Monday Meditation: Whose purpose is served?

The Eagle and the Jackdaw
Aesop's Fables (Translated by George Fyler Townsend)

An Eagle, flying down from his perch on a lofty rock, seized upon a lamb and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, who witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy and determined to emulate the strength and flight of the Eagle. He flew around with a great whir of his wings and settled upon a large ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his claws became entangled in the ram's fleece and he was not able to release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as much as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and caught him. He at once clipped the Jackdaw's wings, and taking him home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying, "Father, what kind of bird is it?' he replied, "To my certain knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an Eagle."

Eagles and Jackdaws both have a purpose in the world, but they have very little in common, other than both being birds. Eagles are large birds of prey that are considered to be apex predators in the world. Jackdaws are small members of the corvid family that feed mostly on invertebrates.

In Aesop's story, the eagle was serving his purpose and intention. The jackdaw, however, found himself in all kinds of trouble by not fulfilling his own.

First, the jackdaw paid too much attention to the eagle. By wasting his own precious time and energy focused on the eagle's activities, he became jealous and wanted to compete with the eagle. He wanted to take that eagle down a notch- prove that this eagle wasn't "all that."

With this kind of intention, the jackdaw immediately set himself on a course of self-destruction. He quickly discovered that he could not beat the eagle by trying to "BE" the eagle. He ended up entangled in a mess, and, to add insult to injury, the eagle wasn't even paying attention to him. The eagle was already long gone.

In the end, the jackdaw lost his freedom both to fly and to live as intended; and he suffered the humiliation of having his true intentions exposed and ridiculed by those around him. How much would you be willing to bet that he blames the eagle for his misfortune, as well?

Had the jackdaw simply focused on his own purpose; had he been content with his unique gifts and talents, how much happier would he have been?

If you are an eagle being hounded by a jackdaw, I highly encourage you to ignore those antics. Focus on your goals, and continue to fulfill your purpose. Soar above it all, and keep being you.

If you've found yourself relating to the jackdaw, take heed of his cautionary tale. Don't  look at someone else's life and envy it. You have no idea what their own challenges entail. One thing is for certain- they are naturally equipped to deal with those. They also don't have the natural ability to handle your challenges like you do. The eagle's beak is hooked. It cannot pick up sticks and use them as tools, but a jackdaw can. The eagle misses its prey more often than a jackdaw misses his.

In petty attempts to "take down" someone else by trying to be better at being them than they are, you only thwart yourself. Eventually, that kind of thinking and behavior will take its toll, and it only ends badly for you, not the other person. Most likely, he/she is not even paying attention to you.

Rather than waste your time, energy and self-esteem on futile attempts to be someone you are not, focus instead on the wonderful gifts that you can share with the world. Take to the skies in your unique flight pattern and fulfill the purpose that only you can. As the adage says, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."

Our diversity is what makes life special. The eagle is only better in the eyes of the jealous jackdaw.

It's something to consider...

Monday Meditation: The Ant and the Chrysalis

The Ant and the Chrysalis
from Aesop's Fables

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive. "Poor, pitiable animal!" cried the Ant disdainfully. "What a sad fate is yours!

While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail."

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.

"Behold in me," said the Butterfly, "your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen." So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.

Life is a constant state of flux. . We adapt and change from the moment we are born. As children, we cannot see our daily microscopic growth. It is usually much more pronounced to someone who hasn't seen us in a few weeks, months, etc...  and, as we come to discover later on, those who saw us and judged us from the outside perspective, had no idea who we were going to become later on.

So it is in the spiritual world. Most of us on a spiritual path find ourselves in that state of  change. What I believe and understand today is not the same thing I believed and understood 10 years ago, or 20, or 30. As more information is presented to me, my perspective changes. As I learn more and see things from different angles, I begin to understand that what I thought I knew was the view from one vantage point. I hope that I am growing and changing into something more wise and grounded and authentic each day. I hope the same for you as well.

When others look at us from one small perspective and from one touch-point in a shared span of time, their beliefs about who/what we are have no bearing. Compliment or insult, it does not matter. It is a skewed concept derived from limited information and tainted by their own experiences as well.

What they think of you is none of your business. Whether you like what 'they' are saying or not, it is not a reflection of who you are or what you will be in a moment, a day or a year from now. What matters is that you focus on your purpose, your transformation, and writing your own story-line. How others read it is completely on them.

Aesop's moral: "Appearances are deceptive."  Don't allow others to write your story with their perceptions. Only you know who you are and want to be; and, that's all that matters.

Keep growing :)


Thursday's Child: Dismal Days in Autumn

It's a deliciously dim, gray, rainy day here where I live. It's on days like this that I want to curl up in front of a fireplace with a cup of something hot and delectable and stare out into my back yard forest.

Rainy, foggy, and snowy days all tend to give me a safe, blanketed, cocooning kind of feeling. I need those on more than one occasion, perhaps because of my introversion. It's as if the earth is sharing a special secret with me. It's a lot like being in a large family, and finally getting time with mom all to yourself.

How about you? Are you a fan of "dreary" days or do you need sunshine all the time?

Witchy Wednesday: Make your own paper mache offering bowls

Paper Mache Offering Bowls
 This recipe comes from my personal BoS. If you click on the link under the photo, it'll take you to Lynn Harriet's Pinterest board. She does amazing things with paper mache. Definitely check her out!

Bowls by Lynn Harriet

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
Newspaper or grocery bag strips (1 inch by 3 inches)
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) [plastic wrap works instead]
A Bowl of the size you wish to copy
Acrylic paints
Acrylic gloss finish *optional*

1.Tear paper into strips
2. Take a small, rounded bowl, set upside down, and cover it with petroleum jelly or plastic wrap if you don't want to use the petroleum jelly.
3. Mix equal parts of flour and water. A half cup of each is enough for two small bowls.
4. Dip each strip into the paste and apply the first layer of strips vertically , covering the bowls surface. Don't worry about it being uneven or jagged. It can be easily trimmed with scissors after it is dried. Apply the second layer of strips horizontally and so on until you have 5 layers.
5. Allow to dry. This takes about one full day.
6. Separate the paper-mache from the bowl. Use the tip of a butter knife to separate the two. If the inside is not completely dry, allow to dry for another day.
7. Once completely dry, trim the edges with scissors.
8. Paint with acrylics. Add symbols or sponge. Use your imagination!
9. Allow to dry and then cover with the acrylic gloss finish *optional*.

The bowl you've created can be used on your altar to hold herbs, potpourri or shell/stones, etc. It can be gently wiped out but don't wash it with water or use it to hold liquids of any kind.

***Note*** The finer the paper and smaller the strips that you use the smoother the bowl will come out.

Want some more ideas for paper mache? Check out this Pinterest board:

Monday Meditation: Our Tragic Response

In light of the tragedies over this past weekend, meditation is even more important than usual. When violence is perpetrated on any community, it affects everyone. The responses via social media have ranged from poignant to repugnant. While each person has a different way of processing reactions and feelings, when do they cross the line into exploitation?

Most people would agree that the media hypes a story because it's trying to garner viewership for ratings, and therefore, advertising dollars. Reporters will use body language, tone of voice, and inflammatory wording to pluck the emotional strings of those who are watching. Many will lament this behavior, yet they are riveted to the channel, and won't turn it off.

Social media isn't much different. The last few days have proven this to be true. "Pray for the people of ____"; "Don't pray for the people of ______, religion is evil"; "Change your profile to show your support of ___"; "Don't change your profile for this tragedy because that means you don't care about this other tragedy"...

Rather than promote awareness, show solidarity, promote peace, etc..., each of these draws attention away from those who experienced the tragedy, and toward the creator or perpetuator of the meme. Personal, political and religious/anti-religious agendas shouldn't be at the forefront of this aftermath. This isn't a contest to see who is more supportive or who is more intellectual. It's about processing what's happened; finding a way to both comfort those who are hurting, and deal with the ones who are perpetrating the pain.

Terrorism is about inflicting panic and dread. When the people of Paris were attacked, they stood together in solidarity to say, "We are not afraid".  Those who were not there but wanted to show support found ways to do so, even though they knew it was simply a symbolic gesture. They felt helpless to do anything more, and the world is grieving for them, for those in Beirut, and those Syrian refugees who are fleeing from those same terrorists.

Rather than bullying each other into a set way of thinking, let's find ways to lend help and support. By operating from fear, poor choices are made- choices that affect the entire world. We are all connected, and what happens to one of us happens to all. We won't find easy answers to these problems. Right now, let us simply be kind to one another.

It's something to consider...

Thursday's Child: Starbucks and the War on Christmas

By now, everyone I know is aware of the controversy stirred up by some Christians about the new Starbucks holiday cups. If it's somehow slipped your attention, then you must have a life or something. Here's the bottom line. Starting in the 1970's, Starbucks began putting out a festive "holiday cup design" with ornaments and snowflakes, etc... on a red cup, soon after Halloween ended.

This year, according to their press release on November 1:

“Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays the company aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world."
  In case you haven't seen the difference, here's a quick comparison:
2015 versus 2013 versions

The uproar is centered around a group of Christians who, in their ever-growing sense of entitlement and privilege, have determined that this is a signal that Starbucks hates Christianity. (see video here)

In a statement to The Washington Post, Joshua Feuerstein writes that,
"The cup is symbolic of a larger war against Christianity in this country. The policemen of political correctness have demanded that the silent majority bend its knee to a vocal minority." He adds: "Starbucks and others know that Americans are drawing a line in the sand and refusing to remain silent any longer."
While most of you are shaking your heads, laughing and wondering when the men in white coats are coming for him, I'm going to share some food for thought, while sipping on my Starbucks French Roast that I brew at home from the succulent whole beans that they so graciously provide for me at point of sale (no red cup needed).

1. Snowflakes and ornaments are in no way a symbol of Christianity. 

In fact, Jeremiah 10: 1-5 specifically addresses a tree decked with silver and gold as a Pagan thing that should not be practiced by followers of this god.

2. Jesus (if he indeed existed) would never have celebrated Christmas. 

He would have been Jewish, and at that time (and today in most of the Conservative and Orthodox/Ultra Orthodox sects of Judaism), Jews did not celebrate birthdays. Why? Because only their god can declare a day holy. There is nothing in the bible where God declared that day a holy day of remembrance for people to follow, and in fact, the New Testament specifically says that they are not to esteem one day over another (See Romans 14: 5,6)


3. Jesus would not have been born in the winter, anyway. 

Believe it or not, Israel gets snow. It gets cold there. In the birth stories of the Jesus, it discusses shepherds having their flocks in the field. That isn't going to happen in December. Some folks will claim it happened in the spring, but all the stories point to it taking place during the Jewish festival of Sukkot. This is a time when they all must leave their homes and build temporary shelters and stay in them for 7 days. This commemorates the time when they were out in the desert wandering around for 40 years (according to their bible). It got anglicized to "The Feast of Tabernacles", but it more accurately translates to "The Feast of Booths". Since there is absolutely no evidence that a census was called for by Rome (which is the reason the new testament claims that Joseph took his pregnant/ready-to-deliver wife and forced her to travel to Bethlehem), it makes more sense that they went "home" to celebrate Sukkot with friends and family. Jesus wouldn't have been born in a manger. He would have been born in a Sukkah. That takes place in the September-October time frame (Tishri 15 in the Jewish calendar).

4. Jesus DID celebrate Hanukkah, according to the New Testament (See John 10:22)

Christians should be following in the footsteps of their messiah. The term "Christian" derives from an old Roman insult which translates to "mini-christ". They took ownership of the term and say it means "follower of Christ". Therefore, why is there no uproar over the lack of menorahs on the cups? Why aren't they celebrating Hanukkah?

Jesus's way of life, according to the new testament, was of a Jewish rabbi (teacher) who focused on very Jewish concepts- feeding the poor, taking care of the sick, not being judgmental of others, etc... his focus would never have been on a Starbucks cup, nor on celebrating the Pagan traditions of "Christmas". He was much more interested in reminding the Jewish people of who they were, according to their agreement with God- loving, kind, caring people who had forgotten that in many ways. He lived simply, relying on the kindness of others to care for him and his followers, and he taught very much by example, so those who want to follow him have a clear road map.

Feuerstein, and those who are of his ilk, are attention-seekers. They look for ways to play martyr and victimize themselves so they can pat their own backs, satisfied in their own minds that they are going to get bigtime rewards in heaven for their "long-suffering".

I've already seen Christians trying to distance themselves from him by claiming he isn't a true Christian. The "No True Scotsman" argument fails on so many levels. Most Christians are very much like Feuerstein. They don't read the bible, nor study it against history. They don't study Judaism, which is what Jesus would have taught. They have no understanding of the 613 'commandments'* (not ten) or their application to Jewish life and thought. They don't follow Jesus because they don't have a single clue as to who this person is alleged to have been.

If Feuerstein really wanted to follow Jesus, he'd have picked up a menorah, learned how to play dreidel, and looked up some recipes for sufganiyot (Jewish doughnuts). They go really well with a good cup of coffee ;)

*The term commandments is very misleading. In Hebrew, the word is "Mitzvot". A mitzvah is both a guideline for living, and also a charitable work. Mitzvot is the plural of mitzvah.

Veteran's Day: Thank you and You're Welcome, America

I am a United States Navy Veteran. I joined the military in 1982 at the age of 19. I had just finished my first year of college, and knew I wasn't interested in continuing my studies at the time. I wanted to do something more with my life, something bigger, but I just couldn't decide on what it was I wanted from life- what I wanted to be when I grew up.
As a kid, I wasn't a girly girl. I liked playing football, climbing trees, playing with worms, digging in dirt, anything that allowed me to be outside. I played with GI-Joes and made them all go to war.. Barbies were tied up in the weeping willow tree when they got into my DZ (drop zone). I loved all the same things the boys in my neighborhood did, and my mom (who was a single parent) either didn't really care or just didn't have time to pay attention. I was called a 'tom-boy' by all of her friends and she would laugh about it. I was never discouraged from liking the things I liked, and I just never got into all that frilly girly stuff until I was a teenager, and even then, I just fell in love with makeup.. lol  At one time, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but girls weren't allowed to do that kind of thing.

So, when I was sitting in a dorm room at the end of my first year of college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, my best friend and I decided to go talk to a recruiter. I had talked to an airforce recruiter a couple of years prior to that. He came to my house to talk to me (I was 17). When he tried hitting on me, I immediately decided that the airforce wasn't my cup of java, and hadn't thought about it since.
So, we went to the local recruiting station. We talked to the Army (although neither of us was really all that interested in it), and of course, the Air Force was out of the question for me, then it was the Marines and finally the Navy.

Afterward, we weighed our options. My best friend and I thought long and hard about which branch of the service to go into- and because one of my friend's dads had served in the Navy (he had the coolest anchor tattoo on his arm, and he had been IN Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack) and because my best friend wanted to be near the beach, we made the decision to go Navy. The Navy recruiter told us we belonged in the Navy because we swore like sailors. Good enough! Sign us up!

It's okay to laugh. We were 19 years old. We wanted out of Charleston, West Virginia. There wasn't much to do there to begin with, and we had the options of college, the state police academy, or the military if we were looking for a career.

So, not a really noble intent there, right?  But wait! There's more to why I joined and served. Don't give up on me yet, America...

I was in love with Ronald Reagan. No, not in that girly, crush-on-the-actor kind of way. I was in love with my President. For all his faults and idiosyncrasies and any other things people want to blame him for, the man was the reason I fell in love with my country.

You see, I grew up in the era of the Vietnam Conflict (veterans will understand why I say conflict and not war), and I was 11 years old when Nixon resigned the Presidency due to the Watergate scandal. I also grew up in a time when we had the "Iron Curtain"... the USSR and the United States were the two "super powers" of the world, and there was a constant threat of a nuclear war at any moment.

Americans were disillusioned and apathetic. What's there to love about a country who treats its returning soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines  like criminals? Who can believe in the office of the Presidency after its been so corrupted? Why bother caring at all? One of these people is going to hit that big red button and it's all going to be over in a split second, anyway. We had 52 of our people held in Iran as hostages and the attempt made to save them resulted in a disaster. Good grief, our own government can't even keep our people safe overseas!

Then, came Ronald Reagan. He made us nationalists again. He made us believe in ourselves. He had the ability to get on camera and excite us about what made this country great. Him being elected put enough fear into those hostage-takers that they released them when he became President. He made me want to give back to all of those people who came before me and worked so hard to give me the freedoms I had.
His birthday was the day before mine, too! A fellow Aquarian! :)

It wouldn't be until much later that I'd understand politics and the impact of his presidency on us and the world. Still, I am grateful for the influence he had on me at the time.

I wanted to serve my country under that President. Because of him, I was willing to give my life and service to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I believed in America.. I sang Lee Greenwood's song from the top of my lungs and with total pride. I teared up when I swore my oath, and I was never more proud than on the day I graduated bootcamp as one of less than 1,000 women serving at the time.

I was yours, America. All yours. I was ready to make sure not one of you lost sleep over your security. I was there and so were my fellow soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors. We'd take care of you. We'd be sure that the Soviets didn't sneak onshore in the middle of the night and take away your freedom. We were there, and we'd be damned if we were going to let anything happen to our fellow Americans.

My time in service taught me so much. One of the most difficult decisions I ever made was to leave the Navy. I surrendered my life and freedoms to the service of my country, and it gave me back a life filled with confidence, leadership skills, decision making abilities, organizational skills, hope and inspiration. It was more than a fair trade. Because of the things I was taught in the Navy, I have been able to survive and thrive as an American civilian.

So, when you see me and you say, "Thank you" and I say, "You're Welcome, America", I mean that with all my heart. It was truly, my privilege and pleasure.

To my fellow veterans: Thank you. Thank you for your service, friendship, camaraderie, and understanding. I am in the best of company.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Monday Meditation: Staycation Relaxation

I was on vacation last week, and used that time in contemplation. My conclusion was that I had too many irons in the online fires.

The Samhain's Sirens project has run its course, so it's been gently laid to rest. I've spent a lot of time serving the online Pagan community between that project and The Sunday Stew, but not enough time in reading, writing, and doing artful things.

This is a flaw of mine; I tend to give back more than I take in for my own growth and edification. I'm learning to change this, and I highly encourage you other overachievers to do the same.

Many people see Samhain as "The Witches' New Year"- I do not. I see it as the beginning of "the time between the times," with Yule as the beginning of the new year. It's okay to see it however you like, this is just my particular bent. So, during this time, I'm planning to do a little "cocooning" and doing more things that are not related to community service. I want to play around with photography, pyrography, drawing, writing and designing a new website.

My "Year of Living Dauntlessly" is quickly coming to a close. I'm pretty proud of the things I've accomplished thus far, most around drawing boundaries and defending them, but also in the areas of doing things my way and in the manner that makes me happy.I've also been reviewing ways of living a more healthy lifestyle.  I'll be spending this time pondering this year, and as the new year approaches, looking for a new theme for next year. I think next year may just be the "Year of Living Artfully" (note to Sharon R: Yep, I'll be ordering a jar here, soon ;) )

It's been a great time off from work, and I did all of the things I wanted to do. I feel relaxed and ready to take on whatever the job has for me in the coming week.

I highly recommend taking some time to contemplate where you are, where you've been this year, and where you want to go. The holidays can be a very stressful, busy time, but they don't have to be that way for you. You can set boundaries and simplify wherever you like. This is your story- don't let anyone else write it for you.

I wish you a peaceful week ahead.

Sláinte! (To your good health!)

Thursday's Child: The Watcher

Of The Wildwood
As Samhain approaches, I'm feeling much more like cocooning and communing with the spirits of the earth and the Otherworld.

I absolutely love the poetry of Ly De Angeles. I highly recommend her book, "The Feast of Flesh and Spirit", where you can find the following poem. It reflects completely where I am at today.

"I am forgotten until you remember me, 
I am the living root; the forever Tree---
I await beneath the senses for the soul who truly listens
with an ear to hear my mystery...
and in the song of such a one I am remembered;
and remembering will set the sacred free
to walk through dreams that can rebuild the ancient trackways,

to awaken memories of fires on the hills,
to call the faidh and the ceoltóirí  to attend me
As I plant the living legends in the places of the deep,
(where the forgotten ones still sleep)
of the forest of profusion of the ever-living Tree.

I am the Watcher of the Gate--I am not found
in any book already written, already printed, already bound
but in the spaces yet to be heard;
in the mystery of the yet-to-be-written word.
Ancient Now. Alive divine.
Prepare a place for me; a face for me.
Deny me not; I am the legend of the Vine.
And I am yours, beloved---you who hear me
And in an act that holds to nothing, we entwine." ~ Ly De Angeles (excerpt: The Watcher)

Witchy Wednesday: Samhain Ideas

Artist Helene Grasset
It's getting close to Samhain. If you need some new ideas or are new to this celebration, here are some ideas for you to try. Don't forget to check out Samhain's Sirens for some nifty ideas and recipes as well!

Make resolutions, write them on a small piece of parchment, and burn in a candle flame (set the candle inside your cauldron to catch the ashes). Scatter the ashes in running water.

Wear costumes that reflect your wishes for the coming year.

Carve a jack-o-lantern. Place a candle in it to guide the loving dead through this world while they visit.

Drink apple cider spiced with cinnamon to honor the dead. Bury an apple or pomegranate in the garden as food for spirits passing by on their way to being reborn.

Perform divinations for the next year using tarot, a crystal ball, a flame, a pendulum, a mirror, a black bowl, runes, Ouija board, ogham sticks, or a black cauldron filled with black ink or water.

Perform a “dumb” (mute) supper ritual.

Make a mask of your shadow self, and hang it on the wall above your altar.

Make a besom, or witches broom.

Make a witch’s ladder for protection or as an expression of what you hope to manifest in the year ahead.

Find a magic wand of oak, holly, ash, rowan, birch, hazel, elm, hawthorn, or willow.

Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magical purpose.

How to make a Witch's Ladder:

The Witches’ Ladder is a technique for working a spell, and quite simple to do. This one comes from my personal Book of Shadows. Feel free to copy it and modify it as you like.

What you will need:  

1 length of cord Silk cord is nice, but anything will do ie. a piece of string, a shoelace, scarf  or tie, etc...  see variations as well.

Before you make your Witches’ Ladder you must first be clear on what it is you wish to accomplish. The Witches’ Ladder can be used for any purpose, but it is best used to bring about something which is accomplished through an on-going process -such as increasing prosperity, learning a particular skill, losing weight, etc- rather than something which is accomplished in a single event. Start out with reasonable goals -skill is built through practice. 

Here is an example. Feel free to modify and make it your own. First, consecrate your items. If you've never done this, here's a simple rite to follow. You should do this in a quiet place by yourself.

Begin by placing yourself in a comfortable position, then take three deep breaths and release each one very slowly.      
Now imagine a ball of golden light in the area of your heart. 

Say to yourself “I am One with the powers of the Universe,” and imagine that ball of light growing larger and brighter, radiating out in all directions like a sun inside you.  Let the ball of light grow to fill your chest, growing stronger and stronger as it does so. 

Now, take your cord (and any other items you may be using, if you are doing either of the variations given for this spell) and place it before you. Make three Tuathail, or counter-clockwise, circles above the cord with your hand. 

Say something to the effect of “ I cleanse and purify you, sending out for you any impurities which may lie within.” Imagine the cord surrounded by a golden light. Imagine it shining brightly, then let the image fade.  

Make three Deosil, or clockwise, circles above the cord and say something like: “I bless and consecrate you to this purpose!” Imagine the cord surrounded by a blue-white light, shining brightly.  Again hold the image for a moment, then let it fade. 

Once consecrated, take the cord in your two hands, or hold your hands to either side of it (palms facing it). 

Imagine a ball of white light between your hands, surrounding the cord. Concentrate on the goal you wish to bring about through this spell -focus as hard as you can on the goal for several minutes. 

Imagine the goal inside the ball of light, or some image that represents the goal.  See the goal as you want it to be when it is already accomplished and complete -if your goal is to gain a skill for example, imagine yourself already proficient in it.  

As you imagine this, know that this goal is already accomplished and only needs to be drawn into physical manifestation. Now let the image of the goal and the ball of light fade, and take up your cord.  Continue to focus on your goal, seeing it already accomplished. Still concentrating on the goal, take the cord and tie a knot near one end of it.  

Say: “By Knot of One, the spell’s begun.” 

Imagine yourself one step closer to having your goal.  

Now, tie a second knot a short distance from the first, and say: 
“By knot of Two, no power undo.” 

Focus even more strongly on the goal, knowing that each knot draws it closer. 

Tie a third knot, and say: 
“By knot of Three, so mote it be.” 

With each knot know that your goal comes closer to you, imagine it more strongly and know that it is truly yours.         

Tie the fourth knot, saying: 
 “By knot of four, open the door.” 

Then, the fifth:       
“By knot of Five, it comes alive.” 

The sixth: 
“By knot of Six, the spell is fixed.”        

The seventh:  
“By knot of Seven, the boon is given.” 

The eighth:
 “By knot of Eight, decreed by Fate.”  

And lastly, tie the ninth knot: 
“By knot of Nine, now it is mine!”        

Once again, imagine white light all around the knotted cord, and place your hands above or beside the cord with palms facing it.  Keep the image of your goal very firmly ensconced in your mind.  

Then, release all of your focused energy and concentration directly into the cord - imagine the energy flowing out of you in the form of light or water. 

When all of the energy has flowed from you into the knotted cord, take it and seal it in a safe place. It is best to bury it in the Earth, and especially good if you can bury it at the foot of a tree.  This symbolizes the physical manifestation of the goal.  

In some cases you may wish to keep the Witches’ Ladder in your house, rather than burying it out of doors.  You can do this by placing it in an Earth pot-a pot filled with soil and kept on the altar or a special place. Or you could make a special box or bottle for it.  


The simple technique used to make the Witches’ Ladder has many variations.  These can add to the efficacy of the spell by deepening your connection to it.  This deepening is accomplished by appealing to the Higher Self through symbolic means or “Keys.”  Keys are aesthetic or symbolic elements which help you to make the Shift in Consciousness and access your Higher Self, thus facilitating magical work. Anything which appeals to you creativity or your sub-conscious, and puts you in a more “magical” mood can be a Key.

Make your Witches’ Ladder using not one but several cords of differing color.  For example to do a prosperity spell you might combine a green cord, for fertility and abundance, with a yellow cord, for success.  Or for psychic development you might select a dark blue cord, for psychic ability, a pale blue cord, for communication and learning, and a violet cord, for spiritual guidance.

 Instead of simply tying a knot, tie something into the knot.  You might use beads, or twigs, or feathers -to give just a few examples.  Then tie one into each knot as you work the spell.  The use of feathers is a particularly ancient version of this spell, and examples have been found dating back hundreds of years.

Monday Meditation: Dark and Light

Dark and Light: A Different Perspective.

Dark vs Light by fostic popcorn
As we approach what is known as the dark time of the year, it's a good idea to reflect on how we view dark and light and their place in our world, personally. In the majority of western and monotheistic beliefs, dark represents evil and light represents good. My perspective is a little different, and I find a lot of Witchy folks tend to agree with me.

I don't ascribe to the light = good, dark = evil philosophy. I realize it's both religious and literary (although I would argue that the literary took on the religious tenet and made it so) but it is both a disservice and inaccurate.

This mislabeling has led to some serious repercussions in our history of humanity. People of color have been thought of as "less-than" or evil , and that those of light skin, eyes, and hair were considered good. In some religious beliefs even today, those beliefs are prevalent. I actually had an African American gentleman in one of the churches I attended tell me that he and other black people were descendants of Cain and that being black was their mark. I know of one religion in particular that believes black people are fallen angels. It is ridiculous.

 Evil is not bound by light. Many evil things take place in broad daylight. Evil is about intent, not dark or light. We need both dark and light for many different reasons. Evil and good are subjective terms. What I may think is evil, someone else may call good. For example, I believe that the domination of indigenous cultures is evil. I believe it is evil to institute a 'convert-or-die' mandate upon others. I also believe it is evil to brainwash young children into believing that they are born with something called sin.

Society also dictates what is good and what is evil. At one time, pedophilia was the norm in ancient Greek and Roman societies. Young boys and girls were sex-slaves, and no one thought anything of it. Slavery was considered a good thing by many societies in the past. In the majority worldview today, both are seen as evil.

Let's look at the dark for a moment. Dark is where creation takes place. You'll notice even in the bible that the sun and moon are not created until the 4th day. Creation takes place in the dark. We humans are formed in the dark of the womb. We don't see light until we're born. It takes us awhile to adjust to the light after birth. Light is invasive. Dark is comforting. As a migraine sufferer, I know how much light can hurt and dark can heal.

Life isn't black, white or shades of gray. There is a whole spectrum of color involved. With light,we get to see things in the brilliance of color and our experience is enhanced.

When it's truly dark, there is no color to be seen. However, other senses take over and are heightened. Our sense of touch, taste, smell and hearing are all enhanced when our sight is not reliable. This helps us to experience life more fully.

When we meditate, we do so with our eyes closed, shutting out the invasion of the light. The light brings with it a beauty, but also a bombardment. We need the dark to help us ground, center, and look inward.

While I'm not a fan of the movie overall, there is a line from The Craft that I believe succinctly defines this dichotomy's problem:

 "True magic is neither black nor white. It's both because nature is both, loving and cruel, all at the same time. The only good or bad is in the heart of the witch. life gives a balance of it's own."
In other words, there's no such thing as a "white witch".

We limit ourselves with dualism. Light and dark both bring us lessons and experiences that enhance our learning and teach us things we need to know. We should welcome them both and be glad we can experience both perspectives and the gifts they bring.

It's something to think about.

Thursday's Child: Cultural Appropriation?

For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you may remember I started a series called "Thursday's Child" based on the Mother Goose poem (see below). I wanted to explore what it means to "go far" or be a success, as I was born on a Thursday. Now, I want to change up the theme of this, as I prefer to have at least one day where I'm just personally blogging about whatever it is that comes to mind. It'll definitely be eclectic. 

This week, I'm interested in exploring an article I read which, on the surface, seems to be addressing cultural appropriation. I shared it, and my first reaction was, "brava!"

Now that I've had an opportunity to think about it, I'm more interested in delving a little deeper into this subject, as it also applies to others who use the phrase "cultural appropriation" a lot.

Here is the article from 2014:

Dear White People/Queridos Gringos: You Want Our Culture But You Don’t Want Us – Stop Colonizing The Day Of The Dead

As I said, at first blush, this is about standing up against those who see take these cultural celebrations lightly, and particularly, white Americans who seem to want the "fun stuff" but not the people themselves. I have a deep love and respect for my Latino brothers and sisters in the world. I want everyone to have an opportunity to live wherever they want to live, and to pursue their happiness as they see fit (as long as it isn't harming others). But, her article is myopic in nature, and therein lies the rub.

Day of the Dead
Many cultures around the world have celebrated and continue to celebrate their dead/ancestors. You can find this type of commemoration on every continent. For those of us with Northern European ancestry (particularly those of the Celts), we have Samhain, originating at least 2,500 years' ago. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition that goes back at least 3,000 years. Coincidentally, they both happen approximately at the same time of the year- the end of the harvest. Other cultures celebrate their dead at varying times through the calendar.

It behooves me to address the fact that the author specifically states  her roots are in Puerto Rico, which means that she, herself, is taking on a culture that really isn't hers. Her indigenous ancestors would most likely be Taino, and there is no historical evidence of Day of the Dead celebrations there. That's okay. I get it. She wants to identify with her Latin heritage. But, her Latin heritage is a combination of European (Spanish conquest) and indigenous cultures  of an island that is approximately 2,300 miles away from Mexico.

The languages of Puerto Rico and Mexico (Spanish) originate in Latin- a European language. The same people who conquered my ancestors (The Romans) also conquered Spain, which in turn, conquered the Caribbean and what is now known as Latin America.

She brings up the point that Halloween has been taken over by Walmart with plastic, candy, costumes, etc...  and, to a degree, I can agree with that. However, those who celebrate Halloween versus Samhain would say that it's a secular holiday. In reality, it is the remnants of the Catholic Church's attempt to eradicate this celebration and make it a Christian holy day instead; and, this is something my Irish ancestors share in common with the people of Mexico.

For those of us who celebrate Samhain, it is not about candy and costumes. It is separate, holy, and revered. Some of us participate in Halloween as well. But, so do many in the Latin American community. Things like carving pumpkins come directly from my Celtic heritage where my ancestors carved turnips to light the way for the spirits crossing through the veil, or that costumes are remnants of dressing up to fool the god of the wild hunt. I'm not complaining that anyone who isn't of Celtic origin stole the culture of my ancestors. You can't really talk about separation of culture, and then lump my Irish ancestors, who were slaves in both the Caribbean and the Americas, with the conquistadors.

Here in America, we speak of a melting pot of culture, art, music, food, and holiday celebrations.  If we're going to start separating these out to only those who can prove ancestry in this fashion, well, the author then has to let go of her Dia de Los Muertos celebrations as well, because Puerto Ricans and Mexicans share only their conqueror's ancestry in common.

I have a suggestion for all of us. Try focusing on your own spirituality and honoring your ancestors in whatever way you see fit. Given that so many of us have mixed ancestry, I don't think our loving dead really care that much. Somehow, I think they'd just like to be remembered.

Sláinte! (to your good health)

"Monday's child is fair of face..."
by Mother Goose
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Monday Meditation: Is it Personal?

"Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world."-- Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements

I love "The Four Agreements". It's one of my favorite books. I'm exploring this concept today because I'm encountering folks who take things I've said or posted online and are inferring that I'm speaking to or about them, particularly on Facebook. 

I'm always taken aback when this happens, because several presumptions have to build upon one another in order to reach that conclusion. 

  • The first is that I'm actually that close to him/her. With over 700 Facebook "friends", the odds are that's unlikely. 
  • The second is that I've actually seen or read something from this person that would make me post something personally about them. Again- see # of FB friends. Even those people I've labeled as "close friends" get missed in the scroll shock that is my Facebook page, unless I am directly tagged, and even then, I might not catch it. 
  • The third presumption is that I would lack the character or intestinal fortitude to directly confront someone rather than post a nebulous Facebook status in regard to him/her. This completely nullifies both first and second assumptions, because if you know me, you know I have no problem whatsoever with confrontation.
  • The fourth would be that I have a cruel streak or am petty enough to want to make fun of him/her in some kind of nebulous way. 
Sorry, friend, I'm just not that into you.

Many times, I will post an observation about what I see in general on Facebook or in other forms of social media. I find it fascinating how much people are willing or eager to share with those they've never met in person. The assumption of relative anonymity or facade that one has allows him/her to behave in ways they might not in person. 

While maybe that's a good thing in some ways, in others, I think it might be best to be who you truly are. There are also other ramifications that aren't considered when one posts. I've seen teenage girls and young women posting pictures of themselves in very compromising positions and poses that they may later regret when they get a little older and are seeking employment. Or, maybe they won't.

This might also apply to those who plaster a string of insults, cuss words, etc... in a long litany of rage against some girl whose taken her man. She might regret that later- or not.

These are not scenarios I'm usually 
privy to outside the cyberworld. I don't normally see people standing on front porches screaming insults and epithets about the kind of um.. flexibility they have in the bedroom with their mate of the week. 

It is rather fascinating, and a little disconcerting to me. I don't know that people tend to think before they strike sometimes, and I wonder what the consequences will be for us as a whole. But, that doesn't mean I've directed that at anyone in particular- I'm mostly thinking "out loud" or attempting to start a discussion. While I believe some private groups or one-on-one conversations on there can provide some degree of intimacy, I don't see public broadcasts of status messages as being in that same category.

That's just one example of how someone assumes I'm discussing him/her personally. I've had it happen on several occasions.

I like to joke around with friends who post things that seem personally directed at someone. I'll usually post something in response that makes it seem as if I took it as directed at me so they'll lighten up and get a laugh. Social media should be enjoyable. When it becomes more than that, it's time to take a break.

But, what if I was directing it at you? I wasn't, but let's go there for a minute. Ruiz says:

"Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up…."

The point I'm trying to make is while I'm just not that into you, neither should you be that into me, either. No one should have that kind of power over you. Your power resides within, as does your wisdom, magic, and love.

Ruiz: "As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others."

I am responsible for my own happiness and well-being. What you think of me is none of my business; and vice-versa. So, if you don't comment, give feedback or you just think this is all crap, I promise not to take it personally :)


Don Miguel Ruiz's book, "The Four Agreements" if available for purchase here.

Monday Meditation: The Aisling Dream

Aisling (pronounced  Ash-lin, Ash-leen, Ash-ling, Esh-ling) is an old Irish-Gaelic word for a dream or vision. It also refers to a 16th-17th century form of Irish poetry.

In the poetic, the aisling would come to the poet in the form of a female (called Spéirbhean- pronounced Spare-van or Spare-ven, which means 'heavenly woman') wraith-like in appearance (can be old or young) and would lament on the state of Ireland at the time, predict a brighter future for Eire dependent upon whatever she was advising at the time. 

The Aisling in dream/vision work is also part of a meditative state used by many Gaelic witchy type folks.. it is the writing down or oral description of a vision in the meditative state.. the form itself is usually poetic in nature or in story-form (which is the way of the Seannachi). 

I love the movie, "The Secret of Kells". The female character is called Aisling and if you know your Irish history, you are able to recognize this as a title as well as a name. 

This Aisling is one of the Tuatha De Danaan, a race of people who have become minimized and marginalized through history to resemble small creatures now called "fairies" (something which annoys a great number of us). 

Many of us follow a tradition that believes we are descendants of this race of people and have a strong connection to the land and magics because of our genetic memory.  It is also said that as the veil thins, we are more likely to have this experience, if we are open to it. 

To have an aisling experience is very profound.

Are you open to an aisling experience?

Here is Aisling's song from the movie. Pangur Ban is a poem from the 9th century, found in the margins of a monk's book. It is said to be about his cat. There is a dispute as to the meaning of the name. For the purposes of the movie, the assumption is that it means "white cat", but etymological research says otherwise. Regardless, the song is beautiful, as is the imagery. The lyrics are profound. Enjoy!

Monday Meditation: Worry versus Fear

The Man and His Two Sweethearts

A MIDDLE-AGED MAN, whose hair had begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time.  One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years.  The elder woman, ashamed to be courted
by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs.  The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she could find.  Thus it came to pass that between them both he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.

Moral: Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.

I used to be a people-pleaser in my younger days. I had very low self-esteem, and believed that I had to pretty much make up for existing by being of service to the world. It took me a very long time and a lot of work to overcome that self-sabotaging sickness. What I learned from the experiences is similar to what the man in our fable discovered. We actually cause more harm than good by attempting to please everyone, and the person we hurt most of all is ourselves.

On a conscious level, we all seem to get this. We understand from a purely intellectual perspective that you cannot please everyone. I've never met anyone who believed otherwise. So, why do so many of us continue with this kind of behavior? Of course, the immediate answer is the one I gave; low self-esteem. But, is there more to it than just that?

I had a friend who owned an online shop. She was in her crone years and this was her main source of income. She created some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry I'd ever seen. She was truly gifted at her art. But, this friend was so absolutely afraid of  losing her business that she wouldn't take a public stand on anything. She would quietly and privately agree with someone on an issue, but would make it clear that she couldn't choose or say anything publicly because someone who disagreed with her might not buy from her again. She lived in a state of fear so much that she would work herself into a frenzy. I cannot tell you how many times she called me on the phone in tears because of an issue in which she felt she would not be able to support me or someone else because she was afraid of losing customers. I felt awful for her, until I realized that this was a choice she made out of worry... and worry is the bigger cause at stake.

We worry that we won't be liked. We worry that we won't be able to sustain a business. We worry that we won't be able to pay our bills or we'll lose our home or we'll lose our job or .. (insert your favorite worry here).

Ly De Angeles wrote about Fear as an entity versus worry (which is what a lot of us actually mislabel as fear). Fear comes from the Old English word "faer", which is related to the word "faerie" and means, "to cast enchantments". This also links to the word "faith", derived from Latin, which means "to trust".

Fear is that prickly sensation you get when something is about to go very very wrong. Fear shows up in the fight or flight syndrome to help you decide whether to stand your ground or flee for your life. Fear is your friend. She describes Fear as a beautiful entity. Fear is an instinct that is there to protect you.*

Worry, however, is what most of us do regularly. And, it's all about assumption and expectation. We can't seem to live in the moment very well. We're either living in the past tense by remembering how good we once had it or we're living in the future with the nightmare scenario. Worry produces distress (as opposed to eustress, which is good stress) and distress does a serious number on our physical and mental health. You can literally worry yourself to death.

In my friend's case, she was worried that if she actually took a stand on something publicly, she'd lose customers. She worried that if that took place, she'd not be able to support herself or her child or her husband. She worried that she wouldn't be liked. She worried that she wouldn't fit in. She worried so much that it was almost impossible to talk to her at times because she was so busy with her worries.

Mindfulness is really a practice of staying in the present. It takes a lot of discipline to do this, as it's not something we're conditioned to do. Did you know that there is no present tense in Hebrew? It's only past/future, so this mindset goes back a long way.

In Aesop's fable, the man was worried he'd be alone. The old woman was worried about what others would think of her being with a younger man, and the young woman was worried about what others would think about her being with an old man. None of them were in a state of blissful present. They were too worried about others and what might happen in the future to enjoy this moment.

Just for today, try practicing living in the moment. Don't worry about what's going to happen in five minutes, an hour, tomorrow, etc... just enjoy being here; right now, present in this particular moment. Worry has no way of messing with us that way. Enjoy who YOU are, and not what anyone else THINKS you are... just for right now. If you find yourself beginning to worry, just snap out of it and come back to this moment. For now, you have all that you need and want, and there is nothing else to be concerned with. It may take some practice and some adjustment, but you may just find that you feel much freer and happier by practicing this state of mind.


*Source: Witchcraft: Theory and Practice by Ly De Angeles, pages 32-33.

Witchy Wednesday: Mercury Retrograde Survival Kit

Mercury is about to go retrograde again, and people tend to panic when this takes place. For whatever reason, this particular planetary rx seems to be the most well-known, but not necessarily best understood.

Mercury will be in retrograde from September 17 - October 9, 2015 in the air sign of Libra. This planet, according to astrology, rules all types of communication; including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth. It also includes all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.

Here are some of the things most astrologers recommend:

  • Avoid anything involving communications, such as launching a magazine, website, or an advertising or publicity campaign.
  • Do not sign any contracts or even to shake hands on any new agreements. Do not close on a house during this time nor sign a lease. Verbal agreements are considered the same as written ones. The environment will be quite fluid and changeable, no matter what you are told or what you think.
  • If you start a new job, it won't necessarily be the position you thought it was when you accepted it. If you are a manager, you will have difficulty choosing the right candidate for the job, so, if you can, hold off hiring anyone. 
  • If you buy a house, problems could crop up later that were completely unanticipated.
  • Do not have plastic or elective surgery during this time.
  • Be extra careful to read and re-read important documents. Make sure you take your time in constructing emails, letters, etc... if you send a fax, follow up with a phone call to ensure it arrived.
  • Try to avoid buying/selling anything expensive.
  • If using a GPS, be sure the maps are up to date before the retrograde begins. Bring a printed map if driving, to be on the safe side.
  • You can take a trip for pleasure during these periods. Actually, this could be a perfect time to go, for you get away from it all, and everyone back at the office will "feel" the retrograde - they will miss your quick problem-solving ability and advice while you are away! During a retrograde phase, you might want to travel to a place from your childhood that you loved but haven't seen in a long time. It could be lots of fun because going back to places you knew is favored.
  • Forgetfulness can be a problem during retrogrades. You are more likely to leave your airline ticket or passport on your desk rather than put it in your pocket; leave your cell phone, sunglasses, or gloves in the back seat of a cab; or lock yourself out of your car or house. 
  • Spellcasters should be cautious about performing spells during this time. They can backfire or have an unintended effect. Magic and the gods are not immune from communication chaos that this Rx brings.
  • For those of us who perform divination, it's a two-edged sword. Retrogrades are friendly toward feeling, not thinking. Feelings, impressions and intuition are likely to be more sensitive during a retrograde. They are also likely to be quite accurate - until you think it through. Over-analyzing, and re-interpreting your initial intuitive wisdom makes it just as susceptible to error as doing paperwork. The more you think, the less you know.
Mercury retrogrades in Libra, an air sign this time. When Mercury retrogrades in an air sign, lots of discussion will need to take place, as air signs are highly communicative. Talk to a lot of people and poll their responses. Do a great deal of research, too. Air signs are analytical and modern - you may hear of a solution that is so new, you may not even have known it was possible. Use the answer that seems best for you after going through this process, and make sure you are objective and not emotional in choosing your answer. Libra is also about balance. Be sure that you weigh all ideas and words carefully during the retrograde.

Mercury is a good time for anything that begins with "RE":

  • Reorganize
  • Reassess
  • Redo
  • Repair
  • Repeat
  • Redesign
  • Revisit
  • Reconsider

This is a great time to reorganize your files or closets. Pack up clothes you haven't worn in a while and give them to charity. Polish your shoes and decide which ones need repair, and while you're at it, decide which appliances need to be taken in for repair as well.

It's interesting, because during Mercury Rx, we seem to find the time to do these things, where we couldn't at other times during the year. When you clean your closets, you will find treasures you thought you lost or had completely forgotten about.

The bottom line is that Mercury Retrograde is not something to dread or fear. It's simply a chance to catch up, and that's a gift in this fast-paced world to which we've adapted. 

So, RElax. It's all going to be okay. 

Monday Meditation: Lord Logos and His Bombardment

Logos: "In ordinary, non-technical Greek, logos had a semantic field extending beyond "word" to notions such as, on the one hand, language, talk, statement, speech, conversation, tale, story, prose, proposition, and principle; and on the other hand, thought, reason, account, consideration, esteem, due relation, proportion, and analogy." ~Wikipedia

Logos is the Lord of western society. We are constantly assailed with words, speeches, statements, analogies, articles, opinions, etc..,

One only has to look at the misuse of logos today, it is no wonder people seem burned out. Words are being abused and redefined so much that they lose their meaning, as well.

Words are potent; language is powerful. A Jewish rabbi once told me that we are only given a certain number of words to say in this life, and that we should use them wisely.

For many people's ancestors, nothing was written down for thousands of years. Everything was spoken. Thus, words were more powerful.

Seannachi (story-tellers, bards, poets of Celtic society) could curse someone or things with words (and were greatly feared by the people for that power).. one could completely destroy a reputation within moments of speaking.. and reputation was what you lived by.

In more recent generations, a person's word was his/her bond. Deals were struck and kept by that word.

The power of logos is minimized by its overuse, or speaking/writing without true intention.

Human beings need a break from words at times. In martial arts, and forms of meditation, people are taught the "thought-no thought" philosophy. It is important to hone the skill of simply being. This is the reset button, or way of "clearing the cache" from the bombardment.

It takes discipline and practice, but the end result is balance, peace and empowerment.

It's something to consider...


Monday Meditation: A Better Goodbye

It's a fact of life that people change as they move through life. They take in new information, contemplate their goals and dreams,  make decisions based on more information- all of these things alter behaviors. The more experiences, the more people change, particularly if they are intent on learning and growing. Many times, this means leaving behind those people and things that no longer fit. When it comes to people, separation is painful, particularly when effective communication has not been employed.

Humans are creatures of routine, and will tolerate the intolerable to avoid change. Change can be scary and painful, as it brings the unknown with it. Sometimes, people begin to move down a path, and then run back to their old habits and routines. It feels safer to be in familiar territory.  It's all human nature, and there really isn't anything to judge or condemn. It is what it is.

People tend to feel guilty about the decision to end friendships, particularly when the friends have done nothing to really warrant dissolution of the relationship. Instead of simply communicating about what's really going on, they begin to vilify the person(s) from whom they want to disengage, because it's easier to leave an unlikable person than a friend.

As this new construct begins to take hold, assumptions are easily made, fitting this "villain" into the mold. Issues suddenly arise that were never there before, accusations begin to fly. Before anyone knows it, this beloved friend is now a terrible enemy. Walking away is easy now, because there is justification for leaving. What's left behind is a wake of poisoned hearts and damaged spirits, rather than loving farewells  and well-wishes.

How much different would life be if people simply said, "I appreciate the time we've walked together. It is time for me to walk a different path. Thank you for all you have shared with me. I am better for having been here with you" ? What if the receiver of that loving goodbye could say, "I understand. While I will miss you, it is time for you to go your way. You are loved, and I wish you nothing but beauty and peace as we part ways. Thank you for this time together"? And, what if both really meant it?

It's something to contemplate...


Monday Meditation: To whom is loyalty owed?

From Aesop's Fables

Painting by Sylvia Siddell
A GREAT conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Beast.”

Later on, some Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Bird.” 

Luckily at the last moment peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the rejoicings, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away. He then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him to pieces. “Ah,” said the Bat, “I see now
- He that is neither one thing nor the other has no friends."

At one point in time, I might have agreed with Aesop here. Those who remain ‘neutral’ in conflict have historically annoyed me, as it seems these neutral parties tend to like to wait it out to see who the winner will be. I’ve grown somewhat from that position, now. I see the benefit of the “Not my circus, not my monkeys” mantra.

Loyalty is something that is not only earned, but maintained. It must be freely given, and it is a two-way street. Both the birds and the beasts expected loyalty from one to whom they’d shown indifference in the past. 

It can be difficult to be a bat, a bird or a beast in a situation like this. Online relationships seem much more disposable than those in real life. It's a lot easier to "unfriend" on a social media site.

In online relationships, we tend to jump into social contracts without taking the time to read that fine print and slowly build up trust as we do when we're in an offline group. We also tend to be much more forgiving toward bad behavior online than off. The bat may have seen that the birds behaved very badly toward the beasts, but chose to ignore that the birds were the actual "bad guys" in the situation because the bat wasn't directly affected.

Unfortunately for the bat, those birds aren't really his friends. Deep down, the bat knows that he doesn't fit in with the birds, but he needs a tribe. The beasts don't really care for him because they have pointed out the unforgivable behavior of the birds to the bat, and the bat doesn't act upon it. The beasts see the bat as unscrupulous and the birds see the bat as indecisive. In the end, the bat doesn't really have any true friends in either tribe.

So, what’s the poor bat to do? Honestly, I’d tell him to make his own tribe. He doesn't fit in with either of these groups. I'd advise him to find those who aren’t interested in pointing fingers, getting involved in online dramas, and who aren’t so enamored with themselves that they don’t give him any notice until they want something from him. I’d tell that bat to be happy with himself until he does find his people, and never stop looking for them. He’s better off alone than with those who demand fealty from those with whom they almost never interact otherwise. In the end, his loyalty belongs with himself, and with those who celebrate rather than tolerate him.

It's something to consider.