Category Archives: Ceremonies & Holidays

Owl reminds me

400px-Mochuelo_Común_(Athene_noctua_)(1)
Little Owl, Athena noctua

Driving to the barn this weekend with Grenwinae and in our path was a dead raptor. Well, that message was pretty clear so we turned back and Grenwinae gathered up the body in a sack to take home for burial.

He dug a hole were I asked – inside our yard, front the back gate to the greenbelt area. When he opened the bag and removed our bird, I understood. I had been expecting a hawk but instead it was a Barred Owl. The Owl that had begun all this business back in Missouri.

We buried Owl in the dark with ceremony. A Tigers Eye was gifted along with herbs. He is near the other Owls and their Hoots.

That night I had a confusion of Dreams. The last image in my mind before waking, was of me, a small Athena Owl on my shoulder.

*~*~*~*~*

I have neglected the spiritual side of things. I’ve always been good at entering the labyrinth and fighting monsters but not so good at bringing back the hidden knowledge.

New Moon Night – dealing with a sly sneaky bastard

I won’t go into the entirety of what we did. I don’t think magick should be laid out that clearly. Besides what would work or feel right to us may not be for you. OTOH, how will you ever know anything unless you learn? Unless someone pulls back a veil and shows you what they did?

I am not a believer in demons or even really ghosts. But I do believe in energy as I have seen what it does and I have felt it. Whatever, was lingering about, whether made from our own unconscious, from someone who meant us ill, or some depressed, nullifying energy vampire monster floating around looking for a good feed, it needed to be dealt with.

It need to be handed its walking papers. It needed a kick in the balls.

We agreed that the main purpose was to move energy – to dispel and break it, so the New Moon was a good moon time period as well as the affiliation with Cancer (family and home). The black pillar candle was etched with protective symbols, it was joined by a candle of white (purity, innocence, light itself) and a silver candle (the halfway world, balance).

A protective, “breaking bad” loose incense was made. Branches were cut with permission from our resident pine tree, joined with backyard birch deadwood to be the base of our fire.

After casting a circle in basil salt, we began our custom chant to aid our daughter. Near the beginning a swarm of insects attached themselves to my upper body, and a grasshopper (an insect I particularly hate) was going to hop onto me until Grenwinae gently tossed him outside our circle.

As Grenwinae chanted, the fire struggled. When certain words were said, a wind from nowhere picked up and tried to smother the fire. We kept fueling it with more and more matches. Finally it settled and started gaining ground.

When certain words were said, it was as if a huge dome came over our heads and the area about the fire was cast into a deeper darkness. This happened at least three times.

Do I think we “killed it?” Not yet, we did get its attention but it has a lot of tentacles deeply embedded. The message I felt strongly was that it did not want to let go. It is also very subtle in its work. Very subtle and nefarious.

Grenwinae felt lighter the next day. I just felt exhausted. The next day we were both plagued with a lot of irritating nothings that keep pecking at us. Okay, I see what you are trying there: destroy our focus, keep us busy with nothings, wear us down, let us detach from our purpose. Fuck you!

When daughter came home that afternoon from grandma’s weeklong visit she went off inline skating and found a Hawk’s feather which she brought back to me. If you just came to this blog you won’t know why this is significant, but Hawk is one of my most vocal Animal Guides and I had just meditated to him regarding help for this issue.

It is a beginning.

We have a lot more work to do.

But yes, it’s a beginning.

New Moon Incense – Dispelling, Purification and Breaking Bad

I put together a loose incense for my New Moon work for daughter. It’s purpose was to break this foulness that seems to have attached itself to her in the forms of depression (yes she is being clinically treated).

How do I compose these ingredients? Why do I choose this over that? Most times I like to limit my ingredients to less than 5. There is no reason to dump the entire kitchen sink into the recipe, however, as you will see, yeah, I’m not fucking around.

First, determine the action you want and what is working against you. We felt there was some sort of nebulous, dark energy attachment that needed to be strongly dealt with.

Second, mentally think out the personal dynamic and what you feel about the materials you have chosen. This is where intuition plays a part; the more you work with the materials you use (in my case organic herbs, spices, resins and plants), the more comfortable and “right” you will feel about your choices. For example, my choice of a Willow bark and St. Johns Wort was specific to this situation.

Thirdly, how will you use it. This compound was to be tossed on a fire of pine and birch (both protective trees) so it didn’t need to be bound into a cone form. I wanted something composed of burnable materials like roots and flowers, as well as resins which smoked.

Root and Floral elements:

Galangal Root (Low John) – energy, strength, courage, hex breaking, burn to remove ill spells and break curses.

Burdock Root – protection, healing, wards off negativity, holds sacred space.

St. Johns Wort – Banishes, protects against black witchcraft, burn to banish demons and spirits. Linked to helping depression medically.

Willow Bark – Guards against negativity, brings in the spirit of the moon, ending pain. I use a willow wand in my work and felt this would benefit our mother-daughter connection.

Resins:

Myrrh – consecration, healing, enhances any magickal working.

Frankincense – enables the divine to manifest. Consecration, protection, purification.

Copal – love and purification, sets sacred space, allows guides and guidance to happen.

Dragons Blood – strong banishing powers, use with any spell to increase potency.

Spices:

Cloves – banishing, protection against evil forces,

Cumin – burn with Frankincense to increase Frankincense’s ability.

Black Pepper – burn to dispel bad vibrations, being a spice is linked to increasing energy of a working and to casting off.

Cleansing and Charging during the Strawberry Moon

woodland_water_treasures_cinnabarys

Our bedroom is quite large, it has a cathedral, peaked ceiling and a large half circle window that is south facing. Because of this we get a lot of moonshine coming down for over half of the night as the moon rises in the east (we have an east facing window), and than crosses over the southern sky.

There is a shelf under this window which we built and our bed headboard is underneath so it has become a place to put up items we want to expose to the moon especially when the outdoor weather is just too nasty (rain, snow etc..) to be outside. Unfortunately, our backyard is not private from our neighbors so doing much out there is restricted in my mind.

Of all the inner places in the house, my bedroom is my Sacred Space. My private space that I try to keep out bills, worries and fights. There is an alcove in this room where my altar sits but when I’ve used incense or burned herbs, it really makes a problem for Grenwinae and his allergies.

Lucky_money_dish_cinnabarys3

*~*~*~*~*

Last night I had a lot of stones and crystals to cleanse. I mean a lot because the last few times we had a full moon, there was no moon visible due to cloud cover.

Due to the quantity and the issues with smoke in our sleeping area, I decided to wash them in rainwater which was a new thing. I actually like to use at least two methods at one time to cleanse my rocks – that’s just me. It’s a security issue I guess with me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is probably a bit boring or self evident to you but I have a little routine I do before sitting down for Moon work (if done indoors).

1.) Anything in the bedroom that does not belong is removed. This meant all the box stacks of sons’ packing his room was transferred to the attic (which is located through the master bedroom closets).

2.) The bedside night tables are cleaned off and wiped with dust rags. This includes the massive wood dresser where I arrange other pieces across the top. Everything is pared down and re-arranged to what I want to inspire myself with. Out with the clutter!!

3.) The room is vacuumed. It’s a great idea to wash all the bed linens that morning or night before; I didn’t this time as I had recently washed them. Nothing like a fresh bed!

4.) Last night we filled the room humidifier with some Lavender. I think this really helped us sleep better that night. Other helpful Essential Oil scents would be Pine, Thyme, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lime, Orange, Bergamot, or Cedarwood. These are all affordable EO’s which really lend energy and a feeling of freshness to a room.

5.) I generally light some candles that I have that are pine scented. Pine is a great cleanser but again, other choices could be any of those I listed above. Be wary of using a lot of floral scents unless they are on the lighter side of the spectrum as they can get cloying after a while JMO.

Because we have cats, the animals are generally removed from the area at this point.

6.) I collect together whatever I will be using for my work. Last night I got the rainwater I had collected over the year and poured it into a special ceramic pitcher I had bought last year that really spoke to me. We also got a bowl to catch the water overflow.

From around the house we gathered up all the gemstones and crystals. I have a few displays where I keep a group of likeminded stones for specific work:

at the door, a Protection bowl full of Black Obsidian, Snowflake Obsidian, Jet, Smokey Quartz, Clear Quartz, a Shungite Palm Stone, Onyx and Black Tourmaline cluster in a matrix;

Good Fortune and Money a group containing Citrine, Pyrite, Goldstone, Green Moss Agate, Aventurine, Nephrite Jade, and Yellow Fluorite;

a Earth and Forest, Shaman-Animal collection of Red Jasper, Tiger Iron, Tigers Eye, Indian Suleiman, Tree Agate, Chaorite, Leopardskin Jasper, and Sardonyx;

Gentle Healing a love stone collection of Rose Quartz, Pink Agate, Pink Calcite, Rhodonite, Pink Tourmaline, Bloodstone, Blue Lace Agate, Amethyst, and Howlite;

Sexy times with Carnelian, Orange Calcite and a Lingam stone.

I also have larger stones and eggs I use on their own including my large Tiger Iron, Obsidian palm stone, Rhodonite Yoni Egg etc…

7.) I like to shower or bathe sometime before beginning.  Than, I usually start my work with the ringing of bells and meditation with grounding and breathing exercises.

home_protection_obsidian_smoky_quartz_black_tourmaline_snowflake_obsidian_cinnabarys

Last night we poured water all over the stones and cleaned their display plates. Everything seemed to gain a sparkle afterwards. Than up to the window shelf where they basked in the Moon rays.

In the morning, they got taken down and put back into place although I’ll be doing some re-arranging and further sorting them out. I’ve been really lax about keeping the stones washed and cleansed and I need to get a routine of doing it. Also, some of this collection needs to go! Too much!

We both woke up feeling at peace and very calm, despite all the waves we’ve been hit by. Time to take a deep breath and during the rest of this Mercury Retrograde just focus on wrapping up tasks, cleaning the home, taking time and using patience.

holidays

I like to post when I have something to say. Not just to post. The last few weeks have been very busy on the secular level and while I have been debating on some things to write it, I felt they would be controversial. Now that I’m sick, I’ll just jot a few of those things down.

1.) I’m not big on social gatherings. More than 3 people and I don’t like it at all. So holidays that translate to “gatherings” seem more like a nightmare to me than bottled sunshine.

This makes celebrating holidays a bit of a trial because I want them to be special and meaningful, which ritual and ceremony can provide, but I don’t want to hang out with groups of people. This Catch-22 always makes December a hardship in planning activities instead of a fun time.

2.) I do celebrate Christmas. I was going to write a big long post about why but do you really need to know? In brief, I was raised by Agnostic parents (who were in turn raised by occasional church goers) with a traditional Christmas of tree, presents and turkey dinner. I loved all the magic of Santa and I still do, even though I have an atheist son, an agnostic daughter and a pagan husband.

I don’t put Christ into Christmas. Most Christmas symbols were stolen from Pagans and there is no historical evidence that Jesus was born in December – and since I don’t see Jesus as anything but a dicey historical figure, I don’t see any need to worship or honor him. I don’t do it for Buddha, so sorry Jesus.

3.) Because of my cultural history, celebrating Winter Solstice just rings false to me. I’m not blasting anyone else’s need to celebrate this, everyone has what speaks to them. What I appreciate Winter Solstice is that we get more daylight and that is indeed something I celebrate everyday past 12/21.

It doesn’t help that my December runs something like this: Daughters birthday (12/12), Sons birthday (12/15), Anniversary (12/16), Winter Solstice (12/21), and Christmas (12/25). By mid December I am generally ready to tear my hair out so adding another “holiday” to celebrate is just more stress!

4.) All the bro-haha about gift giving and the commercial side of Christmas ticks me off. Not at the retailers but the crazy shoppers AND the holier-than-thou “you don’t need presents” folks.

There is nothing wrong with having one day a year where you give and receive gifts. If someone is making it crazy, than just step off the crazy train. Don’t blame others for what you are willingly “buying” into.

My suggestions:

1.) Don’t buy presents for adults. Period. We had a long run of holiday poverty when cash was tight. We ended up telling the in-laws who were really big on gift giving that it would be homemade ONLY. Yeah, sometimes that was a bit bumpy but we stuck to it and Christmas is a lot easier now.

2.) Don’t get your kids tied into name-brands. We never did the Disney-branding crap in our home and hence we don’t have kids who must have a certain brand. This kinda stuff like Frozen is just a commercial goldmine and a parents nightmare. Steer your kid clear of it – don’t buy the pillows, sheet sets, comforter, backpacks, hats or whatever and keep downplaying “brands” of clothing as having prestige.

3.) Mock commercials that sell. Kids are quick to pick up on how stupid advertising that plays to emotion and fears is – just keep pointing it out in a humorous way

4.) If your kids are surrounded by people who put more emphasis on what they have in terms of possessions than who they are, find some new friends. It really pissed me off that daughters school in Missouri put such a big emphasis on Apple products. That crap is expensive and Apple donates Zero to schools unlike Microsoft.

Stupid parenting moves:

1.) denying kids any Christmas, not because of religious beliefs but because you have issues. My recommendation to this woman – get an education and leave retail. Retail has been slicing jobs and is declining. Don’t be thankful to the hundreds if not thousands of shoppers who were polite and happy standing in long lines.

I’m sure your kids will be so happy to have any magic to their childhood completely removed by your cynicism and “realism.”

2.) forcing kids to give to the poor by giving up their own Christmas. Hey, I’m all for teaching generosity but I do that through the year; I don’t deny my kids their own gifts to “teach them a lesson in giving.”

For example, I have stopped and given warm food to the homeless; I donate to food drives; I donate my spare change to charity; I have supported and donated to my kids schools; and have given my time and abilities to charities that I support. I do this all year long – giving at Christmas because it’s Christmas is just part of that whole false-face Christianity you see everywhere.

This type of parenting is about the parents and not the kids or even the lesson!

Well there is my sermon from the sickbed…

Jam marks the end of Summer

Yesterday, Grenwinae got the blueberries and blackberries made into jam. We were late into the season as we should have done this back in June and picked our own. Instead the grocery store gave us the bounty. He found this article that greatly helped him in his hot water bath, berry canning.

I insisted on blackberry jam as it was a childhood favorite. Blackberries, as large as a man’s thumb, were hand picked from the swampy understory woods of Kisatchie National Forest. My maternal grandparents lived there at a “camp” near the Red River.

In her canning, she would put a thick layer of wax across the top, a centered wick serving as the pull-tab to remove the wax after you had broken the seal with a butter knife run between the glass and the wax. These precious jars would be picked up during our annual summer vacation, making their pilgrimage from Alexandria, Louisiana to Dayton, Ohio.

She never passed on a recipe. I asked her once for it, and she thought I was silly. It was blackberries and sugar. No brainer for her. While I do not do ancestor worship, the blackberry jam is honoring her. I will set back a blackberry jar for Samhain celebrations.

Fig preserves would be a nod to my paternal grandmother. She had a huge fig tree in her backyard – at the house my father grew up in – next to her large vegetable garden. There is no source here for good figs; I may need to find one for next year.

Thank you grandmother for your care and kindness, the blackberry jam and the Christmas present in old-fashioned paper and mailed to us in a box wrapped with Kraft paper and tied with string.

Again, Couples Retreat

Back in May, 2013 we had planned on going on a couples retreat (some planning posts are here and here). The trip didn’t happen because after scheduling the cabin, a couple of months later Grenwinae’s job blew out and we decided to move back to Oklahoma.

We’ve rescheduled the cabin for a September weekend and planning has to start all over again:

Dates: Sept 18th to 22nd (Thursday to Monday)
Monday, Sept. 22, is the Autumn Equinox
Waning Crescent, Tuesday is the New Moon

Location: Isolated remote cabin rental on 20 acres of land, includes private river access. About 2 hours away.

Practical matters: Kids will care for the home, but I need someone to feed horses (landowner). I also need to make sure teen daughter wakes up and gets to the bus on Friday and Monday. A big problem is that payday is Friday when we are gone – plans need to be made on how certain bills will be paid/kids have a stocked kitchen.

Materials:

  • Grenwinae’s Journal and Athena’s  Journal, pencils, extra paper, markers and/or craft paper
  • Athena’s backpack, Whistles (2), Binoculars (2), Tree and Bird ID books, GPS or compass
  • Flashlights (2) with spare batteries, camera with batteries and charging cord
  • Basic first aid kit with medicines (Aleve, Zyrtec, bandaids, tweezers, nail clippers)
  • Water clothes and shoes.
  • Star locator software (Grenwinaes phone).
  • Massage oil, body paint/crayons, Tantra books
  • Archery equipment?
  • MP3 player and player
  • Ground cloth/blanket and Yoga Mats, Sleeping bags/air mattress?
  • Plant clippers and/or knife.
  • Tarot cards, bells, whistles, music makers, sage and lavender bundles, incense and lighter, matches, salt, “cauldrons”, sand, Birdseed offering, etc..
  • Make a complete list for each ceremony so we can doublecheck. Once we get there, there is no going to the store!

This is the first vacation we have taken for I don’t know how many years. We have sometimes taken a weekend here and there but usually to take care of some sort of business (seeing family, closing the house etc…).

There will definitely be a ceremony for closing out our time in Missouri so time to reflect on what was gained when we were there will be a part of our trip. With the moon cycle, probably more of a time to let go and remove things magickally and the last day start to build towards a new intention.

I don’t want to go into too many details but we will be ending a major cycle next December and will plan a different type of trip at that time. I’ll post more details as it evolves.

Dealing with the Dead

I’ve ended up following several blogs that deal with death. I am not sure how all that came about but it seems that the folks who are doing this type of work strike the closest chord to what I think about things (not necessarily doing).

No insult to the other bloggers I follow. I find something interesting in all of them. However, I am not interested in discussing polytheism or debating about people being wrong on the internet, or what someone else thinks I should label myself. That’s one of the benefits of being 50 – I simply don’t care: emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

It’s a Crone thing which I will write about another day.

Grenwinae found a dead rabbit in the backyard. Most likely it was killed by our younger Corgi as she is a hunter (and somehow killed two squirrels and laid them side by side in the middle of the yard even though the squirrels travel on a 8 foot high privacy fence to the back trees).

He also buried it for me and I knew this was wrong.

It was wrong because I am not willing to face death. I am not willing to do the deed of “dressing the dead” and I’ve dug my heels in about it – eyes shut going NO NO NO!

Even though certain Animal Guides are telling me I have some personal learning to do here.  Even though Animal Guides are offering a Rite of Passage.

Even when my Animal Guide shows up dead in my yard.

I will have to spend this weekend facing what I didn’t do. It’s not a matter of “appeasing” some sort of Godly Aspect. I was offered a chance to learn and I refused it. I refused a gift and the lack is only going to mean I won’t move onward until I face that.

What does this tell me? because even when you don’t follow THE REALLY BIG HINT TO DO SOMETHING!!! there is a lesson in it:

1.) I let Grenwinae take on a lot of the dirty work around here and in my life;

2.) I don’t want to get my hands dirty (see above);

3.) The corruption of the physical body really disturbs me and I use that as the shield to prevent myself from carrying through to the other side of the Understanding that IM BEING TOLD ABOUT TO DO!!

4.) Deep down – oh so deep – I do not want to think about death.

It is no surprise to Grenwinae I have issues with death. I was about 10 when my dad had his first heart attack. I watched him die at home on the floor of his bedroom of cardiac arrest when I was  21. So yeah, death and me – not really on speaking terms.

Yet, I have burned Owl in a bonfire. I have dressed the dead Hawks and released them back to Spirit. And I have burned the corrupted corpse of Vulture.

I cried, I learned, I went through the Labyrinth and returned from the Underworld. But I didn’t like it one bit. And now Rabbit? Soft, furry Rabbit that has been speaking to me in my front yard these past six months?

A very hard pill to swallow.

The Cycle Completes – Vultures Work

Friday morning I woke with the memory of a dream where I shapeshifted into a huge, black griffin.

We were heading to Missouri to close out the rental house. The six month process of grieving and letting go that had been slowly unwinding, since Grenwinae found a new job in Tulsa and left the house full-time, would be completed. We would have come full circle – emerging from a Labyrinth time of deep spiritual learning, rendering and cleansings.

Vulture took our Flesh and transformed it to Spirit.

vulture_10245_md

Before we left town I felt we needed to visit and check on my horses. As we drove through the countryside, Vulture started to circle. One dropped down and flew parallel to the car – so close you could make out the wrinkles on her face and the roundness of her eye.

I acknowledged Her and knew She would be with us the entire trip up to Springfield. As I thought this the Turkey Vulture banked upwards and flew over the car, and looped back over us again.

We’ve had many encounters with Vultures at the Missouri property. Routinely they have flown over on their flight plan and appeared on the property during auspicious times. It was in the Mark Twain National Forest located across the road from our house that I was gifted my Vulture feathers.

When I returned from dropping off items at storage, Grenwinae was mowing and didn’t see me drive up.  I watched him for a bit but he couldn’t hear me with his ear plugs. A Vulture flew over him (and as he related later), he thought maybe I was home and looked up to see me waving.

vulture_feathers_for_smudging1b

The entire year (two years for Grenwinae) were times of huge, emotional sheds:

Grenwinae left the comfort of home and moved, due to work, to a city where he knew no one and had no family support. This was HUGE for him as he has always played it safe and clung to stability, much to the detriment of our relationship. A few weeks before Grenwinae was given his new job (August 27th) he came home to find Vulture sitting on the handle of the watering pump at our herb garden (August 2nd).

I had to take responsibility for not working and how that has landed us in a financial pickle; that I couldn’t continue to use the kids or Grenwinae as excuses for not chipping in and doing my part to keep the family financially solvent. I had to face some unpleasant, whiny aspects of my personality that I would rather disavow.

I had brought my cedar box made from my Grandmothers blanket chest, my Druid Oracle Card deck and my Vulture’s Tears Anointing Oil (this is a custom blend of Cypress, Juniper Berry, Lime and Frankincense).

Across from our house, there was a dead Vulture – most likely hit by a car when it was on the road eating. I knew this was a gift – and She was sent into fire and smoke as we gave thanks for all that the land had given these last two years of enlightenment.

The time spent in Missouri sometimes feels like an unreal adventure – not quite real – maybe a dream. Now that we are back to Tulsa, holding onto what we learned, while living the mundane life of suburban worker bees, will be a challenge.

Even now we are still suffering from the exhaustion of the three days of cleaning and moving – and letting go emotionally of hopes, dreams, and losses. I shall write more as I continue to recover and move onward through the week.