Spirit: Full Moon Ritual for Black Lives Matter

full moon ritual

Tonight, there is a full moon. This is the last full moon before the Summer Solstice and you may have heard it called the Mead or Honey Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Rose Moon, etc etc etc. The names comes from different cultures, symbolizing different harvest seasons or holidays. If you’d like to know a little more, click this link. The important thing here I think is that it’s the last full moon of Spring.

Spring is the main season for growth. It’s when most of our seeds are planted, when the earth begins to wake up, flower, and turn green; when the rain fuels roots and sprouts and lays the groundwork for summer. While some things can be harvested in the Spring, Summer is surely the main time of harvest and harvest is where hard work has paid off and we can enjoy the fruits of labor. So many people have been putting in hard work for many years with little to no harvest for their labor. This work I’m talking about it that for racial justice.

I saw on my instagram this morning that tonight many magic and spiritual workers around the world will be doing ritual and prayer for the protests and movements to end the injustice that Black communities continually face. The protests recently have of course been sparked by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department, but he is certainly not the only victim and racial injustice against Black people exists throughout Europe and their current and previous colonies. Anti-blackness has spread even farther, wherever US and European media has touched. Most recently we’ve seen the vileness of Anti-blackness in China once US news reported how Covid-19 was disproportionately affecting Black people. There were cases where Black people were barred from entering public spaces, including hospitals, and evicted from their apartments. So, I wanted to create a ritual with the globalization of the issue itself as well as the globalization of support against racism in mind.

RITUAL MATERIALS:

 

full moon ritual materials 2
examples of symbol for global good (tweet from k-pop group BTS) and symbol of global evil (a red carton of french fries)

Symbol of Global Good: This can be whatever you want it to be really. If you’re American, it can be something that represents your ancestry before your family immigrated to America. Whether you’re American or not the symbol could also be a picture of a protest or candlelight vigil that happened in another country. It can even be a show of Black Lives Matter support from a friend or celebrity overseas that you care about. If you are not American, you can use a picture from a protest or vigil that took place in your own country. Please make sure that this symbol is something that you can keep with you in the future. I suggest that if you are using an image to print it out or you can keep the picture somewhere secure in your phone (even put it as a screensaver or lockscreen image).

Symbol of Global Evil – Fast Food: You can choose fast food from any place you want, but I chose it to be fast food for three important reasons. The first reason is that fast food chains have spread far and wide around the world as part of the wicked and hard to resist colonizing force of capitalism. This symbolized globalized evil but also means it’s a ritual material accessible in many countries. Second, fast food is something that I think is very well representative of many issues around racism. Most of us know that fast food is bad for us and attached to major health issues that kill people. But, most of us still eat fast food anyways. The very same things can be said of racism. Of course also, many fast food chains are billion dollar industries that pay money to politicians like Trump as well. So, if you want to join in my post ritual plans, think of this fast food meal as your last one. The third reason I chose fast food though is because it’s food. Our bodies are able to break it down, take whatever nutrients it can from it, and then get rid of it. We are using our bodies in many ways right now to take on racism, using those acts themselves to do good things like learning and creating community, and in the end, hopefully we will be getting rid of the racism.

Extras: You may use candles, an altar, have more symbols of global good, and introduce or use any other symbols for strength or community that you wish. I will say that I suggest adding as little as possible so that your focus remains on the two symbols. The more your intention and focus is diverted, the weaker the magic will be.

Location: The best place to do this is outside under the moon itself. If you go outside, please take precautions and be safe if the corona virus is still a threat in your area. Regardless, please also just be careful in general because it’s night time. If you choose not to or cannot go outside for any reason, the second best place is by a window. Ideally, the window will show the moon or at least the sky. If possible, try to have the window open or the curtains open. However, none of it is absolutely necessary. Your intention is the most important part and that can be heard regardless of where you are.

RITUAL

To Begin: You want to set aside as many distractions as possible and set your symbols of global good and evil in front of you. This is when you can perform however you normally start a ritual (drawing a circle, inviting any deities or spirits, calling quarters, lighting candles, etc). You may also just take a moment to clear your mind, calm and center yourself in any way you’ve found useful before.

Visualizing Change: Hopefully your fast food is still warm (if it’s meant to be warm). It doesn’t matter how much you have or not, but I want you to begin eating it SLOWLY. As you begin to eat it, I want you to start thinking about the different things you’ve learned as you’ve been engaged in everything going on. It could be big things or little things. As you chew and taste the food in your mouth, keep thinking about those things, slowly, focusing on one thing at a time. If it helps, you can write or type them out while you chew. Speak it at your own risk (choking hazard). As you consider the things you’ve learned, try to come up with good and bad things. Maybe you’ve learned more about racism, but you’ve also learned how to talk about it and how to change things. Maybe you’ve learned about how many people around the world are supporting the cause, but you’ve also learned about injustices in other countries too. As you reach the half way point, try to think more and more about those things that you’ve learned that can be used for change and any, even tiny, changes you’ve seen already. When you’ve finished eating, close your eyes and sit for awhile. Feel the food in your stomach. Think about the positive changes you’d like to see. Try to picture them in as much detail as you can. Try to feel it too. Let the picture be so real that you can feel the emotion of seeing the change happen, the results of change. Feel the food in your stomach again and remember that, just like the food in your stomach, the change will take time, but it will happen none the less. Just as this food might make you farty or give you some cramps or even headaches, the change will be hard, uncomfortable, and even painful, but it will pass. Just as surely as you will only poop and flush out what you eat, you will only effect change as long as you work for it. Don’t give up.

Transition: When you’re ready, clear away any trash from the food you’ve eaten and ready your symbol of global good. If it’s on your phone and you haven’t done so already, and are able to, put your phone on airplane mode to reduce distractions.

Charging Your Symbol of Good: Look at your symbol of good and hold it somehow (on your lap, in your hands, etc). Think about why you chose this symbol. How does it make you feel? What strength, motivation, and/or comfort does it give you? Close your eyes and, if you can, bring the symbol as close to you as possible (like holding it to your chest maybe). Close your eyes and embrace the feelings it conjures in you. Think about the people behind that symbol. Think about your connection to them. Try to feel the connection and let your feelings flow along that connection. Linger in these feelings and that connection for awhile. When you wish, think about the people outside of that symbol. Think about everyone protesting and supporting the cause. Besides protesters there are also lawyers, nurses and doctors, community organizers, religious and spiritual leaders, and those supporting from home. Think about and picture anyone you know doing any of this work. Think about and picture those you’ve seen in photos and videos online from the protests. Accept whatever emotions come up. Cry if you need to. Try to keep in mind how many people this covers though; how many people are out there protesting, spreading information, working behind the scenes. There are so many. SO MANY. Think about how many people are out there and try to feel it. Let whatever emotions come to the surface. It may feel overwhelming, but let the emotions come, but don’t dwell on them. Let them flow out of you and into your symbol. Feel your symbol against your body and think back again to why you chose it, the feelings it has inspired. Let them mingle and mix with your other feelings and pour them into the symbol. “Sit” in these feelings and thoughts for awhile until the physicality of the object begins to overtake your other feelings. Once you can feel the weight, texture, shape of the object more than your feelings, emotions, and thoughts on the subject, you can feel assured that you have drained them from yourself and poured them into the symbol. The object may feel heavier than before and you may feel much more tired. If you don’t feel drained but perhaps more motivated or energized, but the object still feels a little heavier than before, perhaps the object has accepted as much as it can and you have what is left over.

Transition: When you wish, focus back and take in those physical features of it like it’s shape, color, weight, texture, etc. Use this to center back your thoughts and clear your mind.

To End: Look at your Symbol of Global Good and bring your mind back to the feeling in your stomach of that fast food. Consider how you are not alone and that this work and all the things that come with it is being felt by everyone else supporting the cause. The effects on people will differ because racism effects people differently. Just like allergies differently effect how any food is digested in a persons body, the fight for justice and dismantling racism is much more dangerous for the Black community than other communities. We all have a stake in this fight, all are being effected, but don’t forget that the risk is unavoidable and the results mean everything for the Black community. Feel that weight in your stomach and look at your symbol. That symbol is now yours as a reminder that you are not alone and is charged with the emotions that come with it. Use it a source of strength and motivation when the work feels extra hard and uncomfortable. Use it as a focus to send out that strength and motivation to any and all those that need it too. With that in mind, take this time to end the ritual as you normally would. Otherwise, embrace the symbol again resolved to see the end of racism, to that weight in your stomach, and in the knowledge and belief that as the process continues, you and others will continue to gain more knowledge, more skills, and grow closer as a community. Let their be hope, let there be an end, blessed be.

POST RITUAL

post full moon ritual

Your Symbol: Try to keep your symbol near you as often as you can because there are many aspects about the work to dismantle and end racism that take place in our daily lives. Keeping it close as often as possible means you can have that support and focus whenever you need it.

Fast Food: Most of the fast food companies out there have owners, board members, etc that give their money to politicians like Trump and/or are funding and supporting organizations such as police departments or groups that continue to do work in opposition with racial justice. We do not all have the privilege to give up fast food, the source of what may require us to consume it varies. One such reason may be that you work there and they give you food for lunch and maybe, considering your wage, discount, and hours, it may be what you can afford or not afford to give up as not just your lunch food but any time of day food. Let’s not judge anyone’s reasons, but think about the extent of what you, yourself, can do to reduce the money you give fast food companies. Any dollar you refuse to give them is a dollar that doesn’t go to a violent system against the Black community and many other communities as well.

In closing out this post, I want to say that the future of this blog is surely going to have a firm foundation in activism. There are any number of topics and practices in pagan and spiritual communities that need serious decolonization work. Often I will try to present my work in a way that shows my intention rather than just calling out issues, but there is always a place for that too. This ritual is an example of the former. I’ve created it in hopes that people from many spiritual and traditional backgrounds maybe be able to use it while eliminating any necessary use for stones, herbs, etc that come (or whose meaning comes) from a particular culture (especially one I don’t identify with). When you begin and end this ritual, I do highly advise you to think about what you do and why you do it. What significance do these materials, deities, practices have to you? How did you come to know of them? Is this a tradition that is being handed down to you or is much of your learning coming from neo-pagan books and websites? If you use books, where do they find their knowledge? Think on it for now, but there may be no time to change anything before this ritual. I will be making more posts on these subjects in the future, so if you’re interested stay tuned.

Until next time, have a blessed full moon and don’t forget to take care of yourself. ❤

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P.S. This type of ritual, while certainly great for this particular full moon, can also be used on other occasions. Think about the timing and how it may or may not work in your favor though! Continue to charge your Symbol in a similar manner every so often to increase or maintain it’s power. You can even change your symbol later if you wish.

Spirit: A Donegal Fairy

I’ve just started reading William Butler Yeat’s Irish Fairy and Folk Tales this morning. After an attempt at the introduction (no offense to Allison Carroll who wrote it) I moved my restless self to searching through the stories and poems. The first one that caught my attention was “A Donegal Fairy” from Letitia Maclintock (page 47). It’s a short tale of a faerie that’s fallen down the chimney into boiling water. He screams and a bunch of faeries come to his aide and as him in the human lady alone in the house scalded him with the boiling water. The faerie says no, admitting it was his own fault, just an accident. The others hear him and say that if it had been the lady, they’d have made her pay.

There’s a lot about that story that jumps out at me right away.

First, the faerie showed a value in honesty. Falling and burning his leg like that, having to be rescued by a bunch of others, well I can imagine that would be a bit embarrassing. It would have been easy in the moment to blame someone else. It reminds me that one should not be afraid to look weak in the eyes of others. It’s okay to feel a bit embarrassed, to fail and fall and even get injured in the process. It’s a part of life and if we’re lucky, there will be a load of others ready to rescue us.

That’s the second thing I noticed. Once the faerie cried out from landing in the boiling water, a bunch of other faeries came running to help. There’s really a lot to this piece to unpack. If taken as a metaphor, I can see this part of the story as a message to call out when you’re in need of help and others will come, maybe even a surprising amount of people. Another part of this is that having community really is important as well as being a part of one. It’s important to have people around that will come to your aid when you need the help, but it’s equally important to be a community member that comes to the aid of others too.

I personally believe there are very few coincidences in this world and here I find some connections to my life that I can’t really ignore. The title refers to Donegal County and/or Donegal Town in Ireland. I’ve actually visited Donegal Town before in my trip to Ireland in 2014. I went there because in Donegal Town is a castle that for most of it’s time was run by an O’Donnell family. My mother’s maiden name is O’Donnell. Whether my mother’s ancestors had any connection to them, I have no idea, but I still thought it would be a fun visit. I can’t help connect that reference of Donegal in the title now to my mom.

I moved across the country and back in with my mom in December of 2019. I’m a recent college grad with a bit of student debt on my plate. My mom has chronic illnesses. Both of us, well, have some other issues of our own and together as well. Our relationship isn’t the best, for sure. With quarantine going on, we are stuck together much more often than we have been in a very long time, possibly ever. Its been a strange time where sometimes I think we’re growing closer together, but plenty of times all the same old, bad stuff seems to resurface.

Honesty can be tough sometimes. I really value it, but, sometimes we’re being dishonest without realizing right? Especially if we’ve been lying to ourselves. Why do I get mad about some of things I get mad about? Am I being honest to myself about how I express my anger? Am I shifting blame, taking it out on her, and is it even about that thing or have I been bottling it up and now just letting it explode everywhere? Am I the faerie that’s fallen into the boiling pot blaming the lady in the house or blaming myself when really there may be no cause for blame at all?

Community is something that I and my mom have struggled with for a long time. We’ve both been blessed with the ability to easily chit chat with people, but neither of us have been good at upholding relationships, and close ones at that, for longer periods of time. That’s including relationships with family members. In the last some years we have both gotten a lot better about it, though still in need of learning a lot. Distance (on my part) and quarantine make keeping connected with community really hard though. It’s often easy to feel like we’re each others only community and even then, not reach out or give back to each other when needed. It’s easy to, metaphorically, fall in a pot of boiling water and bite your tongue or push away the help that comes. I know I put a lot of burden onto myself and figure out things on my own. I know I’ve felt like I’m all alone and end up snatching for help when it feels like it’s drifted by on chance.

Like this story shows though, you’re never really alone. You might want to be alone or feel like you’re alone, but there are people willing to support you or just hang out with you. It can be scary and difficult to handle these relationships whether they’re with friends, partners, family, or even neighbors. But maybe the most important line in this whole story is the very first one: “Ay, it’s a bad thing to displeasure the gentry, sure enough–they can be unfriendly if they’re angered, an’ they can be the very best o’ gude neighbours if they’re treated kindly.” All of our relationships are much more complex of course, but it doesn’t negate the truth of this statement either. Just as our relationships can turn bad, we can also reach out and try to become “gude neighbours” once again. After all, the story began with this line, it didn’t finish with it.

Remember to check in with your loved ones, ask for help if you need it, and do your best to be honest and kind with yourself and others. Now is the time for community work as well as shadow work. Until next time ❤

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By the way, this is the books I’m using:

6981026._SY475_It’s a Barnes and Noble edition as seen in the link on the title at the beginning of this post. I plan to make more posts about my thoughts on different folktales in this book. You can likely use any edition of the book if you’d like to check out any piece I refer to in this new series of posts I’m starting. The page numbers may change a little based on which edition you use though. You might just be able to google the folktale and find it online for free as well. 

Spirit: Re-sprouting

Wow… It’s been over 6 years since I last posted here. Winter 2014 was just before I became a very busy community college student that put way~ too much on their plate. In 2015 I moved to Washington State and it was just this last December that I moved back to Maryland after finally finishing my Bachelor’s degree. During this time that I was living in Washington, my connection to my spirituality dwindled and then withered until eventually becoming dormant. I had a connection, a community, and a family with the circle I had joined here in Columbia, MD. Before I moved away, I was still practicing and deeply rooted to my spirituality, even though I wasn’t making time to post here, but… after I moved, I wasn’t practicing much anymore. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t active either.

Since last fall, little things keep popping up in my life that have that have left little seeds of spirit waking back up. First it was a book I came across in a store, then I moved back and my mom started suggesting we go back to the circle I used to go to, and then suddenly I started finding different instagram accounts with artists that created all manner of things witchy. The last couple years in Washington I was living in Seattle, so moving back to Columbia meant getting to see a lot more of the sky again and on a daily basis too. I don’t drive and so in Seattle I was often stuck to certain parts, usually my college campus. It’s a pretty campus, but I really forgot how much sky you can see all at once until I moved back; and how many trees you can see stretch into the distance. It’s strange how the mind’s imagination can get blocked by the concrete forests of cities as much as your actual eyes can.

Now, I’m back and I want so much to get in touch with everything again, to get in touch with my spirituality again. I’m hesitant though because I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 years. I see how much appropriation there is in neo-paganism, spiritual this or that, and while I can see the systems and history that brought many of us (particularly white pagans) to these practices and pieces that are not our own, I’ve been struggling to figure out what I will do instead.

Here is my answer so far: focus on my context.

What does that even mean?

Well, religions and mythologies and spiritual practices were created, given voice, re-interpreted, and set in certain times, places and communities. These people had certain values, lived in specific places with certain ecology, and they lived their lives in a particular way. I live in Maryland in the United States. I find that it’s important to respect the land I’m on and find a way to be connected to it. How can I do that if my spirituality revolves completely around Irish Celtic traditions that use native plants to Ireland? Land and location is just one part though, time is also important and can make for very big differences to be considered.

So what is my context?

Well… There is a lot to it. Let’s start with the basics: It’s the year 2020 and I live in a central part of Maryland in the United States. What else? A lot of my family’s ancestry comes from Western Europe, the easiest bit to retrace being the part that came from Ireland. I could easily pick up a book or two from my bookshelf and find all kinds of ancient Irish traditions (their accuracy a post for another time). However, those books cannot address the other parts of my context like where I currently live and could be difficult to relate to my life as it is in 2020 (versus how ancient people lived).

I live in a technology saturated world. It’s incredibly important to me because it’s the majority way that I consume music, stories (TV and movies), play games, as well as make and sustain connections with friends and family. I have friends all over the world, in fact most of my friends live nowhere near me. As a writer and artist, as a past and future student, technology is continually a part of my craftsmanship and my education as well. So, a spirituality and practice that doesn’t involve technology will leave out a huge part of my life.

My context is also about who I am. I’m a queer, non-binary man with a past and present that necessitate a spiritual connection that addresses this queerness. I can’t jump back into a telling of deities, spirits, guardians and certainly not a high power that is tied in a gender binary. There can’t just be gods and goddesses for me. I need something more than that.

Certainly, in a 2020 world living in the United States, I need a spirituality that addresses injustice and the importance of creating community in a world that makes it very difficult. It’s difficult, again, because of the time and because of who I am, a white person and a queer person, and it’s difficult because of this globalized world of quarantines, shifting politics, and most of all… technology. I’m usually so absorbed in all my activities online that I often forget that I have a community with those I live nearby because we are connected by land if nothing else and land is nothing inconsequential.

Now what?

My context is all over the place. It’s very difficult to reconcile the differences between them. How can I give space, give time, and do justice to one and still give that to another? These are things I have very little answers to yet. I think about it a lot. This is not something that can be easily answered but instead are like seeds of intention. These are things I value and areas I want to grow in. Growth doesn’t happen very fast. As I water these intentions with careful consideration, with conversations, exploration, and experimentation, I will share with you what I find.

But I can tell you of those seeds I mentioned at the beginning of this post, that have drawn me back in and made me aware of how much I want to be connected again:

The book:

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Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliott (goodreads link)

The Instagram accounts:  there are a few shops on there that make very cool items many a witch would really love, but the main account that has really got me thinking about how technology can mix with older traditions is this account @brujaxtropical. Casting spells by sharing posts or commenting on them is just some of the major insights I’ve made through following this account (which is still fairly new actually). That account is certainly run by two geniuses.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and I hope you got something out of it. Getting my thoughts out there and attempting to organize them was certainly helpful for me. Sending my love to all of y’all, love and many wishes for good health and good luck.

Blessed be ❤ ❤ ❤

Spirit: Using the Seasons and Moon Phases to Develop Eating an Exercise Plans

The following are great ideas for using natural cycles of the seasons and moon phases to help develop eating an exercise plans. It’s kind of like a pagan diet or a pagan health guide.

New Moon to Full Moon is Waxing

The moon is growing from 0 to 100. In this time period, you want to focus on growing things. This is very true of ritual magic, but should also be true in a dietary plan, so…

– Exercise wise, you want to focus on “upping” your cardio game and focusing a lot more on weight and strength training. You can push yourself on your cardio workouts, you can even add weights to your cardio workouts. What could be ideal for workouts these weeks if slowing down your cardio workouts by adding weights or turning that cardio machine time into endurance training where you slow down but go farther and maybe add on incline too.
– Food wise, you want to focus on being really strict about what you eat. Before, I would have said you would increase your protein load. You should be eating the regular amount of protein, but be really strict about everything you’re eating. You’re increasing or growing your nutrition.
– Spirit wise, you want to try and boost a lot of things but maybe focus on one thing per waxing period or per week. Maybe focus on gaining knowledge or awareness of something or something else of the same nature. Maybe you do a spell to gain fortune or peace.

Full Moon to New Moon is Waning

The moon is shrinking from 100 to 0. In this time period, you want to focus on loosing things.

– Exercise wise, you want to focus on “loosing” that fat. That means a lot of cardio. Turn up those weight training days by adding movement. During the Waxing period, you were slowing down those cardio days with weights. Now, you’re speeding up those weight days. You can even use some of the cardio suggestions for the waxing period as your weight training workouts during this waning period.
– Food wise, you want to focus on losing the protein. Protein is important, but there is protein in vegetables and fruits and it would be great to replace some of that pure protein with fruits and veggies. You can supplement some of that protein too with seeds and beans of course as you could anytime. Nuts too.
– Spirit wise, you want to think about losing things. Maybe you want to kick some bad habits, clear out the closet or room of clutter and junk, maybe you focus on just cleaning. Definitely you should think about losing stress. Well, not THINK about losing stress, but actually LOSING IT.

Times of the Year

Winter

– Winter is the time of cold and slow growing. Everything is in sleep mode and waking up. SO, this should be reflected in what you’re doing. Don’t push yourself too much in exercise, work, or anything else. When in comes to dieting, think about warm foods and cooked foods. It’s cold, so warm your body with food. It’s a traditional food practice in Eastern cultures.

Spring

– Spring is all about growing. This is where you really want to start or try new things or start improving things that are already happening. This is the time to start “upping” your game. Your diet should be starting to grow about now, incorporating fresher and more uncooked things like salads which are growing and harvesting now. Spring is also the time for GREEN. Get out and watch the world grow green, maybe (if its not too late) start growing some stuff in the garden. This could also mean doing more projects that make you money or saving up money to grow the green in your bank.

Summer

– Summer is about LIFE. The sun is king and the harvest is thriving. Experience it! Go to a pick your-own farm and PICK YOUR OWN. Taste that fresh from the farm food! Go out in nature, protected with that bug spray, and see nature thriving. See all the flowers and wildlife. Exercise wise, you should be outside doing stuff! Go to the pool! Go to the beach! Go hiking! Go run or walk around a lake! You should be doing so much outside that you will be getting most of your exercise out of the way! Save the indoor work for when it’s dead noon and for night time. Make sure to save some of those nights for dancing though. Food wise, there is so much fresh food that you should be eating mostly just that fresh food. Mix things up, experiment, and eat a lot less warm foods. Eat more cold foods. Opposite of the Winter stuff. It’s hot so cool the body with cool foods. Make cold smoothies and homemade fruit pops, eat raw foods too. If you cook stuff, slightly steam maybe. Maybe cook the food then refridgerate it like cold soups. Make filling salads.

Autumn

– Autumn is like Spring, except the exact opposite. In Spring, you were growing and now you are slowing down. You want to be out in nature like you were in the Spring, but now you are there to watch the fall colors bloom. In Autumn, you want to calm down that Summer hoopla. Everything is active and energy and AWAWAWAWWWAWWWWW, but now it’s time to calm down. Exercise wise, you definitely want to get some outdoor workout, especially in those nicer weather times of the Autumn. Don’t go as crazy as you did in the Summer though. Food wise, there are lots of Autumn vegetables and fruits, so make use of them. You can start adding back some warmer foods too.

Spirit: The Humpback Whale in the Forest

Early December 2013, I was writing a ritual. In this ritual, I wanted to write in a Journey. I knew what the goal would be. I wanted people to journey and find what they should be focusing on RIGHT NOW, what their priority or goal should be. I wanted them to then find out two things: what they had to stop/leave behind and what they actually need to do/obtain. At the end I would have them put on this animal like winter hat one by one and write down the answers to those final two things. We would then burn it, releasing though things to be manifested or banished. The animal hat was to get that animal single-mindedness so no other thoughts invaded the intention. The wearing of animal skins, though the hat was completely fake everything, is what hunters used to do before they went on the hunt. I always have a hunter/warrior theme in my rituals. As part of the hunter theme, I wanted the journey to be like everyone was going to hike through the woods and find their answers that way.

I also had planned a big purification, one that I asked some friends to help me out with. They also wanted to know about the rest of the ritual as well and they loved the idea of the Journey. I hadn’t written any of the guided part of the Journey, that’s pretty much what I thought I would have to do to take a room full of people on a Journey. I knew something about that concept felt wrong though. I was very stuck. I had chosen a hike, like I said at the end of the previous paragraph; because that’s one of the ways I would find answers in the otherworld. As I started to talk to my friends about this, one said that instead of doing a lot of guiding, why not just tell them to travel to their safe place in nature and let them find their helping spirit there, be it an animal spirit or otherwise. When she said “their safe place in nature” she added “be it the ocean, or…” she listed a few other spots but when she said “ocean” my mind flew wide open.

The OCEAN. Imagine if you’re safe space in nature were the ocean. Maybe you’re animal spirit is humpback whale. This is what I imagined. I then saw how silly it would be to send a group of people into a guided mediation, Journeying through the mountains, and low and behold, the person whose animal spirit is a humpback whale is stuck in the woods where her humpback whale break a few trees and gets stuck between two giant old trees. I nearly busted out laughing when I pictured this, but it awakened me to a real conundrum.

You’re going to perform a Journey to a room full of people, and in this room there are people who find power, safety, and their animal spirit in all kinds of places. Imagine trying to fit their tundra, ocean, tropical rainforest, and desert animals in your lushly forested mountains. What do you do?

Well, my friends figured it out quickly enough while wondering about what music to play instead of talking.

Why not just tell everyone that they are going to travel to their safe space in nature and there they will seek out their spirit and find out what you want them to find out? You tell them this and then put on music specifically for Journey and trance work. The music eases you into the required state of mind, keeps you there, and then brings you out with a certain beat. Of course, let them know the length of the song and that the music will bring them out. It’s maybe best if you tell them specifically what the song will do to bring you out too. But, that’s it. You tell them where they will be going, something that they can specify to their own ways and tell them what they are looking for. We made up specific questions and key words that we repeated three times so that they wouldn’t forget them once they were in the trance.

From feedback, it worked perfectly, though the rattles in the song made a shy and harmless little snake appear randomly in several people’s visions. For me, it highlighted a contrast in my otherworld sanctuaries. My place of power is a desert scene where my safe place in nature or Journeying space is a mixture of mountainous landscapes. So, in the first part of my Journey, whenever the rattle would sound in the song flashes of a desert landscape would invade. It did not take away from my Journey just as the little shy snake did not take away from the several people who saw it slither across their Journey.

So, this could be a valuable take away for anyone who wants to include Journey’s or trance work in their rituals. I am from a Celtic background though I practice aspects of other traditions as well. There is a lot of beautiful poetry in meditations from the Celtic path, but sometimes when you start to delve into the guided meditations and Journey’s where they send you somewhere to find answers, you reach an area that can be uncomfortable.

Journeying is a time to go to the otherworld, somewhere you feel safe, someplace your own, and discover. Someone dictating every part of this Journey goes against the basic concept in a real way. Think about what it would mean in the everyday world for you to go on a journey. Does this include someone other than yourself creating an itinerary scheduling out every moment of what you’re going to do and how you will spend your time?

Something to think about. Perhaps, when writing your next ritual.

Spirit: December 13th, 2013 Ritual

The following ritual was performed on the 13th of last December. It went spectacularly well. I recommend this to anyone who finds it interesting. I hope you enjoy it as much as I, and the Circle that I performed it for, did.

Pre-ritual:

– prepare the room with dragon’s blood incense
– set the bowls of water with pine leaves
– set the altar
– prepare the rosemary water

Ritual:

First- talk about the ritual. What you’re going to do different, why, and just give a summary of what you’re going to do in general

Second- Take a platter and go around the room, stopping at each quarter to lay out symbols for each element. Ring the bells on the dance stick or the bell as you walk from one quarter to the next.

Third- Have people separate into three groups and wait by the outskirts while the room is being prepared (making space for dancing around the groups)

Fourth- Purification

Remind people of the way the purification will go. Two rotations by the people purifying with the group facing outward, then two rotations with the group facing inward. Then the purificants dip their hands in the rosemary water.

One group at a time goes into the purification space (on the deep purple sheet). (Person 1), (Person 2), and I go around the group twice when they face outward, then twice as they face inward, then I ring a bell to signify when they dip their hands in the water.

Fifth- Journey

We set the area back up for journeying, i.e. the normal circle of chairs.
We give everyone a moment to relax and settle.

I explain to them about what we will be doing: We are going on a journey. This journey is to our safe space in nature. The beat of drums will take us on our journey where we will seek and meet our animal spirit. When you meet your animal spirit ask it three questions: What should be my primary focus or priority RIGHT NOW? What do I need to GET RID OF, LEAVE BEHIND , or STOP RIGHT NOW for this focus/priority? What do I NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW for this focus/priority? When you get you answers, remember them. We will be writing them down afterwards and burning them.

Have them repeat the three questions three times: What should be my priority RIGHT NOW? X 3, What do I need to stop or get rid of RIGHT NOW? X 3, What do I need to do RIGHT NOW? X 3

Tell them that the song will change at the end and bring you out just like the soothing beat will bring you in.

Start the song; tell them to relax and to breathe deeply.

Sixth- The Hat

The song has ended and the journey is over.

Remind them now that we will be passing around the hat, one by one, and when you have the hat, you go up to the alter. You go first to the right side where you write on a slip of paper what you found that you should leave behind, get rid of, or stop doing. You take the paper and burn it in the bowl. Then you move to the left and write that which you found that you should be doing to further your priority. You then take the paper and burn it in the bowl.

As the first song (Misty Mountains) starts, I hand over the hat to the first person.

As Misty Mountains goes off, other music is turned on.

Seventh – (Person 2) leads a grounding song and dance once everyone has burned their paper.

Eighth- I go around the circle counterclockwise, picking up the elemental symbols, silently thanking the elements. As I go around, I ring a bell.

Ninth- We gather around, hands held, and say “The Circle is open, but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again! Hazzah!

FIN

Roses and Red Foxes: Wildlife in Howard County

Wildlife spottings all around Howard County:

Hawk, heron, groundhog, and rabbit spottings are in abundance now. Deer and chipmunk spottings are increasing.

Dayton, MD:

I saw a red fox at my grandpa’s house.

Centennial Lake:

Lots of rabbits, a deer, a groundhog, a great blue heron, and a chipmunk were spotted on Monday the 10th. I also saw a baby turtle but it swam into a murky spot before I could get a picture.

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WILD FLOWER SPOTTINGS:

Centennial Lake
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Nature in it’s Mysterious Ways: Big Branch Recreation Area

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You can see in these photos a line running across the water, creating a seemingly darker area (closer) and a lighter area (farther away). I have no idea about what caused this and it wasn’t the only line. There were further divisions but this was most easily seen from the car. It was raining and I didn’t want to damage my phone. Anyway, it’s quite mysterious because it’s not as if the lines followed the channel. It was odd and I thought I would share it here.

We an never know everything about nature and even old places can ring surprises.