Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Ideal Writing Space


“Describe your ideal writing space.  Fill it in to the last detail.”

In a glade by a lake surrounded by shade trees is a small rustic cabin.  The lake is a crisp clear blue nestled safely beyond the mountain range it reflects.  The clam clear waters house much life; fish, turtles, frogs and foxes are all denizens on this tranquil habitat.  A small stone path leads away from the lake and the mountains towards a great forest.  Not far away is a small rustic cabin, old but very well kept and surrounded by vibrant colorful wildflowers.  The stone path leads to the little front porch.  On the left of the porch is a comfy swing bench laden with plush cushions and to the right is a small table with two chairs.  Iron sconces adorn the sides of the front door.  Inside the cabin is bright and warm with large lace covered windows lighting the interior.  The walls are filled with book shelves and natural art.  In the corner is a reading chair deep as a dream with a small table and lamp as accompaniment.  The center of the room is dominated by a large hardwood desk and office chair.  In the center of the desk is a laptop, the heart of this operation.  Pens and notebooks, wildflowers and a statue of the goddess sit quietly in reflection.  At the back of the cabin is a modest full sized bed, the kind of bed which coaxes your dreams from your head as you lay down upon it.  The colors of the cabin are soft and natural, greens, browns, blues, and yellows.  Wind chimes attached to the trees outside tinkly softly in the breeze bringing visions of faerie magick and wishes come true.  On a low shelf to the right of the desk sits a small coffee pot and tea kettle, the shelf below filled with drinks to be.  Candles adorn the many shelves and few tables ready to offer night time illumination.  The air is clear, the energy is peaceful, the only troubles this place could ever have are the one brought with you.  It is a retreat, a place to relax, rejuvenate, and a place to create.  This is my ideal writing space.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Celebrate Your Creative Self


“Write about the pleasure writing brings and how writing is important to me.”

I love to write.  I have no idea why I just do.  It makes me feel good to be able to put my thoughts on paper in such a way that other people can understand and enjoy them.  I guess that is partly because I have such a chaotic and wandering mind.  My mind naturally jumps form one subject to the next quite often and my powers of association are nothing less than superhuman.  So to order those thoughts and put them down and have them understood brings me joy.

I have learned that the language and tone of my writings do not resemble my speech at all.  Being dyslexic and bipolar I speak from a very disjointed emotional place in my head.  My thoughts often crash together in an effort to pass the gate of my mouth.  It is common that I misspeak what I mean and have been known to say complete sentences inside out and backwards.  While even I am amused by this at times it does not a great communicator make.  But on paper magick happens!

On paper my words flow through me in a gentle rush of creative beauty and urgency.  When I write or type my thoughts seem almost, ordered.  Sentences become clear and while I still can’t spell to save my life word order and grammar appear out of thin air to turn my thoughts into comprehensive droplets of knowledge.  Metaphors and analogies, quips and wit, all become apart of my writing identity.  While I love speaking, especially public speaking I have to think slowly and carefully to speak intelligibly to be understood.  But on paper, I already am a writer.

Gratitude.  Am I grateful for this “gift”?  That I have not decided.  I think I should be but I want something to come of it.  I want my writing to have a purpose, without purpose these are nothing more than journal entries.  While that is good and fine for some it feels like I am selling myself and my talents short if I don’t try for more.  Talents are meant to be used, for others, for the greater good, etc. etc.  That is what I want and when I can do that then I will know I have a gift.

Positive Messages


“List the positive messages you have received about writing or about any creative undertaking.”

What little writing I have done has been very positively received by any who have read it.  I have one “great writing accomplishment” so far that was web published by another party.  This was a piece I did for the Witches Voice web site on Poly-pantheism.  Instead of the usual four month wait they published it the very next week!  I was elated!  Not only did I get great feedback from my family and friends but complete strangers took the time to e-mail me and let me know that my article resonated with them.  That is the first time I have touched the public with what I wrote and it was wonderful, encouraging, and exciting.

Besides that “big one” the only other writings I have done have been more trad based.  I have spent the last ten years developing my own Pagan tradition.  I am good at it.  I wrote a comprehensive book on the ins and outs of my tradition, which my husband coined “Victorian”.  This book turned out to be almost seventy pages and I knew I could add more.  This was my most comprehensive religious writing to date and I am still working on it.

Other than that I have continually written rituals and lessons for the past ten-plus years.  I so enjoy religious writing, it feels easy to me.  When I am in the right frame of mind the words come to me as if out of thin air, inspired by the gods themselves.  I have only good feedback from my writing and I have the desire to continue writing.  The question then becomes how do I write for a greater audience?  How do I convert my talent into what others can enjoy and understand?

To finish this prompt I will also comment about my other creative undertakings.  Besides writing I am a fabulous crafter.  I sew, burn, build, design, and decorate so many things and all of my projects are applauded for their exquisite beauty and design.  This always makes me feel good.  I love to create and I love the appreciation of others for my creations. 

The problem is not my lack of creative ability or my desire to create be it craft project or book.  The obstacle to my future success is me.  My procrastination.  My lack of peaceful space to express myself.  My excuses.  That is what I am here for, to begin by doing not by planning.  I am here, and I am writing.  This is my beginning.

Writing is Hard


“Acknowledge that writing is hard.  How am I going to make writing happen?”

Writing is hard.  That is an understatement.  And from what I have read writing is hard for the experienced writer as well as the novice.  I am actually pleased to see that it is common among all writers to need a sacred place to write.  A place that is both quiet and beautiful, filled with objects of love and inspiration.  I find that I generate ideas best when I am both alone and away from home.  The best of my ideas usually happen when I drive.  This is almost meditative for me, the energy is all mine and there are very little distractions beyond the autonomic traffic.  The hard part is I am in a car.  I can’t write anything down and have to rely on my perpetually distracted memory to remember those ideas and write them down when I can.

So writing is hard, I acknowledge that, now how can I make writing happen?  Well I think I have taken the first step, after all I am here, writing.  I have set aside three hours three days a week to write.  To leave my home, go to a coffee shop and write.  I need to leave the house to write well.  My home is filled with the beautiful but chaotic energy of my family.  While I love that energy in a way, it is also very draining on me.  At home I don’t actually want to do anything, I feel less creative for the most part.  It is not a place conducive to a good creative environment.  So Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I go to Caribou Coffee and I write.  This is only my second day and so far so good.  Even though this will work for now I know I will eventually need something more private and personal.  I also would like to be able to do this at least five days a week, but I will be content with three days for now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I Write


"Write about your need for a creative life or simply your need to write.
Why do you do it?  What needs are fulfilled through it?"

For some reason I have yet to understand I have this great driving need to write.  I do not know why I have this drive, I have never considered myself a writer.  I have an obsession with journals, I collect them as much as I can with the intension of filling them with all of my crazy thoughts and dreams but this never happens.  All of my journals have about ten to twenty pages written in and then they sit on the shelf lonely and dusty.  Yet I still buy them, it is a need, a gnawing need deep down inside of me that I do not quite know how to satisfy.

One kind of writing I know I am good at is religious writing.  I can create a ritual, a celebration, lessons, or even a whole new tradition without really even trying.  I think this should be classified as a gift but I cannot truly see the benefit of this ability beyond a very small scope influence.  And I want something bigger, something grander to pour my talents and desires into.  I guess that’s the megalomaniac in me.

Still this need is here, without direction, without talent, without the know-how, I still feel the need to write.  I want to write!  But what do I write and how do I do it?  Can I write fiction stories?  Can I write an autobiography?  Is the only thing I am good for is religious writing?  How do I make that work for me?

I guess that question leads me to my end goals.  I want to be a published author.  Or do I?  I think it would be wonderful to be able to be an actual “Writer” pouring my heart and soul and strange and morbid thoughts unto the pages of public awareness.  Bending and shaping and twisting the minds of others, challenging them to see the world in new and different ways.  This is my end goal, to be a “Writer” and “Author” but how do I get there?

Well from what I read to become a “Writer” one must first write.  Go figure.  It sounds so simple.  I mean I am writing now and this is easy right?  Well this is just rambling about a subject that I got from another source, to me it has no meaning other than walking through my thoughts on paper.  Will it lead me down the path I want to go?  Can I get there if I keep at it?  I hope so.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Virtue - Conculsions

There are many worthy moral principles of which one can live there life by.  The list of moral virtues is an extensive one.  Narrowing down my personal list to seven was a daunting but enlightening task.  Why seven?  Because seven is the number of magick and mysticism and the number that I most closely connect with.  Seven virtues on which to base my "right actions" feels right to me.  Exploring these concepts has been an inner journey in exploring my humanity.

Silence is for me the foundation by which I can live my life.  In Silence we truly become aware of the world around us.  In Silence we learn, we feel, we connect, in ways that are not possible when we haven't stopped to pay attention.  Silence for me means to keep Silent, ie. shut my damn mouth and listen and also to find quiet places to ease the stress of my mind and heart.  Integrity on the other hand is a more active virtue and requires some actual effort on my part.  To be a person of Integrity I must always watch my actions and judgments.  I believe that practicing Silence helps to supports my Integrity.

Compassion is just something I was born with but it is no less worthy of being exalted to the status of a virtue.  When I had my son sixteen years ago I decided to consciously raise him with a sense of Compassion.  I can think of no other human quality so necessary to our communal existence.  When we lack Compassion we are then able to inflict the most unspeakable horrors onto others.  A lack of Compassion tears apart families, communities, and even the whole world.  We must be able to feel for the pain and suffering of others and we must have an internal need to help alleviate that pain and suffering.  Without Compassion we truly are no greater than the lowest of beasts.

As humans we are in a unique position to make conscious decisions on how we live and how we treat others.  For me the virtues of Hospitality and Service reflect our needs as a communal society.  I like to think on what it means to be a good host and a gracious guest, when done correctly everyone benefits.  And Serving those in need strengthens our bonds of community and friendship.  These are important to me in that they give me a goal to strive for as both Hospitality and Service are very active virtues.  I also think that in applying these virtues to my life it bring me a sense of Honor.  I do wish to be Honorable, I do wish to have a sense of pride in who and what I am and to extend that pride to my family and friends.  I want to be a true and just person of good character and I want to be able to enrich the lives of those who know me.

Lastly I contemplate Piety and what it means to be a pious person.  This one was initially hard because of the unspoken understanding that it reflects a persons relationship with a god.  But that is not the only or complete definition of Piety.  To be pious is to devote yourself to a high ideal, to a noble goal, to make the journey towards the stars.  I have many devotions, all which in my mind are noble and worthy.  I devote myself to my husband and our relationship, I devote myself to my children and becoming the best mother I can be, I devote myself to my Goddess and strive daily to walk the path She sets before me, and I devote myself to my community as teacher and Cleric giving to others the love and devotion they have given me.

So while courage, charity, discipline, generosity, patience, etc. are all worthy and noble virtues it is these seven that speak to me of how to be a person of good character.  In exploring these virtues I have learned what in life is most important for me to be and it has awakened within me a renewed sense of purpose and action.  Life is about the journey, the experience we have along the way.  We can walk the path of life blind and unaware of the influences around us and within us or we can walk the path intentionally stepping carefully as we learn, grow, experience, and become.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Virtue - Piety

Piety is defined as the humble devotion to a high ideal.

A pious person believes in something greater than themselves.  Weather that is a deity, a specific way of living, or a noble goal it matters not.  While Piety is often understood as the constant devotion to a deity, this is not a persons only venue to being pious.  Let's look at the words "high ideal".  Now in the first sense gods and goddesses represent our highest ideal of the spirit.  We strive through ritual, through worship, and through imitation to reach the sides of our gods, to be like them.  The idea here is that as spiritual beings having a human experience we need to nurture the connection our spirit has to the divine, in whatever form we believe that to be.

The next "high ideal" could be achieved by choosing a specific way of living our lives.  This may or may not coincide with devotion to the gods.  People who choose to live "green" lives devote themselves to conservation of the planet and a healthier more natural way to live.  They humble themselves before their ideal of the right life every single day.  Their devotion becomes their sustenance and they are pious to their high ideal.

The third act of Piety can be achieved by having and journeying towards a noble goal.  A noble goal is one in which we believe that by attaining it we will have served others and become a better person because of it.  A great example of this is the Peace Corps.  When someone joins the Peace Corps they are setting themselves on the noble path of service and devoting their time and energy to helping others.  This humble devotion to service enriches their lives and they become pious in their cause.

Piety is the pure state of our hearts.  It is humble, it is selfless, and it hard yet rewarding work.  One does not gain Piety by sitting around on their butt thinking, I love my god.  One becomes pious by acting on their high ideals.  You must do more than feel you must also move and take action.  Only through active devotion and service can our heart, minds, and spirits lift us to a place of peace and love.  If you believe in something so wonderful and great then don't go out proclaim it's greatness, just live it.



Piety
I will keep close to me my high ideals
I will act upon my noble goals
I will devote my live to the service of others
I will serve my gods by my actions

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Virtue - Honor

Honor is the virtue that most distinctly defines our individual character.


Honor is a complex virtue that has many implications.  Honor is best defined by how a person acts in accordance to their own moral code.  A person with Honor is considered fair, honest, and reliable.  Honor reflects a persons true nature.  Whether we are born inherently with a sense of Honor or we learn it from the world around us, it defines us deeply to others and ourselves.  The Honorable person always tries to be unbiased in any situation and gives their thoughts and opinions honestly regardless of the popularity of those thoughts and opinions.  You also can also always count on the Honorable person, their word is their bond, and this makes them invaluable in all of our lives.

For those who truly carry Honor as one of their virtues they can find themselves set slightly apart from the crowd.  They are needed and well liked and can be counted on to give fair account.  This impartiality means that what they have to say will not always be well received, but for the most part will be respected.  The Honorable person also gives credit where it is fairly due and never takes more than their share.

Another very important aspect of Honor is to accept responsibility for your actions.  Modestly and honestly acknowledging both your triumphs and your failures and making the attempt to correct those failures.  When practiced Honor becomes your personal worth.  Are you a person who can be trusted?  Are you a person who speaks your mind without judgement and bias?  Do you strive to be reliable and show the strength of character that other people can depend on?  I think that these are very worthy traits for any person to have, and I hope someday to have them as well, as I strive to be an Honorable person.

Honor
I will be true to my virtues
I will strive to always be fair and honest
I will own my faults and modestly accept my triumphs
I will strive for this my whole life

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Virtue - Service

Service is the virtue that defines a community.

The word Service comes from the word "servitude" and means to "serve".  Historically this was applied to slaves or those who were in some way in Service to another.  Throughout history Service has been applied in both negative and positive ways, slaves served their masters but priests and kings served their people.  So if we were to extract a general definition of Service I would posit that it would be "to aid or help others".  Granted this could be willing or unwilling but the definition is good and generally accepted in our society.

So what does Service as a virtue mean?  Well it means to aid and help others, willingly.  We should always be available to serve the needs and wants of others, within reason of course.  To make yourself available and willing to help others, to serve them, not only shows compassion but is the foundation that brings a community together.  When we help those who need our time, our understanding, and our resources within the best of our abilities it creates within us a feeling of being needed and appreciated.  When we feel good about who and what we are and what we do we emanate those positive feelings from our very being.  We share our happiness and contentment unknowingly with those around us.
In Service we must not forget to serve ourselves, not selfishly but within a healthy understanding of our needs and desires.  We must take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others.  If our basic needs are not met then we are not able to honestly meet the needs of others.  We can try to serve others but when we take too much from ourselves we diminish the value of our Service as well as our own much needed health and happiness.  First and foremost take care of yourself.  Keep to your virtues, keep to your health and home peace and manageability.  For in this care your Service to others will become a byproduct of your life.  It is easier to give what you already have than to search for what you yourself desire to attain.  

As a community, if we all look to care for our own happiness and contentment and then willingly and actively go out and serve those who needs us, we will be stronger.  A people who works for the happiness and comfort of all is a strong and powerful people.  A people who can accomplish any goal they set before them.  I want to be apart of this community, so I will serve.

Service
I will care for my own home and happiness
I will serve my interests in a healthy and productive manner
I will give of myself to those in need of me
I will serve my community to make it stronger

Friday, May 18, 2012

Virtue - Hospitality

Hospitality is a virtue has the ability to truly define a person and a culture.

Traditionally Hospitality is defined as the way a person treats a guest.  The ancient Greeks were famous for their Hospitality towards wandering strangers.  In ancient times the act of Hospitality towards strangers was taken for granted.  One could never know when a stranger was a god in disguise and did not want incur the wrath of Zeus or what ever deity was at their door.  It was also possible that someday they would be traveling the lands and would need the Hospitality of others so in hopes of someday being treated well by their host, Greeks were encouraged to be good hosts.  It is not only the host who has the duty of Hospitality though, the guest also has rules of etiquette to follow.  No guest is to abuse the graciousness of their host or to over stay their welcome.

So what does this mean for us in this modern age where strangers are feared and the guidelines of etiquette have all but disappeared from our society?  For me it means we need to rethink our society.  If we can revive the divine nature of Hospitality we will become better people for it.  To be Hospitable to those you invite into your home and your life shows a greater quality of character than is normally shown in people today.  Each person you meet is deserving of your friendliness, generosity, and compassion until they prove themselves unworthy of it.  And likewise we are not to abuse the Hospitality shown to us by others but rather be grateful and kind in return.

Hospitality is usually found in the context of a guest/host situation but I believe that this can and should be expanded to all who we meet.  If we practice Hospitality in our daily lives, everywhere we go, we become the gracious host, it becomes apart of our nature.  This is not to say that all are deserving of our generosity and compassion, but all should be given the chance to receive it from us until they prove themselves unwanted guests in our lives, that is when Hospitality ends.  And on the flip side of that coin we must at all times be aware of Hospitality shown to us and make a conscious effort not to abuse it.

If we live our lives by the right and divine treatment of others then we too shall be treated divinely.  Each of has a spark of the divine in us, each of us IS god.  Therefor when someone comes to you for aid or just for afternoon tea, they come to you as a representative of the divine, in disguise.  Treat each of them as honored and you in turn shall be honored and you will be increasing the illumination of your inner divinity.

Hospitality
I will always strive to be a good host
I will honor those who come to me for aid or company
In return I shall endeavor to be gracious guest
Always thankful for the kindness shown to me
And I shall never overstay my welcome

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Virtue - Compassion

Third on my list of personal virtues is Compassion.

Compassion is the ability to sympathize with the feelings and situations of others.  When we feel compassionate about the plights of others we gain a desire to try and help alleviate their pain and suffering.  Compassion leads us to a place of unrestricted giving.  Giving to others our time, our ears, our shoulders, our help, and our silence can be the greatest gift we have to offer to those in need.  While Compassion is a selfless act it does come with its own rewards.  When we are actively Compassionate towards others we receive in a turn a feeling of helpfulness and gratitude that can sustain us though our own darker times.  We then feel useful and needed which are very important for each of us to feel if we are to work with and care for others.

The goal of Compassion as a virtue is not to seek out people and situations that appear desperate and try to fix them, that would be contrary to the meaning of the word.  Compassion should come naturally to anyone who allows themselves to feel openly and honestly for their fellow creatures.  Acts of Compassion should always come from the heart and never be regretted, no matter the eventual outcome.  We are all imperfect people and sometimes our most well intentioned efforts can go awry.  This should not deter us or harden our hearts against being Compassionate beings.  Each lesson learned enriches our souls, even if the lessons are hard or painful ones.

Our Compassion is not limited to the plights of our human brothers and sisters, we can and do have great sympathy and feelings for all Terran's as well as our planet.  Being able to feel for the suffering of animals and having the desire to alleviate it is indeed a virtue and shows great strength of character.  I would caution here not to turn this virtue into a vise.  It can be too easy to go beyond our means and sacrifice our own well being in the attempt to help others, this is evident in those who horde animals.  It is not our job to go out and seek the misfortunate, it is not our individual duty to cure all of the worlds ills that is more a collective effort.

We are enriched by the love we have to offer others, our lights shine brighter when we give what we are able.  If all people felt and understood Compassion then there would be a whole lot less suffering in our world.

Compassion
I will see the world around me for what it is
I will see the needs and sorrows of others
I will always offer help when I am able
I will not sacrifice my own well being



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Virtue - Integrity

The next virtue for which I extol is Integrity.

Integrity is that quality of character within a person who lives by their principals and personal ethics.  To have Integrity is to be complete within yourself, understanding and accepting your nature and then acting on it.  Most of all what this says to me is "Be true to yourself".

Each of us has a dynamic personality with both positive and negative traits.  We strive daily to bring forth that which is good within us and suppress that which we perceive as bad.  Sometimes this can go as far as trying to deny the dark or less pleasing parts of our egos.  This outlook, rather than being beneficial, can be harmful to the Integrity of our psyches.  While it is praiseworthy to always try to be and act our best we must not ignore the many different faucets of our personalities, for to do so is to deny the complete person.

To have Integrity is to actively stand for what you believe in.  This does not mean we need to be aggressive in our principals but we do need to be steadfast.  Sometimes standing up for what you believe to be right can be a very difficult thing.  We often worry about the judgement and possible condemnation of others and as a result our voices are never heard.  But there comes a time for all people when taking a stand is the only right thing they can do, weather in silent protest or vocal outrage.

Each of us has our own set of ethics and virtues.  If we can take the time to examine them, and not take for granted that they are there, but really think about them then we can learn where our own Integrity really is.  My Integrity lies in my evolving understanding of myself and my determination to be true to my beliefs.  My Integrity is in being faithful to my seven virtues which dictates my actions to my family, friends, and community.

Integrity
I have something worthy to live by
I have an evolving character that I can be proud of
I stand up for what I believe
I have Integrity



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Virtue - Silence

The first of my virtues and the foundation of moral path is Silence.   

There are different ways to interpret what Silence means and how it can be applied as a virtue.  The simplest definitions are "the absence of noise" or "speechless".  But as a virtue Silence means so much more.  For the first definition as a virtue Silence is not just the absence of noise but the quietness of the inner self.  Meditation provides for us the perfect environment in which to experience both outer and inner Silence.  In a dark and quiet room we can sit or recline comfortably and breathe deeply.  At first this exercise brings about a myriad of jumbled thoughts that try their hardest to distract us from the peace of mind we are attempting to achieve.  But if we just let the thoughts flow through us, not holding on to any of them, we can find that as our minds are allowed the freedom to wonder uninhibited the thoughts will eventually take on a less harried quality.  As we train ourselves to find this Silence within ourselves we can begin to experience it in a wider range of situations throughout our lives.  We can begin to find the "absence of noise" from within us.

Another aspect of Silence is speechlessness.  When we refrain from speaking we are giving our ears a better opportunity to hear, and our eyes to see, what is going on around us.  When our attention is not focused on what we have to say next we are better able to focus on what other people are really trying to say.  To listen is the sister of Silence and we need to really listen to all that is around us so we may have a true and accurate picture of what is going on.  Those who learn how to listen to the whispers of nature and the mutterings of their own hearts are better able to listen to the true meanings behind the words and actions of others.  In this way to be Silent is to seek the truth.


The virtue of Silence also means to keep secrets.  Trust, faith, and magick are all grounded in the Silence of secrets.  The trust of a friend that you will not betray their confidence is based in your Silence.  The faith that your confidant will not betray your trust is based in their Silence.  Often we see the Silence of secrets as a bad thing, "what are they hiding?" becomes the common question, like having or keeping secrets is wrong.  On the contrary secrets can be quite beneficial when the aim is not to cause harm to someone but rather to have a private piece of mind.  In the occult magick in and of itself is no great secret, in fact magick is freely accessible to all.  But the magickal journey of the individual is a well guarded secret kept securely by anyone involved in that journey.  This Silence allows a person to explore their path both spiritual and mundane in peace and privacy so they may grow into who they are meant to become without the useless scrutiny of others.  In magick, as well as in trust and faith, Silence here is meant to love and protect and is a virtue.

In Silence we can find ourselves, we can see plainly within ourselves the demons and angels that lurk there.  In Silence there is love, trust, and beauty.  The knowledge that we are able to be open and honest with ourselves about how we feel and what we see opens the doors for us to be better people.  And as better people we have more to give to those around us, we are then able to attune ourselves to the heartbeat of Nature and to work with Her rather than against Her.  Have you stepped out to a park or forest lately?  Have you stopped to hear the songs of birds and insects or the rustling of small animals?  There is a quietness in this noise, a peace in the Silent mutterings of Nature.

When we are Silent we hear the message of our hearts and the voices of the gods.  The divine speaks to us all the time but we rarely stop to listen.  There is magick in the voice of the gods when spoken through us and the messages are clearer when we are Silent.  In meditation and prayer we find the divine is eminent, all around us and within us.  As we listen we learn, we become stronger in our minds, our hearts, and our in our beliefs, we become better people.

Silence
I shall always endeavor to quiet my mind and listen to my heart
I will not rush to speak but pay attention to those speaking to me
I will keep the secrets of my heart and those secrets entrusted to me
I will listen to the voices of the gods as they speak through me
In Silence I will hear the heartbeat of the Earth
So Mote It Be

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Virtue - Introduction

So I have decided that as an exercise in writing I am going to write about my seven virtues.  Virtue as defined by Dictionary.com is "quality of good in human conduct ... They are to be interpreted as descriptive of conduct rather than innate qualities and are achieved through proper training and discipline." as well as "... moral excellence. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting individual and collective well-being, and thus good by definition."

Each religious or spiritual ideology espouses its own set of virtues, its own ideas of what each person or social structure should endorse as the correct way to be.  Virtues are more than personal ideals, they are guidelines on how to correctly live our lives and interact with others.  The purpose of having your own set of virtues is to help you understand how to correctly act in any situation for the betterment of all involved.

The list of possible virtues is a very long one, there are 128 listed at Dictionary.com, and all are worthy of incorporation into anyone's personal philosophy.  But it becomes impracticable to try to remember and follow all of them.  So we each need to look within ourselves, within our own personal and social moral compass, and find the ones that we believe will help us most to live a noble and right life.

So in the next seven days I will explore in depth each of my personal virtues and how I try to live my life by them.  I hope you enjoy this journey and your comments and participation are most welcome!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Coven - more than family

A coven is a place where the heart, mind, and spirit go to find unity with others.  Unlike churches or larger religious organizations a coven is an intimate group of like minded people who have gathered willingly to share the awesome experiences of our spirits.  We gather in groves, parks, back yards and living rooms, making each place a sacred space for devotion and spiritual exploration.  With our minds and bodies cleansed, within the magick circle we are free to open ourselves to the great divine within each of us and to our fellow covenmates.

Being a member of a coven is not necessary to have deep and meaningful spiritual experiences, but alone we cannot begin to understand the dynamic of group energy and the spiritual fulfillment of others.  Coming together to create magick allows us to experience the ecstasy of the divine through many different perspectives thus allowing us to maintain an open perspective on our collective spirituality, there is no one right way.  Alone we only have one point of view, but together we can experience a dynamics of power and love that can only be provided by the group experience.

It is no secret that we demand a certain level of commitment and understanding before we allow people into our covens to experience devotion with us.  In perfect love and perfect trust shall each person enter the magick circle or be banished from the rite.  This rule is in place to help us create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance so each person may fully and without fear have the experience they are meant to have, without reservations.  In the circle all realities are possible and all possibilities are real, but only for those who have the presence of heart and mind to allow the impossible to penetrate their world view.

The coven environment, while fluid and evolving, is specifically designed to allow maximum productive exploration of the divine and the self.  When a coven is in harmony with itself, that is all members are in a state of perfect love and perfect trust, then the experiences to be had there cannot be matched anywhere else.  But when discord has entered into the magick circle then the spiritual lives of all members becomes disrupted.  It is important at this point to identify the concern and take action to alleviate the stress immediately if the coven has any hope of surviving.

It is often said that a coven is a family, and while this is true I would like to offer that a coven is more than that.  Your coven leader is more than a High Priest or Priestess, more than the organizer and implementer of ritual.  Each coven leader is a teacher, a confidant, a parent, and a friend.  It is their job specifically to see to the happiness and wellness of not just the coven members but of the coven itself as well.  A coven that works well becomes an entity of its own, taking on life and purpose determined by its members and guided by the coven leader.  When in harmony the workings flow as easily and naturally as breathing and within this environment we can truly hope to grow as spiritual beings.

The coven leader is not the only one responsible to holding the coven together though, each covener also carries a part of that responsibility.  The most important thing a covener can do for his or her coven is to be honest with themselves.  When we are true to our feelings and thoughts and share them in a loving and mature manner then harmony can be maintained.  Even dissent or dissatisfaction can be handled in a positive way if the unhappy party is honest about their feelings.  In the magick circle we are all linked directly by the emotions and experiences of those around us, we become vulnerable as we open ourselves.  This is where a coven becomes more than family.

In perfect love and perfect trust also means no judgement.  It means that each persons experience no matter how great, horrible, or indifferent is valid and true.  More than family means acceptance of those around us as divine and their experiences as a part of their personal growth.  More than family means for each member to look into the eyes of their covenmates and see a piece of themselves there.

In my spiritual journey I have been solitary, I have been a member of a coven, and I have been the leader of a coven.  All of these experiences have enriched my soul and given me experiences that cannot properly be expressed in words.  While life changes and sometimes people move on I see each group I have been a part of as necessary to my personal journey.  I would recommend the coven experience to anyone who wants to experience "perfect love and perfect trust", to anyone who wants to know what "more than family" really means.  And remember that it is ok to be discerning about the group you pick, make sure it feels right for you.  Be honest with yourself and your coven, love openly and freely and your experiences will take you beyond the stars.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Child of a Novelty

by Mahogany Rush

From a land where Dragons stood
A young boy dared what no man could
Born of fire, and ice and wood, he came here full of life
Well he loved and laughed and floated past
the echoes of a velvet mind, that whispered fairy tales untold
that kissed his mind, caressed his soul
Well times they changed and things rearranged
and a young man stood alone
But he decided to keep those echoes goin'
and ascended the mighty throne
He was a child of a novelty and he took 'em by surprise
he made them feel that he was real
he worked magic, magic..magic, before their eyes
As time went on, they said he'd done
what no man had done before
But he claimed that he was a child of a novelty
and nothin' more
Well, he tried to cry out how he felt
and they answered "It's a lie!"
But by this time this novel child had squeezed his soul bone dry
He was a child of a novelty and he took them by surprise
he made them feel that he was real
He worked magic, magic..magic
ah, he worked magic, magic..magic
ah, sweet magic, magic...magic before their eyes



My husband spoke the refrain of this song to me as his wedding vows.  I will never forget the look of love and playfulness in his eyes.  I love you Seeking Bear!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Flooded Road



I was walking down a dirt road to a church. In the church there was a service. After the service we went outside of the church and I was talking to the pastor about something. Showing him in some area where his beliefs were misguided, while he was trying to do the same thing to me. My sister was there, I do not remember my interaction with her but I know I did. We were on the side of the church in the grass, there was a large tree near the back, there were a few people milling around. I left the others and was going to make my way back to the church via the road, which had now been flooded

The mud was smooth, firm, and hilly and the water felt very good on my feet. There were people working on the road to even it out. The water was deep in some places and shallow in others. I made it around to the other side of the church where the feast was being prepared. I went inside to the foyer. The men there were talking about how there wasn't enough to eat. Just then I looked outside and saw half a dozen bird-men just standing in the water in the flooded road

The men of the church got it in their mind that they would catch and eat one of these bird-men. The one in front of me had dark feathers, a slightly curved strong beak and dark tattered clothing and was facing away from me. One of the church men walked up behind him and grabbed him with one arm around his neck and the other around his beak. The bird-man did not put up any resistance. When they dragged him into the church foyer they turned him around and were talking about how to cook him. I could see the understanding and sadness in the bird-mans eyes. I told the men they couldn't eat him because he was a sentient being, he was intelligent and therefore should be respected and not eaten. No one wanted to listen to me, I was very distraught. The bird-man did not offer any resistance, just the sad understanding of his fate in his blue eyes, with a single tear.

I left the building very upset. I went out to the road and saw the men working on smoothing it out under the water,  Butterfly-man was one of those men. I started to walk along the road again feeling the mud under my feet and the cool water around my ankles. A few feet up from where I was I saw something yellow under the water, it was my puppy. She was spread eagle on her back under the water. I cried out and ran over to her snatching her from the water. I started immediately to rub her back holding her upside down. I rubbed vigorously and she started to open her eyes. I knew then that I could save her and I was so overcome with emotion, sadness, joy, love, fear. Then I woke up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Family

Family means many different things to many different people, but for me family is the village in which you live.  Your village is made up of the people from which you where born, the people you have chosen in your life, and the people which have drifted in from elsewhere.  Like all families we are not going to get along with all the people in our village and that is ok because it teaches us a great variety of social skills.  In our village we experience love, acceptance, and understanding while also learning how to cope with loss, betrayal, and abandonment.  Our village continually challenges us to redefine our place within our family as well as forcing us to adapt and explore our own personalities.

In your family you many not always get along with each member and there may be some that you actually despise.  I refuse to see this as a total negative in my life.  I have come to the understanding that all people are different and the only person that I need to please is myself.  Having people in my family for which I do not associate challenges me to not become like the people I don't like.  It has taken me many years to understand that by actively hating a person I am giving that person power over me and the best thing I can do is to be honestly in my heart indifferent to them.  Those people are not worth my energy.  And even though the relationship has been torn I have learned, I have grown, and hopefully I am a better person for the experience.

On the opposite end of our least favorite family members is our favorite.  Those people who are selflessly good to us and by their very actions encourage us to be good people.  These are the family members we cherish and often go out of our way for.  Cultivating and maintaining these relationships are so important to our own healthy psyche.  And by loving these people we can rise above our preconceived notions of self and become what we dream.

We tend to set the level of our self esteem by the relationships we have with members of our village.  We judge ourselves based on the opinion of others, sometimes good and sometimes bad.  Even though our village does help to define us and our place in this world I accept the challenge of setting the level of my self esteem myself.  By finding happiness within me I can walk though my village at peace with all of its members.  When I do not have to worry about pleasing anyone other than myself it makes saying no so much easier.

To paraphrase the Charge "if you cannot find what you are looking for within yourself you will never find it without".  This sums up beautifully the path to happiness I am on.  With this understanding I can look at my village, all of the people whom I love, hate, and am indifferent to, and accept them as I accept myself.  Life is a journey for which we set out our own trails.  We all choose the paths we walk, sometimes without understanding that there was a choice to be made.  But if we walk the path for ourselves rather than for others we will find peace, and by finding peace within ourselves we will have it to share with others.  This makes our whole village stronger.

Life is an adventure and we all have family we share the adventure with.  See your village and accept them but do not loose yourself in the drama.  Love those worthy of it and release those who are not so worthy.  Be yourself.

To my village: Love and Light and Blessed Be!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nic, Nack, and Paddy


So we are on the second year of Mallard ducklings.  Last year we had a male and a female, Click and Clack.  This year we have three new quackers named Nic, Nack, and Paddy.  We got them as hatchlings on March 17th and kept them in the house on the living-room table in a small animal cage.  Duckling are very affectionate and love to snuggle with you and sit on your shoulder, in fact that is their preferred spot, so a towel then becomes necessary to keep your shoulder clean.

At about two weeks old the flock can start spending days outside, with supervision.  We have hawks, owls, racoons, foxes, and neighborhood dogs who would love to make an easy meal of the currently flightless birds.  So every morning we wake up and walk outside for our daily romp and then they get cooped up in their run while the weather is nice.  On not so nice days they spend a LOT of time in the tub, water entertainment and easy clean up!

At one month old most of their adult feathers have grown in.  They have graduated to adult duck food and weekly minnow hunting.  At first both sexes look female but very soon the males will start shedding their brown feathers and getting their beautiful green heads.  Right now they are still juveniles and very needy.  They are sleeping outside now but insist on companionship.  They often come to the back door peeping, demanding that someone come out to watch them eat!  Although they are pretty hand shy they are not afraid to come and sit on you if you are still.

Mallard ducks are a wonderful summer project for the whole family if you have the time and the space for them.  There is not a lot of expense involved in raising mallards.  I purchased my ducklings at a local farm and garden store for only $5 and 10lbs of feed only cost $6.  Inside I housed them in a small animal cage or kennel and outside they have a truck topper for a coop and a small kiddy pool to swim in.

The real commitment for these critters comes in the form of time.  It is the nature of fowl to imprint on a mother figure and when they imprint on you they will have a need for your presence.  Ducks follow you everywhere and will insist on you being there several times a day just to hang out.

Mallards, unlike flightless ducks, will eventually leave you to migrate south in the fall.  They will do this by instinct and need no prompting from you.  Often your ducks will come back for a visit in the years to come as they have a lasting connection with the place they were raised.  It is wonderful to be a part of this cycle of life, to love and raise these adorable and entertaining creatures and then to see them learn how to fly and eventually leave for bluer waters.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It is Morning

It is morning and I have awaken, the sounds of Spartan killing Elite permeates the air.  I have updated my blog and am making plans to write in it daily.  I do not know what it is I plan to write but I I know it will be randomly entertaining!

One thing I do plan, however, is to try and use this blog as a creative writing outlet.  I really really want to write something, like a book or what not, and every source I check out says the best way to become a writer is to actually write.  So here I am writing about anything, something, or nothing.  Enjoy!

Real-time Earth and Moon phase