Every Day Magic

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Moon Books, who are my publishers, have been working on a new community book ‘Every Day Magic: A Pagan Book of Days’ which is due to be published in the Autumn.

This is going to be a brilliant book, a dip into book, a perpetual calendar of activities, meditations, visualisations and more, something for every day in fact. Let’s face it, who doesn’t need magic every day.

Lucya Starza who is the editor has blogged about the book on her blog and you can read a little about it by following this link: Every Day Magic

Familiars and Allies

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A ‘Familiar’ is according to the definitions, a traditional term used for an animal, often a pet, who assists a witch in their spiritual and magical workings and with whom the witch can communicate. I also read today that many modern witches call any animal that lives with them their familiar. I am not a witch so I actually have no idea whether any of this is true or not but for nearly thirteen years I had a cat who I would happily have described as my familiar had I been so.

My cat used to hang around in my workspace at any given chance. This was fine when I was alone but difficult when I had clients coming for Reiki or students training with me. I used to have to brush down chairs and remove it from the space before anyone arrived yet many was the time it crept back in to sit alongside students being attuned to Reiki or laid under the treatment table whilst I was working on someone.

It was though around the time I began working with my guides that I noticed a change in my cat. I had promised my guides that I would spend ten minutes a day working with them, something I found difficult to make myself do. My cat would take itself off every morning, sit on the step of the log cabin that is my treatment space and wait for me to go out there to work. This used to make me feel very guilty and so I would take my coffee out, open the door and then my cat and I would go in and work with my guides. Once I was finished my cat would take itself off and only come back if I was working on anything it felt was interesting. In this way my cat worked alongside me making flower essences, building my labyrinth, making shamanic drums, giving and during healing sessions. It would be by my side when I was studying, on my lap when I journeyed and nagging me if there was something I was supposed to be doing but was avoiding.

As a shamanic healer I have allies, some of whom are animal, who I work with in non ordinary reality, these I suppose are my equivalent of a familiar in many ways as they assist me in my work, work on my behalf, guide me and communicate with me. In this reality though, although I consider crow to be one of my allies, there has yet to be a replacement for my cat.

And as promised when I began working through the alphabet again a link to my first ‘F is for’ post.

F is for Flower Essences and if you are into flower essences I also found a past post on working with the essences

 

 

 

Eggs in Shamanic Healing

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One of my first blog posts for the Pagan Blog Project when it was running and when I first began this blog, was about Eggs. I am not going to rewrite the post again but am going to give you the link here as I do believe it is worth revisiting.

Eggs

I really should have titled the post Eggs in Shamanic Healing as that is where my interest and fascination lay and still lies if I am being honest.

I love the idea that something we use in our kitchens can also be a tool in our healing. We often think of things in the garden, that which we find in nature such as stones, plants, or feathers in this way but not necessarily an item of food.

Since I first discovered how to make use of eggs in my shamanic healing work they have become a useful tool and one that I use whenever it is needed. I am still fascinated by the way in which an egg rolled over the body can pick up information about the state of the body and which can then impart that knowledge to me through my interpretation of what it shows me. I have carried out some insightful and powerful healing thanks to eggs and hope to continue to do so as long as they are happy to work with me in this way.

If you haven’t looked at the link yet but are now intrigued…here it is again Eggs  Enjoy 🙂

Divination, Insight and Guidance

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Usually by this time of the year I have taken a pack of cards, most often Ted Andrews Nature Speak ones which I always find scarily accurate, and carried out a spread for the coming year. This year though this seems to have been overlooked and although I was aware that it remained undone as it were, until today I was unaware of why. Talking with my guides this morning I had the overwhelming desire to draw one of Denise Linn’s Soul Coaching cards and the one I drew was ‘Simplicity’. Never one to use anyone else’s explanation I spoke further with my guides and by the end of it both the card and the reason why I had, on one level anyway, decided not to do a year’s spread became clear to me.

I rarely use cards for divination, although I am more likely to draw a single card as I did today for guidance. Despite having many sets of cards I am, for example, far more likely to pick up a pendulum to ask a question, undertake a shamanic journey for insight, take myself out on a signs and omens walk with a clear intention, or simply chat with my guides. I don’t believe it matters at all what we do to divine answers, or how we seek insight or guidance as long as we are clear about what we are doing and why. In other words as long as we use whatever we have carefully, with common sense and discernment.

Many years ago at an early stage in this part of my journey I was in a small local shop looking for a pendulum. The person who owned the shop allowed me to play with one that I was drawn to and watched me for a while before telling me that sometimes she refused to sell them to people. She was, she told me, very cautious about the way in which people were going to use them. If she had someone whom she felt was going to use the pendulum to decide what to have for their tea, or choose between tea or coffee for example, she would gently persuade them that it was maybe not the right thing for them to be working with.

At the time I didn’t really understand this. Why, I felt, could people not do whatever they wanted with them? Now though I completely understand. We have many, many tools available to us, some work beautifully with us, others less so depending on our own abilities, I for example, despite being a natural dowser, cannot map dowse to save my life, some work better in some circumstances than others, like us they all have their uses, strengths and weaknesses and it is important we recognise that, know which tool to use when and when to use nothing at all. What we also have is ourselves, our own intellegence, knowledge, skills and intuition and sometimes what we need to be doing is trust in ourselves and what we know or what we feel instinctively. We do not need to be second guessing ourselves all the time and we should never become dependent on any tool, in any way, or for any reason. This is what the woman in the shop meant and she was quite right.

The understanding I received today came not from the cards or from my guides, although talking to them helped me gain clarity. It had everything to do with my looking at what had happened over the past year and seeing how little I used the yearly spread, how seldom I referred to it once it was done, or even remembered it was there. It had shifted from being a useful tool to being a habit, one I no longer needed. The card ‘Simplicity’ merely highlighted the need to strip things away, to simplify things and not complicate them by doing something that I didn’t need to using tools that served no purpose in this particular way at this particular time. I do not need to divine my future, I have no need or desire to know now what the year ahead might hold. This morning put the tools back in perspective and allowed me to set aside a habitual practice. Insight and guidance, and yes divination, will come as the year unfolds but not for me at this time.

And yes I do have a crystal ball tucked away on a shelf, covered with a silk cloth.

 

Cleansing and Purifcation

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I have blogged before about how I used to really dislike the month of February, how after the Winter Solstice, the seasonal celebrations, the period of recovery, of getting back to normal, it always felt a bit flat, a bit nothing in particular and that I was always relieved when it was over. I then discovered that historically February was the month of cleansing and purification and it all felt a bit better. Yet here I am on Imbolc itself, the first day of spring with the wind howling and the rain lashing, if ever it felt a time for closing down and hibernating, today, and if the forecast is right, the next couple of days are it, never mind a spring clean and a purification of home and of body. This is a good reminder for me of why I am usually delighted and not a small bit relieved for it to be March with its promise of better things to come. Mind I have until 15th February before the historical period of Purification began so there is still time…..she says hopefully.

This does seem a good time for me to share two of my past blogs which contain information about February, pagan rituals and ideas for cleansing and purification, again this should save you trawling back through the archives for them:

Cleansing 

Spring Cleaning 

This year, on the whole so far, the winter has been mild, the winds often slack and our windows have been wide open more than they have been closed so the need I usually have to open them wide and allow the element of air to move through and do its work is needed less than usual it seems. The garden is not covered in bits of windfall from the ash and hawthorn and so I have no need to go gathering kindling, at the moment anyway. So unless anything changes as the month unfolds, this February my cleansing and purification is going to focus on ME 🙂

Since the summer I have been working in a gym again, the first time for six of seven years. I am discovering muscles I hadn’t seen for a long time and a physical strength that I had thought was lost forever. My 2017 cleansing and purification rituals then are going to be used to get to know it again, how it is now, to deeply cleanse by spending time with it rather than the quick in and out of the shower it is used to. The purification will be through what I eat which will be as healthy and light as I can make it during the winter. So lots of fresh fish, vegetables, salads, meals made from scratch and of course the odd bar of chocolate and glass of wine 🙂

 

 

Sowing Seeds


With Imbolc almost upon us, although many rituals are about purification for me it is the perfect time to think about sowing seeds, the seeds that will then have chance to germinate as we move through the spring and this gives everything a head start.  

I am of course not talking about actual seeds in the garden, as the earth is too cold for us to do that still, at least it is where I live, but the seeds of ideas, plans, intentions for the things that we would like to bring in during the coming year.

If, like me, you have been using the past weeks to reflect and let go of whatever is no longer needed, then space has been cleared for the new to come in, if not then there is still time to do this, no one says this can only be done once a year or only during the winter. The more space there is in our lives the more we can co-create, without space it is a bit like piling more and more in the wardrobe without moving anything out, something I am  unfortunalty very guilty of. Fortunately in the rest of my life I am much better at having a regular clear out 🙂 

As an OBOD Ovate I have plenty of access to rituals, but as a shamanic and energy healer I much prefer to use my intuition, listen to my guides and allies and work with the energy of both the place I am holding my ritual in and of course the day itself. Consequently I have no idea what type of ritual or ceremony I will have for Imbolc yet.

These are just two ways that could be used to sow seeds at Imbolc though :

1. Planting Actual Seeds

  • Prepare a pot with soil and have a handful of seeds ready. 
  • Take one seed and hold it in your hand, focus on ONE thing you want to bring in and breathe this into the seed
  • Plant the seed in the pot 
  • Repeat with one seed for each idea
  • Water the seeds and place the pot where you will see it regularly 
  • Every time you see the pot, every time you water the seeds think of all the things you are growing 

2. Working with the Elements Fire and Air

  • Take a sheet of paper and cut it into strips
  • On each strip write one idea, plan or intention 
  • Find a safe place to have a small fire, or use a burning bowl, 
  • Taking one piece of paper at a time read what you have written there.
  •  Do this twice, once internally for your heart and once out loud using your voice and the air of your breath to give your intention power.
  • Place this piece of paper into the flame so the element of fire can transform the energy of your idea. 
  • Repeat with each piece of paper
  • When the fire has dies down and the ashes are cool, blow or throw them into the air doe the element Air can breathe life into your ideas. 

Brigid and Brigid’s Cross

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One of the first things that I learnt to do when I moved to Ireland was to make a St Brigid’s cross. I hadn’t heard of them at all before I moved and had to be taught not only how to make it but also what to do with it when it was made.

Describing how to make one is complicated without diagrams so having found this online today I thought I would share it in case anyone else is drawn to make one. This link includes a nice video if a child making one, it’s not difficult 🙂 I like that the instructions say to use straws or reeds for there are a special type of reed that grow in wetlands, used to make them here, a reed I recognise whenever I come across it, but the site of which I always forget come February.

I was told that it was the tradition where I live, to make a new Brigid’s cross every year and to place it in the loft on a rafter to protect the house from fire, which used to be a common problem in old houses in Ireland. In old houses chimneys were left unlined and any chimney fire could easily escape and leap through the loft space taking the roof and very often the whole house. I have since discovered that they are also used to ward off evil but maybe I looked too innocent to be told that I might need to do this 🙂 It was a long time ago!

So who was Brigid?

Brigid was a Pre-Christian, Celtic goddess who was associated with smithcraft, poetry, healing, childbirth. She is sometimes spoken of as a Triple Goddess and is always closely associated with fire. In fact the fire associations are so strong that a perpetual fire was set at Kildare in her honour, a fire which still burns today. Brigid is also known of as  Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Brigantia, Briginda, and Brigdu.

In Irish mythology Brigid appears as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and was the daughter of the Dagda, wife of Bres and had a son named Ruadán. To the Catholic Church though she is known as Saint Brigid and spoken of only as sharing her name with the Celtic goddess. It is said that St Brigid was the child of  Brocca, a Christian woman baptized by Saint Patrick, and that her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. As Brocca was a slave, Brigid was born into slavery. Some stories say that Brigid was baptised by St Patrick, others that she grew up as his friend.

If you would like to read more about Brigid, the Celtic goddess though the OBOD have an article that can be accessed here and which contains a lot of additional information.

What is known is that the the pagan festival of Imbolc or Imbolg, is associated with the goddess Brigid. The festival marks the beginning of spring has been celebrated since ancient times. It is a Cross Quarter Day, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  It can actually fall anywhere between 2nd & 7th of February as it is calculated as the mid point between the astronomical Winter Solstice and the astronomical Spring Equinox, however it is often celebrated on 1st February, which is the same date as the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion celebrate St Brigid’s Day.

And what about Brigid’s crosses?

There are many stories her as to how the tradition of these crosses originated and this is just one of them:

There was an old pagan Chieftain who was on his deathbed in Kildare when his servants summoned Brigid to his beside in the hope that the she might be able to calm his restless spirit. Brigid is said to have sat by his bed, consoling and calming him . Whilst she was here she picked up some rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern. As she weaved, she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick Chieftain and it is thought her calming words brought peace to his soul and requested that he be baptised as a Christian  before his passing. Ever since that day it has been customary on the eve of Brigid’s Feast Day on 1st February, to fashion a St Brigid’s Cross of straw or rushes and place it in the roof of the house over the door as a means of protecting the house.

Brigid has always been held in high regard in Ireland, many wells in all parts of the country are named after her, the symbol of her cross is to be found in many Irish designs and there is even a pilgrimage route that can be walked, known as an the Brigid’s Way an Ancient Path between Sky and Earth