Every once in a while, life and its events get the better of us. Sometimes we let ourselves get bogged down in the stress of work and tasks that we forget to have fun. Sometimes things in our relationships don’t go as we’d hoped. Sometimes these things not only make us a little cranky…but we may also become withdrawn…or forget our dreams, how to relax & have fun…or even feel our self-worth slipping away.
When all this happens, we lose our spark. That little twinkle in our eye that tells the world we’re ready to take it on, and that it better watch out, because you’ve got some mischief up your sleeve!
It can be hard to get it back, that lovely little glint…but we can get it back. It could be as simple as hearing the right song, or string of songs, on the radio (or whatever musical device you happen to be listening to). It could be taking a few days to reconnect with old friends. It could just be getting away for a couple hours of peace and quiet so you can actually have an uninterrupted thought. A movie line, a song lyric, an incredibly astute comment by…anyone.
It can happen in many ways, sometimes we seek it out, other times it just smacks us upside the head and lets us know it’s back. lol Whatever the case, if that sparkle shows up, you’d better hang on to that sucker! That spark is what helps us to feel ALIVE! It’s what helps us find the humor in even the darkest of situations. It’s what attracts Joy into our lives.
My sparkle ran away for a few days…partly because I had to say farewell to someone I’d prefer was physically in my proximity on a day to day basis (aka: Bestest Friend in All the Land), partly due to being deficient in Vitamin D. I found it today. I upped my vitamin D, heard some of my jams on the way to work, and realized that he may be far away, but he’s always with me (So close, no matter how far…). Besides, he just recently got his own sparkle back…and remembering the glint reappearing in the eyes of my personal scoundrel (It’s a term of endearment, promise, lol) well, it made me smile. I was being a little selfish…a bit of a pouty pixie, to be honest, and I had to remind myself that everything isn’t about me.
So, if your life has gotten to be a little lackluster, start trying to see if you can find your sparkle. Trust me, it will make a WORLD of difference. ?
I have not posted in a long while. It’s been a tough year, and the last few weeks have been particularly difficult…and will probably continue to be so. But, this week I feel the NEED to write, and I’m going to warn you now, this could be my wordiest post yet.
Yesterday, as anyone who hasn’t been living in complete and total seclusion knows (therefore if you’re reading this you are not one of those unlikely few) Robin Williams took his own life. Many of you may feel as though you are sick of hearing about it and that is, of course, your prerogative…but I need to bring it up, because it hit me monumentally hard.
It may seem silly to some, especially since I don’t normally subscribe to “celebrity worship”, but I always identified with Robin. Like many of you, I grew up watching him on Mork & Mindy. He never failed to brighten my day. I was one of those who would get mocked for being a bit different. I had an extra curvy spine due to scoliosis, walked on my tip-toes, had freckles, was goofy and awkward, and my opinions didn’t always fall in line with everyone else. So to see Robin bring Mork to life every week, and to have Mindy and the others love him despite his odd behavior, and sometimes because of it, meant the world to me. Mork was nowhere near “normal”, and that helped…a lot.
Later on, I watched his stand-up and learned that not only was he funny, but he was incredibly intelligent. I was also never confused at how he was able to connect A to B by way of L, M, D, R, Sasquatch and the square root of 144. As someone with a completely non-linear, A.D.D. riddled brain I could see and understand his train of thought. The comedy he wrote and performed also let us know he had his own demons to fight…and that although he was laughing, it was indeed a fight. Most importantly, though some of our struggles were different, he let me know I wasn’t the only one struggling…and it helped.
I have suffered through varying degrees of depression for most of my life. Some periods were darker than others. Yes, suicide was contemplated, and attempted. The reasons behind the attempts seem silly now, but the feelings that those reasons spurred into life were overwhelming and all consuming. Luckily, I had enough friends that gave a shit, and they helped me climb out of the depths.
The years went on, and my struggles continued. Through it all, Robin was there with a new role. Whether the film was a comedy or a drama, his portrayal held a bit of both. I could always see, in those moments when his character was contemplating this or that…dealing with adversity…dealing with tragedy…struggling with identity, that he was drawing from his own experiences. Not old experiences of his younger days, but the day to day struggle to just get through the day, and to feel as though you deserved to have done so.
So, to me, Robin Williams represented Hope. Hope that it gets better, hope that I can get through it…because “If Robin can, anyone can.” Unfortunately, it was too much for him on that day…he was unable to ride that dark wave to the shore where he would have felt stable again.
I am not the only one who was shaken to the core by the news. Nothing I feel can possibly compare to what his friends and family are going through, but that does not make the pain that I and others are feeling any less real.
Today I decided to remember his brilliance by watching some of his movies, reading some of his quotes, and creating a cover photo for my facebook page that features him and a quote. I also decided that it’s time to stop looking to others for Hope. I need to find it within myself…and I think I have. Robin is still an inspiration. He hung on for so many years, and provided joy and kindness to so many along the way. He was compassionate, he was generous, he was not the Norm.
So many with depression say things like “I just want to feel normal”. Through all that I have been through, I have never even entertained this notion. Why? Normal is defined as “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected”…Who wants to be “typical”? I don’t, that’s for sure. I don’t believe that everyone should embark on this Quest to be Normal. That’s just setting yourself up for a whole heap of self-loathing and living a dull life. Trust me, these are not good things for the one who is severely depressed. I think what we are really looking for (but may not be able to voice) is a Quest to Acceptance & Understanding…a Quest to Self…a Quest to Peace.
As we that struggle continue on, we will have good days, and bad. We will know others that shall have the same. Remember as you move through your life that just because someone is smiling and laughing, it doesn’t mean they are not suffering. Everyone suffers, to different degrees, but everyone does. So whether or not you know someone is dealing with mental illness, be kind. Show compassion. Listen. Reach out sincerely. Share your own experiences if it seems like it will help, and keep your mouth shut when it won’t. Offer distractions. Be supportive.
Whatever you do, don’t tell someone to just “get over it” or to just “be happy”…if it were really THAT simple, don’t you think we would have tried that already? Ask how you can help, do not tell them they’re being silly, or that they just need to “Pray more”. Granted, I’d say a good 99.9% of you reading this are pagans, and pushing prayer isn’t usually something we do…but, sometimes it happens. lol
Yes, a person’s faith – whatever it may be – may help from time to time…but it is not a cure. To try and peddle it as such is irresponsible, and could prove to be outright dangerous should one’s prayers not be answered in a way they would like.
If you are suffering, reach out, write or speak your feelings to someone (it sure helps me at least), do what makes you happy, avoid alcohol when you feel yourself sliding into the pit (even if you’re NOT an alcoholic…it can lead to bad things), sing, paint, crochet – whatever floats your boat….and if you need to cry for a while? That’s ok too. There is no one “magic treatment” that will make all your troubles disappear. All we can do is survive them. Just like that old Zen Proverb says “Fall down seven times. Get up Eight”.
Striving for “Normal” is just making yourself feel as though YOU aren’t good enough, but you know what? YOU ARE! As a dear friend likes to say “Let your Freak Flag fly!” Embrace what it is that makes you, YOU. Celebrate your differences, because if everyone was the same, we would never have any change and there would be nothing new. Nothing would ever get better… everything would be boring. Who the hell wants a life that is stagnant and boring?? I don’t.
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” The Doctor (From Doctor Who’s: Vincent and the Doctor)
Add to your own Pile of Good Things as often as possible, be sure to add to the good piles of others as well. If it all starts to feel like too much, PLEASE, seek help. It may feel like nobody CAN help, but reach out anyway.
I wish you all Peace, Love, Understanding, and the continued Strength to find out how Amazing you can be.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Today we are submerged in technology. As I type this on my handy dandy laptop I’m streaming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine via Netflix on my Smart TV (I have warned you previously, dear reader, that this Pixie is a Sci-Fi geek) . My Smart Phone is next to me, poised to speedily inform me if I get any e-mails, texts, phone calls or notifications that I’ve been contacted through any of the Social Media outlets that I use.
I, and I’m guessing many of you, own books by Deepok Chopra, Starhawk, Scott Cunningham, Raymond Buckland, Edain McCoy, The Ferrars, Laurie Cabot etc., etc… We read these to further us along on our respective Paths and teach us all sorts of neat little Witchy things. However, I think the main reason we have these is a search for wisdom. Wisdom is indeed something that these authors have to share with us, and they are truly a very valuable resource. I believe we need to start looking beyond them though.
Let me explain what I mean. I think we need to look further into the past, or at least to cultures that are near the beginning of the past (if that confuses you, sorry…just roll with I think you’ll get my meaning soon enough). The indigenous peoples from around the world have said much that we should revisit and learn from. I’ve gathered several quotes and proverbs from many indigenous tribes. I’ve tried to pull wisdom from native cultures around the globe.
The people from these cultures are far more in tune with the cycles of Life and of the Earth than most of us that live in the modern world. I think we need to listen to what these cultures are trying to tell us. Some of their wisdom is good for the every day things of life, others go far deeper than that. Anyway, check out the wonderful nuggets of wisdom I have chosen for you.
Indigenous People of Mexico
)O( Don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t be lazy. – Inca Proverb
)O( The strongest warrior is he who conquers himself. – Aztec Saying
)O( The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way. – Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij of the Eagle Clan
Indigenous People of North America
)O( A nation is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons. – Cheyenne Proverb
)O( The elders were wise. They knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. – Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux
)O( Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence. – Mourning Dove, Salish
)O( Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and a high regard for sharing. When a girl picked her first berries and dug her first roots, they were given away to an elder so she would share her future success. When a child carried water for the home, an elder would give compliments, pretending to taste meat in water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl. The child was encouraged not to be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling. – Mourning Dove, Salish
)O( When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don’t ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don’t chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. – 19th Century Wintu Woman
)O( We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees. – Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation
)O( Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for… Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our lives – they grow everywhere. – Big Elk, Omaha Chief
)O( The color of skin makes no difference. What is good and just for one is good and just for the other, and the Great Spirit made all men brothers. I have a red skin, but my grandfather was a white man. What does it matter? It is not the color of the skin that makes me good or bad. -White Shield, Arikara Chief
)O( Try to do something for your people – something difficult. Have pity on your people and love them. If a man is poor, help him. Give him and his family food, give them whatever they ask for. If there is discord among your people, intercede. Take your sacred pipe and walk into their midst. Die if necessary in your attempt to bring about reconciliation. Then, when order has been restored and they see you lying dead on the ground, still holding in you hand the sacred pipe, the symbol of peace and reconciliation, then assuredly will they know that you have been a real chief. – Winnebago Teaching
Indigenous People of Europe:
)O( The little fire that warms is better than the big fire that burns. – Irish Gaelic Proverb
)O( A fish from the river, a staff from the wood and a deer from the mountain. – thefts no Gael was ever ashamed of. – Irish Gaelic Proverb
)O( A priest should be learned, but learning won’t make a priest. – Irish Gaelic Proverb
)O( If you want to be a leader, be a bridge. – Welsh Proverb
)O( Speak well of your friend; of your enemy say nothing. – Welsh Proverb
)O( No one is so small that he doesn’t have to bend down; no one is so big that he does not have to stretch. – Sami Proverb
)O( Knowledge from the outside does not stay in the head. – Sami Proverb
Indigenous People of Asia:
)O( If I tell you my dream, you might forget it. If I act on my dream, perhaps you will remember it, but if I involve you, it becomes your dream too. – Tibetan Proverb
)O( It is better to live for one day as a tiger than to live for a thousand years as a sheep. – Tibetan Proverb
)O( Medicine that heals is not always sweet and caring words are not always pleasant. – Tibetan Proverb
)O( The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner. – Tibetan Proverb
)O( When drinking water, think about the source. – Tibetan Proverb
)O( It is easier to catch an escaped horse than to take back an escaped word. – Mongolian Proverb
)O( He who drinks, dies; he who does not drink, dies as well. – Mongolian Proverb
)O( Who cleans up the dirt washes away happiness. – Mongolian Proverb
)O( The child learns to walk by falling down. – Kazakh Proverb
)O( No matter how much you train the wolf, he still looks at the mountains and howls. – Kazakh Proverb
Indigenous People of Australia:
)O( Those who lose dreaming are lost. – Aboriginal Proverb
)O( We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home. – Aboriginal Proverb
Phew! I know that was a lot of stuff to read, but I’m hoping you got something out of it. Even if none of these ideas/philosophies aren’t new to you, perhaps they’ll serve as a reminder of their importance. I know some of them have done that for me.
This is just a drop in the bucket though. I encourage you all to look into who the native people of your area are and see what you can learn from them. If you’re a knowledge nut, like myself, then see what you can find out from other indigenous cultures around the world. There are so many fascinating and intensely deep messages to receive if we just open ourselves up to listening. Some of these cultures are gone…but their wisdom should not be lost. It is important, and we should do all we can to continue to make sure that their words live on.
Healing has been associated with Magickal Practitioners throughout the history of the world. From Ancient Egyptians & Chinese, to European Cunning-Folk & Wise Women, to Native American Medicine Men & Women, to Modern Day Pagans of a multitude of paths (Along with a whole mess of others, too numerous to list!).
Most of these people had/have a vast knowledge of herbs and tend to also have an understanding of human physiology. However, herbs are not the only manner in which healing can be administered, not by a long shot!
Hold it! <Enter squealing breaks sound here>
So, originally I was meaning to post on the various types of healing modalities with brief explanations for each. It felt like a struggle though, and my mind kept fixating on methods that did not use anything but the practitioner, maybe a little music & mood lighting, and some form of energy that is transferred from the practitioner to the client.
While I am a huge fan of healing by way of herbs, crystals, acupuncture, reflexology, etc.; I am most fascinated by, and most often utilize Energy Healing.
So what is Energy Healing? Well, regardless of what form you use, it is basically the channeling of healing energy from the practitioner to the person seeking help. This can be done with hands-on, hands-off, or at a distance. It’s something I believe we are all capable of tapping into, and I’ve always seemed to have quite the aptitude for it myself.
Below are a few types that I am familiar with, and have done myself…I’m sure there are MANY more methods practiced around the world, but this is what the Pixie’s packing in her Healing Med Kit: 😉
Basic Energy Healing: This is a method that needs no special training, and while it may be simple, it is by no means “less than” other modalities. The level of success has more to do with the practitioner than the method itself. I don’t know how others do this, but I’m willing to assume it’s at least similar to the way I do it. When healing energy is requested, I place both feet on the floor and use visualization & intent to summon energy from the Earth. I feel the energy being drawn in through the soles of my feet and move up through my body. If the person in need is with me, I either place my hands on the ailing area or above it (some peeps just don’t wanna be touched…and the area just may be of a, shall we say, sensitive nature). I then direct the energy to and out of my hands and to the person. I have also done this at a distance, I simply face the direction in which the client is located and focus on streaming the energy to them. When I’m done, I have to push that energy back out through my feet and into the Earth…or else I’m all sorts of buzzed up on the excess.
The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.” ~Paracelsus
Reiki: This is the ancient art of Hand-On healing re-discovered by Dr. Mikao Usiu in the mid 1800s after 21 days of intense meditation, fasting and prayer. After he received the information and symbols during his vision he was able to utilize it for healing himself and others. He called the energy used in this healing technique “Reiki” which means “Universal Life Force Energy”.
Reiki works by seeking out the root cause of the ailment, thereby treating its source as well as any symptoms.
Practitioners gain the ability to utilize this Life Force Energy by way of training with and receiving attunements from a Reiki Master (There are 3 levels: Reiki I, Reiki II, and Reiki Master). Once this has occurred, healing is passed on by the practitioner placing their hands in a variety of positions on or slightly above the clients body (Actual touch is not necessary for the energy to be transferred as Reiki energy is smart energy and it will find its way to the area). If someone is either a Reiki II practitioner or a Master they are also trained to do Distant Reiki if the client is unable to be physically present for the session.
Nothing is so healing as the human touch.” ~Bobby Fischer
Aura Cleansing (The Pixie Method): The aura is the electromagnetic field comprised of layers containing physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual energies that surrounds our body and extends out roughly 4-5 feet. This technique just sort of popped into my head the first time I attempted to cleanse someone’s aura during a coven exercise, and I had much success. The client sits in a chair, closes their eyes, and takes a few deep breathes. Take a moment to hold your hands out and find the ‘edges’ of their aura. Scan the aura with your hands (a similar technique is used in Reiki sessions). Once you’ve done that, focus healing energy into any areas you feel may be problematic. THEN comes the fun part! Place your hands at the boundaries of their aura again, and draw any negative energy to the surface and pluck it out. How do you do this? Visualization! Focus your intent on drawing the negativity out with your hands, rather than sending healing through…you’re basically just reversing the process. Once you see the black/gray/brown bits float to the edge, pluck them out and pinch them into little specks of dust to be returned to the Universe for recycling. Do one more pass over the client to make sure you’ve got all the big bits, then finish up by combing their aura up and out with your fingers (Just to get out all the tiny crumbs and make it all pretty again).
Elemental Energy Healing (The Pixie Method): This is very similar to Basic Energy Healing as I call on and direct the energies in a similar manner. This method also popped into my head during a coven healing exercise, and I had very good results. I start out the same as the Basic method: Feet on the floor, client in the room. I then call forth energy from a specific element (again through visualization and intent) Earth energy comes up through the feet and feels cool and dry, when it is projected to the client, it is green. Air energy is absorbed from anywhere on the body, feel it blowing on your skin…it is hot and moist, when projected it is yellow. Fire energy was drawn in through my feet as well, hot and dry, when projected it is red. When calling forth Water energy, I felt it as if rain were falling from the sky (or ceiling, lol) and I absorbed it cold wet energy through my skin, when projected it is blue. I then stream the white light of Spirit to sort of wrap things up. It is quite intense, but works well. Just be sure to ground yourself thoroughly afterward!
In the midst of the sense of tragedy or loss, sometimes laughter is not only healing, it’s a way of experiencing the person that you’ve lost again.” ~Alan Alda
Well, there you have it a nice little taste of the types of Energy Healing that one can do. Like I said, there are TONS more out there, so if none of these are your cup of tea, then look around and see if you find a method that suits you. If for some reason you have trouble finding something you like I have one fail-safe healing method that’s bound to make you feel better…even if it’s just for a little while: LAUGHTER! That shit will fix whatever’s ailing you any damn day of the week!
Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy, it also has actual health benefits. And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind. It connects us to others, and that in itself has a healing effect.” ~Marlo Thomas
Being Called…it’s something that has been on my mind, tumbling about with all the other seemingly random notions that live in my brain. I was trying to think of when I first heard mine…the only image that comes to my mind is sitting in my front yard as a child, with my face turned to the sun, eyes closed, listening to the sound of nature as it spoke by way of the wind blowing through the leaves of the large trees on the street.
I don’t think I had any actual comprehension that I was being pulled, and called by nature…by The Universe…by the Gods, but I do have a strong emotional connection to that moment, so I tend to believe that that was my first little nudge in the right direction.
Most people have a calling. Some are called to artistic endeavors, some to technology, some to politics, and some, like myself, have been called to Serve. I believe that all who follow a Pagan Path are called to Serve. Now, some of you might be thinking “Hold on there, Sister! I’m nobody’s servant!”. Bare with me and think about it for a moment. What is service? According to the dictionary it’s an “act of helpful activity”. As Pagans we are inherently helpful, aren’t we? We serve the Earth, it’s inhabitants, our Deities, and our Communities. We have been called to do this. Yes, we also do much self-exploration and soul-searching, therefore we also serve ourselves.
Heed this… What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for another, remains eternal” ~Unknown
I think some people get hung up on the idea that service to the Community means putting in loads of time to do something “big”. Sure, it can be that way, but it can also be the little things like holding doors for people and helping little elderly ladies get a can from a high shelf at the grocery store. It really is just as simple as being helpful.
Some of us are called to do more. There’s that “called” word again, what exactly does it mean? For most you could go with the simpler definition of ‘being asked’ to do something…for some there is a much stronger definition ‘to command or summon’. Chances are, in my experience anyway, if you have a very strong urge to help others, such as in a healing or spiritual capacity, you’re probably being summoned.
Through consciousness, our minds have the power to change our planet and ourselves. It is time we heed the wisdom of the ancient indigenous people and channel our consciousness and spirit to tend the garden and not destroy it.” ~Bruce Lipton
I guess you could say this is a “Higher Calling”. In Wicca, we are all Priests & Priestesses – Clergy. We all have our roles to play, and we all have our special areas of expertise. However, some are called to do more….some are called to be leaders among them, our High Clergy. I’m starting to feel as though this may actually be part of my own Path…eventually. I’m not ready to go snatching up any reigns just yet. But it is surprising to me, because once upon a time, I was adamant about NEVER becoming a High Priestess. I was terrified at the idea of having that much responsibility for the Spiritual Lives of others. It really doesn’t feel so completely terrifying anymore. I think I may actually be pretty good at it someday.
Blessed are the ears that hear the pulse of the divine whisperer, and give no heed to the many whisperings of the world.” ~Thomas Kempis
I guess all my rambling is leading me to impart this little piece of advice: Pay Attention! If you feel a pull towards something, examine it. Do not dismiss an idea out of hand or out of fear. Some things the Universe throws at you are for future reference, so never toss out these notions. Tuck them away, and when the time is right, and you feel you are ready (and sometimes even if you’re not sure you’re ready)…Heed the Call.
I’m taking a different approach to this week’s post, as it’s more of a photo-essay. I created it using photobucket’s “stories” feature, which still seems to have a few bugs in it, but it was still fun to put together.
Anyway, the story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts at Samhain of 2008. I was on vacation with my Mom, and we ran into quite a few folks that weren’t to happy to have a bunch of Witches taking over the town to celebrate our Sacred Holiday. Have a gander, and let my photos tell the tale of how I dealt with it all.
While the protesters that were strewn throughout Salem had me quite annoyed at the beginning, I chose not to let their over-zealousness about what they thought the state of my soul was get me down. I cannot control what they believe, nor do I wish to. I do wish they’d realize that their signs, flyers, and shouts of hell-fire aren’t really doing anything to further their agenda, but all I can do is act in a manner befitting the Divine Spirit that lies within me
A little addition: Since I originally drafted this post on Tuesday, Fred Phelps (former leader and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church famous for picketing the funerals of Gays) has passed away. Since (and even a few days before) his death, I have seen many people urging others to picket Mr. Phelps’ funeral. Personally, I do not see what that would accomplish, other than perpetuating all the nastiness and bile that the man himself used to prescribe to. Regardless of what we feel about how he led his life, anyone in attendance of his funeral is entitled to say goodbye in peace. Whether or not those individuals would afford any of us the same courtesy is irrelevant. I see nothing productive coming from lowering our standards of behavior in retaliation. That is only my opinion, of course…you’re certainly entitled to your own.
Being that my not-so-alter-ego is that of a Puckish Pixie, Faeries are something quite near and dear to my heart. Their history is also rooted in Celtic Irish Mythology, which makes them quite important to my Spiritual Path as well. So, where to start? How about we head on back roughly 4000 years, and take a brief peek at the Tuatha de Danann.
The Tuatha de Danann were, quite literally, the People of the goddess Danu. According to the Annals of the Four Masters (chronicle of medieval Irish history, compiled between 1632 and 1636 in a Fransiscan monestary), they were a powerful ancient tribe who ruled Ireland from 1897 to 1700 BCE. Until they were defeated in battle by the Milesians.
According to legend, after the Milesian’s victory their leader, Amergin, was called upon to divide the land between the two Peoples. He cleverly split the land with the Milesians Ruling that which was above ground, leaving the Tuatha de Danann to rule all that was below.
The Tuatha de Danann were led underground by their King, The Dagda, and became known as the Aes Sidhe (people of the hills). They are the Faery People of the Otherworld who have been known to intervene in human wars on the side of justice and righteousness.
Throughout most of the Medieval period, Faeries were not seen as beneficial beings to have around. Most people during this time felt it necessary to protect themselves and their families from the fae. It was believed that they would steal children and leave them with a less-than-stellar replacement….why they supposedly did this is not entirely clear. It is possible that this was the way for people of the period to explain away childhood ailments and physical deformities.
Towards the tail end of the Middle Ages, however, as folks were gearing up for the Renaissance the Fae became an integral part of tales told by Bards before the Royal Court. They were fanciful stories of love & trickery…and not nearly as dark & sinister as what some of the superstitions had most recently been. And, while I think that most of these stories still weren’t exactly accurate in their portrayal of faeries, the essence was correct (especially in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Perhaps these Bards (especially ol’ Will) were far more in tune with the nature of things than even they realized.
So, what are Faeries as we know them today? Simply put, Faeries (aka: Fairies, Wee Folk, Pixies, etc…) are nature spirits, but simple is hardly a word I would use to describe them. My favorite description of them comes from 17th-century Scottish minister Robert Kirk who said they are “a middle nature betwixt man and angel.”
Faeries come in many sizes from quite wee to that of ourselves. They are humanoid in their appearance, but they appear to us as more ethereal beings than physical. They reside between realms/dimensions, which is why most people are not aware of them and why even those of us who are aware tend to only catch glimpses of them…most will see them as a glimmer of light that flashes quickly by, barely noticeable at all.
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ~John Lennon
In my experience, faeries like flowers, clover, a nice sunny spot on the lawn, shiny stones & soft tinkly chimes. They also like to hide things…lots of things, at least lots of MY things! LOL They also like water, be it a birdbath, a fountain, or a babbling brook. They like the reflective quality of the water, the way the sunlight glints off the surface…not to mention the way they can make faces at themselves in it. They are also big fans of fun, laughter, integrity, honesty & sincerity.
Generally, the Fae do not like loud sudden noises, clutter (although I think the ones surrounding me must be an exception to this lol), or dirty water. They are also not big fans of dishonesty, chaos, selfishness, or abusers. Basically they are not fans of nasty people & nasty habits, and you certainly can’t fault them for that! 😉
To become friends with these wee winged ones, one must help create a pleasing environment for them (Pretty flowers, a fae house, a fountain and/or birdbath etc), and show respect & a love of nature. Once you’ve created the environment, spending time outside, and being playful will show them you’re not a stick-in-the-mud and just may be someone they want to party with!
Another thing you may want to do is appeal to their love of shinys. Not to say that their friendship can be bought with baubles, because it can’t. However, a gift of a few lovely stones to show them you appreciate them will certainly go a long way in gaining their favor. I mean, who doesn’t like a nice shiny???
Give them their space…meaning don’t intrude in their environment ALL the time (nobody likes a guest who overstays their welcome, including the Fae). Be a decent human being and be kind to nature and all her creatures…and don’t be a phoney. The Fae detest falseness and to be false in order to gain their trust will only backfire.
Self-Expression occurs in many ways. Some write, some draw, some paint, some become actors or comedians, some create jewelry…the list goes on and on. While creating, in whatever medium is preferred, we tend to infuse much of our Ego into our work. This is sometimes referred to as Expressive Egoism.
Some may think expressing one’s Ego is a bit narcissistic, but that’s taking Egoism up a few notches to Egotism (That “T” makes a difference!). Which would be like going from being concerned about one’s own welfare to being utterly self-absorbed and primarily worried about yourself… Expressive Egoism is pretty much an exploration of self, and we should all do some of that every now and then.
“In reality, my art is a confession made of my own free will, an attempt to clarify my own notion of Life..at bottom it is kind of an egoism, but I shall not give up hoping that with its assistance I shall be able to help others achieve their own clarity.” ~Edvard Munch
This all sounds quite serious and fancy-schmancy, but in expressing ourselves we can also discover things about ourselves, our surroundings, and our lives (both Spiritual and Mundane). Time to push the seriousness slightly to the side, because I’ve decided it’s time to have some fun with it.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook knows I’ve had a thing for participating in Photo-A-Day challenges. Well, I thought it was about time there was one that allowed us to express a little bit of our Spirit as well as the Ego. I will admit, I should have come up with this during a “C” week, you know, good ol’ creativity, but I didn’t think of it until this week. SO, you will notice the first 6 days are kinda missing. Whoopsie! Next month will have ALL days included and it will be posted early, so we can all look forward to it.
So, here it is *points all Vanna White like to the lovely pic below*.
How does this work? Well, basically:
- Choose your apparatus of choice! (camera, phone, tablet, etc…)
- Check the Monthly list for the daily prompt (The number corresponds to the date of the month)
- Take a picture based on the prompt for the day. (Today’s prompt is: Your Sign. Interpret that in whatever way floats your boat) Keep your subject within the overall theme of the challenge which is Expressing Your Spirit!
- Once you’ve taken your picture, share it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #PixiePicADay (This way everyone can easily find others that are participating!)
- Check out what other’s have posted. It’s always interesting to see how others have interpreted the prompts.
- Have Fun, and be sure to check back for Next Month’s List!
That’s it! Easy Peasy! Now get out there and get to Expressing that Spirit!
*Runs off to take today’s Pixie Pic!*
P.S. Don’t worry if you miss a day! You can either skip them all together, or post your pics and add the hashtag #catchingup. The whole point is to have fun. 🙂
Eclecticism can meet with a certain level of scorn, judgment and/or dismissal by some in the Pagan Community. Some think that we’re just plain indecisive. Raymond Buckland even omits Eclectics from the conversation altogether in both his “Complete Book of Witchcraft” and “The Witch Book” –which is meant to be an encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca & Neo-Paganism.
The idea that this path is somehow “less valid” than the paths of those who follow more
“established” traditions– Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Dianic, Celtic, Romani, Strega, and British Traditional Witchcraft, just to name a few– doesn’t make sense to me. I know, I know you’re probably thinking “of course it doesn’t make sense to you, you’re one of those Eclectic Types”. Yes I am, but the reason it doesn’t make sense is held in the concept of “All Paths Lead to the Divine” that most pagans also tend to believe. It seems like some believe that one’s path must be an established path…but think about it…While Witchcraft, in one form or another, has been around for centuries, Wicca itself (in it’s capacity as a somewhat organized ‘non-organized religion’) is a fairly new path. So, viewing a path of Eclectic Witchcraft as somehow invalid in comparison seems rather short-sighted to me…but I guess that’s for others to discover in their own time.
ec·lec·tic [ih-klek-tik] adjective: 1. selecting or choosing from various sources. 2. made up of what is selected from different sources. 3. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.” dictionary.com
The spiritual world of the Eclectic Witch, or at least this Eclectic Witch, is not as easy as many may think. With the exception of my Core Beliefs, it has taken much time and study to form my personal practice (which is still under construction, even after almost 11 yrs of study). I also tend to disagree a bit with the definition of “eclectic” in that I didn’t select the components that make up the foundation of my practice. What I mean is, I didn’t set out at the beginning of my journey thinking I would end up with a little of this and a little of that…nor did I seek out the elements that my practice is comprised of. These elements presented themselves to me…but, I guess they were selected by someone, so I’ll not quibble about it.
My Core Beliefs are notions that have been with me for the majority of my life…they’ve just acquired shiny new labels along the way.
My Core Beliefs:
)O( Everything Happens for a Reason – Good/Evil, Sickness/Health, Happy Events/Sad Events…Everything we witness and experience has a lesson held somewhere within. The goal is to learn as much as possible, as this not only helps to understand and accept the events of One’s own Journey but also makes it possible to help others who may need assistance in understanding their own Journey.
)O( Everything is Connected – All living things and most matter are comprised of the same chemical elements. Beyond this, all things are made up of molecules, atoms, particles, etc…all of which are made of: Energy. Energy is exchanged between all things (albeit at different rates of exchange). I have sensed this connection between people, animals, and the whole of Nature since I was a child. As Carl Sagan once said: We are all made of star-stuff.
Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.” ~Carl Sagan
)O( Do No Harm, But Take No Shit. – I follow The Rede to the best of my humanly ability. I am not one who interprets it as a license for others to use me as a doormat, however. I try my best not to impose harm on any living creature (Mosquitoes and roaches are exempt from this though…I just can’t abide them *shudders*, so I’m willing to risk any Universal repercussions), but as The Rede is meant to not impose harm upon anyone including myself, I have no problem defending myself or my loved ones…whether that includes physical or magickal means (These are not to be used casually).
)O( Justice is Blind, Karma Sees Everything, and Boy do They Talk! – Meaning, that if you are going to do something, be mindful that there may be consequences and you should be prepared for them. If you ask for true Justice in any given situation, be prepared to pay for whatever part you may have played in the event, even if your part was unintended.
My Primary Deities:
)O( Hecate – Greek/Thracian Goddess of the Crossroads, Transformation, Childbirth, Witchcraft, Justice
)O( Anubis – Egyptian God of the Dead/Underworld, Embalming, Keeper of Poisons & Medicines, Protector of the Scales. Patron of Lost Souls & Orphans.
)O( Brighid – Celtic Goddess of Fire: the Fire of Poetic Inspiration and Divination, the Fire of Healing and Fertility, and the Fire of Metal-Working and Crafts
)O( Pan – Greek God of Nature, Shepherds, Flocks, Goats, Mountain Regions, Sexuality and Fertility
)O( Danu – Celtic Goddess of Fertility, Knowledge, Wisdom, Abundance, Mother of the Faeries, Protector of the Land and Waters
)O( Ganesha – Hindu God of Education, Knowledge, Wisdom and Wealth, Lord of Obstacles and Lord of Success
Now, this group of Gods & Goddesses may seem like quite an odd mash-up to most. In fact it was even odd for me for a while. Each of these deities revealed themselves to me in their own time…I never went looking for them, as I never expected to have any other ‘regular’ Gods & Goddesses beyond Hecate & Anubis, but they seem to have other ideas.
Yesterday it occurred to me why this group is indeed perfect for me (something THEY were all undoubtedly aware of). As Pagans and Witches we are very often talking about the belief that we all contain the Divine within. Well, when looking at my seemingly indiscriminate Pantheon, I discovered that each one of the deities it contains speak to the very traits, skills, drives, and desires that make me who I am. This group truly represents the core of my being…I have to say, that was one hell of a revelation!
New discoveries and ideas regarding my practice are coming to me every day it seems…and what I’ve shared with you is really just a glimpse at some of the bones of its structure. The idea was to convey the message that Eclecticism is not a willy-nilly flight of fancy, but a legitimate spiritual path that is not always chosen, but is sometimes thrust upon those who embark upon it. Not to say that there aren’t a good many flakes out there using the Eclectic brand…but, aren’t there a few in every religion? lol However, even the ‘flakes’ are on a path…who the hell am I to say they’re wrong?
But I digress…
It can sometimes be quite difficult to find the connections between the components of one’s spiritual system. This is true regardless of what path you follow. There are always revelations and epiphanies to be had…always a new level of understanding and connectedness to be achieved. Witchcraft, whatever the tradition, is a path of Mystery. It can often seem dark, unknowable, even daunting…but the discoveries we make along the way illuminate the next portion of our Path, whatever label we may give it.