Happy Samhain

Today, I stood before the gods to say hello.  It hasn’t been that long since I stood in a sacred space – maybe 5 or 6 days?  But this time, I was happy and ready to celebrate today.

Today is a new year for us.  And this is my year of renewal to my faith.  This is my year of balance.

This time last year, I was lost and broken.  I had lost two loved ones and had been treated very badly by my ex.  Eleven days from now, my ex would be married to someone else, without even bothering to break up with me.  But, eleven days from now, when he got married, I took the first step and broke up with him, then met with my first “other” man.  In essence, we broke our bond that day.

Today, I took it a step further.  Standing before the gods, I removed him from my life.  Broke our bond.  I am my own person.  Whole and complete again.  And I asked for the strength to make it through the times when I’m weak and I want to contact him.

This blog post is mostly a record of my celebration.  I stepped from the shower and into a room, and said the following,

“Guardians of the (Direction), power of (Element), I call you – not cast a circle, but just to lend a listening ear.”

Moving around the room in all four directions, starting and ending in the North.

“Lord, Lady, Ancestors, I call to you – not to cast a circle, but just to lend a listening ear.”

And then I spoke for a while, about how I wanted to learn to conquer my anxieties and live a ‘quieter life’ – one where my addictions and responses to anxiety don’t rule my life quite as much as they do now.  About how I wanted to refresh my memory on formal ritual, and how I wanted to teach, and write about Wicca.  And then I thanked them all and went about my day.

I’ve quit caffeine, more or less, over the last few days; in part on purpose, but mostly because I ran out of caffeinated drinks I like and I’m too lazy to go buy more.

I’ve been songwriting, as usual.  I wrote a good one last night.  I hesitate to share, as I try to maintain my anonymity and I don’t want to help people find more about me than they should.  I have nothing to hide, of course, its just that when I look for jobs in the future, I don’t want people to write me off because of my online presence.

Anyway, that’s my life update for Samhain.  May you have a joyous and peaceful holiday.

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Ostara Eve

Today is the eve of Ostara, and I was asked by a non-pagan just what this holiday meant.

I was bewildered.

To me, Ostara has always been the hidden holiday…the one I never pay much attention to other than some quiet reflection on the time of balance, etc.   It has always been, to me, a turning point.

It’s been a minor holiday, I suppose, at least to me, because there is always the cultural Easter celebration that my family does, which can be – as it is this year – just a few days away, or a full month away from the celebration of Ostara.  Now, made more difficult because of the ominous “midterms”, I am left wondering just what there is to explore in regards to the energy of Ostara.

Obviously it is a turning point, a day of balance.  It is a day without influence – a day of purity, in my head.  Because day and night are equal, it is only when you delve deeper that you find the tendency towards light.  But the primary energy is that of purity, of balance and fertility.

I have it written somewhere in one of the (unpublished) studies I did of the Wheel of the Year, that the magic of Ostara and Beltane both involve sex and sexuality.  But, Ostara celebrates the ability to procreate.  Beltane, in my book, celebrates the action of procreation.  And so, Ostara becomes related to fertility, and Beltane, to commitment – marriage and the like.

Practical ways to celebrate Ostara?  Look for the signs of spring, because its official.  There are baby birds and sprouting flowers (underneath all that snow for you northern-dwellers).  Celebrate the balance.  Its a great time to start projects, because it is a time without influence of other factors of the world.  It is a time of equal day and equal night, and should be a time when you try to achieve that balance in your own life.  Moderation is a great thing – and today (tomorrow) is the day to learn how to use it!

As I said, my Ostara celebrations are usually small – and often are temporal in nature.  I rise at sunrise to meditate, stop at noon, and then again at sunset to celebrate the division of time, the rift of the world, and the ensuing balance.  I also invoke the gods and goddesses associated with the holiday (Eostre comes to mind, as well as Artemis, Dionysus, and other symbols of fertility and youth) and ask them to bless me in the coming times with that fertility.

Have a safe, fun, and fruitful holiday!

The Mighty Squirrel

Well, as today is Imbolc (Merry meet, all), I decided to take myself for a nature walk and see if I could find any wood to make a carving (I couldn’t).  Along the way, I saw many creatures, which I will list momentarily, but I’d like to touch base on my favorite animal, although not a totem of mine: The Squirrel.

(List of animals seen)

  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Barred Owl
  • Osprey
  • Squirrel
  • Raccoons
  • Mourning Dove (heard it)

I’ll work my way through them as the days go on.

The noble squirrel spends its life in the following pattern:  scurry, stop, look, scurry, pick up food, stop, look, devour, scurry….

The squirrel is most often prey to big birds, padding for roadways, and a general nuisance in some areas.  They chitter, they horde, and they’re generally fun to watch and adorable.  Spiritually, the squirrel perhaps closely mimics what we do on an everyday basis – they are constantly making decisions that could ultimately be life or death.  They carefully ponder with their small brains what they’re going to do, when they’re going to stop and make sure they’re okay, when it’s okay to eat and when it’s okay to let the dumb humans take pictures of them.

The squirrel, seems to me, represents the everyday trials of life.  You probably pass squirrels wherever you are, and you don’t pay any mind to them – they are simply tree-rats, or everywhere.  What omen could possibly come from a squirrel if you see thirty a day?  A sign, perhaps, to look at your lifestyle.  Are you constantly vigilant for dangers that can come from any direction?  I’d imagine around here a squirrel could become gator food relatively easily.  The skies are full of big birds that like squirrel meat, never mind larger cats, wild dogs, and children which all roam the forest’s depths.

The squirrels, then, could also represent chance.  After all, its not every day they’re going to be nearly caught by a Red Tail or a Red Shouldered Hawk, and most of the humans they encounter are more amused than bloodthirsty.  The squirrel, too, could represent adaptation in adverse – urban – conditions.

Lessons can be taken from every animal we encounter.

Happy Imbolc!

The Gifts of Hawks

When I spoke to the gods on Samhain night, I was asked to research my totem animals. Among these totem animals, I have already established that the animals that I need to research throughout the year are the Hawk, the Cougar, the Bear, and the Turkey. I should back up momentarily: my patron God and Goddess make an interesting pair: Hanuman, the monkey god of the Hindus, and Athena, the warrior goddess of the Greeks. Needless to say, it is the equivalent of an older sister bickering with her younger, trickster brother.

The next morning, as I was walking to class, I nearly stepped on the remains of a small, unidentified bird which had been torn to bits. Lovely animals, hawks. The day before Samhain, I had taken a walk into the woods and found a Turkey feather, which I mistook for a hawk feather. Personally, I think it was Hanuman’s way of apologizing for not making my totem clearer to me. Turkeys are important, yes, in the grand scheme of things, but it seems someone wanted me to recognize that hawks are there too, and play an important part in my life. It was like a twisted apology.

I don’t normally laugh at death, but I’m pretty sure, with the state of the remnants of the bird I found, that it died quick and relatively mercifully, and I couldn’t help but to smile, knowing that my brother, Hawk, was still flying above, watching me – even if I couldn’t always see him. I also don’t ask for signs of outright proving of my faith often – but I believe I did, in the case of the hawk. I imagine that the gods get tired of proving they exist – so instead, I ask for smaller signs, occasionally, that I am going in the right direction. Unfortunately, the beauty and bane of magick and our spirituality lies in the manifestation of those wishes in a not-always-pleasant manner.

I’ll be writing a multitude of posts in advance of the weekends, and hopefully posting them every other day until December starts, when I can resume my normal posting amount. At least then, I’ll be regular.

What omens have you received from the gods during this sacred time? Were they as obvious as mine? Or more hidden? What will come of this year for you? Mine is the year of discovery – I plan to make great advances in my life and amount of knowledge. After all, I’m halfway through college – and I’m loving every minute of it!

Blessed be.

Structured Living

Hey guys –

Last week was really the end of my mid-term time and therefore, I should have a little more time to post, although I have to remember that I’m also writing a novel this month – I can’t let that go too far without maintaining it.  That besides the point, two days from now is my favorite holiday of the year!

I’d like to see some comments: How do you celebrate Samhain?

Unfortunately, because I am in a college setting, I will probably do no more than give thanks and celebrate a little bit – take a walk, etc.  Its hard to celebrate on “Halloween” because there are noisy kids and troublesome teenagers everywhere causing trouble.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t set out goals for the new year like every other year – and the classic ‘New Year’ that non pagans – and pagans! –  celebrate.  The great thing about setting out your goals at our New Year instead of theirs is that you have two whole months to start them, and you’re not dragged down by the social stigma of new year’s resolutions.

I usually divide my goals into three types, relating to the three realms of the self: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual goals.  Physical goals are those things which don’t take a lot of thought, and may relate to health or appearance.  Mental goals are those things which aren’t necessarily involving the use of magick or ritual, but do involve the use of the mind, thought, and reason.  And spiritual goals are actions which involve magick or ritual.

I will give you a few examples of the goals I have set out this year for myself – those which I will let others know about.  Some goals you should never share.

Physical:

  • Increase my running to a total of 9 miles per week
  • Participate in at least one group-athletic event (ex: 3k, 5k, century ride)

Mental:

  • Construct a computer program to read tarot cards
  • Begin research on uses of talismans and amulets

Spiritual:

  • Establish a standard, ritualized, daily non-moving meditation routine (night)
  • Establish a standard, ritualized, daily moving meditation routine(morning)

After I establish goals (there are a total of five per category this year), I then take each category and establish timelines for them.  This year, I added one mile per week for the running goal, and although I haven’t reached a schedule for either the mental or the spiritual goals, I’m going to simply lay out the steps that need to happen.  This devotion of intent to my goals helps greatly with their overall effectiveness in my life.

I always change so much during a Witch’s New Year.  I am amazed, looking back at the positions I was in, the people I was around, and the knowledge I gained through the previous year.  I remember standing alone in front of a patch of trees last Samhain, and receiving the knowledge that this year would be difficult.  And, in response, I remember establishing a rule:

I may cry when I am sad or in pain, but I will not cry when I am overcome by fear.

But, I digress.  If I don’t get the chance to post in the next few days: Happy Samhain to all!

Drawing Down the Moon

“Hear ye the words of the Great Goddess, who was of old called…”

Its nearing that time again! That’s right, we’re a few days from the full moon, and my heart is already calling out to the energy that has always spoken to me. Strangely enough, I’m pulled to the sun and the dark moon more often than the full moon, but even I recognize the power of the Charge in relation to my craft and path.

So, let’s say you’re like me – in a city, or unable to get in a safe spot for your moonlight reverie. What can you do to get the connection you deserve?

  1. Take a moonlight walk. The time will give you ample reason for meditation, and there’s nothing like the happiness that fills you (or me, at least), when I convene with the gods like that.
  2. Have some naked meditation. Outside or not, being somewhere private – like a bathtub, for example – where you can commune with the Goddess is something that can be valued. It is said in the charge, “Gather whenever ye have need, and better it be when the moon is full…and to be truly free, ye shall be naked in thy rites…” these things should, in the ideal world, be concurrent. But if you live in the middle of the suburbs with nosy neighbors, I’m sure the Goddess will take a compromise.
  3. Explore your creative outlets. The goddess IS creativity. Write a song, or a poem, or a story. Start a project. Learn something new. Draw, paint – it doesn’t really matter. You may find, that with your heart turned towards celebration, what you create will be memorable.

Well, in the true tradition of the Goddess, I think three examples is plenty for now. Stay tuned for the next full moon!