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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Getting Over Yourself and Coming Clean

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Tonight, I was making Shepherd’s Pie for my partner and roommate.  As I stood at the cutting board just chopping away at the onion, I felt the knife slice through the tip of my thumb.  I cringed…I don’t do well with human blood in general…or pain.  My first reaction was to run to the bathroom and grab the bottle of hydrogen peroxide (a leftover from my mother).  I stood over the sink and poured it over my thumb, screeching like a banshee from the burn.  I wasn’t thinking about the pain that would come….all I could think of was cleaning the wound.  I watched the peroxide bubble around the cut and after watching the bleeding stop, I brushed NuSkin over it.  Again, I screamed because of the burn.

I realized that lately life has been about cleaning out the grime of the past, and moving forward.  Has it been painful? Quite. I have made some decisions lately that haven’t been so popular with those around me, but they are things that I have had to do for myself.

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For the past few months, I have been a part of a lifestyle change.  I have detoxed, I have exercised, I have eaten more fruits and vegetables than I have ever eaten.  I have been working with our company’s nutritionist and her goals for me are to resolve the issues I have been dealing with for ages.  Through the work done, I am no longer snoring, my reflux is gone…many positive changes are happening.  The most significant is weight loss.  When I started the program, I was at my heaviest….343 pounds.  My doctor offered encouragement as we went through the physical for the program.  “You are the healthiest obese person I have ever seen.”  Yes….this offered so much hope.

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When we started the program, we took before pictures.  With this, you are forced to face yourself with a constant reminder of where you started.  I keep this picture of my gut on the fridge, on my computer at work, and on the bathroom mirror.  The program lasts a year and as we enter a new step, we dig into the reasons that we gained the weight to begin with.  I have shared many of the processes that I have gone through over the past months here in the blog.

I have cut out refined sugars, most of my caffeine (I have to have coffee every so often), and as of late, my nutritionist has asked me to stop eating meat products for a bit.  I am on a fruit and vegetable diet for almost two weeks now.

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Living on just fruits and vegetables and vegan protein has been a challenge to say the least, but I do have to say that my body does feel better.  I feel cleaner….but there are some days that I would cut a bitch just for a porkchop.  As a result of this program, I have lost 45 pounds to date.  I have been learning how to deal with the stresses of life by working out and pursuing new ventures.  I go tomorrow to start an archery class…I have also taken wood-carving classes.  If I keep it up, I may truly become a renaissance man.

I have also made more of an effort to spend more time outside.  Summertime in Georgia can tend to make this a bit challenging.  I have had to learn that when I want the solitude and calm and renewing, that I need to go out really early or really late.  I have been exploring parts of Atlanta that I never knew existed.  I have hiked Red Top Mountain.  I have found small wooded parks and small man-made lakes or creeks to enjoy.

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I have been trying lately to find local stables where I can go riding.  There is nothing more freeing than moving through life on the back of a horse.  When you are moving with that horse energy, it is the closest I can imagine to flying.

As the photo earlier stated, I have been on a complete detox…Spirit, mind and body.  I am realizing that there is so much garbage that I allow to become a part of my life.  I have set aside the drama of others.  This is a feat within itself….especially in this time of constant accessibility.  I have had to learn to put my phone down, to navigate Facebook gingerly, and to leave television almost completely out of the picture.  Isolation?  Hardly.  If I lived in the days of old, I would move into an old cottage in the woods…only me and the animals…that would be isolation.

Last night, I settled into one of the pieces of furniture in the courtyard.  Just me, the moon, the stars.  My mind felt awake…my body felt alive.  I stared into the darkness above me dotted with diamond-like bursts of pure energy.  I could hear the cicadas singing in my ears.  It was in that moment that it felt as if the earth and her sister elements were singing their own spells over me.  The air smelled of the lemon and eucalyptus oil that I use to repel bugs…citrus-y and bright.  My roommate knew I was out there and opened the door to let Friz out.  I lifted him into my lap and we lay curled up on that glider as the moon washed over us.

I have a blue and a green andara crystal that I carried outside with me.  The blue is said to bring powerful connection with the celestial realms.  The green is said to hold the energy of magick.  It brings forth vision and manifestation and holds ancient knowledge.  It awakens the wisdom of the grandmothers.  As I sat there holding them, I meditated on the energies they held.  I pulled that energy into myself and into my little blue chihuahua.  As I closed my eyes, I could hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear.  No words….just a soft humming.  It was the way it used to be when I would curl up in her lap as a child and she would sing as I drifted off to sleep.

I started to fade into a peaceful, wonderful, magickal sleep and could hear Friz softly snoring in my lap.  In my dreams, I traveled to beautiful places…places I had never been to…places that only exist in dreams.  I could feel the energy of each destination enveloping me…feeding my spirit, renewing my mind.  Each place was similar but different at the same time.  With each new dream, I became strongly aware of myself and my breath.  This was the first time in so long that I was able to escape the confines of my own mind, thoughts, and feelings.  It was a feeling of being aware that there was newness around and coming toward me…almost like learning to walk again.  I received a vision of Friz as a puppy…his eyes just opening…the brightness…learning to adjust to seeing things for the first time.

As hot as it was outside, I woke up to a wonderful cooling breeze.  Friz yawned as he looked up at me…aware that we had just shared something that only magick can give.  I am constantly amazed by those that think that magick can only take place in ritual or ceremony….I am learning that if you open yourself to the possibilities, that magick will show itself in every aspect of your life.

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Society as a whole has learned to exist….surviving from one crisis to the next.  I refuse to live my life like that.  Yes, there are requirements that life has demanded, but I will not squelch that which needs to be wild, alive, and moving.

Maybe what I am feeling comes with maturity, but I am unwilling to compromise all that has risen up in me.  I grow weary of battling the attitudes of others.  Some people just seem to live their lives to piss and moan…never able to find peace with themselves and constantly driven by the drama that others and circumstances seem to throw at them.  I am learning something powerful….Silence is a powerful thing.  Most people don’t take advantage of it enough.  Silence allows us to listen to spirit.

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If I told you that you had inside of you, all the magick you would ever receive, what would you say?  Most would argue with me.  Most would take it as a challenge to their potential.  I tell you though,  you do have all the magick you will ever need….right there within your reach.  We just tend to let everything else get in the way of accessing it.  It is all a matter of getting past ourselves….letting ourselves embrace that magick.  To be blunt for just a moment….too many of us are too busy bitching and whining to look for it…or to let it surface.  I can be the same way.  Sometimes it is far too easy to complain than just get off of our broadest part and do it.  Maybe some of us just need to get a little more gumption about us.

I refuse to live my life rolling over and playing dead.

Blessed Be!

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The Magick of a K.I.S.S.

As the Fourth of July approaches, I know that most would expect me to climb on my rainbow colored pedestal and expound on the events of the past couple of days.  While marriage equality is near and dear to my heart, I feel that Facebook and other media forms have afforded equality more justice than I could ever deliver.

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My dear friend Maluna said it best:

Blessings and love to everyone. I’m a simple person. I look at everyone equally. I have lived many years keeping my views to myself….it’s better than arguing….being told what to think…when I walk into a voting booth…it’s my business…my beliefs and my personal contribution to society. I choose my friends for the goodness in their hearts…nothing more. My page looks fluffy to some…cats…flowers….a healthy dose of sarcasm to balance. Recently I’ve seen many pull away from Facebook…too much negativity….I choose to scroll by the negative…and keep my page on a positive note. I’ve said before, many times, I don’t care who you love…just simply love and respect your partner. Same-sex marriages are rights and laws….now you can get divorced and do battle…and lawyers will make money off you all too. (sarcasm inserted here)….the people of this country seem to take a step forward for rights….and step back for the controversy over a flag and what it stands for. Face it…people are just hell bent on fighting…which leads me back to my gardens…and cats…and loving everyone…and keeping my opinions to myself…and being kind. Am I Suzyfuckinsunshine? No. I’m simple. I’m me. And I’m strong in my convictions. And I do change this world. BB

I have come to the conclusion over the past week that life really isn’t all that hard.  It is people who make it hard.  In days of old, Vikings, Celts, Native Americans, had wars.  These wars were for land, livestock, and freedom.  Now we create our own wars.  Most of the day to day wars are a result of our own bruised egos.  It is as my dear friend said so eloquently…”People are just hell bent on fighting.”

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Maluna is one of the most genuine people I have ever known.  She lives for her gardens, her cats, and most importantly…love.  She loves with complete abandon.  She invests her heart and soul into people and the magick that comes with them.  She is honest to a fault and takes you at face value.  If that is what she means by simple…then I want to be simple.

I have watched her live her life.  She is one of the few genuine people I know.  She is a witch who completely believes in “Do no harm, but take no shit.”  She has been a true friend to me.  Sending praise for the good things I accomplish, but she has also read me faster than a set of Cliff Notes.

There has been many a moonlit night that Maluna and I meet astrally in her gardens or my courtyard, or in the woods outside of our condo.  Our spirits discuss those things that matter most to us. We commune with nature and the elements.  I dare say that she has as much of a love for Friz as I do…and I feel the same about her cats…and her skunk friends that visited her last year.  The one thing that I have tried and am continually trying to learn from Maluna, is to live a simple life.  She has taught me to pull on the experience of past lives and to trust the heart of the ancients within me.  She has taught me that the spirit is as old as the universe herself, but that the same spirit has no boundaries and cannot be confined.  She has encouraged me to do things I never thought I would be able to do.

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I went to the woods this morning before sunrise.  There was a coolness to the air.  The sky was spitting mist intermittently.  That little blue chihuahua walked beside me the whole way.  His leg is getting stronger with each walk.  In my backpack I have honeysuckle candles, my crow skull, matches and spell paper. I also carried a thermos of green tea and snacks for both of us…plus a bottle of water for Friz.  I had written mini-spells on the papers, hopes, poured all the magick I had in me into those small pieces of paper.  I sat down on the ground, lit the candles and after calling to the directions and elements, I lit each slip of paper with the flame from the candle.  Friz loved watching the pieces fly up and spark as they disappeared.

I pulled out his water and biscuits and watched him contentedly enjoy each morsel, while I nibbled on whole grain toast and yogurt.  He lapped at his water and then decided to christen one of the nearby trees.  I watched him balance himself on his stronger leg.  He is such a character.  I drank my tea and lay back against another tree.  I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. I could smell the dampness of the ground…the moss surrounding the trees seemed more alive with the mist than I had ever seen it.

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Friz had joined me and was lying stock still at my side.  There was silence.  It was as if even the birds realized that this was a sacred moment.  We were still and silent for a while.  Our spirits did the communicating…nothing else was needed.  Then the silence was broken by the lonely sound of Friz leaning back baying….”Bowwoooooooo.”  Heart of a wolf, that one.  You can’t make magick any simpler than that….and trust me, it was pure magick.  We lounged on the floor of the woods a while longer, communing with the trees, birds, bugs…anything sent our way.  Friz always gets a good nap in his bed beside the sofa after a trip to the woods.

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After my errands tonight, Friz and I headed out into the courtyard.  I took a comfortable blanket and a box fan.  We lay side by side with the fan blowing over us….not exactly completely back-to-nature, but it worked.  As we lay there looking at the moon, stars, and clouds, I could hear the laughter of the fae ringing in my ears.  Friz and I both drifted off to sleep…lulled into the magickal simplicity of everything and nothing all at once.

I rest in the simplicity of living in that moment.  In that moment, there is nothing but the moon, stars, me and my dog.

Blessed Be!

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With the Heart of the Ancients

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I have been daydreaming a lot this week…more than normal. I find myself swept off to faraway lands full of forests and animals. It also seems that everyone I have been around this week has eaten a double portion of Bitchy Puddin’. In the midst of all the turmoil brewing around me, I have tried to drift away as often as possible. I have also been reading much about recognizing whether one has an old soul or not.  Apparently the Characteristics, according to one article written by Richard Crown, are as follows:

1.  You’re curious about whether or not you’re an old soul. Just the thought that you may be one strikes a chord somewhere deep inside of you.

2.  You enjoy spending time alone… a lot of it. For you, being alone is not lonely. You feel much more comfortable with your own company than by being surrounded by other, less mature souls engaged in frivolous pursuits.

3.  You tend to see the deeper meaning in every situation you encounter. You understand clearly that every event happens for a reason, that there are powerful forces at work in our lives that are not readily apparent.

4.  You make a living in an old-fashioned or artistic way. Maybe you deal in antiques or handmade artifacts or you’re an artist. Perhaps a traditional occupation like being a carpenter, farmer or a weaver appeals to you.

5.  Some of your friends are older or much younger than you, and you’re very comfortable with them. Age is not important in choosing your friends. Their level of maturity is.

6.  You enjoy being outdoors in natural surroundings. Time spent in the great outdoors in nature resets and recharges is you better than anything else.

7.  Your idea of a good read is something that stimulates your mind, provoking thought and self-examination. Spiritual books, history and philosophy are far from boring to you.

8.  You’re not interested in the National Enquirer, gossip and idle chat or football scores. You’re easily bored with popular TV and idle time wasters.

9.  You spend money on spiritual pursuits or helping others. You get more pleasure and satisfaction from spending money for a spiritual journey or meditation retreat, or on helping another person, than from buying the latest gadgets or indulging in expensive restaurants.

10.  People trust you and come to you for advice. Other people are not afraid to open their hearts to you and share their most intimate problems. They know they can trust you, confide in you and rely on your advice to help them make the best decisions.

I will admit that many of those things do describe how I am or how I feel, but I believe that there is something missing from those characteristics. I believe in the midst of all those things, there is longing…a yearning…a homesickness for certain places and certain time periods.

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I have found myself in that boat many times over the past week. I have found that when I close my eyes to rest or sleep, that visions and dreams come to me of a place long buried in my memories. I dream of an Irish countryside…of a modest hovel buried deep in the forest. There are people there that I recognize…people that I have heard stories of from my mother’s mother. A cousin, who has long since faded into family history sits at a primitive table…if I had to guess, I had made it with my own two hands. I am standing close to the fire preparing herbs and other ingredients gathered for the potion at hand. My face is furrowed with the etchings of a challenging life and my beard is scraggly, long and white. We laugh together as I speak over the pot in a language far from the butchered southern English I speak today. The brew is for one of his animals…staving off sickness. I have had this dream…this vision over and over this week.

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I have also dreamed of a woodland village deep inside the hills of North Carolina. In this vision, I am sitting in the center of a shelter made of grasses and animal skins. I listen intently as one of the young men of the village asks me for guidance as he prepares for a hunt for food. I close my eyes and I can smell the smoke of fire close by. I can feel the earth beneath me as I listen to what the spirits might tell me that could be useful for this young man.

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The dreams I have had have seemed more real to me than the reality that has manifested itself around me. With each dream…each vision…I awake with a deep yearning, a hunger to be back there. I have walked through each day with a dull ache in my chest….feeling as if had left something behind. In each dream, there is one spirit that I recognize no matter what form he may be. It is the spirit that resides inside my little blue chihuahua. In the vision of the forest cunning man, his spirit shows itself to me in the form of a fox that has taken up residence with me. In the vision of the old shaman…the Didanawisgi, I recognized his spirit in the body of the young man seeking guidance. He has been a part of many lives for me…either as familiar, charge, or teacher.

As my mind has circled this week around these visions, I am reminded of the movie “Somewhere In Time” starring Christoper Reeve and Jane Seymour…lovers, friends whose relationship transcended the boundaries of time. I can easily relate to the feeling that Reeve felt at the end as leaving the past became harder and harder. I found myself dwelling on these places…on these times. I found myself yearning for the person that peered back at me through that portal. I found myself yearning for the land around me…the coolness of the woods around me.

It is funny…as I grow older, these dreams/visions become more frequent….stronger. In these dreams, there is always a life lesson for me. Deep in that Irish forest, there is the lesson that we must always take care…protect those things we were given to keep watch over…whether it be our animals, children, family. Inside that shelter in the midst of the Cherokee village, I am taught that bravery is not something that comes to one automatically. It must be learned…it must be nurtured. I have awakened with my joints and muscles sore…as though I am older than I am, but their recovery is fast. I have also found myself looking deeper into the soul of that little blue chihuahua.

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We are told that we should train our pets…teach them to obey. But it is the soul of that little dog that teaches me patience, endurance, strength. I have watched him move in pain this week without once wincing. I have seen him show joy no matter how badly he hurt. He has listened and quietly sat with me this week with no judgment. I dare say that I have so much more to learn from him.

I lost a dear friend last weekend. His wife died almost a year ago to the day. She was the first person I came out to…the first person that I made my heart the most vulnerable toward. I spoke to him two days before he passed. Many were praying for healing…many were cursing their gods for taking him too soon. Sometimes the greatest healing takes place in the transition from one plane to another…and now he is able to walk side by side with the love of his life. I did learn something invaluable from him…find the joy in everything. Even as he spoke to me that one last time, he said to me, “I am so happy.” “Why?” I asked. “I get to be with Donna again. I have missed her so much!”

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Yes, I am an old soul. Yes, I long for the times that are embedded in my mind, heart, and subconscious. …but I have so much to do here. There are so many people depending on me that I haven’t even met yet. This life prepares me for the next. I take the lessons I have learned and the ones I have taught into the lives that follow this one. I am sure I will encounter some of you in that journey. There is one thing for sure, though, there is a little blue chihuahua that is walking beside me in each life I transition from and to.

I only hope I prove myself as faithful to him as he has shown himself to me.

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Blessed Be!

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!

There’s Something About the Woods….

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You’ve changed.  You’re daring.

You’re different in the woods…

You’ve changed.  You’re thriving.

There’s something about the woods…

The past couple of weeks have been challenging around here.  I have had the flu, an upper respiratory infection, and a blocked salivary gland.  In that time, I have worked, I have traveled, and had the opportunity for far more activity than rest.

Friday, my body required me  to pause long enough to have to be checked out.  I woke up Friday with the left side of my face swollen so big that it actually scared me.  There was a tremendous amount of heat coming from it.  I texted my boss and headed to my doctor.  He looked at my jaw and put his fingers all in my mouth and told me that he was sending me to Emory for a CAT Scan and Kidney bloodwork.  I looked down at  the prescription he gave me to hand them with his instructions.  The first words I read:  Cancer Check.  My heart sunk as I read and I called my roommate to see if he would go with me.

We got there and spent a huge amount of time waiting.  I remained patient, knowing that the flu season had officially started in Atlanta.  I watched as a little grandma across from me wept and whispered how much she hurt.

When I was finally ushered into one of the rooms, I endured the smacking of fingers against veins and listened to the nurses tell me what I hear all the time, “You don’t have much in there as far as veins.  I am going to have to use the back of your hands, legs, tops of your feet.”  They all seemed amazed at the amount of swelling in my jaw and neck. “That just happened overnight?!?”  I would nod and smile.

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After the CAT Scan and bloodwork, the doctor seemed certain it was a blocked salivary gland.  She prescribed antibiotics and lots of sour candy to get the saliva flowing.  I promised as I left that I would check in with my own doctor yesterday morning.

I followed through and went to my doctor yesterday.  He was surprised that the swelling had not reduced much.  He brought up the fact that there had been a resurgence of mumps lately (which I, of course, had never had).  I went back home to my sour candy and antibiotics that would give an elephant diarrhea.

Late last night, I had been house bound as long as I could be.  I begged Jay for a trip to the movies.  We went to see “Into the Woods.”  This has always been one of my least favorite musicals, but I thought that it might make up for my having to be away from my woods for so long.

After the movie last night, I drifted to sleep.  In my dreams, I walked the woods over and over with Mama Crow and Wolf at my side.  I dreamed of Frisbee dancing alongside me.  Funny, I was never the baker, or Red Riding Hood, or Jack in my dreams….but always the witch…always searching for those perfect ingredients for healing.

I woke up this morning as the rain was still spitting and hissing through the clouds.  I couldn’t stay inside one more moment.  I had to be apart of the outdoors.  I had to be a part of that which I had been born of.  The elements called to me…I could hear the birds and the wind.  They longed to dance and play.

I pulled on my cloak and roused a wild little chihuahua.  We made our way through puddles and mud into a place where we feel more at home than on our own sofa.  I had brought a tarp and blanket.  I have found that after a good rain, it keeps us from being soaked but still allows us to feel the ground under our rumps.  As I closed my eyes and inhaled the smell of the damp outdoors, I could hear the sounds of nature around me.  I had the feeling that I would see the Green Wizard this morning…just one of those knowings that brew deep inside of you.

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Of course, his first words are, “Oh my gosh, what happened to your face?!”  I explained what had been going on.  He laughed and asked if I had dried arnica, dried calendula,  charcoal,  and lavender oil back at the condo.  I told him I did.  He told me to go get it.  He was already digging out red clay from an area behind us and getting handfuls of other things as I walked back to the condo.

I came back with the requested items and he added them to the clay mix.  After everything was mixed thoroughly, he plastered the muck behind my ear and down the side of my jaw and neck.  He told me to leave it on for a couple of hours and then I could wash it off.

Today was a singing day.  We would take turns breaking out in songs that just came to our heads…..some based in pure nonsense, some serious.  We took turns dancing with the dogs and the breeze.  When we collapsed on the blanket…laughing and breathing heavy…he smiled and told me that he could tell that the Weathered Wiseman needed time with himself in the woods and that he would give me my time.  Part of me wanted to object because we were having such a good time, but there was that part of me that knew he was more than right.  I rubbed Boomer under his chin as Friz did one more play pounce on him.  The Green Wizard picked Friz up and rubbed him on his neck and then put him down in my lap.

As I watched the Green Wizard walk off through the woods, I am sprawled out with that wild chihuahua bouncing on my belly.  I listened as Mama Crow crackled out her sounds of approval.  I speak out loud to her, “Mama Crow…what is coming?  Where will the magick take me?”  She laughed her course laugh again…in a way telling me that no matter what, I need to meet it with flexibility and all the magick I have in me.

I close my eyes and ponder over my dear friend Maluna’s words:

Cold, Wolf, Chaste, Ice Moon, Sunday at 11:53 pm. Looks like ice and cold are on tap here. Winter is about to descend on us with a vengeance….Things are bare…except for the evergreens, and the Ivy that surrounds our house….ever green…ever Goddess. It’s pouring rain…it will turn to ice tonight….the deadliest of the Water forms (in my book)…it shows no mercy. My thoughts and studies turn to Brigid….goddess of springs, holy wells…fire…and for me she represents the waters of our land right now. Old farmers are saying the water content is low….for the coming growth season we welcome the rains and snows…one of the reasons I don’t get depressed this time of year….what is happening now….will benefit the summer. This is the full moon before Imbolc….February 2nd…full Quickening Moon….the 3rd. I have a full month of workings before Imbolc….confused? It’s ok….this works for me…you’re welcome to try it if you like. I’ll work this Cold Moon for the abandoned and abused animals….wildlife has a tendency to survive Nature….or not….that is their law….humans and their cruelty kill more than the Elements…I provide as much food and shelter possible….opening myself to the fires of Brigid for warmth….protect them all…please. Deepen your winter journey….work to provide for others, help those in need, the elderly…use the warm and cleansing energies…If you focus positive energy on the future, understand what is happening in the coming months….(granted, we don’t LIKE it) but it’s much easier if you accept and acknowledge the flow of Nature. It’s challenging….and rewarding to work with the Elements….without Earth, Air, Fire, and Water….we would not be….I give thanks for their gifts…and survive. BB

That is the one thing about life and magick…it is always moving forward.  We have to choose whether we move with it or not.  Nature is always changing, as shown by the seasons.  The wheel doesn’t wait for us to catch up.

It is never more evident than when I am in the woods that I am a part of that.

Oh, and by the way, after two hours with that muddy salve on my neck, jaw and ear…the swelling had almost completely gone.

Blessed Be!2015-01-02 23.53.58

Everyone Has a Story…

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Our lives are a collection of stories.  Truths about who we are, what we believe, what we came from, how we struggle and how we are strong.  When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness–the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

–Dr. Brene Brown–The Hustle for Worthiness

This time of year, we are regaled with every type of story and legend that one could imagine.  From childhood, we are taught the legend of Santa Claus.  We are told of this large, big-hearted man dressed in a red suit who watches every move we make.  As witches and pagans, we tell and re-tell the stories of the Goddess and the Holly King and the return of the light when the solstice comes upon us.

As I walked through the stores at the mall this weekend, I saw stacks and stacks of storybooks.  There was everything from “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” to “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”  As I walked haggardly through the aisles, I started people watching.  I wondered what the stories were behind the faces of the people passing me by.

A dear friend of mine from back home came to mind.  She was a strong, determined woman.  You see, she had survived a concentration camp in Germany.  She was a singer in her younger days and when the Nazi regime took power, her mother made the daughters bleach their hair platinum so that they looked ‘more German.’  She traveled the German countryside by bicycle to avoid the SS soldiers.  One day, she had taken a route she had taken many times over.  She was stopped by a Nazi soldier. Her Jewish features would betray her to this soldier and she was sent to Dachau concentration camp.  Because of her musical background, she was used as entertainment for the soldiers.  At night, she would sing to soothe the nerves of the children imprisoned.  She would tell stories of how women who were able to hold on to one piece of treasured jewelry (including her own mother’s diamond) would swallow the jewelry first thing in the morning, then with the evening bowel movement, clean the jewelry and hold onto it for dear life as they slept.  This beautiful woman was and is a survivor.  She will tell you that is by faith and determination that she was spared.  It is the same determination that you see in every part of her life today.  It encompasses every fiber of her being.

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As I walked through the woods this morning in the wee hours, I thought of my own story.  Mine is a story entwined with many things that children should never be expected to endure, but it is also woven together with magick.  When I think back, even in the days of the sexual abuse, I can see where magick came to the rescue.  Even in those days, I was being taught by the Lord and Lady how to bring vision and intent to the front of my mind.

I was reminded that even in the midst of the deepest depressions, I was being guided by Crow magick.  I was being taught not to dwell inside myself for too long, but in those times of depression, to reach outside of myself and toward others. It was in the times of my darkest depressions that I was able to be the biggest help and guidance to others.

I watched Mama Crow this morning hopping from tree to tree.  I watched as Friz sought patches of non-existent sunshine as a soft drizzle fell on us. I lifted my face into the light mist and thought about the fact that the darkness was receding bit by bit and that the sun was returning.  I visualized the goddess rising from her sleep dressed all in white, silver and pale blue.  She stands before the Horned God and offers her hand to him.  They begin a slow waltz across the wooded floor carpeted with leaves and debris.  As the light becomes stronger, the dance becomes faster…raw and wild.  At the end of the dance, the maiden becomes heavy with child…ready for the next turn of the wheel.  Her story…always continuing…a circle…never truly ending.2014-12-20 18.26.16

My story continues…with every step I take…every breath.  I am the only one who can decide that the pages stay blank.  My book of shadows is filled with little reminders of who I am:  feathers and spells, things I have found on my journeys, pictures that I love…things that all tell my story.  To anyone else who ever found it….it would seem a book filled with useless trash…but it is me.  It shows that I, just like my dear friend who survived the concentration camp,  I am determined….I am a survivor.  Don’t we all have to escape from our own prisons daily?  Don’t we all have to swallow those things we find valuable sometimes for the sake of others?  Don’t we have to dig through crap on a daily basis?  My story swirls with magick.  It holds adventure and excitement….love, power and magickal creatures untold.2014-12-17 23.07.35

An old friend died this past week.  I got to know her when I was working on a Lakota reservation years ago.  She would tell me stories of stories that her mother had told her of life after the white man invaded the Lakota way of life.  She would talk of the strength of her people…she would talk of the power of the Great Spirit…and she always talked of where she was going tempered by the experiences of where she had been.  Her eyes sparkled…her spirit danced.  Oh how I loved the heart of this warrior…stronger than any male counterpart.  I can see her dancing across the summerlands…this warrior doesn’t carry a shield.  She carries with her the story that she created and engaging anyone willing to listen.

What is your story?  I would love to hear it?  Weave your magick for me.  My email is: weatheredwiseman@yahoo.com

Blessed Be!2014-12-20 18.28.16