The Death of the Green Man

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As the seasons swirl around us, we are entering into the transition from light into darkness and back into light again.  We have gone from the wild abandon of summer into the time when the Green Man’s colors begin to change and death overtakes him to make way for his transition into the Holly King.  Our lives seem to always be centered around transition.  Those things that we wish we could control…we have no control over at all.

As we move into this Yule season and cold overtakes the Earth (even in Atlanta, we live in anticipation of the shift in weather).  The briskness that comes with the Northern winds jolts us into a state of expectation.  As we celebrate the different manifestations of our own holiday with others who celebrate in their own ways, we set our eyes on the approach of the longest night of the year….knowing that the light of spring is not far off.

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 Over the past few years, I have become intimately acquainted with the green man through visits from an unexpected stranger.  Someone I have introduced to you as simply, the Green Wizard.  I have learned first hand what a kind, gentle spirit can accomplish through him.  I have learned to listen more intently to what the earth teaches…all through him.  I have learned to trust the heart of faithful friends more. I have learned to love someone who could do absolutely nothing for me other than be a friend and a magickal confidante…someone who represented purity of heart and selfless abandon.

I found out yesterday that the Green Wizard has journeyed into the summerlands.  I received more information this afternoon.  He apparently collapsed on the sidewalk of a small town close to the Tennessee border.  They took him to the hospital where it was found that his heart was giving out.  Boomer, his dog, was put in holding in the local animal shelter.  He quietly slipped from this plane in his sleep.  They found my name and Atlanta, Georgia written on a sheet of paper in his pocket.  The authorities assumed that I might be the next of kin.  I explained that I was a friend and asked what happened to his dog.  I was also told where his pup, Boomer was located.

I engaged my cousin who does animal rescue and she arranged for someone who works with her to go and get Boomer and set up a fostering situation.  There are many more things that have transpired due to his homelessness…especially since there was no identification of any kind associated with him and no direction as far as family or even a name…the one thing that was told to me by the contacting authorities was that at least he knew friendship…there were many who passed on knowing nothing but rejection and hatred.

In my mind, though, I will always see him dancing on the wind.  I can close my eyes and see his ruddy face, his eyes twinkling with hopes and dreams and always that sparkle of magick.  He enjoyed the freedom of being who he was…an extension of the wild God.  I can hear his hearty laugh echoing through the branches of the trees in the woods.  He will forever be Peter Pan to me….always dancing with the moon.

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Am I sad?  Yes…but I can never forget that wonderful spirit.  He always looked for that bit of magick in all things…whether it be an old pair of sneakers…a dog that was considered a throw-away…or a weathered old wizard who seemed to be a little out of sorts himself.

Especially, in this season, I know that so much of the world seems to slumber…waiting patiently for rebirth.  It will be the same for my Green Wizard.  He only sleeps now….we have known each other before in other lives and other magickal places.  It is only a matter of time before we see each other again.

I am excited for him.  This is a new adventure….a fresh beginning coming with the new moon.  This is his chance to be reunited with his beloved Calliope…a chance to dance and finally fly among the stars.  I am privileged to have been able to be a part of his magick.2015-11-19 07.28.06

His energy will always soar around me….sneaking up behind me when I least expect it…laughing heartily at the unexpected.  He was a child of the moon and sun…the earth was his bed and the grass, his pillow.  He was friend to the winged, and four-legged.  He loved completely and wildly and unconditionally.

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As the Green man sleeps, the blood of the Holly King courses through his veins…anticipating his awakening beneath a shield of ice and snow.  With magick, nothing ever completely dies.

And so he goes…with the heart of a true witch.

Blessed Be!

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Transitioning Back Into the Magick Within Us

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

Winds from the East…Mist coming in

Like something’s a brewing, about to begin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaves swirl around me with abandoned delight…

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

As the earth darkens around me, seeds of growth sown

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

Magickal workings encompass me round…

I listen and act so that blessings abound.

My body and mind and my spirit align…

Victory, health and prosperity are mine.

By word and action and now by deed,

As I will, so mote it be.

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

Later today I read my dear Maluna’s posting:

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

 

So here we go!  Blessed Be!

 

 

 

 

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Leashing the Wolf

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My partner and I went to visit my family over the Fourth of July weekend.  We had a lot of fun playing with the nephew and seeing Ma and my aunt and my dad and of course being back in my old woods.  When we arrived back in Atlanta, I unpacked and sat down for a cup of tea.  I felt the need to connect with the water energy here at the complex, so I decided to take a quick trip to the pond.  When I got there, I was horrified, saddened and angry all at the same time.  From the time we had left to the time we got back home, they had drained the pond.  I asked one of the neighbors about it and they seemed glad that it was gone.  “All it did was add to the mosquito population anyway.”

Something has been reeling through my brain all week long…ever since seeing the pond drained and hearing the relief in my neighbors voice that it had ‘just because of the inconvenience of a few mosquitoes’ (even though I really haven’t seen a drop in the population of mosquitoes since it happened).  I have wondered does man always feel the need to control?  Does the need to always tame that which is out of his grasp keep him preoccupied so that he doesn’t really look at the world around him?

Let’s start with Native Americans.  People came to North America in search of freedoms.  When they arrived, they encountered tribes of indigenous people.  Rather than learn from these people…rather than appreciate the culture and knowledge these people had to offer.  It was quickly decided that these people were to be conquered.  They must assimilate into the world that would be created here.

If it wasn’t by slaughter that these ‘savages’ would be conquered, then their spirits would be crushed by shipping their children off to Indian schools.  In these schools, they would be stripped of their clothing and heritage, hosed down like vermin, beaten when they spoke their native language or practiced their native religion.  Those who invaded their land weren’t comfortable with their ‘wildness.’  They needed to be tamed.Carlisle School boys

 

If you look at the way we treat our pets…when they bark, we tell them to be quiet.  We have come to expect them to be little humans.  We discourage any of the wolf-like qualities that attracted us to them to begin with.  We are intrigued by the wolf-dog, but only because we want to know what it is like to have the wildness of the wolf and tameness of the canine in one animal.   I understand that in this day and age there have to be certain boundaries for the safety of our charges.  I hate having to leash Friz when we go on adventures…but for his safety, this is necessary.  It protects him from the other humans who don’t quite understand the nature of an animal  or proper animal etiquette. wolf on leash

I have watched the way I interact with Friz over the past week.  I realized that I treat him more like a child than the magnificent beast that is truly lying underneath that fur.  I have tried to engage him more on his terms since that observation and it is amazing the difference.  He has become less anxious and seems to have a brighter demeanor.  I have watched him slowly become more confident.  He is venturing further from me in the house…he is no longer my shadow.

This principle doesn’t just apply to the animals.  Here in Atlanta, over and over we hear constantly about preserving green space, but whenever I look around, there seems to be more and more concrete being laid…more buildings going up….apartments, condos,  office space.  When we are through with them, we leave them in disrepair and wait to see how long it will take them to decompose.  reclaimed bathroom

 

 

We, as humans, have learned to live our lives tamed.  I actually think the word ‘caged’ feels more accurate.  We would like to blame the government for these issues…but it isn’t the government.  We would like to blame religion for these issues…but it isn’t religion.  It is very simple, really.  It is people.

We have learned, through centuries of teaching, that whatever makes us uncomfortable must be caged, contained, or crushed.  We have seen, in history, that those who were even believed to have practiced witchcraft were burned, drowned, and sent to their deaths in unbelievably cruel ways.  There were reasons that the cunning men and wise women of old separated themselves from the villages.  It was easier to live life isolated than face constant persecution.

I have spent most of my life being looked at under a cocked eyebrow. “Why is he different than we are?”  “Why can’t he just settle down with a nice girl?” “Does he have to work magick with skulls and fire?”  “Why would anyone want to be a witch? On purpose?” “He must be crazy.  He talks to animals like they understand him and he talks to the weather….oh, and he dances in the rain.”

As I get older, I realize that, for myself…my own peace of mind, I must be exactly who I am.  I can’t compromise that for a moment.  If that means that I don’t fit inside someone else’s idea of what normal is, then so be it.  I choose the way I live my life…if your choices are different then go with it…just don’t condemn me for mine.  I walk the path that has been laid before me.  I can’t walk yours…it is not my journey.  On my path, I choose to create…whether by magick, or with my hands.  I choose not to destroy.

I will live a life of freedom…not your freedom, but those that apply to me.  Whether I am in the middle of the woods, the edge of a pond, or in the middle of a concrete laden parking lot…I will be free.  I will throw my head back, open my arms and embrace the energy swirling around me.  That is what I did last night in my courtyard in the wee hours…I opened my arms to the moon, closed my eyes and threw my head back.  In that moment, I was free of any opinions, sickness and fear.  In that moment, I was unfettered by cords that may try to bind me.  In that moment,  I watched as my spirit ran free, unleashed by anything that would try to tie me down.tumblr_n2lnbutsa41so177no1_500

 

Blessed Be!

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

A Solstice Celebration: Fishing, Skinny-Dipping, Lightening Bugs and Skeeters

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Today is the Summer Solstice…the longest day of daylight in the year.  The sun’s energy is very powerful on this day, so when I got up early this morning, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time.  I went fishing.  Yep…I went fishing all by myself.  I loaded the car with my tackle box, a old cane pole, an old, thin blanket and soda and sandwiches, a can of dirt and worms I dug out of the courtyard, a backpack full of ritual supplies, and I drove up toward the northern part of Georgia.  I haven’t done this in ages…I felt like such a rebel, scooting out of sight before anyone missed me and leaving a note on the table that said simply, “Gone Fishin’.”

It wasn’t long before I reached the property of some friends and I dodged through the old cattle gates.  The only thing missing was my old pickup and being barefoot.  The latter would be remedied soon enough.  I got settled down at the edge of that old pond, rolled up my pant legs, shedded  my shoes, put on my ball cap, baited the hook and dangled it down into the water.  To be honest, I really didn’t care if I caught anything or not…that wasn’t really my purpose for being there.  I was there to worship the sun.  I breathed in all the smells around me…the smell of hay, the water, and yes, the pasture.  I felt the way I imagined a vampire might feel after the first taste of blood after a long famine.

I could feel the sun’s energy pulsing through my body, my veins.  I could feel it combining with the heartbeat of Mama Earth.  As I breathed, my own breaths danced in rhythm with all that was around me.  I felt revitalized in a way I haven’t in a long, long time.  I could feel the sun kissing my face.  The knowing that the Scotch/Irish in me would turn it a glowing red first, then the Cherokee in me would turn it to a glowing copper brown by tomorrow. I watched as the fishing line bobbed in the water.  Nothing was biting…that was fine with me anyway.  I let the remainder of the worms go and let the now empty hook bob up and down.  Hopefully the fish were at least entertained.

As I lay there in the sun, I could feel beads of sweat forming all over me.  I am not a fan of being uncomfortable and the water looked so inviting.  I took off my shirt and looked down at my Buddha-shaped belly and laughed out loud.  Before I realized it, I had shucked my shirt, my pants, and my underwear and was running like a wild man….screaming and laughing as I jumped in the water buck-assed naked.2014-06-21 16.06.04

 

I felt that primal energy of Cernunnos surging through me as I ran and jumped into that cold water…heated by the sun at the surface level only. When I hit, I took a hard breath in as I felt the shock of cold in places that I really had rather not felt it.  After I adjusted to the temperature, I floated backwards, again taking in the rays from the Sun God.  While I floated, my thoughts were everywhere and nowhere all at once.  Words to spells and songs gently caressed my brain.  It was like being a kid all over again…skinny-dipping at the old pond in my grandpa’s pasture with my best friend.  No shame…no fears…just freedom.

I brought myself lazily back onto the shore of that old pond.  I didn’t even bother to put my clothes back on…who was going to see me as far out as I was…the cows that may come venturing up wouldn’t care.  I situated myself back onto the blanket and pulled all of my supplies out of the backpack.  Everything went in its place…the candles, the skulls, the stones.  Today I brought incense with me, and poppets.  I have been making a mojo bag for my roomie…he needs a bit of luck, positivity, and prosperity in his life.  In this blue night sky bag with golden stars, moons and suns…I place a green beeswax poppet.  I had put a hole in the bottom of the poppet and filled it with ground herbs:  Basil, Cinnamon, Ginger, High John the Conquerer and Juniper Berries.  Inside the bag, I also included a male High John Root wrapped in a dollar bill and anointed in a money drawing oil.  I offered these under the sun and asked the sun to bless them.  I added some of his finger nail clippings and hair from his goatee to the bag. (Yes, he knew I was doing all this and why.)

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I thanked the sun for the light and energy he provides and packed everything up…and begrudgingly put my clothes on.  I walked back to the car and put everything into the trunk and drove away….exhausted and recharged at the same time.

Tonight, after my partner and I got back from dinner, I felt the need to have another ritual…cleaning, clearing, banishing.  I smudged the house, the courtyard, everywhere I could think that needed smudging.  I worked banishing magick on neighbors who have long since become a nuisance.  I washed the floors with my Four Theives Vinegar.  I used my besom to sweep out any negative energies or feelings and emotions. I put black candles on my altar along with a Nag Champa candle that a friend gave me.  I called on The Morrigan to push those things that were no longer beneficial or needed out of my life and to mold in me the heart of a warrior. I called on Cernunnos to restore in me vitality and strength and to build in me, the heart of the Wild Man.  I lit every candle on that altar and felt the energy build as the flames danced.

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I danced around the altar to the sounds of Omnia’s song “I Don’t Speak Human.”  I was consumed by the heart of the Wild Man and Warrior.  As the energy calmed, I could feel the heartbeat of the Earth Mother weaving her way through the music. I danced out into the courtyard and watched as flurry of lightning bugs seemed to swarm to the music.

As I write this, I am once again listening to “I Don’t Speak Human.”  Sometimes it’s true.  I speak a language as old as the Earth Mother herself.  It communes with the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the elements around me and the Gods, Goddesses and Spirits of the Ancients.

Blessed Solstice, my friends!

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.

the wizard's dog

 

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!

wornout_shoes

Though the Sorrow May Last Through the Night…

Photo Jan 04, 7 57 50 PM

I have been hated for many things over the years.  I have been hated for things I have done….things I have said….my belief system….who I am.  Through all of the persecution, I have always tried to be the bigger man.  I have always tried to reason with my brain and respond with compassion and love.

For some reason, though, the events that have bombarded the United States and the world over the past few months have drowned my heart in sorrow.  I am referring to the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda and Russia….also this “Turn the Gay Away” bill that seems to be rearing its ugly head in so many states.men-holding-hands-3CROP

I am a tolerant man.  I try to respect and honor all faiths. I try to respect and honor all races.  I try to embrace the differences that make us all individuals and make this world a more interesting place to live.  I try to surround myself with people who have the same kind of heart.

For those of you who don’t know, I served as a pastor for two mainline denominations for over ten years.  In those ten or more years, I was only met with intolerance once.  In that instance, the pastor of the church told me that he suspected me to be gay.  At the time, I was not out of the closet or quite as sure of who I am as I am now.  He told me that I needed to have an HIV test done and have the results submitted to him and his wife.  I had never been so humiliated.  In that moment, I hated myself for who I was and tried to hide anything about me that would give me away.

Fortunately, after that incident, I was hired into a large church in Charlotte.  I was met at the door with open arms and a love for any uniqueness that made me…me.  In time, I became more confident in who I was and more secure in my sexuality.  I remember one day when I went into my lead pastor’s office.  I had requested a meeting so that I might talk to him about my being gay.  He sat thoughtfully in his chair with his glasses perched on the tip of his nose.  I mustered all of my courage and said, “Pastor, I am gay.”  No reaction.  I said, “Pastor, perhaps you didn’t hear me.  I am gay.”  No reaction.  He picked up his bible and started thumbing slowly through it.  All I could think was that I was about to be blasted with scripture.  Instead, he turned to me and smiled.  He said, “Did you grow an extra head or something?”  I said, “No.”  He looked at me and laughed and said, “You are still one of the best pastors I have been blessed enough to serve with.  Now get back to work.”  With that declaration, he pulled me in for a hug, then put his hand on my shoulder and sent me back to my office….feeling more loved than I ever have.

There was a song we did in that church….the lyrics still come to my mind as I type:

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

[Chorus:]
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Thinking of these lyrics today reminded me….it is only in squeezing or crushing the grape, that the sweetness of the juice is released.

I know that there are those out there who would call themselves Christian who would rather spew out hate and vitriol than take the teachings of the biblical Christ to heart.  My days in the church were not spent studying a Christ who belittled and hated.  I spent hours in my office composing sermons of a Christ who sat and ate and drank with tax collectors and prostitutes (the vilest of the vile in his day).  I became acquainted with a Christ who, when told that a woman was caught in an act of sin and should be stoned, looked down at the ground and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He then looked at the woman with compassion and asked, “Where are your accusers?” She said, “There are none.” “Neither do I condemn you…go and sin no more.”004-jesus-washes-feet

My fondest memory of this Christ who receives the blame for so much of the hatred that spews from man….is the Christ who spent the night before his death washing the feet of his disciples.  He knew that one of them would betray him that very night….but he chose to take on the role of servant.  And again, I studied of this Christ….the one whom people blame for their right to picket soldiers funerals, and burn the sin out of people…this Christ returned from the grave to offer those who had denied him and spat on him and killed him, another chance for redemption.

So, if I have all of these wonderful memories of the church…all these wonderful remnants of who Christ was, buried inside me, why did I become a witch?  Because Christianity, to me, was limiting.  Why limit myself to one god….even if he was a three in one.  Gods and Goddesses encompass so much more than we are willing to give them credit for.  Humanity has always wanted to keep that which we don’t understand confined….if you don’t believe this, go to a zoo.

Caged_Freedom_v1

My trip to the woods this morning was a heavy-hearted trip.  As Friz and I settled in, Friz could tell there was something different about my spirit.  He quietly licked my face. He nuzzled me…he stayed close by.  I called on the elements, the directions…and this time I did not stop at the Lord and Lady I normally call upon.  I called upon the Christ that I had been acquainted with years ago.  We chatted about those who are using his name to hurt and harm and hate.  We also chatted about those followers of his who actually “get it.”

It doesn’t matter what faith you pursue or what you believe….there is never a place for hatred.  Hatred only destroys.  It turns the hater into a predator whose thirst for blood can never be sated.  It turns those who are hated into prey…constantly pursued and never able to rest.

As I lay back onto the earth this morning, I saw Mama Crow perched in the trees above.  She has only ever asked one thing of me….”Be true to myself.”  I have not been able to hide who I am in years, and I do not intend to start now.

I will stand tall with my sword at the ready…not fighting for the sake of the fight, but so that change may actually be affected.  I will love stronger than I have ever loved, and with every swing of the sword, I shall breathe compassion and healing over any who become part of the battle.  I will never go back into hiding. Witch or gay, my true self will always shine through.

As I lay there this morning, feeling Mother Earth pouring her magick into me and the Wild Man of the Woods pouring his stamina into  me,  I looked to my side to see a grouping of daffodils…not yet bloomed, but the color of yellow just barely peeking through.2014-02-22 15.13.15

Though the sorrow may last for the night
Joy comes with the morning!

Blessed Be!