The Purpose Of Significance

Along the road that leads into the company parking lot, there is a small wooded area. As I passed it on my way home from work tonight, a small gray squirrel ran out in front of me. I applied the brakes and the squirrel ran back to safety and scampered off into the newly leafed out trees. On the drive home, I contemplated this and the aspect that if it had been someone less conscientious behind the wheel or perhaps someone too preoccupied to notice, the squirrel may have been killed. That may not seem significant to some people, but it was to me and it certainly was to the squirrel.

If I was someone who believed in that seemingly strange occurrence that has been known for years as ‘coincidence’ I would say that I spent a large part of my day contemplating it. Left to my own devices, to enter data while listening to audio books, I have more than enough time to get into my head. I delve deeper into subjects such as quantum physics, neuroscience and a good bit of psychology as well as reams of books on metaphysics and spirituality. I had been listening to a book by Mike Dooley the other day regarding manifesting and how a fraction of a degree of separation can make a major difference in how things turn out.

I am a big believer in the concept of alignment and try to stay mindful of this, especially when something is aggravating or inconvenient. It becomes all too easy to forget that we are exactly where we need to be when we need to be there in order to put us in alignment with our destiny so having this play out with the squirrel in a way that made me particularly conscious of it was well…quite a coincidence.

In the 20 minutes it took me to get home I made it a point to be aware of as much as I could without having my awareness fall short of the car in front of me. The sky always draws my eye as I pan for birds as well as the side of the road where small animals can be spotted. Planes descend as they near the airport, other drivers coming and going, the sway of the trees. I purposefully took notice of as much as I could, taking into account that everything is significant.

There may be a tendency to place more importance on some things and less on others, but they all play a part in this journey. Everything from people we connect with in passing who later become those who are instrumental in our lives to the delays that annoyed us, but kept us out of harm’s way. Is there really anything that we can afford to downplay? I always say, if we notice something, it’s significant.

The times I’ve been prompted to pick up a leaf or look to the sky and see one of my Nature guides fulfilling its role as an omen, find their way into the pages of my collection of journals because they are noteworthy. Even as I sit here typing, my cat, Hmandu curled up in the crook of my arm fills me with a need to sense the experience fully.

Notice all that you can, for all things are significant. Find joy in the knowing that you are among those things. Live intentionally, mindful of your purpose and discount nothing.

Stop, Love, and Listen

Recently, I had the occasion to be upset. I mean really upset. Under the same circumstances, if someone else had a similar experience and shared it with me, it would be my natural inclination to encourage them to move past it. You see, I am a mentor and motivator so the aspect of allowing the pain to linger is not something I ordinarily would foster.

However, when a friend called me after the event that both shocked and hurt me, I was in no position to follow what would usually be my own advice. What I did need was to be allowed to grieve and heal in my own time. To some, the situation could have been trivial, since it involved the destruction of a beloved object as opposed to the loss of a life, but it was an heirloom that cannot be replaced. I am searching for something similar, now that I have moved past the pain of the reality that the original is gone. It represented memories of the celebrations that had my mother getting it out of the china hutch and using it because she always felt that precious things were meant to be used and to be enjoyed, even if only for special occasions.

Often, when a person is in emotional pain, we are at a loss as to how we can help. It’s an uncomfortable situation because even though we can try to empathize, we cannot feel the depth of the emotions involved. The desire to distance ourselves from those emotions can have us reacting in a way that does more to maintain our own comfort level than to support the person who is hurting. We say the expected words and make the acceptable gestures, but after that, we just want to separate ourselves from the awkward attempt to fix the irreparably broken.

Don’t even think about telling someone that you feel that they are overreacting. Rating some one else’s level of pain and passing judgment as to how you think they should be dealing with it makes you totally unworthy of the honor of having someone trust you enough to share it with you.

How does a person help someone transition from the place of pain to the land of hope and not risk appearing to diminish what they’re feeling? To be ready to once again pursue their dreams, reset goals, and move past the desperation and temptation to quit. Having been through this on many occasions, for many different reasons, I have come to see that allowing a person to grieve is a necessary part of the healing process. This can’t be hurried, buried, or injected with guilt. Neither can it be eliminated by some over zealous motivator attempting to verbally drag someone up by their bootstraps, shove them back in the saddle and slap the horse on the ass, forcing them to rejoin the race.

Many times, in my effort to be a good ‘coach, I dust off the wounded player, encourage them to get back in the game and shake my pompons from the sidelines. But, I have to keep in mind that sometimes they just want to sit on the bench a while longer and cry. Empathy involves the ability to just shut up and listen to someone, provide a shoulder to cry on, and a hand up when they’re ready to stand. The best way to know what they need is to pay attention to what you needed when you needed it and didn’t get it.

School’s Out? Not Really, Alice

At the end of the day, many parents ask their kids, “what did you learn at school today?” We tend to forget that we’re still in school no matter how old we are or how far behind us our days of walking through hallowed walls may be. What if we started asking ourselves that at the end of each day and writing it down? The answer might amaze us. If not, let’s amp up our experiences and the attention we pay to them. Ah…much better…A+

Sprig Has Cub

And none too soon. This has been a wicked Winter indeed. I don’t recall any in the past that have been so incredibly cold. My desire to get out with my cross country skis was not realized, but we may get another round of snow before it’s all over.

This past Friday, I remarked to my husband that the Red Winged Blackbird would make an appearance soon. I can always ‘feel’ when Nature’s omens are on hand to send their messages. Saturday morning found me near the window overlooking the front yard sipping a vat of orange vanilla coffee when I sensed his presence. Pulling the curtain aside, I saw him. He clung to the peanut feeder and seemed to have a sense of familiarity as though he knew that he was home. Every year, the one I named Bartholomew, accompanies me as I garden. Never showing any fear, he follows me around the yard and sits in the tree nearest to me and holds his own in our running conversation. The sight of him had me laughing out loud, “damn, I’m good”, I declared. The Craft has a way of deepening one’s connection with Nature so that even in an urban setting, every nuance is sensed and always inspires a knowing smile.

This is a time of rebirth for all of us, and my journal pages abound with goals, aspirations and sacred oaths to fulfill as the Wheel of the Year takes another turn. Fertility symbols adorn my alter and chocolate truffle eggs fill crystal bowls in every room. Seeds will be ritually planted in new Earth and tiny sprouts coddled until they can be transplanted in the garden. Misty mornings will call to me and I have no choice but to go where they hold court. It’s in the mist that the portals can be found.

My heartfelt blessings go out to all of you as candles are lit and incense smolders. Sharing my thoughts as they transform into words is a privilege that becomes even more beautiful when given the honor of having you read them. For this I am grateful.

Welcome Spring.

I Say Ostara…

My mother’s stares of amazement were punctuated by heavy lidded blinks of reality. It began when she wondered out loud as to what Rabbits and Chickens had to do with Easter. “Well, mother”, I began, “it’s an ancient Pagan fertility thing.” I explained the reasons for the season and when I finished, she responded with a very surprised, yet respectful exclamation of, “really”.

She’s well aware that her only daughter is a Witch, but she never talks about it, at least to me. The times that she does bring it up are rare, but this often leaves me with a feeling that not only has she accepted it, but there seems to be an underlying knowing that this has been my calling all along. Like the time when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she inserted the words, “You wanna do something about it?” into our conversation. This threw me for a triple loop because it was as if she was acknowledging that she believed that I could. Never doing anything Magickal for anyone without their permission, I accepted this as her request. The spell was cast and she just celebrated her 93rd birthday cancer free.

Just last week another comment was made, this time by my sister-in-law. We were in the church where my mother’s youngest brother’s funeral was taking place and I was using the time before the service to talk with my oldest brother and his wife. I was remembering when I was about 4 years old, visiting my grandparents on my mother’s side, who lived in an ancient monument of a farm house. As soon as the car came to a halt I’d run through the house and out the door that lead to the back porch. There I’d call Emily, a calico outside Cat that I had managed to tame and name. Off in the distance, I’d see the grass in the fields move as she soft pawed her way toward me to eat the combination of milk and day old home made bread that I offered her in the bent tin dish.

Apparently, Emily got around because every year she’d produce several batches of kittens, extremely feral and hidden. Every year I’d find them, usually in the barn or the woodshed. Eyes glowing in the darkness of their make shift den, they’d growl and hiss, but I would tame most of them to the point that I could hold them and they followed me around like the piped piper. My grandmother called me ‘katze mutter’, which was German for ‘Cat mother’ and I’ve lived up to that reputation ever since.

I was reminiscing about how I’d take the small wooden blocks of scrap lumber that got burned in the wood stove and set up ‘alters’ and ‘pulpits’ on the back stoop and there I’d play ‘church’ and preach to my congregation of assorted sizes of felines. My sister-in-law laughed and said, “you were doing it even then…you must have known”. I settled back in the pew and her words struck me as they rattled around in my head. Again, some means of acceptance interwoven with the knowledge that I was a Witch who teaches and preaches and was somehow meant to.

I’m not sure if it’s because I was an odd child who became an even odder adult that it is readily taken in stride that I should have come to this. Perhaps it was my vivid memory of being an infant in a crib or the time when I was 5 and was suddenly overtaken by dread that manifested in the form of loud wailing and screaming. The great-aunt that lived with us and served as a ‘nanny’ to my brothers and me was visiting friends. It was after dark, she was on the other side of Milwaukee and traveled by city bus which was not the safest thing to do. My parents tried to comfort me by saying that she planned on staying over night should it get late and that’s why she wasn’t coming home. The crying and screaming persisted because I knew something was terribly wrong. Soon the phone rang with the news that Aunt Alma had been hit by a car and was in the emergency room. As my parents got ready to go there, the phone rang again with the news that she had died.

This was the first of many psychic experiences that I came to dread as I was growing up. Not only were they always linked to tragedy, but in the classrooms of my Lutheran school I was told that the ability to do this was linked to the devil. I can’t help but wonder why the threat of Satan is acceptable, but exposing children to the realities of life is considered traumatic. It’s this kind of questioning that got me in trouble all the time…even then.

As Ostara approaches I am made aware that another holiday is shared by those who ‘borrowed’ much of their traditions from mine. The Bunnies, eggs and baskets of cellophane grass line store shelves along with the ridiculous chocolate crosses and ‘Jesus fish’. Another holiday that I will celebrate alone in spite of the tandem practice of the other. Ostara is also the birthday of MoonShadow, the Coven I created over 20 years ago. Members came and went over time, but the ‘family’ that remains is truly that which was formed of perfect love and perfect trust. You know who you are and you know that I love you.

I’ll explain what the Spring Equinox is to many ‘grown ups’ who only know that it’s the first day of Spring because the weather man said so. There I go again…teaching and preaching. Maybe I’m not the only one in the family who had psychic tendencies when it came to knowing that following the beat of a different drum was something that I was meant to do… in devoutly constructed circles of light.

What’s So Great About This?

That’s what we need to ask ourselves when we catch ourselves ‘mid habit’. All habits are created by the effect it has on us. It has to be rewarding us in some way or we wouldn’t be doing it.

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My best friend.

Lists are  valuable reference tools that will serve to align us with our goals when journal keeping is just not conducive to the time frame we may have. Keeping a small note book with us is a convenient way to access our subconscious because some ideas and ‘ah ha’ moments are fleeting and should not be trusted to memory. Stuff happens and that great concept or message from our inner guide is lost forever.  It was so frustrating to be hunting for a scrap of paper or scampi soaked fragment of napkin that could suffice to record something I needed to make a note of. And I’ve ruined more eye pencils than I care to mention by not having a pen with me at all times.

So, when we realize that we are, once again, reacting automatically…take a moment to acknowledge it and ask some questions. Why are we doing this? How does this serve us emotionally or physically? Does it really make us happy or has it become so ingrained that it doesn’t give us the same thrill it did at the beginning, but it has just become habitual. Will it hurt in some way if we stop doing it? Would we be happier if we didn’t give in to this impulse and self-sabotage again?

Yeah, people might wonder what you’re doing, whipping out your note book and scribbling in some pretty odd places or situations, but many scholars and intellectuals do this all the time so, hey, think how smart you’ll look. Just tell them that your divine intelligence is speaking to you and you need to record it for all posterity. What would Moses have done without those stone tablets?

Spelling Be

Sometimes Magick is like cleaning out a closet.  In order to make room for something new,  you must remove something old. If you don’t ‘wear it well’, get rid of it.  Using this application in your spells can…well, work Magick.

Utilize both aspects of Lunar energy to effect the change that you desire. While it is waning, use the energy to repel or banish that which you want to eliminate from your life and, after the dark Moon, use the New Moon energy in Her waxing phase to attract that which you wish to bring in. To define the concept of this more clearly, take out a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns heading one with the word ‘attract’ and the other with the word, ‘eliminate’.

k2 008_ppMake a list of what you want in one column and its opposite in the other. For example, to increase your cash flow, list ‘more money’ on the list under the heading ‘attract’ and ‘debt’ on the list under the heading of ‘eliminate’. Get creative and don’t spend too much time over thinking this step. Use the headings that resonate with you, such as,  ‘want’ and ‘don’t want’ if you choose.  Simply enjoy the process of making your ‘wish list’, allowing your imagination free reign as long as you list both aspects of the desired outcome, keeping in mind that to add something, you must ‘make room’ by subtracting something. List many things or a few and add to it whenever you discover something you wish to change in your life. This will become your ‘shopping’ list of dreams.

After you have compiled both sides of the list, you will need to choose just one item to focus on for now. The Moon is perpetually going through Her phases so after this cycle is complete and your spell has been cast, you can choose another desire from your list for the next round. Now is the time to pay attention to the details. Once again, using the example of increasing your cash flow, decide on a specific amount. Know this…greed will never serve you. Decide on an amount that will enable you to pay off a particular bill or debt and make sure that you include the admonition, “with harm to none” as part of your spell. Beware the Monkey’s Paw. The acquisition of money as part of an inheritance left to you by the death of a loved one is a possibility you need to be aware of and consciously prevent.

It doesn’t matter what phase the Moon is in at the time you begin your spell as long as you work with the corresponding energy. So if it is waxing, simply begin with the attraction aspect of your spell and then after the Full Moon, begin on the banishing or elimination aspect. How you create your spell is up to you. However, if you are new to writing your own rituals and spells and wish to use something from a Book of Shadows other than your own, feel free to do so. The important part is that it is something that instills a sense of knowing within you. Effective spells are never the product of doubt.  There are as many delightful nuances that go into the creation of a spell as there are Witches who dare to conjure them. Crystals, candles, and herbs, oh my!!! Over the course of my journey on this path, I’ve come up with some glorious spells.

One of my favorite things to do when I am working with money spells is to write myself a check from the Universe or Powers That Be for a specific amount and include the words, “or more” on the line.  That way, I am assured that I will receive at least that which I need, but I am not creating a limit. I place the check where I see it often and say ‘thank you’ or ‘cash’ it by stuffing my wallet with Magick money I’ve either printed or borrowed from a board game. Putting this in my wallet establishes ownership.

The most important part of all is to express gratitude for that which you know is as good as already yours. Don’t allow your sense of anticipation to establish the slightest foothold of doubt or even hint at cautious optimism. If you ruminate excessively, it focuses more on your state of momentary lack than on your acquisition. So, raise your cone of power, send it forth upon the winds of change and let it go.

Your list is a Magical tool to build  a life joyously lived in abundance and health. Use it to increase that which serves and nurtures you and eliminate that which does not. Anything from habits that prevent you from achieving your goals to getting out of your two room rental into a home of your own. If you can imagine it, you will create it. Therefore, do so mindfully and lovingly. Be generous and gracious in your spells.

So mote it be.