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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Just…Summer

Summer solstice is just past. I wanted to have a smart outdoor ritual this year, but life got in the way (and so did some cool, rainy weather) so it was the typical “light a candle” kind of thing.

It’s still High Summer and for me that means getting outside as much as possible. Maybe that is really my ritual – being present in nature.

Twice a day, I walk through our local park. Twenty years ago they planted a group of trees on one side. Today, I call it my grove. There’s a buckeye tree there that pre-dates the other trees and I greet this one in particular each time I walk that path. It’s an old tree with knots and holes in the big trunk.

There’s a group of turkey vultures in our neighborhood. They inhabit one particular tree and in the mornings when the sun hits a certain level, they spread their wings, like a giant greeting of the day. I love to watch them ride the air currents. Yesterday, I saw one sitting in my neighbor’s yard, making the other birds crazy. Turkey vulture did not care.

The garden is blooming and I planted some herbs in containers so I can take them to work in the fall.

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“Take your plant to work day” LOL. I’m leaving the oregano in the ground, but used containers for rosemary, thyme and sage.

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I considered trying to bring a basil inside – it’s my favorite herb – but I’m not sure that’s going to work. Still thinking on that.

This summer is definitely cooler than our last two. It’s reached the 80’s a couple times, but we’ve had an almost daily wind (more than a breeze) that makes it feel cooler. I’m a hot weather girl, so if it were mid-90’s with a wind, that would be great. it’s also been rainy – all of this was in the 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac, so I will definitely get the 2018 edition.

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We did not plant tomatoes. The last couple years I didn’t can. I miss having the smell of the tomatoes when I open the jars. There’s a large flea market a couple towns away where they have really nice produce, last year people were offering boxes of bruised tomatoes for $7 at the end of the season, so I plan on canning again.

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My favorite thing about summer is enjoying the backyard, watching the clouds from the lounge chair and sitting under our trees when it gets really warm.  What’s your favorite summer thing?

 

Ancestors Again

 

 

ancestorsI journeyed to my ancestors for help, again, since I am looking to break some family karma or patterns. This is how I did this, in case you want to try it at home.

Just like a mediation, I go to my ancestor altar and quiet my mind. I deepen my breath. In my mind, I ask my guide anubis for this journey to take me to the Hall of Ancestors. We walk to a large open space. My guide tells me to state my full name and intention. “I am asking the ancestors who have lived well and gone on successfully, and who have information that will help me bridge the resent I hold on my sister and mother, to please come forward and assist me.” I stated the surnames of my four grandparents, and felt four “lines” generate from my words. I was drawn to the far-left line and felt pulled along it, backward in time.

At some point, the movement stopped and I met an ancestor of that line.

Here is the hard part if you’re new to this (it’s hard for me too). I witnessed a scene that I didn’t understand at first. The important part of doing this, is to keep with the scene as long as you can, but to ask the guide who is with you, to please clarify what you are seeing and why you are seeing it.

Many times in the past, I did not do this because I felt I should understand what I was shown, because if they were showing me, I should be smart enough to get it, right?

Wrong. It’s not about smart, it’s about understanding that images and symbols are not easily understand at first glance.

What my ancestor showed me may or may not help me understand why I resent my sister’s attitude more than I resent my brother’s complete aversion to our mom. This may be an on-going conversation I have to have with whatever allies I can work with, to release this and move forward. My ancestor did ask me to light a candle for her,candles and I will take care of this. Just a note too, when you ask any ally for help also ask them if there’s anything you can do for them.  Both times I’ve received answers, the ancestor has asked for candles to be lit. I am so luck they didn’t ask for say, a bull to be sacrificed at the full moon.  Levity, there!

Summary 

  • Get quiet
  • Ask your guide to take you to Hall of Ancestors
  • State your name and intention
  • Ask appropriate ancestor to come forward
  • Converse
  • Thank and ask if you can do anything for them

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Fire Cider

Last month I made Fire Cider. This is a really old herbal remedy, so there are a zillion variations on the recipe. The one I modified is from The Mountain Rose Blog, from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also purchase a Fire Tonic from them. They ethically harvest their seeds and plants, so this is my “go – to” if I’m not growing it myself.

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You basically have a lot of hot ingredients that marinate in Apple Cider Vinegar for about a month. You decant it, compost the remains, and then store it. You can add some raw honey to sweeten it. I didn’t but based on my husband’s gagging, I should have.

In this batch I chopped onions, 10 garlic cloves, grated a ginger root, chopped some jalapeno peppers and shook in some Tumeric. It called for 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper which I misread as a 1/4 cup. Yeah. It’s THAT hot. Obviously, the capsaicin plus the apple cider is what you’re going for in this recipe.

So far, I am happy with this because at the first indication of sniffles or sneezing, I take about a half-shot. It really clears out the sinus. A friend suggested I take a teaspoon daily as a preventative. I may do that, as two people at work are out with pneumonia and bronchitis.

My second batch is marinating and will be ready in January.

Just a reminder in case you need it:

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