On Elevations

With so many people starting at the same time, I have been forced to think about what makes a person “ready for 2nd”… and have come to the conclusion that it’s kind of inversely related to wanting to be “ready for 2nd”. I can say with relative certainty that it’s not about being able to recite the altar devotion and circle casting… though you do need to be able to perform an altar devotion and cast a circle. The one is saying that you’ve memorized the words. The other is saying that you’re working relatively effectively with the energies involved. Ideally, you will learn them together. “Being ready” is not totally about where you are in the lessons – better to absorb and experience a few than to do many quickly and shallowly, just to pass a test. (I’d have trouble justifying an elevation with too few lessons completed, but in the right circumstances I might try.) But this isn’t the whole of what I am struggling to say.

Think of it as going for a walk down to the store. One way of looking at it is, I’m going to get to the store. If you start out this way, you may or may not see the sights along the way. You might notice some incidental sensations, but you pretty much ignore them. You may or may not enjoy the feeling of your muscles working. You may or may not break into a brief run, but if you do it will be for the sole purpose of getting there faster. You will almost certainly not take short detours to explore along the way and you’ll probably get impatient and find yourself wondering “how much farther.”. The other way of looking at it is, I’m going to walk to the store. You start walking, and get into the rhythm of putting one foot goes in front of the other. You smell the cut grass. You smile at some children playing in a yard. You enjoy the feel of the sun on your skin and the breeze in your hair. You might detour, you might jog for a bit, you might sit and rest before continuing. Sooner or later you look up and realize you’re at the store.

The journey into Wicca, I feel, should be more of the latter. You might meditate just because it makes you feel centered. You might explore tarot cards out of curiosity. You might unexpectedly find that you really relate to the runes, or that you can find deep personal meaning in the LBRP. You might find a real talent for blending oils or incense. You are not expected to become an expert in every field mentioned! The lessons are structured to give you an introduction to most of these things; sort of a “basic minimum” of what every fully elevated witch should know.

When you are initiated, you make the statement that you fully intend to walk to that store, and you are handed a map of one path that will get you there. When you take your second, you have made significant progress along the road and (hopefully) learned to enjoy the journey for its own sake. When time for the third rolls around, you are looking at the storefront and realizing that there is an inside to the store waiting to be explored and a whole world out there past the store, and you no longer need (or have access to) a road map to get you there.

Take the time to enjoy the learning and get all you can from each moment instead of rushing through it as a means to an end. The best way to “get there” might be to not try to get there, and the “end” isn’t really an end.

Brightest of Blessings, and Lots of Laughs,

Viral chant

Been some light blogging of late. I have been one busy Al. New baby and trying to keep up with the regular stuff is spreading me pretty thin…. hmmmm like too little butter on toast 😛 Not even much hunting sad to say.

Here is a short practical bit. This is a Pow Wow I did. Nothing wrong with the originals, just a bit too Christian for me.

For warts and other skin ailments.

(Making the Solar Cross over the region)

By the frigid cold of the Northern Glaciers and the blistering heat of our Mothers core.

Warts, I tear thee out by thy root, I tear the out by thy root from this (wo)man, I tear the out by thy root from this (wo)man : ___Proper Name___.

Leave her/his skin whole and unblemished.

By the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, I tear thee out!

I tear thee out by the Maiden, Mother, and Crone!

By the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, you are torn away! So mote it be!

Repeat stanza with the command, “I abjure thee” , and then “I exorcise thee”

Repeat appropriately at the traditional times. Using a bean, potatoe, or red thread with the Pow Wow may enhance effecacy, but is not required.

On Coven Leadership

I wrote this poem years ago and discovered it in my files. I thought it would be interesting to pass on to those new to *this*part of the path.

Bed of Roses
I am but a humble gardener
Learned in my Craft
I’ve studied how to sow the seeds
To cut the stem and graft
I know the ways to coax new growth
And stymie evil weeds
Long as the rose accepts my care
I’ll give it all it needs

But growing roses isn’t bliss
Despite their blessed smell
For every rose that’s blossomed full
Three more have gone to hell
And I know not to fertilize
With grade A bull manure —
The average stems may flourish
But splendid ones grow fewer

Sometimes as I tend my greens
Thorns may prick my finger
The hurt has always gone away
But memories still linger
And when I think I’ll just give up
And turn it all below
I recall the oath I gave in love
And trust some years ago

Some day I hope to give my Queen
One dozen blood red stems
Though it may take years to find
And grow those brilliant gems
For all the joy and pain it brings
It’s not as one supposes
A coven leader’s job it seems
Is to sleep in beds of roses.

Lettuce Prey

As I leave the house at an ungodly hour, it is refreshing to feel the chill kiss of the coming Autumn in the air. We stand in the season of harvest, and the hunting season is about to begin. That always puts me in a philosophical mood! As such, let us let the stream of consciousness flow.

I have an acquaintance who has recently gone vegan, in his case solely for the experience, but some choose to avoid animal products based on moral reasons. Now, I am not one to be critical of another’s religion, my own being in the minority, but I have to take exception to the attempt to paint dietary choices an ethical light.

Being omnivores, we only persist from one day to the next by consuming other life forms. Whether plant or animal, only by killing and eating others do we draw breath! Now in our modern refrigerated society the vast majority of the population is divorced from the death we deal every day. Our meat is separated from the big brown eyes, and furry skins that mother nature packaged it in and is substituted with Styrofoam and saran wrap. That separation from the slaughter our meals requires all to often takes our minds away from that stark fact.

For my vegitarian friends, the half cow, pig, 25 chickens, and 40 fish my life costs every year is small death in comparison to the generational genocide consuming piles of fetal bean plants, handfuls of rice babies, and boxes of alphalfa seedlings at each meal.

I would encourage you all to be mindful of the creatures great and small, green and fuzzy that fall to allow each of us to persist. Thank them for their sacrifice and the gift they offer. Take a moment before you toss the steak on the grill, or that ear of corn in the boiling water to consider what has happened to bring that nourishment to the table, and then relish it! Relish your position as the alpha  land predator for that is how you were made!

For those willing to take the next step, I encourage you to hunt for food this fall. It is a heart wrenching emotional experience to embrace your Nature and defer the second hand killer shroud that we all wear for the majority of the year. Get some blood on your hands. Work for your food and take the responsibility to bring your meat from the field to the table. I have to say in light of my experience, hunting is not just an activity, it is an act of worship. Participating in the circle of life is tremendously more moral than the circle of groceries.

So in the coming months my Brethren, encourage the Wolf within you. Stalk the food our Loving Mother has placed in the wild for our benefit. Pass the hot sauce, and Lettuce Prey!

The Case for Death

Forgive me… this has nothing to do with magical living. Or maybe it does. But basically I’m just working through it, and I’m writing it here because it is not a topic I can comfortably discuss with my family. I’m leaving comments open. Feel free to leave your input.

As some of you know, my mother is scheduled to have open heart surgery tomorrow morning, 8/10/10. Whether she actually has the surgery will depend on whether they find appropriate veins to use – it seems that they need to take one from another location to use in her heart.

My brother, whom she lives with, doesn’t feel that she has a choice about the surgery. And it is true that with a 90% blockage in one of her veins, she would be looking at a massive heart attack in the (relatively) near future. With the surgery, though, she is looking at a painful operation and an excruciating recovery period. There is no attractive choice here. But there is a choice.

At age 87, how much longer would she have to live after the recovery period? Would she be healthy for that time? If you ask the doctors, they will say “there’s no guarantee” – which of course there isn’t – and they won’t even give you odds that she’ll have a single pain-free day.

Is it so terrible to think that a sudden massive heart attack isn’t that bad a way to go? Sudden and brief and at nearly 90 years old… what more could you ask for? I’m almost sorry that she had the warning, which just seems to me to do little more that cause fear and an illusion of having an alternative. (See why I can’t talk with the family? LOL)

Nobody gets out of dying. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you think comes after. You are going to die one day. You don’t know when it’s coming, but sooner or later the fates are going to slap a death card on the table in front of you. Sometimes it will be of a nature that will let medical science push the card back in Atropos’s lap, but you can’t avoid it forever.

My biggest question here is: You’ve drawn the “quick and painless” death card. Do you want to keep it or throw it back? Let’s make a deal. You can have some more time, but you don’t know how much, or what the next card will be.

I am not saying that the Fates are vengeful bitches, because I don’t believe that metaphors really have emotions, let alone petty emotions. But…

I have seen bad deaths. Both of my fathers died within a year of each other. Lung and colon cancer, respectively. My father, who was arguably too young to die at 67, accepted his death as something that should have happened during WWII. The condition was painful, even with morphine, but mercifully he was out of pain within the month. My father-in-law was even younger – he was only 56 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He wanted so badly to live just one more day. He had surgery after surgery and any other treatment that the doctor thought might help. It gained him about a year. During that year, he gradually lost control of all functions, was in constant pain, and was never out of bed.

So it goes. When you toss the one card back, there’s no telling what the next one will be. Same death a year later or different death after decades. But at age 87, I think it’s safe to assume that the cards will start flying her way at an ever increasing rate. And as deaths go, how do you get better than sudden massive coronary?

In this age of medical marvels, I think it’s too easy to forget that we do have a choice. She doesn’t need to have open heart surgery. She can choose a natural death. I hope, in the hype to determine if the surgery is even an option, that the other viable option doesn’t get completely forgotten.

Active Meditation- An Exercise exercise!

My intent with this post is to offer a meditation on the elements, but more importantly to show a method to incorporate magical living into the daily grind. I expect most readers find the 24 hours we are alotted in a day are insufficient to do everything we would like and so the less pressing activities may suffer. I have little time to spent 30+ minutes in quiet meditation though the traditional quiet time is a productive method. Likewise, I truly dislike repetative aerobic activity and every minute seems to last an eternity. So why not combine the two!!!

Caution! I only recommend this technique on safe exercise equiptment where the user is not likely to fall off, trip or otherwise hurt themselves with a wandering mind. I use an eliptical.

As you begin the goal is to achieve an alpha state and become aware of your bodies rhythm. Feel the pace of your legs churning. Superimpose an awareness of your pulse as your muscles warm up. As you feel comfortable with those two cycles, add an awareness of your breathing. Pay attention to how those three interact as your body warms up.

Once the achiness and stiffness are gone, envision a flower bud-I like a lotus over the solar plexus. As your heartbeat and breathing settle down visualize the bud blooming as new ideas and connections may be given form by your meditation. By now, 5-8 minutes into your workout your mind should be in an alpha state.

First,I like to visualize the elements in a circle overlaid on the body, North/Earth at the head, at the left arm, East/Air, the sacral chakra is South/Fire, and the right arm West/water.  Spend a few seconds traveling that circle acknowledging the elements within your body. Bone/North, Breath/East, Body heat/South, Sweat/West. Identify the elements within your physical body.

Second, awaken and empower those elemental centers, each in turn. You may call the Watch Towers, or other elemental symbols to, “be with me through this workout. Enhance my health. Awaken my mind, and give me insight through this exercise (pun intended!).

The third time you circle the elements, address each in turn. Consider its influence in your life. Is it overwhelming you or lacking in your daily activities. Once you have taken some time to consider how each element effects your outlook and its place in your life, consider how the opposite elements interact with each other, enhance each other, complement each other.

Air and Water. The knife edge of the horizen where the sky meets the sea. Intermixed in white water down a raging river. The lungs where oxygen transpires into the blood.

Fire and Earth. Magma within the breast of our Mother. Forged iron in the Athame. Where muscle bonds with bone.

Then let your mind pass on to the adjacent elements and there interactions.

Earth and Air: Wind blowing through caves

Air and Fire: A bellows feeding a fire to ever greated temperatures

Fire and Water: The sweat frantically trying to cool your burning body ( you better be burning up by now 🙂  ).

Water and Earth: The cell and ion filled fluid called blood that permiates your body.

After exploring the elements and their interactions, and presence in your life, you may find you are lacking in one or another. Are you pulled by the events in your life instead of directing them, deficient in Earth. Do you wander through life unaware, deficient in Air. Are you lethargic, deficient in Fire. Is life stale and boring, deficient in Water.

Like wise are you overwhelmed by an Element? Do you find it hard to initiate new projects, stuck in Earth. Are you distracted by information from every side, overwhemed by Air. Are you frantic and stressed out, dominated by Fire, or emotionally labile, drowning in Water?

Acknowledge imbalaces in the Elemental Circle you have superimposed over your body.

Ask the Elements you need in your life to enter into you and enhance your body, mind and spirit.

When I get to the end of the workout, I find a benediction is a great way to finish the exercise. Along the lines of ….. “Living Earth, Be with me Supporting my Steps. Living Air, Be with me Fueling my Purpose, Living Fire, Transform Me, Living Water, Quench my Thirst!

Addendum: I find that concentrating on the bodies rhythm in the beginning of the Exercise exercise is a wonderful doorway to self hypnosis. I like to add a post hypnotic suggestion to this activity to get all the benefit I can.

Well there it is, nothing wrong with quiet meditation, but for me the active body/mind meditation is so much more powerful I heartily recommend trying it!

Oh my achin’ head!

Pensylvania dutch pow wow is only one part of my “witchy” practice, but it very much speaks to my inner shaman heart.  I must say I get great joy from my kitchen witch creations, and when I can combine it with fruitful action, well, I just feel fulfilled.

I have been plagued by headaches, and am always looking for ways to remedy them.  Having recently been learning more about the practice of hexcraft and pow wow I decided to try something new.  I found a chant to relieve pain (conveniently, I have to memorize it anyway) and started in on pulling the headache out of my head.  The first go round, I had wonderous relief… that only lasted about 30 seconds and BAM, headache is back.

Grumble grumble cuss cuss (as is my nature) OK lets embrace my closeted herbalist…  I grabbed my peppermint and lavender oil.  Whipped up a little “headache relief” and repeated the chant…..     hmm…..  interesting…  headache eased!

A tall glass of H2O later and it was like it was never there…  Mumbo jumbo…  maybe, but I believe it works.  Belief is half the battle!!


Summer Fun with the Elements

What’s better on a hot summer than ice cream?  So, what a perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice than by making the yummy summer treat.

Here’s your basic vanilla ice cream recipe:
2 cups of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
6 tablespoons of sugar
Put those 3 ingredients into a Ziploc bag, close, and place that bag into a larger Ziploc bag.  Add a bunch of ice and a handful of rock salt to the outside back and close that bag as well.  Shake the bags until your ice cream is frozen.  You may want to wrap them in a towel or cloth because it gets very cold.

Now where do the elements come in?  That is for you to decide.  You may want to add in an ingredient of your choice so there are 6 ingredients.  Then you can assign each ingredient to an element and have one for the god and goddess.  After you’ve figured out which ingredient will go with which element you can charge them during ritual, chant while shaking, and enjoy a cool balancing treat for cakes and ale.

The Power of the Circle

There are times when one feels so very alone in this world, and then a personal crisis occurs, and one realizes just how supported one is.

This past weekend, I had a small personal crisis occur. As often happens, my attempts at working toward a solution were clouded by emotion, anxiety and concern for the “mundane” solution. However, I had my mobile phone with me and was able to post to my social networks. Within an hour or so, people were assisting in many simple ways. And as I felt the efforts of my covenors “click in”, my anxiety reduced, the path became clearer, and in time, the crisis resolved. (Incidentally, it resolved within minutes of speaking to one coven member, which makes me wonder if I should not have made a voice call to the circle earlier!)

A coven is a family. Like a family, we celebrate and play together, we argue and make up, we love each other even when we don’t really like each other, and when the shit hits the fan….we work together and protect one another. The power of the coven is more than the sum of its parts. This is the power of the circle!

The Power of Nonsense

Silver’s blog the other day got me to thinking. In case anyone missed it or wants the Reader’s Digest version, it’s a Pow-Wow ‘spell’ for dealing with something that is making you feel overwhelmed or unduly stressed, even to the point where you feel paralyzed. (I love it, btw, and we’ve already gone on a creek hike to find rocks.) Say, for the sake of example, that your problem is some weeds.  Then you:

Take two rocks. Any two rocks. Bang them rhythmically together.

The weeds and the dragon flew over the wagon.
The weeds abated and the dragon skee-ated.

Chant a total of 27 times. You should be laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Then later, before you go to bed, say ‘Lolly lolly chicken dirt, by tomorrow it won’t hurt.’.

The problem may still be there, but you won’t feel overwhelmed by it so much. You’ll be able to take mundane steps to solve it.

According to Silver, that ‘spell’ works by resetting your personal field. Which I guess is just a mystical way of saying that you can’t be intimidated by something you’ve laughed at. And yes, I know that you’re not laughing at the object of the problem, but you really can’t help but associate it with the laughter.

In a way, it’s related to the old standby of how to deal with a person who intimidates you. That is, picture him on the toilet. Ridiculous? Maybe, but effective for all that.

Nonsense can be good for more than that, though. Laughing about something together bonds us; it forms a group mind. The coven that laughs together… ok, nothing rhymes with ‘laughs’ – but Remember Badger Badger Badger…? It heals rifts between people. It’s awfully hard to stay mad at someone who you are laughing with… even if the laughter has nothing whatsoever to do with what you are fighting about.

Aside from interpersonal relations, laughter is the quickest and surest way to break a hex. The energy that laughter generates renders the hex zap harmless.

So long as it’s a good positive expression of lunacy, and not a derisive statement, laughter has more positive uses than anything else I can think of right now. (Hm… lunacy = of the moon = of the goddess = magick. Just a thought) Laughing negates the power of negative psychic energy. It puts us in a positive field which will attract more positive energy. It gives us something to share. It makes us feel friendly. It relieves stress. Where’s the down side here? Let’s all go do some You-Tube therapy!