Musings of the leonine flitterby

Pagan Blog Project 2012

Posts for the Pagan Blog Project 2012 hosted by Rowan Pendragon on One Witch’s Way

Freya [PBP]

Freya in the Dwarf's CaveA few months ago, the goddess Freya called to me at a ritual at Stone City last year.  Since then I’ve worked with her a bit and done some research on her.

Freya is one of the Vanir who went to Asgard as a diplomatic hostage in the war between the Vanir and Aseir.  She is a goddess of both love and war, as well as beauty and seidr.  She gets her pick of half of the heroes who have died in battle to live with her in the field in the afterlife named Fólkvangr.

Freya is also the wearer of Brísingamen, a beautiful golden necklace that she won from the dwarves.  The most common tellings of the myth Freya decides that she wants this beautiful golden necklace but there is no money that can purchase it.  The price from the dwarves is for the goddess to spend one night with each of the four dwarves who made it.  A recent telling of this myth by Sharon Knight speaks to the love and compassion that Freya has for each of the dwarves, helping them to see that each of them is unique and precious as individuals.

In my working with her, Freya represents the compassion of strength.  She is the goddess who will tell you to consider your opponents with the idea that maybe you can actually work together instead of opposite each other.  She can be a hard taskmaster as well as a stickler for discipline in the warrior aspect, but a kind and loving woman in her lover aspect.

Now that I’ve worked with her for a little while, I can see that, as usual, there is a lot to learn :)

Image Notes:

Image obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Freyja_in_the_dwarfs%27_cave.jpg.  Image from The Heroes of Asgard : Tales from Scandinavian Mythology / by A. & E. Keary with illustrations by Huard. London, Macmillan and co. and New York. 1891 Republished online by the Baldwin Project at http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=keary&book=asgard&story=_contents – this specific image was obtained fromhttp://www.mainlesson.com/books/keary/asgard/front3.gif and processed slightly with the GIMP.

E is for Everyday [PBP]

For some reason E is giving me a hard time in the Pagan Blog Project .. with so many options, you’d have thought that it would be easy. I dread what happens when we reach Q!

Today I would like to talk about what we do everyday. I don’t mean the whole sleep-eat-shower-sex (if we’re lucky), but what we do with our spirit and our magic.

Most mornings, i start with a short ritual to connect with spirit and the Kindred. Some days I do nothing at all. On days that I don’t start out with some connection to spirit, to the Kindred, I notice that I’m more fractured, more easily to anger and generally not at the top of my game. If I catch myself I take a moment to reconnect.

I find that having that morning connection allows me to see the spirit and the magic in everything. The magic isn’t just in the spells we cast or the rituals we work. It is in the guy who hands you your morning coffee, or the girl sitting beside you on the bus, or the unknown person driving in the car in front of you. It’s in the concrete sidewalk and the solitary trees along the road, in the weeds peeking out from the pavers.

There is magic in everyone and everything around us.

The time to “do magic” isn’t any special time, it’s everyday. There are certain times that are better for the different types of bigger magics done with spells and rituals, but the small magics, the magic of a smile, that magic we can do anytime and every time.

Every time we acknowledge another person, every time we acknowledge the struggle of the weeds or admire the beauty of a tree, we invoke magic. This magic allows us to move through life more easily and to help others to do the same. It’s a little thing, but little things add up to bigger things, and before you know it your life has changed.

So as you go through today, invoke a little magic, invoke your connection. Say thank you to the guy giving you coffee, and really mean it, say please to the person you need something from, make eye contact and connect. If it works, do it again tomorrow … Invoke the magic everyday.

It’s really true what parent’s say … Please and thank you really are magic words.

Foundations: The Elements [PBP]

In an understanding of time, and an effort to save time, I’m counting this post for both the 30 Days of Druidry and the Pagan Blog Project!

The Fire from Within by HeliusFlame

There are so many different ways to define the elements and most of it depends on what traditions you follow.  Wiccans are often heavily involved with the elements, using them to define their working circles as well as invoking them in their work.  Other traditional witches that I’ve known use the associations and energies of the elements in their working.

In some revivalist druid practices, the elements are called into the sacred space.  In other druid circles the traditional witch/wiccan elements are not called.

I do use the elements in my magical workings, however I no longer create solid circles as I used to do when I was a Wiccan.  Now I define a sacred space and invite the appropriate energies and beings into the space.  Sometimes that includes elemental energies or beings.

I recognize five elements: air, fire, water, earth, spirit.  Each of the elements have their own areas of focus, but there is some overlap.  For instance, all elements are necessary for life, so they can all be used in healing or life-affirming spells and rituals.

Air is about the breath, communication and intellect.  This is the element that most affects learning and study, it’s also the best element to use for ensuring that you are clearly communicating and are actively listening.  Air can breathe life into the dying, or waft a gentle breeze to spread the life-giving pollen of plants.  Air can also destroy with the strength of storms and tornadoes.

Fire is my favorite (Leo that I am) and is both destructive and creative.  Think of a fire through a forest, it clears out the smaller plants and scorches the earth, but it also causes some plants to spread their seeds, and other seeds to begin to sprout into plants.  Fire is also about our own internal desire, drive and our creative spirit.

Water is generally tied to the emotions, and it’s also tied to healing.  Water can wash away the negative emotions and help us to heal.  We can suspend ourselves in water and just be, just experience our spiritual being as it is.  It is forgiving, and loving, and nurturing.  We nestled in water in our mother’s womb and it reminds us of safety.  But water can also be destructive, rivers cut into rock through time, floods can quickly destroy towns and land, emotions that can drown us with negativity.

Earth is our grounding, stabilizing energy.  It is the stuff that forms our bodies, that forms the basis of our Earth, the building blocks of life.  Earth is comforting, healing, building and nurturing.  Earth is also smothering and crushing in avalanches and mud/rock slides.

The fifth element that I recognize is Spirit, some call it Awen, others have different names for it.  Spirit is our connection to deity, it is that divine energy that supports us through life. It is our soul.  Spirit empowers us, connects us to each other, and allows us to recognize the divine in all things.  Too much spirit is also a bad thing, causing us to be disconnected from each other and from our own lives.

As you can see, each of the elements have positive and negative sides to them.  As with most things, it’s about balance.  Too much of any of the energies can cause negative effects, as can too little.

Take time and notice which energies are in your life, and which energies you would like more of in your life.

D is for Duh [PBP]

So I’m late with this week’s blog post for D, and I couldn’t decide what to write it on. There are a lot of different topics to choose from, but given my last few months I think that a “Duh” is in order.

There are those times where you think you can do it, you try to do it, and your body or your spirit isn’t quite along for the ride. Then you hit that moment of collapse. Your emotions give out and you have a break down, or your body gives out and you get sick. These are the ‘Duh’ moments in my life. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t notice the duh moments and I have to learn the lesson the hard way.

Like this year … for the last 7 weeks I’ve been sick in one form or another. First it was a general cold, then a sinus infection, then another cold. I’m finally recovering and I think that I’ve had my ‘duh’ moment. Or I hope I have!

Last year I was in a slow spot with my spiritual and magical growth. I was determined that this slow spot was going to be OVER by the new year. And now I think that maybe I’m not entirely sure that the lull is over …. I had a reading at Pantheacon done by a friend of mine and it was about waiting, letting the growth happen and not forcing it. .. umm … yeah .. ‘duh’.

Forcing the action that I wanted when it wasn’t time took a lot of energy. And while yes, some things did happen it wasn’t necessarily what I should have done. It was more energy than my system could handle, and well .. I paid for it.

Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson now and should continue to get better and stay that way!

What are you ‘Duh’ moments?

Deity, how do you relate? [PBP]

Goddess Temple, Indian Springs, Nevada

photo by Danny Bradury

As today’s Pagan Blog Project post I’d like to discuss our, well my, relationship with Deity.

There are may different definitions of Deity.  Some people believe in the single deity; or that all gods are different facets of one god; or that all the gods are individuals; or they’re not really divine and are really just more evolved beings. I’m sure there are other ways of viewing deity as well.

To be honest, I have no idea of what Deity really is, but it doesn’t really matter. I view each of the deities as individual beings. For me to do what I need to do I use the view that works for me. You should choose whatever view works for you. Whatever view you have, make sure that you take the time to build the relationship with the deity you choose.

Your relationship with deity is work.  Just like a relationship with another person. You have to take the time to build the trust and honor in the relationship.  Talk to them in meditation and ritual, take time out to make them offerings of things or time, research their likes and dislikes and understand what they stand for.  Through this, your relationship with grow and you will come to understand what that particular deity stands for and wants from you.

If you invest in your relationship with a deity, they are much more willing to reciprocate in a way that you will appreciate.

Community [PBP]

paper chain in the dark

paper chain in the dark by hoefi @ Stock Exchange

Today I’d like to talk about community.  It seems to be a very appropriate subject for the Pagan Blog Project which is all about building the online pagan community.

In the last year, I have been getting more involved with the local and online pagan communities.  I’ve joined a local ADF grove, a local working group, and have been more present on Facebook with my pagan online community.  You could say I’m definitely coming out more :)

Community is something that is important to us all, people of all religions.  No matter what gods we worship, no matter where we live, connecting to people outside of ourselves is critically important.  It’s what helps us stay grounded, it’s how we can survive when we hit tough times, it’s where we find mates, find friends, and find those connections outside ourselves.

The internet allows us to make connections much more easily.  It’s easy to find people who are local, or who have the same ideals, or religion, or hobbies, or whatever … it’s also easy to find the crazies (and I don’t mean crazy in a good way).  Make sure you understand how to protect yourself on the internet, but do reach out and connect!  Connecting on the internet is a great way to connect to new people, but you need to take it further into a personal connection.

For real community, we need to connect on a personal level.  For far-flung friends, that means email, instant messaging, text, phone calls, and maybe the occasional in-person meeting when circumstances allow.  If you’re closer, in driving distance, of each other, make the effort to meet in person.  Learn more about each other, discover the level of connection you have, and build a community.  Try to find local meet-ups, shops, or other areas where people gather and meet people!  You may be surprised who you find :)

Take the chance, build a connection, start a community.

With community we can raise each other up!

Center and Circumference

For this Pagan Blog Project post, I’d like to introduce you to an exercise that I learned first from T. Thorn Coyle in one of her Battle Goddess seminars.

When I was a little Witch, I learned how to ground, but I sometimes have a challenging time not grounding out too much energy. This technique as a way to center that did not involve grounding out too much energy.

I tend to do this excise standing, but I’ve also done it sitting.

Center & Circumference

Stand and take a deep breath. Breathe into the center of your being. You center may be in your pelvis or higher up in your body. If your center is higher than usual, take another breath and drop your center on the exhale.  If you’re not sure where your center normally is, breathe into your belly.

Take another full breath, expand your belly, then your chest as you fill your torso with air. With that breath take in the life energy from around you and Breathe into your center. As you exhale, breathe out that life energy into your etheric body, your energy body that sits just an inch or four off of your skin.

Take in another breath into you center and exhale into your auric body. This is the energy body that extends about arms reach around you. Exhale fully into this body and see the life energy fill it.

Take a third breath into your center, tilt your head back and exhale into your god-soul, that energetic body that connects you to the divine. Imagine this connection as a ball of energy above your head. Breathe out any excess energy you have into this energy body and let the energy fall over the edge of your auric body to define the edge of your circumference.

See any excess energy fall off of your auric body and into the ground.

You are centered.

Bone Breathing

Here’s the fourth post in the Pagan Blog Project Series.

Bone breathing is a technique that has been used by yogis for a while, but is also very useful for anyone with any kind of health challenge or who wants to maintain good health.

I first learned of bone breathing from a yoga practioner friend of mine and have used it effectively to help with sinus issues and back issues.

To do bone breathing, take a few deep breaths to center yourself, then focus your attention on the area that you want to breathe through. If you don’t have a specific area to work on, it is suggested that you try working on your fingers. Take a full breath in and imagine the energy that you are breathing in move through the area you want to focus on. If it helps, imagine the energy as golden, warm healing energy. Hold the breath for a moment then push the breath back out through the bones that you’re focusing on. If you’re healing the area, see the illness leave as you breathe out.

Repeat the breath for a few minutes. The longer you breathe through your bones the more quickly that you will see the results.

For more information you can visit these sites:
http://www.healsa.co.za/bonebreathing.htm
http://www.healingtao.org/deutsch/artikel1.htm

Breath

A little late again this week on the Pagan Blog Project, but at least I am posting :)

This week I’d like to talk about our breath.

On a purely biological level, breathing is crucial to our survival as it brings oxygen into our bodies and gets rid of the toxic-to-us carbon dioxide.

On a magical level, it’s also critically important.  With our breath, we can bring energy into our bodies, and with our breath we can direct energy to a specific point.  Our breath is life, and with that life we can control energy.

Martial Artists, for example, understand the power of syncing your breath with your movements.  If you hold your breath, you quickly become tired.  But if you breath in as you setup for a strike then out as you land the strike, you find that there’s a lot more power in that strike.  It’s not just your physical strength that’s hitting them.  You’re also hitting with a bit of your magical power, your Ki, and that makes the strike even harder.

If you’re trying to stop someone from coming towards you, or going away, or are just trying to get their attention, you yell … only do it consciously, project your voice, your breath towards them and see the difference.  It’s not just volume then, it’s magic.

You can also use your breath to stabilize your own energies.  Try this exercise when you’re feeling stressed or frustrated:

Find a quiet spot where you can be alone for a few minutes.  In a busy office, outside is best but the bathroom will suffice.

Take a couple of deep breaths to center yourself, and imagine yourself surrounded by a warm, soft, golden energy.  Know that this is the energy of life, of the gods.

On the count of three, take in a deep breath.  Feel the air flow into your nose, through your nasal cavity, down your windpipe and into your lungs.  As the air flows into you, so too does that warm, soft, golden energy that surrounds you.  It flows with the air through your body and into your lungs.

Now hold that breath for a count of three.  Know that the air, that precious oxygen, is flowing from your lungs into your blood stream and through your body.  As the air moves, so does that wonderful warm, soft, golden energy; flowing through you, flowing into the very cells of your being.

Breathe out on a count of three.  Feel the air flow from your lungs, through your windpipe, up your nasal passages, and out your nose. This time, it leaves that soft, golden, warm energy behind.  If it is appropriate, also imagine that as the air leaves your body, it takes with it some of the frustration or stress that you feel.  Feel your body relax as the tension leaves it.

Make sure to empty your lungs completely, then repeat the breath.

Follow this pattern for at least three breaths, and you should be more energized and relaxed that you were before.

If you have the time, try repeating this pattern for nine breaths and see what happens!

Awen

If you talk to druids, you often hear of Awen. Some translate Awen as creativity, but it’s much more than that. The word “Awen” means inspiration in Middle Welsh, but it means so much more. The Druidic interpretation for Awen is the primal sound and light created from the sound of the name of god.

The three rays In the symbol can represent a number of different triads. The OBOD defines the rays as the triple aspect of deity. It can also represent earth, sea and air; body, mind and spirit; or love, truth and wisdom.

Modern Druids will sometimes intone the word “Awen” instead of the Sanscrit “aum” when they wish to invoke deity.

To me, Awen is the creativity that comes from a connection with the divinity and with the world around us. It is the energy which allow us to find solutions to problems that would otherwise be impossible, to create art, to find the right way to express ourselves, and to appreciate the beauty of the creatures and plants around us.

Awen also helps us to get to the truth. Only by understanding the true nature of our resistance and blockages can we break through to our full creativity.

Through Awen we can find our true nature and recognize the true nature of others. With Awen we can bring great things to ourselves and those around us.

References
– “Symbols of Druid Identity” (Version 2.8) Copyright © 1985, 2005 c.e., Isaac Bonewits
Awen on Wikipedia

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