Don’t Make Eye Contact

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Blessed Be!

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Dig A Little Deeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Blessed Be!

Let Freedom Ring

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This week has been a challenging one.  It seems that I have put on my counselor’s hat most every day.  Everyone I have talked to seems to be bound up…bound up by things that they can’t control.  It is like I have watched as people wrap themselves tighter and tighter in issues that they have either created or have let into the cracks of their lives and irritation resulted.

I talked to one woman who was consumed by jealousy.  When I asked her what her husband had done to build such jealousy and distrust in her, she answered that he had done nothing….that it was just the way she was.  She searched through his phone when he wasn’t looking, she followed him constantly (only to see him go exactly where he told her he was going), she questioned him and needled him every waking moment.  He had simply told her that he was tired.  She was so tightly wrapped up in her own mind, that she didn’t realize that she was exhausting the relationship.

A male friend I talked to this week, could do nothing but mourn the loss of a relationship that he had seven years ago.  He blamed all of his inadequacies on this person deserting him seven years ago and how this other person was ‘his heart.’  He kept going on about how I could never understand that kind of loss in my life. (Honestly, at this point, my eyes had rolled back into the back of my head in an ‘oh please’ type of reaction.)  No, I doubt that I could understand losing someone…never mind that I had dealt with the loss of a partner to AIDS.  As I sat there listening to him tell me how painful every day still was, I wondered why it was easier for him to wind himself up in the turmoil that he had created and not live his life a little more carefree.

As I listened more than talked this week…I think I realized something about people, in general.  People are afraid.  People are afraid that, without drama in their lives, they will be overlooked.  They are afraid that they will just blend in with everyone else.  As I talked to the jealous wife, I realized that her value didn’t come from her family or her relationship. It didn’t even come from who she was.  It came from being able to weave the tales of his betrayal…to be able to earn sympathy for something that her husband had given her no reason to believe.  When she told me that he hadn’t done anything and that jealousy was just a part of her nature…it told me all I needed.  Her nature was the damaged part of the relationship.

My male friend, even as he spoke about living with his heartbreak….in that same breath asked me why I don’t have any photos of Jim.  I told him that it wouldn’t be fair to my current partner and that was a part of life that was finished. There was no way that it could ever be what it was.  When I buried Jim,  I also had to bury that relationship.  I still carry the love and memories, but the love and memories don’t possess me.

Many may read this and feel that I am cold and heartless.  It isn’t that.  I just can’t imagine being bound by anything extra.  Life throws enough at you.  Why hold onto things that can make your life even crazier.  I have always been the type of person who believes that you live and you let live.  As long as you don’t hurt others or aren’t spewing vile…then I will peaceably live my life alongside of you.  Just like with my friend that is seven years out of a relationship….I asked him, “How often do you think he sits and thinks of you?”  Just like I asked the woman bound by jealousy, “Have you ever thought that if you let go of the jealousy that you could actually be with the love of your life, living your ‘Happily Ever After?”broken-chains

So many times, we concentrate on such tiny things….the things that rub like sandpaper.  If we were to just give a tug on those chains, we may just find that they are made out of paper.

My step-grandpa used to have cattle.  I watched as he trained an old bull not to tear down the fence.  My grandpa used an electric fence.  He would walk that bull up to that fence and right into it.  The bull would get shocked.  He did this many, many times until finally that old bull wouldn’t get anywhere near that fence.  While I don’t condone his methods, they were effective.  After that bull had it ingrained in his mind that the fence would shock him, my grandpa turned the electricity off to the fence.  In that bull’s mind though, that fence was still capable of shocking him if he went near it.

We have pretty much done the same thing.  We have confined ourselves based on past experiences.  The electricity has been off for years, but we don’t dare test it.  I guess I was always the stubborn child.  I would constantly go up to the fence, touching it to test it every time….not for fear of getting shocked, but in the hope that the next time I touched it, it would be powerless.

I have watched some witches become like Christian church.  I have always believed that whatever your path, faith is the primary part.  Faith puts feet to belief.  I can believe that the fence won’t shock me all I want, but until that moment I reach out and touch it, it is something only my brain has concocted.  The cunning men and women in the community were the ones that the townsfolk would come to for guidance, for magick, for something that everyday life couldn’t supply.  Isn’t it really time we lived up to that?

A friend of mine posted a photo today…I took it to heart.  Most might get offended, but it struck me as an epiphany.

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Blessed Be!

Honoring the Warrior Spirit

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I come from a big military family.  I am one of the only men who never served.  My grandfather, uncles, cousins, have all served in wars.  My grandfather fought in World War II, my uncles in the Korean and Vietnam wars, and my cousins in Desert Storm.  Each went into battle, not with the intention of killing for the sake of killing, but with freedom and justice balancing delicately on their shoulders.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  Most think of it as an excuse for a three day weekend, others think of it as a reason to barbecue.  These are wonderful ways to celebrate this holiday, but for me, it takes on much more meaning.  I remember an uncle who spent time in a concentration camp in Germany for being a sympathizer.  He made it out alive, miraculously, but lived his life constantly scarred by the memories.  I remember, as a child, always making trips to the military bases because one of my relatives was being deployed overseas.  I have tremendous respect for our military.

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I admire my uncles and cousins who have served and they never made me feel any less important for not serving.  My uncle once said to me, “It is not always about fighting in a foreign land.  Freedom also has to be won right here at home…in our day to day life.  As long as you live a life of integrity and have strength of character and showing kindness to those who need it, you are demonstrating justice and freedom.  It is your destiny to keep honor and hope alive every day of your life.”  I remember the words he spoke to me every time he hugs me before getting on that plane for another assignment.  This last time it was Afghanistan.  He and my aunt Skype every morning before he starts work and you can hear the strength in his voice…he is there for me, and her, and every other person here in the United States of America.

Friz and I took our time walking to the woods this morning.  It was already feeling heavy and humid.  The coolness of the woods was what I needed. We rounded the sidewalk at the back part of the complex and moved toward a quiet leaf covered sanctuary.  I laid everything out….the skulls, candles, crystals…all the way I normally do and then I sprawled out in the middle of the leaves.  The coolness of the ground beneath me almost made me feel as though I could doze off.  2014-03-19 19.15.00

The Morrigan has been on my mind all week long.  Maybe it’s because the dark of the moon is approaching….maybe it is because everywhere I have turned this week, I have seen crows, crows, and more crows.  Maybe it is because I have had to call on that warrior spirit many, many times over the past weeks.  I understand that we are to look for the love and light around us, but sometimes life is honestly just a battle.  It is in the midst of those challenges that I have had to listen closely to the words my uncle spoke to me.

Life is not always about having the sword or spear at the ready…the path we walk should not be paved with blood and annihilation.  We don’t do damage just for damage’s sake.  The warrior’s spirit must always be tempered with wisdom.  There is a quote from the movie, “The Hobbit”  that I think describes it perfectly:

  True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one.

 

Believe me….I am not one of those witches whose life revolves around fairy dust and nothing but love and light.  There is a place for folks like that and I have no disagreement with them, but when I was reborn into this life, the body that I inhabit was given a good dose of fight and temper and a sword for a tongue.  Over the years, I have had to learn when to use all of those qualities along with something my grandma imparted to me…a respect for all beings and their life forces.

My first inclination has always been to wield the sword first and then look to see who I may have hit.  As I have matured, I have learned to ‘bring the proper tool for the fight.’  Don’t bring a battle axe when a slingshot will do the job.

I remembered sitting down with the grandmothers and grandfathers during the summer I worked on the Lakota reservation in South Dakota.  They would tell me stories that their grandmothers and grandfathers had told to them.  I remember hearing of ‘counting coup.’

Counting coup was the act of striking or touching the enemy in battle with a bow, spear, or coup stick.  It was an act that was meant more for humiliation than and act of bloodshed.  After counting coup several times on an enemy, to kill them would have been dishonorable and seen as a waste of ammunition.

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We are too busy now a days counting coup….it is way too easy to try to humiliate others and make them ashamed of the way they think, act, practice than to be honorable.  All for the sake of what?  Making us look better?  When that actually works, you let me know.  War, whether in the days of the Lakota or in the days of our Celtic ancestors, was never fought for the trivial.  It was about home, food, survival, and freedom.

Life has become harder.  Life is a constant battle.  The heart of the warrior always stands strong and honorable with the good of more than himself/herself directly in front of his/her eyes.  There are times when things have to be cut down and cut away.  We must have the wisdom to recognize when that is needed and we must make a clean cut with a sharp blade.

I will be in the woods again tomorrow.  I will be giving honor to the warrior spirit that runs rampant through the veins of my family.  I will be giving thanks for that same blood that runs through my veins.  Even though I have never served a moment in the military, I stand with my head held high because I have done what my uncle asked of me.  I have always tried to live my life with integrity and strength of character.  I have tried to sow honor and hope wherever I go….I hold that warrior spirit.

Blessed Be!268d80b80fa42368ed9720a13600437b

 

 

 

 
**I must apologize. I have since removed a piece of work attached to this article called “Tatanka” by Maureen Farrelly. I should not have used it. It came up in a Google search.

Blessed Be!

Making Friends With the Things That Haunt You

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I had the strangest dream last night.  I dreamed that me, my partner and my roommate all went in together and bought an old dilapidated victorian house.  It had previously been divided into levels for apartments, but our intent was to take it back to its original state.  We found out after we bought the house that it was haunted by a dastardly man who made it difficult for anyone to stay in the house for very long.  victorian

I remember, in the dream, moving from room to room with the fear of this horrible spirit in the back of my mind.  The last place I went was the very top floor.  The fireplace was going and this was where the spirit supposedly spent most of his time.  I walked into the room and he did everything he could to make me know that I wasn’t welcome.  I continued to talk as he continued to try to scare me. The flames of the fire would rage higher as he grew angrier.   He moved swiftly in front of my face and screeched.

By this time, I had grown tired of the game.  I calmly told him that I wasn’t afraid of him and that we were going to bring the old place back to its former glory.  I quietly talked through all of plans…even our intent to leave the top floor to him alone, with an occasional visit if he wanted.  I could see that he was calming down by the flames in the fireplace.  They were now down to a soft comfortable glow.

We finished the remodel and all lived a peaceful coexistence with the spirit in the house.  He grew to be a friend as the years moved forward.  He was a source of protection for us as well as source for much historical knowledge.

I am often offered solutions to issues in life through my dreams.  It is often where I deal with and face my darkest fears.  I realized that the man in this dream was representative of where I am heading in my own life right now.  I am slowly moving through levels of a new job.  With each level there comes a new fear…I am having to refurbish old ideas and rethink old thought processes.  I see, now, that the biggest hurdle is that within me that wants everything to stay comfortable…unchanging.  I must embrace that that is a part of me and that it may never leave, but I also have to be willing to move forward with plans and hopes and dreams.

When I woke up this morning with my head crowded by the visions of last night’s dream, I remembered when I was a little boy living with my parents on Walkup Avenue in our old hometown.  The house had belonged to my great grandparents (both of whom had died there) and it was located by a section of woods that didn’t quite have the right kind of energy for a five year old.  We had also been robbed in that house.

In that house, I lived in fear….of everything.  I was scared of the house, of the woods, of the ‘people’ that I could feel there…and the dark.  My mom and dad tried everything they could to alleviate all of those fears, but unfortunately, in those days it meant letting me sleep alone in a pitch black room….no nightlights for me.  It also meant that my bedroom was the furthest away from it if I had to go to the bathroom.  It also meant that if I wandered too far in the wrong direction, our German Shepherd Rascal would hear me and begin to growl and all I could see of him were large yellow eyes.  I lived my life petrified of anything that happened when the sun went down.  There were many nights that I would lie in my bed with the covers to my neck horrified to move.

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Once again, it was one of my grannies to the rescue.  This time it was my very Scotch-Irish granny.  Her face seemed to always be engraved with smiles and her hands were charged with soothing energy.  I remember that she had come to stay with us one weekend and I guess it got the best of her to see this child cowered in fear and shaking the moment the sun went down.  She came into my bedroom after I had been tucked in and she asked me what was wrong.  I shook uncontrollably as she pulled me into her lap.  I spewed out every one of the things that I was scared of the most.  It was like my body was vomiting the fear on the floor in front of me…..the dark, the woods, the dog, the house…I put all of it right there in front of her.

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I can still hear her soft laughter as she quietly told me that the secret to not being afraid anymore was to make friends with the things I was afraid of.  I remembered thinking, “Why in the world would I want to make friends with them?!  I am scared of them!!”  She picked me up and carried me in her arms toward the front door.  She opened the door and the screen and walked with me clinging to her in horror out toward the back steps.  I remember that the moon was shining brightly that night.  Quietly she made the introductions.  “Miss Moon, this is my grandson, David.  David, this is Miss Moon.  Stars, this is my grandson….Woods, this is my grandson….Old Man of the Dark, this is my grandson.”  She went on and on, telling me how she had made friends with each of these things over her life.  Finally, she called Rascal over…the German Shepherd that I was so determined was horribly mean.  He softly licked my cheek and I started laughing.  She explained that the reason he jumped up on me sometimes was because he wanted to play and that the reason he growled at night was because he heard noises and wanted to keep everybody safe.

So now, all of those things I was scared most of didn’t seem so scary.  I made it a point to venture out in the woods more during the day to see more of what was out there.  I talked to Miss Moon every time I was outside.  It made it seem as though there was a family member watching over me.  The stars became my watchmen….and Rascal and I were often found lying on top of each other at the edge of the woods sharing secrets.  I look back on all of that now and I laugh out loud….most of the things that I was most afraid of have, indeed, become my dearest friends.  Mama Moon and the stars, dogs in general, the darkness…even spirits.  German Shepherd laying on the green grass

I got up really early this morning (the first time) and  the little blue chihuahua and I made our way to the woods around the four a.m. mark. Hopefully we didn’t scare anyone on the way.  I had my cloak over me and my backpack under it so I looked a bit like Quasimodo.  When we got into the belly of the woods, I settled into the dirt.  Stones were placed in strategic spots all around us in a circle formation, the candles were placed and lit and the skulls were given their positions of honor.  In remembrance of my old friend Rascal, I sprinkled dried wild flowers over the skulls and burned sage.  I also burned an incense mixture that a friend gave me that has done wonders in gearing my mind toward success and strength.

I sat there in the midst of so many of the things that made my heart pound in fear.  I thanked them all for their friendships over the years and at this point Friz leaned in to give me a lick on my nose….I thanked him for his friendship, his loyalty, his protection, and magick.  As I felt the heartbeat of the Earth Mother beneath me, I was reminded of how much fear we, as humans live in.  We fear what others think of us.  We fear change.  We fear the world around us.  It is time to look those things that we fear the most in the eye and introduce ourselves.  It may become your biggest ally.

Blessed Be!how_to_train_your_dragon_12

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!

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!