Sunday, October 28, 2012

Incense Tending

The day is bright and warm and despite the overcast sky, we locate the Sun glowing gold behind the clouds high in the west.  A beaten and broken old Walnut tree stands at the North of the place and I place my hand upon the bark and greet Him “Cyfaill “(friend).
Leaning over to reach for rotting seeds, focused on the leaves upon the grass to locate the green and gold and blackened orbs, I pick them from the earth and toss them back towards their own Ancestor. 
The Priestesses begin their work; dressing alters, creating the pattern.
I dress the Alter for the gifts to be placed, pouring apple cider into my great-grandmother’s pitcher.  The smell of apples reaches into me and stirs my soul.  My heart calls out to please my Honored Dead.
All is in place but, it is not yet time. We three set about lighting the candles, and relighting as the Wind plays games with us.
All is still as we stand watch just before the gate, the Moon above, the Walnut in the North, the Spirits of the Land stand watch.  Twilight begins to descend as we wait in stillness.  The Moon rises in the East just above the trees, a pale glow through the overcast sky.  We look back at the pattern, the candles a geometric constellation come to Earth.  The Priestesses take their places in the constellation and prepare themselves for the effort ahead of them.
It is time.  The Community is there ready to enter the Circle, ready to create the Magick.  They pass by, purifying themselves, we three follow.  The salted water on my fingertips, I touch them to my forehead, my lips, my heart, my belly, my womb, aligning and connecting.  The incense is simple and sweet, I breathe deep and open.  I pause for a moment at the Alter I have prepared and send forth my prayer that They should be pleased.
I enter the Circle and stand with my Community as the Quarters are called and the Roads are laid.  I stand in the Circle as the ashes are laid, the Land given over, the pattern charged, the Gates opened.  I can feel the energy of the Priestesses as they put forth their effort to bring the constellation into being.
I take my place, a small shadow just outside the constellation.  I kneel upon the ground, and my universe becomes the small black bowl on the table before me.
The coals I had lit have been waiting long and must be added to or they will go out. I blow softly on the black coal as it takes the fire and glows. Then I begin to make my offerings, a pinch at a time, a coal at a time.  My task is to keep the smoke rising.  This task becomes my Magick.
I can see individuals make their way past me and enter through the Gates.  I can feel my Priestess working and I reach out to help hold her up.  Kneeling upon the land, I can feel my Ancestors embrace me.
This small quiet task becomes a meditation.  Keep the coals burning, keep the smoke rising, add pinch after pinch of the sweet offering.  This task prepares me, enchants me, entrances me.  It is my will manifested.  It is my service to my Beloved Dead.
Then the Herald calls to us, to take our turn, to pass through the Gates.  I stand on legs that have forgotten how, and make one more offering to last long enough, and walk toward my Priestess.  She knows the import of this work for me and she holds the Gate open.  I pass through and feel the vortex; I feel its strength and stability and step into stillness.
I have no time to form a thought, no time to form a question. The Ancestors tell me what they will.  It is what I hope and desire and need. They grant me my desire; they bestow upon me my name. They give me their blessing.  Then they dismiss me, and I turn and step back through the Gate and take my place again in the Circle.
The Land is returned, the Gates are closed, the Circle is opened.  My Brother stands beside me and I reach out to touch him.  He acts as an anchor for me as I return to balance.  Together we place the offerings at the base of the Tree to the North.  He also understands the import of this work for me.  The Moon glows in the sky behind the clouds.
The Ancestors have Blessed us.  I Give Thanks.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Your shadow passes silently over me,
hiding me from the light and warmth of the sun.
I shiver and glow with the colour of my passion for you.
Until the dark and shifting clouds hide you from me
and I fear I shall never see you again.
Terrified and cold.
Then you leave me and pass by.
And I am bright again,
if not so warm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Veils of shadow

 I woke from a dream the other night in which I had been with my loved ones, my coven-mates and other friends who have a positive impact on my growth and well-being.  I became aware that I was wearing a beautiful veil over my head that reached to the floor.  It was black and sparkling and lovely.  It made me feel beautiful and hidden and safe.  It was comfortable at first but, then I became aware of the fact that I could not see my loved ones clearly, or hear them, or touch them.  
As the dream progressed they could not see me, or hear me, or touch me either.  So I removed the veil and a hand took it from me.  It was my lover’s hand.  And he held it out to me so that I could put it on again if I chose.  I realized then that while I wore the veil, I could not breathe.  I woke then with an undeniable clarity that this was a message from my Gods.
The veil is a choice that I alone can make.  It can be anything that allows me to hide myself, that gives me the illusion of safety, or comfort, or even love. But that in reality suffocates me, and hides me in my own shadow.  It is anything that keeps me from engaging with my friends and loved ones from the depths of my heart and soul.  It is beautiful and it is a glamour. 
The veil does not make me safe, nor does it make me beautiful.  The veil is not love; it is simply a semblance of shadow.  I can choose to put it on again but, I will not.  I want to be seen, and heard. I want to see and hear clearly. I want to touch and be touched, I want to know and be known. Safety is not Joy.  Glamour is not Truth, and I would be True.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

For the Dark Maiden

Flower-Bride by magick made
to be the Bride of Light.
Yet your sovereignty never surrendered,
you chose your lover by your will
and sent the Eagle flying.
By Magick turned
from Flower-Bride to Night-Hunter,
silent-winged Owl-Goddess,
flying unheard to hunt the dark
sharp-seeing and swift.
Talons pierce soft fur.
Warm flesh, fluttering heart
surrender to your grasp.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conjuring the Dragon

Of all the monsters in my closet, the biggest and the scariest are also the ones most completely a part of me.  Doubt is a huge creature of dark grey smoke with no real substance but, who chokes and silences me.  Fear is a giant, cold, black, slimy monster that cripples me by wrapping himself around me and preventing me from acting.  Anger is the largest and scariest of all.  He is a dark red dragon covered in scales and spines with large sharp teeth, and he breaths fire.  He would destroy me completely as well as everyone and everything in my world.  And so, the title of this post, “Conjuring the Dragon”. 
Shouldn’t that be “Conquering the Dragon”?  No, I don’t think so, because I haven’t conquered him.  I have avoided him and hidden him and hidden from him.  I have silenced him and ignored him and locked him in a box and locked him in the back of my closet.  I have been afraid of him and bewildered by him and haunted by him. 
When I was about ten I expressed anger once by striking another person.  I was humiliated and ashamed by my action and have never used physical violence again.  Instead I learned to use words to verbally hurt others.  I take no pride in it now but, at one time I was very proud of my ability to find words that would strike at the heart of my chosen target and wound them most affectively.
 I believe that verbal violence and magickal violence are just as reprehensible as physical violence.  But when I am in pain and the rage builds inside my heart, holding that rage is more painful than anything I can imagine.  Refusal to express anger is also one of the most insidious causes of depression, and I cannot do that any longer.  At this moment, I am not experiencing pain or anger, but I know that they are a part of human experience and so, I am attempting to figure out a safe and healthy way to embrace and express those realities when they again visit my heart. 
Three weeks ago while doing my Dark Moon practice, my Patron insisted that the Red Dragon is a part of me.  I denied this but he insisted that I must begin working with Him.   So I began mediating on the Dragon.
Two weeks ago I was in a great deal of pain and very, very angry.  I spoke to my High Priestess and sought her council.  I confessed my intense desire to curse those responsible for my pain. (It helps to admit, out loud, what you desire and to commit, out loud, to living according to your ethics.) She bore witness to my commitment and then spoke to me about the nature of the anger and pain.  She pointed out that it was energy, and just like any energy, could be used constructively.  The challenge was to find a safe and healthy and ethical way to express it.  She gave me something safe that I could pour the energy into so that it would be nullified, and it helped, but it is not a permanent solution.
The answer I believe lies in the Dragon Himself.  I am finally learning to know Him. I am building a relationship with Him.  He is a part of me and my ally and we are “making friends” of each other.  I am finally able to acknowledge where He comes from, His source in my life; and to realize that He would not destroy me or anyone or anything else in my life.  He can help me to not hide my face, to stand, sword in hand, and refuse to be conquered.
He is my protector and is here to help me maintain my commitment to my ethics.  He is with me to help me to live a life of honor, valor and integrity.  He will help me to speak regardless of my doubt, to act regardless of my fear, to love and to dare and to be known.  He is not anger but its energy is a part of Him. He can help me to use its energy to express my true will.
And so, I Conjure the Dragon. He will stand beside me and behind me and neither of us will be conquered. For Him, I Give Thanks!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


In Ritual last week with my tradition, I came face to face with the Maiden.  I would, as you might suspect, have gone to the Crone, or even to the Mother but, my High Priestess had suggested that I leave myself open and see who drew me to her…and so I came face to face with the Maiden. 
I did not know what I needed to ask.  I did not know how to ask.  But somehow the words came out of my mouth, asking to be given the ability to begin again, to be made new.  I did not understand what I was asking; my soul was working without my conscious control.  The Priestess who was aspecting did not know what the Maiden would do but, spoke kindly and said it would be so.  “What would be so?”  I did not know.
During the ritual I felt a physical “pop” and the sensation as when my water broke before I went into labor with my son. (I was not allowed to be conscious when they broke my water and induced labor before delivering my daughter by c-section, my son was also delivered that way but, labor came naturally by my own body)  Still, I did not understand.
I was very cold during the ritual, which is unusual for me as my temperature usually increases when I am engaged in magickal work.  I was also more open than usual, sobbing through the entire working, and after I had more difficulty than is normal for me, it took longer to return to my normal state of being.  Still, I did not understand.
Later, I was blessed by some very dear friends with what I now believe was a completion of the healing that the Maiden began.  I have been processing a great deal this week.  I have been trying to comprehend what she did, and what to do now.  I believe that she removed scars from a wound that I have never acknowledged, but one which has defined my every thought and deed since.  
Almost 4 decades of living predicated upon an event that I have never allowed myself to look at.  Anytime the memory surfaced, I refused to acknowledge it.  When the rage came, I refused to know its source.  But now I can look at it and see it clearly without pain or anger, and accept it in all its truth. 
I had believed myself to be a damaged person since then but, now I know that I am not.  I am undamaged.  Not only am I no longer wounded but, the scars are gone and I am not crippled or un-whole in any way.  I can do and feel things that I had believed myself incapable of for virtually my entire life.
The Maiden is not typically petitioned for healing or sympathy but, she knew what I needed, though I did not.  The Gods are always able to surprise us and are not to be constrained by our own narrow definitions of them.  They can also use others to affect us in ways we and our loved ones are not consciously aware of.  It is a mystery for which I Give Thanks.

Friday, October 5, 2012

An Invocation to the Wild God


Untamable Wild Spirit
Undeniable Force of Life
God of Carnal Pleasure and Passionate Joy,
Laughter and Love.
Come to me and Take me,
In that place of Ecstasy
Where there are no boundaries
to separate me
From All That You Are.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crossing the Threshold

I turned 47 years old yesterday.  As I have said, I love my birthday.  I try to celebrate it no matter if I am spending it with loved ones or alone. I have to admit that I was very glad that I would not be spending it alone this year.  But knowing that I would be spending it with my community was not the guarantee you might think.
Being surrounded by community is not a protection against solitude.  Being isolated and closed off from others can happen regardless of how many people are in your immediate surroundings.  I can be in the midst of many people whom I respect, admire and  feel great affection for and yet, be isolated and feel intensely alone.  Although I have been a part of my community for over 6 years now,  I have always felt a level of separation from the majority of them.  Even with my coven, I do not share myself completely. 
I take full responsibility for this.  They are amazing, giving, loving and generous people.  But trust is a difficult thing.  It is a treasure that is hard won, with blood and tears and pain, not unlike childbirth.  Trusting others is risking rejection or betrayal or judgment.  It is risking allowing your Self to be known and measured and found wanting.  It is a terrifying guardian of the threshold for me, one that I have been battling to overcome this past year in particular.  As terrifying as it is, I need to cross that threshold.
I have been sharing more openly and risking more of my own truth with my High Priestess as well as others in my coven.  Even that has been painfully difficult but, with their love and support I have been able to share my fears and needs and desires, and to face them. 
I have voiced in sacred space my desire to be known by my community, to be open and warm and loving and to share my heart.  I have voiced in sacred space my fear that I cannot be loved, or be open with others the way I desire to be.  I have wept and shared my grief over loss and heartbreak. I have voiced my fear that my future holds no intimacy with others, no joy, no pleasure, no warmth, no love; no comfort, no safety, no ability to express my Heart, my Self, my Soul.
I do not want to live my life that way.  I would choose to risk anything to live the way my soul dictates, the way my heart desires. Yet, I have found myself paralyzed. Not with terror of being vulnerable, but rather an inability to step over.  In my family of origin it is an invasion of respect to touch someone without their permission.  I never touch another person without conscious intent and explicit consent.  Not my children, not my brothers, not my husband (now my ex).  How do you show affection or warmth when you cannot bring yourself to touch another person?  Without touch, we die.
So I desire to touch those that I care for, I need to be touched in return.  But I cannot move to do so.  My body does not know how.  My heart cries out to comfort those I care about, to show them my love and my hands cannot move.
But I am Blessed.  My friends, those wonderful, generous and caring spirits take me by the hand and lead me over the threshold.  They wrap their arms around me and show me that they will keep me safe.  They reach out to me and they carry me over.  Because I do not know how, they see me and do for me what I cannot.  I will never again be alone and isolated unless I choose to be.  I do not have to be afraid to show them that I love them. 
The Lord and Lady recently told me that I am allowed to accept help.  I do not have to fight my battle alone, I do not always have to be strong enough to do what I need to do, sometimes my friends, my loved ones can be strong for me.
They are the light among the shadows; they are what is beautiful in the darkness.
I am blessed by their presence and their strength and their love; and for them I give thanks every day.