Taming the Dragon

I recently acquired a juvenile bearded dragon here in Buffalo.  I decided I wanted to try raising a dragon as it may fare better under my care than did my leopard geckos.  In any case, I got it, and at first, it was as calm as could be – probably frightened out of its mind.

Anyway, we’re getting him settled in, and now that he’s got a little grasp of what is his – I’m not allowed in it!  My hand entering the cage, well, that’s just out of the question.  The little dragon will leap halfway across the cage to bite me(but my fingers are bigger than his mouth).  I spent all of the weekend trying to figure out the best methodology to tame the dragon.  I finally settled on a plan.

Whenever he hisses, I simply put a “green” into his mouth – he eats green onions, parsley, blackberries, etc – stuff high in calcium.  It surprises him.  And he can’t leap at my hand if there’s something in his mouth.  So he closes his mouth. Tears off the piece.  Calms down.

On Saturday, it took me three hours before I could get him to stay in my hand without wriggling or hissing.  On Sunday, he let me pet him a bit after about twenty minutes.

The Bearded Dragon is a desert animal.  Desert animals have a wide set of lessons from which we can draw.  The first is that of timing.  Knowing when to stay perfectly still and soak up the sun, and knowing when to sit in the shade can mean the difference of life and death for desert animals.  Similarly, knowing how to balance ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually can mean the difference of life and death.

Desert animals also learn how to find alternative sources of water: mist and dew drops after a rain, certain plants, certain spots.  We can take this knowledge from desert animals and apply it to our own lives: and start looking in different places for spiritual knowledge.

The dragon can be fierce, and makes an impressive display when needed.  But they can also be calm and still and gentle companions.  Similarly, we must have the same sort of convictions: calm until our habitat – our home, our family – is threatened, and then voracious, daring, and protecftive.

The dragon, to me, seems to be about balance.  A lesson we could all take into consideration.


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.



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.


The Cougar

Hey guys – this post actually stems from a very odd dream I had last night, which I would like to at least study in a broad, magic relevant context.  As we all know, the time between Mabon and Samhain just flew by, and we’re looking at an upcoming new year.  At this time, it is especially important to be paying attention to those signs and omens all around you.  Why did that particular bird just fly over you?  What are your dreams filled with?

Last night, I had a bit of an issue with sleep, but between 7 and 9 am today, I had a dream which involved my roommates and our apartment, a small, gray kitten, and a large, lion-like cougar.  We were, for some reason, in our apartment which was translocated onto the middle of my campus (don’t ask me why!).  We looked outside, and rounding the corner, prowling, was a large cougar.  We grabbed the kitten and held her as far inside as we could, and I grabbed my phone to take pictures as it was going by us at a dead-on run.  My picture didn’t come out.  I then called 911, to explain that there was a cougar in the middle of our campus.  They redirected us, and said that we were on national radio, and asked if we wanted to join them in a prayer.  I woke up.

Checking my Animal-Speak book, I found that Cougars are a sign of mastering yourself and beginning to assert yourself and your knowledge in your everyday life.  Because cougars are paired with their prey – deer, and porcupines – we must study those as well.  Although no deer or porcupines were apparent in my very weird dream, it is wise to remember that deer are gentle, and have mechanisms for blending in, which the cougars can see right through.  In addition, cougars have a fantastic ability to capture and eat porcupines without any major harm to themselves.  The ability to pick through a (pardon the pun) sticky situation is one that a cougar possesses.

Its interesting to note also, that in the region I am in, there are no wild, large cats.  According to the DEC of New York, there are no cougars in the state – but there are bobcats and bears.   I can’t remember why, but I was reading and viewing a substantial amount of user submitted proof to the contrary one night a long time ago.  That aside, I have never experienced a large cat (or a bear) in the wild, and I doubt I will while remaining at home.

So, on the eve of our new year, what can this indicate?  That I have begun to master myself and express my knowledge?  I do feel like I am coming into my own.  I know that I am strong, and I know that I am capable of surviving on my own.  Mabon was all about independence – and Samhain is on the rise.  Samhain’s primary energy, by my own personal determination, is that of Communication.  How fitting.

Have any weird dreams lately?


Self Image in Circle

This topic might draw a few readers, but it is one that I find extremely important.  How you see yourself reflects strongly in how a circle casting will go.

Having a good body image is always essential if you walk the path that we do.  The gods speak to us, and they say, “you are the leaders of the world…when you walk forward, the world takes the step with you…but when you stumble, the whole world begins to fall”.  Being confident in yourself, how you look, your intelligence and your spirituality is the first thing that any one will see when they meet you for the first time.  If there is an uncertainty, it will be found.

Now that I’ve made it sound like every time you meet someone, its a test…let’s talk about the circle.  The Circle is drawn, as you know, with the basic method of purification, censing, sprinkling, casting, calling the quarters, then calling the spirits and Gods.  This layering of steps causes a magnification in all that you do within the circle.  Because the circle is a container for which to hold all energy raised within, the energy spirals around and around.  Think of it like a never ending funnel  that you send a coin down – it just keeps getting faster and faster, stronger and stronger.

This in mind, entering circle either unclean or unsure of what you’re meant to do is probably a bad idea.  When I was in sacred space with my High Priest, one thing he said struck me very truly, after the circle was done.

“These are your Gods.  When you speak to them, have pride.  You should never be afraid of them.”

He was right.  The reason I had spoken so softly in that instance, was not from fear, but more from awe.  It was the first time I had raised energy with my High Priest, and his voice had dropped unbelievably low, and the air had practically shimmered around us.  I spoke to the Gods silently, and instead of waiting for signs or feelings, they answered me back.

Needless to say, the point he brought up was very relevant.  If I had been frightened, or not confident in what I was doing, the effect would not have been as strong.  We would not have been as close to the other side as we were that night.

Have a great day!