The Three Kindreds

5446_576954122314584_224581038_nI’m not sure if I’ve written about this topic before, my memory isn’t serving me too well at present and, well, I’m too lazy right now to be trawling through all my previous posts, but I thought I’d write something about The Three Kindreds. In my spiritual path I honour these three kindreds; the Ancestors, the Green Clan and the Shining Ones. Who are they?

The Ancestors really speak for themselves don’t they; all who have gone before. My blood relatives certainly but in fact ALL who have gone before and passed over from this earthly material realm, whether they be human or animal. In fact to distinguish between humans and animals is rather a moot point for me because we humans ARE in fact animals aren’t we. If we share 98% of our genes with orangutans and chimpanzees then yes we are animals. I can’t really distinguish between related and non-related human ancestors because all are my ancestors as we are always linked in the web of life, all share a common ancestor and all share the same emotions, feelings etc. My ancestors are your ancestors and I honour them for their wisdom, their knowledge, their struggles, their hopes and dreams. The Ancestors guide me, teach me and protect me. In turn I honour them by giving them the gift of remembrance and a continuity with the living.

The Green Clan are all the spirits of nature in all their wonderful diversity; the Fae, plant spirits, tree dryads etc. Why do I honour these? Because they impart to me spiritual wisdom that is superlative in its nature – a different kind of wisdom from that given by the Ancestors. Tied to the earthly realm but not of it if you like. They help to break down the human ego, assist in right living whilst I am still on the material plane. In return I do my part in trying to live with consciousness and mindfulness.

The Shining Ones are those who have reached enlightenment, whether they be deities or bodhisattvas. Their wisdom, knowledge and protection is beyond human perspectives as they are not of the material. Their true gift is helping humans to live as spirits in human form, and not merely as humans who have a spirit. In my understanding and experience they teach enlightenment but do not give it; we have to do our part. However we can call upon them with all our hopes, dreams, needs and sufferings and they provide everything at the right time – which is not the same as ours, as they work on a completely different spiritual wavelength to us. However, of course we can interact with them and they wish us to do so. How do I honour them? Each has his/her own likes and dislikes, just as we do. It is only by close communication with them that I learn of these and this shapes my gifts to them – spiritual discernment is the key.

G is for Growing

rose60-pinkorangeThis is my second post for The Pagan Blog Project ‘G’ week but also a journal post too. I think it’s high time I just meandered my thoughts down on paper…well on the screen. It’s a funny old world isn’t it, you have ideas and dreams and suddenly, if you’re working in line with them to cause their fruition, then something blossoms. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we grow spiritually, and I guess I should really say evolve but it’s growing too. You’ll all know by now that my speciality is herbalism – I love plants in all their wonderful glory; from the tiny daisy to the fantastic tropical trees. I never thought I’d be a herbalist though. Over the years I’ve nurtured a great interest in plants and this interest kind of grew without me even really doing anything about it but I guess it is my deep love of nature. Then my wanting to help others in some way. How could I do this? I had a deep urge to be a healer but of what kind? I am a master in Celtic Reiki and also a crystal healer but plants urged me on from tiny seedling thoughts of being a plant healer to actually doing something about it via certification.

Of course it is my belief that plants offer us insights that require no paper certificates but in this world I’m afraid some kind of professional standing is valued. But I’m really a down to earth woman of wort cunning even though I’ve done professional courses (and am still doing this actually as I’m taking a Masters in Phytotherapy). However, it’s really nothing extraordinary – anyone can do this…all you have to do is spend time with plants and trees and truly get to know them and they will impart their wisdom and knowledge to you. Of course getting to know other like-minded herbalists is important too.

Anyway, I digress because this post is really about how we evolve on our spiritual path if we are open-hearted and open-minded enough. When I look back at who I was at the very beginning of my pagan path I was really an entirely different person to who I am today. I had fixed ideas about who I should be; what kind of pagan I was or wanted to be, called myself a Wiccan and followed quite a strict Wiccan protocol. But over the years this has changed quite dramatically – yes I am an initiated Priestess in a Wiccan Coven and I don’t regret this decision and being part of this group is very important to me. But my path has diverged into many different branches since then. I feel I’ve truly become a tree!

I guess my spirituality is very eclectic with old ways witchcraft roots, shamanism, Daoism as well as Wicca. Some would call this a mish-mash and probably berate me but I just think this is what my Spirit wants – this is the human experience my Spirit incarnated to have. After all, when I pass over all this will be gone…only Spirit remains and the material will not matter. So I’m passed worrying about whether or not I have a particular religion or set of protocols to follow. I just do what Spirit and the Universe encourage me to do.

How do I know? Well, actually I think synchronicity plays a huge part in knowing if I’m on the right track or not. The more open I am the more meaningful synchronicity happens. Then there are those things that happen to warm me off a course of action. Of course, being human I don’t always see, or even if I do see I don’t always pay attention, or choose to ignore and then I pay the consequences. But even these are lessons to learn. Each choice we make is an opportunity for our Spirits to learn. Even choice and actions that don’t work out the way we want are important for our growth. When we think of ourselves within the tree metaphor we can see how many branches and twigs there are on a tree and each one of these can be choices and actions, some working out and producing new growth and some not. But it’s all ok because they’re all part of the overall beauty of the tree, which is each one of us as individuals.

G is for Green Witchcraft

5446_576954122314584_224581038_nThis week’s post for The Pagan Blog Project is about Green Witchcraft, or what I see it as. Green Witchcraft is actually many things to many people but there are some things in common – a deep love of nature and in particular plants and trees, a deep interest in the old ways (i.e. the myths and legends pre-christianity), and a yearning to live ones life in synchrony with the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Of course many would also add the environmentalist and eco-witch aspect in there too.

Much has been written about Green Witchcraft, there are many really lovely authors out there who have written some very informative books on this aspect of witchcraft. One in particular is Ann Moura whose many books on the subject are well worth reading.  Some people see green witchcraft as synonymous with hedge witchery or being a kitchen witch and I guess this is true, at least for the hedge witch. For me green witchcraft is everything I’ve mentioned in the first paragraph but I don’t think there are really any hard and fast definitions with this, like life itself, the Craft evolves and definitions have to be fluid rather than rigid.

My life as a Green Witch largely revolves around what used to be called wort cunning; the knowledge and use of plants for healing and magical purposes – I guess I’m a 21st Century cunning woman! Although I live on the edge of a small town in Kent, England, I immerse myself as much as possible in nature. Even nature can be found in back gardens and suburban places. However, I’m lucky in that I don’t live too far from the country and indeed my back garden backs on to a small woodland area and beyond that fields. Environmentalism and concern for the ecosystems of the world do concern me but I wouldn’t call myself an activist by any means. I just go about my business fairly quietly with not too much obviousness. I leave the activism for others and I’m sure they do a very good job of it too but that’s not to say I don’t care. I just do my part in other quieter ways.

For me, Green Witchcraft touches my soul and it feels like finally coming home to the place I’m meant to be. It’s different for everyone though – we each find this ‘coming come’ in different aspects of the Craft, or for many too even in different religions, although the Craft isn’t a religion. I don’t think it really matters what religion one is, or what aspect of the Craft one follows as long as it truly speaks to your soul and you are balanced. As long as balance and harmony is there then it is the true path for you; fundamentalism in any form is just not good for the spirit and is a sign of ego thinking, which doesn’t come from spirit but from the human mind.

The ironic thing is, I never expected to be a Green Witch, not at all, it just crept up on me slowly over the years although I’ve always had a love of nature and green things and have never been happier in green fields and woodlands. But I truly believe that if you just open your mind and heart, and are patient, your true path will appear. It might take many years, as it did for me, or might come in a few months. It doesn’t matter – when you’re on it you will know, not in your head but in your heart. That’s not to say you won’t have doubts because I certainly did. However, my true path kept pulling me back like a song you just cannot get out of your mind. Although I’m sure there are some who never have such doubts about their path.

I love this path – the greening of the land; the changing of the seasons; the waxing and waning of the moon and the effect this has on things; the plants and trees and the secrets they hold for the betterment of all. It’s not always an easy path but it’s the one my spirit has chosen for me at this time.

F is for Flipping the coin over

liberty coinFor this post I’m doing for the Pagan Blog Project I’m kind of redressing my earlier post Just Meanderings, although I am not saying my thoughts there were invalid but just a reflection of my current state of mind as it was then. You see, there are times when I think dark thoughts, as does everyone. We all have a shadow side but I’m glad I can accept mine and see it for what it is. When I feel depressed (and I do suffer from mental illness) it is very easy for me to give into the shadow side and see things from a certain hopeless perspective. In this post I’m ‘flipping the coin over’ and looking at things from a different, hopefully more positive, perspective.

When I’m in the throes of my dark thoughts everything seems rather bleak and my judgemental side comes out – I dislike human beings because they are greedy, selfish, thoughtless etc. But I’m only really seeing my own self reflected back at me through them. The parts of me that I like to hide, or even worse, pretend to the outside world that I don’t have. The truth is I AM selfish, greedy and thoughtless…at times. I believe these traits stem from an unchecked ego state. None of us like to admit that we can be these things. We like to see ourselves as good and kind and thoughtful. Well folks, we aren’t! We all have the capacity to be shits! It’s only in awareness and mindfulness that our real selves – or rather our totalities can be realised and inspected.

I guess the truth is rather than hating the human species, it’s more a case of hating what SOME humans DO! Let’s take an example…war. I hate war! I hate the needless destruction and killing. I hate what wars do to people, the environment, the planet. It breaks my heart to see refugees, children, suffer in refugee camps. It breaks my heart to see mothers sobbing over the dead bodies of their children, their husbands, their brothers etc. It breaks my heart to see people suffering when so many other live in the lap of luxury, in safety, and give no thought to the suffering of others. Dwelling on such things can easily make a person cynical and end up hating the whole human race.

However, in my clearer headed moments I thought about this (with the help of a few dear friends who gave me another point of view) and I realised this – not ALL human beings wage war, not ALL human beings want to destroy. There are many, many people who, through personal awareness, have flipped the coin over, and do things differently. However, there are still many who are not aware and still act through unchecked egos. Should I hate them? No I don’t think so. How can one hate someone who isn’t aware?

There is no doubt that humankind is going through a great transition. There are convulsions, not just natural ones, but ones caused by man too – this is plain to see. But I kind of see it as a birthing. When women give birth to a new-born child we go through terrible convulsions (I should know LOL). The pain is great, it hurts and sometimes it’s hard to know when it will end (unless you’re one of the very lucky few who seem to pop babies out like shelling peas). However, for the most part nothing new comes without a struggle. I do think this is what mankind is going through right now. A kind of massive, earth-wide struggle with the collective ego. However, there are many who recognise this and are doing things differently; walking their soul path with integrity and forging new paths. I hope I can be one of them.

Something that was sent to me as a gift really helped me to get back on track and I’d like to share it with you. It’s only an hour long but it is really well worth listening to.

The Source of True Power

I don’t know if the human race will become extinct in the future, it’s not for me or anyone else to see. It certainly is possible as we are animals albeit ‘higher’ ones apparently. But what is more important is living in the present moment and seeing the good amongst the bad, and even more importantly living authentic lives.

E is for Earth Ritual

5789710_origFor this posting for the Pagan Blog Project this week I’d like to share with you all my little Earth Ritual that I do in my back garden at least once a year, and normally at this time of year, and again in the summer. There are a couple of reasons why I do it, first because I wish to bless my garden, the soil to be productive, the grass, the plants that are growing in it, and to bless also all the little critters who live in my back yard, or who make use of it. Secondly, because it just makes me feel good.

The very first thing I do is prepare some incense. I make my own by grinding cinnamon with frankincense and mixing it together. The reason why I use these two is because cinnamon  has the powers of spirituality, success, healing, power and protection (among others) and is fire energy, which is transformative. Frankincense is also fire energy and transformative and has protective and spiritual qualities too, as well as being a resin that helps with removing unwanted negative energies. So these two prove a powerful mix. I grind them both into a fine powder that I will burn on a small charcoal disc in my earthenware bowl.

The second thing I do is make sure I have some Full Moon water with me. This is made on the full moon nearest to the time I wish to do my ritual and is created by leaving still spring water outside on the night of the full moon, in a glass bowl. It doesn’t matter if the night is overcast or raining because the moon’s powerful energy can still permeate the cloud cover. This water is then decanted into a glass bottle I keep on my altar (which also contains a Herkimer diamond that amplifies the energy). I then bless it simply in the names of my patron deities.

Other utensils I will need are my pheasant feather fan to waft the incense smoke about, and three small sprigs of rosemary to use as an asperge for the full moon water.

I spend some time sitting out in my garden meditating and grounding myself – usually do a bit of qi gong at this point. Then basically I go all around my garden in a sunwise fashion (clock wise) wafting incense over every part of it; grass, earth, plants, gate, fence – everything! Then I repeat with my full moon water, which I’ve poured into a little bowl. I use the rosemary sprigs to sprinkle this water over everything too. As I go I just say something very simple like By Earth, Sky and Sea and the Powers that Be – May the earth and everything that grows from it and lives within it be blessed – So mote it Be! To be honest I kind of make it up as I go along with whatever words move me at the time but it’s never complicated.

When I’ve finished I waft incense and sprinkle moon water over my outside altar and then just sit and relax in my garden for a bit – Simples!

Feel free to use this ritual for yourself or adapt it as you see fit.

 

E is for Enchantment

enchantment2This week’s Pagan Blog Project post is about Enchantment. For us witches, enchantment usually means casting some kind of spell on someone, or something. We also know that the Fae can enchant us humans using glamour to veil reality from us and make us see only what they wish us to see. However, in this post I’m going to be talking about everyday enchantment, the kind that surrounds us all the time if we just open our eyes and ears to it.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines enchantment thus:

To enchant ~ to fill someone with great delight; to put someone or something under a spell.

Everyday enchantment can be both really. But what IS everyday enchantment? Well, we only have to look to Mother Nature to find out. Starting with the early morning – the dawn chorus – when the birds start their early morning song. It usually begins with just one bird, here where I live this is the blackbird singing mellifluous notes into the clear morning air. Soon he is joined by other birds – one by one – until there is a veritable orchestra of sounds that soothe my ears and instill hope and excitement in me for the coming day. While listening to this wonderful music I can pinpoint different birds by their songs – blackbird, robin, wood pigeon, starlings and even the twittering of the little sparrows. Enchantment indeed!

Then as I stand at my kitchen sink, filling the kettle for my morning coffee, I look out into the back garden and see the dew laden spider’s webs, shimmering like a thousand tiny diamonds in the grass. I suddenly spy a creature trundling hurriedly through the long grass – a hedgehog on its way to finding its breakfast. I notice the magpies squawking in the trees at the end of the garden, hopping from branch to branch, obviously having some meaningful conversation with each other. The sun grows a little stronger and the blue sky is dotted with white clouds scudding across the sky, as if in a race. Enchantment indeed!

Later on in the day, while I have another coffee break, I watch my kitties chase each other – the littlest one hides and watches the biggest one with eyes large and black – suddenly she pounces, which sends the biggest one running off up the stairs. The smallest one follows and they charge up the stairs sounding like a herd of elephants. I can hear them chasing each other around my bedroom. This always makes me laugh and smile. Then they both reappear and lurk around my ankles. What do they want? Food? no! Water? No! They want their ‘lovings’, so I spend time stroking and petting them, enjoying their soft, warm fur and their loud purrings. Enchantment indeed!

As darkness draws in I notice the shadows in the back garden. The spider who makes her home in my window frame is out ready to hunt for her supper. She settles herself right in the middle of her web with all eight legs splayed, ready to dart out at the faintest hint of prey. The last few birds are making their way home to roost in little groups. The night animals are about – the dog fox barks acknowledging his territory. He is on the move because his bark gets further and further away. My excitement builds as I look into the sky, which is clear…the moon appears as a shining milky white orb in the sky, haloed with a fine silver mist. I can but stare in wonder and blow her a kiss. Magical enchantment indeed!

 

D is for Definitely Blessed

380652_127183204108979_809008307_nI was thinking about events going on in the world today, and that got me thinking about how very blessed and fortunate I am. Today I am thankful for my warm home, the food I eat and can get so easily. My lovely daughter and my furchildren all of whom bring me so much joy and many laughs at all their antics. The fact that, despite a certain amount of ill-health, I can still do the things I want to; hear the birds sing, see the lovely colours of nature and enjoy life. I am also thankful for the fact that I can follow my spiritual path openly and safely without having to be afraid of persecution. I am thankful for my friends who all bring their own different symphonies to my life, and without whom my life would be so dull. I am thankful for the fact that I have free speech and live in a country that is democratic. It’s so easy to see the negatives in our lives, and we all have the hard parts but if we take but a moment to turn the coin over we can see that, in our various ways, we also have a lot to be thankful for.

Take a few moments today to think about your blessings!