Category Archives: magic
With the Fall equinox upon us I’ve started to notice the signs of autumn creeping up. The leaves are just beginning to turn. The trees that have been severely stressed by our odd weather are further along, but the majority are just hinting at colors.
That stress is definitely in the air. One day the highs are barely above 60F the next they’re well into the 70’s. Mornings are cool, almost cold when they are damp. There’s been hard frost further north and it would not be unseasonable to see some here in the city. It’s difficult to dress for such unpredictable, changeable weather.
The sun shines, equal with the darkness. It still carries warmth with its light, but that warmth seems more focused. It gets hot in the car, if it’s in the direct sun, but the warmth doesn’t creep past the edges of the shadows of the tree line.
I’ve had a fire or two in the fireplace, trying not to turn on the heat. It’s difficult to crawl out of bed when the temperature in the house is below 65. When I do turn on the furnace (because it’s impossible to get out of a warm tub when the air is that cold) I try to remember to turn it off again. Sometimes I get to wondering why I’m so hot before it occurs to me I’ve forgotten.
At least with the heat on the air is filtered. The cool and damp is ideal for mold – one of my worst allergies. It will get worse before it gets better as leaves fall into mulch. Soon I’ll be begging for the hard freeze, but I wouldn’t begrudge a few more weeks of summer weather after.
Happy Autumnal Equinox!
Previous Equinox blogs:
There are a lot of ways to look at initiation. The Online Merriam-Webster defines:
: the process of being formally accepted as a member of a group or organization : the process of being initiated
: a ceremony or series of actions that makes a person a member of a group or organization
Last week was the vernal equinox, the official start of spring. Dare I mention that we had snow flurries this morning?
Dying eggs is a big deal this time of year. Whether you dye them for Easter or Ostara or just because it’s fun I have to wonder if part of the reason for dying eggs is just to put some color into the landscape.
In warmer climates there are native breeds of chickens that lay eggs of different colors. If you think about the climates in places like the Ukraine, famous for their egg dying techniques, winters are longer and springs can be pretty grey.
There are signs that spring may indeed show up after this very hard winter.
We have had quite a lot of melt (honest). There was running water in the creek and I even saw a minnow swim by in the icy water.
This year we blessed our eggs for the strength to hold on through the thaw. It may still be awhile, but it’s coming.
Samhain on the River is an event hosted by my friends Nels and Judy for many years. This year was the last and I made a point to attend. The high point of the weekend is the burning of an effigy “corn man” or a “wicker man” in ritual. Nels did a piece several years ago about his experiences hosting fire rituals.
The ritual itself is powerful, dramatic and lovely. Sitting with a group of friends drumming and dancing around a HUGE bonfire is a great time. Taking time out to acknowledge and honor the ancestors is especially nice in a year when we’ve had a recent death in the family. However, dramatic and awesome though it may be, the burning isn’t the heart of the weekend for me.
The ritual starts with a casting of the circle, calling in the four directions as guardians and protectors. The ancestors are welcomed and so is the Divine, in many forms. Then there is the feasting. This is a huge pot-luck extravaganza. The ovens are going for two days. There are half a dozen crock pots. The desert table has two levels and probably could use a third. Given all the dietary issues in the group everything is supposed to be marked and labeled – does it have meat? Nuts? Is it gluten-free? Vegan?
When I attend I complicate things. It’s that darned allergy to cinnamon. Most people don’t think it’s a real allergy, or they just don’t hear it, or they haven’t a clue how to read a label down to those tiny ingredients. (Except in red hots, cinnamon is rarely one of the first ingredients listed.) It gets even trickier when all the label says is “natural flavorings and spices.” Most of the time that actually means cinnamon. Who knew? – Well, I do.
There are a few people in this crowd who have watched me react to cinnamon. Who know that my children wash their hands and brush their teeth before they come home if they have a cinnamon roll elsewhere. People who have been to restaurants with me and been asked “Please don’t order the waffles, the cinnamon roll, the warm apple pie.” If the ventilation is good I might manage the room (if they’re not baking right then) but not at the table.
Because of all the trouble, the feast isn’t really the heart of the event for me either. It’s the people. It’s being able to spend time just talking and catching up with folks I only see once or twice a year. It’s the late night conversations about being a leader in the spiritual community and the lessons that come with the job. It’s the laughter when someone pours a glass of wine and makes a joke.
These people remind me that not all our ancestors are ancestors of blood. Many of them are simply ancestors of the heart. I remember this year, my aunt who just passed, but also the friends who I have lost over the years. I miss them all the time and think of them often. But so many of them would have loved sitting in a circle full of drummers and dancers around a really HUGE bonfire.
I have mentioned this event in an earlier post. See Ancestors and Descendants
I don’t know why, but it seems October always sneaks up on me. Maybe it’s that “start-up” thing I get going in September. I never feel quite in the groove before October rolls around. Maybe it’s that Orion’s birthday is in October (the second) so it’s not just the beginning the month, but an event that catches me unprepared.
This week, besides Orion’s birthday, I’m on Blog Talk Radio – The Priestess Show, talking about Ancestors. (The first Friday of the month ALREADY?) The universe is being particularly helpful to me on this one. I was invited by a friend to attend the opening performance of the Black Storytellers Alliance festival. This year’s theme “Leaning on the Ancestors.”
It was truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the audience does participate! These were master storytellers. Their stories come out of their experiences and their history, but they embrace and welcome the whole of the human experience. The storytellers came from all across the country, and even (although he currently lives in Maine) from Brazil.
The event began with drumming, the drummers mostly children from the community. They did impressive work, shared the spotlight and encouraged the audience to clap along with the beats. Then libations were poured out to honor the Divine that has gifted us with our lives, our ancestors and our descendants. This piece was beautifully done. I’ve seen many versions of this and both my friend and I were impressed with the grace and eloquence of this little ritual. But then, these are storytellers aren’t they.
There were family stories and old fables with new twists. There were stories of imitation and of recognizing our own worth. Every performance acknowledged the ancestors as a source of power and wisdom. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.
Orion and I also attended a community equinox ritual. This too acknowledged our history and our futures. We made wishes for ourselves and our community. We cast our coins into the wishing well, but then were taught that we are the well, the water the change makers. We are the one’s with the power to make our wishes manifest.
Because making wishes has consequences we were also given charge of someone else’s wishes. We each got an old roman coin (about 2000 years old). So now I carry, not only my wishes, but the wishes of those who used this old coin to achieve their own desires. Ancestors and Descendants. I am blessed.
As we approach the autumnal equinox I am finding myself torn. On the one hand I feel this “start-up” energy that comes with the beginning of school and the bounty in the gardens. On the other hand I recognize the shortening of days, the approaching darkness.
After this coming weekend our nights will be longer than our days. This is great for romantics, evening walks in the cool sunset and not too late nights under the stars. This is not so great for mornings, getting up before the sun makes getting up that much harder.
Spiritually, the dark side of the year is an opportunity to explore the “hidden” parts of ourselves. This can be working with darker aspects that we don’t like to acknowledge or just spending more time in quiet meditation. It’s a time to work through old issues and clear out the attics of our souls.
It’s also a time to nurture ourselves. Those tender seeds sprouting from that fall planting need time to gain strength before they break through into the light. There is the nesting that comes with the harvest season. The gardens are put to bed, fruits and vegetables canned. I have an urge to bake, keeping the house warm without turning on the heat.
This is my third blog on the autumnal equinox. I’ve written about Choice and I’ve written about Balance. This year though I am headed into the darkness. I’ve reached an age where it’s important to me to be honest with myself about myself. I have to look at making some changes to my lifestyle, pruning away the things that interfere with my ability to truly prosper and grow.
These are small seeds I plant in my heart this season. The dark is scary and compelling. There will not always be a light to guide my way. I’ve commented on several of your blogs how facing fear, taking the risk and moving forward is the best way to grow confidence. Maybe I’ve been talking to myself all along.
Blessings on your equinox. May the balance shift in your favor.
Enshrined, such a static verb. When something is enshrined it’s being put away, in a sacred space, to be there forever. Tucked away, but not forgotten. When something is enshrined it can change the space that it’s in. It’s like the shrine becomes a fountain of sacredness that radiates out into the room, or the temple, or the universe.
Maybe that’s the reason it’s so nice sometimes to just sit surrounded by the sacred, by shrines. It doesn’t take much. Most hospital chapels are pretty barren, but they provide a space of peace and reflection. Great cathedrals are filled with shrines and side altars and sacred objects. There are spots in many of them where it seems like all the shrines are vie-ing for attention. Where it’s a “noisy” rather than “peaceful” sacred, but in a “fill you up” kind of way. Nature makes shrines, special places tucked away where the sacred seems to pool. Shinto shrines acknowledge this and foster it.
My women’s group got together this week. For our monthly ritual we made shrines. We each chose a word and created a shrine around it. We ended up in a circle of shrines to beautiful things we would like in our lives. When we finished construction we walked together around the circle of shrines and then sat in the center and just soaked up the sacred. It was really nice. Sitting among all those shrines, fountains of sacredness gushing out attributes of tranquility, and joy, and wisdom, present/patience, receptivity and prosperity.
The active form of enshrined (as per LisaSpiral): being in a space surrounded by shrines. Stepping into the sacred and allowing yourself to be present with it. Opening one’s awareness to the sacred and soaking it in.
So I thought I’d share. Please spend some time today surrounded by blessing given in love.
Orion and I spent the weekend in a hotel room. We were there as volunteers to keep things tidy, put out food, answer questions and talk to folks. Actually we didn’t even stay at the hotel, just spend long hours hosting the hospitality suite – the actual con suite -for Paganicon.
Our local Pagan Pride event has been going on for years in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) area. They’ve held events that were like weekend psychic fairs or community meet and greets. They’ve had Big rituals and small workshops.
A couple of years ago it became clear that Pagan Pride needed to serve two purposes. First to be “out loud and proud” in the larger community. That’s kind of tough when your event is holed up in an odd community building off the beaten path. The second purpose was to provide an opportunity for those who’ve been long time members of the community to network and expand their own knowledge base. To become an event that went beyond 101.
In 2009 Pagan Pride started doing a fall event with vendors, music and public rituals in an outdoor setting. Pride at Minnehaha Falls is an event that the general public can see and participate (or not) along with the existing and exploring Pagan community. It’s a great idea and a pleasant historical venue. The “meeting place of waters” is appropriate for expanding awareness and acceptance.
In 2010 Pagan Pride held its first Paganicon. A hotel based convention loosely modeled on Pantheacon. This is still a small convention but it has good buzz. I haven’t gone in years past because of scheduling and money issues but I’ve certainly heard about it from the community at large. The convention/fair model seems like an excellent expansion of Pagan Pride for this community.
I don’t know if I would have made it to the convention this year either. Money is tight since I came back from California. Orion is not too keen on sitting through the workshops I’m interested in, and he’s not quite independent enough to manage a convention on his own. We come as a pair most of the time and for a weekend long event I certainly couldn’t afford to get away. At the last minute the Pagan Pride committee discovered their regular “Suite Goddess” was swamped at work and were scrambling for someone to take her place. It sounded like the perfect solution to my predicament so I signed us up.
Someone asked me how I managed to deal with “missing” all the workshops and stuff. Essentially ‘why would you do so much work when you don’t even get to go to the convention?’ My feeling was pretty much that the convention came to us. Sometime during the weekend almost everyone attending made their way through the hospitality suite for a cup of coffee, or a snack or to sit for a minute and chat.
It’s not like we were all alone. The roving volunteer crew – the “Flying Monkey Squad” – were available if we needed help lifting heavy things (like coffee urns). Often they sat “on call” in our suite knowing that when they were needed this was where people would look. If nothing else they swung by to get those fabulous capes to wear during their shift.
There were several times during the weekend when we were “standing room only.” People would come in crowds talking about the workshop they’d just attended. Or they’d sit for a minute before the vendor room or the ball opened up. I did manage to stick my head into the vendor room (and immediately left lest I be tempted.) I also got to wander through the art exhibition which was a new and delightful addition to this year’s convention.
Yet another opportunity for me to explore community and my relationship to it. Again I got to meet new people and visit with old friends. It was nice to have an opportunity to be of service to something I support and still reap the benefits of the social support of community. I’m pretty sure Orion had a great time too. Win/Win.
I was on Pagan’s Tonight Blog Talk Radio, The Priestess Show last Friday and we were talking about spells. Somewhere doing the interview I promised to write more about spell work on my Monday blog. So here goes.
One of the most interesting things that I got out of talking with Stephanie Neal was the idea that we are the spell. That everything we do has an effect, an impact. That all of our words, our thoughts and our actions move out into the world and interact with it for good or ill. This idea is not new to me, but thinking of it as a spell is.
We are the spell we put into the world. What we send out grows like a seed. What comes back are the fruits of our spell. We are the spell we put into the world. – It ought to be some kind of a chant, don’t you think?
That reminder, that focus of our intention is the core of spell work for me. I know that when I focus my intention and truly put my desires out I have seen miracles. I also know that the thing most likely to interfere with that process is me. I am extraordinarily talented at getting in my own way, I think most of us are on occasion.
I talked about that in the interview as well. That I find spells useful, as a recipe to get out of my own way. Doing a spell sort of bypasses that whole debate about whether or not I’m worthy of what I ask for. Following a recipe avoids that annoying little judgmental voice in my head. “You’re just being greedy.” “What would you do with that if you got it anyway?” “Don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself?” “Why should you get that? You don’t deserve it. You haven’t worked enough for it.”
If my core belief is that love is pure energy; That it is abundant and ever renewing; That love is something that grows when it is used; there is no call for that kind of judgment. There is so much out there bigger than I am. There is so much out there with a wider vision, a broader perspective on the arc of my life that I have. What do I know about what I might and might not be able to achieve if I plant that seed of desire? We are the spell we put into the world…..
We touched a little bit in the interview on timing. We talked about the people who consult the astrology charts and have to do their workings in the proper timeframe with the exact ingredients with all the right associations. Not to dismiss that process because all those things do help. The more meaning built into what we are doing the more likely we are to succeed. Doesn’t that apply to everything?
What we didn’t talk about is that space before taking an action. That space where we do a divination or sit in meditation to find if doing a spell is what we really need. When I said sometimes the best spell is a shot of scotch and stepping up to the plate I really did mean sometimes just sucking it up and taking direct action is better that crafting a spell. Think about it this way. If you are looking for a job you can do a spell to make a job fall into your lap. Or you can get your resume together and start stopping in at businesses and making phone calls. Which is more effective? Asking the Universe for a job or asking a potential employer?
But sometimes we need both. Sometimes doing the spell is what we need to step into that interview process with the confidence that you deserve a job. Sometimes doing the spell is what allows us to look “outside the box”, potentially applying in a different field or asking for the promotion to a different department. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Just doing the spell and not doing the legwork isn’t getting us anywhere. The best spell is sometimes BEING the spell we put out into the world.
I want to be a successful author. I want to promote and sell my book, Manifest Divinity. So when I crafted the prosperity spell I performed on the air I took a look at all of those things. How do I get in my own way? I need to allow my passion to be seen rather than “hiding my light under a bushel.” I need to take the opportunities I’m given to speak about my work. I want to make sure that what I am putting into the world is growing energy, benefiting others as it benefits me. I looked at what would it take for me to believe in that kind of abundance as it applied to my own prosperity.
Here is the text of the spell I did on the air:
Spirits of the North I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity. May there be increase in sales of my book as a symbol of increased prosperity.
Spirits of the East I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity. May there be increase in my ability to promote myself and my work, especially my book.
Spirits of the South I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity. May there be increase in my efforts to share my passion for the book I’ve written.
Spirits of the West I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity. May there be increase in the flow and exchange that what prospers me prospers others.
Spirits of the North I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity. May there be increase in sales of my book as a symbol of increased prosperity.
I place this dime within the circle of elements. As like attracts like so may I see more money coming into my accounts.
I ask the blessing of the Lord and Lady upon my work and upon this working.
As I will
So Mote It Be
We did the show on Friday night. Sunday I got an email from my publisher (Immanion Press) with the contract for a poem I wrote to be included in an upcoming anthology on Pagans and Disability. This is a piece I submitted almost a year ago. Go figure.
We are the spell we put into the world.
So here I’ve been in sunny San Jose. The weather has been delightful all weekend. Today there is a slight chill in the air. It’s 45 this morning. The natives are reaching for their winter coats. I’ve put on a sweater and am happy to be outside. It’s all relative. I understand back home the high is predicted at 32 with snow and winds gusting to 40 mph. How could I complain?
I’ve been attending Pantheacon. This is a large convention (2300 ish) of Pagans (definition still to be determined) from mostly the Bay area, but actually from all over the country. I’ve visited with people from New Hampshire, DC, New Orleans, Portland and Wisconsin. Even those coming from California come all the way up and down the coast. It’s quite the event.
The thing about Pantheacon is that it really is a convention. Sure there are vendors and hospitality suites but it is really go – go – go to attend the workshops and other events. There are at least 10 choices in any given session and inevitably more than one of them is appealing. There isn’t a lot of time to just hang out and talk and get to know folks. Even the post session schmooze is limited as the crew doesn’t have much time to clean up and set up between events.
This makes things a little hard for my midwestern sensibilities. Anyone who’s heard of the “Minnesota goodbye” understands that it takes us awhile to move from one thing to the next. When you add my physical challenges to the mix I’m probably skipping as many sessions as I’m attending. Oh Well. I’ve been doing this long enough to understand that I have to take care of myself first.
I have managed to do quite a bit. I’m talking about my book Manifest Divinity. I even got to finally meet my publisher face to face!
I’ve been talking to the Pagan News Collective about journalism and contributing to their work. I’ve talked with a lot of other authors both those working with publishers and those who are self published.
There is a great deal of diversity at this convention. I think they work hard to achieve it. There was a panel on privilege. There was a session called Women of Color Caucus. Some of the women who contributed to the anthology Shades of Faith conspired to put on a ritual that included elements from each of their diverse practices.
It was beautiful and affirming, and you can see these are amazing and powerful women!
I’m always eager to learn new things and meet new people. This has been a great trip to recharge and inspire me. I promised my publisher I’d get him a proposal for my next book SOON. I have a list of several books I want to get from the authors I’ve meet. (I just didn’t want to try and pack them home on the plane!) My next reviews on LisaSpiral Reads will probably include a few of those author’s works.
In the meantime I’ll enjoy the sunshine and try to figure out how I can get on the plane in sandals and off in a winter coat. Especially since I didn’t pack one!