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.

 

 

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!

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

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The Magick of Indifference….

I heard the harshest words I think I have ever heard come out of my partners mouth this past Monday. Those words were, “I don’t feel like you listen to me anymore.” Those words may not sound all that harsh to you, but they cut through me like a sword. The very sound of them hurt deep into my heart.

When we met, there were no smart phones, neither of us had texting packages on our phones and we had one TV with basic cable. At that time of our lives, we were forced to connect with one another. We talked, we laughed, we actually socialized with each other.

Yes, we have been together for almost eight years now and I have heard the arguments before. “All couples drift apart to some degree.” “You have just gotten comfortable with each other.” We weren’t like that for many years, though. Why now?

Laziness is part of it. Believe it or not, we have actually texted each other in the next room rather than get up and talk face to face. We would rather spend time parked in front of a TV, DVR, or Facebook than actually carry on meaningful conversation.

The kicker for me, though, was the phrase, “You spend more time with your Magick than you do me.” My first inclination was to get really defensive….to yell my reasons back at him. He, however, had not raised his voice or said it so accusingly. He said it with his back to me, very matter-of-factly with very little emotion. All I could muster that night was a broken, “I’m sorry.” I rolled over on my side of the bed and my mind began racing. Everything he said was true.

I started to think….I had honestly been pouring more Magick into other people and situations than I had my own partner and our relationship. It is so much easier to give to those who aren’t with you or around you everyday than those that are. “Oh, he will understand. After all, I spend every free moment with him.” Yes, he did understand for a while, but essentially what I was giving him was leftovers. Imagine having cold leftover pizza every night for the rest of your life.

I sat down with him the next night and seriously and wholeheartedly apologized to him for giving him the leftovers. I promised that I would make the effort to listen to him and that I would incorporate him into my Magick. He seemed excited, but you could tell he didn’t want to get his hopes up.

I went on Wednesday after work and bought some dark chocolate and strawberries. I brought him into the kitchen with me when I got home and explained to him what I was going to do. I was going to work some food Magick with him. I melted the chocolate, adding a dash of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. I stirred the pot widdershins (counterclockwise). I was working with the waning moon. I explained to him that this was to banish anything negative that either one of us had brought into the relationship. I began to recite the words to the spell I had written. He seemed curious, so I asked if he would like to read it with me. He did. After the strawberries were dipped and chilled, I took him into the courtyard and we built a fire in the cauldron together. I brought the strawberries out to him and we had a nice cold glass of moon moscato. Again, I apologized deeply as witnessed by the goddess and we sat on the outdoor sofa and cuddled and drank under the moon. We laughed at the chocolate smeared across our lips.

I could see the goddess smiling. It is about the need directly in front of us. Sometimes we forget that those the closest to us need just a little extra magick poured into them. Sometimes it isn’t enough to just love somebody. Sometimes they need a little extra sugar and spice magick added to your relationship. Sometimes all it takes is charging a crystal so that they can carry it and feel the love that you have for them pulsing from the energy of the crystal. Rose quartz works wonderfully.

Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I…..