Course Corrections

I don’t make resolutions for a new calendar year. I know very few people who do. We recognize the futility of making large life changes based on arbitrary calendar changes.

Arbitrary calendar changes are a good time to evaluate, and if needed, make course corrections. New Year’s is a good time, as well as solstices and equinoxes, birthdays and anniversaries.

The year 2013 challenged me. I changed jobs, moved to a new community, sold my home, and finished my bachelor’s degree. I am working through the challenges every marriage experiences, trying to be the best parent possible, while staying true to my spiritual core.

Metamorphose der Pflanzen,

Where do I need to course correct in 2014?

I need to take control of my physical health. I am often so preoccupied with other stress factors that I forget taking care of my physical body is the best stress reducer possible.

I need to take a break from formal education. I have my degree now, and for this year I have no desire to move forward with any other course of study.

I am a good parent, and I can be a better parent.

Marriage has been challenging lately. I’ll leave it at that.

I love my job, and I love where it is taking me. The details of my plans here aren’t appropriate for this forum, but I am excited for the direction my career is moving.

My spiritual side has been neglected this year. And this is okay, but is something to keep on my radar. It’s normal to go through ebbs and flows. It’s natural, but it’s easy to let an ebb turn into neglect.

What are your traditions surrounding New Years and evaluating your life goals?

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Water drips through stone. Or throws it aside.

Water destroys. Water cleanses. Both of these are truths.

Last month my hometown faced days upon days of torrential rain. The water saturated the ground. The rivers, creeks, ponds, drainage pools filled and the water crested, overflowed, rose up through the soil. People lost their homes, possessions, animals. Some lost their lives. Towns and cities face uncertain futures, hoping for money from broke local municipalities and an utterly broken federal government.

Six weeks later the planet tilts a little bit further, the days shorten, the wheel turns – Samhain arrives.

At Samhain we reflect on the forces that brought us into being. We honor our ancestors, named and unknown, through shrines, offerings, and journeys to the Other side. The costumes we don, especially as children, may represent shadows shaping our lives. This Samhain,  I plan to focus on the forces that have shaped my life.

I have ancestors, recent and distant, who were powerful forces. Some were good, some were negatives. My life has not taken the course I set for it at many points. Sometimes I struggled to shift my trajectory, other times I accepted this new flow. The St. Vrain River jumped its channel during the flooding, setting itself a new course and abandoning the old.

Our lives change without warning.

Water destroys.

Water heals.
Golden Ponds During Flood

“Golden Ponds During the Flood” copyright Jacob Davis

The Sender is Sent

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian media scholar, to put it crudely. His work revolved around media, and he is famous for noting “the sender is sent.”

I read this and felt a powerful connection to the ethics of my magical practice.

McLuhan was referring to the “mundane” idea of communication.It refers to the presence of the sender in all communications. When you call someone on a cell phone, you are no longer just in your own space. An extension of yourself is sent to the receiving end.

I doubt he’d say it applies to such “woo woo” ideas as magical practice. Yet this was the first context into which I put this quote.

When performing magic, we are sending our Fetch into the Otherworld to do our bidding. We are putting our intention into the world, and on any level this is a powerful act that has the potential to change the world. The ability to use media to put a message into the world, independent of your physical presence. The same is no less true for our magical messages.

We cannot divorce intention from consequence.

Comfort on a Spoon

I came down with a bug that has been making the rounds through my office. I’m taking a day off today, to rest and allow my body to do its work fighting the infection.

When I am ill and alone, I make Lunaea Weatherstone’s chicken soup recipe –  Comfort on a Spoon. It is straightforward folk magic at its best.

Chicken Soup

A Fresh Flame

After reading this lovely post from Teo Bishop, I took action to clean off my altar and prepare it for the autumn.

I once had a lovely dedicated space for my altar and dedicated spiritual work. I could open the back door listen to the sounds of birds and squirrels while meditating in the morning, or the thrum of crickets during evening ritual. I could close off from the rest of the house and enjoy a great deal of privacy.

Then I popped out a rug rat, and I had to give up that space because our house is fairly small. (It became our bedroom, not the baby’s, due to the outside door. “The Lindbergh baby was a thing”, as a friend put it).

My altar space became the top of a bookcase in the hallway. Not private. No ambiance, considering the spare TP is stored on the floor next to it. (Perhaps the TP is blessed by its proximity to my sacred things. Some may argue that TP is a sacred thing. I do not disagree).

And thus the tale of my two and a half year falling away from my spiritual practice. I’d gussy it up now and then, but then it would collect dust, spare change, and baby barrettes. I’d ignore it, or at least try not to look at it more than I had to.

But on Friday evening, I cleaned it off, dusted everything, and laid a fresh cloth. And then I put a small votive in an old rose quartz holder and lit it, and left it (safely) lit for the rest of the evening.

Then again last evening, and this evening. As the house starts to darken, I light the votive for the evening. I take a breath, and continue with my regularly scheduled programming. The light reminds me, inspires me, comforts me. But in a small way, the way a daily practice should.

It’s a start.

Slipping into motion

I stare in wonder at my daughter’s trust in her body.

She is almost 2 and a half years old. She is embodied. There is no mind/body split. She carries no negativity towards how her body works or how it looks. She dances, runs (she does not walk!), reaches, bumps against things, falls down,  reaches. She is tabula rasa. She is the embodiment of the Feri Goddess Nimue, the child Goddess who is both innocent and terrifying.

Certainly I started life with the same confidence in my body, but over time it has diminished. I became fearful of other people and their reactions to me. I have always been the sort who wants to be “the best” at something, and when I can’t achieve that almost immediately, I don’t want to to do it anymore. Sadly, I applied this standard to physical activity. I didn’t want others to see me huff and puff during hikes, so I stopped hitting the difficult trails. I didn’t know how to use the equipment at the gym, so I quit going.

I am now moving back into balance with my body. Going to the gym has been a difficult lesson in self-confidence, but I’m realizing that I enjoy overcoming my challenges. Leaving soaked in sweat is a badge of honor, not embarrassment. It means I’m working.

I’ll never be as free as a two year old, but I am recovering a sense of safety.

Mabon Preparations

I love writing ritual more than performing it.Art - from the Crowley tarot

To begin I draw together my sources, creating collages of pictures and quotes in One Note, finding the sparks and tidbits that bite my eyelid and won’t release. I imagine myself as priestess, pulling in disparate pieces to meld them with Art into a delicate piece of art that seems cacophonous, but speaks to the hidden corners of the soul.

My rituals seem to work better in my head.

In the physical act, ritual can be uncomfortable. My back hurts from sitting on the ground for too long, or standing for too long. The incense stinks. If we’re in a semi-public place, some douchenozzle starts filming us on a camera phone. I can hear the YouTube comments in my head and I cringe.

But Mabon! I simply have to take the lead on this one!

The Equinoxes delight me. Samhain? It’s fun in the Halloween aspect, and the somber work of honoring the dead is moving. Beltane – very fun, of course. But the Equinoxes are tied so directly to the physicality of the Earth. There is very little ambiguity about what day the Equinoxes fall on (same with the Solstices). The Equinoxes and Solstices are straightforward Sabbats with straightforward symbolism.

Our Mabon ritual for this year will involve exploring light and shadow and finding our fulcrum. This is a ritual where I seek my balance between thought and action. Writing something in a notebook is different than stepping foot in the sacred and feeling the Star Goddess surge through you.

The best part of Mabon is September in Colorado is an ideal time for outdoor ritual. There’s not (usually) three feet of snow in which to navigate a circle casting, nor is is (usually) 1 million degrees outside in the blazing heat a mile closer to the sun than sea-level witches. The weather is sweater-cool and the sun is gentle.

Happy turning-towards-Mabon, everyone!
peace,

Desert Freyja