Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

January, 2019

January 2019 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings, and Happy 2019!

I trust everybody else besides me is regretting the massive amounts of treats had around December Holiday celebrations, and is pledging to eat less, slim down, and really hit the gym. And I am over here letting my newly made pie crust chill so I can bake another pumpkin pie! No regrets at Casa Pashovich for this Witch!

It is two days after Solstice, and I am counting down the days until Holiday crowds, traffic and festivities are over, and we all have a quiet January and February.

As it’s between Sabbats, I get to pick the topic, and this one is close to my heart.


This month, I decided to write about cutting people out of our lives. To me, it goes along with a January favorite, “New Year’s Resolutions”. Why not resolve to clear all unnecessary things, including people, out of your life?

It’s not a happy thought, is it? It makes us feel we are losing people when we cut them out of our lives. We become afraid we are going to be alone, and worry that we are not devoted in our relationships. We feel guilt, because we don’t want to be the ones who are “dumped”, and we don’t want to hurt anybody else!

We’ve all been there. We have this relationship we have invested a lot of years, good times, and effort into, and the day comes this person says or does something, and it’s time for them to go. Maybe it was a long time coming. Maybe they did something after years of friendship that shocked you, and the trust is now gone. Maybe they didn’t actually do anything wrong, you just don’t like them anymore. Maybe it’s not even them. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you don’t have dedication to a perfectly decent relationship. The fact is, for one reason or another- THEY NEED TO GO. Like yesterday.

Why Not?????

Lots of reasons are given as to not do so, even when you feel you have made up your mind to terminate a relationship.

The first thing that often happens is other people want to get involved. They think you need their opinions or advice. They go into great detail about how wrong you are for ending a relationship, and they implore you with their emotional appeals not to.

Sometimes, they cite the amount of time you have had said relationship, and fully expect you and said friend or loved one to continue your relationship for old time’s sake.

Often a reason given to maintain the relationship is the KIND of relationship it is. Some people don’t believe in divorce, under any circumstances, for example. Some feel nobody ought to break off relationships with family members. Some feel no friendship should ever be ended.

My favorite is the people who preach about forgiveness. I have a lot to say about why forgiveness is not always necessary, but still. Let’s say you ALWAYS forgive. That still does not mean you have to have them in your life even after you forgive them.

We are often reminded not to make hasty decisions based on whether we are upset or not. I agree with this. All loved ones have disagreements, and sometimes even fights, and those are not necessary reasons to end a relationship. However, sometimes, they are, and when that happens…

They HAVE to go!

There are times when reconciliation or moving on from something just isn’t happening. Some of the reasons include:

  1. The relationship is toxic. I know that sounds stereotypical, but there are just some people whose behaviors destroy our well-being. Maybe they are a bad influence, or they take advantage of you for things like rides or money. Whatever is going on, this relationship is taking its toll on you, and it might be downright abusive. Relationships are supposed to make us happier, and improve our lives, not the opposite.
  2. They only come around when they want something. However, if you want to hang out, or need something in return? Forget it. Bah, who needs people like that? That is not a relationship. It’s called being used.
  3. You don’t enjoy each other’s company anymore- or you outright fight all the time, and either of you will change so you get along better. There is no point maintaining a relationship with somebody you cannot get along with.
  4. You are not getting what you want or need from a relationship. Period.
  5. One, or both of you has stopped caring about the other. Nothing feels worse than a loveless relationship. Actual love is not something you “fall out of”. If you genuinely don’t love them or they don’t love you, it’s time to say goodbye.
  6. One, or both of you have changed, and the other hasn’t, and you no longer relate to one another. People really do grow apart. That’s not a dramatic lie. It happens.
  7. One, or both of you wants out. The reasons don’t matter. Nobody is required to stay in a relationship they no longer want to.
  8. You don’t fit into one another’s lives at all. Maybe there was a time when you did, but those days are long gone, and you can’t even have a decent conversation together anymore.
  9. Something really hurtful was said or done, and you do not trust your loved one anymore. The bad part about this, it is something can happen many years down the road, and completely destroy what had previously been a meaningful relationship. Every long-term relationship has bad moments, and fights followed by reconciliation occur. But there are friend fights, and then there are deal breakers. Deal breakers signal the end of the relationship.
  10. You only maintained a relationship for somebody else’s sake, and for one reason or another, you don’t have to anymore! They were probably just keeping up appearances too, and they won’t miss you anymore than you’ll miss them!

There are so many reasons to let go of a relationship, I can’t even list them all here. Whole it can be heartbreaking, and scary to part ways, it can be the best thing you and your loved one do for one another. We are not always meant to be in one another’s lives forever, and sometimes, we let go, and move forward with our lives without one another. That’s okay.

With A Little Help From My Friends

I could talk about my own experiences, but I would rather share what some of my friends have had to say.

Cliff said, “On cutting people out of your life I practice two forms, one is a temporary separation and the other is absolute. I practice the temporary “cut” because I believe that you should not hold the person to the same standard of their previous transgressions and allow them the opportunity to become a decent human being. That particular type of break is reserved for people I truly love but who have become toxic. The second type is more generally used by myself as I have a low tolerance for abuse, manipulation, or whatever you call the action that caused the need for the separation. Remember you are not obligated to keep putting up with mistreatment no matter if it is your mother, father, lover, whatever. We all have to draw the line somewhere because in time we will find people to fill those gaps and they often times are already in your life. Cutting people out is a healthy habit to take up even though it may create a temporary void but ultimately you will heal and move forward.”

My friend Brynden wrote “I had a best friend in middle school who was gay and we used to ride the same bus. We we’re so close… We did everything together. I even remember going to DC with him on our class trip and we wanted to be in the same room together, just the two of us. I cut him off because he accused me of stealing his iPod. We had the exact same iPod, same color and everything. And he accused me of stealing it and I knew who did it. I tried to explain to him what happened and he didn’t want to listen. I tried to fix that friendship many times but he didn’t want to listen so I dropped him like a bad habit. This was in 8th grade so like 2007-08ish.”

Another friend, called Wren, cut her whole sports team she was in out of her life. She writes, “They were my biggest supporters of me through my hiring process (as a police officer ) and then the pride 4 incident happened at the (Columbus, Ohio) Pride Parade in 2017. I had someone ask me how I felt and I answered honestly l, that while I agreed with their cause, they were breaking the law and so their arrest was a good arrest. And that was the end. People stopped talking to me or posted anti police sentiments on Facebook and at the end of the day I didn’t need to be seeing all that stuff so I just unfollowed/Unfriended a whole bunch of them. “

One friend, Marianne wrote about it from two different perspectives. I will say I know both she and her husband- and I can’t imagine somebody disapproving of him! She said , “Cutting someone out of our lives or being cut out is never something you expect to happen, however when it happens to you it is a slap in the face. I chose a partner my parents do not like and they choose to cut me out of their life due to my decisions. I have gone through the 5 stages of grief. I was in denial that my own flesh and blood would just disown me for my choice of spouse. I was angry with them that they would make me choose between my spouse or family. I tried barraging with them to not make me choose, to get to know my spouse. I went into a really deep depression, had to seek counseling, and now have accepted that this isn’t on me. I been without parts of my family for over 10 years now. Their loss. Now I have the other side of it where I have had to cut people out of my life. I used to work with a woman who just couldn’t get her life together. Dated wrong men, drank, did drugs and tried to kill herself. I took care of her multiple times, rescued her from bad situations in the middle of the night, cleaned her up, and finally I told her I couldn’t do it anymore. She would not do anything to help herself. I changed my number and she got fired from her job. Sad how we do all we can for people but sometimes we HAVE to cut them out of our life.”

My friend, Kristi said “ So, cutting people out has been and is a struggle for me. The hardest truth to realize is that people don’t always grow with you. Everyone is growing and making their own path. They could have been a best friend when you were younger, but now they are toxic to your happiness. This doesn’t necessarily make them an awful person or the scum of the earth, they just aren’t what you need currently in your life. My example is of my Uncle John. Growing up, I was sheltered from the strained relationship between my mom and her siblings. My two uncles are twins, but otherwise there is no blood relation there as my grandparents adopted my mom, my aunt, and my uncles. The adoption thing definitely adds a unique dynamic to the strain. Either way, my uncles were the coolest people in my mind while I was growing up. As I got older I started to pick up on some of the Dynamics going on between the siblings. This started to change my opinion of my uncle John in particular. When my mom was alive, she kinda kept the peace, but once she died it became full on war between the siblings and my dad, me, my ex husband, and my cousins. Mostly my uncles against everyone else. John was and is manipulative. I remember when he was forced into the role of being the primary caregiver for my grandparents (my mom had done this when she was alive), he wouldn’t really ask for help…he would manipulate people to help him. The one incident that stands out vividly is I was off and going to a doctor’s appointment. John was blowing up my phone and when I was done I called him back. I didn’t tell him I was at the doctor, I just said I was sleeping. He then was demanding that I have my phone on at all times in case he needed more or to buy a phone just for him to contact me. He then was trying to guilt me about how my grandparents paid for my school and how ungrateful I was. I was in tears. I hung up on him. That’s just a taste of some of the crap he has pulled. He stopped doing it toward me when he realized I wasn’t going to take his crap. At the end of my grandma’s life, he was very controlling about who could see my grandparents and when. We pretty much stopped celebrating holidays as a family at this point. When my grandma started actively dying he let us in more, but he was just a real POS about it all. Now that my grandma is gone, I feel more comfortable with my decision to cut him out of my life at this point. We had a group text where we say happy holidays and such, but I have no plans of seeing him anytime soon. I do know, though, that he is getting older and he has no family of his own and I am going to be stuck with his care, which I know I don’t have to take on, but I probably will only because I don’t think anyone should be alone when they are done and can’t do for themselves, but until then he is just too toxic to have in my life. I think cutting ties with family is the hardest thing. People always say blood matters more than anything, so when you do have truly toxic family members, it’s hard to just cut ties. Although I have no experience with cutting ties with a loved one that is addicted to drugs, I do know that situation is hard too. Especially knowing the type of person they were when they were healthy. You may want to look into that type of cutting out too. Sometimes the best thing for an addict is to just be cut off, but sometimes people just can’t. “

My friend, Irisa said, “The mother – daughter relationship is the most iconic relationship portrayed in literature. The depth and complexity portrayed for us on screen or between the pages is nothing compared to the actual relationship. I have never had a good relationship with my mother. The relationship that should be the source of love, nurturing and support has been the one causing anxiety, depression and panic. Decades of struggle with this relationship led me thru a lot of therapy and self-analysis. However, my greatest ah-ha moment came from an older co-worker. She was a vibrant dynamic woman that I had known for many years. One day she found me crying as I had just had another fight with my mom. After unloading my pain and frustration she looked me in the eye and told me this was a toxic relationship and that the key with a toxic relationship is to acknowledge what they are and walk away. She further went on to tell me that she had a grown son and that they did not like each other. They were toxic for each other and used to fight until they came to the agreement that they did not need to be a part of each other’s lives. They came to a point of respect for their relationship and spoke on birthdays and holidays, but that was it. They each ran their own lives. This moment was profound for me. It gave me permission to acknowledge that this was a toxic relationship and that it was okay for me to walk away. I had never been told that it was okay to not like my mother and the way she treated me. Quite the opposite. I had been told how ungrateful I was for not accepting the love given. The lesson of accepting love given, whether or not it felt right, set the stage for me to be abused many times over. I lived in a toxic relationship with my parents for 25 years. I allowed myself to be constantly criticized, shamed and abused. This example of accepting this as love led to me marrying a narcissistic man for 15 years. Once I had the courage to break away from my mom I was saddened that I had no family but relieved that I did not have to deal with the pain of constantly being told I wasn’t good enough by my mother. Unfortunately, this just tightened the negative dependence on loving a narcissist who told me I wasn’t good enough in other ways. Leaving a toxic relationship is difficult. Sometimes we have to blow up our lives and start over to do it. It took years of trying to leave my mother and then my husband before I was successful. But it wasn’t without consequences. My mother came back into my life after a ten year break as my father was diagnosed with cancer. I got a dying man’s wish to reconcile. Guilt propelled me to reconcile and hope. Hope that I would be good enough to love because the little girl in me was still looking for that love. Guilt because I was so harshly judged by everyone that I knew for abandoning my family. Judged because I didn’t do what all kids do and tolerate their parents. This reconciliation was almost a decade ago and I deeply regret it. I have drawn strong boundaries and live 10 hours away from my mother. Basically, the relationship that I have with her is one I have with FaceBook. If I would put it on a public forum like FaceBook, fine she can know that. Otherwise, my life is none of her business. Leaving my ex-husband was worse. It took a period of ten years to work up the courage to walk away and not feel responsible for his “I won’t live without you” comments. The result was me being trash talked to everyone I ever knew, my employers, and death threats from once mutual friends if he killed himself. My reputation in the community has been destroyed and my safety compromised. Due to these individuals my views of love, friendship and trust are deeply colored. I suffer from PTSD and anxiety and have deep confidence and abandonment issues. On the positive side the relationships that I do choose to participate in must be healthy. There must be a large amount of communication, time exchange must be equal; not one sided. As for my children, they know they are loved. I go out of my way to foster communication, love and friendship. And I pray each day my struggles do not harm those that I love. I pray each day that the love I have and give outweighs the pain and insecurity that I carry. “

So How Do You Cut Somebody Out of Your Life Anyways?

You can always do some spellwork to help you along the way, but 99% of the work at ending whatever relationship this is has to be done on the mundane level. After I list some mundane steps to take, I will include a short, simple spell that can help you begin the process.

The steps taken to do so don’t necessarily have to fall into the order I am putting them in, and each person has to do this in a way that is best for them. I also can’t include everything and will probably think of more things after I turn this article in! Much of this list is just things to tell yourself to get your mind and focus right. The actual cutting off of a relationship is often the fastest part of the process, and may not even entail a formal goodbye.

  1. Make the decision to do this for yourself. This is not for your significant other, your kids, your family, your friends, or anybody else. If you cut somebody out of your life for the benefit of somebody else, other people will be able to talk you into taking said individual back for their benefit. No. This is for you.
  2. Tell yourself that you matter. Many times, people who mistreat us have successfully convinced us that we have to be selfless and put ourselves last, or we are somehow bad people. While we don’t want to be self-centered, greedy people, refusing to be in relationships that are not working for us does not make us wrong. You matter.
  3. Don’t let the fact you love somebody dictate your life. You can love somebody, but if they try to cut your throat in your sleep, I am sorry-not sorry, but that relationship needs to go. You can love somebody and not be involved with them.
  4. Depending on things, you may deem it wise to just disappear from their lives. There doesn’t always have to be a “heart to heart talk” or “goodbye”. Most especially if they have been able to manipulate you in the past into staying with promises things will be better, or they will change. Also, your safety needs to be taken into account. I once moved out when somebody who was toxic to me was not home to avoid a showdown. If somebody is not being good to you, no, you do NOT owe them a “respectful explanation” if it means bad things for you.
  5. Do not let anybody tell you that you have to forgive and forget and go on like nothing changed. Nobody else has the right to dictate this to you. If you do forgive, that is your right, but you don’t have to keep them in your life because of it.
  6. If you live together, they keep their things, and you keep yours, and you are allowed to leave behind gifts or things they gave you, but don’t waste your time demanding back things you gave them. In the event of divorce, it all gets written up who gets what, including money, and both parties sign legal documentation. There is no reason to be nasty or spiteful and throw their things to the curb our out a window like in the movies, but sometimes, people cannot be civil, and you need a third party to help with the move. Some of us don’t like dragging people into our business, but there are times when it is necessary for safety or to have a witness. If you need to involve the police, don’t be afraid to do so.
  7. Once you make up your mind to break off your relationship, then you need to decide what method of doing so is best. I know it is tacky to do a phone call or text, but honestly, some people go ballistic, and if you cannot emotionally deal with that, get your belongings out first, make sure there is nothing else left to exchange, and just leave a message if needs be. I know it is not PC to do so, but some people leave us no choice.
  8. Do not worry about what people will say. Hey can think or say whatever they want to. Most especially if this is a long-term relationship, somebody might just take sides, and respond by cutting you out. Good riddance to them, I say. We can only hope they don’t let the door hit them on the way out. People who try to punish you for not keeping people in your life who are not good for you are not your friends. You do not need them.
  9. Allow yourself adjustment time after the relationship is over. Most especially if you spent a lot of time with your loved one, it is going to really hurt. Some people will NOT be missed, and you will feel a huge sense of relief when they are gone from your life. But despite that, a hole may remain where they were, and you need to be aware of that so as not to fill that vacancy with somebody equally as bad for you as this person you just cut out. You have to be patient and forgiving of yourself if you mourn the loss of somebody who just was not worth it. Feel the way you feel, and deal with it in the way that works for you.
  10. If, in the future things change, and you decide you want to give your relationship another chance, that is okay, but then again, you don’t have to. You may want to, but decide it is just not worth it. That is okay. You may decide to try again, and be pleasantly surprised when things work out. I do not recommend trying again with somebody who was abusive. While it is your right, I do not recommend taking a chance that could put you back in a bad situation,
  11. When in doubt, consult your gods and guides. Some guides are human, and are people you can turn to for advice and wisdom. Sometimes, all we need to do is to reach out to the divine within us, and all the answers are there. Other times, we are too upset and close to the situation, and it takes another set of eyes and another voice to help us to see just what we need to do.

Beyond the mundane, we can still use magic to help us. I have a few suggested “breakup” workings!

Simple “Breakup “ Spells

There are multiple things you can do. I recommend a few different things.

  1. Forget Him/Forget Her- You can get oil or candles to use. I was once absolutely heartbroken over a man, and the shopkeeper/Priest sold me “Forget Him” oil. I am telling you, I used a dab of that on my neck every day, and looked at myself in the mirror every day as I did it, and told myself all the reasons this man was NOT worth crying over, and I needed to just forget him. I think I used that for a couple of weeks, and one day, I woke up, and I had absolutely no feelings for him whatsoever anymore. If your local shop does not carry this, do an online search and have some shipped in. Best few dollars I spent on such a working yet!
  2. What I always do when I KNOW things are 100% done, over, and through? I get rid of every last item they gave me, or that has any of them attached to it at all. This has meant getting rid of things I really liked, but it is one way to get ALL of them out of your life. Think of all the energy that goes into items attached to them. THAT is part of them. If you really want them out of your life, every last item you can bear to part with has got to go. I even delete photos online. Yes, I do. Holding onto those things is holding on to them, and if I am done, all items have to go. There may come a time when you cannot part with every last thing, however. Say you bought a house together, you get custody of the children, and you are flat out NOT going to give up your home. What you can do is cleanse, and consecrate the item, banishing their energies. In a case like this, a lot of people , even non-magical folk will completely redecorate. Removing every trace of somebody is helpful of getting them out of your life. Things like engagement jewelry or wedding rings need to be sold or given away. As both a friend and I discovered, wedding or engagement jewelry holds the hopes and string feelings from a relationship, and the second we parted with them, we immediately felt a great weight lifted! I hear about men demanding diamond engagement rings back from women who change their minds and call off the engagement, and sometimes the woman holds on to the ring. If you want a diamond that badly, buy one that you like for yourself and that represents nothing else. The more negative things like spite go into a ring, the more it hurts you to hold onto it.
  3. Photographs can be altered. My mother, a talented witch who never even knew she was one- had a great practice. She would cut people out of pictures with her. She did not want one visual reminder of them. It works. I go a step farther, as seeing the butchered photos reminds me of who USED to be in the pictures. I just throw out pictures, and remove all online pictures as well.
  4. Separate poppets- Ye Olde Poppet spellwork never fails. Make a poppet of you both, and attach the two of you together. If you were best friends, sew the hands together like you are holding hands. If you want to separate from your mother, attach your poppet together with hers with an “umbilical cord.” If you are lovers, just go right ahead and attach at the crotch. Why not? Attach your poppet with their poppet in the most appropriate place. Then remove the attachment. If the friends hands are sewn together, gently remove the stitches. The point is not to HURT the other poppet by cutting it up, but to REMOVE the connection and painlessly as possible. Once you remove it, take the thing that held the poppets together, and destroy it. You can even just throw it in the trash. You can burn it and blow the ashes away. You can throw it in the river and watch it float away. Whatever place that feels best to discard that attachment, go for it. Then, take their poppet, and after saying a protection spell over it, leave it someplace away from you. You can be compassionate and leave it someplace they loved, or if you are REALLY ANGRY, leave it someplace they hated. Just anywhere but nearby your poppet. As for your poppet, it represents who you once were when you were with them. You are not that person anymore, so your poppet can be put someplace that represents your past with them. Since it is the OLD you, don’t worry about any attachment with your present or future. Just make sure not to leave the poppets near each other.

The very most important thing to keep in mind when deciding to cut somebody out of your life is that this is YOUR life, and you have the right to include only the people and things that uplift, benefit, and otherwise improve your life.

Not everybody does this. Likewise, there is going to come a day when you are not good for somebody else, and they need to cut you out.

It’s never easy, it’s never fun, and sometimes, it’s downright devastating. When every attempt has failed, and it’s time to end a relationship, remember why you loved each other enough to spend time together in the first place, and use that love to let each other go on to better times apart.

May your heart heal anytime it breaks, and may your relationships be good for as long as they are meant to be.

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.

Solstice Releases and Intentions

January, 2018

At this time of year, my inner wise one (A.K.A High Self or Dreamer) wants to slow down to the pace of cracking ice.  All I want to do as folks buzz around buying gifts is to journey to the centre of the planet where I can dream with the Earth Mother.  I want to engage in the Norse tradition of hygge and regain balance. Often, I do any Christmas preparations in November so I can have this time in December for introspection and slowing down. Ancient peoples, of course, knew that the winter solstice was a powerful time for dreaming and connecting with the inner wise one. 

In my home, we honour our ancestral Catholic roots as well as the shamanic ones. We celebrate Christmas with our Catholic relatives by feasting, spending time together and exchanging gifts.  And when that is all over, my shamanic foundation comes to the fore. I go into my inner cave to see what needs releasing from the previous year, I release it into the earth, and then I birth my Vision Board for what I want to create in the next year.

We humans are more powerful than we know.  We spend a lot of time feeling helpless, allowing ourselves to fall into victimhood.  I’ve found through experience that Carlos Castaneda, the pioneering anthropologist and dreamer said it best: “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of energy is the same.” We humans tend to stay in patterns and pack around crap that doesn’t serve our evolution for a long time. We forget–if we ever were encouraged to remember–that we can release pain, trauma, and harmful patterns right out of our energy bodies.

As I often tell kids, if you outstretch your arms and draw a 3D egg around your body that same width all the way around, that is your energy field and the only thing you have control of in your life. When I tell kids that they are in command of what comes into that space and what leaves, they look at me funny initially and then a remembering often comes upon them.  They remember that they are made of spirit and light: often, they are eager to try the simple technique of scanning their bodies and energy system, followed by pulling the energy right from where they feel it into the earth where it can be composted. The earth is good at neutralizing low vibrating energies so we don’t have to worry about hurting her.  In my experience, she is more than happy to help humans return to balance.  With more stubborn energies, I have the kids imagine they are cutting the energy from their bodies from the root or then banishing out of their energy bubbles forever.

I have already started releasing the past year through ceremony and I know that next year, my focus will be on curtailing my workaholic tendencies to bring in more pleasure-full activities that feed my spirit, body, heart, mind, and life force energy.  I’ve created new boundaries with my place of employment, with myself, my friends, and my family members to support this change. I realize that being is a state that comes from being present.  Even when my life is full, presence is possible when l take command of where I put my attention in any given moment.

Most people this time of year are getting ready to make New Year’s resolutions.  I’ve tried those and I don’t find them to be very effective.  Why?  Well, they feel more like “have tos” or “should dos” mostly based on what the external world expects of me. Usually, people don’t consult with their High Selves before they make these resolutions.  I know I didn’t before I started practicing shamanism!  I’ve found that dreaming with my inner wise one to set an intention and focus for the year is a much more powerful way to manifest what I want more of in my life. If you are tired of making resolutions to no avail, I recommend trying releases and intentions instead this year.  See if it feels any different from what you normally do this time of year. What dreams do you want to fertilize this year to make yourself stronger?  This simple Solstice Intentions Ceremony on the Rainbow Bridge Ceremonial Society’s website is excellent for anyone wanting to play with the energy of intent for 2018.

Happy solstice everyone.  I wish you all a year of putting your unique light into the world.  May your giveaways of service some back to you many times over. May you grow the self-worth to receive and then recognize these gifts from Spirit.



About the Author:



Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic practitioner, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.


Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:


The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”
“Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”
“Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”

For Amazon Information Click Image


For more information go to:

Spiralled Edges

January, 2017


It’s the time of year for making New Year’s Resolutions. Promises to one’s self that are invariably broken before the first crocuses and snow drops push up from the Earth at Imbolc.

This year, as I consider once more resolutions and people around me talk of their hopes for the coming year, I have been looking more closely at what resolution actually means and where the word comes from:

late 14c., “a breaking into parts,” from Old French resolution (14c.) or directly from Latin resolutionem (nominative resolutio) “process of reducing things into simpler forms,” from past participle stem of resolvere “loosen”. Sense of “a solving” (as of mathematical problems) first recorded 1540s, as is that of “power of holding firmly”. Sense of “decision or expression of a meeting” is from c. 1600. Meaning “effect of an optical instrument” is from 1860. New Year’s resolution in reference to a specific intention to better oneself is from at least the 1780s, and through 19c. they generally were of a pious nature.

When we think of a resolution here, we are thinking about a firm decision or a personal promise. Far from being the trivial thing that resolutions have become, a resolution was originally a solemn vow, made between one’s self and possibly one’s Deity.

Perhaps this explains why I have such trouble with making a New Year’s Resolution, and steer clear of the whole idea. An oath between a person and their Deity is not a trivial matter to be forgotten before the wheel has turned even a quarter of the way round the world.

Simply put, when I go to sit with my Gods in the coming year, I do not want to have to explain to them why I made promises to Them that I wasn’t willing or able to keep.

I have time yet to consider what vows I might make for 2017. As I write this today the New Year is still over a week away. It won’t be a trivial matter for me as I welcome in the New Year.

I shall think long and hard on what oaths I would swear to my Gods. What promises I might make in this coming year. And I will make sure that they are promises that I can keep.


June, 2015

Mid-Year Resolutions!

December 31st marks the last day of any calendar year and we bring all the accumulated lessons, joys and sorrows of that year with us as we cross the threshold into a new beginning- the first day of a new year. For many, this self-initiated new start is welcomed by the making of carefully and thoughtfully chosen “resolutions”. And, just as many, often find that by the end of that cyclic year, those resolutions have fallen by the wayside, replaced by regrets or excuses for not having accomplished what we had set out to. What I would like to offer is a new way of looking at this yearly ritual. In fact, we can get the process off to a good start by thinking and approaching it more as a ritual, complete with inspired intent and focused will that may serve to enhance the determination needed to sustain you throughout the entire year.

I would like to propose a mid-year space of resolution. We are fast approaching June 1st and can easily use this as the mid-year refresher and space of re-intention. So, let’s first think about what expectations may arise as we claim the mid-year. By way of example, when we enter into ritual space, we have certain expectations. The first of these expectations is that we are entering into a sacred act or agreement, if you will. We expect that our declarations and devotions in ritual will be supported by Deity and we rarely, if ever entertain the idea of failure as an option. We pour all of our intent and desire into focusing on the successful outcome we are expecting from the work being done in sacred space.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word Resolution (Noun): [res-o-lu-tion] is defined as below:

1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.?2. A course of action determined or decided on.?3. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion.

These definitions create the basic energy put into the making of a resolution, but the etymology of the word lends a different perspective. The word resolution is directly derived from the Latin verb resolvere (also-Solvo, solvere, solvi, solutus) which means to untie, unfasten, loosen, unbind, etc. The prefix- re- has two distinct meanings. One interpretation of the meaning of the prefix-re- means “again”, and the other meaning of it implies “backward” or “back”. So, we could say that the literal meaning of the word –resolution- is to unbind again. If we think on this definition we can easily see the cyclic nature of setting into motion what action or change we desire. With the ending of each year and the beginning of another we return to the same old quandary of setting goals, that are still largely under the influence of old patterns and behavior. We would not consider reusing a spell or attending a ritual that was ineffective, yet we allow ourselves to remain caught up in the magick of our own un-making. But, if we approach the resolution making process as one of releasing ourselves from this cycle, there is more energy surrounding the positive and successful nature of this timeless ritual.

As we move through our daily practice, weave our magick and go through our mundane activities, part of this process involves release and loosening up to open up more fully to what we wish to bring into our lives. The alchemy that is a part of that process is the creation of something that will be strong, flexible and serve as a foundation from which we can see more clearly, make more effective choices and realize the great power we hold simply by opening to our higher intent. Magick that allows for the flow of carefully directed energy, bolstered by the resolve of intent is ultimately enhanced when that direction is loosened, becomes flexible and moves in a way that can foster growth and expansion.

We are always in a state of change and growth. It is this movement that affirms our life and our humanity. So creating goals, or resolutions for this process are appropriate tools towards helping us move towards our higher purpose. If we create the intent of our “resolutions” to unbind or loosen us from behaviors that we repeat time and again that are not productive and supportive of our forward moving growth- we allow the space of confinement to break free. If we create “re-solutions” to those hindrances of the past that keeping us looking backwards and often distort or skew our objectives of self-actualization, we have tapped into a very powerful and transformative tool that allows us to be more fully present in both our mundane and spiritual activities. And, when we relinquish our need to constrict and control the course of our actions, we can be more receptive to the many joys and opportunities for stepping into the energy of our inner power and become more firmly resolute in our adaptability to the challenges that come our way.

If we return to the idea of ritual and sacred space, consider sitting quietly in a dedicated space as you put to pen and paper your resolutions for this mid-year. If you want to keep it simple, light a candle, take a deep breath to clear your focus and intent and fill your space with supportive energy in accord with what you wish to bring into manifestation through your resolve. If you want to fully embrace the magick of what you are resolving to, create a ritual working that incorporates the writing down of your intentions. Ground and center, purify, cast your circle and call in the specific elemental energies that will sustain your resolve. Make your declarations in witness of the seen and unseen and be sure to offer up thanks to those supporting to seal your working and resolve.

In whatever way you choose to claim this mid-year process of resolve, as you sit and pen your “resolutions”, take a moment to pause and give breath and intent to those things you wish both to release and to bring into your life. Take some time to open to all the possibilities that these new intentions offer up. As for me, my resolution is to stand with more widely open arms and a deeper well of heart to what lay ahead. To remember the lessons of a resolve that is born of allowing the energy to flow through me in a way that will be productive. My intent is to fine tune that inner resolve and when I come once again to the calendar ending of December 31, 2015, I will look back at the intention of change I’ve allowed to become my solid foundation.

Blessings Bright for an Inspiring Mid-Year!

Ask Your Mama

February, 2014

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.


                                *Ask Your Mama                         

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™


©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman



A Question of a New Year Clean Sweep



Dear Mama Donna,


This has been the year from hell. I feel used, abused, and grimy. My entire life has gotten out of control. In my depression I have even let my normally orderly house go. My family is disgusted. What symbolic act can I do at New Year that would help to make me feel like I can make a clean start?

—A Mess in Michigan


Dear Ms. Mess,

As we near the New Year, our thoughts turn to new beginnings, new possibilities, new hope. This fragile interval which separates one year from the next is pregnant with potential. We find ourselves taking time out of time to evaluate our past experiences and actions and to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually for our future. Our reflections and resolutions at this transition period of the great turning of the annual wheel are critical, for they create the ambient atmosphere and attitude for the entire year to come.


A new year represents another chance, a fresh start, a clean slate, and so we embark upon the shift as on a dangerous journey, freshly bathed and outfitted, full of purpose, fingers crossed in blessing. People enjoy elaborate toilettes; bodies washed, dressed, groomed, combed until they are thoroughly cleansed — often internally as well through fasting. On New Year in Bengal, pilgrims bathe in the River Ganges. The Cherokee spend the eve of the New Year in vigil on the banks of a river. At dawn they immerse themselves seven times, emerging purified and new like the year.


In addition to purifying our person, special care has always been taken to clean and maintain the temples, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, groves, and shrines, in which prayers for the propitious New Year are made. In Myanmar, the former Burma, the New Year festival of Thingyan drenches the entire country, every building and dwelling, and all of its inhabitants in cleansing water. All images of the Buddha, indoors and out, are scrubbed clean as a crucial display of blessing.


By obvious extension, this New Year’s urge to purge includes our home environments, where the most intimate and ordinary prayers of daily life are uttered. If a man’s home is his castle, surely it is a woman’s shrine. Cleaning house to make ready for a new year is a universal task, symbolic and reverant as it is practical. Out with the old and in with the new! Death to dirt! Removing the dust and detritus accumulated during the previous year ensures the ridding of a dwelling and its occupants of the shortcomings and disappointments delivered during that time as well. Domestic renovation signifies spiritual and social renewal.


All over the world, houses are scrubbed spic and span from top to bottom and yards and walkways are swept spotlessly clean. In old England, New Year’s Day was the annual sweeping of all chimneys. The expression “to make a clean sweep” comes from this New Year’s custom. In Hong Kong, ten days before the New Year, women observe a Day for Sweeping Floors. At this time, an intensive house cleaning is begun in readiness for the New Year. Nothing, no corner, is left untouched. On New Year’s Day Moroccans pour water over themselves, their animals, the floors and walls of their homes. In Wales, children go door to door to beg water from their neighbors which they then scatter all over the houses of their community in order to bless them.


In many Native American cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, hearth fires are extinguished annually and ritually rekindled in a New Year ritual of new fire. In this way, sins and devils are purged in purification ceremonies symbolizing spiritual renewal. Zuni women throw out their live embers, then sprinkle their entire homes with corn meal in a rite called House Cleansing in order to ensure good fortune in child birth in the coming year. During the Iranian New Year celebration of Narooz, wild rue is burned in households because it is believed to drive away all evil and usher in a happy and propitious new year.


Santería, which combines elements of the West African Yoruban religion with those of the Catholic Church and the traditions of the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean, has many methods of spiritual house cleaning. Ordinarily one cleans one’s own home, altar, and aura with a wide variety of special washes, herbs, and candles. But in serious cases of impurity, a padrina/padrino will make a house call to perform a special purification ceremony. S/he most often will spit rum in a fine spray around the room, or roll a burning coconut along the floor while praying, to rid the place of bad energy.


So, darling, get out the brooms and the buckets, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Scrub the grime out of your environment and your mentality. The act of cleaning will help you to feel like you are back in control of your life, and an orderly, cheerful house will definitely improve your mood. Light some incense and some candles and invite in some fresh, new energy.


Happy New Year to you.


xxMama Donna



                        “If the doors of perception were cleansed

               everything would appear as it is, infinite.”

– William Blake



*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at [email protected],com.

Living Life Magically

January, 2011

Staying Resolved:  Keeping the Magic of Resolutions Fresh and Effective

One year winds down as we look backward and reflect on all we’ve been through and all we’ve learned.  It has been a year of successes and joys and it has been a year of sorrows and failures.  Such is a life, richly and fully lived.  And then we turn towards the New Year and make plans and resolutions.  It’s all about change at this turning point of the calendar.  What can we do better and how can we be better?  All seems possible at the birth of the New Year!  At the same time, we are saddened that through the years, our lives have become littered with resolutions unresolved and plans partially completed.

As magical people, we know that change and the ability to make change is part of our essential being.  The most often quoted definition from Aleister Crowley, “Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will,” tells us that change is fundamental to being a magical, mystical person.  With all that power within the scope of our will, how can we make sure that our resolutions are effective and potent throughout the year so we attain our often lofty goals?  We can make our resolutions successful and magical by looking at the process as a magical one.

The key elements of effective magic coupled with good planning and common sense can bring us a year of accomplishment and change; actually good magic is good planning and commons sense.  The key elements of successful magic are:  desire and need; emotional involvement; knowledge and realistic expectations; belief; ability to keep your counsel; willingness to do what is necessary in the physical world; and gratitude.  When you make a resolution, it needs to be something that comes from your heart, and your gut.  If you are not actively engaged in this on an emotional and gut level, you will not be able to sustain the energy to change.

In magic and in resolutions, you will need to “get real.”  One time a student asked me if she should take beginning swimming or lifesaving because she really wanted to be a lifeguard.  When I asked her how well she swam, she told me she was very afraid of the water.  In our conversation, the desire to be a lifeguard was really a glamorized view of lifeguards; and what she really wanted was to date a lifeguard, and a particular one at that!  She was not willing to put in the work to overcome her fear of water, to learn to be a strong and competent swimmer, let along develop the strength and sense of purpose needed to be a lifeguard.  She wasn’t willing to honestly express her desires and at the first challenge, she faltered.

So it is with magic and resolutions.  You need the strength of will and desire to withstand the challenges, to regroup and come back again with alternative options.  You need to be realistic and passionate about your goal.

And in being realistic, you need to let go of the outcomes.  This might seem like a contradictory statement to being passionate about the goal, but you need to adopt a stance that allows Spirit the opportunity to work.  Sometimes Spirit sees a bigger, more dazzling picture for us than we really dare imagine.  If we stay mindlessly attached to particulars, we don’t allow all the possibilities of greater magic to happen.  Stay true to your vision, but let go of the particular definitions of success.

Knowledge about your goal is important.   The ability to learn as much as you can about your goal is learning about yourself.  Together the knowledge, facts, and information you gather couples with your emotion and desire to create a dynamic and effective energy.  You can direct that energy towards your goal.  It helps you believe in the reality of your goal.  In order to sustain belief in your goal you can visualize yourself as that changed person and hold that vision firm and true.  If you can visualize it, you can make it happen.

To keep your counsel is to keep silent.  I tend to think that means no bragging.  If you need help with something, ask the right person.  Don’t second guess, don’t brag, and don’t constantly worry it in some kind of esoteric “are we there yet” litany. For the most part, just keep it a private matter until the work is done.  It is between you and the gods and it becomes a magical contract honored on both sides.  Once a spell or ritual is completed and the magic is set into motion, you need to be willing to show the gods you really meant it.  Some call this “behaving as if” the magic is already complete.  It means that you are willing to back up your magical work in the physical world.  The magical work you did on the astral plane will resonate strongly when echoed and mirrored on the physical one.  Magic is a work of co-creation, what happens below, happens above; and what happens above, happens below.

Finally, be grateful along the way not just at the end.  Thank Spirit and your companions on the journey.  Find a way to practice gratitude daily.  Thanking Spirit, your gods, your spirit guides for the moon, the stars, and the skies.  Being grateful for everything even the small everyday things like your car starting in the morning is an excellent practice in actively acknowledging that our lives and everything in it is sacred, magical, and special.  Gratitude makes you smile and activates joy!

A Year Long Spell for Invigorated and Successful Resolutions

At the New Year, make two lists:  the first is all the unsuccessful resolutions of the past and anything else you’d like to let go of; and the second is a list of your resolutions for the coming year.  Burn the first with words of gratitude and blessing and then bury the ashes in a pot of soil or in the earth.  You will need the second list all year long.

Each Month at the New Moon

You will need your resolution list, pen and paper, an envelope with your name and address on it.

Make an appointment with yourself to refresh your resolutions.  Choose a place of comfort and relaxation, surrounded by objects that remind you of your sacredness.  Read your resolution list and make a note of accomplishments from the last time you read it and make changes to keep your goal in keeping with your changing vibrant self.  Take a deep breath and meditate on your desire to accomplish your goal.  Go to your sacred place on the astral plane and create a vision of what you will accomplish in the next month.  Ask your spirit guides for wisdom.  Then leave with thanks and blessings.  Come back to your space in the present time.

Now write yourself a note and in that note include the following elements:  praise yourself for what you’ve done so far; set a goal or two for the month; and what you are grateful for.  Put the note in the envelope and seal it.  Place the note on your altar.

Each month at the Full Moon

Visualize yourself as having accomplished your goals set at the New Moon.  Stand before your altar; do an altar devotion, presenting yourself to the elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.   Cleanse and consecrate yourself in their energies and ask for their aid in creating your visualized change.  Call upon the gods who help you to witness your journey, to help you, and to protect you as you go forward.

Make an offering of food and drink for the spirits of the land.  It can be some bread crumbs, bird seed, corn meal, or sacred tobacco.  Say thank you for the world you live in.  If you have difficulty accepting where you live, choose one thing you appreciate and focus your thanks there.

Returning to the New Moon Again..and again

At the next full moon, open the envelope addressed to yourself and read it with an open mind and full heart.  Focus on your successes.  Repeat the process again, taking into consideration any changes you need to make.  Was there a new message from spirit or your life that has caused you to revise your resolution?  Write yourself another note repeat the ritual process each month.

At the End of the Year

Fifty two weeks, twelve months, and 365 days is a long time to sustain an intention.   Sustaining an intention happens when you adhere to the spirit of the intention and not the letter of it.  What did you accomplish?  How is it different from your original resolution?  What did you learn and how did you change?  Each month provided you with evidence of your change.  Praise yourself, celebrate who you are.  Let go of who you are not, and then step forward again into another year of magic and change!

Many blessings for a happy new year each and every day!