Eihwaz represents the Yew tree and its everlasting nature. The Yew may bend, but it does not break. You are on the right course and have the strength and ability to meet your goals. Congratulations!
Posts Tagged With: Nature
The Witches Almanac Tidbit for the end of August
Connect with Nature
Pagans follow a nature-based religion, and that connection with the natural world and the planet we live on is at the core of a Witchcraft practice. But it can be hard to make that connection in the midst of our busy lives, usually filled with technology and the noise of civilization. Make a commitment to take ten minutes a day to try and reconnect with nature. Take a walk and leave the earbuds out; listen to the birds instead. Open a window. Grow a plant. Smell a flower. Visit a body of water and rejoice at all the life it supports. Plant a tree. Look at the moon and the stars. Put your feet in the dirt. Dance in the rain.
Your Place in Nature?
Humanity evolved from the heart of Nature. Day by day, season by season, generation after generation, human lives were linked inseparably to the cycles of the living world. Like the heartbeat of a great Mother, the rhythms and workings of the natural world imprinted themselves into every cell of our bodies. We knew our place within the whole and developed spiritual beliefs that honored our independence within the vast network of sibling species.
For eons, the idea that humanity could be separate from the rest of life was essentially incomprehensible. Only in the past few hundred years have our minds fully embraced these concepts that tear us from the embrace of our broader family. The new myth is hard. By keeping us from recognizing the Earth as our natural means of support, it engenders in us a feeling of abandonment.
How do you perceive the living world around you? How do you view nature? Take this quiz and find out:
As you consider each question, jot down your responses. Be brief. The point is not to have everything all polished and exact – it is to get you thinking.
1. How would you define Nature? What is your personal relationship with it?
2. What is humanity’s relationship to Nature?
3. What do you like most about the natural world? Which plants and animals are most important?
4. What do you not trust about the natural world? What aspects of it scare you? Which animals or plants would you consider “bad?”
After taking this quiz step back. Create some distance between yourself and the mainstream consciousness. Work with your beliefs. As you begin to see the world more clearly, you’ll have an opportunity to observe your own beliefs with greater objectivity. Feel your connections. The very best way to demonstrate the illusion of separation is to gain some first-hand experience of just how connected you really are. Then, when you hear messages that try to convince you that you’re isolated, they won’t have any power. You’ll already know the truth because you’ve felt it in your body.
If It Aint Broke, Don’t Fix It!
Author: Dances With Puppydogs
I was broken.
There was always something wrong with me. Different…. And all I ever wanted was to be normal. Oh, I could fake it, for a while. But it never “took”. The effort of maintaining the phony façade would drain my energy to the point where I couldn’t keep it up for long.
Why am I such a freak? Why can’t I think, talk, act, be like everyone else. I even looked like a freak!
The long sleeved, high-necked dresses, always in an ugly dark brown, or rusty black that I was forced to wear. ‘Old Lady’ colors, I thought of them. Hems nearly to my ankles. My odd curly red hair — along with the suspicious comments, “Where’d that red hair come from? Nobody else in the family has red hair!” Hey, banana curls look cute on a three year old, but a thirteen year old? Going to public school? My curls gave me some hellish moments, let me tell you!
To top it off, I was FAT! Humongously, hideously fat. Now, in the particular society wherein I was raised, it was ok, nay, required for a female to be fat. It made them better baby factories, so it was thought, limited their mobility…how fast can you run from a husband who’s beating the crap out of you if you weigh 300 pounds? And God liked fat females .
Yeah, you heard me. God. Don’t ask me how they came up with that one…something to do with the Songs of Solomon, I think…
Right now, you might be a little confused. You might be thinking, ‘Where were you raised? A third world country? The Dark Ages?’ Nope. And Nope. Try Southeast Missouri, USA. I was born in 1953, into a Christian cult right in the middle of the Bible Belt. Needless to say, I was one confused, mixed up little girl.
At home: I was stupid, sinful, evil, female, property, devil possessed (my epilepsy was proof of that) , ugly, too skinny, and there was that suspicious red hair. Maybe Mama had been stepping out and there was that redheaded neighbor across the street. After all, she was female. Born evil. Maybe Daddy hadn’t beaten all the sinfulness out of her, after all!
In the Real World: I was too quiet; I had fits (epilepsy) . I wore freakish clothes and banana curls. I was stupid, fat, ugly, loser, freak, cow, and the list goes on and on.
At home, I wore one mask. At school, another. Of the two, the one for home was more important. At school, I would only get clobbered. At home, I could be tortured and killed! Home was a very dangerous place. There Were Rules:
1. Never smile. Smiling meant you were making fun of Grandfather, which meant you were making fun of God, since Grandfather was holy and so close to Him that they were one and the same. Get this, Grandfather couldn’t sin! He was so holy, that he could do anything he wanted and it wasn’t a sin. Anything. Neat, huh?
2. Never frown. You should have joy in the Lord.
3. Never, Never, Never Get Angry if you were a female. It showed you had a rebellious nature. Men could get angry. Their anger was the righteous anger of the Lord.
Indeed, I was broken. I wasn’t “normal” and never could be. At school, I buried myself in books. No monkey bars or swings for me. At home where reading anything but the bible was a mortal sin (and even the bible wasn‘t necessary for women. After all, they had men to explain God‘s Will to them, usually with their fists.) , I hid as much as I could. The cornfields, the woods, became my refuge.
But getting back to normal. Definitions:
Normal: conforming to the usual standard, type, or custom. Nope, not me. No way, no how, would I be considered normal. And that’s all I wanted.
Broken: inoperative, malfunctioning, faulty, defective, out of order, broken-down, kaput (informal) , conked-out (informal) , worn-out, wrecked, had it, busted (US, informal) , bust (informal) Me: all of the above.
A normal family, a normal home, a normal appearance…to think and act in a normal fashion. And I couldn’t have or be any of that. I was deeply terrified by the future. I knew I wasn’t equipped to live out there in the real world. I was so ignorant. How would I live, how would I get a job? Who in his or her right mind would hire someone like me?
Yet, I knew I wouldn’t stay with my family. Anything would be better than that! As soon as I could, I’d get out. So. I got married. I was fifteen. So was hubby. Stupid, stupid me. Being married to a fifteen year old alcoholic, who took the pastor’s words “Men, chastise thy wives in the name of the Lord, lest their weak, sinful nature bring shame to thee and thy God!” to heart, that’s better, huh.
At least, at home I could flee to the fields and woods occasionally when the mask I wore became too much to bear. In my new role, with adult responsibilities, such escape was impossible. Two weeks later, I ran away. I had only the clothes on my back, and little bit of food I stole from the kitchen.
Interlude: When I was very young, I was taught that to be a good person, you had to be perfect at everything…especially if you were female. If God had a chosen people, so did the Devil and those were the women. You never got angry. You never protested, no matter how you were treated and you never, ever said no to a male. Let’s see, how’d my grandma put it? “You should be proud to serve (as in ‘be a servant to’) your little brother.”
Perfection in itself wasn’t enough. Everything had to be done perfectly the very first time you did it. Practicing was cheating. A truly godly person didn’t need to practice. God would guide her. If you had to practice something, it meant you weren’t close enough to God. You were a (gasp!) Sinner!
I looked inside myself and to my horror, found a monster living there. All the things you weren’t suppose to be, to do, to think, were right there inside me. That creature, that hideous inner thing that gibbered with unchecked fury, that couldn’t be me, …could it? No, huh-uh, no way!
Panic time, ladies!
What if I did or said something that would let everybody know that monstrous thing was inside me? What if other people could see who, or what I really was! What if I lost control of that fuming seething cesspit of rage and actually hurt someone, maybe even killed someone!
Why was I like this, so different from everyone else? It seemed so easy for them. Was I born evil, like my parents told me I was when they dragged me to church time after time to have the devil cast out of me, born to burn in hell, forever?
I wannabee a Witch!
I turned to Witchcraft because it seemed perfect for someone like me. Misunderstanding what it really was, having been fed on false notions of Witchcraft all my short life, and already doomed to hell, what did I have to lose?
So I was a secret witchwannabee, ready to embrace Evil, and kiss the Devil’s backside. The trouble was, that Ole Devil never appeared with his big black book and his pen dripping with blood to sign me up. I did my petty little black deeds and waited and waited and waited………being evil is almost as exhausting as being good. I wasn’t good at being bad!
If it aint broke, don’t fix it!
Imagine my shock when I finally stumbled across my first book on true Witchcraft. This was more like it! This I could do! Full speed ahead! The book gave me life. I absorbed its knowledge eagerly. I wasn’t evil! Or crazy. Or broken. My feelings, my thoughts weren’t bad. They were normal! Everybody had them! I didn’t need fixing. I wasn’t horrible monster, doomed to die in sin and forever burn in hell. As a famous Vulcan would have said, “Hell is not logical.”
And God wasn’t a monster, either! He was kind and loving and good. Most incredibly He was also a She! God/dess!
For the first time, everything made sense. The ideas, the ways of thinking, the beliefs and philosophies, I had always felt and thought like that! For the first time, I was at peace. I was Home.
So, armed with my tattered little yard sale book, I gathered my little bit of courage, and my mountain of desperation, and fled. I spent that summer hitching rides from strangers, crisscrossing this alien country, learning. I learned about Rescue Missions. About soup kitchens and dumpster diving. I learned about hidey-holes and best of all, I learned about cans.
Yup, good ole sody cans. Gather them up in a garbage bag and carry them over to the scrap yard and they’d pay you for them…with real money. I remember how excited I was when another homeless person told me about cans. Now I could have an income. I could buy food! I could buy a tent, a sleeping bag! Thank you, Goddess!
It took me several months to save up enough but that first night, snuggled up warm inside my bag, reading my book by flashlight, my cheap little tent was a palace. When it got colder, I bought a second bigger sleeping bag and stuffed the first one inside it. A small camp stove made out of a coffee can allowed me to cook my meals instead of having to eat out of cans.
I even managed to accumulate a small library of books. You could buy used paperback for a nickel or dime back then. I was in heaven!
While I was learning to live in the mundane world, I was also learning more about Witchcraft. I read. Everything remotely pertaining to magic, the Goddess, and a zillion other subjects.
My small camp in the woods brought me close to nature. I gladly sacrificed edibles to the raccoon family, and the lone coyote that visited me in the middle of the night, watching their antics in the moonlight.
When I slipped from Witch, to Wiccan, I don’t really remember. It occurred so naturally, like breathing.
I lived there until I was twenty-three. My books gave me an education. I got my GED at nineteen. I continued in my path, finally managing to get a real job and an apartment but I never forgot my tiny camp in the woods and the happiness I found there.
When I look back, I feel both pity and love for the small, confused, hurting girl that I was. My childhood was very painful, but it also gave me strength. The Mother was wise. That strength was what I needed to survive the ordeals that lay ahead.
My spiritual path continues to evolve. I left Wicca. I felt a need for more balance in my life. I follow the path of the Shadow Witch, now, but that’s a whole other story.
Blessings to All.
Experiencing Nature by Night
A whole other world exists in the light of a moon-filled night that few of us even notice.
In the height of summertime’s heat, we drift outdoors at dusk to refresh ourselves in the temperate air of evening. Cricket song and the glow of fireflies come together with ever-lengthening shadows to create a natural symphony of overlapping sensations that invigorate the body and gladden the soul. As the sun sets, the vivid colors of most flowers and leaves fade, becoming a dull grey, but moon gardens provide us with a space to appreciate Mother Nature’s bounty long after the light of day has retreated. Designed to be enjoyed from dusk until the coming of the darkness, these gardens serve as a perfect complement to silvery moonlight, mild summer nights, and the spirit of rejuvenation.
Most plant life worships the sun, but a select few shrubs and flowers come into their own in luna’s glow. The silvery leaves of lamb’s ears and artemisia reflect the radiance of the moon, while the bright-white flowers adorning yucca and evening primrose seem to shimmer brilliantly in dusk’s gloom. Certain blossoms such as the moonflower and four o’clocks open only at night, releasing their sweet fragrances in spectacular displays of scent and beauty. While creating a moon garden, remember to take each human sense into account. We appreciate the ghostly beauty of nighttime nature best when we can sit comfortably until our eyes have adjusted to the surrounding darkness. Bamboo and thick grasses make a comforting sound when bandied about by gentle nighttime breezes.
Transforming a portion of your existing yard or patio into a moon garden is simple, and the pleasure you will derive from your nighttime retreat will become worth it once you start to enjoy it. Green spaces come alive at night when nocturnal blossoms release their perfume into the air and ethereally lovely and luminous foliage dances in the breeze. In a moon garden, relaxation is a simple matter of attuning yourself to the stillness of evening and seeing, for the first time, the myriad shades of beauty that can be found in the darkness.
Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 28
“Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness.”
–Walking Buffalo, STONEY
There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn’t mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.
Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road.
Spell Ingredients: Add a Large Dose of Reality
The first ingredient for any spell: A large dose of reality…. I mean, really, what do you expect? If all spells worked, wouldn’t humanity universally believe in witchcraft and magic and use it wholeheartedly? And to that extent wouldn’t worthy practitioners be a desired commodity? It is imperative for practitioners to separate their wishful and whimsical fantasies from serious study, contemplation, experimentation and application.
I believe that in order to further understand and define the super-natural, you first have to develop and have a thorough understanding of the natural. Any study of the Craft requires a greater amount of study into the realm of Laws of Nature and the Laws of Physics. After all, how can you define what is extra-ordinary, if you don’t even know the extent of what is ordinary?
The Laws of Physics are many, and the typical high-school student mostly understands the important ones. Opposites attract (by and large this only works for ions, kids, not people) , for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, for any change in state the by-product or causation is heat, etc. How can better knowing these things help us in a greater understanding of our spell work? Because all these things deal with Energy, and what is the Universe constructed of? Anyone…? Yes, Energy. And what does spell work deal with, when you boil it all down (pun intended) ? That’s right, Energy! Or more accurately, the transfer of energy. This is the First Insight that any practitioner should grasp. EVERYTHING is energy.
The Second Insight that we should understand, because it deals with both types of laws, is that Nature abhors a vacuum. That can be observed as simply as watching a balloon deflate. What do you discover with these phenomena? That Nature seeks a balance. This holds true for the Laws of Life and the Laws of Physics. The Universe naturally seeks equilibrium. Whether this is between hot/cold, high pressure/low pressure, too many predators and not enough prey, the Law stays the same. In the end, Nature will follow its Laws. You do know, though, that there is a defined and empirical Order to Things. You might not understand it fully, but you can be assured that an order exists by observing the smallest things in nature. This is crucial: Be observant to Nature and learn from it. Nature, in all its complexity, is still a system of doing things the easiest and least energy wasting way. Contemplate that reality for a while.
Where does this energy come from? Good question. Is it physical energy, which means connected to our current plane of existence? If that is so, then you would not be able to contain it for the energy you are talking about on the physical plane is electrical in nature, and you would become walking atom bombs if you gathered the energy required to perform some spells. So it can’t be a physical energy type.
Is it spiritual energy (which obviously means it is energy collected from higher levels of existence) that you are able to gather and use? The usual consensus is “Yes, it is.” This leads to the next set of questions. Can energy from higher levels of existence cause effects on a lower level of existence? How can if affect the energy in a lower existence, if the two existences are not on the same sphere? Can the physical things you do on a lower plane of existence affect what happens on a higher plane of existence? Is your mentality the only link between what you perceive as the physical plane and planes above what you can perceive with your physical senses? What is the extent of ‘Reality’, does it encompass ALL spheres of existence as ONE reality? Nature abhors a vacuum, so if As Above – So Below is a Law of Nature, does this mean that the energies of a higher plane seek a balance with the energies of a lower plane?
It is said that in the higher planes all things are possible if you only imagine it so. I further postulate that you must not only imagine it so, it must become your perceived REALITY. You must learn to tap into the energies of the higher planes, and effect permanent changes there, before any changes can happen in the physical plane. I’ve often said that there is an ocean of difference between Understanding and Knowing. Understanding is intellectual; it is accepting truth without necessarily going through all the motions to prove it. Knowing is visceral; it deals more with proof from the physical senses perceiving something as true. Ergo, to make a change here, you have to Know that you have made a change in higher realms first.
I postulate the reason for this is the hypothesis of ‘trickle down economics’ if you’d like. What does this mean? It means that in order to build a hut on the physical plane, you must first build a mansion in the higher planes. More complexly, Nature (meaning all planes of existence) seeks a balance. Nature also does things the absolute least energy-wasting way. I perceive that Nature does not easily permit energy to flow across planes of existence, even if they are in the same ‘Reality’. With As Above – So Below, you can see through a simple diagram of two superimposed triangles (one point up, the other point down) that the equilibrium point is above here and now (the bottom point) , yet below the ultimate expression (the top point) . As you move down from the ultimate expression (the open V) , less and less energy is transferred. Therefore you must have a firm and knowing conviction of what you wish to accomplish and see a clear and precise picture of it occurring, before you can hope to realize it happening.
Ironically, you should also have a wonderfully developed sense of imagination up to the point of believing in what seems impossible. Only with an active imagination can you build that mansion up to the point of actualization in the higher planes. This seems contradictory, but I don’t feel that it is. Without a firm mental picture of what you require to exist, can you hope to achieve your goal? You have to build that mansion brick by brick, through much mental exactness and conviction. This requires a great deal of imagination as well as focus. The constructed mansion should then remain in that higher plane once you have completed it. It’s there; there is no doubt of its existence in your mind. Every time you visit the higher realms your mansion is there, gleaming with its glory. Make it Reality. Does this mean that a mansion will magically appear here and now for you in the material plane? Probably not, but the single minded effort it took to imagine it as reality in the higher plane, could translate into the required motivation and focus to achieve it in the here and now. Here is something else to consider: owning the mansion is secondary to the method of achieving it.
I’ve used the visualization of a mansion to put a face to a concept. However, it holds true for any endeavor. What you wish to have happen is secondary to HOW you achieve its happening. You build the mental picture (higher plane reality) while simultaneously going through with the steps required to achieve the same results. This multiple avenue approach enlists all your faculties to achieve what your desire is. The greater the amount of energies enlisted to achieve your desire, the more energy the universe aligns with the outcome. Remember: the method of how you achieve your goal is primary to the goal itself.
As an example: There is a twice-weekly fervent prayer on many lips throughout the land: “Please let me win the lottery!” However, if you never go out to purchase a lottery ticket, the effort placed into your prayer was wasted, wasn’t it? The same occurs with your Craft. Creating a spell to achieve the end result is short sighted. You still have to do the work to realize your goal. There really are no shortcuts. I don’t mean using some elaborate spell either. I mean elaborate mental visualization, coupled with following a plan to achieve the goal. Each reinforces the other, making the possibility of achievement vastly greater. Ground that visualization into what Laws Nature has already demonstrated. This lends conviction and credibility to the achievement of the goal.
What would be the required steps to achieve that goal without using any Craft? Incorporate those steps into the visualization with your spell. Bypass any flights of fantasy; they require too much energy to maintain. After all is it easier for your mind to accept flying to work on a broomstick, or driving your car? Your mind will default to what it Knows is possible, and will automatically call B.S. to what is not. Even a child imagining flying around the house on a broomstick Knows that they are just pretending. So why kid yourself? The more reality you incorporate into your Craft, the greater the results you will receive.
*On a side note: I don’t think of the planes of Reality as floors in a skyscraper, nor are they in some cardinal Direction. They don’t exist as pages in a book, where you can turn a page and have a new reality. I think of it as a condensing of energy from zero (conversely the most dense) to the ultimate amount of energy. They are all concurrent and here and now, superimposed upon what we can only perceive as the physical plane due to the limitations of our senses. This energy is limitless to infinity. For infinity is provable as far as we have observed. Outside the edge of the growing globe of galaxies expanding outward, is vacuum. Forever. You could hypothetically travel so far away that this entire globe of expanding physical energy seems like nothing more than a single spec of brilliant light. However, the theory of infinity breaks down if you require a starting point. As Above – So Below… Infinity must go in BOTH ‘directions’ forever, or the concept breaks down.
I thank you for your time in reading this. I hope it gave you some food for contemplation, and in some way helps you with more success on your path.
The Body Is Natural
So much of the human experience is removed from nature that we forget we are products of the natural world.
So much of the human experience is removed from nature that we tend to forget that we are products of the natural world. At the moment of birth, we are perfectly attuned to nature. Our feelings are an authentic response to the stimulus we encounter. We interact with our environment viscerally, desiring only what is necessary for our survival. And, if we are lucky, we take in nourishment in the form of pure mother’s milk. As months and years pass, however, we discover the sights, sounds, and scents of the synthetic world. Though these often momentarily dazzle us, the dim memory of our naturalness remains. When we embrace the notion that human beings are inherently natural, bringing it to the forefront of our day-to-day experiences, we achieve a new level of wellness that boasts nature at its very core.
We innately understand that our bodies are not composed of plastics or man-made chemicals and that there is no legitimate reason to consume or expose ourselves bodily to such substances. This knowledge is reinforced each time we find ourselves energized by sweet, fresh air and warm sunlight or awed by the majesty of Mother Nature’s beauty. We feel the strength of our connection to nature when fresh food that is close to the earth sustains us more effectively than artificial supplements and when the pleasures of exercise outweigh the pains of exertion. The human body has been blessed with the same physical intuitiveness that all nonhuman living beings employ instinctively. But because our lives are no longer bound up in nature’s rhythms, we must actively seek to reconnect with this formerly innate skill. The process of rediscovering our place in the natural world can be exciting and inspiring, since nothing more is required of us than to delight in nature’s wonders, to derive nourishment from natural foods, and to drink deeply of all the wisdom that plants and animals have to share.
Your own naturalness will reveal itself to you when you look beyond your beliefs, your lifestyle choices, and the attitudes you hold. When these constructs are stripped away, you will see a body and mind that never gave up its relationship to the essence of the natural world from which consciousness sprang.