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Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Imbolc is fast approaching and I find myself without an organized idea of what I want to do. I do, however, feel like I have a slightly deeper understanding of what this sabbat means to me. Yesterday I had the realization that it was still light out at 5:30 in the evening. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you live in a place with deep, powerful winters, the psychological boost of seeing light at 5:30 in the evening is immeasurable.

This realization led me to another: this is what Imbolc is all about. In the past, Imbolc has been sort of a confusing holiday for me, especially because in February in Michigan, we are still usually deep in the throes of winter. If you pay attention to the world around you, however, you see that this is also the time that the days are finally noticeably longer and we can see and feel that we’re just starting to come out of the dark sleep of winter.

This is what Imbolc is for me. It’s a gentle awakening from the hibernation of winter. We open our eyes and stretch sleepily as we blink into the gradually increasing light. The deep, inward dreams of winter begin to fade as we start to look outward again, ready to begin anew.

What are we ‘beginning?’ Well, anything, really. Perhaps we’ve learned something during our introspective winter and with the return of the light, we can begin the work that goes along with that learning. Maybe we simply find ourselves with a stirring of energy that we can now start to stoke and work into a blazing fire of activity. Whatever it is for you, now is the time to reflect on it and begin to, well, begin.

This can also be a good time for a bit of ‘spring cleaning.’ Even though it may still be cold where you are, consider opening your windows just a crack (if you’re sure they won’t freeze open, that is) for 15 minutes or so just to let some fresh air sweep through. While you do that, do some general spring cleaning activities or even simply decluttering. Add to this a house cleansing and already you can feel the energies in your house change. Vitality will stir, ready to be stoked by you.

I’m looking forward to Imbolc and just the act of writing this post has given me ideas for what I’d like to do. I think I will turn on all the lights in my house as well as light a few candles to symbolize and welcome the returning light. I’ll spend some time meditating on the deep of winter and visualize the gradual return of the light as I feel the spark inside me stir. I, personally, don’t see this as a ‘return’ of the Goddess, but more as a changing. She is always with us, regardless of season, She simply changes form. From an introspective Goddess, guiding us through the dark and teaching us about ourselves, She now gradually guides us towards becoming more active, towards using the knowledge and energy we’ve stored up during the winter. She guides us to starting anew. I think I’ll also start some seeds for my garden. Just the thought of doing that makes me smile.

What are your favorite ways of celebrating Imbolc? What does Imbolc mean to you?

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Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it today!

Last night my husband and I had our own Thanksgiving feast since today is going to be a bit busy with spending time with family. I would like to share what I recited before we ate. It’s from Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook by Deborah Blake. I changed it for us so it applied to multiple people as it is written for a solitary.

“I am grateful

For the blessings bestowed upon me this day

And every day

I am conscious

Of the gifts that have been given

And the wishes granted

I am aware

That not everyone shares my good fortune

And that others suffer

I am hopeful

That my good fortune continues

And is spread to others

I am grateful

Blessed be”

More of my Thanksgiving posts from Thanksgivings past:

Animal Totems: Turkey

A Ritual of Thanks

Two Simpsons clips to sum up Thanksgiving ūüėČ

 

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Every¬†year on Samhain, I light a candle for my departed loved ones and to honor my ancestors. I don’t do anything fancy or ceremonious. I keep things simple. I find that for most rituals, simple is the best for me.

This year was no different. Before the trick or treaters came, I spent some quiet time at my altar, invoking the spirit of the season and lighting candles, communing with the Elements and the Goddess and the God. I asked to be open to receiving messages or impressions from departed loved ones. Just like every Samhain, nothing happened.

Now, I have experienced the dead. I have felt and ‘heard’ ghosts numerous times. I have interacted with fae and animal guides and others that I simply have no name for. I’m very sensitive to things the 5 senses don’t pick up. So, why do I never hear from my dead loved ones? Samhain night I almost always sleep like a rock. No dreams. No feelings or impressions.

I have thought about making my Samhain ritual more complicated, adding herbs and crystals to give it extra oomph, but will that really make a difference? Part of me feels like there’s a reason my loved ones don’t communicate with me, but what is it? Maybe it’s because even after all these years, thinking about them makes me cry? Maybe because I have a lot of guilt associated with the two I want to hear from the most? Is it because I’ve never specifically called to them on Samhain? I just leave the invitation open for any of my departed loved ones or ancestors. If that’s the case, though, why has no one ever communicated with me? Or why have I never been able to sense them near me?

Has anyone else experienced this or had different experiences during Samhain?

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This is so powerful. I love this.

 

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I have always had an¬†altar, but I was never sure if I was really doing it ‘right’ or not. I just followed my instinct. This article by Laura Weber over at EWAO is really good at not only explaining why an altar is important, but how to make your own. She breaks things down so the idea of making your own altar is less daunting. (Give the article¬†a moment to load, it took a minute or two for me)

I hope this inspires you to try your hand at making your own altar this weekend! Blessed be!

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I don’t think I have ever been more happy to see Spring than I am this year. While Winter hasn’t been the worst I’ve lived through in Michigan, it has been extremely cold. Yes, we get cold, but this has been extreme for my area of Michigan. We were seeing -30¬į wind chills and having multiple days in a row where you were in danger of frostbite if you stayed out longer than 10-15 minutes. Yuck!

The temperatures are up in the 30’s-40’s now with a few extremes in either direction, but mostly staying above freezing and all the snow in my yard is completely gone! I’ve been opening the windows on the warmest days and airing out the house. The cats love it.

There is a special energy unique to Spring and that is what has charged the ‘open the windows, but keep the heat on’ fever in this house. Now is the time to wake up, refreshed and charged and ready to take on… well, everything! Part of that energy is Spring cleaning. By cleaning our house, we are raising the vibrations of the energy around us. ‘Cleaning’ doesn’t just mean the physical removal of dirt and grime, though. It also means organizing, rearranging, and donating or throwing out things we no longer need. This article talks about ways to raise the vibration of your home.

This time of year is also perfect for cleansing your home of negative energy, another good way to raise the vibration of your home. Here is an article I wrote about a stealthy way to cleanse your home/room if you need to hide things like that.

If you’re out of the broom closet, live alone, or don’t mind people seeing you cleansing your home, another good and simple way is to smudge with sage or incense. Sage, dragon’s blood, lavender, and vervain are all excellent for dispelling negative energy and have protective effects. Frankincense and myrrh are both¬†good for raising spiritual vibrations.

Now, go out there and:

From Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

 

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For my very first reader request, I will be discussing some simple ways to use crystals and stones. From here on out, I will simply use the word ‘stones’ to mean both stones and crystals. I just don’t want to write ‘stones/crystals’ through the whole thing. I think that would drive us all crazy.

There are many different ways to use stones in magical work and this discussion will in no way cover them all. Rather, I would like to discuss the simplest ways to use them to provide a base for people new to stone work to build upon. As with all magical workings, if you are inspired to do something differently, go for it! The more you make it your own, the better it will work for you.

Also, it is my recommendation that you always work with a freshly cleansed stone. I like the 3 days in sea salt way of cleansing, but if you need a stone right away, you can cleanse it through incense or sage smoke or over a candle flame. Even the act of running water over it will cleanse it.

Meditating with a stone is the simplest, I think and personally, I like this method the best. Place the stone you have chosen in front of you. Look at the stone, align yourself with the stone, think about the properties of the stone. Allow your mind to slip into the meditative state as you work with the stone. If your eyes close, that’s alright, just keep yourself gently focused on the stone. So, for example if your stone is selenite, as you gaze at it focus on the stone’s properties of reconciliation and energy. Think of its association with water and the moon. Once you are comfortable with the presence of those properties in your mind, gently expand your thoughts towards how those properties might be used by you. Have you recently quarreled with someone and need a spirit of reconciliation? Are you tired and drained of energy and need a boost? Are you in need of getting better in touch with your subconscious (via the element water) or perhaps you are out of balance and need to slip back into the rhythm of life (via the moon and its cycle). Once you have determined how you wish to use the properties of the stone, visualize. In this example if you chose mending a quarrel, visualize yourself and the person(s) involved shaking hands, hugging, or other ways of putting aside your differences and coming to an accord. After you have meditated on that for as long as you feel necessary, let yourself slowly come back to the present. Drift back up through the layers of calm from the meditation. Once you are wholly present, thank the stone and set it to be cleansed.

You can also hold the stone instead of setting it in front of you to gaze at.

Another way to meditate is with a candle and the stone. Some people enjoy watching the flicker of candlelight over a stone’s surface. With crystals, you can actually watch the flicker through the body of the crystal, itself. If you have a lot of small stones, you can make a ring around the base of a candle. Meditate as described above.

To benefit from the healing properties of a stone, align yourself with it as you would above for meditation. Once you are in tune with the stone, you can either continue to meditate as above or you can place the stone on or near the body part in need of healing. Focus your energies on seeing yourself free of the illness rather than focusing on the illness itself. Visualize yourself whole and healthy doing activities that this illness may be preventing you from doing. Once you are finished visualizing, be certain to thank the stone and set it aside for cleansing. Do not use this one for healing again until you have cleansed it.

To remove emotional ‘baggage’ from yourself, I find pouring your negative emotions into a stone to be helpful. This can be done with an amethyst specifically or with a stone you find on a walk outside. Take the stone in your projective hand (for most people this is the hand you write with). Take the negativity that is bothering you and let it pour from you and into the stone. Don’t stop until you have emptied yourself of all of it. Once finished, throw the stone as far from you as you can and never retrieve it. It will take that negativity you have poured into it and neutralize it over time, allowing it to dissipate and be gone.

As I mentioned above, this is a very simple list of ways to use stones. I like to keep things simple. The more complex it is, the more intimidating magic work can seem and the more supplies you need (which costs money that may not always be readily available). Also, if you keep it simple to start with, you can always add to it to make it your own. I hope this has been helpful to those of you who might not know where to start with working with stones. I hope it inspires you to come up with ways of your own to use stones.

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