A Walk in the Woods

jason wizard

This week’s blog was written by a friend whom I have come to deeply trust over the years.  He has become more of a brother to me than just a friend.  We have grown together in the Craft and I have watched him delve into Shamanism with a passion and hunger that can’t  be matched.  His talent with the tarot is amazing and his readings have always been on point.  Sit back and take a walk into the wooded world of my dear friend, Owl Sundown.

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This evening the woods are quiet. The rain earlier in the day, followed by the chilly air, has put a blanket of silence throughout the trees. All I can hear is the leaves crunching under my boots and the wind in the tree branches. I’m thankful for the chill in the air. It means winter is coming.

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I make my way through the path only I and the deer know about. I see my grove up ahead. It’s a small area of trees by the creek that form a natural circle and is hidden from view from most directions by thorn bushes and the honey locust trees.

I walk around to the other side of the trees, carefully picking my way through the thorny branches, finding the small path into the circle. This is MY place.

time spent in the woods

I can feel the earth’s power radiating from the ground as I walk among the rocks I’ve placed as direction stones. I make my way to the center and close my eyes. I take deep breaths and smell the scents of the forest. I sit and feel the dirt in my fingers. Before long I sense THEM. Oh yes, they have made themselves known to me over the past 6 years.

fae

The spirits of place, the fae, nature spirits. They go by so many names but I just call them THEM. Before long I sense them move among my circle. They know that I honor them in this place. I have taken measures to make sure they are respected and honored in these woods. And in return they help and guide me. After communing with the Earth and them I leave honey, nuts, and bird seed among the stones and ruefully make my way back to civilization. Oh if I could just stay!

gifts

 Most of us who walk a pagan path honor the Earth. Some of us honor the Goddess and the God. We may even honor animal spirits and totems. But I think we often fail to connect with the land where we live.

The land I live on has been in my family for over 75 years. I have lived on it for 25 and visited it for ten before that. And yet even when I embraced this way of life it was a few years before I really connected with the place where I lived. I constantly found myself daydreaming of Ireland, Scotland, England, and other amazing places and yet I was failing to see the magic in my own backyard.

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One day while I was walking through one of the paths on the back of the property (over 300 acres) I kept seeing something out of the corner of my eye. I thought maybe it was a deer or a bird flying between the trees. I kept walking and kept seeing it. I never could see it straight on but always from the corner of my eye. I felt like I was being watched. So, being the novice witch I was, I decided to call it in. I think I heard it laugh. Ha!

It wasn’t until a few months later that they made themselves known to me. Sometimes I see shadows, other times I see actual human-like figures, other times it’s just spirits. But they are there and they respect me as I respect them. It’s balance and give and take.

Now, by no means do I claim to know everything about these amazing people. This is just my experience and walking this path is definitely subjective. I usually turn and run if someone tells me, “It has to be this way!” No mam, it doesn’t. It’s how the Goddess, God, Great Spirit, Fae, Sprits of the Land, or whatever else comes to us and shows us.

handinwater

So here are some things that have helped me in my walk that allows me to commune with the spirits of the place.

1. Mindfulness of the land. Take initiative to take care of the Earth where you live. Pick up trash, plant flowers, help in whatever way you can.

2. Go out there, sit down, and just BE. If it’s in your apartment courtyard, your front yard, or even the potted plants on your patio. Put your hands in the dirt and allow yourself to just BE one with it.

3. Don’t force it. You will never know the spirit world by forcing yourself among it. Be respectful and let it happen in time.

4. Leave food and other things for the animals. Nuts, seeds, honey. Anything that they might like.

5. Fill your mind and spirit with the stories and myths of the area you live in. I live in an area that was populated by Cherokee and Choctaw tribes. Then my great grandmother and great aunt with their “old religion” from Ireland came and put there magic here as well. I fill my soul with the stories of those people. Give your mind and spirit something to draw upon as you continue to grow in magic.

ice

There is nothing more rewarding to me than spending time in my woods with “my people”. It is my hope that as winter comes on, wherever you may be, that you will find time to get quiet as the Earth goes quiet and touch the Otherworld. May you be blessed always.

Owl Sundown

Having a Morrigan Morning

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This morning, as Friz and I made our way to the woods just before sunrise, I could smell the dampness in the air.  It was coolish…our nights have had lows in the twenties this week.  It seemed as I walked, that I was walking in slow motion.  The trees were stark looking against the dark morning sky.  You could smell the earth going dormant with every footstep. As I looked around me, I could see the toll that the below freezing temperatures had taken.  Rose bushes and plants had that wilted and defeated look about them.  I could tell that the Goddess was preparing for her winter’s death-sleep.

The crows have been more prominent lately.  My partner told me the other day that he watched as a crow flew above him with a McDonald’s bag with two other crows on his tail.  He asked me what the significance of this was.  I was at a loss.  I said, “He was hungry?”  He was not amused.  The sad thing is that the poor crow dropped the bag and the two hamburgers he managed to pilfer fell to the ground and the other two crows attacked them ferociously.2014-10-02 12.49.53

Although I follow the path of the Morrigan year-long, I know that in these months that the world grows darker that she is more prominent.  The Morrigan is often seen as the goddess of death…but she is also the goddess of fertility.  So as the earth goes into its own death-sleep, she is the one planting those seeds of rebirth as it sleeps.  I have seen her do the same in my life.  As one vision dies, she is busy planting that seed for new visions….and giving me strength for the battle.  I have found that the more I work with her, the easier it is  to allow her to control certain areas and for me to take myself out of the picture.

The thing that I keep in the forefront of my mind, is that the hero was never slain at the hands of the Morrigan…unless he refused to acknowledge her sovereignty.  I have found that she fights alongside of me daily.  The issues I face may sound trivial to some, but she is willing to take up her sword for and with me.  She is willing to offer me wings.  I have always said that we are all born with wings, but we let the world steal them.  I remember a quote from the movie Maleficent:

I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.

We allow the circumstances and people that come against us to steal those wings.  We then spend more time grieving over the loss than seeking out a way to fly again.  The Morrigan is that way of soaring.

As Friz and I sat in the midst of the trees stripped bare of their foliage, I listened for the heartbeat of the universe around me.  I was greeted by a crow caw…loud and coarse and crackled.  I looked above me and I could see Mama Crow against the gray sky.  There were three or four other crows with her…each cawing back and forth to each other.  It reminded me of listening to my grandmother and her sisters gossiping when I was growing up.  They would lean back and throw out their harsh, cracked belly laughs for everyone to hear.

I placed my crow skull on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones I had made.  I pulled out my small cauldron and placed a charcoal disc inside.  I burned it with my lighter until it was white hot and then I put some of the Morrigan incense I have on it.  I light the red tealights I brought.  At this point, I rubbed some of the Ave’s Flying Ointment that I had bought from Sarah Anne Lawless, on each temple.  The scents of amber, dragon’s blood, juniper, rosemary and thyme encircle me.  As my little blue chihuahua sleeps in my lap, I fall into an almost trance-like state…so many friends and family in so many battles right now.  I begin to chant:

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of change,

Strengthen me and those I cherish with the power to fight those battles that come against us head-on.

Goddess of fertility, birth in us new visions and plant the seeds for new magick.

Goddess of shapeshifting…help our spirits to transform into whatever we need to face our enemies.

Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of battle,

We stand ready to fight.

Circumstances, disease, ourselves.

We will emerge victorious!

A slight breeze begins to blow.  I listen to the rhythm of the trees as they softly sway.  They seem to sing to me as I wrap myself in the magick all around me.  It is amazing the lessons we can learn from nature.  The trees bend to the breeze rather than fight it.  Nature doesn’t fear the cold that winter brings, it adapts to it.  It takes that time to rest and regenerate.  The trees whisper to me…”Learn our lessons…move when you need to. Stand strong when required. At the end of life is when you lie down and return to the earth.”2014-11-16 16.07.45

 

While my eyes are closed, I hear the sounds of nature around me….birds and breezes, leaves being rustled by small animals.  I open my eyes and and the air around me chills me to the bone.  I notice that Friz has edged closer to the candles and the cauldron but still manages to stay covered in my cloak.  In that moment, I feel like if I leaped toward the sky that a pair of strong, powerful wings would burst forth from my body and I would soar high above the trees.

Mama Crow is still above me.  I think I entertain her…but she has become accustomed to me.  My heart is racing…my spirit yearns for its wings.  Soon…very soon…I will fly beside Mama Crow.

Blessed Be!

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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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