Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Medicine Wheel


Good afternnon.  Sure is a cold one out there.  It was only 13 degrees when I got up, and now it's only up to 17 degrees.  Sure am glad it's not a work day so I don't have to go out in it.  Still, it is even cold in the house.  And, I've been feeling kind of out of it all morning.  My sinuses are really acting up...ever since our staff meeting on Thursday.  The heat at work is overwhelming (wish I had some if it now) and sitting through the staff meeting was like sitting in an oven.  There are two people who always complain if the window is cracked, and for some reason, they always win out.  Well, I say, "Go put on a sweator if you are cold.  Why make everyone suffer."  It's so much easier to get warm than it is to get cool.  So, since then my nose has not stopped...and my eyes burn so. 

Since my son slept late today, I've been doing a little reading on Earth Astrology and "The Medicine Wheel".  I love studying the Native American Medicine Wheel which is divided into twelve moons...or months.  And each of the four directions has special qualities and lessons to teach.   The North part of the Medicine Wheel represents Winter, the cold, old age when we turn our thoughts of the earth to thoughts of the spirit.  The winter is the most paradoxical time of the Medicine Wheel for it is a time when things appear to be dead, dormant, but the dormancy is only external for in reality it is a time when some of the deepest growth is occurring.  It is a time when the seeds of one season, although lying frozen, are taking in all of the Earth's energy to allow them to grow in the season that follows.  It is a time for slowing down and taking things easy...a time of peace, forgiveness, and compassion for all who are around you. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 2010 Full Moon


Good afternoon on this brutally cold day.  Amazing, isn't it?  Last week we had a touch of spring; this week we're taking a trip to the Arctic.  Strange winter, indeed.  Yet, even though winter still has flexed its control over the land, there are still those telltale signs that we are moving closer to spring.   I remember that last month when I arrived home at 5pm, it was dark, but now the daylight is beginning to linger for awhile longer, and the dark doesn't set in until I am in my home.   In winters of long ago, this was a time when our ancestors lived indoors and when finding food hard to come by.  The nights were long and darkness was all around, but it is also at this time of the year that our ancestors began planning for the coming of the new season.  It was a time to look forward to spring and the new life that comes with it.  

This is the first lunar cycle of 2010.    To the Native Americans, the name given to this moon is the  "Wolf Moon".   To the Celts, this lunar  is called the "Rowan Moon"  This full moon is known as the "Wolf Moon" but has also been called the "Ice Moon" or the "Old Moon".  Full moon names started with the Native Americans in order to keep track of the seasons. The names actually also applied to the entire month in which each occurred; hence, we are in a Wolf Moon month.  This name is derived from the wolf packs who used to howl just outside the villages during the hungry, lean, snow-covered winter months. Ironically, January is the first month of the new year, but it actually falls in the midst of the winter season...a period of death and isolation.  For us, it is a time for introspection, for going inside and reflecting on oneself...and searching ourselves for the answers to our problems.  It is also a time for both person and ritual observance.  Tonight's full moon will be the biggest and brightest full moon    

And on a different subject, when I was in my twenties and married to my abusive ex, I began writing plays.  Writing has always been healing for me, and I have always loved to create things, so it was only natural that I would gravitate towards some sort of creative writing.   My ex was an actor, and that never really interested me...not a camera person.  But writing, that was something I loved, so I began writing little plays loosely based on my life.  Then, after buying "The Writer's Handbook" I began sending my plays out.  You can imagine my surprise when I received a letter from an older man in the New Orleans area.  He was the publisher of one of these little magazines that featured new writers...and he had published my play in his latest copy.  And, not only did he publish my play, but he also talked about always being on the lookout for new talent.  In the year that followed, we corresponded often, and he became a mentor to me.  


But, my ex was jealous.  He was so afraid that I would become a success, and he wouldn't that he did everything he could to jeopardize my work.  As soon as I would sit down to write, he would sit across from me and either begin singing at the top of his lungs...or picking a fight with me.  And then came the letter from "The Manhattan Theatre Club."  This was a small theatre which only opened to a lunch crowd.  It was a famous place in those days and to have a play produced there meant you were "in".  I had sent them a synopsis of my play, and they had written back saying they found the synopsis intriguing and asked me to send the play.  I was so, so excited.  I went running through the house screaming with joy and called everyone to tell them the news....and everyone was happy for me...except for the ex who grumbled, "I don't know what you're so happy about.  They didn't buy the play yet."  To me, it was the same as him getting all excited when he was called for an audition.  He hadn't been chosen yet, but still it was a big thing to him.


Well, to make a long story short, my ex was so miserable and actually angry about my letter.  He actually fought with me over it telling me that the only reason I was writing plays was because "I WAS JEALOUS OF HIM."  It went on and on and on with him yelling that I was a nobody, that he was a star.  And like a fool, I allowed him to get to me.  I was so upset that I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and instead of sending the final copy of the play, I sent out the rough draft.  Of course, I was turned down...and I never wrote again. 
 


Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Visit to the Otherworld



Good afternoon.  Wow, am I late!   Been busy here at work for most of the day.   Trying to play catch up on all I missed last week when I was sick.   Several of you asked about my Otherworld adventure so I figured I would share it with you today. As most of you know, I wasn't always a city girl.  I was born and raised in the country.  For the first five years we lived at my grandparents home, and then my parents bought their first house...it was in one of those little cookie cutter neighborhoods that were so common back then...You know the type...all the houses look alike, but were all in different colors.  It was almost like someone took a huge bowl and placed it over some woodlands, cut out all the trees, and then built the houses.

So, I spent five days a week in my cookie cutter neighborhood and Saturday and Sunday I spent with my grandparents.  I loved being at my grandparents' home.  They lived in a small neighborhood atop a hill.  At the foot of the hill, there was a forest...not a great forest, but big enough for a child to have fun in...and when I wasn't riding my broom, I was exploring in the woods.  It was one of those warm, lazy days of summer...a beautiful day.  The sun was shining brilliantly as I walked along the narrow pathway.  I'd been walking for awhile when I suddenly stumbled into  a clearing.  In the middle of the clearing was a pond with water as blue as the sky.  Strangely, as many times as I had traversed these woods, I had never come across this before.  

I slowly moved into the clearing and gazed about the landscape.  Although  a child, I knew I had stumbled across a special, mystical place. I had never seen such beauty before.  The pond itself was surrounded by the greenest field I had ever seen.  It was teeming with a colorful array of wildflowers in every shade of the rainbow.  There was such a sweet aroma from the wildflowers, and there was  the cheerful singing of the birds in the trees.  I moved closer to the pond and kicked off my shoes; I sat on a rock at the edge and let my feet dangle into the cool, refreshing water.  I could see the reflection of the tree's on the water's surface...a gentle wind blowing ripples in the water.  I leaned back then and closed my eyes.  Flashes of light were flickering across my eyelids.  Was it the sun or were the fairies dancing around me?  I didn't sleep, but when I re-opened my eyes, darkness was already setting in.  I tore myself away and scurried home.

The next day I was so anxious to get back there that I barely chewed my breakfast before racing off into the woods to return to my special place...but, I was never able to find it again.  It was as if it had suddenly vanished...or it had never ever really existed in the physical world.  Later, when they cleared the woods for housing, the little pond was nowhere to be found.  That was over fifty years ago and I can still close my eyes and see it...just as if I it were only yesterday.  I know I had somehow crossed through the mist and ventured into a world that few get to see.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thank you, Mother Moon


I'd like to thank Mother Moon for honoring me with this award. Love you, Mother Moon. The seven rules for this award are:




Thank the person giving you the award.
Copy the award to your blog. 
Place a link to their blog.
Name 7 things people do not know about you.
Nominate 7 other bloggers.
Place a link to these bloggers.
Leave a comment on their blog letting them know.


And now for the 7 unknown facts.


1.  I can eat a whole pint of chocolate ice cream in one sitting...and still have room for more.


2.  I love to sleep with the television on.  I just need the noise.  Weird, huh?

3.  I only need about five hours sleep a night.  Maybe that is why I fall asleep in staff meetings?  Hmmm!!!!  I wonder.


4.  I don't even remember what is in my junk drawer anymore.  I'm almost afraid to look.


5.  I love to watch Bones, Criminal Minds, Leverage, Burn Notice...and CSI, Law and Order, Ghost Whisperer, Numbers, Medium....need I say more?  It's obvious by now that I'm a couch potato.


6.  I once had a play published.  Made no money from it, but I can honestly say I am a published author.

7.  As I child, I wandered into the Otherworld.  One day I'll tell you all about it.


And now for the seven nominations.  I love all of you so it's not easy....and also I see that this award has been making its way around so I'll do my best.


Sobeit at Our Goddess Companion 


Bogamon's Blog

Wendy at Changes With Seasons 


Greekwitch at Dreaming of Rosemary

And a newcomer


Little Wing at Secret Agent of the Moon


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dancing With Joy


Never been much of a dancer, but today I am dancing with joy.  Allow me to begin at the beginning.  Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile now are aware that many years ago I was in a destructive, emotionally abusive relationship.  Although it took me many years, I did eventually find the courage to walk out and start a new life for myself and for my sons.  

My ex was a bully...pure and simple.  No other way of putting it...and I...a naive country bumpkin was ripe for the picking.  There is no other way to explain it.  The ex just walked all over me.  For example, he was an aspiring actor who worked two nights a week as a bouncer in a club.  I was a case worker for a home care agency...a city job with good benefits...but according to him, my little job was nothing, that HIS acting was what was important.  Never mind that MY job paid the bills.  And, when you are beaten down enough, you start to believe it...and stop believing in yourself.  Just how beaten you wouldn't believe.  He worked only on Friday and Saturday nights...and if he got a call from his agent that he had a 'part' for that Friday, he would take off work and then insist that "I" pay him for the night.  And like a darned fool, I did it.


Moving on, back then credit cards were just beginning to be the 'in thing'.  It wasn't like today when everyone...or most everyone...has at least three credit cards in their wallet.  Back then, most of us were still paying with cash...and credit cards were not as easy to obtain.  So, when the ex decided he wanted a card, he applied, but they turned him down because of his income.  I haven't applied for a card in awhile, but in those days, those with questionable credit could get a card...but only if they had a co-signer who could pick up the payments if necessary...Guess who that co-signer was???  Yup, t'was me, the fool. 

It was working out all right, though.  I have to give the ex credit for that.  He charged about $1800 but he was making the payments and not leaving it for me...until....Until the day I walked out on him.  That's the day he stopped.   But see, I didn't know this...not until almost 20 years later.  That's when I went to the bank November, 2008, to take my rent money out and discovered my bank account was -$4,000.  Turns out that he never did pay the card of.  It was taken to court and the bank won the judgment, but for some reason did not pursue collections.  Instead, it passed the 7 year limit and was turned over to a collection agency.  The agency, too, did nothing and went to court renewing the judgment.  And still nothing was done.  I realize now that they must have wanted to let it sit until almost 20 year limit so they could make as much as possible in interest.  The Ex died in 1996 of a rare form of cancer.


It wasn't until that day in 2008 that I realized the bill was still out there, unpaid.  And boy, was I ever up a creek.  That was my rent.  I didn't want to tell hubby; it was his money, too.  My son's both helped me out, and I withdrew money from my retirement savings to pay the rent and bills that month.   I will tell you this, I went down fighting.  I contacted the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, radio stations, lawyers for legal advice...I fought tooth and nail...but lost.  I was responsible for the money.  So, they cleaned out my bank account...and I do not have one to this day.  I am afraid...don't know if the ex did anything else.  Then they sent me a letter stating that I had made a so-called agreement with them to pay $250 month.  I NEVER agreed to anything.  That was an amount that would be a hardship on me.  I wrote back and agreed to pay, but asked for smaller monthly payments.  Instead of responding they went to court and got a judgment to garnish my salary.  Talk about being devastated.  I cannot begin to tell you how I felt...angry, embarrassed, frustrated.


Well, since that time...January, 2009, my employers have religiously deducted $153 from each check to the tune of $306 per month.  It has been quite a struggle, and quite a sacrifice.  That is a lot of money each month for a bill that wasn't even yours.  But my friends, I am happy to say, my ordeal has finally come to an end.  I received notice that the bill has been paid and is no longer a part of my life. Take my experience as a lesson.  Do not co-sign for anyone.  You just never know...and it catches up to you in the end.  


Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays



 "The Earth is our Mother; we must take care of Her."  Lakota chant


Wow, it's afternoon already.  Time flies when you're having fun.  Sure wish I were having fun.  It's a dreadful day outdoors, but I am snug and dry in my office.  First day back to work, and it has taken me some time to get re-oriented and play catch up.  Not the best of days to return to work after being sick, but I managed to get to work before the bulk of the storm arrived.   Don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those people who dislike rain, I happen to love it.  I love lying in bed and listening to the wind howl and the rain beating on the window panes.  That's one of the joys of life.  What I don't like, though, is when I get drenched on my way to work and have to sit in the wet clothes all day.  Not fun!!! 


Rain is an important life-giving necessity for our planet.  When you think about it, rain can be so healing...to the earth...to our inner well-being.  Have you ever meditated to the sound of rain? It has such a unique healing effect for the mind and body.  If you have never taken the time to to notice rain, sit by a window on a rainy day and watch how the rain makes all the colors appear brighter.  Yes, there is beauty all around us if we only take the time to look.  Watch the leaves dance as the raindrops hits the trees.  

There is so much we can do in the rain.  There is never a need to be bored.   Here are just a few ways to alleviate that boredom while nurturing your spiritual self.


Meditate to the sound of the rain hitting the glass on your windows.

Remember when you were a kid and were allowed to play in the rain?  Well, just because you are now an adult doesn't mean you cannot play.  Go outdoors and dance around in the puddles.


Take your dog out for a walk.

Light candles and burn incense while watching the rain fall.


Pick up that book you've been meaning to read and honor yourself with a much-needed break.

Take a long, soothing bath by candlelight as you listen to the rain.


Breath in those wonderful rain smells and imagine that the rain is washing away all of your negativity.

Take time to write in your journal--your hopes, your dreams, your goals. 

If it's windy as well as wet, and you happen to live near the ocean, go out and enjoy the waves.  Just make sure you stay a safe distance away.  (One of my favorites)


For fun, take a city bus ride and watch all the umbrellas fly away.  LOL!!!

 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Carlos Castenada


(Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you.)--Carlos Castaneda

Ah, Carlos Castaneda.  Is there anyone amongst us who has not read at least one of his books?  There was a time that his were the only books I read.  "The Teachings of Don Juan"  "A Separate Reality" "Journey to Ixtlan"
I totally marveled at this man who introduced me to the wonders of Shamanism.  I was actually introduced to his teachings when I first arrived in the city and began spending my days at Washington Square Park.  I made my first "city" friend there, and it was she who handed me "The Teachings of Don Juan" and told me "Read it."  And I did so and was opened up to a new way of seeing things, a new way of believing...and my friend and I spent hours discussing what I had read and what I had learned.  She was such a wonderful teacher...and somehow as life moved on we became separated, and I have never found her since.  Perhaps she had only come into my life for one reason only, to open my mind and my heart.  Will I ever know?  It's been almost forty years now since I last saw her...and somehow, I find myself thinking of her today...and thinking of Castenada who I haven't read in many years.  Perhaps it might be time to pick up him up again. 

It's a lazy Sunday here for me.  I had a miserable night.  I actually had to come to the point of almost sitting up to fall asleep.  I had so much mucous, it was choking me.  But, today I feel as if I am finally on the mend.  But, that means back to work...and that's not something I am looking forward to.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the clients.  There isn't much money in the job, but when you have virtually been able to help someone who had once been in the throes of addiction to turn their life around, it makes it all worth it.  I think what I dislike is that I am the eldest person working there, yet I am the one who has the most work.  Somehow, I've gotten the idea that they should lighten up on me some because of my age, but maybe I am wrong.  I can also blame myself because when you prove yourself to be 'super worker' they expect it from you all the time, but those days are gone, and more often than not, I now find myself physically and emotionally drained when I get home.

And I can easily fall into a rut, and perhaps that is the reason for my complaints today.  I've been housebound for awhile now--except for 30 minutes food shopping yesterday--and am now finding it hard to tear myself away.  I love staying in my jammies, eating when I wish, sleeping when I wish.  And now it's been what?  Since Wednesday that I was able to do whatever my little desired whenever I felt like doing it?  Wonder how I will feel when I DO retire.  It's not like I will have money to travel.  In fact, it looks like, unless I leave the city, I'll just be making it.   Will I still feel this way, or will I then miss the opportunity of getting up, getting dressed, and going out to work.  Oh well, I will never know until the time comes.

Hope you all have a restful Sunday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Saturday Afternoon



I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday afternoon.  I've been feeling a little better today.  The sinus issues are gone, and the faucet has been turned off.  I can breath again.  I still have that darn mucousy chest, but it's very loose.  When I smoked, it really used to settle there.  Coughing was actually painful; every cough was like a knife shooting through my chest...but that was in my smoking days. 

I've really been busy today.  Did my food shopping this morning and am now cooking my meals.  For those who don't know,  I cook for two weeks at a time.  Not only did I dislike coming home every night and cooking a meal, but let's face it, I've grown to 'hate' cooking....this from someone who once did catering...who once used to cook a full course Chinese meal...or make my own noodles.  Those days are gone.  I just seem to have cooked myself out.  Oh, I do love cooking for a party, but that happens so infrequently nowadays...not that I mind.  I cherish my free time. 

So, since I was talking about food today, I wanted to share a little something I found.  How about that menu?  I had once mentioned that I had grown up in a small town.  There was not much to do,  and we didn't have all the luxuries that today's kids have, but we always found ways to keep ourselves occupied.  I could ride my bike all day...climb trees...play tag...spinning  around in a
rainstorm...standing  on my head.  There were no computers in those days...and very little on television so we kids made our own fun...and it was good, healthy fun.  I was always out in the fresh air.  And speaking of fun.  The menu above brings back so many  special memories for me that I thought I would share.  Perhaps some of you have some fond memories of that wonderful store. 

One of my special treats in the  1950's was a trip to the Wooworth Store.  I have such fond memories of that store.  I remember I used to wait all week, and then my mom would take me there.  We rarely bought anything, but just had fun as we inspected every aisle of the store.  Quality time with my mom was a rarity since she always worked, and I was one of your original latch key kids.  After we had seen all there was to see, and oh'd and ah'd over merchandise we would like to have,  we would go have our lunch--grilled hot dog on a buttered grilled bun, crinkle cut fries, and a chocolate shake in a big soda found glass with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Yes, lunch at the counter was a real treat, and one of my fondest memories of days gone by.  How many of you can remember the Woolworth's lunch counter?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Those Magical Andes


Thank you all for your comments and well wishes.  I am still not feeling that well.  Now, it seems to have hit my sinuses and I woke up with the worst sinus headache.  I hope it's not an infection because with my new insurance, I cannot go to my regular ear, nose, and throat doctors without a referral...even though I have been going to them for twenty years.  It's just a shame what's happening to our medical insurance.  So, I am home again.  Sometimes I find it better to go off to work because when I am home, unless I find something to keep me occupied, all I do is laying around thinking about how sick I am.  When I find something to keep me busy, it is another story altogether. 

So, yesterday I began reading one of the books I found that I had bought about six months ago and not even yet cracked open, and I found myself so engrossed, I could not put it down.  The book is called "Chamalu: The Shamanic Way of the Heart" by Luis Espinoza (Chamalu)  He is a Quechua Indian who has been trained in the traditional Andean Shamanism.  Born in Bolivia, he is the founder of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) movement.  He is also the founder of the Janajpacha (paradise) Community located high in the Andes.  His books offer insight into what humanity has lost in the millennia since the destruction of the Inca Temples.  I'd like to share some of his wisdom. 

"The past is a corpse.  Don't go through life carrying a casket on your back.  Mistakes aren't bad in themselves.  If we are conscious, they form part of a valuable teaching.  Extract the nectar of what has happened to give you power for the present.  The worst we can do is to wander disoriented on the periphery of the present, which each day, upon awakening, we are given.  Forget what has happened; the future is only the harvest of the seed you plant in the present.  Or I could say, the best way to have an acceptible future is to be happy in the present."

It took me a long time to learn that lesson.  For so many years I weighted myself down with so many unhappy memories, but once I was able to let go and utilize those unhappy experiences as lessons on the road of life, I was not only able to be happy in the present, but also now am able to focus more on the happy memories of the past.  Learning this lesson wasn't easy, and I even went into counseling at one point of my life, but I truly believe that this is one of the reasons I am able to stay so positive thinking about life when everything seems to be tumbling down around me.

And here is another good one.

"No one can harm you when you don't give importance to other people's stuff.  They can attack you, and they will, but that's not your problem.  It won't have any effect on you if you don't identify with those attitudes, which in themselves aren't violent.  But when you give importance to them in a context of fear, they do become poisonous.  What is important is that your thoughts and actions are inspired by love.  Whatever happens, love is the most powerful energy and the best protection."

So powerful.  So true.  Others can spoil our day only when we allow them to.  I'll admit it to you.  I am still working on this one.  For example, with my office roommate.  No matter how I feel or what is going on in my life, I always try to stay cheerful and upbeat (which is why when I am cranky my boss knows something is definitely wrong).  So, some mornings I will cheerfully say, "Good morning." and be ignored.  No response.  She'll act like she didn't hear me...and the truth is, she probably didn't; she stays so locked in her own little world so often.  But, even though I know this, I cannot stop it from effecting me, bringing my mood down a few rungs of the ladder.  But, on the outside, the rest of the world doesn't see this.  I remain cheerful for everyone else to see, but inside, I am churning with bad feelings.  Not good, but like I said, I am still working on.

Thanks for letting me share.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Under the Weather

Good afternnon.  I've been pretty much under the weather today.  I came down with my son's cold on Tuesday and took the day off.  Then yesterdy I felt somewhat better so I went to work, then last night this darned cold hit me like a ton of bricks...the coughing and the feeling that your nose is completely blocked off.  So, here I am...at home again.  Guess I should have taken that extra day to recuperate.  And, I don't take well to feeling sick.  Oh, I continue to do all my chores and all, but I just feel much like the picture.  Guess it is because I really don't get sick that often.  For someone like me who works with the public...and especially the public that I work with...two colds a year is pretty darned good.  My last cold was late June of 2009 and was actually my stepping stone to quitting smoking on July 4th, my "Independence Day."  I've notice that now, no matter how miserable I may be feeling, it is nothing like the colds I had when I was smoking.  Always went straight to the chest.  Took me weeks on end to get rid of them. 

At least I should be rid of this cold by the time Imbolc rolls around...not that I do anything really big.  Usually I do a small ritual at my altar to welcome Brigit and invoke her blessing on what I hope to give birth to in the coming year.  Then, I move the ritual outdoors to my backyard where I pour milk into the ground to thank the Earth for the bounty She has given me.  Because it is still frigid outdoors, I am usually able to perform my ritual without feeling self-conscious.  On both sides of my house are the homes of Hasidic Jews, and in the warmer months they are usually outdoors until quite late.  I just don't feel comfortable out there with them watching me perform a ritual.

Later I light candles throughout the house and prepare my special Imbolc meal, and because rich and creamy egg dishes are an old mainstay of the feasts of old, I prepare a very rich egg and cheese pie, salad with baby lettuce.  I used to make my own bannock bread but no longer have the time. 

By the way, don't know if any of you noticed, but I started another blog.  Yes, I know.  How am I going to handle it?  Actually, I don't even know where it came from...I was just sitting in the living room watching television and an overwhelming urge came over me to do a blog on Angels.  Probably the impetuousness of my Aries sun, but whatever it was, I couldn't talk myself out of it, and before I knew it, it was created.  I'm hoping it will become more about Celtic Angels and pagan lines. Anam Cara: An Angel to Watch Over You

 So, now you know how my day is going.  How is your day? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Element of Fire


 (Elementals are spirits that have only one element to their nature--usually air, fire, water, or earth.  They are nature spirits who interact with the natural world, but have their existence in the ethereal realm.)


Where would we be without fire?  It represents passion, enthusiasm, desire, courage, and initiative.  It is both light and heat.  Perhaps the greatest source of Fire is our Sun which provides all living things on Earth with warmth and light.  If our Sun were to disappear, life as we know it would be impossible. 

To feel the manifestations of its power, go out on a sunny, Summer day and feel its warmth. 

Or think for a moment of Summer.  The Sun is high and hot...the crops are ripening.  Take a moment to sit in silence.  Let your mind become very still.  See the light that shines in your heart.  Breathe deeply and see the flame.  Use your breath to draw the energy of the Earth and the energy of the Heavens into the flame and watch as it flares brighter.  See it burn like a small, brilliant Sun...and think of a question you have been searching for an answer to.  As your question and let it burn in a flame of golden lights.  Watch as the smoke is carried to the Goddess...and wait on your answer.


Fire is associated with the South.  It is noon, when the Sun is at its Zenith in the sky.  It's season is Summer, that time when the Sun is with us for long days.  It is young adulthood, the time of life when we expend energy in training or making a career for ourselves.  


Fire can be both creative and destructive.  It is a very fast acting and consuming element.  It can take as well as give life.  Fire can also stand for unbridled emotions, rage, hatred.  An excess of fire energy can make one feel jittery, anxious, stressed.  Colors associated with fire are red, yellow, crimson, gold and orange.  


The Fire Elementals are called Salamanders.  It is difficult to describe them.  The be way is to to watch a fire of logs, the leaping flickering flames of red, orange, yellow; note how frequently a strange face or form leaps from the fire itself.  That is an approximate likeness of a Salamander.  They will help you to overcome obstacles and like people who have the courage to act on their truth.  They enjoy playing in flames and will come to you when you light candles or fires.  


Watch a candle as it burns. Notice how a combination of liquid, solid, and gas come together to make fire...another of the mysteries of our world.  Next, find and put on some music that has a strong drum beat and let your body start to move with the rhythm and flow. Let yourself dance freely.  Sing along if you can...use a rattle if you have one.  Keep dancing for as long as you have the energy..tune into your body...feel your heart pounding against your chest...feel the energy throbbing in your legs and arms...feel how warm you are...feel your energy flowing...everything seems to be speeded up.  Do some light exercise as you slow down and drink lots of water.


The different types of Fire Magic are 'Banishing Ritual' which involves burning something such as an herb or a flower...or a piece of paper or petition on which you have written your desire.  Candle Magic is another simple and easy method for bring about your desires.  The color for the candle is chosen in relation to your desire; the candle can be lit for sometimes up to 7 days.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Element of Earth


The element of Earth is the physical realm.  It represents our Mother, the planet Earth itself.  We are born of Her, we are composed of Her, we live on Her, and when we die, we return to Her.  It is the densest, the most compact of all of the elements.  It represents body and solidness...all things that you can see and hold.  It is the mountains, the caves, the ground upon which we walk. 

Imagine that you are in a forest.  See the trees around you, smell the dry leaves o the forst floor.  Notice how the sunlight filters through the branches of the trees.  Now, imagine that you come upon a fallen tree.  A small seedling has erupted in the fallen log.  Sit for a moment on the tree and let the energy in your body grow like the roots of the seedling into the log...let your roots seek out moisture and nourishment.  As you pull those wondrous nutrients up into your being, feel them as they travel up into your arms..into your head.  Now, look up to the sun and feel its warmth.  Feel the wind around you.

Earth as an element is traditionally placed in the North of the circle.  Its Moon phase is the Fourth Quarter and its favored time is midnight.  Because its feeling is dry and cold, it represents winter, old age...when our bodies are no longer fertile, but our dreams remain.  Our connection to the Earth is what gives us heal and stability; thuse, the Earth element rules over the healing of our physical bodies.  It is the element of the plants...and therefore, of the healing herbs.  Colors for the Earth are brown, black, green, and white. 

The Earth Elementals are called Gnomes.  They come in many sizes; these are the elementals we can contact and communicate with the easiest for they are the densist of all the elementals.  Thy like to live within the earth, not caring much for the sunlight.  They appreciate coins and stones as gifts...as well as any work you do to heal the Earth. 

Earth magic can involve the use of herbs and plants.  Also icluded are crystal and stone magic, the planting of seeds, or burying something.  The planting of trees is a form of earth magic. 

Find a warm place and lie on the Earth.  Breathe and feel yourself connecting with her deep roots like a majestic old tree.  Thank Her for all of Her gifts..Her blessings.  Take notice of how much you are a part of Her...and She a part of you.  Let Her take whatever is no longer useful to you...let go of your old pain, wounds...allow the Earth to heal you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Water


The element of Water symbolizes the emotions, feelings, love, and sorrow.  It is feminine, the great Mother who flows through all.  We grow in water while we are in the womb, and after we are born, our bodies are made up of 70 percent water.  We need water to live.  Our tears are the salty memories of  the origins of our lives evolving from the Ocean.  Water purifies, cleanses, and cools as it generates and nurtures all life.  Water is central to the mystery of how life first came to be. 

Take a few moments to picture in your mind some of the moods of water.  For me, it is the Ocean...the waves crashing upon the rocks.  Or perhaps you might picture the gentle rippling on the surface of a pond when disturbed by a stone.  Let the images flow...take a moment to note how they make you feel.  Some may fill you with awe; others may lull you into a doze..and still others may stun you with their great beauty. 

Water flows in the riverbeds and falls from the skies.  Water is the element that is generally associated with the West in the circle.  It is the place where the Sun sets, so it is a place associated with rest.  It is associated with dusk, twilight...that time between work and sleep.  Its season is Autumn.  The heart is another association of Water.  It pumps the blood through our arteries and collects it from our veins...which, in turn, collect water from the tissues and the lymph. 

When it gets dark, fill your bathtub with warm water and scent it with roses, jasmine, or another of your favorite scents.  Sink ito the water.  Make sure you have the lights turned off.  Let the water surround you as much as possible.  Remain still and feel it ripple over you you in response to the movements of your breathing.  Feel the Mother's loving arms enveloping you.  Ask the Her to let you feel Her love...and be open to receive it.  Imagine that you are in Her womb...the dark, peaceful nourishment of Her cauldron where life begins. 

The elementals of Water are the Undines.  These are translucent little beings rather than the mermaids who swim through the waves.  They are sentimental and romantic and love people who are in touch with their emotions.  Tears, love poetry, and songs as well as scented oils or perfumes are wonderful gifts for these beings. 

At time when the Moon is waxing or full go to an ocean beach if possible...or, if not, to a lake or a river.  Do this around sunset.  Take your shoes off and put your feet into the water.  Think about someone you love and may have had an argument with.  Take a few moments to review the spat...really feeling your anger and your frustration.  Then, allow this anger and frustration to flow out of your feet...use your breath to help it flow out.  And think about your loved one, and all of their good points and how much they have done for you.  Focus on your heart while breath...and let it open.  Feel the energy of the Water as it flows up into your being.  Feel  your heart and feel it pumping the loving energy of the Water through you.  Allow the Moonlight to flow into your being and speak to the energies of the Water flowing through you.  Pull the Moonlight into your being.  Try to understand your loved ones point of view...not necessarily accepting it, but allowing them to have their own view.  Allow a new level of love and understanding to flow through you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Greetings and Ramblings on a Rainy Sunday Afternoon



Good afternoon on this rainy Sunday.  I finally finished putting everything back to where it belongs...not an easy task, mind you.  When you live in an apartment in the city, you have to become very creative with your storage.  I actually live on the first floor of a two-family house, but I don't have access to storage.  So, what I have is some under-the-bed storage and a few very large colorful cannisters I stack in the corner of the room.  There are so many decorations that I cherish.  I was just showing my son today a decorative candle I have had for 19 years...and the first decoration I bought for our tree, the first Christmas hubby and I were together.   

All and all, I worked very methodically and with a plan...and I must say, all went well....until.  I have a fake tree which comes in two pieces.   Actually, I have had it for 19 years so you would think I knew better, but when I tried taking the top piece off, I just couldn't do it.  I kept trying and trying, and it wouldn't budge.  The branches were scratching me, and I was tugging and tugging, and still nothing.  That called for a few choice words (a rarity from me).  At that hubby and son came running...and very easily separated the two pieces.  I had been trying to separate them in the wrong spot.  I have to learn that sometimes I have to stop being so darned independent and ask for help.

All my books are snug in their new places, and like Rue, I have discovered a number of books I haven't even opened.  What happens to me is that I will be reading a book, and that book will mention another book...which I will then look up at Barnes @ Noble...and if it looks good, it goes on my 'wish list'.  Then, when I haven't gotten a package for awhile and feel the need for some new books, I order.  And of course, I must order more than one book for the free shipping...but by now, that is not the issue.  Now I am sitting there trying to make a decision of which books I really, really want.  Trouble is, I want all of them...so I end up ordering three or four...and never get around to reading all of them.

So, everything is put back in its place, and this is usually the time my post-Christmas blues begin.  It's like January and February are such long, cold and dreary months.  It's funny....Christmas is here and gone in what seems like a  flash...but that wait til Spring seems like an eternity.  Why is that, I wonder?  But, we do have Imbolc approaching, and that is another of my favorite times of the year.  Brigid is my goddess and I look forward to Her special day.

So afterwards, when all was in its place and spic and span,  I lit a candle and went through the house repeating the following little  Irish House Blessing which has become another tradition for me.  I'd like to share it with you if you don't mind. 

May Brigid give blessing,
To the house that is here...
Both crest and frame;
Both stone and beam'
Both clay and wattle;
Both summit and foundation;
Both window and timber;
Both foot and head;
Both man and woman'
Both wife and children;
Both young and old;
Both maiden and youth...

Plenty of laughter,
Plenty of wealth,
Plenety of people,
Plenty of health,
Be always here. 
Both man and womane

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Sorting


Good afternoon on this wonderful springlike day. It was good to see the rays of the sunlight flowing through my windows.   From reading other blogs, it looks pretty much like this is the weather across the country.  Now, if it would remain like this, you would never hear a complaint out of me. 

Sort of taking a blogging break today.   I think it's time for the Christmas stuff to come down, don't you?  And since this is a three day weekend...YIPPEE--what better time to do it.  After all, we're already in the latter half of January.  LOL!!!  But, it is so much work.  Not only do I have to take all of my villages down, I have to wrap them before packing them away.  And they there is the tree and the battle with the lights.  One year I got so frustrated I just said the heck with it and didn't worry about unraveling them...just tossed them away and bought new.  But I can't do that every year...especially this year.  Anyone know a secret to putting the tree lights on so you don't have to unravel them when you take them down?  Any tips will be surely appreciated for next year.

And that's not the end of it.  Now that everything is wrapped and packed away, it is time to put the books back.  That's another chore that is a pain in the you know where...because now all the books have to be sorted to subject matter.--astrology, Celtic, Druid, Mythology, Shamanism, etc.  Why don't you pack them sorted as you take them down, you may ask?  Well, that's because they weren't in order to begin with.  What I am accomplishing today with the sorting is all well and good, but how long does it last?  Books are my addiction, and I am forever buying them...and when I don't find room to place them in the order they belong, they go wherever I can find the room...and sometimes as I read, they don't go back where they belong, so by the time I pack them for Christmas, it's a hodge podge of subjects in each box.  Actually, this has become one of my after Christmas traditions.

So, just wanted to check in and say hello.  It is back to work for me.  It's a long, long process...You see, as I unpack, I keep coming across books that I simply "must" sit down and glance through.  And if it looks inviting and like something I think I would like to read again soon, it goes into a little pile....and the hodge podge begins again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Element Air


The Element of Air is the Breath of Spirit.  It is associated with the East in the Northern Hemisphere.  This is where the sun rises so Air as an element is associated with the Sunrise....and new beginnings.  Air is the child of wisdom.  It is associated with the wonder and curiosity of childhood.  Air is the animating principle that gives life.  We enter the world with breath, and we depart when it is gone. 

Air may be a still, gentle breeze or a whirlwind.  Whatever form it may be, Air serves to cleanse the environment of pollutants and allows the pollen and seeds to circulate.  The astrological Air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.   It is in the North where we connect with our mind, the seat of our consciousness.  The element of Air teaches us how to keep our minds active so we can act with clarity and flexibility. 


 Creatures Associated With Air
Birds
Eagles, Hawks, Wrens, Sparrows, Larks, etc.
Insects
Butterfly, Dragonfly, Ladybugs, Bees


Think for a moment of the joy you feel as sun comes up and lightens the Eastern sky.  think of the sense of potential you feel as the clouds take on the colorful hues of the beginning of a new day.  Breathe deeply; take the breath into your heart, then let it out...and as you exhale, ponder the mystery of Air.   Air is also associated with the sense of smell.  Think for a moment about how scent effects your mood, your state of mind.  How does the scent of lavender, of pine, of cinnamon, make you feel.  And what about the aroma of a home baked apple pie?  Frankincense, Myrrh, sacred spaces...Incense is the magical tool of the East and of the Element Air.  

The elementals associated with Air are called "Sylphs".  They are perhaps the easiest of the elementals to see...especially as a flash of light in the corner of your eye.  They appear as small winged creatures adorned in pastel colors who ride the airwaves.  They are often times called fairies.  They can be quite mischievous little creatures who like to blow things about...rustling your hair...making sounds that are distractful to you, but they can also be very helpful with the following: communications, speaking, writing, poetry, music, intellectual skills.  You can always ask them to help you.


Types of Magick
 Different types of Air Magick include visualizations and divination.    Another type of Air Magick is Mirror Magick.  It can help in overcoming inner problems and help with personal decisions.  It uses both  the word and visualization forms and can also aid in being able to visualize a future event.  Sometimes it is used as a Scrying Tool. 
Ritual Tools
Wands, swords, incense

Color
Yellow, white
Air Meditation
Sit quietly and relax.  Visualize yourself walking against the wind.  FEEL the wind blowing against your skin and HEAR the roar of the wind in your ears.  SMELL the fresh air as it blows against you.  FEEL each step while walking in the wind.  Do this for about five minutes.  


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Four Elements

This is the first of a five part series.


The four elements are the basic building blocks of life--Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  All animals, stones, plants, emotions, and energies are combinations of these elements.  Everything has its own unique blend of the four elements within it.  We are made up of the same elements as the earth that we walk upon and the stars in the heavens.  We call on the elements whenever we do magic, offer healing, undertake a project, cook a meal....anything where we would like the elements to come together in perfect balance.  

We live in air, but because we cannot see it, we forget to show our thanks for the breath that gives us life. 

It is the element water that blends our dreams and feelings into our "will", but few of us have completely  learned to  master our gift of freewill. 

Our hearts may contain fire, but have we mastered the skill to use it to light or illuminate our paths?

Our bodies may be made up of the elements of earth, but sadly, there are few who recognize the essential energy of the Great Earth Mother who gifts us with our physical strength.  

Native Americans align themselves with the Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel to invoke the Spirits of the Four Elements--North (Earth), South (Fire), East (Air), and West (Water).   And, by attuning ourselves to these elements, we create the space to heal and commune with the Universe and the Natural World around us...to walk in balance with the Earth.   So, how did we stray so far from the basic wisdom of the Earth Mother?  But, even more importantly, how do we once again master the art of touching upon our primal human nature and reaching the full potential of our spirit?

Tomorrow...the Element Air

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For the People of Haiti



May they find peace and comfort in their time of need.   


Where Do We Go From Here?



I would like to begin today by thanking all of you for your wonderful, supportive comments yesterday.  Sometimes there are things that occur in our lives which might not touch us directly, but still have a great impact on our feelings and our emotions.  And after writing it all out, I do feel better.  You don't know how many times during the past week I started to write about it and then deleted what I had written.  I realize, too, that after I wrote about the incident...and read all of your comments...that it wasn't only seeing the body on the street, but it was the way those around me were reacting.  It also made me realize that the fact is...when tragedies like this occur, it is those so-called ambulance chasers that make the most noise and draw the most attention.  The respectful people are not to be seen because they do not see it as a 'show'.  

Debra had mentioned yesterday that we have become desensitized to violence and death today because  we are bombarded with it on television and video games.  I've been saying that for years.  This so-called music they listen to today is filled  with rape, violence, murder, guns, yet there are those who deny that this has any effect on our youngsters.  I beg to differ.  I believe today's music has much to do with our gang violence today.   Not too long ago an elderly woman in the Bronx was sitting in her own apartment watching television when she was killed by a stray bullet.  And a 12 year old girl was shot and killed in Brooklyn as she was leaving a funeral...a drive-by shooting gone bad.  Yes, there have always been gangs, but innocents were rarely caught in the crossfire back in the day.  Gangs rumbled with each other in their own territories with chains and bats...not guns....Remember "West Side Story"? 


The other night I was in lying in bed, and hubby had the television on.  I love to fall asleep to the television.  I don't know way...always been that way.  Well, I am just about to doze off when I heard the familiar voice of the late Freddie Mercury of "Queen", and shudders rippled through my body.  He was singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" and I thought, now THAT was when music was music.  Yes, Queen was flamboyant and bizarre, but they sure did no how to make music.  No longer sleepy, I was enthralled as I watched them perform "We Will Rock You", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "I Want it All", and "We Are the Champions".  I was brought to tears when Freddie began to sing "The Show Must Go on" for he was close to death and knew it was his time,, but still insisted on doing this song as a legacy for his fans.  I found the following on YouTube.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSkx34M3XtY&feature=related

Yes, times have changed.  Our music has become more violent.  Our world has become more violent.  We cannot go back; we can only go forward, but where DO we go from here?  How DO we bring peace and love to our planet?

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Best and the Worst of the City


Good morning, everyone.  It's another frigid day.  I've been sitting here for an hour thinking about what I want to write about, but nothing comes to mind.  The fact is that I have had something I wanted to talk about for about a week now and just haven't really found the way to put it into words.  You see, I try to keep my blog pretty much upbeat no matter what I may be going through, but real life doesn't always work that way...and even though most of the time I am able to work through my issues, some things happen that I just cannot get out of my mind, and I don't think I will be able to get it out of my mind until I do talk about it. What I want to share has nothing to do with myself and my family; it is about someone I do not know....and the best and the worst of this city that I live in.

Last Tuesday a woman was killed in front of where I work.  It was 4 o'clock, and I was just getting ready to pack it in and get ready to go home when my boss came and said that our building was a crime scene.  Now, I am not an ambulance chaser who runs to see every accident or fight (for lack of a better word), but the fact is we are OUR building.  Here on Delancey there are very few tall buildings, and my building consists of a lobby and 2 flights.  The second flight is where I work; the third is the Continuing Day Treatment Program.  So, this time I did go to the window to have a look, and I saw that the police were putting up their yellow 'police investigation' tape enclosing our building, but I couldn't see what was going on.  Then, someone said you could see better out of the window on the other side, and I went to look.  My friends, I am so sorry I did because I cannot get the sight out of my mind.

There, lying on the street, was a bicycle, and near it, a white sheet was covering a body.  I quickly turned away, trembling.  It hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately thought of my son who rides a bicycle on his job.  It was simply awful.  Later I found out that the victim was an older woman.  She had been riding her bicycle and hit a pot hole...was thrown off her bike and into the back tire of a school bus.  It was the WAY that people reacted that is really sticking to me.  Our nurse...yes, I am talking about a nurse.  She was running to everyone's door screaming "Come look, come look, they're dead."  Lady, you are a nurse!   Of all people to be reacting this way, the one this is least expected of was acting the worst.  


Then, when it was time for me to leave, and I walked the long way around because I just didn't want to walk by the scene...and here were a group of high school girls excitedly running to get a look.  The one in front was screaming for the others to hurry, and the others were laughing as they raced to catch up.  And then, there are all the gawkers, those who just stood around  taking it all in like they had no place to go.  And there was the police patiently trying to back everyone away...and being abused by the onlookers who were screaming back at them "We can stand wherever we want.  The sidewalks are free."  And all the while they're stretching their necks trying to get a look.  It made me sick to my stomach to see this.  Let's face it, that poor woman was someone's daughter...maybe someone's wife...someone's mother....someone's friend...and everyone was acting like it was the show of the century.  This was the worst of the city.

And later came the newspaper blogs...and I couldn't believe that people were actually blaming the victim.  "Oh, well, the school bus has the right away."  "These bike riders ask for it, they drive so crazily."  No, fella, this woman didn't "ask for it."  And if anyone was at fault for this accident, it was the city for not filling in that pot hole, for not listening when people were pleading for a bike lane.   Delancey Street is treacherous.  Each side has three lanes and an island in the middle.  And the light changes so quickly that you may start across the minute the light says 'go' and only make it to the center island before the caution light starts blinking.  There has been plenty of people killed and injured there...and they tell me, that a few years ago the neighborhood got together to try to petition the city to make the time you can cross longer...and instead the city speeded them up. 

What happened to the togetherness, the love, the concern, the basic goodness and caring of people that was there on 9/11?  Where did it go?  On that day everyone was out to HELP the next person.  Last Tuesday they were acting like a rock star had arrived.  Last Tuesday I felt like I was in an altogether different city. 

Well, last Wednesday was my late day; I start work at 11 am.  The pot hole was still there.  We had a fire scare in the building about 3pm and had to evacuate.  The pot hold was gone.  The city had finally filled it in, but sadly, it took someone's death for them to do it...or was it done just to cover it up in case of a lawsuit by the victim's family.  

And you know what?  I do feel better now that I was able to share this, and it also made me see that the goodness is still here...for people have set up a memorial down the block for the unknown victim.  A bicycle has been attached to a pole (soon they will bring the white bike that signifies a biker's death), someone drew a cross, people are leaving notes and flowers.  People do care about the unknown victim.  I guess last Tuesday those that care were not to be seen because, like me, they had feelings.  Thank you for letting me share this. 






Monday, January 11, 2010

How the Red Bird Got His Color



 Good morning to everyone on this cold winter's morn.  A chill is in the air, but they say it will warm up at the end of the week. We'll see how right they are.  I am so glad that you all enjoyed my story.  I wasn't sure if you would be bored or not.  For all of you who are interested in genealogy, I plan to gather together some of the free sites and post them.  When I first began my family history, there were so many free sites, but Ancestry has taken over a few of them, so there is not that many out there...but I promise to gather a list. Today, I would like to tell you the Cherokee tale of how the Redbird got its color.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Once upon a time there was a little bird that wanted to be noticed and respected...just like the Sacred Eagle.  But, this little bird was so plain, a little bird of earth-tone color who could not easily be seen by the others.  "Oh, but if I were red," he thought, "then they all would recognize me for my power and my beauty."  So, he went to the Elders in his clan council and asked if he could be red.  One of the elders explained to him that red was a sacred color, like the color black. and because it was a privilege, it had to be earned in a special way.  The little bird was told he needed to perform some special act to help others before he could wear the red color.


Well, a long time passed by, and the little bird still did not know who he was supposed to help...and one day, two of his friends--Raccoon and Wolf--had a disagreement.  It seems as if Wolf was always playing tricks on Raccoon, and although Raccoon really loved playing with his friend, he was tired of Wolf always getting the best of him.  So, Raccoon came up with a plan.  He knew that Wolf was a swift runner, but not always that smart.  "Hey, Wolf, I bet you can't catch me." Raccoon cried out as he sped away.  "My friend, I can always catch you."  replied Wolf, chuckling.  "Why, see?  I am even giving you a running start." Knowing that the water was icy cold and that Wolf was afraid of the rapids, Raccoon raced to the water's edge and instead of jumping into the water, he quickly climbed a tree.


When Wolf came to the river, he saw Raccoon's reflection there, and thinking that Raccoon had jumped into the water, he jumped in and tried to catch him.   "Oh, this water is so cold!" he cried out, "Help me, Raccoon.  I don't know how to swim."  But Raccoon knew that Wolf would be okay and watched as his friend floated down the rapids.  Finally, tired and exhausted wolf climbed out onto the river bank and fell fast asleep in the warm sunshine.  


After awhile, Raccoon very quietly climbed down from the tree and tiptoed over to the sleeping wolf and began to pack soft red clay on the eyes of the Wolf.   The clay hardened on the Wolf's eyes and when he woke, he began to whine, "I can't see.  Please help me.  I cannot see."  Now, the little brown bird had been perched on a small tree branch watching everything, and when he heard Wolf cry out, he flew over to help him.  The little bird said, "I am just a little bird, but I will help you if I can, but first you must promise me that you will play nice with Raccoon from now on.  No more tricks."  Wolf said, "I promise, if I can see again...and I will also take you to a magic rock that will paint your feathers red."  


So, the little brown bird began pecking away at the dried eyes of the wolf...and soon Wolf could open his eyes and see again.  True to his promise, Wolf said, "Thank you, my little friend.  Now jump onto my shoulder and I will take you to the magic rock."  And away they ran...into the woods until they came to the rock that was oozing red paint.  The little brown bird plucked a twig from a nearby tree branch, and chewed the end until it was soft and pliable...and he painted himself red. And to this day, Wolf continues to play fair with Raccoon, and from that day forward, it was easy to spot the beautiful little red bird as he flew through the forest.


Wonderful little tale, isn't it? We can learn so much from it. This is why I love Native American lessons.  This little story here provides us with values that we should  live by and lets us know that if we continue to seek and ask for something special, we may just receive it.  It is true that not all of us can be Sacred Eagles soaring through the sky, but we can have a kind nature or way about us by reaching out to help  others, to listen to what others have to say, and trying to get along those who cross our path.  Stories such as this, like our lessons in life, are repeated to teach us respect, dignity, and how to be in harmony with all things in life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Path I was Destined to Follow


With Ancestry, I was like a kid in a candy store, and from Day One I was addicted.  Perhaps it stemmed from a lonely childhood, and suddenly to find I had this enormous family...I wanted more and more.  Since that day day I have been able trace a little over 6,000 ancestors onto my tree.  My maternal grandmother was easy to trace back to the Massachusetts Colony, but I have been able to peice together earlier than there.  There's lots of info out there, but all must be verified or you can really not consider the tree your own.  My paternal granddad is of German descent, and I have ancestors on that side traced to the early 1800's in New York City.  (For anyone interested, here is a free website that has many grave listings.  I have found many of my ancestors here.  What is also great about it is that once you join for free, you can place flowers and memorials on their online graves.  And if you should find one of your ancestors and they don't have a photo of the stone, just email and a volunteer will go to the cemetary, take a picture, and put it on the website.
http://www.findagrave.com/

It's my dad's side of the family which caused the most excitement...perhaps because I had only met my grandother and great-grandmother once in my life...and now, here I was finding family from Ireland and Scotland and Wales and Cornwall,  and I was finally beginning to peice my life together because...when you don't know where you came from,  you can never really know who you are.  Now, Ancestry also has books which have been computerized and in one of those books, I was given a very basic introduction to the Celts and to the Anglo Saxons.  Now, my interested was really piqued, and I found myself wanting to know more.  Who were the ancestors of my ancestor?
I bought  "The Celts" by Jean Markdale and learned about the Druids.

From then on I became an avid reader of anything I could get my hands on about the Celts and Druids--Celtic Shamanism, Druid Magic, on becoming a Druid, books by John O'Donohue, Tom Cowan, etc.   I found a basic course for free on the Fairy Tradition.  And then I discovered NOD...The New Order of Druids.  Their Grove of Dana Online Colleges offer free online courses on Druid spirituality and the Earth-honoring Celtic traditions....and whereas many of the Druid classes out there examine only the outside objects through the mind and the intellect (i.e. book reading and reports), NOD also includes certain exercises and meditations so that the student can gain a true understanding of self and universe for they believe that only by practice can one gain wisdom.  I completed the Bardic section and am currently in the Ovate section.  For awhile, I was devastated because the website had somehow disappeared, but I am pleased to say it is back now.
http://druidnetwork.org/en/affiliatedgroups/groves/nod.html#godana

Since that time I have also delved into the practice of my Teutonic ancestors--Asatru (belief in the gods) ---another fascination tradition.  It is more commonly called 'heathenism'.  Sadly, there is such a negative connotation  that goes along with that word.  Asatru, which is thousands of years old, stems from the religious beliefs of the Northern Europeans.  Everyone knows of their gods--
Thor, Loki the trickster, Odin, Wodin, etc....including Asgard, Valhalla, Gilgamesh, Runes, and on and on. 


Today, after many twists, turns, and detours I can honestly say I have found my pat.  Today, I call myself a Druid.  I've learned to appreciate the earth around me and to communicate with the trees.  I know the fairies exist for I have seen their dancing lights in the darkness of my magical garden.  Yes, I have studied much in my life, and it has given me great joy.  You are NEVER too old to learn and for that reason,  even though this story about how I found my path is done, there is always more to learn so I end today with....
To be continued....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Almost There


Good afternoon.  I'm kind of late today.  This is my busy Saturday.  I did my food shopping for two weeks this morning, and now I am cooking everything.  I do this every other week...cook for two weeks and freeze.  No 'super woman' reasons here.  Truth is, I 'hate' to cook so why not get it all over with in one day!  Then, before I go to work, I put the food into the refrigerator to thaw, and by the time I come home, all I have to do is fix the plates.  I wasn't always this way.  Time was that I LOVED cooking so much that I used to make my own noodles.  Every night dinner was from a different country...and full course meals.  Don't know when things changed.

So, by 1997 I had left my job.  I took a month off to recuperate emotionally and then found a job working in a halfway house for recovering alcoholics.  I also started taking the courses I needed to certify in the State of New York.  I was still deeply involved with Native Americanism when I got my first computer. It was 2000 by then.  (At least I didn't have to worry about Y2K.)   My hubby's sister worked for the Board of Ed, and they were about to toss it out, so she gave it to me.  Man, talk about stone age' when I turned that thing on you would swear some car was revving up its engine.  Was slow as molasses, but it was a computer, and it was mine.

It was then that I discovered MSN had groups, and I joined many of them.  For a loner, like me, this was heaven.  Not only did I have people to chat with, but also I had people I could learn from.  I was learning so much about Wicca and Magic.  I was thrilled, but then, sadly, the computer went.  We had no money at the time for a new one, so it was back to the bookstore and taking courses wherever I could find them.  We have a wonderful bookstore here in the city--East West Books--and they are always have free seminars.  About a year later, hubby's sister got a new computer, and I inherited her old one.  It was slow, but it worked, and I was back in business.   And then, I discovered Yahoo...and even more groups...and I found Yahoo easier to deal with.  By then, I had totally forgotten my MSN log-in and was being given a hard time getting a new one.  (Don't forget.  I was totally computer illiterate at the time.) 

So, I discovered Yahoo groups...and ... Granny Moon.  Don't know if any of you know about Granny Moon, but she offers and awesome Goddess Course along with several others.  Two years later the halfway house closed, and I moved on to working with parolees who are mandated to treatment.  By now, I had all my training hours for certification, but still needed several thousand work hours.   By 2005, I was still working through the Goddess course and participating in several Yahoo groups.  I tried to look for groups that offered something in the way of education.  On Christmas, 2005, hubby surprised me with a brand new computer.  I was beside myself, it was so fast.  I now found Magicka School and enrolled in a couple courses, but just couldn't get into them.

In late 2006, something happened that totally changed my life.  I saw an ad for Ancestry.com that they were offering it free for two weeks.   What the heck, I decided.  Let me take a look.  And lo and behold, I found my father and his twin when they were 6 years old...living with their grandma.  I had a flashback then of my childhood.  See, my mom would never let me be around my dad's family because they liked to drink, so I never got to know any of them.  And I remembered one night my mom and dad had been arguing, and I heard her say, "Your poor grandmother had to raise you because she didn't want you." and I realized then that I had found my great grandma.  Well, I'm sure you can guess what happened next.  I ended up joining Ancestry...and so many doors opened up to me.  Not only have I been able to trace my Ancestry back thousands of years, but through placing messages on Ancestry, I have also been contacted by relatives all over the world.  And, before long, I would find the path I had always been meant to follow.

To be continued....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Continuing Along the Path to Wholeness


In 1991 several real changes took place in my life.  To begin with, I met my soul mate.  I hadn't planned on starting a new relationship.  Actually, after the bad relationship I had just come out of, I had sworn off men, but after looking into this stranger's eyes, I knew we had been destined to meet...and, ironically, he felt the same way.  From that day on, we were together every day.  My boys liked and respected him, and he took time and patience to teach my youngest how to do little repairs around the home.  We held many of the same beliefs and could talk for hours on subjects many people may have laughed at.  

I was still working with the Golden Dawn, but was always open to learning something new, so when he introduced me to Native American Wisdom teachings, I was more than eager to delve into what he had to teach me.  I was also reading about Zen Buddhism, but couldn't develop an interest enough to continue further.  But Native Americanism, that was another story.  I was hooked and couldn't get enough.  I enrolled in a course on Cherokee Wisdom and expanded my library to include books on the Medicine Wheel,  Native American Mythology, etc.  I was fascinated with their earth-based spirituality  and realized that this was the first time I had been exposed to beliefs that all things on earth were inter-connected and that it was possible to communicate with nature.  The Rosicrucians had taught that everything was alive, but they mainly concentrated on the evolution of the mineral world to man. I was also introduced to Goddess and was infatuated with such mythological figures such as White Buffalo Woman and Changing Woman, and having been introduced to the Goddess, of course I wanted more.

By 1994 I was ready to change careers.  With the encouragement and support of my new husband, I set off in an entirely different profession--in the helping field .  My first job was working on an ACT team.  This is a mental health team--social worker, substance abuse counselor, nurse, case manager--that meets the client where they are at.  Our clients had failed at all traditional treatment and our team worked in the field...we went to their homes...to the shelters...wherever they lived to make sure they were taking their medications and eating properly.  And we had some of the most difficult clients to deal with--Mentally Ill Substance Abusers with HIV; we were the first HIV ACT team in the state of New York.  

It was devastating for me....watching so many of my clients die...so many hospital visits, the suffering.  I wanted to tell those who were just barely hanging on that it was okay to go to the light, but I wasn't allowed to because of my job, so I could only watch them suffer.   It was unbearable being able to do nothing...and then when I went to the hospital to visit a client who only a few days before had accompanied me to the ice cream parlor for a strawberry shake...only to find her hooked up on machines...well, that was the final straw.  I decided I wanted to do something more, and I came to the decision that the best way to help these people was to become a minister and to work with them in the hospices.  

I chose to become an Interfaith Minister and enrolled in a two year course which was better than I had expected.  It included such courses as--Goddess Earth-Based Religions, Native American Religion, Jung and Depth Psychology, African Religions, Basics of Ritual...as well as Judiasm, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism,...the list is endless. I could go on and on.  Needless to say, I was in my glory.  Each course was better than the previous course.   I graduated the school, but alas, by then, I had burned myself out.  Dealing with so much death had drained me.  I realized that, my problem was that, unlike doctors, nurses, ministers, bereavement counselors, I was unable to separate myself.  I became too personal; if I client had no family, I became their family.  It was taking its toll and it was time to let it go...so although I am ordained, I have never become a practicing minister.

It was time for a change in careers.  



To be continued....




Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moving on


Those were really hard times for me.  Although I never regretted my decision, I wondered if it might have been easier if I had waited.  The social worker signed my up for public assistance, and money was really tight.  There was no money for my precious books; feeding the boys took top priority.  Now, the New York shelters are horrible places with drugs, alcohol, and crime running rampant, but women with children who entered a program were treated with the utmost respect.  Our building was clean and drug free; the ladies were wonderful.  We even alternated watching the children so each of us had time to ourselves.  


No, it really wasn't bad there, but still, I could feel a sense of depression creeping up on me.  I'd always been so independent and now was depending on the state to live, to be able to feed and take care of my children.  Oh, I knew it was only temporary, but that is a hard concept to understand when you are living through an awful situation....and I realized then that from the time I left my husband, my spiritual journey had taken a slide...So, when one of the women asked me if I wanted to attend church with her on Sunday, I jumped at it.  I'd never been in a Roman Catholic Church before, and my heart was longing for some sense of meaning in my life, but I didn't really feel comfortable there.  The following week I politely refused her invite and found myself in the Lutheran Church down the block...and there, too, I didn't feel as if I belonged.

Then, my Muslin friend invited me to accompany her to the Mosque on 3rd Avenue and 96th Street in Manhattan...and I will admit I was in awe  from the moment I saw that domed roof rising like a half moon above the buildings around it.  As we stepped in side, I was told to remove my shoes.  The inside of the mosque held a beauty beyond words, and the people there were so friendly and helpful...from giving me a scarf for my head to educating me on the ritual cleansing before prayer.  Thankfully, it was basically a cleansing of only those body parts that were visible for I think if I had to strip, I wouldn't have continued.   For the service, the men were downstairs and the woman up on the balcony...totally separated from each other...a concept I can never reconcile with.  It bothers me whenever I see women treated as second-class.   And when I heard the "Call to Prayer" the hair stood up on my arms and a shiver slid down my spine.  I'd heard it many times on television, but as that voice reverberated throughout the mosque, I felt as if I had been transported back to another time and place.  I did my best to follow them...kneel, head down, arms raised, head down again, touch the floor...but had no idea what was going on around me.  I went a few more times, and then, two things happened that would once again change my life.  They had found me an apartment in another borough--Brooklyn, and I got word that my ex-husband had died from a rare form of cancer...and no matter what he had put me through, I had never wanted for him to die. 



It was now 1990.  The new apartment was wonderful, and after settling the boys into their new school,  I began looking for employment.  It wasn't too long before I found a job working for an expediting agency...This was a place where we provided a service for rich people...getting cars registered, visas, passports, etc.  A few of our clients were Ralph Lauren and Donald Trump.   And best of all....there was a Barnes @ Noble right across the street so I was once again able to read.  As far as my spiritual journey, I couldn't afford the Kabbalah Centre, and I had completed  all of the Rosicrucian Fellowship courses.  So, what now?  


"The Golden Dawn".  Wow, the Golden Dawn had everything as part of its component--Kabbalah,Astrology, Tarot, Egyptian Mysteries, Enochian Magic, Alchemy....even Rosicrucianism.  I was in seventh heaven...couldn't get enough...but somewhere, deep inside, I continued to feel a sort of emptiness, like there was something else out there waiting for me.  There was.  One day, in 1991 I was sitting in Washington Square Park on my lunch hour, reading a book, when a man came up to me and said, "Would you mind it I sat here?"  I looked up and found myself looking into the eyes of my soul mate.


To be continued....