An Offerenda

On the last Full Moon, I performed an *offerenda*. This is something used by
Peruvian and South American shamans to give thanks to the plant spirits that
help them to heal others. Of course it is also performed on The Day of The Dead,
to thank the ancestors. In essence it is a rite of thanksgiving and
gratitude.

So, despite all the ups and downs I’ve been having I really
felt it necessary to perform an offerenda, and what better time to do it than on
the Full Moon and the one nearest to Lughnassadh, a time of thanksgiving
also.

In the first picture you can see some of the offerings I gave,
which have to be formally arranged in layers. You can’t see all of them but it
consisted of grains, chocolate, frankincense, herbs and flowers as well as oak
bark. In the picture you can also see my letter of thanksgiving to the
spirits.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now here is my offerenda all wrapped up and placed on my
outside altar, covered with a sprinkling of calendula and rose petals.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The time of burning. Whilst it was burning I gave thanks
to the Three Kindreds – the green clan, the ancestors and the shining
ones.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took a while to burn but while it was burning the
smoke smelled delicious – all that frankincense I’d given. When the flames had
completely died down and it had finished smoking I doused the whole thing with
water as it has been extremely hot here in England and we’ve had a lot of grass
fires and I didn’t want to start one in my own back yard!

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This offerenda gave me the opportunity to really thank
those who have helped and supported me and continue to do so, whether they are
humans or spirits. It gave me a chance to thank the Universe for all the
wonderful things I am given on a daily basis. And while I was physically alone
while doing this rite, I was definitely not spiritually alone because while I
might not have seen the spirits and some of my loved ones, I definitely sensed
them. It was a really special time and one I shall definitely be repeating in
the future.

 

Advertisements

Despacho Ritual ~ New Moon 8th July 2013

Last night I did my first despacho ritual to give thanks for my many blessings, to release what isn’t serving me anymore, and to renew myself. I filled my paper with 3 sigils representing what I was releasing, garlic, rue, red sandalwood, peony petals, frankincense, copal benzoin and mandrake. I also added slips of paper with my thanks for my blessings on one, and what I was releasing on the other. A feather from my kitties toy to represent them, and some good dark chocolate to represent the good things given to me by the Universe. I then blew my thanks into one bay leaf, my releases into another, and my affirmations into a third.

After meditating for a while I waited until exactly midnight and went outside to burn my despacho, which I laid on a bed of peony leaves. Set fire to it and watched it burn, with the scent of the various herbs and resins filling the air. Sitting outside, with the scented night air, the sounds of foxes surrounding me, the twinkling stars above, and the power of the new moon was a cleansing and invigorating experience, in which I feel renewed and filled with joy.

burning well

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.

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.

A is for Animism

15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumberland_web

My first post for The Pagan Blog Project 2013 is Animism (from the Latin anima, meaning soul or life). It is true to say that I am an Animist, as I believe, and have had experience of, many things in the natural (and non-natural) world being en-spirited.

According to Wikipedia, Animism is:

The religious world-view that natural physical entities—including animals, plants, and often even inanimate objects or phenomena—possess a spiritual essence. Specifically, animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the religion of indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development and/or infiltration of civilization and organized religion.

Basically, Animism includes the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and the physical (or material) world, and that all things have a spirit or soul, whether they be humans, plants, animals, rocks, mountains, rivers, places and so forth. I would even go so far as saying that man-made objects have a spirit (as they have been formed from natural materials – and all is just energy, just vibrating at different rates). Moreover, Animism is not just specifically limited to indigenous tribes. Many established spiritual paths and religions also believe in some form of animism, such as Shinto, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Paganism. My Celtic ancestors certainly believed in animism. For example, The Elder Mother who en-souls Elder trees – you cut them at your peril!

So how does Animism work in my own life? Well, as a shamanic witch I’m well aware of how the spirits influence my own life. They help me to be aware of the web of life and how all things are interconnected; how there are no coincidences but instead meaningful events of synchronicity. Moreover, knowing that all things are ensouled helps me have more regard for this earth and my impact on it, a higher degree of responsibility for my environment and what lives within it. I also derive more pleasure and wisdom – a flower is not just a flower for my sense benefit but a living sentient being that I can communicate with. My friends are not just within the human species but with all species and entities – I am never alone! Animism has truly broadened my horizons, not just sensually but knowledge and wisdom also.

What can you see?

What can you see?

A new witchy blog award

What a lovely comment I had waiting for me this morning. I have been awarded another award…this time a Witchy/Wiccan/Pagan themed one and that’s really nice since it’s the first of this kind I’ve ever been awarded. It’s really lovely to be appreciated in this way. I would like to thank Poppy for awarding this to me. Do please check out her lovely blog!

What Ayslyn says about the award: “Today is a very special day. Not only is it Samhain, the most important Sabbat on the Wiccan Wheel of the year, but it is also the unveiling of a project Cassandra and I have been working on for a couple of months. Over the past weeks, we have both been graced with several blogging awards, but we couldn’t help but notice that none of the awards floating around were Wiccan in nature. And so, the idea was born to create an award specifically for Wiccans/Pagans/witches.

Thus the purpose of this award is to bring positive recognition to those bloggers who share their experiences on the less-traveled path, whether in the form of a journal or by standing up for themselves and others. Our award logo was a collaborate endeavor made with love that we are both very proud of. So without any further ado, onward to the details of the newest award to find its way to the blogosphere!

The Rules:

Post the award logo within your blog post.

Thank the blogger who passed the award to you.

Answer the seven questions below.

Nominate five Wiccan/Pagan bloggers (If you don’t know five other Wiccan bloggers, nominate as many as you can).

Notify your nominees of their pending award.

Give a short description of the blog/blogger and why you nominated them.

Stop by Ayslyn’s Corner and Book of Shadows to add your name to the list of bloggers awarded.

You may customize the questions as long as they are still Wiccan- and Pagan-related.

Seven Questions:

How did you “discover” Wicca/witchcraft/Paganism? I think I’ve been a pagan all my life although probably didn’t realise it when I was young. I guess I ‘found’ my pagan path in 1994 when I had an ‘experience’ with Cernunnos in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire. However, officially I began my Wiccan/Witchcraft path in 2006 when I joined Sacred Mists.
Do you grow herbs? I eat, sleep and breathe herbs! LOL I love all things botanical, not just for growing but communing with too. Check out my Botanical website here – All That is Alive!
Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experience. I’ve never been in the broom closet. I am blessed and fortunate to have very understanding and open-minded friends and family, and live in a country where paganism of all kinds is well tolerated.
What tradition do you follow? I follow a Celtic Wiccan tradition, which is the tradition of my Coven. However it is also eclectic so I’m open to learning from many different sources and traditions.
Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else?) Yes, I’m a witch! I refer to myself as a shamanic witch but I am an initiated priestess of Sacred Mists, which is a Celtic Wiccan tradition. I use shamanism heavily in my practise, and also aspects of druidry too. However, there’s also some Buddhism and Taoism in the mix too.
How much of witchcraft/Wicca/Paganism are you able to incorporate into your everyday life? I don’t incorporate my spiritual path into my life – it IS my life! There’s no boundary between the spiritual and the mundane – it is all one beautiful whole! There is spiritual in all things, even the washing up.  My favourite expression is…All is Alive!
Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you meet him/her and how s/he takes part in your practice (if at all). No, I don’t have a familiar but I have plenty of Spirit Guides and Allies who frequently participate in my spiritual practices. I have two beautiful, wonderful, and very funny cats but I wouldn’t call them familiars – they are my furchildren and bring great joy to me.

For this award I’m nominating the following:

Forest Fay

Ashtoreth

Brighde

Phoebe

Darrell

Announcing the all new HERBORIUM newsletter

I am very pleased to announce that The Herborium newsletter is now up on my other site for immediate download. It is free and in pdf format.

http://naturesalive.wordpress.com/the-herborium-newsletter/

This newsletter is the first of many (hopefully) – a little project I’m doing around each Sabbat (that’s eight times a year) focusing on plants and herbs, and the natural world, including Plant Spirits. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it and putting it together for you.

Bright blessings

Deep~Glade