Inspiration

Mindful Meditation

December, 2018

Winter Solstice Meditation

(Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)

The Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration, merriment, and relaxation across cultures for millennia. The shift into winter has always brought a turning inwards for myself. The change from Sagittarius to Capricorn is a great way to use this energy for forward movement, instead of downward spiral. This is a great meditation for the Solstice, the couple of days before or after, or whenever you need a boost of inspiration and drive. If you are solitary and prefer to listen to the meditation, you will find that option below.

Find a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and feel where you are making contact with the ground. Feel a root come down from your feet or the base of your spine and burrow into the cold soil below. Feel the hibernating animals all around you, tucked in for the winter. Let the safety of the earth enfold you as you let go and fall deeper into yourself and the arms of Mother Earth.

You are in a winter field at night. You see a centaur, half man, half horse emerge from the tree line. He approaches you with eyes that are both wise and wild and smiles a confident and knowing smile.

“Where is your passion leading you next?” he asks as he takes off his quiver of arrows and hands them down to you.

What comes to your mind first? Do you embrace it or doubt it? Let other passions arise and be aware of your ego’s reaction to them. Does intuition or fear hold you back from any? Are some on fire, already filling you with excitement at their prospect?

See each arrow as a potential direction that you can explore, and choose the one that is singing loudest to your heart. As you pull it from the quiver, the arrow-head bursts into flame. The centaur smiles at you again and he hands you his bow, pointing off to the distant mountains and says, “Take your aim and fire.”

You notch the arrow and pull the bow back. You take a deep breath as you aim towards the mountains and as you exhale you let the arrow loose. You both watch it zoom across the darkened landscape until it hits high up on a mountain.

The centaur nods in approval and reaches his hand down to you saying, “Jump on, let’s go get it!”. You swing up onto his back and he takes off at lighting speed in the direction of the fire you lit on the mountain.

You are full of excitement and elation as you gallop across the land at an amazing speed. You keep your eyes on the blaze and you feel your passion growing as you near it. How does it feel to run unwaveringly to your dream?

Sooner than you thought possible, you’re at the base of the mountain. You notice a goat standing on a rock next to the path that leads up the mountain. The centaur turns to you and says, “This is as far as I can take you, he’ll show you the rest of the way. Remember your excitement when the path gets challenging. The view from the top is worth the work.” You slide down from his back and approach the gruff mountain goat, who with barely any acknowledgment, turns abruptly, jumping from his perch and trotting up the rock path ahead.

You take a deep breath as you gaze up the path. You see high above you the flickering of the flame you lit. How do you feel standing at the base of the mountain, looking up to where you long to be? Honor that feeling, and then start your ascent.

The path quickly becomes very steep. You’re thankful for the mountain goat leading you. He finds a way over any challenge, taking only a second to assess the situation and then calmly finding a solution. Any resistance you were feeling melts away as you take on his determination, finding a way up or around any difficult terrain you encounter. Anytime exhaustion begins to creep in, you shift your gaze from the path in front of you, to the glow above and you remember the excitement you felt rushing towards that blaze, when anything seemed possible.

You’re keeping pace with the mountain goat now, and where he seemed serious at first, you now see through his determination to the joy that is rising as the fire gets brighter and brighter as you climb. He is proud of the work you’ve done and so are you. You find yourself smiling as the warmth of self-confidence rises up through your solar plexus, up through your heart and fills your whole being. As you bask in that glow, you crest a peak and see your fire burning right in front of you. Feel the exuberance of success! You’ve made it! Take a moment to sit with the fire, giving gratitude, releasing any fears, and receiving any messages.

When you are ready, you shift your gaze from the fire to the horizon and notice that dawn is breaking. The sun has returned and the long night has ended. Feel the first rays hit your face and take that warmth and the warmth of the fire into your heart. Feel it grow and expand in your chest. Know that it will keep you warm through the cold months ahead as the sun, and you, get stronger and stronger each day.

Take a deep breath and feel the ground beneath you. Wiggle your fingers and toes, feeling yourself come back to your body. Keeping your eyes closed, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Feel the warmth that is still glowing in your heart. Take a deep breath, release your arms, and open your eyes, knowing that you’re ready to take on anything to reach your dream.

***

About the Author:

Rebecca Coates is a Tarot reader, massage therapist and fire dancer. She has been in a coven for the past two years and is about to embark on a journey around the United States and is looking to meet other witches and lovers of magic. Visit beckycoateslmt.com to connect with her.

Seeing the Signs

September, 2017

Spirit Cats Inspirational Cards by artist Nicole Piar

 

 

Just recently, I received promotional copy of “Spirit Cats” – an “Inspirational” 48-Card Oracle deck created, written and illustrated by artist Nicole Piar. These past few weeks, I have been using the cards – looking at the lush artwork on the one side and reading the meditative prose on the other – as well as researching everything I could find on Nicole Piar herself.

(“Flow”)

I also looked up tarot and oracle cards featuring cats. I thought – why cats? Why not dogs? Or horses? Or any other animal?

One of the websites I visit regularly – at least once a week, if not more often – is Aeclectic Tarot, at www.aeclectic.net/. This site has literally information on hundreds of tarot decks, oracle cards and Lenormand decks, as well as reviews and forums for discussion. If you want, you can sign up for their monthly newsletter and receive email notification of the newest tarot and oracle decks to hit the divination market. I look forward to these emails every month!

According to Aeclectic Tarot, there are at least 19 tarot and/or oracle decks featuring cats. There are only 8 decks with dogs. You dog lovers really need to catch up! There were 25 tarot and/or oracle decks with other kinds of animals, usually some kind of “totem” animal or “spirit” animal, although there is a “Happy Squirrel” tarot (I kid you not). There are also plant-based tarot and oracle decks – well, I don’t have to tell you that there are tarot and oracle decks for almost every subject under the sun!

Although not yet featured on Aeclectic Tarot – but very soon, I am sure! Maybe next month! – “Spirit Cats” is the newest cat deck to join this illustrious group of cat-based tarot and oracle decks. Perhaps they are what you are looking for.

Nicole Piar writes on her website, www.nicolepiar.com, that the “Spirit Cats come straight from my heart and imagination.”  The Sprit Cat page includes instructions on how to use the cards and testimonials from happy customers, as well as interviews of Piar and reviews of the deck on various independent blogs. These are all worth reading and very informative. The entire site has lots of information on Piar – her education, her artwork, how to commission her, even essays she has written. Anyone interested in either Spirit Cats or its creator should spend some time there.

I liked how the cards had the picture on one side and the writing on the other side. For a beginner reader, that is really helpful. No book to refer to – no memorization – just meditate on your question or attitude for the day, pull a card and then read what it says. Very simple and easy!

I must admit that these cards really grew on me. I showed the cards to numerous friends and some of my family – cats lovers and card lovers – and it seemed to me that these Spirit Cards really hit it off best with the younger crowd. My ten-year-old friend who lives down the street adores them and wants a poster of “Generosity” for her bedroom wall:

My favorite is “Freedom”:

But “Seeker” is also nice:

I love Piar’s use of color. Nothing I have read on her blog or in any of the interviews or reviews tells me what she used to create these cards, but it looks very much like watercolors – if not watercolors, I love how she created that affect! Very flowing and dreamy. Each cat comes to us as from the dream world – with sparkles and stars – each one with a theme and a name – to tell us what we need to know.

So, seek out these cards. You can buy them off Piar’s website. I am not sure if they are available anywhere else, but they are definitely available there. At the very least, check out her website – there’s a lot to hold your attention. I know I was there for quite a long time.

Coming Soon – an interview with Nicole Piar! Be sure to check back!

Brightest Blessings!

References

http://www.nicolepiar.com1

MagickalArts

July, 2017

In-Spired Magick

 

 

 

 

When we are mentally inspired our thoughts come rushing in like a gust of wind; often moving so quickly that we have to pause for a moment and breathe into the excitement of downpour or we miss some of the fine points. Our breath quickens and our heart races at the potential of what has been intellectualized and refined by mental process.

When we are emotionally inspired our feelings flow throughout our being often in a rhythm of ebb and flow similar to that of the ocean’s tides. We breathe into the momentum and allow ourselves to either languish in the beauty of these emotions being gently carried along or anxiously push the unsettling feelings quickly through flooding our sense of reason or logic.

When we are physically inspired, we run and dance; exercise and eat heartily enjoying every bite and physical action. We savor the manifest form we have been gifted and marvel at its capabilities and the complexity of its creation. We breathe deeply to renew and sustain our life and fill our lungs to capacity so we may exert more effort where needed or quiet the rapid breaths of over-exertion.

And, when we are Spiritually inspired we feel at one with the world around us. If this awareness is expanded even further, we breathe into our subtle bodies, each in turn connecting us and resonating with a deeper aspect of our being and the subtle planes. We offer the sigh of release and surrender to the offering up our service and devotion and breathe fully and intentionally into the Universe as co-creator and creation itself.

In all of these states of inspiration the key word is – Breath. We breathe automatically in our mundane lives. Requiring this exchange of air to survive. It is a seamless and transparent action that supports and moves in synchronicity with all of our physiological functions. Applying the same force and flow of breath as we move through ritual and magickal working in an intention-filled way provides the vehicle that carries the energetic sparks that serve to quicken and enliven towards manifest goal.

In-spiring magick is not simply the cerebral activity of having high regard for specific types of magickal practice. It is not simply how you feel and what the intent is for the work. It is not the actions and steps that are taken in the physical gesture of working magick and ritual. It is all of these things that are first primed and called into action when you take that initial inward breath before the exhale of your intention. This breath calls us to attention that something out of the ordinary is being undertaken and that all parts of my physiological and etheric make-up are required to engage and flow in accord with one another.

We are all familiar with the adage, “Energy follows awareness” and it is with this thought in mind that if we take a step further, breathing establishes the point of awareness that then attracts the energetic flow which is moved by the rhythm of breath. That awareness begins in taking note of how you are breathing. In meditative and contemplative work, breath is the start of the process of turning within. Taking notice of the rise and fall of the chest. The rhythm and pace of your breathing and bringing it into alignment with the space in which you are sitting and in accord with the flow of energy that surrounds you.

We often overlook the need to breathe as part of our magickal practice. We participate in ritual and are closed off to the most organic of energetic flow because we forget to apply the force of breath at the appropriate moments. Over the years have come to know the value and need for incorporating breath work into my spiritual practice. Learning to control the breath correlates with learning to control energy. One of the more basic exercises to use as a preparation tool for meditative or ritual working is the Four-Fold Breath*. The rhythm you are establishing in breathing this way creates a foundation upon which you can expand as needed for the working at hand.

Practical application begins with being consciously aware of breathing into your actions at all levels. The next time you are interacting with another, give pause and take a moment to breathe before answering the question asked. The next time you are sitting in a public space, give pause and take note of how you are breathing. Are you anxious? Are you feeling calm? And, then breathe into the energy of the space and enliven your own personal space with whatever positive intention of change or maintaining this energy that you wish.

These are some ways to be more attentive to the application of breath in your Spiritual and Magickal workings. To begin your meditation work, take note of your breathing and as you move through the various stages of consciousness breathe into each sending out your intention infused with life’s breath. If you are tasked with the casting and calling of the quarters in creating sacred space breathe into the scribing of the sacred circle. Infuse the energy you are using with the intention-filled breath of movement and upholding. As you stand before the quarters, take a deep breath in expanding and calling to attention all of your subtle bodies and as the words of opening pour forth send the will and force of that breath in request to those unseen to be present.

As you work in this way and become more aware of the impact of breath in all of your endeavors, the physical transparency of life-sustaining breath and the integration of that same enlivened breath for magickal practice will become one in the same. After all, this is the goal we aspire towards and why we walk this Path. The goal to move harmoniously in the unified space of the mundane and the magickal – 24/7- 365 days a year. So, Just breathe!

Breath work is a staple of magickal practice. Control of the breath and knowing when and how to use the levels of energetic dynamic that can be achieved by breath begins with the basics of learning how to breathe correctly. Energy follows awareness and is move along its current of flow by breath.

The Four-Fold Breath Technique

The Four-Fold breath practice is one from Eastern practice that is used to clear the mind, act as a point of focus and move you into the automatic response of relaxed and even space of inhalation and exhalation with pause of hold in between. It also develops awareness and control of the breathing process, which is the foundation of energy work. This technique also provides greater relaxation and deeper breathing, using fuller capacity of the lungs. This is an excellent way to begin a meditative session or use as way to relax into and open to the journaling process.

Begin by sitting in a quiet, comfortable setting.
Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath. As you begin to feel your body relax focus your attention more fully on your breathing.

Take a full deep breath inhaling for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold this breath for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Exhale for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold at the completion of exhalation for 1-2-3-4

You may continue to breathe in this manner for several sets of the four. Eventually, your breath will establish its own rhythm and attention to counts will not be necessary.

Tips: Try to maintain an even steady rhythm of in-flow and out-flow. This allows greater ease of holding at the fullest point of expansion and holding again once the breath has been expelled.


Do not be surprised if the first few attempts bring inability to hold at the peak and base of release and intake for the full 4 counts. Depending on the state of relaxation and possibly any additional pre-existing respiratory conditions, you may fond this difficult at first.

Usually, after several times of practice and with each practice any rhythm, flow or relaxation issues decrease and then generally fade. Remember, for some this may be a new type of physicality and awareness of breathing that is normally left on “auto-pilot” as we go through our day.

Blessings on your journey carried on the wings of breath… Robin

Finding the Pagan Way

January, 2016

A Conversation with the Muse

I found myself in a large cave, and my goddess, who as you may know is also my muse, was looking every inch a faery queen. Her beauty always leaves me breathless. She seemed to be wearing a circlet of pearls woven into a silver band made from many fine strands. The strands of silver seemed to branch out from the core and formed interweaving spirals, between the pearls. Her ebony hair flowed down into the shadows and her deep brown eyes filled my mind with half-forgotten memories of sun-drenched foliage and warm moist air.

You have not visited us for a while”, She said softly. Her voice seemed to carry concern and a faint hint of humour at the same time. “I have been writing”, I said, defensively. “Sit down!” she said, and I noticed a plush sofa. As I sat, I felt a bony knuckle rap against the crown of my head. Looking up, I realised that she had changed personas. She was the ancient crone. Grey hair was tied into a scraggy bun with what looked like a leather thong and her perfect cheekbones stretched against the weather-beaten skin of her face. “You foolish child! how can you write anything of true value if you do not listen to your heart? You have wasted your valuable time in fretting about popularity and promoting your books! Listen and learn!”

I felt her bony fingers touch my forehead as the scenery faded and memory drew me back through time. I found myself at an age when age does not matter, and sitting on the floor in my maternal grandmothers flat in Ringsend, Dublin. All around me were treasures. Tiny little glass bottles of many colours and shapes. She had taken them from the glass cabinet for me to play with. I was totally engrossed in the reflection of light through the bottles and the feel of the cool hard glass. Some were thick clear, uneven glass that distorted everything like a hall of mirrors as I looked through them. The glow of sunlight through the window shone golden through the amber vials. The green flasks made the room look colder and darker. Even on a summer’s day, the fire was lit and I could recognise the unforgettable smell of turf burning. Life was simple and safe. I was too young for fear or anticipation and my past had barely begun. I sensed, rather than understood, my grandmother’s love and her satisfaction in seeing me playing with her collection of old glass containers.

I felt a touch on my forehead and I was back in the ornate cave. Flaming red hair framed her vibrant green eyes and billowed about my goddess, then swept down and around a flowing robe of green as she danced and swirled. “Write for me! She commanded. I felt puzzled. She laughed. “You are sitting at your laptop, aren’t you?” Suddenly I am here and looking back at what I have written. Have I been dismissed? I suppose I must relax and see what it is that I must write. I decide to make a cup of tea first, and I can hear her giggle somewhere in the back of my mind, so I know that she is still very near. While the kettle boils, I search for an image to inspire me. Do I have one as beautiful as her flaming red hair and laughing eyes? It hardly matters to a goddess with a thousand faces. I choose a picture to match my mood then sit and wait for inspiration as I sip my tea. The first few lines are granted, and I begin.

PaganWay

 

My Lady Moon

Within that world, where ancient mysteries lie, unshared with few, except the brave.

I walk the sacred path, determined that I keep the promises I made.

I had sworn that I would live a life that was devoted to the truth and to the Fae.

I had promised I would strive to live my brand-new life, immersed in magic every single day.

A childlike heart is wont to stray within this night-time world of loving Fae.

Where fireflies flit between the flowering moonlit trees to guide your way

I stretch my mind to fill my senses with the beauty of this glowing aerial display,

For, soon I must return to all the trials and all the complications of the day.

I will walk the lonely path of mankind’s world and spend each moment longing for my kin.

I will count each weary day until my promise is fulfilled and I return again.

Here among the dancing trees where laughter floats on every floral scented breeze,

I will rest a little while, and I will find my smile again, among the flowers and bees.

Join me! – If you dare, in my sweet world where children dance and sing without a care.

Walk the starlit path that shines down from the moon and weaves between the trees.

Here, in the woodland glade, where lovers promises are made beneath her silver light.

My Lady moon will take you to a world where all is love and all is pure delight!

Patrick W Kavanagh 12/12/2015

by Bill Oliver boysoblue.com

The Magicakal ARTS

March, 2014

What Inspires You?

 

This first post launches my new monthly column entitled The Magickal ARTS. The intent is to forge and strengthen the connections between magickal/spiritual practice and the visual and performing arts. , dance, literature, visual art and more are woven throughout both our mundane and magickal pursuits and act to heal, inform, change and enliven us.  Some are overt in their impact and others are transparent; yet profound in the vibration and energy offered. These tools inspire us to reach deeply into the stores of our own creative endeavors. The arts engage us at emotional levels reaching into our soul’s hunger to feel, to gain experience and to ultimately share that experience with others. The arts catalyze our mental processes encouraging us to think “outside of the box”, to imagine and to become the architect of our own inner and outer landscapes. Most importantly, as physical beings, these artistic endeavors call our physical presence into action in response to what surrounds and allow us to create, to manifest and to breathe life into what will become beauty, harmony and balance.

 

You may surmise from the words above that I am passionate about the arts s and you would be quite correct.  I see this passion as one of the most powerful aspects of humanity and the fires from which springs our highest achievements and most successful aspirations of magickal work. Passion fuels our desire and intent. The addition of artistic pursuit become the kindling that keeps those fires burning its brightest. By definition the word ART means:

 

1.    1.    the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

2.    2.    the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

 

I particularly love the definition of application of human creative skill and imagination. These are the cornerstones of magickal practice and spiritual growth. This quest for creative action is the yearning of every soul in physical form. That creative expression takes many forms and each serve to inspire and touch us at deep levels of understanding that fosters the greater understanding of our place in this world. The arts weave their own particular magick through all of these applications as hands move to create, hearts pour out the words of emotion, minds invent and physical form moves in a tapestry of rhythm, vibration cause and effect. I believe the fabric of the human soul and consciousness is fed by the stream of artistic endeavors and creative actions that surround and permeate our every moment, whether consciously or at the subtle levels of our responses. In retrospect, this belief and the foundation from which it was created early in my youth has been the singular thread that has punctuated all of my life’s experiences both magickally and mundane.

 

I will begin this article as I usually do when relating to the arts and magick with a little background about myself. The performing and visual arts have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember and are directly responsible for the way in which I practice and perceive magick. My grandmother was a pianist, choral director and writer and my mother has a passion for opera, dance and fine arts. My summers were spent listening to classical music, teaching myself ballet combinations and choreography and putting on shows for my mother and grandmother. As a young girl I remember the impact of classical music and the excitement of regularly attending free summer concerts at the Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia. I was a regular at the local library and my first job was in this glorious space of shelving books, and reading the new finds from that work.

 

All of these were in support of my ultimate dream to become a ballerina and although I did not realize the spiritual and magickal implications of that dream at the time I passionately embraced every aspect and tool that would get me closer to that goal. I wholeheartedly dedicated myself to the training and perfection of my body as a vehicle of expression for this magickal energy. I could not take enough classes, read enough books about famous dancers or have enough time to experience the joys of pure and liberating movement. Hmm! Sounds like a similar description for the dedication and discipline that is required for successful spiritual/magickal development, doesn’t it? We’ll talk more about that in later articles.

 

We need not look very far to see the magickal effects of the arts in our mundane lives. Advertisers make use of varied artistic disciplines as ways to encourage sales. We are bombarded by jingles, logos, photographs of smiling well-toned people and pages of testimonial and touting of the product. The carefully selected colors used are part of the visual appeal and directly influence the responses we have; largely at a sub-conscious level. We will often purchase something simply because of the visual appeal and then later question the need or validity of the purchase.  This is mundane magick at its best. Now, if we were to bottle this approach and use it as the anointing oils for our ritual workings, think of what we could attract by way of pure manifestation!

 

I do a lot of writing and teaching and have found that by using the literary style of poetry engages the reader through rhythm and structure (Not too dissimilar to the rhythm created through rhyme of a spell!). If I add a pathworking that is richly filled with imagery, the visual inner screen opens and the keys of the sub-conscious reveal new inroads of experience. Further, if I add a beautiful graphic to the posting or book, I am directly engaging the eye, the brain and neural pathways of response to deepen the experience. This visual stimulation evokes and calls forth a specific vibration in which the reader may than find a point of resonance and internalization of the words presented in a way that is kinesthetic and visual.

In ritual, the use of a chant helps the crescendo of necessary energy for workings. The sound carries the individual/group on the waves created until a point of common resonance occurs and the energy is flowing in a cohesive way. The addition of movement around the circle or even simply swaying in place warms and prepares the body for receipt of the energetic flow as each creates their own singular pattern of energy and vibration. And, the visuals provided through the smells and bells of ritual set the scene, engage all of the senses and ultimately prepare the mind for what the intention will be. In this scenario, body, heart and mind become co-creators through the use of music, dance and visuals. To one who has the sight to see the flow of energy, this collaborative effort paints a picture of the finest beauty on a canvas that becomes the astral plane of magickal birthings.

 

Self-Inspired:  

This section will be part of each month’s exploration.   The suggestions given will offer opportunity for you to build your own style of connection to the arts s, become more cognizant of their impact in all of our workings and maybe inspire your own creative nature.

 

Spend some time thinking about which of the arts you most enjoy. If more than one, write down in order of preference. Set your focus on the one that is at the top of the list, and sitting quietly and reflectively recall the times and places that you were able to experience this art form as either participant or observer (or both). Write down any feelings you remember as being prominent at the time. Be as specific as you can with regard to the art form you have chosen. For instance, I love to read and Dion Fortune is my favorite author. I love to listen to music, but am particularly fond of violin compositions.

This work will form the foundations that will develop more awareness of how a particular art form is interacting with your own energy and which are more effective in drawing you whole-ly and completely into the experience. Once identified, these are the tools to use for magickal work and to be most aware of in group workings as your own personal set of keys to open you more fully to the intent.

As we begin this journey of exploration of artistic creation open yourself to the possibilities and surrender your hesitation and inner critic to the beauty of the Cosmos.

 

I lay back looking

Up at a star filled

Night as music played

The rhythms of cloud

And Lady moon above.

 

The sound held me

In Her magick and

Slowly I rose moving

In pace with the ebbing

Of Universal tides.

 

Palette of black velvet

Sky and brush of dusty

Star light painted their

Magick upon the canvas

Of my mind’s imagination.

 

I gently flowed and moved

Danced and sang in rapturous

Joy in the sculpting of life’s

Creation above and below.

 

My mouth opened

And breath called

Out the words of

Evocation and Will

As the weaving of

My intent etched

Its beauteous path.

 

Just breathe

Just Flow

Just Be

 

I lay back looking

Up at a star filled

Night as music played

And thunderous

Applause guided

Me home.