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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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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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.

 

 

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!

Becoming the Keeper of Your Own Flame

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This morning was indeed a glorious morning.  I was up before the sky goes from midnight blue to sunrise pink.  I did something this morning that made my time in the woods seem like a spa day.  I packed a thermos full of dark rich espresso flavored with stevia and hazelnut creamer.  As I led Friz down that familiar path, I could feel the warmth of the thermos pressed against my back from my backpack.

As we settled down onto the ground, I pulled that warm to the touch thermos out of my backpack, and as I unscrewed the top, I could see the steam escape.  Wonderful scents of cream and hazelnut and strong coffee wafted toward my nostrils.  In that moment, I couldn’t resist joining that joyous dance which is coffee.

I believe that all things happen for a reason.  There is magick to be found in all situations.  As I was dusting my bookshelf this week, one particular book leapt from the shelf and onto the floor in front of me.  This book is titled, “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee.”  This wonderful book came to me through a dear friend in the fall of 2013.  As I leafed through the pages, I would find myself smiling or chuckling as I remembered when I first read this book by author J.V. Manning.

As I began to re-read the entries, I came across one that resonated deeply in my spirit.  This entry, “Only in Silence, Can You Hear,” speaks of taking a step back…removing yourself and allowing yourself to live life instead of allowing life to go on automatic pilot.  In that entry, the author herself was dealing with some storms in her own life…but think about it, even when storms aren’t surfacing, how often do we live on automatic pilot?

I know in my own life, each day has seemed to become more about rushing from one happening to another, barely taking time to breathe, let alone still my mind.  We are constantly bombarded with work issues, home issues…just the daily taking care of business.  Somewhere in that busy-ness, we are expected to nurture our own spirit, work splendid magickal workings, and take care of the needs of others around us.

As Imbolc approaches, I have been reading more about the goddess Brigid and who she is.  She is goddess of the land.  She is the goddess of peace. She is the goddess of the home fires.  She is the goddess of healing.  She is the goddess of contemplation.   All of these are things that I need to take to heart as the next part of winter moves upon us.  flamehand

For some reason….and I don’t know why…I always kind of kept it in the back of my head that it was the responsibility of the goddess to keep my fires “stoked,” so to speak.  I would continue running around like a chicken with my head cut off and scream up into the trees, “Stoke those fires within me, goddess!”  Then I would wonder why I would burn out faster than a Qtip soaked in pig fat.

This week has been a lesson in taking time.  Time for me…stopping and listening to the silence around me.  It is in that time that my spirit, my very soul is able to speak.  It is in that time that I am able to listen.  I have been using my sacred space that I created…to most it would seem like a large closet, but to me, it is a refuge.  A place where my heart can hear and listen.  It was in this time of separation and silence that  I was able to ask the goddess to show me the heart of someone whom I hadn’t given a proper chance.  It was in those moments of solitude and quiet that I was able to hear her tell me to look at this person’s heart…nothing more, nothing less.  It was in that silence that my heart opened to who this person truly is and the potential they hold.

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We have to take time to take care of our own spirits.  Life has become a whirlwind around us.  If we don’t make the time for those small, seemingly insignificant moments where we are allowed to sip on a cup of coffee and process life around us, then we have become machines.

This morning, as I leaned against that comfortable old tree with that little blue chihuahua in my lap and my hands wrapped around a thermos lid full of coffee, I closed my eyes…I listened as my own voice broke the silence…”Let me be real slow to anger…Let me speak blessings…Let me look on each day and each circumstance with gratitude…Let me always be honest to a fault, with myself first and then to others.  Let me be a vessel of peace and healing…Give me the strength to always fan the flame within my own spirit first and then to help to fan the flame within others.”

In that moment, I felt a warmth from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.  I don’t know if it was the coffee, the goddess…all I know is that at that moment, the hearth fires within my very soul were burning strong.

The Magick has come easier this week.  I have learned that sometimes it isn’t about creating the spell…it is about listening to everything around you and letting the spell create itself.  Magick is weaving itself around us all the time.  It is a living breathing thing that is constantly moving and constantly changing…and just waiting for us to catch up to it.  If we could only learn to stop trying to outrun it.

Blessed Be!

 

 

Here is the link if you are interested in a copy of “Random Thoughts n’ Lotsa Coffee”

http://www.amazon.com/Random-Thoughts-Lotsa-Coffee-Collection

 

Duct Tape, Sage and Healing the Spirit

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The one promise I made myself when I started this blog was to always share the truth surrounding my life.  I always wanted this blog to be a source of help and hope to others.  I made the decision that sometimes no matter how  badly it hurt, the truth should be shared.  So let’s go ahead and take the corner of that bandaid and start ripping.

It has seemed that every time I turn around lately, that something happens. If something good happens in my life, I have pretty much come to expect something bad to come as a counter.  I get a promotion….I go to the emergency room.  I get a raise…someone hits my car.  Nothing like the power of positive thinking, huh?

I remember when we were home at Christmas…my dad, normally a pretty jovial person, seemed sullen, moody, angry.  I tossed it off to the curmudgeon-ess that comes with old age.  Then last night, I was admonished by a dear friend after I had pissed and moaned a neighbor hitting my car and breaking off the driver’s side mirror.

Listen to yourself.  You hate.  You hated the neighbors upstairs…you hate this guy.  You are so filled with negative energy, you are filling yourself with sickness!!!!!  You have insurance?  It can be fixed.  You go against everything you practice by hating.  STOP IT NOW…LET IT OUT OF YOUR BODY…your mind is just consumed with drama and SHIT…nothing good is going to come to you if you keep it up.  I love you..and because I love you, I’m saying this…GET A FUCKING GRIP…I can’t send you anything because I see it just go all black around you.  I love you.  I do.  You are my heart and soul…but Morrigan will say the same thing if you listen to her…it’s coming from her.  I know you are tired…and no one can help you unless you help yourself first…that allows the flow to come in…CLEANSE YOURSELF…curdling is nasty…life sucks…but you just keep focusing on the positive and let the other fall away.

Sometimes a dose of the truth is like really bad cough medicine.  It tastes like cat piss going down, but you know eventually it is going to do you a world of good.hate

I turned off Facebook and pulled Google up on my Ipad.  I looked up the word ‘hate.’  Hatred is therefore a hardening of the mind and spirit. Hatred attaches you to the thing or person you hate.  This person or thing that you hate becomes a constant part of your thoughts and emotions.People-Tied-Together

I decided that it truly was time to dig down into the center of this festering purulent wound and start the healing.  I started with a cleansing bath (I am a shower person personally, so to even lower my substantial rump into a tub was a beginning).  I poured Dead Sea salt in first…to draw out impurities.  I then added sage leaves for cleansing, lavender oil for calming, eucalyptus oil for energizing, juniper berries for more cleansing and some spearmint bubble bath for suds.  I sank down into the bubbles and inhaled the different scents.BA13535

My mind raced back and forth over Maluna’s words.  Yes, my heart had become darkened by hatred.  Where did it come from?  I questioned whether or not it came from my parents….no, no sense in giving anyone else the blame.  I am the one who took it in like a homeless kitten.  I am the one who nurtured it and fed it and allowed it to grow.

I had called on the Morrigan so many times in my anger.   As I felt the suds against my legs, she reminded me that she was not a goddess of hatred and anger…not a goddess of getting even…but that she was a goddess of justice.  My brain raced over and over that definition of hatred that I found, “Hatred is therefore a hardening of the mind and spirit. Hatred attaches you to the thing or person you hate.”  My mind and my spirit had been blocked…I had been looking a foot in front of me the whole time…never seeing the whole picture.  All this time I had talked about how powerful and strong magick is, but I had been tucking pieces of it into small boxes all around me….only keeping that which I was comfortable with close to me.

As I write this, I read the words of another dear friend, Celtic Oaksoul, “Just be…take in the darkness and make it your own.  Relax and let the storm take its form outside, around you.  It will always subside.”  I just realized that I had forgotten the most important thing about life….All things are temporal!  Nothing lasts…things only happen for a season.  I have been treating it like it is the be all and end all.

I lay in the tub feeling the water become cold and my fingers and toes becoming pruny.  There is more to do than cleanse…I have to turn and walk away from the hate.  I have to make a conscious decision every day, every moment of my life to let go and move past the temporal.  My hate doesn’t do anything to the people I hate…they could care less.  I am the one that pays the price….it is my blood pressure, my health…my heart and my spirit  that will end up shriveling into a poisoned wad of anger, bitterness and hate.

Duct tape fixed my car mirror for the time being today.  It won’t, however, fix the holes I have put in my spirit.  Those are going to take time with the gods and goddesses…the innocent fur and feather people…the elements.

The ones we love aren’t there to always tell us how wonderful we are…sometimes they are there to dig out the painful and hurtful parts of us that we have become blinded to…and we are never too old for admonishment.

As I spent time in the woods this morning, I did a spell to help me to always look toward the good things with gratitude and not dwell on the bad things that happen.  I know this is a spell I will have to do more than once.  As Maluna said, “It isn’t about looking at the world with rose-colored glasses, but knowing what’s important…about focusing on the positive and letting the other fall away.

Sometimes that splinter doesn’t all come out at one time.splinter

 

Blessed Be!

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

I Finally…Finally Found Me

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This week was a whir of activity…as most weeks closer to the holidays tend to be.  Not only are we heading into our busy season at work, but the weekends are filled with being dragged from store to store by my partner, who has to buy Christmas gifts for his family…not only buy, but touch everything in the stores.  I spent alot of time today sitting on benches in the middle of malls with many, many cups of Starbucks in my hands.

This morning started by getting up early to take a very whiny mini dachshund to the vet for a 3 year rabies vaccine.  While we were sitting in the lobby, I heard the woman next to me complaining because now she couldn’t afford to get her new weave because the county was making her get her dog a rabies.  I felt sorry for that dog.  I looked at it and it looked as if it had resigned itself to its station in life long ago.  Afterward, we went to breakfast at a local diner where I got to listen to the couple beside us gripe about what a bother the holidays were.   After that….the mall.  Shoppers Visit The Westfield Shopping Centre In Stratford As Traders Are Boosted By The Increased Olympic Footfall

Most days it can be all too easy for me to live a hermit-like life…hiding myself from human-kind and socializing only with the four leggeds and the winged ones.  I was in a state of over stimulation listening to the children screaming to their mothers and fathers about what they wanted for Christmas.  Parents screamed back at the kids…it was an environment that oozed with the holiday spirit.

When we got home, one would think that time for relaxation would be at hand.  One would be wrong.  Of course, everything that had been left undone when we left this morning had to be done.  Dishes needed washing, laundry, baths for the dogs.  When this was all accomplished, I plopped down on the sofa…wrung out and useless like an old dishcloth.

As I prepared for a long lazy night of staring at the Christmas tree and drinking wine with Friz at my side, I felt her calling.  It was almost as if I was being wooed…my ears were being caressed with her song.  I had not spent time with the moon.  I leave my pajama pants on and grab a few things along with my backpack and cloak.  As I head out the door, I feel something against my leg.  How could I forget my little guard dog…my minuscule wolf.  I scoop him up and away we go.

Tonight we went deeper into the woods than we have ever been.  I felt the need to disappear from the world…if only for a small amount of time.  As the woods became less and less familiar, so did the noises surrounding me.  There were more scurrying noises…more wings beating against the air…more shifting in the trees…and howling in the distance.  I took my cues from Friz…ever at the alert, but never pushed to fear.  We sat down in a moist, leafy area.  I brought out the things I had brought with me…the crows skull, a new seed pod to use as a tealight holder, my crow claw ring, my Morrigan dreamcatcher that a friend made for me…and blackberry moonshine.  I needed to charge pieces of a wand I am creating and thought that blackberry moonshine and sweet bread would be a fitting offering.2014-12-06 22.20.38

 

My mind was racing (once again)…but this time to something that my dear friend Maluna and I were talking about.  This season, for her, is a thriving time…she glows in this turn of the wheel.  For me, it has always been a waning time…a time to conserve my energy…like the big bear who hibernates in the winter…I feel sleep and regrouping trying to overtake me. I have been reminded by Maluna this week that we are what we allow ourselves to become.  While peace and calm are good….this is a time of rebirth.  We get the opportunity to become new and improved.

I watched in the mall today as a teenager tried walking up an escalator the wrong way.  I watched him huff and puff as he struggled to get to the top…only to be brought right back to where he started.  He finally became frustrated and gave up.  As I sat in an unfamiliar part of the woods tonight, I pondered, “Am I doing the same thing?  Am I wasting energy on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things?”

I am wasting energy on things that don’t matter.  I have been guilty of letting the opinions of those who don’t really know me, bother me.  I have put far too much energy into neighbors who are far too stupid to realize how inconsiderate they are.  I am like a dog chasing its own tail.  Once I catch it and bite it, I have only hurt myself in the long run.English-Bulldog-on-back_shutterstock_58565428

I realized sitting under that glorious full moon tonight that far too often I have been wearing the Lord and Lady like the cloak on my back….putting them on and taking them off as it suited me.  I was almost haunted by the words that Maluna force fed to me earlier in the week after I had vented about a situation I didn’t like:

You have a wand.  That is more powerful.  I knew that tonight.  I felt that tonight, as before in those situations.  You have to let the magick…the Morrigan lead.  You have to become her.  You can.  You blend to the point there is no line.  You become what you believe.  You have to take that next step.

As these words rang through my mind over and over again tonight, something happened.  The time for preparation is over, as is the time for regrouping.  It is now time to act.  The wait is over.  I stood under that chilly glowing orb above me.  I opened my arms and I spoke loud enough to scare anything questionable in those woods away.  “I AM READY!  BECOME ONE WITH ME, WARRIOR GODDESS! I POUR OUT MYSELF THAT YOU MAY POUR IN!”

A prayer was shared with me today…use it.  Use it as a spell, a mantra, a chant…Just use it!  Isn’t it time that we all embrace who we truly are, what we are truly called to, and learn to become what we believe?2014-12-06 10.37.42

I was asked a question tonight, “How may I regain the spirit I had in me that made me feel I could accomplish anything?”  That spirit never left. We let everything else in our lives cover it, bury it…but it is still there.  How long has it been since you gave in to it with complete abandon?  There is still time.  Embrace who you truly are…become one with those you call on.  Dance….sing….fight….and as my dear friend Maluna would say, “If you live in fear, fear is all that will ever manifest.” Step

Blessed Be!