Riding Out the Storm

storm gif

 

For some reason, I have never really been afraid of storms.  I can remember, as a child, when a storm would come, my mother would gather us up (kids, dogs, cats, everyone) and run to the middle of the house.  She needed for us to be as far away from windows and doors as possible.  We would all huddle in the hall next to the bathroom and she would sit and rock and cry.  My inclination was quite the opposite.  I wanted to run toward the door, fling it open and be right in the middle of it.  The lightning was fascinating.  My grandma would tell me stories of the Cherokee Thunderers…they were fierce beings, but I was never made to feel afraid of them.  I saw them as something otherworldly and magickal.

Still now, when I feel the electricity that comes with a thunder and lightning storm, I am drawn to it.  I feel the need to be right in the middle of it.  When I hear storms brewing, it brings to mind what I learned in school…”the calmest place is in the eye of the storm.”  Right there in the middle of the storm is the calmest, most still air.  It is funny to think of it this way, but right there in the middle of what may be a hurricane, is the lowest amount of pressure.  That area is where there can be an opening for light to come in and where the breezes are light.

I have been surrounded by people this week enveloped in storms.  It is like I have said before, people are attracted to the magick they see in others.  I have been called on by folks in the midst of breakups, depression, anxiety. My advice?  Learn to ride the storm.  The one thing that I have noticed regarding humans, is that they always want to fist-fight the wind.

Watching people weather the storms in their lives reminds of the rodeo.  It is much like bull riding.  Why in the world would anyone want to climb on the back of a bull and see how long they can stay on? A sense of accomplishment?  Maybe.  To prove that they can? Possibly.  They reason that cowboys will climb onto the back of a bull to see how long they can stay on…the prize at the end of the ride.  So you just climb on the back of that bull, sit down and do nothing but wait for the ride to end, right?  No.  Your body has to follow the motion of the bull.  You must be aware of the movements the bull is making and mirror that to some extent.  You definitely have to be flexible.

bull ride

I was walking Friz through the complex this morning.  Again, we were greeted by the sight of green dusty cloak and a familiar mop of dirty brown hair.  He sat in the same spot he was last week.  It tore at my heart to see him sitting alone.  Isn’t that how most of us try to face the challenges and hurts in our lives, though?  Alone. His face lights up when he sees little Friz saunter up to him.  Friz’s whole body shook with joy seeing our friend against the early morning darkness.  The green wizard scooped him up and leaned into the thousands of licks that invaded his cheeks.

We walked and talked as he carried Friz close to his chest.  He talked about how hard the past week has been for him….like a part of his heart had been ripped out.  He said that it felt like walking with one leg and no staff.  Sleeping was hard because he had always fallen asleep listening to Calliope breathing.  I looked in his eyes and noticed that the sparkle that is normally visible was faint. His eyes looked weak.  As we moved closer to the center of the woods, he seemed relieved to see the canape of branches and leaves above us.  He lay down in the midst of the leaves and pine needles.  Friz took the opportunity to crawl up onto his belly and nestle.

I never know how often the green wizard gets to eat, so this morning I had made a cottage cheese carton full of grits and eggs and cheese. I handed it to him with a bottle of juice.  He laughed out loud, “Who would have ever thought that I would have run into another magickal being here in the middle of this condominium complex…much less two?”  I saw him wink at Friz as he said it.  He ate slowly….savoring every bite.  He shared a bite with Friz here and there.  We talked about magick.  We talked about animals.  We talked about friendships.  We laughed about unlikely friendships.  I sat there as he rode the winds of his own storm.  I watched as he released the pain of loss.

It amazes me how much magick is contained in the things that we seem to take for granted.  The Hedge witches of old knew this.  Most of their magick involved the things found in everyday life.  Herbs, animals…the things that were right outside their doors.  Who would know that tears could be such a powerful potion.  It is the magick that stirs inside of us that could very well bring healing, peace of mind, understanding and courage.

I was taken back to my childhood today.  I have written about Crazy Mary…the local homeless person in my hometown.  Everyone was afraid of her…they always went the other way.  I remember her smile as a five year old Weathered Wiseman hugged her.  That memory washed over me today.  As I wrapped my arms around the green wizard, I could feel the magick working.  How many had turned the other way when they saw him?  How many had kept from making eye contact?  He had his own storms to ride out just like everyone else.

In all my years working at a vet, I have seen dogs with storm phobias out the wazoo.  Thankfully, my dogs have never been afraid of thunder or rain.  This afternoon, however, I was sitting on the sofa when a huge boom of thunder rang through the house.  My cat, Merlin, sat straight up on the dining room table….I could see his eyes dilating.  I began talking to him.  “What’s wrong, Merlin?  Everything is fine.  Do you want to come and sit beside daddy?”  With those words, this seventeen pound cat, who most of the time seems fearless, climbed onto the sofa beside me…leaned hard into my side, closed his eyes and purred.  In the midst of his fear, he found that calm place….right there in the middle of the storm.

Blessed Be!

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Find Your Purpose, Find Your Passion, Find Your Place

unrepeatable

I am pretty sure that most of Atlanta thinks I am crazy by now.  Last night, I had gone to dinner with my roommate and as we are standing out in the parking lot of the restaurant, we see dark clouds gathering above us.  The wind picks up and I can feel the beginnings of spritzing coming from the clouds.  I stand there…my face pressing against the wind, begging it to pick me up and carry me.  I put my arms out beside me and feel the electricity of the combination of the clouds, the lightning, and the air speaking volumes to my own spirit.  It is in those moments that the witch in me calls to my besom with hopes of being lifted above the moon.

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My roommate calls out to me to ‘make a run for it.’  He can see sheets of rain coming in the distance….I think it was more because he didn’t want the folks nearby to think I had completely lost my mind.  When I finally walked into the restaurant, he is standing there laughing softly.  He says, “Only you would think that in all that weather, that it would do what you told it to do.”  I had to correct him….there are many more like me out there.

If you think about it, how many times are we told in our lifetimes that something must be done a certain way, or that we aren’t doing something correctly, or that we are foolish for even believing that magick exists?  Who are they to tell us that we aren’t capable of holding lightning in our own fingers?  I have come to find out that it is too easy to accept what others think about us than what we believe about ourselves.

This week, I had a short discussion with an extended family member regarding homophobia.  In short, my partner and I were told to be glad that we live here and not in one of the ‘sand’ countries.  I told her that, yes, we are glad to live here and that things are changing by leaps and bounds, but there is so much more to do.  There are still very vivid memories in my mind of walking into school and being called, “Faggot.”  There are equally strong memories of being beaten in the field behind the school for being a faggot (in their words).  I remember going going home with black eyes and broken noses and many other injuries only to tell my mom and dad that some of us guys were playing football.  I also remember the response that came from someone overhearing me talking to a friend about being a witch.  I can remember watching the woman grip the cross around her neck like she was about to perform an exorcism and moving her children out of reach.

authentic

 

My life, my magick is all about choices that I make.  I have come to realize that I am deeply contented with who I am.  I love the fact that I count the elementals among my friends.  I enjoy the fact that I can make magick spring from my fingertips. I am overjoyed by the fact that I can, if I so desire, hold lightning in my hands.  What I can do is limited only by myself.

In another conversation with my roommate last night, he said to me, “Sometimes I think you envision yourself as Albus Dumbledore.”  I looked him square in the eyes and said, “Oh no…that would limit me in so many ways.  I am the Weathered Wiseman and I am capable of so much more.”

One area that has always come easily to me is visualization.  I had to learn to do it early in my childhood to mentally take myself out of horrible physical situations.  I guess that it why it is so easy for me to have relationship with my spirit guides….so easy to walk and talk with the fae…so easy to let animals speak to me.  I also think that is why so many times…my dreams hold so much power.  Many times when an issue isn’t coming to an ending in the finite world around me, I will go to sleep and watch as solutions unfold in my dream-life.  I have had loved ones who have passed over come to me in my dreams…just to reassure me, calm me, or to just let me know that they are there.

purpose

 

What is my passion?  I actually sat out in the rain in the woods this morning pondering that very question.  That little blue chihuahua who has been my companion through so much was right there beside me (well, huddled up inside my cloak).  Rain tends to wash away all the grossness that everyday tries to let cling to us.

What Is My Passion?  My passion is to live a Magickal life.  My passion is to live a life guided by the Sun and the Moon and the Earth and the Wind and Water and Fire.  My passion is to hold close the teachings of those who have come and gone before me.  My passion is to be sun-kissed, wind-burned, drenched and dirty.  My passion is to be covered in hugs and kisses by the humans I love and to have my face and hands licked until it tickles.  My passion is to look down at my shirt and laugh in wonder as to whose hair I just found stuck to me (is it a cat whisker? or dog fur?).  I refuse to worry myself sick over what is right and wrong about what I practice.  I still have something that is more than valuable:  Instinct. The ancients didn’t have star charts and IPhones that told them that the moon was full in Aries.

My passion is to know myself better than anyone else knows me and to embrace every moment of life around me.  It is not always going to be wonderful and beautiful…but it will always be what I choose to make of it.

So, finally, Where is my place?  Wherever I am.  My place is home….no matter where I may be.  Two weeks ago, it was slow dancing with a straight man on a crowded dance floor in Florida.  This morning, it was dancing in the rain and mud with a little blue chihuahua. Tonight, it will be dancing in front of my cauldron under the light of a full moon.

Blessed Be!

Little Narrow Gate

sheep gateThere’s a little narrow gate
At the top of a hill
And it beckons my heart to enter in
And follow where it will
Oh, where it will
And the path that leads through this gate of dreams
Takes me away

With the wind at my back
The journey before me
I set my feet on the road that leads to life
And take the hands of the ones
Who’ll be my companions
For they will show me the place to begin

Most of my life has been a constant battle.  The battle hasn’t been with any one person.  The battle hasn’t even been with myself.  It would be easy to fight those battles.  When one has a visual of an enemy, one has something to focus on defeating.  My battle is within my mind….my emotions.  Every day of my life, the battle that I wage is against anxiety.  It isn’t just plain old every day concerns…because in my mind, those concerns become monsters.  They twist and contort to become something far worse than they started out to be.

I have said in earlier blogs that I am, by nature, an introvert.  I make myself act like an extrovert.  Over the years, I have learned what it takes to make oneself seem at ease in public places and the one in the room who makes everyone laugh.  It is far easier than explaining the social anxieties I feel whenever I meet someone new. It is far easier to be the one who makes everyone else feel at ease while your own heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and your face is flushing.  It is easier to make them think the flush in your cheeks is due to the gut-busting laugh you just let fly.  All the while….you stand there feeling like a fearful little boy who only wants someone to take his hand and tell him that it’s ok and will all be over shortly.

anxiety

 

This past week has been particularly challenging for me.  It seems that every moment was inundated with anxiety rearing its ugly head.  “What if you aren’t able to perform up to par at work?” “What if you were left all alone for the rest of your life?”  “What if something happened to…your dog, your family, your partner, your friends?”  It also hasn’t helped that I am anticipating a week long work venture starting next weekend where I am constantly surrounded by hundreds of colleagues.

Normally, when I feel overwhelmed, I bury myself in comfort.  This week has been all about Peanuts comic strips, Harry Potter movies and a whole lot of sage and incense. I separate myself…I disappear into nature.  Unfortunately, this weekend, that has been hard.  It has rained almost the whole weekend.  I have either been forced to be social or to sit inside and pace like a caged wolf.Rain GIF

 

Normally the rain would be soothing, but that is only when I get out in the midst of it.  This morning was the first morning that it had only been spitting rain here.  It wasn’t a steady pour, but more like the Great Mother was blowing a raspberry.  It has been chillier than typical for this time of year, so I decided that, for my own sanity, I had to venture outside.

I gathered up Friz before the sun even came up this morning.  His sleepy little eyes begged me not to take him to the vet again like yesterday.  I got my backpack sorted, threw my cloak over me and headed for the woods.  Friz wasn’t feeling the walk in the spritzes of rain, so I picked him up and tucked him inside my cloak.  We made our way through the small canape of trees and found our familiar clearing.  I sat down in the midst of the wet leaves.  Who cares how much they soaked through?  I pulled out my candles, crystals, skulls and incense.  The circle this morning was made by putting various colors of rose petals in a circle around me.  This morning, I needed to feel that love that I knew was only a breath away.  I scattered petals over the skulls and around the candles.  This morning would be a ritual for me.  Sometimes you just have to make it about yourself.

I closed my eyes and sang to the elements.  I could smell the wet earthiness and floral fragrances.  I could feel the breeze against my cheeks and the heat of the candles as I moved my hands above them. I called to Mama Crow and to Wolf.  This morning, more than ever, I needed teaching and magickal enlightenment.  I could sense them moving quietly behind me.  I continued to sing.  I remember my grandma…in times of trouble or uncertainty, she sang.  She said that she did it to make her heart match the spirit around her.  Sometimes I sang words that I knew and sometimes I let the spirit moving inside me birth words that seemed unintelligible.  As I smelled the sweet sage and incense wafting around me, my heart began to lighten.  My grandma used to tell me that sometimes we just have to wait for the mind and heart to catch up with the spirit.2014-07-18 23.48.50

 

I realized that I had waited too long to try to lift this mood.  The moment I felt it, I should have been in the woods pouring my spirit out before nature and my guides.  It was strange.  Mama Crow and Wolf kept their distance until my heart felt lighter.  After that moment, they came closer…Mama Crow sternly reprimanding me for taking so long and Wolf patiently staring at me to see if the lessons he gave had taken root.

I thanked them, the elements, and all of Nature around me and gathered all that I had brought.  Friz had apparently slept well inside my cloak because he was ready to walk now.  We walked the newer path we had found  and as we moved to the top of the hill, we saw a narrow little wooden gate.  It reminded me of those we used with the goats back home.  Within a matter of moments, I heard a sound I hadn’t heard since our last trip to North Carolina….the sound of goats.  I remembered last year when they brought goats in to clear the brush around the complex.

I was reminded of the lyrics to the song I started the blog with.  Most of our lives, we spend on the safe side of the gate…where we won’t encounter anything that we might not be completely comfortable with.  This morning, I walked through that gate.  In my mind’s eye, I could see me holding onto Wolf’s coat as I walked and I could feel the weight of Mama Crow on my shoulder….and leading the way was  a little blue chihuahua who knows no fear.

With the wind at my back
The journey before me
I set my feet on the road that leads to life
And take the hands of the ones
Who’ll be my companions
For they will show me the place to begin

Sometimes, even an old Weathered Wiseman has to start from the beginning of the journey….it keeps you from getting too big for your britches.

Blessed Be!2014-07-19 18.46.03

Waiting…Quietly, Waiting

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Some days I wish I could wave my wand and disappear.  Not in a “I am tired of this existence” kind of way…more in a “can I get a little bit of peace and quiet” kind of way.  It seems that this week has been noise on top of noise on top of noise.

The neighbors above us have absolutely no consideration.  They tromp around like a herd of elephants and try their best to asphyxiate me with every cigarette they toss over into my courtyard.  Then there is the crayola haired heifer that lives across the way who is determined to park in the parking space directly in front of my unit and then yell at me when she gets caught.  Lastly, there is the little Mexican man who loves to play mariachi music as loud as his truck speakers can pump it out.

I hate when I have to play the part of the wicked witch.  But some people just bring that out of you.  I decided for the upstairs neighbors benefit, it was time work some magick so that he got a little bit of an eyeful.  I have talked to him nicely about all I can about the noise level.

During the dark moon the other night, I gathered my cauldron and candles, black salt and banishing oil and incense and set up in the middle of the courtyard.  I set everything a-blazing and I created a circle around the courtyard with the black salt.  I sat down in the middle of it and I waited.  The time had to be perfect.  The night was dark and humid.  The wind was still.  I whispered my greeting to the Moon.  I acknowledged and invited the directions and the elements.  Air was the first to join.  I felt the tickle of the smallest breeze against my cheek.  It combined with water (which I provided through sweat).  I ran my fingers through the dirt in front of me and the watched as the cauldron flame finally burst forth and danced in front of me.  Now it was the perfect time.

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As I lifted my voice to call on the Morrigan, the sliding glass doors above me opened.  It was in that moment that crow caws could be heard all over the complex.  One caw….three answered back.  I waited.  I could feel the neighbor straining to see just what I was doing, but I was just out of his range of vision.  I did all my spell work right there under his nose, but in the shadows.  As I finished, I blew out the candles, thanked the elements, directions and the Morrigan.  As I cleaned up the magickal remnants, I saw him up there leaning over the railing.  I smiled brightly and quietly said, “Wonderful night, huh?  Goodnight.”  They have been quiet as church mice since.

I figured while I was on a dark moon roll, I may as well continue.  Well after midnight…when everyone was in bed,  I went out to my parking place, moved my car into another, and drew a banishing sigil with black witches chalk.  It was already sprinkling rain so I knew that the sigil would be gone by morning, but the energy would remain.  I felt almost giddy as I did it…it was like being a child with sidewalk chalk, but with more purpose.  Sometimes, you just get tired of being yelled at when you didn’t do anything.  The next morning, I sat just outside the courtyard.  She circled the parking lot a couple of times and then went and parked in front of her own unit.  black chalkLastly, the little mariachi loving Mexican fellow…this little fellow has been horrified of me since he first walked into the courtyard and found me doing magick.  He always averted his eyes when he saw me and I could always hear him muttering ‘brujo’ under his breath.  I found that the way to keep him in check was when he got out of line…all I had to do was give him the sign for ‘I’ve got my eye on you’ and he would quickly turn the stereo down.  Well, one night last week, it was extremely late and I hear the thump of familiar music outside my bedroom window.  I was far too tired to deal with him, so I just whispered into the air, “Please, Morrigan, deal with him.”  Then I waited.  The next thing I know, flashing lights are outside my bedroom window…I look out and see a firetruck with firemen scouting the area with flashlights.  I see the little Mexican fellow scrambling out of his truck as hard as he can go and falling to the ground as he makes a mad dash for his apartment.  No music after that.brujo

This morning I was craving time by myself.  When you have three adult men, two dogs, and two cats in one apartment, it can seem impossible to get quiet time.  I don’t have a space in the apartment other than my altar space and even that can be overtaken by a fat gray and white cat.  To write in my Book of Shadows, I have to move his hefty rump to the bookcase by the window.  One thing about it though, my Book of Shadows should be more than pleasing to Bast.

I walked out to the woods alone this morning.  I didn’t take a backpack or candles or skulls or wands.  It was just me and the woods.  Friz looked like I had completely forsaken him and I did have to deal with sufficient pouting when I got back.  I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes.  I waited…just waited.  It was like I could breathe again.  I didn’t have to clean up vomit or hairballs or anything else.  I was able to just sit…and wait.  It felt so good not be rushed or hurried or have to worry about noise.  It was wonderful listening to the trees singing to me and in the distance I hear Mama Crow.  She is singing at the top of her lungs, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t sound like the sparrows. It is her voice.  This was my week for raising my voice…sometimes it isn’t going to be pretty, but it will be effective.  Mama Crow reminds me that sometimes you have to be just a little loud and a little brash to get what needs done, done.

My home is my comfy space.  To me and others it is that cozy space to sit and have a glass of wine or a cup of tea…to lounge in magick every moment you’re there and to feel as if you have been given a comforting hug when you’ve left.  I will protect those feelings…no matter what it takes…like a mama wolf protecting her den.

Blessed Be!radagasts house

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.

snowdrop

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!

So Here’s To Life…

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Storms happen in life sometimes.  If you have lived any amount of time, you know this.  Bad things happen….good things happen…you deal with it.  I remember reading somewhere a while back that when pilots encounter storms, they try to get above the clouds.  Sometimes, though, you just can’t help it…you get thrown right into the middle of the storms.

This morning, Friz and I started out for our weekend morning walk and time in the woods.  I hadn’t listened all that carefully as I was getting dressed…Friz, however, did.  When I tried to get him out of the kennel, he stayed toward the back, curled up in the blankets.  I got him to come out and got his harness on and my cloak.  We started out the door, to be greeted by torrential rain…not just a tiny rainstorm, but an all out gully washer.  I was eager for Friz just to pee and then we would run inside.  Friz had other ideas…he had to do something a little more, ummm substantial.  There we stood….completely drenched as Friz hunkered down to accomplish what he had set out to do.  When I got back in, I stripped down and dried Friz off.  Cloak was hung to dry and clothes in the dryer.  Friz and I decided that he would go back to bed and I would have coffee and read.  I have learned that in all things there are lessons.  The lesson this morning is, “Sometimes no matter how hard the storms come at you, you have to do what you started out to accomplish.”

When I lived in North Carolina, I worked with an exotic bird group.  My job was to help hand-raise the little Macaw  babies.  Now Macaw babies remind me of puppies.  It was not an unusual occurrence to see me walking around the building with three or four little Macaws waddling after me.  If I sped up, they sped up.  If I slowed down, they did too.  I would put blankets in the middle of the floor and they would all be on top of me playing and making some of the weirdest noises you have ever heard.MacawAfrican_grey_and_many_other_parrots_for_sale

Then came the day that my four babies fledged.  All birds must learn to fly, at some point.  It is a part of who they are…it is built into every fiber of their beings.  I was cleaning the building one afternoon and all of the babies were playing on a playtop that had been designed just for them.  The next thing I know, I hear strange squawks and I turn around and there are four baby Macaws flying straight at me.  There was nothing I could do except stand there and wait for them to land.  I had two on top of my head gripping with sharp little toenails and one on each arm.  They were all very proud of what they had accomplished.  The only thing they needed to do was take that first leap and there was no turning back.

We humans have become so fearful of that first leap.  It becomes too easy for us to settle into whatever we have allowed life to create for us.  I am just as guilty of this as the next person.  In the fall of 2010, I went back to work with a company that I had tried for years to escape…all out of necessity.  I went in with a plan to only stay in the position for a year to gain some experience in accounts receivables, payables and inventory.

Soooooo, here we are three years later and I have watched myself settle into a position that I do not enjoy at all….I have watched myself become a zombie of sorts, staggering about the workplace, repeating the same old things that I have heard those in the position before me regurgitating.  I settled….yes, I settled in major way.  I compromised myself.  I never compromised my own values, principles or morals…..but I did compromise myself.  So when my roommate was ‘let go’ at the end of November….it was the motivation I needed to find myself again and see what could be accomplished.tumblr_myl8rv1NjI1qcm7gio1_500

I started interviewing for positions with a company that has such a wonderful ‘people first’ policy.  I knew that this would not be an overnight process.  I called on those around me and those I knew in the Craft to pour magick into and around me.  I did spell work.  I burned incense.  I called to my familiars…my ancestors…the elements….and the Lord and Lady.  This all came to fruition this past week.  I was given an offer to join this company….in a temporary position that would become permanent.  That word….temporary….freaked me out in every way.  I like stability.  Change is one thing, but temporary, to me has always been a shaky kind of word.  Something that could disappear at any time.

You have heard me talk over the past few months about needing to simplify.  I have worked very hard on this.  I have made myself slow down…quite a bit.  I have learned to breathe.  I have learned to sip my tea instead of gulping it down to rush into the next project.  Was I going to go about this decision differently?  No.  I did exactly what I did when I went bungee jumping years ago.  I stood there feeling that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach…..I took in a few slow breaths….and then…I jumped.  I hurled myself fully into whatever lies out in front of me.

With the decision to move into this made and the response to the offer on its way, I breathed.  This breath was a breath of release….a release of fear….a release of the strain my past job had put on my health, mind and spirit.  I could feel myself moving into that simplicity again.  I dove right into the middle of the storm and what did I find?  Peace.

I am reminded of a song by Shirley Horne…”Here’s To Life.”

No complaints and no regrets.
I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets.
But i have learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you got.
I had my share, i drank my fill, and even though i’m satisfied i’m hungry still
To see what’s down another road, beyond a hill and do it all again.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life the dreamers and their dreams.
Funny how the time just flies.
How love can turn from warm hellos to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you’ve memorized
To keep your winters warm.
There’s no yes in yesterday.
And who knows what tomorrow brings or takes away.
As long as i’m still in the game i want to play
For laughs, for life, for love.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life, the dreamers and their dreams.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.

You want to talk about a spell?  The lyrics of that song make a hell of a spell.  As I sat in front of my cauldron Wednesday night watching the fire blaze, I had this song playing softly in the background.  In my smaller cauldron, I had a charcoal disk with incense that a wonderful friend had made for me.  I closed my eyes and visualized all those that I care about dancing across my mind.   I sang this song to each of them.  I sing this song for those of you who will take the time to read these words.

I took a slow walk through the woods this afternoon after the clouds cleared.  I could see in my mind’s eye all of the magick that had taken place in those woods over the past year.  I am sure that each of you can visit those same sacred spaces in your own life.  I realized that it is so important when other things try to overwhelm us….we have to revisit those places of power and peace that we have been gifted with.

I had a wonderful, wild dream last night.  I dreamed that some neighbors had captured a crow. They came and got me because they didn’t know what to do with it. When I got there, I looked eye to eye with this crow. It was very obviously Mama Crow. She was biting everyone else….but when I offered her my hand, she climbed onto it. She nestled herself in the crook of my arm and fell asleep. I never caged her or restrained her, but she never got more than ten feet away from me…cawing nonstop.2014-01-11 22.27.59

I spoke to a wise sister about the dream.  She told me that I had taken many positive steps over the past months.  I ignored what others might have me do….I have listened to the Goddess.  I have become much more confident in myself and my magick….I like the sound of that…my magick.  Nothing that anyone else has given to me….just what has come from my relationship with the Lord and Lady, the elements, and the spirits around me.

This is the year of new beginnings and I am excited to see where the road will lead me.  Yes, there will be rough places in the road…but I will keep moving forward.  So, Blessed Be….Here’s To Life!

Through the Storms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!