Today’s Tarot: Seven of Arrows

Wildwood Seven of Arros

Without even delving into the traditional meanings of this card, the image of it already spoke to my emotional state right now. I am currently dealing with a new feeling for me: heartache from requited love. This comes from someone I love very much who, for various reasons (distance, money, current Paths), I cannot be with right now.

In dealing with this, I know (and he would constantly remind me) that I have tools to keep myself grounded and aligned. It’s funny, though, because I sometimes consciously don’t use them in moments like these. It makes me feel like I’m detaching myself from the situation… sort of like when you’re angry or sad and you refuse comforting from anyone. Is it right or wrong? I can’t really say. I do think it’s silly, though.

Using my tools–meditation, grounding and centering, aligning my souls, talking to my guides and deities–do not stop me from feeling what I’m feeling. If anything, it allows me to feel it more deeply through helping me understand what I want and need. Of course, I’m talking here on an intellectual level. When in the midst of something truly emotional, it is hard to tell yourself to be rational.

The Seven of Arrows (Swords), however, does the reminding for me. A green woman is assaulted by all sides as she tries to lift her arms in blessing. Although the title of the card here is “Insecurity”, the deeper meaning I receive is that even when I am surrounded with grief and confusion and feelings of unfairness and resentment that I am still sovereign unto myself. I have these tools and my own Holy Self to draw upon. I’m a Witch, damn it!

So that’s what I’ll be focusing on–tapping into my own innate powers and the powers around me. I’ll draw nourishment up. I’ll find peace despite the emotional “assaults”. I will gain clarity, and through that, I will heal.

Becoming Earth

Earth SketchFor the last element in the series of meditations from Timothy Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day, I decided to couple it with another meditation in the book called “Contemplating Earth”. Instead of sitting regarding a bowl of earth, I went with a guided meditation on the element.

It was raining the day I did this, so instead of meditating outside like I’ve been doing since relocating to Fire Island, I sat on my small bed facing North. I didn’t feel too badly about this, as I have been living a much more outdoors life the last couple of weeks.

The meditation took me to the beginning of a labyrinth cut into the ground. The time was midnight. I began to traverse the labyrinth toward a bright emanating light at the center. As I walked along, the walls grew taller and taller until it was hard to see the night sky.

While I traversed the maze, I reached out with my spirit hands and touched the cool, moist dirt, roots, and mushrooms that made up the walls. It was no claustrophobic or frightening at all. I went on at a leisurely pace while I thought about Earth energies and properties.

As I finally made my way to the middle, I was awash with the light there. It was here that I got my lessons from Earth: be present, slow down, enjoy the journey. I was also overwhelmed with the Love of the Goddess shown to us through Her beautiful natural world–plants, trees, birds, etc. It really reaffirmed my journey toward complete veganism.

So yay! Go Earth!

If anyone would like more information about this meditation or others I’ve mentioned, please let me know in the comment section below!

Genus Loci – Spirits of Place

Fire Island BoardwalkOn Monday, I arrived on Fire Island where I will be living for the summer. If you’re not familiar with Fire Island, it is a small sliver off of an island off of Long Island that has several communities spread out along it, the two most famous communities–Cherry Grove and the Pines–are where the NYC gays go to summer.

Fire Island, while having a few elaborate houses, is rather rustic in its way. There are no roads, most of the vegetation here goes unchecked, and everyone walks around on raised wooden boardwalks (as seen above). At this point in the season, though, there aren’t many people here. It’s still a little chilly and not exactly beach weather. However, this is nice for me because I get to explore my new neighborhood uninhibited.

As far as a spiritual practice goes, the first thing I wanted to do was connect to the Spirits of Place, or Genus Loci. Every place has them, although some of them are more active than others. This can be the spirits of peoples past or even just the spirit of the land represented in natural vegetation and wildlife. I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even show up, but I wanted to make my presence known.

What I mean by that is that as a witch, there is plenty of energy work that one does. This unseen magick does not go unnoticed by entities residing in the non-physical world. In fact, I’ve heard it compared to shining a bright beacon into a dark place. This is one reason why we shield, to prevent anything unwanted in our spiritual practices.

For connecting to Spirits of Place, I put myself in a meditative place on the back deck of our house here in the Pines. I had the intention of saying, “Hey there! I’m a witch, and I’ll be doing energy work here. I mean no harm! In fact, I honor and bless your presence on this Island. I am open to speaking and working with you, but I understand if that is not your desire. Thank you for your watchful eyes on this place.”

And that was it! I waited for a while to see if there was any connection. The wind got mighty strong at key points in my meditation. I brought my attention to the sound of the birds singing. Before this working, I had already considered the Spirits of Place as personified in the deer that roam so freely and unafraid on the Island. In that moment, though, I got a wave of acceptance as those birds sang. I opened my eyes to see a chickadee on a branch directly in front of me. It was very lovely.

I eventually brought myself out of my meditative state. I then plucked a few hairs out of my head and put it into the ground along with my saliva. This was my way of making my energy mingle with that of the Land (thanks Courtney for that idea!).

So I hope I am safely assuming that I am welcome or at least tolerated here. I would like to communicate with the Spirits here, but like I told them, it’s okay if they don’t feel up for it. I will continue to honor and bless them.

Becoming Water

Water Sketch

My third elemental trance meditation was on Water and taken from Timothy Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day. Fire and Air meditations were very wonderful, so I was eager to move on to this one.

I have always had some difficulty with Water, but I feel it’s all a mental thing. Although I am an Aries, I have a lot of Water in my chart (cusp of Pisces, Scorpio Rising, Cancer Moon), so it would seem that I can relate to it more. However, I’ve always embraced the Fire in me.

After reading up on water, I set up for this meditation. I used incense of white sage, a tall blue candle, and a bowl of clean water (picture below). I sat in front of it all, centered myself with deep breaths, and then used smoke from the incense to cleanse myself thrice. I then dipped my middle finger in the bowl of water and anointed my Hearth chakra with an invoking pentagram. Then I regarded the surface of the water.

Becoming Water

I noticed immediately that this exercise was going to be different from the previous two–the water was so still, especially compared to wisps of smoke and a flickering flame. However, I soon realized that this was what I was supposed to learn from Water–to be still.

I then imagined my body becoming Water, a changeable force that fits whatever receptacle it is placed in. Water is pervading, yet accommodating. It is a requirement for life and health.

Towards the end of the meditation, I placed my fingers on the surface of the water in the bowl and pulled up energy from it. Thanking the element, I proceeded to end my meditation, blowing out the candle, letting the incense burn down, and pouring the water outside into the plants outside my window.

Next up, Becoming Earth!

Becoming Fire

Fire SketchAfter travelling to Mississippi and back for my beautiful sister’s wedding last week, I finally got to do the next elemental meditation in Timothy Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day. After a wonderful Air trance last week, I moved on to Becoming Fire.

As I mentioned before, these are very simple meditations, but they are very effective in connecting with any of the Elements you might be working with. All it takes is a quiet moment and a still mind.

For Fire, I set up four red candles: two taper and two votive. I set my incense burner behind the candle a with a stick of Frankincense. I then arranged myself facing South in front of the aforementioned accoutrements. Finally, I let the incense and candles and anointed my solar plexus chakra (two inches below the navel) with cinnamon essential oil (commonly associated with Fire).

To begin, I pulled smoke from the incense through the smoke of the candles in my cupped hands to my face. I did this three times to cleanse myself with Fire. I then took three deep centering breaths before casting my gaze on the flames of the candles, one at a time, before settling on one.

I have done candle gazing before, but it was either to work with energy by shaping the flame or using the flame/smoke to scry. This time, I let my mind take it even simpler. I just watched the flame as it flickered, noticed its movements, its colors, and its presence. I took these observations from a mental standpoint and tried to experience the flame, as if I was drawing it in, feeling it rise from the place my bottom touched the ground till it reached the top of my head, becoming Fire.

It was a wonderful experience. The thing that I started to notice the most was the aura around the flame, and I started relating it to my own aura. We often go to the standard model of an oval of light around us… but I felt in that instant how my own aura can flicker and move with my own physical motions and my inner feelings.

We are all such powerful beings, aren’t we?

To end, I extinguished all but one candle. I placed the incense on my altar to burn out and got ready for bed by the sole candle light. When it was time to sleep, I finally blew it out.

Next up: Becoming Water!

Becoming Air

Air SketchLast night, I experienced a beautiful meditation from my Wicca: A Year and a Day book by Timothy Roderick. I am on the section concerning the Elements, and of course, began with Air.

This meditation was called “Becoming Air”, which is the first in a series of surrendering to the elements and becoming one with them. While this seems elementary, I am always eager to rediscover basic techniques. Also a meditation that is simple and forces me to focus on one thing is very beneficial to me these days. If I have a meditation before me that is too complex, I tend to put it off. My focus is sooo lacking lately.

This meditation, then, was perfect. The entire crux was to light incense and stare into swirling smoke it put off. That’s it. The purpose is to feel the expansion and lightness of the smoke and bring it into yourself–imagining your body become the smoke–experiencing what it like to be Air.

I sat facing East on the floor with two sticks of frankincense burning. I turned off most of my lights except for one semi-behind me, to make the smoke more visible. I began by taking centering breaths and then cupping the smoke into my hands to waft my body in purification. Then, I regarded the smoke.

At first, this was difficult to me, because it is difficult for me to meditation with my eyes open. However, I soon settled into the rhythm of the rising tendrils. I had to force any distractions out and truly surrender to the Element. I went in and out of the experience, but I did find my body starting to move with the smoke, like a subtle dance.

In about 20-30 minutes later, I finished up. I certainly felt lighter and even more airy. I do want to try this meditation again and try to delve deeper into the surrendering. I think that in itself is a valuable lesson.

Next up: Becoming Fire!

Forming a Habit: A 30-Day Blogging Exercise

calendar_largeI have been getting out of the daily practice of many things in my spiritual life. I could list off excuses, but the fact is that life is rarely “normal”. So in attempt to regain spiritual focus, I am committing to a 30-Day Habit Forming Exercise.

Traditionally, the time to form a habit is 21 days. Although I have recently learned that this model is probably wrong (recent research shows 66 is the new magical number), I am going with 30 days. It’s a little over 4 weeks and a full lunar cycle. At the writing of this, the Moon isn’t in any significant phase (two days past first quarter), but I didn’t want to put this off.

So starting today, January 20, 2013, I will commit to doing the following on a daily basis:

  • Meditation, specifically Tree of Life and Triple Soul Alignment
  • A yoga practice
  • Eating at least one meal at home
  • Reading my Tarot every morning
  • Blogging about my experience

So I am counting on you, Dear Readers, whether you are silent or not, to keep me in line. By the next 2-days after Quarter Moon (that’s February 19, for those of you playing at home), I will hopefully be back into a strong daily spiritual practice.

And awaaaaayy we gooooo…..

Thoughts on Affirmations

mala-prayer-beads

 

So I have never been really one for mantras. The times in the past that I had tried to chant a mantra, I always felt silly–sort of like Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live (“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”). It seemed like desperate attempt to tell yourself something that you didn’t actually believe in an attempt to fool yourself.

Then almost simultaneously, as these things happen, two things happened. First, I received a Yule beautiful gift of amethyst mala prayer beads from my friend and WildWood mentor Becky (above). And secondly, I started reading the section on affirmations in Christopher Penczak’s Inner Temple of Witchcraft. One of these events alone may have kept my aversion to mantras/affirmation intact, but as a witch, I can’t ignore the significance of synchronicity.

Soon enough, I found myself learning how to use mala beads and significance of the number of beads (this one has 108). It wasn’t long before I was chanting “om mani padme hum” over and over again. Then, I tried chants in English (such as Penzcak’s psychic enhancing “All of my senses are getting stronger every day”). And you know what? It felt good, and, for lack of a better word, affirming.

Long story short, I will be incorporating mantras into my practice. For someone who is easily bored, like me, it is always nice to try something new to keep your meditations fresh. And who knows? Maybe I will be good enough and smart enough, and people will like me. ;-)

Oh Wither Doth He Wander…

Where has my favorite fool wandered? What does he wonder?
– Dylan Henley

In direct response to the above Facebook wall post from my NYC bestie, I suppose I should type out an update, eh?

Things have been sort of cray cray here–settling into the new house, getting used to the new job, finding a new daily rhythm… lots of new and different things. New is great, but it can easily kick you out of a regular routine.

When I was basically floating around the months of August and September, it somehow was easier to keep to a meditation schedule. Now that I’ve moved into my own place and have a regular job, it’s difficult to just sit in stillness for some reason. However, I am trying. I’m sure it will come.

WildWood aspirant training is going great. I’m wrapping up the Air part of my Elemental Cycle. I’m excited for Fire in November (especially while participating in NaNoWriMo!). My guides on this journey (Gede, James, and Becky) are all wonderful. We keep in touch nearly every day just to check in. They are quickly becoming very good friends.

Most recently, I was on a campground in the Middle of Nowhere, Florida for a week. My job had me out there to do some shooting on location for a reality series. It was so much fun, but I literally worked from 8am to at least midnight every day. So the nature walks I wanted to do never happened. I did get to see some amazing weather, though. The Air was definitely present (as it always is). Below are a few pictures (click to enlarge).

Tonight, I am attending a Witch’s Ball put on by the local CUUPS organization here in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s their annual Samhain celebration, so it’s supposed to be big! I am very excited about it. Also, it will give me some fodder for a future post about Samhain! Woohoo!

So Dylan, please accept my most sincere apology for not keeping you updated on your favorite Wondering Fool. I will do better, I promise. xoxo

A Magickal Backyard

So I am settled back into my aunt’s place in Saint Petersburg, FL. The cats are (relatively) adjusted to the change. The new room is set up. I even got a new giant TV and queen sized bed! Oh, there’s nothing like space, right?

And after the moving and furniture arranging, etc… I finally got to start yoga today AND finally meditate in my aunt Ann’s amazing backyard. There are definitely spirits there, and she does a lot of magick back there.

Submitted for your approval (i.e., jealousy), here are some pictures of the backyard I have the pleasure to work in for this leg of my journey.

This is the view from the deck. As you can see, Ann has put a lot of work into her space. She even built the deck herself!

This is the garden proper. There are pathways laid in stone, tiki torches, and all sort of vegetation. The energy is astounding.

The area beneath this bench is where Ann wants to plant our herb garden. We would move the bench and replant some of the vegetation already present.

And this bench is where I like to meditate. It sits beneath a magnolia tree, which is the state tree of Mississippi, where I’m from. Also, see the little Green Man peeking out? Hello, Pan!

So this is where I’ll be spending the next little while. I look forward to doing magick with Ann in her sacred space. The Dark Moon is coming up… perhaps we’ll do a little moon work?