Open Air Affair

Yesterday, while enjoying the view of the yard from my griffin chair near my front door, an urge took root. It began slowly, gently, enticing me with a soft hand. I smiled coyly. “Surely not”, my reply. Yet, the call to my primal instincts persisted.

Across the yard, things began to take a more urgent approach. “C’mon, you know you want this…you need this. It’s been too long and I know you can’t resist. Won’t resist.” I avert my gaze until I focus on several Chickadees darting back and forth to the feeder. “Nice try”, my seducer taunted. I felt a blush cast a crimson shadow upon my face.

Why am I so easy, so shameless? Has experience and life taught me that the taste of regret is punishingly sour and has a way of permeating of all your senses until you can’t savor anything else?  I am willing to acknowledge and accept consequences for my actions, this is the way of the Witch. No devil to blame and no savior to rescue me with flimsy excuses that have to do with the fall of man and the whore with an apple. Oh, please. It all comes down to free will and choice. Some choices are unwise, but wrong? I never look at things that way, trusting that all things have a purpose. Why blame the woman, or even the snake when the man is the one who made the choice to allow himself to be enticed?

So, here too am I. In the garden, alone, with the call of the wild reaching a feverish pitch. I bolt from my chair and stroll across the yard, soon my steps are falling faster, harder. I reach out and touch. It’s cool and a bit rough beneath the softness of my hand. It feels nice and not unexpected. Then, as my senses join with those of my beloved, I feel the beating of a generous heart.

It has been too long. Soon my arms lock in a rapturous embrace. Are the neighbors watching? I am long past noticing or caring. I feel the closeness of yet another lover near by. I depart from the sheltering arms of my current paramour and find wicked pleasure in those arms as well. I am a hussy.

Suddenly, the voice of South Park’s  Cartman echoes in my ears. Or, am I reading the thoughts of my husband who is grilling steaks and has been observing the whole time? “It’s just a bunch of tree hugging hippie crap!”

No, just a Witch who knows that connecting with life is not limited to that which wears a suit of human skin. It’s in all of life, not only in that which has been categorized as worthy or superior by those who feel qualified to make those distinctions.

I embrace Stevie again. The corkscrew willow, named for the solitary spiral dance performed by Stevie Nicks as she sings. Another hug for Evelyn Crabtree, whose blossoms are getting ready for her big performance when she will appear in a glorious cloud of intoxicatingly sweet white flowers. Yes, I feel the them in their infancy. It’s what happens when you open the doors of your mind and spirit and proclaim your readiness to receive. Never take this lightly or with out full acceptance of what will follow, for you cannot go back to unknowing, unfeeling.

What do my neighbors think? Probably not much beyond paying little attention to the eccentric among them. In Madison there is an appreciation for the diverse and the free thinkers. It’s a source of pride and lends an aura of sophistication that transcends the urge to stare, point, or even find the unusual to be unusual at all.

Apparently, I have reached the point of being acceptably ‘weird’. I like that. Keeping up appearances or resorting to mimicry to ‘fit in’ is degrading and uses up energy that shouldn’t be wasted on being anything but authentic.   No matter, I will carry on this love affair with trees, with rocks, with animals, with all of life, in the open, as long as I live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All The Rage

Do you ever begin your commute in a great state of mind, excited about getting to your destination and even enjoying the journey? It doesn’t take long before some road hog cuts you off, rides your ass close enough to see what’s up your tail pipe and then screams their entire repertoire of obscenities at you. Yeah, sorta takes all the fun out of it. Before you know it, you’re seething and just want to get to where you’re going as long as it involves an adult beverage and a place to vent.

This happens to me many times, especially on my way home from work, and like you I am thinking, “What have I to be upset about? The day’s over and I’m going home.” Then I find myself getting angry that the situation has managed to manipulate my emotions. Well, there is a way to stay grounded and unaffected.

I love my collection of heavy metal CDs as much as any ‘on the edge of 60’ year old woman, but sometimes I feel the need to chill because all that head banging and pounding on my steering wheel to the screaming guitar riffs can make me even more outrageous. New Age music to the rescue. Pop in Kevin Wood’s ‘Kindred’, ‘Sacred’ or something by Deva Premal and it’s a lot easier to pity the fool who finds pleasure in being a jerk. Not that I don’t enjoy yelling, “Sorry about your little penis” at the guy in the pick up truck who just roared around me, but being able to be the ‘bigger person’ and just let it be is very gratifying.

A car scenting device in lavender flavor is especially soothing as is a true pine or another calming combination of herbs that you can concoct yourself and put in a little organza bag. As a Disco queen, I used to wear Tuvara, a heady exotic fragrance that seemed to linger because my troop of girlfriends used to tell me that after riding with them, their cars “smelled like me” for days. So, if a spray of your favorite designer scent gives you pleasure, spray a bit on a square of satin and keep it in your cup holder or near your vent.

Being a Witch, I have a few items that keep me spiritually grounded in my vehicle. A pentacle hanging from the rear view mirror, a few crystals that I can grab in an emotional emergency and the presence of one of my Nature Guides. Halloween always presents me with an opportunity to purchase an array of Crows and this past year, I found one that is about the size of a Robin, secured to a plastic platform that fits perfectly in the little tray area on the top of my dashboard. Although my eyes are often searching the sky for the real deal, my little companion keeps me mindful of the connection I have with my Nature Guides and that relationship always keeps me centered.

When you turn your vehicle into your own private traveling sanctuary it’s a lot easier to be in control of your mindset on the inside even though you can’t control what’s occurring on the outside. You are always the master of the inner you. We can direct our thoughts and when we can also design an environment that is conducive to feeling a sense of peace, we are more apt to be in control of how we feel.

Don’t allow others to push your dashboard buttons. Control your own climate, turn down the heat, and enjoy your own playlist. You just might arrive at your destination with a beautiful, serene smile on your face. Blessings.

Going Over Board?

Vision boards not only help you to determine where you want to go, but also provide a record of all that you have manifested by using this Magickal tool. However, if you’re like me, you are inclined to get a bit carried away.

I have them as scrolls tucked away in sealed cardboard tubes that are dated years into the future, not to be opened until that date so that I can see how many things have come to pass. There are several posted in my walk in closet, on the walls and on the back of the door so that I have full view of them when I am in there getting dressed for my day as well as getting ready for bed. This helps to imprint the vision as I dash off for work and also ads a subconscious element to aid in ‘dream work’.

There are also a few ‘portable’ versions that I did on 3×5 index cards and laminated them. These are tucked into my purse and mainly have to do with making healthy food choices in restaurants. One look at the images of leafy greens and broiled fish keeps me mindful of eating right, but there are also pictures of work out clothes to remind me that if I do indulge, I will need to compensate by putting in some extra time in my gym.

I had the idea to purchase a small cork board to hang on the inside door of my closet. That way I can have a ‘working’ vision board that will evolve and reflect the various aspects of my life that I want to enhance through manifesting. A cabin in the woods has recently become something that keeps popping into my mind. A picture of the perfect small A-frame with a cottage garden had me ripping the page out of the magazine and will most likely be my first image on the board.

We all have a variety of goals and dreams that we want to achieve. They change with time and circumstances and having the cork board will enable me to attach images that represent them with colorful pushpins and move them around, but also remove them should my vision inspire me to reevaluate whether or not I still want them. This will allow me to have more creative control than affixing pictures to poster board with glue as I have in the past.

Let the adventure begin as the vision unfolds before me, one picture or motivating quote at a time. I will look for my cork board tomorrow after work and may customize the frame with paint and glitter, the perfect back drop for all of my champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Rock Your World

Things can get a bit intense around the office, so I have an assortment of crystals on my desk to help alleviate much of the stress. When I feel the pressure mounting, I take the appropriate stone and hold it for a moment. I focus on the energy of the properties it possesses and allow it to work its Magick. Visualize the energy as light associated with the color of the crystal spreading throughout your body. Once I feel grounded and back in control, I express gratitude and put the crystal back on my desk. When I feel the need to cleanse it, I simply hold it under running water and focus on having all past influences drain away and it will be ready to assist me again.

Search for stones that will have the correspondences that you are most likely to need. Make sure that you have a clear quartz crystal in your collection. Not only will it serve with properties of its own, but it will also enhance the power of any other stone that you work with. A search on line for the metaphysical properties of crystals and stones will allow you to choose the ones whose uses will best suit your individual needs. Mine range from the calming effects of blue lace agate to the energizing energy of orange calcite. http://www.healingcrystals.com is a great site. It includes pictures so you’ll have some idea of what to look for before you begin shopping.

You may choose to keep your crystals out of sight instead of out in the open. Keeping them in a little cloth bag or tucked away in a drawer will protect them from curiosity seekers as well as avoiding having them handled by those whose energy may not be conducive to your work with them. If you feel the need, you may also decide to carry it with you in a pocket to keep it close at hand.

Gem and mineral shows sponsored by geological clubs are a great place to shop and learn. You will have the opportunity to handle a variety of stones so that you can choose those that ‘feel right’. Many stones are set into jewelry that can be worn to utilize the properties on a regular basis. Those with protective qualities are particularly desirable.

Engage in the entire process of procuring and using crystals to enhance your life in many ways. A display of larger pieces is a beautiful way to incorporate Nature into your living space. Enjoy and rock on.

Alterations

Most people who practice a Spiritual path have a home alter which serves as an area set aside to meditate or separate ourselves from the mundane to reconnect with Spirit. However, the majority of people have them even though they may not recognize them as alters. A small table or shelf that has an array of family photos or a specific collection of objects becomes an alter when it allows the mind to connect with memories, loving feelings, or experience joy.

Something that I’ve done is to erect an alter to myself. This may sound very egotistical and hedonistic, but when we consider how much we ‘trash talk’ ourselves in the course of an average day, it’s easy to see how we might need a means to reflect on self-love.

Mine began with a shelf and a mirror. Searching the thrift stores for an ornate hand mirror is half the fun.
Then I added things that I love, things that I enjoy, and a little indulgence that reminds me to focus on something I’ve done that day that deserves a reward. An amethyst crystal, a bottle of my favorite scented oil to anoint my pulse points and a beautiful Faerie are my mainstays. I also have a framed celebration of womanhood that reads, “It has been the belief of every age that women are more frequently blessed with the gifts of inspiration and that the mists of the future hang less darkly before their eyes than before those of men. A piece of hand painted, exotic flavored dark chocolate is my usual reward, but sometimes I put money there if I want to purchase something like my favorite fashion magazine.

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Make yours as individual as you are as long as it gives you pleasure. Change objects as frequently as you want, or leave them untouched, as long as it conveys a celebration of ‘you’. Things that remind you of your success in your career or the 5k that you completed. Sing your praises by putting the lyrics to a song you declared to be your own personal anthem in an attractive frame.

Guys, you can go in the other direction and make it as macho as you dare. Sports themed items or a small dish of nails that will remind you of how you ‘nailed’ a promotion will keep you pumped. Add your business card and things that will inspire you to climb higher, whether it’s the corporate ladder or a mountain. This is your personal pat on the back so resist the urge to make it about anyone but you.

Your mirror lacks the ability to reflect flaws so don’t even look for them. All it can show you is the glorious person that you are. All of the things that you survived, your innovative mind, and never ending curiosity that makes you wise. The image of a unique individual who recognizes that there never has been and never will be another person exactly like you.

You’ll see a person who loves openly and unconditionally and before you can give it to others, you must give it to yourself, for love begin with the person in the mirror.

Check out our program Hocus Focus for more information about creating an alter.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/moonshadow92/2014/01/29/hocus-focus

Get Out!!!

Outside my window there is a duvet cover of white snow spread over the lawn. The temperature is uncertain at this point, but my observance of plumage fluffed to maintain body heat of the birds who are enjoying their breakfast at my feeders indicates that it is somewhere between frigid and f’ing cold.

For this reason, people in my neck of the woods might tell me where to put my request while some of you may find it to be a glorious reason to stroll on the beach buffeted by balmy breezes. Either way, I am going to do it and assure you that if you do too, you will have something that will not only remind you of the experience, but will enhance your indoor living space in a way that only bringing something into it from the outside can.

I have all kinds of things that I have collected over the years that hold the energy of their place of origin and have blended very well. Representatives of the elements help to balance your living space and keep it and you grounded. Having them available for touch is especially nice when going outside to handle them in their environment might not be enjoyable.

The bundle of vines in the urn was given to me by a Sister of my Coven and has graced my home for a long time. I have given them a make-over at times by changing the silk foliage and the lights need replacing from time to time, but they still add their Magick by providing me with a ‘tree’. Having something from Nature to share its beauty in an unexpected place to have it is wonderful. The energy of the soil from which they grew is felt as well as the vines themselves that curve gracefully as a ‘hair do’ that may have been styled by the wind.

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So, out I go when I notice that my hydrangea blossoms are a lovely shade of Autumn bronze. They are still perfectly formed though shaking in the arctic blast. Brrrr. I took a pruner with me, but it wasn’t needed when I discovered that the stems were brittle and snapped off easily. I brought them in and added them to the base of vines in the urn.

Wow. They have added so much that I can’t imagine why I hadn’t filled that space between the silken wisteria and chartreuse spikey foliage before. A small silver gazing ball that had found itself homeless after the floor update is now nestled in a spot that reflects the hydrangeas. From Spring until now they have found a way to bring me pleasure and will continue to do so. When they were lime colored and sweetly scented in Summer I didn’t want to bring them in since the plant is fairly new and blossoms were sparse. The ones that remain out there provide a perch for the birds and help shelter them.

WP_000132The iron birdbath is also something I’ve had for years when I saw it and just had to have it. A birdbath that has never spent a single moment outside. It’s very heavy and takes up a bit of space that could be put to more practical use, but I just could never bring myself to put it in the yard.

A large figurine of a dove used to sit on its rim until Hmandu, my teenaged Cat, sent it airborne to the floor where it smashed into countable but non-repairable pieces. I thought about trying to find another bird to put there, but its layer of stones and 3 votive candle cups gave me an idea.

I added some crystals and stones with various properties, some feathers I had collected from outside, and some shells I had picked up years earlier from a coastal beach trip. I have items that correspond to Earth, Air, Fire and Water in the basin that I take the time to hold and feel their energy. This is particularly nice after a long stress filled day at work.

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Go on, get out there. No excuses. If I can freeze my tail going out to pick flowers you can venture forth to pick up a few pine cones, feathers, or stones or bring in some twigs and decorate them with tiny lights. A transplanted layer of moss can carpet a terrarium or a vessel of beach sand can have you feeling the surf as you tip it from side to side. Let their energy flow as you mindfully blend these gifts of Nature into your Magickal space.

So, what did you find?

Your Place, Your Space

It has long been my belief that your environment is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. After all, it is where you live and demonstrates how you live. This is your haven and refuge. A place set apart from the mundane and commonplace. It is from whence you leave to work and play and it is where you return for shelter and comfort, and yes, escape. Does your space reflect the love and respect that you have for yourself? One that says, “I deserve this. I deserve to live in beauty and harmony.” Or is it chaos and clutter. You don’t have to be rich to be clean.

Every apartment that I lived in no matter what the décor soon began to take on my personality. From Brady Bunch shag carpet to the outdated appliances, I changed what I could and found a way to incorporate what I couldn’t. Soon the personal touches of my Spiritual path could be found in every room and the voice of the Divine guided me and put me in alignment with the most awesome ‘finds’. Crystals, candles, pictures, and figurines of Crows, Owls and Hawks found their niches and the scent of incense had replaced the stench of stale cigarette smoke of previous renters. It became home, but like the homes of the nomads of this Earth, it was temporary, all of it was movable and would indeed move many times.

Building a house is an extraordinary experience. For the first time, we could choose everything from the faucets and lighting to the floor coverings. Fortunately, the builder had specific places under contract from which we were able to make these choices. That made things easier in that we didn’t have to run all over the city which was great because all of these stores showcased enough items to keep us more than busy selecting and then changing our minds. The chandelier in the foyer was probably the most memorable. After finally choosing what we wanted, I spotted one on the way to do the paperwork to put in the order. I stopped in my tracks and pointed…”That one”. This was after at least two hours of looking at every light in the place. “Are you sure?”, quarried the clerk and my husband. “Yes, that’s it”, I assured. It is the focal point of the foyer and I love it more every time I hit the switch and dim it to ‘just right’.

If there is a downside to building, it would be that everything is put in brand new at the same time and has a tendency to need replacing at the same time. This gets a bit ‘spendy’. So, you put off what you can and replace the things that drive you nuts. This was the case with the carpet.

It was a soft silver gray that I loved initially. Even though we never wear shoes indoors, with the Cat’s Technicolor ‘yawns’ and assorted spills, running my carpet cleaner on a regular basis was the only way to keep it acceptable. When we bought Cat food we would discuss getting flavors that ‘matched the carpet’. Fellow Cat people would give us a knowing nod. Salmon was definitely out unless you’re into pink residual spots no matter how much oxy you apply. Over the years it was stretched 3 times but soon a new ‘wrinkle’ would appear and no amount of furniture placement could hide the lumps. It had to go.

At first I thought tile in the foyer and wood in the great room, but soon decided that I no longer wanted that line of separation. I wanted it all to flow and provide a space that said ‘come on in’ instead of ‘wait here’. In addition to having the carpet in the great room, it was also in the hallway and master bedroom on the second level. We talked of doing wood in the kitchen as well which is lofted over the great room, but my first idea was to do that in tile. This is a future project since the stuff that’s in there is vinyl that looks like tile and is still in great shape. We decided on laminate because of the hardness factor and knowing that it would not have to be sanded and refinished in years to come plus we wanted a ‘floating’ floor.

When we spoke of getting the laminate installed, we were told how easy it would be to do it ourselves. Beyond replacing outdoor lighting and painting we are not exactly very knowledgeable, but are willing to learn. I was like a kid with a water canon when I got a nail gun to work on the lower level several years ago. Kathunk, kathunk, kathunk. I only hope we won’t need to pull all of those out in years to come. We have a table saw that we got to cut one board and a compound miter saw, neither of which has any bits of flesh clinging to the blades.

Some family and friends offered to ‘help’ with the floor project. This consisted of us waiting for instructions since they actually knew what they were doing. I did have the joy of ripping up the carpet. What fun!!! Did you know that sucker is tacked down with some nasty wooden strips and sharp pointy things? I guess I had assumed that gravity kept it there. The padding was stapled as well and when that was removed there was a layer of rough stuff that was none too comfortable on the knees.

We also discovered a sub floor under the vinyl in the foyer and the removal of that put us behind about 4 hours. Did you ever take a crowbar to your living space? Makes you euphoric and feel like vomiting at the same time like riding one of those roller coasters that inverts you in loops. That odd combination of joy and dread that would be less nerve wracking if done in someone else’s house. No wonder people like to ‘help’.

The new floor got put in with only a few snags like the odd wood trim around the fireplace. There is still a gap there that I am optimistic I can artfully disguise with the trim I got yesterday. Then, there was when our teenage feline, Hmandu, decided to tour the ductwork when the cold air return vent plate was off.

The upper level had to be completed two weeks later so I got to do all the prep myself, but it’s done now and I am not missing the carpet at all. The last vestiges of it remains on the stairs and they will get new carpet at a later date. It’s a bit flat, but lacks the bagginess so I can look at it without screaming.

Today is my target for getting my walk in closet put back together so I no longer have to recycle the same 5 outfits. It was a great opportunity to weed out and haul bags of purchases of clothing that became ‘what was I thinkings’ when they never saw the light of day. In the near future I get to play this game again when I have my new ‘closet system’ installed…this updating thing doesn’t snowball…it creates an avalanche. Oh well.

I also replaced the sofa in the great room and hauled the old one down to the pub and got rid of the junky one that was down there. If you’re gonna be a Bear, be a Grizzly as they say. So, it’s all a bit streamlined now and more open. The highest complement came from my daughter, the interior designer when she said, “your house looks much more awesome now”.

You really need to do this for yourself. Even just moving things around a bit can bring a sense of renewal that comes on the winds of change. Your place, your space, your way. Let it be quirky if that’s what you are. Touches of elegance have the ability to invoke the feeling of beauty and refinement after a long day in the ‘trenches’. Get a whistling kettle and let its song be the signal to get out a lovely china cup bought from a second hand store and allow it to reveal its history when you brew and sip.

You deserve to have a beautiful environment filled with a collection of beautiful things. No, we can’t take it with us and so many people downplay the importance of ‘things’, but what inspires and provides slices of joy is never overrated. Items of the past have us reliving the moments and provide us with a lineage that is tangible and can be touched as long as we outlive them. One of my favorite ‘things’ is a small collection of fossils. Not only do they carry their own history, they have now become a part of mine.