If Nettle wrote a book

– First off, why do my muses insist on talking to me in the shower right before I want to go to bed?  (Glory wonders the same thing.  Why DO the Muses love to interrupt showers?  I keep a notebook and pen in the bathroom for this very reason!)

– Second, humanity does not have a good track record when it comes to understanding, accepting or being flexible with to those who claim or have claimed they read, write and understand the “word of god”.  Christianity is a prime example here and their book that is the word of god.

– Third, the book I would write would be the shortest book ever.

Let me show you….

Nettle’s Book on how to worship Hestia

Um….. get some fire in your house – no, foolish one, don’t start your house on fire, but get fire into your house. A candle, an oil lamp, and if you win the lottery build a hearth in your kitchen. Decorate said fire, make it your altar. Meditate on Hestia – who is she? What does she mean to you? Cook meals for your friends and family. Feed a homeless person. Help build houses for homeless people. Try to be the best person you can be as Hestia sees you.

The End

See… rather sucky book. No real beginning, middle or end. No hero’s quests, no monsters to overcome.

While I’m on this roll…

Nettle’s Book on how to worship Demeter

Go outside, buy plants, plant things. Watch them grow. Learn the seasons. Be one with the seasons.  Learn to make bread, brew some beer, play with grain. Meditate on Demeter. Who is she? What does she mean to you? Try to be the best person you can be as Demeter sees you. (Hope askes: So, just HOW does she see you? Who knows! )

The End.

Or what I think is my favorite…

Nettle’s Book on How to worship Persephone

Persephone (and Kore) is not a victim, but young woman in her full capacities understanding a need of the world. She is fully understanding of her power and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid of your inner queen. Life and death happen, Persephone has your back. Mediate on Persephone and/or Kore.  Who is she? What does she mean to you? Try to be the best person you can be as Persephone sees you. (But how will you know what Persephone wants you to be if nothing is given as a guideline? Hope asks)

The End.

So, as much as I love the idea of writing a book (snarky sarcasm alert) I do love helping and teaching people to learn about the old gods as part of their personal journey. I can offer guidelines and support, but each of us has to find our own path up to Mount Olympus and to sit next to the gods enjoying an afternoon chat.

This is my advice and my guidelines to newbie pagans or those looking to advance your practice and connection with deity.

– Read
– Read
– Read

– Take a class in sociology and anthropology. Learn how society affects a writer and to identify cultural markers in writing. Every culture has them.

– Remember that the victors write the history – some deities painted as villains were done so because their people lost the war. I’m thinking of Baal, Lilith and Tiamat here in particular; most “recorded” history of these deities is colored by the conquering people. The Titans would fall into this group as well. Are these deities really evil or were they painted as evil to get people not to worship them, but to instead worship the new gods of the conquerors.

– Meditate
– Meditate
– Meditate

– Question, be skeptical and ask lots of questions.  Ask me questions.  I LOVE questions. It’s how I grow and evolve in my practice.

– Learn to hear your own magical voice

– Develop your own symbolism. (ha! Where have you heard that before…) Seriously ask yourself questions all the time such as: why do people think the color green represents money and is that true for you? How much of that is due to culture and society and how much of that is true core belief for you. If green doesn’t work for you then what does? Gold, silver, red? What color feels like money? Why? Then moving on, what deity feels like money to you? Why? Write down and record your thoughts and ideas.

– Give yourself the freedom to change your ideas, your mind and to grow.

Advertisements

A case for good solid wards

Our Hope is an idea person. She has all kinds of ideas. Some great, some not so great, some totally WTF and others huh… need to ponder that one for a while and I’ll get back to you. She and I were chatting the other day about times when we felt our magic had helped in a real tangible way. I thought I would share this story with you.

It was Fall of 2009, Coyover and I were living in a city in the Midwest with our three spawn and as luck would have it Hope and Nicodemus were visiting us. It was a rare treat and we had already been discussing plans for Thanksgiving. I believe that I have spoken before about how Coyover is a mad man (mad Coyote? smart Coyote…) when it comes to wards. It was part of his nightly ritual of tucking the spawn into bed, giving them their light before bed and to recast the wards before going to bed himself. We had been living in this house for about eight years so these wards that had started with the foundation of the house had started to grow and solidify to the edges of our yard and creeping to the whole block. I had added my own energies to the wards in planting flowers and herbs strategically around the yard nothing terribly exciting but it was pretty.

It was, and is (though we no longer live there) a good house. It was an old house sitting on a corner lot in one of the older neighborhoods of this Midwest town. It was located in one of those neighborhoods that can’t decide if it’s up and coming or falling out of favor. We often joked that we got the nightmare house (though in reality it was a bit of a dream – diamond in the rough kind of place) given we signed for our house on Elm St on Friday the 13th…mwahahahha…. So we had our mix of good neighbors, new families, and first time home owners, old couples having lived their whole life in their house, rentals and meth houses.

We – Hope, Nic and I – were making dinner plans, chatting, getting caught up, doing a bit of gaming, waiting for the spawn to get home from school and Coyover home from work.
It is hard to describe what happened next – it was a sensation, almost a force wave hitting the side of the house – windows shook, pets and people freaked. The sounds hit next with a squealing of tires followed by a crunch and more tire squealing and another crunch or twelve. If I had been standing up I am darn sure that wave of energy hitting the side of the house would have physically moved me.

Nic gave me that look that he has and in his wonderfully understated way said “That doesn’t sound good.”

Getting up looking out the front window we both saw a no longer pristine mustang car making its way at high speed down the street where it bounced off a few more of the neighbor’s cars before coming to a horrible stop. Some lone figure crawled from the wreckage and ran down the alley way.

The rest of the story is rather droll, we called the cops, and we called our insurance agent after we discovered mustang driver had totaled our van. It’s one of those meth, stolen vehicle, police chasing at 40 to 50 miles an hour down small neighborhood streets running from cops stories.

Thinking back now I am sure that whoever was driving that car hit our wards trying to make the turn from one side street onto our street. The speeds this person was going, the force at which they hit my poor van (she sacrificed herself that day to keep her family safe, such a noble van) .. it was crazy. Yes part of my mind questions, did the wards help… but reading police reports knowing that this person had already hit three other parked cars before hitting my van going on and hitting two other cars down the street it makes you wonder how they made that turn. Had they not made that turn they would have ended up right in my living room.

It was the wards that made a difference that day.

Who will write the Books?

Hope (that’s me!) was kicking around some ideas with Glory and Nettle yesterday, and one which caught my attention was the question of getting the deities words out there to their people. Glory, being a seer, has plenty on her plate already, and Nettle noped her way as far from it as she could, even with the temptation of writing down her beloved Hestia’s words. The reason I brought it up is the ridiculous to-and-froing going on in the pagan community over the meaning of polytheism, a term that defines itself. I haven’t delved into it deeply, but how can someone put a rigid definition on the word and claim that their polytheism is the only polytheism? Why hasn’t the community given these people the stink-eye and turned to more profitable arguments?

There is no Book of Hestia, informing her devotees of her wishes for adoration. No Book of Thoth, outlining the same. No Book of Loki, no Book of Nammu (but she’s not interested in having one written, either), no Book of Tiamat. Their followers flounder around in the dark, trying this and that, hoping that something will be acceptable and if it isn’t, that Someone will step up and say something. This leads to a state wherein we peck each other bloody because we have no guidelines or boundaries.

With the coming reuniting of the Realms, the gods need to step up and dictate what their religions will consist of. Those that do this early will have a better chance of getting their stories out, especially if They have evolved (one certainly hopes They have) and wish to shed their old persona for their new one. It’s time for those who have good ‘godphones’ to become the scribes of the deities. It’s time for the deities to begin tapping those people, and opening others up to doing this work for them. And it’s time for the Books to get out to the wider public, probably via e-books.

Will these Books be met with universal acclaim and acceptance? Let’s not fool ourselves – they will threaten the way some people see their gods, and we all know what kind of fury born of fear that triggers. The thoughtful will seek confirmation and the threatened will seek to destroy. Full plate armor might be a wise investment for the more sensitive among us. Don’t let the sure knowledge of the outrage stop you from stepping up and volunteering, though. Your Deity needs you to get Her/His words out there. And Her/His followers need those words, whether they think they do or not.

 

IMG_4200

Sending Lammas Blessings to all our readers family and friends. While it’s too freaking hot to bake today I’m sharing past loaves of success, and sending out wishes for a fruitful harvest to everyone. Demeter shall soon be mourning her Persephone.

IMG_4536

Grounding. Centering.

Hope on Grounding:

Grounding and centering….hmmm. We all ground before and after a ritual, but we center only before, <Nettle: I center often throughout my day not just in ritual but for tasks that require focus.>  is that right? I think so. And the grounding we do before is different from the grounding we do afterwards. Or it is for me – can’t speak for Nettle or Glory.

I don’t separate the two things, grounding and centering, because if I ground then I automatically center. All kinds of books to give you ideas on how to ground prior to a ritual, so use what works for you. I do the simple ones – either imagining myself to be a tree and sending roots down deep into the earth, anchoring myself to her, or by sending a shaft of energy from the root chakra down into the earth.

Grounding AFTER a ritual is different. If you don’t ground the excess energy can make you woozy or lightheaded, maybe even a little nauseous. I learned to ground several different ways. One is to eat something prior to dropping the circle. Another is to stomp like you’re having a temper tantrum. The most intricate way is giving the energy back to the Elements.

To offer the excess energy to the Element of Air, push the energy into your dominant hand, then raise the hand to the sky and release the energy.  To give it to the Element of Earth, sit or kneel down on the ground, press your palm (or palms) flat against the ground or floor, and allow the energy to flow into the ground beneath you. Or you can gather the energy into your solar plexus and project it into a candle flame (real or imagined) to give the energy to Fire. Do much the same for the Element of Water, standing in the shower and releasing the energy from the solar plexus, to transfer into the water flowing down your body.

How to center & ground, Nettle style
I am sure that we could all do a google search and find a number of ways to help center yourself.  So google yourself some exercises that help to teach you how to train the mind to just focus on what you want your focus to be in that moment.  I myself am a yogi, I use my breath or pranayama to find my center. For me my favorite is what is called Ujjayi breath or breath with sound, it is sometimes called ocean’s breath.
I use ujjayi breath in my classes for a number of reason first being that it helps me focus on my pose and where I am in my body in that pose. This breath work helps me to find that one pointed focus or awareness into my activity. This calming or slowing down of the thoughts it what we can hope for as thinking beings.
How do I do it? Well I start by inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth with a soft h sound. You keep practicing until you can make that sound with the mouth closed. In your own head you will start to hear that sound as to why it’s called ocean’s breath.  As I move though my practice I keep this breath going to bring me to a very focused awareness on my body and helps me find my center.
Grounding for me is all about connecting to the earth sinking my feet into the earth my roots growing deep I can then share any of the extra energy I have from a ritual with Mother Earth and conversely if I’m feeling drained  I can use her energies to restore myself.

Centering, Grounding, Cleansing OH MY…

On Centering, Ground, Cleansing, Shielding and Warding from Nettle

I’m using Coyvere a lot for this post. < Coyvere “I don’t feel used.  I should be more damp” > This is really in some ways his area of expertise.

So what is centering, grounding, cleansing, shielding and warding, more importantly why should they be part of your daily practice. Really, they should be part of your daily practice.

Centering: this is when you gather your thoughts and focus your intention, which can be for meditation, prayer, ritual or just starting your day. An example would be practicing some breath works – closing your eyes focusing on the inhale the exhale lengthening the breath until even and smooth.  What you are working for is what is sometimes called one pointed focus. You have slowed all the other thoughts in your brain until you can get to the point of being able to focus fully on the task at hand. <Coyvere:  Centering is being able to focus on what you WANT to focus on and not random thoughts or environmental distractions.>

Grounding: when you have too much (or surprisingly or too little energy), it happens sometimes after a ritual or when working with energy your body feels jittery like you’ve had too much caffeine. What you are doing is giving your extra energy to Mother Earth. It is getting your head out of the clouds and focused on the mundane mortal things of life.  I always do ritual barefoot for this reason, my feet in contact with the earth or representation of the earth. <Coyvere:  You are not designed to be a battery.  Carrying too much energy is sometimes harmful.  Use it then lose it.>

Cleansing: everything always needs to be cleaned – yourself, your tools, your home, your pets, your yard, your vehicles – seriously everything.  Cleansing can be as mundane as washing something or more magically inclined of cleaning things with moon light, sun light, salt, Essential oils whatever you have on hand.  I’m always leaving my crystals or tarot cards to hang out in the full moon as well as before each use  breathing into to clean them of any past use. <Coyvere:  In the same way, you can look at basic house wards as walls that keep the dirt out.>

Shielding: is a personal bubble of energy or ward around you.  This is that classic white light in a bubble around your personal space or your aura field.  As an introvert I’m always going out shields up. <Coyvere: Really you are just pushing energy out of your body into your aura as a buffer.  That’s why introverts get exhausted in crowds – pushing shields.>

Wards: permanent protection around your home or vehicles that just keep bad shit out.  Coyvere is the wards expert. I do my own but nothing like his. His wards are complicated and what friends have called Fort Knox wards.  Mostly my two bit into the wards around the house are some EO’s (essential oils) l like – peppermint, cedar and clove that I spray around windows, doors and behind the toilets and under the sinks. These EO’s work well to keep spiders, ants and other insects out of the house.  Even better it smells nice.

Coyvere on Wards:  Wards at their most basic are the walls of your home.  You build your wards like walls to keep out the bad weather and prevent strangers from wandering into your home.  Unless you live in a field, you should have a good idea on how this works  🙂   Some people think that wards are unnecessary because they want the energies of the world to flow freely through them.  They should live in fields.  For the rest of us, a calm shelter in a time of storms is quite the thing.  If you function as a guardian in your community, you might also want to design your walls to be a little thicker and to be opaque.  There are so many wards…  Incidentally, Nettle is better at wards than she lets on.  Her plant oils draw on essences to power spells taught to her by…  teachers… and they do… stuff.

Feeling Things

I have a confession to make – I, Nettle,  have never felt that silly ball of energy that we are supposed to bounce around to one another in a circle learning to handle energy.  Never once have I felt that ball.  I pretend like I do but mostly I’m standing there pretending that I’m playing with an imaginary round rubber kick ball from elementary school.  But I have never felt that energy that everyone else claims to have felt. I can sometimes see a shadowy thing out of the corner of my eye that corresponds kind of with that ball of energy being passed around. Plant and stone or gem energy I can feel but other humans I get nothing not even a tingling sensation in my hands or any indication that I am feeling a ball made of energy.

Nil

Nada

Nothing

I’ve been practicing pagan religions for over 20 years now, leading rituals, working with plants and cooking as a kitchen witch studying yoga learning about my connection to the divine and that seed of divinity within myself and I still can’t see that fracking ball of energy.

It’s irritating

But something I think as pagans we need to talk about.  Everyone sees feels or sense magical energy differently.  It is why if you have ever worked with me in a circle or ritual knows that I tend to get up on a soap box when talking about – nay insisting – that you work on your personal symbolism from the very start of your practice. It is your personal symbolism how you see the metaphysical world that will help you to understand and to feel energy.

So before I get too ahead of myself in this post let me start by arguing semantics or language use. It is clear to me that using words like “feeling” or “seeing” magical energy has never been proper nor do they come close to encompassing what I sense when I’m perceiving magical energy.   Perception works kind of but still not even close to fully encompassing how to describe the sensations I experience when doing magic.  As silly as it may sound when perceiving energy it is a very personal set of signals that have defined my symbolism.

Hence my soap box of LEARN your OWN symbolism.

To understand or to feel magic you have to give up any preconceived notions of what magic or energy feels like. That script we all carry because of movies or television or even books that give us a preconceived notion of what this energy or magic should feels like. The reality is for most of us is not even close to these preconceived notions of what magic should look or feel like.

Then you have to learn to listen to the oh so subtle signals that becomes your symbolism for magic being around you.  So lets go back to that fracking ball of energy. I still don’t feel it… I can form one in my hands or someone will tell me they can see one in my hands. In my very active imagination of my mind I can kind of picture what I might look like setting my intention.  Yet until I get that tightening sensation under my right ribs or that drop in the pit of my stomach I don’t know I’m doing anything magical. It took me years to notice those weird quirks.

When  I work on healing someone with Reiki I don’t always feel the energy as anything but cold spots and not cold spots the cold spots are where someone needs that extra push of energy to bring some healing. But I’ve never looked at someone seen anything other than their physical body right there infront of me.

So those of you who have walked this path for years or just starting out, don’t dismay that you can not or do not see energy as described by someone else. Instead learn to focus on the subtle language of your own imagination while in magical working. Magic is trying to speak with you it just takes time for us to learn what language the magical energies use.