Finding Your Strength

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It seems like an eternity since I have sat down to write.  Life has a way of picking us up by the scruff of the neck sometimes and shaking us like a dazed puppy.  Since January, I have had two strokes, my mom has been hospitalized for over a month, and our oldest cat TeeTee is preparing for her journey into the summerlands.

I hate to admit it, but in the midst of everything that has happened, magick tended to be done in hindsight…an afterthought at first to the situation at hand.  There were days after the strokes that I would find myself just sitting…staring out of windows…more conscious of the drooping or the lack of strength on my left side.  Funny, the doctor says that I have had ‘mini strokes.’  In talking to a friend of mine and through reading, I have found out that a stroke is a stroke.  There are no minis or maxis.

Through the challenges of recuperation, there were, constantly in the back of my mind, visions of my great grandma’s sister.  We called her Aunt Carrie.  I often wish I had gotten to know her before the strokes.  She was a beautiful woman always dressed to the nines, very passionate and eloquent from what I was told.  She was a teacher.  When I got to know her, she had been ravaged by stroke after stroke.  They had rendered her bed-ridden, only able to mouth and garble words, and only able to barely motion.

I lived in a world of not feeling like myself, fear of being that shell of a person I once was…but it was in the words of friends and family that I found the strength to push myself.  I found out from my mother that Aunt Carrie was given the opportunity to go through therapy but chose not to.  Her marriage was bad, her husband used to beat her.  She hoped for death but was given an existence with a husband riddled with guilt who now decided that he needed to try to make up for the earlier hell she had to suffer through.

I determined that I would not recreate that scenario for myself.  I had many friends that not only supported me through my healing but also pushed me.  They knew there was more fight in me than I was showing.  They also realized that I had pushed my magick to the sidelines.  Working side by side with them and my doctor, I used magick and medicine toward healing.  I did the therapies…I did the dreamwork.  I utilized stones, crystals and visualization.  I found myself in a good place.  My doctor had even told me that I had made progress that she wouldn’t have expected until the six month mark.

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I built a moss and fae garden to keep me close to the earth at all times…wear hematite for grounding.  Things were looking better daily.  I began to breathe again.

Then we noticed that our older cat TeeTee was losing weight and throwing up more.  We took her to the vet for bloodwork and xrays.  The bloodwork looked ok, but when they pulled up the xrays, I breathed in sharp.  I worked at a veterinarian’s office for ten years.  I had learned to read xrays.  When I saw the large fibrous mass staring back at me, I knew immediately that it wasn’t good.  We discussed options with the vet and came to the conclusion that as long as she wasn’t in pain and seemed to have a decent amount of energy that we would do whatever was needed to keep her happy.  We have blended the stinkiest of foods, hand-fed her, given extra attention…and now as I type this,  we know that it won’t be much longer.

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We know that we have given her the best life she could have.  From a wild, white feral kitten to a spoiled content house cat, she has been cuddled, pampered, catered to, and loved with complete abandon.  Where is the strength we pull on here? The knowledge that she will rest and walk side by side with Bastet…back with the energy and magick she came from.  We also know that they truly never completely leave your heart and side.

When you think you can’t handle anymore…the flood gates tend to open.  Toward the middle of April, I got a call from my aunt.  My mom had been admitted to the hospital that past Saturday.  No one wanted to worry me (give me another stroke) so they didn’t let me know.  My aunt was calling, however, to tell me that my mom had to be put on a ventilator and that the doctor had suggested calling the family in.  We left immediately for North Carolina.  My partner and I sat by her bedside for five days straight.  They had induced a coma…hoping that the rest would do its part in the healing.

My mom has always had a strong faith and believed in energies and such (with our family history, how could she not).  I had witches from all over sending healing and energy toward her.  My brother, who thinks my mom is more along the lines of a conservative christian, asked how I think Ma would feel knowing all those witches were sending her healing.  My aunt walked into the room behind him and whispered in his ear, “I think she would be completely fine with it.” With that comment, she looked at me and gave a wink and kissed the air.

In the process of that hospital stay, my mom coded not once, but three different times.  She always made her way back though.  She is a fighter.  She has always been the bedrock of our family.  I knew that if anything happened to her, that would fall to me.  My first visit, I whispered to her, “I am not strong enough for this yet.” I have no doubt that she heard me.

It has been a long, hard battle but she is now awake, aware, winking, smiling, and breathing air and not on oxygen.  They have decreased the size of the trach opening and have moved the feeding tube from her nose to her stomach.  She is now going through therapy and trying to mouth words.

I feel like in the midst of all of these things happening around me, that I have lived any spare time I have beside ponds, in woods, and walking mountains.  On my last trip to Red Top Mountain, I looked forward at the path ahead.  It was crooked, scattered with rock, muddy in places, but oh so calming and lush.  An old bible verse sprang to my mind, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where my help comes.”

There is an area hewn into the rock on Red Top…I crawled into that cubby and lay my head back.  I woke up an hour later after the most peaceful sleep I have had in months.  Life is going to give us twists and turns, scratches, bruises, pain…and yes, even death.  I have found though that I do have the strength to face each one.  It doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt or that there won’t be loss or challenges, it means that I can survive.  I can come out of it stronger…the armor might be a bit dirty or scuffed and even broken in places, but I have the choice of getting up and continuing on, or falling back and dying.

I walked out into the courtyard yesterday after work.  I finally gave up and just started leaving food for the birds, squirrels and anything else that might be hungry out there.  Mama Crow was perched on the wall eating peanuts.  She looked straight at me and gave me her comforting ‘Graaaaaaaackkk’

I will keep getting up as long as I am able.

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Watch the Skies, Traveler

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I was walking through the living room of the condo right after Christmas and my roommate was sitting in front of the television playing one of his video games on XBox.  He was playing Skyrim.  Just as I got past his chair, I heard a phrase come from the speaker that intrigued me. “Watch the Skies, Traveler.” I asked my roommate why the character used that phrase and he explained that it was a warning. Since the land was known to be inhabited by dragons, the one character was telling the traveler to ‘take heed’or to watch for anything that may cause harm.

I took this thought with me to the woods last Sunday and also this morning.  I needed to let the thoughts surrounding this one phrase to sink in.   As I pondered this thought on Sunday, I thought about how many times my friends and family have told me as I leave their homes to be careful or take care as I drive or walk.  To many, just a pleasantry, but these are also warnings to be on guard against the things that may threaten us.

There are so many things going on around us as of late.  It seems that everywhere we turn there is violence and anger and hatred.  We like to see ourselves as living in a civilized society.  I don’t so much see that anymore.  Yes….we are more advanced technologically, but we are no more civilized than our people groups were in prehistoric times.  It is still all about survival.2016-01-01 22.08.28

It seems that we as a people have come to annihilate anything or anyone who isn’t just like us.  We like to talk about how much more evolved we are, but we will crucify someone on Facebook.  The media (social and otherwise) has become just another battlefield.  Never have I seen so many people want to disappear from society all together and either live off the grid or whatever would keep the world at bay.

In such a time as this…when people seem to believe less in magick than they ever have…but also long for magick more than they ever have (there is a reason that Harry Potter and television shows like The Magician are  as popular as they are.  People hunger for the power and strength that seems to come with magick.  I find it funny that it is the people that I know who tell me they don’t believe in magick are the ones who come to me asking for spells to be done (but shhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone I asked for this)

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Last night, I got out my scrying mirror.  As I stared into the darkened depths before me, I saw an old man.  I would have originally been inclined to think it was my own reflection, but this man was as old as the mountains themselves.  I could see sadness in his eyes.  In one eye I saw desolation and darkness and in the other I saw fire burning out of control…it was in a moment of fear that I looked toward his mouth.  Out of his mouth came hope, encouragement, and life.

This morning, in preparation for time in the woods, I gathered my dragon ring, some dragon’s blood incense, my mini cauldron with some charcoal discs, and some Vesta powder.  I work with dragon energy every so often, so I am aware of the etiquette and the way to address dragon energy.  As I worked inside the circle, I could feel the energy thicken and power coursing through me.  As I looked toward the sky, it was if I could feel the air from dragon wings moving around me.

In this instance, dragon energy began to communicate with my spirit.  I have long viewed the dragon as a friend and advocate, so there has always been a respect for that energy….never truly a fear.  As the smoke from the dragon’s blood wafted toward me, I sprinkled the Vesta powder onto the charcoal.  The mini-explosion and sparks was magnificent.

As I meditated on this energy, I envisioned myself walking toward the dragon and climbing on his back…all with his permission.  Again, the dragon was not an object or being to be feared but one to partner with and become a force unmatched by any other.   It isn’t about taming the dragon, but about utilizing its strength.

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As 2016 plunges forward, we witches have to call on the forces around us.   We hold tight to the magick around us.  We walk in strength and with a magick as old as the universe.  In the coming year, don’t forget who you are and don’t let the world make you into something you aren’t.

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Blessed Be!

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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Preparing Your Den

This week, I asked a dear friend to share her magick with you.  Hearth and home have always been places of comfort for me.  Celtic Oaksoul will share with you how she prepares her den for the anticipated turning of the wheel of the year.  Sit back, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy!

2015-11-08 22.34.12After years upon years in our home…22 to be exact…I began what I do every fall, I began to deep clean. Purging my home of years of what no longer serves a purpose. Years of “I have NO idea what this is nor who it belongs to”. This year…this year became different. This year was by far, the worst to date. This one became a total cleansing of my home, my life, my world, my being. All that is present in my presence and within these walls. This year became a new awakening in my 56 years. The actual re-awakening of myself.In being a Druid, I turn to Mother Earth, open spaces, kindness, love. I try to let things go…”water off a duck’s back”! Now, I won’t say I don’t give out my share of words to others nor tears shed due to them and their own words. But, for the most part, I strive to be a congenial, loving and forgiving human being. Yet, I have also allowed my home and myself to become a dumping ground of sorts, a storage unit for clutter…both materialistic and of the heart, soul and mind. I have allowed my internal, Spiritual self to become just as fouled up and stacked with unnecessary things as my home.

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I do so long for these months. The months when I slow down, as Mother Earth slows down. When there can be so much more one can do than anyone realizes, while being inside out of the cold. More reading, crocheting, lounging around with the furry ones and also have some family time. Yet, in this time…I must have ME. In this dark time, when we really believe we are ready to “settle in for the winter”…what have we done, if anything, truly, to prepare ourselves, for ourselves? Hold that thought…..

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As I was saying, I have been cleaning out and purging my house. It had become stifling in here. No breathing room, no space to be individual…when you have had 22 years of every single person who grew up here, lived here or stayed here, left behind in one form or another. How will one actually enjoy this down time that is so freely given to us, each turn of The Wheel, when we cannot Spiritually breathe, in our own, Solitary-gifted, space? How…I’ll tell you! You absolutely open your eyes, wide, look at what is in front of you and say, “you have no purpose here, in my home nor in my life!”, and give it a good heave-ho out the back door for the junk to be hauled off or donate what you choose to a worthy cause, and just breathe. In doing this, each season of the dark months, you are the one that is being cleansed. You are the one that is being de-cluttered, purged, your load lightened. YOU are the one being re-found, rediscovered, released and able to function as yourself, again.

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So, what have you done to prepare yourself for this time of year? Does it matter? Not one bit. The only person it matters to, absolutely, is you…and you are the one that completely counts in all of this. You certainly didn’t ask anyone to deposit their left over items in your home or their energy…negative or good…on upon your self! Flow as the waves in the ocean, as you settle your home for this most wondrous of times. Glide as upon birds wings, through what you do. Smudge, as each box, closet, under bed, room is gone through, cleaned up and cleared out. Light each space, once again, with the open freedom from all of that past, that you are feeling. And relearn to breathe, just for you! Once you are free of ALL of your past…take your bare feet and walk through your house and your yard. Ground and center back into YOU…into your life, heart and soul. I smile. I’m giddy as a school girl. I laugh, dance, through my arms out and head back. I want to whirl around in circles (but it makes me really dizzy)!

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Just know this…that you have prepared your den, once again, but this time, it’s for good! Know that your preparations have been all about you…for YOUR winter of settling in, keeping warm and that your beautiful magick is all yours…all of it, again…close to your hearth, heart and soul…and not tucked away in some corner, in some box, under a stack of junk…in the hidden recesses of your mind! And, that whomever reaps the benefits of your labors of love, of home and self, will do so because you have allowed them to share your newly cleaned and cleansed den…and your happy, sacred self!
Deepest love, warmest light and Brightest Blessings

~Celt

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I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me…

This week’s blog was written by someone who taught me a strong and powerful lesson.  Upon hearing of this man, I was determined not to like him.  I was determined that I would always keep him at arm’s length…but then magick showed its face.  Isn’t it just like Magick to turn our thoughts and emotions upside down and teach us a lesson?  I put myself before the goddess one long weekend day and was presently taught that I could never know what battles someone else was fighting.  I learned that I had to empty my heart of judgement and offer kindness instead of anger or offense.

That powerful lesson earned me a friend…one that I trust enough to have him share his magickal experiences with you. I stand here and proudly offer you the writings of someone I am deeply honored to call my friend, “Fredric Terra.”

Blessed Be!

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My first memory of the moon; I’m 2 or 3 years old at my grandparents’ home. Standing in the front yard as a lady and man are leaving after their visit.

The moon seems nearly full and the lady is asking if I see the moon, and is telling me that the shadows on the moon are her and Uncle Arthur on his motorcycle. She asks if I can see the front wheel in the shadow, and everything following behind with her and Uncle Arthur riding along. I was able to follow along, I saw the shadows, it made no sense to me – maybe I was missing her point, but that event has stayed with me; it was about the moon.

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I’ve always had a strong fascination with her, and her strength. As a child helping my grandfather and dad tap maple trees for the sap and boil it into syrup, my grandfather always counted on the full moon to bring more sap, lots more…it always did and still does. Moonlit nights at the sugar camp in the woods in February were so special. No they were more than special, they were magical. Grandpa and dad keeping the fires built just right, ladling sap from one kettle to the next, sometimes Aunt Annie telling stories about ghosts and other mystical tales….but mostly, I was captivated by moonlight that surrounded us on the clear nights.

The pull of the moon affects the tides, the flow of sap in the maple trees – and me. As I transitioned through adolescence I would watch for the clear moonlit nights and stay up as late as I could just watching for hours from my south facing bedroom window, or sneaking outside in warmer weather.

At some point when I was 12 or 13 I began doing rituals. I didn’t know they were rituals, I didn’t realize or understand what I was doing but looking back with what I know today, they were rituals nonetheless. There were many variations depending on what I was trying to bring forth. Elaborate dress – if my parents had seen me they would have been terrified. I sensed that the degree of difficulty should match the importance of whatever I was after. These were my deepest secrets, shared with no one and always at or near a full moon on clear nights. The rituals always included a very solemn and deep sincerity, reverence for the moon – because as a young Christian, the concept of the Goddess was entirely foreign to me. To me the moon represented a mysterious presence, a profound force and the most beautiful object in the sky.

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Fast forward four and a half decades. This allure never left me, but I had to rein in my rituals as I married – it didn’t seem something that I could share. There were still plenty of times to be with her, share silent love, reflections and comfort. The fascination of dad working the fields and animals by the moon sign, when to plant, when to wean, when to hoe the thistles so they wouldn’t come back (that’s the dark of the moon in August, BTW); it worked, the proof was there. By now the rituals had ended and were replaced by my incessant need to share her wonder with whomever was near me at the time, but only as a beautiful, wondrous, and powerful entity circling our earth; I still didn’t know her as the Goddess.

A little over a year ago I became reacquainted with a long-lost friend through Facebook. I had no idea of what lay in store until I read a post about an upcoming full moon. The post described the opportunities to ‘work’ the strength of the event to bring forth desired outcomes. I read more, I looked deeper for older posts and found so much – so many indications that there were answers for my endless questions; and I reached out. I learned what many already know, that there is a way of life here for us, one that is hidden by societal norms and traditional teaching. I was introduced to other like-minded friends who have become family to me.

With a lot of support I began reading, more and more questions developed and were answered by this new network of friends. I was experiencing profound change, I was realizing an elusive satisfaction – one that always seemed just out of reach, just around the corner….one that seemed like it may come next week, next year, but it was here and it was happening. I was beside myself. An elderly friend had once given me his advice for beginning a new venture – “When you jump in, jump in on all fours, and don’t just dangle your toes in the water”. And so I did.

Over the past year I’ve realized that I’ve missed so many signs over the years. My grandma was a very good Christian with strong beliefs about going to church. My grandpa only went to church for weddings, funerals, and sometimes at Easter. Grandma once told me that as much as she wished grandpa would go to church, she understood why he didn’t….”The outdoors is his church, he appreciates trees, flowers and nature” so it’s ok that he doesn’t come to church every Sunday.

Jumping in on all fours has been good advice for me. Immersion, commitment, being open minded to all possibilities creates an environment for accelerated learning. Or is it recognition? During these past few months there have been countless times when learn something but feel like I’ve always know that, I just wasn’t consciously aware.

These are the happiest times of my life. Every day is one of wonder and magick, everything looks brighter, and the connection with nature is so much stronger. For so many years it felt like something was missing and now its here. I’m truly blessed to have these doors opened before me, to begin this exploration of life from a fresh perspective – a perspective that’s always been there just out of sight.

 

 

Magickal Partnering

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Have mercy!!!  This week has got to be the most stressful I have ever had…possibly in my life.  Since I took this new position at work in July, I have become responsible for 20 different accounts.  This means that I trouble shoot anything from company setup to payroll to tax setup and research.  This past week at work, I end up with two companies that won’t sign off on quarter end tax submission.  I have to research why they owe what they owe.  I have the companies yelling because they think they shouldn’t have to owe it and I have the tax department yelling because the customer needs to sign off.  I have to orchestrate getting all of this done….on top of all 18 of the other companies screaming for attention.

Add to all of this, stress at home…talks with the roommate.  Having to be more blunt than I have ever been….trying not to be hateful, but not compromising either.  Letting him know that I am in a difficult situation and that I don’t intend to stay there.

Oh and one more thing….the nutritionist and fitness guru launching 20 emails a day at me because I only lost a pound at the last weigh in….having to put my foot down and tell her to back the f*** off.

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I could feel myself crumpling like a Halloween Whopper wrapper.  I was strung so tight that the wrong word would have just set me off.  One customer threatened to report me to someone higher up because she didn’t get the answer she wanted.  And then I received the text:

You know I’m sending you everything I’ve got.  I love you!

It was in this instance that I was reminded to breathe…that no matter what I did, it wasn’t going to be perfect.  I decided to engage a manager that I trusted at work.  He told me that this wouldn’t be the first time or the last time that something like this happened and that communication was my gift and to stick with it.  I reached out to the customers constantly through the week, and on Friday at 4pm, they signed off.

My boss called me into her office and told me that the one thing that makes me different from many others on the floor, is the fact that I actually care.  She high-fived me and told me that I had done a wonderful job of coordinating the whole process. One of my co-workers imparted some words of wisdom to me:

The greatest peace you will ever know is when you accept that you don’t know everything, and you never will.  You learn what you can, teach others, and be courageous in your journey.

In my office, we have a phrase that we use a lot.  We talk about ‘effective partnering.’  We try to be an effective partner internally and externally.  This week, I found that it is also a living and breathing practice in magick.

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Even though I am a solitary witch, I have found that magickal partnering manifests in many ways.  The most obvious is typically through that common Facebook post, “I am dealing with xyz, can you all please send a little extra energy?”  With each reply of “You got it.” or “Sending,” we have joined in magickal partnering.  We are, in that moment, sharing a part of our energy and even our own spirit.

Another area of magickal partnering that we often forget about or take for granted is that bond that we share with our ‘spirit animal’ or familiar.  I can’t tell you the times this week in the midst of my stress that Friz curled close to me and joined his energy with mine.  At one point I observed that if he could have crawled up into my skin, he would have.

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Mama Crow appeared at every corner…knowing that I needed strength for the fight.  A warrior’s greatest enemy is not the battle.  It is the fatigue that comes from fighting.  She constantly cawed to me to remind me never to grow weary of wielding the sword…never grow tired of bearing the shield, but to stand strong…feet planted for battle.

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I also found comfort in partnering with Nature and the elements through this week.  As I sought refuge in the woods, the trees reminded me to stand strong, but to remain pliable.  The storms are going to come one after another, but if I allow stress and anger to rot my spirit, I will be dead inside and will topple over with any catastrophe that I am confronted with.  If I learn to move inside the storm, then I stand a better chance of standing strong afterwards.

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Many witches I know seem to be afraid of showing vulnerability.  No one can know that there are battles that we need help fighting….we are strong and can win on our own.  Not all the time.  Sometimes you need someone to lean on….you need those in your life that will support you, build you up, and call you out when you need it.

Even as a solitary, that brotherhood and sisterhood is an undeniable part of the Craft.

Blessed Be!

When the Song Seems a Bit Off Key

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It seems like it has been a while since I have sat down to write.  Life has its way of bulldozing us over every once in a while.   I shared with you that I was having some gut issues…well, one emergency room visit and multiple xrays and ultrasounds and scopes later, I find out that there are ulcers raring their nasty little heads.  While everything is fairly calm now due to more changes in the way I eat and the way I handle stress, life still runs headfirst over us.

I am now up to 23 accounts at work and have inherited two difficult customers.  These are the type of customers who expect your system to be able to deliver exactly what they want.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the system is capable of.  I have had to bring out the very direct and stern Weathered Wiseman on more than one occasion with them.  Let’s add to this more hours to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  When I get home lately, I just want to pass out and not think.

To compound matters, I live with another fire sign and a water sign.  The partner (water sign) has been very needy…looking for approval, needing to be coddled and have his ego stroked and the fire sign (the roomie) has been like sandpaper, rubbing me wrong in the worst possible way.

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I have needed time by myself more than anything.  I have needed to isolate myself, but it seems when the chance arises that something seems to get in the way.  On Wednesday night of last week, I managed to  find a few moments to escape to the woods.  I took very little with me and Friz and I practically ran for the covering of trees.  We made ourselves comfortable, and I lit a couple of candles.

My self-soothing method has always been music.  When I feel stressed or lost or overwhelmed, I normally sing or hum to myself.  The moment I feel it rising in my throat, I can normally feel a calmness wash over me.  I thought that this evening might be the same.  I opened my mouth, breathed in deep and felt it rise from my chest and then my throat.  It was the ugliest, croakiest sound I have ever heard.  I have heard cats yowling that sounded more like music.

cat singing

It has to be a fluke.  I breathed in and let that horrid sound lurch forth once more.  I know because of the ulcers that I have been vomiting quite a bit.  I know that the acid can do a number on the esophagus….but what had it done to my voice.  Thinking back, people have been saying that I am not speaking as loudly or clearly as I have before.

Now, here is where ego kicks in.  Singing has always been a part of me.  I grew up singing on my grandma’s knee.  I remember the excitement in her eyes the first time she attended my performance with a cabaret group in New York.  I remember when walked into a studio in Nashville to add my vocals to a demo recording…my first vocal performance in a television commercial.  Not only had singing been a major part of my life…at one time it paid the bills.

I am not one of those people who can’t deal with the reality that things change with age, but I also know that when everything else seemed to fail, my grandmother had been able to keep her singing voice until the day she died.  Even when her hearing completely left her, she could feel what the pitch of a note should be as it rose from her throat and it still came out beautifully.

As all of this rushed over me on Wednesday night in the woods, I completely lost it.  A part of myself that I had always been able to rely on was dying….fading into history.  As the tears came, Friz leaned up to lick my cheek…maybe out of compassion…maybe just to taste the salt.  I gathered him up and walked back to the condo feeling defeated.  I slept restlessly that night…just as I have for the nights leading up to today.

I got up fairly early this morning and drove to our local metaphysical bookstore.  When I finished looking through some of the newer arrivals, I got in the car and instead of making a left out of the parking lot to go home, I turned to the right.  After driving for about ten minutes, I came upon a sign for the “Old Roswell City Ruins.”  This isn’t something that one normally sees in Atlanta, so I turned in the direction the sign pointed me.  It turns out that it is actually the ruins of an old mill with a covered bridge and falls and walking trails….an utterly beautiful place.

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I explored every area of those woods and water and trails.  I had walked and smelled and touched every piece of nature around me…an area abandoned long ago, but still kept very much alive.  As I climbed the trail to the falls, I could feel the breeze calling to me.  It was beckoning for me to become a part of it.  I sat on some rocks at the edge of the dam and looked up.  There perched on a tree next to me was a crow.  I sat quietly and listened as she cawed.  The sound blistered my eardrum, but was beautiful none the less.  As she raised her voice…however tuneless and harsh it may sound…it was none the less magical.

I was reminded of a story I had heard as a child:

Rainbow Crow

It was so cold. Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The animals had never seen snow before. At first, it was a novelty, something to play in. But the cold increased tenfold, and they began to worry. The little animals were being buried in the snow drifts and the larger animals could hardly walk because the snow was so deep. Soon, all would perish if something were not done.

“We must send a messenger to Kijiamuh Ka’ong, the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be,” said Wise Owl. “We must ask him to think the world warm again so that Spirit Snow will leave us in peace.”

The animals were pleased with this plan. They began to debate among themselves, trying to decide who to send up to the Creator. Wise Owl could not see well during the daylight, so he could not go. Coyote was easily distracted and like playing tricks, so he could not be trusted. Turtle was steady and stable, but he crawled too slowly. Finally, Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful of all the birds with shimmering feathers of rainbow hues and an enchanting singing voice, was chosen to go to Kijiamuh Ka’ong.

It was an arduous journey, three days up and up into the heavens, passed the trees and clouds, beyond the sun and the moon, and even above all the stars. He was buffeted by winds and had no place to rest, but he carried bravely on until he reached Heaven. When Rainbow Crow reached the Holy Place, he called out to the Creator, but received no answer. The Creator was too busy thinking up what would be to notice even the most beautiful of birds. So Rainbow Crow began to sing his most beautiful song.

The Creator was drawn from his thoughts by the lovely sound, and came to see which bird was making it. He greeted Rainbow Crow kindly and asked what gift he could give the noble bird in exchange for his song. Rainbow Crow asked the Creator to un-think the snow, so that the animals of Earth would not be buried and freeze to death. But the Creator told Rainbow Crow that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be destroyed.

“What shall we do then?” asked the Rainbow Crow. “We will all freeze or smother under the snow.”

“You will not freeze,” the Creator reassured him, “For I will think of Fire, something that will warm all creatures during the cold times.”

The Creator stuck a stick into the blazing hot sun. The end blazed with a bright, glowing fire which burned brightly and gave off heat. “This is Fire,” he told Rainbow Crow, handing him the cool end of the stick. “You must hurry to Earth as fast as you can fly before the stick burns up.”

Rainbow Crow nodded his thanks to the Creator and flew as fast as he could go. It was a three-day trip to Heaven, and he was worried that the Fire would burn out before he reached the Earth. The stick was large and heavy, but the fire kept Rainbow Crow warm as he descended from Heaven down to the bright path of the stars. Then the Fire grew hot as it came closer to Rainbow Crows feathers. As he flew passed the Sun, his tail caught on fire, turning the shimmering beautiful feathers black. By the time he flew passed the Moon, his whole body was black with soot from the hot Fire. When he plunged into the Sky and flew through the clouds, the smoke got into his throat, strangling his beautiful singing voice.

By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black as tar and could only Caw instead of sing. He delivered the fire to the animals, and they melted the snow and warmed themselves, rescuing the littlest animals from the snow drifts where they lay buried.

It was a time of rejoicing, for Tindeh – Fire – had come to Earth. But Rainbow Crow sat apart, saddened by his dull, ugly feathers and his rasping voice. Then he felt the touch of wind on his face. He looked up and saw the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be walking toward him.

“Do not be sad, Rainbow Crow,” the Creator said. “All animals will honor you for the sacrifice you made for them. And when the people come, they will not hunt you, for I have made your flesh taste of smoke so that it is no good to eat and your black feathers and hoarse voice will prevent man from putting you into a cage to sing for him. You will be free.”

Then the Creator pointed to Rainbow Crow’s black feathers. Before his eyes, Rainbow Crow saw the dull feathers become shiny and inside each one, he could see all the colors of the rainbow. “This will remind everyone who sees you of the service you have been to your people,” he said, “and the sacrifice you made that saved them all.”

And so shall it ever be.

Crow is surrounded by magick, unseen forces and spiritual strength. If crow enters your life, get out of your familiar nest, look beyond your present range of vision, listen to the messages in its caw and act accordingly.

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I would love to finish this writing with the news that my voice rang forth strong and beautiful in song as I sat there communing with the crow…but it didn’t.  My voice was just as raspy and hoarse as it was on that dark Wednesday evening.  My voice may never be the same….it could come back stronger or it could stay brash and ragged , but there is no less magick there.

What is a lesson I have had to learn from this?  Magick isn’t always going to be pretty.  It is something that is fluid and constantly changing.  Just like that water moving over the falls today…as long as it is moving and changing, it will never grow stagnant…much like us.

Blessed Be!

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