Tarot, Tarot and a little more Tarot!

So, I did it. I bit the bullet and joined the Tarot Reader’s Academy Summer School. That’s 13 Tarot courses on a variety of topics starting Solstice (June 21).

I am very excited to begin this next advancement in my Tarot journey and learn from a large variety of well known experts and practitioners in the field. The other thing that excites me about all of this is the sharing with you that I will get to do.

I am also going to start a 78 day tarot study and place it here. This is something else I am excited to be sharing. Beginning Monday, and the 77 days following, I will be posting about each of the tarot cards. Not until Monday because I need to go through my decks and see which one I would like to do this with. I only have 100 or so to choose from. I was planning on going through then this summer anyways, so why not this week/weekend?

I hope that as I study and learn I can pass new knowledge on to those of you who are here. That has always been my goal with the blog. I will be using meditations and diffusers with all I do, so you can still expect information on essential oils and blends, and great places for meditations.

Podcasts getting a shout out:

Tarot Visions

Stirring the Cauldron

Check them out.

I’m Better!

Yes, that’s right, I have finally kicked the nasty creep and crud. That means we should be getting back to regularly scheduled blog posts and some interesting information.

Today I wanted to discuss altars. What an altar is, what is can be used for and why you might have one, no matter your beliefs. Merriam-Webster.com defines an altar as:

1: a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else sacrificed his family life on the altar of career advancement

2: a table on which the eucharistic elements are consecrated or which serves as a center of worship or ritual

So…with that as a working definition, do you have an altar without realizing it? Is there a table or countertop in your house where you have things you value or that represent your faith? If you answered yes, you have an altar, whether you realized it or not. Often times we have more than one without even realizing that is what we are creating.

I burn incense on the table next to my altar. The only thing I burn on my altar are the candles associated with the magick I am working or the meditation I am focusing on. I am also, not a big incense person. I have more of a tendency to burn a candle (which I make), with a scent that works for me. So, I do differ from the working definition in that way. Candles just make me happier, so that is what I use.

My main altar is in my bedroom. It is the one that I change with the Sabbats or the celebrations in my life. The one the crystals, and the table cloth change regularly, that I do my magickal workings at and that I do my meditations close to. However, I have several scattered throughout the house. The top of the china cabinet in the dining room is full of crystals that have been placed as I felt they were needed, along with totems to my spirit animals. The bookshelf in the family room has a shelf that is slowly getting taken over with the things I feel need to be in there for us to be more centered and family oriented. My husband started one without realizing it on his dresser, as we collected things he wanted and felt drawn to.

Altars are simply places we put those things we value, that show what it is we hold as a belief and a trust within ourselves and our faith. So, do you have one or two?

Today’s tarot:

Three of Pentacles: You’ve mastered one phase of your chosen career and you’re looking forward to the challenges of the next. The praise you receive makes you work harder than before – use it as inspiration Oaks you work your way toward your goal. Expect a nod from this higher up the food chain but not much more than a grunt from those below; you can’t impress everyone.

Key Words: Recognition, Hard Work, Skill

Fire Magick

As Fire is both destructive and creative it its nature, it is easy to use, but must be treated with respect. The qualities most often associated with Fire Magick are:  Brightness, Thinness and Motion. It is considered to be continuously Active, with a mode of On all the time.  From the beginning fire has been used to warm our homes, cook our food, ward off darkness, to light our path both from man-made and the sun and of course it fuels the passions within.  We use it in modern times to bring us closer together, to sit within the warmth it provides and bond. Unlike the other elements Fire does not come from a natural state. Fire only happens when it is consuming other elements. Fire is the element of transformation.  It takes the energy of what it is consuming and converting it to another form: heat, smoke, ash, and light.

You can feel this power in its various manifestations on any sunny day, when the Sun warms and lights your way.  When the logs crackle and the smell of smoke is coming off of a burning fire, the manifestation is often comforting. When you gaze at the flame of a fire or candle and you lose yourself into the energy being emitted.

While fire has a destructive aspect, we can control that aspect, and it is in that control that we are able to gain benefit from the element’s energy.  A lit candle helps to limit the power of the flame, as well as call it forth. In addition, candles can add color magick, however that is in another post. While we often rue the destructive nature of fires, especially when they are within the limits of a city, we need to be able to see the positive aspects of those we can.  Often forest fires help to clear the underbrush and make way for those things that have been dormant to come forth from the Earth.   Thinning forests to create new spaces for those things that have not been able to grow for many years.

 

Often times herbs or flowers will be added to a bonfire or a hearth fire as added magick. Fire is often the only way to add those things to the magick we are using.  We need the consuming factor of the fire to be able to access the correspondences of the herb or flower we are using.  Fire is a powerful tool, an instant way to get the will and energy into the world.  As an active element it is an almost instant magick tool.

I use fire magick, in both my hearth and through candles almost daily.  Candle magick (as you know from a previous post) is my favorite for a variety of reasons.  Fire is my personal element and I am very much aware of that.  I feed my fire element daily and I work within my will and intent using candle magick.  I keep my home warm as well as protected using the hearth.  In the summer I am a Sun Worshiper.  I am a Leo by birth, and I have fallen into the path of the Sun and Fire with a whole hearted love.

What element speaks to you?  I will be discussing them all… don’t worry 😀

Pagan, Wiccan or Witch???

Today I wanted to share a little more about some of the things I do on a daily basis (or as close as possible) regarding my beliefs and practices.  However, I realized that before I delved into that perhaps a discussion and personal breakdown of the concepts out there was in order.

Often the three words above are used synonymously.  While most of us who live the life understand those outside don’t know the difference, there are those who become highly indignant or offended when someone refers to them as one of the others. While I am not one of those, I felt that, before I could begin talking about my own practice, I need to clarify what each of them entails and holds.

First, let’s start with some simple definitions (from The Celtic Connection):

Wicca:   A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes.

Witch:   A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.

Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism:   General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems.

So, as you can see each of these has some overlap, and yet is unique in its own right.  I will try to expand a little bit in regards to Sacred Mists as a school as well as to my own practice.  I want to start by saying that one of the things I like most about Sacred Mists, is that while they do follow a traditional Celtic base, they allow their students the freedom and flexibility to follow their own beliefs as well.

Now, on to a deeper definitions so to speak.  Wicca:   A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. The Modern Wiccan Tradition is attributed, usually, to Gerald Gardner.  He was initiated into a traditional coven and then began supplementing with other “non-traditional” belief systems (Free Masonry, writings of Alastair Crowley and others).  While he claimed to stay true to the traditional pre-Christian beliefs, he supplemented the traditional pagan beliefs creating Modern Wicca.  Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes. All of this holds true for Sacred Mists as well as within my personal belief.  In addition, the Goddess and God are embodiments of all Goddesses and Gods as well as Mother Earth and Mother Moon. So there isn’t any single deity focus.  All historical beliefs and “religions” are called upon depending on  your need, desire, want, area of focus.  Celtic, English, Norse, Egyptian, Japanese…all Gods and Goddesses become available to you. 

Witch:   A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. So this is where it can get sticky.  There are many Wiccans who use natural items in their practice, but don’t necessarily consider themselves a Witch. I, however, am not one of them.  I use stones, candles, water, food, herbs, colors and even nature itself on a regular basis in my daily practice of the craft.  I am a Witch and I will stand by that.   It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This is often where those who practice, or don’t, get offended.  There are many Wiccans who are not Witches, and there are some Witches that are not Wiccan (that is their belief is not necessarily that of following the Rule of Three, or of staying within the boundaries of “white magick”).  This term has nothing to do with Satanism. The last sentence is by far one of the most important.  There is nothing Satan related in Wicca or Witchcraft.  One has to believe in the conventional idea of “Satan” before there can be any relation to him. This is not to say all Witches are good and work only for the good of all.  There are many who practice beyond the scope of what is Grey or White magick.  However, their belief is that what they are doing may be the right things. 

Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism:   General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Here are all the sticky widgets.  You DO NOT have to be Wiccan to be Pagan.  There are many other traditions that you could follow that make you Pagan.  Often people will refer to themselves as Pagan as general term that allows those who aren’t sure of the definitions to understand they don’t follow a modern religion.   Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems. The link here is back to the Nature Based Religions and Beliefs.  Those that are not necessarily monotheistic and have no single deity that is worshipped. 

I hope that these help you understand some of the overlap as well as some of the differences.  I think these are important to see and be able to reference prior to reading about specific rituals, practices or ideas.

 

When You Fail

I don’t mean make a mistake and see it and move on, rather stop all things that are helpful or important and just…well FAIL! I did this last week.  I just didn’t do all the things I had been.  I didn’t work out, I didn’t meal plan, I didn’t write blogs, I didn’t cook dinner, I didn’t work on my personal or spiritual studies, I didn’t move.  I came to work, worked, and went home and well…sat.  Why?  I seem to have lost the motivation I had.

What caused me to lose the motivation?  Was it that I’m tired (because I am)?  Was it that I have a small infection somewhere in my body that is causing me to be more tired than normal (because I do)? Was it simply that it seemed like I was the only person in the house who cared to be doing anything (because it did)?

It could be any or all of those.  Do they really matter?  Nope.  In reality I didn’t do it simply because I didn’t do it.  There are always excuses that can be made, but the simple truth is that I didn’t get off the couch and do any of those things.  Some of them could have been done from the couch and I just didn’t get the computer out.  I sat and played games on the iPad, which has the blog app right on it.  I still didn’t open it.

So what happens now?  Do I keep beating myself up and letting it just roll into a big downward spiral and then life looks like it did a few months ago?  I could.  It would be so easy to just drift off into what I have always done.  That’s the easy thing to do.  It’s familiar, it’s comfortable and it has worked in the past.  Well, it has appeared to work in the past.  In fact though, it hasn’t worked.  It has left me feeling unfulfilled, like I’m letting myself and my family down and like I just don’t care. So nope, I don’t let it continue in this fashion.

Today is Monday.  It is a reset day.  Today I begin again. Daily, you can begin again.  If you feel like you totally failed one day, or one week, or even one month, well they all start all over again.  So just choose today as your start over date.  Today I will be blogging, meal planning, working out and just moving forward in the fashion that I want to move forward in.  It doesn’t matter what everyone around me is doing.  I need to do these things for myself, and for my family. My path of walking, the one that I follow for myself is one of constant work.  There is always something to be studying or to be learning about the Earth, about magick and about those who are part of Sacred Mists, so failing isn’t really an option.  There are people all over relying on me.  Time to pull myself out of the muck and put myself back on the path.

What do you do when you need to reset?  How do you gain your motivation back?

Helping Others When They Don’t Want Help

From students to friends to adults. How do we help those who don’t want our help? Such a difficult spot to be in, and there is no good answer.

In the Wiccan practice it is unethical to cast a spell of healing or help for someone who has not given permission. In the mundane world we help all the time without permission, even sometimes pushing ourselves into situations just to offer help. Is one better than the other? Is there really a right and wrong?  

As a teacher of high school students I am constantly placed in situations where my job is to help. Often students ask for help, sometimes I ask if they need help and sometimes I just sit down and help. Today I was in a meeting with a student and his mom (along with some other school adults) and we asked the student what more we could do. We had already been doing all the things previously outlined to help him and yet he continues to be unmotivated, unfocused and unengaged. His response “I don’t know.” This is a student I regularly redirect, stop by his desk and check-in, ask him to participate in class and get a blank stare. Yet, when asked if there was more I could do he said, “No. Ms. S already does all she can, I just don’t do it.” How do I help him? There is very little more I can do, and I can’t just let him slide and pass him, which I think is what has happened in the past.

I have a very dear friend who texted me this weekend because she was having a difficult time. She didn’t want to talk, said she was disappearing and that I should “run while I can”. She was easier. She didn’t want help in her kind, yet when I said “okay” and then asked what I thought was an off topic question to check-in, it led straight to the heart of what was wrong. Helping her became more of a conversation, and it wasn’t until some other things happened that she even realized the role I had played.

There is no easy answer. If you’re a fixer, like I am, this can cause undue stress on you. Migraines, lack of appetite, tummy issues…sound familiar? Learning to let go of things when you can’t fix them is an important skill. Knowing you tried your best and can do no more is how you know when to let go. It can hurt, but there comes a time when you need to take care of you.

Weekend Work

While binge watching Grimm on Amazon and Playoff Football on network TV (with antennae) I managed to get 90% of my kitchen re-organized and cleaned. The coffee mugs and spices cupboard are left to organize and the stove top is left to clean. Anyone who knows me is aware of what a Herculean task this was. My oldest step-son came out of his cave for sustenance, blinked and said ” we have counter space, everywhere”. I responded “lets try to keep it that way” to which of course I received a blank stare back.

I also made super yummy homemade mac and cheese on Saturday and a great smelling chicken tortilla casserole on Sunday. Now I’m set to meal plan for the week and try to get to the grocery store. That may be tomorrow though. We have plenty of leftovers and my youngest son has a concert for choir this afternoon.

Oh in cleaning I managed to sell multiple appliances for which I will get 1 appliance that replaces them all. So more space in general. This is super exciting. Once I get my new appliance I will have one more single serve blender I can sell.

As someone who loves to practice kitchen witchery I am always relieved when I purge and clean. However, I suck at keeping it that way and then I get overwhelmed. So what are your tips for keeping a kitchen that regularly feeds 5, and has maybe 2 that clean it, clean? Let me know because I could use the tips. I am thinking that in a few months I may want to hire someone that comes every other week to help with bathrooms and general cleaning. Do you have an outside house keeper?

I am most excited because with the kitchen the way it is right now I can also get, a water garden and start growing my herbs again. That was the major motive behind cleaning it as thoroughly as I did. Hydroponic Gardens for the kitchen are super fun and easy and fresh herbs are the best. Do you have one? If so do you love it? What brand is it? Pros and cons?

Okay. Off to check the casserole and get ready for the concert. May your weekend be blessed.