Midsummer’s Labyrinth

May You Dance With Laughter!

Circle Dance

The Wheel is turning to its height
Dance, Lord, for the powers of Light.
Dance, Dance for the end of Night
Dance on.

Leaf and bud and branch upthrust,
Dance for the peak of Nature’s lust,
Dance On

Dance, a million petals unfurl
Sunlight, colors, shadows swirl
Dance all, the heady, merry whirl
Dance On

Elderflower, like summer snow,
Dance, for the Sun’s lingering glow
Dance on.

Dance, my Lord, and bow your head,
Roses, Sun and blood are red
Dance on.

Dance, my Lady, all in white
Dance for the dark that hides in the Light
Dance for the first caress of Night
Dance on.

Now Dance All and shed no tear
The young King follows the old King here.
Dance for the merry Wheel of the Year
Dance on.
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Nothing is certain. Only change. The basis of all life. The Cycle. The Wheel. As Above So Below.

This is such a beautiful time of year. The lavender is bursting through its buds, silvery and fragrant. The plums are beginning to slowly ripen, surrounded by blooms and fern fronds embracing each other. There is such grace in these moments when I stop and look at the beauty of Midsummer.

We are standing at the crest; this, the high tide of the year. There is warmth and light as the sun stays steady in the sky. The kids run barefoot along the paths beneath the trees, coming in as darkness arrives with filthy feet and faces full of smiles as bright as the noonday sun itself.

Grasp each moment of Every Day. Savor it, because moments are fleeting.

The roses are in bloom and I make it a point to stop and smell them. We have red ones, big yellow ones, and my favorite, a deep coral hue that smells absolutely divine. I have brought a bouquet in and set it on the dining room table. In the bathroom there are lilacs in a jar of water. And beside my bed is a fresh cluster of lavender and rosemary. I think I shall sleep well tonight.

Midsummer, the turning point. The longest day is here and daylight is at the highest peak of its power, and so it is from that moment that darkness now begins to grow.

We have built a small stone labyrinth in a clearing beneath a gathering of cedars. There are just enough rays of sun to ignite the solar lights at every sixth stone. I find the spiral to be mesmerizing, tranquil, and dizzying all at the same time. Tonight I took the journey alone and once I arrived I stood at its center for quite some time looking into my own soul’s eyes.

The center that I cannot find
Is known to my unconscious mind;
I have no reason to despair
Because I am already there

–W.H. Auden

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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Vanity and the Choice of Ego; Careful, You Just Might Get Burned

We fly out in less than a week. I haven’t been back to Southern California in almost 13 years. I was born and raised in sunny Southern California but it’s hard to call it my “hometown” or “where I’m from” anymore. It feels like a lifetime ago.

I most certainly don’t feel Californian anymore, but apparently when I’m angry, tired, hurt, or frustrated I’ll react in unflattering ways (like a toddler, now that I think about it). When this happens, my husband will simply fold his arms and give me a wry smile and call me his “Cute Little Valley Girl.” He has also become quite good at mimicking my squinted-eye glare. Sometimes to my horror, I still give him the satisfaction of an involuntary hair-flip.

I really need a new shtick.

So when he called me on my immaturity today, I became embarrassed rather than angry. But you see, I need a new bathing suit because the one I have is literally 11 years old. Granted, swimsuit season is pretty short where I am now, meaning my old swimsuit could easily live to see another 8 years. “But dammit”, my ego tells me, “you deserve a nice bathing suit. Just think about all that time you’ll have to hang out at the hotel pool with the kids…with your husband…with lots of other women who will be in bikinis and look waaaayyy better than you.” (granted, it’s the Disneyland Hotel, not a Laguna Beach resort).

I decided to go to the specialty swimsuit store in Portland. If their clientele was just as ego-driven as I was, consisting of beyond pale moms who were insecure with their bodies, I would surely fit in.

This was a smart store, (brilliant really) where the dressing rooms had lighting that flattered, a salesperson who acted genuinely interested in what a bathing suit could do for my boobs as well as my gave birth to 4 kids tummy. They even served free beer. I accepted it (there were cup holders inside the dressing rooms). The fact that they knew I was going to need alcohol in order to take my clothes off in front of a complete stranger was not lost on me but I recovered quickly thanks to the amber colored beverage that snaked its way down into my belly.

Finally, after trying on 8 swimsuits, I found the perfect one. Except when I turned around. Wow, I was pale. Very pale. I’ve been trying to be good and haven’t laid out in the sun for the sheer purpose of a tan for well over a decade. But truth be told, I’ll sometimes look back on those California days of built-in swimming pools in my backyard that resulted in deep, golden tans. Back in the day when my teeth were a dazzling white and I didn’t need beer in order to take my clothes off in front of a stranger. I turned to the side and sucked in my belly. I stuck out my chest. If I just had a little bit of sun on my legs, just enough to take away some of the glare….maybe some of the dimples…

Besides, whoever said Witches can’t have a tan? When did that become the rule? I’ve done the pale Stevie Nicks thing long enough, and in my defense, I’m very deficient in vitamin D. I mean, isn’t that what happens when there’s not a lot of sun? I think so.

My next stop was the tanning salon. This is coming from someone who just a few months prior looked at herself in the mirror, completely naked and admired her female body and all its flaws. But the salon smelled like pina-colada. The bubbly girl behind the counter explained all the package deals and as a lightly bronzed woman was leaving, she was asked how her session went. She answered with, “it felt amazing, as usual.” So I did what any nonsensical witch would do, I signed the release, consenting to new wrinkles and further skin damage. All in the name of ego.

I went the full 10 minutes in the “platinum” bed because I needed a tan real quick.

Of course I didn’t tan, I burned. No, I fried. I should have known better. I did know better. I could have simply painted my toenails. I could have remembered the way I lovingly saw my body, with all its honest flaws. I could have remembered what truly mattered; We were taking the kids on their first plane ride, on their first trip to California, to spend a week at Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth” for their first time.

And here I was thinking about how myself and how I would look to others. That night as my husband was smearing aloe-vera gel on my back, I felt ashamed at my selfishness. I had gotten caught up in my own petty self-consciousness because I was comparing myself to a body from a lifetime ago and worried how I would stack up to others. Anxious about how others would see me. I spent far too much money on a bathing suit that I’ll hardly ever wear because I was burnt to a crisp. Instead, I would have to be covered up and wear a sunhat.

All in the name of Ego.

I knew better, and now I realize how much more I liked myself before I allowed my ego to get the best of me. Before I got burned. Just Live, Learn, and Love your Body.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Salty Magick & Elven Speak

Here I sit at the dining room table in the midst of lovely chaos. The t.v. is turned up way too loud, the washer and dryer are both running simultaneously nearby, the kids are tossing a balloon back and forth, giggling while trying to keep it airborne (in some strange, made-up game only they know the rules to), my husband is animatedly discussing football plays with fellow coaches and all the while I am sipping on lavender chamomile tea wondering how on earth I’m going to get my lines memorized for the upcoming ritual I agreed to be a part of.

I’m in the thick of things because I became lonely after having shut myself in a quiet room, far removed from the action which (interestingly enough) proved to be no less distracting than the present moment. I’ve lit a candle to help remind me of the task at hand and, for some reason, I have found that if I sit facing towards said chaos that I am more able to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve taken over the entire circumference of the dining table with my ritual notes from last night’s rehearsal, some files and a binder, along with my cellphone and laptop; not to mention way too many pens in varying shades of purple.

I kind of feel like the Queen Bee of the dining room, looking out over the workings of a household gone mad while I ramble on about the defining qualities of a sturdy potato chip interspersed with seemingly random words of an obscure and unique language.

“Rrrrruffles have rrridges…Rrrrruffles have rrridges…Rrrrruffles have rrridges…formenel…dorhiron……ennorath..…”

This strange babbling initially drew attention from the others but they’ve since moved on to more interesting things and have pretty much left me alone ever since.

I’m not completely bonkers (although I’m sure there are many that would be eager to challenge me on that), I’m simply supposed to learn how to speak a little bit of Elvish and I’m trying to practice rolling my r’s eloquently. Out of frustration I was about to call it quits when my eyes landed on a half-empty bag of Ruffles potato chips laying the kitchen counter flanked by empty bottles of hefeweizen (the by-products of having several football coaches in my house). I don’t know how I know this, maybe I saw it in a movie once, but “Rrrruffles have rrridges” was a way to practice those rolling r’s.

As most things of this nature, it all began innocently enough when I was asked to call the North at a Wiccan ritual that will be open to the public for this upcoming Spring Equinox.

I thought, oooh, I haven’t called a direction in a public ritual for quite a while, and I most certainly haven’t called North since…well…ever!! A picture immediately flashed in my mind…It would feel amazing to raise my arms to the sky as I invoked the Northern Watchtower, speaking freely from my heart and hopefully stirring the souls of those who heard my words as we welcomed in the grounding Earth energies; I could almost feel the winter North wind whipping my hair around wildly as leaves twirled and spiraled upward. Ah, the magick! But, I’m a practical witch, and a realist to boot, so I reigned in my imagination a bit (plus I already knew it was going to be indoors so the wild wind whipping my hair around was probably out).

I quickly answered with an enthusiastic “yes!” anyway, before learning little details like my invoking the Watcher of the Northern Tower would be done in both Elvish and English.

I never paid a lot of attention to Elvish unless it involved Legolas. Is that bad of me?

So I will learn my lines like the good Witch I aspire to be and not just because I care for, admire, and deeply respect the women who have worked so hard to create this ritual. I believe in the work we do and that public ritual can help create change for the better. I’m excited see how the community receives this well written ritual. It’s an interesting blend of The Blessed Realm and Goddess creation myths from around this world with some other interesting tidbits added. That’s the beauty of eclecticism.

Public rituals are unlike most of my solitary rituals where I can fly by the seat of my pants until it comes to the actual spellwork. On the contrary they are organized, well-planned events with a basic structure necessary in order to have a successful outcome that promotes religious tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness. A ritual for a large gathering of people in a shared public space needs to have that organization or it will quickly lose focus, scatter intentions, cause disinterest, or worst case scenario lead to friction and/or fear. I know from experience that there will already be enough of that from well meaning bible-thumpers trying to save our naughty souls from eternal damnation.

The beauty of individual self-expression lies within the center of Paganism and is vital to Spiritual Awareness and growth. It’s often found in drumming and meditation circles, solitary work, etc. This is where ideas form and inspiration grows. It’s where we find our voice and feel comfortable to finally having it be heard, sometimes for the very first time.

Large public rituals are similar in that they create a welcoming sacred space to everyone, regardless of gender, race, experience, faith, or culture. However they differ from drum circles and many types of mystical gatherings in that they have a central theme that weaves together a magickal story to be shared with the community through careful outlining of thought, action, and intent; the stuff magick is made of but in a specific order that can be easily carried out with (hopefully) few hiccups. They rely on building the energy through deep trust in the person you are holding hands with. The experience is a collective effort and no matter the level of experience, the energy naturally directs itself towards the Priestess acting as Centerpole. These people of diverse backgrounds who chose to be a part of the Circle will feel the release as it trembles the earth. There will be a quiet stillness that tingles the skin and stirs the soul as we connect with others through a collective consciousness and a shared understanding of the moment. Most bystanders will feel something too. Maybe there is something to this Magick thing after all.

Strangely enough, a half-empty bag filled with high fat, overly salty, virtually no nutrient value crumbs might just help me be a successful part of this amazing ritual. An extreme example of finding magick in the mundane, yet no less magickal.

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(

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(

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(

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(

Beware, Halloween Might Offend Someone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Beautiful Beltane Blessings

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Hearts Awaken, Fairies Afoot

Beltane is on or about the halfway mark between Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice so here in the Pacific Northwest the weather usually becomes milder and the daylight noticeably stretches further and further into the evening hours.Thursday, April 30, May Eve, was when Mercury entered Gemini, remaining there until the beginning part of June. This is a time to feel inspired to travel and learn, maybe even take on a new class or venture out to a new destination. With Mercury in Gemini I need to remember one key element for a continuing successful Beltane weekend. Communication. I’ll need an open mind and to embrace spontaneity to bring Beltane Blessings into the hearts and lives of my loved ones, and to effectively extend the loving energy flow to our Mother Earth who so desperately needs it.

On Friday my children and I gathered moss, fallen twigs and bark and created a fun little fairy playground to place under our giant holly bush. We made a little gazebo complete with a swing, and a giant slide with ladder. A welcome sign pulls it all together. We have planned to continue making things for the fairy folk throughout the summer. This morning we are finishing up a house and the kids are really involved. Who am I kidding? I think I’m just as much (if not more) into it than my children are!
Last night my husband and I had a quiet evening at home for our private Beltane observance so I cooked up some sensual pleasures to share with my him to honor our union of Mind, Body, and Spirit. Our ritual was wonderful, beginning with a massage and went on from there. *wink*

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

As a Free Spirit, there is no set prescribed dogma or rules about how much, how little, how long, or even where I decide to practice and honor the Divine. My path is a reflection of my Soul’s yearning, and I feel as naturally drawn in that direction as branches of a tree bend towards the light.

Daily Spiritual Practice is vitally important for the Journey of the Soul but can be very difficult to maintain if you don’t find some sort of structure that is evenly tempered with balance. This is my ongoing journey towards balance.

Over the past two decades, my daily practice has evolved (and continues to evolve) in the most wondrous ways. I’ve come a long way since twenty years ago when I felt it necessary to perform formal rituals for any spellwork of any kind. When I flip through my first Book of Shadows and the countless spiral notebooks I had filled with ‘necessary’ knowledge, it’s clear how much I lacked in self-trust and balance.

Unlike my Catholic upbringing and other major faiths, my new way of Spirituality was not centered on an individual’s teaching. I wasn’t following a “Book”, instead I was creating my own. I was discovering my own Truth and quickly became passionate, eager to learn anything and everything I could about Paganism, Goddess Worship, Witchcraft, New Age, Astrology, Divination, Angels, Holistic & Natural Healing, Reiki, Eastern Philosophy, Zen, etc.. Although I had freed myself from the bondage of mainstream religion, I found myself to be very much alone. I was no longer accountable to anyone other than myself, and like many others, I am my own worst critic.

Young and in the early stages of my new Spiritual Path, I quickly fell into the New Age Wicca trap and became guilty of buying gleaming new tools to adorn my altar because I didn’t trust myself to create them myself with items I found in nature. (And I’ll admit I’m drawn to pretty, sparkly things, and oh my are there pretty, sparkly things packed in metaphysical shops!) I read, reread, rewrote, and reworked everything until my head spun and I began to second guess all of my actions. Instead of finding fulfillment and peace, I became a nervous wreck with less self-esteem than I began with. I’ve come a long way spiritually since then, and had a lot to learn about the concept of balance.
Regular balance adjustments have been crucial to my Spiritual alignment and have become as welcome as they are necessary. Over the years I’ve accepted the fact that overdoing can be just as bad as doing nothing at all. Roadblocks and perfection detours have no place on my Spiritual Path. Creating balance allows me to move along freely and maintaining that balance in my daily Spiritual practice has helped me gain balance in all areas of my life.

Life is just one big balancing act. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives are in constant stages of change. We can be physically cold, emotionally sad, and spiritually malnourished. On the other hand we can feel great in one or more of these areas.

When it comes to Spiritual Balance, it’s important to understand that a person’s idea of balance can vary greatly between individuals. When you factor in all those moment to moments, the one size fits all mentality just isn’t going to work.

The trick to finding that sweet spot of equilibrium will rely on your honesty. With yourself. We are creatures of habit, but not all habits are good for us. Look at yourself, then look at your situation. What needs to change? More than likely it will be something you don’t want to change, but it’s our responsibility to know where our strengths and weaknesses lie at any given time. Knowing where and how much power we can draw from one area of our life to help balance another is one of our life’s best lessons to learn. For me it was one of the hardest. It meant I had to evaluate and be objective in my reasoning.

One of my favorite tools to use when looking within is the Tarot. The archetypal images work beautifully for me to tap into my subconscious, bringing to light certain aspects of my life that I couldn’t see . Many are inspired by the Tarot, but it’s not for everyone. The key is to find that special tool that resonates with you on a deeply Spiritual level in order to unlock the subconscious. For some it’s meditation, for others it may simply be going for a walk in nature. There’s automatic writing, trance work, dream analysis, etc. Look for that special something that works for you, try out new things. When you find it you’ll know it. If you find yourself second guessing, then it’s probably not right for you, and you should move on and try something else.

Balance is a constant state of give and take. You will only be disappointed if you think balance and harmony can be a moment frozen in time. The only constant in life is change, so you just gotta to roll with it.

Blessings on your Journey )O(