Finding Your Strength

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It seems like an eternity since I have sat down to write.  Life has a way of picking us up by the scruff of the neck sometimes and shaking us like a dazed puppy.  Since January, I have had two strokes, my mom has been hospitalized for over a month, and our oldest cat TeeTee is preparing for her journey into the summerlands.

I hate to admit it, but in the midst of everything that has happened, magick tended to be done in hindsight…an afterthought at first to the situation at hand.  There were days after the strokes that I would find myself just sitting…staring out of windows…more conscious of the drooping or the lack of strength on my left side.  Funny, the doctor says that I have had ‘mini strokes.’  In talking to a friend of mine and through reading, I have found out that a stroke is a stroke.  There are no minis or maxis.

Through the challenges of recuperation, there were, constantly in the back of my mind, visions of my great grandma’s sister.  We called her Aunt Carrie.  I often wish I had gotten to know her before the strokes.  She was a beautiful woman always dressed to the nines, very passionate and eloquent from what I was told.  She was a teacher.  When I got to know her, she had been ravaged by stroke after stroke.  They had rendered her bed-ridden, only able to mouth and garble words, and only able to barely motion.

I lived in a world of not feeling like myself, fear of being that shell of a person I once was…but it was in the words of friends and family that I found the strength to push myself.  I found out from my mother that Aunt Carrie was given the opportunity to go through therapy but chose not to.  Her marriage was bad, her husband used to beat her.  She hoped for death but was given an existence with a husband riddled with guilt who now decided that he needed to try to make up for the earlier hell she had to suffer through.

I determined that I would not recreate that scenario for myself.  I had many friends that not only supported me through my healing but also pushed me.  They knew there was more fight in me than I was showing.  They also realized that I had pushed my magick to the sidelines.  Working side by side with them and my doctor, I used magick and medicine toward healing.  I did the therapies…I did the dreamwork.  I utilized stones, crystals and visualization.  I found myself in a good place.  My doctor had even told me that I had made progress that she wouldn’t have expected until the six month mark.

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I built a moss and fae garden to keep me close to the earth at all times…wear hematite for grounding.  Things were looking better daily.  I began to breathe again.

Then we noticed that our older cat TeeTee was losing weight and throwing up more.  We took her to the vet for bloodwork and xrays.  The bloodwork looked ok, but when they pulled up the xrays, I breathed in sharp.  I worked at a veterinarian’s office for ten years.  I had learned to read xrays.  When I saw the large fibrous mass staring back at me, I knew immediately that it wasn’t good.  We discussed options with the vet and came to the conclusion that as long as she wasn’t in pain and seemed to have a decent amount of energy that we would do whatever was needed to keep her happy.  We have blended the stinkiest of foods, hand-fed her, given extra attention…and now as I type this,  we know that it won’t be much longer.

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We know that we have given her the best life she could have.  From a wild, white feral kitten to a spoiled content house cat, she has been cuddled, pampered, catered to, and loved with complete abandon.  Where is the strength we pull on here? The knowledge that she will rest and walk side by side with Bastet…back with the energy and magick she came from.  We also know that they truly never completely leave your heart and side.

When you think you can’t handle anymore…the flood gates tend to open.  Toward the middle of April, I got a call from my aunt.  My mom had been admitted to the hospital that past Saturday.  No one wanted to worry me (give me another stroke) so they didn’t let me know.  My aunt was calling, however, to tell me that my mom had to be put on a ventilator and that the doctor had suggested calling the family in.  We left immediately for North Carolina.  My partner and I sat by her bedside for five days straight.  They had induced a coma…hoping that the rest would do its part in the healing.

My mom has always had a strong faith and believed in energies and such (with our family history, how could she not).  I had witches from all over sending healing and energy toward her.  My brother, who thinks my mom is more along the lines of a conservative christian, asked how I think Ma would feel knowing all those witches were sending her healing.  My aunt walked into the room behind him and whispered in his ear, “I think she would be completely fine with it.” With that comment, she looked at me and gave a wink and kissed the air.

In the process of that hospital stay, my mom coded not once, but three different times.  She always made her way back though.  She is a fighter.  She has always been the bedrock of our family.  I knew that if anything happened to her, that would fall to me.  My first visit, I whispered to her, “I am not strong enough for this yet.” I have no doubt that she heard me.

It has been a long, hard battle but she is now awake, aware, winking, smiling, and breathing air and not on oxygen.  They have decreased the size of the trach opening and have moved the feeding tube from her nose to her stomach.  She is now going through therapy and trying to mouth words.

I feel like in the midst of all of these things happening around me, that I have lived any spare time I have beside ponds, in woods, and walking mountains.  On my last trip to Red Top Mountain, I looked forward at the path ahead.  It was crooked, scattered with rock, muddy in places, but oh so calming and lush.  An old bible verse sprang to my mind, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where my help comes.”

There is an area hewn into the rock on Red Top…I crawled into that cubby and lay my head back.  I woke up an hour later after the most peaceful sleep I have had in months.  Life is going to give us twists and turns, scratches, bruises, pain…and yes, even death.  I have found though that I do have the strength to face each one.  It doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt or that there won’t be loss or challenges, it means that I can survive.  I can come out of it stronger…the armor might be a bit dirty or scuffed and even broken in places, but I have the choice of getting up and continuing on, or falling back and dying.

I walked out into the courtyard yesterday after work.  I finally gave up and just started leaving food for the birds, squirrels and anything else that might be hungry out there.  Mama Crow was perched on the wall eating peanuts.  She looked straight at me and gave me her comforting ‘Graaaaaaaackkk’

I will keep getting up as long as I am able.

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Magick with a “K”

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It seems as if my pens, paper and computer have lain dormant for quite a while.  As I relaxed on the sofa this evening after a day of hiking, I could feel my thoughts bringing the past few weeks together into a blog post.  I peeled back the blanket I had been napping under and made my way to my desk…all under the grimacing face of a little blue chihuahua who had made himself far too comfortable nestled in the crook of my leg.

I made myself a promise at the beginning of 2015.  I vowed that I would spend more time living life…experiencing new things…going on new adventures.  I had started seeing life as too routine…a little too mundane.  I was starting to settle into middle agedom.  It was becoming far too easy just to come home, put on pajama pants and crash mindlessly in front of the television.

My partner and I had planned a trip to Orlando with some of his family.  The planning all came to fruition a couple of weeks ago.  We had made arrangements to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.  I am a huge Potter nerd, so that part of the trip was for me and me alone.  My partner was so patient as I rattled on about the movies and books.

We got to Universal early that morning.  I practically flew through the park…I had to locate Diagon Alley.  As I rounded one corner, there was the Night Bus.  Stan Shunpike was standing next to it with the shrunken head in the window.  It wasn’t exactly easy finding the entrance to Diagon Alley, so we engaged the young man in conversation.

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He directed us toward the entrance. As I moved through the brick wall, my breath caught in my throat.  It was a sight like I have never seen.  It felt as if I had just come home after a long, long trip.  All around me was whimsy and magic and  all things fantastical.WWoHP-Diagon-Alley1

 

My partner stood back and smiled as he watched me run from store to store…gazing in all the windows.  He told me later that the only thing missing was the broom…otherwise, I was flying on my own.  We went on the Gringott’s ride, we wondered through the shops.  We stepped into the line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Even with the children in line, there seemed to be a type of reverence as we stood there.  We were ushered into the heart of the shop and an older woman was chosen for the wand ceremony.  Her excitement could hardly be contained as the birch wand with the dragon’s heart string chose her.  Then as we were taken into the purchasing area, I chose Sirius Black’s wand…interactive of course.

I made my purchase and my partner and I went to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  The traditional English fare and butterbeer had us stuffed to the gills.  As I looked at the stack of cauldrons beside me, Jay announced that he needed to use the facilities.  We walked over toward the restrooms and I wandered into the beastiary.  I walked outside to try my wand with the interactive windows and saw a little girl wildly waving her wand at the window.2015-03-10 12.49.57

 

I watched the little girl as she dropped her arms down by her side and her chin went to her chest.  I heard her say, “I guess I’m just not magical.”  It broke my heart.  I couldn’t stand the thought of someone whose heart was so excited about all the magic around her (whether it is an illusion or real) thinking that there was no magic in her at all.  I knelt down beside her and held her arm and wand toward the window.  I told her that all she needed to do was to picture the magic happening with all she had.  As she made the motion toward the window, the bird stopped singing and toads began to move.  Her eyes lit up and she yelled out, “I do have it!  I do have magic!”  Her mother came up to me a moment later and told me that she really appreciated the kindness I had shown her daughter and that now even she believed there really was magic in the world.2015-03-10 17.42.35

The past few weeks have found me at Hogwart’s, Diagon Alley, and every part of the Magic Kingdom.  I have seen children and adult’s alike excited by the very thought of magic being real.  At the end of the day, I was able to hold on to that excitement because magick encompasses every area of my life.  It swirls around me and within me on a daily basis.  Many people have asked me why I spell magick with a ‘k.’  A friend posted something on Facebook that said it best:magick

 

 Didn’t we all grow up entranced by the illusion?  Isn’t that what first brought us to magick in the first place?  That thought…that hope….that somehow, someway….it all has to be real…isn’t that what motivated us to find our way to the Craft.

To others we may seem odd…eccentric.  After all, we believe in spells and energies and potions and all manner of magickal beings.  So what?  I am who I am.  I am a witch.2015-03-28 22.04.08

 

Last night, I fell asleep in the woods.  I went to the woods after a stressful day at work.  I left my cell phone and anything else that might remind me of the modern world behind.  I wrapped myself in my cloak and made my way to that familiar spot in the woods.  I dug out a hole and surrounded it with stones and built a small fire.  I stared at the sky and felt the cold ground beneath me as I called out to the elements and the goddess to clear my mind and awaken me to the sounds of the earth around me.  I remember starting to count the stars.  I awoke at midnight with the fire completely gone and a chill to my bones….but I was relaxed.  It was as if the earth herself soaked up the stress of the day and pushed her own strength into me.

I woke up early this morning to go hiking at Red Top Mountain State Park.  I went with friends and we took a picnic lunch.  There was no agenda….just a need to escape into nature and re-connect.  We walked, we laughed, we absorbed earth, wind, and water energy….we soaked up the fire energy of the sun.  For today…magick rushed around us.  We could all feel it sweep the week away and usher in renewal.  2015-03-28 11.54.30 HDR

 

We got back to the condo and our bodies called for rest.  We each snuggled under blankets and let our minds be captured by dreams.  I dreamed of the magick of the moon…the stars…simple things that hold far more magick than they are credited for.  Sometimes letting ourselves be swept away in the magick of those simple things is some of the most powerful magick around.2015-03-28 22.55.22

 

Blessings my dear friends.  Blessings.

The Things We Search For Were Really Never Lost

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I have pushed myself so hard this week.  I have always been my harshest critic.  I can’t perform any less than 110% when it comes to anything.  Most would say that this comes from a childhood of always feeling as though I had to compete for approval. Not true.  My grandmothers made sure that I was made to feel important no matter what.  They were the foundation of my strength of heart…they always told me that there was something inside of me that no one else would ever be able to possess or take away from me.

Normally, when I would have a week like this one has been, I would be able to call either one or both of my grandmas and the sound of their voices would bring peace.  Their voices…I never thought I would have to learn to live without those voices.

It was in the midst of this week that I found my mind…my body….my very heart and spirit craving the elements around me.  There is a large maple tree just outside of our courtyard wall.  On Wednesday afternoon, I got home at the regular time….I could feel the weight of pushing myself exhausting me.  I stopped.  Only for a moment and leaned against that large old maple tree.  It was as if I could hear the voices of my grandmothers whispering in my ears again.

Once I had gotten inside and changed out of business casual into backyard grunge, I went back into the courtyard and started digging in the dirt….just to get that cool damp feeling on my hands…that connection to the Great Mother.2014-03-26 22.37.11

 

Friday I craved contact with water…..it was as if all day long I could not get enough water into my system.  I drank water non-stop.  It was rainy most of the day here….there was a part of me that did not want to come inside.  I hungered to be out among the rain drops…feeling the rhythm against me and around me.  Again, when I got home from work, I stood in the midst of a short rain shower….feeling it wash me from head to toe.  I could feel the rush and pressure from the week washing away as each drop caressed me.  I sat in the middle of the courtyard…smelling each plant as it soaked in the nourishment.

The rain continued into the morning today.  I took a clue from Friz and spent more time smelling the air and enjoying the clean feeling that only rain water can bring.  I wore a tshirt and shorts out and walked barefoot in the mud.  Sometimes, it is just being able to feel the wet earth under my feet that keep me grounded.

2014-03-26 22.37.04This afternoon, my time with wind came.  We had just gotten back from the grocery store (where a crow perched on the shopping cart beside the car….scared my partner to death).  As we were getting out of the car in front of the condo, a strong cool wind came up.  My partner mentioned that it got really cool quickly and the wind was so strong.  He ran inside with the groceries, but there I stood in the courtyard with my arms spread like I was ready to take flight.  I believe if I had concentrated hard enough, I may have gotten lift off….and damn! My besom was inside.  I could hear the throaty laugh of Mama Crow in the branches above me.  She sensed my joy in the breeze.  She sensed my hunger to be a part of air.

2014-03-26 22.37.01 I could not leave my old friend fire out of the circle.  Tonight, just before sunset, I went to the woods with my smaller cauldron.  I sat down in the cool leaves and put my altar in place.  I brought some dry leaves with me and set them to smolder in the cauldron along with some sticks and incense.  I watched as the fire danced in front of me.  Something about watching those red-orange flames burning away the deadness of the sticks and leaves leapt into my spirit.  I stood and danced with the flame.  Sometimes I have to abandon all feelings of ‘what if someone sees me’ and just do what my spirit is compelled to do…..it is the most freeing experience that I could ever describe.  Too often we become bound up in what is proper and what is ‘normal’ that we forget that freedom that magick brings…and the relationship to the masculine and feminine divine.

I had a wonderful dream last night.  I was trekking through the mountains.  The air was cool.  The sun was shining all around.  There were a few other people there that I knew.  I remember meeting my old friend wolf in a grassy field.  We wrestled and tumbled.  I laughed until my stomach hurt.  I went into the small log cabin with wolf at my side.  In the cabin was a dark haired, dark eyed woman….a witch of Nordic descent.  I knew this woman and I knew her well.  She was extremely gifted in psychic abilities and divination with candles.  I remember after laughing and talking to her, going to a cabinet to get the candles out.  As I looked at each candle, runes appeared on the bottoms of each.  I remember that I could read them very clearly.  One, in particular, carried the words, “There has been a path forged before you by the ancients.”  It essentially told me that the path I am on… I am not to venture off of.

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As I think back on it….a friend brought it up tonight, the woman in my dream was a part of me.  It is the part of me that I still search for…the part of me that I enjoy the company of, but haven’t entirely embraced.  Maybe now is the time.

Blessed Be!

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!

 

A Summer of Frybread and Indian Tacos

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This week, my mind has been racing back fifteen years or so.  I was still involved in the mainline church and a bit thinner then.  The church I was working with decided to do a building mission trip to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.  The reservation is located in North and South Dakota, but our trip was to be in the South Dakota part of it.  My church, at the time was a little unusual.  This trip was not about “winning souls” or “converting the indians” as I have heard many say.  When I say that we went out as a building team….I mean we went out as a building team…to make repairs to the local church and to  build sheds.

We knew a couple of families on the reservation prior to our trip, so we had some familiarity, but at that time, racial tensions were a bit high.    The families that we knew also knew of my heritage and knew that my grandma was full Cherokee.  I didn’t realize how much that would help me until later.   I had experienced reservation life on the North Carolina Cherokee reservation…but I wasn’t quite sure I was prepared for what awaited me.  I was taken on this trip solely for my experience with troubled youth.  I had worked as a Crisis Intervention Director with an alternative school years earlier.  My area of “expertise” in the church was also trouble teens and working with kids with learning disabilities.  I was also on the praise team….where the singing was going to help, I had no clue.

We flew into Minneapolis on a dry summer morning.  I had no clue that we would be driving most of the day in a large white van to reach our destination.  The majority of the team would be staying at a motel just outside the reservation.  Some of us were allowed to stay in homes.  I remember looking at the landscape around me…. so flat and dry compared to the lush green mountains of North Carolina.  As I looked out the windows of the van, I could see fields of sunflowers.  To this day, they remain my favorite.  I looked to the right of us and see a buffalo ranch.  I am in awe of these magnificent beasts.  Giant, powerful beasts….they represented the heart of the Lakota people…once wild and free and now confined behind fences and boundaries.

Standing Rock Indian Reservation North Dakota USA

We pulled into the church parking lot and were told by the locals that it would be best if everyone would just stay inside the church.  I was told that I could go out with the local family members because I had the blood of the people in me.  We walked through the reservation….along dirt roads and over hills.  The first person we came across was a young girl of eight or so.  She was playing with a litter of pups.  She looked at me and spat out, “Why is he with you?”  The young lady who was accompanying me replied, “How dare you treat him like that!  He has our blood!”  The little girls attitude toward me took on a total transformation.  All of a sudden, it was as if she was my shadow.  In all honesty, I am the whitest looking native you have every seen.  I got every bit of my grandfather’s darker Irish looks and freckles…..the only thing that seems to have been given to me by my grandma is my dark skin in the summer.

I loved being able to visit the houses of the grandmothers and grandfathers and being given the honor of listening to so many stories….stories about when they were children….stories of accomplishment, but never told in a way that might be mistaken for bragging.  My grandmother had told me before I left to always be gracious and honor each person I met.  I was overwhelmed by the honor and graciousness which was shown to me. With each meeting there was always an abundance of laughter, strength and plenty of frybread.   I love frybread with a passion.  I finally had to learn to make the Lakota recipe. Nowadays whenever I feel the need for a bit of “home,” I make frybread. 

The grandmothers and grandfathers loved to hear me sing.  They told me that it soothed them.  There were many times when I would just sit and hum as we worked.  I would look over at one of the grandmothers and see her head tilted to the side with her eyes closed listening to me.  It was then that I was made aware of the magick in music.  I was told constantly that I had a gift…when I opened my mouth and music came forth, it was a calming, soothing sound that spoke to the heart. The last time I was on the phone with my grandma before she died, she asked me to sing her a song. I did.  My hope is that it spoke to her heart that day.

I was introduced early in the summer to one of the grandfathers who was said to have strong medicine.  My grandma told me later that he would have been considered a ‘medicine man’ or spiritual leader.  On our first meeting, he told me that he actually saw very strong medicine in me.  I was very much his shadow for the rest of the summer.  We would climb buttes and roam the prairies….it was very much an awakening of my own spirit.  I was allowed to experience things that I can only describe as a beautiful part of the Great Mystery or Wakan Tanka.  I was shown a people who were still very much an indigenous group…people in whom the wild heart still danced. 

My friend told me many times to be watchful of all things around me…to be watchful like the crow…that may be part of the reason I feel such a kinship with the crow…and also seem to draw crow to myself.  He would spend many hours telling me about the personalities and characteristics of the animals.  Through these stories I fell in love with buffalo, wolf, crow and eagle…..and was shown the cunning of the trickster, coyote.

It was also in this time that I was truly introduced to the medicine of those who had been before me.  We would call this ‘ancestral magic’ now.  I was shown how to pay tribute and honor to those who had gone before…to those whose footprints I walked in.  I was taken to the burial site of Sitting Bull.  I felt unnerved standing so close to history.  I felt humbled knowing what he stood for.  I still try to stop every day to give thanks to my ancestors and those who have walked the road before me.

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My heart is full as I write these words.  Memories overtake me.  I am just as much standing in front of the buffalo that I was allowed to get close to now as I was fifteen years ago.  I can still smell the smell of the reservation around me.  I can still taste the frybread on the back of my tongue.  I can still see the beautiful, beautiful lines in the faces of the grandmothers and grandfathers.  Whenever I hunger too much for those times, I bring out gifts that were given to me….a drum, a pipe, and a flute.  In using those gifts, I am there again…lost in the stories and teachings of one who had strong medicine. 

I try every day to walk ‘the Good Red Road.’  Sometimes I am successful.  Sometimes I fail.  It is in those failures that I have to rely on that strong medicine inside of me.  It is in those moments that I have to separate from the harshness of the city and escape back to where I came from.  It is in those moments that I call on Great Grandfather Spirit and Mother Earth.  It is in those moments that my medicine is strongest.  When I commune with the animal spirits….when I dance in the open with reckless abandon….when I sing to the wind…..That is when I am the most free.

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

Walking Hand in Hand with the Ancients

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Today was, at its best, challenging.  Well, let me just be bluntly honest….I was in the pissiest mood I have been in for a long while.  I was over answering phone calls with bitchy folks on the other end, tired of answering questions that had basic common sense answers, tired of dealing with inadequate co-workers.

I set up my mini altar on my desk early on today.  I had some tealights and crystals within reach, but it didn’t seem to be helping my mood.  I needed to vent and I needed to vent badly.  I vented to some friends on Facebook….in private.  I also vented at my roommate when I went home for lunch.  I went back…..I was seething.  Not over anything in particular, but over everything at the same time. I huddled in the corner ignoring everyone around me….then at 3pm I heard a noise outside my window.  I looked up….I recognized that sound.  A familiar caw greeted me as I watched a crow on the grass just outside my window.  I felt a peace pour over me.  I picked up my quartz stone and held it tight.  I kept myself in my corner until time to go home at 4pm.

When I got home, I decided that a trip to the woods was in order.  I needed the solitude.  I needed to be away from people.  I needed time to regroup.  I heard Mama Crow calling to me in the distance.  I harnessed up the little blue chihuahua and we walked slowly toward the woods.  I found my way to a familiar tree.  I felt rather primal…..all the emotions from the day welling up inside me.  I decided I needed to call on wolf energy.  I had one of the amulets I have been making in my pocket.  I pulled it out and started some breathing exercises.  Steadily and rhythmically my breath came.  I pushed myself into a trance-like state.6946_10151562886092656_933734159_n

I called to the ancient spirits around me.  I could feel animal energy moving around.  I could feel the energy of my ancestors…..I cried out loud for the energy of the people….I needed to feel the breath of the Cherokee move around me.  I felt the need to dance in the circle of trees.  I have found that when my heart feels like it is in that dark place, dance motivates my spirit.  As I think about it, it felt as though my heart had gone into hibernation…..almost burying itself….waiting for the light to show itself.  Today, I had to go seek out that light. 

Exhausted from the dance, I rested against the tree.  My mind went back to the summer I spent on the Lakota reservation in South Dakota.  It was a feeling I will never forget.  My grandma and our tribe were mountain folk, woodland people.  This environment was foreign to me, but familiar at the same time.  One afternoon we climbed buttes to pass the time.  As I huffed and puffed up that rocky terrain, I cussed as I would stick my hand against something thorny.  I longed for the familiarity of grassy wooded areas and trees.  One of the men that was with me told me that we all have the same blood running through our veins..just different tribes.  He told me that the same grandmothers and grandfathers that watch over him were walking with me that day.  He reminded me that we were all a part of Wakan Tanka or The Great Mystery.  He picked a handful of wild sage and explained to me the sacredness and the power that the sage held.  We sat on the top of that butte for an hour talking about the power and sacredness that was within all things.  He started to chant…it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.  I knew his song was Lakota. 

I closed my eyes and basked in the ethereal around me.  The atmosphere was smokey, and for a moment my breath caught in my chest.  After that tiny silver burn eased, I could breathe fully, deeply….taking in the spirit of my surroundings…truly being “inspired.”  My companion took out his lighter and I watched as the leaves of the sage burned and smoldered.  The smell still permeates my nostrils as I sit in silence.  He moved the sage around me in a clockwise motion…still breathing out his sweet song.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced.

Later in the evening, my friend gave me a small hand drum.   I loved the history and the stories he gave me as he presented me with this gift that carried deep traditions and spirit.  It was during the time I spent on the reservation that I grew to appreciate the spirit in all things.  I felt that special bond with the animal spirits.  My friend told me that it was no surprise to him that I felt that closeness.  My penchant for “crow medicine” was something he told me to never take lightly.  Because the crow is the voice of the spirit world…he told me that I must always be diligent to walk in truth.  Truth was never really an issue…it was the tempering that comes with wisdom.  One must learn how to help someone to swallow a medicine that is not necessarily pleasant tasting. Shoving the spoon down their throat forcefully only chokes the individual……I am still learning.

He also taught me how to call on wolf.  Always approach respectfully…in a non-threatening way.  Always remember that wolf is a teacher and is willing to show you something new about yourself and your surroundings.  Wolf energy helps you to focus on relationships  and will help you seek out hidden places.  I call on wolf a lot.  He helps me to find my way when I feel most lost.

As I pulled myself away from the memories of South Dakota, I felt Friz stir in my lap.  He always looks at me as if I have been on a long journey and he is so happy I have returned.  I have always been able to see the piercing glint of wolf in his eyes.  I have tossed my shoes to the side while I was in my dream-like state.  As I stretch I push into the dirt with my toes…it feels natural and fulfilling.  I feel flushed as I rise up off of the carpet of leaves and pine needles…much like I felt on top of the butte that afternoon so long ago.  I thank the spirits and the elements as I ready myself to go home.  Sometimes the best medicine is the medicine of old friends and those who guide us.

I walk hand in hand with the spirit of the Ancients.  They comfort me and guide me.  They call me by name.  They know me better than my closest friend.  They shield me and nourish me.  They are all around me.

Blessed Be!