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Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

black madonna

January’s Full Moon brought a night of magic and friendship at my seasonal women’s circle. The woman who hosted it rented a room at a historical lodge in our area and she set up “stations” for us to freely travel through while we did our introspective work.  Stations are a great way to keep the energy flowing in ritual by having a liberated sense of how one can go about it. For example, stations include a drumming corner, divination area, fire scrying, altar gazing, meditation mat, journal exploring, art creating, sacred dancing, and more. No matter what size of a group you are working with, people can benefit from the freedom of listening to their inner spirit regarding what to do first.

Before we began she read us a passage about the Black Madonna from a book by the author of Women Who Run With the Wolves and I just have to get my hands on it:

Untie the Strong Woman

Once we separated into our stations I approached the altar filled with Goddess representations that we all brought. A black figurine called to me and I knew it was the Black Madonna. It is a wonderful moment when you connect with something new. Why did she call to me? When new deities approach you take it as a sign that a new message is coming for your life. I welcome change. The Black Madonna called me to the Earth, to be a servant of Love, to give myself to a greater cause. My other blog, Love is My Spirit, reflects this expansion in my Spirit.

Afterwards, I did more research on her and found a powerful and inspiring article about her here.

Then, I painted my own Black Madonna to honor in my home (pictured above). Thrift stores usually are in abundance of the Virgin Mary statues, so it was easy to come across one that could be painted to my liking.

And finally, here is a Virgin Mary picture I painted earlier this month for my step mom:

mary painting 1

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I have a dress like pictured above. It was pretty and flowy, but too big for me and it has been taking up space in my closet. Then, it occurred to me…   cut a line in the middle from the neck all the way down to the skirt hem and BAM- it is now a ritual robe! If you purchase zig-zag fabric scissors at a fabric store to use then you don’t even need to sew up the fabric to prevent fraying.

I wore my “new” robe yesterday for a group Yule ritual at Tulie’s house. I safety pinned it tight in one area at my sternum and wrapped a blessing cord around it to hide the safety pinned area. It turned out sexy and beautiful. It also looks good left open, too.  So now I am going to search up the thrift stores for more of these dresses that have fun prints and are made out of t-shirt material. Thought I would pass along the brainstorm!

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mistletoe king

Father Winter has come upon us here in the Midwest United States. He has been screaming all night in the high winds. He has been flashing through the lightning-bolt-lit blizzard sky. Our first snow of the year, he has come triumphantly on his steed of snow and chariot of ice.

My husband became stranded in a snow drift in middle of the street for four hours last night. A plow truck tried to pull him out but failed. Another plow truck tried to rescue him and leave the car, but it became stuck. Finally someone was able to at least drive by and pick him up, but the highway to our small town was then closed so he spent the night at my sisters.

Once I knew he was safe I praised the gods! The candle I had lit for his safety during those hours was blown out and I got out my god statue and painted him in white with mistletoe on his drum and evergreen on his clothing. I slipped into song and let the restless world pulse through me. A blizzard the night before Yule and the night before some say will be the end of our world, how fitting! I sang for the safety of everyone trying to get home in the snow. I prayed for peace and for the returning of light. The harp was pulled out and other songs were written while my altar glowed of candle light.

In the morning I awoke naturally at 4:30 and sang to Green Tara for compassion on this landmark day. Now the sun is coming up and I will sing with my children as it dawns.   Many Blessings World.

 

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Samhain… the one night of the year where I don’t care how busy I am or how late it is… meeting with my community of witches and journeying to the Underworld is going to happen!

We were all busy that day: I had school till 9pm. Tulie had Trick-or-Treat with her kids. JJ was still in the process of moving out of her house. It did not matter, because come storm or sleet, we were meeting! Tulie and I have been meeting every Samhain night since we were 12 years old.

We do something a bit crazy on good old Samhain… we find a cornfield and we.. we… run around naked in it! Every year I am secretly dreading it the day of. It is so damn cold outside and I’m admittedly a wimp about the cold, but once we are out there running around with the air kissing our thighs I am in love. We shout to the moon and sing blessings to the earth. We renew our spirits and recharge our magic for the next year.

When we go back into the house we are huffing, our lungs burning and our skin tingling. From here the transition is made into ritual space and we dance, drum, sing and call to the spirits of our ancestors and the land.

Hecate, Kali and Oya was honored last night in accordance to our own Dark Goddesses we work with. The circle became heavy with the presence of many spirits. I’m sure our guardians was extra-alert for any mischievous Otherkind last night.

At this point, we were all in a deep trance and ready to move onto the next Samhain tradition. One at a time we approached the altar and knelt in front of the Underworld poison… a deep crimson juice of pomegranate, and we drank of it deeply. Reenacting our deaths, we stumbled onto our resting place already prepared. The other remaining priestesses covered the now motionless body with blankets stained in pokeberry juice and ornate celtic knots.

We journeyed to the Underworld to receive our personal messages for the following year. Time seemed to be non-existent. Our gods showed us our path and prepared us for the upcoming winter. These visions feed us through the new year.

When we are reborn into the circle we awaken from our graves and approach the altar. There, laid before us, is all of the major arcana Tarot cards face down and mixed up. Still in a trance state we choose one to see what the theme for the following year will be. This year I received the Sun, which actually fit perfectly with my Underworld vision.

As the ritual winded down we chanted one of my Crone songs to the beat of Tulie’s buffalo skin drum. The night was a success and we departed with warm smiles and hugs.

 

Lyrics to my Samhain song,

We are Witches Three

by Cicada/Bonnie Waller

We are witches three 

 we have a holiday,

when we go skyclad

in the fields we pray.

We are witches three

My brother do not fear,

We only honor

the ending of our year.

We are witches three

Watch us part the veil

Out through the mists

The spirits we do hail.

We are witches three

You think we are pretend,

Won’t you join us

dancing with the dead?

 

Now to show off the awesome El Dia De Los Muertos altar at Western Illinois University:

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There are little things we try to do to remind us of our unique and authentic spirits that pull us through the year. As Pagans, we celebrate the seasons in ritual, food, crafts, community and decoration. The Wheel of the Year helps us realize the cyclical turning of life and how we must respect patterns in all of the creatures’ inherent nature.

There are some traditions that I have been doing for many years. Some I have started when I was a teenager. Some I started as a young adult. Some I might start next year! The important thing is to continue to do these traditions that help give your life some cohesion and add to your personal power. Pagan or not, having spiritual traditions gives us a sense of connection.

Just thought I would share with my readers some of my favorite personal traditions. I would love to hear about anyone elses!

1. The first dandelion I see at the beginning of the year I have to pick. This has led to some interesting adventures of parking my car in awkward spots and walking a ways to pick the dandelion that I saw while driving. Usually, the first dandelion I see, though, is in my own yard. Reason: Luck for year.  (Age I started: really young, can’t remember)

2. At least once a year, catch an autumn leaf as it falls off of a tree before it hits the ground. This is harder than it seems! When I was going through my initiation with the element Air, I was taught this game. It is really fun. (Age I started: 20)

3. Each year I need to jump over a young cornstalk before it grows too high for me to jump over. (age began: 11)

4. At harvest, I need to find a “corn baby”, which is basically a cob that was left in the field and forgotten to be picked. (Age started:11).

5. Once a year I need to streak in an open field. This always happens to a certain day of the year, but I may write more about that  in a later post. (Age started: 12)

So basically these are simple tasks but depending on the weather conditions and other factors, it can become quite a burden to complete, but it is still important for me to do. Call me superstitious (which is fine because I am a person who believes in reading the signs that the universe provides), but I feel like if I don’t do these that it will negatively impact my year. Overall, though, I love to do these things and I look forward to when they occur.

~Cicada

image from:

forums.steves-digicams.com

 

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Yesterday my husband and I cut a huge hole in our ceiling in preparation for stairs leading to our future attic bedroom. New space? New cleansing! I remember when Tulie’s family did the same thing. Suddenly lots of spirit activity started to occur once the ceiling was opened up to the upper part of the house.

So, being from a Tantric framework, I blessed the whole house in a way that appealed to all of the senses. I smudged mountain sage for smell, a crystal bell for sound, sprinkled moonwater for touch, a candle for sight and food offerings to my patron deities for taste. By the way, moonwater is water that has been blessed in Full Moon light overnight.

Convenient that it is the New Moon. This is the optimal time to cleanse your home energetically (and physically) to prepare for the new cycle. Also, because there is no moonlight, energies tend to wane away, which is good for cleansing. Kali is also honored on the New Moon in traditional Tantric circles. She is the Great Mother of All who consumes what needs to be destroyed and gives birth to the new.

This is something that I occasionally do with my children, too. My toddler will ring a bell in every room and my daughter will bless the room with sage and a song. No age is too young to get kids involved in the craft as long as it is age appropriate.

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This collage I recently made about sums it up for me right now…

This last week I celebrated my birthday with family and friends. My husband and I went to a lake house with another couple over the weekend. It was gorgeous outside! It always seems that the leaves begin to change colors around my birthday. Bright oranges, burnt yellows and crimson reds screamed through our window as we played games and sat by the fireplace. Then we went to a year-long haunted house and had fun exploring the mansion filled with odds and ends of horror.

The next day, I did a self-blessing ritual in the morning and later Tulie and my family crammed into my cozy house to have vegetarian walking tacos, pineapple and better-than-sex cake. I got a bollywood movie, children’s books, a  cauldron bottle, jewelery, Psychology and the Occult by C G Jung and an antique lapis luzuli bracelet that has connecting rings from my husband!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got to pick out a used autoharp from ebay!! I am so excited to start learning this instrument. It is supposed to be easy to learn because it involves pushing a button to access certain strings in a chord to strum.  I’m hoping that I will learn it well enough to accompany my own songs.

Life has been great and I am so happy that I have got to this place in my life. Growing up with a chaotic childhood made me feel that my life would never become stable like it has. I used to fantasize about a happier life whenever the song As I lay Me Down by Sophie B. Hawkins came on the radio. This older song played twice on the radio on my birthday… a definite sign from Spirit that I have reached my dreams!

I’ve broken the chain of mental illness in my family. I am the first one to graduate from college. I’m a happy mommy and wife and I have an art store (where the collage will be posted soon), pursuing music and a master’s degree in counseling. However, what I really need to remember is how I got here: Faith in myself and Great Spirit. My relationship with the Goddess. Acting out of love that opens my heart to connection and avoiding to act out of fear- the illusion of disconnect.

My toddler jumping on the bed…                                                                                                                                                                     ~Cicada

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