Stories of Spirit…Celebrating the Harvest [Lughnasadh & the Warrior Bitches]

I love the company of men.  I find them as a general rule to be straight forward, outwardly competitive, and less likely to engage in drama.  That being said, there are times in which I truly crave the isolated company of my lady friends; the warrior bitches and sacred mamas, who have seen me covered in my own tears and snot.

For years now, I have found myself congregating with my wise-women, during the heat of summer; for powerful, soul-moving work.  Work that is not filled with deep planning and bullet point schedules, but is instead more of a wild-rumbus of magic, emotions, and intoxication.  We come together to let our hair down, (or plate it into viking braids), have late night conversations by the light of a campfire, and to engage in the wildness of magic…the kind that oozes from one’s soul, when we are truly in sync with the universe and the natural world.

When it comes to magic of manifestation, I am not one for large crowds, and find myself put off by the glut of retreat weekends offered up.  Not because I think they have no value, but more because I struggle to let down my guard when the numbers are high, and the people are not intimately connected.  As a Psychic I often find myself overwhelmed in large groups, and immediately switch into the role of teacher/facilitator/counselor, making such weekends feel less about myself, and more about others.  I feel the people who are holding back,  the ones who are trying to hard, and the ones who are just barely holding themselves together, and I step into the role of caretaker.  This takes away from my ability to focus on myself, and my personal work.

We must take time to know ourselves, and to cater to the needs of our soul.  Lughnasadh for me is such a time.

Lughnasadh is the first of 3 harvest holidays in the Celtic Wheel of the year.  (The Celtic Wheel of the Year consist of 8 holidays, equally spread out through the solar year) Celtic Wheel of the Year.  Lughnasadh on a personal level is a celebration of the abundance of life, and the hopes and wishes of what is still in store.  It is a time to step boldly into ones dreams, and reach for ones desires, while consciously being aware and thankful for all that we have received thus far.  It is time of high-magic and potent manifestation.

I want magic to be tangible, titillating, and filled with wild abandon.  I want to release myself to the Spirits of Nature, and be ridden by the bliss of an open Kundilini (complete chakra system).  I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that the person standing next to me has my back, knows the value of holding secrets that are not theirs, and is also willing to ride the rapids of their dreams.  I know it seems like a lot to ask, but it is not impossible.

It begins with intention, with the thoughts and desires to find and create such a community for oneself.  The feeling of trust is necessary, for how are we to speak of our desires, goals and dreams while they exist in the vulnerable place of becoming, if we do not trust those we work with.  Just like a newborn child, we must be careful who we entrust with the safety of that which we seek to manifest.  We do not need know them for years on end, but we must know in our soul that they are worthy of such a duty.

Finding deep friendships, and feeling secure enough to let your wyrd out, is invaluable.  In truth it does not require that participants should or shouldn’t be of the same sex as you.  It has nothing to do with that at all.  I just happen to like the feeling of empowerment that a group of ladies generate, when they come together as their bad-ass selves.  Specially since I am a person who prides myself on not-doing manual labor.  This is where I make the exception.  I put up my own tent, I carry my own shit, I do all the things I prefer to let my husband do, and I do it in style.

When we step outside of our every day self…the self who likes a soft bed, and appreciates cooking in a kitchen with running water, lights, and a nice stove, we invite ourselves to become more.  We are ignited by the flame of adventure, and find we are capable of more then we believe possible.  The chill of the air, the layers of clothing, the roots poking up lightly under our yoga mat/sleeping bag, are all reminders to not get ‘too comfortable’, to stay aware, and to open our mind to the unseen.

This years weekend was all that I needed, and hoped for.  The group has changed over the years, expanding and contracting to accommodate those who can and cannot make it.  But the work remains essentially the same.  We gather in hopes of fueling our dreams, and expanding our consciousness.  We gather to support one another, and to step intentionally further onto our paths.

As a Druid and priestess of the Earth, much of my time was spent hugging trees, melding into rocks, and traveling astrally into holes in the ground & openings in the rock.  I go into the forest to meet with the Fae Folk, the Spirits of Nature whom I consider friends and teachers.  This weekend gave me ample time to do so, as we explored path ways in the Notch (Crawford Notch) that I had never been on.  I found myself preparing for my trip to Northern Ireland, by meeting with stone beings/giants and reacquainting myself with those I had met before.

I know the idea of talking to Fairies, Trolls, and Giants can seem a bit far fetched.  But only if you are imagining with Hollywood eyes.  These beings exist in different dimensions then we do.  They vibrate on different frequencies, and one must be open to experience them.  Over the years my ability to do so has expanded, just as my ability to speak to the Dead has done so.  The longer I do it, the more places I wonder, the more magic I see present in the world, the more beings I come to know as friends.

I find this to be important, as we are living in changing times.  Times when the old ways of magic, and divination are returning.   Expansion of consciousness is not just happening to those who seek it, but to those who stumble onto it as well.  In truth it is far easier to assimilate to if we believe and accept.  Our struggle with the term ‘reality’ can cause many a problems for the masses.

In the light of dusk on the last night of our weekend, we found our way into a cave in the rocks.  It is a cave I have visited many times, one that has expanded physically over the years.  What once could hold only two people close together, now holds 5 comfortably.  Its expansion has been a thing of wonder to me, for it truly has grown both energetically and physically with use.  In the darkness, and light of a small fire we spoke that which we meant to manifest into becoming.  We connected to the nature beings that surrounded us, and opened ourselves into timelessness…we surrendered to the universe, got out of our way and became co-creators of our reality.

The rock walls around us vibrated, and pulsated with the energy generated by our voices and the solid beat of the drum.  We became one with the moment of becoming, and let go…knowing that we had just impregnated something fantastic.  We had seeded our dreams.  The days leading up to the moment in the cave, were as important as the moment itself.  For they were the building blocks, the invitations, and the call to arms necessary to step onto the path of the Spiritual Warrior.  It was an exceptional moment of Spirit, and we were ready.

I know that which I have planted, must be tended.  I cannot now forget it as it is still in need of tending.  But that being said, I have full faith that my work is potent, and that which I seek to create is beautiful, powerful, and filled with integrity.  I give thanks for the blessings of Lughnasahd, the first harvest.

LUGHNASAHD actually takes place on August 1st, so you have not missed the deadline.  For those of you looking to create something magical yourselves this harvest here is a quick do it yourself idea.

YOU WILL NEED- a small fire (candle, campfire, raging bonfire, etc), a piece of paper and pen, any sacred items you like (crystals, feathers, holy symbols, etc), your voice.

Start by creating fire, as you do so welcome in your ancestors  and imagine you are surrounded by a white light of protection. Sit comfortably in front of it and pick up your paper and pen.  Make a list of that which you are seeking to become.  If you are seeking self empowerment, examples may be…more confidence, find my voice, stand tall, value my intuition, etc.

With the list in hand, begin chanting your own name.  You can elongate the vowels and turn your toning into more of a sacred song, or keep it short and sweet, building momentum over time.  Hold onto your paper as you do so.  Gaze into the fire, and let yourself relax into its light.  Keep your vision soft, paying attention to that which appears in your peripheral vision.  Continue chanting your name for at least 10 minutes.  As you do so, imagine you are charging up the paper which you hold in your hands, charging up the dreams you hold.

When the energy feels full, stop…hold onto the energy and speak the words written on the paper aloud, with the force of fact.  Then burn the paper, letting the words and intention go to the universe, where they begin their becoming.

Thank your ancestors, and close your protective circle.

Know that you must continue to tend your dreams, in order to grow them.  Your magic is simply fertile ground, it aids in growth, but work is also necessary.  We must care for and nurture that which we aspire to.  We must believe in our dreams and work toward them, if we want to see them ripen.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks. Now go out and embrace your wild self, and make some magic!

 

spreading love-salicrow

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Beltaine [celebrating with Spirits of Nature]

Today is Beltaine…a day when the Fairies walk among us.  A day that is Betwixt & Between, standing half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  It is a powerful day, like Samhain/Halloween, when the veil between the worlds is at it’s thinnest.  A day when our Beloved Dead and the Spirits of Nature are strongly present in our world.

In my little corner of the Universe, the day is wet.   The sky has opened up, and the rain is coming down in buckets.  In many ways the nature of the day is contrary to what one would expect, of hope for on Beltaine.

Beltaine is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the year.  It is a celebration of all that is fertile, and newly awoken; of passion, play, and wild abandonment.  Traditionally it is a time in which the land is blessed, in hopes of a bountiful harvest.  A time of flowered wreathes and brightly colored frocks, a time of revelry.  In modern times this blessing of fertility that is most potently known as the Maying, has expanded to include all of our creative endevours, that our way will be fruitful and sacred.  As the veil between the worlds is particularly thin during May Day (Beltaine), it is also a time in which we give thanks to the “others”, the unseen being who share this planet with us, the Fae Folk.  

Astronomers have proposed that solid matter makes up only 5% of the Universe.  That leaves 95% unaccounted for.  In my opinion, this is a good argument for believing in unseen beings…the Spirits of the Dead, and that of Nature alike.  Beyond opinion, I have personally had experiences with many of these beings, Ancestral Dead and Nature Beings alike.

Beltaine with some of my most loved Druid companions, a few years back.

I have celebrated Beltaine since I was in my early 20’s, when I found my way back to the holidays and connections of my Ancestors, and began living my life within the cycle of nature, known as the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  My Ancestors, that which I came from, have always lived close to the Earth, and in doing so given honor and thanks, to the Planet itself.  The 8 holidays that make up the Wheel, remind me of the changes my beloved Gaia is going through, and help me to stay in sync with her rhythms.   In doing so, I feel that my life is richer and more balanced.

Like most things in modern times the celebration of such holidays is done loosely around the date that they fall on.  As today is a Monday, my celebration today, will be simple and homey.  I have set out honey water for the Fae Folk on one of my outdoor altars, as an offering, and left out a glass to fill with rain water.  Traditionally the water collected on May Day would be dew, collected from leaves, under the early morning sun.  As the day is wet, with a heavy layer of fog, and intermittent downpours, I decided that I would collect the rain water instead.

Collecting dew (or rainwater) on May Day is an old Folk tradition, the water is said to bring luck, beauty and good health, particularly if one washes their face with it.  I myself will use my collected “May Rain”, by anointing my Third-eye, and Crown Chakras with it, as long as it last.

Mother Goose Rhyme about collecting Dew on May Day…

“The Fair Maid, who on the first of May, goes to the fields at the break of day, and washes of the dew of a Hawthorn tree, will ever after handsome be!”

Maypole

Another Beltaine tradition is the May Pole.  Dancing the May, is simply the act of weaving colored ribbons around a large pole.  It is simple and playful, but laden in old-school fertility magic.  The pole being very phallic like representing the God or masculine aspects of Nature, and the hole that it is planted in, representing the female/Yoni.  The dance was traditionally done as part of the blessing of the land, but it had personal effects as well, and often those seeking to become fertile in their personal lives would/do dance.  As I have said earlier, in modern times this fertility has expanded to include many aspects of creativity, but in the olden days it was mostly about the fertility of livestock, land and personal womb.

This year I will not be dancing the Pole, nor will I be attending a large May Day celebration.  Instead I will be boarding a plane this Friday and heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where my sister and I will be teaching a weekend intensive on Earth Magic.  And though I will miss the ribbons, and drums of the greater circle, I am delighted to be bringing the magic of nature, and the Fae Folks to those who are seeking it.  We will sit around a fire, and enter deeply into the space of Betwixt and Between, and we will seek communion with the beings of Nature, as we walk through the trails that surround Lake Michigan.

Here is a simple bit of goodness, for those of you seeking to connect with Nature and bring the blessings of fertility into your lives this the First of May.  If you cannot do this on May 1st, due to timing or lack of rain, do it the first day of May that you can.

Rainy day Beltaine altar. The stick inside the blue glass holds a branch of thorns from the Blackthorn tree @ Madron’s well, in Cornwall, UK. The golden glass holds the honey water, my offering to the Fae Folk.

You will need… 2 glasses (preferably the most sacred, or prettiest you have), honey,  a bit of hawthorn if you have it

*In one cup…add 2 tablespoons of honey to a 1/2 cup of warm water (this is your offering for the Fae Folk)

*Leave the second cup empty (this is for collecting rain water)

*Place your bit of Hawthorn in the empty cup, so that the rain water may run down it, into your glass

LEAVE THE GLASSES OUTSIDE on an altar, or upon a large rock, over night.  Give the glass time to fill with rain water.  The honey water left out for the Fae Folk will most likely still be there the following morning.  This is because they absorb the energy of the offering, not the actual physical material.  Dump the honey water, onto the ground, when you collect your May rain water the next day.

*Place your index finger and middle finger into the rain water and anoint your Heart (middle of the chest), Throat, Third Eye (between your eye brows/middle of the forehead), and your Crown (top of the head).  These four Chakras are connected to communication and Psychic Knowing.

Make sure to verbally thank the Spirits of Nature, and the Earth itself for this offering.

*place the remainder of the May water in a glass canning jar, or bottle, and label it.  Anoint your heart, throat, third eye, and crown, every morning as you start your day, until the bottle is empty.

This little spell is helpful for opening our consciousness to the unseen world, and giving the blessing of fertility to all of our creative endeavors.  Remember (before you get caught up in the word) that a spell, is simply a potent prayer.  It is intention with action.

I hope you have enjoyed the read Folks, and that you have a beautiful Beltaine, and a Spirited May!

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Stone Circles, Lavender Fields, & Crystal Mine, oh my! [O’Canada]

stoneloveYesterday I went adventuring in my backyard…Canada that is!  It was such a great day, with such lovely surprises, I can honestly say I will be going back & soon.  I have lived about 45 minutes from the Canadian boarder for over a quarter of a century, and yet I can count the amount of times I have ventured there on my fingers.  It’s not that I am against Canada, it is more that I have taken for granted the country next door.  A few weeks ago, I was invited (or invited myself, which ever story you prefer) to join a couple of local ladies/clients of mine on an adventure to ‘Mine Cristel’ in Bonesecours, QC.  As excited as I was about going to the mine, I have to say I was completely surprised by the wonders I experienced along the way.

Druid Love…the Stanstead Stone Circle

stansteadstonecircleAs a Druid, I can honestly say…I love Stone Circles, in fact I have been known to travel to foreign parts, just to spend time within these Earth Temples.   The Stanstead Stone Circle is located on the 45th parallel; half way between the Earth’s Equator & the North Pole, and on the boarder of Canada & the United States.  No exaggeration on the latter,  you literally cross the boarder in Derby Line, VT and take a right…the Stanstead Circle is less then a 5 minute drive from the United States.  Carrying the energy of Betwixt & Between…half way between the Equator & the North Pole & straddling the line between nations, this circle is aligned to the Autumnal Equinox.  The circle is also a Localvore delight; with all of the granite stones, coming from local mines.

The Stanstead Stone Circle Host events throughout the year.  If your looking for more information, please check out their website http://stansteadstonecircle.org

stanstead2

The center stone slab, clearly defines what each stone is aligned to, as well as pointing out the location of the 45th parallel.

stanstead1

In the distance to the East lies two Stones, which are used as focal points for the rising sun on the Autumnal Equinox.

WitchbayMary & Jane, my traveling companions; who so kindly let me join in on their adventure, were great tour guides.  After leaving the Stone Circle they took me by a cool, old manor house in Fitch Bay; which has fondly been nicknamed Witch Bay.  How I wanted to go inside and explore this beauty; with it;s gargoyles and Witch Weather vane.  They were such awesome traveling companions.  When I told them I had not explored Canada much, they kept coming up with cool things we should do on our days adventure, as well as sharing other spots with me I should put on my list of things to see & do, in the Land Next Door.  As we drove through the country side, on our way to ‘Mine Cristel’, they told me of their favorite lunch spots, crystal shops, and eccentric hidey-holes that needed exploring at a later date.  I truly had no idea.  I mean our side of the boarder, is kind of rural and uneventful.  I kind of imagined the same in Canada, like…’nothing to see here’, until Montreal.  LOL, I was very wrong.

Bleu Lavande…an Aromatherapy dream

Our next stop; which in reality was a there and back again stop (meaning we stopped on the way to the mine & again on our way home), was ‘Bleu Lavande’, which as they say on their web page…Is a unique experience for the senses.  Located just outside of Fitch Bay; Bleu Lavande is an amazingly gorgeous, sensual delight.  Fields and fields of Organic Lavender…that’s right, fields and fields of Organic Lavender in Canada.  Anyone who has experienced aromatherapy already knows how amazing this must be.  The energy there was truly zen like.  We visited briefly on the way to ‘Mine Cristel’, and then returned after our Crystal Adventure to enjoy the view and a Lavender Cocktail, Gin (local distillery) & Tonic with Lavender for me…it was Divine.

lavende1

Bleu Lavande with Mary & Jane

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So wish this was ‘Scratch & Sniff’

Acres & Acres of Lavender, including a Labyrinth.

Acres & Acres of Lavender, including a Labyrinth.

Gorgeous sand sculptures though out the grounds.

Gorgeous sand sculptures though out the grounds.

The Bleu Lavande show room, where you can purchase all the lovely Organic goodness the create.

The Bleu Lavande show room, where you can purchase all the lovely Organic goodness they create.

Want to go…check out their website http://bleulavande.com for details, directions, and spa info…that’s right folks, you can get a massage in the Lavender fields.  Perhaps next time!  Onward we go…

 the Crystal Sanctuary of ‘Mine Cristel’.

My treasures from Mine Cristel

My treasures from Mine Cristel

Mine Cristel;http://minecristel.com  located in Bonsecours, QC, is more of a Crystal Sanctuary & Educational center then it is a mine.  That being said, Mine Cristel holds a strong crystal vein and produces high quality Quartz Crystals.  I can not say how much I enjoyed visiting this mine.  I mean I was excited to be going to a Crystal Mine, but when I discovered that the owners had designed it to be a sanctuary, and work to educate the public on the power and presence of Crystals…I was elated.  Mining is done in an open pit; with much of the actual mining being done by hand; with the emphasis being on environmental responsibility and honoring the Crystals as Beings.

Again, I would have to say this was a very Zen experience.  The energy of the center @ Mine Cristel, was true yumminess.  You couldn’t help but know you had entered a sanctuary.  The pathways through the woods leading to the mine, were created with Quartz dust; making you feel like you were walking on some kind of magical path…like the Wizard of Oz or something.  It should also be noted that even though the tour was completely in French, English speaking folks were given i-pods to listen to a recording of the tour.  It was cool to be wearing  earphones (complete with crystal necklace) listening to your own version of the story.

In the middle of no-where, on a dirt road you will find Mine Cristel. That's what GPS' are for Folks!

In the middle of no-where, on a dirt road you will find Mine Cristel. That’s what GPS’ are for Folks!

Crushed Quartz walkways lead the way...

Crushed Quartz walkways lead the way…

the Mine Cristel

the Mine Cristel

Mine Cristel

Mine Cristel

Mine Cristel

Mary  & Jane looking for Crystals

Crystal Adventurers...Mary, Sali & Jane

Crystal Adventurers…Mary, Sali & Jane

I am so thankful to my traveling companions Mary & Jane, who allowed me to come along on their Adventure.  It was a great day going on someone else’s adventure, I think I need to do it more often.  We ended our day of adventure on the back porch of a quaint little restaurant a block away from the Border.  It was located in a neighborhood, so you could easily pass it by as someone’s home.  The food was great and the view from the porch was super cute, homey and well…awesome!

backdoorThanks for reading folks, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventure next door.  It really reinforced my belief that the sacred is all around us.  We do not need to travel to exotic locations to experience a Spirit infused life….it’s right there,  in our back yard.  I love to travel, & I love Spiritual Adventure.  The world we live in is so amazingly beautiful, and alive.  When we take the time to open ourselves to the possibilities and start seeing the world with the eyes of an adventurer we can find it anywhere and everywhere.  Living with fullness, allowing our senses to be present in all that we do, is how we are meant to be.  Whether we are exploring our back garden, hopping the border into our neighbors universe, or traveling the world.  It’s all about the way we look at things.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Finding Balance in Thin Moments [betwixt & between]

raising the maypoleI feel like the last few weeks have gone by in a fog; with my brain slipping between this moment in time, and that of timeless eternity.  The fog has made it hard to focus, my story telling mind; so instead of pressing it…I have just chosen to exist, and take the downtime while it presents itself.  This is not entirely surprising as we are quickly approaching Beltaine (May 1st), a time when the Veil between the worlds is thinnest.  Like Halloween, Beltaine is a thin time; a time when the barrier between the worlds of the Living, Dead, and otherworldly beings (Fae Folk), is so thin that they overlap.   During thin times; people who normally do not experience Psychic phenomenon, often find themselves experiencing the unknown.  For those of us, who are Psychically sensitive, these thin moments can be a bit overwhelming.

Beltaine is one of the 8 Celtic holidays, that make up the Wheel of the Year.  Traditionally taking place on May 1st, Beltaine is an ancient fertility holiday in which people gather to bless the land.

Thin moments such as Beltaine; often take on a sort of timelessness, and are referred to as Betwixt & Between.  Betwixt & Between means neither here/nor there.  Dawn & Dusk are times of Betwixt & Between; for they are neither night, nor day….but stand in the space between.  Beltaine & Halloween are also such moments, for they are the pause, between Summer & Winter, and Winter & Summer.  Memories from this life, past lives and the memories held by the Spirit of place, often pop into our mind at these moments…for memory also exists in the Betwixt & Between.  All of this adds up`to the whirlwind feeling that often accompanies early Spring.

Collectively we humans spin through cycles together (I am sure any Astrologers among the Reading audience would agree).  These cycles are not only influenced by the planets and stars, but the shifting of our living planet.  These moments of pause or Betwixt & Between, are powerful moments Spiritually, but can often leave us feeling unbalanced.  Working regularly with the public, I have witnessed a higher level of chaos or imbalance this Spring then in years past.  I believe this is in part due to Psychic Evolution…that’s right Folks; I believe as a species, we humans are evolving right here/right now.

So what do we do about it?

Frankly, there is no putting it back in the box once it’s out. Once we start to open up Psychically, we cannot close our eyes and change our mind.  The only way out is forward.  By accepting the shift in consciousness, and the fact that it is happening on a species level scale; we can adapt & find a new balance.

crowsistersfaeFirst and foremost, I recommend a change of thinking.  I personally love moments of Betwixt & Between… I love the day-dreamy, Spirit filled, pause…as it gives me time for reflection; even if it is for brief moments.  The connection to the past is strong at this time, making it perfect for reflecting on the events of this life and moments that sneak into our consciousness, from past lives.  I have found many of my clients contacting me for Past Life Readings over the last few weeks; as their story pokes at them through the veil.  My personal belief on Past Lives; is more of a belief in parallel lives…embracing the thought of quantum theory.  I believe that we are living multiple lives simultaneously, and that we connect at the moments that lessons are shared.  By looking at this time when we are Betwixt & Between as an opportunity, we can connect with our soul more clearly.  It’s a good time for jotting things down in our journals, so that we can digest it later.

Part of Psychic Evolution is becoming more Empathic.  So make sure you take extra precautions to keep your emotions clean.  Check in with yourself regularly, if you mood has suddenly changed…do not assume it is your moodiness.  Instead look around and see where or who you think the heavy emotions are coming from.  Make time for Nature, it has the ability to soothe the frenzied beast, and remember…in the long run, this is a good thing.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Imbolc [for the love of Brigid]

brigid's crossImbolc is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the Year.   It is a celebration of fire, hearth & home that honors the spark of inspiration that prods us in the deep of winter where we slumber…waking us to plan.   Sacred to the Goddess Brigid it is a great time to seek inspiration & begin planning for the year ahead of you.   Imbolc takes place on February 2nd & this year it will happen during a New Moon.    Actually it is the 2nd New Moon of the month which is called a Black Moon.  Black Moons are pretty rare, happening about every 2.5 years.  New Moons/Black Moons are all about planting seeds, inspiration and Awen (the spirit of creativity).  Looks like a pretty good line up between the two events to set things in motion.   I prefer to keep things simple.  Set yourself down with a candle or in front of the open fireplace if you have one.  It’s about the flame…spending time with it, meditating…allowing it to take you within.  If you know what you want to grow with the returning of the light…dedicate yourself to it.  If you are  not sure what it is you need…ask for guidance.

As I said Imbolc is connected to Brigid…the Goddess & Saint.  Brigid started her life with the Irish people as a Goddess & was later transformed into a Saint when Christianity came into Ireland & the  people would not set her aside.   The lines that separate the two are so fine it is hard to determine where one ends and the other begins.  According to medieval historians, Christian monks took the ancient Mother Goddess and wove her tales into that of Saint Brigid.  I saw this first hand when I visited her home in Kildare, Ireland last spring.   It was pleasing to see that the Goddess Brigid had not been set aside, in fact her story as goddess as well as saint was present in the church as well as the home of the Brigidine Nuns.  Brigid is connected to flame-that of the hearth as well as the smith, she is ever the blessed of the crafter, poet & magician.  Brigids blessings are called upon at birth, she is benefactor of the poor, caretaker of the earth & connected to holy wells.  The flame of Brigid was considered sacred and cared for in pre-christian times by 19 priestess’s.  The flame burnt continually for hundreds of years, each of the 19 priestess’s took turns guarding the flame and on the 20th day Brigid herself kept her flame going.  When Brigid was tranformed into Saint the stories of her kindness and miracles continued and so did the tending of her flame.  Brigidine sisters/nuns took turns tending the flame of Brigid…each in turn for 19 days and on the 20th the flame was left for Brigid herself to tend.  It is believed that the tradition was carried out until the 16th century when it was extinguished for Christian fear of its connection to a fire cult.  In 1993 it’s flame was relit by Brigidine Nuns in Kildare.  Since then it has been cared for in the fashion it was intended, with the 20th day being that of Brigids to watch over herself.

I have been a practicing pagan Celt for most of my adult life &  have  honored Brigid with fire and fed her my dreams at Imbolc for many years.  My personal connection to Brigid however is much newer and carries an interesting tale.  In the first year of my Druid training (2008) I was gifted with the flame of Brigid.  My teacher Ivan McBeth had received the flame in a ceremony years prior when it had been brought from Ireland to England by Brigidine sisters.  They carried the flame alight from their home in Kildare by ship to England.  Upon sharing it with others they explained that once a candle has been lit with Brigid’s flame it can always be used to call upon her, you simply relight it and ask her to join you.  This made it a lot easier for Ivan to bring it into the United States as you can imagine.  Receiving this gift & its history was an honor.  In the ceremony as we all awaited our time to light our candles and connect with Divine inspiration (the heart beat of the bard) in song.  We sat around a fire chanting a simple song, holding space for the others as they approached the flame of Brigid and looked deep inside themselves for Awen (the spirit of creativity) & the blessings of Brigid.

CHANT TO BRIGID... Rise up oh Flame, by thy light glowing, show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

CHANT TO BRIGID…
Rise up oh Flame,
by thy light glowing,
show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

Brigid entered my life in many ways during my bardic year of Druid training and has stayed on as a guide.  I often use the time of Imbolc to journey with Brigid in search of what my life needs.  This searching through journey work is what brought yoga into my life.  In fact she pretty much told me plain and simple that I needed to do yoga.  I seldom get glossy, poetic answers from the divine…short, simple and to the point seems to be the approach for me.  *Now I know I have mentioned it before, and I will mention it again.  God is god is goddess to me, it matters little how you get there or what you call it. *   In my journey I  was told I  needed yoga in my life.   Long story short, a few days later I was driving through town and saw that a yoga studio had opened.  That was 4 years ago and I am still practicing Ashtanga Yoga, so I would have to say she was right…I did need yoga in my life.  Along with her inspiration Brigid has also amazed me with the synchronicity of her nature.  Last year when I went to Ireland I traveled to Kildare, it was among 3 of the planned ventures I had on the itinerary.  I went to Ireland with an open plan of areas to explore but  3 things I knew I needed to do & visiting Brigid’s home in Kildare was one of them.   We were staying on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare (where my mum’s people come from) & Kildare was across the country almost to the East coast so about 2.5 -3 hours by car.  It was one of our planned day trips and well worth it.  When we got to Kildare we did the touristy thing and headed to Saint Brigid’s Cathedral: walked the grounds, visited the ancient fire temple & went inside the cathedral.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the information on Brigid the Goddess inside of the Cathedral as well as her history as a Saint.  I was however disappointed to not find her flame.  My husband and I walked around the town and were told at the historical center that the Brigidine Nuns tended the flame at their home Solas Bhride.   The woman running the shop helped us to connect with the sisters of Solas Bhride and we were soon on our way for a visit.  Before leaving she did tell us that Brigidine Nuns were not like traditional nuns and did not dress in the same fashion as the other nuns we had seen around the town.

sistermaryMeeting Sister Mary Minehan was an Exceptional Moment of Spirit.  The first thing I noticed was she was wearing a leopard print sweater & the first thing she said upon greeting my husband and I was “when I speak of God, I am speaking of the energy that has been present in the Universe for millions of years”.  She was kind and generous and being in her presence you knew she had truly dedicated her life to her faith.  She shared Brigid’s flame with us and I told her how I had received it years before from my Druid teacher.  Here is where the synchronicity lies folks…Sister Mary Minehan had been one of the sisters who took the flame of Brigid across the sea from Ireland to England.  This same women had been involved both times when Brigid’s flame was given to me.  Oh…I just love how the Universe works, it is simply Magic!  All the people in the world and we still make such fabulous connections.    We spent about an hour with Sister Mary, drinking tea and  talking about the environment.  The Brigidine sisters are building an ecological center in Kildare.  Their focus is on human rights, education and earth activism.   They are really fantastic ladies, living their light out loud.  I was delighted to see that the sisters of Brigid are the same as the image I have held in my mind of the ancient priestess’ of Brigid.  One of the things that gave me such great happiness was when Sister Mary told us to visit the old well not the new one.  She said that the sister gathered their sacred water from the old well.  I felt a bond of kinship with her.  It is always beautiful to see the light of god/goddess/universe in others even if you don’t share the same exact faith.  After all it is more about getting the connection then how you get it.  Just the year before the Dali Lama had been in Kildare and carried the flame of Brigid in a ceremony in the village.   There were pictures of it in various places in the town.

Brigid's Old Well

Brigid’s Old Well

We visited Brigid’s well, both of them.  The new one was beautiful with statuary and prayer stations.  It had been built to make a more gentile place for visitors.  The old well had little marking it, in fact if you didn’t know where you were going you would miss it.  It was on the outside of a Japanese Garden, an enclosed center people can visit, like a fancy park that you pay admission to.  I am sure the garden was lovely, but we didn’t come for that…we had come to be blessed with Brigid’s water.  Wells throughout the Celtic lands are sacred things.  They are springs that come to the surface, their water is sacred as it is said to connect both the world above with the world below.  Many holy wells are known for their healing qualities and the blessings they bestow.  To me they are indeed sacred.  I see them as the life blood of the planet, the mana that carries the deep, powerful blessings of Gaia.    Sitting at a sacred well is like sitting in church, or meditating deeply, it effects you, you just plain feel good near them.  And they make me emotional in a good way.  I found Brigid’s well especially so, for Brigid had shared so deeply of herself with me.

The Divine is alive and wheres so many faces so that we all might find comfort in connecting with God/Goddess.  I invite you to take time over the next couple of nights and reach out for inspiration.  May the year to come be filled with Awe…

Spreading love-salicrow

Holiday…Christmas Moon [full moon magic]

winterMOON (1)The Holidays have been in full gear in my neck of the woods for the last few weeks, in fact…I have finished the majority of my celebrating; as my family celebrates the Winter Solstice/Yuletide, instead of Christmas.  That being said, I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful treat Christmas brings this year…a Full Moon.  The last time we had a Full Moon at Christmas (1977),  I was 6 years old; the most amazing age for Santa’s wonderment.  I don’t remember the Full Moon then, but I am sure it added majestically to the sparkle and shine that was Christmas that year.  This time however, I am ready for the Moon and planning on using it’s Holiday show to move Mountains….Mountains in my own life that is.

There has been a lot of hub-bub on the Internet over the fact that the Full Moon this month falls on Christmas day.  Astronomically, there is nothing particularly special about Christmas day.  However, the close proximity to the Winter Solstice does have significant sway over the Full Moon’s energy.  The second little bit that makes the Christmas, Full Moon significant is belief.  Quantum Physics has proven that thought matters, that what we believe has a direct effect on reality.  The fact that so many people celebrate the 25th of December as a time for family, love, abundance and good will, means something & makes it a potent seed for manifestation.

So, lets first take a look at the Astronomical significance of the Winter Solstice- Full Moon & the energy it holds.  A Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, and fully illuminated by it’s light.  As the energy of the Moon is receptive, it goes without saying that it is influenced by the position of the Sun.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun begins it’s return or period of growth on the Winter Solstice; which occurred on the 22nd of December this year.  Energetically, this signifies growth and rebirth, for the Sun is sharing its light with us more and more each day.

Christmas is also connected to rebirth & growth.  For Christians, Christmas represents the birth of their God into human form.  It is a time of wonder & joy, salvation & redemption.  In our modern world, many people celebrate Christmas whether they are religiously Christian or not.  Their reasons for celebrating are often the same; wishing for a better world, being thankful for the gifts of change &  humanity.  For many the celebrations of the Winter Solstice have been spread out over the many days of Christmas, to include New Years day…when we all make our resolutions or manifestations for the coming year.  All of these things, that make the Christmas season so magical are shared by people all over the world, under many names and traditions.  So, yes there is a magic to Christmas.  It is a magic on the quantum level; on the level of belief, as Quantum Physics has proven that thought matters; that what we believe we create.  The more people who believe the same, the more power added to the moment.  This makes Christmas a very magical time, for Christmas is about wishing…Wishing for a better life, wishing good will to all, wishing for dolly’s and race cars and chocolate cream pie.  Young and old, rich and poor, Christmas allows us to dream & create.

So now we come to the part I love most…what are we going to do with it?  How are we going to use this energy, that so nicely aligned for us on Christmas Night?

This ceremony is intended for Christmas Night, but can be done tonight or any evening between now & December 28th; as the Full Moon’s energy is potent for 3 days prior to the Moon being full, and 3 days after.  If your busy with guest on Christmas Night, sneak away with your hot chocolate or wine & give yourself the gift of time.  You can do this wherever you happen to be.

You will need- Paper (or a blank Christmas card), pen/marker, a candle, crystals/ornaments/altar items

Set up your Altar…(Altars are temporary or permanent Sacred Space).  As your work this evening is geared toward the Moon, I recommend a shelf or table near a window; where the Moon can shine on it, or outside if possible.  Your Altar can hold items you find sacred; such as crystals, holy symbols, photos of ancestors, etc.  You will also want a simple candle; any color, shape or size will do.

Light your candle and take a few deep breathes.  With every breath in welcome the energy of the Moon, whether you can see it or not; it’s out there.  With every exhale, let go of your every day worries.  As you continue breathing, imagine a sphere of white light surrounding you & connecting you to the Moon.  This light goes above your head and below your feet, you are completely inside of the light.  This light is protective, and acknowledges the work you do as Sacred.  You may welcome the cardinal directions (East, South, West & North) and the elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth) if you feel drawn to, as well as any Deities and  Spirits you work with.  When your space is created; it is time to get to work.

Let us begin with taking a good look at our present circumstances and how we would like to change them.  Grab a nice piece of paper, or better yet a Christmas card if you have one.  Make a list of the things you need.  I stress Need over Want, as want is a fleeting thing; often determined by our child mind & does not always serve us.  Need on the other hand is the essential pieces necessary to our happiness, growth and stability.  Make your list, just like you would for Jolly Saint Nick; billeted, detailed, in marker or glitter.  Make it sincere, do not sugar coat it or gloss it over in any way, shape or form.  When working with manifestation it is important to be honest, with ourselves as well as the powers that be.  My most potent works of manifestation have happened when I was completely raw.  For me this may mean…naked in the woods, sitting on a ley line/nodal point.  But it has also taken place in a warm room, in my jammies.  It all comes down to vulnerability &  the desire to make change.  That is why honesty & need are so important.  We must to be willing to give all of ourselves; to believe & commit if we want to work magic.  The Moon, no matter how powerful it is; is but a tool for our work, an energetic partner  if you will.  As many of you reading this, have decided to partake in a year long journey of Intuitive development with the Moon.  I would highly suggest that you include your goals for this journey in the work you manifest this night.  When you have created your list, place it on the Altar to absorb the energy of the Christmas Full Moon.

After at least  one night on your Altar; preferably under the Moon Light, you can now take your card or paper with its list and place it somewhere where it will catch your attention.  It is important to not look constantly re-read the list.  In Magic, as well as Quantum Physics, belief is important.  Constantly reworking things we have put into being takes away from it’s potency.  It’s like we are saying we didn’t do it right the first time…adding doubt and disbelief to our work.  My suggestion; is to close the card and only have the image visible, or put your list in an envelope.  Place the card or envelope on your working Altar if you have one, or the top of a dresser or shelf if you do not; someplace where it will catch your eye.  Every time you notice the card/envelope, remember you are working Christmas Moon magic…and send it a bit of energy.  I recommend that you not open the card or list until Christmas of next year.  It will be a real holiday treat to see the work you have achieved.

For those of you partaking in my Lunar Intuition adventure this coming year, this is but a sneak peek at what lies ahead.  Our journey begins with the Dark Moon this January 2nd, I look forward to sharing it with you.  For the rest of you out there…have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the Merry Moon.  I hope you have enjoyed the read Folks.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

 

Holiday…Approaching the Dark Night of the Soul [the Winter Solstice, part 1]

DSC02701It may seem a bit strange that I am writing about Internal Struggle when we are quickly approaching the most celebrated time of the year (Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza, Etc.).  But in reality there is a reason for all those lights….to keep out the dark.  The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year; something that created fear in ancient people.  Fear that the sun would not return, that the land would lay barren & that they may starve.  In modern times we too experience fear at the Solstice.  Fear that the challenges of our life will be too heavy, and that our plans will lie fallow; never stepping into being.  As we sit at the cusp of the year; just before the light returns, we experience darkness.

The Darkness of the Winter Solstice, is a time when we become reflective & nostalgic.  We look back at the year we are leaving; with an eye for detail, and the years of Christmas Past with the deep appreciation time offers.  When looking over that which is just leaving, we are critical.  However, when we look at our deep past there is much more appreciation, even for the hard times.  Distance of time, helps us to understand that necessary lessons are often painful, and that obstacles in our path often lead to the things we need most.   There is much to be said about the beauty of looking into the dark.  When we reflect with a lucid mind (conscious on a deep level), we can turn this powerful time to our advantage; embracing the lessons it has to offer.  When we look at what lurks in the shadows/ our fears…we begin to gain personal power.  The kind of power that is unobtrusive, like putting on a really good pair of shoes…it feels right!  Through such power, we become more fully ourselves.

I have grown to love this time of year, and not just for the festive cheer, but for the darkness as well.  I find that I look forward to the reflection.  To me there is a magic in this darkness.  Magic, like telling stories in the dark to your best friend…stories of what you have experienced, what you have learned & what you plan to do with that knowledge.  Look into the mirror, seek out your reflection in the darkness & welcome the lessons you have learned.  The light returns on December, 22nd this year & we quickly approach the New Year.  May you enter it a bit wiser, more compassionate and ready for the next adventure.  I hope you enjoyed the read folks…stay tuned for Part 2 of the Winter Solstice-Stepping into the Light.

spreading love-salicrow