Daily Archives: May 8, 2012

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for May 8th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Today I heard the laughter of children at play. Their voices filled the air almost like chimes. And I felt their arms about my neck and their sticky kisses on my face. How blessed I am! Today I heard a mockingbird trilling out every single song it ever heard from its winged friends. I closed my eyes and in the trees I heard all the voices I’ve heard since childhood, and it took me through all the happy, breathless, precious times I loved so much.

Today I heard my mother’s voice calling to me happily. It was a good, strong, healthy voice that has called to me courage, and hope and peace, and shall continue to call down many lanes to me.

Today I heard my child’s voice. I heard her singing, I heard her praying, I heard her laughing and talking. I heard her teasing and moving from place to place in all the activities I love to see her in.

Now, even more than ever I realize how grateful I am that God has given me the excellent faculty of hearing. I shall with all diligence try to hear nothing evil, but only love and peace which is my heritage.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 8

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 8

“We must all become caretakers of the Earth.”

—- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders

Mother Earth is the source of all life. We should not only be concerned about the part of the Earth we live on, but we should be concerned about the parts of the Earth that other people live on. The Earth is one great whole. The trees in Brazil generate the air in the Untied States. If the trees are cut in Brazil, it affects the air that all people breathe. Every person needs to conscientiously think about how they respect the Earth. Do we dump our garbage out of the car? Do we poison the water? Do we poison the air? Am I taking on the responsibility of being a caretaker of the Earth?

Great Spirit, today, I will be aware of the Earth. I will be responsible.

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May 8 – Daily Feast

May 8 – Daily Feast

If we ignore everything beautiful and look down the road to some future time, chances are it will be the same. This is the time, the e to a, the now, the present, to see the dearness of other people, the chance to be grateful – to enjoy. Why wait? Perfect times are elusive. They create an atmosphere that life should be lived on some high emotional level instead of experiencing love. Time goes by. The peaks were not what made life worthwhile – but the in-between times that gave us a chance to stand in the quiet of a wooded glen, even if it is just in our hearts, and know that love made it all worthwhile. Love will continue to make each a giant of peace in our souls.

~ I want to tell you if the Great Spirit had chosen anyone to be chief of this country, it is myself. ~

SITTING BULL

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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The Daily Motivator for May 8th – A life well lived

A life well lived

Pleasure is nice, but it is never enough. Material wealth can be immensely helpful, but brings no fulfillment of its own accord.

Power can give great satisfaction to your ego. Yet a life lived solely in the service of ego ends up being small and pathetic.

What truly makes life good is the commitment you put into making life good. What makes life good is the experience of making a difference.

There is much that’s already been given to you by virtue of your existence, and there is much more that may or may not be given to you. What matters at the core of your spirit, though, is not what you have but what you do with it.

No person, situation, event or possession can give you fulfillment. What brings about real fulfillment is your participation in bringing it about.

Life’s rewards are not what you long for. What you long for is to genuinely earn your own significance.

Every moment is an opportunity to do so. Treasure each of those opportunities, make full use of them, and you will have the priceless experience of a life well lived.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Daily OM for Tuesday, May 8th – The Power Within

The Power Within
Energy 101

by Madisyn Taylor

 

Energy cannot be destroyed, but it be changed and transformed.

There is an undercurrent of energy thrumming through the Universe. Like the wind or a whisper, we can sometimes hear it and often feel it. Most of the time, we sense this energy unconsciously without any tangible proof it is really there. Thoughts, emotions, and the life force in all living things are forms of this kind of energy. So are creativity, growth, and change. The impressions, images, and vague premonitions we get about people and situations are other examples of formless energy. When you enter a space and feel an “intangible tension” in the air that gives you a sense of foreboding in your gut, what you are likely experiencing is energy.

Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed or transferred from one person, thing, or source to another. Though energy is formless, it does take form and shape in the way it flows and resides within all things: a grain of sand, a bird, a stone, and an ocean wave. Living things radiate complex vibrations while nonliving things’ vibrations are simpler. Energy is a magnifier that can attract like energies while repelling disparate ones. Many of our reactions to people and circumstances are based on unconscious reactions to their energies. We may even intuitively tune into the energy of a situation we are facing when making a decision about how to proceed. With careful practice and meditation, we can learn to sense the energy within other living things and ourselves. We can also become more attuned to how we are impacted by different kinds of energy. For instance, being around too many energies can leave one person feeling edgy or excited, while another person will feel tired and drained.

While some people feel that energy can be controlled, others see it is as the unknowable force that moves through all things. The combined energy in all things plays a hand in birth, death, growth, movement, and stillness. Practitioners of Aikido believe that all living beings share a common energy source that is our life force. Whatever your beliefs, it is worthwhile to explore the roles energy plays in your life so you can understand it more fully.

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The Voice of Spirit

The Voice of Spirit

Author: Crick

From the realm of spirit to the physical realm we are each sent forth. And like a babe in the woods we are exposed from the instant of birth until our final breath, to the cacophony of life. We experience the intrusion of sound and physical experiences at every step of our journey. Throughout our lives the voices and actions of others of our kind seek to influence us to their ways. Like a leaf caught in the maelstrom of the ocean, we are tossed this way and that by the opinions and biases of those around us.

Every human on earth seeks to offer answers to questions that they don’t understand. And yet so few will admit to such a lack of understanding. Rather then admit to being ignorant of the meaning of life, humans will create endless facades.

We create religions and politics and engage in wars in the name of Deity, and still we don’t follow the most obvious choice and that is to stop and listen to the voice of Spirit.

And yet I wonder if the voice of Spirit is of a sound that we cannot hear.

Unless of course we shut out the din of those around us who themselves have not the answers.
Every human on earth from an atheist to a member of a religion to those who follow a spiritual path is a seeker to some degree. And even though we are all naive students in the course of life the din of voices never seems to subside. At what point do we admit that we don’t have all of the answers and finally sit back and simply listen?

Every person on earth has one thing in common. And that commonality is belief. Whether it is in the belief of something or against a given belief, it serves as a common ground for all. And so what us it, that drives us to such lengths to establish our thoughts in such a manner?
Could this be the language in which Spirit speaks to each of us?

When a student of life walks into the comforting embrace of a deep and ancient forest, and thoughts that are not ones own begin to fill ones head, could this be the voice of Spirit?
Is it that Spirit speaks to us in a way that requires us to set aside our own voices and simply listen?

What if the whole world suddenly ceased the din of self serving admonishments of each other’s beliefs and personal biases and just listened to the voice of Spirit?

What kind of a world would we have then, I wonder? Would it be the chaotic morass of humanity that we have today? Would humanity be splintered into so many invectives if we were able and willing to recognize our lack of existential knowledge and let Spirit show us the way?

Realistically our species has proven as a whole to be incapable of such a basic discipline, preferring instead to engage in insecurities brought on by our lack of understanding of life not only in this realm but throughout the spiritual journey assigned to each of us.

These insecurities are borne out by our eagerness to engage in prejudices based upon the color of ones skin, ones religious/spiritual beliefs, political views, ethnicity and a myriad of other redundant excuses of why one student is crowing about how they are superior to another, at least within each ones own minds. And yet there is a small reprieve from such self-imposed roadblocks on seeking such answers to the Great Mysteries of life.

Fortunately spiritual growth is not dependent on our species as a whole crossing through the threshold of realization as one. Each one of us has the opportunity to make an independent decision on whether to allow the voice of Spirit to filter through the detritus of our minds. We can each decide on whether to be an attentive student or simply melding into the mob of lost souls who seek no better alternatives.

As it is, Spirit speaks to us in many different ways. If only we are willing to take the time to listen.

Have you ever found yourself drifting off into that mysterious realm of dreams only to encounter a dream that was so vivid and different from your normal experiences in such an ethereal landscape that it left you questioning the import of such a dream?

Could this be the voice of Spirit speaking out to you?

Have you ever ascended into the depths of a deep and contemplative meditation and while on your journey you began to have images from an unknown source flash across the dark void of your subconscious?

Could this be Spirit seeking to make a connection?

The voice of Spirit comes across as a quiet offering that does not attempt to shout above the din of noise created by humankind. For Spirit is indisputably the ancient teacher and not the boisterous students known as humankind. The voice of Spirit is a teacher that transcends the dawn of humanity itself.

How many times have you found yourself in a contentious situation that required a difficult decision to be made and it was suggested that you listen to your “Inner” voice? Could this Inner voice actually be the sage voice of Spirit patiently waiting to offer you guidance in your time of dire need? Could such an inner voice be the thread of communication that Spirit uses to connect with all of humanity regardless of the multitude of divisions that we devise to separate ourselves from one another?

Oftentimes a loud voice is used to drown out that which we don’t want to hear or that which we are uncomfortable with or simply don’t understand. Could it be that humanity as a whole is through its very self-destructive actions, doing just this? Could it be that our ignorance and/or our fear of the unknown is causing us to drown out the voice of Spirit?

The voice of Spirit is the torch in the night that will lead us along the path of growth when all else is in darkness.

Are you willing and able to heed it?

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Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Author: Amergin Aradia

It seems that the debate about who is and who is not a “real Witch” is coming to a head. Is this sect real as opposed to that sect? Are those in covens real Witches as opposed to solitaries’. And on and on it goes. It’s beginning to sound like the fight between factions of the Christian religion or between organized religions as a whole. That’s probably the way they began too.

This silly useless debate is pulling our community apart as well. The truth is, are any of us real Witches. And how do you define a real Witch? By whose standards and rules?

As an illustration of my point I’ll tell you my story. I have always known that I was a Witch, even before I really knew what that was. When I was very young (grade school) I had certain abilities and interests that other kids didn’t. I practiced raising energy, practiced ESP (as it was called then) , I astral projected, and I cast spells. I was drawn to the night, the moon and stars, and I identified with all things “magical.”

I wasn’t trained by anyone because there was no one to train me. I had to figure it out for myself and that was in the 1950’s so you know there were very few references to rely on even if I knew where to look. As I grew up I did what everyone else did then, got a job and tried to live what was considered a “normal” life, as unsatisfying as that was.

I maintained my interests and practices over the years as best I could, if only peripherally. There may have been one or two occult bookstores in the area but you really had to search them out and I only managed to get to one every so often and then only to browse because I didn’t know what I was looking for. You didn’t just walk up to someone and tell him or her you were a Witch and wanted to join a coven. And people didn’t come out of the woodwork to invite you to join one, even if you knew where to look.

So I dabbled, training myself the best way I could using instinct as my guide. At the time I would have loved to have found someone to train me and I would have loved to have found a coven to join so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. But they didn’t exactly advertise. And there was no Internet in those days to bring us all together.

So unless you were lucky, you were on your own. Like it or not.

Now that we have all these books, magazines, and web sites to fill in the gaps I find that my instincts did very well by me. Everything that I taught myself way back then is now being touted as the way to do it by the “experts.” I have since collected an entire library of books hoping to find information that would help me advance my practice but with the exception of a few interesting bits that I’ve added here and there, I have been disappointed.

I have also attended classes, open groves, and ceremonies, and while the people that I met were very nice it just didn’t feel right for me. I’ve also become very disillusioned with the influx of the newest brick and mortar shops. They seem to have become havens of self-help, yoga, meditation, and coffee and music.

And while I practice yoga and meditation myself I don’t want to go to my local Craft shop to pick up a yoga mat, balance ball, or a book by Dr. Phil. I want to pick up the tools for my ceremonies and spell crafting and, unfortunately, the kind of shop I want seems to be few and far between (except on line.) It feels as though the craft as I remember it is being homogenized and made so “acceptable” in the eyes of the general public that it is becoming useless to serious practitioners. But I digress here.

So to sum up this article, does it mean that I am not a real Witch because I had no one to “lead the way” or no coven to adopt me and teach me “their right way”? Quite frankly I think that makes me an even better real Witch because I had to figure it out for myself. And because of that my understanding and beliefs don’t quite fit into any prescribed dogma. So that is why I stay a solitary practitioner and that is why I have stepped back from the community as a whole.

But then I don’t look at being a Witch as a religion, with all of its implied rules and regulations and dogma. I look at being a Witch in the same way that the old village Witches looked at it. I revere the earth and heavens and do my best to respect and tread lightly on her.

I try to live a spiritual life without bowing to or begging the acceptance of any one archetypal being. I look at the Goddess and Gods as a representation on this plane of the source of all energy and power. I cast spells for my own benefit, and mine alone, as I don’t believe I have the right to manipulate anyone else’s life. And I believe that Karma will out eventually.

I believe that being a Witch is as simple as that. It’s in your heart, it’s in your soul, and it’s who YOU know you really are. Not because someone gives you permission to be one simply because you read and adhere to someone else’s views as written down and published. Or because you attend meetings once a week, or once a month, or even once a quarter.

But because YOU know you are. And whether you are solitary or a member of a group, no matter what that group represents, you are really on your own. You must practice, practice, practice, and hold that knowing in your own heart…alone.

That’s what makes you a “real Witch.”

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Doing What the Book Says: A Cautionary Tale

Doing What the Book Says: A Cautionary Tale

Author: Bronwen Forbes 

I was young, I was a shiny new Pagan, the Internet – which made contacting my fellow religionists as easy as calling my mom – was about ten years away from being invented, and by gosh I was going to perform this solitary sabbat exactly as The Book told me to! (And no, I’m not going to tell you which “The Book” it was. It would only embarrass me further and wouldn’t do the now-deceased author’s reputation any good. Okay, okay I’ll give you a hint somewhere below) : By the time I’d finished my ritual, I’d nearly burned the house down – a house that included my dog, four cats, and my born again Christian (now ex) husband.

But I learned a valuable lesson that night, a lesson that I see more and more new Pagans ignoring these days:

Books (and now the Internet) are no substitute for practical, hands-on experience with a group of like-minded people. But allow me to continue my illustration:

The Book said I needed a cauldron for this ritual, so I found a really cute brass one at Pier One – it even had soldered-on brass feet which I thought was particularly important – it’d be up off the hideous pumpkin orange shag carpet in my den because Gods forbid I scorch the hideous pumpkin orange shag carpet. The Book said to pour about an inch and a half of rubbing alcohol into the cauldron. And light it.

And, Gods help me and my now ex-husband who was sleeping – oblivious to the ritual and the fire – in the next room and the dog and the cats, I lit it.

The Book didn’t say (or maybe I missed that part) that this ritual had been designed to be performed outside. Outside where, theoretically, a six-foot column of flame shooting out of a brass cauldron wouldn’t be quite so much of an issue. Naturally, The Book didn’t say anything about having a pot lid or sand nearby to smother the flames, so I had no way to douse the tall bonfire that was pretty much the same shade as the hideous pumpkin orange shag carpet.

The Book also didn’t say that the cauldron would, ideally, be cast iron, and not soldered brass bits. Any intelligent, experienced ritualist could have told me that, but I didn’t know any other ritualists yet – intelligent or otherwise – so I was on my own. And it finally dawned on me that I was in big trouble when the solder attaching one of the cauldron legs melted from the heat, causing the pot to tip sideways.

I now had about four feet of flame at about a forty to forty-five degree angle from the floor. I’m just damn lucky it didn’t tip so far that the alcohol poured out onto the aforementioned lovely orange shag carpet. As it was, some of the individual threads were a little black and crunchy if you examined them too closely.

Eventually, the inch and a half of rubbing alcohol burned itself out. Subdued, I finished the rest of the ritual as quickly as possible, put my things away, and crawled into bed beside my still-sleeping spouse. All that was left to deal with was the interesting conversation the next day.

Him: How did that black stuff get on the ceiling in the den? It looks like soot.

Me: I have no idea, dear.

Him: And the carpet looks like it’s singed or something.

Me: Really? I hadn’t noticed.

Funny? Yes. Stupid and potentially lethal? You betcha. However, the incident made me understand the contemporary wisdom of the old phrase, “You cannot be a witch alone” and I started circling and studying with the nearest group before the next sabbat. (Nice to know I’m not as dumb as I look!)

I am not saying that being a solitary practitioner is a bad thing. Far from it, whether you choose to be so for personal or geographical reasons. I am saying, don’t leave your common sense in the back pocket of your other pants whenever you open a book of Pagan rituals or click on a Pagan how-to website. It’s not common sense to wear a short, sleeveless tunic at an outdoor ritual in January. In Wisconsin. It’s not common sense to fast if you have any sort of blood sugar issue. And it’s sure not common sense to try to set your den on fire just because The Book said to do something a certain way. If I’d been thinking, instead of slavishly following, I’d have had one heck of a less exciting evening – to my benefit. And yes, these are all examples of bad advice I’ve seen in books and online.

If some faceless Pagan authority (me included) writes that you should do something and your gut tells you it’s a bad idea, listen to your gut. Better yet, go find someone who’s actually been in ritual with other people and ask them – and their friends. If, through Witchvox, you can’t find someone in your neighborhood, well, it’s better to go online and ask around rather than suffer frostbite – or burn your house down. Better yet, see if you can spend a few holidays in ritual with them, ask questions, learn how rituals are — and are not — supposed to go.

I’m on a lot of online Pagan forums, and I can’t even begin to count how many posts go something like, “I tried this ritual with my friends last night and now I feel sick and I have the worst headache. What did I do wrong?” Well, did you ground and center beforehand? “No, the ritual didn’t say to.” Did you check to see if you might be allergic to whatever you burned as incense? “Um, no.” Did you eat anything beforehand? “Um, no.” Five minutes asking about these sorts of basics beforehand, either online or at a local Pagan meet up would stop most, if not all, of these sad posts.

I’m also a print journalism major, and my professors are always cautioning me that if something, no matter how preposterous, is written down, people will believe it. This includes you. So we future newspaper reporters need to be extra careful about making sure our stories are as accurate as possible. How do we do that? We confirm through other sources anything we’re told as “fact.”

I cannot advise you too strongly to do the same.

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