Changing of the Guard

Here in Alaska we have three seasons; summer, winter and breakup.  Autumn is my favorite, but it whips by in a flash.  One day the world is on fire with orange tundra, red fireweed stalks and yellow leaves, but upon the first deep frost most becomes naked overnight. It shifts from brilliant to seemingly barren and it leaves a void.  It reminds me of the moon that was just there the last time you checked, but now it seems irrationally missing.  The stillness of it.  …things seem that they aren’t always what they seem…

I’ve decided time is fluid, in that it flows like water or air. Moving at differing rates and changing sometimes imperceptibly until much later when it takes you by surprise.  But that is the way of life isn’t it?  I can jog up to the top of the stairs and muse upon how strong I still am, until 3 seconds later and my heart rate and muscles tell remind me I’m not fit any more. Expectations and reality are different. It takes me by surprise every time.

This pattern repeats itself in the life experience of the sacred feminine. She too has three seasons and their arrival and departure can be just as abrupt. I remember playing as a little girl in the mud, often half clad. Tadpoles and fish hearts moved within my palm and it was impossible to count all the wishes upon a ‘blowflower’. I sang as loud as I wanted to in the shower.  My experience was as exciting or mundane as I allowed.  But my intrigue for this world and the next never waned.  I was innocent and unafraid. As I got comfortable with understanding my environment my body shifted.

Imperceptibly at first until the first bloody rude awakening.  I was disgusted and found the process so crude.  Frustrated that I was now trapped into a 28 day ‘Groundhogs Day’ scenario seemed limiting.  Over time, though I realized it for the gift that it was.  This season of my life was a gift, even if it was a gift I’d not expected.  Able to experience passion and romance, pure unadulterated fear and raw love in a way I couldn’t have known otherwise. I realized the depth of my emotion had doubled, but birthing a child pulls it all into focus. Blood again. Life blood.  Such power it takes to bring the nonphysical into the physical, and only a woman can do it.  Is there a mother who ever thought “I’ve got this, no big deal”?  I doubt it.  It’s unnerving holding that much power.

The shift into the season of the mother is just as abrupt and again, we feel grossly unprepared for it’s gifts and ill-equipped to receive it’s full blessings with grace and dignity.  Some of us step into the role willingly in the spirit of adventure, others are pulled into it as a consequence.  Either way the movement is there, flowing as fluid and adjusting only as a yoni is capable.  There is nothing as fierce as a mother’s love, of this I’m certain.  I’ve come to appreciate it’s gifts and I can only sit back in awe as the people I’ve created grow and realize their potentials. It’s humbling and I admit to basking in the splendor of it.  It’s funny though, that after the lesson is learned you are forced to move on.  Do you think the trees really want to let go of those leaves in the fall or are they sad when it happens. Does it hurt when a seed’s shell rips apart as it sprouts?  Can they appreciate the process??

Today is the day of my Croning. Again the changing of the guard has crept up on me.  I look into the mirror and am startled by the grey hair that is framing my changing face. How inconsiderate. I thought blood suddenly running down my legs in school was a mean trick, only to have that topped by the pain and blood and gore of childbirth. Suffering such indignity in the beautiful process often opens us up to the reality of the power within.  You’re so alive and naked there’s nowhere to hide. Might as well own up to it.  Build up, release, and start from scratch again. Repeat. Own it.

Here I am again, a little unappreciative of the process of the changing of the guard, a little blind to the miracle that it all is, not fully able to get a bead on the gifts that come with it. Today’s indignity is being laid skyclad on a slab unconscious as the hands of strange men move across and inside my body.  They’ll pull my universe, my womb, out of my vagina and plop her into a cold silver sterile pan to be whisked away. The dichotomy of being a wombed-one without a womb…is this another joke?  I wonder what barren will feel like. It is that stillness of the soul again?  I’ve experienced emptiness and loss, will this be the same?  No doubt I’ll feel both violated and liberated at the same time.  This is a pattern which repeats at each changing of the guard.  I’m just wise enough now to learn to go with the flow rather than to resist it.

This time I’m here at the seasonal change by choice, backed by circumstance. The crone’s children can survive independent of her.  I know that the crone is no longer distracted by the monthly cycles of life.  I’ve paid attention long enough that I know what Luna is doing because I feel it in my bones, I don’t have to look at a calendar or wait for the pelvic ache to warn me. I look back and see that I’ve been through phases of learning, and through phases of having knowledge, and now possess the wisdom distilled from the process. I’ll not have tampax in my bathroom drawers anymore, any more than I’ll have sippy cups on the coffee tables.  Nah, I’ve been there done that.  And, since I’m comfortable, It makes sense that I’m going to birth anew reality again.  It will be full of gore and beauty.  Fully alive with nowhere to hide.  Blood yet again.

I’m leveling up and surveying my surroundings.  I have a garden full of powerful herbs that I’ve loved and grew from sprouts- and I know how to use them, cupboards full of potent supplies and have already collected all the tools I need.  I’ve birthed my grimoire and she’s beautiful and amazing.  I’m proud like only a mother can be. I realize that croning is a process, as I’m sitting in my power now and able to sense bullshit a mile away.  Drama makes me queasy these days, so I reach for a glass of wine without flinching. My role is to continue to distill knowledge, collect and dispense wisdom.  Like a toddler learning to walk, I’ll be a bit unsteady but not nervous about the process. No, leaves aren’t afraid of falling, or seeds afraid of sprouting, or the feminine afraid of bleeding.  There is no moving outside the cycle and the crone is one who has learned to cherish the seasons. She knows in her bones and blood that there is a reason for everything.

I’m curious what being a crone will be like. I’ll have more time to journey and am looking forward to the new depth I’ll find.  Today is my ‘day the frost came and took the leaves’. It’s startling and looks oddly desolate from this side of the fence because I don’t belong on this side of the fence anymore. I’ll never be the damsel in distress again, and I’ll likely never participate in the mommy co-op network of parenting that occurs either.  Thank God and Goddess because I’m out of fucks to give.  I get to focus on me. Only me.  I can walk in the woods alone knowing I’m the most potent thing there. My ass will fit just fine in my seat of power and that it will be an increasingly comfortable fit. I’m excited to see how the healer part within me will dispense grace and the witch will dispense wrath lol. Capable? Yes. Willing?  we’ll see.

I don’t know what it will feel like in the next season tomorrow. But I know it is going to be powerful, true and raw.  As always, there will be blood but I’m not going to apologize for it.  Oddly, I’m good with it.  It’s literally life after all. I’ll be fully alive and wild with anticipation. I’ll grow my hair long so that it can be wild, curly, and unruly in the most witchy way…perfect for me.  I can feel the shackles loosening like leaves dropping to the ground already.  Grace will come and the gifts will unfold with them but this time my arms will be open wide.  I’m fearless and have earned the right to be. My eyes still twinkle and my hair may whiten, but each day I’ll more alive, more powerful, more authentic. I celebrate the changing of the guard today and can feel the electricity buzzing around and through me.  I plan to spend a lot of time enjoying my new season. It’s going to be the most fulfilling one yet!

Pagan Blessings

blessing

How might a pagan bless things and why would they want to?

Everything we experience is energetic in nature and also all matter we encounter has a energetic fingerprint signature.  Energy, like water, is fluid and flows.  Energy can puddle in great concentrations, be collected, sent and received. When we bless something or someone we are intentionally adding positive energy to that thing.  We are capable of blessing others, places and things by using our intent.  Oftentimes, we intentionally utilize the energy of the gods and goddesses, the elements, in addition to our own energy to do so.

We can bless informally, as in a simple prayer or spell (god bless you or namaste’), or we may create a more profound direction of positive energy toward something by creating a complex ritual (like a home blessing, or a blessing for personal healing).  One can bless or sanctify pretty much anything a person wants to at any time.

Yet, in our energetic world, if we are attempting to cause a profound impact, I recommend becoming familiar with the elements and their associations so that you could utilize them as a positive force in your magickal toolbox.  The energy of earth is profound, and it is as just as deep and strong as the energy of fire, which is similar to but has a different energetic signature than the element of water, and just as potent and directive as the energy of air.  Each contains a gift of sacred knowledge and magickal ability because they inherently are provocative energy themselves.  They can facilitate change in ways different than we could of our own volition by ourselves (spirit).  By learning of their associations and strengths, and then blending those together we can create a powerful invocation of blessing.

You will find that those of the craft will establish a sacred relationship with these corners and their beings to deliberately align their work with them.  Once we have established a healthy working relationship with the elements, we can use the elements as partners to strengthen our work. We can invoke the element of earth by (seeds, crystals, stones, salt, cauldron, bones..) together with the element of air (feathers, incense, smudge, bells, wand, flags..), fire (candles, athame, sword, lamps, volcanic rock) and water (chalice, cup, bowl, seashells, salt, blood or wine.. water..) to bless many things.  While herbs and oils aren’t tools per se, they are often used to facilitate a blessing.  This is because each herb (and subsequently oil derived from them) holds an energy pattern associated with at least one of the elements in addition to the signature for life-force energy itself.

blessing candles

Blessing Candles: gently melt down tealights on a cookie sheet in the oven or on a coffee warmer, leaving the wicks in.  Add herbs, small crystals, &/or magickal sea salts according to your aim. Make sure to check elemental associations when crafting.

Oftentimes, old places or items have discordant energy attached to them.  One can clear these old imprints by cleansing them energetically (making them ‘neutral’), but to truly make the item whole again, it takes a blessing.  You must offer your love and support to the place or thing to raise the vibration of that place or thing.  You can invoke the strength of specific deities, incorporate the elements according to the specific need, and send your loving intent into that energy.

We often run about cleansing or purifying things to make sure our local environment is stable and void of lower/negative energies or entities, but folks- that’s only half of the picture!  I suggest wholeheartedly that you always bless what you have cleared.  If you cleanse a crystal, then bless it after. If you cleanse your home, bless it after. If you smudge a friend, bless them after.  Yet you need not cleanse a person, place or thing in order to feel entitled to bless it.

You can bless an area by combining your intent, energy, and action.  You can send a blessing non-verbally to the grouchy looking person in the grocery store that you passed in the aisle (‘may you have greater peace and the understanding you need’) by directing your intent toward their solar plexus, you can bless food and drink by holding love or healing energy into it as you make it or prior to consumption, you can bless an area by walking around and lovingly picking up trash and leaving your blessing of healing and balance in it’s place.

In my home I’ve blessed random objects (a coffee cup, a pen, a door knob, etc.) each randomly, trusting that whoever could benefit from that blessing will come into contact with it.  There’s a mug that is blessed with intent of joy, one for healing, a door knob blessed to impart greater safety as needed, a pen to bless with calmness and greater compassion.  Seriously, most things in my home have been bewitched by blessings, come to think of it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the habit of blessing things, people or places, I suggest it’s an incredible behavior to adopt.  By establishing this pattern of behavior, you will always be sure to leave a place with a more positive energy than you’d found it.  Go ahead and bless a random plate at a restaurant to invoke that the person who eats off of it will find greater clarity each according to his/her need or perhaps a grocery cart- that the person who uses it will remember that one item they habitually forget.  As you sit at an intersection waiting for a light, you could send your intent into the crossroad that whomever passes through it who could use more centering or more spiritual support receives it in the manner and timing which best suits them.

blessing bowl

Pagans tend to take their blessing more seriously than most. We often do so more formally by crafting a ritual incorporating those things which call to you to help empower your intent.  Whether hoping to promote a thought/idea or communication (air), instigate action or passion (fire), soothe or elevate emotion or intuition (water), increase or induce manifestation or practicality (earth) or any combination thereof, we can work in synchrony with the energies of the elements to get the job done more effectively. And, elements are an incredible way to make your blessing work more fruitful.

I use many oils, herbs and crystals in my work.  I use these because of the elemental associations they have. I notice that when I combine my intent with my energy, together with the energies of the elements, that profound things happen.  It only makes sense to me to use that potent combination to bless places and things when it intuitively feels right to me.  I know that you each have blessed things in your different ways, and I’d like to urge you to continue to do so.  I propose that by purposefully incorporating the elemental allies into your blessing work, the world will markedly be shaped by you in a very positive way.

In kindest regard,

Peninsula Pagan

Snow in Spring

snow

When we think on how the work or growth we do changes though the seasons, we notice the changes of  the seasons is like a changing of the guard; out with the old & in with the new. While spring is officially here- and knowing too that spring in March or April is not an uncommon thing in our area- we are given a fortuitous window for tidying up when snow is in the forecast once again.

In the winter we do our more contemplative, interpersonal work. We take time for ourselves to nurture our wisdom and well-being.  And, as spring comes, we let go of the themes of winter and plant new ideas.  But, have you really closed the doors to winter? Are old themes still rearing their head and refusing to be laid to rest??  If so, our current forecast is a golden opportunity for you.

While our weather temporarily returns to winter for the next couple of days, we are given the local energetic opening to really complete our winter themes and add closure to those last few items on the agenda that need tidied up.  To fully embrace the promises that spring brings, we have to let go.  It’s difficult to accept new gifts if our hands are already full!  We’ve got one more golden window to drop the old baggage for good: snow flurries in spring.  Capture the gift that it is. We’ve been given one last chance to heal the hatchet that refuses to be buried.

If it speaks to you, spend a moment doing some introspective work and take a look under your rugs, or revisit your emotional closets.  Reduce, reuse and recycle the wisdoms, themes and tools gained last year and through your winter. Distill your learning and experiences into wisdom.  Light a pyre to that which no longer serves you & give thanks.  Then, as the most recent snow melts, you’ll be more ready for the gifts that spring has to offer

 Sidebar- One fun idea that the witches will like is this:  given that this snow is wet and sticky,  it’s a great opportunity to make a snowman poppet. Place into it what you want to recede/banish, and then watch as it does so with the movement into spring.

Brightest Blessings,

The Peninsula Pagan

New Growth

Spring is officially here. Our daylight is now longer than our darkness.  With the changes of the seasons comes a change in attitudes and perceptions.  We spent the winter months holed up in our quiet spaces, enjoying our introspection and we went through periods of spiritual hibernation & physical slumber.  Now though, it’s time to turn over a new leaf.  The energy has shifted.  Can you feel it?  It’s time once again to grow. Let’s do it on purpose.

We both grieve and celebrate each passing year, as it should be. Each lap around the sun leaves us more experienced, more raw, and more honest.  There can be pieces of it we enjoy, and parts of it which leave wounds that will continue to weep as we heal them.  In our pain we are able to distill learning into wisdom.  We step back and reflect. This internal pontificating is necessary.  But, there comes a time to let it go and trudge forward. Gardeners know that pruning in spring causes more hardy plants.  As above so below…we follow this same template as well.  We must let loose the past to make room for the future. Which things in your life make the cut and which do not?  Pruning helps make healthy new growth possible. If you’ve not done this yet, now is he time to do so.

You will advance and you will learn and you will grow, season by season. Given this, you may as well decide intentionally where in your life your new growth will be. Spring is the time to plant your seeds.  I challenge you this spring to begin growing deliberately. Since you have no choice but to move forward, will you be determined enough to progress on purpose? This life is yours after all, you might as well be a conscious creator of it.

We’re here to live the most meaningful life we are able.  We are to use our strengths to uplift both ourselves and others. Stagnation has no place in those of magickal means!  I propose that this spring you balance the scales between ‘what you choose to do’ and ‘what happens to you’.  It’s spring, so plant seeds of growth and change (Ostara!!).  Continue to nurture your budding idea and follow it through to see it’s fruits.  It’s in the sharing of your fruits that others benefit from your efforts as well. When they bear witness to your growth and wisdom, they are empowered themselves. So, plant your seeds for you, knowing that the fruits of your labor will likely be shared. In this way our blessings multiply and continue to give.

seed

Each year I set about learning or doing something intentionally to foster my growth.  I toss out to the universe to aim me toward what will stir my soul in the most potent way for a year.  I’ve committed a year to crystals, a year to meditation, a year to energy healing, a year to writing a book…each time I set a goal and followed it through. I set the intention that my aim is straight and true, that all will occur in the right timing for the right purposes.  My annual focus project doesn’t feel like an assignment, nor a chore to be crossed off a list. In fact, it resonates so deeply that I can’t help but gravitate toward it with childlike wonder.  I’m in my bliss exploring it.

Last year I learned herbology as I’d decided to learn of the many health and magickal uses of the plant kingdom. I gathered plants in the woods, attended talks & walks with others, read botany books, grew strange and wonderful things in my greenhouse  …all in the spirit of exploration and fun.  I had no idea that in the end I would wind up with a legit apothecary in my home chock full of things for spells, poultices, teas, tinctures and such. Last fall I planted deliberately a witches garden that will come up this year when the snow recedes. Once winter hit I headed to the secondhand store and grabbed up a food dehydrator, knowing full well that this year I’ll reap the bounty of what was sown last year. I know my learning on the topic will never cease, yet the culmination of my efforts have already begun to be apparent to me.

This year is another theme of ‘self care’ for me.  I’ve decided to foster my creative side by learning a new musical instrument (ukulele this time), my analytical side by learning a new language (Latin), and my physical body by learning yoga (getting stiff as I age!).  Chances are good that these combined will be easily more than a one year project, but that doesn’t matter much.  It feels good to grow. Each of these new things I add to my bag of tricks I do for myself with only myself in mind. Yet I am aware that the skill set I adopt will become an inherent part of me, and as such, will undoubtedly benefit others. Someone will need an odd herb and I’ll have it to gift, someone will need healing and I’ll be able to offer it, someone will want to learn to meditate & I will teach, someone will need to laugh and I’ll drag out my uke and sing the Scottish Drinking Song at the top of my lungs.  It’s give and take until all returns to it’s source. And I’m good with that.

My life isn’t my own.  And, I love that it isn’t.  We’re all dynamic and part of a whole. We are all intimately connected. When I heal, I help you have the courage to do the same. When I’m challenged you shelter me in turn. We know full well that the rule of three will keep us rebounding into the future but that isn’t what inherently drives us. We are intrinsically community-based and we seek what betters both ourselves and our brethren.   When I become learned on a topic, my education is an asset to our pagan community. I learn and experience specifically on purpose and my life is better for it. I honor life itself in this way. It makes no sense to not take advantage of all that I have within my reach for the betterment of myself and others. And, You could do the same if you like…

This spring, make a point to be deliberate with your thoughts and your actions. Choose what to prune, take a sip of strong whiskey, then just do it.  It will heal, trust me.  If you need help with it, I’m here (and, I have whiskey too lol ).  Ask aloud to that which you hold sacred “What could I learn or do this year that will cause my spirit to soar?  What is the best way for me to go about expanding my experience intentionally?”  Then listen, and laugh at how easily the answers come tumbling in so clear that you probably should have been able to guess them. Create a target, mark your aim. Now is the time to sew your seeds of growth and change.  Plan to tend your new project for up to a year.  Be overt in your stretching of your own boundaries. I thank you for it. I benefit from it. I truly, sincerely do. We all do. Thanks for your bravery, and thanks for being deliberate.

What stirs your soul and how will you choose to grow??  I’m looking forward to bearing witness to it.

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Peninsula Pagan Community blog can be found on WordPress at  https://penpagan.wordpress.com/

Peninsula Pagan Community

Welcome to the budding blog for Peninsula Pagans. This is intended as a fun and informative way to dispense information to those of the pagan path on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. We can be found on WordPress here, on Twitter at twitter.com/PeninsulaPagan & our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Peninsulapagan/ (a leader site to the unpublic group Peninsula Pagan Community on Facebook), or also at ribbit@yahoo.com.

It is all important that we join together to sculpt and foster our local pagan community, from fostering our fledgling pagans to continuing education and sharing, to giving back to our local community.  Our community is filled with those of all walks and it is time for pagans to step from darkness into the light. I’m interested in facilitating networking and gatherings, hoping to celebrate with kindred souls and share in our sacred experiences.

In respect,

Peninsula Pagan