Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Trials and Blessings of Earth

 

When I began my studies of the craft I was introduced to the concepts and power of the elements.  I started on the wheel at the powers of Air, it was a perfect way to help me find a new balance -by knocking me off of my old one.  Needless to say, it worked, but for better or worse I’d been left to contend with the forces of initiation on my own.  It would many years before I’d learn to hone my own skills, embrace my strengths and find a way to move beyond a seemingly endless cycle of repetition.

Often, I hear that magic should never be worked for personal gain, that belief is foolhardy at best and one that I had my clutches on like a racoon in a trap.  Magic can be used to understand the self, to bring peace and aid in solving conflict when all else fails.  In most cases, my own workings were targeted at myself. There came a time when the magic seemed to dissolve.  Every path I turned down felt like a dead end.  I experienced brief build-ups before the destructive aspects of the elements would make another visit.  It came in the form of abandonment, grief, betrayal, and even what some call supernatural phenomenon.

I told myself that the elements were cleansing and purifying my life. Anytime vows are sworn it invokes the powers of challenge and initiation.  I acknowledged this as an aspect of my personal path but inside it felt like a riddle begging to be solved.  As soon as I was certain my relationships were working out, my financial life was stable and things were on a positive uphill ride, it would come tumbling down and I’d have to begin all over again.  Dreams of homes coming apart at their foundations, earthquakes and bugs spilling out of cracks in the ground came to me at night.  No matter how much I pretended, there was a deep, uneasy feeling I couldn’t seem to put to rest.

It wasn’t unreasonable for me to ask “Why” over and over in my head.  Forces of the Otherworld know I’ve not been the best listener. The answer began to show up in dreams.  The animals that came were the borrowers, diggers, and bug eaters.  Ant-eater visited to help me find out exactly what was “bugging” me -at least he said so.  The bugs appeared around family members.  Symbols of destruction were quakes, tornadoes, and even floods.  Luckily, I often survived what seemed to be an apocalypse.

The gifts of Earth and its powers are many but without having a receptive frame of mind and spirit it can pass by.  The first step was learning to be receptive.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  First, I had a terrible habit of not taking care of myself.  I’d become over-focused on fears and remained in a survival mode.  I stayed busy.  I didn’t stop and listen to the messages I was being given about my health.  I fostered relationships that were unhealthy for reasons in multitude which meant that my support system was completely deficient.  The results were the loss of stability, security, relationships I thought were important and near loss of self. Slowly, I regained my balance.

For me, it meant returning to school in my thirties and look at financial and career success in a more positive light than I once did. The trials of Earth taught me to take care of myself, to be resourceful and remain receptive to the many gifts offered that I was once blind to.  I shifted from a spiritual focus to a focus on my body, daily routines and work in a way that would be productive long term.

Learning to be receptive means accepting help when it is needed and putting pride to the side, it means sitting in silence and placing projective magic away until guidance is understood and action is taken.  Don’t hesitate to work magic for the betterment of life, ask help if you are dealing with unconscious self-limiting beliefs, practice being receptive and grateful on a daily basis.  With the powers of the Earth, build foundations, discover what nurtures or where nurturing is most needed.  It might mean digging into the past and facing the excruciating  truth, but it also means positive change and moving forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming and Creations

Conceive that all things imagined are created and the creations wait for you to return to them. Creating ‘dream-realities’ for me serves many purposes.  First, it can be a lot of fun stretching the imagination and then using various dream techniques to explore. Dreams have served to catapult creative projects and ideas and most importantly they have helped me to comprehend deeper aspects of my own spiritual nature while guiding me in my daily life.

The first question I often get is how is it done,  I am sure there are many ways to complete the task.  I use a combination of methods and try what peaks my interest, but I find that the dreaming mind (the subconscious is what I’m referring to here) seems to have its own agenda.  It feels like my initial experiences with watercolor paints on rice paper.  The flowing pigment sometimes seemed to have its very own creative idea.

I’ve been easily recalling vivid dreams for as long as I can remember.  Even to this day it is easy for me to talk about dreams I had when I was a very small child in complete detail.  If your a person that says “I don’t remember my dreams.” The road is a bit longer.

My first, intentionally initiated lucid dream, came in 2001.  However, the moment I became lucid the dream seemed to lose its construct and literally fell away from me like folding walls.  I was inspired to look deeper, research and listen to the words of other dreamers.

The Way I Do It
Trial and error have helped me over the years to develop various techniques that I use in my own dreamscapes.  Daily meditative practice and journaling have been important keys. Understanding has come with repetition, retrospect and re-reading through journals.  The most basic of techniques has involved simply asking questions, letting them go and then recording the dreams.  I use the practice of dream incubation and work on maintaining awareness to produce lucid dreams in which I am completely aware that I am dreaming but may not have complete control over the dream scenes.  In order to trigger these experiences, I first had to explore my own dreaming.  I spent time identifying symbols, feelings, people, environments and situations that appeared most often.  I developed an awareness of what my dreaming self was thinking or feeling by ritually paying attention to my thoughts and emotions on a daily-waking basis.  These practices began to leak over into my dreaming.

The sketch of my process looked something like this:

Establish dream recall nightly.  I began by keeping a journal and a low light lamp on my end table by the bed.  It was easy for me to lean over and write things down before trying to get back to sleep.  I found this to be useful later when I wanted to go back to a dream I was just having.
Establish writing ritual but keep it to simple words like identifying plants, animals, feelings, objects etc.  Then go back and put it together.  This was tricky because my mind seemed to recall every dream I had backward.

Find a kick-start, it is what sets off the lucid experience.  I noticed while I dreamt that I often looked at my hands.  I also seemed to be enveloped with the feeling that I had seen everything before.  To a friend, I commented once “It is like I’ve had every dream I am having before.  It is like I am living my life backward.” The repetitious feeling became a later cue used in combination with affirmations such as:  When I have a dream that I’ve had before, I know that I am dreaming.  I took what I’d discovered and began experimenting with it with results that pushed me onward.

Begin creating your own special place in your dreams.  Spend time conjuring up images of this place in your mind, support it with creative projects by drawing or painting it.  Guide yourself into it during meditation, add details that appeal to all of your senses.  I first created my own place only for me, I asked myself how I’d get there and what made it comfortable.  In my free time, I fantasized about being in this space.  Like my other ritual practices, it bled over into my dreams offering more possibility.

Co-Creations

My daughter and I spent time playing “The World of Zoo game for the Wii when it was my turn I made a very hungry, playful blue alligator.  It was a lot of fun and became the subject of a later joke during bed time.  “I’m going to sleep before you do so I can eat  your cupcake castle,”  I said to Illiondra to convince her to go to sleep as quick as possible.  “Oh no you don’t, I have towers of cupcakes and you will never eat them.”  I cocked my eyebrow in defiance, “Oh yeah, I’m bringing my fat, hungry blue alligator with me!”  She laughed.  Each night we’d add a little more to the joke.  It didn’t dawn on me that we’d seed these ideas so deeply that they’d come to have their own life within my dream worlds.

Troublesome signs once left me with an urge to use my dreams to find answers. As I laid myself to sleep, I sought to “get higher.”  The movie called  Mirror Mask further inspired me to do this.  The main character found herself lost in an alternate reality playing the role of the hero. Following clues, she realized she had to get higher in order to discover the “Queen’s sign.”

My mission was just to get a general overlook of the situation at hand. Prior to bed, I focused on what I knew but without clear focus, I overshot my mark and ended up in the upper lands full of mists, light and clouds.  A metal and wooden bridge arched from stone cliffs that seemed never ending in both directions.  Endless clouds and blue sky greeted me on my left but on my right was the beginnings of a large castle with cupcakes. Maroon colored scaffolding seemed to hang in the air while small workers in yellow hats pulled buckets of pink icing, cupcakes and large gingerbread crackers from the clouds below him.

Amused, I crossed the brown and red bridge and came to cliffs with guard rails.  I looked over.  Too many clouds I thought to myself when an older grey-headed man appeared behind me.  “Seems you folks came too high,” he said in a matter of face tone.  “You can say that again.”  I turned over my shoulder and he’d vanished.

A week later, I found myself sunbathing in a very large satellite.  A pool of blue-green water had settled into the center of the old satellite.  I settled to the edge of it with bare feet and threw back my head to absorb the light.  The water moved.  I looked again and noticed to very large yellow eyes staring straight at me like lunch.  It may have only been a dream, but I knew what an alligator eyes looked like from spending time in Florida in the waking world.

It jutted forward revealing its prehistoric-looking head and teeth only from head to the tip of its tail the gator was a bright cerulean blue.  Still, I was cautious.  Like an excited dog, the 17-foot alligator flipped, rolled and bounced for attention.  It tumbled over on its back and I rubbed the belly of the beast.  I woke up from this dream giggling.  After breakfast, we played with our friendly blue alligator on the Wii for a while.

Choosing to work with dreams, creating and co-creating worlds that consciousness can travel into and work in can be a profoundly enlightening experience.  It took me beyond myself and into the joy of building dreams with others.  If the spirit of overwhelming curiosity has taken over searching the topics below can catapult you into more fantastic information on this topic

 

  • Lucid dreaming
  • The Books: Conscious Dreaming or Dream Gates by Robert Moss
  • Dream walking by Michelle Belanger
  • Research the work of Joseph Cambell

Experiences With the Land Folk

Relationship with the land teaches easily that there is an existing spiritual, divine element in nature.  The old-world pagans knew there were spirits of many kinds all around us.  Beyond relating to nature as only elemental forces, I encountered it as a living, moving form with consciousness.  I wondered if these beings were the energetic extensions of a living Earth. I tossed around the idea that they were extra-dimensional entities, that they were the fey folk I’d later read about in my explorations and more.  Cultures across the ages have encountered spirits of various types and demeanors.  With a healthy dose of discernment, I allow the spirits to identify themselves.

I didn’t set the intention to walk out into my front yard and conjure up spirits, but that is exactly what I did.  The warm glow of the afternoon sun after a long day brought a sense of relaxation and peace.  Every day around five, I’d sit beneath the elm tree with my tabby cat and my eager little girl who eyed the corner for the ice-cream truck.  Birds danced under the branches of the elm early in the morning.  It was the first sight my eyes breathed each day I woke.

While sipping hot tea from my porcelain cup,  I could hear a woodpecker tapping away for its morning meal.  I spied a red head through the leaves of the elm.  The moment I noticed her she stopped pecking against the wood. With agile feet, she walked down the tree half way as if to get a good look at me.  The air became still for a moment, my ears were full of the sound of my own breathing when she started pecking away again.  The noise was different, three taps followed one with a pause.  I’d never seen the behavior before, it lasted for only a few minutes before she climbed to her starting point and flew away.

The spirits seem to like the slow and subtle.  It reminds me of the way weeds find their way into the cracks of a driveway or sidewalk.   The more time I spent resting and listening the more I could understand. There are not clear words to describe the language that forms between a person and a plant, stone or beast.  There is an inner “knowing” and the “dreaming” that helps to bring understanding.

In 2001, while helping to paint a Pentecostal church on the outskirts of town, I managed to lose a beautiful silver cuff with a turquoise setting that had been left to me by a great aunt.  It was placed at the back of a trailer.  The mental note I made was a clear memory in my head.  My eyes darted back and forth over the wood and metal of the trailer, but it couldn’t have fallen off.  Noticeable panic led to questions.  Six other people helped me to look.  Over half an hour later and the cuff was still absent.  I called it a loss and started painting again. I worked my way around to the back of the church and there, I paused.  My eyes followed up the trunk of a towering, twisted oak tree.  For a moment, I wondered if I’d move at all.  With a deep sigh, I sat on a large, wide root. “Hello, I can feel you here, I know that you are watching.”  No birds fluttered, or bugs zipped, all seemed to stop.  “The bracelet is very important to me.  If you would return it I’d be ever grateful.”  I relaxed and closed my eyes.  “Hey, you found it!”  I jumped out of my cat-nap at the sound of a familiar voice.  Beneath my fingers was the silver cuff.

For a week in 2008, I heard a tap on my back door.  I tipped toed to the peephole to find an empty porch every time.  During the same time, I’d hear odd pitter-pattering across my bedroom floors as though a small kitten was playing but I didn’t have a small kitten and my feet were warmed by my cat Aragus.  I stood in the back yard and turned over my shoulder.  I gestured to my two-year-old to follow me when my eyes felt drawn to the ground.  Resting at the right side of my foot was a stone the size of my palm colored in browns and tans.  On its nearly flat surface was a deep black engraving of a symbol.  Further inspection revealed more symbols clearly carve.  I’d later come to know them as Runes.  The unusual find marked the end of the strange happenings.  I smile and try to imagine how that stone found its way to me.  It has happened since, and each time it does I reflect back to the old oak tree and my silver cuff.

There is often the assumption that land spirits, house spirits, elementals and more are human like when it comes to their feelings and appearance.  More often than not there is the image of magical beings that float around with butterfly wings and grant wishes.  Though some of them may have human-like attributes and yes, even the power to bring a wish into manifestation, I often remind myself of their wild, beautiful, strange and mischievous natures. I consider that there is often an exchange with most gifts.  They often appear to me as animals or invisible forces that make things disappear and then reappear in funny places; like a missing shoe on the vacuum cleaner’s handle.

The choice to be aware and develop a relationship with the land spirits should be entered into with a sense of respect.  If you make a promise, do not fail to keep it.  If you desire to leave a gift in gratitude ask what kind of gift might be appropriate. Local spirits here seem to love sweet cornbread. I have never gone looking for the land spirits with the explicit intent to ‘see’ them as they don’t seem to enjoy showing themselves but if they want to make themselves known they find a way to get my attention. While visiting some distant relatives in Missouri, I wanted to take a walk through the woods, but the place was wild. I addressed the location’s spiritual guardians and bent over to leave a decorated item, cornmeal from my kitchen and a bit of wine.  As I stood up, I noticed a large heron only six feet from me.  We watched one another for some time before he left.  Seen or unseen, the land folk are always there.

Helpful Refrences

Faery and Folk Tales of Ireland By W.B. Yeats

Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby

The Fairy Faith Documentary 

 

Venus In Retrograde: Ready To Let It Go

Venus Retrograde Forces a Focus Look

There are times when we sink too much energy into relationships, habits and jobs that no longer serve us in any way. Still, we cling to them by making excuses. At some point, we develop an awareness of a repetitious pattern that flows in a destructive circle.  Who we choose to be friends with and connect to can impact our lives more heavily than we imagine. With the recent Blue Moon and many retrograde planets, I found myself in deeper introspection and more willing to discuss personal challenges I’ve dealt with over the past decade. Venus was a bit more pushy, forcing me to really look hard at my relationships and patterns that I’ve perpetuated through the years.

Old Friend Bad Habit

In 2004, I found myself talking to a young woman who’d introduced herself as a flaming republican who wanted to be a soldier. We met in a color and design class during my second year of college. I’d call her a flamboyant chameleon. She had a habit of dressing up according to the environment she was in. If the scene was goth, she’d wear black rubber bangles, put on eyeliner and shop at hot topic. If the scene was ‘proper’ then she’d wear a knee-length dress and if she wanted attention she’d find a short skirt and talk dirty to whatever guy caught her particular interest.

Many people found her unbelievably annoying, but I found her fascinating. I wanted to get to know her, understand why she put so much energy into trying to fit into so many scenes and maybe, I’d make a new friend. Though the years, I attracted what people around here refer to as the “under-dog.”

We were friends for thirteen years. In 2014 that changed dramatically. I never imagined that her personal lifestyle or moral decisions would affect me but after my husband chose to be with another woman and deserted me and my daughter, I did find it difficult to hear her talk about her own affairs. My lack of interest was obvious and I didn’t mind telling her it bothered me. My open expression led to suspicion, a crack formed in her friendly mask.

I received a dose of ‘trial by story.’ Early one morning she said she had an upsetting dream I’d told her husband about her affairs. “Would you really do that?” We’d made a ritual of telling each other our dreams for years and this one clearly illustrated her personal fears to me. “I’ve kept your secrets for a literal decade, but my silence might be more telling. I don’t think I’d directly lie to him but why would he ask me?” The dream, of course, was a complete fabrication, she admitted to me later that she wanted to test me. The situation moved from trial to accusations that I might steal from her or worse. Her fears had spun out of control. The friendship was over. I wouldn’t compromise my integrity and lie just to cover her ass.  That choice would be the first among many steps that led to a healthier life.

WATCH OUT FOR VAMPYRES

When I say the word vampyre, I mean that in every sense of that word save for the Holly-Wood image. For the record, I won’t speak ill of all vampyres.  I’ve used the variation in spelling here to separate the expected move style image from the read deal.  Psychological analysis aside, I’ve encountered individuals who really can drain the living energy out of people. Some of them have conscious control over what was a latent ability and choose to act according to the Black Veil’s codes. Still, there are some who have absolutely no idea about their energetic natures. The unconscious knowledge means they act out of instinct which can be a possible threat.  I shared an intimate relationship with a vampyre for nearly three years.  He didn’t have a clue what he was. He was often terribly depressed. Later, I discovered he had several issues with co-dependency relating to alcohol and prescription drug abuse.  He hid these problems unbelievably well.

break the tie

 

Unknowingly, I’d become his personal rehab. He came to me in order to vent, to be away from temptation and to detox.  I took on excessive amounts of negative energy and I did so willingly because I wanted him healthy and happy. It was a complete disregard to my own well being. The end of the story concluded unusually well, but it took me years to recover and time for him to discover how to take responsibility for his inner beasts.  A major part of my own healing was choosing to break the link between us despite my feelings and then move forward for the sake of spiritual wellness.

LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GOOD

Dress up and feel good. If it makes you feel good to wear a little make-up, dress pretty and go out on the town then do it. It seems harmless enough but what happens when your feel- good attitude and look incites jealousy, insecurity, suspicion, and even anger? It took me a while to feel good about looking good and yes even feeling attractive after being told I wasn’t enough in a four-year marriage. Despite all logic, the hurtful statement managed to punch straight through to my self-image. Gotta work on those defenses.

One morning I got up unusually cheery. I threw my arms around the rising moment and threw on a long skirt with my old belly dancing hip scarf. It always made me feel beautiful. My dark hair was done up in a clip with strands of hair dangling around my face. My favorite beaded pendant dressed my neck. After heading to a local herb and health shop with a friend and returning home, she became distant and seemed upset with me.

Later, I was accused of being “too attractive” and it was said that I must be using ‘woman magic’ to attract men to me and away from the young woman that went out with me that day. Ridiculous! I didn’t realize how put off she’d been when a shopkeep offered me his number. “Ann,” as I’ll choose to call her here, had serious issues relating to other women. She felt like she was in competition with them and suffered from severe confidence issues.

REASONS ROOTED OUT

Many of my relationships were boiling in a pot due to similar circumstances. Trust was broken over and over again. I had not betrayed trust in any form except to myself which is the worst kind of betrayal. I had compromised my own integrity in order to keep others happy, safe, and emotionally supported. When I most needed it, I found myself feeling adrift on a still sea, abandoned by all those I expected to be there for me.  Despite the painful experiences, I learned from them. The law of polarity often teaches us what we want by showing us what we don’t want. These were not the kind of people or situations I desired. Like mirrors, they showed me that I had some very bad habits of my own. I’d developed a tendency to desire to fix people, a lack of focus in important areas in my life, a need to pay attention to my own dreams, spiritual wellness and health. It isn’t selfish to take care of your needs and wishes. If someone tells you it is then they most likely have neglected themselves too.

When we find ourselves asking “why does this keeps happening to me?” It is time for introspection, a breath of fresh air and a safe space. My partner recently listened to me talk about these patterns before saying: “Oh, it’s like that song that sings “…use your private parts as piranha bait.” I laughed. The song is about being naive and yes, doing dumb things that lead to what should be an obvious consequence. Either way, he made a dark humorous point. I do realize that life is far more complicated than a song and solutions are not always in clear sight, but the music did make me smile.


There is a personal choice in all things, but not all choices feel like choices. There are times when the flow takes you and life feels like it has spun into complete chaos. Not all consequences can be foreseen. I feel one of my personal flaws is resisting the natural flow of change. Regardless of my tendency to struggle, and all the hard-earned lesson that have come from it, is the wonderful understanding; I can choose to change my story.

Release It

Any loss. large or small should be given a moment, a ritual, simple recognition with the conscious attempt to feel and then let it go. What is lost isn’t always obvious. It may feel good to let an abusive relationship go, but the real loss is in the time, energy and even in lost opportunities. Letting go makes room for possibility, for new growth, and joy again in life. It means a new beginning. So in what way might we grieve a loss with something other than tears and rage? I find that ritual and spell craft has been wonderful for the purposes of healing. Symbols speak to the deeper self and allows for healing to strike the core. I recently read the book, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She discussed Descansos which are the small memorials that mark where a person has died. Most of us have seen them in rural Missouri as white crosses with flowers and pictures on the side of the road. She states, “To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chicitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place.” I think that the marking of these events and the conscious choice to let them go is vital to the soul that yearns to heal.

FORGIVENESS AND BROKEN TRUSTS

When I first saw the image and statement here at the left, I was stunned by the powerful psychological impact. Forgiveness does not mean you let a person harm you over and over again. It does not mean that you forget and it doesn’t mean that damage hasn’t been done. Forgiveness is a peace you find yourself, an ability to let it go but learn from the experience. Forgiveness is being able to see motivations behind a person’s actions but not taking responsibility for the actions of another person. Broken trust can’t always be repaired. There are times in life when we outgrow people and situations and they have to be released from our lives. It is healing to choose to move forward.

Helpful Links

Full Moon Letting Go Ritual
The Psychology of Letting it go
The Black Veil
Women Who Run With Wolves: link to the book