Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A dove's gift.

A while ago in an other post I briefly mentioned the baby dove whose body I buried in a pot in my own patio garden while I was at the apartments. She has safely traveled here and I am please to announce that all fledglings in my yard have made it to flight! They have survived immense winds, the feral cat that formerly lived in my wall ( yes she visits) and perils of falling from great heights. I see the little lovelies pecking at the earth in the back yard aside their parents peacefully cooing.

However, there was one find that reminded me once again of the energies of the season. Letting go of that which has not come to fruition and returning it to the fields. As some of you know, I have trimmed up the palms; they were in woeful disarray when I moved in, but I had to wait until I knew the doves were done nesting. Seeing the fledglings fly off was the signal I had been waiting for. My daughter had found an eggshell that had yet to be hatched, it was still wet with yolk. It was unfertilized and did not thrive to hatch and therefore, before the adults abandoned their nest, they must have pushed it to the ground. Upon pulling one of the palm fronds down I found that nest. I placed it beside the pot where my baby dove lies to rest.

The other night, after a day of trying to find the shells of the cicadas I had started to hear, I saw a live cicada. We had a brief conversation about how the transformation for me at this time is complete until the next cycle. Why was I looking for the shells of the immature? True to the cicada's words. . . I have yet to find a shell. Actually, I have stopped looking. I do, however, keep seeing the mature cicadas sitting in branches, screens and clinging to posts.

In my mind's eye I keep seeing a shaman beating a drum by a fire with smoke rising toward the stars. The question on my lips is now: what have I become? I think I will only find that answer if I let go of what I have been and walk forward. I suppose my next meditation will be based upon what it is I need to let go and when I find it I will be placing those things in that egg shell and placing it in the empty nest out in the yard. It is time to take the dove's gift and do the season's bidding.

Monday, July 25, 2011

School day magic.

As most of you have heard, my children have their first day of classes today. After all the buzz about the first day of school and all the preparations that go into it, magic is certainly not left out of the picture.  A few years ago, I decided to start making my children charms to aide them on their academic path. I have seen improvement in both of their performances because of this. Last year my children started carrying pocket charms ( which I occasionally find in the washer) so I decided instead of adding to the things in their pockets I would take advantage of what they were already carry about with them.

I rounded up their charms and laid them out on my altar. They had to have known what I was up to because both children surrendered their charms with out question. Miss B. even sounded excited to be carrying around something that had been blessed and charged by Mom.

This year I called upon Tristan to aid them with their studies. This last February I met both him and Isolde and found them to be much more than the legends describe. I quite like the both of them and they have been very generous with their guidance in my own crafts. Tristan himself was an excellent student and a skilled man on and off the battle field and as we know the school yard can, on occasion, be a battlefield. He was in my eyes a perfect choice to guide my children through their school day and studies. I dug out his oil, lit the candles, got the incense offering smoldering, called in the Goddess Brigit and called to Tristan to hear my request.

As I sat to listen for an answer, I felt a strong hand over mine as I charged the charms and knew that Tristan had taken up my cause! I know that my children will have a great guide in Tristan while I am not able to watch over them myself. I am so glad that I grabbed the rope and agreed to work with him and his beloved Isolde! ( the Nain is still a bit scary, but I am working on that. She's a wily old creature with plans of her own.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prayers, contemplation and solutions

My deepest condolences go out to Norway's people. May those who have been touched by this tragedy be comforted by each other and the divine. May real answers be found and employed.

I have actually spent a good part of my afternoon in prayer and contemplation upon Norway's tragedy. Symptoms of enclosure have struck again. It is heartbreaking when these things occur. We can expect them to continue to occur because we are merely putting BandAides on on a sucking chest wound. We are being consistently pointed in the wrong directions probably on purpose by our governments. I say probably on purpose because, at least here in the states, our government understands the consequences of allowing a frontier to open: We make our own way through the wilderness, demand representation when taxes are levyed and the goods appropriated for 'official use only' and exportation, finally get ticked off at their antics and kick their collective butts when they decide they are gonna enforce their crap. Then comes what the official government considers to be insult to injury: people start demanding independence! Independence is expensive in more ways than just loosing a base of people to control. They actually have to start paying fair wages and treating people fairly and well or they leave. Independence is very expensive for those who wish to rule indeed. . . literally.

The world's governments would have us believe that there is only one solution. When in fact, there is only one solution that is acceptable to them and will allow them to keep their hold on power. They keep pushing the green movement and sustainable living answer like it's going to answer all of our problems. It's not the full answer. It is only half an answer and this is not a quiz where we will get half points for half correct answers. We either get it right or we doom ourselves to extinction. Here's another solution. I am sure there are others. This is not something that has only one aspect to the solution and anyone who says that is either selling you something or desires to rule you.

I have spoken to God Herself many times about this subject and Her answer was always the same: You have been given the tools. I expect you to use them!

It is my deepest, heartfelt sorrow that we see such terrible acts inflicted upon anyone. I hope that we all take time to think about how we can contribute to genuine solutions and not revenge. I hope that we can all grow together and truly heal.


for further reading: Survivors From Earth By Laurence Winn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A midnight vigil at a new helm.

Every helmsman learns how her ship moves. She learns it's feel from the wheel: how the waves move about her ship, how the wind in the sails push and pull, the ebb and flow of the tide, the deep and the shoals and maneuvers her craft accordingly. What happens when the ship is changed out? The nuances of the of old craft are null and void. It is a different voice, a different way of moving that requires study and listening of the most intense kind and hoping that old knowledge does not fail you. Every ship has a different voice and manner of cutting through the waves.

Here I am in the ocean in a larger craft. I can't rely on the knowledge that I aquired of the smaller cutters that I have been sailing in for most of my life. I now have a  Spanish Galleon. They sail differently and I am left at the helm with no stupivision and no manual. I am left to my understanding of how helms work, star patterns above me and how the ocean moves beneath me, but it is simply not enough to call myself a master of my ship any longer. I have obviously been tossed out into the deep in a craft, even though sea worthy, unfamiliar to me. I guess it's time to use the finer tuned listening skills that I have honed over the years and hope that I have not been steered astray.

I have spent extra time on Kala exercises and iron pentacle to help me listen clearly, but as I am left by myself for the first time in a larger craft in unfamiliar territory I have to question every move and every course correction. I second guess everything and have to look like I know what the frak I am doing or those who are in my charge lose it. Nothing matters more at this point than a confident facade and I hope that I am fooling enough of the people at this point to get through the first vigil in the middle of the night with out an insurrection.

Holy Gods of the sea, help me steer this craft with intelligence and skill for this be a new helm to me and the secrets of this craft be still a mystery.

Ho o'pono pono Amene!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A morning's gift. . .

Living in the urban world, gifts from the wild look a little different. A feather here and there, a visit from a feral cat to drink from the offering bowl of water left out, but today it was the shed skin of a preying mantis. A sign of sorts, I am guessing. An answer to an internal question: let go, let the thought form shift a bit to grow and accomplish what you set out to do and be. I don't have to complete let go of the thought form, as the preying mantis is still the same shape and coloring, it is merely a tad larger than it used to be.

Life is something that continually goes on through small changes that often time goes unnoticed. Today all of the plants in my yard are just a little larger, the grass a little taller, the sun's rays a little shorter in reach. The thought form hasn't changed. . . just shifted with the tide. I think that I, as well as every other human, cling to a thought form and expect it to remain the same, unaware that as life marches on, that it is outmoded and needs to be shifted in order to fit into the way life is moving through you. I am saving this little husk for a working that I am sure will be coming about, but first there is a conversation that needs happening and I prefer it to happen in person so I can see the nuances of her words in her eyes as she speaks. That can't happen until September, but I have feeling that this will be worth the wait.

Other interesting things had popped into mind as I was studying this shell. Preying manits is the guardian of the plant world. It feeds on the pests of vegetation. . . things that grow from the earth benefit from the presence of this creature. Mating habits are a bit brutal, but it seems to be the order of this creature's being. I am certain there is a reason for this that remains veiled to humanity. In the order of my own question: the gift makes sense. . . I need to process the information a bit more, but it's sort of like dinner, you can eat it and enjoys its flavor but the process has only begun. . . there are so many miles to go before the real benefits of the meal emerge.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harvester of thorns.

I spent good part of the morning up rooting thorns and stickers from my ailing crab grass when I was reminded of a couple of things. A while ago I read The Sin Eaters Last Confession. It's written by his apprentice Ross Heaven and documents his experiences with a Celtic shaman. There is a brief section in there that talks about the thorns and benefits of thistle and it's stickers on the body. I could hear his words in my head as my own hands grabbed at the roots of the thorn plants in my lawn about how the thorns raised welts that caused blood to rush to the surface enhancing the blood flow in the area and how it drove negative energies from the body. I did actually think about wearing a pair of gloves for this chore, but there were words stopped me as I saw the tiny welts raise up on my arm: this is our life's final gift to you. You must pull us, we know, you have smalls with soft feet. The welts went away quickly leaving a clear feeling.

The other thing that came to mind is the rune of thorns. The one that first brought thorn harvesting to my mind. it was a slow thought that brewed. It took many months for it to surface and much prodding of the rune itself. I didn't like the idea of working with the thorn rune. It seemed too harsh, possibly even dangerous to do so, but thorn kept poking at me and telling me its secrets until one night, in the dead dark, I went out looked over my shoulder and clipped a thorn from one of the many cactai on the property of my apartment complex. Okay, I am listening, I told it. The thorn I harvested came from the mighty saguaro. I pricked myself hard enough to draw blood and left a few drops in thanks.

Large thorns were used by the natives as sewing needles for both cloth and flesh. I suspect they were used ritualistically, but have no academia to back that up at this moment. It is something I will be looking into as I pass through the gate of thorns. I have a feeling there are deep secrets that the children of the briar have yet to share. For the now, I will continue speaking to the thorn crowned plants and accepting their offerings. I have begun to prune some of my thorny plants and their thorns are too precious to me to waste so I have clipped them off and saved them. I have become the harvester of thorns.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Little birthday cake history and lore. . . and a recipe!

So I went on a hunt for cake lore since I decided I was going to post the yummy cake and frosting recipes here for you to enjoy. I googled, of course and the first draw was actually a bakery called Cake Lore. . . cool, but not what I was looking for! I did get pointed in the right direction by a facebook friend to a site on food timelines. The term Birthday cake was not used in early cookbooks until 1870 and the phrase Happy Birthday did not start appearing on birthday cakes until 1910 when that song we all sing was written! Even decoration of cakes the way we recognize them now did not occur until professional bakers began to spring up!

Apparently the use of colored candles for birthday cakes may be connected to a German tradition called Kinderfest that dates back to the 15th century. I thought it was interesting because amongst the beliefs they held about children and birthdays is that children were most susceptible to attack by evil spirits on the day of their birth. All the adults would gather around the child and stand vigil over the cake's candles until it was evening and time to enjoy the cake. This custom was brought over by immigrants I am gathering. So, we can all thank the Germans for wax on our cakes I guess.

Here is the recipe I chose to use for my son's birthday cake. It had to be chocolate. . . it seems that he has a sweets spot for chocolate everything! In keeping with magic traditions be sure you are grounded and have nothing but sweet thoughts and wishes. If you have any cooking/ baking chanties I encourage you to use them as you are baking.

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1.) preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan(s) ( if you are going to layer it use two 9"round pans. I used a 9x13" pan.

2.) in a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanill; mix for two minutes on mediun with your mixer. Add the boiling water last. The batter will be very thin, no worries though it adds a velvety texture to the cake. Pour in evenly into your pans if using two.

3.) the directions say 30-35 minutes and test with a toothpick. my oven took 40 minutes to bake completely. You may want to try 30 and see where you get there. Cool in pans for about ten minutes and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Frost when completely cool

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
8 oz cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
1TBS vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2TBS evaporated milk

1.) Have all ingredients at room temperature. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

2.) In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Pour melted chocolate into cream cheese and mix until completely blended. Add vanilla, evaporated milk and a pinch of salt. Slowly add powdered sugar one cup at a time. refrigerate until ready for use.

Be aware this is a very rich cake so small pieces are advised. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011


The cake is in the oven, the cream cheese frosting is chilling and all the witchlings are scooting in and out of the kitchen to get a glimpse of what mom's got going on. The eldest is today 17! The youngest came out and jumped up and down for joy that there was a birthday in the house. He doesn't care whose birthday it  is, he's just glad there's a birthday because it means cake!

Anytime I would go to the pediatrician's office, I would be given this survey to fill out. It would ask about things pertaining to my child's development. The one question that used to get my dander up was always: how do you feel you are doing as a parent? I consistently answer: ask me again in thirty years and we'll talk. Well as far as the eldest is concerned, I am a bit over the half way mark of telling the pediatrician how I think I am doing as a parent and I still don't have a clue as to how I will answer. All I know is that I have a baked from scratch cake in the oven and a bunch of family member's are drooling on the tile. ( I really should have put down a towel as so no one slips.)

I suppose that the reason I get my dander up over that question is because there is no way of telling in the here an now how you are doing when it comes to raising your children or even chickens until they have all grown up. Then you sort of look back and go oh wow, maybe I should have done that better in this area. Or wow, I had no idea that was around. There's seems to be a whole lot of would have, should have, could have involved. It galls me to think that Dr's seem to want instant feed back gratification on something that literally takes a life time to do. Or even that there is a magic formula to raise the perfect responsible citizen. (Trust me, I have asked Her for one and She cackled at me!)

We all get through our childhood traumas and parenting stumbling blocks in our own way, right or wrong. Hopefully we are paying attention to the red flags and thumbs up as we go and find our flow. How am I doing as a parent? I don't know. I am sure to get a report card here in a few years from my eldest, but in the meantime, there's cake!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beautifully broken

Windows to my backyard
I watched The Rite last night. It was much more than an illustration of the becoming of an exorcist. It was a dialogue on faith. Not just the Catholic faith, but faith in general and the power derived from it. Many of us walk through this world saying we believe in something. We say the words, make the hand motions, kneel, wand wave, and bow, but does it bring tears to your eyes involuntarily when you feel the hand of divinity move within you?

The discussion being had was also not just about faith in the divine, but in yourself to hear it, move with it and carry it. I know that at certain points in my life I felt as though I were too broken a being to be worthy of divinity speaking to me or through me to another person. Why would the Gods speak to such a broken hot mess?

My house had an answer for me. We are not broken. We are deliberately and artfully cut and shaped. Like a jewel, a prism or windows. We are but vessels for light to shine through. And when the right angle is hit with light, a myriad of colors are cast out into the world. It is beautiful to look upon and so are you even if you think you are broken. That is why the Gods speak to and through you. You may never see the lights you reflect, but trust me, you are beautiful even if you think you are broken.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Princess Bride ( To The Pain )

There are questions and thoughts that are, and have been, festering in the back of my brain for quite some time. it's official, the verdict is in. Not guilty.

From a spiritual stand point, it is our understanding that we choose our lives before we come in here with signed contracts on the lessons we learn. I am not only having doubts about this it is quite the rancorous infected thorn in my mind. This case with the Anthony's is sore point because I have already experienced a loss in my life with murder and children involved. In 1995 I was in love with a man who had a beautiful 8 year old child.

I remember kissing him good bye and saying call me when you guys get back in town. I remember wanting to say I love you but stopping instead to say that I had just noticed he was dichromatic. I had issues back then with being in love and admitting it to my beloved. I also remember seeing black in my mind's eye and wanting to say don't go home. Something was going to happen and I was not experienced enough with the way my filter's spoke to know that death was coming.

I remember Monday night coming and going with out a phone call and thinking that maybe he was not calling because he had just got in and was tucking in his little one. Maybe he was tired. Maybe it was a rough ride and he didn't want to pollute my mood with his bad mood, maybe maybe maybe. There were a thousand of them and there was a hole I couldn't name.

I got a phone call early Tuesday Morning. . . " Hello, we are so sorry, but we need to talk to you about Mike." It was the Tempe Police. They didn't at first tell me he was dead or that his son was dead. They left me grasping in the pitch black for sanity while I was trying to find out if he was ok. They did tell me he was dead eventually and my entire being fell to the floor like an ash heap. It took me years to get over their murder.

Even then, I remember hearing things like: we all choose our lives before we get here. I don't think that we choose to come into this life to experience being murdered! I think that Mike and his son and me and Caylee and everyone around these people have been robbed! Caylee would be one year older than my youngest. She would be going to kindergarten this year. All the children that she would have been in class with have been deprived of any lesson Caylee would have had to teach them!

I think that things like this spiritual contract thing are said to help us deal with the chaos that free choice brings to our world on occasion. I suppose it is easier to say this than to try to understand that sometimes some humans make very bad choices and perform deeds of evil. Is Casey Anthony guilty? I don't know. . . I have deliberately avoided this trial like the plague because of my own pain. That kind of pain never really leaves you. . . the break downs do space out and when they leak in, the length of the break down is not as long. The pain is just as intense. The numbness of not understanding why you were robbed does not go away. I have been fortunate. The people around me have helped to heal me.

I do know that something monstrous happened to that child. I do know that someone performed those acts that robbed this world. Who ever is the guilty party, I hope that you suffer never ending thorns and ever growing infections from the wounds you created! Then To the Pain!

I know not very spiritual of me.

Sorry, but that's how I feel.

I suppose we shall see. . .

Mr. Oddly and I have weeded through our lives in this process of moving. Thrown things out, preserved precious memories pulled old the roots of stagnation with this whole sacred deconstruction.  Literally I have pulled my life off the walls and out of corners to look at all of it. We looked at all the stuff and decided upon what we were going to keep, what we were throwing out, what we were giving away and why.

What ended up coming into the house with us has not gone back into the comfortable patterns we had already set up at the apartment. We were able to look at our things on a new palate and a better understanding of its purpose. We recast the roles of our objects. We are able to set up defined energy patterns in this space as opposed to having to make do with the space we have and mash everything together and hope for the best. I never really realized how confined I was. . . or  even was I aware that I was allowing my space to define me instead of me defining my space.

I have a feeling that new things are definitely on the horizon for me as far as the craft. The space in my life is opening up for it to happen. I think that I will have to sit and meditate on where I wish to steer my chariot. I pulled out my Grandmother's deck and threw some cards a bit ago. The card that indicates quests and journeys showed up. You know the one when you see it. The one where there is a cloaked man leaning on a staff looking out toward the horizon. His back is generally turned to you. It does indeed look like a lonely card, but most of our significant journeys and discoveries in life are made on this path by yourself.

Only you can make that journey . . . only you can extrapolate meaning from your experiences. The key lies in the emotional response and your response to your emotional ebb and flow. I have no idea what the horizon will bring me when I greet it, but I hope I choose not to allow myself to be defined by anyone or thing other than myself. I hope I handle the emotions that get poured into me with grace. I hope that I am a wise enough cunning folk to handle the reigns. I suppose we shall see.