Posts Tagged ‘Wicca’

I’ve added a page titled Book List to serve as a repository for books about alternative spiritualities, indigenous traditions, and phytology/herbalism that I’ve read and reviewed. (Click here to view or use the navigation tabs at the top.) I’ll add more as I read new titles and continue to review books I’ve read in the past.

Have you come across any books on these subjects that you’ve really enjoyed? If so please share them by leaving a comment below!


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Today I learned that an acquaintance of several years recently took her own life. Intuitively I always knew she wasn’t happy, and watched as she looked externally and unsuccessfully for fulfillment and purpose. My heart aches for both the sadness that led to her choice as well as for the grieving family she leaves behind. Sensing that she has not yet moved beyond the veil, I lit a candle and placed it in the window when I got home this evening.

Dear sister,

May the eternal and unwavering light of your soul ascend to the highest levels of peace and love.

Go now, and leave this sadness and turmoil behind. You are free.

In accordance with your free will, So Mote It Be.

–From my Book of Shadows

Beloved one, you are dead, but you are not alone.

We are here with you, the beloved dead await you.

You go from love into love. Carry with you only love.

May our love carry you and open the way.

–From Ulla Mentzel

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Thank you for abundant truth

Thank you for everlasting love

Thank you for radiant, vibrant health

Thank you for freedom from fear

Thank you for abundant earthly resources

Thank you for physical and spiritual endurance

Thank you for allowing me to see the future through the newness of each day

Thank you for joyous, compassionate unity with all the creatures of our Earth Mother

Thank you for the abundant life that is mine

Oh Great Mystery, maker of all things, thank you for aligning me with you

Adapted from the prayer of gratitude by Grams Twylah Nitsch in the book Prophetic Voices of the Sisters of Honua by Maria Yraceburu

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The Wise have long known the power of words to shape reality. In late summer 2009, I posted a simple candle ritual which I’ve recently revised and started using again. Both are simple, beautiful, and (for me) evoke strong emotion – I just felt the words could be shifted to enhance the affirmation’s power.

What it was:

May I be like this candle – a gentle and unwavering light in the world, radiating warmth and illuminating truth.

What it has become:

Like the flame upon this candle, may the unwavering light of my soul radiate warmth, illuminate truth, and shine through all levels of my being.

And so it is.

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I came across a fantastic post this morning entitled The Symbolic Meaning of Trees. In it the author compared and contrasted the symbolic meaning of trees in different cultures and spiritual systems. The following passage resonated most with me:

It also notes that the fruit, shade, and protective nature of trees have caused them to be seen as feminine or maternal symbols; yet, at the same time, the erect trunk is a phallic symbol. Perhaps this is why, for Carl Jung, the tree symbolized the Self, androgyny (integration and equality between the masculine and feminine principles), and individuation.

Androgyny – the integration and equalization of masculine and feminine energies. Many (including myself) attribute this quality to angels and other high beings, and believe that this balance of energies takes place once we are no longer bound to our physical forms. This integration is also something I strive for while in physical form.

There is a beautiful maple tree in my mother’s yard. I used to sit under it on warm, clear summer nights and look at the moon. Its trunk at my back was very grounding, and brought feelings of safety and wholeness. I would often speak with it, asking it where I should go and what I should do once I left home. Its responses were always soft and simple, and invariably it urged me to step outside of my comfort zone and travel far, which I eventually did. I told it how much I’d miss our visits and it replied, “Like my leaves in the autumn, I let you go…”

Courage and how to let go are just a few of the lessons I learned from this wise one. Trees truly are remarkable beings.

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After high school and before college, I volunteered for an organization called Community Service Volunteers in London, England. For six months I lived with four developmentally delayed young men and assisted them with things like grocery shopping and preparing meals, and accompanied them on social outings. It was a period of immense personal growth on many fronts, and I will always remember those men and my time in England fondly. Years later, immersed in the busyness of everyday life, I had forgotten how important and empowering it is to serve others. This concept was recently brought back to the forefront by someone I wouldn’t normally cross paths with – a Roman Catholic nun.

Last week I volunteered at Sojourner Place in Seattle, a transitional home for women who’ve left bad situations and are beginning to rebuild their lives. It was a humbling experience assisting other volunteers with the prep, serving, and clean up of a meal for the eleven women that live there. Even more cause for personal reflection was the conversation we had with the house leader, a nun by the name of K.C. Young.

K.C. didn’t look like I expected her to – no habit, no rosary. If you met her on the street or at a social gathering, you’d encounter a nicely dressed, well-spoken woman who emanates personal strength and quiet calm. K.C. has been a nun since early adulthood and has spent the last 45 years serving those less fortunate in every corner of the world.

When we arrived she gave us a tour before inviting questions about herself and/or Sojourner Place. When asked how the Roman Catholic Church views service, she replied by explaining the Church’s “theology of service.” She said that God favors the poor and destitute, and that the more fortunate among us are obligated to care for those who have trouble caring for themselves. She went on to say that this philosophy extends beyond people to include the care and preservation of all Creation. Seeing this woman’s strength, compassion and dedication, in addition to the similarities between the “theology of service” she described and the Wiccan Rede, inspired deep respect and admiration.

As many who’ll read this already know, those who walk the Overgrown Path strive to live by the Wiccan Rede, which invites us to do as we choose provided none are harmed by our choices (including ourselves). In Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham explains that “This is more than survival. It also ensures that you’ll be in good condition to take on the tasks of preserving and bettering our world.”

I’m grateful for the reminder that the “tasks of preserving and bettering our world” are shared among many who walk various religious and spiritual paths. This has given me both a new perspective on people like K.C. and her religion, as well as a lot of hope for the future.

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I recently picked up a copy of A Witch Alone: The Essential Guide for the Solo Practitioner of the Magical Arts by Marian Green. The book has 13 chapters for the 13 moons in a year. I plan to work through one chapter per lunar cycle beginning just after the new moon, as Green recommends. Interestingly enough, the next new moon is on February 13th, which also marks the beginning of a new year on the Chinese lunar calendar. After 13 chapters, 13 moons, and one lunar year to the day, I will have completed Green’s course. It seems the book came my way at exactly the right time! If you come across this post before the 13th and would like to share in this synchronicity, get the book and make the journey with me! Throughout the coming year I’ll be posting thoughts on the readings, exercises, and outcomes for discussion.

A quote from the introduction:

None of the paths of magic leads away from the world, setting you free from life’s troubles at a stroke; they lead you deeper in. They show you with unveiled eyes the reality of situations, relationships, and the need to come to grips with your own problems and solve them.

How many would-be witches confuse fantasy with reality, and become disenchanted when they discover the Craft is neither easy nor glamorous? How many give up and move on to a less demanding path when they realize it takes more than the waving of a store-bought wand to create the lives they want? Apparently enough that Green thought it warranted mentioning.

I appreciate the reminder that walking a sacred path – any sacred path – requires dedication and commitment, and that by taking my spiritual growth seriously I honor the Old Ones as well as myself. I’m looking forward to the coming year of learning and growth, and again extend an invitation to any who’d like to share in the journey.

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