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Baby Steps Towards Walking Your Talk

In the last year or so I have had many conversations with folks, in and out of the magickal community, about being authentic and “walking your talk.” These conversations begin because of an individual who has been identified as doing neither. These rather heated discussions seem to have become increasingly more frequent. I have to wonder why that is. Is it because there are so many more new people in the magickal community without proper guidance? Maybe the people in the community doing the complaining are too picky on the definitions, don’t understand what it actually means or are just dang catty. Perhaps it’s a bit of  each. I do feel that all of the individuals, on both sides of the conversations, are forgetting to lead by example, perhaps not on purpose, but it’s happening nonetheless. For all our sakes, I think it’s time we take a serious look at “walking your talk.”

A fairly loose definition of “walk your talk” would be making your personal, every day actions match your chosen spiritual, religious or community path.   As an example, let’s look at “Mary”.  She is a newbie witch, been practicing for a year or so on a Wiccan path.  She is quick to quote the Wiccan Rede and three-fold law, but is the first to whip out the cauldron and mix up a nasty batch of “stab them in the back” potion.  She is saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.  She’s just spouting pretty rhetoric, wearing the trappings, and not at all “walking her talk”.

Then we have “Steve”.  He has been a practicing witch for approximately the same amount of time.  He belongs to a very earth-conscious circle, a group that has deep conservationist and community service beliefs.  He works full-time but manages to spend at least one weekend a month helping to clean up parks and a nearby riverfront or volunteers at his local homeless shelter.  He recycles, eats vegan, lives simply in a tiny house and rides his bike everywhere.  His walk mirrors his talk.

While these two examples are clearly extremes at the opposite ends of the spectrum, in reality most of us are floundering somewhere in the middle.  Is that a bad thing?  No, not inherently.  But it’s a slippery slope. If we are going to portray ourselves in a certain light, we need to be damned sure that we are striving to stay in the glow of authenticity  and not allow ourselves to fall into the shadows of false behavior and fakery.  How do we do this?  What can we do to live a life steeped in truth, reflecting out to all an example of walking our talk? Baby steps my friends, we take baby steps.

Sit down and take a hard look at your path, your beliefs.  Make a list if you find it helpful  of those things that are important to your path, (I am a Virgo so lists are my life). Does your path require daily meditation, prayer or reflection?  Does your circle or coven encourage offerings to your chosen deity(ies) or an altar to your ancestors?  How about service to the community, monthly fasting, or vision quests?  Are you doing that?  If not, today is the day to start. Pick one thing, just one thing that defines you and your path and do it. Now.  Then keep doing it everyday until it is an integrated part of your daily life, your being.  Then pick another and add that in. Now you are moving forward, walking your talk and leading by example. You’ll find it easier than you imagined. Really. Trust me.

Walking your talk does not mean you are perfect.  It means you are genuinely trying to live your life in alignment with the path you have chosen for yourself.  While others may not agree with your path, they will not be able to find fault with how you are walking it. It may start with baby steps, tentative and unsure, but as the baby grows, its steps become steadier, stronger.  So will your conviction to your path when you allow yourself to walk your talk, living as authentically as you can.  Go ahead. Take that first baby step.  Then the next, and the next..

Blessed Be.

 

 

 

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Lessons From Ganesha

When packing up my desk on my last day before retirement, I scooped up a small statue of Ganesha. He had been placed there many years before, in such a way that he was continually in my line of sight.  I’ve always felt drawn to Ganesha, although I wasn’t sure why.  Maybe it was the elephant head, the cute rat at his feet or that he always looked so happy.  I knew a bit about his attributes so when I felt like obstacles were constantly being thrown in my path, professionally and personally, turning to Ganesha for some much needed help just felt right.

If you are not familiar with Ganesha, he is the Hindu God of success, wealth, the remover of obstacles, and on the flip side, can place obstacles in your path should you become vain and overly ambitious.  He is called upon when beginning any new venture, such as a new project or business.  Unbeknownst to me before I began writing this blog,  he is also seen as the patron of authors.  How cool is that?

Ganesha sat there on my desk, day after day, looking out over the chaos that was my work life.  I would silently talk to him, asking that he move the obstacles in my path so I could move ahead, get out of my current job, become the writer and witch I needed to be.  He would sit there, smiling, his eyes seeming to sparkle, but he never answered.  Or so I thought.

One particularly bad day I excused myself and went into the restroom.  Seeing that no one else was there, I entered a stall and promptly began to cry.  Not just a little, but big gut wrenching sobs. Ganesha, I thought, why did I feel blocked at every turn?  Why did I feel so bad, so stressed, so done? I wanted, no needed, to be out of that place but I kept hitting a proverbial brick wall.  Suddenly a picture of a caricature me flashed before my inner eye.  In the vision I stood, trowel and mortar board in hand, in front of a tall red brick wall. Slowly my cartoon self looked up just as the bricks began to break free from the highest point of the wall.  They fell, cartoon style, on my head as a dialog balloon popped up, filled with $%&* (cartoon cursing). My tears dried up and I began to laugh.  Loudly, nearly hysterically.

Drying my eyes and composing myself, I exited the stall, realizing that I’d just received a rather poignant, if not comical, message.  The world wasn’t giving me obstacles, I was building them myself.  Wow, talk about an “AHA” moment. I’d been looking at the big picture all wrong.  The obstacles weren’t something that the Universe had placed in front of me, they were of my own making.  I sent up a silent “thank you” to Ganesha and went back in to work.

Sitting down at my desk and smiling at the happy statue once again in front of me, I jotted down what had just happened. I did my best to identify those obstacles I’d built and then some ideas on how I would go about demolishing my obstacles.  Needless to say the list was quite lengthy.  Once finished, I felt an incredible weight lift off of my shoulders. I had a list and a plan. As any Virgo knows, those two things are what get us off our butts and moving forward. Every. Single. Day.

That evening, list and plan in hand, I began taking that edifice down brick by brick.  It took several weeks, a lot of research, number crunching and soul-searching, but cracks began to appear in the wall. When all was prepared I sat down for a long talk with the husband, four different spreadsheets in hand, each with a different scenario and budget carefully planned out.  I was going to retire – not quit – my current job, and write and teach full time. He looked them over, picked one, and my wall tumbled down.

Since I have retired Ganesha has received an honored place on my bedroom altar, the altar I look to every morning.  He reminds me to be careful of what I am building in my life.  Do my plans keep me happy, my options open and energy flowing? Or have I become the architect of a new wall, constructing another obstacle to once again trap myself in a situation or place I could have easily moved around? I am hoping I have learned my lesson and retired my trowel and mortar for good. If not, I know Ganesha is there, ready to teach me another lesson in obstacle demolition.

Blessed Be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Bad Case of the “Have Tos”

Once again I find myself driving home from work with a zillion thoughts zinging around in my head.  As I drive I’m mentally preparing a list of the things I have to do that evening, that week, that month.  There are the usual mundane things I have to do – laundry, housework, meal planning, yard work.  If that wasn’t enough to do, there are items that I have to do concerning my spiritual practice.  I have to get ready for Full Moon.  I have to write ritual for Hekate’s Feast. I have to work on my page and my blog. I have to, I have to, I have to.  Wait!  Oh no! I’ve caught a bad case of the “Have Tos”.

The “Have To’s” is an insidious little virus, infecting us all from the moment we are born until the day we move on.  We can’t seem to get away from them, all those pesky things we think we “have to” do. They hound us, wake us from our slumber, give us anxiety when we can’t get them all done. But do we really “have to”? Think about it?  Who is demanding that we “have to” do anything? What do we truly “have to” do?

Okay, I am not advocating that you stop doing everything.  Yes, there are those things we should do in order to take care of our well-being and the well-being of those we have chosen to place in our charge.  We must eat, drink, breathe, love, work in some fashion to feed ourselves and provide ourselves and our charges with shelter, and, eventually, die. That’s it. Really. Everything else we do is a choice.

Yes, a choice. The way you eat, drink, keep fit physically (or don’t), your spirituality, are all choices.  How, who and when we love are all choices.  Where and how we live are all choices. Even how we die can be a choice, though it is an inevitability.   When we understand that these things are choices we begin the eradication of the dreaded “Have Tos”

“But I have obligations,” you say.  “What about those?”  Just think on it for a moment.  What are obligations?  They are those tasks that society, family, or ourselves have placed upon us to perform.  But you as an individual have a choice as to whether or not you wish to accept that task.  You can choose to go your own way, behave how you wish, society be damned.  Or you can conform to keep the peace, the status quo.  That’s okay. It is your choice, either way. Truly, it is.

The infection of the “Have Tos” is not just contained to our physical life, but infiltrates into our spiritual and Witchcraft practices.  Please, leave the “Have To’s” outside our circles, covens, and groves because once they get in, they are a bitch to cure. Those “Have Tos” fog our senses and cause us to forget why so many of us chose our paths to begin with. Catch that?  Chose our paths. We shouldn’t “have to” honor the Sabbats or follow the moon cycles. We should want to.  We don’t “have to” meditate, commune with nature or honor our Gods. We choose to, desire to, are happy to.  As Witches, Wizards, Druids, or Pagans we have the power to choose how we practice, when we practice and why we practice.  It really is that simple.

The “Have Tos” is a horrible infection but it can be cured with time. To do so we must desire to unlearn years of programming and prescribe ourselves a big dose of Free Will. You remember that? The Gods gave it to us for one reason, that we may choose our own destiny. Yes, the cure can be painful. Sometimes the choices we make may hurt ourselves or others and could be downright dangerous or horribly wrong. But we learn and grow from our mistakes, healing ourselves with each freely made choice.

Curing ourselves of the “Have Tos” does not mean we will never do things we don’t truly want to do. It just frees us to choose the how’s and why’s we are doing them.  Society will not crumble because we choose not to mow the lawn today, leave a job you hate, don’t go to that family function for someone you detest, or run yourself ragged with your perpetual list of “have tos.”.  Once we are cured, freed of the “Have Tos” we become happier, more relaxed and, ultimately, more productive members of this society and the world.  So what are you waiting for? Take the cure.

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Summer’s Ripening

Our coven had a beautiful Summer Solstice ritual this past week. Our theme for the ritual was “Becoming”.  We asked each other how has what you planted at the Spring Equinox helped you to become who you are today?  As things are want to happen, this planned ritual evolved into not only our becoming, but our ripening.  How I love that word.

As witches we can’t stay green forever.  We need to learn, grow, advance, ripen or we shall merely rot on the proverbial vine,  But how can we gauge where we are in the process? How can we identify if we are green, ripe, or somewhere in between? I’d like to share my thoughts on this.

A green witch is a newbie, a beginner.  This does not imply that the witch has just found the Craft, but may also designate one who may have been practicing for a few years but has never moved past the beginning phases.

The beginner, the green, unripe witch does only basic work. They feel uncomfortable delving into shadow work and the mysteries. Ritual work is minimal and why they may follow the cycles of the year they are doing so rote, without actually delving into why we do so, they neglect to learn about their meanings, their core.  Spell work is their main focus, but the outcomes are hit and miss.  They understand that they need to do more, may even want to do more, but lack the proper instruction and/or motivation. While many may feel the lack of instruction others are perfectly comfortable with the level they are at. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  If you are comfortable at this level, then stick to it. But when has witchcraft ever been comfortable?

Next we find the burgeoning witch, the witch that is in the process of ripening but still has time on the vine. The majority of witches I know are in this stage.  Here, we are constantly learning, taking in the nutrients of hard work, dedication and practice.  We are delving into our shadows and dealing with the crap that is holding us back from reaching our potential.  We are understanding that the mysteries take years, decades to understand, if we ever truly do. Spell work is done when there is a need, not just for the sake of performing a spell and when we do so it is with the knowledge that our skills, through years of hard work and trial and error, are such that our outcomes are 98% favorable (sometimes what we want the Gods know we don’t really need).

In this phase we may begin to share our knowledge with our covens, circles and groves. We may become teachers, priest/priestesses, and counselors. Still, we require the support of our sisters and brothers in the craft to aid us in moving into the more advanced aspects of our journey. Trance work, thought forms, advanced sigil magick and divination work all are made easier when the witch in this stage leans heavily on her/his guides and magickal families to aid them on their journeys into ripeness.

The ripe witch, the crone, the sage, the adept, is what we all aspire to be and desire to emulate. The ripe witch is the one we all seem to go to with our questions, our stumbling blocks, our magickal failures as well as successes. They have mastered themselves, have delved into their shadows and come out whole.  They “know” without seeming a “know it all”. A ripe witch is one that has done the difficult inner work, has delved beyond the veil and back, has a deep relationship with their chosen deity(ies). He/she understands the web of life and how each and evert action we make affects us all. They are simply themselves, strong, capable, bad ass witches.  They live their magick each and every day. They ARE magick.

Where am I on this journey? Somewhere between burgeoning and ripe, I think.  I do know that there is so much I still need to learn and experience, so many of the mysteries I have yet to delve into.  My inner work is on-going and my skills can always be improved.  No matter where I may be on this adventure we call witchcraft, this is the path I wish to be on. But today I will just enjoy the summer sun and then, one day, I too shall ripen and become the adept witch I know I can become.

Blessed Be!

 

 

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Spring Cleaning my Craft

As the Vernal Equinox approaches and the days grow longer and warmer, my entire being brightens up.  My thoughts are taken out of the darkness of winter and into the light of Spring. Because a big part of my craft revolves around herbs and my garden I can’t help it if I get a bit giddy this time of year. The sunlight beckons and the bird’s song as they ready their nests echoes the sentiment in my heart.  Time to get up, get moving, and get cleaning!

With the return of the sun, I find myself reevaluating my Craft and where I wish to take it during the following year.  I break out the notes I made at Yule and do a “spring cleaning” if you will of those plans and ideas that need a bit of a dusting.  Are those plans I made in the winter still viable in the new light of the spring?  Which ideas need a bit of spit and polish to make them shiny and new again?  Which ones are worn beyond measure and truly need to placed in the trash? Are there some that just need a stitch or two here or there to “mend” a shoddy, but still usable concept?

By breaking out the metaphorical soap and water at least once a year, I am able to keep my Craft fresh and moving in a forward direction.  Any thing, any idea, that is stagnant, smells off, or seems to have grown a funky green fuzz on it from neglect over the winter gets a very thorough scrubbing. If afterwards it still stinks or just can’t seem to keep my attention, out it goes.  I’ve had some really grand plans and seemingly awesome ideas turn to absolute mush over a long winter.  I’ve had pieces of my Craft break off or shatter so badly no amount of time or glue could piece it back together. In the winter, in the cold and gray, I’ve tried in vain to save them.  But in the light of spring I come to realize they have broken because they no longer serve me. I reexamine everything and purge, purge, purge! Out with the old!

Once the surfaces have been cleaned, the dust bunnies corralled, old candle wax scraped of the shelves, and the broken down and tattered remnants burned away, it’s time to bring in the new. With the smell of fresh beeswax and lemon polish in my nose, I sit and meditate on the plans and ideas that remain.  How can I best use them?  Will they take my Craft on the path I feel I need this year or do I need to purge further?  Is there something I could add to enliven my Craft and my connection to the Gods? What makes my soul sing, my heart happy, and my Craft powerful?  Do these concepts, these plans do that?

Once I am satisfied that all is organized, in its place and ready to use, I’m ready to move forward, to put those plans into action. I tuck my Book of Shadows under my arm, careful not to let all those refreshed notes, new spells and polished ideas spill out.  I grab my freshly scrubbed cauldron, open a new pack of candles, and place what is left of last years offering of dried herbs in my basket and head to my outdoor altar, eager to begin my work. In the sunlight of a new spring day I feel cleansed and refreshed in both my spirit and my Craft. I’m ready to move eagerly towards the new experiences that await me in this season and the next.

Blessed Be.

 

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The Sticky Note Dichotomy

I had a very interesting conversation with a co-worker the other day.  We were talking about all the changes that were taking place our the office and how it made her feel like things were out of control.  I mentioned that I have a sticky note on my monitor that says, “Relax, nothing is under control”  and how it helped me sometimes when the general craziness of an ever changing environment starts to get to me. Then bam! I had something click so loudly in my brain that I wondered if it echoed down the hallways.  I took a step back, commenced a hard mental assessment of the statement, “nothing is under control”, and metaphorical bells went off.

I am a witch.  By definition we bend, we shape, we manifest change. We take those things that are seemingly out of our control and through our will we mold it into what we want or need in order to control our environment. While the general populace is constantly being bombarded with self-help gurus and social media telling them to just go with the flow and not worry about those things that are “out of their control”, we the Witches, the Wizards, the magickal folk, are instead in the shadows creating change and making life flow in the direction of our choosing.  By having placed that little yellow note in my constant line of sight I had created the perfect personal dichotomy.  On the one hand as a Witch I create change on a daily basis.  On the other, I am in a mundane work environment where I have no say in the changes happening around me so I need to just relax and go with the flow ( if I wish to keep my job).  As you can imagine, this revelation did not sit well with me.

I guess you could consider me a bit of a control freak.  Hello! Virgo and a Witch. My entire existence revolves around keeping things organized and under some sort of control.  Imagining that somehow, for some strange reason I seemed to be relinquishing that control by following the advice written on a tiny piece of paper really got my hackles up.  This wasn’t really me.  Was I changing myself to fit my job or was my job changing me? The control freak in me was scrambling to find a foothold on a crumbling cliff.

A few breaths later and the practical Virgo found her footing and started shooting spit wads of wisdom at me.  “Remember,” she said. “There are just some things you can’t or shouldn’t try to control or change either because of personal ethics or possible negative consequences.”  As an example,  I can’t change my boss’s personality, but I can work to sweeten her attitude towards me.  I shouldn’t try to control the weather, one, because I am a novice weather witch and two, because moving that storm away from my house could possibly cause unforeseeable and/or harmful consequences.  Ok, for those things, I could give the control freak a much needed vacation and perhaps relax, a bit.

As for all those other instances in life when I am told to relax, it’s out of my control, guess what?  I am going to mold, shape, and manifest any changes I feel will enhance the quality of my life and the life of my family and friends. I will do so with all the skills I possess and will relax knowing that this Witch is doing what she can to make this life a great one.  I will continue to do this even at work, where positive change is so desperately needed.

Oh, and come first thing Monday morning I will be wadding up and chucking that sticky note in the trash.

Blessed Be!

 

 

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A Garden of Possibilities

Spring comes early to California’s Central Valley.  When other states are knee deep in snow, our temps are mild, usually in the mid 60’s and rarely going below 36 at night.  By Valentine’s Day our corner of the globe explodes in color. Trees of every variety burst into blossom filling the air with a heady scent.  It is then that almond orchards are covered in “Central Valley snow”, their snowy white blossoms stretching as far as the eye can see. It truly is a spectacular sight.

This is one of my favorite times of year.  It is the time when the garden calls, beckoning me to come and play.  Seriously, I get giddy just thinking about it. My garden is my playground, my sanctuary, and my local therapist all rolled into one wonderful, but not very large, piece of heaven. With trimmers and trowel in hand I answer the call, ready to clear away the winter debris.  Dead branches and foliage are trimmed, the leaves that have not already become mulch are cleared out of pots and garden beds.  As I trim and clean,  my mind, my very soul begins to clear itself of the winter doldrums. The dirt under my nails and the mud on my pants is better medicine to my being than any drug could ever be. Each bucket of decaying matter, each tender shoot that is uncovered, lets my mind and heart open once again to the possibilities of the new season ahead of me.

If you garden, you know that a good portion of what you do is all about the possibilities.  You plant a seed, give it water and fertilizer ever knowing that there is a distinct possibility that it may never germinate. Or perhaps a bird may eat it or an unseasonal cold snap may end its tentative life.  It may thrive, poking its tender head above the soil, only to be eaten by a ravenous snail or earwig.  Yet we continue to plant, for the wonder, for the joy, for the possibility of a gorgeous row of happy-faced pansies or a deep green summer squash. We understand the risks involved but are willing to put in the work, take the chance, all for the reward of a red, ripe tomato for our summer salad.

Possibilities.  Life, like the garden, is all about the possibilities. Each idea, each dream we have is a possibility, calling to us like the garden to come out and play, to take a chance on making it grow. We have to work on these ideas and dreams,  give them enough energy, food and water so they may grow properly.  In the process of growing our possibilities into realities we are going to get sweaty and dirty. We will need to get down on our hands and knees and pull out the weeds of doubt that threaten to strangle our garden. Just like the tender plant that stretches towards the sunshine, gaining strength with its warmth, we too must make sure that there is enough light, enough energy, to see our ideas come to fruition.  We must be vigilant, monitoring them as they grow. We may need to adjust the amount of water so that they do not drown in worry, or be parched by the heat of our fears. An occasional sprinkling of the fertilizer of a new discovery or a different way of looking at our ideas, will help them thrive. On occasion we may need to pinch back the stray tendrils of thought, the runners and branches that stray from the garden plot, before they take us off task and disorder our garden. We work, we prune, we shape and we feed our plants, our ideas, our dreams, until that day when we walk out and can revel at the glorious garden we have created.

Once our plants, our possibilities have grown to maturity, our work is still not done.  We have to harvest those fruits, prepare them for the table, put them to use.  We could gorge on our success, letting the juice of attainment drip down our chins like a red, ripe, strawberry. But that is fleeting, an act of momentary self-gratification.  Instead we should strive to preserve our bounty, make the moment last. While we can’t make jelly out of our realized ideas and dreams, we could “can” them. Using the tools of social media, journaling, a new Etsy store or a published novel, they are preserved, allowing us to savor them when winter once again brings its chilling winds and waning light.  As our garden slumbers, awaiting the spring, and with it new possibilities, we shall be able to look back on our accomplishments with pride and gratitude for the garden that brought them forth.

As spring bursts forth in your piece of this glorious world, listen for the call of the garden. For it is there you will find your possibilities.  Whether it may be a physical garden or the garden of your mind, it is there you can find the joy of planting, nurturing and harvesting your own plants of possibility. May they grow beyond your wildest dreams.

Blessed Be!

 

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Laser Focus Recalibration

For the last month or so I have seen or heared the phrase “laser focus” everywhere I turn.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, the local eatery or boardroom. You can’t swing a deceased feline without being told to use your “laser focus”. Frankly the concept is nothing new.  It’s been around for years.  But why the resurgence?  Why now, and should we be worried? Let us first take a look at what laser focus actually is.

The Urban Dictionary defines laser focus as “Intensely paying attention to a single object, concept, person, or activity to the exclusion of everything else.” Really?  I thought it was some sort of high tech robot or something.  Just joking  Taken in context of the articles and videos I’ve seen laser focus is being used to hone in, concentrate on, your personal goals and dreams. Sounds great doesn’t it?  Focus is key in accomplishing any task, any goal.  But to focus on a single thing to the exclusion of any other? Will that work? Hmm, nothing could possibly go wrong now, could it?

Let me tell you a story.  Once, not too many years ago, there was a woman who worked for a man who spouted the phrase “laser focus” as his own personal litany. He worked hard, focused on his professional goals and became very successful in his chosen field.  However the beam of his laser focus was so small, so tight, that it blocked out everything around him.  His laser focus placed everything in his peripheral vision into the shadows, made it fuzzy, and therefore unimportant. He gave his wife and children not but cursory attention, preferring to spend his time at the office instead of at a romantic dinner or a child’s soccer game.  He neglected his long-time friends, often cancelling dates for dinner or an outing. He worked such long hours his health suffered, the beam of his laser so tiny it did not allow him the time or opportunity to pay attention to what his body was telling him. To make a very long story short, he lost his wife to a tennis pro who gave her the attention he withheld. After the divorce the children went with the wife.  The beam of his laser focus turned on him, like one of those cheap laser pointers, causing him to chase after the red dot of a happy life. Yes, his original goals were all met. His laser focus garnered him great success in business, but it ruined his personal life in the process.

This is just one story of  both the success and failure of using “laser focus”.  I’ve lived through, and heard of, many more.  Yet we are still using this as an axiom for the way we should live our professional and personal lives. Why?  Are we missing something?  If it only works on one aspect of our lives and we lose so much more in the process why do we keep doing this? Is there a way to recalibrate our laser focus so that our minds are pointed on our goal but we do not miss out on the rest of life while we do so? Yes. Yes we can.

May I suggest a two-pronged approach to this recalibration. First, try widening the beam of your laser focus. Widening the beam keeps the laser center pointed on the goal while the broadened beam allows a soft light to shine on everything around you. Let that light dispel the shadows of your original beam while keeping the ultimate goal illuminated, shining. Your goal remains ever in your sight but shares the light with those who love and need you.

Second, turn it off at regular intervals.  Don’t be afraid to take a day trip, a vacation.  Go enjoy a soccer game, a movie, a romantic dinner with your significant other. Have a night out with the girls, go to a football game with your buddies. Turn off the laser focus, rest your eyes, save some of that energy.  Take care of your loved ones, take care of yourself. The laser can be turned on again, its light shall always be there for you and within you.

Remember, while our goals and dreams are important, our relationships, our friends and families are even more important. We can continue to use our laser focus, achieving all that we want in our lives. We should use it, but use it wisely. With a few minor tweaks, a gentle recalibration to our beams, we can have it all. Success, fame, fortune, family and love, it is all within our reach.  The light just need to right.

Blessed Be!

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To Bind or Not To Bind- That is the Question

By Terry Lynn Pellegrini

There has been a lot of talk and hype about bindings lately.  With the craziness in the world and some of the lunatics who are parading through it right now, there are many reasons to want to bind.  As a community we often feel helpless, outraged, or just plain pissed off and want to do something about it.  But a binding?  This is heavy duty magick (despite what Hollywood might say), and a life changer for anyone who does so.  Yes, I can understand why you would want to bind a person or persons from causing great bodily or psychological trauma, but I am not an advocate of binding. Cue the gasps and horrified looks. But you are a witch, they say.  Don’t all witches bind?

No, not all Witches do and when they do it’s often because they have run out of other options. If you feel you or your loved ones are being harmed and need to protect yourself, I will encourage you, as I do my own students, to first try other less volatile options.  Give the mundane tactics a go first.  Have a heart to heart talk with the individual.  Explain why their actions are harming you or others. Be calm and rational even if they aren’t.  If the individual is acting unstable or becomes violent, remove yourself immediately from the situation and involve law enforcement. File a complaint, get a restraining order.  If this fails, then bring out the magickal arsenal. Freeze out the individual or action.  Put up extra wards and shields around yourself, home, and family.  Pay a visit to your elders, High Priestess, Arch Druid or magickal teacher and pick their brain for ways to handle the situation.  Try it all before you go for the big guns, the binding.

Why go to all that trouble, you say.  Why not do the binding and be done with it? Let me explain my reasoning on this. As I tell my own students, when I am instructing them on the “how to” of bindings, I always preface those teachings with why I consider a binding the absolute last thing you ever wish to perform.  When you work a binding spell you are binding something, or someone’s, energies to you. You are taking responsibility for that action or energy and attaching it to your own life by means of that binding. In simpler terms, you now have that being (or beings) on a leash which is held tightly in your hands.  As with all leashes you must keep a firm grip or it will slip through your fingers, allowing the energy to escape your grasp.   Then where will you be? Right back in the same place, the same situation, you were trying to keep away from you in the first place. Oftentimes this bound energy has grown exponentially, fed by your own energy that trickled through your metaphorical fingers. Trickier than you thought, isn’t it?

Take a moment to ponder that last paragraph. In binding you are creating an attachment to you.  Do you truly want that person to be a continual part of your life, connected to your energy field, until such time as you wish to release that binding or you drop your guard and let it loose? Think of who that energy came from, what it was doing. Makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it?  Yep. I know it does mine.

Now, perhaps, you can understand why when I hear a discussion or a new spell on line  with regards to binding a person or persons, I hit the delete button. While there are alternatives to what could be considered the “Hollywood standard binding” that is a discussion best left for a class with a skilled instructor at the helm. Till the time when that lesson becomes available to you, I  encourage you to save the binding for only the most extreme cases and instead dedicate yourself to using your energy and time to find alternative ways to combat the World’s ogres. We are going to need it.

Blessings!

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The Hibernation Quantification

During our last coven gathering as we chatted while arriving, the upcoming holidays was the topic of discussion.  We spoke of the family gatherings and work parties, the shopping and the baking.  Above all we talked about the general craziness this time of engenders.  One of my beautiful sisters (you know who you are and thanks for being my muse) made a very astute observation which really resonated with me.  “Why,” she said (and I am paraphrasing),  “is it that humans find it necessary to be so busy during the winter months when the earth slumbers and rests and her creatures slow down or hibernate.”  Why indeed do we silly humans do what we do this time of year. When did we decide to stop our winter rest and party like its 1999?

As I am not a historian, I am not qualified to give you absolutes on the exact moment when people began taking their simple seasonal observations and morphed them into the holiday frenzy we have today.  Could it have been the first season when we went from small, insular villages to large towns and cities? Perhaps it began in the Middle Ages when the court of Queen Elizabeth the First staged their elaborate parties presided over by the Lord of Misrule?   Or was it later, after World War II when life was returning to “normalcy” and there were many reasons to celebrate (if your ancestors happened to be on the winning side, that is)?  Regardless of the date somehow, some where we created a season of endless cleaning, baking, shopping and partying, which we seem to now consider “normal”.  But is it normal?

Then I had a thought.  Perhaps all of this stress and fatigue generating mayhem is our way of inducing our hibernation phase. We humans celebrate with friends and family to such a degree that we no longer find it necessary to quantify our choice to be insular and restful after the holiday season. All of us are so weary by the time New Year has passed we all understand the need for a time to rest and recuperate. The weather cooperates with that need by becoming colder (in the Northern Hemisphere) forcing us to hunker down in our homes, fires and heaters blazing. We wrap ourselves, in cozy blankets, sip hot beverages and fill our bellies with warm “comfort foods.”  We force ourselves to continue on with only those things we must do, like work and shopping for essentials when truly we long for nothing better than our beckoning beds where we may find the joys of peaceful slumber. Hibernation phase cocoons us in her welcoming embrace whether we want it to or not.  Resistance it is futile.  Give in, get comfy, and enjoy your time of rest. Enjoy the normalcy after the lunacy of the holiday season.

I plan on doing just that.  My fuzzy blanket beckons and hot tea with honey awaits.  There are new books to read and yarn that begs to be made into socks and other creations.  While the wind blows and the frost covers the ground I plan to rest and recuperate so as to awaken again at Imbolc refreshed and revitalized.  As the earth herself stirs to life again in February, may you also come out of hibernation rested and prepared for what the glorious new year has in store for you.

Blessed Be!

By Terry Lynn Pellegrini 2017

 

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