‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 11th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

What is it that keeps us from doing the creative things we want to do? Fear of venturing and losing, fear of the unknown. And yet, every day of our lives we venture and seldom acknowledge the fact that we didn’t lose. We too often accomplish something because circumstances forced a courage we could not muster from mere desire.

Frequently we must simply have the audacity to lay aside the taboos we have built for ourselves, for fear of appearing foolish, and follow a creative curiosity.

When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Give me a young man with brains enough to make a fool of himself,” he didn’t mean intentionally acting foolishly. He meant that a fearlessness of appearing foolish can enable us to step outside the realms of what others would call the limits.

The simplest ventures often bring joy to many, particularly to those who in the beginning dared to stand on their own chances of winning or losing.

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

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

Advertisements

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 11

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 11

“The symbol of wholeness, represented by the medicine wheel, is still being used in D/Lakota ceremonies today. The center where the “X” crosses is considered the home of Tunkasila, Wakan-Tanka, God. I speculated, `If this is the symbol of wholeness, the symbol of the psyche, with Wakan-Tanka at the center, then Wakan-Tanka or God would be within you.'”

–Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA

The Medicine Wheel represents everything. All the directions originate from the center outward. The center is the home of the Creator. The Medicine Wheel represents the human being. At our center is the home of the Great Spirit. This is why we are spiritual. The easiest way for us to find God and talk to Him, is for us to become centered. This means, relax our bodies, still our minds, let go of our emotions and listen quietly. Shhh. Be still.

My Creator, let me walk in the stillness today.

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

March 11 – Daily Feast

March 11 – Daily Feast

Can you see the wind? Can you see the fragrance of flowers floating on the breezes? Can you see thought or what it is that changes a tree from bare limbs and brown leaves to lush green? Can you see love or joy or peace? We can only see evidence of these invisible things, and it is enough to make us know they do exist. The substance of life is so evident, so real and beautiful. Why is it that we ever question the existence of our Creator, who set all things in motion? Are we so base, so grounded that unless it gives us momentary pleasure, feeds our starving appetites, we cannot recognize the greatest help available? It is Galun lati, the Great Holy Spirit, invisible but more real than all we see that is tangible.

~ We see the changes of day and night….the seasons, the stars, the moon, the sun. Anyone must know it is the work of some one more powerful than man. ~

CHASED-BY-BEARS

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

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

The Daily Motivator for March 11th – Creative living

Creative living

Creativity is more than just making stuff, and more than just making stuff up. Creativity is expressing, in all sorts of ways that have no limit, what it means to be alive.

You can be creative in such a way that the whole world celebrates your creativity. Or you can be just as creative in ways that only you will ever know.

Being alive is being immersed in an ever-expanding set of possibilities. Being creative is giving your own special meaning and purpose to those possibilities.

Creativity is a special kind of magic. It produces more value than it consumes.

When you are stuck, creativity will move you forward. When the goal seems completely out of reach, creativity will open up a way there.

In all you do, find new ways to be creative. Creativity is one of your most valuable skills, so put its power to work every chance you get.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for March 11th – Finding Our Own Paths

Finding Our Own Paths
Entering Awareness

Entering into our own spirituality is a private journey. Each of us will be drawn to a different gateway to begin on our personal path to awakening to a greater experience of ourselves. Even though we may be taught certain philosophies or beliefs as children, we still need to find our own way of understanding and applying them in our lives. For those who are raised without a spiritual framework, they may not even know their process as a form of spirituality. But at some stage in their lives, whether in youth or adulthood, they are likely to recognize the resonance of their beliefs, the ring of truth in their philosophy, and their dedication to their chosen purpose.

Our inner guidance will lead us, so that we will be drawn to the right doorway for us–a doorway that only we can recognize by the way it makes us feel inside. It could be a picture of an angel or the gift of a crystal. We may meet someone special who shares their experiences with us in a way that we find intriguing. While visiting the home of an admired friend, we may notice a book or statue of a diety, and ask why they chose those tools. Or a word or phrase may catch our attention in a song, or a lecture. For some they may find their way by walking through the experience of illness before they begin the search for what will help them to truly heal, while others may seek physical improvement and stumble across yoga or meditation–only to find that it leads them to an unexpected place beyond the body.

As we awaken to ourselves and to life, we will become more attuned to what is right for us. The universe speaks to all of us through infinite channels, but we each have our own frequency. Others may share what worked for them, but only we can decide what truly makes us feel inspired, awakened, connected, fully conscious, aware and alive. Whatever our path, it is perfect and is meant especially for us.

Ok, Who Sent In Their Familiar’s Pic, lol? Special Kitty of the Day for March 11th

Morli, the Cat of the Day
Name: Morli
Age: Four years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Domestic Cat
Home: Glauchau, Germany
This is my cat Morli. She is a beautiful domestic cat. Her fur color is black, with some white hairs. She loves to cuddle. Most of the time, she is with me on the sofa. Morli is a very shy cat. In summer she catches mice and birds often, and is a good hunter in our garden. She is afraid of other animals, though, very afraid. She likes to sharpen her claws, but always does it on a tree. Morli is very clean and grooms often. She loves to sleep in her basket in the basement, when I am not home to be on the sofa with her. I love Morli.

Dog-gone Doggie of the Day (from my neck of the woods) for March 11th

Sadie, the Dog of the Day
Name: Sadie
Age: Twelve years old
Gender: Female Breed: Old English Sheepdog, Saint Bernard
Home: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
This is my beautiful “Sheep-Bernard” Sadie Baby or Sadie Bird or Pupino. As you can see she is a perfect mixture of her parents – long hair and sense of humor from her mom and coloring and soulful eyes from her dad. Sadie was a rescue baby weaned at only a couple of weeks and wouldn’t be around today if my vet hadn’t called and told me about her. She was being passed off as a full Old English Sheepdog and was living in dirty and unsafe conditions. Even though I wasn’t ready for another dog, off we went for an adventure together.

To look at this huge goofy looking girl you wouldn’t think that she is sensitive but she is clearly attuned to my moods and what’s going on around her emotionally. I’ve never heard of Saint’s being used as service dogs or therapy dogs but if this is consistent with the breed I think they would be perfect. I guess she got the drool factor from her mom the OES so she doesn’t drool much unless there is some mouth-watering people food she’s trying to get.

People should never be afraid of rescue dogs. Sadie has brought me years of joy and I sure do hope that she feels the same way about me. She’s my Dog of the Day.

The Happy Side of Magick

The Happy Side of Magick

Author: Poppy

I have never really used many spells or chants, and when I have it is often at a time when I feel I can do nothing else… one of those ‘may as well try it’ approaches. I understand the mechanics of spell casting, how it works and how the desired effect is achieved, the problem I find with it though is that I was brought up with fairy tales and stories about Witches who cast elaborate spells with confounding results, and I find because of this upbringing that spell casting is intrinsically linked, in my mind, to fanatical stories and make believe lands.

I say this only to give you, as a reader, some sense of understanding how much effort had already been applied before I decided to cast a love spell. It was not a compulsion spell, merely creating a cosmic attraction field. I do understand that there are differing views on the appropriate use of love spells, of any kind, ranging from never-to-be-used to ‘use all the time, everyday!’ However I am not writing to discuss the pros and cons of casting a love spell, nor even, to some extent, the morals that must be thought through before one is cast, I am simply writing to explain and inform how mine worked, and how I would recommend it to anyone in the same situation, or any situation.

As previously stated, I was in pretty dire straits when I preformed this spell, (I know some would not consider that an appropriate term for being out of love, which some deem as a trivial matter. I believe it is a very apt description.) and as such, was not expecting any results. At the time, I had become rather disenchanted with Wicca. I cannot pinpoint exactly why as no major life events had occurred to make me believe that the Goddess was absent. It was more just a lack of connection, which is probably part of the reason I believed the spell would fail.

It was one of those long term/ three months spells, which meant that I wasn’t too fussed when nothing appeared after a few weeks. So I promptly forgot about the spell due to an influx in collage coursework and activities, and was asked on a date. To me this had never happened, and so I was, understandably I believe, rather surprised. He asked me over text, which I later found out his friend had actually composed, and we met up six days later.

I have to admit I had no idea who he was. Even after finding him on Facebook, I had difficulty in pinning him as the guy who was in my quiz team, Never the less, we started talking, and despite his apparent obsession with football and The Killers (who are a fine band, just not my style) , I agreed to a second date, and a third, and so on.

Now it was around the fifth date that I remembered about the spell I had cast, mainly by finding it whilst looking through my Wicca box. I didn’t connect the spell with my newfound boyfriend as I was having what I believe to be a bit of a slow day. I had become captivated with Wicca once again mere weeks after casting the aforementioned love spell. I proceeded to look through the ‘requirements’ for the person I wished to meet and found, to my surprise, that my recently obtained boyfriend met every criteria… and not in a vague ‘well I suppose’ sense, more in a height/weight/age/exact personality sense! I was literally speechless. I think I should mention now that the spell cast was for a soul-mate (I know, I just jump right in to it!) not just general love. I can say now, with our year anniversary just gone, that it has definitely worked.

I know some of you may be sitting there scoffing at my perhaps pitiful year long relationship, but to me, it is a success… especially considering that for the last three months he has been away at Canterbury, which is a good five hour train journey from where I live, making the relationship harder.

I didn’t really put off telling my boyfriend about my religion, more it just never actively came up. He informed me from the start that he was ‘devout’ atheist, and indeed some of our more interesting conversations have been on the concepts of souls and deities. However, I believe him knowing my religion made our relationship better. But I would not recommend the way in which he found out.

I am afraid I am going to diverge slightly, and I apologize if any view it as an unwanted interruption. I feel that what occurred was a breach of trust, and really just a show of a lack of morality in some people. My boyfriend found out about my religion through one of his friends, who happened to be a sergeant at the cadets I attended and a devout Christian. “At cadets”, for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the dress code, we were allowed to wear necklaces as long as they were hidden and for religious purposes.

I wore a plain silver pentagram at the time, and the chain occasionally showed, causing questions at least once a week. Usually I could just say it is a religious necklace (as trying to explain it to people who aren’t listening and are just desperate to be told you summon the devil is tedious) . However this time he walked a little way, turned as though an afterthought and asked “Yeah, what religion?” I answered, “I’m Wiccan” and we carried on our separate ways.

I thought nothing of this until I got a call from my boyfriend asking if I was a Witch. I was a bit bemused by how he had come to that conclusion, as, like spell casting, the word brings to mind Grimm’s fairy tale type characters and so I do not use the word. I answered that no, I wasn’t a Witch but I was Wiccan… and how did he come to hear of this information? It transpired that at the first possible chance this Christian friend, who I still believe had gained this information in an environment that did not warrant outside gossiping, had run to him at the first chance and said “Do you know your girlfriend is Wiccan?” We both believe it was to try and drive a wedge between us for reasons only known to him. Anyhow, this rant is almost over, and I shall end it and resume back to my original purpose by saying that I believe it was extremely ill-mannered and uncouth to divulge this information. I have always been raised to not speak of other religions or beliefs unless with express permission or belief that the knowledge would be useful in some way and that the person to whom is being referred does not mind.

I suppose what I am trying to get across with this article, is that magick does work. If you believe in something and you are prepared to go that little extra, it will change your life in wondrous awe-inspiring ways. I think it cannot be expressed better than through love of something else. I suppose it is also partially about dis-enchantment of Wicca (which I overcame by a sudden realization that I was still actively talking to the Goddess when I got really stressed) .

I am not trying to actively express feelings either for or against love spells, as I believe that, as with all magick, it depends entirely on the intentions of the caster. But I know that even in dark and desperate moments, magick and belief and everything joyous in Paganism can just seep in, lift you up and make everything just a little bit better.

Thank you for reading this article. I hoped you got some enjoyment, or really anything, from it, and to feel free to email me if you wish.

Initiatory Witchcraft and the Beetle in the Box

Initiatory Witchcraft and the Beetle in the Box

Author: Rhys Chisnall

Although I should know better and haven’t done so for years, and will probably not do so again for many more, I recently took part in a debate on the Craft on the inter-web. Generally speaking, I think this is a bad idea, as the anonymity the Internet provides tends to make some folk feel that politeness is optional. Also the net does not convey body language and tone of voice, which can lead to misinterpretation of intent, context and meaning. Happily this remained a civil debate amongst, for the most part, intelligent people. However one of the participants was someone who used the debate to have her faith position confirmed and became defensive when it wasn’t. Her position was that you could only be in the Gardnerian Craft if you had a literal belief in the Gods.

My experience of initiatory Craft is that it does not have or require orthodoxy of belief. As a mystery tradition it does not offer easy ready-made answers in the way that exoteric religion does. There is no one faith position, but positions as numerous as the individuals that practise, hard won through the processes and arts of mysticism and liable to change in light of new experience. This lady had a religious faith, and a faith can’t be changed in accordance with evidence or experience, else it would not be religious faith (as commonly understood) . Someone told her that a certain faith was required for initiatory Craft and she expected everyone to think the same.

“Why then”, this person asked, “Do we have the word ‘Gods’ if we don’t all have to literally believe in them?” To my mind it is because the meaning of words such as ‘God’, ‘Goddess’ and ‘Divine’ are not as fixed in meaning as she might think.

In the theory of language called descriptivism, a word’s meaning depends on its extension and intension. Its extension is what the word refers to in the real world. This is what Hillary Putnam meant when he said that ‘meaning is not in the head’ (Putnam as cited in Barber, 2010, p., 193) ; the conclusion he came to from his famous Twin Earth thought experiment. So water means water because it refers to a substance in the real world. That substance has the chemical formula H2O and it does not refer to something that looks exactly the same as water with a different formula says XYZ (Barber, 2010, p. 43) , even if we can’t tell the difference.

The lay person learns the meaning of a word through deference to an expert who fixes its meaning. However, as you have no doubt have spotted, this can’t be the whole story as we have words for things that aren’t real, such as phlogiston. There can be no extension of the word phlogiston to fix its meaning. So a word’s meaning is also fixed by its intension. This is the lexical description of what the word means, which we carry around in our heads. For example water is wet, colourless, falls from the sky, can drink it, swim in it, favoured by fish, etc.

This would seem to make the Lady’s assertion that Gardnerians should all believe the same thing by the word ‘Gods’ to be correct. So far it seems that for the word to have meaning it must have an extension, but it is more complex than that. Descriptivism also claims that words can have intension and no extension. For example, we can talk about Santa and Phlogiston without them existing (Ok, ok… so Santa is real) .

But should the words we use all have the same intensions? Ned Block says no, because meaning can be narrow or wide (Block as cited in Barber, 2010, p 248) . Narrow meaning is when concepts vary from person to person. For example, Jocasta is Oedipus’s mother and wife is the wide meaning of the concept Jocasta, but the narrow meaning for Oedipus is that Jocasta is my wife and not my mother (Barber 2010, pp 245-246) – until he finds out differently. So, if narrow meaning varies amongst individuals, then how can words such as ‘Gods’ be used in discourse amongst those who hold it to mean different things?

To my mind Ludwig Wittgenstein, without a doubt one of the most important philosophers of the 20th Century provides us with an answer. In his famous thought experiment from his book, ‘Philosophical Investigations’, he writes:

“Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a “beetle”. No one can look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine that such a thing is constantly changing. But suppose the word “beetle” had a use in these people’s language? If so it would be the name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language – game at all; not even as a something; for the box might even be empty.” (Wittgenstein as cited in Beaney 2010 p., 131-132) .

Wittgenstein was using his thought experiment to illustrate how it did not matter what the subjective meaning of ‘pain’ meant for the word ‘pain’ to mean what it means. But I think the analogy can be extended, and even works better for the experience of the Gods and the mysteries. For example, in the Craft we all have individual subjective experiences of what we call the Divine. For some, it is see as an experience, which is interpreted, as a literal god; for others it is interpreted as a Jungian archetype, and for others, it is simply interpreted as a mystery. We cannot look into each other’s heads to directly see what the experience was. Even if we could, we could not have that experience of the other person, in the subjective first person and in the same context. The only way we can know anything about what the other person experienced is by using language.

Herein lies a problem. Experience of the mysteries is transcendent of language. This is the definition of mystery; it comes from the Greek musterion, meaning ‘to close the mouth’. It is ineffable and can’t be adequately described with words. Perhaps it would be better to follow Wittgenstein’s advice in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus where he says, “whereof what we cannot speak there-so we should remain silent”.

However, we are a chatty species and do like to communicate using words. The words we are using in this case are words like ‘God’, ‘Goddess’, ‘Divine’ and ‘Mysteries’. These words from Wittgenstein’s perspective have a function in discourse that is not directly attached to their extension, or even intension. They are words that are learnt when we learn English and are used in a specific way. In this case, they are words used to describe our own gnosis ‘ (gnosis’, when used in English, refers to spiritual knowledge) .

Therefore the words refer to different things to different people but can be still used in discourse where the function need not rely on the direct reference of the experiences that they pertain to. In other words, in using the language of the Craft when we are engaging in its myths and ritual, we can use the same words, as their functions are not fixed by lexical intension or literal extension, but by discourse. Therefore Initiatory Crafters don’t all have to believe the same thing to share a common language and use words like ‘Gods’.


Footnotes:
Barber, A., (2010) , Language and Thought, Milton Keynes, Open University
Block, N., (1994) , Advertisement for a Semantic Psychology, in Barber, A., (2010) , Language and Thought, Milton Keynes, Open University
Putnam, H., (1994) , The Meaning of Meaning, in Barber, A., (2010) , Language and Thought, Milton Keynes, Open University
Beaney, M., (2010) Imagination and Creativity, Milton Keynes, Open University

From Bars to Blessed: A New Beginning

From Bars to Blessed: A New Beginning

Author: ADDvst

I am an Eclectic Wiccan. I have not always been. In fact, before I heard the term “Wiccan”, I didn’t have any faith at all. Not even in myself. I wanted to write this essay and to share my story as to why I chose the goddess and the god.

When I was a child, I was very rambunctious. Getting into trouble in school was my daily routine. I would fight, steal, lie, and cheat. The worst part was I had no idea as to why I did those things. My grandmother used to say, “I was possessed by the devil”. When I grew to my teenage years, things slowed down a bit. That is, after being placed into state custody. At the age of 15, I found myself in a foster home, as my biological family didn’t want anything to do with me. It was there that I encountered the most wonderful girl I have ever met, Nicole. I started to understand what it meant to love someone else and care about someone other than myself. But I was still making some stupid choices.

On August 29 2001, three friends and I broke into a convenient store, stealing everything that could be moved and carried. This time I didn’t get a slap on the wrist. I was sent to state prison for a term of two- to – six years. I lost everything I ever knew that day. And, the worst part, that girl who taught me how to love… she also was charged for a crime that I talked her into committing.

In 2005, I found myself again in trouble with the law. This time the sentence was harsher: six years in state prison. It was there, sitting in a jail cell, that I began thinking about my life, and how to change it around. I remembered something Nicole had said to me when I asked her to take me back. She said that she had too much to lose. Funny thing is, she didn’t have a thing at all. She just didn’t want to be involved in my constant screw-ups. So that was it. Just me and a cold jail cell. No family. No friends. No money or possessions. So what would the normal miscreant think? Yes. You guessed it. It’s time for an end. And a new beginning.

My first thought was the conventional way of ‘ending the bad’. Shoe string. Bed sheet. Instead, for some odd reason, I decided to pick up a book and read. So I read and read and read. For two years I lay in a cell and read.

One day, a Christian tried to sit down and preach the Bible to me.” No, I don’t find it to be true, ” I told him. He asked, “Well, what do you believe?” And so I started writing every belief that I had down on paper. Then, I went and read about the different religions.

I came across a book called Wicca: For Beginners by Scott Cunningham. I was actually shocked at how everything made sense. I became very interested in learning more. So without delay, I ordered a few more books from the library. After reading the books, and being sure I wanted to learn the way, I did a self-dedication rite. I did this rite by myself in my cell. I simply fell into a meditation and invited the lady and the lord to join me. That night, sitting in that cell, I could actually feel a transformation take place. A new lease was given to me. I soon found it easy to control my thoughts. A feeling of happiness and joy washed over me. My heart became a soft, warm life force. I began seeing the earth in a light that I never seen before. I began to see the old religion in a lot of every day events.

Through meditation, I began to concentrate on the wrongs that I did to others. This does not come easy, or without regrets. We have all heard the expression “you don’t know what you have till it’s gone”. Me, I still try to find that way to get it back. Time… I can’t turn back that clock, but I am grateful to have memories of those that showed me how to love, and inspired me to make a difference. It is very heart-wrenching to have the woman you love the most tell you she don’t feel the same… and that you’re to blame.

It has been four years since I dedicated myself to the way –“harm none do as ye will”- These four years have been remarkably enlightening to me. I made two promises to myself and to the powers that be: 1: never harm again; but help others whenever possible and 2: do everything in my power to better my future, to give back instead of take away.

After being released from prison, the first thing I did was move out of my old town. I headed straight to New York City. In just three weeks, I have enrolled into college and found a job. I continue on a daily basis to nurture my relationship with the lady and the lord. In my heart, I don’t believe that I would be where I am today, with the mindset that I have, if I had never picked up that book. I would never have the connection with the earth and the mother. I would never have been able to understand my own life, past, and future.

I am a son, a brother, an uncle, an ex con. The latter I am not ashamed of. It brought me to my rightful place, with the goddess in my heart. My experiences will someday help my teach someone else, and maybe help change their life.

And I dare not to forget; about two years ago I wrote letters to every person that I betrayed. Today I can happily say that I have made amends and rekindled old friendships. I spend time with my family. It is a wonderful feeling to have them in my life. There yet may come a day when that woman who saw too much too lose in me, may see the world with me. It’s never too late to change and find your calling!

I am thankful to all who give guidance to people like me who need a little direction. And I am beyond grateful that the lady and the lord gave me a new beginning!

Blessed be! And thank you for reading.