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(

Cherry Tarts~ Retro-Style

Mercury Retrograde.
It’s a time to say what I should have said when I felt what I meant to say. Or something like that.

Discombobulated anyone?

Just blame it on Mercury. Like the most of us tend to do.

 I’ve been on the alternative route long enough to have been duly warned of all the do’s and don’ts during this “troubling” time. I am well aware of the more-than-likely-mishaps and frustrating malfunctions, dumb misunderstandings and deals gone bad. I’ve been there, done that. And so have you.

 No need to fret, It’s just Mercury Retrograde doing it’s thing; and we all have our thing.

When things go awry like your printer takes a nosedive or you accidentally hit “send” when you really shouldn’t have then it’s time to pay more attention to the little wisps of luck in your life like getting out of a speeding ticket, finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket and then find the bakery is making your favorite cherry tarts again (I must admit I worked hard on making that wheel squeak).You know, the important stuff in the Grand Scheme of Things.

Besides, Mercury isn’t really moving backwards, it’s all just an optical illusion…but I really shouldn’t spoil the mood so I’ll stop there.

Life speeds by on its endless course and dear Mercury Retrograde can be that slap in the face you need in order to get a grip on life.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The tarts are calling my name. Mercury Rocks!

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(

Just Because; Gifts From the Heart of a Stranger

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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.

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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

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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

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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(

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(

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!