Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice 2016

Recently, several of my friends and I have discussed meditation. It's ability to help us connect with the Lord and Lady, the land, spirit, ourselves, or just a way to get a better night's sleep.

Tonight, being the Summer Solstice, or Litha for those of us who celebrate the holiday, I decided to spend some time outside. I grabbed a blanket, a couple of crystals, my phone (which held some meditation music), and my notebook and pen. I was followed by Hugh, my 11 year old tabby cat and familiar.

I laid everything, including myself, on the lawn. I got ready to turn on my music when I stopped. My wind chimes sung softly, answered by the gentle rustle of leaves, distant songs of birds, soft movements of the cows grazing feet away, and Hugh, patrolling the yard on soft paws.

I opened my eyes. To the west, though after 9 pm, the sky still glowed softly. Above me plants, stars and satellites came to life. Fireflies began to dance across the field and yard.

The wind caressed my skin and played with my hair. It carried the sents of the backed grass the cows, and from somewhere far off, wood smoke, as if someone else was celebrating the night.

When I woke at 3 am with the moonlight shining on my face, I knew that there would be little sleep for me this day. The energies are vibrating too high for sleep so, instead, I watch the light fade in the west and the fireflies dance. Listen to the bird song fade and the peepers take over. I bathe in the caress of the moonlight and starlight and the night wind. All with my familiar prowling and watching.

So what does this have to do with my meditation comment? EVERYTHING!

The form of meditation I practice and teach is called mindfulness meditation. It's goal is not to clear your mind but to be present in the now. It can be done sitting, walking, dancing, doing laundry or dishes.

It can be done siting on a blanket on a midsummer's night with pen and paper, cats and cows and dancing fireflies between the setting sun and the rising moon.

Photo by Author, 6/20/2016

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Practical Tuesday: October 6th

Moon Magick

Artist Unknown, please contact so I can credit!


It's an iconic image, the witches around a cauldron or fire under the light of the full moon. While cultures have tried to show this as an image of evil  dark creatures plotting the doom of the good, hardworking people those of us who walk the pagan path will tell you this is not true at all. I mean, honestly, who DOESN'T enjoy a night under the stars, sitting around a fire with your friend??

The moon has always had an influence on our lives. From the time we could first track cycles we new that women were tied to the moon as are the tides, the blooming of flowers, and a multitude of other things. How does the moon effect tides? Most simply, by playing tug of war with the sun. For more in depth information may I suggest this website and this website.

As for the witches brewing spells under the full moon....well that's simply magick.

Different phases of the moon have different magickal properties, listed below. Full moons represent a time of high energy, a great time for spell work!

Dark/New moon: 


  • When the moon is dark/not able to see it. Energy is good 1-2 days before through 1-2 days after (up to 5 days total)
  • Best for:
    • Rest, Peace, deep wisdom
  • Types of spells and magickal work:
    • sleeping/relaxation spells
    • divination
    • learning
Waxing Moon: 


  • When the moon is "growing". lasts about 2 weeks
  • Best for:
    • Building, accomplishments, creativity, strength, growth and learning, positive transformation
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • blessings for growth
    • employment/relationship searches
    • starting of projects
Full Moon:


  • Moon is big and round. Energy is good 1-2 days before through 1-2 days after (up to 5 days total)
  • Best For:
    • Abundance, harvest, wish-fulfillment, manifesting desires, sexuality, achieving all dreams, protection
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • protection spells and charms
    • wish spells
    • preparing crafts for magickal use


Wanning Moon:



  • Moon is "shrinking". Lasts about 2 weeks
  • Best for:
    • Letting go, clearing away, cleansing, releasing, shedding old patterns, undoing bindings, opening up problem-knots, making space 
  • Types of spells and magickal work
    • cleansing
    • releasing habits/relationships
    • banishing


Be on the look out! Future Magickal Mondays will include a Full Moon and New Moon ritual

Monday, September 28, 2015

Magickal Monday: September 28th

Honoring the Ancestors

"Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart." Mr. Magorium, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

As we drift from Mabon to Samhain we begin to reflect on the passing of life from one plan to another. This year, Death has been a presence in my life. To put it bluntly, the first few months of this year really freakin' sucked!!!

Days before Yule, Death came and took an uncle. While the loss of any loved one is sad, this was not necessarily a bad death. Many cannot understand the concept, but I promise you that there is such a thing. My uncle was 65 and for the last 53 years he has been trapped in a broken body and mind. The joys (?) of being an empath and psychic meant that my uncle spent his first 48 hours free of his body talking my ear off. It was good to know that his release had not changed his sense of humor and sarcasm but rather sharpened it. 

Early in February, a neighbor who was my mother's best friend and my best friend's mother, returned home after being in rehab since before Thanksgiving. She passed quietly in her home only a day after she got back, with her cat sleeping on her lap.

The end of February brought the passing of another neighbor. The first person to ever give me champagne on New Year's Eve. A woman who had been in my life for at least two decades, the mother of my son's best friend, and one of the strongest people I have ever met lost a short battle with cancer. 

I share this because death is part of  the wheel of life and Samhain (Halloween) is a time to reflect upon the ancestors and those who have passed through the veil. This time of year the veil thins and communication between this world and the next becomes easier. For the month of October (and into November if you wish) take a page from the Asian cultures and set up and ancestors shrine. Decorate it with pictures and mementos of those who have gone before. Meditate on the lessons they may have taught you either directly or indirectly. 

"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away..."  Sir Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man


Monday, September 14, 2015

Magickal Monday: September 14th

Mabon

FYI: I’m keeping things VERY simple and VERY generic.

Preparation:
Alter/Ritual space: Decorate in brightly colored leaves, basket of apples or other seasonal fruits/vegetables, and nuts

Self: It’s always a good idea to bathe before ritual. It’s a great way to get rid of the yuck of the day and watch is washes away down the drain. If time does not allow for this, a smudging. Use a favorite stick, cone, or loose incense and (safely) waft it over your body. Alternatively, you can place it on the floor and stand over it for a few seconds, again, making sure it is safe to do so.

Tools/Needed Items:
Pen
3 Pieces of Paper
Fire Safe Container

Ritual – Written for Solitary Practitioner

Cast the circle

Draw a circle using your finger or tool of your preference around the area you will be working in. Walk clockwise preferably starting in one of the cardinal directions (North, South, East, or West). As you move around the space imagine energy flowing from your finger and creating a shield that protects you from harmful energies (as well as small children, partners, and rambunctious pets). J When you have completed the circle you should imagine that the energy goes up to meet above your head and down to meet below your feet….your own happy bubble space!
**Super formal option**
Point your finger/tool up: As above. Point your finger/tool down: So below. This circle is sealed by spirit.

Call the corners
Remember this is the way I call the corners and the direction/elemental matching I use, everyone is different.

Face East: I welcome the energies of air.
Face South: I welcome the energies of fire.
Face West: I welcome the energies of water.
Face North: I welcome the energies of earth.

Call the God/ess
Using very generic imaging, feel free to substitute your preferred.

Lady of the harvest, I ask for your blessings as I celebrate the time of balance. 
Lord of the harvest, I ask for your blessings as I celebrate the time of balance. 

Work

Mabon is a time of balance, Day and night are equal. It is also a time to review the harvest. We gather what we have sown, celebrate the accomplishment, learn from our mistakes, and plan for the next spring. (Gardeners, you know what I'm talking about.) We will do the same with ourselves.

On one piece of paper, write all that you have accomplished (harvested). On the next, write all that still needs work (plants we need to bed for the winter). Finally, write everything that is standing in your way. Goals or things (feelings) that you have not and will not meet without revision (these are the plants that failed for one reason or another and are headed for the compost). Let them go for now, we can get back to them in a few months but in the meantime let them go so they can fertilize new growth. 

Keep the first list, the accomplishments, with you to remind you what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Keep the second list somewhere to remind yourself what still needs to be done.

The third you will burn in the fire safe container (our "compost bin") and release what's holding you back. 

List examples
Goals Met
Goals in Progress
Released
-New job
-Working with kids on religious beliefs
-Keep a Martha Stewart house
-Saved money
-Healthier me
-Relationship (friendship/romantic)
-Keeping up blog
-Finding the positives daily
-Focusing on the negatives


Closing the circle

Thank the Lord and Lady for their blessings.

Release the corners.
Face North: I give thanks to the element of earth.
Face West: I give thanks to the element of water.
Face South: I give thanks to the element of fire.
Face East: I give thanks to the element of air.

Walk counter clockwise starting from the point you finished. Use your finger (or tool) to pull the energy back in. Do not hold this energy inside you, instead imagine it’s more like a vacuum and you’re finger is sucking up the energy and depositing it into the earth. Walk a complete circle.
**Super formal option**
Point your finger/tool up: As above. Point your finger/tool down: So below. This circle open but unbroken..


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Practical Tuesday: September 8th

Ritual basics

In order to write a ritual you must ask yourself 5 questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
·         Who?
o   It’s a two part question really.
1.       Who will be called to honor/lend energy to the ritual?
·         Which God/esses, beings, ancestors, etc. do you want to participate in your ritual with you?
2.       Who will be attending/participating in the ritual?
·         Is this a solitary (just you) ritual or will there be others? What will their roles be?
·         What?  
o   What are you writing the ritual for? What is the focus/intent?
·         When?
o   What day? Time? Moon phase?
·         Where?
o   Is it indoors or out? Will you need an alter?
·         Why?
o   Why are you doing ritual? What is its tone? Celebration? Reflection?

Rituals can be as formal or informal as you wish. A basic ritual outline goes something like this:
  • Set up & Gather
  • Cast Circle
  • Call corners/God/ess
  • Main work
  • Thank corners/God/ess
  • Dismiss Circle
  • Feast

 Feasting is important!! Ritual work will take a lot out of you and leave you with low blood sugars and dehydrated. Ideally your feast would reflect the holiday/even that you are celebrating. 

I’ve posted this today because Mabon (the Autumnal Equinox) is 2 weeks away! I wanted anyone following along to understand this breakdown when they read my ritual next weekend. I will write my rituals formally, to begin with anyway. I, personally, am not a very formal practitioner for the most part. Occasionally the flare for the dramatic catches hold and I dress in white robes and dance around a fire.

                

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oops...What happened to Magickal Monday?

I recently downloaded a few Paganism books from Amazon. I do this every few years, usually finding one author that I find knowledgeable and then going out and purchasing more of their material. As for the other authors....*sigh*

I'm currently reviewing a book that makes me want to yell at the screen. Instead, I feel I would be better off sharing information with others.

1. Think of religions like umbrellas.

Yup, you read that right. Picture the umbrella as the basis of belief.

If we were to take Christianity, for example. Christians follow the teachings of Christ - CHRIST - ian; CHRIST - ianity; CHRIST - mas. Yet there are many different ways to follow the Christian faith. There's Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, etc. etc. It's umbrella would look something like this:


Paganism can also be viewed this way since Paganism, at its most basic form, is nature worship. Any belief structure that is based in some way on nature worship would fall under this umbrella. 

2. Tarot

This author states that Tarot is derived from the French word "Tarau" and is originally a card game who's original rules are lost to time. 

After searching for the meaning of the word Tarau I have discovered: 1. it is a rather popular last name. 2. It does not show up as a French word and when asked "Is Tarau as French word" search engines change the word to "touche" or "latte". 3. The ONLY definition of the word spelled TARAU is from a Maori* Dictionary and it means pants**. *Maori are the aboriginal people of New Zealand and the Polynesian islands. **Pretty sure there's not much relation to cards developed in the Middle Ages and pants from New Zealand.

Tarot cards, or a version there of, were first seen in Europe in the 14th century CE. Prior to that, a similar card system had been seen in Egypt and Turkey. Yes, it was originally played as an actual card game called Triumph but it's rules weren't lost, they evolved into the modern Bridge game that is played today. (p.s. Don't play with my family, they go for the throat!) Just like the deck itself has evolved from 4 suits of 14 cards and 22 trump cards has evolved into the current deck of playing cards we know today. 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, take everything you read with a grain of salt. (This includes me, please!) While I try hard to research my information and post references not everyone has my level of training when it comes to writing and referencing. Today anyone can write and publish a book. If you start reading something and it brings on more questions than answers check the references. This particular book had 12 references and half of them were all books by the same author. If you're going to write a book your information should be coming from varied sources.

I'll post a list of my library and favorite authors soon.


References: 

Maori/English Dictionary: http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/word/7560

Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. "Tarot Mythology: Surprising Origins of the World's Most Misunderstood Cards" 18 June 2014. CollectorsWeekly.com <http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-surprising-origins-of-tarot-most-misunderstood-cards/>

Obringer, Lee Ann.  "How Tarot Cards Work"  17 May 2005.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/tarot-card.htm>  04 September 2015.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Practical Tuesday August 25th

8/23 - 9/23


Planet: Mercury
Element: Earth
Modality: Mutable


Virgos tend to be extremely practical and and like things just so. They analyse every choice no matter how big or small. Virgos like things "just so" in their life from their kitchen to their bodies. Most of the time this is focused internally but some Virgos expect perfection in everyone.

The sign of Virgo rules the abdomen, including the stomach. Virgos often have sensitive stomachs and digestive tracts and can be susceptible to GI infections, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, and other disorders of the gut. Make sure you take your probiotic and get your colonoscopy!

On to love!

Ideal Relationships

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Best to Avoid

Aries, Leo, Sagitarius

Astrological Symbol