‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for November 16th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Don’t try to tell me what your enemy looks like. My enemy is lazy, a procrastinator that spends most of the time talking me out of success. My enemy says friends are fickle and true ones are most infrequent. Faith, I’m told, is not enough to carry me over barriers. And I’m not loved so much as others, but that’s all right because what good is love?

The day is dreary, my enemy says, and the flowers at my feet will soon wilt. I shouldn’t smile at anyone today because they won’t smile back at me.

This will be one of those days when everything goes wrong, my enemy tells me, and if I do anything right someone else will get the credit. I should watch the clock and realize how long the day is and how weary I am.

Don’t tell me about your enemy, I have one of my own. But the fact that I know my enemy makes all the difference. My enemy lies to me and wants to destroy me. So I’ll refuse to give my enemy power this day by giving a special measure of love to my friends and knowing that everything is exactly the opposite of what my enemy tells me.

_____________________________________

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 – November 16

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 16

“We do not want riches, but we want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches, we want peace and love.”

–Red Cloud, OGLALA LAKOTA

The Elders say that what is important is peace and love. To have material things is okay, but if not, that’s okay too. To have peace and love is more important than anything material. Our children will see the value of peace and love only if adults show they are a priority. Too often we think we can offer material things and they will replace the time spent with our children. But the most important way to give our children peace and love is to spend time with them.

My Creator, give me Your peace and love today.

November 16 – Daily Feast

November 16 – Daily Feast

Things have a way of growing out of bounds in the dark of thought. But we can control them by easing them out gently, the way steam escapes the kettle. The worst thing is to feed more fuel into our emotions than we can handle. Turn off the heat and the pressure will ease. Lay blame aside – especially self-blame. You can’t do any good if you are dwelling on what went wrong. Forgive yourself and others. Nothing removes the blocks like forgiving. This is survival time and no injustice should be harbored. Make a new beginning and don’t stop until it is done. You will know when that is.

~ The Great Spirit has heard me, and he knows I have spoken the truth. ~

KEOKUK – SAC AND FOX

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

Daily Motivator for November 16th – Worth every moment

Worth every moment

Some days will be joyful and other days will be painful. Through it all, life  is worth every moment.

Some experiences will be frustrating and others will be exhilarating. Choose  to see the positive value in all those experiences, and to grow stronger with  each one.

On some days the sunshine will feel delightfully warm and on other days the  wind will be bitterly cold. Yet every day, each feeling can make you feel more  richly alive.

The future may at times appear bright and at other times seem to be deeply  troubling. Whatever the case, you can always make the very best of the time you  have, as it comes.

Life will always have its ups and downs. Instead of making a judgment about  every experience, make the choice to embrace it all.

See each day as an opportunity to grow stronger, more capable and more  thankful for life’s limitless possibilities. Use each day to bring the best of  those possibilities into being in new, unique and meaningful ways.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for November 16th – A Clear Current

A Clear Current
Maintaining The Flow

 

The essence of all being is energy. Our physical and ethereal selves depend on the unrestricted flow of life energy that is the source of wholeness and wellness. Though the channels through which this energy flows are open systems and influenced by factors outside of our control, we ultimately choose what impact these will have in our lives. It is up to us to identify and clear blockages in the energy field to ensure that flow is maintained. A healthy, grounded individual absorbs some portion of the energy emitted by other people and the environment, but this does not interrupt the continuous stream of balanced energy sustaining them. The same individual copes constructively with stress and upset, and they are not subject to the stagnation that frequently goes hand in hand with negativity. When we keep the energy in and around our bodies flowing harmoniously, we are naturally healthy, vibrant, and peaceful.

Life energy flows through us like a swift stream when there is nothing to obstruct it, but various forces such as trauma, downbeat vibrations, and disappointments act like stones that impede the current. If we allow these to pile up, our life energy is thrown off its course or blocked entirely, causing illness, restlessness, and a lack of vigor. If, however, we take the time to clear these forces away, we rob them of the power to impact our lives. When we cultivate simple yet affirmative habits such as taking regular cleansing baths, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, smudging, and self-shielding, we protect ourselves from outside influences that might otherwise impede our energy flow. Likewise, we lessen the impact of inner influences when we clear our auras of unwanted attachments and divest ourselves of blocked emotions.

 

A strong and fluid energy field is the key that unlocks the doors of self-healing and peace of mind. Your awareness of the flow of energy sustaining you empowers you to take charge of your own well-being by taking steps to unblock, correct, and enhance that flow. Fear will likely be the culprit when you cannot identify the source of stagnation—you may simply be afraid to let go of what is obstructing the flow. Letting go can be challenging, but the exuberance you will feel when the flow is restored will be a welcome and blessed reward.

 

 

Our True ‘Magical Tools’

Our True ‘Magical Tools’

Author:   Solonius  

Our ‘magical items’ are only mundane objects without inherent power! After much deliberation, I’ve decided that I must toss that match into the gasoline can. I feel that there is an undue amount of romanticism attached to what are only supposed to be the tools of the witch’s trade. We are supposed to be wise enough to know that it is our minds, through our focused thoughts, that perform our spells and ceremonies, not our tools.

Wren composed a very thorough and thoughtful essay on the types and uses of Magical Tools, posted here in Witchvox back on 16 July 2000. I highly recommend reading it for the knowledge that you can gain. I’m re-posting what I personally feel is the most insightful part of that essay:

— THE WITCH:
You are the most magickal tool of all. It is your intentions and energies that determine the results of any magickal work. Many Witches never use any other tool but their own personal energies! And some of the most powerful workings can be done without ever leaving your armchair. It is the focus, concentration, intentions and desires that reside within YOU that are the real ‘tools’ of the Witch! —

Here is what happens: We read a book that says we need these various tools to perform a spell, rite, or ceremony. So we head out to the local magic shop to find said tools, and we all know they absolutely must be cool looking! We decide that this implement would make a great magical tool. We ‘cleanse’ the object of any negative energies (Please explain that? Energy is energy; it only has potential directed by the user, right?) We name our tools. We keep them special by not using them for any other purpose. We hold them as sacred objects due to the use we place upon them. We have special clothes that we put on when we wish to do our ceremonies or cast our spells.

The question I ask is: WHY? Is it only to get us “in the mood?” Is it pretentious vanity?

It is the tip of the sword that makes the groove as we begin to cast our magical circle. What is our mind doing? Our mind is visualizing the cutting of the veil. Our mind is that which creates a magical space. It is our mind that makes that space a place where all things are possible. We know what a circle looks like, yet we use this romanticized object to perform a simple task a finger could do. Are we thinking that the tool is imparting some magical power instead of our minds? Do the Realms above the Physical Plane require the use of our physical objects to breach a veil… or is it our focused minds that do the breaching?

Our tools take on the aspect of talismans by investing energy into the belief that they contain power. A talisman has no power other than the power of suggestion. It is our minds that place the belief in the power of a talisman, not the other way around. Is it a certain pair of shoes, tied a certain way, that allow us to toss a basketball into a hoop time and time again? Or is it the amount of attention we pay to what we are doing that hones our skills? The shoes might help us with our traction, but it is our minds that grasp the laws of physics. It is our minds that understand that we should apply this much force to move the mass of the basketball the distance to the basket. Why do we invest our energy into such a belief that it is all because of our shoes?

I feel the answers are simply these: Laziness and self-doubt. If we can get a tool that has power invested in it, we personally won’t have to work as hard. Those tools are on isle 5: Black and Decker or DeWalt. By placing more focus on the tool, and not on how to focus our thoughts, we seed doubt in our own mental ability to accomplish the task without our really cool looking magical item. It is our thoughts and desired intent that require our concentrated efforts. It is our minds that require the effort of learning, and developing our focus to such an extent that we have confidence in our own abilities. That confidence leads to more success.

We can’t be very confident in our own abilities if we are still riding around with training wheels after years of practice. Are our minds so weak that we need these really cool looking tools, consecrated on the first full moon of spring by a 4th generation Grand Poobah of the 1st Circle of the Wolf’s Shrine, using real dragon’s tears? (My apologies if you think I’m talking about you.) Will we think that such a tool will assist us in gathering energy? For that to happen we have to invest energy into the belief that it will. A magical tool does not gather, storehouse or bestow energy; WE are the conduits!

It is our imaginations that gather the energy and it is our intended desires that direct that energy to our desired outcome. We perform that ceremony, spell or rite for a purpose. We gather energy through our mind to enact that purpose. The actuality of spell-craft is this; we must gather energy, and then direct that energy. By assigning esoteric importance to mere tools, we yield energy that we are gathering for the spell in order to maintain a belief that the tool has infused power for our use. Better that gathered energy be used to enact our purpose! When we gather energy for a spell, and we cast out that energy to enable our desire, what is left to inhabit the magical tool? Are we confusing ourselves into thinking we are focusing physical energy (bound to this plane type of energy) or spiritual / mental energy? Although it might be convenient to think of these two types of energy as similar, they are, in fact, NOT. (If you think that I am mistaken, pick up your magical wand and, through you, focus its magical energy that a paperclip might float up in the air. If you accomplish this feat, you truly are a POWER in the Universe.)

Let me back up a little. Are tools necessary? YES! The focus we achieve from them is their true purpose. That, and that only, is their true use. Did we need a special pencil to help us add 2+2 a long time ago? Did the pencil give us the self-confidence that we would come to the answer? We eventually learned that we didn’t need any other tool than our own mind to perform the equation. It doesn’t make sense to think that a pencil will provide the answer for us; it was only used to keep us on track and help us progress. Are tools useful? YES! The more complex the spell, rite or ceremony, the more we can use tools to help us stay on track and stay in focus. And in that respect, almost any tool will do, (first and foremost being our minds) as long as we are focused on what we want to accomplish.

By practicing on focusing our minds, eventually we see that everything else we involve in the process is distracting, energy-wasting fluff. I highly doubt that the Spiritual Realm requires our theatrical production, with or without the props or an audience’s participation, to receive the energy and intent of our focused desire. We have fooled ourselves into believing it does because of our own desire for some romantic pageantry. But remember this: A tool is only what it is (this includes the spell) … it is a means to an end.

My intended purpose here is to urge you to think about these things! I am not requesting that you accept my opinion as your own.

Be Well,
Solonius

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.

The Perfect Athame

The Perfect Athame

Author:   The Redneck Pagan 

As some of you may recall, I have recently decided to go back to the basics of my knowledge and experience and begin a process of going deeper. And for those of you who are scratching their heads and wondering if I spent too much time with the glue cap off, here is an excerpt from an earlier blog post to explain:

“I am beginning to realize how little I actually know (…) I mean I have read probably over a hundred books, but rarely stopped to really read them. I would do one or two exercises and then go to the next. I skimmed over the material without properly allowing myself the time and effort to go deeper.

With that little epiphany in mind, I do believe it is time for me to go back to the basics! (…) I am finding myself digging out those 101 books that have been collecting dust, and have started re-reading them. My next goal is to start doing the exercises, and really documenting my results. Not just the half fast skimming I did before, but really seeking the experiences and knowledge. How successful I will be, I don’t yet know. We shall find out how much determination, discipline and dedication I have. “

So with that primer in hand, forwards we go!

In reviewing the basis, I have discovered something of note… the stuff that used to make my heart race with excitement, the books I spent hours reading (and much time and money locating and acquiring) … are getting rather boring! This has been a far more difficult task than I initially gave it credit for. Now before the fingers start wagging and people start saying, “you said you were going deeper”, I have been doing the work (my mother would be shocked at how well I have been doing my “homework”) . I have diligently gone through all of the exercises in the first third of one of my basic books, which is a primer on craft history and some basic jargon … very important stuff for anybody with an interest in Witchcraft and Paganism. However, after I read Doreen Valiente’s “The Rebirth of Witchcraft”, reading about craft history from a Lady who was present for much of it, well… the 101 stuff is boring.

I decided to review some material on the different tools in the 101 books as, being nine years away from my first introduction, I felt it was important to review and check up on newest teachings and theories.

I stumbled across the usual descriptions: the Athame is a black handled, double edge knife used by Witches to direct energy. Witches typically use it to charge items, cast their circle, and cut astral cords. It is never used to cut anything on the physical plane, and some argue that it looses its power if it ever draws blood. I then read about how it is supposed to be made. Made? Uh-oh!
According one author, a witch should always try to make his/her own Athame! I give this author full credit, he goes into great detail on how one should go about it. He explains the equipment needed, ways to get it done, the proper metals to use, wood in the fire, symbols you can carve onto the blade or the handle and even how to consecrate it. And I have to agree with his reasoning: when a witch takes the time, effort and intention on the creation of the Athame it becomes part of him/her. It becomes part of their power. I can see that and understand that. I just have a problem… I am not what you would call “handy”!

When I was younger and living with my parents, we bought a bunch of IKEA furniture for the house. My mother and I shopped and brought it home, and then my father and I put it together. The reason my father and I had to put it together is because my mother and brother refused to work with us. My dad is a brilliant man, he’s been a teacher for over 30 years now, he has helped revamp parts of the elementary school curriculum and I hate playing Trivial Pursuit with the man because I always get my assets handed to me! But for the love of the Gods… DO NOT give that man a hammer. (When I first brought my husband home to meet my father, he was a little hesitant. My husband proceeded to fix his sink trap and tap and realign some closets on their track. My father turned to me and said, “I love him; keep him!”) I have inherited some of my father’s difficulty with tools.

I can recall one day when my husband and I had first moved in together. He was watching a documentary on TV and I was in the bedroom hanging pictures. There was a picture I wanted hung up that was out of my reach. He said he would come hang it up at the next commercial break. I, being the soul of patience, decided to take matters into my own hands. I stacked some towels on the edge of the bed and standing with one foot on the towels and one braced against the wall I prepared to hammer the nail. Well, the hammer was on the floor (and my perch felt a bit precarious) , so I grabbed the closest thing I had, a high-heeled shoe. As I was about to hammer the nail in, I heard “What the hell are you doing! ` My husband lifted me off my perch (he is six-foot-three-inches and I am five-feet-two-inches) He lifted me under the one arm like a rag doll (an amusing sight for the dogs, I’m sure) and took care of the picture for me.

So having said that.. I really don’t think having me playing with a forge and blacksmithing materials is the best idea. The life I save could be my own, and I think the fire department is busy enough without having to come out and rescue me. So what should I do? Well, another option mentioned is ‘receiving one as a gift from another magical person’… I live in Central Alberta, not exactly the place you will find a lot of practicing Pagans. I was very much a solitary practitioner. Receiving one as a gift would have been ideal… but not exactly practical.

Being eager to begin my practice (and being too new to fully understand where the power lay) , I began to scour the city for the Perfect Athame. Dollar stores, Wal-Mart, Zellers and secondhand stores became my playground. I bought several different types of knives (ranging in price from 50 cents to five bucks) . Nothing seemed to be working and I was getting very discouraged. I was too new to truly understand the idea of ‘magic within’ and was worried that if I was unable to find a real and proper Athame that I would never be a proper witch (silly sounding now, but a huge fear at the time) .

I settled on using one of the knives I had picked up at Wal-Mart; it had the best feel in the handle and wasn’t very sharp. I was having decent success with the knife, but it never felt right. My subconscious was not satisfied with the toy I was using! (This was, of course, nine years ago, before the Internet had really blossomed; sites like eBay were in their infancy and specialty websites were few and far between.) I tried to find Athames online but the only ones I found were well out of a college student’s budget.

One day, I was digging through some of my old treasure boxes (you know, the boxes you keep under your bed, filled with what other people might call ‘junk’) . While digging through the box I came across a knife. This particular type of knife is known as a Sgian Dubh (pronounced Skin-Doo) . They are a type of Scottish small knife kept next to the calf in the socks. I received it years ago from Grandfather. He had bought it when he was visiting his brother in Dublin and at the time he gave it to me, I was playing in a pipe band and was a Highland Dancer.

I wore it for two years in the pipe band and another year and a half as a Highland Dancer. I took it anytime I did a performance of a Sword Dance or Highland Fling for an additional two years after that, and then when I no longer danced, I put it away and had not thought of it for years. When I picked it up again I felt like it almost sang in my hand! I began to toy with the notion of using it as my Athame.

It had many positive characteristics. It was double-edged but was blunted so as not to hurt me. It was in a sheath, so I could put it in a bag and take it with me to outdoor rituals if I wanted. The handle was black and was made of a solid molded plastic. It was a gift from my Irish Grandfather (incidentally my path is most closely related to Irish Reconstructionalism and it was my Irish roots and the mythology of my people that first got me interested in paganism) . It came from my family’s homeland and so had a connection to the land of my ancestors. And I had worn it during high-energy activities that I loved!

I gave it a try for the first time at a Sabbat. It just seemed to click. It felt perfect in my hand. I felt powerful with it, mysterious and magical. In recent years, I have seen some beautiful Athames, many of which have been “properly made” and most at a very reasonable price. But I have never had a desire to get a new one. I have my Perfect Athame.

Yours Humbly

The Redneck Pagan

The Boline

The Boline

The boline is the tool used for cutting things in the physical realm. It usually has a white handle, a blade curved inward, and it’s very sharp, and usually very expensive. It’s used for cutting wands, carving words in them as well as candles, but mostly herbs and branches for wands. In my opinion, as a city Witch, this tool is not really necessary, and just a waste of money (which is why you don’t see a picture of it). You can carve with the tip of an athame, and cut or carve, with magickally charged heavy duty scissors (like the one’s above). But for Witch’s with giant herb gardens and lot’s of trees, the boline may call to you much more than a city Witch.

Old WOTC Yuku Site