Off-Centered and Imbalanced

Today is day four of a monster migraine. It also happens to be my birthday. For the last few days I have drawn shut all the curtains, turned off every light, and subjected my family to living in a cave of silence. I tried my usual routine of water and caffeine to no avail. I even resorted to taking Imitrex. Twice. Which leaves my body all out of whack in the most painful of ways. Yet nothing was happening. The headache would not let go.

Nothing throws us off more, than being in pain. It shuts everything down. All energy for movement and speech gets siphoned off into managing the pain. Only those who live with constant, or chronic, pain can understand. There is no end in sight when this happens. I can’t read stories to my girls because my own voice hurts to hear. It hurts to focus my eyes enough to see the words. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of energy it takes to speak, while also forcing my self to sit up and act relatively normal. Pain is not normal. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Before I had children, I would have never thought it was possible to even get out of bed during a migraine. But I did it. For four days, I dragged myself out of bed, cooked and fed my children, got their diapers changed and put them down for naps and bedtime. I counted down every second my husband was at work,  swearing each time the clock had only seemed to move by a minute since my last glance.

He’d finally come home, and my head would hurt so much at that point that lying it on a pillow made tears fall down my face. But I survived. My family survived, albeit my children are now stir-crazy. And I don’t blame them one bit.

So what do I do when modern medicine has failed me? I turn to the very presence that has been there from the start. The newfound store of energy that allowed me to get out of bed and take care of my girls had to come from somewhere. Yes, I am a mom. And being a mom gives us the unique ability to pull our shit together and do what’s needed to be done for our families. But there was something else there.

Another question then. If the Mother was there all along, why did I succumb to such pain for so long? Was it a punishment for not praying to her as often as I have been? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it was a punishment bestowed by her. I think I did it to myself. I have been communicating and practicing so much lately, meditating to get my mind at peace, that I am beginning to think that it was my neglect of self/spiritual health that led to this migraine. If we can call it a migraine.

I’ve gotten lazy this past week with my ceremonies and prayers. I would rarely cast a full circle. I wouldn’t take the time to completely clear my mind, or show the discipline to maintain a clear mind whilst doing a ritual. For crying out loud, I actually made dinner while in the middle of a spell. Everything is always crystal clear in hindsight. Looking back, I can see how my carelessness with energy negatively affected my own. How could my energy not be thrown off if I’m half-assing spells and rituals that require strong, focused energy?

Only I can repair this. Tomorrow is the trifecta for moon watching. Tomorrow is a Super Blood Wolf Moon. Tomorrow I will formally prepare for the ritual. I will cast a proper circle, and take no shortcuts when honoring our Mother. I will set a schedule for honest rituals and meditations and I will stick to it. Witchcraft is not something to play around with. So much is at stake when you call forth outside energies and entities. I know that now. It has been a learning process for me, and this is most definitely one lesson I do not care to repeat.

 

When the Well is Dry

These past few days have been very difficult.  There are so many concerns inside my head and heart that cause every move I make to physically hurt. But I push through. I push through for my family. I go to work with a smile on my face. I  laugh and play with my girls, and hide the pain from my oldest little empath. And I clean the house so my girls can, “run in circles” and laugh hysterically whilst doing so. But all that means I have to eat, I have to get dressed, I have to move. And that is a lot of work.

So what do I do? The idea of casting a circle is daunting. The computer screen is daunting. I look through my pages that I intend to make for my BOS, but nothing creative is coming to me. I flip through research for a spell I want to write, but nothing holds my interest. So what do I do?

To be honest? I got on FB on my phone and sat and stared at it until my husband called me back to reality. I told him, “My well is dry.” So he tells me to write about it.

So I’m writing. Writing gives me an incredible amount of joy. But just as much joy that it gives, writer’s block takes it away. The key to defeating the block, is to literally just start writing. It doesn’t matter what you say. You just keep putting words together into a sentence until your mental well gets flowing. It sounds simple, but it is a monumental task.

But how to do that when my block is spiritual?

I find that when I pray, or just lie in my circle after a ritual, I feel the most at peace. Being in too low a place to even cast a circle is devastating on a spiritual level. So, I compromised. I lit some candles and incense around my computer, turned on some meditation music in my headphones, and began to type. I have cinnamon incense going as I drink cinnamon spice tea, and the only light around me is from four white candles and a small red candle to round out the incense.

And you know what? I’m starting to feel better. I feel comforted. This little bit of magic has been enough to connect me to the Goddess and allowed me to tap into that pool of peace She has to offer. And it’s refreshing. Tying my love of writing and my spiritual path has been the whole purpose for this blog. I’m kicking myself for not  thinking of this before, but I thank my husband now for the key to my spiritual block.

The Force that is Karma

Before I even considered Wicca for myself, I was a staunch believer in Karma. I’d like to say, that I’d be a good person regardless of my beliefs, but I don’t know how much honesty would be in such a statement. I do believe in Karma, and I fear it. It is an authoritative power that sweeps through worlds and delivers justice. And I most certainly do not want to draw its attention in my direction.

I feel as though there are two paths with believers:

  1. Anything you do will come back at you threefold; therefore, if you have a streak of bad luck, or something bad happens, it must mean you did something wrong that you are either aware or unaware of. Karma and Destiny are intertwined.
  2. Not all Karma is bad. Energy expelled comes back threefold. Bad luck could just really mean bad luck. Karma and destiny are two separate entities.

With the first path, every little thing you do is judged by Karma. Even things you aren’t aware of. If something bad happens, it is solely because of something/s you previously did. The same can be said if something good happens. In my opinion, this actually takes responsibility away from the individual. You can be a good person and still have something go wrong. To say otherwise means that energy sent out means nothing. Sometimes things need to happen to get you where you are meant to be.

With the second path, it views Karma as a law. One that doesn’t necessarily control every little word or action, but governs words and actions that make a significant impact. For example, if you want or need something and go about getting it in ways that harm others, your Karma may be that you do in fact get it, although only temporarily. In varying from the first option, it accepts that just because something bad happens, doesn’t mean you deserved it to happen. This option isn’t about what is or is not deserved, but is based on the energy and intent that we send out. Perhaps bad things, or good things, happen to put you on a particular path you otherwise wouldn’t have taken. This belief is less encompassing and allows responsibility for the individual, and for other forces to have control in the worlds as well.

I hold firm with the second path. Karma isn’t going to give you a flat tire because you didn’t hold the door for someone. It’s tailor made justice. If you openly mock a person’s car or driving in a way that hurts that individual, maybe then you’ll get your flat tire. Or a scratch all down the side of your vehicle in a way that makes you embarrassed of your vehicle now. On the other hand, maybe you getting a flat tire is destiny’s push to keep you from getting into an accident. You never know. These are forces greater than ourselves, and it is foolish to try and trace every path they weave.

That’s not to say that you can’t always trace it. Sometimes the signs are too big to ignore. Say you lie, cheat, and steal to get the top position above others better suited at work. Once you have it, you feel on top of the world. This is when Karma swoops in and takes something else that once made you feel this way. Perhaps your significant other has an affair due to the influence your new position has had on you. Lying and cheating brings you back down. Or perhaps even more on the nose, your lies and cheating are found out and you are fired, leaving you even lower than the first position you started out at.

It’s a force of general balance, not a one-to-one exact measure of repercussions for specific actions.

A Wiccan on a Budget

Wicca, like many other things, unfortunately can require money. Setting up an Altar can go two ways: you either shop around and buy every little thing your heart desires, or you get creative in order to get what you need. I am not fortunate enough to be able to go on a Wiccan shopping spree, so here are somethings I have come up with to help those in my situation.

Dollar Tree:

It’s amazing. For multiple reasons. However, only one reason is why we are here today. Wiccan shopping. Much of Wicca is candle based. Dollar Tree, most of them, has a surprising collection of candles. They range from pillar to tealight. But the best catches I have seen so far, are the candle holders. The Dollar Tree I went to had a wide selection of candle holders for all types of candles. Along with candle holders, I found some odds and ends that I could use in my practice. In one aisle, I found wind chimes with bells on them. Bang. Got a bell now. They also had some interesting chimes with the moon depicted on them, that I went ahead and got because, a dollar. In the kitchen aisles, I found a beautiful wine goblet with black tinting. Now I got a goblet/chalice. I also found little dishes to hold the water and salt on my altar. Both practical but still cheap. Depending on the time of year, you can get mini decorations for your altar. For Yule I found cute little trees with berries and snow. Along with sprigs with berries. For Samhain, the options are endless. As are decorations for Spring.

Walmart:

Get this, $.97 taper candles in the colors needed for your directions. Bang. You’ve just picked out a major element for your altar in less than $5. They also have a wide range of incense right in store. I was shocked when I wandered down the candle aisle and found the incense. And they’re each less than $2! Online, Walmart carries cauldrons with our Triple Goddess, and pestle and mortars. Very reasonably priced. And if the bell at Dollar Tree didn’t strike your fancy, you can also get hand bells on Walmart’s website.

Etsy:

From my browsing, I have discovered that Etsy is a witch’s dream supermarket. You can get kits! I’m talking kits with a wide range or herbs one might need when starting their own collection. Kits for crystals and stones, kits for candle magic. Some kits are for a beginner’s altar. These come complete with altar cloths, candles, a cauldron, a bell, and many other items you might find yourself wanting/needing. Some of these kits can get a bit pricey, but it’s comforting to know that a fellow witch made or packaged the items with the right energy. Plus, you’re financially helping out another witch while helping yourself. The price here is for convenience and purity. These items are made for rituals and spells. They are all in one place for a simple order, shipped right to your house.

Amazon:

The thing with Amazon, is that most of their items are being sold by individual store owners. People make their living buying items, and then selling them on Amazon. Items that pop up with Wicca in the title, are most likely items sold by people who know what they’re doing. I have gotten a beautiful altar cloth from Amazon, along with books on the practice. You can find jewelry and other Wiccan paraphernalia on Amazon, as well as items needed for your altar. Prices vary rather drastically on here, so be sure to look at the bottom of an item’s page to see items that are similar. You may find what you need at a lower cost.

The key, is to be creative. The energy you spend and connections you make are what truly make your tools magical. So don’t beat yourself up for “cutting corners” because you’re not.

The Firedrake and I

This month, on the 22nd, I had my initiation into Wicca. I am officially a Wiccan! The ceremony itself was so important to me. The night before I had my ceremony for the Winter Solstice, and that confirmed my belief that Wicca was the only choice for me. The initiation however, made me finally feel as if the Goddess took me into her arms. I felt warmth and peace during the ceremony. My nerves disappeared the moment it begun.

After the ceremony, I did the ritual for the full moon. It came naturally, though I had never done it before. I had studied the words, written them out, and mentally prepared for it. And it flowed beautifully. My voice never wavered, I didn’t stumble over any words. I wasn’t awkward, I wasn’t distracted. I was focused, and I knew I was being heard by our Mother Goddess.

After the ceremony and ritual, I decided to meditate with an Element. As there was a candle directly in front of me, I decided to try and interact with the fire. Many of my books have suggested only working with Fire creatures when you are skilled enough to control them. Maybe it was the high from the ceremony and ritual, but it was a chance I took. I didn’t aim for a Fire creature, but one most certainly chose to make itself known.

I have meditated with Earth before, and felt a sense of grounding. That night, I chose to meditate with Fire. I didn’t feel a grounding or calm, I felt mischievous and reckless. I suppose looking back, that is how many would describe fire. It’s reckless, without a care in the world, and leaves chaos in its wake. In that moment, I was caught up in the fun that was the flame. I stared, getting more and more engrossed at how the flame flickered and waved. There were little sparks and the flame would, seemingly randomly, jump high an inch or two. I was mesmerized.

The longer I stared at the flame, the more I noticed something moving within the flame. It was encased in the fire, but moving independently. I got closer, waved my fingers through the flame. One of my fingers got a perfect, black ring around it. Even though I hadn’t exposed the back of my fingers to the flame, the ring went seamlessly around the entire finger.

I noticed there was a slim figure in the fire, and got closer yet. (Honestly, it’s a wonder my hair didn’t catch fire). The sparks seemed to be coming from its movements. As if it were dancing in the rain, the fire sparked and leaped around the figure’s movements. I grinned ear to ear as I realized what I was seeing. I had read about the Elemental Creatures, but had never dreamed of actually seeing one. Maybe I have a stronger connection to the Fire element than I had previously thought.

I decided to speak to it, even though a part of me realized that acknowledging it could end disastrously. I spoke to it in a conversational manner. Though it was a one-sided conversation, I felt that it was listening. The pattern of the movements seemed to be its way of conversing back to me. I sat for a long while, just watching the Firedrake as it danced in the flame.

In the end, I realized that it was time for me to close my circle and get on with my nightly duties around the house. I told the Firedrake that I had to go. I thanked it for showing itself to me and letting me converse with it. I was sincere, as I felt very honored to have seen it. Perhaps it was curious about the new initiate, or maybe my initiation opened the doorway between worlds within my circle. Either way, it truly was a eye-opening moment.

I know a lot of people reading this can explain what happened in a million other ways. I am merely writing what I felt that night. What my mind told me to believe, and what I wanted to believe. Right now I could walk through every little detail and explain what was “really” happening. But I don’t need to. This gives me joy, a sneaky little joy with a sneaky little Firedrake.

 

 

*Side note: now I really want a red salamander as a pet.

Learning as I go

One thing I am learning about practicing Wicca, is that it takes a great deal of devotion and motivation. There is no lazy way to be Wiccan. It’s not impossible, just each ritual takes a lot of work. There’s casting your circle, Charge of the Goddess, the ritual itself, and closing your circle. In addition to the rituals, there’s a lot of knowledge required. Which herbs help with which issue, which candles to use for specific rituals and spells, how to mix certain oils and powders for spells.

As a new practicing Witch, I am always in search for new material to study. And there is plenty. There’s different languages in which to study and record your own spells and rituals, tarot cards, astrology, meanings and powers of the days of the week or phases of the moon. In college I had a lot of trouble picking a major and staying with it long enough to graduate. I loved learning, and every time I took a class, it seemed to point me in a new direction. So I’d take another class on that subject, and on and on I went. I’m experiencing the same thing with Wicca. I start studying one book, which briefly introduces me to a subject, and then before I’ve finished that first book I’m on to another book to learn more.

This Yule was the first time I’d cast my circle. I went over my books beforehand, to make sure I had everything I needed, and to make sure I was setting my altar up correctly. I had previously blessed all of my tools, so once my altar was setup, I knew I was good to go. I sat back for a few minutes and admired my altar. It was sinking in, I’m a Witch. I made sure my girls were asleep, told my husband I was about to get started and for him to please not come in the room, and got started.

Since it was for Yule, I turned on the lights on my tree and turned off the overhead lights. I sat on a folded blanket, and took a moment to clear my mind. I thought through what I was about to do, and made sure nothing else was going to pop into my head to distract me from my ritual. Then I cast my circle. I grinned like a fool the entire time. I was so happy that after all my studying, I was finally getting to partake in a ritual. It had been worth the wait, being painstakingly selective with each tool and item for my altar. I searched for just the right ones, something that would have meaning to me or felt ‘right’. This wasn’t something to be rushed. It had to be perfect.

The Winter Solstice ritual was not very long, even though my instructions were two pages. (Yes, I typed up a copy of the ritual and every step and chant I needed to do.) After I had completed my ritual, I waited to close my circle. It was a feeling I did not want to end. I felt accomplished, and oddly full. I don’t know if it was power or purpose or both, but I felt full of it. I think the biggest thing, was that I felt peace. For that moment after calling the Goddess, I felt peace, and it was a painful and blissful feeling. There was a slight edge of pain, simply because peace is a feeling I’ve always wanted to know. And as I finally felt it, I was aware of how much pain I am in on a daily basis. It was sad and refreshing. I knew this was something I needed, I had chosen correctly to dedicate myself to the Goddess. If one ritual could show me this much relief, I can’t imagine what decades could bring me.

Winter Solstice

The Solstice is a time of death and rebirth. We celebrate the death of the Sun King, and welcome his rebirth in the form of the Divine Child. The Solstice celebrations can range from December 20th until the 25th. Most celebrate on the 21st specifically. The full moon after the Solstice is considered the strongest of the year for spell work. Delightfully, the full moon this month is on the 22nd. I plan on beginning my celebrations as thus:

December 20th: Cleanse my binder to prepare it for being my BOS and my ritual tools

December 21st: Enter my first spells and rituals into my BOS that day. Perform my first Holy Day ritual that night as I welcome in the new God.

December 22nd: Just so happens to be my middle daughter’s second birthday! Celebrations will be centered on her for the daytime. That night is a full moon. I will again cleanse my tools and begin my Initiation! I will not be sharing my Craft name as to avoid any ill wishes/energy directed at me. (Revealing a Craft name makes a Witch vulnerable to spells or negative energy.) Once I have been initiated, I will perform my spell to break bad luck. I have written this spell previously, but held off performing it until this night.

Cleansing Ritual:

Raise your arms high above your head:

May my words and writings go out beyond and through the Worlds,

May the Old Gods and our Triple Goddess hear this plea.

Bring blessings to this book,

As I wish, so shall it be.

Using your power hand, wave the Book over the burning incense:

Element of Air,

Bless this Book.

Let its contents flow through,

And be an inspiration to my life.

Using your power hand, wave the Book over the fire:

Element of Fire,

Bless this Book.

Let its contents be purified,

And touch my life as it touches this fire

Using your power hand, sprinkle water onto your Book:

Element of Water,

Bless this Book.

As I have poured my will to the Gods and Goddess,

May my will and power always be balance

Place your Book on the pentacle disk and place your power hand flat on top of the Book:

Element of Earth,

Ground this Book and ground its power.

May this power connect with the will of the Gods and Goddess,

May all my rituals and spells honor them.

Lay your dagger on top of the book:

Element of Spirit,

May these writings always be connected to the Otherworld.

Air to help them flow,

Fire to purify,

Water to balance,

Earth to ground it,

Spirit to blend all the Elements together into an unbreakable link with the Gods and Goddess.

As I wish,

So shall it be.

Place both hands palms down on the altar and imagine your power grounding itself within you. Raise your arms and say:

My thanks to all who came this night,

To help me in this sacred rite.

The Lord and Lady,

Proud and old,

The Elementals strong and bold.

My blessings to you,

all creatures free.

As I will,

So shall it be.

*Initiation is to remain private

Mother to Mother: A Prayer to the Goddess

I have been struggling. In life, but more importantly, as a mother. I know that they say being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have; I just never dreamed that it would be so disappointing. I say this about me, most definitely NOT about my kids. They are amazing and I love them more than I could possibly put into words. Which is why I feel like they deserve a better mother. I am disappointed that I struggle so hard for what feels like days at a time. I am disappointed that I cannot be everything I thought I would be as a mother. Priorities change from your time before children, to your “Crap I have children” days. Maybe you once vowed your children would have a set schedule, maybe you said you’d never feed them fast-food, or would limit TV to thirty minutes a day. Then the kids come, and that thirty minutes is laughable if you plan on getting anything done.

I am not saying that I feel like I am an awful mom, just that I struggle to be the best mom that they deserve. I like to think that the Mother recognizes how hard I try, that I show my children unconditional love. I know that she understands we all have our breaking point, I just pray that my children never have to witness mine.

There are days that my patience is short, that the slightest thing makes me want to yell or breakdown. There are days that I am so tired I have to fight to stay awake. I know that my children pick up on these days. I know that they realize mommy is not her usually goofy self. I actually find comfort that they do not view those days as their norm. I have the Mother to thank for that. There’s only so much we can learn from our parents that will help us when we become parents. Each kid is different, each home has different circumstances and issues. I pray to the Mother to recognize our circumstances and issues. I hope that the Mother looks after my children in ways I cannot.

Life is hard. And sometimes, no matter what we do, life remains hard. I am thankful that I have someone to pray to. Someone I can trust to look after my family when I struggle. As the Mother, she has all of us as her children. She watches over us and protects us. She is the only life jacket for those mothers who struggle. I struggle due to mental illness, though I don’t know why I have to be so ill, I do have confidence in knowing that I will succeed. I may suffer, but that pain will only make me stronger than I would be without it. She gave me children to nurture, as she nurtures us, and it is that knowledge that is sometimes the only thing that can get me through the day. The knowledge that I wouldn’t have been given this illness or these vibrant and strong daughters if she knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

I have three beautiful girls who need a strong female figure to show them how special they are. I want to be that figure. And I feel, that I must lean on the strong women in my life, and our Mother, in order to be that figure. Being strong is impossibly hard, the key, is to remember you are not alone in the fight.

To Break Bad Luck

This is a spell used to help end a streak of bad luck. With Mercury in retrograde, a lot of us are undoubtedly feeling the negative effects. Here is something I have done for myself and my family. I am hoping it will help you as well.
Items Needed:

  • Tools for casting your circle
  • A green candle, preferably a different shade than the one for North
  • Paper and Pen
  • A non-flammable dish
  • Myrrah incense
  • A small trowel

Step One: Cast your circle
Light your taper candle, and use it to light the green candle.
With a clear mind, write out each incident that has recently occurred in your streak of bad luck.
Fold the paper into as small a piece as you can while chanting:

I fold this worry,

I fold this pain.

I fold these words,

I fold these actions.

Hold the small paper over the green candle until the corner catches fire while chanting:

I burn this worry,

I burn this pain.

I burn these words,

I burn these actions.

Drop the paper onto the dish so that it may keep burning. Raise your arms upwards and say:

I call upon my Mother,

Watch over and protect what is mine.

I call upon my Mother,

Watch over me and protect me

From those who wish me ill.

Help me to banish this foul luck,

So that only happiness remains.

From your burning incense, tap some ash onto the pile of ashes from the paper. Imagine in your mind, the ashes of the Myrrah countering the negativity of the paper’s ashes.
Take the dish, along with the trowel, and bury the ashes in a small hole in your yard, under the waning moon.

Why Wicca

Women have always been oppressed and persecuted. There are very few societies that value women equally along with men. Very few in which women have complete autonomy over their lives and/or their bodies. It is times like this when we have no choice but to stick together. We need to stop the drama, stop bashing one another, we have plenty of outside bashing for us to deal with. We have had several wake up calls, and many have responded in protest. But not enough. We focus on ourselves and the beliefs we have been taught. We judge, without pausing to place ourselves in one another’s shoes. This has to stop. We have to start feeling empathy again, we have to at least try to relate to one another. We all need to realize that an attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us. That the oppression of one is the oppression of all women. Who is going to stand up for us, if we don’t?
Wicca is one of the oldest religions. As a pagan religion it predates Islam and Christianity. Wicca is a religion which worships a Goddess deity and her male companion. It’s our freedom, our autonomy. It’s our recognition of all we do. It’s feminism before the idea could be given a name. Feminism in it’s truest form. There’s a Goddess and a God. The Goddess has her duties, and the God has his. Though Wicca centers on the Goddess, it is still appreciative of all that the God does.
The Wiccan creed, “Harm none, do what you will” comes from deep down in every individual who embraces it. You’re free to do as you wish, so long as you hurt no one either intentionally or unintentionally. Our society clings desperately to the Christian theology, which is nothing but a set of outdated rules that could be interpreted in a million different ways. It’s complicated, and in so being it confuses the masses. You’re not supposed to question the rules, just follow whichever rule that is enforced on you.
I choose Wicca because of all of this. The beauty of Wicca is that you can worship and believe however it suits you. If you want to believe and pray to the old Gods and Goddess of a specific pantheon, you can. If you want to focus on the Goddess of old, or a more modern interpretation, you can. With Wicca, you decide what to believe, and you tailor Wicca until it is something that is absolutely you. If everyone lived by the rule not to harm another, our world would be unrecognizable. One by one, if we embrace the idea, we may be able to save one another.