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!

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Magick with a “K”

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It seems as if my pens, paper and computer have lain dormant for quite a while.  As I relaxed on the sofa this evening after a day of hiking, I could feel my thoughts bringing the past few weeks together into a blog post.  I peeled back the blanket I had been napping under and made my way to my desk…all under the grimacing face of a little blue chihuahua who had made himself far too comfortable nestled in the crook of my leg.

I made myself a promise at the beginning of 2015.  I vowed that I would spend more time living life…experiencing new things…going on new adventures.  I had started seeing life as too routine…a little too mundane.  I was starting to settle into middle agedom.  It was becoming far too easy just to come home, put on pajama pants and crash mindlessly in front of the television.

My partner and I had planned a trip to Orlando with some of his family.  The planning all came to fruition a couple of weeks ago.  We had made arrangements to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.  I am a huge Potter nerd, so that part of the trip was for me and me alone.  My partner was so patient as I rattled on about the movies and books.

We got to Universal early that morning.  I practically flew through the park…I had to locate Diagon Alley.  As I rounded one corner, there was the Night Bus.  Stan Shunpike was standing next to it with the shrunken head in the window.  It wasn’t exactly easy finding the entrance to Diagon Alley, so we engaged the young man in conversation.

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He directed us toward the entrance. As I moved through the brick wall, my breath caught in my throat.  It was a sight like I have never seen.  It felt as if I had just come home after a long, long trip.  All around me was whimsy and magic and  all things fantastical.WWoHP-Diagon-Alley1

 

My partner stood back and smiled as he watched me run from store to store…gazing in all the windows.  He told me later that the only thing missing was the broom…otherwise, I was flying on my own.  We went on the Gringott’s ride, we wondered through the shops.  We stepped into the line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Even with the children in line, there seemed to be a type of reverence as we stood there.  We were ushered into the heart of the shop and an older woman was chosen for the wand ceremony.  Her excitement could hardly be contained as the birch wand with the dragon’s heart string chose her.  Then as we were taken into the purchasing area, I chose Sirius Black’s wand…interactive of course.

I made my purchase and my partner and I went to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  The traditional English fare and butterbeer had us stuffed to the gills.  As I looked at the stack of cauldrons beside me, Jay announced that he needed to use the facilities.  We walked over toward the restrooms and I wandered into the beastiary.  I walked outside to try my wand with the interactive windows and saw a little girl wildly waving her wand at the window.2015-03-10 12.49.57

 

I watched the little girl as she dropped her arms down by her side and her chin went to her chest.  I heard her say, “I guess I’m just not magical.”  It broke my heart.  I couldn’t stand the thought of someone whose heart was so excited about all the magic around her (whether it is an illusion or real) thinking that there was no magic in her at all.  I knelt down beside her and held her arm and wand toward the window.  I told her that all she needed to do was to picture the magic happening with all she had.  As she made the motion toward the window, the bird stopped singing and toads began to move.  Her eyes lit up and she yelled out, “I do have it!  I do have magic!”  Her mother came up to me a moment later and told me that she really appreciated the kindness I had shown her daughter and that now even she believed there really was magic in the world.2015-03-10 17.42.35

The past few weeks have found me at Hogwart’s, Diagon Alley, and every part of the Magic Kingdom.  I have seen children and adult’s alike excited by the very thought of magic being real.  At the end of the day, I was able to hold on to that excitement because magick encompasses every area of my life.  It swirls around me and within me on a daily basis.  Many people have asked me why I spell magick with a ‘k.’  A friend posted something on Facebook that said it best:magick

 

 Didn’t we all grow up entranced by the illusion?  Isn’t that what first brought us to magick in the first place?  That thought…that hope….that somehow, someway….it all has to be real…isn’t that what motivated us to find our way to the Craft.

To others we may seem odd…eccentric.  After all, we believe in spells and energies and potions and all manner of magickal beings.  So what?  I am who I am.  I am a witch.2015-03-28 22.04.08

 

Last night, I fell asleep in the woods.  I went to the woods after a stressful day at work.  I left my cell phone and anything else that might remind me of the modern world behind.  I wrapped myself in my cloak and made my way to that familiar spot in the woods.  I dug out a hole and surrounded it with stones and built a small fire.  I stared at the sky and felt the cold ground beneath me as I called out to the elements and the goddess to clear my mind and awaken me to the sounds of the earth around me.  I remember starting to count the stars.  I awoke at midnight with the fire completely gone and a chill to my bones….but I was relaxed.  It was as if the earth herself soaked up the stress of the day and pushed her own strength into me.

I woke up early this morning to go hiking at Red Top Mountain State Park.  I went with friends and we took a picnic lunch.  There was no agenda….just a need to escape into nature and re-connect.  We walked, we laughed, we absorbed earth, wind, and water energy….we soaked up the fire energy of the sun.  For today…magick rushed around us.  We could all feel it sweep the week away and usher in renewal.  2015-03-28 11.54.30 HDR

 

We got back to the condo and our bodies called for rest.  We each snuggled under blankets and let our minds be captured by dreams.  I dreamed of the magick of the moon…the stars…simple things that hold far more magick than they are credited for.  Sometimes letting ourselves be swept away in the magick of those simple things is some of the most powerful magick around.2015-03-28 22.55.22

 

Blessings my dear friends.  Blessings.

Don’t Make Eye Contact

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I remember growing up around my mom…she lived in a state of constant worry and a state of constant fear.  She moved away from it more as we grew older, but I remember when we were younger how afraid she was of everything.  She was afraid of thunder.  She was afraid of bugs.  She was afraid that we would wander too far from the house.  She was afraid.

The thing about people who live in fear is that many times that fear tries to transfer to the people that live with them.  The one phrase that I remember my mom using constantly was, “Don’t make eye contact.”  Now there were particular people or groups of people this was directed toward…strangers, in particular, but also those who others categorized as mentally challenged…homeless people and stray animals.AP_romanian_stray_dogs_jef_130913_16x9_992

 

My mom never felt comfortable around any of those things.  It makes me wonder what kind of life my mom had growing up….so much fear.  As you can imagine, many of my mom’s fears began to take root in my heart as I grew up surrounded by them.  I remember a group of mentally challenged teens who attended my elementary school….I would see them coming and I could feel my whole body go rigid.  I would silently pray that they would stay far from me.  I remember as a youngster walking toward a stray dog that came into our yard and hearing my mother screech from the front porch, “Don’t touch that dog! It might have the mange!”  Well, at that time, I didn’t know what ‘the mange’ was, but I was sure I didn’t want it.  So I ran. It was then that I started nurturing the beginnings of a fear of dogs.  Finally, I remember my mother talking about ‘Crazy Mary’ the local homeless woman.  My mother had heard stories of how Mary went crazy because she had always wanted children.  When she miscarried after her first and only pregnancy, it drove her to the depths of insanity and she walked the streets looking for a child to call her own.

I carried each of these fears with me through grade school, high school and even part of college.  When I passed the homeless…my mother’s voice would ring clear, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I worked at a grocery chain and the adults from the local group home came in to shop, I made a bee-line for the stock room with my mother’s voice ringing in my ears, “Don’t make eye contact.”  When I met my friend Susan who worked with rescue animals and finally saw what ‘the mange’ looked like, my mother’s words haunted me, “Don’t make eye contact.”

I have never been the type of person who wanted to be limited by anything, most of all, myself…so I made it a point to put myself into situations where I had to address those fears.  The first fear I addressed was the fear of those that others called mentally challenged.  When I was in bible school in Knoxville, TN back in the days of Moses, I had to work to be able to afford school.  I worked full time evenings in a bookstore, but on weekends I worked at a facility for adults with learning, mental and physical challenges.

My first five minutes in that facility were pure hell for me.  I broke out in cold sweats and shook continually.  My biggest fear was that someone would actually talk to me.  My first duties were to help clean a fellow up after his meal.  He laughed and smiled at me the whole time.  It made me feel ashamed of the fear I had lived with for so many years.  I looked in his eyes and I saw joy…pure elation that someone was taking the time to help him.  He smiled even bigger.  I could feel a tear loose itself from my eye and I felt his hand wipe at my face.  He told me, “No cry….happy…happy.”  He laughed out loud and I joined him.

I turned around and there was a woman in her forties standing almost close enough to me to be my shadow.  “I love you!”  The worker with me told me quietly, “That’s her thing.  She loves everybody.  She will tell you 100 times in a few hours.” I smiled at her.  “I love you!” I was perplexed.  I leaned in and said, “I love you too.”  She looked me eye to eye and quietly whispered, “For real?”  I whispered back, “Yes, for real.”  She smiled from ear to ear.  That was the only time she asked me that night…but we made it a point to say it once a day each time we saw each other.

I often find it amazing…the places and situations I have found myself in.  This young fellow who was scared to death of getting ‘the mange’ moved to Atlanta and the only job he could find was a job at a veterinary clinic.  I learned all about mange and what would treat it.  I learned about animal handling and treatment.  I could do the job in my sleep. Five years into the job, the opportunity came for me to work with a mobile vet.  We went from house to house treating and working with pets and then one of her pets became gravely ill.  There was fluid on the heart and it would only get worse.  She was encouraged to bring him in and ‘put him to sleep’ when it was too much of a struggle for him.  Instead, she decided that it would need to happen at home surrounded by his loved ones.  She asked if I would do it for her.  I looked into that sweet dogs eyes as I introduced the needle into his vein.  I watched through tears as the spirit of life swept from him and I laid his head on his paws.

This morning I had volunteered to go with a work group to deliver clothing to the homeless.  Collections had been made for weeks and we stood in groups next to tables full of coats and sweatshirts and pants separated by size.2015-02-28 11.29.07

My first encounter with the homeless was in New York City in 1985.  I was being shown around the city by a roommate who had been living there six months longer than I had.  I was informed that you didn’t touch the pigeons and you didn’t make eye contact with the homeless. “They are like rats (the pigeons and the homeless).  You can’t be nice to them…they follow you everywhere.”

Years later, when I was working in the ministry, I  was asked to be a part of a homeless ministry who cooked breakfast and served it underneath the bridge in Charlotte, NC.  I got to know and became friends with many of the people who gathered under that bridge to eat and hear me sing and teach. As I talked to one fellow, I found out that he was my age and he had missed one paycheck.  Not so different from me after all….one paycheck.

This morning as I foraged through stacks on tables and shifted clothes.  I hear some of the others talking to people coming through the line.  I hear a familiar laugh and a scruffy bark.  I turn around and I make eye contact with the Green Wizard.  He is there in need of a sweatshirt and a blanket.  I smile at him and he smiles back.  I introduce him to those around me as my friend…not as ‘a homeless person I know.’eyes

 

It’s funny…over the years…the most powerful magick I have ever found were in the things of which my mother was most afraid.  I found magick in the eyes of those whose mind danced differently than my own…I found magick in the eyes of animals whose hearts were far purer than my own…I found magick in the eyes of those who use the earth as their pillow and the stars as their nightlight.  I am far richer for it.

Blessed Be!

Living Life Fearlessly

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Many of you don’t know that for the past twelve weeks, I have been a part of an internship program at work….no, not the animal clinic.  I quit there back in January.  The internship program I have been in has encompassed things I never thought I could or would be able to do.  Since the end of January, I have studied software systems, taken tests, jumped through hoops, and been way more outgoing than I normally am.  I have had to apply a discipline to my work and home life that I have not accessed since college.  I have had to balance a strenuous work schedule laced with courses and classes and tests.  The team started with many people who thought they might be able to ‘fake’ themselves through the program…many young men and women who thought they could get through on youth alone.  There are now two of us…only two interviewing now for permanent positions.

I sat down with my work mentor this week in preparation for the interviews and asked her to tell me what my strongest quality is.  She looked me in the eyes and point blank said, “You are fearless.  Not a careless, flippant fearless, but the type of fearless that researches and studies and then dives in…,most importantly, you dive in.”

Honestly, I have always been sort of a risk-taker.  The day after high school graduation found me on a bus bound for New York City to pursue an acting and singing career on the Broadway stage.  I was on a plane to Ecuador the day after 9/11.  I moved to Tennessee alone to pursue the ministry.  I bungee jumped off of a tower at Myrtle Beach.  There isn’t much I am not willing to try.  I even want to go skydiving on my 50th birthday.bungee

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t live my life stupidly.  When I do something, it is planned out, researched and studied.  I knew before I bungee jumped that, when I told the guys my weight, I needed to be as brutally honest as I could be.  The weight determines the strength of the bungees.

In my opinion, fearless doesn’t mean the absence of fear…it means you are willing to rise to the challenge.  It may mean that you need to lean a little more on the strength of others to help carry you through the difficult parts of the journey.  Fearless doesn’t mean that common sense and planning go out the window.  It just means you fear less.

Through this time, I have had to pull on resources I had forgotten I had.  I had to reach down inside of myself and rely on strengths that I had long since buried.  I had to dig down and remember that I am truly a smart person.  I had to remember that I am tenacious.  I had to remember that I do not give up.  I had to pull on the strength of teacher wolf to take in all the information that was being fed to me by the buckets…and you know what?  I did it.

This morning was a half damp kind of morning here in the condo complex.  I dragged myself out of bed at 7am.  I put the dog’s food in their bowls.  I fed the cats.  I got Friz harnessed up and ready to go.  I put my backpack on like I have hundreds of other mornings and I stumbled out the door…still half asleep.

I stumbled toward the woods with a little blue chihuahua staring at me like I was drunk and might fall on him.  We got to the edge and there stands my dear friend, the Green Wizard.  He is sitting in the grass, Calliope lying next to him and in his arms, he has an orange and white stray cat that I have seen wondering the property.  Everyone has tried to pet him, but no one has been successful until this morning.

The Green Wizard looks up at me and smiles a full and welcoming smile.  He softly said, “You are going to get tired of me.”  I told him that I didn’t think that was going to happen.  In his next breath, he reminded me that everything happens only for a season and we never know how long that season may last.  I know that he is preparing me for his next departure which, I have a feeling, will last for longer than I am comfortable thinking about.

As I emptied my backpack of the skulls and candles and herbs and crystals, he held certain ones and admired them.  He seemed to have a particular connection with the green tiger’s eye sphere that I have, so I told him to take it.  He seemed deeply touched.  As I lit the candles, he looked me in the eyes and told me, “Weathered Wiseman, you are coming into your season of prosperity.  Your magick, your spirit, your health, your work….everything that you touch will prosper.  As it comes to you, you must be willing to take it by the hand.  No fear….you must be willing to embrace all the blessings that will pursue you.  Your magick is going to explode around you…..it will touch areas of your life you never thought it could.”

My magick will explode, huh?tumblr_lvnpjlOxh81r3royqo1_500

I am so ready.  We think about magick touching every area of our lives….but there are so many areas that we hold onto.  Areas that we want to keep ‘protected.’

This week, I have been busy making wands and athames…washing and bleaching bones, combing through fur.  I want to find a way of making the magick that I hold inside of myself available to others.  The magick that I pour into the tools that I make….the time spent consecrating the tools under the appropriate moonlight…the blood and sweat that are poured into (and onto) those tools are parts of the process that I don’t take lightly and I don’t compromise on.  The tools range from rustic to crude, but they are put together with purpose and intent.  I started this process with an athame I made for myself…made from a humanely harvested wolf femur and fur and a recycled dagger blade.  It holds more magick than I can describe to you in this post.2014-05-06 17.05.50

 

I have those close to me who constantly pour their energy and magick into me.  I pour my energy and magick into them.  I expend a part of myself…daily, weekly, monthly.  When I give, I don’t do half-assed magick…just as they don’t do anything halfway.

There is a season coming.  I have been sitting on that egg…warming it…nurturing it for some time now.  This time, I have no qualms about saying, “It’s my turn!”

Blessed Be!

You Better Work It…

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I have been reading about the New Moon coming up on January 30th.  They call it the “Black Moon.”  It is the second New Moon in the month of January.  It is an omen of change and during this moon, hidden truths are brought to the surface.  It is in the midst of this “Black Moon” that I will be moving into another phase of my life.  I am leaving behind my work at the animal clinic and moving back into corporate work.

Am I sad in this transition?  Maybe I should be.  Am I?  No, not at all.  This is a time of celebration for me.  It is time to move past a time of oppression and stagnancy into a time of joy and forward movement.  This change has been a long time in coming.  I have done ritual after ritual devoted to this change…..friends have dedicated ritual after ritual to the same purpose.  It has not been an easy road, but finally I am able to see the manifestation of months and months of magick and hard work.

Work?  Yes, work.  Any real witch will tell you that magick takes work….and dedication….and purpose.  Most folks are used to seeing what is represented on television as far as the Craft goes.  While I love the fantasy that most of those shows represent….the Samantha Stevens, the Endoras, the Charmed Ones, and the newer Witches of East End….we all know that instant gratification is a rarity in the Craft.

I remember the first “spell” I ever cast….*note I used cast here and not ‘the first spell I ever worked.’  Being a new witchling, I stood in front of my altar and waved my hands like a fool and uttered something that I thought was magickal  and waited to see the puff of smoke and the explosion of glitter….or even the little ‘tinkle, tinkle’ sound I heard on “Bewitched” whenever a spell was cast.  Nothing.  I was devastated.  Of course, I had not studied under anyone or with anyone…I knew nothing about the elements, directions, herbs, intention….not one thing.  I only knew what I had seen on television.  All I could hear in my head was the sounds of large tongues blowing raspberries.

Now some folks would have probably given up after casting with no sparks, bells or whistles.  Not me.  I was determined to find out why it didn’t work.  I began to devour books on the Craft.  Some of the first ones I got my hands on were Scott Cunningham’s books.  I was transported to a world of magick I had no idea existed.  Then one day, when I was browsing in the ‘occult’ section at a local bookstore, I was invited to a local coven to take part in their program for initiates.  I enjoyed much of the teachings and the natural setting.  I settled in there for a time and then realized that the path they were on wasn’t the path calling to me.

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That was the one thing that I enjoyed so much about the Craft.  There was no one path for everyone.  There were so many directions one could pursue.  No matter which path I was interested in, I found that it still entailed work.  There were still so many things to learn….how to send energy without depleting your own energy stores…how to charge crystals, candles, etc…how to pour yourself into the workings of the magick and how to ground yourself before, during and after so that you didn’t become one big ole quivery jello witch.

The biggest things that I personally had to learn was how to listen to and utilize and trust my intuition  and how to purpose my own intent.  I compare it to a baby learning how to talk.  It surfaced on its own….at first it was clumsy and broken and hard to understand, but the more I practiced; the more I worked….it flowed better…it became second nature.  I still work and practice on a daily basis….there is no room for laziness.

As I continued to grow in the Craft, there were other adventures that were opened to me.  I had always heard other witches refer to spirit animals.  I thought that it was a wonderful thought….having the spirits of animals at your beck and call.  Again, I got every book I could find on the subject and read and re-read.  I talked to my grandma about the Native approach to spirit animals…then I began the work….the constant vigil of observation, the energy work.  I will never forget the day the first manifestation came.  I was lying in the dirt…my mind lost in thought about my spirit animal.  I closed my eyes and focused my energy.  It was in that moment that I heard that lovely, melodic scream of the crow.  I looked up and there she perched on an old fence post.  In that same week, wolf came to me in my dreams….again, after a time of focus and intent.   The work had been worth the end result.

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This morning, I went to the woods.  This morning, there was no little blue chihuahua to be seen…he was allowed to sleep in.  This morning, no calico kitten showed up.  In my backpack were the usual tools…my skulls, candles, incense, matches.  This morning, more offerings were carried than normal.  This morning was a morning of gratitude.  The directions were called upon….the elements invited…Mama Crow and Wolf took their places.  Candles were lit, incense was burned.  Notes of gratitude and adoration were written on flying paper to all involved in the magick that was manifested.  The notes were carefully twisted and set on fire.  I watched as they flew into the air and disintegrated into the breeze….the wind carrying the magick forth.  I cracked an egg onto the ground for the animal spirits to devour.  I poured milk, honey and wine into the earth in gratitude to elementals and any other spirits involved.  For the lady herself, a small bouquet of dried flowers….grain and corn rounded out the offerings for the Horned One.

Was the work finished?  Only for this phase of the magick….it continues every day.  I have found through my studies and experiences that magick is a living being.  It is constantly moving and changing…just as we should be.  So it is because of magick that a 47 year old witch is now embarking on a brand new adventure.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Blessed Be!