Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hail Tyr!


Hail Tyr, the Just and Righteous!
Hail Tyr, the Father’s Brave Son!
Hail Tyr, the Courageous Warrior!
Noble and  Honorable is he, and  Bravest by far!

He places his hand in the mouth of Fenrir,
He sacrifices his own right hand!
To protect those in peril he does sacrifice
and naught does he withhold!

In service to his children,
He does forfeit his strength and glory!
By his own valor does he surrender his freedom,
to liberate his sons from bondage and peril!

His Sacrifice binds the mad destroyer!
His Courage defeats the deceptive foe!
His Honor is above all others!
The most Honorable of Warriors is He!

Hail Tyr, the Just and Righteous!
Hail Tyr, the Father’s Brave Son!

This is the first fulfillment of vows that I have made to Tyr, Thor and Odin.  I give thanks to Them and praise Them for their Wisdom, Honor, Strength, and Nobility.  They have vindicated Their son and delivered him from peril and will continue to raise him up victorious.  So Mote It Be.  Hail Tyr!  Hail Thor!  Hail Odin!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Giving...


It is easy to go about our daily lives working, studying and spending time with our family and friends.  It is easy to find ways to spend our money, our time, and our energy pursuing those things, subjects and experiences that bring us joy and deepen our purpose.  It is easy to become absorbed in our work, our spells, our offerings, our rituals and practice.

It is easy and it is human.  But it is also an easy thing to look up from our altars, from our books, from our work.  To look up from our supper and our household chores.  To look up from our beloved pets and the faces of our children, and to see.

We don’t have to look far; we don’t have to seek for long.  Because the family next door needs help feeding their children and the old lady across the street needs help shoveling the sidewalk so she can walk to the drugstore, and the animal shelter down the street has cats to feed, and cat food costs money (and so does the heat and the lights).  And the stray only needs a bit of food and some water every day and a box with a blanket to get out of the wind.

It’s easy to think I don’t have enough. To look at the bank balance and know that I need to save more but, I can shovel the sidewalk for my landlady, simply because I am healthy and at 88 years old, she shouldn’t have to. 

I can put aside a few cans of food from my pantry or from the grocery shopping, and drop it at the local food bank.  I can donate a bag of cat food, or even a Saturday afternoon to work cleaning the place, and help out the shelter a little bit (a small gift considering how great a gift my Pwca is to my life). 

I can give blood to the Red Cross, I can pitch-in at the river cleanup day, I can donate the clothes that I no longer wear to the thrift-shop that supports my local woman’s shelter (because yes, there are women in my community who need a safe place for themselves and their children).   I can give the books I have already read to my local library.  I can dedicate my massage table to one of the Goddesses who has blessed my life, by giving the money I earn with it to my Tradition’s New Alexandrian Library Project.

I have been blessed with a beautiful life and a wonder-filled path and I can give a lot, if I simply look up and notice.  It will not mean less for me or those I love, not really.  I can share what I have without harming my life.  And if I can give nothing else, I can go to the park and sing for the Fae because it will make my world a better place.

Giving is a practice in gratitude for the life I have and an act of magick.  It shows the universe that abundance is well invested in my life…I share.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gwydion, Wise Father


Gwydion is one of the Gods with whom I have a long and blessed relationship.  His stories can be found in “Math ap Mathonwy” the fourth book of the Mabinogion.  He is the nephew of King Math and the brother of Arianrhod, my Patroness.  He is a shape-shifter and “trickster”.  He is eloquent with illusion and persuasion and gifted in magick.   He is the quintessential wizard or magician and some consider him the basis for Merlin of the Arthurian sagas.

My experience of Gwydion is as a kind and loving Father.  A Father of light, magick and healing.  He is an advocate, teacher and guide and as nurturing as He is wise.
 
He didn’t start out that way though.  In the first stories about him he uses his magick to commit fraud to start a war in order to facilitate the rape of a young woman.  His duplicity and culpability are discovered by his uncle, who not only compensates the young woman as best he can but, punishes Gwydion and the rapist by transforming them into animals, a series of three mating pairs, for the following 3 years they take turns being male and female and baring offspring. 

After this experience Gwydion’s character is that of the Father that I know and love.  He takes up the newborn and un-formed son of his sister, using his magick in raising him, caring for him, advocating for him, guiding and teaching and eventually healing him. 

With his uncle, he uses magick to manifest the Goddess of Sovereignty as the Flower Bride and, with his magick She transforms into an Owl (Her Crone form).  

He is an example of how a magick-worker grows in the use of magick from unethical behavior in service to the base desires of an immature and selfish person, to the service of their own loved ones, to the service of the Goddess (the land) and the community.

 He is an example to me and an ally and I am grateful for his presence in my life.

“Gwydion, Father and Mage,
Healer, Teacher and Guide,
Wise One be here, Wise One be here!”


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fragile-Handle With Care

Humans are incredibly fragile creatures.  Just a moment of disruption in the development of the fetus can be the difference between life, or still-birth, or defect and dysfunction.  Just a few moments without enough oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death. 

But even when the body and brain develop without traumatic injury, without physical disruption of any kind, the soul and the heart and the mind can incur damage that remains unseen to the casual observer.  Indeed these wounds can become infected and fester unacknowledged by the wounded, unrealized even by those who love them.

We can interact with others whose souls are damaged to the point of death and never know.  We can unwittingly contribute to the damage they have suffered, and because their own defenses are so fragile, one, small, unintentional unkindness could be the last assault that kills their souls beyond the possibility of healing.

We cannot know the state of another’s soul.  We cannot know whether the person we encounter in a chance moment of our mundane life is sick unto death.  We can only live each moment to the best of our ability. 

We can choose to live mindfully and consciously.  We can choose to live with kindness and generosity.  We can choose to handle our Earth, its creatures and our fellow human beings, and yes, even ourselves, with care.  We may never know if that small kindness is the moment when the damage ends and healing begins.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

on Crones, Connection, Chakras, Cauldrons, the Cosmos and the Conjure Dance


The following are some of the experiences I had at the Sacred Space Conference this past weekend.  Each of them was lead by a Woman who identifies as a Crone.  Each of these women are respected, admired and esteemed by their Community and each has had a part in teaching me how to walk into my future and how to connect with others.  I give thanks for them and for the lessons and visions they bestowed upon me.

Chakras
Diving into the earth, into the depths beneath me, I find the place the Mystic Woman is speaking of, the Ancestral chakra, the place where we all connect to all that is and has ever been.  I know this place, I have touched it before. It is the source of the golden, glowing honey that feeds my soul, my cauldron of warming. It rises at my bidding, into my root, into my womb, into my center to warm me, to open me, to give me strength and power to seek the visions I need.  It continues to rise into my heart, my voice, my eye, my crown.  It fills my being until I am fully open, fully engaged, fully alive.

Cauldrons
The Witch is child-like in her joy and enthusiasm.  She reminds me of a pre-school teacher encouraging us to play, to seek adventure, and praising us for our beauty as we dance together.  Her silver curls bounce about her shoulders as she in turn bounces on the balls of her feet, so full of her joy at sharing this dance that she loves.  She leads us to the Cauldron and to the woman stirring and we look and see what the brew with reveal, then to another and yet another vision.  Visions of what we were, and who we are, and where we are going.  Visions of our place in our own lives, and of our place in our community.

The Cosmos
I step through the dark veil and into the Temple. It is dark inside like the night sky and the smoke of incense greets me. I touch the blessed water and the shift begins.  The candles all around remind me of stars and I breathe deeply to make myself ready.  The Priestess is robed in night and crowned with stars.  She casts the circle, opening the gates and connecting them to the Chrystal at the center.  She calls to the Consort and then to the Goddess and opens the Star-gate.  She leads us and carries us with her singing of spells, with her magick and her songs she carries us upward and into the stellar realm, up among the stars we dance and sing along with her.  We each approach the gate in turn and are granted a vision of our place in the cosmos.  The visions are captured in the small crystals we take into our hands and then again we approach for there is more to know.  Then the Priestess comes to stand before each of us and one by one she grants us a gift, or names it, I am not sure which. And then we are again dancing and singing to the Goddess of the cosmos, dancing and singing among the stars that made us, until it is time to return.  The Priestess returns us gently back to our places within the Temple.  We thank the Goddess and her Consort and the Priestess closes the gates and the circle.  It is done.

The Conjure Dance
We are dressed in white, waiting to enter the place where the Dance will happen.  When we do, the first thing I notice is the tables around the room that are set with images of Deities from every place that humans live upon the planet.  There are tables also of food and drink and trinkets. And at one end of the room rows of chairs sit empty and waiting.  Everyone files past the tables as we enter and I make note in my mind of the places set for the Gods with whom I have relationships.  Announcements are made and finally the chairs are filled with drummers and the Shaman begins to sing. 

Her rattle sets a rhythm that settles into my mind and relaxes my body and her voice calls to the spirits and draws them to this space.  I know when she is done that I am as open as I will get this night and it is not enough to allow anyone in.  But I am relaxed and aware of the magick and I am here to honor my Gods and to experience the Dance and that will be enough.  When the Shaman is finished the Drums begin and the younger woman begins to sing with a cadence that is unfamiliar but intriguing.  I dance within the limits of a relaxed body but fully present mind and take up offerings and place them with prayers at the places set for my Gods. 

The drumming and the chanting of the younger woman are engaging and I enjoy watching those who are more able to be open move with the freedom provided by the trance.  My High-Priestess and sister is one of those dancing and when I make eye contact with her I can see that she is not completely present.  This is when I understand why I am here.  I am here to watch over her while she dances with the spirits. 

Our Elder and another High-Priestess whom we both trust and admire respond to my need for reassurance that she is safe.  I need not interfere.  She needs to do this work and she is strong enough to do it without danger to herself and so, I simply watch over her.  Our Elder and the High-Priestess as well as one of the Guardians from our Tradition remain close by and within my clear line of sight should I panic and need them to step in but they understand that She is precious to me they know that I need to stay close to her and to care for her. 

I am present should she need me and they are close should I need them.  And for both of those things, I give thanks.  After, the High-Priestess sits with my sister to be sure she is well and so that I can relax enough to leave her side and get a breath of air before I escort her to our room and she is safely in her bed for the night.

Each of these experiences has taught me something of who I am and of the work that I am here to do.  The Dance in particular reminded me that while my High-Priestess takes care of me in many ways, I need to care for her at times (regardless of whether she needs me to or not).Caring for others is a role that I take joy in but that I also need to fulfill in order to fulfill my purpose.

Remembering the Maiden

Dancing Maiden by Katarina Silva

This past weekend I met a radiant young woman who has a beautifully open heart.  We encountered each other a few times and engaged in pleasant and polite conversations about art and other things, and about not limiting ourselves with language (this lesson I have learned from one of my teachers and  in turn try to pass it along to others).  I saw her dance and smile and each time I was filled with joy at being witness to her first steps upon a path that I have loved for many years now.

It brings great light to my heart to hope that I will be walking this path with her and that thought inspires me to remember that the Maiden lives within me as well, even as I take my first steps into my life as a Crone. 

On the last evening of the weekend I found myself engaged again in conversation with this Bright Child and as will sometimes happen, the conversation went somewhere that I did not expect and rather than politely restraining myself, I dove in head first and followed where my heart and mind led. 

It was a wonderful feeling but after, I felt as though I should be embarrassed that I had been “too loud” and “too big” in expressing my thoughts and in engaging so enthusiastically and completely.  Indeed I was surprised at my behavior.

The next morning I was given the gift of hearing the perceptions that some in my community have of me, specifically that I am never loud or big and while I was not criticized for my unusual behavior it was remarked upon for its rarity.

I learned a few things from this experience.  First was recognition of the feeling that I should be ashamed for being “too loud or too big”.  (One of my teachers will be very pleased to know that I am no longer going to unconsciously accept that premise.)  It is not cause for shame to be engaged fully and enthusiastically with others.

Another lesson I have learned from this experience is that the Maiden is alive and well within me.  My sisters on this path embody the Maiden even as they welcome me into the Sisterhood of the Crone.  They are full of life and joy and adventure and I am grateful for their companionship and guidance.

I give thanks for the Maiden Encountered and for the Maiden Remembered and for the Maiden Reborn within me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fire



Fire is dynamic and intangible.  Its effects can be measured, but it cannot be contained.  It can be extinguished, but not boxed or bottled.  Fire is not an object but, rather a state of becoming. 

Fire is transformation and change. It is destruction of form and release of energy.  It is heat and light and movement.


It is the wild-fire that rages and the lightning strike that sparks the flames, and the sunlight that causes life to grow anew.

It is the need-fire that provides warmth and preserves life, the torch that provides light that allows us to see and the hearth-fire that cooks sustenance for the tribe.

It is the campfire in the night, and the stars in the sky above, and the song of community shared.

Fire is the candle on the southern altar, and the sacred fire at the center of community.

Fire is the wand and the staff that act as conduits for the movement of energy and the energy we move through them and through ourselves.

Fire is the bright red flower in full bloom and the dawn turning to day and the noonday sun in the height of summer bringing the crops to fullness and fruition.


It is the firing of nerve synapses and the chemical reactions within every cell of the body.

Fire is the soul and the seat of desire, passion, will, drive, courage and righteous anger.  

It is the life force that fills the cauldron of warming, and the glowing ember in the cauldron of vocation that moves us to action and the fire in the head, that divine spark in the cauldron of wisdom that compels us to seek and explore that which cannot be found in the mundane existence of the sleepwalker.

Fire is the Phoenix rising from the ashes and the Dragon in the fearless flight of freedom.