Samhain Ancestor Prayer

from thought.co.com

This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before.
Tonight I 
honor my ancestors.
Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you,
and welcome you to join me for this night.
You watch over me always,
protecting and guiding me,
and tonight I thank you.
Your blood runs in my veins,
your spirit is in my heart,
your memories are in my soul.

With the gift of remembrance.
I remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten,
and you live on within me,
and within those who are yet to come.

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An open letter to my (former) circle

 

We sat in circle and were devastated after the 2016 election.
anubis

All of us were afraid, for ourselves and the vulnerable in our community.

Three months later, after the Women’s March, after organizers had galvanized some resources and began planning to resist the draconian measures such as the Muslim ban, we again sat in circle. I listened as some of you, with shaky voices, expressed the deep fear you personally felt. Just as you felt it in November.

And I shared the resources I had found: 5Calls.org, calling your Congressional reps. I brought postcards with stamps, so you could write to them.

I listened as some of you said you were too spiritual to deal with something like politics, that you would journey to the World Tree, and invite Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump, and they would see the error of their ways. I listened as you said that we should “just do our work.”

I was incredulous that people who had sat together for three years, who studied core shamanism, who spoke of power and of empowerment, would take this position.
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I went home and did do my work: I marched all summer. I called state and federal representatives. I called Senate Committees, I registered voters and got my church to write postcards.

In circle, you applauded “my” resistance, which you couldn’t possibly do, you called me at home and wept on the phone about your fear, how shaky you felt. Oh, occasionally you said you feared for the vulnerable, but really, you seemed quite content in your tears, as if they washed away your need to take action on this plan.

And I left my circle.
candles

And so today is the first day of early voting in Ohio. There was a line outside the Board of Elections as I came to work. I will join that line later today.

And you, my former circle-mates? What will you be doing today?
expections

On the edge of hysteria…

Saturday I felt compelled to (again) work sigil magick. I was focused, the work came to me very easily, and yet while I was composing the sigil, I felt an edge of hysteria.

I left my paper sit overnight.

Was this working in error, I wondered? Was my fear pushing the work? If I waiting till my emotions abated, would I lose the momentum?

I tucked it away under my goddess statue. If I couldn’t figure it out, she surely could.

And this is where I stand lately, on the mental plane of balancing the very real visceral fear/response to the injustice I see – the misogyny, the greed and unfettered cruelty – and adding in magical work to my activism.

Is it my ego or is a need?

Yesterday I felt the focused calmness I expect, and confidently burned my sigil, in the garden, in front of the goddess grotto I created. It may be my last outside working, Ohio weather being quite fickle.

I don’t have a point to this post, except to try and stay with the blogging. The hysteria though, was a new thing. I am giving myself a time-out from the news/social media stuff, but reminding everyone to vote. Call your reps, be heard.

For years, I kept my mouth shut – it’s how I was raised – kids are seen and not heard, good girls do or don’t, that’s not how a lady acts – and I see how easy it is to dismiss people like me. The ones who follow the rules, who step aside, who suck it up, who put others first.

I’m not advocated being a jerk – and there are people in my life who will always be first in my heart.

But I also see how those who have an agenda can use this to pat us on the head, and move on with their cruelty/environmental destruction/control.

So, if you have a magical practice, I encourage you to discover an activist activity.

If you’re an activist and can add your magical practice to help you and your cause, go for it.

This is the time to step up and step out.

We’re not going to take this, anymore.

Is the Otherworld bleeding through?

I was totally jealous when I read John Beckett’s excellent column The Otherworld is Bleeding Through

On Patheos.com. If you’ve followed this blog or my prior attempts at blogging, you know I stalk the divine. Relentlessly.

So hearing about experiences of the otherworld bleeding through more and more often inspired the typical response. “Sh*t. Why not me?”

Then I remembered this weird thing from last summer.

John and I were sitting in the backyard last summer. It was a Sunday morning, early enough that the sun was up, but still a lot of shadows cast from our house and trees. I saw this brilliant red/orange thing in one of the maples. We were maybe 10 feet away. I thought it was a kid’s balloon stuck there till I saw it move. John saw it too, wondering if someone’s exotic bird escaped. The plumage was so brilliant – was the sun catching the feathers at some angle that made it…glow? Both of us remarked on how big this bird was.

We didn’t want to scare it into flight, so we moved slowly under the tree’s canopy, maneuvering around to get a better look. And what we saw was….a cardinal. A regular size cardinal.

Sounds like we were drinking, right? We weren’t. We genuinely saw a big(ger than a cardinal) red/orange bird. Yet here we were faced with a common but lovely dark red cardinal.
We laughed of course, sort of anyway.

And now I wonder if this was my own experience of the Otherworld bleeding through. It reminds me how subtle spirit energy is, and how often I have dismissed coincidences.  If I *saw* a large orange/red bird, does that explain how people have *seen* other mythical beings? I will be on the look out for more of these bleed throughs.

 

Candles or Crystals? Candles AND Crystals

(It’s been forever since I’ve written: mom was hospitalized for two weeks then moved to a nursing home, where she’s doing much better. I had a filling and ended up with double vision and visit to the ER. Husband had prostate issues. And then there’s the ongoing political situation in the USA, I am doing my part in calling, fundraising and taking action for a better future in line with the ideals of Liberty, Justice for all and compassion over cruelty and greed. )

I love to light candles. They’re my go-to for honoring deity or spirit, for magick, for meditating and for setting the mood.

more candles

I’ve used votives, pillars, and the kind that come in jars.

The downside for me, is that I normally do my woo woo before I get ready for work, then halfway to work I worry I left a lit candle in the house. This probably speaks to my need to be fully present at all times as well as trusting myself that I did indeed, extinguish the flame.

Soooooooooo many times I’ve turned around and gone home and the candles weren’t lit.

Do you trust lit 7 day candles when you leave the house? This is not a problem outside and it’s obviously summer here in Ohio. I can’t wrap my head around leaving a lit candle in the house while I’m gone.

My current solution is to exchange candles for appropriately colored stones. Fortunately, my husband has gifted me with several wands and pillars that stand upright and serve as taper candles.

minerals

Not my stash, but pretty close.

But I’m not picky – I have bowls of stones that can serve in place of candles. Thanks to Melody’s epic “Love is in the Earth” I have a ready reference for qualities that I may want to incorporate into my intentions as I work.

Love is in the earth

I currently have a pie plate of small candles for a special intention – it’s outside for now- but I want to keep this work going for a year. It may end up in my basement as the most safe spot for it, even though it’s lit for less than 30 minutes at time. As long as I don’t set off the fire alarm. I probably won’t….

Best case on these workings (for me) is to use both outside when I can, for as long as I can, as well as the garden and mother nature. But come winter I may move exclusively to candles unless the working is on the weekend when I can be present the entire burn.

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Cultural Appropriation

Michael Harner, who trailblazed core shamanism, recently crossed over. This sparked a flurry of debate online over the benefit of core shamanism vs shamanism within its cultural settings, and hey, what about all those weekend workshops?

Almost five years ago, I took a workshop with a semi-local teacher, which grew into a monthly study group, led by another woman who studied with a non-local teacher. We started as a group of twelve, then over time, we each would lead a class. And last year, down to five people, I gave it up. If it sounds like the teachings were watered-down, well, that’s something I wondered about too.

My reasons for leaving were clear to me. I was bringing poor energy to the group and getting little out of it. If you’ve been part of any kind of circle, you know these things tend to wane over time, or atrophy.  But the bigger picture for me, became that without some kind of cultural framework, the study had become pretty dry, or in some cases, pretty ego-driven.

And so I watched the Michael Harner tributes/dismissals with interest because it was mirroring a discussion on cultural appropriation taking place in many spiritual circles and if you follow sports, in the area of logos and team names.

Can we draw from other cultures respectfully, if we don’t have any cultural underpinnings to frame our spirituality? I struggle here. Most of my family emigrated from Ireland in the 19th Century and were Catholic. But one of dad’s ancestors was born in Massachusetts in 1790. I perceive the land spirits as Native American. I honor my ancestors as they asked, by saying a rosary and lighting candles in the monastery for them. But I’ve never connected with the angelic realm (that I know of). I have connected with animal spirits, thanks to the techniques of core shamanism (journeying).  I practice witchcraft. I blend what works for me, but make no claims of any special lineage, so it did not sit too well when someone said drumming was cultural appropriation from NA and no one else may use it.

Honestly, I rarely talk about how I come to my spirituality. There have been some really derisive comments about who can practice what kind of spirituality. Maybe this is why the Mystery Schools were just that – selective and secretive. And maybe there shouldn’t be weekend workshops that award certificates, with the expectation the graduate will be able to charge money and claim a certain skill.

What do you do, in America, when your ancestors came here and were so eager for their kids to blend into their new society? You study what you can, and ask your ancestors for guidance, I guess. Yet, isn’t there something to be said for working with the land you are living on? If I connect to the trees and indigenous spirits in my town, am I appropriating what is not mine?

That’s rhetorical, because I’m going to do what works for me as I am guided (at nearly 60) yet it’s a fair question when people spin the wheel of spiritual paths and seek to connect to a culture that they may or may not be a (blood-related) part of. Who is their elder, who is able to kindly direct them to a proper and respectful study of something? Unless a seeker is very discerning they either shunned and derided for inquiring, or sucked into a marketing pyramid scheme.

My opinion, as a kindness, is if you feel someone is out of line, take them aside and explain what their transgression is, and how they can remedy it. Don’t shame and deride them, or worse, talk about it behind their backs as they continue to err. Online, use that DM feature and set the record straight, for all concerned. If your path is important to you, and it should be, show it, and yourself, some respect.

 

Ancestors October 19, 2017

I don’t need the impetus of Samhain to feel the pull of the ancestors. That’s pretty clear from my posts. I’ve addressed why I (all of us) need to work with ancestral lines to clear our own paths. What is becoming clearer now is, the ancestors are stepping forward for their own reasons.

Granted, every morning I greet my ancestors, those known and those I do not know, those of the spirit and those of the land. Recently, maybe because it’s October, my invocations are becoming more intense. I ask those who have lived well and died well and have gone on, to step forward and let me stand on their shoulders.

You’d think I was undertaking a Herculean task, like developing some cure for cancer.

No. I am just trying to get through my daily life – like we all are – and deal with the assaults and fall-out from an administration that seems bent on cruelty and greed. Hundreds of thousands of kids lose their CHIP coverage on December 31. People of color face assault on a daily basis. Women’s bodies are curated by old, white men. And patriotism is limited to a flag, a song and the military, not to be shared with people of color, with mere office workers or mill workers.  And Las Vegas.

So I am sure that my ancestors – and yours – have gone through stuff. As I’ve said, I trust my ancestors because I am the result of a thousand thousand acts of love, and they have a vested interest in my success.

 

Today my father’s grandfather called to me. I found his grave on Findagrave.com as well as the graves of dad’s uncles and aunts. One sibling was missing from the listing – my own grandmother, dad’s mom. Her grave is not located in that cemetery, but I was able to email the administrator and ask that it be linked.

grandma

On my lunch hour, I visited the cemetery, and this is an old cemetery. There are no markers for sections and rows. Another ancestor is buried here, so I parked near that grave and just started walking. And found four out of five graves easily.

mullane

Why am I doing this? These ancestors wanted to be recognized, or I would not have felt the call and spent the time looking for them. Why they want this, I don’t know yet. Maybe it’s just they wanted the acknowledgment. Maybe there is more to come.

The veil is indeed thin now, perhaps it is thinning in a way that will be permanent. Take the time to check in with those ancestors, even if it’s a thought or a candle lit in their memory. You, too, are important to them, and if you have children, you have an even stronger reason to affirm your line of ancestors. Not all will be willing to help you – but if you’re skeptical of angels and guides, you know that ancestors actually walked the earth. The ones who love you also have your back.

Sláinte

ps. You can do anything . Together, we make a difference.

hedgehog1