“Too” In Tune

I was informed that it was too early to think about autonomy yesterday 😉  So, we’ll go for a lighter subject today.

Well guys, here comes a story that is bound to make you smile.  Wiccan, pagan, or just spiritual alike, we all have those days where we begin to work with the Universe’s energy to create change.  We call it magic.  But sometimes, the magic is unintentional.  Because I went on the same cycling trip last year – From Buffalo to Albany – I sort of knew what each day was involving.  Granted, they did change some of the routes – more trail was added – but overall the ride was very similar, up to the very weather that we had.

So, we’re pulling out of Syracuse, and I remember that this day’s trail follows along the REALLY old canal (there are three canals – the Erie, the Enlarged Erie, and the Barge.  The Barge canal is the one that is still open and used by tourists today.) – the one that is 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  Because it isn’t used, it’s overgrown, the water is stagnant or with a very slow current, and as a result it is teeming with wildlife.  Green algae blankets the top, but in the spots where it is clear, you can see two foot long fish chilling at the surface, turtles, water birds, and the like.  Along the path, you can see any of your ground animals – bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, foxes, raccoons, opossums, etc.  I saw the first three of those.

Anyway.  I decided before I left that when I went through that type of environment, I wanted to see a turtle.  They’re pretty hard to spot when you’re going fifteen miles an hour.  Well, I was doing ten on that trail – damn was it bumpy!  But anyway, that was my will.  And somehow, a fleeting thought like, “I want to see a turtle!”  caught the Universe’s ear.

Three miles out of Syracuse I had my first flat.  It was about 7:15 AM.  Three wonderful people – only remember one name: Mike – stopped to help me fix it.  Twenty minutes later, I’m back on the road.  I get to our first rest stop an hour or two later, and my tire is still just a little soft from our patch.  It wasn’t leaking, we just hadn’t pumped it enough.

So, I decided to borrow someone’s pump and give it a few pumps of air.  It gets just up to the right psi, and we try to take the pump off.  The valve came with it – big, big popping noise.

As we change my tire, comprehension begins to set in.  I had been craning my neck allllll day to see a turtle, but it was still morning.  Turtles will only come out to bask on rocks when the sun is shining and its warm.  I have now spent two hours of the morning off of my bike, begging a tube off of someone to fix mine.

By the time I get back on the road again, it’s 11:30.  I don’t normally stop to eat, but since I figured it was that or another flat(gotta love the gods!)  I opted to stop into Canastota’s Sunrise Cafe for some lunch.  By the time I hop back on my bike, the sun is shining down hard (although it’s still a beautiful day!) and right before the afternoon rest stop?  I see a turtle.  Sunning itself.  On a rock.

turtle along the erie canal

turtle along the erie canal

Just to sum up and bring us back to the title of the post, is there a point where you are “too” in tune with the universe?  Because I think that’s the point where your thoughts become dangerous(Ooh!  I want to see a turtle!) and meditation(keeping your louder thoughts, quiet) may be the only route to your own safety/comfort.

Remember the number one of the Top Ten Things A Witch Learns Over Time?

Never Underestimate the Gods’ Sense of Humor.

Advertisements

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?

Describing an Outdoor Space – Spiritual

Well, my notes for my physical description ‘paper’ weren’t too descriptive on what was happening while I was observing. Unfortunately, that means that I have to go by what I remember – which is often, at times, not the same as what happened. But, sparing a conversation on reality vs. memory, I will return to the topic at hand.

During my alone time with the patch of green, I noticed an ant crawling upon one of the trees. Ants, as anyone knows, are animals that are members of a group that functions exceedingly well. Ant mounds are often portrayed as places where each member has its role. To me, the viewing of this ant at work is an affirmation of work. Just like the ant, I am a member of the Universe, under control of the gods, doing what I was made to do: learn.

Also during my time alone, I noticed, albeit outside of my patch of green, that there was an abandoned bird nest in a tree. This, to me, symbolizes the final freedom – the growth from young to adult, from fletching to young, eager, mature bird. This, then, could be considered representative of my attempt during this semester to become more independent from my family at home. Similarly, the ant ties in – I am doing what I am supposed to do; independent from the ‘herd’ or ‘mound’ or ‘group’ or ‘family’.

So, it seems to me at least, that my interpretation of my surroundings at that time is one of affirmation. Now, onto the ‘practical’ part of Pagan Pages – what should you be looking for in your patch of green?

  1. Unusual patterns on leaves or plants
  2. Unusual plants
  3. Wildlife – insects or others
  4. The sun/wind combination – how did it change when you started?
  5. Time yourself – but don’t look at a watch during your exercise. How different was what you thought your amount of time was from the ‘actual’ time? Why do you think that is?

And please remember – if you perform this exercise and decide to take a memoir – ask permission from the plant, first! You wouldn’t go up to a random stranger and pluck an armpit hair, would you? Or rip out his heart? That’s what you do to plants if you pick them without asking. And don’t call them weeds – they don’t like it 😉

That’s all for now, folks! Til tomorrow.

Describing an Outdoor Space – Physical

Well, this semester, I am taking the following:

Plant Biology + Lab
Physics + Lab
Chemistry (Part II) + Lab
The Politics of Poverty and Homelessness
Comparative Genocide

And in Plant Biology, we had the following exercise to do, which doubled as a great observation and visualization exercise. So, I will post the instructions, and then post my observations.

Find a small patch of nature, no more than a three foot by three foot by as tall as you are box, and observe it. Write down everything you possibly can observe about it. Then, return to your computer and type up your description from your notes.

(My added bit to make it a spiritual experience) How does observing nature help you better understand yourself? What did you expect from this, and what did you get from it? Were you able to see any reactions between plants and animals or plants and plants that enabled you to learn better how the world interacts? Describe these. Reflect.

My results: (Purely the physical observation – the spiritual observation will come tomorrow!)

Describing a Small Outdoor Space

Beginning with my feet planted firmly on the ground, I survey my surroundings. Surveying from up to down, I see a wide variety of plants – from the pine tree on my right to the small saplings directly in front of me, to the plants that make the ‘grass’ and ‘weeds’ portion of the ground.

Turning to the right, I find that the pine tree has needles in clumps of five, with a relatively soft, green color to them. The smooth bark is only barely marred by now-missing limb scars, with no sap leaking from it like some of my trees back home. Looking ahead of me, I find an ant crawling on the toothed leaves of a small sapling, fighting its way to the light. The leaves barely showing any damage from the oncoming autumn or insects, their veins strong in their out branching patterns. The sapling next door to this one has more circular leaves, with toothy edges. These different leaves are beginning to yellow with the autumn, and holes and tears in the leaves are much more prominent, giving it the almost-fall look.

I look towards the ground and find that almost no grass is present. Instead, bulbous-leafed plants that look like clovers, sort of, are present. The dark green clover-like plants had five leaflets coming from their stems, and the light green circular leaflets on another small plant were already beginning to die. Looking carefully, I find another plant beginning to produce wood, with tooth, oval shaped leaves crowning the top.

Although finding no more variety of life within my small box, I am still amazed at the diversity of the life within the section. I expected to find two or three different species – certainly not six distinct species hiding in such a small patch of nature.

The Language Of Lizards

Author’s note: I swear that the alliterations are merely a coincidence and until right this moment, I did not intentionally create titles like that.

Many times when perusing the internet, one will find “The Magic of Animals!” “Find out what your omens mean!” and other websites related to the meanings and energies of animals in the natural and magical world. Hopefully, when I speak of plants or animals, my information will be based on observation as well as the traditional energies. Today, I will be reviewing the general properties of lizards, and with that, more specifically, the beauty of geckos.

Lizards are members of the phylum Chordata, sub phylum vertebrate, class reptilia. In terms of evolution, reptiles were the first to have eggs with an amniote – a protective layer in the egg that provides nourishment. It is said that reptiles and birds are closely related, but most classification systems still place them in separate classes.

Reptiles allow the environment around them to influence them in a direct manner. Because they are ectotherms, reptiles use the world around them to help control their body temperature. When purchasing a desert lizard, you’re supposed to offer them a source of heat. If it gets too cold, they will not be as active, or live long, healthy lives.

In addition, reptiles offer the use of a closed circulation system. This means that reptiles’ blood remains in veins and arteries. This may seem odd to you if you are not biologically inclined, however, there exists such a thing as an open circulatory system in which blood kind of flows over everything in the body and eventually trickles back to the heart. With the closed circulatory system, reptiles have a three or four chambered heart.

Therefore, within this biological context, we have established several things about the general energy of lizards:

  • They are capable of using the environment to improve their quality of life
  • They are indicative of improved protection of their young
  • With the closed circulatory system, reptiles are representative of homeostasis and balance – they have a steady pulse.

Geckos

Now, onto my personal favorite, geckos. All geckos come from the family Gekkonidae. The leopard gecko, which I own, is species Eublepharis macularius.

Unfortunately, I am not going to speak about them, but instead about the Gekko gekko. The Tokay Gecko is a very interesting species. In addition to being just awesome (because that’s what geckos are, awesome), the Tokay Gecko has a special ability: it can speak. Assuming this ability on all lizards, it is easy to conclude that lizards, and geckos most especially, represent the following:

  • The power of the voice

Walking along, seeing a gecko – either on a sign, or a cartoon, or in real life if you live in that sort of area – can be a strong reminder or omen to you to speak up! Have a voice in your community, and do something. Sometimes, we wander through life and all we do is what we’re supposed to do. As a pagan, as a witch, as someone who is in love with nature and with the concept of deity, you have extra responsibilities. The gecko may be a sign for you to take action.

In addition to that, geckos and other small lizards have other energies assigned to them:

  • Moving unseen from one world into another. (Do you ever see them waltzing into your house?)
  • Determination (Ever been holding a lizard that got so scared that it removed itself from its tail so that it could run away? The tails can twitch for hours)
  • Balance – many lizards are omnivores – they eat both living prey such as crickets, and plants or fruit

I believe that the most common spiritual classification for this animal is with the Fire element. This, I agree with, as the energies assigned above lend themselves to emotional and spiritual pursuits. Fire is that passing from one world to another – from the physical, to the spiritual.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article!

The Peril of Pet Ownership

When I was younger, I was into caged animals (I still am – we have a bird and a gecko) and among the various furry pets, I also won myself an anole at a carnival. Now, any lizard owner knows that both anoles and geckos have a similar diet: crickets. Any parent knows that carnival animals only last a few weeks. Well, my area’s carnivals must be odd, because I had two goldfish that lasted 10 years each, and my anole lasted 3.

Anyway, obviously as a pagan and a Witch, I have respect for all of nature. Hell, our one sacred rule is, “An it harm none do what ye will”. Sometimes my friends here ask, “Well if you love the earth, then why are you killing those crickets?” Here is my response:

The natural order of things is one in which the strongest survive. I am relatively fair – if the crickets are lasting a few days, are exceptionally annoying, or escape into the general area of my room or my house, I usually re-catch them and let them go, outside. I used to have loads of guilt over feeding my pets live prey, and then I sat for a while and watched the crickets.

Crickets are nasty, vile creatures. They will chirp just to piss you off (as any lizard owner knows)…but most importantly, crickets are cannibals. They will consume each other if the other is weak or dead. Crickets will also consume larger animals if they get sick.

I have to admit, there is a beauty and a certain pleasure I receive from watching my gecko hunt. The natural process of the earth has made the gecko a creature that, prior to attacking, will vibrate its tail as a sort of warning signal. Not only is this amusing, but when he gets a cricket, it is amazing that the gecko can kill an animal so quickly: the cricket usually stops twisting and kicking within seconds, and he swallows it whole. Its about as merciful as death can get for them.

Most of the time, I do apologize to the crickets before I send them to certain death. Sometimes, I get pangs of guilt so strong when I put them in the cage that I have to look away. Its not their fault they were born and raised to die. Its much like any other stock animal we use.

I think that as long as you have respect for the animal that you are feeding to the other animal, it doesn’t matter if you use live prey, in the general scheme of things. Someday, hopefully, I will be able to build a bigger, ecosystem – like habitat for my gecko, providing him and the crickets with a more natural place to play out their survival game.

But, just so you know I’m not perfect: the joy I get when I catch a recently escaped cricket, or one that’s been chirping incessantly for the night time hours, place it in the cage, and watch my gecko eat it in two bites…is immeasurable.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the magickal properties of lizards!

Homemade Altar(Outdoors)

Welcome to part two of “Homemade Altars”! You made it through my bungled attempt at speaking about something I haven’t really devoted a lot of time to – yet. But, altars outdoors, I can tell you about. I have built several, from the simple pile of rocks to an elaborate stone circle with altar, to spirit houses, and everything in between.

Keep in mind that the conditions around the place you want to build your altar are important. Are you on high ground? Because if you’re not, your altar’s surrounding area may become wet, flood, or in the very least, remain muddy long after the majority of other places in the woods.

What about property rights? I have to my name, no wooded area. The places I build my altars are usually public, state, county, or sometimes, private property. If its yours, secrecy isn’t a big thing. But, if it isn’t your property, you may find one day that you enter the area and suddenly, you find it destroyed. You want to be able to safely access the altar you’ve built, but at the same, you have to care for it – if its on the side of a well worn track, chances are that some other, less respectful members of the human race, will do something to the energy that you are trying to create.

Materials: if you’re in a wooded area and want to make a stone altar, but there are no rocks in sight, that means that you will have to carry your rocks. Generally, with any altar, you want to try to use objects and plant life that is native to the area. You don’t really want to go and buy mulch to put around your altar in the middle of a patch of woods. It just ruins the effect.

In addition, you want to make sure that your materials won’t harm the wildlife around. If you leave an offering of grapes, for example, make sure you didn’t leave something that could injure the wildlife too, such as an inordinate amount of milk chocolate, or a plastic bag, or one of those six pack plastic holders that we were always told, would kill fish. Remember, you’re not the only one using the woods. Don’t leave any hazardous materials that could run off with rain – aerosol cans, lighter fluid, etc.

Advantages to building an altar outside

  • Closer connection to nature
  • Freedom of worship in a secure area – no telephone, no screaming kids, etc.
  • Beauty of the seasons all around you
  • Freedom of the area – you can build the altar as big or as small as you want – in an enclove, or all around a tree, or in a wide open field.

Disadvantages:

  • If you’re in the north like I am, ‘skyclad’ doesn’t happen in the fall and the winter.
  • The weather can prevent a trip for you
  • Distance – it might take you a 1/2 mile walk, or a 30 minute drive, to get to your altar.
  • Natural wear and tear – you’ll find that the stones, the trees – everything undergoes the natural process. Things may fall, or break. Therefore, it might take more upkeep to keep an outdoor altar

What’s your altar look like? For a long time, I had 4 very large stones built to have a waist high altar, via a rectangular shape (we had storage underneath!). It was in the center of a stone circle, and in the south, there was a small spirit house. To the west was a creek, flowing north. In the east was a small valley for deer to bed on, and in the north, we had an open space to celebrate. The entire area was encased in a small, horseshoe shaped valley just off of a trail. We had our area destroyed, close to three times, before we left it and moved. Soon after, we disbanded, but I still visit on occasion.

Use your heart, and all will turn out beautiful.