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Celebrating Lughnasadh

August 4, 2010

As I’ve been slowly realizing that Wicca is my true spiritual path, I am paying more attention to the changing seasons and the Wheel of the Year.  This is the first time that I’ve honored the Sabbat, Lughnasadh or Lammas.  My understanding of this day, celebrated August 1st, is a time to celebrate the first harvests.  Grains and corn are representative of this, so bread and cornhusk dolls have a prominent role in the celebration.  My own observation of the days surrounding the Sabbat have brought up other significant issues connected harvest, storing up  and sustaining life through the harsh winter.

I’ve been spending time in the woods and at the river.  It only stands to reason that I would come face to face with wildlife. However, my encounters in nature seem to have more significance than the “ah, hey!  look at that!” when a woodland creature crosses my path.  I started noticing the tendency of animals to jump out in front of my bike on the trail about a week ago.  At first, it was a rabbit or two or three and a few birds swooping across our local nature trail.  Then it increased in quantity and variety. 

Today I hit the apex. Or so it would seem, perhaps I should wait until after tomorrow’s ride to say for sure.  So here is the list of animals I encountered on today’s 45 minute excursion through the woods.

  • woodchuck
  • rabbits
  • chipmunks
  • red squirrel
  • ducks
  • geese
  • turkey
  • dragonflies
  • butterflies

In addition to all of those, we can add the trout that I encountered while playing in the river at Ohiopyle State Park over the weekend. 

I don’t claim to have an endless store of knowledge about the symbolism behind these animals, but I know that their appearance is telling me something, and I have resources

The symbolism of the woodchuck was difficult to find. The lesson it brings appears to be that of being open to dreams and altered states of consciousness.  It is the totem animal of shamans and mystics. I feel the woodchuck telling me that it’s not only good for me to be open to the dreams and visions I see in meditation, but that it is necessary for me to do so. I am embarking on a path that will transform me into a psychic, or mystic if you like, and so this woodchuck tells me to keep moving in that direction.

We all associate the rabbit with reproduction, and luck.  For me, I take the celtic interpretation of the conception of new ideas and nurturing them in fertile minds and hearts.  In other words, that new business idea I’ve been working on is being confirmed by the appearance of the rabbits.  I need to nurture that plan so that it can grow in a secure manner.

Chipmunks:  these little rodents gather and store, planning ahead, always looking toward the time when resources may not be as plentiful.  Their appearance to me at Lammas is not lost on me.  It is time to harvest, save, and make a plan.  Yes, I’ve already increased the amount I divert into a savings account.

Red Squirrels, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ran across my path today as well.  Oh, they are fun to watch, so playful, like the slapstick comedians of the forest.  Like the chipmunks, they gather and store.  Could it be that the appearance of the red squirrel is to remind me to have fun while making the plan for the new venture?  Avia Venefica points out that the squirrel reminds us of the need for balance, not to overthink or invest too much in preparation as the squirrel only finds about 10% of the nuts it has hidden. 

A small stream runs along much of the trail that I ride.  I often see ducks and geese, and in these days surrounding Lughnasadh, I’ve seen both. Because they are migratory, these graceful birds call on us to consider our own transitory nature.  I can feel big changes coming for me.  I’ve already taken steps on that transformational pathway.  Geese also return to the same home every year, so this may be a gentle reminder to stay grounded and remember those who are my rock and foundation.

Wild Turkey, not the adult beverage that is usually served “on the rocks” but the symbol that they use for their logo.  They are shockingly large when one is used to seeing just the carcasses in the supermarket freezer around Thanksgiving.   Once again, the turkey reinforces the concept of a new beginning and a cycle of preparation.  The turkey is associated with pride and virility and abundance.  It is a reminder to be strong, prepared, and grateful for not only what I have, but what is coming my way.

 

 

Dragonflies and Butterflies have been flitting around me for weeks now.  Dragonflies are always found near water, so the connection is emotional and related to my work as a psychic. Water symbols represent what is deep in our subconscious, but the dragonfly brings that to the surface.  Butterflies, in true abundance have been surrounding me this week.  They have even landed on me.  There is no mistaking the message of transformation.  A caterpillar undergoes quite a dramatic change in the cocoon and emerges as the beautiful butterfly.  Their message to me seems to be that I too am emerging from a cocoon and that my life is beautiful.  Both speak to me of good luck. 

Finally, I have spent more time in water this summer than any I can recall in my recent past.  This is natural, running water, not some chemical-laiden pool.  It is not lost on me that the water of the Youghiogheny River is a symbol for subconscious thought and I am spending a lot of time in that river physically as well as emotionally.  My time there is a good indication of what is going on in my head. Seeing the trout reinforces those ideas of creativity, fertility, prosperity, and in the Celtic tradition, knowledge, inspiration, and prophecy.  For me, this is where my spiritual journey is taking me.  I’m moving on to sharpen my psychic skills so that I can gain insight not only for myself, but for those who would seek me out for insight to their own lives. 

It’s an awesome, sometimes confusing, incredible and rewarding journey.  I see now why I went through some difficult times.  I would not be the person I am without those dark days.  In turn, I can reach out and light a candle for those who are still in the dark.  May I do that for you?

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Playing with Wordle

October 15, 2009

Wordle: NEM

 

Just click on it.  The site is fun and you can make your own word map.

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The Wheel

July 16, 2009

Wheel

I pulled a tarot card first thing this morning.  It was the Wheel of Fortune.  All in all this is a very good card.  It means that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard or how little we’ve worked, some things just happen with no apparent reason, and they are to our benefit.  So today, I’m lucky, or so the cards would have me believe. 

I’m not a pessimist, but I’ve been thinking about this Wheel of Fortune.  It represents luck, but nothing about the card excludes bad luck or even mediocre luck.   A tarot website that I consulted, even suggested that this card is about karma, as in  “what goes around, comes around.”  Can that even be considered luck?

So now that I’ve been pondering on this card for nearly 6 hours, I’ve figured a few things out.  First, we’re lucky  for the majority of our waking hours.  We’re even lucky when we’re sleeping.   Many people die in their sleep every night; I didn’t last night, so I guess that makes me lucky. 

The candle I left burning while I went out this morning didn’t burn the house down.  I didn’t get hit by a truck while I was riding my bike to do some shopping.  I have sufficient physical fitness to ride a bicycle several miles.  No one stole the bike while I was in the store in spite of not using the lock to secure the bike.  

The convenience store was giving away free fruit smoothies.  I was able to ride my bike while carrying the smoothie.  There was no bad news in my mailbox.  I mislaid my cellphone, but found it quickly.  It looks like rain, but the sun is still shining.  A bee stung me 2 days ago, but I have anti-itch medicine to counteract the venom. 

My marriage is secure.  I have wonderful children.  My parents just celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Friends surround me.  I’m gainfully employed.  I have the summer off from work.  The tomatoes are starting to ripen.

So what is it that makes today luckier than other days?  Should I be on the lookout for that one big lucky event?  Should I buy a lottery ticket?

Or should I be content with the knowledge that on any given day, all of us are lucky to still be here?

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Tree Sitting

June 16, 2009

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
 
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
 
A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
 
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
 
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 
 
Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918

 

I found myself sitting in a tree today.  It’s not like I woke suddenly to discover that I was in the tree; it was a conscious act, I chose to climb the tree.  I’m glad I did.

Life has taken me to some new and exciting places these past few months.  Some of the locations are spiritual, accessible only through meditation, while others have been physical places, some of which I never dreamed I would find myself. 

Reading tarot cards at a Biker festival was a bit of surprise for me.  The whole experience took me out of my normal realm and dropped me in the midst of a community and culture with which I have had little exposure.  On top of being a stranger in a strange land, I was doing a strange thing:  promoting myself as a psychic reader and performing readings using my relatively new tarot deck.  I was amazed at what was coming from within, and from the reactions of the clients who sat down for a reading, I’m guessing my readings were accurate. 

So this morning, I sat down to do some more reading about psychic development, and do some meditation.  It’s one of those sunny, warm, late spring days (solstice is still 5 days away) and I have all the time to sit and read.  Alternating between reading and meditation, and keeping my glass full of iced tea, I took the time to explore my own life, and experiment with some new ideas. 

The experiment is how I ended up in the tree.  All of the reading I’ve been doing about psychic development stresses a connection to the earth.  The earth is a vehicle for both positive and negative energy, and it nourishes the soul.  One of the exercises directed me to ground myself by emptying all my energy into the earth, then allowing myself to be filled again with all of the life-giving energy that the earth has to offer.  It was at that point that I felt I should climb up the tree.  So, I did it. 

Trees are incredibly alive.  I certainly knew that I’d find plenty of insects, birds and the evidence of their presence.  I was not prepared for how fully vibrant and moving it would be to sit in that tree.  It was moving, literally and emotionally.  As I meditated, clearing my mind of all else and concentrating on one particular issue I am having, I could feel the life of the tree.  It swayed, it moved, it vibrated.  I could feel all of that life supporting me, and moving me with it.  I could the strength and vitality of the tree, and witnessed the flexibility of the strong branches.  The thin supple twigs at the far reaches of the tree seemed just as strong as the slowly moving thick trunk.    Through it all, I could feel the spirit of that tree, honoring my own humble meditation, holding me up, giving me strength as I asked the Supreme Being of the universe to help me. 

The spirit of the Green Man blessed me today.  My soul is better for it, my life has been enriched, just because I did some tree sitting.

 

Thank you, Green Man.

Green Man

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Storyteller

May 26, 2009

You know these guys.  You somehow get dragged into a tent at a festival, or the school sends home a notice asking you to bring your child to school for an evening of storytelling.  You prepare yourself for an hour of some old guy in bib overalls, telling endless stories that end abruptly and make no sense.  Perhaps it’s a woman in a long calico dress who lived on a commune in the 1960’s, and she breaks out an autoharp to sing a song about spinning wool, but either way, you feel like you’re in for a real snoozefest. 

In this case, I needed to pick up some credits for Pennsylvania’s Act 48 continuing education requirement for teachers, and this storyteller was hosted by a local elementary school.  All I had to do was show up, listen to a few stories, and collect my 1 hour credit. 

Unfortunately, I was drawn in.  This guy was good, perhaps too good.  I had to give him credit, he was in corduroy pants and suspenders instead of bib overalls.  His first story was not only enough to hold my attention, I found myself imagining what this 8 foot tall hairy woman would look like.  I wondered how this “regular man” could leave the child he had with the hairy woman, and I certainly couldn’t imagine how he could leave his son, no matter how ugly the kid was.  

So when the storyteller asked us to close our eyes and go on a journey, I did so quite willingly.  Why not?  I’ve been practicing some meditation lately, and I figured this story could be like a guided meditation.  We were directed to walk into the woods.  As we made our way through the forest, we were told to follow the path to the big tree up ahead, our family tree.  Our next instruction was to take a close look at it, feel the bark, look down at the roots, gaze up through the branches into the sunlight. 

Our storyteller asked us to do what seemed to be impossible, but it was afterall, just in our minds.  We entered the tree.  We were doing this collectively, a group, in the school cafeteria, but at this point, the story, and the experience became very personal.  I’d even describe it as sensual and intimate without being sexual.  A tree is an awesome living thing, and to be in the tree, our own family tree, is a deeply personal experience.  

“Go down to the roots, and if you see an animal there, greet them; listen to what they have to say.”   I saw a skunk, which made me laugh a little, but I heard him say what a great honor it is to live in this tree, and that I was a special part of the life of the tree.  I travelled to the highest branches and met a robin there.  The robin told me that the branches of this tree have given me the ability to soar.  I thanked both the skunk and the robin and returned to the trunk. 

Our guide asked us to leave the tree and start back on the pathway to our real world.  We rubbed our hands together, perhaps to awaken our minds to our present reality.  Then we wiped our faces to open our eyes and leave behind that great family tree we discovered in our imaginations. 

Storyteller, where did you take me this evening?  I’ve been playing with myth and magick, story and dreams.  Meditation has taken me to places much like you showed me tonight.  Once again, I am reminded that we are all connected. Family connections, whether we like it or not, can be very strong. They can be help us or hurt us.  Ultimately, the family tree determines not only who we are, but provides those heaven-lifted branches from which we take flight to become the person we are meant to be.

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Absent

April 27, 2009

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here on this terrestrial ball.  For me, writing is connected to spirituality, and lately, I haven’t felt very spiritual, or even like I have anything of value to say.  I know my pastor would say that I am going through the “valley of the shadow”.  I suppose this is where I find myself, but not in a despondent, depressed, or desperate situation.  Let’s say that I’m “in transition”.

Back in December, I wrote about my experience of leaving a job and church that I loved, the way in which that it appeared I was forced out by a new, and interim minister, and the betrayal I felt by the congregation.  I admit that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that experience.  I’m hurt that so many who greeted me warmly every Sunday morning do not care to know what is happening with me now, do not wish to understand what could have driven me away.  I keep asking myself “where is the love that they so freely professed?” 

I am reminded that this is not the first time I’ve experienced alienation from a group of Christians.  As a matter of fact, recalling the experiences of my parents, other ministers that I’ve worked with in my career as a church musician, and a variety of  tales that have been related to me by those who’ve been mistreated at the hands of Christians, I’d have to say that it is the natural condition of churches to destroy its own members, or at least to ostracize those who are “not our kind of people”.   Of course, this is done in spite of the clear command in scripture to Love One Another.

I’ve been absent from church services since December.  Oh, I’ve gone a few times, but you could count those on the fingers of one hand.  Two of those services were to substitute for an organist who needed time off after surgery. We visited a Unitarian church but didn’t quite feel like it met our spiritual needs.   I attended my husband’s church but found it lacking of any real substance;  it felt like they’d found something that worked at one time and saw no need to review it’s effectiveness.  Now they simply continue performing the same empty rites out of obligation. 

Where I’m not:  I’m not sad, depressed, or suicidal.  I’m also not lacking any interest in spiritual things.  Despite some snarky comments around Easter  in which I may have stated that we should reinstate the practice of feeding Christians to the lions, I have no contempt for those who find spiritual fulfillment in organized Christianity.  But I also think I am no longer one of those who can find fulfillment in the church pew.

 

So yes, I’ve been absent, from here at my blog, as well as at church.  Where have I been?  I’ve been hanging out with some people that most would consider as being on the fringes of religion, and others would say that they are just plain heathens.  That’s ok with me.  I’ve learned that those who have been persecuted, those who have lived through painful episodes in life, are the ones with deep insight and compassion.  I’m happy to be in their company, they tend to be wise people. 

I’m also no longer able to suppress my trust in my own intuition.  Since I’ve been paying attention to those subtle urges and thoughts that enter so quickly, I’ve noticed that they are becoming more accurate.  It is as if I am becoming more aware of the emotions, motives, and likely actions of the people around me.  This awareness gives me clues about how to act and respond in positive ways.  I feel as though I am connected to the whole of the universe, including the God that is omnipresent, and so much bigger than the God that is spoken of in the churches I’ve attended in the past. 

I hope that I’m not shallow, not trendy, but it seems that I may indeed be what is known as post-christian.  I can no longer participate in an organization that routinely does the opposite of its mission statement.  I’ve long hesitated to call myself Christian, but that does not mean I have discarded the teachings of Christ.  As a matter of fact, I hope I’m able to do a better job of following the great commandment than the Christians who stood silently while their new leader ushered me out the church’s door.

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Quit Your Whining About Valentine’s Day!

February 11, 2009

valentine-cupid-free-vintage-clip-art-1

 

Listen up, all you straight guys!  A gay man is going to tell you what to do about Valentine’s Day.  You’ve been complaining for months that your girl, your wife, your significant other just isn’t putting out on a regular basis, and now, the one sure night you could get some loving, you’re going to mess it up by complaining that Hallmark is forcing you to say “I Love You” just so they and the florists can make huge profits.  Well, as the song goes, it ain’t necessarily so.  Valentine’s Day celebrations took place long before Hallmark ever printed a greeting card. 

So, let this romantic fairy tell you what you need to do to keep your woman happy, and score yourself some passionate lovemaking on February 14th.   First, stop complaining about how you’re being blackmailed, bribed, coerced, forced to fork out big bucks to let your girl know what she already knows:  that you love her.   Second, this little celebration doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.  If your woman has any depth (read: not a shallow gold-digger), you can put forth a small amount of effort and reap big rewards. 

Here’s my suggestion:  DO buy a gift.  It can be something small, like a candle, or stuffed animal, or inexpensive jewelry.  You might even skip the gift, and buy the $15 flowers at WalMart, if you follow my next suggestion.

Dinner:  you can take her to dinner, but that may mean handing over big bucks, and that’s if you’ve remembered to make a reservation.  Instead, why not “cook” for her?  I know, you can’t cook, but I bet you have a microwave oven and a supermarket nearby.  Here’s the plan:  create an easy, almost no-cook meal, and serve it to her.   Most supermarkets make it almost painless to look like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.   Purchase the following things:

  • bag of salad
  • small bag of sliced almonds for the salad
  • make sure you have salad dressing, something light
  • frozen vegetables in a steamer bag
  • rice or mashed potatoes in a microwave container
  • rotisserie chicken from the deli or Boston Market
  • 2 slices of cheesecake from the bakery

That’s the basic meal.  If you’ve got some skills you can add more to the salad, dress up the veggies, and add a sauce to the cheesecake.  Don’t forget some wine or champagne.

Now, get the table ready.  Think about where you will serve the meal.  The dining room is nice, but why not try another room?  How about setting up a small table, with a tablecloth, in the living room?  Even better, set the table in the bedroom.  Use your best dishes, add some candles, and be sure to have some music playing.  Make sure the music is conducive to getting her in the mood.   The best part of having dinner in the bedroom is that you’ve already got her close to the bed!  How can she refuse after all this “effort” you’ve made? 

Straight men:  I have faith in you!  You can do it!  And she will reward you with a night of passion, I guarantee it!

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