Statements of Intent in Lieu of Resolutions

It’s New Years (in case you haven’t heard) and I began thinking about all of those resolutions people make every year-just like the ones I used to make. I remember those promises well and the key phrase that went along with them; “I’m going to (insert something I don’t really want to do) every day”. Most were doomed, but that’s the norm; the expected outcome.

My top picks of unsuccessful attempts at resolutions have included, but of course are not limited to: join the gym, walk the dog, call my mom more often, cut back on my caffeine intake, etc.

My personal favorite and most often used one was, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by swimsuit season”. Sure, I was successful, but when I got back from the vacation I bought that swimsuit for, I found that those 10 pounds had rewound themselves around my thighs.

Before I began the Path I already had come to realize that my New Year’s Resolutions were nothing but cop outs. Knowing that New Years was coming up I could postpone losing that weight or cutting back on my frivolous shopping. It could all wait because that was going on my mental New Year’s Resolution list. Sometimes that list would get ridiculously long and by the time New Years rolled around I would scold myself, knowing that my list was unreasonable and that I would have to narrow it down to only one or two. They would ultimately fail and I would tell myself that there was always next year.

Then finally my life took a different direction and I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was going to be making no more New Year’s Resolutions. How I had arrived at that decision was simple. Why hadn’t I embraced it long ago?

The year 2000 was a real eye-opening year for me. It was the year I decided to take my spiritual path to another level, to take it seriously and put it to work. I knew that ultimately I could only read so many books on beginners magic, Wicca and/or Witchcraft, Tantra, astral travel, lucid dreaming, past life regression, chakra balancing, crystal healing, etc. until it was time to roll up my sleeves and dig in. The next step in my spiritual journey wasn’t going to happen until I applied that book knowledge-to put it into practice. So I set things in motion and never looked back.

When I began honoring the cycles of the moon and the Wheel of the Year, I was free to realize that opportunities for “resolutions” were all the time. They weren’t limited to one day of the year. They were constantly evolving and changing, always in motion just as I was and the world around me. As a practicing Witch I became aware of the boundless opportunities for me to make firm decisions and act upon them to create change. My mental and spiritual commitment to bring change into my life did not cause me to judge myself or get angry at my failures. Instead of self-induced emotional trauma, my mistakes became learning experiences, and opportunities for spiritual growth.

I began to see resolutions for what they were; simply intentions that had yet to be acted upon. I no longer referred to the opportunities for change as “resolutions” (mostly because of the negativity I had attached to the word) but as Statements of Intent. These statements are the basis of spellwork that (more times than not) lead me to my desired outcome. The longer I practiced magick the more I became aware of the power of words and learned that thoughts are things. The magick came from within me, outside of me, above me, below me, in the trees, the ocean, my breath, and the blood pulsing in my veins. It was everything, it was endless, and the power was real. By creating spells and practicing magick with the extra boost of timing, I can set into motion the change I want to happen.

Timing in magick and its different desired outcomes varies as much as the hours of the day, the days of the week, and the months of the year. Combining those with the monthly moon cycles, different Sabbats within the Wheel of the Year, colors, candles, incense, herbs, etc. there are endless formulas for success and ample opportunities to make effective change in my life and creating positive energy within the world. My Statements of Intent are born from the center of my being and are powerful sparks of potential. May you too see the potential in every minute of every day of every year. So mote it be!

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Do You Still Believe?

I do.

I believe that the stillness of the Winter Solstice ritual lasts for many days. It gives me strength to maintain the calm before the storm because I have slowed the pace in my life and within my family’s Hearth. By becoming the Eye of the Storm, the center of calm, I observe what transpires in the wake of holiday induced stress. It helps keep me from falling into the trap of frantic shopping, endless to-do lists, emotional exhaustion and the eventual sad letdown after the mountain of gifts have been torn through. That was all I knew while growing up. Well that and Midnight Mass.

Our family looks forward the Winter Solstice season, to seeing all the glittering lights, pretty presents under the tree and can’t help but feel more than just an inkling of pure magick during this time of giving and receiving that is not exclusive to any one religious or cultural group. We gravitate together to help bring light back into the world and celebrate the rebirth of the sun and the gift of life from the Goddess.

It’s also during this time that family dysfunction rears its ugly head. This is the first year it’s ever been just the four of us; me, my husband and the two youngest. My oldest son moved off to college last fall. It’s been oddly comforting, having that peace that floats upon the surface of our lives until it’s skimmed away during the holidays.

It pulls away with it the bandages of old wounds that have yet to, or perhaps never will, heal. There’s a hollowness that lives in everyone but there’s some pain that only a mom can know. That familiar sadness sometimes hits so fast and hard, it’s like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me. Other times it slowly seeps in like an ugly ink stain.

Tonight I’m thinking about my oldest child, my beautiful daughter and my wish that she grows up into a happy, healthy adult, unites with her Soulmate and they go on to be parents to beautiful babies and create a fulfilling life together. You know, that Happily Ever After. I want that for her because I love her and want her happy, but mostly because she so badly wants that for herself. She has confided in me those dreams for her future self and will mention it every now and then, during those touch and go moments that break my heart.

But as long as she continues to say, “someday”, I will have hope. I know deep down that it really has nothing to do with the fairy-tale but all to do with her making it through another day in a broken life.

My oldest daughter is a heroin addict and has been using needles for over five years.

It’s especially hard around this time of year because it’s when relatives will pop into my life and start asking the dreaded questions. One of which is how my back is doing. And the other one, how my oldest is. Most of the time I’ll just say “fine” and that usually ends it without further probing. Besides, I know they are just trying to be polite, but I also know they have no real expectation that I am going to tell them otherwise. We’re a small enough family that if they don’t already know the answers then they really don’t need to know.

So when I tucked my youngest daughter into her bed tonight I kissed her on the forehead like always and told her to have sweet dreams. She secretly confides that she still believes in Santa and that she was hoping he would leave her a big chapter book under the tree tonight. And that’s when it hit me. That deep sorrow that is as familiar as an old worn-out shoe and just as painful. I don’t know if it’s because she’s getting older and I quietly fear losing her too or if it’s because I know her older sister is at that very moment suffering in the detox unit during her ninth attempt at rehab and will be in Blackout through the weekend.

I remind myself that at least I know where she is this Christmas.

I hope she knows that she’s giving herself the gift to try again and giving me the gift of hope to see her through to the other side.

So even though I’ll be sneaking the cookies off the tray by the fireplace and slipping a boxed set of the Harry Potter series under the tree, I still believe in all things magickal. I believe in hope, and strength of will. I believe in the power of healing and finding that from within. I believe in the Goddess and the sun and that the world can be a warm, good place. And most importantly I believe in love.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Cheers to Hot Cocoa and Peppermint Schnapps

The Yule tree smells wonderful and I’m cozied up in the recliner next to the fire. I probably would have fallen asleep from adding a tad bit too much peppermint schnapps to my hot cocoa but the kids are playing “zombie robots” (don’t ask me, I’m just an unwilling audience of sorts) so the nap will have to wait.

We have a few activities planned for Solstice night, including a guided meditation to connect to our Power Animals. Tomorrow we’ll be making the usual toffee and divinity and those chocolate pretzel thingies we do every Yule.

I wanted to quickly share our favorite Solstice songs that we find ourselves singing to unsuspecting family members. I love to see the looks on their faces when they think the kids are singing “We Three Kings” but then the more they listen, the more they pay attention, and before you know it Aunt Edna is appalled at my children belting out “We Three Witches”. Karina Skye is brilliant!

We Three Witches (all time family favorite hands down!)

12 Days of Yule https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QGPA1ro1l8&index=4&list=PL088A2C0D4E49A3F4

Jingle Bells Cast Your Spells

And from the beautiful and talented S.J. Tucker
Solstice Night

Lisa Thiel
Yule

The Wyrd Sisters
Solstice Carole

Time to refill my hot cocoa…

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Darkness Before Dawn

Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year hasn’t yet arrived but it’s been dark and stormy for what seems like weeks now. The days are short, and it’s still dark as night in the mornings when the kids get on the school bus. Then before I know it, the deep gray sky is once again fading away into the darkness of night less than an hour after they get home. The rain remains steady throughout the nights with downpours thudding the roof from time to time. I’m trying my best to keep myself and the kids sane while our family journeys through this time of darkness.

It has been a strangely wet winter, raining daily, nearing 9 inches for the month already. The mossy green vegetation is no match for the onslaught of the relentless storms. The rivers and streams are swollen, and the roads are slick with moving water. The mud is thick on our property and many of our tall old-growth trees are leaning, roots becoming more and more exposed day after day of rain, and many will not be able to recover.

So on this rainy Saturday afternoon the kids and I remained hermits tucked away in our little house. My husband was building shelves in the garage when the kids and I decided to get our Craft on. We spent the afternoon making peanut-butter bird feeders and hanging them along the eaves for our feathered friends who are braving the storms. Even though we regularly fill our bird feeders there’s just something about making them that carries a special magick. We haven’t done it in several years but just seeing my children’s faces light up as they watch the birds (and um, lots of squirrels) flock to the feeders, I can feel their satisfaction and contentment in making a difference in the lives of the little creatures.

When we heed the dark call of winter by nourishing others we awaken the instinctual knowledge of how best to nourish ourselves. Slowing our lives down to the pace of midwinter’s heartbeat, we are better able to acknowledge and honor the darkness before dawn.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

6 Hours and Two Tarot Bags Later

 

I have never been a successful sewer. I’ve always wanted to be able to whip up dresses, or make my children baby quilts. I took a sewing class as a freshman in high school. I don’t even like thinking about it because it was a total disaster. Even so, many years later when I was pregnant with my third child, I was asked what I wanted for my birthday. I said I wanted a sewing machine, and I got what I asked for. I was going to make that baby quilt, dammit! Besides, how hard could sewing little squares together be? And so I made my daughter a baby quilt. And no, I don’t have any pictures of it, and only I know where it’s hidden.

I also went to a sewing class a few years later. I went faithfully every week for almost four months. That means four months of lugging that stupid sewing machine fabric and sewing kit back and forth, setting it up, then taking it down. There were three of us in the “class” all working on our own projects. I was attempting to make an a-line dress, something easy. I figured, even the pattern had the word “Simplicity” on it. Sad, but true.

The instructor would go from one of us to another, helping and guiding, reminding us to press the seams, iron this, fold that…sew a few inches here, leave a gap there, go press the seam again… Who knew a “simple” Summer dress could be so complicated? I grew to dislike the class, especially when I compared my progress to others. I began going less and less and disliking the dress more and more, so much so that I finally just threw it in the garbage with a “good riddance”. I could really use that fabric now,

Then there was the time I tried sewing a Greek peplos at the very last minute before a party. I was really impressed with myself for having zipped through it so fast with no problem. But when I slipped it over my head I couldn’t find the arm holes. That’s because there weren’t any. I had sewn the thing completely up both sides.

So that’s when the sewing machine got put in the garage.

And stayed there for years. Until today.

I had my husband drag that beast out of the garage and take it to the studio. I spent the better part of the daylight hours in there working on sewing Tarot bags for the decks that were gifted to me. And in all that time I ended up making two bags. I bled, sweat, and shed tears. A labor of love I suppose. So when I look upon the final result of hours of frustrating work, I force myself to look past the uneven stitching, the odd choice of fabrics, and the sheer mess of it all. I look beyond the fact that I can’t make a buttonhole, or that I can’t cut a straight line. But I learned some things.

I learned the hard way that if I am to continue attempting to sew these…these…things…, I will have to break down and buy a pair of left-handed scissors. Trying to sew a straight line along the edge of fabric that looks like the dog has chewed on it is totally impossible.

I also learned that I won’t bleed to death by being jabbed in the fingers by sewing pins. Nor by accidentally stepping on or sitting on them.

And I learned that I could keep cutting up old valances I don’t like or clothes I no longer wear and continue to make Tarot bags for all my naked decks and maybe even a few for my friends.

So I’m going to continue making these “upcycled” bags and pouches until all of my decks without boxes have a soft place to rest. Now, if only I liked to sew…Who knows, maybe I could learn to like it someday. Stranger things have happened.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

DSCF6209

Just Because; Gifts From the Heart of a Stranger

DSCF6175

I was recently gifted 13 Tarot/oracle decks from a woman I have never met. As it happens, she heard from someone who heard of someone who mentioned my name and that I was a Tarot enthusiast of sorts. When she emailed me to offer me the decks she knew that I did readings and classes and also knew that I facilitated a monthly Tarot group for women. She knew all of this yet she didn’t know the person’s name she got the information from.

We met and talked for a bit. She was a pleasant older woman who was moving into a smaller place; downsizing to something more manageable. She was sorting through things to keep and things to give away when she placed the stacks of cards off to one of those “I’m not sure what to do with” pile. And she didn’t do anything with them until she heard my name.

She brought over a shopping bag filled with decks wrapped in plastic bags. I inwardly gasped. If my cards didn’t have a box then they were wrapped in cloths and/or placed in special boxes for storage. Silly as it may seem, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them, to get them out of those suffocating bags and to let my fingers run across them.

I have an inexplicable attraction to the Tarot and have been afflicted with this condition for nearly three decades. My Tarot collection and additional oracle decks were already substantial by some standards but I’ve known Tarot collectors who owned many, many more than my lacking collection.

So I sat on the floor next to the bag and reached in and pulled out a deck at random. I opened the baggie and let the cards slide into my hands. I was like a kid in a candy store. I’m not positive but I think I may have been salivating at the time. I asked general questions about each deck and I learned that some were owned by a past partner, a few she worked with herself, and others were given to her over time. I sifted through the cards, paying close attention to the amount of time I was taking because I didn’t want to be a pest, but I also wanted to make sure that the deck I held felt “right”. There have been decks in the past that didn’t give me a good feeling and so were passed on to others who either kept them or passed them on until they found their rightful place.

After all of the decks had been gone through, and even though I already owned Rider-Waite versions, there wasn’t a single deck I wanted to leave behind. I had already mentally placed two of the decks with friends of mine and there were a couple of great learning decks to loan out to students. My excitement was more than obvious because she encouraged me to take them all and give them good homes, whether with myself or someone else. I took her up on her offer and will be forever grateful.

DSCF6192

I still don’t know who mentioned me and maybe I’ll never know, but that doesn’t really matter. It was just really nice to be thought of, just because.

And even though I can’t sew (I mean seriously, I cannot sew) I think that I’ll at least try and make some bags for these, in gratitude and well, just because. Thank You D.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

A Journey Within the Flames

fire-line-lowrider hood-flames.jpg

We’ve lazed around all day with our leftover pie-bloated bellies having not much energy to do anything other than…well, nothing. There’s homework, including an animal report due on Monday, but procrastination triumphs over our weak resolve.

It’s cold outside and the fire is crackling in the fireplace. It’s warmth and comfort is a gravitational pull and we are drawn like moths to a flame. So here we lie covered in woolen blankets and chenille throws telling each other what we see in the flames.

A fiery dragon, a waterfall, an old bearded man, a swirling phoenix, the Greenman, a person sticking their tongue out, a castle, a rose, a dog, hearts, among many other vivid images. Sometimes we see what the other person does and a lot of times we see our own version of the image, but rarely do we see nothing at all.

After a while we become naturally grounded and centered. I begin the prayer of protection that we use together during divination, meditation, visualization, ritual, spellwork, etc. We place the bubble of protection around ourselves and set a boundary of magickal space. When we feel the energy in the room shift to a special level of quiet and peacefulness we can begin to soften our eyes and let the story of the flames unfold as it tells its tale. The images we see within the flames combine with images, words, sounds and emotions from within, creating a personal tapestry that is woven in a way that is uniquely our own. Even if our softened eyes close, the flames will continue their dance in our mind’s eye.

When one of us becomes restless or fidgety, then it’s time to wrap things up. We slice a few pieces of pumpkin bread and pour some milk to share. This creates more grounding and gives us the opportunity, if we choose, to share some of our experiences with each other. Afterwards we take some alone time to journal/draw what we experienced during our journey with the flame.

Do you let the visions within flames tell you a story?

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Tower: Open Your Heart as the Goddess Moves Through You

10378013_10152584048987146_5513036525982794409_n

The Tower Card: The Tree Tarot

Miles of ocean blue-serene yet unsettled
I look out over the horizon and the water is lit up
like millions of shining diamonds-the backdrop of the coming twilight

Out beyond the breakers a beacon appears
A Tower that exudes solitude and unrest
Rooted beneath the sea, it has been painstakingly built and I watch
Helplessly as flames began to lick up the sides of the stone walls.

The structure will be consumed before the darkness of true night falls.
Watching this unfold comes the realization that
this is the falling of me.

It now becomes a bright torch engulfing itself.
The storm cast waves do little to soften the flame’s fury.
And it continues to grow impossibly higher and brighter.
Its existence is becoming nothing but smoke and ash in the wind
Or falling chunks of stone breaking away and falling to the water below
I am powerless watching the pieces of my life being tossed around in
the choppy waters.

The ruins drift aimlessly out to sea,
now beyond my reach for sure.
I stare out at the dark sky left by the smoke of destruction
The blank canvas of my soul; I don’t even know where to begin.

I wander aimlessly along the shore feeling the storm clouds follow me
Weary, I sit upon the sand with my head in my hands.
And weep through the night.

Dawn breaks, giving light to the beach and warmth to
my body- a true balm to my soul.
At my feet I discover a small stone that has washed up on the shore.
A token from the sea- a remnant from my past laid before me.

And the Goddess speaks to me from the breath of the sea; “Daughter of my womb, I have never abandoned you, even on
the darkest of nights.

I watched with sorrow as you suffered through your great loss.
You must accept that you are not meant to control all
aspects of your life, but my child, that does not mean that your
life is out of control.”
I have a choice. I pick up the stone and stand-
Again I look out over the horizon. The surface now glimmers
like millions of golden butterflies in the morning sunlight.
I bow my head in reverence and whisper a thank you.

I place the rock to my heart until it warms to my skin. I gently kiss it and toss the rock out into the waves and watch patiently
as the tide pulls it out to sea.

There’s a slight tremor in the sand beneath my feet
as the rock roots itself. A new foundation is taking hold and I smile.
Before long a peak will appear from the waterline that will someday
evolve into a splendid tower, built stronger and even
more beautiful than the last,

A feeling of quiet peace surrounded me
and I smiled for I knew the best was yet to come.
Please open your heart as the Goddess Moves through you.
And may those feelings of quiet peace surround you and yours as well.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

A Descent into the Underworld; November New Moon Shamanic Journey

A Descent into the Underworld; A New Moon Shamanic Journey in November

DSCF6126

I cleansed, renewed, and charged my altar today. It’s been a dark, wet day and the rain outside is absolutely delicious. It’s the soft Oregon rain that is as temperate as the forests that surround me. I’m sitting here in my art studio typing away with the door open, pausing every now and then to look out at the trees and smile at the birds as they sing. I’ve made sure to keep their feeders full and have even made sure to share some of the sunflower seeds with the squirrels.

As I continue to prepare for the dark months ahead, I’ve decided to check my spiritual inventory as well. At Samhain I honored my ancestors of long ago and gave special remembrance to my loved ones who have passed over during this lifetime. I welcomed the coming darkness but as the nights stretch their long fingers further and further into the days I feel a stronger desire to turn towards the within. What a lovely dark night to take a close look at my life and take stock of my truths and the things that reside at the center of my day to day living. Are these things working for me or are they hindering my Spirit?

When I renewed my altar I did it with the purpose and intention of taking a shamanic journey later this evening. This is the time between the passageway of Samhain and the gateway to renewed light at Winter Solstice. When I placed the items onto my altar, I took my time. I was at my own passageway in my movements and feelings of patience and contentment came naturally. I was floating in an ethereal movement that was eerily comforting. This feeling is something I want more of in my life and I want it to be accessible in the center of my day to day living. It’s what I long for but I find it increasingly difficult to either attain or maintain those feelings of patience, calmness, and contentedness for any length of time.

Pain is a very real barrier between me and that peacefulness. From failed back surgeries to Fibromyalgia, and on to the emotional consequences of my intuitive empathic nature, I have a mind that cannot easily turn off external stimuli. Both my body and mind (and consequently my Spirit) have become overly sensitive to physical sensations, the heartache on the news, and the dissatisfaction and unhappiness that seeps from strangers in a crowd. My sensitivity to these things is what shaped my ability to help others through the Tarot but my real problem is finding the shut-off valve. I want to find and nurture the ability to slow my mind in order to return to a peaceful (or relatively peaceful) state of being. Oh how I would love to effectively clear away the negativity and be able to sleep at night!

So tonight I am going in search of that peace that I need to bring forth into my life. On this new moon, I am taking a journey through drumming and visualization to enter the gateway of trees and into the forest realm of the within. Tonight I will unwrap my scrying mirror (that I have not held in quite some time) and delve deep into the dark moon, awakening to what is revealed within. And in the darkness just before the light breaks, I will be in a safe, personal, and private space to find that peace and draw it towards my life’s center in order to balance my Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Lady,
Tiny voices, like the hidden
sounds that moths make,
call to me in the silence
of the night.
Like moths beating their wings
against the screen, You
beat against the shutters of my mind,
demanding entrance.
The candle of the moon is dark,
granting no direction.
Yet, veiled though You are,
Your nearness brushes me like
fragile wings against the fire’s flame.
New beginnings are Your gift,
to unfold as the many-petalled moon,
or the iridescent wings of
Your desire.

Galen Gillotte “The Book of Hours”

The darkness of this November New Moon offers a period of reflection and reprieve. How will you choose to use it?

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Beware, Halloween Might Offend Someone

Well, Samhain is almost here. Have you carved your pumpkins and/or turnips yet?

064

My son being sarcastically terrorized by a child eating squash he single-handedly carved himself.

I volunteered in my kids’ classrooms today for their “Harvest Party”. The term “Halloween” is no longer used because, you know, it might offend someone.

They had a costume parade like they do every year but in addition to the usual ban on fake weapons such as knives, swords, and guns, (which is totally understandable) masks and makeup of any kind, including those dumb vampire teeth, colored hairspray or even dark lipstick are no longer allowed either. When I read the school newsletter I thought, are they serious? I mean why even bother? What a disappointment for the kids!

“Back in the Day” (gosh I love to be old enough to say that..well, sort of) there were plastic masks and costumes from the drugstore that were basically cheap rain ponchos with plastic painted masks like this:

dbgAX

I wish I knew who to thank for this photo. I’ve searched for days. If I find them I’ll be sure to give credit where credit is due.

These costumes were far more frightening than anything around nowadays. And not only were these nasty smelling things spine-tingling scary, they were dangerous because you cut your tongue if you accidentally stuck it up against a tiny razor sharp air hole, and the rubber band that held it in place always pulled out your hair. The only good thing about them that I can remember is they kept your clothes relatively dry in case it rained.

So if you didn’t want to inhale the toxic chemical fumes, slice your tongue, or get a small bald patch on the back of your head from the plastic mask then you had to be creative and make up your own costume. When I was 8 I decided I wanted to be a genie, and not just any genie, but a beautiful one like Barbara Eden. No, more beautiful! Looking at the pictures as an adult I easily smile back at the little girl smiling at me. For the most part I pulled off the look. I’m not sure if everyone I encountered knew exactly who I was supposed to be or if I was in fact more beautiful than the vixen on “I Dream of Genie”, but what I do know is that I was a little girl with a vision, and that night I lived it. I felt as beautiful as the satiny pink fabric I wore, and I felt oh so deliciously magical with my high ponytail swinging back and forth as I ran from door to door. I haven’t seen that photo for a few years but it hasn’t keep me from still searching.

I felt a little piece of that joy while I watched the giggling children traipsing around the school this afternoon. Some children wore partial costumes, no masks, sans swords and guns, and smiling vampires without their fangs (or without their two front teeth for that matter). But I must admit there were some pretty cool costumes too. My favorites were handmade, including a humongous plume of peacock feathers that were twice as tall as the child. Totally gorgeous and amazing. My anger and frustration was nothing but wasted energy as it was obvious the magick still reigns in the excited hearts and minds of the children who get to be something or someone else, even if it’s just for a stupid parade.

Besides the real fun hasn’t even begun, so get your Wicked On all of you beautiful Witches and Witchlets!

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(