Category Archives: Tools

Planning Goals, Planting Seeds

goalseedsJanuary offers us a time of respite from all the holiday chaos. We remove the holiday trappings, and nestle into our routines. This is the month of ‘down time’ and planning for the year ahead.

l_b9f1cd0c7ebf94af5897ee8c04105ed0In pagan traditions, you have the coming holiday of Imbloc/Imbolg, also known as Saint Brigit’s Day. Imbolc means either ‘in the belly’, referring to the sheep readying to birth lambs, or comes from Old Irish, imb-fholc, which means ‘to wash or cleanse oneself’. As in a ritual cleansing. Here you can read more about the fascinating history of this day.

What I also found interesting is the tie-in to Groundhog’s day. Some believe it comes from a Gaelic tradition..

Imbolc was believed to be when the Cailleach—the divine hag of Gaelic tradition—gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over Link

But what about seeds as goals?

Not all pagans have physical crops or gardens, and often our goals are seen symbolic of the goals we ‘plant’ for the year.

garden plannerPlan out your goals. Like a garden, it is always a good idea to plan out the goals beforehand. Goals, like seeds, need a rich environment to take root. This can take form as a better attitude, clarifying the steps needing to reach the end goal, and gathering resources such as friends and colleagues to help encourage those goals’ growth.

Weeding out what doesn’t work. Similar to gardening, your goals cannot flourish if weeds such as distraction or chaos gets in the way of what you’ve set as a goal. Remove them. Sometimes, you also need to adjust your actions to the need.

Tend to your goals. Plants can grow without help, but as any gardener will tell you, spending time to tend the garden helps it flourish and improves success. Goals are the same; you give attention to what needs to be done to reach fruition and harvest.

Learn from defeats. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want, and achieving goals can be disappointing when you don’t reach your goals. But fear not; it is not the end of the world. Consider what you can do different, and try again. Sometimes a goal (or garden) requires a longer time, richer soil, more water, less water, etc.

Goals might require more effort, or different effort, or it might take longer. You might find the goal isn’t something you wanted in the first place.

Hope this helps those out there with goals in mind, and that you find what you need.

Clearing clutter

tasklist Spiritual clutter can also take the form of negative thinking, over thinking, and negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, and other soul-sucking emotions. It’s not letting go, it is living in the past, it is letting others’ actions or words reside in your heart for too long. For me, the biggest issue of spiritual clutter is overthinking and having too much to do. Like a dog thrown too many toys and catching none, having too many tasks lends to my doing nothing. I get overwhelmed. The time has come to clear it out.

Recognize the clutter. This is the toughest part of the process because we fool ourselves into bad habits. Multi-tasking and keeping busy provided me this false sense of being productive. In fact, I was not. If anything, I stressed myself out. Getting to the heart of the issue can be a process that takes a while, but well worth finding the issue to fix it. Take stock of your feelings, your motivations, and how it serves your Life. Does it move you forward? Help you evolve? Or does it stand in the way of opportunity?

Find a way to remove clutter. This next step can also be a process of trial and error. Removing anger and jealousy can be huge because if you live with it long enough, its like having a favorite sweater you wear. We grow comfortable with the emotional/spiritual clutter, not recognize how unhealthy it really is. Sometimes taking it off ends up an illusion, you find yourself doing the same thing. Commit and keep at it. I find it helps to cultivate healthier habits to replace the old ones. For instance, being angry with someone can be replaced with compassion, knowing everyone has their issues. Difficult people often work from their own weaknesses (and clutter). You don’t have to let that take you down too.

Stumble and try again. This was tough for me to recognize- to accept I will fail, stumble, fall back into old habits. This is part of the process.

Some of the things I’ve cleared out;

– The anxiety I felt that had me biting my fingernails. After a year, I finally have long fingernails and don’t even feel the urge to bite. I might tap the nails now with anxiety, but I found mediation and simply taking moments to recognize that feeling to remind me to feel calm. Slow breathing helps too.

– Over thinking. Wow, this was really difficult to work through and I still work at it. Over thinking causes so much anxiety because you imagine things that haven’t happened. I remind myself of Scarlett O’Hara’s quote of “tomorrow is another day”. If I can’t fix something, I let it go to deal with it when I can.

– Too much to do. I realized this year that I just have too much to do. I homeschool my son, have my own business, volunteer with, organize meetup groups, blogs and fiction writing, and I find I just can’t do it all. I quit two meetup groups, keeping only the writer’s group open. I cut back on Score volunteering, rely more on my son taking on responsibility of studying, and most importantly, learned to say no. Even blogging will be on a schedule so can get it done, providing its scheduled and planned. This has made a world of difference.

wiccanalter Sacred space also needs a cleaning now and then, and mine was no different. I went through my stuff, asking if it serves a purpose. If it isn’t used regularly, it goes into a storage box. I prefer a stream-lined alter with only a few useful items, and you can take note, the Zen influences here. I really like the Terracotta flower pot plate filled with sand. I can put in any type of incense. It can be in cone form or stick, and I use a spoon to clean out the ash. I also add various crystals depending on my need. The plate that looks like a leaf is made from Paper clay where I used one of the leaves from my grape arbor to give it shape and texture, then painted it. I do not use anything flammable on it. Behind everything is a corkboard, so I can hang my jewelry, prayers, chants, and the pentacle charm.

What do you do to clear out your clutter? Post in comments.



Tip: Easy and cheap incense/candle holder

MAS01 I wish I learned this trick years ago, but the problem with altar tools is finding things that fit the various types of incense and candles out there.

Incense come in sticks, cones, and the charcoal briquettes. Candles also come in various size tapers, pillar, and even tea light size dimension. But do I seriously want to get different containers to accommodate them?

The tips is easy; A single container, preferable wide and flat, filled with sand, salt, or dirt, works wonderfully as a holder for all incense and candles, and even other things.

flowrepotI prefer using a terra cotta flower pot plate. They are heat resistant, and come in many sizes. You can also paint them, or use a flower pot, overturned, as a base to raise up the plate.

This is also easy to clean by scooping or replacing the sand, salt, or dirt. I use white sand, but you can find various Sand in Vivid Colors at the craft store, or find the Sand for Aquarium at pet stores (you can even find black sand). Hardware stores also carry sand for gardens or walkways.

Other containers include bowls, pots, or plates. This can also be used indoors or outdoors, and changed with the seasons. Use dirt for spring, sand for summer, dirt/soil for Autumn , and even snow for winter (outdoor only). Use your imagination!