Tag Archives: spirituality

Finding what is underneath

ShelfFungus

This is a photo I took down at my father’s house, of a plant known to in the ‘shelf fungus’ family. Fungus are parasitic plants, living off a dead or dying tree, and what you see here is the ‘flowers’, or fruit bodies known as conks.

There’s a huge variety of shelf fungus, having different colors and shapes, but the point I wanted to make has to do with the fact we see only the flowers. The fungus itself goes into the tree itself.

When I used to guide hikes at a state park, a number of people remarked on the conks, not realizing the entire tree was, in fact, infected.

Sometimes things we manifest in our lives, both good or bad, reflect the same surface-only appearance. We want immediate and obvious results, when sometimes magic works more subtly than that. Results can happen slowly, and are not as obvious, at first.

This is why its important to ‘know thyself’ as a witch/wiccan/pagan. You learn to understand our bodies, our spirit, and our intentions, as well as the world around us will shift and changes. How to hone this part of your spiritual life?

Meditation helps us to listen and learn of ourselves. Vision, dreams, and even the act of ‘emptying monkey mind’ serves to remove the emotion that often clouds judgment.

Recognize and practice the idea that change happens, both good and bad, and its how we respond to that change that cultivates the type of person you are. Avoid labeling things a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ when all things can serve as lessons in our lives.

Practice ‘energy work’ to hone your skills in sensing it in and around you. Sometimes you can find awareness if you feel blocked, or in need to ground-and-center.

Be aware of the Breath. Our breathing changes through emotion, pain, and thought. Controlling the breath can, in turn, control that emotion, pain, or thought. Feel nervous or scared? Practice long, slow breaths. Feeling bored? Quicken the breath (and take a brisk walk), and feel your energies rise.

BOS Assignment– In your Book of Shadows, keep track of moments you feel stressed, fearful, anxious, angry, or depression, and use techniques of breathing and meditation. Write down if it helped.

Some Crafts-

Nature weaving craft- A neat idea to weave intention and will into a frame.

Rose apple bites- A very cool idea for Mabon, to make for a potluck or use in cakes/ale rituals.

 

Joy and Sorrow Ritual

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Joys and Sorrows ritual. I wanted to share a bit more in-depth on the topic of sharing joys and sorrow in group ritual.

There are a few reasons why you might want to incorporate this;

  • It builds bonds. Knowing the joy/sorrow of fellow members provides each member some insight on what they’re going through. Empathy and compassion might be enough to keep someone going through troubles afloat, while the person enduring the hardship might find a bit more light in an otherwise dark life.
  • Offers support and help. I also find that sharing those bits of your life offers members the opportunity in case someone could help. A member mentioning being out of work might find a someone’s job looking for employment, or getting the word out. Another member, might find an offer of help to get out of their situation, or advice.
  • It reminds of us balance. Even solitary, you can light a candle for joys and sorrows. It acknowledges the hardships we must endure to learn and grow, but also reminds us to focus on joys that we might otherwise take for granted.

How to do the Joy and Sorrow ritual; Select a tray or plate, or a bowl filled with sand. You can use tea lights, birthday candles, or other candles. One for each joy or sorrow.

Ask each member, or if you’re solitary, state out loud the joy and sorrow you want recognized and light the candle. Take a moment to consider- 1) what lesson will you learn, or how can you grow from the sorrow, and 2) bask in the joy you feel to celebrate that.

Let the candles burn through the rest of the ritual and blow out at the end of ritual, giving thanks for what Life/the Gods/Higher Power/etc gives you.

Post in comments thoughts and ideas for this. I’d love to hear from you.

Offering, libation, and sacrifice

 When I first started with Wicca and evolved along my spiritual path, I discovered methods of making offerings as a practice.

What are offerings? It can be as simple of pouring a measure of mead/ale or other drink to give thanks to the earth/spirit/Divine after a ritual.

In ancient times, offerings included jewelry, goods, food, and even things such as animals or even people. The need for blood sacrifice gets toned down quite a bit in these modern, but we should also understand for the ancient, in times of struggle, you took drastic measures to appease the gods.

Modern witches and pagans may prick a finger to draw blood, or throw a ring or treasured item into a river as an offering but the most common practice I’ve encountered is the ritual of libation.

Many cultures make offerings of oil, tobacco, wine, incense, milk or other liquid. Its often poured on the ground, or poured over a sacred item symbolizing the Divine. (in physical or spiritual form). After ritual, its tradition to pour libation the last of the wine/ale/drink from ritual as an offering.

Do god/desses really need libation or sacrifice? That depends on who you ask. I personally don’t feel it’s a literal practice as much as symbolic. Being mindful and grateful for things in our lives, and taking an action to show that gratitude in some form serves to touch upon bring us peace in our hearts.

In some cultures, its believed the offerings such as food and wine, incense, or burning candles, when placed on an altar are given in essence to the gods and after a time, the food might be consumed by priest/esses.

Does anyone give blood sacrifice? I have never met anyone who did, and cultures that practice animal sacrifice often ritually slaughter an animal before its consumed. I don’t see much difference of how any animal is killed for consumption other than having a prayer said over it. You also find certain gods and goddesses required sacrifice while others did not. Read up on your mythology, the cultures, to learn more.

Celtic Pentacle Wishbox Premium Keepsake BoxesA fun method of making offerings. Traditionally you make offerings of something that you find worth. This could be jewelry, drop of blood, or other things, but consider the idea of making an offering of actions? Find a basket, bowl, or box and start making offerings by jotting down on a piece of paper something you’ll do for the gods in gratitude.

For instance, you might want to denote money or time to an animal shelters, give food to a local food bank, donate blood to the Red Cross, or make a change in your life (fasting, forego meat, or drink, or smoking), or you might consider other ideas.

Add in comments your own thoughts, opinions, or practices of offerings. I’d love to hear about them.