A Descent into the Underworld; November New Moon Shamanic Journey

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

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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(

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It’s a New Moon on Monday (but I’m too tired for a Firedance Through the Night.)

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Monday Mornings are a prime example of why I should follow a routine.

I Know This and yet…

We were up until 10:00 last night finishing an All About Me poster and essay for my daughter to turn in to her teacher this morning. If I had only looked through her backpack Friday afternoon I would have come across the assignment much earlier (but at some point my fourth grader needs to take on a little more responsibility, this I know).

Then my husband and I stayed up way too late watching the premiere of The Walking Dead (we all have our guilty pleasures) and I ate way too much ice cream (another one of my guilty pleasures). I know better than to eat ice cream at 11:00 at night… I didn’t sleep well, (surprise surprise!) and had hot flashes all night long. Now I’m wondering if maybe my body was fighting a diabetic coma after all that ice cream. Like I said, I know better.

My husband woke me when he was about to leave for work. I found myself sprawled out on the bed face down and I think I was drooling. This was going to suck. I never sleep on my stomach because it makes the hardware in my back lock up therefore it’s a very unpleasant position to try and get out of. I felt my husband kiss me on the top of my head and heard him leave the house before I could put any words together. Nothing like oversleeping on a Monday Morning to get your blood pumping for the week. Ugh… After spending several minutes trying to flip myself over and then finally stand up, I spent another 5 minutes shaking the kids awake and giving the dog the command to lick their faces and toes. Finally, the grumbling creatures rolled out of bed only to argue about who got to the bathroom first. (I love our old home with all its charm and character but the one bathroom is totally ridiculous!) So I was judge and jury on who tagged the doorway first before I shuffled my way to the kitchen.

I was grateful school picture day was tomorrow….Right? Wait a minute…I double-checked the calendar (like I should have done last night, I know better) and of course it was this morning. I wrote the checks and filled out the forms, (well one of them because the other one got misplaced somehow so I made one on an index card and put it in an envelope with the check).

I heard the school bus come and go while I was brushing my daughter’s hair, trying to figure out how to fix it in a way she wouldn’t complain about. I didn’t have time to make their lunch and shooed them past the lunch menu I had posted on the fridge when they asked what hot lunch was going to be. Monday’s are typically the worst as far as what they consider ‘gross’. I inwardly cringed, but oh well, there’s always a fruit and salad bar and they can drink the milk. I quickly rinsed out their water bottles and filled them while they put on their coats and backpacks. I gave my son cough syrup (yes, he’s sick again) put the dog in the crate, threw a couple of cereal bars at them (they’d be eating breakfast on the way) and drug the two bleary-eyed beasts to the car. It was a very chilly morning and the kids were complaining about how cold it was. I secretly switched on my seat warmer, feeling a twinge of guilt.

The Poster!

I turn off the car because I need the house keys, run in and pull the giant cumbersome poster off the kitchen table. I rush back out to the car but the back corner of the poster gets smashed in the door and tears when I try to yank it free. I’m glad we live out in the sticks because I’m still in my slippers, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt with an ice cream stain on the front from last night. My hair is pulled back in a headband and I look like I just woke up. Which I suppose is kind of true.

Back in the car my youngest is crying out of frustration because the seat belt was twisted and he couldn’t get it fastened. I snapped at my daughter to help him.
When we pull up to the school I apologize for being a grumpy Momma Monster this morning and ask them to please forgive me. Their sweet, understanding smiles would nourish me all day long.

So I’m back home in a quiet house sipping on some tea, thinking about all of the things I should be doing today. There’s no way I’m going to get it all done, and the big challenge is for me not to try. I have learned from experience that to try and clean the whole house will wipe out an entire week for me because cleaning like a madwoman will only lead to a severe pain flare-up. No thanks.

I’m finished with my tea so I think it’s time to set my intention for the day, even though it’s after 10:00 in the morning. Better late than never I suppose. So I ask myself a simple question; How do I want to feel today? Well, I’d like to feel calm and centered. I want my home to be a place of peace that embraces my loved ones when they return from their long days. How can I bring calm, centered peace to myself and my surroundings?

  • First things first: Shower and get dressed. I can’t truly function until I take a shower.
  • Start a load of laundry. If I do one load a day I can easily fold and put it away instead of letting a mountain of clean clothes collect on the couch.
  • Load dishwasher. The kitchen doesn’t look too bad so this won’t take long at all.
  • Change sheets. I have been doing this every Monday for years. There’s nothing quite like sliding into bed with clean sheets.
  • Sweep/vacuum. This is a quick job because I am physically unable to move stuff around. Hubby does the big job on Sundays.

Wow, that feels better! I can now take a moment to calm and center myself so that I can do a Home Blessing Hour. I like doing these on Mondays, but I will admit I have recently skipped a few weeks. It’s pretty obvious that it’s way overdue and I feel that the added chaos in this morning is a direct reflection of that. Besides it’s a New Moon on Monday. Maybe I’ll shake up the lizard mixture…please forgive me for all the Duran Duran references; for some reason I can’t seem to help myself.

My simple way of blessing our home

I have a large stash of clear quartz crystals that are usually in circulation between being used and cleansed. So I gather the “used” crystals and place them in a bowl and set them outside to be cleansed later and wash my hands. I then gather cleansed crystals and place them on the main altar to be placed in each room of the house after the smudging. I anoint white tealight candles with sandalwood, rosemary, and lavender essential oils and place them in holders in each room of the house. I prepare my incense (today I feel like Palo Santo) in my abalone shell and take my eagle feather to distribute the smoke. I surround myself with a protective white light and ask the Universal Divine for guidance and protection from negativity. I then ask for assistance from my Guides and totem animals to bring/lead new powerful light energy into our home. After giving myself a good smudge, I start at what I consider to be the center of my home, which isn’t exactly the physical center but the center of our “Home” and in a clockwise motion swirl the incense up and down each wall, along the baseboards, back up along corners, paying special attention to doorways and windows. As I move through the rooms I say something like “I ask that the breath of light shine brightly in this space and that it neutralizes any negativity. I welcome positive energy, and as I will so mote it be.”  I always keep moving and swirling in a clockwise motion. I do this because I am not really “banishing” I am cleansing and welcoming in the light, the brightness of which dispels the accumulated negativity. As each room is completed, I light the white candle and move on to the next room. Some rooms need more smudging than others, and I also spend extra time on my children’s dream catchers. When I have made my rounds, I place a cleansed quartz crystal in each room, although the exact location may change from time to time. I don’t usually plan to run errands on Mondays so I am able to allow the candles to burn down completely.

When our home is cleansed and recharged with positive energy my loved ones will breathe in deeply and sometimes let out a little sigh when they walk through the door. It is a touching moment that makes my insides glow. This House Blessing will make tonight the perfect night to set up our Samhain altar and some of our favorite decorations throughout the house. I’m glad I waited.

I think tonight should be a caramel corn night! 

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This recipe is a bit time consuming, but well worth the wait!

Caramel Corn Recipe 

Ingredients
7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don’t worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags. Enjoy!

What are some of the ways you bless your home?

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Forgive the Pain

Guilt. It’s a nasty word that seeps deep into the pores of even the most thick-skinned of people. I can personally say, without a doubt, that my biggest guilt issues have occurred since becoming a parent.

I know that I have blogged here and there about guilt; little snippets of should’ve, would’ve, could’ves in my parenting strategies, coping skills, chronic pain, depression, and all the rest of the ugly mix-matched and beat up baggage I have acquired over the years.

Ugh.

I pressed a new page down in my journal today, but not before reading my previous entry from the week before. This entry compels me to readdress guilt and particularly the release of it during this New Moon.

Below is my journal entry from Monday September 7, 2015:

I sit here in bed, propped up by pillows, trying to write as much as I can before my muscle relaxers and oxycodone set in. Need I mention it’s been a horribly painful day? Again? The aches, the burning, the locking up of the hardware in my back…none of that compares to the agonizing feelings I have over the loss of my children when they return to school tomorrow. Another summer has come and gone and it’s time for them to enter a new grade.

Please Universe, I’m pumping the brakes as hard and fast as I can, but it only seems to cause the opposite effect.

I’m so pathetically sad and tearful as I look back over this past summer and all the things I wish we could have done. Oh how I hate writing through the blur of tears! There’s so much guilt over spending afternoons in bed when I should have been teaching my daughter more about the Tarot or encouraging my son to look more closely at bugs. Summer is now over and what have I got to show for it?

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Memories…yes I know there are the memories…and photos of course…but…

I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost. Things my chronic pain takes from me. From Us.

And it pisses me off!

After reading that entry I thought long and hard about that day, remembering very well how I felt both physically and emotionally. I was a total wreck. Unlike that awful day, today has been good to me. I feel functional, happy, productive and my pain level is manageable.

But the words that kept playing in my mind over and over again were, “I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost.” By typing those words right now I find I have to fight back the feelings of sadness and guilt. As today went by I paid close attention to each time those words and feelings sprung up. When they did I would gently remind myself that there’s absolutely no proof that my children are suffering or living in constant disappointment. There’s also no evidence that they feel unloved or ignored. I know this in my heart of hearts because I do the best I can with what I’ve got to give on any certain day. Every choice I make for my children I make with love.

What we do is what we can do, and there have been many days where my children will climb into bed with me and we will watch cartoons, read silently, talk, laugh, discuss spirituality or even play cards. Those may be the bad pain days, but the day itself remains positive, supported by love.

When I reflect on this past summer it becomes clear that some of our best moments were the quiet ones. It didn’t matter how often we traveled, how many things we went to, or even how much money we spent, all we really wanted was to be content; to just ‘be’. Sometimes that included travel and money, but it didn’t have to. Enjoyment came from lots of different things, and I am now beginning to question my feelings of guilt caused by my fear of what we weren’t able to experience together as a family.

So to put it into perspective I’m going to start typing out everything that pops into my head that we did this past summer, and I’ll stop when I begin to slow down. So here goes…

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We went camping, spent a week at the beach, took several long nature walks, went fishing, horseback riding, out for dinner at our favorite pizza place, then a fancy restaurant, and a greasy diner. We did a picnic lunch in the backyard, and even celebrated several birthdays.

We stayed up way too late to watch the stars and satellites move across the night sky, took time doing a family collage, baked all kinds of delicious awful-for-you goodies, had a lemonade stand, colored with crayons, painted with water colors, walked underneath a giant waterfall and had a “Fairy Tea” in the garden.

We researched animals that interested us then talked about what we learned. We played board games, went to the movies and watched movies at home. We did hilarious shadow puppets on the ceiling before bed, read lots and lots of books together quietly and to each other. We roasted marshmallows and told ghost stories during the backyard bonfire. We harvested herbs, had a puppet show, and spent countless hours on our fairy garden.

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Oh, and we swam. A lot!

So when I look back on this past summer I can quickly and easily tick off many of our adventures. Some required travel, and some had to be rescheduled several times due to my health. Some cost money, but a lot of them didn’t.

I can say with conviction and honesty that all in all we did what we had set out to do this summer, even if sometimes things had to be modified. I would even go so far as to say that we had a successful summer with moments of fun, travel, and loads of laughter. What matters most was the time we were able to spend together. It’s okay that I wasn’t always on my A-game especially on those painful days that were spent mostly in bed. It’s okay that I felt the need to sleep or not up for company. It’s time to release the guilt about all of that.

What touches my heart the most is my husband and children’s natural compassion and understanding. Were there times of disappointment? You betcha. But the good definitely outweighed the bad, and maybe I shouldn’t say ‘good’ or ‘‘bad’ because no one else in my family would describe those times as such. So let me rephrase that, we did more things together than we did apart, we smiled more than frowned, we enjoyed more than we lacked, and we most definitely loved the whole time.

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It’s more than time to release the guilt and I think I’m finally ready and capable of doing so because I’m ready to forgive the pain. It’s time to forgive the pain. That statement might not make sense to some, it’s even a bit foreign to me. But right here, right now, as I come to the end of this blog post, in this quiet moment of writing and solitude, those words made themselves to my fingertips, where i pressed the keys and then shared them with you. I ask that you please read those words again and allow your heart to lead them to the right place and that you freely accept what they mean to you.

Let this New Moon be a time of releasing guilt and/or shame for the things you had no control over. Let go and freely forgive yourself, in all the ways, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(