March 2011


As I sat in my tipi last week, I looked up at the magnificent moon, exhausted as I was, I whispered up, ‘Lord, you have never steered me wrong in anything that I have placed before you. I ask for your wisdom tonight. I’ve applied for a job with the Cree Health Board, working from the Montreal office. I want this with all my might, so that I reconnect with the people and the land that has given me so much. I want this for my family, to give us some rest from the frantic living of the city. I really want this, but I leave it up to you.’ I wrote this in the frozen ground. I also asked for help with my son and for the wellness of my family.

On Thursday, the human resource department called me and on Friday the executive committee had approved my nomination. As I drove home from work, with both kids in the back seat, I simply started crying. My chest became full of this pulsating sunshine and a rush of emotion moved through me. It wasn’t only the job. You can get dozens in a life time. But I felt so blessed. I felt as if God was riding in the car with us and I knew that S/He moved everything and that I was part of Its greatness. I felt this complete confidence that God was on my side, that S/He would never let me down. I felt that God and I were one, that we worked for the same purpose and that there is nothing S/He would deny us. Isn’t that what Jesus told us? I felt like the veil between the worlds was lifted and that I could see what the world was truly made of.

As tears rolled down my face in complete gratitude for this moment of revelation, a thought passed through my mind: ‘I have to show them this. People have to know.’ All of you. I’m not sure how to do that just yet. It’s not just technique. It’s taking a journey that transforms your vision and your being. I think that comes through walking the path and it will be different for every single person. Walk with me and walk with yourself. Know your power to transform everything you touch with hands, mind and heart. It is not wishful thinking. It is our God-given gift.

If you have lived moments like this, where God literally whispered in your ear, ‘I am here and I heard you. You matter to me,’ please share. The accumulation of all these little moments adds up to total faith and understanding in the workings of the universe. When something is asked in perfect love, with harm to none, you can literally reach out your hand and move the currents of the universe in making. I believe this with all my being. I believe that when one lives in a place of simplicity and humility, nothing is impossible.

For those of you who are following the exercises, I suggest watching the documentary ‘What the bleep do we know?’ It was fundamental in changing my understanding of the way the universe works.

Blessings to all!

 

After all that nice explanation about the Sabbat and the Esbat, I wish I had a beautiful story of Magic and wonderment to relate. But I don’t, unfortunately. Maybe my son was extra sensitive to this moon, but we had a hellish weekend, full of screaming, throwing punches and general unhappiness. I was so wiped out that all I could do on Saturday night is go out in my tipi and stare at the moon. I had had such hopes for this moon. I was going to come out in all my power and connect to the powers that be and everything was going to be all right. Writing this post is an act of humility and I hope a lesson: sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect. But you can still get a divine lesson from it.

I set out to do the ritual I described previously: to write my requests on a piece of paper and plant it in the ground. Turns out the pen I brought out did not work (maybe due to the cold). So I turned the pen around and wrote my request straight into the snow. I let it rise up on the wind, trusting that God would listen.

Sunday was worse than everything and I had a complete meltdown. I couldn’t take the general unhappiness of the troops, the continuous crying and screaming and the continuous questioning as to what I should be doing. I walked out and shoveled snow like a mad person. This was supposed to be a sacred weekend and it was turning into a nightmare. I looked up at the sky and asked God ‘Why aren’t you fixing this? What is it that I need to do to get your attention?’

This morning it was already better. As I was mundanely preparing breakfast, a thought casually crossed my mind: You have to die to be re-born. If you don’t experience death, you don’t know the value of life, you don’t know its substance and power. It occurred to me that Jesus had asked the same question I had: Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? If my Lord had asked that very question, how could we escape doing the same from time to time. Death and re-birth, dark moon and full moon. Being human and being divine. Let things die so that you could live.

I don’t know what this means concretely for me and my family. But it feels good to feel power in darkness and to not be afraid of that dark place. It’s part of who we are and if we can reclaim that space, then we are never really alone. There is such strength in darkness and rage. We are bound to go there so why not acknowledge it.

For even in my darkest time on Sunday when I told God that I was too exhausted to reach out to Him, I felt a pair of angels reach out to me and whisper: ‘Don’t worry. We’ll carry you up.’

We have a full weekend ahead of us with the Spring equinox falling on March 20 along with a full moon. The spring equinox is the feast of Ostara which the celebration of planting and of life returning after the long winter. It coincides well with our own celebration of rebirth, which is Easter (although it is quite late this year). Also, the full moon is usually a time for magic where we put out the intentions that we want to see manifest in our lives. It is a time for growth energy-wise, so combined with the energy of the equinox and its mounting light, a lot could happen.

I thought I would give a brief description of ritual design and spell casting so that those of you who want to take part in this energy can do so. It’s a brief overview and we will get into the details of each step later. But it should be enough to get started. Please don’t be shy to ask questions if things are not clear.

Always clean your space first. If you do this outside, the space is generally clean as the earth recycles her own energy. When working indoors, physically clean your space by sweeping and putting things away. You don’t want to raise energy in the midst of chaos. Also, always start magical work with centering and grounding.

A ritual generally consists of the following steps:

1) Calling your quarters. You can call the elements by invoking them and placing a representation of each element in the corner. You can also ask the archangels or spirit animals to stand guard in those places.

2) Cast a circle. I’ll get back to this technique more in depth and that is why I asked how people were doing with centering and grounding. The way I like to cast circle is to C&G and to let the energy overflow through my steps as I walk around the circle. You can also let it flow out of your hand or let it trail behind you like a shooting star. Some people use tools, like a wand or a staff. Traditionally, the circle is cast three times around to strengthen the space. Casting a circle creates a kind of container for the energy to stay focused. It also delineates a sacred space ‘between the world’ as a sign that you are doing something special. It’s a kind of ‘Psst! Over here!’ way to alert the universe that you want its attention. It delineates your sacred space where you can meet the Sacred Ones.

3) Invoke your God and Goddess. This is traditionally done by lighting candles. You can compose a formal greeting if you wish, but don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. I have always considered that the Christian tradition, when looked at from its original point, is a very humble tradition. It is a tradition of sitting together and talking, telling stories and calling God Abba, which translates most closely as ‘Daddy’. I find nothing wrong in simply saying: ‘Lord, I am here, please sit with me for a moment.’ I think that is the beauty of our tradition.

4) Focal event: This is where you use your correspondences and where your tradition and mythology takes full form. In a Sabbat, you don’t traditionally really do magic. It’s more a celebration of the wheel of the year. Magic (and spell casting) is usually reserved for the Esbats. Let’s take Ostara for example. Ostara is the commemorates the planting of seeds in view of the future harvest. The focal event could be to literally plant seeds that you may want to use for magical purposes. It might be to ritually get your garden ready for planting. It can also be the symbolic planting of intentions. What do you want to plant for yourself this year? You can use seeds to symbolically plant that intention. If you want to harvest love, maybe you want to plant some roses. Peace? Plant some lavendar. You can also write your intent on a piece of paper and plant it in the earth. Take a moment to C&G and really see what you want to harvest this year. Visualize it as best you can, feel it and taste it. Move that image into your pen and write down (or draw) this image into the very fiber of the piece of paper. Then plant it into the earth. Take a moment to go to your sacred space and to see how you need to water this intention. What is it that you need to do to make this vision grow into your life? Ask your guides for help. And make that commitment to participate fully in the grace of the universe.

The themes for Ostara are re-birth, fertility, life, growth, light. You can use your imagination and creativity to compose a ritual to represent what this means for you in your life. Other correspondences are the egg, birth of livestock and wildlife (and bunnies) and early flowers (like crocuses).

This Ostara being also a full moon, you get the advantage of getting the moon’s full growing energy to help in the manifestation of your request. It is a good time to be precise about what it is you exactly want in your life. Raising energy is part of spellcasting (which can also be done as a ritual, as described above) There are many ways to do that. We will get to that in due time. Suffice to say that if you ground well, you can draw up energy from the earth and let it accumulate within your circle. With a clear intent and focus, you can direct this energy towards your intent and vision. As you release the energy towards your vision, say ‘An it harm none, so mote it be’ to ensure that your work is not harming anyone else and that you are in the ‘karmic clear’ so to speak.

5) Thank the God and Goddess for their presence. Esbats are celebrated mostly around the Goddess, but Sabbats usually require action of both.

6) Bid farewell to the elements and thank them for their presence.

7) Take down the circle. Simply walk around the circle and absorb the energy of the circle. Send it back to the earth.

Your rite is done! Rejoice with a small feast. Eggs are traditional for Ostara. A healthy dose of chocolate can’t hurt either!

I know many people email me with fear that they might do something wrong. I think that if you work in perfect love and with simplicity and humility, you cannot do anything wrong. Things go wrong when people do magic for the ‘rush’ of feeling their own power. Keep it simple, as if you were having tea with an old friend. That is exactly how I do it and how it feels. And that gives me strength and peace. That’s what magic is all about: about feeling connected to the sacred Source. That is the meaning of baptism and the central teaching of Jesus. Connect within and straight to God, like a little child connects to his parent. We are made of the same stuff and we are co-creators in the universe. We could not ask for a better Master.

That being said, be careful and precise as to what you wish for, because you WILL get it.

Blessings of life beginning to all of you!!

Today, I did something good for myself. I spent my 15 minute break attending mass with the residents of our centre. Others go smoke. Why couldn’t I go to mass instead, right? I also went to receive the ashes. As the priest drew the cross on my forehead, he said (in French): ‘Convert and believe in the good news.’

The exact English translation of this passage in Mark 1:15 is ‘Repent and believe in the good news’ As I’ve pointed out before in another blog, I am always fascinated by the subtleties in translation. Even in this simple example, I think it is quite striking that the French and the English convey a different connotation in using ‘Convert’ instead of ‘Repent’. These are the first words Jesus preached when he came out of his forty days in the desert, so I think they are worth pondering over a little. As I sat writing my charts after mass, I couldn’t help but think these things over.

First of all, what was I supposed to convert from? And to what?

Most people would just assume that it means to convert to Christianity and to Jesus. It made me smile that I was even asking these questions. But it just shows me how much my faith has changed over the years. My tradition is built around Jesus first and foremost. Not a Church, not a religion, not an establishment. So when I ponder these words, I wonder what Jesus meant when he said this. He couldn’t have meant to convert to Christianity or to the Church. Those things didn’t even exist. Did he mean to bestow all our faith in him. I don’t think so either. If that’s what he wanted, I think he would have simply said ‘I am the son of God and you should put all your faith in me.’ God honors too much our free will to demand our blind faith in him. So when he says ‘Convert’ or ‘Repent’, I think he is telling us that it is time to change. He says: Look inside. See what’s there. Go to that place and become something new.

The next question I asked is ‘What’s the good news?’ I almost laughed aloud when the question popped into my head. People throw around the ‘Good News’ left and right. Do they actually stop to wonder what that good news is? So what is it? Is it that Jesus comes to take our faults and rise from the dead? Well, in the present context, it has not yet happened. He is just coming out of his baptism and starting to preach to the masses. The Resurrection couldn’t be the good news he refers to right there. Coupled to that first induction to convert, it seems to me that this good news is that we are about to change. We can go within and find that sacred place. We are able to change ourselves. We are no longer bound by social conventions or religious rule or even our own physicality. We can witness God because he is among us, with us and in us. That is the good news Jesus announces. What a marvelous thing!

I believe that Our Lord reveals himself in different ways to different people. When you ask questions, he answers them in a way that we may understand. That is what I understood today. He may bless you with a different understanding, a different vision or story. Please feel free to share your own insights and your own good news.

Just wanted to share a thought that came to me as I sat and pondered the meaning of the ashes. ‘You are ashes and to ashes you shall return.’ It struck me how everything is temporary. Everything is temporary. So why worry about our daily sorrows if by tomorrow they are already ash in the wind?

So, I spent the evening sitting on the couch reading Mary Malone’s trilogy on Women and Christianity, while my daughter served me imaginary tea and my men played on the computer. In terms of sacred space, it couldn’t get much more sacred than that!

Blessed Lent everyone!

Lent starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. As I’ve discussed on The Christian Pagan Fellowship discussion board, my practice of Lent has changed over the years and much more so since I am walking a Pagan path. When I was younger, I would usually give up something, usually sweets and chocolate. As I grew in my spiritual practice, I decided to make this a time of learning and a time to become a better person. So, now, instead of focusing on deprivation (I still try not to go in excess during this time), I focus on improvement. I try to select a feature that I would like to improve about myself or a skill that I would like to develop. Over the years, I have done many things: taking time to listen to what people are really saying, abstaining from talking about someone when they aren’t there, asking about people to get to know them better, making time for silence, buying less, trying not to control everything… What I have found is that 40 days is just enough time to really integrate a new habit and to make it a part of who you are. It’s really a life-long gift that you give yourself.

The last few months have been hectic and I have just been going through the motions trying to keep up with my own life choices. So I’ve decided that I would take this time to reconnect to my sacred space. I want to get back into the habit of doing my daily devotions, the way I used to. I want to greet the sun every morning and say my prayers every night in thanks to my Lord and Lady. I want to establish sacred space in this new house that we are just getting to know by re-visiting my altar space and playing my drum more often. I want to make space and time for reading and writing again, because this and my family is what connects me to my sacred source.

Another important part of Lent is the giving to others. It is part of our Tradition to consider the needy during this time. I read something in a book on Kabbalah (God is a Verb, Rabbi David Cooper, amazing!) many years ago that always stuck with me. It gave the suggestion to have some money aside or a cheque for a fixed amount (the amount isn’t important) and to give it to the first person who asks. This way, you really let the Divine work through you without you determining what is a worthy cause and what isn’t. About three weeks ago, I was in the subway and I saw a homeless man, passed out, half naked, with a stub instead of an arm. Another man was a little off to the side and was screaming at another passerby: ‘It’s a human being, not an animal. No need to look at him that way!’ I reached into my pocket and handed over what little change I had. The friend took out a large beer bottle from under his coat, gave me a cheers and said thank you. I was taken aback for a split second. Did I just make a mistake by giving these guys money? But I felt deep within that I had done a marvelous thing. First of all, beer has a whole lot of calories, which is what people need if they can’t get enough food. It also helps forget how devastating the situation is. And it probably helps to have company, so why shouldn’t they have their beer? What’s more, what if today this man wakes up and decides he wants to move on and he needs my dollar to do that? Who am I to judge that he doesn’t deserve that chance? So, I walked away with a smile on my face and felt like I had opened up a tiny crack in the universe where something may emerge if it wanted to. So, during Lent, I’ll just keep a whole lot of change in my pockets and give it up to whoever knocks on my door.

I wish you all a blessed Lent. May this time of reflection bring you all joy and peace and a deep sense that God moves through us all.

I’ve been feeling melancholy lately. Missing the James Bay territory terribly. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never been there or even who has never been away from the city. But my husband and I are having a difficult time adjusting. I know, it’s only been a few months and it’s going to take time. But I feel like a stranger in my own community. It’s as if I see all the little things that prevent people from being free and happy and I feel completely disillusioned. Of course, I remind myself that I am privileged that I even had the chance to take a step back to gain this new vision. But how to deal with the fact that I don’t really want to fit into ‘this’ anymore. I see all the pressure that people put on themselves and each other, the expectations to behave and be perfect, even on our little kids. I miss a place where all you need to be happy is a couple of people and a bowl of food you bring to share.

That being said, I don’t want to sound pessimistic. We are all quite fine really, when you come to think of it. But I caught myself wallowing in this state of uncertainty, wondering where to go next, what our next steps should be, and I am thinking: I’m a witch, for crying out loud. I make things happen! And I do, no doubt about it, in the most extraordinary of ways, with the help of the Great Source and with my Lord as my guide. I realized this week that really the hardest part of getting what you want isn’t making it happen. It’s knowing exactly what you want. As I whipped myself back into shape, for the first time in a long, long time, I knew exactly what I wanted. I got suddenly very scared. It is so rare to have complete certainty in anything, that it took me aback and fear rushed in. Fear of making a mistake? Fear that it was somehow arrogant to expect what I wanted? Fear of this great power within me? But like I said, I’m a Witch. It’s now know what I want. I have a short list of concrete things that I want in my life. It’s written down. I’ll present it on the next full moon as an indication to the Source that this is what I want and that I am prepared to work for this, with the Divine’s help and blessing, harming none and in perfect love.

So, no stress if you are wallowing in the abyss. Just acknowledge that you are and that, at any moment, whenever you are ready, you can change it all around.

Blessings to all!