‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for October 10th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

We all know that if it were not for the little kindnesses, the helping hands that we receive from those who touch our lives daily, we would fall more often and much harder. Yet, we must remember there comes a time when we cannot expect others to rush to our aid. It is then that we test the strength of our own self-reliance.

We should make every effort to be worthy of the concern and help of others. It is sharing all phases of life that makes living more than just an existence. But none of us can support others for long who have no will to use their self-reliance. It is said that God helps those who help themselves, but even God cannot help where help is refused.

Then, how much can we depend on ourselves? How could we react to the same situations we see other people experiencing daily? We, who depend on much on our external advantages to pull us through, cannot truthfully foretell our actions in a crisis. But we can have a reserve of faith and strength behind us so that when others reach out to lift us up, we will be worthy of their time spent in helping to build our self-reliance.

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 – October 10

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 10

“I think that’s what unity is – knowing one another and coming together and working with no conflict.”

–Chief Alan Wilson, HAIDA

When we are aligned with spiritual values, we cannot be in fear or conflict. When we are aligned to spiritual values, we have the Creator whispering solutions in our ears. Unity is one of the spiritual values. When we value unity we value solutions. If we think this way, then we have no conflict within ourselves.

Great Spirit, let me see through Your eyes.

October 10 – Daily Feast

October 10 – Daily Feast

If you argue with stupid reasoning you end up being stupid. Expressing an opinion can run you out of bounds and into areas that are not yours to argue. And no one has any business matching wits with someone who hasn’t a notion of honor. Consider what good can possibly come from a heated debate with someone who is in it for the argument alone. When there is noise and insult, the reason is weak. Someone said ignorance is behind every argument – but let’s not let it be ours.

~ You pretty good fighter, Quanah, but you not know everything. ~

QUANAH PARKER – COMANCHE, 1800s

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

The Daily Motivator for Oct. 10th – Energy of intention

Energy of intention

Life can often leave you feeling stuck or trapped in an undesirable position.  Yet no matter how confining your situation may be, there is always a positive  way forward.

Even though your options may be very limited, you do still have some powerful  choices. Even in a difficult, highly challenging situation, there are real and  present possibilities for great improvement.

The first thing to do is to refuse to see yourself as a victim. By taking  full responsibility for your situation, you give yourself the power to change it  for the better.

Next, instead of fretting about the way things are, develop a clear and  compelling vision of how you want your life to be. Somewhere within the realm of  possibility is a realistic goal that will make things much better for you.

Find that goal, focus on it, refine it, and make it so desirable that you  cannot help but move toward it. Fill your awareness with your vision of a  positive outcome, working enthusiastically and relentlessly to find and follow  the way.

You’ve spent your entire life making things happen. Take control of the  energy of your intention, and get yourself where you choose to be.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for October 10th – Whale Medicine

Whale Medicine

Spirit of the Sea

by Madisyn Taylor

Like the whales each of us has a unique song or gift to offer the world as is meant to be heard by others.

Native Americans teach us that the Great Spirit speaks to us through our animal brethren. The whale is one animal that we can learn from. Whales have existed for over 50 million years and are considered to be record-keepers who possess knowledge of the past.

It is through the vibrations of their unique sound that they release this ancient wisdom to us. At the same time, their sound carries across such great distances that whales can enter the realm of the future where they can acquire knowledge of what is to come. Every whale sings a song, and they never repeat the same pattern when they sing their song. Since whales must be conscious at all times in order to breathe, they cannot afford to fall into an unconscious state for too long. Never completely asleep, their brain has constant access to the collective unconscious where all answers lie. Whales float peacefully, secure in the ocean environment that supports and sustains them.

You can learn from the wisdom of whales by remembering to express what’s uniquely yours. Each of us has a unique “song or gift to offer the world. Your song is meant to be sung by you and heard by others. No one else can sing this song but you, and your song is medicine for the healing of the planet. Like whales, you can choose to access information about the future when you go into a meditative state. Whales teach us to look at where we came from and where we are headed. Knowing that our past helps shape our future, we can remember to make positive choices regarding our lives, the environment, and our world. Like whales, we can remember to stay awake and actively engaged in a universe that supports and sustains us. When we express ourselves and share our unique gifts, we add our wisdom and vibration to the planet.

Daily OM

Ritual Tools That Won’t Break the Bank

Ritual Tools That Won’t Break the Bank

Author:   Bronwen Forbes   

We’ve all seen them, either on EBay or some online Wicca supply shop – or even the Pagan bookstore in our own town: ritual tools and altar pieces that are apparently only for the independently wealthy. Well, seeing as how I am still a full-time student, i.e. broke, I’ve been searching for alternative sources for ritual tools and other altar accoutrements priced reasonably enough to guarantee I could afford to eat meat for the rest of the month. I’d like to share them with you.

My first stop was, believe it or not, my local Wal-Mart. And if the items mentioned below can be found in my Wally World out in the middle of southwestern USA nowhere, I’ll bet they’re at your Wal-Mart, too.

Wands

I remember a few years ago that tree branches given a “spiral” look by having a grapevine grow around them were quite the popular item at various Pagan gatherings. Unfortunately, these polished, um, sticks were priced at seventy dollars each, if not more! Ouch!

Even here on the edge of the great Southwestern desert, we have trees. Which means your chances of having access to free wand material are even better than mine. Find a tree you like, either because it’s your favorite kind (oak, maple, etc.) or because it’s located near your home and you think it’s friendly, or whatever. Note: if the tree is not on your property, get permission before you cut a branch or two. Also note: get permission from the tree before you start chopping. Tradition holds that a wand should be the length of the owner’s arm from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow. Let the wood “cure” for a season or two; carefully remove the bark, and presto! Free wand!

Athame

If you’re not totally into the traditional athame, which is a double-edged blade with a black handle, Wal-Mart is your new best friend. If you’re drawn to kitchen witchery (herbalism, cooking, food spells, etc.) , the housewares aisle has a plethora of really nice kitchen knives (and I mean pretty darn nice) starting at around three dollars each. Or you can check out the hunting and camping department. They had some wicked (and I mean that in a good way, of course) hunting knives, averaging around fourteen dollars apiece.

Either way, these are much cooler, cheaper and more practical (!) than the easily bendable mermaid-shaped athame with Austrian crystal eyes for twenty bucks on EBay.

Chalice

If you’re very lucky, once or twice a year there will be some sort of arts fair in your town. These fairs attract a lot of potters. Potters like to make chalices, and will sell the ones where the glaze “didn’t come out quite right” for five to ten dollars. And then you have a handmade, one-of-a-kind chalice!

If you’re mostly lucky, there is a paint-your-own-pottery shop nearby. For about five dollars per painting session and three to ten dollars for the cup, again, you have a one-of-a-kind chalice that you glazed yourself. How cool is that?

However, there is always our friend Wal-Mart, which sells something call tea goblets. Tea goblets are basically short, fat wine glasses with very little stem and lots of cup space. Last Friday I noticed a choice of green or brown tea goblets for $2.22 apiece, or a box of four clear ones for about nine dollars. They looked pretty nice!

Pentacle

Assuming you don’t want to pay at least $40 for a brass or copper disc with a pentacle etched on it (and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing that’s a pretty fair assumption) , again, you’ll find everything you need to make a nice wooden one at Wal-Mart. A wooden disk six inches in diameter costs $.97 and can be found in the craft aisle. A protractor (assuming you don’t have one left over from geometry) costs about a dollar. Craft paint is also pretty cheap!

Or, you can forego the wooden disk, find a nice free round-ish, flat-ish rock somewhere, and paint a pentacle on that.

Even if you have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever (like me) , it’s not that hard to draw a perfectly symmetrical 5-pointed star (that’s what the protractor is for) , and then paint over it.

Miscellaneous

Wal-Mart sells soapstone stick incense burners for just under $2. They’re not fancy, but they’re nice. If I didn’t have a plethora of wooden ones all over the house, I’d probably get one (I think the wooden ones breed when I’m not looking!) . They also sell reasonably nice cut glass candlesticks for about $3 each. In the potpourri section (usually near the fabric/craft section) they have potpourri-replenishing oils. I wouldn’t use the oils straight, I’d mix them with a small bit of unscented baby oil, but they smelled pretty good.

If you just can’t bring yourself to shop for ritual and altar items at Wal-Mart, don’t panic! Check out garage sales, flea markets, junky little antique stores, and estate sales. With a little time, effort, and patience, you’re very likely to find exactly what you want for next to nothing – like my prized pentacle-shaped cast iron pot trivet that set me back a whole three bucks at a junky antique store.

A ritual tool is not made more powerful by a high price tag or fancy decoration, but by use, by respect, and by intent. Let me give you an example: when I found myself unexpectedly living alone a few years ago, I went to the local flea market to pick up some kitchen items. I was broke, but I needed pots to cook in!

One of my finds was an old white enamel pasta pot for next to nothing. It came with a few dings in the enamel, but I have proudly served my coven many a soup, stew, or lasagna whose noodles were cooked in that pot. That pot is practically part of the coven, now. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Ritual Planning Or Help – I Want To Do A Public Ritual But Don’t Know How

Ritual Planning Or Help – I Want To Do A Public Ritual But Don’t Know How

Author:   Zorya  

“Sincerity is no substitute for competence.”
– Isaac Bonewits
Rituals that Work

Purpose of Ritual:

So why do a ritual at all, particularly a public ritual? After all, you are giving friends, acquaintances and total strangers a chance to judge whether you and your group really know what you are doing. Is it worth the risk of embarrassing yourselves in front of a crowd?

Actually, yes, it is. When you offer a public ritual you are performing a valuable service. Of all the many reasons for a public ritual, these two are the most essential. First, you are giving the community a venue to come together and strengthen bonds. Secondly, you are creating a “thin place” between the worlds of the material and the immaterial. When we have ritual we set up the conditions where you and those who join you in ritual can put aside the cares and distractions of the mundane and touch the face of Deity. Of the two, that may be the essential reason for public rituals. And as a gift to the Gods and the community, we should do that as well as possible.

Planning: (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How)

Planning is the key word. A good public rite doesn’t happen by accident. As our former HPS said “A good Witch can pull it out of her a** and make it shiny.” True enough, but how do you get that good? Same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice. But don’t practice your mistakes. Visualize what you want, then work to manifest it. As the old cliché says, success is 10% inspiration; 90% perspiration.

Why are you doing this ritual, as opposed to ritual in general? What is the purpose behind the ritual? Are you celebrating a seasonal festival, blessing, or a thanksgiving? Is it going to be a unity ritual, or one to affect a community healing? Once you determine the purpose you can better focus on what you will do.

Who is going to be available to actually do the ritual/perform the various roles? Before planning an elaborate, “cast of thousands” ritual, you need to determine things such as how many people in your group do you have to work with and what are their capabilities? If you decide to ask others (non-members of your coven, grove, etc.) to help, will you be able to depend on them? Do you really need a large cast or will a small one serve the purpose of the ritual just as well?

What are you going to do? A good, solid ritual outline is essential to a successful ritual. Outlines are normally the bare bones of a ritual. Once you have the framework set, you can flesh out the finer points of the ritual.

It is important to remember: Neo-Pagan myths, particularly seasonal myths, are drawn from many historical, traditional and folkloric sources. Pick one set with which to work. If you try to include all the myths associated with the season you will have an incoherent mess.

Focusing on a few elements is essential. If you try to include elements that would not normally mix you will only confuse things. Additionally, if you throw in too many activities you can bog down the ritual and take the focus away from the purpose – creating a thin place where the community can touch Deity. Ceremonies of transitions (handfastings, Wiccanings, passing over, etc), community announcements, children’s activities, recognition of individual contributions to the community are all well and good, but they do not belong in the main ritual. They should be done separately before or after ritual, or at another venue entirely.

What to include in your ritual outline depends on the overall purpose of your ritual, as well as how general or tradition-specific you want it to be. Since ritual in its most elemental is sacred theater, you need to have a specific beginning, middle and ending. Casting a magical circle, calling the quarters/elements, invoking the God and the Goddess are standard beginnings across many traditions and paths. Similarly, bidding farewell to the Deities, releasing the quarters/elements and opening the magical circle are also recognized endings. The middle is where the bulk of your sacred theater will occur, and where you are called to be the most creative.

Where – or as they say in the real estate business “location, location, location.”

Where are you going to hold your ritual? Do you want to have it in a public park, or in a local community center? Can it be reserved? If so, make a reservation. Don’t assume that it will be available on the date of the ritual.

What are the restrictions, if any? Will they interfere with what you have planned? (Open fires, loud music, etc.) Can you work within these limits, or would it be better to find a different place?

Should you hold it at a private (someone’s home) vs. public property? There are some advantages to having your ritual on private property. You can have more control over a private location and possibility allow for activities that would not be permitted at a public park or community center. On the other hand, the word “public” means just that – the public is going to know where you live. And while your friends and coven mates may all be wonderful people, there are, ahem, “interesting” folks in every community and you may not want to give them your street address. Another thought is how visible you will be from your front or back yard. Not everyone wants their neighbors leaning over the back fence saying “Hey, what’s going on?” during ritual!

The last objection may also apply to some “public” locations (see “reservations”). Does a jogging path run through the middle of it? Is it right next to the basketball courts, or the Baptist swimming pool? Whether you use a public or private venue, make sure you go to the location and check it out. Check for accessibility, view to the walk-by public, parking, whether a new person can find it easily, does it have a street address to plug into an Internet mapping program (yahoomaps, google maps, mapquest) or can it be easily located on a physical map, and so forth.

If your ritual is located outdoors, what is your “fallback” in the case of inclement weather? Is there a shelter you can use?

When will you hold this ritual? Will it be during daylight hours, or do you plan to have it at nighttime? (If night, keep in mind that most “public” location – parks, etc. – close at dark.)

“Pagan Standard Time” is a given. Allow enough flexibility in your schedule to provide for this, but also remember that some people really may have other plans later in the day (or may have to get up and go to work the next day, if a night-time ritual!). Don’t penalize those who do show up on time. Include the starting time in your announcements and stick fairly close to that.

How are you going to do it? “How” is related to “what,” but more detailed. This is where you get down to the nuts and bolts of the ritual.

Finalize the beginning and the ending of your ritual plan and fill out the details of the middle. Who is going to play which roles? Are you going to write out dialog or give the players the general framework and let them develop their own dialog? Will your Sacred Theater be highly structured or more freeform? With which format are you more comfortable? Which one do you think will do the most to create the “thin place?”

Whichever you choose, make sure you have a few rehearsals before the day of the ritual. Rehearsals are important. They allow the dramatis personae to become comfortable with their roles in the ritual and help them get a feel for the flow of the action. Rehearsals also help the group to see what works, what doesn’t work and fine tune the overall presentation. For example, if you have a scripted ritual with specific lines for the participants a rehearsal with let you see if the script sounds as good as it looks on paper. The lines may be very beautiful and sound wonderful when you read them in your head, but if the participants can’t wrap their tongues around them, well, it won’t be pretty.

Publicity:

It’s not a public rite if nobody comes. Don’t forget to get the word out early and often. With the ease of communication afforded by the Internet, you can reach a large number of people online as well as those who hear of your ritual through conventional means. A very good Internet resource for publicizing your ritual is a posting on your state or country page on The Witches Voice (www.witchvox.com). Other avenues include local message board such as the ones found on Yahoo (www.groups.yahoo.com), MSN (www.groups.msn.com), AOL (www.groups.aol.com) or Google (www.groups.google.com). When posting on local message boards, be sure to post an initial announcement, usually a month or two prior to the event and at least one reminder closer to the date of the ritual.

To reach folks who are not “connected” try posting flyers at local Pagan or metaphysical stores, and on public bulletin boards at local community colleges, university or public libraries. If you are in contact with other covens and Pagan groups in the area extend them a personal invitation to come to the ritual.

Execution:

On the day of the ritual make sure you get there early enough to set things up before your guests show up, so that you can welcome them, talk to “newbies” who may have questions and socialize. If you have extensive set up for the ritual you may want to designate one of your number to act as an official host to welcome people as they arrive.

Speak up! Use dramatic gestures. This is Sacred Theater. If anyone in your group has training in theater arts, ask them to help/train/direct the others. Don’t be afraid to go a bit “over the top.” And have fun with the ritual. One reason you are there is to enjoy what you are doing.

Get the “audience” involved but don’t expect them to do anything that is too complicated. Give the group a pre-ritual briefing of anything that you want them to do or that they may need to know about the ritual. If you have songs, keep them simple. Try to pick songs that your “Pagan on the street” might know, but don’t be afraid to teach the group a new song before you go into the ritual space.

What can go wrong? What will you do when it does? Anything and everything can go wrong before and during the ritual. Weather can go from warm and sunny to cold and rainy in the blink of an eye. Key participants could be no shows. Things fall over, come apart, or break during the rite – Maypoles falls over. Candles won’t stay lit outdoors. (Recommended: Don’t use them if daylight; use “jar candles” at night.)

Make sure you have a back up plan in case of bad weather, missing “performers,” forgotten items, and so forth.

When the Party’s Over…

Review your ritual. What worked? What didn’t? Why?

Don’t “finger point” at coven members for the things that didn’t work. Treat this phase as a learning experience for the coven, not a blame session. Do a written “after action” report and include it in the coven’s Book of Shadows. Don’t assume you will remember all your recommended changes when you are ready to do your next public ritual.

Reviewing other people’s rituals – yes, it’s alright to critique them with an eye to improving your own rituals. What did you like? Write it down to use next time you perform. What didn’t you like? Make sure you don’t do it! Note: If I write nasty things about someone’s ritual on a public e-mail list, that’s bashing, and it’s not nice. Critiquing rituals in private (in coven!) is constructive.

Try your best to make this a dispassionate review. Just because something isn’t “your cup of tea” doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Remember that you are offering constructive, not destructive criticism.

Strive for Excellence:

A public ritual is your gift to the Gods as well as to your community. Take pride in what you have done, but always look for ways to do even better next time.

Miscellaneous Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t read. (But, if you must, have enough copies for everyone to have their own copy of their lines!)

We recommend assigning roles and letting people write their own lines. (Why? It’s easier to remember something you’ve written yourself.)

Keep to the point; better short and sweet than long and drawn out.

In Winged Pharaoh Joan Grant has two of her characters talk about a poem that one of them has written, and this applies to any sort of presentation: “Better a bracelet that fit’s the wearer than a necklace so long that one trips over it.”

Being a Good Guest:

Attending someone else’s ritual? Go! Nothing hurts worse than planning the best ritual you can, then sitting there hoping that someone will show up.

Leave “personal issues” you may be having with anyone else in the community at home.

Clean up after yourself

After the ritual, go home (so others can, too).

In conclusion, public rituals can be emotionally fulfilling, spiritually uplifting and a whole lot of fun! A well planned ritual will be remembered fondly by both your group and the local community for a long time. Don’t be afraid, just do it!

A Quick Solitary Quarter Call

A Quick Solitary Quarter Call
(when you’re in a hurry! lol)

I welcome the East–bring your winds here,
Blow away doubt, confusion, and fear!
I welcome the South–let your fire glow,
Let desire and passion of life through me flow!
I welcome the West–let your healing rain,
Wash away negative feelings and pain!
I welcome the North–bring stability,
Strength and balance here to me!
The Quarters are called and the circle’s cast,
To raise the power and send it fast,
And when my sacred work is done,
Bless the magick that I’ve begun!

***AutumnRose***

Mastering the Element Water

Mastering the element Water…

1- Make a list of things which have the combined qualities of being cool and
moist. Practice this for one week. Be sure to record the results each day in
your magickal diary.

2- Remove your clothes and enter a bath or pool where the water is cool. If you
have access to a lake or river, this would be best. Also, it would be good if
you could get a swimming snorkel so that you can breathe while completely
submerged beneath the surface of the water. Obviously, this would be difficult
to do in a small bath tub or in a shallow pool, but if you have access to a
snorkel and have a place where you can be totally submerged, you will have the
quickest success. Once you are submerged as much as possible, and if you are
completely submerged, breathing comfortably through the snorkel, do the
relaxation ritual. Next, become very aware of your breath. As you do this
you will find that your breath will automatically slow down. Notice the way the
air feels as it comes in through the nose, down the air pipe and into the lungs.
Feel this. Once again, imagine that your body is nothing more then an enormous
breathing apparatus. If you experience any sort of “drowning sensation”, stop
immediately and try again later. You should do this exercise for one week.

3- Spend a period of up to three minutes (no more), once a day, imagining that
you are the element Water. Feel the fluidity, the coolness, the refreshing
moisture of the elemental waters. Know what water feels like, what water is. Do
this for one week.

4- Once you have learned to “be Water”, the next step is to control the element
Water. Take a moment and imagine yourself to be Water. Bring the feeling from
the previous exercise into your consciousness. Next, hold your hands 9-12 inches
apart, palms facing each other. Imagine a bottle or box between your hands. Now, as you exhale, visualize all of the Water element which is in you going out with your breath and into the container between your hands. Three to five breaths should be enough to fill it. Then, with three breaths, inhale it back into you and go back to normal consciousness.

THE TEST
The next time you feel hard headed, overly tense, or like you muscles are hard
as a rock, do this exercise. If you feel relaxed and reasonable, you have succeeded with the test AND with mastering the element Water.

Mastering the Element Fire

Mastering the element Fire…

1- Make a list of things which have the combined qualities of having heat and
dryness. Be sure to record the results each day in your magickal diary. Do at
least daily for one week.

2- Find a place that is extremely hot, such as a desert or a dry sauna (not a
steam bath). If those are not possible, find a place where a roaring fire is going. Such a fire could be in a fireplace or a barbecue pit or grill. Remove all of your clothes, or as much as you can, and get as close to the heat source as possible without risking a burn. Once you are in a position where it is uncomfortably hot, but not painful or unbearable, do the relaxation ritual. Focus on your breathing. Again imagine that you are a huge breathing apparatus. Do this for a short while, usually ten minutes. Do not spend any time longer then that. Do this exercise at different times of the day or night for one week.

3- Spend a period of up to three minutes (no more), once a day, imagining that
you are the element Fire. Feel the heat and your ability to transmit the heat.
Know what Fire feels like, what Fire is. Do this for one week.

4- Once you have learned to “be Fire”, the next step is to control the element
Fire. Take a moment and imagine yourself to be Fire. Bring the feeling from the
previous exercise into your consciousness. Next, hold your hands 9-12 inches apart, palms facing each other. Imagine a bottle or box between your hands. Now, as you exhale, visualize all of the Fire element which is in you going out with your breath and into the container between your hands. Three to five breaths should be enough to fill it. Then, with three breaths, inhale it back into you and go back to normal consciousness.

THE TEST
The next time you feel listless or have a total lack of energy, do this exercise. If you feel energized and revitalized, you have succeeded with the test AND mastering the element Fire.