Autumn time, red leaves fall while the weeping sky looks overall.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Look Out! Zombie Cats is Free Today.

 
The description for my short story Zombie Cats: A Semi-true Story of Horror asks "Is it a short horror story with an edge of humor or a humorous short story with an edge of horror? Much depends on how you feel about cats as zombies."

Whatever it is, Zombie Cats if free today, October 1, and I thought you'd like to know. Buy it now and read it later to get in the Halloween mood. Pass the word and I hope you get a good scare, or a good laugh -- or maybe both!

Fall Cleaning Rituals

As the Wheel of the Year turns, and each new season brings its gifts, part of my observance is to clean all the thresholds of my home and beautify the entrance. I sweep away cobwebs and remove spent plants. Dusty windows and ledges "magically" transform into shiny, dust-free surfaces with the help of a homemade cleanser and a bit of scrubbing. The last season's d├ęcor gets wiped down and hauled back into storage while new items revive the energy.

Most of my housework chores are completed without a great deal of thought, but on or around the eight holy days I take my time. Fall cleaning rituals are similar to those practiced in spring. At each season I work widdershins to remove the old and tired then deosil to bring in the new. I pray and meditate. I ask Goddess to keep our home sound and our family safe within its walls. I give thanks for all we have and remember those who have not.

A broom, a bottle of rosemary cleanser and a bundle or two of sage provide both physical and energetic cleaning. I anoint front and back doors with a pure essential oil -- whatever my intuition calls for that season -- and visualize positive energy entering while the negative exits. Some new wreath or decoration, made with magical intent of course, adorns the front entrance.

I feel better when I'm done, more connected to the natural world. Acknowledging that the season has changed, that summer is different from fall and fall is different from Hallows yet to come helps me keep magic alive in my life and in my home. It's a small thing, yet powerful. To change with the seasons and not with a linear calendar is a powerful thing.

On the weekend closest to Mabon I begin my fall cleaning ritual. Sometimes it takes an entire week to finish, to wash all the windows inside and out, to plant a few mums and make a new wreath from sticks and feathers, to start in the east and walk a full circle around my home with a wand of smoldering sage, but I'm not in a hurry.

Autumn isn't one day, it's a full season. Autumn doesn't mind if my steps are slow.


Magical Cleansing Potion:
  • Decoct a strong tea of rosemary using several sprigs of fresh rosemary and two cups of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for at least ten minutes, and let it cool. Discard the spent herbs. 
  • Pour the cool liquid into a spray bottle and add an equal amount of white vinegar.
  • Add 2 to 3 drops of eco-friendly liquid soap. Shake lightly.
Use this cleanser for windows, doors, sacred objects and regular household cleaning.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Synchronous Inspiration

Ever since I read Richard Bach's Illusions back in high school I've been fascinated by the phenomenon of synchronicity. Yes, blue feathers (or red leaves or yellow shoes) will start showing up in your life if you take a few moments to focus on them. Notice them. That's why I'm extra happy about some of the new opportunities, inspirations and connections that have recently come my way.

After months of meditating about and talking about how my spiritual life is not as fulfilling as it once was -- how I've "lost the spark" so to speak, and thinking about ways to reignite the fire,  new gifts keep trickling into my life. I am paying attention and I'm grateful. The FB Women Who Run with the Wolves book club is so full of creative, thoughtful women. Their art and comments spur me to try new things and go deeper. Thank you Angie at Pagan Writers Press for sharing the information.

As you know I was also gifted with the opportunity to review "Soul Path" magazine and that inspired me to make some magical potions (aka homemade bath salts and a facial mask) and give myself a day of pampering as every goddess deserves. I do love kitchen witchery!

So in a manner of a few weeks I've gone from lamenting my somewhat rote, dry spiritual practice to having a calendar full of red circles marking all the fun events and projects coming my way. Just today it was confirmed that I'll be teaching a class on faery magic for Tribal Whispers next summer. Yipee!

Juicy creative soulful exploration of the natural and supernatural worlds is part of what drew me to the goddess path more than 20 years ago. Not many spiritual traditions give you an excuse to dress like a wolf or spend the day making art out of acorns all in the name of sacred play, and sacred play is what's been missing from my life. By recognizing the lack and naming it I was able to find the remedy. I've called it to me. As each gift arrives I say "Oh, this is an answer to my prayer, how lovely!" And I give thanks. More come. More gratitude.

What's that quote from Emerson -- When you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen.

When we make a decision about our lives synchronicity goes to work. Doors open, teachers come, opportunity knocks. Interconnected "coincidences" lay a path in front of us that ultimately leads to our desire. And that's true, I believe, whether my decision is that I'm a failure and this will never work or I'm going to succeed.

Because I'm a writer and writing is how I navigate myself through life this recent renewal of juiciness has also inspired a new project. More on that next time. I'm thinking I might blog parts of the book here. Is that tedious or interesting? In the meantime I encourage you to be on the lookout for blue feathers. They're every where, each one a gift from the Universe.
 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Soul Path Magazine


I recently got the opportunity to read “Soul Path” magazine, a goddess-based publication created and edited by Lyn Thurman – a talented witchy woman I hope to get to know better! I really enjoyed the magazine and will definitely become a new subscriber. You can learn more about Lyn, Soul Path magazine and Soul Path Tribe at http://soulpathtribe.com/.  

I especially liked the way the themes were carried throughout the articles. Freya is the goddess for the September issue and not only did we learn about her mythology, Lyn’s team of talented writers also provided ritual ideas, recipes, a Tarot reading, crafts and products that give a reader the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and relationship with this aspect of the Divine. Loved it. You could spend the whole month immersed in the study of Freya with little more that this edition of Soul Path as a resource.


Goddess Guidance by Doreen Virtue
Loyalty, a trait which relates to Freya’s story, is the other theme for September and was also woven through the magazine in an effective, uplifting way.

I also appreciated the contributions from Bernard, the intuitive color reader and Paul Thurman who wrote a touching and personal article about loyalty. Yes, men writing for a goddess magazine! So healing to hear from brothers who are in touch with goddess energy and want to share their experiences.

OK, in the name of fairness I have to admit there was one thing I wasn’t crazy about – but that’s all, one. In my opinion there were too many articles. I know that probably sounds crazy, but I could have done with fewer but longer articles that went a little deeper into the subject.

I don’t always like reading online publications but Soul Path gets high marks for visual appeal – no funky background colors or fancy fonts, just well laid out print and clear, attractive graphics.
As is usual, the Universe brought this gift at a time when I’d put out the call for new ideas and connections to enliven my path. So thank you Universe and Lyn for bringing this gift! I highly recommend Soul Path magazine and I look forward to future issues.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Archetype and Myth

Having just spent a weekend at Pacifica Institute in Santa Barbara my mind is still marinating in the rich stew of myth, archetypes and heroic journeys. Sometime during the third day of the writer's conference titled "The Writer's Journey: Inside Out and Back Again" I realized how deep my understanding of myth and archetype is -- that I live this stuff.

My year revolves around the myth of Persephone and Demeter; in the fall I begin to put down my roots, stay home more and explore the shadows, and in the spring I yawn and stretch and try to find new ways to put winter's lessons to work in every day life. Each Hallows Eve I walk to the nearest crossroads and leave an offering for the great Queen of Witches, Hecate. On Beltane Eve, well never mind what I do on Beltane, but you get the idea. My spiritual and mundane life are guided by the myths that guided my ancestors to plant, tend, harvest and rest.


Artwork by Demeter23triplemoon on Photobucket
Of course none of this makes me particularly special because most witches do live this stuff. Those big pointy hats we wear aren't dunce caps you know, they're vessels to hold all the information on folklore and myth and symbolism we absorb while learning spells about how to get a better job or protect our backyard rites from the prying eyes of nosy neighbors.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, a living goddess herself as far as I'm concerned, was one of the conference presenters and I suggested to my myth-challenged good friend that Bolen's book "Goddesses in Every Woman" would be a great primer if she wanted information that delved deeper into the idea of archetypes, not just a retelling of myth. She bought the book and thumbed through it on the way home. As I drove we discussed a variety of goddess myths and she asked which archetype I felt connection with.

Hmm.

Venus of Willendorf
Lately I've been wondering that myself. I came out of winter's cave truly transformed this spring -- I am officially a moonpause woman. It's not simply this physical fact that's changed my relationship with the Mother archetypes I've always felt connected to: Demeter, Isis, the ancient Venus, it's the emotional and spiritual work I've been doing to support that physical change that now has me wondering just where I fit in.

Who am I now? A baby crone, a matriarch in my family but not yet Hecate and no longer Demeter. I'm something in between. I'm a woman in search of a new myth and it dawns on me that the in-between seasons are the place I might find a new archetype to lean on and learn from as I continue more fully into my transition from mother to elder.

Any suggestions?

Friday, April 19, 2013

She Changes and Changes

Beautiful Spring Goddess
I've been a bad blogger. Just when I get a few people actually interested in what I'm writing here I stop making posts. All I can say is that I've had a hard time coming out of the cave this spring -- a case of "be careful what you ask for."

If you've read earlier posts you know I set intentions to go deep into the dark this past winter. Not only did Persephone call, Nyx, Ereshkigal, Lilith, Hecate and the whole gang of dark goddesses wrapped their sinewy arms around me and would not let go. Or maybe it was me who wouldn't let go of them.

My circle experienced grief, confrontation, anger, fear, change and change and change this winter, as did I. Of course change is a blessing, a sign that the goddess is present in your life because She changes everything She touches. But I know you feel me when I say change does not always feel like a blessing when it's happening.

And there are so many bad things happening in the world. And so many bad things, and so many bad things.

Spring arrived fully in my neck of the almond orchard right on time last month. Some sunny days I think I hear the Maiden dancing in my garden so I leave the dark cave of my writing space to go look for her. She coaxes me into pulling weeds and planting fresh flowers just to please her. I'm enthusiastic about the garden this year which I am not always so it's a good sign.

I hope you are planting seeds and lingering on the soft scent of jasmine as it wafts into your open door at night. And if spring is not yet that present where you live I hope the changes in your life are as gentle as the waiting green grass.

Blessed Be

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Haiku Sunday -- After Valentine's Day

Aphrodite by Susan Seddon-Boulet




Love Magic

I bind myself to
myself in a sacred act
of love magic now.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Haiku Sunday -- After New Moon Gathering

Tonight's haiku is from my spirit sister Jenni Schroeder. Our circle was born 18 years ago; each New Moon we meet to share our lessons and achievements and our spiritual insights. This poem is a gift from Jenni and turned out to be somewhat prophetic for our whole group this evening. She gave her blessing for me to share it with you tonight.
Blessed New Moon
(Imbolc Haiku)

Days passed fall away
leaving space for the lightness
and that which will serve.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Climate Change




Winter Goddess
According to my altar, it's still winter. Midwinter, yes, but still winter. And I'm feeling grouchy over people complaining about weather that's perfectly normal for winter.

Of course here in the paradise of California's central coast those complaints are mostly limited to temperatures that drop below 60 degrees or another gray rainy day. I understand the longing for spring's blue skies and predictable warm afternoons. The garden beckons me too. Barely finished with winter pruning chores I'm already window shopping for bright annuals that might survive the deer. My "Secret Garden" board on Pinterest is filled with project ideas, and I've found an online source for unusual salvias I can't wait to order from.

So I really do empathize.

But I love the in-between times and am in no rush. Since following the traditions of witchcraft I've developed an appreciation for the subtle shifts that happen between the seasons, between the worlds, between realism and surrealism. And I wonder if the reason so many people "Can't wait for spring/summer/fall/winter" to begin or end is because our culture, our mainstream culture, has familiarized us with polarities. We like black or white. We like straight or gay, sick or healthy, us or them, happy or depressed. Love or hate. We don't always know how to cope with those degrees that fall in between.

If I allow for a middle ground it's harder to defend my position as RIGHT and yours as WRONG.

But back to the weather. Spring is coming. Flowers and hope and renewal are on their way. Let's enjoy them as they come each in their own time. And let's enjoy the unpredictable mid-winter weather that brings rain and hail and gray that lasts until the black takes over and skies so blue you long to sprout wings.

Blessed Be

 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Haiku Sunday -- After Imbolc




Tender green shoots push
through winter-cold bones and flesh
to reach coming light.


Or
 
Ocean Sisters dance,
Celebrating each new step
and vibrant rhythm
 





 
 
 
 



 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blessed Imbolc

Tomorrow, February 2 is Imbolc, my favorite holy day on the Wheel of the Year. Well, they're all my favorites but Imbolc does hold special meaning to me. Many years ago I learned about the Celtic Goddess Brighid, goddess of fire, water, writing and healing. Brighid is the goddess most typically honored at Imbolc. I related to her as a mentor. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to study herbal healing, astrologically speaking I'm a triple fire sign and water, well, I changed my whole life to be near the ocean; the element that had called to my soul since I was a child visiting my California relatives.

Imbolc is the time many Pagan folks dedicate or rededicate themselves to their path, spiritual, professional and otherwise. The symbol that best represents this day for me is the early crocus pushing its way out of the snow-covered ground. Imbolc is a cross-quarter day. Winter is waning but it's not yet spring. Imbolc is the hope of spring, the promise that rebirth is coming. The quickening.

I'm gathering with a few of my sisters this Imbolc to join in a cleansing ritual to prepare for the coming rebirth. It's a ritual my first teacher, Morgan, shared with me though I don't remember that we performed it specifically for Imbolc. I want to share it with you because it's a beautiful, meditative ritual to participate in alone or with a group. We'll be gathering at the beach because the ocean is the sacred body of water closest to us, but any well, creek or lake that calls to you would be just fine with Brighid.

Imbolc Cleansing Ritual:

Go to a body of water. Bring with you a gift to offer Brighid, something that is safe to leave in the natural environment. Also bring a towel and perhaps a change of clothes. The spirit might move you to get very wet, but it's not required.

Cleanse and ground. Holding your offering, meditate on the things you'd like to be cleansed of this Imbolc, the energies or habits you don't want to carry into the coming spring. Let the gift become the symbol of all those unwanted things. When you're ready toss the item into the water. Ask Brighid to receive your gift and transform it into something positive and useful. Perform a personal cleansing by dripping a few drops of water on your chakras or washing your hand and feet or diving right in and going for a swim -- whatever action calls to you! Just remember to be safe.

When you've completed your cleansing walk along the shore or bank in a state of receptivity. Brighid may send you a gift such as a special stone or feather or a message whispered in your ear. Once you've received your gift give thanks to the Goddess and to the elements.

Blessed Imbolc


PS: No, I haven't forgotten about your Tarot readings! I do apologize that it's taken me so long. More people were interested than I anticipated and at the same time I got a big writing assignment that's kept me busy. I'm actually going to to my best to complete the promised readings tomorrow on Imbolc. Divine timing!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wolf Moon Rising

She fills again, time to howl.

I'm seeing a lot of conflicting information about when the full moon is this month. Today, tomorrow, yesterday? The good ole' Farmer's Almanac tells me the full-moon phase begins tomorrow, January 26 at 11:39 pm. That's what my lovingly handmade lunar calender says too (thank you Epona).

Doesn't seem like it should be that confusing -- go outside at night; look up. But if you want to know the precise astronomical moment of fullness then you need a little scientific back up. Or perhaps a strong connection to the lunar energy. I bet there are some people in the world who can sit outside under Luna's numinous glow and feel the exact moment our Moon fills pregnant with light.

I'm meditating on the energy of a Full Moon in Leo coming right before Imbolc. Among other things the sign on Leo is about self-expression and heart-centered love. Authentic love is how I interpret it. And of course Imbolc is one of the four cross-quarter holy days when many Pagan folks reconsider their spiritual and/or life path and rededicate themselves to their chosen way.

So, peak lunar energy+authentic love+self-dedication = ?

This Full Moon I'll be sending out, hopefully, the last of my deep grief for my sister Raven. The tears over her loss still come quickly, but I'm feeling more at peace with her transition and more that she is at peace which is really what's most important.

There's a certain guilt attached to moving on after a loved one passes over. But this powerful Full Moon beckons me to fill my heart with love and take solace from the teachings of my way. We all come from the Goddess, and to Her we shall return.

What are your hopes and dreams for this Full Moon?  I pray you are filled with love and express it with complete authenticity.

Blessed Be.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year and a Free Tarot Reading

Happy 2013! I hope you made it to the New Year with a smile on your face and hope in your heart. The new cycle has re-energized and revitalized me on a physical and creative level. I've celebrated enough new years to know this feeling doesn't always last -- that's why so many well-intended resolutions come and go. This isn't failure, this is human. Riding out on the edge of the wheel is exhilarating and occasionally necessary, but we aren't meant to stay there. Eventually we must creep our way back to the center where the ride is smoother if a bit predictable.

But that doesn't mean we're doomed to forget the thrill of walking on the edge of expansiveness. We can take that feeling back to the center with us, distill its lesson and use it to live more fully and joyfully.

What new ideas and plans have you excited for the new year? I am extremely inspired to be creative right now -- wanting to draw and paint and attempt all kinds of artistic endeavors I have no visible talent at. Oh well! And I look forward to a continued renewal of psychic awareness as I practice with the Motherpeace deck and strengthen intuitive skills.

Who would like a free reading? I'm currently offering readings using a spread I learned long ago as the "Cave Spread" that is meant to give an overview of the coming year. Leave a comment here and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Blessed Be and Happy New Year