Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summertime.... and the grounding's easy...

It is hot like the fires at Beltane now, and my garden is thriving under the sun that warms the soil around them.

I'm a child of the summer, born near to the middle of that season, and my elements blend to become the heavy air that accompanies a sweltering summer. I am Water and Fire, a cusp baby, but my root is in the Earth and so when the air becomes heavy with the vaporous steam of my warring elements I drop down and lay flat on the Earth, and cool myself against the stones and soil and grasses.

Grounding is very important, and even more so when everything is so volatile. The country is riled up, the world is riled up, our friends and family are riled up... you might feel like you're stuck in a tornado. That's not uncommon - the feeling of being carried away on a tide you didn't ask for is a horrible one, but it's something we can mitigate with some work.

There are many techniques, but this is the most straightforward that I've found - and the quickest. It works no matter where you are (yes, I've used this at work), and at any time of day or night. It doesn't depend on the position of the moon or stars or planets, and doesn't require a certain day of the week. It just is.
(I shouldn't have to, but please... Don't do this while driving. Be safe, don't endanger your own or others lives.)

Place both feet flat on the floor wherever you are. Don't worry about taking your shoes off.
Place your hands easily on your legs. (up, down, doesn't matter.)
Lower or close your eyes. (just don't have distractions.)
Focus on your breathing. Feel the inhale and the exhale. Feel your chest fill and empty.
Allow your focus to ebb and flow with your breath, and see if it goes anywhere or if it stays with you. See if it lowers toward the floor or raises toward the sky.
Don't push it, just follow where it goes. If it doesn't go anywhere, that's ok too.
Breathe slowly and consciously for 10 minutes.
Slowly wiggle your fingers and toes.
Slowly open your eyes and readjust to being in the world.
Take one large deep breath and exhale forcefully through your mouth.

That's it. Really really. As you do this more and more you'll note where your focus goes, and it'll be easier to follow it. Your focus will go toward your grounding and when you find that center of calm, be it in the Earth or in the Stars, then slowly add into your grounding the following, starting once your focus starts to travel:

Follow your focus to your ground.
Feel your ground and know that it's a safe place for you.
Release into your ground all that you don't wish to carry anymore.
Gather from your ground the stillness and centering you feel there.

Continue then to do this for 10 minutes, then come out as it says above. If you don't have 10 minutes, then do it for as long as you have. The more you get used to touching and interacting with your ground, the easier it will be to reach. Eventually, with time and practice, you'll be able to reach your ground at a moment's notice. Stress, grief, fear, worry - these things make it harder to reach your ground, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means you need to go through all the steps. Don't worry if it takes you more time than you think it should to get easier at this... it'll take as long as it takes. It will get easier, I promise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

now, about Free Will...

No matter where you look these days it's a screaming match between however many groups feel like being in on the "debate". I'm using that term loosely... it's not really a debate. It's a screaming match.

If you read the last post about breathing, well, you know where I stand there. If not, go read it. It's not long. I'll wait.

....... Back? Good. :)

So here's the thing. We as Pagans, as Witches, Seers, Practitioners... we have a role in the world. I've been working for a while on better handling my role, better taking hold of my role and really living it. It's been really good, I won't lie. Being more active in my path, following it more closely and being more aware all the time of what falls where and how... well... what it leaves me with is a great sense of peace. It's not always easy, but things are better when I pay attention and live my path.

There is a movement on a few blogs that I follow to use our magic to influence the current election. Calls for spells to be cast on certain people - spells to aid, to clear people's minds, to remove roadblocks... you name it, I've seen a call for it.

I walked a Circle around the Capitol building scattering rosemary in my wake to help bring calm and clarity to the people who worked there. I've drummed and sung loud and clear to the Goddess for aid on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial on Samhain. I cannot say that I haven't used magic to help further a political agenda concerning human rights. I have done what I can when called on.

There are those who say we're all being called on once again, in larger numbers than ever before.

I'm only sure of one thing... we need to be careful. For as many people who want to cast for Candidate A there are likely as many for Candidate B and Candidate C. That is a LOT of magic flying around.

Yes. We have duties. No, we cannot just ignore the rule about free will. It's not just pretty words - subverting the will of another is just plain wrong. I don't really care if you disagree with them and know that casting something on them to "help them see"... you're messing with Will.

Yours might be stronger than theirs. That doesn't make you right.

If you are going to cast a spell or do magical work for the sake of the nation, think long and hard about it - are you seeking to subvert their will or are you offering them aid? Are you offering them something they can ignore, or are you *making* them see your way?

Be responsible.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Breathing is everything

I've started taking a lunchtime meditative yoga class - it's focused on breathing, and the necessity of being present. It's done wonders for my work stress. Interestingly, when I say that, some people think it's actually alleviating that stress, as though it simply disappears.

So they try it, meditative yoga, and then they come to me all pissed off and ranting about how it was just breathing and stretching and what the hell was I doing that it made all my stress go away, and that pile of work was still sitting on their desk and the deadlines didn't go away and, and, and....

And I just sigh, take a measured breath in, release it in stages and look at them with a level eye. "It doesn't make the stress disappear. It makes the stress easier to deal with" I say as I walk away. There's no arguing with those people.

Debate is a beautiful thing. It's organic, growing in strange and uneven ways, expanding into the space it's given at first then bursting through the seams and taking over whole worlds. It can leave understanding and blood in its wake.

It's equally exhilarating and difficult to debate someone you know socially. There comes a point, however, when it's also extremely draining, and that's when you have to take a deep breath, exhale slowly and with no force, and excuse yourself from the debate.

There are a great many people with whom I agree to disagree on a great many topics. Some of those people I love very dearly. Some of them are simply acquaintances. But none of it keeps me up at night. Those people hold no malice for me. So deep breaths, that's all.

There are only so many times that you can look around your office and think "wow, you people have no clue." It's difficult to be the person in your job and know that the people you're explaining the project to have no earthly clue what words are coming out of your mouth. It's easier to speak Greek than it is to speak Tech sometimes.

You can probably guess what I'm going to say next... ;)

Yup. Breathe.

It really is everything.

Monday, May 16, 2016

When Gardening is a Prayer

I've been putting off my gardening more than I should - granted, not completely but it's taken me a while to get motivated to get my hands dirty.

See, early morning gardening is what my grandmother taught me. It was the most important lesson - get out, get dirty, get messy, get the yardwork done before half the block was awake yet. Get the iris thinned, get the trimming done, get those trees mulched, get the flowers watered before the sun was too high. Work in the wee hours just after sunrise and greet the day the way we were meant to, with dirt in our hair and a smile on our faces.

So when himself and I finally made the decision that the bush beside the house with runners that were climbing onto the house itself, leaving awful sucker roots in the pain and the siding, climbing under the siding and into the joints of the porch, well... it was time. It had to go.

I put it off for days. Weeks. I didn't want to, because I... well I don't really know. There was something in me that was afraid that the moment I was out there, working hard with gloves and pruning shears and bags and cans for the greenery I was chopping down I would break down, dissolving into my tears. But it had to go - it was nothing but a foul smelling bush that was a home for black flies and (at some point) a wasp nest. (don't worry, no stings... the thing was empty and partially crushed)

So I woke up this morning, got dressed and skipped coffee, and strapped on my gloves. It was freezing outside and my short sleeves were reminding me of that as the wind whipped by. So I worked harder. I warmed up. I hacked and pulled and tore and bit by bit stripped the bush down to nothing but a stump. It took about an hour. I was sweaty and breathless, and when I took a break I heard my grandmother's voice whisper on the breeze how I'd done a good job. I smiled, just a few tears in my eyes, but I smiled.

My coffee tasted amazing this morning.

Have you ever stood under a Full Moon and watched the light explode out from behind a cloud? Have you felt the flood that comes from the light spilling out completely into the night and continuing to pour out into the world till the moon is dark and quiet?

This weekend is the Full Moon. Plant your flowers and crops this week, tuck them into the soil and tell them the long wash of moonlight is coming to nurture them. The flood is coming for you too, and it's up to you to use that light in ways that benefit your path best. And as the New Moon comes, all dark and calm and quiet, settle yourself in and listen to the messages there, and know the Goddesses and Gods speak there.