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Archive for the ‘Seasonal Things’ Category

Blessed Samhain

I hope your new year is filled with the blessings of the Gods.

I spent my Samhain night handing out candy to little goblins (sadly, not very many of them), and then in meditation to speak with the Mighty Dead. Today I’ll be working on a reading for the new year.

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As I prepare for the Solstice, I’m finding myself really missing the idea of being a student of a tradition. In a way, it’s a mourning as much as a growing process, and while I understand (and really came to a mutual agreement about) why this wasn’t going to work right now, it’s still hard. Especially knowing that my fellow students are probably going to be initiated soon – though I am very happy for them.

I had my former teacher do a reading for me, in the vein of where I should go from here, and (not surprisingly) any path is going to be difficult, but come with its own rewards. I’ve considered looking at a local ADF grove, just to be a public member, but I’m not sure I could go back to just being part of a laity instead of a student. And I really don’t have the mental energy to be a student right now, especially with the sheer amount of homework that comes with the dedicant path in ADF.

I did a reading for myself as well, and after a long break (while I was studying with the coven), my old friend the Three of Wands came back. While I’ve always seen this as my seeking card, due to the way the main figure is so intently watching the ships on the horizon, I find it has rather a different feeling than it used to. (Oh Tarot, how versatile you can be…)

This time I’m seeing myself watching the ships, the things I see as possible futures, once I get my mental state in order, but there in the foreground are three trees to tend. Things that I can and should tend on my own. While this isn’t a typical reading for the Three of Wands, which usually reflects seeking for something new and leaving the old behind, for some reason I keep going back to his three trees, and the idea of focusing on what I can do here, and now, and on my own.

And really, returning to a solitary path IS something new and challenging, so I guess that part of the card applies as well.

Even if I know the solitary path is hard, and filled with the traps of inaction and succumbing to busyness rather than making time for practice, I see myself going in that direction for the time being. My husband agrees, and thinks a time of inner work and introspection will be positive and help me grow – and grow more stable.

It’s still hard to give up my identity as a student (something I was for nearly two years), but I think it’ll be for the best. I learned a ton in that time, and I’m a better witch for it, but I think I can grow as a solitary witch as well.

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One of the perks of my new job is that I start very early, on the 9th floor of a building that faces east.

For the first time in my life, I’m regularly watching sunrises (and moonsets!) Over the last 11 weeks I’ve gotten to see the progress of the sun across the horizon and experience firsthand the mornings getting earlier. Just after the switch to daylight saving time, the sun came up as late as 7:30. This morning it was peeking over the horizon as I sat down at my desk at 6:30. It’s shifted quite a good distance North on the horizon as well.

I’ve been incorporating this into my magical practice each day, as a way to stay connected to my path in what is otherwise a pretty standard business office (where I am not and have no desire to be publicly pagan).

Nobody questions my taking a few moments to have tea and watch the sun come up – probably because very few people are here that early, but that’s beside the point…

For awhile I was doing a formal practice as well ( Paul Hume’s Wiccan LBRP), sneaking into a conference room so I could have a place with a door, but after a few close calls, I’ve mostly had to stop that and settle on something I can just do in my head as a morning devotion.

It’s a little weird to think that my best full-moon time is enjoyed at 5am, just as the moon is setting, but I’ve definitely enjoyed being more in tune with the solar rhythm.

Summer is coming!

(or may already be here, by the temperatures we’ve had recently!)

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All my life, it seems, I’ve had a weird kind of connection to wrens.

They lived in my yard as a kid, and slept in the wreath my mom kept on the back porch. In college, there was a wren’s nest in the courtyard of my apartment complex. Once I got married, they slept in the wreath on the front door of our apartment, and would come and drink from the saucers under the potted plants on the porch. And now, in our house, they’ve been hanging out all around the place, even raising a clutch of babies in the wreath by the front door last spring.

Wren, from the Druid Animal Oracle

Four places in a row that I’ve had wrens as active parts of my yard and local experience – and at least two of them from before I had any inkling of Paganism in my life. (I didn’t know that there was such a thing AS Paganism until I got to college, though I did some admittedly Pagan things growing up.)

Right now the wrens are back to sleeping in the front porch wreath – a perfect place to sleep in any weather except a direct east wind, which we so rarely get that they’re happy to snuggle up there, where it’s warm, protected from the wind, and free of cats. It’s also a good place to dive-bomb anyone who goes door to door in my neighborhood…

The ones in my yard here are Carolina Wrens, who chirp mightily at the cats and sing their “teakettle!teakettle!teakettle!” song from the top of my woodpile. They also like eating bugs in my herb garden. They look just like the wren in the card image above and are quite adorable with their little round bodies, bopping around the patio with their tails straight up.

A little bit of Google-Fu turns up a lot of information about Druidic/Celtic belief in wrens as symbols of musical poetry, art, and song – which makes sense for all their singing. They’re also seen as messengers of the Gods, particularly the god of Thunder and Lightning (Taranis) and is often seen with the Oak tree.

What that means for me specifically, I’m not sure yet. I think it’s well past time that I actually asked the wrens why they’re here and if they have a message for me.

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Tonight will be a night of fun and thanksgiving. My fall garden is planted and I plan on doing some growing magic and asking blessings for it – and the rainy blessings falling from the sky all day today are worth celebrating as well.

It’s a bit odd to be doing (essentially) fertility magic at the time of the year when the veils are thinning toward Samhain and the onset of winter, but when you live in Zone 9, and it’s finally the beginning of the second growing season, you learn to deal with a little witchy dichotomy.

After all, it’s been barren here for two months, and now things begin to grow again, and I’m shooting for record size broccoli this year. (Last year I got two heads that were about 7” across. This year? I hope for 9”.) The tomatoes are already setting fruit for the fall crop, and all the squash are flowering. If I’m lucky, I might even get beets, though they are tricksy to grow. All my replanted herbs are sending up shoots as well – dills, sage, thyme, parsley, lemon balm, echinacea, salvias, more basil than I know what to do with. I’ve got butterfly weed and ornamental foxgloves started from seed as well – they’ll get planted once they’re a little bigger and stronger. Frank the Oregano is also doing well after a late-summer trim.

So tonight I give thanks to the Old Ones for the rains (and for the chance of more rain all this week) and celebrate water from the sky and the promise of nourishment from the Earth in return.

Hooray!

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And the wheel turns.

I try to do a big “What do I need to know for the next 6 weeks?” tarot reading on each Sabbat. The one I did for Lammas was incredibly encouraging – to the point where I didn’t believe it. I actually looked at the spread and said “wow, Deck, you don’t usually just mirror what I’m wishing for, what gives?”

And then it turned out to be right.

*wanders off to apologize to Tarot Deck*

Anyhow – in the last six weeks, I’ve started a new job – which is going incredibly well, though my schedule is really inconsistent (I’m working 40 hours every week… but never the same 40 hours) – and found some very awesome local-ish people to talk with and hopefully do some Witchy things with in the future.

It’s really encouraging to have both of those things happen – I’d been unemployed for over a year and I’ve been seeking for a number of years without finding people who would return my emails, were accepting new students, and weren’t complete barking moonbats or otherwise off-putting.

I’m also starting an 8 week Tarot class on Monday, geared towards intuitive reading (and not just stock regurgitation of card meanings) – something I’ve really wanted to do for awhile. I picked up a Universal Waite deck for the class, since the teacher would prefer we have a Rider Waite deck for some of the exercises and my used RWS deck isn’t one that I’m fond of using, for a number of reasons (not least of which is that I bought it used on E-bay… and it’s kind of stinky. Stinky Deck = Ew.). Anyhow – if you’re interested, I think there may be a few spots left in the class, though registration ends at midnight tonight.

So as we pass into the last part of the year, and approach Samhain and the coming of Winter, I’m hoping that the business that was the early Fall will turn into steadiness, and that my current inquiries and conversations with others in the area will continue and dig a bit deeper.

I’m also very much looking forward to Mrs. B’s 31 Days of Halloween and considering participating myself, though I’m not sure I can commit to a post more than once a week!

What I’m Reading:

  • Deborah Lipp’s The Elements of Ritual
  • Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic
  • I was reading Charles de Lint’s Moonheart, but I got about 3 chapters in and the Library asked for it back – I’d already had to renew it once, and someone else had put a request on it. I’ll definitely go back to that one in the future though.

Quick Note: I don’t know if any of you like to change your computer wallpaper frequently, but I do, and I like to make the background pretty and seasonal and stuff. I get most of my wallpaper images from a website called InterfaceLIFT, which hosts high resolution photographic images for use as computer backgrounds. Right now, mine is this one: http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper_beta/details/2080/old_stone.html I figure if I don’t get any fall color here, I can at least have fall color (and then snow in the winter) on my computer screen! Enjoy!

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Simple ritual this evening, mostly just basking in the full moonlight with my bare toes in the wet grass (it rained earlier, so double blessings today!) and reading the Charge of the Goddess.

I brought an offering of cornmeal and some homemade bread, which I left on the big tree-trunk section that I have as an offering spot in the yard.

Last year we had to cut down a large, mostly dead Ash tree, and the trunk sections are almost 30 inches across near the bottom. One of those big ones got turned over and placed decoratively in our back flowerbed next to one of the crepe myrtles, and I use that as a place to leave offerings. (Also as a place to sit and think, but not while the mosquitoes are active!)

I saw a bat flying around in the sky, and a toad hopped around near where I was standing. (I like bats and toads. And lizards. And well, pretty much any critter, as long as they’re outside and I get to just say hello.)

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