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Sangha-Sho

MovingDayBlog

Hello all you gorgeous and generous folks that follow this less than consistent blogger!!

Today I am posting something a little different, it’s a post about a fundraiser I’m participating in, and I would love if you could help me out.

I will be participating in the National Parkinson Foundation’s Moving Day event in Rochester, NY on October 4, 2015.

Did you know that 50,000-60,000 new cases of Parkinson Disease (or “PD”) are diagnosed in the U.S. each year?? That’s crazy right? Especially when you take into account the 1,000,000 or so folks that have already been diagnosed. 

This is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, because in December of 2014 a dear friend and coven-mate of mine was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson Disease…he’s only 35. We have created a team page for our Coven and we’re hoping to raise all sorts of funds…it sure would make Adam a happy camper!

If you are unable to donate at this time, that’s ok (keep us in mind though we’ve got until October) but  please consider sharing this post so we can get the word out. 

My Personal Fundraising Page is here: Shawna’s Moving Day Rochester Page

Any and all funds donated via my page will be added to Team Sangha-Sho’s overall goal.

Thank you all so much for reading.

May the Goddess Bless You All

JourneyingGriefIt’s been a rough month for the Pixie. I’ve been busy writing an Esbat, taking a couple fun witchy classes taught by my HP, trying to get my house in order for guests that will be staying with us in July, planning a trip to Illinois for my Brother-in-law’s ordination as a Lutheran Minister in June, dealing with  some not-so-awesome folks that live down the street…the list goes on and on. Some of the stress was from good things, some not, but the thing that effected my peace of mind the most? Mothers Day.

Its impending arrival was the main reason why I haven’t posted to the blog in the last 2 weeks. It was at the forefront of my mind, and I just couldn’t bring myself to focus on it until other things were completed….so I pushed it back. For those of you who don’t already know, I lost my Mother to Pancreatic Cancer last August….so this Mothers Day was a difficult one.

Overall, I think I’ve been dealing with Mom’s death rather well. I have no regrets about our relationship. I said everything I needed to say to her, she knew how I felt about her, I knew how she felt about me, I know I did everything within my power to help her during her illness. But, the fact remains, I miss her beyond measure.

I’ve been doing some thinking about those “Five Stages of Grief” we often hear about: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’ve personally experienced 3 of the 5; anger, depression and acceptance. It’s said that  most people experience all of these, but not everyone. “They” also say these stages can occur in any order, what they don’t say, is that some of them may pop up over and over again…which is something I’ve been discovering.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve never experienced the loss of a loved one before. I lost my Great-Grandmother in 1997, and my Grandfather in 2003 both of them were quite precious to me. Yet, those losses did nothing to prepare me for the profound level of grief I have experienced through the loss of Mom.

When the loss is of someone who has been your anchor, teacher, caregiver, support system for the entirety of your life, I guess it’s only natural that the depression stage emerges more than once. It doesn’t help that I’m already predisposed to depression…

So, how have I been dealing? By soldiering through. As Mothers Day approached, I started to feel her lack of presence…at least physical presence. When the issue with the folks down the street emerged, I wanted to call her, and vent and have her get me to laugh…but I couldn’t. Yes, I can talk to her – duh, I’m a witch who has a pretty strong connection with her ancestors – but, it’s not the same. But, I had shit to do, and as Mom once said (ok, maybe more than once, lol) “When there’s shit to do, it’s got to get done, so just fucking do it!” Yeah…I got my gift of colorful language from her, lol.

So, I got my shit done. I also finally took a few moments to let myself actually feel the sadness on Wednesday. I shed a few tears…and then I just felt…better. I’ve also been looking to a specific line in the Wiccan Rede:

When misfortune is enow, wear the star upon your brow”

This line is basically telling us to trust in The Goddess and your Faith to see you through difficult times. To remind us that everything happens for a reason…whether we like it or not, and whether or not we ever learn what the reason may be. Remarkably, it has been helping me since Mom first called me with her diagnosis.

The support of those around me has also made an immense impact on my ability to deal with it all. Yet another reason I am grateful to have become part of The Coven of Sangha-Sho…Their love & compassion has been a remarkable gift.

So, my journey through grief continues. Some days are good…some not so good. But, as long as I keep moving forward, and don’t allow myself to get stuck in a big ol’ pile of deep, dark, emotional muck, I think I’ll be alright.

Daily Devotion to DivineI first dedicated myself to my Witchy ways in 2003. In 2004 I was fortunate enough to discover my Patron Deities, and as of today, I have been approached and called upon to work with 4 others. I’ve researched, and continue to research, their respective mythologies, their origins, and the cultures they each emerged from (As it’s quite an eclectic bunch, there is a ton to discover!). I always pay close attention when they are mentioned in books, and I love to examine artistic renditions of their images.

With all of this research and dedication on my part to learn all I can about them, the thing I think I’ve been lacking is a commitment to make a conscious connection with at least one of them on a daily basis. This never used to bother me, as I do (usually) remember to acknowledge at least one of my Patrons before I head off to dreamland…but lately, I’m feeling like it’s time to deepen my bond with my entire personal pantheon.

The feeling has gotten stronger since I wrote the coven’s open Imbolc ritual this year. Brighid, while not my Patroness, is one of my Goddesses, and this was the first time I had written anything in honor of her. I was inspired to write chants, and create an Imbolc oil that I used to anoint the candles used in our working, and it felt AMAZING to do all of this in honor of Her, and it has driven me to want to do more for Her and the rest of my beloved Gods & Goddesses.

It is only through devotion, and devotion alone, that you will realize the absolute truth.” ~Buddha

So now I am in the planning stages of creating prayers, chants and/or poems to use as a means to show my devotion to them all on a daily basis, along with an oil to anoint myself with each day as I do so. Just the decision to embark on this new adventure in my personal practice has filled me with joy, and I already get the feeling that I am on my way to having a much deeper and fulfilling connection with the Divine.

And isn’t that is exactly the point? Connectedness is what we seek when we walk along the Path of the Wise. Connectedness with Nature, with Community, and with Divine is only possible if we are devoted to achieving it. The deeper our Devotion, the deeper our level of Connectedness, and the more likely we are to discover our own Truth…at least that’s what I believe.

So how do you go about it? Well, there really aren’t any “rules”, but here are a few things to keep in mind when starting a practice of Daily Devotionals:

  • Size Doesn’t Matter – Devotionals can be as long or as short as you wish.
  • To Write or Not to Write, That is the Question – While it may seem ideal to write your own, if you come across a poem, chant or prayer that speaks what your heart feels, it’s perfectly ok to use it!
  • No Frills Required – Stones, Candles, Circles, Oils, or other Magickal ‘Bells and Whistles’ aren’t necessary, but if you feel the need, by all means go for it.
  • They’re Portable – Devotionals can be done wherever you happen to be, no special room or space necessary.
  • Timing Isn’t Everything – While some may feel the need to have a set schedule for honoring their deities (Upon rising, meal times, before bed, etc…) It is only necessary if you feel it is.
  • Daily Does It – Consistency is the key to developing the relationship with the Divine that you seek. So, regardless of when you choose to perform your devotionals on any given day, the act of doing them Daily is the point. Not to say you won’t miss a day here and there, as we all know: Crap Happens. But if you do miss a day, get right back on that devotional horse the next day.

Devotion

CovensteadThis week’s post is really just a bit of a mushy reflection on my part, so please, bare with me.

When I started this path almost 11 years ago, I never thought that a group of local witches would be something I would ever be a part of…let alone one that had an honest to goodness Covenstead.

Most Covens have a place they meet on a regular basis, or the members take turns hosting events at one each others homes. Many times the High Priest or High Priestess will host events at their home. My High Priest and his husband have gone one step further than being hosts…they have mindfully created a Spiritual Home, not only for themselves and the rest of the Coven, but for local Pagan Community as well.

As you can see by the photo that accompanies this post, we have a permanent altar that sits at the center of our designated outdoor ritual space. The circle resides amongst 3 separate gardens; A serene shaded Chinese garden,  a whimsical nook we call the Fairy Grotto, and the spectacular herb garden you see in the photo above. When I walk into this glorious park-like setting, I always forget that we’re in the middle of suburbia, lol.

It’s not just the lovely outdoor setting that makes me love spending time there though. I actually have many reasons. I’ve known my HP since we were in the 3rd grade together, so hanging out with a life long friend that shares my love of the Goddess is beyond spectacular in and of itself. It is where we come together as a Coven and as a community to celebrate the Turn of the Wheel and venerate the Goddess. It is a place of spiritual education, as we work through our respective degree studies. But, mostly, it is a place where I find comfort simply by being there.

I know that I’m usually all sorts of goofy and make jokes and stuff (I’m a little quirky, it’s ok, I know this 😉 )…but talking about the way I feel when I’m there gets me all sorts of sentimental like. It is my sincerest hope that everyone, no matter who they are, or what Path they are on in This Life, has the opportunity to feel the same level of Peace somewhere. Everyone should have that. Someplace to go to take time away from the stresses of modern life, a place where you will not be judged, a place where you always feel welcome and loved. A place to just…Be.

I will stop gushing now, but I really felt the need to just express my gratefulness.

May you all enjoy your weekend…May you all have a Blessed Imbolc…and may you all have someplace that you can feel… the Comfort of a Covenstead.

)O(

 

The Pixilated PathIt’s been almost 5 years since I started this little outlet for my ramblings, and in those 5 years much and more has changed. However, change is one thing we can not avoid, and this place is no exception. This blog’s former name “Isleen’s Magickal Mist-ery Tour” was a testament to the fabulous education I had been receiving from Sacred Mists at the time I started it. But as I said, a lot has changed. I left The Mists a couple years ago, as my Path caused me to get tangled up with the wonderful folks of The Coven of Sangha-Sho that I am now honored to call my friends & coven mates.

A couple months ago, I started to feel as though the name of the blog was no longer an apt representation of me. That got me to thinking about what would sum up my life (both spiritual and mundane) and would be likely to continue to be an apt representation for a very long time. Then it hit me: The Pixilated Path! Why pixilated? Well, first, let me be clear; I do NOT mean ‘pixelated’, as in an image separated into pixels, but ‘pixilated’ which is an early American term that was meant to mean “Led by Pixies”. It was used when speaking of those who could be described as slightly eccentric, amusingly whimsical, prankish, silly, pixie like, etc.

Here’s a clip from one of my FAVORITE old movies Mr. Deeds Goes to Town in which this word is used (Please ignore the misspelling of the word in the title…I am quite disappointed in Turner Classic Movies for getting it wrong. *sigh*)

 

So, as I am nothing else if not Pixilated, it only seems fitting that my blog should just come out and say so. 😉

In other news! I have signed up to participate in the Pagan Blog Project for 2014! I participated in 2012, and didn’t exactly make it through the whole year, but I am sure going to try this year. Wish me luck! So, I shall keep on keeping on. I keep being the same slightly mad Pixie I’ve always been, and hopefully, you will keep turning up to be entertained and informed by my musings.

 

BecomingQuoteSo much has happened since my last post at Mabon, I hardly know where to begin…

Good news first then. On September 30, 2012 I had the honor of being initiated into The Coven of Sangha-Sho. I had been going to group functions and studying with them for a year at that point, and this amazing group of individuals has truly become my Spiritual Family. I never thought I would become part of a coven, but this group is where I belong, and I have learned so much from them all…and will continue to do so as we continue on our journey together.

Now on to the bad news…Those of you who know me in my day-to-day life are aware that last fall my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As it became evident that mom needed daily care, I took leave from work to care for mom so dad could continue working. Eating was difficult, the chemo was horrid, but seeing my mom – the strongest woman I’ve ever had the privilege to know – so sick and unable to do anything was the hardest.

I was away from my husband, away from my daughter, away from my grand-daughter, my friends and my coven-mates for over 2 months. I felt lost, alone and saddened by the course of events…and then it all got worse. The first type of chemo shrunk the tumor, but it had still spread to her liver. Since I’ve come back home, she’s gone through more chemo, and so far, no positive results to speak of. She has lost an excessive amount of weight and the prognosis is not good.

Now I am faced with more heartache as I tried to contact a relative that, I believed, I was very close to even though we’d been long out of touch. I thought they should know about mom’s situation so that they would have the option of talking to her. I was disappointed to discover this relative chose to reply to me via their spouse, and wishes to remain apart from the family, including me. I don’t understand why, well, I understand some of it, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I feel as though they have been ripped from me, and it hurts my heart.

Place my complete and utter displeasure in my work-life, and we have a complete picture of the heap of misery that is weighing on my chest. Which leads us to the Anais Nin quote in the picture I’ve placed in this post:

Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through.

I feel as if this quote sums up the theme of 2013 as a whole, and not just for me, but for most of us. Yes, we go through a range of experiences that forge who we are every other year as well, but this year feels like a year of profound experiences. Great Joy, Great Sorrow, Great Upheaval. How we handle the various states we go through, both the pleasant and unpleasant, shall shape who we are to become. No matter how difficult things appear to be, I believe we all have the strength to endure…and when we feel we do not, we can find it by looking to the Goddess for guidance. We must make a point to be grateful for the blessing in our lives, to not take the joyful moments for granted and to cherish each of them.

I am going to do my best to acknowledge what I am grateful for on a regular basis. I also plan on posting here more… I know, I know, I’ve said this before….but I am trying! I think I will start with doing occasional Tarot card pulls, rune pulls or whatever kind of divination method suits my whim on any given day. So look for more from the Pixie! I also plan on posting happenings in my local pagan community.

As I leave you for today, I want you all to know that I count you among my Blessings. Many of you are dear friends, others I may not have met, but you have been kind enough to endure my sporadic ramblings and for that I thank you.

Stay courageous my friends, as you travel through your respective states, and continue on your path to Becoming.