The Resurgence of the Cunning Man

2014-07-19 15.02.52

I have been reading quite a bit lately.  The book that has been the focus of my attention is called, “The Cunning Man’s Handbook” by Jim Baker.  This book covers the practices of the English Cunning Man from years 1550-1900.  It covers the evolution of the cunning folk and the progression of their magick.  These were the healers, charmers, and magicians of the day.  It even discusses the relation to the African practice of Hoodoo.

The cunning folk of the age literally lived at the boundaries of society.  Most were positioned outside of the main hub of villages, simply because the religious leaders of the times were more than suspicious of their practices which may have included tinctures, potions, charms, amulets, spells or curses.

Even looking toward Shamanism, you see often that the Holy Man was often located at the edge of the encampment.  This was not just a way of separating him from the ‘common’ folk….but a means of protection for the tribe.  His medicine would ward off evil spirits and anyone or anything that would wish harm upon the people.

This book has caused my mind to reel and analyze my own practices.  How many times in a week or month are we approached by those around who know that we are witches and conjurers?  How often do they approach us tentatively for fear that someone in their immediate circle might find out what they are doing?  To whom do we remain in the ‘broom closet?’

I know that many in my own condo complex seek me out to give advice or to interpret the latest dream.  Friends call on me when energies are needed or they want a charm for ‘luck’ or protection.  I am the one in my cube at work that has the scent of lavender wafting around him.  I keep a hag stone with a crow bone hidden under my shirt as an amulet.  I keep a large chunk of amethyst on my desk as a ‘paperweight.’

2014-08-10 22.26.36

 

As I reclined on the sofa last night, I felt antsy.  The more I tried to relax, the less relaxation would come.  I decided that  it would be the perfect night for magick in the courtyard.  There were breezes blowing…I figured it might be a good night for pushing things out of the way.  I built a fire in the cauldron, settled down in front of it with handfuls of herbs, and addressed the directions, the elements, my guides.  It amazes me how wrapped up people get in the ‘you aren’t doing that the way it is supposed to be done’ mentality.  I have been practicing witchcraft for way too many years to care about the way others think it should be done.  If I have learned one thing about magick…it is the fact that it is ever-changing…so why shouldn’t we be the same.

I love the fact that when my spirit connects with the spirits of my guides and the ancients…there simply is no other way to say it…magick happens. It seems as if the elements dance around me, calling me to fly with them.  It is in this time that it is very evident that the Horned One is very much alive in me.  It is in this season of harvest that I feel that energy for the hunt and the harvest coursing through me.  As the air grows more and more crisp with each day, I feel more and more alive.  It is as if I feel my own energy and virility coursing through. It is in this time that my second sight becomes keener…my sense of smell sharper…my hearing, even more acute.

It is in this time that creativity soars to the surface.  My brain begins to create faster than my hands.  So many thoughts, spells, potions, tools playing chase through my brain.  It is normally in those times that I am most at home in the woods…just at the edge of society.

Most people look forward to the weekend for sleeping late.  I don’t know what that is anymore.  I am most excited by the opportunity to disappear into the woods.  This morning, I woke Friz up before the light of dawn and he and I made our way away from the busy-ness of condo life.  As we rounded that last corner, I recognized a familiar figure.  He was sitting on one of the brick half columns at the edge of the woods.  His knees were up close to his chest and his arms were holding them.  His head was hidden in the nest created by his limbs.  His green cloak covered him completely.  He looked up at me when he heard the rustling of mine and Frisbee’s feet.

He was alone.  I looked for Calliope and then I saw the sadness in his eyes.  We knew she had some years on her…I don’t think he knew exactly how many.  They had gone to sleep together one night, but only one woke up the next morning.  His consolation was knowing that spirit lives forever and that her energy would constantly swirl about him.  Still, that doesn’t make losing a friend any easier.  It was as if Friz sensed the vacancy in his heart.  He extended his feet up the column where the Green Wizard sat.  The Green Wizard shifted so that he could pick him up.  Friz and the Green Wizard nuzzled each other deeply.  Friz looked back at me as if saying, “Is it ok?  He really needs me now.”  I nodded to him and he went back to nuzzling this weathered, saddened young man.

The Green Wizard looked up at me and forced a smile as he tried to clear the giant lump in his throat.  He tried to choke out a sentence, but I stopped him.  I told him that the greatest thing about friends is that words aren’t always needed.  With those words, this tired, dirty, emotionally drained young man wrapped his arms around me.  He has spent his life truly living the life of the Cunning Man.  Always kept at arms length from society.  Walking…always walking….and now alone.

This morning the magick was simple.  It was two men and one blue chihuahua honoring the spirit of a faithful friend.

Blessed Be!

Advertisements

Leashing the Wolf

2013-08-24 16.46.18

 

My partner and I went to visit my family over the Fourth of July weekend.  We had a lot of fun playing with the nephew and seeing Ma and my aunt and my dad and of course being back in my old woods.  When we arrived back in Atlanta, I unpacked and sat down for a cup of tea.  I felt the need to connect with the water energy here at the complex, so I decided to take a quick trip to the pond.  When I got there, I was horrified, saddened and angry all at the same time.  From the time we had left to the time we got back home, they had drained the pond.  I asked one of the neighbors about it and they seemed glad that it was gone.  “All it did was add to the mosquito population anyway.”

Something has been reeling through my brain all week long…ever since seeing the pond drained and hearing the relief in my neighbors voice that it had ‘just because of the inconvenience of a few mosquitoes’ (even though I really haven’t seen a drop in the population of mosquitoes since it happened).  I have wondered does man always feel the need to control?  Does the need to always tame that which is out of his grasp keep him preoccupied so that he doesn’t really look at the world around him?

Let’s start with Native Americans.  People came to North America in search of freedoms.  When they arrived, they encountered tribes of indigenous people.  Rather than learn from these people…rather than appreciate the culture and knowledge these people had to offer.  It was quickly decided that these people were to be conquered.  They must assimilate into the world that would be created here.

If it wasn’t by slaughter that these ‘savages’ would be conquered, then their spirits would be crushed by shipping their children off to Indian schools.  In these schools, they would be stripped of their clothing and heritage, hosed down like vermin, beaten when they spoke their native language or practiced their native religion.  Those who invaded their land weren’t comfortable with their ‘wildness.’  They needed to be tamed.Carlisle School boys

 

If you look at the way we treat our pets…when they bark, we tell them to be quiet.  We have come to expect them to be little humans.  We discourage any of the wolf-like qualities that attracted us to them to begin with.  We are intrigued by the wolf-dog, but only because we want to know what it is like to have the wildness of the wolf and tameness of the canine in one animal.   I understand that in this day and age there have to be certain boundaries for the safety of our charges.  I hate having to leash Friz when we go on adventures…but for his safety, this is necessary.  It protects him from the other humans who don’t quite understand the nature of an animal  or proper animal etiquette. wolf on leash

I have watched the way I interact with Friz over the past week.  I realized that I treat him more like a child than the magnificent beast that is truly lying underneath that fur.  I have tried to engage him more on his terms since that observation and it is amazing the difference.  He has become less anxious and seems to have a brighter demeanor.  I have watched him slowly become more confident.  He is venturing further from me in the house…he is no longer my shadow.

This principle doesn’t just apply to the animals.  Here in Atlanta, over and over we hear constantly about preserving green space, but whenever I look around, there seems to be more and more concrete being laid…more buildings going up….apartments, condos,  office space.  When we are through with them, we leave them in disrepair and wait to see how long it will take them to decompose.  reclaimed bathroom

 

 

We, as humans, have learned to live our lives tamed.  I actually think the word ‘caged’ feels more accurate.  We would like to blame the government for these issues…but it isn’t the government.  We would like to blame religion for these issues…but it isn’t religion.  It is very simple, really.  It is people.

We have learned, through centuries of teaching, that whatever makes us uncomfortable must be caged, contained, or crushed.  We have seen, in history, that those who were even believed to have practiced witchcraft were burned, drowned, and sent to their deaths in unbelievably cruel ways.  There were reasons that the cunning men and wise women of old separated themselves from the villages.  It was easier to live life isolated than face constant persecution.

I have spent most of my life being looked at under a cocked eyebrow. “Why is he different than we are?”  “Why can’t he just settle down with a nice girl?” “Does he have to work magick with skulls and fire?”  “Why would anyone want to be a witch? On purpose?” “He must be crazy.  He talks to animals like they understand him and he talks to the weather….oh, and he dances in the rain.”

As I get older, I realize that, for myself…my own peace of mind, I must be exactly who I am.  I can’t compromise that for a moment.  If that means that I don’t fit inside someone else’s idea of what normal is, then so be it.  I choose the way I live my life…if your choices are different then go with it…just don’t condemn me for mine.  I walk the path that has been laid before me.  I can’t walk yours…it is not my journey.  On my path, I choose to create…whether by magick, or with my hands.  I choose not to destroy.

I will live a life of freedom…not your freedom, but those that apply to me.  Whether I am in the middle of the woods, the edge of a pond, or in the middle of a concrete laden parking lot…I will be free.  I will throw my head back, open my arms and embrace the energy swirling around me.  That is what I did last night in my courtyard in the wee hours…I opened my arms to the moon, closed my eyes and threw my head back.  In that moment, I was free of any opinions, sickness and fear.  In that moment, I was unfettered by cords that may try to bind me.  In that moment,  I watched as my spirit ran free, unleashed by anything that would try to tie me down.tumblr_n2lnbutsa41so177no1_500

 

Blessed Be!

Honoring the Warrior Spirit

US Marines Patrol Remote Part Of Helmand Province Near Kajaki Dam

 

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.

6a00d8341bf67c53ef01676653ba75970b-500wi

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.

counting coup

 

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!

I Am the Weathered Wiseman, and I Live at the Edge of the Forest…

tumblr_mvglf5TgIe1rdd1wzo1_500

For as long as I can remember…I have always retreated to the woods.  It didn’t matter if things were good or bad….the woods called me to a place that I could not access anywhere else.

I remember when I was younger, 8 or 9, my mom would have my grandma tell me the stories about the Booger Woods to try to keep me from disappearing amongst the trees behind the house.  Little did she know that later on, my grandma was pulling me aside to tell me that as long as I walked hand in hand with the tree spirits, the four-leggeds and the winged ones, that they would never allow anything to hurt me.

Most of the time, I would pull my shoes off at the back door and make a run for those woods.  I have always been able to feel the call of the trees and critters that lived there.  I never knew any kind of fear of any of the animals there.  I can close my eyes and remember sitting there among deer and foxes and birds galore.  Isn’t it funny?  Children don’t know that they aren’t able to do things until adults tell them that it just isn’t possible.  I never knew that it wasn’t possible to carry on conversations with my four-legged and winged friends.  I would sit for hours talking to an old fox that my mom was quite sure was vicious.  I would take bread out by the buckets and feed the crows and all the other birds.  I never knew that a crow was supposed to be a nuisance.  To me, they were friends.  I remember how mad my dad used to get with me because most of the time I had a ton of birds following me.

One animal that always called to me as a child was the hedgehog.  I remember a cousin of mine had one and everybody thought that that little hedgehog was mean.  I have never been afraid of any animal…now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t approach carefully and with the utmost respect…and was absolutely enthralled with this little hedgehog.  I went over to my cousins one afternoon and we were sitting in the floor.  That little hedgehog was out running around.  He ran up onto my leg and curled up in my lap and went to sleep.  My cousin couldn’t believe it as I sat there and rubbed that little hedgehog’s belly as he snoozed on my lap.128326692466252947

I preface with all of that information, so that I could talk about my trip to the woods yesterday.  Friz and I slept in a bit yesterday, so the sun was already up when we headed outside.  I had my cloak on and the backpack packed.  It is so funny to watch how excited that little blue dog gets when he sees a loaded down backpack.  He took care of whatever business he needed to take care of before we plodded down the sidewalk.  As we got closer to the edge of the woods, the energy of nature itself bathed us from head to toe.

I unloaded the backpack and placed the candles and the skulls and my cauldron.  I felt that incense needed to be burned today, so I pulled out some the wonderful woodsy, earthy incense that a friend sent me.  As I sat there in front of the cauldron with my legs crossed, Friz crawled into the hollow that my legs made and curled up.  I should have taken that as an omen of things to come.  Wolf and Crow energy manifested quickly….but there was energy coming forth that had not been there with me before.  I recognized this energy from my childhood….it was hedgehog energy.tumblr_mn2bcgPhOW1sn1e5oo1_500

The woods seemed to dance around me.  The birds sang even more excitedly welcoming this new energy.  The trees swayed rhythmically to welcome our new friend.  I thought that it was no coincidence that Friz seemed to pull himself into an even tighter ball as he napped between my legs.   I leaned back and soaked up the sun peeking through the leaves of the trees above.  My hands were flat against the earth and I could feel her wonderful soothing heartbeat against my palms.  It felt as if I was seeing everything around me with new eyes.  I inhaled deep and could feel that wonderful earthy, woodsy incense pulling deep into my chest….building a strength and hope.  I could feel it pulling up wonderful memories of past times of playfulness and I had to take my shoes off and run my toes into the dirt of the floor of the woods.  Even though it was chilly out, there was something that kept pulling me closer and closer to the earth.

I cleaned up and Friz ambled around me smelling the incense and the skulls.  We walked leisurely  back to the condo and I settled down onto the couch….I had to look up hedgehog energy and symbolisms.  This is what I found:

The hedgehog is symbolic of fertility and being connected to the earth. It’s belly is close to the Mother (earth, that is) and this close proximity is symbolic of its connection to earth and all that is fertile. The hedgehog’s tendency to curl up in the fetal position is also a message of centering, and connecting with the source.

Further, central Asia and parts of Iran associated agricultural abundance, fertility and the gift of fire to the hedgehog. In these cultures it is considered a solar power animal, and is strongly connected to the energy and vitality of the sun. This may be further understood when we think of the hedgehog’s splayed spikes look much like the spanning rays of the sun.

Being a nocturnal creature, the symbolism of the hedgehog deals with intuition, psychic ability, prophetic dreams and visions. This is because the night deals with concepts that are cloaked in shadow – a realm that is not altogether clear. That the hedgehog’s active time is at night is symbolic of “second sight.”

Another testimony to its spiritual power is the hedgehog’s natural resistence to snake venom. This is carries extreme importance with many Native American Indian tribes and is seen as a symbol of victory over evil. This attribute is also a portent of resurrection, life after death, or defeating death completely.hobb5

This little critter packs a powerful punch!  So many things to learn from it.  I appreciate what the Lord and Lady have given me and helped me to nurture in my relationships with animals as I have grown in the Craft…..but I do miss sometimes the innocence of childhood.  I talk to the animals around me all the time, but fear of other humans and what they may do to them keeps them from getting too close.  I miss the days of lying barefoot under a canopy of trees and chattering away with the fox and the deer (and the one my mom hated) the snake.  I have had it proven to me over and over that their energy seeks me out, but still I miss the contact.  They teach me constantly.

Blessed Be!tumblr_mubrajT6PH1rjdnouo1_500

You Better Work It…

tumblr_mvufz1yDPm1skrzgro1_500

I have been reading about the New Moon coming up on January 30th.  They call it the “Black Moon.”  It is the second New Moon in the month of January.  It is an omen of change and during this moon, hidden truths are brought to the surface.  It is in the midst of this “Black Moon” that I will be moving into another phase of my life.  I am leaving behind my work at the animal clinic and moving back into corporate work.

Am I sad in this transition?  Maybe I should be.  Am I?  No, not at all.  This is a time of celebration for me.  It is time to move past a time of oppression and stagnancy into a time of joy and forward movement.  This change has been a long time in coming.  I have done ritual after ritual devoted to this change…..friends have dedicated ritual after ritual to the same purpose.  It has not been an easy road, but finally I am able to see the manifestation of months and months of magick and hard work.

Work?  Yes, work.  Any real witch will tell you that magick takes work….and dedication….and purpose.  Most folks are used to seeing what is represented on television as far as the Craft goes.  While I love the fantasy that most of those shows represent….the Samantha Stevens, the Endoras, the Charmed Ones, and the newer Witches of East End….we all know that instant gratification is a rarity in the Craft.

I remember the first “spell” I ever cast….*note I used cast here and not ‘the first spell I ever worked.’  Being a new witchling, I stood in front of my altar and waved my hands like a fool and uttered something that I thought was magickal  and waited to see the puff of smoke and the explosion of glitter….or even the little ‘tinkle, tinkle’ sound I heard on “Bewitched” whenever a spell was cast.  Nothing.  I was devastated.  Of course, I had not studied under anyone or with anyone…I knew nothing about the elements, directions, herbs, intention….not one thing.  I only knew what I had seen on television.  All I could hear in my head was the sounds of large tongues blowing raspberries.

Now some folks would have probably given up after casting with no sparks, bells or whistles.  Not me.  I was determined to find out why it didn’t work.  I began to devour books on the Craft.  Some of the first ones I got my hands on were Scott Cunningham’s books.  I was transported to a world of magick I had no idea existed.  Then one day, when I was browsing in the ‘occult’ section at a local bookstore, I was invited to a local coven to take part in their program for initiates.  I enjoyed much of the teachings and the natural setting.  I settled in there for a time and then realized that the path they were on wasn’t the path calling to me.

tumblr_m4pd4rvkmA1qdoy3ao1_500

That was the one thing that I enjoyed so much about the Craft.  There was no one path for everyone.  There were so many directions one could pursue.  No matter which path I was interested in, I found that it still entailed work.  There were still so many things to learn….how to send energy without depleting your own energy stores…how to charge crystals, candles, etc…how to pour yourself into the workings of the magick and how to ground yourself before, during and after so that you didn’t become one big ole quivery jello witch.

The biggest things that I personally had to learn was how to listen to and utilize and trust my intuition  and how to purpose my own intent.  I compare it to a baby learning how to talk.  It surfaced on its own….at first it was clumsy and broken and hard to understand, but the more I practiced; the more I worked….it flowed better…it became second nature.  I still work and practice on a daily basis….there is no room for laziness.

As I continued to grow in the Craft, there were other adventures that were opened to me.  I had always heard other witches refer to spirit animals.  I thought that it was a wonderful thought….having the spirits of animals at your beck and call.  Again, I got every book I could find on the subject and read and re-read.  I talked to my grandma about the Native approach to spirit animals…then I began the work….the constant vigil of observation, the energy work.  I will never forget the day the first manifestation came.  I was lying in the dirt…my mind lost in thought about my spirit animal.  I closed my eyes and focused my energy.  It was in that moment that I heard that lovely, melodic scream of the crow.  I looked up and there she perched on an old fence post.  In that same week, wolf came to me in my dreams….again, after a time of focus and intent.   The work had been worth the end result.

2014-01-05 18.42.43

This morning, I went to the woods.  This morning, there was no little blue chihuahua to be seen…he was allowed to sleep in.  This morning, no calico kitten showed up.  In my backpack were the usual tools…my skulls, candles, incense, matches.  This morning, more offerings were carried than normal.  This morning was a morning of gratitude.  The directions were called upon….the elements invited…Mama Crow and Wolf took their places.  Candles were lit, incense was burned.  Notes of gratitude and adoration were written on flying paper to all involved in the magick that was manifested.  The notes were carefully twisted and set on fire.  I watched as they flew into the air and disintegrated into the breeze….the wind carrying the magick forth.  I cracked an egg onto the ground for the animal spirits to devour.  I poured milk, honey and wine into the earth in gratitude to elementals and any other spirits involved.  For the lady herself, a small bouquet of dried flowers….grain and corn rounded out the offerings for the Horned One.

Was the work finished?  Only for this phase of the magick….it continues every day.  I have found through my studies and experiences that magick is a living being.  It is constantly moving and changing…just as we should be.  So it is because of magick that a 47 year old witch is now embarking on a brand new adventure.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Blessed Be!

Forging New Paths

2013-05-10 13.21.36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013-05-07 19.18.24

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!

The Heart of the Season

2012-11-26 15.03.57

 

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

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

lonely-old-woman

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Blessed Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be!

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