The Kitchen as a Sacred Space? YES!

This week on my facebook page and instagram page you may have seen my “Room Of The Week” posts that have been focused on The Kitchen.  While our modern kitchen is a far stretch away from our ancestor’s kitchens, we can struggle to see it as the “Hearth” of a home.  Without the open fire, is the kitchen still a Hearth?  My answer is yes.  Much of our daily life is still centered around this part of our home where we store food, prepare food, and wash the dishes.  Some people might feel that the Oven is their new Hearth, while others may find it to be the Kitchen sink – or even just the kitchen as a whole.  For someone who is spiritually minded (meaning spiritual but not pinning this down to just one religion or spiritual path)  The kitchen can be seen as a room of nourishment and healing, as well as alchemy and devotion. We find nourishment for our bodies (and also for those cravings that feed our spirit) We can cook up a batch of soup for a sick family member, or comfort food to take to someone who is grieving.  We watch as magic-like alchemy takes place in pots on the stovetop and rising dough on the countertop.  We can also express a form of devotion and commitment to our home and family by cleaning the kitchen.

I asked everyone on Sunday to determine what their kitchen needs most in order to begin feeling like a sacred space.  Does it need to be Decluttered?  (That’s where I am starting and recommend If you have too much stuff in your kitchen or many things that don’t belong there.)  Or you could be at the Organizing Stage, where “too much stuff” isn’t the problem as much as “where does it go”?  Finally, if your kitchen is already clutter free and organized, you can move on to Deep Cleaning – these are the tasks you don’t do every day like cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the small appliances and backs of cabinets, etc.

When your kitchen is cleaner and more organized it is much easier to connect with it as a sacred space.  Clutter or mess causes stress and blocks our intuitive guidance.

Here is part of a blog post I wrote in 2015 (from the post titled “Starting Over”

“Confession Time; I’m a horrible housekeeper.
Ironic, since my Matron Goddess is Hestia – Keeper of the Hearth.  But this is exactly why She’s my Matron; I return to her when I need the motivation to care for my home properly.  She reminds me that caring for my household is a great act of Love – for myself and for my family.

In mythology, Hestia volunteered to keep watch over the Fire of the Gods.  Instead of returning to Olympus with her brothers and sisters to reign and rule, she chose a life of service; keeping the Fire of the Gods lit and tended.  In ancient times it was important to keep the hearth fire of the home lit and ready at all times.  It was the source of heat, light, cooking, and other preparations and activities that went on through the day.  If the fire went out or was untended and dwindled – precious time would be needed to get it going again; time that could have been used being more productive.  One never knew when the fire would be needed, so it was best to keep it steadily going.  As Hestia watched over the Fire of The Gods in this way, she became the Goddess of The Hearth and Home, representing the service of the housekeepers that blessed the household and kept it running smoothly.  

In our modern world, we don’t need to keep a fire lit in our homes at all times.  Yet we do take actions that keep the household running smoothly and keep our family safe, fed, and protected.  Paying the electric bill.  Preparing the meals.  Cleaning and Maintaining the home.  Hestia reminds me that these acts of service are a loving choice I make for my family – not an evil chore that I am tied down to or required to do as a slave, but an act of love.”

….. and continued….

“My starting point is the Kitchen Sink.  As I mentioned, we don’t really have a “Hearth” in modern homes.  Even homes that have a fireplace – that fireplace Hearth does not necessarily play the role of center of the home.  So what place in the home does serve as the central focus?  For me, it’s the Kitchen Sink.  This is probably because of FlyLady’s teachings of Starting with the Kitchen Sink.  Her theory is that if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest comes easier.  It’s easier to keep up with the dishes if you’re not letting them pile up.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the rest of the kitchen clean and shiny if the sink is clean and shiny.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the other rooms of the house clean if the kitchen is clean.  Then the other things you need to do come easier too, because you don’t have to clean before you cook, or you don’t have to clean up the living room just because you want to sit down and relax.  In theory, if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest will fall into place (it still takes work, but that’s the basic idea)  You can read FlyLady’s Kitchen Sink lesson HERE

So for me, the kitchen sink is becoming my “Hearth Fire”.  It is the place to focus on, it is the place to start and the place to end.  Hestia is considered ‘The First and The Last” and it was traditional to honor her first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  Incidentally – FlyLady says to shine the kitchen sink first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  So this just works!  ”

So thinking of the kitchen as a central focus of our home, we absolutely must also think of it as a sacred space.  It can’t really be one and not the other.  So as we have done in other rooms, we can Clear The Space and make sure that our kitchen is filled with things that serve a purpose or match our intention for that space.  You can read my full post on How to Declutter your home with a spiritual intention here – Clutter As A Block To Spiritual Flow. and make sure you follow my facebook page for some more tips and challenges through the week!

Beltane & The Fairy Folk

For the Northern Hemisphere, the Wheel of the year turns now to Beltane – the first celebration of Summer.  (April 30 – May 1)  In the Southern Hemisphere they will be celebrating Samhain and their Beltane celebration occurs on October 31 – November 1. 

Beltane, or May Day is a joyous celebration of life, fertility and growth.  The crops planted in spring are beginning to bud, flowers are blooming, livestock is mating – it’s all about the creation of life in it’s many forms.  It’s no wonder that this special celebration has close ties to the Fairy kingdom and Elementals – as the workings of the guardians of earth, animals, and plant life are so abundantly clear to us at this time.

Beltane is the celebration of the Union of the broadest aspects of nature – the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine.  Mythology and Archetypical Fairytales tell of the Union between The Maiden Goddess and The Horned One – as the Goddess (Earth) is impregnated by the fertile seed of the God.  Thus, the overwhelming theme of this celebration is Sex, Romance, Fertility, and Union.

With fires lit across the land, a couple leaps whilst hand in hand, to mark their union and this rite, for they know tonight’s the night! As they run into the darkened wood, and find a grassy glade they should, remember well of who’s around, for bands of faeries all surround, the couple as they consummate, the faeries cheer and seal the fate, of plants and flowers, shrubs and trees, whilst the God’s upon his knees, impregnating the mother to be, from sowing deep his natural seed. And so in time the Goddess will birth, the magic that’s nature, on this Earth.’
 
Quote from Way of The Faerie Shaman by Flavia Kate Peters
 
 
Embracing the powerful flow of the Creative nature of the universe is possible at this time, and in allowing ourselves to truly connect with the Turning of the Wheel we must simply look around at all the new growth happening in nature around us; and then recognize that our own spirit is reflecting that fertile creative landscape.  Ask yourself – what Union within my life am I celebrating?  What growth is happening within me – and what can I do to further help that growth?
 
Connecting with the Faerie Realm can help us re-connect with this part of the Natural Cycle.  It’s easy in today’s society to feel disconnected from Nature.  Get outside, tend to your garden, yard, or potted plants, and express joy and fascination with the miracle of life happening all around you.  It is said that at Beltane, the veil between the worlds is thin, allowing us to more clearly see and hear the Faery Folk.  Spells and Magick or rituals involving honoring the Fae, calling them, seeing them, and working in harmony with nature – all are perfect for Beltane!  Make sure as part of your ritual, or before your ritual, you spend time in nature tending the plants or picking up litter; or even joyfully singing and dancing!
 
 
Beltane Eve Fairy Spell
Perform this ritual at Dusk on Beltane Eve (April 30)
 
“Gather together violets, clover, and St. John’s Wort.*  Violets are a fairy favorite, clover is for prosperity and luck, and the St. John’s Wort will protect you from falling under a fairy enchantment (or being Fairy-led).  Gather these plants together and tie them with a green ribbon.  Take the bouquet to the garden or a place in nature.  Blow the Fairies and kiss, and leave the plants as a gift.  Sit for awhile in the garden or place in nature, and meditate.  Breathe in the air.  Notice the scents.  The different plants around you.  The temperature, the breeze.  When you feel you are fully connected with the nature around you, say:
 
Fairies from far and wide,
I offer you a gift.
tied up in green for luck,
and sealed with a kiss.
 
I can sense you,
if I’m pure of heart.
Bless me with luck and Fairy-Sight
to boost my Healing Art.”
 
Blow them another kiss, relax and wait to see if they reveal themselves to you.  Don’t fret if you don’t see them this night – try again in the morning and evening of Beltane.  Listen to any messages the fairies may have for you – sometimes they have a special mission or task for you to complete before they will reward you with a visit!”
 
(Adapted from an article by Ellen Dugan)
*If you can’t find or access the specific plants mentioned here  – substitute something different!  Trust your intuition to guide you to certain plants that you think the Fairies would like – and add any protective plant you can find for good measure!
 
Celtic Legend of Beltane and the Fey
“This was the Celtic beginning of summer, and also marked an important transition for the people of Faerie, for this was the time when the Milesian Celts landed on the shores of south-west Ireland.  With this, the last of the magical peoples (the Tuatha de Danaan) receded from the world of humans into the Hollow Hills and became the people of the Sidhe.  However, they and the other Fairy folk have not gone very far.”  (from The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey)  Legend holds that the veil between the land of the Sidhe and the Human world is thin twice a year – at Beltane and again at Samhain – and these are times when it is easy to see and communicate with the realm of Spirit and Elementals.” (from The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey)
 
Welsh Legend of Beltane and Rhiannon the Fairy Queen
“Welsh legend tells how the hero Pwll saw the Lady Rhiannon riding past him at Beltane and, after pursuing her, he eventually won her.  Rhiannon is one aspect of the Fairy Queen, riding on her white horse between the worlds.  As you sit quietly outside on a bank in the late spring dusk, listen for the sound of her horse’s hooves and open your eyes to the shimmer of her sea-blue cloack.  When Rhiannon touches your hear, she will fill it with love and inspiration.” (from The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey)
 
 

Bedroom Magick – Sleep & Dreams

Here are some more ideas for further exploration of The Bedroom as a place of Magick. I discussed some of the magickal aspects of the bedroom in a previous post, and have included a post with spells for Sex and one for a Mindfulness while making the bed.  Let’s talk about Sleep!

Sleeping and Dreaming have long been associated with Magick.  They continue to be mysterious to us, even with more and more scientific studies emerging about sleeping and dreaming.   If you approach your time of sleep with an attitude of wonder, respect, and magick, it can increase the spirituality of this time for you.  Here are some correspondences and associations that go along with sleep and dreaming;

Sleep Magickal Correspondences
Colors; Silver, Blue, Purple, Indigo, White
Plants/Herbs; Catnip, Celery seed, Chamomile, Elder, Fennel, Frankincense, Gardenia, Lavender, Mugwort, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Valerian
Gemstones; Amethyst, Aquamarine, Blue Lace Agate, Calcite, Coral, Jade, Marcasite, Moonstone, Opal, Quartz, Sandstone, Selenite, Turquoise
Astrological Sign; Virgo
Planet; Mercury
Day of the Week; Wednesday
Element; Earth
Direction; North

Dreams Magickal Correspondences
Colors; White, Indigo, Purple, Lavender
Plants/Herbs; Basil, Bay Laurel, Copal, Frankincense, Gardenia, Horehound, Jasmine, Lavender, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Sage, Witch Grass, Wormwood
Gemstones; Amethyst, Calcite, carnelian, Emerald, Jade, Mica, Moonstone, Selenite, Turquoise, Ulexite
Astrological Sign; Pisces
Planet; Neptune
Day of the Week; Thursday
Element; Water
Direction; West

Astral Travel
Colors; Silver, Purple, White, Black
Plants; Bay, Benzoin, Frankincense, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Sage, Skullcap, Vervain
Gemstones; Amethyst, Aquamarine, Calcite, Diamond, Ulexite
Astrological Sign; Scorpio
Planet; Pluto
Day of the Week; Tuesday
Element; Water
Direction; West

Make a Dream Pillow or a Sleep Pillow
Using the correspondences above, you can make a Sleep Pillow or a Dream pillow.  Get some cloth of the corresponding color for what you want (you may want to make one for helping you fall asleep, or you may want to make one for helping you remember your dreams or for promoting Lucid Dreaming or Astral Travel.)  Cut two six-inch squares of the fabric and sew them together, leaving one side open to add the stuffing. Fill half full with cotton batting or your fiber of choice.  Then add dried herbs of your choice from the corresponding list above.  You may also wish to tuck a gemstone or two from the list as well.  You can write a simple prayer or the word “Sleep” or “dream” on a small piece of paper and put that in the pillow as well.  Sew it shut after it is filled, visualizing your intent and the energy of sleeping or dreaming flowing into the pillow.  You may wish to place a couple drops of corresponding essential oil on the pillow.  For added effect, create your pillow on the day of the week associated with your intention, or when the moon is in the corresponding astrological sign.  You may also choose to bless or consecrate your pillow as you see fit. Keep the pillow on your bed and sleep with it at night. You can also make one for children for helping them sleep or for promoting peaceful dreams. 

Some recipes for Herb Pillows –

  • For prophetic dreams stuff with dried mugwort and nutmeg and use frankincense oil.  If you are sensitive or have many personal problems you may not want to sleep with this pillow often as it can bring about very intense dreams.
  • For headache relief or to guard against nightmares; 1 oz. lavender flowers, 1/2 oz. verbena, 1/2 oz. lemon balm, 1/2 oz rosemary
  • Men’s sleep pillow; 1 oz. lemon verbena, 1 oz. lavender flowers, a pinch each of thyme and mint
  • Cherokee Dream Pillow
    The following mixture is said to bring prophetic dreams.  Use dried herbs & flowers.  2 oz. lavender flowers, 2 oz. sage, 1 oz. ground orris root, 2 oz. deer tongue herb, 1 oz. cedar shavings, 2 oz. coltsfoot herb, 2 oz. sweet fern, 1 oz. violet flowers

Blessing Your Sheets To Promote Sleep
On a Wednesday or when the Moon is in Virgo, wash your sheets.  When you’re ready to put them in the washer place a couple tea bags of chamomile tea in a clean sock with some dried lavender or drops of lavender oil.  Tie the sock closed or secure it with a string. Place it in the Washer with your sheets and say;
Chamomile, Lavender work as a balm; Bring to my bed Peace and Calm!”
You can place the herb-filled sock in the dryer with the sheets also, and repeat the prayer.

Tea for Clairvoyant Dreams
You may want to drink this tea to accompany your Dream Pillow.
1 tsp. chamomile
1 tsp. mugwort
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary

Tea For Peaceful Sleep
You may want to drink this tea to accompany your sleep pillow, or any night right before bed.
equal parts (about 1 tsp. each)
peppermint, chamomile, catnip, valerian, skullcap, passionflower, strawberry leaf

Sleep Prayer
If you are having trouble falling asleep, you can repeat this prayer at bedtime or as you lay in bed
Sleep Come Easy
Sleep Come Fast
Sleep Come Tonight
and Through The Night Last

Some Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
If you have trouble sleeping, falling asleep, or experience insomnia, here are some tips to help.

  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.  Also avoid foods with added sugar.  Drink a calming, relaxing tea such as chamomile or passionflower.
  • Have a clean, tidy bedroom.  The energy in the room will be much more peaceful and help promote sleep if the space is free of clutter.  Also having your kitchen sink clean and empty before bed is said to help promote sleep.
  • If the “things I need to do tomorrow” keep you awake, make a list of things you need to do before you go to bed.  Having a list will help ease your mind and you won’t be so worried about forgetting these things. 
  • Take a walk, do yoga, stretch or do some Tai Ji before bed.  Peaceful movement will help bring your body to a more relaxed peaceful state.
  • Meditation.  Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes before bed.  With or without music, just dedicate some time to peacefully sitting in silence.  Focus on your breathing and relaxing your body.  The more you practice this the easier it will become.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night.  This helps your body establish a set sleep schedule.
  • Have a routine.  If you practice some or all of the above tips consistently before bed, then when you do them you’re sending the message to your mind and body that it is time for sleep.  If they don’t help the first few nights, keep going and be persistent and consistent.  Eventually when you have established a routine and keep a regular bedtime, you should have a much easier time falling asleep.

Spell; Invoke The Great Mother Goddess for Wisdom
You’ll need;
A blue or purple candle in a fireproof holder
Essential oil of Lotus (or Jasmine or Myrrh)
A small statue of an Owl (or a picture of an owl)
A journal and pen
A deck of tarot cards or a set of runes
optional; a dream pillow made with the correspondences above and cup of dream-promoting tea

Anoint the candle with the essential oil and place it in the candle holder.  Place the owl next to the candle and your deck of cards or set of runes on the other side of the candle.  Cast your circle or set the boundaries as you wish.  Call upon any Mother Goddess of Wisdom that you choose, (Isis, Hera, Athene, Frejya, etc) or simply call the Great Mother Goddess.  Meditate and simply talk with the Goddess awhile about why you seek wisdom and for what areas of your life you are seeking wisdom.  Write down in your journal these intentions and desires.

Light the candle and say;
Wise Mother, great counselor,
Teach me waking and sleeping.
Send me omens true and dreams wise.
Instruct me in your great wisdom.
I open my heart and mind to you, Wise Mother.
I ask for your all-knowing counsel and guidance
that Wisdom may come to me quickly!”

Lay out three tarot cards or runes in front of the candle and owl.  Write down any impressions, thoughts, and feelings that you receive while studying the cards.  When you are finished journaling your thoughts on your reading say;
Grant me skills of Clarity and Wisdom.
Great Mother, make me wise.
You who are both skillful and strong,
guide my steps, keep me from wrong.”

If you are including a Dream Tea in your ritual, drink it now.  When you are done, extinguish the candle.  Place the tarot cards or runes in a cloth bag and sleep with them under your pillow.  When you wake up, immediately write down anything you remember from your dreams.  Even if you don’t understand what the images meant.  You may choose to draw one tarot card or rune each day, and continue to journal your readings and your dreams for as long as you want.  You may light the candle and repeat the prayer each night before bed for as long as you like or until you feel like you have received the insight you are looking for. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Resources;
Natural Magick by Sally Dubats, The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington, Moon Magick by D.J. Conway, Mrs. B’s Guide To Household Witchery by Kris Bradley

Bedroom Magick – Sex

Since I wrote about The Bedroom last week – and the many spiritual aspects of the bedroom, I thought I’d make a couple posts including spells that apply.  So here are a few Sex & Romance spells for your bedroom!

First, here’s a list of correspondences for Sex – you can create your own spell, sachet, craft, or ritual based on these – just gather what you want to use and be creative!

Sex Magick Correspondences*
Colors; Red, Orange
Astrological Sign; Scorpio  (or choose the astrological sign of your partner)
Planets; Pluto and Venus
Day of the Week; Friday
Elements; Water & Fire
Direction; West or South
Gods; Ares, Eros, Pan, Bes, Enzo, Freyr, Cupid
Goddesses; Aphrodite, Bastet, Hathor, Xochiquetzal, Astarte, Aine, Parvati, Rati,Freya, Venus,
Plants / Herbs; Apple, cinnamon, Clove, Copal, Gardenia, Garlic, Ginger, Lavender, Nuts, Patchouli, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Rose, Saffron, Tonka Beans, Valerian, Yarrow
Gemstones; Agate, Amber, Carnelian, Cat’s Eye, Copper, Garnet, Moonstone, Quartz, Rhodochrosite, Rose Quartz, Sapphire, Smoky Quartz
       * not a “complete” list!  You may find other associations that are not listed here!

With any kind of Magick – but especially with Sex Magick – be careful what you wish for!  You don’t want your partner to be overly attracted to you – resulting in you getting tired of the advances or risk hurting their feelings if you reject their advances.  You don’t want to interfere with anyone’s free will – it’s best to use these spells to “spice up” the sex life of existing relationships, or to just make you more open and comfortable with your own sexuality – not to convince an otherwise unwilling partner into the bed with you!  Also – a lot of correspondences relating to sex are also related to Fertility!  If you or your partner are not wanting to get pregnant, use precautions!  Be very clear in your intentions about what you want!

Keeping Things Sexy Spell
from Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery by Kris Bradley
“As the years go by, as children join the family, and as schedules get more and more complicated, passion can sometimes take a backseat to all the other things going on in your life.  If you find that you want to try to heat things up a bit, use this simple spell.
Supplies; Red Ribbon, Rose Petals, a pair of your underwear, a pair of your partner’s underwear
1. Grab a pair of your underwear (The sexier the better!) and a pair of your partner’s
2. Lay out one pair and sprinkle the rose petals on top.
3. Lay the other pair of underwear on top of that one.  Then fold them both into a small bundle with the rose petals inside.  Wrap them tight with the red ribbon, tying three knots while saying;
Knot of one, bring on the fun.  Second knot, get things hot.  Knot of three; Passionate sex for me and thee. (visualizing you and your partner)
4.  Place the bundle under the bed.  Then make the effort to go to bed before you’re too tired to do anything about it!”
* you can add a crystal or another herb or two to this spell from the list at the top of this post!  Make sure your bedroom is clean and your bed is made with nice clean sheets so the energy of your spell doesn’t get lost in the clutter or a mess!

Simple Friday Sex Spell
Fidays are sacred to Freya, Frigg, and Venus or Aphrodite.  Find a red candle and gather roses, cinnamon, and any other plants or gemstones you want to include.  On a Friday Morning or, set these items on a table or altar.  You may also wish to have incense or essential oil of rose, lavender, or cinnamon.  Arrange the altar with these items and light the candle.  Sit for a few minutes with the Goddess of your choice, and just talk to her.  What are your fears?  What do you think is blocking your sex life from being what you want it to be?  What exactly do you want your sex life to be like?  Be honest.  Ask the Goddess to help remove any obstacles and clear the way for intimacy in your life.  State your desire and then say “So Mote It Be” and swiftly blow out the candle like you’re blowing out a candle on a birthday cake (making a wish).  Go about the rest of your day as usual, but be open to any inspiration from your Goddess.  You might be inspired to have a conversation with your partner, clean up your room, buy new sexy underwear, change the appearance of your hair, make a “date night” with your partner, etc . . . just follow those promptings and keep in mind your goal and your conversation with the Goddess from the morning.  In the Evening try to find Venus rising in the sky – usually the first bright star in the evening sky.  Thank her for her continued blessings and go have some fun!

Clutter as a block to Spiritual Flow

I’ll admit it – like many people, clutter is a problem for me.  With three kids, my husband and my brother living here with me, it seems like clutter is a constant battle.  Things just seem to accumulate.  Yes, a lot of things are useful, helpful, convenient to have.  But it’s amazing how things just add up, multiply, pile up, and become a mess. 

I’ve realized and accepted long ago that clutter can be a source of stress in any environment.  Have you noticed that after you clean up a certain room, the energy in that space will just feel better?  Clearer.  Like you can breathe easier and just relax better?  That’s because everything has an energy to it.  Just like your crystals and gemstones or magickal tools carry a certain vibration, so does everything else in your home.  When you enter a room, you will pick up these subtle vibrations and it will immediately effect how you feel.

We all have heard of having a “Sacred Space” in our home… it may be an altar, a meditation area, a yoga room, etc.  It is good to have a place devoted to a spiritual practice; a place that you go just for meditation or prayer.  If we use the same space repeatedly for that purpose, and keep it clear of clutter and decorate it with things that bring us peace – it becomes a Sacred Space and will amplify our ability to meditate, pray, or focus on spiritual matters in that area.  But really, why keep it to just one part of our home?  Shouldn’t our entire home be a place of spiritual respite?  We should be able to feel safe, relaxed, and spiritually fulfilled no matter what part of our home we are in!

One of the biggest blocks to feeling this way is clutter!  Those things that are laying around serving no purpose and just blocking the flow of peaceful energy in our home.  Feng Shui is a spiritual practice of clearing and improving the flow of energy in the home, and it’s basic principal is that everything in your home is either inviting or blocking some sort of energy.  It’s a great place to start if you’re interested in making your entire home into more of a relaxing safe haven.  But I suggest that the best way to start is just by clearing out clutter, getting rid of things that don’t serve a purpose.  Decorating and placement of items using Feng Shui is great, but if you’re just moving around clutter you won’t really be doing much to cure the energy of your home.

Making Clutter Clearing into a Spiritual Experience

I find that usually when I’m inspired to start getting rid of clutter in my home (again) it usually coincides with an internal need to remove blocks and move forward.  As I work on the physical clutter, I experience the removal of internal blocks.  It can be a powerful time of personal healing, and a wonderful “active meditation” that serves a dual purpose of healing my home and my inner being.  As I approach an area or task, it helps me to call upon Goddess to help me make the act of cleaning into a spiritual practice.  Keeping a mindful awareness is key.  You’ll have to ask yourself as you pick up each item; what purpose does this serve?  What energy do I feel when I see or touch this item?  Have I used it in the last 6 months?  Does it remind me of a person or a time in my life – and does that memory trigger positive feelings or negative ones?  If I keep it, is there a better place to keep it?

It can be easy to get overwhelmed in this process!  Try to break down each room into smaller areas and just focus on one area at a time.  Pick something you can complete in one hour or less.  So instead of thinking “I need to clear the clutter out of my bedroom closet”, make a goal of one box or shelf in that closet.

Before you begin, set your intention.  You might want to light a candle and say a paryer or affirmation before you begin.  You can call upon a specific Deity to help you with the process.  There are many household Deities who love to help you do anything that blesses your home.  You can devote your work into an offering to them, or just ask them to assist you with your goal.    You may want to research some household Deities to see which you are called to work with (or just try working with the Deities you already work with for spiritual purposes).  You might find you’re called to work with a different Deity for a different room or part of the home depending on the type of energy in that space or what you want to attract to that space. 

A short list of Household/Hearth Deities;

  • Hestia (Greek Goddess of the Hearth & Home)
  • Vesta (Roman Goddess of Hearth)
  • Brigid (Celtic/Irish Goddess of the Home)
  • Tsao Wang (Chinese God of the Home & Kitchen)
  • Kamui-fuchi (Japanese Goddess of the Hearth)
  • Kamado-no-kami (Japanese God of the Kitchen)
  • Gabija (Lithuanian Goddess of home protection)
  • Ertha (Domestic Deity of Norns / Northern Europe)
  • Frigga (Norse Goddess of Domestic Life and Household management)
  • Bes (Egyptian God of Household protection)
  • Artemis (Greek Goddess – protection, goal setting, manifestation)
  • Kuan Yin (Chinese Goddess of Compassion & Protection – especially for Mothers & Children)
  • Lakshmi (Hindu Goddess of Blessings and Abundance)

Archangels that can be called upon to help with Space Clearing

  • Jophiel – “Beauty of God” – helps to beautify space, clears away negativity to help us see beauty in all things, supporter of artists.
  • Michael – “Warrior of God” – protects lightworkers from lower energies – will help protect the home and escort away any negative energy.
  • Raphael  – “Healer of God” – heals physical and emotional pains and ailments, also helps remove negative energies to promote healing in that area

Card from the Archangel Oracle Card deck by Doreen Virtue, Hay House

Message from Archangel Jophiel ; “Your home and work environments affect you on many levels. Clutter can erode your energy, creativity, and prosperity. I’ll help you find the time and motivation to clear interferences from your physical environment. Together, we’ll release anything thats not serving you. We’ll donate, recycle, or discard unused items. We’ll open the windows to circulate fresh air in the rooms. And I’ll escort lower energies away. You’ll notice huge improvements in all areas of your life as a result of this endeavor.”

I’m going to be working on clearing some clutter from my home in the next few weeks.  I’ll post my weekly goals here on the blog and if you want to join me I’ll be here to support you and encourage you!  I’ll post an area or room to focus on and maybe an affirmation or meditation/prayer to help us focus on our goal!

Starting Over

Confession Time; I’m a horrible housekeeper.
Ironic, since my Matron Goddess is Hestia – Keeper of the Hearth.  But this is exactly why She’s my Matron; I return to her when I need the motivation to care for my home properly.  She reminds me that caring for my household is a great act of Love – for myself and for my family.

In mythology, Hestia volunteered to keep watch over the Fire of the Gods.  Instead of returning to Olympus with her brothers and sisters to reign and rule, she chose a life of service; keeping the Fire of the Gods lit and tended.  In ancient times it was important to keep the hearth fire of the home lit and ready at all times.  It was the source of heat, light, cooking, and other preparations and activities that went on through the day.  If the fire went out or was untended and dwindled – precious time would be needed to get it going again; time that could have been used being more productive.  One never knew when the fire would be needed, so it was best to keep it steadily going.  As Hestia watched over the Fire of The Gods in this way, she became the Goddess of The Hearth and Home, representing the service of the housekeepers that blessed the household and kept it running smoothly. 

In our modern world, we don’t need to keep a fire lit in our homes at all times.  Yet we do take actions that keep the household running smoothly and keep our family safe, fed, and protected.  Paying the electric bill.  Preparing the meals.  Cleaning and Maintaining the home.  Hestia reminds me that these acts of service are a loving choice I make for my family – not an evil chore that I am tied down to or required to do as a slave, but an act of love.

My modern inspiration is the FlyLady.  She has taught me a few simple things that help me keep going, and help pull me back on track when I need it. 

  • FLY – stands for Finally Loving Yourself.  It’s a reminder that the things I DO are a reflection of self love.  When I care for my home, I care for myself.  When I care for myself, I am free and I give myself wings to FLY.
  • Progress, not Perfection.  My home doesn’t have to be perfect.  The little things that I do are a blessing, even if they are not done perfectly!  I don’t have to be “finished” to have progress.  I don’t have to keep a perfect home to be blessed.
  • The power of 15 minutes – Progress can be made in a short period of time.  You’d be surprised how much can get done in just 15 minutes.  No need to overwhelm yourself with a big job – just do what you can in 15 minutes!
  • You’re not behind!  Just start where you are.  This is a big one for me.  With chronic pain and illness, and living with depression and anxiety, I feel like I’m “behind” a lot.  Like I need to “catch up”.  I need to remember, I AM HERE.  I AM NOW.  What I can do NOW is enough.

These are the things I’m reminding myself of now.  I’ve had another period of falling flat on my face and letting things go.  (But that’s okay too – as Akhilandeshvari reminds me!)  I’m working hard to not be angry, disappointed or pass judgement on myself.  It is what it is.  I do what I can.  Sometimes, what I can do is not much at all.  Sometimes, just getting through the day is all I can do.  And that’s okay!  I live in cycles, as does the world and the whole universe! 

As the Spring Equinox and the New Moon approaches, I’m feeling the call of Hestia, awakening me again.  I’m hearing the words and lessons of FlyLady urging me on.  I’m entering a new cycle, and ready to start fresh.  I know that this won’t last forever.  I’ve come to recognize, embrace, and accept that I am never going to stay “on top”; and that I will time and time again repeat this cycle.  I’ll face this feeling again.  That’s okay.  The point is that when I do have my moments of “Spring” and hear the call of Hestia – I will answer. 

My starting point is the Kitchen Sink.  As I mentioned, we don’t really have a “Hearth” in modern homes.  Even homes that have a fireplace – that fireplace Hearth does not necessarily play the role of center of the home.  So what place in the home does serve as the central focus?  For me, it’s the Kitchen Sink.  This is probably because of FlyLady’s teachings of Starting with the Kitchen Sink.  Her theory is that if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest comes easier.  It’s easier to keep up with the dishes if you’re not letting them pile up.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the rest of the kitchen clean and shiny if the sink is clean and shiny.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the other rooms of the house clean if the kitchen is clean.  Then the other things you need to do come easier too, because you don’t have to clean before you cook, or you don’t have to clean up the living room just because you want to sit down and relax.  In theory, if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest will fall into place (it still takes work, but that’s the basic idea)  You can read FlyLady’s Kitchen Sink lesson HERE.

So for me, the kitchen sink is becoming my “Hearth Fire”.  It is the place to focus on, it is the place to start and the place to end.  Hestia is considered ‘The First and The Last” and it was traditional to honor her first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  Incidentally – FlyLady says to shine the kitchen sink first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  So this just works! 
I moved my kitchen altar to the window above my kitchen sink.  So there’s Hestia, and an orange candle to represent the Hearth Fire, right above my kitchen sink – reminding me of her lessons. 

I’ll be working on other areas of my home too, as my health permits.  I’ll be blogging more about my goals, my inspiration, and what is working for me or helping me.  But for now I just needed to get this out there; I’m starting over!

Akhilandeshvari – The Goddess of being Broken

I’m intrigued.  My interest has been sparked by the name of a Goddess that has crossed my path recently.  And as it goes when a Goddess taps me on the shoulder, there’s a lesson here and I’m in the midst of it. 
A few weeks ago, this story came across my facebook news feed.  I read it and I thought, this is so interesting, and beautiful, and . . . wow I can relate!  The article was called Why Lying In A Broken Pile on Your Bathroom Floor is a Good Thing and it’s about a little known Hindu Goddess – Akhilandeshvari – The Goddess of Never Not Being Broken.  She’s an aspect of Parvati (at least from what I can find in my online searching; and in Hindu mythology most of the Gods and Goddesses are all different aspects of each other)  The Goddess of Never Not Broken – the eternally broken Goddess… resides in the state of brokenness.  You know, that raw place of grief or loss where the soul feels so open, like the world and everything can just reach in and touch it?  Yeah we’ve all been there.  Akhilandeshvari lives there.  Riding on the back of a crocodile (fear) through the river (the eternal energy flow of the universe).  Yeah.  Powerful. 
I know that those moments of brokenness have been some of the most transformative experiences of my life.  After all, when we break apart in pain or grief, we have to redefine ourself, rebuild our life – and we usually come back from that place a stronger person.  It’s where that annoying phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” comes from.

So, I made note of this interesting Goddess, told myself I would research her (this was after only reading the article in the link above), and moved on with my life.  Doing my thing.  Taking life in leaps and bounds!  I’ve been in a state of rapid manifestation and big changes.  Empowered.  Fearless.  Taking big steps and making big changes.  I’ve been working on an online class to get Certified as a card reader (Tarot & Oracle).  I quit my unsatisfying retail job.  I’ve been meeting new people and working on starting and organizing a social group for local Pagans in my area.  Experiencing new things.  Feeling so together.  I’m going after my dream, my life purpose!  Amidst all this I also had a chance to get my Reiki 1 certification.  Great!  Adding Reiki to my life just seems so perfect, so wonderful!  And it has been!  The class I took when I received my Reiki 1 attunements was wonderful!

In Reiki 1, we receive blessings that help awaken our inner power to heal ourselves and our loved ones.  We learn that Reiki is a lifestyle, and a big part of the journey is in meditation and working on ourselves.  Focusing on Gratitude.  Learning energy awareness.  Healing and being open to receiving healing . . . on a daily basis.  It’s really all so wonderful!  But if you’ve ever had any kind of energy work done before (or gone through a detox) you know that as you accept that healing – all the negative has to come out.  Things from the past bubble to the surface. 

So here I am, literally lying in a broken heap on my bedroom floor.  I knew that my Reiki teacher had told me that “things from the past might come up, or you might face uncomfortable feelings.”  And I knew that this was just a part of healing – sometimes we have to shine a light on those deep dark places.  But damn.  I mean, This is stuff from years ago that I thought was resolved.  I’m asking “Why me?” and “Why Now?” and “can I do this?  Am I strong enough?  Is it time?  Am I ready?”  All that confidence I had, this blissful cloud of change just dissolved beneath me and I had to realize – changing the outside (the external) ain’t worth shit if the inside isn’t changed too.  And I’m realizing I have to redefine myself, yet again.  Rebuild myself, yet again.  (How many times have I been here?)  And I’m feeling broken and raw and unsure of myself, and then . . . I remembered Akhilandeshvari.  The Never Not Broken Goddess.

So, I started doing some research.  I found another article describing this Goddess

“Pronounced ah-kee-LAN-desh-va-ree, “Akhilandeshvari” translates as “Never Not Broken.” She shows us the power and opportunity of being broken into pieces by heartache, disaster, great fortune, and other life changes and traumas.
However She takes this to the furthest extreme, purposefully keeping Herself broken wide open, allowing Herself to flow with every current, creating and fragmenting and recreating Herself endlessly.
She steadfastly refuses to paste Herself together into a stable form, shunning the limitations that She’d have to abide and the false identities that would hide Reality.
She rides on a crocodile: the very survival-fear that keep most of us chained to the known and routine is Her flying carpet! She is not controlled by the need to keep her identity consistent, or even alive. She dances and spins and breaks herself into shards of light, tossing out new possibilities for herself like flower petals from a cherry tree.  


The Goddess Never-Not-Broken promises that the greatest magick is in the transformative moments: the heartbreack, the uncertainties, the pause before we hit the ground… and what we do with ourselves after we land. “

I found a few more websites with scattered and brief information, much of it the same from one site to another.  But that’s part of the beauty of this Goddess – the simplicity of being broken.  Undefined.  Ever changing.  Defying definition and boundaries by being constantly in the flow of that river, riding the back of that crocodile, breaking apart and finding power in that state.  A strong sense of peace came over me as I read more.  Well, not “peace” . . . but just knowing.  Trusting.  I can do this.  I am powerful, even when I am broken.  I am still connected to all that Divine bliss, even in my moments of pain and doubt.  Yes. Akhilandeshvari has become part of my personal pantheon, and I invite Her to tap on my shoulder and get my attention any time that I forget that being broken is beautiful.

I also found this traditional chant attributed to Akhilandeshvari, it is quite beautiful and I think I will use it for meditation to help me connect with this aspect of the Goddess!
Also –  found some beautiful art inspired by this Goddess – I think an artist of any kind could really connect with this Goddess. . . because as we create something new we often have to break ourselves into pieces, and as we rearrange them and put those bits of ourselves back together in a new way, art is born.

Detox Bath and Meditation with Yemaya

A warm bath can be the perfect place to unwind, relax, and meditate.  Combining the physical benefits of a detox bath with the intention and focus of cleansing and healing can be quite a spiritual experience.  I love taking a bath every week for a time of pampering, self love, and purification.

This week I have been working with Yemaya, a Santerian Goddess of the Ocean.  I thought that my bath would be a great way to connect with her without actually going to the beach or creek.  It’s winter and cold outside!  With the Sea Salt in this detoxifying bath recipe, it’s as if you are enjoying the blessings of ocean water, from the comfort of your own home!

Basic Recipe For A Detox Bath:

1/2 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Sea Salt
1 cup Epsom Salt
optional; 2 – 3 drops of essential oil of your choice

Mix well in warm bath water and soak for about 30 minutes.  The combination of Sea Salt, Epsom Salt, and Baking Soda helps to relax your muscles and open the pores of your skin to draw out toxins.  Drink a full glass (8 – 10 oz) of cool water after your bath to help continue the detox and prevent muscle soreness and dehydration.

Setting the Mood

Here are some ways you can make your bathroom a scared space to call upon Yemaya for her healing and nurturing.  All of these are optional; do what feels right to you based on what you already have or can easily get.

* Sea Shells – arrange around the edge of the bathtub or near the tub
* Candles – White, Blue, Sea-Foam type colors would be best
* Figurines of Dolphins or Mermaids – arranged near the bath or around the edges.  Be careful not to knock them into the tub or onto the floor!
* Your Yemaya Mojo bag
* Prayer Beads / Mala Necklace
* A cd player or mp3 player with speakers (Kept away from the water, of course!)
* Sounds of the ocean or flowing water.  Many meditation CDs have tracks with sounds of ocean waves or rain.

Set your bathroom up however you like.  Make sure you have clean towels and fresh clothes for when you get out.  Run your bath and add the Bath Detox ingredients. 

Light the candles, turn on the music.  If there is enough candle light and/or a night light, you may want to turn off the lights in the bathroom.  Just be sure you can see well enough to get in and out of the tub safely!

Sit or kneel by the tub and swirl the water with your hand.  Call on Yemaya and ask her to enter your sacred space, to be with you.  When you feel ready, you may get in your bath.

Relax!  Enjoy!

While you are enjoying your bath, you may choose to meditate, pray, or chant.  Ask Yemaya to bless you and cleanse you, she will help boost the detoxifying energy of the bath.  If you wish, you may visualize yourself with Yemaya on a beach.  She holds you gently and lovingly, the way a mother holds a child, and she slowly lowers you into the ocean, where you feel safe and loved. 

While I was visualizing this and feeling her loving presence close to me, I found myself chanting;

“Mother, Mother, Mother, Yemaya
Mother, Mother, Mother, Yemaya
Bless me, bless me, bless me, Yemaya
Mother, Mother, Morther, Yemaya.”

and then I found myself singing;

“We all come from The Goddess,
and unto Her we shall return.
Like a drop of water,
flowing to the Ocean.”

As you pray and meditate, ask for the Great Mother’s guidance.  She may give you a message pertaining to your healing, or how to rebalance some aspect of your life.  This guidance may come in the form of a thought, idea, or an urge to do something differently or change some aspect of your life.  Notice that this guidance does not come with judgment, but with the love of a Mother who truly wants what is best for you.

Spend as long as you like in the bath, praying, singing, meditating.  30 minutes is the recommended time for the Detox bath to have full effect, but listen to your body and if you need longer or less time, honor yourself and do what is best for you. 

When you are done;

Carefully get out of the bath, dry yourself.  Thank Yemaya for her blessings, healing, and guidance.  Turn on the lights and blow out the candles, but let them cool before moving them.  You may wish to dress yourself in blues or sea-green colors for the rest of the day to continue feeling Yemaya’s ocean presence with you.  Take a small step to do something to improve your life or your health – even if it is just making a to-do list or writing down the things you were guided to work on.

May your days be blessed! 

For your enjoyment, here are some slightly different Detox Bath recipes I found online.  Enjoy and use whichever recipe you want!

Yemaya Mojo Bag

This week I have felt the call of Yemaya, Mother Goddess of the ocean.  She’s calling me – sweetly, patiently.  I’ve heard her call before.  The first time I found her, I was looking for rituals or prayers to help ease a painful menstrual cycle.  She’s associated with the tides, therefore: the moon and natural cycles. I have a deck of tarot cards – The Goddess Tarot – with the image of Yemaya as the Temperance card.  I have drawn this card in readings for myself several times – most often it is when I am on my moon cycle!  It’s like she is gently reminding me to call on her during the time of my monthly cycle.  She reminds me of moderation, of self-care and nurturing, and that this time of the month can and should be remembered as a sacred time to reflect on the power of woman and mother.  You can read my previous blog post to learn more about Yemaya.

 

I have a plan formulating in my mind to create a mala necklace for meditation and healing during my moon cycle.  It will be a Yemaya Prayer Necklace. . . and it will come together when the time is right.  But for now, I have created a Yemaya Mojo bag to wear and carry when I need to be reminded of her presence in my life.  As I was sitting here contemplating the dream of the prayer necklace, my eyes were drawn to this blue mojo bag I have hanging on my wall. . . empty and waiting to be used.  It’s a beautiful blue color with a sacred spiral.  I attached a small silver Goddess pendant and a dolphin ring to the outside of it.

 

I found several things to add inside of the bag to connect it with the energy of Yemaya.
* Seven pennies because seven is the number sacred to Yemaya, and it is customary to leave seven coins as an offering to her.
* Two sea shells I collected from the ocean
* Clear quartz – clear like the water and added for it’s power of healing, cleansing, balancing, and to give clarity of mind and heart.
* Green-blue Amazonite – the color makes me think of the ocean, and it’s energy brings strength and discernment.
* Green sea-glass.  A piece of glass that has been made smooth by the ocean waves and sand.  I also collected this at the ocean.  It is here to remind me that even something sharp and harsh can be made smooth and beautiful by the waves and tides.
* Bloodstone.  I added this dark green bloodstone for it’s energy properties that help with women’s issues such as menstrual cycles, anemia, fertility, healing.  It is not necessarily associated with the ocean or Yemaya, but it fits with the reason that I call on Her.

I placed each item in the bag, stating my reason for adding it, praying for Yemaya to bless each item, and to remain close to me when I wear it.  I sprinkled some salt water over the bag and quietly chanted;

Mother, Mother, Mother, Yemaya
Mother, Mother, Mother, Yemaya
Bless me, bless me, bless me Yemaya
Mother, Mother, Mother, Yemaya

I plan to wear this bag each time I am on my Moon Cycle, for healing and comforting.  I may wear it at other times when I hear the call of Yemaya, or when I want to call upon her for balance, protection, or guidance.  You can make a mojo bag to honor and connect with Yemaya too; you don’t need the same kinds of crystals I have added.  The coins and sea shells are a good start, and then just add anything else you have that reminds you of the ocean and has properties similar to the lessons and blessings of Yemaya; for whatever reasons you feel you need her in your life!

YEMAYA – Queen Mother of the Sea

YEMAYA (Yemana)
 Santeria

 Yemaya is a Mother Goddess, associated with the ocean. (As well as other bodies of water; lakes, rivers, etc) As the tides of all bodies of water are related to the moon, so is Yemaya associated as a Moon Goddess. She is known to be compassionate and nurturing, but also fierce – especially as a protector of her loved ones.  Yemaya is the Mother of all living things, owner of all waters and in Santeria, the orisha of Motherhood.

 Yemaya teaches us about balance, about the ebb and flow of life like the tides. She guides us to find balance between our emotional selves (water) and physical being (earth) and as such she is a powerful matriarch goddess to call upon for help with;
Balance
Release
Cycles
Healing
Mother/Daughter relationships
Feminine issues
Menstrual cycles
Fertility
Protection
Environmental issues (especially for oceans and bodies of water and/or sea animals)

Colors; White, Blue, Sea-Green
Symbols; Water, Sea Shells, White Roses, Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Opal, Silver, Coins, coconut, Watermelon, Honey, and the number Seven

Some links to more info;

http://craftychickscuppacoffee.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-yemaya-shrine-prayer-yemaya.html

http://wn.com/prayer_to_yemaya

http://www.aboutsanteria.com/yemayaacute.html

http://santeriachurch.org/the-orishas/yemaya/

http://www.mythicrhythm.com/yemaya-within-cultivating-unconditional-love/

XIV Balance: Yemana


 From The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr
“Yemana, the Santeria goddess of the ocean is often called upon to provide rain: water that brings forth life and nurtures the earth, like waters of the womb. She symbolizes the divine balance between heaven and earth. Card meanings; experiencing or seeking a deep sense of harmony and union. Integration. Moderation. Balance between spiritual and physical.”

In other tarot decks – Temperance.

This card appears now as Yemana is urging you to find or create balance in your life. Too much focus on one area of your life has possibly caused you to overlook or ignore another part of your life. Call on Yemana (Yemaya) to help cleanse away the unnecessary aspects of life with her gentle, rain-like healing. Ask for clarity to help you see what needs to be balanced in your life, and take steps to rebalance it. Yemaya can also help you to take those steps, and to remember that life is always in a state of give and take – like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides in relation to the phases of the moon.