Friday, July 30, 2010

The Element of Fire

How many times have you stared into a fire and lost yourself. Watching the flames dance and intermingle with itself as if it were alive and in some way trying to speak to you. What would it say? What would it try to communicate? The element of fire has both a creative and a destructive side. It is used to warm our homes, cook our food, and give us light in the darkness. Yet it can also be all consuming and destructive.

Unlike the other three elements, fire does not exist in a natural state. It can only come to physical form by consuming some other element. It converts the energy of other objects into other forms whether it is heat, light, ash or smoke. In order to benefit from the energy that is brought forth through fire, one must control Fire’s destructive nature. When a candle is lit we are not only calling upon the energy of fire but we are also limiting fire’s power.

Fire is masculine. Its qualities are change, passion, creativity, motivation, will power, drive and sensuality. Fire exhibits sexuality both physical and spiritual. It is often used in spells, rituals and candle magick for the purpose of healing, purification, sex, breaking bad habits, or destroying illness. Fire exhibits authority and leadership.

Man has been fascinated with fire since the first time they gazed upon it. With its possession and ability to control it gave them great advantage over the animals and such. It enabled them to cook, to have light in the night, to forge metal, and eventually to build a civilization. It has the gentle warmth and soft light of a fire contained and controlled yet it can also be the vicious eruption of a volcano. Although it is the strongest and most powerful of the elements it is also the one with the least endurance.

Whether it is in its physical form or its spiritual form fire can be a dangerous thing. Fire physically will overdo its job if there is not some limit put on it. According to the elves and their myths in regards to the element of fire, it is in its nature to try and overcome its boundaries, even its earthen boundaries. They believe that this is why fire spreads whenever it can and tries to consume everything in its rebellion to exceed its boundaries.

In regards to spiritual fire, we speak of strong emotion; emotions such as hatred and anger yet also of love and happiness. Fire is what burns in ones soul moving them to fight for the causes and ideals that they believe in. Fire represents a dream or desire or belief. It represents not only ones commitment for this dream but also the realization of it eventually coming to fruition. Much like the physical form of fire, if one has a spiritual fire burning within them, they will strive towards said goal until they have consumed and conquered it or they are burned down or destroyed in the process. Although this sounds as if one would be talking about an aggressive act to explain something that would move one to take such strong measures, the inspiration of love, or compassion could also fuel such a flame.

Fire should always be treated with respect and also an acknowledgement of its capabilities and its desire to break free of its “boundaries”. It is by far the element that will try and convince you that more is ok when in truth, it could eventually burn you alive.

Fire Attributes:

Direction: South – the place of heat

Type of Energy – Projective

Basic Nature – Purifying, destructive, cleansing, sexual, force

Color – Red

Correspondance In Tarot – The Suit of Wands

Fire Signs per zodiac - Aries, Leo And Sagittarius

Gods – Agni, Hepaetus, Vulcan

Goddess – Brigit, Peleand Vesta

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Might your Life be Different?

"How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you...a place of women, where you were received and affirmed? A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself" 

I feel honored to bring to talk about my connection with Earth Mother. It is the direction North on the Medicine Wheel, the place of the elders, the time of contemplation where we ground our spirits and souls. It is the earth women are connected to most when we are either menstruating or in menarche.

I know some of you might be uncomfortable talking about menstruation, I know I was growing up. I didn't have that elder or grandmother to teach me about my connection to the earth and how to honor her or myself. Perhaps if more women were taught to pay homage to themselves and to be surrounded by men  loving  and supporting  them, Earth Mother might not be as desacrated as she has been. Some of us have been blessed to have view menstruation as the holy time that it is. Both men and women.

I have a twenty-two year old son who I raised myself and I swore when he was a baby that he would be comfortable with women, their bodies and to respect all the processes we women go through no matter how messy, uncomfortable or foreign it would be to him. I put myself down all the time for not doing this right or that right for him when he was growing up. But one thing I can claim with pride is that he truly feels and treats women with an empathy and a comfort that I am so proud of. His current girl-friend is always telling me how Alex is more at ease buying her sanitary napkins (think of the name even, "sanitary", what does that say about our culture?) than she is.

I think this is where we must either learn how our ancestors honored the earth. EWitch has had some incredible guest bloggers as well as our own Mother Moon discuss their relationship with each"element". I was really happy, when "Earth" was my element to blog about. For it is on the earth, the soil, and the place in the Wintery North that I feel I most need in my life right now. I'm forty-six and not yet, but soon I will stop bleeding and it will then be my turn to be one of those women helping the younger females how to venerate and love the Earth Mother internally and externally. I'm not trying to exclude men here because they have a very special yet obviously different relationship with Earth, but just as important as women's are. But since I am a woman, I will speak of my experience.

I've been really lucky to have spend some time around many Native Americans living both on reservations, in pueblos and our local Natives who taught me the most about how to appreciate Earth Mother's bounty of gifts. One grandmother told me, that "when women bleed, they move with the moon. And when stop bleeding they become the Moon." I thought that was one of the most beautiful thoughts and sayings I have ever heard. She told me that some tribes had a special place just for women when they are on their "Moontime". It's appropriately called a Moon Lodge or Moon hut. A place where women who were on their Moontime seperated themselves from the men of the tribe and gathered with other women for prayer, dreaming, and giving thanks to Earth Mother.

There's a  misnomer that it was the men of the tribe who forced the women when they were bleeding away from the tribe because they thougt that a woman on her Moontime would either taint their weapons if the were touched or that they were dirty. That's more our projection of why the Moon Lodge was built. The men and women knew that to bleed without dying was a powerful gift and medicine and similar to the initiation rites men undertook, women every month underwent a the the men of the tribe would be frightened of women when they were on their moontime or think that a woman would taint their weapons rendering them useless against their enemies.

This same grandmother told me, that no, women went to the moon lodge to not only dream and rest but to offer their Moontime blood back to Earth Mother which would nurture and make the Earth more fertile for the tribes well-being.

I could write a thesis on this topic, well actually I did on the which I called "Blessing the Curse." I refuse now to treat my   moontime as something shameful or secretive. Of course, I get cramps and feel bloated, and get really snippity ( a nice way of saying how I really am) but I acknowledge that this is part of being a warrior and all warriors give sacrifice in one way or another. If I don't stop the business, I suffer physically, emotionally and on a deeper level, spiritually. So, every Moontime, I collect my blood and pour it over my rose plants. The iron from my blood helps them to blossom and stay strong and healthy.

I know some of you are either grossing out or are really squeamish about this whole post and hearing what I do, and that's o.k., really it is. It's not your fault you didn't have women in your life, no matter your gender, who taught you about women representing the Earth Mother in human form. It's never too late though. And there are still moon-lodges around. If you can't find one, make one! Build an altar with Earth Mother represented, gather with other women whom you're close too and listen to their experiences of their first Moontime and how it has effected their whole lives. Find older women who can guide you and mentor you on your process. Or simply  walk bare foot on the earth and remembering your true spirit and soul and how you are connected to Earth Mother. It is only by loving ourselves that we can heal Earth Mother.  You might discover something about yourself that has laid buried like a treasure just waiting for you to discover it.

Mitakuye Oyasin (Lakota Sioux prayer of blessing "All my Relations or " We are all connected).

How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you...a place of women, where you were received and affirmed? A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her own time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself. A place where, after the fires were lighted, and the drumming, and the silence, there would be a hush of expectancy filling the entire chamber...a knowing that each woman there was leaving old conformity to find her self...a sense that all of womanhood stood on a threshold. And if during the hush, the other women, slightly older, had helped you to trust your own trust it quietly and prayerfully to nurture might your life be different?

From the book, "A Circle of Stones; a Woman's Journey to Herself" by Judith Duerk.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Fluid Water Element

Merry meet everyone!  I’m Lyn and usually blogging over at Witch Blog but I'm honoured to be here to write about the element of water.
Water is the element which governs our emotions, our feelings, our moods.  It’s ever changing, often unpredictable but necessary to life. On a physical level we can survive only a matter of days without water.  We also curl up and die on the inside if our emotions are not nurtured.  

From a magickal perspective these are the things you need to know about water:
  • Direction is West
  • Gender is Feminine
  • Season is Autumn
  • Colour is Blue
  • Elemental Spirit is the Undine
  • Astrological Signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces
As a Pisces I constantly battle with the highs and lows of the water element.  When life is flowing smoothly I’m in a state of bliss but if my emotions are stirred I can react with the force of a tidal wave or sink to the depths of the ocean in a depression.  Usually the cure for these extremes is more water!  A walk by the sea or a long shower helps me regain my balance and see the world from  a more level headed perspective.
So how can you bring water rituals into your daily life? It’s not hard to do and I bet you’ve already adopted some water rituals without realising it!  Showers and baths serve as ways of washing ourselves clean on a symbolic as well as physical level.  Saying a blessing over a glass of water before drinking it is another great way of working with the water element.  And don’t forget the toilet!  If you’ve got something bothering you write it down on some loo paper and flush your worries away!
Do you feel a connection or perhaps you find it hard to understand? I’d love to hear about how you work with the water element in your life. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Little Bit More

Wanted to give everyone a heads up to be sure and check out the new pages we have added to our site.  You will see directly to your right  "A Little Bit More".  Be sure and periodically check each of these new pages out as well as others that will eventually be added for a bit more of a deeper look into the minds and talents that make up E Witch.

A Bold New Look

With the changing of the seasons comes a change within ourselves.  Most of us can feel the tug as the wheel turns.  The new birth of spring and life that seems to spring forth out of us... then followed by the growth the summer months bring.  We all welcome the sun when it finally returns to us on a more frequent schedule in the first few months of spring yet as summer starts to fall upon us the heat also comes.  The Summer Solstice brings longer days which in turn means more hours of sunshine and thus more heat.

When Wendy suggested a change of look for our little site,I was glad to help out.  Sprucing up a spot of any kind is something I sort of have a love for.  As I looked through the vast array of options for us I wanted to keep it true to our content and the aire we have created.  I found many templates which spoke to me yet I kept coming back to the one chosen. 

The brillant orange and reds seemed to call to me more and more. The time of the Leo commensed recently in the latter part of July and will continue through most of August.  I have always been attracted to a strong Leo, especially the males.  Although they have not always turned out to be my most successful relationships.  I guess it is the Scorpio in me that finds them so alluring and spikes my curiousity.  It is probably also the Scorpio in me that eventually decides that the relationship is not one that necessarily needs to be continued.  Yet I can look back fondly on the few that I have had and smile that devilish smile that any Scorpio can. 

You may have also noticed that we have started a round of posts on the four elements.  Moon Storm over at Witchy Mama was kind enough to start us off with the element of air. It is nice to have a new face and a fresh voice to share some of her wisdom with us all.   My draw was the element of fire.  Another representation of the Leo.  I am eager to dive in deeper to its meaning as I prepare my post for the next week. 

When I first agreed to refresh the look of Ewitch I really was thinking of a more summer look.  The green thing you know and all the growth that is taking place. Although really full blown summer is more like the dog days of summer.  Unless of course you are lucky enough to live in the far north, yet even they had a taste of the heat of summer. 

I hope that the look I feel I was led to use is a sign of what is to come with the content of Ewitch for the next few months, as we begin our descent into the coming Fall and Samhain.  A bit of a detour into the more juicier topics that we all wonder about yet at times are too timid to ask about. 

I have always loved a good adventure and it appears we may be about to embark on just that.  A big thank you to Wendy!!  Who in the absence of all others at Ewitch kept the home fires burning and her pen hard at work. Her lovely way with words kept us all on the edge of our seats at times. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Elusive Element Air

Merry Meet! I’m MoonStorm, blog author of Witchy Mama and I have been asked to write up a guest post on working with the Element Air; which is perfect because I am a Libra and an Air sign.

I actually work with Air on a daily basis—in fact, we all do. Communication, connecting with each other, thought processes, going with your ‘gut instinct’ all those things are drawn from the Element of Air. Air represents truth, intellect and great wisdom.

On a more fundamental level, Air represents the season of Spring, it represents the Dawn time of day, the direction of East, the Archangel Raphael, the Astrological signs Libra, Aquarius and Gemini, and the color most often associated with Air is yellow.

Air, in my opinion, is the most elusive of all the elements because it is uncontainable, unseen, and extremely changeable. When I have difficulty making a decision, which seems to happen a lot as a Libra, lol, I focus on Air. Air helps me in making decisions and developing a good solid plan.

To work with any Element on various levels you must first be attuned to the particular Element you want to focus on. Air is so easy to connect with! I open my windows (weather permitting!) and burn some incense to get Air flowing around me. I’ve been known to play music and dance around like a nut—a wonderful freeing Air activity. My favorite way to connect with Air though is to just sit quietly outside and feel the wind on my face, feeling the Goddess touching my cheek. It is calming and certainly makes me feel grounded.

How do you connect with Air?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Cats bring me Heaven

"How far to heaven? Just open your eyes and look. You are in heaven" ~Shankar~

Sometimes we see a glimpse of our future through art and when I saw this picture, I got a little sad and felt comforted at the same time. That could be me in twenty years if I'm blessed enough to live that long. For I have two cats who bring me heaven each time I look at them, even when they're being the most naughty. When I read the above quote (one of the writing prompts from Mama Kat this week) I knew I had to redefine for myself what Heaven is because it's changed throughout my whole life except for the one constant joy and well of soul-love, my cats.

When I'm sitting quietly watching a movie or reading a book, one of my cats, Bella or Sele will softly jump on my lap and settle down as if I'm the safest place in the world to be. I'll be petting them and feel the soft rumble of their purring and know, this is heaven...and I'm their Mother Goddess.

It's one thing to look for an external source to help us through rough times and I often call on the Angels when I'm experiencing a dark night of the soul. There's another element to heaven when I can be the one to bring that comfort, joy and love to another sentient being. My son once gazed at me as if I was the Mother Goddess but now, I'm just "mom" which still means something important to him, but I'm not the all-being nurturer which is as it should be. But for my cats, I'm their refuge.

I was watching a fascinating documentary on where the first domesticated cat originated from. Years of research was put into this. The first domestic cat which I'm sure some of you have guessed was from Egypt. They called their cats "Mau" which meant "all-seeing" because the moon and sun were reflected in their eyes, to them that was a view of heaven.  Bastet one of their major deities was a goddess with the head of a cat and a body of a woman, who blessed all women, the home and family as well as being the goddess of major protector of cats.

The documentary made a point of saying, unlike the dog who needs a pack to live, cats are independent creatures, they can hunt for themselves, often are solitary and really don't need humans for our love. They have chosen through thousands of years to be our companions blessing us with their presence because they want to be with us. And believe me, most cats think that they're doing us a favor by hanging around us, rather than the other way around.

 I have a huge altar dedicated to Bastet and every day as my cats go outside for their twenty minute jaunt, I ask Bast for her blessings and to please protect and watch over my babies at all times. I feel a reverence and peace when I meditate at the altar and I feel heaven then and there. But when my cats are before me, that is when I see heaven the clearest.

 What is your vision of heaven and when do you see it most?

Monday, July 19, 2010

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."

Let's see, when I turned eleven, my parents initiated their divorce, which I've already blogged about, I went away to summer camp for my first time, which I've also  blogged about, but the most important event of that year and what I haven't blogged about yet is...."STAR WARS."! If someone were to ask, me, "Wendy, what movie has most changed your life?" I'd reply so quickly and without a doubt, 'Star Wars'. This isn't a post about how or why it changed my life, I'll save that for another time because it does direct who I am spiritually today.

Back to the Summer of 1977; I remember my two older brother's went to see it first, came home and talked about nothing else for a week. I was so envious because I had just caught glimpses of it on the t.v. and I knew this was something special, this movie was nothing like I had ever seen before and I literally got chills every time I heard the music or saw anything to do with it. I was starving for a movie like "Star Wars" as a million others were.

I will briefly say that I had a mad pre-adolescent crush on both "Luke "Skywalker" the character and the actor Mark Hamill who played him, sigh...  I get embarrassed whenever my father teases me about how I walked around after seeing the movie just once and proclaiming that "Mark Hamill was God!". O.k. well, remember I was only eleven and we've all had those "crushes" that we kind of cringe at as we get older and someone finds out. Don't deny it!

 So, I've bared part of my sordid past with you. What reminded me of my love for "Star Wars" was this video clip I saw on a website that brought me right back to that June. I hear the resounding musical theme song all the time and that doesn't send me back. Why this video did, I don't really know. I just found it hilarious and wonderfully whacky. Speaking of whacky, have you seen the movie, "Men who Stare at Goats"? Yes, the two movies are related and if you see it, you'll immediately get it.  I'm not going to say anymore other than I think it is one of the most brilliantly funny movies I've seen as it scored highly on my warped sense of humour check list. And while Mark Hamill was great as "Luke", Ewan McGregor is now my choice for my favorite Jedi and he plays one to the full maximum in "Men who Stare at Goats." I think it's time for me to watch "Star Wars" again, only the first one, mind you, I wasn't that crazy about the rest of them.

Onto the video I first blabbered on about...I hope you get a force out of it and if you too are on a galaxy far, far away, give a shout-out to me so we "Star Wars" geeks can unite proudly!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Framed by the Undead

Cemeteries, spirits of the other-realms, "Persephone and Hades", "Six Feet Under", Dia de los Muertos, o.k., quick what do they all have in common? Uhhh, perhaps Death and the Dead? I have always had a fascination which some would consider "morbid" for death and the dead. Most people unfortunately want to look away or are horrified by Death, but I feel that's only because they've never seen the beauty or deep spirituality that exists with death. It's interesting to me how many shows there are now about "Ghosts, the Paranormal, and worlds beyond the living" so maybe we're finally seeing the light in the darkness. I've been interested for the longest time in becoming a "mid-wife" for the dying. There needs to be an honor, grace and acknowledgment that death and dying that is neglected in the mainstream culture that is crucial for everyone's spiritual well-being. There are spiritual paths and other cultures which do honor and acknowledge the process of dying and the spirits.

"The Day of the Dead" or originally known as "Dia de los Muertos"  is a holiday celebrated  in the Latin American countries and by the Latin Americans who live here in the states to celebrate the ancestors. It's not the same as Halloween/Samhain, but they share many similarities. The art that stems from Dia de los Muertos is some of the most beautiful, whimsical, and amazing art I've ever seen. I'm fortunate enough to collect a few pieces both modern and vintage Day of the Dead Art. Skeletons, animals, charms, and other symbols which are more alive compared to some art I find simply boring or stereotypical. So, when I found out about the blog "Tattoo Tales...ramblings and art by Leila" I jammed over there quickly. I was salivating when I saw her art at her Etsy store and then found out about her July  give-away on her blog. Some lucky person is going to own this beautiful, vintage, wood-burned picture frame.

So, I highly recommend you hurrying over either to her Etsy store, her blog, her Facebook Page or better yet all three to check Leila and her art out. If you love this type of art like I do or are interested in learning more, go, go, go before July is over and some other undead lover has won this beauty.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places,

                        I have been dissolved and shaken,
                         worn other peoples faces,            

Run madly, as if Time were there,
 Terribly old, crying a warning,
“hurry, you will be dead before ——”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
or before the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)

     Now to stand still, to be here,
      Feel my own weight and density…..
      Now there is time 
       and time is young,

O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move
I, the pursued who madly ran,

                   Stand still, stand still and stop the Sun!
                                            ~May Sarton~

I feel like this is the perfect poem for my life now. For so long, I've been tormented by anxiety and depression and I'm not fooling myself that those won't be constant companions on my journey. But, I love the lines  "Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places."
I'm forty-six years old and I sometimes stop believing I was ever a "maiden" in her twenties, excited, always running to something new, and then I was married at age twenty-three, which I shudder to think about, because at that time, I still had dreams of the perfect family. I was going to have one no matter what it took because I was denied my dreams of a fantasy childhood. I mean really, who has had one? I'd like to meet them. But from my marriage I was given the most precious gift I would ever receive . Even though I became divorced three years later I had my son. I became the "Mother." Full of abundance, a new type of sensuality I could never have seen in my twenties and yet full of sorrows being a single mother. Along with the wonders, I also gained a new anxiety for the safety of my son, that most mother's develop when they have a child. 

Whenever I imagined, my son, Alexander hurt in any way, I would be thrown into this deep, dark, dry well of fear and stay stuck until I somehow climbed out. Much like "Cassandra from Troy" I started to "run madly, as if Time were there, Terribly old, crying a warning, hurry you will be dead before...." My son and I struggled together emotionally with him projecting all his anger and sorrow from an alcoholic, unavailable and unstable father onto me. It's only lately within the last few years that I can forgive myself for not being able to provide what he so desperately needed and wanted,  for his idea of a perfect childhood. He also acknowledges that I did the best I could and he told me, I was one of the only constant things in his life and I continue to fulfill that touchstone for him.  I haven't learned to stop the sun, but I'm not burned up with fear and paralyzed that I'm eventually going to be a crone. Being a Crone will bring it's own wise and wonderful rewards. That's why it's so important to have mentors and to be a mentor to others, to remind yourself of all the blessings and lessons it took to be where you are today.

Where are you in your life? Are you running or have you finally been able to catch your breath and know that life is good?

  May Sarton one of my absolute favorite poets, so if you love poetry full of images and magic, check out her works.

And if you have any poets that you like, please let me know as I love poetry!
Blessings to you all....


Monday, July 12, 2010

A Chance to prevent Teenage Suicide

When I was fourteen years old, I was so depressed, I tried to kill myself. I believe it was only for the angels, I didn't succeed.

Maybe you have contemplated it once or know someone who has either thought about it or succeeded in taking their lives. Here's a chance to both help raise awareness and to support the first online peer-to-peer crisis network.

 I was horrified when I read the statistics that nearly 5,000 teenager's commit suicide every year.

I subscribe to an incredible blog called, "Post Secret" where people anonymously send in their secrets written on post cards which are then shown on their blog. Readers often send replies of support, which are compassionate and touching. witnessing. They often show the original senders writing back to Post Secret  saying unless it was for Post Secret and the messages of care, they might have taken their lives or gone on to hurt themselves on some tragic level.

It's hard to describe how this all operates or what these postcards look like unless you visit their site, see one of their books or subscribe to the blog. By the way, I am in no way connected with them, other than being a strong supporter.

They are now running this campaign where you can vote to support the Kristin Brooks Hope Center  by voting online or making a phone call.

Please visit their site and find out more information and how you can help.
Thank you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Hanged One

This being human is a guest house.
Every moring is a new arrival.

A joy, a depressoin, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome them and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrow,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably,
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

It's hard to feel magickal, much less wanting to blog when I'm feeling disappointed, angry or hurt. I'm one of those people who, yes is attached to the very things that the Buddha warned us against, wordly goods, people, circumstances, etc...I'm not sure how to break that way of being either, other than to be conscious of it. I've also learned from some different Buddhist paths, that we need to be present with whatever we're feeling and experiencing for true "enlightenment." I'm involved with a project that I was really excited about when it first started and now it's falling apart. And I'm only doing what I can to maintain my own integrity and responsibility.

So, how do you feel magickal the once beautiful rose you saw first bloom is now sadly wilting, losing all its petals one by one?

I'm not just asking this as a rhetorical question, but I really want to know how each of you, push past this gloom and still emotionally acknowledge that much like the hanged man in the tarot cards, sometimes, the best we can do is surrender to the forces that be. I hate that thought, it sounds like a parent saying either, "Well, this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you" or "It may not seem like it, but it's for your own good." I mean isn't that why we believe and practice magick? To give life a little nudge so that we can somehow request from our Gods, what we want and ask for their blessings?

I wrestle with the non-attachment to an outcome and letting go og the situation that is frustrating me so much right now.

I'll end this post, with some of my favorite quotes by Carl G. Jung who I've blogged about many times before. His wisdom and insight keeps me a bit more grounded and sane when life just sucks sometimes. I'm writing his quotes here, partly to remind  myself I'm not alone in this struggle and also maybe some of you might benefit from them too as you wrestle with your own demons and angels. And if any of you would like to tell me about how you balance believing in the magic of life when you're facing a less than desirable situation, I'd love to hear it.

"Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity."

"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order."

"The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain."

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." ~Carl G. Jung~


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bless Me, Mother

Bless me mother, for I am your child.
Blessed be my eyes, that I may see your path.
Blessed be my nose, that I may breathe your essence.
Blessed be my mouth, that I may speak of you.
Blessed be my breast, that I may be faithful in my work.
Blessed be my loins, which bring forth the life of men and women as you have brought forth all creation.
Blessed be my feet, that I may walk in your ways.
~Margot Adler~

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln fought against Vampires?

"I cannot speak of the things I have seen, nor seek comfort for the pain I feel. If I did, this nation would descend into a deeper kind of madness, or think it's president mad. The truth, I am afraid, must live as paper and ink. Hidden and forgotten until every man named here has passed to dust." ~Abraham Lincoln in a journal entry from the book, "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter"~

 Like Christmas and Valentine's Day, I struggle with the whole partying and celebrating ritual that goes on today. It's not that I don't appreciate the struggle that occurred over a hundred years ago for the right of "individual freedom." But I also feel greatly saddened that we Americans in particular still keep the original natives here locked away on reservations denying them their voice and legal justice or the shame we don't want to address with slavery. But, I don't want this post to get too depressing or preachy. So, I'm going to do a book review based on a true hero of mine, Abraham Lincoln who refused to look away for individual freedom.

The book I'm talking about is not a book focusing on dry facts on the Civil War  although that's the background and major action point pointing to Lincoln. Rather the book focus' on Lincoln's role of wiping out a certain group of Vampires who opposed him personally and politically. Huh??? I knew I had to read this  book, "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer" written by Seth Grahame-Smith. as soon as I heard about it. Combine the supernatural with a person I admire and you've got my attention. You may have read or heard about Grahame-Smith's other parody supernatural-horror book, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!" which I haven't had the pleasure of reading yet. I absolutely LOVED this book and if you have any interest in the supernatural realm and history, go get it! 

Grahame-Smith manages to tie in Lincoln's horrible childhood, with a father who couldn't couldn't take care of his family financially or emotionally and the toll it took on them all. To prevent financial ruin, Lincoln's father makes a deal with an evil Vampire. The day that the Vampire comes to collect his part of the bargain, Lincoln's father instead sacrifices his wife's life in order to save himself. A young Lincoln witnesses this horrible transaction and with a helpless agony watches the Vampire kill his mother. Here's where Grahame-Smith had proven how good an author he is, because he manages to weave historical facts with fiction. Lincoln  then vows to wipe out every vampire he meets to avenge the mother he was extremely close to. On his path, a Vampire named, "Henry" introduces himself to Lincoln and shows him that not all Vampires are the evil demons, Lincoln is out to exterminate. Actually, he is the supernatural equivalent of Lincoln with his belief on killing his own kind that kill for pleasure or profit as well as ending slavery. Henry tells Lincoln about the Vampires who are perpetuating both slavery and killing for sport.  Here's a short fun, promotional video for the book. I want to state that I think there was nothing funny or light about slavery, the war or the depression that almost sucked the life out of him, the same way, certain Vampire's can.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

"The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject any thing, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more of evil than of good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost every thing ... is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded." ~Abraham Lincoln~

In the book, we learn about the Vampires role in the Civil War as well as the historical path Lincoln undertook against slavery and uniting the North and South. Grahame-Smith has obviously done a lot of research in such a way that by the end of the book, I actually started to believe that history happened the way it was written in this book. I bet if you read it, you would start to believe the same way I do. Well, maybe not, but I do recommend this book if you have an interest in the historical times of Lincoln as well as the Undead.

Ending on a more serious note, there is an online program called "Let's Say Thanks" where you can send a personalized postcard to soldiers overseas thanking them for what Independence Day first stood for. I don't believe or support the war that we're involved in, nor do a lot of the Soldiers who are involved. However, I absolutely respect and honor all soldiers and feel this is some small way of letting them know.

May each of you have freedom from any type of slavery, internally or externally that threatens you. This is my Fourth of July postcard to all of you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Marvelous Mushroom

The recent rains have given encouragement to a multitude of shrooms to grow throughout my yard this past week. I love how they spring up at a moment’s notice. One minute they are nowhere to be seen and the next there they are. Such fascinating little fungi.

A mushroom is the fleshy spore –bearing fruit of a fungus. Unfortunately it is not possible to just go out into my yard and gather any and all of the mushrooms that I may find and bring them into my kitchen to enjoy. Unless one if skilled at the art of identifying the many types, it is best to purchase your shrooms from the local market or grow them specifically yourself.

Most refer to poisonous mushrooms as toadstools. The term toadstool goes back through time and also can refer to any mushroom which had the classic umbrella like cap and stem form. These are usually the kind which can be found popping up throughout the yard when moisture has been left; although if one takes a closer look they may find a number of different varieties of mushrooms growing in their location.
There are many types of mushrooms which are edible. One may think that the common mushroom has little if any nutritional value however this is not so. They are quite high in fiber and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. They are also a good source of potassium and if grown under an ultra violet light, an excellent source of vitamin D. The white button mushroom is the most commonly sold mushroom and usually these are produced on a farm. However there are the more exotic kinds such as the Portobello, shiitake, oyster, and enoki. I have been fortunate enough to find some of these more elusive kinds at my local farmer’s market this year. They are a nice treat when I have a few extra coins to spend.

One of my favorite edible mushrooms is the morel. Although it cannot be found in stores, if one is adventurous enough they can have their fair share of the abundance simply by “hunting” for them. Each spring, usually in mid April the moral will start to appear in wooded areas. If one has a honey hole where they go and gather these little gems they know exactly what I am speaking of. For me I know when the time is right to go and look for them. It is just when the weather starts to warm a bit, there has been some moisture yet not too much and as you walk through the woods, the small spider webs start to appear. An old Indian friend of mine once said that they come out when the oak leaf is the size of a squirrel’s ear. Let’s just say I stick to my method.

If you have never hunted morals, the first sighting is a bit difficult. Yet after you have found your first moral it is like you see them everywhere. You will think that they are popping up everywhere. I have hunted them and swore that they came up in the time I was out looking. At one moment I passed a spot and it was not there. The next time I passed it I found one. You can tell their freshness by the ease in breaking it off at the ground and also in the color of the stem. If it is a creamy white and somewhat moist it is fresh. If the moisture is not as evident and the color is a bit darker it may have been there for a day or so.

After you have gathered your treasure, take them home and wash them thoroughly. This can be difficult as they have many holes. I usually soak mine in light salt water overnight and then rinse them again the next day. Shake them of any excess water and lay them on a towel to dry slightly. Slice them in half and lay them on a cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet if full, place in the freezer for approximately an hour. This will freeze the mushroom and when you remove it you can easily crumble the mushroom into small pieces and place them into a freezer bag or container, returning them to the freezer for future use.
If you want to enjoy them immediately, simply sauté them in butter or olive oil with a little salt and pepper to taste. The aroma will knock your socks off. The freshness of the morals emits a wonderful smell unlike the common store bought shroom. You will immediately be hooked.

Of course there are many other mushrooms, from the toxic to the psilocybin. The psilocybin has long been active with its role various native medicine traditions as well as other “experimental uses”. Commonly known as magic mushrooms they can be found in so called smart shops throughout the world or can be obtained through other sources if they have been outlawed in ones area. Psilocybin have been said to give the user life changing experiences which has often been described as mystical.

Many species of mushrooms have been linked to folk medicine for thousands of years. It is most readily found in Eastern medicine. They have also been researched in practical medicines for the possibilities of slowing tumor growth as well as many aspects of the immune system and cancer fighting.

The next time you see a group of the fungi, do not be too quick to rid your yard of such an occurrence. I myself have noticed they come often and usually encircle the many fairy circles I have throughout my yard. One may say that the fairy circles themselves are caused not by the fae but by the mushrooms, yet I tend to think different. I leave them where they be; as I see them as a means for something regardless if I do not quite understand what. As long as they are not bothering me, I see no need to bother them.


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