Spring’s Flame Begins to Smolder

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We are at the cusp of Imbolc.  The home fires have been stoked and the pantry filled.  The days are starting to get longer.  Here in the south, we are starting to see signs of daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and even hyacinth peeking eagerly through the dirt.  I have also noticed that particular change in the natures of the animals. The outdoor female cats around the complex are becoming more vocal and rubbing against anything they can find.

As the earth begins to awaken again, so does that part of us that calls us to the mating ritual.  Our bodies and our minds begin to feel alive again.  The heartbeat of the earth around us beats with the pulse of sexual energy.

This week has been a phenomenal week for me.  I have touched a part of my spirit that has lain dormant for quite a long time.  As I went to sleep Sunday night, my dreams drifted toward a school where I was taking classes.  An old pickup drove up through the field surrounding the school and I got in.  Inside the pickup was a friend…as my leg touched the seat, he reached out to touch my leg, then my arm…and then he leaned in and we passionately kissed.  Moments later, we were in an abandoned cabin where the touches and exploration continued…the heat of the moment rose more and more.  It was if there were flames and ice around us at the same time.  And then I woke up.2015-02-01 08.19.17

The heat and passion inside that dream stayed with me through the day.  I could barely concentrate on work at times, because I could feel the same sensations I was feeling in the dream happening to my body over and over.  I kept a cool damp cloth with me all day.

Don’t get me wrong….I love my partner very much.  He means the world to me, but I came to the realization this week that we work so hard to push that sexual, fiery part of our nature out of the way….it has to find a release. As I drifted off to sleep each night this week, new people would become a part of my dreams.  Each dream was just as intense and heat inducing as the first.  I started receiving messages from those I dreamed about. “Did you, by chance, dream about me last night?” “Yes, why?” “Was it a strongly sexual dream.” “Yes, why?” “Because it felt like you were here with me….I could feel your lips, your touch.”

I didn’t try to ‘conjure up’ any kind of sexual dream and I definitely didn’t go in with any person locked away in that part of my mind…but still it manifested.  I decided that it was, once again, time for me to sit down with myself and see what I needed to do to give this part of myself acknowledgement and an outlet.

Late last night after everyone went to bed, I slipped off to my sacred space. Now guys….as you read this…don’t gloss over it or tune it out.  Believe me, it applies.  I had lit red candles throughout the space.  Sandalwood, Dragon’s Breath and Bergamot incense filled the space.  As I entered, I removed all my clothes.  We have all become so self conscious of our bodies…I’m too fat, too skinny…I don’t measure up…I am too hairy, nothairy enough.  Women…how many times have you stood in judgement of your own body?  You threw out the good before you even had time to acknowledge it.

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I watched as the candlelight flickered against my body.  I felt the heat begin to surface.  I used my breathing as a substitute for the heartbeat of the earth mother….and I felt the emergence of the Horned God.  I began to visualize the strength of the Horned God manifesting inside me.  My breath quickened.  I could smell the musk of my own sexuality filling my nostrils.  I could feel my face flushing as I breathed and concentrated on the candlelight.  As I came down from this indescribable high, I extinguished the candles one at a time until the final candle in front of me was the only one lit. I used my fingers to extinguish the flame…the pinch of the fire only added to my experience.

I apparently fell asleep in my sacred space.  My roommate woke me up as he was heading out the door this morning.  What a visual that mush have been as he moved past the pillows and candles to find a large, hairy naked me sound asleep.

I got up and got dressed and went to the woods.  I went alone this morning. I needed time with me.  Friz must have understood because I could hear him snoring from inside the kennel.  As I settled down into the dirt, I took my shoes off so that I could feel her heartbeat a little stronger.  It was as if I could feel every breath….I could feel the life incubating inside her trying to burst forth early.  I could feel her heartbeat as she gave herself to the God in complete abandon.  As each pulse of her own flame met each thrust of his, her heartbeat quickened even more.  In these moments, I had not only become more intimate with the Horned God, but I had also experienced that same intimacy with the Goddess.match

I am a living breathing sexual being.  The spiritual part of that same nature is just as strong.  It is a brooding, pulsing part of my magick.  This afternoon, I lit some incense…the same as last night but with cinnamon added.  I lit red candles throughout the bedroom.  I brought out the massage oil and I slowly removed mine and his clothes…I always have said that magick is something that should be shared.

Blessed Be!

When You Meet the Wizard, Your Whole Life Will Change…

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It seemed, when I was small, that I constantly got into trouble for who I talked to.  The words meander through my brain now as I write..my dad would constantly warn me, “Don’t spend your time talking out loud to the animals.  People will think you are odd.”  I never had a sense of not being able to talk to the animals…they always talked back to me.

Then there was the local homeless person, ‘Crazy Mary.’  She wandered the streets of my home town dressed in every stitch of clothes that she owned with a shopping cart she had ‘borrowed’ from Gamble’s grocery.  She was always kept in supply, by that same grocer, of the one snack that she adored…mustard covered sardines.  Ma told me a few years back that my dad had taken me downtown (ten stores and a courthouse) one Saturday.  We were walking along and my dad ran into an old friend of the family.  After their conversation, they looked around for me and I was nowhere to be found.  They finally found me sitting on the covered stoop next to the movie theater laughing out loud and sharing a tin of mustard covered sardines with ‘Crazy Mary.’  I was probably five….I knew no fear then, but in later years was taught to fear her just because she was different.

I think that is where my heart for abandoned people and animals started.  I have never understood categorizing someone or something as having no worth.  Surely there was something important enough about the essence of the spirit that caused that person or animal to come into being.  I am scared to death of an opossum, but that doesn’t mean it has no purpose.

Monday of last week here in Atlanta was so pleasant.  It was so spring-like in the evening.  I came home to the roomie having every window open and the inside of the house smelled fresh….like the cave-like conditions of winter had been pushed out the windows.  The plague of ‘green snow’ had not fully hit, so it seemed like a good evening to take Friz for a walk.

We walked our usual path toward the woods.  It seemed like the perfect evening to just lie down under the canopy of branches and leaves that the woods had erupted into overnight.  I talked to Friz every step of the way and he listened intently.  As we rounded one of the corners of the complex over close to where we scoot off the pathway, I looked up and sitting on a column of bricks was a young man of about 28 or so with a medium sized mutt at his feet.  He was dressed in a brown shirt with brown pants and a green hooded cloak.  Everything he wore had a patina to it…you could tell that they had been well-worn.  As I stood there tracing his form from head to toe, I noticed that the shoes he wore were black converse that had seen better days.  The soles were falling off and you could see his dirty socks inside.

I trust my dog completely when it comes to the nature of other people and animals, so I looked down at Friz to see if he was giving me any sign of alert.  He looked straight at the young man and his dog with his tongue out and his tail wagging…so I took this as my cue to move forward.

As we moved closer, the young man looked up at me underneath the hood and spoke softly, “She won’t bite.  She is really gentle.” We moved even closer.  Friz initiated the dog handshake and after they had both gotten a nostril full, Friz licked the gentle dog on his muzzle.  The docile animal turned to Friz and only licked back.  I leaned over and gave the dog a scratch behind the ear and he leaned in sweetly.  The young man pulled the hood away from his face and introduced himself to me.  “They call me the Green Wizard and this is my dog Calliope.”  I weighed the situation cautiously at first.  “They call me the Weathered Wiseman and this is Friz.”  He leaned in to Friz to give him a scratch under his chin and Friz licked the calloused hand making its way toward him.

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The ‘Green Wizard’ looked up at me and smiled as wide as his mouth allowed.  “There’s gotta be something said for the wizard’s dog.”  He laughed out loud as his dog and Friz rested on top of each other.  As we sat there talking, he told me stories of his travels….how he prefers to sleep out among the grass and trees, under the moon and stars.  He told me about the animals that work their magick around him and the importance of seeing magick in everything that makes it way to us.  I watched as his eyes twinkled and he seemed exude something akin to faery magick.

Was everything he told me true?  I don’t know.  Was he who he said he was?  Again, I don’t know.  My dog liked him.  His dog liked me….and honestly, he could ask himself those same questions about me.  The only thing I knew for certain, at that time, was that I was able to spend a couple of hours talking to someone fascinating….someone who held a magick within himself whether I or anyone else around believed it.  The magick within him resonated
something strong within my own spirit.  Whether it was the truth that the world would believe, maybe not.  But this was his truth…and for a brief moment, I was allowed to share it.

I only know what my heart felt like that evening.  My heart felt completely alive in those couple of hours.  It was as if the heartbeat of the Earth Mother sang in my own chest.  Was the interaction between he and I dangerous?  I trust my dog…and I trust what is inside of me.  I know if there had been something awry, that my own spirit would have kicked into overdrive and our paths would have never crossed.

As we finished talking, I looked down at his shoes.  Those shoes had seen so much travel.  I remembered that I always kept an extra pair of shoes in my car and our feet looked to be about the same size.  I asked if he would be there for a few more minutes.  He told me he would.  Friz and I sprinted to the back of the complex to my car.  I pulled out a pair of athletic shoes that hadn’t been worn much….but they were about to embark on a journey that cannot even be fathomed.

Friz and I walked back to that brick column and I handed him the shoes.  I told him that I wanted to give him something that would help his journey.  He thanked me with a hug and asked if he might ‘give me a blessing.’  I told him that the time I had spent with him that afternoon was blessing enough.  I bid him peace and safe travels.  Friz and I stood there as the moon began to rise.  We watched the Green Wizard walk toward the glow of the moon.  That young man may never have another occasion to remember me, but he is etched into every corner of my mind and a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed….for eternity.

Blessed Be!

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Ostara: Rebirth and Renewal

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Let me start by saying that I love books.  Books of any kind….my favorites are books that stir the imagination or cause one to think or fantasize.  I love books that you can share with other adults…but more than that…with those witchlings that may be watching us as we practice the Craft.  I think that is why I love one book in particular, this time of year.  It is Edain McCoy’s Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.  In this book, I was re-introduced to Ostara  just as one might see an old friend through new eyes.  It always helps me to go back at this time of year and see again what symbols and rites and other magick comes with this season of greening.

When I was a child, this time of year brought a renewed excitement for me.  My family was never overly religious, so springtime always meant the arrival of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs was imminent.  This, in my opinion was even more exciting than Santa.  I was taught by my granny at an early age to smell the air and to feel the earth.  She told me over and over again that I would always be able to smell the seasons changing and that I would know by the feeling of the Earth Mother’s belly when the birthing was going to happen.

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I learned early on to recognize the signs that spring was around the corner.  I remember dragging granny out of the house by her skirt-tails to see the tiny green leaves on the hydrangea or the necks of  the daffodils bent reverently…holding the heavy bloom that couldn’t wait to show itself.  I remember the heady smell of hyacinth that hadn’t quite bloomed yet, but was so anxious to show itself that its scent preceded it out of the sheath.

I finally finished putting my Ostara altar together yesterday.  There were a few things I was waiting on.  A friend had promised delivery of some blown out quail eggs and an antler.  I was so excited to see the box sitting inside the courtyard Friday that I could hardly contain myself.  I arranged some of the eggs carefully into a wooden bowl onto some lime green reindeer moss that I had and put the antler behind it.  I pulled out two of my favorite lavender-colored candles that are scented with jasmine, put some of my favorite amethysts and other crystals around…as well as my ‘keys to success.’  I lit the candles and just sat in front of the altar absorbing the peace and power that flooded the room.

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Growing up, I remember the feelings that Easter stirred in me.  Many times, we would go as a family to a local sunrise service given by one of the many churches in the area.  One service that remains vivid in my brain was one called the ‘God/ Goddess of Creation.’  The service was done in the midst of a field and during the prayer we were all encouraged to close our eyes and take in the sounds and smells of creation around us.  The service was presented by a female pastor who included the Goddess in all of her sermons….thinking back, I am quite amazed that my parents allowed us to stay and be a part of it…..and I also know that this was my first exposure to the thought that if, indeed, there is a God, that there must also be a Goddess.  Needless to say, I took that and ran with it.

I haven’t been feeling well this weekend.  It is just a cold brought on by the change in seasons.  I have lived the past few days hopped up on Alka Seltzer Plus Cold and Elderberry Tea.  More than anything, it is just an inconvenience….but I have been sleeping in in the mornings.  Last night around midnight, I felt the need to go to the woods.  I have found that when the woods call, I have to listen.  I sneaked out while everyone was just starting to doze off.  I carried my flashlight and necessities.  I could feel dampness moving in and knew that today would bring rainshowers.  As I walked, I listened.  I could hear a familiar crow caw.  I think that city living has left Mama Crow’s inner clock a little tightly wound.  Then again, one of the names of this full moon is the Full Crow Moon.  I love the different names that Mama Moon lives with.  Humans will fight all day long over those names….I guess she really doesn’t care as long as we do call on her.

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I got my altar ready….everything in its place.  I lay down with my cloak wrapped around me, shielding me from that heavy feeling of dampness.  I placed my hand tenderly against the earth.  I touched…I listened.  Oh yes….the Earth Mother’s belly is full to the point of bursting. The Lord of the Hunt started the preparation weeks ago.  I lift my head and sniff like a scent hound on the trail of a rabbit.  I can smell the earth ready to be reborn.  I can smell the seeds ready to show themselves.   The plants are excited about showing off their new spring collections.  My preparations seem small when I think about the grand party that the Earth Mother will give to usher in another season of renewal.

I close my eyes and listen.  I inhale.  It is as if I take in the breath of the Earth herself.  I have been stressed in the past week.  I have held onto things that need releasing.  As I listen and breathe, I realize that I am holding onto things that need to be released.  As  I breathe out, I can hear Mama Crow in the background…laughing.  She’s not laughing at me.  She is laughing with me…she wants to share the joy that comes with release and rebirth and renewal.

We, as humans, have become adept at hiding the things that make us vulnerable.  We can’t let anyone see us in our weakness.  The earth is so much more transparent.  You can’t hide when a tree has been uprooted or cut down.  That sparrow that died from falling during its fledging doesn’t just disappear.

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One thing that I have come to realize over the years is that when the root of the problem is hidden, so are the blooms from the solution….and yes there are definitely going to be thorns in between.  There is so much inside of each one of us…potential waiting to bloom forth, but we have forgotten to listen for the signs of the birthing.   We have stopped closing our eyes and just listening to what is moving around us.

In my own life, I have found that it is now time to stop pretending and time to bloom.  For me, that means no more letting myself get in the way of the power that is trying to show itself.  It is time to stop making excuses and just move forward.  It is time to let that which has been sleeping the winter away, wake up and lead me into darkness, light, dusk or dawn….wherever I will find the most wonderful, undefinable magick and utilize it.

I have finally realized…Life is not about the “Once Upon A Time’s” and the “Happy Endings.”  It is about the adventure in between.  The alarm has gone off….it is time to wake up and be about the business of magick.  I am not hitting ‘Snooze’ anymore.

Blessed Be!

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The Heart Beats Stronger in Springtime…

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I am sitting in the courtyard this afternoon with a glass of Chardonnay in my hand.  I have soft jazz music playing in the background as the soft cool breeze caresses the prickles of hair on my head.  It is afternoons like this one that make me miss my family most.

I remember many an afternoon like this one…seventy degrees, breezy, the smell of flowers attempting to bloom for the first time.  My whole family would gather in the backyard by the pasture and mama would make sweet tea.  We must have emptied gallons of that syrupy strong brew as we rocked back and forth on the porch swing solving all of life’s problems.  In many ways, life in that small town in North Carolina was very much like the Mayberry  that Andy Griffith made famous.  singalongs-porch-andygriffithshow-secretsofabelle

We would sit there, guitar in hand…each member of the family adding their own harmony to one of the old songs as the bass-string strum provided the background music.  The dogs would run through the pasture playing chase with the younger ones or with each other.  It was in that place that the world couldn’t touch us.  It was there that we didn’t care how much money we didn’t have or what we couldn’t afford.  It was in that place that my granny used to say that she could hear the grass, trees and sky singing at the top of their lungs.  Most of the ones who shared those front porch moments with me are gone now, but I can’t help but think that they are a part of the symphony I hear as I am captivated by the concert that only nature can give.

I have spent much of today out cleaning the winter debris from the courtyard…uncapping the pots from their toppings of leaves and old mulch.  It is much like unwrapping a present.  I get so excited to see the small shoots coming from my hostas, and the spindly little purple leaves from the spiderwort are already showing themselves.  Even as near that half a century mark, I am still amazed at all the work that the Earth Mother still does in her sleep state.

This morning as Friz and I ventured toward the woods, the sun was already wide awake to greet us.  I love watching that little blue chihuahua as the sun rays bathe his back.  He stretches into it….just like he would if he were being rubbed from head to toe.  This morning, he stretched his little face to the sun with his eyes closed and his teeth showing, almost like he was smiling.  You could almost hear him telling the sun that he missed him and was glad to see him back.  He walked over to one of the bunches of daffodils blooming by our neighbors door….just as I thought he was leaning in for a sniff, he raised his little leg and peed in them.2014-03-02 14.48.08

We took our time getting to the woods this morning.  We spent the extra moments admiring the blooming tulip trees and weeping cherry trees.  It has always been mesmerizing to me that, in Georgia, spring seems to come overnight.  One week it is brutally cold, then the next week we are in the seventies with flowers and trees blooming all around.

Last night was spent with the New Moon.  Even though much has happened over the past month, there are even more new beginnings looming in the horizon.  For the first time in a long long time, I feel as if things are coming together for me.  I am seeing more than the light at the end of the tunnel….I am seeing the smoke clear and the magick is now more vivid.  Not only am I seeing spells taking shape quicker…I am also seeing prayers and whispers that I have only shared with the wind coming to fruition.

This mornings workings were orchestrated with the sun as an ally.  The newness of the morning, the evidence of life abounding around me….we have now come out of the darkness and are given the promise that the sun and spring have spoken of all winter long.  I started this mornings magick with a brightly colored thin blanket underneath me and Friz.  I brought gifts of bread and cheese and fruit for the fae and the woodland elementals (Friz didn’t seem to mind a nibble here and there either).  We could hear the birds singing all around us, the leaves rustling in the breeze…but there was one voice singing loudly that will never be ignored–Mama Crow.  It seemed as if she was playing in the tops of the trees, dancing in the sunshine.The_sun1

As I lay there sprawled out under the canopy of trees with the sunlight dappled all over me, Friz found that one spot that the sunlight never seemed to leave and settled into it.  As he lay there warming himself, I could hear soft snores coming from that little blue heap.  Underneath me, I could feel the vibration of the earth.  Even with the chill left  from the night-time air, I could feel the stirrings underneath me.  It was almost like sitting through the warm up of the instruments from an orchestra…first, the strings, then the woodwinds, then the brass was added and finally percussion.  With the percussion came the feeling of a heart being jump started once again.  il_340x270.431970633_cz5w

I have found over the years that I never have to beg the Earth Mother for the ability to hear her heartbeat.  I do, however, have to be willing to be still and quiet enough to listen.  In the world outside our doors, we are expected to be businessmen and business women.  We are expected to be husbands, wives, mothers and fathers.  We listen to the world tell us over and over again that we don’t and never will measure up.  It is in those moments that I make myself stop and listen to the heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  I am not what the world thinks of as glamorous, fascinating or even beautiful….but when I am alone with the heartbeat of the Earth Mother in my ear, none of that really seems to be important at all.

As I finish writing this, I have turned off the music and am just sitting here snuggled into the cushions of the outdoor sofa listening to the sounds of the Earth Mother.  I finished that glass of wine ages ago and decided to go for a nice cold glass of sweet tea.  It’s funny, as I sit here humming along with nature, I can hear my granny and my two aunts harmonizing softly in the background.  Funny, nothing ever truly leaves you…those things that mean the most to us come back to visit just at the right times.  Come and sit down and pull up a cushion…here’s a glass of nice, cold sweet tea.  Harmonize with me a bit as we listen to the sounds of the world stopping for a moment…if only to allow us a second or two to just breathe.

Blessed Be!

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!

Imbolc: Fanning the Flames of Hope

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Tomorrow is Imbolc.  The wheel of the year seems to be turning faster and faster.  It seems that just yesterday we were celebrating the Solstice.  Here in Georgia, as I sat in preparation for Imbolc, we were hit by a snow and ice storm.

Most of Atlanta sat in gridlock because of lack of preparation….no blame to throw here…just lack of preparation.  I had friends who had to abandon their cars and walk five miles and more to get to shelter.  One friend walked eight miles, stopping for coffee at any open convenience store or grocer.  His husband tracked him on his IPhone as he walked.

Through this ordeal, the world either laughed at us here in the south…or they empathized and prayed.  To those who laughed, I have one thing to say. Just remember, “What is normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly.”  The one thing that constantly rang through the minds of many southerners was the hope of just getting home.  The time we were in our cars, walking, fighting the bitter cold….one thing danced in front of us, guided us through the fear…..the hope of the home-fire.

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I got home before my partner did that day.  I called him to see when he was leaving work.  He told me each time that it would be soon.  The last time, I told him to leave then….don’t question me or argue.  I sat on pins and needles knowing that some people had already been stalled on the side of the road.  I walked out into the courtyard and looked up between what I call my ‘Cernunnos Tree.’  I breathed into the icy air.  Please keep him safe….keep them all safe.  I stood there listening to the silence that only a snowfall can bring.  It is the only time that sound is absorbed into nature.  Our complex, which is normally noisy and boisterous and never silent, suddenly stood stock still…each person, animal, and machine bowing to the power that Nature herself holds.

Wednesday and Thursday, everyone waited in hopes of winter being melted away.  Schools were still closed….people still could not get back to their offices.  The cars they had abandoned were still glued to the side of the road by ice.  My own hips and knees were sore from navigating through the ice when the dogs had to pee.  My little blue chihuahua loves his time outside, but resigned himself to the pee and run….if he stayed outside a little too long, he started to shake all over.  The habit now was standing over the space heater holding him until he stopped shaking.2014-02-01 14.40.24

On Wednesday, I ventured out to see how the roads around the complex fared.  On my walk, I encountered a little bird sitting up against the snow shivering.  My first thought was that it was sick and would probably die, but I had to pick it up and try to help it.  It hopped on my hand and I placed it inside my coat, next to my chest to warm it up.  As it warmed up, it chirped.  I took it out of my coat and watched as he flew up toward one of the taller trees.  He just needed to be warmed up a bit.

Here in Atlanta, there were people walking the highways with hot chocolate, food and supplies for those who were stranded.  Grocery stores were staying open all night long to give those walking refuge from the cold.  Compassion ran rampant.  Even if bodies were shaking from the low temperatures….the hearts were warmed beyond measure.  Just one small offering is all it takes to start hope brewing.

This morning was the first day I have been able to get to the woods since the big ice-over.  I walked out with a little blue chihuahua wrapped snugly in my cloak.  Everything I needed was packed into my backpack.  We got to our place in the woods and the first thing I did was build a small fire in my cauldron.  I have a little pyre of rocks that I used to set in on.  The candles were placed to each side…the wolf and crow skulls given their normal places.  We sat directly in front of the burning cauldron.  As I closed my eyes, I could feel the heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  I could feel her belly brimming with newness….ready to be birthed.  I whispered to her that not once have I hated the winter or wished it away….it is necessary for the beginnings anticipated…but I thanked for what is to come.candles

As I sat there, I placed my hands on the ground.  I could feel the seeds, grasses and flowers yawning and stretching as they prepare for the coming spring.  The Earth Mother made them a promise…and she intended to fulfill it completely.

She made us that same promise.  I know you feel it.  There is something welling up inside of you….I know I feel it.  There is something new and wonderful and joyful ready to burst forth.  For some, this winter has been a season of sorrow….for some, a season of rest and regrouping.

For those moving through sadness….the universe has been working together with the spirits around you to help you walk out of the pain and crying.  You have to be willing to move past the winter.  I know from losing my own partner many years ago, that sometimes we become too comfortable in our mourning clothes.  There is joy around us, but we have to be willing to open ourselves to it.

For those resting….it is time to rise up and get moving.  There is magick out there ready for you to create it.  Put your hand against the trunk of the tree….that isn’t just the heartbeat of the tree you feel.  It is matching your heartbeat…it is joining in your magick to make powerful things happen.

I reworked my home altar today.  There were new things to be added…gifts from those who have added magick to my own life this year. There were things that had to be removed….gifts from those who have chosen to throw their magick to the side of the road.  It is a time for new beginnings.

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This Imbolc has given me something that I hadn’t counted on.  I have received a new hope for who I am.  It has purposed in me a reason for holding my partner just a little bit tighter…the gift of laughter and love and compassion.  It has shown me that things around me are always going to be temporal…I should cherish every moment, every person, every animal that comes into my life.  As I sit here typing with a little blue chihuahua on my lap licking at the side of my face, I lean into the warmth of the hearth fire.  I don’t look back in disappointment at the things that have happened, but I look forward in hope of the magick of things yet to come.

Blessed Be!2014-02-01 15.23.07

Leaving the Winter Behind

BLIZZARD WORCESTER

For some of my friends, this year has brought a rough winter.  They’ve been faced with, and buried by, tall snow drifts.  And this winter, I feel we have all been buried in some fashion…whether it be in snow or ice or emotions or pain.  This past year has been a year of death and endings; this winter has been exhausting.

I have watched those I care deeply about struggle and trudge uphill, only to be met with cold winds and pushed backward by other forces or energies.  So many have been confused and been made to stumble against the blizzards life has brought.  So many have taken to hiding from life itself; never wanting to leave the comfort of their own space….others have gone recklessly into the streets causing havoc in the midst of their own turmoil.

My partner just got back from visiting his family in South Dakota.  He said the wind was so cold (-40°), that it felt like it was biting to his very bones.  Ever felt that fear….that dread…that went to your very bones?  This winter has brought that for many.  I have heard so many complaining of sickness and depression/discouragement.

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This morning, early, I took to the woods with Friz.  It was a bitter cold….I was wrapped up in my cloak and had Friz in his hoodie (I think I need to invest in a chihuahua sized wool cloak for mornings like this).  I packed my small cauldron away with my other altar supplies in my backpack.  When we got to the woods, I unpacked and set up the altar.  I lit the charcoal pellet inside and sprinkled incense over it.  I lit the candles and placed the skulls.  I invited the elements and the directions.  I welcomed my familiar spirits wolf and crow.

I found the most incredible thing at my local metaphysical store here in Atlanta.  It is called flying paper.  You write your spell…wish….intent on the paper and set it on fire and it flies off.  I wrote in black ink, my intent onto the paper and the names of those who needed my magick.  I watched with childlike eyes as the papers drifted up above me and disintegrated….breathing my intent and magick into the universe.  I could feel a lightness in my own spirit as I looked in front of me and could see wolf and crow dancing and playing with each other.  Friz was tugging on my cloak and play growling.  This past full moon…..something happened…even though the cold of winter is still upon us, the warmth of spring can be felt and smelled.  It is, of course, a distant feeling and scent….but it is still there all the same.  This I feel in my bones.

I feel a hope and excitement stirring inside of myself.  As I sat in front of the cauldron, I pushed all of those feelings into giant balls of intent and moved them out to all of those I know are in deep need.  It is that same energy that surrounds the bulbs nestled in the earth…..that anticipation and promise that a beautiful blossom stands at the end of the wait.

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We have waited patiently through the winter…through the harsh and bitter cold.  It is now time to begin the work.  It is time to dig our way out. We come out of hibernation much like the bear…..gaunt and ravenous.  We have used up the magickal stores that we gathered and tucked away for the winter months.  It is now time to dig into those most magickal parts of our spirits.  It is time to nourish our spirits….come out of hiding and watch the magick unfold in front of us.

You can’t tell me that you haven’t felt it stirring.  You can’t deny that something has taken grip of your very spirit and sparked your thoughts and feelings…..something new….something powerful.  I feel it…..the animals feel it……the elements feel it…..the very earth beneath your feet feels it.  Her heart begins to beat with the beat of excitement.  A time of rebirth and newness is around the corner.  As I lay on the ground this morning in front of my cauldron, I placed my ear to the ground.  I could feel the heartbeat of the earth mother…..pregnant with more magick than we could ever fathom.

For some reason, most of us truly fear what the Lord and Lady have called us to.  We are afraid of the magick that we pursue so hard.  We run toward it and just as we see that it is right there in our grasp, we pull back……afraid that what we have so desired may actually happen.  We long to see our gifts and abilities work in full force, but at the same time, are so afraid of it that we dare not tap into what sits right in the palm of our hands.

Do not be afraid to travel a new path;

It may be the way to find what you’ve been looking for all along.

It is time to release all that has held you back through this rough and bitter winter.  Release…what a freeing word.  Release everything that ever held you back.  Don’t you deserve to live in the fullness of the Earth Mother’s heartbeat.  Release that anger….that bitterness…that lack of confidence.  We are walking…..no, running toward a new season.  Take off your shoes and run barefoot toward your destiny.

For Once in your Life, Do Not Live Your Life Afraid!

Experience the freedom of singing out loud and not caring if every note is perfect.  Even if you don’t have a stick’s worth of rhythm, dance to the drumbeat of the Earth around you.  Look at yourself and see the beauty that is you.  Let that inner lion roar….let that inner wolf howl at the moon. You are capable of things that no other person is capable of and you have a purpose.  Fear and self-doubt only stifle the magick.   The more your heartbeat lines up with the Earth Mother….the stronger that heartbeat will be.  This morning,  I sang along with a wolf and a crow.  I sang to a chihuahua.  I laughed with the wind and I danced along to the rhythm of the heartbeat of Mother Earth.  Today, my little blue chihuahua and I, walked in the woods alongside Brigid and Cernunnos.  Our intentions flew like fireflies dancing across a night sky.

My hope for you this year is that you don’t hold onto those things that bind you and your magick.  My hope for you is that you live a life of magick fueled by the heartbeat of the Earth around you…that you learn to sing with the winged ones and the four-leggeds…..that you learn to dance with the wind…..and that you can change the world around you with your intent and magick…..that more than anything, you learn to let go of all those things that don’t serve your spirit in the most powerful of ways.

Blessed Be!

The Heart of the Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Blessed Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be!

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

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!

Promises, Promises….

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For as wonderfully warm as last weekend was….this weekend was wet, dreary and cold.  Last week we welcomed in the Spring Equinox and the first day of Spring around here with a hailstorm on Monday and then flurries and sleet on Thursday, followed by umbrellas and jackets for this weekend.

Now I can promise you that I am right up there on top complaining about the cold and damp of winter and then beating that same dead horse in the summertime as sweltering temps and water shortages typically hit us.  My two favorites seasons are Fall and Spring here in the south, but with the way the weather has been over the past few years….the south seems to be going to a two season year…..Winter and Summer.   Last year, specifically we went from the cold and chill of Winter directly into the blistering heat that Summer has to offer.

Last night, I had gone to some friends house for a “card night.”  Since I am such a night owl, we left at about midnight…knowing that the dogs would need to go outside one more time before bed.  It was pouring rain the whole way home.  As we pulled into the condo parking lot, the rain let up for just a minute…long enough to jet inside, harness up the dogs, and do a quick pee run. 

Afterwards, as I tried to snuggle into bed, I heard thunder start to roll.  I knew what I was in for.  As much as thunder relaxes me, it scares the Bejeezus out of the cats.  I could hear the oldest trying to get one of the closet doors open on one end of the bedroom and watched as Merlin scurried under the bed.  As I tried to calm them and talk them through the storm, I could see the terror in their eyes.  They didn’t know what that noise was and they were sure it wasn’t a good thing for them.  Finally, I got the old girl to crawl under the covers with me and Merlin was lying across my throat…that is how we drifted off.

I got up fairly early with the dogs this morning and  went for my usual weekend morning walk.  Yesterday when I walked, I was thoroughly drenched.  I did that walk by myself.  That little blue chihuahua tends to like to just stand in the midst of the rain not moving.  This morning, though, I harnessed him up and we walked through the courtyard for a few minutes before venturing out.  I saw my hostas jutting up through the dirt uncompromisingly.  My foxglove stretched open as if to tell me that all she did was take a little nap and now she is ready to move out of winter.  The hydrangeas purposefully greened up even more, as if overnight.

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I remember, as a child, watching ‘Frosty’s Winter Wonderland’ with my grandma.  Parson Brown had to tell the children, Frosty and Jack Frost that winter couldn’t last forever.  He was talking about the seeds and bulbs.  He said, “Nature made them a promise…that someday they’d be pretty trees and flowers.  Could you imagine how you’d feel if someone broke such a promise to you?”   If you think about it, the oak tree is the promise Nature made to the acorn.  As I walked around this morning taking in all the promises looming in the ground, I was encouraged.   When we curse the snow, the cold and the rain, we forget that all that is necessary to create the Spring.  We get so frustrated when the weather…the seasons don’t go the way we planned it….but we forget that the Great Mother has had it all planned since the beginning of time.

We mourn a few frost bitten blooms when winter shows it last flash of teeth….”Oh my poor flowers…oh my poor tree…they were just starting to bud…now because of the cold snap the blooms will die.” Maybe there was a purpose in it….maybe those buds and blooms weren’t going to be strong enough to begin with.  We begrudge the Great Mother when she needs a little extra time to make things just so…but we don’t think a thing about burning or uprooting a grove or forest of trees for the sake of progress. 

I live in a concrete jungle.  I see green space disappear every day to make space for condos and businesses.  Goddess has given me a space here in the city that I can call my own and that I can help ‘green up.’  I am her human assistant in nurturing these plants and her helper in taking care of those outside critters.  It has now become second nature when I feel a chill in the air to set up stations for the outdoor animals…to make sure they have access to food.

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This morning, I decided to splurge a bit for breakfast.  I made pancakes.  I only had three medium sized ones myself, but as I ate them out in the courtyard with my cup of coffee, I could hear Mama Crow in the distance.  I walked out with one of the compote-free pancakes and crumbled it up and placed it down on the sidewalk in front of our condo.  Mama Crow does love her food.  She scouted around for a while….had to make sure it was ok to come down.  Then she comes down and prances back and forth on the sidewalk eye-balling the pancake. Then Boy-Howdy she ate that pancake up with such gusto….I laughed out loud.  She cawed at me real loud as if to say, “Hush your mouth, boy!” 

I walked back into the courtyard to finish my pseudo-coffee (decaf) and to read a bit.  I glanced at my witches grass and saw a spiral starting to peek out from the gravel beneath it.  I got to thinking about something.  The Great Mother made a promise to all those seeds and bulbs and plants….but she also made a promise to me.  There are things that have been growing and moving and swirling around the insides of me all winter long too….what happens to those?  Do I let other people discourage me and kill off those budding promises?  Do I let my own self doubts pluck the leaves of expectation off and throw them away?  Do I let the drought of my own fears wither away the blooming of things never before surfaced?

I don’t think so!  There is too much brewing inside of me to let it go to waste….just as I am sure that you too have way too much brewing to watch it wither.  This spring is going to be phenomenal!!!  When that final wisp of cold breath of winter is gone, the Great Mother is gonna have a field day….and you just watch what she is capable of!  Same with me…..you just stand back and watch….I am capable of so much more than even I imagined!

Blessed Be!Photo Jul 01, 7 05 22 PM