles on our Yule log.

We bake and we add more lights and we run to the mall and we run to the grocery store and we run to party after party.  We stand in line at Target and find ourselves getting more and more agitated.  “Can’t that cashier go any faster?  Doesn’t she realize that I have a party I have to go to in two hours and that is not nearly enough time to get ready?”  We give a slight smile to the person out on the corner collecting for charity.  Do we put money in the bucket?  Sometimes….but we have to keep every extra penny to buy gifts for friends and family.  For the month of December, we forget to listen to the heartbeat of the earth.  It may be a tiny bit more faint than normal, but the heart of the earth still beats.

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Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  I hurriedly picked up the things I needed because, of course, I had plans for later in the afternoon and evening.  I run with my cart to the cashier and I end up standing behind a little old woman who was standing there counting her pennies.  I looked at the order in front of me, which included generic Ensure, a loaf of bread, cat food and bagged beans.  Apparently, she didn’t have enough money and asked the cashier if she could take the Ensure off of the order.  In that moment, my heart broke.  I couldn’t stand the thought of this little old woman walking out of that store without everything she needed.  I put my hand on her shoulder and asked her if she would mind me paying for her groceries and if we could go get a few extra things.  I told her that she reminded me of my grandma and that I was missing her a lot this time of year.  We went back through that store arm in arm and I could feel the earth’s heartbeat as we talked and laughed.

My grandma used to love to go barefoot….even in the winter.  She told me that the reason she loved being barefoot was because she was able to feel the Great Mother’s heartbeat better.  I have found that to have so many meanings as I think more about it.  It was in making a part of herself more vulnerable that she was able to feel the Great Mother stronger.  I had to stop yesterday and see something outside of myself….be willing to feel the heart of someone else.

I got up this morning and went to the woods….it was wet and cold.  I could feel the breath of spirit on me as I led that little blue chihuahua through the morning mists deeper into a world that he and I have become so familiar with.  When we cross the threshold into ‘our’ woods, we feel spirit, ancestors, animal spirits….we become lost in a time when magick danced through forests freely.  We get caught in that energy and feel more at home than we do in our comfy cottage-like condo.

I get everything set out as usual….skulls, candles, and herbs.  I covered myself in my cloak in front of it all and rolled onto my stomach.  I put my hand on the earth and my ear to my hand.  I could feel the cold of the ground permeating my hand.  In the silence, I could hear the breathing of my little blue dog…but more importantly, I could hear the heartbeat of the earth.  As I lay there lost in the wonder and simplicity of this magickal moment.  I committed, to the Lord and Lady, not to lose the lessons I have learned about this time of year.  I lay there in silent meditation….opening my heart to everything that needed to be taught to my spirit.  I heard Mama Crow and Wolf to the sides of me.  I watched as wolf circled and finally laid down.  Mama Crow landed on the ground beside him and nestled in his tail.

I reminded by them both that this season is a time of rest before the regeneration.  It is time to feed the spirit and heart.  This is the time of year that the earth slows down.  This is when the roots of the plants grow….when the plant produces the beginnings of the buds.  This is the time of year when the internal work is done for the external explosion of spring.

I called on the power of the elements and the Lord and Lady to give me heart and spirit to listen to all things around me.  This is the time when temperatures plummet and animals seek shelter.  My courtyard and surrounding areas are set for any that may need comfort from the elements.  You will find boxes and blankets all over in anticipation of winter visitors.  There are bird feeders and areas for the squirrels to eat….places for stray cats and pooches to dine in secret.  I have seen other neighbors adding to the areas.

There are people in need all around.  I wish to walk in compassion this season.  I wish to nurture kindness.  The homeless person sitting in the cold needs warmth…..coffee, a blanket.  Starbucks here has a program going where you can give money for coffee so that if anyone who can’t afford it comes in for coffee, they can get it at no charge.  If you want to jump start your heart…volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Most of the people that show up are no different from you.  The only difference may be a missed paycheck.homeless

 

It is time for us to “take off our shoes” and feel the heartbeat of the earth.  My goal for this holiday season is to keep things simple, give more of myself, love with complete abandon, and let the magick happen around me.

Blessed Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be!

May you spend this holiday season dancing to the song that your heart sings!YB-yule-ball-238849_1024_768

Another Time and Another Place

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We’ve all had that feeling before – the feeling of being out of place in the surroundings we are in.  This feeling of “otherness” has been the inspiration for great poems, books, and songs.  Imagining how we would be if we were somehow dropped into another life can be potent fuel which stokes the fires of creativity.   I know that in the back of my mind, I would personally love to be the reincarnation of Merlin from King Arthur’s Court…I am quite satisfied that, in all probability, I lived the quiet life of the cunning man deep in the forest of the British Isles.

I have learned in my magickal studies that the soul or spirit is ongoing.  While I sit here writing in my 47 year old body….my centuries old spirit has seen many things that this mind can only dream of.  I know that for some, reincarnation is something you may or may not believe in, but how do we explain that certain knowing that we get when we put our feet down on a certain plot of land….or that feeling that comes with walking into a place we have never been, and yet, we feel perfectly at home.

This feeling of “otherness” that I referred to earlier, is particularly strong for me when I am deep in the woods.  Even when I have been hiking in the mountains, forests thick around me….completely unsure of where I am, all I have to do is put my hand on a tree or sit down in the dirt and I am at home.  I listen to what these friends tell me….these friends from hundreds of years ago….and I can find my way.

I have also encountered people who seem to be a constant in my ‘lives.’  There have been some friends who have come into my spiritual space….not needing a formal invitation or a fanfare.  They just belong there.  These are people whom I know I have shared my energy with in past times.  I believe that we have been allowed to walk forward into other planes of time as a comfort….an instigator…a cheerleader….and a strength to each other.

This is the person who you may have never met face to face….never touched or walked alongside….but you know them.  That comfort level….that trust…a continuation of spirit and energy from a time and place gone by.  It is the same spirit that is there when the wind blows against your face.  It is that same spirit that I feel when I hear the ‘Graaaaakk’ of Mama Crow.  I have known her spirit for eons.  It is that same spirit that comes to me in the form of a blue dog.  Friz now….before Friz, Sally….before Sally, Patches.

I am often given glimpses of those past associations in my dreams.  It is always one of those instances that you know it is much more than a dream…more than fantasy….but more memory.  I know, when I dream, that as I stand in the middle of those woods, hands outstretched and other sets of hands join mine, that they belong to  those that I have traveled lives and spiritual planes with before.

The magick associated with all of this cannot be expected to be anything less than powerful.  Life nowadays sometimes scares me.  When I am overtaken with those anxieties, I think on the things I must have survived (or not) before.  When I think on these things, it stirs resolve inside of me that I never before thought I had.  I tend to fret over the little things….the day-to-day crap that isn’t worth a piddly-fart.  I find, though, when it comes to the big stuff….the major crises that tend break the strongest people…that is when I dig my feet in, plant myself and push my magickal shield out with all the force I have.  It is also in those moments that I call on those I trust, to walk alongside of me.  When I feel those familiar hands joined with mine….that is when you see magickal sparks fly.harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-preparing-for-battle-hogwarts-protective-spell-shield

It took a while for me to realize that the power inside me has been building for hundreds of years.  Lord and Lady have poured themselves into me since time began.  I have walked the forests and fields many times over with Cernunnos himself.  The moon and I are such good friends because we have been nurturing that friendship for centuries.  Wolf has been walking with me since his spirit came into existence…and Mama Crow has been there for many many lifetimes.

I don’t take those human counterparts for granted either.  The energy we share now is only a culmination of energies that have been coming together since the time of the ancients.   As we join that energy….we can’t even begin to fathom what is coming into being.  I look at the world around me.  It is my time to change it.  The power inside of me joined with the power of those heart brothers and sisters will set the world on its ear.  I don’t take the commission of the Gods and Goddesses lightly.  Change has been affected in me so that I may bring change to those people and places surrounding me.

Especially lately, magick has been coming out of my pores.  Always the magnificent result I want?  No. Always the magickal result I need?  Yes.

Hang onto your hats fellas!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

Blessed Be!

When Fear Becomes Faith

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This week has been a different kind of week.  I went in to work to find out that my roomie, who happens to work with me, was let go.  It seemed as if everyone around  was screaming and running around in circles.  “What will you do? How will you make it?  Where will the money come from?”  All questions, that indeed, one might expect to be running around my head….but instead, the big question….”How is he?”  I was determined that the bosses would not see reaction from me….isn’t that what was expected?  I hunkered down and did my job.  When I got home that day, I walked through the doors and was greeted with the question, “What will we do?”  I answered, matter of factly, “Whatever needs to be done.”  It was the first time in a very long time that I felt that much resolution well up inside me.

I have told you all before that, in my croning years, I have become somewhat of a worrier.  This was not the case years ago.  I used to welcome any challenges….the harder the better.  I used to thrive on change and uncertainty.  Is that what youth entails?  Do the young thrive on the unpredictable and the questionable?  No…..this is not a right awarded to the young.  This is a mantle placed on the strong of heart.

I left the condo especially early this morning.  As I placed my backpack on my shoulder and wrapped myself in the warmth of my cloak, the little dog at my feet waited for me to put him inside his hoodie.  He danced around me knowing that we were going to meet the morning sunrise on his terms.  I carried friends with me to the woods this morning….their spirits engraved in my spirit.

When we got to the woods, I set everything up.  I put the wolf skull and the crow skull into place….placed the candles on their respective sides and then brought out my abalone shell and my sage bundle.  As I lit the sage and started fanning it all around me, I closed my eyes and saw many of the dreams that have come to me through the week.  I know that so many have psychic abilities….I believe that one of my giftings comes when I sleep.  In the dream realm, I am able to see the spiritual….the magickal….and the powerful.

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The dreams I have been having this week involve me and two other male witches.  In most of  the dreams we are circled together in a catacomb setting….there are candles lit all around.  On a tree stump in the middle of us is a large leather bound book and our wands.  As we begin the ritual, light begins to glow around each of us….red around me, blue around the friend to my left and green around the friend to my right.  Each night the dream has gotten stronger with a more powerful energy encircling us.  The final dream had us in a wooded area…stump table in the middle….book and wands.  We took each others hands and began to chant.  As we chanted, the book and wands began to rise.  To the left, the friend is radiating blue light….to the right, the friend is radiating green light…..in the center, red light pours forth from me.  The light and energies swirl around us to combine into one large golden energy field.  We rise above the ground….flying in a circle in the midst of the trees.  We laugh as we move….by no effort of our own.  We know that there is a power there that none of us have ever experienced.  The final dream was last night.  As we rose into the air and spun with the forces of energy, a doe came into view.  She was snow white with a brilliant silver tuft of hair just in the center of her head.  Behind her was a buck….that same brilliant white with gold antlers and shimmering gold eyes.  Our eyes met and I recognized both and they recognized me.  It was obvious that they were both spirit beings.pg53

white-doe-2My dream life has been very active this week.  As I lay there in the leaves strewn across the floor of the woods, I could feel Friz rousing.  He either saw or heard something in the trees beyond us.  I looked up and saw a doe many feet from us.  I urged Friz to be quiet so that she would stay as long as possible…..I realized that we were there in the midst of magick.  At that moment, I called to the Lord of the Forest and waited for his energy to surround me.  As I heard the wind blowing through the trees and felt it moving around me, I knew that he was there.  The doe stood stock still staring at me and that little blue chihuahua for the longest time.  I called on the energy of the Horned One to fill me….to stir that pure wild energy that I longed for.  At that moment, the doe spooked and jumped and bounded off into the distance…..but at that moment, I could also feel the energy of the Horned One along with Wolf and Mama Crow.  I could feel something rising in my chest.  In that moment, I felt that little blue chihuahua bristle up and a strong and mighty “Buffff!” rose from deep inside of him.  I laughed  and rolled back onto the leaves and he jumped into the middle of my stomach.  Even he had felt the power.

I know that the next few weeks may bring challenges for me….but I also know that they will tap into a strength that only my connection with a power greater than I can bring.  I must never doubt the power that resides within me.  It is that power that the Lord and Lady join with to make the magick rise.  It is in that connection with others that makes me rise against whatever may come against me.

What do I feel now?  I feel peace.  I feel strength.  I feel power.  None of these shall ever desert me.  It is my choice whether to embrace them or leave them in the cauldron by the door.

Take my hands brothers and sisters.  Let us fly far beyond anything that will try to keep us from that magickal part of us that hungers to rise higher and higher until we are flying next to the moon.

Blessed Be!

Season of the Witch

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Distraction….that is the million dollar word.  Lately there seems to be so many different things pulling at me.  I don’t tend to be the stretchy type lately either….rather, I break or end up running around like a crazy man.

It has come to my attention, especially over the past few days, that I let myself become side-tracked far too easily.  I am too much like that dog in the movie “Up.”  I can be talking one minute about the power of magick and…..”Squirrel!!!”  I throw myself into many things at one time and end up swirling like a cyclone.  My body rebels and my immune system retreats and sickness overtakes.  When sickness comes on, it seems to take forever to get my body back in line.

Over the past month, we had been preparing for a Halloween party.  This is a party that we look forward to every year.  We did a group costume this year and I spent weeks searching for all the right accessories.  I scoured eBay for deals and went to every costume shop in Atlanta.  I threw myself into the costume with all four feet.  The issue wasn’t the costume, but more the fact that there were other things that really needed to take precedence.

I am an ‘all or nothing’ type of guy.  I feel that if I am going to do something, it can’t be done halfway.  When I was working in the theater, I was introduced, through a show I was doing, to clogging.  Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer’s shoes are fitted with taps and by striking toe and heel, a rhythm is created.  This dance is quite popular in the mountains and foothills of North Carolina….where I was raised.  It wasn’t enough for me to learn how to clog.  I had to become a part of a team and dance competitively.  While it was enjoyable, I wonder what ever made me pursue it.  Was it just another check mark on my blackboard of life?

Last night, late, I needed some air.  I decided to spend some time in the courtyard.  It was coolish…but not too cool and the wind was still.  I sat on the stoop of the condo and stared at the mandrake plant that I have been nurturing since early summer.  That plant has been a lesson in patience. They are very particular about light and condition and temperature.  I have had to tend that plant with kid gloves.  About a month ago, I started to finally see some growth.  Growth does not come quickly with a mandrake either.  What started as a bump in the soil, is now three small (and I do mean small) leaves….and this is on a two year old root.

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The only thing that it concentrates on is growing stronger.  It pulls from the elements and slowly gathers the strength and nourishment it needs to become the perfect specimen….when the time is right.

Samhain is upon us and in the midst of preparation, I have let myself meander away from what it means.  I have let other things push and pull me until I no longer feel that I know which direction I am headed toward.  Even the crows realize it.  Normally, I am besieged by throngs of crows on a daily basis….with Mama Crow leading the noisy choir.  When I go through times like this…the crows grow silent.  I haven’t seen or heard a crow in at least a week.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I have decided that Samhain, for me, this year….will be a new beginning.  This is a time to call on the ancients, the ancestors to help strengthen my resolve.  The coming year for me will be the “Season of the Witch.”  This is my time for growing…..not that quick, over-fertilized growth….but a slow methodical growing time.  In this year I will become even more intimately acquainted with herbs and potions.  I intend to absorb everything that the stones and crystals will give me.  My time with the Lord and Lady and the elements will be even more deliberate.  I have been on this path far too long to let it just be the shocking revelation of ‘Yes, I am a witch.’

It is my time to revel in what it means to be a witch.  It is time to let that part of my spirit sing out.  Let the magick that is within me flow.  The power behind my beliefs should flow from me as easily as my own name flows from my lips….it is that much a part of me.

I have seen too many try to show themselves as something they are not.  We are not Harry Potter….not Samantha from ‘Bewitched.’  We are not the ladies from ‘The Witches of East End’ or ‘Practical Magic.’  We are, however, a strong group of individuals with energy and power that cannot be matched.  We are people who have healing in our very fingertips….our backbone is strong…..we hold access to the spirit realm and the playgrounds of the fae.  We are not here by accident and we were born to fly.  We were given relationship with those who many toss aside….the animals follow us closely and give us access to their hearts and spirits.  We are many traditions and many beliefs….but one strong heart grounded strongly in the old ways.

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I look forward to the wonderful things that are coming for me in this new year.  There are no dragons to be fought….but there are plenty to ride.  On Samhain night, as the moon rises in the sky and the clock strikes midnight,  I will whisper my desires into the ears of the Lord and Lady.  I will offer myself to the elements and I will begin a journey of growth led by the spirits of the ancients and those ancestors who desire to teach me.  I am a witch…nothing more and I sure as hell will not be anything less.

Blessed Be!

 

Making Your Own Magick

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I have so missed my walks this week.  A part of what wakes up the magick inside of me is getting to experience life away from four walls…but with dealing with whatever hellacious virus I have had this week, it has been hard to venture much farther than the walls of the courtyard.  As I tried to sneak off with Friz early this morning, my partner surprised me by snapping a picture of me just as we were about to escape.  This morning wasn’t about a backpack full of ritual items….it wasn’t about formality…it was just me, my dog, nature, and the Lord and Lady.

I think Friz was feeling cabin fever as much as I was.  He hates those times when either busy-ness or anything else keeps us from wandering in the early morning.  When he realized we were actually walking outside for more than a “pee trip,” he was pulling the leash with everything he had.  It was nice to feel the briskness in the air….almost a bite from the wind as we walked along.  The leaves were floating toward the ground in every direction we looked.  As I have said before, I love nothing more than to dance and play chase with the wind….she danced all around me this morning, inviting me to play.  I was still a bit weak, but Friz gladly answered that invitation.  He growled and chased and wiggled.

I took my staff with me this morning.  I am still getting a little winded as I walk….I figured a bit of magickal support wouldn’t hurt.  We got to a small patch of woods that we haven’t explored yet.  We could hear rustling in the leaves.  Friz felt the need to release that little “Buuff” so that anything would know how fierce he is.  I am sure that those squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks all ran for their lives….no matter, he was still being my protector.

As I sat under the trees, I remembered part of a conversation that I was having with a friend a few weeks ago.  We were talking about directing energy.  I have always had a more than vivid thought life…so visualizing energy has always come very easy to me.  I have no problem seeing the energy take forms and colors depending on what magick is being worked.  As I concentrated on all the full moon energy that was still lingering, I could feel a blue healing energy encompassing me.  I looked around and could see the energy of Crow and Wolf.  I could also see and feel the energy coming from a little blue chihuahua.  I lay back and relaxed into the comfort of that energy.

Today a friend of mine reminded me of something I have always known….”Magick is different for everyone…many ways of doing things, many beliefs….find one that suits you.  For all the wonderful teachings in the Craft…(and there are many) in the end….it’s about YOU.” “….This time of year is an excellent time to find YOURSELF.”  My response is that as I sift through the different parts of myself, this time of year, I find more and more of myself that I had forgotten….parts that have been scattered throughout the year.

I have always taken a simple approach to magick…I do what feels right for me.  If it doesn’t work right with my own intuition and spirit, then it isn’t the right magick for me.  I know that there are those that hold dear to their traditions… that’s fine and I do not belittle or undermine those traditions in the least, but I live the way that my grandma taught me.  “If you talk to the tree…listen, it will talk back.”  “If you ask the spirits for guidance, be prepared to be guided.”  I don’t have to hold my tongue just so….or spin in a circle in a particular way to get results.  When I do a spell,  I am prepared for all results and answers….just because I want something to happen a certain way doesn’t mean that it is the best fit for the universe or those around me.  In all the magick I do, though, I have to be willing to do the work.  I can’t expect things to happen if I am not willing to put in effort or intent…..that would be like doing magick for a new job and not putting my resume out there.  I can’t just sit on my ass and expect the elements or the gods and goddesses around me to do all the work.

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I have had a mandrake root…yes, the old fashioned kind like in Harry Potter…that I have been working with all summer.  I have been making sure all the conditions are perfect, just enough water..not too much, just the perfect number of hours of sunshine or light from a grow lamp.  All summer the pot sat there.  The soil was completely undisturbed…not one thing had changed.  My roommate came to me the day before the full moon this past week and said, “I don’t think your mandrake is alive.  I think the root is dead.  It just isn’t doing anything.”  I looked at him without missing a beat and said, “Maybe it just needs a little extra energy.  Sometimes we all need a little jump-start.”  I walked outside to the pot.  I watered it and talked to it….then I closed my eyes and envisioned a swirl of beautiful green glowing energy encircling the pot and plant.  I watched as the swirl of energy grew and climbed and pulsated….then I talked a little more to that root that I knew was just underneath that soil and then I went inside.  The day of the full moon, just after 4:00pm, I was going to lie down for a nap.  My roommate called me outside.  “Your mandrake is sprouting. I can actually see leaves.  What did you do?” I told him that I did exactly what I told him I was going to do…..I gave it a little extra energy…that jump-start.  So now, everyday, I give it a little extra energy…just for as long as it needs it.

If you have been doing the same thing over and over….expecting different results each time, maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit.  YOU are a magickal being…..rely on what’s inside of you.  YOU are capable of anything that the universe holds or offers….why do we feel the need to lock ourselves away in a tower and not allow ourselves to fly outside of it.  The only books the Ancients held were those they made themselves.

Think about what initially drew you to the Craft.  Take yourself back to that initial excitement….the feeling you had when you first encountered your spirit animal or familiar.  What did your first encounter with a god or goddess stir in you?  It’s all still there….maybe it’s time to break out the shovel and dig away the things that have buried some of those feelings or memories….or as my dear friend said “….sift through, experience the beauty, take your time, and have wonderful results.”

Blessed Be!

Dream It Anyway

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This week, I was disillusioned a bit.  I guess I put the type of expectations on everyone else that I have for myself.  Sure, it disappoints me when others don’t seem to live up to those expectations, but you learn to live with it for the most part.

It has been a while since I have been through the scouting and interviewing process of job-hunting.  I had done everything that I was required to do.  I submitted my resume, got the reply that a phone interview was required, replied with my schedule and availability, and I waited.  I waited while my roommate got a reply to his reply….I waited and watched my roommate sit and wait by the phone at the scheduled time for the interview…I waited while my roommate went on to the gym because an hour and a half past the interview time, no one had called.

My roommate came to me Friday night.  “What’s wrong.” “Nothing.”  “Yes there is.  Are you feeling depressed?”  “No…..well…a little.  How can someone tell you that they are going to do something and then not do it?  So much magick was poured into this.”  “Are you doubting the power of magick?”  “No not at all.  I have no doubt that magick is real….I don’t know what I am questioning.”

My brain was racing…soaring….all over the place.  I went to bed Friday night and dreamed about my childhood.  Dreams and memories overtook every moment of sleep.  I remembered the moment when I found out that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real.  That didn’t seem so much of a loss, but next came the demise of the Easter Bunny.  This revelation shook me a little more, considering that Easter is one of my favorite times of the year.  But when I was forced to take a good hard look at Santa…..lying comatose in the remnants of fantasy and glitter….it shook me to the core.  It shook me so much that I forced myself to ‘believe’ for two years longer for the ‘sake of my younger brother.’

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Those next two years were horrible for me.  The very foundation of my belief system was shaken.  Doubt replaced certainty.  If none of the magickal beings I had come to trust were real….then was magick, in itself, real?  I spent hours talking to my grandma about all of this.  I asked her how she was still able to hold fast to the legends and stories she was told as a young girl on the reservation.  I asked her how she was able to hold onto the belief in the power of all those spirits that were supposedly around us…especially when she couldn’t see them.  I still hold fast to the words that she spoke to me.  “Just because you can’t see the wind when it’s blowing through those trees…doesn’t make it any less real.  Just because you smell the rain before it gets there…doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.  Just because you can’t hear that tree talking….doesn’t mean it’s not talking.  Sometimes you have to dig deeper inside of you than you ever needed to dig before….just so you can see with your eyes closed.  All your life, people are going to tell you that you can’t do the things you know that you can.  It is your choice as far as what you believe.”2013-10-05 15.40.32

When I woke up this morning, I could feel my dreams still swirling inside my head.  I could hear my grandma’s voice echoing in my ears.  It was almost like having a dream hangover.  As I walked outside with Friz with the New Moon barely showing herself.  I wondered why I believed now as strong as I believe.  I realized that through this job-hunting episode, it wasn’t my belief in magick that was shaken….I think I have just grown even more weary of trying to excuse the bad personality flaws of others.  In any case, my feelings should have never gotten hurt over the fact that I was ‘overlooked.’

Friz and I set out with a mission this morning.  The woods were calling and we had a wand to pour energy into.  I also have a Facebook friend who is dealing with seizures and other medical issues who needs my energy more than that job.

We got into the woods and settled in under a tree.  We saw our little calico friend just a few feet from us.  I called on the spirit of Wolf and Crow.  I have never doubted that they would be there when I called.  My grandma always told me that whenever I needed my helpers, that they would be there.  I laid the wand between the two skulls and blew sage smoke over it.  I called to the Lord and Lady in behalf of the person the wand would be going to and in behalf of the friend battling illness.  It was at that moment that the wind came.  This wind was a familiar one.  My grandma was in this wind.  I smelled gardenia.  Her perfume always carried that heady essence of gardenia.  It pulsed around me, Friz and Beatrice.  Friz recognized this wind too.  He sat as if being told to do so….he licked at the air.  You see, my grandma was the first person he met after meeting me……we went straight to her house after picking him up.  She held him in the crook of her arm the whole time he was there.  She entertained  the kitten with scurrying leaves….my grandma never completely understood a cat.

It shouldn’t have shocked me that she would come to me in the wind.  She loved nothing more than the balmy breezes of summer and the crisp winds of Fall.  I asked her to bless the wand and to pour energy into it.  I talked to her about my friend.  It was as if I could hear her voice in each rustle of the leaves and could feel her quiet but mischievous strength.  I could hear her telling me….”Now remember, belief is all fine and good….you finally got that up under your belt.  Now it’s time to give those beliefs and dreams hands and feet.”  I could feel the kiss of the wind against my forehead as our time came to an end.  No sadness….just the feeling of hope that she always seemed able to leave me with.

Things are going to happen….I, as well as others, am going to screw things up.  Things aren’t always going to go the way I want them.  Dreams change and beliefs shift….but I intend to do the one thing she always told me to do…..”Dream it….Believe it anyway.  Who is gonna stop you?”