Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Emailing: black and white skull

black and white  cow skull, Ghost Ranch, NM
I've been gathering poems, stories, photos and ideas for Magaly Guerrero's Witches In Fiction 2013.... To The Bone.
stay tuned

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Hierophant/Lesson Five

The Hierophant is usually depicted as a spiritual leader, most often a religious leader such as a priest or pope. His right hand is raised in a manner to offer a blessing.
This card stands for spiritual leadership in a more conservative traditional form with a definite sense of authority. He revels what he wants you to see.
This card signifies authority, guidance, upper management, conservatism but it also can indicate a leader of a spiritual path/ a higher being or spirit working through a spiritual person/teacher.
It may represent a religious ritual or rite and combined with other cards could indicate a marriage, christening or other ritual/rite passage into a religion or belief system.
The spiritual/ religious aspect of this card is very clear but the interpretation isn't limited to just that.
It represents knowledge and education and or joining a group.
The Heirophant is the trusted guide, the one leading the way.
 Consider the spread and surrounding cards, it may indicate a person in a place of power and influence and whether or not the seeker is the heirophant or one of the ones who kneel at his feet.

 Reversed this card may  represent a false leader or one is ruling with an iron fist. It may indicate that you are feeling restricted or constrained by the structure or rules in a group or situation. It is about breaking the rules and challenging the status quo. You no longer accept the rigid dogma or traditions surrounding you and you are questioning whether what you are doing is really right for you.

Exercises: Write about your experiences and dealings with religious establishments and spiritual leaders/ leadership, even in regards to your current path. What/who have you found to be the best spiritual teachers in your life?
How in your mind and in your experience have you differentiated between teachers and leaders?
Is it right to award a role to a person who is experienced in spiritual matters or are we all on our own very individual spiritual course, where personal experience is the only teacher needed?

I find this a very interesting card. My first feelings when considering the card was one of vague dislike.
Having a preacher for a grandfather, brother-in-law and a cousin, I've had first hand knowledge into the
fundamental structured dogma and all the guilt, fear and dictatorial leadership that goes along with organized religions.
As a young woman in my church I was put in charge of the 3 to 4 years old nursery class. Basically I was a glorified babysitter who told bible stories , sang songs and supervised the coloring  of bible verse pages.
It was summertime , I and my brothers and sisters were going to our little town swimming pool for the afternoon.  Mother was driving us but we needed to stop at the local clothing store so my oldest brother could purchase a swimming suit. We had been parked in our car out in front of the store waiting for him  for a bit of a time when Mother asked me to go in and see if he was almost ready.
 I was sixteen years old, dressed in my bikini with no cover up, only my beach towel  to wrap around me. I went into check on him, as I was coming out of the store I happened to notice my pastor and his wife driving by and the look they gave me was chilling.
The following Sunday evening I was early for services. The deacons of the church were meeting with the pastor in the main auditorium. I went in the back pews to leave my purse when I happened to hear what they were discussing.
   They were criticizing and condemning a Sunday school teacher who had been spotted downtown in their little bitty bathing suit exposed to the world. And wasn't it shame full. Until that moment I had had some regard for my Church Pastor. I was embarrassed and mortified that these elders of the church could gossip so. My Pastor never had the decency to come talk to me first before he felt the need to condemn me to those old men. I stopped being the babysitter right after that happened.

 The best spiritual teachers/ epiphanies that I have had have come from movies and books.
 When I was thirteen I saw the Disney movie Pollyanna. In it she talks to the pastor about all the verses in the Bible dealing with love and why didn't more preachers preach on that subject instead of fire and brimstone.
I felt like she had voiced the inner most feelings  that I had always had about church. I realized that it was alright to talk about love and the tolerance of other people besides what one had to do and not do to stay out of hell.
 When I was eighteen I went to see Fiddler on the Roof. I was dumb founded to learn that it was alright to talk to God like he was a friend instead of a fierce, mean dictatorial presence who was ready to strike you dead for any sins you may or may not of known you were committing. It was a revelation to me.
So I tend to take a very dim view of religious leaders until I feel that they merit my respect.
Now as I travel the Path I have come to know that one needs teachers sometimes for learning the basics of rituals and rites but true spiritual learning comes by being aware and open to divine spirit as one walks the path.
It is an on going life changing practice. And I am so much more content and happier than I have I have ever been.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Emperor/ Lesson Five

The Emperor sits on a stone throne. He is a stern no nonsense individually, who is emotionally guarded illustrated by his armor.
The Emperor as Aries the naturally follows the Empress and is the mars to her Venus, her lover, her compliment, Father to her Mother, civilization to her nature and imposed order to her creativity.
He is the All Father giving his children structure they need in their lives to help them be responsible adults.
He is wise due to his years of study, position or lifestyle which has made him an authority figure.

Often this card literally represents the Father in the reading or a father authority figure.
In a negative sense The Emperor appears when there is a controlling figure or force present.

In the positive it can represent the voice of reason, the stern yet wise counselor that part of ourselves which is ready and willing to fight for what we want, need and believe in. The Emperor card is the "who's the boss?" To the seeker it could be address being in control over ones' body, temper and or love life.

 One must remember that in tarot reading certain cards will hint at certain issues. Tarot reading is communication with the spirit world and symbolism is the language. By learning the language we can communicate with spirit. It is a two way street in that spirit will learn the way in which we interpret the symbols too.
Even as one learns all the interpretations for a card, one will tend to have an overall knowing about each card and the spirit world is aware of this. It becomes important to take note  about first instincts and feelings about each card.

What are your first feelings about this card?
Do you possess any of the traits of the Emperor? If so do you find them useful?
Who are the Emperors in your life? Have they helped or hindered you?
What are your feelings about authority? Do you tend to resent or respect it?

When I first read the traits of the Emperor, I immediately thought of my husband. He is very knowledgeable, wise and has loads of common sense in just about all things. I've always admired his ability to see to the heart of a matter and how to go about the right way in resolving the problem.
I have learned much from this man but I have felt sometimes that I am being overran and am in danger of losing myself and who I am.
 I've never considered myself a leader but more like a good right hand who helps implement.
I've always had a healthy skepticism when it comes to authority figures. I need to know that they are truly knowledgeable in their positions of authority and that they won't abuse it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Empress/ Lesson Four

The Empress is number III in the major Arcana of the Tarot. She is Earth Mother, abundance, fruitfulness and all that is feminine and natural.
She sits on her throne in a garden,pregnant with life. She is comfortable with her fertility,kindness and her ability to flourish through nurturing others.
The Empress represents the power inherent in women, one not of force but of flow, repetition, cycles and seasons.
The card may represent a kind gentle nurturing  mother or pregnancy either the seeker or in the seeker's life.. It may indicate growth in other situations such as a goal, dream or a wish. But one that needs mothering and tending to for it to grow.
This card can represent a person, male or female who seems to create naturally.
On the other hand the card may represent someone in the seeker's life or the seeker themselves , who maybe to mothering, smothering, some what intrusive and worrying about their baby.
The Empress is a goddess and she knows it!
Think of people you know or have known who have the characteristics of the Empress.
Think about your own mother and her comfort or discomfort with the role of mothering.
What part of you connects with feminine energies? How do they express themselves/
What do you give birth to?
What do you nurture?
What are the gifts of the Empress personally and globally?

In thinking about who do I know that has Empress qualities I immediately thought of my younger sister.
She is a mother of six children, a pastors wife and therefore mother to their church family. She home schools her children, manages the household and still finds time for herself. She amazes me.
My mother was very young when she married. She had three children in three years. I believe that her youth and inexperience, mental and physical health issues put a great burden on her.
 In looking back on my childhood I think she struggled with being a mother and I don't think she was happy. But by the time my sister was born Mother had matured more. There were five of us, myself being the third and middle child.
 I do believe my sister and I were raised by two different mothers but the same woman.
There is 10 1/2 years between myself and my younger sister.
I have two sons 5 1/2 years apart. I wasn't sure that I could be a good mother. And I always worried was I doing things right.
I think my Empress like energies are expressed through my art and my need to create it.
Creating, making art is necessary to my health and well being. I can not stop doing my art, it is like breathing.
Without it I would die.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

As I study Aine O'Brien's Black Crow  Tarot Course, I find that not only am I learning a lot about the cards but about myself as well.
As I have worked on the exercises following each lesson ,I've had a few revelations concerning myself and relationships in my family.

A friend gave me, Barbara G. Walker's book, The Secrets of the Tarot, Origins, History and Symbolism, to read. I'm finding that Aine's  Course and the information I'm getting from the book seem to complement each other nicely.
Aine lectures on the meanings and interpretations of the cards more while Ms. Walker's book focuses more on the history. Together I feel as though I'm getting a good base for Tarot reading.
Per Aine's basic instructions for having a notebook to record information and insights while studying the Course. I took a basic composition notebook, created a cover for it and an introductory page.
I am very glad that I am taking part in the Black Crow Tarot Course.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crafting Lavender Hand Salve

Working and creating with paints and paper causes my hands to get very dry to the point of cracking and bleeding.
I have tried various lotions on the market and have had mixed results. Seems the only thing that I could tell making a difference was good old Vaseline.
But a small incident of serendipity occurred when I was making some small jar candles.
I love the Bougie Parfumee Luxury Lavender Candles sold at World Market. They are made with soy and other vegetable waxes, essential oils and have cotton wicks. They smell wonderful!

They are sold in open topped glass jars.
     After having used up two of the candles, I noticed that there was wax still coating the sides of the jars.  I decided to scrap out all the wax remaining and craft some small jar candles.
As I worked with the wax I noticed how good my hands felt and smelled.

Could I possibly create my own hand ointment? I wondered.
To the Cauldron!
I measured and melted two tablespoons  of the scented wax bits and crumbs.
Next I added two tablespoons of bees wax pellets that I had purchased at  my local Whole Foods Market. Once they had melted I stirred in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Because the candle wax was highly fragranced with the lavender essential oil, I only added three drops more of a lavender essential oil that I have on hand.
 I poured my melted concoction  into a 1/2 cup clean warm canning jar and let it cool.

The first batch I made was a little stiff, not cute the consistency I was looking for but boy did it work on my hands and the heels of my feet.

The second batch I made I used the same amounts of candle wax, bees wax pellets, and lavender essential oil.  Only this time I added an one extra tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
After the salve had cooled, it was much more creamy feeling but the fragrance was a little diluted.

I'm still tinkering with the amounts.  Next time less olive oil and more essential oil, I'll have to wait and see.
 I am using my salve and so far it is working well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three Years and A Day

It's been three years and one day since I began my journey on the Path.
Three years and it feels so short of a time. I have learned much about herbs, stones, candles, the goddesses and gods. Plus so much more. I realize that the more I learn the more I know that I need to learn.

I've been preparing for my Self Dedication Ritual for several weeks now.  The anniversary date was coming up and when I realized the date would fall in the New Moon. I was took it as a sign.

The core of my Dedication Ceremony I took from S. Ravenwolf's book Hedge Witch.
 I crafted a special Dedication Candle as instructed in the book.
 Taking white Sculpey  polymer clay I made a Full Moon faced and two Crescent Moon  faced beads. I tied them together with green linen macrame thread.
Using big black colored bead head straight pins and hot wax, I secured the three moons to the side of the candle. Keeping in the hedge witch colors, I worked with a golden colored candle, white moon beads, black bead head straight pins. The only color I lacked was green ,so I hot waxed two silk green ivy leaves just behind the Moons.
One is also instructed to find or create a golden colored bottle that has a stopper to be used as the Power Potion bottle in the ceremony. I had purchased a bottle but I felt lead to create one.
I glazed with gold acrylic paint a nice fat little bottle with cork stopper I had saved away. I then strung a little garland of beads consisting of green glass leaf beads, black triangle beads and gold leaf beads. I used small white pearl beads as spacers.
In working the thirteen rituals in S.R's book one is creating a  personal sigil for each. I chose to put my sigils on small pebbles which I use as runes.
Working the ritual was empowering and magickal. I have stepped through the gate.

From this day forward I pledge to study the ways of herbal witchery for the betterment of myself and others on my life journey.
Honor is the law. Love is the bond.
So be it!

I am happy and filled with joy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The High Priestess- Lesson Three

The High Priestess is the third lesson in the Black Crow Tarot course.
She is the Goddess, the Seer and the Witch.
She sits before a veil with a black pillar marked with a B on one side and a white pillar marked with a J on the other.
She holds a scroll half hidden in her robe on her lap. On her head sits a crown with a moon and a horn on each side. The hem of her dress ripples into water.
The veil behind her is painted with pomegranates which are sacred to Hecate and Persephone.
Hecate, who is an underworld goddess and the keeper of the keys between that world and this one.
The moons in the tarot always hint at something hidden or secret. Sometimes it could be something that the seeker is not aware of yet.
When the High priestess comes up in a reading there are a few possible themes.
it could be regarding a spiritual matter. Possibly a change in a belief, path or religion. The card may indicate a person coming into the seekers life who maybe a great influence. There maybe a situation where a decision has to be made. The High Priestess encourages us to use our intuition to guide us.
As guardian at the gate to the underworld she can appear when one is dealing with the darker side of life such as death or separation or resolving life affecting issues.
The card encourages exploring secrets. She prompts us to pay attention, not only to intuition but to dreams, coincidences and memories.

1)Do you feel personally connected to this image of the High Priestess? If so what qualities do you have in common?
I  sense a connection where it comes to one paying attention to dreams, visions and intuition. I've experienced dreams that proved to be cautionary symbols of a coming physical ailment , where in the body it would occur and to some extent of how severe it would be.
2) If the High Priestess showed up in a reading for you, what do you think her message might be?
At this time in my life I might think it would be dealing with our relocating and moving to another state. Moving is a very life affecting situation. It's never easy and proves to have a lot of challenges.
3) Of the three cards studied so far, The Fool, The Magician and the High Priestess, which do you connect to the most? Why?
Which characteristics of each do you connect to the least? Why?

I've found characteristics that I identify with in all the cards so far whether it is the willingness to head off into new adventures like the Fool, the determination to achieve my goal like the Magician or the courage to explore the secrets of a situation and the openness to use my intuition like the High Priestess.

Black Tarot Course

Spring Cleaning.....

Feels like I'm being pulled in all directions with no clear goal as to what needs attention first.
 I do know that Spring Fever is taking control. I feel it in my fingers and toes. My fingers itch to dig in the dirt and my toes want to feel the grass.  Mother Earth, Gaia, is calling me.

It's to soon, I whisper, stop teasing me!

The need to touch, smell and see Spring plant life surges like a fever in my blood.
With sleet, rain and snow flakes pelting down outside my window, I turn to my herb cabinet.
My herb cabinet needs a good cleaning. It's time to get rid of the old past potency herbs to make room for the new.
As I inventoried, it came to me how my knowledge about herbs and oils has grown in the last three years.
When I began on the Path I purchased my herbs and oils. Being filled with a beginners excitement I purchased or tried to purchase every herb I read about in any and all potions, teas etc. With every jar I filled, I filled myself with happiness knowing I had found my calling.
     Now with a little knowledge under my belt about who I am and what herbs I find I need and want to work with,  I look at my herb cabinet and see items I haven't used and probably won't use.
Knowing how long I have had them  they are more than likely are out of date or past their prime.
 As I inventory deciding what stays and what is returned to Mother Earth, smelling my herbs and their scents of summer, tasting their summer flavors or lack there of I find I feel a little more in control of my raging spring fever.
And when I am through I will have a clean herb cabinet ready for the coming season.