life

Book Review – Everyday Enchantments by Maria DeBlassie

December, 2018

Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings

 

 

Maria’s book is described as a collection of ‘micro-meditations and celebratory reflections on living life as a wild woman’. How could I not be intrigued? Though far from a true wild woman myself thanks to my urban-slash-suburban setting, I’m always drawn to the idea of being freer, away from the hubbub and city grind. This book holds chapter after chapter of golden, glowing moments from just such a life, and is as compelling as it is calming.

Each chapter is short and sweet in the best possible meaning of that phrase. One chapter focuses on the magic of chamomile, from the point of view of taking the tiny, dried buds and bringing them to life in a soothing cup of tea. Another reflects on the divine powers of the onion. This is true ‘everyday’ magic. Rituals we may go through every day without perhaps realising the power inherent within our actions. Maria encourages us to pause, drink in what we are doing and absorb every moment’s magical potential.

I love the meditative nature of the chapters. Most are written in the second person, a style I normally find a bit jarring. In this book it works really well. This is because it is written in the same way a guided meditation is spoken to you. As you read you can almost hear a gentle voice whispering the words directly into your brain and allowing you to completely visualise and lose yourself in each moment.

I have found this book immensely useful for reminding me to stop and take stock. It helps me enjoy each moment more fully, not by trying to recapture the moments in the book but by following the example of living fully in each minute and being grateful for the enchantment that flows through every second. A thoroughly wonderful book. Recommended for all.

Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Book Review: The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

November, 2018

Book Review

The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

 

The Giggles and Joy Children’s books are a series of three books that focus on spiritual life lessons for kids. Each book consists of 8 poems that cover a variety of different topics. The books are written by Ariane de Bonvoisin with Carlie Sutcliffe. They are beautifully and creatively illustrated by Ellie Cross.

These books are amazing and now a personal favorite in my home. They teach kids that positivity, joy and happiness are something to experience every day.

 

 

Giggles and Joy

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the first book in the Giggles and Joy series. It features 8 poems on topics of “kindness, gratitude, having a bad day, home, prayer, planet Earth, self-belief and the physical body”.

One of my favorite features is that even though Giggles and Joy talks about prayer, it is in a universal way, that does not align prayer with a certain religion. For a home like mine, where I’m Pagan, my mother is Christian, and my son is undecided, this is a perfect fit.

Planet Earth is one of my son’s favorites. He loves saying “thank you” to our planet Earth. He also enjoys the illustrations that accompany not only planet Earth but all of the poems in Giggles and Joy.

 

You Are Loved

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the second book in the Giggles and Joy series. It also features 8 poems. These poems cover “love, navigating change, this beautiful life, courage, grown-ups, self-confidence, and adventure”.

Picking a favorite from this series is difficult. The poems are beautifully written in terms that are easy for children of all ages to understand. I will say that “The Moon Loves You” and “Change” are two of our most read poems. My son has always had a special attachment to the moon so this one gets read almost nightly.

Change quickly became one of our other most read poems when we had a situation shake up the home. It was nice to have a poem that could be read to my son to help him. It taught him that change can be scary, but change can also be fun and exciting.

 

Being You

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the final book in the Giggles and Joy series. The topics for these last 8 poems are “what many kids are facing in the world today, what is true self-worth and how to nurture it, the importance of telling the truth, how to feel safe inside oneself, the magical effect of deep breathing and the adventure of being free to really be yourself”.

Take a Deep Breath” is one of my son’s favorite poems from Being You. It incorporated the deep breathing technique that he learned in school. It also has illustrations of dragons, which is his favorite beast.

 

All in all, I give the Giggles and Joy series a double thumbs up. By far, one of my favorite poem series for children. If you are looking for a positive series full of lessons, look no further. These poems are fun to read and listen to no matter the age.

 

Amazon Links to :

The Giggles and Joy Gift Set on Amazon

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

 

 

 

Book Review: The Book of Ceremony – Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life by Sandra Ingerman

November, 2018

Book Review:

The Book of Ceremony

Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life

by Sandra Ingerman

Although I do not follow a Shamanic path, I have long been a fan of Sandra Ingerman’s work and fold much of her teachings into the practice and teachings I offer to my coven mates and students. I particularly enjoyed this book as a reader friendly and generic template for incorporating ceremony into any practice.

The Book of Ceremony by Sandra Ingerman reminds us that our focus is often distracted as we attempt to recreate or analyze ancient teachings and wisdom and that the most important piece in ceremony is our intention and desire to affect change. The approach to ceremony that Sandra uses guides the reader towards healthy expressions of emotions that could otherwise become more negative energy feeding situations in which we feel helpless.

The book is divided into four parts beginning with the basics of what is considered a “ceremony”; moving to specific types of ceremony; work to create balance within ourselves and the energy that moves through us and concluding with practical application of ceremony and creating your own definition of what these actions enable within your practice.

One of the key points brought to light early in the book is the difference between the terms of “Ritual” and “Ceremony”. The author uses her perspective of ritual being more repetitive in nature, whereas a ceremony is designed for specific outcome and at a specific time. I don’t fully agree with this definition as I believe that the two overlap in a myriad of ways, however, I believe this to be a good starting point for those exploring the use of “sacred action” filled with intention and hoping to create something new from what is acted upon.

The sections throughout the book, cover all of the information anyone would need to begin crafting ceremony and weaving it into their specific practice. Altars, tools, music, preparation of yourself, seeking Spirit guides, ancestors and more are presented in a useable way and offer both background and reasoning behind the selection offered.

I especially liked reading the section, “Turning Points and Rites of Passage”. It is richly illustrated with actual ceremonies that have been created and executed that were powerful examples of what can be accomplished in sharing the gifts of ceremony as a working tool.

All in all, this is an excellent book to begin the process of aligning yourself more deeply with your inner wisdom and intention-filled practice in honoring the sacred in the work you undertake. To quote Sandra…

In shamanic teachings, every spiritual and sacred act we perform is a ceremony. When we recognize the sacredness of each moment, miracles happen.”

The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Celebrating Samhain with Norma Clark of Forevrgoddess Boutique

October, 2018

 

Family/Ancestor Memorial

 

Celebrating the Life and Death of deceased love ones with a new tradition.
The Moment your Love one has their Final breath you will miss them, then grief will set in its common to have 7 stages of grieving. Some deaths are quick and sudden, other’s, a long slow process. Death has been with us since the beginning of time. We’re born, we grow, maybe have a family of our own, then reach old age. We pass on to the next journey in life.  

The spirits of other worlds can come and go anytime with enough energy. Others wait till the veil between both worlds are thin then they can burst through. Around Mabon/Autumn equinox & Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve. There are other times spirits can move freely during the year like Beltane and Midsummer eve.

I grew up a weird combination of Irish/Scottish and Salvadoran. My father was white Irish/Scottish and mother was from El Salvador.  Growing up my dad was older he was a quiet man, didn’t speak much. But he was always into the paranormal. My mother was open with Spanish Catholic traditions. She was gifted. She told me of spirits appearing in her life and how they affect things and those around. My father adopted her 6 children from there and brought them to the USA. Life in El Salvador, deep down there, was beautiful jungle and countryside, coffee, plantains and other types of farm land. Where she was from you could see more primal life force spirit still worshiped with New Christian Gods. The Native Indians of her lands had traditions handed down.


This opened a door for many of my mother family and relatives to come here to the USA. For a new way of life to support those down in El Salvador or those here. I know my parents home was a portal, so many have come and gone they felt safe and loved mostly. Here I can’t count the times my mother would get anxious feelings and would call late to El Salvador. We would find out a relative was very sick or passed away. My mom would send money, light a candle, pray to certain saints and the virgin de Guadalupe for support. She used herbs for relatives in need here within our home to help heal them. There were many stories of my mom helping others.

Other times in my parents home spirit might make it self known banging on window, cold breezes moving things, or they would just appear sitting on the couch in the living room. When a relative passed away, she would use the bedroom or kitchen corner by the sink and light 7 day candle, put a photo, glass of water and maybe sometimes she would put some sweet bread.  She said the spirit will need a place to come replenish their energy, to feed from so they could continue their journey to pass messages, or visit living relatives.

For me being Wiccan, being Celtic, I remembered reading about dumbsuppers, to open your door to spirits and ancestors of your family. Share your meal with them. My mother did similar traditions from her home. They would celebrate Dia de Finados, dearly departed. They would make flower arrangements or wreaths to go in the cemetery (tombs above ground). They cleaned tombs, decorated them with flowers and spent the day there. Growing up after my dad died in 1992 we would go to the cemetery and put flowers on my dad’s grave, some on grandparents graves and we’d bring big colorful blankets, food and since we could park 12 feet away, we’d have music playing. Then say prayers for them to bless them. Then talk about the moments we shared with the deceased. Which we continue to do now that my mom has passed on.

With Samhain approaching I wanted to share my story and maybe some ideas to consider. When working with spirits of loved ones, you want them to find their place of rest be it heaven, Summerland, over rainbow bridge, or an other eternal resting place. Look to other articles and books about other resting places. I’ll mentioned a few later to consider. Combine, adapt, create your own unique way to honor departed loved ones or ancestors. Share photos, meals, memories they loved. Write them down in your journal everything you can remember. Don’t be surprised if a spirit makes itself known in your presence.

Do a divination with tarot cards, pendulum, or my favorite crystal scrying to gain wisdom or guidance at this moment in life or the beginning of the new year.

I find a cheap battery candle from the dollar store to light on the altar with the photos of love ones who passed on. I use the battery activated candles to be safe in case my active toddler tries to climb up on my altar or one of my cats get too curious.


Decorate your altar with mementos, flowers, incense, favorite gemstones, even some sweet treat to enjoy, and maybe a glass of their favorite drink. Ask your Patron Goddess or God to bless them in time of rest.

After Samhain if you still sense the presence of departed loved ones, here is a Goddess that lent me help move them to their more appropriate  place: I asked Hekate to help me move my older, playful, black Dog Cholee to her resting  place. She would not leave. She’d been lingering  around our home and back yard for over a week. When working with any Goddess or God Be Respectful,  Give an Offering for their help.

 

Finally I wanted to share a few boxes from my boutique, these boxes are a Memorial for your Dearly Departed Love Ones and Pet/Familiar. We provide Spirit Votives, 4 Gemstones for Crystal Healing – Grieving, and 1 twin soul crystal point, and ideas to celebrate their life in remembrance. We will be adding more items for  Samhain Inspired Memorial Gifts. Blessings of love and light – Norma

Psycho Pomps – Those whom guide the dead to the afterlife:


Valkyries – Norse

Banshees

Hounds of Annwn – Celtic

Hekate

Persephone

Hades

Hermes

Iris

Charon

Charos – Greek

Agwe

Sirene

the Barons -Voodu

For information on celebrating Samhain with the dearly departed and other customs look to the following books:


The pagan book of Halloween -Gerina Dunwich
Halloween -Silver Ravenwolf
Llewellyn Sabbats Alamanc -(Any Year will do)

For More spirit ,Goddess, Gods to help with the deceased, a good book is:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses -Judika Illes

***

About the Author:


Norma Clark I’m Wiccan, My style follows my spiritual path, and what comes to mind.. I live in a small rural town, Paris, Idaho. I share my life With my
Wiccan husband, 2 hyper Children, and gang of critters. I love to create new designs by looking at nature, cultural ideas for my Jewelry and create unique Metaphysical items. COME Sit For A  Spell or Two , And See the Magick of Forevrgoddessboutique

Witch & Popcorn

September, 2018

Bright Blessings, film lovers!

This month, I decided to review another classic film- Steel Magnolias.

Some have not seen it, as it’s set in the 1980’s in Louisiana. The film is all about motherhood, the cycle of life, death, and birth, and the power of women to support one another no matter what. I have never met anybody who did not bawl like a baby while watching this film, and it is one of the finest films ever made.

It’s filled with big hair, snark, shade, charm, love, and laughs. You will fall in love with the Steel Magnolias- delicate like a flower, and as strong as steel!

Here is the link to a trailer you can watch:

The story follows the lives of lady friends who gather at the local beauty salon, ran by Truvy, played by the divine Dolly Parton. While it appears to be the story of Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, it turns out, it’s more about her mother, M’Lynn, played by Sally Field. She is the main representation of motherhood in this film, and she plays a mother who raises her daughter Shelby, helping with Shelby’s health issues, even after Shelby marries, moves out, and has a child of her own. Unfortunately, Shelby’s body could not handle the pregnancy, and she eventually dies even after exhaustive efforts to save her. M’Lynn even gives Shelby one of her own kidneys.

What is the mother goddess if not life giving? Whose body do we live upon, and it is the fruit of whose body that feeds us? Whose waters quench our thirst, and to whose body do we return when we die? Who takes care of our children after we are no longer alive to do so, continuing to nourish them?

The great mother goddess! M’Lynn is the perfect embodiment of the lifegiving, healing aspect of the great mother.

Truvy, too represents that. She has her own issues, as her husband is struggling with a case of the blahs after being unemployed. She never gives up on him even when he holes up at the house, and won’t go anyplace. Her son, too has teenage attitude issues, and she still loves him in his rebelliousness. It turns out, her devotion to them was not misplaced, and her believing in them shows by the end of the film, the men in Truvy’s life are men who make life better for everybody. They just needed the understanding and support while dealing with their problems. Thanks to Truvy, they came out if their struggles whole, and better than ever.

The eternal compassion and understanding of the great mother carries us. Truvy embodies this.

She further gives a second chance to the heartbroken Annelle, played by Darryl Hannah. Annelle is abandoned by her good-for-nothing husband who is on the lam from the law, and when she can’t rub two nickels together, Truvy gives her a job, and a chance at a new life. Her whole life seemed over before being taken in by Truvy, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, everything begins again for Annelle, and she absolutely thrives.

Sometimes, the goddess takes a bad situation from us we have been holding onto, because we believe it is all we have. Once stripped of everything, we are given so much more than we ever imagined.

The comic duo of the film, Miss Clary and Miss Ouiser, played by Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine bring the snark and shade, and keep everybody in stitches. The oldest ladies in the group, they are bound by adoptive sisterhood, and both jokingly verbally attack one another.

Initially, Ouiser is a miserable old hag who bitches constantly, and looks worse than she acts. Shelby plays matchmaker a second time in the film, this time bringing Ouiser back together with an old beau. Reluctant to give up her independence, Ouiser first INSISTS they are just friends, which is pure hogwash. Soonafter, Ousier becomes kinder, gentler, and significantly less irritable, and all because she is HAPPY. Clary remarks at one point, “Ouiser! You are in a good mood! Did you run over a small child on your way here?”

She was absent minded, careless, accident prone, and a pain to be around at times. She stressed over every little thing, and complained constantly. None of the ladies disowned Ouiser when she was at her worst. Truthfully, her worst was not THAT bad, but she WAS difficult to deal with.

The goddess in her wrathful form is only such for reason. She has a benevolent aspect as well, Ouiser shows both sides.

Like the goddesses destructive side can clear the way for the good to come, Ouiser’s dark irritability causes her to snap at Annelle and drag the truth of her situation out of her. Had Annelle not spilled the facts, the ladies would not have known to immediately band together to lift up Annelle in her struggles. Ouiser also shows the fact the goddess needs the love and companionship of others to be her best self. Her friends as well as her new beau embrace her eccentricities, and while they joke with her about it, reminding her she’s got that mean streak she needs to keep in check, they give her the love and support she needs to be her best so she can love and support others as well.

Clary is a rich older lady, and uses it to put herself in positions to benefit her community. She is a testament to the goddesses generosity, and like the goddess smiles upon her children, so did Clary.

There’s not things in the way of mysticism or lore in the film, but the magic of women channeling their inner goddesses to make their lives and the lives of their loved ones wonderful is the lesson this film has for us.

This film deals with the joys of new life through children, the pain of loss when they die, and the new hope new life brings.

Don’t take my word for how amazing this film is. See it for yourself.

Note- I am also aware there was a 2012 remake of it, and I think I have to nab a copy of that as well. It got multiple awards and got rave reviews!

Happy film viewing.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Unsolicited Advice from the Adventures of a Lowly Shop-girl

July, 2018

 

Concepts I Have Put into Practice

A couple of years ago, I was working in a beautiful office at a formerly great place that had just been purchased by a corporation. Things were pretty good, but morale was rapidly deteriorating as the corporate big wigs were implanting their uncomfortable and ineffective ideas into a healthy business. In short, they were ruining it! Lucky for me, I got fired.

With 3 days to go to my vacation, just back from bereavement leave, and a mortgage to pay as a single gal, I was a little concerned. I found myself in the very same situation where so many people are finding themselves today…unemployed. But not only unemployed, also frightened, uncertain and basically freaked out. My level of education either over-qualified or under-qualified me, even though my schooling did not support what I really wanted to be doing, yet going back to school seemed an unlikely option. Selling all of my belongings and moving to a different city was not a viable possibility, either. My cats would hate it and I really like the stuff I’ve collected too much to sell it all. Aaahhh, what to do? Confusion and fear began to set in. I knew, I just knew that fear would be my worst enemy. So first and foremost, I made a pact to come up with any way possible to refute fear.

Concept #1 –Counter thoughts of FEAR with thoughts of GRATITUDE. Fear is generally based in ‘lack of something’. The easiest and best way to counter it is to focus on what you DO have in your life and how much you appreciate it!

I then did what any responsible person would do. I promptly headed to my psychic.

Concept #2 – Gather information from a trusted resource, i.e. a respected friend, a good psychic, your own research of what appeals to you.

In the past she had told me that I was going to buy my house, (when I had no way of accomplishing that), meet certain friends, travel to certain places, be in certain circumstances, all of which at the time of her telling me I thought, “Yeah, right!” But each and every time, she was spot on. She was absolutely correct at every turn. This time she told me not to worry about my current unemployment situation as I would soon become an energy worker. Once again, true to form, I thought, “Yeah, right!,” completely forgetting the previous six months training in Holographic Sound Healing I had been attending.

Concept #3 – Stay positive and stay open! Open to opportunities from unexpected places, because they WILL be presented to you.

Immediately I asked, “Can I make a living at it? I mean, will I be able to make a living at that?”

She smugly replied, “That’s up to you.” (Damn, I hate when people tell me what I am supposed to already know.)

Concept #4– Believe in your abilities! Chances are, if you are drawn to doing something, it resonates with you…and YOU will resonate with IT!

Not two weeks later, it was our final certification class for Holographic Sound Healing. As I looked around the room to everyone paired up and working with each other, I noticed how very different they were than my randomly selected partner and me. Well, not really randomly selected, everyone else just paired up and left us to work with each other.  My partner’s name was Janet and she had an aura about her; One of strength, power, and certainty.  She held a serious expression, almost stern and unapproachable. She is one of those people that seem to have a secret knowledge, that ‘has it all figured out’ and if you get close enough, she may share the secret of life with you…or she might just kick your ass.  In short, she was a tough read, but she definitely exhibited strength. I think there may have been an intimidation factor felt by the other folks in the class, but I was not bright enough to pick up on it. These people must have known something to just leave us to each other, but she was the only other zaftig, long-haired, wild-bohemian looking person in the group, so of course I was immediately drawn to her!

So here we are. The last day of this amazing six month training and we are exhibiting all that we have learned. We are paired up; positions chosen and we are ready to go. Janet and I were talking a little bit which delayed our start, so everyone began toning before we did. I thought to myself, “Darn it, I am already a few steps behind. Okay, quiet yourself, find your center, there are all these steps you have to go thru in preparation before you begin the actual toning process, and you were talking thru it! Okay, get it together, don’t lose focus…” And while I was trying to quiet myself and go thru these very important steps to ‘get connected’, I found it extremely difficult, as all I could focus on was the other pairs toning to one another already.  That horrible voice in my head, a.k.a. FEAR says, “Ugh, they are already waaayyyy ahead of you. You better hurry up. Get thru the steps, quick, hurry, get connected!” (Yeah, that was helpful.) The more I tried to focus on myself to quiet my mind, the more I could only hear them all toning. But it didn’t seem like toning, it sounded more like singing. I wondered, “Who are they singing for?” They were all aspiring to sound so angelic and lovely. Hitting these very soft high notes, lilting their way to Spirit and a higher connection. Individually, they were charming. But putting them all in the same room with each other, and hearing it all at once, I mean, these beautiful, open people were all being so serious and trying to sound so ‘pretty’ that for some reason, it just made me giggle a little out loud. Then I realized that I had just giggled out loud. I thought, “Oh no.”

To self, C’mon Tala, don’t laugh. That would be extremely inappropriate and simply wrong. I mean, these people paid good money, studied for months and are trying their best to perform this culmination of cultivated experience and spiritual expression. They are all such lovely people. Whatever you do…don’t laugh.

Side note: I am not sure how you would spell it, but do you know that outward snort sound; the one that is made when you are trying to repress a cough, or a sneeze, or… a laugh? Yeah, that’s what came out next. I looked at the two faces closest to Janet and me, and they were being polite by continuing their vocal toning and attempting to hide the horror at my faux pas. “Oh no, they heard me.” I was mortified.  Here I am, trying to make an impression on the instructor, be at the top of my class, respect and honor my fellow Sound Healers, truly connect with Spirit and the Hathors, and I cannot hold it together for the life of me. I looked to Janet expecting her to show an expression of disapproval, but it was worse. Her complexion was all red, her eyes were filled with sparks and her face was contorted. I thought I had awakened a dragon, and then it came…

 Both of us just burst out giggling. There was no hiding it. Bear in mind, the next pair of people were only 6 feet away from us! And the more we tried to control it, the worse it got. Janet’s laugh went from a giggle to flat out guffawing; I went from guffawing to a high pitched squeal! We laughed so hard and so loud that we were both crying. I could not control the fact that my tongue was sticking out of my mouth and I was drooling! It was awful, and I thought to myself, “This is AWFUL! How disrespectful! These poor people, what they must think of me? Us?” That just made it worse. For ten straight minutes, we were laughing-crying-laughing. It got to the point that we completely shut down the other people trying to tone, they were so thrown off by our uproarious cackles they just stopped toning altogether and waited for us to stop. For Janet and me, it just added proverbial fuel to the hysterical fire! We got to the point where we just stopped caring and went with it.  At the end of it all, where there began two strong, somewhat stoic women on a sweet, velvet settee, was now a sloppy, drool and tear ridden, embarrassed lump of two bodies flopped over each other, gasping for air.

Once we wiped ourselves off, straightened our clothing, blew our noses and composed ourselves as best we could; it was time to face everyone. At this point we both figured we blew it. We could see in their eyes that they were waiting for a cue from the instructor, Randeane, on how to react. One thing seemed to be a general consensus, Janet and I were now thought of as ‘The Bad Girls of Holographic Sound Healing’, but gosh, it felt SO GOOD! Janet and I actually thanked each other.  A huge weight had evaporated and all the fear and concern and worry about everything in the world was just lifted and transmuted. So, bring it on. We feared nothing! We felt AMAZING! We were glowing!

Randeane came over to us and announced to the class, “Now THAT was Sound Healing!”

In that one statement, everyone was given permission to laugh! And we all did, together. But Janet and I did not get off that easy. Randeane put us on the spot to actually tone in front of everyone. We were depleted of all fear; we were in sheer joy and audacity at that moment and just went with it. What came out was more powerful than anyone in that room expected, especially us!  

Concept #5– Don’t edit your joyful self!  Do what brings you joy! Be in the moment of joy!

After we surprised ourselves, Janet turned to me and said, “We are going to work together”.

Within two weeks, Sacred Alignment was conceived. Within a month we were performing individual healing sessions and within two months we were conducting group sound healing meditations. We have been steadily booked at our convenience out of several locations ever since!

Concept #6 – Set your intentions when you are in a positive state of mind. (Refer back to #1 & $2)

I am not saying that changing our ways of thinking are always easy. And yes, we all can have low energy days, needs for release; times when we want to run and hide under the covers. Do not beat yourself up if you are subject to especially low energy and need to cry on someone’s shoulder or go into your cave. It is important to honor that time as well. But remember that you are in control.

Concept #7 – Be energetically responsible. Honor your needs, but put effort into caring for yourself and not sucking your friends and family dry of their energetic resources. They may not be there when you need them next time.

Concept #8– Do not beat yourself up for not being perfect. Think of yourself as an artist, everything you do is art. Some people might just not understand the concept yet.

Well, I am happy to report that it is almost 7 years later and I’ve been working as a spiritual practitioner professionally ever since. I am a successful sound healer and energy worker, and I have had the pleasure and honor of helping so many people solve their problems every day by working in a metaphysical bookstore where I get to offer books, stones, candles, spells, and advice to help people along their path. A New Page in Middletown Connecticut has been my home into my home base for my practice and my day job, where Yvette Page has been one of my best teachers and closest friends. I opened up to the universe and I was truly blessed! 

Concept #9 Remember to count your blessings!

***

About the Author:

Tala is a healer of multi-cultural decent and influence. Her heritage is a mixture of Celtic, African, Native American and European decent. However, her spiritual journey began when she and her mother were living throughout Mexico. While exploring one of our world’s ‘Sacred Power Spots’, Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, Tala was struck by a bus and was pronounced dead. She was revived when three indigenous Mayan Shamans appeared from the jungle and proceeded to pass her body between them and chant. They brought her to their hidden jungle village on the mountain to recover and heal for three days. When Tala emerged from the jungle on the fourth day, she told her mother’s companion that she had been “given the light of god by the Mayan people”. She was five years old when she experienced this N.D.E. (near death experience). This opened the door to her receiving messages and visitations from spirits to this day.

At age 23, Tala was the recipient of Shaktipat, in person directly from Shri Anandi Ma. This is a transmission of energy/ god force through (in her case) physical touch which awakens the Kundalini. It often sets the person on their true spiritual path. Many who receive Shaktipat become healers and teachers.

Over the years, combined with her continuing formal education, she has maintained a balance between the physical sciences and the metaphysical. She was one of the first 60 people in the U.S. to be sent to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX to be trained by NASA to educate local teachers about the International Space Station in its beginning stages. She became an R.C. Counselor, Peer Counselor, and an Ordained Minister for the Universal Life Church. She is a Certified Holographic Sound Healer and is a Reiki Practitioner. This year she has become an ordained Minister and Reverend of Our Lord & Lady of the Trinacrian Rose Church and has completed her 2 year apprenticeship in the Pachakuti Mesa Cross-cultural Shamanism and is now a Paco-Shaman. She has made her living for the past years as a powerful energy worker/healer of individuals and groups and a master craftsman of ritual, ceremonial and energetic tools. Her dream is to travel the world and continue her formal and spiritual education with scholars, locals and indigenous peoples.

Tala is a Spiritual Practitioner of the Shamanic arts, she studies Ancient Spiritualities from all over the world and she is a Sacred Toolsmith making tools for Shamans, Pagans and Energy Workers. You can find her at ‘A New Page’ at 1060 Newfield St., Middletown, CT

You can find the shop’s Facebook page at:

Www.facebook.com/anewpagestore For updates and upcoming events, meditations, classes, talks, Fire & Drum Circles and Fairs!

 

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

Book Review – The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices by Claude Lecouteux, translated by Jon E. Graham

May, 2018

Book Review

The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices”

by Claude Lecouteux, translated by Jon E. Graham

Published by Inner Traditions

English translation copyright 2013

Pages: 228

A house is much more than a building. It is a microcosm, a living being with both a body and a soul. It speaks, even if its language is only creaking and cracking noises for the profane,” Claude Lecouteux writes in the introduction to “The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices.”

It speaks, even if its language is only creaking and cracking noises for the profane. Its wailings are evidence of an attack by hostile forces. … The house establishes a bond between itself and its inhabitants,” he states.

Uncared for, a house will die.

Expressions in our lexicon echo the importance of this bond: to have a roof over one’s head, to take someone out to the woodshed, to be on the threshold of life, to throw something out the window, and if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Many old customs have been mistakenly thought of as superstitions, but Lecouteux traces them back to their origins.

[F]olk beliefs have extraordinary longevity and barely evolve as long as social and material conditions do not change,” he wrote.

For instance, the place a house was built was carefully considered. It took into account the place spirits and signs of good fortune such as where a coin was found, the place animals lay down, or the site where inhabitants had previously lived and had good fortune. Roadsides were typically preferred. The borders of fields were avoided. So were crossroads, sites where a house had burned down, former cemeteries, places where animals had had been killed, anywhere someone had committed suicide or a spot with an unmovable stone, Lecouteux tells us.

In various cultures, permission was required from the earth spirits before a house could be built, salt was used to bless the spot before construction, and work ended if, while placing the first beam, an ax generated a spark.

Everything from the houses’s orientation, and the placement of doors and windows to the materials used and the sacrifices made were important to people. When and how they moved in was also dictated by a series of beliefs.

Every element of a building possesses magic and religious meaning,” Lecouteux states at the start of chapter two.

The walls, the gutters, the roof and the corners were all associated with various traditions. There were rites and blessings, customs and ceremonies and taboos connected with every aspect of a home.

 

(Among the photos in the book is this German house having a timber frame with a man pattern and a cross.)

 

Entering a home is done by crossing a threshold, which can be considered a rite of passage. What must not leave by the door, but rather passed out a window were also closely followed – all so as not to anger the spirits and bring about misfortune.

Lecouteux describes them all, across time and territories. He shares the stories, prayers, charms, offerings and practices to domestic deities people used to assure happiness and prosperity, and makes the “sad observation” that “house spirits have vanished and with them the souls of our houses have fled, never to return.”

 

(Fairy loaves and fossilized sea urchins were traditionally kept on the kitchen windowsill of English homes to ensure magically that there will never be a shortage of bread.)

 

The French medieval scholar specializes in Europe during the Middle Ages, covering many esoteric subjects in his more than 15 books. He researches using source texts in the several languages he knows. That way, he explained in an interview in 2016 with Ben & Sol, he can correct assumptions others may have made with extrapolating information.

77 sayings and beliefs are listed in the appendix – including “The spirits are granted the space between the doors, they should therefore never be slammed” and “When a person dies, the windows of a house should be opened so that the soul can leave” – along with footnotes and a bibliography.

He went on to write “Demons and Spirits of the Land: Ancestral Lore and Practices.”

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***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review: Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

May, 2018

Book Review

Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

This is a “coming of age” tale, the story of one woman’s rediscovery of freedom, joy and ultimately, herself. Lucinda Bakken White excavates her soul from underneath a lifetime of meeting expectations and fulfilling the demands of parents, peers, career, marriage and children and life as a “powerful socialite.” How does she do that? By excavating the bones and feathers of “roadkill” and creating art from them. She finds her life in the death and resurrection of the wilderness animals she roamed among as child.

Bakken White tells her tale of innocence lost and reborn using animal archetypes to describe herself at different points in her life. She moves from being a wolf, secure with her place in the pack, to a wolf among lions, changing her “skin” to meet the expectations of society and family. Her description of how she gave herself up, piece by piece and bone and bone, is worth reading. From the perspectives of both parent and child, it is an accurate description of how we are trained to conform, to be other than who we are and to take off the “skins” of our true natures to wear designer clothes. We become disconnected from the rhythms and cycles of the natural world and we fall out of balance with ourselves.

(Bone Altar)

Bakken White hears the call back to herself in dreams of Wolf and feels the pull to work with bones when she finds a buffalo skull that appears to her as a portal to other realms. She becomes “ravenous for bone” and finds that animals, dead and alive, communicate with her like her dreams do. Encounters with animals become an invitation to communicate with forces greater than herself and force her to stay aware and connected, pulling her back to herself and out of her superficial preoccupations. She finds herself working with carcasses of animals, preserving them, honoring the lives of the spirits that had once inhabited them and ultimately making sacred their presence here on Earth. Bakken White writes about digging into decaying carcasses with her fingers to get through what is dead to the bones, the structure of a life; she realizes that by digging through decay and going inside, with persistence and without horror, she can pull out and restore that which gives her life meaning.

Now as a woman coming of age and fully inhabiting her Elderhood, Bakken White works with other women to examine the masks they wear. She writes that in “looking back, I realized that bone by bone the animals I found were a metaphor for my personal process of discovering, unmasking and reconnecting the scattered parts of my true self.” But rather ending the book by identifying with the archetype of La Loba, the wolf woman who sings over the bones, Bakken White’s last chapter is called “Skunk.” Skunk is confident with herself and owns respect!!

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***

About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Does My Life Belong to Me?!

April, 2018

DOES MY LIFE BELONG TO ME?!

 

We are on Easter Break. My 17-year old son needs to do revisions for his upcoming A Levels in Physics and Further Maths. He works best alongside someone so we divide up the kitchen table between us. I decided to write this piece because I had been pondering the question for some time. My son decides to play some music to help things along. “Is that Shakira?!” – “No Mum, it is Fat Rat! That is a DJ by the way. I doubt you know anyone I listen too…” I adore silence when I am writing but, as usual, it was not to be!

 

This may sound like a weird question with an obvious answer! Of course my life belongs to me, right?!

In theory it does yes, but being alive means making choices and choices bring commitments. The moment I choose to have children, those children are entitled to a large chunk of my time, energy and life force. The moment I choose to get married, a new unit with an overarching spirit all of its own comes into being: The Marriage (as well as two separate individuals). This is why the sum is always more than the parts combined. The dynamic multiplies again once a couple has children: there is now a Family, as well as two, three, four or five individuals…. There are now five people having relationships with four rather significant others.

The moment I choose a profession and invest in training in that profession I need to accept the demands and boundaries of that profession. Being a medical doctor, nurse or midwife will mean working night shifts in hospitals. Even a plumber will get phone calls about emergencies at all hours. An undertaker cannot so easily take time off either as people will not stop dying over major holidays.

As a shamanic practitioner I, too, used to get emergency phone calls at all hours. As a mother of young children working from home (with no hospital and no team to divide the workload) I eventually learned to take my home phone number off-line and to make an agreement with myself regarding what “opening hours” I operated and how many emergencies a week I can fit in at short notice (if any!) This is called drawing lines and operating healthy boundaries! (By now I also have a team of three people dividing up work in my practice).

So yes my life belongs to me but for my life to belong to ‘me and me alone’ I would need to stay single, not have children (or elderly parents) and perhaps embark on a life as a self-sufficient recluse in a very inaccessible area. (And when emergencies occurred I would have to deal with those on my own – or not be able deal with them and perhaps suffer serious illness or injury without receiving medical attention or loving care from another person). Yet, these are choices some people make to get away from the maddening demands of modern life. (A percentage of people have always done this, long before “modern” times, they have become trappers, sailors or “desert saints” and walked away from their communities). My own husband has one brother who went to sea at age 16 and reappeared years later with a Japanese wife (he then abandoned to raise three children completely on her own in Sweden). Today we call this commitment-phobia and yes, commitment is scary!

Yet, there is a level even beyond this web of social interactions, beyond being a member of a family and community. This is the point where people who follow a spiritual path may well see things differently from what is considered the norm in our society. Since western society embraced science as ‘our new religion’, the Church and priests have lost the control they exerted for many centuries. We no longer believe in Hell or live in sin. We don’t go to confession either. Only few people today believe that a male fearsome god will judge our souls once we die. In many ways this has liberated us and allowed a much higher level of individual expression, which can only be a good thing (to my mind). Having said, that: collectively speaking we have also lost the concept that we owe gratitude to our Maker and that we did not incarnate on this planet just to please ourselves and inflate our egos…

It is my personal belief, shared by many people following a committed spiritual path (of any description and not necessarily a religion!) that we come to Earth to be of service. That we all have unique gifts, our own unique energy, that is required at this time. This is because we all vibrate and operate in a larger Web of Life where all sentient beings are connected and together create (co-create) both reality and the future, the world our children’s children are to inherit.

Therefore I believe that I am here to serve and to evolve (meaning to learn, to grow in awareness) but I am also here to play my part in a larger whole. This means that I am currently wearing a human coat here on Earth for reasons beyond the personal level of relationships and raising children and so forth.

I have an on-going dialogue with my helping spirits about this and they say that I am here to be a spiritual teacher and teach others about living from a place of profound creativity and joyful creation. Along the way I also turned out to have a bit of a “freak talent” for healing work – but personally I see that as the journey back to creativity and living in joy. Being ill or dis-eased is the flip side of that coin. Once people re-discover their innate ability to create they can create healthy vibrant reality (as well as art, poetry or music etc.) and this will trigger the process of self-healing (activating the Inner Healer). Once I became aware of this key principle I switched my focus from offering one-to-one healing sessions to teaching larger groups.

The spirits making my life purpose crystal clear has been helpful because it has allowed me to focus and drop many things that are not my cup of tea in this lifetime. Out with dinner parties but roll on classes and powerful ceremonies!

The fly in the ointment is that “the hermit gene” runs strong in me. Before I fall asleep I fantasize about retreating to place far (FAR) from civilization and turning my back on the world. I am a profoundly solitary person, happiest alone in my studio or alone in the Forest. My idea of heaven is to be dropped in a completely inaccessible place with enough food supplies, fire wood and art materials for months – so I can immerse myself in creative process without distractions. It is when we are truly alone, without company, without internet, without external noise that we hear the voices of the spirits more clearly. So yeah, that is my dirty secret! I find it hard to always be on call. As a mother of three teenagers this is and will remain my reality – and I actively (happily!) chose it! The contradiction runs deep in me and this solitary trait runs in my family. My middle son has got a bad case of this “affliction” as well!

Having many students (and some clients) as well as children means working long hours every day again (often including weekends). I often look around me at people I perceive to have “easier lives”. Hang on! Let me rephrase this: lives with less pressure and way more leisure time. Here I am thinking of women who call themselves a “full time mother” of two teens aged 16 and 18 (with one about to leave home!) Or a woman whose children left home 20 years ago but she never returned to work (in the conventional sense). She shuttles between her garden and her yoga lessons. To my mind these are ladies of leisure. You may of course disagree.

On one level you could say: they raised their babies and their husband earns good money (so there is no financial need to work) – why not settle into a life of gardening and coffee mornings? Or another level I think: but aren’t they uniquely positioned to really make contribution to larger society? They have good health, many skills and financial security… they HAVE IT ALL! Why not use these things for the larger good of others than themselves?

Am I being judgemental here?? I know this is and remains one of my shadow aspects, (the flip side of being visionary) so it is a definite possibility. Not everyone has my driven personality and (what some have called) a supernatural energy level). Not everyone feels called to grapple with the bigger issues in our world (such as clearing family lines of centuries worth of accumulated trauma or contributing to paradigm shifts – or at least imagining that one is doing so!)

Cycling back to where I started, I think the question this article poses can only be answered by individuals in a very individual way. We all have different personalities, different star signs and different circumstances and dreams too. What I do know is that in my own life I continue to learn (fast and furiously) because I am a teacher, because I am in constant interactions with students and teens from a place of holding responsibility. It has been said that we teach what we most need to learn and probably my greatest passion in life is learning and becoming the best person I can possibly be, by the time I die. (And what I am in the process of becoming is not going to please everyone!)

I also truly believe that if everyone embraced life in this way – the world would be a better place. I am not going to apologise for thinking that! So… to answer my own question: my life force belongs to me (meaning I choose what – and whom! – I spend time and energy on) but my life ultimately belongs to Mother Earth and Spirit as much as it belongs to me personally. I am in service to Life – not the other way around. I would not have it any other way…

 

My son has decided to go on break. He says: “Mum, could you please take over as my dragon slayer for a moment because I need to nip out for a moment?!” Fat Rat has gone silent. Outside the window snow is falling upwards…

*Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, Easter Sunday 2017

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Norseshamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

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www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

 

 

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