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.

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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.

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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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Compassion

I work for a Jewish Federation. Needless to say, the last several months have been harrowing. My building has not yet been threatened, but our people feel fear. For many, it reopens the horror of the Shoah – the Holocaust. For all of us, it shows us that hate and anti-Semitism has blossomed into overt acts.

I remember the first time I saw a camp tattoo on an old woman’s wrinkled arm. Nothing speaks louder than that silent moment of horror.

Nonetheless, there are still acts of kindness.

This morning we found a brown paper bag at the door and assumed the worst. There was writing on it.

“My wife and I found this at a flea market. It was in a box marked ‘Jew stuff.’ We didn’t think that was right. We felt it should be given to a place where it would be respected.”

Inside was a tefillin.

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The black boxes and wraps are tefillin.

These are sacred prayer items.

From the Chabad website: Tefillin consists of two small leather boxes attached to leather straps. The two boxes each contain four sections of the Torah inscribed on parchment.

My boss called the number on the package to thank the gentleman. He drove almost two hours to bring this to our building. He said he was offended to see a box labeled “Jew stuff” and like most Americans, he was angry at the hate speech and what it has spawned.

And he took action.

Elie Wiesel said :

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

 

Today my world felt a little less oppressive. I hope you have a moment of grace like this too.

 

On Winter and Re calibrating

I have been slacking from blogging.

The holidays tend to run roughshod over other activities – and it’s not that we really do a lot of partying. On the contrary, the entire winter season is basically a giant hibernation for us, with the holidays providing some additional food and drink.

So it’s pretty typical for me to cut back and go within. The last two winters were spent caring for dad and mom, plus last year I was cleaning out their house and getting it sold. I realized while I was doing “all that” that it was also an excuse to not “do” for me: I let my Type A, goal-driven self take over. On the plus side the house was sold by the end of March. On the negative side, I was so driven by the need to move mom, and sell the house, that I ultimately locked up my neck and mentally, my mind wouldn’t turn off.

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That’s one of those habits (mind running overtime) you’re supposed to use meditation, yoga and exercise to take care of. Which I had done. Before dad got sick.

This is how I meditated last year: *me sitting still. Breath in slowly Breath out..momhasdoctorappointment…Ihavemeetingsthreenights…breathedammit….goddamitwherearemysiblingsinthis…breathe…myneckiskillingme…breath…okdone*

To my credit, I logged 4 miles a day walking until the weather changed last fall, and lost about 10 lbs, which I’ve kept off over this winter. Change is incremental. I know all the good I did when I felt well enough, got me through the stress.

But stress is addictive – when you’re wound up in the Fight of Flight mode, it feels somehow wrong to not be keyed up.

Which brings me back the winter hibernation. I have downloaded a bunch of silly mysteries and spent a lot time just losing myself in them, trying to re calibrate my brain, because I think that’s part of the problem. (Plus no lie, the election caused an inordinate amount of anxiety and stress. I know I’m not alone here.) But – what is inside me: my mind and emotions, can be realigned with a better, more balanced outlook.

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Just like my worry about mom’s finances and her house, it helped to take action. And even if it seems un-productive to read little mysteries, it does retrain my brain to follow a different thought pattern. It’s a slow process and sometimes it still feels “normal” to worry and follow threads of “if this happens, I will do X”.  Still, recognizing what I am doing, is the first step to changing that habit.

 

 

 

30 Day Gratitude Practice

Gratitude is antidote for almost anything you want to change. Sound wrong? Well, what you focus on, is what you continue to draw to yourself. Mulling over the latest insult from a colleague or the depressing conversation you had with a friend? You’re going to notice more of those things.

Turning you’re thoughts to what you are grateful for is going to change your focus, and draw better experiences to you. Now, I won’t lie, when you’re laying low this is harder to accomplish. However, developing a regular practice, just like your exercise practice or meditation practice pays off. It means when you hit those lows, you have another tool to help you bounce back.

So I am giving gratitude and credit for this post to Kayla over at Fireside Witch, and her YouTube videos at Shakti Shaman. She ran a  contest and I am the lucky recipient of her Gratitude Grows Ritual package. Kayla sent this amazing gift, candle, incense, paper to write what I am grateful for, rose quartz and charcoal. She is amazing, her voice on the videos is soothing and she has great information. You can catch her website here Fireside Witch . Thank you Kayla! I will be starting this on the new moon.

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