Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Conversations with the Bone Mother

Last month I had the honor of aspecting the Goddess Hecate, as Bone Mother, for a joint Harvest Ritual with my coven and another of our Tradition.  Aspecting is a form of divine embodiment practiced by my Tradition. In the weeks leading up to the Ritual, and in the weeks since, Hecate Bone Mother and I have shared many conversations and She has impressed upon me Her desire that I share some of those conversations here. When that Lady “impresses upon you Her desire…”  well, I learned a long time ago not to argue with such “requests”.  I am going to comply eventually anyway. Life is easier if I dance to the Music the Gods are playing.  And I learn more effectively when I don’t waste time avoiding the lessons.  That being said, it is unusual to invoke Hecate in that aspect, especially at the first Harvest.  The Sun, while waning, is still strong. The light is still long. The Summer heat is at its greatest.  Green growth is abundant and full.  She was thrilled, to be invoked, and to have the pleasure of being in a body, even one with the limitations mine possesses, at this season, so full of Life.  The first thing she imparted to me was this;

“You have work to do Witch, get off your ass and get started.” 

She was referring to the spell I work to bless my grandchild. I had just learned that my second grandchild is expected in early December, but not having done any witchcraft to manifest the child, as I had before my first was conceived, I had not yet begun to work the spell.  Next was a discourse on the Magick of Bones. (Which of course would include a spell to manifest a child in Strength and Beauty among other blessings).  The importance of our bones, the strength of them, the way they are the vehicle by which we move in the world. 

“You need to move yours more.”

And She is right, to keep this body useful, and strong, I do need to move more.  Specifically, I need to dance, and often. 

“You are not yet ready for a nap in the Boneyard, you are not yet ready to be dust.  You have living to do, you have work to do, and you need to get to it.”

I get tired sometimes, like everyone else, I get weary.  The troubles of the day are more than sufficient, some days they are overly abundant. But I am indeed not dead yet, nor am I ready to turn to dust.  I still have living to do, I still have work to do, I still have loving to do.

“Every bone has its purpose. Some are for walking and climbing, some are for stitching with a needle, some are for embracing loved ones.  Just as every essential part of us has a use, none of them are without purpose.  None of our Bones are to be disowned. None of our essential selves are to be either.”

Those parts of ourselves that we despise, that we desire to abandon, are in fact necessary.  They are our very Bones.  They are the structure that helps us stand and move and they are the parts of us that will remain longer than any other.  They are quintessentially us. Even more than our Blood, which will turn to dust in the blink of an eye.  The Ritual was about the Sacrifice of the Harvest.  She wanted those present to offer to Her their Bones.  To offer a part of themselves, to release something of themselves that She could then give back to them as a new thing, as a magickal tool to help them grow, to be used upon their journey in the future.  Now, in aspecting a Goddess for a group ritual, especially such a One as She, I would have expected Her to express Herself with some solemnity, some mystery, some poetry even but, that is not what She chose to do.  Rather, She used my repertoire of swear words, such as it is, (evidently, I need to expand my vocabulary a bit) and She spoke quite bluntly, no pulling punches, no dancing around things.  Truth be told, I spent a few days afterward worrying about it. And the conversations continued.

“…and why is it any concern of yours?  I choose what words and what manner of speech will serve me in the moment, and it is not your worry how I choose to present myself.  You only need to be strong and flexible and to keep your heart open so that I may touch those who need Me to in they way that they need Me to.” 

It took a few days but, I thought about how she received each person’s sacrifice. How She did so with such compassion, and respect and reverence.  She truly valued each Bone She was offered.  And She gave to each person love, blessing and magick in turn.  And that was my hope as a priestess in that Ritual, to serve Her well, so that She could bless those present.  Once I was able to let go of my worries over how my service to Her was perceived by others, She pointed out that I had yet to make my own sacrifice to Her.  Indeed, I had not been able to choose. (Sometimes the immediacy of Ritual can help force us to choose, and in that moment, we discover what we need most.)  I had time, too much time perhaps.  I thought about what I remembered of the sacrifices She had been offered by others, many were surprisingly repeated over and over again.  So many human Bones are shared among us.  But I eventually discovered what my sacrifice was supposed to be.  I was discussing with her my worries about becoming an old woman, especially my concerns regarding my eventual loss of vision, and the fact that many things that I had hoped for in this lifetime were no longer possible.  I decided to offer to her those hopes, the hopes of a young woman for blessing that life can hold for a young woman and that eventually become the safety and blessings of an old woman.  And then She did the most magickal thing.

“You do not need to give up this thing.”

She was correct.  I had lumped one thing into that sacrifice that was not “something that is no longer possible”.  And so, She gave it back to me.  It is not ‘a thing that will happen” but it is “a thing that can happen” if I choose to make it so.  I have a blessed life, and it is good to know that if I choose, I still have time to manifest a dream from my youth.  I can make that a part of my life as an “old woman”.  Hecate Bone Mother is now Someone with whom I have relationship.  She even chose a gift from among my possessions.  A necklace of black and amber beads with a fossil of a nautilus shell that was given to me by one of my Elders at my third degree initiation.  Although I liked it very much, I had never worn it, nor had I given it away, I did not know why.  But almost two years later, it was still among my things. She chose it immediately upon being asked if she would like a gift from me. I suspect we will have many more conversations in the future, and some She may wish for me to share with those who choose to read this blog.  In the meantime, I am not dead yet, I am not ready to turn to dust nor to take a nap in the Boneyard.  I have work to do and I need to be busy about getting to it. Blessings from the Bone Mother.  Blessed Be.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Magick of Play

In a world where life is ever more difficult, where we are constantly bombarded with unwelcome news, where the future seems ever more worrisome, we can become unbearably weary.  

We can become so burdened by the mundane, and the seemingly inevitable despair of the world that our passion, our joy, our optimism and our pleasure seem increasingly beyond our reach.

This is not the way I wish to live.  

In circumstances like these, Play becomes absolutely necessary.  We need to remember how to be hopeful, how to have fun, how to laugh.

Once a week I gather with some friends to Play.  I pretend to be someone else.  I spend an evening doing ridiculous things and together we create a story.  A wild, impossible and gloriously outrageous story.  I get to learn new skills, and to practice things that make me uncomfortable, like conflict, in a safe place with friends.  I get to practice communicating more clearly, and facing conflict, and being bold, and even vent stress and anger in healthy, playful ways.  I get to say, “bite me” to people who will not be hurt by those words.  And I get to laugh, a lot.

Play and laughter are just as important for adults as they are for children, perhaps even more so.  We need play, and laughter, and fun, to remain strong and healthy and to renew our spirits in a world that is filled with sadness and despair.  Laughter and play are the antidote to the toxicity and weariness of challenging times. 

Life is good.  The Sun still shines, as do the Moon and the Stars.  Find Joy, find Pleasure, find Laughter.  Play!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

As we enter into ritual space as a Coven, each of us says aloud, “I enter this Circle in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”. 
 At a Ritual a few months ago, I was asked by one of our guests why we say those words.   He was concerned that, if it was a requirement of entering Ritual with the Coven, he was not capable of meeting such a standard. 

 I reassured him that it was not a requirement, but rather an intention, an ideal to which we aspire, and that none of us are perfect in our practice of that ideal.  
If we cannot achieve such perfection, why would we use those words?  Because words have power, and stating our ideals, our intentions, helps us to remember our common goal, our aspirations, and our commitment to each other to continue to “practice” Perfect Love and Perfect Trust with each other, and with ourselves. 

While none of us can achieve Perfect Love and Perfect Trust all the time, there is magick in ritual, when we can reach beyond our limitations, and achieve for a moment, something beyond our own abilities.  Each time we reach beyond ourselves and achieve, if only for a moment, a glimpse of our ideal, we expand our own capacity for the practice of that to which we aspire.  We “practice” Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.  It is not just a quaint twist of language but a Truth that we “practice”.

We, as a Coven, have committed to “practicing” Perfect Love and Perfect Trust with each other.  It is an ideal that we have explored as a group and as individuals.  We have shared with each other what that ideal looks like, and discussed how we manifest that ideal, with Coven, with Community, with our loved ones and with ourselves.  We have all grown and learned and expanded our understanding of what those words mean, and how to put such ideals into practice in ritual and in our lives.

There is inherent risk in such work.  Just as we cannot achieve perfection in our practice, we are also, in our humanity, not ascended beings. We all have secrets; we all have shadows.  We will each, at some time or another, let another down in some way and we will all be let down by someone we love and trust.  This is a truth of human experience, Family, Friends, Lovers, Coven and Community.  So, what does it mean to practice “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” in the light of such Truth?  Or do we give up such a lofty ideal in the attempt to avoid the pain that results from the inevitable?

It is my belief that the bonds of emotional intimacy that are forged by such work, and the vulnerability that is inherent in those bonds, hold the potential for greater magick and transformation. The opportunity to learn and to practice forgiveness, resilience, strength, courage, knowledge, wisdom and power with ourselves and with one-another is worth the risks of personal pain, from someone we love failing us, and from us failing someone we love.

Love is worth the risk of failure, and the risk of pain.  Love is worth vulnerability.  Love is great Magick.  Love is the Magick that can re-enchant the world. Love is the magick that can heal our world and ourselves. Perfect Love and Perfect Trust are ideals worth aspiring to and worth practicing.

May you be blessed with both.  Blessed Be!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

sometimes I feel small...

I am the High Priestess of the Weavers of the Moonfire.  I have worked for years to earn the privilege to serve this coven, this family that I love.  I am blessed and honored to guide and nurture these amazing witches, as they seek knowledge, of themselves, of their path, of their own power and magick.  I find immense joy in fulfilling my purpose in guiding my beloveds as they seek to heal themselves, transform themselves into stronger, happier people. 

I have worked hard for years to know how big I truly am, big enough to do this, bigger than I was taught I should be.  And I am, big enough.  But sometimes I feel small.

There are days when I feel low, weary, anxious.  There are days when I do not feel big enough to do the work I love.  That does not mean that I am NOT big enough, that only means that sometimes I do not FEEL big enough.  

When I feel small, I can pretend that everything is fine but, that tends to give the smallness more power.  Last week I told my lover that I was feeling small.  He heard me, understood me, and reassured me that I would be big enough when I needed to be.  The smallness passed, as such feelings will, but I am grateful for the way he holds space for me to feel however I feel in any given moment.

We do not have to be big always.  We do not have to be strong every moment. We can allow ourselves to be human, small, weak, afraid even.  We can be sad, or wild, or angry, or mean.  We can feel petty and over-sensitive and churlish and childish and selfish.  (We do not have to indulge in behavior that hurts others just because we feel these things).  We do not need to be perfect. And when we are feeling small, we can ask for those we love to hear us, and hold space for us, and be patient with us until we are able to return to our better selves.  (And if some of that leaks into our behavior, we can ask for forgiveness.)

It is helpful to remember that I am a guide, and that those I care for need me to walk the path that they will walk but, they will walk it for themselves.  I do not need to be any bigger than is needed to hold the torch so they can see the path before them.  And even when I feel small, I am big enough.  Blessed Be.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Patriarch

The Patriarch of my family is my Older Brother.  I am not sure when that happened exactly.  Perhaps when our younger brother died suddenly this past summer but, I think it happened long before that. 

He has always been the one who makes everything alright for everyone, no matter what happens.  That is not to say our father hasn’t always been a strong and loving provider.  Or that our grandfathers were not kind and loving men.  Or that the women in our family are not strong, intelligent, powerful women.  All of these things are true.  But somewhere along the way, my older brother became the central pillar that holds up the hall of our House.  He is the Cornerstone of our foundation, the Oak that gives us shelter and security and rest when we are weary.  He is the peace-bringer we look to and the example we aspire to.  He is always there.

And now, when our grandparents are passed and our parents are aging, and the children are becoming adults, and raising little ones of their own (well one at least) the presence of this strong and easy-going man, has become essential to the well-being of our family.

He is the one who spends time with our father, and our mother.  He is the one who steps in to provide love and support our brother’s daughters, he and his love, his wife of 32 years, provide the home and hearth for our aunts, uncles and cousins, and their children and grandchildren to gather, so that our extended family can come together and remember that we are a tribe. There is no judgement, everyone is welcome, everyone is family, and family is everything.

Knowing that he will be there when we are old, when our parents pass, when the girls marry, when the boys become fathers, when our grandchildren too become adults, gives me a sense of peace that I have associated with him since I was a small child.

He is a loving son, husband, father, uncle, coach, friend and brother.  He is a Great Man.  A man of peace, a man of care, a man of humble strength.  I Give Thanks for the Blessing of Our Patriarch.  May the Gods and the Ancestors bless our family with his presence for decades yet to come.  So Mote it Be!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Joys and Sorrows and Blessings...

So, there have been many changes in my life in the past 6 months or so, and for the sake of continuity, I thought to mention them. 

On Sunday September 11th, I received my 3rd degree initiation from my Tradition.  The Ritual was challenging and profound and I am still working through the magick of it and I will be for a while to come.

On Sunday September 25th, the Weavers of the Moonfire, my Coven, hived to give birth to a new Coven.  My High Priestess and best friend, and half of our number, were released and dedicated the new Coven, and I became the High Priestess of my Beloved Moonfire. It was a beautiful day and bittersweet for all of us.

On the day after my birthday, Saturday October 1st, Pwca and I moved into a new home with two wonderful people and their sweet kitten, Luna.  And then Pwca’s health began to fail. 

On Sunday December 4th, I graduated from Gryphon’s Grove School of Shamanism and celebrated the achievement with friends with whom I have been blessed to Journey for the past two years.  Some amazingly gifted witches and healers whom I would not have known otherwise.

On Monday morning, December 19th my beloved familiar and my companion for over 6 years crossed over.  It was a very difficult loss and I still miss him. 

On Saturday January 14th, I found my sweet Gwion at the local shelter and, brought him home to Caer Ddraig.  He has settled in and is a joy and a comfort to me every day.

Life is full of changes, full of both Joy and Sorrow, and the future is never exactly the way we think it will be.  I give thanks for the life I have, for home and companion, for housemates and Coven, for friends and family and lovers and allies and teachers. 

I am blessed and I give thanks.  Blessed Be.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Since the loss of my brother in July, I have been struggling against an old obstacle.  I have worked relentlessly the past ten years to open myself to feeling…everything. I began with being open, engaged, and connected in ritual space, then with connecting to inspiration, and intuition, and imagination, love and grief and sorrow and joy, desire, passion and pleasure, anger, purpose and power…everything that makes me a living, breathing, loving person. 

Being closed off to my Self, my mind, soul, heart, body, and shadow, is like being asleep, or half-alive.  It feels like sleepwalking through the world, and it has robbed me of my energy, my motivation and my joy.   It has also robbed me of my compassion, empathy and connection to others.

The loss of my brother was the first but, there have been a series of losses, none of which I have felt fully.  And while I have not lost my connection to my Gods, I have not returned to the head-blindness and deafness, for which I give thanks, this disconnection from feeling is an obstacle that has become intolerable.  I will not live that way again. 

I visited the Sweat Lodge this past weekend and there I became acutely aware of the current state of my magick.  I gave thanks for the blessings I have been given. I offered up the distractions and worries (and a portion of my grief) that interfere with my being fully aware and connected to myself, and I asked for the return of opening that I may again fully engage with all of myself and with those that I love and with my purpose in the world.

This past week, in conversations with two of my coven-mates I had become unexpectedly “emotional”, even becoming disproportionately angry about something relatively trivial.  At first, I did not recognize why I was feeling so strongly, and then it occurred to me that my prayers within the Lodge had been heard and were being answered.  I give thanks for the return of opening, and I will continue this work. 

One of the ways that I intend to do this is by engaging in new experiences and striving to be fully present with them. 

This has reminded me that the lessons of this life are always repeating, we become more adept at the work each time we return to a lesson, we learn new ways, and practice and practice and practice, and through practice we become wiser and perhaps more graceful.

So, I am opening…again.  May my Gods bless me in my work.