Voices of the Past

This week’s offering comes from my dear friend Maluna.  Over the years, this woman has become mentor, trusted friend, and soulmate.  We have shared laughter, tears, and many a sleepless night.  She has listened to and interpreted my dreams and given me a right smart kick in the ass when I needed it most.  I have asked her to share her magick and her heart with you.

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Samhain. It means Summer’s end. The end of a season…the end of the witches year. The veil between the worlds is thin…the dead walk among the living…and many of us see and hear them. It’s always been my favorite Sabbat…this year it took on a whole new meaning.

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It’s been a turbulent year for me….the end of a marriage, a new home….the death* of a life I once knew. Deep in the woods…far from anyone….I feel the hedge witches….they lived away from society….shunned for being different….feared or respected…they practiced their craft in solitude.

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I’ve been shunned from my small town. Lies, accusations, misconceptions from friends and family…and like the Salem witch trails….rumors spread like wildfire….fingers pointed…damage done. I’ve walked these woods each day…listening to the voices of the past….sometimes wailing like the banshees that cry in the howling wind…looking for answers….wondering if all I have lost is worth what I’ve gained.

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Do we travel through our physical lives like the ghosts and spirits that slip through the veil? Do they regret their lives and the consequences of their actions? Do they haunt and pass through to feel…to touch once more what they had….good or bad? When we die…I believe we have choices….to start fresh, or to come back with glimmers of the life we left…maybe it takes many lives lived to find the purpose…the soulmate…the connection that will send us to the divine afterlife….the completeness. Could we possibly be just lost souls traveling through the veil looking for that connection? Seeking…searching.

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I’ve found many answers in this dead season….and I’ll find more in coming dark months….it’s always been my time. As many tears as I’ve cried for what is past….I also see a glimmer of light….the glint of a sword…the flick of a cape….the brush of The Morrigan…and I’ve found a connection of magick with a dear friend….a goal to build a sanctuary of magick and Nature…a haven for the ancient hedge witches that pass through the deep woods that surround us…our voices will carry on the traditions…the love of the land….a time lost in the Mists. In the dark, cold ashes of the Samhain fires new growth will be rise….new lives will be lived….and magick will carry on. BB

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Transitioning Back Into the Magick Within Us

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Tonight is two nights after Samhain.  This year, Samhain brought in cold and howling winds and rain.  As I communed with my ancestors, I listened intently as the wind hammered against the side of the condo.  The trees whipped back and forth.  One could feel the cold prying its fingers in through the window sills.  It reminded me of an old quote from Mary Poppins,

Winds from the East…Mist coming in

Like something’s a brewing, about to begin

Can’t put my finger on what lies in store…

But I feel what’s to happen, all happened before!

In the new year that is coming upon us, it seems that my theme is to be slowing down.  I am one of those people who, if not careful, will allow myself to become a frenzy of work and home life and everything else in between.  Most of my life is lived at full tilt…just like most other people.  Ever have those weeks when magick can become an afterthought?

I love the quote at the start of the blog.  We let life on a daily basis push magick away from us.  We let circumstances and emotions push the magick all the way to the back of our minds.  Then when everything else seems exhausted, we think, “Oh yeah, I am a witch.”  Shall I raise my hands, wave them about and scream ‘Guilty’ at the top of my lungs?

Last week, I spent the majority of my time nursing a sprained ankle.  Last night, I ended up in the emergency room because when I drifted off to sleep, moments later I would awaken myself gasping for air.  I amaze myself sometimes.  I am the first to send healing, Reiki, or any other magick to anyone else…but I tend to lose my brain and any magickal abilities when it comes to myself.  Thinking back on it…if I had just stopped, calmed myself and done some Reiki and magick combined, I would have been fine.

Well, the diagnosis came back just as me and the doctor suspected.  I am fat.  I am sedentary.  I don’t exercise enough.  His solution?  Lose weight.  Exercise…walk.  Get outside more.  I laughed out loud.  My medically, scientific minded doctor was telling this nature-loving witch that he needs to be outside more.  He asked if I had a dog that I could take on long walks in the brisker fall air.  I told him I did and that we normally take short morning walks.  He asked my habits.  After reluctantly admitting that I am mostly a couch potato, my doctor looked at me, laughed out loud and said matter-of-factly, “You have become far to domesticated.”

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Domesticated?  I became a bit indignant.  I have always considered myself a bit of a wild man.  I am not like the ones in the earlier quote.  I am not domesticated.  After I pushed past my hurt feelings, I started thinking to myself…”When was the last time you ran through the woods or outside?  When is the last time you were able without gasping for air?  When is the last time you let a youthful sparkle shine from your eyes?  When was the last time that child-like wonder escaped from you with the sharp intake of breath that comes from seeing magick happen up close and personal?”

After arriving back home, I sat and thought about a game plan.  The doctor and I agreed that organic, healthy eating habits would be best.  Lean proteins, lots of green leafy veggies and plenty of fruits and nuts would help to get my body functioning more normally.  Exercise…such an ugly word.  Thankfully we are heading into the darker months of the year…this time of year is an energizer for me.  I function better in briskness and cool.  Mine and Friz’s walks are going to have to become longer….he will be more than happy.  He pulls constantly when we walk…as if he knows that I need to expend more energy…as if urging me to move more.

My dear friend Cindy posted a photo on her Facebook page.  This photo said, “November s the month of transformation.  It is time to prepare for the coming winter and a time to strengthen communication.”  My preparation is to be more brisk walks….music that inspires magick penetrating my headphones…a chihuahua for motivation…and healthy, delicious foods.  It is time for re-teaching.  It is time to listen to the heart of the Morrigan…there is a battle waging inside me now.  It is up to me.  I want to encourage that wild part of my spirit to surface…that heart of wolf who runs with the wind…that heart of crow who flies higher and higher.  2014-11-02 15.33.57

As the earth goes to sleep, it is my time to listen to my body, my heart and my spirit.  I sat in the woods this morning huddled in my cloak, Friz tucked underneath with my personal sized Book of Shadows in my hands (it is kind of like my ‘spells on the go’ book).  I am sitting there trying to write a spell to accomplish what I want accomplished.  Maybe it was writer’s block…maybe I was thinking too hard.  I decided to take a hint from my most magickal little blue dog.  I raised my head, nose to the wind.  I could smell the leaves around me….the cold tickled my nose.  It was exhilarating!

Leaves swirl around me with abandoned delight…

My breath hangs in front of me here in my sight.

As the earth darkens around me, seeds of growth sown

New beginnings, new disciplines, a new heart will be shown.

Magickal workings encompass me round…

I listen and act so that blessings abound.

My body and mind and my spirit align…

Victory, health and prosperity are mine.

By word and action and now by deed,

As I will, so mote it be.

As if on cue, I hear Mama Crow behind me.  I look up and there she sits, looking down at me.  She offers that guidance I seek.  She flies.   Reminding me that I need to always remember to do the same.  Friz and I head back home, we wrap ourselves in a blanket on the sofa and ‘rest our eyes.’

Later today I read my dear Maluna’s posting:

Man changes our clocks.  Animals and some of us listen to our bodies….never mind human reasoning…it is what it is….Moon up…leaves down…I look at the positive….more time to see and spend with the silver globe of light….Full moon this week….work for healings, positive change for some….with the swirl of the holidays upon us…the temptations of wondrous delicacies…it’s time to take charge of your body…your eating habits….. bundle up and get outside…walk, yoga, dance…clean house…(yes it burns calories)….incorporate fruits and veggies in your diet of comfort food…and yesssss we all want the hearty, heavy creamy stuff….just balance with nutrition also. Excellent few days to put this program into motion…many depend on you…be healthy, for yourself…and those who love you! Now….go dance under that glorious moon…she’ll always dance along with you! BB

 

So here we go!  Blessed Be!

 

 

 

 

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The Energies Around Us

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My partner and I took a long weekend trip to Savannah last weekend.  It was a wonderful trip…we were able to spend time together, get to know each other all over again.  It was a wonderful time.  So many old sights and old beautiful buildings…it truly is one of the oldest cities in the south.

One thing that I have found as I have visited many areas in North and South America, is that with old cities comes energies…lots of energies.  Years ago, when I visited Ecuador, as we traveled the mountain villages of the Quituan people, the ancient energies permeated the atmosphere around us.  It was the same as we walked the lands of the Lakota on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.

I had always heard that you couldn’t walk two feet in Savannah without walking over a dead body.  After visiting the city, I can believe it.  There is energy coming from the Native American spirits buried beneath the city.  There is energy coming from the settlers and those who died from yellow fever who are buried in mass graves throughout the city.  There is pirate energy left by those who ran rum and shanghaied sailors….and there is energy left inside the houses of the long-dead rich who showcased their fortunes through these grand homes.2014-08-30 10.58.17

To be honest, as wonderful as our trip was, I was surrounded by what felt like constant static electricity all weekend long.  We would come back to the room at night and we both would completely sack out.  I realized later that this came from the constant buzzing of spirit energy around me.

On Sunday night, we took a tour of the Sorrell-Weed house…equipped with EMF detectors, recorders and cameras.  I listened as people tried to provoke spirits.  We were warned not to get left behind.  Of course, we are all in the basement and I walk around a corner, only to be warned from a distance that it is the corner of the basement with the most activity.  I turn around only moments later to find that I have been left alone in the basement.  I ran to the courtyard to join the group and am standing over an area of bricks to be told that where I am standing is where the lady of the house plummeted to her death.  I moved quickly.

I realize that we are around spirit energy every day of our lives, but this was so much concentrated energy.  This was old energy…energy that has had centuries to build.  I also realize that we need to ground and cleanse after that much exposure to that much energy.  I dealt with this energy most of my week last week.  Every day that I worked, I faced the harsh, unresolved energy that most often raises its head in anger.  This anger came through the tongues of my customers.  By the end of the week, I was exhausted.  I was not going to have time to myself until after I got back from my partners Friday night bowling league.2014-09-05 14.08.57

When we got home, I made a run for the woods.  If I could have crawled inside of one of the trees, I would have.  I needed to feel grass.  I needed to feel dirt.  I needed the feel of tree bark against me.  I needed the calmness of the elements.  I nestled myself against a large oak tree.  I closed my eyes and called to the elements to pour over me…to cleanse me of any residual energy that may have come with me from the trip.  I dozed off against that mighty oak, comforted by the heart of the tree and the earth beneath me.  I was awakened by the scream of the cicadas swarming around in the night air, but still so masterfully hidden.  I stumbled back to the condo…rejuvenated but still tired.  I crawled into bed and dreamed of witchy things.  It is funny….I think sometimes that I am the only witch who seems to have Harry Potter-like dreams.  I soar on broomsticks and watch as magick flows from my wand.

I woke up before dawn this morning.  Friz missed our weekend ritual as much as I did.  He spent last weekend boarding.  He had to trade his walk through the trees and grass and leaves for a cement floor and sleeping in a room with his sister.  He was ready for lap time with his Pop and morning woods time.  We made our way into the heart of the woods.  Even though the heat is still in the air, you can also smell the beginnings of autumn.  The wheel has begun its shift.  Leaves have started turning and falling.  This morning I took pumpkin scented candles with me and one called ‘smoke.’   As I lay there watching the flames lick the air, Friz curled up under my chin and drifted off quickly.  I could feel the heartbeat of the earth under me.  I listened as Mama Crow and Wolf joined us.  I took deep cleansing breaths….breathing in the freshness of the trees and leaves around me.

As I absorbed the calmness…I couldn’t help thinking about what I hold inside me.  I walk through each day with the power of magick.  Everything I touch, I impart magick to.  As I grow older…just as the Lord does this time of year, it seems that those beyond the veil become more approachable and not so hard to connect with.  As Mabon and then Samhain draw closer and the veil becomes even thinner,  I intend to spend more time among the trees absorbing their strength and calm…and when I lie down at night to sleep, I will continue to dream of flying.

Blessed Be.

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Season of the Witch

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Distraction….that is the million dollar word.  Lately there seems to be so many different things pulling at me.  I don’t tend to be the stretchy type lately either….rather, I break or end up running around like a crazy man.

It has come to my attention, especially over the past few days, that I let myself become side-tracked far too easily.  I am too much like that dog in the movie “Up.”  I can be talking one minute about the power of magick and…..”Squirrel!!!”  I throw myself into many things at one time and end up swirling like a cyclone.  My body rebels and my immune system retreats and sickness overtakes.  When sickness comes on, it seems to take forever to get my body back in line.

Over the past month, we had been preparing for a Halloween party.  This is a party that we look forward to every year.  We did a group costume this year and I spent weeks searching for all the right accessories.  I scoured eBay for deals and went to every costume shop in Atlanta.  I threw myself into the costume with all four feet.  The issue wasn’t the costume, but more the fact that there were other things that really needed to take precedence.

I am an ‘all or nothing’ type of guy.  I feel that if I am going to do something, it can’t be done halfway.  When I was working in the theater, I was introduced, through a show I was doing, to clogging.  Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer’s shoes are fitted with taps and by striking toe and heel, a rhythm is created.  This dance is quite popular in the mountains and foothills of North Carolina….where I was raised.  It wasn’t enough for me to learn how to clog.  I had to become a part of a team and dance competitively.  While it was enjoyable, I wonder what ever made me pursue it.  Was it just another check mark on my blackboard of life?

Last night, late, I needed some air.  I decided to spend some time in the courtyard.  It was coolish…but not too cool and the wind was still.  I sat on the stoop of the condo and stared at the mandrake plant that I have been nurturing since early summer.  That plant has been a lesson in patience. They are very particular about light and condition and temperature.  I have had to tend that plant with kid gloves.  About a month ago, I started to finally see some growth.  Growth does not come quickly with a mandrake either.  What started as a bump in the soil, is now three small (and I do mean small) leaves….and this is on a two year old root.

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The only thing that it concentrates on is growing stronger.  It pulls from the elements and slowly gathers the strength and nourishment it needs to become the perfect specimen….when the time is right.

Samhain is upon us and in the midst of preparation, I have let myself meander away from what it means.  I have let other things push and pull me until I no longer feel that I know which direction I am headed toward.  Even the crows realize it.  Normally, I am besieged by throngs of crows on a daily basis….with Mama Crow leading the noisy choir.  When I go through times like this…the crows grow silent.  I haven’t seen or heard a crow in at least a week.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I have decided that Samhain, for me, this year….will be a new beginning.  This is a time to call on the ancients, the ancestors to help strengthen my resolve.  The coming year for me will be the “Season of the Witch.”  This is my time for growing…..not that quick, over-fertilized growth….but a slow methodical growing time.  In this year I will become even more intimately acquainted with herbs and potions.  I intend to absorb everything that the stones and crystals will give me.  My time with the Lord and Lady and the elements will be even more deliberate.  I have been on this path far too long to let it just be the shocking revelation of ‘Yes, I am a witch.’

It is my time to revel in what it means to be a witch.  It is time to let that part of my spirit sing out.  Let the magick that is within me flow.  The power behind my beliefs should flow from me as easily as my own name flows from my lips….it is that much a part of me.

I have seen too many try to show themselves as something they are not.  We are not Harry Potter….not Samantha from ‘Bewitched.’  We are not the ladies from ‘The Witches of East End’ or ‘Practical Magic.’  We are, however, a strong group of individuals with energy and power that cannot be matched.  We are people who have healing in our very fingertips….our backbone is strong…..we hold access to the spirit realm and the playgrounds of the fae.  We are not here by accident and we were born to fly.  We were given relationship with those who many toss aside….the animals follow us closely and give us access to their hearts and spirits.  We are many traditions and many beliefs….but one strong heart grounded strongly in the old ways.

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I look forward to the wonderful things that are coming for me in this new year.  There are no dragons to be fought….but there are plenty to ride.  On Samhain night, as the moon rises in the sky and the clock strikes midnight,  I will whisper my desires into the ears of the Lord and Lady.  I will offer myself to the elements and I will begin a journey of growth led by the spirits of the ancients and those ancestors who desire to teach me.  I am a witch…nothing more and I sure as hell will not be anything less.

Blessed Be!

 

A 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!

Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon…..

Last night was a beautiful night. I started the evening doing all of those required partner things that one finds oneself doing in a relationship. I was ecstatic about the view of the moon I had. It was cloudy and hazy, but she was so bright, I could see her wherever I walked. I was so antsy. I wanted to hurry and get through the requirements (now don’t tell me I am the only one who has ever felt this way) just to get to spend some time under the moon.

When the evening was through and my partner was poured out in front of the bedroom television watching those recorded reality shows that he loves so much and the dogs and the roomie were all in bed…..I put on my clogs (not fashionable, but they get the job done) and I slipped out the door to the pond. I felt like I could breathe again. Sometimes it is really hard being a transplanted country boy in the city. I am used to acres of space, and sometimes living in the city makes me feel a little caged up. It seems, sometimes, that everywhere I look there are people within arms length. Now I am a very huggy, “not much personal space needed” type of guy, but sometimes I really just have to get out into the open and feel the breeze, the dirt, the water, the sun, the moon, and anything else not associated with people.

It felt a little different not having my little “witching” buddy with me. I am so used to Friz curling up in my lap in the morning hours, but he is one of those pups that does not like staying up past his bedtime. He will stand outside of the kennel when it is time to go to bed at night. He does love to sleep. I looked around to the edge of the trees and thought for a moment that I was going to be under the moonlight completely alone when I suddenly saw something slowly coming toward me. It was black and white cat. In my best Ollivander voice I laughed and said, “I wondered when I’d be seeing you, Mr. Potter.” Well, I thought it funny, but the cat didn’t seem amused.

I settled in under my old friend oak and I must have dozed off. I felt a cat tail rubbing against my face. I looked at my watch and saw that I had been out there for about an hour, so I figured I had better go get some sleep. I knew that a certain little blue chihuahua and his doxy sister would be waking me up bright and early this morning.

I thought a little about this…..we always charge our stones, crystals, tools out in the moonlight. Sometimes it is just ourselves that we need to charge. Just napping out there under that tree was so invigorating. Yes, it was hazy, but dear sweet Lady Luna was still able to reach through and pour her power over me. With those thoughts tickling through my brain, I bid black and white cat goodnight and assured him that I would be back in the morning with Friz and I plodded off to bed.

Bright and early this morning I heard those familiar little sniffs and grunts coming from the kennel. It is probably a good thing I can function on just a few hours sleep. My partner and I got up, got the pups and kits fed, then he and the doxy went back to bed while Friz and I made our way to the pond. I looked the sky over for my dear friend, Lady Luna. It was still hazy, but every so often she would come out from behind a cloud. She was so bright and it seemed as though I could reach out and touch her. I brought my wand and my cloak with me this morning for a little informal ritual. I wore my cloak out to the pond a couple of weeks ago….I didn’t think anything about it…until I heard one neighbor talking to another the next day. He was sure he had seen the grim reaper out by the pond and he swore he would never go in that direction again.

I settled in next to the oak and out of nowhere, my friend black and white cat appeared. I never even saw him come up. Friz was settled in my lap, so black and white cat figured that he would take his place beside him. Friz leaned over and licked him on the head and they snuggled in for the duration. From that position, I had to cast my circle and call on the directions and elements. The only way I can describe what happened next is to say it was like rocking back and forth in the most wonderful hammock you could find. A peace, a comfort came over the whole area. I began to sing out the names of friends and family that I know are in need. I watched as those needs floated effortlessly up to the moon. I listened as she whispered back into my ear.

We talked about autumn and everything it entails. Samhain, pumpkins, that wonderful briskness in the air that catches your breath in mid-stream. We talked about firelight and spirits and animals. Always we talk about the animals. I call on protection for those that don’t have homes and are hungry. I ask her to provide for those who aren’t provided for. I call on her for the needs of the wild ones who seem to be pushed farther and farther out of their own environments. I call on her for protection and healing in my own fur kids and the fur and feather kids of others I know. I am surprised by how many she continually brings to my remembrance….almost as if they are calling out, “Don’t forget me!” There is a donkey, and an old hound dog, cats that like to sleep in sinks, and cats that like to be in the midst of everything…I smile when I see them in my mind’s eye because I know the people with whom they are associated. She reminds me that I will be in the mountains again for Samhain. I will hold my supper out under the stars and the moon and tell granny that it is time to move on. As I close the circle and finish up, I feel the two little critters in my lap stirring. Yawns all around and black and white is gone in a flash. Friz and I slowly walk around the side of the pond and back up to the condo. He climbs up beside me and puts his belly out to rub. It’s as if he was saying, “I liked that. We need to do it again.”

Harvest moon shine down your light. Pour over us as we gather tonight. Your rays fill us with strength and power as we call upon you in this magickal hour. Dreams and visions for us to see. As I will so mote it be.

Blessed be, yáll!