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MagickalArts

December, 2018

Excerpted from:

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness

Day Three

The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice



For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice (Yule) is one of welcoming the return of the Light of

renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter (Northern Hemisphere) will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening, I think of this as the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept. The language may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self) . There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to quicken and prime in alignment with the increasing state of light?

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process. It is again about the process of polarities and the allowance of a void or lesser amount of one thing, so that it may be filled and quickened by its opposite. There is also the component of sacrifice within these thoughts in that we must willingly acknowledge that something must be given up to make room for that which would be drawn in.

This is the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings, as each gives way to the other and also resists the relinquishing to the other of its power. One holds the promise of the growing Light and the other the refuge of the increasing Darkness. And, although they are one in the same, in order that the cycles may continue and a newly formed energy can be birthed into being, one must relinquish a parcel of its power to be subsumed into the other; temporary imbalance as brothers become enemies and in the final act, become allies in the process of transformation. The Light of the Oak King birthed from the darkening and lessening of the Holly King.

We call forth to the return of the Light-filled Oak King and celebrate the waxing of the Light half of the year. But, in order for that light to shine in its fullest way, we must also embrace and celebrate the remaining vestiges of the darkness of the Holly King. The darkness of the months that persist of winter’s cold. The darkness that becomes the expanding shadow as the sun shines increasingly longer and brighter around us. And, the darkness that we can retreat into to find those hidden sparks that yearn to be nurtured and brought to the full light of day.

As the weather remains or becomes even colder, the natural inclination is to seek out the warmth and coziness of home. And, so I retreat into the welcoming warmth of my home and settle in ready to study, meditate and reveal more of myself to myself. I embrace the early evening darkness as a cloak that I step into so I can more fully appreciate the sun’s light of day. I move within both physically, settling into home and family and spiritually as I dig deeper into the recesses of my own nature. I seek out and call to the inner spark within and stand ready to embrace also the Shadow of my nature as it rises to the surface, revealed by that light.

In meditation, I allow my breath to slow and deepen into the darkness and move along the paths of my own creation that I have tended to in the previous months in preparation for this time of going within. These paths are often mired with the thorns and treacherous roots of inertness, illusory thoughts and judgments that I have used as the trappings of who I am in the world. My Shadow has nurtured each and knows the weakness and strength of each because in this space of darkness what is revealed is often seen more clearly in its true form than in the blinding light.
When I finally relax and surrender into the wisdom of my Shadow the first striking of the match of greater light is drawn across the rough surface of my resistance, and the resistance is transformed into the tiny sparks that ignite the part of myself that is receptive and waiting.

In accord with the energy of Yule, I allow the weakening resistance of my Holly King to be replaced with a renewed sense of purpose and the strength of my Oak King. My Shadow self is resistant to being brought forward, knowing that bits of it will be released in sacrifice and other parts will be transformed so that its darker nature can work co-creatively with the strength of my light self. I call to the Oak King that he may bless and enliven both aspects of myself as we move forward into the new year in anticipation of what can be seeded at the Spring Equinox; and accepting the knowledge that his wisdom will be transformed as the Shadow begins to strengthen its work at the Summer Solstice and the rising once again of the Holly King.

At those points when the darkness seems pervasive and overwhelming and the light is barely visible I am reminded that without the necessary shade to prevent the seedling from drying and withering from an overabundance of the light’s unfiltered rays, the beauty of new growth and radiant and healthy flower will not come to fruition.

May the blessings of the growing Light and the wisdom of the Dark create the quickened space for a prosperous, enlightened and informed Yule.

***

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.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

October is quickly coming to an end, and I have never been more thankful. October brought sickness and trials. It was a difficult month to say the least.

But with October coming to a close, Samhain is fast approaching.

Samhain (or Halloween as Little Bear calls it) has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even when it was banned from my childhood home life.

The veil is thinning, the days grow darker, and the nights become almost black.

Living in the Midwest means the weather is unpredictable at the end of October. It could be sunny and hot, or rainy and wet. As a child, “Halloween” meant snow. I can remember more snowy Halloweens than not.

Little Bear and I will make the best of it regardless of the weather. He has his costume picked out. He is going as a zombie SWAT guy. He’s talked me into being a zombie also. He’s a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead right now.

This year, I let Little Bear go wild and decorate the whole house. We put up window clings, black garland, laid out fake spiders, decorated foam pumpkins, and hung up door covers.

Yesterday, we visited the local pumpkin field/corn maze. They have so many activities and it’s a must every year. They have goats, chickens, rabbits, long horn cattle, corn boxes, corn mazes, pumpkin guns, tug a war ropes, inflatables, wooden trains, etc. It is a full day.

Tonight, is pumpkin carving time. I’m sure that my excitement is at a way higher level than Little Bear’s because of the pumpkin seeds. I have dug out some recipes from Pinterest and plan on trying at least three. I have to do normal salt pumpkin seeds. But I’m going to try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar. The other one I haven’t decided on because there is so many variations that can be done. However, I’m leaning towards a savory that uses sea salt and white vinegar. Not sure how it’ll turn out, but we shall see!

One of my favorite traditions for Samhain is the dinner. Eating dinner at the table is something that rarely happens in our home because of scheduling. But when Samhain rolls around, I take the day off. I plan a meal as if it were Thanksgiving and I set the table. I always set a spot for my sister who we lost back in 2015. It helps to bring her close. Little Bear gets excited and will start talking to her spot as if she never left.

Little Bear started asking questions again about “God” last week. This is a conversation that we have quite frequently as he has a hard time understanding something that he cannot see. So, I go into the explanation again. We have talked about the many different religions of the world. Although I am raising him in a Pagan home, I understand that the Pagan path may not be for him.

I found a wonderful series that touches on the spiritual side without focusing on one certain religion. It’s the The Giggles and Joy series. A three-part series that focuses on positive poems. It’s a neat series that I recommend. You can check out my review on them in this same issue!

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

August, 2018

August 2018 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

It has been unusually hot this year, and me, the cats, and my husband are melting! We are thankful for our air conditioner, and we venture out early in the morning or later at night.

The dog is not thrilled, as she likes longer walks, and is immune to extreme weather.

Maybe I will come back as a dog in the next life!

The garden, however, is absolutely thriving. The new rose I planted has tiny red sprouts on it, the cherry tomato is producing abundantly, the marigolds are showing their golden manes proudly, and the zinnias, dear gods, the zinnias are the stars of the garden!

The Wheel of the Year is quickly moving towards first harvest. Already, the days are noticeably shorter, and we are even having a few cool nights. Blackberries, mint, and lavender have already been harvested here, and my cat has diligently been munching on the poor nasturtiums!

First Harvest

Depending on your tradition, you may celebrate Lammas or Lughnassadh. Both celebrate harvests, and celebrate harvest of different things.

In years past, I have written in detail about these ancient harvest celebrations, but this year I am going to focus on a different aspect of the blessings of the Sabbat-respect, and balance.

As we celebrate the things we have begun, and give thanks for the beginnings of what we reap from these sowings, we respectfully acknowledge we did not do it all on our own.

At times, the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors helped, and we give the credit that is due to them. In our rituals, we partake of the powers of these spirits, and also of the land where we draw resources to provide what we need to meet our goals.

In North America, many of us are immigrants from other Nations, and we touch the earth that has been sacred to countless generations of tribal people we do not share genetics with. As Pagans, and magical workers, we pick up on the power of the sacred spaces, and communicate with the spirits, and work with the existing energies.

On one hand, it is very American for non-indigenous people to be fascinated with the indigenous, and have romanticized ideas of their splendor, as if they are a mythical race of beauties. On the other hand, we are still actively benefiting from the forced assimilation, and the Reservation system that keeps indigenous people in poverty today. We do not MEAN such harm, but it is happening.

Then, many in our communities cherry pick what they consider Native American spiritual practices, take Indian names, and declare themselves Indians when they have no proof of ancestry, have had zero exposure to, or participation in Native American communities, and even go so far as to ordain themselves leaders in modern “Native American” groups, and assume they can become instant Indians.

This is called cultural misappropriation, and it is one topic I will pick up later in the article.

Rejuvenation

Healing, and prayers for good health are also part of harvest celebrations. In days past, prayers for enough food were constant, as that was how to ensure survival. Prayers to keep pests off crops, and to keep crops and animals producing were included. Now, we pray for good jobs so we can hit the stores to buy what we need instead of growing our own.

Prayers for good health could be translated as prayers to hold off aging and death- one word for this is rejuvenation.

One of the daily ways we rejuvenate the body is by eating. It is very true that we are what we eat. Food is the first source of medicine for the body, and it either adds or detracts years from our lives.

Pharmaceuticals also can be used to heal the body. We have become more and more aware of the fact that doctors and companies are for-profit, and the side effects from drugs aggressively marketed to the public can cause more harm than good. Furthermore, as we are human beings, and not gods, we are imperfect, and doctors sometimes make mistakes. It is no wonder than many seek out alternative medicine, and mind over matter techniques in hopes the body can heal itself.

Members of our Pagan and New Age communities understand all too well what the medical world refers to as “the placebo affect”. We understand the power of faith to heal. Some even go so far as to believe that if they break their neck, they don’t need to see a doctor, and that all they need to do is order their body to repair itself. We have seen a plethora of news stories where very conservative Xtian parents went to jail for allowing their child to die out of belief medicine is sinful, and their god would heal them if only their faith was strong enough. While we laugh or shake our heads, condemning these Xtians for this, we have plenty of people within our own communities guilty of this same mindset. Many of us fail to see this.

Balance

I cannot tell you how many people have asked me to do a tarot reading to diagnose illness, and I flat out refuse. I am of the mind that prayers, faith, meditation, proper diet and exercise are good for the body, but they do not replace medical intervention when it is necessary. All these things work together, and must be balanced for our health and wellbeing.

As a Wiccan, one of the Tenets I follow is the Tennent of The Balanced Life.

This tenet was written about by the illustrious Sybil Leek in her publication The Complete of Witchcraft from 1971. If you do not own a copy of this book, you should run right out and get it. I am 75% finished with it, and I am so glad I am reading it. In her chapter “Leading a Balanced Life”, Leek writes how mental, spiritual, and physical well-being are linked. She wrote of the insane pace of life in modern times, and the push to do more, faster, and better, and how it takes a toll on human beings. This impossibly unhealthy lifestyle exhausts, and stresses human beings to the point of physical ailments. Finding peace within oneself in this hectic lifestyle is very crucial. Work leisure, and rest have to be balanced, or the body is thrown off, and gets sick.

One thing I will add to that, is many folk do not touch the earth. Many live in concrete boxes, and operate in asphalt jungles. Going into nature is considered “getting away from things”, or a vacation. Nature should surround us daily. Science has proven that when you touch the earth, it lowers blood pressure, and walks in the woods clear the lungs of the polluted air from cars and smog. Trees eat the carbon dioxide cars and factories emit. The earth breaks down bodies that are decomposing, and uses them to grow plants. The body benefits from fruits and veggies, and some people (not me), swear they feel better consuming only a plant-based diet.

What I am saying is, one of the ills that plagues modern man, and unbalances us is the disconnection we have from the earth.

One of the memes that makes me very angry is the one that shows a photo of a bottle of pills, and says “This is poison” and shows a photo of a nature trail, and says “This is medicine.”

This shows complete lack of compassion for people who need pharmaceuticals, and also shows the individual who has this belief has never experienced a serious illness.

Medical intervention is required for the human body, but is not a substitute for a balanced life. In the same way, the human body, even if balanced, sometimes needs the help of pharmaceuticals to heal, and rejuvenate itself. Leading a Balanced Life allows us to accept the human body is not an entity that can completely restructure itself. Without proper amounts of water, food, medicine, sunlight, exercise, love, industriousness, rest, or oxygen, the body will die. Combining these things perfectly is key, and neglecting any of them, and doing MORE of one other thing fixes nothing.

The One That Got Away

Recently, I was asked to review a film, and I flat out refused to, because it asserted their psychic counselors and meditation coaches completely replaced medical care. This is a dangerous, and unethical claim. These people do not accept medical insurance, and all counseling sessions and classes have to be paid out of pocket. One hour sessions range from $150-$250 each person. A lot of people simply cannot afford that.

To be fair, some attend groups like this because it makes them happy, which reduces stress, and improves immune functioning. This is healing.

However, if you are having a heart attack, don’t just schedule a meditation appointment. You need a doctor.

If you have a contagious infection which is airbourne, and that can kill people, don’t put up a shield to “protect” people. Stay away from people while you are contagious, and take your medication.

Just because you are unaware of something does not mean it does not exist.

Balance of mental tranquility with taking proper care of the human body’s needs must be maintained, or you aren’t healthy.

Now, you do not HAVE to be healthy. I could stand to lose more than a few pounds, myself, so I am not condemning anybody whose health is not perfect. But to be ignorant, and spread that ignorance to gain customers, and endanger their health, by pulling them away from the medical care they need causes so much harm. It is beyond unethical, and I flat out refused to promote the film. I can’t even remember what it is called at this point.

Calling All Earthlings

Having spoken of these things, I was asked to review another film, and I decided to, although I disliked this film greatly. This is a necessary film for those of us in Pagan and New Age communities, as well as those who seek out alternative medicine, because it demonstrates how gullible we truly are when we allow our fantasies to get the better of us.

 

Movie Trailer

 

It is a Carpe Stella Production, and here is the website for the film.

http://www.callingallearthlingsmovie.com/

It was cast as a documentary by director Jonathan Berman, and I appreciate the fact nothing is held back. It touches on the topics of government conspiracy, aliens, the system vs. the individual citizen, cultural misappropriation, modern spirituality, and the spectacular natural scenery will make you want to jump in the car and head out for a road trip in the Mojave Desert.

It is shown how one man’s claim that an alien, who he said was over 700 years old taught him rejuvenation techniques for the body, were so well received that the site is still in use today, many years after his death.

Today, you can visit the site, and the team who operate there will book your event, and you can pay $100 plus per person to have a sound bath therapy, which is lying comfortably and enjoying a nice concert of various singing bowls being played. The building is called the Integretron, and the acoustics in the place are awesome. If you can’t make the trip or afford the fee, you can purchase a CD for $15 plus shipping and handling fees.

Various individuals claiming UFO sightings and encounters are also interviewed.

A grandiose story is presented by some of George Van Tassel’s friends and followers of his valiant attempts to create a sanctuary of healing, as ascribed by said alien. They also allege that his attempts to generate wireless electricity were thwarted by the government, and it is suggested the government killed him in the process.

A couple of professors speaking of history and social patterns of alien enthusiasts are interviewed as well, so it’s not like the documentary is 100% one sided. We get to hear from people who say it’s complete balderdash, although almost every speaker is very convinced it’s all true.

The longer we exist, the larger we find out the universe actually is, and we discover more galaxies we previously had not known about. It’s clear we are not the only lifeforms in the solar systems. However, the probability of an alien appearing only to a few select “chosen few” is highly unlikely, and it is asserted in the film by a couple of “Futurists” that aliens appear only to a select few because humanity is not ready yet for contact.

It is also to be noted the site the Integratron is near, Giant Rock, is close by Fort Irwin National Training Center which is a major training facility for the US military. Yes, they have air craft, and it is said they do experiments with new technology there. I wonder how many so-called UFO sightings were actually people observing military aircraft, and exercises? How much of it was actually illusions caused by the crippling desert heat? How much of this is belief creating illusions, and makes some ascribe mundane things to fantastical occurrences?

The thing that stood out to me most of all was how many people kept insisting Giant Rock is positioned on a vortex of great power, and the ancient Native Americans held the place very sacred.

An elder and tribal historian of the Morongo Indians, Ernest Siva, was interviewed for a very short time, disappointingly short- after all- this is supposedly an ancient sacred indigenous site. I strongly feel that he, and other indigenous people, as opposed to New Age business people, and alien enthusiasts should have been given more importance in this. As my hearing is not great, and the website that had the link I reviewed has no subtitles, I was unable to hear much of what he said. He spoke of a tribal story that his people came from another place. I was not sure where the filmmakers were going with that.

I decided to reach out to Mr. Siva, and see what I could learn from him. After a few e-mails, communication completely stopped before deadline, and I was unable to complete the interview.

Cultural Misappropriation Versus Cultural Exchange

One huge issue in our Pagan and New Age communities is misappropriation of Native American culture. How many groups, shops, or New Age or Pagan businesses have we all visited where non Native Americans are selling services based on what was sacred to ancient Native Americans?

I wonder how indigenous people feel about the fact the Reservation system both physically removed indigenous people from their sacred spaces, but also assimilated them into a completely different religion that does not hold such things scared.

Generations of their families journeyed to places like Giant Rock for sacred observances, and very distinctive ways of communicating with the spirits and divinities there were developed over long periods of time. The spirits and divinities got used to that communication at places like Giant Rock, and when places of commerce for the conquerors moves in and takes over, this communication ceases. As noted before, some people are still awake and aware of the voices of those spirits, however, we do not belong to the cultures of people who venerated them, and while we may benefit an adrenaline rush from communication, our methods and intentions are not always respectful.

One individual interviewed for the documentary turned out to be a “medicine woman” who is a blonde haired, blue eyed individual, so I did a bit of research. While I have met plenty of tribal people who are not dark skinned, or are not 100% this or that tribe, I am always suspicious of a very bohemian behaving New Agey white person who claims they are some form of shaman or medicine person. Most especially when I see all their followers are paying clients, and/or their website lists no tribal affiliations, and they list fees for services. It’s not tribal medicine, it’s a business.

She calls herself Valerie Brightheart, and she, like any clergy person facilitates weddings, but also something called snuggle parties.

While I do not know if it was Valerie and her business shown in this video clip from An Idiot Abroad, you can watch it as an example of cuddle/snuggle parties. I have no knowledge of this being a Native American practice.

Valerie’s church is the Oklevueha Native American Church of Soncco Wasi Home of the Heart. To be a member, all you have to do is fill out and send them a form, pay the fee, and you too can belong to this church. You have to commit to use only Native American medicines like Marijuana, peyote, and ayahuasca. I don’t know if that means onsite, or in general. You can pay a $200 lifetime membership fee if you are not Native American. If you are actually Native American, your lifetime fee is $30. If you are a Veteran and are Native American, your lifetime fee is a mere $20.

One thing I will point out is the people practicing on these so-called sacred Native American spaces are non-Native Americans. That is okay in many instances, because tribe does not necessarily go by just birth and race. People marry into tribes, and very few people today can boast 100% ancestry to one single race. Even within Native American families who claim to be all one tribe, over time, tribes have combined, and different families had babies together. So, to assert you can only have a certain DNA to be tribal is ludicrous. The issue is the fascination many non-tribal people have with actual tribal people, and the desire to play Indian for fun outside of the childhood playground is highly disrespectful.

To further make money by impersonating an Indian, or to move into a sacred space using it for income, and drum up public interest because “It was sacred to ancient Indians” is unethical.

Communication with Other People’s Ancestors

On one hand, who owns the ancient power places? Who owns the spirits, and who has the right to speak with them, and tell people what they say back? Does race and ancestry decide that, or do the spirits just want their voices heard, and connection with the living, even if it is not their own descendants?

A Heathen man I once spoke to was perplexed by the idea of churches and sanctuaries. “All the earth is sacred”, he told me. There is great truth in this. But has Giant Rock, and the Integratron become a place that is being poached by white business owners, and like the Black Hills, has it been taken from the indigenous who ought to have it back immediately?

The filmmakers don’t seem to think so. They cast this as a sacred place of healing, where you may contact with other lifeforms, as a place of love, healing, peace, and a place that is greatly misunderstood by the mainstream.

This film is very important for those in the Pagan and New Age communities to watch to remind us that magic is not supernatural, but natural. It harmonizes with the laws of the Universe, science being one reality. We cannot fly on brooms. We cannot turn into cats. We cannot live forever.

We can, however, fly in airplanes, have pet cats, or dress up as a cat in a costume, and we can improve our health, and increase our life expectancy by living a balanced life.

My Neighbors

I am blessed to live next door to some good earth loving folks. It’s a mother and father, and two adorable boys. The mother and her mom are Shawnee. I was able to reach out to them and discuss topics this film raised.

The mother’s mother, Kossia said Native American practices developed in distinctive ways, and it is necessary to use them properly if you want them to work. My Priest has said this same thing many times.

Her daughter, Speaks with Trees, said her concern is not so much that somebody who is not racially Native American sells things used in Native American practices. She said sometimes it is actually easier to go through non-Native business owners to get the herbs and stones she needs to practice. The issue is the fact that Native American people are struggling to have decent places to be together. Many Reservations are not ideal.

On Reservations, households are significantly more likely to have no electricity, no running water, improper sewage removal, incomplete kitchens, and no phones. The public high school graduation rate for Native Americans is lower than any other racial group in the US. The suicide rate of Native American youths is higher than for any other racial group in the US. The unemployment rates are higher. This is devastating poverty.

Speaks with Trees said an issue is that Native American people, who have been forced off land, are struggling to even survive. She said, “If you steal something from somebody, do you give it back? If you harm somebody, and it causes harm to generations of their family, how do you rectify that?”

The Dakota Pipeline is just one sign it’s not being rectified.

Kossia pointed out that intent matters. There are a lot of sacred places where Native Americans don’t have the capacity to use as such anymore. HOW you use the site, and WHY you are there matters.

She also pointed out that there are over 500 distinct Native American groups known, and that does not even include the groups who were not identified by whoever identified the other 500 some. This reminds us that when discussing “Native American spirituality”, the differences are so diverse, we cannot in any way lump them all into one set of practices.

All of these things both ladies said are important to keep in mind when visiting a site sacred to the ancient indigenous Americans. It is also important to keep in mind when attending pow wows, and learning spiritual practices ascribed to Americas indigenous tribal people.

While spirit transcends race, some of us are not Indians. We should find out about who the people we buy goods and services actually are, and check their credentials. Non-Indians impersonating Indians are plentiful, and we don’t need to enable that.

We need not segregate or do only what our ancestors did. Traditions in, and of themselves are living things, which change. Talks with Trees pointed out most of us have lots of different kinds of ancestry, and almost nobody has just one kind. Kossia spoke of the importance of working together, and learning from each other. She also said intent matters. To want to learn is called cultural exchange. We have always migrated, and we learn new things from our new friends who we move in near. We share knowledge and wisdom. Respect is the key.

This Month’s Working

Instead of a traditional Lammas or Lughnassadh working, I’d like to talk about what to do when you detect energy or sacred power at a site you are unfamiliar with, and want to do a working there.

Some people would say to completely avoid working with energy you do not know of. Just because you feel something does not mean you should connect with it.

Many magicians will tell you that spirits can lie, and do, and I have spoken with more than one individual that warns of spirit parasites that possess human beings.

If you are like me, and you are going to communicate despite what people think might go wrong, I can’t criticize you for that.

Technically, to be a witch, or any form of magician, you have to be able to move energy, and some would say, ANY energy you come across. This does not mean you don’t reach out to somebody else for help sometimes. This just means you need to practice reading energies so you can feel what they are, what they do, and whether or not they are best avoided.

There are going to be times you hit the park, find a nice, secluded area, and want to cast circle or do a working, and there are already energies there. Typically, you either banish them, and set up your own energies, or work with and experience what is already there.

I have a different suggestion.

Move them aside temporarily. It is almost like saying “Excuse me for a minute, and let me borrow this space, and then I will go on my way.”

This is the working I will include here. This can be used at any time, and anyplace. Members of all traditions can use this, and it does not entail veneration of any deity. This is respectful of the energies and spirits of a place, but allow you a clean slate to work with before your working begins.

Setting Energy Aside

Stop and ground yourself for a moment before you begin. Then quietly walk around the area you intend to clear. Open your mind to what energies and spirits are there, and pay attention to any messages you get.

Have you got a very string spirit who does not want its space tampered with? Is the whole energy of the place off, and it would take many sessions of clearing to clean it? Did something traumatic happen here, and the imprinting from it will overwhelm you, compromising the possible success of your working? You may decide to move elsewhere. That is okay. Always gauge the space first to see what it is you are moving aside.

If you do, indeed decide to use this space, you don’t need any tools like incense or magic words.

You just need to take deep breaths, and move your hands from the ground up to the sky, as if you are pulling energy, and sending it upward, and gently away.

You will feel with your own energy when you nab the end piece of the energy, and you just gather it up, and release it, with the intent it will stay gone until you finish. Walk the whole space in a circle, doing this same operation. You will be able to feel when it is done. Ensure the whole time, you keep your own energy to yourself, and do not absorb any of the energy you are moving from the site.

You don’t need to call the energies back after you finish. If the energy wants to, it will settle back into place on its own.

That’s it.

Simple, isn’t it?

This can be used anytime you go someplace where you want to lift some energy out. Say you are about to have a meeting in the board room where there was just a heated exchange, and you want the tone light, and stress-free. You can take that energy from previous meeting, and send it off.

If your kids have been spastic all day, and you have sent them off with an auntie for the evening, to have an adult cocktail party in the living area, you can use this operation to send that ty energy off for a more relaxing atmosphere.

If you cried your eyes out in your car after being stood up by a date, use this to get all that sadness out of the car.

The sky is the limit to what this technique can be used for.

Blessed energy working.

Blessed First Harvest.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Northern Lore: A Field Guide To The Northern Mind, Body & Spirit by Eoghan Odinsson

March, 2018

Northern Lore: A Field Guide To The Northern Mind, Body & Spirit

by Eoghan Odinsson

First, I’d like to say that I liked this book. At first it was a bit academic, a bit dry, but then the interesting stuff made an appearance.

Eoghan was born in Canada and is also an award winning journalist. He has a Masters in Science from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and taught there for a time. Eoghan holds a black belt in Shito-Ryu Karate and taught the martial art in Canada and the U.S.

It’s said that Odin gave up one of his eyes and hung himself upside-down from the world tree, Yggdrasil, and learned the Runes. There are many versions of runes. The oldest know is the Elder Futhark. The other two main versions are Old English Futhork and Younger Futhark.

Futhark/Futhork comes from the first six letters of the runic alphabet;fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raido, and kenaz.

The Elder Futhark is separated in three groups of eight called Ætts. The original names of the runes have been lost to time but have been remade based on names given to the runes of the younger sets of alphabets.

As I said earlier, there are many versions of runes. These are the ones listed in the book; Elder, Anglo-Saxon, Younger, Hälsinge, Middle age, Dalecarlian, Icelandic/Norwegian, Long-branch, Short-twig, and Medieval.

Historically, the runes were derived from the Old Italic alphabets but no one knows for sure which alphabet.

J.R.R. Tolkien used the Anglo-Saxon runes on a map to show a connection with the Dwarves in the book, ‘the Hobbit’. Tolkien created a rune-like alphabet called Cirth to replace the Anglo-Saxon runes in later drafts of ‘the Lord of the Rings’.

Either historic or fictional versions of the runes have been used in fantasy fiction, video games, etc. runes were also used as the written language of the Asgard race in the ‘Stargate’ TV series and movies.

The Germanic tribes had a wealth of weather lore, much of which was shared be other cultures. Many of the old Germanic weather proverbs correspond to actual natural phenomena and many have to been proven to not be accurate.

All of the various world cultures have watched the weather to know when to plant for the best yield, when to reap the harvests, cull the herds for meat, etc. watching the various creatures can tell you how bad the winter is going to be.

One of the idioms that I’ve discover on my own was written on a place-mat at a restaurant; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. It means that it’ll be stormy if you see a red sky at dawn and pleasant evening if the sky is red at dusk. Of course, sailors always want the weather to be to be pleasant, since the seas can be dangerously rough when it’s stormy out.

There are many sayings on various aspects of weather, including how far sound travels, air pressure, winds, etc.

In Northern Europe, health was important. They had different ways of keeping in good health; runic yoga/Stádhagaldr(a recent creation as of approx. 1984 and was possibly based on an earlier version from the 19th century), herbs, use of animal products, etc.

A form of runic yoga called Stav was created in Norway and uses what’s called ‘Rune Stances’. The Hafskjold tradition of Stav is the only mind/body/spirit system know to the author in Europe. The author included an interview with Stav master Graham Butcher that he did when Butcher stayed at his home in 2005 and updated the interview in 2010.

There are several more topics in the book including cuisine, mythology, the Havamal (Sayings of the high one), and various spiritual practices.

Northern Lore, also, has a nice sized bibliography so the reader can do extra research if they wish.

For Amazon Information Click Image

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

January, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times January 2018

Bright Blessings, and Happy 2018!

Time flies when you are an old adult, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday, I was looking forward to Summer Solstice!

I write this on Winter Solstice 2017, and my Yule gathering is two days away. We are rearranging the menu and scheduling rides for everybody.

As it is in between Sabbats, I get to pick a topic! I decided to write about Winter itself.

Specifically, I’d like to write some Winter survival tips.

Unlike some people like my husband- who LIVE for winter (psychos!), the rest of us suffer various issues due to cold weather.

I started having issues with Winter the day we moved from the warm South, to the cold North. I recovered for the ONE winter I lived in Arizona, but the dry atmosphere there proved too hard on me, so back to the cold, moist North I came!

Every Winter is a struggle. The older I get, the worse it gets. I have developed routines to get me through Winter in one piece, and I’m happy to share my tips with you.

Without further adieu, I give you:

Saoirse’s Winter Survival Tips

  1. Staying Hydrated- This is very important for both your skin, and your insides, Dehydration is no laughing matter, and while in Summer, people encourage us to drink lots of water, in Winter, we don’t talk about it nearly as much, but it’s just as crucial. One thing to watch for is the tendency to drink lots of hot drinks in Wintertime, which translates into coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. Which means we shun water we are more partial to in warm weather. Hot drinks are fine, and can help us feel warm. Just don’t forget to drink plain water also.
  2. Sickness- Because we go outside less often, our germs are more enclosed, so we are exposed to more of them. People don’t want to call off from holiday gatherings, let alone take any time off of school or work. Please do. I understand there are some people out there who disease does not phase, but not everybody is so lucky. The condescending “Just wash your hands” with an eyeroll is pure bullshit, because some contagious illnesses are airborne. The selfish “I don’t want to use my sick time, because I want a longer vacation” is also very common. Some people have kids and elderly family they take care of who the flu, or infections can be fatal to, not to mention people with compromised immune systems. Also, don’t be afraid to say you won’t be coming to a gathering if you know somebody has strep or the next contagious thing. I’ve done this for years, even leaving a volunteer spot one day, because the coordinator showed up with bronchitis and refused to take antibiotics. Staying well is one of the best ways to survive winter.
  3. Steam is your friend- Breathing in that cold air outdoors as well as air the hearing system dries out wreaks havoc on the sinuses. A steamer is one way to help keep the house humid enough to keep you from having those awful winter nosebleeds. There have been times I did not own a steamer, and I just boiled pans of water on the stove to make the same effect. I swear by it.
  4. F-O-O-D- Winter means winter holiday food, which is consists of high yum, and sometimes low nutrients. The first thing health gurus do is shame people for the high caloric intake of holiday food. But there is a reason people serve these foods come wintertime. In days of yore, you might have your entire food stash go bad in one day. You wanted to stock your body up on whatever you could, and high caloric intake could mean survival in the event that food source DID run out. Without the risk of that, and our more sedentary lifestyles, that extra weight we gain just stays there, and doesn’t benefit us. I’m not going to tell anybody not to splurge on some goodies. All I’ll say is keep your nutrients up, and take supplements if needs be. Many suffer in winter due to lack of vitamin D from the sun because we are indoors staying warm! Take vitamin D pills if needs be, or drink more Vitamin D milk. Do what you need to do in order to keep your nutrients up. Remember also, food like chocolate makes you happy, which boosts the immune system, so have some!
  5. Reschedule without guilt- People, especially if they love you, want to see you. Of course! Sometimes, they are the least understanding people if you have to reschedule. Tough toenails, I say! If the weather is bad…if your car cannot handle the temperature…if you are sick…if you have trouble driving in the pitch dark that seems to shroud us 24 hours per day from Mid -September through March…RESCHEDULE. Don’t let anybody guilt you into going when it is unwise. Even if you are just tired, reschedule. People who really care about you will understand, and as for the folks who don’t understand? They don’t matter.
  6. Dress for weather – Both inside and out, dress appropriately for the weather. A lot of people want to crank their heat up to 75 or 80, and run around in skimpy clothes in wintertime. If you are a millionaire, be my guest. The rest of us have to keep the bills at bay. So the double layered clothes and shoes on until bedtime are the best way to dress. We are able to keep our heat set at 65 because we dress properly, and we keep the bills down. Since I crochet, handmade afghans in laps are provided, and cats and our dog will gladly curl up beside you for added warmth. Baking and cooking all winter will also help keep the house warm. When you go outside, do yourself a favor, and bundle up. Don’t wear shoes that are slick bottom, because you think they look cute, or you might fall and bust your ass. A mistake a lot of people make is assuming they do not need to bundle because they are driving someplace- but if your car breaks down, you will be very cold while you are arranging your alternative transportation. Or forbid your heater goes out! So bundle up!
  7. Fires- Most especially if you are Pagan…have outside fires all winter long, even if it’s just an occasional candle! I have yet to meet one Pagan who does not feel invigorated by fire, which represents light and life for us during these dark months. Burn fires just for the smell of them if needs be, or because you love the ambient glow of them, even if you do so for no other reason. If you’re like me, you love the way your hair and clothes smell after a wood fire. Warm your hearth, yard, and home with fire all winter.
  8. Skin Care- Oh, how the wind, cold, and heaters dry skin as badly as they dry out sinuses! Some say you ought to shower less, but I say a good hot soak every day in a bath or hot shower are good for skin. Scrub all that dead skin off, and hydrate with good lotion after each bath/shower. Drinking plenty of water helps with that as well, and chap sticks/lip glosses/Vaseline on the lips does wonders.
  9. Drive Accordingly- People forget how to drive when weather changes for some odd reason. The first DAY of it, I can see- but some people NEVER acclimate, and are enraged that they have to adapt. This makes no damned sense, and if this is you? Change. Lave the house earlier to account for driving more slowly if needs be. Police say you need to leave an entire car length between you and the next car per ten miles you are traveling. Yet people leave less than half a car length between them and the next driver while going 80mph in the 65 mph zone in rain, snow, sleet, and hail, and are genuinely shocked when a car wreck occurs. I am not calling that an accident in those situations. The lack of safety due to refusal to take precautions is a choice, and there is nothing accidental. It’s unnecessary, and inexcusable. It’s also completely avoidable. Always use the toilet before leaving the house no matter what, as it prevents urgency to GET someplace fast. Play music you like, and take the route you like the best so driving is less of a chore.
  10. Be understanding- Winter is something many of us just don’t look forward to, but nobody can fight it. Understand the things you need to do, and the things other people need to do in order to manage well. Accept winter. Plan for it, and try to enjoy it if you can.

I know there are a LOT more things you can do to survive winter than just what I listed, but here is my top ten list.

Blessed Winter.

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

 

 

 

Seeing the Signs

February, 2014

Divining the Weather: Will Winter This Year be Kind or Cruel?

 

There has been an ongoing argument among some of my Facebook friends about the Banded Wooly Caterpillar and if this animal really can predict the weather of the winter to come.  A Wooly Caterpillar is black with a middle band that is brown or tannish.  If the brown band is narrow, the coming winter will be harsh.  Naturally, if the band is wide, it will be a mild winter.  I have to admit I have never seen any of these caterpillars, so I cannot comment on whether these animals actually do predict the weather.  But having been watching nature and the weather for most of my life, I can make a few educated guesses.  I do believe that where I live, Western New winter will be harsh.  Naturally, if the band is wide, it will be a mild winter.  I have to admit I have never seen any of these caterpillars, so I cannot comment on whether these animals actually do predict the weather.  Apparently, there is a professor at UMass who, after years of study, says that they are actually commenting on the previous winter.   I find the subject fascinating.

Having been watching nature and the weather for most of my life, I can make a few educated guesses.  I do believe that where I live, Western New York, is going to see a colder, snowier winter this year.  These are my observations:

Moss.  When I was a little girl, my mother told me that if the moss grew thick, that it would be a hard winter.  Earlier in the summer, I was hiking in the woods, and sat under a tree to rest a while.  The moss growing there was so thick and lush, it was like a pillow.  Everywhere I went this summer, I was struck by the lushness of the ground cover.

Another thing was the amazing amount of acorns everywhere.  Sitting in my tree stand a few weeks ago, listening to them drop, it was like listening to rain.  It’s almost like Mother Nature is providing for the deer and squirrels and turkeys before she gets really tough with all of them.  A single oak tree can feed dozens of animals.

It’s been too warm for the geese to move, but that’s another sign … if the migration starts early.  But since it’s been so warm, you won’t see geese moving until this week or probably next week, when the skies will be filled (I have to say that it’s one of my favorite things to see, geese moving across the sky).

I haven’t yet harvested a deer, but my friend has, and he told me that the doe he brought down was heavy with fat.  I have been hunting for many years and I can tell you that when the deer are carry an extra layer of fat, it will be a cold, hard winter.  Maybe we’ll even have a blizzard!  We haven’t had a good blizzard in years.

Another thing are spiders and bees.  If you see lots of spiders or spider activity (webs and web-making), then there will be a harsh winter.  Also, if you kill a spider, it will rain.  Heavy bee activity in the fall also foretells a harsh winter, because bees are trying to get all the pollen they can before they are unable to do anything at all.

I know people who will laugh at all this, and say that these signs are “old wives tales” or just plain silliness.  But one person’s silliness is another one’s wisdom.  So who knows?  Only time will tell.  Come January, when the snow is flying, I’ll be here … to say, “told ya so”.

 

References

http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-winter-weather-woolly-bear-caterpillars

http://epawablogs.com/the-true-winter-prognosticator-nature/

The Neon Pagan

January, 2014

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” It’s that time of year. The white stuff, aka snow, is forecast, falling, changing to a wintry mix, cancelling school, snarling traffic, causing roofs to collapse, and putting shovel-wielding workers at risk of heart attack. The white stuff is also pulling children out of doors to exercise, giving harried teachers a day off, blanketing everything in an eye-popping mantle of glistening crystal, and providing much-needed slow-release moisture for plants and aquifers.

Love it or hate it, snow is going to fall. We can plan for it, but we can’t stop or alter the inexorable accumulation.  Snow is a fact of life in many temperate zones and in most of the arctic. Pardon the cliché, but it is what it is.

Personally, I love it.

I must admit that I have never lived in a place like Buffalo, where the stuff starts with the first cold breeze and never lets up until late spring. But I have lived in Detroit, where it snows almost every day in the wintertime, and New Jersey, where it’s either rain or blizzard conditions with very little in between.

At least temporarily, snow brings a welcome halt to the constant low-level din of the metropolitan area where I live. Planes stop flying, the roads become deserted, and the snow itself acts as a noise buffer, even for footsteps and barking dogs. A really snowy morning is the closest to peaceful that metropolitan residents can find. (It’s also a painful reminder of the racket that is city life, which begins again with snow blowers the minute the flakes cease to fall.)

Snow tends to magnify our basic personality traits. Grumpy people have something to grouse about, and lively people pull out the sleds or the ice skates. Quiet, bookish people have the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket with something to read. Romantics take strolls, hand-in-hand, alternately admiring the scenery and each other. A snowy day becomes a good barometer of your basic take on life, and – for you youngsters who haven’t yet chosen a partner – a chance to take stock of how the significant other handles extreme weather.

From a Pagan perspective, snowfall is an essential component of Nature and should be embraced as such. Nothing causes a summer drought quicker than a winter devoid of snow. The way it melts into the ground nourishes our plant life even better than rain. More than that, it is one aspect of The Wheel – without the hardship of winter, do we really appreciate the spring?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I live in Florida, and I appreciate spring. I don’t need snowstorms in my Wheel.” The truth is that we don’t have to be knee-deep in snow to know that it’s snowing somewhere. We imagine ourselves dealing with the weather in other places, feeling a sort of “internal snow” even as the oranges and strawberries ripen in their fields.

Give me snow, and lots of it. The beauty and the environmental benefits outweigh the inconvenience. If you ask me how I would feel about a life-threatening automobile accident due to the elements, I’ll just say … Hey. It’s snowing out there! Whatever I needed to do today is canceled. Pass the canned soup! Where’s my book?