Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday- Treasures

Today is Wishcasting Wednesday over at Jamie Ridler Studios and for the first time I am joining in.  The question for today is "What treasures do you wish for?"

There are so many tangible, material treasures that I wish for on a daily basis.  The Taurus in me loves to covet those material goodies.  But today I am wishing for something more meaningful, something altogether more intangible.  I wish for the treasure of treasuring myself.

Motherhood and caregiving has not been the easiest road for me.  As the youngest of five and being more than five years apart from the others, I developed an ability to be by myself and do whatever I chose.  This has been a huge part of my adult life and while some of the lessons of learning to adapt have been valued and needed, I find myself treading water, waiting for the long-awaited opportunity to return to myself and sink deeply into the wants of my selfish soul.  But my life keeps going and my girls keep needing me to fill the day with mundane tasks like diaper changing and potty trips and meals, along with those sweeter moments of togetherness, snuggles, reading on the couch, and playing.  I find it is all too easy to lose the memory of who I am and who I want to be in that.

So on Wishcasting Wednesday, I wish to find a way to return to myself.  With the girls playing in the peripheral space, with meals in between, with diaper changes and vomit cleaning and snot wiping and laundry, I wish to find myself among  all that, within it, between the lines and imbedded in the lines.  I wish to find a path back to myself, and let being me be the treasure it once was.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brave

Being brave is something we are all capable of, but sometimes it requires a little searching, a little effort to uncover just what it is we are brave about.  Sometimes we need to be faced with that key situation to ignite the willingness to push forward, and sometimes we have to remember the courage we had before the struggling river wore down the stone's strength within our disposition.  But it is inside us all, and if you are afraid of something right now, just imagine what life will be like if you don't push through it, don't face it head on and let it teach you what you are made of.

Next summer, we will also have a feature film by Disney, set in Scotland with Celtic imagery all over it, to remind us, as mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, artists, dancers, priestesses, healers, shamans, and warriors, what it means to brave.  And maybe it will be a seed of learning for our children.  If this film is as good as it looks to be, I am quite certain I will enjoy it just as much as my brave little girls will!

http://disney.go.com/Brave/#/home

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Energy of Slow

This is reposted from my original website, written a little more than a year ago.  I am feeling that same sense of slow as when I wrote this so I thought I'd share it here.  Originally posted Aug. 18, 2010.


Somewhere in my mind, I decided that fast was good, full commitment was necessary every time I approached something, and slow meant incompetence. After returning home from our trip to see family and immediately catching whatever bug Rob brought back from Texas, I am moving pretty darn slowly this week. The herbs sit neatly on the shelf waiting to be entered onto the website. But in my mind I keep hearing "Stop following the rules."

While there is much to be said for following rules, when it comes to personal matters I find it's usually better to follow our own rules provided those exist within the paramenters of doing no harm and respecting all involved. So today I embrace the tortoise and her slow persisitence. I have slowly been accepting that it is in my nature to need time for things. This has not been an easy lesson, nor has it been the most obvious lesson to me and I've been slow to catch on. But if I don't relax and take things slowly, the pressure to commit clouds my judgement and I rarely end up with what I want.

So for those of us that need time, that need to let things steep, I say embrace the tortoise. She gets to the finish line in her own time and hey, she even wins! Relax, take note of whether over-committing causes you to change your mind too often, and let things rest for a while. We are entering a time of year when the hustle and bustle of Autumn will lead to the stress and overwork of the holidays. This is in conflict with what our bodies need and want. The first of three harvest festivals has passsed (First Harvest, Lammas, or Lughnasadh) and our work at getting the crops to grow is slowing down. Depending on where you are, the heat will soon soften and the mornings and evenings will cool off.

The Earth relaxes her hold on the tips of her trees allowing the first layer of leaves to fall and with that, we too, should relax our grip. Ease into things, allowing time for uncertainty. Taste the decision making process and let it simmer on the back burner. There will be plenty of time for rushing and worrying when there is something to rush and worry over. Until then, be patient with yourself, let the tortoise teach you to commit with the option to go slowly. And knowing you can always change your mind, you may make it 3/4 of the way across the street, avoid being hit by a car, and decide to turn around and save that swim in the pond for another day. There's no shame in that, just avoid the cars on your way back
!





Thursday, November 17, 2011

The World Craves Magic

My husband and I have just finished watching the last Harry Potter film in the quiet of our living room, and as the the reverberations of the excitement fade, the grieving process starts.  We have all invested emotions, time, money and even our identities in the Harry Potter novels and franchise and as the last one passes it is hard to imagine what will come along to replace it.  Of course, this is on the eve of the newest Twilight release, so there is a strong reminder that an incarnation of magick and mahem will appear on the horizon.



The movie industry goes through phases of embracing fantasy and magic, but as the world becomes more tolerant and less frightened of whether such subjects will taint our souls, there will continue to be a rise in the availability of novels and movies in this genre.  What this all says to me is that we, as human beings, crave magic in the same way we crave love and acceptance.  It's a part of us that we have yet to fully realize, that is taught out of us at an incredibly young age, and that is overshadowed by electronic stimulation and bombardment.  But it's there and I'm quite certain if you are reading this blog you are keenly aware of it.

Many authors and veterans of the new age and pagan genres stress that magic is not in real life what it is depicted to be in the movies.  I agree.  And I also disagree.  If you've ever been in the thick of a spontaneously mystical experience the moment is like no other, indescribable in many ways, and often gone just as quickly as it came.  Writers and movie makers are often limited by two things:  1) their lack of that personal experience to shape their description or depiction and 2) the difficulty in taking something so completely abstract and unseeable and putting it into language or the visual.

The mystical world is entirely foreign to most, even those of us that believe, simply because we don't live in a world that supports it and encourages it and we don't have the luxury of walking around tapped into that realm every minute of our mundane lives.  But at the same time, the mystical world is not separate from this mundane existence and is entirely tangible and easily misinterpreted as "normal."  Energy exchanges happen every second of the day without thought, intention, or awareness.  Muscles twinge, headaches plague us, dreams invade our night, but it all gets turned into mineral imbalances, stress, and unresolved emotions.  Well, it might just happen to be those things.

As a young college student not yet aware of my own beliefs about the world, I took a geology class.  On the first day of the course I sat with a hundred or so other students and listened to the professor give his "we teach evolution and you have to deal with it" speech.  As he finished his discussion, emphasizing that just because we would be tested over it didn't mean we had to believe it, he closed with an interesting statement.  He said "Just because we are telling you HOW this all happened doesn't mean we are trying to say we know WHY it happened." 

So that mineral imbalance just may be what's causing the muscle aches and cramps, but WHY did you get a mineral imbalance in the first place?



Magic, energy, the spiritual, metaphysics . . . they are ever-present in our mundane lives.  Some of the things we see in the movies are unfathomably impossible in our tangible existence, but take away the flashy graphics and descriptive language and it no longer seems so out of reach.  Magic happens every day.  More and more of us find our way to mystical practices on a daily basis.  Is this because we are so much different than everyone else?  No.  We are, in fact, just like all those muggles who walk the mundane straight and narrow.  They just haven't caught the magic bug yet, they haven't remembered what they were trained to forget.  But we, as human beings, in some form or fashion, need magic in our lives.  We crave it with our cellular form, we long for it just as we do that connection to other human beings.

So there is no need to fear that the end of magick has come in the movies.  There won't be another Harry Potter, but something else will rise and remind us of who we are and who we want to be.  Until then, go forth and make your own magick.  Make it real.  Prove to yourself that it exists on a daily basis.  Build your relationship with magick the way you do with your children, friends, and lovers.  If you are fed, clothed, sheltered and loved, magic is the next inherent step.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moon Dreams

The evening was filled with a wild woman tone, a little chaos, a lot of herbs, and quite a bit of disarray.  My evolution into hearth magic has been a slow acceptance of the fact that little hands will always grab, and my "tribe" is my family, with each girl a full-fledged wild woman in her own right.  Patience and distraction lead the day when attempting crafting around these two, but with visits from hubby and a lot of persistance, we managed to make a success of the process.

With the moon peaking today, I've been enjoying the anticipation of creating something herby, so I began with a Full Moon incense that I'd made a couple months ago to inspire me.  With a base of red sandalwood powder, which is said to have one of the highest vibrations of any plant, and adding jasmine flowers, mugwort, amber resin and few others, this incense is intensely fragrant and has a strong energy.
Flipping through books and recipes, I muddled through, looking for something that would really support the connection to the full moon and contain ingredients that were on my shelf.  I have a decent herb selection, but there are definite limitations sometimes.  I wanted something that would embody the fullness of the moon, but also aid in building the relationship with her that so many of us work towards.  I stumbled upon a tea to help with dreaming and that's when I started formulating.  

Part of the obstacle to connecting with the moon is that she's so unreachable, literally speaking.  I wanted something to support bridging that gap, and using an herb to promote that dreaminess and some astral projection potential was important.  Combining moon recipes with dream and astral projection recipes seemed to be just what I needed, so this new incense has a healthy dose of mugwort.  I gathered herbs and my trusty blender that I use for grinding hard to grind herbs, or when I am using a large quantity of them and using the smaller (and slower) mortar and pestle would be impractical.  As I ground the herbs in the blender, I combined them in a large bowl and used my pestle to ritually combine them and grind the herbs a little more.  I prefer a varied texture in my incense with the larger pieces just being small enough to burn nicely on  a charcoal disk.  It feels more organic, more in tune with the wild nature of those plants.


Moon Dream Incense
4 parts Jasmine
2 parts Mugwort
2 parts Rose
1 part Willow bark
1 part Frankincense resin
1/2 part Sandalwood
13 drops of Ylang Ylang oil (reduce this amt if your portions are smaller; my "parts" were 1/4 cup each)

Use this incense to attune with the moon, for dreaming, astral projection and abundance in relationship to the moon.  Give a full moon bath to empower it, and then add your own energetic intention before using.  Store in glass, in a cool dark place.

I wanted something else to round this out, something to really add depth to the process, so I mixed a simple tea to parallel the Moon Dream incense.  Much simpler to make, teas are fun to blend and even better to drink, and with hints of mint and touches of cinnamon, this Moon Dream Tea is sure to please the palate.

Moon Dream Tea

3 parts Rose petals
2 parts Mugwort
2 parts Jasmine flowers
2 parts Peppermint
1 part Cinnamon

Combine in a large bowl and stir loosely to blend the herbs.  Fill a glass jar with your herbs and give this a moon bath right next to your incense.  Empower it with your intention along with your incense.  When you're ready to drink it, use a teaspoon for every cup of water.  This tea can also be used as a bath tea by adding to a small canvas bag or sachet  and adding to a hot tub of water.  Breathe in the energy and soak up the oils.  If only I had an over-sized tub to really relax in!

With the moon at 100% today, I'll probably do some empowering and use my goodies for tonight, leaving the bulk of the supplies out for Luna to gaze upon them, kissing them with her reflection and attuning them to her power.


I have a good supply now, and hope to be getting them listed on Etsy soon.  Please share your moon adventures with me if you decide to experiment.  Happy Full Moon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Full Moon Fun

My little wild ones and I concocted some multi-colored, all-natural dough for fun filled tactile experiences today.  We made playdough . . .

Homemade playdough is a great treat for the little ones, a bit of a headache in clean up, but well worth the effort.  This was my first adventure with making it, using a recipe from Unplugged Play , a great book with loads of ideas for non-electrical, non-technological, non- tv and non-computer fun, and I have to say it went really well.  The recipe is short and sweet, using flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil and water. 

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
1 tbspn of vegetable oil
2 tspns cream of tartar
Saucepan and cookie sheet

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on low (I tried low and it wasn't warm enough, so I turned it up to 3 or 4) and stir for 5 minutes (this was more like 15 for me, but it might have to do with the heat setting).  When the dough turns into a ball, remove and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool.  When cool, separate and add food coloring. 











We ended up with seven colors from pink to brown and the girls had a great time with it.  Our non-toxic, edible dough is snuggly packaged in glass canning jars, no plastic required.  I love to avoid plastic when I can!

We made a double batch to get this much and it seemed to work out just right.  We have plenty of ingredients left over for another batch at some point.  Jetta started combining colors almost immediately, so we may end up with a big blob of gray not too long from now!  Either way, their excitement for having made something from almost nothing and it turning out to be such a cool toy was well worth it.  We'll call this a success in our hearth witch/pagan homeschool categories!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Imperfection

Accepting imperfection is a challenging thing, particularly when we are bombarded with messages about not settling, manifesting dreams, having it all, and living our best lives.  From talk shows to novels to movies and  documentaries, we are pressed to create the ideal.

But does the ideal exist?  Does it exist in this earth-bound realm?  Or is the ideal just as much about attachment as it is about being who we want to be?  There are plenty of times in my life when I have experienced the ideal.  Visions of perfections likely concocted years before would manifest in fleeting moments, vanishing just as quickly as they came, making me long for more, making me wonder how to create it again.

What I am finding in my almost mid-life, post-partum, spiritual crisis is that reaching for perfection and working towards it is to be desired, unless it becomes something that clouds our vision and allows us to overlook the perfection we have already achieved.  And let me add, most of that perfection is, well, imperfect. 

Northwest Arkansas is a beautiful place in the Fall.  The leaves turn to intense colors of gold, orange, red and brown before they drop from the trees and there are quite a few drives that would be breathtaking.  But if you get a little closer than that picturesque postcard sized image, it is quite easy to see the decaying leaves that are losing their brilliance, the discoloration of the outer edges as they begin to dry, and random branch, twig, or rotting log that litters the forest floor.  Is all this imperfection?  Is our view of what we perceived as brilliant wrong?  No.  It's our perception of what perfect is that is wrong.  It's our inability to let perfection be flawed and less than Hollywood glamorous.  Perfection is right now.  Perfection is the next step you take, the last step you took, and wherever you exist in this moment.  Perfection is the body's ability to adjust to whatever imperfect belief we have about ourselves and it's ability to adjust back to perfection when we change our minds.  Perfection is in between all that imperfection, perfection is in between all that messiness. 

Perfection IS the imperfection.  Flawed.  Tattered.  Exhausted.  And ready to go again.  Perfection is perception and your own ability to perceive the good things you have in your life and the long journey of achievements that have brought you to today.