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Posts Tagged ‘music’

imbolc 13

Yesterday the kiddies and I did our candle making Imbolc tradition. Out came the dusty candles with drowned or broken wicks and we broke them into little pieces with hammers.  I had a whole pile of half melted, crooked tapers and so we mashed these up too and saved the unused wick parts for the new candles.  After calling it a day, we lit the candles and had  a ritual welcoming the growing light as the seasons get ready to turn. I told them that between now and Ostara signs of spring will start popping up so be on the look out! Offerings of white food and milk were also given to the White Goddess and my six year old made up a song while my toddler and I played bells and rattles.

Saturday Tulie hosted an Imbolc ritual at her big farmhouse and we all had a wonderful time. I wrote a new song for Imbolc/St. Bride’s Day/Candlemas and sang it with my autoharp to help shift the energy into circle casting. We decorated Bride’s Bed with wish-flowers and we drew cards from the wands tarot suit. I received the five of wands which indicated the spark of inner courage. We meditated to the song Fire Prayer and received visions or feelings from Bride. (If you have never heard of this musician I highly, highly recommend checking out her whole Fire Prayer CD!)

The evening was topped off with feasting, singing, chit-chat, laughter and more magic. As the night wore down it was only Tulie, JJ and I left. I felt the urge to dance. JJ felt the urge to drum. Tulie didn’t have a choice… more magic was coming! She began to sing and before we knew it we were all raising energy and invoking the Goddess once more.

As a Mystic, I rely mostly on experience to guide me on my spiritual path. Opening up one’s practice for room for spontaneity welcomes this experience.

Here is text from the Carmina Gadelica about the custom of making Bride’s Bed:

The older women are also busy on the Eve of Bride, and great preparations are made to celebrate her Day, which is the first day of spring. They make an oblong basket in the shape of a cradle, which they call ‘leaba Bride,’ the bed of Bride. It is embellished with much care. Then they take a choice sheaf of corn, generally oats, and fashion it into the form of a woman. They deck this ikon with gay ribbons from the loom, sparkling shells from the sea, and bright stones from the hill. All the sunny sheltered valleys around are searched for primroses, daisies, and other flowers that open their eyes in the morning of the year. This lay figure is called Bride, ‘dealbh Bride,’ the ikon of Bride. When it is dressed and decorated with all the tenderness and loving care the women can lavish upon it, one woman goes to the door of the house, and standing on the step with her hands on the jambs, calls softly into the darkness, ‘Tha leaba Bride deiseal,’ Bride’s bed is ready. To this a ready woman behind replies, ‘Thigeadh Bride steach, is e beatha Bride,’ Let Bride come in, Bride is welcome. The woman at the door again addresses Bride, ‘A Bhride! Bhride thig a stench, tha do leaba deanta. Gleidh an teach dh’an Triana,’ Bride! Bride, come thou in, thy bed is made. Preserve the house for the Trinity. The women then place the ikon of Bride with great ceremony in the bed they have so carefully prepared for it. They place a small straight white wand (the bark being peeled off) beside the figure. This wand is variously called ‘slatag Bride,’ the little rod of Bride, ‘slachdan Bride,’ the little wand of Bride, and ‘barrag Bride,’ the birch of Bride. The wand is generally of birch, broom, bramble, white willow, or other sacred wood, ‘crossed’ or banned wood being carefully avoided. A similar rod was given to the kings of Ireland at their coronation, and to the Lords of the Isles at their instatement. It was straight to typify justice, and white to signify peace and purity–bloodshed was not to be needlessly caused. The women then level the ashes on the hearth, smoothing and dusting them over carefully. Occasionally the ashes, surrounded by a roll of cloth, are placed on a board to safeguard them against disturbance from draughts or other contingencies. In the early morning the family closely scan the ashes. If they find the marks of the wand of Bride they rejoice, but if they find ‘long Bride,’ the footprint of Bride, their joy is very great, for this is a sign that Bride was present with them during the night, and is favourable to them, and that there is increase in family, in flock, and in field during the coming year. Should there be no marks on the ashes, and no traces of Bride’s presence, the family are dejected. It is to them a sign that she is offended, and will not hear their call. To propitiate her and gain her ear the family offer oblations and burn incense. The oblation generally is a cockerel, some say a pullet, buried alive near the junction of three streams, and the incense is burnt on the hearth when the family retire for the night.

~Blessings to All~

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Hathor, goddess of music, is the oldest Egyptian deity depicted in art… Sacred to Hathor and a symbol of her power, the systum was like a miniature temple where the goddess resided… In Egyptian mythology, Hathor is the heavenly cow who nurses the newly dead from her udder. Her pillar-like legs hold up the sky. Her belly is filled with stars. At dusk, the sun, as the hawk Horus, flies into her mouth. She is called Lady of the Stars, Lady of the Sycamore, Mistress of the Desert. She is a goddess of healing and of all things sensual: the touch of a lotus petal, the taste of a pomegranite, the sound of a harp, the scent of musk, the intoxication of red barley beer, the silky fluids of sex.   ~Susan Elizabeth Hale in Sacred Space, Sacred Sound (wonderful book!)

Reading this description of Hathor, I felt like she was already in my life, weaving music sensually into my dreams and magic. And so, she must be honored. This is just my preliminary research on her so I can work a ritual for her properly later. You, the reader, gets to explore her mysteries with me!

Her form has cow ears in ancient art. Some also see the connection of the shape of her head and ears to that as the fallopian tubes and uterus. She is great mother and her temples served as centers of healing, birthing chambers, libraries and sacred bath rituals where incantations were spoke in trance-inducing ways.

She was a sexual goddess and was ritually united with her lover, Horus, every New Year along the Nile. Her golden statues were anointed, fed and dressed, similar to Hindu practices. Myrrh was burned and praises were given in thanks for the fertility of the land. Her cow horns held the Sun God within it’s hold.

Hathor is the “Misteress of the West” because she welcomed the souls of the dead into the afterlife. Both priests and priestess served her, royalty and land folk, too. She was seen as Lover, Wife and Mother and was similar to Aphrodite in many ways. Music, joy, sex, milk… all was connected to Hathor.

If anyone else has information for me, I would love to know it! Egyptian magic is not yet familiar to me.

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If I don’t make some sort of art in any form for a week, I get a bit twitchy and feel like I will explode. Art, along with spirituality, keeps me in balance. Writing poetry, stories, music, dancing and creating visual art forms ground me to my ancestral roots and at the same time, help me blossom over where I have once been. I need outlets in order to actively let out all of the energetic inward stuff that fills me up, but threatens to decay if not given back to the universe properly.

I was good at art as a child, but I didn’t do it nearly enough to justify that I would be doing it later on in life. (Not like my own daughter who draws compulsively.) However, art was already in my blood. My parents, both artists in their own right: My mother a creative quiltess, my father- a poet and painter. His mother- poet and painter. Her father- a poet and painter. Spirituality also dripped down the generational line in the form of art.

It wasn’t until I became a teenager that art began to take it’s hold. For a pond spirit as a muse and a love that was cursed from the get go, I wrote pages and pages of emotional poetry. Then, when I moved my sophomore year in high school, I immediately fit into the art-minded crowd and started working in an art gallery. Later, I really began to flourish when I moved out of my parent’s home and in with my now husband. With way less energy sucked away to the drama of my family, I started to be able to devote more of myself to art…

And now I am so excited that I am moving my art into an arena that I can share it. Not only is there a CD in the works, but this week I opened an etsy store! My TwitchyWitchy Store!  

I’ve been having fun up-cycling statues into divine deities, creating jewelery, and making other pagan inspired art to sell. I think I have created enough stuff for my friends and I over the years and so now my territory extends out to the whole world. There is a lot more to come. Enjoy and blessings!

~Some of the items in store

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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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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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Yesterday I was at a fast food restaurant with my kids. This one in particular had a great play place where my kids could climb up into a jungle of tubing and back down just to do it all again. It was also a great place to meet other kids. If only adults could be like kids sometimes… kids will gravitate to each other and become friends on the basis of just being human. Can you imagine? You are in a subway and you see another adult… and bam! You two are instant friends.

How do we lose this innocence? Unfortunately I saw a bit of it yesterday. A girl about the same size as my daughter came up to our table while we ate our french fries. No hello, no can I sit down, she just came up and sat down at our booth with a big smile on her face. She told us that she liked bugs. So much so that she had made friends with an ant there at the restaurant and showed us that she was carrying it around by letting it crawl all over her arm. I started listing off different bugs to see if she liked those, too. Worms, flies and even spiders this child liked. Just as I was about to tell her how special that was her mother yelled at her from across the room to leave us alone because we probably didn’t want ants around while we ate.

The girl sat in a corner behind our booth and continued to play with more ants. We continued to eat. A worker entered the playroom and began to sweep. Then, unfortunately, the worker swept her way over to the girl in the corner. “Oh yucky!” The worker very loudly began to moan, “Ants are yucky! Don’t play with the ants!” Then to my horror the worker began to stomp on the ants right in front of the girl.

I couldn’t believe it! I looked to the parents to intervene but they didn’t do anything. I braced myself for the girl to start crying, but to my surprise she didn’t. Maybe something like this had happened to her before. I’m sure she felt like dirt at that moment, though. I gave the worker a heated stare as she walked by and let my kids be done with their food so they could play with the girl. The kids played wildly and had a blast and I was left to think.

There is possible hope to this story, however. In the girl I recognized a fiery spirit. If anyone could go back to playing with bugs I believe this girl can… even if in secret. Although the world tries to literally and metaphorically squash all of our innocence we need to return to it again and again.

I am also reminded of experiencing something similar in the intensity of emotion, but in an opposite way many years back. I was driving down a busy, four lane road and suddenly traffic completely stopped. I stuck my head out the window to see what was going on and to my surprise a man had stopped all the cars in the road to help a mother duck and her ducklings cross the road. I was so overcome with love and respect for the deed of this one stranger that I cried. Somewhere, at some point, this guy realized what was really important to hang onto in this life and acted upon it in the face of many, many people who would not have done the same.

That could be the end of my post, because really, my point is made, but I do want to add something in the context of the pagan community. Everyone who has decided to follow this spiritual path is a bit like that guy stopping traffic. Somewhere, at some point in our lives,  we were told that what we believe in does not exist and that we are imperfect for believing it. However, our fiery spirits won over in the end. This innocence, although natural, must be upkept in this sometimes unnaturally cruel human world. It’s almost like our own internal version of a forest preserve… pick up the garbage, kick out the idiots and let it grow, grow, grow for you and for others.

And now I point you to the absolute pleasure in listening to this song…

Enigma- Return to Innocence

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These past weeks I have been gone have been due to the many dreams awakening within me. These dreams have been various in types but all have living connections to the physical life I am living.

The first night of the Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) I dreamed that a raccoon stole our loaf of bread. So convinced that this was actually happening that I tried to wake my husband, but was I just dreaming that too? In the morning the bread was gone only to be found midday torn to bits in the woods behind our tent. I was really glad I had this dream. Since I was little these foretelling dreams would occur reminding me that I was connected to Spirit. It has been many months since I have had a dream like this and I am always glad when they return. It is nice to have a little heads up sometimes.

When in ritual I am enacting the living dream of magic inside of me and the cosmos. PSG has so many opportunities for ritual that it is physically impossible to be present for them all. I attended the ones that I felt drawn to and got out of it exactly what I needed. There was a huge candle lit labyrinth where I welcomed living intuitively again. There was the morning yoga sessions where I connected with my body and intentions for the day. There was the few nightly bonfire drumming circles I danced until the music was ingrained into my energy and I went to bed sand covered and humming with happiness. There was also the Summer Solstice ritual where time seemed to stop.

(setting up the labyrinth took about three hours with about eight people!)

I didn’t get a picture of it lit up, but here is basically what it looked like.

Another ritual was the Sacred Fire Ceremony the night before the Solstice… this was a wonderfully intense living dream. All night about twenty of us kept the energy of the ritual flowing. There was no set structure except to flow flow flow. Everyone did what they needed to do when they needed to do it and it all worked harmonious until dawn. Dancing, singing, meditating, healing, creating prayer flags, feasting, drumming. Although I knew no one’s names since no one really talked (unless to the Fire outloud) I felt like we all had experienced each others’ souls vibration. Intense healing went on here and I am truly grateful.

When I was a child I dreamed of being a singer. Not just in my sleep, but all the time. But, like most of our childhood dreams we give up on them. We become convinced we are not good enough. I listened to someone who said I couldn’t sing. I let my first musical audition failure discourage me. I became petrified of singing on stage. Then the worst thing happened- I became convinced I didn’t even want to sing for others anymore.

Luckily, however, the dream did not give up on me. Songs after songs after songs have chased me down. I finally bought a voice recorder and filled it up with original tunes. I started writing songs and singing them to my children… then to my husband… then to my friends… then to my local drum and womens’ circles… then this year I taught some of my chant songs to a singing group at PSG and my life may never be the same!

Dreams are welcome here. I once heard the saying “A witch without dreams is like a night without stars.”

What the world needs

I will begin.

In order to serve I shed off my skin.

I shed all of my strife.

I welcome new life.

Blessed Be

                           again and again.

~Cicada

July Full Moon!

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