Slipping Through the Open Gate….or Taking Off the Harness and Living the Untamed Life

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Now y’all haven’t heard me talk about our little Bella much.  She is the “wild girl” in our little pack here.  I often let y’all in on Friz’s life and how much he tends to be like me in nature and all the warm fuzzy stuff that he does.  Well….truth be told, Bella is more like that part of me that not everyone gets to see.  She lives life for Bella and Bella alone.  If she wants it, she takes it.  If she wants out, she goes.  If you are in the place she wants to be….you move.  If Bella is a reincarnation of anyone from history, it would have been one of the Egyptian queens or one of those strong women that made history by being just a little naughty.

I love Bella to death…but she can be challenging at times.  She has to be watched like a hawk.  She is the dog that will eat something just because she wanted to know what it tastes like…whether it was edible or not.  Bella takes life by storm and lives every moment like a bat out of hell. 

All of this being said….we have to section the house off with baby gates.  It keeps Bella safe from Bella.  She is on a restricted diet, but one of her guilty pleasures is waiting for my partner to absent-mindedly leave the gate that has access to the cat food open.  So many times I have caught Bella slowly sneaking toward the opening and closer to the cat food…her mouth open in the anticipation of getting a tasty little forbidden morsel.  When she hears “Bella, NO!!” escape your lips, she looks up at you defiantly and in a huff she tromps away.  Bella is determined that it is not she who has been domesticated in this household….and that we are but her minions.  How dare we put restrictions on her life and tell her what she can and cannot do.Photo Oct 13, 6 23 03 PM (1)

So, with all that being said,  I decided to take Bella on an excursion this morning.  We went to the pond.  I put on her little pink fleece jacket….it was bitter cold out and the little lady does like her comfort.  Before I could even get her harness on, she bolted out the door at full force and then on out the gate.  Thankfully it was early, so there was no danger of cars pulling in and out.  As I went outside of the gate calling her name, I looked down to the side and there she sat, wagging her stubby little butt, staring up at me as if to ask, “What took you so long.”  Hmmmmm, this one is too smart for her own good.

I suited her up in her harness and we walked toward the pond.  Her ears were swaying back and forth as she did her little bounce walk.  You could see it in the way she walked…she was going on an adventure….with or without me.  When we got to the pond, I sat down under my friend Oak and started to relax into my routine.  Well, with Bella, there is no routine.  She goes at full tilt.  She wanted to be up and moving.  I decided to try a little experiment (I would not suggest doing this if you don’t know your dog beyond knowing.  I know, for a fact, that Bella will never go too far from me.  She may run, she may dart…but she will stop at a certain point.  This has been proven at the dog park.  She won’t let me get beyond a certain earshot or line of vision.)  I took the leash off of Bella’s harness.  She danced, she leapt, she ran in circles….and she explored.  She sniffed everything.  Every few minutes, she would check back in with me or bring me some odd thing that she had unearthed or pulled out of a patch of weeds.  I had to laugh as I watched this wild child at play.  Hurricane Bella was a force to be reckoned with. 

It made me think….how many times do I sit around and wait for somebody to leave the gate open, or for that matter, take off the harness of day-to-day issues before I run around free of cares and all that burdens me.  I didn’t realize it until this morning, but food was a harness that was holding me back.  It wasn’t until I began my healthier lifestyle choices and watched the fat come off that I started feeling more energetic…that I was able to dance under the moon and not get winded.  I watched that little weiner dog do everything she could on impulse this morning.  I had to admit to myself that my life is too planned.  I can give you a schedule for everything I do….including rituals and playtime. 

I can see the gate opened….right there at the edge of my pasture.  I feel that it is time for me to make a run for it.  I know that right outside of it lies spontaneity and freedom.  It has seemed lately that my brain has felt way too cloudy.  Work hasn’t been hard or stressful for me…it has just been way too busy.  Homelife hasn’t been tense or out of control…it has just been too busy.  I have got to spend more time outside of that gate…unharnessed and ready to laugh and play and just be joyful.  I have all the elements around me that allow for that.  I have a wonderful partner….really great friends….incredible animals who encourage me every day to tap into that part of me that is just as wild as they can be. 

We tend to forget that life today can keep us scheduled to death.  Always doing something that is required of us.  Sometimes we just have to do something because we want to….just because it was birthed into us at the beginning of the age.

That gate is open.  You better run…..NOW!!

Blessed Be!

Running Alongside Your Destiny

When cold winds are calling,
And the sky is clear and bright,
Misty mountains sing and beckon,
Lead me out into the light.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

Where dark woods hide secrets,
And mountains are fierce and bold,
Deep waters hold reflections,
Of times lost long ago.

I will hear their every story,
Take hold of my own dream,
Be as strong as the seas are stormy,
And proud as an eagle’s scream.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

And touch the sky.

Chase the wind, chase the wind.

Touch the sky

Today was the first day I have felt 100% since before Christmas.  I have been wheezing, sniffling, and snorting….forcing myself to do the things that I normally take pleasure in.  I have had to make myself go to the pond and to the woods.  I knew that going there would draw strength and healing into my body.  I have been forcing myself to work through the entire sickness, rarely taking time to rest.  Just when I would think I was back to normal….I was knocked on my ass again. 

Ever since I woke up this morning, I have been feeling the call of the outdoors.  It has felt as though the fae themselves have been calling me, beckoning for me to come out and play.  It was all I could do to sit still in my cubicle until 4pm.  My desk is right by a window, so I sat most of the day dreaming of being out in the sunshine and feeling the breeze against my face….even though it has been colder than I-don’t-know-what here.

When the clock hit 4, my body lurched from my desk.  I practically leapt at the door.  I jumped in my car and got home as quickly and safely as Atlanta traffic would allow.  I rushed into the condo, stripped out of my scrubs and put on my jeans, a sweatshirt and raced out the door.  I felt something welling up in me.  I haven’t run in years….haven’t been motivated to and haven’t felt the need.  As soon as I hit the sidewalk, I started to run.  This wasn’t a jog or a leisurely run….this was a hard, fast sprint.  I could feel all of the elements swirling around me.  I told a friend later that, if I had hair, it would have been blowing  in the wind.  I ran around the complex three times.  I could feel leaves and twigs crunching under my feet.  As I got to the gate of the courtyard after the third lap, I was breathing heavily, but I was completely exhiliarated and every circuit I had was popping.

I walked into the condo….gathered up my cloak, wand, and little blue chihuahua  and made my way to the pond.  Friz and I slowly circled the water.  Black and white cat has gotten to the point that he just joins us wherever we are.  He is rubbing against my legs and against Friz.  I inhale the moist air around the pond and we head toward the woods.  Like I said, it was like the fae were calling me to frolic with them.

As we entered the clearing, I felt the familiarity of my spirit friends…wolf and crow.  Energy was high today….it was as if there was an anticipation of something wonderful and powerful looming.  I have been saying that this year holds something big…..I can feel it deep in my bones.  I feel something life changing coming….something that will change me down to my very core.  I can smell it in the wind.

I have loved the Pixar movie “Brave” and have watched it many times since it came out on DVD.  I watch as a young Merida fights to be able to follow her own destiny.  She tests and tries everything around her to be able to live her own life.  Our destiny is just within reach.  So many of us, however, are afraid to open our eyes and see it.  I know, this year, my destiny is right in front of me…..I am ready to grasp it.  No more fear on this end.  I refuse to live my life sheltered away from the adventure that life brings.  I stand poised….ready to jump on the horse of destiny and ride wherever it takes me. 

I think about the past couple of years.  I have allowed people to trample me, cripple me emotionally, manipulate me….I am no one’s clay to sculpt but my own.  I am a masterpiece yet to be unveiled.  Most people would say that at 46 years old it is time to settle down and hibernate.  I say that it is a wonderful time for new beginnings.  Time to initiate wonderful changes.  My destiny has yet to be fulfilled.  I am looking forward to a fantastical ride!  I have wonderful travelling companions….Gods, Goddesses, fae, spirit animals, animal helpers, witches and all sorts of wonderful friends.

As Merida said at the end of Brave:

 There are those who say fate is something beyond our command.  That destiny is not our own, but I know better.  Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.531902_538910342793421_951664636_n

The Simpler Ways

winter sunrise

As I sit here writing this post tonight, it is really difficult believing that Yule is upon us…..Atlanta is not known for its winter-like conditions. Today was warm and pleasant out. Nothing would have led anyone to believe that winter was weaving its magick around us.

I spent the day at the mall with my partner Christmas shopping. He is not pagan, so we celebrate the holidays with many different traditions woven together. The mall during the holidays has got to be my least favorite place to be. Contrary to popular belief, people do not seem to get nicer….but you see impatient, rude, ill-behaved folks growling and spitting at the sales associates and each other. This is why I decided that, for myself, this year needed to take on simpler ways.

We put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving. This is a way for us to bring the outside in. We adorn the buffet and anything that doesn’t move in greenery. This year, we decided that the lights on the tree needed to be reminiscent of our childhood. We incorporated the large colored lights in amongst white lights into the decorations. The decorations essentially became anything that would reflect light. Each year I take the time to explain to those in our household that Winter Solstice and Yule are celebrations to welcome back the light into our homes and lives. As the tree glimmers against the darkness outside, it is such a magickal feeling telling the stories of the Oak King and the Holly King and the coming forth of the Horned One. With the emergence of the Horned One, comes the rebirth of the Sun.tree

This year, my promise to myself was to avoid getting so wrapped up in the doing, doing, doing and just to enjoy the moments around me. To embrace the “now,” so to speak. I have decided that the gifts that I give will be hand-made or activity gifts…..things that will get us out into nature.

One of the gifts that I will be giving my partner is a romantic couples horseback ride that ends in a pastoral setting with wine. For those friends closest to me in the Craft, I will be making amulets that carry Wolf energy and the energy of the Horned One. This year is about bringing nature and energies together to bless those I love. 379507_10150593745917656_631665278_nSanta, to me, represents all that is good in human nature. He reminds me that somewhere deep inside people is a desire to help and guide others. He encompasses those traits that I see in Lord and Lady, and reminds me that we need to take care of those who need it….especially the animals. This time of year is a time of commitment for the present and for the New Year for our household…..always making sure that we give to nature and to those beings in nature. The holidays are always for hanging suet and making sure that there is food and warmth for those that need it. The feral cats around here get boxes with blankets placed inside just outside the courtyard.

I guess the biggest promise I have made in this holiday season is to give more of me. I realize that this can sound a little egotistical….but what I mean is that I choose to be actively present with those I am around. This includes the elementals and the Lord and Lady and all the animal spirits. I got a wild lesson from the fae this weekend. I let myself get a bit too busy and I haven’t talked to them as much in the past month. On Friday night, my roommates keys disappeared. We tore the house apart. They were nowhere to be found. We looked in most places two and three times. A friend suggested it was the fae….it made me think. Another said that they were under a stack of mail…this made me wonder. Yesterday…late afternoon, he found his keys hidden under a stack of mail that we had looked under and through several times. So last night, late, I went and spent some time with the fae in the courtyard. I sang and listened as I heard the whispers in the breeze…watched the leaves rustle.

As we get closer to Yule, I tap deep into myself…..I pull on the energies of those who move deep inside my spirit. The wolf, who is a path finder, a bringer of new ideas returning to the people to deliver teachings and to allow us to learn and participate in knowing our heritage and spiritual path, sharing good medicine. There is Crow who is the keeper of magick and those things sacred and is the messenger. Hawk brings foresight and perspective. Last but not least is Owl…who is all seeing and holds wisdom.

These are the things I long to carry into the new year and wish that I could impart to you. I would love to take away the regret and hurts of the past and the anxiety and fear of the future and teach you to hold onto the magick that you have in your hands right now….in this moment. To show you the spirit of the Goddess in you. To walk hand in hand with the fae and the elements and to be able to dance with the moon.

When I lived on the farm, life was very basic. You did what was needed when it was needed. When I moved to the city, I was a bit overwhelmed. Stress was introduced. It takes work on a daily basis to reconnect with nature and elementals and animal spirits. I am learning, thanks to those mentioned and the hands of the Lord and Lady, to enjoy and be present with them. The gifts they have given me for Yule is teaching me to be….just be. It can be that simple.

Blessed Yule!379859_10150582335272656_1778153051_n

It Can Only Be Taken….If I Allow It

Never let another person take away who you are. You have so much strength, power. You allow it to be taken away, it’s not taken from you. YOU allow it. Pull it back in. Take CONTROL. You are a warrior. You are in control. Things don’t happen to you, you ALLOW it to happen. YOU are a WITCH. You have the power of the GODDESS in you. DO NOT allow it to be taken away.

This was something that a dear, dear friend of mine said to me this week as I sat in the midst of a gigantic pity party I was having.  I had allowed something that someone said to me in anger wipe away all memory of who I truly was. I allowed feelings that had not interrupted my brain for years to come flooding back into me like a tidal wave.  I let every ounce of self-doubt smack me up-side the head.  I didn’t think that I was that fragile….but my self-esteem shattered like a mirror that had been hit with a sledge hammer.

It took the strong words of a dear friend to help me to realize that I am stronger than mere words.  I was answering accusations with pure, raw emotion.  I had to be reminded that there is more to me than emotions that can be shattered at the drop of a hat…..hell, I have been through my own sexual abuse, the death of a partner and countless other crises that made this one seem almost insignificant.  How did I originally respond?  I pissed and moaned and felt sorry for myself.  I pouted and sulked.  I forgot what and who I was.

For a while, I was having trouble finding myself in the middle of a crisis.  What did it take to help me find my way out?  It took loving words lined with just enough “swift kick in the ass” in it.  I had forgotten that I am a witch and that I have something to work with that can make all the difference in the world.  I have Magick!

I settled in to make some Witches Salt.  I scraped the bottom of my cauldron with a spoon and combined it in my mortar and pestle with some black lava salt and ground it into a fine powder.  It was time to banish some negativity.  I needed to get rid of negative emotions, negative self-talk….I needed calm, peace and my sanity back.  I lit the candles, opened the circle and then proceeded to put the Witches Salt everywhere that it needed to be.  After the ritual, I thanked the elements and closed the circle. 

I slowly walked down to the pond…..that is the one place where I feel completely me and completely magickal.  Friz walked leisurely by my side.  I looked down at him and I saw the hair on the back of his neck begin to bristle up.  He saw something that he didn’t recognize and he started barking uncontrollably.  I tried to quiet him down, but he continued to bark.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to calm down. 

A thought raced through my mind. “A chihuahua is going to be a chihuahua, no matter what.”  Little did I know that was what my dear friend was trying to get through my thick skull.  “A witch is a witch, no matter what.”  I have an obligation to myself and to the Lord and Lady.  I am to be the strongest, best me that I can be….no compromise….no faltering.  I have all the strength and power of the wild God…..the stamina of the Horned One.  I also carry the strength of the Warrior Goddess….the power over those things that would try to conquer me. 

I need to show myself for who I truly am.  I have the power of generations of Ancients surrounding me and inside me.  I only have to access that power.  It is as easy as lighting a fire in my cauldron.  As I made myself comfortable by the pond, the herd of cats came padding toward me.  Again, I am reminded….I have to be who I was created to be.  The only reason that flame can be snuffed out, is if I allow it.  I must stand guard over that flame.

My favorite quote from the first Harry Potter movie will suffice.  “You’re a wizard, Harry…..and a thumpin’ good one, I’d waiger.”  Yes, I am a wizard, witch, sorcerer, magician…..whatever word you want to use.  It is just a matter of semantics.  It is my choice as to how good, bad, weak, or strong.  From now on…..I choose strong.

Blessed Be!