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Ancestral Altars – Creating Space for the Dead

As Samhain approaches and the veil thins we often become introspective.  We muse on the things we have accomplished in the past year, and ponder what we wish to accomplish in the next.  We think of the turning of the Wheel of the Year, the endless cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. Our minds contemplate those that have passed before us.  This is the time of year when our ancestors call to us. This is the time for building our ancestral altars and creating space for the dead. A sacred place, a portal, where we can communicate and call to our ancestors, both of the blood and of the heart.

Ancestral altars are a part of many different cultures and religions around the world. Many homes in both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have altars for their ancestors that are used every day.  In ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, there were many different forms of honoring the dead and the ancestors. However, one of the most well-known celebrations for the ancestors is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. Celebrated from November 1st through November 2nd, those of Mexican descent erect ancestor altars and visit the graves of their loved ones to celebrate both life and death. 

Ancestral Altars - a gravesite in Mexico decorated for Dia de los Muertos
A gravesite in Mexico prepared for Dia de los Muertos

Ancestors of the Blood and of the Heart

Earlier in this blog I mentioned honoring your ancestors by blood and of the heart.  Those by blood are of course your biological ancestors, those directly related to you through your parents.  Ancestors by heart are those individual who have passed on in which we feel a spiritual or personal connection with.  These ancestors may include those of a different culture or spirituality that you connect with. Perhaps they were your favorite neighbor, a teacher or instructor, or your best friend from high school. Our ancestors of the heart are those that have had an impact on our lives, those we hold dear to us regardless of familial relationships. They deserve, and need, to be honored as well.

Creating Your Ancestral Altars

An ancestor altar may be constructed just about anywhere. It may be used just for the Samhain Sabbat or left up all year. Be sure to create the altar on a flat surface such as a table, fireplace mantel or hearth, a dresser, ora side table.  Some of the items you may wish to place on your altar are as follows:

  • Altar cloth – any color but traditionally black
  • Pictures of your Ancestors – these can be photos or other representations
  • Candles – I prefer black or purple but the colors are up to you.
  • A chalice with wine or water
  • An offering bowl or plate
  • Incense burner and incense
  • Favorite items of your ancestors – These can be articles of clothing, toys, their favorite drinks or foods.

Let your creative juices flow when setting up your altar. You may include flowers and special tokens from passed relatives. A wish/prayer box to send messages to your ancestors is great addition. You may wish to add scrying mirrors, crystal balls and other divination tools can be included as well. The only limits are your imagination and needs of your ancestors. 

Using Your Ancestral Altar

Use your ancestor altar to commune with the ancestors, to give them offerings of thanks for all they have done, for you and your family. You can sit before your altar with your family and friends and tell stories about those that have passed before you, their deeds, adventures, as well as misadventures. Light the candles and incense and then meditate or scry before the altar. This communion is when you may ask your ancestors for guidance and insight. But above all, use your altar to remember, to keep the memories of those that have gone before you alive and well.

For me, taking the time to sit, commune, and honor our ancestors has greatly improved my well-being and my Craft. I have been given information from my ancestors that I could have never learned in books. Many warnings have been expressed, ethereal pats on the back given, and admonishments sent. Once you have stood in front of your altar, given your offerings and then felt the reciprocal love wash over you, you will never be without an ancestor altar in your home.

I encourage you to go ahead, build your altar, light your incense and candles. Commune and honor your ancestors this Samhain Eve and know that you and they are interconnected, intertwined, and forever a family.  Blessed Be. 

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Creating a Devotional Practice

Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she yawns and then hits the “off” button on her alarm. Raising her arms above her head she stretches, trying to shake off the last of the sleepiness. Turning, she places her feet upon the floor and slowly rises. She grabs her robe from the side chair, slips it on, and with soft steps moves towards her bedroom altar. She pauses, breathes deeply, then lights the candle placed on a crystal plate. Another deep breath and she begins to recite her morning litany, the beginning of her daily devotional practice.

Devotional, as defined by the Miriam Webster dictionary is “a short worship service”. The Free Dictionary further defines it as “relating to worship; “a devotional exercise.” While most Wiccans have no problem relating to worship, some Witches may get stuck with this word. The act of worship itself is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” Perhaps you don’t work with deity but instead invoke a Universal One, Nature, or power. If so, you may still wish to worship – express reverence to that energy. A devotional practice does this.

I am often asked about daily devotional practice by my students and community. While sometimes a controversial subject because of its Abrahamic religious undertones, I find it an important one. I have touched on this subject in previous blogs, but have never gone into much detail. However, before we delve into the makings of a devotional practice, we must first understand the “why” of doing so.

The Importance of a Daily Devotional Practice

By performing a daily devotional, we are giving thanks, reverence, and energy towards our chosen Deity or Power. We are sharing with them, speaking words of praise, and using the time to gain a closer relationship with them/it. This act of worship and reverence, to me, is crucial for our Craft and our spiritual well-being.

Another plus of a daily devotional practice is allowing ourselves to ground and center, rooting ourselves in the here and now. Grounding and centering only takes a few moments but it can change the entire course of your day. When done first thing in the morning, at the beginning of our devotionals, we are giving ourselves a head start towards a mindful, purposeful day, rooted in serenity and peace. Done at the time of evening devotionals, we are able to put aside the craziness of our day and reconnect with the Earth, the elements and the great web of creation and life.

The second aspect of a devotional is an offering to deity or our higher power. Whether it be a poem, a thank you, a litany, or a prayer, each time we perform our daily devotional, we bring ourselves closer to them. This aids us in all of our workings. When we are closer spiritually to those we choose to honor, our rituals, our spells, and our daily lives are enriched.

Devotional Practice - My current altar honoring Hekate where I do my devotionals to her.
My altar honoring Hekate. I do both devotional and other workings here.

Beginning Your Practice

As we’ve discussed, a daily devotional practice can enrich your life, your connections with deity, and improve your personal practice. But how do you begin?

  • Create a dedicated space for devotionals.: A shelf, tabletop, or even a flat stone in the yard can be set aside for your daily practice. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Make sure that there is enough room for things you may wish to incorporate into your daily ritual.
  • Cleanse and dedicate the space.: Using your usual methods, cleanse the area and all items you will place upon it. Then dedicate this space and the objects to the deity or power you choose to honor in your devotionals.
  • Decide on a time to do your devotionals.: Mornings or afternoons are fine, (or both). Just try and keep the times as consistent as possible. Currently, I do both a morning and an evening devotional. The morning is more of a connection with deity and the All and the evening is for thanks and praise for a wonderful day. You may have to work with it a little to see what feels right to you.

Now that you have the place and time decided upon you can begin to perform your devotional. Below is a suggested format for a daily practice. This is just a guideline. Take what works for you and add or subtract to customize your own personal working.

Simple Guideline for a Daily Devotional

  • Ground and Center: Using your usual methods, ground and center yourself. You may also wish to add in a simple smudging of yourself and your area if this is your tradition.
  • Greetings and salutations: Begin your devotional with words of greeting. A simple “good morning” can suffice or you can do elaborate hand gestures, clap, bow, or stomp your foot to “awaken” and signal the start to your devotions.
  • Statements of Purpose: You may also wish to add in a statement of purpose as to why and to whom you are performing your devotional. Something as simple as ” I give greetings to (insert deity) on this beautiful morning. I ask that you look upon me as I start my new day.”
  • Add in elements that honor your chosen Deity/Powers: Lighting a candle in their honor, chanting, singing, or offering a litany to the day are just some of the elements you can add to your practice. Read a poem, place flowers on the altar, or give offerings for a bountiful day. Do whatever feels right to you.
  • Closing statement: When you have completed your devotional, be sure to acknowledge and thank the powers for their presence. Just a simple, “Thank you and farewell.”, may suffice. Do what feels right an natural to you.

A devotional practice does not have to take a great deal of time. It may only take 5 minutes, or it could take an hour – depending on your personal preference. The important thing is the connection, the focus and intention that we create and then share with our deities/powers and to ourselves.

Speaking from personal experience, there is no better way to start (and/or) the day than by giving thanks and connecting with Deity and the Universe around me. It’s lifted my spirits on gloomy days and downright saved my sanity on bad ones. The understanding of, and relationship I have achieved with my chosen Goddess has enhanced my personal Craft ten-fold.

May your own daily devotional practice bring you as much joy and spiritual connection and awareness as mine has.

Blessed Be!

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New Moon, Fresh Start

New Moon Fresh Start - image of a new crescent moon


The new moon for March arrived this morning at 8:04 PDT and with it the rain and wind. Cuddled up beneath a blanket, my monthly mantra of “New moon, fresh start” began echoing through my mind. This simple mantra reminds me that with each new moon all things begin anew and that anything is possible.

Every new moon cycle I grab my pen and pad and sit down to take stock of what did or didn’t work for me in the last month. Is that diet and exercise plan actually working or do I need to step it up a notch? Those intentions that I set last new moon, were they fulfilled or were they unreasonable? What can I do with this new moon, fresh start?

This list aids me in planning and setting goals and intentions for the upcoming lunar cycle. (And, let’s face it, lists make my little Virgo heart happy.) As I examine each goal and intention I look at whether or not it came to fruition during the month. and if it didn’t, why.

Then I think “There I go again, making lists and analyzing everything.” I’m rehashing the same thing I’ve done every month. If this is a new moon, a fresh start, then perhaps it is time for me to try something different. Time to release the hold on my control issues.

Lists, lists, and more lists are a control mechanism for me, I see that now. They are a way to schedule every single moment of my life, in some way, shape, or form. But these lists, these schedules have become too reminiscent of the reasons I detested going off to work everyday. The rules, the regulations, the strict order, It began to affect my health, my sanity. Now, I am perpetuating those things that I sought to be rid of. I’m beginning to lose a chunk of that freedom I so greatly desired.

Making a Fresh Start

Recognizing a need for change is just the first step for me. I’ve years and years of ingrained behaviors to work through. Yes, I will still be making goals and setting intentions, but I am going to cut myself some slack in meeting those goals. My entire point in retiring was to finally have some freedom, to not be bound by restrictive rules and time schedules. Yet I live in fear of becoming lazy and complacent. What’s a girl to do?

If I am completely honest with myself and wish to make a fresh start then I will have to come to terms with the fact that I like structure. Order, structure and goals are important to me. However, making myself crazy and becoming upset because my schedule is being interrupted or I feel my self-discipline is slipping, isn’t healthy behavior. It is going to be work finding this happy median. But it is necessary if I wish to remain productive yet not restricted, scheduled, but accommodating.

The best thing about a fresh start, in regaining some of my freedom, is that I can still set all the goals I want. When I build in some flexibility to my schedule and my deadlines I can still feel free without sacrificing my need for order and discipline. I can be my old productive self, just a better, more relaxed version of it.

Making lists can now be a part of my creative process instead of an instrument of restriction. I shall use them as guidelines, as ideas of what could be, not what has to be. Since lists make my Virgo brain happy, I’ll continue the process, but release my hold on how long it may take for those ideas to manifest.

New Moon Intentions

This new moon, I’m setting my intention to allow myself freedom. Freedom from my own restrictions, from the rigidness I’ve placed upon myself. A new moon, a fresh start, begins today, this very moment. I won’t let this opportunity get away, and neither should you. Set your own intentions towards freedom today as well. Let this new moon bring you a fresh start, a new beginning to a fabulous life.

Blessed Be!



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Bibliomancy: Using Books for Divination

Bibliomancy - A bookshelf stacked with books

This week our Magickal Moment takes us to the art of Bibliomancy, using books for divination. This method has been used for many generations, most likely since books first became available.

Bibliomancy is similar to Stichomancy or Libromancy (“divination from lines”), which involves selecting a random passage from a random book of any nature.

Bibliomancy uses a sacred book, or a book with special meaning, in order to answer a simple question. Traditionally this book has been the Bible, but the Quran, and other sacred texts have been used. I personally have a couple of books that I use, depending on the type query. It’s also fun to just grab any book off the shelf and use it to add an extra dose of randomness to the process.

To perform your Bibliomancy grab your book and place it in front of you on a flat surface. You would then ask your question. While keeping your eyes closed, flip through the pages of the book. Once you have selected a random page, point at a line or passage in the book. Upon opening your eyes read the word or line that your finger is on and interpret that phrase with regards to your question.

Alternately, you may use a small, flat stone or piece of metal or wood. Flip through the pages and then drop the stone onto the book. The phrase that the object lands upon is the answer to your question.

My Bibliomancy Experience

Bibliomancy - A copy of Warrior Goddess Training
My copy of Warrior Goddess Training

For my Bibliomancy today I am using the book Warrior Goddess Training by Heather Ash Amara. My question was ” Where am I in my spiritual quest” I then flipped through the book to a random page. I set my finger down at the top of the book and landed on the first line “Opening your heart starts first with compassion and respect towards yourself.” I’d say I got a fairly clear answer to that question.

Bibliomancy - The phrase I chose today

Bibliomancy can be an insightful, simple and yes, fun way to divine answers to your questions. Why not give it a try today?

Blessed Be!

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Fumbling with the Keys to the Mysteries

Fumbling with the Keys to the Mysteries- Five skeleton keys on a purple background

We’ve all been there. Standing in the dark, in front of a door and fumbling to find our keys. If we are lucky we find them quickly. However, we still have to somehow place that key into the lock and open the door. Metaphysically, we often do the same, fumbling with the keys to the mysteries. We keep trying to find our key, then somehow the lock we need to open. Often, we become frustrated, disenchanted and give up looking for the keys at all. We step away from the door, unfulfilled, still yearning for more.

In order to stop fumbling with our keys, we must first know what the mysteries are. The mysteries, in a magickal, spiritual, or religious sense, are defined as “the secret rites of Greek and Roman pagan religion, or of any ancient or tribal religion, to which only initiates are admitted.”   Additionally, it can be defined from the Middle English mysterie “hidden religious truth, rite or event with religious significance, and a hidden meaning”.  

Of course, like the notches on the bit of a skeleton key, each of our mysteries is unique, one of a kind. Each coven, tradition or religion has their own group of mysteries. Finding some mysteries may be easy and another may take a lifetime to unlock. Additionally, what may still be unrevealed to you may have been unlocked by another. So what are our personal mysteries? How do we find our keys?

Fumbling with the Keys - single skeleton key aroned wth jewels.
Locating the Keys to the Mysteries

Locating the Keys to the Mysteries

I can’t speak for you, but I can share one of the mysteries I am in the midst of unlocking. Having been practicing my Craft for over 20 years I am still finding new mysteries to explore. Currently, I am looking back in time, working on unlocking the mysteries of the Ancients. I am exploring the work of the first magicians, the shamans and wise women. I search for answers to the mysteries of the primal, the visceral, the primitive magicks that began it all. This is my mystery, the door requiring me to find the key to its wisdom. What is yours?

Once we’ve defined our own mysteries we still have the job of locating its keys. We can’t keep fumbling with the keys to the mysteries forever so we must shed some light on the hunt for our particular key. Some may find their keys with a candle or a flashlight. It took a torch for me to find mine. Knowledge is the torch, the light in the foyer of the mysteries, illuminating our fumbling hands. It is what allows us to find our keys and then the lock which opens the door to the answers we seek.

Knowledge can be found in books, grimoires and even searches on the internet. However, so much of the knowledge we seek is in the experience, the search itself. Witchcraft and magick is experiential, active, physical. We can’t sit in one place and expect the key to miraculously open the door. No, we must get our butts out of the library chair and do something to move towards the door. Meditate, walk in nature, perform ritual and spells. Use whatever arsenal you currently have to shed some light, illuminate the lock, and then move towards that door.

Opening the door with the keys.

Opening the Door with the Keys

Armed with the knowledge you need, you can stop fumbling the keys to the mysteries and open that door. That’s it. Place the key into the lock and turn. Slowly push the door open, take a deep breath, and step through.

Surprise! Once you step through that door you find that there is not just one room, one corridor, to lead you to the answers you seek. Instead there are many tunnels, many passages and even more doors to unlock. One hallway may shift, move from one doorway to another, midway down its shadowy depths. Losing your key half way down the hall may force you to begin again, only to find new questions need to be explored.

The mysteries are forever changing, shifting and growing. Revelations may be reveal themselves today that make no sense six months from now. The very essence of your mystery may change and your may be back to fumbling with your keys. Please, don’t let yourself be discouraged. Half the fun is in the journey.

Stop fumbling with the keys to the mysteries and get moving on your quest. Find that light, illuminate the lock and open the door. It is through hard work, knowledge and dedication that you will be able to find the answers you seek. Blessings upon your quest.

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Time for a Reality Check

Dreamers. People who dream, imagine and create help fill our world with wonder and invention. Our society would become stagnant, decay and crumble if it were not for those that dream big and then pursue those dreams. But sometimes even our dreams stall. They become an anchor weighing us down, an anchor we cling to regardless of the threat of drowning. When you feel as if your dream is taking its last dying breath, its time for a reality check.

Okay, I see that look and the not so subtle eye roll. A reality check? Really? But its a vision, a dream, something wanted, wished for, worked for. Dreams aren’t supposed to be based in reality, are they? Trust me, I do hear you and no, I am not here to discourage you from pursuing your dreams. Just the opposite, in fact. This article is here to give you encouragement to follow your dreams but also to assist you in making your vision a reality.

Together, we’ll take a hard look at identifying what you are trying to accomplish. We’ll discover what your vision actually is and how to nurture it. We will also take a hard look at what tools and experience you may need to make it happen. Included in this article are tips on how to get your dream back on track if it is stalled or even broken. By taking the time for a reality check you will be better able to keep moving your vision forward.

Reality Check #1 – Putting a Name to Your Dream

I feel that the number one thing that makes our dreams fail is that we don’t actually know what it is. We may say: “I want to write.”, “I dream of traveling more.”, “I want to start my own business.” Yet, we never actually define what the thing is. We don’t put a name on our dream.

For years I wanted to make Witchcraft my life, my work. I thought about, dreamed about it, but I never really put a name to it. At the same time, I wanted nothing more than to write and make a living with my writing. After years of my dreams stalling and never being realized, I finally put the pieces together. I put a name on my dream, Author.

This may sound overly simplified, but it changed everything. I had direction, a purpose. Both of my original visions now melded into one. I would make Writing about Witchcraft my life’s work. So how do you put a name on your dream?

  • Identify your dream. – Write it down. Start with the simplest version, perhaps “I want to be an artist.”
  • Define your statement. – Using the example above, define why you want to be a artist. Jot down all the reasons for why you feel you wish create art. Don’t think it through, just write it down.
  • Read out loud the reasons you just jotted down. Does anything on that list make you feel happy? Do you keep going back to a specific word or phrase over and over again? Perhaps the word “ceramics” keeps drawing your eyes back to it or an inflection in your voice is different as you say it.
  • Take that word or phrase and write it big and bold on a separate piece of paper. Place the paper someplace you won’t see it. Then leave it there.
  • In three or four days, take it out again. Speak the phrase or word out loud again. If it still resonates – you’ve placed a name on your dream.

Reality Check #2 -Nurturing and Feeding your Dream

Now that you have taken the time for a reality check and have defined and named your dream you can start (or restart) the process of nurturing and feeding it. This can be the most difficult part of keeping your dream afloat. Why? Generally it’s because when we dream we often forget that dreams take work. They may take specific knowledge and hands-on experience to bring them to fruition. We may think that we have all the skills we need to make our ideas a success, but even if we start with all the right knowledge, times change. You may have to refresh your knowledge base and skill sets from time to time to keep up with the latest trends. Below are a few ways you can nurture and feed your dreams.

  • Take a class – Sounds like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at the resistance I find to that suggestion. Learn a new technique or revitalize an old one. If your dream is to be a tax consultant, take specific classes on the areas you are unfamiliar with.
  • Find a seminar in the area on your subject – Seminars are usually a one to two day commitment, can include a wealth of information and are usually fairly budget friendly.
  • Subscribe to a journal or magazine about your chosen dream – There seems to be a magazine, newsletter or journal for nearly every type of profession, calling, or job. Subscribing and reading these can keep you up to date on new trends, styles, tools and information.
  • Work on your dream – Every. Single. Day. If you aren’t nurturing it, it will fail. Even if its something small, like picking colors for a new glaze for your pots, do it.
  • Have a visual reminder of your dream – Place it some where you will see it often. A simple 3 x 5 card with a word written on it stuck to your bathroom mirror makes a great daily reminder.

Reality Check #3 – Resuscitating our Dreams

Let’s face it, even if we think we are doing everything can to make our dreams a success they can go under. We are then filled with disappointment, frustration and even grief. You may even feel a sense of relief when it fails if keeping the dream alive has become a burden instead of a joy. So how can we go about resuscitating our dream? What tools can we use to resurrect it from the rubble of mismanagement, indecision or indifference? While I can’t give you all the answers I can share some insights and tips that have helped over the years.

The word dreams being weighed down by an anchor
Don’t let your dreams be anchored down.

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Is it indecision that is crippling your dream? If you can’t decide how to move forward you will never accomplish what you want. Being the consummate Virgo, I have lists for everything. Is it just because of my Virgo analities? Nope. It’s because they work. A list forces me to decide what I need, what tools and knowledge I require to move forward. A pros and cons list can aid you in deciding a new course of action for your dream – weighing the good and bad of what you wish to do. If you are still feeling indecisive after your list making, share them with a friend or friends. Perhaps a fresh perspective will aid you in making a decision.

If mismanagement is pulling your dream under then you may need to pick apart your current way of doing things and come up with a new, more innovative style. Let’s face it, if you’ve been writing a book for years but have never sent it off to a publisher, you are mismanaging (and self-sabotaging) your dream. If your dream involves creating art but you’ve never taken the time to research galleries or art shows to display it, you are mismanaging your dream. Resuscitate it by making the leap and calling that gallery to see of they’ll add you to the next showing. Get a literary agent and have them review and send solicitation to publishers to get that book out there.

Reality Check #4 – Identifying When a Dream has Gone

We’ve talked about ways to feed, nurture and if necessary, resuscitate our dreams. However sometimes we just can’t bring our dreams back, no matter how hard we try. We all change and grow. What once was a perfect vision, a dream to end all dreams, may look different a year from now and that’s okay. Our dreams, once so bright, shiny and exciting, no longer resonate, no longer serve us. How do we know when it is time to let it go? How do we identify when a dream is gone. We look for signs of neglect and decay.

If you’ve been neglecting your dream, ask yourself why? What has changed? Does it no longer feed my soul? Is it a lack of self-confidence that makes me put my dream aside instead of pursuing it? Did I jump into it without thinking it through? Does it still have meaning, importance in my life? Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to sugar coat it. If the thought of continuing to pursue this dreams makes having a root canal seem like a Sunday picnic, it’s time to let it go.

It’s okay. Continuing to try and rescue a dream that is already face down in the water is a waste of our time, effort and a drain on our physical and emotional health. Give it a funeral, a fabulous eulogy and send-off, grieve over it and then move on. Acknowledge the journey this dream took you on, relish the knowledge and insights it brought you, then release it.

No matter what your dream is, always be sure to check in on it regularly. Make time for a reality check weekly or monthly to keep yourself and your vision on track. By learning the signs of when to nurture and feed your dream you’ll be able to keep your vision afloat on your ocean of success. May all your wonderful dreams and visions become a reality!

Blessed Be!

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Leave Ego out of Healing

When we first find our calling as healers,we are often awestruck, amazed that we can do this wonderful life altering thing. As we begin stretching our muscles, reaching out with our gifts, we may sometimes hit a wall. That which was as simple as breathing suddenly becomes more difficult. Why? Because we’ve introduced Ego into our work. We must remind ourselves to leave ego out of healing.

I recall the first time I consciously helped heal someone. It was during my high school days – I won’t bother with the dates, lets just say it was long ago. We were preparing for testing in gymnastics and one of the other students had fallen off the balance beam and twisted her ankle. Without thinking, I went to her, took her ankle in my hand and willed that her ankle be healed. My hands grew warm and tingly and then I just knew that it had worked. She would be okay. The look of awe and surprise on her face is one I will never forget. Nor will I forget the side-eyed glances and whispers that I received after that. It was obvious that I was now even stranger and unusual than I was before – if that were possible. I now knew that I was different, I was a healer.

Ego in Healing Work

When we talk of ego in healing work what exactly do we mean? Take the statement I made in the last paragraph “I was a healer.” This is ego. The “I” statement, the “me”. Yes, I could heal. But like many who have newly recognized their gifts have yet to learn, we, as individuals, are not the the healers. We are the conduits to energy that helps the wounded individual to heal themselves. This is not a solitary function, but a gift that draws in energy, hope, and healing from a universal source. A more accurate statement is that I had learned how to heal. I hadn’t yet learned to leave the ego out of healing.

Many of us have known we could heal from a very young age. Healing came naturally, like breathing. Others may have turned to Reiki or some other form of energy work as an adult. Those born with the gift are often the ones most prone to allowing ego into their healing work. Why? Because they often learned about their gifts alone, without a teacher or any type of guidance. They feel that they alone are responsible for the healing. This often breeds self-importance and allows ego to run rampant.

I have found that those who lean on ego, allowing the “I” into healing work are often the most ineffective healers. By allowing the delusion that you are doing this work alone, that there is nothing or no one that assists in your efforts, you are sabotaging your gift. Yes, you may be able to heal, but does it last? Does the person you are working on and for feel that they are a part of their healing process? If not, check in with yourself and leave the ego out of healing.

Keeping the Ego at Bay

How do the leave the ego out of healing? How can we keep our egos at bay? By understanding where the gifts, the power to heal comes from, from a Universal energy source (God or Goddess, Divinity, The One). Those that may have been taught by a family member, Reiki master or other instructor are more likely to learn where their gifts flow from than those that may have learned on their own. In knowing that they are in fact conduits for the healing energies, not the originators of that energy allows the individual to learn how to put ego aside and concentrate on facilitating a healing instead of just “healing”. By making the patient/client a partner in the healing process you leave ego out of the healing session.

Does ego always stay away? Nope. We as healers need to constantly do a self-check and reassess where we are coming from before we heal. Are we making the client a partner or are we doing this all ourselves? Have we listened closely to our clients to what they feel is wrong without jumping first to conclusions? Can we allow the energies to flow unimpeded by where we are being prompted to send them instead of where we think they need to be? Am I in the correct frame of mind to begin the task of healing or do I need to take some meditation time to connect with my source? Asking ourselves these questions allows us to leave ego out of healing and facilitates a more effective healing session and leave ego out of healing.

Moving Forward

Now that we understand how we allow ego into our healings and how to leave ego out of healing, where do we go from here? We use our gifts, everyday. We can be of service in so many different ways. Don’t feel limited by just the client/facilitator paradigm, healers can do so much more. Try doing a monthly distance healing session for friends and family far away (with their consent, of course). Use your gifts at a local animal shelter or refuge – animals of all types love a good healing session. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter and offer free sessions for those in need. If you have a green thumb (or wish you did) offer healing and energy to the plants in your local park or even your own backyard. When we are of service to our community and world, our egos rarely come out to play.

As we move forward let us leave ego out of healing. Use your amazing gifts to aid others in healing themselves. Make a difference in this world by being of service to all life forms, sending healing love, and light wherever it is needed. May you truly become the light you were always meant to be.

Blessed Be!

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Turning our Resolutions into Goals

It’s the second of January and many of you may be reading the resolutions you wrote for the New Year. Are you wondering how you are going to accomplish these resolutions? Do they sound unattainable, or more of a wish list than anything else? How do we go about turning our resolutions into goals?

What is a Resolution?

Any resolution, in the context of a New Year’s resolution, is defined as a firm decision to do, or not to do, something. Did you write a resolution to stop overeating? Perhaps your resolution was to spend more time with your family. Loftier resolutions may involve learning a new language, securing better employment or writing your first novel. Maybe you’ve decided to resolve a bad situation or habit and perhaps replace it with a new and better one. No matter what your resolution, nine out of ten times these resolutions are started, then abandoned or forgotten altogether. Why? Because at this point they are just thoughts written upon paper. There is no concrete plan on how to accomplish them. We need to understand how to make our ideas work by turning our resolutions into goals.

Creating Goals

The difference between a resolution and a goal seems simple enough. Goals, as defined, are an idea of the future or desired result in which a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve them. As you can see, where a resolution was a decision, a goal is how we accomplish getting there. Turning your resolutions into your goals is not quite as difficult as you may think. Below are few steps to get you started on turning your resolutions into goals.

  • Take your written resolutions and reword them into goal form. – For example, if you wrote you wanted to stop overeating you would state in your goal “I will reduce my food intake by half.”
  • Establish a timeline. – Using our example of overeating we could say – Week 1: Eat only 4 ounces of meat. Week 2: Remove starchy foods and replace with vegetables.
  • Give an end date to your goal. – Be firm but realistic. Set it for three, six months or even a year. Give yourself time but don’t be so generous as to forget where you were going with your goals.
  • Re-read your goals. – Are your goals realistic? How about your end dates? If the goals seem unattainable – chop them into smaller, bite size pieces. Instead of just the one goal of reducing your food intake by half your first goal would be to stop snacking. Your next goal would be to reduce breakfast by half. The next goal, lunch amounts reduced, etc.

Don’t be afraid to create and plan for large goals, just keep them manageable by dividing the tasks into chunks, By doing so you are more likely to hit each goal on target and keep yourself motivated.

Achieving your Goals

Now that you have changed your resolutions into goals and given yourself a timeline for each, it’s time to achieve those goals. Starting now, right this moment! Don’t hesitate in beginning to move forward, momentum is key here. The faster you begin the more likely you are to succeed. It’s a proven fact that most of us procrastinate, a lot. The longer we tell ourselves that we will “get to it tomorrow” the less likely you are to ever start.

In the list below are some proven ideas to get yourself started and to stay on track to achieving your goals.

  • Rewrite your goals and timeline in fancy script or type them and print on colored paper. This cements the goals into your mind as well as making them easy and pleasant to read and reread.
  • Hang the goals where they are likely to be seen every day. Tape them to a mirror, the front door, the refrigerator, any highly visible place.
  • Make the goals into a “to do” list on your phone, iPad, Kindle or laptop.
  • Add your goal dates to your calendar.
  • Cross your goals off of your written/typed list as you complete them. Use a vivid red or brightly colored pen to mark them off, giving yourself a visual reminder as to how much you’ve already accomplished.
  • Give yourself a treat for each item accomplished. Have a spa day, buy a little something special for yourself, take a day off to just play. Rewarding yourself for a job well done helps to keep you motivated and happy to move onto the next task. You may even want to add the reward to your goals list so you know what you have to look forward to next.

Accomplishment is its own reward.

Turning our resolutions into goals will increase our success rate in keeping our yearly resolutions. Having goals helps you to progress a bit each day towards what you want to bring into (or out of) your life. So next December 31st, instead of having unrealized resolutions you will have reached your goals, giving you a wonderful sense of accomplishment, peace and pride in the fabulous year you have lived.

May you accomplish all your goals with ease, joy and great success.

Blessed Be!

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Embracing my “Air” Head

I’ve always been embracing my “air” head, having always been drawn to the element of air. I love anything that flies, has wings, that soars. It’s early morning and I am again sitting in my kitchen looking out the large plate glass window in our breakfast nook.  Outside, our bird feeders are standing room only.  There are 20 or so mourning doves, a variety of chickadees, finches and sparrows.  Occasionally one of the three blue jays that reside in our trees swoops down, squawking at the other birds. It pushes and shoves its way to the food, and generally plays the resident bully. As I watch, a ruby-headed hummingbird moves towards the hanging nectar, ticking at another heading the same way. The air stirs their feathers, holds them in flight as they move from perch to perch. Watching the birds fly I feel a twinge of envy, wishing I too could embrace the air. 

This “air” head watching the doves at the back feeder.

Near our gargoyle fountain my sole surviving chicken pecks around the yard, disinterested in all the tiny birds eating the seed around her. Several birds splash in the brightly colored bird bath, not seeming to notice that it is 43 degrees outside. In the distance I hear a hawk cry out and watch as the birds take to wing en masse, frightened by the predator gliding overhead. It is then that I realize that this is my happy place, surrounded by the denizens of Air, feeling the wind in my hair and the breeze on my skin.  I suppose I truly am embracing my “Air” head”.

Fond Memories

When I was a child I was always fascinated by birds.  We had parakeets in our home from a very young age.  I loved having them around but it always made me a little sad, seeing them in cages.  Once a day or so they were taken out of the cage and allowed to roam freely around the house.  As they flew around my head, then landed on my shoulders, I recall feeling positively giddy.  These were my friends, my companions. How I envied them their wings and the ability to fly.

Many of my favorite memories involve birds, the wind and stormy weather.  I’ve fond memories of standing and watching the winds whip the redwood trees that lined our school playground. Many hours were spent looking  at the windows as the hawks dipped and swirled high overhead. One summer I got bored and left my sister’s softball game for a large open field.  There, at dusk, I saw my first owl up close as it hovered over my head. It hadn’t expected the mouse that it was hunting to run across my foot, putting me in its flight path. The birds, the air, they were always my joy.

I can recall the feeling of exhilaration and joy a windy day brings and the kiss of a warm summer breeze upon my face.  Is it any wonder that when I started exploring the Craft that the element of Air called to me? And it did so not with a gentle wind but with a gale force summons. So, I strapped on my wings and answered.

Answering the Call of Air

Even after I’d started on my path, Air never quieted. The element of Air joined me at some of the most unusual times. Air showed itself each time I cast circle, breezing around the perimeter.  Air swept in and blew the herbs off my working altar even though there were no open windows or vents.  At the workplace, Air kept pushing at me, begging me to pay attention. Try explaining to a muggle co-worker why when I got upset papers would blow off people’s desks. It would seem that I needed to pay attention and learn to work with Air. Soon!


Is it any wonder that when I started exploring the Craft that the element of Air called to me? And it did so not with a gentle wind but with a gale force summons. So, I strapped on my wings and answered.

Terry Pellegrini – Embracing my “Air” Head

Once I began exploring and working with the element of Air I began to see what an influence it had over my entire life. Air’s correspondence sounded like a recitation of my own affinities.  My inquisitive mind and thirst for knowledge of all kinds has never waned.  Birds, pardon the pun, flocked to me no matter where I was, sometimes to the point of embarrassment. My psychic abilities were always present although I didn’t truly embrace them until my twenties. As I worked more and more with this element, these affinities grew, becoming sharper and clearer.  Air had blown away the fog, allowing my inner light to truly shine. Embracing my “air” head became second nature to me.

“Air Head” Syndrome

On the flip side, working with Air can make you a bit spacey, put your head into the clouds and keep it there. This is where the term “Air Head” comes into play. When you work almost exclusively with one element you become unbalanced, often loosing your magickal footing. Working with Air may bring out the intellectual, the cerebral, in you but it may also cause you to daydream and space out. You can lose your focus easily, become irritated and petulant. For every positive attribute an element has, there is an opposite, a negative attribute.  Spend too much time with that element and it will show you all its sides.

If you spend all your time with only one friend, your other friends may feel neglected or even pissed off. The same goes with working with the elements.  After spending so much time concentrating on Air, when asked to call in another element, they responded weakly or not at all. Once I understood this need for balance and began consistently working with the other elements along side of Air, my magick and my life became less wonky, leveling out my one-sided gait.

The lesson I’ve learned from all of this is to go ahead and embrace your element of choice, but don’t neglect the others.  Balance in magick, as well as life, is crucial for keeping your path straight and steady, your mind clear and your magick strong. It is okay to be an “Air” head, just be certain to invite the other elements into your circle, and your life, as well. 

Blessed Be!

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The Warp and Weft of Witchcraft


Inspiration for my blog posts often come from some of the most unusual sources.  Take this post for example.  I’d finished a crochet project and went to grab my loom to start on a table runner for my kitchen table.  As I prepared to place the warp on the loom, (I am a novice weaver having received my loom for Yule last year), I was trying to choose a sturdy warp thread for my project.  I’d used a thin yarn the time before and it kept moving and stretching causing my weaving to be weak and uneven.  As I readied the yarn I thought that in weaving, as in all manner of crafts, the warp, the foundation, needs to be strong so our creations can manifest the way we envision them.  If the warp is weak, no matter of how well we weave in our weft, our cloth may unravel in our hands.

Warp and weft for my new project,

It is the same in Witchcraft and all forms of magickal practice. If our foundations are weak, our magick will never manifest in the powerful ways it should.  The strong threads of practice and knowledge laid down before we spell cast will hold the weft of our herbs, stones, candles, all of our correspondences, in place, creating the firm yet pliable cloth of manifestation. But what does our magickal warp consist of?   

Our warp, our foundations, are those things that we were taught as budding magickal practitioners. With each coven, grove, and circle, these foundation will vary but without them, we cannot move forward along our chosen paths. Without first learning, practicing and becoming adept at these foundations our magick may work – for a time – but we will never move past the “keep the fingers crossed and hope it works” phase.  Below is a list of the “warp” that I share with my students. I believe that without these threads one cannot be expected to create a resilient, strong, beautifully magickal cloth – Witchcraft at its finest.

  • Meditation – As I’ve said many times before, without learning to clear one’s mind, to focus and be present in the moment, our magick will be just as unclear and unfocused. Creating a daily practice of meditation and communion with Spirit and other realms can only enhance our magick. Not only does it help us to focus our Will and our Word, it has mundane benefits as well.  Meditation aids in keeping our bodies and mind calm, relaxed, and healthy, making us better people and magickal practitioners.
  • Grounding and Centering – If we are unable to both ground ourselves in the Earth, in the Universe, before we begin our workings and then ground any excess energy afterwards, we can not only do harm to ourselves (magickal hangovers come to mind) we may also do harm to our spell casting and those caught in the crossfire when our ungrounded magick decides to manifest wonky – Yes, wonky is a very technical term. The same goes for Centering. If we do not center ourselves, that is get in touch with our core, our magick, then we have no starting point for manifestation, no point of origin from which to move forward.
  • Visualization – If you cannot see the warp threads as they move up and down with the heddle, you have know idea where to place the shuttle for the next pass of the weft.  In other words, without being able to visualize what we want our magick to do, where to send it and how we see it manifesting our magick will not weave into the creation we envision. Instead it will move into the Universe haphazardly, without direction. Learning to visualize properly and hold that picture in your mind for ever increasing lengths of time, is another sturdy warp thread in your cloth.
  • Energy Work – I cannot tell you how many time I’ve talked to people in working groups that have never had any training in energy work.  How can one expect to manifest magick without the foundation of good energy work?  If one does not know how to properly create, move, shape and then direct energy how can they be expected to confidently and consistently cast with the desired results?  Practice your energy work daily until it becomes as natural as breathing. The results will be a magickal thread that will bind and shape your spell’s fabric into whatever you can envision.
  • Ethics – Yes, this can be a controversial subject, but without our personal ethics how can we believe in what we are trying to create?  My ethics will never be the same as your ethics, but until we understand ourselves, understand what we feel is right or wrong, or somewhere in between, our workings will take on that ambivalence and become wishy-washy, uncertain of how it should express itself.  Its true in all aspects of our lives, we must believe in where we are coming from before we can go anywhere.  It’s like standing in the center of an amusement park, with rides all around you.  If you don’t know that you get motion sickness easily, then you may end up on a ride that makes you so ill that you are unable to ride on any others or even enjoy the rest of your day.  Ethics allow us to make the moves that are right and correct for us – not any one else – just us.

I feel that these five fundamental points are crucial for every magickal practitioner.  Yes, I do have several others that I share in my introductory classes, but without these five, magick has no where to start.  You may be an extremely powerful, natural-born witch, druid, wizard, but until you warp your loom of creation with strong threads, you may end up with a beautiful mess.  Take the time, the effort, to give yourself a rock solid foundation from which to begin your weaving and your magick will flow from your fingers, creating the world you desire.  

Blessed Be!