Sometimes Ice is nice [PBP]

ice in the coast of Baltic seaIn my effort to catch up on my Pagan Blog Project posts, here’s my first “I” post … all about Isa

Isa is a bit of an odd rune to get in a reading, and even more odd to get in a single rune pull. On the surface, Isa is about the harshness and danger of ice.  The cold of ice and the sharp spikes of icicles are dangerous to traverse.

Like most runes, however, there’s more than one aspect to appreciate.  In addition to the cold and harshness of ice, there is the protective nature of ice.  Farmers put on their sprinklers during a frost in Florida to protect their oranges.  The water freezes and prevents the orange fruit being ruined by the freeze (Skipp).

When I pull Isa in my daily practice rune pull, it signifies a need to turn inward.  In winter, when there is (theoretically) ice and snow outside, we stay inside.  It’s a time for introspection, for working internally and for understanding ourselves better.  This rune reminds me to do the internal work that I need to do the external work that i’m embarking upon.

At the midsummer ritual for my ADF group yesterday, we pulled Isa as one of the omens.  The seer defined it as a reminder not to try to move the immovable, but to work with it to melt the ice.  Once enough has melted, then we can move it or move around it.

Image sources:
Rune Card: Power of the Runes Deck
Photograph: ice in the coast of Baltic sea by philat

Works Referenced:
Skipp, Catherine. “Florida Freeze: Citrus Crop at Risk in Cold Weather – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2012. <,8599,1953384,00.html>

Journaling for the non-journaler [PBP]

Creating a Book of ShadowsNo matter what path you follow, you will frequently encounter suggestions that you should journal your experiences.

When I started out, I wasn’t the journaling type.  For years I refused to journal unless it was required for a class that I was doing, and then I would do the minimum required.

A few months before I started doing the ADF Dedicant’s Program, started having some very vivid dreams.  To help me figure out what they all meant, I wrote them down in a journal.  Around the same time, I started doing a daily morning practice, and I would write down what I did in my journal.

Initially, what I wrote in my journal was very basic … what exercises I did, how long I meditated, etc.  Over time, my journaling has evolved and it’s now as much about how I’m feeling or odd things that have happened as it is about the exercises that I’ve done.

Periodically, I go back through my journal and I gain new insight on what was going on in my life and, with the value of the retrospective, I see patterns and learn more about myself.  It’s also useful to try to understand the effects that the spells and rituals that I did have had.  The learnings that I’ve had make me happy that I’ve been journaling.

Even if you’re not a journaling person, I really do recommend that you at least write down the things that you do.  You can use your favorite computer program or a hand written journal, whatever you prefer.  Just remember to include the dates, and times if they matter to you, to what you write.

You might be surprised and how you can work with a journal.

Justice [PBP]

I thought that Justice would be an interesting topic for the Pagan Blog Project this week.

In my wanderings through various pagan publications, online and offline, I come across spells for Justice.

Using magic for justice is a very tricky thing.  You have to be sure that your slate is as clean as it can be.  I don’t mean that you’re perfect, but you have recognized your imperfections and understand your motivations with regard to the situation that you’re seeking justice for.

Justice is objective.  It does not favor the one who seeks it or the one who it was called for.  If your motivations are not pure, if you had a hand in causing the unjust thing that happened, then expected to be brought to task.  The gods will bring justice to all involved, and each will receive punishment or recompense determined by their actions and intentions.

If the situation you are in could benefit from the justice of the Gods then a spell may be appropriate, but be sure to follow up with the appropriate mundane actions least you call justice down on yourself!

What gives you hope? [PBP]

"Happy" by godoflite on Stock ExchangeFor my second H post, I’m going to take a prompt from T. Thorn Coyle … “What gives you hope?“.

In her post, Thorn talks about re-connecting with humanity through random acts of kindness.  In the past I have advocated smiling, and Thorn takes it a step further.

In this age of computers, it’s very easy for us to become disconnected from humanity.  When we interact with our friends through typed words, or brief 140-character exchanges, it’s easy to forget that there is a connection there and we are all on this blue-and-green ball together.

If we reach out to our fellows, through a helping hand, a smile, or sometimes even a not of acknowledgement, we make their day brighter and we re-connect with our own humanity.

There’s not a whole lot more to say .. smile, help, recognize the humanity in each other and we can have hope that the world will become a better place.

Healing Hurts

This week’s Pagan Blog Post is about Hurts.  Not the kind of hurt you get when you fall down, but the kind of hurt that gets into a child’s mind and changes the way they view the world.

You may wonder what this has to do with magic. In order to perform magic fully, you need to understand yourself.  You need to be an integrated whole.  I don’t mean to suggest that you can’t perform magic if you still have scars and hurts from your life, but it works a lot better when you acknowledge these parts of yourself.

The way we interpreted the world when we were younger impacts the way we view the world now. More importantly, it impacts the way we think that the world views us!  If, as a child, you were told that you weren’t worth anything, or no one wanted to talk to you, or you couldn’t do anything right, then you will tend to carry those feelings into your adult life.

Some people have an ability to hide these hurts, but unless we face them and work to heal them, they are still there.  To the world they can can seem to be an all-together, charismatic leader, but if theydon’t really believe it, then it’s much easier to push them off balance than if they had addressed that hurt.

Healing these hurts is not easy.

I have a few hurts myself from when I was younger and some of the less-than-ideal choices I made have reinforced them.  I want them gone.  I need to work through my resistance to putting myself out there, to committing, and love myself and accept the situations that hurt me in the past.  I did some work on that this weekend, and I can say that it wasn’t fun at all.  I ended up in soul wrenching tears for a while, but it was good.  The tears were healing and progress was made.  It’s not something that is going to be done with in one session … there’s a lot more work for me to do, but a start was made.

If you have some resistance to something, write a letter to yourself asking why, and what is the resistance … then, a few days later, allow resistance to write back (and have a box of tissues nearby).

It’s not easy, but to truly integrate our selves and to be fully present in our lives, we need to heal our hurts.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to plug a new book that came out.  I have had the pleasure of working with T. Thorn Coyle in the past, both in one-on-one sessions and in group classes.  Her teachings have helped me to heal a few of my hurts.

Thorn stresses the importance of daily practice to her students and, having given it a try myself, I have to say that it’s been very useful in helping me to find and maintain my balance and to be more present.  If you want a refresher for your daily practice, or if you are interested in starting one, please check out her new book.

Crafting A Daily Practice by T. Thorn Coyle

(In full disclosure, I am an Amazon Associate so will get a small payment if you purchase from the link on this page, but I have not been solicited by Thorn.)

Grounding [PBP]

Over my years of studying, and not studying, witchcraft, I keep coming back to the idea of grounding.  It’s a very basic thing, but is so incredibly useful!  One might even say, essential.

My fellow Pagan Blog Project blogger, Sharmonia talks about Grounding this week as well and I have to agree with her.

Being grounded brings life in to matter, and it helps to bring healing abilities into the physical. It will increase our balance and stability for both the physical and emotional state and brings acceptance that we are fulfilling a purpose. We gain strength and create a bridge between the spirit and matter and gives us an outlet to release the energy.

Being grounded is about being connected to Earth, to the present, to life.  By being connected to life, we can recognize it’s influence on us and our influence on it and thus, “bring life in to matter”.  We connect with the life force in all things, both physical and spiritual, and thus connect with our true selves.  With this connection, we can remain strong through a lot of different physical, emotional and spiritual states.

One of the main tasks of grounding is “setting your feet”. Think of yourself like a table (I know you’re not, but just go with me here) … if you have only one leg to stand on, you’re not very stable and the littlest thing can push you off balance.  If you’re firmly grounded with all four “feet” on the ground, it’s MUCH harder to push you off balance.

As you are connected to the Earth, you can normalize the flow of energy in yourself … pull up energy when you need it, and let the earth absorb any excess energy that you don’t need.   It’s great for when someone is frustrating you needlessly (just send that frustration down to Mother Earth, the great Recycler!) or when you’re in a tight situation, tired, and need to focus and think (pull up that focusing energy from Earth and zoom in on the solution!).

There are a lot of different ways that you can ground!

One of my favorite ways is to plant my feet firmly on the floor, or sit on the ground, and open my root chakra.  I see my chakra at the point of connection between my body and the ground (usually my feet) and picture a red lotus flower blooming under my feet.  This chakra connects us to earth and allows the energy to flow freely.

Many groups, including ADF, use a tree metaphor for grounding.  During the meditation you connect to the earth by sending roots out from your feet into the ground. These are flexible roots, so you’re not stuck, and they allow energy to flow in both directions so you can connect.  You can find the text and audio files of the ADF Two Powers ritual on their site.

If you have experience grounding, how do you do it?  If you don’t, try out the meditation above and see how it works!

Doing things out of Good Will [PSP]

This week for the first ‘G’ week on the Pagan Blog Project, I’d like to write about Good Will.

Many people expect pagan elders to provide training or services for free, out of good will.  While I agree that we should do what we can to better the experience and life of our fellow man, we should not be doing so to the detriment of our own lives and the experience of our own families.

Often, pagans who offer services do so as a primary or supplemental income … with the expectation of some kind of return for their services.  In addition, always giving to the group, without getting anything back is draining on the practitioner.  It can lead to a very unbalanced relationship between the community and the individual, and this is likely to have a negative effect on the practitioner’s ability to perform the services for the group. If we ask a practitioner to give us their time and energy for training or services, we need to give something back in return.

The most common trade is money.  We use our time and energy to earn money, and in exchange, we ask someone else to provide their time and energy to earn money.  There can be cases where the exchange of something other than money is great, but that should be negotiated between the practitioner and the person requesting the services.

Unfortunately, this world does depend upon money and, as such, people need money to function in society today.  There are individuals who life “off the grid” and can live on a very small amount of money, but it’s not a lifestyle that most of us would choose.  If we want to have practitioners to do the training and provide the services, we, as a community, need to ensure that the individuals who have the skill and the willingness to share their knowledge have the resources to maintain themselves as they need.

Barter does not pay the mortgage (or rent), or the gas, or the utilities, but once those basics have been covered, barter can be acceptable to share.  So if you can’t provide money in exchange, talk to the practitioner and see what you can provide … but don’t expect them to provide their time and energy for free.