Dark Days & Keeping it Real ~orienting ourselves in trying times…

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”

― John F. Kennedy

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erry Meet Pagan Peoples!  I think one thing as a country we can all agree upon (for once) is the trying nature of our current health crisis.   What will define us as humans and the character of our country will be how we move through these seriously trying times.

Let us grab a cup of our favorite nerve-calming tea (mine is honey ginger crystals as we speak) and have a chat witch-to-witch in an attempt to orient ourselves appropriately.   As previously mentioned in The Magic of 2020 and the Cancer Full Moon blog posts, this year would bring many challenges both in issues of material scarcity and our relation to social systems.  The writing was on the wall for some sort of swift change to take place, however, I don’t believe any of us could know how it would play out.

The Kennedy quote starting this piece was chosen due to its simple and pared-
down truth…..our planet, our country and our communities
Crisisare in danger crisis and there is no escaping it.  I cannot speak for everyone’s experience, but from my own, I have seen people on both ends of the spectrum.  From seriously freaked out to casually not thinking it is that big and everything in-between.  The panicked energy in the streets and in the stores is palpable, which for us empathic and intuitive types is toxic and immobilizing in of itself if one is not on-guard.  Though one need not be psychic or intuitive to feel the fear.  At one end we have people bogarting toilet paper and bleach to the other end where college kids are at the beach carrying on like it’s nothing.

Anyone with a modicum of sense realizes that we are truly in a place of danger and as a community, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe.  As in any other situation, we can choose to respond or react.   This choice will determine our success.

In these times it is normal for people to freak out, become fearful and overwhelmed or shut down and become depressed.  People may feel alone and isolated, confused, lost, suicidal and unsure of what to do.  I, personally, have experienced all of these emotions and situations in my life at one time or another and I am sure I am not alone in this.  However, having gotten this far in my life, I also know that as in all else, those feelings and situations are temporary, I do possess the ability, intelligence and power to move beyond it.   The downfall leading to most failures in such situations is feelings of depression, helplessness, powerlessness and overwhelm.  The way to combat these emotions and be successful is always forward movement of some kind, even if it’s incremental.  This is where magic and practical mundane living go hand in hand-both need a plan, idea or need and a jumping-off point or an initiator spark.  We are witches for goddess sakes-we know how to make a spark!

The first order of business is to STAY CALM for ourselves and our family so that we can keep a level head about us and Find Our Bearings!

~FIND (ONE’S) BEARINGS-to recognize or determine one’s orientation, position or abilities relative to one’s surroundings or situation.~

In finding our bearings we must first identify the situation-which we all understand to be the ‘Virus that Shall not Be Named’ (in actuality we know its name but I don’t want to have this piece blocked, so just in case…) and arm ourselves with factual information.    One of the most important acts we can do is to take care of our health.  This means getting quality sleep, safeguarding our immune system against inflammation and bacteria (such as making Immune Booster Brew) and mindfully processing stress.  I say mindfully process because there is no way around the fact that this health crisis will impact every person on some level.  Stress causes an inflammation response in our bodies which leaves us susceptible to illness.

The second thing to do is to determine our position and abilities.  This is where opportunities arise and will look different for everyone.  We must take into account fiduciary responsibilities, family members, health, age, housing, personal strenghts and level of preparedness.  This is not a time to judge yourself or others, it is simply a time to look at the facts and take stock.   Inform yourself with quality information-the podcast with Rogen is pretty informative.

Armed with the facts about your situation will lead to the third step of creating an action plan asking ourselves:  what do I need to do now, what can I do in the short term and what needs to be planned for in the long term?

For my family this has translated into ‘business as usual’.  What does that look like in the real world?  Knowing what was written in the stars coupled with the fact that we are so far from a store, my family did put up some supplies-though little did we know TP would be such a hot commodity, LOL.   In addition to our business Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary, I also work as a teacher.  This meant preparing kids at school on our last day and finishing up paperwork this last week, before being sent home to self-isolate.  Now, this wasn’t part of our plan as I didn’t foresee being off work or my child being home for five weeks, which equates to the use of more food and TP.   My husband is still commuting to work.  As with many businesses, they want everyone working from home, but we are in a dead zone and lack the internet speed (insert heavy sigh and eye roll here).  It means I still get up early and see my husband off, do my workout and have a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy the quiet before my handsome son blesses me with his presence.  I am diligent about wearing amethyst and black tourmaline to protect my auric field and combat the vibes of rising panic (especially when I go out for supplies or converse with others.)  I sit at my planner and review what tasks I need to accomplish for the day.   

For the now- we spent the weekend getting grocery items and building supplies to fill in any gaps.  I have a teenager which meant conversations around going to the school to getting learning packets from some of his teachers as well as expectations around the structure of his day which will include time out of doors, exercise, reading and working on educational things, not just video games all day.  For us, it also meant a conversation around food-making sure he didn’t skip breakfast and would result in wanting to eat more lunch and dinner foods that might not be available due to long term meal planning.

In the short term, it meant reaching out first to my family members, friends and coven mates to check on them.  Next, because we are all in this together, it meant reaching out to my community and school to assess needs and see where I could be of help.  As a counselor and ordained minister, I am able to offer assistance to community members and since I have a car I am able to be a meal runner for our schools.  This, of course, could change as needs arise on our social media forums.   The opportunity for family time is wide open-game nights, puzzles, cooking lessons, dirt bike rides, etc.  Setting a structured plan for my son’s time, much to his chagrin, that doesn’t include video games all day is a pretty high priority, because….business as usual.  Next on the list is to attend to our sacred space and home with a deep spring cleaning with Florida Water to clear out all the winter bogies and allergins, followed by a thorough smudging.  Black Obsidian is stationed under our beds, couches and both doors.   It is important at this time to keep the energies in our home clear of stress and panic.  At this time we start getting the garden ready and now have time to take seeds we blessed at the previous full moon and get them potted up in the greenhouse.  It’s also a good time to practice some candle magic.  I have a lavendar and cedarwood oiled orange candle for courage burning during the day and a blue peppermint candle burning for peace in the evening.  

In the long term, it means acknowledging this is something that could have long-lasting effects on product and food production.  For my family this is asking how do we manage our dollars and what does our skinny budget look like?  How can we slowly put aside a few staples here and there?  If you have the ability to grow your own food, then do so.  If you already grow food how can your ramp up food production to take your family further through the year as well as help your community?  We are ramping up what we grow in our garden this year and preparing to save seeds.  It’s time to dust off the to-do list of projects that take longer than a few hours and start chipping away at it, whether that be house and yard maintenance, cleaning out pantries and closets, completing some Book of Shadow pages, learn a new skill, revive an old skill, try out a new recipe, learn more about your favorite element, divination method, god or goddess, meditate, take time to slow dance, organize, read that stack of books that have piled up and reconnect with ourselves and the land.  Make plans for different ways to celebrate family.  It means at our new moons and full moons we are striving for protection of family, health, finances, and community while manifesting abundance and balance.  

The time at home with family is unprecedented but has given all of us such an opportunity to pull together as a unit and a community.  The choice is what we do with the time and situations as they arise.  For us it is focusing on family, helping each other stay positive, being gentle with ourselves & others and most important of all-keeping our sense of humor.

From our family to yours, we wish everyone balance, safety, abundance & sanity!

“Every test successfully met is rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness.”

― Paul Brunton

 

How are you making the most of your time?…..we would love to hear from you!

What’s Brewing?

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e currently are all a part of a larger health crisis facing our great nation.  We all will be impacted by the current outbreak, whether it be through our children’s schools (our kids in WA state are out until April 24th), layoffs, minor illness, knowing someone who has fallen ill or falling ill ourselves.

While every factor cannot be known, one way we can combat anxiety and overwhelm is by taking action where our health is concerned.   We pagans are known as brewmasters (among many other names)….we love our mead and other lovely concoctions, but right now I am speaking more to a medicinal brew.

One of my favorite brewings is a spicy concoction sure to bring my family through the cold and flu season.  It tastes like a deliciously fragrant and tangy salad dressing with a kick.

It is full of ingredients that most kitchen witches will have in our pantries or gardens.  A semblance of this recipe was originally obtained from a shop many years ago and thusly has changed somewhat as I have learned more about herbology and healing herbs.  I started adding turmeric because it is so good for us A blood types and really every blood type as well as rosemary.  Additionally, on a whim, I also added some very strongly aged blueberry kombucha that I had brewed.  While the kombucha is by no means a requirement, it is so beneficial on so many levels, if you brew your own, why not give it a try.

How does it work?  All of the herbs, roots and ingredients work to boost the immune system, fight free radicals and balance your Ph so that your body can do the job it was designed to do.

The recipe that follows is enough to fill a 1/2 gallon jar which is 128 tablespoon-sized servings.IMMUNUe booster

IMMUNE BOOSTER BREW

Fill a half-gallon jar with:

Rosemary 2-6″ branch
~beneficial in healing due to its rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, helping boost the immune system.

Thyme 6-5″ sprigs
~an antiseptic, expectorant, antispasmodic, digestant, anti-fungal and ant-microbial, rich in vitamins and minerals and an ally to the respiratory tract.

Turmeric 2-3 teaspoons
~contains curcuminoids with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It helps your body fight foreign invaders and repairs damage

Black Peppercorns 1 TB (slightly crushed)
~Packed with potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin K and vitamin C it is a natural anti-depressant, anti-bacterial and helps turmeric be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Onion 1 rough chopped
~anti-inflammatory, ease joint pain, indigestion, antibiotic, and an expectorant (loosen phlegm)

Cayenne powder 1 TB
~contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, choline, lutein, vitamin A. Works as an antioxidant and anti-bacterial as well as pain reliever.
Ginger 2 TB grated root with juice
~Well known for anti-nausea properties it also works to reduce inflammation, promote circulation and as an anti-bacterial.

Honey 1/2 c
~works as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and full of phytonutrients.

Grated horseradish root 1-2 TB heaping
~contains vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zine manganese and compounds of glucosinolate and sinigrin which works as an antioxidant to fight cell damage caused by free radicals

Juice of 2 Lemons
~amazing and lovely in that it smells amazing, promotes hydration, contains vitamin C, calcium, bioflavinoids that boost the immune system and help fight infection,  helps prevent kidney stones, works as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-anxiety (all too important with the current hysteria).  Lemon juice actually works to balance our Ph which inhibits bacteria from invading and taking hold which make us sick.

Fill about 1/3 of the way with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother if you can find it, if not regular apple cider vinegar will suffice.
~apple cider works as an antimicrobial and antioxidant.  The fermented elixir helps feed the healthy gut bacteria in an area known as our second brain.

You can fill the remainder of the jar with Water or if you brew kombucha– a mix of the two.

Shake jar really well and place in a dark spot on your counter or in a cupboard.  Shake it a couple of times a day.  It will be ready in 7-10 days, though I start using it the same day.  It is usually recommended that brews such as this be kept in a dark jar, however we just keep ours in the cupboard.

We use 1 tablespoon in the morning and 1 tablespoon in the evening.   When my son was younger I used a teaspoon full.  We use this a lot in the cold season but it is good all throughout the year as it is beneficial for overall health.

Keeping your family healthy is never overrated and one way to keep the craziness of life at bay.

Happy BREWING and blessed Health!

 

Understanding Pisces New Moon 2020

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he year of 2020 has seen a transition from Pisces to Aquarius and with it a shift in our personal alignment to higher spiritual wisdom coupled with our relationship to social systems.   In February the powerful Leo Full Moon illuminated the dark hallows shielding blockages that contributed to our suffering as well as stood in our way of stepping into our personal power.  This last esbat NM in Pisces allowed us to unpack emotions regarding our path and aspirations.

Keywords for Pisces are:

*Dreams *Creativity  *Psychic   *Divination  *Intuition

In the body, Pisces rules the feet, toes and lymphatic system. (The lymphatic system works primarily to carry infection-fighting white blood cells while also working to rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials).

Feet are vitally important in carrying us on our path and foot ailments can manifest when we are not walking our truth.  Our ability to navigate the terrain becomes compromised and we often ‘lose ground’.

The magical and spiritual workings for the year will focus on balance and our place in the world.  January and February had us honing our inspirations, adjusting our ambitions and assessing our material resources.  Thusly, seeds sown these last two months will help us navigate our relationship to monetary restrictions while meeting our fiduciary responsibilities  Additionally, we have begun the process of digging deep to discover what drives us, what closely held values do we believe at our core and how does this contribute to the creation of our most authentic self as the month of March brings forth a shake-up of society structures.  (This can already be seen as a vying for power and position in politics commences with the impending elections).

Themes around the questions of ‘who am I and who do I want to be”? continue to be explored as we work in the challenge of adapting and adopting a way that is integrous and balanced.  The seeds we are growing will empower and nourish our authentic selves without giving into the consensus trance of what is right or useful according to society?

This Pisces NM offers us the opportunity to look at our internal landscapes.  We are assessing where we currently stand and as with any new moon, where do we go from here?

In order to arrive at an answer, one must assess where we spend the most time physically, emotionally and mentally.  All three are driven by wants and needs.  Everyone has basic needs requirements, however, it is important to travel beyond survival mode to develop and grow.  In order to understand deeply held motives and desires driving our behaviors and actions, we need to look at our needs and wants objectively without judgement.  This by no means gives cart blanche to act upon all wants but simply illustrates in a quantifiable way what is truly driving our powers of manifestation in both the concrete realms and the craft working realms.

In an effort to counteract greed, our culture has attempted to differentiate between a want and need, with wants having had a lot of negativity attached to them.    Needs are generally focused on survival where wants are frequently seen as wasteful or unnecessary.  With these ideas in mind, the next step is to evaluate our relationship to wants; in a lifetime it is next to impossible to single out every defining moment that has shaped how we value ourselves and our relationship to what we want.  Many of us have been taught that what we want for ourselves is bad or selfish, wants are all about ego or not being grateful for what one has or, my personal favorite, if you want more for yourself you are ungrateful and therefore it will all be taken away.  In reality, how can one ever really know who they are in life without unpacking wants, needs and dreams for good or ill?

We can spend so much time judging the rights and wrongs of needs and wants that we quit dreaming.  Evaluating and picking apart every aspect kills it all.  Ultimately this Pisces New Moon was about dreaming and creating without judgement, allowing our intuition to be our guide.

Our New Moon Vows were centered around this motif.  Between this Pisces New Moon and the Virgo Full Moon, take time to unpack your wants and dream in the healing light of the goddess as we ready ourselves for attracting good vibes in March.

Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

For the Love of Valentine

The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.     ~Rumi

heartcrystalfangrid copy

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alentine’s Day is one associated with lovers, couples and many may argue….commercialism.   As with any other public opinion, it requires examination so that one may evaluate and respond in a way that honors our path and our relationships in a way that feels authentic and productive. 

There are as many types of love as there are people with the most remarked on and notable being:  Eros (sexual, passionate, romantic), Agape (universal love/heart chakra centered), Philia (friendship and goodwill), Storge (familial/parental),  Ludus (playful activity, flirting, seduction),  Philautia (self-love: both the healthy and unhealthy kind), and Pragma (practical and compatible).  Despite Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers, through the ages it has been a day to celebrate love and friendship of all kinds.

For many of us, our introduction to Valentine’s Day and love outside of the home began in grade school.  It is a holiday full of creativity and social/emotional growth, but at times could be a bit painful as well.  For me, Valentine’s Day was exciting because I loved art and V Day meant access to new art supplies of red and pink paper, hearts, sequins and delicate lace paper doilies.  As a class, we worked diligently creating homemade collages loosely representing a Valentine’s card, most often to our parents.  We would then practice our spelling and fine motor skills to write out our classmate’s names on flimsy store-bought cards sporting cheesy pictures to later take to school and hurriedly place in construction paper mailboxes taped to our desks.  If we are lucky some generous parent would include a little chocolate, a box of candy hearts or a sticker.  After the cards were passed out, everyone would excitedly open the cards.  I was psychoanalytical even as a small child and so would evaluate each person’s message by their choice of card. Did I get cards from all my friends, was there a special crush card from someone I didn’t know that liked me?   Potential hurt would be present when someone didn’t give me a card as I couldn’t understand why.    

In later grades, our minds are stretched in figuring out how to express words of caring to our friends without sounding stupid or giving someone the wrong idea, while in turn telling someone we like them…..without actually admitting it in the event we are rejected.  Our social and emotional skills are tested as we are told by our parents that we must write a card to every student on the list, even when we don’t want to.  As we get older our personalities begin to develop as do conflicts and we don’t necessarily want to include everyone in our circle of love.  We begin weighing our like and dislike of each other based on how we’ve been treated, hurts experienced (imagined and unimagined) to withholding a piece of ourselves in not sharing a card with the feelings of what it felt like when we didn’t receive a card.  At this time (hopefully) conversations begin around what is love, kindness, generosity and compassion?  How do we deal with people who don’t treat us well or return affection?  How do we deal with emotional related hurts and disappointments?  It all can become complicated very quickly and have lasting benefits or consequences depending on what tools we are taught.

Eventually ‘Will you be Mine’ hearts and paper doily cards give way to roses, chocolates and more adult overtures or expressions of love.  Depending on our past experiences we can choose this to be a time of joy and celebration or a time of jaded pessimism.  Valentine’s Day has no shortage of celebrants and is one of the most popular holidays in the United States.  Despite its popularity, many detractors denounce V Day as simply a commercial holiday designed to make people just spend more money.  To that, I would say that nobody can make you feel or do things you don’t want to.

In reality, Valentine’s Day occurs during the Season of Imbolg, a time where the weak light starts quickening the seeds of life within.  We start waking up from the hibernation and slowly stretch our delicate tendrils to the light in an effort to leave winter behind. It is interesting to note how V Day occurs during this time of the year.

There is much in the way of controversy surrounding the origination of Valentine’s Day.  One theory postulates St. Valentine was a 3rd-century Roman saint who started out as a priest, ministering to persecuted Christians.  He was imprisoned, whereby he fell in love with a young girl to whom he allegedly penned a letter and signed “From your Valentine”.  Valentine was martyred and then commemorated in death on February 14th.

Another theory stems from the actions of Emperor Claudius II, who decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives, therefore outlawing marriage for young men. Valentine felt this was unjust and married young lovers in secret. When Claudius learned of this deception, he ordered the death of Valentine.

The romanticism of either myth has not been forgotten all these years later.  It does, however, beg the question of whether or not it was initiated by the Christians in an effort to usurp the fertility festival of Lupercalia, dedicated to Faunus, the god of agriculture?  This fertility ritual occurred in the middle of February in conjunction with the beginning of birds’ mating season.  There is the soft fragrance of early lily of the valley, witch hazel, redbud and forsythia as well as the returning sounds of birds.  There is a flurry of activity in the pairing up and nest building of these birds as well.  Those in rural areas see this quickening result in new beginnings: the birth of lambs and early calves as well as chickens starting to lay eggs (another seed of life) after a long dark winter.

As pagans in tune with the cycles of the earth, we understand the need for her balance and upkeep.  Our voice and power to effect change are expressed through what we spend on consumables.   While there are a lot of consumables to be indulged in during Valentine’s Day, one does not have to sell the farm and buy up the store to show love.  Many argue that loving-kindness and the generous nurturing of a relationship needs to be shown to our partners all year long, not just on one day a year.  I do not believe any person truly engaged in a relationship would argue that statement.  A relationship is a living co-creation that requires daily mindful attention of all people involved, as a whole year of maintenance and attention cannot be crammed into one day.

I liken the group mind energy of Lupercalia/Valentine’s Day to that of Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas, in that the magic felt during the Solstice season is big and heartfelt with energy for spell working much easier to raise because people have open hearts and are largely of the same group mind.

Valentine’s Day is all about choices.  The value is in the micro choices taking place each day in how you choose to show up in your relationship.   How one approaches Valentine’s Day is a personal choice and like anything else in life-you get out of it, what you put in.  Valentines Day can be as unique as the couple celebrating and one can choose to view V Day as another commercial holiday or one can take the opportunity of the curated Valentine’s venues to tap into the love vibes and cast a spell on each other for deeper connection and another memorable year.  At this time of year, I build an altar for the love of my family and friends.  I make special treats and pen cards to hand out as a personal expression of how I feel and want to make others feel.  Valentine’s Day does not need to be fancy, just genuine.

Love is the Law of the Land and Love is the most powerful force on earth.  Even more amazing is this year it falls on Friday-that day ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love.  Any reason to celebrate love in all of its forms is worthy of time and attention in my book!

However you choose to celebrate-may the Goddess bless your love thricely now and in the coming year!

Cheers and Blessed Be

 

 

The Magic of 2o2o-Age of Aquarius

2020moon

t redhe beginning of a new year can be a time inspiring change in our lives.  We don’t know what the year holds for us, but we hold in our hearts the hope for new opportunities to move us forward.  It is said that it is darkest before the dawn and 2o2o is just such a moment.  We all have the amazing fortune to be not only witnessing but experiencing a historically pivotal time of spiritual and social transition.

For the World-2020 is the year where the Age of Pisces ends and the Age of Aquarius begins.  We all know in life, beginnings and endings are never black and white.  Ingrained world views and systems of belief cannot be changed overnight and thusly been quite apparent in the political, racial, social, environmental, civil, religious and spiritual upheavals taking place worldwide, especially in the last 50 years.   Never has the world been so divided on every level.

The Age of Pisces values money, power, technology, and control; hence the destruction of our planet in the name of greed and the almighty dollar, oppressive social structures, over consumerism and demonization of anything or anyone directly connected to the Gods, the Old Ways, the Divine Source.  As Sandra Weaver said, ” Throughout most of Pisces though this spiritual side is for the most part seen as the truth hidden behind the five senses. Spirituality was seen in relation to the world, not through an innate knowing of divinity“.

The Age of Aquarius values love, compassion and integrity of self which kicks off a time of healing our planet, our society and ourselves through humanitarian efforts.   It is a time that brings us back to our ancestral roots and strengthens the need to participate in our local communities.  Just as Pisces started out with the strengths of the sign, growth peaked and then became consumed in cycles perpetuated by its weaknesses; something that needs to be safeguarded against with the Aquarian traits if we are to be successful in healing our planet, society and ourselves.

While  It can be very difficult to be a spiritual person in society with its currently held beliefs, the Age of Aquarius has the potential of ushering in a more spirit-centered/connected existence.  This is now the time of embracing daily spiritual practices revering a higher power/intelligence and using our pagan understanding of our interconnectedness to the cosmos and natural systems that impact and inform our spiritual and earthly realities (which science is finally recognizing to be a truth).  The question for the year and even possibly the decade is “Who am I going to be?” “How am I going to show up?” during this time of great change and transition.

It appears as if 2o2o is going to be a year of opportunity in reforming ourselves and aligning ourselves with more profound spiritual wisdom.  For us, at Rosethorn Manor we have opted to focus our magical workings on maintaining the balance necessary in times of tumultuous change while weaving in the unique requirements of each individual.

How do you plan to ‘bring it’ for 2o2o?

‘Familiar’ Loss

“We never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.”

― Gail Caldwell

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Witch’s Familiar is something of tall tales as told in history books and still a very integral part of spiritual practice for many of us.  In April, we lost our beloved Familiar, Ms. Lyra, and it’s taken me this long to be able to share.  Lyra was a huge part of our every day in every-way life and the loss is a particularly deep and painful one.  I have sustained the loss of dogs, cats, horses, grandparents and both of my parents; the list goes on.  As pagan peoples bearing close ties to the energies and frequencies we live and work with, the loss is deeply felt and a familiar is extremely hard.  Every place I turn in my bedroom, in the garden, in the barn, on the front porch is ghosted with her presence and constant reminders at every turn.  Our lives were enriched by her presence, by her nurturing nature, by the flash of her golden eyes and her sassy chatter.  Ms. Lyra would watch over me wherever I went: while I slept, she patrolled the land; when I was up in the morning, she raced through the dog door to have a morning meditation; when I went running, she frequently insisted on running 2 miles or more with me through the woods (which is highly usually for just a regular cat and  indicated I needed to be on the watch for something); when sick she would give her healing energy to whomever needed it.

Our spiritual practice was enriched through her awareness of that which could not be seen and her supportive presence during circle.  Her energy and frequency added another layer of power and connection to our workings that is much different now that she is gone.

Almost everyone has experienced a serious loss of some sort in their lives, whether it be a family member, friend, home, job, beloved pet or familiar.  Loss is always hard unless it’s the last five pounds of winter weight.  It is a feeling I have become far too familiar with and therefore know what to expect, though I do not believe that it is an experience one ever truly gets used to.  “They” say that time heals all wounds, however, one would need to define ‘heal’.  Loss is an oxymoron, in that one has less of something, yet somehow feels heavier in our grief.

RIP

The process of healing is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to grieve, other than ignoring it. In the face of grief remember to be gentle with yourself, give yourself time and honor life and loss in your own way.

All these months later and our loss still feels heavy and fresh.   We have honored her presence in our Samhain Season rites and will continue to remember Ms. Lyra equally as we acknowledge any family member.

Ms. Lyra-the lives of those at Rosethorn Manor and been blessed by your presence and will never be the same again.  May your soul ride gently and safely on the joyful breath of Bastet until we meet once again my beloved.  RIP

If you have lost a beloved Familiar, we would love to hear your story.

Women’s Spirituality Trilogy

celticThroughout history, much of what has been written on paganism, witchcraft and alternative spiritual practices has led to much in the way of misunderstanding.  Witches and Heathens, as portrayed in movies sends one down the road of a bumbling idiot, maniacal evil sorcerer or vampy succubus and everything in-between.  While at times amusing and entertaining, most are based on unflattering stereotypes that hold little value in their representations.  We previously listed out some of our favorites on the Pagans and Media post, however, wanted to touch on a really great set of videos with a more authentic and respectable historical approach.

 

There are a series of videos called the Women’s Spirituality Trilogy. The three videos… The Burning Times, God Has Remembered, and Full Circle. The Burning Times provided an in-depth look at the diverse history of 15 to 17 centuries considering the worship of the goddess, manipulations of the clergy, and witchcraft of yesterday and today. Terrific numbers of witches and non-witches burned my other types of torture reminding.

God Has Remembered, examine varieties of goddess worship in different places around the world. There was footage of caves, deserts, temples, carvings and statues. The writers also touched on the resurgence of forgotten values and worship currently being practiced by both men and women.

Full Circle dealt with the manifestation of the many forms of women’s spirituality. It showed women coming together out of the shadows of men, clergy, fear and uniting in trust once again. The many points of equality and respect between the two genders were shown.

 

Watching these videos is time well spent. It was wonderful to recognize many rituals and songs that we do in our own circles. These videos had great people such as  Starhawk and Margot Adler. The dances and music were beautiful and all of the videos were represented in an informative and intelligent manner without divulging too much. The resurgence in forgotten values and practice of the old ways are alive and through this path our futures hold hope. For people newly answering the call it is a great entry resource and for those already familiar it is wonderful to see it happening in somebody fantastic ways and in living color.

Pagans and Media

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ecently, a newbie to paganism asked my husband and I for some of our favorite pagan media titles.  For pagans and people of alternative spiritualities, it used to be quite a challenge to find anything of quality that wasn’t steeping solely in stereotype.  This day and age, however, there are quite a few movies and series that are enjoyable to watch-some with historical significance, some with kernels of truth as seen in one’s peripheral vision and of course stereotypes as well and some are just purely entertaining!  There are others that may not be pagan or craft related but serve to inspire or help one think outside of the box regarding faith/spirituality/religion and subsequent moral or philosophical connotations.

Here are a list of just a few of our favorites:

Practical Magic            Ladyhawk                          The 13th Warrior
The Princess Bride     The Deceivers                   Pan’s Labyrinth
Mists of Avalon           Legend of the Witches     The Watcher in the Woods
The Witches of Eastwick-Movie and Series            The Mistress of Spices
GRIMM                         The DaVinci Code               I Married a Witch
Like Water for Chocolate                                            Book, Bell & Candle Avatar
The Cloud Atlas           Wish Upon A Spell             Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Stardust                        The Good Witch Series and Movies
The Witches                The Gift                                  Mulan
Witchcraft: Rebirth of the Old Religion                     Sorceress
Eve’s Bayou                The Spirit of Albion              My Neighbor Totoro
Thor Lord of the Rings                                                  The Pagan Queen
Hocus Pocus               The White Queen                  Harry Potter
The Seeker                 The Littlest Witch                  The Craft
Arranged                    Chocolat                                  Agora
The Celestine Prophecy                                            Anchoress
Spellbinder                  The Magicians                     The Shannara Chronicles                                           Dresden Files
The Wicker Man-Old and New version. (If you watch them back to back you will notice the differences between representations of God/Goddess as well as how female sexuality is portrayed. It struck me as quite curious).

You-tube has many documentaries & lectures as well as radio and TV interviews with pagan notables on the path of the Old Ones.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive or complete.  I did not include horror or satanic flicks.

We would love to hear about some of your favorites!

Tarot Tuesday

                                       the TOWER

“After a great blow, or crisis, after the first shock and then after the nerves have stopped screaming and twitching, you settle down to the new condition of things and feel that all possibility of change has been used up. You adjust yourself, and are sure that the new equilibrium is for eternity. . . But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over.”
― Robert Penn WarrenAll the King’s Men

Tower Tarot Card

celticT he Tower-change is a coming-blessed or be damned.  The Tower is a difficult card representing turmoil in our lives, there are no two ways about it.  We are trucking along thinking everything is going okay and ‘bam’ the Tower shows up, usually at the most inopportune times.  The Tower is generally known to mean danger or crisis is on its way as well as unforeseen change.  The Tower arrives to challenge the narrow structure that defines our lives or our security based on false beliefs about ourselves and our world.  It is a situation or occurrence sent to wake us up because up to this point nothing else has worked.

The major arcana cards are always an indication that our spirit is trying to speak with us…..the Tower is telling us that Spirits knocking has gone unheeded and will be ignored no more.

The Tower has always brought to mind the old stories of alchemists in the tower working furiously at magic, attempting to challenge currently held beliefs regarding the scientific order of things in the Universe as well as dabbling with otherworld energies for the wrong reasons.  The overstepping due to ignorance or ignoring the warning signs cause the Tower to explode sending everyone overboard.  Inner and outer realities collide with real-world consequences……what inner red flags have you been ignoring regarding what is right for your soul?

 

 

 

What do Witches Look Like?

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What do Witches look Like?  This is a question that we often get asked and one that has no specific answer.

There are many preconceived notions of what witches are supposed to look like, however, these notions are more often than not a big departure from reality. Depending on how we dress or present ourselves in the moment, we receive responses that range from yes you’re everything I expected a witch would look like or huh?!, you’re not what I expected.

It can be amusing and I know I don’t let myself be bothered by it as we’ve all had similar notions on other subjects until we are educated. Being a witch is not about how we express our spirituality through the clothes we wear (though we often do). The reality is witches and pagans come from all walks of life and upbringings: we are construction workers, bartenders and teachers, dignitaries who work in the White House, ambassadors, doctors, psychiatrists and everything in between.  We are not defined by what we wear or what our profession is, but who we innately are inside.
We are curious as to other witches and pagans experiences?

 

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What Witches Look Like