Sunday, October 15, 2017

Strength



Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog, I get Aeslin to draw a card to give me inspiration. She uses the Magickal Spell Cards by Lucy Cavendish, so that gives me something extra to draw on.  I use the Motherpeace deck personally, so sometimes it's nice to get a little extra perspective on a concept. This week the card is Strength.

The Strength card represents strength, determination, power, and a higher level of consciousness. This card also represents responsibility and compassion. Just as the woman in the picture on the card offers patience and compassion to the lion in order to tame him, we offer patience and compassion to others to develop our energies around this card.

If you're like me, that's easier said than done. Sometimes I find it more difficult than at others to exercise that patience and compassion toward other people. This usually happens to me when I forget to take into consideration that the other person almost certainly doesn’t think the same way I do. Nor do they have the same values. I am constantly amazed at the varied approaches people take to situations, and to life in general. One of the hardest things in the world to do is to watch someone make a mistake, especially someone you care about.

Part of having patience and compassion is having the ability to let others have their own space, strengths, and weaknesses, and to realize that you can’t impose your expectations on other people. If you don’t base those expectations on what the person is capable of doing, you’re sure to be disappointed. Part of gaining the Strength of the Tarot is acceptance of people as they are. With this acceptance, you can gently influence others rather than criticizing them.


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As an example, I tend to work a lot, simply because I love what I do. I love writing and research and working on the store. I love finding new merchandise and information that we can share with you, so that’s what I’m doing most of the time. However, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s okay that not everyone is that focused on something. Actually, it’s most definitely a good thing. Most of us have this tendency, so that's an area where our control of our reactions and our treatment of others comes into play. 

The lion in the picture, on most decks, represents the animalistic nature that we must overcome at times. We all have baggage, and at times, all the stuff, we have sublimated, comes out. Anyone who tells you different is lying. Many times the way this comes out is simply in intolerance and impatience. We base our reactions to what happens to us on experiences we’ve had in the past, and the Strength of the tarot is the strength that allows us to overcome our baggage, and allow others their own path, even if you’re convinced you know better. I usually am, but you can only master your own feelings and actions. Knowing and allowing that is part of the strength seen in the card.   

Strength also relates to responsibility for yourself and your world. Learning to work properly with that passionate, instinctual core inside all of us, gives us the strength to create our world as we wish. We all put on masks at some point, maybe when we go to work, or when we’re with certain people, we feel the need to hide our true selves. When we can appropriately control and work with both sides of our nature, we gain the ability to create our world as we wish while being truly ourselves. This is truly a gift.




Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fall

It actually felt like fall for the first time this year. I live in Texas, so it will warm up again, but it’s here! I love most seasons except summer, so I’m relieved that part of the year is over. Like most pagans, I’m also looking forward to Samhain, and while I don’t know about anyone else, I’m looking forward to winter. That said, I’ll admit we don’t get much snow, or really have what most people would call a winter, but I like it because it’s just cold enough that you feel like getting out and doing things, but not so bad you can’t go anywhere.

Along with fall comes Samhain, which is my favorite holiday. The veil thins and magical energy intensifies. You can feel the extra energy in the air, and everything seems a little sharper and clearer. I generally use the time between Mabon and Samhain to prepare for Samhain. I reflect back on the past year and determine what I want to let go of, and what I want to begin or change in the New Year.

If you keep a journal, all you have to do is look back over the past year to see what you want to let go of to close out the old year and prepare for the new one. If you don’t have a journal, spend some time in reflection to see what has served you and what hasn’t over the past year. Sometimes it’s easy because you had a bad relationship, or you have lost a friend or family member, and sometimes, that makes it that much harder to let go. I have seen it take years for someone to be ready to let go of the grief and pain and move on.

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Sometimes it’s much harder to find those things that no longer serve you, so you will need to meditate, journal, sit outside in nature, or even just sleep on it to find the things you want to leave behind. The end of the year at Samhain takes us into the New Year and the fall holiday season, and you always want to start the New Year on a positive note. It will give you a head start to carry that positivity into the New Year.

In my case, I’m usually letting go of bad habits, but I don’t approach it like a New Year’s resolution. I try to incorporate keeping those habits out of my life when I set my intentions for the New Year. Taking a different approach to something than you have in the past can be all it takes to achieve your dreams. You create your own universe through your thoughts and actions. What will you become next year?

Our spell this week was about cleansing and charging your tools, and that is one excellent way to prepare to cut ties with the old year. However, whether you do that, spend time looking back over the past year, or decorate your space, you want to get rid of the old and set intentions for the new. What do you want to accomplish in the New Year? Let us know in the comments.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ladybug Luck





I have a ladybug living on my desk.  I’m happy about this, of course, because ladybugs bring good luck. This belief may originate from their propensity to devour aphids and other bugs that harm plants.  Farmers love them, and who can blame them. For my money, that ladybug can eat all the other bugs he or she wants.

The ladybug made me think about the concept of luck. Some believe it is fated and nothing you do can affect how much good or bad luck you have. Others believe the amount of good luck you have is directly proportionate to how much work you do. If you’re like most people, you’re somewhere in the middle. We can influence the amount of luck we have, not only through our actions but also through our manipulation of energy through spells and connecting with the universal source, the divine.

The equinox reminds me how hard it is to maintain the balance required between our actions and our spirituality. It’s incredibly easy to become involved in the day to day of everyday life and fail to match our actions to our beliefs, and vice versa. This results in loss of contact with our spiritual selves, and we have to work that much harder to reconnect.

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Friday's free spell this week was a spell for balance and harmony, which we need in order to create the reality we want. Obviously, we can’t work with the universe to create a new reality, if we aren’t in touch with it. One of the ways I like to connect to the universe is to sit outside and just enjoy the beauty of the nature around me. I’m lucky in that I still have just enough country left around my house that if everything is growing and green, and I don’t look to the left terribly closely, I can pretend I’m still surrounded by trees. It doesn’t work as well during the winter, but it’s still close enough for me to have a way to connect, informally, with the universe on a regular basis.

Connecting with deity during ritual or at a gathering is one thing, but to accomplish your goals, you need a daily, personal relationship with the universal energy or deity. Many people, myself included also use reminders of that connection such as amuletscharms, special candles, or even just having your altar visible and set up. I also make sure to cleanse my jewelry and my beads, so that when I’m making jewelry, I can feel my connection to the elements and the all.


The things that remind you of that connection will be specific to you, and sometimes you’ll find an unexpected one just by looking at the items that are important to you. When you maintain that connection and match your actions to your intentions, you create your own reality. Maintaining the balance to maintain the connection is not easy, and some days it will be extremely difficult. The important thing is working to keep that connection alive. It feeds the creation of your desired reality.


Friday, September 8, 2017

A Spell for Luck




With Mabon fast approaching, many of us are considering how we will celebrate. As for my house, we’re having a pot roast made with homegrown potatoes, carrots, and onion.  For those of you who know me, no, I did not grow these at “my” home. My thumb is unfortunately, somewhat brown, but my roommate keeps us in herbs and tomatoes. However, no matter how good he is, we just don’t have that big a garden.  This is a feast to celebrate the harvest though, so it’s only fitting to use fresh vegetables.

One element of my preparation for Mabon is to decide what type of ritual and spell we want to do for the Equinox, and get ready for that by casting a luck spell beforehand to add energy to our ritual.
As with most spells, the caster can customize the spell to individual preference. Many people simply choose to wear a talisman or charm to add to their good luck. Others want to cast a circle, call the quarters, and use formal customs. Both types work equally well. The focus, intent, and beliefs of the caster determine the effectiveness of all spells, so if something about a spell is not working for you, change it. Your ability to put everything into your spell will determine the outcome, so you want to make it good.

Not only can you draw good luck with this spell, you can also bless and anoint a good luck talisman of some sort at the same time. You will need the following:
Bowl or cauldron (we have some adorable new ones in bright colors)
Wooden Spoon

Set up your altar with small things that represent good luck to you. As you might have guessed, many of my altarpieces are triquetras of one form or another, so that’s what I use. Collect whatever says luck to you, and place it or them on the altar along with the candles, the bowl, and the oils. If you wish to bless an item, gather it within your space. Since you’re doing a blessing as well and blessing amulets, use your athame to cast a simple circle and raise energy.

Place the bowl in the center of your altar and combine your oils, pouring one at a time. Whether you want only enough of the blend for anointing your candles, and your amulet, you will use 1 tablespoon of almond oil to 1/8 tsp. each of the rose oil and the peppermint oil. If you want to save some to wear as a perfume, use 1 ounce of almond oil to 1/8 tsp. of each of the other oils As you pour each one, say

            Bless this oil that it bring its luck to me

When the oils are all in the bowl, gently swirl them together. Use your spoon to complete the blending.

Carve what type of luck you want, love, money, business, home, into the candle. Anoint your candles with the oils. As you do so say,

            Good luck and good fortune flow to me

Light the candles.

Dip your amulet into the bowl until the charm itself is covered. As you do this say,

            Bless this sign of fortune and see
            As my will, so mote it be


Slowly release the energy and your circle. Let the candles burn for at least one hour.






Sunday, September 3, 2017

Why do We?





The other day, while I was thinking about what I would write this week, I asked a friend, what he would like to see if he were new to Paganism. His answer made perfect sense.  If you’re new somewhere, what do you want to know? Why they do what they do? At that point, I thought it might be a good idea to do a periodic, “Why do We?” Let me know what you'd like to know about.
If you have never been to a ritual before, or you’re new to paganism, your first ritual can be a bit confusing, so we’ll start at the beginning, with casting the circle. The first mention of magic in connection with circles comes from the Greeks, but the first written reference to casting a circle comes from, Henry Cornelius Agrippa in 1510.
From ancient times to modern, man has worked with, and within, circles. Stonehenge, and Gobekli Tepe, a series of stone circles in Turkey, built 6,000 years prior to Stonehenge show how long we’ve found circles conducive to creating sacred space. All religions have some concept of sacred space, whether it's a temple, a church, or a synagogue, many of which are circular or have a large circular space within them. Pagans create their sacred space through the casting of the circle. This also creates a circle of protection around the participants and helps them raise power.

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Most casters will have a personal variation of their own to solidify their bond to the circle, other than its circular shape, there is no one rule that applies to every circle. As a general guideline, in Wicca, the circle should be 9ft. in diameter, but the point of your circle is to create a sacred space within which you can work. The size of the circle and the elements you use to create your circle can vary depending on the size of your group, the purpose of your ritual or spell, the season, and the phase of the moon.
People cast circles in a number of different ways as well. Some use salt, stones, or some other physical item to mark the circle, while others use energy only. You will probably want to try both to see which works best for you. When you’re preparing to cast your circle, gather your tools, your altar, candles, altar cloth, chalices, athame, and boline, and bring them all inside the circle before you close it.


Tools you will need specifically for the circle will vary depending on the type of circle you plan to cast. A simple athame can be tool enough to cast your circle if you want, or you can use salt to draw your circle on the ground. Quite often, a part of generating the energy to seal the circle and to do your magical work comes from “calling the quarters.” If you choose to do this, you may choose to use small altar tables to hold candles and offerings to the elements of the quarters.

Casting your circle also involves visualization. Regardless of the method you choose to cast your circle, you need to visualize the circle of energy surrounding you. This “cone of power” is your sacred space. Within this space, you can work your magic, worship your deity, conduct initiations, and celebrate Sabbats. Here there is peace and serenity. 
What questions do you have? Please let me know, and I’ll do my best to answer them.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Setting Intentions for the Eclipse

According to Freud, the Superego is that portion of our psyche that causes people to view themselves as not good enough, weak, lazy, pathetic, or, weak, and compels them to do things that often get in the way of making progress.
Since I’m no psychologist, I’m not going to examine the reasons people feel this way.  Suffice it to say, the reasons are as varied as the people who feel this way. What matters for our purposes is that we always continue working to overcome the negative thoughts. They’re slippery and will sneak up on you when you’re least expecting them. Personal affirmations can help you remember to stay positive.
Next, we need to make sure we are willing to accept the abundance that the universe sends us and be grateful for it. Things may not happen exactly as you planned, but you need to be willing to welcome all the abundance into your life. For many, this is a complete change in their interaction with the universe because you have to open yourself to the energies of the universe.

With the eclipse coming up, this week’s spell was a grounding for during the eclipse.  This is also an excellent time to set intentions for the coming year. Once you’ve decided what intention you want to set, you’re ready to ground and set your intention. 

I generally phrase my intentions in one of the following ways:

I am succeeding in . . . .
I welcome the . . . of the universe
The . . . of the universe flows to me.
I am . . . .
I have enough . . . .


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Gather your grounding tools, and find a comfortable place to sit/lie. Grounding instructions
Once grounded, meditate for 10 to 15 minutes, or however long it takes until you feel ready deep within yourself.  When you reach that point, open yourself to the energy. Feel the energy of the universe flowing through you. Welcome it in with gratitude. 

Now you will set your intention. I’ve heard several theories on the length of time you need to hold your intention before you send it out into the universe, but I find that the longer I can hold onto that pure thought, the more easily the intention comes into being. The trick is to hold your belief without doubt or question, knowing the universe will grant what you ask.

Sometimes, the hardest part is just remaining calm and maintaining the belief that your intentions will come to fruition. You may be the most patient person in the world, but I am not. Patience is hard, and one thing that works for me is to let it go. As hard as it is for some of us, myself included, to let go and let the universe control things. The energy of trusting in the universe will help change your mindset and help you allow the universe to bring about what you want to manifest.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Setting Intentions: Journaling

In this second installment of our Setting Intentions series, we’re going to talk about some specific ways to define what you want to manifest. Then in the third, we’ll look at more ways to eliminate the negativity that keeps you from manifesting your desires.
One of the best way to figure out goals and intentions is to write them down. You almost certainly have a very good idea of what you would like to manifest in your life, and one of the best ways to follow up on your goals and intentions is to write daily about the progress you’re making. Use your journal to plan your goal, reflect on the challenges, and record your development and accomplishments. I’ve included a couple of sample pages below that I use, but each journal is a personal creation. 

When we sit down with a journal, we can reflect on what it is we really want to manifest in our lives.  Whether you structure your journal in some way like the sample pages or work freeform, journal work is one of the best ways to keep track of goals, to help us remain focused.

The energy we send out creates our reality. What we think and believe determines how we focus our attention and awareness. How we focus, then determines what we see and don’t see in any given situation. When we focus our energy on our intentions, we create the reality that reflects the energy we’re sending out.

To make sure we’re sending out the energy that will create what we want to manifest, we need to work through those questions we have about what we really want to create in our lives and how to manifest the energy we want in our lives. To work through those questions, we have to know and stay in touch with ourselves.



When you sit down and reflect on what it is you’re trying to create, you may realize your goals have changed. Many times, a long held desire loses its desirability in the light of your personal growth. You may find new desires coming to importance that you would not have considered before.  Your individuality will lead you to your goals.

Journaling, in combination with meditation, can help you find your deepest desires. Once you discover what you want, you can look at the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.  This will help you know what intentions you need to set to help you manifest what you want in your life.

These questions may help you get started:

  • What matters most to you?
  • What would you like to create, or nurture in your life?
  • What in your life would you like to release?
  • What fears would you like to release?