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Crone’s Corner

June 1st, 2019

We
are All Pollinators

Every
few years I retreat for reasons all my own, in order to take
inventory, if you will, of my progression, my journey, and my life.
It is never an easy time for me; it usually precedes autumn, as I
begin to feel the decay of the annual plants, as the leaves are
touched by subtle shades of reds and yellows before ultimately
falling to the ground in this beautiful New England scenery.
Reminiscent of my own spiritual death and rebirth, I take this
emotional and mental inventory. It doesn’t happen every year, not
any more; now it happens when things become balanced and stagnation
begins to set in. Am I surrounding myself with challenging
intellect, am I here for a reason that is worthy, was I spared the
finality of the cancer for something more than all of this, what is
it, really, that I must do here?

I
have changed my pace a little, spring is budding forth with so many
opportunities, so many beautiful and blossoming ideas, and as I chase
away the dark period, this time around, it brings me to thinking
about going out on this limb of understanding and having my day of
reckoning. You see, a number of years ago I had an illness that the
majority of women who are diagnosed with die in relatively short
order. Yet, here I sit, defying all medical odds, healthy as the
proverbial horse. I don’t ask “Why” in the face of my Matron,
instead, I ask “What shall I do now, Mother?” and I await Her
responses, which tend to come in ominous signs and morbid symbolic
gestures. This time, it was ultimately revealed that Mother Nature’s
hand is in all things. Then the word came…it was just two
words…Pollinator and Blossom! And there I went, off on a tangent
of thinking of the similarities of the pollinators of the world and
the role of the blossoms. Then came the big reveal!!!! We are ALL
pollinators and we all experience the blossoms in our own way. While
it doesn’t matter which kind of pollinators we are, we each have a
value in this community, and we must allow the blossoms to open up
fully to be appreciated by all, for the greater good.

We
go from place to place, shedding light, asking painful questions,
allowing others to see themselves truly, for perhaps the first time
in their lives, taking a harsh look at our own agendas. We are some
times here for a season, and sometimes for a lifetime, but ALWAYS and
in all ways for a reason. Pollinators. There are hummingbirds,
playful and lively, flitting from blossom to blossom, extracting
nectar and seeming to stand still in mid-flight. The hummingbirds
are shy creatures who would rather not be touched, seemingly arriving
out of thin air and, in an instant, they are gone. The defense
mechanism of a hummingbird is its swift flight, away from danger and
on to the next blossom. Then there are wasps, extracting pollen,
buzzing gracefully from bloom to bloom in swift, yet languid flight.
The wasp will defend its position with a mighty sting without
warning. Both of these beings are quite valuable in the life of the
blossom; allowing for growth, seeking the sweetness within and
extracting from it the purest essence.

If
I liken this simile to my own experiences, I have come to know many
hummingbirds. Seemingly elusive, never letting any one very close
for very long, flitting about pollinating blossoms with a quiet
reassurance and moving along to the next. They seemingly stand still
as they extract the sweetness of life, yet their wings are working
overtime to keep them moving along on their journey. I have also
come to know many wasps, flying around with graceful fluidity and
self assurance, extracting the sweetness of life with an
ever-vigilant eye toward any predators, waiting and ready to stink in
defense of their territory. Two very different creatures, yet
pollinators, the symbiotic relationship between the pollinator and
the blossom is a wonder! We need them all, the blossoms, the
hummingbirds and the wasps. They all have value.

I
know a few hummingbirds; some of them are friends and acquaintances.
I know a few wasps; some of them are friends and acquaintances. We
are all pollinators. I am a pollinator too; but the most important
thing of all is to recognize that we all have value.

***

About
the Author:

Shirley
Lenhard
has
been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New
England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal
field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of
South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life
by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook
group “Pagan
Plannertarium
” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans
to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers
and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and
The Peace Paper.

We
Are ALL Right

I was sitting around a bonfire one Saturday night in early spring, pondering what will happen to me when I die – exactly. I brought out my flute, stared into the fire and I began to play. I played until I went somewhere else and was totally immersed in thinking about my Spirituality. Suddenly, I got this feeling of utter and complete weightlessness and I tell you honestly, for the first time in my entire life, I had a feeling of not only acceptance but genuine understanding. Here is the culmination of what I am now calling my “vision quest.”

I was playing a song on my flute that I call “The Whales Tune” because it was the first thing that I played on my cedar flute when I was in Alaska a few years ago watching hump back whales diving deep into frigid waters, flukes high in the air dripping wet. They were so peaceful and unaware of who I was or that I was even there acting as a voyeur in their world. The bonfire was high and bright and intensely hot, yet the air around me was filled with the chill of the early spring night, the warm chill of the spring night as opposed to the cool chill of the later summer night. There was the promise of warmth in the air as I allowed my mind to wander off.

I was in a deep, thick ancient wood, walking with bare feet on a thick carpet of leaves and moss. Every now and then I could hear the faint call of a cardinal in the woods, calling to me, beckoning me to come deeper into the woods. I stepped lightly and quickly as I made my way through the thick canopy up a small incline. Here the trees opened up in a circle and the sunlight brilliantly shined down in the center of the circle where the greenest grass I’ve ever seen was growing. There were small vivid yellow buttercups peeking up through the blades of grass nestled among clover and pink clover flowers. I entered the clearing and lay myself prone on the ground. My hands were turned earthward and my face turned skyward. The warmth of the sun was beaming down on my face and warming my body. I lifted my hair out from under my neck and nestled into the Mother for a time of quiet solitude. I left my mind to its wandering as I heard the cardinal calling closer and closer and then suddenly further away…so distant I could scarcely hear his call any longer yet I strained my ears to hear more…when the thought suddenly struck me…

What if we are ALL right?

I continued to lay in that circle of light as the sun warmed my thoughts and I went a bit deeper into myself and into the woods. I wondered if we are ALL right in our beliefs. I wondered if the Divine Light, of which we are all a part, has allowed us to each worship Deity in our own way. I wondered if instead of fighting with one another over semantics or over what we each deem is right or wrong in a Spiritual Path that we simply respected one another and learn from each other the varying paths open to us for us to reach and return to the Divine Light. I saw in my mind’s eye Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Taoists, Pagans and every other Spiritual Path communing. I saw us all acknowledging that which is highest and best in each other and learning acceptance and tolerance. I envisioned acceptance among all people that each path is different in the journey and that the sights along the way are divergent. I was filled with the certainty that each path still leads inexplicably to the same Divinity in the end. I was heartened by the discovery that loving one another in spite of the path, because of the journey, and with open hearts is core of my existence.

I continued to lie in the clearing and absorb that which is good and true in all of the varying paths that I noticed opening up around the circle in which I was laying prone. I heard drums in the forest, I heard chanting in an unknown language in the forest, and I heard the call of the animals in the forest. I heard many divergent paths opening before me, crossing over one another, overlapping, merging, becoming one and uniting toward one great destination. When I truly opened my heart to all that was surrounding me I realized then that we are ALL right. Each of us is right in the paths that we have chosen for our own Spiritual enlightenment, we are ALL right. We are all striving toward the ends of our own roads and along the way, our pathways cross with those of the people in our lives. My path is made smoother by the journey you have already traveled and in the words and experiences that you share with me. Your path is made smoother by the journey that I have already traveled and in the words and experiences that I share with you. We are both right.

When I realized this fully, when I saw the paths opening up in the circle around me, I stood from my quiet contemplation and I called out to the cardinal. I heard his call in the forest ahead of me, not to the path behind me, which I had already traveled. I knew then, as I know now, that I cannot travel back through that path as I have already been there. I have now laid my head on the grass here in the clearing and I have lain prone for the sun to warm my heart in a different way. I must now follow a different path. I stood in that clearing and turned around to gaze upon all of the open pathways. I stepped my foot into the dark and unknown path ahead of me and I took my first step knowing that in my heart I would take the warmth of the sun from the clearing with me and I would be taking the knowledge that you have all shared along the path into that unknown path that lay before me.

I realized as I walked onto the unknown path that a certain coolness approached and surrounded me. An aching had come to my back and legs when I realized that I was sitting before very weak embers in what had previously been a raging bonfire. I heard the song lilting from my flute and I felt the ache of my folded legs. I felt the song in my heart and the warmth of the sun in my heart.

I believe in my heart that we are ALL right. And I think that this little journey that I have traveled has brought to me a clearer appreciation and respect for all paths and a desire to travel them all until the warmth from the sun in that clearing has left my soul

***

About
the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

Pagan Woman

I have often
contemplated my role as a Pagan woman and have recently begun
evaluating my life’s journey as I have evolved into each aspect of
the Divine Feminine. I continue on my Spiritual Path in search of
pure knowledge and understanding while recognizing that my journey
will travel through each aspect of the Divine Feminine in its turn
and each aspect has a lesson for my soul to embrace in order for my
Spiritual evolution to be successful. Since recognizing that I am a
Pagan, I have grown to fully know myself in this journey and I have
finally come to the realization that my role in the Pagan community
is one of deep commitment toward affecting positive change, not only
in myself, but in other members of my community as well. I am able
to define myself now as a Pagan woman without reservation and with
great pride.

At the age of 20, at
the very beginning of my Spiritual journey, I nurtured the role of
the Maiden. I set out on my path with the same sweet, pure, and
virginal characteristics of the Maiden ingrained in my heart. I
pondered this aspect for a time and I began to revel in the knowing
that the Maiden is not only a physical manifestation in my life.
Instead, I realized the duality of the Maiden as She represents the
beginning of my Spiritual journey as a Pagan woman. The Maiden
embraces in me that which is innocently truthful and wonderfully
kind. The Maiden is the aspect of my journey where small seeds of
inspiration, tolerance, and respect for all paths are planted and
where those seeds await growth and nurturing in the next turn in the
road of my journey to the Mother aspect. The Maiden is virginal in
Her naïve and innocent perspective, always striving to gain
knowledge and understanding, just as I was in the infancy of my
Spiritual Path. Upon this realization, I have placed the Maiden in
perspective and I can embrace who I am in that role and how I was
able to continue to nurture the Maiden as I evolved from Maiden to
Mother and how I can reach back in my Path and touch the Maiden for
reaffirmation of the seeds that I have already sown.

In my early to
mid-thirties I began to realize that my Spiritual evolution had
somehow matured. The Maiden, still ever present, was releasing Her
hold and allowing me to gravitate to the gentle awaiting arms of the
Mother. The Mother aspect called to me and I was beginning to heed
Her call. I noticed a small shift in my perceptions as they
gravitated from pure innocence to keen awareness of the world around
me and its inhabitants. I began to embrace and welcome questions
regarding my Spirituality and I realized that sitting in quiet
contemplation lends itself to keen personal insight. The Mother,
ever nurturing and guiding, emerged in the path before me strong,
protective, and filled with inspiration and encouragement. I began
to see the seeds of inspiration, tolerance, and respect that I
planted as a Maiden come to fruition as the Mother aspect began to
emerge within my soul and tend the garden planted by the Maiden. I
realized that the presence of the Mother in my Spiritual journey has
served to guide me to a place of tolerance, respect, and acceptance
of other individuals who travel vastly divergent Spiritual traditions
than my own. Despite the differences in Spirituality, the Mother has
tempered my insolence and She has given me a new perspective on
patience and love. The Mother has shielded me from my own personal
turmoil and when I would have otherwise turned from my soul’s work
on this journey, the Mother aspect patiently guided my return to the
path that I must travel. The Mother aspect has taught me patience
and the virtues of allowing my soul to evolve in its own way along my
journey. The Mother aspect has helped me to shield the Maiden from
the harsh world around me in order to preserve the innocence of that
aspect of my soul in order that I may continue to plant seeds of
inspiration, tolerance, and respect for my continued travels in the
journey ahead of me.

Finally, I am
approaching the Crone in my Spiritual path. She awaits me, seemingly
dark and foreboding, yet with arms wide open and ready to embrace me
as I grow to recognize that which is in my highest and best good.
For the completion of my evolution, I long to fully reach the aspect
of the Crone and to come full circle in my own journey. I know that
it is in this complete turn of the wheel that I will learn the most
precious lesson of all; to nurture the Maiden, to love the Mother and
to embrace the Crone. In the Crone, I am seeking to find the wisdom
to recall the innocence of the Maiden in order that I will always
approach others with kindness and tolerance. In the Crone, I am
seeking to find the wisdom to recall the nurturing of the Mother in
order that I will always be able to defend a newcomer on their Path
against the harshness of others. In the Crone, I am seeking to find
the wisdom of experience and the temperance of that wisdom for the
greater good of all.

The culmination of
recognizing, incorporating, and embracing the Maiden, the Mother, and
the Crone aspects of the Divine Feminine into my life is my soul’s
Spiritual journey in its totality. To encompass in my life, as one
being, one soul, all three aspects of the Divine Feminine and to
recognize that at any given moment I am comprised of all three of
these aspects has been my life’s work. The beauty of being a Pagan
woman is in recognizing that I am capable of evolving from Maiden to
Mother then Crone and at any given moment, I am guided by them all.

Pagan Woman

A sliver of silver in the darkened sky,
Winter is coming, everything must die.
Then growing to fullness and lighting the way,
Hope springs eternal on the Solstice day.

Starting as Maiden, growing from Mother to Crone,
Pagan woman standing proud, strong and alone.
In a cycle of the moon She realizes Her full power,
Skyclad in Her ritual at the midnight hour.

Strong and fierce in Her love of the night,
Yet gentle and loving with all of Her might.
The role that She embraces in a circular universe,
Is a complex Path that only She can traverse.

Birthing children and tending fields,
Growing abundant crops reaping fertile yields,
She nurtures the masses then calls us home,
Pagan Woman is Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a
Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is
employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in
Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks
forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan
Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan
Plannertarium
” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans
to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers
and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and
The Peace Paper.

Meditation and Divining Incense: uses & recipes

I used to shy away from sharing my personal experiences and practices with other people, but then I asked myself, “Why do you keep everything that you love all to yourself?” That’s when I decided to open a Facebook Group called “Pagan Plannertarium” and I started sharing my love of a working book of shadows and graphics that I create to make my working book everything that I want it to be. It is a work in progress and you can follow along with me in the other article under “crafts” Working Book of Shadows in PaganPagesOrg. My group eventually morphed into what it is today, which is a “Home” of likeminded, free spirited individuals who share their own personal gnosis, their own musings, and their paths with everyone for the greater good. My heart overflows in that group and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I
love divination and mediation, which are passions for me. Finding
the time is not impossible, but does require discipline and sacrifice
at times – but so well worth it in the long run!

(Photo by truthseeker08 on Pixabay)

Settling
in, creating your sacred space, and visualizing yourself going to a
deeper more serene level to meditate can be facilitated by the
setting and the mood around you. In order to bring yourself to that
most comfortable and deepest place for complete meditation, the area
around you should be as comfortable as possible and the atmosphere
should resonate with peaceful and serene flowing energies. Likewise,
when attempting any forms of divination, your surroundings should be
as conducive to reaching outward to reign and bring in those visions
and aspects that we need for effective readings.

One
of the easiest ways to make your space ready for meditation and/or
divination is to mix an incense blend that will bring you to a place
of heightened awareness and that will effectively assist you in
opening yourself up to the channels of energies that will lend
themselves to your introspection or workings. The incense blends
that I prefer to use are whole herbs and resins which are burned over
an incense charcoal. The whole herbs and resins, once ignited, burn
for the precise period of time required to enter a deep meditative
state or to achieve the visions that come during divination.

(Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash)

Incense Recipe: I prefer dried whole herbs and resins. For meditation and divination I use a blend of equal parts Mugwort and Wormwood. Since I use these incense blends frequently, I blend them once a month on the night of the New Moon, in quantity. I use 2 cups of Mugwort and 2 cups of Wormwood, I mix them together in a bowl and place them in an air tight container until I need them. I then mix the resins Frankincense and Myrrh (in whatever amount I purchase and equalize between the two) and place them in an air tight container until I need them.

Mugwort:
A Druid Sacred Herb. Mugwort was placed in barns to protect cows
from the influence of fairies. The herb’s powers are strongest when
picked on a Full Moon. It can be used for good luck and rubbed on
ritual tools to increase power. Mugwort can be used as an incense
(mixed in equal parts with Sandalwood) to aid in strengthening
Psychic Powers (or mixed with equal parts of Wormwood) to aid in
divination and meditation. Try using it while scrying or during
divination and meditation.

Mugwort
can also be placed next to the bed to aid in achieving astral
projection.

Its
other magical uses include strength, protection, prophetic dreams,
and healing.

Keeps
one safe from dark forces and it protects children and the incense
brings protection as well. Carried, it brings loved ones safely home
from journeys.

A
tonic for the soul, it keeps us aware of our spiritual direction. A
mugwort infusion sweetened with honey will enhance divination.
Carried, it also increases lust and fertility.

For
use in Clairvoyance, Scrying, Protection, rub this herb on “Magic
Mirrors” and “Crystal balls” to strengthen their
powers. Add to scrying, clairvoyance and divination incenses. Use 3
tablespoons to 1/2 gallon spring (or rain) water to cleanse your
“Magical mirrors” crystals and stones. It is used in magic
as a love-divining herb. To experience interesting dreams that are
said to reveal one’s future, stuff a pillow with about a pound of
this herb and sleep on it.

The
Indians used a decoction of the leaves for colds, bronchitis,
rheumatism, and fever, and a poultice for wounds. The fresh juice is
used to ease the itch of poison oak. To cure a headache, stick a leaf
up your nose.

Wormwood:
A sacred herb which was very magical as well as sacred to Moon
deities. Burned on Samhain to aid evocation, divination, scrying and
prophecy. Combine with Mugwort for added effect. Thrown onto fires
on “Samhain” to gain protection from bad spirits roaming
the night.

One
of the major ingredients in “Absinthe”

Burn
in incense to raise spirits.

Wormwood,
when added to herbal incense, is an aid in opening the psychic
centers. When these centers are open and receptive, we may better
communicate with those who have “passed over”. It has been
written that wormwood and sandlewood (an herb of purification and
high spiritual energy) burned together near a grave-site
will summon the spirit of the departed.

Wormwood
is a banishing herb, used to rid a person or an area of anger and
negativity.

Meditation:
After turning the ringer off of the phone and ensuring complete
solitude, I retreat to my sacred space and light the incense charcoal
(not the BBQ variety, which is toxic if burned inside) and allow it
to reach its red glow. I prepare the Mugwort and Wormwood
combination in a small bowl and I add about a teaspoon of the resin
blend into the bowl, mix it up and place about a tablespoon of the
mixture onto the burning charcoal, I allow it to smolder and burn
about half way out when I add the second scoop onto the charcoal.

Then,
I call on the Spirits of the East and its components of air,
communication, and inspiration to lend energies to meditations. I
settle myself into a comfortable position conducive to meditation and
I ground my spirit and center my self before beginning the
meditation. If the meditation that I am planning requires music, I
ensure that I have placed a CD on a loop so that the immediate end of
the music does not disrupt the flow. Often I discover that the music
is replaced by the sounds of the newly heightened awareness achieved
through meditation in any event. And so the deepening meditative
state ensues.

The divination: I follow the same routine for divination as I do for meditation; however, I tend to replenish the incense on the charcoal throughout the divining session. If I am scrying, I do not want to interrupt the flow, and I tend to follow precisely the same steps as described in the meditation portion. If I am reading Tarot, then I am continuously replenishing the supply on the charcoal, as it aids in receiving and deciphering the messages and pictures for this form of divination.

***

About
the Author:

Shirley
Lenhard
has
been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New
England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal
field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of
South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life
by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook
group “Pagan
Plannertarium
” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans
to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers
and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and
The Peace Paper.

At this time of year with Earth Day having just passed, and Beltane being here our thoughts turn to our gardens and the Earth Mother.  In that spirit I would like to share this with all of you.

The Great Sunflower project is an organization that I first heard about and began following 3 years ago.  Due to the colony collapse of the honey bee, and the resulting damage to crops from the loss of pollinators, this is a project that’s not only fun it serves an awesome purpose.

For 2011 they have started the “Add a yard to your yard” campaign.  The way it works is you set aside a 36″x36″  section to make a pollinator garden.  It has to be a sunny spot with a water source nearby.  They state that you should use Lemon Queen sunflowers and the other plants they recommend by name are California Poppies, Tropical Sunset Echinacea, Bee Balm, Cosmos, Cornflowers, and White Borage.  They also used carrots and radishes that they let go to seed.  Group similar plants together because pollinators are attracted to clusters.

In my past attempts to attract pollinators I have found that the boxes of wildflower mix that you pick up for a couple of bucks work really well, especially hummingbird and butterfly blends.  Butterflies will congregate around pie pans , or other shallow containers, with sand and a little water in the bottom to drink from.  I have also had great results with petunia’s and morning glories.

This is a project that can’t go wrong.  The end result is beautification and a closer relationship with the earth and thats never a bad thing.  For more info check out their web site greatsunflower.org, they have links to sites for seeds, native pollinators, etc.  I have been a big fan of these guys for a while now and I hope that now they will pick up a few more!!  Have a blessed Beltane!!!!!

she moves with care now,
her limbs aching with each step
eyes shining in the darkness.
now, she is old, old as time,
beckoned by the gods,
needed by so many.
they call upon her now
to birth their babes,
lay out their dead.
a-night, they leave her solitary
in her home, wary of angering
this old, old soul
who has such knowledge in her
that it carves upon her face
deep and careless lines.
for pain, they need her,
fearful of its claws
they beg for aid
and always and anon she answers
she is all three, maiden, mother,
and, now, as aged as the Goddess
that she smiles upon in the night.
she is the centre,
the hub of things.
her travels now are done,
and yet she stays,
carven, almost, in stone,
serene in knowing
all is well.
she is Crone.
Copyright 2007 by Sama

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