Fear of Fresh Air

You wake up at five o’clock in the morning, have your cup of coffee, and you’re out the door by six.  You get to work at seven or seven thirty, depending on traffic, and you work until noon.  You go outside to smoke, then back inside to eat your lunch – or perhaps you take a quick ride to the nearest place that will feed you.  You work your last little bit, drive home, sit down, and have another cup of coffee.  You watch TV or make dinner, switch and repeat, then you fall asleep in your bed to do it all over again the next day.

I’m no different.  During college, I wake up, drive to class, am in class all day.  I come home to make dinner and do homework or watch TV, go to bed, and do it all over again.  If its a weekend, I spend my mornings playing video games or watching TV, my afternoons shopping or exercising, and my evenings doing much of the same that I did that morning – maybe I’ll play my guitar or clean something.

Our society is so damn depressed because we trap ourselves in these little boxes.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a little box called a house or a car, or a little box called headphones-and-music-while-exercising.  We are so trapped inside our own heads that we are almost afraid to be outside.  Afraid of the dark, afraid of snakes and bees and germs and holes in the ground and even the sun.

And then we wonder where our stress comes.  Oh, I’m feeling horrible and I can’t perform my ritual today because I have a thirty page paper and I sort of have a cold coming on.  Oh, I’m just too tired to take a walk.  I think I’ll watch TV instead.

We have no excuse, and we should be ashamed.

I spent a week bicycling across New York State.  The most time I got to spend inside was when I was eating, showering, or using an inside toilet (the majority of that was porta-potties).  I slept in a tent, and even though the ground was hard, I fell asleep knowing that I was home.

When I got back here, to home, I felt trapped.  Even my room is displaying my displeasure with being cooped up – my windows are open, the shades as far up as they can go.  I spend more time downstairs, which is lighter, and I am simply craving wide open spaces once more.

Go outside and try to experience it.  Don’t run with headphones in your housing track.  Run in a state park with nothing but you (and a cell phone, in case you get lost).  Watch for the bunnies and the squirrels and maybe even a groundhog or a fox.  Look up and see the birds(but don’t trip on a tree root).

We may not be made for outside anymore(lack of body hair can make it cold) but we should stop allowing cultural feelings that began in Victorian England to dictate how comfortable we feel in the place we belong(outside).  Clothes will fix the body hair, and courage will fix the rest.


Simple Gifts

Tomorrow I shall post about that special holiday, but for now, let us speak once more of gifts and sacrifices and our relationship to the gods.  This idea has been sitting in my “unwritten” folder for a few days, and its just dying to come out.

Let’s say you leave a bundle of flowers somewhere for the Gods, and walk away, offering it as a gift.  How soon – if you visit that spot frequently – should you go back?

For me, at least, I feel that my gift has been accepted if the present that I leave – be it a carving, food, flowers, or some other gift – is gone.  I realize that in a practical sense, as magic creates opportunities, it is easiest to believe and understand that some other physical entity takes the gift from the spot – be it an animal or a human.

It’s kind of like leaving cookies for Santa, in my psyche – whether or not it should be is up for discussion.  A sacrifice is something you are giving away.  A true sacrifice then, would be something which you offer completely.  If you go back to ‘check on it’ – are you not claiming ownership, especially if its still there?  A true sacrifice should be something that occurs just like a spell – it happens, and you leave it be.

Yet, things happen in due time, and someday, perhaps you or others will find something inline with my current experience –  that the sacrifice that you leave that is even non-edible, is gone in an hour.  Maybe 2.  Definitely by the next morning.  And I begin to ask myself:  Are the gods that close to us?  And I realize, its not my place to question, in this instance and this instance alone.

Sometimes, trust and faith are the gifts left to us, and we must take what we will from them.

Imbolc: Part Two

Expressing your spirituality.  What an odd concept for those of us who have been hiding in closets all of our lives.  I’ll skip the moaning and groaning about not being mainstream for now – we’ve all done our share, and we have all heard it before.  On a brand new college campus, I haven’t really scoped out the existence of any of “us”.  As far as I can see, its mostly “them”, though I’ve heard there are a few of “us”.  In any case, here are some ideas for some nice, calming, non-boisterous attempts at connecting with the Great Mother and her aspect, Brigid on the upcoming sacred day.

  • Walk – simple?  Absolutely.  But taking a walk – a walk designed purposely for observation and intentional connection with the world around you – that is a walk that can be full of spiritual implications.  Look up, look down.  Do you see the ants’ nest you almost stepped on?  Look for plants or animals that stick out – does it mean something?  The skies and seas and in between are full of signs just waiting for you to interpret.
  • Sunrise – Watching the sunrise can be exceptionally poignant on Imbolc, the time when the sun is finally beginning to make some progress in the wintery world.  If you live in the North or far from the equator, it may be difficult – don’t put yourself in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation on snow or ice.
  • Make Something – pick a goal – and then make a representative of it – be it an amulet or something else.  Brigid is the ruling goddess, the goddess of the smithy – you may find your hands work better than normal or you experience a creative surge as you go about your day.  Don’t be afraid to pick up a piece of wood and start carving it.  If you have a rare opportunity to visit a metalworker – go for it!
  • Action – the most important part of this holiday is taking an action, symbolic or useful, towards creating change within your life.  The power well is there, *USE* it!  Take a run, if you want to lose weight.  Begin your meditations on dance, if you want to learn about the subject.  Take the time to create that positive change in your life, and you may find that the rest of the days within this year flow easier.

Remember as a witch, or a pagan, not to get down when others go about their days and you want to shout at the top of your lungs, “It’s Imbolc!  Time to Celebrate!”  You can tell people, invite them to acquire the knowledge about our sacred day.  But a lot of times, at least, I find myself with a secret smile as I go about my day – today is a day which I have decided to set aside, make special.  Its that secret joy harbored within which has driven us solitaries for the duration of our lives, that sense of secrecy which has allowed to craft to survive and flourish.


Taking It Slow: The Hummingbird’s Omen

Here in New York where I live, there is only one species of Hummingbird, and we see this specimen only when we look hard at where we are and what’s going on. Yet, in the tropics, flitting through all levels of forest in Costa Rica, you see hummingbirds hustling about their duties.

In terms of ecology, the hummingbirds and the plants that are their food supply have a very intimate, dependent relationship. Without the hummingbirds, those vibrant red flowers with their deeply cupped shape would not be able to reproduce. And without the carb-loaded sweet nectar found within the depths of those flowers, the hummingbirds would not be able to survive the night.

We were blessed with the opportunity on our travels to visit a hummingbird garden area a few times. We got to watch the hummingbirds fight and challenge each other over the previous spots along the feeders for at least an hour in the dim light of the setting sun.

Hummingbirds use so much energy during the day that sometimes they fall into a near-death state, called torpor, at night to conserve their energy. Can you imagine running yourself so near death everyday that you’re not really sure if you’ll be able to get your heart working in the morning?

Slow down! It works for the hummingbirds. It doesn’t work for us. There is something to be said about the perseverance of these little birds with their flashy colors and quick moves, but they are made for their job.

We learn to take life one step at a time from these little creatures, some of which are no bigger than the size of your hand.