We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Worrying


Ever since I was a small child, I remember always being a big worrier. I worried about this, I worried about that. Now that I am an adult, I just worry about more serious issues. What if I lose my job in this terrible economy? What if we lose the house? What if we can’t afford to pay our ever-increasing (and in my humble opinion disgusting) school taxes? What if the cats get sick while we are on vacation with my in-laws?What if I make the wrong life decisions? The list goes on and on.

“What if’s” can effectively drive you crazy! Yet, my mind refuses to stop thinking about such things ~ both day and night. In my defense; however, a majority of my concerns are, in fact, legitimate. After all, I am the only one in our household currently working a full-time job as my husband is only working part-time and, because of the nature of his job, only some of that time. It is very scary and stressful to say the least when so much of the responsibility is almost solely placed on one person ~ you!
 
Still, I know that worrying about these things does not change them in the least. I know that sometimes we have to believe that things happen for a reason and have faith that they will work out in the end. Sometimes we must put our trust in others to help us through the bad times. Sometimes faith and trust are all we have to give us the strength we need.


Though, in spite of all life’s little problems or perhaps even because of them, I thank the Lord and Lady almost every single day for the love and support of my family and friends without whom I dare say I do not think I would be able to keep my sanity most days!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On a Midsummer Day


2011 Midsummer ritual pics ...

Today, our solitary group celebrated our Midsummer ritual and celebration. It was a beautiful day for ritual, food and fun!


Draco lighting The Triple God candles
Lady Caer Morganna lighting The Triple Goddess candles
Aurora Skye & Rhiannon giving back to the Earth

   Our Video Cameraman & fellow group member, Rich

"The Gang"



We also celebrated my sister Robin and her husband's Wedding Anniversary weekend with a card and a gift!

Gifts for Midsummer raffle ~ 3 books, framed "Happiness" hanging pic, tall Midsummer candle, Yankee candle "Midnight Oasis" and 4 handmade votive candles by Willow Chestnut of Mystic Grove Candles & Gifts





We had such an awesome time and that is a huge part of what makes celebrating the sabbats together so much more special!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Listen


The human heart is the cradle that holds our

dreams, a nurturing place for the spirit. It is the

silver cup from which we taste sweet memories, the

golden bowl that hides our secret loves. It hears the

bell that does not ring, sees the star that never

shines, and knows the words that are left unspoken.
~ Flavia ("Listen")

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessed Litha! (and a little Pagan Humor)



I love the movie comedy parody, "This is Spinal Tap" (with Michael McKean and Christopher Guest) and so I just couldn't resist sharing this little clip about their song, "Stonehenge."

And on that note, I would like to wish a very joyous and blessed Litha ~ Summer Solstice to all!!! Blessed Be!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Review: "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures"


I have just finished reading the book, "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures" written by John  & Caitlin Matthews. The authors' of this book are well-respected experts in the area of mythology and folklore. They have also written the books, "The Encyclopedia of Wisdom," "Walkers Between the Worlds" and "The Winter Solstice."

In the Introduction, there is an interesting little traditional Irish reckoning of lifetimes which reads:

'Three fields to a tree
 Three trees to a hound
 Three hounds to a horse
 Three  horses to a human-being
 Three human-beings to a deer
 Three deer to an eagle
 Three eagles to a salmon
 Three salmon to a yew
 Three yew to an age of the world'

What I liked about this book is that not only is it an encyclopedia listing all creatures from A-Z, but it also gives us their history and envolution. For example, the Gargoyle was originally known as a "gargouille" in French folklore and, although they are now recognized as "protectors," they were regarded as something much different in the 7th Century.

This book covers all of my favorite creatures such as mermaids, Cheiron (Centaurs), Mermen, The Green Man, cats, dogs, dolphins, dragons, The Morrigan and much, much more!

I also loved the beautiful poetry which elegantly complimented the history and descriptions of these magical creatures. Among the ones I enjoyed the most was this one about The Morrigan whose name means "Great Queen"~

"Peace up to heaven,
 Heaven over Earth,
 Earth under heaven,
 Peace in everyone."

But I think the thing I liked the most about this book; however, was how it explored the connection bewteen us and them. It shows us how the animals and their stories have a certain kinship in relation to us as human-beings.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some New Reading Material

Yesterday, Robin and I took a little trip to Barnes & Noble Bookstore for one of our occasional book and magazine sprees. Like many of the other places we shop at, Barnes & Noble is quite convenient since it is only a "hop, skip and a jump" from where we work and we so enjoy going shopping on our hour lunch.

Among my finds, were a couple of bargain books and  some interesting magazines.  I really love mythology and reading about magickal creatures, so I bought this book titled, "The Element Encyclopedia of  Magical Creatures" written by John & Caitlin Matthews ...


and, of course, yet another book to add to my already huge collection about the history of witchcraft called, "Witches of the World" written by Diane Canwell and Jonathan Sutherland.


I found a new magazine called, "Reiki News Magazine"  and is great reading material for Reiki Practitioners or anyone interested in learning all about  the importance of reiki and how it is actually used in modern medicine.


 I also picked up the newest edition of "Circle" magazine which is of course The Circle Sanctuary's quarterly magazine about spirituality and Wicca and Paganism. The Sanctuary is run by Selena Fox. I truly love their articles on all of the various Pagan traditions, beautiful poetry, and reading all about Circle Sanctuary's latest events.


Looks like this will be a great weekend for relaxing in the Altar Room and doing some long-awaited reading! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Wonder" ~by Natalie Merchant




Doctors have come from distant cities
Just to see me
Stand over my bed
Disbelieving what they're seeing

They say I must be one of the wonders
Of god's own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

Newspapers ask intimate questions
Want confessions
They reach into my head
To steal the glory of my story

They say I must be one of the wonders
Of god's own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled at destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She'll make her way

People see me
I'm a challenge to your balance
I'm over your heads
How I confound you and astound you
To know I must be one of the wonders
Of god's own creation
And as far as you can see you can offer me
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled at destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She'll make her way

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sister!

Today was my sister Robin's (aka Aurora Skye) birthday. Okay, so it was actually on Sunday, but we chose to celebrate it at work today on our lunch hour instead.


Hmm let's see now, what more can I say about my sister that I haven't already mentioned in previous posts, except that she is one of the most giving human-beings that I have ever known. Last year, she donated one of her kidney's to her mother in order to save her life. She worked very hard to make sure that she was physically fit as to be able to accomplish this. I know of no act more selfless than giving someone else the gift of life. I am very proud of her.


Of course I gave her my usual "sentimental-type" card along with a Celestial Moon sun-catcher and a standing wall plaque suited especially for "sisters." (By the way, just in case anyone was wondering exactly "how" she and I are related, allow me to try and explain).

I first met Robin many years ago through my husband (then only boyfriend) because she was married to his brother at the time. Several years later, when my husband and I had also gotten married, she and I were officially sisters-in-law. Then, after my brother-in-law had passed away a few years later, she evenually re-married. However, we found that we had only grown closer through the years and we shall always remain family to one another. And so to her I say, "Happy Birthday, my dear sister and I hope that you had a wonderful day!"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yet Another Trip to Yankee

Yup, I took yet another seasonal trip back to the local Yankee Candle Store. This time to stock up on some more holiday votive candles and to purchase a couple of items which I could use as Midsummer/Litha decorations as well.

I decided to shop on a day when they were having some really great sales! I found a really cute large candle holder decorated with butterflies and a new scent by Yankee called, "Moonlit Sands" which is actually a combination of the scents "Beachwalk" and "Midnight Oasis." It really smells great!


And a pretty Midsummer candle jar lid to go with it .


Then, on the way home I stopped off at the Pier 1 Imports store where I found yet another sale item ~ a beautiful hexagon-shaped candle and holder with lovely decorations of flowers and birds.


Okay, I think that will do me for a while now ~  LOL!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Serene Saturday ~ "Cool Change" by The Little River Band


I just couldn’t resist posting this beautiful song and video of The Little River Band’s, “Cool Change.” I have always loved this song and my mother always says that it reminds her of me because I am a Pisces and I have always been drawn to the water ever since I was a small child. I hope you enjoy!
http://youtu.be/xslO6Qi_kGQ

“Cool Change” lyrics

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
There's lots of those friendly people
They're showing me ways to go
But I never want to lose their inspiration

Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
And I now that my life is so pre-arranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

Well I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best
The albatros and the whales they are my brothers
And it's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon like a lover

I've never been romantic
And sometimes I don't care
I know it may sound selfish
But let me breathe the air

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon like a lover



 
(Photos taken by my husband of the Atlantic Ocean and me on our Bermuda trip)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Special Olympics, Extraordinary People

I remember a few years ago, my friends and I used to hang out at this local pub called "Alley-Oops." There was a young man named Chad who used to come around, with his family, to sing karaoke. He happened to be the son of Stock Car Driver and former NASCAR racer Kenny Brightbill. He was always very bright and full of good spirit. He also had Down Syndrome.


It always amazed me how, every Friday night, he would get so excited to have the chance to get up in front of everyone and sing his favorite Hootie and the Blowfish tunes as we all cheered him on! I remembered thinking about how genuinely happy and full of life this young teenager was. While my friends and I spent our time complaining about "how hard our work week was" over a couple of drinks, Chad was perfectly happy with the simplest of things in his life.

Chad having some fun with the crowd!

This reminds me of how I had always wanted to work with children who were "handicapable" and those with mental and physical disabilites. But, for some reason, I never pursued that goal. Perhaps it was because of my lack of confidence in myself as I was never exactly a "book-smart" student in school by any definition of the word.

Even though I am not actually qualified enough to be able to work with such inspiring individuals, I can still help them in my own special little way. Therefore, I have chosen to support our local Special Olympics located in Norristown, PA. As I read through their website, I realized just how important this organization really is. Special Olympics is a life-changing opportunity for those who have not had the same advantages in life as some of us. They provide year-round sports training for both children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Not only do they provide continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, but they help to give these very extraordinary individuals the chance to built and demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing gifts, skills, and friendship with their families and fellow athletes, and the community. But most importantly, it allows them to develop confidence in themselves. And let's face it, that is something we can all use a little of!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Midsummer/Litha ~ Summer Solstice


Every year around June 20-21, we celebrate Litha/The Summer Solstice. Our small solitary Wiccan group prefers to call it Midsummer, as it is also called, because of its' heavy association with "The Fae."

The word Litha is Anglo-Saxon and is derived from "aerra litha" which means "before summer." It is the sabbat which celebrates the warmth and light of the summer Sun for this is the time of the year when the God rides at His peak in the sky. It is also the longest day of the year. It is the time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year (represented by "The Oak King" aspect of the God) and the beginning of the waning year (represented by His "Holly King" aspect).  We, as Wiccans, honor the Goddess in Her Mother aspect as She is heavy with pregnancy from Her mating with the God at Beltane. Faeries are especially aboundant at this time and it is customary to leave offerings to them.


Going back to the New Stone Age (about 8,000 years ago), stone circles such as Stonehenge were used to mark the position of the rising sun at the Midsummer Solstice. The sun would rise over a heel stone and cast a long, phallic shadow into the heart of the circle, symbolically consummating the marriage of Heaven (the sky)and Earth. Other circles mark the equinoxes and cross-quarter festivals we know as Imbolg, Lughnasadh, Beltane and Samhain.

In keeping with the ancient folklore calender, Litha actually began on Beltane (May 1st) and ended on Lughnasadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer.

Litha customs usually included such communal activities as dancing, singing, storystelling, feasting, village bonfires and torch-lit precessions after dark. It was believed that Litha fires possessed great power and that by simply jumping over a Litha bonfire, you could be blessed with prosperity and protection. It was also a common tradition that betrothed couples joined in hands jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage.


This year, I will be celebrating Midsummer/Litha with my very dear group of solitary friends at the Old Path Enlighteners' Circle. We will gather for our yearly ritual ceremony and, afterwards, we will eat, drink and be merry!

(Photo credits)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Renewing our Vows


My husband and I have decided to renew our Handfasting vows either this year or next on Mabon as we did when we first got married. The reason we are having our vows renewed on our 10-year instead of waiting for a 20 or 25-year is very simple.

You see, we both got married later in life. I was 37 years old and he was 34. Just like us, our parents are not getting any younger and it is so very important to us to have them there with us as they were before. Both our fathers are now in their early 80's and have rather serious health issues. I know that they would want to be there to celebrate right along with us for this special occasion.

I have put together a Handfasting Renewal of Vows ritual. We have once again asked Lady Sabrina Rhiannon/Rev. Frances Moise to officiate and, to our delight, she has again happily agreed saying, "I can't believe it has been 10 years already!"

The ceremony will be considerably smaller and much more intimate as we will only have our immediate family members and very close friends attending. The only participtants other than my husband, Lady Sabrina Rhiannon (High Priestess) and myself will be my best friend, Judy, who was also a Bridesmaiden in our first wedding. She will be the High Priestess' Attendant.

The ceremony itself will be a reflection of how we have grown as a couple over the past ten years and our vows and pledge will be slightly different from the ones we took in our first Handfasting. The following is the Handfasting Renewal ritual we have chosen to use.

HANDFASTING ~ RENEWAL OF VOWS
Special items needed:
One tall Blue candle (peace & tranquility)
One tall Pink candle (love & friendship)
One Tall Silver Goddess candle
One tall Gold God candle
Your wedding bands/rings
Blessing bowl (for HPS to bless rings)
Unity Candle
Loaf of Bread
Chalice of wine

Gathering the circle: HPS takes besom and sweeps ritual area as music plays. She sets the besom to one side of the altar and then lights the Pink and Blue Bride and Groom candles on either side of the unity candle. She rings the bell three times. A she casts the circle and calls the corners, Her Attendant (Rhiannon) lights the candles behind her.

HPS:  “Hail and Blessed be!”

The Groom lights the God candle with his blue candle.

HPS:  “We welcome the presence of the Lord to give us His blessings.”

The Bride then lights the Goddess candle with her pink candle.

HPS:  “We welcome the presence of the Lady to give us Her blessings.”

HPS:  “I welcome you, friends and family of Brett and Kim to their handfasting. Today they renew the vows of marriage already made and pledge themselves once more to each other. We share in this sacred moment with them as they stand before this Company in the presence of the Devine and make their promises, one to the other.”

HPS turns to the Groom and says:

“Do you, Brett, come here today of your own free will and seek this handfasting with Kim as a sign of your love for her?”

Groom: “Yes, I do.”

HPS signs the pentacle upon him, sealing him within his promise. She then turns to the Bride and says:

HPS: “Do you, Kim, come here today of your own free will and seek this handfasting with Brett as a sign of your love for her him?”

Bride: “Yes, I do.”

HPS then sign the pentacle upon her, sealing her with her promise. She then faces both and asks them to repeat after her the following ~ one at a time.

(To Groom First then Bride):

“I give to you/ that which is mine to give./My continuing love,/friendship,/honor and respect./I shall be there for you always/and I shall ever strive for your well-being./I pledge to you/ that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night/and eyes into which/I smile in the morning./I shall honor you/above all others./This is my vow to you./This is a marriage of equals.”

HPS (to Bride and Groom):

“These promises you make by the Sun and Moon, by Fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea. With these vows you swear by the Lord and Lady to be full partners, each to the other. Should one falter, the other shall pick them up again. Should one despair, the other shall comfort them. Should one lose their way, the other shall see them home again.”

HPS:  “By the bringing and sharing of the light, display your intent. Let the two fires of our spirits and love for one another merge as one.”

The couple now lights the Unity candle with the God and Goddess candles.

HPS (to Bride): “Take the hand of your love in yours and repeat after me.

My love,/now do I make my promises to you. /I promise to share laughter in times of joy/to share tears when sorrow touches our lives/to share my dreams and hopes/that our love and minds may continue to grow/to share compassion and understanding/in times of frustration and anger/to share all that I have and all that I am/as always I have.”

HPS” (to Bride) “Take the hand of your love in yours”

(Bride then repeats the same words recited by the HPS)

HPS binds the couple’s wrist together to be handfast and says:

“As your hands are bound by this cord which also represents infinity, so is your partnership held by the symbol of this knot. May it be granted that what is done before the Devine not be undone by any man or woman. Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation. All of which brings strength to this union. Together you are stronger than either of you apart. May you always find the balance within your union, holding tight to one another through both good times and bad, watching as your love grows.”

HPS then blesses the wedding bands/rings by placing them in the Blessing bowl and says:

“In this journey between journeys, in this world between worlds, you have pledged your love and made your vows. Now, give to each other the rings that seal that pledge. I ask the Goddess to bless these symbols of your love anew that they may strengthen in their meaning as each day passes. I ask the God to bless these rings that their shine may remind you of the eternal newness of your lives together with each day a new beginning together. By the blessing of these tokens of your love for one another, so are your lives interlaced. What one experiences, so shall the other. AS honesty and love build, so shall your bond strengthen and grow. These shall serve as eternal reminders of your vow. May the God and Goddess bless you as you reaffirm your love and vows to each other.”

HPS tells the Groom to place the ring on Brides finger. He repeats after her the following:

“I give you this ring as a token of my enduring love for you. May you wear it always as a symbol of the pledges we have made today.”

HPS tells Bride to place the ring on Grooms finger. She repeats after her the following:

“I give you this ring as a token of my enduring love for you. May you wear it always as a symbol of the pledges we have made today.”

HPS performs The Symbolic Great Rite and asks the couple to drink from the chalice of wine in a toast to one another. She then reiki’s the bread and asks the couple to break a piece off and feed it to one other.

HPS makes a Blessing to the couple:

“As the sea is eternal, so is your love; as the wind is all-encompassing, so is your love; as the Earth is solid beneath your feet, so is your love. It is appropriate that you stand beside each other here among these elements which reflect the love you have for one other as you commit yourselves once more to each other today.

You may seal your union with a kiss.”

This concludes the ceremony itself. HPS then thanks the deities and opens the circle in her usual manner.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Handfasting Ten-Year


This year marks the 10th Anniversary of our wedding ceremony. I met my husband back in the summer of 1994. Although we lived together for 7 years before, we didn't actually "tie the knot" until September of 2001 in a legal Handfasting ceremony with a Renaissance theme which also happened to fall on Mabon/The Autumn Equinox.

We had a beautiful ritual and reception set in the back yard of our home complete with homemade decorations, three bridesmaidens, three groomsmen, ritual programs, U.L.C. Minister, friends, family, and one gorgeous Saturday!

Our Officiant was my very dear friend and fellow U.L.C. Minister Rev. Frances Moise/H.P.S. Lady Sabrina Rhiannon. Our ceremony had all of the usual elements of a Pagan Handfasting - first drink as husband and wife, first food (my mother-in-law baked the loaf of bread which we used),  symbolicThe Great Rite (ritual charging of the ceremonial wine), the pledge - along with the traditional parts such as our own vows, the exchange of rings and lighting of the Unity candle. My husband made lovely Handfasting programs as all of our family members were Christian (many of whom did not understand exactly what they were witnessing). Not only that, he also handmade our wedding arch which he decorated himself. We wanted everything to have our own personal touch.

Then ...







and now ...
Since we are planning a trip to Ontario, Canada with my in-laws in July, we are thinking about having an early celebration at that time. Last year was my mother and father-in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary and we celebrated with them four months earlier in Hamilton, Bermuda.

I can't believe that it has been 10 years already. Wow! Time sure does fly!

 

Our basket of scrolls with a Handfasting Blessing and our program