Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the dark with a baying dog She walks

I just got back from visiting my husband at his booth at Phoenix Comicon. I am fairly pooped. I've been emotionally exhausted from the inception of the Brewhaha ( yes that is what I am calling it) I don't really want to rehash that event, but just incase you are unfamiliar with it, this will explain it all. Just promise me you won't get angry or let it shake you.

Life is a difficult thing to navigate even if you have a book that outlines a fairly good moral code to guide you. We all have these impulses that jerk our emotions around and through those emotions we have knee jerk reactions to things that we feel strongly about. Politics and religion are always hot button issues that make smart and good people say the stupidest things and in those heated moments make us look like world class, heartless idiots. We have all had one or two of those in our lives.

I found myself sitting in the dark the other night on my patio enjoying the desert evening. Maybe for one of the last of those evenings on this patio. I could hear deep in the neighborhood a dog baying in the background and an image of Hecate came to mind. I had no doubt that She would show up. She always does when my own fears peak.

You see, this blog was one of the hardest things I have ever made myself do. I don't have a problem with being out of the closet. I have no fear of claiming my beliefs and standing by them. My fear stems from stepping out of my comfortable shadows and sharing my experiences with others. They are not only deeply personal, but border on fiction even to my own ears unless you look at things from a shamanic perspective an understand that this reality we exist in is actually one of many occurring all at once. My Universe and the Universe of even someone of the same faith will never look the same, so it's understandable when someone who is coming from a more orthodox religion would look at me and wonder what is going on in my head.  To have my faith questioned is another thing all together and that's what bothered me the most about the situation.

I sat in the dark examining my fear. Where did it stem from? Why did it send me in to near panic attacks? I think history holds the answer to those questions. Not just history, but recent events even. There are people in another part of the world who are being attacked by mobs because of fears of witchcraft. Almost all of these people have nothing to do with witchcraft, yet they are attacked, murdered even. It always starts with someone saying something ungraceful. The rumors build, as we know them to, and suddenly there is a full fledged mob with blood lust coursing through them. The results of these events prove tragic. It's quite horrifying.

The answer to the source of  my fears is simple: I fear the reactions of fearful people. My reaction to fear is to run at it.

I sat in the dark listening to the mournful sound of the baying dog knowing that my Goddess was near. I foolishly hoped that She would provide answers and maybe even release from my fear tonight. I was reminded by a friend that is not likely to happen because Hecate believes that I am strong enough to endure and conquer my own inner demons.

Tonight, instead of asking to be released from my fear or asking for answers, I think I will just say thank you for teaching me that my faith is unshakable in the face of persecution. I would also like to thank the woman who made me prove that.

Darlene Schact, thank you. I hope that when you are done dancing with your own fears, we can have a conversation about the power of faith.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The campaign of poppies. . .

Poppies in Sunlight II

by Andrea Kahn

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae ~

Blessed Memorial Day. This is the poem that launched what I call the Campaign of Poppies. Every year we see a vet out in front of the store with a can and a handful of paper poppies. I did again this year and had nothing to give. I felt horrible for two reasons. 1. I recognize that our vets are not exactly taken care of well upon returning from service by the people who sent them ( our government) 2. The paper poppy on the antenna of my car has long since been bleached out by the sun. It is an unrecognizable slip of paper that was once a glorious reminder that someone had the courage to step up to the line and give their life to defend the constitution that states our basic human rights. My poppy really needs to be replaced.

He was a grandfatherly figure standing in front of the store as I needed to quickly get in and out. He probably is someone's grandfather. I would have stopped and given him something for his can had I had any cash on me. Alas, I had nothing. He politely smiled and probably knew two things: I was indeed in a rush and probably really had nothing. . .  I didn't even have my magic pennies on me as I have taken them out of my purse to get them ready for a penny game soon.

I felt even worse coming out of the store greeting him again. I caught a straight, focused gaze with him and said thank you. He smiled and told me I was welcome. I then had to hurry away, but his face still remains in my mind. I will never be caught without an offering for the poppy can again. As of today, I have resolved to come up with a ritual offering of coin: 4 quarters, 4 dimes ( the ones with torches), 4 nickels, and a copper penny ( pre 1982). Thirteen coins, thirteen moons in a year, thirteen the number of death in the tarot. I will place them on the Death card upon my altar and offer my thanks to those who died in service then offer the coins to the one who holds the poppies in of the store. If I have more to give at the moment I will, but the coins I want to put forth as an offering and have them available once a year as tribute to the dead and sustenance for those who remain and require care. I realize it's a small offering, maybe even financially meaningless, but having a family on a tight budget sometimes leaves nothing to give on the spur of the moment. I want to change that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thirteen 13 XIII

Ok, now that my brain is defuzzed from today's business and I am ready to do my 13 blog post! I know most hear the number 13 and gasp, but not us witchy folk! It's the number of full moons in a year and therefore a great number in my book! So being given the Versatile Blogger award, here are my thirteen as required: 10 random facts about me and 3 new nominees!

1) I have a chop stick in my kitchen drawer that says kitchen wand
2) I have deliberately disconnected my household from cable TV
3) I have more books than bookshelf room
4) I love science fiction almost as much as fairy tales
5) My hubby was right about me needing my smartphone
6) I love the colors black, purple and cobalt blue
7) I hate being late, therefore I show up 15 minutes early
8) I think laundry is evil
9) I believe miracles do indeed happen
10) I love plants

My three chosen blogs:

Graveyard Dirt: Two Worlds and In-between
Inciting A Riot
New World Witchery - the Search for American Traditional Witchcraft

On another note I would like to put forth that the pagan blogs that are in the running in the Circle of Moms blog contest are doing very well with your support! Huzzah! I am so impressed and proud of how the community put on their striped socks and held their cauldrons with pride! Bravo to all of you!

These are the Pagan Blogs that are in the contest! 

Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom

The Pagan Mom Blog

Witch Mom: Parenting by the Light of the Moon

Witchy Mama


The Teflon Cauldron

One Witch's Wonderland

Earth Mother Musings

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meditation, trance and shamanic experiences

I tend to relate my subject matter from a personal experience format and my opinions are formed from these experiences. So when I tell you these things, keep in mind that your experiences in meditation and so forth are not wrong should they differ. More likely, you have different modes of perception and if they work for you then that is perfect. I tend to be a very visual person. I see things while I am in meditation and trances with pretty good clarity even if I don't always understand at the time what it is I am looking at.

Meditation practices are highly encouraged for it's calming and sorting effect on the mind's operation. You can either walk through a formulated pattern or your can go zen and allow the chains of the mind to loosen. I really have no preference for one over the other. I suppose, it would be more dependent on what my goal is for the meditation. I use formulated patterns for either stress relief accompanied by mudras or pathworkings when I wish to explore a specific aspect of my mind's inner workings. Trances I tend to use for interactions with divinity or my spirit guides.

The story I am about to relate to you happened many years ago and has had a very formative effect on my personal life. It's what lead me to trances in the first place and later to the tradition I now call home.

I was working on a pathworking excercise I had been trying to work for a couple of weeks with little success, something always interfered and I was beginning to become frustrated. I decided that I was going to continue practicing this pathworking until I got what I came for: an experience that would lead me to my seat of wisdom. It started just as it usually had, over the hill through the forest and on to the water in a swan boat through the mist. I usually got hung up on the mist. For whatever reason, my mind was having trouble parting it.

This time on the rocking boat, the mist parted and an island with a tower keep was revealed. I landed on shore and walked in. I started to feel things more deeply, things became very crisp and clear as I walk up the stairs toward the top of the tower. If this hadn't been my first experience with pathworkings slipping into trance I would have realized that things had shifted, but this was a new experience and I had no point of reference on the cues. I did think it funny at the time that everything had suddenly become more real for the lack of a better term.

As I walked into this huge library with books, scrolls and sheaves of paper scattered about, I immediately felt a buzzing sensation in my body as I laid my eyes upon a hooded man working arduously over a hand written work. He noticed my approach immediately and pointed to a seat that popped out of nowhere. He asked me a series of questions about my path including why I was on it and simply nodded. I was trying to see his face, the voice sounded familiar, but the shadows hid the features of his face very well.

I could tell that he was looking at me. It wasn't uncomfortable, it felt like someone who knew me just trying to understand why I was walking the path the way I was instead of following convention. He caught me off guard with a final question: who am I? Before I could even rationalize the question the answer flew out of my mouth as if I had known it all along: you are my Father's father. He removed his hood and a face similar to my father's smiled out at me. It wasn't a huge toothy radiant smile. It was one of cool, logical pleasure full of reserve and quiet pride.

Later, I described this experience to my mother who in turn responded it sounded like something my Grandfather would do. You see, I only met my Grandfather as an infant. He had passed the veil when I was very young. I have no memories of him on this plane. I came to realize after my conversation with my mother that something very odd had happened: my pathworking had shifted into a trance somewhere along the way and my Grandfather had arranged to have this conversation with me. It is possible that he was curious as to why I had made the decisions I had made about my spirituality. He was a philosopher in this life so I may have caught his attention.

After this occurred, other strange things would happen and continue to happen. I would meet people and beings that no one else could see, but they were there as plainly as any other person. I would have entire conversations with them that I can remember verbatim. Most recently was at a Samhain ritual I officiated in Tuscon. There was woman there who I was talking with. She commented on how much she enjoyed the ritual and was thanking me for coming all the way from Phoenix to do this for them. Other words were exchanged and later while speaking to my mother about this person and her curious words she developed a vexed look on her face. I described the woman three times to her and it was no one she knew or had invited. . . this was a by invitation only event. I spoke to my dad about this woman and he didn't recognize her either. I can only concluded that this woman was another one of my shamanic experiences.

I do have to wonder what the other people were thinking while I was having this conversation with the disappearing woman. I wonder if they perceived me as we perceived Giaus Baltar while he had his conversations with 6. You see, Six had always been invisible to everyone but Baltar and he was always left in these awkward situations because of these conversations. That must have been awful strange to them, if any of them were paying attention. It's not like the room was very large much less empty, so someone had to have seen something.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. There is no defined amount of recommended time. I've know someone who manages to squeeze in only 10 minutes a day with a house full of kids and it helps her tremendously. I generally wait until kids are tucked in for either bed or a nap. I can range from ten minutes to almost an hour depending on what is going on in my life at the time and what it is I am seeking. Meditation is a practice. Even if in the beginning you are rubbish at it. . . keep trying. Your efforts will pay off, even if you are not trying to work up to jumping the hedge.

For information on the effects of time go to this post: Energetic Effects of Time

Monday, May 23, 2011

Painful to watch. . .

"If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced."
The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
Children of Dune

Of late, I have been hearing some witches tell other witches their methodology is incorrect, their theories shoddy, and their lack of an academic approach to magic is reproachable. Excuse me???

Magic comes from the deepest parts of one's soul and connection to the land they live upon and connection to the Gods. Not some ancient text written on paper by a man who says it must be this way or all is doomed. Don't get me wrong I love reading old books of magic and old books about magic, but the authors of these books are NOT the end all be all of the subject. They are great places to learn and move forward from once understanding has been achieved. Quite frankly, I love the weight and smell of old books. These books bring me comfort in the knowledge that someone before me has indeed walked a similar path to mine and it is entirely plausible that I may be walking in a good way. They are also great points of inspiration to my own craftings.

I have a deep respect for those who can rattle off the history texts of the craft by chapter and verse. Indeed, it is a great benefit to those around them. However, when it gets to the point where all your do is site and work from texts written long ago, I think the lessons provided in these wonderful texts becomes lost in arrogance. To sneer at your fellow witches for moving beyond the written word once they understand it, is not only disrespectful but and embarrassment to the person doing the sneering. It's painful to watch actually.

Now, I am not saying that there is a certain amount of pure nonsense and idiocy as a result from someone not doing any homework into their subject. . . there is a whole mountain of it. That, too, is painful to watch.

I suppose what I am encouraging here, is for a healthy balance of doing your homework and stepping into the circle trusting your own inner workings and mysteries. We all work differently. We all have different pieces of the puzzle. To sneer at each other is non productive and it allows who are not our friends to fish in troubled waters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The pilfered rose. . .

A short blog to hold you over until I can etch out t he tim elater to talk about what I really want to talk about. . . and apparently, type in a straight line. I didn't anticipate on being this tired today.

Long before we applied for a house loan and had it approved, I began magic on the subject. I asked the Star Goddess to help us find an appropriate home within our budget for our family to own and call home. I went through the list of how I was going to petition Her on the subject. I scratched things out, reworded things and tried to make my petition precise so that which I asked for was precisely what we wanted. I scoured the web and my BOS for ideas on spells of property buying made  plans for the execution for said spell but when it came down to the nitty gritty of what I did, it was spur of the moment and simple.

Long before we actually got in the car and started looking at properties, I had placed my petition in what you could call a wish manifestation box and was feeding it energy on a regular basis.

We had quite a search going but there was on property that made both of us look at each other and say: this is the one! I knew it upon pulling up to the property. I felt it. There was something that just move within me in just the right manner that let me know this was indeed exactly what I had asked Her for. And the first time we pulled up to it, we could not go in. The agent did not send the code to our realtor yet. I was a bit crushed at first to say the least, but there was a reassuring hand on my shoulder and a voice that said have no fear you will get to see it. So  I relaxed and looked at a couple of unacceptable properties. We got the code after looking at three of those unacceptables. We drove up and a pair of doves we sitting on the front yard under the large mesquite. It felt like a good omen.

Going in, it was confirmed in my mind that this was indeed what we were looking for in a home and on our way out I remembered I had not gathered the material I needed for the working of property buying. Instead of buying the dirt, I pilfered a rose from the bush out front, asking permission of the bush of course, and asked the spirit that was in the house to help us move in without incident. . . so far, so good.

I guess it goes to show that even the best planned out spells can change in a heartbeat to something as simple as placing a rose in a wish box. I will talk more later about buying the dirt. . . but right now time is waaaay too short!

This Mommy has to scramble and get stuff done. . . but before I go, I wanted to give my heart felt thanks to MidnightSage for this shiny award! Thank you sweets!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Celebrations and help

So the Oddly family has great news! We have been house hunting for a while now and we were absolutely determined to find one that wasn't torn up and hastily ( and pooly) remodeled into a four bedroom floor plan disaster! You would not believe the nightmares we ran across in our search, some of which I am certain, were absolutely not up to code. We have been waiting for so very long to be able to purchase our first home and we were getting worried that while the market was right, we were not going to find anything in our price range that was livable.

Months later we found one. It is in a quiet neighborhood with great schools and a beautiful compromise between what hubby and I desired in a home. It's a short sale, but we'll go for it! We put in a bid about a month ago and have been sitting on pins an needles waiting for the bank to give us indication of a yea or nay. We got the news this weekend and I just about popped holding this in for so long! It's a modest home, but everything we as a family need.

WE GOT THE HOUSE! We need to close by June 24! 

In celebration I am offering 3 of my oils for $15!

Ok, I may be celebrating, but I also need your help. We have to raise money for moving expenses and appliances. As wonderful as this home is, it does not even have a stove! I think the owner had to sell appliances due to their own financial  obligations and I understand that, I'm not angry at all, but I realize that now I have to scramble to get all my financial duckies in a row! This is happening much faster than I anticipated, but I won't complain, just put my nose to the grindstone and do the best I know how to do.

I am not one to ask for help or ask for anything for free. Yes I am one of those stubborn types who tries to make her own way and earn her keep. I do realize that I am in a position where I do need help so I am asking you for the opportunity to prove my worth.

With everyone tightening their belts a notch or three, I have put together this package that will benefit everyone!

Thank you to everyone who can help us out!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The gossip girl gag!

I refuse to think in terms of being a victim. I am witch and I can shift things as I need to in order to deal with what other people insist upon throwing at me and move along. I also realize that not every witch works the way I do and I can't expect that they have the same code of ethics or even the same practices. I am alright with that, but I refuse to play high school games. I didn't like them when I was high school aged and I like them even less now. I have no time to waste or energy that I care to devote to the sport of "mean girls. "

The favorite game, of course would be the Gossip game. Sometimes known as the rumor mill and the grapevine. So and so hears such and such about whose a whatzit and it's just too good to keep to yourself. . . in fact, probably several sources have said XYand Z and it gets embellished and curliqued and mangled to the furthest thing from the truth, sometimes just for kicks! The usual suspects are involved: the green eye of jealousy, the hidden agenda and of course the drama queen. All of whom must have their way, agenda fulfilled, and attention bowed to right the heck now. The problem with this game is not only are negative things being put out there for trivial reasons, the ones being gossiped about are the ones who end up paying for the game. It's like they walked into the room and suddenly have had to pay for the party that they didn't even get to have fun at. Relationships are compromised or broken, trust goes out the window and a whole whopping bowl of injured feelings are served up for no good reason.

I find gossip to not only be built up an web of often times exaggerated statements twisted to untruths by people who are either mean spirited or just plain paranoid, I find it to be the mark of someone who just needs to go home and rethink their lives. Maybe even grow up *gasp!*. I used to try to figure out the root of the subject, but I found it to be often times a waste of time on top of exhausting. I'm sorry, but I have things that need doing and I don't want to participate in someone else's need for drama. There is also a part of me that feels bad for the gossipers because they must feel so neglected that they have to manufacture reasons for people to pay attention to them, but I got over that quickly as I realized that it was a hook to reel you in. Classic tactic used by the most politicians. I think you can guess how I feel about them.

Got gossip? Well, I have a gag order! It says: Shut your spiteful trap right the heck now and think about what you are saying! Then go home, and for the love of what ever it is you love, rethink your life! Don't forget to smile. I'm willing to share, but for the now it's only available through special request. Email or tweet me if you must.


Monday, May 9, 2011

In which I reveal how big a geek girl I am. . .

Not too long ago a short ElfQuest trailer was made. I love ElfQuest. I have many of the comic books, I have the graphic novels, gatherums and poster. . . blah blah blah *fan speak* blah. It was one of those things that really spoke to me emotionally as I was trying to get my adolescent self to adulthood maturity. This trailer led to me breaking out with the graphic novels a pouring through them again.

One of the things that really hit home was as I was going through some of the last parts of the story line, emotions from recent events in real life echoed through the emotional back drop of the books. As Osama Bin Laden was removed from this plane Cutter was beating the tar out of Rayek for stealing his family and giving him a sense of being something he never wanted to be, Human. I understand this emotion that flooded Cutter. This rage at being turned into your enemy, having that which brings you peace and serenity being stolen from you, having your heart ripped out and kept from you. I could see everyone in Cutter's eyes. I could hear our rage in his words.

What Rayek did was truly monstrous. Rayek kidnapped Cutter's family and left him to bleed from the soul while doing what he thought to be for the greater good of his people. Arrogance is dangerous. It leads you to losing touch with your soul and it's true purpose and only while having the tar beaten out of him did Rayek really understand the immensity of harm he caused.

In this case, the only way to bring healing about between the two characters was a good old fashioned knock down, drag out, teeth spitting fight. There were rules of course. 1) no using magic, all else is fair 2) no dying to save face. 3) the first to call loses and someone must call. Needless to say, this whole duke it out affair was dirty, ugly and cathartic not just for those locked in battle, but for the whole community. The whole ugly brew came out like a champaign cork flying from it's bottle and when the fur stopped flying there was an understanding.

I wonder, what is it that we have learned about ourselves through this whole drama that we have been living? What is it that we have learned about others? Have we learned anything at all? At the end of the beat down and release, are we better for it? Is there an understanding? Has any healing taken place?

I know that the death of Bin Laden is something that we have been howling for. It has, indeed, been a huge cathartic event for Americans and many around the world as well. I understand why people are dancing. I just never felt like taking part of that dance. It made me uncomfortable. I felt even more uncomfortable that I wasn't taking part in this small victory. It wasn't until I hit the end of this part of Cutter's story that I was ok with not dancing on the grave of a sworn enemy, nor was it until this moment did I really embrace the idea that maybe. . . just maybe I am a much bigger geek girl than I suspected.

This is what Bin Laden and his followers have stolen from many people around the world. Many hearts were stolen and those left behind bled until they were dry. There will always be a hole where this once was. In many ways, we are all Cutter. Hopefully, in time, we will all heal from what has been done.