Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When, in the course of human events...

This country was founded on religious freedom - it's why we left the Brits in the first place.  There are people in this nation who seek to take that away from us and those people are working hard to take that away from us. There are people who insist that through prayer to the Christian god they can change our government, that they can convince all the politicians in Washington to turn to their god, and make decisions that support Christian values and beliefs. 

We, as Pagans, as Witches, as Druids... we cannot let this stand. 

A lot is being written about this right now.  The Wild Hunt has a lot to say about it, as does hecatedemeter - they both call on our communities across the nation to stand together, to pray and hold ceremonies to empower the land.  We need our defenses but not our attacks.  The last thing we need is to start attacking people.  That is less than useful - that is downright wrong. 

The King and the Land are One... we knew that once.  We knew what it meant to love the land and our leaders knew what it meant to know this.

So I call on my meager number of readers to strengthen the land - hold ceremony, if you live in this area join me and many others in the coming months as we solemnly walk a circle around the Capitol building sprinkling, inconspicuously of course, rosemary for remembrance.  

I call on you to be open, to be Out as much as possible.  We need them to know that our numbers are not tiny, and that we are not ok with what they propose.

We need them to understand.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How lovely the blistering days of summer

Ah, summer.  Those humid days when the sun beats down, the cicadas fill the light hours with the sound that means heat in our minds and fireflies blink lazily at night.

This is the time of year when our lives become more full - we have long days to enjoy with trips and vacations, drinking in our fill of the land as we travel to and fro. 

But this is also the time where we stand still and listen to the growth around us, where we enjoy the Mother in all her glory and look with a wary eye toward the Crone as she approaches after Harvest. 

The summer is a transition time, and we all start to feel it more now.  In fact, it can be harder to focus during these times when we are so preoccupied with other matters.  But transitions can be tricky if we are not focused, and focus is a precious thing. 

So enjoy the summer season!  It is a fabulous time of year. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Warmth in the air - and the hectic winds of change

Well, I don't know what it's been like where you are, but it has been hot and humid in the quiet mountain valley where I'll be for the next few days.  My ac unit has been very useful! 

1st strawberry of the season
It seems like Spring has come and gone, but even in the heat we have now we need to remember that Summer is knocking on the door, but has not entered yet.  This is still Spring's time to shine - and she's showing all her color now! 
My strawberry plant is enjoying the heat and light that Spring has brought to my windows and her leaves are spreading wide to cover the developing fruit.  I've always loved that about berry plants, how the leaves move to keep the fruit shaded. 

My herbs are making progress too, slow and steady... a beautiful time for everything really! 

To be fair though, my plants are in for a shock soon - tomorrow I take them to their new home (and mine) in DC.  It's a short trip by car (relatively speaking) but the new space will be a bit different for them.  All part of moving a magical house!  I couldn't stand the thought of putting them in the back of a box truck though, hence why they're going early.  They're also then out of the way, and the flurry of energy around the move won't impact them.

The part of moving that I really dislike more than any of it is the hectic nature of moving.  First are the two weeks or so leading up to the move date, when you're decided what order to pack things in.  Clothes? Books?  When to pack the kitchen and bathroom... all of these things have reason to be out if you think about it long enough.  So then comes the point where you just jump in and start packing everything and labeling boxes till all you can smell is Sharpie and cardboard and packing tape adhesive.  Then you collapse, look around and realize that you haven't packed as much as you thought.  (that's usually when my friends show up with pizza and wine.)   So then you go back to logic, start packing smart and then look at the calendar.  And panic again?  No.  That's when you go and touch your altar and remember - you've got this.  You calm down and start back in.  (and this is why we leave our altars up till the last moment!)

Second phase starts then: that week or so when you're half in the new place and half in the old place.  You're sick of the old place, you long for the new place... and you still have things to do before it's all over.  For me that starts this weekend - I'm taking my plants, the nigh unpackable things (that stuff that would take a whole box on its own and you just can't justify that) and my clothes, in every suitcase and duffel I own.  So then next week, short though it is, I'll be living in a house of boxes and awaiting eagerly Saturday morning when I get the truck and then Saturday night when I pull that full truck into the driveway of the new house, some 4 hours away. 

That week in between is a pivotal time for me.  That is the time where I'll be letting go of the wards I have on the apartment, where I'll be cleaning away all traces of me and leaving behind a clean slate for the next person who will live there, whoever that person may be.  I'll also be saying goodbye to a state that I called home for a mere year and a half.  I'll miss the trees here, they're beautiful and abundant.   But my tasks are clear - pack, pack, pack. Nothing is exempt.  Everything goes in boxes, then into the marked outline on my living room floor, to make sure that it'll all fit in the truck.  (yes, I do that.  I've moved too many times misjudging how much room I needed that I don't do that anymore.  I make sure.)   It will also be my last days at my job, and there are things to wrap up there as well.  Suffice to say, I'm not starting any projects now and things will be closed up in plenty of time but still - there is closure to be had there.

So I pay heed to the rituals of moving and look eagerly to the coming days of hectic energy knowing that when the dust settles and the boxes are moved I'll be in a new and exciting phase of my life. 


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving a Magical House

me, tying a bow on the Maypole

                 First – I hope that everyone’s Beltane was wonderful!  I had a delightful time at what I thought was going to be a fully Pagan celebration but turned out to be a lovely interfaith gathering!  It was a lot of fun to have so many different faiths there.  The children had a blast and it reminded me – children don’t care what religion the other children are, they just play and have fun.  It taught everyone a good lesson that day.  Our Maypole turned out wonderfully and the five of us who stayed late had a small but powerful circle at the bonfire before closing out the party.  

                Today’s post is about something very close to me right now – moving a magical household.  True, I’ve only been in my apartment for a year, and this isn’t the first time I’ve moved either.  I’m glad though, that I’ve moved as often as I have because I’ve learned a lot about good (and bad) ways to move your magical home.  

                The first move of what I’ve come to call the Gypsy Years came in February 2009 when I left what my mother calls ‘that awful first apartment we all have’.  It really was awful, I had no altar to speak of and the move was very painful as I was also leaving my then fiancĂ©.  Emotions were high and the move was difficult.  I then came to an old farm house and lived there – for almost 9 months.  Black mold set in and we (my roommate and I) moved out.  Here I had really thrown myself into my practice.  My altar was a permanent fixture in my sitting room and I was constantly whipping up oils, incenses and witchy baked goods in the kitchen.  It was a lovely house and I really was sad to move. Of course I’d blessed the house and done a cleansing before I moved in, and before I left entirely I cleansed the area again – this time of my presence – to leave it in a receptive state for whoever was going to live there next.  After that it was a room in a friend of mine’s apartment, small and temporary – and bad for me mentally.  My altar wasn’t appreciated, they had one of their own and felt that mine was detracting from theirs, despite the difference in our paths.  After that it was a room in a house of roommates… it could have been an academic fraternity, we were all geeks after all.   There my path was more of a novelty than something to be respected… members of the household would come to me and ask for love charms, or something to make a guy or girl like them more.  I was not amused and grew weary of it very quickly.  I left there for the house of a woman I’d been friends with for 10 years – but that decayed very quickly too.  She no longer listened to me or to my advice, and instead listened to a woman who advocated burning down someone’s house as a method of getting said person to listen – and to leave.   It was bad times.  That, and more, caused me to move out of state – to a wholly new area full of vast possibilities.  And now I’m leaving those sleepy mountains behind for a bustling metropolis overflowing with excitement and more possibilities.  

                So in these years in boxes of plastic and cardboard, when my altar sat on whatever surface would be still the longest, I often found it difficult to center and meditate among the transitioning space.  However, the importance of an altar was never more clear to me than it was then.  Granted, my altar wasn’t always a splendid affair.  Sometimes it was nothing more than my book and a candle, but it was always there, and always on display.  It was the one spot in the house that I could always look to, and know that my path was still there, boxed and bagged though it might be, it was there.  

                Clearing the energy out of the space that you’ve occupied, even for a month, is important.  If nothing else, so that your influence doesn’t linger and interfere with whoever lives there next.  Your path might not be theirs, and so who are you to leave markers for your gods on the walls?  Cleansing is important – washing away the old (you) and leaving pure room for those who will come next.  

                Likewise, it is important for you to bless and cleanse your new area – ideally before you move in.  This is easier than people think… really, once you get the keys there’s no reason why you can’t be over there at whatever hour of the night or day.  So go over, before anything is moved in, and perform a cleansing.  My favorite cleansing is very simple – in each room, every hallway, every closet, walk the room in a circle, using a bunch of rosemary to sprinkle saltwater over the room.  Then, walking the same circle, smudge the room with sage.  Invoke blessings from your deity(ies) and bless the release of old energies to make way for the new of your new life there.  I also touch an unfinished ruby to each of the outer corners of the house, (inside corners for an apartment) to secure the property and call down protection on the whole house.  Last, I use a blessing oil blend (Scott Cunningham’s books have a few very excellent ones) and draw a sigil of protection on all the doors and windowsills.  After that I set up my altar.  It’s the first thing I do when I move in, and the last thing I take down before I leave the old place.  

                There is ceremony in everything, and moving is no different.  Ceremony helps us focus – and focus is the number one thing you need when you’re moving.  Making sure nothing gets lost is vital, but how many of us remember to make sure none of our energy gets lost?  Yeah, it sounds silly but think about it - leaving your impression on a place you’re moving away from, and likely will never be again, is maybe not the smartest thing.  You’re effectively leaving a tie to yourself there.  Protection magic is great – but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Removing your ties to a place will help you retain your energy.  

                So as the weeks march on, and the date of my move gets closer, I will keep my little altar sitting in the center of my apartment, where it’s been for a year (although now on boxes and not on a shelf) and use it as my touchstone for focus and calm while move once more.