underworld reflections

bonesclean

That day was an exercise on underworld and shadow. We paired off to revisit our last underworld experiences – shadows some of us were still working through, and in some cases we found ourselves baring our souls. Many of us were faced with strangers and yet, thought crept in.. were they truly? Spirit had brought us all there for a reason.. who’s to say.. who’s to say..

I was thankful to be paired with a beloved witchling that I had already shared some bonding with, although I wasn’t sure if that made such truths better or not so.. but at least a bit more comfortable for laying my bits of shadow and bone bare. Thought popped in of my journey card image and of the raven picking at the painful meaty bits still clinging to said bone.. and that’s exactly how I felt.

We spoke of shame, of fear, of missteps and of regret.. all those things one has lurking about in shadow still in need of some work. I could have skirted around and picked something easy, but I chose to pull no punches. I laid out my most ugly bits, tinged with regret in a sense, but not necessarily in the way one would expect. There was guilt in there but mostly a sense of failure.

So much had passed and those choices were made in what seemed another lifetime.. but the lessons were needed. For me, I think, it was the lingering shame and the feeling of inadequacy to be found in my failing.. forgiving oneself is really the hardest. I think it is important to acknowledge to those who walk the path with you, that even those of us who have walked a long time still make said missteps large and small. We are but human and sometimes our best isn’t always something great.. it is just all that we can do in that moment.. and that is okay.

Sitting across, baring my immense horrible, I wondered how they saw me now. Did they find me less of a person in my inadequacies? Was I this broken thing – tarnished and pitted? Was I unworthy? Was I no longer the same person in their mind? Was I going to lose this fledgling friendship because I allowed them to see those ugly bits? Were they having the same thoughts in reverse? It’s a very scary thing to allow one so close.. terrifying.

As Wendy wove through her song “Rewind”, it really sank in.. yes, we all would like to have that magical rewind button. We all have times when we feel fucked up and blind.. and that’s okay, at least for me. It’s all part of the journey and we’re allowed.

Looking across from my side, I saw a brave and beautiful soul scorched by the fire of past hurts.. vulnerable and yet backed with an extraodinary quiet strength just finding its way to the fore. I saw the struggle to be open warring with the need to withdrawal – something that I very much relate to. They were brilliantly equisite, even in the not-so-comfortable soft bits they were still adjusting to.. and in that too, there lay such beauty.. and I loved them all the more.

As I placed my written release in the cauldron dirt, I decided the time for hanging on was through. I was going to allow myself to let go of that burden, that shame. I was going to work towards self-forgiveness and move forward.. I hope they chose to do the same.

my thoughts were filled with Turtle Butt

image

Muddied tones of green and brown, earth sliding into the river, and the slight impression of the circular.. my thoughts were filled with Turtle Butt. Let me explain.. Turtle Butt is my nickname for this amazing photo taken by my uber talented friend Cin and is one of the few non-birdy ones she has.. she’s a bit of a bird lady. When I think of her, I think of a tall white crane – full of grace and spiritual joy as she often appears as in my cards.

The photo itself was taken not too far from the place where I most often go to stick my feet in the dirt. It speaks to me not only of those earth to water places, but also of cycles. There is a certain perspective one gains when revisiting the same place in life from a different point along the path.. often I journey or revisit things in said near place. Turtle butt was the first piece I placed on my revisited earth altar.

image.jpg

Nestled there, along with, is a jar of witches burrs and one of magnolia cones.. the latter collected from a local graveyard where I occasionally attend to the long forgotten. Sitting on a plate near the Greenman and Greenwoman imagery, I have a small plate containing a jeweled serpent with some rocks and stones.

Several of these rocks were gifted to me from Schatzi, another beautiful soul that I am lucky enough to be blessed with in my life. She smuggled them all the way back from Greece and each has its own story of place to tell. Schatzi, I am told, means treasure in German and she is that. I hope she realizes that.. and not just because she brought me the beautiful rocks.

re-defining the wheel

rdw

Having burned through that which no longer serves at Midsummer, I was looking forward to celebrating the bounty that is the first harvest. A small group of us gathered in the garden to share food and drink.. and to celebrate all that we had seen each other through in the past year. It was a celebration of the bounty of our lives – those people and things that support and sustain us. Late in the evening Lola and I left an offering for our ancestors of the bone.

I think every harvest should include our ancestors.. those of blood, bone, and spirit. Lola suggested we honor one at each harvest.. an idea I love. To me, bone is of the earth, and represents the land and its spirits.. perfect for a first harvest and our second instance of re-defining what the wheel means to us.

I was recently asked about entering a working relationship with a fellow witch.. something I rarely do and have never committed to on such a level, this blending of paths. We are able to create a beautifully eclectic practice working together and as solitary.. freely incorporating any ideas we choose. A level field, not teacher and student but witch and witch, each in our own right. Of course it makes it a bit easier to do so because its just us and that working intimacy creates a great bond in our craft. It enables us to learn from each other through these shared and separate experiences.. walking hand in hand creating our path.

 

 

a quiet stabbing

quietstabbing

..something was being put to my direction, like a quiet stabbing..

I woke up after a day spent in anger still angry. I just could not find my Zen. The old reading popped into my head.. yes, there was a quiet stabbing and now I had a smarting back.

five of arrows, frustration – a goat with long curving horns and a wildly tangled coat leaps upward into the sky.. around it are four arrows, none of which strike it.. unfocused energy leads to the archer releasing inaccurate arrows or lashing out in an uncontrolled manner..

As it was, it turned out that I was indeed both the goat and the archer (see – sometimes I do follow up on my writings).. the arrows of my words sent out and also being fired back. Thankfully, I spoke my truths long ago and I stand by their original context.

..take a deep breath and steady your mind.. see the futility of games played against you and go about your business.. cocoon yourself away from outside influences.. the trees act as a reminder to follow your path..

Nothing had changed really, except that I now held more knowledge and a clearer perspective. If you walk your path with integrity and truth, there should be no need for these things.. that was my first response.. pre-Zen. However, thought reminded me, we are but human and can only do our best.

My truths for today (before they escape me) – We don’t have to agree, but we can learn from our differences. Our diversity should be a strength. Your fellow is not a tool to be used, or worse.. persecuted. Yes, I will stand up for them. You should too. Learn from one another. Strive to be kind. Extend that kindness to yourself. Do your best. I will do mine. Be true. Speak those truths when necessary. Breathe.

I lit the candles and steadied my thoughts. “And now?” This I asked, knowing the question was not very specific. I shuffled the threes..

eight of bows, hearthfire – on the edge of a sparse winter forest camp, lit with the warm dancing flames of a large log fire, we see eight figures gathered around a roaring hearthfire.. the merry band raise goblets, shake hands and laugh, bathing in the shared bonds of fellowship and harmony created by the true loyalty of lifelong friends..

Ironic, that was my first thought.. but then if not for this situation, this card would have spoken to me of another. Soon after, I heard from said other.

four of stones, protection – the newly risen sun brings hope and renewed vitality to the vulnerable..shelter and protection for the weak or the spiritually wounded is the responsibility of us all.. for those who have weathered adversity and known loss, the light of life and love will always burn brightly within them.. by building on a foundation of ethical beliefs, boundaries and skills, we can be assured that when the test comes we are secure in our self-knowledge and confidence.. the human ability to recognize and feel compassion for those who need help is just as important..

To the lost, may you know my hut is ever open.. even if you choose to burn me in the hearthfire..

 

little town of the sea

image

I am walking through the seaside town, this place is where I will live. There are no huge beaches but a bit of a small one.. more shell and rock than sand. It is backed by a forest. There is a bit of a larger rocky cliff to be seen in the distance. I walk out onto a little jut of land to where the tree is growing. There are many beautiful speaking trees in this place but this one is my favorite. I lay my hands and face on it as I dig my toes into the sodden earth around its roots. A man approaches to speak to me about starting my job, apparently I already have a place here. We exchange pleasantries and then he is gone. I head back through the town.. it looks very much like a downtown and feels like home. I am at peace here. I see a brick apartment window high up in one of the buildings and realize that I had been there before. I was here with the horse once and I’m pretty sure that bit of beach is where I buried the bones.. found the bones.. or both. I pass a tiny house, the front is all glass like a shop but I know it is a house and I will live there. I head back to rejoin my party.. it is the husband and my mother. They are the best and the least of my life thus far. On the way out I pass an old lover of mine I once cared greatly for and he smiles when he recognizes me. As I look back, I am thinking that he doesn’t look like himself. I am falling behind because I am not wanting to leave. I realize that I have a seashell in my hand and I am happy for what is to come.

Over the years, I’ve dreamed of the outskirts of this place, never seeing in.. or so I thought. This was my instance of realizing I was in all along.. finding many familiar dreamland places within this place by the sea. It is here where I sometimes seek others, bury bones, and visit the waters with Bear. Here is where I’ve met the red eyed horse.. my beast of burden. Here is where the shape shifts and I listen to the pounding drums. I am curious to know if the hyena and the old woman can be found somewhere in that forest..

the healer, the witch, and the devil

  • gyoff

The temple was quiet and dark in my mind as his hands moved over me. There is something in the way he touches me as he is healing my body. I try to focus. If I can somehow alter this effect on me, even just a bit.. but I get distracted. Mind over matter, I breathe in.. I am the master of my domain, I breathe out. I will channel this one day. Today is not that day and my mind wanders.

He has questions on my path. I am not surprised when he speaks of his energy work.. I can feel it in his hands. Conversation slides around perceptions of witchcraft and of the devil. Funny, how the devil keeps popping up. I am wishing there was more time to talk, but that is neither here nor there. The thought found it’s way in – the devil’s not so bad, he is the wild embodiment of nature. I find that I don’t mind the comparison at all.. in fact, I kind of like it.

Earlier I was at the old graveyard leaving an offering. I was headed out from my grave to follow Walking Bear along the path when my body came alive as if filled with a thousand bees. I instinctively stepped out of the spot.. an action I still regret. Walking Bear was just turning around to say that he had felt something too, although a bit differently. Apparently the spirits had something to say.. but what? We headed out, continuing our trek.

I found my cards particularly confusing from that day and the question remains whether they were for me or not. They certainly didn’t seem to have anything to do with the posed question. I sent my thoughts later to Walking Bear and, much like our walk, our interpretations were different.

 

i heard our city humming

photo 1

** a well belated post..

I stood in the downtown for forty-five minutes without moving, I wanted to feel the stillness.. this from the Raven. The circumstances around this are not mine to share but it did bring to mind a post from the lovely Ivy and Wine on silence. I kept thinking about this rabbit downtown. I love that damn thing. Normally when I’m seeking a quietening, I put my feet in the dirt.. not this time. This time I ventured downtown. I slipped off my shoes and sat in silence under the rabbit. I listened. I inhaled. I felt. I spent some concentrated time witching in my little city.

I heard the hum of traffic and the murmurs of passing conversations.. sometimes the odd snippet of a raised voice. I heard the rabble of the shop doors. I drew in the scents of the many foods lingering in the air from the local eateries. I felt the warmth of the concrete underneath my feet where the sun had warmed it and that contrast to the cold brick against my back. I did a simple tree meditation.

I know that I’ve spoken of the city trees and the manicured places.. the seeming constraint of their barriers and the difficulty of finding a bit of wild when you are city bound. I often wonder if the trees are crying out at the injustice of being placed in such a state. Here is the thing though – they survive and in being placed so, they smooth out the concrete’s rough edges. They bring a sense of well being.. or at least they do to me.

I imagined my little body as a tree.. set in this little space and flanked by all the hardness of the buildings. Humans were moving about around me.. often not even taking notice. I was a little being unseen. I imagined reaching out, stretching toward the sky, and basking in the sunlight. I pulled in that air moving through the surrounding streets. I imagined my roots stretching deep within the earth beneath my confines.. spreading far beneath those buildings.. holding me steady and giving me strength. I felt the movement of all that was thriving there in the slow bustle.. not the hard pulse that I would imagine a larger city to have but the gentler steadfast humming that is our little city.

a buddhist, a scientist, and a witch walk into a garden..

bel

to the waters beyond

stars and creation

the air that is my breath

and the light of my soul

All were saged and the old ones called, offerings were laid in honor of all life before and all life continuing.. tea, wine, and honeyed milk. An offering was laid for the fae, those wild nature spirits.. to the waters beyond, flowered water was poured to the west.. to the stars and creation, fragrant rose petals were laid in the north.. to the air that is my breath, the incense was set to smoke in the east.. and the light of my soul, candles were set to float- one for each of us in the south. We lit fire to the petition and sat down for a Beltane feast, wine, and good conversation.

I was going to title this “the cycles of creation”. I’ve been watching The Story of God with Morgan Freeman and though I generally do not consider myself religiously inclined in the mainstream sense, it is fast becoming one of my favorite shows. In the last episode before Bel, there was a bit about the Hindu creation theory. It talks about how the Hindu see things in cycles of creation, not to solve the riddle of creation that happened long ago but to give thanks to the forces that allow us to be here and that continue to sustain us.. including the river Ganges. In the artist ritual that takes place on the banks of the Ganges, seven priests offer all the elements to the Goddess Ganga – water, air, earth, and light.. the light that represents all of our souls. People gather at the rivers edge on which they place the light of their own souls, in the form of a lit vessel, to float to out and bring that which will be good for them.. a great river that gives life to all of its people. At the end of the episode, Morgan speaks to the hope of togetherness and this became the inspiration for my celebration.

Lately in my mundane there has been much talk about discord in community. I try not to be party to such things, in my realm of community I do my best to honor all. I think my tendency to pull from many different paths sometimes is a reflection of that and I am in love with how he chose to end the segment – “It is my fervent hope that people will open their hearts and minds and see that our beliefs don’t have to divide us, they have the power to unite us.. to allow us together to achieve remarkable things. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.”

 

don’t forget your stick..

image

i saw three ravens yesterday

one stayed behind

two flew away

which one remained

i cannot say

one stayed behind

two flew away

long before the mystery of time

i dived and found a creature of the sea

she stole upon me from behind

and swam away ahead of me

— Wendy Rule

“Don’t forget your stick”, Ivy said to me as we were heading from our trek. We had ventured out to the place where I first met crow so that I could leave my spring offering. I chanted the Raven Song as silently as I could so as not to harm Ivy with my (lack of a) singing voice. I love Wendy Rule and this song is one I always associate with this particular place – where the earth meets the water and when crow first came into my spiritual. I had pushed Nelia into the ground earlier, lit the incense, and sent my dried flowers off to drift down the river.

Nelia, Nelia, my dearest one.. why are you trying to escape me? Perhaps she wanted to remind me to pull my head out of the clouds and pay attention. Maybe I had not been paying her enough? She’s pulled this trick before and managed to stay behind. I had to get the fiery one to break into the park and retrieve her. Possibly she just wanted to run off with Ivy. If you remember, Nelia is of the fire and if I remember (correctly).. so is Ivy. Therefore, I imagine them as sort of kindred. Sorry sweets, you are one of mine and I am keeping you with me.. I took her home and cleaned her off. I saged her and spent some time with her before putting her back in my workroom.

Mesquite stands between the elements of water and earth. Nelia was singed in wildfire and smoke. She embodies not only those elements of mine at her heart but all including spirit because she survived those fires and found her way to me. Her magic is in healing, journeying in dreams, purification, and protection. It is a wood for nurturing and guiding. It is often added to ritual fires for such. I read that the Native Americans of the desert regions in Arizona and California utilized all parts of the tree.. so it is known as the tree of life in some areas. For me, she is pushed into the earth to connect the three realms – land, sea, and sky.

smoker’s cough

image

It was a strange dream, full of symbolism – oppression, crossing the liminal, a need for sustenance, and a calling from other. There was a tightening of my chest from inhaling the cigarette smoke and the cough stayed with me long after the dream departed. There are truths being hidden and responsibilities that need to be tended to.. but also a warning of danger. I shared this dream with a few people, not knowing who.. and one did respond. She thought that maybe she had invaded it somehow. I thought, maybe.. but as much as she may have slipped into the dream, others may have slipped into the reading.

I pulled the cards out with the feeling one gets of visiting an old friend.. hello loves, I have missed you. The smell of incense that had permeated their wrapping over the years covered me in familiar welcome. I had waited some time before doing the reading and much had been brought to me in that time.. curiouser and curiouser, but down the rabbit hole I go. The question is not really what to do so much as it is what will be the price.. the price that lies snuggled, hiding within those hidden truths.

(from the wildwood)..

king of vessels, heron – greeting the dawn, often alone.. the guardian of many esoteric secrets, it is said to stand at the gateway between life and death.. the mentor.. the catalyst.. a network.. honesty.. integrity.. who is depending on your support? The profound depths of your character, once spurred into action, carry all before it..

four of vessels, boredom – the sickness of the soul.. lethargy, laziness.. locking an individual in a cycle of wasted energy.. there are many reasons for feeling disenchanted or trapped in life.. in the end it is from ourselves that the first sparks of momentum must emanate.. emotionally frozen or disconnected people become black holes of despair.. if you question the universe, the universe will answer.. nature abhors  a vacuum.

sixteen, the blasted oak – just as the universe has the power to create, so it also has the power to destroy.. on the human level we build our seemingly indestructible edifices of theory, technical endeavor, and civilization believing they are immovable and eternal.. we wrap ourselves in the trappings of power and position but in the end we own nothing.. all we truly have is what we have learned.. here the great forest oak is shattered by the power of the storm.. for those who have climbed the tree, the fall may be long.. just as the hanged man is caught in a state of divine sacrifice and linked to the threefold death, here in the blasted oak the tree is shaken and scarred.. likewise, the tower is shattered by the storm and believing in the illusion of material power can only end in spiritual isolation, stagnation, and collapse.. but even as we fall, the power that floods our senses with pain also cleanses and burns away the illusions and falsehoods. The essence of true strength and enduring spirit cannot be bought with gold or position or grandiose esoteric theory.

ten of bows, responsibility – the challenge of dealing with responsibility brings a need for inner fortitude, stamina, and determination.. the weight of the burden may be heavy and cumbersome but the task that has been handed to you may be vital for the greater good.. whether you volunteered for the task or it is thrust upon you, it is a time to accept responsibility.

seven of vessels, mourning – this is a time to honor what is dead and mourn for what has gone.. learn the lessons of letting go by offering thanks for cherished memories and being at peace with the past.. mourning begins the process of recovery after failure or bereavement.. the celebration of a completed journey and the beginning of a new one.

thirteen, the journey – the solitary horned skull of a reindeer lies in the forest, picked clean to the bone by a circling flock of ravens.. the tattered remains of fur and flesh cling to the bright bone and here and there traces of the living blood of life reminds us that all flesh returns to the earth from whence it came.. one great Raven sits beside it, the flesh of the reindeer in its beak.. as both guardian and guide, its unblinking eye is all-seeing and unafraid.. on one level, death does translate to a simple expression of change but however profound, extreme and cleansing that change may be, that simply does not deal with the core experience and meaning of this card.. death acts as a reminder to us of the transient nature of life.. as a metaphor for cyclic change, the journey is a required experience on the passage around the wheel.. it is a time to face the inevitable, to let the bones be laid bare and acknowledge the deepest aspects of your fears and desires. Let the threads of old slip from your fingers. 

seven of stones, healing (shadow card) – after physical or emotional sickness or injury, a time of inner rest and rejuvenation is required.. patient and peaceful healing comes from a spiritual source.. one of the deepest stages of healing and recovery after any emotional trauma or physical injury is forgiveness.. if the healing is from a relationship issue, we often hold onto the pain, mistakenly be leaving that it keeps us close to the source of that pain.. if you have acted with integrity and sincerity, there is no need for regret.. it is a waste of energy and healing focus.