Full Moon Tarot Activity

April Pink Moon Blessings!

I hope you are enjoying the Full Moon Energy as She illuminates us with Her loving glow. Allow your intuitive abilities to shine!

I’m teaching my Tarot class tonight so I created a Full Moon Tarot Activity to share with my students and I thought I’d share it with you too. Please feel free to print it out for your personal use. (copy and paste should work, if not just let me know)

Suggestions:

Turn off your phone, smudge, ground and center, light a candle, and cast a Circle if you wish. Counting down to alpha or opening your chakras before you begin will also be helpful.

After you have finished,(as with any magickal working) remember to ground properly by closing your chakras or counting upwards to normal consciousness, closing your Circle in your normal fashion, thank your guides, eat and drink something, etc.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

 

 

 

 

 

Find Your Voice; Light Your Future

Speak, Listen, Watch, and Learn from your past experiences; all of your triumphs and mistakes. If you didn’t like the outcome and you feel that your present course is once again leaning in that direction, then it’s time to Reflect. Reflect your inner light upon your gained knowledge and look to your future; for this is wisdom and your future will shine as bright as you are willing to let it.

-Journal Entry August 2015

This morning I drew two cards from my Thoth tarot deck and placed them in front of me while sitting on the bed. The Nine of Wands and Adjustment. How succinctly put. To the point. I expected no less from the Thoth imagery and yet I only grab this particular deck when I’m feeling bold and courageous. After surviving a day like the one I had yesterday, I woke up feeling a simmering frustration within, an annoyance that felt like it was going to boil over at any moment. It was residual negative emotions and I knew I needed to direct the energy, but where? What lesson could I learn from yesterday that could make me stronger today? And better still, what about stronger tomorrows?

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9 of Wands. Today the 9 of Wands represents both the reflective and reactive parts of me. The Sun stretches high towards the sky, his masculine energy represents taking action. The Moon reaches far into the depths of the soul, her feminine energy represents intuitive realization. It’s about blending action with realization to complete what is necessary for success. These aspects are both powerful on their own working within their elements, but here they bring their energies together by reaching across the card to become balanced with one another. As Above, So Below.

VIII – Adjustment. I look at her and I see honesty and integrity in the face of adversity. She is about standing up for what you belief is right. She is a reminder to me that If I feel the need to change something in my life, something I am not satisfied with, then I have the freedom of choice to change it. She is Justice and sheds light on the path towards balance. She speaks of being objective in the face of adversity and trust that the universal law of balance will adjust accordingly. This is also represented by the Sun and Moon, Masculine/Feminine energies intersecting in the 9 of wands.

I meditated a while on these two cards and I journaled. I wrote about how I am blessed with many things in my life, but strength and balance are hard to come by. Those two things are easy to forget when I’m living in pain and feeling the fear that I feel during a pain flare. But strength and balance are the two thing needed most during those difficult times. When I don’t have both strength and balance within my life, I begin to suffer beyond the physical symptoms. The pain then begins its personal attacks on my emotions. I start to question everything I feel is wrong in my life, wondering if maybe I deserve all of this because I’m weak. Then my self-esteem plummets.

Yesterday’s experience was a rather frustrating one as it was my monthly check-in with my pain management doctor. I needed a prescription refilled for a special compound cream. The doctor’s office had partnered with a new pharmacy and she was adamant about me using it instead of the usual place. I told her I had been trying to get it refilled there for two months but there were always excuses as to why they couldn’t. They didn’t have all the ingredients, they were too swamped, they were in-between pharmacists, and my all-time favorite: The pharmacist didn’t know how to make it.

I finally gave in and left the doctor’s office knowing that she didn’t really listen to me at all. It was all a waste of time, now I was running late and had an hour drive home ahead of me. I hurt all over and I felt drained, beaten down, hopeless and even worse, helpless. I was lucky to even have a pain management doctor; a doctor that some people will wait years to get. She could end our contract at any time and I was afraid to push the envelope. I drove away without a new prescription for the compound cream and in my frustration and rush, I forgot to get the referral to the doctor she had mentioned at the beginning of the appointment; a rheumatologist that specializes in lupus and MS and might be able to help me more than my current rheumatologist.

I am not one for confrontation, and I know I have a tendency to avoid it to a fault. But just imagining myself spending another day and another dreadful night dwelling on my lack of assertiveness was incentive enough to make changes. My fear the day before allowed me to feel bullied by someone who is supposed to help me and support me in effectively dealing with my pain. The contract between us goes both ways. Where was my voice?

I looked at the cards again. There was a difference between causing conflict and being assertive. Finding my voice doesn’t mean I have to yell to be heard. I can be effective in expressing myself, my feelings, my emotions, and my needs while at the same time being mindful of the sensitivity of others when choosing my words. I brought my thoughts back to the cards. I took a deep breath and felt my inner struggle begin to cease. What was I fighting so hard against anyway? These were simply situations that I could deal with effectively, or not. It was my choice. I just needed to find my voice.

To deal with the important matters in regards to my health, I would have to make phone calls. More than likely a lot of them. This is something I avoid as often as possible, but if I wanted things to change I needed to dedicate the day to making those calls. I spoke with doctors and their assistants, pharmacies and my medical insurance company and got some things sorted out. After the first few calls I learned the truth about the price differences between the pharmacies for the same exact medication and that the “new” pharmacy wasn’t the “preferred” pharmacy as far as my insurance company was concerned.

The phone conversation with my pain management doctor took longer than it should have as I kept trying to explain the issues I had with having the special compound cream filled by the new “preferred” pharmacy. Not only did I feel uncomfortable about the lack of knowledge and organizational skills of this new pharmacy, it was going to cost me $70.00 for 60 grams when the original pharmacy only charged me $35.00 for 240 grams. This difference was huge and could not be ignored. She was insistent on using the “new” pharmacy and I kept telling her that option wasn’t going to work for me, and on and on it went. But I stood my ground and calmly persisted knowing that there was no justification to have to spend that kind of money. I had found my voice and spoke with confidence in being my own advocate. She finally accepted what I was saying  (I had been heard!) and we ended the conversation on a positive note.

There’s now a new refill order phoned in to the original (non-preferred) specialty pharmacy and the compound cream will be here at my doorstep within the week. I also got the referral to the rheumatologist and spoke to the new patient coordinator there; the paperwork will be here the day after tomorrow. This prompted me to go ahead and switch my primary care doctor with a different doctor within the same clinic; something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. He has always been unfriendly and cold towards me and I choose to no longer put up with that sort of treatment in regards to my health care if I don’t have to.

I had a long overdue conversation with my oldest child’s doctor and even compromised diplomatically with my ex-husband about the bill for her latest hospital stay. I spoke to a medical billing office and we are now getting reimbursed for charges that should never have been paid for out of pocket in the first place.

Finally, and without guilt, I made one last phone call to secure a time slot this Saturday for a floatation therapy session (I have yet to try this) after my acupuncture appointment.

I accomplished so much in one day and at the moment I feel power over my life. I had tied up loose ends and dealt with the things I had been consciously avoiding. All of those little things were causing me big stress and that stress was slowly bleeding into all other areas of my life. It spiked my pain levels and dropped my self-esteem.

Later today I cleared the deck, thanked its imagery, and put it away. It was the beautiful imagery in the cards that spoke to me at a time I was willing to listen. They reminded me that I had a strong voice, I just had to make the choice to use it. I’m glad I did because It felt liberating to finally be clear and assertive in expressing my needs, especially to those I have sometimes felt intimidated by in the past. I had a right to be heard, truly heard by others. I took what I have learned over the years since my pain began and turned that knowledge into action by weaving wisdom into power. Yes, I made the right choice and have had a say in how I light my path towards a brighter future.

May you always find your voice.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Baring it All

This morning, after my shower, I wrapped a towel around my hair and another towel around my body. As I was about to leave the bathroom I stopped, because out of the blue, like a slap on the butt, I decided to do something completely out of character. I dropped the towel I had wrapped around my body and courageously stood in front of the bathroom mirror naked as I wiped the steam from the mirror unveiling my body; baring it all.

I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my naked self. I’m not sure if it’s pure avoidance, some kind of shame or form of embarrassment. Maybe it’s simply fear, because fear will branch out into all of those other things; (avoidance, shame, embarrassment). But there’s a part of me that is downright angry at my body because when the pain flares up and things seem like they’re spinning out of control, I feel so fragile; like a raw egg that could crack at any moment. But I was tired of looking the other way unless I was clothed and in front of a full length mirror.

On the contrary, at this moment I stood facing myself, looking into my own eyes. Was I seeking an ally? Some sort of approval? Would I find that part of myself that sees beauty in all things, even the physical me? I think I did find it because I took a deep breath and relaxed, allowing my eyes to move slowly along my body.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the deep surgical scar that ran vertically from my navel down to my pubic bone. The evidence of a failed back surgery. My gaze then wandered across my lower abdomen, along the faded yet thick scars from two C-sections. Just above those were five small incision scars scattered across my lower belly from a laparoscopic uterine lysis surgery to remove scar tissue adhesions.

Then across my torso were four puncture-like scars from when I had my gallbladder removed. There was a small scar that ran under my left breast from a cyst removal when I was fourteen. I knew without looking that I had a five inch scar down the middle of my back from another failed back surgery; the one that caused permanent nerve damage.

Ah yes, I mustn’t forget the faded stretch marks that had inched their way across my belly and ended in thin tendrils along my hips.

What I was looking at was a roadmap of my life.

Then in a flash of clarity, like another slap on the butt, came the realization that my avoidance of looking at my body wasn’t just the physical scars, my widened hips, my enlarged breasts that fed and nourished my children, or the little laugh lines forming next to my eyes.

It was the lack of willingness to really see.

Each of those things are filled with strength, hope, survival, nourishment, laughter, love, and life itself.

Each one of those things are a facet of me.

I looked again, this time more closely at myself and searched for the strong woman that I know I am. I want to get out of the habit of feeling like a failure as a wife, a mother, and a witch. I must truly look at myself and honor my many strengths while acknowledging my many weaknesses. I know in my heart that I need to surrender and trust in the fact that my physical body, even though its limitations and pain, holds me and supports me through the good times and the bad.

I want to enrich my life and let go of The fear, judgement, and the ugliness of self-doubt that holds me back from living my life to the fullest. Gazing into the reflection of my own eyes, I saw the warmth and comfort within. Now is the time to shed away all that doesn’t serve me. This will be a perfect starting point on my journey towards re-balancing and repairing my body, mind, and spirit.

I am not a failure. I am a strong, independent, loving woman and I need to be proud of all the things I have lived through and fought for in my life. It’s time for me to be proud of all the things I am currently living through and fighting for at this moment and those moments yet to come.

I then spoke gently to myself.

“You will no longer be a victim. You can face your pain and fear head on because you’ve done it all of your life; you just didn’t realize you were successful at it. You now know you are. You no longer have to pretend you’re not in pain or overwhelmed. It’s okay, and it doesn’t make you a failure. It’s time to claim loving acceptance of your physical body, trust in the knowledge your mind now holds, and align with your spirit exactly as you are.

Only I have the power, knowledge, and control to overcome the obstacles in my life to promote healing on every level.

Now, where do I begin? Hmmm….Actually, I think I already have.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Art of Distraction

I woke up at 6 a.m. to my hips and thighs aching, not unusual after a long weekend. I tossed and turned a bit, took my pain meds, then tried the heating pad. Today is a holiday for crying out loud, President’s Day to be exact, and I so badly wanted to sleep in with the rest of the family. But when I couldn’t stand it any longer I got out of bed, grabbed my laptop, and trudged my way to the living room where I reclined my reading chair and decided to look over the emails I (un)intentionally ignored over the weekend.

However, I tend to get sidetracked and an hour later I was perusing the White House Historical Association’s website, wondering how I got there in the first place. I traced it back (as best as I could remember) to it starting innocently enough on my MSN homepage. My intentions were good, but before I signed in to my email, I saw the evil slideshow that stopped me dead in my tracks, like always. First pause and click: “Meth in Bra Leads to $712m Seizure”. Then, “ Malawi Gets Its First Grammy Nomination, With Album by Prison Inmates”. Followed by a story about how a rescue dog became mayor. I mean, come on, I had to know how that happened. I was just about to shift gears when I saw “Strange Facts About Every American President.” So in honor of President’s Day I figured I should read it. You know, out of respect. That somehow led me to reading a tweet from Hillary Clinton, and somewhere between there and here I ended up reading useless facts about the White House. But did you know that the most famous of the White House ghosts is Abraham Lincoln? Well, if you didn’t, you do now.

I have yet to read one single email.

But I did manage to waste and hour of my life. But then again, I learned some things. And learning is good, right?

Finally I realized it was time to truly wake up to the day. I’d had my fill of both dark and uplifting news stories, tempting links to Wikipedia, and all the other website diversions that seem loosely joined for no other purpose than to keep me unfocused, emotional, numb, or all of those things at once. Or perhaps none of those things at all.

The sun is shining, at least for the moment, a promise of a productive day. I have a list of things I need to get done and as I mentally tick them off one by one I can only think of a few things on that list that is truly important today;

Get some vitamin D (which I am deficient in) by spending some time outside with the family. Maybe I’ll even hug a tree, and if I ask nicely maybe it will allow me to suck in some of its vitality. That sounds really good right about now.

Work on the quilt I’m making for my daughter’s birthday gift from me. I have two weeks to get it finished and for once I’d love to finish a project ahead of schedule instead of pulling a painful all-nighter.

Other important to-dos:

Take a nap.

Make some scones.

Eat a scone.

Straighten up my altar.

Play cards with the family.

Eat another scone.

Try not to take another nap.

Choose a working Tarot deck for the week.

That’s about it. I understand that some of these may seem like distractions from what I probably should be doing but I have the rest of the week to worry about those things I don’t really want to do. Like laundry. Blech. The way I see it at the moment is that If we all have clean underwear, it can wait another day. Besides, all of the other things “to-do” are necessary to set my Spirit straight and kick my butt in gear for the week. I hope.

What’s on your to-do list today? I hope you can find time and a willing tree to hug today too. We could all use and share the love.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Comfort Zone

You have probably heard that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Stretch your wings. Aim high and venture forth.

But honestly I don’t want to.

I like it here in our little house in the trees, where I can’t see the road, or neighbors, and where the deer bed down in the meadow at night. It’s comfortable, it’s isolated, and it’s far removed from the outside world. Yes, I am a hermit, one who imagines herself being just fine with living out here in the woods alone. Someday I want to be the crazy old woman in the forest with a big cauldron in her front yard and everyone will think I’m completely nuts. Even the UPS driver will wish I wasn’t on his delivery route. Of course I’ll have a few cats and a pet crow that likes to perch on my shoulder and whisper secrets in my ear.

And if that’s all I had for companionship I think I’d be alright. Besides, other than my cute cats and cool crow, I’d have myself to talk to.

Anyone like me who suffers with Social Anxiety Disorder, whether it’s from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. can relate to what I’m saying and know how debilitating it can be.The truth for me is the longer I stay away from people and public places, the more I stress about doing so. The more I don’t want to. And there are more of us than people think there are.

Over the entire month of January I left the house for only what was necessary; my kids’ basketball practices & their Saturday games, which of course puts me in a social situation with other parents who (more times than not) are overly aggressive. I’ve been to doctor’s appointments, and the grocery store. That pretty much sums it up. I don’t think the art studio counts.

This is coming from a woman who traveled to Europe to meet up with her girlfriend back in the day. Wow, a lot has happened over the last 15 years.

But I ventured away from my house last night, just for fun, which was something I fought really hard against. I knew this outing would put me in a public setting that I wasn’t used to. It was far away from my comfort zone, like the little town 12 miles up the road. It wasn’t the elementary school gym and it wasn’t my doctor’s office. I was headed into the metropolis of busy freeways, lots of bridges, and narrow city streets. There would also be people. A lot of people. My level of anxiety was high when I put on my coat and several times I wondered if I could just maybe, somehow get out of it. But I sucked it up and spritzed on my best perfume then smiled at myself in the mirror because my husband and I were going on a date. The first one in many moons.

We saw a movie at a theater downtown then walked along Hawthorne where we spent way too much time in Powell’s Books. We skipped the trendy restaurants and Portland’s food trucks and finally settled in at our favorite burger joint. We both ordered pepper bacon cheeseburgers and waffle fries. We kinda shared a large milkshake- I say “kinda” because I slurped down way more than my fair so I could get the most (I’m bratty that way). It was an absolutely disgusting meal, and I enjoyed every bite.

It’s times like last night that I’m reminded of the good things that exist outside my comfort zone. There’s no guarantee in life that I won’t be in a car accident, mugged, or worse. But then again there’s no guarantee that I won’t slip and fall in my own home while holding scissors the wrong way or not get trampled by a deer (that actually injured me once, but that’s another story) while wandering along our trails.

Ask me today and I’ll tell you I’d love to see an old friend and catch up. Hell, I’ll even drive to the mall and do some shopping in the Macy’s store where that horrible shooting happened a few years ago. If I keep pushing myself, especially in times I don’t want to, I may begin seeing the world from beyond my comfort zone as somewhere I sometimes would rather be!

As much as the eccentric crazy old woman who lives deep in the forest spending her time conjuring magick and the occasional mayhem just to keep things interesting sounds fun, maybe I don’t really want to be alone. At least not yet.

But if I finally do find myself there I really hope I will have earned it. That I’ll have come full circle by venturing out of my comfort zone. I’ll travel and do great deeds. I’ll meet new people and hopefully share lots of laughter and joy. I’ll spend years and years loving my grandchildren, and teaching them the Ways of the Witch.

And there’s so much more. I want to give more time and energy to charity. I want to sew quilts for the newborns in the neonatal unit (I’ll never forget that small yet caring gesture from a stranger and how it gave me and Atticus so much comfort when he spent his first month of life there). I want to spend oodles and oodles of time with my husband, walking on the beach, playing chess, watching stupid movies, and laughing together until it hurts. And of course making love. A lot.

I want to see Greenland one day. I want to watch a play on Broadway. And while I’m at it, I want to have backstage passes to a Duran Duran concert and a private dinner~and stuff~with John Taylor (hey, a girl can dream)….He’s the one “free pass” *wink, wink* that my husband has given me, no questions asked. I only said okay because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings (another *wink, wink*). But gosh I love my man.

I want to keep making time for my watercolor painting and Soulcollage work. I want to continue guest speaking at Tarot workshops and at the University. I want to write a book. And I want to blog.

I suppose I have a lot of living I want to get done.

I know there will be bad bouts of pain where days and weeks will easily slip by, but I know that I have to fight to be a part of the outside world and push through my comfort zone once the pain episode subsides. Who knows? Maybe something greater than I ever thought possible will come out of it all. But before I get busy, I think I’ll go and call my friend and catch up. Maybe meet for lunch…. In the city.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Making Magick With Shel Silverstein & Chicken Noodle Soup

When the kids get sick I have a knee-jerk reaction to find out how I could have prevented it. The Goddess knows that I try and be a great mom, but the reality of it is I’m not perfect. My kids had the flu this week and I’m frustrated I couldn’t have prevented it.

It’s also a very difficult undertaking for me to care for my sick children in times of personal debilitating pain. This week has been one of those weeks, but somehow, I not sure exactly how, I’ve made it through. My children are well and finally back at school today and I think I’ll go ahead and collapse. Well, after I do a few things.

I’ll be somewhat functional today while I do a much needed load of laundry, (because Mount Washmore is gaining amazing altitude in the laundry room) catch up on correspondences, and empty the dishwasher. But then I’m going to relax. No, collapse. Well at least until 3:30.

I’m crossing my fingers the school doesn’t call because one of my kids starts feeling icky again, and I sure as hell hope that they don’t catch something else that may be going around.

I’ve known the most fastidious of germaphobes who still get sick. I myself am constantly making sure everyone washes their hands, eats reasonably healthy, and are active. I also make sure my kids stay home from school/social situations when they are sick so they aren’t spreading the illness to others. But some things just can’t be helped.

2015 flu season, commercial cleaning company, detroit office cleaning, detroit jantorial services, smart clean, cleaning for health, germs, dirty bathrooms

The awful thing was that I knew it was coming. Last week during my daughter’s basketball practice I watched as more than half the girls on her team were coughing and sniffling then handling the basketball, which was being bounced around from teammate to teammate. I inwardly cringed as the ball made its rounds, knowing that the germs were successful in finding new little hands to cling to.

As much as I tried to keep the right balance of vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc going, and as much as I charged and anointed my healing candles and surrounded my children with energy of protection, they still succumbed to the flu. My efforts failed. Am I truly so powerless? I mean, what kind of Witchy Momma am I?

At first I panicked. Then I cried. How was I going to care for my sick kids when I myself was on the verge of insanity from my pain? The area around my fusion and disc replacement was in knots, my sciatica was turned to high, and my fibromyalgia reacted to the stress with a vengeance. But I would do what I had to do, then my husband would take over when he got home from work (bring on the guilt, I think I can take it).

So the daily routine this week went like this:

I would be jolted awake by coughing fits after short bouts of painful sleep, but would take a deep calming breath and go and visit each child. I’d give out doses of honey if they asked, I’d spread globs of vicks vapo-rub on their feet while giving a quick tickle that made them squirm or smile just a bit before I put their socks back on. If needed, I would refill the humidifiers and add additional germ-killing essential oils, sometimes refreshing the cool rags for foreheads, and giving a dose of Tylenol if needed. I’d do all of this calmly and methodically then shuffle back to bed.

I spent a lot of the daytime sitting in the living room surrounded by sick kids with fever, coughing, and whining as my company. I wandered around picking up used Kleenex off the floor (no one could seem to hit the makeshift paper bag garbage can sitting right next to them) and would periodically go around the house wiping door handles, faucets, and light switches with an essential oil mix or just go ahead and heavy hit places with Lysol spray. I’d rinse the dishes, and maybe do a load of laundry. But when my body warned me to stop doing things, I listened and rested. At night my husband would give me a massage which caused tears to stream down my face, but as always, it ended up relieving some pain.

During a late Monday morning when my pain was at a steady level I took the opportunity to make a double batch of our favorite chicken noodle soup. We had it for lunch the first few days and we ate it with crackers while sitting on the sofa together watching old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and Lassie while nodding off now and then.

When they’d get tired of watching Lassie save the day they’d come find me in my bedroom on the heating pad, our adjustable bed in the zero gravity position with the full body massage on (that bed was one of our best investments we made to help manage my pain). Usually by the time they found me I had been resting long enough and my afternoon medication had kicked in that they were welcome to climb into bed with me. We would read Shel Silverstein’s wacky poems over and over again or look through our family pictures on the laptop, revisiting their baby years, vacations, holidays, all of which brought smiles and occasional laughter. A much needed reprieve from misery.

By Monday afternoon and thereafter, I was having have them each take a warm but quick shower and change into clean pajamas. By then they would be tired again so back to the couch. During the late afternoon I reheated some of the soup broth and they sipped on it while settled in their own little makeshift nests of pillows and blankets on either end of the couch, zoning out in their little foggy orbits. Thankfully the television stayed off.

By Tuesday afternoon they began arguing. For lunch they finished off the soup. A good sign they were recovering!

By Wednesday their coughs had become considerably less often and there were very few wads of Kleenex on the floor.

By Thursday they were playing with toys and complaining about how bored they were.
I was relieved when they slept through the night and that their eyes were bright this morning and they were ready to go back to school. Thank you Dear Goddess! I too was feeling so much better that I even did a little happy cha-cha-cha in the kitchen after the school bus drove away. Yes, I definitely feel better.

It took many years of Mommyhood to finally understand that I needed to slow down the pace when caring for my sick kids. One of the things I wish I knew as a younger mom (way before I even had to deal with chronic pain) was to relax when caring for my sick kids. Of course I still worry and listen to my inner-mom intuition, but when I come from a place of calm I am better aware of whether they need more or less of something and can adjust accordingly. It also gives me the ability to send them healing energy more effectively. I can make sure they drink plenty of fluids and gently remind them to rest, then taking that opportunity to rest myself. I can read aloud to them when they don’t feel well enough to read on their own. We can even watch an old movie or t.v. show together even if we end up napping through some of it. And I can even find the opportunity to make chicken noodle soup.

The way my life is now, living with daily chronic pain, I know from experience that If I don’t slow down when I know I should then my pain level will spike to an unmanageable level causing all kinds of misery. My children can sense when Momma’s not okay, but I can do my best not to add additional stress to their recovery. If I repeatedly went down the checklist of things to do for children with the flu, constantly took their temperature, and tied to maintain a perfect house through it all, I would be a raving lunatic stressed out to the max, and believe me I’ve been there, done that. Now as an older mom with young children and pain issues I’d have to add delirious from pain to the stressed out lunatic description. Stress is ugly and will spread just as quickly and with as much stealth as the nasty virus that has invaded my children.

It’s important for me to find joy in the little things that we did this week. Yes, it’s awful that my kids were sick, and no, it wasn’t necessarily a productive week. However, we were blessed with those quiet moments to connect and to feel the love and healing that came from them. In the process, I ended up loving and caring for myself which gave me the strength to overcome the obstacle of pain. I really believe that love is the best medicine of all. The beautiful feeling we find in love that is given and received in times of need is above and beyond any magickal power you will ever have, ever want or ever even find.

Many Warm Blessings of Health on Your Journey )O(

homemade chicken noodle soup

Photo from Honey Bee’s Recipes

         Magickal Chicken Noodle & Herb Soup

This is my take on the basic chicken noodle soup recipe that I have tweaked over the years. It’s now a family favorite and staple during cold and flu season. It’s full of cold and flu fighting herbs and the potato thickens it just a bit. If you are worried about the amount of herbs being too strong, start with half the amount and adjust to your taste from there. It makes about 8 servings and is ready in about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup diced celery
12 cups chicken stock*
½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
3 cups diced cooked chicken meat

1 (8-ounce) package dried egg noodles
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced potato
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass**
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

In a large pot over medium heat drizzle in the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and celery and cook in olive oil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and stir in chopped cooked chicken, dried egg noodles, carrots, potato, sea salt (optional), and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

*Take advantage of store bought rotisserie chicken for both the meat in this recipe and for making chicken stock for future recipes. After removing the meat, save the carcass to make chicken stock. Place the carcass in a large crock pot. Cut 3 whole celery stalks into thirds being sure to keep the leaves on the ends as they are full of flavor and place in pot. Then add 3 carrots cut into thirds. 2 medium onions quartered, 4 cloves of garlic, split, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 teaspoons sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Fill with enough water to fully cover the chicken. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Strain through cheesecloth and discard bones and vegetables. Store in refrigerator or freeze in gallon freezer bags.

***Lemongrass can usually be found in the produce section where the herbs are stocked. Our store sells it fresh as well as in a tube next to the ginger, tarragon, thyme, etc.

A New Journey for our Beloved Feathered Friend

My youngest daughter buried her pet parakeet today. She had received the blue budgie she named “Sweetheart” for her birthday two years ago after she begged, and begged, and begged for a bird. I wasn’t sure if she was ready to care for a bird because it needed more than just interaction, it also needed basic care and frequent cage cleaning. She insisted and promised that she was ready but I still had my doubts.

So I had her research the parakeet species and write a five paragraph essay on how to care for one and what her expectations were. She did a lot of research online and checked out all the library books she could find about them. What she ended up creating was two pages (which is pretty good for a second grader) filled with heartfelt words of persuasion (so persuasive that any and all spelling and grammatical errors were immediately and easily forgiven) so needless to say, she won what had become the “Battle of the Bird” hands-down.

And she stayed true to her words and was a brilliant pet budgie owner. There were no regrets and the entire family enjoyed her company.

There were no signs of any illness or distress at all. She was eating well, and played with us the night before, chirping to the t.v. and seemed content. And like any other night, my daughter took her to her bedroom and sat her on the perch next to her bed and read to her.

Then this morning I made the unpleasant and sad discovery. Luckily we were running late for school and I hadn’t had the chance to uncover her cage until the kids were off to school. It bought me some time to first figure out how I was going to tell my daughter Sweetheart was gone, to find a proper box, and think about how we were going to handle the final goodbye.

My husband broke the news to her and talked with her for a little while as she asked questions that he could readily answer in his special way because he is both a biologist and a druid.

She then came to me and climbed into bed and I held her and stroked her head as she cried. After some time we dried her tears and began the task of saying goodbye.

Her little coffin was a cedar box with a hinged lid that hadn’t yet been painted for one of my Tarot decks. We placed muslin in the bottom with cotton batting underneath. The bird was gently placed in the box and at our daughter’s request we left the two of them alone until she was ready to close the lid. She had taken a piece of millet (Sweetheart’s favorite treat) because she wanted to tuck it into the box with her bird. We found a spot under an umbrella shaped deciduous tree that is deeply shaded during the hot summer months. My husband used the shovel and began digging the hole then handed it to our daughter and we each took with the shovel. She placed the box into the earth and began covering the hole. My husband finished and smoothed the top.

She rewrote a prayer from the book “Circle Round” on an index card and read it out loud.

“Sweetheart, fellow traveler and my trusted friend. I am sad to see you go. I will miss your funny chirps, and your soft feathers. I will miss reading to you at night and will always smile when I think about how much you liked sitting on my shoulder and how you loved to have conversations with your own reflection in the bathroom mirror (we then went around and each of us shared something). May your journey be peaceful, happy, and free. As you join the great dance of creation, we thank the Goddess for your time with us, and we will hold you forever in our hearts.

Blessed Be”

We are going down to the creek bed tomorrow so that my daughter can find a special rock to use as a marker for Sweetheart’s grave.

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(

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

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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(

In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 3 of 3)

The Collage/Tarot Connection and the Now

I’ve been a lover of the Tarot since I was 14 and bought my first deck. Over the years I have added new decks to my collection as well as a few oracle decks from time to time. The last time I counted there were nearly 60 decks in all. Many Tarot enthusiasts will easily have collections in the hundreds (if not more) and I’ll admit I want to go on a Tarot deck buying binge from time to time. The main reason I don’t (other than we live on a budget) is because I love browsing through all the different decks. I can spend (waste) hours visiting Tarot websites, reading reviews on blogs or Amazon, looking at different illustrations and concepts, reading about the artist and their vision and influence for the deck, get sucked into Pinterest, and so on and so on. I’ll know when I come across the right deck because it will find its way to me at the right time. It’s much more fun and mysterious than clicking to add decks to my Amazon cart (of course there’s plenty on my ‘wish list’…)

The Moon from Kat Black's Golden Tarot Deck

One of my favorite decks of all time is the Golden Tarot by Kat Black. She uses a computer collage technique with artwork taken from the late Middle Ages through the early Renaissance; a time period I have always been fascinated with and drawn to from a very early age. She pulls together pieces of different paintings from master artists of that time and creates collages with velvety rich symbolism that speaks to my heart of hearts. It has the most beautiful Death card I have ever seen in any Tarot deck and I love her interpretation of The Moon card.

I decided about a year and a half ago that I wanted to do something that combined my love of collage and love of Tarot to create some personal cards that made me feel good, maybe contemplative, or loving, nostalgic, perhaps even moody. I craved cards that embraced the human condition. More specifically, my human condition. I wanted sentimental and I wanted layers upon layers of emotion. I wanted love and sensitivity, but I also wanted there to be a sense of humor here and there to cut through all the seriousness. I wanted strong messages with a tender touch. I wanted collage cards that would speak to my soul, spark my inner flame, and help me with chakra alignment and meditation. I wanted something personal, something that I put together with pure intent to connect me spiritually to my guides, dreams, and power animals in universally profound ways.

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So when I set out to create my own set of “intuition cards” I knew I didn’t want to follow any of the typical rules or expectations of traditional Tarot or oracle decks. My goal was to create a simple set of 24 cards; a deck that I could easily be able to pull one card in the morning as a “card of the day” to focus on. I could also shuffle through and select a card or two for inspiration in writing or painting. I could fan them out face up and find just the right one with the energy I needed to focus on for a ritual, or simply take the one off the top to use as a journal prompt at the end of a long day. So if I followed my heart, these cards would not be based on Rider-Waite or any other esoteric symbolism. They would be uniquely mine, with the language of my personal symbolism being of my own creation, allowing for change and renewal over time.

I still use Tarot daily because giving Tarot readings is not only my profession, but I hold a deep appreciation and love for its ability to help transform lives. At times I will use it for personal readings when I am needing to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes I’ll just take out a deck I haven’t worked with in a while and shuffle the cards. I find comfort in the way they feel in my hands, and the vibration of their unique energy. It’s like becoming reaquainted with an old friend. I enjoy taking the time to look at each card individually before I bless them, wrap them and set them back in their special place with a warm feeling in my heart.

When using my intuitive cards, there is a very inward focus that occurs. Some of my favorite moments working with my cards are those especially quiet times in the morning after I’ve sent the kids off to school and my husband is at work, but before I start laundry or take phone calls in my studio office. It is then that I can light a candle in a calm environment and spend some time gazing at an intuitive card of my own creation while sipping on my coffee.DSCF5941

I have had some of these cards for quite a while and I noticed that they were starting to show signs of wear. I was worried about them peeling back just far enough that they would catch on other cards and possibly get torn. I had spray lacquered them several times over but I wanted something more durable. So I decided to research ways to safely seal or laminate paper collage work and came across the “SoulCollage” website. I had never heard of that term before but was intrigued by some of the articles I read. I found myself nodding while reading because not only was the philosophy resonating with me but I was also learning new creative ways to simplify the process of creating collage cards with less mess. Yes, there are many who enjoy computer collage and that’s fine, it’s just not my preference. Like I mentioned, I absolutely love Kat Black’s work but personally I’m more of a tactile sort of gal so I need the true physical act of cut and paste…you know, real scissors and sticky rubber cement glue that makes icky glue boogers on the tips of fingers. And we must not forget the glorious mess of hundreds of tiny slivers of trimmed paper all over the table, scattered on the floor, stuck throughout your hair, in your cleavage….

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When you begin to do collage, (more than likely before you realize you’re even thinking about doing it) you start to see your surroundings in a whole new light. You’ll find yourself uncontrollably or inexplicably tearing images from magazines, catalogues, advertisements, labels from packages, and illustrations taken from old ripped up books on their way to the recycle bin. You’ll find yourself grabbing a brochure from the parks and recreation site because it has wolves on the cover. You might see that the box of cereal has an interesting new logo. You may even be shocked to find yourself trying to quietly remove a page from a magazine while in the waiting room at the dentist office because you can’t bear to part with the image. You may never see one like it again! Do not fear, because there are always going to be plenty of images from a multitude of different sources. So much so in fact that in no time you’ll be needing a file box with folders labeled with categories to separate the mass of torn, ripped, crumpled, cut, and snipped papers with cool images on them. Organizing them further than broad categories will probably never happen. Just know that’s okay. Part of the therapeutic process of collage is being able to let go of perfectionism, even just a little. The purpose is not to limit but to promote spiritual growth by continuing to learn and connect to Spirit, and to open new ways for positive changes to happen.

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Under Construction

As I continue to move forward on adding to my Soul Cards I am thinking of branching out and trying to begin a Wheel of the Year deck. With Samhain coming up I have been flooded with Autumn/Halloween images from all over the place. My mom gave me her Better Homes and Gardens fall issue and the thing is now basically nothing but a tattered shell, and I loved every moment of it!

I truly believe that ANYONE could benefit from creating collage work whether it’s oracle-type cards, collage journals, a framed 8×10 piece of art or even a wall mural! Whatever works for you. It can be as involved or as simplistic as you want. Although the wall mural sounds cool, it’s best to start small. Another reason collage cards are a perfect place to start. I urge you to flip through an old magazine, tear out some pages with images that speak to you, go within yourself, then get to cutting and pasting~ Express Your Beautiful Self!

Be fearless to express yourself!

Be fearless to express yourself!

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

*There’s plenty of free articles and information about collage at http://www.soulcollage.com/
and free is always good!