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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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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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Blinded by the Light

Fluffy bunny.  New Age wanna be. Soccer Mom. “What a Glinda”, (my favorite actually – love the Wizard of Oz). For some, these labels are considered insults. “You are too happy, too light to be a real witch.” “You aren’t like us. You are too nice,  too goody two shoes.”  I laugh in response. Really? That’s the best you can do?  Ooh, I’m so offended -not.

In my 20 some odd years in the magickal community it still amazes me why so many of us still label, still judge, another’s path.  Why do we still find a need to quantify another practitioners choices in how or what they do? Yes, we are humans and as humans we seem to find it necessary to label things in order to understand them. Have I been guilty of that? Yes, at times, as  I am sure you, my readers, have as well. But labels are just that, labels.  They do not define ourselves or our magick. How can they?

As witches, wizards, sorcerers and magical workers, we should know that labels are only a beginning, that to actually define your magick is to limit it. As we learn and grow, as we walk between worlds, we come to understand that we are everything and all.  We are both light and dark.  We are shadow and we are sunlight.  Dark and light must be acknowledged, embraced and integrated, in order to be a truly whole person, a practitioner of strength, knowledge, integrity. A walk through the dark allows our light to shine brightly. We know that if we favor one above the other we find ourselves out of sorts, unfulfilled, off-kilter, unable to perform at our best.  A practice that works with both of these aspects of our souls, our psyches, will bring a cohesion to both our magickal and mundane lives.  Integration affords us a balance that is sought after by so many but found by so few.

Once that balance has been found, we radiate light. We are serene calm, in control, powerful. We no longer find the need to push our own magickal agendas and forego trying to label others as well.  This light, this gentleness, this peace, opens us up to the aforementioned name calling and supposed ridicule of others  People often make fun of what they don’t understand, are envious or frightened of.  To these misguided, misinformed, frightened souls I say go ahead, bring it on. Shout the “insults”, the epithets, the supposed slurs to reputation and name. Make your judgements, place your labels.  Why be upset? They apparently do not know me at all.  Call me a fluffy bunny. Sure, I may resemble that remark. What those fools seem to forget is that underneath that fuzzy, cute exterior hides sharp claws and teeth.  And bunnies know how to use them.

Remember, appearances can be deceiving so be careful how you may label others. Better yet don’t label at all.  Look beyond the exterior and beware of being blinded by the light. Look beyond, For the light brings shadows. Within those shadows lies the truth… And one bad ass witch.

 

 

 

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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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As Within, So Without

As a magickal practitioner I am very familiar with the axiom,  “As above, so below, as within, so without”. Attributed to Hermes Trimesgistus, the author of the Hermetic Principles, this saying could be considered one of the best known and one of the most studied principles in the magickal community.  I thought I had a great handle on its meaning until a few weeks ago.  It was then I fully realized what this principle truly meant in not only my magickal but my every day life.

About three weeks ago I began having stomach issues.  Sharp shooting pains, cramping, nausea, and several other issues I won’t discuss in this blog.  These were similar to the symptoms I had before my gallbladder was removed and which often occurred after the surgery. This time, however, the symptoms had magnified, increasing in duration and intensity.  Why was I still dealing with this?  Why was it suddenly worse? Being true to form I went on “high alert” and immediately decided to “fix” myself.  But where to start? My herbal books? Medical references? The internet? Then it came to me one night as I was tossing and turning in bed from the pain and subsequent worry.  “As within, so without.”  As if the phrase had become my new personal mantra, it kept repeating in my frantic brain.  But what did it mean?

The answer was truly simplistic.  I needed to take a hard look at what I was taking into my body and see how that what was reflecting on the outside. Whatever I eat or drink becomes a part of me. If I take in healthy, nutritious foods those nutrients contribute to a healthy body.  A healthy body makes me feel good, causing me to smile more, move more, and produce the glow of good health.  As within so without. Well, duh!

I began a quest to heal my insides. I cut all the things that seemed to be a major trigger. Gone was alcohol, any fried or fatty foods, and (gasp) chocolate.  My friends know I like nothing better than a glass or two of wine after a long day at work, so you understand how difficult this was. Next, I began working on cutting down on the caffeine and sugars.   Within days my stomach, my insides,  began to feel much better. But I was still having discomfort at strange times.  So I sat, made a mental list of what I had been eating at those times, then realized it wasn’t just food that was affecting me, it was my mood, environment, and attitude.

What we think, hear, see, feel, and experience becomes a part of us.   A bad day shows on our face. Mental stress can manifest as slumped shoulders, tight muscles, a clenched jaw.  A great day brings a spring to your step, a light heart, renewed energy and positive outlook . Constant emotional fatigue, worry and anxiety can cause physical malaise, often manifesting in a variety of symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches, extreme fatigue, and muscular aches.  Continued joy, brought about by letting go of the stress, refusing to bow to pressure and emotional turmoil, reflects in our smile, and has the wonderful side effect of a relaxed mind and body. Again, as within, so without.

Once I’d identified what the hell was going on in this fluffy, out of shape, stressed out body, what was I going to do about it? Well, I was going to continue with my trend towards eating healthy and ramp it up a bit. My husband is on board with the changes so we shall be planning meals, shopping and preparing food together.  Not only will our meals be healthier , we get to spend more time together. A complete win/win.

The exercise may be a bit trickier.  As I am writing this I am babying a hyper extended knee which precludes me from several forms of exercise.  But it won’t be injured for long and a gentle walk can still be taken even with the injury.  Who knows, I may even use that gym membership I have (the only time I’ve been to that gym is when I signed up). Start slow then gain momentum.  It can happen!

The stress provides its own set of difficulties to overcome. My work environment is not the best for me and the job itself leaves me completely unfulfilled (but it pays extremely well and the benefits kick ass). I am trying to make the best of it, but it has been difficult.  What I can do is work on my attitude about the job and find ways to better deal with the constant stream of crap. Meditation, exercise (there’s that word again), singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite Stevie Nicks, anything to release the pressure valve.

Game plan in hand, sticky note stuck to my mirror and monitor and the Kybalion on my altar, I now move forward towards good health and joy. Sometimes the answers have always been with you.  You just have to open your eyes and reexamine what you thought you knew.

As within, so without.  May this seemingly simple phrase aid you in your own journey to health and happiness.

Blessed Be.

 

 

 

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An Ordinary Witch

For many years now I have sought to define my own brand, my own style, of witchcraft.  Exactly what type of witch am I? What are my core beliefs and where do they fit into the grand scheme of modern witchcraft and Paganism? I’ve pondered, ruminated, questioned, and meditated. All to no avail. I’ve come no closer to identifying my own specific flavor of witchcraft than I have to remembering my High School locker combination.  I have, however, identified what I am not.

I am not a goth witch, bohemian witch, or a renaissance fair witch. My style is definitely comfy, casual and occasionally a tad Stevie Nicks – as long as it was on sale. I am not Celtic, Gardenerian, Dianic, Seax Wicca, Faery or Discordian.  I have included some of their teachings and workings into my own craft, along with a smattering of other traditions, but I do not fully identify with any of them.  Am I eclectic?  Maybe.

I do not always celebrate every Sabbat, though I try to.  Full moon? Sure, if I can stay awake after a long day of work.  I do not always perform a full ritual for those occasions I can celebrate, it may be short and sweet, though no less reverent and meaningful to me. I do what I can, when I can. Somehow, someway I always acknowledge the turning of the wheel, the phases of the moon, even if it is by a simple thought, a gesture, or the lighting of a single candle. I don’t always make a grand gesture, but I do make a sincere one.

I don’t work a lot of spells, stir up many potions or conjure many magicks. My everyday is infused with magick. So much so I only work when a great need arises or if I have a request from friends or family. I do not conjure just to conjure, though I do practice something “witchy” every week. It could consist of reading a new book on a different aspect of the craft, writing poetry to Goddess, or making sure the wards around my home are strong and consistent. I do not throw magick at everything, but when I do you know its for a good reason.  And it works,  Every. Single. Time.

I do not hide the fact that I am a witch. I wear my pentacles and the sacred jewelry proudly. I even have a tattoo of an owl with a pentacle on my upper arm.  I don’t dress all in black (though I do love to for ritual) I don’t interject into conversation how much I know about witchcraft just to get a rise out of the “muggles”.  I will, however, answer any questions about the craft to the best of my ability when sincerely asked. I do not rub my spirituality, my craft, into peoples faces, but I have, on occasion, worn a “Witches have awesome besoms” t-shirt just because it was funny (at least I thought so).

After acknowledging all the things I don’t do, I find that  I can only come to one conclusion about my craft.  I am an ordinary witch.  I do what I do in a manner which resonates with me.  I follow my path as I can, when I can, with just a modicum of guilt for not “doing it better”.  I do what works for me and fits my life. I follow my heart and live my craft everyday in a way that brings me joy and fulfillment. I am an ordinary witch because it works for me. Are you an ordinary witch as well?

 

 

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The Not So Dumb Supper

On Samhain Eve many of my fellow Witches and Pagans will sit down to participate in the tradition of the Dumb Supper.  To honor their ancestors they set a place at the dinner table then invite to their ancestors to join them. They then sit in silence and eat, waiting for the tingle that signifies the presence of the ancestors. In total silence. Waiting. Eating. Silently.

I’m not sure about you but I have a hell of a time with the whole silence thing.  I’m fine when I am alone, but with a group, at a dinner, not so much.  First of all, the chewing sounds seem to reverberate in the silence. Cringe.  Gods forbid if someone burps.  I’ll break with the pressure to keep silent and revert back to being a twelve year old girl and giggle.  Seriously, I try to keep my thoughts on the ancestors, wanting to honor and perhaps commune with them. However listening to one of your coven mates snoring in their fruit salad does not reverence make. For the sake of my ancestors and all those I may dishonor with my feeble attempts at not shooting cider out my nose when the High Priests farts, I would like to offer an alternative, the Not So Dumb Supper.

As the name infers, the Not So Dumb Supper, is not silent.  Quite the contrary, noise and merriment are mandatory.  As is traditional with the Dumb Supper, a place, or places, are set at the table.  The ancestors are then invited to join.  That’s where any similarity ends.  At the Not So Dumb Supper we toast our ancestors.  We call them by name. We tell their stories. We rejoice in those of the blood and of the heart who have gone before.

Let us forgo the silence and share their lives and hard earned knowledge with our friends and coven mates.  Enthusiastically, with raised glass, tell the story of your 4′ 11 grandmother who  would kill snakes with a simple garden hoe in the middle of the family corn field then, raising the snake into the air, holler “Dinner!” to her five children. Regale us with the tales of your Grandfather who was a gunner in a bomber in World War II and how he cried the first time he shot down a plane.  Perhaps you will tell of sibling who left this world too soon or the mother who gave her life that you may have yours. Sing of their victories and their losses. Give them thanks for all they’ve done. Speak up. Do it loudly and with great pride. Honor them.

Each story we share, each toast we give to our departed family and friends brings them closer to us, opens our hearts to them.  As we tell of the time Uncle Ed was kicked by the mule and landed 5 feet away in the manure pile or of the pie eating contest Cousin Sue won when she was 9, we feel our ancestors stepping through the veil, jostling for position around the table.  We can feel them as they take turns sitting in the chair left open for them in anticipation of their arrival. As we give them our love, so shall we feel theirs in return.

For those of us who have difficulty holding our tongues we can now can share in a new tradition which plays to our strengths. Let us no longer hold our silent feasts, keep our Dumb Suppers.  We shall be loud, but mindful. Raucous, yet reverent.  We shall feast, sing, shout and make a Klingon proud with our tales of ancestral valor. We shall honor them with our words so they know they remain valued, loved, remembered.

Then, when the night wanes, the feast is done, and the stories have been told, we shall be silent. Alone at last, tongues at rest, bellies full, we may sit in quiet contemplation.  In those  hushed wee hours of the morning we think of those ancestors we did not have the privilege of knowing, whose tales we have not heard, could not share.  We listen to the rustle of the leaves, the rush of the wind, waiting, hopeful. For perhaps in that silence those ancestors are calling to us, trying to tell us their stories so that we may share them come next Samhain Eve.

However you choose to honor your ancestors this Samhain, may they answer your invitation. May they feel honored and loved with your silence or your stories. Heed the call of the ancestors and feel the special richness, warmth and joy that only comes from communing with those that have gone before.

Blessed Be!

 

 

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It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

Warning:  This blog post may contain rambling thoughts, incoherent sentences, and random bursts of sadness punctuated by tears.

I am sad, no grief stricken. I sob at the least provocation. I vacillate between anger and intense rounds of keening sobs. My body is tired, weak, as is my heart and soul. If I owned stock in Kleenex, I’d be rolling in the dough right now.  Instead, I am fighting the feeling that I should just crawl into bed, pull up the covers and sleep for a century or two. But instead of hiding, I write, giving my grief purpose and my tears a chance to dry. If only for the moment.

The horrific tragedy in Las Vegas, the floods, hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes over the last few weeks and months have taken an extreme toll on my psyche and my body.  The constant barrage of emotions and despair makes my heart quiver, my head ache and my muscles tense and cramp.  You see, I have the dubious honor of being clairsentient and an empath. I feel – everything. Everywhere.  Walking down the hallways at work. In the park or shopping mall.  I sense the emotional energies left in old homes and even in clothing found at the Goodwill (which is why I don’t shop thrift stores very often). I feel deeply watching movies and the news. This deluge of charged emotions seems to seep into my pores, saturating them to the point where I can no longer determine whether these emotions are mine, or someone else’s.  So I cry, not exactly knowing why.

I’ve worked hard to shield myself, to keep the worst of it at bay. Its failing.  There is so much of it. It oozes through the cracks in my armor, pools into psychic sludge at my feet. I wade through the muck, only to fall into a sink hole of despair. And then I give in. I feel. Then I weep.

I cry when I think of the terror those poor souls felt as they heard the shots, the screams, saw the first fall.  I weep,  pictures of people standing in the rubble that was once their home captured in my gaze.  My soul agonizes as I watch surreal scenes of people standing in waste deep water, searching for family, pets, anything they can hold on to.  My heart aches for those buried in the piles of brick, concrete and twisted steel brought down by the forces of nature and for those working to dig them out. The sobs break forth, and the tears flow.

I try to close my eyes so I cannot see.  I hold my hands over my ears so I may not hear. But I cannot stop what my soul feels, cannot stop the aching of my heart.  I don’t really want to stop it. I just want it to come in trickles, not floods.  I wish for time to recuperate from one disaster before the next arrives.  Then I could process, digest and then let the feelings move through and out of me. Then I feel selfish, ungrateful, small.

So many others have not had the luxury of a trickle of emotions, time to process or block out the pain. Tragedy was thrown at them and they dealt with it, coped, and were transformed.  Bravery, compassion, perseverance, love, all are despair transmuted. As the waters recede, the rubble cleared, the wounded bandaged, and the dead laid to rest we find the blossoms of hope growing wild. People are coming together, giving of themselves, showering that tender flower with kindness. These are the emotions that shall dry the tears, overcome the despair and pain.  As they heal, so shall my woes mend.  As they recover, then flourish, so shall I.

So I cry.  I cry for the many. I cry for those alone and afraid.  I feel for each and every soul, embrace each and every emotion. And hope.  Hope that I can be as brave, as compassionate and worthy as the many I have witnessed facing these trials of nature and of man.  I shall cry, and often.  But may it soon be from joy,

Blessed Be.