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Archive for August, 2012

When I first moved to my new country home, I was very much drawn to a large coniferous tree located at the back of the property.

One day I was approaching the tree and was thinking to myself about what kind of tree it was.  Then suddenly I received a response that was sent straight to my brain. ‘Eastern Hemlock’. I thought it was odd that that name popped into my head as if out of no where and wondered if the tree was communicating with me.  At a later date I checked a tree identification book and sure enough, my tree was indeed an eastern hemlock.

I felt a real connection to this tree and to honor our new relationship I gifted the tree a blessing ribbon, that Cicada had brought for an Imbolc ritual, on one of the hemlocks lower branches. Two months later the hemlock tree gave me a mighty gift in return.

Long before I moved to the country I had a dream of becoming a beekeeper. I had recently started shadowing a local beekeeper to gain some knowledge and experience before starting on my own.  Even though I was excited to keep my own bees, I was also a little nervous and kept wondering if I was ready to enter in such a powerful commitment. This past May, the Universe gave me an answer.

I walked to the back of my property and was looking at the local plants and flowers, taking mental documents of what I believed would be good for bees.  I had approached near the hemlock but my head was looking down at the plants and I was unaware of Universes plan that was hanging in the branches.  I got to where I was almost under the hemlock tree when I heard a massive buzzing sound.  I looked up and was completely stunned to find a huge swarm of honey bees clutched to a branch about 5 ft above my head.  This was my sign.

I am now a beekeeper, a bee priestess, a keeper of bee medicine just like the ancient greek Melissas and other spiritual bee keeping women.

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My labyrinth is completely done!

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My living room wall mural is completely done!

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My rough draft CD to give to my backup singers and accompanist: done!

(okay, so not a good picture for lighting, but this is me singing last weekend on stage for the first time)

Whoooo, hard work pays off!

The Labyrinth… Today I hosted a women’s circle and I had them place the stones and bless the labyrinth with white sage, cornmeal, salt, roses, moon water and ringing a crystal bell. These women have been role models for me for the last 10 years and I am so grateful they came… even in the pouring rain! Tulie, my husband and I found almost all the stones around the Mississippi and a nearby creek. Lots of sweat went into finding those. My daughter and son helped me dig it (well, I mostly dug and they played in the dirt). So basically, almost everyone who has supported me spiritually in my life has taken part of this labyrinth and I feel so blessed.

The Mural… We bought our house six years ago and never planned on living in it this long because it is a small, two bedroom home. This means that we never went to extreme lengths to make it feel like a home. Two kids later, we find ourselves still here and finally we have decided we are going to stay here at least until I am done with graduate school (three years)… so we finally are starting to make this place feel like a home! We put up a fence so the kids can run free and I can do ritual skyclad if I want.  We are also making plans to make the attic into a bedroom. This mural was started to mark this important milestone in our lives.

The CD… After working repeatedly on tweaking many of my songs, I finally recorded a CD to give to my accompanist and backup singers! This CD is a collection of some of my favorite pagan songs that I have written over the last five years. I look forward to the future blog about my music finally being open to the public, but until then, I am just thankful for this moment in the process where I am only moving forward with the goal in graspable sight!

About two weeks ago I was sharing a new song to Tulie and our kids outside with our drums. Her son, who is five and is only recently begun to talk about his spiritual side, suddenly announces that a cicada on a tree started to come out as I was singing. None of us had seen this before (even me, who has the cicada for a totem), so we all got very excited and took it as a sign that my songs are ready to take on a new form and fly. We drummed and sang for an hour until the cicada completely left his shell. It was quite the experience that none of us will forget!

Thank You Infinite Spirit for giving me the health, support, inspiration and opportunity to finish these projects!

So Blessed Be.

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For my new labyrinth area I have each corner of the fence dedicated to the Lord and Lady. For the Goddess: a twisting Willow I revived from a cutting at a witch’s barn. For the God: a cottonwood stang decorated for the elements and the under, middle and upperworlds. When I placed them in the corners they looked so lonely so I painted these plaques today!

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Sorry in advance, I’m gonna get preachy on you, but this story touched my heart. I pray that the sacred land of Pe’ Sla will be saved from bulldozing and construction.

The Lakota and Sioux have always used the Black Hills for ritual purpose and they are in desperate need for help so that they can continue to do so. The Spirits of Land are in danger and we as a world community should come together and bring peace to these nations.

http://www.indiegogo.com/project/badge/199667

http://www.indiegogo.com/PeSla-LakotaHeartland?i=wdgi

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Over the years I have come to know that some of the most intensely beautiful rituals have nothing to do with how much planning went into them…

The other night Tulie and I decided to get together to do some magic after I was done recording some of my songs in her backyard. I packed two large stones, incense, poppy seeds, catnip, an elderberry wood pipe, sandalwood powder, candles, my sacred blanket I like to sit on, a newly made wand and my drum. What did I end up using?? Only my drum and wand. I also wrote a new song. What did I end up singing? Well I can’t remember too much because of the flow that occurred, but I can tell you this: it was not the song I planned!

Instead, here is what happened: On my way to Tulie’s I drove past a beautiful bush with intense red flowers growing on it. I felt the call to pull over and use a flower in ritual. When I approached it I was pulled to pick up the fallen flowers from the grass. Back in the car I drove on and then once again felt the pull to do a u-turn and go back to the bush. Aww, so now the bush wants me to pick a stem of alive flowers, too. I placed all of the flowers in my pocket.

When it was dusk, Tulie and I dragged out all of our stuff into her backyard. She lives in the country and the sky was wide with sprinkled stars amid the cooling mist that was beginning to form. We set up her fire pit and she got to work getting the fire to go. I accompanied her by drumming and singing one of my songs. And then a funny thing happened- the fire would not start. The wood was too wet. In the course of about thirty minutes she was becoming more frustrated. She walked back and forth to the fire and her house to retrieve more dry paper to get it going. I kept drumming and hoped the song wasn’t annoying her at this point.

Finally the fire broke out into a wild flame. We were so excited that we began to dance and sing right there and then like crazy. Instead of pausing out of that energy to get the rest of our stuff set up, we went straight into intense ritual right there. We went into spontaneous chanting… whatever we were called to do, we did. At one point we were chanting and singing about shedding away what needs to die in the world. When the energy built up with that, I pulled out the fallen flowers from my pocket and we flung them into the fire. Then, later, when we were singing about peace and compassion we flung out the alive flowers into the bean fields around us. Energy rippled out into the universe and we felt so open and alive. It was really wonderful. It was also wonderful to do a ritual with the focus of healing the world, instead of aiming the energy internally.

Our hearts felt full because our hearts were open.

When we finally felt like we wanted to sit, we got our our new wands that we wanted to have blessed and we consecrated them in the fire. We did this by doing whatever Spirit urged us to do in the moment and we had some pleasant surprises.

Doing ritual in this spontaneous way may take some practice, but really it is only the practice of opening one’s self to what the flow wants you to do. And to open is to trust. I am extremely grateful for the sacred space we were able to honor in the privacy of her country yard. We needed to scream sometimes. We needed to feel like we could dance and move however we needed. That is why privacy and witchcraft go together often. It is not that we are hiding anything baneful, necessarily, but we often need the freeing space to conduct the deep magic that our souls so often yearn for.

Blessings, Cicada

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I am the type of person that has a bunch of things going on at one time. I feel somewhat comfortable in creative chaos, but I find myself keeping projects in motion for a long time and taking a while to get anything accomplished. It is like I am juggling a bunch of painted eggs and I keep adding another because it is so pretty, but I never keep one in my hands long enough to let it warm and hatch.

This personality characteristic has it’s double-edged moments as a stay at home mother, too. Yes, the housework does get done, but it is never great all the time. Yes, I never get bored with my millions of hobbies, but I also have a mural half painted on my wall and I have no clue when I will feel like finishing it!

Anyway, I have begun to find a bit of a balance and I am glad for it. Everyday I have been trying to follow a schedule (gulp… I used that word that goes so against my spontaneous mind!). But I find it helping me tremendously when I follow it. I have decided to get up in the morning before the kids. This was a tough decision. I am not a morning person and I love my sleep life, but I find that when I do this I can do my morning routine in peace and start my day off well in a spiritual manner.

I like to make a magical tea for myself first thing. There are so many plants that can go into tea with magical intention. I often sprinkle cinnamon onto the stove Fire to honor the sacred flame. Then I set down my ceramic Earth pot filled with Water and set up a spiritual space for my yoga routine. Lastly, I welcome Air with incense, the steam of the tea and my breath work with each asana.

Yoga is a way for me celebrate my body and open myself up to Spirit. I do not follow any set of routines, but I try to keep the flow alive by listening and responding to how my body wants to move. Lastly, I end with a rock-tastic meditation session where I meet guides or absorb different energies I know I will need for the day.

The rest of my day falls into loosely the same type of structure: I know what I need to do, but I try to keep it spontaneous in how I do it. Okay, so housework can feel pretty repetitive, but I try to liven it up with different background music. Nightly family time could mean a walk or a game or simply laughing and wrestling together. In the afternoons while my toddler sleeps, I do something I like to do: like work on the harp, one of my art projects, this blog or chill in our backyard hammock. Okay, so sometimes I take a nap with him too! It only took almost 6 years as a mother, but I think I finally feel some balance with the everyday stuff.

I know my life won’t always be like this. By the time my youngest starts school I will be starting my career in counseling and grad school will be over (I am currently starting to go at night). But I just wanted to write this so I could look back and cherish my wonderfully abundant life that is unique to this chapter in my life. I am finding pleasure at the most simplest things with maturity. My family may not have gold lying around for us to live  exactly where we want to live and vacation whenever we want, but at least we are living how we want to live… and that is in appreciating each other and valuing the sacred gift of everyday. Many Blessings out there!

Example of one of the many artsy things I do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I was a wee one, the moon sat outside my window and listened to my prayers. Her milky light poured into my bedroom and I was comforted.

A stream ran past my shady yard and I used to find sticks to swirl in the mud under the water. The sediments would swirl to the top and I imagined this was the magic of a spell set forth. When my first wish came to pass, I became a life-long believer in magic.

My dreams would wake me in the night from vivid journeys. Characters would reappear relentlessly so much that I could write whole books on them. Sometimes I would find that a dream happened again when I was awake.

When my mother warned me of the dangers of witches on Halloween night I became intensely curious instead of afraid.

Trees were my friends. When my neighbor died,  his grown children came and chopped down his apple tree.  I, in return, confronted them in a full, blown-out rage and then ran away crying.

I never doubted what I saw or how I felt, even if it was against what others wanted me to believe. If no one wanted to take the time to understand me I felt like it was their loss, not mine.

Sunday school was  fun for me. I had an intense faith in God. Only when I became a teenager did I learn that how I perceived God clashed with what most in the church wanted me to feel.

So when I became eleven and my parents found out I had started to become interested in the occult they thought it was the worst possible decision on my part. But here is the thing, was it really a decision? If I had not delved into deeper mysteries, I would have simply been going against what came natural for me.

I went through many trials with adults on the subject of witchcraft. So many were afraid for my soul. I was forbidden to hang out with friends by their mothers. I was forced unwillingly to go to church events. As I grew older, I was threatened to be kicked out of the house on several occasions. I understand now that they were only doing what they thought was best for me or their kids.

But it all came down to this: If magic =evil. Then little me= evil. They didn’t get it (and still probably don’t) that being a witch is so truly ingrained into my blood that I could not have possibly made a different choice. I fought it for a while, sure you can bet that- it took a while to get out of my head the idea of hell and what the devil may be doing. I went through a phase of burning all my witchcraft books when I was fourteen out of guilt, only to be lulled back into the mystery of the cicada’s songs in the night a few weeks later.

Finally I realized I was happiest on the sacred, wooded path that I felt alone traveling. I was more balanced, too. No one could ever again convince me that the Goddess was really the devil in drag. She was my Great Mother who protected me when I snuck out my trailer window in the night to see the stars over the cornfields. She was the voice of the toads croaking by the pond where I first made love. I allowed magic in and I felt like my skin glowed like glittering dew and my life was eternally blessed.

I praise everyone who has continued to live their lives in harmony with their own natural rhythm of how they feel love. Love cannot be defined- it is beyond logic. Love shows itself infinitely in our world, even if it goes against the grain of what most think it should be. It is no one’s business to decide what form it takes, because true love is nonharming. Even if it is a man loving another man, a group of people sharing a household, or a witch partaking in relationship with the gods, we should accept and celebrate love in all of love’s forms! So blessed be.

~Cicada

images from:

Deer, hare and mother by Jessica Galbreth

“The Siren” by John William Waterhouse

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Witches take their name from places, for places are what give them their strength.

-Alice Hoffman, Blackbird House

The Lughnasadh season has been before us and when I read this today I felt that it fit oh so perfectly with what I have been up to…

A Bit of Kitchen Witchery…

Welcoming the land into my family’s body with local zucchini and garlic. As a reminder that it was truly a sacred meal, I cut up some of the zucchini into stars and gained brownie points with the kids.

Sacred Walks…

Offering of my garden flowers and rosemary to the pond and wood spirits with my daughter on our walk.

Meditative Journeys…  
Finally after collecting many local rocks, my labyrinth is ready to be constructed! However after getting half way through with it I realize more rocks are needed. Guess it is time for a trip to the Mississippi River!

Spirit Crafting… 

Once my daughter heard that Lughnasadh was a time for making spirit dolls she couldn’t wait to get started. This is a doll we made from a random cornstalk growing in our backyard. After a night of dressing it in barbie clothes we hung it on the wall for continued blessings as it dries.

Faerie Blessings… While eating breakfast the other day my daughter suddenly announced proudly that she saw a faerie out the window. This was the first time this happened so I got a picture of her offering honey when she went outside afterward.

———   I feel very blessed to have been surrounded by some sort of wildlife  throughout my years. I have never left this Midwest area and I wonder how it would change me as a witch if I were to move to differing topography. Growing up I lived around land that was hauntingly beautiful and mysterious. Although I still feel like we are connected in Spirit, it is always an adjustment to move to a different area, even if the plant life is the same, for I feel like my childhood land is ingrained into my soul. I can’t imagine how it would be if I were to be around mountain, sea or desert. Father Woods has taught me inner strength. Mother Moon has showed me guidance. Sister Pond has always been there challenging me to reflect on my own deeper depths of emotion. Brother Corn has also been my Lover in the night.

I suppose that like with all relationships, one must be willing to accept change and value the memories that still stir in the heart. Distance cannot truly separate two united Spirits, but that does not mean we cannot be willing to open our souls to even more love and growth. Someday I know I will move to a drastically different environment due to my husband’s job and I will have to accept this. I just hope I don’t feel like a mermaid without the sea when I do live for many years in seemingly foreign land. Although, I suppose life would become stale if we didn’t stretch outside of our comfort boundaries at some point, right?

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The meadow has been calling to us for years. The white mist that settles in the ditches when the moon is full has been beckoning to us to come and play. Finally, last night, we crossed the hedge and did a ritual in this abandoned meadow.  Out through the mists the spirits we did hail…

Although I  almost always respect the concept of property, it is often difficult for my mind to grasp how a person could own and claim a living organism as their own, especially when it comes to owning a large expanse of land. Shouldn’t the coyote that sleeps every night in the tall grass lay more claim over the trees by him than the human who lives miles away? Also, spiritually speaking, some areas have special high spots of energy that have been used by native peoples for healing for centuries. When one person lays claim to this area it really spoils it for every other energy worker. Let’s put it this way:  imagine how unfortunate it would be if The Grand Canyon was off limits to everyone except for one wealthy owner!

The meadow that Tulie and I crossed into last night was like this energetically speaking. The land is technically owned by someone, but they do not use the rundown house or barns on the property. Behind the structures lays about thirty acres of pristine prairie that have been calling to us while we go for back road night walks. One February Full Moon we hopped over the barbed wire fence and sat just barely over the boundary while we were protected from view of the hedge trees. But it wasn’t deep enough, we knew eventually we would need to walk out further in order to communicate with the spirits of the land.

Last night we finally went deeper. The grass was extremely tall so it made crossing a bit challenging but we eventually made it through to the meadow’s edge where it meets an edge of a cornfield. We found a deer resting spot in the grasses and brought our things out. Songs were sung and offerings of white squash and white eggplant were made to the White Goddess. Tulie brought a sprig from her hemlock tree for offering, also.

Although I thought I would meet faerie energy there, the energy was more masculine and trickster like. Although I am not sure how it is in other countries, the spirits of the land here in America that I have experienced take a while to trust the spirit worker. They know that the native people here were once torn from them and they are suspicious of our intentions. Once an offering is accepted, however, they take you under their wing and you are always welcome like family… they even go so far as teasing you from time to time like a big brother.

Opening one’s self to the spirits of the land takes guts. However, one thing is vital: to actually spend time on the land and prove yourself as worthy of relationship. Respecting the plants and animals is a good start.  Raven Grimassi once suggested in a workshop I attended to vocally introduce yourself by breathing into the sensitive side of a leaf living on the land and announcing that you are a spirit worker. Doing positive magic on the land is also a plus. Once the spirits become comfortable they will begin to show themselves through feelings, sounds,  wind, other animals and spirit forms. I find that the land spirits can become a bit protective of you, also. There have been many times where the land has warned me of upcoming dangers lurking in the woods or even of people approaching.

I forgot to bring tobacco for the land last night but luckily I did bring white sage, which they happily accepted. Dancing among the corn also felt wonderful. The cornfields around here need extra healing energy due to the high amount of unnatural circumstances they are put under and I have always felt pulled to the corn in magic.
Here is a picture of the meadow in the daytime:

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