A Final Kiss Goodnight…

Tonight is Samhain.  Because of a hectic work schedule, end of the month and vacation starting tomorrow, I had to do my ritual and my supper early.  The invitation was open for those dear to me to come and commune for just a little while….human and animal alike. 

Since my grandmother died in August, I have been having dreams about her.  Dreams of her being beside me…intervening in areas of trouble in my life.  Dreams of her strong Cherokee spirit encouraging me and pushing me.  In the dreams it was the younger version of her…her dark hair and eyes.  As she aged, she started dying her hair a mousy brown and the dark eyes became hazy….but the spirit never changed.

She was a feisty one.  She would tell me stories of the trouble she would get into as a youth.  She was always very headstrong and mischievous.  Hmmm wonder where I got mine?  I remember, as a child, feeding a baby green snake up through a hole in the outhouse while my substantial sized aunt was using it.  The snake climbed upward and apparently its tongue came in contact with a butt-cheek.  Next thing I know, I am running down the hill with my aunt running after me screaming with her pants down around her ankles.  I know now why my grandmother never spanked me for it……she was laughing too hard.  She told me later that she had to go hide in the barn because she was laughing so hard…..said it reminded her of herself.

As I said….the dreams about her always had her strong, unwaivering spirit showing through….until two weeks ago.  I had a dream that she had become very feeble and that I was having to support her when she stood.  I discussed this with a friend and we both agreed that granny had been hanging around until Samhain.  It would be important for me to tell her that it was important for her to go into rest in the summerlands.

Tonight as I sat down to eat and drink with my wonderful guests, I could smell the faint aroma of gardenia.  It was grannies perfume.  She was always so fond of that smell…..the rest of the family thought it was horrible.  So many of them would give anything for the smell of that perfume once more.  I was gifted with that.

When we finished the meal and I bid all of my guests goodnight….I felt a brush of wind against my cheek.  I whispered, “I have loved having you watching out for me granny, but it’s time.”  I felt that movement…that release as she shifted through the veil into the other world.

It was a gift that I won’t soon forget.  I will have plenty of time to ponder all these things when I go on vacation tomorrow.  We will be going to the mountains of North Carolina.  I love the North Carolina mountains.  They bring back memories of my childhood….we spent so much time there.  We would walk the paths of the Cherokee reservation that only the Cherokee walked….not the roads that held the touristy shops and metal tipis.  We would play in the creeks and race along the creekbeds…many of the same creekbeds my granny ran along. 

The one thing she always told me that will always play over and over again in my brain is, “When you are troubled and don’t know where else to turn, always turn to the mountain.  In the shadow of the mountain, nothing else ever seems quite so big.”  I have always taken that advice.  I went to college in Boone at Appalachian State University.  I went to Bible school in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Whenever things seemed to get too hard to bear, I went running to and through and over the mountains.

Whenever I am in the mountains, my feet instinctively know where to carry me.  I normally kick my shoes off and run…..there is just something about feeling naked ground under your feet…especially when it is ground that has been calling to you your whole life.

I know you know what I’m talking about.  There is a place in your life that calls to you.  It draws you to itself….whether its a mountain or a pond or a creek or a hillside.  Go to it when it calls.  That is where your spirit is nurtured, strengthened.  That is where the Goddess can meet you completely stripped bare. 

I plan to bury myself in a big old pile of leaves this weekend.  I will carry my wand and my cloak…..but I will also have my pipe and my flute. They were given to me by a wonderful Lakota friend in South Dakota.  I will sit in the middle of those mountain woods and sing with the symphony of nature.  I will find a secluded spot and dance naked before The Horned One and Mother Goddess in reckless abandon.  I will not only be celebrating the end of the Witches year, but also the beginning of a New Year.  A year brimming with new magickal possibilities.

Blessed Be!

When Change Becomes Inevitable

Each year, the change of the seasons becomes more and more amazing to me.  Things happen right under your nose.  You look at a tree one day and it seems dead and worn out.  You look again the following day and there is new growth….buds just waiting to spring forth.  Winter to spring can be a glorious thing, but then again, so can summer to fall.

Just a bit ago, we had a strong sturdy rainstorm come up.  I decided that I needed to go walking for a bit. Most people would see someone walking through the rain with no umbrella and think that they have lost their marbles. During the walk, you could smell the change of the seasons coming.  Earlier in the week when you would walk outside there was a humid summery smell.  It was the smell of that last beach trip or the smell of that last hurrah that the garden sends out.  Today was the smell of cool wet leaves preparing for the transition from vivid green to the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn.  It was the smell of the squirrels digging up the acorns they had buried so that they could take them back to the nest.

It seems like just yesterday that we were complaining about that bone-chilling cold that winter brings and preparing for Yule. The world has a way of changing around us sometimes without us even realizing it.  Many times, though, we will be asked to participate in that change.  The past year has brought so many changes to my life.  Some of these changes were wonderful, some I thought were so-so, and some of the changes hurt and I did not like them. 

Over the past year, I have seen many births (human and animal).  There is nothing like holding a newborn of any species in your hands and feeling the miracle that shines forth from this new life.  I also have experienced many deaths over the past year…not just the old who had completed the circle and were ready to move on, but also much younger who weren’t quite ready to leave this life behind and fought the transition tooth and nail.  I have also had to help some along….spirits that were ready to go, but for some reason the body just wouldn’t let go.  One such instance plays across my mind…I was asked to be a part of the transition stage for an old dog.  I could tell when I walked into the room that she was in pain and was ready to cross over into the summerlands.  She could barely breathe and any movement was an enormous effort.  She laid her head into the palm of my hand as the doctor spoke to the caretakers.  We did what was needed and as she took her last breath, I felt her relax completely into my hands.  I sat there with tears running down my cheek and knew that she had at last gotten the peace and healing she needed.  I was the one changed.

How many times have we been confronted by any change only to fight kicking and screaming against it?  Most of the time, it is going to happen whether we want it to or not.  Movement is a natural part of the circle.  Part of the proof is by looking at the way the body responds to inactivity.  If you were to be sedentary long enough, the muscles atrophy.  They lose strength and power.  It is the same way with our spiritual path whether it be witchcraft or christianity or buddhism.  If we don’t change, if we dont move, we lose spiritual strength and power.  For this reason alone, I do some bit of Magick everyday.  It could be a simple spell for healing or strength, but it keeps Magick alive in my life. 

We hear so many in the world today say that Magick no longer exists or that there is no such thing as Magick.  That only comes from a group of people who have either chosen not to believe or have chosen not to utilize the power that Magick holds.  If you tell the caterpillar not to turn into a butterfly, it doesn’t keep it from happening, but it may just keep you from seeing it.

The word “change” in the picture above could honestly be replaced with the word “Magick.”  Isn’t most change, just that anyway?  Magick? 

I went walking with Frisbee down by the pond again this morning.  There was a nice cooling breeze dancing across the water.  As I watched, I saw the water dancing alongside the breeze. Ripples and waves and motion all following the lead of that glorious breeze.  There was a definite aroma out there.  It was the smell of life….movement….change.  Have you ever smelled stagnant water?  It stinks.  Seriously, the smell will make you sick. 

I sat leaned against the largest tree by the pond.  I could feel the fae trying to tickle the underside of my nose as I drifted off.  I could feel Friz settle in and get comfortable next to me. The black and white cat that has become a part of mine and Friz’ pond time was settled in closeby.  If I hadn’t been willing to accept change, I might have shooed him away on the first visit.  I made a promise then and there.  I promise to try my best to embrace the changes brought before me.  I will follow those rabbits into the rabbit hole.  I will climb the mountains that seem a bit too high. I will chase breezes and play dodgeball with the raindrops.  I will embrace Magick wholeheartedly and surrender what I am for what I truly can become.

If you always do what you have always done, you will always be what you always were.

Blessed Be!

 

Remembering How to Fly…

I got a hard wake up call last night. The roomie and I were walking through Target when this sweet looking little old lady stopped us. She said, “You are both two pretty big fellas. I don’t know that I would want to mess with either of you.” Then she pointed at me and said, “Especially you!” As we started away from her laughing, she turned to us and sweetly said, “Father and son?” She gestured toward me for the father comment. I am only three years older than the roomie. I really had to squelch the thought of wanting to bitch-slap an old lady in those few moments. Again, in those few moments, the roomie spoke some truth that was hard to hear. “You know, you do act older than you used to. You used to laugh alot more….you used to be alot more fun.” I walked away feeling like the one who was bitch-slapped.

Now, it is true that the different trials and tribulations that we tend to face as we age can, as the little saying that is out there goes, dull your sparkle. I just didn’t think my sparkle was so dull. This all made me think of a certain scene from the movie “Hook.” The kids were all sitting around the table trying to get an adult Peter Pan to remember how to use his imagination. One of the kids said out loud, “Awww, he’s forgotten how to play!” The kids then encourage Peter to use his imagination to conjure up a fanciful feast. After some word to word combat with one of the kids, what ensues is a huge imaginary food fight.

I can remember, as a child, swiping mama’s broom out of the utility room and running around the yard with it between my legs, laughing as loud as I could and screaming that I was flying. As adults, we forget to throw ourselves into things with complete reckless abandon. We forget how to be completely inappropriate. Children say whatever comes to mind. Children don’t care what they look like when they do things. Embarrassment is not something that is a part of our make-up. It is something that is learned. Fear is not a part of our make-up. It is also something that is reenforced as we mature. Think about this one long and hard…..If you have a fear of spiders, imagine what your life would be like if you never knew what a spider looked like or what it could do. Would you be afraid of it?

I watched the dogs playing tonight. They were completely lost in the ecstasy of chewing on each other and chasing each other and barking at the top of their voices. They didn’t care that they were making the cats nervous or that the neighbors might hear them. They were enjoying the reckless abandon of play. Adult humans forget how to play. We worry about our next paycheck or the next bill or whether our supervisor sees us as something expired past our “use by” date.

We are often so caught up in all the things around us that we can’t even muster a good belly laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you actually might have peed a little? Or when did you last abandon your dignity enough to climb on a see-saw in the middle of the playground?

A friend of mine was talking about all the things she was able to experience at a street festival today…..It brought back memories of another friend. This friend had a tumor on her pituitary gland when she was younger so it affected the way her brain “aged” so to speak. She was always asking me to go to fairs and festivals and all kinds of things that most adults are through with. I remember one night in particular at our county fair. There was a ride called the bullet. Now that night, not only had she stuffed me with every kind of carny food known to man, but she stuffed my rather substantial ass into “The Bullet.” I was wedged in so tight that I could barely breathe. The ride spun and slung and twisted and I could feel every ounce of that food churning. When the ride stopped, I realized I was stuck like a sausage inside of this metal tube. The guy manning the controls pulled and pushed and did all he could to get me loose, but it wasn’t happening. I was laughing and crying and screaming all in one breath. I finally resigned myself to the fact that they were going to have to call for the jaws of life to release me from my metal prison. I visualized the headlines of the local paper the next day and I screamed louder. All of a sudden something loosened and I poured out like melted butter in the dirt. I laid there laughing so hard that I forgot how embarrassed I was.

So this morning, I woke up in a real pissy mood. It stayed that way for most of the day. Finally at about 5 o’clock I had gotten damn tired of it. I went into the closet and dug out my fanciest besom. I took it into the courtyard, climbed on top of the yard sofa, and jumped and ran around the courtyard. I really didn’t give a double damn about who might have heard or seen me. I needed it. I needed to do something with complete reckless abandon. And I needed to laugh at myself doing it…..and I did.
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The Wild Man In the Woods

When I was back home last, I was able to sneak away and re-live some moments that were distinctly mine.  I disappeared for a few hours into my woods.  These woods were the woods of my childhood.  These were the woods where I first experienced the Fae.  Where I first heard the call of the wind and the earth.  These were the woods where I first communed with the water spirits and where I would sit at night and watch the fire, which I had built for warmth, dance around me unabashedly. This was where I learned to, at first, mimick that dance and later was the same place that dance took root in my spirit.  All of this reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music when Maria was reprimanded for climbing the mountain outside the convent.  Mother Superior asked her what would happen if she had gotten lost.  “Oh, mother, I could never get lost up there, that’s my mountain, I was brought up on it,…It was the mountain that led me to you.”  I feel the same way about my woods.  They are the woods that brought me to Goddess.

When I visit home, it is very hard for me to get a minute to myself.  I have often hungered for time to visit my woods.  This time the visit would be filled with more Magick than I had ever experienced there.  As a child, we often fantasize about things Magickal.  We eventually dismiss them in our adulthood as something that could have never happened.  I visualized many things out there as a child…..I saw myself as Merlin of Camelot and the old pond out in the middle of the woods was, of course, the home of the Lady of the Lake.  The many critters that would scurry past became the dwarves and fairies and gnomes that I just knew were supposed to be a part of day to day life.  Oh if I had only known then……through the eyes of a child.  Children believe without seeing.  It is only in adulthood that we are told that we should see to believe.

As I said earlier, I was able to sneak out to these woods on a hot, muggy Saturday evening.  I laughed to think that most of the adults in the area were afraid of those old woods.  They were horrified that a wildcat might come after them….or what about an old coyote.  As I entered the edge of the woods, I could feel the years melt away from me. I could feel the Magick of my enchanted forest whirling and twirling around me.  Once again, I could hear the fae shuffling through the leaves around my feet.  I walked a little more gingerly…..couldn’t step on them.  I got into the center of the grove of oaks that I used to play around.  It was like seeing old friends.  I could hear the very breath of the trees as they welcomed me back.  Just like it is with our oldest friends, we picked up right where we left off.  I settled in against the largest tree and could feel the energy coursing through me. I began to call the beings around me….and should I have even been surprised….one of the biggest old crows settled into the tree across from me.  We both chatted and cackled and laughed…..back in the distance I could hear the brush of what I was sure was deer slowly but gracefully checking out this wierd human sitting in their midst.  At that moment, Cernunnos came to my mind.  I called on him and thanked him for the ability to be in his midst.  I remembered to bring out offerings for the fae and for the God and Goddess of the forest.  Such a peaceful time.

Suddenly, though, I felt the Wild Man stirring up inside of me.  Thankfully those woods are isolated….but then again, I really didn’t care whether or not I scared the neighbors.  I jumped up and stripped off every stitch of clothing I had on and made a running jump for that pond out in the middle of those trees.  It is probably a good thing I don’t scare easily because when I jumped in, I scared something out of the water…..still can’t tell you what it was…it moved really fast.  So here is a 46 year old man splashing in this pond like some kind of crazy person.  I was laughing and giggling like I was 7 again.  It really was such a wonderful time.  I stayed in that water until I started to prune up real good…..felt so good on that muggy evening.  I am sure the Lady of the Lake was ready for me to go by then.  I trodded up the bank and back to my oak tree.  I found some rocks and built a little circular pit….got me some sticks and leaves and thankfully had taken a box of mama’s kitchen matches.  I built me a small fire to dry myself out.  I watched those flames dance and move and enjoy themselves that it just got the best of me.   I got up and started dancing with them!  Then the thought popped into my head what I must look like…..an old, fat, hairy nekkid man dancing in the twilight by a fire.  I got tickled and started to laugh out loud…..then it hit me…..I am doing the exact same thing the ancients used to do.  I was doing nothing more or nothing less than enjoying the world around me which had been created by the loving hands of a Wild Horned God and Powerful Goddess.  In that moment, my heart connected with all the witches and sorcerers and wise men who had ever existed and I could feel that power rising.  I could feel that energy breathing all around me.  At that moment, I felt as if I was flying into the branches of my friend the oak tree.  It was a moment that I never wanted to forget…..just me, those woods, the fae, the wildlife, and the God and Goddess.

At the end of my time in those wonderful woods, I got dressed and thanked the elements and the Lord and Lady, and moved slowly back to the farm.  My heart, that night, constantly giggled and laughed in remembrance of all that had transpired.  In that moment, I think I realized….sometimes you just have to say what the hell, strip down and go running nekkid in the woods. 

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