Lessons from a finch

This morning while in my bathroom, attempting to comb down my well-slept upon hair, I heard a strange fluttery sound. I thought at first it was my husband, choosing his shirt from our tiny closet on the other side of the wall. This idea was negated when he walked past the bathroom and the sound continued.

I looked out the bathroom window to see what the commotion was. We have a large group of finches who spend the majority of their morning in our maple tree out in the back yard, and their cacaphony seemed louder than ever.

Imagine my surprise when I found one of the finches, apparently stuck to the window screen. The fluttery sound was the little guy attempting to fly away, with his feet firmly clamped around the mesh of the screen. Every few seconds, a couple of his flock-mates would come swooping near him, chirping and fluttering around him in encouragement, but the small bird didn’t budge.

Cooing words of encouragement to him, I gently touched his claws on my side of the screen, trying to determine where he was stuck. He responded by hopping along sideways. Hmm, I thought. He obviously isn’t stuck. By this time my daughter and husband had come into the bathroom to see what was going on. The finch hopped on the screen again, up a little higher but still apparently unable to fly away. He’d flutter his wings, but held tight to the screen. His friends continued their periodic swoop-and-chirp campaign, attempting to help him let go of the screen, but to no avail.

Birds are hard creatures to read. They have no facial expression to show how they feel, and I am completely unfamiliar with avian body language. However, I felt that this little guy was really and truly scared. After all, he could let go the screen, but he just didn’t. Even with the encouragement of his flock, he still held on there for dear life.

I put on some gloves and went outside to the back yard, leaving my family in the bathroom. I approached the little guy gently, touching his back in what I hoped was a soothing motion, all the while sending him a gentle swoosh of Reiki energy, to help him with his innate fear of all things human. Gently I wrapped my hand around his soft and tiny body and lifted him from the screen. In a flurry of feathers, he was away from me, chirping to his friends who had settled in my neighbor’s yard when they’d heard me come outside.

Just like that he was free. He could fly, his feet were not stuck in the screen. There was no physical reason that he couldn’t have let go the screen. Even with the encouragement of his peers, the little bird was scared to let go. Being perched vertically on the screen, I can only surmise that he was frightened to let go because of the strange angle and perhaps a fear of falling.

Drinking my coffee later on, and listening to the cacophony that is finches in the morning, I realized that we all need a little help and encouragement now and then. It’s so easy to hold on, to stay with what feels secure and familiar–even if it is slightly scary–because the unknown is always scarier than the known. We need to listen to our flockmates, take the plunge and find out that scared or not, we can soar after all.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 8:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Journal: thoughts on loneliness

It has been some time since I have posted here, and for that you, Dear Reader, have my apologies. Things have been interesting in my little corner of the world and I just haven’t had the time/energy that I wanted to devote myself to my spiritual musings.

I have been learning a lot about loneliness. I have been feeling a deficit, like a piece of the puzzle is missing. True, my work hours contribute, as I am working at times others are home and my days off are that–days, when most of the world is at work. Shorter lines at the grocery store not withstanding, I am noticing that my life is not necessarily in sync with the rest of the world’s general daily timeline. Funny thing, though…when one gets feeling too much self-pity, God/dess sure hits you over the head.

I was at the library a couple days ago, listlessly looking at books in order to fill up some empty time. I heard my name and turned and there was a friend from high school that I haven’t talked to in years. We spent a good half hour or so catching up, and found out that we have been living in the same town all these years and not even realized it. I went home thinking to myself that maybe loneliness is only a state of being if it’s allowed in; maybe I have more friends than I think.

That worked, for a day or two. Last night, I was in the grocery store. Again, I was alone and it was during an ‘off time’ when most (normal) people are not shopping. I was actually adding up in my head the number of hours in the last 24 that I had spent alone (most of them) because my kids had been at school, my husband at work, and then in the evening, the three of them went to the movies. (Work schedule dictated I stay home, since getting up at the crack of dawn is easier when not out til midnight). So there I was, partially inspecting the produce and mostly just adding up the hours when I ran into another old friend that I haven’t seen in several years. As we stood there talking and catching up, I started thinking that obviously God/dess is giving me a message.

I came home thinking wow, maybe things really are better and I just have to remember that. My email inbox was empty…still. I had no comments on my Facebook status, and the number of visitors here is roughly the same or a little less. None of my (few) contacts on IM were online, nor had they been in some time.

But this time, I felt better. I realized that while being lonely is a valid feeling, it doesn’t have to be the center of things. There are people out there…you just have to be open to finding them.

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 6:34 am  Comments (4)  
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Scott Cunningham

Today is the anniversary of Scott Cunningham’s death. For those of you who don’t know him, he was a prolific Wiccan author. He wrote many books on the Craft of Wicca and was a guiding light for many who walk the pagan path. I hope that wherever he is these days, he is shining in the light, knowing that he helped many people, myself included, with his wise words.

Published in: on March 28, 2009 at 7:19 am  Comments (4)  
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Journal: Reflection on seeking the divine spark

If God/Goddess is in everyone, and we are all a part of the same cosmic recipe, why don’t people treat each other accordingly? I think its crucial to find the divine in everyone, no matter how hidden that spark might be.

I think that I am doing my best to see the divine in everyone, and that is not always easy. In my line of work I see people at their worst. I have had drug addicts crying and begging me for pills, I have had people swear at me and threaten me. I have also held people’s heads while they vomit, and held grown men as they sob over the death of a loved one. I’ve gone home with tears still drying on the shoulders of my scrubs. I’ve helped deliver a few babies, and I’ve cared for people as they lay dying, and after.

I want to be the person who finds the divine in everyone.

I spend a lot of time looking within myself, hoping that if I can see that spark in myself, perhaps I can see it in others as well.

I make jokes about ‘compassion fatigue’ but its not always a joke.

Its hard to search and look for the beauty all the time. I can only hope it will get easier the longer I do it.

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Journal: Dream

Last night I dreamed that I had a tree in my front yard that was large and had a lower big branch and then the trunk that went up much higher.
I drove up the driveway and there was a big bear in the tree. I stayed in the car til it went away. I got out of the car and went to look at the tree, kind of in disbelief that a bear could have been there; we don’t have them in our neck of the woods.
Another bear came running up, it was a baby bear and I realized the other bear was probably its mother. And mother bears are possessive. I got back into my car and rolled up the windows. (my daughter was in the car too but she was little in the dream and in a car seat, maybe 3 or so). The little bear seemed playful and had markings just like my dog (rottweiler-like facial markings). It came to the windows of the car and then went over to the tree and climbed the lower branch before scurrying away. A man came to look at the tree and saw the lower branch and told me it was just a baby bear, given the claw marks on the lower branch. But then I showed him higher up the trunck, where the baby couldn’t reach, there were claw marks there too. He was surprised and took out a chart of bear sizes. He measured the height of the tree and said, yes, it was a large female bear and we’d better be careful.
Then I woke up.
There are a lot of meanings here to reflect on. I think it symbolizes me as the bear cub and Goddess as the Mother bear. I am reaching the same tree and trying to grow to her. Realizing that mother bears are possessive and protective of their young is my dream’s way of telling me that Goddess has accepted me as Hers and that I have some growing to do yet.

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Journal: I did it

Last night, I put out my moon water to recharge, as well as my bowl of crystals and my new necklace.
I brought out the moonwater first, stood with it in my hands facing the moon, and asked Goddess for blessings on it. Next I brought out my glass bowl of crystals with my necklace and money charm in it.
I held this up to the moon as well, asking for blessings.
Then I just stood there, offering myself.
The earth didn’t move, the world didn’t change.
At least, not the world around me.
I asked for blessings, for peace on my path. I asked for love and guidance and knowledge.
Something clicked inside me, a key turned in a lock and I felt open and connected.
When I went to bed, before I fell asleep, I saw myself involved in the Great Rite on a beach, under the watchful and loving moon, with a man inside a sacred circle.
The scene changed and I saw myself again in a scene with the same man.
I vibrated, I felt a connection and a presence…of the Goddess or the man, who is to say.
The man, however, was symbolic I believe. As evidenced by the Great Rite on the beach.
All this while awake, my dreams last night were insignificant.
Today I begin my service to the Goddess. I think I have given myself to her and the God. I think the images in my head confirmed that I am part of both.
I am blessed.

on a new path, or finding the one I am already on?

Today I was outside putting up some autumn decorations. It was absolutely beautiful–just about 80 degrees, sunny and everything was golden. My asters have bloomed and they were simply buzzing with happy bees, enjoying the early-fall treat of fresh pollen.
I sat out on the step, enjoying the unseasonable gift.
As is usual for lately, I started thinking about this path I am on–but instead of thinking about where I am going, I meditated on where I have been.
When I was little, I think I saw spirits. I am not sure, but I know that I had a group of imaginary friends. Gogo, my primary imaginary friend, was the one I played with the most, but there were also a few others, who weren’t there all the time, and who were set up in a classroom in my mind somewhere.
I used to astral travel from the time I was young as well. I well remember many nights, laying in my bed, trying to fly out my window–and going. I firmly believed in Peter Pan, and was sure that if I flew often enough, I would find him. As I got older, my friend and I used to astral travel together. She had some big boxes in her basement, and we would sit in them, close our eyes, and start to fly. I remember the feeling of going…I would close my eyes tight and we would decide where we were going–flying in the air, over the mountains..whatever. After a few minutes, my head would start to ‘buzz’ and there I’d be–flying in my box with my friend next to me in her box. We’d decided when we were done and land safely back in her basement. There is no way I can attribute it to imagination.
I remember it too well.
Around the same age, maybe 8 or 9, I realized that I was great friends with Jesus. I know it sounds kind of weird but I just knew we were friends. I couldn’t pray, but I could talk and have reciprocal conversations.
As a teenager, I had a series of very scary dreams. I had started playing around with witchcraft and things started happening around the house. I think now it was some minor poltergeist activity, stemming probably from the instablility in my relationship with my mother (long story, another blog).
Anyway, I cast my first spell. It involved a candle and an incantation, trying to bind my then-boyfriend to me, since I knew he was cheating on my with my friend. (15 is a tough age, lol).
The candle flared, the flame shot up about 3 inches and then went out.
My boyfriend broke up with me and he and my firend were quite a pair after that.
One day soon after, all the posters in my room fell off the walls simultaneously.
I walked out of my room, and the door slammed.
I had a series of scary nightmares consisting of deep male voices saying words in languages I didn’t know.
My father was dating a woman who identified herself as a witch, and somehow she helped it get better; I think she just brought positive vibes.
About two years later, I attempted to use tarot cards. I laid them out and tried to look at them. The light above my head suddenly started swinging like a pendulum.
I put the cards away.
Soon after, I had a dream where a woman told me I was going to die the next time I fell asleep.
I stayed awake for about 36 hours but still fell asleep.
In the dream, the woman came back and asked if I was ready to die. I felt myself falling and going forward at the same time.
I jerked awake, and on the wall in front of me was an image of a tunnel, lit up with some type of glow. It went away when I blinked.
I stopped trying to be psychic. I stopped trying to do anything that could cause the scary things to return.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized that things are what you make them. I had to really grow up before I could accept that there things in the world I don’t understand or know about, but they are not going to bother me if I don’t let them.
My grandmother was psychic. She knew I was pregnant before I missed my period. She always knew where my father was when he was growing up and she always knew everything I wanted to talk to her about before I opened my mouth. She came to my father as a bird the day she died, and led him and his wife out of the woods where they were lost. (another blog for later).
I think I inherited it. But I spent so much time denying it, I am scared I won’t bring it to fruition.
I started with my daughter early. She has flashes and she knows it, but she is like me at that age, and is denying it.
I don’t think the men in my family have it at all.
My sister glimmers but is too scared to pursue it. Her experiences with the ouija board proved it and that was all she needed to turn it off.
So today, as I sat in the autumn sunshine, I remembered all of this. I think this path..as new as it feels right now..is one that I started on a long time ago.
I feel like I am waking up.

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 9:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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Journal: Autumn

My favorite time of the year. I love sweater weather, and the rush of cool wind that sends leaves dancing around your ankles. I love the smell of cooking in autumn…apple crisp, chili, homemade bread….
The leaves seem to turn colors overnight, one day still a bright green and then in a blink, they are falling stars of orange, littering the yards with bright colors, reminding us of the turn of the wheel, the cycle of seasons is upon us again.
I feel closer to nature when the weather starts to dip. Winter’s bone-chilling freeze and summer’s sultry heat just aren’t in the same league as autumn. This time of year, you can wake up to a yard frosted with rime and leaves, and then by midafternoon it is warm enough to remove your coat when you are out working in the garden. The Harvest Moon lights the night for you as the sun sets earlier and earlier.
Coffee tastes better when the air is crisp. Apples are sweeter, senses are more alive overall.
I love Halloween, I love dressing up and having a great time. Sitting on the front step while the kids come for tricks and treats. Little ghouls and ghosties, princesses and pirates. A chance to be something we will not be elsewise, or perhaps to be what we truly see ourselves as inside.
I love my new autumn decoration that I made, a cinnamon broom decorated with orange and red leaves and a bright orange flower. A testament to the changing of the seasons, the turning of the wheel, the next part of the cycle. In autumn we begin to recede, to go to ground, huddle around for the dark and cold nights we know are coming.
Yet autumn is not without promise…we plant the bulbs we know will bloom in spring. We put our gardens tenderly to bed with layers of new-fallen leaves to keep the tender seedlings warm thruout the coming winter.
Autumn is tricky–it seems like a time of ending when yet it is a time of beginning as well. For does not everything that sleeps eventually awaken? Does not light always follow dark, as day follows night? Thus is this time of cycling the same. We say good bye to the summer sun, finish the rest of the harvest, yet at the same time, we lay the seeds for that which is yet to come.
I give thanks for this time of change, this chance to reap and sow.
I give thanks for the crisp mornings and fresh fallen leaves.
I give thanks for the crisp wind, the bright-edged sunlight that paints the trees in splashes of oranges and yellows.
I give thanks for this time of year, this cycle of seasons.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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A letter to Pagan Parents

A letter to pagan parents from the teacher. I found this at THE CAULDRON
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,

I write this letter in concern of your daughter, Aradia Moon. Please don’t take this the wrong way, however, although she is a straight A student and a very bright child, she has some strange habits that I feel we should address.

Every morning before class, she insists on walking around the room with her pencil in the air. She says she is “drawing down the moon.” I told her art class is in an hour and to please refrain until then to do any drawing.

And speaking of art class, whenever she draws a night sky, she insists on drawing little circles around all the stars and people dancing on the ground. And that brings up dancing, I had to stop her twice for taking off her clothes during a game of Ring Around the Rosey! By the way, what does “skyclad” mean?

Aradia has no problem with making friends. I always find her sitting outside during recess with her friends sitting around her in a circle. She likes to share her juice and cookies. It is nice how she wants no one to ever thirst or hunger. However, when I walked over to see what they were doing, she jumped up and told me to stop, pulled out a little plastic knife and started waiving it in front of me. I thought this a bit dangerous, so I took her to the Principal’s Office. She explained to the Principal that she was “opening the circle” to let me in. She also said that her Mommy and Daddy always told her not to play or run with an “athame” in her hand, that she could put someone’s eye out. I don’t know what an “athame” is, but I’m glad she keeps it at home.

As for stories, your daughter tends to make up some whoppers. Just yesterday while I was talking sternly to Tommy Johson and shaking my finger at him, he started screaming and ran from the room. When I finally caught him, he told me Aradia told him and the rest of the class that the last time I shook my finger at someone, they caught the chicken pox. I explained to him that the Sally Jones incident was just a coincidence, and that things like that don’t really happen.

One of the strangest things that happened was when I asked the children to bring in Halloween decorations for the classroom. Aradia brought in salt, incense, and her family album. I see she has quite a sense of humour.

One of Aradia’s worst habits is that she is very argumentative. We were discussing what the Golden Rule was (Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You), she firmly disagreed with me and stated that it was “Do As you Will, but Harm None” and she will not stop saying “So Mote It Be” after she reads aloud in class. I try to correct her on these matters and she got very angry. She pointed her finger at me and mumbled something under her breath.

In closing, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, I would like to set up a parent/teacher conference with you sometime next week to discuss these matters. I would like to see you sooner, but I have developed an irritating rash that I am quite worried about.

With deep concerns,
Mrs. Livingston

P.S. Blessed Be. I understand this is a greeting or closing from your country that your daughter informs me is polite and correct.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 6:44 pm  Comments (3)  

Journal: Giving myself to the Goddess

I have a month until I formally dedicate myself to a year and a day of studying and living in the Wiccan faith. I’ve been watching some of the leaves start to change color, and correllating that to the changes within me.
Some of my flowers are beginning to die off in my garden, and others are in continual bloom. The Datura in specific is thriving. Being a ‘moon flower’ that blooms in the evening I am sure it is sacred to the Goddess.
There is a huge, tiger-striped garden spider living between two of my hostas. She has constructed a giant web and I love checking on her in the morning and evening. Yesterday she enjoyed a meal of a great big bumble bee—the fuzzy yellow and black type. Those bees have been all over the garden, enjoying an early-fall snack in the fresh-bloomed asters and Datura.
Spider is symbolic of fate, changes, life and bee is symbolic of goddess energy.
Is the scene I witnessed yesterday a message to me….give myself to my fate and faith? Give myself to the Goddess because that is what is meant to be?
Walking away from the stern Christian warnings of no other god, and the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality I have been raised with is not an easy thing.
There is enough fear indoctrinated even when following the preachers of a loving God.
The Christian God is a loving God–and I feel that He is the SAME God as the God of Wicca, of the God of Islam, or the God of the Jewish faith….
And if God is to be continually identified as Male, and there is no sex to God, then there must be a female as well…to counterbalance.
I have given 39 years to God.
I think its time to give myself to the Goddess for a while, and experience the other side of the same coin, so to speak.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 7:51 am  Comments (1)  
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