For four days running, I have pulled the same card as my "card of the day." After the second day, I double shuffled the deck, because I was wondering if there was a problem with my shuffling or whether there was really something else to pay attention to. After the third day, I used a different deck. The same card. Queen of Wands. She really appeals to me. And there is something about that cat. But I guess that I spent too much time wondering about the card and didn't actually pay attention to what I was supposed to be doing. Yesterdays card was 7 of Cups.
is the best part of being a reiki healer. Today, I saw a client who was highly stressed. Her only child was going over seas for a semester away. They had spent the holiday weekend getting everything ready for teenager to go. The December holidays were looming over the household. She had business concerns. My client was not sleeping well.
It took most of the first half of the session for her breathing to slow and regularlize, but it did. When she turned over, so I could work on her back, I placed my hands on her head, and silently suggested that she might want to sleep. She did. Deeply, too. It seems that she had forgotten to turn the ringer off on the phone in the room. Not long after I knew she was asleep, the phone rang. And rang. Eventually, the answering machine picked up, but not before the dogs started barking because they knew she was home and not answering the phone. There wasn't even a hitch in the breathing of my client.
Later, when I woke her, she was incredulous that the phone had rung, but since the message light was blinking, she knew it to be true. She looked and told me that she felt much better and was amazed that she had slept through the phonecall. I just thought it so cool that I could facilitate this.
Of course, I really like getting paid, too. (yes, she did pay me! and she made another appointment)
For those of you who cook or bake for the holidays, an idea. Grind the herbs yourself. You have a mortar and pestle, don't you? At least one? (one for food, one for non food, right?) Even if you use packaged, prepared spices most of the year; for Thanksgiving, grind the cloves yourself, grind in a bit of cinnamon stick, whatever you are using. That is the perfect time to add the intentions, the wishes, the desires that you have for your household. Put in the effort and the spirit. You will see, and taste the difference. I promise.
In a few months, I will need to be reminded of this. In a few months, I will be tired of the shoveling and the slush and the mud. But now, all is magic. My yard looks like the final scene in the first act of The Nutcracker, all sparkly snowflakes and sugar icing. Now, all is silent and still, but for the little birds eating the liatris seeds. The circle calls, waiting for a spiral of footprints to be danced into the snow. I hope you dance.
I guess it's because we are entering the frenzy of the gift giving/frantic spending time of year, but the subject of money has been popping up alot in conversations, this week. Here are a couple of household hints, that could really help your financial bottem line-and if they don't work, well, no harm done!
1. Keep your toilet lids closed. (when not in use, obviously!) And, believe me, guys, even if it doesn't stop the money from going down the drain, your female loved ones will be much happier.
2. Keep your kitchen stove clean. The kitchen stove is the modern homes version of the hearth fire and altar of Hestia. Would you bless a home or temple where your altar was a disgusting mess?
because if they don't drink enough of it, they are liable to write things like this...
It just sounds like you have beyond tapped your resources, and you don't even have enough left to regenerate. Sort of like sourdough starter, you can keep using it for a long time, but if you don't feed it occasionally, it stops working. You've been drawing down on your storage for yourself, your family, your friends, for so long, the E light on your fuel tank probably can't even flash anymore.
Walked around the yard, yesterday. The ground squished under my feet after all the rain. Since the plants are all dying or going dormant (according to their nature, and not their nurture, I hope.), there is little, other than the earth, herself to absorb the water. Another hard freeze or two, and I will go and clean out the vegetable beds, I want to make sure that ALL the ticks are gone for the year, first. Two bouts with antibiotics for tick bites was enough, thank you.
But just when I was thinking that this was the doorway season, no colorful leaves, no growing things, no pretty frost patterns or snow, I came to my saffron crocuses. Even if they produced no useful herb, no aromatic matter, I would grow these. What else blooms, year after year, this late in the fall? And homegrown saffron! It dyes my fingers, as if with powdered gold, when I harvest it. It scents my skin, the food I cook with it, incense I make with it. And, it brings with it, into this doorway season, a sense of wealth, of finding gold, under the litter and leaves of a previous season.
For all the wonders and giddy joys of dancing in the moonlight and the startlight, it is the daily magical and spiritual practice that allows us to connect with those wonders. Practice is the tail on the kite, that allows one to soar higher and with greater purpose and direction. Without the tail, you may have a wonderful kite, able to catch fast winds, but how will you control where it goes?
Dancing is good for the soul. Dancing in the New Moon yesterday, brought me much giddy joy. One day, I hope to find a group of likeminded individuals to dance with.
I also got a chance to see something in my small crystal ball (the big one is too big to dance with). Dancing last night, much thought today. Much more productive, I suspect, than the other way around.
Earlier this year DH had job issues. I found myself thinking “My Great Grandfather didn’t organize picket lines so employers could treat their employees this way” and “My Great Grandfather didn't agitate and organize on two continents so that the spouse of his descendent would be treated like this…” Well, you get the point. I mentioned this to a friend, and after explaining that my Great Grandfather had been a labor organizer and union founder in New York City at the beginning of the 2oth century, she suggested that as the year darkened, I might want to try contacting him.
Now, I do not believe that the dead hover, just out of sight, in long white nightgowns, waiting for their descendants to want to chat. However, I thought that if I could just be touched, just be inspired by the neshama that was his, maybe I could be inspired to help find a way out of the mess that DH had found himself in.
DH needed a ritual robe. He found directions. We took the measurements, and he went and bought the fabric (bought the thread, too. After all, I probably had black thread, but without checking, there is no guarantee-my robe is grey) and I left him to his project. While the language that resulted could in no way compete with, say, kitchen renovation language, or even computer repair language, it was still clear that he wasn’t having a good time with it. So I offered to make the robe for him. The only condition was; that I would do it my way, not using his directions. And, then, because of family occasions, I put the fabric aside.
At the beginning of last week-right around Halloween, I felt that I had to start the sewing project. It isn’t as if I have much spare time. I work and there is still a not-yet-driving-but-still-very-active teenager living at home. There is cooking and baking and when I finally can’t avoid it any longer, cleaning and laundry. There is reading and studying and my own ritual work.
But the robe called. And, I found that even if I only had ten minutes I would pin an edge for pressing, or blindstitch a seam. I found myself leaving the ironing board and iron out, so that I could properly press each seam as it was sewn.
Today, the Cross Quarter Day I worked on it between a breakfast meeting and a lunch meeting. I came back home and worked on it before dinner. And I started to realize that I was hearing a voice “remember, you are pressing, not ironing, remember the difference” “finish stitch the neckline in two pieces, before sewing the shoulders, that way, it shouldn’t itch” “the sewing machine can go fast, but it doesn’t have to, even slow it will be fast than by hand, especially if you don’t have to rip out the seam and do it again, correctly.” The voice was calm, patient and quite insistent on my doing, things I had not done before, things that would not be visible in the finished garment. Nor were those things expected to be done in a project as aggressively modest as this.
My Great Grandfather was a labor organizer and an activist. These were the (true) stories that I was raised on. But he also was a tailor, professionally a “suit and cloaker.” He took a great deal of pride in the clothing he made, and pieces of it far out lived him (there is a plaid kilt, that my mother wore on her first day of kindergarten, as did I, my sister, both of my daughters, and my sisters daughter-great, great granddaughters of the tailor). It was the skills of the tailor that he came to teach me, the skills that allowed him his union activities while still managing to raise a family. Take care of the advance work; make sure that the parts not meant to be seen are secured that way. Make the seams invisible, if possible. Press, don’t drag the iron. And always remember, the finished product should not irritate anyone involved. And lessons on the small magics and love, which is not a small magic at all. Thank you Pop, I love you.
The following essay was, indirectly, the cause for my starting this blog. The essay was intended to be part of an e-zine, but wasn't long enough. After thinking it over, I decided that I wasn't going to lengthen it; I've read far too many articles, essays and books that seemed to be written for maximum word count, rather than maximum effect. However, I guess I must have written my few words well. The editor of the ezine referred to my essay when announcing her decision to revamp the publication schedule. The problem? In her announcement, she mentioned someone else as the author. Now, I know the editor was far over-scheduled and under slept, and she did apologize for the error, and did so publicly, so I have no quarrel with her at all. But it was, and will be, her first email, with the incorrect author listed that people will remember and refer to, as that was the email that contained the new publication schedule. While it is heartening to know that I can have an effect on people, I would dearly love positive public acknowledgement from the universe, as well. And so, the blog goes public. THE CALENDAR AND THE CROSS QUARTER DAYS
It is October 31st, Samhain on the Wheel of the Year and Halloween on the calendar and all good NeoPagans, Witches, Wizards and Mages have demanded the day off from work for religious reasons, right? Well, forgive me for not joining this bandwagon, but Samhain is not Halloween and it is certainly not the night of October 31, day of November 1, at least, not this year.
Samhain is a cross quarter day, as are Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas. Which begs the question-what is a cross quarter day?
Picture a circle, now quarter it, with a line running up and down through the center of the circle, and an intersecting line perpendicular to the first. The ends of the lines will be at the cardinal points. The top point is the Winter Solstice. This solstice occurs when the sun enters zero degrees Capricorn. Moving clockwise around the circle, the next quarter is marked by the Spring Equinox (the sun at zero degrees Aries), then the Summer Solstice (zero degrees Cancer) and finally the Autumnal Equinox, with the sun at zero degrees Libra. (all cardinal signs, imagine that!)*
To get the remaining holidays (holy days or days of power, if you aren’t particularly religious), we quarter the circle again, drawing our lines so that they precisely halve our previously drawn segments. This gives us lines at the points where the sun would be at (again, moving clockwise) 15 degrees Aquarius (Imbolc), 15 degrees Taurus (Beltane), 15 degrees Leo (Lammas) and Ta Daa! 15 degrees Scorpio for Samhain.
If we don’t expect the equinoxes and solstices to be on the same dates on our human designed calendars every year, how is it that Samhain has gotten “fixed” at October 31/November 1 and Beltane at May 1? In 2007, the sun was at 15 degrees Taurus on May 6th, not May 1st, and 15 degrees Scorpio is November 8th, not November 1. For this, we can thank the Catholic Church, with its propensity for absorbing indigenous holidays and its long role (in Europe, at least) as the keeper of records and calendars.
There wasn’t much the Church could do about the Solstices or the Equinoxes, sunlight waxes and wanes without regard to the number or name assigned to the day. And while much of what was once pre-Christian Yule has been absorbed into the observation and celebration of Christmas, no one is going to argue that the Winter Solstice will occur on December 25th of this year (in 2007, the Winter Solstice will be on December 22 in Europe and the eastern half of the US. West of the central time zone, the solstice will be late on December 21).
The holiday known by its Celtic name as Samhain, morphed into All Saints Day, with the Vigil of All Hallows Eve during the tenure of Gregory III as Pope (731-741 ce). Outside of the cathedrals and basilicas, however, local traditions survived, but with the dependence on the church for calendar keeping, the folkways attached themselves to the church recognized date. And gradually, All Hallows Eve became Halloween.
In a similar manner, Beltane and its Maypole became the Church holy day of the Roodmas and its Roman Cross.
So what will I be doing the night of October 31? With joy I my heart, and a huge amount of refined sugar in my cauldron, I will participate in that great American costume and candy spree known as Halloween. And the night of November 7th, come full dark? That, my friends, is the eve of the Cross Quarter Day, (whether one celebrates it as Samhain or not), and I have a date with my scrying tools.
For the purpose of this article, I have the Tropical Zodiac, rather than the Sidereal or Vedic. The Tropical Zodiac, historically, has been in more common use in the West and, as it tracks the stars from the vantage point of the Earth, seemed more appropriate to an article on holidays and earthly occurrences. However, there would still a disconnect between dates on the common calendar and the positioning of the sun in the signs of the Sidereal Zodiac, so the point remains valid.
Sabbat Dates courtesy of the website archaeoastronomy.com: (these dates are the “eve’s” of the holidays)
2007 Imbolc: February 3 central time zone and west. February 4 eastern time zone and east Vernal Equinox: March 20-US March 21 Europe Beltane: May 5 Summer Solstice: June 21 Lammas: August 7 Autumnal Equinox: September 23 (except Hawaii-September 22) Samhain: November 7 Winter Soltice: December 21 western US. December 22 central time zone and east
2008 Imbolc: February 4 Vernal Equinox: March 19, western US. March 20 Central Time zone and east Beltane: May 4 US. May 5 for Europe and Canada on Atlantic Time Summer Solstice: June 20 US. June 21 for Europe Lammas: August 6 US. August 7 for Europe and Canada on Atlantic Time Autumnal Equinox: September 22 Samhain: November 6 US. November 7 for Europe Winter Soltice: December 21
References: The Catholic Encyclopedia at www.newadvent.org archaeoastronomy.com Dates within the article are courtesy of Lunabar. http://lunabar.org
*We are drawing a Wheel of the Year, not the zodiac. The zodiac would be drawn counter-clockwise.
(but I am beginning to catch up with stuff. Whew!)
This year's jack o'lanterns, by me and the DH. (where, oh where, is the help with the acronyms?) Dilbert and the Demon. Dilbert was supposed to be Harry Potter, but the Boy Wizard was just no match for Corporate America.
In a previous blog, I referred to my spouse as DH, meaning Dear Husband. It always startled him, because to him, and maybe most people, DH means Designated Hitter. So, I am looking for suggestions. Beloved Spouse won't work. (think about it, if you need to!) Until I find something that I like better, I will stick with DH. But I would love to hear if anyone has any other ideas.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Have a cookie! This was yesterday's project. I make these cookies for halloween, every year. Some we eat, some we give out to those kids in the neighborhood who know us, and therefore trust us enough to eat home made goodies, and some get wrapped up and given to the teachers at the high school. But, they also remind me of one of the funnier stories from my years of working in a gym. It was an independently owned gym, not a part of a chain or franchise, and like at least one other family owned business that I had worked for, the owner seemed to think that the employees were privileged to work for him, and should feel an appropriate sense of gratitude. This seemed to extend to the idea that the employees should feed the owner. But...unlike the other employers with this attitude, this particular man was a Born Again Fundie. (He probably wouldn't have even hired me, except that it happened while he was away.) Women in the weight room bothered him. Women smarter than him bothered him. Women who argued back (especially when they were physically stronger than he) really bothered him. Women who refused to "accept their place" (never mind that it was his mother in law who gave him the money to buy the gym) really really bothered him. I bothered him, but my department was highly profitable when I ran it. Anyway...comes Halloween, and I bring a plate of these cookies to work with me, to share with my co-workers. Mostly, my co-workers take cookies to bring home to children, although the office workers ooh and aah over them and eat them. I see the owner of the club, standing in a doorway, talking to someone in their office. I walked up with my plate of cookies and said "Dick, would you like a cookie?" and without turning around, he reached behind him and took a couple of cookies, and had one in his mouth before he actually looked at what they were. I only wish that I had had a camera with me. I could plainly see in his face, the warring emotions-the desire to eat the cookies, with the fear that he would be damned or cursed for eating them. He ate the cookies. But he was marked-the icing dyes your tongue! Oh, but the look on his face! The desire, the fear! Isn't that what Halloween is about?
We've had frost 2 nights in a row, now. One frost doesn't mean anything, but the second one will kill all the plants weakened by the first one. The morning glories and the moonflowers are done for the year. The tomato vines empty and blackening. But the squash! Perfect weather weather for harvesting the squash, and a good harvest this year, too. I brought in 10 large, ripe butternut squash. One, I left, it had been tasted by the deer, who (luckily for me) decided that it wasn't good deer food. For the next several days, while it is still sunny and warm-ish in the afternoons, I will take the squash outside. Exposed to sun and air and temperate climate, they will develope nice hard shells that will allow them to overwinter. Except that I know that we will eat them far more quickly than that. It was lovely to bring in such a nice fall harvest, but still melancholy to eat the last garden tomato for the year.
And the difference between Witch and Wizard is... A Witch will think about her pumpkin/jack o lantern, put down some newspaper, gather a bowl or 2 for seeds and pulp, and get all her tools (1 or 2 knives and a spoon). She will then make her jack o lantern, keeping all of the mess on the newspaper, and separate the pulp from the seeds. Somehow this is done is a manner respectful of the Witch, the pumpkin, the kitchen, any observers, and the occasion. When the jack o lantern if finished, she will put a small candle in it and put it on the porch, to shine for the neighborhood. A Wizard will wait until the appropriate time (usually when dinner needs to be cooked and trick or treaters have started to show up). He will put down a sheet of newspaper that is the size of the pumpkin only. He will start by using the same knives that the Witch had used. Then, he will run down to the basement and get a drill and the exacto knife set. He will also rummage through the cupboards to find cups and bowls to use as templates. He will not separate the seeds from the pulp (too busy, and there is no symbolism for him in the seeds), preferring to dump it all in one bowl. Because a Wizard is focused only on the end result and not the plane of existance that his body is on, he will not notice that he is spraying bits of pumpkin all over the table, the chairs and the floor. When he is finished carving, he will start running around the house, looking for "the little light and the extension cord I used last year, where is it?" not noticing that the pumpkin bits that were on the floor are now being tracked all over the house. When handed a candle by the Witch, he will grump that it won't be bright enough to show off his artistry. He will then be very careful in cleaning up his tools (exacto knives and drill) and throwing away the lone sheet of newspaper. He will dump the kitchen knives in the sink, and leave the bowl of pulp/seeds for the kitchen staff to deal with. Upon seeing the Witch with her broom, he will make the assumption that she has already swept up after him, because he is the great and wonderful Wizard. Then he will ask for dinner. The Witch shrugs, and says, "whatever you are going to make for yourself."
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