Coked-up Squirrel

Two days into the work week and I feel like a coked-up squirrel.

This is the result of having to manage a continuously evolving situation (COVID-19 protocols for a non-profit) a print deadline, and a very Type-A Executive.

Efforts to stay on top of program and scheduling changes resulted in too many emails, and wasted effort. Tuesday was a wash, rinse repeat day. To my credit, I got on top of this early today.

I apologized to my printer for firing a bunch of questions at him. He kindly blamed the current anxiety over COVID-19. I was afraid to tell him, that it’s business as usual at my office since he’s a new vendor.

My general social habits seem to mirror the social distancing we’re asked to undertake, so staying home, reading, listening to music and eating are pretty much my winter norm. I used to berate myself for not being more outgoing, social and involved, but who knew this would actually come in handy?

Today I felt the oppression of anxiety and fear and I have to admit, I was picking it up off of others. Yes, I’m worried about mom in the nursing home, and want to do my part in my community, but right now, and THIS IS FOR YOU TOO, those of us who have studied metaphysical, spiritual, magical paths, need to practice that self-care we’re always telling others to do.

So drag out your relaxation tapes/CDs/YouTube Videos and breath.

And for something different (It’s St. Patrick’s Day) here is a YouTube video of the Three Irish Tenors singing Too Ra LooRa LooRa

And now, back to our show…

Life took a unexpected turn early in 2019.*

Basically, I’m still stalking the divine and looking for some type of like-minded community. Shout-out to the soul sister who suggested I just start my own, online.

So this is a toe-hold in that direction.

I found a great Tarot spread and courtesy of Lindsay Mack at Tarot for the Wild Soul. Check her podcast and sign up for her newsletter.

Holding ourselves through Fear.

This is a six card spread.

Holding through Fear

  1. A message from my anxiety, worry or fear
  2. How can I sit with this experience?
  3. What are these feelings inviting me to pay attention to?
  4. How might I tend to these feelings and care-take them?
  5. What is the evolutionary invitation under the fear?
  6. What card can help me to simultaneously hold the fear, and leap into soul growth at the same time?

I read the cards left to right, but then PAIRED them: 1 & 4,   2 & 5,   3 & 6.

  1. The Wheel
  2. 21 The World, reversed
  3. 8 Strength, reversed
  4. 2 of Cups, reversed
  5. 8 of Pentacles, reversed
  6. 6 of Pentacles

I used the DruidCraft Deck** for this reading.

Right off the bat, I can see that my fear/anxiety is part of a cycle – it will turn around (but can also come back) But, that’s life, right? I’m looking for a way to navigate this, and I totally hate uncertainty.

So, next card is The World, reversed. No surprise there are so many reversals in this reading, given that my fear is all the changes in life – uncertainty. How can I sit with this? The world seems upside down at this time, am I feeling this? Can my spirituality and practices ground me? What do I see from my upside down perspective? The World reversed reminds me of The Hanged Man. What can I learn from that?

Third card is Strength, reversed. What does this invite me to pay attention to? Maybe…at this time, my strength is drained. Should I invite strength into my life through self-care? something else? Music, relaxation. I have to think about this.

Card four should answer that question – 2 of Cups reversed. well, my cups certainly feel drained and I’m not terribly social to begin with. Maybe…I need to invite in, the energy of the two of Cups.

What is this fear inviting me to do, as an evolutionary step? Eight of Pentacles reversed. This is card of working on my craft, but reversed says….maybe a little too much? Maybe I need to look at this – is it benefiting me?

The sixth card, finally an UPRIGHT one – is the six of Pentacles, a card of generosity, but also a caution. It’s important to find the balance of giving and receiving – especially in a reading where being drained seems to be a part of the message. But, it’s also important to know when to ask for help.

Pairing cards 1 & 4 = Things change and I can’t let that throw me off the game. Or off the Wheel of life. Isolating myself, while ok for a bit, can ultimately cause more harm than good.

Pairing 2 & 5 = Both are reversals, Getting tied up in knots over work – whatever that “work” may be – causes paralysis. Get out of my head, or step away from the situation and gain some perspective.

Pairing 3 & 6 = Sometimes the answer to anxiety is to reach out to other people, either through service (a giving) if I am able, or in order to just receive the kindness and human interaction that comes from a social event.

I need to sit with this reading for awhile in order to find some actions to take to stem my own anxiety. This reading feels pretty accurate for where I am at the moment. I’ve used this spread twice and so far, it’s read easily and seems to offer a course of action.

 

*My 39 year-old step daughter died unexpectedly.  She lived out-of-state, so the trauma was compounded by police showing up after dark to tell us. There’s a lot to unpack from that and it’s still going on – grieving and questions and pain. That’s overshadowed a good bit of my life. It’s a footnote to this post but not a footnote to my life.

 

** Love this deck. There are three decks that I do not read reversals with: Thoth, Wildwood and Everyday Witch. <– love this Everyday Witch deck for it’s whimsy. The other two are my badass decks that I read for myself with.

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.

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.

19095310_10156305947368275_5939865369246228343_o

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

Autumn Equinox – Balance

Friday is the autumnal equinox, a time of balance, which I have been a bit out of lately.

Just now, I thought “huh, equinoxes come twice a year. It’s like a when a clock stops and it’s still correct, twice a day.” You’d think I could achieve balance more that two days a year.

Actually, balance has been on my mind since mom went into the assisted care facility in 2015. I though my life would pull back into shape from the vast amount of stretching-beyond-what-I-expected-I-could-do, but it’s more like a beloved sweater that’s out of shape. It just doesn’t fit like it used to and you wonder if you still love it.

Plus, this is the time of year (pre-birthday) that I take stock of my life. My journal entries from past years list things to do in the upcoming year and things I accomplished from the previous year’s list. And there’s always a short of list “didn’t get this done.”

You can probably see that I am goal-oriented and possibly over-structured. Not so much a spur-of-the-moment person. All this served me very well when I was managing dad’s cancer treatments and mom’s doctor appointments, selling their house and belongings and wrangling insurance problems.

Yet, I knew there would be a time I would have to sit with myself and figure out whether I was going to tread water for the rest of my life, (work, mom, home) or carve out something else. I’ve become an activist, calling my congressmen, attending rallies, and did some compaigning for someone I truly believe will make a difference in my community. I’m not going to say this is fun –  it was work. I’m pretty much an introvert, but it felt very necessary for me stand up for healthcare.

I am cutting back on the time I devote to my mom. That activity, my mom, carries a lot of guilt-potential.

One thing I am slowly managing to do, is cut back on obligations. This is funny because I really don’t have a lot going on beyond mom/work/home. I was active in a shamanic circle for 4 years and confess that the last year or so, that has become an obligation. So I left the group. A cousin I rarely see invited me to his son’s shower and wedding. I declined. I wouldn’t know his son (or his fiancee) if they passed me on the street, nor would I know anyone at the reception except for two cousins. That one, I wrestled with. It felt like a family obligation. I did worry that my other cousin, the aunt of the groom, would think less of me that I didn’t attend. In the end, the sheer amount of energy I put into the worry told me it wasn’t worth it.

Sometimes I worry that bowing out of things like the circle and the wedding will result in me becoming my mom: a bitter old woman who lays in bed all day at a facility. I worry about this and want to balance “not be exhausted all the time” with “function at work/with mom/ and at home.”

To my credit, I have been walking 2.5 miles before work and 2.5 miles in the evening and have gone back to reading tarot, even if it’s just journaling about the card of the day. I pulled out some old tarot books and remembered how much I liked reading about the cards and spreads. I count that in the column “doing something fun.” In the mornings before my walk, I put the coffee on and say the rosary – I know! I am mixing traditions, but it’s a connection to my dad, who died as he was praying the rosary. Plus, in one of my meditations I heard “say the rosary for your ancestors ” and I am ok with that. One of my sage friends said “What is Mary but another face of the Goddess?” I am flirting with the idea of going to our local UU church. I went there briefly before we started going to PA on the weekends. That may or may not make the cut of things to be involved with, but a community is always a good thing when it is the right community.

Hopefully, I will find some cool(er) things to write about beside silly me. If you haven’t started putting up your Fire Cider, now is a good time.

 

More Ancestor Work

 

Please check out Christina Platt’s podcasts “Why Shamanism Now” for the background on this post.

Christina’s latest podcast was about ancestor work and this entire year I’ve been drawn to that topic.

I really believe our ancestor offer a great and unique opportunity as guides and reference points. For one thing, as I’ve already written, they have a vested interest in your success. After all, you’re their legacy, just as you will one day be an ancestor to your descendants.

They are also “real” people who lived – as opposed to angels, spirit guides and beings of those realms we read about, but may not feel connected to.

But the ancestors can cast a long shadow over us in a negative way. Not everyone who lived, actually lived well. Nor did they die well. And by that I mean, they had unresolved issues that were passed down.

Let me stop here and say, not every family problem is an ancestor problem. Sometimes people are assholes period.

But, maybe you do see a family pattern and wonder if there’s a way to clear that up. Alcoholism and abandonment issues run in my family. I hesitant to bring up health patterns although Christina’s podcast touches on that in a much better way than I ever can. I am Miss Skeptic about a lot of things, so I’m going to use examples from my personal experience.

There are many, many books out there on ancestor healing, Daniel Foor, Christina Pratt and Gretchen Crilly McKay also offer training. Anywhere you start is a good place.

For myself, I set the intention to find an ancestor who lived well and died well to come forward and help me with those two issues.  To be fair, I can certainly live my life pretty well, even around this fear of abandonment, and while I am a social drinker, I’ve seen some serious alcoholism/addictions in the family.

But I feel like the fear of abandonment, even though I recognize it, may be stopping me from living my life fully. (I have no idea what that means – except there’s this little haunting thought as I make decisions “who’s going to get mad, maybe I don’t really need to do this fun thing for me. I should go do dishes.”)

Now, for the record, I don’t have kids, so I’m doing this for me and allegedly this will carry forward to decedents of my siblings (families are already experiencing what I saw with my grandparents/parents/self).

We’ll see how this goes. I will keep us all posted.