The Guardian and Teacher of Magick

1654277_274588706032475_775056099_nThis has been a full weekend.  All Last week, I was confined to my desk at home because of a snow and ice storm.  We got mostly ice here.  It was definitely an adventure every time I would take the dogs out to pee.  You see, I am not particularly graceful when it comes to winter weather….that is why I live in the south.  Even with the addition of Yaktrax (a gripping system that attaches to your shoes), I am still not graceful when winter weather hits. It doesn’t come from not being cautious…I move around like one of the hippos from Disney’s “Fantasia.”  I elected to stay inside by the heater.  I only fell once…the chihuahua always thinks I am playing and takes the opportunity to play trampoline on my more-than-bouncy belly that is pointed up in the air.

By the end of the week, cabin fever had set in and I was begging the elements to please give me weather that I could go out and explore in.  Yesterday, Saturday, was spent running errands and getting everything accomplished that I couldn’t do during the week.  It was also the day to take care of the animals regular needs….brushing, nail trims, baths…..all that wonderful stuff they hate and react to like a scene from “The Exorcist.  I am sure that because of the screams and screeches that come from the courtyard, our neighbors are sure we abuse them….needless to say, this is before they are even touched with the nail clippers.  I really do wish that there was a way to accomplish this magickally.  It’s always such a battle…..and of course, I am pouted at for the rest of the day.2014-01-29 21.44.31

My partner and I went out last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a local Italian restaurant.  After a lovely meal of pasta, wine, and cannoli…we drove back to the condo and took a short walk around the complex with Mama Moon smiling down on us the whole time.  I took this time to whisper blessings over us, our families and our friends.  Mama Moon was shining so brightly that it felt as though she was smiling down over us.tumblr_n0yphuLwD61rfxpjto1_400

Before bed last night, I applied some flying ointment to my temples and let myself drift off to that place that stays hidden between sleep and awake.  It is in that place that I was treated to a vision of a lush green forest.  In that forest were Wolf and Crow.  They were in a playful mood.  I watched and laughed as they played chase.  I sat down on the closest stump and watched as little sparkles of light glimmered around me.  I opened my arms and absorbed that energy.  I woke up this morning feeling like I had played and romped and ran all night long….but by now Friz had forgiven me for the travesties of yesterday and he was ready for a trek to the woods.

As we walked, I looked up because I heard a sound that isn’t a regular one among our winged friends here in the condo complex.  I knew the sound….I had heard it plenty coming from the fields back home growing up.  It was the sound of a hawk hunting for its morning meal.  That sound of ‘screeee, screeee’ is unmistakable.  I have heard way too many stories of small dogs being the target of the birds, so I picked up Friz and hid him under my cloak.  It was only moments later that I heard an even more familiar sound.  It was the sound of the crow…..but this sound came in symphony….not just one crow.  I looked up and saw many many crows criss-crossing in front of the hawk.  They weren’t making happy sounds…more of an aggravated announcement that the intruder was not welcome.  All I have to say is that Friz better be glad that Mama Crow has got his back.

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I remember from the teachings of my grandmother that crows are the messenger from the spiritual realm and that Crow is the guardian of magick and that Wolf is the teacher of the magick (or medicine).  As I walked toward the woods, I could feel something stirring inside of me.  It is that feeling that you have when you don’t really know whether to laugh or to cry.  It is neither a bad or a good feeling, but a feeling where you feel like you are at an in-between place.

As I sit down in the leaf strewn floor of the woods and place everything in its place on my earth-made altar, I am overtaken with feelings as I hold the skulls of Wolf and Crow and place them on top of the leaves.  My mind unites with my spirit and I am transported to that place between sleep and awake again.  I see Crow and Wolf play-chasing and dancing through that glimmering forest.  It becomes evident to me that the glimmering light is the magick which Crow has brought to me.  Sitting there with my arms outspread was me absorbing that magick which was taught and embedded into my spirit by Wolf.

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As I sit there with my eyes closed, I reach out my hand.  It is as if I can cup it and feel the magick filling it.  I feel the warmth of that magick as it radiates against my cheek.  As I sit there in the midst of the vision of magick, I feel the warmth of springtime radiating through me.  Though the air was brisk, this morning…there was a warmth surrounding me that welled up from the earth to my body.  In what seemed like one big raw emotion, I felt joy and hope and fear and anger.  I felt fear….that what we may doing to the Earth Mother may be irreparable.  I felt anger….that we had stripped her and raped her and left parts of her exposed and dying.  I felt hope….knowing that she has lasted longer than any human…that she was constantly changing and adapting and creating.  I felt joy….that she is thriving, moving, breathing, and that she is more knowledgeable and magickal than anything we could ever hope for.  tumblr_mx1brrspKL1rwcfrqo1_500

I called to Crow and Wolf.  I asked Mama Crow, if she saw me worthy, to continue to bring the magick to me….to continue to change me.  I asked Wolf to continue to teach me…show me how I may affect change around me.  In that moment,  quiet overtook those woods.  I listened closely and once again, I could hear a beat.  This time it wasn’t just the heartbeat of the Earth Mother alone…but mine alongside hers…beating in harmony.

Blessed Be!

The Lost Boys

 

2013-06-13 11.04.28This week I have wanted time outside more than any other.  I know that most folk, when the weather starts to chill and the wind picks up, want to cuddle up inside with a blanket and hot cocoa.  It is with that briskness and bite in the air that I want to wander….I hunger for exploration and romping.  It is like that primal animal part of me kicks in and has to get outside.

I have done so much people watching in the past few days.  I have noticed that many people are afraid of themselves.  We have learned to hide behind facades in our lives.  I have watched many, this week, smile sweetly and feign pleasantries when it was so very evident that they wanted to scream and cry and run.  It has become second nature anymore for humankind to pretend that life isn’t there and that we don’t have to deal with anything…..after all, no one wants to hear it, right?

It seems, this week, that so many people have crossed my path….men particularly, who have become adept at blending into the background or becoming invisible.  I have met fellows who have taken a part of themselves….the part that doesn’t seem to fit with what society expects of them and bury them.  I mean, bury them deep….so deep that you might need a jackhammer and dynamite to unearth those pieces of themselves.

These men, I have found, have powerful magick.  Most of the time, as they grow in their abilities, they encounter some part of themselves that society has deemed inappropriate.   I know that in my own life, it was that very essence of my spirit that I have come to know as “Wolf.”  In many Native American traditions, wolf appears to you only when you have requested the tribe’s greatest teacher.  Wolf teaches you who you are and teaches you to develop strength and confidence so that you don’t have to constantly prove yourself.  Wolf brings forth the teacher in us and guards us fiercely. 2013-11-09 22.26.48

In my own life, fear of punishment for those things which “weren’t right or permissible” was what brought wolf energy into my life.  I was always told that it was wrong to be the way I am….you can use any scenario you want there….for being gay, for having certain ‘special’ abilities(talking to animals), or for just being ‘artsy,’ as my uncle called it.  When Wolf stepped in, he stepped in strongly and confidently and has been teaching me ever since how to live by my own inner guidance and not get stuck in the safety of a well-worn path.  Wolf teaches you to listen and communicate with the other animals through body language or that long soulful howl.

In my encounters with men from many different walks of life this week, Wolf has again stepped in strongly and confidently.  In my mind and with the help of a friend and ally,  I have formulated a name for these men….”The Lost Boys.”  With each of these men, spirit has been calling and calling hard.  They have been listening….and with each instance, they are being called to a truer existence.  Some have been called to abandon pre-existing ways of thinking about themselves and spirit.  Some have been called to leave hurt and distrustfulness behind.  Others have been called to abandon the cage of what society thinks and run toward the primal part of themselves that pulls its head back, opens its mouth and releases that roar that has been building inside their own spirit for years.

I have learned, over the years, that when it comes to releasing our inhibitions and opening our spirits to be guided….we can be our own worst enemies.  We go…..but we go kicking and screaming.  We walk the familiar paths with weapon in hand, ready to attack anything that doesn’t look familiar.  We forget that it is in leaving the familiar path that brings adventure.  I remember a quote by Rita Mae Brown. “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”   That is what makes us the lost boys.  Men….even gay men, are notorious for not asking for directions.

In magick, we are given guides…whether it be ancestors, animals, angels or gods and goddesses.  Too much, we like to go it alone.  For some reason, we have come to think that makes us tougher, stronger, more powerful.  It is one thing to be solitary….it is completely different to become isolated.  Wolf travels in packs, but may not always stay with the pack.  Wolf likes loyalty, but also thrives on freedom.  Wolf does not follow a prescribed trail.  He weaves in and out of trees, moving on and off paths and trails and across long stretches of land.

It is in this season….the season when darkness begins, that if I listen closely, I can hear that strong heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  Some may hear it as drumming….music.  That heartbeat is calling to that part of my spirit that hears it strongly and clearly.  There is that primal part of me that connects with every part of the Earth Mother and the fur people and the feathered people and the finned people.  It is like the energy of the buck seeking out that female….that musky strong rutting energy that courses through each of us….that part of us that seeks out nourishment to store up until spring.  My spirit hungers for so much more than the mundane that I encounter each morning……I release myself….I let my spirit run.  I open myself to the teachings of the guides I was given.

You see, I never really was lost.  I was forging a new trail.  My nose was to the wind the whole time…I just never saw what was happening inside of me.  Now I know…..it was all about the magick.  I opened myself up to what my spirit hungered for….what I starved for, and there it stood…right in front of me.  I only had to reach out and take it.2013-11-10 00.14.01

 

Blessed Be!

Through the Storms

tornado-and-lightning1It seems over the past month or even longer that I have watched folks go through some severely trying times in their lives.  I have seen normally strong people seem to crumple over in exhaustion as they fight….and I mean really fight through life lately.   I have watched as their support systems…their witchy family and friends, rally around them…pushing them, holding them up, holding up their arms when they don’t seem to have the strength to even bear a wand.  Then again, I have also seen those out there who are quick to judge…waiting like a spider who watches as a fly ensnares itself into its web…only to devour the weakening creature hours later.images (1)

I try to be a person who follows after that first example.  I try to send strength and healing to those who need it and I try to avoid those who follow that second example.  Life is hard enough folks.  We don’t need people in our lives who aren’t going to breathe healing and strength back into us.

I am very particular who I allow into my “circle.”  I only need those who see me for who I truly am and are ok with that.  I have never felt a need to have to prove anything to anyone or have to jump through hoops for friendships.  I have also never felt the need to be around drama mongers.  As I have said before, life is hard enough…..why try to create more crap to wade through?

Something I remember from growing up on the farm was that we were not supposed to walk in the cow pies that were splatted in the pasture.  My brother and I, always being model children, made it a point to walk through the pasture as  much as possible.  We loved to play a game we made up called ‘Dodge the Pile.’  We would run around the cow pies laughing and yelling at the top of our lungs.  We would inevitably lose our balance and step in a pile.  We didn’t mind it so much….it was warm and squishy between our toes.  It wasn’t as bad as mama made it out to be…..until one of us pushed the other and we landed face first in one of those big old piles of poop.  Where we had originally seen our little game as fun….we forgot one thing in the midst of it….it was still crap.

CowPie-JeffVanugaI think today, many of us have become adept at dodging the piles.  We go through life dealing with the issues that don’t seem to be so much of a bother.  Then there are those times when we get blind-sided and fall face first into what may have seemed small to begin with….but the more we wrestle through it, we realize that it is just pure unadulterated crap.  By this time, we are typically up to our necks, swimming in the aroma and we become afraid to ask for help.

As I said earlier, I learned very quickly who I can go to in times like these.  There are always those people who are quick to say, “Tell me all about it.  You can trust me.”  Then they run and tell everyone you didn’t need to know.  “Can you believe that poor So-and-So is having to deal with this?  It must be Karma.”  “So-and-So is having such a time of it lately.  He must not be holding his tongue right when he is casting.”  These are the people who need to be cut off like dead branches from a tree.  They suck the life out of those around them with their wagging tongues and false concern.

DSCN0625I want to be the type of person that someone can come to, tell me what they are dealing with (if they choose to), and know beyond knowing that when I say that I am sending healing or strength….that is exactly what I am doing.  I want them to know that I am surrounding them in all  the power and healing and love that I  can conjure.  I want them to know that when I whisper their names to the Goddess….that I am surrounding them in so much love that nothing else dare try to penetrate it.

When I was working in the church, too many times I heard the phrase, ‘Christians shoot their own wounded.’  That phrase is not exclusive to Christians.  I think that the premise behind that comes from the fact that if we can draw attention away from ourselves and to something or someone more vulnerable, then we can create a safe place for ourselves.  Not true.  Eventually, what we were trying to cover up in the beginning is going to shine so brightly in the moonlight and show itself to those who were never really fooled in the first place.  Those around us aren’t really as naive as we think they are.

This morning was a glorious morning for a trip to the pond and the woods.  It seemed as though I had been away from them for far too long.  I roused that little blue chihuahua way too early, it had seemed.  He yawned and stretched as he slowly came out of his kennel.  It wasn’t long before everything was packed up in my backpack and we were ready for our little jaunt.  When we walked out into the courtyard…there was that glorious briskness that only fall can bring.  Friz’  nose was already in the air experiencing the smells of fall all around us.  I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply.  I could feel rejuvenation rushing through every fiber of my being as I took in the crispness that was greeting me.

We stopped by the pond first.  So much healing and strength was needed for so many.  Friz and I lay on our bellies on the bank with our noses pointed toward the water.  He always seems to be so alert when I do things with the water.  He watched me as I whispered the names of those with needs.  As I whispered, I touched my finger to the water and caused ripples.  Each time the water moved, Friz would let out a quiet, “Buf.”  It was almost as if it was his way of adding his voice to mine.  We lay there for a bit…then I rolled over and he crawled on my stomach….he knew there was more to do.

We walked toward the woods.  He danced as we left the sidewalk and started on that familiar path.  As we left the sidewalk, there was a familiar little calico on our heels. Friz licked her across the head and she grimaced…but only for a second.  We settled in the midst of our tree friends and I arranged the skulls of wolf and crow.  I put the candles in the middle, lit them and made our circle.  I called on the Morrigan.  Those who I know are dealing with issues need strength and the power for battle to be sent to them.  None of these people are weak by any means…..but when dealing with things that blindside you…you always need more battle-sense and endurance.

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In the midst of those battles, you need people who are willing to encircle you….form a human shield….and help to eliminate anything extra that would try to weaken you.  You need people who are willing to say, “You aren’t crazy and you aren’t weak….you are tired and fatigued.  That is why I am here.  I am going to help you hold that sword or that wand.”

We finished our time in the woods and as I thanked the elements and the Lord and Lady and the directions…I packed everything away and listened as Friz played with the kitten.  I looked up to see them wrestling and as I shuffled, they stopped mid wrestle and stared at me.  We began the short journey back home….dropping off the little calico squirt with her mom first. (Mom just stands at her gate and waits for us now).  Friz and I walked the rest of the way to our courtyard…we opened the door to the condo and Friz bounded toward the sofa.  We both collapsed into one big snoring heap and rested…..completely rested.

Blessed Be!

 

By Raven’s Wing and Deep Woods Song

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All week long, I have been dealing with the effects of aging.  I have noticed that as I read and as I work, that I am squinting more….things are blurrier than I am used to.  My eyes have grown so weary so quickly.  I love nothing better than sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a book…losing myself between the pages….throwing myself full-force into the lives of the characters.   This past week, I would read until the letters started blurring together and then put the book down….go on Facebook long enough to make a comment or three and then wait for alerts to buzz.  After I put my old friend back onto the bookshelf (and yes, to me, they become old friends) I make my way to the woods.

Thursday night was the night of the New Moon.  I had anticipated my time in the woods all day long.  I was excited because this was the night that I would be consecrating a wand that I made for a friend and my staff.  I have been working diligently on both for a few months now.  I had packed my altar materials in my old canvas backpack along with the wand.  I walked leaning on my staff…the first of many trips it would be taking with me.

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This trip to the woods would be made without my trusty little blue chihuahua.  I needed to be able to concentrate fully on what I was doing.  As I entered the edge of the woods, I heard that all too familiar caw.  To most, it would seem harsh and crass.  I have come to see it as a rough and raw melody.  I looked up and watched as Mama Crow flew above…I don’t think I had ever noticed how gracefully she winged her way from tree to tree and post to post.

I disappeared into the wooded grove and settled in amongst the trees and leaves and rocks that have become more than acquaintances lately…more like friends that I have known since the beginning of time.  It is true that the earth has its own spirit…its own heartbeat.  You can feel it in every part of it you touch.  I squatted down (not too gracefully) underneath a large maple.  I unpacked my candles and skulls and the wand.  I leaned my staff against this magnificent tree.  I knew that the energy from that tree would encircle and move within and around my staff.  I sat down cross-legged in front of it all and I started to breathe.  Just breathe.

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I closed my eyes.  It felt good to rest them.  I invited the elements and  the directions.  I called to Morrigan and to Cernunnos.  I held the wand up under the moon.  I whispered to her for her energy and her power to move from one end of the wand to the other.  I whispered another invitation for the energies to combine for my staff.  I felt the New Moon’s energy pouring over me.  I quieted my own spirit and just listened.  With my eyes closed, I could see stories that the moon had hungered to tell me.  I watched as colors swirled around inside of my closed eyelids.  It reminded me of sitting at the feet of my granny when I was a young’un.

As I sat there lost in the story-telling of the moon, I felt something brush against me.  Now, when you are by yourself in the woods and and it has just started getting dark, your mind goes to everything from snake to rat to skunk.  Just as I was preparing to sprint back to the condo, I heard a small little purring sound and felt something making biscuits in my lap.  I opened my eyes to see that little squirt of a calico kitten getting comfortable on me.  I could almost hear my granny cackling out loud about how a kitten could scare the Be-Jesus out of a big old fella.

After I had calmed down again and my breathing had slowed, I looked up through the trees.  There was a breeze rustling through the tops…you could feel the rhythm building…the music that comes when the earth and the heavens meet.  I stared at the moon and the stars and quietly whispered my favorite quote, “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”  Once again I could feel my dear friend pouring her light and energy down into the small circle.  I watched as the opal aura on the wand caught its light and danced with its energy.  The more I heard the purrs coming from my lap, the more I relaxed back into the energy of the earth.

I could feel my spirit familiars there with me….Crow and Wolf.  I could sense their protection and their magick.  I closed my eyes again and listened.  Just listened.  I listened with my spirit….with my heart….to the stories of when all the elements began…when the moon began to pour herself over the earth.  I listened to the stories of when Wolf and Crow came to be.  I knew that something wonderful and brand new was happening here…..something that I am probably not describing as best as I could here….but something that would completely and magickally intertwine with my spirit.  For the first time in so so long….I felt completely lost in the magick of the worlds and energies and spirits around me…..so completely bathed in a power that I could never harness or control.  I felt a part of the universe that I honestly believe that I haven’t tapped into yet.  It was a time for me when all that I worshiped and all that I held dear melded into one energy.  This energy poured itself onto me and my staff and the wand and this sleeping kitten.

I felt like I had been in the woods for days, but had only been there a couple of hours.  It was the feeling that Ebenezer Scrooge must have felt after the visits of the three spirits….it was hard to fathom that all that took place did so in that small amount of time.  I scooped up the kitten and held her in one arm as I packed everything up.  She yawned and stretched as she just sort of laid there hanging across my arm.  As I started off, I put her on the ground and she slowly walked out of the woods.  I now know which condo she lives in and that her name is Beatrice.  Her mom met me at the gate of her unit and laughed and said, “She sure does like to explore!”  I responded with, “She sure does.” and looked down to see if the little booger had looked up to wink at me.  The things that little one has experienced just in the few short months she has been around.

I slept like a rock that night.  The dreams I had were vivid.  I dreamed about the outdoors and fae and many many friends.  All I remember thinking as I crawled out of bed that morning was, “I need more nights like I had last night!”

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Blessed Be!

As the Crow Flies…

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Two weeks ago today, I went to meet up with some new friends for brunch. As our time together ended, we looked around us because we heard the noisy caws of a crow. We scanned the skies and noticed that the crow was getting closer with each caw. Finally as we looked toward the eave of the house, there perched the crow on the eave above the door. One of my friends is familiar with my writings about Mama Crow. He said, “It looks like she followed you.” There was a part of me that wanted to believe that, but there was that tiny ounce of doubt too. I chatted with him later on and found out that the crow left after I did. I have read about crows being able to recognize people’s faces. My hope is that Mama Crow has become so much more than a guide….a presence of spirit….a representative of the Morrigan….but maybe also, a friend.

I have noticed that when challenges surface in my life, Mama Crow makes herself more evident. Last week when my car battery died, Mama Crow was on the post in the apartment complex making so much noise on my lunch, the day before. Whenever a challenge seems to await me, there is Mama Crow…carrying on like no other. It seems that there is one woman in the apartment complex who just seems to have it out for me. She tends to catch me just as I am about to get in my car to go back to work from walking the dogs….she wants to rant at me because my car is parked in front of my condo and she thinks she should park there because she wants the shade tree. I stand there rolling my eyes as Mama Crow bounces from branch to branch in a nearby tree, raising a ruckus.

The Morrigan has made her presence known so much more in my life lately. I realize that she is one of the dark aspects of the goddess and I do realize that I am at the croning part of my life…I shouldn’t be shocked that she is becoming more of a presence. My life, as of late, seems that it is in a constant state of change….I realize that the Morrigan is also a goddess of transformation and change. I embrace these changes….I allow them to be a part of me….it does not mean that I don’t kick and scream the whole way.

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Worry has always been a large part of my make-up. I get this from my Mama. My mama is one that worried if the phone didn’t ring exactly four times before being picked up….she worried if we sneezed once ( had to be the flu)….she worried if we ate a tiny bit less than we normally did. I didn’t get the worry gene that badly, but I am a worrier. I am one that thinks constantly about where I stand with my job. If any little thing seems off with my animals….I worry….I let my thoughts overtake me.

Last night, I went out with friends to celebrate my birthday, which always falls on Lammas. We started the evening with dinner, then went to a piano bar afterwards. I had several drinks and was feeling good, but not enough to be drunk. We got home at about 1:00am and I headed to the woods by myself. I laid down on the ground….I could feel the coolness of the dirt beneath me. I knew I needed grounding….so much happening as of late….so many things swirling around my head…things I won’t share in a blog, but things that those closest to me will know. I missed my little blue chihuahua laying on top of me and beside me….but he was sleeping too peacefully to rouse.

I have been feeling, as of late, that something major is happening magickally. There is an energy working its way through the atmosphere. Though my heart is at peace, my mind and my spirit have been racing. I have sensed something in each of the animals. Merlin has taken to sleeping under the new altar table I placed in the bedroom. Tamira wants to be touched constantly…even if it is nose to nose. Bella craves time under the moon….she walks my partner to death at night. Friz longs for magick…..as I write this, he is not feeling like himself. He has been trembling and his tail is tucked. I have been using Reiki and healing magick on him all night. But still, in the midst of this…I know something powerful is coming2013-08-03 00.34.29

I have been out tonight walking the perimeter of the condo….using the last of the waning moon’s energy. As I walked, I sprinkled stinging nettles…uttering spells to banish negative energies…to banish negative people from stepping foot near my sanctuary…banishing sickness, hurt, confusion, fear……casting away all things that might hinder my household from thriving, from prospering….calling out the names of my friends who I know have had a rough time of it lately….banishing those things from their lives that have interfered with them living the most abundant and productive lives.

As I walked, I could feel Lady Luna looking down at me, nodding her head in agreement as I borrowed and shared her energy. As I walked toward the place where two paths joined next to the condo, I could sense the breath of the hounds of Hekate…..them sensing the nervousness and fear and worry I have over my own dog. I could feel their strength, their passion….my worry took a back seat as I reached out to see if I could feel their coats. The breeze greeted me and sent the energy they gave forward. Finally, I could sense the Morrigan….always accompanying me through the battles of day to day life. I hold the utmost respect for her, knowing that she holds the very balance of life and death in her hands. I could feel the winds shifting….I could feel my spirit shifting….I could feel my mind shifting. The time for fear and worry is past….it is time for action. We as witches have to move past circumstance….for we will be tested every moment. We as witches must live by spirit and magick.

It is a hard thing for me to see past myself most days….but I constantly get lessons from the gods and goddesses. The spirit knows what the mind and body need. Tonight, as I told a dear, dear friend about Frisbee….she told me that he has absorbed and absorbed so much lately. She reminded me about what I felt about something happening magickally with the regards to the animals. She happened to mention that maybe Friz needed grounding. An hour or so after our texting, I took Friz out for his final walk of the night. After we had walked for a few minutes and he had peed, he lay down in the dirt. I remembered what Maluna had told me, so I sat down beside him. I rubbed him as he absorbed the power from Mother Earth herself. Then I brought him in, kissed him on his head, placed my amethyst on the kennel, lit the healing candle I have….and I sat down at the desk to finish writing. He needed grounding. His spirit knew better than I did….better than he did.

Now, he sleeps…just as I will. I will dream of the things to come. The changes….the struggles…the triumphs. That is the way of the spirit.2013-08-03 16.25.56

Blessed Be

The Blasting Rod

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In the wee hours of the morning this morning….before the sun had even thought about waking up, I heard a small noise come from the kennel at the foot of the bed.   My ears perked….not quite sure what the noise was.  I heard it again….a soft and tragic sounding “Bowhooooooooo.”  I hadn’t heard Friz make that sound since he was a puppy and he realized that everyone had left the room and wasn’t paying attention to him any longer.

This morning was not a morning for sleeping in….he longed for the woods this morning…more than any other.  He has always patiently waited for me to open the kennel door snuggled deep into his blankets.  This morning he danced at the door.  I harnessed Friz up, packed up the blackthorn wand that I finished last night into my backpack, took some candles, my crow skull  and my cloak and off to the woods.

We marched along at a brisk pace this morning….knowing there was a purpose ahead of us.  Friz danced the whole way…almost giddy with anticipation.  Maybe there was a little more bounce in my step as we strolled along too.

We got to the woods and made our way inside.  The sun was still not awake yet and the skies carried that smoky misty feel that dawn always does.  The clouds were heavy with the threat of rain, but I knew it would hold off until Friz and I were done.  I settled down, set up the candles and lit them.  Friz decided today to nest himself a little farther from me.  I watched him as he made a nest under one of the trees.  I pulled out the blackthorn wand and placed it in the middle of the candles.  I placed my crow’s skull in front of it.

Over the past few weeks, I have become intimately acquainted with blackthorn.  When a friend told me that he wanted a blackthorn wand, I have to admit that I was a little naive when it came to the magickal attributes of that wood.  Granted, I had heard of blackthorn…with a grandfather who was Irish, you can’t escape the stories of the little people or learning the purpose of a shillelagh.

I delved into research of this wood.  A friend had sent me several long pieces from Ireland.  I liked the feel of the wood in my hand.  It was smooth and sleek.  It was strong…yet dangerous.  When I work on a magickal tool, I like to talk to the material I use.  As I talked to the blackthorn, I realized that with its strength came a protection like no other…an obligation.  This is not a wood with which to play.

In my studies of blackthorn, I found that this wood was used to make the wands of the cunning women.  The purpose was for protection, cursing, purification.  It represents the darker side of the Craft.  Blackthorn is sacred to the Crone aspect of the Goddess…..Often linked with warfare and the Morrigan.  It is representative of the waning and dark moons.  It is also known as the keeper magickal secrets.

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As I held it over the flames of the candles.  I asked the wand for protection to be its primary goal.  As I have said before….life is a balance of dark and light.  It will now be the responsibility of the new owner to embrace both.  This wand carries the power of wolf and crow.  Each have imparted their power to the magick of the wand.

As I sat huddled over the wand, I was given a vision of the cunning men and women of old.  They sat in the circle with me, conversing with me about the strengths and powers that the blackthorn wand held.  Memories of the blood that was shed during the carving of the wand were brought to me.  A part of myself was given in the creation of this beautiful tool of magick.  I picked up the wand and passed it to the ancients.  Each one caressed it and blessed it.  We called on the elements to imbue this wand with the power to draw strength and to repel negativity.

As I laid the wand behind the crow’s skull once again, I felt a small head against my leg.  Never one to be left out of magickal workings, Friz had made his way over.  He sniffed at the wand and then laid down beside me.  Of course my mind raced over the many aspects of blackthorn.  I am very much like this tree.  My life is often twisted and thorny, but it makes me no less strong. In fact, each trial and test that I face strengthens me.  Like the blackthorn, when the outer layer is taken away….my life shows the beautiful depths of color and striations that make it as incredible as it is.  The more the wood is carved and sanded…..even though it is difficult, there is a dark beauty that shows through.  I am just as capable of good or bad as the wand carved from it.  It is in the directing of power that brings the end result.  Everything I do has a purpose.  It is up to me to figure out that purpose and move forward.

I thought about what I had read about the blackthorn tree.  The tree’s leaves turn yellow and shed in the winter leaving a stark black skeleton…what better reminder of the turn of the wheel.  The fruit that the tree bears only ripens after the first frost.  It is after the first trial of winter that brings out the true sweetness of the berry.  In early spring, it shows its delicate flowers peering out from the harshness of the harsh diabolical thorns.  Such a terrifyingly complex tree….but known for its strength and magick.

Wouldn’t you like to be known that way?  Complex, but known for his/her strength and magick?  I hunger for that.  The weathered wiseman has been a long time in the making.  He is a culmination of all of my life’s difficulties and triumphs.  He exudes the wisdom of all of my life’s lessons learned, good and bad.  He has his thorns, but he also offers glimpses of beauty and sweetness.  As I walk more and more days lately with the dark/Crone aspect of the Goddess, and come to understand more and more the turning of the Wheel of the Year….I pull on that wisdom, that history, the magick of the cunning men and women before me…and pull on the power of those animal spirits around me, I find my own magick and power….that I may impart it to those who come after me.

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Blessed Be!

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble…

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The weather this week has been damp. Everything in Atlanta is lush and green….you would almost think you were transported to the countryside of dear old Eire…if it weren’t for the concrete and traffic and buildings and smog. Add to the damp air the beauty of the summer cold….sniffling, snorting and hacking…I refused to be knocked out by this. I had too much to accomplish. So where did I head to in the midst of all of this…yep, that’s right….the woods.

Mosquitoes have been horrible during all this rain and I have been eaten alive. So first and foremost, I let the old hedgewitch come out in me. It was time to make my concoction of a bug repellent. I combined lavender essential oil with rosemary and citronella with a base of jojoba and combined it with a melted beeswax base. Into a tin it went and I had my own version of a bug repellent/ointment. I was the best smelling creature in those woods….best of all, not one mosquito bite! I wore my cloak….the damp just did not appeal to me…and of course the folks around here think I am different anyway. Some of the neighbors embrace my witchiness and others are repelled by it….kinda like coming out all over again. As I was walking Friz one night, a big storm started brewing….a neighbor called out to me over the thunder, “Did you call this in? I laughed and told her that I didn’t do it this time.

Wednesday night, I lay in the bed hating the coughing and snorting….my head pounded and I finally drifted off to sleep. The whole night, I dreamed about being in the woods with the wolves and crows. In the dreams, the wolves were teaching me to hunt and howl….the crows were teaching me to fly. If I close my eyes now, I can still see the faces of each wolf and crow. I remembered recognizing the two leading the shenanigans as the wolf who accompanies me to the woods and Mama Crow. “Get reacquainted with my wild side?” I remember in the dream dancing with my wild friends skirting in and out of the moonlight as the night overtook us….golden eyes shining back at me from behind trees….the rustling of wings in the air.

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When I woke up Thursday morning, I already felt a hundred times better. Maybe all I needed was a little wild time and some animal medicine. Who better than wolf and crow to walk me through the healing of playing in the woods. I got Friz harnessed up and ready for a little trek out into the woods. Even though the clouds above were quite ominous and you could smell rain in the air, it was evident that we both craved this time. With a misting of rain escorting us into the wooded area beyond the condos, we both had a renewed energy about us.

I have been working on a new project lately. It is a wand made of blackthorn wood. It was something that deep in my spirit I felt compelled to do. I have worked with many woods before, but never with blackthorn. I did my research before receiving the wood from a friend in Ireland. I understood that it was a hard wood….and I mean hard. The wood itself has received many drops of my own blood. I researched the history of the ‘blackthorn wand.’ Blackthorn is a very magical sacred wood to Druids and the ancient Celts. Its magical qualities include protection, purification and the ability to repel all negative energy from both your home and your life. This wood has long been associated with the dark aspect of the Goddess, and also represents the waning and dark moon. It also has a strong significance with spirit work.

In preparation for the jaunt to the woods, I had packed the blackthorn wand and my knife into my backpack. Where better to work on this mystical wood than in the same type of element it was born into? As I shaped the wood with my knife and felt the knobs and places where sharp thorns had once been, I pondered over aspects of my own character. Yes, there are still quite a few thorns protruding from me, as well as the dents from storms that have come and gone….but I have become just as strong….just as powerful as the wood my fingers caressed. As I carve and smooth and mold this piece of wood into a magickal tool, I imbue it with all the protection, purification and power against negativity that I can push into it. I quietly laid this tool at the feet of wolf and crow watching them impart their magick into it….wisdom, cunning, and the mysticism that followed the shamanic ancients. I bundled up this treasure, put it in my backpack and picked up Friz and covered him in my cloak as we made our way back to the condo in the rain…..a soft steady rain. Every few steps a small black nose would peek from beneath the cloak just to get a whiff of the dampness.2013-07-05 11.21.27 HDR

When we got inside, I quickly changed into my pajama pants and a tshirt and Friz and I curled up on the sofa. He falls back onto me so that his stomach can be properly rubbed. He is so funny….not so much like a chihuahua, but in many aspects just like a wolf…a very small…likes-to-have-his-belly-rubbed wolf. He never questions the magick, but always relaxes into it….a lesson he is teaching me more and more with each trip to the woods or pond.

These four days I have had off have been very strong magickally for me. I have been making tinctures and tonics and wands and staves. I have felt the power and strength of bonds from miles and miles away. Today, I could have sworn I felt the arms of a dear friend or two wrap around me as I carved and sanded. I have very much felt the power of the ancients with me today. As I walked the complex this evening, I could hear the voices of the old ones in the trees. The frogs welcomed me as I moved toward the pond. I could feel the heartbeat of the earth beneath my feet.

In these hours as the sun goes to sleep, I will light a small fire in my cauldron, apply my flying ointment and journey. Where? Only my heart and spirit knows. Right now….I sit writing, watching a little blue dog asleep in the chair…my chair…the one I bought for reading but rarely get to use. He is tuckered completely out. This week has been full of magick for both of us….now is the time to rest in it. I am one contented witch.

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Blessed Be!

An Offering for Hekate

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This week has been hectic.  Not a bad week, just hectic.  It seems as though I “ran around like a chicken with my head cut off”….as some of my older kinfolk might have said.  Part of the issues I have faced this week were at work….seemed like everytime I turned around, there  were little fires that needed to be put out.  Another part of the issues surrounding me this week had to do with a friends pet. 

My friends dog of 14 years suddenly became ill.  His kidney levels in his bloodwork had gone through the roof. Having worked with animals for well over 10 years,  I realized when my friend told me this that it was not good.  The poor dog was throwing up, wouldn’t eat and was very lethargic.  I knew for a fact that my friend would not put this poor animal down, so I concentrated all my energy into making him feel as good as he could.  The vet suggested giving fluids every day, so I made arrangements to come by every evening to give fluids and help entice him to eat.

By the third day, I could feel my empathic abilities kicking in tremendously. It had not crossed my mind that they would work stronger with animals than with humans….but my bond with animals has always been quite a bit stronger.  I have a deeper connection with animal spirits and energies than I ever have with humans.  I know that sounds odd, but the animals were my friends and teachers growing up….not so much men and women.  I knew that I could trust the animals with every secret and every hurt. 

In the process of working with this dog, my body was growing tired and weak and I didn’t have much energy or appetite.  I had been spending excessive amounts of time outside lounging under the moon to try to replenish any energy I could get.  I found myself under the moon every night.  I conferred with a friend and she suggested that I go to the crossroads and talk to the Witch Queen Hekate.  I had already been mulling this over in my own brain…but of course, I needed the push.

Good luck finding a crossroad in a condo complex…..especially without scaring the neighbors half to death.  I already have one that refers to me as a Brujo and runs every time I come out (I am not entirely sad about that)….he happened to be skulking outside my courtyard during one of my rituals and got a glimpse of me with wand in hand and my cloak on and cauldron blazing.  I headed out as close to the woods as I could and happened across and area where some type of animal had made trails….looked like it could have been deer, but it could have also been some of the other wildlife scampering about.  I looked for an area where the trails crossed over each other and found it just inside the woods.  That was a magickal happening…..kept me hidden enough not to scare anyone….and what better than animal trails to be used as a crossroad in magick for another animal.

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I unpacked my backpack.  I brought out my cauldron and candles and had my wand at the ready.  I brought out the offerings to Hekate.  I had a muffin and a small amount of wine.  I also brought offerings to Hekate’s hounds as I was sure that they would play a vital part in this magick.  I brought out the dog treats and laid them on the ground beside the muffin.  I started the ritual by inviting in the directions and elements and then I called on Hekate.  As I called her name, I could sense the stirring of the elements around me.  I could smell the wildness of the woods…I could feel her presence. 

I explained the situation with my friends dog.  I could feel her walking around me listening patiently as I went through the details.  I remember finishing by saying that I understood that it was not my decision as to how long this dog was going to live, but that I did not want to see him suffer.  I received a distinct whisper in my ear, “The time is near….it won’t be long.  Guard yourself…you must be strong.”  I whispered my thank you into the breeze around me and prepared the offering.  I poured the wine into the ground and put the muffin and dog treats in the center of the circle.  I thanked the directions and elements and opened the circle.  I found a nearby tree and settled underneath for a quick nap.  I woke up to find black and white cat curled up on me.  I scratched his chin and told him I needed to get home.  I loaded my backpack and headed out toward my own unit.  I guess I forgot to pack my cloak away….the neighbor that calls me Brujo stood ten feet from me.  He didn’t stand there long.  Again, I here the word spring from his lips and he was off like a shot.  I just make sure I keep my protection spells armed up and the protective plants all around the condo.

I went back to my friend and told him that it would not be long before his beloved pet would bound into the Summerlands….he replied that he knew.  The only request I made is that he would not let the animal suffer.  He promised me.  Right now, the dog is holding steady…but we both know that it won’t be much longer.  We have to be as faithful to him as he has been to his owner over the years.

Hekate represents the three faces of life…youth, motherhood, and the years of wisdom and age.  She shows us daily each of these representations.  Wherever we are in those stages….she meets us.  Even walking us to the gateway of the Summerlands.  Most of us fear her for this reason.  We see her as representing finality….but she also represents beginnings….from each part of life to the next.  There is a reason you find her at the crossroads….each road takes a new and different path.  It is up to us to take the steps and help others find the right path for themselves.

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Blessed Be!

Epona: Dancing Through the Stables and Riding Toward the Sunrise

epona2Epona: “Divine Horse”; “The Great Mare”; Goddess of horses; Mother Goddess. Fertility, maternity, protectress of horses, horse-breeding, prosperity, dogs, healing springs, crops.

She is a horse goddess with fertility connotations. A popular equestrian goddess closely allied with the Celtic trade in, and domestic use of, horses. Concerned with healing, and with the fertility of domestic animals.  She is arguably the only Celtic goddess to have been worshipped in Rome itself and her popularity was spread throughout the regions of Roman occupation.

Epona is typically with mares and foals, usually riding sidesaddle or merely in association with horses. She also holds cornucopiae sheaves of grain and other fruits suggesting an ancillary role as a vegetation goddess. Epona is also, on occasion, linked with dogs and birds. 
 

Last night, I went line dancing for the first time in eight years.  I have to admit, it stirred some wonderful memories.  As I shuffled and glided across the dancefloor, I was taken back to a time in my life when cares were few and far between. 

Growing up on a farm, you often helped other farmers during the spring and summer.  I have worked pig farms, chicken farms, dairies….but one of my favorite was spent helping a neighboring horse farm.  It was one of the first times I ever got a glimpse of the true magick and power inside of an animal.

I have to confess before I get too far in that I had never really heard of the Goddess Epona until I was introduced to her by a friend this past year.  This friend embodies everything that a goddess to the equine population should….she is beautiful, strong, graceful, and quite a bit of a spitfire.  Her passion for Epona started something ruminating in me.  I had to find out more about her.  I had to know this Goddess who showed herself so evidently in my friends love and passion for horses.

As I studied and meditated, I was often drawn backward in time to my own contact and work with some beautiful animals.  My first contact was with a horse named Coal.  Coal was, of course, jet black.  He was the horse I learned to ride on.  My friend, Nancy, lived on a farm in South Carolina.  I was very young and she was very persistent that I should learn to ride a horse.  Coal seemed to me to be the biggest horse I had ever seen.  She also had a Belgian Shepherd name Beatrice.  For some reason, Beatrice did not like anything about me.  It was her goal to make sure I didn’t make it off that farm alive.

I had finally given in to learning to ride Coal on an overcast Sunday afternoon.  Beatrice was put into the house to keep her away from me.  I was taught the correct posture for riding and how to ‘steer’ Coal.  He was so gentle.  It was like he knew what I wanted and needed before I did.  As we rode, I could hear Beatrice barking wildly in the background.  I was fine as long as that barking stayed in the distance.

We had been riding for about 45 minutes and were working our way around the horse ring when suddenly Coal came to a dead halt.  I had a weird feeling in my gut when I heard Beatrice barking five feet in front of us.  She snarled and growled and I saw my friend’s sister running toward us.  Beatrice had broken a window to get to us.  As scared shitless as I was, I remember hoping that she hadn’t hurt herself leaping through the window. 

Coal never reacted to Beatrice at all.  If she started toward us, he would turn as if to initiate a body block.  He never bothered to try to kick her.  He never got spooked.  I look back and think that I could not have had a better teacher in that first riding session.  It is because of him that I continued to learn.  He became a trusted friend over the years, and as I think back, I can still feel the sadness that I felt the day I watched him ride into the summerlands with Epona guiding him.

I also remember the summers of rodeos and time with the horses.  I know that many people do not like rodeos.  I absolutely love them.  It was on the rodeo circuit that I got to see the true human/equine bond.  Some of those men and women treat their horses better than they treat most other humans.  It was not unusual to walk around and see a cowboy or cowgirl conversing with their horse…and to watch the communication of the horse with the rider.  You haven’t experienced the power of the Goddess until you have looked into the eyes of a horse.  You can see fire and passion, but you can also see strength and peace.  You look at him and you know that he honestly had the strength and power to crush you, but the control to keep himself from doing that.  Wild-Horses-Harvest

This one thought came in an epiphany…..it is in my time with horses that I did learn control…it was in the teaching I received while learning to ride….it wasn’t so much about learning to control the horse…it was about learning to control myself.  Isn’t that the way it is about most things in life.  It isn’t about the situation, but it is about how you handle it.  It is in reigning in a horse that we learn to reign ourself in.  Horses mirror us in so many ways.  That wild part of us longs to go at full tilt.  We push and we push until we are forced by our own body to relax.  The reigns of everyday life move us left and right into decisions and circumstances, but that wild part still lies underneath….that fire.

I have heard the phrase used regarding “breaking a horse.”  Most horse trainers that I know would disagree with this terminology.  It once referred to breaking the horses spirit.  Putting that horse under your control.  It is not about “breaking the spirit” at all, but learning to work with that spirit. It is that same spirit in the animal that excites us.  It is that spirit we long for when we climb on and feel the motion of that magnificent being beneath us.

For Christmas this year, I gave my partner a romantic horseback riding afternoon ending in wine in a pastoral setting.  Just me, him and the horses.  I have longed for and needed that contact with these magnificent creatures.  I can feel Lady Epona stirring that wildness and calm all at the same time.

When stress seems to take over, I go back to a vacation 10 years ago in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I was allowed a very special gift.  I got to watch the wild horses on the island run.  There is nothing quite so spectacular as seeing a creature unburdened by the cares of the world run at full tilt racing the wind.

Lady Epona, help me to leave the cares and stresses of day to day living behind and feel the wind caressing my cheek as I call on your strength.

Blessed Be!Alone-a24173267[2]

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