Nature Comes A Callin’

The lull between Samhain and Yule, is for many, a time to gear up for the shopping, seasonal decorating, baking and planning for family gatherings. Long past is the era that knew the need to read  omens and pay attention to each nuance the world outside the confines of our air tight, well insulated lives has to offer.

A shift has happened within me and I am no longer all that interested in the mundane, commercial side of life.  Instead, everyday my mind wanders off to the land of the ‘wild things’. Even as I work at my desk all week, I peer around the maze of cubicles to focus on life outside the window. The second story view allows me to take in the expanse of sky and tree line of the well landscaped grounds that blend into the Nature preserve that boarders the company’s campus.

Something inside me, a knowing that has become so much a part of me that goes well beyond impulse, has me searching this enchanted realm with the sharp eyed gaze of the Hawk that summoned me in the first place. With the precision of a high powered spotting scope, I home in on his form in the upper branches of a distant tree. I knew exactly where to look as if he had suddenly sent up a flare to get my attention. His message for me is unmistakable, and I take a great measure of comfort in having received it.

This is my life now. My commute home is consumed by the anticipation of occupying my own ‘perch’. A flurry of Dove wings going aloft, accompanied by the squeaky hinge sound they make, greets me as I open the front door. Hot beverage in one hand, I knock the hard, frozen daubs of bird shit off my chair with the other. Dressed in layers, that end with my long black cape, serve as my own cozy cocoon. The twig table at my side holds my cup of steaming broth and the iron griffon headed arms of the chair reach out to hold me. The only thing left to do is allow the deep rolling exhalation of air escape my smiling lips. It freezes instantly, a wispy, swirling web of white…this is the color of a sigh.

The sharp, jagged cut of frigid wind has been here for some time now. From time to time the last vestiges of warmth would taunt those too naïve to accept that it was not going to stick around. As for me, I’ve looked at a map and a calendar and know full well that based upon my location in one of the Northern states, it was going to get cold, snow and freeze. To expect anything else is a ridiculous waste of time and energy. When the barrage of complaints about the inevitable hurtle toward me, my verbal targe is already in position to fend them off. “I like Winter” I declare, ” if I didn’t I’d move to where they didn’t have it”. Even though the season exists in other places, it is not synonymous with ‘glacial tundra’ the way it is here. Why the hell be miserable? Constant complaining does not have the effect of Magick words. Swaying palms will not appear and runners of baking sand will not unfurl before them unless they go to where those things exist…unless they’re willing to do that, I wish they’d spare me the daily onslaught of weather rants.

There is something about the first true dumping of snow that relays the message that the final curtain has fallen. Thanks again to my trusty calendar, I know that Yule is over a month away, but once that snow yanks up the corners and blankets everything, ‘Winter’ is getting comfortable, settling in and has no intention of leaving for the best part of 6 months.

I had wandered down to the great room around midnight and stood before the window. Once again, the call of the wild filled my ears and stirred the embers that fed the fire of my desire to be more ‘out’ than ‘in’. The originator of that call doesn’t have a clock and wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn about the late hour even if it did. This time, a Rabbit demanded my attention with the urgency of a child yanking at my hem. It foraged for fallen seed at the base of my Bird feeders, imprinting the snow with a series of dots and dashes that it leaves behind as if there was black ink on its paws, stamping a sheet of unmarked, virgin white stationary. I climb back up the stairs and head down the hall to the bedroom, and burrow beneath my brocade comforter. A deliberately implanted, vision is conceived followed by the birth of a dream, of…what else…uninterrupted wilderness and Wolves, Bobcats and Bears…oh, my.

So, it’s all official now. Time to swap the lawn mower for the snow blower in the spot near the garage door for easy access. A quiet sense of joy fills my heart. The example that Mother Nature leads with, to go within and find comfort and solace near hearth and home, displays a wild side this year. That is the one that I see and that is the one that I will emulate. The whole thing seems void of choice and effortless. Without so much as the inkling of forethought, I am driven to be as close to all things wild as often as possible. If I was one of them, the ones that live in the forest, in the fields, breaking trails that wind through prairie lands, I’d be reacting to what is referred to as ‘basic instinct’. Wouldn’t we all if we blocked out the din of the ‘tame’ world that we have erected and sought refuge in, as if what’s ‘out there’ is something to fear and in some cases, something to loathe?

I will write about what I see, but more importantly, what I feel as I explore and discover the places that I am drawn to because what is hidden there and the messages that ride on the wind might not be just for me alone. You, the reader, might hear something too, feel a stirring or sense a shift in the stony plates that pave your usual highway and transform it into a path carpeted with moss and fallen leaves. But, for now, I must bring an end to this entry that carries ‘Winter’ on it’s back, for I hear Nature calling to me, “come outside and play”.

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Open Says Me

I wish. I want. I hope. All of these are Magick words. Use them wisely.

Litha…Party Of Two

The rest of MoonShadow Coven’s members had other obligations and that was okay. Usually, I would host my annual Mid-Summer Faerie Ball, but this year I just kept putting off working on the details until it was no longer feasible to put it all together and pull it off in the flawless fashion that I demand of myself. When Sarinea commented that if I really wanted to host this bash, I’d have had the menu planned months ago, I realized that calling it off was a wise choice. It was going to be a much quieter Litha.

Dianthus had no other plans  and still wanted to come to Madison so she arrived Saturday morning. After a round of hugs and a trip to the guest room we made our way to my favorite Asian buffet and sushi bar with my husband, Randy in tow. The only other stop was going to a thrift store that we like, due to its nicely organized stock of really interesting items. It’s run by Lutherans, and for some reason they seem to have a knack for parting with some very unique knicks.

We played a game of ‘what the hell is that’ with an elderly lady in a brightly colored head wrap and kept her entertained with our old married couple banter. I picked up something that appeared to be a twelve inch tube of fabric stuffed with beans that had a loop on both ends. “What’s this thing…a husband beater?” The lady could be heard laughing two aisles over. “I gotta see this”, she said as she rounded the corner. My husband took it away from me, partially to keep me from using it and also to demonstrate what it actually was. He draped it around the back of his neck and said, “you put it in the microwave to heat it up and then put it on your sore neck”. By then, I was off to the next moment of discovery. Dianthus found a framed print for her kitchen and some stone finished coasters and we left empty handed, deciding there was nothing we couldn’t live without.

Back at the house, I poured myself an ice cold cucumber infused vodka martini while Di opted for her flavored water as we found ourselves on the deck to see if we’d become mosquito bait.  We slapped ourselves senseless for a bit, but for some reason the pests soon Magically hummed off.  We talked about our radio show, Hocus Focus,and gardening, birds, spiritually and more gardening as the birds, ground squirrels and rabbits played and ate in the yard below.

Di had requested the recipe for my mother’s famous carrot cake and I agreed to give it to her with the stipulation that she never defile it with frosting. The cake is so heavy and rich that topping it with the ubiquitous cream cheese goop would be both an abomination and render it inedible like when they have to douse an already sweet desert with sticky syrup. I get a toothache just thinking about it. This cake is dusted with powdered sugar and that’s sufficient as well as simple and elegant. As a surprise, I made the cake so Di could eat her fill and take what was left home to her husband. In addition, I also made some pastel colored sugar cookies…it’s a well known fact that Faeries love sweet things…and so do we.

Two cookies and a piece of cake later we made our way to my inner sanctum, affectionately known as my ‘broom closet’ to listen to a couple of our shows that are now in archives. It’s always fun to do that when they’re not as fresh in our minds because we can critique them with the same mindset as hearing what our audience hears. We like what we hear. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/moonshadow92/2014/05/25/hocus-focus-radio-topic-table-talk-and-divination

The mosquitos were beyond the practice round launched earlier on the deck and were now forming battle lines like Celtic warriors and we had no desire to meet them head on so our plans for a bonfire were scrapped in favor of calling it a night. Di wanted to get an early start for home Sunday morning so plans for hitting a local breakfast buffet were also amended to coffee and a few more cookies.  Tentative plans were made for me to head up north to record more shows since they flow better when we’re all together as opposed to using Skype. More hugs and she was heading down the road while I settled in a chair to savor the experience.

Sometimes the quiet grace of time spent in the company of the dearest of friends is exactly what is needed. Perhaps next year the fervor of a riotous romp, costumed in Faerie wings, will be too enticing to be written off as easily as it was this year. Dianthus and I agreed that we both needed this…time to talk, unwind, and enjoy a bit of Nature in the yard.

So, as the Wheel of The Year turns another cog, Solstice past, we are heading into the dark times now. No sadness comes as a result of this, only the contemplation of being in harmony with it all and the gentle acceptance of each season as it rolls out its own carpet. Be it lush green grass, gold and scarlet fallen leaves or crystalline snow, I will jubilantly dance upon each one.

 

 

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.

Not My Child

Before you call for an exorcist or ground the little darling for life, let me explain a few things.  Number one,  It could be worse. Number two, it’s not at all what you’re thinking.

Let me address number one. If your kid is exploring the practice of Witchcraft in the way that it was intended to  be practiced, know that it does not revolve around looking Goth, vampires, or putting a hex on aunt Mildred. If that is what they are exhibiting, then that is not Witchcraft, but rather something that smacks of role playing games. If that is the case, rest assured there will come a time that they will grow out of it or go through life being really weird or just get beat up a lot. Being like this past their 20’s pretty much assures that they will spend their lives asking, “do y0u want curly fries with that?”

However, if they are indeed involved with the practice of The Craft, they will be completely responsible for their actions. That means, there is no devil or sin to blame when they do something that they shouldn’t. Knowing that all things are circular, involves the consciousness of the concept of the law of return or the scientific principal of cause and effect. That being said, it is required that one live conscientiously and in harmony with all of life. Being responsible for one’s actions is accepted without question. It’s not the parent’s fault, the school’s fault or the fact that they may get picked on. All actions are based upon a conscious choice. Whether that choice proves to be right or wrong, the responsibility lies with the person making the choice.

So, if your kid does something that has a negative effect on someone or something, they should be aware that they will need to face the consequences for the part that they have played. Most likely, the path that they are exploring is Wicca, which dictates, ‘an it harm none’. That means that they cannot ,with a clear conscience based upon intent, walk past litter without picking it up, not  hold open a door for someone, or fail to assist life-kind in whatever means possible to allow for the comfort and life sustainability of that species. There is no place for entitlement here. This is a place of service to all of life. That means that they also must respect good parents and express gratitude for the gifts of life and sustenance and willingly give back. Household chores done in a joyful manner  are a means of giving back. Expressing respect for honorable elders is required. Doing one’s part to live in harmony with Nature and ensure that She endure, is prerequisite.

If your kid expresses a desire to practice The Craft, seek a teacher and mentor who understands and adheres to the principals of the teachings. Money should not be the focus of the lessons, nor should your lack of involvement. Working together should be encouraged so that you know and understand the curriculum of the study. Above all, if you are uncomfortable with anything, you have the right and the duty to have your concerns addressed. No one that is qualified to teach The Craft will teach a minor without parental permission so your child will not be instructed in a religion or ‘faith-based’ path or baptized without your knowledge or acceptance under the guise of ‘Bible camp’ or any other means by which to lure your children ‘for God’.

Number two, Witchcraft, has nothing to do with evil intent of any kind, spooky stuff, or most likely anything you may have seen in the movies or on TV. Magick is real, but if it is done to the detriment of life-kind, one is held responsible. This is not about hexing or cursing, in that  any Magickal working is considered to be the physical manifestation of ‘prayer’ in the same way that a candle is lit or prayer spoken  on behalf of someone in a mainstream religion.

All things vibrate with energy.Certain things have what is considered to be correspondences. In the same way that a frequency corresponds with a specific energy path to allow interception with a particular radio station, is the same way that certain elements in Nature vibrate with a similar current. Witches study the various correspondences and means to connect with a specific vibrational current of energy and we work with them to bring about a change. Doing Magick for one’s self is always acceptable as long as it doesn’t disturb the vibrational frequency of others unless they give their permission to do so. That means, if you want to do a work of healing, that too requires permission, in that you are manipulating the energy of another person, even though your intent is admirable.

So, don’t get upset if your kid is exploring Witchcraft or Wicca as a spiritual path. Yes, it’s one of those alternative things out there that other people won’t understand. It takes a strong character to pursue this path and it’s not for those who cave to peer pressure or are willing to sacrifice their integrity for the sake of being popular. It means that your kid won’t be inclined to do drugs, being that it harms the body, or be disruptive or fail to study to the best of their abilities. They might wrestle with their conscious a bit more than average and even question things that you do that may seem to contradict the standard of ethics that you are requiring of them.

Later in life, they may strive to help others at the expense of their own comfort level. They will be inclined to live consciously and live in harmony with Nature. Your kid might forsake the trappings of conventional life in order to focus their attention on something that will benefit all of humanity. They might forgo cheating on their taxes, steal on the job, or do anything that they might consider to be at odds with their conscience or sense or their own code of honor.

So, you see, it could be worse. Your kids could be involved with things that are self-serving. They could be self-absorbed and feel that they are entitled to everything exactly as they want it regardless of how it effects others, including you. If your kid professes to  be a Witch and is any of those things, they are role playing and this phase will pass.

However, if they are really pursuing the study of The Craft…expect stray animals and donations to charity. They might want to become vegetarians and spend time in Nature. They might express an interest in a career in science or epi-genetics or ways that will enable them to help people. They’ll suddenly be more interested in giving back than getting. Yeah, they could do worse. And so could you.

A Bird Of A Very Different Feather

Most days I try to ‘map’ some expectations and include something so incredible and unusual that I will know when it occurs that it is confirmation of my ability to manifest via my connection to ‘The Universe’. This frequently involves being attuned with Nature and working with my guides who serve as omens. Yesterday, however, I decided to simply allow things to unfold and see what would happen. This seemed like the obvious choice to make since circumstances warranted that the plans I had made the previous night needed to be altered. I didn’t get out to my garden at all as I had expected. I had planned to spend most of the day out there cleaning things up in preparation for Spring, when I plant like a mad woman so that when it’s all done, all that is left to do is a bit of maintenance and relaxing in it’s beauty.

After doing some running to look at a new combination smoker and grill that my husband would like and another trip to the grocery store for steaks, it was well after 2PM and my energy was lagging. I figured that after dinner I’d just get my bird feeders filled and sit in the yard allowing the Earth to envelope me in Her nurturing embrace as I listened to the fountain splash. Wild Violets, my favorite flower, are scattered throughout the lawn wherever the Great Mother had tossed them and never fail to make me smile.

I came around to the front yard and headed toward my griffon bench for a front row seat, as the chorus of bird song was just warming up. There, on the ground beneath my feeder pole, laid a male Red Winged Blackbird. Whatever occurred had just happened prior to my arrival because he had not been there on my first pass through. I bent down and scooped him up in my hands and he began to show signs of fear, but was too disoriented to do anything but accept my interference.

Gently probing his feathers, I didn’t detect any obvious wound from a bird of prey, but he was too far away from my window for me to assume that he had hit the glass. I held him, speaking softly to him while stroking his soft little head and he began to relax. His eyes became less glazed and he started to make a move to escape. At one point he took advantage of my loosened grip and jumped to the ground. He seemed unable to take flight and hopped the length of the side of the house until he entered the back yard. Anyone who doubts a bird’s ability to outrun them should try chasing one.

He reached the rock wall where he came to a stand still. There was no way that I was just going to leave him to his own devices since in this state, he was a ‘sitting duck’. I picked him up again and returned to the bench with him. My husband came outside so the two of us began to play doctor, offering him water, which he drank one drop at a time off the tip of my finger, and simply letting him rest in my cupped hands. He’d open his eyes and make a break for it again, but still was not able to take flight.

Finally, it was time to go inside, so we exchanged ideas as to what to do with him overnight. With three very inquisitive Cats in residency, it was obvious that creating a make shift hospital indoors was not a wise option. I put a cushion at the bottom of a garden carry-all and found a ‘cage’ fashioned from hardware cloth. It was carefully placed over him so he was confined to a smaller, but airy space. A small dish of seeds was placed inside with him and another garden pillow served as a lid for the cage and the device was carried through the house and placed on the deck off the upper level so he would be high enough to protect him from predators.

I proceeded to do some things around the house while my husband gave me updates. “He’s ok. Just sitting there peering into the patio door wondering how he can get the hell out of there”. With darkness falling, there was not much else to be done until morning.

So, it’s a bit past 5AM and still dark so I am anxiously awaiting some daylight so that I can see if he’s ready to be launched back into life as he knew it before whatever it was had altered it. Come to think of it, my life was altered too. As I sat there attempting to provide what he needed, an overwhelming sense of having to nurture flooded my senses. How appropriate for Mother’s Day weekend. My daughter and her husband have to attend a birthday party for a ‘godchild’, so I will be spending Mother’s Day sans child. My own 93 year old mother is going out to dinner with one of my brothers and since we were not asked to join them, I really would feel like an intrusion if we made the hour and a half trip to ‘visit’. Having my husband take me out for dinner seems a bit odd because, as he has pointed out in the past, I am not his mother.

Getting out in the yard to do yesterday’s gardening will be a fine way to celebrate. After all, what a better way to spend the day than to be in the presence of the greatest Mother of all, in service to Her by having a ‘day of beauty’ in the spa… plucking weeds, and adding some color and polish.

Ah, I see the light of day has made things out the window visible and recognizable. A Grackle is already having breakfast, probing the peanut feeder for a nut to fly off with. A funny spin on the end bit of that line takes over my brain in the form of mounting the broom with a fellow crazy Sister Witch. The goofy shit my mind takes and twists just enough to leave puzzled faces in the wake of my sudden impulse to share them scares me. The closer I get to being 60, the more bazaar those things become. Oh well, I’ve been politely described as “eccentric” all of my life so the stiletto granny boot fits. And yes, I wear them, adhering to my sentiment, “if the shoe fits”, as in comfortable, “it’s ugly”.

Well, time to check on the patient. I guess I’ve been stalling because as eager as I am, there is that twinge of fear that I will find that he has joined the friendly skies on the other side. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “Excuses Be Gone”.